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The Friday Line: Unforeseen Events Intrude

Though it's easy to forget that the real world exists in the final days of any political campaign, the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto should serve as a potent reminder that events can change the political calculus in an instant.

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is a "safe" candidate. (Getty Images)

It's not the first time that a major event in the world has intruded on a political campaign in recent years. Remember just before the 2004 general election when a new tape of terrorist Osama bin-Laden surfaced? Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) blamed the tape for his loss, days later, to George W. Bush, insisting that it stoked voters' fears.

The impact of the Bhutto assassination on the race for the White House is hard to gauge at this point. But that doesn't mean we won't try. In the immediate aftermath of the news, we wrote that the assassination seemed likely to benefit former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has found himself largely left out of the political conversation in recent weeks.

Line Highlights

  • Moving Up: Mike Huckabee, John McCain
  • Moving Down: Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani quickly released a statement that described the assasination as part of a "Terrorists' War on Us" -- hoping to remind the electorate of his largely-lauded performance in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (In case voters missed the point, Giuliani made it far more bluntly in a new television commercial that went up in New Hampshire and Florida on Thursday.)

Aside from Giuliani, we tend to agree with the emerging conventional wisdom that any uncertainty abroad probably helps the so-called "safe" candidates like Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). The more unstable the environment around voters, the more likely it is that they choose a candidate who represents safety, experience, and, to a certain extent, the status quo. But, as we said above, it's VERY tough at this point to predict how voters will react.

As always, the number one ranked candidate is the most likely to win the nomination. Agree? Disagree? The comments section is now open for business.

To the Line!

2008 Presidential Candidates

DEMOCRATS

5. Bill Richardson: Hoping to use the Bhutto assassination to flex his foreign policy credentials, Richardson will deliver what his campaign is billing as a "major policy speech on the current crisis in Pakistan and the global war on terrorism" this morning in Des Moines. Richardson has spent the entire campaign waiting for one of the frontrunners to slip, giving him a chance to make his move. It just hasn't happened. For all the fluidity on the Republican side, the Democratic race has been remarkably steady -- a steadiness that has left little opening for Richardson. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Joe Biden: Biden continues to pile up legislative endorsements well in excess of his standing in the polls. Biden now has 16 members of the Iowa state House and Senate behind him -- but the Delaware Senator garnered just four percent among Democratic voters in the most recent Iowa poll, which was conducted by the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg. Biden seems best positioned to "surprise" in Iowa, but that may only mean a strong fourth place showing; it's hard to imagine him or any one outside of the Big 3 winning, placing or showing. (Previous ranking: 4)

3. John Edwards: The former North Carolina Senator has proven many of his persistent doubters wrong by keeping Iowa a three-way race right until the end. The question is whether he can do more than just remain relevant. Edwards' message -- we need to grab power away from entrenched interests -- is not only the sharpest of any of the Big 3, it's also the most easy for voters to digest. The potential problem for Edwards is whether voters see him more as a community activist and less as a president. (Previous ranking: 3)

2. Barack Obama: Months and months ago when analysts like The Fix were publicly wondering whether Obama's deficit in national polls meant that the excitement over his candidacy had lagged, his campaign assured us all that national polls didn't matter. They were right. Obama's focus on Iowa and New Hampshire has paid major dividends. The more attention voters have paid, the better the Illinois Senator has performed. So why is Obama not number one on the Line? Because over the past week former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) has moved up rather than down in Iowa, defying predictions about his staying power (or lack thereof) made by many within the Obama senior leadership. As long as Edwards remains relevant, which he clearly is, the less this is a two-person race and the more problematic it is for Obama to coalesce the anti-Clinton vote. (Previous ranking: 2)

1. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Ever since she won the Des Moines Register endorsement, Clinton's campaign seems to be on the upswing. The talk of fights within her inner circle have largely subsided (although the Wall Street Journal's Monica Langley does a bang-up job of sussing out the origins of the warm and cuddly Clinton) and the candidate is driving home the strength and experience message in the final week before the Iowa caucuses. If she can win Iowa, we believe the race is very likely over as the sense of an inevitable Clinton nomination will be restored and the currently close race in New Hampshire will shake out. (Previous ranking: 1)

REPUBLICANS

5. Fred Thompson: Someone has to fill out the fifth slot in the Line and Thompson seems as good a candidate as any. While we would not be surprised if any of the four candidates ranked above Thompson on the Line this week won the nomination, we would be stunned if Thompson wound up as the GOP standard-bearer. His first and last best chance is a better-than-expected showing in Iowa, but the latest survey out of the state shows McCain moving into a tie with the former Tennessee Senator -- not a good omen for Thompson. (Previous ranking: 5)

4. Rudy Giuliani: The former New York City Mayor falls two places in this week's Line. Why? Because the only time Giuliani made headlines over the past week was for his flu/cold/severe headache and subsequent hospitalization. The political story lines out of both Iowa and New Hampshire have almost nothing to do with Giuliani because he has all but pulled out of both states. Giuliani has been running a national campaign, but -- as actual votes near -- the strategy seems more and more risky. Looking at the first five voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina) there isn't a single obvious win or even a second place finish in any of them for Hizzoner. Can he wait until Jan. 29th (Florida's primary) to win and remain a viable candidate? Maybe. But we are increasingly skeptical. (Previous ranking: 2)

3. John McCain: What a comeback. McCain has become the new Huckabee in the race -- the hot candidate who everyone seems to be buzzing about. How did it happen? A slew of newspaper endorsements -- Des Moines Register and Boston Globe to name two -- seem to have triggered a re-evaluation of the McCain candidacy. Even in his darkest moments over the summer McCain kept to his core message: a lifetime of service in and out of public office. That consistency has paid dividends as McCain is -- once again -- re-emerging as the most authentic candidate in the race. While his numbers have always been relatively strong in New Hampshire, McCain seems to be making a legitimate run at third place in Iowa. If he can do that and then win New Hampshire, you might just be looking at the next nominee. That's still a lot of "ifs", however. (Previous ranking: 4)

2. Mike Huckabee: The Huckabee wave is not as big as it was a few weeks ago, but it still hasn't crashed ashore. He is still ahead in the majority of Iowa polls and seems likely to go into caucus day as the favorite -- not an insignificant factor in determining the identity of the nominee. Should Huckabee win Iowa it seems reasonable to assume he would get a very nice boost in New Hampshire where his numbers continue to lag and if Huckabee can finish in the top three in New Hampshire, he will have a serious shot at winning South Carolina -- the first vote in the South. Of course, all of that "what if" talk is based on Huckabee winning Iowa where even the biggest defenders of the governor admit that his organization is held together with gum and shoe string. Will that be enough? (Previous ranking: 3)

1. Mitt Romney: It's en vogue at the moment to offer up myriad reasons why Romney won't win the nomination (his past public record contradicts his current policy stances at every turn, polls show slippage in Iowa and New Hampshire etc.) but we still believe the former Massachusetts governor is in the pole position. New surveys out of Iowa and New Hampshire show Romney closing the gap with Huckabee in Iowa and maintaining a double-digit lead in the Granite State. Romney also has one HUGE edge over his opponents -- a virtually limitless personal check book. That means more television ads than his rivals in key states and a Rolls-Royce turnout organization; that alone won't win him the nomination but it does give him a leg up. (Previous ranking: 1)

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 28, 2007; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Line  
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Comments

aphthasol

Posted by: HsvsRsvsesv | May 1, 2008 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Bet on Tippy Toes in the Fourth at Hialeah !

Posted by: harried | December 31, 2007 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Aw gee, Fred! Here I was enjoying reading all this foam and fantasy and flame, and you go and ruin it all with some actual Facts! You really should have more consideration. Please in future play the game properly: try making some outrageous assumption on some topic you know nothing about, and draw a conclusion about some candidate who any sane person would run from screaming.
And happy new year.

Posted by: pat4 | December 31, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Actually, Ron Paul didn't let his children take any Federal student loans. He also returns a portion of the budget for his Congressional office each year and refuses to take his Congressional pension.

Try again.

Posted by: Fred | December 30, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Question for the Ron Paul supporters. Ron Paul is a doctor, as well as his son too. Ron Paul has stated that his father was a poor man. So I will assume that he didn't receive any money from him during medical school. Now Ron Paul says he will abolish the Dept. of Education if elected. Question.....did he receive any STUDENT LOANS while in medical school ?? How about his son ?? Any STUDENT LOANS for him ?? I would venture a guess and say the answers are YES and YES. But now if you or I, or our families need STUDENT LOANS, his answer is NO and NO....Ron Paul in 2008 ?? I think NOT !!!!

Posted by: drivensnow2525 | December 30, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse


America is a Democracy - We are not a Monarchy.
Wiser folks than us - saw to it long ago, that we be fortunate enough to realize this life blessing.
Nepotism may be fine for the old-corner-store but it will only serve to fail us again -as it has, most resoundingly, for the entirety of this millennium.

Voting for the worst policy decision in our life times does not make one 'experienced'. It -IS- high time America elected a woman as commander-in-chief. When a self made woman of conviction and talent stands up and demonstrates the character that can stand as an example for us all - we should stand behind her - with conviction and fortitude. Hillary Clinton is not that woman. She is the spouse of a former and popular President. In a nation, 300 million strong, are we to believe that the person most suited to be the President just happens to be related to the last President ?!
Are we really to believe this is the case ?
Will we make this mistake, again ?

