Are we there yet? Part III
Reader No. 1 writes back to say no, no, no. The part of Michael Barone's piece
he found interesting is what followed the Iraq poll numbers. Sorry. Right. King Charles II and King William III. Now we can include the Duke of Marlborough, William Pitt and Pitt the Younger when comparing Bush to Winston Churchill, FDR and Harry Truman. I liked Barone's last two sentences the most:
The analogy of Charles II/William III and Bill Clinton/George W. Bush obviously breaks down at some point, indeed at many points, as all historical analogies do. I will leave it to you to decide just where.
I suspect the 'where' has something to do with 'winning' a certain war. Until that happens, I don't think it's unfair to say Bush these days appears to be hovering closer to LBJ than FDR. ... (Didn't LBJ also follow the 'utterly charming' and ultimately 'inconsequential' JFK?
-ed. Yes, but every historical analogy breaks down at some point.)
'I like to think that the culture he's talking about is ...' Part II
That was fast.
... Adam's right
: Healey will be hammering away at it Monday as well. So what will Deval say about his powwow with Sal and Trav? He'll probably have to use a variation of the old I Have To Work With Them tactic, throwing in the syrupy 'inclusive' while balancing it with a contemptuous 'predictable' line about 'Republican playbook' attacks. What else can he say? He just got caught playing footsie with Sal and Trav. ...Update
-- Yep, he's already employing the I Have To Work With Them
tactic. ... Another interesting thing is that he's all but making a no-new-taxes pledge by saying he would cut spending and raise fees to close a deficit. Why doesn't he just make the pledge and remove doubt like the Phoenix urges? ... His brush off of his voting record was effective and impressive. ...Update II
-- BMG comes out swinging
on the Deval/Sal/Trav powwow. 1.) Excellent point on Kerry's new ad saying she can work with lawmakers. Message to Deval
: Use that counter argument Monday night! It's good! Message to Kerry
: Better figure out a counter-counter argument, fast! 2.) Stupid point on pointing out she obviously has 'no clue' about what happened behind closed doors, for none of us were in the room and so we can only 'very much doubt' exactly what was said and left 'guessing,' though it's beyond doubt that Doug Rubin backtracked on the very definition of 'culture' on Beacon Hill and that makes some people mighty nervous about what that means if we become a one-party state. 3.) I too would like to know more about Kerry's role in Melanie's Law, though if she has something to hide she could always claim it was done behind closed doors and fall back on a variation of BMG's trust-me line above and then change subjects too.
has a theory for why Deval isn't taking a no-new-taxes pledge. It makes perfect sense. Activist voters in Dem presidential primaries are very particular. ...
Are we there yet? Part II
Reader No. 1 sends along a Michael Barone piece
that crunches the Iraq poll numbers and finds Republicans can still frame the Iraq debate to their advantage in November. David Ignatius
said roughly the same thing without crunching poll numbers: Dems are vulnerable as long they don't offer a viable solution -- and they haven't. An Iraq pull-out at this point would be a disaster -- and most Americans know it. ... Of course Republicans can't frame everything to their advantage, such as, oh, a GOP congressman hitting on an underage teenage male page.
Now we all know that a congressman hitting on a teenage male page is not necessarly a bad political thing in Massachusetts. But in Ohio, no. War or no war. ... Doesn't the House Republican leadership's reaction to the Mark Foley revelations eerily remind you of a certain recent local sex-abuse scandal and how it was shunted aside by leadership until it couldn't be shunted aside any longer? ... I told Dennis Hastert. Wait, no, I didn't!
Where were we? Oh, right. Iraq! Republicans and Dems spent much of yesterday spinning and reacting
to Bob Woodward's new book. My question is: What exactly does the White House mean when it says the book covers 'old news'? Pray tell, what part of screwing up execution of an important war are they talking about? ...
'I like to think that the culture he's talking about is ...'
Deval is taking the inevitable hits here
that all frontrunners have to endure. ... Nine, eight, seven, six ... I'm counting down to inevitable whining from moonbats about Deval being picked on. ... five, four ... Anyway, what I found interesting is this meeting.
Deval's past rhetoric about changing the 'culture' on Beacon Hill is intriguing. Could he pull off a Nixon-goes-to-China surprise, i.e. a Dem actually taking on the Dem establishment? The very essence of the Progressive Hack Alliance is that, when push comes to shove, the two sides smoke a peace pipe and look the other way as each does its own thing. That's exactly what happened during the 'new' Michael Dukakis era. Now we read that the 'culture' Deval has been referring to might actually only apply to sixteen years of Republican governorships. Right. How convenient. ... Was there smoke billowing out the door after yesterday's meeting was adjourned? ...
Are we there yet?
A lot of great Bush bashing tidbits in Bob Woodward's new book, 'State of Denial.'
More on them in a bit. But perhaps a more interesting story, at least for all us journo/pundit/blogger news groupie types, is how Woodward's new book apparently 'follows a very different storyline'
than his earlier and reportedly more positive books on the Bush administration, 'Bush at War'
and 'Plan of Attack.'
The administration, which lapped up Woodward's first two books, is now in full attack mode. One administration source is quoted as saying
there's little new in the new book "except Bob believes he has a lot of making up to do since the Washington establishment criticized him for being too soft in his first two books." Brutal. Simply brutal. I doubt that's his motivation. But if 'State of Denial' is indeed dramatically different in tone and substance from the first two books, then Woodward has some major squaring and explaining to do. ... FYI: I have NOT read any of the books, thus the 'apparently' and 'reportedly.' I'm not sure I'll ever read them. I'll just follow the inevitable Washington cat fight on this one. ... Now for the juicy tidbits:
-- In late 2003, as what is now known to have been an insurgency picking up ferocious momentum, President Bush is quoted as saying: "I don’t want anyone in the cabinet to say it is an insurgency. I don’t think we are there yet." ... Good old denial group think. Are we there yet, Mr. President? ...
