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Mitt vs. Mike -- The Final Countdown

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- "Let's have some fun," said former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee last night from the stage of the Val Air Ballroom, a bass guitar slung over his trademark red sweater and a motley crew -- including former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough and martial artist Chuck Norris -- standing by his side.


Video: Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee grabs a guitar and plays with a local band in Iowa. (Pool Video from AP)

The night was vintage Huckabee, a rollicking, unpredictable campaign that has somehow installed the former Arkansas governor as the frontrunner heading into Thursday night's Iowa caucuses.

A few hours earlier -- and just 30 miles away -- former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney had spoken to several hundred people at an event in Ames. It was a typical Romney affair; brutally efficient (he arrived right on time, spoke for 20 minutes and took no questions), well staged (Romney stood in front of a huge banner promising a "Stronger America") and on message (stronger families, stronger economy, stronger military).

The contrast between the two events typified the larger contrast between the two men and the kind of campaigns they are running, crystallizing, for The Fix at least, the choice that Iowa Republican voters will face in less than 48 hours.

Romney is all corporate competence -- from his meticulous appearance (the hair ALWAYS looks freshly cut) to his stump speech heavy on his accomplishments as a businessman. "It's time to have a president who understands how the economy works and I will be that president," Romney said last evening.

Huckabee is the free-wheeling everyman. Twenty-four hours after he made a much-ridiculed last-minute decision to pull a negative ad during a press conference designed to unveil it, there was Huckabee on stage plucking at his bass to "Twist and Shout" and "Roll Over Beethoven".

Between songs, Chuck Norris talked about a virtual barbecue he and his wife plan to hold at their Texas ranch to raise money for Huckabee as he headed into the Feb. 5 mega primary. Norris also told of how he had accidentally choked a Marine unconscious (don't ask) during a recent trip to Iraq; Kids with Fair Tax t-shirts weaved through the crowd; a car outside the hall was draped with a banner that read: "We drove 800 miles 2 say Iowa can lift up America...Start the Huckaboom." Like much of Huckabee's campaign, the event was part political gathering, part carnival.

On the eve of the crucial Iowa caucuses, voters must decide whether they want the level-headed efficiency that Romney has brought to every job he has held in the private and public sector or the unorthodox approach to campaigning and governing that Huckabee embodies.

Polling conducted over the last few days shows that voters remain seriously conflicted. The Des Moines Register poll released on New Years Eve put Huckabee ahead of Romney, 32 percent to 26 percent; a CNN/Opinion Research survey released yesterday put Romney on top of Huckabee, 31 percent to 28 percent.


Video: Mitt Romney spoke in Ames, Iowa Tuesday evening, pushing family values as a core part of his campaign. (washingtonpost.com)

Over the past week, Romney and his campaign have worked to use Huckabee's tendency toward humor against him in a series of press releases entitled "No Laughing Matter: A serious look at Gov. Mike Huckabee's record and policy beyond the one-liners".

Romney himself hinted at that same message in his Ames event last night. "This is a serious election," he said. "This is not a frivolous election."

The idea behind the Romney push is to raise questions about whether Huckabee is really up to the job of president. Sure, you might like him and think he is hilarious, the argument goes, but is that what we really want in a chief executive?

Huckabee's pushback -- to the extent his unconventional campaign has had one -- is simply that he, unlike Romney, is the genuine article, not to mention a true social conservative. Huckabee typifies the idea that while politics is serious business, it doesn't always have to take itself so seriously. He certainly doesn't, and that attitude has trickled down to most of his campaign staff and supporters.

Caucuses are a turnout game. Romney's model is tested and traditional; he has spent millions reaching out to voters via television ads, direct-mail pieces and visit after visit. In these final 48 hours, Romney's campaign will make thousands of calls to its identified supporters, making sure they show up at their designated precinct and caucus for him. The Romney campaign -- like the candidate -- is a well-oiled machine.

Huckabee, meanwhile, will depend on a patchwork of allied interests -- home schoolers and evangelical churches primarily -- to drive his supporters to the caucuses. It's not dissimilar to the makeshift turnout operation that led to Huckabee's surprise second-place finish at the Ames Straw poll in August, the official start of the Huckaboom in Iowa and nationally. Can it work a second time when tens of thousands of voters need to make it to the caucuses as opposed to 2,500 (or so) at Ames? We just don't know.

What we do know is that Iowa Republicans face a clear choice between Romney and Huckabee tomorrow night, and how they decide will have an out-sized impact on the shape of the race and the identity of the eventual GOP nominee.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 2, 2008; 7:36 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Fix Picks: What if Iowa Changes Nothing?

Comments

Huckabee = Jimmy Carter with an R

Posted by: kirtfalcon | January 3, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Romney's stiffness
Watching Mike Huckabee on 'The Tonight Show' tonight I was struck with this thought--Mitt Romney would clean-up if he didn't have to meet voters in person.

Romney has the best hair since Reagan, a staure to compete with Superman and generally looks fit and healthy. He has an impressive business resume and experience as governor of the most liberal state in the nation. He has great intelligece, a lovely family, no personal bagage to speak of and can personally finance the entire GOP for the forseeable future. His positions, which have come under criticsm for being too flexible, nonetheless blow the right way at the right time.

But his problem is that he can't campaign forever as a cardboard cut-out, and you eventuallly need to meet people face-to-face. And I can tell just by looking at the crowds he meets that he just doesn't connect.

It all came to me when I was waching Jay Leno interview Huckabee on the night before the Iowa caucuses. This goofy, middle-aged guy who looks and sounds like Gomer with something approaching a combover had me smiling, chuckling, and nodding enthsiastically. It was clear he had a conection with Leo, the band, and the audience. He even played base with the band. He was just cool.

Its not just in comparison with Huckabee that Romney suffers. Reporters have called him: tense, coiled, rigid, and not coping well with the pressure. In a news report I saw someone asked to rate the various candidates--there was no sound but I saw her pantomiming a robot shaking hands--I knew immediately to whom she was referring. And you don't see him signing autographs the way McCain, Obama, and Clinton do. Americans deserve a president that relates to them and inspires them to greatness.

Romney supporters would say we're not electing someone to be your best friend. While that's true, I would say we're looking for the best person, not the best cardboard cut-out.

Posted by: prentis.clairmont | January 3, 2008 3:13 AM | Report abuse

Blarg,
Romney did not just work with the opposition - he had to work with the supermajority in both houses opposition. If Romney did not hold those positions, he would not have seen the light of day in Mass. All the people that he had to work with and most of the people he was working for were liberals. So it's either modify your beliefs or don't get elected. In today's litmus test politics, a candidate has little choice in many instances. Do I think that Romney was completely honest with the people of MA on his core beliefs? No. But how different is that from any other candidate? I think that it is simply magnified for him based on the state he was governor of. 999 times out of 1000 a candidate that is completely truthful will not get far in an election. This is because people are not monolithic - and as a candidate, you need to be able to accomodate a number of people with different positions on various issues. In Mass, those are very liberal issues. In the rest of America, much more centrist. My gut is telling me he is less conservative than he now claims but nowhere near the liberal he once claimed to be. And as a slight aside, I think that it is safe to say Romney has always taken his religion seriously.

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 11:35 PM | Report abuse

After the Leno show tonight, Huckabee should consider a career in stand-up as Arkansas won't take him back!

After he released OVER ONE THOUSAND criminals without any legal education and poor decision making!!

In Arkansas Mike's decisions could not hurt us much, but if he were to lead our nation, no one knows the impact!

I recall the embarrasment when President did the same during his last days as President....he owed people favors and he set criminals free to settle the score!

I don't think Mike is funny.....I don't think he could lead our nation.....we will never know of course. If Huckabee wins nomination, it will be Clinton/Obama 2008 which may not be so bad!

Posted by: voiceoreason | January 2, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Commander-in-chief is a serious position requiring top management skills, meticulous self-control and determination. Mitt Romney is the best candidate. Huckabee might be a fun guy to go hunting with, but he is definitely not qualified to lead our nation. Of course, the democrats would love to go against Huckabee because nationwide he is so beatable!

Posted by: ALMANOJODO | January 2, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

"Priest Charged With Lying About Mob Ties


Email this Story

Jan 2, 5:32 PM (ET)

By PETER JACKSON

(AP) The Rev. Joseph F. Sica, left, leaves a court hearing in Harrisburg, Pa., Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008,...
Full Image

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - A Roman Catholic priest was arrested on perjury charges Wednesday, accused of lying about his relationship with a mobster in testimony to a grand jury investigating a casino owner's possible ties to organized crime.

The Rev. Joseph Sica was arrested outside his home in Scranton. He is an adviser to Mount Airy Casino Resort owner Louis DeNaples, who is the subject of the grand jury investigation.
"

What is a chrsitian? The label. Or the words and actions?


r

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

hahahahhahahaha

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 7:07 PM | Report abuse

ATTENTION, READ ALL ABOUT IT!

Mike
Huckabee
is
leading
this
country
up
to
higher
ground.

Mike
Huckabee
is
creating
a
new
American
spirit.

Mike
Huckabee
leaps
two
to
one
over
Mitt
Romney
in
the
latest
Iowa
poll.

Mike
Huckabee
is
the
Rockstar
President
Iowa
voters
are
thrilled
to
support.

Iowa
voters
are
taking
a
ride
on
the
Huck-a-bus
increasing
their
speed
to
Huck-a-boom
speed!

GO MIKE GO!!! GO MIKE GO!!! GO MIKE GO!!!

Posted by: vote4mikehuckabee | January 2, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"love your posts, chrisfox. i was raised as a pentecostal fundementalist myself, and also disaffirmed my beliefs at age 12. I just didn't beleive that Jonah was swallowed by the whale, noah's ark, etc. i told my sunday school teachers these were teching metaphors and was banned from discussing it--so I quit.

Posted by: claudialong | January 2, 2008 06:24 PM
"

Drindl hit the nail on the head. Phycological metaphors. The power of God, is the power you give God. The power of good is power inside you, as is evil. What you do with that power is up to you.

Is a hindu or buddist so because they call themselves that? What makes a christian? MEmorizing allegories? Or is it words and actions? We are all one. The labels and lines are only drawn to seperate us so the few can retain power.

That is what america was founded for and on. Power to the people, over the state. Power to the people over any one religon, or religon at all. The gop and the "religous" right have forget much. If they ever "knew" at all in the first place. They are not christians. They jsut act like it. for the fellowship. But what happens when they encounter people that actually live the teachings, then what.

I saw a picture of Krishna and Jesus walking hand and hand. It made me smile. The liens are drawn to divide us. They are not real. This planet is God's. Whatever "God" may be. Not man. to speak for God, and misled, is the worse possible offense to a spiritaul person. They told us their would be false prophets.

Read your books deeper gop. you are misrepresenting religon and our country. Read teh books and documents again. You have been mislead by lies and propoandists. All for profit.


r

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

claudia: for me it was a lot less noble. I wanted to sleep in on Sundays and by way of getting out of Sunday school I found myself telling my parents that they could make me attend but they could not make me believe, only later realizing there was a lot more to it than getting out of Sunday school.

I admit relapses while sitting in police cars.

But it solidified for me with questions like the physical location of heaven; I don't remember ever being required to believe the myths to be literally true

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

What did McC do in NH?
["sneaky tactics in the Granite State"]

chrisfox8, Have you ever read the essays in "The Will to Believe" by William James? I'm just curious.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Ron Paul? Please. OK, yes, Paul has all the best positions among the Republican candidates -- hardly ringing praise but all his -- but he also has every one of the most irresponsible positions too.

End the Iraq occupation? Let's give Paul credit for being the only Repub willing to say so.

Abolish the IRS? Probably gets him a lot of free drinks when he goes out but let's see the plan to make up the revenue.

Abolish all social safety nets? Yeah, great idea, if you're one of those nincompoops who uses the phrase "my money" in a policy discussion.

Trust the marketplace? DINGbat. 'Scuse me I think this is my floor.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

cmon Chris..."...What we do know is that Iowa Republicans face a clear choice between Romney and Huckabee tomorrow night..

Part of of YET ANOTHER Soviet Pravda like omission of Ron Paul and the MSM FalseDialectical Hegelian MEDIA orchestrated "contest" or "choice" between TweedleDee and TweedleDum STATIST and LACKEYS for the GOP(Huck and Mitt) and its hypocritical "base" of warmongers, corporate benefactors and oblivious RRighters....

Their(and the REST of the Candidates)shilling and genuflecting towards the GLOBALIST CFR(read their GHOSTWRITTEN TOMES in Foreign Affairs (cfr.org) are quite revealing..

