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« Reply #200 on: September 05, 2007, 06:53:19 PM »

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/search/label/Norman%20Hsu%3B%20Hillary%20Clinton%20fund-raising%3B%20China%20connection

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
 
Where in the World is Norman Hsu?



Have you seen this man?

Norman Hsu, the Chinese-American businessman who served as Hillary Clinton's latest, shady campaign "bundler" failed to show up for a bail hearing in California today (surprise, surprise), and according to the AP, a judge has issued a new warrant for his arrest.

Hsu's fugitive status--he never served jail time after pleading no contest to grand theft conviction in the early 1990s--came to light after the Wall Street Journal highlighted correlations between his contributions to Mrs. Clinton and those of the Paw clan, a middle-class Chinese family in the San Francisco area. Despite modest means, the family gave the maximum amount of money (more than $200,000) to the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign since 2005.

A Los Angeles Times article subsequently identified Hsu as a fugitive, stemming from his efforts to bilk investors in a $1 million latex glove resale operation. Mr. Hsu was facing up to three years in prison when he failed to show up for sentencing more than a decade ago.

But despite his criminal past, Hsu emerged as a major Democratic fund-raiser in recent years, bundling his contributions with those of other donors, including the Paws. Both Hsu and the Paws have denied any wrong-doing, and the Clinton campaign "gave" their money to charity when confronted with the fund-raiser's criminal past (more on that contribution in a moment).

By skipping today's hearing, Hsu forfeits $2 million in bail that he posted last week. Mr. Hsu's lawyer says he "doesn't know" where his client is. We can't offer a precise location, but a good place to begin the search is China. After all, it's the refuge of choice for Clinton contributors caught in criminal or questionable activities. Following the Clinton donor scandal in 1996, scores of Chinese "contributors" fled the country to avoid indictment, or testimony before Congressional committees.

Put another way: we'd be greatly surprised if Mr. Hsu wasn't in China. He's a native of Hong Kong, and reportedly fled there after his fraud conviction in 1992, before resurfacing in New York as a major campaign fund-raiser for the Democratic Party.

Obviously, someone who's willing to forfeit $2 million in bail is worried about more than a three-year stretch in a minimum-security prison. As Ed Morrissey noted last Friday, the questions about Hsu and his campaign "bundling" extend well beyond the recent contributions to Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Eliot Spitzer, and other Democratic luminaries. When The New York Times tried to track down Hsu's various apparel businesses, they found private residences where "employees" said they had never heard of Mr. Hsu, or that he moved years ago. As Morrissey observes, Hsu's enterprises appear to be shams, but the money he threw around was very, very real. Where did it come from?

At this point, an equally salient question is why wasn't Hsu required to surrender his passport when he surrendered to authorities last week? According to the Times, Mr. Hsu was supposed to turn it in today, but when his attorney sent an assistant to retrieve the passport, it couldn't be found. Asked by reporters of Hsu had fled the country, his attorney James Brosnahan, said "I would imagine he has the capability."

While the authorities search for Mr. Hsu (good luck with that arrest warrant), the size of the scandal continues to grow. New York blogger Flip Pidot, doing the job of the MSM, has been tabulating the expanse of Hsu's largesse, and it's considerable. Using federal, state and local databases, he's uncovered a total of $1.6 million in donations from Mr. Hsu to Democratic politicians.

And not surprisingly, the amount of money "returned," by the Democrats or "given to charity" is only a fraction of what they've received. For example, the Clinton campaign touted its return of a $23,000 check that Hillary received directly from Mr. Hsu, but they're "keeping" another $152,000 from his associates.

Imagine that.

Labels: Norman Hsu; Hillary Clinton fund-raising; China connection
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« Reply #201 on: September 06, 2007, 10:37:10 AM »

This seems about right to me.  (Run Newt Run!)

The Thompson Effect
No dominant candidate gives Thompson a shot if he can seize it.

Thursday, September 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Fred Thompson is scheduled today to make official what's long been obvious: He's seeking the Republican nomination for President. His entry brings adrenaline and new competition to the race, and our guess is that the ultimate nominee will be better for it.

The two Republican front-runners, Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, have their strengths, but no one in the field has emerged as a dominant candidate. Mr. Giuliani in particular has been impressive on the big issues, including the war on terror and the economy. He understands the consequences of premature withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. To help sustain economic growth, he's proposed lowering marginal tax rates and eliminating the death tax. Still, many cultural conservatives remain skeptical of Mr. Giuliani's liberal record on gun control, gay rights and abortion. YouTube videos of the former New York mayor in drag don't help.





Mr. Thompson clearly has an opening here, if he can seize it. For starters, he's a Southern conservative in a party dominated by Southern conservatives. As a Senator from Tennessee, he gained Beltway experience. He's got natural charisma, and in standing up forcefully for Scooter Libby earlier this year, he showed political courage.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Thompson served as a U.S. attorney and Watergate investigator. And since leaving politics, he's enjoyed a successful acting career. Which is to say that the latest addition to the GOP field can plausibly present himself as an outsider at a time when the rank and file are unhappy with Beltway Republicans.

The biggest question he has to answer is, Why President Thompson? So far he hasn't provided one, other than he's none of the other candidates. But voters will want more than that, and it would behoove Mr. Thompson to think big in terms of campaign themes.

Mr. Giuliani is not only Mr. 9/11 but also the mayor who cleaned up a supposedly "ungovernable" city and is tough enough to take on our enemies abroad. Mr. Romney is the manager who built a company, saved the Olympics and can bring the same skills to Washington. Mr. Thompson, meanwhile, has said he wants to fix a federal government "that can't seem to get the most basic responsibilities right for its citizens."

True, but folksy populism by itself won't be enough. He'll have to get more specific, and that should include coming clean about his past differences with conservatives on campaign finance and tort reform. The Romney lesson is that trying to be all things to all Republicans opens you to the charge that you lack guiding principles.





The rationale for a Thompson candidacy may still be a work in progress, but that doesn't mean his entry won't have some immediate impact. There's a reason Mr. Giuliani has welcomed him to the race with open arms, while Mr. Romney nervously joked with reporters that it would be better if Mr. Thompson waited a few more months to declare. Mr. Thompson probably steals more of Mr. Romney's thunder initially, if only because the former's movie and television roles have made him more recognizable. Unlike Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney is still introducing himself to voters. A recent CBS News poll found that two-thirds of GOP primary voters had yet to form an opinion of the former Massachusetts governor. Mr. Thompson's presence will make it that much harder for Mr. Romney to distinguish himself.
As the new kid on the campaign trail, press coverage of the Thompson candidacy will be voluminous. But media interest won't last any longer than voter interest if Mr. Thompson doesn't use it to put forward some intriguing ideas, and then show that he can defend them with conviction. Mr. Thompson will also have to demonstrate in short order that his fund-raising abilities can compete with Mr. Giuliani's extensive network and Mr. Romney's deep pockets.

With the public in a sour mood, Republicans aren't likely to win unless they make the 2008 election about big themes and issues. They need a reform agenda, and if Fred Thompson doesn't stand for something beyond his persona as a television DA and pickup truck populist, he's not likely to go the distance.
WSJ
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« Reply #202 on: September 07, 2007, 08:50:31 AM »

Hsudini

Political circles were buzzing about the bizarre turn the Norman Hsu caper took yesterday, as the mysterious businessman who quickly became Hillary Clinton's No. 3 fundraiser failed to show up for a bail hearing or surrender his passport. Mr. Hsu has once again disappeared.

Mr. Hsu had previously been a fugitive from justice on a California grand theft charge, and now his prodigious fundraising for Democratic candidates is under Justice Department investigation. The suspicion is that Mr. Hsu or his financial backers illegally reimbursed individuals who contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Ms. Clinton and other Democrats, thereby evading campaign finance limits.

His friends professed bafflement. Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey, president of the New School in New York, had recruited Mr. Hsu to join the school's board of directors. Even after his shady past was reported last week, Mr. Kerrey defended him. Now Mr. Kerrey is shocked at what's happened. "I don't know what is going on in his mind," he told reporters. "I thought that I knew him, but obviously I didn't."

Other people who were close to Mr. Hsu took no time in distancing themselves. Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, called on the fugitive to turn himself in. He also said that while the Clinton campaign was giving $23,000 in direct Hsu donations to charity, it would keep the much larger amounts Mr. Hsu brought in from others, a practice known as "bundling." Mr. Wolfson declined to release the names of bundled donors, a stance that drew fire from some liberal watchdog groups such as Public Citizen, which said the Clinton campaign's failure to disclose would only invite more speculation.

Yes, indeed. That speculation is rooted in the 1996 re-election effort of Bill Clinton, which was run in large part by Terry McAuliffe and Harold Ickes, the same players now playing big roles in Hillary Clinton's White House effort. Back then, reporters and investigators were continuously stonewalled when trying to get to the bottom of a campaign finance scandal that eventually saw 14 people enter guilty pleas while another 120 either fled the country or invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid answering questions.

Among those who fled the country were Arief and Soraya Wiriadinata, two Indonesian gardeners who gave $450,000 to the Democratic Party. Mr. Wiriadinata eventually revealed that the money had been wired to him by his wife's father, a close business partner of Mochtar Riady, the head of the Lippo Group, a conglomerate with many connections to the Chinese government.

Given just how strange the structure of the 1996 Clinton fundraising operation turned out to be, it's not surprising the Clinton campaign now declares it's time to "move on" from the Hsu scandal. Some of its supporters are even alleging racism behind the intense interest in Mr. Hsu. In reality, the troubling similarity between the 1996 scandal and the one involving Mr. Hsu isn't the presence of so many Asian names. It's that once again Team Clinton appears to be recklessly unconcerned about who might be seeking to buy favor with a future President Clinton and uninterested in answering questions that would help reporters and watchdogs get to the bottom of matters.

Opinion Journal/WSJ
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« Reply #203 on: September 07, 2007, 11:06:14 AM »

Second post of the AM:

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE
Fred Thompson?
“My friends, I come to you today to tell you that I intend to run for President.” With that, Fred Dalton Thompson announced his candidacy for President this week—adding his name to a lengthy list of Republican contenders.

Traditionally, Presidential candidates have announced their intentions after Labor Day, but that tradition has given way to “campaignus infinitum ad nauseam.” Criticized by media talkingheads for his “late entry,” Thompson expressed his doubt that voters will say, “That guy would make a very good president, but he didn’t get in soon enough.”

After all, says Thompson, “People treat politicians sort of like dentists—they don’t have anything to do with them till they have to.”

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, arguably the most articulate constitutional constructionist to hold that post in the last century, recently offered this assessment of the political process: “What’s the job of the candidate in this world? The job of the candidate is to raise the money to hire the consultants to do the focus groups to figure out the 30-second answers to be memorized by the candidate. This is stunningly dangerous.”

Notably, responding to inquiries about his own interest in a presidential bid, Gingrich added, “If Fred Thompson runs... then I think that makes it easier for me to not run.”

What does the timing of Fred Thompson’s announcement say about him as a candidate? Well, mostly that he is a leader, not a follower. To his credit, Thompson is not a “formula candidate.” He doesn’t comport with the expectations of Beltway politicos, commentators and media types, and his campaign won’t be as slick as some of his opponents in both parties.

For the record, however, I know Fred Thompson—the man. I know his character, his intellect and his sincerity, and I know his views on the supremacy of our Constitution. Fred’s style is evocative of Ronald Reagan’s strengths. Like Reagan, Thompson speaks right over the heads of his opponents and the Leftmedia, directly to the people. For that reason and more, the Democrats fear Fred Thompson.

In 1993, Tennessee’s Republican leadership convinced Thompson, a relative unknown, to campaign for the unexpired Senate term of then-Vice President Albert Gore. He could have been just a sacrificial lamb, but on the campaign trail Fred demonstrated his ability to win the hearts and minds of Republican and Democrat voters.

Despite all the support Bill Clinton and Al Gore could muster for Fred’s opponent, popular six-term Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper, Thompson won a landslide victory in 1994, garnering 61 percent of the vote. It was the largest victory margin in any statewide political contest in Tennessee history.

Thompson’s tour de force didn’t go unnoticed by the Democratic [sic] National Committee, nor did his 1996 re-election bid, which he won by an even wider margin. Rest assured, the DNC fears Thompson.

As a two-term senator from Tennessee, Thompson never forgot who brung him to the dance. His voting record is clear, and it establishes his standing as an unequivocal constitutional constructionist. For this reason, he garnered not only the respect of his constituents, but also the admiration of colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

Like his primary opponent, Rep. Ron Paul, Thompson loathes politicos who subscribe to the notion of a “Living Constitution,” those who, for political expediency, have abandoned their oaths to “support and defend” that singular document.

“Our people have shed more blood for liberty and freedom... than all the other countries put together,” says Thompson, yet the central government “can’t seem to get the most basic responsibilities right for its citizens.”

Like Rep. Paul, Thompson’s commitment to uphold the plain language of our Constitution has put him on the short end of a couple of votes during his tenure (99-1 in the Senate), and his devotion to his oath of office led to several controversial votes. In 1999, for example, when the Senate voted on the impeachment of Bill Clinton, Thompson voted in the affirmative on the question of whether Clinton had obstructed justice, but joined nine other Republicans voting against conviction on the perjury charge, believing that this charge did not meet the constitutional test for removing a president from office.

Thompson’s philosophy and record are most clear in regard to constitutional exegesis pertaining to federalism and state’s rights, as specified by the Tenth Amendment to the Bill of Rights.

That amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” This language is specific about the limitations our Constitution places upon the central government and the rights and responsibilities reserved by the several states and the people. Nonetheless, Democrats, and the judicial activists who do their bidding, have, for five decades, evaded the plain language of our Constitution by insisting that it be adulterated by judicial diktat in order to serve the special interests of their constituents.

Those who have been readers of The Patriot Post for many years know that we began life as The Federalist, a journal of federalism and states’ rights, and that our mission “to restore constitutional limits on government and the judiciary” is, by definition, the restoration of constitutional federalism, as outlined by Ronald Reagan’s “Presidential Executive Order 12612”.

It is notable, then, that on Fred Thompson’s campaign website, under the category of “Principles,” there is only one item: Federalism.

Indeed, since our first issue, The Patriot has asserted that if the first principle is not the restoration of constitutionally authorized federalism, then the remainder is just the product of smoke and mirrors.

In his exposition on federalism, Thompson notes, “Before anything else, folks in Washington ought to be asking first and foremost, ‘Should government be doing this? And if so, then at what level of government?’ But they don’t. The result has been decades of growth in the size, scope and function of national government. Today’s governance of mandates, pre-emptions, regulations and federal programs bears little resemblance to the balanced system the Framers intended... A government powerful enough to give you everything can take away from you, anything. Our government must be limited by the powers delegated to it by the Constitution.”

On that note, it is clear that Thompson will give Republican front-runners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, both “big-government Republicans,” a run for their money. The next debate is 17 September, four months ahead of the first state primaries. With Thompson in the lineup, expect a real debate. One thing will be abundantly clear at the end of that debate: Unlike the other frontrunners, Fred Thompson does not “need” to be President in order to satiate arrogant ambition. He is driven by one motive—to humbly serve his countrymen, to promote our national security, unity and prosperity—and do so within the constraints of our Constitution.

