The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Saturday, February 07, 2004

WA CAUCUS UPDATE -- The voting continues, but the early returns look very good for John Kerry. Nothing from Michigan, but anything other than a big John Kerry victory there would be a huge surprise.

EDWARDS SOUNDS LIKE DEAN NOW -- John Edwards says his campaign does not need to win Tennessee, Virginia, or Wisconsin. Umm, okay, John. How do you win the nomination without winning primaries? Whenever a candidate talks not about winning but about finishing respectably in a state he actually does need to win, you know he senses trouble.

KERRY TOPS EVERYONE...AGAIN -- Think John Kerry is doing well now? You don't know the half of it my friend. According to a new Newsweek poll, Kerry is running ahead of not only all his Dem challengers, but also the Idiot Prince himself.
President George W. Bush's approval rating has slipped to 48 percent, the lowest level since February 2001, according to the Newsweek poll. Fifty percent of registered voters say they would not like to see Bush re-elected to a second term (45% say they would). And if the election were held today, Democratic frontrunner Sen. John Kerry would win over Bush by 50 percent to 45 percent among registered voters. However Bush would have clear wins over Democratic contenders Sen. John Edwards (49% to 44%), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (50% to 44%) and retired General Wesley Clark (51% to 43%).

Sen. Kerry has also strengthened his lead among Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters in the race for the Democratic nomination. Kerry places first in the field with 48 percent, while Dean, his closest rival, follows with 13 percent (last week Kerry led with 45% to Dean's 14%). Edwards is in third place with 10 percent, followed by Clark with nine percent (an improvement of four points for Clark who last week received 5%). Almost two-thirds (65%) of
Democrats and Democratic-leaners say Kerry is their first or second choice, followed by Dean (32%) and Edwards (31%).
Just keep doing what you're doing, John--only better. Keeping ignoring your Dem rivals, keep focusing your attention and your attacks on the White House. And keep running.

GOOD NEWS FROM N. CAROLINA -- And the good news is that Democrat Erskine Bowles is leading his Republican opponent 45%-40% in a new Research 2000 poll. Bowles was defeated by the well-funded Libby Dole [R-NC] campaign in 2002 and now he is trying to keep John Edwards' seat in the hands of the good guys.

KERRY LEADS IN VIRGINIA -- John Kerry leads his Democratic rivals in the upcoming Virginia primary, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll. Kerry commands the support of 34% of Virginians polled, with John Edwards in second place at 25% and General Wesley Clark in third with 14 percent. Howard Dean lags behind with 8% and has given up on the state.

Friday, February 06, 2004

POLLS HERE! GET 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT! -- The Badger Poll of the University of Wisconsin looks like this:

Kerry -- 35%
Clark -- 11%
Edwards -- 9%
Dean -- 8%

According to the Stuart Elway poll Washington looks like this:

Kerry -- 40%
Dean -- 13%
Edwards -- 11%
Clark -- 8%
NOTE: Washington holds a caucus and those are notoriously difficult to poll accurately. Remember Iowa.

According to the EPIC/MRA poll Michigan looks like this:

Kerry -- 62%
Dean -- 13%
Edwards -- 11%
Clark -- 5%

John Kerry is also heavily favored in the Maine caucus, which will be held this Sunday, a day after the contests in Michigan and Washington. If all goes according to plan, John Kerry will sweep all three contests this weekend, pick up a big chunk of delegates, and make it plain as the nose on your face that the race, for all intents and purposes, is over.

Thanks to Daily Kos for the tip.

GEPHARDT ENDORSES KERRY -- While Edwards and Clark sling mud at each other.

ANDY BOROWITZ IS FUNNY -- But hopefully not accurate. At least in this case.

WAR HERO v. AWOL -- I believe the big issue bubbling just beneath the surface right now is what George W Bush was doing when he should have been doing his duty in the Texas Air National Guard. There is a 12-18 month absence that Bush has not accounted for. Al Gore couldn't bring it up sufficiently in the 2000 elections because of his own respectable, but less-than-glorious term as an Army hack during Vietnam. However, John Kerry's heroic Vietnam exploits are becoming increasingly familiar to Americans and it allows him to make this an issue in the campaign.
Sen. John Kerry has touched a raw nerve at the White House, hinting he will not shy away from making a campaign issue of President Bush's military service during the Vietnam War.

Kerry's deft handling of this matter is one reason Democratic voters are finding him to be the more skilled candidate to run against Bush.

Answering news media questions during a campaign stop in Tucson on Feb. 1, the Massachusetts Democrat gingerly opened the way to debating a one-year gap in the public record of Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.

"I don't know what the facts are with respect to the president's service," the decorated veteran said on a Tucson tarmac. "I know issues were raised previously. It's not up to me to talk about them or question them at this point. . . . It's up to the president and the military to answer those questions."

At first glance, this statement might seem bland and evasive. But notice how he drives the story forward without risking a backlash. He makes no accusations, but in the end he puts the ball squarely in Bush's court, saying it is "up to the president" to resolve the matter.

When directly asked if he would make a campaign issue of Bush's military service, Kerry kept his options open. "I don't know yet," he said. "I haven't made up my mind."

Kerry's cautious comments were enough to mobilize Bush campaign operatives who were already seething about ham-fisted comments from other Democratic leaders.
...
While these questions were raised in the 2000 campaign, Bush's military service was not relevant to voters in peace time. Now that he has sent American soldiers to their deaths, Bush faces a political land mine if he cannot prove he fulfilled his own military obligations.

Instead of providing information to clear up the questions, the Bush campaign deployed surrogates to go on television talk shows and attack Democrats for maligning the National Guard as a whole.

Republican attacks focused on McAuliffe instead of Kerry because the front-runner for the Democratic nomination gave them no incendiary words to target.

