Tag Archives: Mark Hemingway

Reading Is Fundamental, Mr. Krugman

Paul Krugman:

A followup on the post about mostly economics reading; on politics, culture, etc. there are other blogs I read fairly often. On politics, Greg Sargent, Josh Marshall, Digby, and I still get a kick out of Atrios, who gets to use all the words I can’t. And I’m a big fan of the folks at Crooked Timber.

Some have asked if there aren’t conservative sites I read regularly. Well, no. I will read anything I’ve been informed about that’s either interesting or revealing; but I don’t know of any economics or politics sites on that side that regularly provide analysis or information I need to take seriously. I know we’re supposed to pretend that both sides always have a point; but the truth is that most of the time they don’t. The parties are not equally irresponsible; Rachel Maddow isn’t Glenn Beck; and a conservative blog, almost by definition, is a blog written by someone who chooses not to notice that asymmetry. And life is short …

Mark Hemingway at The Weekly Standard:

Bear in mind that this paragraph comes right after Krugman lists a lot of perfectly respectable (though shamelessly ideological and hyperbolic) liberal blogs.

So in other words, if you’re reading this you’re probably more informed than at least one Nobel Prize Winner.

Scott Sumner at Wall Street Pit:

That’s right, and George Will isn’t Michael Moore; and a liberal blog, almost by definition, is a blog written by someone who chooses not to notice that asymmetry.  No need to read Marginal Revolution, Becker/Posner, Econlog, John Taylor, Greg Mankiw, Robin Hanson, Steven Landsburg, etc, etc.  Nothing of interest, just move right along folks.  I’m always amazed when someone so brilliant can be so clueless about life.  How someone can reach middle age and still live in a kindergartener’s world of good guys and bad guys.

Perhaps if Krugman would get out a bit more he might make fewer embarrassing errors,  like this one, where he forgot the fallacy of composition, something taught in EC101.  I guess none of his liberal friends have the nerve to point out these sorts of silly errors.  So it’s still there, uncorrected after two weeks.  A monument to his pride at being ignorant of the views of those with whom he disagrees.

You might ask whether I’m being a bit harsh calling him “ignorant.”  Actually, he’s the one who proudly flaunts his ignorance of conservative thought.

I find that reading good liberal blogs like Krugman, DeLong, Thoma, Yglesias, etc, sharpens my arguments.  It forces me to reconsider things I took for granted.  I’d guess that when Krugman tells people at cocktail parties that the post-1980 trend of lower tax rates, deregulation, and privatization was a plot devised by racist Republicans, they all nod their heads in agreement.  If he occasionally read a conservative blog he might learn that all those trends occurred in almost every country throughout the world after 1980, usually much more so than in the US.

I wonder if his blanket condemnation of reading conservative outlets would include books that attack silly liberal arguments for protectionism.  Or articles that show the folly of liberal opposition to sweatshops.  Are those conservative ideas also no longer worth reading?

Kevin Drum:

The problem is sort of a Catch-22: reading the loony tunes blogs isn’t worthwhile except for entertainment value, so I mostly don’t bother. Conversely, the more moderate types have interesting things to say, but they’re so out of touch with mainstream conservatism that they often don’t seem worthwhile engaging with either. I mean, what’s the point in arguing over some technocratic point that’s a million light years away from the views of actual, existing conservatism, which doesn’t yet admit that cutting taxes reduces revenues or spewing carbon into the air heats the globe? It all has a very ivory tower feel to it.I’ll go on reading the non-insane conservatives, because (a) it’s worth having my views challenged by smart people and (b) you never know: maybe someday the tea party version of conservatism will collapse and the moderates will regain a bit of power. That sure seems like a pipe dream right now, though.

James Joyner:

This is a recurring theme and, while I certainly read plenty of conservative pundits–and, indeed, still consider myself one–like Kevin, I read fewer than I used to. I prefer rational, facts-based analysis and find more of it across the aisle than on my own side.

Partly, it’s a function of the fact that academics and policy wonks with strong academic backgrounds are more likely to produce the kind of writing I find interesting and those groups tilt to the leeward side. But I’m not the only conservative who has noticed that even mainstream journals on the right have gone crazy. And the David Frums, Bruce Bartletts, and Daniel Larisons have largely been written off as RINOs angling for invites to liberal cocktail parties.

Are the rational conservatives simply being outshouted? Out-promoted? Or are there just too few to matter anymore?

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Cainmania Hits The Nation

Erik Hayden at The Atlantic with the round-up.

Mark Hemingway at The Washington Examiner:

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.

Jim Geraghty at NRO:

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.

David Weigel:

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.

Ben Smith at Politico:

The quixotic presidential bid of Godfather’s Pizza chief Herman Cain has prompted quite a number of memories of the chain — and of its, er, distinctive television ads.

The one above is via Paul Knipe on Twitter, who wrote that the pizza “was awful. But the horrible commercials were rad.” (Godfather’s still exists, mostly attached to convenience stores.

Joshua Green at The Atlantic:

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*

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A Hostage Situation At Discovery Communications Building

MSNBC:

Police shot and killed a man armed with several bombs who held three hostages Wednesday at the Discovery Communications building. Authorities said the hostages were safe.

At least one device on the man’s body went off when he was shot inside the building in suburban Washington, D.C., Montgomery County police Chief Thomas Manger said. Police were searching the building for other explosive devices.

Manger said no one was believed to have been injured other than the gunman, whom SWAT officers shot about 4:50 p.m. ET because officials “believed the hostages were in danger.” The building in the close-in suburb of Washington was safely evacuated, including the Discovery Kids Place day care center, police said.

