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Parsing the Polls: Seeing a President

Our readers know we love to use poll data to understand the preconceived notions voters bring to the 2008 presidential race.

And Gallup continues to provide us with numbers to feed our hunger. Their latest is from a poll conducted Feb. 22-25 that asked a sample of Democrats, Republicans and Independents to handicap the chances of the candidates running for their respective party nominations. The numbers provide a fascinating look into where the three groups agree and differ on the strengths of the frontrunning candidates.

Let's Parse the Polls!

We start with the Democrats.

Among the broad sample of 1,018 adults, 74 percent said that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) has either an "excellent" or "good" chance of being elected president next November. Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) was right on Clinton's heels as 71 percent of adults said he had an excellent/good chance of winning the White House. Former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) was the best of the rest with 52 percent, followed by former Vice President Al Gore (31 percent), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (19 percent), Delaware Sen.
Joe Biden
(18 percent) and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (nine percent).

A look further inside the numbers shows that Clinton's overall lead in the "electability" question is due in large part to members of her own party. A whopping 90 percent of Democrats said Clinton had an excellent/good chance at the nomination -- well ahead of Obama's 74 percent and Edwards' 64 percent.

Republicans, on the other, hand seem to see Obama as the stronger general election candidate. Two thirds of GOPers in the Gallup survey said the Illinois Senator had an excellent/good chance at the nomination, while 58 percent said the same of Clinton. Forty-one percent of Republicans rated Edwards' chances as excellent/good. (In our conversations with a variety of Republicans inside the Beltway, they are in near-unanimous agreement, however, that it is Edwards who poses the biggest threat to their chances in 2008.)

Obama also leads Clinton among Independents -- albeit it more narrowly. Seventy-one percent of Independents gave Obama an excellent/good chance of winning the White House, while 69 percent said the same of Clinton.

Asked specifically to choose whether Clinton or Obama has the better chance of winning the presidency, 50 percent chose Clinton as compared to 45 percent for Obama. Broken down by party affiliation, Clinton's largest lead (17 points) came among Democrats, while the two were statistically tied among Independents. Obama led Clinton 52 percent to 46 percent among Republicans.

There's good news for both of the Democratic frontrunners in this poll. For Clinton, there is a clear sense of Democrats that she is a strong general election candidate who can take back the White House for them after eight years of GOP rule. For Obama, he can use polls like this one to make the argument to primary voters that he -- not Clinton -- has the best chance of winning next November, pointing to his numbers among Republicans and Independents.

On the Republican side, another New Yorker wins the electability race. Seventy-four percent of the general sample rated former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's chances at the president as either excellent or good. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) ran a close second with 70 percent. Former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) was in third place, but with 27 percent he was far behind Giuliani and McCain. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) took 23 percent and Sen.
Sam Brownback
(Kans.) 12 percent to fill out the field.

Because of the huge disparity between McCain/Giuliani and the rest of the field, it's most instructive to compare the data between the two frontrunners.

Giuliani leads McCain across all three party affiliations. Hizzoner's widest margin is with Republicans: 82 percent believe Giuliani has an excellent or good chance at the presidency, while 73 percent said the same of McCain. Giuliani carried statistically insignificant margins over McCain among Independents (75-73) and Democrats (67-65).

The former Mayor also led when voters were asked whether Giuliani or McCain had a better chance to win the nation's highest office. Fifty-three percent chose Giuliani while 45 percent opted for McCain. Again Giuliani's largest lead was among Republicans (60-40). Giuliani and McCain were tied at 49 percent among Democrats.

While we are as skeptical as anyone about polling this early in a nomination fight (surveys tend to reward the best known candidates not the candidates with the best chance of winning), the numbers detailed above should not be so easily dismissed. Activists and donors like to be on-board with the candidate they believe has the best chance to win both the nomination and the White House. The more activists and donors a candidate can sign up, the better chance they have at victory. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy and the reason that early frontrunners tend to win their party's nomination -- at least in recent political history.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 7, 2007; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Comments

My questions is this: when people find out who Guiliani really is, being that he's so far ahead in the polls, where will his supporters look? I'm thinking since McCain and Romney have the endorsements, organization and money to campaign 1 of the 2.

Posted by: reason | March 8, 2007 11:15 PM | Report abuse

I continue also to read a lot of comments to the effect that the Democrats need to opt for someone more conservative, who can win over "red states" and conservatives in "swing states."

That is a foolish trap for Democrats to fall into. The red states are almost certain to vote Republican. Why risk the bank trying to win votes you almost certainly cannot win?

The "conventional wisdom" often seems to be that a candidate needs to get more conservative in order to win. That ignores the realities of the political landscape. The political objective of the Democratic Party should not be to target the red states or conservatives. The target is the swing states, and within them--and perhaps even in some red states and blue states, the target is those who are not ideologically aligned at all but choose a candidate based on other factors--mostly having to do with the personality of the candidate.

I've been following and analyzing Presidential politics for a long time. Nationwide, roughly 35-40 percent are aligned with the more "conservative" political views and the Republican Party. Roughly 35-40 percent are aligned with the more "liberal" views and with the Democratic Party. Of the remaining roughly 20-30 percent who actually decide the elections, a small percentage have views of sufficient complexity that they cannot be conveniently categorized as "conservative" or "liberal." A much larger percentage vote on the basis of such personal characteristics as the personality and charisma of the candidate, and based on who can do the best job manipulating them with images, spin, etc. Sometimes these "swing voters" may be heavily impacted by some single issue that strongly motivates them or is directly significant to their lives personally or their state. Sometimes it may be economic realities. Last November, the war in Iraq carried a lot of weight.

So for both parties, the best strategy is to find someone who appeals primarily to the base on values and issues, and who can appeal to the swing voters in swing states on personal characteristics--maybe also someone very strong on a particular issue that heavily impacts some of the larger swing states, like Ohio and Florida, especially.

The Democrats do not need to try to become like the Republicans. They need to be true to who they are and find a standard barrier who can communicate that effectively and be likeable in the process. That is the appeal of either Obama or Edwards, as contrasted, in my opinion, with Hillary Clinton, who does not begin to have her husband's charisma and personability. Obama has the additional advantage of being very well-versed, and very sincere, in talking about faith and values. Again, Democrats don't need to convert to Republican values. They just need to learn how to articulate their own values.

Look at the last several Presidential elections. Among the Democrats, who won and who lost? Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry all lost. Clinton won twice, and Carter once. (I believe it was the hostage situation in Iran more than anything that caused Carter to lose to Reagan.) There were not really large ideological differences between the winners and losers here. There were husge personality differences and differences in the capacity to connect with the ordinary person. Dukakis, Gore (at least on the campaign trail), and Kerry were all considered stiff, lacking in personality and charisma--smart but not able to connect with the average person. Carter and Clinton, especially the latter, were much more personable and capable of relating to people. I should throw JFK into that mix as well, as yet one more case in point.

So if the lessons of history apply, then the most electable would be Obama or Edwards. It does not matter how Obama would play with Southern white males! The Democrats aren't going to win those votes anyway. It's foolish to build a strategy on trying to win those votes.

The real question, given the political landscape as it is today, is what Democratic candidate will be most able to hold onto the blue states and to win over the swing voters (who vote mostly based on personal characteristics rather than issues) in Ohio and/or Florida.

And take note of the possibility that some southwestern states like New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado may also be in play--to a large degree based on the rising number of Latino registered voters. And those who think hard-line anti-immigrant stands will play well in these states are clearly not paying attention to the polls and the voting. The majority in these states do vote for border security, but do not vote for hard anti-immigrant rhetoric and actions. Most want both border security and fair treatment of immigrants who are already here--documented and undocumented. And there will be a backlash among Latino voters against anti-immigrant hardliners. McCain would fair well among them and certainly lock up Arizona. The other Republican candidates may find themselves in a struggle for these states. Bottom line there: I think if the Democratic candidate can get as much as 75 percent of the Latino votes in any of these states, he or she may win that state.

All you staunch conservatives responding and insisting the Democrats need to get more conservative to win: Don't worry. You're not the target anyway. We already know how you're going to vote. So your opinion about the Democratic race really doesn't matter much anyway, does it?

Posted by: GL | March 8, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Conservatives are revealing their true hand. They have wanted to pretend their voting was about values--conservative social views. Yet, Giuliani, who does not subscribe to the values upon which they allegedly base their vote (anti-abortion, anti-gay), he is apparently their man for 2008. More telling is that Giuliani is a fiscal conservative--a believer in unrestrained laissez faire capitalism and huge tax cuts for the wealthy. McCain, on the other hand, holds to conservative social values, while being a little more moderate fiscally. It goes to prove what I've said all along. Conservatism is not about values. It's about money.

On the Democratic side, I grow weary of people calling Obama a "rock star," talking about his "lack of experience," and talking as if he is not a substantive candidate. Obama has thus far been among the most concrete, substantive, and sensible political candidates I've ever heard. People need to read what he has written, rather than being swayed by media images. He also has a lot of relevant experience, even if not as much WASHINGTON experience. Washington experience is not what we need in a President. That's why the President assembles a huge Cabinet of people who have that experience. What we need is a President who exercises sound judgment and good sense, is concerned about the well-being of all the people (and not just the wealthy ones), and knows to gather the best team of people and listen to them, while being the one who takes the various options presented and exercises good judgment in deciding which to pursue. There is no particular time in Congress or some other government position required to be able to do that.

Actually, most of the patronizing and dismissive remarks made about Obama seem to smack of racism, if you ask me. If you want to dismiss the man, stop talking in generalities and cite specific instances in which he has demonstrated being ill-informed or has exercised poor judgment. Dismissing people with generalities is the stuff of which prejudice is made.

Posted by: GL | March 8, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Aussie view,

To be more specific, they state elsewhere on their website: "The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector."

And while there is nothing wrong with that agenda in my view, obviously one would not necessarily look to such a group for unbiased commentary on this subject matter.

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Koz - your link is also troubling for me.
"While economic freedom is not the sole determinant of a state's wealth, the correlation is strong."
Whilst I haven't analysed the data in any great detail, from what I can tell the correlation is weak or even negative,
when you compare economic freedom with GDP levels. This gain/loss in GDP that the report refers to, well that may be another story but it's one I don't understand. How did they work out how much is gained or lost by economic freedom? Why not compare economic freedom with actual GDP rather than this other measure that is not at all well explained? I would think they don't do that because it won't come to the conclusions that they would like to see. I'm also interested in the Delaware GDP figure - seems quite high to me, i had always though Connecticut was no.1 (DC being the highest without being a state). I can't find any source which has Delaware as no.1 or even close to being no.1.

"The National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a non-profit conservative think tank" - i guess it's no surpise they came to these conclusions.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Zookie: You avoided discussing your distortions of history yesterday after they were pointed out.