Kerry is uniquely positioned to make this issue stick. His war record is a strength that has rallied Vietnam veterans to his side and provided much of the boost to victory in early primary states.
...
If Kerry becomes the Democratic nominee, his military service could be decisive in the general election campaign. It was a turning point in Iowa.
...
Kerry is rallying Vietnam veterans to a degree not seen since the war was fought. Veterans are proving to be his campaign's most dedicated volunteers. None of this would matter if the nation were not at war. But this election promises to be as focused on foreign policy as any in modern history.
As the author notes, the Bush campaign could have squashed this story by now if it had produced records to substantiate Mr Bush's repeated claims that he was never AWOL. They have not done so, however. Perhaps they will, but it is hard to understand what they are waiting for. If they cannot prove Mr Bush is telling the truth, then this issue will become huge during the campaign and John Kerry can use it to his great advantage. National Guardsmen are dying almost every day in Iraq. If John Kerry cannot use this issue against George W Bush then Kerry does not deserve to be President.

Happily, I think John Kerry can and will use this issue against Bush. It's going to be the War Hero against the AWOL Coward in the Fall. I like my chances with the War Hero.

LIKE SKIING DOWNHILL -- A new Associated Press poll brings bad news for Mr Bush and good news for the human race.
President Bush's public support dropped sharply over the past month, especially among older voters, political independents and people in the Midwest, an Associated Press poll found.

And for the first time, more voters in this poll's two years of tracking the question said they would definitely vote against Bush than said they would definitely vote for him.

Bush's approval rating stood at 47 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll taken in early February, down from 56 percent approval just a month ago. Half, or 50 percent, said they disapproved in the latest poll.

The poll findings marked a difficult month for Bush, as public attention focused on the Democratic presidential primary and the Democrats' daily bashing of the incumbent. The survey came at a time when the public is nervous about the economy and the chief adviser to the administration on Iraqi weapons, David Kay, said last month "we were almost all wrong" about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Bush's 47 percent approval rating is the same as his father's at this stage in his presidency 12 years ago before he lost to Bill Clinton.

Just under four in 10, 37 percent, said they would definitely vote to re-elect Bush as president, while 43 percent said they would definitely vote for someone else, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. Another 18 percent said they would consider voting for someone else.
We're coming to get you, George!

Thursday, February 05, 2004

PLAME PROBE MOVES CLOSER TO CHENEY -- The Justice Department criminal probe moved closer to Dick Cheney, as two of his top hatchet men fell under direct suspicion for illegally revealing the name of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative, to six U.S. journalists.
Federal law-enforcement officials said that they have developed hard evidence of possible criminal misconduct by two employees of Vice President Dick Cheney's office related to the unlawful exposure of a CIA officer's identity last year. The investigation, which is continuing, could lead to indictments, a Justice Department official said.

According to these sources, John Hannah and Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, were the two Cheney employees. "We believe that Hannah was the major player in this," one federal law-enforcement officer said. Calls to the vice president's office were not returned, nor did Hannah and Libby return calls.

The strategy of the FBI is to make clear to Hannah "that he faces a real possibility of doing jail time" as a way to pressure him to name superiors, one federal law-enforcement official said.
They're coming to get you, Dick. Of all the many sleazy tricks employed by this most dishonest of administrations, trying to punish Ambassador Wilson for telling the truth by destroying the career of his wife was one of the lowest. May all those involved be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

DEAN ADMITS THE BLOODY OBVIOUS -- Win Wisconsin or get out.

KERRY AIN'T NO MAX CLELAND -- All patriotic Americans revere Max Cleland for his great sacrifices for his country. He went to Vietnam and fought bravely there, coming back with just one arm and no legs. Nevertheless, he went on to become Veterans Affairs Administrator during the Carter term and then a Democratic Senator from Georgia. Max was defeated in 2002 by a White House-picked Republican named Saxby Chambliss, who questioned Cleland's committment to defend America and compared him to Osama Bin Laden. Chambliss, it should be noted, missed out on Vietnam because he had a "trick knee."

Doubters of John Kerry often point to Max Cleland as evidence that Kerry's heroic military record won't save him in a general election against George W Bush. Well, it won't win the election for Kerry, that's for sure, but it will help. What's more, although John Kerry often travels with the great Max Cleland, he is, in fact, a far superior candidate than Cleland is. That's why, Johnathon Cohn of The New Republic explains, Kerry's campaign will not be a repeat of the Cleland campaign.

Essentially, the unique circumstances of the political scene in 2002, combined with Georgia's vast conservatism and Cleland's ineptness as a candidate, combined to give Saxby Chambliss the victory. But as Cohn points out, Bush is no longer nearly as popular as he was in 2002, war fever has turned against the White House, and John Kerry is a much better debater and campaigner than Max Cleland. Read the entire thing, it's worth it.

HAVING IT BOTH WAYS -- Defenders of the Bush admin have been clinging to David Kay's testimony to Congress, in which Mr Kay admitted that Iraq had no WMD and probably had had none for years. However, Kay went on to blame the intelligence community for this and not the Bush administration. But isn't David Kay trying to have it both ways?
Many experts are puzzled by Kay's exoneration of the Bush administration. "Kay is trying to have it both ways," says critic Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "He's trying to honestly report what he found and still support the administration's case that it was right to go to war." Some have even questioned the motives of Kay, who in the last four years has given political contributions to both President Bush and the Republican National Committee.

What has been lost in this recent round of finger-pointing is just how much dissent there was inside the intelligence community. Perhaps the most pivotal document was the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq's weapons in October 2002. The report, produced in record time, was significantly more conclusive than previous assessments, asserting that Saddam possessed chemical and biological weapons and had probably resumed building nuclear weapons. But the shifts weren't based on new data. "The intelligence community, for the most part, talked about estimates and judgments, rather than solid evidence," says Greg Thielmann, who retired as acting director of the nonproliferation office in the State Department's Intelligence and Research Bureau as the NIE was being drafted. That office and the Energy Department, in fact, vigorously disputed the NIE's conclusion that Iraq had restarted its nuclear program. In all, there were some 40 different caveats and dissents included in the NIE, according to a study by the Carnegie Endowment.

