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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Seek For The Google-search That Was Broken

The Man Sans Q boldly assaults The Two Ivory Towers. It's funny, it's insightful, it's Krugman-bashing like it oughta be!

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Sunday, December 29, 2002

Light Blogging Ahead

From my exotic remote location, the ISP directions seem simple: If the user experiences difficulty with the normal dial-up connection, then (1) wait for a clear day with no breeze; (2) take the computer into the backyard and set it on fire; (3) send smoke signals.

Can't do it - yet.

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Thursday, December 26, 2002

Where Can I Get A Mickey Kaus "BOBL-Head Doll"?

And Josh Marshall needs to replace his "Mickey" doll too - evidently, the one he has now only nods to the right.

I explain all in "The Final Update" to "Marshall vs. Kaus".

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The NY Times On European Demographics

Better Article: The Economist, Aug. 22, 2002

Opportunity for Enterprising Fact-Checker: This from the NY Times:

"By contrast, the United States had a 2.0 rate, which demographers attribute to greater immigration.

I don't think the number or the explanation is correct, but who has time with kids and vacations?

[OK, from the Economist: By the 1990s American fertility had rebounded, rising back to just below the 2.1 mark.

Nobody quite knows why. Some of the recovery was the result of higher-than-average fertility among immigrants. But not all of it: fertility rose among native-born whites and blacks as well. Perhaps the most plausible, if unprovable, explanation is that higher fertility was the product of the economic boom of the 1990s combined with what one might call “social confidence”: America was a good country to bring more children into.

Well, who are you going to trust? ]

Turn And Face The Change: "In Italy... Labor Minister Roberto Maroni has announced that the cost of the state pension system will need to be reduced. "

Little Known Cultural Quirk: "Ms. Ginori [who is, unsurprisingly, Italian] and many women she knows have never married, in part, she said, because of a facet of Italian life that she cited as one possible explanation for the especially low fertility rate here.

Many Italian men, she said, live with their mothers into their 30's. When they marry, they are not prepared to help out at home in ways that take pressure off women, especially if those women want to have children.

"Even the most open-minded guy — if you scratch with the nail a little bit, there's the mother who did everything for him," she said. "I hate the mothers of these men. These mothers are a disaster."

And finally, Confirming What I have Been Saying: People are studying longer, and thus are finding work later, when there is work, and then are marrying later, which doesn't necessarily mean having a baby anymore," said Valerio Terra Abrami, head of the department of social statistics for Italy's National Institute of Statistics.

Emphasis added. The high structural unemployment in Europe has many consequences.

UPDATE: UPI International.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2002

Hide Good News On Christmas Day

Ever since Bush 1 pardoned Weinberger and others involved with Iran-Contra on Christmas Eve, I have been fascinated by the Dec 25th NY Times.

Today, they hide good news in plain sight at the top of A1, on what must be the least noticed edition of the year:

Afghans Mark Year of Slowly Growing Stability

OK, Merry Christmas.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Jay Caruso Shows The Democrats The Way To The White House

Bob Graham for President! A popular former Governor, currently Senator from big-state Florida, Southern appeal, good resume - why not?

Now, I recollect that Graham was the model for the potential rival that "Clinton" had to blackmail out of the race in "Primary Colors", set in 1992. [Mini-update: How often do you have a cup of coffee and think of Lawton Chiles? I may have to look this up.] Graham was also mooted as a VP pick in 2000 [As I recall, but where's the cred now?].

Would Graham's entrance eliminate the first, last, and only rationale for an Edwards candidacy? With JF Kerry filling the "self-financing guys named 'John' who remind us of Kennedy" niche, and Graham as a distinguished Southerner, what is left?

UPDATE: Oh, how right was this? Skip the impenetrable time stamps, and let me excerpt Hauser from Dec. 4:

Bob Graham -- national security guru, media fave, former successful Governor of a small, politically insignificant state (that would be both (a) Florida and (b) sarcasm, for those scoring at home, and if you are. . . .) would seemingly make a superb centrist Presidential candidate, superior in every way (e.g., integrity, electability) than Joe "I'm basically popular only amongst Jewish staffers in the Beltway" Lieberman. CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN why Graham isn't running for President??? [MORE ON WESLEY CLARK in the near future, bye the bye]

That nails it. Although he doesn't point out the Edwards comparison. Check his latest dark vision for Dem success in 2004.

MORE: John Edwards: NOT a reader of mine.

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Fools Rush In...

I know Pandagon and Hauser and commented on Ward Connerly's comment that:

"Supporting segregation need not be racist," said Mr. Connerly. "One can believe in segregation and believe in equality of the races."

Well, other folks commented too. And what can you say, except it's crazy?

OK, it's crazy. Now, I have no reason to doubt Mr. Herbert's account in the Times. However, I can find no other source for the quote, so we are "context-free". But in "Googling" around I came up with this recent PBS interview (presumably NOT the one to which Herbert refers), and a 1997 letter to President Clinton. I am sure you want excerpts:

PBS: All of us have said things that lend themselves to misinterpretation or interpretation that we may not have intended.

Connerly may be living proof. But more PBS:

...we really have no tolerance for segregation or the way we did things in the past.

The letter to the President: Your statement to the NABJ—"I don't know why the people who promoted 209 in California think it's a good thing to have a segregated set of professional schools"—is just plain irresponsible.

No one "promoted" 209 more than I, so I believe it is fair to assume that you are characterizing me as a proponent of racial segregation. This is not my position nor that of anyone I know who was involved in the Prop. 209 campaign. We do not believe a segregated set of professional schools is a "good thing," that is why we are the ones in this debate who are fighting to unify Americans by having our government treat everyone as equals regardless of race—as the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 intended. We acknowledge that discrimination still exists and we call on you to strengthen the enforcement of those anti-discrimination laws that are on the books.

No one of goodwill wants our public institutions segregated....

SO, Ward Connerly is opposed to segregation. I suspect that we all suspected that anyway.

Was he crazy for letting such a bizarre sound-bite pass his lips? Well, yes. His comment exceeds my most fevered spin-doctoring. When I think of "segregation", I think of the whole package; schools, restaurants, water fountains, and so on. If Mr. Connerly had some other context in mind, he should have used a different word.

However, here is a black WaPo columnist arguing in favor of preserving black neighborhoods. Maybe (maybe?) this is what Mr. Connerly had in mind, before his brain disconnected from his mouth?

Yes, pretty lame. Now let me just limp out of here.

UPDATE: He may be without qualities, but The Man is not without backbone. He wants context, and he is adamant that Connerly may have a point.

Well, I have tried a couple of times to nail Herbert with a "gotcha", and have come up empty. Third time a charm? Meanwhile, I am inclined to think Connerly should know better than to ruminate out loud and drop sound-bites like this - he knows he is a lightning rod.

UPDATE 2: If at first you don't succeed, "Google, "Google" again. And no, I have no idea why I missed it this morning. David Frum excerpts a transcript, cleverly concealed in yesterday's NRO.

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Monday, December 23, 2002

Marshall vs. Kaus

Or, trust your instincts. Was it partisan ambition that prompted Marshall to post the story of Frist invoking Marion Barry during Frist's campaign in 1994? Later he seems to wonder about his own judgement.

Kaus responds:

Marshall doesn't see "what on earth this had to do with a Senate race in Tennessee." He concludes "the answer is obvious: nothing" and thus accuses Frist of dabbling in "racial code words and appeals." Does Marshall know that in the early '90s Sasser was chair of the Senate subcommittee in charge of the District of Columbia -- at a time when Congress exercised considerable control over the District's budget (and when federal taxpayers picked up the tab for a large chunk of that budget)? For at least part of that period, Marion Barry was D.C. mayor -- and nobody would call the bureaucracy tolerated by Barry and Congress lean and mean. (Barry's successor had to stage a round of layoffs immediately on taking office.) When Barry made his comeback after his drug conviction -- successfully winning election in 1994-- he boasted of his ability to get funds for the District:

I know Congressman Pete Stark, I know Senator Sasser, Senator Cohen and others in the Congress who control our budget. [Emphasis added.]

Maybe there's a record somewhere of Sasser denouncing Barry during his tenure -- but I haven't found it.

Back to Marshall for a rebuttal:

To this I would say, yes, I know that. But does Mickey remember that Sharon Pratt Kelly won election as Mayor of Washington, D.C. in November 1990 and didn't leave office until early 1995 -- a couple months after Frist won election.

(Click here for more details.)