An NBC News producer who called the building to find out what was going on had a brief telephone conversation with the man when he came on the line unexpectedly. He identified himself as James J. Lee and said, “I have a gun and I have a bomb. … I have several bombs strapped to my body ready to go off.”

NBC News informed Montgomery County authorities of the conversation as the producer spoke to the man for about 10 minutes. NBC News did not report the conversation until the hostage situation had been resolved.

Michelle Malkin:

There’s been a breaking hostage situation at the Discovery Channel office in Silver Spring, MD all morning. The alleged gunman reportedly has explosives strapped to his body and there have been reports of at least one hostage. The office has been evacuated, including many children at a day care in the building.

WUSA 9, a local TV affiliate, in DC is pointing to this website called “Save the Planet Protest” as the site of the alleged gunman’s unconfirmed demands.

In case the site goes down, here’s the manifesto in full:

The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:
1. The Discovery Channel and it’s affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn’s “My Ishmael” pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other’s inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!

2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs’ places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.

3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military mechanized conflict. Again, solutions solutions instead of just repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!

4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn’t, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil! It is the moral obligation of everyone living otherwise what good are they??

5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding the population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)

6. Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don’t build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!

7. Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about Evolution. Talk about Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people’s brains until they get it!!

8. Saving the Planet means saving what’s left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies! You’re the media, you can reach enough people. It’s your resposibility because you reach so many minds!!!

9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy. Find solutions for their disasterous Ponzi-Casino economy before they take the world to another nuclear war.

10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC. Stop Future Weapons shows or replace the dialogue condemning the people behind these developments so that the shows become exposes rather than advertisements of Arms sales and development!

11. You’re also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war.

Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.

For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human’s lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!

It is the responsiblity of everyone to preserve the planet they live on by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES! Population growth is a real crisis. Even one child born in the US will use 30 to a thousand times more resources than a Third World child. It’s like a couple are having 30 babies even though it’s just one! If the US goes in this direction maybe other countries will too!

Also, war must be halted. Not because it’s morally wrong, but because of the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!

The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world. Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans.

Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.

The humans? The planet does not need humans.

You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!

I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it.

These are the demands and sayings of Lee.

Another D.C. tv news affiliate, WJLA, says that police scanner traffic indicates that the gunman is an “Asian male” and possible ex-employee of Discovery.

David Weigel:

This is the kind of thing that sparks a three-part reaction in the opinionoverse.

1) Investigation. Who is this guy? Right and left partisans immediately worry that it’s one of their team (defined loosely — a white liberal might worry that it’s a Muslim radical who’ll prove Frank Gaffney right).

2) Revelation. The identity of the perp is discovered — in this case, we find that it’s an anti-human population activist. Everyone pretends that their previous theories about what might be happening were never really serious.

3) Polarization. The people whose ideology most matches the perp cry loudly that he is crazy and has nothing to do with them. The people whose ideology is antithetical to the perp’s — in this case, conservative skeptics of environmentalism — subtly hint that the perp is too representative of the other team. Oh, sure, they’re not saying that. But every time someone goes crazy on the other side, they get blamed, so it’s only fair.

In 24 hours or so, a few articles will be pitched and sold about the political meaning of the story. Everyone else will forget about it and feel vaguely dirty for having thought so hard about it at all.

Max Fisher at The Atlantic with the round-up

Andrea Nill at Think Progress:

Lee’s immigration screed bears a troubling resemblance to views and policies espoused by anti-immigrant groups such as NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Progressives for Immigration Reform, and others. Just this past month, FAIR released “The Environmentalist’s Guide to a Sensible Immigration Policy.” The report connects immigration to “pollution, sprawl, congestion, and ecological degradation,” complaining that “so-called environmentalists pretend as if this connection does not exist.” As usual, FAIR prescribes an overall reduction in immigration as the solution to the country’s environmental woes (in slightly more diplomatic terms).

It’s not a coincidence that many of these are amongst the same groups that have always supported changing the 14th amendment to deny “anchor babies,” or the American-born children of undocumented immigrants, citizenship — long before the debate entered the political mainstream this summer. Read more about Lee and the anti-immigrant environmental movement at the Wonk Room.

Mark Hemingway at The Washington Examiner:

The question is, to what extent will the media note that this violence was spurred by a radical left-wing environmental agenda, or that eco-terrorism is not a new phenomenon and is arguably the America’s biggest domestic terrorist threat?

Then again, maybe the gunman is just angling for a job in the White House. Consider the book Ecoscience, written by Obama’s “science czar,” John Holdren:

Even more troubling: Over the weekend, a blogger at Zombietime.com unearthed a book written over 30 years ago by John Holdren, President Obama’s “science czar.”

The book, Ecoscience, was co-written with neo-Malthusian prophet of doom and scientific laughingstock Paul Ehrlich. In it, Holdren advocates a series of bizarre and horrifying measures to deal with an overpopulation threat that never materialized.

Among the suggestions in the book: Laws requiring the abortion or adoption of illegitimate children; sterilizing women after having two children; legally requiring “reproductive responsibility” to those deemed by pointy-headed eugenicists to “contribute to general social deterioration”; and incredibly, putting sterilizing agents in the drinking water.

Naturally, these population control measures would be enforced by “an armed international organization, a global analogue of a police force.” Very recently, Holdren was still listing the book on his C.V.

Sound familiar?

Mary Katherine Ham at The Weekly Standard:

His username is also connected to a meet-up group for Daniel Quinn devotees called the “Friends of Ishmael.” A man named Lee, with a misterfifteen e-mail adress  seems to have started his own chapter in San Diego in 2006, called “World Guardian Voices.” The site for his group is archived here, with a notice of an upcoming meeting at a Borders book store to talk about global warming and overpopulation.

