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but never a Monday morning quarterback

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Saturday, August 17, 2002

Exit Stage... Which Way Do We Go?...

Tony Adragna
The Feds have an Exit Plan... well, not really... The plan -- which "has been drilled down to less than 15 minutes" -- is for notification to agencies that federal employees should, or shouldn't, evacuate the city. But, " The operational details of evacuating tens or hundreds of thousands of motorists and transit riders are being developed independently."

I described the September 11th "evacuation" thusly:
Walking down Pennsylvania Ave toward the Archives Metro station I saw something that I've only seen in movies - people scrambling to "get the hell outta Dodge". Five lanes of a six lane two-way avenue were commandeered by traffic going in the same direction, and cars were creeping over into the last remaining lane. People are scared, and they should be. But, what I saw was only a half step down from the type of public hysteria where it's no holds barred, every man for himself.
And, that was with the "willy-nilly...dismissals" -- I don't wanna think what it's gonna be like if everybody hits the road at the same time... Like "synchronized" traffic signals and police officers at critical intersections are gonna make a difference -- Not bloody likely... Indeed, the first time a patrol officer tries to enforce traffic rules by pulling somebody over for a ticket, the mess is just gonna get worse...

Next time, I'm walking outa the city!...

On the Maryland political front, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller was reprimanded by the Md. Ethics Panel for abusing his position... that was the General Assembly's ethics committee -- he should also be facing some type of action by the bar association's ethics panel,,, Didn't you guys just lose the leader of one of the chambers Virginia's legislature, Will...

And I though I wanted to be a politician... Silly me...

If you haven't figured out why I decided to stay away from C-SPAN today, all you had to do was watch C-SPAN today... I don't mean to make light of the issues -- our history isn't pleasant in re slavery and problems that have persisted since abolishment -- there are still reasons to engage in serious discussions notwithstanding that many people consider the case in general closed...

This call for "reparations", however, is in large part farcical!

The only problem I had with Dawson's response, Will, is that both Coulter and Cohen were writing fiction -- so what if she's on the "non-fiction" bestseller list and he writes for a major newspaper -- but Dawson had to go and dredge up something factual...

Looking for something good to watch on TV, I turned to a standby -- AMC. I like AMC... Can't watch today: 'Tis all Elvis Movies...

I'm going back to Zoog Disney...

QP Saturday

Will Vehrs
Tony, for the record, I've never been a big Presley fan, but a person my age cannot escape the first hand influences that his life and death had on American culture. At your age, as you note, Presley's influence is just part of the background.

I hate pledge week.

Fritz Schranck's comment about Mark Shields is defensible and pretty mild by blog standards. I probably wouldn't have said it, but Shields is one of Punditwatch's "bread and butter" pundits. Contrast Fritz's whimsical piece with Dawson's response to the Richard Cohen column about Ann Coulter. Dawson dredges up a 1998 charge of sexual harassment against Cohen. That's "hardball."

On the Best of Bush Bashing front, all a Bush-Basher needs this morning is Frank Rich's NYT column. It's a masterpiece, as Rich puts up a straw man defense of Bush--a great bashing technique. A few samples:

What makes the morning-after outrage of the nation's commentariat seem a bit over the top is that the preordained hollowness of the Waco show is not news. This is how this administration always governs. Mr. Bush has two inviolate, one-size-fits-all policies (if obsessions can be called policies): the tax cut (for domestic affairs) and "regime change" in Iraq (foreign affairs). Everything else is a great show designed to provide the illusion of administration activity when it has no plan.

Though the president's harshest critics think he's stupid, I've always maintained that the real problem is that he thinks we are stupid

I'm going to have to tape Capital Gang tonight, or watch the late repeat, Tony. I'm taking my daughter to Pocahantas State Park, home to a fascinating Civilian Conservation Corps museum, for an evening canoe trip. We should see lots of bat, beaver, and blue heron.

Friday, August 16, 2002

'Tis still "pledge week"...

Tony Adragna
...and Maryland Public Television is asking me for money to help keep bringing Bill Moyers to viewers in my area... Now Suze Ormond is telling us how to make money..

Thank God for the Disney Channel -- Tarzan is on... Later, my new favourite show -- Kim Possible -- is gonna come on... 'Course, the only reason I like her is because of her sidekick Ron Stoppable... And the only reason I like Ron is because of Rufus the Naked Mole Rate -- he's not a pet, he's family...

... I think I'll just stay away from C-SPAN all weekend and watch Zoog Disney instead...

Taking Exception

Tony Adragna
Will, I hope Fritz was joking when he he said of Mark Shields:
[...]the long-time left-leaning pundit on PBS and CNN, was finally being sent to the one place that dovetailed with his political views—Out There.
You tink Mark is "Out There"?

Now, if heda said so of James Carville, I agree -- I love the Rajun Cajun, mostly because he's so whacked...

Where Were You...

Tony Adragna
...when Elvis died?

I was on the toilet... so was Elvis!

I don't understand this whole Elvis thingy... he was a'ight, but I never did get into his music or movies...

Maybe I just came along too late -- my generation always kinda considered Elvis passe... Grateful that he opened the door, but we were more into the folks who blew down the walls...

Elvis on the QP

Will Vehrs
Tony, everybody else is doing something on Elvis Presley, so why not me? has a retrospective on one of the greatest moments in American camp history, and one of my personal favorites: when Elvis met Nixon.

Nixon's Chief of Staff, H. R. Haldeman, has taken a lot of abuse over the years, but his judgment was pretty sound on that dramatic December, 1970 day:

Presley's visit with Nixon prompted a flurry of memos at the White House. When Presley arrived at the White House gate, Nixon aide Dwight Chapin sent a missive to H.R. Haldeman, Nixon's chief of staff: "He would just like to say hello and present the president with a gift."

Chapin told Haldeman he though it would be good for Nixon to meet Presley because the entertainer was "very pro" Nixon.

"In addition, if the president wants to meet with some bright young people outside of the government, Presley might be a perfect one to start with," he wrote. That prompted a retort, apparently from Haldeman. The words, "You must be kidding" are scribbled on the margin of the memo

More: I've never been to Graceland, but I have been to the day room of the 1-36 Infantry in Freiberg, Germany. That's the barracks where Elvis served as an Army Jeep driver in the late 50's. There was a small display of memorbilia in a glass case as I remember. Is it still there? I'm not sure ... I think the 1-36 was deactivated and I don't know what's happened to the building.

