6/30/2005 05:14:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|An internet observation
The comment threads on Eschaton are the political equivilent of the talkbacks on Ain't it Cool News. Just page after page of goofy, insane, sarcastic bitching, often very funny. Example - the comments on this thread. (Note: "Chimpeach!" is a lefty blog catchphrase meaning "the president looks like a monkey and should be impeached. Yeah, I don't get it either.")
Impeach Lord Dim von Wit and doubly for Cardinal Cardiac
Only 50% do NOT "share this view"?
During the attempt to impeach Clinton's penis, I don't remember the numbers ever coming even close to that.
Expect Zogby to be put through the wringer for asking the impeachment question. Remember, Chimpy could celebrate July 4th by wiping his arse with the Declaration of Independence, and Instafuckwit would link with 'Heh. Indeed.'
definitely in the last throes of his presidency
Chimpeach ALL these mother fucking traitors!
ELizabeth! This is the big one!
40 before the 4th! The margin of error is such that we can pretty much claim it now! 35 by the 5th!
Zogby. That's a middle eastern name, isn't it? Is he a SWARTHY man?
Hey let's get Zogby to take this poll and see what the results are?
Q: Should we impeach Vice President Cheney just to fuck with him?
I bet we get pretty good numbers.
"supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country."
--bunker busterThis isn't even one of the dumber threads. Look for the ones with 600+ comments - they're awesome.|W|P|112016729375978365|W|P||W|P|6/30/2005 03:01:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|News you won't get anywhere else
Natalee Holloway is/was not very attractive. I'd say she is/was a 4. Scrawny, blank eyes, big nose.
Surely this "pretty white girl missing" news fixation must end when the missing girls cease to be pretty.|W|P|112015816976208043|W|P||W|P|6/28/2005 07:50:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|The sound of my skull
This is the sound currently ricocheting in my skull:
POUND POUND POUND POUND POUND.
I'd like to give my immune system a big up for giving me an A-plus fever on a Tuesday, when I'm on deadline.|W|P|111995949007636120|W|P||W|P|6/26/2005 12:59:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Kate O'Beirne
I don't love her, but I love this:
Would we be less concerned with the fate of Natalee Holloway if she had been manning a checkpoint outside Fallujah along with other 18-year-old American girls rather than gone missing from a high school graduation celebration in Aruba?|W|P|111976199856208045|W|P||W|P|6/24/2005 01:47:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Rove
One of my pet peeves is the assignment of grand, historical, Hari Seldon-style powers to Karl Rove. To wit, the other day in New York he said this:
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.Liberal Democrats, mostly those six representing the three states that house most 9/11 victims, called for an apology. Some people think this was what Rove wanted all along.
Trouble is, those demands just provide an excuse for Republicans to repeat every single stupid or unpatriotic thing that every Democratic politician ever said. And there are a lot of those. ... And because the usual suspects in the media could be expected to pick up on the Rove story much faster than the Durbin story (as they did) now there's a news hook.
Yeah, he's pretty smart.And Glenn links to a bunch of people with the same thoughts. More of this:
Pounding the table about how Democrats aren't insecure therapy-seeking wimps doesn't seem like a very helpful argument for the Democrats to be having in the national media.Goldberg isn't actually saying that Rove trapped Democrats into doing that, but the sentiments are reflected in the "Rove-a-dope" crowd.
This is why I think Democrats are actually playing this one right.
1.)Rove didn't plan it. By appearences, the GOP was caught off guard - an organization that can blast Howard Dean within nanoseconds of a gaffe took around 8 hours after Democrats began attacking to come up with a statement. The statement, which spotlights controversial things liberals and Democrats have said about terrorism, is actually fairly crappy - quotes are out of order, big deal quotes are forgotten (Sen. Patty Murray's praise of a humanitarian bin Laden), most of the quotes don't actually reactions to 911, and it's apparently assembled from other old press releases.
By all means, politicans in the Rovesphere often bait their opponents. In mid-2004, George Bush started putting a line in his speeches about whether John Kerry would still vote "yes" on the Iraq force resolution. The intention, as revealed by Newsweek and in "Boy Genius," was to bait Kerry into responding with a gaffe, and it sort of worked (he said he would have voted for it because it was "the right authority for a president to have," which nonetheless reinforced his flip-lop image).
