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McCain, Romney Clash in Personal Terms

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John McCain and Mitt Romney disagreed at every turn during Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate, clashing again and again in increasingly contentious and personal terms.

The most heated rhetoric of the debate came in a discussion over the correct course of action in Iraq. McCain insisted that Romney had supported a timetable for withdrawal, while Romney bitterly disagreed and accused McCain of "the sort of dirty tricks Ronald Reagan would have found reprehensible."

That was the hottest flash point of the night, but it was far from the only time the two men butted heads.

Asked whether he or Romney was better equipped to handle the economy as president, McCain touted his own ability to lead by example, tossing in a derisive reference to the "managers" he would hire to execute his vision -- an obvious reference to Romney's experience in the private sector.

Both men also dug into their opposition research books to answer a question from moderator Anderson Cooper about whether Ronald Reagan would have endorsed their respective candidacies. Romney noted that Reagan would have certainly opposed the campaign finance reform that bears McCain's name and would have supported the tax cuts the Arizona senator voted against. McCain said that Reagan's enduring legacy was his willingness to stand on principle -- drawing a clear contrast with the alleged flip-flopping by Romney.

McCain and Romney
John McCain and Mitt Romney exchanged rhetorical punches during Wednesday night's debate at the Reagan library in California. (Reuters)

Even on the issue of which candidate was more responsible the negative tone of the campaign, Romney and McCain clashed. Romney argued that McCain's attempt to sully him as a supporter of timetables for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq in the waning days of the Florida primary amounted to dirty pool. McCain shot back that Romney's heavy spending on "attack ads" were the cause; "You can spend it all," McCain said. "Your negative ads have set the tone in this campaign."

The debate's confrontational tenor highlighted two indisputable facts: The race is basically a contest between McCain and Romney heading into Super Tuesday, and these two candidates dislike each other palpably.

McCain entered the debate riding high off of Rudy Giuliani's endorsement. Even as the debate began, news broke that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- California's popular chief executive and a national celebrity -- would also throw in his lot with McCain.

And yet, even as McCain's frontrunner status was well established, he struggled to overcome his obvious animosity toward Romnney -- repeatedly jabbing at the former Massachusetts governor on matters large and small. Romney, who now must consider himself the underdog, was up to the fight -- challenging McCain's veracity and experience while attempting to rebut charges being lobbed at him.

As Romney and McCain battled, Mike Huckabee carped. Huckabee, who has not won a contest since the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, used a significant portion of each of his answers to complain that he was not getting enough time -- a tactic that rarely wears well with average viewers.

GOP Debate
The four remaining GOP presidential candidates on the debate stage Wednesday night in California. (Getty Images)

"I didn't come here to umpire a ballgame between these two," Huckabee said at one point of McCain and Romney. "I came to take a swing at a few myself."

Ron Paul, more accustomed to second-tier status, used his answers to reiterate his opposition to the war in Iraq, his support for a return to the gold standard and his belief that the Republican Party had strayed from its original ideals.

The debate, which was sponsored by CNN, Politico and the Los Angeles Times, was the first of two back-to-back events in California. Tomorrow night Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) face off on the Democratic side. The festivities begin at 8 p.m. ET, and The Fix will be watching and writing.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 30, 2008; 10:09 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Domestic Issues Dominate 1st Hour of GOP Debate
Next: Memo: McCain 'De Facto' Nominee After Feb. 5

Comments

The Senator has stated his POW time over and over. What has the Senator done for the many veterans still held prisoner by the injuries to mind and body from Vietnam and Iraq? Walter Reed set a good example for me. He has something 58,000 others don't.

Posted by: 35draygb21 | January 31, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Energy is something I've been looking into for a time. I think wind is something we should look at especially in states like Idaho and Montana. I would like to find how much Electric power could be generated by windmills when winds are almost constantly above 20 MPH. I hope someone has knowledge on this subject, or where I can get information. From what little I have learned, these two states could furnish about half our needs in the Midwest with the windmills placed in remote areas.

Posted by: lylepink | January 31, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"'Shell smashed all-time British company profit records today, posting 2007 earnings of $27.5billion (£13.9billion).

Shell's profit SURGE - it is now making a staggering $75million (£38million) a day - is on the back of a booming oil price that touched $100 a barrel this winter.'"

You see, Claudia... the SURGE is WORKING ! ! !

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 31, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"A Dozen Reasons Why This Edwards Supporter is Backing Obama
by PaulLoeb
Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 09:47:02 AM PST
I gave John Edwards more money than I've given to any candidate in my life, and I'm glad I did. He raised critical issues about America's economic divides, and got them on the Democratic agenda. He was the first major candidate to stake out strong comprehensive platforms on global warming and health care. He hammered away on the Iraq war, even using scarce campaign resources to run ads during recent key Senate votes. He'd have made a powerful nominee--and president.

PaulLoeb's diary :: ::
I've been going through my mourning for a while for his campaign not getting more traction, so his withdrawal announcement didn't shock me. But sad as I am about his departure, I feel good about being able to switch my support to Barack Obama, and will do all I can to help him win.

I've actually been giving small donations to both since Iowa, while hoping that the Edwards campaign would belatedly catch fire, and exploring ways the two campaigns could work together. With Edwards gone, I think Obama is the natural choice for his supporters, and that Edwards should step up and endorse him as his preferred nominee. All three major Democratic candidates have their flaws and strengths--they all have excellent global warming plans, for instance. But Edwards wasn't just being rhetorical when he said that both he and Obama represent voices for change, versus Clinton's embodiment of a Washington status quo joining money and power.

Here are a dozen reasons why I feel proud to have my energy, dollars and vote now go to Obama:

The Iraq war: Obviously, invading Iraq remains the most damaging single action of the Bush era. Obama spoke out against it at a public rally while Clinton was echoing Bush's talking points and voting for it. Obama's current advisors also consistently opposed the war, while Clinton's consistently supported it. It's appropriate that Clinton jumped to her feet to clap when Bush said in his recent State of the Union address that there was "no doubt" that "the surge is working."
Clinton's Iran vote: The Kyl-Lieberman bill gave the Bush administration so wide an opening for war that Jim Webb called it "Dick Cheney's fondest pipe dream." Hillary voted for it. Obama and Edwards opposed it.
The youth vote: If a Party attracts new voters for their first few elections, they tend to stick for the rest of their lives. Obama is doing this on a level unseen in decades. By tearing down the candidate who inspires them, Clinton will so embitter many young voters they'll stay home.
Hope matters: When people join movements to realize raised hopes, our nation has a chance of changing. When they damp their hopes, as Clinton suggests, it doesn't. Like Edwards, Obama has helped people feel they can participate in a powerful transformative narrative. That's something to embrace, not mock.
Follow the money: All the candidates have some problematic donors--it's the system--but Hillary's the only one with money from Rupert Murdoch. Edwards and Obama refused money from lobbyists. Clinton claimed they were just citizens speaking out, and held a massive fundraising dinner with homeland security lobbyists. Obama spearheaded a public financing bill in the Illinois legislature, while Clinton had to be shamed by a full-page Common Cause ad in the Des Moines Register to join Obama and Edwards in taking that stand.
John McCain: If McCain is indeed the Republican nominee, than as Frank Rich brilliantly points out, he's perfectly primed to run as the war hero with independence, maturity and integrity, against the reckless, corrupt and utterly polarizing Clintons. Never mind that McCain's integrity and independence is largely a media myth (think the Charles Keating scandal and his craven embrace of Bush in 2004), but Bill and Hillary heralding their two-for-one White House return will energize and unite an otherwise ambivalent and fractured Republican base.
Mark Penn: Clinton's chief strategist, Mark Penn, runs a PR firm that prepped the Blackwater CEO for his recent congressional testimony, is aggressively involved in anti-union efforts, and has represented villains from the Argentine military junta and Philip Morris to Union Carbide after the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
Sleazy campaigning: Hillary stayed on the ballot in Michigan after Edwards and Obama pulled their names, then audaciously said the delegates she won unopposed should count retroactively. She, Bill and their surrogates have conducted a politics of personal attack that begins to echo Karl Rove, from distorting Obama's position on Iraq and abortion choice, to dancing out surrogates to imply that the Republicans will tar him as a drug user.
NAFTA: Hillary can't have it both ways in stoking nostalgia for Bill. NAFTA damaged lives and communities and widened America's economic divides. Edwards spoke out powerfully against it. Clinton now claims the agreement needs to be modified, but her husband staked all his political capital in ramming it through, helping to hollow out America's economy and split the Democratic Party for the 1994 Gingrich sweep.
Widening the circle: Obviously Obama spurs massive enthusiasm in the young and in the African-American community. I'm also impressed at the range of people turning out to support his campaign. At a Seattle rally I attended, the volunteer state campaign chair had started as Perot activist. The founding coordinator in the state's second-largest county, a white female Iraq war vet, voted for Bush in 2000 and written in Colin Powell in 2004 before becoming outraged about Iraq "I've always leaned conservative," she said, "but Obama's announcement speech moved me to tears. The Audacity of Hope made me rethink my beliefs. He inspires me with his honesty and integrity." As well as inspiring plenty of progressive activists, Obama is engaging people who haven't come near progressive electoral politics in years.
The story we tell: Obama captures people with a narrative about where he wants to take America. His personal story is powerful, but he keeps the emphasis on the ordinary citizens who need to take action to make change. Clinton, in contrast, focuses largely on her personal story, her presumed strengths and travails. Except for the symbolism of having a woman president, it's a recipe that downplays the possibility of common action for change.
Citizen movements matter: Edwards not only ran for president, but worked to build a citizen movement capable of working for change whatever his candidacy's outcome. Obama has taken a similar approach, beginning when he first organized low-income Chicago communities and coordinated a still-legendary voter registration drive. His speeches consciously encourage his supporters to join together and constitute a force equivalent to the abolitionist, union, suffrage, and civil rights movements. Like Edwards, he's working to build a movement capable of pushing his policies through the political resistance he will face (and probably of pushing him too if he fails to lead with enough courage). In this context, Clinton's LBJ/Martin Luther King comparison, and her dismissal of the power of words to inspire people, is all too revealing. She really does believe change comes from knowing how to work the insider levers of power. Edwards and Obama know it takes more.
That's why this Edwards supporter is proud to do all I can to make Barack Obama the Democratic nominee and president.

Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen's Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association. His previous books include Soul of a Citizen: Living With Conviction in a Cynical Time. See www.paulloeb.org To receive his articles directly email sympa@lists.onenw.org with the subject line: subscribe paulloeb-articles
"

For jd, and the rest of the thought police patriot act internet "cops".

the only power they have is the power you give them. The gop is done. Do not pity them. They made their bed. Now sleep. sleep. sleeeeeeep. :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Don't you know, lyle, tax cuts are the answer to every problem?
Surplus?
Cut taxes.
Deficit?
Cut taxes.
Downturn?
Cut taxes.
Upturn?
Cut taxes.
When the only tool you wish to use is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Posted by: claudialong | January 31, 2008 09:19 AM
==
Excellent commentary, Claudia.
Thanks.
I'll use this quote over and over again.
Judy in Texas

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | January 31, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why everyone is down on research in the private sector. It seems like we'd get faster results by giving money to existing companies who already have research and production staffs, instead of funding academic research and education. I'm all for education funding; America definitely needs more scientists and engineers. But the private sector should get money too.

And I'm not just saying that because I work for an engineering company that sometimes gets government grants.

Posted by: Blarg | January 31, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I think my last comment made it sound like I just want to fund applied research in the private sector. Nope. I'm all for heavily supporting basic research via NSF, NIH, etc. In fact, I'm working on an NSF grant today...

Posted by: illinois2 | January 31, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

On funding research: count me in favor of that too. What about something along the Finnish model whereby business can get major research grants, and if something profitable comes out of that research, they pay a little bit back into the government R and D fund that made their profits possible. There was a story about this a couple of years ago in the WP. Apparently, this is how Nokia got started.

bsimon: I think you're right that the autoworkers' unions have taken on some of the pension obligations. I'd forgotten about that. I heard Obama talking about the carrot toward fuel efficiency a couple of years ago (I think first at a town hall meeting here in Illinois... in '05 maybe?). I guess it makes sense that he's not talking about that anymore if the situation has been resolved. But I did hear a lot of immediate complaints about the idea and found it irritating that we couldn't at least think about how the details of such a plan would work. It seems like people mock politicians instantly if they propose something even slightly innovative, then we rip into them for lacking "vision." Not a good way to solve problems.

Posted by: illinois2 | January 31, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I am with bsimon, drindl, and JD. Not only NIH, but NSF, through the grants to the sci-tech campuses, assure the pool of cheap skilled grad student researchers [most of them are funded at modest levels that make graduate sci-tech education affordable, unlike undergrad ed, ironically] working under the tutelage of incredibly skilled sci-tech profs. UT also makes money on the patents. All the big schools do.

This is huge bang for the buck, and is the major reason we have kept our lead in Nobel sci Prize winners.

Go to the automotive engineering, EE, civil and archE, mechE, physics, chem and ChemE depts with grants for energy alternative stuff and we will have solutions sooner rather than later.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

'The breeze from all those spinning moral compasses could power the US for a hundred years.'

wingnuts give us energy independence!

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Notes from the turd blossom:

" The debate can get personal at times-but at core the debate it is about ideas rather than personalities, which can no longer be said about the Democratic race.

Every campaign teaches new lessons, only some of which will apply to the next campaign. Those who run campaigns are constantly trying to discern what new things to try and what old lessons to abide by.

But one thing endures: The nomination process is a grueling endeavor, one that tests the hearts and minds of the candidates. There is nothing quite like being on the stage day after day after day, having to withstand intense scrutiny, withering attacks, unfair criticisms. It isn't easy, and those who enter the arena deserve credit.

We can be sure of one thing: The candidates who emerge victorious, while they may be imperfect, have admirable grit and gumption. And that should matter for something."

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120173791597330347.html?mod=fpa_editors_picks

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

'nd Claudia, one more thing: do you actually have evidence that the big oil producing companies are holding back production, cartel-style? Or is that just a guess that happens to coincide with your political template? (companies are bad, all they want to do is screw Americans, etc)'

no, JD, come on. all they want to do is make as much profit as possible. that's what corporations were created to do, after all. i do have recent quotes from various oil company spokespeople to the effect that they thought production was optimum now and there was no reason to raise it, [much as the Saudis opined when bush was over there recently, but it will take a while to find them.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

JD writes
"The gov funds, through grants to business, academia, and non-profits, the basic (or even applied) research."

Me three. Though I prefer academia, as that serves multiple purposes in both generating the tech & spreading the knowledge to future scientists/engineers. Here in MN the U actually generates some revenue by licensing technology developed there.

Posted by: bsimon | January 31, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

PS I just noticed is 12:25 post that he's 'done for the day'.

Do we have an over/under of how many more posts we can expect?

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Willard Mittens Romney = Greg Brady as Johnny Bravo: He fits the suit.

Mitty looks like a president and sounds like a president, but there's no there there. He's like someone sent from Central Casting.

As for McCain, there's not only the hothead issue, there's the old man issue. He's clearly not a young 71; he might even be an old 71. This will become a big issue if he gets the nomination, and will cast more-than-usual light on whoever he picks as his running mate.

Let's not forget how our presidents age while in office. It's not a pretty sight.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 31, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

illinois2 writes
" Some time ago, Obama was actually proposing taking over some of the US automakers healthcare obligations to retirees in exchange for that money being invested in R and D for high efficiency vehicles."

I hadn't heard that one. Didn't the UAW just agree to take over retirees' health care costs for a billion-something from automakers? Which seems to make sense to me; the unions ought to cover all their members - they'd have an even larger pool over which to spread costs than any one mfr, which would also get the mfr's out of the healthcare business. Except for the executives, of course. Though I suspect management is on a different plan than labor.

Posted by: bsimon | January 31, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Claudia, based on your 12:33 post, I think we've actually found some common ground. What's next, I start telling Rufus that he's, in reality, sane?

Your model of Government funded (and brokered) R&D supporting alternative fuels is a good one, and probably could be modeled on the NIH. The gov funds, through grants to business, academia, and non-profits, the basic (or even applied) research. Then the energy startups (like the Pharmas do with NIH) get to take that research and run with it, creating products that the market will either endorse or reject.

I could live with that.

JD

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"The GEICO character is actually a green guy, probably a chameleon posing as a gecko, and doing it well enough to fool a major insurance company and its advertiser."

And at least one consumer, apparently!

Posted by: bsimon | January 31, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Blarg and JD: great comments on the stimulus ideas. Some time ago, Obama was actually proposing taking over some of the US automakers healthcare obligations to retirees in exchange for that money being invested in R and D for high efficiency vehicles. As JD predicted, many on the left (much to my annoyance) called it corporate welfare. I don't know if he's still trying to sell that idea or not...

I would definitely support a stimulus package that bolstered existing energy efficiency subsidies (home or business) as it would have a longer term effect than checks for whatever, but I'm not holding my breath on this.

I hadn't gone out of my way to watch a Repub. debate before last night, but I kind of wish I had. It was much more interesting than articles about it suggest. The idea of McCain-as-president never bothered me too much, but I really disliked his smug, lying, smirking attitude in this debate. I don't much like Romney, but I did think that McCain was going out of his way to mischaracterize Romney's positions. Both Romney and McCain also seemed to have really condescending attitudes toward Paul and Huckabee.

I loved Ron Paul's comment that they should be debating whether we should have an interventionist foreign policy at all instead of quibbling about the semantics of "timetables."

I know it's not a particularly original thought, but I also liked Huckabee's comments about states being laboratories for good government practices.

Finally, I thought it was good that Huckabee questioned the wisdom of a stimulus that is just about rebates. At least he is trying to think about ways to derive a sustained boost from what will be, after all, another big addition to our national debt. I'm really tired of the mockery by party regulars of pols. who try to think a little bit outside of their party's standard box (on both sides). And believe me, I never thought I would write anything in defense of Huckabee.

Posted by: illinois2 | January 31, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The following (from Kurtz) is sweet music to MY ears, at least. From washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/31/AR2008013100900_3.html?hpid=topnews

"Michelle Malkin delineates McCain's various apostasies:

"Well. We hear what he says now. But we know what he has done for years: Insult the base, trash the base, and pay lip service to the base only when it suits his needs.

"The declaration that he is the 'conservative leader who can unite the party' is yet another smack in the face to those who have watched him reach out and slap conservatives time and again--and then run to the warm, gooey embrace of the liberal media. Is it too much to ask to nominate a Republican candidate who is not as openly and historically hostile to the Republican base as CNN and (McCain's endorsers at) the New York Times are?

"McCain's open-borders supporters will declare that immigration is no longer a factor in this campaign. They so wish it to be so. (Right on cue, here's Kennedy-fawning NYT columnist David Brooks dismissing immigration sniffily as 'not a good issue for Republicans.') . . ."