He even offered his e-mail address for anyone who’d like to “schedule a speech.”

Lee’s MySpace page offers similar rants, and an odd array of pictures, mostly of owls, apes, Darth Vader, and Bugs Bunny. He lists among those he’d like to meet, “Environmentalists, scientists, readers of Daniel Quinn, and people who want to work toward a real change.”

Allah Pundit:

Max Fisher of the Atlantic somehow read this post to mean that I think (a) Lee was a liberal and (b) because liberals relentlessly politicize “lone nut” incidents involving right-wingers, conservatives should do the same to them. (His tagline in summarizing this post at the Atlantic is “Hang This Attack Around Liberals’ Necks.”) On the first point, I don’t know if Lee was a down-the-line doctrinaire liberal or not; my point was simply that the green concerns that motivated him are typically identified with the left and therefore many people will conclude that he’s some species of liberal. By the same token, when someone bombs an abortion clinic, no one waits to find out the bomber’s opinion on, say, Iraq and federal spending before identifying him with the right. It’s the motive that defines the suspect politically in incidents like these. As for the second point — and I’m frankly amazed that anyone might have misunderstood it — what I’m saying is that liberals and environmentalists shouldn’t be blamed for this. Don’t politicize the incident by hanging the actions of a lunatic around their neck. What I meant up top about reminding them of this the next time they politicize something done by a right-wing nut was merely how this proves that there are crazies of all stripes and that I didn’t try to score a cheap political point against them today when the opportunity presented itself. Is this really that complicated?

Ann Althouse

Instapundit

Won’t Al Gore please stop it with his extremist, eliminationist rhetoric before he inspires still more violence?

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Filed under Crime, Environment, TV

Eli Lake Gets The Scoop On The Soft

Eli Lake at Washington Times:

The Obama administration is pressing Congress to provide an exemption from Iran sanctions to companies based in “cooperating countries,” a move that likely would exempt Chinese and Russian concerns from penalties meant to discourage investment in Iran.

The Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act is in a House-Senate conference committee and is expected to reach President Obama’s desk by Memorial Day.

“It’s incredible the administration is asking for exemptions, under the table and winking and nodding, before the legislation is signed into law,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Florida Republican and a conference committee member, said in an interview. A White House official confirmed Wednesday that the administration was pushing the conference committee to adopt the exemption of “cooperating countries” in the legislation.

Neither the House nor Senate version of the bill includes a “cooperating countries” provision even though the administration asked the leading sponsors of the Senate version of the bill nearly six months ago to include one.

Ben Smith at Politico:

A Middle East hand sends over an excerpt of Eli Lake’s story today on the White House working to soften congressional plans to sanction Iran on behalf of Chinese and Russian companies. My source says the following took place in the bicameral, bipartisan leadership meeting with Obama at the White House April 14:

One congressional staff member working on the bill told The Washington Times that Mr. Obama personally asked the House leadership this month to put off the sanctions bill until after the current work period. Shortly after that meeting, both the House and Senate named conferees for the legislation.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary:

What could possibly be the rationale for this? Why the Obami are working on an international agreement, of course, and we can’t let sanctions with bite get in the way of international sanctions without any. This is the substitution of the intermediary goal — international agreement — for the end goal (it is the end goal, right?): an effective sanctions regimen to thwart Iran’s nuclear program. It seems our real interest is to make China and Russia happy — and exempt them from public scrutiny for doing business with the mullahs

[…]

Apparently, the administration has given up on the end goal of effective sanctions and is now in the business of papering over its failure with an international agreement (that must be held together with bribes and favors to Russia and China). This is the equivalent of “engagement” — a time waster that allows the Iranian regime still more time to proceed with its nuclear plans.

Israel Matzav:

I first reported the story here, and noted that the original proposal was a blanket exception for the P 5+1, which, as you might imagine, angered other US allies like Japan and South Korea.

Well, you didn’t think Obama was going to drop it, did you?

My guess is that Democrats who are worried about their seats come November are not going to vote with Obama on this. Hopefully, that’s all of them.

Mark Hemingway at The Washington Examiner:

The article also notes that China recently broke ground on a factory in Iran “that will build the Nasr-1 anti-ship missile.”

Daniel Foster at The Corner

John Hinderaker at Powerline:

In foreign policy, the Obama administration is setting a new standard for fecklessness.

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Filed under Legislation Pending, Middle East

Enter The Hobot

Mark Leibovich at NYT:

Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with the same reporter: Mike Allen of Politico, who is also the first reporter Pfeiffer corresponds with after he wakes up at 4:20. A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours, if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him. The abiding certainty about Allen is that sometime between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., seven days a week, he hits “send” on a mass e-mail newsletter that some of America’s most influential people will read before they say a word to their spouses.

llen’s e-mail tipsheet, Playbook, has become the principal early-morning document for an elite set of political and news-media thrivers and strivers. Playbook is an insider’s hodgepodge of predawn news, talking-point previews, scooplets, birthday greetings to people you’ve never heard of, random sightings (“spotted”) around town and inside jokes. It is, in essence, Allen’s morning distillation of the Nation’s Business in the form of a summer-camp newsletter.

Like many in Washington, Pfeiffer describes Allen with some variation on “the most powerful” or “important” journalist in the capital. The two men exchange e-mail messages about six or eight times a day. Allen also communes a lot with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff; Robert Gibbs, the press secretary; David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior adviser; and about two dozen other White House officials. But Pfeiffer is likely Allen’s main point of contact, the one who most often helps him arrive at a “West Wing Mindmeld,” as Playbook calls it, which is essentially a pro-Obama take on that day’s news. (Allen gets a similar fill from Republicans, which he also disseminates in Playbook.)