But given the speed of response, the nature of the quote (the "therapy" part seems to be a riff on a Liam Neeson line in Batman Begins), and the location, it would seem that Rove was just giving a red meat speech and the media-savvy/whore New York Democrats/Clinton campaign found it and ran with the ball. They did the same when NY GOP chairman Stephen Minarik compared Democrats to convicted terrorism lawyer Lynne Stewart, and Minarik fumbled badly - Gov. Pataki distanced himself from that comment.
Actually, as I write this, McClellan is dissembling on the quote and claiming that Democrats have aligned themselves with MoveOn.org and Michael Moore. Which segues nicely ...
2.) Democrats are not hurting their image. Republicans have been saying what Rove said for three years, in the media and in election campaigns. You're familiar with the obvious examples ("sensitive war," etc), but here's one of my favorites.
At the end of the 2004 campaign, with Kerry ahead in the Pennsylvania polls, Democrat Lois Murphy was running in a dead heat against incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach. A week before the campaign, Gerlach ran an ad on the premise that MoveOn.org had endorsed Murphy. Here's one media account.
In one television ad sponsored by the Gerlach campaign, on screen text reads, "HOW DESPERATE IS LOIS MURPHY." Following a screening of a Murphy photo, the same visual reads, "OPPOSED Taliban Retaliation after 9/11."
Murphy said that the next portion of the commercial goes "really beyond the pale." A camera then pans over a map of Afghanistan, with text which flashes across the screen that reads and implies that Murphy, "sanctioned rape" and then "public executions."
"Of course, I knew that there would be unpleasant and maybe unfair attacks, but even so, I never imagined my opponent would go this far," said Murphy. "The charges inthe ads are pure fiction. They have no basis in anything I've ever said, done or stood for."
Gerlach Press Secretary John Gentzel said during a Thursday interview, that the ads are in reaction to MoveOn.org, a national organization, which made contributions to the Murphy campaign.
"We think the ads are accurate," said Gentzel. "We have all the documentation to back them up. We think it is extremely fair for us to tell the voters what groups and organizations Lois Murphy is affiliated with."The ad was really something - one friend connected with the campaign called it the "six degrees of rape" commercial. And all Murphy did was accept an endorsement from MoveOn and endorsements from MoveOn donors. The point: If Democrats voted for every military bill and pro-war resolution in the next two years, Republicans would still be on the radio and in TV ads comparing them to MoveOn, Michael Moore, and by extension, terrorists. In the past, they've responsed to such attacks by - no offense to Ms. Murphy - whining like little girls. I don't see how actively attacking and demanding resignations for these attacks is a worse strategy.|W|P|111963805839270084|W|P||W|P|6/23/2005 11:50:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Messages
Annoying: Coming back from a vacation and finding a backlog of voicemails.
Really annoying: Finding out that more than half of these messages are from some genius thinking your number is a fax machine. These messages go like this: "BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP."
Really fucking annoying: Finding that your phone will not delete these messages until you've heard all of them beginning to end.|W|P|111954201724422017|W|P||W|P|6/22/2005 11:21:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Movies
Saw some. Got some thoughts.
Three-quarters of a fantastic superhero movie, and one quarter of a Steven Segal movie. Allow me to explain.
The acting, plotting and look of this movie is pretty much fantastic, on par with Superman, Spider-Man, and X-2. Batman's origin story is fast-paced and perfectly executed - it makes a well-worn comic cliche fresh by playing with chronology and adding cinematic twists. Christian Bale's performances as Batman and as Bruce Wayne are equally solid, and different - unlike the previous Batsuit wearers, he masks his voice and attitude when in crime-fighting mode. It'd be difficult to say much about the movie without spoiling it, save to say that it eschews the "let's make the plot simplistic and dumb so that people can concentrate on the awesome costumes" tactic of other superflicks. That being said, the fight scenes and battles that cap off the movie are sort of pedestrian. 4 out of 5 stars.
Like Rocky, but it's during the Great Depression and Apollo Creed is a Jew. 3 out of 5 stars.|W|P|111949847896271244|W|P||W|P|6/22/2005 02:39:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Slandertastic
I'm beginning to think Ed Klein is a Clinton-Soros-Elders of Zion plant. It's pretty hard to read his book or hear him talk and not want to vote for Hillary to piss him off.