Barry was mayor of DC from 1978 to 1990 and then again from 1994 to 1998. In other words, the four years prior to Frist's campaign were the only four years out of twenty when Barry wasn't mayor of DC.

Wow. Josh Marshall is scraping what we hope is the bottom of the barrel. Marion Barry was back on the city council in 1992 and re-elected mayor in November 1994 - the same election campaign in which Frist connected Barry to Sasser, and the same election campaign in which, according to Kaus, Barry said:

"I know Congressman Pete Stark, I know Senator Sasser, Senator Cohen and others in the Congress who control our budget."

I wonder if Marshall knew that, too.

UPDATE: A Dark Force correspondent noted this in Marshall's post:

"One reader -- flopping around like a fish-out-of-water making the case for Frist -- "

He thanks Marshall for illustrating the fish-flopping concept.

UPDATE 2: An interesting alternative view. A reader admits that Marshall may have been a bit light in his presentation of the situation, but wonders about Kaus and Frist as well. Paraphrasing boldly, the argument runs: "Marion Barry as a legitimate symbol of corruption and fraud, with his race as some sort of "bonus"? How about a bit of leadership from Frist - take the high road, or, when in doubt, leave it out. If Frist is straining for a symbol of failed Washington administrative policies, the words "fraud" and "corruption" are available. Also "waste". If mentioning Barry might be mistaken for race-baiting, don't do it. Save us all an annoying defense."

Well, good point. It is a high standard, and I am not admitting that Frist engaged in race-baiting, but yes - a better road was available, and Frist could have walked it.

THE FINAL UPDATE: Now, back to the question of whether Marshall engaged in responsible reporting when he first peddled this story without mentioning the Sasser-Barry link. "I knew that", says Marshall. Then why hide it? Here he has yet another post, with yet another explanation:

The best evidence here is Frist's own defense of his use of Barry at the time. When Sam Donaldson asked him what Barry had to do with a Senate campaign in Tennessee, Frist said: "Not very much, but Marion Barry symbolizes a lot about what people think about politics today."

Mickey's retroactive excuses had never even occurred to Frist. Or if they had, he knew they wouldn't pass the laugh test under actual questioning.

Marshall knows this based on press accounts? Interviews with Frist and his campaign people? Or is this just psychic journalism?

Back in 1994, Frist was a political novice in his first campaign. He had been briefed on everything from the Middle East to the Far East, and a thousand points of light in between. Maybe he simply forgot.

But evidently Marshall dismisses the link as "wouldn't pass the laugh test". Or does he? Later we see:

"But Frist couldn't even seem to come up with what his legitimate political issue was.

Emphasis added, leaving us with one "laugh test" and one "legitimate". Any tie-breakers?

Barry proved a convenient way to marry together the legitimate, if extremely obscure, issue of the subsidy the federal government rightly pays the District of Columbia -- bear in mind that Tennessee is one of those states that receives back more in programs and subsidies than it sends to the federal government in taxes -- and an appeal to unflattering views of blacks.

Hmm. So in Marshall's view, the link seems to be legitimate. Just not legitimate enough to actually report. Whatever.

Next, subtle transition: This latest post opens with an odd attack on Mickey Kaus. Why, Marshalll wonders, is Kaus defending Frist?

...to me it looks like another distressing case of Mickey's BOBL -- bend-over-backwards-liberalism, the curious but telling desire on the part of the afflicted to turn over every stone and spare no effort to find excuses for or rationalize the behavior of the right. One can certainly find better examples of it in recent weeks. But this one definitely fits the symptomatology.

First, I want a Mickey Kaus "BOBL-Head" doll of my very own. What a great gift idea! And Josh needs a new one too - it sounds like the one he has only nods to the right.

Secondly, the NY Times gives as its source for this Frist anecdote the former campaign manager for Frist's opponent. I will cautiously characterize this fellow as a partisan Democratic operative, pending further research.

So, Marshall's musing about Kaus seems to distill to the following wisdom: if an attack on a Republican comes from a partisan Dem, take it to the bank. But if conservatives, or Kaus, rise to the Republican's defense, well, watch out - a person who would defend Frist today will be defending Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats tomorrow, and by next week will be pounding the table on behalf of Ghengis Khan and whatever he did to make people so memorably annoyed.

Well. This should make for a one-sided national debate on race. And everything else. Perhaps that's just the way Marshall likes it. Saves him all this troublesome research, and fact-checking, and rebuttals.

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Alan Krueger And Racism In Hiring

This may be the one-minute post to beat all, since I have waaay to many pre-Christmas chores to attend to. Alan Krueger, writing in the NY Times, summarized a study which demonstrates discrimination in hiring.

Brad DeLong posted, and attracted much comment.

The CalPundit and Armed Liberal have joined in.

Let's use the CalPundit piece as a "summary" of objections to the study. The CalPundit characterizes these as "conservative" objections", but one presumes that liberals are also interested in seeing well-designed studies that shed light on the truth.

After that the objections start to break down. Brad DeLong wrote a post about the study that generated an enormous discussion thread, and reading it reminded me of why I haven't bothered to implement comments here at CalPundit. The gist of the thread seemed to be that maybe blacks were more likely to sue over being fired, or maybe their degrees were perceived as being worth less due to lower standards caused by affirmative action...

Sheesh. I thought conservatives were opposed to identity politics like this. Why is it so hard for them to admit that there is still genuine racism left in America?"

Now, two points:

Does preferential admissions leads to preferential grading at colleges and universities?

Two books, one by Thomas Sowell, who is well known; one by Nicholas Stix, who for all I know is a member of the Klan, reach that conclusion.

And is this conclusion so surprising? A school makes a great effort to recruit minorities. Might the faculty feel some pressure to keep those students afloat? And, for the more sinister-minded among you, suppose a white student complains to a dean that a professor is unsympathetic. Possible consequences for the Prof? Now, suppose a minority student complains. Is the Dean more likely to get involved? Is there a possibility that professors think this way as they meet with students who have questions about the professor's grading policy?

As to the second objection, that a black employee has greater legal protection from the EEOC - is that wrong? I have not researched this, but my casual impression is that the EEOC files on behalf of monorities and women, not white guys. But I do try to learn something new every day.

So, the objective of the underlying study was to send out "equal" resumes. But if, due to questions about grades and the legal environment, the resumes are not equal, what do we conclude? Resumes perceived to be unequal result in an unequal call back rate? Really.

None of which means that racism does not exist, or that affirmative action is bad, or that the EEOC must go. The conclusion would be that there are problems with this study.

Or, I suppose, sheesh - why is it so hard for liberals to admit that affirmative action has undermined (did I say "eliminated"? NO.) the credibility of minorities in the workplace?

Hey, an evil righty joins me, or I him.

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Sunday, December 22, 2002

Flood the Zone VIII: Did I Have A Point?

Yes. Josh Marshall, who was unable to remember the controversy around Kennedy's election (Scroll down for "The Time Machine"), seemed similarly unable to remember instances of Democrats exploting the race issue. Thus, I marshalled a bit of contemporary history to help with the answer to his question:

The question is whether the party as a whole benefits from the use of racism or race-tinged wedge issues in certain parts of the country and whether the party as a whole makes any efforts to say such behavior won't stand. In the case of Republicans and race the answer to the first question is clearly 'yes' and the answer to the second question is 'not nearly enough'.

Well, Mr. Marshall is much too partisan to address this question within his own party. Others, however, may find it to be interesting.

UPDATE: Spoiler Alert! No, "Flood the Zone" is not a reference to the big finish at Isengard in "The Two Towers". I blame Mickey and the NY Times. Hey, in a race-based bonus, my man de-bunks Marshall on Frist. Ouch!

OK, "Disingenuous Alert"! Marshall responds: But does Mickey remember that Sharon Pratt Kelly won election as Mayor of Washington, D.C. in November 1990 and didn't leave office until early 1995 -- a couple months after Frist won election.

(Click here for more details.)

Barry was Mayor of DC from 1978 to 1990 and then again from 1994 to 1998. In other words, the four years prior to Frist's campaign were the only four years out of twenty when Barry wasn't mayor of DC.

Well, Barry was elected in November 1994, the same election period during which Frist uttered his now infamous remarks. Unless Barry fell out of the sky on Election Day, he was probably campaigning prior to the election, just as Frist was. Barry was back on the D.C. council in 1992, and presumably announced his mayoral candidacy during 1994. Legitimate election issue? According to Kaus, Barry was citing his connections to Sasser during the 1994 campaign.

Where is the credibility?

UPDATE: Deroy Murdock of NRO has his own list.