-- Colin Powell was eased out after 2004 and tried to drag Rumsfeld with him? Andrew Card later conspired to oust Rumsfeld? I thought Powell quietly left in an attempt to repair his damaged image and dignity. This is a different spin on what I understood.
-- Love Rumsfeld's micro-managing comment about how a presidential photo op at a tank factory sent the wrong signal about his efforts to transform the military. Repeat: The guy has done more damage to the idea of 'transformation' than any critic alive.
'Respect for roaches'
My favorite headline of the day, attached to a letter-to-the-editor
from PETA. ...
'The bizarre twist, hysterical laughter and reality of ...'
A quick roundup of political craziness across the state and nation: I think Marilyn Petitto Devaney
is turning into my favorite politician anywhere. Any chance of getting Watertown's community-access channel in Boston? ... Via Hub Politics
, Mass Inc. takes a look at the uphill electoral battle
Kerry Healey faces against Deval. It's so desperate, the article suggests, that Kerry might want to get Paul Cellucci to campaign for her. Paul Cellucci?
... GOP hackerama.
... Extreme Dem hackerama.
(I didn't think my jaw could still drop upon hearing a tale of hackerama antics. But it did on this one.) ... Arnold is making a comeback
in California, protecting GOP hopes there. Only problem: He's doing it as a Democrat. (A conservative GOP friend recently defended President Bush's big spending and deficits as proof Republicans have learned to do what needs to be done to remain in power. Arnold seems to be catching on to the power-for-power's-sake argument that to promote a philosophy you have to abandon a philosophy. ...) ... BMG Watch, Day 9 PDP **: Fundraising for candidate? Check!
Maybe next week they can offer to pick up Deval's dry cleaning. ... ** Post Dem Primary. P.S. - Previous D2 PDP here
-- Hey, Seth Gitell, Mayor Menino's former press secretary, has started a blog.
The First Debate, Part II
A rough consensus seems to be emerging about last night's debate: Deval may have won
. None of the four seemed to blow it. Healey did well -- but Ginny notes
she can't afford a tie. Joan notes
: "Patrick is lucky that Mihos effectively derailed Healey by putting the focus on the Big Dig. Because Healey looked and sounded good -- and she was hitting her talking points when the subject was taxes or immigration." ... In order of impressiveness: I'd have to go with Mihos, Healey, Patrick, Ross. ... More here
. ... Two things I can't shake from my mind: 1.) how Patrick, Ross and Mihos all ganged up on Healey at one point, as if she were the frontrunner and 2.) I thought she handled the assault well. ...
The First Debate
Saw the first half of the debate. 1.) Thought Healey gently dominated and was winning. 2.) Deval showed he's not Superman, but he handled himself well. He didn't come across as a whacko angry liberal -- and that's important. He remains the big favorite. 3.) Christy was impressive, a slightly more sane sounding Ross Perot. He went after Healey because he needs her votes -- and he probably picked some up tonight. 4.) Ms. Ross looked like a Larouchie, though she wasn't nearly as insufferable as Jill Stein. ... Good debate. Issues came through. ... Would like to see a one-on-one between Kerry and Deval. ... I did NOT see the second half. ...Update
- 9.26.06 -- Proving political debates are like football (i.e. they're not won at halftime), the second half of the debate turned into the Christy Mihos Show, based on televised clips I saw last night. (NECN's post-debate coverage was excellent, BTW.) So points 2.) and 4.) above seem not to have changed much. But point 3.) changed at the expense of point 1.). ... Can't wait to see the polls. Did Deval fall? Do Healey and Mihos gain? ... Deval backers should be quite glad for Mihos and for Grace Ross not being Jill Stein.
'The systematic organization of hatreds'
It's not make-or-break
time per se for Healey. But she does need to stop Patrick's momentum during tonight's debate. A repeat of her primary-night robotic attack/here-I-am mode probably won't work. She should swing for hits, not the fence. ... Marty Nolan
looks back on the ugly ins and outs of past gubernatorial races. It hadn't quite hit me that, no matter who wins in November, three of our past five Massachusetts governors will have been non-natives. It's as if we can't trust ourselves. ... I leave out Mihos as a potential winner. (Now watch him surge. But he's still more of a spoiler than anything else.)Update
-- Reader AM chimes in:
Something Nolan didn't mention is that we haven't elected a governor with an identifiably Irish name during the period he covers -- even longer (Tobin, 1945-47) if you don't think "Dever" fills the bill. I don't think this is coincidence, because the odds seem so heavily against it. Kerry Murphy Healey could end the drought -- does Patrick qualify?
Containment Man, Part II
But if we convince ourselves that Iran is an existential threat, one that must be stopped immediately and at all costs, we will fail. If we turn this into a game of chicken, we will lose.
Tufts' Daniel Drezner, on his excellent blog
, also urged people to take a deep breath before making decisions based on fear and worst-case scenarios. Glenn
ehoed the same theme. All the more reasons for the Containment Man
'The Ed King I Knew,' Part II
Three columns and a reader comment for today. Joan
- Don't forget the Reagan Dems; Margery
- 'the swoon/chill' factor that I fear could allow Deval to skate without giving details; Howie
- Details of Deval's last government job. Mix and match the way you want. ... From Reader D on yesterday's post:
King may have predated Reagan, but what really defined his governorship was Proposition 13 in California, which passed in June 1978, just a bit before the Mass. primary. As I recall, King was kind of a half-hearted tax-cutter when he first got into office. But Prop. 13 led to Prop. 2 1/2, and we all know what happened after that.
'The Ed King I Knew'
Close but still no cigar
when it comes to explaining Ed King. He did
care about about media coverage. Why else did he hold grudges? ... But it's good to see so many people trying to explain and put King in perspective. We've all read how he was Ronald Reagan's favorite Democrat. But always remember King predated the Reagan era by two years. He was a Reagan Democrat before Reagan Democrats. Always remember as well that Ronald Reagan carried Massachusetts twice, in '80 and '84. ...