Pfeiffer tells Allen the message that the Obama administration is trying to “drive” that morning ­— “drive” being the action verb of choice around the male-dominated culture of Politico, a three-year-old publication, of which the oft-stated goal is to become as central to political addicts as ESPN is to sports junkies. “Drive” is a stand-in for the stodgier verb “influence.” If, say, David S. Broder and R. W. Apple Jr. were said to “influence the political discourse” through The Washington Post and The New York Times in the last decades of the 20th century, Politico wants to “drive the conversation” in the new-media landscape of the 21st. It wants to “win” every news cycle by being first with a morsel of information, whether or not the morsel proves relevant, or even correct, in the long run — and whether the long run proves to be measured in days, hours or minutes.

In Politico parlance, “influence” is less a verb than the root of a noun. Politico’s top editors describe “influentials” (or “compulsives”) as their target audience: elected officials, political operatives, journalists and other political-media functionaries. Since early 2007, Allen’s “data points,” as he calls the items in Playbook, have become the cheat sheet of record for a time-starved city in which the power-and-information hierarchy has been upended. It is also a daily totem for those who deride Washington as a clubby little town where Usual Suspects talk to the same Usual Suspects in a feedback loop of gamesmanship, trivia, conventional wisdom and personality cults.

Mike Allen at Politico:

FIRST LOOK — “BLACKBERRY BREAKFAST” — N.Y. Times national political reporter Mark Leibovich’s 8,100-word cover story of Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, “THE MAN THE WHITE HOUSE WAKES UP TO: Mike Allen and the Politico-ization of Washington … The Insider’s Insider”: “Playbook has become the principal early-morning document for an elite set of political and news-media thrivers and strivers. … [M]any in Washington … [describe] Allen with some variation on ‘the most powerful’ or ‘important’ journalist in the capital. … Allen’s ‘data points’ … have become the cheat sheet of record for a time-starved city in which the power-and-information hierarchy has been upended. … ‘He is part mascot and part sleepless narrator of our town,’ Tracy Sefl … told me by e-mail. … ‘Washington narratives and impressions are no longer shaped by the grand pronouncements of big news organizations,’ said Allen … ‘The smartest people in politics give us the kindling, and we light the fire.’ … … Playbook has become the political-media equivalent of those food pills that futurists envision will replace meals. … [T]he Playbook community … includes a former president, two former vice presidents, C.E.O.’s and network anchors … If … Axelrod can’t read the papers before rushing off to the White House, he will scroll through Playbook during his six-block ride to work … [Leibo:] I read Playbook every morning on my BlackBerry, usually while my copies of The New York Times and The Washington Post are in plastic bags. … [John] Harris readily acknowledges that Politico is ‘not for everybody,’ and [Jim] VandeHei said they have begun focusing their recruiting on New York, because ‘the city produces reporters who are fearless, fast and ruthlessly competitive.’” Cover image, shot in the Playbook Cabana at POLITICO World Headquarters

Ben Smith at Politico:

Yes, there’s more navel-gazing this morning: The cover of this week’s Times Magazine is an 8,000 word profile of my colleague Mike Allen, whose morning Playbook — sign up here — has become a central piece of Washington’s mechanics. (“I definitely read it in bed,” sys Katie Couric.)

The piece is on the “POLITICO-ization” of Washington, but largely on Mike, “part mascot and part sleepless narrator of our town,” as Tracy Sefl says.

Mark Leibovich is a wonderful writer, and while I don’t agree with every word, the piece is worth a read through. Playbook is my first read every morning (and unlike some of my colleagues, I’m more about fighting the morning to a draw than winning it), and has always struck me as an unusual phenomenon, in part — though this isn’t the focus of the piece — because it’s so collegial, warm, and small-towny in a city whose inhabitants are, in reality, trying to destroy one another.

And of course, the Times piece arrived first through the filter of Playbook.

Doug J. on Ben Smith:

On the same topic, Ben Smith writes the most nauseating sentence I have ever read in my life:

Playbook is my first read every morning (and unlike some of my colleagues, I’m more about fighting the morning to a draw than winning it), and has always struck me as an unusual phenomenon, in part—though this isn’t the focus of the piece—because it’s so collegial, warm, and small-towny in a city whose inhabitants are, in reality, trying to destroy one another.Because that’s what matters, that all the Villagers can jerk each other off in a glorified gossip page, while our civilization collapses.

Jason Linkins at Huffington Post:

Oh boy! Today the fecund womb of the New York Times magazine has birthed into the world Mark Leibovich’s seventy-kabillion word essay on Politico’s Mike Allen, which I think is titled “I Was Told There’d Be Cheap Media Narratives” or something.

Alex Pareene says: “This is such terrible inside baseball that, honestly, I don’t expect any living human being not currently employed by a web publication charged with ‘covering’ the political media to have clicked through.” Gah, guess who fits that description!

So, okay. Here are all the interesting things you can learn from this story:

Things You Already Knew:

–“[White House Communications Director Dan] Pfeiffer tells Allen the message that the Obama administration is trying to ‘drive’ that morning.” Ha! And yet the Obama administration will often tell you that they are totally above such manipulations!

–“[Politico] wants to ‘win’ every news cycle by being first with a morsel of information, whether or not the morsel proves relevant, or even correct, in the long run — and whether the long run proves to be measured in days, hours or minutes.” Yes. Politico has basically overcome the need to be “relevant” or “correct” through a practice by which their irrelevance and incorrectness later becomes a “Politico exclusive.”

