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« Reply #150 on: June 19, 2007, 03:12:34 PM »

Fred Thompson's Remarks to Policy Exchange in London
By Fred Thompson
Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Thank you very much. Charles Moore, Anthony Browne, Dean Godson, distinguished guests: I appreciate the cordial welcome to London. I always look forward to visiting the United Kingdom, and this time around I couldn’t ask for a better host than the Policy Exchange.

We have a few policies back home that we’d like to exchange, and think tanks like this are the place to come. After just five years, the Policy Exchange ranks among the best, and the fine reputation of your work has reached Washington as well. I congratulate all of you, and I thank you for the hospitality.

Your kind invitation brings me here just as Great Britain prepares to greet an incoming prime minister.

Back in the U.S., we’re able to watch the House of Commons’ “Prime Minister’s Question Time,” which Mr. Brown will now endure. I’ve thought that America needed a weekly question and answer period between the President and Congress. But in the past few months I’ve decided it isn’t such a good idea.

Your system also allows a change in the head of government at a moment's notice. Even your general election campaigns are mercifully brief.

Of course we believe in long presidential campaigns in the U.S. Most American politicians are afraid they won’t be considered serious candidates until they’ve made a promise a hundred times and spent a hundred million dollars. Though every now and then you still get some slow-poke who takes his time before announcing.

I congratulate Mr. Brown, and I wish him well as the 53rd prime minister of the United Kingdom. And if you’ll allow me a word about the 52nd … we’ll miss him. There are disputes of party here that are strictly British affairs. But sometimes the better points of statesmen possibly are seen more clearly at a distance.

We are profoundly grateful for the friendship of the British people, and in America we’ll always remember Mr. Blair as a gallant friend, even when it did him no good politically.

When we in the States take the measure of your leaders, their party affiliation doesn’t really count for a whole lot. It’s been this way for a while now, at every moment when it mattered. It was true in the days of Churchill and Roosevelt … of Thatcher and Reagan … and Blair and Bush.

Differences of party and domestic policy are incidental, compared to the bigger considerations that define Britain and America as allies. On both sides of the Atlantic, what matters most are the commitments we share, and the work we are called to do in common. This work is based upon the principles we hold – primarily, the right of free people to govern themselves. We also believe that the rule of law, market economies, property rights, and trade with other nations are the underpinnings of a free society.

When historians of the modern era speak of the great democracies, of civilization and its defenders, that’s us they’re talking about – we and our democratic friends across Europe and beyond.

In the long progress of the world toward liberty, it was not by chance that this lowly province of the Roman Empire became a great teacher of democracy and the model of self-government. And it wasn’t just luck that turned a troublesome British colony into the inspiration for all those who seek freedom. There is a reason why Britain and America were thrown together as partners in this world. The things that unite the American and British peoples? They don’t change with the names of leaders or with the passing of years.

It was Harold MacMillan who best summed up the shared experiences of British and American leaders in the last century. In his later years, Lord Stockton was asked what he considered the greatest challenge in all his years as a statesman. And in that English way, he put it in a word: “Events, my dear boy, events.”

Events often have a way of intruding upon the plans of free people. As a rule, people in democratic societies prefer to take care of the business of life. They raise families. They work and they trade. They create wealth and they share it. Above all in free societies, we live by the law – and, at our best, we look after one another, too. Yet in every generation, “events” can be counted on to change the plan, sometimes in tragic ways.

Often the cause of our grief is a misplaced trust in the good intentions of others. In our dealings with other nations, people in free countries are not the type to go looking for trouble. We tend to extend our good will to other nations, assuming that it will be returned in kind. No matter how clear the signals, sometimes in history even the best of men failed to act in time to prevent the worst from happening.

The United States and the United Kingdom have learned this lesson both ways – in great evils ignored, and in great evils averted. We learned it from a World War that happened and, in the decades afterward, from the World War that didn’t happen.

We must conclude that the greatest test of leadership – in your country or mine, in this time or any other – can be simply stated. We must shape events, and not be left at their mercy. And in all things, to protect ourselves and to assure the peace, the great democracies of the world must stick together. We must be willing to make tough decisions today in order to avert bigger problems tomorrow. We must be prepared to meet threats before threats become tragedies.

These are not considerations relevant only to the people of Great Britain and the United States. The relationship between the United States and all of Europe is valued by both sides and has benefited the world. NATO has not only been an effective tool for our efforts, it symbolizes our commonality.

Changes in leadership on both sides of the Atlantic will give us new opportunities. Often in the history of nations, leaders rise to meet the times. These times require those with the wisdom and courage to see past the next election cycle.

The United States and our European allies must begin to forge a new understanding that matches the times we live in. This must be an understanding based upon candor if we are to come closer to agreement as to the nature of the challenges we face.

I have great hope for such a new understanding among NATO allies. We would never want to look back on a campaign we’d undertaken to realize we’d fallen short for lack of commitment or material support. Today our enemies do not doubt our military strength. They do question our determination. Our efforts will require ongoing dialogue based upon mutual respect and mutual interests.

For many Americans, there is a concern that even among our friends, some people are instinctively uncomfortable with U.S. power. Some on the Continent speak of the need for Europe to balance U.S. influence. Americans worry that this sentiment could, over time, lead to an uncoupling of the alliance. And if constraining U.S. power is that important, would our European friends be comfortable with other powers serving as a counterweight to the United States?

Some who seek to check U.S. power believe that legitimacy may only be conferred by international consensus as represented by the UN Security Council. They ask, “If a country can invade another nation for its own good reasons, what is the logical stopping point?”

The American response is to ask how, then, does one justify non-Security-Council-sanctioned actions, such as Kosovo? What are nations allowed to do when the UN cannot muster the political will to act? How many countries must be involved in an action before legitimacy is conferred? Is it just European countries that count? And, how do we deal with problems in concert when many of us don’t agree on the extent or nature of the problem?

For our part, we in the United States must make a better case for our views and our actions. It is possible that things that are perfectly obvious to us may not be so obvious even to those who wish us well. We must be willing to listen and we must be willing to share our intelligence to the maximum extent appropriate.

We must be prepared to make our case not just privately, but to the people of Europe and the world in order to build political support for cooperation. The world is not stronger if America is weaker – or is perceived to be weaker. The same is true of Britain and truer still of our NATO alliance. And we must be capable of making that case.

In return, it is fair to expect that our allies will not put their trade and commercial interests above world security. It is also fair to ask that Europeans consider the consequences if they are wrong about the threat to the Western world.

Many in Europe simply have a different view from that of the United States as to the threat of radical Islamic fundamentalism. They think that the threat is overblown. That despite September 11th, and July 7th and other attacks in Europe and elsewhere, America is the main target and therefore the problem is basically an American one. The fact that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq at a particular point in time resolves the matter for them. Also, they see no meaningful connection between terrorist groups and countries like Iran.

Admittedly, even some in America think that the threat is overblown, and that if we had not gone into Iraq, we’d have no terrorism problem.

However, most Americans feel differently. We understand that the Western world is in an international struggle with jihadists who see this struggle as part of a conflict that has gone on for centuries, and who won’t give up until Western countries are brought to their knees. I agree with this view. I believe that the forces of civilization must work together with common purpose to defeat the terrorists who for their own twisted purposes have murdered thousands, and who are trying to acquire technology to murder millions more.

When terrorists in their video performances pledge more and bigger attacks to come, against targets in both Europe and America, these are not to be shrugged off as idle boasts. They must be taken at their word.

When the president of Iran shares his nightmare visions before cheering crowds, those are not just the fanatic’s version of an empty applause line. The only safe assumption is that he means it. If we know anything from modern history, it is that when fanatical tyrants pledge to “wipe out” an entire nation, we should listen. We must gather our alliance, and do all in our power to make sure that such men do not gain the capability to carry out their evil ambitions.

Of course, diplomacy is always to be preferred in our dealings with dangerous regimes. But I believe diplomacy, as Franklin Roosevelt put it, is more than “note writing.” The words of our leaders command much closer attention from adversaries when it is understood that we and our allies are prepared to use force when force is necessary.

The campaign in Afghanistan is a prime example of this, both as a largely successful effort against a terrorist state and as a logical extension of the mission of NATO, which now reaches far beyond the boundaries of Europe.

As in Iraq, the effort has involved great sacrifice from the brave sons and daughters of Britain. By their valor, and by the sustained action of NATO in Afghanistan, we have shown our seriousness of purpose against terrorism … an ability to move beyond the military models of Cold War days … and a capacity to shift tactics and technology to fight an enemy who defends no state and observes no code.

Even in the midst of all the divisiveness with regard to our actions in Iraq, the United States, Great Britain and our coalition should be proud of what we have averted. Imagine Saddam Hussein and his murderous sons in power today successfully defying the international community and free to pursue weapons programs.

Of course political realism is back in the ascendancy since the difficulties in Iraq. It’s true that we have learned that geography, history, and ethnicity are important factors to consider in making decisions regarding today’s enemies.

We’ve also been reminded of the importance of preparation, of alliances, and the continuing support of our people.

But that does not change the fact that we sometimes must address events in far-away places that endanger our people. Or that we believe in universal values that do not allow us to ignore wholesale human suffering.

Realism? Yes. But also idealism, which is what makes us different from our enemies.

We should also remember that beyond the War on Terror, there are other threats we must meet together that extend well into the future. One way or another, the challenges we face today will recede. Other challenges to our shared interests and security have not been waiting patiently in line for our attention.

Some cannot yet be seen, but it is obvious that our energy needs for example are not going away. Disruptions in energy supplies, sharp price increases and thuggish behavior by energy suppliers are threats to all democracies with growing economies. Also, rapid military build-ups by non-democratic nations should be of concern.

More and more, if things go wrong in disputes that were once considered just regional problems, there will be no “over there” or “over here.” We’ll all be affected. Globalization is not limited to economic matters. As we go through these perilous times, we must keep firmly in mind the things that bind us together, not disagreements.

We’ve been through a lot together, our two nations – and not just in the storied exploits of our parents’ generation. Though there are many moments in British political history from which leaders today can take instruction, there is one in particular that I’ve always admired in the career of Sir Winston Churchill.

It was when Neville Chamberlain died in November 1940. In memorializing in the House of Commons his longtime adversary, Churchill pronounced the bitter controversies put to rest. He said, quote, “History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.”

In the end, he reflected, “The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions.” We are “so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honour.”

Maybe it’s the actor in me that admires this scene so much. It’s a moment that no script-writer could improve upon. I am struck by its spirit, the magnanimity and generosity of the man … the willingness to let old arguments go, and move on to great objectives held in common.

We in this alliance have had our own share of hopes mocked and plans upset. And now it is time to shake off the disappointments, to let go of controversies past, and to press on together toward the great objectives. To ensure security for our people. To be a force for stability in the world. To remain the stalwart friends of freedom.

For our part, we in the United States have never had occasion to doubt the fortitude and faithfulness of the British people. As much as ever, we count ourselves lucky to call the United Kingdom our closest ally, and we are proud to call you our finest friend.

Thank you.

Fred Thompson is an actor and former Senator. His radio commentary airs on the ABC Radio Network and be blogs on The Fred Thompson Report.
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Posts: 9484

« Reply #151 on: June 19, 2007, 06:12:35 PM »

Tough, but vulnerable - a pretty good LA Times article on why Democrats are leaning toward Hillary.  I'm just the messenger here; I won't be voting for Hillary.

Excerpt: "Scars can become marks of distinction, and for those assessing her, some of Clinton's darkest White House moments now add to her character. Murphy and others saw her failure to overhaul healthcare less as an indication of flawed political judgment than as valuable preparation for a rematch.",0,2765403.column?coll=la-opinion-rightrail

The tough, but vulnerable, front-runner
Hillary Clinton's experience puts her on top of the Democratic field, but her own caution could bring her down.
June 13, 2007

Detroit — AFTER WATCHING Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) juggle pointed questions before nearly 1,000 union members here Saturday, it was easy to imagine how she might pull away from her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. But it was also possible to see how she might stumble on the way.

Clinton's performance at the town hall meeting — part of a series that the AFL-CIO is conducting with the Democratic candidates to help determine whether it will endorse one of them this fall — was solid but not gripping. She sounded expert on some answers but evasive on others. And she didn't erase all doubts. Yet most people in the crowd were impressed — in ways that suggest Clinton's early lead in the polls rests on a solid foundation of confidence in her qualifications.

As the first woman to be a serious contender, Clinton might have confronted skepticism about her credibility as commander in chief, especially during wartime. But that's the dog that hasn't barked in the Democratic race. Primarily because of her years as first lady, it appears Democrats view her as more prepared for the presidency than her (male) rivals.

That's evident in national polls comparing Clinton with her top opponents, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former Sen. John Edwards. A recent ABC/Washington Post poll asked Democrats which candidate was the strongest leader, could best handle a crisis and had the best experience for the presidency. On all three questions, more respondents picked Clinton than Obama and Edwards combined. Women preferred her most, but men also favored her on those tests.

Those personal assessments, more than any policy position, buttressed Clinton's support at the town hall meeting too. Harry Murphy, an African American who organizes for Unite Here, the textile and hotel workers union, said that although Obama "needs to get his feet a little wetter," he believes that Clinton "is tested … [and] already knows the system." Clinton's admirers see her as not only experienced but tough. Margaret McCormick, a teacher who was visiting from Louisville, Ky., liked Edwards' message but was leaning toward Clinton because "when Hillary's backed into a corner, she does not give an inch." Joe Mazzarese, a United Auto Workers organizer, expressed the thought more pungently: "If I was going to get in a fight, even in a war, I'd want her on my side."

Scars can become marks of distinction, and for those assessing her, some of Clinton's darkest White House moments now add to her character. Murphy and others saw her failure to overhaul healthcare less as an indication of flawed political judgment than as valuable preparation for a rematch. Even more striking was this observation from Elaine Crawford, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local that hosted the meeting: After watching Clinton hold her balance during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, she's certain Clinton can manage anything the presidency throws at her. "That was a personal glimpse of how she handled herself under tough personal pressure," Crawford said. "So I wouldn't be afraid of her making those tough decisions for the country."

Clinton also effectively portrayed herself as a fighter for those in need — an argument that resonated especially with the blue-collar women listening. And she benefited from residual good feelings about her husband's presidency among Democrats, drawing applause at almost every reference to the 1990s.

Yet Clinton still excels more at the prose than the poetry of politics; there was more energy in the room when she arrived than when she left. Several in the crowd worried about whether she can win a general election — partly because they doubt that America will elect a woman, but mostly because they fear that Republicans will reprise old scandal allegations against both Clintons.

Some of these activists also questioned whether she (and her husband) sufficiently represent the party's liberal base. Usually that sentiment manifests in skepticism about her stance on Iraq, but here it translated into a barbed question about her service, from 1986 to 1992, on Wal-Mart's board of directors.

The most worrisome sign for Clinton at the meeting was her own caution. Asked whether she would support higher automotive fuel economy standards — an overdue idea that the autoworkers have joined the auto companies in fighting — Clinton implied that she would but never directly answered. Nor, while talking tough on trade, did she ever acknowledge how much the American auto companies' miscalculations have contributed to their decline. Both answers contrasted badly with Obama, who, during a recent Detroit speech, forthrightly endorsed better fuel economy and chastised the companies for building too many cars consumers disdained.

With such timidity, Clinton risks sharpening one of her detractors' best weapons — the charge that calculation, not conviction, is her compass. Front-runners dislike risk, but in her case, the riskiest move may be playing it safe.

Ronald Brownstein, LA Times
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« Reply #152 on: June 19, 2007, 07:58:35 PM »

I'm just the messenger here; I won't be voting for Hillary.

Good thing you reassured us!  Wink
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Posts: 42558

« Reply #153 on: June 20, 2007, 11:37:35 AM »

WSJ's Political Journal:

Money Talks, Even If It Doesn't Run

In the end he may not run, but New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg certainly roiled political waters yesterday with his announcement he was leaving the Republican Party to register as an Independent.

For the next seven months you can expect a lot of teasing from Team Bloomberg as he evaluates whether or not to run. He will likely make up his mind after the Tsunami Tuesday primaries next Feb. 5, when both major party nominees are likely to be known.

"If John McCain gets beaten to the right -- which is possible in a conservative Republican primary -- and if Democrats elect someone through a primary who Democrats generally view as unelectable, there's a large segment of the American electorate that is looking for something different," Bloomberg strategist Kevin Sheekey told last year, in a clear reference to Hillary Clinton as the "unelectable" Democrat. Mr. Sheekey is apparently convinced there are enough alienated voters to make up "36% of the vote in enough states to give you an electoral win." Money, of course, wouldn't be a problem -- Mr. Bloomberg has hinted to friends he could easily spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a presidential race.

In reality, winning a majority of the Electoral College is tricky for an independent under the best of circumstances, a consideration that ultimately may convince Mr. Bloomberg to keep his billions in his pocket. If he does run, whom does he hurt most?

The biggest ding would be to Democrats, who would suddenly find themselves having to defend safe blue territories such as New York and California (86 electoral votes between them). Other states that lean Democratic, such as New Jersey and Connecticut, would also be in play. For their part, Republicans would be forced to compete more intensely in a few states they usually carry, such as Florida (chock full of New York migrants). But it's unlikely Mr. Bloomberg would have much appeal in the South or Midwest GOP strongholds. "How much of a cultural fit can a five-foot, seven-inch culturally liberal Jew from New York City with a Boston accent be in Kansas City?" asks one GOP consultant.

That said, Mr. Bloomberg will no doubt enjoy the next seven months as the entire national press corps speculates on his possible moves and provides him with endless media coverage. Mr. Bloomberg may end up getting all the attention he wants without having to spend his fortune running for president.

-- John Fund
Et Tu, Bloomie?

Yesterday wasn't a good day for GOP frontrunner Rudy Giuliani. First came word that President Bush was appointing former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle as his new budget director, replacing the retiring Rob Portman. Mr. Nussle had been the top strategist for Mr. Giuliani in the key Iowa caucuses but now will be sidelined from politics.

Then came word that Thomas Ravenel, South Carolina's state treasurer and the campaign chairman for Mr. Giuliani in that key early primary state, has been suspended from office and indicted by a federal grand jury on distribution of cocaine charges.

To top everything off, the surprise move to register as an Independent by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a man Mr. Giuliani campaigned for in 2001, couldn't have been good news for Team Rudy. Should Mr. Bloomberg run for president, it is almost certain he would diminish Mr. Guiliani's contention that he could win the White House for the GOP by putting states such as New York into play.

A new Quinnipiac Poll makes it unclear just how much of a chance Mr. Giuliani would have in the state both he and Hillary Clinton call home. It shows Senator Clinton with a solid 52% to 37% lead against Mr. Giuliani in a two-way race. With Mr. Bloomberg thrown into the mix, Mrs. Clinton leads by 43% to 29% with 16% opting for Mr. Bloomberg as an independent. Most ominously, Mr. Bloomberg actually ties Mr. Giuliani among key independent voters -- each man gets 23%.
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« Reply #154 on: June 30, 2007, 06:18:21 AM »

Of Tax Cuts and Terror
New York's former mayor makes his case to be Reagan's heir.

Saturday, June 30, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

"I think the American people in November 2008 are going to select the person they think is strongest to defend America against Islamic terrorism. And it is not going to focus on--as some of the media wants it--just Iraq. I think Americans are smarter than that."

Thus did Rudy Giuliani summarize the rationale for his presidential campaign at a meeting this week with the editorial board of the Journal. Next year's election will be about national security, not about Iraq narrowly defined.

In an hour-long conversation in our offices in lower Manhattan, the former New York City mayor sat facing away from the view of Ground Zero below, but 9/11 was very much in the front of his mind. A few minutes into the interview, he paused midsentence, gestured over his shoulder and looked down at his hands. "Coming down here just fills me with memories," he offered. "I can't come here without thinking about what happened that day."

Mr. Giuliani has been accused of playing the 9/11 card for political gain, and he did not shy from discussing his role after the terrorist attacks on that day and its effect on his worldview. But he defied the caricature of a man who intends to beat the 9/11 drum all the way to the White House.

His views on foreign and domestic policy were cogent and delivered with the take-it-or-leave-it confidence that is as refreshing to his backers as it is infuriating to his opponents, both now and when he was mayor. "Leadership," he told us, "is first figuring out what's right, and then explaining it to people, as opposed to first having people explain to you what's right, and then just saying what they want to hear."

Mr. Giuliani is often referred to as a "moderate" Republican, which is true if it means simply that he doesn't follow the party line on certain issues, such as abortion. But there is very little else about him that qualifies for the label. "I am," he told us, "by all objective measures the most fiscally conservative candidate in the race." On domestic policy, he says he wants to shrink the government's share of the economy and increase the private sector's. Tax rates "should be lower" and our health-care system ought to be "move[d] away from the paternalistic model" that we have now.

This is not big-government conservatism. George W. Bush, he tells us, "was not good on spending," although he adds that Congress wasn't very good on spending, either. "I think that it's one of the primary reasons [the Republicans] lost Congress in 2006."

When it comes to the war on terror, "defending America" means "remaining on offense." More particularly, it means "using the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance and interrogation techniques that are legal but aggressive." Of Guantanamo Bay, he says, "I don't think we should close Guantanamo."