And here I thought that the biggest issue the Reich Wing would have with McCain was going to be that he thought global warming was real. There'll be an awful lot of nose-holding going on in voting booths across America if McCain beats HRC. The breeze from all those spinning moral compasses could power the US for a hundred years.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 31, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"'Shell smashed all-time British company profit records today, posting 2007 earnings of $27.5billion (£13.9billion).

Shell's profit surge - it is now making a staggering $75million (£38million) a day - is on the back of a booming oil price that touched $100 a barrel this winter.'"

What was the real motivation for invading Iraq?
a) They had WMD
b) The Iraqis were behind 9/11
c) We needed to rid the world of a cruel tyrant and the Iraqis would welcome us with open arms as liberators
d) It was unfinished business from the 1st Bush presidency (Cheney, Powell, Wolfowitz, et al)
e) We wanted to spread democracy (even into places with no historical tradition whatsoever of representative government)
f) We wanted to replace the Sunni government in Iraq with a Shi'a government friendly to Iran
g) We wanted to increase Iranian influence in the Middle East
h) We wanted to give al-Qaeda a base in Iraq, where previously, they had no presence
i) We wanted to provide Osama bin Laden with a recruiting tool
j) We wanted to weaken the moderate, pro-Western governments in the Middle East and strength their radical, Islamic-Extremist opposition
k) We were hankering for a classic case of Imperial Overstretch
l) The national deficit was not yet large enough and we wanted to increase our dependence on Communist China
m) Chaos in the world's 2nd largest oil producing nation would drive oil prices through the roof and make billions and billions of dollars in profits for the oil companies and oil service companies

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 31, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

GEICO thinks they are geckos, but they are not. Geckos are the tiny BROWN guys who are found in every house in Austin and who have a knack for being squashed flat in our door frames, where they somehow manage to collect.

The GEICO character is actually a green guy, probably a chameleon posing as a gecko, and doing it well enough to fool a major insurance company and its advertiser.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

The battle for endorsements is over. Barack Obama is the winner.

CNN reports that none other than Hulk Hogan has endorsed Obama's bid for the White House.

Whatcha' gonna do when Hulkamania and Obamamania run wild on you!

Wow, is CNN running this whole endorsement thing right off the rails.

Posted by: cam8 | January 31, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

"In one sense, I understand Froomkin's indignance. It ought to be newsworthy, to put it mildly, when the President announces that he has the power to violate the law at will. But in another sense, it's not really newsworthy any longer. It's been going on for years and we've chosen to do nothing about it. We have a Government where the President is not bound by the law, and it is just as simple as that.

Almost two years ago, my book on Bush's executive power theories, How Would a Patriot Act?, was published, written immediately after disclosure of the President's illegal spying programs, and in it I wrote:

Our basic system of constitutional liberties is at risk. I say that because we are a country in which the president has said -- expressly and repeatedly -- that he has the power to act without restraints, including the power to break the law. He has not only claimed these powers but has exercised them repeatedly over the course of several years. And he still has more than two and a half years left in office. . . .

The series of controversies over the last five years involving radical and extreme government actions -- from the use of torture to illegal eavesdropping to the lawless detention of U.S. citizens -- cannot be viewed in isolation. They are but the symptoms -- the ones we have learned about thus far -- of a crisis in this country brought about by the fact that the president of the United States believes he has the power to act without restraint and to break the law. . . . What we have in our federal government are not individual acts of lawbreaking or isolated scandals of illegality, but instead a culture and an ideology of lawlessness. . . .

Whether we become a country in which the president can exercise unlimited power -- whether we will fundamentally change the type of nation we are -- will be determined by whether we allow this behavior to continue.

We have allowed it to continue, and now these "theories" are ones which people who are considered to be "reasonable," squarely within our political mainstream, can openly espouse -- just as Mukasey repeatedly pointed out yesterday. We live in a system of government where the President seized the power to act without restraints and we allowed that to happen, and so Bush's signing statement and Mukasey's defiant posture are all now normal. "

glen greenwald.

I'm done for the day. last one. sorry. This site is a waste of time.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

'http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/22/washington/22royalty.html?_r=1&hp&ex=1166763600&en=eafa9409d268985c&ei=5094&partner=homepage&oref=slogin'

I had intended to, jd... usually I do. The info is from a US Interior Department study, hardly a 'liberal' source.

'You could also argue that it's not the government's job to bail out GM after making a series of stupid decisions (focusing on trucks/SUVs, which have high margins, instead of doing R&D for hybrids et al as you suggest).'

You are absolutely right about this. Any incentives should be given to promising smaller companies who have track records on innovation and efficiency, not dying dinosaurs who are only interested in short term profits.

I don't beleive in taxpayer subsidies to private companies. Where is the free market in that? With this exception--where the subsidies can help a promising new technology to compete in an established marketplace, like energy, where we have an urgent need to end our reliance on fossil fuels. I am looking for free market solutions with only government jump starts. Competitions for instance, among graduate engineering and technology students and start up companies. They have new ideas, they have tremendous energy, they are a great investment.

I have been looking at engineering schools for my daughter, and I have been pleased to see how much research is going on. Even a small small investment in materials, in scholarships for students with promising ideas could make a huge diffference to our future.

As far as heating oil for poor/fixed income people, that's very tough. I certainly don't think we should just let them die. What if there is no local charity?That says something pretty harsh about the richest [well after the oil sheikdoms] country in the world. Perhaps a state hardship fund that kicks in when oil reaches a certain price, funded by --here it comes --a tiny windfall tax when oil profits soar as they are now. That might give oil companies a small incentive to keep prices lower by producing more oil.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

"I long ago stopped blaming the Bush administration -- at least exclusively -- for what has happened to our political system. They were responsible in the first instance, but the rest of the country's institutions -- its media, its Congress, the "opposition" party, even the courts -- all allowed it to happen, choosing to do nothing -- or to endorse it -- once it all began to be disclosed. It wouldn't have surprised the Founders that we would have corrupt and lawbreaking political leaders, including in the White House. The idea was that there would be numerous checks on that corruption. But when those other institutions fail, or are complicit, the fault is collective.

Consider how normalized this has all become: President Bush this week issued one of his most brazen signing statements yet, contesting the right of Congress even to exercise its spending power to bar the use of funds for permanent bases in Iraq. The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin noted that not a single journalist other than The Boston Globe's indefatigable Charlie Savage even reported on this event. As Froomkin said:

The overall message to Congress was clear: I'm not bound by your laws. . . . But it's Bush's cavalier dismissal of the ban on funding for permanent military bases that really speaks volumes -- not just about his view of the role of the legislative branch, but also about his intentions for Iraq. . . . Looking for a news story about all this in your morning paper? You won't find one in The Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times or the Wall Street Journal."

Glen greenwald

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

"Proud, no doubt that Romney needs to try out for the role of chameleon in a GEICO ad."

Best line in a while on The Fix. Give that man a T-shirt! Though I think, technically, the character is a gekko.

Posted by: bsimon | January 31, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"if he endorses I will feel stapped in the back"

clinton, and stabbed in the back. Man :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

No, research subsidies wouldn't be painted as corporate welfare. In the last Democratic debate, all three candidates discussed green job programs, which include heavy investment in energy-related R&D. It's a big part of Obama's energy plan too. Giving money to companies so they can develop technologies that will fix our energy problems isn't corporate welfare. Giving money to oil companies with record profits, so they can extract more oil and make even higher profits, is corporate welfare.

Posted by: Blarg | January 31, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Edwards will probably make his endorsement this weekend.

if he endorses I will feel stapped in the back, as many of his supporters will. I don't think edwards is a hypocrite. i don't think he will throw away all he's fought for the last 4-5 years.

He plays a big role. His supporters are passionite. If he endorses clinton, the deomcratic party loses all the non union voters he brings. The union guys will be split with more going to clinton, imo. Could be wrong. i was wrong about the state I currently live. Thinking obama would win vegas and clinton would win reno. I underestimated the latino vote;s love for clinton or dislike of obama.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Again--oil companies have plenty of money to produce more oil. They just don't want to.

Posted by: claudialong | January 31, 2008 12:11 PM


and Claudia, one more thing: do you actually have evidence that the big oil producing companies are holding back production, cartel-style? Or is that just a guess that happens to coincide with your political template? (companies are bad, all they want to do is screw Americans, etc)

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, we mostly agree I guess, but you and I both know that any subsidy given to GM (instead of to the consumer) would be painted (by Dems, mostly) as corporate welfare. You could also argue that it's not the government's job to bail out GM after making a series of stupid decisions (focusing on trucks/SUVs, which have high margins, instead of doing R&D for hybrids et al as you suggest).

Claudia, if you expect anyone to take you seriously here, you need to post a link to stories like the one you copied/pasted. Evaluating the source of the 'information' is just as important as the info itself.

And for the record, I notice that you never gave a solution to the problem you raised, of poor people/fixed income types not being able to afford home heating oil.

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

'Shell smashed all-time British company profit records today, posting 2007 earnings of $27.5billion (£13.9billion).

Shell's profit surge - it is now making a staggering $75million (£38million) a day - is on the back of a booming oil price that touched $100 a barrel this winter.'

Again--oil companies have plenty of money to produce more oil. They just don't want to.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I pretty much agree with your assessment mark_in_austin.

Claudia, what role do you think that Edwards still has to play?

