On Friday, Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was covering the jubilation in Tahrir Square for a “60 Minutes” story when she and her team and their security were surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration. It was a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy.
In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently home recovering.
There will be no further comment from CBS News and correspondent Logan and her family respectfully request privacy at this time.
Logan wasn’t the only reporter in danger while covering the protests. Katie Couric and Brian Williams ended up leaving Egypt early because of the risk and Anderson Cooper freely admitted to being scared despite sticking it out for a few more days. Couric later told Howard Kurtz about an episode where she too was surrounded and shoved by an enraged lunatic. I wonder how close she came to Logan’s fate.
In an ideal world the army would have shot the attackers on the spot, but you can imagine the chaos that would have broken out in the Square if Egyptian soldiers suddenly started firing on people. As it is, were there even arrests made? And why does CBS’s statement feel compelled to note that the mob had been “whipped into frenzy”? Crowds at all sorts of events get pretty frenzied, but good luck trying that with a judge if you use it as a pretext to join in on a mass sexual assault.
Needless to say, the way journalists cover these events is going to change dramatically. And even more needless to say, America will never see those protests the same way again.
The news from CBS about correspondent Lara Logan’s assault in Egypt is awful beyond words.
At a time like this, we all feel helpless. And angry. The perpetrators, anonymous men in an angry mob, may never see justice.
Perhaps we can channel that frustration and anger towards righting a wrong closer to home. To some other outrage… say… the reaction to Logan’s assault from a fellow at the NYU Center for Law and Security, Nir Rosen.
Nir Rosen deleted some of his worst comments about Logan on his Twitter feed, but… it’s the Internet. It’s never gone forever.
I’m sure Rosen will apologize at some point, and perhaps we’ll get some tut-tutting statement from NYU about the need for “civility” and “restraint” and “sensitivity.” Brows will be furrowed. Maybe they’ll hold a seminar about technology and emotional reactions to breaking news events.
But let’s just remember one thing going forward: Nir Rosen believed this was the right moment to let the world know that he “ran out of sympathy for her” and that we should “remember her role as a major war monger” and that we “have to find humor in the small things.”
Your move, NYU.
UPDATE: Nir Rosen has departed Twitter. Your reaction to this development probably depends on whether you think the offense in this circumstance is the ability to broadcast that type of reaction to the crime to the entire Internet, or whether the problem is the reaction itself.
So sad, too bad, Lara. No one told her to go there. She knew the risks. And she should have known what Islam is all about. Now she knows. Or so we’d hope. But in the case of the media vis-a-vis Islam, that’s a hope that’s generally unanswered.
This never happened to her or any other mainstream media reporter when Mubarak was allowed to treat his country of savages in the only way they can be controlled.
Now that’s all gone. How fitting that Lara Logan was “liberated” by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over the other part of the “liberation.”
Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Alhamdilllullah [praise allah].
Nir Rosen, the far-left journalist who joked about the sexual assault on Lara Logan, has company: Debbie Schlussel, the extreme right-wing commentator. Rosen calls for the elimination of Israel, and is a pro-Hamas Hezbollah apologist; Schlussel is a racist anti-Muslim commentator. They come from radically different places on the political spectrum, and yet they share a common inhumanity.
Tragic news broke yesterday that CBS News’ Lara Logan was victim to a sustained a brutal sexual attack at the hands of a dangerous element amidst the celebration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. The news brought universal condemnation and empathy from Logan’s media peers, but it also seemed to also bring the worst out in some people as well. Take for example now former NYU Fellow Nir Rosen , who took to his Twitter feed to make inappropriate jokes that he soon deleted. In the firestorm of controversy that followed, Rosen offered his resignation, which NYU readily accepted.
A 2007 article in the Columbia Journalism Review exploring the threats to female foreign correspondents singles out Egypt: “The Committee to Protect Journalists, for example, cites rape threats against female reporters in Egypt who were seen as government critics.”
The CJR article states, “Female reporters are targets in lawless places where guns are common and punishment rare.” They face more sexual harassment and rape than their male counterparts. They are subjected to unwanted advances and “lewd come-ons . . . especially in places where Western women are viewed as promiscuous.”
Such risk is nothing new to Logan. A South African native, she entered Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, by begging a Russian Embassy clerk in London to give her an expedited visa for travel there. She followed up that stint with one as an embedded journalist in Iraq.
Earlier this month, Logan and her crew were detained overnight by the Egyptian army and interrogated. She told Esquire’s “The Politics Blog” that during the ordeal her captors blindfolded her and kept her upright. She vomited frequently. They finally gave her intravenous fluids and released her and her crew.
Logan’s desire to venture into danger zones mirrors the brave actions of female war reporters who came before her. During World War II, many female correspondents had to write under male pseudonyms. They were banned from press briefings and had to submit stories after their male counterparts.
Dickey Chapelle was a World War II photojournalist, posted with the Marines during the Battle of Iwo Jima. She cultivated a signature look of fatigues, an Australian bush hat, dramatic Harlequin glasses and pearl earrings, but loved the grittiness of war. In 1956, the petite photographer covered the Hungarian Revolution, where she was captured and jailed for seven weeks.
In her forties, Chapelle covered the Vietnam War. In 1965, she was the first American female war correspondent killed in action. Famed war photographer Henri Huet photographed Chapelle receiving last rites. She was given a full Marine burial with six Marine honor guards.
Not much has changed in the way of training for such work. In the early days of war reporting, women wrote their own rules for covering conflict — and for surviving. Surprisingly, even in the 21st century, many women travel to war zones with little training. The BBC is the only major news organization that offers special safety instruction for female journalists that is taught by women, according to CJR.
But training or precautions noted in the Handbook for Journalists may not have prepared Logan for the situation she faced on Friday. A mob of 200 abruptly surrounded her crew, from which she quickly became separated. Such tragedies are common during chaotic events.
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday.
The DLC, a network of Democratic elected officials and policy intellectuals had long been fading from its mid-’90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of “triangulation” at a moment when there’s little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right. The group tried — but has failed — to remake itself in the summer of 2009, when its founder, Al From, stepped down as president. Its new leader, former Clinton aide Bruce Reed, sought to remake the group as a think tank, and the DLC split from its associated think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute.
But Reed left the DLC last year himself to serve as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, leaving Ed Gresser, a trade expert, to lead the group in the interim. Since then the board “hasn’t been able to find someone who wanted to come on in a permanent capacity,” a person familiar with the group’s woes said, with the central problem the difficulty of raising money for a Democratic group that isn’t seen as an ally of the White House.
Gresser declined to comment on the DLC’s future, and referred a call to From, who didn’t immediately respond to a message left with an assistant.
It’s hard to remember, but the whole rise of the progressive netroots was organized around opposition to the DLC, which liberals saw as Satan incarnate. Bill Clinton was an early member, and the DLC helped frame his presidential candidacy.
I always had mixed feelings about the group. I think it was about half innovative effort to counterbalance traditional Democratic interest groups, and half naked effort to suck up to corporate America and/or give contentless messaging cover to red state Democrats.
But for the main part, the DLC disappeared because its work was over. The remaking of the Democratic Party begun by Clinton held in place. The DLC floundered because it had nowhere else to go — having moved the party to the center, it could only advocate for the party is it stood in the Clinton and post-Clinton era, or advocate that it move further still toward the center. It became a an anachronism.
What it hasn’t been able to do is adapt to success. It hasn’t mended relations with liberals, so it never could become the all-purpose Democratic think tank and holding pen that the Center for American Progress is. Its policy shop and messaging shops got a bit stale, which allowed upstarts like Third Way to pass it in influence. It continued picking fights with people like Howard Dean and Markos Moulitsas, which meant that when it got headlines, they weren’t necessarily good ones. It hasn’t nurtured and held onto the young talent that could help it build new constituencies or really update its thinking. It never figured out the Web.
But if I were Al From, the organization’s founder, I’d feel pretty good about myself. For better or for worse, the DLC won. That’s why potential donors and others are now comfortable letting it die.
More prosaically, the DLC did something in 2006 to permanently alienate them from virtually the entire party: they endorsed Joe Lieberman’s re-election bid. Lieberman’s stalwart support for the war in Iraq and for President Bush was just about the biggest sin of all to Democrats of the era. Some issues are zero sum, and the DLC found itself on the wrong side of history, as least as far as the Democratic Party was concerned.
There are two other factors worth mentioning. One was that Big Labor became all the more important to helping Democrats get out the vote, and that made it more difficult for Democrats to affiliate with the DLC. The second was that the Netroots — Atrios and Daily Kos and Chris Bowers — thought the DLC’s “centrism” was equivalent to the politics of concession and compromise.
No question: the Netroots and progressive left are at the center of gravity for the Democratic Party as an institution. There is a distinction, though, between energy and influence. And it still isn’t clear how Democrats win the election without galvanizing the type of voters the DLC sought to attract. The group may be going away, but debates about its ideas will dominate politics for a long time to come.
The truth of the matter is that the DLCs function has been taken over by Third Way. Nobody needs to fear that the centrists aren’t going to be well represented in the Democratic Party. They run the place.
Way back in 2005, Markos Moulitsas of the liberal Daily Kos was quite irked with the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, and declared:
Two more weeks, folks, before we take them on, head on. No calls for a truce will be brooked. The DLC has used those pauses in the past to bide their time between offensives. Appeals to party unity will fall on deaf ears (it’s summer of a non-election year, the perfect time to sort out internal disagreements). We need to make the DLC radioactive. And we will. With everyone’s help, we really can. Stay tuned.
He was going to make them “radioactive.” To think, if a conservative had said it, it would be considered encouraging dirty bomb attacks.
We scoffed. But no more. Apparently Kos really has perfected the promised radioactive superweapon. Ben Smith:
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday… Its website currently leads a Harold Ford op-ed from last November, titled, “Yes we can collaborate.” It lists as its staff just four people, and has only one fellow. Recent tax returns weren’t immediately publicly available, but returns from 2004-2008 show a decline in its budget from $2.6 million to $1.5 million, and a source said funding further dried up during the financial crisis that began nine months before Reed took over.
Could the long-promised superweapon be real? I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions dozens of centrist Democrats suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced
Herman Cain, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and Member of the Board of Directors for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has announced he’s running for President. Or at least thinking about it, anyway. You can read the statement on his website here.
