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Mike Huckabee: A Campaign of Starts and Stops

If the presidential campaign was anything like the NBA draft, former Gov. Mike Huckabee would be an "upside" guy.

The term, which has become ubiquitous in NBA draft coverage over the past five years, describes a prospect of enormous talent and not-yet-enormous results.

"Ladies and Gentleman....with the fifth pick in the presidential primaries....Republicans voters select Mike Huckabee of Arkansas...."

It seems as though every few weeks there is something of a Huckabee boomlet -- usually centered on a news event -- in which much of the national press begins to write about how this just might be Huckabee's time. That breakthrough is typically followed by several weeks of retreat as Huckabee fails to capitalize on the opportunity before him.

The past few days provide a great example of this trend. Huckabee made a surprisingly strong showing at last weekend's Values Voter Summit, placing second in the group's straw poll behind former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) but winning among those who attended them conference at a five to one clip.

Huckabee's showing revealed -- for the umpteenth time -- that the social conservative vote is truly up for grabs in the Republican primary. Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are both appealing to the head of social conservatives -- "I am close enough to you on issues and can beat Hillary Clinton" -- but not yet making a real heart appeal.

Huckabee, especially with Sen. Sam Brownback's (Kans.) decision to drop out late last week, should be that heart candidate. But will he be? Will he finally capitalize on his upside?

An informal Fix poll of strategists both in early states and nationally produced a definite answer: "Maybe." What was clearer in our non-scientific survey was the central challenge for Huckabee between now and the Iowa caucuses -- turning voters' affection into actual votes.

"If all the people who I talk to who say 'I'd be for Huckabee if I thought he could win' would actually be for him, he could win Iowa," said Ed Failor Jr., a prominent Iowa Republican activist who is not committed to any of the GOP candidates.

That sentiment was reflected time and again in conversations with party operatives who identified a clear reservoir of good will for the former Arkansas governor but also skepticism about his chances of knocking off the frontrunners.

That skepticism has grown over the past few months as Huckabee has squandered opportunity after opportunity that his skills as a candidate have created for him.

Following his surprising second-place showing at the Ames Straw Poll in mid-August, Huckabee experienced a windfall of national press attention. Many politicos (including The Fix) expected Huckabee to translate that attention into badly needed campaign cash.

Not so. Huckabee raised just $1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30 well behind the frontrunners and roughly 20 percent of the total that longshot Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) collected in that time.

"Like many observers, I noticed that he failed to leverage the Iowa Straw Poll into financial resources," said New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen. But, Cullen added: "the guy has no negatives, leaves everyone with a favorable impression, and his calculated decision to stay out of what he called the "demolition derby" [in Sunday night's GOP debate] keeps his friends."

That's the central conundrum of Mike Huckabee. Watch him in a debate or travel with him to a series of stump speeches and you see a candidate with real star potential; Cullen calls him "best communicator of the field." Huckabee is self-deprecating and genuinely funny; unlike many politicians he has almost no pretense about him - ask around in the political world and you'll always find a good story or two that reinforce the story line of Mike Huckabee: Good guy.

But, good guys don't always finish first. Voters may like Huckabee more than they like the rest of the field but they still don't seem to think he can win. The simple reality is that no voter - regardless of what they tell you - wants to throw away his (or her) vote on a candidate they don't believe is electable.

So, for Huckabee he must find a way to bridge the gap between likeability and electability over the next few months.

How? By focusing a little less on his folksy charm (we already know he has that in spades) and a little more on his policy heft and readiness to be president. Americans want their president to sound, look and act presidential. Huckabee - at the moment - sounds like a very smart and very reasonable governor of a small state. Which, of course, he is.

Huckabee needs to grow into this race - symbolically, organizationally and financially -- at a much faster rate than he has until now. He needs to show people why he is not just a heart candidate but a head candidate as well. That he is not only the most likeable candidate in the field but the most electable.

That process may already be starting, according to Failor. "There are people who are starting to potentially separate from their pragmatism and say: "I like Huckabee the most."

Can Huckabee keep the momentum rolling? After so many starts and stops, we're admittedly skeptical. But, according to national Republican strategist Glen Bolger, who is not affiliated with any '08 candidate, Huckabee has already accomplished much in this race and ensured he will be heard from in the future.

"Even if Mike Huckabee doesn't win the nomination, his impressive performances have set himself up for a future Cabinet post and a leadership role in future national policy and political discussions," said Bolger who added that Huckabee could be "Howard Dean without the Scream. . .a small state Governor who carries a big stick."

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 23, 2007; 12:04 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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I'd be interested in seeing an in-depth article by the Post as to why Huckabee has not been able to better exploit the evident opening on the Republican side for a movement, "values" conservative, given his conservative views, his religious background, and his candidate skills. Does the problem lie mostly with his audience, who may not view him as electable because of factors outside his control (e.g., because he is from Arkansas, his name could have a negative connotation, etc.), and/or does the problem lie with him and/or his organization in terms of their skill at raising money and bringing him to the attention of voters and opinion leaders?

Posted by: fmposner | October 25, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I have lived in Arkansas for all of my 70
years, and I can tell you that you sure
don't want Mike Huckabee as your president,
he was the worst governor that Arkansas
ever had.

Posted by: mfreeman9 | October 24, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Jason, I agree that gradual changes will be much more effective. As JD hinted, short term price elasticity of gas consumption must be quite low. Thus, shock would be neither necessary nor productive. But on the time scale of years, people will be able to make smarter choices about their vehicles.

Blarg, thanks for the excellent and informative posts. Way to go, Dingell! He'll have to save this law for the the next president to sign, though. Bush won't think twice about vetoing it.

Posted by: urban4 | October 24, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if anyone is going to read this, but I'd hate to drop this hijack on another thread.

JD, I think the problem is that you believe we need to "shock" Americans into different behaviors right away. Incremental steps will still be effective and cause only adjustable changes to the economy, as I believe Urban pointed out.

For example, what if we dropped an extra 1-2% "Energy Independence Tax" on the purchase of the worst of the gas guzzlers, say vehicles that get less that 15mpg when highway and city mpg is averaged (with a partial rebate when the vehicle is used for some commercial uses). Use that money to fund additional tax incentives on vehicles that get above 40mpg. Every 6-7 years increase the average mpg that falls under the Energy Independence Tax by 3-5 mpg. Couple this with a 3 cent increase in the gas tax and a 1-3 cent increase in the gas tax every 5 subsequent years. Gas tax money can go into any number of good policies like funding clean energy research or supplementing the funds used to incentivize the purchase of efficient vehicles.

I think we can agree that these are very moderate economic changes that can cause more consumers to participate in what we are deciding is good economic behaviors.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 24, 2007 10:57 AM | Report abuse

They are more than a disgrace, Colin. I'm afraid there's no other word for them than evil.

'As part of the plan, contractors will have to receive new training on military and diplomatic procedures, as well as cultural issues. The Post says that, by approving the rules, Rice seems to have rejected calls to place all security contractors under military control.'

this is nice, isn't it? Instead of having Blackwater reports to the military [as the military commanders have so reasonably requested] they are going to send them to finishing school to learn nice table manners.

Posted by: drindl | October 24, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Relted to the global warming debate, here's an article from CNN that says "The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents."

This administration is a disgrace.

Posted by: _Colin | October 24, 2007 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Mark -- the most prominent Democratic name I've heard talked about is Gerry Connoly, who is currently Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Here's a blurb from the WAPO endorsing his reelection as Chairman:

"County Board Chairmanship: Gerald E. Connolly, the Democratic incumbent, has more constituents than any other locally elected leader. Elected at large, Mr. Connolly has put his hyperkinetic, assertive and at times bullying political

talents to work in pushing for a rail link to Dulles, enhanced public services, affordable housing and forward-looking environmental policies. Mr. Connolly's opponents -- Republican Gary H. Baise, an affable, silver-tongued environmental lawyer, and the Independent Green Party's Gail Parker, a one-issue candidate pushing rail transit -- have only a passing acquaintance with the local issues and communities that Mr. Connolly knows intimately. While Mr. Connolly may jump ship next year if he runs and is elected to Congress, he is easily the best candidate in this race."