All of them!... EXCEPT honorer and FOLLOWER of his oath to uphold and follow the CONSTUTION and his and it'sCONSTITUTIONS support of INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM, liberty, republican government and US Soveriegnty..

Congressman Doctor Ron Paul
http://www.ronpaul2008.com

Posted by: ChrisBieber | January 2, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

love your posts, chrisfox. i was raised as a pentecostal fundementalist myself, and also disaffirmed my beliefs at age 12. I just didn't beleive that Jonah was swallowed by the whale, noah's ark, etc. i told my sunday school teachers these were teching metaphors and was banned from discussing it--so I quit.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

uh jmhuntsman don't put Romney-supporting words in my mouth. I've been to Salt Lake, thank you VERY much, and we've already had one CEO president. See: previous discussion about religion, mentally replace references to God with economics and prayer with free markets and you have my position in a nutshell.

Romney is running from everything good he did as governor and trying to run as the berserker successor.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

>And since we're show-casing our study of
>logic, comparing faith in God to acceptance
>of slavery is a false comparison.

It would be if I had made it which I didn't. We'll add "straw men" to your list of logical violations.

You said that most people would call "ridiculous" the idea that praying automatically denotes a fool (which I didn't say either but, well, what an embarrassment of riches). That a majority believes something has little to do with whether or not it is true. I gave some examples.

The history of science is a list of popular notions overturned by scientific truth; I know you'd like some things left in a pristine, unexplained state but for me it's damn the torpedoes and fund the accelerators. I await the insribed tablets from the Large Hadron Collider.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

You hit the nail on the head Chris--- An evangelical pastor/entertainer (Huckabee) vs. an experienced, supremely intelligent presidential candidate (Romney). We are voting to represent and run the most powerful country in the world. The future of America and the direction it is headed is an extremely important and serious matter. I want the best, most qualified person leading us, not a clownish amateur that doesn't have a clue. I can see why all the respected, true conservative talk show hosts, journalists, bloggers, etc. have come down so hard on Mike Huckabee and John McCain (have you read the list--including Rush Limbaugh's latest statements today) on Iowansforromney.com?). Huckabee's latest wacko mis-statements and publicity stunt fiasco on Monday just reiterates why I'm voting for competence.
Go Mitt!

Posted by: jmhuntsman1 | January 2, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

chris, I know you see yourself as enlightened, and I'm happy you have such a high opinion of yourself.

Logic and faith are not incompatible. You have painted them to be opposites, and they don't have to be. St. Thomas Aquinas affirmed that human reason was a gift from God which could bring us closer to him. Thus, I did not make an ad populum fallacy. I simply challenged your assertion.

And since we're show-casing our study of logic, comparing faith in God to acceptance of slavery is a false comparison.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Mike you make too big a deal that some of the founders believed in God. Back then, everybody did, it was considered so obvious that disbelief was shocking if not criminal.

It was also self-evident that nonwhites were meant to serve the Master Race, and that the world is only a few thousand years old.

We know better now.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

>chrisfox, I'm sorry about whatever tragedy
>in your life caused you to abandon your
>faith (assuming you once had it).

You'll have to gt up a lot earlier in the morning if you want to bait me. Simple passive-aggression rolls right off.

I affirmed my disbelief at age 12. The tragedy was the maturing of my ability to think things out. God made no sense, and as I get older he (OK, "He") makes even less. Sorry.

>Just because you say you're not attacking
>someone doesn't mean you're not attacking
>someone.

Now you sound like one of those postmodern intellectuals who had liberals policing each others' speech for "eurocentrism."

I am allowed to state and justify my disbelief as clearly as you are allowed to testify your faith. Deal. I thought only radical feminists treated disagreement as attack.

>To claim Huck is a fool because he prays
>is r[i]diculous, and most would agree.

Logical fallacy: argumentum ad populum.

Anyway I did not say he is a fool. I said he had beliefs that would hinder his ability to approach complex problems, much less solve them.

I happen to like Huck in some ways (hey, he plays instruments!), but I think a president should be a logical man. And I have good recent supportive evidence.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

but none of that made it into the Constitution, huh Mikey?

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 2, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

This just in: The "STOP" button does not prevent a post from reaching the light of day.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Well I suppose the national day of prayer or John Adams calling for prayer with the other founders or the congressional resolution to affirm our Christian identity were all just weird accidents.

Funny to me that the 2 "giants" in your book are Deists/Agnostics. Forget Madison, Washington, Adams, etc.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Well I suppose the national day of prayer or John Adams calling for prayer with the other founders or the congressional resolution to affirm our Christian identity were all just weird accidents.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I beleive most americans understand Jefferson and Franklin to be giants in the creation of this nation and they weren't christians --and they were very specific about not wanting an 'establishment' of any particular religion, christian or otherwise. That's not a 'war on Christianity' or an 'atack' -- it's just fact.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

chrisfox, I'm sorry about whatever tragedy in your life caused you to abandon your faith (assuming you once had it).

Just because you say you're not attacking someone doesn't mean you're not attacking someone. To claim Huck is a fool because he prays is rediculous, and most would agree.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

...please move the theological (and a-theological) arguments over to the WaPo/Newsweek "On Faith" blog (always linked on WaPo's home page). They have a number of regulars who offer cogent arguments for each side, and in a lot better quality than anything I've seen here so far.

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm not attacking anyone, USMC, stop feeling persecuted. It's your own doubts gnawing at you; once you accept that 2 + 2 = 4 your faith begins to weaken. Why fight it?

But I'm well-versed in a lot more than personal attacks. As a student of theology I probably know more about Christianity than you could learn in your remaining years. I've read the works of Iranaeus, Tertullian, and Origin while you're busy bookmarking the juicy bits in Timothy and Leviticus.

I also grew up in the cradle of America, Jamestown and the Continental Congress restoration were class trips in grade school, and I happened to believe in this country and the egalitarian ideals it was founded on.

For you, it's about the pillory and the stocks and, yes! the hot irons and the gallows. Quite a piece of work.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

And for a Godless liberal, you are well versed in personal attacks.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

wow USMC for a military man you sure have a sketchy understanding of "attack."

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"A person who prays... believes, by way of some help from an impossible being, he can achieve things..."

So in today's America, I have to respect your right to be Athiest (capitalized).

But you can attack men of faith because God is 'impossible'.

God bless America.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

No USMC_Mike, intolerance has nothing to do with it. It's not intolerant to note that logical thought and illogical thought are at odds. They are, after all, opposites.

A person who prays for an outcome believes, by way of some help from an impossible being, he can achieve things simply by wanting them.

And that his virtuous behavior in unconnected part of his life will add support to his power to achieve by wanting.

That's nuts.

Anyway, Huckabee says he does not believe in evolution. Maybe if you prefer to think in terms of some grand time-that-never-was in the 17th century, yeah, men from monkeys seemed crazy.

Now, disbelieving it is crazy.

We've already had seven years of a fundamentalist buffoon. No more.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"ChrisFox8 probably represents many D's, who wouldn't have lasted a day in our nation's early days, when we affirmed our Christian values and heritage."

Can you point me to something in the Constition so providing? If not, your use of the word "we" is meaningless.

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 2, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"AggieMike, I get your point, but I do think that the Powell Doctrine would have left us in better stead on the ground "

Mark, if you define a better stead on the ground as never having gone to Iraq, then you're right. The Powell Doctrine precludes, and is incompatible with, counter-insurgency.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

chis - I believe you're the intolerant one, implying that prayer and logic are incompatible. You have every right to your faith, but you're the one who made the intolerant comment to begin with.

claudia - I didn't know Thomas Jefferson was the only historical figure involved in the creation of the nation - or that he single-handedly represented the religious pulse of America. Thank you for your narrow-minded enlightenment.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Although Jefferson believed in a Creator, his concept of it resembled that of the god of deism (the term "Nature's God" used by deists of the time). With his scientific bent, Jefferson sought to organize his thoughts on religion. He rejected the superstitions and mysticism of Christianity and even went so far as to edit the gospels, removing the miracles and mysticism of Jesus (see The Jefferson Bible) leaving only what he deemed the correct moral philosophy of Jesus.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

That's nice, USMC. Tell you what: next time your car goes into a ditch, you pray it out. I'll stick with pulleys and levers and mechanical advantage.

Some people may get moral guidance from faith but it's no help in solving actual problems.

As for persecution of atheists in early America, it's nice to be reminded that so many came here specifically to exercise their own brands of intolerance.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

(Benjamin Franklin [1706-1790] American public official, writer, scientist, and printer who played a major part in the American Revolution.

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

"He (the Rev. Mr. Whitefield) used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard." Franklin's Autobiography

http://atheistempire.com/greatminds/quotes.php?author=27

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"a deep belief in prayer means that he lacks the resources required to solve problems."

ChrisFox8 probably represents many D's, who wouldn't have lasted a day in our nation's early days, when we affirmed our Christian values and heritage.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- I don't think it was Rumsfield's strategy, so much as his own personal weakness/incompetence. He refused to hear bad news or take advice. Optimism is not a strategy.

What do you think of McCain's sneaky tactics in the Granite State? Push-pulling sank his ship in SC, so he's going to sink MR in NH? He doesn't speak to me.

Jim said this: "It was Bush I who ordered the war to end because a) the coalition signed up to liberate Kuwait not overthrow Sadaam and b) we had no plans to deal with the aftermath of the fall of Sadaam"

But, these 2 points are in line with the Powell Doctrine.

a. is number 8: Broad international support
b. is number 5: Exit strategy

Powell's Doctrine would have prevented us from engaging in THIS war completely, based on number 5, which precludes any sort of nation-building, peace-keeping, or any other MOOTW (Military Operations Other Than War).

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

You military theorists are forgetting something. If the occupation had been
realistically staffed as recommended by the vindicated General Shinseki, then yes much of the chaos we have seen would have not happened.

But you forget one thing: it would have been carried out with the same ham-handed stupidity as the occupation that really happened, the same arrogant triumphalism would have asserted itself. Things will work out because we're righteous and strong, so we don't have to get into details or work very hard at a plan.

The occupation would have treated every Iraqi as an insurgent, and in doing so turned all Iraqis into insurgents.

Face the reality: America's power to change the world is a lot less than you think it is.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Huckabee would be a rotten president for one simple reason: he does not have a logical mind. Huckabee thinks discursively, not logically; he is a congenial man and is probably a terrific storyteller but a lifelong grounding in fables and a deep belief in prayer means that he lacks the resources required to solve problems. The guy doesn't believe in science for God's sake.

And his social conservatism is precisely wrng for America, and unwelcome to all but the dirty little 26%

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

'Claudia, why do you fear Huckabee? You immediately attacked Joe b/c he's standing beside of Huckabee. Why do you fear Huckabee? Could it be b/c he's a man of principle, which is a concept your afraid of? Or could it be b/c he believes in an actual fair tax, which means lazy bums who don't work & rely on the gov't. to provide their living would have to the pay the same as everyone else? Let me know, though, what scares you most: his principles of providing a simple & fair tax policy for America or the fact that he stands on the solid rock of the Lord Jesus?'

i'm not 'afraid' of huckabee - i merely mentioned he seems to be overly soft on certain violent characters. there's a lot of thing about scarborough that are loathsome-- I mentioned only one of them.

the orwellianly-named 'fair tax is an illusion, a scam, a joke, snake oil for the gullible. read mark in austin's posts on why it can't possibly work. it would also alllow those lazy bums who live off their inheritances to continue to get away with paying a far smaller share of their income in taxes than the rest of us do. do you think Jesus wouldhave approvated of that? You seem to beleive in His teachings rather selectively.

one question -- would you support a rabbi or priest for president?

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

AggieMike, I get your point, but I do think that the Powell Doctrine would have left us in better stead on the ground - see JimD's post on this thread and proud's and mlalliso's on the next one. I guess I think your point is of limited applicability and Rummy's light footprint could have been achieved as a working subset of the Powell Doctrine, but not vice versa.

Also, aside from McC, JB, and BHO, I do not know how strong the other candidates are in this regard. Skip DK and RP, who would gut the military, of course.

I can listen to McC speak.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The way I see it: McCain gets the nomination with a pronounced lack of enthusiasm. Huckabee sinks like a stone after showing he has no true national stature; Romney's play as Bush Part II has the expected result, Giuliani suffers from exposure .. leaving John "Damaged Goods" McCain promising to follow Osama (of the scratchy audio cassettes) to hell, shaking a palsied fist.