These, then, are the talking points. But in order to discover whether there was more to his national-security credentials than merely being "America's mayor" on 9/11, we pressed him on how a President Giuliani would handle a current foreign-policy crisis such as Iran. His answer revealed a discursive style that was on display throughout the meeting, and which can only be demonstrated by quoting from his reply at some length.
He started by explaining how he understands the problem, before getting around to how it ought to be handled: "Well, I think that if we've learned any lessons from the history of the 20th century, one of the lessons we should learn is [to] stop trying to psychoanalyze people and take them at their word.

"If we had taken Hitler at his word, Stalin at his word, I think we would have made much sounder decisions and saved a lot more lives. I don't know why we have to think that [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad doesn't mean what he says. Therefore, the more cautious, prudent way to react to it is, he means what he says.

"The second thing is . . . we shouldn't be surprised that he's emerged in Iran. Iran has been like that since the Ayatollah took over. So, they are an irresponsible regime."

With that by way of preamble, he answered the question: "America's approach should begin with the clear statement that we will not allow him to become a nuclear power. And everybody should know that, including your allies, that that's not a solution American will tolerate, because it would be too dangerous for us to put nuclear weapons in the hands of people who say the things he says and have done the things they've done."

OK, but it's one thing to say we will "not allow" a nuclear Iran, it's another to be prepared to do something about it. Does not allowing him to become a nuclear power include taking military action against Iran, if necessary? The answer comes quickly: "Whatever is necessary."

So, what are the odds that we can avoid military confrontation with Iran over its nuclear program? "It all depends on their evaluation of the American president. If they think that they have an American president that's going to be ambiguous and worry about this stuff--kind of a John Kerry type who is going to worry what Europe thinks--they're going to be more likely to take advantage of it."

Call it peace through strength. "If," on the other hand, "they believe that an American president will utilize any steps necessary to stop them from becoming nuclear, there is a much better chance that the sanctions will work, because you have leverage--and in a strange way, I think that a much better chance the sanctions will work because our allies, or semi-allies [like Russia and China], will have an incentive for making them work, because they don't want that [military action] to happen."

Asked whether he thinks the Bush administration is doing enough to address the Iranian situation, he says he "probably would prefer somewhat stronger language. What I really want to know is what's the bottom line--and I don't know the answer to that." He argues that, in this case, making the administration's bottom line public and explicit would help bring the Iranians around because they could no longer delude themselves that they might get away with going nuclear without paying a high price.

So much for Iran. How does Mr. Giuliani rate the current administration's handling of Iraq? "The plan for how to stabilize Iraq certainly wasn't a good one. And then there wasn't a quick enough reaction to the facts on the ground that showed you that it wasn't a good one. So I kind of look at that as, if you come into office and it's still there, you've got to try to straighten it out and you have to try to learn from it in the future." He's not a cut-and-run man, in other words.

The current fashion in Iraq war criticism is to say that America can't make any headway unless the Iraqis come to a political accommodation with each other, so America should step aside until that is accomplished. Mr. Giuliani looks at it through the lens of his time as mayor, and believes that America has to provide security before anything like a functioning society or government can emerge.

"Maybe having been a mayor I can see some of this better. By that I mean, if you've got to create a democracy, democracy is only a theory that doesn't mean very much when people live in fear. I used to say that about crime in New York, that the most important civil right is being safe. . . . It doesn't matter if you have other civil rights if you can't go out at night. . . . So if you're going to create an election in Iraq when the infrastructure of that society has crumbled--which means people can't go to work, people can't go out, more people are being killed than used to be the case, right in front of you--then democracy is a theory down the road, but your life has disintegrated. I don't think we saw our responsibility clearly enough at the beginning to keep up the infrastructure of Iraq."

It's too soon to ask any candidate what they would do about Iraq if elected--we know too little about what the state of play will be in January 2009. But when asked what his response is to those Republicans who are concerned that continuing to support the war will cost them seats in the Senate in November 2008, his answer is concise: "I'd tell them that getting this right is much more important than winning Senate seats."

On the home front, it's no surprise that Mr. Giuliani, a law-enforcement man for decades, believes we need the Patriot Act, the NSA wiretapping program and the rest of the war-fighting architecture that has been built up under President Bush. But when you dig a little deeper, Mr. Giuliani, a public servant nearly all of his adult life, sounds a lot more like the CEO president that George Bush was billed as than Mr. Bush has proved to be. He seems to think less in terms of "initiatives" than in terms of quantification, analysis and information. "I'd want an evaluation about how accurate are we [in identifying threats]. Are we 70%, 80%, 90% accurate? Can we sit down, and do we have on paper the leading groups? Do we have the primary actors? Are we evaluating whether our intelligence is improving? How effective are we being in finding them?"
This focus on methods carries more weight coming from Mr. Giuliani because of the results he achieved using it to bring down crime in New York City. Identify the problem, quantify it, isolate it and fight it. He admits that, as a private citizen, he doesn't have enough information about how much of this we're doing right now. But it's illustrative of his way of thinking about problems that what he thinks we need are metrics by which to measure all these things.

Likewise on government reform. He announced in a speech earlier this week that he would plan to replace only half of the 300,000 civil servants due to retire over the next decade. In his visit to the Journal's offices, he said he'd like to see every government agency try to identify ways to be more efficient every year. "You task them with--sort of like [former GE CEO] Jack Welch's approach, to always get rid of the bottom 10%--you task them every year to find 5%, 10% in savings, or 15% or 20% .  . . It's to save money, but it's also a discipline that has them going to their agency and figure out what is not efficient--what isn't working. We haven't done that since Reagan."

Mr. Giuliani likes to quantify. In place of a platform, he has 12 "commitments," which he has printed up on a card (they are also on his campaign Web site). He freely admits that, political reality being what it is, he would consider it a victory to "achieve seven or eight of them."

Mr. Giuliani invoked Ronald Reagan's name repeatedly, and always as a model. There is an element of political calculation in that--Mr. Giuliani is trying to reassure the so-called cultural conservatives that if they liked Reagan, they'll love Rudy. But can he overcome the perception that he's a culturally liberal, pro-choice New Yorker who's to the left of his own party on a number of issues? He says that his differences with the party on cultural issues are "sometimes exaggerated for political purposes."

On Roe v. Wade, he says, astutely, "I don't answer that because I wouldn't want a judge to have to answer that. I don't consider it a litmus test." But he may give the pro-life crowd jitters when he adds, "I think a conservative strict constructionist judge could come to either conclusion." He suggests that the real test should be intellectual honesty, and to that end he cites D.C. Circuit Appeals Court Judge Larry Silberman's recent opinion on the Second Amendment, affirming a constitutional right to bear arms. This is a nice piece of political turnabout--to respond to a question about his stance on abortion by citing favorably the most important pro-gun-rights decision in recent history.

To return to the subject at hand, we ask him who on the Supreme Court now meets his standards for intellectual honesty. "[Samuel] Alito, [John] Roberts--I would have appointed either one of them," he offers. He's said as much before. But he continues: "[Antonin] Scalia clearly does [meet the standard], and [Clarence] Thomas. I would have appointed any one of the four of them."

Speaking of justice, Mr. Giuliani has been more circumspect than some of his rivals on whether he would pardon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. And he repeated again that he wouldn't pardon Mr. Libby "right now." On the other hand, Mr. Giuliani advanced a pretty good argument that he should never have been tried. "Perjury has to be material--it has to relate to what you're investigating," he offered. "If someone goes in front of a grand jury and tells a lie about an insignificant fact, it's a lie but it isn't perjury. There's all kinds of lying that isn't criminal . . . If the investigation is about a non-crime, when you know who did it, how could anything be material to it?" That sounds an awful lot like an argument for a pardon, even if Mr. Giuliani seems to think the time may not be right.
There's no denying that Mr. Giuliani's campaign is built around the war on terror--or, as he prefers to call it, "the terrorists' war on us." He views the 2008 election as a turning point in the conflict, and, naturally, thinks he's the man to steer things in the right direction.

"I think that the president we elect in 2008 will determine how long it takes to prevail against the terrorists," Mr. Giuliani says. "If you select somebody that is going to go back on defense, it's going to take a much longer time and there are going to be more casualties. If you select a president that's going to remain on offense, and even improve on it, it isn't going to be easy, but it's going to mean less casualties, faster." It's not an easy or comforting message, but Mr. Giuliani is not in the comforting business. Whether it's a message the country wants to hear is something the voters will let us know.

Mr. Carney is a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal. A full transcript of the interview is available here.
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« Reply #155 on: July 02, 2007, 03:38:59 PM »

Political Journal of the WSJ:

Goon Squad

The Democratic Party oak has grown, in part, from Acorn, a feisty, union-backed activist group that last year registered 600,000 low-income and minority voters and helped propel Democrats to victory in several states. Today, in recognition of Acorn's power, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and Dennis Kucinich are attending the group's presidential forum in Philadelphia.

You'd think Acorn's shadowy methods, which last year led four of its Kansas City, Mo. workers to be indicted and plead guilty to submitting false voter registrations, would give Democratic candidates pause. But instead the Senate Judiciary Committee has gone into overdrive to hold oversight hearings questioning the Bush Justice Department's decision to file the indictments just before the 2004 election.

Regardless of the timing of Justice's decision, something is clearly rotten with Acorn. Prosecutors in King County, Washington (Seattle) may soon charge Acorn workers in another voter registration scandal in 2006. The group also engaged in questionable practices during the state's disputed 2004 governor's race, which was finally awarded to the Democrat by just 139 votes -- far fewer than the number of votes proven to have been cast illegally.

Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County's prosecutor, said a decision on an indictment should come this month. "We're dealing with possible criminal charges with regard to fraudulent registrations," he told McClatchy Newspapers. Several Acorn employees apparently filled out multiple registration forms in similar handwriting. After suspicions were raised, King County elections workers sampled 400 of the Acorn registrations. According to McClatchy: "Only two had valid phone numbers, and in both cases the people reached by phone had not done the registrations, elections staffers said."

The case has even prompted mild-mannered Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed to urge action. Last October, he contacted the King County Prosecutor by email and called attention to the voter-registration violations: "Many cases, like this, have been referred to Prosecutors and ignored. I'd appreciate it if you would have your office go after this. We need to show that we're tough on voter fraud. Right?" The next day, Mr. Reed sent another email to the state's elections director pressing his case: "We need some good examples of being touch (sic) on voter fraud to help regain some confidence and trust in the system."

For his part, Acorn leader Wade Rathke dismisses criticism of his group's activities as "major league political harassment . . . crazy words." Today, he will be lining up his troops as Hillary Clinton gives marching orders on how the left can win the 2008 election. Here's hoping that someone keeps an eye on Acorn as it prepares yet another blitzkrieg electoral effort next year.

-- John Fund


Mitt Romney finds himself engaged in crisis management over a previous episode of crisis management. As described last week in a Boston Globe profile, Mr. Romney demonstrated his leadership skills by placing Seamus, the family dog, in a cage and strapping it to the roof of the Romney station wagon for a 1983 family vacation to Ontario. When Seamus committed a mishap that dribbled down over the car windows, Mr. Romney calmly paused and hosed the car down before proceeding with the trip, according to the Globe's account.

At a campaign stop in Pittsburgh last Thursday, Mr. Romney tackled the swelling controversy head-on, telling an audience that Seamus "enjoyed" riding atop the car and "scrambled up there every time we went on trips." He added: "PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air."

PETA, otherwise known as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had accused the former Massachusetts governor of dog "torture." Bloggers also have latched onto the story. Time magazine's Ana Marie Cox adjudicates: "The details of the event are more than unseemly -- they may, in fact, be illegal."

Mr. Romney's campaign probably will not mind the media preoccupation with Seamus if it causes reporters to overlook his forthcoming fundraising results. The campaign quietly told supporters last week to expect his second-quarter numbers to show a decline when released in the next few days. Mr. Romney whupped the Republican field during the first quarter, but attributed the latest drop to more days spent on the campaign trail in the second-quarter. He also let supporters know he had dipped into his own riches to write another multi-million-dollar check to his own campaign. That howl you're hearing from Romney headquarters may have more to do with the polls and cost of campaigning than with media fascination with Seamus-gate.

-- Taylor Buley

Adios, Amigos

This past weekend, every major Democratic candidate attended a gathering sponsored by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials for a Democratic presidential candidate forum. And the Republican forum? Cancelled. Only Rep. Duncan Hunter of California agreed to show.

The move is one of many recent Republican maneuverings to distance themselves from an appearance of having a weak stance on the immigration issue. Blame the techo-populists of talk radio and the blogosphere who sunk the Senate's immigration bill. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, for example, recently voted to kill the bill that they themselves had co-authored.

"The Republican candidates have blown off Hispanics in Florida," noted state Rep. Juan Zapata, a Republican who helped bring the NALEO event to the state. Added state Rep. Julio Robaina, also a Republican: "I'm somewhat offended because this is about Hispanics, not about politics."

True, NALEO may be a predominantly pro-big government organization, but Republican Hispanophobia is a major miscalculation. The event is the nation's largest gathering of Hispanic elected officials, local party representatives and event organizers. Not to mention it was held at the all-American venue of Walt Disney World. Meanwhile, the GOP abandoned the field to a parade of Democratic hopefuls, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, who decried the idea of a border fence ("crazy!" said Mr. Edwards) -- and implied at every opportunity that the GOP was simply anti-Hispanic.

John Bueno, NALEO's outgoing president, told National Public Radio: "Latino voters are getting smarter, they're getting more organized and there's going to be repercussions, I think, coming form the Latino voters for elected officials that are not listening to them."

-- Taylor Buley

Quote of the Day

"[An] epic moment in Democratic politics came May 21 when Florida Republican Gov. Charlie Crist signed legislation moving the Sunshine State's presidential primary to next Jan. 29.... Florida has put virtually all Democrats not named Hillary in a difficult spot. Because the Democratic vote in Florida is concentrated in just four major media markets (Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg), a full-scale primary campaign in the state can be waged for as little as $7 million, which is less than Howard Dean spent on the 2004 Iowa caucuses. But it will be difficult for any Democrat to compete with Clinton in Florida -- even Barack Obama, who may be able to outspend her -- because of her strengths among older and Jewish voters, two demographic groups that tend to vote heavily in Florida primaries" -- Walter Shapiro, Washington bureau chief for
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« Reply #156 on: July 03, 2007, 12:05:42 PM »

Congressman Ron Paul wasn't invited to a Des Moines forum on Saturday of GOP presidential candidates sponsored by Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance. No matter: The Texas Republican decided to hold his own gathering in the hall next door, in the same building as the exclusionary event. "They choose not to invite us to some of their parties, but we threw a bigger and happier party," Mr. Paul told 500 fans, an impressive turnout in Iowa and about equal the number of attendees at the GOP debate.

Mr. Paul's name is often excluded from campaign polls despite what appears to be widespread support from the techno-right. He's the only candidate listed among the top searches on, and often beats out Paris Hilton as the most talked about topic on the blogosphere. Rumors also suggest that when this quarter's fund-raising totals are announced, he may have pulled in $4 million -- a lot more than some bigger-name Republicans in the race.

In excluding Mr. Paul, Iowans for Tax Relief and the Iowa Christian Alliance excluded a candidate who shares many of their positions and who stirs up genuine thoughtful interest in audiences. But then the entire presidential effort of the two Iowa conservative groups hardly covered itself in glory. The organized debate was further diminished when Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson all declined to participate. All in all, Iowa is rapidly losing political significance, a development sped along by the decisions of puffed-up groups like the sponsors of Saturday's presidential forum.
Political Journal of the WSJ
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« Reply #157 on: July 06, 2007, 12:47:21 PM »

Newt sketches out a campaign theme:

Sarkozy's Lesson for America
Washington Post  July 5 2007
Newt Gingrich
The country is at a crossroads, a different kind of place from where we've been before. The special interests seem more reactionary and entrenched than ever, the bureaucracies much larger. We need to marshal the courage to change, and we need to understand what needs changing.

Two books guide my thoughts these days. One is "Testimony: France in the Twenty-First Century," by the new French president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The second is American: "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression," by Amity Shlaes. Together they form a map for the crossroads.

Start with the will to change. Most American politicians have lost that. Or, if they have it, they are hostage to advisers who don't have the will to change.

France has a reputation as a country averse to change. But President Sarkozy translated his general exhortation about the need to change and the importance of work into a simple and direct policy proposal: All overtime will be tax-free.

Sarkozy had the courage to campaign on the theme that "the French will have to work harder." Imagine trying to get that past an American campaign consultant. In effect, he repudiated the French left's passion for income transfer and trumped it with a passion for pursuing happiness.

The elites hated that repudiation, but it won the French election. France proves change is possible in a country whose special interests are even more entrenched than ours are.

And what about the second part of the challenge -- knowing what should be done? The great lesson of the past six years is that it is impossible to solve America's problems within the failed reactionary bureaucracies and redistributionist policies of the left.

Republicans were punished in 2006 for their own failure to run the system effectively. They were also punished for failing to develop a new system -- that is, to push for a Sarkozy-scale disruption of the old order. They didn't really even know what was wrong.

Citizens had to choose between a left enthusiastically raising taxes to run failing bureaucracies and a right passively attempting to avoid tax increases while bureaucracies decay and policies fail around it.

But there is a more powerful alternative to this. It could be very popular and economically effective. It is a return to the old liberalism that was so important in America before the New Deal. This is a liberalism we share with Britain: Whig-style free-market liberalism.

The "forgotten man" was a term coined by a great conservative pro-market, pro-growth professor named William Graham Sumner. In an 1883 essay, he asserted: "As soon as A observes something which seems to him to be wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine . . . what A, B, and C shall do for X."

Sumner wanted to know about C, the one he called "the forgotten man." As Shlaes explains, "[t]here was nothing wrong with A and B helping X. What was wrong was the law, and the indenturing of C, his forgotten man, to the cause." Sumner wrote of the forgotten man: "He works, he votes, generally he prays -- but he always pays -- yes, above all, he pays."

Much like Sarkozy today, Sumner wanted to center society's policies on making that productive person more productive. He understood that a social contract that encouraged work led to a brighter future. But the meaning of that phrase forgotten man changed, as Shlaes demonstrates.

Franklin D. Roosevelt bought out constituencies in 1935 and 1936, spending billions on popular projects that created jobs. Nineteen thirty-six was the first peacetime year that the federal government was larger than state and local governments combined -- and it set a trend. The Depression was real, but it also was a pretext for this action.

By helping his groups of forgotten men, Roosevelt created another forgotten man, the individual left out by the groups. That forgotten man was the forgotten man of productivity, not redistributionist pity.

Shlaes's book is historical -- she is a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. But the implication for today is that the interest groups are the problem. This is where we must begin -- and get back to the individual.

Washington now is like the corrupt Tory England that the Whigs reformed. Whig liberalism brought growth. Our own Jeffersonian forerunners, the Founding Fathers, also rejected the Crown and understood the importance of small government.

Sarkozy shows us how a courageous leader could translate Shlaes's call to liberalism into the boldest campaign in our lifetime.
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« Reply #158 on: July 15, 2007, 06:15:22 AM »

Richard Viguerie goes after Fred Thompson as a phony conservative:

Extensive interview with Ron Paul
« Last Edit: July 15, 2007, 07:14:15 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #159 on: July 15, 2007, 11:42:34 AM »

Why isn't Clinton going after hedge funds?   Well because they are big donors and they got Chelsea a job:

The conflicts of interests just never ends:
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« Reply #160 on: July 15, 2007, 12:27:29 PM »

I'm second to few in my loathing for the Clintons, but is Morris here avoiding mentioning the concept of the Capital Gains tax?  Is he suggesting the individual cap gains should be taxed at the same rate as income?!? Does anyone know what rate corporations pay on cap gains?
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« Reply #161 on: July 17, 2007, 11:24:19 AM »

Replying to a couple of recent posts here:

"Is he (Dick Morris) suggesting the individual cap gains should be taxed at the same rate as income?!?" - I think he is comparing her to the further left positions of Obama and Edwards.  Also, I think 50 states tax capital gains same as ordinary income (a crime IMO); the states were laughing to the bank when the fed rate was cut.

"Does anyone know what rate corporations pay on cap gains?" - 35% vs. 15% individual:


Commenting on the Richard Viguerie piece attacking Fred Thompson as no conservative leader:

First evidence shown is his former support for McCain Feingold, terrible legislation.  He now agrees at least parts of that were a mistake.  To me that was already the biggest issue that I disagree with Fred on, so the criticism provides no new light and skips intentionally the fact that he has had second thoughts.

Viguerie admits Thompson is more conservative than Giuliani, McCain or Romney.  From a conservative point of view, isn't that the point.  He goes on to show how Thompson with his moderate friends can't be painted into a far-right corner.  Isn't that the rest of the point - winning.

Thompson isn't pro-life enough? He's running against Giuliani - prochoice.  Then against Hillary Clinton most likely.  The President's role in this is to appoint good justices.  Seems to me both Giuliani and Thompson would do that.  Thompson played a leading role with the John Roberts confirmation.

A ho-hum career in the senate.  Yes, each vote can be picked apart.  Likewise for Hillary and Obama.  Great senators have different skills and strengths than great Presidents.  Thompson didn't find a permanent place for himself in the senate even though he could have easily won another term.  At 8 years he is still on par with his likely opponents.

