After months of legal maneuvering and public grandstanding in his futile effort to reverse the results of his excruciatingly close loss to Al Franken, former US Senator Norm Coleman is now calling for a revote in the Minnesota senate race. Sounds familiar, huh?
This represents a come to Jesus moment for Coleman and his attorneys, for as we learned here in Washington state during the 2004 gubernatorial contest—where Dino Rossi only started calling for a revote after it became clear he had lost the recount—a call for a do-over election is not only the last, desperate refuge of losers, it is a losing argument in itself.
Last week Sen. John McCain repeatedly and falsely claimed that Iran was training al Qaeda in Iraq. Watch FOX News' Brit Hume defend McCain's blip as merely a "senior moment."
Ouch. If even McCain's most ardent boosters acknowledge his age is an issue, that doesn't bode well for McCain or the nation. A President McCain would turn 76 before the end of his first term, and 80 before the end of his second, making him the oldest man ever to be elected president of the United States, and potentially the oldest man ever to serve. I emphasize "potentially" because nearly three-quarters of our previous 43 presidents failed to see their 80th birthday.
No doubt my friends in the establishment press are looking forward to a bitter and divisive brawl between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all the way up to the Democratic National Convention, but the truth is that even at its nastiest, the 2008 presidential nominating process has thus far been an extraordinarily civil war compared to previous campaigns. Still, while the candidates have mostly managed to stay out of the muck, their partisan supporters in the blogosphere are now poised to march into combat rakes in hand, the posts and comment threads of many of our leading blogs serving as battlefields in an increasingly bloody war of words.
To which I caution my comrades in the progressive netroots... who the hell cares?
I guess even Republicans deserve a bit of good news once in a while, however small:
Ralph Nader said Sunday he will run for president as a third-party candidate, criticizing the top White House contenders as too close to big business and pledging to repeat a bid that will "shift the power from the few to the many."
"Shift the power from the few to the many," huh? Gee... I thought that's what I'd been doing this past half decade or so, along with a few million of my neighbors in the netroots community? Way to give us the finger, Ralph.
Rudy Giuliani's stunningly stupid "Florida Strategy" has been the subject of speculation and the butt of jokes for months -- a strategic failure of historic proportions that has instantly become a classic case study in how not to run a presidential campaign. It is fitting that a man whose national profile was forged in disaster has run one of the most disastrous campaigns of all time, frittering away his apparent frontrunner status in only a matter of weeks.
But could Giuliani and his high-paid strategists really have been that stupid? Or, is it possible that the Florida Strategy has actually worked exactly as planned?
So, the Seattle Times has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination. Big deal. Next week they'll also endorse Sen. John McCain on the Republican side. If the Times really embraces the kind of change they believe Obama represents, they wouldn't endorse anybody for the Republican nomination, least of all a warmonger whose idea of straight talk is promising crowds "there will be other wars."
Personally, I doubt many Washington state Democrats are looking to the op-ed pages for advice on who to caucus for on February 9, but if they are, I'm guessing the most influential endorsement of the primary season may have come today in the New York Times, and I'm not talking about an unsigned editorial. No, the big news following Obama's impressive 29-point rout of Hillary Clinton in yesterday's South Carolina primary was the moving op-ed column written by Caroline Kennedy, "A President Like My Father":
Hillary Clinton's poll-defying victory in last week's New Hampshire Democratic primary had pollsters, pundits and conspiracy theorists scrambling to explain the difference between Barack Obama's 8-point average lead in the preceding surveys, versus Clinton's 2-point victory on election night. Polls are often wrong, but rarely this wrong, and so not surprisingly, the post election narrative was as much dominated by the unexpected nature of the results as the results themselves. Whereas Obama left Iowa with a surge of positive press, Clinton came away from New Hampshire with a gigantic question mark.
DemFromCT has an exhaustive roundup of the latest thinking on what went wrong (or what went right, depending on your perspective,) and while I tend to agree with the conclusion that multiple factors led to the pollsters' pratfall, I think there is one theory that deserves closer examination, not in spite of its lack of supporting evidence, but because of it. Of course, I'm talking about the supposed "Bradley Effect."
DemFromCT, DHinMI & MissLaura join me tonight at 7PM PST on "The David Goldstein Show" on Seattle's 710-KIRO for a wrap up of Iowa and New Hampshire, and a look ahead to the remainder of the primary season. You can stream live at 710KIRO.com, and call in with a question or comment at 877-710-5476. A podcast will be available Monday afternoon.
FYI, my show airs every Saturday and Sunday night from 7PM to 10PM PST, and for those who have been missing it, I've recently turned the first hour of my Sunday show into "Radio Kos," a weekly conversation with the contributing editors here at Daily Kos. We'd love to hear your feedback on how to make this hour better.
Driving home from a New Years Eve party I noticed it was business as usual at one local McDonald's, where no matter what hour of the day or night the drive-through lane appears clogged with cars, an apt metaphor for the passengers' arteries. But whatever the health of its customers, this burger joint appeared to be thriving, despite the fact that only hours before, Washington state had raised its minimum wage to a nation highbest $8.07 an hour. Our state's lowest paid workers now earn $2.22 an hour more than their counterparts across the border in Idaho, and yet McDonald's franchises in both states manage to profitably sell double-cheeseburgers for a buck a piece. Go figure.
What with eight men now coming out claiming they've had sex with Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, despite his public protestations that he is not gay, I thought it a prudent time to come clean with my audience and clarify my own role in the Craig affair: I am not gay, and I have never had sex with Sen. Craig. Never.
But since so many men apparently have had sex with the senator, I figure the only reasonable way to get to the truth is by process of elimination, so I urge all my male readers to follow my lead and definitively state in the comment thread whether you have or have not had sex with Larry Craig. As for those of you who choose not to participate in this thread, well... you're silence will speak volumes.
Week after week I attend the Tuesday night gathering of the Seattle chapter of Drinking Liberally, and you'd think occasionally some attractive, thirty-somethingish woman looking for a smart, funny guy with proof-of-concept in the parenting department might sidle up to the bar and start hitting on me... but no. I gotta say, blogging is a lousy way to meet women. On the other hand, it's apparently a great way to meet four-star generals.
There I was the other night, pint of Manny's in hand, plotting mischief with a couple of politicos, when who should walk up to us but Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander -- and I gotta say, perhaps the most energetically outspoken politician I've ever met. Within seconds we're talking Iran, and Gen. Clark didn't mince words. President Bush is preparing to take us to war with Iran, and the Democratic Congress, Clark warned, is unprepared to stop him.
It may not be his best known play, but Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" is by far my favorite, and the 1983 film version starring Jeremy Irons, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Hodge has stuck with me like few others. The play moves backward in time, starting with a reunion of sorts between two lovers, Jerry and Emma, and ending a decade earlier at the party where they first meet. Jerry is the best friend of Robert; Emma is Robert's wife. And as the play unwinds (or rewinds,) we learn that Robert has perhaps betrayed his friend and wife as much as they have him.
The play is sad, funny, a bit of a mystery, and brilliantly written -- and its simple, one word title turns out to be as much a question as it is a statement. Who is betraying whom? Are they betraying each other? Their families? Themselves? And what is the nature of betrayal itself?