Quote of the week
“Fred Thompson’s eight-year record (in the U.S. Senate) is generally pro-growth with an excellent record on entitlement reform and school choice and a very good record on taxes, regulation and trade. His belief in a limited federal government is demonstrated by his numerous votes against government intrusion in the private sector and increased federal spending. Thompson consistently voted against increased spending and new government projects, at times, one of only a handful of senators to do so.” —Club for Growth president Pat Toomey

On cross-examination
“By setting himself apart from the gaggle and having a one-on-one chat with six million Americans, Thompson messed up the political ecosystem. In a single well timed appearance, he made up for a late start and got exposure and buzz. And it didn’t cost him a dime. Some mistake.” —Kathleen Parker

Open query
“What would [Thompson] do while running for the presidency to help his party regain control of the Congress in the 2008 elections if he’s at the top of the ticket? While the media consider that impossible, the utter failure of the Democrats in Congress to do anything worthwhile gives the GOP a fighting chance.” —Michael Reagan
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« Reply #204 on: September 07, 2007, 11:57:20 AM »

Third post of the AM

This Hsu Not Made for Running

Fugitive fundraiser Norman Hsu was arrested in a hospital in Colorado yesterday, where he had been taken after falling ill on an Amtrak train. Lots of nagging questions about how the mysterious businessman managed to "bundle" vast amounts of money for Democratic candidates, especially Hillary Clinton, remain. But don't expect the Clinton campaign to help out.

While her staff says it will donate any contributions received directly from Mr. Hsu to charity, it refuses to release the names of donors bundled by Mr. Hsu, who collectively contributed well over $1 million to the Clinton coffers. "Every contribution Hsu bundled and sent on to Hillary is dirty, and will paint a map for the press -- if it was interested -- of who Hsu is and what he was attempting to gain," says radio host Hugh Hewitt.

Take the curious case of the Paw family, headed by a California mail carrier who earns $45,000 a year and whose house Mr. Hsu has listed as his own address. Somehow, Mr. Paw and his family managed to donate over $290,000 to various Democrats since 2004. The Paws never before had given a campaign contribution to anyone.

Unlike dozens of witnesses to Bill Clinton's 1996 campaign scandals, Mr. Hsu hasn't managed to flee the country or had an opportunity yet to invoke the Fifth Amendment. But given the 1996 experience, you would think reporters would show an urgent curiosity about him and exactly where his money came from. It would be nice this time to have some answers before Americans must go to the polls. For instance, what or who was the ultimate source of his money? The American Spectator reports that the textile companies Mr. Hsu claims to run have no offices and no legitimate addresses. One address given by Mr. Hsu turned out to be a Manhattan Public Library.

For now, of course, Mr. Hsu will have only one address -- a cell in a California jail, where he will sit while the Justice Department tries to untangle his rich history.

-- John Fund
Hillary's Entitlement Bailout Tax?

Hillary Clinton's plan to rescue Social Security from financial disaster is as clear as mud. Tuesday, she pledged to an AARP legislative conference that she won't cut benefits, raise the retirement age or permit personal retirement account options. That leaves two alternatives: Do nothing to head off the program's impending $11.4 trillion fiscal train wreck (in which case benefit cuts are already in the law), or raise taxes.

The first option is inconsistent with her earlier promise to keep Social Security "affordable and sustainable." Further complicating matters, Ms. Clinton said this week: "We need to get back to the fiscal responsibility of the 1990's when we weren't raiding the Social Security trust fund." Yet a vote analysis by Freedom Works discovered that Senator Clinton voted against a bill that would have prevented raiding the Social Security fund to pay for other programs. Some $1 trillion of payroll taxes earmarked for the trust fund have already been squandered this way over the past decade.

Former Congressman Dick Armey of Texas was among those critical of Mrs. Clinton's posturing: "We all know that businesses should fully fund their employees' 401k plans. Why does Senator Clinton, as an elected official with direct access to the Social Security money, refuse to live up to any such obligation herself?" No answer yet from the Clinton for President campaign.

The other option that Senator Clinton has not ruled out is to raise taxes to pay for a Social Security bailout plan. This would eventually require raising the payroll tax to 18% or 20% from today's 15% to pay benefits to tomorrow's retirees. To taxpayers, that option isn't "affordable or sustainable." It would be a serious job killer.

So just what is Mrs. Clinton's Social Security plan? Here's Hillary on the subject one last time: "It's in all our interests to preserve and strengthen Social Security into the next century. And if we don't want to burden our children and grandchildren -- if we want to make sure Social Security remains solvent well into the 21st century -- we must make bold decisions now." She just won't tell us what those bold decisions are.

-- Stephen Moore
Quote of the Day I

"[Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] both are emphasizing the exact same issues and they are saying almost the exact same things about those issues. The consultants and their focus groups have never seemed more powerful. Health care for every single American (except that neither has produced a plan to do that -- Obama's lacks a mandate and we'll see about Hillary's, when she launches in a couple of weeks). Energy independence. End the war. Restore America's place in the world. Raise up the middle class. End cronyism. Both candidates have populist flickers, and name the Insurance companies, Big Oil, Big Pharma as corporate evildoers" -- Time magazine columnist Joe Klein.

Quote of the Day II

"My Scottish friends say I should be called 'First Laddie' because it's the closest thing to 'First Lady'" -- ex-President Bill Clinton explaining to Oprah Winfrey this week what his title would be if wife Hillary wins the White House.

Georgia Strikes a Blow Against Vote Fraud

Being expected to show identification isn't that controversial in this post 9/11 world. Oprah Winfrey will hold a $3 million fundraiser for Barack Obama at her California home this weekend and is expected to require that guests show state-issued IDs to gain admittance.

But when it comes to voting, liberals have made wild claims that being asked to show an ID is the functional equivalent of a Jim Crow poll tax. When a photo ID bill passed the Georgia legislature in 2005, black legislators sang slave songs and one even slammed down a prisoner's shackles on the desk of the bill's sponsor. Juan Williams, a National Public Radio correspondent and author of "Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years," says critics are "reacting to devils that have been slain 40 years ago." He told Fox News: "In service to having no-fraud elections, I think you could say to people, 'Go and get a legitimate ID.' I don't think that's too much to ask."

Neither does U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy. The Georgia jurist, who happens to be a cousin of the last Democratic Speaker of the Georgia House, issued a ruling yesterday dismissing a two-year old challenge to the state's photo ID law. The Democratic-appointed judge wrote: "Voters who lack photo ID undoubtedly exist somewhere, but the fact that the plaintiffs, in spite of their efforts, have failed to uncover anyone 'who can attest to the fact that he/she will be prevented from voting' provides significant support for a conclusion that the photo ID requirement does not unduly burden the right to vote."

For years, civil rights groups have warned that poor and minority voters would be barred from the polls. Barbara Arnwine of The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights even claimed that photo ID laws "could disenfranchise 10% of the electorate."

Now that Judge Murphy has put such hysteria to rest, perhaps other states can have a rational discussion of photo IDs and similar laws designed to crack down on voter fraud and manipulation. Andrew Young, the former Atlanta mayor and U.N. ambassador, told me he believes that in an era when people have to show ID to rent a video or cash a check, "requiring [voter] ID can help poor people" by encouraging them to integrate into mainstream society. He notes that Georgia's law provides for extensive outreach efforts, including a mobile ID center that will allow groups like the NAACP to request visits to specific sites to help people obtain IDs.

The U.S. Supreme Court is likely to rule on the constitutionality of photo ID laws next year. Here's hoping that Judge Murphy's comprehensive 180-page ruling is part of their homework.

-- John Fund

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« Reply #205 on: September 08, 2007, 10:03:04 AM »

Off to the Races
By PEGGY NOONAN
September 8, 2007

This week the Republican candidates for the presidency tried to make it new again. Summer's over, autumn's here, they're relaunching. I think they pretty much succeeded. Their debate Wednesday night had sparks and fire. And a new candidate moved in.

So while Barack Obama struggles with a big question of his candidacy -- how to draw deep blood from Hillary Clinton without fatally endangering his future in the party and earning the enmity of its power brokers; and Mrs. Clinton figures out each day how to slow him and stop him but not right now squish him like a bug, which would highlight a reputation for ruthlessness and embitter a portion of the base -- a look at the Republicans in what was a Republican week.

The debate was full of fireworks about Iraq, about its essentials -- the rightness of the endeavor, and what should rightly be done now. From the libertarian Ron Paul a blunt argument against the war: We never should have gone in and we should get out. "The people who say there'll be a blood bath are the same ones who said it would be a cakewalk. . . . Why believe them?" His foreign policy: "Mind our own business, bring our troops home, defend our country, defend our borders." After Mr. Paul spoke, it seemed half the room booed, but the other applauded. When a thousand Republicans are in a room and one man of the eight on the stage takes a sharply minority viewpoint on a dramatic issue and half the room seems to cheer him, something's going on.

 
Sparks fly between Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul.
Ron Paul's support isn't based on his persona, history or perceived power. What support he has comes because of his views. As he spoke, you could hear other candidates laughing in the background. They should stop giggling, and engage in a serious way.

Mike Huckabee, and for this I h Huckabee, shot back that history will judge whether we were right to go in, but for now, "we're there." He echoed Colin Powell: We broke it, now we own it. "Congressman, we are one nation. We can't be divided. . . . If we make a mistake, we make it as a single country, the United States of America, not the divided states of America." David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network says he doesn't know why Mr. Huckabee isn't in the top tier. I wonder too. Maybe he is and we don't know it.

John McCain seems liberated by loss. Once he was the front-runner, then he was over. Unburdened by the pressure to do well, he has rediscovered the pleasures of the trail. The other day when a student was impertinent, he pleasantly responded, "Thanks for the question, you little jerk." It reminded me of the time Mayor Rudy Giuliani told an insistent radio caller who pressed for the legalization of ferrets that he probably cared about the issue because he was insane.

In the debate, Mr. McCain was spirited -- we stay and fight in Iraq, "otherwise we face catastrophe and genocide in the region." Fox News's focus group said he won. As he retools, he should speak of Reagan in 1976, when he was washed up in South Carolina and said, "I'm taking this all the way to the convention, and I'm going even if I lose every damn primary between now and then."

Mitt Romney is -- well, he continues to seem like someone who's stepped from the shower and been handed a dress shirt by his manservant George. He's like a senior account executive on "Mad Men." Still the most focused and disciplined of all the Republicans, he did fine the other night. But he should get shirt-sleeved, dig deeper, get to his purpose. He had the best quips about Fred Thompson's decision to get in, telling reporters, "Why the hurry? Why not take a little longer to think this over? From my standpoint, if he wants to wait until January or February, that would be ideal."

Rudy Giuliani proved it is possible to bang the gong too much on leading New York City. Enough already, we heard you, move on. Then come back to it in a few months and make it new again. For now, can he be thoughtful about foreign affairs? Not forceful, not pugnacious, not rote, but thoughtful. No one knows quite what he thinks, as opposed to feels.

Duncan Hunter was there. So was Tom Tancredo, who shouldn't be. When you can't compellingly break through with the issue that most roils the base, and on which you were a leader and in agreement with the roiled, then you should admit it didn't work, and leave. But whom he throws his support to -- who he decides has an immigration stand he can back -- might have some significant impact on primary voters.

For Fred Thompson, spurning the debate and announcing on Leno was rude and shrewd. He loped on like a long, tall, folksy fella and got a good burst of applause from the audience when he said he was running. The Web video was fine, the 60-second commercial unveiled Wednesday too self-consciously presidential. A young journalist brutally remarked to me of the makeup and lighting, "He looks like a skull on a Disney pirate ride."

He faces three big challenges. He has come in saying, essentially, I'm not the other guys. That's good, but raises the questions: Who are you? And the reason you're running for president would be . . .?

Second challenge: You can come to the rescue only when someone calls "Help!" You can save the drowning guy only when he falls through the ice; you can't do it when he's skating by and giving you a friendly nod. Three and six months ago, the Republican Party was looking at its slate of candidates and shouting, "Help!" Since then, the candidates have been out there making an impression, getting known, declaring their stands. They've found supporters.

Is the party still yelling "Help!"? Is it falling through the ice?

A third challenge, I think, is a certain dissonance in Mr. Thompson's persona. He seems preoccupied, not full of delight that he's at the party. John McCain has been having sly fun with the idea of Mr. Thompson's sluggishness. When asked why Mr. Thompson didn't come to the debate, Mr. McCain said "Maybe we're up past his bedtime."

I felt this week, and to my surprise, that the campaign was focusing itself, tightening in some way, getting serious. The next Republican debate, the first one with Mr. Thompson, is Sept. 17, in New Hampshire. The first real voting, in Iowa and New Hampshire, is in only four months. For all our complaints about the endless campaign, this one may catch us short. It may get decided when we aren't watching -- knowing, as everyone told us, that we had plenty of time to start paying attention. This could move quickly. Got to watch now.
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« Reply #206 on: September 08, 2007, 10:16:40 AM »

Of course there is a report that it is a *Republican* initiated rumor that Hsu is a Chinese spy funneling moneys to China's preferred presidential candidate(s).  But I have already wondered this same theory myself.  I would not be surprised to learn if this is more than just a theory. Conversely, I will not even know if I should believe it if comes out in the news that this was not the case.  A bigger question is, if it is a Chinese directed payoff, then why does China prefer the Clintons?  I already suspect the answer but will anyone in the media ask and explore this?  Time will hopefully bear fruit.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8RGMB000&show_article=1&catnum=3

There is a reason that many foregners "love" the Clintons.  But it ain't because it is in *our* best interests.

Please God.  Save us from this couple's delusional thinking that they alone can save the world from itself.
Not another eight years of this pathological couple.  As Republican, there is almost no other Democrat I would not prefer.
Than again.  In the last several years the Republicans have been a major disppointment too.  Money, power, corruption.  They threw it all away IMHO.
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G M
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« Reply #207 on: September 08, 2007, 02:43:13 PM »

My analysis is that Hsu will turn out to be a triad affiliated bagman. Now tracking the source of the money may well run back to Beijing. Slick Willie made a series of decisions as president that assisted the PLA's rise under his watch.
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ccp
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« Reply #208 on: September 08, 2007, 08:37:16 PM »

GM, what does this mean:

*triad affiliated bagman*
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G M
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« Reply #209 on: September 08, 2007, 09:48:02 PM »

Triad= Chinese organized crime. Bagman=dishonest official; a person who collects, carries, or distributes illegal payoff money.

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G M
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« Reply #210 on: September 08, 2007, 09:55:05 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/08/hsu-and-the-shrimp-boy/

"Runaround Hsu's" triad connections begin to bubble to the surface.
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G M
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« Reply #211 on: September 08, 2007, 10:11:46 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triad_society

Not a bad wiki article on triads.

Before our board's "trufers" get too excited about the reference to the Chinese Freemasons and try to find a link to the illuminati and the Bilderbergers, the Chinese Freemasons have no connection to freemasonry, except for the name.

_____________________________________________________________________

A KILLING IN CHINATOWN
Allen Leung, a power in the community and named to a city task force by 2 S.F. mayors, was slain 2 months ago -- and no one is talking to police

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Vanessa Hua, Chronicle Staff Writers
Saturday, April 8, 2006
    More...
Allen Leung's life was one of seeming contradictions.

He was known as the "dragon head" -- a leader in the closed, sometimes illicit world of Chinese brotherhoods known as tongs -- but he also played a very public role in San Francisco as a commissioner of the Taiwanese government and a member of a local economic task force.

He once shot and killed an intruder in his home, but he was considered a peacemaker and resolver of disputes within San Francisco's Chinese community.

He had great power and influence among the city's Chinese Americans but at times feared for his life because of an extortion plot.

In February, the 56-year-old native of China was shot to death in his import-export business on Jackson Street. A gunman wearing a mask demanded cash. Leung agreed but was shot anyway as his wife looked on.

Investigators are struggling to unravel Leung's intricate web of relationships, a life that spanned boundaries of East and West, legal and illicit, public and private. They say they have come up against a wall of silence, even from Leung's closest associates.

"There are people out there," homicide Inspector Dennis Maffei said, "who know a lot more than they're saying."

Allen Ngai Leung, like many immigrants before him, joined tongs to help him make his way in Chinatown.
The youngest of five children, born in southern China, Leung was raised by his sisters after the Communists jailed his mother and forced his father to flee to Hong Kong. Leung went to Hong Kong as a teen and came to the Bay Area in 1971 when he was 20.