Blubber Man reality show
How or why Chris 'Tiger' Stockbridge allowed his fight against flab
to become a public spectacle, I don't know. But it's stupidly compelling. ...
Democratic playbook attacks Republican playbook! Part II
Now here's an interesting post
that gives hope that Blue Mass Group hasn't turned into Big Moonbat Group. ... And another good one
-- If Deval is indeed going to wage war on the hackerama, that'll be a HUGE plus in his favor. But has he even used and/or hinted at the word 'hack' to describe the antics of fellow Dems -- or is this a case of Devalites once again projecting their hopes onto his hopes?
Democratic playbook attacks Republican playbook!
The chairman of the state Democratic Party rips a page
from the Democratic playbook by playing the race card
to counter Republican playbook attacks! ... There are indeed playbooks for both parties. We can all agree on that, right? ... The idea Johnston should resign is absurd. He apologized. But he does have to watch what he says. After all, the Dem Party and Patrick's campaign are striving to 'become one.'
... Deval handled the small dust-up well, using what now strongly resembles Clinton-like casual brush-aside tactics. The guy is good
. ... Other campaign tidbits:
-- Adam Reilly
catches a very intriguing piece about Sen. Steven Baddour and Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty, both Dems, saying nice things about Kerry while warning Deval he can't frighten centrist and conservative Dems and Independents with his lefty rhetoric. Now, if they're secretly backing Kerry, they should say so. But if they're sincerely backing Deval and mean what they say, then it makes perfect sense for Devalites to listen. There have indeed been mass defections from the Democratic Party -- both at the national and state levels -- and Dems simply can't deny it. But what does the emerging group-think mouthpiece
for Deval have to say? They denounce and accuse. Hey, guys: The center still matters.
-- I got cornered last night by an old scully-cap wearing friend, a Dem who still fondly talks about Ireland and James Michael Curley. I politely tried to brush him and his gin breath aside. I'm glad I failed. Here's roughly what he said (warning: strong language): "Hey, what do you think of this Deval guy? When I went into the voting booth, I didn't know who the fuck to vote for among the three. I went for Deval. Why the fuck not? We got to try something different. If he fucks up, it wouldn't be the first time I voted for a clown who fucked up at the State House." ... Not quite sure what to think. He's definitely not a moonbat. He's obviously sick of the status quo. He's just the type of guy Deval needs to get over the top. But will the Devalites listen to his non-cocoon views on issues? Will they denounce and accuse if he drifts too far from group think?
'Do I even have to state my opinion at this point?'
is in full-throttle Carpundit mode regarding the Wilkerson recount mess. And it's a classic mess that only Diane Wilkerson could be at the center of. ...
P.S. -- A wonderful post
about brave Greta confronting Deval Patrick about those evil longer school days he supports. ...
The Distant Mirror ... Part II
Dan had an excellent post
yesterday that includes a lively discussion about the confusing impulses running through the young gubernatorial election. ... Like Dan, I've voted for Republican gubernatorial candidates in the past -- specifically, the last two general elections. Call it my Reagan Democrat pro-free-market instincts. But in the last two elections I was voting more against
something rather than voting for
something. The Romney administration has turned out to be a big disappointment. Now I want to know what I'm voting for and not just what I'm voting against. I've learned my lesson. I'm genuinely interested to hear what both candidates have to say. Details, please. No GOP playbooks. No Second Coming of Gandhi hope. My vote is up for grabs. Details
! ... Now for more random post-primary thoughts:
-- If the issue of taxes is so 'tired' and 'moldy,' then why is the lefty Phoenix
urging Deval to make a no-new-taxes pledge? Answer: Because the issue of taxes isn't 'tired' and 'moldy.' Deval should listen to the Phoenix's advice. ... Via Dan.
-- OK, Healey packed the cannon primary-night with every sharp GOP Playbook item she could find. I had the sense she was taking '90, '94, '98 and 2002 voters for granted. I didn't like it. Too much. Too soon. Smacked of insincerity. But please spare me the 'she's playing on fear' arguments. The 'against' rationale for making a decision is still valid. In addition: I like negative campaigns! ...
-- The strange appeal of Deval, explained by Margery
. It's the small businessmen's sentiments Healey should be worrying about, not the predictable Bush-hating Kos-iac.
-- Repeat: Not good for Republicans in general.Update
convincingly lays out why Patrick is so formidable and will be hard for Healey to beat. ...
BMG Watch, Day 2 PDP **
Hub Blog has taken out the binoculars and is undergoing the dangerous mission of monitoring BMG
for post-primary Kos-like
dementia. As noted earlier
, I don't think they'll ultimately succumb to blind blathering stridency. It's early. I'll give them a few days of giddy celebration. BUT preliminary observations show the following: Blatant cheerleading? Check!
Tying Healey to evil Bush-Cheney cabal? Check!
Glossing over issues? Check!
Defensive indignation at first sign of criticism? Check!
** Post Dem Primary
BTW: I define Kos-like dementia as a form of pure raging ideological tribalism from the left, similar to Bushie Worship on the right. I know BMG is by its very blue definition partisan. But before the primary, one of the pure joys of reading Blue Mass Group was the sense you were eavesdropping on Democratic consultants who could tell candidates the good, the bad and the ugly of campaigns. I know the partisan dynamics change in a general election. But hopefully not that much. ...
The Distant Mirror ...
Some random thoughts The Morning After the big primary last night:
-- One of Deval's greatest assets: Memory -- or lack thereof. Those who were just getting out of college in 1990 know of only Republican governors during their adult lives in Massachusetts. Those voters are now in their mid 30s, probably with kids, undoubtably struggling to get by financially and wondering why they haven't joined their friends in the Carolinas. Think they associate the situation with Mike Dukakis and Billy Bulger?