Barack Obama has the strength and certitude to take America in a new and positive direction - a direction that our evolving nation - being formed all around us all as we pass through our daily lives - very much is in need of. There really is an immediacy of the 'now' that we all share. We truly must begin to think big again and to face the immense challenges before us in brave and selfless ways again - like those people in the old faded photographs on our walls did - for us. It really is time to wake up again America. The time is, most certainly, now.

Barack Obama for President of the United States of America.

It's time for America to Rise and Shine again.

Posted by: PulSamsara | December 29, 2007 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Here's a little side tidbit. As some may know, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, picked Republican State Senator John Bolinger as his running mate in 2004.

The GOP snubbed Bolinger, refusing even his request for tickets to its latest state convention.

Now Bolinger has announced himself as a state coordinator for Senator John McCain. McCain issued a statement about how glad he is to be associated with Bolinger.

The Republicans in Montana have so far damned Bolinger with faint praise. In effect saying that the McCain endorsement is OK but not enough.

What that means in Montana remains to be seen. For the first time since Montana adopted a first-Tuesday-in-June presidential primary in the 1970s, the GOP has decided to go with an early caucus, set to run at about the same time as the super Primary nationwide.

Unlike Iowa, the list of who can caucus in Montana is restricted. Basically it is all GOP party leaders, all GOP officer holders and the precinct committee people from each county (each precinct has two committee people authorized). As well as the officers in each county's Central Committee.

There will be a rush to identify precinct committee vacancies as many such slots remain vacant. An organizer should then be finding supporters for a candidate to request appointments to vacant seats. The catch is that it's up to the local county Central Committee, meaning they could block delegates supporting candidates they don't like.

No one has bothered to take any recent poll as far as who Montana voters might support, so it's a mystery. Montana has a good sized Mormon vote, so that could help Romney. But then again, there are plenty of Montana Christian fundamentalists that would balk at Romney's faith. McCain is a westerner, which doesn't hurt in Montana. Giuliani's New York City connection is not likely to help him here. Huckabee's folksy style would appeal here.

We are people who like folksiness. We have a Governor who wears an open collar shirt and bolo tie to formal events. He keeps his border collie in the Governor's office when he's there.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | December 28, 2007 6:31 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't surprise me that the pakistani prime minister was assassinated. There have been alot of good people killed for more power and different beliefs in every country. Even our own!
I think we should have never gotten involved 10 years ago when we started bombing Iran. I also think that 700 military bases are totally rediculous! We need to get out of other countries and mind our own business.
Unless they ask for our help we need to leave them alone! If another country came to the U.S. and told us how we were doing everything wrong and wanted to change our way of life, I think we all would be in an uproar too.
Hillary is brain dead like her old man is, Obama isn't too bad but I haven't heard anything on his ideas about the ID chip. The Republican party can't make a decision together at ALL! The only one who has some common sense is Ron Paul.
Alot of Americans are following the media, who has corrupted us all for many years. I feel sad that my children will be growing up in this world the way it is now. If we "the people" don't stand up for what is right and become at peace with other nations then we are headed for a future of further debt (inflation), war, and terrorism!

Posted by: googleronpaulnow | December 28, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Not sure how often I'll check in over the long weekend. Happy New Year to my fellow Junkies.

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Rather than iraq bowing to us, now we're bowing to their demands. this man and his followers are insane. Al they care about is the dollar signs. This coutnry is much more than money.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I'll take advantage if no one else is

"Bush to reject defense spending
By: Steve Benen @ 2:00 PM - PST The president went nearly six years in office without vetoing a single bill, but has now had seven. In each instance, lawmakers were well aware of the White House's opposition, but passed the bills anyway, hoping Bush would either change his mind or they could override the veto.

Which is what makes veto #8 so odd.

At the behest of the Iraqi government, President Bush will veto the annual defense authorization bill, saying an obscure provision in the legislation could make Iraqi assets held in U.S. banks vulnerable to lawsuits.

The veto threat startled Democratic congressional leaders, who believe Bush is bowing to pressure from the Iraqi government over a technical provision in the bill. The veto is unexpected because there was no veto threat and the legislation passed both chambers of Congress overwhelmingly.

Democratic leaders say the provision in question could easily be worked out, but in vetoing the massive defense policy bill, military pay raises may be on hold, as well as dozens of other programs.

This is just bizarre. If the provision of the bill was so offensive, why didn't the White House, which was aware of the legislation's progress as it passed, say something sooner?

In the process, Bush has rejected a pay raise for the troops, VA care for wounded veterans, a new "Truman Commission" to fight fraud and waste by military contractors, and expanded job protections for family members of severely wounded troops.

"

r

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Pakistan has only short-range ballistic missiles, which are incapable of reaching anywhere in the western world.

More on my blog: leightonweese.squarespace.com

Posted by: dearleighton | December 28, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Obama is the candidate who has been RIGHT ABOUT IRAQ, RIGHT ABOUT IRAN, AND RIGHT ABOUT PAKISTAN and the fact that we should have been pursuing terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Why anyone would want Hillary in control- who has been WRONG on foreign policy, is beyond me.

Posted by: julieds | December 28, 2007 03:16 PM
"

you making to much sense julie. :)

their heads are spinning if you bring up truths like this. I like it.

When given a choice between reality and propoganda, these fascist pigs always take the propognada and TRY to hit people over the head with it. The only powe rthye have is the power WE as americans give them. I say mock and marginalize these propogandaists for profit. It's so easy. And it helps. Reverse the game on these clowns and they are powerless. The future is and hand. The gop has not earned a seat at the table of future politics. Quite the contrary.

Have a good weekend. god Bless..

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"But that just speaks volumes of the weak GOP. They need the assassination of a foreign entity and a perfectly timed Bin Laden tape to make them look sane.

Posted by: jsu8233n | December 28, 2007 02:20 PM
"

hahhahahah. But you had to know it was coming right. they would not allow another election to slip through their fingers without terrorism to point to. What happened last time? Well, they had the spain or london attacks.And they used them. They needed something to really scare americans this time. Nukes will do that.

I pray they have more control and intelligence than they let on.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"Overall, that means my choice is Barak Obama. I view him as having a far higher potential of real greatness than anyone else running (albeit with somewhat higher risk of Carteresque failure). I don't put a lot of stock in the 'experience' argument--I'm not sure there's any especially applicable experience for President (that's the "look where 'experience' got the Bush administration" argument). His ability to answer in other than sound bites is what first started me paying attention. Although his stated positions are somewhat more liberal than mine, I'm making a judgment that he has a rational pragmatism that would allow him to consider other points of view, and an innate intelligence and moral core that would guide sound decisions.

...but in the end, we're all making a gamble. It's going to be an interesting next couple of years.

Posted by: mlalliso | December 28, 2007 01:48 PM
"

Great post. It's called compromise. Do you think I would like Obama to move farther left? Yes i do. Compromise. You better learn these word gop. The future generations are not as dumb as are ancestors. We have the internet. We have information on tap. You cannot win with lies spin and propognada. You'll lost forever, NOW. The future is at hand gop. Compromise and look to the future, or get left in the past, like old ww2 nazis. Wait, your the same people. My bad.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

The gop is bully elementary school kid mentality personified. they demand. If everything is not done line for line their way, they whine and cry. They shut down government. The gop does not give a poo about this country. They are party loyalist red coats. They are loyal subjects to the republcain revoloving monarchy. But the king is only the king of HIS subjects. Non-dittohead clone gop's are of no consequence. This is why George Bush is NOT mt president. Not my choice. his and his parties. there ARE two americans. One that is governmed on what this country was founded on ,THE RULE OF LAW. One america that the law or the country (other than big business and defense contractors) do not matter. Only dollars. Time to re-unite the country to one again. Those that would sabotage it (zouk, o'liely, rush, hannity, coulter, bush cheaney, novak, kristol, cc and on and on and on) show their face. They should have zero credibility or power. They should be marginalized and pointed out for the traitors they are.

Cut the elderly's ambilical cord. Help them think for themselves. Get those that divide the coutnry for personal profit off the air. start at the top, rush fox. Without these slave masters running the country we can work together, but these don't want that, right zouk. So SCREW THEM. Go life in a cave in the land of zouk. Play time is over. To fear these fascist clowns only gives them power. Fear does not exist. The gop's power DOES NOT EXIST. We are a country governed by the people. Any party only represents us if we allow them to? Who does the current gop represent? Percentage wise. Vey few now. I'm gald many woke up to the lies spin and propoganda these fascists are jamming down our throuts 01-05. The future is at hand. Cahnge is here. Embrace it, do not fear it.

The gop is done. Give them the irrelevance they earned. Thsi is all they have left.

"Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and social interests subordinate to the interests of the state or party. Fascists seek to forge a type of national unity, usually based on (but not limited to) ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious attributes. Various scholars attribute different characteristics to fascism, but the following elements are usually seen as its integral parts: nationalism, statism, militarism, totalitarianism, anti-communism, corporatism, populism, collectivism, and opposition to political and economic liberalism.

Other supporters have included representatives of big business, farmers, landowners, disaffected World War I veterans, small business owners, nationalists, reactionaries and extreme conservatives."

"Terrorism in the modern sense[1] is violence or other harmful acts committed (or threatened) against civilians for political or other ideological goals.[2] Most definitions of terrorism include only those acts which are intended to create fear or "terror", are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a lone attack), and deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants. Many definitions also include only acts of unlawful violence."

"Propaganda [from modern Latin: 'propagare', "extending forth"] is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behavior of large numbers of people. Instead of impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense presents information in order to influence its audience. The most effective propaganda is often completely truthful, but some propaganda presents facts selectively to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the cognitive narrative of the subject in the target audience."