Stop being a revisionist!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 6:21 PM | Report abuse

oil export
oil revenue
unemployment
trained judges
telephones
internet
tv stations
radio stations
newspapers
cars
education

What if they don't give a damn about those things which are OUR "metrics of success?"

We did wonderfully using measures like those in Vietnam. But, that isn't what the Vietnamese cared about. It was what we cared about.

Trickle Down Democracy is as valid as your pal Laffer's Trickle Down economics.

The Iraqis will handle the material things themselves, after they take care of their centuries old grudges. The metric there should be, 0 U.S. GI's in the middle.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Who is making and enforcing the law of contracts? Presumably that would be the government.

And contractual law, while quite important, cannot be an efficient substitute for all regulation. The basic problem, as described by Ronald Coase among others, is one of transaction costs: for certain matters it would simply be too costly for all the affected parties to enter into a contract.

So, capitalism depends on more than just contract law. It also depends on all the other laws and public institutions necessary to maintain a free, competitive, and low transaction cost market-based economy. Capitalism in that sense is not the same thing as an absence of government and regulation, and indeed assumes that some amount of government and regulation is necessary.

The tricky part, of course, is figuring out exactly how much government and regulation we need. And for the reasons we have discussed, neither "always more" or "always less" is going to be a good answer.

Posted by: KOZ | March 7, 2007 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I do see your point. I was going to mention this in my earlier post, but it was long enough and I didn't have time. Not everything in Iraq is going badly. In some ways, life in Iraq is better now than it was before the war. There's independent media, there are some services which are more available now than before, etc.

But just as it would be wrong to say that all news out of Iraq is bad, it's wrong to ignore the bad news. And there's a lot of bad news. You can't ignore the body count. You can't say "Well, people are dying left and right, but they have better Internet access now, so on average it's okay." It doesn't matter how nice your life is otherwise, if you're constantly in danger of being killed or injured by a bomb.

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

anarchy is not the opposite of socialism. capitalism is (sort of) and it is maintained by contract law. I think it is very well-established that government "crowds-out" the private sector. this is an economic term and there is a mountain of evidence of this phenomenon. It is not a good bet and I will take that bet anytime.

but you have admitted that government and regulation in the extreme are harmful? there is hope for you yet.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

KOZ,

I think there is a very complicated relationship between the amount and nature of a government's involvement in an economy and economic growth. But somewhat obviously, both extremes (complete anarchy and complete socialism) are not likely to be conducive to maximizing economic growth. So, it is a good bet the optimal pro-growth state lies somewhere in between these extremes.

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

DTM, yes, the Dems are the party of the rich, despite their hopes to portray themselves as the champiosn of the little people. but that was not the point of that chart. It was to show that economic freedom has real consequences. It must be compared to averages to make this analysis.

do you honestly believe that higher taxes and regulations leads to higher income? alert kruggman, he has a third reader. It is so easy to get you Libs into indefensible positions when you take your wild-eyed assumptions to their logical conclusions. but if you don't FEEL that way, I guess you must be correct.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I guess you didn't see my post a while back explaining the electricity problem. they only pay about 3cents for all you can eat. they have been buying AC units, big sceeen tvs, etc. Hence the increase in demand overall. the country as a whole was mostly destroyed in gulf I and your friend didn't lift a finger to fix it.

then you lurch into body counts - fine. lets watch them. Could this be a measure of Iran ramping up its operations over time? Or just the most beneficial for the enemy to use their resources on.

Next you cite attitudes and confidence. not exactly the hard numeric measures I was looking for.

Now I am looking at your report. US troop fatalities. It goes up and down but is mostly steady around 60 or 65. not increasing. british and coalition are almost non-existent. they have the good side of the tracks.

Iraqi police killed monthly has seen dramatic declines from a high of 304 to the current 68, smells like victory.


attacks on gas pipelines down substantially from a high of 30 per month to 5 per month.
index of political freedom and press freedom - near the top for the region

oil export - prewar 2.5 best recent 2.34
oil revenue - 2003 0.2 B, most recent 3.44

unemployment from 50-60 down to 35-40

trained judges - from zero to more than 800

telephone from 800K to 8M
internet - 4000 to 200K
tv stations - zero to 54
radio stations - zero to 114
newspapers - zero to 268
cars - 1.5M to 3.1M
education - 5.7% increase in enrollments in elementary, 27% increase in high school

this is exactly the kind of numbers I requested.
I think you can see my point, it is not all gloom and doom over there. why has not one person discussed the numbers I just revealed for the US to digest? If you insist on only counting bodies, you will fall into the media and enemy's grasp. If you want to knwo the truth consider the alternative measures and balance them.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I took a quick unweighted average of the per capita GDPs for the "Red" and "Blue" states as listed in that chart. I got the "Blue" states at about $6000 more than the "Red" states in per capita GDP (which is about 18% more).

Hmmm.

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The Brookings Institute has some extremely detailed statistics on Iraq. Here's a link to the archive, which lets you see weekly numbers. Each document has historical data in addition to new data. I looked at the January 29, 2007 data, because I couldn't get the February data to download.

http://www.brookings.edu/fp/saban/iraq/indexarchive.htm

A lot of the charts show the increasing deadliness of the insurgency. The number of multiple-fatality bombings was 69 in December 2006, compared to 11 in December 2004. Numbers killed and wounded in the attacks increased similarly. Page 20 is very informative; it describes the daily and weekly numbers of attacks. Over that 2-year period, daily attacks increased from 77 to 185.

Now let's talk quality of life. Hour of electricity per day was 7.8 in January 2007 and 9 in January 2005. In Baghdad, it was 4.4 in January 2007 and 9.0 in January 2005. Those numbers fluctuated over the years, but they overall haven't improved since 2003. Unemployment has been fairly constant. Other factors aren't charted over time, so it's hard to get a comparison.

The Politics section of the document describes that attitudes towards US troops worsened in 2006 (approval of attacks on US forces increased 14% overall), and confidence in security forces plunged in that time.

So, basically, things in Iraq haven't gotten better over time. Some factors, like the number and deadliness of attacks, have gotten worse. Others, like hours of electricity and unemployment, have stayed pretty much the same, below pre-war levels. The people of Iraq have grown to dislike the US occupation and the US-backed government more over time. All of these statistics lead to the conclusion that our presence in Iraq is not helping the country, and that we are losing the war.

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

It is not the profit margin that makes government so expensive. It is the unproductive behavior. Not relying on market forces to price investments and make strategic moves is why we don't trust government to do anything right. examine the goverment response to Katrina (except coast guard) and compare to private industry's abilites. Examine the government furnished health care given to the army and compare to any HMO. compare the ROI of your social security account to your 401K average. the list goes on and on. it is simply ludicrous to believe the government is better at things than the private sector. we are willing to give up some efficiency when a dirty job needs to get done, as in the military.

Minimally acceptable is not the norm in private businesses. this is typical of soviet systems or more well-known, waiters who include their tips. Most businesses want to build the business based on good performance and their reputation. It is this responsibility to the stockholders and the motivation to make it good that works. not some assumed sense of doing right by your fellow man. this is precisely why Marxism failed - a fundamental mis-understanding of human motivation. the market is so successful because it relies upon each individuals ability to perceive what is best for them. all these signals are translated into a price, a fair price based on every person deciding for themselves if it is worth it. It is not possible to create a price for someone else. but this is what so many Libs always try to do - minimum wage, prescription drugs, etc.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Now that I have your attention, JD, could you please refrain from making psycho death threats on this blog? As a rule, whenever we find ourselves using the words, "...the first against the wall" we ought to shut our fat traps right there. You obviously have it in you to be an adult, so why not elevate the conversation, rather than pissing on it? Back and forth is great, death threats are a useless waste of time and energy.

Posted by: Kevin | March 7, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Glad to see Dame Edna is well known in America! To be fair, William does at least tend to play fair when arguing, but I never agree with anything he says.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

My reference was to the Dame Edna line about William being "as welcome as a fart in a phone booth."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

The above post was with reference to William's post at 3.25pm.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

People in Red states prefer more economic freedom," said NCPA Senior Fellow Devon Herrick. "The pay-off is that they enjoy higher economic growth

http://www.ncpa.org/prs/rel/2005/20050629nr.html

The 10 highest ranking red states enjoyed $3,837 in extra per capita income, while the 10 lowest ranking blue states lose $3,205 per person relative to the average state.


this is the hillary plan - take your money and spend it on something else.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Aussie: He reminds me more of Dame Edna!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

William, your writings remind of a politician from my own country, who you may or may not have heard of (probably not, but she did get a lot of publicity around the world) called Pauline Hanson. Check her out here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pauline_Hanson

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Gilmore for Halloween!

William for his toady!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

oops, Tancredo should have been 9, and Paul 10.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

2008 CANDIDATES LISTED BY STRENGTH (ELECTABILITY) IN A GENERAL ELECTION

Just my take...my reasons were pretty much discussed in my previous post. Unfortunately, Richardson's Mexican heritage may hurt him, so I put him second. But Richardson's political resume is the strongest out of any candidate, R or D.


DEMS:

1. Edwards

2. Richardson

3. Biden

4. HRC

5. Dodd

6. Obama

7. Dennis Kucinich

GOP:

It is hard to place Guiliani since I am not sure how much his personal issues and liberal views and baggage will hurt him. It seems a lot of conservatives are apparently willing to overlook those things. But are they really? Against Bredesen or Warner Guiliani would be destroyed, but neither of those two Dems are in the race.

The GOP line is also harder since it's hard to gauge how turned off swing state voters are from born-again type Republicans. They may be pretty turned off, but against a Dem who turns them off more, like HRC or Obama, they may go for a Southern conservative.

Interestingly enough, in a Huckabee vs. Edwards race, I think Huckabee would win.

1. Duncan Hunter - he's actually quite electable. He's a strong conservative, but doesn't give off that "fire-and-brimstone" Jerry Falwell type impression that a lot of Southern conservatives do.

Since he is from CA, he would be a unique and fresh choice. A conservative from a liberal state.

2. Rudy Guiliani - though it's hard to predict how this might affect conservative turnout. If disaffected conservatives in swing states stay home, Rudy's electability would instantly evaporate. But, I think Dems are afraid of Rudy.

3. Mike Huckabee - Huckabee is a Southern Republican, but a relatively moderate one. Again, Huckabee is a hardliner on abortion and gay marriage, but weak on immigration and other issues. But since the Dem candidate will be too, I think conservatives would stomach Huckabee.

I was tempted to give McCain this spot. His pandering to the religious right will not hurt him as much as some think, since most voters don't follow politics think early before an election.

I still think McCain would be able to appeal to swing state voters, though less than in 2000.

I was also tempted to give Jim Gilmore this spot, but his resume is rather thin, and he is a polarizing figure.

4. John McCain

5. Jim Gilmore - appeals to conservatives more than a lot of other candidates, and would galvanize GOP turnout. He would also appeal to economically conservative moderates.