Whether or not Cain will gain any traction remains to be seen. Being popular on the Tea Party lecture circuit doesn’t exactly scream “presidential frontrunner.” On the other hand, the whole point of the Tea Party is to encourage people with real world experince to get involved and lower the barriers to entry in politics. No matter what happens, Cain has the potential to add a lot to the political debate.
He spoke to NRO’s Jim Geraghty about it on Thursday.
NRO: Let’s get this out of the way: The last person whose first elected office was the presidency was Dwight Eisenhower, and he had led the war in Europe. What is your case to Americans that they should elect you straight to the Oval Office before any other elected position?
HERMAN CAIN: I think that American voters are ready for a problem solver, and not just another politician. I think people are becoming much more aware that successful businessmen are problem solvers, and that’s how they become and stay successful. I’ve gotten this impression over the last two years. What offices you’ve held before isn’t going to be their number one criterion.
What I am hearing from people I’ve talked to is, “What are the problems you want to focus on?” I’ve identified those, as well as what I would do about them. I have identified many of the ideas that I call low-hanging fruit, commonsense solutions that resonate with people.
Let me give you a few examples. One of the first questions I always get when I do one of my talks or Cain coffees or town-hall meetings is, “What would you do about the economy differently?” First of all, make the tax rates permanent, because extending them for two years just extends the uncertainty hanging over this economy for two more years. Secondly, I would ask the Congress to lower the top corporate-tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. Why? Because we are the only developed nation in the world that has not lowered its top corporate-tax rate in the last 15 years. The other thing I would do is lower the capital-gains-tax rate, because we punish risk too much in this country. We’re never really going to stimulate the economy in a big way until we do that.
Here’s one piece of low-hanging fruit that just amazes me that Washington doesn’t do it — it’s kind of like a no-brainer. Profits that have been generated overseas by multinational corporations — if they bring those profits back to the United States in the form of repatriated profits, then, in many cases, companies are going to have to pay double taxation. So they leave the money offshore. The last time we had a tax holiday for repatriated profits, back in 2003 under President Bush, nearly $350 billion came back into the country. It’s been estimated that we now have over $800 billion that could come back into our economy.
The other response to when people say, “You’ve never held public office,” is, “That’s true. Most of the people in Washington, D.C., have held public office before. How’s that working out for you?” The answer is, we have a mess. The biggest thing that we lack is leadership. My record in business speaks for itself when it comes to my ability to identify real problems and make sure that we have the right people in place who understand how to address them.
I had the pleasure of talking to Herman Cain before he announced his presidential exploratory committee this week, and you can expect a fuller piece on who he is in a few days. (Some truly horrible breaking news intervened between the interview and the writing.) So far, as he continues his media tour, I don’t hear much about the reason he got into politics — his opposition to health care reform in 1994, and a televised townhall battle with President Clinton that became conservative lore. Bob Cohn and Eleanor Clift reported on this at the time; curiously a video of the battle went inactive on Cain’s old site, and is now gone.
After posting this profile of Herman Cain, the Tea Party-backed, African-American former CEO of Godfather’s pizza and current radio talk-show host who just launched a presidential exploratory committee…(pause for breath)…some of us at the magazine got to wondering how the rest of the GOP field would react to Cain’s challenge. The first thing you do with an unknown opponent is see what’s out there on the internet. Curious about Cain’s tenure at Godfather’s Pizza, some of us started poking around YouTube for old commercials. It’s safe to say that 1980s pizza ads were pretty wacky affairs (remember the Noid?) and hard to imagine one of them becoming an issue now–but not impossible. Anyway, this 1988 Godfather’s ad, starring the “The Studney Twins”–one black, one white–stood in a class by itself. Let’s just say it does little to temper racial stereotypes*
Defying President Obama, House Democrats voted Thursday not to bring up the tax package that he negotiated with Republicans in its current form.
“This message today is very simple: That in the form that it was negotiated, it is not acceptable to the House Democratic caucus. It’s as simple as that,” said Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen.
“We will continue to try and work with the White House and our Republican colleagues to try and make sure we do something right for the economy and right for jobs, and a balanced package as we go forward,” he said.
The vote comes a day after Vice President Biden made clear to House Democrats behind closed doors that the deal would unravel if any changes were made.
By all appearances, House Dems weren’t just bothered by policies that made up the compromise, but were also offended in a more personal way — they didn’t feel as if they had sufficient input on the pre-deal negotiations, and were bothered by Vice President Biden’s take-it-or-leave-it message yesterday.
The vote inside the Democratic meeting was not on the House floor and was a voice vote, and so has no legislative impact. And in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said he planned to begin debate on the measure Thursday evening.
But the impact of the House Democratic vote reverberated around Washington, and some media reports said inaccurately that House Democrats had decided not to bring the measure up for a vote this year. House Democrats stressed fiercely that those reports were not true.
But the message to Obama was clear: House Democrats want changes to the package.
“It means that there is a very significant portion of the caucus that feels like they can’t accept the deal as it is,” said a House Democratic leadership aide. “They’re especially upset about the estate tax piece, and they want to send a message to the White House that this is just unacceptable.”
The aide said House Democrats would like to see the threshold at which individual estate inheritors are taxed lowered from $5 million, as it currently is in the tax cut deal, to $1 million. They would also like to see the percentage raised from 35 percent to 45 percent.
The decision to hold a non-binding vote was essentially a move by Democrats to negotiate with the White House in public after being left out of private negotiations between the administration and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.
A House Democratic aide said that the feeling among the caucus is that the White House was “not acting in good faith” and that there was “some underhanded things going on that is unnerving folks.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president does not like where the estate tax is at, but hinted that Republicans would walk away from the deal if there were any changes made to that component.
“The question for [House Democrats] to work through with their Republican counterparts is if you do that, do you lose votes on the other side,” Gibbs said.
“If there are ways to strengthen the framework that are agreeable to everybody and strengthen the coalition that’s good,” he said, but expressed confidence that the House would pass the deal.
“I think at the end of the day this will get done.”
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, made clear that she still planned to bring the measure to the floor for a vote.
According to the Hill, it’s the estate tax rate that’s the sticking point, not the income tax rate extension for the wealthy. As humiliating as it is to have his own caucus flip him the bird, though, I’m not sure this is so terrible for The One. It depends on whether Pelosi follows the caucus’s wishes and refuses to bring the deal to the floor or whether, as the Daily Caller claims, this is a symbolic gesture by House progressives aimed at showing Obama how badly they want changes. If Pelosi holds a vote on it anyway, the bill would likely still pass thanks to a coalition of Blue Dogs and Republicans, which in turn would give Obama both a legislative victory and a little bipartisan juice that he needs for 2012. In fact, I wonder if there’s an element of kabuki to it, with Pelosi urging her allies to vote no on the proposal in the caucus meeting to generate some political cover knowing full well that she intends to bring it to the floor anyway.
Still, it’s always jolly fun to see Democrats arguing in public. If my read on this feels like a bit of a buzzkill, no worries: Read this excellent Sean Trende piece making the case for why the deal is a political loser for Obama long-term. Clinton could get away with triangulation in the 90s because the lefty base at the time thought conservatism was still going strong and were reluctant to weaken him by opposing him. They don’t believe that anymore — last month’s results notwithstanding — so they may be willing to take chances with The One that they wouldn’t have dared take 15 years ago. Today’s caucus vote might be an early indicator of that. Long live the myth of the Great Liberal Realignment!
One of the great questions of the past two years, ever since it became obvious that Democrats would suffer significant setbacks in the 2010 elections, was how President Obama would respond to life with a Republican Congress (or, as it turns out, a Republican House and a weakened Democratic majority in the Senate). On the one hand, you have the fact that Bill Clinton managed to use the “triangulation” strategy to win re-election in 1996, and surely Obama is capable of being equally cold-bloodedly dismissive of his now-depleted Congressional troops. On the other hand, Obama is naturally much more ideological than Clinton and doesn’t have Clinton’s deft political touch, his decade-long track record as an executive or his experience winning multiple elections outside deep-blue territory, all of which suggests that even if the spirit is willing, Obama may not be competent at executing the same strategy.
Bowing to the results of the 2010 election, Obama has taken at least some tentative, temporary steps towards accomodation with the center. The first of these, which already irritated his base, was the announcement of a “pay freeze” for federal workers (actually just a freeze on annual cost-of-living salary adjustments). Now, he’s struck a deal that gives GOP leadership nearly everything it had asked for on taxes – a two-year extension of all the Bush income tax rate cuts, a payroll tax cut, and a lower estate tax than what would return under current law after the 2010 moratorium in the tax, all in exchange for extending unemployment benefits as far out as three years for some recipients.
Now, both liberals and conservatives are up in arms against the deal, and it’s hard to see how it passes even the House when the Democratic caucus is against it. What happens if the deal falls through?
President Obama warned his fellow Democrats on Wednesday that they risk plunging the country into a double-dip recession if they reject his tax-cut deal with Republicans.
we can only conclude one of two things:
A) A majority of Congressional Democrats don’t believe the president when he says a particular act is necessary to prevent a double dip recession. In short, most members of Obama’s own party no longer trust his judgment on economic issues.
B) A majority of Congressional Democrats agree, but don’t care, because they’re willing to endure a double dip recession if that’s what it takes to ensure the rich pay higher taxes.
In the wake of Joe Miller’s upset over Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s GOP Senate primary, there’s been a lot of buzz for Delaware GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, who is challenging moderate GOP congressman Mike Castle in the September 14 primary. This week, the Tea Party Express endorsed O’Donnell, a former conservative activist who has worked at the Republican National Committee, Concerned Women for America, and the Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth. The Tea Party Express says it’s going to spend $250,000 on the race, and its new radio ad touts conservative radio host Mark Levin’s endorsement of O’Donnell. Some other conservatives, like RedState.com’s Erick Erickson, have endorsed O’Donnell as well.
In an interview with THE WEEKLY STANDARD late this morning, O’Donnell said there’s no difference between Mike Castle and the Democrat in the race, New Castle County executive Chris Coons. Asked if there are any issues on which Castle is better than the Democrat, O’Donnell said: “I don’t think so.”
Castle has plenty of moderate and liberal positions, but his supporters point out that Delaware is one of the most Democratic states in the country, and Castle could be Delaware’s Scott Brown.