My favorite Elvis songs? 1. You Were Always on My Mind 2. Suspicious Minds 3. Can't Help Falling in Love With You 4. Devil in Disguise 5 (tie). Little Sister and Kentucky Rain

El Niño y La Niña

Tony Adragna
You know, Will -- El Niño is The Son, and La Niña is The Daughter... the two of them -- one on the national scene and the other in a statewide race -- are giving us a heated political season...

I see the same potential that you do in -- god forfend -- RR's death in October... I responded as I did earlier not because I see a fellow partisan making such a gaffe, but because that was the thrust of Sulik's post... I don't know that Sulik believes a Democrat would do something so stupid as to commit political suicide in that particular manner -- though, there have been even stupider ways tried successfully...

If Opposing KKT is Wrong, You Don't Want to Be Right

Will Vehrs
Tony, when I was deriding you for opposing KKT, I had no idea that she was just a façade, a media/Democratic creation to keep Camelot alive. Advantage, Tony! I still think she will probably win, but right now it appears that only massive intervention--a Democratic "fixer" called in to run her campaign, big time oppo research, negative ads--will save her. The Kennedy legend must be preserved.

We used to blame El Nino for the weather... now we can blame Bush!

I don't think the death of Ronald Reagan would cause Dems to react negatively and thus turn off the public... I think the fear is that Republicans would turn out in droves in November to "Win one for the Gipper." Unfortunately for this theory, not many Republicans on the ballot will remind anybody of Reagan.

Got That Funny Feeling In My Tummy!

Tony Adragna
Don't feel bad 'bout getting spanked, Will -- I'm about to say something that's gonna have me behind the woodshed with fellow Democrats: The GOP has about as good a shot as ever at Maryland's governorship...

I've had that feeling ever since KKT announced her candidacy, but I've not wanted to put voice to it because I don't want to believe the truth of it. The Free State hasn't always gone Dem -- remember Spiro Agnew [in fact, peruse a list of Md governors and you'll find a good smattering of Republicans] -- and Sauerbrey only lost by a statistical tie in '94.

[n especially b In '94 Glendening only won P.G., Montgomery and Baltimore City, but lost everywhere else. The margin was wider between the same candidates in '98 -- 200 thousand votes, with Glendening picking up two counties -- but I think that had more to do with dislike over how Sauerbrey handled her challenge to the '94 results -- earned her the nickname "Sourberry"]

I also deserve a bit of a spanking for my endorsement of "The über-mayor": I like O'Malley plenty, and consider him eminantly more preferable and qualified than KKT -- too bad he didn't poll so well...

What's even "scarier" than my gut feeling being vindicated at the polls this November is that I agree completely with The Washington Times editorial board...

We do badly need rain, Will. I'm with you on the dearth of response to our current precipitation shortfall... I've been very surprised that WSSC hasn't implemented any restrictions... I'm reminded just how bad the shortfall is everytime I walk along the Anacostia's Northeast Branch Trail -- the trail is just down the end of our street. I live a short walk from the Historic Port of Bladensburg -- right now you'd be hard pressed to float a canoe on that stretch of water, forget barge traffic...

It's Mr. Bush's fault -- he shoulda implemented the Kyoto Protocals...
yea, I know, the Europeans are blaming him for flooding, and I'm blaming him for the drought -- but they're serious]

I stand firm on my opposition to legislating on an accounting standard -- I think the response is wrongheaded, in spite of the fact that it makes perfect political sense... Indeed, that it's certainly a purely political response to public pressure makes me wonder whether they've properly defined the problem and crafted a good solution... Something has got to be done about the standard, I'm just not sure Congress is the best place to look for a solution...

Regarding Sulik's "October Surprise": If you happen to believe, as I do, that Mr. Reagan wasn't all that, to make such an observation immediately following his death would be The Ultimate Gaffe... literally "ultimate" in the "last" sense...

Washington Times Gives Me A Spanking

Will Vehrs
Tony, this editorial blasts the Baltimore Sun for touting Maryland Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate Kathleen Kennedy Townsend as Democratic VP timber, even as her campaign implodes. As one who did a little touting myself, I am suitably chastened.

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
Scorched Earth Yesterday was the first day of mandatory water restrictions in Chesterfield County, VA, where I live. They're not very tough--you can only water your lawn three days a week! With hundreds of Vriginia residents facing wells that are dry, that just doesn't seem right.

This is the National Pastime on Steroids Daniel Henniger of the WSJ is fed up with the use of steroids in major league baseball:

Maybe it's time to let the Robot Games begin. Let baseball's owners cut a deal with the Major League Robots Association. Face facts: Many professional athletes are no longer normal human beings; using drugs now, and with the weird science and training of the future, they are turning themselves into athletic robots. Stop lying awake worrying about what's legal or "clean" and give these robots a league of their own.

I agree. I think there's a reason that Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds suddenly started hitting home runs at such a prodigious pace, and it's not the thin talent pool of pitchers. I hope these chemically-enhanced prima donnas go on strike.

The Ultimate Sleeper Issue William Sulik got a fascinating confession from a Democratic friend. The "October Surprise" feared most by some Democrats is not a military action by the Bush Administration. It's the possible death of Ronald Reagan. This kind of thinking is at once morbid, distasteful, insightful, and compelling.

Caption Competition Another Caption Contest, another missed opportunity by Refuge entrants to find an 80's pop cultural reference to impress Dodd Harris. Still, it was good to see "Rags" enter more than once and JulieC is finally back. One alarming trend in the contest appears to be a challenge to my hegemony as "Mr. Prolific." Charles Austin (the blogger?) submitted 12 entries, dwarfing my paltry 7. Does he know who he's messing with?

Best of "Washington Wire" I often miss this Friday WSJ feature by John Harwood (subscription required), now that it's off it's long time position on the front page. Not today! Dems are split on legislating the expensing of stock options, but a lobbyist says opponents might not "'fall on their sword' to save options ... John Breaux (D, LA) will propose a universal-coverage healthcare mandate after the 2002 elections ... only 46 people showed up with toupees at the Mahoning Valley Scrappers' "James Trafficant Night."

Best of Bush Bashing Some interesting entries today:

Nicholas Kristof of the NYT criticizes Bush for cutting funding for the United Nations Population fund. This aligns us with countries like Iran, leading him to say, "Somehow we have become the core of an Axis of Medieval."


