Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee is scheduled to appear on CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman on Monday, a day before the New Hampshire primary. Earlier this week Huckabee was a guest on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show and tried to insist that he had been “unaware that he would be crossing picket lines.” He was greeted by protestors holding signs reading, “Huckabee is a scab.” Huckabee will not cross picket lines to appear with Letterman, who has reached a deal with the writers guild.
Karen Tumulty reports on Hillary Clinton’s plan to mount a comeback:
But all that may be about to change. “We’ve got to start holding him to the standard people hold her to,” Clinton’s chief strategist Mark Penn told reporters aboard the campaign’s chartered jet to New Hampshire. “I think there’s a basic choice between experienced leadership for change and inexperienced leadership that talks about change.”
Added another adviser: “You’re going to see some very sharp media now.” That suggests the next round of Clinton ads will go beyond the previous gentle references to Obama’s lack of experience and begin to look at, for instance, inconsistency in his voting record. They are looking at issues like gun control, where he previously took a harder stand that may not play well with gun-loving voters in New Hampshire, and health care, where he previously expressed support for a government-run health care system. Clinton plans to exploit every whiff of inconsistency.
Those don’t sound like incredibly devastating attacks to me, but we’ll have to see. One thing to keep in mind is that just as Clinton had reasons to go relatively easy on Obama in Iowa, Obama had similar reasons to go relatively easy on Clinton. Both sides could easily launch much harsher attacks than they have thus far, which is one reason why I think Jon Chait’s confidence in an Obama victory is a bit misplaced.
Meanwhile, earlier in the article Tumulty gets at what I thought about Clinton’s speech last night: “with her husband the ex-President by her side, and an array of former Clinton Administration officials around her, Clinton was the center of a backward-looking tableau — a bridge to the 20th Century, as it were.” Experience per se needn’t be seen as in opposition to change, but a literal Clinton restoration does seem contrary to the idea of change. America has, meanwhile, elected plenty of presidents who were in some sense inexperienced (Obama has, lets recall, more experience as a legislator than does Clinton) and seen it work out fine; we’ve gotten burned by George W. Bush, of course, but that’s because he’s corrupt and intellectually lazy and I don’t think Obama is either one of those.
California and 15 other states returned fire in the brewing war with the White House over California’s Clean Car Act. On December 19th, Stephen L. Johnson, Bush’s man in charge of the EPA, explained that the EPA was denying California’s waiver request:
EPA has considered and granted previous waivers to California for standards covering pollutants that predominantly affect local and regional air quality. In contrast, the current waiver request for greenhouse gases is far different; it presents numerous issues that are distinguishable from all prior waiver requests. Unlike other air pollutants covered by previous waivers, greenhouse gases are fundamentally global in nature. Greenhouse gases contribute to the problem of global climate change, a problem that poses challenges for the entire nation and indeed the world. Unlike pollutants covered by the other waivers, greenhouse gas emissions harm the environment in California and elsewhere regardless of where the emissions occur. In other words, this challenge is not exclusive or unique to California and differs in a basic way from the previous local and regional air pollution problems addressed in prior waivers.
Unfortunately for Mr. Johnson, the Clean Air Act does not allow any reason to be used in denying California waiver requests, and he does not here appear to be citing anything relevant to the law. Moreover the logic of Mr. Johnson’s rejection is not supportable. California and the states that plan to adopt its vehicle standards represent approximately 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and total more than those of Germany, Japan, or India. Reducing emissions in these sixteen states will make a difference.
Mr. Johnson’s attempt at rationalization is unlikely to stand; as Janet Wilson reported in the LA Times, Mr. Johnson’s staff concluded the EPA would lose a legal challenge by California. It appears the purpose of Mr. Johnson’s action is simply to use the court system to delay enforcement of the Clean Car Act. On Wednesday, California responded in the U.S. Ninth Circuit court of Appeals. The question now is how long it will take the Ninth Circuit to rule, and whether the EPA appeals to the Supreme Court.
The House Commtttee On Oversight And Government Reform (headed by Representative Henry Waxman, D-CA) has opened an investigation into Mr. Johnson’s rejection and requested all relevant documents, including correspondance between the White House and the EPA.
The states joining California’s lawsuit are Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
– Earl K.
Last week, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) revealed that Fox News is excluding him and Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) from their New Hampshire debate on Sunday, arguing that “it had limited space in its studio — a souped-up bus.”