From my vantage point, that's good news that the field has cleared for Noriega. From what I've read he seems like an impressive guy that will at least give Texas voters a real choice. Irrespective of one's political leanings, one party rule is seldom a good thing and Texas -- from an outsiders perspective -- is in need of a more lively Democratic party. At the very least, competition helps keep folks honest. I'll be watching this one closely for sure and hope you'll continue to provide local perspective.

Posted by: _Colin | October 24, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Colin, If he does not run, who would be the likely candidates? From what I have read here, NoVa could elect a moderate D or R but would not be amenable to an obvious left lib or right con. Is that right?

Let me repeat here that Mikal Watts has dropped out of the D race for the Sen. nomination against Cornyn. That means that Noriega will be the candidate. That race could be close enough that the top of the tix would affect it, but I would bet on Cornyn, at this time, all else equal.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 24, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

JD -- political will is always difficult. Clearly the country is in desparate need of real leadership on a whole host of issues, with this only serving as one example. I still hold out hope that someone will start to fill that void, even if imperfectly. I doubt we're going to see huge gas taxes passed any time soon, but there are other - less politically destructive - ways to impact consumption. I'm cautiously optimistic that a consensus can be reached regarding our need for energy indepence at least.

On a different topic, I just saw a blurb speculating that Tom Davis is likely to announce he won't run for reelction in his Congressional district. If that's accurate, I'd say Democrats have at least a 50/50 chance of picking up the seat. Very interesting.

Posted by: _Colin | October 24, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

You also like to say that reducing our carbon emissions will cripple our economy. Well, check out this 4-part interview with Thomas Casten. (You can get the gist of his idea from part 1, but he goes into more detail later.)

Industrial processes generate huge amounts of heat, which is allowed to dissipate naturally. In other words, it's wasted. By using that heat to generate electricity, Casten says we could meet 20% of our electricity demand. This electricity would be generated without emitting any CO2 or using any additional fuel; it's just an improvement in efficiency.

38% of the CO2 in the country comes from electricity generation. We could cut that by 20%. That's huge! And all it would require is some regulatory changes and relatively small startup costs to install the new generators. Not only would this not cripple the economy, it would greatly reduce the amount of fuel we need to generate our electricity, which would actually help the economy!

Posted by: Blarg | October 24, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Representative John Dingell recently introduced a bill that phases in a $10/ton carbon tax, with an additional $.10/gallon gasoline tax. Over 5 years, that'll go up to $50 and $.50. The environmental site estimates that in 2025 this tax would cause a 20% drop in carbon emissions.

JD, you seem to alternate between two arguments when talking about global warming. First, you say that there's nothing we can do to fight global warming because the problem is hopeless, so we shouldn't even try. Then when people point out the many things we actually can do, you say that there isn't the political will to do them. You criticize all the options as being useless and expensive, then criticize politicians for not getting anything done. It's like you're willing to say anything to oppose new regulations on business, whether or not it's internally consistent.

China has tremendous environmental problems. The air quality is terrible and the water in most rivers is toxic. The Chinese government is starting to make steps towards lessening their environmental impact, because the current situation is causing widespread health problems. The desire to improve the living standard of their people, coupled with international pressure and rising oil prices, will cause China to voluntarily reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. And if everyone else is signing cap-and-trade treaties, China can probably be convinced to sign as well. Don't be so defeatist.

Posted by: Blarg | October 24, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Not that anyone's still reading this blog but...

Urban4, I take back anything nasty I said about you. When you say, "Europe has established CO2 trading and had about 20% better CO2 intensity (CO2 emissions per $GDP) than the US", you are very much talking my language, and show that you're willing and able to have a discussion based on science, cost-benefits, and numbers, not emotion. Forgive me!

Colin, yes I think long term we need to go to cleaner energies. Yes, we need to get off the MidEast teat. Yes we are near (or past?) peak oil. Nothing wrong with solar, those hybrid golf carts I see on 66, or planting trees. Yes, long term it will provide a major competitive advantage if we can produce our GDP through greener energy inputs, as the price of fossil fuels skyrockets.

The question is, and I think I'm saying this for the 4th time on this blog.... which politicians will vote for a high enough tax to shock America into changing behaviors? I do not see it happening. And even if we do those things, population growth and growing energy use by China and India mean that we don't even break even.

Yes, yes, yes; if we taxed gas at $5/gallon you would cut driving in half le's say, also kill Hummer sales and spur sub-compacts (not sure what the elasticity is). Is HRC going to pitch that? Rudy? Reid or Pelosi - they're in charge now, after all.

I don't believe China will hamstring their economy for the benefit of the global environment; that's just not the way their country thinks (and they are no friend of America, despite what Wal Mart thinks). India might, but they're so poor that's also a tough sell.

Posted by: JD | October 24, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Colin, I agree that national security concerns, price volatility, and pollutant emissions (in addition to CO2, think sulfur, nitrous gases, particulates for oil and the same + mercury and other heavy metals for coal) would justify making some short term sacrifice. Perhaps not as large as the Iraq war, but even 10% of that (50 billion) would go a long way. For comparison:

"Since 2001, we have spent nearly $10 billion to develop cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable alternative energy sources."

On the long term, policy initiatives could jump start a new high tech renewable and energy saving industry.

JD, I value your opininons and the discussion here. I've read the Samuelson piece and it seems very emotional and somewhat biased. The statement the GW might be good is totally unsupported. To his defense, he has written that piece more than 2 years ago and since than we have better idea of the adverse effects.

He charges Europe with hypocrisy, but fails to mention that Europe has established CO2 trading and had about 20% better CO2 intensity (CO2 emissions per $GDP) than the US. We have things to do in our own back yard before we blame them.

I agree though that whatever we do, we won't make a huge dent in the global increase in CO2 emissions, which is clearly driven by developing countries, especially China. But for the above reasons (and much more) we should make efforts to limit CO2 right here and right now.

On that note. I'll go and switch off the light and the computer... :)

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Colin, I'm not JD and I am now 43 years beyond my B.S. in Economics. I think it is necessary and proper to try to determine cost/benefits for all proposed conduct and so do you and so does JD. Having said that, you and I also know the following.

Polluting air and water is often a tort or an administrative violation, and sometimes a crime.

If I were arguing JD's fears, I would say that our focus should be on public health and on energy efficiency/independence, not on reversing global warming, because we will not even be able to reliably measure in ten human lifetimes whether we have achieved a measurable goal if we focus on an epochal climatological event. Even the measure of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is subject to variables other than human industrial outputs, JD might argue from generally accepted sources. 600 sq. mi. of forest fires in SoCal is an example of a non-industrial variable.

But I do think JD would agree that we can insist on a cleaner environment and increased use of alternatives to fossil based fuels, and encourage conservation.

These actions could have measurable results, especially if adopted globally. These resuts could be measured against costs. He might completely agree with your conclusion, too.

But if it is phrased as a War on Warming, JD might compare it to other sinkholes like the War on Drugs, the War on Crime, the War on Poverty, and the War on Terror, and argue that this one would be the Black Hole of sinkholes.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2007 10:56 PM | Report abuse

JD -- I'm decidedly NOT an economist, so perhaps you can explain this to me. I agree with you that short term taking serious steps designed to address global warming AND to move towards energy indepence would have a negative impact on the economy. Personally, I think national security concerns justify that impact.

Long term, I'm not convinced that making those kinds of changes would damage the economy. Eventually, I think the entire world is going to have to make significant adjustment to its energy consumption. Personally, I think investing in emerging technology and energy sources will benefit us eventually -- and, in my view, probably quite soon. Sensible regulation and tax systems are not, I think, always deterants to economic growth.

Posted by: _Colin | October 23, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse


Hook 'em.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2007 9:20 PM | Report abuse

"AggieMike, are TX Rs happy with Cornyn from where you sit? From here, he looks to have neither strong support nor strong opposition."

It would be hard for me to answer your question objectively. I personally think he has balls of steel. I imagine your assessment is most likely correct.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | October 23, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

OK urban4, I admit I may have taken a cheap shot at you there. However, if you're really going to suggest that massive taxation and additional regulations (which you yourself suggested as well) won't do massive harm to our GDP numbers, well I think the conversation's over frankly; I don't know what I could say to respond to such an outlandish statement.

claudia (will you fix your name please? Your buddy KOZ can show you how; I liked drindl so much better), we are in violent agreement. GW is real, and it will cause premiums to rise and coverage to be limited (I don't know if it will destroy the industry, since all they have to do is keep raising premiums, and I'm not sure what the price elasticity of insurance is globally).