Nobody can listen to McCain speak for more than 30 seconds, by the way.

But then after the nomination is done and the campaign is on, with a 20-point difference to Hanoi John's disadvantage ... he has to drop out because he has cancer.

WHICH MEANS that we don't have to keep troops in Iraq another four years because John has some preadolescent fantasies about victory parades.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | January 2, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike

Come on, Mike, I was a career naval officer, there is no way Powell stopped Gulf War I on his own. It was Bush I who ordered the war to end because a) the coalition signed up to liberate Kuwait not overthrow Sadaam and b) we had no plans to deal with the aftermath of the fall of Sadaam. Furthermore, the war plans anticipated a more robust fight from the Iraqis.

As for the applicability of the Powell doctrine to the Iraq occupation, Rumsfeld over-ruled the Army Chief of Staff on force levels for the occupation. Events have certainly vindicated General Shineski. We did not need overwhelming numbers for the invasion, but we needed a lot more troops to restore order in Iraq. I firmly believe that we would have avoided over 75% of the post-invasion problems if General Shineski's counsel had been followed on force levels for the occupation.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 2, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Of course 41 was involved too.

But the Powell Doctrine called for overwhelming victory. And as we've seen this time around, you can't have an overwhelming victory in an occupation/insurgency.

Powell's doctrine could only work as long as we fought American-style wars only.

It's like an expert hot-dog eater who only competes in hot-dog eating competitions, while the world is full of all types of food-eating competitions, and the hot-dog doctrine only working so long as he is eating hot dogs (and NOT jalapenos)

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Dave: It's pragmatic to seek common ground with the opposing party, which Romney did as governor of MA. If he was running as that pragmatic compromiser, I'd respect him for it. But he's not.

Romney used to campaign as a liberal and govern as a liberal. He said he'd be more friendly to gay rights than Ted Kennedy, and repeatedly affirmed that he was pro-choice. Now he's running as a social conservative who's always been pro-life, who loves hunting and religion. I can't just put that into perspective, or call it pragmatism. Either he was lying to the voters in MA, or he's lying to the primary voters now. And either way, Romney isn't someone voters can trust.

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike writes
"Not only did Powell overstep his bounds and undermine the President, he was so concerned with appearing to win overwhelmingly that he never took risks and didn't finish the job in Iraq."

Uh... Wasn't that the call of President Bush (41) and Sec of Def Cheney? Or did they order Powell to march to Baghdad and he refused, to which they submitted & covered him with the "What do you do once you get to Baghdad" argument?

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

"Any Republican voting in the Democratic primary or caucus for Obama is doing it because they are disgusted with their own party and attracted to Obama's message."

I second that. I wouldn't pass up an opportunity to vote in the R primary, and would only turn to a Biden for sanity.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

PS, I don't think Rumsfield was any better. FTRecord

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

bryant flier: you win the moron of the day award.

Quality trumps quantity in this case. Congrats!

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 2, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- do you think the Powell doctrine was best? Not only did Powell overstep his bounds and undermine the President, he was so concerned with appearing to win overwhelmingly that he never took risks and didn't finish the job in Iraq. His doctrine failed in Somalia, and we (Clinton) didn't have the guts to do the right thing in Rwanda or Sierra Leon. Desert Shield only appeared a success because it was a micro-managed, 'scientific' approach to war - which is impossible in a real, drawn-out conflict.

Claudia - I don't hate D's. I can vote for a blue dog. I would vote Biden over Giuliani. I would vote for Charlie Wilson. But I do hate the moveon.org wing of your party, and the racist/minute-men types of my party.

I don't believe our party has been hijacked like yours has. Maybe you disagree.

I don't hate you or Rufus. In fact, the only person to use the word was you.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

lyle

Anyone who is a committed enough Republican to consider strategically voting for a perceived weak Democrat in a primary or caucus, would not pass up the opportunity to vote in the REPUBLICAN primary or caucus given the wide open race for the Republican nomination. Any Republican voting in the Democratic primary or caucus for Obama is doing it because they are disgusted with their own party and attracted to Obama's message.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 2, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Blarg: Your 09:48 AM is exactly what I have been saying for months. I don't care what office anybody runs for, they ALWAYS would prefer the weakest opposition. I find this so easy to understand that I am simply amazed at how many folks can't understand, or pretend to not understand, this simple logic.

Posted by: lylepink | January 2, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Claudia, why do you fear Huckabee? You immediately attacked Joe b/c he's standing beside of Huckabee. Why do you fear Huckabee? Could it be b/c he's a man of principle, which is a concept your afraid of? Or could it be b/c he believes in an actual fair tax, which means lazy bums who don't work & rely on the gov't. to provide their living would have to the pay the same as everyone else? Let me know, though, what scares you most: his principles of providing a simple & fair tax policy for America or the fact that he stands on the solid rock of the Lord Jesus?

Posted by: bryant_flier2006 | January 2, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"The Rummy line was a retreat from the Powell Doctrine - bhoomes, JimD, AggieMike -do you guys not agree? .... I thought Rummy was a disaster for the military as well as for his meddling in foreign policy." Posted by Mark in Austin

I agree totally. Rumsfeld's tenure at the Pentagon comes awfully close to criminal negligence. The planning for the post-invasion situation in Iraq was unencumbered by any input from area experts. The probability of problems such as we encountered (and which CIA analysts predicted) were dismissed out of hand without any contingency planning. When you consider the stupid decisions - disbanding the Iraqi army, staffing the occupation authority with political hacks, refusing to restore order when looting broke out in Baghdad, egregiously inflaming the population with situations such as Abu Ghraib --- it boggles the mind. Had we put sufficient troops in to adequately staff the occupation, as recommended by the Army Chief of Staff, and had done some basic planning based on real knowledge of Iraqi society, the insurgency might never have amounted to more than a nuisance. Instead of doing their homework, the neocons at the Pentagon based their actions on their delusions. Nothing illustrates this more than statements made by the neo-cons and their cheerleaders in the media in the months leading up to the invasion. My favorite was made by the cheerleader in chief, William Kristol - "it is a myth that Sunnis and Shia hate each other." But I think the stupidest thing of all was their refusal to take the insurgency seriously for some months.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 2, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Blarg,
I will conceed that I am not entirely certain of what the Romney core philosophy is at this point. That said, if you really think about it, I don't think his swings are that much more than a McCain or especially Clinton (although I think I have a much greater comfort with where McCain is). But again, it needs to be put into perspective - in order to win in Mass, you need to campaign as a liberal and, to be successful, govern as a liberal. I have a hard time being too hard on him for listening to his constituency and working with the liberals in the Mass government to get things done. In the old days, some people might have called that being pragmatic.

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Mark, I was in Austin twice last month on business. At dawn, was almost too warm to run (low 60s)! Looking outside in Colo Springs right now, sunshine and 31--ah, much better.

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Gas has doubled since bush took office. How does funding our enemies with oil money make america safer? Enlighten me.

the gop's foregin policy is not only a joke. It's not only criminal. But it is treasonous.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - Republican Mitt Romney said Wednesday that if elected president he and his wife will not embarrass the nation by their conduct in the White House as happened in "the Clinton years."

so true.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Hillary Clinton was today battling to avoid a sensational defeat in the opening battle of the 2008 US presidential elections. Two last-minute polls showed her being pushed into second place by rising young black star Barack Obama. The drama came as the first of 50 state-by-state contests to pick final names for the November presidential election began in Iowa.

see - I told you there were some intelligent Dems out there somewhere. Just not on this blog.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

JD, thanx for the cite. Very funny.

It is sunny today, but one of those days where it is too cold to sit on the deck for lunch - about 55F. So I am wearing a sweater. I also think the winter in Austin is worth surviving the summer for. And summer in austin is why God created dams on the Colorado [of TX] for lakes and a pool in my back yard, and Barton Springs.

Its not going back up to 70F til Saturday.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

That's what I thought. Cowards.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I see the pack of barking jackels is fully rested and ready to return to the emotional babbling they enjoy.
are there any fact-based, intelligent Libs or Dems out there with which to converse? the moonbat squad is so tiring.

thankfully, by Feb 5th all the loons, left and right, will be back in the shadows.

Moveon.org has spiraled into irrelevance, just like drindl and hare krishna. all that is left is the daily parade of hate, bigotry and unintlligent fervor over the outrage du jour.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

How has your people's iran stance made us safer? How has aligning with the terroists in pakistan made us safer? How how bush and his govenrment being immune to the rule of law like some sort of king make us safer?

You people are in dream land. In every aspect. Immagration makes us less safe right? What has the gop done to enforce the borer sonce regan's blanket amnesty?

you people are a joke. you can only fool the american people so long. We have the internet now. Enjoy the time you had gop. It's over now. Enjoy your fascist existance while it lasts. Pretty soon you will be shone for what you fascists are, once Obama/edwards comes in and you show your face.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"How do you plan to keep America strong? (3rd try)

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 01:03 PM
"

shut down the gop terrosits destroying our country. or as you put it "the enemy within". that is who we are going to make america strong again. Marginalize and point our people like you destroying it. Without the gop sabotage we can grow this coutnry again. In turn making the coutnry strong, through peace, not war. To build relationships abroud rather than at a point of a gun, makes us stronger.

to start enforcing our laws here at home makes us stronger. A better question should be what your party has done to make us stronger. all signs and resaonable people say we are weaken now, than before you terrorsit traitors took over.

answer your quetion?

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

put forth by intelligent posters

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

'Don't worry, I don't expect you to have the honor necessary to admit that you slathered 50% of your fellow American citizens.'

This is part of my point. If you hate over half of america -- i.e. Democrats -- that automatically makes you anti-american, doesn't it?

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

the moment the blog went into the drindl:

Motley indeed--Huckabee seems to have a thing for shady characters. This is the same Scarborough in whose office was found a dead 28-year-old aide. The young woman had been healthy -- yet police insisted there were no signs of foul play, attributrd the death to 'natural causes' and quickly closed the case. It was later uncovered that she had a head wound.The local newspaper, the Northwest Florida Daily News, tried to get information from local authorities and claimed they were sandbagged at every turn. Scarborough was never charged, but nonetheless resigned abruptly, just months after being re-elected, to 'spend more time with his family' and left the area. Not the actions of an innocent man, would you say?

The national papers never covered the story -- they were too busy hounding Democrat Gary Condit over Chandra Levy, who was found to have been murdered - by someone else.

Posted by: claudialong | January 2, 2008 08:42 AM

'raw conservative competence'

biggest oxymoron i've ever seen. like the 'competence' we've been seeing for the last 7 years? uggh. no thank you.

Posted by: claudialong | January 2, 2008 08:44 AM

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"judgecrater - I never dodge reasonable questions put forth by intelligent posters. that is in short supply on this blog.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 01:00 PM
"

do you stand by the question you asked:

"Show me where treason is illegal". do you still think treason is not a crime. If you have changed in your treasnous stance, why?

There's a good question for you. Start there and grow from that clown of the fix.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"A few points you need to define before I can answer your questions: what does 'winning' in Iraq look like to YOU?"

So, in other words, we've won and the troops can come home?

Second try: "What does "actionable intelligence" look like and what cases can you point to (links, please) where this has had concrete (non-hand waving) value? Please differentiate "endless inquiries" from defending the Constitution. When have D's actually given "constitutional rights to known terrorists" with absolutely no support or involvement of R's?"

I notice that you also totally dodged the last point. It helps the discussion if you actually try to answer the questions rather than totally dodging them. Or is this your version of "Peace With Honor?"

Do you have links to your "more than 30 a day" point or is this something you made up to totally dodge the question?

My original point is, blathering generalities are always wrong. Don't worry, I don't expect you to have the honor necessary to admit that you slathered 50% of your fellow American citizens.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

thanks Mark. I'm guessing that the situation you describe is the exception that proves the rule, though.

Now to your other question - could he finance a Bloomberg-Powell (or Powell-Bloomberg?) run? Yeah, I guess; to the extent that he could write a $250m check without a problem, yes. It would probably depend on who they run against; if it's Obama and Mitt... maybe.... maybe....

I still wouldn't vote for Bloomberg - he's WAY too liberal (raises taxes, increases regulation, a real nanny-stater). He's even too liberal for Travis County! (ok, maybe not...)

JD

Mark, PS here's another site I peruse sometimes; someone asked whether they should move to Austin. Thought you'd find it interesting, assuming you're actually from there and not a fan of 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=449547

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse


"You say unimaginably vile things about me --and my family, as you have in the past "

Like when I thanked your father for his valiant service in WWII right"

You are right about that. Excuse me. As I recall it's zouk that attacked my family with sexual innuendo about my daughter. You didn't do that.