Leung honed his English and attended San Francisco State University, where he studied business and philosophy and met his future wife, Jenny. After graduating, he earned a real estate license and became a bilingual counselor at John O'Connell High School.

He helped establish the White Crane martial arts studio with his two brothers, and in 1979 he founded Wonkow International Enterprises Inc., a travel agency on Jackson Street that later became an import-export company.

During these years, he joined the Hop Sing tong and the Chinese Freemasons, two influential brotherhoods in Chinatown.

The tongs grew out of secret societies founded by revolutionaries in 17th century imperial China. In America, they started during California's Gold Rush, helping immigrants endure the hardships of discrimination, and eventually spread to other parts of the country.

Some began offering "protection" to defend interests in gambling, drugs and prostitution. Today, federal authorities still label several tongs, including Hop Sing, as "criminally influenced," meaning some members might engage in illegal activity.

"With any organization, you have a certain percentage of people who may go sideways on you and become organized into criminal activity," said Nelson Lowe, a senior FBI agent and expert in Asian organized crime.

"Although they are associated with a tong, they are not representative of what a tong stands for."

By the 1970s, most San Francisco tongs had become social clubs for aging immigrants. But Hop Sing was torn by violence as younger members struggled for power with older leaders.

One of the upstarts was shot to death on a Chinatown street in August 1973. Four years later, three teenage gunmen opened fire inside the Golden Dragon restaurant, which is in a Hop Sing-owned building. Five patrons were killed and 11 wounded; the apparent target, a Hop Sing enforcer, was unharmed.

Leung's business was just a couple of blocks from Hop Sing headquarters on Waverly Place.
Leung built his business by trading in shark fin, a Chinese delicacy. On his company Web site, he credited himself with successfully urging the U.S. government to back shark fishing. Eventually, limits were imposed to prevent overfishing.

He opened a Hong Kong office in 1985 and expanded into real estate. He bought homes for himself in the Marina district, Las Vegas and Florida.

At the recommendation of Pius Lee, one of Chinatown's best-known figures, Mayor Willie Brown appointed Leung to the board of the Chinatown Economic Development Group in 1999. Mayor Gavin Newsom would reappoint him.

Taipei made him a volunteer commissioner for the government, the highest honorary position for overseas pro-Taiwan leaders. Even though he never lived in Taiwan, his anti-communist sentiments and those of Hop Sing were well known.

"It's the combination together that made him popular," Lee said, naming organizations Leung was involved in. "People knew about him. He liked to negotiate. For any problem, he said: 'Let's sit down with a cup of coffee.' "

Olivia Leung, one of Leung's three children, said in an interview that her father relished being his own boss because it freed him to be involved in the community.

She said her father encouraged his children to network. "Not only to help people," she said, "but to get to know people in the community and to benefit you."

As Leung's businesses grew, he took a larger role in Hop Sing. In 1990, he became the English secretary, able to conduct tong business and translate Chinese documents into English.
After a period of relative quiet, however, the tong was again in turmoil.

According to federal authorities, Chinese organized crime had taken over Hop Sing and other tongs. Two of the reputed leaders were Peter Chong and Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow.

Chong came to the United States in 1982 ostensibly to promote Chinese opera. Chow, who claimed to have joined Hop Sing soon after arriving in 1976 at age 16, would later boast that he controlled all Asian gangs in San Francisco.

"If you are asking me which gang did I join, I did not join any gang," Chow told a federal prosecutor in 2002. "I owned the gang. ... All those people who were walking the streets of the Bay Area, all of them were controlled by me."

In 1992, authorities indicted Chong, Chow and 25 others for racketeering, saying Hop Sing was involved in everything from underage prostitution to the international heroin trade.

Chong left for Hong Kong before he could be arrested. Caught in Macao, he was released by Chinese officials skeptical of the U.S. case.

Chow was convicted of gun charges and sent to prison for 25 years to life.

According to the prosecutor in that case, Leung had a minimal role in tong business at the time the two men were in control. With Chow in prison and Chong out of the country, he became a leader. In 1994 he began the first of four stints as Hop Sing president.

He was a "perfect leader" and negotiator who treated even those with whom he disagreed with respect, said the current tong president, Bill Wong.

"Some people don't like him, but he treats them nicely," Wong said in an interview after Leung's death. "He sometimes has a different opinion, but he always tries to compromise. You never hear about him trying to do something in his own interests. He always thinks about the association and the Chinese community."

Leung was an elder in the tong when, in 2003, Raymond Chow was released from prison. His sentence had been cut in half in 2001 when he agreed to testify against Peter Chong. The government used his testimony to secure Chong's extradition and his conviction for racketeering.

Chow got what many in law enforcement said later was an extraordinary deal: Instead of deporting him, the government supported his application for a resident visa.

The San Francisco police soon concluded that Chow was associating with members of Asian gangs, including those in Hop Sing, in violation of his deal.

"The deal shouldn't have been cut with him," said Oakland police Lt. Harry Hu, who took part in the federal investigation. "He's out, and there's practically no leash on him -- they did a disservice to the community."

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney William Schaefer, who helped arrange Chow's deal, said it was made in part because Chow's testimony cemented Chong as the leader of the group.

"He and Mr. Chong were clearly very, very close," Schaefer said.

Not long after Chow got out of prison, one of his associates approached a longtime friend of Leung and said several young members of Hop Sing wanted money "to do business."
The friend was Jack Lee, now 86, a Hop Sing elder who had fended off a challenge to his leadership during the bloody days of the 1970s. He also co-owned the Golden Dragon.

According to the police, Lee solicited other elders from Hop Sing chapters in Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver and Portland, Ore., to contribute a total of $120,000 for what was described as money to start a youth group.

"The elders were skeptical about how the money was to be used," Inspector Jameson Pon, a member of the department's gang task force, said in a subsequent affidavit for search warrants.

As he solicited support for the youth group, Lee was having financial problems involving his restaurant, which paid rent to the tong.

His business partner was having trouble making the payroll, and Lee was embroiled in a court battle over $450,000 he said his restaurant partner owed him.

Nothing had been decided on the youth group request when, on Feb. 25, 2005, someone splattered the headquarters of several Chinatown tongs with red paint. Hop Sing was not hit.

On March 11, Hop Sing unanimously voted down the money proposal. The next day, someone fired rounds into the door of Hop Sing.

Leung became a key source for investigators probing the paint attacks and the shooting. He told FBI Special Agent William Wu about the decision to turn down the request for money. He also told him Chow had shown up at Hop Sing's headquarters in late 2004, demanding $100,000.

Chow -- still on supervised release -- told Wu a very different story. He said Hop Sing board members had approached him and "wanted him to loan-shark the money," according to Inspector Pon's affidavit.

On the same day as the shooting, the police learned from the FBI that immigration authorities had picked up Chow "as a result of the escalating events leading up to the shooting at the Hop Sing tong," Pon said.

Within days, a letter postmarked from San Francisco arrived at Hop Sing, addressed to Leung, Lee and the tong president at the time, Johnny Chiu.

"Someone open fire at your front door, but you're just chicken s -- , no response to it, just keeping your mouth quiet," the letter read. "Having this kind of a leader makes all the tongs lose face. I have a poem to dedicate to you. It says you should be embarrassed for a thousand years and your reputation stink for ten thousand years."

On March 31, Leung approached Pon's partner in the gang task force as the investigator ate lunch in Chinatown. He worried that Chow's emissaries "will try to get him and the board members," Pon said. A week later, Leung told the FBI the same thing.

Federal agents wanted Leung to wear a hidden listening device to further the investigation, but Leung refused. Without direct evidence, police and FBI officials said later, the case died.

Leung's family said he had resumed his normal life. "He wasn't afraid," said Olivia Leung, 23.

"He said we have to take precautions. But I wouldn't say he was paranoid. There is no point in living in fear."

Leung had already proved that he was no one to be trifled with.

One night in April 1997, he opened fire on a burglar who had broken into the family home in the Marina. The man was hit in the chest and died at the scene; the police ruled the shooting justified.

At 4 p.m. on Feb. 27, a man came out of a driving rainstorm into the office on Jackson Street where Leung and his wife were working. He demanded cash and opened fire. The police say it clearly was an execution slaying.
Investigators have not ruled out Chow, who is free as he challenges efforts to deport him, or any of his emissaries as suspects. But it's become clear that others didn't like Leung. Even some of his friends have been reluctant to open up.

Jack Lee was seen eating with Leung at a cafe about an hour before Leung was shot, and the police wanted to talk to him about what he knew.

Before Lee would talk, however, he hired a criminal defense lawyer. Homicide Inspector Dennis Maffei wouldn't say whether Lee has been interviewed.

Lee's lawyer, Garrick Lew, would not comment.

Investigators are looking at Leung's other connections, particularly a brotherhood called the Chee Kung Tong, or Chinese Freemasons.

The tong, one of the oldest in the country, was once powerful, helping to raise money to support Chinese Nationalist Sun Yat-Sen's overthrow of imperial rule. Its headquarters in Chinatown still has a black metal safe that was used to store the money.

Over the years, the tong had evolved into a social organization. "It is no longer a viable group anymore because of its dying and dwindling membership,'' said Marlon Hom, professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.

Leung assumed a leadership role after two elders of the tong died. He inherited a squabble with members in East Coast chapters.

The dispute began in 2002 when a member of the New York tong, Pang Woon Ng, proclaimed himself a leader in the Chinese Freemasons. Leaders in San Francisco objected and accused Ng of usurping authority. In a civil suit, Ng charged the San Francisco leaders with defamation.

Leung tried to settle the dispute while at the same time paying to fight the lawsuit.

The ill will lingered. The New York tong now is blocking a plan to divide up $1.1 million the Freemason chapters received from the mainland Chinese government as compensation for a temple the government demolished in Shanghai.

Major figures from both Hop Sing and the Chinese Freemasons joined hundreds of mourners at Leung's funeral on March 18 in Chinatown. Fu-Mei Chang, a Taiwan cabinet minister, presented a posthumous medal honoring Leung's government service.
Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow was there, stocky with a shaved head, dressed in a white suit, a distinctive figure in a mass of black mourning attire. He was one of the few people called by name to bow before Leung's casket, a sign of honor.

Chow also filed up with the Chinese Freemasons. Before the group bowed, he bellowed exhortations in Chinese about heroes and heroism, a traditional Freemason salute. Then, the group bowed in unison.

He was there to pay respects to "Big Brother," he told Chinese reporters. He said he was saddened by Leung's death but declined to comment on the killing.

The police say they're making progress in what they concede is a complex case.

On March 24, investigators searched the offices of both Hop Sing and the Chinese Freemasons in Chinatown. Investigators expect to go to New York in coming weeks. This week they released a composite sketch of the gunman and said the Hop Sing tong is offering a $250,000 reward for help.

"We are looking at every possibility," Inspector Maffei said.

E-mail the writers at jvanderbeken@sfchronicle.com and vahua@sfchronicle.com.

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/04/08/MNGE9I686C1.DTL

This article appeared on page A - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #212 on: September 11, 2007, 11:48:31 AM »

The 'See No Evil' Clinton Money Machine

Just how sloppy or reckless was the Hillary Clinton campaign when it came to dealing with disgraced donor Norman Hsu? Team Clinton still won't identify the donors "bundled" by Hsu, but yesterday it announced it was returning $850,000 to 260 contributors linked to the former fugitive. The turnaround came shortly after the Los Angeles Times uncovered emails between a California Democratic Party official and Samantha Wolf, Mrs. Clinton's campaign's finance director for the Western states. The state party official warned the Clinton campaign that he had heard Hsu was running a "Ponzi scheme" that threatened to bilk investors and should be treated with care. But Ms. Wolf was unmoved.

"I can tell you with 100 certainty that Norman Hsu is NOT involved in a ponzi scheme," she wrote. "He is COMPLETELY legit." This about a man who had been a fugitive for 15 years after pleading guilty to a grand theft charge and who had twice been bankrupt, including just before he returned to the U.S. from China in 1998 to start a strange new career as a high-stakes political power broker.

Nor is Ms. Wolf the only Clinton finance official who seems oblivious to the need to run a tight fundraising ship. Take Harold Ickes, former deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and now a top honcho in Team Hillary. In 2004, he ran Americans Coming Together, a George Soros-funded group that spent some $137 million trying to elect John Kerry and other Democrats.

It didn't take long to discover ACT was spending its money illegally on blatant electioneering, a violation of the group's tax status. In addition, much of the union money ACT spent on politics was a prohibited use of the forced dues payments of union members. Just last month, ACT was forced to pay $775,000 in fines to the Federal Election Commission, the third largest fine that agency has every imposed. The FEC took no further action, however, because ACT expressed an "intention to wind down and terminate its affairs."

But, of course, ACT is shutting down. Mr. Ickes has moved on to the main event: electing Hillary Clinton president. If the Hsu caper is any indication of how Team Clinton intends to carry on, I have no doubt the Federal Election Commission will eventually show an interest again. But, as Team Clinton well knows, by that time the 2008 election will be over.

-- John Fund
Political Journal/WSJ
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rickn
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« Reply #213 on: September 11, 2007, 06:27:22 PM »

Too bad the contributions weren't made in the form of toys.  evil
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bjung
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« Reply #214 on: September 11, 2007, 07:45:19 PM »

Ron Paul gave a speech at my school today. I think my thoughts were 80% "that's interesting" and 20% "that's crazy." But overall interesting spearker. Any thoughts on him?
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G M
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« Reply #215 on: September 11, 2007, 10:35:42 PM »

I tend towards libertarianism, but i'm connected to reality, which means i'm not an actual libertarian. Ron Paul is 70% crazy and much of his supporters are close to 100% looney. I'd vote for the Dowager Empress Clinton before i'd vote for Ron Paul and his ilk.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #216 on: September 12, 2007, 11:19:31 AM »

Gingrich hints of White House bid

September 12, 2007

By Ralph Z. Hallow - Newt Gingrich is moving closer to a presidential nomination bid in a severely divided Republican Party.

"I will decide based on whether I have about $30 million in committed campaign contributions and whether I think it is possible to run a campaign based on ideas rather than 30-second sound bites," the former House speaker told The Washington Times yesterday.

Many Republicans, regardless of whether they agree with his views, regard him as conservatism's brainiest and most-engaging politician.

"The party believes ideas have consequences, and no one articulates our message better than Newt," said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saulius "Saul" Anuzis.

Party strategist Tom Edmonds says Mr. Gingrich "is intellectually superior, but his challenge will be to stay focused." The first deadline for a Gingrich move is Oct. 15, when prospective and declared presidential nomination candidates must pay $500 to Utah to be on the state's primary ballot, said Gingrich confidant Randy Evans.

Mr. Gingrich is careful not to commit formally to a run.

"I will conduct workshops around the country through September 30, after which I will make a decision," he told The Times after a major policy address at the American Enterprise Institute.

Another factor is whether any current contender coalesces Republican voters before the middle of next month.

Former Sen. Fred Thompson and Rudolph W. Giuliani are each commanding a quarter of likely primary voters, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain of Arizona each have about 12 percent support in the latest Rasmussen national poll of more than 600 likely Republican primary voters.

By contrast, 41 percent of Democrats in the same poll already have coalesced around New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 20 percent and John Edwards at 17 percent.

Some social conservatives have moved to Mr. Thompson's side. They worry about further splitting the conservative vote. Pollster Scott Rasmussen says conservatives constitute about 60 percent of the party's primary voters.

"If we split the conservative vote, Rudy wins," says Free Congress Foundation President Paul M. Weyrich. "I have high regard for Newt. ... He would force the other candidates to face issues they don't want to face up to."

Mr. Gingrich has been getting his message out through policy addresses at the American Enterprise Institute, considered a major center of neoconservative ideas, and through a series of online workshops for his American Solutions for Winning the Future.