My point is, we can do all the feel-good stuff we want; we probably can't move the needle far enough to make any headway. Please....DON'T believe me - read that Samuelson piece, who quotes from the International Energy Agency et al.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

JD, your previous links were most underwhelming and unconvincing. Can you provide peer reviewed scientific literature to prove your point?? A private web site and just doesn't cut it.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 8:43 PM | Report abuse

JD, I'm talking about the global insurance industry here. Many of the biggest [I can cite you more examples] are very scared now. Because they understand risk -- and they fear actual collapse. Now imagine the effect on the world's economy of the collapse of the insurance system. Who will be able to afford a business, a home?

As an economist, if you are, then you should understand the catastrophic effects of this.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 8:35 PM | Report abuse

urban4, I won't embarrass you by pointing out the myriad flawed assumptions you made in your 8:22 post. Go do some reading and maybe we can talk.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 8:29 PM | Report abuse

It is just an assumption that taxing energy will wreck the economy. It will make it more energy efficient. IMO, far more damaging is the extreme fluctuation of the price of oil and other energy commodities. If you tax energy in a predictable manner, the economy can become more efficient over time, and less liable to fluctuations. However, if the price of the oil suddenly doubles because some nuthead in the adminsitration decides to bomb Iran, our inefficient economy will be defenseless, and you'll see $5 gas at the pump within days.

Taxing cigarettes and sound public health policy worked beautifully in weaning this country from smoking. We can do the same with oil.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 8:22 PM | Report abuse

RE JD | October 23, 2007 07:49 PM

One point is to promote personal choices that save energy.
The second is that the goverment should aggressively support green technologies, renewables, recycling and energy saving, and tax industrial polluters and CO2 emitters.

Gas tax is an excellent idea. Start with 50c the first year and increase it by 50c each of the following years up to five years. Those SUVs and commuter trucks will disappear from the highways in a hurry.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Claudia/drindl, I don't know that I 'respect' Lloyds any more or less than I respect anything, but I'm not sure what your point is. I've never denied that we're in a warming trend. My point is, is it sound governmental policy to wreck the economy through the massive taxes and regs required to make any difference on CO2 emissions, rather than use our rising GDP to fund other initiatives that have more positive impact to the public interest (including mitigating global warming damage, but also disease research, feeding the poor, strengthing the border, and not the least of which, cover a huge rising liability in entitlements to seniors).

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Claudia, I agree that the evidence for human-made climate change is overwhelming. It is also clear that the negatives outweigh the positives that climate change may bring about. JD seems to be among the few who refuse to recognize the facts.

This is akin to proponents of "intelligent design" who refuse to recognize the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I understand your points, I really do. I know it's frustrating to hear people just throw up their hands and claim something can't be fixed; but I honestly believe that America has nowhere near the political will to make the changes necessary. Don't take my word for it, read Samuelson in the WaPo, here for one:

You want to slap tariffs on China for the reasons you stated, plus others? (the cyberattacks on the Pentagon wouldn't be a bad reason, nor their threatening notions towards Taiwan) Fine by me.

Face it, we're screwed. Do you honestly, *honestly* believe that your government is ready to tax gas at $3 or $4/gallon? How about banning all vehicles that do less than 50 mpg? How about a winter heating oil tax of 100%? And even doing those things, which would crush our economy, means we barely break even, due to growth in other countries.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 7:49 PM | Report abuse

For you, JD -- this should be someone you respect:

'Lloyd's of London, the oldest insurance market in the world, yesterday urged its members to start taking global warming more seriously, by increasing prices to avoid being "swept away" in a sea of future financial claims.

Premiums will have to rise and some risks might even be classed as uninsurable due to greenhouse gases and rising sea levels, warned Lloyd's in a report entitled Climate Change, Adapt or Bust.

"Although it's almost two decades since the UN recognised that climate change was a catastrophic threat to the Earth, it's clear that the insurance industry has not taken catastrophe trends seriously enough. Climate change is today's problem not tomorrow's. If we don't take action now to understand the changing nature of our planet we will face extinction," said Lloyd's director, Rolf Tolle.',,1791115,00.html

Now you see what I'm sayin?

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

'There is no question that for the most part, any change that has a significant impact on CO2 levels (and warming) will also have a tremendous negative impact on the economy'

JD. how can you make a sweeping statement like this? You are refusing to take into account the negative impact on the economy if we don't take action... did you even look at the links I gave you?

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

"War Of The Worlds

by digby

Fareed Zakaria is very, very shrill:

The American discussion about Iran has lost all connection to reality. Norman Podhoretz, the neoconservative ideologist whom Bush has consulted on this topic, has written that Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is "like Hitler ... a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism." For this staggering proposition Podhoretz provides not a scintilla of evidence.

Here is the reality. Iran has an economy the size of Finland's and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?

What planet are we living on?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"by digby

If one political party is a complete failure at governance, but their rivals are total, all-encompassing failures at politics, which do you suppose will win the favor of the citizens?

It looks like we are about to find out.

I just saw Rahm Emmanuel on Hardball saying that because some people in the industrial midwest have economic insecurity nobody in the country cares more about the war. Neither apparently, do they care about the fact that the Democrats look like a bunch of bumbling fools every single day as the Republicans punk them over and over again with savvy political tactics. Good to know.

Great point. In politics we ask ourselves which party is worse. Is this the same in all other countries? Which is worse? MikeB?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, I had to read the story to find that the ex-JAG was DFL. More ex-JAG officers in Congress would probably be good for the Republic.

Mikal Watts, the rich trial lawyer who sounds like John Edwards and who has more money than John Cornyn and Lt. Col. Rick Noriega together, has pulled out of the D Sen. race in TX. You may recall that a TX D posted here that Watts was the choice of the DNCC after I had posted that Noriega had been endorsed widely by TX Leggies and by Briscoe and Hobby, the grand old men of the Bentsen wing of the TX D Party.

AggieMike, are TX Rs happy with Cornyn from where you sit? From here, he looks to have neither strong support nor strong opposition.

Noriega seems to have excited the internet Ds. His service in Afghanistan and his having run the logistics for the Houston Katrina rescue seem to be his calling card.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

True. But a party that represented the people, as opposed to the current parties, wouldn't have to worry much about getting re-elected would it. Provided they did what they said. The president is nto the key. The infastructure to take senate and house seats is the key. Yeah, we could elect an indy president. no one would work with him. Both parties would sabotage him/her and the government so their party gets in the mix. Sad day in america.

Party over coutnry used to be called treason.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Is this AggieMike?

It would be a good thing if MH wins IA.

I tend to divide politicians into "good government" first or "reelect me" first when I am oversimplifying. The party system stresses "reelect me" so it does not always push the "good government" types to the fore.

Rufus, take note that your dream third party would soon push "reelect me" over "good government" because party survival is the raison d'etre of a party.

McCain and Huck are "good government" types, imho. So seem to be Biden and Obama. Not casting stones, I will refrain from characterizing others.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Beware of Huckabee though, he has a concealed gun licence.
Hopefully he won't ban teaching evolution in science class.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I also agree with someone's prediction above that MH will win Iowa by Thanksgiving.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | October 23, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Mark in Austin -- regarding your short, to the point environmental post:

My Fiance is a biologist. She strongly believes in made-made global warming. But she also believes that, even if she's wrong, moving in an environmentally conscious directions can't be a bad thing, right?

I wonder if a lot of the alarmists think the same way. On the off-chance that we're right, we need to save the world. But even if we're wrong, telling a giant lie is OK because it accomplishes a good end-result.

By the way, I missed (some of) you guys. Hopefully I'll be back for a longer stretch this time.

I like Mike Huckabee. A lot.

Posted by: mikeparrott | October 23, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

At least Ron Paul opposes the Iraq war based on a simple common sense argument.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I do think it's very charitable to be doing Huckabee's advertising when the governor doesn't have the money to pay for it himself.

But no amount of puff pieces can prop up a campaign that simply cannot support itself. It there was really Huckabee mania out there, Bob Jones III would not have supported a man whom he thinks belongs to a cult. Now that's pretty sad.

