Proportion of Americans who want U.S. troops to redeploy out of Iraq within a year, according to a new Gallup poll. “Slightly more (21% vs. 19%) say the insurgents, not our forces, are winning, with 58% declaring neither.”
A new study of Michael J. Fox’s stem cell ad shows “support for stem cell research increased from 78% prior to viewing the ad, to 83% after viewing the ad. Support among Democrats increased from 89% to 93%, support among Republicans increased from 66% to 68% and support among Independents increased from 80% to 87% after viewing the ad.”
Yesterday, the Ohio Republican Party sent out a news release (full text here) attacking Rep. Sherrod Brown (D) for enlisting the support of comedian Al Franken:
It is not surprising that Sherrod Brown is enlisting the help of a Hollywood liberal, who like him, is so far out of the mainstream of Ohio values. What is troubling is that Brown would solicit support from someone [Franken] who compared conservatives to Nazis “who should drink poison and die.”
The quote used in the news release is taken from Bernard Goldberg book, 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America, in an alleged interview between Goldberg and Franken. But in his book, Goldberg makes it clear that the exchange is completely fictional. The Ohio Republican Party represented it as fact.
The news release was accompanied by this photograph, showing Franken dressed up like a baby bunny, wearing adult diapers and clutching a fluffy white teddy bear.
Andy Barr, director of Franken’s Midwest Values PAC, confirmed, “The picture is a fake.” The Ohio Republican Party used a 2004 AP photo of Franken for the doctored image:
A recent ad by the Republican National Committee targeting Rep. Harold Ford (D-TN) was criticized by various parties, including former Republican senator William Cohen, as a “very serious appeal to a racist sentiment.”
As Nitpicker noted, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked on Tuesday if he thought the ad was racist. Snow said no, then claimed:
I mean, maybe I’m just quaint in this day and age. But no, I think there is always an attempt when you have got an African-American candidate to try to attribute something to the race card.
The ad is still being shown. The Tennessean reported yesterday that the ad “will continue airing in the Chattanooga area, despite the head of the Republican National Committee’s statement today that the ad was off the air.”
Full transcript: Read more
Bowing to anti-immigration hardliners in the House, President Bush today held a White House ceremony celebrating the signing of the “Secure Fence Act.” Bush told reporters, “The bill authorizes the construction of hundreds of miles of additional fencing along our southern border.”
Bush is right, the bill does “authorize” the constrution of a new fence. But that doesn’t mean the bill pays for it. As the Washington Post reported earlier this month:
No sooner did Congress authorize construction of a 700-mile fence on the U.S.-Mexico border last week than lawmakers rushed to approve separate legislation that ensures it will never be built, at least not as advertised, according to Republican lawmakers and immigration experts.
… [S]hortly before recessing late Friday, the House and Senate gave the Bush administration leeway to distribute the money to a combination of projects — not just the physical barrier along the southern border. The funds may also be spent on roads, technology and “tactical infrastructure” to support the Department of Homeland Security’s preferred option of a “virtual fence.”
The “Secure Fence Act” has everything to do with motivating the right-wing base, and nothing to do with securing America’s borders or passing comprehensive immigration reform.
I’ve been a semi-naysayer about the Democrats’ electoral chances this year, but Eric Alterman’s been saying it loud and clear. He offers some a couple of points of further skepticism. Here’s some more from me. Yesterday, Kevin Drum linked to a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner election survey he characterized as “pretty positive for Democrats.” And, indeed, it is. But if you look at the past couple of cycles, you’ll see that GQR has a penchant for overoptimism (they’re Democratic consultants) and if you look at the previous GQR survey, you’ll see that the trend line they’re monitoring is bad for Democrats.
Other points. TNR rounds up the “seven worst immigration campaign aids.” They mean “worst” in an ethical sense here, most of the ads look pretty good as campaign ads to me. Similarly, I think Josh Marshall is making a mistake by violating his own dicta about paying attention to meta-messages and the undesirability of Democratic whining in the context of the anti-Ford ad campaign. Josh says “When it comes to GOP race-baiting, calling them out, revealing them for who they are and what is they do, is fighting back. It’s that simple. The dynamics of the issues are fundamentally different.”