Such nuances were rarely raised publicly by the Bush administration. As late as September, a Defense Intelligence Agency report noted that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing or stockpiling chemical weapons." Yet the previous month, Vice President Cheney left little room for uncertainty: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction." Insiders describe many forms of subtle pressure that the administration applied to analysts. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld even created a special Pentagon office to scrutinize raw data to find evidence to boost the case for war. "Flawed intelligence is just part of the question," says a top U.S. official. "In the midst of this intelligence failure, you had people spinning everything they could to make it even worse."
Kay was hired to find WMD in Iraq. He could not do that and to his credit, acknowledges it. However, he was not hired to find out what pressure the Bush admin put on the intelligence community to hype the non-existent WMD threat from Iraq. He didn't investigate that matter and so his comments on it are without substance. Kay got one thing right, but on the other thing, he's talking out of both sides of his mouth.

THEY LIED AND PEOPLE DIED -- Jay Bookman of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution knows the truth about the Bush administration's shameful massaging of intelligence to get the answers it wanted from a reluctant intelligence community and here he writes about it.
Once again, though, the "realists" at the CIA posed a problem. They knew that no such link existed, and they naively thought their job was to be honest about what they knew. So, CIA Director George Tenet told Congress that it was highly unlikely that Saddam would ever give WMD to terrorists, and CIA analysts confirmed that Saddam and bin Laden were far from allies and, in fact, hated and distrusted each other.

That was true, but back then, the administration was more interested in fear than truth. It began a campaign to force the CIA to toe the company line, a campaign focused in the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office. Pressure was exerted in private, including visits by Cheney to cross-examine analysts at CIA headquarters. It took place in public, as well, as mouthpieces in the conservative press attacked the CIA as Saddam-loving apologists. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld even created a whole new intelligence office to reinterpret evidence "overlooked" by the fools at CIA.

Inevitably, the agency gave in, with surrender coming in the form of a letter from Tenet that grudgingly allowed for the possibility of a bin Laden-Saddam link. That was all the administration needed. "Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans -- this time armed by Saddam," President Bush said in his 2003 State of the Union address. "It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known."

A similar sequence of events can be traced involving Iraq's nuclear program. The CIA's honest assessment was that "Iraq has probably continued at least low-level theoretical R&D associated with its nuclear program," but little more.

Again, postwar analysis has confirmed the accuracy of that claim, but again, the administration didn't want accuracy. It wanted scary. It cowed the CIA and other agencies into silence, allowing Cheney, Bush and others to warn that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear program, had sought to buy uranium, had tried to acquire ways to enrich that uranium. None of that was true, but it served its purpose.

Looking back, then, the real scandal is not what the CIA got wrong. The real outrage is how much it got right, but was muzzled from telling us.
Welll written, Mr Bookman. That's exactly what happened. The only question now is what will be done about it.

PEACE IN THE VALLEY? -- Donkey Rising notes that the DLC, which objected to Al Gore's populism and Howard Dean's populism and Dick Gephardt's populism, appears to have no trouble at all with John Kerry's populism or John Edwards' populism. [Maybe it just sounds better coming out of the mouth of a guy named John.] What this means, DR thinks, is that we will have a more unified Democatic party in the Fall and peace in our valley.

Here's to that.

LIES UPON LIES UPON LIES UPON... -- CIA chief George Tenet spoke to Georgetown University today and defended the CIA and, to a lesser extent, the Bush administration from charges of incompetence and intelligence-tampering. However, Tenet also said the CIA never told the White House or anyone else that Iraq was an "imminent" threat. However, that does not gibe with what the White House told the nation and the world.
"This is about imminent threat."
• White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03

"Absolutely."
• White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03

"Well, of course he is.”
• White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett responding to the question “is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?”, 1/26/03

"This man poses a much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined."
• President Bush, 9/26/02

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

"Some have argued that the nuclear threat from Iraq is not imminent - that Saddam is at least 5-7 years away from having nuclear weapons. I would not be so certain. And we should be just as concerned about the immediate threat from biological weapons. Iraq has these weapons."
• Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/18/02

"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency."
• President Bush, 10/2/02

"There's a grave threat in Iraq. There just is."
• President Bush, 10/2/02

"There is real threat, in my judgment, a real and dangerous threat to American in Iraq in the form of Saddam Hussein."
• President Bush, 10/28/02

"The Iraqi regime is a serious and growing threat to peace."
• President Bush, 10/16/02

"There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists."
• President Bush, 10/7/02

Iraq was "the most dangerous threat of our time."
• White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 7/17/03
More coming on this? Oh, yeah. A lot more coming. A lot more.

PICK-UP IN ALASKA? -- Democrat Tony Knowles has a slim, but growing lead over incumbent Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski in the state of Alaska, according to a new KTUU TV poll. The really good news is that Knowles leads by 25 points among self-described political moderates. If Knowles can win not only would this be a valuable pick-up for the Democrats in the Senate, but it would hopefully put an end to the awful Murkowski political dynasty in Alaska. [Barbara inherited the job from her father, Frank Murkowski.]

AMERICA GOES NUTSO OVER BREASTS -- Sweet Jeebus, we can be such a childish country.

THIS IS MY MAN! -- The Bush election campaign has decided on its John Kerry strategy: Paint him as another "Massachusetts Liberal"--Dukakis Part Two. The Kerry campaign has an answer for that:
"Their tired old G.O.P. attack dog just won't hunt," Mr. Wade said, adding that Republicans would be running against "a Democrat who fought for his country in war, put criminals behind bars as a prosecutor, stood up for balanced budgets in the Senate," and "kept faith with America's veterans."

Another Kerry adviser was more blunt. "This is not the Dukakis campaign," the adviser said. "We're not going to take it. And if they're going to come at us with stuff, whatever that stuff may be, if it goes to a place where the '88 campaign did, then everything is on the table. Everything."
That's the sort of Democrat we need. It's not enough to be the better man, you have to be the tougher man. Kerry's entire campaign has been based around demonstrating he's not just smart and qualified--but he's tough, too. I don't care what they tell pollsters, Americans want their Presidents to have some killer in them. They want someone who can be a sonofabitch when he needs to be. The GOP is going to learn that John Kerry ain't yer father's liberal. This one fights back. Hard.

WHY DOES HE DO THIS? -- Howard Dean is off the reservation again and signing checks his campaign can't cash.
Confident of victory, Kerry opted not to advertise in the weekend states, though he will travel to them. Dean had no choice; he is short on money and is saving his resources for Wisconsin. And yet, to the dismay of his senior advisers, Dean raised expectations Wednesday.