Daily Brew, while slamming Clarence Thomas, gets in a good dig at Bush:

But as long as he continues to act like the "got mine, up yours" buffoon who put Usurper boy in the White House, I can't really say I'm crying for him if the black community doesn't want to treat him like their best buddy.

War Liberal has a Caption Contest for Bush Bashers ....

Yes, Tony, I know that "finding Bush Bashing in 'The Fray' is like finding water in the ocean ..." Of course, so is finding Coulter Bashing!

Thursday, August 15, 2002

Wilder Times in Richmond

Tony Adragna
"Purchasing and technology" solutions? Yup, that's right outa the business world, Will -- if the purpose is to run government "more like a business than a political environment", that means doing things like leasing equipment and taking a write-off, but since the state doesn't file taxes...

I kinda figured out what was going on there when I read Wilder's Op-Ed column on Tuesday:
Admittedly, [Gov. Mark Warner] probably didn't expect that after my review, I would recommend, among other things:

Abolishing two of his cabinet secretariats; merging four workforce-related agencies into one; selling off the state's monopoly on hard-liquor sales and sequestering the proceeds into an education fund; axing the state compensation board; doing away with the troubled Center on Innovative Technology and the State Competition Council; eliminating the Commission on Local Government; combining the Lottery Department, State Racing Commission and Charitable Game Commission into one independent agency; abolishing the Council on Human Relations and giving its advocacy role to the lieutenant governor; consolidating all state consumer affairs authority into the attorney general's office; and abolishing the Commonwealth's Attorney Commission.
There's at least one proposal in that list which seem[s] to me a no-brainer -- getting rid of the "State Stores" -- the enforcement function is properly the state's, but there's no reason for the state to be in the business of wholsale and retail sales of alcohol... I like the way Wilder ended the piece:
It would be a missed opportunity of historic proportions for this commission to come up with a few pedestrian proposals and retire this latest report to the same shelf where sit the last 75 years of such efforts. I believe my fellow Virginians agree with me, and as we have stood together in the past to defy the conventional wisdom, I believe we can stand together once again for the good of our commonwealth.
Is his faith in Virginians justified, Will -- will it do any good?

Reading Ben's cogent analysis, I noticed a couple of interesting parallels that can be drawn between Gilmore and Mr. Bush: The rigid anti-tax stance; own-party legislators not toeing the line -- one of them even be slighted for the transgression; member[s] of the opposition party being courted for positions in the administration... Is there a point? Yea, but you're probably tired of me harping on it...

Glenn thinks that Josh might could make a strong federal case out of the dispute, and I'm pretty sure he's right. Generally, you can't register a generic term as a trademark. However, if the generic term has become so closely associated with the work of a particular entity that its use by another would tend to create confusion, then the courts may allow some protection -- the most notable instances involve the use of "Olympic" at activities not sanctioned by any of the Olympic Committees (during the last Olympics there were over 1000 websites against which suits were filed)...

But, the Big Guy doesn't always win: Hasbro -- maker of that boardgame "Clue" -- tried forcing Clue Computing to stop using the domain name The court found that despite the confusion, Hasbro could not prevail because there was neither any competition, nor any right to a domain name flowing from a registered trademark...

So where does that leave Josh? Looks to me like there is competition, Josh already has the domain name and IP, and WaPo should desist... but, I could be wrong... The Australian courts found against Sony on whether "Walkman" is a generic term...

Hey -- finding Bush Bashing in "the fray" is like finding water in the ocean...

Addendum - Cohen Castrates Coulter! I meant to pass along "Blaming of the Shrew"... Coulter's a fairly ballsy woman, but Cohen fixed her good...

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
Cleaning Up After Me Thanks, Tony, for checking out that WP link on "Talking Points." I jumped the gun in thinking that the mighty WP had been cowed by the grass roots (or would Josh call it "Astroturf?") campaign calling on Neal to cease and desist. It's a little ironic that Josh, one of the less generous bloggers in terms of linking to others or commenting on their work, got so much support, and that he was surprised that some of it was coming from conservative circles.

We're Not Firebreathers Don't despair of not being linked more often by the "leftern" (good word!), Tony. You're still the first blogger to be interviewed by "The Lefty Directory." That's pretty impressive. I'm rarely linked by the conservative bloggerati. We ought to take comfort that our brand of discourse isn't an echo chamber for the more partisan voices in this medium.

Young Turks Of course, I was pleased that two of the more intellectual conservative bloggers, Ben Domenech and Patrick Ruffini, defied the ban on linking to me and took up my thoughts in their discussion of Senator George Allen, a potential up and coming force in national GOP politics. I can't say enough good things about those two, especially Ben, a student at my alma mater, The College of William and Mary in Virginia. Check out an extract of a paper he produced on the effects of Virginia's term-limited governor provision. He posted it last night at my request. Thanks, Ben.

Dubious on Delaware Glenn Reynolds shrugs off the controversy over Jonathan Chait's TNR cover story on Delaware, a story I mentioned early. I'm a little surprised. Substantive issues aside, this is an example of a major media story with a serious factual error pointed out by a blogger whose name I'm going to spell right this time: Fritz Schranck. A major media critic, Mickey Kaus, picked up on Fritz's work and now TNR has a prominent correction posted. Usually, Glenn, a Blog Hall of Famer inducted unanimously on the first ballot, loves that kind of "power of the Blogosphere" story.

Embarassing Spectacle While Governor Mark Warner vacations in the Adirondacks, here in Richmond his commission on shrinking state government in the face of budget shortfalls, led by ex-Governor and full-time gadfly Douglas Wilder, is embarassing him. Six months into commission work, they don't know if they're supposed to provide specific recommendations or general ones. They have to call Governor Warner to find out! Here are the battle lines:

Wilder wants to press specific proposals to help remedy Virginia's immediate fiscal crisis, including eliminating Cabinet secretariats and departments and merging others, possibly saving up to $500 million over two years.

But Warner prefers closely examined recommendations for long-term savings, perhaps achieved through purchasing and technology, that could be woven into Warner's budget amendments in December, according to press secretary Ellen Qualls

I'm with Wilder on this one. Purchasing and technology savings? Please. I thought this Governor was serious about restoring fiscal discipline, but I've seen scant evidence of it.

Football Follies I interrupt this serious discussion of issues to wonder why Kevin Holtsberry is ignoring my challenge for a blog wager on the upcoming clash of titans, the Washington Redskins v. Pittsburgh Steeler pre-season game.