I noticed the anti-Thompson opinions have picked up since both Rasmussen and Zogby show Thompson slightly edging Giuliani in their latest polls.  All before announcing.

I find that Thompson has quite a gift for expressing conservative views unapologetically. Viguerie says he doesn't have prominent conservatives in his inner circle.  In that case, like Reagan, it must be Thompson himself writing his own very clearly articulated conservative views.
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« Reply #162 on: July 20, 2007, 06:49:56 AM »

Notes the dates of this interview with RP:
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« Reply #163 on: July 22, 2007, 07:29:31 AM »

Of course the NY Times is always a suspect source, but here is a longish piece on Giuliani and his time as mayor of NY with regard to race relations:

Giuliani and Race; NY Times
Those were grim days for race relations in New York City, the early 1990s. There were nearly 2,000 murders each year, blacks and whites died in high-profile racial killings, and a riot held a divided Brooklyn neighborhood in thrall for three dangerous nights.

The Long Run
The Race Factor
This is the first article in a series on the lives and careers of the 2008 presidential contenders.

On Jan. 9, 1994, another match landed in this tinderbox: a caller reported a burglary at a Harlem mosque. The police ran in, and Nation of Islam guards threw punches and broke an officer’s nose.

The mosque’s minister, accompanied by the Rev. Al Sharpton, drove downtown to register their outrage with the police commissioner, a street theater ritual grudgingly tolerated by past mayors.

Except the new mayor — Rudolph W. Giuliani, fresh off his November victory over the city’s first black mayor, David N. Dinkins — decreed that no one would meet with Mr. Sharpton. No more antics, no more provocations.

“I’ve taken a golden opportunity to act like a sensible mayor rather than a mayor who will be moved in any direction,” he said. “I’m an observer of the last 10 years of this city, and I hope to God we don’t continue in that direction.”

More than any other Republican running for president, Mr. Giuliani has confronted the question of race, that most torturous of American legacies.

His 1993 mayoral campaign slogan, often repeated, of “one city, one standard,” emphasized his view that no ethnic or racial group should expect special treatment. And he spoke with a stunning bluntness about what he saw as the failings of the city’s black leadership.

His handling of the mosque fracas set the tone. In the years to come, Mr. Giuliani would rebuff not just the histrionic Mr. Sharpton but nearly every high-ranking black official in the city, even those of moderate politics: congressmen, a state comptroller, influential ministers.

But grabbing hold of the race dial proved easier than turning it to his will.

“I never thought Rudy Giuliani was a racist,” said Fran Reiter, one of Mr. Giuliani’s deputy mayors. “But he was obsessed with the notion there were certain groups he couldn’t win over. And he wasn’t even going to try.”

Black leaders, Mr. Giuliani said in 1994, had to “learn how to discipline themselves in the way in which they speak” if they expected to chat with him. The city’s welfare-state philosophy, he said later, was racist and “enslaved” black New Yorkers.

“We in this city went through years and years of subdividing people, and that became the most important thing, the subdivision people belonged to,” Mr. Giuliani said.

Certainly he knew such words resonated with white voters who formed the backbone of his electoral coalition. What is less certain is whether a man raised and schooled in a white world understood the force with which his harshest words rained down on black New Yorkers.

New York City is 45 percent white and 27 percent black, according to 2000 Census figures.

“He was not patronizing, he was not naïve and I admired that,” said Michael Meyers, president of the New York Civil Rights Coalition, who once advised him. “But he could play on the edge of old racial antipathies.”

Mr. Giuliani’s policies, too, stirred anger. His decision to drive down the welfare rolls by cutting benefits and tightening eligibility standards and his deep cuts in social agencies infuriated many. Black voters applauded the drop in crime, but rough police tactics often inflamed tensions.

Mr. Giuliani did not respond to repeated requests made in the last few weeks to discuss his views on race.

Mr. Giuliani, aides say, found a city in the early 1990s where most of the departments affecting the lives of black New Yorkers from schools to welfare to public safety were dysfunctional. Too many citizens expected government to coddle them, and too many black leaders, said Peter Powers, one of Mr. Giuliani’s oldest friends and his first deputy mayor, were afraid to work publicly with a white Republican mayor.

So Mr. Giuliani was intent on marginalizing these critics — even if he had to shun much of the black establishment. Mr. Powers said: “You are talking about some of the people who had been around for a while. Maybe we thought someone else deserved that role.”

Perhaps. But black leaders say Mr. Giuliani, in declining to talk with them, succeeded in isolating himself.

“He just drew a line and said, ‘Anyone who represents the black community, all of the elected officials, are irresponsible and I won’t meet with you,’ ” said former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall, a black Democrat who had a long record of building alliances with whites. “If you’re the leader of the city, you really can’t justify that.”

Good Will, Evaporated

It is one of the more intriguing “what ifs” in city politics. In 1989, a Republican adviser leaned across a lunch table and put this proposition to Bill Lynch, a liberal graybeard: Would Mr. Lynch, who is black, consider working in the mayoral campaign of Rudolph W. Giuliani?

That was not so incongruous an offer as it sounds now. Many saw the incumbent, Mayor Edward I. Koch, then seeking a fourth term, as a racially divisive figure.


Page 2 of 4)

“They thought Rudy could form a winning black-white Catholic coalition,” Mr. Lynch recalled. “They figured if they could attract someone like me, they could pull African-American voters because Koch was anathema to blacks.”

Mr. Giuliani gave a fiery speech in 1992 to hundreds of rowdy police officers who were protesting Mayor Dinkins's policies.
The Long Run
The Race Factor
This is the first article in a series on the lives and careers of the 2008 presidential contenders.

Mr. Lynch instead managed the campaign of Mr. Dinkins, who upset Mr. Koch in the 1989 Democratic primary.
The Giuliani of this period was longer on ambition than fixed views. He was liberal on homelessness and attacked Mr. Koch for calling Mr. Dinkins “a Jesse Jackson Democrat.” These, he said, were racial “code words.”

Some nights Mr. Giuliani went to Bushwick and Brownsville, neighborhoods ravaged by crack, talking to men and women trapped behind triple-locked apartment doors.

“He was trying to learn, in a very linear way, the way that poor people live,” recalled one guide, Michael Gecan, an organizer with East Brooklyn Congregations, a church-based community organizing group.

Mr. Giuliani was born in Flatbush, Brooklyn, on May 28, 1944. When he was 7, his family became part of the postwar migration to Long Island, eventually settling in North Bellmore, which was 99.7 percent white. He would return to the city to attend Bishop Loughlin High School and Manhattan College, schools that were 99 percent white. He became a passionate Democrat, devoted to John and Robert Kennedy as the civil rights struggle dominated the news.

“What we saw on television horrified us,” Mr. Powers recalled of the battle against Jim Crow laws. “When people kind of suggest, ‘You’re a bunch of white guys,’ it’s as if we didn’t live through America at that time. That’s ludicrous.”

As a federal prosecutor in the 1980s, Mr. Giuliani worked with black ministers to jail corrupt police officers and invited Mr. Sharpton to talk about the plague of crack. “He was not an ideologue, and he had no problem meeting,” Mr. Sharpton said. “Let me tell you, I was a lot more radical then.”

By early 1989, New York magazine wrote of Mr. Giuliani, “He is perhaps the only white politician in town who draws a positive emotional response — hugs and cheers — in Harlem.”

Most of that good will evaporated in the heat of the campaign. Mr. Dinkins became the Democratic nominee; his candidacy was laden with black aspiration and the promise of racial peace. Mr. Giuliani steered right and attacked hard.

When Mr. Dinkins called Mr. Giuliani, who served in the Justice Department, a “Reagan Republican,” he fired back. His campaign ran an ad in a Jewish newspaper with a photo of Mr. Dinkins and Mr. Jackson, a year after Mr. Jackson made a comment widely seen as anti-Semitic. Mr. Giuliani began calling Mr. Dinkins “a Jesse Jackson Democrat.”

Mr. Giuliani lost in 1989 and did not stop running until the next election was over. His political task seemed clear. He could not count on peeling black votes from a black mayor. So he cultivated Jews, ethnic whites and the Hispanic middle class.

With New York pitched into deep recession, its descent hastened by crack and racial disturbances, a campaign riven by race seemed inevitable. “There were people in his camp pushing him hard to tie race to crime,” said Fred Siegel, a historian at Cooper Union who once advised Mr. Giuliani. “I don’t know if this was moral or practical, but Giuliani was having none of it,” Mr. Siegal recalled. “He was insistent that crime was about behavior, not race.”

Still, Mr. Giuliani took a fateful step that would for years prompt questions about his racial sensitivities. In September 1992, he spoke to a rally of police officers protesting Mr. Dinkins’s proposal for a civilian board to review police misconduct.

It was a rowdy, often threatening, crowd. Hundreds of white off-duty officers drank heavily, and a few waved signs like “Dump the Washroom Attendant,” a reference to Mr. Dinkins. A block away from City Hall, Mr. Giuliani gave a fiery address, twice calling Mr. Dinkins’s proposal “bullshit.” The crowd cheered. Mr. Giuliani was jubilant.

“If you’re acculturated to like cops, you don’t necessarily see 10,000 white guys who don’t vote in the city, don’t write political checks and love you for the wrong reason,” an aide said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he is working with the Giuliani presidential campaign.

Mr. Dinkins has not forgotten that sea of angry cops. “Rudy was out there inciting white cops to riot,” Mr. Dinkins said in a recent interview.

Mr. Giuliani said he never saw racist signs. “One of the reasons those police officers might have lost control is that we have a mayor who invites riots,” he said at the time. The Giuliani campaign later conducted a “vulnerability study” to identify their candidate’s weaknesses in 1993. This study, obtained by Wayne Barrett, author of “Rudy!” — an investigative biography — offers an unsparing critique: “Giuliani’s shrieking performance at the cop rally may be his greatest political liability this year. Giuliani has yet to admonish those who attacked the mayor with racist code words on signs and banners. Why not?”

Tough Approach on Crime


Page 3 of 4)

Determined to assault the liberal trenches, Mr. Giuliani never blanched at giving offense. He lopped the welfare rolls by 500,000, laid off thousands of black political appointees seen as too liberal and hired hundreds of more conservative whites seen as loyal to his political agenda. And he sent two schools chancellors — one black, one Hispanic — spinning out of town.

In 1995, he proposed cutting welfare benefits, and suggested that many of the poor might profitably leave town. “A natural consequence of a reduction in benefits might very well be that that would happen,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding, “That would be a good thing.”

Mr. Giuliani has written in his book “Leadership” about his belief in the cleansing power of confrontational words. Nor is he enamored of compromise. Asked in 2000 about reaching out to black leaders, he shook his head and said, “What happens when you engage in the dialogue is, you compromise.”

Yet at first, he made inroads into the black community. He endorsed Democratic Gov. Mario M. Cuomo in 1994, which won him applause in black churches. He tackled the sensitive business of removing from 125th Street, Harlem’s shopping strip, the street peddlers who drove many black merchants to distraction.

Izak-El M. Pasha, the imam of the Malcolm Shabazz Mosque, ignored other black leaders and helped the mayor with the peddlers.

“Church leaders tried to tell me ‘Man, you can’t be meeting with Giuliani!’ ” said Mr. Pasha, who struck up a friendship with the mayor. “I didn’t care. If you’re not willing to accept he has a strong personality, you have a problem.”

A record plunge in homicides earned the mayor a larger measure of good will. Black New Yorkers appreciated safer neighborhoods and applauded that thousands more of their young men remained alive.

“Rudy’s gift is that he could identify with people who felt trapped by crime,” Mr. Meyers said.

By 1997, Mr. Giuliani’s job approval rating in the black community stood at 42 percent, according to a New York Times poll.

But within these victories lay the seed of a problem. Even as crime dropped by 60 percent, officers with the street crime unit stopped and frisked 16 black males for every one who was arrested, according to a report by the state attorney general. Then came three terrible episodes that raised a pointed question for black New Yorkers: Was crime reduction worth any cost?

One hot night in August 1997, police officers grabbed Abner Louima, a black security guard, during a tussle in Flatbush. Mr. Louima exited a precinct house bleeding after officers jammed a broken broomstick into his rectum and his mouth.

Mr. Giuliani, who was running for re-election, was eloquent in his disgust. “These charges are shocking to any decent human being,” he said.

He created a task force to examine police-community relations, and invited adversaries to join. But Mr. Giuliani swamped his Democratic opponent that November. When his task force released a report the next March, Mr. Giuliani belittled its findings as “making very little sense.”

He endorsed just one suggestion, to change a deputy commissioner’s title. “We can change it from ‘affairs’ to ‘relations,’ ” Mr. Giuliani said.

Two police shootings of unarmed black men followed, one death upon another. In February 1999, the police fired 41 bullets at Amadou Diallo, an African immigrant. They said they thought he was reaching for a gun; he was trying to pull out his wallet. A year later, an undercover officer sidled up to Patrick Dorismond, an off-duty security guard, and asked to buy marijuana. Mr. Dorismond took offense; punches flew. Another undercover officer shot him.

Mayor Giuliani released the dead man’s juvenile arrest record. Mr. Dorismond, he said, was no “altar boy.” In fact, he had been an altar boy at a Brooklyn church.

There were marches and a civil disobedience campaign — Mr. Dinkins and Representative Charles B. Rangel were arrested. Mr. Powers, the mayor’s friend, said Mr. Giuliani fell victim to racial provocateurs and an amnesiac city. “A lot of the people in the minority community forgot all the good he did in lowering crime,” he said. “Rudy got demonized.”

With the city perched on edge, the mayor asked to meet with the Rev. Johnny Ray Youngblood of St. Paul Community Baptist Church. Once they had talked often; Mr. Youngblood, who is black, accompanied Mr. Giuliani on those long-ago trips to Bushwick apartments. But Mr. Giuliani had not taken his calls in years.


Page 4 of 4)

Mr. Youngblood is a leader in East Brooklyn Congregations, an organizing group that prides itself on a cool-eyed view of power. Unhappy with Mr. Giuliani but willing to talk, a half-dozen ministers trooped to City Hall, where they found an angry but chastened mayor.

“We said: ‘We don’t do photo ops,’ ” Mr. Youngblood recalled. “ ‘You must apologize to the Dorismond family.’ ”
Mr. Giuliani turned sharply.

“You don’t understand,” two ministers recall Mr. Giuliani saying. “I have to visit the families of police officers who are shot.”

A minister replied: “Yes, Mr. Mayor, but we have to funeralize the people they shoot. You are not alone, O.K.?”

Mr. Giuliani later expressed regret without precisely apologizing. His approval rating among blacks had fallen to 7 percent by April 2000, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll.

A Damaged Agenda

The question lingers in conversation with black officials: Did Mr. Giuliani have a black problem, or did blacks just not get him?

He dueled with no end of white officials. Senator Alfonse M. D’Amato, a fellow Republican? He’s “running a protection racket.” Gov. George E. Pataki? “Needs his head examined.” The Manhattan borough president, Ruth W. Messinger? She has “really jerky” ideas.

But Ms. Reiter, the former deputy mayor, said a mayor could not assume words register the same for every group. “One city, one standard is fine but unrealistic,” she said. “There are groups, for reasons of history, treated differently, and it happens every day.” Ignore that, she says, and a leader risks tone-deafness.

In the summer of 1999, Mr. Giuliani attended an Urban League fund-raiser at the Sheraton in Manhattan. He strode through the ballroom as though leaning into a strong wind.

“I want to apologize for leaving early,” he said. “It’s very, very hard for me to get a cab.” The ballroom fell silent. Then he went fishing for laughs, and found none. “You think I’m kidding? Have you ever tried to hail a cab in New York?”

He seemed unaware that many in this audience knew perfectly well what it was to hail a taxi that would not stop.

The city did not boil over on Mr. Giuliani’s watch; neither did it unite behind him.

But Mr. Sharpton, whose hand was behind most anti-Giuliani demonstrations, boycotts and attempted embarrassments, said Mr. Giuliani damaged his own agenda by failing to cultivate black allies.

“Rudy wanted to send a message that he wasn’t going to talk with the bad guys,” he said, referring to himself. “Well, guess what? The good guys couldn’t emerge because he wouldn’t talk to them either.”

Save for immigration, Mr. Giuliani rarely fields questions about race on the campaign trail. Republican voters, who are overwhelmingly white, have clamored to hear about 9/11 and terror; a few of Mr. Giuliani’s supporters discuss Mr. Sharpton, mainly as a punch line.

But in a general election, Mr. Giuliani might have to answer questions about his ability to work with black leaders. “His old racial rhetoric could turn off suburban voters,” notes Henry Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant.

Mr. Giuliani asserts that black people are not mysterious to him, even if they find him a puzzle.

“In the case of the African-American community, I understand it really well,” he told a black editorial writer at The Daily News in 1999. “There’s no point trying to educate people that I’m not a racist any more than I’m not a criminal.”

If people can’t figure me out, he added, “that’s their problem.”
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #164 on: July 22, 2007, 08:41:05 AM »

Second post of the morning:

The Antiwar, Anti-Abortion, Anti-Drug-Enforcement-
Administration, Anti-Medicare Candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul
NY Times
Published: July 22, 2007
Whipping westward across Manhattan in a limousine sent by Comedy Central's
"Daily Show," Ron Paul, the 10-term Texas congressman and long-shot
Republican presidential candidate, is being briefed. Paul has only the most
tenuous familiarity with Comedy Central. He has never heard of "The Daily
Show." His press secretary, Jesse Benton, is trying to explain who its host,
Jon Stewart, is. "He's an affable gentleman," Benton says, "and he's very
smart. What I'm getting from the pre-interview is, he's sympathetic."

 Paul nods.
"GQ wants to profile you on Thursday," Benton continues. "I think it's worth

"GTU?" the candidate replies.

"GQ. It's a men's magazine."

"Don't know much about that," Paul says.

Thin to the point of gauntness, polite to the point of daintiness, Ron Paul
is a 71-year-old great-grandfather, a small-town doctor, a self-educated
policy intellectual and a formidable stander on constitutional principle. In
normal times, Paul might be - indeed, has been - the kind of person who is
summoned onto cable television around April 15 to ventilate about whether
the federal income tax violates the Constitution. But Paul has in recent
weeks become a sensation in magazines he doesn't read, on Web sites he has
never visited and on television shows he has never watched.

Alone among Republican candidates for the presidency, Paul has always
opposed the Iraq war. He blames "a dozen or two neocons who got control of
our foreign policy," chief among them Vice President Dick Cheney and the
former Bush advisers Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle, for the debacle. On
the assumption that a bad situation could get worse if the war spreads into
Iran, he has a simple plan. It is: "Just leave." During a May debate in
South Carolina, he suggested the 9/11 attacks could be attributed to United
States policy. "Have you ever read about the reasons they attacked us?" he
asked, referring to one of Osama bin Laden's communiqués. "They attack us
because we've been over there. We've been bombing Iraq for 10 years."
Rudolph Giuliani reacted by demanding a retraction, drawing gales of
applause from the audience. But the incident helped Paul too. Overnight, he
became the country's most conspicuous antiwar Republican.

Paul's opposition to the war in Iraq did not come out of nowhere. He was
against the first gulf war, the war in Kosovo and the Iraq Liberation Act of
1998, which he called a "declaration of virtual war." Although he voted
after Sept. 11 to approve the use of force in Afghanistan and spend $40
billion in emergency appropriations, he has sounded less thrilled with those
votes as time has passed. "I voted for the authority and the money," he now
says. "I thought it was misused."

There is something homespun about Paul, reminiscent of "Mr. Smith Goes to
Washington." He communicates with his constituents through birthday cards,
August barbecues and the cookbooks his wife puts together every election
season, which mix photos of grandchildren, Gospel passages and neighbors'
recipes for Velveeta cheese fudge and Cherry Coke salad. He is listed in the
phone book, and his constituents call him at home. But there is also
something cosmopolitan and radical about him; his speeches can bring to mind
the World Social Forum or the French international-affairs periodical Le
Monde Diplomatique. Paul is surely the only congressman who would cite the
assertion of the left-leaning Chennai-based daily The Hindu that "the world
is being asked today, in reality, to side with the U.S. as it seeks to
strengthen its economic hegemony." The word "empire" crops up a lot in his

This side of Paul has made him the candidate of many people, on both the
right and the left, who hope that something more consequential than a mere
change of party will come out of the 2008 elections. He is particularly
popular among the young and the wired. Except for Barack Obama, he is the
most-viewed candidate on YouTube. He is the most "friended" Republican on Paul understands that his chances of winning the presidency are
infinitesimally slim. He is simultaneously planning his next Congressional
race. But in Paul's idea of politics, spreading a message has always been
just as important as seizing office. "Politicians don't amount to much," he
says, "but ideas do." Although he is still in the low single digits in
polls, he says he has raised $2.4 million in the second quarter, enough to
broaden the four-state campaign he originally planned into a national one.