6. Tommy Thompson - a relatively moderate Republican, but there's no way he gets the nomination. However, in this list, we are dealing with electability in a general, not the primary.

7. Mitt Romney - his Mormonism, constant flip-flopping, limited experience, liberal record, liberal quotes, and home state (MA) will all hurt him.

8. Sam Brownback - too extreme on social issues to win. He apparently is opposed to abortion even for the life of a mother. Also, he has no charisma.

8. Tom Tancredo: At this point, Tancredo is too extreme to be elected (except maybe against Obama.) But in the future, when the consequences of illegal immigration like crime start affecting a lot more average Americans and not just people in the SouthWest, there will be a huge backlask against illegals, and Tancredo may likely become an electable candidate.

9. Ron Paul - a weird, libertarian Republican who often sides with Dems. Lost much of whatever support he may have had by siding with Dems on the "cut n run" resolution.


If you disagree with this list, I would be glad to hear comments.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 4:27 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--"Roo, you can't simply provide a snapshot of numbers if you are trying to establish a trend. you could compare the numbers to other countries in the region. Let's compare Iraqi unemployment to Palestein unemployment for example."

Right, I was indicating that strict figures would require a lot of work and that relying on polls of Iraqis is probably fine. You may be interested in knowing that I am generally leaning towards 'slightly better off' for parts of the country although current developments might wipe that away in short order. But there are certainly some alarming numbers there too, ones that require no historical context.

koz--"I am not saying that lower taxes definitively causes employment growth, but a correlation is evident and motivating. If you don't like my correlation find something that shows the opposite and we will evaluate. but are you really trying to say that higher taxes will encourage employment?"

That is an entirely too black-white view. Taxes are only a portion of the overall financial aspect of job growth (along with the recently-popular health care, regulations etc.) which is only a portion of the overall picture. I am sure you are aware of the non-financial boom mechanics.

I was trying to look for info but I could not find anything about what *kind* of jobs are being created, hopefully not just service industry stuff (the U.S. seems firmly headed towards a neo-feudalist master-servant society.)

kingofzouk--"I think the situation at Walter reed effectively shows what a future under government run healthcare (or anything) will look like."

I do not, particularly since here we are dealing with privatisation.

I am of the school that a nonprofit government entity is always better for two reasons:

1. No profit margin requirements equals cheaper.
2. The government should have an interest in the well-being of its citizens. A corporation does not so the minimally acceptable is the norm.

I will gladly acknowledge that these--particularly the second maxim--are not always the case in the U.S.

kingofzouk--"the military has clearly chosen the commander of the installation as the villian. It is his job to oversee compliance of contracts and overall post effectiveness."

Oh, absolutely, and there is certainly blame to go around. But contrast this, for example, to a privatised but government-overseen social security program and re-examine your argument.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

When are you going to answer my question?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Saudi Arabia's unemployment reaches 30 percent
http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/030305/2003030513.html

you said - "Unemployment is very disconcerting, around 20-25% nationally with as much as 40% in the higher-educated demographics and elevated in youths."

Are we winning the war inside Saudi Arabia, relatively speaking?

some numbers for Iran:

"First, unemployment is especially high at 34% among the 15-24 year olds who officially constitute 25% of the labor force; it is 22% for men and 41% for women. "

doesn't look like that particular measure is going to make your case. care to try another?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Rudy is too liberal for the Republican base. Romney is too Mormon. McCain is tied too closely to the outcome of the war in Iraq. Brownback would be my choice for the Republican nominee. Brownback appeals to the Christian right for his pro-life and anti-stem cell stance. He appeals to those who oppose the war in Iraq. If Brownback can find some funding, I could see him as the Republican nominee.

Posted by: ewe2 | March 7, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Continuing my previous post:

Dems and liberals were foolish to drool and fawn over Obama when he really didn't merit it. Even if you all like him, that was a dangerous tactical mistake, since it caused all of the strongest Dem candidates to lose heart and leave the race or not join it.

I mean, think about it: Bayh, Warner, Bredesen, Sweitzer, Easley...ANY ONE of those men would have been an absolute shoo-in. Red states would go for them over RINO Republicans, and they would be almost inevitable victors.

The field the Democrats are left with now is much weaker. There is no moderate Southern or Western Dem in the Clinton mold in the 2008 field. Remember, Clinton won easily in 1992 and despite being quite liberal was easily reelected in 1996 over a more conservative and popular Republican than any of the current 5 GOP frontrunners.

If Bredesen or Sweitzer or Easley or Bayh or even Warner was in the race, NO REPUBLICAN currently running would have been able to beat them.

If Sweitzer was running, he would take MT, CO, NV, NM,SD, ND and possibly WY even against McCain.

That's 28-31 electoral votes right there. Plus, Sweitzer would lock down ALL of Kerry's states and probably take IA and OH, which have been trending somewhat blue lately.

Bredesen would likely have taken quite a few southern states, especially against Romney, McCain or Guliani. In fact, against any of those 3, I could see the entire South going blue if Bredesen or Easley were running.

Even Warner would likely take VA and WV, as well as IA and OH and maybe NM and NV or CO.


Bayh would have taken IN and OH for sure.
------------------------------------------

Right now, I think the strongest Dem candidates are Edwards and Richardson. Because of concerns over illegal immigration, Richardson will suffer from his Hispanic heritage. Terry Nelson and Co. will find some way of bringing it up.

Most Southerners are not attracted to Edwards since he has swung left like Gore, but he is a Protestant, unlike Romney or Guiliani. He is also white, unlike Obama.

Edwards would seem an acceptable alternative for people who would want to punish the GOP for nominating a liberal RINO and/or straying from conservative values.

Obama, on the other hand, is not. I mean, come on, his name is Barack Hussein Obama. Give up on him.

That SC state senator was right when he said if Obama was nominated, the Dems would lose "the presidency, senate, house, governorships, state houses, everything."

Don't forget about "Down ticket" races that will be affected by the presidential nominee. Obama or HRC as the nom would devastate Dem chances in conservative or moderate areas.

Edwards may not be great, but out of the current Dem candidates he is the strongest, followed by Richardson.

He IS still from the South, and even conservative Southerners will go for him over Romney or Guiliani. McCain is hated by most Republicans, and they would vote for a reasonable Dem just to screw him.

I know someone already did, but I would like to give my take on some match-ups as well:

-Edwards vs. Romney: Edwards locks up all of Kerry's states. Some people seem to think Romney would take MI since his dad was from there, but there is nothing to indicate that belief is more than idle speculation. Against Romney, Edwards also takes WV, AR and possibly LA since those are conservative states that like moderate Dems.

I think that CO, NM and NV are inevitably trending blue. Bush barely took those states, in a VERY red year. In Co I think it was 51-49, and in the others, IIRC it was even closer.

Hispanics in these states will not be excited by a black guy (obama) but will be excited by Richardson, a Hispanic.

Edwards-Richardson would be a strong ticket.

OH and IA are also trending blue and will probably go for any Dem in 08 EXCEPT Obama or HRC.

So basically, against Romney, if Edwards chooses a conservative and more experienced VP, he takes OH and IA, and either the South or Mountain West, and maybe part of both.

Having Richardson on the ticket would also give Edwards a good shot at FL.

Edwards vs. Guliani:

This one is harder. Conventional wisdom
suggests that Guiliani would take some of Kerry's states, but I don't know if that's true. Also, conservatives, especially down South, are unwilling to stomach Guiliani and may find Edwards an acceptable alternative.

But I think Guiliani is a very strong candidate. I just don't want him to be president. We may as well vote for a real Dem instead of one pretending to be an R.

Richardson vs. Romney: Richardson takes most of the interior west and most of Kerry's states. Romney may take a couple of states in the upper midwest, like WI and MI. This race would come down to the South, which I think would stomach Romney over a Hispanic, pro-amnesty Dem.

On the other hand, Romney is anti-gun, while Richardson has a concealed carry license and is NRA endorsed.

Other races, such as McCain-Richardson, McCain-Edwards, Guiliani-Richardson are too complicated to discuss in this post without turning it into an essay.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Roo, you can't simply provide a snapshot of numbers if you are trying to establish a trend. you could compare the numbers to other countries in the region. Let's compare Iraqi unemployment to Palestein unemployment for example.

I am not saying that lower taxes definitively causes employment growth, but a correlation is evident and motivating. If you don't like my correlation find something that shows the opposite and we will evaluate. but are you really trying to say that higher taxes will encourage employment? Have you been reading kruggman again? you should know better. If you examine tax policy in europe, the Irish situation also supports this thesis.

I think the situation at Walter reed effectively shows what a future under government run healthcare (or anything) will look like. fill out the forms and wait 6 months. then fill out some more forms. consider what Canadians wait for to get a surgeon. the privitization of the military has been going on a long time due to the nature of reassignments every 2-4 years in the active service. contractors are simply more knowledgable and retain information. some contractors cut corners but this is usually not in accordance with the contract. we have contract law to deal with this. sometimes the cheapest company is not the best choice.

Are you saying you like government run health care and wish to blame the private company for the problems? the military has clearly chosen the commander of the installation as the villian. It is his job to oversee compliance of contracts and overall post effectiveness.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

One additional thought: it amazes me that people continue to claim that non-black Americans would not vote for Obama because he is black. Obama is very popular with non-black voters in Illinois, and does extremely well in particular with the suburban voters around Chicago. Those are precisely the same people he would need to vote for him (people in suburbs throught the Midwest and West) to win the general election.

So, for whatever reason, this appears to be a complete nonissue for Obama.

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

A few random thoughts:

1) In my experience, lawyers are subject to much the same treatment as members of Congress: as a class they are unpopular, and yet people tend to like their own lawyer/member of Congress.

2) Giuliani clearly seems to be the most formidable general election candidate, and I think that is why Republicans are rallying to him (understandably, they don't want to lose). It will be interesting to see if any of the other Republican candidates can stop this process.

3) It is getting a bit sad when all Chris has to pump up Edwards's chances is unverifiable claims about a straw poll he took of his Republican friends. The real story about Edwards is that he is in far more serious trouble than a person who was on the 2004 ticket should be at this point.

Posted by: DTM | March 7, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

William--You know, it is commendable that you try very hard to think that you are not racist and would, possibly, want to not be one.

However, you are. The sooner you come to terms with this and do your best to understand and overcome the reasons for it, the better it is for you. Good luck.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--"It's no coincidence that the states with the lowest tax rates are leading the U.S. in employment growth."

Your National Review link pretty much collapses at the point where Michigan becomes the runt of the litter because of its taxation policies. It could not be, say, the car and heavy fabrication industry being in the process of pretty much completely failing?

However, we could try to examine your claim without this, ah, ingenious analysis. First, as proper scientists, we must assume that correlation does not equal causality and set forth to prove that it is indeed specifically the taxation issue driving job growth. I look forward to the documentation you will submit.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I didn't have time to read all the comments, so sorry if this one is similar to some above.

Andy R - good matchups and analysis.