Best of Bush Bashing I probably should have done more market research into this concept on my lunar vacation because it certainly did not get rave opening night reviews. I'll trudge on for a while longer, anyway, Today it appears that Bush Bashers exhausted themselves blasting the Waco gabfest because there wasn't a lot of low hanging fruit for me to pick. I'll just offer the titles of two Fray posts for today's entry:

Bush Crime Family Defrauding America

Bush the Idiot or Bush the Fiend

BTW, Tony, I have a new computer at work (there's that state fiscal discipline!) so I am no longer a "Star" poster from this node.

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Josh DisAdvantaged

Tony Adragna
No such luck, Will -- Terry Neal is still at it... What you linked to earlier was from the "print edition" -- "Talking Points" was, and still is, the name of the "Online Extras" feature...

Correction: Will, the earlier link you posted was to a "" item published at 1:35 PM, not a "print edition" column... the link I posted is the same column published ealier -- 12:45 PM -- as an "Online Extra" feature... a little confusing because they don't normally publish the same article twice except when moving an online story to the next day's print edition... as of 12:45 today Neal was still using "Talking Points", that's all I can say...

My Dogs are Barking...

Tony Adragna
Got another link, Will. Seth Farber sent me email today suggesting reciprocal linkage to the talking dog -- I said yes, and not just outa reciprocity.[I've alotta work to do catching up with all those who have linked to us without sending mail looking for something in return]...

The reason I decided to add Seth to the blogroll -- besides that I've sometimes read his site and like it -- is that he's seems a character...

'Bout the bit I said on linkage below... I think part of why I don't get so many in-post linkage (as opposed to link-throughs from lists) from other left-leaning bloggers is that my brand of liberalism isn't so radical as I once was -- the old fire in which I used to anneal my vitriol has succumbed to the quenching water of cool reason. There are many left-leaning bloggers with whom I agree on the underlying principles, but whose verbiage would send some of our readers through the timber-framed 30' vaulted cielings [ the Refugees are an excitable bunch .. gotta love 'em anyway]

Or, maybe they just think I'm a hack...

I'll get around to including some of those folks in our blogroll... I'm sure that you'll get around to including some of those same blogs in your "Bush Bashing" feature...

p.s It's still pledge week at your local PBS station -- I did get to see most of the Celtic Tenors last night... Not as good as the Irish Tenors (though both sets are made up strictly of Irishmen) -- nowhere near as entertaining and some of their efforts at being entertaining were downright cheesy... I am kinda picky 'bout folklore & folksong and traditional storytelling. For my money there's none better than the Bard of Armagh, Tommy Makem -- in olden days he's be the old seanachaoi leaning on his shillelagh, ready with a story, song or poem...

I Am Not Worthy...

Tony Adragna
I could get vitriolic, Will -- then maybe I'll start getting more linkage from the leftern hemisphere of blogdom. People on the right are impressed with your bloggage, though -- both Ben and that Ruffini fellow used your comments on Allen as a springboard.

Hey... yous peoples in da left -- what am I, chopped liver?

Had a hard time finding that post in "the fray" -- I clicked on picks and "WillV" was nowhere to be found... Your question has a point, and it's a point well taken. Can I answer with a pointed question? I'm going to anyway: Q. When was the last time a president paid more attention to political advisors than economic advisors? Follow up Q. What happened to that president and what relationship does he have with the current president? [OK, the last was two questions... can't blame a guy for trying...]

I really couldn't care less -- other than to make the observations I've already done -- what happened at the forum. I'm more interested in what's happening inside 1600 Penn and the building immediately to its east… Does Sec. O’Neill have the privilege of the tunnel?…

I did read the item on KKT this morning… What’s up with Maryland’s administration and its ties to University of Maryland… Remember how Gov. Glendening not too long ago took himself out of running to be chancellor – notwithstanding that he taught at College Park, it had to take some big cajones to think going into that deal that nobody would object to the spectre of cronyism…

The item you reference does point up the “She isn’t really a Kennedy” logic -- either she didn’t get any of Joe Kennedy’s genes, or the ability to pull of a bit of high school level Boston Democrat “machinery operation” isn’t an inherited trait, or “she isn’t really…” If it weren’t that her provenance is well established, then I’d opt for the latter…

Josh did hint at something earlier... maybe yes... maybe no...

BTW… I’m finally getting around to canceling my MSN dial up account today (Bill don’t need my pittance, what with all his billions), but I found out that I can keep my “” email addy – with reduced storage capacity (natch) – so getting the hotmail account was inane… Oh well... We live and discover…

Victory for Marshall?

Will Vehrs
Terry Neal of the WP has his column up--a report on the NC Senate race--and it's not called Talking Points. Advantage, Marshall?

Two Minute Drill

Will Vehrs
It's Merit-Based Sure, Tony, you can be a Bush Basher, but I'm not going to cut you any slack just because you gave me my start in blogging. You're going to have to demonstrate real vitriol if you want to compete with the likes of Josh and Maureen. And just wait until Krugman writes his next "screed." Sorry, Diane E., I couldn't resist. (Scroll to the bottom of her site to understand this "inside baseball" comment.)

Desperately Seeking Conflict Will Saletan takes down Bush's economic forum in this Slate piece, calling it "fake." In Slate's Fray, I asked if there were examples of a politician, anxious to have his or her ideas skewered by opponents, sponsoring an economic forum that would do just that. Your little Alcoa anecdote (and Maureen Dowd's column) indicate that Clinton wasn't about hearing somebody else's ideas. Point well taken, though, on the Rubin v. O'Neill comparison. O'Neill is lousy at politics. He shouldn't have taken the job if he wasn't supportive of the agenda and Bush/Cheney shouldn't have offered it to him.

Will This Scandal Have Legs? Looks like some serious hanky-panky involving your least favorite Kennedy, Maryland Lt. Gove Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. She seems to be involved in an alleged scheme to use anti-crime grant money to fund the salaries of employees who might have done political work for her. You have to love the "man bites dog" title of the story: U-MD Says Grants Exceeded Requests .

The Bashers Have a Good Target...
and They're Hitting the Mark

Tony Adragna
Granted, Will, that there are a lot of cheap and easy shots being taken. But, don't you think that the administration has taken up a fighting position not easily defended?

I agree with those who characterize the recent forum as more politicking than a genuine pursuit of coherent policy. There is a sense that Mr. Bush is paying more attention to his political advisors than to his economic advisors: Just look at the history of how the administration has treated Sec. O'Neill -- you know, that guy at the Treasury -- every time he tries to insinuate himself into the economic policy debate.