-- One of Kerry's greatest assets: Memory -- or what remains of it. Dems are already pronouncing concerns about 'taxes' and a 'one-party' state etc. as 'moldy' and 'tired' issues. Right. They've been saying that since '94. But see above diminishing-returns point to understand why connecting them to Dems doesn't carry as much punch as it did in the past.
More later in the day ... Pop back in. ...8:44 a.m.
-- Some more:
-- The pre-primary argument that Reilly and Gabs might split their support, handing victory to Deval, doesn't add up this morning. If Deval had won close with only 35-40 percent of the vote, sure, you could have made the old split-'em argument. But not when Deval got around 50 percent. ...
-- Do you think the rah-rah feminist sisterhood will back Healey? Never mind. Women are only women when they're Democrats. ...
-- Early hint of big hot-button issue to come: Giving illegal immigrants driver licenses. Sort of like Shannon's overstep on abortion in '02? It's early. Deval can still dodge it with proven Clintonesque toss-it-overboard tactics.
-- On balance, Mitt is a liability, not a positive, for Healey. She has to keep him close enough to solidify the GOP base. But his presidential antics have really turned off a number of Independents who I've chatted with over the past few months.11:25 a.m.
-- So obvious I forgot them and wonder if they're worth pointing out but what the hell because they're still key:
-- Christy Mihos. He'll probably hurt Healey more, though I've already heard a few disgruntled Reilly types saying they might go for him. Christy is just another reason why '06 is not the same as '02, '98, '94 and '90.
-- The Republican Congress. Think events in Washington don't matter much in this this bluest of blue states? Wrong. All it takes is enough local conservative Republicans, discouraged and/or disgusted by what's happening nationally, to sit out here and clip a percentage point or two off of Healey's base numbers. The reverse works for Dems.
The Deval juggernaut
I wasn't even close to getting it sort of right. They're calling it big for Deval Patrick. Reilly, as I write, is conceding. He's right: Deval ran a truly 'outstanding' campaign. ... Reilly's speech is classy, gracious and poised. ... Early returns and anecdotal evidence indicates Deval is appealing to an electorate far beyond the Newton/Cambridge crowd. He's doing well just about everywhere. This isn't about 'liberal' or 'moderate' etc. There's a strong sense of 'change' out there that I didn't fully detect. That ain't good news for Kerry Healey. ... Other tidbits: Forget the Menino GOTV factor in Boston. Minorities, with Deval and key legislative races on the ballot, came out big time. It's another thing I didn't see coming. ...10:15 p.m.
-- Kerry Healey just spoke. Awful. She's giving a convention like speech, not a gracious acceptance speech. Right out of the gate in attack mode and then talking about her youth, background etc. ... But Jon Keller is saying on 38 it was a great speech. I don't know. ... 'While I was in high school, while I was in high school ...' Yikes. ... Tim Murray's victory -- and early acceptance speech -- is the biggest non-gubernatorial surprise of the night. ... I wasn't impressed with Gabrieli's concession speech. Healey's ads didn't sink your campaign, Chris. ...
'No one's going to give it to us,' Part II
A regular Hub Blog reader urged me to link to BMG's open thread
from polling places. Consider it done! ... Seems like Patrick leads in the number of enthusiastic sign carriers. That's always a good sign for a candidate, no pun intended. ... Light to moderate turnout. A bit of somewhat predictable talk/worries among Devalites about complacency and a closer-than-expected race. Who knows? Still the grassroots coverage at BMG is great stuff, as it was during the Dem caucuses
BTW: The same reader, a Republican operative, loves BMG and what it's done for local politics. But he finished his message to me: 'How they'll handle the general election, I don't know.' I've been thinking the same thing. BMG has become a big hit precisely because it's been so refreshingly fair and open to all views within its openly acknowledged blue confines -- but that dynamic inevitably changes in a general election. I hope its planned 'unity party'
doesn't mean Kos-like stridency arrives tomorrow morning. I don't think it will. ...
'No one’s going to give this to us'
And now for the bold prediction. Are you ready? It's going to be ... Deval Patrick! Based on the latest polls, a Tom Reilly or Chris Gabrieli victory today would be the greatest Dem primary upset since, well, Ed King defeated Michael Dukakis in '78. The death of King yesterday (excellent obits here
, though both tend to respectfully downplay the patronage and nepotism of his four-year reign) is an eerie reminder of what the Democratic Party used to be. King's upset of Dukakis was a revolt of the moderates, conservatives and hacks within the Democratic Party. But politics ain't what they used to be. Nor newspaper endorsements. Nor machine-backed candidates? The most interesting thing to watch today is how Menino
and other mayors do in getting out the vote for Reilly. They're his only (slim) hope at this point. Sifting through post-primary precincts rubble should be interesting. ... Already looking ahead, Margery
thinks Healey will have her hands full against Patrick. Ginny
thinks Patrick is a gift to Republicans. I tilt toward the Margery view. ... The fun part moving forward will be hearing lefties angrily denounce any attempt to tie Deval to Legislative Dems -- as if concern about Massachusetts becoming a one-party state is pure nonsense. Of course it's not nonsense. It's the reason why Republicans have controlled the corner office for 16 years. ...Update
-- Alan Lupo on King: 'That stubbornly dedicated guy.'
He gets closer to the real Ed King, but in turn downplays his pro-business accomplishments.
'Sometimes loyalty can get in the way,' Part II
Relying on the 'best and brightest' didn't work in Vietnam. But relying on the 'loyal and willing'
didn't work in Iraq either. ... I had President Bush in mind when taking a swipe at pols
who put too high a premium on loyalty. Mayor Menino and Billy Bulger fall into the same category, for their own separate reasons. ... The WaPo piece sadly confirms and delves deeper into an aspect of the botched Iraq occupation previously covered in books I've read: Group think prevailed. ... Yes, yes, yes, yes. I'm going to break an earlier vow not to read another book on Iraq. 'Fiasco'
sounds too good to pass up. Based on gut instinct and recommendations of friends, it could be the best of the lot. I was disappointed a bit with 'Cobra II.'