He says American Solutions is a nonpartisan effort "to defend America and our allies abroad and defeat our enemies, to strengthen and revitalize America's core values, and to move the government into the 21st century." Six years after the attacks of September 11, "we are having the wrong debate about the wrong report," Mr. Gingrich said in his AEI speech on Monday, the day Gen. David H. Petraeus gave Congress his report on the state of the Iraq war.

Mr. Gingrich figures he would need at least $30 million to conduct competitive television-ad campaigns in the first five primary and caucus states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and perhaps Florida or Michigan. The primary calendar is still up in the air.

"If this election is about money and structure, then we already know who our nominee is," said Mr. Evans, alluding to the well-organized and financed Giuliani and Romney campaigns. "If it's about ideas and a movement, then we may not know who our nominee is for a long time to come, because nobody has yet tapped into the core coalition of Americans who have a vision of where they think America should go."

Mr. Gingrich has proposed an informal committee of congressional lawmakers from both parties "to meet every two weeks with the next president" that would foster far less partisanship. He also proposed setting the budget for defense and intelligence at 5 percent of the nation's total economic output, almost double what President Bush settled for in 2002.
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G M
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« Reply #217 on: September 13, 2007, 04:58:02 PM »

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/13/audio-why-ron-paul-is-a-crank-episode-314/

US Marines vs. Mall Security in Ron Paul's mind.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #218 on: September 14, 2007, 11:37:41 AM »

"The danger [Hillary Clinton] runs is that in attempting to appease the left wing of her party she becomes unacceptable to the majority of Americans once they understand what she said she'd do. She is actually much more centrist than MoveOn.org. She is much tougher on military affairs than [her party's] Left. She is more rational, and I have very great respect for her as a hardworking professional. No Republican should think she is going to be easy to beat. But I have watched her now for a year be gradually pulled to the left. Her husband was too clever to do that" -- Newt Gingrich, in an interview with National Journal.
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sgtmac_46
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« Reply #219 on: September 14, 2007, 08:38:52 PM »

I'm putting my support behind Fred Thompson....this country needs another Ronald Reagan.....not the pack of Jimmy Carter's and Mrs. Bill Clinton's also running in this race.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2007, 08:41:16 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #220 on: September 15, 2007, 08:47:37 AM »

***No Republican should think she is going to be easy to beat***

On Drudge today Newt calls the '08 election - 80% likely the Dems will win.  He didn't name Hillary but obviously he thinks she will win. 

I believe her populist views will carry her to victory.

Clinton made polling his central political war strategy.  That way *his* "views" were/are almost always  mere expressions of the *majority* view found in polls.  How can this strategy be beaten when they simply jump to the majority position like flies chase dodoo?  He would get his ugly nose in the TV every single day and in our faces and say something that he knew was agreed on by a majority listeners.  Clintons are not original thinkers by any stretch of the imagination like Newt is IMO.

OTOH what I don't quite get is although he supposedly left office with a popularity of over 60% he never got more than 48% popular vote in the national election.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #221 on: September 15, 2007, 09:59:49 AM »

Concerning Hillary, I think Rudy may be the best to take her on-- his skills as a DA will serve him well in nailing down her evasions of truth and the law.

======
Bringing the Market to Health Care
By JOHN F. COGAN and R. GLENN HUBBARD
September 15, 2007

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's recent health-care reform proposals, which rely on free-market principles and federalism, will go a long way to fixing our health-care system's woes.

The centerpiece of Mr. Romney's plan is to attack the tax code's discrimination against cost-effective private insurance. He proposes to allow individuals to deduct out-of-pocket health-care expenditures from their taxable income, allow individuals who purchase health insurance premiums on their own -- rather than through their employer -- to deduct health insurance premiums, and to expand Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) by eliminating the requirement that a qualifying health plan contain a high deductible.

Virtually all observers have argued that the U.S. tax preference for employer-provided health insurance encourages overconsumption of health services. First, it creates a large financial incentive for workers to purchase as much medical care as they can through their employer's insurance plan. In practice, workers do so by enrolling in health plans with high-premiums, but low-deductibles and coinsurance payments. Such plans, by making the purchase of health-care services appear to be less costly than they really are, create a "moral hazard" that leads to overconsumption of health-care services. Second, the tax preference makes health care look cheaper compared to all other goods and services.

The tax preference's impact has been profound. It is the principal reason why nine out of every 10 private health-care plans in the U.S. are purchased through an employer. It is the principal reason why six out of every seven dollars of health-care spending is made by someone other than the person receiving the care. And, it is a key reason for the U.S. health-care system's excessive cost and waste.

Many economists (including us) have emphasized the large benefits to health care of revoking the tax preference. Yet elected officials have repeatedly failed to enact the change because of strong political opposition.

Over the past 30 years, Congress has instead opted for a second best policy. On a piecemeal basis, Congress has gradually leveled the "tax playing-field" between employer insurance and out-of-pocket expenses by expanding the tax preference to out-of-pocket expenses rather than by eliminating the preference for employer provided insurance.

In 1978, Congress created Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) to allow health expenditures to be nontaxable to the employee. In 1996, Congress created Medical Savings Accounts to allow a limited number of employees of small businesses to set aside funds tax-free for their out-of-pocket expenses.

In 2002, Treasury regulations established Health Reimbursement Accounts to allow employees to use pre-tax dollars for medical expenses without the annual use-it-or-lose-it provision of FSAs. And in 2003, Congress replaced Medical Savings Accounts with far more attractive Health Savings Accounts. HSAs allow employers and individuals with high-deductible health plans to set aside money tax-free to pay their current or future out-of-pocket expenses.

Mr. Romney's proposal to allow individuals to deduct out of pocket medical expenses is a significant advance in this 30-year progression to a level tax playing field between out-of-pocket expenses and insurance. And a more level tax playing field would encourage individuals to choose health plans with lower premiums and higher copayments for their routine health-care purchases. With more "skin in the game," individuals would exert more control over their choice of health-care services. The health-care savings would be large. We estimate that a proposal such as Romney's would reduce private health-care spending by 6%.

Some critics have argued that allowing out-of-pocket expenses to be tax-deductible will raise, not lower, health-care spending because the policy will make the price of direct medical-care purchases cheaper relative to all other goods and services. As our empirical analysis with Daniel Kessler demonstrates, the critics are wrong. The cost-reducing impact on health-care expenditures of individuals shifting into health plans with higher copayments swamps by a large margin the cost-increasing impact of making out-of-pocket purchases cheaper.

The benefits don't stop with reducing the growth in health costs. As employer premiums decline, the savings will accrue to workers in the form of higher money wages. In competitive labor markets, workers -- not employers and not insurance companies -- bear the burden of paying for employer-provided health-insurance premiums. Although employers might write the check for premiums, workers ultimately pay by foregoing money wages.

We estimate that making out-of-pocket expenses tax deductible, combined with Mr. Romney's other proposals, will reduce the average premium of employer-provided family health plans by around $2,300 per year. Workers' wages will rise by this amount on average. To be sure, higher out-of-pocket expenses will offset part of this increase -- $1,000 of it. But workers will still experience a net increase of $1,300 in (taxable) income. Mainly because of this economic effect, we estimate that the U.S. Treasury's revenue loss will be modest -- about $10 billion per year.

Mr. Romney's proposal also allows persons who purchase health insurance on their own to deduct their premium payments. This tax deduction will make insurance significantly less costly for unemployed persons and workers in firms that don't offer insurance coverage. Because both out-of-pocket spending and individually purchased health insurance would be deductible, a person in a 15% tax bracket who purchases a $2,000 health-insurance plan and who has an additional $700 in out-of-pocket expenses would realize a tax savings of $405 -- a 20% reduction in the effective cost of the insurance plan. The lower cost provides significant incentive for currently uninsured individuals to buy at least catastrophic insurance.

Some health-policy experts have questioned why Mr. Romney would seek tax changes beyond those embodied in Health Savings Accounts. Indeed, HSAs are one of the most important health-care policy innovations in decades. If they are to achieve their potential, they must be made more attractive to a broader segment of the population. A key deterrent to choosing an HSA has been the requirement that an individual must be enrolled in a high-deductible health-care plan. The requirement, $1,100 for individuals and $2,200 for families, is simply too high for many consumers.

It is also unnecessary. Mr. Romney's proposal to eliminate the "high deductible" requirement will allow individuals to establish an HSA regardless of their health plan's deductible. Eliminating the high deductible requirement will maintain the cost-reducing benefits of HSAs. Evidence from the RAND Experiment indicates that most of the expenditure-reducing effects of health-plan deductibles occur at low levels of deductibles.

The key to reducing the U.S. health-care system's excessive cost without damaging its ability to innovate is to allow competitive market forces to operate. These forces have worked in every other market to keep costs low and improve quality. There is no reason why they won't work in health care. Attacking the tax code's bias against efficient and cost-effective health insurance is fundamental to creating an economically sound health-care system.

Mr. Cogan, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan. Mr. Hubbard, dean of Columbia Business School, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. They are both advisers to the Romney campaign.
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« Reply #222 on: September 15, 2007, 10:18:03 AM »

Now that we've read that about Romney, here's Hillary's Health Care:     


Thirteen years after Hillary Rodham Clinton's plan for health care went down to disastrous defeat, she is back with a new proposal that again seeks to cover all Americans but reflects some lessons learned.

 COMPARING THE PLANS

 
• Chart: What the candidates are proposing.
• Complete coverage: Campaign 2008The Democratic presidential candidate is set to unveil her new approach in Iowa Monday, and she will include a requirement that everyone get health insurance. A big difference from last time: She's proposing to build on the existing system of insuring Americans -- a mix of private coverage and government-subsidized care -- not remake it altogether.

Still, Mrs. Clinton's plan, described by people familiar with it, would involve sweeping change. It would create new federal subsidies to aid those who couldn't afford the required health coverage. And it would impose new mandates on large employers to provide health coverage or help pay for it.

That will surely trigger sharp criticism from conservatives branding her plan government-dictated "HillaryCare" and comparing it to the unwieldy overhaul she proposed 13 years ago during her husband's presidency. Yet she may find Americans more receptive to an expanded federal role in health care, as the national mood has changed since the 1990s and states have experimented with universal-coverage plans.

The number of people without insurance has risen to 47 million from 39.7 million in 1993, and insurance premiums have doubled for those with coverage.

Mrs. Clinton's two principal rivals for the Democratic nomination, John Edwards and Barack Obama, both have comprehensive plans that, like Sen. Clinton's, build on action in the states and place mandates on employers. Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani also have detailed their more market-oriented approaches. Mr. Romney would rely on the states to lead change; Mr. Giuliani wants changes to the federal tax code that would make it easier to buy coverage on the open market.

But no candidate has been as closely watched on the issue as Mrs. Clinton. Health care and Iraq are likely to be the two central issues that define how the New York senator's candidacy is perceived by voters and key constituencies from labor to business.

On the presidential campaign trail, Sen. Clinton regularly mentions her scars from the 1993 effort, saying it gave her the experience to get the job done this time. Aides say she is diligently implementing battle lessons.

Chief among them: Assure people who already like their coverage that they can keep it, and that her plan still offers something for them. To that end, she first offered detailed proposals on reducing health-care costs and improving quality, before moving on to address how she would expand coverage to those who don't have it.

Officials at the Clinton campaign declined to discuss details of the proposal Sen. Clinton is scheduled to release Monday. While people familiar with it said the outline is in place, details could change over the weekend.

Sen. Clinton has telegraphed that, unlike last time, she would be willing to compromise to get a deal. She regularly cites the importance of developing consensus. In recent months, she has met with dozens of executives at large corporations to talk about health care, hoping to forestall a backlash during her campaign and, if she wins, her presidency.

Robert Galvin, director of global health care for General Electric Co., met with her in a small group a few months ago. He says she hit a "home run" in understanding business and its concerns. "I saw in there someone who came out of a tough experience in the '90s wiser, more patient, and with a real understanding of the complexities and how every stakeholder had to have some win," says Mr. Galvin.

 
The Clinton 2007 health plan is likely to be less threatening to the insurance industry, which helped kill her earlier plan. Mrs. Clinton's rhetoric denouncing the industry remains sharp -- but her plan is less so.

Last time, she proposed caps on premiums to hold down costs and a system under which insurance companies would be required to bid for regional business. This time, insurance companies would be required to sell a policy to anyone who applied and would be barred from charging sick people more. But they wouldn't face limits on how much they could charge for premiums generally.

The most significant element of the Clinton plan is expected to be a new requirement for all Americans to have insurance. That disturbs some liberals, who worry that low-income families won't be able to afford it, as well as some conservatives, who object to such a sweeping government mandate. But many health-policy experts say it's essential that everyone be in the insurance system so that healthy people with low medical costs can balance out the sick.

Sen. Edwards, too, has proposed an individual mandate; Sen. Obama has not. Gov. Romney supported the mandate when he was governor of Massachusetts but has not endorsed it nationally.

To help people get insurance, Sen. Clinton would establish federal subsidies for lower-income Americans and create new pools where individuals and small businesses could shop for private health plans.

She is also likely to require that some employers, likely large ones, either cover their workers or help pay the cost of their coverage elsewhere. That will be controversial with employers that don't provide insurance, though likely welcomed by those that do. Exempting small business could eliminate opposition from small-business owners, who helped lead the effort to kill the 1993 plan.

Sen. Clinton also supports expansion of the joint federal-state Children's Health Insurance Program. Conservatives led by President Bush oppose that, saying it's a step toward government-run insurance for all, in what has become something of a proxy for the larger health-coverage debate.

Politically, analysts say the health issue cuts both ways for Sen. Clinton. Polls suggest Americans trust her more than any presidential candidate of either party when it comes to health. A July Gallup poll found that 65% of all voters had a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that she would do the "right thing" for the health-care system. Among Democrats, the figure was 91%.

"People see her as very committed to health care and making sure people in this country have coverage," says Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who worked for opponents of the original Clinton plan and now works for Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Still, he said, Mrs. Clinton is vulnerable among swing voters and Republicans, particularly if she produces a health plan that is seen as too complicated or too government-driven.

In certain circles, her name is synonymous with big, government-run health. Republicans regularly deride health care proposals they don't like as "HillaryCare." A summary of Mr. Romney's health care plan, posted on his Web site, contains the word "Hillary" 23 times, attacks her 1993 plan as "socialized medicine" and is headlined, "The Romney Vision: Conservative, Market-Based Health Care Vs. Hillarycare."

Sen. Clinton says she has learned her lessons. For one, in 1993 the White House got too mired in the details, delivering to Congress a 1,342-page bill for consideration. By giving so many specifics, the Clintons gave opponents with special interests easy fodder to kill the plan, while the public was bewildered.

By contrast, her aides speak admiringly of President Bush's approach on many domestic issues: put out general principles, negotiate the details with Congress and, more often that not, declare victory when a bill reaches his desk.

At one stage, Mrs. Clinton's aides considered not presenting a specific plan for covering the uninsured, noting that many Americans thought she had one already. But pressure from other candidates and from the powerful Service Employers International Union persuaded her to come forward. Messrs. Obama and Edwards had criticized her for sticking to generalities even as they offered specifics.

Aides say Sen. Clinton knows that the White House erred last time in failing to woo Congress, meaning her plan had few champions on Capitol Hill. In her later White House years, Mrs. Clinton learned to work more effectively with Congress and saw some successes, such as bipartisan passage of the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Since winning election to the Senate in 2000, Mrs. Clinton has worked with Republicans on a range of health issues. She allied with Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on health benefits for veterans, although he had served as a manager of the effort to impeach her husband. She has even exchanged warm words on health with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who helped lead the effort to torpedo her 1993 plan.
 
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« Reply #223 on: September 19, 2007, 12:16:28 PM »

Harold Stassen Reincarnated

Alan Keyes had a distinguished career in the State Department before becoming a conservative activist and gadfly. He's obviously a smart man, which is why it's so distressing to see him act as if voters have no memory as he starts a third effort to run for the GOP presidential nomination. We last heard from Mr. Keyes when he parachuted into the Illinois Senate race in 2004, ultimately losing to Barack Obama by 43 points. You'd think that he would have viewed that as a signal from the political marketplace.