It's up to you Chris. You can continue to try to make this rock swim or can actually report on what's going on Ron Paul's grassroots support, his fundraising,

Posted by: sean4 | October 23, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Yes, judging from the posts that were put on this blog, Ron Paul supporters can be quite annoying. Heavy on propaganda, light on substance. I checked out his web site, it doesnt' give enough information to decide whether his policiy proposals are sound.
I do know that his stand on reproductive choice and education (support home schooling). are not.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Location: NA

Party: Independent Reply #: 3

Date: Oct. 23, 2007 - 5:15 PM EST


This is more proof that today's so-called "conservatives" a really fascists. They were unable to make rational answers to the arguments of the Paul supporters, so they adopted the usual fascist approach."

See everybody. It's not just me. don't shoot the messanger's. The gop is not a party of fascists becasue I, or anyone else, says you are. You are fascists by your words and actions. The reason you are angered at us "liberals" is because you are angered at yourselves, but don't knwo how to release the anger. The go after the person that "makes you angry", not knowing YOU are the cause. You just don't know who to deal with your anger gop. Change can only come throguh conflict. Mental change can only come through internal mental conflict. Don't hate us. We are truth. We are freedom. We are peace. We are God, in a way.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

JD asks
"The question you have to ask is, what level is acceptable? How did you plan to convince China and India to play along, or is America the main bad guy here and therefore has to endure all the pain?"

First, America needs to be a leader on the issue, not a whiner avoiding responsibility in claiming that 'india and china don't have to meet kyoto - NO FAIR!!'

In terms of incenting developing countries to follow suit, perhaps a first step is to start addressing the problem, perhaps by joining Kyoto, or whatever is replacing that plan. Once we're actually addressing the problem, we can then turn around and start to work with trading partners to incent them to also meet improved emissions standards. Perhaps work with the WTO to start imposing labor & emissions requirements. A sensible plan would probably be most lenient on the least developed countries & start imposing tighter requirements as contries get more developed. On large countries that are polluting excessively, start imposing carbon/pollution tarrifs. China, for example is building new, dirty coal power plants at an astronomical rate; I forget the number but a recent Nat'l Geographic claimed a number that seemed implausible. So here we are, buying cheap chinese goods, which we can't build here for the same cost due to wage & pollution laws, so why not start demanding that China start raising their own standards? We're downwind of them, so cleaning up their pollution benefits us too.

Anyhow, that's just a stream-of-consciousness list off the top of my head. Point is, making excuses about how hard it is to solve the problem, or how unfair it is to impose stricter rules on ourselves than others does absolutely nothing to solve the problem. Its time to start acting & stop complaining.

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

You people have balls that's for sure. Hey, this sounds like what blarg and mark did to this site. Thought police. Silencing all "liberal" voices. Cowards.

"The ban against Paul-supporting is not categorical, Erickson and Wolf made clear.

"Hey, we're sure *some* of Ron Paul's supporters really are Republicans. They can post at any one of a zillion Ron Paul online forums. Those who have *earned* our respect by contributing usefully for a substantial period of time will be listened to with appropriate respect. Those who have not will have to *earn* that respect by contributing usefully in the other threads ... and not mentioning Ron Paul. Given a month of solid contributing, send one of us an email and we'll consider lifting the restriction on your account," Wolf writes.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

wow. not only are they silencing the left, they are silencing their own. Is what the gop doing as unprecedented as it seems? Free sppech, where has it gone? Where is the leval playing feild. Is this even legal?

" bans new Ron Paul supporters

The ubiquitous and web-savvy supporters of Ron Paul now have one less forum in which to vent their rage.

The influential conservative blog placed a ban last night on all Paul commentary from readers who are recent arrivals to the blog.

Paul's followers are angry that the Libertarian congressman can't seem to get traction in national polls as he bids for the Republican presidential nomination.

Paul -- a representative from Texas who ran for president in 1988 on the Libertarian Party ticket -- remains mired in the low single digits.

The post on Redstate, "Attention, Ron Paul Supporters (Life is *REALLY* Not Fair)," begins, "Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal."

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

In terms of actual political news, MPR (public radio) is reporting that an Iraq war veteran / former Marine Corps JAG is entering the race to replace Rep Ramstad (MN-3, R).

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 5:28 PM | Report abuse

RE JD | October 23, 2007 04:46 PM

JD, your numbers are simply wrong. Not surprising based on your sources. Check this web site for energy intensity btu/$GDP.

The US does worse than Europe as a whole, Japan, India, China, you name it.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I really am a republican. Go Fred thompson 08. Ideas for the future


Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Today is going to be my last day. I am joining a campaign and do not want my opions to get out. Can't have that. Can't say what we really feel. NOOO.

But who am i really supporting? hILLARY? Paul? Edwards? Obama?

Peace out. What a waste of time this site is. The clones do not want conversation or truth. the clones want division and propoganda. What a waste of time. They will never change. Fascists will always be fascists I suppose. Take it easy gop. Don't hurt anybody. Any more than you have. Remember, we are all americans. Don't hurt your countrymen over their ideals. We didn't you. you had your chance, you blew it. Don't blame the left. Look in the mirror if you want someone to blame

God Bless. God will judge you all, many years from now. What will you say to God?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Colbert Huckabee 08. They both about the same odds on them, I would say. They should team up. Get Jennifer aniston and jerry seinfeild on the cabneit. THEY COULD RULE THE WORLD


President Huckabee? I doubt it. With a name like that he has as good a shot as a mormon becoming president.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

OK, I think the threadjack has played out. This is a Huckabee entry. Sorry to divert the conversation.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Reading the posts and not making a comment was a bit hard for me. but since most are very good, I waited. This has been the best points of view I have seen in a long time. Great work in your opinions. To all WELL DONE.

Posted by: lylepink | October 23, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, proud, on making me look that guy up:

Another Dobson type, apparently, afflicted with the same highly elastic morality.

" one has bowed enough to the mullahs this time, and they're seeking their pound of flesh. It's almost like Al Sharpton who must be catered to in order for any black politician to be considered worthy enough for his support."

There is an unfortunate dollop of truth in that analogy. Interesting that none of the GOP candidates have 'bowed' enough to them this time around. Does that make Bush the Did Anything To Get Elected Candidate? Funny how this label gets slapped onto McCain and HRC willy-nilly yet describes Bush much better than either of them at least in this particular context.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 23, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

" Let's break down the on-message jargon and lumps of propaganda into the base elements of truth. For what the air campaign, and the "offensives into neighborhoods," are really saying is brutally frank:

"We invaded your country under knowingly false pretenses, fixing the intelligence around the policy, because our leaders, who were in possession of vast amounts of intelligence that undermined or refuted their stated casus belli, couldn't reveal their true, long-held intentions. ('I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil,' Alan Greenspan says.) We destroyed your infrastructure, we destroyed your society, we destroyed your history, we enthroned extremist militias to rule over you, we tortured your sons and fathers in the same hellhole that Saddam used, we killed a million of your people and drove millions more from their homes. And we intend to stay here for as long as we like, in the vast 'enduring bases' we are building on your land. Now if you don't accept this, if you keep shooting at us and trying to make us leave, then we will go on bombing your families in their homes, we will go on killing your women and children, until you stop."
Chris Floyd

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Dr. JD again. Something more substanive.

"Monday, the Pentagon acknowledged a long-unspoken truth: that the bombardment of civilian neighborhoods in Iraq is an integral part of the vaunted "counterinsurgency" doctrine of Gen. David Petraeus. The number of airstrikes in the conquered land has risen fivefold since George W. Bush escalated the war in January, as USA Today reports: "

Chris Floyd

Bombing civilians? Kind of runs counter to what the right wing meat puppets have been saying, doesn't it?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

There is no question that for the most part, any change that has a significant impact on CO2 levels (and warming) will also have a tremendous negative impact on the economy. Of course we should encourage tech advancement for more green sources, and getting out of the mid-east dependency cycle is reason #1. That won't solve even 1% of the warming problem however, as sources I've posted on this blog before attest to.

The question you have to ask is, what level is acceptable? How did you plan to convince China and India to play along, or is America the main bad guy here and therefore has to endure all the pain? We expend less energy per global unit of GDP than anyone - do we get any props for being a clean producer, relatively speaking?

Are you willing to accept a $2/gallon tax on gas and other carbon to drive reform? $3/gallon? Is there a politician with the will to propose this?