But as for the rest of it -- I consider it a vile insult to call me anti-american. How about if I call you anti-american because you disagree with me about foreign policy. How do you like it?

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

As a supporter of a strong military, I was appalled by the Ds retreat from support of the military after VietNam, and I think it raised a generation of what I have dubbed "military Republicans" - not to be confused in any way with neocons, who are late comers to the R Party, having had their inception as Wilsonian Ds.

I do think the D Party now has many advocates of a strong military - for the first time since Nunn and Breaux left the Senate. The "Blue Dogs" in the House count over 30 now, and can force Pelosi's hand on funding for the military and for veterans.

The Rummy line was a retreat from the Powell Doctrine - bhoomes, JimD, AggieMike -do you guys not agree? I know that BHO and JB have expressed their commitment to the Powell Doctrine, as has McCain. I do not know about any of the others. Like Zinni, McCain, Biden, Graham, Warner,and Levin, I thought Rummy was a disaster for the military as well as for his meddling in foreign policy.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

'judgecrater - I never dodge reasonable questions put forth by intelligent posters. that is in short supply on this blog.'


and that's why he's here every day from noon on for 7 hours. and the blog goes immediately into the toilet.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"You say unimaginably vile things about me --and my family, as you have in the past "

Like when I thanked your father for his valiant service in WWII right

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Our nation needs a serious, disciplined leader with proven management skills. Romney is he obvious choice. Huckabee is a joke. When his factual record is presented, all he can do in answer is name-call (you're a liar if you don't like me) Huckabee is pushing snake oil. America is too smart to buy it in the long run!

Posted by: ALMANOJODO | January 2, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

'Everyone on the Fix knows you're vile and spiteful. Even Blarg, who agrees with you a lot.'

interesting ability to read minds you have."

No that would only involve reading drindl's posts.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Mark -- Many thanks.

I abbreviated, but VA is on the 12th of Feb.

Although I love TX.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

JD, of the priors (John Anderson, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, Ross Perot, and you forgot George Wallace who actually did receive Electoral College votes)...

First 1 has never happened before (nominees settled by March), no prior 3rd party has ever had this advantage

Anderson. 1, 4 and 6. I have a soft spot for John Anderson. I voted for him as my one and only Presidential protest vote, realizing that was all it was.

Buchanan. Runs the table (1,2,3,4,5,6). Never serious, never more than a protest vote. Major party candidates were pretty much acceptable inside their own parties. Buchanan represented the extremes of both the Right and the Left (look up his VP).

Nader. 1,4,5,6. Never serious, never more than a protest vote. Managed to get GWB an Electoral College majority

Perot. 1,5,6 (especially 5--I should have added "sane' to my list of attributes). Came closest to a viable 3rd party...got 20% of the popular vote and, yes, might have thrown the result to Bill Clinton.

Wallace. 1,4,5,6. Even more of a "message" candidate than anyone else. Fortunately, the offensiveness of that message ("Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever!) meant he never had a voice outside the deep South.

The thing about the "it's never happened before" argument is that it never happens, until it does happen.

Depending on the R and D nominees, I could be drawn to a 3rd party this year but only if if I felt the 3rd party could win (no more protest votes...I'll vote the lesser-of-two-evils unless I think it really is hopeless, in which case I'd have to move to Canada or New Zealand).

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Winning - killing terrorists, no attacks on US in 7 years, bringing democracy to the oppressed

Intelligence - the point is to keep secrets a secret

Endless inquiries - more than 30 a day

How do you plan to keep America strong? (3rd try)

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

'I guess you concede that you're anti-American, military, and business'

I didn't even address it, as it is so trite, pathetic and predictable.

'Everyone on the Fix knows you're vile and spiteful. Even Blarg, who agrees with you a lot.'

interesting ability to read minds you have.

'I say "dunk away" and you become a feminist.'

i can't begin to comprehend what you mean by this. opposing medieval forms of torture is feminist? huh? i think it's merely human.

'Happy New Year, and thank you for refering to my wife that way'.

You say unimaginably vile things about me --and my family, as you have in the past --and what do you expect. I did not say anything negatie about your wife, in any case. Rather the opposite.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, Perot did not "win" that vote - the lone whacko broke form his commitment.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

judgecrater - I never dodge reasonable questions put forth by intelligent posters. that is in short supply on this blog.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey, JD - it was a lone whacko in Maine!

As an Anderson-Perot voter whose opinion never ever wins anything in national politics, I keep track of "our" little
victories, however tiny.

And even MayorMike agrees with your assessment about his appeal in the midcontinent. But he could finance the Powell-Bloomberg bid, could he not?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Mark: To make it even more confusing, "The CW" is the name of a TV network. They formed from a merger of the WB and UPN. But I doubt anyone's going to refer to them here.

JD: I agree with you about independent candidates; the system is too stacked against them for anyone to succeed. It's unfortunate, but that's just the way it is. I also think you're right about Perot; I checked Wikipedia, and it doesn't mention him ever receiving any electoral votes.

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

You give them to much credit bokonon13. like your post is going to change them. They cannot be changed. They refuse to acknowledge reality and truth. You are wasting your time. These fascists are schol yard bullies. Can you take and reason with elementary school yard bullies? Or do they get happy by making the small kids cry? Why? Makes them feel tough. They are scared little children cowering in the corner. To feel strong tehy project. they are cowards scared of tehir own shadow. But to rationalize in that way justs wastes you time. They only understand strenth, like the terrorists (becasue they are terrorists). Give them strenth and they cannot win. Stand up to them and thei hide in the closet. do not waste your time.

They are irrelevance come 08 anyway. Why stoop down. Give them what they've earned. irrelevance. Let them enjoy it. You give them to much credit bokonon13.

I thought once fox the rush were shown for lying propognadists their movement would be done. Yet the lies and spin persists. I thought the gop were dumb and getting misled. But if they know they are following fascist propoganda, does that not then make then fascists? Yes it does.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I stand by my prediction that the "momentum" thing is way over rated. since when do I care what Iowa thinks about my candidate. At what other time of the year or decade does anyone care about Iowa. there is a reason for that. they are poor at picking. After Feb 5th, the delegate count is what will matter, and therte is not sufficient time to create anything like a big momentum before then. Edwards may win Iowa and that will be it. Huck may win Iowa and that will be it. Mc Cain may win NH and that will be it.

clinton and rudy have deep pockets and national organizations. It will be a good thing for us to run against clinton II, an easy victory.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

"And I'm still waiting for your answer. I don't accept the typical D strategy of not answering questions, but instead changing the subject or (in claudia's case) personal attacks."

I thought not answering questions was KOZ's strategy as he has used that hundreds of times on this blog.

A few points you need to define before I can answer your questions: what does 'winning' in Iraq look like to YOU? What does "actionable intelligence" look like and what cases can you point to (links, please) where this has had concrete (non-hand waving) value? Please differentiate "endless inquiries" from defending the Constitution. When have D's actually given "constitutional rights to known terrorists" with absolutely no support or involvement of R's?

Thanks ahead of time. I'm sure you won't change the subject or refuse to answer.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I intentionally said "in today's climate" because JFK is DEAD to the D's.

And that's a shame."

He's far less dead to the Ds than Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ike are to the Rs. And that's a far greater shame.

But hey, Calvin Coolidge is alive and well to them!

Posted by: Spectator2 | January 2, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

"'I got to thinking about what happened to Rome's great monuments after she fell (and in a sense, civilization took a giant step backwards).'

you'r so anti-christian. yes, let's bring back the glorious days of the entertainments of the Coliseum -- bring on the lions.Bring on the heady days of roman colonialism, slavery, the vomatoriums, the orgies. Let the rich party while rome burns... just like now.

Posted by: claudialong | January 2, 2008 12:36 PM
"

Sports serve the same purpose now as then. To keep us occupied. And to take our eye's off what is really important. What do young people today value? Sports? Music? What are those really, other than an attepmt to divide us and keep us consumed. Anltough I still love my pistons and niners. "Knowing is half the battle". As the gi joe's say :)

If only we can keep the good but throw out the bad. I think we can. We just need to not fear the future. The future is now. Change is now. The gop is not stopping us. Fear is. The gop and their criminality is a hinderance, but the only power the red coats have is the power WE give them. Take your country back, or they will worsen. How cna they wage these wars with no troops? If the gop wins their WILL be a draft. They will see a gop victory as a mandate. So all of you know the stakes.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

mark - in what year? and from who? It sure wasn't in 1992, and I thought his '96 run was even worse.

or did some whackjob elector go mustang and decide to throw him a bone?

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Like to see Huckabee win Iowa, and then McCain score the upset in NH. Without a dog in the R fight, I'm just looking for entertainment, and entertainment to me means BROKERED CONVENTION. Make it so, Republicans.

Posted by: novamatt | January 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

USMC Mike, congrats on your wedding.

I don't know if I count as a member of the "D base," but in case I do, I wanted to stop you from painting with too broad a brush,

"Extreme feminism and paranoid anti-male behavior"

-uh, I'm a guy, and I like being a guy. I also like and respect women, and feel it's important that they be treated fairly and respectfully, and be given access to the same opportunities available to men. I hope you don't think that's 'extreme.'

"Anti-Americanism, anti-military, anti-business"

-as an American, I am not anti-myself. I do not support the aggressive and poorly-planned flexing of American muscle oversease, but I do not think that's 'anti-military.' And I'm not necessarily 'anti-business' either, as our economy (like it or not) is structured around the free market - which provide most of us with a way to earn a living, pay our bills, etc. I am opposed to those practices of business which despoil the environment, disadvantage those with no influence, attempt to con consumers as to the safety and/or uses of a product.

Irrational, illogical, personal attacks subsituted for argument

- I'm sure you would agree that this has been a feature of human conversation since the beginning of time, and that as such, it is a genetic feature which does not select for political party. You will find examples on both sides of every race all the way back to Thomas Jefferson (GW ran unopposed I think, and maybe John Adams too, although I'm not sure.)

Anti-Christmas

-That's ridiculous. Most people - including me, and many Democrats - thoroughly enjoy celebrating Christmas. Yes, for some - many, both D and R - it's a thoroughly secular celebration... but that hurts NO ONE. Just think - a day off with friends and family during which you eat and drink well, not to mention giving and receiving gifts. Call it Christmas, Hannukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, whatever. What's not to like about that, D or R? If on the other hand you refer to a very traditionally religious definition of Christmas which is interpreted so as to shut those different from you out of the celebration, I'm certainly anti-THAT.

Anti-Caucasian

-Dude, I'm Irish, French, English, German, Swedish... I don't understand what you are saying here. EVERYONE - almost everyone - in this day and age is a mixture of various different ethnic, cultural, racial backgrounds, whether they know it or not. Supposedly, some not insignificant percentage (although I don't know what it is) of 'Caucasians' have African-American, Native American, or Hispanic blood. I myself have a great-grandmother who was a Mohawk Indian.
And, of course, your saying that implies that you believe that an artificial 'racial identity' SHOULD be taken seriously and used to distinguish a person from those around him. Replace the word "Caucasian" in your post with the word "Aryan" and it could have been said in Germany 60-70 years ago,

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 2, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"Bring on the heady days of roman colonialism, slavery, the vomatoriums, the orgies."

sounds like the clinton administration.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, no chance for a successful Indy run. Only one out there who qualifies under #5 is maybe Colin Powell, and he isn't running.

Bloomberg doesn't have 1/2 the star power he'd need. He's Rudy without the halo of a good crisis manager. You think Texas or Missouri is lining up to throw their electoral votes to a NY Jew?

(note I don't mean this in an anti-semite way; just tring to keep it real)

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Congratulations, AggieMike. You suggested that you would vote on Stupendous Tuesday. Are you not here, in TX, where we do not vote until March?
----------------------------------
Thinking about the IA precinct conventions leads me to realize that the reports Thursday night will be based on numbers that actually will not be reflected in IA's delegations to the RN Convention. In that respect, the IA "results" are more like - polls.
------------------------------
To everyone who explained to me that "CW" on this web log is not "country and western", thanks. Although that is what CW means to me...
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JD, Perot got one electoral vote in '92.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

And I'm still waiting for your answer. I don't accept the typical D strategy of not answering questions, but instead changing the subject or (in claudia's case) personal attacks.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I see that crazy moonbat drindl is leading the charge agaiinst rationalism again today. some things never change. she logs on first thing in the am, posts some vindictive little tripe from huff or Kos, lights the fuze and waits for a response.

today she starts with baseless accusations of murder. can we go back to the implosion of the trade towers tomorrow and the stealing of the election on friday.