Obama-Dodd 08

r

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how much has been said in the last two days. The bottom line, has the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in anyway changed your opinion as to who you would choose for President?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1390

.

Posted by: PollM | December 28, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

From Rasmussen:

"Among the leading Presidential candidates, New York Senator Hillary Clinton and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have the highest level of core opposition among voters. Forty-seven percent (47%) say they will vote against each of these candidates no matter who else is on the ballot."

Imagine if they threw an election and nobody came.

Posted by: MoreAndBetterPolls | December 28, 2007 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bhoomes, how about drafting Ken Blackwell to run for president?....LOL. What a joke? Mitt Romney will get trounced by any Democrat that wins the nomination.

Posted by: kevlenson | December 28, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Of all the remaining presidential candidates, Ron Paul has the only consistent foreign policy - as well as the only moral foreign policy. As with all empires, ours will inevitably fall. Dr. Paul wants to dismantle this corrupt empire before it collapses of its own weight and onto our children's heads.

The US should lead by example when it comes to respecting human rights and national sovereignty. Our current foreign policy is one of bribes, bombs, and torture.

How would we Americans feel if a stronger country threatened us? Stationed its troops on our soil? Told us who we could vote for? Gave billions of dollars to our enemies?

Our Founding Fathers got it right when they created the US Constitution. That's something every soldier, civil servant, and politician swears to uphold. Ron Paul also has it right: Get government back within the limits of the constitution.

When is the last time we've had a candidate that champions the US Constitution? Ron Paul is a man who's time has come. I just hope we have enough collective backbone to put him where he belongs: in the White House.

Posted by: douglas.findlay | December 28, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the candidate who has been RIGHT ABOUT IRAQ, RIGHT ABOUT IRAN, AND RIGHT ABOUT PAKISTAN and the fact that we should have been pursuing terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Why anyone would want Hillary in control- who has been WRONG on foreign policy, is beyond me.

Posted by: julieds | December 28, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh by the way Chris in case you didn't know, Thompson didn't even make the GOP primary ballot in District of Columbia while Ron Paul did so.

Hey, it's still Friday, you can always switch the two around. It's not like we're in print. Here's your chance to retain some credibility.

Posted by: sean4 | December 28, 2007 3:15 PM | Report abuse

drindl, Thank you for addressing my off-topic question.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 28, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Someone has to fill out the fifth slot in the Line and Thompson seems as good a candidate as any."

Seriously? Paul has more money, more ads, more supporters, and more momentum, but you replace him with Thompson because he "seems as good a candidate as any"?

Posted by: Fred | December 28, 2007 2:43 PM | Report abuse

opps sorry for the double post. I spoke my peace on this yesterday. Have a good weekend all. Stay safe. Watch out for lunatic repbulcains trying to murder liberals for their political point of view, a la their buddy Musharif

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Interesting thing I saw yesterday. My girlfreidn and I have a 7 year old. He was born in 2000. He has a born on year plaque.It has various things of the day, like top record, president, things like that.

Price of oil, in 2000 before bush took office. 1.68 average. SO GAS PRICES HAVE DOUBLED SINCE BUSH TOOK OFFICE. Texas oil man. gas doubles. HHMMMM.

r

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting thing I saw yesterday. My girlfreidn and I have a 7 year old. He was born in 2000. It has various things of the day, like top record, president, things like that.

Price of oil, in 2000 before bush took office. 1.68 average. SO GAS PRICES HAVE DOUBLED SINCE BUSH TOOK OFFICE. Texas oil man. gas doubles. HHMMMM.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"While media types like CC and the others were calling Obama naive and inexperienced Obama stood first against the terrorist in Pakistan. Even Bhutto herself agreed with him

Senator Obama
"There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Ms. Bhutto
Well, I wouldn't like the United States to violate Pakistan's sovereignty with unauthorized military operations. But the issue that I would like to stress is that Barack Obama also said, if Pakistan won't act. And that's the critical issue, that the government has to act. And the government has to act to protect Pakistan's own serenity and integrity, its own respect, and to understand that if it creates a vacuum, then others aren't going to just twiddle their thumbs while militants freely move across the border."
http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/q=NmRiNGJjODNmZWZiM2I2NzgwMjE2NGVmOTNlN2YwYjA


Posted by: TennGurl | December 28, 2007 09:57 AM
"

Well said. for all the obama hatred going on the last two days. He did say this months ago. I believe he was mocked as "naive" by HRC. Or he didn't know what he was talking about. I hear the biden love. But don't forget Obama. Clinton is a slave to india. Of course she would say pakistan after the ripping she got for her kyle-lieberman vote.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | December 28, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

PRESIDENT MIKE HUCKABEE / VICE PRESIDENT JOHN MCCAIN 2008

More on Romney's Leadership check out these links:
www.massresistance.org and http://rightsmart.blogspot.com/

See this video for Mitt Romney caught lying!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DJO_XuM4eM
mitt Romney saw his dad march with Martin Luther King! CAUGHT IN A LIE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_zpa77Ehic

Romney is a flip flopping flake, I just found out that he has stock in all of the companies that are major promoters of homosexual rights & abortions, he is not going to do anything to these companies or the procedures but try to implement things that would advance them another example of how eloquent speaking politicians are embedded within Wall Street! HE IS ANOTHER WALL STREET CANDIDATE!all this rhetoric is follishnes and an intent denial to dismiss truth. The Demo-wacks have had control over congress for 2 years now and have done NOTHING but fund pork barrel projects and have not come close to making any kind of real progress that the promised their poor demo-wack supporters. There credibility is SHOT! and as for Huckabee... People fear that he will win, which he is... At this point I will vote for anybody other than a Demowack. i am so frustrated that I have changed party position and will vote Repub this year.I am so proud of Huckabee i do not know what to do. He is a man of principle and he surely just sealed the deal with my vote. He will win and big he will, and while the pundits try to demise him, or his other political rivals try to make him look bad. They may want to look at the mirror at themselves. You got flip flopping mitt, dead fred who makes me sleepy everytime I look at the him and his saddle bags around his eyes, pimped out guiliani , small brain mccain, and "paul is crazy and deranged"! And as for the Dems: you got Hell-ary that have sold her soul to the left party lobbyist in america, and you got chronic smoking Obama? which neither one has ANY experience in foreign policy. If it was not for Hell-ary having bill clinton last name, she would not even be known. Huckabee is the sure winner and will win big. I can not wait for romney to get out of the race. i bet he will go back to hiring illegals to work in his yard. check more out about him at www.massresistance.org he is the biggest flake since kellogs!


Posted by: in-God-I-Trust | December 28, 2007 2:22 PM | Report abuse

But that just speaks volumes of the weak GOP. They need the assassination of a foreign entity and a perfectly timed Bin Laden tape to make them look sane.

Posted by: jsu8233n | December 28, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Hi Chris,

You ignore Dr. Paul at the risk of your own embarrassment. The recent AOL poll of 171,000 Americans paints a different story.

http://news.aol.com/political-machine/straw-poll

How can you ignore the top fundraiser in the Republican party for the 4th Quarter?

It will be interesting to watch the MSM scramble to figure out how Dr. Paul (shocked) everyone in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Now, I know by now, people are typing vigorously to let me know how the AOL poll has been spammed, but I will say to you...prove it. Why is Dennis K not doing better? Why isn't Dr. Paul winning in all 50 states? Why is he leading by 20% points in California and less than 1% in Georgia and Arkansas. If the poll is being spammed the Ron Paul folks are not doing a very good job. Look at the Democrats results, they look just like the telephone polls.

Here is the real Republican list.

5. Mitt Romney
4. John McCain
3. Rudy Giuliani
2. Mike Huckabee
1. Ron Paul

Talk to you after Iowa.

Posted by: ajtdonahue | December 28, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

None of these candidates will work. As refreshing as Obama may be what happens when he gets hit with a question that isn't a softball? Typically 10 seconds of silence and uhs, then a 5 second joke, then 5 more seconds of silence, and then he suggests we pour military into Pakistan.
He has the right idea-that Pakistan is the more immediate threat to our national security-but wants to take the wrong course. Bringing military forces into Pakistan would be the biggest mistake-possibly ever made. I don't think any country is as violently un-American as them Recruiting new Al Queda in Pakistan with an American presense would be easy as pie. They've got nukes too.
If Obama had Biden as his VP I think they would be very strong against most anything the GOP could put up.

Posted by: jsu8233n | December 28, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh, one more problem for Chuckles Huckabee: his fat, disgusting, dog-killing slob of a son.

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 28, 2007 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Obama's superior judgment on foreign policy issues makes me feel "safer" with him in the White House than any other candidate, Dem or Rep. This is probably why so many Democratic foreign policy heavyweights (ie Bzrezinzki, et al) have endorsed and advised him. Obama is calm, cool and collected. He is a breath of fresh air without the usual Washington baggage. I trust him, I'm inspired by him, I believe I will vote for him.

Posted by: lauren.jorgensen | December 28, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Getting close enough that it's starting to be worth sorting things out.

Like many thoughtful posters here, my first choice would be Joe Biden. Most favorable 2008 ticket would be Biden/Obama. That won't happen so my first realistic choice is Obama. I would also vote for Clinton. If D choice is Edwards, I could consider a couple of Republicans.

A year ago, I favored Richardson based on qualifications. He unfortunately disqualified himself by claiming to be able to foresee, with certainty, the future (his pledge to remove all troops within six months--I generally view any absolute "pledge" that way).