Mr. Keyes explained the rationale for his candidacy Monday by saying the GOP race was so wide open, it clearly had a place for him: "There isn't a standout. I'm like a lot of folks, who have just looked at it and been unmoved."

It's more likely that what is moving Mr. Keyes is that he scents another fund-raising opportunity. In 1999, he raised an impressive $4.3 million in just six months even before Iowa or New Hampshire voted. But the cash hasn't come without controversy. In his previous campaigns, Mr. Keyes was caught paying his personal living expenses out of campaign donations -- a legal but highly controversial practice. In addition, his 2000 presidential race was fined $23.000 by the Federal Election Commission for various violations involving the public financing he had accepted from the government.

No doubt the fiery Mr. Keyes would liven up the remaining Republican debates, but will someone please explain to me why debate organizers should even invite a "candidate" with zero standing in the polls and who appears to be interested in harvesting dollars at least as much as he is interested in getting votes?

political journal/WSJ
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« Reply #224 on: September 19, 2007, 12:42:53 PM »

Alan Keyes  rolleyes
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« Reply #225 on: September 20, 2007, 02:11:55 PM »

-- John Fund
London Puts Rudy in a Generous Mood

You can't get much more productive than Rudy Giuliani during his whirlwind tour of London this week. He met with the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor Tony Blair, accepted an award from Margaret Thatcher and engaged in some Churchillian rhetoric indirectly slapping down Hillary Clinton.

The occasion was Mr. Giuliani's receipt of an award named after Mrs. Thatcher from the Atlantic Bridge think tank. In his acceptance speech, he ventured into foreign policy by calling for NATO membership to be enlarged beyond Europe, indeed "to any country who meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, global responsibility." He specifically suggested membership for Australia, Israel, Singapore and Japan.

Given that NATO membership carries with it the right to expect U.S. military support in the event of an attack by any country, Mr. Giuliani's proposed sweeping expansion left even some Americans in his audience unsettled. "I'm not sure the speechwriters fully thought that one out," one American with experience on Capitol Hill told me.

Any such quibbles, however, were a small bump in the road on what was essentially a Giuliani lovefest in London. American expatriates who attended a Giuliani fundraiser were thrilled with remarks he made just before arriving in London criticizing what he called Hillary Clinton's attempts to portray herself as a new "Iron Lady." He said such attempts would fail because she had surrendered to her party's hard left on the Iraq war. "I don't think Margaret Thatcher would impugn the integrity of a commanding general in a time of war, as Hillary Clinton did, or require an army to give a schedule of their retreat to the enemy, as the Democrats are suggesting," Mr. Giuliani said.

"That's the kind of muscular rhetoric that's needed to win against the Clintons," Robert Jameson, an American businessman in London, told me. "If you don't take them on first, they will roll over you."
=========
-- John Fund
Senators Fret About Their 'Primary' Responsibility

Not only are presidential candidates flummoxed by the ever-changing, ever-earlier 2008 primary calendar, now Senators are getting into the act. At a hearing of the Senate Rules Committee yesterday, Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) testified on behalf of their bill to create a regional primary system and somehow exert control over the increasingly chaotic process.

The move comes after Michigan and Florida broke both parties' rules and moved their nominating contests to January 15 and January 29, respectively. Party rules say no state can hold its primary before February 5th, though Democrats granted special waivers to Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

The Senate bill would still allow Iowa and New Hampshire to cast the first ballots, though Mr. Lieberman, who famously bragged he had achieved a "three-way tie for third" after his fifth-place finish in the 2004 New Hampshire primary, said he was concerned about their "disproportionate impact" on the nominating calendar's outcome.

Some, though, have questioned whether any move by Congress to control the nominating process is constitutional. The Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution provides for the election of the executive branch, though nowhere does the document address primaries or nominating contests. A 2000 decision by the Supreme Court ruled that a law allowing primary voters in California to vote for any candidate, regardless of party, unconstitutionally violated a political party's First Amendment right to freedom of association. Similar so-called "blanket primaries" were struck down in Washington State and in Alaska.

After the Washington State primary was struck down, the Washington State Grange sponsored an initiative on the 2004 ballot providing for a "top-two" system, by which the top two finishers in the first round of balloting, regardless of party, would advance to a runoff. The measure passed with nearly 60% of the vote, yet the established political parties again claimed the system would unfairly preclude their right to select their own nominees. The Washington State Republican Party brought suit and the case is slated to be the first heard in the Supreme Court's new term, with arguments to be given on October 1st. The outcome could be vital in determining whether Sens. Lieberman, Klobuchar, Alexander and the rest of Congress will actually be Constitutionally able to intervene in the primary scheduling brouhaha.


Political Journal WSJ
« Last Edit: September 20, 2007, 02:15:17 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #226 on: September 20, 2007, 05:21:36 PM »

http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/crim/ushsu91907cmp.pdf

More on Hillary Rotten Clinton's mystery money man.
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« Reply #227 on: September 20, 2007, 08:31:43 PM »

Rudy takes on Hillary:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L63Ff_mGzs
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« Reply #228 on: September 22, 2007, 06:50:17 AM »

     
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Potential presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Tuesday blasted the modern-day road to the White House as too long, too expensive and verging on "insane."


Ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich says the presidential campaign structure is "stunningly dangerous."

 The former House speaker from Georgia said he will decide whether to enter the GOP presidential field in October. But in a wide-ranging speech at the National Press Club in Washington, he ridiculed campaign consultants and spin doctors who he said are extending the 2008 campaign. He said presidential debates have become "almost unendurable."

"These aren't debates," the former Georgia congressman said. "This is a cross between [TV shows] 'The Bachelor,' 'American Idol' and 'Who's Smarter than a Fifth-Grader.'"

"What's the job of the candidate in this world?" asked Gingrich. "The job of the candidate is to raise the money to hire the consultants to do the focus groups to figure out the 30-second answers to be memorized by the candidate. This is stunningly dangerous."  Watch why Gingrich is "deeply worried" »

Gingrich said the need to raise tens of millions of dollars has driven campaigns to begin cranking up much earlier than ever. Meanwhile, he said, advisers are telling candidates to begin campaigning "as soon as possible -- I need a check."

"Go look at all the analysis," said Gingrich. "Why are people starting early? Because you can't build the organization. What are you building the organization for? So you can raise the money."

But for most voters, he said, the race "begins after Christmas, no matter what the news media has to cover." He cited the example of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who was the Democratic front-runner until the first votes of the 2004 campaign were cast.

Don't Miss
Gingrich sees Clinton/Obama ticket
"Normal, rational Iowans who had rigorously avoided politics for the entire previous year looked up and said, 'He's weird.' And they looked back down, and Howard Dean disintegrated," Gingrich said.

At the same time, he said, any candidate who dares to change position on an issue during a two-year campaign risks being labeled a "flip-flopper" -- an epithet used to undercut 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry and one being waved at current Republican hopeful Mitt Romney.

"You begin to trap people," Gingrich said. "As the campaigns get longer, you're asking a person who's going to be sworn in in January of 2009 to tell you what they'll do in January of 2007, when they haven't got a clue -- because they don't know what the world will be like, and you're suggesting they won't learn anything through the two years of campaigning."

"For the most powerful nation on Earth to have an election in which Swift Boat veterans versus National Guard papers becomes a major theme verges on insane," said Gingrich, referring to 2004 campaign controversies that targeted Kerry and President Bush. "I mean, it's just -- and to watch those debates, I found painful -- for both people. They're both smarter than the debates."

He blamed the pressures of sound-bite campaigning for the recent controversy over Sen. Barack Obama's declaration that he would dispatch U.S. troops to Pakistan to attack leaders of the al Qaeda terrorist network if Pakistani authorities fail to get them.

Gingrich said the Illinois Democrat, one of his party's leading presidential candidates, "said a very insightful thing in a very dangerous way." But the response, he said, "was to attack Senator Obama, not to explore the underlying kernel of what he said."

Gingrich's answer to the problems would be to get rid of limits on campaign financing, which he said have made the problems worse by requiring more individual donations to meet the same goals, and to stage a series of "dialogues" among the major-party candidates -- once a week, for 90 minutes, for nine weeks before the elections.

Candidates would pick the topics, and their answers would be uninterrupted "except for fairness on time," he said.

"After nine 90-minute conversations in their living rooms, the American people would have a remarkable sense of the two personalities and which person had the right ideas, the right character, the right capacity to be a leader," he said.

Gingrich, who has long billed himself as a visionary, led the Republicans who captured both houses of Congress in 1994 elections. National polls in July ranked him fifth among current GOP contenders, with average support of 7 percent, according to a CNN poll released Monday.

Gingrich stepped down as House speaker in 1998, after Republicans lost seats amid the drive to impeach then-President Bill Clinton over allegations that he lied under oath about a sexual relationship with a White House intern.


In March, Gingrich acknowledged he was having an affair of his own around the same time. He insisted he was not a hypocrite because Clinton was not impeached for the affair -- but for lying about it.

The Senate acquitted Clinton the following year, and his wife, former first lady-turned-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is among the current Democratic front-runners. E-mail to a friend
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« Reply #229 on: September 22, 2007, 07:11:54 AM »

Second post of the morning:

Political Journal/WSJ

'A Very Interesting Past'
"A top campaign adviser to Hillary Rodham Clinton says Rudy Giuliani's stormy personal life will be fair game should he win the Republican nomination for president," the New York Post reports:

"There's a lot that the rest of the country is going to get to know about Mayor Giuliani that the folks in New York City know," said Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and a co-chairman of the Clinton campaign.

"I can't even get into the number of marriages and the fact that his children--the relationship he has with his children--and what kind of circumstances New York was in before Sept. 11," Vilsack said during an interview on NY1 last night.

"There are lot of issues involving Mayor Giuliani . . . He's got a very interesting past."

Giuliani is just lucky Mrs. Clinton doesn't practice the politics of personal destruction.
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« Reply #230 on: September 24, 2007, 11:20:46 AM »

“There has been a void in the Republican presidential race. The GOP candidates have spoken about immigration, taxes, social issues, and the war in Iraq. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain have also spoken frequently about Ronald Reagan in order to position themselves as the political heirs to the great president. The candidates, however, have overlooked a central idea that animated Reagan’s view of government. That was federalism, the constitutional principle that the federal government’s responsibilities are ‘few and defined’ as James Madison put it. That’s why I’m pleased that Fred Thompson has thrown his hat into the ring. Thompson has been talking and writing about his belief in federalism. In a recent speech, he argued that ‘centralized government is not the solution to all our problems...[T]his was among the great insights of 1787, and it is just as vital in 2007.’ Thompson rightly argues that the abandonment of federalism has caused a range of pathologies including a lack of government accountability, the squelching of policy diversity between the states, and the overburdening of federal policymakers with local matters when they should be focusing on national-security issues.” —Chris Edwards
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« Reply #231 on: September 25, 2007, 11:39:29 AM »

I appreciate seeing a positive Fred Thompson story (Crafty's Chris Edwards of Cato post) as I still prefer him. For balance, here is a nice compilation of all the negatives cast against Thompson, written by Dick Morris who thinks Thompson isn't up to the task: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296882,00.html

What Morris, an ideological agnostic, misses IMO is that the ho-hum speeches sounding ho-hum conservative themes like secure borders, federalism, judges who interpret the constitution, etc. might actually have surprising appeal. 

Should he win the nomination, it is good for him strategically in the general election to have not been branded early as an extreme conservative or be in lock-step with the party or the administration.

One of the knocks against Thompson is fund-raising, yet look at the attention and poll numbers he has drawn without money.  Right now these candidates are not running very hard against each other.  The idea that if you don't give to Fred for example, then Rudy or Mitt will be the nominee, even McCain, is not a scary proposition for a Republican.  In a general election it will be pretty easy to make the case in a fund raising letter that if you don't support this guy (or whoever the nominee is) that Hillary will be President.
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« Reply #232 on: September 26, 2007, 08:21:22 AM »

This from the WSJ!


Calling Rudy
For Mr. Giuliani, it's more than his wife that's on the line.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Most Americans understand it takes an extra chromosome to run for President, but there are some limits on odd behavior. Which makes us wonder what Rudy Giuliani was thinking last Friday when he accepted, and even flaunted, a phone call from his wife Judith in the middle of his speech to the National Rifle Association.

This was no emergency call. His cell phone rang in his pocket during his speech, which is itself unusual; most public officials turn theirs off during events, if only out of courtesy for the audience. Mr. Giuliani went on to answer it and carry on a routine "love you" and "have a safe trip" exchange with Mrs. Giuliani while the crowd (and those of us watching on C-Span) wondered what in the world that was all about.

His campaign aides spun the episode as a "candid and spontaneous moment" illustrative of the couple's affection. We might believe that if we hadn't heard stories of similar behavior by Mr. Giuliani as he has campaigned around the country. During one event in Oklahoma, we're told he took two calls, at least one from his wife, and chatted for several minutes as the audience waited. That episode followed Mr. Giuliani's eye-popping disclosure earlier this year that, if he's elected, his wife would sit in on Cabinet meetings. He later downplayed that possibility.

Mr. Giuliani has run an impressive campaign so far, especially on the issues. He has a record of accomplishment in New York, and he projects the kind of executive competence that many Americans want in a President. The rap on his candidacy, however, is that his personal history and behavior are simply too strange for someone who wants to sit in the Oval Office. Voters will decide whether that's true, but if nothing else Mr. Giuliani ought to be aware of this vulnerability and do nothing to compound it.

"That was just weird," one NRA audience member told the New York Post about the phone interruption. Mr. Giuliani doesn't need more weird.

 
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« Reply #233 on: September 26, 2007, 01:38:13 PM »

Cocky - or Cuckoo?

Rudy Giuliani had such a good September -- from a triumphal tour of London to plaudits for his hard-nosed response to the MoveOn.org anti-Iraq War ad -- that it's astonishing how quickly his campaign has run onto the shoulder of the road.

First came last week's bizarre cell-phone incident in which the former New York mayor took a call from his wife, Judith, in the middle of his nationally televised speech to the National Rifle Association. Team Giuliani tried to spin the incident as a light-hearted and "spontaneous" moment that humanized their man, but it quickly developed that Rudy has pulled the same stunt in many other states, demonstrating rudeness to his audiences and raising questions about his campaign's self-discipline.

Then, in an interview with the Associated Press, he refused to rule out raising taxes to offset a Social Security deficit. "I am opposed to tax increases, but I would look at whatever proposal they came up with and try to figure out how we can come up with a bipartisan way to do it,'' Mr. Giuliani said. That very approach has been tried many times before -- most notably by the Greenspan Commission in 1983 -- and always the resultant higher payroll taxes have far outweighed any modest reforms imposed on future Social Security obligations.

Mr. Giuliani's stance may explain why he has refused to sign the "no new taxes" pledge made famous by Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. But he should realize that since almost every Republican in both the House and Senate has signed it, the maneuvering room for a GOP president to push for tax increases is quite limited. In the meantime, look for the next round of GOP primary debates to become more contentious as candidates who signed the Norquist pledge -- Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee -- line up against those, such as John McCain and Mr. Giuliani, who have not. Fred Thompson, the newest entrant in the GOP field, hasn't made clear what his position will be.

political journal WSJ
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« Reply #234 on: September 27, 2007, 11:58:44 AM »

-- Collin Levy
A Slightly Less Favorite Son

It's no secret former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's strategy for winning the Republican nomination hinges on racking up early wins in both Iowa and New Hampshire. But two recently released polls indicate Mr. Romney may be losing his grip on the Granite State, despite years of familiarity from nearby Boston TV coverage.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released last Tuesday showed Mr. Romney's lead over Rudy Giuliani dwindling over the course of the last month from 12 points to just three points. A survey by CNN and WMUR TV released yesterday indicated a similar downward trend: the 15-point lead Mr. Romney held over Mr. Giuliani in July is now down to a single point. Overall, Mr. Romney's lead in the RealClearPolitics Average for New Hampshire has slipped to 4%, its lowest level since the end of May.