Day after day you demonstrate a clear downward spiral into madness.

your response will be, of course, to blame it on others. how clintonesque.

Posted by: kingofzouk | January 2, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

judge --

I intentionally said "in today's climate" because JFK is DEAD to the D's.

And that's a shame.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The country certainly needs a "stronger economy" after seven years of Bush's glacial growth. I can't see how anyone can believe that Romney will deliver that with a program which is essentailly: "We'll do what Bush did, but more."

Posted by: F_L_Palmer | January 2, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Claudia,

Have you ever heard of Constantine?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

This race is about more than Mitt and Mike...Voters will decide... http://www.enewsreference.wordpress.com

Posted by: nquotes | January 2, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The country certainly needs a "stronger economy" after seven years of Bush's glacial growth. I can't see how anyone can believe that Romney will deliver that with a program which is essentailly: "We'll do what Bush did, but more."

Posted by: F_L_Palmer | January 2, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Judge -- how do D's plan to keep America strong?"

Rather than spending all that time dealing with specifics pertinent to this particular conflict why don't you instead look at FDR and Kennedy before making ridiculously generalized statements about D's ability to confront enemies?

Or should Nixon's "Peace With Honor" be generalized to 'prove' that all R's are cowards?

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

'I got to thinking about what happened to Rome's great monuments after she fell (and in a sense, civilization took a giant step backwards).'

you'r so anti-christian. yes, let's bring back the glorious days of the entertainments of the Coliseum -- bring on the lions.Bring on the heady days of roman colonialism, slavery, the vomatoriums, the orgies. Let the rich party while rome burns... just like now.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

claudia

I guess you concede that you're anti-American, military, and business

Everyone on the Fix knows you're vile and spiteful. Even Blarg, who agrees with you a lot.

I say "dunk away" and you become a feminist. I say I just got married and you show how repulsive you are.

Happy New Year, and thank you for refering to my wife that way.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Dave, I agree that every politician crafts their platform to appeal to voters. But it seems that Romney has completely changed his mind on almost every major issue since entering politics. He used to argue that he was more liberal than Ted Kennedy; now he claims to be the most socially conservative candidate in the race. That's not modifying a message for an audience; that's creating a new identity for each election.

You say you look at a candidate's core philosophy when deciding who to vote for. That's a good idea in theory. But how can you tell what someone's core philosophy is? You have to base your decision on what the candidate says they will do and what they've actually done. In the case of Romney, the two are contradictory, so it's not clear what his core philosophy is. He clearly believes in saying whatever he needs to in order to get elected. Is that enough?

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

""We are the last great pillar of freedom, and we must not let the barbarians of our day defeat us - nor must we allow the barbarians from within destroy us.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:17 PM "
"

Where is bin laden? who has done more damage to this country and what it stands for since 9/11? Bush and his cult, or the terrorists? Pakistan? Iran?

No. the gop ARE the terrorists. If you are fighting the "enemy within" then you are fighting yourself. Check into therapy. If you want to fight soemone, fight the fear and emons within you. Don't sabotage and destroy you rcountry due to fear or hate of your brother. Pat tillman. Remember that name and what it stand for. Remember what happens to true patriots who stand again the fascists for freedom.

Tillman. Mlk. JFK. Bhutto. And on an on.

The fascists murder them. Who are the terrorists? The gop are terrorists. Why? Money. It's all to make them money. how do you hurt people who care about nothing but money? Hit them in the pocket book. this is not an attack. This is an attempt to free teh slaves

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The momentum question is a big one. It looks right now that the big 2 in both parties, Obama and Clinton amongst the Ds and Romney and McCain (the Huckaboom looks regional right now) are so close that a win (a win for McCain means a strong 3rd for McCain and a 2nd for Romney) in Iowa would probably lead to a win in NH. And I think the internet and cable 24-hour news magnifies the power of free media meaning the bounce will be even greater.

The steep, inevitable nomination that '04 brought Kerry after the IA caucuses looks like the most likely scenario in both parties right now. Now if I could just figure out who it was going to be...

Posted by: stpaulsage | January 2, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

'-Extreme feminism and paranoid anti-male behavior

-Anti-Americanism, anti-military, anti-business

-Irrational, illogical, personal attacks subsituted for argument'

wow -- amazing demagoguery. truly amazing. especially the first one. my husband of 25 years will find it surprising.

'Extreme feminism' is that a sport? did you pull that right out of your a**, or copy it from someone? I suspect the latter since you don't seem to have an original thought. I suspect the latter.. I feel so sorry for your poor little wife. but I'm sure she'll figure it out eventually. she will tire of hearing the same straw men, the same substanceless con arguments, the same red herrings, lies and propaganda witlessly repeated ad infinitum, the same tired talking points you picked up from Hate Radio... so tedious, so predictable, so stale.

'-Irrational, illogical, personal attacks subsituted for argument'

this is especially rich, since that's exactly what you just did.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I am no fan of Romney - but Huckabee has exposed his ambitious persona.
Ohg.
http://thefiresidepost.com/2008/01/02/huckabee-exposed-ambition-overrules-compassion/

Posted by: glclark4750 | January 2, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Judge -- how do D's plan to keep America strong?

-Retreating from a war we are winning?

-Refusing to extract actionable intelligence?

-Obstructing the Administration with endless inquiries?

-Giving constitutional rights to known terrorists?

How, Judge?

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think only a R can keep America strong. But in today's climate, the D's are against it at every turn, and they therefore cannot be trusted to govern - as the fate of freedom and civilization hangs in the balance."

Please, Mike, don't give in to these urges that require you to imitate KOZ.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"We are the last great pillar of freedom, and we must not let the barbarians of our day defeat us - nor must we allow the barbarians from within destroy us.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:17 PM "

So we are the same. Al americans. Stop sabotaging your country and what it stands for then. If you believe this. Look in the mirror. You people are destroying your country for for money (low taxes).

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone seen the math on the "Fair Tax"?

I am intrigued by the idea, but the last thing I want is to dig us deeper into debt. It took us over 15 years to right our economy after we poured all that money in Vietnam; how much future damage our we doing now with the billions we're pouring into Iraq?

Posted by: AdrickHenry | January 2, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I saw the Colosseum in Rome, as well as a lot of other ancient ruins from an empire long gone.

I was amazed at the construction - the engineering - the materials - the monumentality.

But what was more amazing, and what really made an impression on me was the state of the monument.

It was full of grapefruit-sized holes where the iron supports had been stolen from under the stone by barbarians and other plunderers.

I got to thinking about what happened to Rome's great monuments after she fell (and in a sense, civilization took a giant step backwards).

In a post-America world, our monuments would no-doubt suffer a similar fate - being plundered for materials to fight wars with sticks and stones.

We are the last great pillar of freedom, and we must not let the barbarians of our day defeat us - nor must we allow the barbarians from within destroy us.

I don't think only a R can keep America strong. But in today's climate, the D's are against it at every turn, and they therefore cannot be trusted to govern - as the fate of freedom and civilization hangs in the balance.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

There's no reasonable path where Mitt (or any indy) can get 50%+1 of the electoral votes.
Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 11:20 AM
_____________

JD, that's certainly the CW but this year has a chance to be different. That's one reason Bloomberg hasn't ruled out a run as an Independent. Check out the coverage of next week's "Revolution of the Moderates" conference organized by David Boren (descriptive title is mine, not his).

If the Rs and Ds nominate two polarizing figures who are also unpalatable to significant constituencies of their own parties (gee, bring to mind anyone in particular?), and a rational, pragmatic and capable centrist can get on the ballot in all fifty states (achievable; I'll support that in a minute), the possibility of an Electoral College majority certainly exists.

Odds are still against it and a lot of circumstances would have to line up, but here's what those circumstances are:

1) R and D nominees are decided early (by March), allowing plenty of time for ballot qualification and campaigning before the general election

2) Said nominees are viewed as polarizing, with resulting escalation of slimy campaigning by the nominees or their surrogates

3) Said nominees are unpalatable to significant constituencies within their own parties (Clinton, Edwards, Guiliani, Huckabee, Romney, even McCain), to the point the "Anybody But [X]" folks would either sit out or look for an alternative.

4. Availability of a very well-financed centrist Independent, to the point that the 3rd party can out-spend the major parties, to include establishing professional campaign organizations in all fifty States. (most likely a multi-Billionaire's self-financed campaign)

5. Said centrist Independent is widely viewed as a capable, smart, rational leader, with the ability to serve as President.

6. Said centrist Independent picks up the endorsements of many well-regarded moderates of both parties (i.e., see list of participants in the Boren conference).

So, which of the above are impossible, or even extremely unlikely?

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Miata7- The big MO is as big as ever. Early victories demonstrate the ability to be a 'winner'. Voters like to vote for winners; so early primary/caucus victories help build the momentum for subsequent states. The same logic applies to the 3rd party candidacy; most people tend to vote for one of the major parties even if they prefer a 3rd party candidate because they don't think enough other voters will vote for the 3rd party candidate to ensure victory. So the 'lesser of two evils' math wins & they vote for the least unpalatble major party candidate. Theoretically, the 3rd party people can win - but the voters don't believe it could really happen, so they don't vote for them.*

* Notable exception in the MN Governor race that produced Gov Ventura. The major parties nominated a couple of zeroes & the voters protested - few people thought Ventura could actually win.

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

these clowns are done, drindl. Don't get angry. That is how they win. They are elementary school bullies. they take glee in angering you. don't let them.

i picture these old cow folk standing here typing with their fingers in their ears. "la la la la la""

They are a joke. enjoy you irreleance. you've earned it.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Anti-Christmas, Anti-Caucasian, Anti, Anti, Anti, Anti...

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"Sorry Claudia, I did not mean to offend you. I had no idea you came from a long family of witches.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 2, 2008 11:54 AM
"

She comes from a family of americans. Which care about laws and freedom, fascist.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"Sorry Claudia, I did not mean to offend you. I had no idea you came from a long family of witches."

Hah.

Claudia, if I represent the R base, that must mean you represent the D base. So let's see what that means:

-Extreme feminism and paranoid anti-male behavior

-Anti-Americanism, anti-military, anti-business

-Irrational, illogical, personal attacks subsituted for argument

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Blarg,
I worry what any politician believes after they are elected. All the people running have carefully crafted their positions (albeit some more than others) in order to put themselves in what they believe is their best position to get them elected. I have seen very few pols actually live up to their campaign ideals, especially as president so I don't too wrapped up in pre-election rhetoric. It's the person's core philosophy and capabilities that I look at more than a particular placement on a particular set of issues.

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The Big Mo the big MO the big Momentum that supposedly comes out of Iowa and New Hampshire - I have to wonder about this and it is worthy of a discussion

it is a media creation -

ON one hand , it has also taken on a life of its own, because the candidates have designed so much strategy around it, placed so many resources on it, one can even point to Gephardt who bet all his resources on the big mo out of Iowa.

HOWEVER, on the other hand, the world is different now - the media used to revolve around the 6:30 network news and newspapers - now the meida revolves around the cable news (and commentary) and the internet.

The BIG QUESTION is this: is there still a Big MO with the internet and cable news?

You could say that there is some because so many strategies are built on the BIG MO that is does exist - whether it does or not.

One could point to a bunch of canidates who will drop out, saying they didnt get the Big Mo, however does that prove that it exists, or does it simply prove that that strategies are so built around them that the Big MO is out there, but not really there?

One view is that the Big MO is just a side effect of the campaign finance system - these candidates really do not have enough resources to run campaigns in numerous states so they need the free media to propel them - does this make sense?

It is certainly possible that this campaign has been going on for so long, that the cable news and internet has devoted so many hours to it, that the big MO, well it's not going to be what it used to be, when the candidates declared in October or November and all of a sudden the media spotlight landed on someone in February.

We know these canidates, the country knows them, we have debated them endlessly, we have seen the debates, When this happens over so many months, does the Big MO really have the same impact as before, when a 3 minute spot on the evening news was gold?

Posted by: Miata7 | January 2, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

'Sorry Claudia, I did not mean to offend you. I had no idea you came from a long family of witches.'

typically inane. i'm beining to think you and zouk ae the same person -- but i suppos it's just because all you cons sounds the same, which is to say, like pet parrots of Limbaugh's.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh yeah don't forget Nader and Pat Buchanan either.