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Daniel Drezner Remains Eminently Sensible

What does the Lottroversey mean?

I am intrigued by his intro:

"Some thoughts on the end of the Lottroversy..."

I think it is far from over. But I know what he means.

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Flood the Zone VII: When Joe Met Louis

When Joe Lieberman announced that "I have respect for" Louis Farrakhan and agreed to meet with him, the New Republic groaned.

When Hillary! Met Al

Courting Al Sharpton was a key part of the Hillary! strategy for the 2000 Senate race. The Reverend finally got the public appearance he demanded.

UPDATE: The InstaPundit sends us to this column on Clinton's record of speaking in code.

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Are Christmas Sales Slow?

Perhaps my experience today provides some insight. I was at our local CostCo today. CostCo is a retail "shopping club", where you pay a membership fee for access to great deals. The clerk was trying to persuade me to upgrade to a more expensive membership which offered the possibility of additional savings with each purchase. Her sales pitch - "Don't you know you are losing money every time you shop here?"

I reminded her that even a blind squirrel finds a nut, and suggested that surely there must have been a time when I did not lose money shopping here. But she was adamant.

I escaped with my life, if not my sanity (or money). But it could tie in to why sales are slow.

Happy Holidays.

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Flood the Zone VI: A Review of Two Books on Race In American Politics

No, I am not reviewing the books. I am barely reviewing the review. But let's find some highlights:

Kennedy - Throughout 1959 and the 1960 campaign, Martin Luther King, Jr. quietly but clearly backed Richard Nixon, a card-carrying NAACP member and a more ardent supporter of civil rights than John F. Kennedy. As Kennedy courted the South for the Democratic nomination, he voted to undermine both the 1957 Civil Rights Act and, later, his own party's 1960 civil rights platform. He was often not only a canny strategist but so consummate a hypocrite that even the historian and Kennedy adviser Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. was quoted in 1960 admitting that Kennedy was "slightly soft" on civil rights--a reckoning whose own softness foreshadowed David Gergen's later acknowledgment, also noted by Mayer, that Ronald Reagan was "not a crusader" for civil rights. Kennedy double-dealt his way around racial controversies until his stagey telephone call to Coretta Scott King during her husband's imprisonment launched him on what became as believable a pilgrimage as Jimmy Carter's against injustices both men had abetted for most of their lives.

Bush I : 1988 Willie Horton tactics will remain in the history books and whose eight different, evasive, finger-pointing pronouncements on the Los Angeles riots of 1992 made him seem both inept and hypocritical.

Clinton: It is often forgotten that Bush's 1992 opponent took a break from campaigning to kill Ricky Ray Rector, a retarded black man; Bill Clinton was playing hardball after having watched Michael Dukakis fold in 1988. Not to be upstaged by Bush's commendable dissing of Pat Buchanan's racist demagoguery, Clinton also refused to be upstaged, as Walter Mondale had been, by what New Democrats viewed as another kind of racial demagoguery at the hands of Jesse Jackson: He chose Jackson's Rainbow convention for an attack not on white racism like Buchanan's but on the racial pyrotechnics of Sister Souljah.

Hey, wait a second - the black man executed on Clinton's watch wasn't retarded, he was brain damaged - he killed some folks, then shot himself in the head and lived. And I am not even going to look that up. [Mini-update: Angry, and angrier. I have a vague recollection that C Hitchens was angriest. But not a lot of media -Clinton was, after all, only the front-runner for the Dem nomination.]

Anyway, read the article.

UPDATE: Commentary on the 2000 Presidential election: the author cites a New Republic article I cannot find, which apparently says that Bush did not engage in race baiting against Gore (don't ask about McCain). However, Gore did and the Democrats did, with, for example, the NAACP ad.

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Flood the Zone V: Arkansas Senate Race 2002

From a news account, which is in PDF format that I can't seem to excerpt, we learn of Pryor (D) delivering an "energetic speech" attacking Republican Hutchinson's record on affirmative action and civil rights.

Hutchinson's web site had what I can only presume to be a fair and balanced account:

Pryor Hits New Low in Negative Attacks, Suggest Hutchinson was a Bigot on Civil Rights Votes
Press Release

August 2, 2002

Mark Pryor took his negative campaign to new depths Friday before the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus in trying to suggest that Senator Tim Hutchinson was a bigot for casting votes on civil rights legislation where Hutchinson actually voted with Black lawmakers...

Pryor then said Hutchinson supported legislation that would let state employees, “choose between their birthday and Robert E. Lee’s,” for a vacation day.

That actual legislation, sponsored by former Rep. Henry Wilkins III, an African-American, changed the official date of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to the third Monday in January. The bill was approved by a vote of 68-1 and signed into law by then Governor Clinton.

According to The Arkansas Gazette (March 16, 1985), the legislation included language so that state employees, for that year, “…could choose two of the following three holidays: Their birthday, January 15th for King's birthday or January 18th for Lee's birthday.”

“Mark Pryor’s blatant misrepresentations of my voting record have sunk from hypocrisy and distortion to outright shame,” said Hutchinson. “I am outraged that he so negatively mischaracterized my votes on civil rights and the Dr. King holiday when I voted with my African-American colleagues. Mark only said this because he knew that I would not have a chance to respond under the format that was agreed to. It’s one thing for him to continually distort my positive record on education, prescription drugs and other important issues. But, this is a new low by Mark Pryor that shows just how desperate he is.”

Hutchinson over-sensitive? Pryor speaking in code? Well, no one reports, so how to decide? But enough for now.

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Saturday, December 21, 2002

Flood the Zone IV: TAP Takes Us To New York (Again) And Los Angeles

The American Prospect:

The news goes from bad to worse. New York and Los Angeles had major opportunities in this year's mayoral elections to inaugurate a new era of urban progressivism in America, and both cities came up short.

...And--the worst news of all--they lost in no small part because of the racial tensions within their own coalitions, because leading Democrats in both cities played the race card against them precisely to keep this new generation of non-nationalist liberals from coming to power.

...Even more ludicrous, some African-American leaders in Los Angeles--California Representative Maxine Waters, most particularly--accused former Assembly Speaker Villaraigosa, who'd founded the city's Black-Latino Roundtable and headed up the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, of posing a menace to blacks. Villaraigosa would have lost the black vote to Hahn in any event, but this scurrilous charge certainly widened Hahn's margin and helped to ensure his victory.

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Flood the Zone III: Energizing The Base in Missouri, 1998

Missouri was a footnote to an earlier update. More coverage here:

...when the Missouri Democratic Party targeted blacks with a race-baiting ad in the St. Louis area, it only made it into the national spotlight on Fox News Sunday and FNC’s Fox Report.

Running on local black radio stations, the ad tried to scare minority voters to the polls: "When you don’t vote, you let another church explode. When you don’t vote, you allow another cross to burn. When you don’t vote, you let another assault wound a brother or sister. When you don’t vote, you let the Republicans continue to cut school lunches and Head Start." Despite such inflammatory tactics, the ad didn’t make a single ripple among other news shows.

...During the show’s final roundtable discussion, Snow asked Juan Williams of The Washington Post what he thought about the ad, and Williams responded by calling it "scandalous," "incendiary," and "patronizing" to black voters.

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Flood the Zone II: Race Baiting in Maryland

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a race-baiter? The WaPo adds this:

"The reason Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is going hard negative is because her positive campaign wasn't working. In a heavily liberal Democratic state, it just wasn't working," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia. "The first debate, when Townsend went on the offensive and was quite negative, worked. It halted Ehrlich's momentum."

Townsend herself counted the debate at Morgan State University as a turning point. At the Sept. 26 event, she witheringly derided Ehrlich for saying he was operating out of his "comfort zone" by coming before an African American audience.

At the Rockville forum, Ehrlich was also combative at times with the largely Democratic audience, calling one question about the Bush tax cut that he supported "ridiculous on its face." When a questioner wanted him to explain his statement on African Americans, Ehrlich accused Townsend of race baiting and told the questioner, "You're going to be sorry you asked."

He went on to say that Republicans for decades have been criticized for being unwilling to engage with the African American community. He and his African American running mate, Michael S. Steele, "believe that's wrong."

Well, was she simply attempting to energize her base, and evil Republicans denounced it as "race-baiting"? If this is how the base gets energized, let's call it what it is.

Anyway, what was going on in the Democratic primary?

This week, Glendening (D) disgorged the years of bile and venom that he had been holding back, paying for two sets of radio ads attacking the man who was his predecessor in the governor's mansion. The first portrayed Schaefer (D) as a man insensitive to women and blacks, calling them "little girls" and "Afros."