Like I said, the Earth is due to start the next ice age, and it would be disastrous if it did, so maybe warming isn't so bad comparitively speaking.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

"The Chinese apples are cheaper, but have an immensely higher environmental cost. Someone like JD would look at the situation and say that buying local apples is bad for the economy, because it's a waste of money. But the money I pay for the local apple stays in the community, instead of leaving the country. "

YOu summed up what a national economy should be. more jobs for americans, more money going to americans. Not totally, but mostly. right now we have chaos. Not all the r's fault. Teh clinton's have a cross to bear of the economy. But you people know I view the clintons as republcains anyway. The republcains democratic fall guys :)

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Is every single Ron Paul supporter spending all their time posting irrelevant (and largely paranoid) comments on blogs? I was wondering how he could have raised as much money as he has and still have so little support. Pretty inefficient use of resources, seems to me.

Of course, until he moderates his doctrinaire (not to mention flaky) Libertarian stances on the issues he's not going to do any better than the Libertarian Party ever has.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 23, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

(This is a joke. But then again, with the Clintons, who knows?)

I'm sorry, I really don't find Ron Brown's death funny. I think it's sad that you do.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse

' His lack of enthusiasm is so one has bowed enough to the mullahs this time, and they're seeking their pound of flesh. '

Well, I do agree with you proud, I remember a time when these people didn't have so much influence, when there were republicans of principle that I could vote for. But even McCain, whom I once respected, has licked these ayatollah's boots.

But they were actively courted by Rove and Gingrich and the RNC and made to feel empowered, so this is a monster you guys created for yourselves. The question is, what can you do to take it back?

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

No, Really, I Could See This Story Hurting Hillary With Cat Owners

Caitlin Flanagan is one of those writers who rarely if ever fails to offer something interesting, and now she's offered the kind of argument that people will be buzzing about: Hillary Clinton's appeal is greatly limited by little acts like giving away her cat Socks as soon as she left the White House.

"Once the presidency was over, there was no room for Socks any more. After years of loyal service at the White House, the black and white cat was dumped on Betty Currie, Bill Clinton's personal secretary, who also had an embarrassing clean-up role in the saga of his relationship with the intern Monica Lewinsky..."

"In the annals of human evil, off-loading a pet is nowhere near the top of the list," writes Caitlin Flanagan in the current issue of The Atlantic magazine. "But neither is it dead last, and it is especially galling when said pet has been deployed for years as an all-purpose character reference."

Flanagan's article, headed No Girlfriend of Mine, points out that Clinton wrote a crowd-pleasing book Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets, in which she claimed that only with the arrival of Socks and his "toy mouse" did the White House "become a home".

Being Clinton, she also lectured readers that pets are an "adoption instead of an acquisition" and warned them to look out for their safety. (Buddy, the chocolate labrador, it should be noted, bounded into a road soon after leaving the White House and was promptly run over.)

"Now, you and I know that Buddy was going to talk to an independent prosecutor about what he knew about the Marc Rich pardon when he "just happened" to get hit by a car, and that Buddy was supposed to have been on Ron Brown's plane flying to Bosnia but missed the flight."

(This is a joke. But then again, with the Clintons, who knows?)

Nice photo of Socks here.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 23, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is a great bass player. That tells you alot about his personality, IMO. Bass players almost never lead bands, and he does not have the right personality to be President.

If he can raise over $5 million this quarter, maybe he will have a shot. I don't think he can do it. Sorry, Mike.

Posted by: goneresistance | October 23, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

b, if Land himself were running maybe I'd criticize him less. Your analogy isn't quite right. Land is not the "Nader" here; more like a Judas in this battle, as I see it, and I will continue to voice my opposition to his tactics of undermining support for perfectly good R candidates and failing to endorse someone who espouses the social con platform to a 'T' like Huckabee.

Land says he cannot support a 'lesser-of-two-evils' candidate in the general election, but why not endorse someone now, while there's a chance at that endorsement having significant effect for the primaries? His lack of enthusiasm is so one has bowed enough to the mullahs this time, and they're seeking their pound of flesh. It's almost like Al Sharpton who must be catered to in order for any black politician to be considered worthy enough for his support.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 23, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"How nice of Land to make threats of sabotaging the election with a third party candidate, and not only fail to endorse a great candidate but actively work against the nomination of several others"

Well, while I don't disagree with your point, at the same time Mr Land makes the same point I was making yesterday about Nader. Some Dems are bitter about Nader 'stealing' votes from Gore (still!). My point is that Gore didn't make the sale - how is that the fault of Nader? Likewise for Huckabee. Perhaps Judge Crater is correct, in his 3:30 post, that Gov Huckabee is too principled to compromise his own positions in order to appeal to those nuts.

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Hence, even though he's the only truly evangelical candidate remaining, they don't support him and this cripples his poll numbers as well as his fund-raising."

Correct-amundo judge. Here's an excerpt from a Newsweek interview with the venerable Richard Land...
"We met with Gov. Huckabee recently, and he said, "Well, why don't they vote for me right now? They've got me. Why do they need a third-party candidate?"

LAND: Well, I think if anybody other than Giuliani is the nominee, there won't be a third party.

"But his point is that you are not helping him to beat Giuliani."

LAND: Well, that's not my job. That's Gov. Huckabee's job. I just encourage people to vote their values and their beliefs and their convictions, and when I am asked why Huckabee isn't doing better, I can only answer that that's up to the voters.

How nice of Land to make threats of sabotaging the election with a third party candidate, and not only fail to endorse a great candidate but actively work against the nomination of several others. This guy is a disgrace. I'm sick of the party being bullied by these types.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 23, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, with local food, too, it's generally fresher and therfore more nutritious and better tasting [texture better too] and doesn't need to be treated with toxic gases to preserve it during shipping.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

"... as Huckabee fails to capitalize on the opportunity before him."

Geez, you make it sound like it's entirely up to him. A fact that you gloss over is that MH isn't picking up the groundswell of evangelical support that Bush II did. Bush told them whatever they wanted to hear and used language in his speeches that they could decode to support their own narrow-minded perspective. MH is too principled, too smart, and too much his own man to appease the American Taliban in this way. Hence, even though he's the only truly evangelical candidate remaining, they don't support him and this cripples his poll numbers as well as his fund-raising.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 23, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Colin, I think that belief is based on looking at isolated situations, not the big picture. A coal-burning power plant without carbon sequestration technology is cheaper than one with the technology. Therefore, reducing CO2 emissions will cost money, and hurt our economy. But what if the solution is to eliminate the coal plant entirely and replace it with something new? That innovation would both drive economic activity and reduce emissions.

Or look at the local food movement. I can buy apples from China or apples from a local orchard. The Chinese apples are cheaper, but have an immensely higher environmental cost. Someone like JD would look at the situation and say that buying local apples is bad for the economy, because it's a waste of money. But the money I pay for the local apple stays in the community, instead of leaving the country. The farmer can then spend his money locally also, and it continues to help the community. I spend a little more, but everyone benefits. And, in the process, I reduce my carbon emissions by eating locally. Like many ways to fight global warming, it's win-win, but many people don't see that.

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Agree with Colin on this -- just on the cost of fighting middle eastern wars -- look how much we'd save. This one, with this next request brings the total up to 800 billion and it willl pass a trillion before it's over...

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

You know, I've never understood the argument that becoming more environmentally friendly would cause a net economic loss. As bsimon noted above, creating a more green economy should actually be seen as a sound investment and precisely the type of inovation that has made the US the superpower that it is today. When you add in the legitimate national security variables that Mark notes, this strikes me as a no brainer.

JD -- since you seem to have a different view, I'd be curious to hear why you're so positive that making changes now will lead to net economic loss. From my vantage point, when the US leads the country is succesful. When we refuse to inovate, our economy suffers.

Posted by: _Colin | October 23, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Everybody here seems to agree, Huckabee a 'nice guy.' Heck of a nice guy. So maybe that's his problem--since when have repubilcans elected a 'nice guy.' They seem to like 'em mean.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Mark, becoming independent of the Middle East is a great goal. And most of the time, the same technologies and lifestyle changes can be used to fight global warming and limit our reliance on foreign oil. (Increased energy efficiency, solar and wind power, less reliance on goods shipped around the world, etc.) I think that if liberal politicians framed their energy policies that way, they could gather more conservative support.