"We are going to win the Washington caucuses," he said in Seattle.

One top adviser to the former Vermont governor, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Dean will regret the remark when he loses. Another aide, when told of Dean's comment, wrote it off as an example of his boss' lack of discipline.
Why does this guy do this to his supporters? They believe what he says as if it were the Gospels themselves. All he is doing is breaking their hearts and feeding their conspiracy theories. [It goes like this: Howard said we would win. We didn't win. He couldn't have been wrong, so someone must have conspired to steal the election from us.]

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

COMING APART AT THE SEAMS -- The growing scandal over bad intelligence and intelligence abuse related to the non-existent Iraqi WMD has the administration at war with itself. Consider this, for example:
Senior officials yesterday revealed new details of how Cheney's office pressed Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to use large amounts of disputed intelligence in a February 2003 presentation to the U.N. Security Council that laid out the U.S. case for an invasion.

A senior administration official said that during a three-day pre-speech review, Powell rejected more than half of a 45-page assessment on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction compiled by Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, and based on materials assembled by pro-invasion hard-liners in the Pentagon and the White House.

Powell also jettisoned 75 percent of a separate report on al-Qaeda, said the official.

Still, he said, Libby continued pressing Powell unsuccessfully right up until a few minutes before the speech to include dubious information purportedly linking Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Despite Powell's refusal to use this material in his speech, much of what he did present from a number of different intelligence agencies turned out to be incorrect.
I guarantee you those senior officials ratting out Cheney and Scooter Libby include Colin Powell or Richard Armitage or both. Both Powell and Armitage know they will not be around after the next election, no matter who wins, and would like to salvage a few scraps of their reputation before all this is through. [Though Powell may find that very difficult.]

We've seen this sort of thing before. Just as it gets really bad members of the administration start outing each other in the press via thinly-veiled leaks. There is a war going on between Cheney's office and the Pentagon civilian chickenhawks on one side and the diplomats in Foggy Bottom on the other side. And just wait until the CIA gets back into the act. They've been on hiatus for several months after burning the White House over the Valerie Plame affair, but Karl Rove's efforts to lay the entire blame for the WMD scandal off on the CIA will meet a ferocious response out of Langley, I suspect.

AWOL OR NOT? -- Phil Carter at Intel Dump knows how to get to the bottom of it. Go read.

DEAN SPENT $7000 ON CHOCOLATES -- No, I'm not joking.

WHITHER DEANIACS? -- Salon has an interesting article on what the Deaniacs will do when/if their candidate does not win the Democratic nomination for President. The bad news is that some [as I know well from personal experience] will not follow the Dems to November. The good news is that the vast majority of them will.

COMING OUT SWINGING -- On the NBC Today show this morning, DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe was challenged on the issue of George W. Bush's Excellent AWOL Year by host Katie Couric. To McAuliffe's credit, he refused to back down and repeated the accusation against Mr Bush.
MS. COURIC: This Sunday you said, and I quote, "I look forward to that debate when John Kerry is standing next to George Bush, a man who was AWOL from the Alabama National Guard."

MR. MCAULIFFE: Right.

MS. COURIC: This statement, as you well know, has caused considerable controversy. RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie told CNN that you've become, quote, "the John Wilkes Booth of presidential character assassination." Why did you make that comment? And what evidence do you have?

MR. MCAULIFFE: Well, first of all, it was a response to a broad- side attack that I had been asked that was against John Kerry by Ed Gillespie at the RNC meeting. There are legitimate questions about the president's service. He did not show up when he should have shown up in the Alabama National Guard.

So if he didn't meet the basic requirements -- you know, we have guardsmen today who are a magnificent part of our military who are fighting in Iraq. They showed up. They did their duty. They're in Iraq today. How about, Katie, if they said, "Well, you know what? I don't want to show up right now when the Iraq is going on. I'll show up six months from now." You don't have those options.

These are legitimate questions. And when you attack our candidates and when you attack our nominee down the road, we will vigorously fight back. We're not going to let the Republicans do to us what they did to Al Gore through the campaign, what they did to Max Cleland down in Georgia, a triple-amputee.

MS. COURIC: So is this going to be a major campaign issue? Because I know John Kerry was asked on Monday if that was the case and he said, "I haven't made up my mind."

MR. MCAULIFFE: I think it all depends what the Republicans do. If they, like Republicans did the other day, attacking John Kerry on national security, let me tell you, everything will be on the table.

Clearly George Bush's record, George Bush's tenure as president, that will all be items for discussion. The facts are what they are. He didn't show up. Call it whatever you want. There are guardsmen who are a great part of our military today. He didn't do it.

MS. COURIC: Terry, the White House spokesman, Scott McLellan, said, "The president fulfilled his duty. The president was honorably discharged. It's a shame that this issue was brought up four years ago during the campaign, and it's a shame that it's being brought up again." Might this backfire on the Democrats?

MR. MCAULIFFE: I don't know how it's going to backfire. I mean, if the president of the United States wants to go out and have his people attack our candidates on patriotism, we are going to fight back. I don't know who the nominee of the party will be, but you can be assured that the Democratic nominee for president will make sure that Americans will feel safe here and abroad.
That's good work. McAuliffe acknowledges that when Mr Gillespie launched his "I honor John Kerry's Vietnam Service But Let Me Tell You Why He's A Filthy Traitor Who Should be Burnt At The Stake" speech last week, the Democrats made a calculated decision to attack Mr Bush on the issue head-on. It's brilliant strategy and despite the best efforts of people like Peter Jennings and Katie Couric, it is starting to gain some currency in the mainstream media.

Keep it up.

THIS GUY IS FREAKING NUTS -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld just told Congress that Saddam Hussein might have had WMD, but it has not been found yet. My favorite part:
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and other Democrats on the committee reminded Rumsfeld that in September 2002 he said "we know" where weapons of mass destruction are stored in Iraq.

Explaining that remark, Rumsfeld told the panel that he was referring to suspected weapons sites, but he acknowledged that he had made it sound like he was talking about actual weapons.