I do not favor Clinton because of a general preference for folks who became successful based on their own efforts and qualifications, not accident of birth or marriage. The "Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton" regency plays into that. I'm a little uneasy with her personality and what I perceive as her actual leanings (I'm a DNC-type Dem and don't agree with the Dem liberal wing that she is too). As a middle-aged white male, I'd be proud and honored to have my vote help elect the first woman President, but I'd feel a lot better if it were someone like Janet Napolitano. Given all that, I'd still vote for Clinton over any of the fatally-flawed Republicans because I simply think she'd do a better job.

Overall, that means my choice is Barak Obama. I view him as having a far higher potential of real greatness than anyone else running (albeit with somewhat higher risk of Carteresque failure). I don't put a lot of stock in the 'experience' argument--I'm not sure there's any especially applicable experience for President (that's the "look where 'experience' got the Bush administration" argument). His ability to answer in other than sound bites is what first started me paying attention. Although his stated positions are somewhat more liberal than mine, I'm making a judgment that he has a rational pragmatism that would allow him to consider other points of view, and an innate intelligence and moral core that would guide sound decisions.

...but in the end, we're all making a gamble. It's going to be an interesting next couple of years.

Posted by: malis | December 28, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

prjonp

I have been posting about my preference for Biden for months. So have several others.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 28, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Uh, KOZ, you do it every time you talk about how the Dems "keep losing elections."

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 28, 2007 1:45 PM | Report abuse

'ABC News' Kevin Chupka Reports: At "Meet Mike Huckabee" event Friday morning in Pella, Iowa, the former Arkansas governor and surprising leader in Iowa clarified comments he made Thursday night suggesting that, in the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, the U.S. be on the look out for illegal immigrants from Pakistan attempting to cross our borders.'

Kind of like closing the barn door after the horse has left -- there are tons of both legal and illegal Pakistani immigrants here.We have known for some time that Pakistan has a large terrorist population -- yet it seems to have occurred to no one to pay attention to that, no more than they worried about Saudi Arabian immigrants--until 9/11. They were, after all, our 'allies'.

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Obama is getting away with murder and nobody in the press is raising a finger. His State Senator record of hundreds of votes as "PRESENT not VOTING" has not been questioned. He touts his judgment but does not leave a record trail behind to debate his judgment on issues / bills?

Obama may have the press honeymoon for a while but he can not get the nomination without greater scrutiny. And scrutiny we need. Operations Research on Obama is not a "racist" action but part of legitimate politics and campaigning.

For example: "Kerry Apology for MUSLIM remark on Obama":

Kerry does not have to apologize for STATING FACTS:

He said "It's probably not something that appeals to him, but I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and his father was a Muslim and this his paternal grandmother is a Muslim," he said at the time."

Yes Obama's father is/was a Muslim and his mother an American White female.

So what! Hillary/Bill do not have to get defensive about their comments, language, remarks on any forum be it Charlie Rose Show or Kerry's event endorsing Hillary. There is no parsing or apology required.

Obama needs to be brought down from the pedestal if he has to compete fair and square in this election cycle of 2008.

Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/

Posted by: ajain31 | December 28, 2007 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Kerry Apology for MUSLIM remark on Obama:
Kerry does not have to apologise for STATING FACTS:

He said ""It's probably not something that appeals to him, but I like the fact that his name is Barack Hussein Obama and his father was a Muslim and this his paternal grandmother is a Muslim," he said at the time."

Yes Obama's father is/was a Muslim and his mother an American White female.

So what! Hillary/Bill do not have to get defensive about their comments, language, remarks on any forum be it Charlie Rose Show or Kerry's event endorsing Hillary. There is no parsing or apology required.

Obama needs to be brought down from the pedestal.

People should not be afraid to attack Obama because of his Muslim / Black heritage.

We can not be labeled "racist" for relevant attacks in this election cycle.


Like Obama and Oprah are BARGAINERS and Bill and Hillary Clinton are CHALLENGERS. Thus Obama brought by his white mother and maternal relations is whiter than Clintons in the abstract!

Obama has not struggled like any Black has or has he experienced segregation like any Black in the US has. Thus Obama does not have a single "Black" bone in his body.

Through their politics, positions and staff hiring the CLINTONS are "blacker" than Obama with all his ex-Clinton aides!

Obama may have the press honeymoon for a while but he can not get the nomination without greater scrutiny.

And scrutiny we need. Operations Research on Obama is not a "racist' action but part of legitimate politics and campaigning.

Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/

Posted by: ajain31 | December 28, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

um spectator, you moron, where did I say that Dems DIDN'T win one election?

But you keep acting like the Republicans don't win every Presidential election, when in fact they win them all.


Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

prjonp writes
"The interesting thing is that I've posted stuff about Biden in the past and no one cared to even comment. "

To add to claudia's response, Biden seems to get more support from independants than from rank-and-file Democrats. As was noted earlier in the thread, the party loyalists seem to prioritize domestic initiatives over foreign policy experience.

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

um KOZ, you moron, where did I say that Bush DIDN'T win those elections? But you keep acting like the Democrats haven't won any elections lately, when in fact they won the last one.

Try again, please.

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 28, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I guess that the G-Man could claim Pakistan experience from being mayor of NYC. I mean, his office does regulate cab drivers. Right?

Posted by: twstroud | December 28, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

''s Jon Garcia reports: President George Bush today said he intends to veto the $696 billion defense authorization that would include a pay raise for military personnel and fund the overhaul of veterans' health care program.'

so much for supporting the troops and giving our soliders the medical care they need...

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

prjonp... a lot of regulars here have been talking about Biden for months. But it seems like only political junkies reallly understand who he is. the sad reality is most people in this country don't really pay much attention to elections...

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse


Bush didn't even get the most votes in 2000 and won a non-rousing majority over a weak candidate in 2004.

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 28, 2007 12:50 PM

In other words, you admit Bush won the elections in 2000 and 2004. But you're still too much of a worm to just come out and say it.


Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

bsimon, Gharza, and jimd52,

The interesting thing is that I've posted stuff about Biden in the past and no one cared to even comment. Are the fact that three people have engaged some comments about Biden a sign itself that Biden is at least on people's radar? And if so, I think that alone helps Biden.

I agree that the extent of Biden's surge remains to be seen. In fact I would say myself at this point that the best data would point to a modest surge at best: Bigger crowds, moving from low to mid single digits to mid to upper single digits in the last few weeks don't constitute a huge surge. But, it represents something. No one will know for sure until Jan. 3.

Posted by: MNobserver | December 28, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mark. I figured the 'Fair' tax was just more of the same R voodoo economics...

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"Barely eeking out a one vote Senate lead and a non-rousing majority in congress"

In other words, you admit the Democrats won the congressional elections in 2006. But you're still too much of a worm to just come out and say it.

Bush didn't even get the most votes in 2000 and won a non-rousing majority over a weak candidate in 2004.

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 28, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Boko and the other Ds who responded to my question. Drindl's poll numbers were interesting, as well.

I wrote about "Fair Tax" some time ago, after having re-read Boortz's book. I am prepared to detail all of its truly fatal flaws, not the least of which are that it cannot fund even 50% of the stated GWB fiscal budget for 2008 and that it skews purchasing to resale homes and used cars so heavily that our two major employer industries-and-satellites would dry up. It also favors purchases in Mexico for those of us in the Border states.

And I really can go on about this.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 28, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Ho hum, Chris disses Ron Paul yet again. Perhaps you were just humoring all of his supporters when you stuck him on The Line for at least a week before pulling him off for no real reason at all.

"Somebody has to fill the fifth spot on The Line." OK, so why Thompson? He has no money to run ads in Iowa while and has to beg his supporters for funds to do so while RP has TV and radio ads in the state plus ads on Iowa cable TV systems paid for by his own grassroots supporters. Thompson couldn't get on the ballot in Rhode Island while Ron Paul did so. Ron Paul has opened campaign offices in Alaska, Missouri and Michigan. He's recruited nearly 300 college students to canvass for him in Iowa. Paul's campaign is expanding and Thompson's is shrinking!

Once again I present facts that any objective political observer would clearly say that Ron Paul is better position in Iowa and in the national campaign than Thompson is. Robert Novak agrees and said in his column yesterday is this newspaper (what, did you miss it Chris?) that no one should be suprised if Ron Paul finished third in Iowa, except maybe, Chris Cillizza.

Unfortunately Chris' obvious bias against Ron Paul has once again affected his reporting (for the umpteenth time.) Now as a journalist myself, I know we all have our biases and opinions and they affect what we write, lets come clean. We wouldn't be human beings if we weren't. However, facts are facts regardless of how we feel about them. You may not like Ron Paul or what he stands for and you may not think he has a prayer to win the GOP nomination. Fine. But in an honest assessments of the strengths of each campaign through a ranking system, which is what The Line is, to ignore such facts about the respective campaigns is diservice to your readers who are looking for solid, honest information.

The bottom line is you ignored the facts on the ground and put Fred on The Line because you don't like Ron Paul, not because Fred has a stronger campaign. You've made your opinion quite clear.

Posted by: sean4 | December 28, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Barely eeking out a one vote Senate lead and a non-rousing majority in congress which subsequently demonstrated the Dems total ineptitude and inability to lead or legislate is considered a Dem victory? In a 6 year itch election?

If anything it has clearly demonstrated the Dems/Libs are not ready for prime time. then they try to overreach and please the move.on/daily Kos haters. Why would any thinking person vote for this crackpot coalition?

They won't.

"how would Hillary keep Bill from sleeping with interns this time around" - easy, because this time, Hillary will be the intern. and bill ain't going near that.