–“‘The people in this community, they all want to read the same 10 stories,’ [Allen] said, table-hopping in the Hay-Adams. ‘And to find all of those, you have to read 1,000 stories. And we do that for you.'” They actually go on to publish all 1,000 stories, but never mind.

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–“Politico today remains a White House shorthand for everything the administration claims to dislike about Washington — Beltway myopia, politics as daily sport.” Coincidentally, these are also the very things that Americans dislike about Washington!

–Leibovich says: “I have also been a source: after I ‘spotted’ Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at an organic Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood last year — picking up kung pao chicken with brown rice (‘for Tim’) — I dutifully e-mailed Allen with the breaking news.” AMERICA WAS NEVER THE SAME AGAIN.

–“Like Woodward, Allen can be tagged with the somewhat loaded moniker of ‘access journalist.'” SOMEWHAT LOADED!

–“Allen reported that The Post was planning to hold paid salons for lobbyists at the home of its publisher, Katharine Weymouth, setting off a firestorm.” And to be sure, that was a superb story, the impact of which is only slightly lessened when you get to the part of Leibovich’s story where he describes the Mardi Gras party hosted by a lobbyist and attended by the very worst human beings in Washington.

–“While Harris and VandeHei say — rightly — that Politico has devoted lots of space and effort to, say, the health care debate, many of its prominent stories on the subject followed a reductive, who’s-up-who’s-down formula.” Indeed, this is true. I doubt that anyone at Politico is even aware of what “health care” does, or why it is so relevant to millions of Americans.

Things That Maybe You Didn’t Already Know

–“Before he goes to sleep, between 11 and midnight, Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, typically checks in by e-mail with” Allen. Whether or not Pfeiffer takes the opportunity to ask, “Do you think I could talk to Dick Cheney, who is probably lying right there?” is left unmentioned.

–“In 1993, Allen was covering a trial in Richmond, Va., for The New York Times (as a stringer) and The Richmond Times-Dispatch (which employed him). He found a pay phone, darted into the street and got whacked by a car.” WAIT. As someone who used to live in Richmond, I am left to ask, in awe: Mike Allen found a working pay phone?!

–“Working for Politico is ‘like tackle football,’ VandeHei reminds people, which might explain why most of Politico’s best-known bylines are male.” Another explanation is that maybe there is some sort of institutionalized sexism in most American newsrooms?

–“In Politico parlance, ‘influence’ is less a verb than the root of a noun.” Uhm…o-kay then!

Things That Are… What’s The Term I’m Looking For? Oh, Yes. “Vaguely Disturbing”:

–“Allen — who is childless and owns no cars or real estate — perpetually picks up meal and beverage tabs for his friend-sources (the dominant hybrid around Mikey).” I submit to you: “friend-source” is quite possibly the saddest word in the English language.

–“Another construct (originating outside Politico) is that Harris and VandeHei are God and Jesus — it’s unclear who is who — and that Allen is the Holy Ghost. When I mentioned this to Allen recently, he was adamant that it is meant to be facetious and that no one at Politico really believes that.” Having met many Politico reporters, I can attest to the fact that this is true, and can add that “God” and “Jesus” are actually entities from which Politico reporters seek relief and/or mercy.

–“Allen has been spotted dozing in public — campaign planes, parties — clutching his BlackBerry with two hands against his chest like a teddy bear.” It won’t love you back, Mikey!

Kevin Drum:

Here is Mark Leibovich of the New York Times on how Mike Allen’s “Playbook” has become the abridged Bible of modern time-crunched Washington:

“The people in this community, they all want to read the same 10 stories,” [Allen] said, table-chopping in the Hay-Adams. “And to find all of those, you have to read 1,000 stories. And we do that for you.”

As a practical matter, here is how Allen’s 10 stories influence the influentials. Cable bookers, reporters and editors read Playbook obsessively, and it’s easy to pinpoint exactly how an item can spark copycat coverage that can drive a story. Items become segment pieces on “Morning Joe,” the MSNBC program, where there are 10 Politico Playbook segments each week, more than half of them featuring Allen. This incites other cable hits, many featuring Politico reporters, who collectively appear on television about 125 times a week. There are subsequent links to Politico stories on The Drudge Report, The Huffington Post and other Web aggregators that newspaper assigning editors and network news producers check regularly. “Washington narratives and impressions are no longer shaped by the grand pronouncements of big news organizations,” said Allen, a former reporter for three of them — The Washington Post, The New York Times and Time magazine. “The smartest people in politics give us the kindling, and we light the fire.”

For years I’ve avoided reading Playbook (and The Note and First Read) solely because everyone else does read them. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t influence me, of course, it just means that I’m unaware of the influence. I remain unsure whether I’m better off that way or not.

But groupthink is hard enough to avoid already. Deliberately immersing yourself in it just seems absurd. I guess if I were more of a political junkie I’d understand.

Matthew Yglesias:

I think the 15 minutes thing is really pernicious and by no means restricted to Allen. Journalism, as a vocation, highly valorizes breaking news. In part this is about making money, but it’s more fundamentally about the value system of the profession. You defend someone’s work by saying “that ignores Allen’s ability to break news” because breaking news is what it’s all about—the journalism equivalent of collecting championship rings.