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 31, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Rufus, your personal crusade against FOX is bearing results, I see. :-)

Actually, the Montel Williams story was very interesting to me, but because I never watch the 24/7 stations I would have had no way of knowing it except for your post. I have never seen or heard of this man, but from the description your source gave, he got terminated for actually making a newsworthy point on a 24/7 station devoted to starlets and pretty boys and ranting talking heads.

Rufus, if you just watched "The News Hour" on PBS you would miss all this, too, so thank you for reinforcing my choice to ignore the 24/7s.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Quote of the Day
"I'm not quitting. I believe in miracles."

-- Mike Huckabee, quoted by the Orange County Register.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

mikeb, After criss-crossing the country for months and engaging in 20 debates (yes last night was the 21st R debate) I think one would have to be a robot to come off as polished in every appearance. After all these debates, I think it's high time to just vote and be done with it.

Now, the Ds on the other hand....that could go on and on for quite some time. Let's see whose armor chinks first.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

'If the package was built around helping people make investments to reduce their long-term energy usage, it would stimulate the economy now and help people save in the future. Some of those billions of dollars could also go towards R&D of new technologies.'

great ideas, blarg.. worth repeating. and instead of paying off oil companies to produce more oil, which they won't anyway, we should invest in alternative energies NOW. It will be a lot cheaper in blood and treasure, than spending the next 100 years occupying ME countries so we will have access to their oil fields.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Look a little deeper
One could almost get the impression from this story that "Fox News" has been "exposed." Though Eric Boehlert has been a top notch writer for years, he didn't take this story very far.

The real nature of Fox News is more vile than just a propaganda network. It is a con game, presenting propaganda as entertainment, with the goal being not just ratings, but an increasing monopoly role for Fox in media power, expanding its "empire" into areas before unheard of.

Hannity, O'Reilly, et. al. are really nothing more than performers. Entertainers. Not very good ones either. I've known a few people who have been their followers. They are not very bright. The way you can tell they are fans of these shows is that they recite what they heard as if it were knowledge that they figured out themselves, without citing the source of their "knowledge."

By now some of these not-so-bright people have gotten a hard dose of reality to challenge their faith: job losses, loss of house, no health insurance, a relative or friend killed or wounded in "Iraq" or "Afghanistan," high gas prices, flood, fire, tornado, or other effects of climate change. Continuing song and dance on Fox has no answers to these problems.

-- HappyJack"

Well said happy jack. What would those lost souls do without fox? Start thinking for themselves. Oh glorious day. We can free the kingof their own worlds.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

'PROUDTOBEGOP: You may have temporary won this fight to make the GOP liberal, but we will defeat McCain in the fall and take our party back from you libs.'

pass the popcorn.

'Why is having a "temper" considered a bad thing?'

Ask John Dean and John Edwards. The media [the ultimate arbiters of our fate] have decided it's a Bad Thing.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Adrick, WMR has angered McC [I would be angry too at the huge negative and distorted big bucks ads WMR has run if I were his target]. Angry, yes. Hothead? Nah.

McC does become impatient when he is angered and does not keep a poker face. I like him for that, but do not think he would make a rash decision under pressure. However, he does SAY stuff when angry that some people perceive as "bullying" - see above D comments.

That has been a weak point for every combat vet pol in recent years - e.g.; Dole, Bob Kerrey, Webb - and I think it comes in part from a life-changing experience under fire. Amateur psych, I know.

Hothead is not better than weakling, they are equally dangerous to our security. McC can be pushed to impatient anger. It does not stand him well in a debate. But it would not translate to "hothead" in the sense of acting irrationally. None of the vets I mentioned would have survived if they had been true hotheads.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

With Edwards dropping out of the run, I actually listened in on this debate and Romney struk me as a little too slick and rather mean. McCain, on the other hand, and this was surprising and disheartening, appeared sort of bumbling and not althogether engaged. Anyone else get this take?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 31, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

JD: You're correct that reducing energy prices is not necessarily a good thing. Higher prices cause people to use less energy, which is better for the environment. The problem is that not everyone can afford to save energy. Reducing energy usage often involves some amount of up-front investment, to buy a more efficient refrigerator, heating system, car, etc. The people affected most by rising energy prices can't afford to spend extra money today, even if it will save them money in the long run.

And that's where the economic stimulus package should help. If the package was built around helping people make investments to reduce their long-term energy usage, it would stimulate the economy now and help people save in the future. Some of those billions of dollars could also go towards R&D of new technologies. Maybe the government could subsidize GM to improve their hybrid technology, so people would actually want to buy American-made cars. That would certainly help the economy.

But that kind of economic stimulus is too complicated to explain to people, and its effects aren't as obvious. And it's not as much fun as getting a check for $300. So once again, Congress takes the easy way out.

Posted by: Blarg | January 31, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

It's acceptable to have a temper. Many presidents have had legendary fits of rage. The issue is whether McCain's temper runs toward the unhinged, let's-just-nuke-them mentality.

As to Romney's money, at least Mitt earned his. McCain just married it (after dumping his first wife for the young rich hottie). Class act indeed. Straight talk? Hah.

Posted by: CallMeLiberal | January 31, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

'Libs had better focus on the D debates in that case, since they focus on feelings and handshakes, and whether someone got teary-eyed or not.'

morphing into zouk again? the media and republicans focused on this, as is their habit of focusing on trivia, not the candidates or Dem voters, I can assure you.

'And Claudia, as for your emotional posting about gas prices (or as you misinterpreted or willingly changed the subject, home heating oil prices)'

Excuse me -- are you trying to say the price of oil/gas is not related? hello? and so for emotional, why yes, I'm a human being, I care about what happens to my fellow citizens. I don't know when this became passe in this country.

'I expect that you're no communist: you're not suggesting that we nationalize the energy industry, a la Chavez, are you?'

I have never actually met anyone who takes this position.

'We can provide tax incentives to business to encourage more drilling and exploration'

We do this already.. and oil companies simply pass it along to their shareholders. They beleive there's plenty of production now. Increasing it would bring the price of oil down, meaning they would have to invest more to get a smaller percentage of profit. Why bother?
WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 -- The United States offers some of the most lucrative incentives in the world to companies that drill for oil in publicly owned coastal waters, but a newly released study suggests that the government is getting very little for its money.

The study, which the Interior Department refused to release for more than a year, estimates that current inducements could allow drilling companies in the Gulf of Mexico to escape tens of billions of dollars in royalties that they would otherwise pay the government for oil and gas produced in areas that belong to American taxpayers.

But the study predicts that the inducements would cause only a tiny increase in production even if they were offered without some of the limitations now in place.

But industry analysts who compare oil policies around the world said the United States was much more generous to oil companies than most other countries, demanding a smaller share of revenues than others that let private companies drill on public lands and in public waters. In addition, they said, the United States has sweetened some of its incentives in recent years, while dozens of other countries demanded a bigger share of revenue.

In the United States, the federal government's take -- royalties as well as corporate taxes -- is about 40 percent of revenue from oil and gas produced on federal property, according to Van Meurs Associates, an industry consulting firm that compares the taxes of all oil-producing countries.

By contrast, according to Van Meurs, the worldwide average "government take" is about 60 to 65 percent. And that figure, of course, excludes countries that do not allow any private ownership in oil production.'

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"The problem with always telling the audience what they want to hear ...
... is that they eventually realize there's no point in tuning in because they already know what you're going to say.

-- Alkaline "

Hello Bueler? Bueler?

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Proud -- to be clear, I vastly prefer McCain to Romney if I have to live with a Republican president for the next four years. But it's precisely because I hold him in higher regard that I thought his approach at the debate last night was unfortunate.

McCain is right about torture, the environment, and comprehensive immigration policy. He shouldn't run away from those positions.

As far as Iraq goes, he has what I guess is the "high ground" in a GOP primary without having to distort Romney's statements. I guess you and Mark didn't view that line of attack as out of bounds, but to my ears it was a gross distortion of what Romeny said. Again, Mitt has legitimately flip-flopped on enough things it's really not necessary to make stuff up.

Anyway, just the thoughts of a Democrat -- so feel free to disregard.

Posted by: _Colin | January 31, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"Hmm. How long until the 'McCain is a hothead' ads start?" from bsimon at 10:43 pm

...just curious

Why is having a "temper" considered a bad thing?

Don't we want our president to have backbone, to get righteously angry (but not rash)?

Isn't a hothead president better than a weakling?

jes' askin'

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 31, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"The problem for Fox News is that it's the Democratic race that's creating most of the excitement, yet Fox News has been forced to mostly watch the race from the sidelines. That's because last winter, after the network tried to smear Obama for purportedly attending a radical Muslim school as a child, liberal bloggers launched an initiative to get Democratic candidates to boycott a debate co-sponsored by Fox News and the Nevada Democratic Party. (The boycott, powered by Foxattacks.com, was later extended to any and all Fox News debates.)

The point of the online crusade was not simply to embarrass Fox News or rattle Nevada Democrats for being out of touch with the grass-roots masses that distrusted and despised Fox News. The point, instead, was to begin chipping away, in a serious, consistent method, at Fox News' reputation. To spell out that Fox News was nothing more than a Republican mouthpiece and that Democrats need not engage with the News Corp. giant.

"

Sorry last one. You people know this is my baby. :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"Bottom line is that Fox News is in for a very rough 2008. And the umbrella reason for that is quite simple: Eight years ago the all-news cable channel went all-in on the presidency of George W. Bush and became a broadcast partner with the White House. Proof of that was on display Sunday night, Jan. 27, during Fox News' prime-time "Fighting to the Finish," a "historic documentary" on the final year of Bush's presidency. Filmed in HD and featuring "unprecedented access," according to the Fox News press release, the show was pure propaganda. (I must have missed Fox News' "Fighting to the Finish" special back in 2000, chronicling the conclusion of President Bill Clinton's second term and his "extraordinarily consequential tenure.")

