Lurking near the end of Tom Edsall’s excellent piece on the Clinton campaign’s efforts to retool we get this WTF moment: “In private, some of Clinton’s supporters are deeply disdainful of Obama. ‘He is the candidate of the “identity left”,’ said one, dismissively.” These sound like some talking points straight outta 1988 to me.
I missed the vast majority of Fox News’ “No Ron Paul Allowed” debate to watch the season premiere of The Wire (yes, yes, I know I could have watched it earlier on demand, but it’s easier to coordinate with a group of people by just sticking to the air date) but Josh Marshall thought Romney did a good job. Mark Levin liked Romney too. And apparently a Frank Luntz focus group handed it to Romney. Anyone else out there see it?
In the brief segment I saw, the candidates were mostly beating around the issue of who has the right kind of experience to lead. McCain and Romney, in particular, were having a kind of classic debate of presidential politics wherein the senator argues that you need specific experience with foreign affairs questions that you don’t get at the state level, while the governor argues that you need the kind of administrative experience that you don’t get in the Senate. My sense is that, historically, that kind of argument has usually gone in favor of the governors but clearly plenty of senators win nominations as well.
In a broader sense, I had trouble discerning a distinctive argument being made by McCain. The argument I often hear made on McCain’s behalf is either that Romney is too weak a general election candidate, or else that orthodox conservatives need to unite around semi-orthodox McCain rather than risk a win by heterodox Huckabee or Giuliani. But McCain himself doesn’t seem to be pushing the electability argument. Nor does he seem to be pushing the David Brooks argument that, yes, he’s less orthodox than Romney but that’s a good thing. But if those aren’t his arguments, then what is his argument? That circles back to leadership and experience, but I don’t think those issues clearly cut in the favor of a very old man who can’t really touch Romney’s experience as a manager.
McCain Falsely Claims He Has ‘Never Asked For A Single Earmark Or Pork Barrel Project’ For His State
In tonight’s Fox News GOP presidential forum, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) attempted to argue that if elected president, he will eliminate “wasteful spending.” As evidence, he claimed that he has never asked for an earmark for his state of Arizona:
And I’m proud to tell you, Chris, in 24 years as a member of Congress, I have never asked for nor received a single earmark or pork barrel project for my state and I guarantee you I’ll veto those bills. I’ll ask for the line item veto and I’ll veto them and I’ll make the authors of them famous.
McCain’s claim is false. In 2006, the senator teamed up with fellow Arizona senator Jon Kyl (R) to funnel $10 million toward the University of Arizona for an academic center named after the late Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. Even Arizona lawmaker, Rep. Jeff Flake (R), said he was planning to “lean against the measure.” The National Taxpayers Union, another traditional McCain ally, questioned why the senator was making federal taxpayers foot the bill for the center.
In 2003, McCain also slipped $14.3 million into a defense appropriations bill to
create a buffer zone around Luke Air Force Base in Arizona. As Roll Call reported in 2003, this project violated McCain’s own anti-pork rhetoric:
The only problem is the project to acquire more land near the base was not requested by President Bush or fully authorized by the Senate Armed Services Committee – two of McCain’s criteria for identifying so-called ‘pork.
UPDATE: On Nov. 17, 2003, Roll Call posted a “correction” to its original article about the Luke Air Force Base request:
The Nov. 6 article “McCain Breaks Own Pork Rule” inaccurately stated that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) violated his own rules against so-called “pork barrel” spending. The Senate Parliamentarian’s office maintains that the provision was properly authorized in the Senate-passed version of the fiscal 2004 Defense authorization bill and did not need to be signed by the president to be considered “authorized,” as the article suggested. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), chairwoman of the Appropriations subcommittee on military construction, told Roll Call that McCain never specifically asked her to put the $14.3 million project for Arizona’s Luke Air Force Base into the fiscal 2004 military construction bill.