The remark "probably turned out not to be what one would have preferred, in retrospect," he said.
Rotten bastard.

THE TRIUMPH OF POLITICS -- Late last month the Christian Science Monitor had a good interview with U.S. Comptroller General David Walker on the subject of fiscal responsibility. His answers are revealing.
On a new book quoting Vice President Cheney as saying budget deficits don't matter:

"I don't know what he was talking about. I can only speculate that he was talking more from a political standpoint than an economic and policy standpoint because Vice President Cheney is obviously a very bright person, he's got a lot of experience, and I am sure that he knows that they do matter from an economic and policy standpoint."
Well, that's just the point, isn't it? This administration has never made economic policy decisions based on what it thought was sound. All its domestic policy decisions [and a good chunk of its foreign policy decisions, too] are made with political calculations uppermost on the mind of decisionmakers.

FOR A DECENT CONGRESS -- A new Rasmussen poll has the public favoring a Democratic Congress over a Republican one 44%-37%. Modestly good news, but all good news is welcome.

HERE'S THE REAL DEAL -- John Kerry won five of seven contests last night, leaving him the victor in seven of the nine contests in the primary season thus far. He won the two biggest delegate prizes of the night--Missouri and Arizona--by large margins. He won at least 50% of the vote three times, in North Dakota, Delaware, and Missouri. He won on the east coast [Delaware] and in the southwest [Arizona and New Mexico]. He was the only candidate to win delegates in each state. He finished third only once [Oklahoma] and nowhere got less than 27% of the vote [Oklahoma]. No other candidate in the race can even come close to matching that accomplishment.

And the week isn't over yet. On Saturday Washington and Michigan will go to the polls. John Kerry is heavily favored in Michigan and enjoys a huge lead there. I have not see poll results from Washington yet, but my strong hunch is that Kerry is favored there, too. If Kerry does, in fact, win both contests, that would leave him at seven of nine for the week and nine of eleven for the primary season. It would also allow him to claim the lion's share of delegates in the four biggest prizes thus far--Missouri, Arizona, Washington, and the biggest of all, Michigan.

It would not be accurate to say the race is over at that point, but it would be accurate to say the window of opportunity for the other candidates is very, very small indeed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

PUNK NATIONAL REVIEW -- I'm sure most of us have read those phony-sounding letters to National Review Online in which some dyed-in-the-wool liberal proclaims he/she will now vote for George W Bush because the Demmycrats are just too darn wimpy to defend us from Islamo-fascism. And, like me, I'm sure you've often suspected the vast majority of those letters to be utter confection. Well, here's your chance to get in on the fun and punk the National Review. This is a good cause, people. Get in on it.

SOUTH CAROLINA DEMS: ENERGIZED & ANGRY -- Tapped reports that today's South Carolina primary will not only attract a record number of voters, it will double the participation rate of the state's last competitive Democratic primary, in 1992. Well done, South Carolina Democrats! Energy means victory.

GET THE GUY THAT WINS -- The American Prospect has an interesting column on why John Kerry will win Arizona today. It's funny and illuminating. Have a look.

RIGHT WING THUGS -- A pharmacist/moral bully denied the morning after "abortion" pill to a rape victim. Via Atrios.

ANDREW SULLIVAN IS FOR HOWARD DEAN -- I rest my case.

AN ERA COMES TO AN END -- I mean the Era of Jomentum, of course. Joe Lieberman now says he will abandon his presidential bid if he fails to win a single primary today. He will fail to win a single primary today, so expect a departure speech tomorrow--or even tonight if he's feeling impatient.

EARLY EXIT POLLS -- Here they are:
South Carolina: Edwards 44, Kerry 30, Sharpton 10
Oklahoma: Edwards 31, Kerry 29, Clark 28
Missouri: Kerry 52, Edwards 23, Dean 10
Delaware: Kerry 47, Dean 14, Lieberman 11, Edwards 11
Arizona: Kerry 46, Clark 24, Dean 13
This should make John Kerry very happy, John Edwards pretty happy, and everyone else quite glum. Of course, these are just exit polls and we saw how inaccurate those were in New Hampshire. The night has not yet begun.

GOOD NEWS IN THE CHOICE WAR -- Anti-choice activists in the Commonwealth of Virginia were dealt a setback when a federal judge struck down Virginia's ban on a type of late-term abortion Monday, saying the law violated privacy rights and failed to make an exception for the health of the woman.
U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams called the ban on what opponents call partial-birth abortion "impermissibly void for vagueness."

The judge blocked the law last July, the day it went into effect, calling it a "no-brain case." He also has challenged the use of the term "partial birth infanticide" by the law's backers, saying it was an attempt to alarm the public.

Virginia's law outlawed a procedure generally performed in the second or third trimester in which a fetus is partially delivered before being killed.
There are laws banning so-called partial birth abortions in most states of the country, but a number of those laws have been struck down by the courts as being vague [the intention is to ban all or nearly all abortions] or making no exception for the life of the mother [thereby elevating the fetus to the legal equivalent of a human being.]

KERRY TO BUSH: COME CLEAN -- Campaigning in New Mexico before the state's primary today, John Kerry said George W. Bush's Vietnam war record--or lack thereof--is something that needs to be settled by Mr Bush himself.
''It's not up to me to talk about them or to question them at this point,'' Kerry said of the accusations. ''I don't even know what the facts are. But I think it's up to the president and the military to answer those questions.''
...
Yet two prominent Democrats with ties to Kerry -- Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe and former senator and Vietnam veteran Max Cleland -- have ratcheted up their attacks on Bush's military record, with McAuliffe saying on television Sunday that Bush had been ''AWOL'' at times during his guard service. Cleland, speaking at a veterans' rally with Kerry on Friday, said the nation should not have a president ''who didn't even complete his tour stateside in the guard.'' Kerry said yesterday he did not ask allies to attack Bush on his military record.
Whatever Senator Kerry is saying now, this will be an issue in the November elections. The Democrats finally have a candidate with a heroic war record that can be effectively compared to Mr Bush's relative cowardice. This issue is one of the things which makes Kerry seem so attractive to Democratic primary voters, who are tired of being bashed as being less than patriotic.