You know that I've always liked O'Neill, and have ever defended him in Tim Noah's "deathwatch" schtick. Something I wrote March of last year is even more true now than then:
It seems to me that when Sec. O'Neill says what h[e] means, he makes alot of sense. His problems arise from defending Mr. Bush's short term agenda, which doesn't make much sense. It's very hard to be convincing about something which you know to be a fallacy.

The comparison with Rubin is on point. The market, and consumers, were confident as a result of not simply the knowledge simply that Mr. Rubin knew what he was doing, but also that the Clinton administration listened to Rubin. It now looks like the administration isn't concerned about fundamental economics, but just having a respected "name" to sell it's agenda and minimize opposition.

In the end, it's the administration that is pushing down the "confidence index", and the tension between Mr. O'Neill's "truth", and his "rhetoric", is an exemplar of how this administration denies reality so as to further a political agenda.
What's that got to do with the recent forum? There's a bit of compare and contrast in today's WaPo "analysis" of the forum:
"Frankly," the Alcoa Inc. chief executive grumbled after President-elect Bill Clinton's Little Rock forum ended, "I think if these kinds of things are done again, it would be good to structure some sharp elbows, so that there's more heat of battle and conflict."

It was done again yesterday in Waco, Tex., with O'Neill serving as treasury secretary and moderator, not curmudgeonly participant. And sharp elbows were nowhere to be found.
Sec. O'Neill was correct then, and from what I've heard about how he ran Alcoa -- he wasn't averse to having his ideas challenged prior to decision making -- I believe the criticism of Clinton's forum was sincere (rather than simply "grumbling" from somebody in opposition). What happened to Sec. O'Neill?

He got sat on for his gaffs -- we do know what a gaffe is: Usually something true said in spite of "CW", or "correctness", or -- in this case -- its implications vis a vis some agreed upon agenda.

Is Mr. Bush getting a bum rap? Maybe so, but Bruce Bartlett -- quoted in the same WaPo item -- seems to agree that the administration is doing worse than something to change the perception: "The whole forum looks as if it was put together solely and exclusively by his political advisers."

Good idea for a regular feature -- getting tired of the ol' "Two Minute Drill"?

Can I be a Bush Basher, too?...

Best of Bush-Bashing

Will Vehrs
I need a reason to live, so I'm considering, as a public service, tracking the best zingers, invective, and miscellaneous slams directed against President Bush. Readers won't have to scurry all over the Web to slake their thirst; I'll have it all conveniently packaged for them.

Today's Winner: Joshua Micah Marshall

As regular readers know, I came to the reluctant conclusion that we should move against Iraq. But this administration seems intent on doing it in the most reckless, foolhardy and impetuous manner possible. Enough to make you think that if it's going to be done like this, it might be better left undone.

This doesn't directly trash Bush, but it gets big points by implication. What I liked about it was the fact that it cut through all the conflicting accounts, leaks, and confusing signals the administration is sending (perhaps out of a desire to confuse Iraq, but never mind that) to decide that the unknown policy is "reckless."

Today's Runner-Up: Maureen Dowd

Dowd's NYT column today is full of zingers:

He thanked all the "good folks" for "putting on a great show." Like his dad, W. reads his stage directions. It was a "Message, I care" P.R. pageant, so why not just say so?

Although it seemed that Mr. Bush wanted to go deeper into his job after 9/11, he's still riding the surface, treating photo-ops like real events and passing off fortune-cookie comments as policy pronouncements.

Mr. Bush, as always, seemed to be trying to get through the morning without saying anything that would expose him as empty-headed. He has a pathological fear of talking

Dowd might have handily topped Marshall except for the fact that she zinged Bill Clinton, even as she disparaged Bush. "Best of Bush-Bashing" won't work if it has to sort through multiple bashings!

This president's speed-dial economic summit was an interesting contrast with the last president's preening cult-of-personality economic summit a decade ago.

Bill Clinton has a pathological fear of not talking. He held a talkathon in Little Rock before he started his presidency — also for self-serving P.R. reasons.

While Mr. Clinton wanted to convey concern about the economy he inherited from Bush père, he mostly wanted to show off his wonkishness

If I get a good response--heck, any response--I will try to make this a regular feature, perhaps even cherry-picking the best of Bush-Bashing Blogs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Where's the National Museum of Sicilian Heritage?

Tony Adragna
Will, I read something else today that I wanted to comment on. The headline editor got it correct when writing "A Shameful Gap on the Mall". But Richard Cohen got it wrong when he said, "The shame of the nation's capital, Washington, is that it lacks a museum dedicated to the African American experience."

There is such a museum in DC -- The Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution. The Shame is that very few people know about the place -- I'm not even sure how many District residents are aware of the museum's existence.

Why don't people know? Well... because it's in Anacostia -- that's DC's step-child of a neighbourhood across the river... might as well not be part of the city for the dearth of recognition it gets (except as "a place you don't wanna go 'cause of crime" -- Hey, I lived in Anacostia and never had a problem)...

Instead of moving the moving the museum to the Mall, why not push people toward the current facility -- 'twould be a good thing for Anacostia... wait... I just got ahead of myself -- first we gotta get people to know it's there... and before we can do that we gotta get people to recognize that Anacostia is part of DC too...

What The President Can Do

Tony Adragna
I agree, Will, that there's not much Mr. Bush can do on the short term to improve conditions -- that's the function of monetary policy, and Greenspan is running out of ammo... All the President can do is come up with some coherent long term policy, then hope that business, consumers, and investors make decisions now with a sense of confidence that the President's view of the future will be realized through implementation of that policy...

What nobody should be looking for is a solution that runs risks in long term in order to provide some immediate relief...

I did hear something good from Mr. Bush today -- it was almost remeniscent of Mr. Roosevelts "Nothing to fear but fear itself" bit... What Mr. Bush reminded us is that we're a resilient people, and things do get better -- the only way they won't get better is if we abandon ourselves... Not much for people hurting right now, but before people can capitulate to the reality that there's no quick-fix they need to be able to see some light up ahead -- that's part of "confidence building"

Let Me Put Me Straight

Tony Adragna
What I take exception with, Will, is Kaus' criticism of Bumiller -- specifically, the attempt to trivialize her piece as CW, and pointing the finger at her for the criticism that Bush's pronouncements have had an adverse effect. I've fairly well shown that the latter didn't come from Bumiller -- she was quoting a Reagan Republican... And, the fact that the criticism of Bush comes from a much broader group within the GOP than LaHood and Hagel -- it comes too from Moore, and Kudlow, and Wesbury -- belies the implication that Bumiller was merely amplifying CW.