Golgi, it is correct that out of the current 6 viable Dems in the running (HRC, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Biden, Dodd) that Edwards is the greatest threat to the GOP's chances.

Here's why. As someone pointed out, what we select in presidential elections is the face of our nation for 4 years.

You may think that Americans are yearning for a minority president or a woman president but that is not the case. That is simply idealistic liberals engaging in GroupThink.

That's not to say a minority or woman can't win. But it will be more difficult.

I don't think the majority of Americans are willing to vote for a black man. That's not because they are racist (in the true sense of the word.)

They don't say "Hey, he's dark, I'm not voting for him."

But I think a lot of white, Asian, Native American and even Hispanic Americans are concerned over what would happen if a black man was elected president.

Would black people react the way they did after Dinkins was elected NYC mayor? Would they go around thinking they "owned" the country.

In truth, the race issue still exists in this country not because whites are racist, but because black people keep demanding special treatment and benefits as "reparations" for slavery.

As long as African-Americans continually demand to be treated better than everyone else, this will foster resentment not only among white people, but among Asians, Native Americans and Hispanics.

Even many liberals oppose giving African-Americans unfair benefits like affirmative action.

Even in liberal states like CA and MI, bans on A.A. passed by huge margins.

In MI in 2006, the affirmative action ban passed by 58%. Considering that MI has a lot of African-Americans, who probably almost all voted against the ban, the percentage of white who voted to ban AA is probably like 70 or 75 percent of MI's white population.

Basically, it's not because Obama is black that people will be wary about voting for him.

It's because most, if not all, black politicians, are continually striving to get unfair benefits for African Americans, at the expense of everyone else, both financially, academically, societally, etc.

Also, Obama's Muslim roots will seriously damage his chances.

Regardless of what the consensus is on Kos's forum, in real life, Obama is a VERY weak candidate.

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--"give me a link to iraqi standard of living numbers."

http://www.iq.undp.org/ILCS/overview.htm

Of course we would also need something from before the invasion.

My gut feeling is that financially speaking, things are averaging out simply because of the influx of cash--be mindful that the comparison is with a sanctioned country. Sense of security has clearly declined in parts of the country.

Unemployment is very disconcerting, around 20-25% nationally with as much as 40% in the higher-educated demographics and elevated in youths.

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"you make a great American Lib with those kinds or arguments"

I'll take that as a compliment! ;-)

I promise you I did a search of Australian sites on the web and couldn't find any studies at all. So I don't think I can 'win' this argument so I'll leave it at that.

Just one thing to note, kiwis are New Zealanders, not Australians.

P.S. Post at 2.50pm was myself.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Tarheel, While a lot of seasoned campaign gurus are taken, what about Dean's crew? Trippi and Blank, they're not gone unless I missed something. Please enlighten me if I did.

And, I don't think Gore would have a bit of trouble raising money.

Who is Rove going to help for the Repubs?

Seems like not everyone is taken.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 7, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

kingofzouk--Are you aware that as the result of attempts of privatisation a company called IAP Worldwide Services is in charge of handling the operations at Walter Reed?

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

One country - Israel, perhaps Kuwait, UAE, Qutar, Jordan

to really consider your arguments I will need to know how you measured chaos? was this based on NYT editorials? Please provide a link indicating the skill level of terrorists, the boldness. the number of factions allying with others.

give me a link to iraqi standard of living numbers.

without any of this data your answer can be deemed only non -responsive. I don't think it is too much to ask for some real measures that do not rely solely on your opinion.

When are you going to answer my question?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Hih, it just amuses me to no end when someone says 'electoral math' with the same connotations as 'quantum field theory and waveform analysis.'

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"1. Iraq has a steady and solid government in place that doesn't threaten its neighbors and doesn't harbor terrorists.
2. Countries that support terrorism will be marginalized or eliminated.
3. US citizens won't have to be afraid at home or while travelling abroad."

Thanks for clearing that up. In that case, I know exactly what I'll do when I find out that we won the war in Iraq: Nothing. Because I'll be long dead.

Name one country in the Middle East that doesn't threaten its neighbors or harbor terrorists. Even our Middle Eastern allies threaten their neighbors and harbor terrorists. So if that's your exit criteria, and we can't leave Iraq until that's the case, we're going to be occupying Iraq for decades.

As for your question: We've lost the war in Iraq because the situation has gotten steadily worse over time. Some post-invasion chaos was to be expected, but we haven't been able to stem that chaos in the several years we've occupied the country. The insurgents keep getting bolder and more skilled. And factions in the Iraqi government are allying with factions of insurgents. That's a civil war.

We've been in Iraq for years. The standard of living for Iraqis has steadily declined over that time. (It's declined most sharply for the huge numbers of Iraqis who have been killed.) We're no closer to your goal of a solid, peaceful government than we were in 2003. Because we haven't made any progress, it's not worth continuing to waste our money and the lives of our soldiers in Iraq. We have lost the war. (Alternately, we won the war after ousting Saddam, and we've lost the occupation. The result is the same.)

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

1. Iraq has a steady and solid government in place that doesn't threaten its neighbors and doesn't harbor terrorists.
2. Countries that support terrorism will be marginalized or eliminated.
3. US citizens won't have to be afraid at home or while travelling abroad./

--we're goinng to eliminate entire countries and then we'll never be afraid agian.... jeezua christ what kindergarten do you go to??

Posted by: hilarious | March 7, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Aussie, that depends on the meaning of the word "is". you make a great American Lib with those kinds or arguments. but really, i do want to thank the great country of australia for being america's best friend of all history and standing by us no matter what. It is a testament to your elected leadership.

If you really want to win this according to your own measure, provide a study which shows what other kiwis think about barristers, not just you. Otherwise you just fit nicely into the category of loud-mouthed lib with more opinion than fact. You seem to have found the right place to call home on this blog.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the data, Blarg. Granted it is a bit old, but I am still surprised - I would have expected Rudy to have better numbers than that in NY. Looks like he has a lot of work to do to take NY no matter who his opponent is. I am surpised he's doing so well in NJ and PA though. Still I'd take the word of New Yorkers over them as they should know him best.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Why am I the one who is always recieving demands to answer questions. have you answered one of my questions yet? since I am such a good sport, I am willing to play your game, but do note that you Libs never seem to come back with your witty repartee when you lose on the facts, you simply dissappear.

I think this information has been well-travelled but to review:
1. Iraq has a steady and solid government in place that doesn't threaten its neighbors and doesn't harbor terrorists.
2. Countries that support terrorism will be marginalized or eliminated.
3. US citizens won't have to be afraid at home or while travelling abroad.

It may not be immediately clear that this has happened as it was when Japan singed a surrender document. I am more than willing to consider any measures of effectiveness you wish to apply to Iraq. It is not just a question of body count though, you can add oil production, electricity availability, free press start-ups, economic growth, police trained, cell phones sold, unemployment, etc.

so far I have not seem any cut and runners admitting to a non-biased method of determining a success? so I could just as easily query you - "What are your measures which have convinced you this is a loss or heading for one?" try to make them something we can actually measure and then the numbers may actually be available.

so there it is, one simple question. will anyone respond?

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Zouk - let me walk you through this even slower. Here is what was written:

"It's a fact: Trial Lawyers are almost UNIVERSALLY thought to be a drain on society and among the dregs of useful professions."

Last time I checked, America doesn't equate to the universe. I obviously wouldn't have commented on the standing of lawyers in my own country if he was talking about only America, but he wasn't doing so. I never implied Americans believed the same, quite the opposite actually. All I was saying is that maybe such views are not 'universal'.

Another thing, seeing as you are always going on about 'facts', your source didn't prove this 'fact' as I didn't see anything in the study which asked "which profession is the biggest drain on society?". I know I am being pedantic but you have to be if you want to use the word fact.

By the way, thanks for the outback reference, hilarious stuff.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

ut I did find that even when confronted with unbiased facts, there are many Cons who will still not concede such an obvious point, preferring to rely upon feelings. fine for opinion but not matters of fact.'

problem is, facts have a liberal bias. an inconvenient truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

It's no coincidence that the states with the lowest tax rates are leading the U.S. in employment growth.

What a concept, lower taxes and get a booming economy. not according to Dems.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NmRmOWE2NDE5NDE4ZTRkMGY1NTEwYmYyNzgxODVkYTI=

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm still waiting for your answer, Zouk. You ask what we'll do when we've won the war. Before I can answer, I need to know what it means to win the war in Iraq, and the Global War on Terror. (Or whatever it's called now.)

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

For your consideration:

"But the scandal at Walter Reed should also send a warning to private citizens whose security and freedom Staff Sgt. Shannon sacrificed so much to defend: Never let government control your health care. Already, the three leading Democratic presidential candidates -- Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and former Sen. John Edwards -- have vowed that they will enact a "universal" health insurance program. Such a program, of course, cannot be created without government mandates and subsidies, which mean government control.

Head that way, and eventually we will all find ourselves waiting in line for treatment that never comes in the civilian version of the Walter Reed outpatient program. Unlike Shannon, and the other heroes at Walter Reed, however, we will not have purchased the bureaucrats' indifference with blood shed on a battlefield. "


http://www.townhall.com/columnists/column.aspx?UrlTitle=walter_reed_government_health_care&ns=TerenceJeffrey&dt=03/07/2007&page=2

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned.guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned

Posted by: Pot calling Kettle 'black' | March 7, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

aussie, I will type slowly since you seem to have gone off into the outback somewhere.

the initial point to be made was whether lawyers are respected by americans or not. you said they are highly respected as barristers are where you're from. you implied we would think the same. when I posted outside polling info that confirmed Americans don't think highly of lawyers, you confused the issue and began to compare the professions of the various candidates. fine, but do you at least concede that trial lawyers are scum? to think otherwise would be un-american.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"It's a self-fulfilling prophecy and the reason that early frontrunners tend to win their party's nomination -- at least in recent political history."

Who had ever heard of Bill Clinton until the 1992 race was well under way? Also, remember that at this point in the 2000 cycle, most Americans were only dimly aware that George H.W. Bush even had a namesake. The only examples that really support your thesis are *maybe* John Kerry and a couple of Vice Presidents, who get to run in the primary as if they were incumbents.

Vice Presidents aside, the eventual winners tend to be people whom most voters had never heard of in the very early stages. Bill Clinton, Bush Jr., Jimmy Carter. All guys that came out of nowhere.

Posted by: Jackson Landers | March 7, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

As you can see there are very few Dem arguments that stand up to the facts, if the facts are ever admitted into evidence. the day before we discussed the value of the social security trust fund. Many Dems were surprised that these represent no actual assetts. those pesky facts. Any of you Libs ready to consider some actual facts on global warming, on min wage, on social security, on war?

yesterday was particularly enjoyable because that no-name ignorant coward mostly stayed away or was ignored. those guys who offer nothing but insults deserve to be continually ignored and shunned. I will stick to this from now on as I suggest the rest of you do to purge this pest from our midst.

but I did find that even when confronted with unbiased facts, there are many Libs who will still not concede such an obvious point, preferring to rely upon feelings. fine for opinion but not matters of fact.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, this data you cited is pretty old...