Though detailed, it was a slow read. 'Assassin's Gate'
was excellent but perhaps written too soon after the war. Ditto 'In the Company of Soldiers.' 'Generation Kill'
is interesting if you're in a pop Rolling Stone magazine mood. Seymour Hersh's 'Chain of Command'
is fascinating here and there, but its relentless focus on anti-Bush negatives is a major turnoff if you're looking for even an ounce of objectivity. ... FYI
-- I talked to a good friend the other night about the war and President Bush. While critical of the handling of the war, both of us agreed the hatred spewed at the president from the left is deplorable. It's so obvious to me the president is good intentioned and motivated by a desire to defeat enemies who must be defeated. But he's a very flawed leader -- and the predicament we're in now in Iraq is a direct consequence of his leadership.FYI II
-- I'm told Thomas Ricks warns at the end of 'Fiasco' that a premature withdrawal from Iraq would be a fiasco on top of a fiasco. It may be hard for ideologues on the left and right to comprehend this but ...Update
-- Absolutely hilareous piece by Joe Scarborough: 'Save Yourself, Blame Bush.'
... He also touches upon the peculiar subject of fickle loyalty ...
'But who will beat him?'
Hub Blog moves ever so closer to making a bold prediction that Deval Patrick will win on Tuesday.
are already trying to frame the post-primary issues. But, wait, what's that? It's the ghosts of Progressive-Hack Alliance present and past: 'Boss DiMasi'
and Michael Dukakis.
We'll assume it's still the 'new' Michael Dukakis, the one who 'changed' after losing to Ed King and became more 'pragmatic' his second time around when dealing with the boys. Somehow I don't think Democrats want Michael around to remind voters why they opted for GOP control of the corner office for 16 years. Is there not a Democrat who can stand up to the same Michael who couldn't stand up to Billy? Deval? Hello? ... Howie
predicts a Deval win Tuesday. Brave man. I'm still stubbornly sticking to my 'surprise' scenario so I can proudly proclaim if it happens, 'I sort of got it right!' ...
Reader No. 1 is back with some quick tidbits:
Meet Rear Admiral Harry Harris: Containment ain't what it used to be.
Yes, the Democratic Gubernatorial race is over, despite efforts to rally the hometown troops of Springfield. If Gabrielli or Reilly could inspire an ounce of the passion behind far-fetched Question 1 2002, the race wouldn't already be over.
So much for nuance!
How he got from Iranian containment to Guantanamo, I don't know. But it's good to have Reader No. 1 back.
'Look, I take out the trash sometimes'
Chris Gabrieli is literally talking trash.
... I'm getting closer to making a bold Wayne-like
prediction: It's Patrick v. Healey. But I'll hold off. It's just getting fun
. Trashgate has yet to play out! ... Think of all the Gabrieli campaign metaphors still to be used: 'down in the dumps,' 'gutter politics,' 'garbage time.'... I gotta say that's the best looking Swedish au pair kitchen help I've ever seen.
As a public service, I thought I'd sort out and piece together a lot of war-related reports, considering so much is happening in Afghanistan, Iraq etc. Here goes:
Seems strange to start a war roundup with a controversy over a pope's remarks
about 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus' observations on the Prophet Mohammad. But we live in very strange times. Observation on Pope Benedict's comments: The word 'clumsy' comes to mind, considerering he says he was talking about 'jihad' but stands by his quoting from a long-dead emperor who was basically condemning Islam in general. ... Of course if a Muslim fanatic issues a fatwa against Benedict, I guess the Pope's point will have been made. ... The papal flap is angering leaders in Turkey -- and that's one country we really don't want to upset right now. Emmanuel College's Lenore G. Martin notes that Turkey is thinking of invading northern Iraq.
... Speaking of Iraq, they're building trenches around Baghdad.
... On to Afghanistan: Not good.
And yet not hopeless.
The Poles. What can you say? They're stepping up to the plate. A Hub Blog relative recently read 'Fiasco'
and says there's a great passage about how hard Poles have fought in Iraq. We shoud be also thanking the Brits and Canadians
who are fighting hard in Afghanistan. ... Domestically, the President of the United States of America continues to stump for torture.
... Locally, lefty Blue Mass Group
has fired a threatening salvo at righty Hub Politics
, escalating local blogger tensions. ...(You're shamelessly and deliberately trying to provoke a local blogger war by including that last item!
--ed. I never said what 'war' I was rounding up.) ...
'Sometimes loyalty can get in the way'
Has Jeremy Jacobs
experienced a genuine late-in-life epiphany or merely undergone a temporary Oprah moment? Anyway, he indirectly criticizes his decision to keep Harry Sinden around for so long and seems to realize that loyalty really is an overestimated virtue:
I have to be more aware. Loyalty is something all of us should have, but sometimes loyalty can get in the way of the right direction to take. ... We have to balance where our loyalty is, what’s the best long-term interests or short-term interests of the club. I think that’s an important thing going forward. I think if we had moved more aggressively earlier, we wouldn’t have found ourselves in the funk we did. ...
Just the whole organization. ... You have to stay young, you have to stay aggressive, you have to be aware. In all sports, at the end of the day, you have to have an answer, win or lose. When you start speaking in a vague sense, you’ve lost the objective.
I can think of more than a few pols whose loyalty litmus tests also do more harm than good. ... Sincere or not, Jacobs is all but saying his leadership wasn't good enough. There is no Curse on Causeway Street. Just bad ownership. There was no Curse of the Bambino. Just bad ownership.