Paul represents a different Republican Party from the one that Iraq,
deficits and corruption have soured the country on. In late June, despite a
life of antitax agitation and churchgoing, he was excluded from a Republican
forum sponsored by Iowa antitax and Christian groups. His school of
Republicanism, which had its last serious national airing in the Goldwater
campaign of 1964, stands for a certain idea of the Constitution - the idea
that much of the power asserted by modern presidents has been usurped from
Congress, and that much of the power asserted by Congress has been usurped
from the states. Though Paul acknowledges flaws in both the Constitution (it
included slavery) and the Bill of Rights (it doesn't go far enough), he
still thinks a comprehensive array of positions can be drawn from them:
Against gun control. For the sovereignty of states. And against
foreign-policy adventures. Paul was the Libertarian Party's presidential
candidate in 1988. But his is a less exuberant libertarianism than you find,
say, in the pages of Reason magazine.


(Page 2 of 5)

Over the years, this vision has won most favor from those convinced the
country is going to hell in a handbasket. The attention Paul has captured
tells us a lot about the prevalence of such pessimism today, about the
instability of partisan allegiances and about the seldom-avowed common
ground between the hard right and the hard left. His message draws on the
noblest traditions of American decency and patriotism; it also draws on what
the historian Richard Hofstadter called the paranoid style in American

Financial Armageddon
Paul grew up in the western Pennsylvania town of Green Tree. His father, the
son of a German immigrant, ran a small dairy company. Sports were big around
there - one of the customers on the milk route Paul worked as a teenager was
the retired baseball Hall of Famer Honus Wagner - and Paul was a terrific
athlete, winning a state track meet in the 220 and excelling at football and
baseball. But knee injuries had ended his sports career by the time he went
off to Gettysburg College in 1953. After medical school at Duke, Paul joined
the Air Force, where he served as a flight surgeon, tending to the ear, nose
and throat ailments of pilots, and traveling to Iran, Ethiopia and
elsewhere. "I recall doing a lot of physicals on Army warrant officers who
wanted to become helicopter pilots and go to Vietnam," he told me. "They
were gung-ho. I've often thought about how many of those people never came

Paul is given to mulling things over morally. His family was pious and
Lutheran; two of his brothers became ministers. Paul's five children were
baptized in the Episcopal church, but he now attends a Baptist one. He doesn't
travel alone with women and once dressed down an aide for using the
expression "red-light district" in front of a female colleague. As a young
man, though, he did not protest the Vietnam War, which he now calls "totally
unnecessary" and "illegal." Much later, after the United States invaded Iraq
in 2003, he began reading St. Augustine. "I was annoyed by the evangelicals'
being so supportive of pre-emptive war, which seems to contradict everything
that I was taught as a Christian," he recalls. "The religion is based on
somebody who's referred to as the Prince of Peace."

In 1968, Paul settled in southern Texas, where he had been stationed. He
recalls that he was for a while the only obstetrician - "a very delightful
part of medicine," he says - in Brazoria County. He was already immersed in
reading the economics books that would change his life. Americans know the
"Austrian school," if at all, from the work of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig
von Mises, two economists who fled the Nazis in the 1930s and whose
free-market doctrines helped inspire the conservative movement in the 1950s.
The laws of economics don't admit exceptions, say the Austrians. You cannot
fake out markets, no matter how surreptitiously you expand the money supply.
Spend more than you earn, and you are on the road to inflation and tyranny.

Such views are not always Republican orthodoxy. Paul is a harsh critic of
the Federal Reserve, both for its policies and its unaccountability. "We
first bonded," recalls Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat, "because we
were both conspicuous nonworshipers at the Temple of the Fed and of the High
Priest Greenspan." In recent weeks, Paul's airport reading has been a book
called "Financial Armageddon." He is obsessed with sound money, which he
considers - along with the related phenomena of credit excess, bubbles and
uncollateralized assets of all kinds - a "sleeper issue." The United States
ought to link its currency to gold or silver again, Paul says. He puts his
money where his mouth is. According to Federal Election Commission
documents, most of his investments are in gold and silver and are worth
between $1.5 and $3.5 million. It's a modest sum by the standards of major
presidential candidates but impressive for someone who put five children
through college on a doctor's (and later a congressman's) earnings.

For Paul, everything comes back to money, including Iraq. "No matter how
much you love the empire," he says, "it's unaffordable." Wars are expensive,
and there has been a tendency throughout history to pay for them by
borrowing. A day of reckoning always comes, says Paul, and one will come for
us. Speaking this spring before the libertarian Future of Freedom Foundation
in Reston, Va., he warned of a dollar crisis. "That's usually the way
empires end," he said. "It wasn't us forcing the Soviets to build missiles
that brought them down. It was the fact that socialism doesn't work. Our
system doesn't work much better."

Under the banner of "Freedom, Honesty and Sound Money," Paul ran for
Congress in 1974. He lost - but took the seat in a special election in April
1976. He lost again in November of that year, then won in 1978. On two big
issues, he stood on principle and was vindicated: He was one of very few
Republicans in Congress to back Ronald Reagan against Gerald Ford for the
1976 Republican nomination. He was also one of the representatives who
warned against the rewriting of banking rules that laid the groundwork for
the savings-and-loan collapse of the 1980s. Paul served three terms before
losing to Phil Gramm in the Republican primary for Senate in 1984. Tom DeLay
took over his seat.

Paul would not come back to Washington for another dozen years. But in the
time he could spare from delivering babies in Brazoria County, he remained a
mighty presence in the out-of-the-limelight world of those old-line
libertarians who had never made their peace with the steady growth of
federal power in the 20th century. Paul got the Libertarian Party nomination
for president in 1988, defeating the Indian activist Russell Means in a
tough race. He finished third behind Bush and Dukakis, winning nearly half a
million votes. He tended his own Foundation for Rational Economics and
Education (FREE) and kept up his contacts with other market-oriented
organizations. What resulted was a network of true believers who would be
his political base in one of the stranger Congressional elections of modern

A Lone Wolf
Power User
Posts: 42558

« Reply #165 on: July 22, 2007, 08:46:27 AM »

Page 3 of 5)

In the first days of 1995, just weeks after the Republican landslide, Paul
traveled to Washington and, through DeLay, made contact with the Texas
Republican delegation. He told them he could beat the Democratic incumbent
Greg Laughlin in the reconfigured Gulf Coast district that now included his
home. Republicans had their own ideas. In June 1995, Laughlin announced he
would run in the next election as a Republican. Laughlin says he had
discussed switching parties with Newt Gingrich, the next speaker, before the
Republicans even took power. Paul suspects to this day that the Republicans
wooed Laughlin to head off his candidacy. Whatever happened, it didn't work.
Paul challenged Laughlin in the primary.

"At first, we kind of blew him off," recalls the longtime Texas political
consultant Royal Masset. " 'Oh, there's Ron Paul!' But very quickly, we
realized he was getting far more money than anybody." Much of it came from
out of state, from the free-market network Paul built up while far from
Congress. His candidacy was a problem not just for Laughlin. It also
threatened to halt the stream of prominent Democrats then switching
parties - for what sane incumbent would switch if he couldn't be assured the
Republican nomination? The result was a heavily funded effort by the
National Republican Congressional Committee to defeat Paul in the primary.
The National Rifle Association made an independent expenditure against him.
Former President George H.W. Bush, Gov. George W. Bush and both Republican
senators endorsed Laughlin. Paul had only two prominent backers: the tax
activist Steve Forbes and the pitcher Nolan Ryan, Paul's constituent and old
friend, who cut a number of ads for him. They were enough. Paul edged
Laughlin in a runoff and won an equally narrow general election.
Republican opposition may not have made Paul distrust the party, but beating
its network with his own homemade one revealed that he didn't necessarily
need the party either. Paul looks back on that race and sees something in
common with his quixotic bid for the presidency. "I always think that if I
do things like that and get clobbered, I can excuse myself," he says.

Anyone who is elected to Congress three times as a nonincumbent, as Paul has
been, is a politician of prodigious gifts. Especially since Paul has real
vulnerabilities in his district. For Eric Dondero, who plans to challenge
him in the Republican Congressional primary next fall, foreign policy is
Paul's central failing. Dondero, who is 44, was Paul's aide and sometime
spokesman for more than a decade. According to Dondero, "When 9/11 happened,
he just completely changed. One of the first things he said was not how
awful the tragedy was . . . it was, 'Now we're gonna get big government.' "

Dondero claims that Paul's vote to authorize force in Afghanistan was made
only after warnings from a longtime staffer that voting otherwise would cost
him Victoria, a pivotal city in his district. ("Completely false," Paul
says.) One day just after the Iraq invasion, when Dondero was driving Paul
around the district, the two had words. "He said he did not want to have
someone on staff who did not support him 100 percent on foreign policy,"
Dondero recalls. Paul says Dondero's outspoken enthusiasm for the military's
"shock and awe" strategy made him an awkward spokesman for an antiwar
congressman. The two parted on bad terms.

A larger vulnerability may be that voters want more pork-barrel spending
than Paul is willing to countenance. In a rice-growing, cattle-ranching
district, Paul consistently votes against farm subsidies. In the very
district where, on the night of Sept. 8, 1900, a storm destroyed the city of
Galveston, leaving 6,000 dead, and where repairs from Hurricane Rita and
refugees from Hurricane Katrina continue to exact a toll, he votes against
FEMA and flood aid. In a district that is home to many employees of the
Johnson Space Center, he votes against financing NASA.

The Victoria Advocate, an influential newspaper in the district, has
generally opposed Paul for re-election, on the grounds that a "lone wolf"
cannot get the highway and homeland-security financing the district needs.
So how does he get re-elected? Tim Delaney, the paper's editorial-page
editor, says: "Ron Paul is a very charismatic person. He has charm. He does
not alter his position ever. His ideals are high. If a little old man calls
up from the farm and says, 'I need a wheelchair,' he'll get the damn
wheelchair for him."

Paul may have refused on principle to accept Medicare when he practiced
medicine. He may return a portion of his Congressional office budget every
year. But his staff has the reputation of fighting doggedly to collect
Social Security checks, passports, military decorations, immigrant-visa
extensions and any emolument to which constituents are entitled by law.
According to Jackie Gloor, who runs Paul's Victoria office: "So many times,
people say to us, 'We don't like his vote.' But they trust his heart."

In Congress, Paul is generally admired for his fidelity to principle and
lack of ego. "He is one of the easiest people in Congress to work with,
because he bases his positions on the merits of issues," says Barney Frank,
who has worked with Paul on efforts to ease the regulation of gambling and
medical marijuana. "He is independent but not ornery." Paul has made a habit
of objecting to things that no one else objects to. In October 2001, he was
one of three House Republicans to vote against the USA Patriot Act. He was
the sole House member of either party to vote against the Financial
Antiterrorism Act (final tally: 412-1). In 1999, he was the only naysayer in
a 424-1 vote in favor of casting a medal to honor Rosa Parks. Nothing
against Rosa Parks: Paul voted against similar medals for Ronald Reagan and
Pope John Paul II. He routinely opposes resolutions that presume to advise
foreign governments how to run their affairs: He has refused to condemn
Robert Mugabe's violence against Zimbabwean citizens (421-1), to call on
Vietnam to release political prisoners (425-1) or to ask the League of Arab
States to help stop the killing in Darfur (425-1).

Every Thursday, Paul is the host of a luncheon for a circle of conservative
Republicans that he calls the Liberty Caucus. It has become the epicenter of
antiwar Republicanism in Washington. One stalwart member is Walter Jones,
the North Carolina Republican who during the debate over Iraq suggested
renaming French fries "freedom fries" in the House dining room, but who has
passed the years since in vocal opposition to the war. Another is John
(Jimmy) Duncan of Tennessee, the only Republican besides Paul who voted
against the war and remains in the House. Other regulars include Virgil
Goode of Virginia, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland and Scott Garrett of New
Jersey. Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Jeff Flake, the Arizonan scourge of
pork-barrel spending, visit occasionally. Not all are antiwar, but many of
the speakers Paul invites are: the former C.I.A. analyst Michael Scheuer,
the intelligence-world journalist James Bamford and such disillusioned
United States Army officers as William Odom, Gregory Newbold and Lawrence
Wilkerson (Colin Powell's former chief of staff), among others.

In today's Washington, Paul's combination of radical libertarianism and
conservatism is unusual. Sometimes the first impulse predominates. He was
the only Texas Republican to vote against last year's Federal Marriage
Amendment, meant to stymie gay marriage. He detests the federal war on
drugs; the LSD guru Timothy Leary held a fundraiser for him in 1988.
Sometimes he is more conservative. He opposed the recent immigration bill on
the grounds that it constituted amnesty. At a breakfast for conservative
journalists in the offices of Americans for Tax Reform this May, he spoke
resentfully of being required to treat penurious immigrants in emergency
rooms - "patients who were more likely to sue you than anybody else," having
children "who became automatic citizens the next day." (Paul champions a
constitutional amendment to end birthright citizenship.) While he backs free
trade in theory, he opposes many of the institutions and arrangements - from
the World Trade Organization to Nafta - that promote it in practice.

Paul also opposes abortion, which he believes should be addressed at the
state level, not the national one. He remembers seeing a late abortion
performed during his residency, years before Roe v. Wade, and he maintains
it left an impression on him. "It was pretty dramatic for me," he says, "to
see a two-and-a-half-pound baby taken out crying and breathing and put in a

The Owl-God Moloch

Paul's message is not new. You could have heard it in 1964 or 1975 or 1991
at the conclaves of those conservatives who were considered outside the
mainstream of the Republican Party. Back then, most Republicans appeared
reconciled to a strong federal government, if only to do the expensive job
of defending the country against Communism. But when the Berlin Wall fell,
the dormant institutions and ideologies of pre-cold-war conservatism began
to stir. In his 1992 and 1996 campaigns, Pat Buchanan was the first
politician to express and exploit this change, breathing life into the motto
"America First" (if not the organization of that name, which opposed entry
into World War II).


Page 4 of 5)

Like Buchanan, Paul draws on forgotten traditions. His top aides are
unimpeachably Republican but stand at a distance from the party as it has
evolved over the decades. His chief of staff, Tom Lizardo, worked for Pat
Robertson and Bill Miller Jr. (the son of Barry Goldwater's
vice-presidential nominee). His national campaign organizer, Lew Moore,
worked for the late congressman Jack Metcalf of Washington State, another
Goldwaterite. At the grass roots, Paul's New Hampshire primary campaign
stresses gun rights and relies on anti-abortion and tax activists from the
organizations of Buchanan and the state's former maverick senator, Bob

Paul admires Robert Taft, the isolationist Ohio senator known during the
Truman administration as Mr. Republican, who tried to rally Republicans
against United States participation in NATO. Taft lost the Republican
nomination in 1952 to Dwight Eisenhower and died the following year. "Now,
of course," Paul says, "I quote Eisenhower when he talks about the
military-industrial complex. But I quote Taft when he suits my purposes
 too." Particularly on NATO, from which Paul, too, would like to withdraw.
The question is whether the old ideologies being resurrected are neglected
wisdom or discredited nonsense. In the 1996 general election, Paul's
Democratic opponent Lefty Morris held a press conference to air several
shocking quotes from a newsletter that Paul published during his decade away
from Washington. Passages described the black male population of Washington
as "semi-criminal or entirely criminal" and stated that "by far the most
powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government."
Morris noted that a Canadian neo-Nazi Web site had listed Paul's newsletter
as a laudably "racialist" publication.

Paul survived these revelations. He later explained that he had not written
the passages himself - quite believably, since the style diverges widely
from his own. But his response to the accusations was not transparent. When
Morris called on him to release the rest of his newsletters, he would not.
He remains touchy about it. "Even the fact that you're asking this question
infers, 'Oh, you're an anti-Semite,' " he told me in June. Actually, it
doesn't. Paul was in Congress when Israel bombed Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant
in 1981 and - unlike the United Nations and the Reagan administration -
defended its right to do so. He says Saudi Arabia has an influence on
Washington equal to Israel's. His votes against support for Israel follow
quite naturally from his opposition to all foreign aid. There is no sign
that they reflect any special animus against the Jewish state.

What is interesting is Paul's idea that the identity of the person who did
write those lines is "of no importance." Paul never deals in disavowals or
renunciations or distancings, as other politicians do. In his office one
afternoon in June, I asked about his connections to the John Birch Society.
"Oh, my goodness, the John Birch Society!" he said in mock horror. "Is that
bad? I have a lot of friends in the John Birch Society. They're generally
well educated, and they understand the Constitution. I don't know how many
positions they would have that I don't agree with. Because they're real
strict constitutionalists, they don't like the war, they're hard-money
people. . . . "

Paul's ideological easygoingness is like a black hole that attracts the
whole universe of individuals and groups who don't recognize themselves in
the politics they see on TV. To hang around with his impressively large
crowd of supporters before and after the CNN debate in Manchester, N.H., in
June, was to be showered with privately printed newsletters full of
exclamation points and capital letters, scribbled-down U.R.L.'s for Web
sites about the Free State Project, which aims to turn New Hampshire into a
libertarian enclave, and copies of the cult DVD "America: Freedom to

Victor Carey, a 45-year-old, muscular, mustachioed self-described "patriot"
who wears a black baseball cap with a skull and crossbones on it, drove up
from Sykesville, Md., to show his support for Paul. He laid out some of his
concerns. "The people who own the Federal Reserve own the oil companies,
they own the mass media, they own the International Monetary Fund, the World
Bank, they're part of the Bilderbergers, and unfortunately their spiritual
practices are very wicked and diabolical as well," Carey said. "They go to a
place out in California known as the Bohemian Grove, and there's been
footage obtained by infiltration of what their practices are. And they do
mock human sacrifices to an owl-god called Moloch. This is true. Go research
it yourself."

Two grandmothers from North Carolina who painted a Winnebago red, white and
blue were traveling around the country, stumping for Ron Paul, defending the
Constitution and warning about the new "North American Union." Asked whether
this is something that would arise out of Nafta, Betty Smith of Chapel Hill,
N.C., replied: "It's already arisen. They're building the highway. Guess
what! The Spanish company building the highway - they're gonna get the
tolls. Giuliani's law firm represents that Spanish company. Giuliani's been
anointed a knight by the Queen. Guess what! Read the Constitution. That's
not allowed!"

Paul is not a conspiracy theorist, but he has a tendency to talk in that
idiom. In a floor speech shortly after the toppling of the Taliban in
Afghanistan, he mentioned Unocal's desire to tap the region's energy and
concluded, "We should not be surprised now that many contend that the plan
for the U.N. to 'nation-build' in Afghanistan is a logical and important
consequence of this desire." But when push comes to shove, Paul is not among
the "many" who "contend" this. "I think oil and gas is part of it," he
explains. "But it's not the issue. If that were the only issue, it wouldn't
have happened. The main reason was to get the Taliban out."

Last winter at a meet-the-candidate house party in New Hampshire, students
representing a group called Student Scholars for 9/11 Truth asked Paul
whether he believed the official investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks was
credible. "I never automatically trust anything the government does when
they do an investigation," Paul replied, "because too often I think there's
an area that the government covered up, whether it's the Kennedy
assassination or whatever." The exchange was videotaped and ricocheted
around the Internet for a while. But Paul's patience with the "Truthers," as
they call themselves, does not make him one himself. "Even at the time it
happened, I believe the information was fairly clear that Al Qaeda was
involved," he told me.

"Every Wacko Fringe Group In the Country"


Page 5 of 5)

One evening in mid-June, 86 members of a newly formed Ron Paul Meetup group
gathered in a room in the Pasadena convention center. It was a varied crowd,
preoccupied by the war, including many disaffected Democrats. Via video link
from Virginia, Paul's campaign chairman, Kent Snyder, spoke to the group "of
a coming-together of the old guard and the new." Then Connie Ruffley,
co-chairwoman of United Republicans of California (UROC), addressed the
crowd. UROC was founded during the 1964 presidential campaign to fight off
challenges to Goldwater from Rockefeller Republicanism. Since then it has
lain dormant but not dead - waiting, like so many other old right-wing
groups, for someone or something to kiss it back to life. UROC endorsed Paul
at its spring convention.

That night, Ruffley spoke about her past with the John Birch Society and
asked how many in the room were members (quite a few, as it turned out). She
referred to the California senator Dianne Feinstein as "Fine-Swine," and got
quickly to Israel, raising the Israeli attack on the American Naval signals
ship Liberty during the Six-Day War. Some people were pleased. Others walked
out. Others sent angry e-mails that night. Several said they would not
return. The head of the Pasadena Meetup group, Bill Dumas, sent a desperate
letter to Paul headquarters asking for guidance:

"We're in a difficult position of working on a campaign that draws
supporters from laterally opposing points of view, and we have the added
bonus of attracting every wacko fringe group in the country. And in a Ron
Paul Meetup many people will consider each other 'wackos' for their beliefs
whether that is simply because they're liberal, conspiracy theorists,
neo-Nazis, evangelical Christian, etc. . . . We absolutely must focus on Ron's
message only and put aside all other agendas, which anyone can save for the
next 'Star Trek' convention or whatever."