Ideological differences aside, questions have been raised about O’Donnell’s financial history. According to a March 21 Delaware News Journal article posted on knowchristineodonnell.com, O’Donnell is using campaign funds to pay for half of the rent at her residence:
Greenville Place lists the prices of a town house rental between $1,645 and $2,020 a month, depending on the number of bedrooms and square feet.
O’Donnell said she pays half of her rent with campaign donations because she also uses the town home as her Senate campaign headquarters.
“I’m splitting it, legally splitting it and paying part of it,” she said. “This is our technical headquarters.”
O’Donnell said she has separate, private quarters and that staffers, like Hust, live in the other portion of the home.
O’Donnell tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that while she does pay rent on what is technically her legal residence with campaign funds, she also has a separate permanent residence, the location of which she won’t disclose “for security reasons.” O’Donnell said that her campaign office and home were vandalized in 2008, and she’s fearful that her opponents will do the same this year. Says O’Donnell:
They’re following me. They follow me home at night. I make sure that I come back to the townhouse and then we have our team come out and check all the bushes and check all the cars to make sure that—they follow me.
That’s what’s disgusting, as you can see from the YouTube videos. They knock on the door at all hours of the night. They’re hiding in the bushes when I’m at candidate forums. In 2008 they broke into my home. They vandalized my home. They wrote nasty notes on my front door, on my front porch. They jeopardized my safety. They did the same thing to our campaign office. They broke into our campaign office. They vandalized our campaign office. They stole files. My campaign signs that had my picture—they put a spear in my mouth poked out my eyes, and cut out the part of my heart, and wrote nasty names all over those campaign signs.
I would be a fool to be pressured into disclosing where I live, when I know that the stakes are even higher this time. What makes me think they wont do the same distasteful things they did in 2008 when the stakes are even higher, when we’re even more viable. I mean come on, John, you’re a class act. You don’t want to—you know that this is a security issue. You know what they’re capable of.
Is O’Donnell suggesting that Castle supporters vandalized her office in 2008, when she was running for Senate against Joe Biden? “I’m not sure who did it, but I know for a fact that Mike Castle and [Delaware GOP chairman] Tom Ross were campaigning against me,” O’Donnell says. “They’ve been sabotaging my candidacy since 2008. So who knows who did it back then.” O’Donnell says there are no police reports of the 2008 break-in because she didn’t want to make an issue of it at the time. She claims to have pictures of vandalized signs.
My mistake, fellas. You’re right. It was a terrific interview. A candidate who doesn’t like the questions she’s being asked should always tell the host that there are rumors he’s taking bribes from the other campaign. When she says she won two out of three counties, no one should acknowledge that she lost both, one by 14 percentage points. Conservatism is best served when we all close our eyes and pretend we don’t see a false statement by a candidate we prefer!
Now, I’m not going to tout Mike Castle as anything other than what he is. He has a lifetime ACU rating of 52.49. That’s pretty darn “meh” for conservatives. But the moderation of the other guy isn’t sufficient reason to give a thumbs up to a candidate who makes blatantly, easily-to-verify false statements on the trail, nor to countenance her attacks on those who have the audacity to bring her the bad news.
I would rather be slowly run over by a road roller while listening to Janeane Garofalo dialogue from The Truth About Cats and Dogs than see Mike Castle in the Senate.
I’d rather see the Democrat get elected than see Mike Castle get elected. Seriously, I know many of you disagree with me, but if the majority depends on Mike Castle, to hell with the majority.
But I’m moving on from Delaware. The Tea Party Express has a poll coming out showing the race within 5 points. I wish Christine O’Donnell the best. I’d rather her than Castle.
But I’m moving on.
If Christine O’Donnell wins it’ll be inspite of the help she has gotten. What has ultimately set me off is the “Mike Castle is gay” stuff, which is nothing more than the Will Folks hour come to Delaware. The failure of the O’Donnell campaign to deal swiftly with this tells me all I need to know.
Subsequently, a number of the affiliated individuals went and worked directly for Christine O’Donnell’s campaign. A few weeks ago they left. Around that time I began hearing rumors the O’Donnell campaign was imploding.
Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, already under fire for a sketchy history with personal finances and a number of other odd actions (including suing the stalwart conservative publishing house, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute), now is really turning into an embarrassment. Her unnamed opponents are hiding in her bushes! And her close associates are making absolutely slanderous claims about her GOP opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, while O’Donnell herself can barely raise herself to denounce the slander — only while repeating it numerous times.
Yet TEA Partiers, with whose causes I almost always gladly associate, are working hard to make O’Donnell the next Joe Miller, pulling an upset win over the GOP establishment.
I make no endorsement of Mike Castle’s leftward drift over the years. I make no endorsement in the race. I love a lot of what O’Donnell says. I would still be at least tempted to vote for her if I lived in Delaware. But if I were a political consultant telling TEA Partiers and conservative leaders in general what their best purely political action would be, long term, what I would say is this: Go to Mike Castle and get pledges from him to move back rightward.
Politicians as experienced as Castle know the importance of honoring their word to other political actors. (Sort of like “honor among thieves,” except that most politicians really are NOT thieves.) Conservative leaders can go to him, perfectly legally, and say, look, you saw what happened to Lisa Murkowski in Alaska and to Bob Bennett in Utah. You see the polls that have you just five points up on O’Donnell. You know you are at least at some risk of failing to win the nomination. But we can call off the dogs of war. We can stop ginning up the organizational fervor that could propel O’Donnell to victory. What we ask from you is that you keep your door open to us once you are in the Senate; that you sign at least a two-year version of Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge; that you agree in writing that you will not switch parties if elected and that you would resign rather than do so….. that sort of thing. The pledges don’t even need to be public. They can’t mention any specific legislation, and they can’t be couched in terms of a quid pro quo. But they still can be binding on an honorable man, and Castle is an honorable man.
They say neurotics build sand castles and psychotics live in them. From what I’ve seen at many conservative blogs, they look determined to enable the ongoing building of a sand castle of a Republican Party by helping Mike Castle in Delaware. Well, pardon me if I don’t feel their pain as they start to whine when that sand castle comes crashing down on them after November.
It seems every time someone wants to challenge me on the Castle/O’Donnell issue, they have to start out with a straw-man argument. They don’t like, or support O’Donnell, so why should they not assist Castle in attacking her? Yet, I’ve never said anyone had to, or should support her. All I’ve argued is, why should a conservative align with a liberal like Castle to attack a conservative, when not saying anything is a principled option? It isn’t as if we all weigh in on each and every race.
I backed Lowden over Angle, but never attacked Angle. If the GOP can’t produce a satisfactory candidate in DE, then maybe they need to be sent a message in this case. Invest the time and money required to build a state and local party apparatus that can offer up real choices between a D and an R – and recruit them to run, not a Democrat by any other name. Stop following the Democrats off a cliff because it’s the easy way to win. What is it we as conservatives win in the end?
Conservatives win nothing with a Mike Castle in the Senate. Most conservative bloggers are fond of saying, I’m a conservative before I am a Republican. You wouldn’t know it by looking around out here today.
What is the incentive for the GOP to honestly shift to the Right if conservatives will accept whatever the GOP opts to shove down their throats? Reagan won DE statewide twice, Bush 41 won it in 1988. But Castle is the best the GOP can do statewide in DE today? I don’t buy it. If we want the GOP to pay attention to Center-Right views, at some point we are going to have to make a stand.
What good is a GOP to conservatives if every Republican north of Washington is liberal? How does that advance the cause of conservatism? Frankly, it doesn’t. It advances a GOP that can continue to sell out conservative principles for electoral convenience. It isn’t a party that’s leading anywhere, it’s a party following Democrats off the cliff they have been driving America over for decades.
By the reasoning I’ve seen around, we should never have supported Scott Brown in Massachusetts. In this, of all years, I don’t buy that a Castle can win in Delaware, but not an O’Donnell. Still, I’d rather see the GOP lose and have an identified Democrat, rather than one in Red skin.
Over at Riehlword and on Mark Levin’s Facebook page are marvelous pieces defining much more than Delaware’s suddenly heated fight between Christine O’Donnell and Mike Castle.
O’Donnell is taking flak for this or that, this alleged misstatement or that bad radio interview. Including from this piece over at NRO by the estimable Jim Geraghty. And, just posted, is this from my wonderful TAS friend and colleague Quin Hillyer.
Taking flak from good conservatives or, as Mark Levin puts it, conservatives who are more Republican than conservative. Not, as Seinfeld might say, that there’s anything wrong with that! And quite specifically let me make sure we understand Quin Hillyer is not included in my estimation of who is not really conservative. Anyone who knows Quin knows in an earlier life he told Edmund Burke to get on the stick with that French Revolution book, not to mention he still grouses about Wendell Willkie. Mr. Hillyer is many things….short on conservatism is not one of those things.
If I may say respectfully, this kind of thing is both terminally old when it comes to attacks on conservatives and, frustratingly, enduringly typical from — yes — some on the right.
Somewhere it always seems there’s a need to refresh on the savage attacks on Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan or, to be current and with no need to refresh, today’s Sarah Palin. Heck, why limit this to running for office? Attacks by conservatives on more prominent conservatives occur these days with the same certainty as the attraction of gin to tonic. Google names like…oh…say…Limbaugh, Rush and you’ll get the idea.
These attacks are so utterly, utterly predictable although I’m sure that a Palin or O’Donnell still finds the sensation amazing as the arrow enters between their shoulder blades.
So let’s take a second to see just how deeply normal if crazy this business has been over the decades.
The conservative is accused by his or her fellows of being: unstable (Goldwater), an extremist (Goldwater, Reagan, William F. Buckley, Jr., Palin), an un-informed lightweight (Reagan, Palin), personally irresponsible with finances (Reagan and O’Donnell), saying something utterly stupid in this interview or that public appearance (all of the above) — and don’t forget the ever dependable cry of racist/race-baiter or race something-or — other (all of the above plus pick-your-favorite talk radio host).
Until the Delaware primary, it is now Christine O’Donnell’s turn to feel that startling arrow-in-the-back sensation that comes with this.
Conservatism is not a candidate. It’s a movement. Based on a set of rock-solid principles. The fight always is to move the ball forward. The quarterback of the moment is…Fox News Alert….always flawed in some fashion. We could and can pick endlessly at the quarterback who is on the field. The real question is …now and always….are we moving the ball? Elections will be won. They will be lost. The objective is to move the ball.