The point is that Fox News years ago made an obvious decision to appeal almost exclusively to Republican viewers. The good news then for Fox News was that it succeeded. The bad news now for Fox News is that it succeeded.

Meaning, when the GOP catches a cold, everybody at Fox News gets sick. As blogger Logan Murphy put it at Crooks and Liars, "Watching FOX News getting their comeuppance has been fun to watch. They made their bed, now they're having to lie in it and it's not too comfortable."
"

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/01/31/fox_news/
r

u

f

u

s

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

"Republicans make Fox News sick
When the GOP catches a cold, everybody at Fox News is ailing. No wonder its ratings are in the pits.

By Eric Boehlert

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Jan. 31, 2008 | My guess is that Fox News guru Roger Ailes has been reaching for the Tums more often than usual early in the New Year, and there are lots of reasons for the hovering angst.

Let's take an extended multiple choice quiz. Right now, which of the following topics is likely causing the discomfort inside Ailes' Fox News empire?

A) CNN's resurgence as the go-to cable destination for election coverage.
B) The unmistakably sunken candidacy of Fox News' favored son, Rudy Giuliani.
C) The still-standing candidacy of Fox News nemesis and well-funded antiwar GOP candidate Rep. Ron Paul.
D) The Democratic candidates' blanket refusal to debate on Fox News during the primary season.
E) Host Bill O'Reilly being so desperate for an interview from a Democratic contender that he had to schlep all the way to New Hampshire, where he shoved an aide to Sen. Barack Obama and then had to be calmed down by Secret Service agents.
F) Former Fox News architect and Ailes confidant Dan Cooper posting chapters from his wildly unflattering tell-all book about his old boss. ("The best thing that ever happened to Roger Ailes was 9/11.")
G) The fledgling Fox Business Network, whose anemic ratings are in danger of being surpassed by some large city public access channels.
H) Host John Gibson's recent heartless attacks on Heath Ledger, just hours after the young actor was found dead.
I) Fox News reporter Major Garrett botching his "exclusive" that Paul Begala and James Carville were going to join Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, and then refusing to correct the record.

I'd say it's A, B, C, D, E, F and G. (I doubt Gibson's grave-dancing or Garrett's whopper caused Ailes a moment's concern.)
"

awwww. the baggage is starting to feel lifted. :)

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes, Haven't you heard? Mitt's a liberal in wolf's clothing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGur36uVWxA

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"I just got off the phone with the Obama campaign
by secondnextlast
Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 04:29:06 PM PST
I have been on the fence as far as this Presidential election goes. Initially I leaned towards John Edwards because I am wary of Hillary Clinton's history. The issues of those FBI files she said she never saw only to have her fingerprints on them forever changed my perception of her. I do not view her as honest or caring, but rather cold and calculating. Today, after John Edwards dropped out I called both campaigns asking them flat out, "Why should I vote for your candidate?" Hillary's people said they would call back, but the Obama people talked with me for over twenty minutes.

secondnextlast's diary :: ::
We talked about Obama's opposition to the Iraq war from the start. We talked about ethics reform in the senate. And we also talked about the torch being passed from the Kennedy's to Obama. I asked about medical marijuana and this staffer laid out that Obama would not raid medical marijuana patients because "resources are wasted going after the sick." This is an important issue to me as I am a medical marijuana patient for chronic back pain.

Clinton's people were not personable and did not make me feel important when I called. It seemed they had no time for me. As soon as the Obama people answered and I told them I was undecided they were absolutely wonderful.

This is perhaps an anecdotal happening or perhaps it says something more about Obama and Hillary. Hillary's staffer was cold and distant. She just responded to me tersly saying "Can I call you back?" Obama's staffer treated me like my support meant as much as Ted Kennedy's. I felt they really cared and were also very knowledgeable to their candidates positions.

I am now supporting Barack Obama!

YES WE CAN!
"

yES WE CAN INDEED.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

What about Congress??? We've been reading your updates on the candidates' minute-by-minute activity. And it's getting a little repetitive. There's a lot of interesting stuff going on with the Congressional races and you haven't touched it in a long time.

Posted by: rlalumiere | January 31, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

PHOSPHOR-DOT SWIRLS JUXTAPOSE

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"Montel Williams Loses Job after Defending Troops on Fox News
by Brandon Friedman
Wed Jan 30, 2008 at 11:39:14 PM PST
For just over three minutes on Saturday morning, TV talk show host Montel Williams owned the hosts of Fox and Friends. A former Marine and Naval officer, Montel lectured the stunned hosts on the stupidity of spending air time on the death of Heath Ledger, rather than covering the war in Iraq. It was a spectacle rarely seen on live cable television, as Montel exposed and condemned both tabloid "news" shows and much of American culture for what they have each become: shallow and greedy.

Three minutes into this awkward segment on Fox, one host cut off Montel in order to go to a commercial. Montel did not return after the break. Four days later, after 17 years as a television host, Montel lost his job. Variety reported on Wednesday that the

Fate of "The Montel Williams Show" was sealed when key Fox-owned stations opted not to renew it for the 2008-09 season.

Brandon Friedman's diary :: ::
Here is the video:


::
I have no idea whether Montel already knew his show wasn't going to be renewed, and thus felt emboldened to cut loose on the air, or whether his firing was a result of his actions on Saturday. Either way, Montel Williams exhibited courage this week that few in the television industry ever will. And for that, American troops around the world stand with him. We support him not only because he stood up for the troops, but because he did it on Fox News--a station that has done more damage to the U.S. military since 9/11 than any other.

Montel Williams is an American patriot. Though he left the military years ago, he has never forgotten "his" troops.

For that we salute and thank you, Montel. Best of luck with whatever you choose to do next.

"

Free speech? We no longe rhave free speech. It depends who you are and when and where you decide to execute your speech. But it is not free. Unless your a gop clone robot. Then you are free. But still on a leash. So who is really free?

Support the troops. For real, not just bumper stickers.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 31, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

McCain is simply lying about being a conservative. How's his position different from the libs on closing GITMO and giving terrorists full Miranda rights, like the dems, you can't give them a shower, supports the dems on ANWAR in Al., supports the dems on illegal immigration, supports the dems on global warming. The dems would not do bad with him as Pressident, they could push most of their liberal agenda. PROUDTOBEGOP: You may have temporary won this fight to make the GOP liberal, but we will defeat McCain in the fall and take our party back from you libs.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 31, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a Dirty Fighter and he is very smug about it. He delivers his below the belt blows with precision and covers up with endless name dropping (I have more bullies on my side,even if I bullied them to get them on my side)and repeatedly saying, "I am the one." I hear next to nothing from him about what he hopes to accomplish. So if McCain gets in, expect nothing but more of the same.

Posted by: ALMANOJODO | January 31, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Today is the day for presidential candidates to report their finacial statements. Mitt Romney sought and received a 45-day extension for his filing but will eventually report personal assets valued between $190 million and $250 million.

Poor Mitt, he was "dragged into the mud and was forced to fight" according to tropicalfolk. He was forced, forced I tell you, to run 10 times as many negative ads on tv than any other candidate. Looks like it was a bad investment.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Republican candidates spend a lot of oxygen trying to convince voters they are more conservative than the other guys. For the life of me, I can't figure why they would want to be labeled "conservative" and be saddled with the mess in Iraq and the lies that got us there, the record federal deficit, the emasculation of regulatory processes that brought us the sub-prime loan problem, global warming inertia and on and on. Conservatives have proven to be part of the problem, not the solution.

Posted by: BillSpevacek | January 31, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

And Claudia, as for your emotional posting about gas prices (or as you misinterpreted or willingly changed the subject, home heating oil prices):

What is your suggestion? Surely, even though you're on the extreme edge of liberalism (excuse me: *progressive*), I expect that you're no communist: you're not suggesting that we nationalize the energy industry, a la Chavez, are you?

Energy is subject to a global market, and is fungible commodity. The US can actually do little to affect the market price, short of eliminating the taxes on gas, etc. And if we do that, then people will drive more, resulting in more greenhouse gasses... There's that darn law of unintended consequences again.

We can provide tax incentives to business to encourage more drilling and exploration, which would eventually lower the price... of course, tax incentives will be demagogued by the liberals as 'corporate welfare'.

We could reduce regulation holding back development of more refineries, more oil drilling offshore, more nuclear power.... if only the environmentalist movement (which are probably 90% from your party) would let us.

So now Claudia, tell us: who in this country actually contributes to the poor not being able to afford their home heating oil?

There are (or should be) charities set up to help the truly destitute afford home heating oil. At least there is where I live, in Western PW County.

JD

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

McCain was disgusting. He had nothing useful to say, except throwing mud at Romney.

Romney was dragged into the mud and was forced to fight.

Huckabee was above the figh, and made lots of sense, even eloquently.

Ron Paul was the real star of the night. He was the only one who understands the relationship between the failed Iraq war and the sinking dollar... and between the economy, foreign policy, and FUNDAMENTAL AMERICAN VALUES WRITTEN IN THE CONSTITUTION.

Posted by: tropicalfolk | January 31, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"he came off as an arrogant, mean bully - not likeable at all"

Libs had better focus on the D debates in that case, since they focus on feelings and handshakes, and whether someone got teary-eyed or not. that's the real important stuff, after all.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

lyle and Mark, you're right, I think the 'stimulus' package is foolish. As I've said before, we're going to borrow $150b from China and give it to Americans, so we can all go out and... what? Buy more Chinese junk? Whose economy are we trying to stimulate?