I mean, "she's given all kinds of signals that her sexuality is in question"? That's 20 pounds of asshole in a 10 pound bag.|W|P|111946567494500609|W|P||W|P|6/22/2005 12:44:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|San Francisco
As I meant to report earluer on this blog, I left Virginia last Thursday for a long weekend in the San Francisco Bay area. My goals were few:
1)Hang out with Rich Bunnell.
Rich is the editor in chief of the award-winning Daily Californian, the newspaper of the University of California-Berkeley. Prior to this, starting in the mid-1990s, he was a reviewer and later webmaster for Mark Prindle's record review website. It was on this website in 1996-1998 I got my first experience writing for popular consumption, as did Rich. I moved to England and crapped out of the site - Rich took it over. From the late 1990s to 2003, he was running the hub of a very fun and nearly inexplicable group of music geek community called the Web Reviewing Community, or WRC.
Did I just say it was inexplicable, and then explain it? Sorry. The point is, Rich is one of two people responsible for my entry into journalism and my obsession with music. And I'd never met him til Thursday.
2)Meet Tim Cavanaugh.
The award-winning web editor of Reason magazine, who lives in a particularly homey part of San Francisco and has published some of my forementioned journalism.
3)Buy a shitload of records.
To my knowledge, the Bay area contains two of the best record stores on the planet. One's the Amoeba in San Francisco, pictured above. The other is the Amoeba in Berkeley.
4)Visit scenic San Francisco.
Writing about San Francisco in any fresh way is really beyond me - the city is so alive and so beautiful that it makes good on all its cliches.
Here's how it went.
12:30 pm - Arrive at Oakland airport and navigate public transportation back to Berkeley, where I deposit my luggage at Rich's co-op.
1:30 - Have lunch (Ghanan food) with Rich and his friends, then return to his place.
3:30 - Shop at Amoeba and then Rasputin music (a lesser but still cool store). Purchase 14 CDs for $58, then find the out of print Galaxie 500 box set for $35.
6:00 - Eat at Top Dog, a quality take-out restaurant near Rich's place, then walk back home.
9:00 - Go to a bar with Rich and a friend, then come home to crash.
10:00 am - Wake up and ready for a trip to San Francisco.
11:30 - Walk to BART train with Rich after eating breakfast burrito.
12:00 pm - Arrive in downtown SF, and take a cable car part of the way to the Notes From the Underground Cafe, where I will meet Tim.
12:40 - Meet Tim, then walk to a restaurant to buy a fish taco.
1:00 - Take fish tacos to the bar owned by an erudite friend of Tim. Eat, drink, and converse for hours.
4:00 - Walk, guided by Tim, to the Marina.
5:30 - Picked up by Mike Pap Rocki, another WRC vet and music nerd, with Rich and another WRCer named Mike DeFabio in tow.
6:00 - Arrive at Haight-Ashbury and locate the big Amoeba.
8:00 - Exit Amoeba, buy burritos.
9:20 - Arrive at Slim's to see The Go-Betweens. Sit through lame opening act that comes to life only during a cover of Depeche Mode's "Policy of Truth." Locate GB's singer Robert Forster watching the opener, and stand beside him before he goes backstage. Watch decent show (7/10) interrupted by a fight.
11:45 - Arrive back in Berkeley, avoid hoodlums that bust up a nearby Chinese restaurant.
12:30 am - Arrive at Rich's house, dawdling before going to sleep a few hours later.
12:45 pm - Wake up and go downtown for California-style hamburgers.
2:00 - Go to the downtown (Shaddach st) cineplex and buy tickets for Batman Begins. Hang out in local comic store before movie starts.
5:00 - Exit Batman Begins and return to Rich's place. Call Mike DeFabio, who lives nearby in Richmond, and schedule hanging out.
7:00 - Mike arrives, and we visit book stores on Telegraph Ave.
9:30 - Rich comes back and takes us to The Patio, a restaurant/bar that plays Brian Eno's "Here Come the Warm Jets." Drink local beer and eat lamb sandwich.
11:55 - Leave to meet someone at Top Dog. He never shows.
1:00 am - Return to co-op and watch an episode of "The Shield."
11:00 am - Wake up and head to BART station sans Rich. Buy banana and cranberry "smart muffin" (inedible wheat and nut base) for breakfast.