I was already predisposed to endorsing Castle, feeling this was a bridge too far (or a RINO too far), and then I recalled who Christine O’Donnell was — she’s a fill-in guest on Hannity and other talk shows. She has always grated on me, because she always seems pretty unprepared (or just not really a strong thinker), and tends to just repeat the same three or four obvious bullet-points.
If I have turned the channel off almost every time she’s been on, I do not see how she is going to wear well in Democrat-stronghold Delaware.
When we were trying to get Scott Brown elected, some objected that he was a RINO. I said at the time: This is a gift from God. It is unseemly to look down one’s nose at a gift from God and ask, “Couldn’t you have gotten something better?”
I do not know why it is that Mike Castle is running 12 points or so ahead of his Democratic rival. It could be partly due to his despised RINOism, of course. And it’s also due to personal characteristics which he alone possesses and cannot be transferred to O’Donnell — like, as the state’s only at-large Representative (the state has only one Rep.), he knows everyone in the state, has campaigned statewide nine times before. For whatever reason, the voters trust him, seem to like him. (Well, “like” as much as one can like a politician.)
For whatever reason, they’ve decided he’s okay by them. And preferable to a Democrat. And so he polls 10-12 points ahead.
Meanwhile the latest Rasmussen poll puts O’Donnell ten points behind Coons.
And on that point, I ask, where is the plausible pathway to candidate growth? What is the realistic plan for getting O’Donnell up from ten points down to at least even?
Me? I’m 100% with Christine O’Donnell, come hell or high water. She’s got Dan Riehl and Mark Levin on her side, and I’m sticking with those guys — no personal offense intended to anyone who disagrees.
What has struck me as misguided all along is the fundamental assumption made by O’Donnell’s critics that Castle can win the general, or that O’Donnell’s chances of winning Nov. 2 are significantly less than Castle’s. I am profoundly dubious of either assumption. O’Donnell is a fresh face and enormously telegenic, whereas Mike Castle . . . eh, not so much.
If there really is a GOP tidal wave coming on Nov. 2 and if an anti-Obama/anti-incumbent/anti-Washington sentiment is the energy behind that tsunami, then O’Donnell is certainly better positioned to harness that energy than Mike Castle.
I don’t have much to add to what Ace said earlier, except that I’m genuinely puzzled at folks who say they’d rather the seat be Democrat than in the hands of a RINO. Given the number of Senate seats now in play, this is tantamount to declaring that they’d rather have a Democratic Senate than a Republican one.
I’m saying, it might be different if Republicans were going to have control of the Senate anyway. Then, heh, no real harm to letting our “problem Senators” know what we expect in the future. Same thing on the flipside. If the Democrats were going to have insurmountable control of the Senate…again, it doesn’t matter so much whether the Democrat or the RINO wins.
But we’re talking about taking control of the Senate, something that only now is turning into a real possibility. And that’s going to take putting up with folks like Collins and Snowe and Castle. As infuriating as they are, I’d rather put up with them than watch the Democrats run the country into the ground under another two years of Majority Leader Reid (or his successor).
It’s just astonishing that folks — good, genuine, GOP people — are actually advocating for a path that leads to Democratic majority in the Senate. Over Delaware, a blue state that we have the unimaginably good fortune to be poised to take way from the Democrats until 2014!
Think about it. Turning a Democratic state Republican for long enough that the folks there might actually learn something. Isn’t that what we want? Turn the blue states red? Why would we pass up a gift like this?
There is a reason to prefer Castle — very, very grudgingly — but we’ve already hashed that out. For further thoughts, see Gabe Malor, who wonders why any righty would rather see a Democrat win than a RINO, particularly when it could mean the difference between Democratic and Republican control of all-important Senate committees next year. The response to that argument is usually some variation on the idea that we’re one crushing defeat away from total victory — that if blue states aren’t ready to elect “true conservatives” yet, well, then it’s better to leave Democrats in control so that they can ruin the country even more and eventually produce a real conservative backlash. (Which, I guess, means we shouldn’t have supported RINO Scott Brown in January, since he spoiled Obama’s filibuster-proof majority.) The flaw in this reasoning, of course, is that some things are bound to go right for Democrats despite their dumbest efforts to prevent that from happening. The economy will start to speed up again, even with The One keeping his foot on the brake of the engine of growth (note the car metaphor!), and if the Democrats control Congress when it does, they’ll get plenty of credit from voters. You’re simply not going to get a map that’s completely red, any more than the idiot liberals who were high on Hopenchange two years ago were ever going to get a map that’s completely blue. And as I said yesterday, however much they may irritate you, RINOs are marginally better than Democrats. I recommend re-reading this Doctor Zero post from last year on that subject, after Glenn Beck suggested that McCain would have been worse for the country than Obama. Ain’t so, although it certainly is comforting to believe it.
Ronald Reagan successfully rebranded the conservative movement as one with a big tent. Why exclusionists like Dan Riehl want to turn it into a small tent movement puzzles me. If they think there is a conservative majority in this country, they’re dead wrong–and their narrow views on issues like immigration, gay rights, and so on are helping make sure there never will be one. The US is a center-right country, with at most maybe 35% ideological conservatives, and a lot of them want the government to keep its hands off their Medicare! By letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, Riehl and his ilk are ensuring themselves of a pure minority. I guess it makes for good talk radio and blog posts, but it’s a lousy electoral strategy.
Let’s see. I once wrote an Examiner editorial on the need for something of a center-Right compromise on immigration I believe the majority of Americans would support. Way to do your research before attacking someone, perfessor!
I’m a large tent conservative and embrace civil unions as a compromise on gay marriage. I believe that also puts me in the majority in America, unlike wherever it is Stephen apparently rests – assuming we disagree. And I’ve never once called for the abolition ofMedicare and took Rand Paul to task for his failure to understand the finer points on Civil Rights issues. So, how the hell is it I am an intolerant exclusionist all of a sudden? Simply because we disagree?
WASHINGTON — Two important GOP constituencies, Big Business and Social Conservatives, are at odds over immigration reform. However, if both sides would take the time to actually understand each other, as opposed to hurling insults this way and that, they’d likely find common ground supported by their mostly conservative beliefs.
Castle voted to gut the Tea Party movement with the Disclose Act. He supports Cap and Trade and regulating green house gases because he’s bought and paid for by the banking lobby. They would get fat on a brand new huge Commodities Market and the middle class would foot the bill through costs, if not taxes – or both, with this administration.
Conservatives haven’t won anything. Crist could still win, as could Harry Reid. Throw a liberal Republican into that mix and you could easily have a Senate happy to throw in with the Dems and Obama, creating a big enough rift that the Right would split, dooming the GOP. The base is only willing to tolerate so much at this point.
The Republican party wasn’t always this way, of course. As Professor Bainbridge points out, there was a time not too long ago when it was the home of conservatives like Paul Laxalt and moderate Republicans like William Cohen. If it’s ever going to be the kind of national party capable of getting it’s agenda through Congress, it’s going to need to be that kind of party again, and that means acknowledging the fact that Mike Castle is the kind of Republican that can be elected statewide in Delaware, and Christine O’Donnell, as she has proven time and again in her quixotic efforts to run for office, most definitely is not.
Purism is a fine thing, it’s even got a nobility of its own, but when it becomes this rigid it just leads to defeat.
The media frenzy to destroy good, decent Americans who oppose a 15-story mega-mosque on Ground Zero is rabid. Even for them. Despite red flags everywhere and the nationwide grief caused by this grotesque act of Islamic supremacism, why isn’t the media doing its job, investigative journalism?
Instead, the morally ill media is in full-on operational smear machine mode in the raging war of ideas, the information battle space, the objective of which is to erect the Ground Zero mega mosque. Tolerance is a crime when applied to evil (Thomas Mann). Whilst the NY Times front page spins interfaith yarns into PR gold faster than Rumpelstiltskin and accords godlike status to Imam Feisal Rauf, new audio surfaces. Here are a couple of soundbites of tolerance:
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: “We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non Muslims. You may remember that the US-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was Secretary of State and was asked whether this was worth it, said it was worth it.
No mention of the 270 million victims of over a millennium of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation and enslavement. No mention of the recent slaughter by Muslims of Christians, Hindus, Jews, non-believers in Indonesia, Thailand, Ethiopia, Somalia, Philippines, Lebanon, Israel, Russia, China……………. no candor, no criticism of Islam.
At Atlas Shrugs, Pamela Geller has uncovered audio of imam Feisal Rauf, the man behind the Ground Zero mosque, making public statements in which he opines that “the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaeda has on its hands of innocent non-Muslims.”
There’s more . . . and it’s here. YouTube video link is here.
Once again, this is not evidence that Rauf is an extremist wolf in moderate sheep’s clothing. For Muslims, the idea that US foreign policy is hostile to Muslims and that Americans don’t care about the deaths of innocents is widely held. By definition, this makes Rauf’s opinion mainstream in most majority Muslim countries.
On other issues, Rauf would be considered quite liberal in the Muslim community.
But to equivocate between the intentional killing of civilians by al Qaeda and the unintended killing of civilians by the US is worse than wrong — it is evil.
Yes, we kill civilians sometimes. That is truly one of the many sad realities of warfare.
When al Qaeda kills civilians they not only do it intentionally, but they also celebrate it.
No one in the West praises the Predator drone operator who accidentally blows up a wedding party. We think of such acts as the regrettable but inevitable outcome of war.
But in many parts of the Muslim world “The Magnificient 19” — the men who carried out the 9/11 attacks — are praised as heroes and martyrs.
I heard someone on the radio today (Hannity or Rush?) make a good point about this. He mentioned that Rauf’s equivocation seemed very much in line with Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s theory of America. Which may be why Obama’s State Department has no problem with paying for this guy to go on a goodwill mission to the Muslim world. If these are the kinds of speeches he has been delivering, then of course they will like what he is saying!
Let me add that the SOB still has a right to build a mosque wherever the hell he wants. Even the Nazis have that right.
If someone wants to argue that the sanctions regime on Iraq was counterproductive, because Saddam’s regime simply seized the resources they needed and let the Iraqi people suffer and starve, that’s a fair point. Madeline Albright’s comment that containing Saddam was “worth it” — i.e., the death of Iraqi children — was idiotic. But to suggest that the indirect effects of a U.S. sanctions regime is remotely morally comparable to al-Qaeda’s deliberate mass murder — much less to suggest that they are morally worse — is to eviscerate one’s claim to be moderate, pro-American, or sensible. He says it is a “difficult subject to discuss with Western audiences.” Does he ever wonder why?