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 12:31 PM | Report abuse

This may seem mean-spirited, and is certainly beside the point of the Bhutto assassination, but it is a genuine question from someone who wavers between HRC and Obama: how would Hillary keep Bill from sleeping with interns this time around, when he won't even have a country to run to keep him busy? It seems a genuine PR risk.

Posted by: sussu | December 28, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Claudia, please note I said Presidential elections. I would like to see Biden or Dodd take 3rd, although Richardson is suppose to have a lot of exerience he is total dull bulb who is the least impressive after Gravel. If Clinton wins Iowa next week,55 to 60% of the U.S. population will puke their guts out and then get ready to make the dems pay heavily for their love affair with Corrupt/Immoral couple.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 28, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

prjonp writes
"The reality is that Biden is showing at least some signs of a surge. The Bhutto event and the final decisions of Iowans to vote for someone who can actually be president may be factoring in."


The big question is whether Biden is actually able to build a surge over the next 5 days. NPR this AM talked about how Iowans are hitting the Mute button during commercials; with this being a long holiday weekend, how many are paying attention to the news & rethinking their vote?

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Biden has the goods, but his time has passed him by. Sorry. Non-player in Iowa.

Posted by: Gharza | December 28, 2007 12:15 PM | Report abuse

i agree, bsimon. it's too retarded to even comment upon. the ridiculous requires only ridicule.

'something in their genes requires them to lose confrontations. consider the war. consider the last congress. consider the last two elections.'

LOL -- last election -- 2006. the delusional beleive the republicans won it. interesting alternative universe they live in.

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

claudialong: "There is no oil there" A few years ago there was talk of a pipeline through Pakistan to the Gulf shipping ports for the enormous amount of oil found in the former USSR. That is why I think the Assassination helps Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in their fight against Saudi Arabia and the US. They will come to an agreement with Russia, who they fought against in the 80s until we betrayed them and made them one of our most feared enemies. This could also affect the price and supply of oil all around the world.

Posted by: lylepink | December 28, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Koz, I guess we can be grateful dems always find a way to screw up their chances during Presidential elections.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 28, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

More than anything, these terrible events have hurt Huckabee. He looked minor league again yesterday, with some bizarrely disjointed comments and a lack of awareness that the state of emergency in Pakistan was lifted two weeks ago. Add that to the recent news about his accepting money from pro-contraception and pro-stem cell groups and I'm stunned he's still up.

Right behind him is Richardson, who made some ridiculous comments about removing Musharraf immediately and then repeated them today. That's simply not the kind of thing a presidential candidate should say out loud.

I think everyone else was very solid. Biden was swift to criticize Richardson's naive comments, and was the first to emphasize the importance of Pakistan early in the campaign. Obama was once again proved right about a major foreign policy issue - he's now been right about Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan for anyone keeping score. Bhutto's statement supporting his position on Pakistan this summer has surfaced as well. McCain and Clinton, meanwhile, can play the fear, oops I mean experience, card. They're probably being helped than for no other reason that the MSM has again bought into the idea of "experience" over demonstrated judgment.

Posted by: Nissl | December 28, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

jimd52,

The reality is that Biden is showing at least some signs of a surge. The Bhutto event and the final decisions of Iowans to vote for someone who can actually be president may be factoring in.

Posted by: MNobserver | December 28, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

bhoomes - clearly biden and dodd are the best two Dem candiates and clinton and obama are the least enviable.

why do you think the Dems will nominate either hillie or barrie?

something in their genes requires them to lose confrontations. consider the war. consider the last congress. consider the last two elections. what is it about them?

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

bsimon writes

"Yet the frontrunners of both parties are light in foreign policy."

This year's current front runners are a product of celebrity and money and media coverage. They may very well hold their current status.

But, the Democratic front runners in 04 collapsed on caucus night. Kerry and Edwards shocked everyone when voters starting making up their minds and thinking about who could actually deal with the real problems facing the country.

Iowa is in total flux and always has been, and even the pundits despite all the polls admit they have no idea what's going to happen.

I don't think Biden can pull out a first place finish like Kerry did. Although some polls showed Kerry in the single digits, others showed him in the 20s. Biden doesn't have that right now.

But, I do believe Biden has a better shot than conventional wisdom gives him credit for. Third place would be a big upset, but isn't out of the realm of possibility.

Posted by: MNobserver | December 28, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

listening to all of the candidates on Morning Joe this morning, I was most impressed by Chris Dodd. Both Biden & Dodd have so much more experience over the other candidates in the Dem Party, it tells you how little dems care about this subject, that they are both doing so poorly.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 28, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

fyi

'Issues rated as "extremely important" in November, and how that sentiment has changed:

Health care: 48 percent then, 53 percent now.

The economy: 46 percent then, 52 percent now.

Social Security: 42 percent then, 48 percent now.

Gas prices: 47 percent then, 48 percent now.

Situation in Iraq: 45 percent then, 46 percent now.

Terrorism: 44 percent then, 45 percent now.

Political corruption: 39 percent then, 44 percent now.

_WHO YOU GONNA CALL?

On health care, 41 percent of those polled trust Democrats more, compared with 17 percent who prefer Republicans.

On the economy, 34 percent trust Democrats, 22 percent Republicans.

On Iraq, 34 percent trust Democrats, 24 percent Republicans.'

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"Biden has probably forgotten more about US foreign policy than the three most likely winners of Iowa know about the subject put together."

Tom Bevan, Real Clear Politics blog

http://time-blog.com/real_clear_politics/2007/12/why_not_biden.html


Amen


Posted by: jimd52 | December 28, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Obama on Pakistan Sorry for the double post.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOLgxfypO6I

Posted by: TennGurl | December 28, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Obama's speech on Pakistan. He was right on Iraq and he is right on Pakistan.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOLgxfypO6I

Posted by: TennGurl | December 28, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

claudia, please ignore it. It is not worth your time.

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

The Fair Tax proposal is true voodoo economics. Huckabee is an appealing personality but, IMHO, not ready for prime time. However, his combination of hard core Christian conservativism with a smile and anti-elitist populism could take him far in the primaries especially in the South. The evangelical bloc is not really in synch with Republican economic policies. This is one more sign of the Reagan coaltion unravelling.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 28, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Washington is gridlocked in part because congressional Democrats have attempted to govern with an agenda that is too liberal even for many in their own party. Mr. Obama is captivating, though probably not captivating enough to convince Republican rivals to sign up for Nancy Pelosi's game plan. His only real tool for changing Washington presumably rests in convincing his own party to move toward a more innovative middle. Yet nothing in Mr. Obama's history, or current campaign, suggests he intends to forge a new Democratic direction.

As a candidate, Bill Clinton recognized Democrats' national image problems, and ran on a message of "opportunity, responsibility, community." President Bill Clinton abandoned most of that within his first 100 days, caving to liberals. But it remains the case that his signature policy achievements--welfare reform and trade--were the result of his ability to shift Democrats toward the center. When Mr. Obama was last heard talking about trade, it was to complain that Americans had lost their jobs for "a cheaper T-shirt" and to promise to "amend" Mr. Clinton's Nafta with stricter labor agreements.
This is no Joe Lieberman, who seeks to keep his party from jumping off a foreign policy cliff. Mr. Obama criticizes any Democrat who supported the Iraq war. This is no Daniel Moynihan, who favored private Social Security accounts as a means of alleviating wealth inequality. In 2005, Mr. Obama suggested private accounts were a form of "social Darwinism." This is no former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux, who wanted to transform Medicare into a system that would help seniors buy insurance on the private market. Mr. Obama has blasted Medicare Advantage, and boasts of his votes to pour more money into today's failing government-run system.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/kstrasselpw/?id=110011054

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

JimD writes
"It is naive to think Pakistan can become a Western style democracy anytime soon."

While that is true, I think you overstate, earlier in your post, the degree to which Pakistan is a 'basket case' of a country. Certainly it has the potential to turn into a bigger problem than Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran; but it also has the potential to remain stable & be the first real democracy in that part of the world - for one thing, it has been a democracy already. Even Musharraf, who came to power by coup, is trying to retain power via elections. The key is in that middle class that Jim D cites. If they push for elections in a non-violent way in the hopes of returning democracy to Pakistan, or will they riot and revolt, forcing Musharraf to impose military rule? If the latter, the fundamentalists benefit & could quite possibly end up in control of the country. That would be the worst outcome for the Pakistani people, and for us.

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

fyi --mitt not doing so well in NY at all, apparently. maybe he toast...

'Renowned ex-liberal Mitt Romney, bleeding support in Iowa and New Hampshire as unsatisfied Republicans continue to grope around in the dark for their next Great White Hope, has come out swinging against a suddenly resurgent John McCain:

Romney fired away at McCain, repeatedly accusing the Arizona senator of failing "Reagan 101" by voting twice against Bush administration tax cuts. Romney also said McCain's past support for allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the United States and work toward legal status amounted to amnesty.

I find it especially interesting that Romney invokes the grading system in Reagan 101. I never took the class myself, opting instead to take US History 210: It's Always Clinton's Fault. But I have to believe that Romney himself surely failed Introductory Reagan, given that he disavowedthe legacy of Reagan-Bush when campaigning in 1994, taking particular pains to underscore the fact that he was an independent during the 1980s, not a Reagan Republican. Here's a classic ad from the Log Cabin Republicans from Romney's U.S. Senate campaign:

"For years he's fought conservatives"..."Massachusetts values"..."I don't line up with the NRA"...fabulous stuff.

But I think

"I was an independent during Reagan-Bush...I'm not trying to return to Reagan-Bush"

is my favorite part.

Straight from the horse's mouth, too.