I do at least insist on honesty in the debate... From there we can procede to genuine disagreements...

Bush Blasted on Both Sides

Will Vehrs
Let me be sure I have this straight, Tony. You're upset with Kaus because he wrote a media critique of an article that reported criticism of Bush for not following policies that you would oppose if he did follow them.

When things are going south on the economy, everybody's a critic. Bush is getting it from the right and the left. Conventional wisdom says that's about where a politician ought to be.

A few observations: there's no justification for the spending orgy that the Congress has authorized and the President has signed. The farm bill was particularly egregious. Unfortunately, it's probably a one-term president who vetoes that bill.

The steel tariff cannot be justified except as part of a larger plan: electoral votes an/or votes needed to get fast track authority. When you're president by a margin of one electoral vote, you probably make some deals with the devil.

There's no magic elixir. One of top magicians of the 90's, Robert Rubin, is safely in the private sector, having gotten out before the bloom went off the rose. Another magician, Alan Greenspan, has stuck around and his Midas touch is gone. Nobody pays much attention to him anymore. It's easy to be a soothing, authoritative figure in a boom. It's not so easy in a bust.

Any government action at this point would be desperate tinkering. Stay the course and let's hope the next president has a working majority of some kind so that the country can have the chance at a coherent policy, not one that has to be trimmed by overwhelming electoral considerations.

Who Are "The Critics"?

Tony Adragna
Will, I'm mildly disappointed with Glenn, and don't even get me started on Mr. Kaus.

Mickey cites The Note on Elisabeth Bumiller's piece -- which I linked to at 4:24 PM yesterday -- and calls it "a small masterpiece of contentless Conventional Wisdom amplifiication..." Kaus goes on to say:
Bumiller also follows what The Note calls the "'when in doubt, call Ray LaHood or Chuck Hagel' rule." ... For much of the piece, Bumiller criticizes Bush on the grounds that the stock market has gone down after someof his public statements.
What's conspicuously absent from Kaus' criticism of Bumiller on the latter point are the facts that she's quoting someone, and who that source just happens to be.

It didn't take much work for me to catch on -- all I had to do was pay attention to what was written:
"He opens his mouth, and the market goes down," said Stephen Moore, the president of the Club for Growth, a political action committee that supports conservative Republican candidates. "I'm not saying he's responsible for the market crash. But he hasn't inspired a rush for investors to get back in."[emphasis added for Kaus, who apparently didn't catch it the first go round]
The Club For Growth is a membership organization whose "members help elect candidates who support the Reagan vision of limited government and lower taxes."

That's who made the comment what's got Glenn & Mickey riled...

But, I'm not done yet! Just look at The Club For Growth "News & Commentary" page -- don't even need to go into the archives to prove the point that Reaganesque conservatives are critical of Mr. Bush's efforts to address problems in the economy & market:
Gore is correct that George W. needs to get back to a pro-investor economic message of growth and wealth creation. That was the message that helped defeat Gore. Instead, what we get now from the White House are daily pronouncements of "don't worry, be happy." These pep talks are starting to infuriate investors, who are watching their wealth disappear on an hourly basis. Instead, investors want positive policy initiatives to reverse the market skid.

Bush's lack of a positive growth agenda suggests that this administration just doesn't appreciate the fact that we are in the midst of a real honest-to-goodness financial crisis of major proportions. -- Stephen Moore, President of The Club For Growth and NRO Financial columnist, What the World Needs Now . . . . . . is the Bush tax cut.", July 24, 2002

We believe that the market's underlying problems are related to policy. First, President Bush agreed to protectionist tariffs on steel and lumber, and within two weeks the stock market had peaked. Second, punctuated by the Farm Bill, federal government spending has been rising sharply. Third, corporate fraud legislation began to take form in Congress, worrying investors that normal business failure could become a crime. Finally, Democratic members of the Senate and House started to call for a repeal of the Bush tax cuts....

Up until this point, we have been disappointed with Bush Administration policies and we still have concern about the political strategy practiced during the President's first 18 months in office. However, it now seems that a shift is underway. Combined with the recent Supreme Court ruling on school vouchers, a shift by the IRS allowing Medical Savings Accounts, and fast-track trade authority, the statements of the Vice President today increase our optimism.

The direction of government policy has always been much more powerful than most pundits recognize, and the negative drift in recent months has helped undermine stock prices. The apparent shift in the direction of policy, as outlined by the Vice President, has the potential to be very positive... -- Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist at Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson, Inc. and member of The Club For Growth, a research report titled "Economic Turning Point?", August 7, 2002
From the archives, Stephen Moore also had something to say about Congress:
Despite the fact that the Republicans control the White House, the House of Representatives, and 30 governorships, the nation is now in the midst of the biggest government spending spree since LBJ. Incredibly, the domestic social welfare budget has expanded more in just two years ($96 billion) under George W. Bush than in Bill Clinton's first six years in office ($51 billion). -- "Worse Than Drunken Sailors Today’s government-spending pace would make Tip O’Neill blush., NRO, May 17, 2002
I think there's sufficient evidence supporting an assertion that many conservatives -- not just the "La Hood" or "Hagel" set -- have been frustrated by Mr. Bush. While there's agreement on principles, the conservative critics haven't seen the the type of action they'd prefer.

But, even if you disagree on how widespread is the conservative criticism of Mr. Bush -- whether it's just the K Street crowd, or extends out to the GOP's base -- the conservative critics are extant, and their views are typified by Mr. Moore's comment... that is, the comment which Kaus fails to attribute -- if he did, then the charge against Bumiller wouldn't make any sense...

Update: Lest Brian Wesbury doesn't seem sufficiently critical of Mr. Bush -- to prove my point, that is -- in the research report cited above, then try "Benign Neglect", dated July 16, 2002... excerpts:
Typically, the words “benign neglect” are associated with a “shoulder-shrugging” policy toward the U.S. dollar. While the Bush Administration may be accused of this, it is their policy of “benign neglect” toward the U.S. stock market that could cause nightmares in the years ahead....

What the market needs more than anything else right now is to know that someone in Washington gets it. We believe that the stock market could climb in the second-half of 2002 as easy monetary policy, strong economic growth and a rebound in profits boosts potential returns. However, as long as the Bush Administration continues to say that the problem with stocks is that they are overvalued and that the boom of the late 1990s was a mirage, any reversal in the direction of government policy is unlikely. The long-term growth in stocks is dependant on this reversal.