Of course, there are some technologies that reduce our oil dependence but increase our C02 output. Coal, both solid and hypothetical liquid, is terrible for the environment. And increased drilling for oil in the US is a similar problem. So there are some differences between the two camps. But there's enough common ground that we should really be able to get something accomplished.

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2007 3:05 PM | Report abuse


The real question, Claudia, is: what can we do about climate change, and are we (humans, Americans) affecting it to any great extent in the first place?

Well, if you look at the atmosphere as a closed system, which it mostly is --gravity, of course keep much from escaping, and you know that it is also a chemically active and volatile soup, not neutral gases, and you also know that we are pumping millions of metric tons of emissions into the air every day for say, a hundred years or so, can you really expect nothing to happen? Hundred, thousands of different chemicals interreacting with each other and the atmosphere itself? It just seems illogical to think that would have no effect.

Now, as far as whether we will be able to do something about it, afraid I don't have much faith in us as a species. At this point in time, I honestly don't think people will fight hard enough for their survival to make it happen. We have developed amazing technology but emotionally we have not kept pace -- we still make decisions with our emotionall primitive lizard brain. So I think there's a good chance we are an evolutionary dead end.

'You could reasonably argue that we ought to be TRYING to make the Earth as hot as possible to ward off what will eventually kill off billions (if only because the food supply will be devastated).'

We can only live in a narrow temperature range, JD, witness how many people die in a heat wave.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The US can do a lot to reduce CO2 emissions. Furthermore, we can afford it too. Don't blame China or India where many people live on a couple $s per day, where whole communities lack electricity.

See if you can limit emissions and save money along the way. Just replacing all incandescent lights with fluorescent would be huge savings. Many communities in the US don't recycle. Everything just goes into the landfills. Compare recyling rates between EU and US, we have a long way to go...

Of course, doing nothing and justifying it is always easier...

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Well said mark.

So tell me, why is the right going after not only gore but the nobel lauderate for this? Do the liars and propogandists on the right have no souls? Are they robots? Are they wood puppets. Please enlighten me.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 2:53 PM | Report abuse

My additional $.02 follows. The snowball of technology change increasing productivity has been accelerating downhill. That may be sustainable using fewer resources than growth required previously.

On the other and, simply seeking clean air and clean water while becoming independent of the Middle East is enough reason to develop and push alternate energy now.

Any "climate stablizing" impact would be a welcome bonus.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee sounds like a nice guy. I'm sure he would side with all that is wrong with this coutnry, based on the debates. But he seems like a stand-up comedian waiting for his chance to deliver "lines". That doesn't interest me. one liners and zings. Teh proof is in the puddin. Where does he stand on the issues that matters most? On the wrong side of the issues, unfortunatly. Nice guy, wrong message.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

JD, I think you're missing my point. There's no reason to assume that economic growth will continue at the rates it has for the past ~150 years. We are currently facing the consequences of that expansion, which include rising costs of fossil fuels and global warming from overuse of fossil fuel. The rate of expansion isn't sustainable. Landsburg's argument, that we don't need to do anything because our rich descendants will solve the problem, is faulty. If we don't do anything (thus putting economic expansion above all other goals), then our descendants won't be rich. He's the one being short-sighted, not me.

You say that there's little America can do to reduce C02 emissions. I think that statement is fundamentally flawed in two ways. First, there's plenty we can do. Per-capita, our emissions are far greater than those of other countries. If we reduce our own emissions, then we're reducing the world's emissions. And because our emissions are so high, we can reduce them more easily than other countries can.

The second flaw is much greater, and the fact that you don't see it says a lot about your worldview. I'm not talking only about America. Nobody who takes global warming seriously thinks that the solution is to reduce emissions in America alone. The problem is that other industrialized countries are already reducing their emissions, and we aren't. If they were standing by and doing nothing, we'd have no chance. But if we do the same things as Europe and Japan have already done, the whole world will be better-off. This is a global problem, which needs global solutions.

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"The point is, there's little America can do to reduce CO2 emissions in the world"


"and does it even make economic sense to try (versus investing in curing disease, feeding the poor, or as the writer suggests, eventually moving cities)."

Yes, it does. If you compare the economic risk of doing nothing with the potential reward for pursuing alternative (i.e. non-fossil based) energy sources, the payoff is potentially huge. By developing the technology now, we can become the vendor when developing countries like India and China decide to do their own conversion. China appears to already be recognizing the unsustainability of their current energy policies. Do we want to be the buyers or the sellers of the technical solutions?

From an economic perspective, we tend to do very well when we are the country doing the research & development. It wouldn't take much political leadership to create a new 'space race' type program around changing our energy sources that will pay off hugely in the future.

The excuse that we can't compete with India and China because of emissions standards is a weak excuse - and is only an excuse.

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee is very pro-illegal alien, and he was a much bigger spender than Bill Clinton as Arkansas governor. That's not a conservative record.

Ron Paul is a whole different story. He's the one candidate who isn't scared to stand for the truth and the Constitution's limits on government power.

Huckabee seems like a nice guy. He'd make a great next door neighbor or brother-in-law, but Ron Paul is the only Republican who deserves to be president.

Posted by: tightwad | October 23, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"I do wish, however, that more mainstream journalists and pundits -- who, at least on some level, know that what I'm saying is true -- would acknowledge it once in a while. The truth is that the right and left are not mirror images of each other, and the two sides don't always fight by the same rules. "

Anonymous liberal

We used to be a nation of laws. The laws applied to all. John edwards is right, there are two americans. One a fascist police state and a free country. who will win? The american people decide come 2012

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm in complete agreement with AndyR on Huckabee being the guy that could pose a serious challenge to any Dem in the general election, esp. Hillary. The good news is that Republicans are so lost that they don't see this.

I could never cast a vote for Huckabee because of his stance on social issues, but I like the guy. He's the only R candidate that doesn't scare me. And since there's always that 50% chance that an R can win, I have converted several of my R friends to support him vs. any of the others. Funny how little they knew of him.

Posted by: femalenick | October 23, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Jd, what is your area od expertise? Are you a climate sceintist? If not when do you get your info? From reliable sources, or right-wing puppets who are making a fortune lying to the elderly daily? If the latter, why come in here acting like you know what your talking about. At some point a liar becomes a propogandists, not you but your sources.

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"No President has ever conceded that his ability to eavesdrop on a foreign enemy abroad could be second-guessed by judges. And no court has found that the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful searches apply to foreigners working out of Karachi. This bill creates a bad precedent on both counts.
This passage is incredibly misleading. While it is true that no court has found the Fourth Amendment to apply to foreigners in Karachi, Pakistan, this is a complete non sequitur because no one has ever claimed otherwise and nothing in the proposed bill would provide any protections to foreigners in Karachi. The limited oversight measures contained in the bill are intended solely to protect the rights of U.S. persons, and as stated previously, the bill actually dilutes the protections that existed under the 1978 law. And to the extent the Journal's editors are claiming that no president has conceded that his ability to spy abroad can be subject to judicial oversight, that too is simply not true. FISA has always applied to wire-based communications between someone inside the U.S. and someone abroad, and no president until the current one has ever asserted the power to disregard FISA's warrant requirement. They all followed the law. But again, the editors know this; the goal here is not to inform but to deceive. "

anonymous liberal

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

RE drd6000 | October 23, 2007 02:28 PM

I love Ron Paul, hes is a breath of fresh air. The only problem is that you can't be a good president by always saying "No".

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, I understand your points, but I think you're short-sighted. Yes, oil will run out at some point, and people might be worried, but something will replace it once it becomes economically feasible (ie, tech advances and oil prices go up enough). There were similar fears when deforestation had occurred around 1900 - what will fuel the expanding economy (and geography) of the United States?

The point is, there's little America can do to reduce CO2 emissions in the world, and does it even make economic sense to try (versus investing in curing disease, feeding the poor, or as the writer suggests, eventually moving cities). Read this guy, a FANTASTIC writer I've read for decades, and a liberal so you'll like him Blarg.


Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

JD argues
"The Earth goes into ice ages that last about 100,000 years, with warming trends of about 15,000-20,000 years in between. We're 18,000 years into one of those warming trends now, and all human civilization and advancement has happened during this last one. You could reasonably argue that we ought to be TRYING to make the Earth as hot as possible to ward off what will eventually kill off billions"

JD, what your argument ignores is the rate of change. All the evidence, that I've seen anyway, says that the current climate changes are happening far faster than any previous cycles. The reason this is important is because the ecosystem needs time to adapt. When the warming-cooling cycle happens over 100,000 years, ecosystems change; species adapt to the change. The problem we're seeing today is that the climate is changing extremely rapidly - over decades rather than thousands of years. Species like fruit flies have short enough generations that they are adapting quite handily. Most plants and animals are not capable of adapting that rapidly.