But there are really two ways to break news. A Type 1 scoop is a story that if you don’t break, just won’t be broken. A Type 2 scoop is a pure race for priority. You get Type 2 scoops by becoming the favored destination for deliberate leaks, or by ferreting out information that will be officially announced soon enough (Joe Biden will be Obama’s VP pick!), or by chasing down an obvious-but-arduous-to-follow lead. These Type 2 scoops are structurally similar to “breaking news” but they don’t have any real value. Far too often in Washington we have a dozen reporters following something, and then at the margin three more tag along. Meanwhile, almost nobody is doing enterprise work around investigating non-obvious issues. You have way more people covering the White House’s response to the latest attack from Liz Cheney than covering the entire Department of Agriculture and nobody knows what scandals or stories or whatever we’re missing. And it’s largely because we place undue value on the idea of beating the other guy by 15 minutes.

Mark Hemingway at Washington Examiner:

This week’s New York Times magazine has a profile of Mike Allen, the political reporter that writes Politico’s “Playbook” feature. Allen is certainly influential and it’s not surprising that the Times would profile him. Although this “disclosure” by writer Mark Leibovich well into the piece is a pretty damning indictment of the beltway media culture:

I should disclose a few things: I have known Mike Allen for more than a decade. We worked together at The Washington Post, where I spent nine years and where I came to know VandeHei and Harris. We all have the same friends and run into each other a lot, and I have told them how much I admire what they have achieved at Politico. I like them all.

In other words, I write this from within the tangled web of “the community.” I read Playbook every morning on my BlackBerry, usually while my copies of The New York Times and The Washington Post are in plastic bags. When Allen links to my stories, I see a happy uptick in readership. I have also been a source: after I “spotted” Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner at an organic Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood last year — picking up kung pao chicken with brown rice (“for Tim”) — I dutifully e-mailed Allen with the breaking news.

Again, it’s hard to argue that Allen doesn’t merit a profile — but perhaps Leibovich should step down from his position of as president of Mike Allen’s fan club before he writes a profile of him for the paper of record. Otherwise it merely serves to confirm the reader’s already well-founded suspicions that this is a puff piece.

Dan Amira at New York Magazine:

But perhaps even more interesting to anyone not entirely excited by political-media navel-gazing is the article’s focus on the quirks of Playbook’s scribe, Mike Allen, who, it seems, shares few qualities with the human race but many with homeless people and robots. Please bear with us as we review the evidence:

A hyperactive former Eagle Scout, Allen will have been up for hours [by 4:20 a.m.], if he ever went to bed. Whether or not he did is one of the many little mysteries that surround him ….

Okay, so Allen gets very little, if any, sleep.

A corollary are “Mikey Sightings,” a bipartisan e-mail chain among prominent people who track Allen’s stutter-stepping whereabouts — his showing up out of nowhere, around corners, at odd hours, sometimes a few time zones away …

He possesses the ability to teleport. So far, we’re looking at some kind of futuristic robot.

Allen — who is childless and owns no cars or real estate — perpetually picks up meal and beverage tabs for his friend-sources (the dominant hybrid around Mikey). He kisses women’s hands and thanks you so much for coming, even though the party is never at his home, which not even his closest friends have seen …

Nobody has seen his house? A few points for hobo.

Allen also has a tendency to suddenly vanish. But then he will pop up on a TV screen a few minutes later….

Robot!

People routinely wonder whether Allen actually lives somewhere besides the briefing rooms, newsrooms, campaign hotels or going-away dinners for Senator So-and-So’s press secretary that seem to be his perpetual regimen.

Hobo!

And they wonder, “Does Mikey ever sleep?”

The query tires him. He claims he tries to sleep six hours a night, which seems unrealistic for someone who says he tries to wake at 2 or 3 a.m. to start Playbook after evenings that can include multiple stops (and trails of midnight-stamped e-mail) … I asked Allen if he slept during the day, and he said no …

Robot!

It is almost impossible to find anyone who has seen his home (a rented apartment, short walk to the office). “Never seen the apartment,” volunteered Robert L. Allbritton, Politico’s publisher, midinterview. “No man’s land.” When sharing a cab, Allen is said to insist that the other party be dropped off first. One friend describes driving Allen home and having him get out at a corner; in the rearview mirror, the friend saw him hail a cab and set off in another direction. I’ve heard more than one instance of people who sent holiday cards to Allen’s presumed address only to have them returned unopened. One former copy editor at Politico, Campbell Roth, happened to buy a Washington condominium a few years ago that Allen had just vacated. She told me the neighbors called the former tenant “brilliant but weird” and were “genuinely scared about some fire-code violation” based on the mountains of stuff inside.

Shady hobo who hoards garbage! Okay, this is too much for us. Hopefully someone will eventually figure out whether Allen is the nation’s first successful hobo-reporter, or the nation’s first high-tech robot-reporter. Or both? Mike Allen: Politico’s hobot.

Wonkette:

The “gotcha” part of the NYT “takedown” of Politico/Mike Allen is so pathetic, we feel bad for Mike Allen. Turns out his dad, who died a quarter-century ago, was a wingnut who wrote John Birch crap and was suspicious of government! Sort of like EVERY OTHER DAD IN ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA. Conversely, Mike Allen enjoys writing about Washington power structures, and knowing the people involved. Outrage? Anyway, that’s the “takedown” that explains this earlier bit (page three? page seven?) about Mike Allen being creepy/private.

Yet even Allen’s supposed confidants say that there is a part of Mikey they will never know or even ask about. He is obsessively private. He has given different dates to different friends for the date of his birthday. I asked three of Allen’s close friends if they knew what his father did. One said “teacher,” another said “football coach” and the third said “newspaper columnist.” A 2000 profile of Allen in The Columbia Journalism Review described his late father as an “investor.”