12:00 pm - Arrive in the Mission. Walk up Valencia Street stopping in interesting shops. Sudden diarrhea attack prompts trips to vegetarian restaurant, where I buy a $7 meatless cheesesteak to win bathroom privileges. As universe decrees it, I find $6 on the bathroom floor and defray the meal's cost.
2:30 - Reach Castro/Market and observe attractive gay couples. Walking up a hill to Haight Street when a cabbie stops and offers me a free ride to Haight/Ashbury.
3:30 - Hit Amoeba again to purchase CD I had put down on Friday. Begin walking to the Golden Gate bridge. March up many hills and then march through most of the Presidio.
5:45 - Reach Golden Gate Bridge and take photos. Am summoned back to Berkeley, and stumble back into downtown through several high-end Presidio neighborhoods and some substantial brush.
7:20 - Locate San Francisco proper and take a bus to the BART station.
8:30 - Arrive in North Berkeley and meet with Rich and friends at bar that's holding trivia contest. Lose contest, but buy barbecued chicken and eat it.
11:30 - Arrive back at Rich's. Watch two episodes of "Oz."
11:00 am - Wake up and pack. Take the books I've bought down to the post office to mail them home.
12:30 pm - Meet with Rich and have Chinese food at restaurant with abysmal service.
3:00 - Back at Rich's, swap CDs and MP3s. Pack the rest of my belongings.
6:00 - Go in the direction of BART. Buy boba and pot-stickers for the ride home.
7:10 - Board BART in direction of San Jose airport.
10:10 - Finally fucking reach San Jose airport. It's a septic third world pile of skinny terminals and broken soft drink dispensers.
11:00 - Board plane.
Keep in mind, that last event occured at 2 am ET, and five hours later I was transferring planes in Atlanta. Four hours after that I was at the office to work a full day.
All in all: Best trip ever.|W|P|111941861294966216|W|P||W|P|6/21/2005 04:57:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Michelle Malkin: Wrong
This is just too easy. Malkin grabs this Gallup poll and posts it for all to see.
- As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the US should continue to operate this facility or do you think the US should close this facility and transfer the prisoners to other facilities?
Continue to operate: 58
Close facility: 36
No opinion: 6
- In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?
No opinion: 11Quoth the Malkin: "Keep doing what you're doing, Gitmo-bashers. It's working wonders."
Which is funny, because it is working wonders. Gallup has not polled this exact question before, but they asked a set of Guantanamo questions on Jan 25-27, 2002.
Based on what you have heard or read, would you consider the way the U.S. is treating the Taliban soldiers being held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to be acceptable or unacceptable treatment, or don't you know enough to say?
Acceptable - 72%
Unacceptable - 4
Don't know enough to say - 24
Suppose a Taliban soldier were captured during war and held outdoors in an 8 foot by 8 foot cell, and when traveling from one location to another was blindfolded and had his hands bound. Would you consider that to be acceptable or unacceptable treatment?
Acceptable - 76%
Unacceptable - 20
No opinion - 4So, not the same phrasing as the June 2005 poll, but along similar lines - do you want to stick it to the prisoners at Gitmo? The percentage of people who say they do has fallen from 72%-76% to 52%-58%.
ABC tried out a different wording with a poll in September 2003.
Please tell me if you support or oppose the federal government ... holding suspected terrorists without trial at the U.S. (United States) military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Support - 65%
Oppose - 28
No opinion - 7Look, it's a sucker's bet to take a poll showing a slim majority of people saying "keep Guatanamo open" and say that shows "Gitmo-bashers" are flailing and losing ground. Support for all extreme imprisonment or interrogation measures has fallen since 9/11, and will continue falling unless there's another attack on US soil.
I suppose you could argue that it's a loser for Democrats to hammer the Gitmo issue, but Malkin's take is simply wrong.|W|P|111938851042493775|W|P||W|P|6/21/2005 03:25:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Wrong
I'm watching CNN, MSNBC and Fox break into their cable broadcasts to cover a press conference about a missing boy scout in Utah. It's like they heard all of us complaining about the coverage of missing white girls, and they got pissed off and started yelling "Oh yeah? Oh yeah? Well, you didn't say anything about missing white boys, you asshole!" And then gave us the finger.|W|P|111938211323459659|W|P||W|P|6/15/2005 12:11:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Oh god no
I've seen many fucked-up things in my time, but this takes the fucked-up cookie.