From this audio, we can conclude that Rauf has a gentle tone of voice. But that does not mean that his words are gentle.
[…] Rauf uses the word “innocent” only in the part about non-Muslim blood. But I doubt he would have drawn the comparison unless he believed that the U.S. is culpable in something like the same way as al Qaeda for wrongful killing.
Indeed, the Muslim blood Rauf refers to is that of “innocents”; specifically Iraqi children he says died as a result of American sanctions. Rauf not only fails to mention that the sanctions were designed to undermine one of the most unjust and bloodthirsty regimes of modern times, he proceeds to take the U.S. to task for “its contribution to injustice in the Arab world.” By overlooking the injustice of Saddam Hussein, and failing to acknowledge our efforts against that tyrant, Rauf reveals himself to be an anti-American ideologue, an apologist for al Qaeda, and a charlatan.
I continue to be impressed by how thin the case against Faisal Abdul Rauf is. You’d have thought that by now the staunch defenders of liberty crazies would have found either a smoking gun or a ticking bomb. To be fair, Pamela Geller* certainly thinks she has found evidence that he’s just as bad as his critics would have us believe. Or maybe even – and this may make your (my!) weak dhimmi-flesh creep – worse…
But, actually, all she has unearthed from a 2005 talk Rauf gave to, of all places, the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, is evidence that Faisal Abdul Rauf could be considered a neoconservative. That is, he shares a central neoconservative insight:
How many of you have seen the documentary: Fahrenheit 911? The vast majority – at least half here. Do you remember the scene of the Iraqi woman whose house was bombed and she was just screaming, “What have they done.” Now, I don’t know, you don’t know Arabic but in Arabic it was extremely powerful. Her house was gone. Her husband, I think, was killed. What wrong did he do? I found myself weeping when I watched that scene and I imagined myself if I were a 15-year old nephew of this deceased man, what would I have felt?
Collateral damage is a nice thing to put on a paper but when the collateral damage is your own uncle or cousin, what passions do these arouse? How do you negotiate? How do you tell people whose homes have been destroyed, whose lives have been destroyed, that this does not justify your actions of terrorism. It’s hard. Yes, it is true that it does not justify the acts of bombing innocent civilians, that does not solve the problem, but after 50 years of, in many cases, oppression, of US support of authoritarian regimes that have violated human rights in the most heinous of ways, how else do people get attention?
Emphasis added. This is a core tenet of neoconservative foreign policy thought (and, in my view, a salient point too). Condi Rice made a famous speech making exactly this point and acknowledging that there was a terrible disconnect between proclaiming the universality of human rights, self-determination and freedom of expression and yet also propping-up ghastly, coercive, dictatorial regimes across the middle east for fear something worse might succeed them were those great American ideals and principles given free expression.There were – and are – good, or to put it differently, expedient, reasons for US policy and true too the evangelism of the Bush administration might have been both too optimistic (or naive) and, in the end, awful precisely because in the end it accepted that the bastards we know, for all their bastardy, may be better than the bastard nutters that might follow them.
Nevertheless, Imam Rauf shares at least some of the Bush administration’s diagnosis of the pathologies afflicting much f the middle east.
So how does Pamela Geller characterise this statement? “And the Imam is conspiracy theorist – 911 was an inside job.” I don’t actually understand how you get from watching Fahrenheit 9/11 (for all its many faults) to here. Then again, Geller does seem to have a curious interpretation of these matters. So when Rauf says:
“We tend to forget, in the West, that the United States has more Muslim blood on its hands than al Qaida has on its hands of innocent non Muslims. You may remember that the US-led sanctions against Iraq led to the death of over half a million Iraqi children. This has been documented by the United Nations. And when Madeleine Albright, who has become a friend of mine over the last couple of years, when she was Secretary of State and was asked whether this was worth it, said it was worth it.
Well, you or I or any other ordinary person might think this a statement of the, alas, bleeding obvious, Geller thinks it needs to be glossed, thus: No mention of the 270 million victims of over a millennium of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilation and enslavement. Never mind that it’s obvious that Rauf is talking about the post-9/11 world, not the 750 years before the United States even existed.Needless to say Andy McCarthy thiks this means Rauf is saying US Worse than al-Qaeda when, clearly, he’s not saying that at all. It is, I think, incontestable that the United States and its allies have killed more Muslim civilians than al-Qaeda have killed non-muslims since 9/11. Noting this has precisely zero impact on one’s views of the wars or their righteousness.
Rauf, in fact, seems to have some understanding that empathy – which is not the same thing as either agreement or, for that matter, “appeasement” – is a useful quality when it comes to foreign policy:
The West needs to begin to see themselves through the eyes of the Arab and Muslim world, and when you do you will see the predicament that exists within the Muslim community.
This, quite evidently, does not mean that the west need agree with the arab world and nor is it a call for “surrender” or any such nonsense. Nor is it any kind of endorsement – if this needs to be pointed out – of the Wahhabist worldview.I suspect that I’d disagree with Faisal Abdul Rauf on a good number of issues. But his opponents – who have had ample opportunity to discover all that’s bad about him – have, to my mind, singularly failed to produce any real and damning evidence against him. Surely they can do better than this and if, in time, they do then I’ll be happy to change my mind even if my understanding of the First Amendment would require me to support his plan even if I were more strongly disapproving of it.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2008, has won his nomination for another term in the Senate by a landslide, against the right-wing challenge from former Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
With 11% of precincts reporting, McCain leads by 59%-30%, and has been projected as the winner by the Associated Press.
As we noted this morning, McCain was heavily favored to win going into today. To his credit, McCain recognized early on that there was a restive environment among the GOP base, shifted to the right, and refocused himself to not lose that crowd to the anti-illegal immigration champion Hayworth — and he also outspent Hayworth by a ratio of about 10-1.
You’ve still got John WALNUTS! McCain to laugh at for another six years, assuming his bullshit genes are strong enough to fend off death until then. And then he will return to Arizona to make some more hilarious commercials, looking for all the world like he has never once seen the Dr. Seuss desert all around him.
Multimillionaire health care executive Rick Scott narrowly captured the GOP’s nomination for governor of Florida Tuesday night, shocking both Republican and Democratic insiders who believed the free-spending newcomer’s fortunes had taken a sharp turn for the worse in the final weeks of his campaign against state Attorney General Bill McCollum.
On a night that was supposed to favor political insiders from coast to coast, and even as another self-funding Floridian – real estate billionaire Jeff Greene – crashed and burned in the state’s Democratic Senate primary, Scott’s victory stood out as a triumph of scorched-earth campaign tactics and relentless outsider messaging.
On the day of the Florida primary comes word of a new PPP poll that shows Marco Rubio 8 percentage points ahead of Charlie Crist in a three-way race also involving Kendrick Meek, who expected to secure the Democratic nomination. Crist has been leading in most polls I’ve seen, including the previous one by PPP, which had him up by 6 points.
The 14 point swing is due, not surprisingly, to a change in the dynamic with both Democratic and Republican voters. Democrats seem to be “coming home” to Meek, a traditional liberal Dem. According to PPP, they are now breaking for Meek 39-38, whereas before they favored Crist 44-35.
Republicans also seem to be “coming home.” Rubio’s 54-23 lead with GOP voters in July has now increased to 69-20. Crist still has his core of Republican support, but the undecided Republicans are moving into Rubio’s camp, if the latest poll is correct.
Crist faces an obvious dilemma. The more he reaches out to Democrats, the less popular he becomes with Republicans. But his real problem seems to be that, even as he has reached out to Dems, these voters are swinging towards Meek. And since Meek is an African-American, he has a large built-in advantage with a substantial portion of Florida’s Demcratic electorate. In addition, if Meek becomes the actual nominee, instead of just the leading contender in a tough race, more Democrats may be inclined to come home to him.
Even so, Crist is a formidable candidate; one poll certainly doesn’t change that. This race is best viewed as a toss-up.
After weeks of looking as though he might lose the race, Rep. Kendrick Meek soundly defeated financier Jeff Greene in Florida’s Democratic Senate primary — a major victory, since Greene spent more than $26 million of his own cash in the race.
With more than half the vote in, Meek was beating Greene by double digits. Greene, who led the polls up until about a week ago, had campaigned as an outsider, but Florida voters ultimately soured on his candidacy after weeks of bad press over his celebrity-studded yacht parties and thin political resumé.
But now Meek now faces an even more difficult challenge: Can he keep Democrats from defecting to Charlie Crist’s campaign? All summer, polls have found Meek running a distant third behind Crist, who quit the GOP to run as an independent, and Republican Marco Rubio — in part, because Crist has been pulling significant Democratic support away from Meek.
But a new Public Policy Polling survey out this week found that Meek has now a 1-point advantage over Crist among likely Democratic voters in the race — a narrow edge that has taken away Crist’s overall lead in the general election. According to PPP, Rubio now leads the race at 40 percent, compared with 32 percent for Crist and 17 percent for Meek. The poll’s margin of error is 4 points
The New York Times, Roll Call and Anchorage Daily News reported this result cautiously — Murkowski was “imperiled” and “battling for her political life,” etc. — but with Miller at nearly 52% of the vote, it appears evident that the challenger has won an upset.
Shortly before 4 a.m., Miller campaign spokesman Randy DeSoto told me by phone he was “cautiously optimistic,” and a few minutes later, campaign scheduler Harmony Shields said that the result would, at least officially, be “inconclusive” pending completion of the vote-count later today. However, other sources close to the campaign said privately they were confident of victory.
The come-from-behind triumph of Miller — whom I profiled for the American Spectator in early July — would be the second time that Sarah Palin had dealt a defeat to the Murkowskis. She upset the senator’s father, Frank, to win the governorship in 2006, and her endorsement was a key factor in helping Miller, a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, mount a strong surge in the final two months of the primary campaign.
OK — you’re wondering how Joe Miller, a lawyer who has never won an election, is currently leading Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in a primary she seemed to have in the bag. Didn’t Murkowksi have all of the money? Weren’t Miller’s rallies pretty listless affairs?
