Saturday, October 26, 2002

Senator Mondale

I think it's probably safe to say that the Democrats will hold the seat that was made vacant by the death of Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN). And it appears that Fritz Mondale will be the one who takes his place.

Stupid, Close-Minded Americans

Ever wonder what the elite press thinks of you? Consider the following from one John Vincour, executive editor of The International Herald Tribune. Interviewed by The New York Observer, Vincour is talking about whether the Tribune, now 100%-owned by The New York Times, should keep its name. And he says:

"The Tribune remains an extremely strong brand. It has a certain romance to it. Its prestige has always been a two-headed kind of thing. It had great affection from Americans as an intelligent, honest newspaper. It is seen as a voice of the America that Europeans and Asians admire—not the stupid, close-minded America."

Stupid, closed-minded Americans -- and you know who they are -- could not be reached for comment.

Another Interest Rate Cut

John Berry, the best Fed-watcher on the planet, reports that a rate cut is likely before the end of the year and could happen on November 6th, when the Fed's policy-making committee next meets. Read the rest of Berry's report by clicking here.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Sad News

Paul Wellstone's politics always seemed impossible to me, but boy-oh-boy did he run a great race 12 years ago to defeat the incumbent Rudy Boschwitz (R) and take his place as the Senator from Minnesota. Wellstone worked so hard his legs hurt from walking and his fingers hurt from shaking hands. He was outspent and out-gunned, but people took a shine to him because he just wouldn't quit.

He died today in a plane crash, along with his wife, his daughter and three campaign workers. He was 58 years old.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Bad Press

One reader thinks the media should apologize for its performance over the course of the DC Sniper's reign of terror. He writes:

Will the media apologize to Chief Moose? They ought to in a televised ceremony. The pundits and their 'experts" got it wrong at every turn. They were obnoxious and dismissive of Chief Moose and his efforts. They speculated and conjectured. They talked incessantly about "if' and "maybe" and "what if". They patted themselves on the back for no reason whatsoever. Their arguments to justify their words and actions were pure nonsense. They whined and complained. Their "pyschological experts" were buffoons and morons. I can't recall a lower moment in the history of media coverage of a national event. Now I'm sure they'll turn to giving the media credit for the capture. They will assiduously avoid admitting how wrong they were in the entirety of the coverage.

He's not wrong.

Those of you in search of good blogs for political news should bookmark Real Clear Politics. RCP features links to the day's best columns, all the polls in one place and a good blog to boot. Check it out.

H. Carl McCall To Show

You'll not be surprised to learn that National Democrats, having cleared H.Carl McCall's path to the New York Democratic gubernatorial nomination and having promised him full support in the uphill fight against the incumbent, are now bidding him farewell and telling him that that money they promised him won't be, ah, forthcoming. This message is not being delivered privately to spare Mr. McCall humiliation and public embarrassment. It was delivered yesterday by the Chairman of the DNC to reporters and editors from The New York Times, who helpfully brought it to Mr. McCall's attention by putting it on the front page today. Former President Clinton was called in to administer last rites, lest Mr. McCall not get the message that he is, politically speaking, a corpse.

And speaking of New York, imagine your typical New York State conservative. Put this transcript in front of him or her. And give me one reason, other than party affiliation, why he or she would not vote for Tom Galisano.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Is The DNC Broke?

Here's Tom Edsall's key paragraph on the fund-raising filings:

"The DNC said in a press release it had $14.5 million in cash on hand and "no bank debt." Close examination of the report shows, however, that in terms of coveted hard money, the DNC has $1.52 million in cash on hand and a debt to vendors, not banks, of $4 million. The rest of the cash on hand is in soft money, including nearly $10 million in the headquarters building fund, which cannot be spent on campaigns."

I wonder what the "vendors" thought when they did the math. Let's see: $1.5 million cash on hand. $4 million in vendor debt. Time to call the Repo Man. You can read the entire Edsall story (which is well worth reading) by clicking here.

North Korea, In One Paragraph.

"The government of North Korea holds power by force. All it understands is force, strength and resolve. By acceding to blackmail threats and signing the Framework Agreement, the United States turned a policy based on strength into one based on accommodation, compromise and appeasement." -- James A. Baker, in today's Washington Post

Monday, October 21, 2002

Fruit Loops

Q. What do kids really want?

A. The marshmellows in the Fruit Loops.

QED: James Lileks is back.

As The Future Catches You

My friend Juan Enriquez runs the Life Sciences Project at the Harvard Business School. He may well be the most interesting person I know. He's mini-profiled in the new issue of Fortune. If you haven't read it, buy his book on the impact of genomics on everything.

Gubernatorial Update

1. Here in New York, the only open bet left is whether Democratic gubernatorial nominee Carl McCall finishes second or third. Fred Dicker reports in today's New York Post that a number of political operatives are betting on third.

2. Governor Jeb Bush (R) appears to have stopped the bleeding in Florida. GOP tracking polls show the McBride surge ebbing. The Washington Post reports that Democrats are now rushing additional resources and GOTV (get out the vote) people into the state. That's always a sign of slippage.

3. Texas appears to have firmed up for Governor Rick Perry (R), who now enjoys a comfortable lead in two public polls. More important, his number is at or about 50%, which is, of course, what would be necessary on Election Day.

4. California Governor Gray Davis (D) has convinced everyone in media-politicosphere that he will be re-elected. GOP tracking polls in California, however, show the race between Davis and GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Simon to be within the margin of error. And Davis continues to register the highest unfavorable rating I've ever seen for a "favored" candidate. Most polls show his "unfave" in the mid-40s.

5. The best analysts of Massachusetts politics now view GOP gubernatorial nominee Mitt Romney as a likely loser to State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien. This lends new meaning to the phrase: "only in Massachusetts."

Sunday, October 20, 2002

The Possibility of Democratic Gains

John Judis is a sophisticated political analyst and his piece in the new New Republic is well worth reading. A number of analysts have argued that renewed focus on issues of national security (Iraq/Sniper/Bali/North Korea) enhances GOP prospects, since it creates a context that is inarguably beneficial to GOP candidates. But there are other "contexts" in which this election will be understood and Judis outlines them concisely.