It is almost impossible to find anyone who has seen his home (a rented apartment, short walk to the office). “Never seen the apartment,” volunteered Robert L. Allbritton, Politico’s publisher, mid-interview. “No man’s land.” When sharing a cab, Allen is said to insist that the other party be dropped off first. One friend describes driving Allen home and having him get out at a corner; in the rearview mirror, the friend saw him hail a cab and set off in another direction. I’ve heard more than one instance of people who sent holiday cards to Allen’s presumed address only to have them returned unopened.

BREAKING: Obsessive reporter is kind of weird, but also nice to people, and is proud to work for douche-y D.C. publication. Meh. Congrats, NYT Magazine and friend-of-Mike-Allen reporter, for writing some 11-page dingbat personality profile instead of an actual news article about the corrosive garbage farted out by the Politico. Good use of that “long form journalistic feature writing” seminar, mysterious anecdote at the 1/3 mark, shocking revelation/sad denouement to close the article.

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I’d Like To Be Under The Sea, In A Commercial Mortgage Garden In The Shade

Andrew Ross Sorkin‘s Dealbook at NYT:

Elizabeth Warren, head of Congressional oversight for TARP and a major backer of the idea of a consumer protection agency, told CNBC on Monday that the U.S. economy still had a hard road ahead.

“By the end of the year, about half of all commercial real estate loans are gonna by underwater, and they are concentrated in the midsize banks,” she said. (Short-sellers, at least, may have something to look forward to.) “We now have 2,988 banks that have these dangerous concentrations of commercial real estate lending.”

She said that the banks’ exposure to shaky commercial real estate would have two upshots: 1) since they were already suffering since the subprime crisis, their stability might be affected; and 2) the midsize banks “are the banks that are supposed to be doing small business lending, and when they’re getting a sock in the teeth over over commercial real estate loans, they’re not in a position to be lending to small business,” Ms. Warren told CNBC.

“I think we have another very serious economic problem that we’re going to have to resolve in the next three years,” she said.

Philip Davis at Seeking Alpha:

An example of how fast things are falling apart on the CRE side is LNR Property Corp, who are managing $22Bn worth of distressed CRE loans which were obtained through the discounted purchase of CMBS. As a workout shop, LNR either negotiates with borrowers to make a loan current or forecloses on the property to extract as much cash as possible from the delinquent mortgage. And while LNR used to make a nice profit working out the occasional bad loans, now the company and its competitors face a flood of bad debt. “It’s tough going for everybody right now,” said Lisa Pendergast, managing director of CMBS strategy and risk at Jefferies & Co. and the incoming president of the Commercial Real Estate Finance Council. ``I don’t think anybody built these [workout] shops to see these huge volumes of loans going bad.”

By LNR’s estimate, the front is widening with no relief yet visible on the horizon. We’re seeing vacancy rates in most markets going up. We’re seeing rental rates in most markets going down,” Ronald Schrager, LNR’s chief operating officer, told a recent real estate conference in Miami Beach. “There’s still a lot more distress ahead of us.” This distress is not isolated in Florida either – Downtown Manhattan, which had, until recently, seemed immune to the CRE problems, is about to lose its spot as the best-performing U.S. market. Vacancies may exceed 14 percent of the area’s 87 million square feet by late 2011, empty space that’s equivalent to four Empire State Buildings and is the highest rate since 1997. “The amount of space that’s potentially going to come to the market will increase availabilities and put pressure on pricing,” said Kenneth McCarthy, Cushman’s head of New York- area research. “It will be quite awhile before it can be absorbed.”

Mark Hemingway at The Washington Examiner:

On the plus side, Warren seems to be aware that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are disasters for the taxpayer:

// //

Speaking on troubled mortgage lenders, Warren said it’s time for the government to “pull the plug” on mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

“I’m one of those people who never liked public-private partnership to begin with. I think what they did was use public when public was useful and private when private was useful,” she said. “And I think we’ve got to rethink that whole thing.”

But before you get too hopeful, bear in mind that this is also the same Elizabeth Warren who thought that bailing out the mortgages of vacation homes was a good idea.

James at Bubble Meter:

I also think we should pull the plug on AIG and the FHA. AIG is a zombie. The FHA is just getting into deeper and deeper financial trouble, all in an effort to prop up home prices above their intrinsic value.

Megan Carpentier at The Washington Independent:

Elizabeth Warren warned in February that commercial real estate was the next recovery-killer, and since nothing improved by March, Tim Geithner yesterday took to CNBC to acknowledge the problem with commercial real estate and push the administration’s program to incentivize small banks to lend to small businesses as the solution.

One way to help manage the commercial loan distress, Geithner said, is through the $30 billion fund proposed by President Barack Obama to provide money to midsize and community banks if they boost lending to small businesses.

He did not clarify how giving money to some banks for an entirely unrelated purpose would solve a commercial real estate crisis.

Earlier in the day, TARP Congressional Oversight Panel chair Elizabeth Warren warned that more than half of commercial real estate would be underwater by the middle of 2010.

“They are [mostly] concentrated in the mid-sized banks,” Warren told CNBC. “We now have 2,988 banks—mostly midsized, that have these dangerous concentrations in commercial real estate lending.”

In February, Warren noted that $1.4 trillion in commercial real estate loans would need to be refinanced between 2011 and 2014 when the shorter-term commercial real estate mortgages end, and a significant proportion of those are underwater already. More than $50 billion in commercial real estate mortgages are already in default or foreclosure — both figures are far larger than Geithner’s $30 billion plan to extend credit to small businesses. Sheila Bair, the chair of the FDIC, expects that commercial real estate defaults and losses will be the number-one factor that drives small and medium-sized banks into failure this year at a higher rate than they experienced in 2009. Extending credit to small businesses to the tune of $30 billion doesn’t seem like the best solution to the coming commercial real estate crisis or its downstream effects on businesses or the banks holding the loans.