Should Mr. Romney be worried? Yes. Is it time to hit the panic button? Not quite. The linchpin of his strategy is a win in Iowa, and right now the big lead he's built up in the Hawkeye State over the summer appears to be holding. Since winning the Ames straw poll at the beginning of August, Mr. Romney has extended his lead in the RealClearPolitics Average in Iowa by more than five points, now holding a 15.4% lead over his nearest competitor, Rudy Giuliani.

Conventional wisdom says that a win in Iowa will provide a bounce heading into New Hampshire. But one need look no further than the 2000 Republican primary -- when George Bush won the Iowa caucuses only to be trounced by John McCain by 18 points the following week in New Hampshire -- to see that's not always the case.

One factor working in Romney's favor this year is that a sizable majority of Independents -- the largest voting bloc in the state and eligible to vote in either primary -- appear to be leaning toward participating in the Democratic primary, which would lessen the chances of an Independent-fueled upset like Mr. McCain's.

But unlike President Bush, who rebounded from the loss in New Hampshire eight years ago with a hard fought victory in South Carolina, Mr. Romney has no such firewall to fall back on. He's currently running a distant fourth in South Carolina and 16 points off the pace in Florida, two states that will set the tone for the heap of delegates up for grabs on February 5th.

On the other hand, the addition of Michigan to the early primary schedule is a boon for Mr. Romney, who was born in Detroit and is the son of a former Michigan governor. But the benefit of a win by the Wolverine State's favorite son could be short lived if Mr. Romney suffers a defeat in New Hampshire.

-- Tom Bevan, executive editor of RealClearPolitics.com
A Democratic Debate Parody - Er, the Real Thing

Last night's Democratic debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire featured many memorable moments, including Hillary Clinton artfully dodging any specifics on how she would revamp Social Security -- a sure sign that voters won't like what she has in mind.

But what Republicans are likely to focus on is the bizarre answer that the candidates gave to a question from Allison King of New England Cable News: "Last year, some parents of second-graders in Lexington, Massachusetts, were outraged to learn their children's teacher had read a story about same-sex marriage, about a prince who marries another prince.... Would you be comfortable having this story read to your children as part of their school curriculum?"

Not a single Democratic candidate was willing to say he or she thought such instruction inappropriate for students in the second grade. The reluctance to offend a powerful Democratic interest group was striking. After the debate, MSNBC commentator Pat Buchanan summed up succinctly: "[John] Edwards and these folks, the Democrats, they came off tonight as a nanny-state party. They're not going to let me smoke in public, they're not going to let an 18-year-old Marine have a beer, but they're going to give 6-year-olds -- teach 'em about homosexual marriage. I mean, you get the average American out there -- this might be big stuff at Dartmouth, but I can tell ya: That doesn't sell."

NBC Political Director Chuck Todd agreed: "I would be not shocked if in 24 hours... what Pat said is the script for a Mitt Romney radio ad to try to hit the Democrats on some cultural issues." MSNBC host Chris Matthews chimed in: "The catechism of the Democratic Party is: Lots of information about the gay orientation early in life, right?"

The media often utters clucks of regret when sensitive social and cultural questions are brought into presidential politics. But could voters really be blamed for reacting negatively after the eye-popping response of the Democratic field to last night's curriculum question? It would be the equivalent of every Republican candidate declining to oppose mandatory rifle training for second-graders in order to appease the gun lobby. It would be silly and bizarre and fully worthy of comment -- and condemnation.

-- John Fund
political journal WSJ
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« Reply #235 on: September 28, 2007, 06:29:07 PM »

Democrats and Iran
Hillary outsmarts her dovish competition.

Friday, September 28, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Kudos to Hillary Clinton--yes, you read that right--for her Senate vote this week urging the U.S. to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization. That's more than can be said for her primary competition of Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and John Edwards, who assailed her on this score at Wednesday's Democratic Presidential candidates debate at Dartmouth. These are men who seem to fear the Netroots more than the mullahs.

Mrs. Clinton's vote was on a symbolic amendment offered by Connecticut maverick Joe Lieberman and Republicans Jon Kyl and Norm Coleman. After marshaling the evidence of Iran's terrorist activities in Iraq, the amendment stated that "it is a critical national interest of the United States to prevent [Iran] from turning Shi'a militia into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq." Twenty-one Democrats, including Joe Biden and John Kerry, apparently found this too shocking to support and voted nay, as did Republicans Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar.

We probably shouldn't complain when 76 Senators, including a majority of Democrats, show some foreign-policy sense. Still, it's telling that the Democrats only agreed to the amendment after demanding that its language be edited to remove a statement that "it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence" of Iran. Also left on the cutting-room floor, under Democratic duress, was a call "to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq" with respect to Iran and its proxies.

The mullahs are supplying the shaped-explosive charges to Shiite militias that are killing or maiming Americas in Iraq. But these Senators are afraid even to suggest that the U.S. might use some kind of military force to save the lives of American soldiers. And they want to be Commander in Chief?

At Dartmouth, Mrs. Clinton defended her vote by noting that it "gives us the options to be able to impose sanctions on the primary leaders to try to begin to put some teeth into all this talk about dealing with Iran." That's right. With Americans having just had a Close Encounter of the Third Kind with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it's no surprise that her relative hawkishness is only widening her primary lead.


WSJ
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« Reply #236 on: September 29, 2007, 05:12:53 PM »

Woof All:

I am deeply disappointed to read that Newt Gingrich will not be running for President.

Apparently one of the factors contributing to his decision was that the perfidious and insidious McCain-Feingold Campaign Reform rolleyes cheesy angry Act means he could no longer head his foundation if he were to run.  Some fcuking reform!

This leaves me with Fred, whose positions on many things are close to mine, but whom I doubt as having the fire in the belly, the communication skills, the breadth of appeal, and the political killer instinct necessary to beat Hillary Evita Clinton.

Rudy has the fire, the communications skills, broader appeal, and political killer instinct but is very suspect on two issues which matter to me greatly: gun rights and control of our borders.

McCain I respect on the Iraq war, but not only does he seem too old, but he is terrible on immigration and border control and is responsible for unAmerican anti-Constitutional disasters like McCain Feingold.

Romney says some things I like a lot e.g. supply side economics, but seems to me like a Ken doll who will say whatever he thinks will get him elected, but actually lacks conviction.
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« Reply #237 on: October 01, 2007, 04:36:10 PM »

Political Journal WSJ

Randy Evans, a close adviser to Newt Gingrich, had scheduled a media briefing today
to explain just how some $30 million in pledges could be raised in the next month in
order to convince the former House Speaker to run for president.

It was not to be. On Saturday, Mr. Gingrich announced he was definitely out of the
2008 presidential race, saying he had just received legal advice that any further
effort by him to explore a presidential bid would have jeopardized the non-profit
status of his American Solutions educational group. Mr. Gingrich said he was pleased
with the success of hundreds of issue workshops conducted by American Solutions over
this past weekend, and he did not want to be forced to leave the group to pursue a
presidential run.

It may simply be that Mr. Gingrich is bowing out after recognizing the difficulty of
securing enough money for a last-minute parachute jump into the presidential race.
But he's also a victim of the McCain-Feingold campaign law, which makes any mixing
of purely political work with educational political projects almost impossible.

This latest episode is a reminder of just how much McCain-Feingold has failed to
live up to its billing. Exactly how has the law, which restricts political speech,
creates endless bureaucracy and now has played a factor in blocking the
ever-interesting Mr. Gingrich from livening up the interminable 2008 campaign, been
a boon to our democracy?

-- John Fund
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« Reply #238 on: October 02, 2007, 07:41:30 PM »



Democrats on a Roll

Fundraising totals for presidential candidates during the summer months are coming
in, and most striking is what Rudy Giuliani concedes is the "phenomenal" ability of
Democratic candidates to outpace their GOP counterparts in the cash haul. Taken
together, Democratic candidates have raised some $225 million during the first nine
months of this year, eclipsing the estimated $145 million raised by Republican
candidates.

Money isn't everything in politics, but it provides a clue as to which side is most
energized. The unpopular Iraq war, Democratic anger at President Bush and the
state-of-the-art fundraising machines assembled by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
help explain the Democratic advantage. "They're on a roll," says Rep. Tom Cole of
Oklahoma, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. "But
things can change quickly once there's a Republican nominee people can rally around
and issue contrasts between the parties are drawn."

That said, the GOP has reason to worry that the vast majority of new donors appear
to be giving to Democrats. Barack Obama brought in donations from a staggering
93,000 people in the third quarter, for a total of $19 million. Rudy Giuliani and
Mitt Romney have yet to report their final fundraising totals, though Fred Thompson
has brought in a respectable number of checks from 70,000 different donors, raising
a total of $8 million. John McCain stabilized his fund-raising operation, bringing
in $5 million, enough to ensure he can fight on till the Iowa caucuses. The big
surprise fundraising success on the GOP side was Rep. Ron Paul, the iconoclastic
libertarian from Texas, who managed to raise $3 million, almost all in small
donations over the Internet and through direct mail.

-- John Fund


Coming Home to Hillary

A recent issue of the Economist includes a joke New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson
cracked two years ago: The Democratic Party has a lot of good presidential
candidates, he said. "There's Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa -- he'd bring back the
Midwest. There's Joe Biden -- he'd bring back the national-security voter. And
there's Hillary Clinton -- she'd bring back the White House furniture."

Mrs. Clinton may also bring back Ohio. With the latest fundraising numbers trickling
out, her campaign figures she raised somewhere between $17 million and $20 million,
giving her plenty of money to be competitive in the primaries. But beyond the bottom
line, Mrs. Clinton is also adding a few other valuable assets to her ledger -- she's
bringing back some Democrats who had drifted over to George W. Bush, including
notable donors in vote-rich Ohio.

One of them is venture capitalist James Gould, who helped Mr. Bush nail down the
Buckeye State three years ago. He's now backing Mrs. Clinton, telling a reporter
recently: "She's misunderstood." The Clinton campaign spent a considerable amount of
time courting the Cincinnati entrepreneur, even giving him several hours to talk to
Mrs. Clinton directly. He walked away thinking: "I liked her a lot more than I
thought I would. She's really smart. I was very impressed." He now plans to host a
fundraiser for her.

Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican, dropped by the Journal?s offices this week
and told us the GOP had better make some cold calculations in coming months. Ohio is
slipping away, he says, thanks to various GOP scandals involving then-Gov Bob Taft
and Rep. Bob Ney, who pleaded guilty in the Jack Abramoff case. That means his party
must look anew at the electoral map and figure out which states a Republican
candidate has a real chance to carry. If Rudy Giuliani can carry New York, New
Jersey and Pennsylvania or put California in play, Mr. Royce tells us, that might
just replace the loss of Ohio.

-- Brendan Miniter
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« Reply #239 on: October 04, 2007, 08:21:14 AM »

Hillary vs. Limbaugh

Liberals continue to step up their Hush Rush campaign. First, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spent hours urging Clear Channel, Rush Limbaugh's syndicator, to repudiate him over what Mr. Reid claimed were comments that American soldiers who seek to end the war in Iraq were "phony soldiers."

That didn't work when Clear Channel pointed out Rush's long-standing support for and visits with U.S. troops and suggested that Mr. Reid's interpretation of his remarks was strained at best. Mr. Limbaugh notes that his broadcast referred to the specific case of an anti-war veteran whose exploits on the battlefield were found to have been fabricated.

Now liberals have deployed former General Wesley Clark, Bill Clinton's favorite man in uniform, to gnaw on Rush's ankles. Mr. Clark writes at HuffingtonPost.com: "It's time to put real pressure on Rush Limbaugh" by getting him kicked off Armed Forces Radio. "It's time to tell Congress to act swiftly to hold Rush Limbaugh accountable."

The liberal attempt to divert attention from the infamous MoveOn.org ad that twisted the name of General David Petraeus, the Iraq military commander, is driven by Media Matters, a left-wing media watchdog group. If anyone doubts that Media Matters isn't part of the Clinton attack machine, just consider that Hillary Clinton herself took credit for creating the group at last year's DailyKos blogger convention, when she was desperately trying to demonstrate her anti-war bona fides.

During her DailyKos speech, Senator Clinton proudly stated: "We are certainly better prepared and more focused on, you know, taking our arguments and making them effective and disseminating them widely and really putting together a network in the blogosphere and a lot of the new progressive infrastructure, institutions that I helped to start and support, like Media Matters and Center for American Progress."

The Center For American Progress is the liberal think tank run by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta. Its most visible recent effort was a lengthy report urging Congress to revive the Fairness Doctrine, the discredited FCC policy that required all broadcasters to provide equal time for all points of view. The major target of those who would revive the Fairness Doctrine? Rush Limbaugh.

Hillary Clinton is running for president, but she also apparently finds time to use surrogates to limit and control the reach of one of her most persistent media critics.

Opinion Journal
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« Reply #240 on: October 04, 2007, 11:59:39 AM »

“George McGovern, who parlayed his $1,000-in-every-pot proposal into a 49-state loss in 1972, should sue for copyright infringement after Sen. Clinton told the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual legislative conference that every baby born in America should be given a $5,000 ‘baby bond.’ Actually, Hillary’s $5,000 is just McGovern’s $1,000 adjusted for inflation. McGovern’s $1,000 was equivalent in 2006 to $4,808.90. By the time she is sworn in, she should be right on the mark. Hillary argued that wealthy people ‘get to have all kinds of tax incentives to save, but most people can’t afford to do that.’ So her ‘baby bond’ is designed to give the kids of people who can’t afford to save ‘a $5,000 account that will grow over time, so that when that person turns 18 if they have finished high school they will be able to access it to go to college or maybe they will be able to make that down payment on that first home.’ But to pay for that home they will have to go to work and pay taxes. Hillary doesn’t propose cutting their taxes or those of their parents. Nor does she propose increasing the dependent deduction on their federal tax form. What Clinton proposes is another brick in the cradle-to-grave wall envisioned by liberals—paid for by ever-rising taxes... In 2004 (the latest year for which official figures are available), there were 4,116,000 live births in the United States. That works out to a current price of $21 billion per year, every year. It is an amount that will get bigger, particularly if illegal immigration is allowed to increase unimpeded. Since we now have a budget deficit, this $21-billion-plus new entitlement will have to be funded by borrowing. So the $5,000 savings ‘gift’ in fact is a government loan to each new baby, payable in full through their taxes when they grow up. Happy Birthday!” —Investor’s Business Daily
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« Reply #241 on: October 10, 2007, 07:29:56 AM »

Lets see how Hillary can get away with robbing Paul to give to Jane.

Her trial balloon study (survey and or focus group) results showed that stealing government money to give $5000 to all children born in the USA (sounds like a Springsteen song) did not get her enough votes.  So now she will steal money from increasing taxes on estates to give $1,000 to people for 401K.  Geeze, she wonders how many votes this will buy her.

This of course is her way of coming up with "ideas" that will make this country better cry

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8S5TSGG0&show_article=1

The only one with real ideas as far as I've heard is Gingrich.  And he just announced he will not run.  Let's hope Romney or Guiliani are listening. I would think Romney will but I don't know about Rudy.
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« Reply #242 on: October 10, 2007, 06:07:26 PM »

Political Journal WSJ



Paul for the Long Haul

Could Ron Paul be considering a third-party run for the White House after the GOP primaries are over? After all, in 1988 he left the GOP to run as the Libertarian Party candidate. He is just ornery enough to do it again.

