Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) confirmed today that they won’t take part in the Fox News/CBC presidential debate. (They join former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC), and Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Barack Obama (D-IL).) If the debate is held as planned, it will pit Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) against Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-AK).
Jon Chait says he thinks Fred Thompson will “be formidable both as a primary contender and as a potential nominee.” In a general election, I think Thompson is going to end up as a case study in why governors have an easier time winning the White House than do Senators. If you combined Thompson’s persona and TV skills with a few token gubernatorial accomplishments (cut taxes eleventeen times, tripled awesomeness, etc.) you’d have a bitchin’ presidential contender.
Instead, as a 1990s-vintage GOP Senator he has no real accomplishments to his name and a voting record ready to be mined for attacks (voted for three zillion dollars in Medicare cuts, helped Newt Gingrich make adorable children cry) in a way that will help undermine his considerable assets as a candidate. It’s not an insurmountable burden by any means but it does leave him weaker than he might be.
Stephen Bennett, a spokesman for the Concerned Women for America, reacts to the birth of Mary Cheney’s baby: “Heather Poe is Mary Cheney’s live-in lesbian lover. … Heather Poe is NOT the baby’s real parent. … If the Vice President and his wife Lynne are joining their daughter Mary in playing this homosexual game of ‘house,’ then all have chosen their roles and designated lesbian lover Heather Poe as the ‘Daddy.’ … We are all grown adults. Playing ‘house’ is a game for children, not for The White House or the Vice President and his wife.”
One of the oddities about the center-right consensus that we need to make public policy less generous to old people is that the purveyors of said consensus are presumably more familiar than I with the logic that makes corporate America so reluctant to hire old people.
The right wing is seething over the widely-circulated video showing Rachel Smith, the U.S. representative in the Miss Universe competition, being booed by an audience in Mexico after she fell during the evening gown competition. A sample of the outrage:
Michelle Malkin: “Yeah, we’re the nativists. Next, they’ll tell us the mob at the Miss Universe pageant was simply ‘doing the booing Americans won’t do.’ Will President Bush speak out against the treatment Miss USA received in Mexico?”
Sweetness & Light: “Let’s face it. Many Mexicans simply seem to hate the US. And yet they insist on coming here in droves. Why is that?”
Freedom Folks: “Neighbors? Unfortunately, and these are the lawn mower borrowing and never returning mooch neighbors that everybody hates to live next to.”
Here’s the video:
It’s a shame that Smith was booed, but we think she’ll manage to overcome this international scandal without (as Malkin suggests) President Bush “speaking out” in her defense. Instead, Bush should take a look at counterproductive U.S. policies that are breeding resentment in Mexico and around the globe. From the latest BBC/PIPA/WorldPublicOpinion poll from January 2007:
Mexican views of the US have remained consistently negative in recent years, with a slight majority (53%) seeing the US as a mostly negative influence in the world. Only 12 percent believe that the US is having a mainly positive influence.
The issue of US handling of the Iraq war earns the highest level of disapproval (80%), followed by a large majority (70%) that disapproves of the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and other prisons. Two-thirds (67%) disapprove of the US on the issue of global warming… Four in five (80%) in Mexico view the US military presence in the Middle East as a destabilizing force.
Go to the Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development website, and click on “The Climate Challenge” in the upper right hand corner.
“Given Obama’s racial background,” writes Brendan Nyhan, “the danger is that these attacks will be used to trigger ugly racial stereotypes about him, particularly once Republicans shift from bong jokes to talking about cocaine, which Obama admitted to trying in his first book.”
I dunno about this. It seems to me that if you have an African-American candidate whose admitted to past cocaine use, that attacking him for past cocaine use is less an appeal to ugly racial stereotypes than a straightforward attack on his past drug use. An appeal to ugly racial stereotypes would be implying that a black candidate must have used cocaine in the past because, hey, that’s what those people do. I don’t personally have any problem with the idea that of a president who used cocaine in the past (though, admittedly, the George W. Bush experience hasn’t been very pleasant) but insofar as some voters do have a problem with it, they’re entitled to have a problem with it irrespective of the candidate’s race.
I thought this might be some kind of trailer park for houseboats, but it turns out to be a quite pricey gated community sort of thing.
Over the weekend, Fox News pundit Fred Barnes claimed that in September, Gen. David Petraeus will report “great progress and say [Baghdad] is heavily pacified.” That optimistic assessment is not shared, however, by one of Petraeus’ key advisers.
On CBS Evening News last night, Stephen Biddle, an early proponent of the escalation, argued that Bush’s strategy in Iraq is “likelier to fail than succeed at this point.” Biddle assessed that there is “maybe a one in ten” chance the escalation will succeed. “Maybe it’s a one in five longshot, if we play our cards right,” he said. Watch it:
Biddle is right to be cautious about the escalation’s success. Despite a brief lull at the beginning of the surge, sectarian murders in Iraq are on the rise again. Car bombings, chlorine bombs, and the use of children as bombers have all also increased. On Tuesday, May became not only the deadliest month for U.S. troops in 2007, but also the third deadliest month in the entire war.
Transcript: Read more
“The Bush administration said Tuesday it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Arkansas City-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.
Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too.