Yes, but since at best Murkowski is going to win closer than any polls suggested, here are two things that affected the race. The first: The Tea Party Express threw around half a million dollars into the campaign on Miller’s behalf. That’s huge money in Alaska. Second: Measure 2, a parental consent ballot initiative, brought out pro-life voters who have never trusted Murkowski. Sarah Palin’s early endorsement also handed Miller credibility and media attention which, in a GOP primary, was more important than Palin’s increasing unpopularity in the state.
Says John Dickerson: “The national lesson from the primaries today is clear: a;sdlfk jp9r;tyh##”
Hewing to my “good analysis is victory agnostic” nostrum, here’s what I’m taking away from a night of surprises and triumphs.
One: J.D. Hayworth was a wannabe insurgent who was toppled by his own arrogance. He was too smooth for a year where anyone who sounds like a politician…really, anyone who sounds fairly coherent and talks in crisp, reasonable-sounding, consultant-approved sound bites…is suspect, particularly for Republicans.
Two: Show me a low turnout primary election, and I will raise you polling that just does not capture likely voter enthusiasm swings. But turnout in Alaska was high — higher, in fact, than expected. I’ve always wondered how you poll Alaska anyway, and the tightness of the race suggests that models up there aren’t working very well. BTW: it’s likely that a parental notification ballot initiative drove conservatives to the polls in Alaska, boosting Joe Miller, a Gulf War vet and ally of Sarah Palin’s, to striking distance and possible victory over incumbent Lisa Murkowski.
Three: It is fairly clear that the anti-establishment / anti-Washington / pro-radical revolution plankton are feeding more off Republicans than off Democrats. As the year has unfolded, it has become easier and easier for formerly fringe candidates to find funding sources, get key “outsider” endorsements and shock complacent frontrunners. When it comes to the Tea Party factor, remember: about issues it ain’t. Bill McCollum was one of the attorneys general who filed a lawsuit against Obama’s health care reform bill. He is as conservative as a Blackberry at an Apple convention. But he has ties to the state’s now-discredited Republican establishment (think of the indictment of the former party chairman) and his avuncular, amiable, comfortable-as-a-leather shoe style just doesn’t fit with the times. Rick Scott didn’t need the money, but the Tea Party Express helped him build a volunteer base. In Alaska, the same group ponied up $500,000 to help Miller (probably) defeat an incumbent U.S. senator.
Four: For the four statewide races in Florida, 5 Republicans turned out for every four Democrats. 500,000 Florida Republicans chose as their gubernatorial nominee someone who the Democratic Party can easily label a “corrupt health care CEO” and not get sued for libel. Note: Sink outpolled Scott by 75,000. Obviously, a large chunk of the 500,000 Republicans who voted for Bill McCollum (last seen on Fox News, 24 hours a day) will enthusiastically support their new nominee, but Sink begins the general election, even in a Republican year, with a lead. Health care will be a major part of her race because Scott claims credit for running ads that substantially slowed down the progress of the Congressional debate and because of his own record. Scott begins the general election with a pot of gold. Democrats will need to spend money to pick up a seat that could well determine how Florida is redistricted next year, which means that the White House and Congressional Democrats have a stake in what happens.
More Republicans voted for Marco Rubio than Democrats did for all four Senate candidates combined, an ominous and unsurprising sign that enough Democrats are probably going to align themselves with Charlie Crist so that Crist wins or Rubio walks away with the seat.
Five: in Alaska, Sarah Palin’s endorsement does seem to matter. It’s not like no one predicted that Joe Miller could be the next senator; former Gov. Tony Knowles told me a month ago that Murkowski was not taking Miller seriously and that he could easily organize a campaign to beat her in the primary. Absentees won’t be fully counted for a while, but Miller’s victory can be reasonably inferred from the outstanding ballots.
Prosecutors here once said that the conduct of Rod R. Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, was so despicable it would make Abraham Lincoln “roll over in his grave,” but 12 jurors in the federal corruption case against him were apparently not all so certain.
After deliberating for 14 days, the jury found Mr. Blagojevich guilty of a single criminal count — making false statements to the F.B.I., which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, one of the least severe penalties in the charges against him.
The jurors also said they could not reach a unanimous verdict on 23 of the 24 counts against him, including an accusation that he had tried to sell an appointment to fill the Senate seat once held by President Obama. On that count, one juror said, the group was split 11 to 1 in favor of convicting him.
Prosecutors immediately announced plans for a retrial, but the outcome was seen as something of a victory, at least for now, for Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat and lifelong politician from this city, who had always proclaimed his innocence and did so again as he left court.
Reminder of the issues in addition to the Senate seat-trading scam that the jury has been charged with tackling:
– a shady, Tony Rezko-connected state pension bond sale;
– attempted extortion of then-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, whose brother Blago wanted to host a fund-raiser in exchange for a $2 million football field grant sought by a school in Emanuel’s congressional district;
– attempted extortion and bribery of Children’s Memorial Hospital;
– conspiracy to extort and bribe a race-track owner in exchange for horse-racing industry tax subsidies;
– and attempted bribery and extortion of a road construction executive, whom Blago wanted to hold a fund-raiser in exchange for $6 billion in government tollway projects.
Gabe Malor notes on Twitter that that was one of the counts Martha Stewart was convicted on. Question: What now? Is the U.S. Attorney going to re-try him or do we sentence him to parole on the lying charge so that he can jump into the Kirk/Giannoulias race and fulfill his destiny?
Update: The case is too high-profile for the feds to walk away, so as expected, Patrick Fitzgerald says it’s on to a retrial.
Update: Ace e-mails with a new theory: What if the jury was split 11-1 to convict on the remaining counts? That might explain why they wanted a copy of the oath — to confront the holdout with his duty to render an honest verdict. It also raises the disturbing question of what kind of juror would be so invested in seeing Blagojevich walk that he’d hold out for two weeks against 11 increasingly frustrated colleagues.
All you Californians ought to be getting awfully nervous about Senate-Select Carly Fiorina about now. Because the lesson I take from the Rod Blagojevich verdict–he was found guilty of just one charge of lying to the FBI, while the jury remained deadlocked on 23 other charges–is that it’s okay to sell a Senate seat, so long as you don’t lie about it.
Basically, Blagojevich was convicted on the same “lying to an FBI agent” charge that got Martha Stewart and Scooter Libbey in trouble in their cases although, to be honest, the “lie” in Blago’s case could arguably be considered boasting rather than a material misrepresentation.
In any case, while the U.S. Attorney is saying they will re-try on the 23 counts that the jury was unable to reach a verdict on, there’s no denying that Blagojevich won big today. Prosecutors rarely lose in Federal Court and while this isn’t an outright acquittal, it’s close enough considering the high-profile nature of the case and the fact that Blagojevich’s attorneys didn’t even put on a defense case (meaning that the jury wasn’t even able to convict based solely on the prosecutions evidence). They’ll get another bite at the apple, but, for now, one of America’s oddest politicians remains a free man.
IN May 1980, during the height of the movement to add an Equal Rights Amendment for women to the Constitution, an activist named Wanda Brandstetter delivered a note to Nord Swanstrom, an Illinois state representative. “Mr. Swanstrom,” it said, “the offer to help in your election and $1,000 for your campaign for pro-E.R.A. vote.” Things did not go as Ms. Brandstetter hoped. The measure was never ratified by the Legislature, while her offer of $1,000 lead directly to her conviction for bribery in the Illinois courts.
Since Ms. Brandstetter’s case, it has been clear in Illinois (and eventually in the federal courts too) that, notwithstanding the First Amendment protections the Supreme Court has applied to political contributions, prosecutions for bribery and extortion may be brought when a donation is tied directly to a specific act by an elected official.
So, people are right to wonder how the jury in the trial of Rod Blagojevich, the former governor of Illinois, could possibly be unable to come up with a verdict on any bribery-related charges, finding Mr. Blagojevich guilty only of lying to federal agents when he characterized himself in 2005 as uninvolved in political fundraising.
After all, government wiretaps revealed Mr. Blagojevich threatening not to sign legislation beneficial to the harness racing industry unless he received a $100,000 campaign donation from one race track executive. He even threatened to hold up an increase in state Medicaid reimbursements for pediatric cases until the chief executive of Illinois’s leading children’s hospital contributed $50,000.
Yet the unwillingness of one or more jurors to convict Mr. Blagojevich of anything but bare-faced lying makes some sense. I suspect the jury’s indecision might have been a reaction at some level to the hypocritical mess our campaign financing system has become, especially in light of recent Supreme Court jurisprudence about political donations.
For example, in June 2009, the court decided a case involving Massey Coal and its chief executive, Joe Blankenship. (Coincidentally, Massey was the operator of a coal mine in West Virginia that exploded in April, killing 29 miners.) In 2004, after Massey had lost a $50-million fraud verdict to a rival coal company, Mr. Blankenship spent $3 million supporting the successful candidacy of Brent Benjamin to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, where Massey’s challenge of the fraud verdict was going to be heard.
Although Mr. Blankenship’s spending eclipsed the contributions of all of Judge Benjamin’s other donors put together, the judge subsequently refused to remove himself from Massey’s appeal. Unsurprisingly, the court voted to overturn the verdict against Massey, with Judge Benjamin providing the deciding vote.
The case eventually came to the United States Supreme Court, which by a 5-to-4 vote decided Justice Benjamin should have recused himself because of the “disproportionate” influence Mr. Blankenship’s money had in the election. Nonetheless, the court pointedly refused to require the same from other judges who received less grandiose campaign assistance from lawyers and litigants with cases before them.
Moreover, the court appeared persuaded that nothing criminal had occurred, even though its ruling concluded that it was “reasonably foreseeable” at the time that Mr. Benjamin would decide the Massey case and that Mr. Blankenship had a “vested interest” when he spent the money. Given that logic, who can blame Mr. Blagojevich — or Wanda Brandstetter — for asking, “Why me?”
Out of all the gangsters, serial killers, mass murderers, incompetent & crooked politicians, spies, traitors, and ultra left-wing kooks in all of American history — have you ever wondered who the worst of the worst was? Well, we here at RWN wondered about that, too, and that’s why we decided to email more than a hundred bloggers to get their opinions. Representatives from the following 43 blogs responded…
All bloggers were allowed to make anywhere from 1-20 selections. Rank was determined simply by the number of votes received. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that this is a fairly conservative group of bloggers and their selections reflected that. Also, I made a decision to combine the votes given to the Rosenbergs and Julius Rosenberg into one group since most people associate the two of them together. Some people may disagree with that decision, but I thought it was the best way to go.