It's worth remembering, too, that when Reagan's handpicked successor, George Bush the Elder, was on the ballot in 1992, Romney opted to vote in the Democratic primary, for Paul Tsongas. He also donated that year to three Democrats (Dick Swett, John LaFalce, and Utah Senate candidate Doug Anderson).'

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

sounds like another love fest at the drindl household. - a child who is not allowed to hear the truth, a husband who is not allowed to disagree and a father in law who is kicked out.

Dr Pop, what was I telling you? Even her own relatives are not exempt from her brutal tyranny of hate and control.

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Anyone taken a good long look at Chuckles Huckabee's pet FairTax proposal. Completely nonsensical. Bruce Bartlett rightfully carves the proposal a new one, and by extension does the same to Huckabee for supporting it.

Combine that with his utter lack of foreign policy experience and the substantial evidence of his political hackery in Arkansas, and we're talking a president as bad as or worse than Jimmy Carter.

Posted by: Spectator2 | December 28, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, Jim. Which again astonishes me is that not a single republican candidate thinks Pakistan is a cause of concern. Now why would that be? There's no oil there?

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Pakistan is a basket case of a country. Elements of the military and intelligence services are powers unto themselves and not under effective government control. Parts of the country are nearly ungovernable, nearly inaccessible and populated by tribal societies divorced from mainstream Pakistani society. That is where the Taliban and Al Qaeda elements are holed up.

There are multitudes of poor, uneducated Pakistanis who are susceptible to the siren call of the fundamentalist fanatics. There is a highly educated middle class but they do not have a voice in the country's government right now. The military has a history of interfering with the government.

We need Pakistan's help in dealing with Afghanistan and battling Al Qaeda. We need to maintain some influence in Pakistan given that it is a very unstable country with nuclear weapons. Musharraf has to be part of the solution for now. However, the way forward is going to be difficult and calls for a nuanced and sophisticated approach by the US. We need a friendly Pakistani government committed to responsible management of their nuclear arsenal. That means we need good relations with the Pakistani military. However, an unpopular military dictatorship is an inherently unstable situation. The Bhutto-Musharraf compromise we were pushing might have been the best, or should I say least bad, achievable alternative. Some sort of coalition government incorporating the main political parties along with the military seems to me the best chance for stability. It is naive to think Pakistan can become a Western style democracy anytime soon.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 28, 2007 11:29 AM | Report abuse

'FOR the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.
Her country's better off without her. '

typical rightwing spewing of hatred... is there anyone the wingers don't hate, beside the myth of a reagan who never existed?

oh right, they love military dictators, fascists and tyrants. makes them get all weak in the knees...

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

prjonp writes
"I think the nominee will have to have credibility in foreign policy to win the general election."

Given the events of the last 7 years, that seems like an obvious observation. Yet the frontrunners of both parties are light in foreign policy. McCain just might pull back into not-quite-so-long-shot status on the GOP side, on the Dem side Biden is still far from the front. I agree that a surprising finish in Iowa could catapult him into viability in NH & beyond, but its not very likely.

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Kingofdook, should we be worried about you at any Clinton rallies? Way to connect the dots...

Posted by: LABC | December 28, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

All of the Presidential candidates are trying to gain some advantage from Bhutto assassination. Huckabee showed he is clueless and just another Huckster. But what few will acknowledge or discuss either Pakistan, Iraq, or Iran have never invaded the USA and killed , raped and robbed 10,s of thousands of Americans Citizens like Mexico. Most of the Politicians in both parties think the Largest invasion in world history and the unbelievable harm & damage suffered by Citizens is a OK as long as they get either money or votes! The Harm to American Citizens or turning this Nation into another third world Spanish speaking Cesspool of Crime, Corruption, Cruelty, Poverty, and Misery does not bother the elites because that only applies to the masses but makes the rich richer!

Posted by: american1 | December 28, 2007 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I think the pundits like yourself Chris, are just wrong on this one (the Bhutto analysis). I think the average American out there is just plain tired of all the negativity we've been through over the past seven years. We've had the negativity of fear and worry hanging over our head for seven years, then all the negativity of corruption and incompetence and secrecy, and now the economy which is REALLY impacting the lives of those of us who make less than 100,000 a year in real ways. And I happen to think nobody could do a worse job than Bush has on foreign policy. The only two viable candidates I would vote for are Obama and McCain -- Obama BECAUSE he represents change and because despite his "inexperience", he is intelligent enough in my view to listen to the advice of people who do know what they're talking about, McCain because I think he would make decisions ethically rather than for political expedience. I've spoken to many people who are Independent, Republican and Democrat who are on the exact same page as me. We need something different. I don't think Giuliani or HRC represent any kind of ethical or establishment change, I think Edwards is too consumed by himself, and Romney is too worried about god knows what, to be effective change agents.Symbols do matter.

Posted by: julian4 | December 28, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Good line Chris. Romney has run 10 times the number of commercials of any other R. This is still his to lose. If he doesn't win in Iowa, he is toast though IMO. His negative attacks and problems with the truth are going to be his downfall. Not sure who a Romney collapse helps more of the other 4 though. Thompson is the wildcard though. If he finishes 4th in Iowa and 6th in NH will he drop out? If so, does he endorse McCain like many think he would?

Posted by: donttreadonme | December 28, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

'The Pakistan crisis is trendy on the trail now' -- a nuclear power is on the verge of descending into anarchy -- and that's 'trendy' to you? wow. Must be in pleasant in the alternate reality where you reside, where actual global crises are simply 'trendy.' If Osama gets nukes [likely] will you find that 'amusing' or 'chic'?

bhoomes, I do not allow anyone to talk about genocide in front of my child. My husband agrees with me. My father-in-law was the one disrespecting me, and he apologized. You're another little dittohead--I feel sorry for you.

And CC-- Ron Paul is clearly, clearly far ahead of Fred Thompson, who has totally disappeared. What is wrong with you?

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

It is unsurprising and quite annoying that you continue to censor any mention of Ron Paul. He is just as legitimate a candidate as the other Republicans you mentioned. The voters are paying attention. Even those of us who don't like Ron Paul don't appreciate big media trying to choose our candidates for us.


Be a newsman, not a propagandist.

Posted by: lgd_housing | December 28, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The Bhutto assasination will be irrelavent to the nominations. When your mortgage is about to reset to raise your house payment by 50%, your gasoline bills are pushing your credit card toward its limit, and you're upside down in both your car and your house, you tend to worry more about things closer to home.

To the degree that the Bhutto death has any effect at all, it will be to remind voters that the entirity of the Bush foreign policy is a house of cards, and thus will be slightly detrimental to those candidates who are perceived as the strongest Bush supporters. Some voters would perceive Hillary Clinton in this category, thus she is not helped.

Posted by: Stonecreek | December 28, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The Clinton of Pakistan

THE BHUTTO ASSASSINATION: NOT WHAT SHE SEEMED TO BE
By RALPH PETERS


December 28, 2007 -- FOR the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.
Her country's better off without her. She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life.

We need have no sympathy with her Islamist assassin and the extremists behind him to recognize that Bhutto was corrupt, divisive, dishonest and utterly devoid of genuine concern for her country.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.

Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools.

During her years as prime minister, Pakistan went backward, not forward. Her husband looted shamelessly and ended up fleeing the country, pursued by the courts. The Islamist threat - which she artfully played both ways - spread like cancer.

But she always knew how to work Westerners - unlike the hapless Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who sought the best for his tormented country but never knew how to package himself.

Military regimes are never appealing to Western sensibilities. Yet, there are desperate hours when they provide the only, slim hope for a country nearing collapse. Democracy is certainly preferable - but, unfortunately, it's not always immediately possible. Like spoiled children, we have to have it now - and damn the consequences.

In Pakistan, the military has its own forms of graft; nonetheless, it remains the least corrupt institution in the country and the only force holding an unnatural state together. In Pakistan back in the '90s, the only people I met who cared a whit about the common man were military officers.

Americans don't like to hear that. But it's the truth.

Bhutto embodied the flaws in Pakistan's political system, not its potential salvation. Both she and her principal rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, failed to offer a practical vision for the future - their political feuds were simply about who would divvy up the spoils.

http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/12282007/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_bhutto_assassination__not_what_she_s_912265.htm

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Joe Biden is apparently starting to draw bigger crowds. Maybe only half of what Clinton and Obama are getting, but that's still a huge surge. See article below.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7570_Page2.html

I think Biden could tie or beat Edwards. Edwards just won't do in a general election. As in 2004, he rarely talks foreign policy and he has no experience in this area. His experience is all domestic. Biden draws on the same kind of folks that Edwards does (union, average Joe) and he comes across as far more presidential. I think the nominee will have to have credibility in foreign policy to win the general election.

Of the top 3 that leaves Clinton (sort of--mostly by perception), Obama (barely--by virtue of that fact that he lived overseas and has a Muslim sounding middle name) and Biden with years of experience in this area.

I think if Biden has a big Iowa surge, people will suddenly see him as viable and he will challenge Hillary and Obama quickly and easily for the general election.

He's been the sleeper candidate. A better than expected showing in Iowa could awaken lots of new possibilities in the race for the nomination.

Posted by: MNobserver | December 28, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Clinton, Obama Seize on Killing
Another Me-Me-Me test for Hillary. Obama offers prayers and condolences Hillary recalls how well she knew the Pakistani leader and their special bond as moms and mourns for Bhutto's two children. Bhutto has three.

She will not be answering any questions this year...