It's the rare book cover that can actually make you do a double-take as you read down vertically. "Silent witness - guh? Mark Fuhrman - double guh?"|W|P|111885198990384337|W|P||W|P|6/14/2005 01:21:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Late night email update
Need to email a source. Dave@davidweigel account - can't reach server. Daveweigel@gmail account - server error, check back later.
Baby Jesus, if you want my article to fail, can't you just tell me so?|W|P|111872656769709432|W|P||W|P|6/13/2005 12:16:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Anonymous sources
My reporting doesn't point me to many off-the-record sources, so I'm not sure if this "democratic political strategist" exists. But this statement ...
On some level, there are a lot of Democrats who think that Howard Dean is helping us, if only because it disguises the fact that our House and Senate guys have nothing to say and no ideas.... surely leads one to believe that this consultant is a pixie in a gossip columnist's imagination.
I guess it could be Susan Estrich, but calling her a "political strategist" would be equally fanciful.|W|P|111863645274638188|W|P||W|P|6/13/2005 12:13:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Good question
By the way, is there anything funnier than a middle-aged guy in a bowtie saying "Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom Boom" in an effort to describe the rapid-fire nature of the program that will have to be cancelled in six months because he's such a charisma-less, annoying fuck?|W|P|111863605559456971|W|P||W|P|6/12/2005 03:28:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Politics in the USA, 2005
HOWARD DEAN: Republicans suck!
DICK CHENEY: Oh yeah? Well, Howard Dean is a stinkyhead and nobody likes him.|W|P|111860460911478776|W|P||W|P|6/11/2005 05:15:00 PM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Movies
Here's something I did on a little mental break from my research: a list of every DVD I've come to own in my 5 years collecting them. Italics represent DVDs I haven't seen yet.
28 Days Later
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
Aguirre, The Wrath of God
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Army of Darkness
The Big Lebowski
Big Trouble in Little China
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Cannibal! The Musical
Conan the Barbarian
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
Day of the Dead
Do the Right Thing
The Enigma of Kasper Hauser
Even Dwarfs Started Small
The Evil Dead
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn
The Exorcist III
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
The Fog of War
Gangs of New York
General Idi Amin Dada
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
Hated: G.G. Allin and the Murder Junkies
Heart of Glass
The Hills Have Eyes
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
The Last Dragon
The Last Waltz
Lawrence of Arabia
Lessons of Darkness
Little Dieter Needs to Fly
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Lost in Translation
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Mayor of the Sunset Strip
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
A Mighty Wind
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
My Best Fiend
New York, New York
Night of the Living Dead
Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht
The Omega Man
The Paper Chase
The Return of the Living Dead
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Roger and Me
The Rules of Attraction
School of Rock
The Secret Lives of Dentists
Shaun of the Dead
The Silence of the Lambs
Summer of Sam
Team America: World Police
This is Spinal Tap
Wet Hot American Summer
Who's That Knocking At My Door?
Withnail & I
X2: X-Men United
What have we learned?
1.)I'm missing a lot of "classic" movies. Recently I've passed up chances to buy, at a discount price, Citizen Kane, The Godfather movies, and Scarface. Why? I don't know. The rationale could be "I won't re-watch them," but I haven't actually re-watched, say Waking Life in a long while.
2.)I haven't seen a lot of things that I own. Much of the reason for that is that I'll buy boxed sets of DVDs, like four Martin Scorcese movies, and I just don't have as much interest in the features that came cheap with the box. You may ask: Why do I rent so many movies anyway. I'm not sure!
3.)I like horror movies, comedies, and occasional arty crap. So, I'm male and I went to college. We knew that.