But what is "Ron's message"? Whatever the campaign purports to be about, the
main thing it has done thus far is to serve as a clearinghouse for voters
who feel unrepresented by mainstream Republicans and Democrats. The
antigovernment activists of the right and the antiwar activists of the left
have many differences, maybe irreconcilable ones. But they have a lot of
common beliefs too, and their numbers - and anger - are of a considerable
magnitude. Ron Paul will not be the next president of the United States. But
his candidacy gives us a good hint about the country the next president is
going to have to knit back together.
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« Reply #166 on: July 24, 2007, 12:12:54 PM »

I know that some of you, like myself, are sick of politics and generally don't trust Democrats or Republicans.
I also know that some of you tend to be a Libertarian, like me.
Ron Paul is a Republican, but is more like a Libertarian, and has a consistent voting record. He's also whupping McCain's ass so far in the pre-election.
I really like this guy, and will probably vote for him. Here's an issue that I like him for, and one that some of you will certainly support. This guy has balls.
Border Security and Immigration Reform
The talk must stop. We must secure our borders now. A nation without secure borders is no nation at all. It makes no sense to fight terrorists abroad when our own front door is left unlocked. This is my six point plan:
Physically secure our borders and coastlines. We must do whatever it takes to control entry into our country before we undertake complicated immigration reform proposals.
Enforce visa rules.  Immigration officials must track visa holders and deport anyone who overstays their visa or otherwise violates U.S. law.  This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas.
No amnesty.  Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws.
No welfare for illegal aliens.  Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules.  But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services.
End birthright citizenship.  As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong. 
Pass true immigration reform.  The current system is incoherent and unfair.  But current reform proposals would allow up to 60 million more immigrants into our country, according to the Heritage Foundation.  This is insanity.  Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.
What do you think?
Here's his website.

Power User
Posts: 482

« Reply #167 on: July 24, 2007, 05:31:19 PM »

Just thought I would put up some other things about Ron Paul not to mention that he never spent 500 Dollars on a Hair Cut or Did not Inhale or Crashed his Car on a whiskey and Coke diet *Cough* Bush *Cough*  or went awol in the Military..He was a AirForce surgeon..

He has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
He has never taken a government-paid junket.
He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

He voted against the Patriot Act.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He voted against the Iraq war.

He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

Congressman Paul introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress.

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Posts: 7843

« Reply #168 on: July 25, 2007, 09:05:55 AM »

Well, the "youtube" "debate" that CNN keeps self promoting as the greatest invention since the wheel certainly proved one thing to me.

And that is that JFKennedy who proclamed, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" *could never get elected today*.

The "nanny state" is only going to get worse it appears.
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« Reply #169 on: July 25, 2007, 10:13:36 AM »

What makes you assume that CNN chose the questions fairly?


“These are not debates, these are auditions. By definition, the psychology of an audition reduces the person auditioning and raises the status, for example, of Chris Matthews... I have no interest in the current political process. I have no interest in trying to figure out how I can go out and raise money under John McCain’s insane censorship rules so I can show up to do seven minutes and twenty seconds at some debate.” —Newt Gingrich
« Last Edit: July 25, 2007, 10:36:21 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #170 on: July 25, 2007, 11:44:31 PM »

Statement of Faith By Rep. Ron Paul, MD.

The Covenant News ~ July 21, 2007
We live in times of great uncertainty when men of faith must stand up for our values and our traditions lest they be washed away in a sea of fear and relativism. As you likely know, I am running for President of the United States, and I am asking for your support.

I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena. In fact, the pandering that typically occurs in the election season I find to be distasteful. But for those who have asked, I freely confess that Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, and that I seek His guidance in all that I do. I know, as you do, that our freedoms come not from man, but from God. My record of public service reflects my reverence for the Natural Rights with which we have been endowed by a loving Creator.

I have worked tirelessly to defend and restore those rights for all Americans, born and unborn alike. The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideal of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle.

In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, H.R. 1094. I am also the prime sponsor of H.R. 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn. I have also authored H.R. 1095, which prevents federal funds to be used for so-called “population control.” Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken and will continue to advocate direct action to restore protection for the unborn.

I have also acted to protect the lives of Americans by my adherence to the doctrine of “just war.” This doctrine, as articulated by Augustine, suggested that war must only be waged as a last resort--- for a discernible moral and public good, with the right intentions, vetted through established legal authorities (a constitutionally required declaration of the Congress), and with a likely probability of success.

It has been and remains my firm belief that the current United Nations-mandated, no-win police action in Iraq fails to meet the high moral threshold required to wage just war. That is why I have offered moral and practical opposition to the invasion, occupation and social engineering police exercise now underway in Iraq. It is my belief, borne out by five years of abject failure and tens of thousands of lost lives, that the Iraq operation has been a dangerous diversion from the rightful and appropriate focus of our efforts to bring to justice to the jihadists that have attacked us and seek still to undermine our nation, our values, and our way of life.

I opposed giving the president power to wage unlimited and unchecked aggression, However, I did vote to support the use of force in Afghanistan. I also authored H.R. 3076, the September 11 Marque and Reprisal Act of 2001. A letter of marque and reprisal is a constitutional tool specifically designed to give the president the authority to respond with appropriate force to those non-state actors who wage aggression against the United States while limiting his authority to only those responsible for the atrocities of that day. Such a limited authorization is consistent with the doctrine of just war and the practical aim of keeping Americans safe while minimizing the costs in blood and treasure of waging such an operation.

On September 17, 2001, I stated on the house floor that “…striking out at six or eight or even ten different countries could well expand this war of which we wanted no part. Without defining the enemy there is no way to know our precise goal or to know when the war is over. Inadvertently more casual acceptance of civilian deaths as part of this war I'm certain will prolong the agony and increase the chances of even more American casualties. We must guard against this if at all possible.” I’m sorry to say that history has proven this to be true.

I am running for president to restore the rule of law and to stand up for our divinely inspired Constitution. I have never voted for legislation that is not specifically authorized by the Constitution. As president, I will never sign a piece of legislation, nor use the power of the executive, in a manner inconsistent with the limitations that the founders envisioned.

Many have given up on America as an exemplar for the world, as a model of freedom, self-government, and self-control. I have not. There is hope for America. I ask you to join me, and to be a part of it.


Ron Paul

For More Information Contact:
Paul Dorr
Iowa Field Director
Phone: 712-758-3660

Ron Paul 2008
Presidential Campaign Committee
Phone: 703-248-9115
FAX: 703-248-9119
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« Reply #171 on: July 27, 2007, 10:08:44 PM »

Is this true?
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Posts: 9484

« Reply #172 on: July 28, 2007, 04:50:49 PM »

Crafty: "Is this true?"  - If you mean that former Senator and Energy Secretary Republican Spencer Abraham of Michigan joined the non-campaign campaign at the top level, yes. The rest of her hit piece concludes that Thompson can't be trusted for associating with such a bad, bad man.  On that question I'll take a watch and see attitude. Seems to me that Thompson writes his own position papers, unlike probably any other candidate except Newt.  Thompson's views on key issues are decidedly conservative. They are extremely clear with an un-erasable paper trail.  And he has no history or tendency toward flip-flopping.  In this story he reaches out to moderate and liberal Republicans, possibly independents. I see that as a good thing.

Abraham was elected (and defeated) in Michigan, a Democrat state that was almost in play in 2004. He is accused of being pro-immigration - so am I.  He voted 'wrong' on a bill that included cracking down on expired green card holders.  Maybe there were other considerations, and that was PRE-911. It's implied that he is pro-jihad, but I don't know any Christians from Lebanon that are less aware of the dangers of Islamic extremism than any of us here. 

Missing from the piece about the energy secretary is ANY comment on his energy policies or views, other than security.  Energy policy is one of the most important issues we face.  I take it by omission that she had no major quarrel with him on the details of energy policy.

Speaking of moderates in high places, Reagan picked Richard Schweiker in 1976 and George H.W. in 1980 as running mates as his strategy to win.  That didn't cause Reagan to check with his VP or campaign manager before he cut taxes or shouted out 'tear down this wall'.
Regarding Newt - excellent video. I will vote for him if nominated.  IMO he needs to demonstrate he can get moderate support and crossover votes before conservatives will trust him to win.  The liberal playbook says he served divorce papers on his first wife on her hospital death bed and had an ongoing affair with a staffer during the Clinton impeachment.  Rather than refute charges, he came out to admit non-specific sins. I know these are strange comments in a race where all have baggage, but there are moderates who just can't get past the hypocrisy. God forgives, Republicans don't. As a conservative, I credit him for what he accomplished, but also remember he risked what we worked for and lost it.(MHO)

Back to Fred Thompson, here is the Washington Post yesterday:

In Online Writings, Thompson Flashes His Conservative Credentials

On the Internet sites where conservatives gather to read and chat each day, Fred D. Thompson, the as-yet-unannounced Republican presidential candidate, has been laying out his positions on dozens of issues with little public notice and plenty of rhetorical flair.

The Virginia Tech massacre, he said, showed that students should be allowed to carry guns "to protect themselves on their campuses," and he said the university's ban on legal guns may have contributed to how long the shooter was able to keep killing.
Scientists who insist that global warming is ruining nature, he said, are like those true believers four centuries ago who insisted that the Earth is flat. "Ask Galileo," he said.

As for Congress's recent attempt at an immigration overhaul, that was nothing more than a "legislative pig" with lipstick that hid the United States' failure to secure its borders. "A nation without secure borders will not long be a sovereign nation," he warned.

The musings seem to constitute Thompson's early effort at assuring the core conservatives of the Republican Party that he is one of them -- despite his run-ins with the bloc as a U.S. senator who supported campaign finance reform and opposed federal limits on malpractice lawsuits and attorneys' fees.

"They were wildly popular," said Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, where three dozen commentaries by Thompson have been posted since he started testing the presidential waters in March. "It was a great way to introduce himself. He had just the right balance of red meat and substance to feed a conservative audience -- at least as an opener."

Thompson's writings could prove problematic in a general election, where he would have to win over moderate voters.

"Today, everything is out there forever, and you don't have any luxury of claiming there was a misunderstanding," said Ed Rollins, a veteran Republican strategist. "If a campaign is putting some of these comments out there, they are going to have to live with them for the rest of the campaign."

Rollins knows the benefits and risks of an actor-turned-politician's use of a "commentary campaign" to burnish conservative credentials before a run for the White House. He worked for Ronald Reagan, who for years used radio commentaries and columns to lay out his vision for America before running for president.

Thompson mostly writes his own articles, often borrowing material from the commentaries he gives on ABC Radio as a frequent contributor to Paul Harvey's show, aides said. In addition to his articles on National Review Online, Thompson has posted to the blog and placed podcasts on, including a three-part, issue-oriented interview.

Aides said Thompson's writings and Web postings began a year or so ago as an effort to repurpose his radio commentaries. But they have taken on a life of their own now that Thompson is considering running for president, and giving him a forum to lay out his positions.
They have helped distinguish Thompson from many candidates in the race, said Mark Levin, a conservative talk radio host with 4 million listeners. Thompson has appeared on his show four times in the past four months.

"Most of the other candidates -- other than an issue here or there -- are trying to conceal their viewpoints in which they think they will offend some portion of the electorate," Levin said. "Thompson comes out, and he is unafraid of articulating his viewpoints. He's not trying to camouflage them."

Thompson's writings seem certain to appeal to key elements of the Republican base.

"Let me ask you a hypothetical question," Thompson wrote in defending Israel's military responses during the Palestinian conflict. "What do you think America would do if Canadian soldiers were firing dozens of missiles every day into Buffalo, N.Y.? . . . I can tell you, our response would look nothing like Israel's restrained and pinpoint reactions to daily missile attacks from Gaza."

His commentary on the Virginia Tech shootings -- titled "Signs of Intelligence?" -- suggested that the university's gun ban was a reason the gunman was not stopped sooner.

"One of the things that's got to be going through a lot of peoples' minds now is how one man with two handguns, that he had to reload time and time again, could go from classroom to classroom on the Virginia Tech campus without being stopped," Thompson wrote. "Much of the answer can be found in policies put in place by the university itself."

"Virginia Tech administrators overrode Virginia state law and threatened to expel or fire anybody who brings a weapon onto campus," he wrote. "Many other universities have been swayed by an anti-gun, anti-self defense ideology. I respect their right to hold those views, but I challenge their decision to deny Americans the right to protect themselves on their campuses."

Thompson also derided Congress's failed immigration legislation, demanding that its supporters "explain why putting illegals in a more favorable position than those who play by the rules is not really amnesty."

Thompson seems to have taken particular pleasure in mocking global warming.

"It seems scientists have noticed recently that quite a few planets in our solar system seem to be heating up a bit, including Pluto. . . . This has led some people, not necessarily scientists, to wonder if Mars and Jupiter, non signatories to the Kyoto Treaty, are actually inhabited by alien SUV-driving industrialists who run their air-conditioning at 60 degrees and refuse to recycle," he wrote.
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« Reply #173 on: August 09, 2007, 11:06:53 PM »

Some of the Dem candidates can be found in this compilation of "That was then, this is now".
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« Reply #174 on: August 12, 2007, 11:41:55 PM »

Dick Morris' opinion that Gingrich will announce by Fall.  I wish Newt had more of John McCain's character, or that McCain had more of Newt's ideas and ingenuity.  I don't really see how Newt could win in such a divided electorate.  He must have as high *negative* ratings as Hillary but just from the opposite aisles of the political spectrum.  Perhaps he could garner enough middle ground support like Hillary with similar populist platforms.
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« Reply #175 on: August 16, 2007, 05:11:53 PM »

David S. Broder: Shaking up presidential race
Sacramento Bee, Opinion

David S. Broder

When Fred Thompson makes his long-delayed entrance into the Republican presidential race, he will not tiptoe quietly.

Instead, he will try to shake up the establishment candidates of both parties by depicting a nation in peril from fiscal and security threats -- and prescribing tough cures he says others shrink from offering.

In a two-hour conversation over coffee at a restaurant near his Virginia headquarters, the former senator from Tennessee said that when he joins the battle next month, he "will take some risks that others are not willing to take, in terms of forcing a dialogue on our entitlement situation, our military situation and what it's going to cost" to assure the nation's future.

After spending most of the last few years on TV's "Law and Order," and starting a new family with two children under 4, the 65-year-old lawyer says he finds himself motivated for the first time to seek the White House.

"There's no reason for me to run just to be president," he said.

"I don't desire the emoluments of the office. I don't want to live a lie and clever my way to the nomination or election. But if you can put your ideas out there -- different, more far-reaching ideas -- that is worth doing." Thompson, like many of the others running, has caught a strong whiff of the public disillusionment with both parties in Washington -- and the partisanship that has infected Congress, helping to speed his own departure from the Senate.

But he says he thinks that the public is looking for a different kind of leadership. "I think a president could go to the American people and say, 'Here's what we need to be doing. and I'm willing to go half-way.' Now you have to make them (the opposition) go half-way." The approach Thompson says he's contemplating is one that will step on many sensitive political toes. When he says "we're getting a free ride" fighting a necessary war in Iraq with an undersized military establishment, "wearing out our people and equipment," it sounds like a criticism of the president and the Pentagon.

When he says he would have opposed adding the prescription drug benefit to Medicare, "a $17 trillion add-on to a program that's going bankrupt," he is fighting the bipartisan judgment of the last Congress.

When he says the FBI is perhaps incapable of morphing itself into the smart domestic security agency the country needs, he is attacking another sacred cow.

Thompson repeatedly cites two texts as fueling his concern about the country's future. One is "Government at the Brink," a two-volume report he issued as chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee at the start of the Bush administration in 2001 and handed to the new president's budget director as a checklist of urgent management problems in Washington.

The difficulties outlined in federal procurement, personnel, finances and information technology remain today, Thompson said, and increasingly "threaten national security." His second sourcebook contains the scary reports from Comptroller General David Walker, the head of the Governmental Accountability Office, on the long-term fiscal crisis spawned by the aging of the American population and the runaway costs of health care. Walker labels the current patterns of federal spending "unsustainable," and warns that unless action is taken soon to improve both sides of the government's fiscal ledger -- spending and revenues -- the next generation will suffer.

"Nobody in Congress or on either side in the presidential race wants to deal with it," Thompson said. "So we just rock along and try to maintain the status quo. Republicans say keep the tax cuts; Democrats say keep the entitlements. And we become a less unified country in the process, with a tax code that has become an unholy mess, and all we do is tinker around the edges." Thompson readily concedes that he does not know "where all those chips are going to fall" when he starts challenging members of various interest groups to look beyond their individual agendas and weigh the sacrifices that could assure a better future for their children.

But these issues -- national security and the fiscal crisis of an aging society with runaway heath care costs -- "are worth a portion of a man's life. If I can't get elected talking that way, I probably don't deserve to be elected."

Thompson says "I feel free to do it" his own way, and that freedom may just be enough to shake up the presidential race.
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« Reply #176 on: August 16, 2007, 08:06:54 PM »

Obama's Air Raid

Democratic Presidential candidate (and amateur airpower strategist) Barack Obama

Based on his recent comments about "invading" Pakistan and taking our nuclear option off the table, Illinois Senator (and Presidential hopeful) Barack Obama has demonstrated--beyond any shadow of a doubt--that he's unprepared to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

Yet, Mr. Obama persists in demonstrating his incompetence in military and security affairs. Just yesterday, Senator Obama observed that "We've got to get the job done [in Afghanistan]. And that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there."

The Senator's remarks drew instant criticism from a spokesman for GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, although (predictably) Mr. Obama's Democratic rivals remained silent. We're guessing that the other Democrats harbor similar thoughts, or they're just content to watch Obama slowly destroy his own candidacy.

From a military perspective, there are clear problems with Senator Obama's "analysis." First and foremost, the U.S. military does not engage in the indiscriminate bombing of villages in Afghanistan--or anywhere else. If Mr. Obama had even a rudimentary knowledge of air operations, he would understand that bombing missions generally fall under two categories, interdiction and close air support.

As the name implies, interdiction raids are aimed at preventing the enemy from achieving specific military goals. While these strikes are typically planned at least a day in advance, they are based on firm intelligence indicators. In other words, if an Afghan village is a target, it's only because the Taliban are conducting operations there, and the air strike will be limited to those military elements, with strict ROE on target identification and weapons employment.

However, most of our air operations in Afghanistan are classified as close air support (CAS) , designed to help our troops on the ground. CAS missions are usually classified as pre-planned or immediate. Pre-planned sorties allocate specific assets to certain ground units or a geographical area, at a pre-determined time. Immediate CAS missions are flown in support of troops in contact. In both cases, the attacking aircraft are, invariably, under the control of a ground observer, who identifies the enemy, briefs the pilots and literally "talks" them onto the target. But then again, we rather doubt that Senator Obama is familiar with a "nine-line" briefing.

And, beyond the lamentable fact that innocent civilians are often killed in war, there may be another reason that Afghan villagers are falling victim to NATO bombs. As a Reuters correspondent noted in a report filed earlier this year, the Taliban have a long history of using human shields in their operations, hiding among civilians to conceal their activities and discourage allied attacks. During fighting around the Kajaki Dam in February, Taliban fighters even used children to shield their retreat.

In another February battle, NATO troops witnessed the Taliban removing the bodies of dead and wounded fighters after an air strike, leaving behind the remains of villagers, who may have been used as human shields. That tactic allows the Taliban to claim that the U.S. and its allies are "targeting" civilians, while covering up their actions that prompted the air strike.

Fortunately, that little ploy isn't having much of an impact on the battlefield. The air campaign in Afghanistan has ramped up in recent months, and it's a major reason that the Taliban's "spring offensive" never got off the ground. However, exaggerated Taliban claims of civilian casualties from bombing raids produce a different effect in Washington--and on the campaign trail--where a presidential wannabe is again declaring despair and defeat.

You'll note that no one is asking Senator Obama about his "plan" for Afghanistan, which (like most of his defense pronouncements) seems painfully inept. If his comments are any indication, the Obama strategy for Afghanistan would be based heavily on reconstruction programs. That's fine, but rebuilding a country is predicated on a security environment that allows those efforts to proceed. Remember that battle around Kajaki Dam? It was aimed at eliminating the local Taliban presence, so that reconstruction of the dam's power plant and transmission lines can continue.

And getting rid of the Taliban means killing them.

Using airplanes.

Dropping bombs.

Surely the Senator from Illinois can grasp those fundamental concepts. But then again, it's easy to over-estimate Barack Obama.
ADDENDUM: Powerline reports that the AP rushed to Obama's defense last night, claiming in a "fact check" article that "western forces have been killing Afghan civilians at a faster rate than insurgents." That analysis is based on a rather dubious AP count, and even the wire service acknowledges that "tracking civilian deaths is a difficult task because they often occur in remote and dangerous areas that are difficult to reach and verify." We might add that some of those reports come from tribal "elders" who are Taliban sympathizers, or falsely claim civilian casualties, to prevent terrorist reprisals against their villages.

Labels: Barack Obama; Afghanistan; air-raiding villages
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« Reply #177 on: August 19, 2007, 09:21:26 AM »

Arkansas's former governor offers a strange brew of populism and environmentalism.

Saturday, August 18, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK--"Are you with Mike?"

The question is not a political one. Your correspondent has arrived at NPR's studios in midtown Manhattan, there to squeeze in an interview with former Arkansas governor and current presidential candidate Mike Huckabee. Mr. Huckabee is in the studio, but he arrived alone, and the slightly flummoxed receptionist asks everyone who comes through the door if he's one of Mike's people. None of them are.

Mr. Huckabee arrived late for the radio taping--he couldn't find a taxi at Penn Station--so I settle into a chair to wait for the candidate to emerge.