I disagree. What I think you have here is the GOP launches a mildly racially tinged, highly negative ad against Ford. Instead of simply firing back with a tough anti-Corker ad, Democrats start complaining about race baiting. What voters in Tennessee hear is “Democrats think all y’all are a bunch of redneck racists” and are reminded of why they hate liberals in the first place. Not that there aren’t some serious racists in Tennessee (at least I assume there are; they’re everyplace else) but it’s hardly as if Ford was going to be competing viably for the hard-core racist vote anyway. My feeling is that this kind of thing — with plenty of money and a good GOTV operation to back it — has a good chance of sharply limiting Democratic gains.
George Will and I don’t agree about much, but his views on college sports seem sound to me. Even better, if Will’s column is accurate Bill Thomas and Charlie Rangel are crossing the partisan divide to do some work on this issue.
Rumsfeld Agrees Terrorists Are Saying ‘We’ve Got an Election in Two Weeks in America…We Want to Change Horses Over There’
In an interview with North Dakota radio host Scott Hennen, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said that “it would be logical” that terrorist groups are ramping up violence in Iraq and elsewhere to give liberals a boost in November’s election. Here’s how Hennen described the situation:
Here they are, getting up every day saying, “We’ve got an election in two weeks in America, gang, and we want to change horses over there because we don’t like the folks we’re having to deal with now; they’re a little tough on us. So let’s get out there and let’s make some noise.“
Hennen added, “I don’t get the sense the American people have a sense they’re being played in that fashion.” Rumsfeld agreed, telling Hennen, “Probably not. It’s hard. No one likes to think they’re being manipulated. They believe that they can make their own judgments and the like.”
Rumsfeld’s claims are baseless. President Bush admitted this weeked that there isn’t “any intelligence” that suggests terrorists are trying to influence U.S. elections.
Full transcript of the Rumsfeld interview HERE.
Lorelei Kelly writes: “The world public opinion poll that found seven in ten Americans favor Congressional candidates who will pursue major changes in US foreign policy, want less emphasis on use of military force to solve problems and want to work more cooperatively with the United Nations. Most favor direct talks with North Korea and Iran to boot!” See more here.
I do think the political prospects for candidates espousing “dovish” views is considerably worse than a simplistic read of the polling data would indicate. On the other had, I also think the political prospects of such views are considerably better than is commonly accepted inside Democratic campaigning circles, where the thinking seems to be that you always want to position yourself as hawkishly as you can manage. Here’s John Hostettler (R-IN) touting his 2002 vote against the war — “In October 2002, when America was clamoring to go to war in Iraq, I voted against sending America’s sons and daughters into harm’s way because the intelligence did not support the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction there.” No doubt he took a lot of shit, politically, for his stand at the time. But there are probably a lot of perfectly cynical pols out there who think they’d be in better shape today if they could make Hostettler’s claim honestly.
America’s worst Thucydides scholar takes on twentieth century history:
I thought these who advocated such nonsense might at any second suggest that because Mussolini’s fascists, Hitler’s Nazis, and Tojo’s militarists all had quite different agendas, separate racial ideologies, and particular aims in WWII, then, they could hardly be lumped together as the Axis that threatened Western republics and needed a generic anti-fascist response. All during the Vietnam War, we were lectured daily about the intricacies of Vietnamese, Russian, and Chinese Communists — their rivalries, hatreds, and quite separate aims-as they combined to defeat the United States, and trumped their own tensions with an all-encompassing hatred of Western democratic capitalism.
Now then. Germany and Italy formed a formal military alliance and Germany and Japan had a looser, but similar arrangement. Nobody was “lumping” them together, they were actual allies. Meanwhile, this view of Vietnam is bizarre. The distinction-drawers were completely correct. Where Communist parties were seen as alien impositions of Moscow (Warsaw, Prague, Kabul, Budapest) you had one dynamic, but where they had authentic roots in local nationalism (as in, say, Vietnam) the situation was very different. Nixon seized advantage of the Sino-Soviet split to greatly enhance America’s strategic situation. Does Hanson really deny this? How stupid is he?