Aussie View: Here's a link to a poll of New York State voters. It's a month old.

http://www.newyorkbusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070204/FREE/70205023&SearchID=73271237191027

Here are the results for one-on-one matchups:
Hillary 53%, Giuliani 32%
Hillary 55%, McCain 26%
Obama 42%, Guiliani 31%

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Zouk - that poll tells me that trial lawyers are more trusted than senators...therefore the fact that Edwards served only one senate term must be a positive compared to someone like McCain...? They also rank equal with business execs, well that counts out Romney too I guess. Oh, and what was your man Rudy's old job...don't tell me he was a *gasp* trial lawyer????!!
Hmmm.....nice one zouk, you've stumped yourself again mate.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse


'Rosie O'Donnell says she began being treated for depression after the Columbine school shootings and hangs upside down for up to a half-hour a day to improve her mental state.

Maybe she should hang a little longer. It doesn't seem to be working.'

What a moron you are...

Yeah, and keep quoting the Wall Street Pravda. It's not like they're influenced by big companies with fat contracts in Iraq who want to see the war go on forever...

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the link Koz. I thought my previous link was enough for Aussie, but perhaps he missed it.

As for Kevin...your apology is accepted.

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Now that's its been brought up. How about Al Gore entering the race? Al versus Hillary. That would pose some interesting scenarios involving who Bill thought was most qualified to be president. His former VP or his wife? Yes, tarhee1, it does just get more interesting. The polls you posted were super. Something concrete to discuss rather than political spin and philosophy. And wonder of wonders, they related to this article.

KOZ, you're back to posting documented statistics. That's when you're at your at your best, or a least tolerable. Your tax law arguments yesterday were very convincing because they were backed by IRS documentation.

Posted by: IndyWasDem | March 7, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse


'It is clear to me that edwards and clinton II will say whatever they think the audience wants to hear to obtain approval. Sad. and obvious. '

Riiiight-- but not Flipfloppin Mitt, Double Talk Express McCain, or Born Again Rudy?

You are laughable pretentious and hilariously partisan.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Zouk, how do we know when we've won the war in Iraq? Or, for that matter, the Global War on Terror?

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Aussie View: Here's a link to a poll of New York State voters. It's a month old.

http://www.newyorkbusiness.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070204/FREE/70205023&SearchID=73271237191027

Here are the results for one-on-one matchups:
Hillary 53%, Giuliani 32%
Hillary 55%, McCain 26%
Obama 42%, Guiliani 31%

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Vilsac would think that the polls meant nothing.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:04 PM | Report abuse

From the WSJ today:
Some higher-ranking members of Shiite and Sunni militant groups fled to Iran and Syria respectively...more than a thousand families are back to their homes ...hundreds of militants have been killed, more hundreds arrested, and dozens of weapons caches discovered and destroyed. The frequency of attacks has declined drastically, and the terrifying scene of bullet-riddled bodies has become a rarer incident.
...We hope the troops and the governments in Baghdad and America do not lose their resolve.

http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110009754

what will you surrender-crats do once we win this war? answer - pretend that's what you wanted all along. It must be dizzying to keep reneging on so many statements.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 2:02 PM | Report abuse

dochi you are correct. When there are 8-10 candidates on each side, head to head polls 18 months before the general election are idiotic (except to the pollsters, who are raking in the $$ and laughing all the way to the bank).

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | March 7, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Truth Hunter, I agree in part but don't see a late entrant into the race being able to compete. By that I mean compete for money and members of the organization that supports the candidacy. I've never seen so many experienced campaign gurus and workers snapped up so early in the process. Every day one more campaign veteran joins someone. Today, Loeffler to McCain. Gore may have some feasibility because of his email lists. But a lot of them are already committed to others. I suppose if someone drops out those staffers become available. But that's usually too late in the process to launch a campaign. Doesn't the well eventually run dry for donors (money) and campaign staff?

Posted by: tarheel | March 7, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Rosie O'Donnell says she began being treated for depression after the Columbine school shootings and hangs upside down for up to a half-hour a day to improve her mental state.

Maybe she should hang a little longer. It doesn't seem to be working.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Eight of the 23 professions rated this year elicit significantly different honesty ratings from Republicans and Democrats. Democrats are more positive than Republicans about the ethics of college teachers, psychiatrists, journalists, lawyers, and senators. Republicans have a more favorable view than Democrats of clergy and policemen.

Lawyers and journalists barely beat out Senators as the most unethical profession. Used car salesman still on the bottom.

http://www.calnurses.org/media-center/in-the-news/2006/december/page.jsp?itemID=29117737

does this mean its now a fact? sounds pretty accurate to me.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

All meaningless chatter now about polls etc. Most Americans are too ignorant to even know what city Rudy was mayor of.And what of the fact that we'll still have 100,000+ killers (yes,killers, not PC but it's what we train them to do so accept it.) still bogged down in Iraq in 2008? All the Dems have running are gutless cowards and Repubs cheering for more blood.And niether side gives a rats-as* for all the ignorant working peons.

Posted by: dochi | March 7, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"It's a fact: Trial Lawyers are almost universally thought to be a drain on society and among the dregs of useful professions. You should realize that it DOESN'T MATTER if it's true or not. It's the perception of most voters, and I doubt it's changing before Nov 08."

Doesn't sound like a 'fact' to me - just sounds like your opinion or what you hope to be the case. In my country, trial lawyers (or barristers as we call them) are very much respected.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I try to keep che-isms to a minimum but Slate is running a story about the PATRIOT act provision that enabled the indefinite 'interim' U.S. Attourney placements.

Apparently someone in Sen. Arlen Specter's staff inserted the language WITHOUT THE SENATOR'S KNOWLEDGE and at the request of the Justice Department--specifically one of the current replacements.

http://www.slate.com/id/2161260?nav=ais

It is seriously pretty messed up. Would or should it be a crime for a non-elected staffer to insert language into legislation that the elected official is not aware of?

Posted by: roo | March 7, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Kevin, if the view of most of America is at odds with your preferences.

It's a fact: Trial Lawyers are almost universally thought to be a drain on society and among the dregs of useful professions. You should realize that it DOESN'T MATTER if it's true or not. It's the perception of most voters, and I doubt it's changing before Nov 08.

Of course, this is relevent for those who feel that Edwards makes a good nominee.

PS Note that I resisted insulting you. Too bad you don't have similar discipline.

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Has there been a poll done of NY likely voters for a head to head Clinton v Giuliani? (or any other match ups involving these two) That would be interesting. As a dem fan (although unable to vote) I am worried about Giuliani if he gets the nomination, luckily that's a big if.

I am interested to see what happens in NY if he is nominated though. If Hillary is nominated and runs against anyone else, then she wins NY. If she is against Rudy I still think she wins due to NY being a democratic state. But what about Rudy, for example, against Edwards in NY? If NY goes republican then the dems can forget about the white house.

I really hope Gore decides to run, he is the man.

Posted by: Aussie view | March 7, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Loudon, it seems we are not the only ones.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

koz and tarheel still seem to think Rudy G will be the GOP nominee. Let us know when you get back to the real world, k?

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | March 7, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Tarheel, Even more interesting than the Rudy vote is the Hillary vote. NJ also knows her very well and she ties with McCain and loses to Rudy.

While CC's poll is interesting, it is also old(Feb). At the pace the campaigns are moving, mind-changing things happen every day (like Semla last Sunday).

At such a pace, many will flame and burn out before next year. Look for second stringers to move up as overexposure kicks in with the MSM-boosted leaders.

Which will give fresh latecomers Newt and Al an opening to totally upset the numbers come fall.

http://whathappenedtomycountry.blogspot.com

Posted by: Truth Hunter | March 7, 2007 12:59 PM | Report abuse

This is a useless exercise at this point.

The NRC slime finders are not even in play yet. They are so conflicted because they don't know who to dig dirt on given the motley cast of characters the Repubs are seeing.

Also, they have no idea whether the conservatives will remain true to thier core principles and stay home, or demonstrate their normal politically expedience, hold their nose and support someone who likes defense contractor's boats but mouth's their conservative agenda.

Posted by: chi town hustler | March 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"A look further inside the numbers shows that Clinton's overall lead in the "electability" question is due in large part to members of her own party. A whopping 90 percent of Democrats said Clinton had an excellent/good chance at the nomination -- well ahead of Obama's 74 percent and Edwards' 64 percent."

This is a poorly written analysis. 90% of Democrats said that Clinton had an excellent/good chance of winning the general election, which is entirely different from the nomination, last I checked. In fact, the Gallup poll does not report numbers on the chances of winning the party nomination, for either the Democrats or Republicans. Electability is NOT the same as winning the party nomination (which is known as viability), and they have very different effects on voter decision-making in presidential nomination contests. A little better editing might make it more clear that the authors know what they're talking about.

Posted by: caf | March 7, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

This just in! Quinnipiac University Polling Institute in New York, unveiled in a March 7 release this morning the following poll: In Ohio, Giuliani leads Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, 44-40 percent. In a poll with a less than three percent margin of error, he is essentially tied with Clinton, the Democratic senator from New York, trailing the former first lady 44-43 percent. In Florida, Giuliani leads Clinton 47-42 percent and by a wider gap in Pennsylvania, 51-40. Giuliani also is in front of Obama in Florida and Pennsylvania by identical margins, 48-36 percent.

Another Pennsylvania poll. The Center for Opinion Research at Franklin and Marshall College in a Keystone Poll found that if Pennsylvania residents decided today among the leading 2008 presidential contenders, either Giuliani or Sen. John McCain would defeat either Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama. Giuliani leads Clinton 53 percent to 37 percent, and he leads Obama 52 percent to 32 percent. McCain trumps Clinton 45 percent to 41 percent and Obama 43 percent to 37 percent. Those are startling findings, since 46 percent of Pennsylvania respondents told the pollsters they believed the Republican president was doing a "poor job." Since Bush's ratings were so low the other figures are most likely accurate.

"Because of Electoral College math, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are critical in presidential elections," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement. "No candidate since 1964 has taken the White House without taking at least two of these swing states. And while Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is ahead in Florida and Pennsylvania, it's early in the race and our Swing States remain very much in play." Still, "you would think Rudolph Giuliani had been mayor of Miami, Cleveland and Philadelphia by his numbers," Brown said.

It's interesting that in the two states, Pennyslvania and New Jersey, immediately adjacent to New York where both Giuliani and Clinton held office that Rudy beats Hillary. Both states went for Kerry and would represent a 36 electoral point swing in a election if they went Republican. This could offset the loss of some southern states that don't like seeing pictures of Rudy in drag. It just gets more interesting every day!