'I’d bet the ranch ...'
Wayne says it's over.
Probably is. Deval has run an outstanding campaign. Disciplined. On point. But just enough Clintonesque wiggle room to tack to center post-primary. ... BUT I still have this irrational 'surprise' hunch. Maybe the 'surprise' is that the race will be merely closer than it appears now -- with Gabrieli or Reilly making one last unexpected surge election night. Think of far-fetched Question 1, 2002. ... Hey, if I'm not comfortable calling it, I'm not comfortable calling it. ...
'How did I let this happen to myself?'
Do you think a 64-ounce prime rib
might have something to do with it?
They had me excited until the district's 'BWCo'
nickname was unveiled. ... SoHo. SoWa. Get it? These guys think they're so hip. But they don't have an original thought in their bodies. FYI: The word 'brand' is mentioned. Can't just call it 'Fort Point' or 'Boston Wharf.' Too much local flavor, I suppose. ...
'The costs will be terrible'
At least Charles Krauthammer
isn't promising flowers on the streets if we attack Iran. ... Charles is perversely becoming one of my least-favorite favorite writers. The other is James Carroll. ... My view on Iran? I don't know. I do know that the last time a debate was held over war, the rationale was cast in black-and-white arguments by people like Charles. This time I want more input from Scowcroft et gang
before making up my mind. I've learned my lesson. I'm a Containment Man until further notice.
'It was heroic, but it crossed a line'?
Decide for yourself.
Maybe there is a line. But don't we accept and even praise fathers and mothers who leave their families behind to fight and struggle in faraway lands? Isn't that what the Sharps did during World War II? ... I know the issue is tricky. I recently talked a friend out of joining the Army precisely because he had children. I'm glad I did. But I'm also not proud of it. I understood his urge to serve -- and deeply admired his instinct to take action. Had he gone, I would have deeply respected his decision. The Sharps also deserve deep respect. ...
The Old Conservative Guard Strikes Back
It's like seeing a battleship lowering its guns and blasting away point-blank: old-guard conservatives ripping into
Bush, Bushies, neocons and Christian nut cases. ... I liked Jeffrey Hart's piece
the most, followed by Christopher Buckley
. I was never a fan of Richard A. Viguerie
-- and I'm still not. ... Notice what magazine they're not
writing for. ... Via Andrew
'Odd man in,' Part II
So much for Reilly pulling a surprise upset -- judging by this poll
and this poll
. They're breaking for a perceived winner at this point. Every pol for himself! ... Jon's right about the race still being fluid and up for grabs, etc, etc., etc. But momentum is momentum -- and Patrick has it. Very impressive. ...
'Odd man in'
You know, there's logic to John's view
. The Herald's Reilly endorsement
, which I didn't have a clue was coming, will help Reilly a bit. It confirms my hunch that Reilly, pronounced a victim of political suicide last week, is more alive than dead this week. But endorsements don't mean as much as they did in the past. The modern 24/7 flood of news and opinion means voters are less reliant on others to help make up their minds. If anything, there's now a large portion of the electorate that likes to stick it to the former gatekeepers -- and that means Gabrieli could benefit too. ... Disclosure: Though I didn't know the endorsement was coming, I do work for that
paper. ... P.S. -- What keeps me thinking Reilly's candidacy isn't over is the fact so many mayors are backing him. Fair or not, he is the candidate of the old guard -- and the institutional types could come out for him. The question is whether they're excited about Reilly and think he can win. Reilly has failed miserably to instill confidence among his natural supporters. ...
'Lincoln, Churchill, FDR, or Truman'
It's a four-fer!
... Technically, he didn't make a comparison. Technically, he did. ... (Not on this day of all days.
--ed. But he started it!)
'A lot of people from our state ...'
Earlier this morning I was pondering what could be said or posted here to commemorate 9/11 -- but I think David's post over at BMG
covers it all as far as local loss and sadness
are concerned. Kind of brings it home, right? May they rest in peace. ...
-- Hub Politics
also notes local victims. ... Adam
has a local blogger roundup. ... And the Dirt Dogs
also remember local victims.
'His feel-good tour'
Mohammad Khatami has come
and gone -- and it wasn't that bad
. Though I wasn't wild about the invitation, I'm impressed with President Bush's explanation
for allowing Khatami into the country:
My hope is that diplomacy will work in convincing the Iranians to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions. And in order for diplomacy to work, it's important to hear voices other than [current President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad's.
Blog coverage of protests here
'I know full well ...'
Boston College professor and contributing TNR blogger
Alan Wolfe reviews a book
by Michael Bérubé that fails to debunk David Horowitz's argument that universities are dominated by lefties:
I've taught in at least two universities known for their leftism, and I know full well that those who teach at them strenuously oppose hiring conservatives and treat students who venerate the military, for example, as misguided.
BUT he notes a more-than-big irony:
In a wonderful rhetorical flourish, Bérubé points out that some of America's leading conservatives (he names names) would never think of sending their own kids to right-leaning schools like Pepperdine or Hillsdale if they can get into Wesleyan or Harvard instead.
Sounds about right. ... There's also a separate and terrific review
of a book that debunks the myth of Huey P. Newton. ...
The Progressive-Hack Alliance in a nutshell: Deb Goldberg.
... Deb and Deval. At least someone's giving thought
to its likelihood. ... I still think it's not over for Reilly. Something tells me he can still surprise. But then you read about his latest explanation for not going with Gabrieli (see first link) and, well, you realize the guy's probably hopeless. ... The Globe endorses
Deval. It's one of the reasons why Reilly is still alive. ...
Were Cheney and Rumsfeld scarred by Vietnam?