A week ago, Mike Huckabee was having trouble getting potential donors to return his calls. But after coming in a surprise second in the Iowa straw poll last weekend, the former Arkansas governor is on a media and fund-raising blitz. The man who greets me, with a firm handshake and a warm smile, is physically unassuming and seems slightly too small for the suit he's wearing--which he may be, having famously lost more than 100 pounds after being diagnosed with Type II diabetes a few years back.

Mr. Huckabee settles into a chair in NPR's 19th-floor conference room as I ask him why he's running for president. He offers some preliminaries about his executive experience in Arkansas and his ability in that state to work across the aisle to get things done with a Democratic state Assembly. Then he goes for the heart of the matter as he sees it:

"If the Republicans have a chance next year," Mr. Huckabee says, "the criteria are: No. 1, someone who can communicate our message to the people of our country and win them back, because we've lost a lot of them.

"No. 2, it's someone who has consistency on the principles and the core values that have caused people to be Republican. That includes the sanctity of life, it includes fiscal conservativism. It certainly includes an adherence to the traditional concept of marriage. It means respect for the Second Amendment. Those are issues that caused a lot of middle America and the South to go Republican." In other words, in line with the media sound bite about Mr. Huckabee, he represents the Republican wing of the Republican Party, the so-called social conservatives that the front-runners are said to have a hard time rallying to their cause.

But Mr. Huckabee doesn't stop there. Instead, he outlines, in broad strokes, a quite different, and somewhat surprising, vision of the Republican Party of the future. Rallying the base to the old standard, Mr. Huckabee says, isn't enough anymore. "A new Republican generation has also got to speak to issues of the environment, education, health care." We'll get back to that. But now Mr. Huckabee is on a roll, and he shifts seamlessly into a critique of his party that seems, oddly, to accept much of his political opposition's criticism of the GOP, and the Bush administration in particular:

"We have to show that we are also problem-solvers, not just ideologues. People are not going to tolerate a government that just is led by people who just believe something. They want a government that is led by people who can do something. And all the beliefs in the world don't change the dynamics if we're unable to function and function effectively." This is Mr. Huckabee-as-triangulator, as pragmatist.

One central theme of Mr. Huckabee's campaign that he hasn't mentioned yet is his support for the Fair Tax, a proposal to replace the federal income tax with a sales tax of either 23% or 30%, depending on how you count. So I ask him if he really expects the repeal of the 16th Amendment, the one that granted the federal government the authority to levy income taxes in the first place. "I hope we would [repeal it]. That's the whole point." But hope, of course, is not a plan. Does he have one? "I'd go directly to the people, sell it to them, and then ask them to sell it to Congress."
So much for taxes. Since he brought up the environment, what is his view on climate change? "My view is that we have allowed it to become a political issue rather than an issue about being responsible inhabitants of earth. . . . The one thing that's, to me, indisputable, is that we have a responsibility to be better stewards of the environment. So why we have any problems is to me of less importance than that we clearly need cleaner air, clean water, good soil. Anything we do that does in fact curb and contain CO2 emissions is a good thing. Because it simply means that there's a cleaner, fresher, more sustainable environment."

So Mr. Huckabee is in favor of curbing carbon-dioxide emissions. Does he have a preferred policy tool to accomplish the goal? "My first thought is that a tax is not the ideal way to try to change behaviors." No carbon tax, then. What about a cap-and-trade system, in which industries are given emissions credits that they can either use or sell? "I sometimes think that this whole idea of carbon credits, it seems to me a bit like buying indulgences from the ancient church. I find that just almost bizarre--that that's the answer, that I can waste all the energy I want and then justify it by writing a check and saying, 'Oh, I bought up some credits.' "

With a carbon tax off the table and cap-and-trade theologically unsound, what's left? "I think every citizen can take some steps. I drive a flex-fuel car. We've replaced most of our light fixtures with fluorescents. . . . I didn't have to do that. The government didn't tell me to do that. It just seems to me a better use of energy and my money." That may be virtuous, but it falls somewhat short of an environmental platform for the new Republican generation. So I ask the former governor whether he approves of the current legislative fad of requiring more ethanol in our gasoline. "I'm from an agricultural state, so I tend to like biofuels and think that they're a very important part of the future of energy."

But the production of ethanol for fuel is itself energy-intensive; at best it offers modest improvements to our current energy dependence. Right?

"It's not as efficient [as gas] right now. But as the technology evolves, it's already far more efficient than it was a few years ago. But I think the answer's going to be a combination of many sources: solar; nuclear; hydrogen, hydrogen cells, which are different than ammonia-based hydrogen; I think wind."

That may be what Mr. Huckabee thinks. But what should the government be doing, if anything, to bring this future about? "The best thing the government could do," Mr. Huckabee replies, "is eliminate any type of penalties on productivity and innovation. One of the reasons that I support the Fair Tax is that it turns all sectors of the economy loose." With Mr. Huckabee, I was beginning to suspect, most roads lead to the Fair Tax.
But he'd mentioned the economy, so I asked what he made of the recent turmoil in the markets. The answer surprised with its populist fervor. "You know, a lot of the folks that are worried now are experiencing maybe a little bit of what the average American worries about every day when they go to work and they're not sure whether any of these hedge-fund managers and their $100 million bonuses are going to sell off the jobs of the people out there in middle America to China, and they're going to lose their paychecks and their pensions."

Is our trade deficit with China something we should be worried about then? "I think we've got to be worried about the trade deficit." Why? "If they were to devalue the dollar through their actions, it would have a dramatically negative impact on our economy." I want to point out that devaluing the dollar relative to the Chinese yuan is precisely what those decrying the trade deficit would like to see happen, but he presses on: "I've also said we don't have free trade if you don't have fair trade and it's not fair trade if they're not abiding by the same rules and regulations that we are."

Fair trade is a hobbyhorse of the left more often than the right, not least because unions view imposing our labor and environmental standards on poor countries as a way of making them less cost-competitive. But Mr. Huckabee isn't done. "We can't even trust toothpaste [from China]. We have contaminated food and now contaminated toys that are coming here because they're so just adamant about making profits and producing enormous levels of goods and getting them into our marketplace that they haven't been as careful, making sure those products have the same level of safety that they would if they were manufactured here."

We should all be able to trust our toothpaste and our baby toys, to be sure. To that end, Senator Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) wants to inspect every container from China for lead-painted children's toys. Is this the sort of thing Mr. Huckabee has in mind?

"I think the Dick Durbin idea is a little bit extreme . . . but there needs to be a greater level of scrutiny." That sounds safe enough, if somewhat vague, but suddenly Mr. Huckabee veers off-target. "I think we ought to know where our food comes from. I'm particularly concerned about the growing incidence of imported food. And part of it is I believe there are three things a country has got to do to be free: It's got to feed itself; it has to be able to fuel itself and it's got to be able to fight for itself. And if it can't do those things, then it's only as free as the nations who provide those things will allow it to be. So if we're dependent on anyone, whether it's the Chinese or the Europeans, for our food, the day they decide to cut off our food supply is the day we cease to have the freedom we currently enjoy."

Food independence was, it is true, long considered a strategic asset, but it seems a quaint goal, at best, in a globalizing world. And our current fixation on plowing under food crops to grow "biofuels" is already driving up food prices in this country. How, then, do we achieve energy and food independence simultaneously? Is it even possible?

Not at the moment, Mr. Huckabee says. "But I believe we can get there." How? "The same way that we developed an atom bomb in really a relatively small period of three years, when science was not nearly as advanced as it is now. The same way we went to the moon eight years from the time John F. Kennedy said we would go."

Is the candidate proposing a federally funded Manhattan Project to achieve food and energy independence from the world? "It doesn't even have to be federally funded as much as it has to be a federally turned-loose innovation in the private sector. Imagine the potential profits out there for those who can develop the clean, sustainable and replaceable domestically produced energy sources." That is code, I take it, for the Fair Tax again.

Until recently, Mr. Huckabee has been mostly an unknown quantity, despite his months-long presence in the race. His second-place finish in Iowa last weekend has brought him a new degree of media attention and scrutiny. The question for Republicans and for his campaign is, now that Mr. Huckabee is getting a closer look, will GOP voters like what they see?
Mr. Carney is a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal.

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« Reply #178 on: August 19, 2007, 05:47:43 PM »

Democrats and national weakness.
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« Reply #179 on: August 20, 2007, 08:27:29 PM »

9/11 trufer goodness! rolleyes

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« Reply #180 on: August 27, 2007, 09:20:29 PM »

RomneyCare 2.0
August 27, 2007; Page A10
At the most recent Republican Presidential debate, on August 5, Mitt Romney said on health care: "We have to have our citizens insured. And we're not going to do that by tax exemptions because the people that don't have insurance aren't paying taxes. What you have to do is what we did in Massachusetts."

Well, maybe not. In Florida on Friday, the former Bay State Governor laid out in detail his plan for overhauling the health-care system. Its main emphasis was on federalism, allowing the states to work out their own approaches. To do so they'd get some crucial free-market assistance from a Romney Administration, including efforts to deregulate the private insurance markets -- and even reform the tax code.

So this is a step forward for Mr. Romney on health policy, largely because it doesn't take Massachusetts as its model. Though he still regards that state's 2006 "universal" health insurance program as one of his signal achievements as Governor, his new proposal drops the most coercive elements, such as the individual mandate and the "pay or play" sanctions on businesses. Perhaps this intellectual progress is due to the influence of new Romney advisers Glenn Hubbard and John Cogan, both respected health-care economists.

In his new plan, Mr. Romney would address the core problem: distortions introduced by the tax code. Businesses are allowed to deduct the cost of providing health insurance to their employees, but individuals can't do the same. This bias creates third-party payer problems for the insured and raises prices for everyone else. The Romney plan would allow those who purchase policies on the individual market to fully deduct all premiums, deductibles and copays, thus restoring the tax parity of health dollars.

It would also offer incentives for health savings accounts, which set aside pre-tax dollars for medical expenses. And it would include medical malpractice reform with teeth -- specialized health courts and caps on punitive and non-economic damages.

Also constructive is Mr. Romney's proposal to turn today's open-ended Medicaid entitlement into federal block grants to the states, and do likewise for federal uncompensated care funds. That would give states maximum flexibility to tailor health plans to their own needs. Mr. Romney hopes the states will create plans to cover the lower- to middle-income uninsured -- and ideally, to help them buy their own private policies.

This pool of federal money would also be leverage to persuade states to make insurance more affordable. In practice, that means doing away with the costly mandates and regulations that many states have imposed. It's a good idea, but we question the willingness of states to actually do so, given that the government health trend has been toward increased centralization and intervention in the marketplace. That was one of the greatest limitations of Governor Romney's plan: Massachusetts did not deregulate before requiring individuals to acquire insurance.

Rather than forcing people to buy plans approved by their state, a better idea would be to allow insurers to sell plans across state lines. This would retain the federalist approach, but individuals could choose which state regulations to buy into, creating a "regulatory marketplace." We suspect there'd be an insurance exodus from Massachusetts, which, for instance, requires plans to cover chiropractic services and in vitro fertilization.

One key difference with Rudy Giuliani, who has also proposed similar changes to the tax code, is that the former New York Mayor would allow for interstate insurance and Mr. Romney would not. Mr. Romney says that the logistical difficulties would become a "camel's nose" for national insurance regulations. Maybe so, but that is always a risk with federalism. A far worse camel's nose is the "universal" plan Mr. Romney championed in Massachusetts. As Democratic Presidential candidate John Edwards put it, "If universal health care was good enough for Massachusetts, why isn't it good enough for the rest of the country?"

It's not an unfair question. Mr. Romney's Bay State legacy is now praised by liberals as a prototype for national policy. That's done a great deal to set back the kind of tax reform that he now espouses. The issue for GOP primary voters to consider is why he went in such a different direction in Boston. Granted, a mere Governor couldn't restructure the federal tax code, and he was dealing with a far-left legislature. Yet his willingness to compromise in Massachusetts on core matters of principle, and then trumpet those statist policies as a "free-market" solution, raises questions about how far and easily he'd bend to a Democratic Congress.

Mr. Romney's conversion to free-market health-care thinking is nonetheless welcome -- assuming he believes it.

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« Reply #181 on: August 28, 2007, 06:55:07 PM »

Follow the Money (Clinton Campaign Edition)

The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins has a fascinating report in today's paper that suggests the Clinton campaign machine is--0nce again--raking in some serious cash from rather unusual sources.

Mr. Mullins investigative piece focuses on a "tiny, lime-green bungalow" in Daly City, California, which is home for the Paws, a Chinese-American family. According to campaign donation records, six members of the Paw family have donated $45,000 to Mrs. Clinton since 1995, and given a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates during the same period. That places the Paws among the Top 5 donors to the Clinton campaign, topping even the Maloof family of Las Vegas, which owns the Palms Casino and the Sacramento Kings basketball team, among other holdings.

More impressively, the Paws have apparently become major political donors without the wealth of the Maloof family, or the hedge fund and real estate tycoons who make up the rest of Mrs. Cllinton's Top 5. Public records reviewed by the Journal show that the Paws own a small gift shop. Additionally, William Paw, the family patriarch, works as a letter carrier, earning about $49,000 a year. His wife, Alice, is a homemaker. The couple's three grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company, to school attendance "liaison" and mutual fund executive.

And, if you don't find that sort of financial acumen intriguing, here's another angle that raises more suspicions:

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.

People who answered the phone and the door at the Paws' residence declined requests for comment last week. In an email last night, one of the Paws' sons, Winkle, said he had sometimes been asked by Mr. Hsu to make contributions, and sometimes he himself had asked family members to donate. But he added: "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."

That's fine and dandy, but it doesn't explain why Mr. Hsu (a multi-millionaire who lives in New York) once listed the Paw home as his address, according to other public records reviewed by the WSJ. However, the paper's reporting did raise the ire of Mr. Hsu, his attorney, and a spokesman for the Clinton campaign:

Mr. Hsu, in an email last night wrote: "I have NEVER asked a single favor from any politician or any charity group. If I am NOT asking favors, why do I have to cheat...I've asked friends and colleagues of mine to give money out of their own pockets and sometimes they have agreed."

Lawrence Barcella, a Washington attorney representing Mr. Hsu, said in a separate email: "You are barking up the wrong tree. There is no factual support for this story and if Mr. Hsu's name was Smith or Jones, I don't believe it would be a story." He didn't elaborate.

A Clinton campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said in an email: "Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic party and its candidates, including Senator Clinton. During Mr. Hsu's many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question."

A former official with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) told the Journal that the unusual two-year pattern of donations "justifies a probe of possible violations of campaign-finance law, which forbid one person from reimbursing another to make contributions."

Officially, there are no records that Mr. Hsu reimbursed the Paws for their donations to the Democratic Party, and no indication that Mrs. Clinton ever met members of the family. As the Journal observes, in some cases the candidates are unaware of payments made on their behalf.

But there are compelling reasons for the FEC to take a look at these donations. Beyond the questions of how a middle-class family can make such large contributions--and why they follow the pattern of Mr. Hsu, there's the issue why the Paws suddenly became political activists. According to the Journal, the family never made a campaign contribution until the 2004 presidential election, when they began givign to John Kerry, and their donations correlated to those of Mr. Hsu.

Finally, the Journal doesn't raise another issue that bears scrutiny: is there any connection between this fund-raising activity and the infamous "PRC connection" highlighted in Year of the Rat, by Edward Timperlake and William C. Triplett II. Their book details the sordid relationship between the Clinton-Gore campaign and Chinese intelligence operatives, and others with ties to the People's Liberation Army. It was that relationship that brokered thousands of dollars in campaign contributions; meanwhile, senior administration officials--including President Clinton--played host to at least one PLA intelligence officer, along with Chinese arms merchants and others eager to gain political influence (and access to U.S. technology).

At this point, the only thing that the Paws have in common with those former Clinton donors is their ethnic Chinese background. But their sudden rise to prominence as donors to Mrs. Clinton--and other Democrats--certainly merits an FEC inquiry. It would also be helpful to know if the Paws (and Mr. Hsu) ever crossed paths with John Huang, Johnny Chung and other Chinese-Americans who raised money for the Clintons a decade ago. This has nothing to do with race; it has everything to do with how campaign money is raised, and whether any laws were broken.
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« Reply #182 on: August 28, 2007, 10:30:25 PM »

Castro: Clinton-Obama ticket 'invincible'

By Alexander Mooney
CNN Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Add another name to the list of political observers who think a Clinton-Obama ticket would be unbeatable: Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

In an editorial in Cuba's communist party newspaper, Granma, the ailing dictator called the pairing of the two White House hopefuls "invincible," according to an English translation on the paper's Web site.

Castro, who has overseen communist rule of Cuba since 1959, did, however, make it clear that he is no fan of the two Democrats' support of democratic reform in Cuba.

"Both of them feel the sacred duty of demanding 'a democratic government in Cuba,'" Castro wrote. "They are not making politics: they are playing a game of cards on a Sunday afternoon."

The two Democratic candidates actually disagree over America's policy toward Cuba.

Obama, a senator from Illinois, wants to grant Cuban-Americans "unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island." Such activities are strictly limited by current U.S. policy.

Meanwhile, Clinton, New York's junior senator, said through a spokesman that "we cannot talk about changes to U.S. policy" unless and until Castro passes from the scene and a new government demonstrates its intentions.

Castro also weighed in on the "will-he-or-won't-he" debate on former Vice President Al Gore's potential candidacy.

"I don't think he will do so," Castro said, but added that Gore, "better than anyone, he knows about the kind of catastrophe that awaits humanity if it continues along its current course."

Castro was not, however, entirely full of praise for the 2000 Democratic nominee, conceding, "When he was a candidate, he of course committed the error of yearning for "a democratic Cuba."

Castro, 81, has not appeared in public in over a year. Intestinal problems forced him to hand over power of the island to his brother, Raul, in July, 2006.

All AboutFidel Castro • Hillary Clinton • Barack Obama


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« Reply #183 on: August 29, 2007, 11:28:04 AM »

Big Source of Clinton's Cash
Is an Unlikely Address
Family's Donations
Closely Track Those
Of Top Fund-Raiser
August 28, 2007; Page A3

DALY CITY, Calif. -- One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show.


• The Money Race: Compare fund-raising by Clinton, Giuliani, McCain, Obama and other major candidates. Second-quarter data
• Old vs. New Money: Fundraising is heavier than ever. Compare this race with past races.
• Complete coverageThat total ranks the house with residences in Greenwich, Conn., and Manhattan's Upper East Side among the top addresses to donate to the Democratic presidential front-runner over the past two years, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal of donations listed with the Federal Election Commission.

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple's grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to "attendance liaison" at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.

People who answered the phone and the door at the Paws' residence declined requests for comment last week. In an email last night, one of the Paws' sons, Winkle, said he had sometimes been asked by Mr. Hsu to make contributions, and sometimes he himself had asked family members to donate. But he added: "I have been fortunate in my investments and all of my contributions have been my money."

Mr. Hsu, in an email last night wrote: "I have NEVER asked a single favor from any politician or any charity group. If I am NOT asking favors, why do I have to cheat...I've asked friends and colleagues of mine to give money out of their own pockets and sometimes they have agreed."


See details on political donations from the Paw family, Norman Hsu and a handful of Mr. Hsu's business associates in New YorkLawrence Barcella, a Washington attorney representing Mr. Hsu, said in a separate email: "You are barking up the wrong tree. There is no factual support for this story and if Mr. Hsu's name was Smith or Jones, I don't believe it would be a story." He didn't elaborate.

A Clinton campaign spokesman, Howard Wolfson, said in an email: "Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic party and its candidates, including Senator Clinton. During Mr. Hsu's many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question."

Kent Cooper, a former disclosure official with the Federal Election Commission, said the two-year pattern of donations justifies a probe of possible violations of campaign-finance law, which forbid one person from reimbursing another to make contributions.

"There are red lights all over this one," Mr. Cooper said.

There is no public record or indication Mr. Hsu reimbursed the Paw family for their political contributions.

For the 2008 election, individuals can donate a maximum of $4,600 per candidate -- $2,300 for a primary election and $2,300 for a general election -- and a total of $108,200 per election to all federal candidates and national political parties.

Six members of the Paw family list this house in Daly City, Calif., as their address.
In the wake of a 2002 law that set those limits, federal and state regulators and law-enforcement officials said they have seen a spike recently in the number of cases of individuals and companies illegally reimbursing others for campaign donations. Those cases don't necessarily implicate the candidates, who sometimes don't even appear to be aware of such payments executed on their behalf.

The 2002 law also raised penalties for infractions and included the prospect of prison sentences for offenders for the first time. That increased incentives for the FEC and federal prosecutors to investigate and prosecute infractions. Since the law was enacted, the FEC has collected millions of dollars in fines for illegal donations, including its largest-ever penalty, a $3.8 million levy against Freddie Mac last year.

According to public documents, Mr. Hsu once listed his address at the Paw home in Daly City, though it isn't clear if he ever lived there. He now lives in New York, according to campaign-finance records, on which he also lists a half-dozen apparel companies as his employer. In the campaign-finance forms, Mr. Hsu lists his companies as Next Components, Dilini Management, Because Men's Clothes and others.

He is on the board of directors of the New School in New York. News stories in the mid-1980s said he criticized trade policies that made it harder to import goods from China.

Mr. Hsu is also a major fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats. When Democrats won control of Congress in November, he threw a party at New York City hot spot Buddakan with many prominent party leaders. Press reports said that toward the end of the night, he grabbed the microphone from the deejay and shouted: "If you are supporters of Hillary for President 2008, you can stay. Otherwise, get out."