Everyone in the story seems to be a Dem, except the evil Republican spokesman who says that the Dems used race-baiting in 1998, and prophetically suggests they will do so again.

UPDATE: More on Maryland in 1998: Arianna Huffington summarizes as follows:

In Maryland, free speech became hate speech when an ad by Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening claimed to reveal ``the real Ellen Sauerbrey'' -- against civil rights, and even against ``freedom and tolerance.'' This ad was too much even for Baltimore's black Mayor Kurt Schmoke, who observed that he can tell the ``difference between a political conservative and a racist.'' One wonders what he thinks of the ad that the Missouri Democratic Party is now aiming at black voters: ``If you don't vote, you let another church explode ... you allow another cross to burn.''
If you scroll way down, or word-search on "bait", this article provides more details.

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Flood the Zone I: Josh Marshall on Race In American Politics

Josh Marshall explains what it is about race and the Republicans that is a problem:

The question is whether the party as a whole benefits from the use of racism or race-tinged wedge issues in certain parts of the country and whether the party as a whole makes any efforts to say such behavior won't stand. In the case of Republicans and race the answer to the first question is clearly 'yes' and the answer to the second question is 'not nearly enough'.

As an example of this phenomenon, let me offer this excerpt from an interview with a (then) vice-chairman of the DNC:

I've had this experience around the country. When it's a minority candidate and it looks like the race is close, they [the opponents] go negative and use divisive tactics.

Oh, my mistake! The chap is talking about the behavior of Democratic candidates in primaries around the country. The interview paid special emphasis to the 2001 NYC Mayoral race. In fact, the author is Jill Nelson, who was roughed up by Andrew Sullivan a while ago, so lefties may relax - you are amongst friends. A more complete excerpt:

I've had this experience around the country. When it's a minority candidate and it looks like the race is close, they [the opponents] go negative and use divisive tactics. The reason I'm so upset about it now is that it looks like the party in which I am an officer can't help themselves. They are just as bad as the so-called common enemy, the Republicans.

Over the years, every time there has been a minority candidate, they play the race card. I have had enough; that's basically my position. I don't know what will change my mind on that. Maybe when I see it, I'll know it. But I can't say if Mark [Green, presumably] does A, B, C, and D, then I'll come aboard. If these things had happened in a fight against a Republican, I would have said it's just the Republicans, brushed myself off, and moved on. But this has happened too much in the party that I'm in, and the leadership at the state and national level don't seem to get it.

Oh, my, trouble in paradise? Democrats playing the white racial card against each other? I must credit Matthew Yglesias for pointing this out - a "man of honor" on the left sort of thing, and I loved his brother Julio's music.

Well, more on race in NY by Jill Nelson here, and a righty account of the mayoral race-baiting. Also George Will, boldly predicting a Mark Green victory over Bloomberg, and DeWayne Wickham in USA Today.

As noted in the previous post, Josh Marshall seems to believe that the Dems left their analogous problems behind 70 or 80 years ago. Please. Save it for "The Onion".

UPDATE: Oops, been there, done that - in another post, Josh Marshall said this about a Patrick Ruffini post on examples of race-baiting amongst Democrats:

That said, Ruffini's list of particulars is pretty revealing in its weakness. He says it's a list he came up with off the top of his head of instances since 1968. Oddly, most seem to be from 1968 and 1969. They're examples of the original Mayor Daley or George Wallace when he ran as a Democrat in 1972. Isn't this sort of pitiful?

Well, Marshall does say "most", so its my own pitiful fault for not checking. Ruffini mentions NYC and Ferrer. But I have more and cooler links!

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Josh Marshall: Now I Say It, Now I Don't

Josh Marshall recently received media acclaim for breaking the "Trent Lott wishes he was in the land of cotton" story. Like a gambler deciding to let his winnings ride on the same lucky number, Marshall now breaks the news on soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist: he has engaged in race-baiting:

"[Jim Sasser is] sending Tennessee money to Washington, to Marion Barry ... While I've been transplanting lungs and hearts to heal Tennesseans, Jim Sasser has been transplanting Tennesseans' wallets to Washington, home of Marion Barry." ... Bill Frist, 1994 campaign stump speech. Marion Barry was one of the worst things that ever happened to Washington, DC. No doubt about it. What he had to do with a Senate race in Tennessee isn't so clear.

Well, this is pretty weak tea, as even Marshall recognizes. But, he was first from the post, so if a landslide develops against Frist his reputation as the go-to guy on Racist Republicans is secure. But is this a reputation Marshall wants, especially with an offering this weakly partisan? Later in the day, this posts suggests he has had second thoughts:

Earlier today I posted a line from Bill Frist's 1994 stump speech...

Now I gave a lot of thought to whether I should post that or not. Marion Barry, as I said in the post, was a rotten mayor. Corrupt, drug-using, the list goes on and on. And one can't get into a situation where one can never criticize a black politician for fear of being tarred as using a racial code word. But look at the line and tell me what on earth this had to do with a Senate race in Tennessee. I think the answer is obvious: nothing.

Now, I don't think Bill Frist is a racist. Nor do I hope or expect he'll end up like Trent Lott. One reader -- flopping around like a fish-out-of-water making the case for Frist -- sent me this link about how Frist goes to Sudan to operate on African children. So how could he hate black people? How could he be a racist?

This misses the point. I doubt Frist is a racist. But this almost makes the point more clearly. Even some of best Southern Republicans seem incapable of resisting the temptation to dabble in racial code words and appeals on the stump....

Well, then, maybe Frist is not a racist. Maybe he just dabbles in code words. Either way, Marshall's claim to this story is secured.

UPDATE: Ouch! Kaus debunks Marshall:

Does Marshall know that in the early '90s Sasser was chair of the Senate subcommittee in charge of the District of Columbia -- at a time when Congress exercised considerable control over the District's budget (and when federal taxpayers picked up the tab for a large chunk of that budget)? For at least part of that period, Marion Barry was D.C. mayor -- and nobody would call the bureaucracy tolerated by Barry and Congress lean and mean. (Barry's successor had to stage a round of layoffs immediately on taking office.) When Barry made his comeback after his drug conviction -- successfully winning election in 1994-- he boasted of his ability to get funds for the District:

I know Congressman Pete Stark, I know Senator Sasser, Senator Cohen and others in the Congress who control our budget. [Emphasis added.]

Josh Marshall Enters The Time Machine

In this fascinating post discussing his views on race in American politics, Marshall offers an anology between Republicans who are, or benefit from, racists, and Democats who are, or benefit from, corrupt political machines:

The closest analogue I can think of is to the Democratic party in the early and middle 20th century and their dominance of many of the corrupt party machines in the big cities of the North and Midwest.

A few readers have told me that my thinking on this is all wet because racism or racialist thinking just isn't part of conservative 'thought'. But whether this is true or not is irrelevant. This is about getting votes, not 'thought'. Ballot-box-stuffing wasn't part of Democratic 'thought' either in, say, the thirties. Many Dems found it abhorent. And most didn't practice it. But the party as whole benefited from it when it happened in Chicago because it kept Democratic congressmen or senators in Washington. (Needless to say, Republicans controlled corrupt machines too; just not as many. And election fraud never had anywhere the impact of the Republican absorption of Southern Dixiecrats.)

So just as we might say with the Democrats of 70 or 80 years ago, the issue isn't one of 'thought' or whether the whole party is 'corrupt' or 'racist'. These are false questions, either imprecisely posed or meant to obfuscate.

OK, emphasis added. John Kennedy's controversial election over Richard Nixon occurred in 1960, which is forty-two years ago. "Mid-twentieth century" is accurate, but the other time frames presented by Marshall are not. And of course, the Daley machine coughed up a Presidency for the Democrats, not a "congressmen or senator" as described by Marshall. Whether this is partisan spin or self-delusion on Marshall's part, I cannot say.

However, we do not need to go back forty two years to find problems with Marshall's post. Stay tuned....

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Jonah Goldberg Defending The Peanut Man?

Black leaders defending segregation? Democrats speaking in race-baiting code? Racism at the Washington Post?

Is this a full service blog, or what?

OK, racism at the WaPo - a black writer with a lengthy column explaining that her neighborhood does not need any more white yuppies.

Jonah Goldberg defends this idea, and mentions Jimmy Carter's infamous "ethnic purity" gaffe.

And, in a column about Coleman Young, we get this sidebar about Jimmy's "ethnic purity" damage control:

In the spring of 1976, Jimmy Carter's soaring presidential campaign stalled when he told a journalist he saw nothing wrong with "ethnic purity" when applied to black neighborhoods.