Posted by: tarheel | March 7, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

If you're entire campaign strategy is to highlight that a NY mayor has some humor and will dress up for halloween you better get used to losing (again). On the other hand, if you believe that trial lawyers are considered to be benign citizens with the mantle of protecting the underpriviledged, you don't understand the american psyche very well. Of course everyone deserves to have representation to address a wrong. In edwards case(s) the idea comes to a schreeching halt when it is told that he took a third of the money (normal market rate) and he twisted facts to obtain the verdict. Yes he represented his client with full zeal, as he should.

but I don't think we are ready for a President who selectively offers facts as a method of convincing the voters. Look at gore with his selective choice of facts on global warming. fine for an advocate but not appropriate for a representative of ALL the people. this sort of personality is what Bush is accused of (improperly I might add).

It is clear to me that edwards and clinton II will say whatever they think the audience wants to hear to obtain approval. Sad. and obvious. not even committed Dems believe the clintons any more. at least bill pandered effectively, hill makes it look so contrived. the result is that she is unelectable. No one really likes her in a friendly sort of way, only power hungry sort of way.

Posted by: kingofzouk | March 7, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey JD -please, sir- can you wait until you graduate from high school and then start posting again?
"Many of them are ambulance-chasing sc*mbags that deserve to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes."??????
The adults are trying to have a conversation.

Posted by: Kevin | March 7, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting poll just released from New York's Quinnipiac University for the state of New Jersey. New Jersy has affected deeply by 9/11 and the poll appears to show Rudy is still well liked there. Just posting it for discussion purposes. Most of those voters have seen Rudy in drag, so it apparently does not matter there. A New Jersey electoral flip would be significant.

If the 2008 election for President were being held today, and the candidates were (the Democrat) and (the Republican), for whom would you vote?

Rudy Giuliani(R) 50% - 41% Hillary Rodham Clinton(D)
Rudy Giuliani(R) 50% - 39% Barack Obama(D)
John McCain(R) 45% - 45% Hillary Rodham Clinton(D)
John McCain(R) 41% - 45% Barack Obama(D)

Source: Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, Methodology: Telephone interviews to 1,302 registered New Jersey voters, conducted from Feb. 20 to Feb. 25, 2007. Margin of error is 2.7 per cent.


Posted by: tarheel | March 7, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Interesting data. Not a lot of surprises.

Edwards does have the best chance of being elected out of the Democrats in the field. Paired with a foreign policy wonk like General Clark, the two men could play across the country.

But one can count on the Democrats not to make that choice. Celebrity and name recognition will prove too big a lure.

Obama is a better national candidate than Clinton. Republicans can see this.

What is with the Democratic Party? Why are they less savvy in the last fifty-odd years?

In the Adleigh Stevenson days, one could credit naivety, maybe even the tendency to vote with one's heart over logic.

But those days are long gone. And we see many of them talking about electability, but the concept seems foreign to them.

This is not to say the GOP never stumbles. The latest Bush could barely play across the map (although he can win.) And Dole was not the best choice for Big Bill with a raging Internet economy.

Had Perot not been in the race, H. W. Bush would have defeated even the Arkansan.

But the GOP is going through a course correction. Giuliani is quite capable of bringing back those Reagan-era sweeps.

Here is one possible outcome: Obama surges, passes Clinton ... stutters follow ... silly business about whether a black man can win ... and Clinton, the presumed frontrunner now, much the way Kerry had been the frontrunner prior to Dean's surge, is rumored to be more electable and takes the mantle back -- right before ...

wait for it ...

Tanking 40 states come November.

Posted by: Charles Coulter - Los Angeles | March 7, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

How about Edwards? He's on top in Iowa again.
http://political-buzz.com/?p=89

Is he still a contender?

Posted by: cpaul | March 7, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Because Tina/Crystal is obsessed with it for some reason.

I wasn't just talking about Condi. VP or not, she'd fail brutally in the election. She's never campaigned, never held elected office, she has no domestic policy experience, etc. Oh, and she's a black woman. It's not completely ridiculous to consider her as a VP candidate, though I don't think she'd be very good at that either.

I responded to Crystal's post not about Condi in particular, but about anyone taking the VP post. I saw an article about Cheney's health yesterday, and it occurred to me that someone might relate it to the election. But as I said above, I don't think it would help even a credible candidate, much less someone like Condi.

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Meuphys,
So I think that the label as Kerry's running mate is one thing Edwards can't get away from, but I think if you asked most people they would say that Edwards is a moderate.
Now would Edwards win the whole south against Guiliani. No, but for any republican to have a chance of winning they have to sweep the south. A loss in Virginia and Arkansas is enough to win the democrats the election.
And it doesn't matter if Guiliani is a homophobe now, the democrats in the south will paint him as pro-gay, and anti-gun. The reason most NASCAR dads vote for republicans is because they are gays and guns. Now why would they vote for Guiliani?

Now by no means does this mean that Edwards would beat Guiliani, but would Hillary, or Obama have a better chance? I don't think they would. Richardson I would put at even odds with Edwards in who the GOP doesn't want to face.

Posted by: Andy R | March 7, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Blarg: Condi's way too brittle and academic to withstand a Presidential campaign anyway. She makes HRC look laid back. The debates would be interesting to say the least; Condi'd get shoved aside in the primaries. Why are we even discussing this ridiculous possibility anyway?

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey anonymous, do I have a website for you:

http://www.legalethicsandreform.com/hm_quo05.html

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

If Cheney steps down as VP, it won't affect the election. Cheney's replacement would be VP for less than a year before the first primaries. That's not much time to accomplish anything significant. (And VPs aren't generally known for accomplishing much anyway.) Especially since the new VP would spend most of their time campaigning.

And, more importantly, being Bush's hand-picked successor isn't much of an advantage in the current political climate. Even among Republicans, Bush isn't especially popular at the moment. Being so closely associated with the White House might actually hurt more than it helps.

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

'Many of them are ambulance-chasing sc*mbags that deserve to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. '

You people sure do like to fantasize about murder, don't you?

'The fact that they are among the top 2 donators to the Democratic party should say something about tort reform'

Tort reform? You mean allowing companies who murder people to get off scott free? Why do you want to elevate the rights of foreign corporations over American citizens? Why do you hate America and the Constituion?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

These polls are useless without any negative comparisions. Sure people may love Obama & Hillary now, but after they've become swift boated these numbers will change dramatically.

Posted by: mountain man | March 7, 2007 10:58 AM | Report abuse

here is a link to a major story about Cheney stepping down because of threatening health problems:

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/viewstory.asp?Page=/Nation/archive/200703/NAT
20070306c.html

Larry Sabato is correct that if Secretary of State Condi Rice is elevated to become VP for the remainder of the Bush term, she would cause a MAJOR shakeup of the entire GOP field. A very interesting story to read.

As VP, Condi becomes the incumbent and gives her CLOUT and PRESTIGE for the 2008 selection.

Finally, the Zogby poll released on Feb. 26th shows among conservatives:
Romney 23%
Newt 22%
And Condi is in third place with 13%

Brownback is at 9%
Rudy 4%
McCain 3% (long before his CPAC blunder)

Posted by: Crystal Dueker | March 7, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey anonymous poster, better switch to decaf.

As much as you obviously love the 'Trial Lawyer' profession, I got news for you: they are almost universally despised outside of the DLC, which is to say, most of America. Many of them are ambulance-chasing sc*mbags that deserve to be the first against the wall when the revolution comes. Sure, some do a service, but their rep is reality - something you should know if you have half a brain.

Interesting that they just changed the name of their lobbying group from Trial Lawyers Assocation to Institute for Justice or some such doublespeak.

The fact that they are among the top 2 donators to the Democratic party should say something about tort reform et al...but I'll leave it to KOZ to say it.

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Random Guy is absolutely right about elections revolving around character and persona. However, his statement crystallizes my argument regarding deliberate ignorance: it assumes that no D candidate has any gravitas. Why? Because he's never watched them. A piece of furniture has gravitas compared to a vacuum.

I'm not about to 'rate' candidates, R or D, based on gravitas because I haven't had the 'pleasure' of seeing all of them. Why would I? I'm not going to be able to vote on every single one of them in a primary anyway. However, I'm also not going to take my ignorance and turn it into a talking point and say Romney has less gravitas than McCain or Guiliani has more than Brownback. That'd be dishonest.

Meuphys has it right when it comes to accessing resources to learn about their positions on the issues. However, I'd inject that in this day and age you can also click on web links to evaluate their gravitas/image/charisma. If you don't avail yourself of this information you have no basis for making comparative statements.

In the general things, change as the debates put the nominees in direct contact on a comparative platform. You'll see posters coming here and saying "DDDDD did better than I thought he/she would but RRRRR obviously won....." because they have deliberately maintained a vacuum of information regarding the D candidate up to the debate after which time they can't avoid taking a measure of this person. Faux News watchers get a particularly twisted view of D candidates because of selective editing and all the snarky commentary. They will be surprised to find that the D candidate can walk and chew gum at the same time.

I won't for one second pretend that some D voters don't do the same thing. However, I'd argue that the likelihood of this is smaller. I certainly expect to have taken a measure of the R nominee well before the debates begin. Disclosure: I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Who do you think is behind this -- MaCain's hit squad?

'March 7, 2007 | WASHINGTON -- With 10 months left before the first ballot is cast, the Republican presidential primary has begun to get dirty.

Unsigned e-mails have been sent to voters in South Carolina touting "dark suspicions" about Mitt Romney's Mormon faith. Anonymous letters have shown up in mailboxes in the state calling Mike Huckabee a "Huckster" and Romney a "Say Anything" politician. A man-size dolphin, without a name or a face, appeared at a conservative conference in Washington, scoring inches of newsprint by mocking Romney. And at least one campaign has made a young woman cry.

The tensions and the vitriol have appeared far earlier in the presidential cycle than in past elections, and have so far affected Republicans more than Democrats. The anonymous attacks peaked at last week's Spartanburg County Republican straw poll, an entirely unscientific sampling of party activists from South Carolina's cotton country. The poll itself was little more than a gimmick to recruit precinct workers. But the proceedings became so chaotic and confrontational that Rick Beltram, the county's GOP chair, is still fuming with frustration. "I actually told three campaigns that I have lost your name on my Rolodex," Beltram said in a phone interview Tuesday. "Some of the national campaigns took this whole straw poll operation way too seriously."

At one point on Thursday night, Beltram said, a staffer for Arizona Sen. John McCain reduced Beltram's 19-year-old daughter to tears when he confronted her as she tried to deliver ballots to another precinct. At another point, a Romney staffer lectured Beltram over the phone, suggesting that logistical problems counting the ballots might have been intentional. A staffer for Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback similarly upset Beltram's wife, when she tried to drive over to another precinct to pick up ballots. "The Brownback person stopped her and said, 'No, you can't go unless you have an escort,'" Beltram said.