Mr. Hsu has pledged to raise $100,000 or more for Mrs. Clinton, earning the title of "HillRaiser" along with a few hundred other top financial backers of her campaign. Earlier this year, he co-hosted a fund-raiser that raised $1 million for Mrs. Clinton at the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of billionaire Ron Burkle. He is listed as a co-host for another Clinton fund-raiser next month in northern California.

The Paw family is just one set of donors whose political donations are similar to Mr. Hsu's. Several business associates of Mr. Hsu in New York have made donations to the same candidates, on the same dates for similar amounts as Mr. Hsu.

On four separate dates this year, the Paw family, Mr. Hsu and five of his associates gave Mrs. Clinton a total of $47,500. In all, the family, Mr. Hsu and his associates have given Mrs. Clinton $133,000 since 2005 and a total of nearly $720,000 to all Democratic candidates.

The Paw's Daly City home is a one-story house in a working-class suburb of San Francisco. On a recent day, a coiled garden hose rested next to a dilapidated garden with a half-dozen dried out plants. The din of traffic from a nearby freeway was occasionally drowned out by jumbo jets departing San Francisco International Airport.

William and Alice Paw are of Chinese descent. The entire family got their Social Security cards in California in 1982, according to state records. All but one of the Paws registered to vote as "nonpartisan." A San Mateo County elections official said that members of the Paw family vote "sporadically."

No one in the Paw family had ever given a campaign contribution before the 2004 presidential election, according to campaign-finance reports. Then, in July 2004, five members of the family contributed a total of $3,600 to the presidential campaign of Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat. Five of the checks were dated July 27, 2004. About the same time, Mr. Hsu made his first donations to a political candidate, contributing the maximum amount allowed by law to Mr. Kerry in two separate checks, on July 21, 2004, and on Aug. 6.

From then on, the correlation of campaign donations between Mr. Hsu and the Paw family has continued. The first donations to Mrs. Clinton came Dec. 23, 2004, when Mr. Hsu and one Paw family member donated the then-maximum $4,000 to her Senate campaign in two $2,000 checks, campaign-finance records show. In March 2005, the individuals gave a total of $17,500 to Mrs. Clinton.

Since then, Mr. Hsu, his New York associates and the Paw family have continued to donate to Democratic candidates. This year, Alice Paw and four of the Paw children have donated the maximum $4,600 to Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign.

Write to Brody Mullins at

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« Reply #184 on: August 29, 2007, 11:34:12 AM »

yet more , , ,


-- John Fund
In Case You Forgot Who John Huang Was...

Hillary Clinton suddenly has her own version of John Huang, the mysterious fund-raiser and former Clinton political appointee who was at the heart of her husband's 1996 campaign scandals. He's Norman Hsu, a wealthy New Yorker and Democratic fundraiser whose questionable political giving was the subject of an investigative report in yesterday's Wall Street Journal. Mr. Hsu also happens to be an official high-dollar "HillRaiser" for the Clinton campaign -- and, it turns out, a fugitive from justice since 1992, when he reportedly pleaded no contest to a charge of grand theft, agreed to serve three years in prison and then vanished.

How very reminiscent of the strange cast of characters who swirled around the 1996 Clinton campaign. At the center of the controversy over improper contributions and alleged links between the contributors and the Chinese government was James Riady, scion of the shadowy Hong Kong-based Lippo Group, who returned to Asia and never cooperated with investigators. Pauline Kanchanalak, whose $253,000 in contributions had to be returned by the DNC, decamped to her native Thailand. Little Rock restaurateur Charlie Trie, a major-league fund-raiser and recipient of wire transfers from the Bank of China in Hong Kong, took up residence in Beijing to avoid questioning.

Mr. Hsu appears to be following in the footsteps of Mr. Huang, a genius at finding contributors of apparent modest means to donate lavishly to the Clinton campaign. The Journal reported this week that among his prize catches was the family of William Paw, a mail carrier in Daly City, Calif. None of the Paws ever donated to any candidate before 2004, but seven adults in the Paw family have donated $213,000 to Democratic candidates in the last three years, including $55,000 to Mrs. Clinton. In Mr. Huang's day, an Indonesian gardener and his wife, despite being foreign nationals, donated $450,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 1996 and then suddenly had to leave for Jakarta.

E. Lawrence Barcella Jr., the Washington lawyer who represents Mr. Hsu, says his client had nothing to do with the 1996 fundraising scandal and is simply a big fan of the Clintons and Democrats in general. As for that pesky grand theft charge, Mr. Barcella says his client doesn't recall pleading guilty to any criminal charge or having an obligation to serve jail time.

Hmm. Similar memory failures were rampant in the 1996 scandal. Witnesses called before the Senate investigative committee chaired by then-Senator Fred Thompson suffered collective amnesia on just about any subject much beyond their names, titles and Social Security numbers.

To its credit, the Clinton campaign does remember Mr. Hsu and is bravely defending him -- for now. "Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, including Sen. Clinton," said Howard Wolfson, a Clinton spokesman, on Tuesday. Of course, that was before the latest revelations about Mr. Hsu's criminal record. No doubt he will now be placed in the same memory hole as Mr. Huang and all the other fundraisers for the Clinton political machine whose tactics proved embarrassing.

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« Reply #185 on: August 29, 2007, 12:43:23 PM »,0,3184101,full.story?coll=la-home-center
From the Los Angeles Times
Democratic fundraiser is a fugitive in plain sight
California authorities have sought businessman Norman Hsu for 15 years. Since 2004, he has carved out a place of honor raising cash for such candidates as Hillary Rodham Clinton.
By Chuck Neubauer and Robin Fields
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

August 29, 2007

WASHINGTON — For the last 15 years, California authorities have been trying to figure out what happened to a businessman named Norman Hsu, who pleaded no contest to grand theft, agreed to serve up to three years in prison and then seemed to vanish.

"He is a fugitive," Ronald Smetana, who handled the case for the state attorney general, said in an interview. "Do you know where he is?"

Hsu, it seems, has been hiding in plain sight, at least for the last three years.

Since 2004, one Norman Hsu has been carving out a prominent place of honor among Democratic fundraisers. He has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions into party coffers, much of it earmarked for presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

In addition to making his own contributions, Hsu has honed the practice of assembling packets of checks from contributors who bear little resemblance to the usual Democratic deep pockets: A self-described apparel executive with a variety of business interests, Hsu has focused on delivering hefty contributions from citizens who live modest lives and are neophytes in the world of campaign giving.

On Tuesday, E. Lawrence Barcella Jr. -- a Washington lawyer who represents the Democratic fundraiser -- confirmed that Hsu was the same man who was involved in the California case. Barcella said his client did not remember pleading to a criminal charge and facing the prospect of jail time. Hsu remembers the episode as part of a settlement with creditors when he also went through bankruptcy, Barcella said.

The bulk of the campaign dollars raised by major parties comes from the same sources: business groups, labor unions and other well-heeled interests with a long-term need to win friends in the political arena.

But the appetite for cash has grown so great that politicians are constantly pressured to find new sources of contributions. Hsu's case illustrates the sometimes-bizarre results of that tendency to push the envelope, often in ways the candidates know nothing about.

As a Democratic rainmaker, Hsu -- who graduated from UC Berkeley and the Wharton School of Business -- is credited with donating nearly $500,000 to national and local party candidates and their political committees in the last three years. He earned a place in the Clinton campaign's "HillRaiser" group by pledging to raise more than $100,000 for her presidential bid.

Records show that Hsu helped raise an additional $500,000 from other sources for Clinton and other Democrats.

"Norman Hsu is a longtime and generous supporter of the Democratic Party and its candidates, including Sen. Clinton," Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the campaign, said Tuesday.

"During Mr. Hsu's many years of active participation in the political process, there has been no question about his integrity or his commitment to playing by the rules, and we have absolutely no reason to call his contributions into question or to return them."

Wolfson did not immediately respond Tuesday night to questions about Hsu's legal problems.

Though he is a fugitive, Hsu has hardly kept a low profile. The website, which sells photographs taken at political events, features shots of Hsu at several fundraisers he hosted at Manhattan's elegant St. Regis hotel -- including a June 2005 luncheon for Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento).

Hsu lives in New York City. Efforts to contact him were unsuccessful. Barcella said Hsu chose to respond through his lawyer.

Records show that Hsu has emerged as one of the Democrats' most successful "bundlers," rounding up groups of contributors and packaging their checks together before delivering the funds to campaign officials. Individuals can give a total of $4,600 to a single candidate during an election cycle, $2,300 for the primaries and $2,300 for the general election.

One example of the kind of first-time donors Hsu has worked with is the Paw family of Daly City, Calif., which is headed by William Paw, a mail carrier, and his wife, Alice, who is listed as a homemaker.

The Paws -- seven adults, most of whom live together in a small house near San Francisco International Airport -- apparently had never donated to national candidates until 2004. Over a three-year period, they gave $213,000, including $55,000 to Clinton and $14,000 to candidates for state-level offices in New York.

The family includes a son, Winkle Paw, who Barcella said was in business with Hsu. Another son works for a Bay Area school board, while one daughter works for a hospital and another for a computer company.

"They have the financial wherewithal to make their own donations," Barcella said. "It didn't come from Norman."

He said that Hsu had known the Paws for a decade.

"Norman never reimbursed anyone for their contribution," Barcella said. It is a violation of federal law for one person to reimburse donors for campaign contributions.

Hsu's bundling of contributions from the Paws and others was first reported Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.

Records show Hsu also solicited funds from three members of a New York family that helps run a plastics packaging plant in Pennsylvania. They have given more than $200,000 in the last three years.

Danny Lee, a manager at the packaging firm, has given $95,000 to federal Democratic campaigns -- $19,500 of which went to Clinton. Yu Fen Huang, who shares a New York house with Lee, has given $52,200 to Democrats, $8,800 to Clinton. Soe Lee has contributed $54,000 to Democrats, $8,800 to Clinton.

The Paws, the Lees and Huang did not return telephone calls seeking comment on their donations.

Over the years, Hsu and his associates have given to Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. Obama and Biden, like Clinton, are seeking the presidential nomination.

Hsu's legal troubles date back almost 20 years.

Beginning in 1989, court records show, he began raising what added up to more than $1 million from investors, purportedly to buy latex gloves; investors were told Hsu had a contract to resell the gloves to a major American business.

In 1991, Hsu was charged with grand theft. Prosecutors said there were no latex gloves and no contract to sell them.

Hsu pleaded no contest to one grand theft charge and agreed to accept up to three years in prison. He disappeared, Smetana said, after failing to show up for a sentencing hearing. Bench warrants were issued for his arrest but he was never found, Smetana said.

Times staff writer Dan Morain in Sacramento and researcher Janet Lundblad in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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« Reply #186 on: August 29, 2007, 09:25:44 PM »

The Plot Thickens

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an illuminating article which suggested that the Clinton/China fund-raising machine was back, and operating in high gear. Analyzing campaign contribution lists and other public records, Journal reporter Brody Mullins discovered that some of Mrs. Clinton's biggest contributors lived in a modest bungalow in Daly City, California, the home of a Chinese-American clan. Collectively, six members of the Paw family have given $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, and $45,000 to Hillary Clinton during the same period.

These donations are more remarkable since the Paws appear to be a middle-class family. The father makes $49,000 a year as a letter carrier; his wife is a homemaker. Their four adult children have jobs ranging from mutual fund executive, to school attendance officer. Yet, the Paws can not only meet their monthly bills in a high-cost-of-living area (San Francisco), they also donate sizable sums to the Democratic Party.

But, as Mr. Mullins reports, the Paws donations are attracting scrutiny for other reasons, too. The family apparently never made a political contribution until 2005, they rapidly moved to the upper echelons of Democratic donors. Additionally, contributions for the Paws seem to track with those of Norman Hsu, a Chinese-American businessman who is a major Clinton fund-raiser. Interesting, Mr. Hsu (who controls a half-dozen clothing manufacturing companies) once listed the Paws' modest home as his address.

While the Federal Election Commission considers a potential probe of the Paws' donations, the Los Angeles Times has discovered that Norman Hsu has a slightly checkered past. Turns out that the Democratic fund-raiser is also a wanted fugitive; he skipped out on a three-year prison sentence almost fifteen years ago, after entering a "no contest" plea on grand theft charges:

Hsu's legal troubles date back almost 20 years.Beginning in 1989, court records show, he began raising what added up to more than $1 million from investors, purportedly to buy latex gloves; investors were told Hsu had a contract to resell the gloves to a major American business.

In 1991, Hsu was charged with grand theft. Prosecutors said there were no latex gloves and no contract to sell them.Hsu pleaded no contest to one grand theft charge and agreed to accept up to three years in prison.

He disappeared after failing to show up for a sentencing hearing. Bench warrants were issued for his arrest but he was never found. Ronald Smetana, the prosecutor who handled the case for the state attorney general, described Hsu as a fugitive. "Do you know where he is?" Smetana asked.

Turns out that Hsu has been hiding in plain sight, hosting high-profile fund-raisers for Democratic candidates and raising thousands in campaign donations since 2004. According to the LA Times, Hsu and his associates have, over the years, raised money for some of the biggest names in the Democratic Party, including, Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware. Like Clinton, Obama and Biden are also seeking their party's presidential nomination.

With Hsu's criminal past now exposed, we're waiting to see if California authorities will finally arrest him and send him to prison. We're also wondering if any of the Democratic pols who took Hsu's money will return the contributions, given what we know about their donor's former crimes. And most importantly, we're watching the FEC, to see if they mount a serious investigation into the Hsu case. As a former FEC official told the WSJ, "there are red flags all over this one."

Likewise, we'd also like to know about any ties between Mr. Hsu, his associates, and the Chinese fund-raising machine that was instrumental in Bill Clinton's presidential victories of 1992 and 1996. That operation raised millions of dollars from individuals and organizations with ties to the Beijing government. It was later revealed that PRC intelligence agents actually met with Mr. Clinton in the White House, part of a massive influence-peddling campaign mounted by the Beijing government and its military.

While no links have been established between Mr. Hsu and the John Huang/Charley Trie operation of the mid-1990s, an inquiry into possible contacts and relationships is clearly in order. The last Democratic fund-raising scandal resulted in the compromise of sensitive missile technology (primarily through the Hughes-Loral deal), and John Huang's participation in secret CIA briefings, thanks to his post as a senior Commerce Department official. Huang later pleaded guilty to charges of making illegal contributions to the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1999. Deposed in a lawsuit by Judicial Watch, Huang "took the 5th" more than 2,000 times when asked if he had ties to Chinese intelligence. Readers will recall that Mr. Huang was a long-time employee of Indonesia's powerful Lippo Group, an organization with proven ties to Beijing's intelligence establishment.

Where does the trail of Norman Hsu and the Paw family lead? The American people have a right to know.
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« Reply #187 on: August 29, 2007, 09:52:53 PM »

Was/is the Lippo Group related to the Riadys of Indonesia, the same Riady's who gave $700,000 to Webster Hubbell for a consulting contract for which he did nothing after he got out of jail for taking the rap for the billing fraud at Hillery's law firm in Arkansas-- the same fraud for which the billing records were found in her office in the White House a couple of years after they were subpoenaed?
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« Reply #188 on: August 29, 2007, 11:14:34 PM »

Hubbell Explains Riady Money In Latest Tapes

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 5) -- In newly released tapes of his prison conversations, Clinton confidant Webster Hubbell describes something he has been silent on until now: how he came to work for the Riady family of Indonesia.

Hubbell, talking with his attorney, describes how he got $100,000 from the Lippo group, a multinational firm controlled by the Riadys, who were major supporters of President Bill Clinton.

A L S O :

Hear Hubbell's prison telephone calls
Hubbell suggested that John Huang, then a Lippo employee, helped set up and attend early meetings that led to the big-money retainer.

At the time, Hubbell said, Huang still worked for Lippo and had not started his job at the Commerce Department. Later, Huang went on to become a Democratic Party fund-raiser and now stands at the center of Justice Department and congressional investigations into allegations of illegal overseas contributions to the Democrats.

Hubbell also disclosed that James Riady, son of the Lippo patriarch, wanted him to go to Indonesia.

"And as James was encouraging me to come to Indonesia until John was working for Lippo. He was the contact person in trying to set that up and arrange it," Hubbell explained.

For months, prosecutors have been looking at consulting fees that Hubbell received, including the Riady money, wondering whether it served as "hush money" to buy Hubbell's silence on Whitewater-related matters.

Hubbell has declined to publicly talk about his clients and what work he did for them. But when he was indicted last week for tax fraud in connection with payments, a spokesman for Independent Counsel Ken Starr said Hubbell "performed little or no work for some of these payments."

In the latest tapes, Hubbell insists that no one bought his silence.

At one point, he tells his sister, "You know me, I have a hard time saying anything bad about the devil."

Hubbell, in another conversation, tells his wife, Suzy, "We know that's not true," as they discussed allegations that he was bought off with no-work legal fees.

The money came from "people who befriended me. I provided services to them," Hubbell says on the tapes.

In general, the latest batch of tapes paint a more favorable picture of Hubbell and the Clintons than the excerpts that Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) released last week. Democrats furiously attacked Burton then for what they called partisan alterations and omissions, while Burton claimed he was only trying to protect Hubbell's privacy.
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« Reply #189 on: August 30, 2007, 06:55:16 AM »

linton Donor Under a Cloud in Fraud Case
Published: August 30, 2007

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign said yesterday that it would give to charity $23,000 it had received from a prominent Democratic donor, and review thousands of dollars more that he had raised, after learning that the authorities in California had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 fraud case.

The donor, Norman Hsu, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic candidates since 2003, and was slated to be co-host next month for a Clinton gala featuring the entertainer Quincy Jones.

The event would not have been unusual for Mr. Hsu, a businessman from Hong Kong who moves in circles of power and influence, serving on the board of a university in New York and helping to bankroll Democratic campaigns.

But what was not widely known was that Mr. Hsu, who is in the apparel business in New York, has been considered a fugitive since he failed to show up in a San Mateo County courtroom about 15 years ago to be sentenced for his role in a scheme to defraud investors, according to the California attorney general’s office.

Mr. Hsu had pleaded no contest to one count of grand theft and was facing up to three years in prison.

The travails of Mr. Hsu have proved an embarrassment for the Clinton campaign, which has strived to project an image of rectitude in its fund-raising and to dispel any lingering shadows of past episodes of tainted contributions.

Already, Mrs. Clinton’s opponents were busy trying to rekindle remembrances of the 1996 Democratic fund-raising scandals, in which Asian moneymen were accused of funneling suspect donations into Democratic coffers as President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were running for re-election.

Some Clinton donors said yesterday that they did not expect the Hsu matter to hurt Mrs. Clinton unless a pattern of problematic fund-raising or compromised donors emerged, which would raise questions about the campaign’s vetting of donors. Mr. Hsu’s legal problems were first reported yesterday by The Los Angeles Times; The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday about his bundling of questionable contributions.

“Everyone is trying to make the implications that it’s Chinese money, that it’s the Al Gore thing all over again, but I haven’t seen any proof of that,” said John A. Catsimatidis, a leading donor and fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton in New York.

Some donations connected to Mr. Hsu raise questions about his bundling activities, although there is no evidence he did anything improper. The Wall Street Journal reported that contributors he solicited included members of an extended family in Daly City, Calif., who had given $213,000 to candidates since 2004, even though some of them did not appear to have much money.

A lawyer for Mr. Hsu, E. Lawrence Barcella Jr., has said that Mr. Hsu was not the source of any of the money he raised from other people, which would be a violation of federal election laws.

On his own, Mr. Hsu wrote checks totaling $255,970 to a variety of Democratic candidates and committees since 2004. Even though he was a bundler for Mrs. Clinton, his largess was spread across the Democratic Party and included $5,000 to the political action committee of Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois.

Last month, Mr. Hsu was among the honored guests at a fund-raiser for Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, given by Stephen A. Schwarzman of the Blackstone Group at the New York Yacht Club.

Al Franken, a Democratic Senate candidate in Minnesota, said he would divest his campaign of Mr. Hsu’s donations, as did Representatives Michael M. Honda and Doris O. Matsui of California and Representative Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania, all Democrats.

Mr. Hsu’s success on the political circuit was not always matched by success in business.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Mr. Hsu came to the United States when he was 18 to attend the University of California, Berkeley, as a computer science major. He later received an M.B.A. at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, according to a brief biography that appeared in apparel industry trade publications in 1986.

With a group of partners from Hong Kong, Mr. Hsu started a sportswear company in 1982 called Laveno that went bankrupt two years later, not long after he left the company. From that, he cycled through several other enterprises, mostly men’s sportswear, under the Wear This, Base and Foreign Exchange labels.

Mr. Hsu’s career hit a low in 1989, when he began raising $1 million from investors as part of a plan to buy and resell latex gloves.

Ronald Smetana, a lawyer with the California attorney general’s office, said Mr. Hsu was charged with stealing the investors’ money after it turned out he never bought any gloves and had no contract to resell them.

When Mr. Hsu was to attend a sentencing hearing, he faxed a letter to his lawyer saying he had to leave town for an emergency and asking that the court date be rescheduled, Mr. Smetana said.