A hint of his dissatisfaction came last night during the CNBC debate when Chris Matthews asked him if he would promise "to support the nominee of the Republican Party next year." Mr. Paul's answer was a flat no. "Not unless they're willing to end the war and bring our troops home. And not unless they are willing to look at the excess in spending. No, I'm not going to support them if they continue down the path that has taken our party down the tubes."

When I saw Mr. Paul last Friday after a speech he gave to Americans for Prosperity in Washington, he was clearly feeling his oats on the public reaction to his stand opposing the Iraq war. He rejected my comment that his anti-war emphasis was crowding out his free-market message "Everything is tied to the war. It threatens our financial security as well," he told me. I left our brief encounter with the clear impression he wanted to continue to talk about his message well into the future beyond the GOP primary race.

Despite his libertarian views, a Paul third-party run might hurt the Democrats more than Republicans. If he emphasized his support for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq immediately, he would trump Hillary Clinton on the left. If he talked about his support for drug decriminalization, he would clearly appeal to a constituency ignored by both major parties.

The logistics of a Paul run are also there. The Libertarian Party national convention doesn't meet until late May in Denver, and becoming its nominee guarantees a spot on 26 state ballots immediately. Another 20 state ballot lines are fairly easy to obtain.

Mr. Paul could, of course, retire from the House if he ran for president. But Texas law also allows him to both run for president and seek re-election to the House, thanks to a statute rammed through by Lyndon Johnson. The GOP primary in which Mr. Paul is being challenged for his seat is held in early March, well before he would have to publicly announce any third-party intentions. Nothing prevents him from running as, say, a Libertarian for president and a Republican for the House at the same time.

It's also likely that Mr. Paul might be the rare third-party candidate who could actually raise his own money. He took in over $5 million in the last quarter, exceeding the fundraising totals of candidates such as John McCain and Mike Huckabee. A chunk of his money comes from liberals such as singer Barry Manilow, and he might find himself the recipient of some support in a general election from anti-Hillary Democrats who deplore the grip of the Clinton clan on their party.

-- John Fund
A Slimmed Down Huey Long

 The clear bookends of yesterday's CNBC/Wall Street Journal GOP debate on the economy were Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee. For conservative Republicans, they could hardly have been more apart in their view of the country's economic future.

Mr. Thompson painted a blue-sky vision of the current economy, while making passing reference to the unemployment in Michigan, the site of yesterday's debate. He said voters should understand just how well the economy was doing: "It is the greatest story never told." His prescription for the future? "We should acknowledge what got us there and continue those same policies on into the future," he concluded, as he made a call for extension of the Bush tax cuts and a further decrease in internationally uncompetitive corporate tax rates. He also made a call for an adjustment in how Social Security benefits are calculated that would lead to a direct reduction in the amount of money recipients would receive.

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who hails from a neighboring state to Mr. Thompson's Tennessee base, took a completely different tack. He practically cozied up to America's unions, which he said "are going to take a more prominent role in the future for one simple reason: A lot of American workers are finding that their wages continue to get strapped lower and lower while CEO salaries are higher and higher."

Mr. Huckabee believes that economic inequality is creating "a level of discontent that's going to create a huge appetite for unions." He also sounded cautionary notes about free trade and entitlement reform that are relatively rare for a Republican. Asked if he would support President Bush's veto of the budget-busting increase in the children's health care program SCHIP, Mr. Huckabee declined to say he would have issued a similar veto "because there are going to be so many issues we've got to fight. And the political loss of that is going to be enormous."

Translation: When it comes to tough political fights on spending, don't look for a President Huckabee to be there.

-- John Fund
Quote of the Day I

"First impressions are supposed to be 90 percent of politics. If that's the case, Fred Thompson should have a decent shot at the Republican presidential nomination. The impression he created in Tuesday's Republican debate in Detroit wasn't that of a dominant figure or a replica of Ronald Reagan. But he came across as likable, knowledgeable on issues but not wonky, and unexcitable. So Thompson passed the test of whether he could run with the big boys -- Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain -- in the Republican race" -- political analyst Fred Barnes, writing at WeeklyStandard.com.

Quote of the Day II

"This debate will be known for two things: 1) an uneven debut for Thompson; the opening answer he gave was that of a VERY nervous first-time candidate and there was a noticeable pause that was striking in a bad way; every evening newscast grabbed that moment and because of that some may believe Thompson's performance was worse than it actually was" -- political analyst Chuck Todd, writing at NBC.com.

Quote of the Day III

"Her very candidacy elicits memories of all the Clinton scandals, from Whitewater and Marc Rich to the gifts to the Rose Law Firm, the Chinese campaign contributions, the New Square Hasidic pardons, the Lincoln Bedroom and Monica. Why do Democrats willingly take on that baggage when two relative virgins [Barack Obama and John Edwards] beckon as alternatives? Democrats today are seeking a warrior, a gladiator, not a president when they cast their ballots in their primaries and caucuses. Angered by the so-called defeat of 2000 and scarred by the upset of 2004, there is an intensity to their desire to win that dwarfs all other emotions and considerations.... Hillary's demonstrated ability to overcome adversity and triumph is the quality that most appeals to Democrats. Her battle scars are her accolades" -- former Bill Clinton adviser Dick Morris, writing in The Hill newspaper.

The Reagan Party

 The big winner in last night's Republican debate on the economy was... Ronald Reagan. How so? Because virtually all of the candidates sounded a pro-growth Reaganite message on tax cuts, regulation and free trade. Perhaps they are in tune with polls that find that more than 70% of Republican voters describe themselves as "Reagan Republicans."

Rudy Giuliani called himself a "supply-sider." Fred Thompson said government is too big and costs too much and promised big spending cuts. Both Mr. Giuliani and Mitt Romney borrowed a page out of the Gipper's playbook by touting economic optimism and by refusing to buy into the despair underlying many of the loaded questions from the media panel. Rudy even scolded CNBC's Maria Bartiromo for suggesting that New York City was surrendering its financial capital status to London. "Hold your head up, Maria," the former New York Mayor responded.

The fireworks came early when Messrs. Romney and Giuliani counterpunched over which has the better fiscal record. Both claimed to cut taxes more than the other. Mr. Romney scored points by attacking Mr. Giuliani for opposing a federal line item veto and even bringing a lawsuit against it in the late 1990s.

Still Mr. Giuliani had the best moment of the evening after Texas Congressman Ron Paul suggested that America has never been in "imminent" danger of attack. Mr. Giuliani responded: "Where were you on 9/11?"

Jay Leno cracked last night that the debate was between old white men and really old white men -- an attack that could hurt the GOP as it reaches out to independent voters, particularly the up-for-grabs "security moms." A more serious substantive problem for Republicans is whether their sunny-eyed optimism on the economy matches the mood of economically "stressed out" voters. As former Clinton cabinet secretary Robert Reich told me last night: "Most voters don't believe the Republican message that things are wonderful. There's a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street."

He may be right. But the Republican message of cutting taxes for the middle class is likely to resonate better than the Democratic promise of raising them. As pollster Scott Rasmussen notes: "When Democrats talk about raising taxes on the rich, the middle class doesn't believe them. Voters are convinced their own taxes will go up." That will be a central issue in the general election. It's a shame that whoever is left standing after the GOP primary brawls are over can't choose the Gipper as his running mate.

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« Reply #243 on: October 23, 2007, 12:08:23 PM »

Fred Thompson met the media yesterday, a day after the GOP debate in Orlando, and continued to be peppered by questions about whether he has the "fire in the belly" to run for president.

Mr. Thompson clearly showed his disdain for the question. "I'm glad we're dealing again with matters of real important national security and real important matters to our economy," he responded in a sarcastic tone. He proceeded to lecture the assembled press corps: "To hear some of these comments, you would not recognize the fact that I'm apparently second in all the national polls, that I've got over 100,000 contributors and I've been in the race for about eight weeks."

As for critics who cite his scant campaign schedule and short speeches as signs his bid for the nomination is troubled, he offered a simple response: "I'm going to do it the way I want to do it."

Evidence for that attitude soon arrived when he took a question about the Terri Schiavo controversy. Mr. Thompson had made headlines last month during a visit to Florida when asked if Congress had overstepped its bounds in 2005 over the court-ordered removal of Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube. He said at the time: "Local matters, generally speaking, should be left to the locals," adding, "I don't remember the details of the case." His response left many to wonder, as ABC News put it, "if he had slept through what was a national frenzy."

Mr. Thompson pointed out yesterday that he was far from indifferent to the Schiavo case, having been intimately involved in a decision to end the life of his own daughter in 2002, after she entered the hospital due to an accidental drug overdose. "I had to make those decisions with the rest of my family," an emotional Mr. Thompson told reporters. "And I will assure you one thing: No matter which decision you make, you will never know whether or not you made exactly the right decision." He also decried those who would turn life-and-death medical decisions into a "political football," saying the federal government "should stay out of these matters."

As an unconventional candidate, Mr. Thompson can expect more questions about his work habits and speaking style. But I suspect questions about his knowledge of the Terri Schiavo case will now stop.

Political Journal WSJ
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« Reply #244 on: October 25, 2007, 02:49:30 AM »

Rudy?
Giuliani and religious right meet on the road to political adulthood.

BY DANIEL HENNINGER
Thursday, October 25, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

One school of thought on the religious right holds that if Rudy Giuliani would commit to an unequivocal anti-abortion position, they could vote for him. A second school of thought, articulated by Richard Land, a leading figure in the politically important Southern Baptist Convention, is that he won't vote for any pro-choice candidate "as a matter of personal moral conscience," though Mr. Land says other evangelicals might find a way to vote for Mr. Giuliani.

Among the reasons politicians such as Mr. Giuliani are sensitive to this issue was the revelation, from exit polls after the 2004 election, that values and morals ranked high among voters' concerns. Thus this past weekend the very conservative Family Research Council pointedly named its Washington convocation the "Values Voter Summit."

Into this den of reproach stepped Rudy Giuliani on Saturday, dragging various balls and chains--liberal "social" beliefs, three marriages, alienated children, New York City. No matter that Ronald Reagan had two marriages, alienated children, Hollywood pals and live-and let-live social views. A straw poll taken after the candidates' speeches put Mr. Giuliani next to dead last, before John McCain but well behind the attendees' top choice, former Baptist minister and future talk-show star Mike Huckabee.

The focus here is on the speech Mr. Giuliani delivered to the values summit. He's the front-runner. He's the candidate who somehow has to get people like these evangelicals to decide whether votes in a presidential election ought to be cast for one or two issues or for a governing philosophy. Then there's the little matter of the candidate's character.





Call me old-fashioned, but I think governing philosophy is more important than the endless Chinese puzzle of moving this or that issue forward and back. American politics, right and left, has become obsessive about nailing where candidates "stand" on standalone issues--abortion, gay marriage, immigration, the North Pole melting or pulling out of Iraq. Trying to pin politicians down is honest work. But last time I looked, the thing you win was still called a "government." That means it matters if the candidate is able to govern, which has proven a challenge the past 16 years or so, in part because proliferating factions refuse to be governed.
In the '60s, the left introduced the "non-negotiable demand" into our politics. It's still with us. It's political infantilism. In real life, the non-negotiable "demand" usually ends about age six.

Of necessity, Mr. Giuliani has to get voters on the right past this narrowed focus. Adult politics, though, runs in both directions. Rudy has to move toward them, too, and believably.

Mr. Giuliani didn't mention abortion--and adoption--until deep into the talk. He began by laying down a personal marker: "I can't be all things to all people. I'm just not like that. I can't do that." This opened the door a crack on the man behind the grand smile. He needs to do more of that (why in a moment). But his case against issues pandering is one of the better I've heard: "For me to twist myself all up to try to figure out exactly what you want to hear, and today say one thing and the next day another thing--if you do that too long, you lose the sense of what leadership is all about."

Then came the admission of their political legitimacy, and in a way they'd get. He told them that people of faith "should not be marginalized" in public debates. The "religious right" knows exactly what this means. This is what was at issue when this movement erupted at the GOP convention in Houston back in 1992. The no-apologies belligerence of the Christian right began then because they were marginalized, even mocked by the national press corps in Houston.

Mr. Giuliani, however, didn't exploit their enduring sense of alienation from the media. Instead, he argued with some force that their ideas deserved a seat at the national table. He didn't promise triumph, but he offered respect.

The speech's big set-up theme was "responsibility." Every right carries a duty, and every benefit brings an obligation. His argument to them was a "culture of personal responsibility" enhances both accountability and self-respect, and these in turn will result in less of the things that drive the evangelicals nuts. To the extent any politician can make it sound as if he actually believes this stuff, Mr. Giuliani does.

Still, there's a problem. "Responsibility" was a main theme of Bill Clinton's 1993 inaugural speech. We believed him. A Wall Street Journal editorial, "Responsibility's Return," commented the next day: "It is good to hear any President, or anyone in a position of leadership in this country, talking about personal responsibility. Mr. Clinton is talking about it because in our recent history, there hasn't been enough of it." Then came the presidency.





Mr. Giuliani has a remarkable gift for political empathy. But I think he is acutely aware that no one talked this kind of talk better than Bill Clinton, and that the show-stopper ever after for charismatic presidential candidates will have to do with questions about character once in office.
So to the values voters he added: "We lose trust in political leaders not because they are imperfect; after all, they're human. We lose trust with them when they're not honest with us." A woman in the audience said, "That's right."

That's right. But twice in the speech, Mr. Giuliani tried to explain that his faith and his personal failings were difficult to discuss "because of the way I was brought up, or for other reasons." Other reasons? The way he was brought up--in the pre-Vatican II grade schools and high schools of New York City-- many of us understand. But he'll need to find a way to talk about "the other reasons."

It was a remarkable, effective and important speech. And more useful still if Mr. Giuliani and the religious right can reach some shared understanding of political and personal adulthood.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Thursdays in the Journal and on OpinionJournal.com.
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« Reply #245 on: October 25, 2007, 12:08:29 PM »

Sometimes schisms within a political party aren't exposed until a candidate steps right into them. This week, Barack Obama stepped into one.

Donnie McClurkin is a Grammy-Award winning gospel singer and preacher highly respected within the black community, especially in the South where religious conviction runs strong. It probably seemed like a great idea to the Obama campaign to invite Mr. McClurkin to sing this weekend at an event during Mr. Obama's "Embrace the Change" Tour, aimed at religious blacks in South Carolina.

Except gay activists consider Mr. McClurkin a bigot for claiming to have been "cured" of his homosexuality and for preaching that other homosexuals can be cured as well through the power of prayer. Obama aides were quick to respond to the rising outrage and held several conference calls with gay activists this week to try to ease tensions. Eventually Mr. Obama released his own statement saying he "strongly disagreed" with Mr. McClurkin's views, but so far the campaign hasn't pulled the singer off the tour.

The reason for the campaign's hesitancy might have something to do with poll numbers showing that blacks in South Carolina strongly disagree with homosexuality. As the Politico's Ben Smith reported, last month's Winthrop/ETV poll found that 74% view homosexuality as "unacceptable," with 62% calling it "strongly unacceptable." Indeed, this episode illustrates a vast chasm in the Democratic coalition between black voters, mainly in the South, and the party's activist wing. This no doubt explains why none of the other Democratic presidential candidates have said a word about the controversy, perhaps feeling it wiser to just avoid the schism altogether.

Ditching Mr. McClurkin would present a particularly serious problem in a state where Mr. Obama trails Hillary Clinton by 13 points in the latest RCP Average. Among South Carolina black voters, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll last month found that Mr. Obama trails Ms. Clinton by 11 points (43% to 32%). The "Embrace the Change" Tour was launched precisely to close that gap.

But with the nation's largest gay-rights groups like Human Rights Campaign now demanding that the campaign yank Mr. McClurkin, bringing unwanted national attention with each press release, what was supposed to be a fun voter outreach effort has suddenly become a public-relations mess.