Well, that’s enough about the rules — without further ado, the worst figures in American history are as follows (with the number of votes following each selection)…
23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)
5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)
I’m no fan of most of the Democrats on the list, and there are some good picks. But most of the modern political figures look ridiculous when we compare their actions to some of America’s most really notorious figures.
No Al Capone? No Machine Gun Kelly or the Lindbergh baby kidnappers?
No Jefferson Davis or anyone else associated with the Confederacy beyond John Wilkes Booth? Speaking of presidential assassins, no Lee Harvey Oswald? (Oh, I know, I know, he was the fall guy for the big conspiracy.) Aaron Burr gets a pass for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel?
Isn’t Johnny Walker Lindh or Robert Hanssen a more clear-cut case than Jane Fonda or either of the Clintons?
No Charles Manson? Come on. You’re really telling me Al Sharpton and Michael Moore outrank somebody like Jeffrey Dahmer, who ate people? Race-baiting and rabble-rousing outrank cannibalism?
No Jim Jones (cult leader, not national security adviser) or David Koresh?
Not one villain from America’s business world? No ruthless layoff king like “Chainsaw Al” Dunlap? No Ken Lay? Bernie Madoff couldn’t reach the top 20?
Certainly, one could make the case that political leaders — because of their reach and immense importance — actually have much greater impact over our society as a whole than any serial killer ever could (though I would argue the Manson murders actually had a major impact on American culture, and essentially ended the ’60s).
But this, of course, is sophistry. Hawkins’ list was not titled “the worst political leaders,” but rather “the worst figures” in American history, and thus, the results seem to betray what we already know to be true: Too many political bloggers view their political opponents as being worse than serial killers.
Of course, this is not merely a reflection of conservative bloggers, but rather, of the current state of political discourse. I have no doubt that members of (as Robert Gibbs has called them) “the professional left” might rank Ann Coulter as being more harmful than, say, Al Capone.
John Hawkins asked a bunch of right of center bloggers to list the “20 Worst Americans of all time,” from which he compiled the following list. The comments are mine. Personally, I find the collated list pretty much of a joke. It reflects the partisan passions of the moment, not anything resembling a serious verdict of history.
23) Saul Alinsky (7)–a bad guy, to be sure, but top 20?
23) Bill Clinton (7)–GOPers still mad because he beat the crap out of them; sour grapes
23) Hillary Clinton (7)–I don’t like her, but I think she’s making a good Secretary of State
19) Michael Moore (7)–agree
19) George Soros (8)–maybe top 40
19) Alger Hiss (8)–the traitors are way to low on this list
19) Al Sharpton (8)–eh
13) Al Gore (9)–depends on whether global warming is as bad as he thinks it is
13) Noam Chomsky (9)–annoying to be sure, but not in top 20
13) Richard Nixon (9)–fair enough
13) Jane Fonda (9)–has been much less annoying in recent years
13) Harry Reid (9)–he’s effective and wrong but not evil
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)–annoying? yes. one of the worst? no.
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)–finally somebody I wholeheartedly agree with, but should be higher
11) Margaret Sanger (10)–nope
9) Aldrich Ames (11)–yes, but should be higher
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)–yes, but should be higher
7) Ted Kennedy (14)–higher than the worst domestic terrorist? no
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)–ditto
5) Benedict Arnold (17)–too low
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)–huh?
4) The Rosenbergs (19)–good
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)–give him some credit for managing the winning coalition in WW II
2) Barack Obama (23)–way too high, even if socialized medicine ends up being his legacy
1) Jimmy Carter (25)– being feckless and sanctimonious doesn’t make him a bad guy
All in all, I have to agree with Jim Geraghty that:
I’m no fan of most of the Democrats on the list, and there are some good picks. But most of the modern political figures look ridiculous when we compare their actions to some of America’s most really notorious figures.
I agree with a lot of his alternatives too.
Anyway, I was one of the bloggers Hawkins polled, but as you’ll see my list differs in a number of respects from the norm. Mine’s in alphabetical order, BTW.
John Wilkes Booth–killed our greatest President, contender for #1 on my list if rank ordered
James Buchanan–feckless President whose inaction allowed the Southern rebellion to get off the ground
Aaron Burr–traitor and murderer of Hamilton
Robert Byrd–KKK member and the worst pork politician in history, plus an insufferable prig
Jefferson Davis–leader of the traitorous Southern rebels
Louis Farrakhan–race hate monger
Nathan Bedford Forrest–treasonous Rebel general, caused or condoned the mass murder of black soldiers at Fort Pillow, founder of the KKK, contender for # 1
Rutherford B. Hayes–President who threw Reconstruction under the bus to steal election
Paris Hilton–personification of the celebrity obsessed culture
Alger Hiss–traitor with really annoying apologists
Timothy McVeigh–worst domestic terrorist, probably # 1 on my list if rank ordered
Michael Moore–he just oozes evil
Ethel and Julius Rosenberg–atomic bomb traitors
Roger Taney–Chief Justice who decided Dred Scott and Ex Parte Merryman
Morrison Waite–Chief Justice whose decision in United States v. Cruikshank effectively disabled the federal government from protecting the freed blacks from white southern terrorists during Reconstruction
As you see, I focused mainly on traitors, since it is in some ways the worst of social crimes. Few crimes affect all of society in the way that treason does. Since I believe the Southern rebellion was the worst act of collective treason in our history, I gave it high priority. Since I believe the failure of Reconstruction is one of the great tragedies of our history, it deserved recognition too.
And then there’s just a couple of folks who really annoy the crap out of me. But I tried to keep them to a minimum. And I really think you can make a case for Byrd and Kennedy deserving to be at least in the top 100. In their own ways, they each personify and symbolize some of the worst aspects of our political life. So I’d argue that only Hilton and Moore are real reaches on my part.
The one person who slipped my mind, but whom I probably would have found room for if I had thought of him in time is L. Ron Hubbard as our worst religious false prophet.
It’s bizarre that Jimmy Carter comes out as the all-time worst from the right-wing bloggers and I don’t have to tell you who is number two. It’s also hard for me to see how Bainbridge ends up with Paris Hilton and Michael Moore in his list of the worst and he seems to acknowledge this oddity toward the end of his post.
The most plausible picks are, I think, any number of political figures behind slavery and its continuation (it’s debatable who is truly focal here), Woodrow Wilson, the Rosenbergs, and any number of assassins, domestic terrorists, and serial killers.
Who am I forgetting? Are there focal figures who held back public health advances? Led slaughters against Native Americans? What else?
Absolutely astonishing. One mass murderer (McVeigh) and one assassin (Booth) made the list. No gangsters. No old west gunmen. Both Woodrow Wilson and FDR in the top 5 worst? If you’re going to penalize presidents so severely for having wrongheaded ideas about economic policy, why not include George Bush? Or the modern Republican party who never met a deficit they didn’t embrace as long is it was caused by tax cuts.
Frankly, this is embarrassing. Putting the Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, Gore, Sharpton, and other contemporary Democrats ahead of someone like Nathan Bedford Forest who was at least partly responsible for creating the KKK after the Civil War and spent his spare nights riding around the countryside whipping, lynching, and burning at the stake innocent African Americans demonstrates an extraordinary ignorance of American history.
No Aaron Burr? His descendant, Gore Vidal, might have made honorable mention on the list, but Burr was a genuine bad guy. He not only murdered Alexander Hamilton in a duel, Burr hatched a plot to take over large swaths of land in the west, set himself up as king, and secede from the US.
I guess making idiotic, dishonest documentaries about America (Michael Moore) is a bigger crime than killing one of the Founders and anointing oneself a monarch.
Here’s my list of “The Top 5 Worst Americans Missed by Idiotic Conservative Bloggers:
5. Ted Bundy. Might have killed more than 50 women.
4. William Randolph Hearst – the inventor of modern liberal journalism who singlehandedly whipped up war fever against Spain in his 30 newspapers while dominating the media – to the detriment of democracy – like no one before or since.
3. John C. Calhoun – his constant threats to take South Carolina out of the Union if the institution of slavery was touched were bad enough. But his embrace of the doctrine of nullification and his being an inspiration to the secessionists was a direct cause of the Civil War.
2. William Walker – one of the most unlovely Americans who ever lived. His attempts on behalf of the south to bring parts of Mexico and central America into an “Empire of Slavery” – setting up colonies that would then be annexed by the US – was not only a cockamamie scheme but thousands died because of it.
1. Bloody Bill Anderson – speaking of thousands being killed, how about the terrorist Bill Anderson? Not only did he ride through Missouri and Kanas during the Civil War, killing wantonly and with great glee, (200 massacred in Lawrence Kanas in 1863) some of his men ended up carrying on the “fight” for years afterward, including the James brothers and the Younger boys.
Just for disclosure’s sake, John usually invites me to participate in his polls, but I’m usually too busy to put much time into them (sorry, John). This time, I passed for a couple of other reasons. First, I had already done this exercise five years ago at Captain’s Quarters, about which more in a moment.
For my consideration, I decided that the status of American had to be part of their “crimes”. In other words, simply picking someone like Ted Bundy or Charles Manson would be too easy. Their evil, though real and in most cases worse than what you’ll read on this list, doesn’t have to do with their innate American heritage. I went looking for the people who sinned against America itself, or the ideal of America. Otherwise, we’d just be looking at body counts.
I also tried to avoid picking contemporary political figures, as we do not have sufficient historical perspective to make that kind of determination. (I do have one exception to this.) Don’t expect to see Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi on this list, nor Teddy Kennedy or Bill Clinton.
Of all the Presidential assassins throughout American history, Booth’s motives were the most venal and his impact on history was the greatest. But for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the post-war history of the United States, and the entire Reconstruction Era, would have been much different and, arguably, much better.
3. James Buchanan
What I said in 2005 still applies, “the bachelor President who bungled his way through four years in office and left America on the verge of destruction.”
President of the traitorous Confederate State of America, defender of the slavocracy. Some will object to my putting Davis in the list because he was, admittedly, hardly alone in rebelling against the United States, but he was the leader so he deserved to be deserves to be singled out by name, and he stands in for everyone else.
6. Nathan Bedford Forrest
A Lieutenant General in the CSA Army, part of the mass murder of black Union soldiers during the Battle of Fort Pillow, one of the Founders of the Ku Klux Klan
7. Alger Hiss
A traitor to his country and a spy for a regime dedicated to eradicating freedom.