Alarmed Carter supporters said the statement sounded like something out of Nazi Germany. The resulting controversy was threatening to end Carter's campaign when he arrived at Detroit's airport to begin a campaign tour of Michigan.

On the plane, Carter and his black and white liberal advisers agonized over how to manage damage control at the next press conference.

A Carter supporter, Young entered the plane and told the future president: "Jimmy, you've got to get up off your goddamn knees."

Then Young went out to lead the charge, telling reporters that ethnic purity in black neighborhoods was "as American as apple pie."

Well, if Jonah and Jimmy and the WaPo agree, how can I dispute them? One wonders if there is a connection to Ward Connerly's recent remarks, or Bob Herbert's reaction to them.

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Friday, December 20, 2002

Pay It Backward

Wall Street firms to pay huge fines and change internal procedures. However, only one live, breathing person will face the music:

...regulators have foregone the opportunity to press charges against any of the chief executives involved, including Sanford Weill the head of Citicorp, who has found himself at the eye of the storm.

Sources indicated, however, that charges may yet be filed separately against Jack Grubman, the former star telecoms analyst at Citigroup. Regulators already plan to fine him $15m for a career of cozying up to important corporate clients of the bank and to bar him from the securities industry for life.

Civil and criminal indictments against individuals, and a reclaiming of several years of bonuses, would focus the minds of Wall Street execs much more closely than this shareholder-funded settlement. Agency costs, indeed.

UPDATE: The NY Times headline captures the spirit: Wall St. Deal Says Little on Individuals.

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Frist Challenges For Top Spot

Nickles endorses him.

Here is a CBS/NYT poll showing that Frist on his way up and Lott on the way out.

My Bold Prediction had been that this would be settled with Frist as SML by Christmas. My Waffle House Special was to point out that, in the Greek Orthodox calendar, Christmas is on Jan. 7.

UPDATE: Lott down, but not out - he steps down As SML but remains a Senator from Mississippi. Wow, I predicted that, too. And thanks to the reader who suggests that I am a real "pundidiot"! I'm starting to believe it too!

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Thursday, December 19, 2002

The Evolution Of A .... Oh, Call Him A Liberal

Yes, it is a mite unfair to liberals. Currently, Brad DeLong is quite proud of his stand on the Republican "southern strategy". Here he is on Nixon and the South:

Richard Nixon's Greatest Treason

I've said it before and I will say it again: Richard Nixon's greatest treason was his transformation of the Republican Party from the Party of Lincoln to the Party That Doesn't Like Black People (TM).

But a "Southern Strategy" may not always be a bad idea:

Senator John Edwards

Well, he's not an unknown southern governor--and it has been thirty years since the a majority of the voters chose... someone who was not (a) an incumbent, (b) a sitting vice president, or (c) a largely unknown southern governor or ex-governor.

But he is the next best thing: he's a largely unknown southern senator. And he's thus the Democrats' best hope for getting the most votes in the election...

Hold on! Surely, "unknown" and "Southerner" are not the sole basis of his appeal! DeLong will deplore this, one presumes.

Well, perhaps the new DeLong would. But he clarifies his position in the comments:

You miss the point: we have a system in which the relatively-unknown southerner seems very likely to win. It thus behooves us to learn as much about relatively unknown southerners as possible--if only so that we can figure out whether this is what we want to do.

Well, that is not exactly a model of moral clarity - maybe pandering to southerners is OK, I'll get back to you. As I said, however, this is an evolutionary process - the new DeLong may have made up his mind on Edwards by now.

And a bit of reassurance for Dems contemplating thirty years in the wilderness: it was 1960 when the nation last elected a non-Southern Democrat to the White House. However, Reagan, well known as a two-time Governor of California, was elected in 1980. Perhaps DeLong's "thirty years" represented some sort of averaging; perhaps it was simple repression, although he seems to have been able to count back to Nixon in 1972. Well, this psychological analysis is beyond me.

However, as we attempt to track the intellectual progression of Bradford DeLong, we are stumped by this:

I kind of think periods of Republican political dominance should be like abortions--safe, legal, and *rare*. You see, I believe that Republicans--in my particular issue areas, at least--were put on earth to take power occasionally and clean up the broken crockery dropped on the floor by the Democrats as they prepare the great social-democratic feast.

Well. As of that writing, back in what must seem like the mists of time, but was Nov 7, 2002, DeLong was evidently unconcerned about occasional periods of rule by "The Party That Doesn't Like Black People". A surprising and selective sensitivity. Or perhaps the news about Nixon's election in 1968 only reached Berkeley in the last few weeks. Whoa, wait until they hear about Reagan!

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Oh, Those Racist Republicans!

And their deplorable appeal to unreconstructed Southerners.

We surprised everybody," said Connecticut Gov. John Rowland, a Republican who easily won re-election. He was particularly proud of the GOP taking five of the six New England states, reclaiming Vermont and New Hampshire from Democrats in the process.

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Why Don't These People Use Google?

Oh, sorry, Brad DeLong already used that headline. Oh, no, he used it here, my mistake.

Google is a powerful research tool. So when Brad Delong has a question like this:

"A Question That Has No Good Answer

Why does our President--the child of two yankees--have a brother named after Confederate cavalry general J.E.B. Stuart, a guy who would round up free Blacks during Confederate invasions of Maryland, ship them back to Virginia, and sell them as slaves?"

A casual reader might think that the question has been researched and has no good answer. Oh, dear. A quick google search turns up a link to a Bush family tree, with John Ellis ("Jeb") Bush as the brother to our current President.

Several commenters have pointed this out, but at this writing the misleading question remains, uncorrected. Credibility is no longer an issue at the DeLong site, one presumes.

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Please Tell Me The Blogosphere Is Not Totally Out To Lunch

I have not been following the thimerosal vaccine controversey closely. TAPPED guides us to a post at TomPaine.com offering $10,000 to the person who can figure out how this provision became law. The InstaPundit posts here, claiming victory, as do others.

Well, I was intrigued, although the race was over. My one and only "Google-news" search on "Thimerosal vaccine eli lilly lawsuits" produced a bunch of stories. The second one listed was helpfully titled "The Man Behind The Vaccine Mystery", and reveals Dick Armey as the source.

Total time, maybe three minutes. But TomPaine.com was posting, lefties were e-mailing Glenn asking him to link and publicize it - what gives?

Does this mean the blogosphere has not discovered Google, or that TomPaine.com has no credibility?

UPDATE: Ah, the "no credibility" card: Glenn Reynods won't collect for "Dick Armey".

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Clinton Salutes The Flag

Or addresses it. When "Mr. Credibility" speaks, folks pay attention.

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Even When They Are Right, They Are Wrong

TAPPED out again! Commenting on the Augusta National coverage at the Times, TAPPED says this:

DO THE MATH. On the matter of Augusta National Golf Club, Eric Alterman easily debunks the issue of a liberal "crusade" at The New York Times with a quick Nexis check. (Tapped wishes that had occurred to us.)
Turns out that the Times has not run many more stories than some other major papers; the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and USA Today have each published more than 20 stories on the controversy. Check out Alterman's piece here. So the question is, will the right discover rampantly liberal editors at each of these papers? Probably not.

Well, Alterman does not claim to have performed a Nexis search, so let's leave him out. While they are regretting their inability to perform a Nexis search, the chaps at TAPPED might like to reflect on their inabilty to perform a Google search. If they had, they might have found this USA Today article, from Dec. 4:

...some believe the Times has made into a crusade to have women admitted to Augusta.

The paper has written 33 pieces on the controversy since July, second to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's 37, where the Augusta flap is a local story. (By comparison, the Los Angles Times has written 27 pieces, USA TODAY 24 and The Washington Post 22.)

Alterman says this:

As of December 3 it had published four fewer stories than the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's thirty-seven, where Augusta is a local story, and just slightly more than the Los Angeles Times (twenty-seven pieces), USA Today (twenty-four) and the Washington Post (twenty-two).

Well. The USA Today piece is dated Dec 4, Alterman says "as of Dec 3", the numbers match... who knows?

Please, TAPPED. Get ahold of Scaife and have him rent you a PC. And beg for a high speed internet hook-up. These are the common tools of serious bloggers and, we suspect, a few serious journalists.

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Gun Control in London

The gangsters have the guns and the police are losing control.

Well, if I ran a real newspaper (or a real blog) I would dredge up crime stats for some US counterpart to London, like the greatest city in the world. Evidently the WaPo is simply clipping Reuters stories, just like me. And I bet they haven't finished their holiday shopping either.