Clinton's "don't ask" policy
Los Angeles Times, by Peter Nicholas

As she races through Iowa in the days before next week's caucuses, Hillary Clinton is taking few chances. She tells crowds that it's their turn to "pick a president,'' but over the last two days she has not invited them to ask her any questions. Before the brief Christmas break, the New York senator had been setting aside time after campaign speeches to hear from the audience. (Snip) Hillary Clinton's no-question policy didn't sit well with some of the Iowans who came to see her speak. "I was a little bit underwhelmed,'' said Doug Rohde, 46, as he left her a rally

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 28, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

vbhoomes:

laura bush--i think there is a great difference between hillary and laura--hillary is not stating that her white house experience exclusively prepared her for the presidency but rather it is one component of her body of experience. she has been a senator for NYS (LB has not held an elected position). she has been actively involved in politics throughout her life (read washpo series on candidates).
even if one were to compare the two women's terms as first ladies, HC was very active and vocal about domestic and foreign policy issues while LB defered to GB.

Posted by: k1omal | December 28, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Excellent line today, Chris.

The one thing I would stress is that even though the GOP race is numbered from 1-5, the top four are very very close together. It's more like 1, 1.5, 1.75, 2.5, 5. There are a lot of contingencies involved for the GOP candidates, so they are all in precarious positions. Thompson is #5, and the only way I think he can win is if McCain and Huckabee are eliminated and Thompson has to go head to head against Romney in South Carolina. The Huckabee vote in South Carolina will probably go back to Thompson because the military and evangelical vote is strong there.

I get the sense that Obama is going to be the Howard Dean of 2008. People want to feel safe before they feel inspired. We could be looking at Clinton first, Edwards second, Biden third, and Obama a close fourth.

Posted by: theseventen | December 28, 2007 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Oh and also: Chris, the latest Iowa poll from the LA Times has Huckabee EXPANDING (not losing) his lead and now is ahead 14% in Iowa. Link: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/12/la-times-polls-ia-nh-tight-democratic.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | December 28, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh and also -- The latest Iowa poll from the LA TIMES released last night has Huckabee expanding his lead, not losing it Chris. Which is why I am getting skeptical of Romney's chances. (Link to poll: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/12/la-times-polls-ia-nh-tight-democratic.html ).

Posted by: campaigndiaries | December 28, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

New important Senate news: A poll from Mississippi gives a lot of hope to Democrats, while Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich now looks set to challenge Ted Stevens in Alaska, another major victory for the DSCC. Roundup of both races: http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/12/congressional-diary-will-alaska-and.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | December 28, 2007 10:34 AM | Report abuse

The Pakistan crisis is trendy on the trail now, but how long is this going to matter to voters? And do Iowans care about this at all?

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

Posted by: parkerfl | December 28, 2007 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't see foreign affairs truly effecting an election, save for the case in 2004 when it was tied to terrorism and whipping up hysteria. I think that time may be over. That's why Guiliani is spent, he's trying to run the last election.

It's nice to see FP as a skill that a president has, but I suspect that belief if only held among us that pay a lot of attention, such as us posters here. The voters in general want to be able to buy a house, feed their families, get their children educated well, retire with some sense of security, etc. I want that too, but I also want someone more rounded. Not a Huckabee, or on the other side, Biden (whom I like) with mostly FP experience, and not a lot of governing experience.

Posted by: adriennemichael | December 28, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Whew: Kicked your Father-in-Law out of the House just for some nonsensical venting. You are a Nut Job. Your Husband must be a total sissy to allow you to dispect his father.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 28, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Good Line; I'd put Ron Paul in GOP 5 over Fred Thompson. Neither will win the nomination, but Paul has money & a passionate following. That should count for something.

On the remaining discussion, my perception of rank-and-file Democrats is that their primary concerns are in domestic policy, not foreign. That's what makes a Democrat a Democrat. Party-wide Foreign policy positions run the gamut - its one of the 'big tent' issues for the Ds.

Posted by: bsimon | December 28, 2007 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Mark says: "I hope that the Ds who regularly post here can address whether they think D voters value the domestic issues more highly than foreign policy."
I don't think it's a question of "more" or "less" - I think it's 'situational.' Foreign policy over the past seven years has been all about Iraq (after 6 or so months spent worrying about Afghanistan), and any opinions about it have thus necessarily fallen into the categories of 'pro' and 'con' (and variations thereof.) With no room in the president's position for compromise (on this as on so many other issues), the Democratic party has been under less pressure to coalesce around one universally agreed-on foreign policy approach... and enforced party discipline is not really the way Democrats do things, anyway... at least not in my memory. (I actually like that about the party - that it does not require lockstep allegiance to any beyond a set of core principles, and has room for Barney Frank AND Bob Casey of PA, for example, but that's beside the point.) This is not to say, however, that there are not good foreign policy ideas on the D side of the aisle just as there are on the R side... for example, your boy Biden, Mark. I would vote for him in a heartbeat if given the chance to do so, but I unfortunately don't think he will still be in the race on Feb. 5, although I could be wrong. And of course there are good FP ideas on the R side also - or maybe better said "good FP thinkers," like McCain and Colin Powell, although I do not believe any of them are neocons. I

Posted by: bokonon13 | December 28, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

The assassination of Bhutto could turn into an argument of whether the US was involved as accessories because we were so involved in getting her to return to Pakistan, and then not insisting on proper security for her. Remember she was the prime opposition to Musharraf, who the US has supported for so many years. This also helps The Taliban forces as well as Al Qaeda, not to mention the former USSR who has plenty of oil that could be shipped through Pakistan to the shipping ports and put an end to the power of Saudi Arabia with its control of oil prices.

Posted by: lylepink | December 28, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Mark, that's a very good question, and it all depends on which Jews you are talking about. The Orthodox [and of course there are some differences among them too] are biblical literalists and fundamentalists, and much like American fundamentalists. They beleive that all of Israel belongs to Jews, was given them by God, and that any means is fair to protect that right, even if it means the killing of innocents. Yes, they beleive Iran should be bombed to the Stone Age. They don't care a whit about retaliation to this country, even if they live here. Israel is the Promised Land. Leiberman is one of these.

Probably a greater proportion of American Jews are Conservative, Reform, or Reconstructionist, which tend to lean left, heavy on social justice, and troubled by the extremism of the settlers, with some sympathy toward the palestinians, but some anger too. There is a lot of nuance. Feelings about Israel, especialy since the Haulocaust, are very ambivalent and emotional.

Once, my father-in-law said that every Palestinian--man, woman and child -- should be killed. I asked him to leave my house. They have since joined the Reform movement and he has moderated his views. But it is an area where otherwise sensible people get irrational. However, I think most realize that bombing Iran will be the beginning of WW3, not to mention driving up the price of oil to $300 a barrel, and that it really poses no immediate threat.

and one mor on the danger of pakistan.... chaos and anarchy in a nuclear state -- what really, could be more dangerous than that?

'The LAT points out this might be the final death blow to Musharraf and some believe the ensuing violence could "prove too much even for the Pakistani army."

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 10:04 AM | Report abuse

While media types like CC and the others were calling Obama naive and inexperienced Obama stood first against the terrorist in Pakistan. Even Bhutto herself agreed with him

Senator Obama
"There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again . . . If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

Ms. Bhutto
Well, I wouldn't like the United States to violate Pakistan's sovereignty with unauthorized military operations. But the issue that I would like to stress is that Barack Obama also said, if Pakistan won't act. And that's the critical issue, that the government has to act. And the government has to act to protect Pakistan's own serenity and integrity, its own respect, and to understand that if it creates a vacuum, then others aren't going to just twiddle their thumbs while militants freely move across the border."
http://campaignspot.nationalreview.com/post/q=NmRiNGJjODNmZWZiM2I2NzgwMjE2NGVmOTNlN2YwYjA


Posted by: TennGurl | December 28, 2007 9:57 AM | Report abuse

"It's difficult to overstate the effect that Bhutto's assassination will have inside Pakistan. USA Today points out that "the best hope of Pakistan becoming a stable democracy anytime soon may have died with Benazir Bhutto" as there is little chance of a "smooth transition" from military dictatorship to democracy. For its part, the Wall Street Journal puts it simply: "the world's most unstable nuclear-armed nation is plunging deeper into crisis."

And 8 of 10 of our presidential canddiates think Iran is more dangerous? I mean, really, I just can't get over this.

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

vwcat, your report is in the "Inskeep US 50" column, I guess. Thanks.

JimD, you are obviously right - "sketchy", indeed.

drindl, I have an off topic question for you.

I know a few Jewish Rs - mainly MDs who pay huge income taxes compared with the investor class. But last night I met my first neocon of the Jewish faith, ever. He is over 80 and actually thinks we should bomb Iran to "protect" Israel. I have never met another Jewish person, however sypathetic to Israel, who even thinks the settlement policy of Israel is a good idea, never mind one who thinks America should be an arm of Israel's foreign policy.

So I never have thought the Podhoretz-Wolfowitz-Perle-Kristol neocons were representative of American Jews and I still do not, but now I know that there is at least one octogenarian out there who agrees with them.

From your perspective, am I correct in thinking that neocon thought is NOT prevalent among American Jews?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 28, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

'Pakistan -- the world's second-most-populous Muslim nation, with elements of al-Qaeda and the Taliban controlling lawless mountainous pockets in the northwest -- is also the only Islamic state with a nuclear arsenal.

One thing is clear, says Peter Galbraith, senior fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation: It is "not a good idea to have 70 nuclear weapons in the hands of a country that is falling apart."

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Have to agree with the tenor of JimD's comments; Pakistan is far, far away and anyway, isn't our guy Mushroomariff (note: deliberate mispelling for effect) still in charge? What's all the fuss? Haven't we seen that Those People get riled up on a regular basis anyway?