During the late 1990s, the U.S. reformed welfare, cut capital gains taxes, and remained a steadfast free-trader. These policies jump-started wealth creation and led to a boom in economic growth and stock prices. Denying that it was real undermines the free market policies that made it happen.
I may not agree with the solutions proposed by Wesbury, but I'm not prepared to argue the fine points with an economist. Where we do agree, however, is that the administration hasn't been able to get it's act together on the economy. Until the administration does get its act together, then we're just kinda going along ad hoc with no ability to rely on any reasonable estimates of where the economy is headed long term... the long term is what fiscal policy is supposed to be about...

Update II: What does Max say when he speaks? -- "Bush has been accused of being 'adrift' on the economy. That's wrong. 'Adrift' implies that he's on a terrestrial body of water. Bush is not adrift. He's lost in the Gamma Quadrant." Hyperbole, but he does make the case for the underlying point...

The Circus Moved to Waco

Will Vehrs
I know you miss the circus being close by, Tony, but there's a special one in Waco today.

The Wall Street Journal makes the best case possible (subscription required) for what it calls the "economic gabfest" at Baylor University today:

... listening to some businessmen strikes us as a good idea. Beyond that, the meeting is the Administration's first recognition that its economic policy needs some top-level attention.

The WSJ editorial board goes on to call for a pro-growth agenda, with accelerated tax cuts.

Unfortunately, critics of the "gabfest" hold all the cards. They have the luxury of blaming Bush for the economy, criticizing him for everything he does or doesn't do as long as the economy stays in the doldrums. They are deriding him for holding the forum (Paul Krugman's NYT column today is entitled "Clueless in Waco"), but they'd be slamming him for being out of touch if he didn't care enough to convene a meeting.

I saw Dick Gephardt on TV the other day while he was meeting with a group in his office. The Minority Leader was trashing Bush for not inviting Democrats or other opposing views to Waco. The reporter didn't think to ask Gephardt if the people he was meeting with were Republicans or if any of them opposed the Democratic plan, whatever that is.

Monday, August 12, 2002

I Said "Good Night, Gracie"!

Tony Adragna
Yea, Will, I'm a'ight...

Just that the Congresspeoples have gone away -- or gone home to annoy their constituents [except mine -- he's never annoying], it's "pledge week" on PBS -- I missed The Celtic Tenors on WETA last night -- Tom Friedman was on the Newshour talking 'bout his recent travels...

I can't work with the material they're giving me... when is the circus coming back to town...

Tony, Are You OK?

Will Vehrs
I worry about you when you're not watching C-SPAN ....

Tony's Current TV Viewage (cont.)

Had to change th channel after Elmo went off the air -- Mutiny on the Bouncy; Roll the Camera; Pappy's Boat came on next, and I can't stand those damned annoying Rolie Polies...

OK... I'm bored... and I swore that I'd post nothing rather than post something just to be posting something... but I'm feeling a little [a lot] silly right now...


Well... Emeril just ended -- gotta love a guy that cooks with booze...

"Good Night, Gracie"

Don't Diss Delaware

Will Vehrs
TNR's Jonathan Chait has written a scathing, often petty, critique of Delaware, "The First State." Spoiled brat gets stuck in traffic at a toll booth and he turns it into Les Miserables.

Fortunately, Delaware's premier blogger, the incomparable Fritz Schranck, confronts Mr. Chait with the facts, defending the honor of his state with a ferocity that's beautiful to behold.

Tony's Current TV Viewage

The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland

Tony luv Elmo... but he doesn't have a Tickle Me Elmo in his collection... : (

More Maryland Politics

Tony Adragna
Hey Will -- remember when you looked with incredulity at my lack of support for Kathleen Kennedy Townsend... Hey, she's a "Kennedy", how could I not support her?... The answer is: She isn't really a Kennedy...

Remember when I said, "what's missing vis a vis convincing people that things are going to get better is some long term [fiscal policy] proposals..." Well, the NYT has a "news analysis" piece saying, basically, "Authoritative Voice on the Economy Still Lacking in Bush Administration"... Pay attention, because it isn't Mr. Krugman talking -- it's The Club For Growth, and Sen. Hagel… Maybe something settling will come out of the upcoming economic forum… Anyway: Advantage – QuasiPundit!

I'll keep a close eye on the Md 8th...

Connie, Joanne, Howard, and Andrea

Will Vehrs
Tony, Connie Morella is probably as good an upset pick as you'll find, but it's always tough to oust an incumbent--especially an incumbent who has been as independent of Republicans as Ms. Morella has. Hastert gives her a lot of "free votes." I don't know how to explain her 40% margin in '94, but I would guess that she suffered in 2000 from Maryland going overwhelmingly for Gore. Democrat turnout probably won't be as high this fall unless the Townsend-Ehrlich race really heats up and that should help her.

Speaking of voting, I was pleased to see Joanne Jacobs, an education expert I respect, mentioning the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. They are a non-partisan organization under the direction of Larry Sabato, "the most quoted college professor in the land," that seeks to raise interest in politics and elections. Teachers ought to check out the Center's Youth Leadership Initiative to get their students involved in a mock Internet election this fall. Parents ought to urge their children's middle and high schools to participate.

It's Monday, so Howard Kurtz took questions on the Washington Post's site and Punditwatch sent in a ton. Kurtz only took two of mine, but both generated follow-up from other participants.

Brandermill, Va.: Do you ask your guests to "play nice" on Reliable Sources? You had Josh Marshall as a guest and he sounded almost even-handed, compared to the increasingly shrill anti-Bush tone of his Web log and articles.

Howard Kurtz: Nope. They're free to say whatever they want. In fact, I encourage them to mix it up. But the camera may have a moderating effect. It may well be easier to write harsh things about someone at a computer screen than to say them yourself with a national audience watching.

Note: Kurtz didn't take my question asking him about the WP ripping off Josh's Talking Points Memo name! Instapundit, I'm not a lawyer, but I tried ....

Fairfax, Va.: Do you think Andrea Mitchell appreciated John Sweeney quoting "your husband" in an answer he gave to her on Meet the Press? She works so hard to separate her professional life from Greenspan's.

Howard Kurtz: I felt reasonably sure in saying I'm sure she wasn't crazy about it. She does work very hard at keeping their professional lives separate.