That same night, Brownback's national grass-roots coordinator, Jason Jones, yelled out "Flip-Flopper," while Beltram attempted to conduct a live cable interview with Fox News. Jones' disruption, which was first described by the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, appeared to be an attack on Romney, who has been accused of flipping positions on social issues, and to whom many think Beltram is sympathetic. It did not affect the outcome of the otherwise symbolic straw poll. At the final tally, McCain, Rudy Giuliani and California Rep. Duncan Hunter each earned about 25 percent of the vote, with about 12 percent going to Romney and Brownback, and 3 percent going to Huckabee.

But the results mattered less to Beltram than the vicious tactics of the participants, and what they portend for the party of Reagan. One e-mail, sent to party activists under the name "Martin W.," told voters to "trust your instincts" about the Mormon faith because "Mitt Romney has a family secret he doesn't want you to know." The secret, it turned out, was an Associated Press story that described the polygamous relationships of Romney's great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather.'

Posted by: Lara | March 7, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

If you aren't for Edwards, you are for dragging the entrails out of children's bodies.

You heard it here first on The Fix!

Posted by: Golgi | March 7, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

This post really needs to be copy edited. It reads like it was written in a hurry.

http://sandwichrepair.blogspot.com

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | March 7, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

(CNN) -- Dr. Nafie Abtan once operated a thriving medical clinic in Baghdad, but one day last June he received a hand-delivered letter threatening to cut his head off if he remained.

"We tell you to leave your job and to travel and to leave your hospital," the letter said.

Three days later, he did just that. He fled Iraq for neighboring Jordan, bringing with him his wife, Suhair, and young son, Moutaz.

Abtan and his family are like hundreds of thousands of other Iraqis who have fled their country amid the deadly violence that has wracked the nation and is creating what the international community calls a growing humanitarian crisis.

The United Nations estimates 700,000 Iraqis have fled to Jordan -- more than one-tenth the entire kingdom's population. As many as 1 million more Iraqis are estimated to have sought refuge in Syria, about 120,000 are in Egypt and 40,000 in Lebanon, according to the United Nations. (Watch Iraqis tell their stories )

Inside Iraq, another 1 million to 2 million people have been forced out of their homes as a result of the violence, according to the United Nations. About 26 million people live in Iraq.

"It's been a simmering crisis for quite a while, and it's just coming to everybody's realization," said Robert Breen, the representative in Amman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Further compounding the situation, Jordan and Syria recently tightened their border crossings, making it more difficult for Iraqis to escape, leaving long lines of people at the border hoping to get out. Other neighboring nations, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Turkey and Iran, have been even more strict about letting Iraqis in.

Posted by: the success story of iraq | March 7, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I never said I was a Republican. Given that no Senator since JFK - and his election was suspect - has been elected President, along with no Catholic except JFK or remembering how badly a Greek was beaten by the political equivalent of Tofu in 1988...I just have to say that Americans are still heavily biased toward white protestant were not Senators..the conventional wisdom says that you need to nominate a southern male Democrat. I figure it is because that, while they may not agree with NASCAR Dads, they at least know how to talk with them.

Posted by: Some Random Guy | March 7, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

It gives me such a patriotic feeling to live in a country where a leading presidential candidate's most convincing supporter relies on the word "entrails"

Posted by: Golgi | March 7, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Oh no, AIPAC is trying to influence the US election! Just like every other interest group in the country!

Posted by: Blarg | March 7, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

andy r - also, i don't think the hispanic vote would be a lock in florida, even if the ticket were edwards / richardson... jeb bush and his hispanic wife and children are enormously popular there. and anyway, people don't vote for the v.p. candidate so much.

Posted by: meuphys | March 7, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

A 'trial lawyer?' Where did this ridiculous hatred for the United States democratic court system start? I suppose the pundits and talk show hosts who are all tools of global corporations were the ones that managed to instill this hostility towards the law. But I find it incredible. They're always screaming about the rule of law -- but they bleieve laws are for other people.

What do trial lawyers do? Why they allow people who have been injured to gain redress for their grievances in court -- as the Constitution provides. Who do republicans hate the Constituion?

Why do they hate a man whose biggest sin is getitng a decent court settlement for a child whose entrails were dragged out by a faulty and incompetently installed drain system? Why do they hate justice for innocent injured parties? Because they are enthraelled with a feudal system, with seeing that the powerful always triumph over the little guy?

It's some kind of yearning for jackboots.

You don't think america's ready to elect a lawyer as president?. Ummm, excuse me? Abraham Lincoln? Haven't MOST of our presidents been lawyers, well-educated people?

You must be forgetting that the era of poorly educated, moronic and incompetent presidents only began in 2000.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

andy r - your edwards observations are interesting, but i'm not sure i agree. for example, i don't think edwards "has always been percieved as a moderate" - maybe during his one senate term, but what the rest of the country knows him for is his role as john kerry's running mate (1), advocacy for the poor, i.e. 'two americas' and his criticism of bush post-katrina, and (3) most recently, that thing with the bloggers, whose statements did not offend me personally but would never be descibed as 'moderate,' at least not in the current political climate.

also, giuliani is not 'openly pro-gay.' he used to be way more tolerant than he now is, but he has been rapidly drifting right
in his quest for the nomination. true, he did make several statements / have several employees that would suggest otherwise, but remember, mitt romney used to be governor of the only state to allow gay marriage, and now he's practically speaking in tongues (even though he's a mormon.)

also - i don't think you can necessarily give edwards the entire southern vote vs. giuliani. it depends how the whole 09.11 thing is played, and to what extent republican leaders can convince voters that winning is what's important.

if giuliani makes it to the general election (by no means a sure thing, but if he does) that will mean that core g.o.p. voters have decided that they can overlook his apostasy on social issues because he's the most if not only electable republican.

put those together, and i don't think edwards can count on the southern vote. understand that i would gladly vote for edwards in the general election if he is the democrat, but i'm not sure he would be the strongest option.


Posted by: meuphys | March 7, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Edwards vs Romney: The battle of the hair 2008.

Love your analysis, Andy R. I'm leaning toward thinking you're right, although there's more wild cards in this election than I've ever seen in one deck... and a lotta [scary] things can happen in a yeaar - and i'm afraid they will.

Posted by: drindl | March 7, 2007 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Golgi, you don't think America's ready to elect a Trial Lawyer as president? Hmmm

Perhaps if he was running against a Used Car Salesman...

Posted by: JD | March 7, 2007 10:09 AM | Report abuse

UNDAY NIGHT PLENARY - The U.S. and Israel: Tradition and Transcendence
Two eloquent voices from diverse backgrounds explore the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East and how Americans from all faiths can find common cause in supporting Israel.

Pastor John Hagee
Author and Scholar Michael Oren
Special Guest Eitan Wertheimer, Chairman of the Board of ISCAR

Who's John Hagee?:

In Hagee's telling, Israel has no choice but to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, with or without America's help. The strike will provoke Russia -- which wants Persian Gulf oil -- to lead an army of Arab nations against Israel. Then God will wipe out all but one-sixth of the Russian-led army, as the world watches "with shock and awe," he says, lending either a divine quality to the Bush administration phrase or a Bush-like quality to God's wrath.

But Hagee doesn't stop there. He adds that Ezekiel predicts fire "'upon those who live in security in the coastlands.'" From this sentence he concludes that there will be judgment upon all who stood by while the Russian-led force invaded Israel, and issues a stark warning to the United States to intervene: "Could it be that America, who refuses to defend Israel from the Russian invasion, will experience nuclear warfare on our east and west coasts?" He says yes, citing Genesis 12:3, in which God said to Israel: "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you."

To fill the power vacuum left by God's decimation of the Russian army, the Antichrist -- identified by Hagee as the head of the European Union -- will rule "a one-world government, a one-world currency and a one-world religion" for three and a half years. (He adds that "one need only be a casual observer of current events to see that all three of these things are coming into reality.") The "demonic world leader" will then be confronted by a false prophet, identified by Hagee as China, at Armageddon, the Mount of Megiddo in Israel. As they prepare for the final battle, Jesus will return on a white horse and cast both villains -- and presumably any nonbelievers -- into a "lake of fire burning with brimstone," thus marking the beginning of his millennial reign.'

--So you see, John Hagee, who wants to see Israel adopt a hawkish foreign policy that he believes will result in its destruction at the hands of a Russo-Arab alliance is a friend of the Jews. By contrast, everyone who thinks a little pressure to make peace could wind up helping Israel in the long run is an anti-semite.

Aren't you glad to know that the world is being run by people with such a firm grip on reality?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse


Looks like aipac is trying to influence the 2008 elections --not to mention twisting US arms to bomb Iran

OPENING PLENARY - Global Impact: Understanding Today's Middle East

A top-flight panel of experts lead delegates on a virtual tour of the Middle East with satellite stops in key locations in order to better understand how the latest events are shaping our world.

Former Ambassador Marc Ginsberg
Author and Scholar Robert Satloff
Former Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority Spokesman Dan Senor
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh
Former CIA Director R. James Woolsey
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
BREAKOUT SESSION TRACK 1

Topics to include:

Radioactive Revolution: What a Nuclear Iran Would Mean for the World
Vital Votes: What the 2008 Elections Could Mean for the Pro-Israel Community
Battle Over Beirut: What the Struggle in Lebanon Means for the Middle East
The Changing Map of the Middle East: What's at Stake?
Knesset Conversation: Leading Voices From Israel's Parliament
...and many others

Posted by: AIPAC Conference | March 7, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Golgi, I agree with Chris that Edwards does pose the biggest threat to the GOP in 08. Look at the possible match-ups.

Edwards vs Guiliani: Guiliani will take a MAJOR hit in the south because he is from NY (and acts like a new yorker to boot), ahs been divorced twice, and is openly pro-gay. Edwards is from the south, is the model father and husband, and has always been percieved as a moderate. I think Edwards can beat Guiliani in Virginia, North Carolina, and Arkansas. Without a total domination of the south Guiliani loses.

Edwards vs McCain: This would be a lot tighter I think, but Edwards has youth on him. They will paint McCain as old and out of touch. Taken with the low turnout you would get from the hard-right there is a good chance that Edwards pulls this one out. I think he definitly has a better chance against McCain then Obama or Clinton, although Richardson would give McCain the best run for his money.

Edwards vs Romney: The battle of the hair 2008. Again the south comes into play with Romney's mormonism and New England pedigree falling to the Edwards southern charm. Michigan would be were this one might flip, but I trust Edwards' strength with the unions to pull out the michigan race for him.

Taken with the FACT that if Edwards is nominated then you can bet the farm that Richardson will be his VP. That puts New Mexico in the blue corner, and probably Florida too due to the hispanic vote in those areas.