Economies go through cycles. Monkeying with them only makes them worse. There is massive evidence backing this up. You cannot repeal the law of unintended consequences; unfortunately, this is a lesson that most politicians have never learned.

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

and then there's this..

'NEW YORK (AP) -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Services is considering slashing its rating on more than $500 billion of investments tied to bad mortgage loans, the ratings agency said Wednesday.

The massive downgrade would threaten a broad swath of the world's finance industry, S&P said, ranging from Wall Street's trading desks to regional banks to local credit unions.'

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I didn't have an opportunity to watch the debate last night, but I just watched the clip. Wow! I can't believe what a jerk McCain was! I'm a Democrat and I have typically held a great deal of respect for him. No matter what the media pundits think about him winning that debate, I think that he came off as an arrogant, mean bully - not likeable at all! If I were a Republican, my vote would swing to Romney so fast that your head would spin.

Posted by: Lbrown | January 31, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

'By the time JB dropped out, I had come around to JimD's position that JB was my first choice because he insisted on a comprehensive overview of the middle east and a three pronged approach to Iraq.'

This is my problem with McCain today. He's no longer talking about the political realities of a prolonged presence in Iraq, nor the strain on the military, nor anything other than a simple-minded pandering to the base and talk about 'winning' uhh, winning WHAT? Our real enemies, those who attacked us, are thriving in Pakistan and Afghanistan, planning their next attack. And we are doing nothing about them, except giving them money. McCain is not addressing/acknowledging the nature of future conflicts, he's not talking like we were fighting WW2. The world has moved on and we will probably never fight another 'traditional' 'war' again..

'General Casey predicted a future of persistent conflict and protracted confrontation with a variety of state and non-state actors, in addition to an increasingly complex world in which the benefits of globalization share the stage with its drawbacks, namely the creation of "haves and have-nots" and a growth in population that will include a "youth bulge" and a race for increasingly scarce environmental resources.

"Our Army today is out of balance for several reasons. The current demand for our forces exceeds the sustainable supply," he said."

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

What about Romney's ridiculous explanation of his master plan to rid the country of illegals. Come on! He says that we'll allow people to stay who have kids in school, let them finish the school year then ask them to leave the country; or in some special circumstances yet to be determined, we would allow people to "get their affairs in order" and then after a period of time yet to be determined, we would ask them to leave the country too.

Any law enforcement folks out there wanna chime in on just how absurd this whole notion is? Is this practical from an INS or law enforcement standpoint? Who decides which people will get to "get their affairs in order" and what does that actually mean? Should each person ask Gov Romney for a special continuance? All 12 million of them?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

'Even after decades, the unmistakable introduction from The Shadow, intoned by announcer Frank Readick, has earned a place in the American idiom: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

I was thrown by the above, Mark. I knew that Wells had created Mercury Theatre, but i didn't know he was the original Shadow. I still think 'War of the Worlds' on radio was scarier than most movies today...

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Wake me when they've all been voted off the island.

Posted by: optimyst | January 31, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Colin, Romney's statement was not distorted. He has been hedging his bets on Iraq all along. He hedged his bet in the Roberts interview, and when called on it, he wanted to appear to be on the correct side of the issue now that the surge is working. He could barely say it just a few months ago, saying instead that "the surge is apparently working" in a debate.

The fact remains, Romney lacked the foreign policy foresight to call for the surge, and he lacked the political courage to stand up for it and support it.

His pattern is to hedge on every important issue. Just like in the business world, always hedge your bets. That's the Romney strategy in politics as well as business. That way you can always cut your losses, or say that you were for it before you were against it.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

drindl, your youth is showing. Welles created and starred in the first years of "The Shadow."

However, by the time I was three, he was gone, so I only know this from listening to older episodes on XM.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Like the finale of "Blazing Saddles," last night's Republican brawl broke through the fourth wall and spilled over onto the sets of other movies.

John McCain and Mitt Romney played their Western shootout against a backdrop of "Air Force One," while being watched by "The Terminator" sitting next to the 100-year-old lady from "Titanic," smiling sweetly as all the candidates pledged their fealty to the ghost of The Gipper.

Mel Brooks must have loved it:

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2008/01/mel-brooks-presidential-debate.html

Posted by: connectdots | January 31, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Lyle, the food stamps and extended unemployment comp were the heart of the real program, but were traded by the Ds to get the Rs to drop the permanent tax cut. All politics all the time.
------------------------------
Colin, I thought McC's exaggeration of WMR's timetable for withdrawal position was worth only "one Pinnochio" but I still cringed when he kept going back to it.

The weakest part of McC's Iraq position is, as you have pointed out, that he knows what the military need is better than Rummy did, but he does not ever stress the political solutions we should be working for [except with Charlie Rose]. To the extent that he has ever said different messages to different audiences about this, I prefer his Charlie Rose discussions.

By the time JB dropped out, I had come around to JimD's position that JB was my first choice because he insisted on a comprehensive overview of the middle east
and a three pronged approach to Iraq.


Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Andy -- that was The Shadow. Although Wells was active on radio with The Mercury Theater at the time [30's] he did not play that particular character.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

they are supposed to be restoried in the senate package, i think, lyle, along with tax rebates for disabled vets, who were also stripped out of the house package.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

This debate was pointless after Florida. Romney is done and he knows it. The GOP will coalesce around McCain next week and Romney will drop out on Feb 6th. Huckabee might stay in it for a little while longer but only until McCain asks him to be the VP.

Now the Democratic Debate will be very important. I would bet that there will be a ton of people watching for the first time, and I would think Obama will look presidential.
Tonight might be the begining of the end for Senator Clinton, or she might drag Obama into a dirty name-calling fight.
As Orson Wells use to say "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men (or women in this case)..."

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 31, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Mark: The addition of food stamps and unemployment benefits were in there somewhere at the beginning and from what I can find these very important parts were stripped as far as I can tell. Did I miss something??

Posted by: lylepink | January 31, 2008 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Mark,

"Hack" may have been a poor choice of words on my part relative to Martinez. Lightweight would maybe have been more appropriate.

Out of curiosity, what do you think about McCain's cynical attacks on Romney over an Iraq timetable? For someone who supposedly is a "differnt" kind of politician, that kind of out-and-out distortion strikes me as pretty terrible. Romney deserves whatever he gets, but you'd think his actual record would provide enough ammunition without any need to embelish.

Anyway, I'd be curious to hear your take and JimD's on that, since I know you are strong McCain supporters.

Posted by: _Colin | January 31, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"I loved it when he traded newspaper endorsements with WMR."

Me too, that was awesome. I thought McCain was very solid on his message of sticking with one's principles over the years, even when the consequences could be very bad politically. That argument is not lost on the majority of voters, imo.
By stating that about himself, he clearly shined a light on the pre-eminent substantive difference between himself and Romney.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Of course, I loved it when he traded newspaper endorsements with WMR.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

JD, I totally agree with your comments on the economy, and that the housing market correction is something that should have been anticipated and is not all bad.

I, too, thought that Ron Paul gave the most cogent argument last night regarding inflation and the need to cut spending. Too bad he's a a little kooky in other areas, but some of his small govt platforms are indeed, right where Rs should be.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Proud, no doubt that Romney needs to try out for the role of chameleon in a GEICO ad.

But were you not disappointed in the entire show last night?

I am for McC for who he has always been. If I did not know that, and only watched last night, I would have been unimpressed.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

romney -- every sentence is a noun, a verb, and Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

don't you know lyle, tax cuts are the answer to every problem? surplus? cut taxes. deficit? cut taxes. downturn? cut taxes. upturn? cut taxes.

when the only tool you wish to use is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Romney was certain last night that Ronald Reagan would support him on viewpoint, at least, that is, the viewpoints he has now. The evolution of Mitt throughout the last 10 years is quite remarkable....

Check this out for a look at just how convincing he can sound on every side of an issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGur36uVWxA

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 31, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Lyle, I know you addressed JD, but I can say from memory that he and every regular on this web log thinks the $150B deficit funded handout is meaningless and does not even address the main issue in a recession which is unemployment, or the secondary issue, inflation that makes your wages and savings worth less.

Join us in our befuddlement.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

JD: I am on the Mod to Cons side, but Tax Cut, Tax Cut, and more Tax Cuts doesn't make any sense. This Stimulus package just passed doesn't seem to be all it is cracked up to be. Getting money into the hands of the most needy will be spent immediately for basic needs, and I have been trying to figure where it is, so far I've been unable to see where it is hidden, if in fact it really is in there.

Posted by: lylepink | January 31, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

colin, You suggested that you thought Martinez was a "hack".

I dunno - JimD and optimyst are in FL, and I would like to know if I went out on a limb for a hack. Turns out he is Cuban born, and cannot be VP.

I do know that he has cosponsored a lot of bills with Ds in the last year - not just with Nelson, but they are obviously a good tag team for their state and for coastal interests.

For '07, Thomas shows him cosponsoring with at least Feinstein, Salazar, Durbin, Lincoln, Mikulski, Landrieu, Levin, Dorgan, Dodd,Schumer, Reed, Webb, Lautenberg, Conrad, Rockefeller, and Akaka.