My guess is, the best they can do is siphon off votes. Many people believe that is why Bush 41 lost relection, and that Perot was running only to play spoiler because of some bad blood between the families.

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

mlal, I'm looking forward to your next post.

Remember, Perot and John Anderson tried this trick, and neither guy got a single electoral vote.

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Claudia, I did not mean to offend you. I had no idea you came from a long family of witches.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 2, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

oops, accidentally hit Submit on incomplete entry above...correction following shortly

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

in support of my last post--

'Republican blood-lust gets ugly: Huckabee criticizes Romney for not having executed anyone as governor - I hesitate to give too much attention to Mike Huckabee's promote-my-ad-for-free scheme, but about mid-way through the ad, during a litany of accusations against Mitt Romney, Huckabee criticizes his rival with this data point: "No executions." Apparently, Huckabee -- you know, the evangelical, pro-life Republican -- is going after Romney for not having executed any Americans during his gubernatorial tenure. I realize Republican politics are far more crass than norms should allow, but it's disconcerting to think "You didn't kill anyone" has suddenly become a criticism in conservative circles.'

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"yow, judge, what happened? hope everything okay. black ice?"

Yep, black ice and gravity. I was traveling in a straight line and hadn't touched the brakes and the car just started spinning. Fun, fun, fun. No injuries, though. I've been thrown around a lot more on rides at the fair.


Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

There's no reasonable path where Mitt (or any indy) can get 50%+1 of the electoral votes.
Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 11:20 AM
_____________

JD, that's certainly the CW but this year has a chance to be different. That's one reason Bloomberg hasn't ruled out a run as an Independent. Check out the coverage of next week's "Revolution of the Moderates" conference organized by David Boren (descriptive title is mine, not his).

If the Rs and Ds nominate two polarizing figures who are also unpalatable to significant constituencies of their own parties (gee, bring to mind anyone in particular?), and a rational, pragmatic and capable centrist can get on the ballot in all fifty states (achievable; I'll support that in a minute), the possibility of an Electoral college Majority certainly exists.

Odds are still against it and a lot of circumstances would have to line up, but here's what those circumstances are:

1) R and D nominees decided early (by March), allowing plenty of time for ballot qualification and campaigning before the general election

2)Said nominees are viewed as polarizing, with resulting escalation of slimy campaigning by the nominees or their surrogates (Clinton, Edwards, Guiliani, Hucka.

3)

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

'dunk away'

there's a really dark streak of sadism and sexual humiliation that seems to run strong among the republican party base -- and i do mean base.

waterboarding today is no diffeent than it was during the 1600s when it was used to make those accused of witchcraft to confess. Eventually, every witchcraft suspects confesses, just to get the torture over with -- even knowing they will die as a result of it.

And that is how far back we have gone- to the days of witchcraft, inquisition, supersititon, torture and murder in the name of God and 'freedom.'

the Age of Reason, the Enlightenment is over, as we descend into a new Dark Ages, as humans periodically must, it appears.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Dave: You'd be worried if Romney consistently held the same positions, but you're okay with him changing radically to get elected? Aren't you worried about what he'll believe after he's elected?

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

CC - "What we do know is that Iowa Republicans face a clear choice between Romney and Huckabee tomorrow night, and how they decide will have an out-sized impact on the shape of the race and the identity of the eventual GOP nominee."

First off, Happy New Year to all. CC, hope you got your GPS. Now, why is it that we know all this? Apart from the difference in styles, just how different are they? In reality on the issues, not a lot. Has Romney changed positions from those he held in order to get elected in the liberal state of MA? Duh! Do I hold that against him? No - I'd be more worried if he was clinging to the same leftish positions now. Safe to say that I am glad he has "flip-flopped" on a number of issues, else he would not be in contention. Is Huck serious enough to be president? Are you kidding me? Apparently a sense of humor is OK as governor of Arkansas but not as POTUS? Either Huck, Romney or McCain would be an acceptable choice for most R's, be they social or fiscal conservatives. Especially given the opposition they are likely going to face in the general election. I don't see it as a clear choice for R's - I see it as a tough choice between several candidates who are not perfect when it comes to the liberal definition of the Republican party. My money is on Romney to win, Huck to place and McCain to show in Iowa.

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sicne nobody is using this site today. Maybe bush will go to jail for this one. maybe this is the one that he will FINALLY BE HELD accountable on.

"Wednesday January 2, 2008 08:12 EST
9/11 Commission: Our investigation was "obstructed"
The bi-partisan co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, jointly published an Op-Ed in today's New York Times which contains some extremely emphatic and serious accusations against the CIA and the White House. The essence:

[T]he recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes -- and did not tell us about them -- obstructed our investigation.
More strikingly still, they explicitly include the White House at the top of their list of guilty parties:
There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. -- or the White House -- of the commission's interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.
To underscore the seriousness of their accusations, Keane and Hamilton end with this:
What we do know is that government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the (sic) greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.
It's hard to imagine a more serious scandal than this. As I noted the other day, it is a confirmed fact that Alberto Gonzales and David Addingtion -- the top legal representatives of George Bush and Dick Cheney, respectively -- participated in discussions as to whether those videotapes should be destroyed. The White House refuses to disclose what these top officials said in those meetings. Did they instruct that the videos should be destroyed or fail to oppose their destruction? The NYT previously quoted one "senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter [who] said there had been 'vigorous sentiment' among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes."

Thus, we have evidence that "top White House officials" vigorously argued that these videos should be destroyed. The number one aides to both the President and Vice President both participated in discussions as to whether they should be, almost certainly with the knowledge and at the direction of their bosses.

And now we have the 9/11 Commission Chairmen stating as explicitly as can be that the mere concealment (let alone destruction) of these videos constituted the knowing and deliberate obstruction of their investigation into the worst attack on U.S. soil in our history. Combined with the fact that the videos' destruction almost certainly constitutes "obstruction of justice" with regard to numerous judicial proceedings as well, we're talking here about extremely serious felonies at the highest levels of our government.

Both legally and politically, it's hard to imagine a more significant scandal than the President and Vice President deliberately obstructing the investigation of the 9/11 Commission by concealing and then destroying vital evidence which the Commission was seeking. Yet that's exactly what the evidence at least suggests has occurred here.

What possible justification is there for the White House to refuse to say what the role of Addington, Gonzales, Bush and Cheney was in all of this? Having been ordered by Bush's new Attorney General not to investigate, are the Senate and House Intelligence Committees (led by the meek Silvestre Reyes and the even meeker Jay Rockefeller) going to compel answers to these questions? In light of this Op-Ed, do Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee think the White House should publicly disclose to the country the role Bush and Cheney played in the destruction of this evidence? If there are any reporters left who aren't traipsing around together in Iowa, it seems pretty clear that this story ought to be dominating the news.

-- Glenn Greenwald
"

r

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Happy Anniversary

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Since 1998, we went from spending 340 billion a year. 2003 up to 550 billion.

from 2006 to 08, it jumped another 100 billion. What do we have to show for it as a nation?

The gop is like the mob. We pay them for protection, from them. Or their terrorist allies they will allow to attack us, like their buddy in pakistan. This is not america. Teh gop is criminal terrorists. Do not fear them. This is america. They can play their games and terrorize the elderly. What power do we as americans have? We have the power to vote them out. forget what the gop will do to us if they lose. Let them show their face. This is america. Do not give them your freedom. It was never theirs. We always have been free. Do not give the fascist robots your freedom. Fight them. On the internet and at the voting booths. They may falsify every single vote. how do you defeat that? Vote them out at the local level. The fill their cronies in the justice department, how do you beat that? Vote them out at the local level. The only way to beat the fascists is to beat them at the local level. how can you do that? Move to republcain districts and take over. Do not fear the fascists. They are scared powerless little foot tapping cowards. Like a snake they fear truth justice and the american way more than we fear them. Stomp out the snake.

VOTE THE BUMS OUT.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

USMC_Mike writes
"I recently got back from my honeymoon. We went to Rome and London for 2 weeks."

Congrats! Today is my 2nd anniversary...

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

dunk away

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

ProudtobeGOP: If McCain had not spent first 3 years of Bush's Presidency sucking up to the dems and bashing republicans with every opportunity on camera, I might be more disposed to him. Plus I find it a little disturbing he would have our cites nuked over a little waterboarding. Dunk away is my philosphy.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Steel, your analysis of why Mitt is running as R instead of D, due to overcrowding in D field, is very similar to Bloomberg's strategy to win Mayor of NYC.

As to why Mitt can never win as an indy, the reason is simple; the electoral college.

There's no reasonable path where Mitt (or any indy) can get 50%+1 of the electoral votes. A plurality means nothing. If nobody gets a majority, we don't do runoffs (this isn't communist France...); the election gets thrown to the House of Reps. There, each state casts one vote, with the congressional delegations getting together to decide where that vote goes. Since the delegations are all R or D (not counting whackjobs like the socialist in Vermont), that means it goes to one of the parties.

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

"Our military spending exceeds the rest of the world's spending combined, and we spend almost 10 times what the second-place country, China, spends. "Only" about $150 billion of the total U.S. amount is attributable to the two active wars we're fighting, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, even if one wants to excludes those amounts, the basic picture remains the same. Nor do these amounts include the billions of dollars in military aid we give to fund the armies of other countries, such as Israel and Egypt, which alone comprise substantial portions of those countries' defense budgets. "

glen greenwald.

If all our tax dollars aren't going to the army and the police, where else can it go? What is the purpose of money if this is what is used for? If the democrats are socialists because they want to use our tax dollars at home. What is the party who uses our tax dollars to setup a police state, not only here but across the globe? Is the gop the party of fascists?

Take the country back in 08. Stop the gop from waging war not only across the globe, but here against americans. They are funneling all our money away from the country and into the hands of the few. This is not america. the gop lie. Take the country back from the fascists in 08.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Hey there Fix Addicts,

I recently got back from my honeymoon. We went to Rome and London for 2 weeks.

Whenever I go overseas (even to 'developed' countries) I appreciate the USA.

I didn't really keep up with politics, although I did hear a news story about McCain on BBC.

I'm glad to see the Huckster doing well, but if he can't make it all the way, I'm not going to vote for him on super Tuesday.

I hope everyone had a Merry Chistmas and a happy new year.

Posted by: USMC_Mike | January 2, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Claudialong - "Scarborough was never charged, but nonetheless resigned abruptly, just months after being re-elected, to 'spend more time with his family' and left the area. Not the actions of an innocent man, would you say?"

I would say innocent until proven guilty or don't you believe in that idea anymore? This sort of crap is the same stuff libs get so incensed about with the (Bill) Clinton/Vince Foster rumors and innuendo. But since Scarborough is a Republican, I guess he is fair game and the rules of sanity need not apply.

Posted by: dave | January 2, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

mlalliso's link to Meyerson's column is a good companion piece to the WSJ article claudia referenced earlier. They're pretty similar in analysis.

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

In terms of this topic. Neither have a snowball chance, so what's the point.

Obama- dodd 08.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

fROM GREENWALD

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/spending.htm


America's military expenditures= 623 billion

The rest of the world combined, minus u.s.=500 billion

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | January 2, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

To pick up yesterday's thread on David Brooks' NYT column (theme: Romney can't win in the general because he's molded himself to match the old GOP model, like the cliche of the general preparing to fight the last war), take a look at Harold Meyerson's WaPo op-ed today.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/01/AR2008010101300.html

Although Brooks wants the Rs to win while Myerson would prefer Ds, their themes are eerily similar. Quote: "...Mitt Romney, whose prime virtue is that he's minimally acceptable to all wings of the party." "But Romney's strength is also his weakness: He doesn't offend Republicans for the positions he takes; he offends Republicans for all the back-pedaling and 180s he's had to perform in order to espouse the positions that don't offend them."

Meyerson discounts Huckabee's prospects for the nomination and names McCain as the R's best hope in the general. I agree on both counts.

Posted by: malis | January 2, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

proud -- I can't stand a single campaign consultant in DC -- Mark Penn especially makes me puke. The whole system is corrupt. But
I'm just saying it's disappointing that McCain would hire two people he knows to be gutter sleazy, even by DC standards, becuase I like to think he's better than that. You see, I don't agree with him on most thinngs, especially now, but I still think he's a decent man.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

'Sorry I'm late to the discussion but both myself and my car were just fished out of a ditch.'

yow, judge, what happened? hope everything okay. black ice?