MY PREDICTIONS FOR TONIGHT

ARIZONA
John Kerry: 40%
Wesley Clark: 29%
Howard Dean: 12%
John Edwards: 9%
Joe Lieberman: 8%
Dennis Kucinich: 1%
Al Sharpton: 1%

DELAWARE
John Kerry: 39%
Joe Lieberman: 21%
Howard Dean: 13%
Wesley Clark: 12%
John Edwards: 10%
Dennis Kucinich: 1%
Al Sharpton: 1%

MISSOURI
John Kerry: 50%
John Edwards: 24%
Howard Dean: 9%
Wesley Clark: 8%
Joe Lieberman: 5%
Al Sharpton: 3%
Dennis Kucinich: 1%

NEW MEXICO
John Kerry: 44%
Wesley Clark: 21%
Howard Dean: 17%
John Edwards: 10%
Joe Lieberman: 6%
Dennis Kucinich: 2%
Al Sharpton: 0%

NORTH DAKOTA
John Kerry: 51%
Wesley Clar: 26%
Howard Dean: 11%
Joe Lieberman: 7%
John Edwards: 5%
Al Sharpton: 0%
Dennis Kucinich: 0%

OKLAHOMA
John Kerry: 31%
Wesley Clark: 29%
John Edwards: 23%
Howard Dean: 8%
Joe Lieberman: 8%
Al Sharpton: 1%
Dennis Kucinich: 0%

SOUTH CAROLINA
John Edwards: 34%
John Kerry: 30%
Wesley Clark: 12%
Al Sharpton: 11%
Howard Dean: 10%
Joe Lieberman: 3%
Dennis Kucinich: 0%

KERRY RUNNING AWAY WITH MICHIGAN -- A new Detroit News poll gives John Kerry a commanding 56% support in the February 7 Michigan primary, 43 points ahead of second-place Howard Dean. No one else is in double figures. If those numbers held Kerry would get all the delegates from Michigan to the Democratic convention.

TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT LIES

FINAL ZOGBY TRACKING POLLS -- Pollster John Zogby's final February 3 tracking polls are online and there is plenty of good news for the Kerry camp.

South Carolina
John Kerry trails native son John Edwards by four points here, so a victory for our side is possible. A strong second showing is almost a certainty. The top two candidates could very well be the only ones to come out of this state with any delegates, which would be nice.

Oklahoma
Wesley Clark is clinging to a two-point lead over John Kerry here, with John Edwards just three points behind Kerry. Obviously then, anything could happen, even an Edwards victory. A Kerry victory is very possible here, but he will probably finish at least second and win another batch of delegates. Only the top three candidates are likely to leave Oklahoma with any delegates.

Missouri
John Kerry is poised for a huge win here, according to Zogby [and just about everyone else]. Zogby has Kerry with 56% of the vote, almost 40 percentage points higher than John Edwards, who is in second place. Only Kerry and Edwards will leave Missouri, the day's biggest prize, with any delegates. Kerry will get most of them.

Arizona
Zogby gives Kerry a "commanding" lead of 13 points over Wesley Clark here. Dean is at 15% in this poll, which is about even with most other polls of Arizona I've seen. In other words, this is one of two states [the other being New Mexico] where Dean could get some delegates. He won't get many. Probably just one or two.

Zogby does not have polls of New Mexico, North Dakota, or Delaware. Other polls I've seen indicate Kerry is poised for big wins in North Dakota [maybe more than 50% of the vote] and Delaware. New Mexico could be closer, but Kerry had a big lead in yesterday's Albuquerque Journal poll and was doing very well with Hispanics, who comprise 40% of the electorate in that state.

POLITICAL HUMOR -- Tis the season for it. Here's my fave: "Today is Groundhog Day. President Bush saw his shadow and it was John Kerry."

LIES, DAMN LIES, AND BUSH'S BUDGET -- From those communists at BusinessWeek.

Monday, February 02, 2004

TWO MORE UNIONS BACK KERRY -- Still two more unions endorsed John Kerry today, one from the private sector and one from the public sector.
The National Treasury Employees Union, which represents about 150,000 workers in 29 government agencies, said it was endorsing Kerry because of his steadfast support for federal employees.

The Sheet Metal Workers International Association, which represents about 150,000 skilled craftspersons in the unionized sheet metal industry, also formally endorsed the Massachusetts senator. The union’s general president, Michael Sullivan, said SMWIA volunteers plan to work phone banks, distribute literature and canvas door-to-door for Kerry across the country.

Added to his other organized labor endorsements, Kerry now has the support of unions representing more than 1.3 million workers.
More labor unions too clever to jump aboard the over-hyped campaigns of Howard Dean or Dick Gephardt. Maybe that makes them smarter.

ANOTHER POLL PUTS KERRY OVER BUSH -- A new CNN poll featuring a hypothetical [though increasingly likely] matchup between John Kerry and George W Bush has John Kerry with a 53%-46% advantage, the only Democrat currently running ahead in that poll. Approval numbers for Bush continue to fall, now down to 49%, the lowest he has ever been in the CNN poll. Among Democrats, John Kerry is the overwhelming first choice to be the party's nominee in the Fall.

KERRY ON TOP IN NEW MEXICO -- John Kerry is on the stump in the Land of Enchantment today and a new poll from the Albuquerque Journal brings him fresh good news. Kerry leads all Democrats in the poll with support from 31% of eligible voters. Undecided is in second place with 27% and General Clark and Howard Dean are virtually tied for third place with 14% and 15% respectively.
"John Kerry has literally skyrocketed to the top over the past two weeks," said Brian Sanderoff, president of Research and Polling Inc. in Albuquerque, which conducted the Journal survey.

"Kerry has come from the middle of the pack and now has a comfortable lead in New Mexico," Sanderoff said.
In Iowa and New Hampshire John Kerry did very well at the last minute among undecideds. If those trends continue in New Mexico we should be able to look forward to a strong victory for John Kerry on Tuesday.