But he could be a hack who cosponsors stuff, I agree.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 8:56 AM | Report abuse

For the record, JD, I favor local responses to what I see as local housing [and property tax base] issues. I think a city-county bond issue to make a loan guaranty fund for applicants and even to do some new loans makes sense - we did it in Austin-Travis County after the S&L failures. I hate one-size-fits-all on inefficiency grounds, and a national approach almost always suffers this vice.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

'gas goes up 50%, or whatever.'

yeah, no big deal for YOU. for some families when the cost of an ESSENTIAL like heat for their homes, doubles, sometimes that means they just aren't going to be able to pay for heating their homes. some people in this country [especially the elderly] actually do freeze to death. but i guess that's just the way the market works, so it's okay, no big deal.

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

'Nobody defended fiscal conservatism and somehow mindless tax cutting, under every circumstance, became an entire policy.'

Precisely, Mark.

That's why the repupublican party is no longer 'conservative' in any way. The term, like most of the Orwellian language of government today has come to mean completely the inverse of it's original meaning. Today's so-called conservatives are completely irresponsible radicals who hate the Constitution borrow from our grandchildren and beyond.

I might point out that the reason they are called 'entitlements' is because I am entitled to them for the simple reason I have already paid for them. Maybe you folks who live off your inheritance or your investments don't see that money going out of your paycheck every week., but those of us who work for a living do. Social security is self-funded, period. It shouldn't be part of the regular budget at all and dumping it into general revenue ought to be a crime. It's just another way of redistributing wealth upwards.

And those who want to stay in Iraq forever ala McCain might take some note of what it is doing to our military --check out the online Wapo cover story of the following:

'In so doing, the 25-year-old Army reservist joined a record number of soldiers who have committed or tried to commit suicide after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Last year, 121 soldiers took their own lives, nearly 20 percent more than in 2006.

At the same time, the number of attempted suicides or self-inflicted injuries in the Army has jumped sixfold since the Iraq war began. Last year, about 2,100 soldiers injured themselves or attempted suicide, compared with about 350 in 2002, according to the U.S. Army Medical Command Suicide Prevention Action Plan.'

These are our young people. Doesn't anybody care anymore?

Posted by: drindl | January 31, 2008 8:34 AM | Report abuse

And for the record, I don't think the housing market is 'imploding'. In other words, we're not seeing the collapse that Japan saw 8 years ago.

In my neighborhood, housing values are down to where they were in 2003 or so. I bought in 2001, so I'm still way ahead. Unless you bought at the height of the market or are a speculator, I don't see things as bad as many others do.

It's not government's job to make sure the economy *never* is painful for *anyone*. It's their job to make sure it's 'fair', ie enforce contracts, prevent fraud.

In any economy, there are winners and losers, especially among people who take chances. We MUST let people lie in the beds they've made. Our economy actually isn't that bad, compared to, I don't know, EVERYWHERE ELSE. Our inflation is very low, we have virtually full employment - we actually have it pretty good.

I think it's a testament to how spoiled Americans have become that we go crying to the Feds whenever we lose 10% value on our house, or gas goes up 50%, or whatever.

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

You're right Mark (replying to your FHA plan). However, if you do that, the Government would be introducing the moral hazard I've spoken of before.

The conservative in me says, if you don't let people suffer the consequences of their actions, they're likely to take that same action again in the future, and to a greater extent.

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree, Mark. I found last night's debate very disappointing. It was more of a junior-high spat than a back-and-forth on the issues.

Even though the guy is a whackjob, face it you fringe types, I had to feel sorry for Ron Paul and his backers. Anderson C barely gave the guy the time of day. And Chris C, I agree that Huck's whining about not getting more time definitely got old after about 5 seconds.

As maybe the most fiscal conservative on this site, let me say that McCain's opposition to spending somewhat balances out his reluctance on tax cutting, in my book. And Mitt actually had a good observation; Defense is 20%, interest on the debt and entitlements are 60% (soon to be 70%), and everything else gets jammed into that last 20%.

If you want to really make a difference, we need to cut the 60% entitlements down to something more managable.

Posted by: JD | January 31, 2008 8:20 AM | Report abuse

JD - What if instead of blowing $150B in deficit funded handouts the Congress put $25B
into the FHA to back refinancing loans? That could back a million refis - at no long term cost - assuming the loans were solid.

Could "save" the housing market from feared implosion, no?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 8:18 AM | Report abuse

I found last night's debate very disappointing when McC and WMR were unwilling to defend some of their better work.

Way back when, McC said he opposed the second GWB tax cut on three bases [no offsetting tax cuts, not appropriate in war time, skewed to the wealthy]. McC even had an alternate plan back then. He should have defended his position as responsible conservatism and pointed out that lowering taxes while increasing spending is not conservative, it is as "liberal" as any other giveaway, and giveaways to the rich are not morally superior to giveaways to the middle class, or to the poor.

WMR claimed he was closing loopholes back then; he could have stood upon that and said loopholes were selective giveaways of taxpayer money, too, and did not conserve anything.

Nobody defended fiscal conservatism and somehow mindless tax cutting, under every circumstance, became an entire policy.
Responsible conservatives?

Disappointing. And I do not expect any better tonight. If BHO calls HRC a "blast
from the past" and HRC says BHO is not staying on "a message of hope" I will not
be surprised. Responsible progressives?

Just thinking about a write-in vote for an adult.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 31, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, well, lot of liemericans read newspapers to keep informed over the presidential race. I might as well grab the opportunity to ask 2 rather burning questions. What will happen with oil supply when you use 9 barrels pro second and find only 1 barrel pro second ? What happened with building 7 on 9-11-2001 ? Opinion Research Business and the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies figured out that 1 million Iraqis have died sinds the start of the American invasion in 2003. Figures are based on questioning more then 2000 Iraqi's in Baghdad. In Baghdad 40 percent of the families lost at least 1 family member during the war. The WHO (World Health Org) figured out that sinds the start of the war in 2003 120 people died on a daily basis. They questioned 9000 Iraqis and used figures from the Lancet and Iraqi health organizations. Enough seed for growing a million terrorists...yah continue the good works. This administration gave you Americans indeed a million reasons to be afraid. This is not a question but an answer to your feelings of insecurity. But you've got to do something when other big economies steal your oil away under your nose, and your economy is drifting on oil. In short 'NO OIL, NO AMERICA'. I wish the next president of the U.S.A., Barak Obama, all the best to get your economy back up again. Against all odds, take my advice and set up a good infrastructure to strengthen your home market, railways etc and get rid of domestic flights, to boost your economy on the longer term.

Posted by: jwholtkamp | January 31, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

With apologies to Waylon Jennings:

It's the same old tune, podium and microphone,
Where do we take it from here.
Navy blue suits and flag pin lapels,
We've been the same way for years.
We need to change.

Somebody told me when I got to Warshington,
"Son, you finally got it made.
Old Ron made it here, we're all sure that you will."
But I don't think Ron done it this way.
I don't think Ron done it this way.

Eight years down the road, taking some pretty questionable stands,
Speeding my old life away.
Tell me one more time just so I understand,
Are you sure Ron done it this way?
Did Ol' Ron really do it this way?

I've seen the world with a bunch of consultants and lobbyists
Looking at the back side of me.
Giving my speeches and one of his now and then,
But I don't think Ron done 'em this a'way.
No, I don't think Ron done 'em this a'way

Posted by: novamatt | January 31, 2008 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Personally, McCain lost any semblance of my support last night. He came across as petty, not interested in the truth and completely tone deaf about the country and world around him. When asked specifically about his credentials to lead the economy, he steamrolled and went back to the tired existential threat al Qaeda talk.

Next debate, maybe these guys can simply dress up like Reagan as they try to out-conservative one another.

If McCain is such a straight-talker and is such a qualified voice on foreign affairs, then I want him to present America with a rough cost estimate for what it will take to put the War on Terror into our regular budget, our occupations into our regular budget and what programs will suffer because of these costs. I guarantee you that won't happen, because these wars are political slogans at this point. He understands them and feels badly, but he's got a horse to ride.


Posted by: Rickster623 | January 31, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Dear WPost,

The wife of a former president wants to be the next president.

Is she joking?

Am I the only one that has read this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/14/AR2007121402124.html


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31donor.html?ref=politics

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 31, 2008 6:58 AM | Report abuse

MO Gov: Robin Carnahan won't challenge Jay Nixon for the Democratic nomination: http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/political-fix/political-fix/2008/01/carnahan-clears-way-for-nixon/

Posted by: jon.morgan.1999 | January 31, 2008 4:55 AM | Report abuse

To clarify my comment posted above, in the debate McCain raised the issue of Romney raising state fees.

Posted by: chrisbak52 | January 31, 2008 2:50 AM | Report abuse

For those who want to know how much Romney raised taxes, as opposed to fee's which McCain raised, there was a report in the Massachusetts media from the "Patriot Ledger" in Quincy (link below). They wrote: "Romney's claim that he balanced the state budget 'without raising taxes' needs plenty of caveats. Romney and his revenue chief, Alan LeBovidge, presided over a steady series of what they referred to as measures to close 'tax loopholes' for companies."

"The tax changes, enacted over three years, provided a total of $377 million in extra revenue annually to help balance the state's budget, according to the state Department of Revenue. Of that figure, corporate taxes rose by some $228 million a year, and many of the other tax changes - such as a sales tax on downloaded software - affect businesses as well."

However THAT'S NOT ALL - the Democratic legislature forced Romney to cut his 3rd round of proposed tax increases in half: "The Democrats who run the state Legislature went along with the first two rounds. But they started to balk when Round 3 arrived in 2005 amid protests from some of the state's leading business groups, forcing the Romney administration to cut the proposed tax changes in half that year."