Bhutto's death, with all its admittedly much larger implications, may just be a blip in the attention span of the average voter. Of course, it depends on the 'legs' that the story is given. Look for Faux News to be the All Pakistan All The Time network leading up to January 3, with coverage dropping off sharply on January 4.

Posted by: judgeccrater | December 28, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris, Always enjoy your column, but you showed your (Giuliani-biased) hand yesterday when you instantly named him the political beneficiary of Bhutto's assassination. There are very strong arguments for Clinton and McCain to benefit equally if not more, yet you were waving the Giuliani flag within minutes. A rush to judgment that revealed more about who your horse is in this race than your analytical skills.

Posted by: wwseb | December 28, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Listening to Washington Journal on cspan this morning, it seems most people are sick of us sticking our nose into other countries business. This is from both sides of the aisle.
People are sick of us wasting our money on trying to interfere with other countries while we are sinking into the abyss.
While pundtis are pushing this story to pump up Clinton, the average person is not that concerned over Pakistan and more concerned about their job, paying their bills, ect.
Many feel Edwards talking to Mushariff yesterday was more a phony ploy to pump himself up than impressive.

Posted by: vwcat | December 28, 2007 9:24 AM | Report abuse

'Katie Couric on CBS News asked 10 presidential candidates what country they feared the most (part of the "Primary Questions" segment). 8 of the 10 candidates answered "Iran." 2 of the candidates, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, answered "Pakistan."

Very disappointing that about McCain, then. Obviously, these two are the only ones with even a clue about what's happening in the world. Iran at this point in time, has never attacked us. There's no reason why they would. They may have a nuclear weapon, possibly, someday. By that time Abenadinnerjacket will be gone--and he isn't the leader of Iran anyway -- he is not the one that makes those kind of decisions - that would be the Supreme Leader, Khameini, isn't it?

Pakistan, on the other hand, aids and harbors Osama bin Ladin, the Taliban and active terrorist training camps, and every recent terrorist attack in any country around the world has emanated from Pakistan. Plus they have nuclear weapons, loosely guarded, which the US does not know the location of, but several other ME countries, including saudi arabia, have toured their facilities.

They are our 'allies' in name only -- thy take our money and use it to build up their arsenal. Mushareff is hated, even more so now, and he will be assasinated, it's only a matter of time. Osama bin Ladin or osmeone quite like him will have the nukes shortly. Accoridng to most polls, pakistanis now hate americans and think it's just ifne to kill them, while they hold Osama in high esteem. Something like 80% call GWBush a terrorist.

This is the center of terrorist activity in the world. If the rest of the canddiates are either this naive aout actual threats, or this will to demagogue issues, we are in very grave danger indeed.

Posted by: drindl | December 28, 2007 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Good line today Chris. I would trend McCain to the #2 spot for the R's. I think Huckabee is/was a fad, a last chance to grasp at the type of candidate the media and RNC have been touting as the quintessential R for the last few cycles. But, when we all got a closer look, we saw that Huckabee was truly a fringe candidate. Seriously, didn't Pat Robertson do well in IA one year?

As for the Dems, everyone is going to calm down and pull the lever for HRC. Yes, polling and the media have made this a race, and it truly is, but a few things strike me as good news for HRC. 1. The talk of disarray is over, and a steadying is in place for her campaign. 2. Obama's rhetoric of change and hope and all that can only go so far and are starting to ware, his bounce is ebbing. 3. Obama's hope for youth turnout is a big gamble. 4. Edwards staying power and many of the media themes of Edwards union power and support by other groups are eroding support for Obama not HRC.

Having said all this, the media line out of IA will be critical for HRC. She has to be first place in IA, expectations are for nothing less, however, she can win by a hair and still be fine. If she should come in two or three, it will be a struggle, as the media will run with Obama or Edwards. She'll still do well in NH because it is close, but the other two could really pick up some momentum. Only Obama can make something of it because he has the money, while Edwards is tied to public funding and will struggle to continue even with good news out of IA and beyond. HRC can play the Romney game of playing the numbers and keep in there and hope the math works for her. She'll be bruised but will be able to come back by the convention. She will have more money then the R candidate unless it's Romney.

Fun fun fun to think about. We'll see how it ends so soon. This is the last line for IA!!

Posted by: adriennemichael | December 28, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Mark

I think most Americans, both conservative and liberal, have a very sketchy understanding and a simplistic view of the world. The Democratic candidates (save Biden) have been mostly ignoring foreign policy except to criticize the administration's Iraq policy. For the most part the Republicans (except Paul and McCain) are simply spouting slogans. Ron Paul sounds like George (Come Home America) McGovern. Huckabee has started to criticize the arrogant tone of Bush foreign policy but he displays no real understanding of the problems we face in the world.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 28, 2007 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I am starting a Draft Laura Bush campaign after the events in Pakistan. After 8 years as 1st Lady druing the Post 911 World, no one has more experience in National Security matters than Laura.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 28, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

JimD, Hi. Did you hear Inskeep this morning on NPR interview random voters along US 50?

All of them were concerned first with a domestic issue - the economy. Unscientific as it was, it was telling for me after I had just asked the question of Ds here.

The respondents claimed to be of various political leanings. One claimed that no candidates were addressing his concerns about the economy, fuel efficiency, and IA/undocs!

Perhaps it is hopeless.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 28, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse


Katie Couric on CBS News asked 10 presidential candidates what country they feared the most (part of the "Primary Questions" segment). 8 of the 10 candidates answered "Iran." 2 of the candidates, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, answered "Pakistan."

http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/i_video/main500251.shtml?channel=/elements/2007/12/04/eveningnews/videoarchive3575402_1_videosection_page.shtml

Posted by: grzz_76 | December 28, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The only two candidates with credibility on foreign policy are McCain and Biden. I do not understand why turmoil overseas should benefit Giuliani. He has no experience whatsoever and his policy statements amount to little more than chest thumping and "Remember 9/11".

Mark - I hope these events do help McCain and Biden in Iowa but I am not optimistic. McCain has abandoned Iowa and Biden just does not seem to be catching on with the voters.

Posted by: jimd52 | December 28, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

I read the NYT story on HRC's "experience" as First Lady, and it seemed even handed to me. That her First L experience is worth "something" rather than "nothing", or "much", is a non-controversial conclusion.

And I am one who would argue, like Carl Bernstein does, that it was an experience of a litany of mistakes and opportunities missed by an elitist failure to engage others. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, she seems to have learned from those failures and not repeated them as Senator. But in terms of relevant experience she remains firmly in the second tier.

My sense is that she could only be helped by an electorate focused on the sorts of domestic issues that she can claim as her long standing public commitments.

Of course, Ds may be more focused on domestic than foreign issues. For them, Bhutto's assassination may be no more than a blip on the radar. That could be a conclusion one would draw from Ds not flocking to Joe Biden's candidacy.

The Giuliani thread from yesterday was not enlightening to me in this or any regard. I hope that the Ds who regularly post here can address whether they think D voters value the domestic issues more highly than foreign policy.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 28, 2007 8:35 AM | Report abuse

How is Bhutto's assassination help Giuliani? The guy has less foreign policy credentials than I do (and I'm only a law student). His comments on terrorism and Iran often remind educated voters just why they worry about him becoming our commander in chief. Same goes for Clinton - having tea with Bhutto does not count as foreign policy experience. I think CC should consider what actual voters will think rather than just accepting spin.

If anyone benefits, I think it would be Biden and McCain.

Posted by: freedom41 | December 28, 2007 8:09 AM | Report abuse

"If you followed only his tenure as governor of Massachusetts, you might imagine Romney as a pragmatic moderate with liberal positions on numerous social issues and an ability to work well with Democrats. If you followed only his campaign for president, you'd swear he was a red-meat conservative, pandering to the religious right, whatever the cost. Pay attention to both, and you're left to wonder if there's anything at all at his core."

- The Concord Monitor

-------------------------------------------------------------
"His opposition to earmarked pork and his demolition of the corrupt deal between Boeing and the Air Force have not enchanted fellow Republican politicians."

- Mr. Novak on McCain,

the same McCain who exposed Abramoff and the same McCain who requested NO EARMARKS and the same McCain who would close Gitmo and who opposes torture.

There are principled conservatives and unprincipled ones, just as there are good and bad liberals, and honest and dishonest moderates. I hope R voters in IA know the difference.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 28, 2007 8:05 AM | Report abuse

In Iowa and New Hampshire, the argument is often made that voters in those states take politics seriously and pay attention to the candidates - basically screening out the unworthy nominees. I tend to take this with a grain of salt, given the almost coronation of Clinton as the Democratic nominee, but if voters in early states want to live up to that standard, they'll hopefully take a second look at the entire field on both sides.

Several posters mentioned yesterday that recent events might give the "adults" (McCain? Biden?) a chance to play in this race. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I wouldn't bet against either of them "surprisng" in Iowa and making a stronger than expected showing. Can Guiliani make a move and Clinton solidify her position? They both tout experience, but neither seems that authentic to me.

Posted by: -pamela | December 28, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Huckabee proved by his comments yesterday that he is totally clueless about the World outside our borders. Campaigns matter, at one time, I thought he would make a good nominee. I now realize that he's just a good old boy Baptist Preacher who totally out of his league. I believe Iowa will now go to Mitt and if wins in NH. He's our nominee. DEMS BEWARE, he's going to be tough to beat because he will have a strongly united party behind him. While Obama's folks will sit out the election after the dirty politics by the Clintons.

Posted by: vbhoomes | December 28, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

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