Oh, I'm kidding - if Google is with me, who shall stand against me?

London, from the WaPo: Police say there have been 200 shootings in the last eight months...

NYC, from the Daily News: Gun violence, which had surged earlier this year, has leveled off. There were 1,800 people shot so far this year...

Changes nothing. Do the Yankees play in London? And who has the better trend?

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Outrage From Across the Sea

Hmm, a non-admirer of DeLong suggests he is morphing into "Krugman-lite", or worse. But where are the links? Since I am still fuming over the description of Republicans as the "Party That Doesn't Like Black People", I'll link another day.

UPDATE: Hey, it's a twofer, with a trademark.

REAL UPDATE: The Man Sans Q wonders about "DeLongenomics" as well. Posted 11:24 AM on Thursday, Dec 19, but the archive link is not with us.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Oh, You're Jealous Now!

I just saw "The Two Towers" with my twelve year old daughter and a friend of mine. Changes in the storyline are fascinating, the movie is great.

Now, non-spoiler alert - I have a Bold Prediction for the third movie: Smeagol Lives! Holy cow, you say, that would totally change the ending. Well, yes, but that's a Good Thing.

First, who is Smeagol? Smeagol is the hapless creature who discovered the Ring way back when, before it passed to Bilbo Baggins. The power of the Ring has nearly consumed him, and we see him as the broken, pitiable, Ring-obsessed Gollum. So, one theme of the story is, can Smeagol be saved, or does evil consume him? This is similar to the challenge faced by Frodo, whose kindness may succeed in redeeming Smeagol.

The book is a bit of a downer on these points. In one sense, the Ring triumphs - Frodo cannot destroy it, and, after a struggle, Gollum claims it for his won. Only through luck (or divine intervention - the same force that originally prompted Bilbo to find the Ring) does Gollum to fall into the Crack of Doom, destroying the Ring. Good guys win, but through God's help, not their own virtue.

So, why might Smeagol live? First, my twelve year would would be thrilled. But thematically, it would show the triumph of human decency, a message that Hollywood might prefer. I might too, so I am not knocking it.

In a re-write for the movie, I can see an "Excorcist" type moment - C'mon, you remember the priest taking the dive after the evil spirit left Linda Blair and possessed him? In my proposed scenario, "Gollum" wrests the ring from Frodo, "Smeagol" reclaims himself, and in a moment of moral clarity leaps into the chasm. Thus Smeagol is triumphant over evil and, with his death, saves us all, so have a Merry Christmas, and don't forget Easter - whoa, Nellie, that may be cutting too close the bone for a Hollywood flick. But it beats the book.

Now for a bit more of a Hollywood moment, suppose "Smeagol" does what Frodo could not, and tosses the Ring into the fire. Once the magic of the Ring is broken, "Smeagol" ages quickly, but with enough time for a touching death scene. I give this a "lamer alert" but I imagine the screen writers considered it, and perhaps it could work.

So, we are predicting a more upbeat ending. But hopefully not overboard. Smeagol Lives! - but not for long.

I have a cool theory about Saruman, too. Sometime in the next fifty-two weeks, I'll try to post it.

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We Introduce Our Conservative Overreach Feature

Don't become accustomed to it. This, courtesy of Hauser, is too good to miss - Ann Coulter on the Lott imbroglio:

"I don't remember liberals being this indignant about the 9/11 terrorist attacks."

I don't normally "do Ann", but exceptions are at the discretion of the editors, and this comment is exceptionally something or other. "Daft" comes to mind.

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The Full Conspiracy - Unmasked

Mickey Kaus has the notion that Sidney Blumenthal fanned the flames of the "Lottroversey", although others credit James Carville. Here, sent by one of my shy but astute readers, is a fascinating article that may explain their special sense of urgency in tarring all Republicans as racist:

Lott's gaffe comes amid GOP outreach to blacks

...But the Lott controversy exploded at a moment when, for the first time in decades, Republicans have a chance to attract significant support from blacks.

That opportunity is rising from a new generation of young African Americans, which polls show is starting to pull away from the Democratic Party and is open to conservative Republican ideas on issues such as school vouchers, faith-based social services and partial privatization of Social Security.

But these young black voters have not aligned with the Republican Party; they consider themselves independents.

"They're at a crossroads," said Donna Brazile, a veteran African-American political operative who ran Al Gore's 2000 campaign. She has warned Democrats that they could lose a significant share of the African-American vote to Republicans in coming elections.

...emerging demographics offer Republicans some hope.

"There is a changing of the guard going on in the African-American community," said David Bositis, an analyst of voting trends at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a liberal Washington research center on African-American politics.

The younger they are, the less likely African Americans are to call themselves Democrats, according to the center's polls. The ranks of blacks calling themselves Democrats drops steadily with age, from 75 percent among those 65 and older to 54 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds.

Similarly, polls for the Democratic National Committee this year discovered a small but growing number of young African Americans, particularly men, who had turned away from the party. That trend contributed to lower turnout among blacks and to Democratic losses in November's elections, party insiders believe.

The younger African-American voters are, the more hospitable they are to Republican ideas.

For example, a recent poll for the Joint Center found that 57 percent of blacks support the use of taxpayer-financed vouchers to attend private schools. Overall, Bositis estimated that 30 to 40 percent of African Americans support the conservative Republican agenda on issues such as education, Social Security and allowing the government to help faith-based charities do social work.

But they're not turning — yet — to Republicans.

"Establishing trust is no small thing," Bositis said. ...

A fact well understood on the Democratic side. The party of racial division? You choose.

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John Kerry Said What?

Appearing on the Don Imus radio show, Kerry is quoted as quipping:

"The Iraqi army is in such bad shape, even the Italians could kick their butts.''

Wow, pretty interesting judgement for Kerry to make in the current environment. Another Kerry bon mot:

"[in] another appearance on the Imus show... attempting to belittle Bill Weld's work ethic, Kerry described the former GOP governor as ``a guy who takes more vacations than people on welfare.''

The column makes a sensible point about this.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Comedy Central at Counterspin

In an attempt to get Krugman's Friday column today, we swung by "Counterspin", perpetrated by Hesiod. Let's see.

Here is a cool photo of Bush making merry with Lott and Thurmond. Commentary, please?

PARTY ON, DUDE! Well...well...welll...! Why is it that just about every other photo I've seen of this event has the whole left side of it cropped off?

Well, that's innocuoos. No real statement as to what party he thinks this might be, although the implication is clear. When Glenn Reynolds uses that rhetorical ploy, it is sometimes called "disinglennuous". With Hesiod, such a comment is called "posting".

In the comments section, we see that a few readers actually thought the picture was of Bush at the now-infamous birthday bash on Dec. 5th, where Lott made his deplorable comment. However, one commenter finally does a bit of checking, links to the daily press briefing, and learns that Bush attended a Thurmond reception on Friday Dec. 6. Counterspin, unspun!

One post down, Hesiod challenges the notion that some Dems are equating opposition to affirmative action, hate crimes bills, or other liberal initiatives to racism. He then offers the following:

What is Sully's specific beef? That we mainstream Democrats "equat[e] . . . opposition to affirmative action or hate-crime laws or any other number of leftist policies with racism . . . ." Excuse me? We do?!? Why was I not informed?!?

Name a SINGLE mainstream, Democratic party politician or leader who espouses those beliefs. No...even better...name a SINGLE high-rankng Democratic party elected official, or leader [You know...the equivalent of Trent Lott] who currently holds those beliefs.

Well, perhaps he will wriggle on "party leader", althought the example Sullivan offered was a journalist. That said, I will re-hash this morning's offering from Mr. Marshall:

One of the subtexts of the intra-Republican fight going on right now is that congressional Republicans are already looking to push an agenda that is, let's say, racially edgy. They don't want to hit that fight with Lott's baggage in tow.

Ed Kilgore is the Policy Director of the Democratic Leadership Council -- in other words, not exactly like a proxy for Al Sharpton or anything. And today he told me this ...

The angle some people may be missing about conservatives and Lott is that they are eager to pursue a number of things--a scaleback of affirmative action policies, private school vouchers, appointment of conservative judges with backgrounds more questionable than Lott's--that will create some concerns that the GOP is not exactly the reborn Party of Lincoln...

Well, I don't go by "Counterspin" often. Do you wonder why?

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Forecasts Are Always Problematic

Especially about the future. The Gamma-man comments on corporate finance and Coca-Cola. It's the real thing. And we will note that KO was at 46 and the S&P 500 was about 900 at the time.