The Mitchell question generated two follow-ups:

re: Andrea Mitchell: Andrea Mitchell shouldn't be on any show or conducting any interview, when the possible answer is "your husband." If she needs to fill in for Russert, then she should focus only on foreign policy, non-economic issues. If they need someone to ask about economic issues, they should find someone else.

Howard Kurtz: Well, I think that's a bit unfair to her. It's not like she's out there covering economic policy.

Re: Andrea Mitchell: Andrea Mitchell is excellent in her professional life. Why is it such an issue that she was asked about something "her husband" said? I assume that the questioner was making the point of reference in hope of intimating that she would have more insight, though I guess it could have just been a way to tick her off. My husband wouldn't come up unless we had a contract with his agency, but I don't think I would consider myself belittled by the reference.

Howard Kurtz: Fair enough. And the guest obviously made the reference in response to a question that had nothing to do with Alan Greenspan.

I made the comment about Andrea Mitchell precisely because of the first follow-up question. It's hard enough for any journalist to appear objective; it's impossible for Mitchell if interviewees are going to remind viewers who she's married to. I'm sure Sweeney's comment was innocent, but if he thought about it, I suspect he'd not have made it. It's not a big deal and I don't think it "belittled" Mitchell. It just gave those looking for bias in all the wrong places to some ammo.

What About Connie?

Tony Adragna
What's with all the handicapping of out-years elections, Will? How 'bout prospects in the upcoming election?

I think I've identified a seat that Democrats have an extremely good chance of picking up this go round -- Maryland's 8th Congrssional District!

Yea, I know -- "Morella has consistently defied the odds in this heavily Democratic district", and the "private polling" suggests that she'll easily trounce the Democratic opposition. But, the only "polling" that I've ever been interested in is that which takes place on election day.

Trends at the voting booth suggest a conclusion contrary to the "private polling." Looking at election returns from Morella's district, it's clear that she's been losing support among voters -- her margin of victory was a whopping 40 percent in '94, but dropped to 22 percent in '96, 20 percent in '98, and dramaticaly decreased to 6 percent in the 2000 race.

Viewing that trend in light of the district changing from a ratio of 3:2 in favor of Democrats, to 2:1 in favor of Democrats, I see good odds for the challenger...

Oops, there I go again!... I keep forgetting that memo I got telling me to stop predicting GOP defeat...

Hey, I'm not the only person whose thinking can be so far off the mark -- from an April '98 "Levy Live" interview with Rep. Morella:
Washington, D.C.: If the Republicans look into impeachment hearings, do you think the House will be lost in the next election?

Connie Morella: Congress and the American people are anxiously awaiting Mr. [Kenneth] Starr's decision whether to seek an indictment or to transmit his findings to the Judiciary Committee. I don't think there will be an impeachment.[italics added]

A debate that I've been staying away from -- though I've been tempted to go there -- is that surrounding Justice Scalia's remarks on God, Democracy & Justice.[adapted as an essay for First Things] While I have problems with notions expressed in the piece, I think the WaPo's editorial board puts those remarks in their proper context:
The Court rejected the static vision of the [8th] amendment as far back as 1910. Justice Scalia refights an old, and long-lost, battle. Since he has neither sought to reopen this battle in his judicial opinions nor assert that the government's source of power is divine, it may be wrong to put too much weight on the views expressed in this article. But they are worth bearing in mind, the next time Justice Scalia pronounces on the death penalty or on the relationship between church and state.[emphasis added]
It is "worth bearing in mind" the non-judicial opinions of judges -- anybody who hasn't yet accepted that judges do bring their own bent to deliberations is a naif. But, it's also worth bearing in mind that Scalia -- like every other jurist -- looks to "precedent" (or stare decicis) notwithstanding whatever disagreements he might have vis a vis the correctness of those prior decisions.

So long as Justice Scalia properly applies precedent, or argues rationaly against precedent when he does argue against precedent, then I'm satisfied with his performance as jurist (notwithstanding my own disagreements with his opinions).

And that brings me to an overlooked point in the Judge Owens nomination -- yes, I do have problems with the opinion expressed in that now infamous opinion regarding the young woman seeking an exemption from notification, as provided in Texas statute. Yet, Judge Owens asserted -- and I can't find evidence to the contrary -- that once the majority opined in that case, she accepted that opinion as the law, and applied that precedent in later cases.

Of course, as Mr. Borlase notes, stare decisis is "far from rigid", but judges are usually conservative when it comes to overturning precedent -- even precedent with which they don't fully agree...

[ Sorry 'bout the formatting error in the original posting - ed]

"Aw Shucks" Ambition

Will Vehrs
Tony, you chided me for speculating on the GOP ticket for 2004, but I'm a piker compared to Patrick Ruffini and Mark Byron. They've handicapped just about every breathing Republican's chances of being President Bush's running mate.

One interesting name that both rated highly was the junior senator from Virginia, tobacco-chewing, cowboy boot-wearing George Allen. Allen, son of the famous football coach just inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, has been quite a success story. He moved from state representative to Congress, got gerrymandered out of his seat, then defeated a heavily favored Democrat, State Attorney General Mary Sue Terry, for the governorship in 1993. In 2000, he was the only Republican challenger to oust a sitting Democrat when he won the Senate seat of Charles Robb.

Allen is a great campaigner and he is running an excellent constitutent service operation. You can't go to a meeting of more than five people in Virginia without one of Allen's aides showing up. Die-hard Democrats hate him for his wholesale clean-out of state government when he was governor. One friend of mine calls him "Howdy Doody." Another calls him things I shouldn't print. I like him--he was great for economic development-- and his "aw shucks" manner plays well here.

I knew Allen was ambitious. A few years back his first wife told someone that he has had designs on the White House since the beginning. A prominent economic developer I know once said he would drop everything to campaign for Allen if he "went national."

Ruffini and Byron are on to something because yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Allen is raising a lot of money and looks like a good candidate to take over the Senate GOP Campaign Committee now headed by Bill Frist. The story also had this tidbit:

GOP sources said the ambitious, congenial and relatively young Allen is laying the groundwork for aspirations that could reach all the way to the White House.

Watch Allen. Even if he doesn't succeed in "going national," look for a mega-race in 2006 when he is expected to be challenged by current Governor Mark Warner.

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Punditwatch

Will Vehrs
War, economic upheaval, and pestilence were trends the just posted Punditwatch found this weekend.

Chuck Hagel gets dissed, Rand Corporation is accused of being racist, and a pundit admits bias--it's all in there.