Here are the TV shows I own:
Angel: Seasons I-V
Aqua Teen Hunger Force: Volumes I-III
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Seasons I-VII
Chappelle's Show: Seasons I-II
The Corner: Complete Series
Cowboy Bebop: Volumes I-III
Da Ali G Show: Season I
Degrassi Junior High: Seasons I-II
Degrassi, The Next Generation: Season I
Family Guy: Seasons I-III
Firefly: Complete Series
Freaks and Geeks: Complete Series
Futurama: Seasons I-IV
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: Volume I
Homicide: Seasons I-II
The Kids in the Hall: Season I
The Larry Sanders Show: Season I
Mr. Show: Seasons I-IV
Mystery Science Theatre 3000: Collections II-VII, The Essentials (Manos: The Hands of Fate, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians), Mitchell
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Volumes I-IV
Nip/Tuck: Season I
The O.C.: Season I
The Office: Complete Series
OZ: Seasons I-IV
Sealab 2021: Volumes I-II
Sex and the City: Seasons II-VI
The Shield: Seasons I-III
The Simpsons: Seasons III-V
South Park: Seasons I-V
Tanner '88: Complete Series
Twin Peaks: Season I
Wiseguy: Sonny Steelgrave, Mel Profitt, Between the Mob and a Hard Place
Yes, Minister: Complete Series
In all liklihood, that's an even nerdier list. (Also, I've purchased SCTV, The Sopranos, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I gave them to my family as gifts.)|W|P|111852509368470984|W|P||W|P|2/16/2006 06:09:00 AM|W|P|
I have a web site. It pretty much covers how do i download movies related stuff.
Come and have a look if you get time :-)6/10/2005 03:23:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Headphones
Here's something annoying. I have an iPod, and when first I used it I listened to it via the cheap headphones that came with it. After about two months, I started to hear a faint crackle in one of the earpieces when I changed the volume - that particular earpiece always seemed quieter than the other. So I hit the Apple Store in Arlington, and purchased the "next step up" earpieces for the queer Apple Store price of $39.
During the Winter and Spring I would stick the earpieces in my pocket, or my jacket's inner pocket, or my gym bag. Occasionally there'd be friction on them, and occasionally they'd catch on some protrusion while I was walking and they'd tug for a second, and I'd detach them and keep on walking. But ... now the left earpiece is making a faint crackling sound when I change the volume. Very faint - if I'm listening to a metal songs I don't hear it, but if I'm playing a ballad, it's there.
This is terrifically annoying. Is it an Apple thing? Or is there some precaution I'm failing to take with my headphones?|W|P|111838852037329264|W|P||W|P|6/10/2005 12:35:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Battle scars
Often the question is asked: "Dave, what do you do on your weekends?"
Here is a partial answer.|W|P|111837817505188446|W|P||W|P|6/08/2005 10:32:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Howard Dean again, naturally
Since all the cool kids are discussing Howard Dean and his "controversial comments," I'd like to weigh in briefly.
1.)Dean's PR is damaged beyond resuscitation. He has painted himself into the role of a "controversial figure," which means that when reporters cover him, they will seek out and lead with his most outre statement. This happens to Republicans, too (do you know anything Donald Rumsfeld has said recently outside "you go to war with the army you have"?), but Republicans' public images don't matter because they have an official spokesman, George Bush, who does not go off script.
2.)The perception is that Democrats have "no ideas" and "don't know what they stand for," and Dean is losing the ability to contradict that. He does have ideas, mentioned in his speeches - health care reform, pension reform, electoral reform. There's room for Democrats to cohere this stuff into an electoral agenda. But any Dem ideas get lost in the media fog when Dean offends someone - the Democratic "story" for days at a time is about the party on the defensive, apologizing or fighting over some small detail.
3.)Dean's gaffing hasn't notably helped the GOP, despite what some of them say - they've been falling to pre-9/11, Clinton impeachment-era levels of poll support. But when he goes off script, the media devotes some of its limited political news budget to it. This cuts from the time they can spend covering the faltering GOP, which would help Democrats.
Thus, Democrats and Dean should work out a way for him to leave, or be demoted, gracefully. It can't be seen as a coup, because that will piss off the liberal base who already think "vichy" Democrats are backstabbing Dean for telling the truth. It can't be seen as a Hillary/Bill Clinton-orchestrated power play, because it'll be interpreted that way anyway, and why make Rush et al's job easier?