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Nearing An Endpoint?

Now, I like Atrios and his site, named "Eschaton". The anonymous author consistently brings an entertaining mix of passion and humor to his site, which even has a position on my prestigious "blogroll".

However, the site is what it is, which is a rallying point for the far left, and a launch point for conspiracy theories. If you wonder whether Bush killed Wellstone, or the media overreacted to the Wellstone funeral, you will find material of interest at Eschaton. Not to say the Atrios endorses these views, necessarily, but he certainly publicizes them.

And now Prof Krugman himself has endorsed the site, and picked up on the latest conspiracy! Let's see:

And the influence of the religious right spreads much further. The Internet commentator Atrios, who played a key role in bringing Mr. Lott's past to light, now urges us to look into the secretive Council for National Policy. This blandly named organization was founded by Tim LaHaye, co-author of the apocalyptic "Left Behind" novels, and is in effect a fundamentalist pressure group. As of 1998 the organization's membership contained many leading Congressional figures in the Republican Party, though none of the party's neoconservative intellectuals.

George W. Bush gave a closed-door speech to the council in 1999, after which the religious right in effect endorsed his candidacy. Accounts vary about what he promised, and the organization has refused to release the tape.

As a first order of business, this seems to be the second recent mention of the Council for National Policy at the Atrios site. The post is titled "Eschaton Assignment Desk", and urges journalists to follow this trail for dirt on Bush.

And here is the first post I can find, from Friday, Dec. 13:

Well, while everyone throws around Don Nickles name [to replace Lott], why don't some eager researchers check out his connections to that haven for Christian Reconstructionists and slavery apologists, the Council for National Policy. It seems to be where the plutocrats and the theocrats come together.

Interesting to see that Krugman is so compliant, and so starved for column ideas.

And as to the incipient scandal, well, my goodness! A candidate met with a special interest group which later endorsed him, and now the tape is kept secret! I think we should sit down right now and review every meeting Al Gore had with union leaders, environmental leaders, NOW, Emily's list, Hollywod moguls... why not?

Or, if Gore seems so "yesterday", maybe we should begin the process with Kerry, or Lieberman.

Or perhaps not. If Krugman is endorsing conspiracies, and suggesting investigations, on this basis, and his source is as he described, well, we may be nearing an endpoint. Of what, only time will tell.

UPDATE: Since this is all about Mickey, let's incorporate the "Faster Principle". It took the mainstream media years to acknowledge the existence of Matt Drudge. A week ago, the mainstream media credited Marshall, among other bloggers, with keeping the Lott story alive. Now, a week later, we learn that Krugman is getting his story ideas from left-wing blogs. At this accelerated pace, it may be just a few hours until Glenn Reynolds becomes US Attorney General.

UPDATE 2: Even more mysterious than blogging: Mickey describes Sidney Blumenthal's "e-mauling". [tm Pending, Hauser/MinuteMan Collaborations]

And the Man Sans Q reflects on blogging and the media.

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Spike Lee Makes a Bit of News

Spike Lee made news by calling on Powell and Rice to be more outspoken about Trent Lott. However, since I happened to be watching (without videotape), I can tell you that he has not, as yet, made news with the comment I paraphrase as follows:

Trent Lott is a card-carrying member of the Klan... Look in his closet and you'll find the hood and robe.

Now, to her credit, Diane Sawyer jumped in to say, wait a minute, you can't say that on this show without proof, that's inflammatory. Ms. Sawyer was not even in the studio, (she broke in from a location shot) but knew enough to recognize an overstatement when she heard it. However, Mr.Lee did not apologize or back away from his statement, and it was time to move on.

Mr. Lee is evidently a newsmaker, a prominent Hollywood director, and, we suspect, a financial supporter of the Democratic Party. We eagerly await some evidence that either he or the Party he supports recognize this statement as excessive. Eagerly, but not optimistically.

UPDATE: Hmm, my nose for no-news may be on track. Here is a story hot off the server which includes Spike Lee's comments without comment. Nor does it mention Ms. Sawyer's intervention.

Their version of the line:

He has to go," Lee said, and called Lott "a card-carrying member of the Klan. ... I know he has that hood in the closet somewhere. The hood and the robe."

UPDATE 2: Knight-Ridder has coverage of what sounds like the same interview, although they describe it as being with the Miami Herald.

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Democrats and Race

Andrew Sullivan comments on Democrats and race:

Some of the sanctimony is now beginning to bug me. I'm second to few in believing that Trent Lott should step down as SML. But that doesn't mean I like the racial politics of the current Democratic Party. In fact, the way some far-left Democrats use race is no less repulsive than the way some far-right Republicans do. The equation of opposition to affirmative action or hate-crime laws or any other number of leftist policies with racism strikes me as a massively cheap shot. (I was on WBUR last night and paleo-lib Jack Beatty went straight to that knee-jerk point. Grrrr.)

However, in his next post, Sullivan links to Josh Marshall, who was instrumental in keeping the Lott story alive. An excerpt from Mr. Marshall:

One of the subtexts of the intra-Republican fight going on right now is that congressional Republicans are already looking to push an agenda that is, let's say, racially edgy. They don't want to hit that fight with Lott's baggage in tow.

Ed Kilgore is the Policy Director of the Democratic Leadership Council -- in other words, not exactly like a proxy for Al Sharpton or anything. And today he told me this ...

The angle some people may be missing about conservatives and Lott is that they are eager to pursue a number of things--a scaleback of affirmative action policies, private school vouchers, appointment of conservative judges with backgrounds more questionable than Lott's--that will create some concerns that the GOP is not exactly the reborn Party of Lincoln...

Private school vouchers? Well, I suppose there are folks in the South who advocated vouchers as a way of moving their kids out of integrated public schools. But at least some of us think of school vouchers in the context of failing inner city schools, and have observed that the primary objection seems to be church-state separation, with a sub-text of preserving NEA jobs. When you think of vouchers, do you think of Polly Williams in Milwaukee? The current DLC spin, uncritically recycled by Mr. Marshall, is that you should not.

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Monday, December 16, 2002
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Now I Feel Better

Daniel Drezner and TAPPED explain that not all Republicans are racist.

That somewhat offsets such subtle and insightful analysis as this, presented prior to the Lott debacle:

Of all the deeds done by Richard M. Nixon and his henchmen, perhaps the most evil was their decision that the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s offered a political opportunity that could be seized by changing the Republican Party from the Party of Lincoln to the Party That Doesn't Like Black People.

Perhaps that simply passes as a bon mot in the Berkeley faculty lounge.

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Sunday, December 15, 2002

These Everchanging "Times"

One sometimes wonders, do the editors at the Times read their own editorials? Such a musing was most recently prompted by their Sunday editorial about cross burning. They oppose it, generally, but note the following:

Courts must be especially careful reviewing statutes of this sort because of the danger that freedom of expression may be wrongly curtailed. Robust political expression, even of odious perspectives, is central to our way of life.

And later:

The First Amendment protects free expression even when it is hateful, profane or racist. Hate-mongerers have the right to preach the inferiority of races they do not like, and Nazis can march through largely Jewish suburbs.

So we have clear evidence that the Times is aware of the First Amendment. One wonders whether they are aware of the restrictions to free speech inherent in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation.

Now, as to cross burning, the Times can imagine scenarios under which it might be permissible:

Under some circumstances, a white supremacist rally on private property or in a public area that has been legally agreed upon could include a cross-burning under this statute. That is as it should be.

Yes, unless the name of a candidate is written on the cross within sixty days of an election. If the burning is filmed for use in a commercial, we might have a problem.

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No More Gore!

Hmm, my "Tale of Two Als" needs to be condensed. But Hillary! versus Big Al in 2008 should be a thriller!

Now, Al's motivation? I just sat through a modestly optimistic economic forecast for 2003. Doesn't mean it will happen, doesn't mean we won't have a double dip in 2004, but if are in a recovery, Bush will be very tough to beat. As a two-time loser, Al would have no hope of being nominated in 2008.

Secondly, under McCain-Feingold, head of a special interest group might be the way to play king-maker. Al as head of the Sierra Club, or some new enviro-group? Time will tell!

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How Long For Lott?

Don Nickles calls for a change in leadership; Warner and Hagel agree that a meeting is necessary. Think of it as a "confidence/no-confidence" vote - with the events of the last week, the Republican caucus should re-affirm Lott, or not.

The White House position is clear:

Senior White House officials said Bush would not defend Lott from a challenge. And in a clear sign of Lott's weak support in the White House, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, both African Americans, have rebuffed Lott's request for statements defending him.