Link: http://ledger.southofboston.com/articles/2008/01/26/business/biz03.txt

Posted by: chrisbak52 | January 31, 2008 2:48 AM | Report abuse

"The debate's confrontational tenor highlighted two indisputable facts: The race is basically a contest between McCain and Romney heading into Super Tuesday ..."

I think not Chris; see the following analysis:

GOP: If it's a Two-Man Race, Who's The Other Guy?

On the day after the Florida Primary, and mere minutes before the Republican Debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, conventional wisdom is calling McCain the front-runner in a two-man race. The big question is, who's the other guy? The mainstream media assumes, and it would be the knee-jerk reaction, that it's Mitt Romney; not so fast.

Sure, Romney has the money (a lot of money) and, until last night, the lead in delegates. However, looking at the Super Tuesday states, where, exactly, is Romney Country? Looking at the most recent polling data, Senator McCain has solid leads in his native Arizona (53), California (173), Connecticut (30), Illinois (70), New Jersey (52), New York (101) and, surprisingly, Oklahoma (41). Governor Romney will no doubt win overwhelmingly in Utah (36) and Massachusetts (43). He is also has a very solid lead in Colorado (46).

There are, however, 11 other states that will hold either primaries or caucuses on February 5th and here's where this thing gets interesting. Up until now, the media has generally been assuming that since Governor Huckabee has been generally laudatory of Senator McCain, he is really running for Vice President, while helping McCain by siphoning off conservative voters (who have no affinity to McCain) from Romney. Not so fast. Again, looking at the most recent polling data, Huckabee has leads (though some slimmer than those mentioned in the previous paragraph) in Alabama (48), Georgia (72), Missouri (58) and Tennessee (55) - he is also very close to McCain in Oklahoma. There is no recent polling data out of Arkansas (34), but one would assume that the former governor would win easily here as well.

[The only states left where we have limited data are Alaska (29), Delaware (18), Minnesota (41), Montana (25) and North Dakota (26) - notably, all these states are caucus states, save Delaware.]


Where does that leave us? If we assume that each candidate wins all the delegates in the states where they are currently winning, on February 6th, McCain will have won 520 delegates, Romney will have won 120, while Huckabee will have won 267 - more than double that of Mr. Romney (139 delegates up for grabs). So, if this is a two-man race, shouldn't we consider Governor Huckabee as Mr. Number Two at this point?

Posted by: mschmidt73 | January 31, 2008 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for mentioning Ron Paul in the article. Wow, McCain looked very un-presidential. Well, onto SuperTue:

Super Tuesday Analysis -
The Republican Web Battle
Google Trend & Web Hits Reports

http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=44

Posted by: davidmwe | January 31, 2008 1:00 AM | Report abuse

"...McCain entered the debate riding high off of Rudy Giuliani's endorsement. Even as the debate began, news broke that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- California's popular chief executive and a national celebrity -- would also throw in his lot with McCain..."

Did reality change tonight, if so who do we know that likes messing with reality especially when it comes to politics ?

Suggest you review an interview done by Wolf Blitzer of CNN with the Govinator just prior to the debate. Among other things, Gov. S mentioned Universal Healthcare, enviromental friendly fuel sources and Immigration Reform. Arnold's Humvee has been converted to run on natural gas or propane has it not ?

Noticed that Arnold was stone faced while shown on national television, I would call that not tipping a hand while waiting for a clear "Best of the Best" maybe post Convention not Super Tuesday.

Although things could have changed, I doubt Arnold is renuiging on his words.

Posted by: truthhurts | January 30, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who supports the Born Again, Faith Based, Pro Life Lying War Criminal Mass Murderer Serial Killer in Chief and the VP of Torture should never be in the WH. Anyone who supports wasting a couple of trillion dollars of taxpayers funds in Illegal Invasions of Sovereign States should never be our leader. If one had any courage, one would call for the Axis of Evil to be indicted for War Crimes. People who support Mission Accomplished is equally guilty in the thousands of Murders. These Killers need to face Justice at the International Criminal Court. There is no Statue of Limitations on War Crimes.

Who Would Jesus Kill?

All of these Religious Psychos are Frauds. Only Ignorant Deluded Idiots would believe any of them.

http://www.un.org/law/icc/statute/99_corr/2.htm
Crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court

Posted by: mawt | January 30, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Democrat, and even I've noticed that McCain is telling enormous lies about Romney, and the press is reporting it in a he-said, she-said fashion without bothering to point out that it's untrue.

They know some of that mud will stick, cos if the media don't wipe it off, Romney can't.

When Bill Clinton grossly misrepresented the Iraq stance of Obama, the media did a pretty good job of calling it. I support Obama but I admit the press is clearly on his side.

But the media's love affair with McCain is something to behold.

Having said that, I fear the honeymoon will turn very ugly indeed. When the media finds out that McCain has booked them a suite at the Tehran Motel.

Posted by: Bud0 | January 30, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

OK, so McCain gets the nomination. Is anyone out there wildly enthusiastic about him? Is anyone voting for him without holding nose at the same time?

(shades eyes, rotates head)

nope

And I can't see crowds cheering wildly and people headed for the polls to vote happily for fifty more years in Iraq, for corporate tax cuts and deregulation, and to put women who get abortions into prison.

Personally I think McCain is going to burn out physically before the vote, but even if his stamina holds out he remains a boring speaker with a lot of unpopular positions.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 30, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Who won the CNN Republican Debate in California?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1664

.

Posted by: PollM | January 30, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

LOL.

First of all given the credibility of the news media including CNN following 7 years of lies, lies, and nothing but lies....having Anderson Cooper manage the show was a reprehensible decision.

As for McCain and Romney they better watch out....young "fox" Huckabee may well get to enjoy the benefits of their slugfest!

BTW where was the umbrage from the AARP when Huckabee supporter Norris called McCain old?

One would have thought that would have been the end of Huckabee's campaign!

Posted by: ita8111 | January 30, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

If you are a republican, you had better be preparing for the next ten years of a Clinton presidency, probably followed by 10 more years of Chelsea Clinton- the next to be anointed in the grotesque dynasty-
as president.
Watching the debate tonight, I saw a wasted amount of time with McCain saying the same lies about Romney-and Anderson Cooper not just straight out saying to McCain to stop misrepresenting what Mitt Romney said,if only to stop wasting debate time-then McCain just sitting there grining in that buffoonlike, fat cat old man manner that only he can think as clever, and Mitt Romney, a gentleman, having to repeatedly say that McCain was not telling the truth. Anderson Cooper, clearly, did not have this debate under control.

Everyone has spent the day trying to endorse McCain as the one to have it out with Hillary, to whom he will lose, in the fall. The only candidate who will beat Clinton is Mitt Romney, yet there is such jealousy by those pundits that have not measured up to Romney's success, that they have gathered, like stupid little boys, to try and oust him from the group.Arnold gets a pass-he's not that bright.Giuliani is just a loser or someone who got word of what the Clinton smear machine had on him.

Has anyone taken a good look at Cindy McCain? The robotlike appearance is suspiciously indicative that she may be back to her junkie days, when she stole hard drugs from the religious charity.Surely it is prescribed, nowadays. Are we going to have that as first lady? Why are they hiding their black child from the podium? Is a great economic leader one that sent birthday greetings to the mafioso Joe Bonano and pleaded economic ignorance in the Keating matter? How could his wife, the then junkie, invest in a shopping center deal arranged by Keating? Is this presidential? Will the campaign be any worse with this McCain fellow, whose claim to honor was that he got captured in Viet Nam? He has milked those 5 years for way too long.It is more relevant that he is, at the closer past, a crook, bigamist, and a liar-totally unqualified for president. Get back on track and wipe the scum from your eyes-we have a totally qualified first rate executive officer that deserves to be sitting in the White House-Mitt Romney. It is that simple.This is America.Remember those values you learned in school?

Posted by: usa1citizen | January 30, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Kingofzouk.

Again I ask you to give us some useful comment on why Guiliani was not able to convert the credentials you felt were so impressive into a win in any of the first few states - including Florida where as recently as the day of the vote he was saying he would win.

Seriously, though I am sorely tempted to trade insults with you, I am not being sarcastic or nasty. I am actually very interested in this question. A lot of we 'Moonbats' (as you call us) have our theories, and some GOP supporters who didn't like Guiliani have given their views. But we haven't heard from the people who had the most on the line: GOP Guiliani supporters, like you.

Edwards supporters have been commenting on his failed bid, and (while I disagree with some of their views) have in the main been civil about it. I think that it is a very valid question. It helps all of us understand the debate. Why do you think GOP voters in Florida in the main did not embrace Guiliani's vision for America, or felt that someone else could deliver it more effectively?

Posted by: anthonyrimell | January 30, 2008 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. How long until the 'McCain is a hothead' ads start?

Posted by: bsimon | January 30, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

All I can say is, thank goodness there was one person in the debate who had at least a partial grip on reality: Ron Paul. 90% of the country wants out of Iraq NOW, and McCain and Romney are trying to "out-surge" each other? Of course, they're pandering to the ludicrous Republican base, but whoever emerges the nominee in the general election is going to get CREAMED. No one with any sense--or humanity--wants to stay in Iraq any longer!

Posted by: newdadchicago | January 30, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Do we assign the job of rebuilding America's economy and reputation around the world to a man whose expertise is war?

Sorry John.

Posted by: thebishop10 | January 30, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

And we thought the Dem race was nasty. Tonight was close to going nuclear. McCain really enjoys ripping into Romney, doesn't he?

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | January 30, 2008 10:14 PM | Report abuse

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