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

drindl, Yeah he hired some consultants from previous winning campaigns, just like the others do. And Bill Shaheen and Howard Wolfson are frickin' saints. riiiight.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 2, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

mark_in_austin,
thanks for the reply and yes your analysis makes a LOT of sense. Mitt running as an Independent would mean forming a brand and slogan that had no track record of success, which means no data for Mitt to analyze. He is a self-proclaimed data analysis wonk. And people of Mitt's ilk are extremely risk averse. He is a lawyer that was born into and grew up with money!

It is now becoming more clear to me why Mitt didn't run as an Independent! Mitt could have easily ran as Democratic candidate for president on the same platform he ran on while running for Senator and Governor of Massachusetts but that field was crowded with some pretty formidable opponents.

However...

The Republican party was wide open i.e no heir apparent and no real competition to speak of. And there was an established record/data of how George W. Bush won twice. Entering the race as a Republican candidtate for president must have appeared as a no brainer for Mitt. He had the money, the team, a Rovian strategy that had worked twice, and no competition. From Mitt's investment background, this was an excellent investment opportunity indeed! All he had to do was flip-flop on everything he had taken a position on while running for office(s) in liberal Massachusetts.

But to the chagrin of Mitt, he didn't factor in main stream and conservative media not giving him a pass as had for GWB for six years. Mitt didn't visualize the American people as no longer being frighten by the mere mentioning of Islamofascist Jhadist.

He didn't foresee the diminishing power of the social conservatives over the Republican party.

He was blindside by illegal immigration.

His crowning achievement while Governor of Massachusetts was State provided health care became an albatross when the right wing denounced any government sponsored health care as Hillary care.

Mitt Romney, like so many really smart people, failed at understanding the people as they are NOW not yesterday.

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | January 2, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

' He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism'

Except 'the cutting edge of social liberalism' was all Robo ran on in Mass. Ever hear of something called UTube? You really ought to look up all the film of speeches he made to gay crowds aout how important their 'rights' are... the parade he marched in for Planned Parenthood... it goes on and on. He's a chameleon. All you can really be sure about Robo is that he will be very, very good to large finacnial interests and those born to wealth, as he was.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Sorry I'm late to the discussion but both myself and my car were just fished out of a ditch.

'CW' does indeed mean "conventional wisdom."

CC's column is certainly more balanced today. It details the power of money (but much less slavishly) and also talks about how dedicated volunteers can make a difference. And you'd be hard pressed to find volunteers more dedicated than evangelical voters. Romney's ads = "water off a duck's back" to them.

I am also amazed that McCain has a substantial standing in IA. That speaks volumes about the quality of the remaining candidates to voters who value intellect and strength of character. They'll have to vote for Obama in the general ;>)

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 2, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Choosing your facts to fit your agenda makes your arguments just as true but then again false.

Just because you won't fight to overturn an existing law that allows abortion does not make you pro-choice. Romney has always been against abortion. Don't get confused by the labels.

Can you support the NRA and gun reform? Sure, why not, I own hunting rifles but still would like handguns off our streets!

Lowering taxes gets caught up in statistical interpretation, was it lower per capita, in total, for a given year, at a point in time, for a particular bill passed? Romney has cut the tax load of running government, he reduced expenses...that is what matters most.

When it comes to pardons, I think we should let the judges judge and let the governors govern. We shouldn't have governors judging or judges governing! If you want to be found innocent of past wrongs...TALK TO THE JUDGE!

I find it hard to believe anyone could research and judge over ONE THOUSAND criminal cases while in office AS A GOVERNOR and pardon them. What are our laws and courts for? This embarrassment reminds me of how Clinton left office, paying off his debts to special interests and political $$ promoters by releasing several criminals in his last week.

Romney2008 says it all!

Posted by: voiceoreason | January 2, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

The IA process for Rs is even more complex than your
short take, Mark.

Once the votes are counted, the delegates are elected by all the caucus goers who choose to stay.

Who choose to stay or go after the straw poll vote can have a big impact on the delegates. Could the McCain supporters outvote the Romney, Huckabee, and Paul folks and elect all McCain delegates with just over half the support? Or did the McCain folks go home, while the Paul people stayed to elect the delegates?

Also, the Republican precinct count at the county convention is not fixed before the meeting but after, based on turnout. Voting turnout, not people-who-stayed turnout.

The process is designed to "weed out", not to "include". Hunter gets 0 delegates to the National Convention.

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | January 2, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

As The National Review clearly stated:

Many conservatives are finding it difficult to pick a presidential candidate. Each of the men running for the Republican nomination has strengths, and none has everything -- all the traits, all the positions -- we are looking for. Equally conservative analysts can reach, and have reached, different judgments in this matter. There are fine conservatives supporting each of these Republicans.

Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization -- none of the major candidates has -- he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.
Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor. At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy.

Since almost all of the candidates have the same foreign-policy principles, what matters most is which candidate has the skills to execute that vision.

We believe that Romney is a natural ally of social conservatives. He speaks often about the toll of fatherlessness in this country. He may not have thought deeply about the political dimensions of social issues until, as governor, he was confronted with the cutting edge of social liberalism. No other Republican governor had to deal with both human cloning and court-imposed same-sex marriage. He was on the right side of both issues, and those battles seem to have made him see the stakes of a broad range of public-policy issues more clearly. He will work to put abortion on a path to extinction. Whatever the process by which he got to where he is on marriage, judges, and life, we're glad he is now on our side -- and we trust him to stay there.

More than the other primary candidates, Romney has President Bush's virtues and avoids his flaws. His moral positions, and his instincts on taxes and foreign policy, are the same. But he is less inclined to federal activism, less tolerant of overspending, better able to defend conservative positions in debate, and more likely to demand performance from his subordinates. A winning combination, by our lights. In this most fluid and unpredictable Republican field, we vote for Mitt Romney.

The National Review

Posted by: voiceoreason | January 2, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

'One of the main reasons I have never liked Bush is how his campaign treated McCain in SC in 2000. '

what really bothers me, jimD, is that McCain HIRED the people who smeared him in SC to work for his campaign, knowing how ugly and dirty they work.

geez, i hope the chritian solider is a satire. i'm afrid it's not.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

2 insightful articles...

'Both the presidential races are up in the air, but the division within the GOP runs much deeper as only 42 percent of Republicans say they could support any of their party's nominees. The WSJ also takes a look at the Republican Party's "identity crisis" and says that none of the candidates can claim to unite the GOP's "three-legged coalition" that consists of business interests, social (and religious) conservatives, and defense hawks. In fact, this year's elections may finish killing off the tenuous coalition that has defined the Republican base since Ronald Reagan. "It's the end of the conservative revolution that started with [Barry] Goldwater," a party activist tells the paper.'

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119923066464660885.html?mod=hpp_us_inside_today

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/front/la-na-gop2jan02,1,6771233.story

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

To the tune of Onward Christian Soldiers (permission hereby granted to sing at services):
Onward Christian soldiers, marching off to war, to Huckabee the victory, watch his poll numbers soar!
Lo the tide turns outward, lo the angels sing, Merry Christmas one and all, Huckabee's christening!
Help the wayward Christian, those who sit the fence, bring them to the polling place, give them recompense!
Hark the canvass caller, hark the new debate, o'er the towns flies Huckabee, caucus in his gait.
Smote the heathen candidates, Huckabee is nigh, he will be the victor, power from on high.
Onward Christian Soldiers, marching off for thee, trumpets now resounding, President Huckabee!

Posted by: washpost3 | January 2, 2008 10:41 AM | Report abuse

JimD: I agree with you; I don't think a significant number of voters are strategically voting for weak candidates in the primaries. There's too much at stake in each party's primary this year. But that's not always the case. In an election like 2004, where only one party had a contested primary, I could see it happening more. But I'm not aware of any studies saying that this happens frequently; I'm just saying that allowing independents into primaries makes this kind of fraud possible, not that it's common.

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP writes
"Many Rs are coming back to John McCain, after takng a look at others and finding them lacking in critical areas."


Considering the guy is polling 13% in Iowa after putting limited effort into campaigning there, it seems that proud is accurate in her description.

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 10:39 AM | Report abuse

proud

Did you see the link to David Brooks' column on Romney in a recent thread? He would agree with you on Romney (as do I). I also hope that you are right that R's are giving McCain a second look. One of the main reasons I have never liked Bush is how his campaign treated McCain in SC in 2000. I voted for McCain in the Florida GOP primary in 2000 but by then it was too late. The only times I voted for a Democrat for President in the last 28 years is when G W Bush ran.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 2, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Mark -- what someone said this morning about CW:

'You might think that the one positive thing to come out of the Bhutto assassination would be the opportunity it gives us to reassess not only our strategy in the Middle East, but the conventional wisdom that gave rise to this strategy and continues to sustain it. But, sadly, you would be wrong. Because the conventional wisdom is composed largely of "zombie lies." They cannot be stopped. For a moment or two, it may seem like you've killed them, but back they come over the horizon. Again and again. One of the biggest zombie lies is that the people who supported our disastrous invasion of Iraq are the ones best qualified to decide how to clean up the mess they helped create. Hey, no one ever said zombies are logical.'

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes, in re: "Hickabee is just not Presidential and doesn't really seem to have the slightest grasp of foreign affairs."

What makes you think Romnay has a grasp either? He's managed to check every box in the R playlist, so it LOOKS like he's strong on national security, but he never really discusses those issues in depth from what I've heard. All he's done so far is not goof up on any questions, and repeat slogans about "toughness". He doesn't have the foriegn policy/ national security creds imo, although a case could be made that he would surround himself with good advisors. But then again, look what happened with W when he relied too heavily on Rumsfeld/Cheney.

"Romney is a secularist, so I am comfortable with him."

I agree with your logic here. Huckabee's ultra-social con thing is a negative for me as well.

"Its between McCain and Romney at this point and the republican do not like or trust McCain"

Many Rs are coming back to John McCain, after takng a look at others and finding them lacking in critical areas. McCain is prepared to be Commander in Chief, a claim that few others can make.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | January 2, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Mark 10:17.. must be correct-- it's from the Book of Mark.

One question -- does Huckabee like sleep in that red sweater? Does he ever change it?

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, I see I misread mousytongue's question. Mark's 10:17 answer is the correct one.

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

mousytongue asks another good question
"Does it make any difference in the number of delegates a candidate wins in the Republican caucuses if a candidate get 30% in one caucus and 1% in another, instead of getting 15.5% in each?"

There's not one answer; it depends on the state. Some states are 'winner-takes-all' where a plurality (i.e. not a majority, just more than anyone else) wins all the delegates. Other states award proportional delegates based on various formulae. The rules are arcane & don't seem to be documented in any single place online.

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

'Who knew Joe Scarbough was a murderer, the things you learn on this blog. '

Look it up bhoomes. here i'll do it for you. the police report and the local newspaper articles are all available online too.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_01/01.05B.Klausutis.1.htm

mark -- the brand is everything. that's one of the reasons the R's are floundering this time. People don't beleive in the brand anymore and none of the candidates actually fit the mold anyway. John Boehner and the RNC have hired a big agency to build a new brand for them, but among the parties involved, no one can make a decision on which way to go...

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

blarg,

In an earlier thread I addressed lylepink's frequently voiced assertion that Republicans are "strategically" voting in Democratic primaries and caucuses in order to undermine Hillary Clinton. Given the tight race on the Republican side, I think it reeks of 'black helicopter' conspiracy theories to believe that a significant number of Republicans are participating in Democratic caucuses or primaries in order to help a perceived weaker candidate get the Democratic nomination. To the extent that people are crossing party lines in the caucuses or primaries, it is because they are dienchanted with their own party and are attracted to one of the candidates on the other side.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 2, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

OK, mousy, I should be working, but -

Each precinct gets allocated a number of votes to the county convention and each county gets allocated a number of votes to the state convention. Lots of precincts have fewer than 10 votes at county, but maybe 40 people show up at caucus, so they are [say] voting for 9 among them to go to county. To get one of the 9 votes at county Hunter needs 5 out of 40 in the room.

See?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

If Huckabee wins in Iowa, I think it will clearly demonstrate that Iowa should not be first in the nation in this process. I cannot believe that a guy who is so obviously incompetent in the major issues is leading the pack. This is a serious time in our nation's history and it takes a serious person...not just a funny guy. Where is this guy's history of accomplishments? Are Iowans just basing this on religion? Jimmy Carter and Clinton both Baptists - horrible Presidents. Look at the person's competence level and leadership skills, not where he goes to Church on Sunday. Wake up Iowans and nominate a strong candidate for President - not your Sunday Pastor.