There's an easy way to do this. Dean got the DNC chairmanship, winning over skeptics and state party chairs, because he promised to spend money building parties in all 50 states. So far he's spotlighted nine states, visiting them and giving them huge grants (Nebraska has received 10 times as much money under Dean as it did under Terry McAuliffe). So, Dean can spend the rest of 2005 cycling through all 50 states and giving them grants. When that's done, Dean can claim that he's done what was he was elected to do, and exit triumphantly. One of the DNC also-rans - Ron Kirk, Wellington Webb, Martin Frost, Simon Rosenberg - who has been courted behind the scenes, can take over and praise the awesome work of Howard Dean. Problems solved. The DNC may have spent a year raising less cash than they could have under another chairman, but what you look at what they got for their huge cash flow under McAuliffe, that might be a wash. They will have embraced Dean's vision, which pleases liberal activists, while getting rid of Dean, which pleases beltway Democrats and moderates. The GOP will lose a regular punching bag and contend with a Democratic party which, according to the CW, has "come to its senses" or "is on the comeback trail" or some such guff.
This shouldn't be a big deal - the RNC cycled through three party chairs in Bush's first term. The first one, Jim Gilmore, was a total disaster under whom the party lost elections in Los Angeles, Virginia and New Jersey, and he was booted two months later. This obviously didn't hurt the GOP in the long run. Of course any Dean resignation is going to be THE political news for a few days, but so what? Republicans gloat and say they "told you so," Democrats wince at the GOP schadenfreude, and then it's over.|W|P|111824388094343192|W|P||W|P|6/07/2005 12:34:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Productivity and Howard Dean
So, my long-awaited day off, spent working on my article, was a huge success. Took a run in the am, conducted two critical interviews, amassed a lot of data. I rewarded myself with some Grand Theft Auto III and, obviously, blogging.
To wit, I thought this article from The Hill is interesting. The thrust (reflected in the headline of this front page story) is that the Democratic National Committee has lost three in-house fundraisers since the accension of Howard Dean. In the first four months of the year (two and a half under Dean), the party raised $18.6 million to the RNC's $42.6 million. But this is the interesting thing.
Democratic sources link the resignations to Dean’s decision to focus on raising money in small increments through the Internet, as he did during his 2004 presidential bid, and building up the party’s grassroots infrastructure while paying little attention to major Democratic donors.It's an article of faith among liberal Democrats that the party has lost majority status because it spent the last two decades racing to the middle on policy and sucking up to corporate donors. They had their suspicions in the Clinton years, but the McAuliffe chairmanship (2001-2005) really convinced them - the more money he raised, the less close races the party won. Apparently this philosophy has left the tea rooms and blogs and is now the first principle of the party's chairman. Dean seriously doesn't care if he gets less money overall if more of what he gets is coming from small donors.
This is a little stupid. I think the problems of the McAuliffe years had less to do with where money was coming from and more to do with what the party did with it. Specifically, they wasted it. In the 2002 election, McAuliffe declared that his #1 priority was ousting Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Why? Revenge, and the utility of having a Democratic governor in a swing state for 2004. Obviously, voters didn't give a shit about this, and they re-elected Jeb. Contrast that with Dean's much-publicized comment that Sen. Rick Santorum was a liar and the Democrats' number one target in 2006. Why should Santorum go?
Dean said Santorum had voted to kill Amtrak, an important service in Pennsylvania, and had then turned around and written a piece for The Inquirer saying he supported Amtrak.
He said that Santorum should return the more than $100,000 that Santorum's declared home school district, the Penn Hills School District in Allegheny County, paid over the last few years to educate his children at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.Bang. Right there - local issues. Clearly Dean was paying attention to the local party and local media.
But Dean's strategy doesn't require pissing off big donors. I think it's possible to be less stupid than Terry McAuliffe and more connected to the grassroots supporters while not fumbling over big money. Cultivate 'em both! The GOP is raising money precisely because it's cultivating its usual K Street friends while organizing in every state.
Nonetheless, it's interesting if this article is true - Dean is walking the talk to an insane degree, which is weirdly admirable.
(Related comment: Why do political reporters care so much about "controversial comments"? I mean, the parties do it too, but you expect that. Last summer it was a struggle of who could get the most damaging quote from the president at a press conference, and the winner got Bush to stumble and not think of a mistake he'd made. Now we get 2- and 3-day politics stories about some sentence or phrase in a Dean speech, and whether it offended anyone. Boring.)|W|P|111812072854991942|W|P||W|P|6/06/2005 12:17:00 AM|W|P|Dave|W|P|Not dead
Sorry, but that France post was up top way too long. Basically, I'm ensconced in a long-term project and won't be blogging much from ... well, last week til June 16 or so.|W|P|111803150285618383|W|P||W|P| |W|P|Hi, great blog! Keep it up.