Just throwing out the thought following a conversation I had with friends last night. The theory: We all know how the '60s lefty types view the world through the prism of Vietnam. But could the reverse be true as applied to the '60s/'70s righty types who were in government during Vietnam and refused to plan for the possibility of a long stay in Iraq precisely because they didn't want another Vietnam? ... I didn't intend to blog about the subject until I read this article
about Cheney and noticed how his view on the executive branch's role was shaped by Vietnam and Watergate. Keep in mind that 'insurgency' was once a verboten subject at the Pentagon for decades because of Vietnam -- and a forbidden word as well under the current secretary of defense as it applied to Iraq. ... Just throwing out the theory. I think there's something there. How much, I don't know. But you read it here first. ...
'BC's breathtaking 34-33 double-over victory'
I've rediscovered fall. The Boston College game yesterday
was simply awesome
. Next up: Pats
, today, 1 p.m. ... Nothing against the Sox. Thanks for the 2003, 2004 and 2005 memories. They were beyond intense. But I needed a rest this year from baseball. It feels nice to be paying closer attention to football in early September, rather than tuning in around late October. My hunch is that maybe the Sox front-office could use the break too. They seem to be scrambling of late, trying to keep the momentum going while knowing deep-down the team is nothing more than glorified patchwork. First piece of advice: Theo, Tito, Larry and John, take a vacation. They look and sound tired. After one or two weeks, they can come back, while the playoffs are still going, and get a head start on rebuilding. ...
Spent an enjoyable morning at 'Podcamp Boston'
at Bunker Hill Community College. The Podcasting 101 seminar, led my John Wall of The M Show fame
, filled in a lot of blanks for me. In some ways, podcasting seems both easier and more technical than I thought. Go figure. ... There are events tomorrow
if you're interested. ... Thanks to Bryon Person
for tipping me off about the non-conference conference. Definitey check out New England Podcasting
for a great variety of casts.
Time to add 'hot-blooded'
to the 'tar baby'
list of words and phrases I shouldn't use. I suppose I really do live a sheltered life. ... Arnold is profusely apologizing for his 'hot-blooded' remark, so I'll assume he used it in a racial-sexual context that indeed offends and stereotypes. But when I've used the phrase (and I assume its usuage is somewhere in the archives to the right), I've meant it as a compliment to those who come from warmer climates and cultures that have a more carefree attitude toward life and living. I want more
of them to move to Boston. ... But I better shut up. For I truly do lead a sheltered life, part II
-- Did a search for 'hot-blooded' in the archives and came up empty. But I know I've used it in conversation. I did find my groundbreaking reference to Italian immigrants
mercifully offering alternatives to the god-awful boiled-food cuisine culture of Boston. ... If anyone's offended by my boiled-food remarks used in an ethnic context, please see Denis Leary's remarks
about 'bad food.' It happens to be true! ...
'With our mayors ...'
Fun piece on Pittsburgh's new 26-year-old mayor
. Sean Cannon, a writer for Pittsburgh's Carbolic Smoke Ball
blog, on the city's past and present leaders:
With our mayors, Tom Murphy was the guy who wouldn’t know what a tailgate party was if he got invited to one, O’Connor was the guy throwing the tailgate party, wearing the chef’s hat, and Ravenstahl is the guy nursing a beer in the corner and trying to decide whether it’s safe to double dip that chip.
'Most universities fall into the uncomfortable middle'
makes good points: It would be censorship to disinvite Mohammad Khatami; but the initial invite is another matter. ... OK, the Big Question: Is Mohammad Khatami a moderate or not? This article
clears up matters a bit. Khatami was a moderate reformer among ruling Muslim clerics. That's not 'moderate' by Western standards. It's not even 'moderate' by Mikhail Gorbachev
standards. But I think it's safe to say an Iran ruled by Mohammad Khatami would be far more preferrable than an Iran ruled by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As for Romney's characterization, it's blatant overwrought pandering to non-moderates by American standards. ...
'Half-success in Afghanistan, total failure in Iraq,' Part II
I'm one who agrees it would be a disaster
to pull out of Iraq now. But I wouldn't have the guts to say it to Eddie Contilli's face.
A very powerful column -- and yet another sign time is running out. ... Though I agree with Charles Krauthammer about the need not to abandon Iraq, I find him intensely infuriating these days. Notice how the debate fault lines are simplified. Notice how he sets up Iraqis for blame. Does he realize there are people who reluctantly supported the war and reluctantly agree we should stick it out? The certainty of his tone -- and the blame he doesn't aim at the administration -- shows a once thoughtful thinker has turned into a partisan hack. ...
'This anti-anti-Semitic humor'
I don't know. Sounds pretty funny to me.
... Maybe it is comparable to Charlie Chaplin's 'The Great Dictator.'
But Mel Brooks' 'The Producers'
also jumps to mind. ...
'Mad Dog Reilly'
Hub Blog is with John
: Why would Tom Reilly bring up Marie St. Fleur
in a debate? It's so absurd that it could be construed as audacious. Howie
liked Reilly's performance. Scot
didn't. ... It's times like this when I think back to Ollie North testifying before Congress. At the time I didn't have a clue the rest of the nation was lapping it up. I'm just as mystified now about Reilly. ... OK, you've probably already seen it. But check out the Gabrieli YouTube video
. By the end of it, I actually liked the guy more for being so polite in a friendly dumb-dog type of way. Where's the negative in that? Everyone likes polite friendly dumb dogs. ...Update
-- More conflicting Reilly analysis: He f*&cked up
; not necessarily
. ... I'm in the He Hurt Himself camp. But everyone's talking about him -- and they're spelling his name right. ...Update II
has a good local-commentariat roundup, with most thinking Reilly blew it. But that makes me think that I and most of the local commentariat might have it wrong. I'm not trying to be cute. Sometimes insiders see things differently than outsiders. It happens with movie reviews. It happens with debate reviews. I'm not counting Reilly out yet. ...