Transcript: Read more
Huckabee just said in a debate that conditions in Guantanamo are “too good.” Puts Mitt Romney’s promise to “double” it in a new light.
But haven’t they been building “driverless cars” for decades now?
Sorry. Couldn’t resist.
Here’s the actual article, which turns out not to be about overstocked car lots and steadily declining market share but rather about “cars that drive themselves–even parking at their destination.”
Not gonna happen in this country for a long, long time. Can you imagine the lawsuits?
Rep. Richard H. Baker (R-La.) informed the House Ethics Committee on Friday that he “is in serious talks to become president of the main lobby for hedge funds, the Managed Funds Association.” If Baker takes “the nearly million-dollar-a-year job,” which he is “likely to formally be offered,” he “would have to resign from Congress to take the position.” Baker’s notification to the Ethics Committee that he is in “serious negotiations” for a job outside of Congress makes him “the first lawmaker to file a report about job talks as required under the lobbying law that Congress passed last year.”
In the latest in a bizarrely long line of efforts to convince us that Hillary Clinton never supported the Iraq War, we’ve now got her saying “After 9/11, I would never have taken us to war in Iraq. I would have stayed focused on Afghanistan because the real threat was coming from there.” Now it’s entirely possible that, in a purely counterfactual sense, had some freakish sequence of events put her in the White House in September of 2001 that Hillary Clinton would have stayed focused on Afghanistan rather than drawing attention to Iraq. But in the real world she was a United States Senator, the President of the United States asked for the authority to invade Iraq, and she voted to give it to him.
Clinton has on-again, off-again tried to argue (now she’s on again) that that didn’t mean she favored actually invading. But it would seem to seriously undermine the argument that she’s a doer with tons of valuable experience to argue that she didn’t know what was going on. In the real world, it’s hardly creditable to think that she was that naive.
A lot of blogs publish their stats, and since I am preparing a 2007 report for the powers that be, I thought I would share the numbers with you. I also wanted to thank all of you for reading the blog and especially thank the regular commenters for the stimulating discussion.
Last year was an amazing one for Climate Progress. Visits increased each month. Monthly unique visitors rose from 4,800 in January to 53,000 (!) in December. Monthly total visits rose from 13,000 in January to 110,000 in December. Monthly page views — the stat that means the most to me — rose from 44,000 in January to 422,000 (!) in December. (Google Analytics typically gives 20% to 30% higher page views for CP per day, but I’ll stick with my web stats for now.)
Total visits for the year came to 650,000 and total page views came to over 2,000,000.
My Technorati rank is 10,000 — down from 16,000 at the end of August. Technorati ranks all blogs by “authority” (the number of blogs linking to it in the past 6 months). The lower the rank the better.
The website that gives me the most links is stumbleupon.com, with almost 18,000. So thank you to everyone who uses the “Share This” to recommend me to that website.
The most widely read post written in 2007 was Must read from Hansen: Stop the madness about the tiny revision in NASA’s temperature data! It ended up with 17,000 views, 39 blog links, and 113 comments. The most widely commented upon post, however, was the recent Inhofe recycles unscientific attacks on global warming, NYT’s Revkin gives him a pass, with 8300 views, 24 links, and 168 comments. Keep those comments coming in 2008!
My intention is to focus a bit more on climate solutions in 2008, though somehow I suspect politics will be in the news also, and the fight against the science deniers never ends….
After the Republican debate in New Hampshire last night, New York Times columnist David Brooks was asked about how the Times’ had “hired that conservative Bill Kristol.” Brooks responded, “More like a pseudoconservative.”
Amount the Bush administration devoted “to strengthen political parties in Pakistan” in 2006. Much of the $22 million spent on democracy programs went to the Election Commission, which is largely controlled by President Pervez Musharraf. In 2008, the democracy budget was doubled to $41 million — still less than that given to Kosovo. According to U.S. officials, “the administration shied away from building a robust democracy program in Pakistan because it did not want to offend Musharraf.”