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"I've written previously that the Great Unmentionable in American politics, the elephant that is always in the room but must never be acknowledged, is the existence of what I'll call (for lack of a better term) an honesty gap between the left and the right. Or to put it slightly differently, it is simply not the case that partisans from each side of the aisle are equally willing to lie and mislead in pursuit of their political goals.

It is understandable why people insist that the right and left in this country are mirror images of each other. We do, after all, live in a country with only two major political parties, parties that have been fairly evenly matched historically and have enjoyed a similar degree of political success. This, combined with the American journalistic norms of objectivity and balance, naturally leads to a sort of symmetrical, yin and yang approach to covering politics. Nancy Pelosi is treated as the left-wing equivalent of Tom Delay. Al Franken is the left-wing equivalent of Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. And the editorial position of the New York Times is the yin to the Wall Street Journal's yang.

For some reason, we are all supposed to pretend this is true, that the only real differences between the left and the right are ideological in nature. It's completely taboo to point out what every close observer of American politics knows, i.e., that the difference between the left and right is not just ideological but tactical. Put simply, there is a far greater willingness among right-wing partisans in this country to push the boundaries of honest discourse, to move beyond mere spin and into the realm of outright deception. Our political discourse is asymmetrical.

Anonymous Liberal

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 23, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee can't raise any money because of his record on spending in Arkansas (up 65% in 8 years) and his statements on immigration (the same reason McCain stopped raising money.)

It's time to stop calling Ron Paul a "long shot". He's closing in on $10 million for the year. He's already raised $1.7 million more this quarter. He's saturating NH, IA, NV, and SC with radio ads, with TV ads to follow.

Ron Paul has more volunteers than the rest of the candidates combined -- over 50,000 in over 1,000 different Meetup groups nationwide. His support is broad-based and active. Doesn't that count for something?

Ron Paul has the best record of any Republican candidate in the dozens of straw polls the party has held around the country. Yes, the results are skewed by his supporters turning out in disproportionate numbers -- just like they will in the primaries.

Posted by: drd6000 | October 23, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Exactly Jason--positive feedback loops, as Urban said earlier.

I have read that people in areas of Florida where's the price of house insurance has risen so fast many people have to sell. Same is happening in Sourthern Calfiornia of course. But the first really major crunch will be drinking water. That's already happening and it's a biggie.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"How long have had economic growth at the current level?"


Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse


is he the guy who doesn't believe in evolution and that earth is 10 000 y-o ?

is he the guy who believe canadian parlement is an igloo ?

w*w. youtube. com/watch?v=pYQNo-Xxd0w

let's try to be serious here....

Ron Paul 2008 :)

Posted by: gagnonmax | October 23, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The real question, Claudia, is: what can we do about climate change, and are we (humans, Americans) affecting it to any great extent in the first place?

Now, before all the uber-greenies and trolls out there start yelling, keep in mind that the Earth has gone through many many melting/cooling periods in the past. There is an interesting discussion from a non-emotional POV ("Oh no, Katrina was powerful therefore warming must be the cause") here:

Of course, this line of reasoning or thought (economic tradeoffs) won't sell Priuses or win Nobels, so it doesn't get the press, but that's OK. And at the end of the day, India and China (both exempt from Kyoto controls) will put out far more CO2 than we could ever manage.

Or think about it this way: The Earth goes into ice ages that last about 100,000 years, with warming trends of about 15,000-20,000 years in between. We're 18,000 years into one of those warming trends now, and all human civilization and advancement has happened during this last one. You could reasonably argue that we ought to be TRYING to make the Earth as hot as possible to ward off what will eventually kill off billions (if only because the food supply will be devastated).

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Claudia, has a valid point. The EPA Chesapeake Bay Program's computer modeling shows some pretty serious consequences in our lifetimes. Parts of Dorchester county could be underwater in 35 years. Dorchester county, for those that don't know, is home to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. This large wetland is essential to keeping the bay healthy and has significant carbon sequestering benefits (possibly more that a forest of the same size, this is being studied by the University of MD). Higher water levels in the bay (but reduced flow in tributaries) and the loss of wetlands will harm the bay and increase salinity. This will increase the salinity in the water table where our drinking water comes from. This is all in our lifetime. So this discount rate should probably not be 10$ or even 5%. It probably ought to be 0%.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 23, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

And I add to the chorus, worthy threadjack.

'If you expect economic growth to continue at the average annual rate of 2.3 percent, to which we've grown accustomed'

I have to say though, we have absolutely no reason to beleive that this will be the case. Too many variables. What if someone 400 years ago had predicted what we would be making today--or even how we would be living? How long have had economic growth at the current level? I honestly don't know... 50 years? 30?

Human beings are notorious irrational and emotional. Sh*t happens. Wars -- world wars, happen. Nuclear weapons happen. Plagues happens. Technology happens. We change, we have thought revolutions. if you read science magazines in the 50s, [I did] we were supposed to have flying cars by now and all our work done by robots....

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

RE JD | October 23, 2007 01:56 PM

A quantitative and economic approach to climate change is useful, but I don't buy 2 major assumptions of the Slate paper. I'd contend the following.
1. Climate change will not oly affect future gene generations, but it already affects the present generation.
2. Future generations may not be able to do as much about climate change as we can. This is because of positive feedback effects (such as increased absorption of unlight due to the loos of surface isce and snow).
The unexpected rise in atmospheric CO2 is an observation (fact) that supports this point.

Posted by: urban4 | October 23, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

JD, as an economist, do you seriously think that makes sense?

The reason that's the average annual economic growth rate is because of how fast we're burning through our resources. Look at how much oil we've used in the last century, how much water we've wasted, and how much we've damaged our atmosphere. Growth at 2.3% per year without paying attention to the environment is what CAUSED global warming, which is the topic of the article!

The current economic growth rate isn't sustainable over the next 400 years. It might not be sustainable over the next 50. So the author's question, "Does it really make sense for you and me to sacrifice for the benefit of those future gazillionaires?", is just ridiculous. If we don't work now to improve their quality of life, our descendants won't be gazillionaires; they won't even be as rich as we are now.

This isn't the stupidest point brought up in the article. (That would be the "What if an asteroid kills all of us?" question). But it seems to me that Landsburg really hasn't thought this argument through, and anything he says about the environment is highly suspect.

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Reviewing Krugman"

Huckabee certainly has an unusual name, that can easily be misspelled. But I've never seen it butchered quite so badly...

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The financial support for Huckabee is off the charts. The underperforming charts!

Ron Paul raised over $400,000.00 (for a radio campaign)in the last 3 days.

He also raised another 420,000 in his regular online fundraising in the same period. This does not include offline monies.

Pauls message delivers $$$$. Huckabees message (?) delivers sympathy.

Posted by: cthurow | October 23, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

JD, I thought the article was reasonable, but leaves out a great deal of material, like the far more rapid pace of climate change than was expected. There's the huge economic effect of the long drought and water shortages in the West [insome of the fastest growing area]

The fact that the poles are heating and melting much faster than was anticipated:

And that catastrophic events like storms and wildfires are becoming more frequent and intense. You may have noticed that Southern Califonria is burning down... a long drought coupled with Santa Ana [hot and dry] winds that have increased in speed over recent years and now get up to 100 mph. 16 fires, none under control. It's looking to be another NO to me:

I live probably 15/20 miles from the coast but my house insurance rates went up this year already because of the severe storms we have been having, which generally take down all these huge old trees... the point is, there's no way to really calculate all this stuff.

Posted by: drindl | October 23, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"But as a democrat I can only hope that he doesn't get the nod, because I still believe that he is the ONLY candidate who could beat the democrats."
Posted by: AndyR3 | October 23, 2007 12:58 PM

I've been thinking along the same lines. He certainly has the credentials to unite the Republican vote behind him. I'm less sure that his belief in creationism will allow him to garner as many independents as Giuliani, though.