THE WHITE HOUSE WEASEL -- If you were disgusted by the weasel-words uttered by George W Bush about the lack of Iraqi WMD during his State of the Union speech then you were not the only one.
Dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities. That string of words, which President Bush lifted from weapons inspector David Kay's interim report, was written by a lawyer or somebody who's been drinking with lawyers. The phrase is headed straight for the Weasel-Word Hall of Fame. "Here, ladies and gentlemen, we have President Clinton's 'it depends on what is is.' Now, if you'll just follow me, right over here we have 'dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.' If you'd care to vote for which is the weaselier, we have butterfly ballots available."

Note to weasel-wording speechwriters: If something wouldn't have been scary before the war, it won't justify invasion after the war. Picture President Bush addressing the American people to make his case for invading Iraq. "We know for a fact," he says solemnly, "that Saddam has dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities."

Sitting in front of the TVs, would people at home scream, "Oh, no! Not the dreaded dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities. Save us, President Bush!"?

Of course they wouldn't, particularly if they knew that more than 500 soldiers would die. Viewers would have said, "Call us when the dozens of weapons of mass-destruction related program activities look like they might turn into a weapon of mass destruction."
He seems rather annoyed. I suspect more and more Americans are starting to think as the author does. Mounting budget deficits, looming cuts in environmental and energy spending, a weak and jobless recovery, Osama still running loose and Iraq in flames all combine to make for a very dicey re-election picture for Mr Bush.

KERRY CLOSE IN SOUTH CAROLINA? -- According to a new CBS News poll John Edwards leads John Kerry by just four pecentage points, 28% to 24%, in South Carolina. Kerry has ticked up a bit in the poll, taking support from Wesley Clark and Howard Dean, who are both down somewhat in the poll and might not win any delegates in the state on Tuesday.

JUST LIKE HIS DADDY -- Right wing columnist Robert Novak seems worried that George W Bush is headed for a one term presidency. He should be worried.

IS BUSH A DESERTER? -- Eric Alterman knows it does not hurt to ask.

FINGERS IN THE COOKIE JAR...AGAIN -- Halliburton, Dick Cheney's old firm, has been accused of overcharging the U.S. government for meals at a Kuwait military base to the tune of $16 million.

Halliburton is a subsidiary of Kellogg, Brown & Root, a close ally of the Bush White House and huge contributor to Mr Bush's political campaigns.
Last month KBR reimbursed the Pentagon $6.3 million after disclosing that two employees had taken substantial kickbacks from a Kuwaiti subcontractor in return for work providing services to U.S. troops in Iraq.
It's government by scoundrels and thieves.

MORE WORKERS FOR KERRY -- The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has
endorsed John Kerry for President.
“John Kerry has long been a champion for working people,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “He has a history of fighting for working families and a plan that will help bring economic fairness to workers throughout the U.S. We need somebody who can win in November and put America back on the right course.”

The RWDSU members work in a wide variety of industries ranging from food processing to retail to manufacturing to service and health care. The union represents poultry workers in the south, supermarket workers in New York, dairy workers in the Mid West, soft drink bottlers in New England, and government employees in New Jersey.
Let's' give these unions a bit of credit. They hung back and did not follow the big service unions in endorsing Howard Dean or the big industrial unions in endorsing Dick Gephardt. They saw the weaknesses in both candidates and waited for the true master to emerge. That's John Kerry and they're now aboard the Real Deal Express.

SPITZER FOR KERRY -- Eliot Spitzer, the famous Attorney General of New York, who has become the scourge of Wall Street crooks, has endorsed John Kerry for President.
"With his long record of standing up for all Americans against special interests, John Kerry is the best candidate for President,” said Attorney General Spitzer. “He and I have fought together against the violation of clean air laws and to resolve the mutual fund scandal and other corporate wrongdoings. I know that he will help small investors and consumers. John Kerry has a real plan to end the era of special interests and I am convinced he is the man to take back the White House from President Bush and his corporate allies.”
Spitzer himself is probably a future governor of New York, if he decides to seek the job. He's given New Yorkers another example of his good sense by endorsing John Kerry well before the New York primary.

FARM WORKERS FOR KERRY -- The United Farm Workers, founded by the legendary Cesar Chavez, has endorsed John Kerry for President.
"The United Farm Workers proudly supports John Kerry for President because he shares our vision of helping Latinos and all people achieve the decent life America promises those who work hard for a living,” said UFW President Arturo S. Rodriguez. “John Kerry has a long history with the UFW. He participated in the grape boycott during the mid-1970s and has been with us ever since. We are confident that once in the White House, John Kerry will build an America that truly acts on behalf of working people across the country.”
More words of wisdom from people fighting on the front lines for better wages and better lives for American workers. They've placed their trust in John Kerry and I know they won't be let down.

WAR HERO v. AWOL -- Military credentials will be on the voter's minds this election year and as Eleanor Clift of Newsweek writes, it's an issue George W Bush cannot win as long as John Kerry is the Democrat he's facing.
Boston Globe reporter Walter Robinson did an exhaustive study of Bush's military service, which was published in May 2000. Robinson concluded that during Bush's final 18 months in the Texas Air National Guard in 1972 and 1973, he did not fly at all and was "all but unaccounted for," with no records to indicate that he attended any of the required drills. Bush was working for a Senate campaign in Alabama for part of the time, and was supposed to appear for duty there, but never did. After the November '72 election, Bush returned to Houston, but he was a no-show there, as well.

Under the rules at the time, guardsmen who miss duty were supposed to be reported and could then be drafted. Seven months after Bush returned to Houston, two of his commanding officers filed a report noting that Bush had not been "observed" at his unit during the previous 12 months. That evidently shocked Bush into performing. Over the next three months, from May to July 1973, he spent 36 days on Guard duty, for which he was rewarded with an early discharge to attend Harvard Business School.

In his new book, "American Dynasty," author Kevin Phillips traces three generations of Bushes and the web of favoritism and influence that perpetuates the line. Phillips says it was against Navy regulations in 1942 to place 18-year-old George H.W. Bush in flight training, but the rules were bent for the son of Sen. Prescott Bush. The Los Angeles Times found a similar bending of the rules 26 years later, Phillips writes. George W. didn't qualify for either a direct commission or flight training, but he received both when he jumped several waiting lists for a coveted spot in the Texas Air National Guard.