Posted by: pccu | January 2, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Let me pick on Duncan Hunter for a moment.
From what I understand, if he averages 1% of the votes from the caucuses in Iowa, he will have 1% of the delegates that Iowa will send to the Republican National Convention.
Right?
Does it make any difference in the number of delegates a candidate wins in the Republican caucuses if a candidate get 30% in one caucus and 1% in another, instead of getting 15.5% in each?

Posted by: mousytongue | January 2, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Mark - CW is conventional wisdom. It's the way information is framed in the media. An idea is pushed forward, a spin, a meme-- whatever, then every major media outfit picks it up and talks about it in the same way, same words usually. I'm not saying it's a conspiracy, it's just the way 'news' works in this country. There's only a few information and data 'feeds' like AP -- many fewer outlets do original reporting nowadays, so everyone picks up on the story of the day and spins it prtty much the same way, and it somehow becomes a 'fact' in the public mind.

LIke the idea that Hillary is inevitable, that Huckabee is a 'regular guy', that Edwards is a' phony', that Rudy is a 'leader', that republicans are stronger on defense, that we are 'winning' in Iraq. I could go on. The pundits, particularly, the Beltway Bubblers, never seeem to be able to think past the CW, just reinforce and repeat it. I think it's instutionalized laziness.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Hickabee may win Iowa with the home schooler weirdo's but big deal, so did Pat Robertson. Hickabee will never get this nomination. Its between McCain and Romney at this point and the republican do not like or trust McCain.

Who knew Joe Scarbough was a murderer, the things you learn on this blog. Claudia, I suspect you are still nursing a hangover and your mind may be a little fuzzy. Its amazing how some of your postings are quite rational and then you go off the deep in with this nonsense.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 2, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I like the "Carnival v. Board Room" line. It just about tells us where we are with this race.

Posted by: Miata7 | January 2, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"Blarg, thanks for the update and do you know what drindl and judge mean when they use the acronym "CW"?"

Conventional Wisdom?

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"I've had the horrible 80s metal song "The Final Countdown" in my head. Damn you, CC!"

Thanks Blarg. I'd glossed over that part of Chris's post, but you've managed to force the earworm into my skull. Gah!!

Good coverage of mousytongue's question, by the way. Part II of that comment: the 15% threshold is by each caucusing site, so it is likely that some of the '3rd tier' candidates will leave Iowa with some delegates. Not that it will matter, in terms of their long term viability...

Posted by: bsimon | January 2, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Blarg, thanks for the update and do you know what drindl and judge mean when they use the acronym "CW"?

steel, WMR seems to me to have gone with a marketing model that he thought would work as a political model. In marketing, slogans change for each demographic and to fit every fad. Branding is everything, but the slogans change.

Think R as a brand and "pro-life" as a slogan and you have the WMR
model, imho.

But he could have been the pragmatic good govt. R and kept the brand and his history, as well. That must mean he thought McC or maybe RG could trump him if he did not change his slogans.

And he was afraid to give up his brand and build one all over again.

If this makes no sense, I apologize. Gotta work now.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Maybe Huck really will win now that Romney is conceding that a 2nd place finish is "okay." But isn't Iowa must-win for Mitt now that McCain is surging in NH?

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

Posted by: parkerfl | January 2, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Apparently, Paul supporters never get called in polls. Never. So, I guess it's a conspiracy.

Posted by: adriennemichael | January 2, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Chris Cilliza's assessment is one of the best I have seen him make. Do we want a man who addresses the issues or provides entertainment?

The mean spirited attack ad by Huckabee has been seen by everybody across the nation even though Huckabee said he did not release it. Romney has never called Huckabee a liar or anything close to it. Huckabee has crossed the line and as usual proclaims he never intended the release and is innocent. The same approach he took with the Christmas cross when he said it was never intended. If he is so innocent that he did not know what was going on then how can we feel good about him knowing what is going on in Washington?

Posted by: bryantford | January 2, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The "old media" will learn a lesson tomorrow. Neither of these goofs are going to win. Ron Paul will. None of you posters or the author of this article realize how much support he has in Iowa.

Posted by: dizzle | January 2, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

The question I have pondered about Mitt Romney since the beginning of his run for President is why he didn't run as an independent?

Mitt obviously has the money and the professional campaign staff via his professional management consultant firm ergo has no need for help from either political party.

Had he ran as an Independent ALL of the sticky issues that has him flip-flopping on would not have been at issue because he would have no need to run own trumped up Reagan/Conservative credentials, which were non-existent while running for Senator and Governor. Nor would Mitt needed to explain his religious beliefs.

Can anyone help me out with this??

Posted by: SteelWheel1 | January 2, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Mark, there was an article in today's front section about that. Obama's trying to attract support from independents in Iowa, since they can vote in the caucuses there. Same in NH. While I like the idea of a candidate who can appeal to independents, I'm a little wary of allowing anyone to vote in a primary; it seems like that could lead to some ugly strategic voting scenarios. (i.e., a Democrat voting for the weakest Republican candidate.)

Ever since I clicked on this post this morning, I've had the horrible 80s metal song "The Final Countdown" in my head. Damn you, CC!

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I too am interested in the Scarborough aide story. How this guy gets to take over as MSNBC'S morning show guy flabbergasts me. First of all, he is a terrible interviewer. Secondly, he is terribly biased, and begins every show with negative spin against Hillary Clinton. Don't we get enough of the PILLORY HILLARY crowd with Chris Matthews, Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and the rest of the right-wing racist radio jocks? rslip

Posted by: rslip | January 2, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

All Hail the HuckaBOOM!!!!!!!!!! w00t.. Hackabee is going to Win Iowa and South Carolina. Romney is a joke and he will lose the primary and his millions.

Posted by: AlbyVA | January 2, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

mousy, I hasten to add that much of JB's support at this web log is among independents, not Ds, and while I was writing somewhat tongue-in-cheek, we know that HRC is not a fave of independents, but among the D candidates, BHO is, mildly, a fave. That may be true for indies voting as Ds in the caucuses, too.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

It's the battle of the bigots!

Posted by: TheSage1 | January 2, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

What's truly disturbing regarding Huckabee is that the evangelicals, home-schoolers, as-white-as-possible tiny group of supporters may have the ability to push a candidate like Huckabee to the forefront of their party. I think I read that beyond the demographics of IA republicans, the caucus goers are around 80k average. Say, 41k vote for Huckabee, that's less than 2% of the people in the state pushing this guy to the front, and creating the media narrative that Huckabee is a serious candidate. His supporters (the hardcore ones at least) are completely out of step with the larger public. But hey, look at the alternatives...

Posted by: adriennemichael | January 2, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

drindl - you and judge were using the acronym "CW" yesterday and I thought y'all meant "country and western". On reflection, I think I do not know what y'all meant. Help.

mousy, only the Ds have the 15% rule and this comes from their 1972 "McGovern Rules".

From IA polling, HRC is an unlikely second choice. In many precincts, Dodd, Richardson and Biden participants would surely coalesce around the strongest of the three. Failing that, they would, according to polling, divide with larger shares to JRE and BHO, and a significantly smaller share to HRC.

If you had been following this web log religiously [and how could you have been so callous that you have not?] you would have seen strong Biden support among the regulars, none of whom would make HRC a second choice.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 2, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

mousytongue: The Republican caucus doesn't have the 15% threshold. From what I've heard, there are some short speeches by supporters of each candidate, then everyone votes once. Votes are counted, and everyone goes home.

It's more complicated for the Democrats. As you say, supporters of a candidate who doesn't get 15% have to pick a different candidate. Most Iowa polls ask supporters of the "lesser" candidates about their second choice. I can't find that information for the latest Iowa poll, but from what I've seen in the past, Obama and Edwards receive more second-choice votes than Hillary.

Posted by: Blarg | January 2, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"Romney is a secularist'

Are you joking? He beats people over the head with his 'religiousity'

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

spidermean2: The last time I checked these gentlemen were running for President not Preacher. Hickabee is just not Presidential and doesn't really seem to have the slightest grasp of foreign affairs. Romney is a secularist, so I am comfortable with him. Hickabee seems to want to cram his Baptist theology down everybodys throat.

Posted by: vbhoomes | January 2, 2008 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Please review the Iowa caucus rules for me.
Am I correct that a candidate must have 15% of the voters in the caucus room to get any delegates?
If so, there are going to be a lot of local caucuses where Richardson, Biden, and Dodd for the Democrats, and McCain, Thompson, Paul, and Guiliani for the Republicans are not going to make the threshhold.
Are there any hints who is the second choice for the supporters of these candidates?
I assume that the Biden and Dodd supporters will gravitate to Clinton, and the McCain and Guiliani forces with align with Huckabee or whoever would most effectively slow down Romney.
But maybe I am reading the situation incorrectly.

Posted by: mousytongue | January 2, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I think Huckabee's thinly veiled attack-ad fiasco will come back to haunt him. If you're going to make the negative ad, then run it. Else, don't make the ad. He tried to have it both ways, and Iowa voters are smart enough to realize that this game reveals Huckabee as just another Washington politician.

What is it about former Arkansas governors, playing political games and trying to have it both ways? Must be something in the water.

Posted by: JD | January 2, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee won 4 consecutive terms in Arkansas. All these negative publicity are the work of liars calling Huckabee the devil when in reality they are describing themselves. Half truth, half lie information. Romney's methods are reflective of his being Mormon. The Mormon chuch believes in "gold plates" where their "gospel" was written. Truckloads of them but they can't show a single gold plate coz they claim an angel took it away. These guys are experts in making stories. Half truth, half lie. Half of their doctrine is the bible and the other half is the book of Mormon. Sounds like moron to me. Those who are voting for Romney are hoodwinked. The guy is a fake. A phoney, they say.

Posted by: spidermean2 | January 2, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

'Like much of Huckabee's campaign, the event was part political gathering, part carnival'

Don't forget the 'Fair Tax' snake oil, CC.

Although I commend him for this bit of straight talk --

'Huckabee's comments came in an interview with Iowa's Quad City Times, in which a reporter asked him why, last month, he was at first unaware of a National Intelligence Estimate detailing the threat posed by Iran, despite the fact the report had been made public for several hours.

"That was released at 10 o'clock in the morning," Huckabee said. "At 5:30 in the afternoon, somebody says, 'Have you read the report?' Maybe I should've said, 'Have you read the report?' President Bush didn't read it for four years; I don't know why I should read it in four hours."

Which Robo Romney immediately seized upon and declared -- never dare criticize Great Leader:

Romney said Tuesday the comments were in 'bad taste," and lifted from the "Democratic playbook."

Someone should explain to Robo what a 'joke' is... I don't think he's programmed to understand them.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 8:58 AM | Report abuse

'raw conservative competence'

biggest oxymoron i've ever seen. like the 'competence' we've been seeing for the last 7 years? uggh. no thank you.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Motley indeed--Huckabee seems to have a thing for shady characters. This is the same Scarborough in whose office was found a dead 28-year-old aide. The young woman had been healthy -- yet police insisted there were no signs of foul play, attributrd the death to 'natural causes' and quickly closed the case. It was later uncovered that she had a head wound.The local newspaper, the Northwest Florida Daily News, tried to get information from local authorities and claimed they were sandbagged at every turn. Scarborough was never charged, but nonetheless resigned abruptly, just months after being re-elected, to 'spend more time with his family' and left the area. Not the actions of an innocent man, would you say?

The national papers never covered the story -- they were too busy hounding Democrat Gary Condit over Chandra Levy, who was found to have been murdered - by someone else.

Posted by: drindl | January 2, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Cizilla makes a fair assessment. It worries me that Huckabee's message, which is at best embarassingly half-fledged and at worst off-putting, is resonating with some people. It's either resonating with an insular group of idealogues (likely) of another subsection of America that I don't recognize.

On the other hand, I am completely attracted to Romney's raw competence. Talk about change in Washington! Let's hit Washington with raw conservative competence. I want to see what Romney can do.

Posted by: chris | January 2, 2008 8:30 AM | Report abuse

So it turns out the GOP does it differently and doesn't have the whole second choice thing like them Democrats.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 2, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

What I am interested in is who will be the second choices of the folks who are supporting Ron Paul, Hunter, Guiliani etc. Those folks might decide the final of this one. Also what will happen if McCain comes in a strong third with a Huckabee win? What if Romney wins how does this tranlate to NH? For us political junkies today is the best day of the year, because the results are over in one hour while the build up takes a whole year.
I don't know about ya'll but I will be up late tomorrow night.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 2, 2008 8:11 AM | Report abuse

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