I believe the best shot for the Republicans is a Giuliani/Huckabee ticket, provided that the inclusion of Huckabee gets the big name Christian concervatives to back the ticket and not advocate a third party candidate or a boycott.

Posted by: JasonL_in_MD | October 23, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Glad I was able to add value, iyenori!

The most fascinating statement was this one:

If you expect economic growth to continue at the average annual rate of 2.3 percent, to which we've grown accustomed, then in 400 years, the average American will have an income of more than $1 million per day--and that's in the equivalent of today's dollars (i.e., after correcting for inflation).


Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

dear Huckabee supporters,
Don't you think that all of this media smokes and mirrors is too little too late?
MH has collected 347 K so far this quarter, while Ron Paul (the long-shot??) has collected 1.8 Million in the same period. That is while many of his supporters are holding back contributions waiting for the November 5th "money-bomb" which is a concept invented by the campaign to convince the otherwise scared Murdoch-media to start giving him some coverage.

By the end of the quarter, Huckabee will have achieved a remarkable sum of about 2 Million... while Ron Paul will have achieved around 10 Million... with the slow death of Thompson and McCain, don't you think the value voters should find a real humble christian to support instead of alienating the rest of non-christian conservatives by trying to support an evangelical priest??

This race is mainly Guiliani versus Ron Paul... money talk... and the polls tell you about the general public, not about the 20% of enthusiastic voters who will actually take the trouble and find the time to GO and VOTE... you need ferver in your supporters to get these poll numbers to the voting booth... and so far only Ron Paul has garnered such support.

Take a look at him before it is too late, and before you have 2 democrats left in the race.

Posted by: rar76 | October 23, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

JD, worthy threadjack.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 23, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

No need to apologize for the "threadjack," JD. Five lines make no never mind (some people paste in whole rants); the Slate reference is well worth reading for its theoretical approach; and you've enlarged this elderly contributor's vocabulary.

Posted by: iyenori | October 23, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's speaking at a local university in a few weeks. It's free, but there's a high demand for tickets, so there's a lottery system. My friend who works there might be able to get in. Though I personally don't care much about what Clinton has to say, I'd definitely go if I had the chance, just for the experience.

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Even the NYTimes isn't buying:

Reviewing Krugman [Greg Pollowitz]

A not so positive review of Krugman's latest, The Conscience of a Liberal, in today's NY Times. The conclusion:

Like the rants of Rush Limbaugh or the films of Michael Moore, Krugman's shrill polemic may hearten the faithful, but it will do little to persuade the unconvinced or to advance the national discussion of the important issues it addresses. It may even deepen the very partisan divide he denounces. Where is the distinguished economist when we need him?

Distinguished ? Hardly. I visited the bookstore last weekend. I noticed all the Lib books were marked 30% off, or more, while all the Conservative books are full price. See the market does know value. Look for Krugman's book and Plame's book and clinton's book in the bargain bin before X-mas.

I watched about 5 minutes of Krazy Keith last night, the most my stomach could take, which I suspect is the same for many and the explanation of the low ratings. I am wondering is this supposed to be an actual news show or fake news like Stewart or something in between? He never mentions that Plame has been demonstrated to be a liar and instead trumpets her bravery. At least Stewart is funny sometimes and O"Reilly reports both sides. Olberman has on a single guest who represents the most extreme liberal view and Keith has his nose so far up his butt, I am surprised his glasses don't fog. If it is that fake, it should be funny, shouldn't it?

Posted by: kingofzouk | October 23, 2007 1:28 PM | Report abuse

proud asks
"Any cahnce you'll catch Bill Clinton at the State Theater in Minneapolis today?"

Zero. He doesn't need my funds more than I do. I wouldn't mind seeing him speak at some point - other than a campaign event for his wife.

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The biggest weakness Huckabee Finn seems to have is a reluctance to go after BIG money. If the small money can pour in, it might have the same impact. And his campaign is finally showing some serious heft in the polls in Iowa, and at a pretty good time, too. You don't want to peak too soon (and attract serious fire from the other campaigns), but you also don't want to have too little, too late.

As for New Hampshire, it's true that Huck is highly unlikely to win there, but gaining a good showing, say maybe double digit support (or close to it), can keep the momentum going.

It'll be a cold day in hell before I vote Republican anytime soon, but I like the fact that Huck and McCain are riding a little higher now rather than a hypocrite like Romney.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 23, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I'd never vote for him, but Huckabee seems to be a decent guy. He has a legitimate resume to be president, he speaks well, and he seems to honestly believe what he says. And he's willing to go against the Republican party line on some issues, such as his support for a carbon emissions cap. If there were more Republicans like Huckabee, that would be a good thing.

But he's got little support in the polls, little money, and little name recognition beyond the fact that his name is funny. I don't think he's going to win the nomination.

Posted by: Blarg | October 23, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, Any cahnce you'll catch Bill Clinton at the State Theater in Minneapolis today?

"Bill Clinton's visit will start at receptions in Minneapolis for donors who give between $1,000 and $2,300 per person, before he heads off to a 6 p.m. program at the State Theatre.
The theater program is open to donors who paid between $25 and $100 per person."

I'm sure your friends here at the Fix could come up with some questions for you to ask, if you're going to attend. :)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | October 23, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with the assumption that Huckabee hasn't capatalized on his good showings. In the past two polls out of Iowa, Huckabee was in third in both, and if you average them out he is in second behind only Romney who's support is going nowhere. As bsimon pointed out he isn't going to go to #1 in the polls overnight, but in two months he has gone from 6 or 7th to 2nd in Iowa.
I have said before that in 1 month from last week (Thanksgiving) he will be number one in Iowa.

But as a democrat I can only hope that he doesn't get the nod, because I still believe that he is the ONLY candidate who could beat the democrats.

Posted by: AndyR3 | October 23, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

The analysis focusing on 'can Huckabee capitalize on this opportunity' seems to wish for a huge surge of support for the candidate, whereas he appears to be making slower, but steady progress instead. Is he better off with a 'slow and steady wins the race' mentality, or a shoot-the-moon strategy aiming to catapult to the top? Given the size of the field, perhaps competing as though its a war of attrition is the better strategy. As the Thompson candidacy continues to gain zero traction, Huckabee will keep attracting supporters, albeit slowly.

Posted by: bsimon | October 23, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

OK, sry for the threadjack, but I just read a GREAT article discussing the economics behind Global Warming.

It's a quite middle-of-the-road and clinical summary of the issues, and I recommend it.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

It's strange. It is as if the main stream media (and 'political insiders') think the candidates stopped raising money on Sept 30 when if fact they can actually continue to raise money in Oct, Nov, etc.

Example: After this weekend Huckabee is beginning to catch fire. Starting around mid-Oct, on Huckabee's web-site the goal was to raise $200,000 by Oct 31. That number was met by Oct 21. So the goal was increased to $450,000 by Oct 31. As of right now (noon Oct 23) they are at $347,000 and rising. This is just on-line. Fundraising events are happening as well. Is it millions - not yet - but it is definitely headed in that direction.

Also, Gov Huckabee's name recognition is growing. That will lead to being higher in all the (quite frankly useless) national polls (state polls matter more). The Chuck Norris endorsement was covered by ALL the major news sites. Name recognition. Today Huckabee's named is mentioned in the cartoon strip "Prickly City". The cartoon is kind of a joke about Huckabee's name (ie Dan Bartlett) but again it gets his name out to the non-political junkie universe (which is much of America).

All these items show a campaign moving in the right direction with increasing speed. It takes time to go from 'unknown' to 'known' to 'nominee' to 'President'. But Gov Huckabee is taking steps every day in just that direction.

Posted by: jeffcobb | October 23, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Interestingly, the best thing for Rudy would be if Huckabee wins Iowa. By denying Mitt 1st there he cripples Romney's chances and makes NH a shootout. Huckabee has no chance in NH, wrong kind of Republican there.

Posted by: JD | October 23, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I lean Democratic but I still really like Huckabee. He comes across as a consistent conservative and someone whose word is his bond. I receive his campaign emails and believe your analysis is spot on - you need to act like you're in the top tier if you want to be in it!

The fundraising approach is markedly weaker than the leading Democrats and Republicans (like asking for a 'Buck for Huck' - seriously, a $1 contribution is more trouble than it's worth...start raising big cash!). I hope someone in his campaign realizes it's time to step up!!!

Posted by: aug10morris | October 23, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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