-- Blake Dvorak, RealClearPolitics.com

Quote of the Day

"The filthiest, grimiest, most unpleasant job that any human being can ever suffer to perform: run for political office.... Because political power in modern America means the power to take money from A and give it to B, bevies of wannabe Bs swarm to get a piece of you. It must be suffocating and morally disorienting constantly to be hounded by people begging you to assist them in their efforts to take what doesn't belong to them. Worse, to keep or win office, you must actually engage in such dirty behavior (or promise to do so once elected). You must determine which innocent people are the easiest marks for your grabbing hand -- which people are least likely to be aware that you're picking their pockets -- and then grab fistfuls of their wealth, all the while assuring them that you're their boon companion and great protector. In short, in this job you must soil your honor and sell your soul by behaving foolishly and by saying things that you know to be false" -- Donald Boudreaux, chairman of the economics department at George Mason University, writing in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The John Gotti Primary

Political consultants for Rudy Giuliani's opponents have long been licking their chops for the day when the mayor's controversial past is thrust before voters. "In the end, he will be viewed as just too 'New York' and too strange for Middle America voters," one opposition researcher for a rival campaign told me. This campaign adviser also mentioned in passing that "even though it's unfair," many voters might be rattled by the revelation that Mr. Giuliani's father served time in prison for robbery and later worked as a collector for the mayor's mob-tied uncle.

But for every Giuliani blemish there may well be a competing story line. "Rudy Giuliani is being smeared with the dishonest blood of family members," wrote columnist Stanley Crouch of the New York Daily News in 2000, when the Giuliani family revelations first gained currency.

Now the New York Post reports that the Mafia clearly did not view Mr. Giuliani as anything other than a bitter enemy. Indeed, the paper cites FBI records that a gathering of mob bosses voted by only three to two not to kill him during his 1980s career as a federal prosecutor.

In documents released this week as part of an ongoing criminal trial, a long FBI memo reported: "On Sept. 17, 1987, sources advised that recent information disclosed that approximately a year ago all five NY LCN [La Cosa Nostra] families discussed the idea of killing USA [United States Attorney] Rudy Giuliani and John Gotti and Carmine Persico were in favor of the hit." The memo goes on to report that "the bosses of the Lucchese, Bonanno and Genovese families rejected the idea, despite strong efforts to convince them otherwise by Gotti and Persico."

Carmine Persico apparently didn't give up on his belief Mr. Giuliani should be whacked. In 2004, evidence surfaced that Joel "Joe Waverly" Cacace, a Persico "employee," had planned a failed assassination attempt on the prosecutor. Cacace is now serving a 20-year sentence on unrelated charges.

-- John Fund
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« Reply #246 on: October 26, 2007, 08:14:53 AM »

Another Man From Hope
Who is Mike Huckabee?

Friday, October 26, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

Republicans have won five of the last seven presidential elections by running candidates who broadly fit the Ronald Reagan model--fiscally conservative, and firmly but not harshly conservative on social issues. The wide-open race for the 2008 GOP nomination has generated two new approaches.

Rudy Giuliani, for example, isn't running away from his socially liberal views, although he has modified them. But he is campaigning as a staunch, even acerbic economic conservative. Should he win the nomination, conventional wisdom has it he may balance the ticket by picking former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as a running mate.

Mr. Huckabee, on the other hand, is running hard right on social issues but liberal-populist on some economic issues. This may help explain why the affable, golden-tongued Baptist minister was the clear favorite at the pro-life Family Research Council's national forum last Saturday. And why Mr. Huckabee's praises have been sung by liberal columnists such as Gail Collins of the New York Times and Jonathan Alter of Newsweek.





Mr. Huckabee attributes his support to the fact he is a "hardworking, consistent conservative with some authenticity about those convictions." He is certainly qualified for national office, having served nearly 11 years as a chief executive. I have known and liked him for years; on the stump he often tells the story of how we first met outside his boarded-up office in the state Capitol, which had been sealed by Arkansas Democrats who refused to accept he had won an upset election for lieutenant governor in 1993. But I also know he is not the "consistent conservative" he now claims to be.
Nor am I alone. Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once "his No. 1 fan." She was bitterly disappointed with his record. "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal," she says. "Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles," she says. "Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."

The business community in Arkansas is split. Some praise Mr. Huckabee's efforts to raise taxes to repair roads and work with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. Free-market advocates are skeptical. "He has zero intellectual underpinnings in the conservative movement," says Blant Hurt, a former part owner of, and columnist for, Arkansas Business magazine. "He's hostile to free trade, hiked sales and grocery taxes, backed sales taxes on Internet purchases, and presided over state spending going up more than twice the inflation rate."

Mr. Huckabee told me yesterday he also cut some taxes, and has taken the Americans for Tax Reform no-tax pledge. Former GOP state Rep. Randy Minton is not impressed. In 1999, he was urged by the governor to back a gas-tax increase. "I'd taken a pledge against higher taxes, but he sniffed that my constituents didn't understand what we have to do in state government to make it work," Mr. Minton says. "His support for taxes split the Republican Party, and damaged our name brand." The Club for Growth notes that only a handful of the 33 current GOP state legislators back their former governor.

Governors who served with him praise Mr. Huckabee for his ability to work with others, but say he was clearly a moderate. "He fought my efforts to reform the National Governors Association and always took fiscal positions to my left," former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a supporter of Mitt Romney, told me.

Rick Scarborough, a pastor who heads Vision America, attended seminary with Mr. Huckabee and is a strong backer. But, he acknowledges, "Mike has always sought the validation of elites." When conservatives took over the Southern Baptist Convention after a bitter fight in the 1980s, Mr. Huckabee sided with the ruling moderates. Paul Pressler, a former Texas judge who led the conservative Southern Baptist revolt, told me, "I know of no conservative he appointed while he headed the Arkansas Baptist Convention."

Mr. Huckabee's reluctance to surround himself with conservatives was evident as governor, when he kept many agency heads appointed by Bill Clinton. Zac Wright, a spokesman for incoming Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, was asked this year why 15 Huckabee agency heads had been retained. Most of them were "Clinton people," he replied, not "Huckabee people." Mr. Huckabee told me many of his agency heads had "apolitical" responsibilities.





Many Huckabee supporters have told me their man should be judged by what he's saying on the campaign trail today. Fair enough. Mr. Huckabee was the only GOP candidate to refuse to endorse President Bush's veto of the Democrats' bill to vastly expand the Schip health-care program. Only he and John McCain have endorsed the discredited cap-and-trade system to limit global-warming emissions that has proved a fiasco in Europe.
"It goes to the moral issue," he told an admiring group of environmentalists this month. Alan Greenspan blasts cap-and-trade in his new book as not feasible, noting that "jobs will be lost and real incomes of workers constrained." Mr. Huckabee defends his plan as an "innovative" way to attain complete energy independence from foreign oil by 2013.

During a visit to the Journal last spring, Mr. Huckabee joked that one of his biggest challenges is that "like Bill Clinton I hail from Hope, Arkansas, and not every Republican wants to take a chance like that again." But it's Mr. Huckabee who is creating the doubts. "He's just like Bill Clinton in that he practices management by news cycle," a former top Huckabee aide told me. "As with Clinton there was no long-term planning, just putting out fires on a daily basis. One thing I'll guarantee is that won't lead to competent conservative governance."


WSJ
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« Reply #247 on: October 30, 2007, 02:38:21 PM »

Looking for Mr. Right
By Patrick J. Buchanan
Friday, October 26, 2007


"I was conservative yesterday, I'm a conservative today, and I will be a conservative tomorrow," declared Fred Thompson to the Conservative Party of New York, billing himself as the "consistent conservative" in the GOP race -- in contrast to ex-mayor Rudy Giuliani.

In his defense, Rudy cites George Will as calling his eight years in office in the Big Apple the most conservative city government in 50 years.

And, truth be told, Thompson was reliably conservative in his Senate years. But so, too, has John McCain been, and Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. Hunter, however, splits with Thompson and McCain on trade. Paul disagrees with all six of them on the war. And Tancredo assails McCain for backing Bush's amnesty for 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens.

Will the real conservative please stand up? Or perhaps we should recall John 14:2, "In my father's house there are many mansions."

What does it mean to be a conservative -- in 2007?

Sixty years ago, Robert A. Taft was the gold standard. Forty years ago, it was Barry Goldwater, who backed Bob Taft against Ike at the 1952 convention. Twenty years ago, it was Ronald Reagan, who backed Barry in 1964. Reagan remains the paragon -- for the consistency of his convictions, the success of his presidency and the character he exhibited to the end of his life. About Reagan the cliche was true: The greatness of the office found out the greatness in the man.

Reagan defined conservatism for his time. And the issues upon which we agreed were anti-communism, a national defense second to none, lower tax rates to unleash the engines of economic progress, fiscal responsibility, a strict-constructionist Supreme Court, law and order, the right-to-life from conception on and a resolute defense of family values under assault from the cultural revolution that hit America with hurricane force in the 1960s.

With the collapse of the Soviet Empire and the breakup of the Soviet Union, anti-communism as the defining and unifying issue of the right was gone. The conservative crack-up commenced.

With George H.W. Bush came the advent of what Fred Barnes of The New Republic hailed as Big Government Conservatism. Some thought the phrase oxymoronic. But when Bush stood at the rostrum of the U.N. General Assembly in October 1991 to declare that America's cause was the creation of a New World Order, the old right reached reflexively for their revolvers.

In 1992, with foreign policy off the table, the Bush economic record a perceived failure and Ross Perot running on protectionism and populism, Bush refused to play his trump card with the Clintons: the social and moral issues he and Lee Atwater had use to beat Michael Dukakis senseless in 1988. And so, George H.W. Bush lost the presidency.

Now, 15 years later, what does it mean to be a conservative?

There is no pope who speaks ex cathedra. There is no bible to consult, like Goldwater's "The Conscience of a Conservative" or Reagan's "no-pale-pastels" platform of 1980. At San Diego in 1996, Bob Dole told his convention he had not bothered to read the platform. Many who heard him did not bother to vote for Bob Dole.

And so, today, the once-great house of conservatism is a Tower of Babel. We are big government and small government, traditionalist and libertarian, tax-cutter and budget hawk, free trader and economic nationalist. Bush and McCain support amnesty and a "path to citizenship" for illegals. The country wants the laws enforced and a fence on the border.

And Rudy? A McGovernite in 1972, he boasted in the campaign of 1993 that he would "rekindle the Rockefeller, Javits, Lefkowitz tradition" of New York's GOP and "produce the kind of change New York City saw with ... John Lindsay." He ran on the Liberal Party line and supported Mario Cuomo in 1994.

Pro-abortion, anti-gun, again and again he strutted up Fifth Avenue in the June Gay Pride parade and turned the Big Apple into a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. While Ward Connerly goes state to state to end reverse discrimination, Rudy is an affirmative-action man.

Gravitating now to Rudy's camp are those inveterate opportunists, the neocons, who see in Giuliani their last hope of redemption for their cakewalk war and their best hope for a "Long War" against "Islamofascism."

I will, Rudy promises, nominate Scalias. Only one more may be needed to overturn Roe. And I will keep Hillary out of the White House.

A Giuliani presidency would represent the return and final triumph of the Republicanism that conservatives went into politics to purge from power. A Giuliani presidency would represent repudiation by the party of the moral, social and cultural content that, with anti-communism, once separated it from liberal Democrats and defined it as an institution.

Rudy offers the right the ultimate Faustian bargain: retention of power at the price of one's soul.


Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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« Reply #248 on: October 31, 2007, 12:01:36 PM »

Pedestrian Down

Democrats who are nervous about having Hillary Clinton as their nominee had their fears confirmed last night. Mrs. Clinton finally stumbled in her seventh Democratic debate once the other candidates decided to chew on her.

Mrs. Clinton responded to the criticism by retreating to her briefing books, giving rehearsed answers to questions in a too loud, slightly shrill voice. She was pummeled for not releasing White House records kept by the National Archives that would shine light on her claim to be the most experienced candidate based on her service as First Lady.

But her worst moment came when she gave a bizarre answer to a question about a proposal by her fellow New York Democrat, Governor Eliot Spitzer, to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Pressed by Tim Russert about whether she still favors his plan, as she told a New Hampshire paper, she launched into a long defense of it. Then, after Senator Chris Dodd attacked her stance, she interrupted and said: "I did not say that it should be done."

NBC's Tim Russert, one of the debate moderators, jumped in and said to her: "You told [a] New Hampshire paper that it made a lot of sense. Do you support his plan?"

"You know, Tim," Mrs. Clinton replied, "this is where everybody plays 'gotcha.'"

John Edwards quickly pounced: "Unless I missed something, Senator Clinton said two different things in the course of about two minutes. America is looking for a president who will say the same thing, who will be consistent, who will be straight with them."

Chris Matthews of MSNBC concluded that Mrs. Clinton had put herself in a box: "She will have to come out against giving . . . people in the country illegally a driver's license. It doesn't sell."

I'm not so sure. Mrs. Clinton has always had a soft spot for measures that many election officials say compromise the integrity of the ballot box. She sponsored a major bill to strip states of their right to bar felons from voting, a right many legal scholars say is enshrined in the Constitution.

Governor Spitzer's plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal aliens is equally controversial, in part because anyone with such a license could probably vote in elections with impunity. In order to register to vote, a person must sign an affidavit stating that he or she is an American citizen. "You assume that people don't lie, and that's what the form says," state Board of Elections spokesman Lee Daghlian told the New York Post. "It would be [tough to catch] if someone wanted to . . . get a number of people registered [to vote] who aren't citizens and went ahead and got them driver's licenses." Mr. Daghlian conceded that "nobody checks it" to determine if someone registering to vote is truly eligible.

Because of the federal Motor Voter Law, everyone getting a driver's license in New York is automatically handed a voter registration form. With New York being home to upwards of 500,000 illegal aliens, the potential for mischief is great, especially since the Spitzer administration has reversed a policy that would have barred the Department of Motor Vehicles from handing out motor-voter registration forms to anyone without a Social Security number.

Politically speaking, supporting driver's licenses for illegal aliens is an untenable position in a general election. But in the Democratic primaries, the issue is a litmus test for many liberal and immigrant groups backing Mrs. Clinton's candidacy. That helps explain her bizarre obfuscations in last night's debate, when she showed the first chink in her armor, her first failure to square her appeals to the liberal base with attempts to portray herself as a moderate.

"If she loses the nomination, [last night's debate] will go down in history as the first step to her defeat -- no fatal 'Dean Scream' catastrophe, but far from her finest moment, to say the least," concluded Time magazine political handicapper Mark Halperin.

-- John Fund
Political Journal/WSJ
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« Reply #249 on: November 02, 2007, 10:28:53 AM »

This Sunday, Fred will be on NBC's Meet the Press as part of their "Meet the Candidates" series. Judging by the questions asked at Tuesday's Democratic Presidential debate any topic could come up: immigration, taxes, national security, even UFOs.


Unlike the debates and the typical news shows, Fred will have time to talk to the American people in a way that doesn't require slick, 10-second sound bites.

What will Fred talk about? The same issues he's talking about when campaigning across the country: securing our borders; ending sanctuary cities; keeping taxes low; taking on the impending entitlement crisis; the protection of life; and abiding by the principles of our Founding Fathers.

Specifically on immigration reform, Fred will continue his fight against letting illegal immigrants get drivers licenses. Hillary Clinton is wrong to allow people who already are breaking the law to get a license that would give them the opportunity to register to vote. Fred will not let lawbreakers continue breaking the law. He has a plan to secure the border and reform the nation's immigration process.

Meet the Press this Sunday will give  Fred another opportunity to show Americans why he's a consistent conservative. Out on the trail one of his most well-received lines is "That's what I was yesterday, that's who I am today, and that's who I will be tomorrow." Unlike other candidates who came late to the conservative movement Fred's track record proves his consistency.

Watch Fred Sunday on NBC.
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