The AP did not specify “what types of polls” Fox was relying on “and if there had to be consistent double-digit results.” As Josh Marshall has noted, Paul is beating Thompson by an average of 5 points in New Hampshire polls. Additionally, Paul raised nearly $20 million in the last quarter of 2007 — roughly the same amount as Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
Bill O’Reilly defended Fox’s decision on Wednesday, saying he’d “do the same thing.” He also revealed that the decision was based on “national poll numbers.” Watch it:
Though O’Reilly noted that “both Paul and Hunter will appear on January 10th in the Fox-sponsored South Carolina debate,” the decision to include Thompson rather than Paul in the New Hampshire debate is drawing particular criticism. Conservatives and pundits say it appears as though Fox is censoring Paul:
“Fox News itself apparently wants to limit the GOP discussion to variations on a neocon theme of perpetual war for perpetual big government.” [Conservative author Richard Viguerie]
“It raises the possibility that this is an ideological decision.” [Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania]
“The Paul snub exposes censorship of competitive voices.” [Libertarian Party director Shane Cory]
“The pivotal debates before the first statewide vote in the 2008 election cycle is not the time to be voting people off the island, no matter how much they may want a more free-wheeling exchange,” [New Hampshire Republican State Chairman Fergus Cullen]
This isn’t the first time conservatives who disagree with Paul’s politics have denied him a forum. In October, the popular conservative blog RedState banned Paul’s supporters from discussing Paul in “any way shape, form or fashion.”
UPDATE: On CNN’s The Situation Room, Fred Thompson said, “I don’t expect that we’re going to be very competitive in New Hampshire.” But he’s still in the Fox News debate.
Andrew Olmsted whose blogging you, like me, may have followed at Obsidian Wings and elsewhere has died in Iraq. Deepest condolences to his friends and family. For commenters, please try to respect his wishes regarding not using this as fodder for political arguments.
Although White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said President Bush would not watch the Iowa returns last night — explaining, “He goes to bed early” — spokesman Tony Fratto today said Bush “stayed up last night and watched the results with great interest.” According to Perino, Bush said he “understands the excitement of the winners and the disappointment of the losers and the range of emotions that go with these events.”
A colleague alerts me to the fact that Chuck Norris is sixty-seven years old. — way, way, way older than he looks. Under the circumstances, it seems to me that he and Mike Huckabee ought to abandon this whole politics thing and focus on doing lifestyle books. Between Huckabee’s weight loss techniques and Norris’ Dorian Gray-like ability to resist the inevitable realities of aging, it seems to me that they could make a lot of money in that line of work.
Check out Ezra Klein’s latest post on John McCain’s partnership with Joe Lieberman. One thing that strikes me is this. In MSM terms, one shows honesty and freethinking exclusively by showing disloyalty to one’s political party. Thus, McCain and Lieberman are Bold Truth Tellers.
In the real world, guys like McCain and Lieberman seem to be to be unusually unprincipled — totally unmoored from a whole range of political commitments. But what really drives them both is their shared and slightly daft worldviews on foreign policy. McCain is pro-life, Lieberman pro-choice, but they both seem to be personally indifferent to these questions and to most other questions. But war? Oh they love war. It’s odd, under the circumstances, for the GOP’s last best hope to be someone whose emotional core is so close to the very invasion of Iraq whose disastrous consequences have touched off so much coalitional unraveling.
In his semi-weekly blogger conference call today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) heaped praise upon Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who has endorsed McCain’s GOP presidential bid. McCain told the bloggers that he would like Lieberman to serve in his administration:
I would definitely want Joe Lieberman to play a part — particularly in national security issues — in my administration.
Commenting on RedState, Adam C — who was also on the conference call — said that McCain’s comment indicated that the senator was considering Lieberman to head of the Pentagon: “That sounds like a possible SecDef to me.”
McCain and Lieberman have been foreign policy soulmates, consistently pushing for sending more troops to Iraq. More recently, they have ignored the advice of U.S. military commanders and rushed to declare victory in the war. In late November, McCain told ABC News that “we’ve succeeded militarily” in Iraq. A day later, Lieberman told Fox News, “We are winning.”
Installing Lieberman to oversee national security in a Republican administration has been a right-wing dream for quite some time. In March 2006, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes suggested President Bush appoint Lieberman as Secretary of State. Additionally, in 2005, both Andrew Sullivan and CBS News’s Bob Schieffer suggested Lieberman as Secretary of Defense.
One crucial thing Barack Obama did last night was get white people to vote for him. Lots and lots of white people. Iowa’s not the kind of place where you can dominate the black vote, plus add on a sliver of white liberals and win a primary. To win — even in a primary — you need the support of white people.
And one thing holding Obama back among both black and white voters has been, I think, a fear that other people won’t be willing to vote for a black guy. Winning a primary does a lot to dispel those worries. Winning a majority in a primary would do more, but given the presence of three strong contenders in Iowa that clearly wasn’t on the table. The analogy, I think, is to JFK winning the West Virginia primary and showing that a Catholic from Boston could win in a state where there was no urban “ethnic” machine to serve as his base.
Photo by Flickr user Joe Crimmings used under a Creative Commons license