Posted by: Andy R | March 7, 2007 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The WaPo's Fred Hiatt never makes a secret that he's in the bad and in bed with cheney... you see his lips moving? That means he's lying:

'The fall of this skilled and long-respected public servant is particularly sobering because it arose from a Washington scandal remarkable for its lack of substance. It was propelled not by actual wrongdoing but by inflated and frequently false claims, and by the aggressive and occasionally reckless response of senior Bush administration officials -- culminating in Mr. Libby's perjury.

Posted by: just another rightwing rag | March 7, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

hey random guy - see judge c crater's remarks earlier about mushroom horticulture. nice one, judge... i'm going to use that with someone.

in re: polling, in the current issue of the nation, they ask "when is the idea primary?" i think that's an excellent point. we have only a basic, broad-strokes idea of where the candidates line up on the issues.

in their defense, all everyone wants to talk about at this point is electability, or in the case of random guy (above), "who we want to see as ourselves as."

each candidate has actually established some positions, but you usually have to do a little digging to uncover them. (website, search of news archives, etc.)

unless and until voters are turned on to these resources and encouraged to use them, the election will still be about charisma, sound bites, 'opposition research,' and funding, unfortunately.

i am by no means a fan of gingrich and his policy positions, but i am interested in his idea of weekly debates on policy issues. i would prefer, however, not to limit it to 2 candidates, and i would prefer that there be either no audience or to have the audience's response to what is said blocked from the tv audience, so that the impressions of those watching on the tube could not be swayed by applause or the lack thereof.

Posted by: meuphys | March 7, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"We choose what is in essence a King every four years - our head of state and that person has to symbolize what we want to be. I am pretty certain that we still want to be a white protestant male....."

Hm, I think the first part of this actually has something to it. The idea that Americans choose a president to symbolize what they want to be. Maybe the writer is not using "king" in the sense of an authoritarian, but rather in the sense of a visible, humanized face for the whole country.

The second part though? It is an interesting guess that the country is yearning for a white protestant male face, but it is only a guess. Personally, I don't think white protestant maleness is what the country is yearning to represent itself as at all.

Protestant maybe, or at the very least, mainstream Christian. I'll give you that, Some Random Guy.

Posted by: Golgi | March 7, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

' We choose what is in essence a King every four years - our head of state and that person has to symbolize what we want to be. I am pretty certain that we still want to be a white protestant male.....'

Well this is perfect. Here's your republican party for you. At least he's honest. They WANT a king, a father figure, an authoritarian, and they want him to be a white protestant male. I honestly thank god I do not think like this.

Posted by: drindl | March 7, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

What all of you forget is that a Presidential election is not about competence or experience or ability as much as it is about choosing the public face of our nation. The GOP figured this out with Reagan. This is why Bush beat Kerry. This is why any Republican will beat Hillary or Obama. We choose what is in essence a King every four years - our head of state and that person has to symbolize what we want to be. I am pretty certain that we still want to be a white protestant male.....

Posted by: Some Random Guy | March 7, 2007 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Just a quick look at the Washington Post homepage says it all-three stories, one after another: the Libby convictions, the growing scandal at Walter Reed (and VA hospitals across the country), the juicy tidbits about the political maneuvering to force out federal prosecutors across the country, and of course, the endless and tragic war in Iraq.

To me, the VA scandals are indicative of so much of this administration. Yes, Libby lied and it's likely others (higher, higher up) did too, but it's the icing on the cake of an Administration that has little regard for the very folks they are sending to war. They are running this war on the very people who they profess to care abouts elected. People who have a deep sense of mission and service to this country, people who see the military as an honorable way up or out of their economic situation, people who have no other means of upward mobility, men and women both, most of whom come back either healthy, or tragically, wounded, but in need of decent health care and benefits. The travesty of the Bush Administration--and the entire conservative ideology is on the front page of today's paper.

Posted by: Joanne | March 7, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't often find myself in agreement with evangelicals, but I think he's right. It's isn't just divorcing someone, it's the WAY you do it. And both Rudy and Newt went out of their way to hurt and humiliate their wives as much as humanly possible. And in Rudy's case, his kids too. Which is why they don't speak to him. And Newt I guess never stayed married to anyone long enough to have kids. Family values, family values. How that makes me laugh.

'NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- A Southern Baptist leader said Tuesday that evangelical voters might tolerate a divorced presidential candidate, but they have deep doubts about GOP hopeful Rudy Giuliani, who has been married three times.

Richard Land, head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, told The Associated Press that evangelicals believe the former New York City mayor showed a lack of character during his divorce from his second wife, television personality Donna Hanover.

"I mean, this is divorce on steroids," Land said. "To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children. That's rough. I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control."

Giuliani married his longtime companion, Judith Nathan, in 2003. They had dated publicly while Giuliani was married to Hanover. His first marriage ended in an annulment. (Watch why Giuliani's son won't be campaigning for him )

A Giuliani staff member referred calls on Land's statement to Giuliani's exploratory committee, which did not have an immediate response Tuesday night.

Giuliani already has a challenge in winning over conservative voters who make up the GOP's base. Many of them view him with skepticism because his moderate views on social issues such as gays, guns and abortion are considered too liberal.

Land noted that Republican presidential candidate John McCain has been married twice, but said the Arizona senator has acknowledged his part in the failure of his first marriage.

"It's a molehill compared to Giuliani's mountain," Land said. "When you're a war hero [like McCain], you have less to prove on the character front."

Posted by: drindl | March 7, 2007 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"Republicans, on the other, hand seem to see Obama as the stronger general election candidate. Two thirds of GOPers in the Gallup survey said the Illinois Senator had an excellent/good chance at the nomination, while 58 percent said the same of Clinton."

This is more interesting and undoubtedly more honest. R's see the excitement that people have about Obama and are affected by it. Or they are threatened by what they see as a guaranteed black vote for Obama. Probably the latter given the R voters long history of deliberate, practiced ignorance regarding D candidates. Still, Obama is much better-positioned to get the eventual cross-over vote in the general.

"On the Republican side" the current slate of eventual losers continues to lead in the polls. Brownback appears to be too far back to be a threat. Makes me miss 2000; since we knew so little about Bush's true lack of ability back then the slate of D and R candidates looked relatively good.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 9:00 AM | Report abuse

ix fired U.S. attorneys testified on Capitol Hill yesterday that they had separately been the target of complaints, improper telephone calls and thinly veiled threats from a high-ranking Justice Department official or members of Congress, both before and after they were abruptly removed from their jobs.

In back-to-back hearings in the Senate and House, former U.S. attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico and five other former prosecutors recounted specific instances in which some said they felt pressured by Republicans on corruption cases and one said a Justice Department official warned him to keep quiet or face retaliation.

Posted by: corrupt corrupt corrupt | March 7, 2007 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Wall Street Journal Claims Barack Obama Threatens National Security

The Wall Street Journal launched an attack on Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama today. The Journal singled out Obama and claimed that, as president, he would sign legislation that will "benefit unions at the expense of national security... John Sweeney and the AFL-CIO sure are getting their money's worth."

sicksicksick

Conservative Republicans Rally To Coulter's Defense... Coulter Says "Fa**ot" Attack On Edwards Had Nothing To Do With Gays...

It didn't take long for conservative Republicans to rally around Ann Coulter. On Fox News' "The Big Story" Rich Lowry, editor of The National Review, said Coulter "meant it as a joke." Lowry accused Democrats of being "oppurtunistic and ridiculous" in their calls for Republican candidates to repudiate Coulter. Jason Mattera, spokesperson for the Young America's Foundation, said Coulter delivered a "well-crafted" joke.'

see how much the haters love her... see how they love hate -- you know ann is a big fan of both mussolini and mccarthy --

this is the face of the republican party

Posted by: sick fuc*s | March 7, 2007 8:52 AM | Report abuse

"In our conversations with a variety of Republicans inside the Beltway, they are in near-unanimous agreement, however, that it is Edwards who poses the biggest threat to their chances in 2008."

Have to agree with Golgi on this one, CC. The R's are practicing their mushroom horticulture: keep you in the dark and feed you ____.

Posted by: Judge C. Crater | March 7, 2007 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Please remember CC, no matter how far you bend over for the radical right, they willl still hate you, because they hate the free press, they hate anything that isn't propaganda like Faux:

'Only the media proved less popular than Sen. John McCain at last weekend's annual gathering of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

In a straw poll of attendees, McCain, who skipped the right-wing gaggle, finished last among the serious presidential candidates with 12 percent of the vote. And the crowd didn't attempt to hide its disdain: The announcer mocked McCain when noting his dismal showing, and participants booed every time they heard his name.

Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich -- who bested the Arizona Republican with 14 percent in the straw poll -- climbed aboard the Bash McCain Express.

Before delivering the conference's keynote address, Gingrich, architect of the 1994 GOP revolution, stood in a side room talking with organizer David Keene. As a reporter stood nearby, Keene mentioned McCain's absence.

"I'm not that big a McCain fan, but that's all right," Gingrich remarked. "I'm not going to talk about that." And he didn't, at least not in his speech.

Illustrating how participants felt about reporters in their midst, Gingrich abruptly waved off The Politico's attempts to get clarification, telling communications director Rick Tyler to screen the press. (On Monday, Tyler again declined comment, saying it was "a private conversation.")'

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse

On the Democratic side the contest will soon shift to what do you know, what have you done and what are you going to do? Bill Richardson has done things. John Edwards talks a good game about what he's going to do. Hillary knows things but she really hasn't done anything useful. And Barack Obama is to this point a charismatic platitude machine.

http://intrepidliberaljournal.blogspot.com

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | March 7, 2007 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Rudy is about to take a dive... Evangelicals Have Doubts about Drag Queen Rudy: http://www.solidpolitics.com

Posted by: William | March 7, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

"(In our conversations with a variety of Republicans inside the Beltway, they are in near-unanimous agreement, however, that it is Edwards who poses the biggest threat to their chances in 2008.)"

So the Fix veers back to Edwards again, huh. Sigh. I got really tired of posting "Edwards is a superficial poseur" items in January. But I guess that is what we are up for again.

Well, time to expect MikeB and JEP to come back on the attack. Let's get ready for fun... the Edwards folks must be rabid and desperate by this point.

OK. Edwards is a superficial poseur. He also is a proven loser (2004 primary, lost to Kerry; 2004 general, lost to Cheney).

I do not think that anyone now knows who will be the biggest threat to the Republican chances in 2008. Whoever these unnamed, uncounted Republicans inside the Beltway are, I would guess that they are either talking Edwards up because they know he is extraordinarily weak, or they are just making hot air.

It is the first time I've ever heard anything like this -- that Edwards is the biggest threat to R's in the general -- and this concept just doesn't resonate at all. So it really surprises me that it would be "unanimous". I am not inclined to pay much attention.

Posted by: Golgi | March 7, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

They never stop trying to undermine democracy and the legal system:

"UPDATE III: Fox news legal analyst Andrew Napolitano spins the verdict for the defense, arguing that there is a basis for Libby's defense counsel to say the jury "misunderstood the nature of the charges" and was "hopelessly confused."

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

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