‘Half-success in Afghanistan, total failure in Iraq’
As President Bush embarks on his latest political tactic
of dividing the nation (and please don't tell me partisan politics aren't involved), perhaps it's time to listen to what a non-liberal and non-Democratic source says about the war. From the Economist, in a sub. req. editorial entitled 'Five years on'
(An) honest tally of the record since September 11th has to conclude that the number of jihadists and their sympathisers has probably multiplied many times since then. It has multiplied, moreover, partly as a result of the way America responded. ...
This (initial Afghan) achievement, however, was cancelled out by the consequences of Mr Bush’s second war: The invasion of Iraq. ...
(The) pre-war claims of America and Britain that (Saddam) had defied the Security Council by keeping his banned chemical and biological weapons, and continuing to seek nuclear ones, turned out to be false. In the battle for world opinion, this mistake, if such it was, had calamitous consequences. ...
There were those (such as this newspaper) who supported the Iraq war solely because of the danger that a Saddam Hussein with a biological or atomic bomb would indeed have posed. But Mr Bush and Mr Blair refused after the war to be embarrassed by the absence of the weapons that had so alarmed them beforehand. ...
If it was all about dictatorship, what about the dictatorship the West continues to embrace in Saudi Arabia, and the quasi-dictatorship in Pakistan? ...
But worse has been his administration’s wanton disregard for civil liberties. Some curtailing of freedoms was inevitable. Yet Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the torture memos, and extraordinary rendition have not just been un-American and morally wrong but also hugely counter-productive. In a battle that is largely about ideas, America seems to many to have abandoned the moral high ground and so won more recruits for the jihadists. ...
The world must still strive to destroy al-Qaeda and, even more, the idea it represents. But it had better do so with cleverer means than those Mr Bush has used so far.
There is good news reported in the editorial. But ... I can hear Sean Hannity fans snarling. ...
'Ethics of Tolerance in the Age of Violence'
Multiple conflicting reactions to Mitt's refusal
to provide ex-Iranian President Mohammad Khatami with state security
when he arrives at Harvard: A.) There goes Mitt again, scoring a perfect '10' on the pandering front. B.) There's something nonetheless admirable to sticking it to a school that has no sense of class when it comes to the upcoming 9/11 anniversary. C.) I thought Khatami was a moderate in the Mikhail Gorbachev mold. But now I read he's just a fake moderate in the old Yuri Andropov mold. I'm all confused. D.) Stephen Lynch probably has it right: The invitation shouldn't have been issued but let's get the guy in and out of Boston without incident. ...Update
- 9.07.06 -- Sean Hannity last night was praising Mitt's decision. Enough said. ... Notice how most of the Usual Cheerleading Suspects are pounding the war drums on Iran? The same tough-guy tone. The same tough-guy certainty. The same tough-guy arguments. The same bashing of anyone not perceived as being as tough as the mighty Realist Realists. ...
'Ivory Tower Blogger'
Speaking of academia, the New Republic
has launched a new academic blog, Open University
. Former Harvard prez Larry Summers is listed among the contributors, as are Tufts' Daniel Drezner and Boston College's Alan Wolfe. ... The idea of an academic blog seems sound. But I'm not sure if it's near enough focused. We'll see. ... Via the Crimson
-- Here is Dan's excellent personal blog
. Now that he's at Tufts, I'll put him on the local blogger list at right, one of these days.
'Knowing it would cause his murder'
The corruption penetrated every facet of state
government in Boston. Some people still laugh it off. Some people dismiss it. Some people deny it. But it happened in our time. ... And some of the players are still around -- and in power. ... Sixteen years? Please. ...
Pols to fix what's not broken
Bostonians should be very alarmed about this North End piazza proposal
. The North End works. The charm of the North End is that it's real. It has organically grown into what it is by being itself. Now pols and tourism officials want to fix something that's not broken. They want to turn it into a tacky tourist trap, introducing faux Venice silliness while making Patrick B. Moscaritolo's chain hotel-owner bosses mighty happy. Do they have a clue that Quincy Market doesn't work anymore for locals? Do they care? ... Notice how small business owners are expressing concerns. Do you think they'll be listened to?
'This is the way life works'
Good columns by Steve
about Jon Lester's cancer. The news is humbling on so many levels. It really does make you think about life's priorities. ... Quickie comments on Jenny's post
: There is no right call on reporting on someone's health. One day we're applauding a blogger for breaking the news
of Ortiz's heart palpitations, with minimal other information. The next the same reasonable people debate the ethics of reporting on Jon's enlarged lymph nodes, with minimal other information. Where do you draw the line? I know there is one. But I sure don't know where it lies on a day-to-day basis. Let's agree on this: Sports injuries are part of sports coverage. There's a reason why we call it the 'Injury List' and not the 'HIPAA Violation List.' But heart problems and cancer are different. A fine line was definitely approached here. But expecting and demanding total medical privacy for professional athletes is just not realistic. ... I do know this: I'm sure glad I didn't have to make the call about writing or running the original Lester story. I honestly don't know how I would have handled it, personally or professionally. Disclosure: I work for that
'Reilly might even win this thing'
also marvels that Reilly is still in the race. ...
Confession of a Sox fan
I'm not jumping off
the Sox bandwagon. The bandwagon lost a wheel and I got tossed. There's a difference. The 2003, 2004, 2005 seasons were also draining -- and had me contemplating each October morning that I was a mere step away from AA rehab and McLean. Now I'll have my autumn back this year. Fall foliage. Football games. College reunions. Trips up north without superstitious guilt that Manny, Papi and Curt actually need me on my superstitious bar stool. I'm going to get a life this year.
... I'm also going to rake lawns, carve pumpkins, read Yankee magazine on a hammock, pick apples, remember my godson's birthday and warm my hands on a quaint autumn bonfire while the voices of Gil and Gino waft in the background. Most of those idealized autumn activities will never occur of course. But I'm going to rest up and take it slow this autumn anyway. ...