He failed to show up for the rescheduled appearance, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. That was the last that prosecutors saw of Mr. Hsu.

“We assumed he would go back to Hong Kong, where he could recede into anonymity,” Mr. Smetana said.

The California attorney general’s office declined to comment on how it intends to pursue Mr. Hsu.

Mr. Hsu issued a statement yesterday, saying he was “surprised to learn that there appears to be an outstanding warrant” and insisting that he had “not sought to evade any of my obligations and certainly not the law.”

“I would not consciously subject any of the candidates and causes in which I believe to any harm through my actions,” he said.

At some point, Mr. Hsu resurfaced in New York, where he was connected to several clothing-related businesses, according to campaign finance records, which list his occupation variously as an apparel consultant, clothing designer, retailer or company president. He also began to donate to the Democratic Party, and arranged for friends to do the same.

He has been referred to in news accounts of campaign fund-raising events as an “apparel magnate” and his quick rise in the New York political and social scene — as well as his open checkbook — catapulted him into the big leagues.

He became a trustee at the New School and was elected to the Board of Governors of Eugene Lang College there. He endowed a scholarship in his name at the college and was co-chairman of a benefit awards dinner in 2006 that featured Mrs. Clinton, who had secured a $950,000 earmark for a mentoring program at the college for disadvantaged city youths.

Asked yesterday about Mr. Hsu, Brian Krapf, a spokesman for the New School, said in a statement that “it is inappropriate to talk about a matter involving one of our trustees, particularly while we are still gathering all the facts.”

Patrick Healy contributed reporting.
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« Reply #190 on: August 30, 2007, 08:50:35 AM »

Another day, another fugitive!
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« Reply #191 on: August 30, 2007, 11:44:28 AM »

Political Journal WSJ

Crime Without Punishment

The Federal Election Commission has just found that Americans Coming Together, a top union group active in the 2004 presidential election, spent $100 million illegally on federal election activity that year. The agency imposed a fine of just $775,000 -- and not one dime will go back to the union workers who financed ACT's illegal activities with their forced payment of dues.

This is a textbook example of what's wrong with federal election laws. The FEC takes years to catch up with those who break the law, then administers a slap on the wrist on the grounds that ACT disbanded after the 2004 election and won't be engaging in further election activity.

In reality, such groups may disband but their supporters and personnel have every intention of remaining active in politics under another brand name. That perfectly describes the ACT shell game.

Its largest donor was the Service Employees International Union, one of the most politically active labor unions. Its largest non-union donor was billionaire George Soros. And who was the group's president? None other than Harold Ickes, a long-time functionary of the Clinton machine who served as Bill Clinton's deputy White House chief of staff. Mr. Ickes is now a major player in the huge fundraising apparatus of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who unsurprisingly has run into her own campaign finance scandal this week. One of her top donors, Norman Hsu, was revealed to be a fugitive from justice and may have illegally laundered campaign contributions to the Clinton campaign through "straw" or fake donors.

It's clear the FEC can't be relied upon to report on the law-skirting by major political players before voters render their judgment at the polls in 2008. Nor are its sanctions much of a deterrent to those playing for big stakes on the presidential stage. Mrs. Clinton's latest scandal appears to be a near-replica of the 1996 Clinton fundraising scandals, in which 120 people either fled the country to avoid questioning, took the Fifth Amendment or otherwise failed to cooperate with investigators.

The FEC enforcement action against ACT came after a complaint three years ago by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Meanwhile, the news media resolutely ignored the story, insisting that looking into the modus operandi of the Clinton machine represented "old news." Here's hoping the press wakes up and realizes the time for vigilant reporting on the 2008 election excesses of all parties is before Americans vote, not years afterward.

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« Reply #192 on: August 31, 2007, 07:40:14 PM »

A New Member of 'Exiles for Hillary'?

Norman Hsu, the fugitive from justice who may have illegally funneled over a million
dollars to Hillary Clinton and other leading Democrats, has apparently gone missing.
The New York Times tried to find the elusive Mr. Hsu this week and ran into a stone

There are no offices for Mr. Hsu at any of the addresses he listed for his
companies, and at the elegant residential tower that he gives as his personal
address, Times reporters were told he moved out two years ago.

Even E. Lawrence Barcella, Mr. Hsu's lawyer, seemed to be abandoning his client. He
said that Mr. Hsu was getting a California lawyer to represent him over a warrant
that was issued there in the 1990s when Mr. Hsu failed to show up for a court
hearing after pleading no contest to grand theft charges. Mr. Barcella carefully
declined to comment on the whereabouts of his client and stressed that he won't be
handling Mr. Hsu's argument with California authorities: "On that matter, he will be
represented by California counsel."

All of this is very reminiscent of the 1996 Clinton fundraising scandal. A total of
120 witnesses either fled the country, pleaded the Fifth Amendment or otherwise were
unavailable for questioning. In the end, a total of 14 people were found guilty on
various charges relating to the scandal. No wonder the Hillary Clinton campaign
wants to change the subject away from Mr. Hsu.

-- John Fund

Opinion Journal WSJ
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« Reply #193 on: August 31, 2007, 08:56:56 PM »

The MSM takes notice, turns over a few rocks. shocked
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« Reply #194 on: August 31, 2007, 11:40:58 PM »

What Women Want
How the GOP can woo the ladies.

Friday, August 31, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Hillary has herself. Barack has Oprah. John Edwards has his wife, Elizabeth. And what secret weapon do Republican presidential candidates have to curry the all-important "women's vote"?

(Cue silence.)

Expect to hear a lot about lady voters over the next few months, though most of it from Democrats. Women make up 60% of the left's primary electorate, and the front-runners are already going to the mat for their vote. It's why Ms. Clinton has six full-time staffers for women's outreach; why Mr. Obama sports a women's "policy committee"; and why Bill Richardson recently told a cheering mob that "women are better workers than men" (you go, Bill!).

Come next year one of these folks will be the nominee, and at that point will train a formidable outreach machine on the general female electorate. They'll mean business. Democrats understand that they need women to offset what tends to be a permanent advantage for Republicans among male voters. Al Gore's 54% women's vote got him a crack at the Supreme Court. John Kerry's 51% women's vote only got him back to the Senate.

A smart Republican candidate would be doing Twister moves to deny Democrats those votes. Yet what's extraordinary is that no GOP contender has yet recognized the huge opportunity to redefine "women's" politics for the 21st century. That's a double failing given that the GOP could win modern women by doing little more than tailoring their beliefs in freer markets to the problems women struggle most with today.

The Democrats' own views of what counts for "women's issues" are stuck back in the disco days, about the time Ms. Clinton came of political age. Under the title "A Champion for Women," the New York senator's Web site promises the usual tired litany of "equal pay" and a "woman's right to choose." Mr. Richardson pitches a new government handout for women on "family leave" and waxes nostalgic for the Equal Rights Amendment. Give these Boomers some bell bottoms and "The Female Eunuch," and they'd feel right at home. Polls show Ms. Clinton today gets her best female support from women her age and up.
The rest of the female population has migrated into 2007. Undoubtedly quite a few do care about abortion rights and the Violence Against Women Act. But for the 60% of women who today both scramble after a child and hold a job, these culture-war touchpoints aren't their top voting priority. Their biggest concerns, not surprisingly, hew closely to those of their male counterparts: the war in Iraq, health care, the economy. But following close behind are issues that are more unique to working women and mothers. Therein rests the GOP opportunity.

Here's an example of how a smart Republican could morph an old-fashioned Democratic talking point into a modern-day vote winner. Ms. Clinton likes to bang on about "inequality" in pay. The smart conservative would explain to a female audience that there indeed is inequality, and that the situation is grave. Only the bad guy isn't the male boss; it's the progressive tax code.

Most married women are second-earners. That means their income is added to that of their husband's, and thus taxed at his highest marginal rate. So the married woman working as a secretary keeps less of her paycheck than the single woman who does the exact same job. This is the ultimate in "inequality," yet Democrats constantly promote the very tax code that punishes married working women. In some cases, the tax burdens and child-care expenses for second-earners are so burdensome they can't afford a career. But when was the last time a Republican pointed out that Ms. Clinton was helping to keep ladies in the kitchen?

For that matter, when was the last time a GOP candidate pointed out that their own free-market policies could help alleviate this problem? Should President Bush's tax cuts expire, tens of thousands of middle-class women will see more of their paychecks disappear into the maw of their husband's higher bracket. A really brave candidate would go so far as to promise eliminating this tax bias altogether. Under a flat tax, second-earner women would pay the same rate as unmarried women and the guy down the hall. Let Democrats bang the worn-out drum of a "living wage." Republicans should customize their low-tax message to explain how they directly put more money into female pockets.

Here's another one: Ask almost any working woman what the toughest part of her life is, and she'll say the complications of scheduling both work and family life. What makes that task so tough is a dusty piece of legislation called the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that hourly workers who put in more than 40 hours a week get overtime. Some women like overtime. But in a 1995 poll, an extraordinary 81% said they'd prefer compensatory time off. Put another way, many women would like to pack 45 hours into the first four days of work, then knock off early on Friday to catch Jimmy's soccer match.
The mod term for this is "flex time" and Democrats pay it lip service. But what the left won't mention--and Republicans have failed to mention--is that Democrats are the obstacle to changing the overtime law. Organized labor likes the 40-hour-week law, and union leaders prefer to be the ones to arrange any flex-time agreements on behalf of their members. So in 1997, when Republican Sen. John Ashcroft put forward legislation to allow flexible scheduling in the private workforce, it was Democrats, at the beck of unions, who killed it. Some intelligent GOP candidate might want to consider adopting the flex-time cause, or at the least re-crafting the usual "flexible labor law" jargon into real-world examples of how flexibility helps women.

The majority of health-care decisions are made by women, yet neither Rudy Giuliani nor Mitt Romney has explained how their innovative proposals to put individuals back in charge of care would help women in particular. No candidate has explained that only through private Social Security accounts will women ever see the full fruits of their payroll taxes.

This isn't to suggest Republicans treat women as a "special interest" or a monolithic bloc. But there are votes to be had for the candidate who owns the quotidian concerns of this population. And there are future generations of women voters to be won by the party that progresses beyond the stale rhetoric of women's "rights" and crafts a new language of women's "choice" and "opportunity" and "ownership."

Come on guys; the women are waiting.

Ms. Strassel is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, based in Washington. Her column appears Fridays.
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« Reply #195 on: September 01, 2007, 06:15:08 PM »

The MSM seems to take this story seriously. About time, I guess.
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« Reply #196 on: September 01, 2007, 08:03:47 PM »

One can only hope.

Anyway, on a more reflective note on the whole process, here's this:


Presidential Leapfrog
The nominating process gets curiouser and curiouser.

Saturday, September 1, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

The way things are going, the first votes in the 2008 Presidential election may yet be cast in 2007, more than 10 months before the national elections next November. This is not an improvement.

In a little-noticed move this week, Wyoming Republicans moved their party conventions to January 5, beating out Michigan, which just moved its primaries to January 15. State laws in Iowa and New Hampshire require those states, in turn, to leapfrog Michigan and Wyoming, potentially pushing one or both elections into December. So voters in those two states might have to interrupt their holidays to participate in a Presidential primary campaign better held during a much less busy season.

This maneuvering continues a Presidential election process that is changing in ways that make it both longer, yet paradoxically less reflective, than ever. Sixty years ago, Presidential nominees were chosen largely by delegates to conventions held in late summer, between 60 to 90 days before the actual vote. That system gave us FDR, Truman and Ike, to name three better than average Presidents. It also gave us Warren Harding--but then no system is perfect.
In any event, this was deemed too beholden to insiders, so the Progressives lobbied for primaries to open the nominating process to more voters. Yet those primaries were also spread out, from March through the early summer, allowing candidates to adjust to a defeat, raise money between primaries, and even to enter at a late date.

President Lyndon Johnson didn't drop out of the race in 1968 until March, after Eugene McCarthy's surprise showing in the New Hampshire primary. Bobby Kennedy entered the race that same month, and he only emerged as a real threat to the nomination after winning in California in early June. (He was assassinated on the night of that victory.)

On the Republican side, Ronald Reagan lost to President Gerald Ford in New Hampshire in 1976. But he turned his campaign around with a victory in North Carolina in late March, based in part on his opposition to the Panama Canal treaty. That began a series of primary victories that left him only a handful of delegates short of winning the GOP nomination.

Both scenarios would be impossible this election cycle, when the party nominees will be decided in a flurry of primaries that may transpire over less than a month. The big states have tired of the attention devoted to puny Iowa and New Hampshire, and so have elbowed themselves into an earlier, and they hope more decisive, role. The candidates have responded by kicking off their campaigns even earlier. Some have been running for a year already.

Republican Fred Thompson--expected to formally announce next week--will test the proposition that you have to start that early. But he's going to have to raise a lot of money very fast under restrictive campaign-finance laws to be competitive in so many states so quickly after New Hampshire and Iowa. Only someone already famous--Al Gore or Newt Gingrich--could still decide to enter later this fall and have a chance.

To put it another way, this process is both too long and too constricted. It is too long in the sense that it starts the Presidential race more than two years before the actual vote. This shrinks the time for actual "governing," to the extent this still happens in Washington, with Senators like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden having to calibrate every utterance for its impact on their nomination chances. This has only made it harder this year for the parties to find any bipartisan common ground on Iraq, for example. Then once the nominees are all but picked next year on February 5, we will have another long 10 months of campaigning before November. No wonder the political pros call this "the permanent campaign."

But the process is also too constricted, because once the primary voting starts, it will be over in a flash. This makes it harder for a dark horse candidate to break through; even with an early victory, it might be too late to raise enough money to compete in the fast-following giant states.

It also gives Americans less chance to scrutinize the nominees once the actual balloting begins. Sure, voters may know the names of most of those who are running, but average, rational citizens lack the time or interest to focus until an election is nigh. A nominating primary gantlet of three to four weeks is the political equivalent of a blur. This means that crucial facts about a candidate's experience and character may not be discovered until he has already wrapped up the nomination.

We're not sure what can be done about all this. Both parties have conspired in the past in moving up the primary dates for their own competitive reasons (such as getting the intra-party disputes out of the way early when taking on a sitting President). And this year, both parties have threatened to punish state parties that move up their primaries to crowd the early small states--to no avail.
Perhaps it will all turn out for the best this time around. But if the process leaves one or both parties lukewarm about their nominees, it could also open the field for a third party candidate to make a run. This is the scenario that New York's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has been eyeing. Pressure could also build for Congress to intervene and set some new campaign limits--which, in the usual Congressional fashion, could make things worse. It's not too early for the parties to start thinking how to organize things better for the 2012 campaign. On present course, they are making us nostalgic for conventions and smoke-filled rooms.
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« Reply #197 on: September 04, 2007, 12:34:50 PM »

His First Coming Feels Like a Second Coming

Fred Thompson will announce for president this week in the same unorthodox manner he ran his non-campaign.

He is skipping Wednesday night's Fox News GOP primary debate, but will air a 30-second ad on Fox just before the debate directing viewers to his Web cast campaign announcement the next day. On Thursday night, he will appear on NBC's "Tonight Show," whose six million viewers dwarf any debate audience, to preview his candidacy with host Jay Leno. In the following few days, he will attempt to lay to rest rumors that he is a slacker as a campaigner by making a dozen appearances in the key states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

All of this won't satisfy a grouchy media that became annoyed with Mr. Thompson's endless delays in launching his campaign and lovingly highlighted the ouster of several staffers. But Mr. Thompson is betting that voters have more patience and only now are beginning to pay attention to the candidates.

At least he will be in fighting trim. Using a personal trainer, he has lost weight and toned up, such that some voters may have to look twice to recognize the same man who will still be appearing on cable TV this fall in his "Law and Order" role (cable isn't covered by the federal equal-time rules that limit appearances by candidates on broadcast network shows). Those reruns air so frequently that voters are more likely to see Mr. Thompson in his fictional role than they are likely to see his presidential campaign ads.

-- John Fund
Early Pollsters Waste Their Money, Your Time

The presidential race begins in earnest this week as the hopefuls embark on a four-month marathon that will last until the actual voting in Iowa and New Hampshire sometime in early January.

While handicappers pore over the national polls showing Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani out front, it's important to remember just how fluid the contests for each party's nomination have been historically. At a similar point in the 2004 election calendar (i.e. four months before the Iowa caucus), John Kerry was drawing only 9% support among Democrats nationally and pundits were practically writing his presidential obituary. Then Mr. Kerry won the key Iowa caucus and quickly soared to 52% support nationally, eventually winning the nomination.

On the GOP side, large numbers of GOP voters traditionally make up their minds only in the final week before Iowa and New Hampshire. Sometimes they go with the frontrunner, other times they surprise and give a challenger such as John McCain in 2000 a big boost.

Here are some numbers showing just how late many voters wait before deciding how to cast their ballots. In 1996, when Bob Dole was battling Steve Forbes and Lamar Alexander in Iowa, exit polls found a full 23% of caucus voters made up their minds in the last three days before voting and another 19% made up their minds in the preceding week. In New Hampshire, 23% made up their minds on Election Day itself, and another 42% in the week prior. That means two-thirds of GOP voters made up their minds in the final days of the primary campaign.

In 2000, it was much the same. Iowa wasn't a factor that year, because John McCain chose not to challenge George W. Bush there. In New Hampshire, 50% of GOP voters decided in the last week, with 14% making up their minds on Election Day itself. In the key South Carolina primary, 9% made up their minds on Election Day with the total of those deciding in the last week reaching 38%.

What does this mean? Simply that while strong national polling numbers help fundraisers raise more cash for popular candidates and help build media attention, early polls are not nearly as important as what happens in the home stretch in the key primary campaigns. Voters still have the final say and they often take their own sweet time making up their minds.

Opinion Journal/WSJ
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« Reply #198 on: September 04, 2007, 10:44:04 PM »

Thanks Marc for the post on Fred Thompson.  I support Fred at this time for reasons I already wrote and will likely elaborate on over time.  Mostly because I'm a conservative and I find him to be an unapologetic conservative, unlike hyphonated-compassionate-conservatives and Republicans in our purple state who brag about how much like Democrats they are.  That said, I wanted to enter this negative critique of Fred Thompson into the record here from a writer whose opinion I respect, John Hinderacker at Powerlineblog last week.  Basically he says that something is missing with Fred.  Where I disagree I think is that he doesn't seem to give credit for some very direct and bold written positions that Fred has delivered also via radio and internet that will form a foundation for his candidacy in both the primaries and the general election. Also I predict Thompson is the candidate who will align most closely with proposals that Newt is generating which may answer the objection: "Nor does he offer unique solutions to problems...".  To his credit, Hinderacker was face to face with Thompson and has been watching his pre-candidacy pretty closely.  I would say the guys at Powerline lean pro-Mitt Romney and are very respectful of Giuliani though they claim to be undecided.
August 27, 2007
My Dinner With Fred
(by John Hinderaker)

Actually, given the exigencies of Presidential campaigns, Fred Thompson left before dinner. But I did have the opportunity to be part of a small group who chatted with him and asked him questions.

Thompson was in Minnesota today for a variety of functions, including an appearance at the Minnesota State Fair. That convinced me that he is in the race to stay. No one would work the state fair circuit unless he were serious about the race.

My own impression of Thompson was similar to the image I already had of him. He's good; he has a nice, folksy manner, some good lines, a sincere, fatherly demeanor, and comes across as a solid conservative of the border-state variety.

Yet I still think there is something missing. Thompson gives long answers to questions, and a point often comes where his folksiness gives way to ennui. He rarely shows much--any--intensity. Thomson presents himself as the solution to intractable problems like entitlements and the world-wide Islamofascist threat. Yet one misses the spark of fire, of energy, that would generate confidence that Thompson is really the man to get the job done. Nor does he offer unique solutions to problems; his proposals are, like his persona, of the generic conservative variety.

There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily. But in the end, Thompson's candidacy rests on the premise that there is something about him that will rally millions of otherwise uncommitted voters to the conservative banner. Maybe there is; maybe that folksiness goes a long way. If in the end I'm convinced that he is the strongest Republican candidate, I'll support him. But I haven't seen persuasive evidence of that yet.
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Posts: 9484

« Reply #199 on: September 04, 2007, 11:23:12 PM »

A second post also inspired by Marc's WSJ piece, my comments for the other side of the aisle. I noticed this phrase from the WSJ story: "In 1996, when Bob Dole was battling Steve Forbes and Lamar Alexander in Iowa..."

It's not a perfect analogy, but that scenario reminds quite a bit of the trio right now on the Democratic side.  Hillary is the Bob Dole of her party and will win the nomination.  She is nearly the war hero politically (remember the 60 minutes episode confronting the Gennifer Flowers story that rescued her party to victory in 1992) and it appears right now that this is her turn.

Barack Obama is the Steve Forbes though reversed in qualities.  Forbes had substance without charisma and Obama may have the reverse.  Still each is the big hope of the idiological wing of his own party.  My favorite liberal friends still want Obama though it is pretty clear he has no chance.  And Edwards is the Lamar Alexander.  From my point of view just running very hard yet staying irrelevant. 

I hope someone also writes the positives of this cast here, but from my point of view Hillary is unchallenged by anyone of substance in her own party but lacking in real achievements qnd crossover appeal.
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