He didn’t last 47 years as America’s top cop by playing fair. He used his influence and abused his power to accrue files on almost every political player, friend or foe, to use as blackmail to increase his personal power or as leverage for legislative and executive action. He became the closest thing America has ever known to an emperor and managed to die before his empire came crashing down around him. The tragedy of his life can be seen in his contradictions: a gay man who persecuted homosexuals; his undeniable love of country getting consumed by his thirst for power; his desire to enforce the law giving way to his paranoid domestic-espionage activities designed to derail political opponents, such as Martin Luther King and others he deemed dangerous. Hoover did good work as well in creating a first-class law enforcement agency, but his ego forced it to miss the rise of the Italian Mafia and his racism kept it lily-white far past his death.
The man who ushered Progressivism through the American political system, involved America in a war in which she had no vital national interests and stake, and took it upon himself to remake the map of Europe in such a way that made a Second World War virtually inevitable.
So, there’s my list. You’ll notice several changes from the 2005 version. Why no Jimmy Carter this time, for example ? Because I consider Carter incompetent, not evil. Anyway, criticize away !
At one end of the spectrum we have Ed Morrissey’s contention that we should discount serial killers, mass murderers and their ilk, since they boil down to nothing more than “a body count.” While I can see how Ed’s explanation of being misled by John’s rather vague invitation into thinking we should primarily include political figures, I disagree that “worst Americans” would leave out the real monsters. They did far more damage than the raw number of corpses they stacked up. Every mass murderer who terrorizes entire cities like Beltway Sniper John Allen Muhammad and every serial rapist ruining the lives of dozens of women steals something important away from everyone. They take away our faith in a civilized system to protect us. They make us look at strangers with wary glances rather than welcoming smiles. They continue to kill our innocence, not just the bodies of those they defile. They are clearly some of the worst Americans.
But does the wrong-doing in question have to be intentional? Doug Mataconis – to take one example – rightly (in my opinion) leaves Jimmy Carter off of his revised list because he considers the Georgia peanut farmer to be “incompetent, not evil.” Where does the line from incompetence to criminal stupidity get crossed? Edward Smith, captain of the Titanic, was clearly not out madly dashing across the Atlantic looking for icebergs to crash into in the hopes of killing all of his passengers. (Not to mention himself.) He was, by all accounts, an experienced seaman with decades at the helm under his belt. But he made one massive, terminal mistake which took hundreds of lives. Was he evil and malicious? No. Should he land on this sort of list? It’s an interesting question.
But that brings us back to the question of politicians in general. If you approach this as nothing more than an exercise in partisan rock throwing, it’s easy enough to compile a list of politicians from “the other team” that you don’t like and lump them in here. This has little or no value. People who aspire to a life of public service, including high elected office, should be considered to be trying to serve and improve the country, even if some of us completely disagree with their philosophy and how they go about it. (If you’re looking for an excuse to really hate me, those of you I see on Twitter every day talking about Obama’s secret plans to destroy America because he’s some sort of Manchurian Candidate simply put me to sleep.)
But again, at what point does a bad plan cross the line to a criminally bad plan which, given your experience and position, you should have known better than to implement? Going back once again to the choices by the other entrants, almost everyone selected Jimmy Carter. (Except Doug, who had him on his original list from five years ago.) Look, I served in the military under Carter. His economic policies were a disaster and his tentative stance on the use of military force damaged our international standing, in my opinion. He was awful. But was he a “worst American?” Did he have malicious plans for the nation he duped into electing him?
No. As I see is, he honestly – if misguidedly – thought his fiscal plans would help. On the national security front I saw him as a God fearing man who honestly believed that he could both speak softly and hold off using the big stick, preferring a path of peace and diplomacy. It was unproductive and, in the end, largely damaging. But I still believe he meant well and I would not today put him on a list of villains.
I have a few bones to pick with some of the common choices on several of these lists as well. Why is anyone selecting Aaron Burr? Doug and Ed are unhappy because he shot Alexander Hamilton. It was a duel! Nobody made Hamilton show up and he had a gun as well. Reports of his “intentionally missing Burr” have been widely disputed. He is also accused of trying to set up some sort of Western Empire and leave the union. He was eventually cleared of those charges by the Supreme Court and many analysts of the period believe it was a plot by his political rivals. The man served his nation for a lifetime, was a Vice President got beaten up for it. Give him a break.
I won’t even waste space on those who select currently elected Democrats with whom they disagree for such a list. Rick Moran already took care of that.
Frankly, this is embarrassing. Putting the Clintons, Pelosi, Reid, Gore, Sharpton, and other contemporary Democrats ahead of someone like Nathan Bedford Forest who was at least partly responsible for creating the KKK after the Civil War and spent his spare nights riding around the countryside whipping, lynching, and burning at the stake innocent African Americans demonstrates an extraordinary ignorance of American history.
Everyone who opposed the Iraq war could just as easily assemble their own list and put George W. Bush somewhere on there. It’s pointless.
But enough of that. This has already gone on far too long. Let’s get to my list of some of the worst actors in American history. I’ll follow Doug’s example and go in alphabetical order, since it’s hard to say here who is the worst of the worst. Here are the dirty dozen.
1.) John Wilkes Booth – See Oswald, below
2.) Nathan Bedford Forest – If you don’t know who or what he was, head for Google.
3.) John Wayne Gacy – Anyone who rapes and kills that many children deserves a special place in hell. And on our list.
4.) Alger Hiss – Enough said
5.) Jim Jones – He didn’t just poison a ton of people. He did it under the pretense of speaking for God and upset the applecart of faith for many.
6.)Ken Lay, Jeffrey Skilling and Bernie Madoff – All three come in at a tie. Not unlike religious examples robbing us of our faith in God, they robbed thousands of their cash, hopes, dreams, and faith in an honest marketplace where people could realize the American dream.
9.) Timothy McViegh – Patriots… please.
10.) Lee Harvey Oswald – I don’t care what you thought of J.F.K. or the fact that he led to Johnson, the guy shot the president and sent shock waves through the nation.
11.) D.C. Stephenson – Grand Dragon in the Klan and friend of one of the most corrupt politicians in Indiana history, his crimes against the nation and his fellow man are legendary.
12.) John Anthony Walker – You want to talk about intentionally doing things to destroy your own country? His picture is by the term in the encyclopedia.
There you have it. Some of the worst we have to offer. Sleep well.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid has opened a strong lead over Republican opponent Sharron Angle after pummeling her in a ubiquitous TV and radio ad campaign that portrays the Tea Party favorite as “too extreme,” according to a new poll for the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The Democratic incumbent’s aggressive strategy of attacking Angle’s staunch conservative views from the moment she won the June 8 primary has cost her support among every voter group — from men and women to both political parties and independents — in vote-rich Clark and Washoe counties.
He’s had five perfect weeks,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the survey. “The race has been all about her, and he’s been doing a good job of pounding her.”
Yet Coker said it’s too soon to write off Angle. More than one-quarter of the nonpartisan swing voters who probably will decide the Nov. 2 election haven’t jumped to the still-unpopular Reid but instead are undecided or in the “other” or “none of these candidates” columns, the poll showed.
“I wouldn’t write her obituary just yet,” Coker said, noting it’s a long way to November. “Three and a half months is a lifetime, and at some point she’s going to be able to start fighting back.”
The Mason-Dixon poll showed that if the general election were held now, Reid would win 44 percent to 37 percent for Angle. Ten percent were undecided, 5 percent would choose “none of these candidates,” and the remaining 4 percent would pick another candidate on the ballot.
We’ve tried for years with Collinses and Hatches and McCains and Snowes and a host of others who fear their fate too much. Isn’t it time to put it unto the touch? With Angle, a win’s a win. With the kind of candidates you’re advocating, a win is still a loss.
This is all moot, but neither Sue Lowden nor Danny Tarkanian is comparable to a Collins or a Snowe, or even a McCain or a Hatch, I would argue. And if Harry Reid wins, it’s a loss for conservatives. Period.
I have to question whether they are. This poll only shows Angle getting 70% of Republicans versus Harry Reid’s 80% of Democrats. That plus Reid’s slim 37-35 (MoE 4) lead among Independents, gives Reid an overall 44-37 advantage in the poll.
The 44 for Reid is slightly higher than his trend in recent months, but is not unreasonable. The 37 for Angle, though, is abnormal. If we look back at the Real Clear Politics trend, Angle has only been below 40 twice: once in a fraudulent Research 2000/Daily Kos poll, and again in an earlier Mason-Dixon/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll.
I certainly don’t blame Democrats for feeling good about this result, but I would caution Republicans not to get too worried until some other pollster shows Angle dipping quite that far.
Reid has had a pretty good month in defining Angle as extreme, and Angle hasn’t helped her own cause much during that period. She has had to back away from statements about unemployment and to explain statements on Social Security. When you’re explaining, you’re playing defense, and Reid put her in that position by flooding the airwaves.
However, a couple of bright spots can be found. First, Angle had a good fundraising quarter and finally has cash in the bank. Most importantly, even though she bled voters in almost every category, they didn’t go to Reid. He’s still only getting 44% of the vote, far below the 50% threshold an incumbent needs to be safe in this climate. For the moment, voters don’t have to pull the lever for Angle, and she has three months to define herself rather than allow Reid to do it for her. If 56% of the voters don’t want Reid, that shouldn’t be a difficult sell for Angle, but she has to step up her game now and avoid any further mistakes.
Corruptocrat Harry Reid spent big lobbyist money he’s been raising and using to sell out his state for years to take an early lead over Sharron Angle. Meanwhile, Angle’s own fundraising is starting to kick in big. If you had a choice between leading in July, or November, which would you choose?
Reid will try to take a lead, as he has, and hold on to it. He has the corruptocrat cash to take that approach. But this tells us nothing about what will happen when Angle starts to punch back. And punch she must.
As long as her campaign structure is on top of it, I see no real reason for concern here at this point. This is purely indicative of the kind of advantage Reid always had going in. Given his barrage, it’s notable the numbers aren’t worse than this, what with his unopposed ad buys – unopposed for now, not for the fall when it actually counts.
Sharron Angle isn’t dead, of course. She could still pull off a win, but it’s going to be a lot tougher than it appeared to be in the immediate aftermath of her primary victory. Once again, it appears that Harry Reid has gotten exactly the Republican opponent he’d want in a year like this.