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Dede Dials 911

John McCormack at TWS:

Earlier today Lindsay Beyerstein reported that Scozzafava responded to an AFL-CIO questionnaire by saying she would support card-check legislation that eliminates the secret ballot requirement for organizing unions. As Beyerstein notes, this contradict statements made by a Scozzafava spokesman in September.

So after the dinner, I asked Assemblywoman Scozzafava if she supports card check. “Yes, yes I do,” she replied.

At that point someone from her campaign placed himself between Scozzafava and me and told me I should direct all my inquires to the campaign’s spokesman. I nonetheless asked Scozzafava if her signing of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge not to vote to raise taxes means she would oppose any health care bill that raises taxes. “What kind of taxes?” she replied. Then another couple of gentlemen interposed themselves between Scozzafava and me as Scozzafava headed for the door.

I spotted Scozzafava later as she was walking to the parking lot, and asked her: ” Assemblywoman, do you believe that the health-care bill should exclude coverage for abortion?” She didn’t reply. I asked her twice more. Silence.

After she got into her car, I went to my car and fired up my laptop to report the evening’s events.

Minutes later a police car drove into the parking lot with its lights flashing. Officer Grolman informed me that she was called because “there was a little bit of an uncomfortable situation” and then took down my name, date of birth, and address.

“Maybe we do things a little differently here, but you know, persistence in that area, you scared the candidate a little bit,” Officer Grolman told me.

“[Scozzafava] got startled, that’s all,” Officer Grolman added. “It’s not like you’re in any trouble.”

That was good to hear.

But I do wonder if it’s the Scozzafava campaign that’s in trouble–with a candidate who supports card check, who is unwilling to say she’d oppose a health care bill that raises taxes or includes abortion coverage, and who is so reluctant to answer questions that she has someone with her campaign call the cops when she’s questioned by a reporter who is (if I may say so) polite–if a bit persistent.

Scott Johnson at Powerline

Mark Hemingway at National Review

Michelle Malkin:

What happened when the unfailingly polite John McCormack of The Weekly Standard tried to nail down pro-abortion, pro-card check, tax-hiking GOP NY-23 candidate Dede Scozzafava on her radical leftist positions?

She affirmed her support of the union power grab and refused to answer whether the government health care takeover proposals should cover abortion. She refused to answer other questions.

And then her campaign called the cops on McCormack.

Can’t stand the heat? Dial 911!

Jillian Bandes at Townhall:

Maybe McCormack wasn’t any trouble, but when was the last time you heard a political candidate actually becoming so skittish over a reporter’s questioning that she was compelled to contact the authorities? That’s a candidate who not only doesn’t know what’s good for her, but one who has a lot to hide.

Erick Erickson at Redstate:

The insanity that is Dede Scozzafava continues in New York’s 23rd Congressional District.

Last night, Scozzafava said people should vote for her to prevent the Democrat being a rubber stamp for Pelosi and Obama.

She then went on to reverse her position on card check — she now supports it.

She then went on to refuse to say whether she thought abortion funding should be in the health care bill.

Then, as people continued to ask her questions, she called the police to make the reporters stop.

It is increasingly apparently that Dede Scozzafava wants to be Barack Obama’s rubber stamp.

Ben Smith at Politico:

UPDATE: Scozzafava aide Matt Burns emails that calling her a “liberal Republican” is “bogus” and writes:

Agree or not with Dede Scozzafava’s positions, she should still be afforded a basic level of respect. Asking tough questions is one thing, but acting like John McCormack did tonight shows a complete lack of decency. This self-described reporter repeatedly screamed questions while our candidate was doing what she is supposed to be doing: speaking with voters (remember, those who will decide this election?). And then this “reporter” followed the candidate to her car, continuing to carry on in a manner that would make the National Enquirer blush. That’s the truth, but maybe that doesn’t matter to your readers.

Bill Kristol at TWS:

Now the Scozzafava campaign accuses John of “a complete lack of decency” and of behaving in a “reprehensible” way. This is ludicrous. Needless to say, the police found nothing amiss. Moreover, the fact is that John didn’t interrupt a conversation between Ms. Scozzafava and voters — she wasn’t talking to voters when John approached her. Nor did John “scream,” nor did he get “in the face” of the candidate — he was at least ten feet away from her in the parking lot, partly because a Scozzafava staffer interposed himself as John tried to ask substantive public policy questions of Ms. Scozzafava. The notion that John intended to “follow her home” is of course risible.

Let me emphasize: I have full confidence in the truth of John’s account. And I won’t allow a desperate campaign to try to tarnish the fine reputation John has built as a fair and accurate reporter — and, for that matter, a very decent and mild-mannered young man.

As it happens, I was standing near John’s desk in the office this past Friday. The phone rang. It was Scozzafava campaign spokesman Matt Burns, who didn’t like something John had reported, and started yelling abusively at him the moment he answered the phone. We could hear Mr. Burns ten feet away. I gather Mr. Burns called later to apologize. I suppose John would accept another apology by the Scozzafava campaign. But it really would be better not to start down the road of berating reporters for accurately reporting the facts, or of calling the police when your candidate doesn’t like the questions reporters are asking.

EARLIER: Scozzafava V. Owens V. Hoffman V. GOP Establishment V. Blogosphere

UPDATE: Eric Kleefeld at TPM with e-mails between TWS and the campaign.

UPDATE #2: Mary Katherine Ham

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