The White House and the Republican National Committee pointedly refused to defend Lott yesterday. A key party source even voiced a willingness to accept the consequence that if Lott loses the majority leader post, he might quit the Senate and allow a Democratic appointee to replace him. "If he chooses to do that, that's his choice, so be it," the source said.

For a famously non-leaky White House, the Powell and Rice news is brutal to Lott's hopes.

So, will Lott simply step down as Majority Leader, or quit the Senate and allow the Democratic Governor of Mississipi to appoint his replacement?

The recent examples are Jim Wright, former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, and Bob Livingstone, Speaker of the House-designate. In each case, the man stepped down and out, leaving the House entirely.

Given the structure of the House, including the no-filibuster rule, the Speaker is more powerful than the Senate Majority Leader. However, a mere Congressmen is as nothing in the Washington pecking order compared to a US Senator. So, the three recent House examples fell from a greater height to a greater depth than that facing Sen. Lott. Lott is probably in a position where he could remain Senator for life from Mississippi, and hope that some other whippersnapper humiliates himself at Lott's 101st birthday bash.

Furthermore, none of the three examples mentioned changed, or threatened, control of the House. Lott would throw the Senate into confusion by stepping down. The immediate consequence would be a Senate that was 50 Republicans, 49 Democrats, and Jeffords as an independent. At a minimum, a revival of the 50-50 power sharing arrangement (generally described as Daschle snookering Lott) would probably be necessary. In addition, speculation would be intense that Chaffee or McCain would switch parties. They won't, but I'll explain that later.

Quite a legacy for Lott - having been criticized for mishandling Jeffords, he could be the guy who let a seemingly Republican Senate slip to the Democrats twice. His future as a lobbyist might be somewhat dimmed by this, although Democratic chairmen might be delighted to take his call just to laugh about old times when they seemed to be stuck in the minority.

According to Drudge, Lott has told Newsweek he will stick it out regardless - smart decision.

And who will succeed Lott? Various reports suggest that Karl Rove favors Bill Frist, the outgoing chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee that joined with Bush to deliver the GOP midterm election victories.

A possible rationale? Republicans want to be seen as repudiating Trent Lott's apparent attitude, not the South generally. Bill Frist is a new face for the New South. His elevation will reassure the South, and the country, that Republican appeal in the South goes beyond race.

So, Bold Predictions: Lott out, Frist up, all before Christmas.

UPDATE: A good point from the author of the Hauser Report: Given the slim majority and the peculiar circumstances, maybe the next Majority Leader should be Tom Cruise of "Mission Impossible". Frist is a rising star - why wade into this swamp?

Well, the post has recently consumed Dole, Daschle (a much better Minority Leader), and Lott, so it has not been a resume builder But your country and your Party need you, Bill!

UPDATE 2: I predict, you deride! Republicans will settle this in the back Lott on Jan. 6. Well, that's Christmas in the Greek Orthodox calendar, I think.

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Saturday, December 14, 2002

Release The Trial Balloons!

Who might replace Lott? Atrios gaily says that Don Rickles is not OK; the Brother Judd is spin-doctoring for Bill Frist. McConnell of KY could move up from the Whip post, after helping with the court case intended to gut McCain's campaign finance reform. Hmm.

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Biloxi Blues

Reaction to Trent Lott's situation from some Mississippi newspapers:

The Sun Herald, Biloxi: Will Trent Lott survive the current crisis in confidence that undermines his position as Senate majority leader? Probably not. But he gave his best college try in Pascagoula on Friday afternoon as he sought to turn back the tide of opposition that has risen to his chin in the week since his remarks at a 100th birthday party for Strom Thurmond.

...There is one thin reed of hope that Sen. Lott's leadership position might be salvaged, and it hinges on the belief that every person should be accorded the possibility of redemption, even forgiveness. It is not likely the politicians - Democrat or Republican - will be willing to accord him that gift, but if they do it is likely they will be rewarded with a surprise outcome.

...In this Christmas season perhaps the senator might review "It's a Wonderful Life" and project himself into the role of George Bailey, who is shown what his hometown would be like without him. It is a horrifying nightmare in a pre-Christmas setting (just like this) and it brings a troubled man back from self-destruction.

... he is fortunate to have a helpful guide on his road from hopelessness, a trainee angel named Clarence.

There are yet to be written chapters to this tale of one man's woes. Is there an angel in Trent Lott's future? Can he survive? Will the president stand by his man?

We shall see.

Well. Don't overlook "A Christmas Carol", and its three ghosts. Although the last one, draped in sheets, may not be precisely the image being sought here. And I think the Kaus-endorsed ending would be "time will tell".

The Mississippi Press: Senator finds hometown support. And critics.

The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson: ... "Any suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and it is wrong," Bush said.

Getting such a slap from the president of the United States should be enough for Lott to understand reaction to his racially insensitive remark is not just political criticism from opponents. It was hurtful and embarrassing, not only to his Republican colleagues, but to all Mississippians.

But that reaction also is indicative of how sensitive the issue of race is to the GOP. The foolish remarks of one senator from Mississippi, albeit the future majority leader, hurt because they hit squarely on a real vulnerability.

Lott certainly needs some sensitivity training, but the GOP also needs to seriously put matters of race relations, inclusiveness and economic health of minority Americans more to the forefront of its policies.

...There could never be a more fitting time for the Republican Party, with its new national mandate, to take leadership in a creating a new dialogue on race in America, something it has shied away from in the past.

Even Lott might be in a better frame of mind to listen.

Other Mississippi newspapers are here, but they seem to be locals with national news from the wire services.

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George Bush, an Eminem Fan

War is my last option, failures not; you have to lose yourself in the planning, the bombing, never let it go, no" said W to B Walt. Well, he might have. Another musical near-miss (see Trent Lott below).

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Dirty Tricks In Louisiana Election

Both sides used dirty tricks?! Both sides? Don't anyone wake up Paul Krugman as to how politics happens in this country.

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Friday, December 13, 2002

Trent Lott Does Not Say the Magic Words

However, at his mea culpa press conference the "Singing Senator" comes damn near bursting into song as he describes "Mississippi, This Is Your Song". That would have been the newsclip of the week, and the "Checkers" moment for this generation. Darn!

Now, I did not see the whole press conference. But if he was asked a series of tough questions going back to the Time magazine story about his fraternity days, it sure happened quickly.

UPDATE: CNN Transcript. Here we go:

LOTT: You know, a friend of mine that sang for "The Lawrence Welk Show" -- I don't know, 15 or 17 years -- has written a song called, "Mississippi, This is Your Song."

And it talks about, you know, Mississippi, you know, you seek forgiveness where you've gone wrong.

One of the things I'm committed to is to try to help this state....

Apparently the orchestra missed the song cue, so he segued back to more standard press conference fare.

UPDATE 2: The Saturday WaPo coverage and editorial. I think they would have preferred a song or two. But no Stephen Foster. And please, no "White Christmas". Dream of something else.

Here is NY Times coverage of Congressional reaction. Some real table pounding support from top Republicans:

...even some of Mr. Lott's Republican colleagues were withholding comment to see how the public takes his fourth effort at an apology in a week.

"I want to reiterate that the president does not see the need for Trent Lott to resign," the White House press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said tonight. "He was candid, he was forthright, he was apologetic — and rightly so."

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who will be the No. 2 Republican in the Senate next month, credited Mr. Lott with expressing "heartfelt regret" over remarks. "I believe the American people will accept his apology and want us now to move forward together."

Jack F. Kemp, a former Republican cabinet secretary who had criticized Mr. Lott for his remarks last week at a 100th-birthday celebration for Senator Strom Thurmond, issued a statement praising Mr. Lott "for his sincere, thoughtful and honest remarks today."

Well, if McDonalds served coffee that lukewarm, they could have avoided a nasty lawsuit.

Finally, and I do not comment on their relative importance, Andrew Sullivan.

STUNNING: I'm still reeling from watching Trent Lott's bumptious, smug, self-congratulatory self-defense. Leaving aside his noxious past, his sheer inability to convey any genuine remorse is reason alone to justify his removal from his position. His "apology" was formulaic, cheery, rote and unpersuasive....

Then Andrew tells us what he really thinks. OK, we will put Sully down as "undecided". Undecided, that is, between riding Lott out of town on a rail, and simply tossing him into the Potomac in January.

Oh, for heaven's sake. Other people have blogs, I have one long "update". Check out Lott versus the competition at the Sneaker.

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