Bush senior was a member of Congress at the time, and, according to Phillips, had a friend speak to Texas Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes about young George. Barnes in turn contacted the commander of the Texas Air National Guard, who greased the way. Direct commissions were generally reserved for doctors because the military needed flight surgeons, and expensive flight instruction was not normally given to somebody like Bush, who didn't score well on the aptitude test for pilots and who had shown no professional commitment to flying. According to Phillips, it was arranged for Bush to train on F-102 fighters, dated aircraft being phased out of service—added insurance that Bush would not go to Vietnam.

In fairness, Bush has been candid about why he enlisted in the Air National Guard. Like many young men of his generation, he wanted to avoid Vietnam. He told one reporter, "I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."

He has not been candid about his absences from the Guard. After the Boston Globe story broke in 2000, Bush said through a spokesman that he has "some recollection" of attending drills during the time period in question, but conceded that he was not consistent. Records unearthed by the Globe showed that Bush was removed from flight status in August 1972 for failing to take his annual flight physical. Bush aides said he didn't take the physical because his personal physician was in Houston, and he was in Alabama working on a political campaign. But that explanation didn't hold up because flight physicals must be administered by certified Air Force flight surgeons, and Bush easily could have found one at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., where he was living.
Contrast that dismal war record with John Kerry:
John Kerry volunteered for service in the Navy during the Vietnam War, where he served as skipper of a swift boat that patrolled the Mekong Delta. Lt. Kerry was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Combat V, three Purple Hearts, the Presidential Unit Citation for Extraordinary Heroism, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, three Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medals, and the Combat Action Ribbon. He is a cofounder of the Vietnam Veterans of America and a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Americans love courage, especially physical courage. I'm sure John Kerry cannot wait to have voters consider his real-life heroics in Vietnam and compare them to the smirking Idiot Prince strutting about the flight deck of an aircraft carrier thousands of miles from the action [again] and proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" when thousands of Americans were still to be wounded and killed in Iraq.

As John Kerry says: Bring it on!

MICHIGAN IS FOR KERRY -- John Kerry picked up key endorsements in a big upcoming primary state [February 7] as Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, Rep. Sander Levin [D-Mich] got behind his campaign for president.
"John Kerry understands what the people of Michigan know - that the country must focus on keeping and creating jobs and on strengthening the things that matter most to us," Granholm said.
Kerry already holds a solid lead in Michigan and this should ensure another great victory for him.

BUSH DEFICITS EXPLODE! -- Faced with gigantic budget deficits as far as the eye can see, George W Bush's new budget has plenty of new money for the Pentagon, but dozens of domestic programs will face cuts. Even that may not be enough to satisfy deficit hawks in both parties, who accuse the Bush White House of dishonestly trying to hide the true size of the deficit.
Boxed in by a record $521 billion deficit, President Bush will propose a $2.4 trillion election-year budget on Monday that will cut dozens of government programs and set deficit-reduction goals that even fellow Republicans are skeptical he can meet.

Bush has seen a dramatic deterioration in the nation's budget picture since a record surplus was reported in 2000. He hopes to improve his fiscal image before the November presidential election by promising to reduce the deficit by one-third by 2005 and by more than half within five years.

But fiscal conservatives in both parties have doubts Bush can deliver. He will leave out of his fiscal 2005 budget the tens of billions of dollars that will almost certainly be needed next year to keep U.S. troops in Iraq, as well as a costly tax system overhaul that Republicans and Democrats say will soon become politically imperative to keep taxes from rising on the nation's middle class.

In line with Bush's election-year priorities, homeland security and the military will be the budget's biggest winners. Defense contractors including Lockheed Martin Corp., Boeing Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., Raytheon Co. and General Dynamics Corp. stand to benefit as Bush's $401.7 billion military budget sharply increases spending on missile defense and on modernizing the Army.

The biggest losers will be environmental, agricultural and energy programs. Facing the prospects of a revolt by fiscal conservatives
...
Fiscal conservatives accused the White House of relying on gimmicks, like stretching the definition of homeland security to sidestep its own spending limits.

Congressional aides and budget analysts say keeping troops in Iraq and Afghanistan could add $40 billion or more to the 2005 deficit.

And according to the Republican appropriators who divvy up federal funds each year, even a complete freeze in the spending targeted by Bush would cut the deficit by only a "minimal" $3 billion.

Some conservatives are already pushing Bush to make even deeper cutbacks after the White House acknowledged its newly enacted prescription drug plan would cost one-third more than the administration had advertised two months ago.

Government spending under Bush has grown at the fastest pace since the Johnson administration of the mid-1960s, conservatives complain.
This should be an interesting and entertaining show. It provides the Democrats with the opportunity to outflank Mr Bush as deficit hawks and accurately portray his administration as irresponsible, feckless, and following borrow-and-spend policies which will unload a mountain of debt burden on the country in the years to come. Meanwhile, Mr Bush faces a growing revolt in his own party over his irresponsible spending. Enjoy the show.

KERRY LEADS DEMS, BUSH -- According to a new Quinnipiac poll John Kerry leads all Democratic candidates with the support of 42% of Democrats nationwide and he leads George W Bush in a head-to-head matchup 51-42 percent.

KERRY TOPS MOST POLLS -- According to a raft of brand new Zogby polls John Kerry is poised to win at least five of the seven states holding primaries on Tuesday. North Dakota, Delaware, Arizona, Missouri, and New Mexico should all be won by Kerry, according to the polls. John Edwards leads in South Carolina, with John Kerry close in second place. Wesley Clark is leading in Oklahoma, with John Kerry again close in second place. Kerry should easily win delegates in all seven states. Howard Dean's only chance to win any delegates on Tuesday is in Arizona, but in the latest Zogby poll he was at 12%--below the 15% threshold needed to win a delegate.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

IRAQ EXPLODES -- Suicide bombers killed and wounded up to 200 people today in Iraq. The targets were the offices of Kurdish political parties and some key Kurdish officials are dead. If you thought this sort of thing was not supposed to happen after Saddam's capture...well, that'll teach you to believe the Bush administration's propaganda.