The Beltway Bandit

An online journal of politics, culture, and sports

Friday, November 05, 2004

TODAY'S MUST-READ -- It's Daniel Gross at Slate on the chronic fiscal irresponsibility [and unreality] of the Bush administration and Republican Congress. It's pretty close to perfect and it's got a great title: "Why Democrats Should Be Grateful." A title like that has got to pique your interest. Now go read it.

LETTER FROM MICHAEL MOORE -- He's got a 17-point plan for why progressives should not slit their wrists. My favorite is #4:
In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans still think the country is headed in the wrong direction (56%), think the war wasn't worth fighting (51%), and don’t approve of the job George W. Bush is doing (52%). (Note to foreigners: Don't try to figure this one out. It's an American thing, like Pop Tarts.)
But it's all good. Read it.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

HUNGRY FOR ESCAPE -- Hungary is getting the hell out of Iraq. Another "coalition" partner down.

BUSINESS AS USUAL -- Anyone who naively believed the Bush administration would reverse its four years of reckless deficit spending should probably stop reading right now.
The Bush administration announced Wednesday that it will run out of maneuvering room to manage the government's massive borrowing needs in two weeks, putting more pressure on Congress to raise the debt ceiling when it convenes for a special post-election session.

Treasury Department officials announced that they will be able to conduct a scheduled series of debt auctions next week to raise $51 billion. However, an auction of four-week Treasury bills due to be completed on Nov. 18 will have to be postponed unless Congress acts before then to raise the debt ceiling.

"Due to debt limit constraints, we currently do not have the capacity to settle our four-week bill auction scheduled to settle on Nov. 18," Timothy Bitsberger, acting assistant Treasury secretary for financial markets, said in a statement.

Congress is scheduled to return for a lame-duck session beginning on Nov. 16 to deal with the debt ceiling, an omnibus spending plan for the rest of this budget year and other matters.

The Republican-controlled Congress put off dealing with the debt ceiling before adjourning in October, preferring not to force members to vote on the politically sensitive issue of adding to the national debt before the November elections.

The government hit the current debt ceiling of $7.384 trillion on Oct. 14, forcing Treasury to begin a series of bookkeeping maneuvers to keep financing the government's normal operations without breaching the debt ceiling. But Treasury Secretary John Snow has warned that those special measures would last only until mid-November.

The Treasury Department's actions have included reducing the amount of debt in government trust funds to free up room for further borrowing from the public. The nonpublic debt is then replaced in the trust funds once the debt ceiling is increased along with any lost interest payments.

Republicans have proposed that the debt ceiling be raised by $690 billion to $8.074 trillion, an amount that would get the government through next September, when the 2005 budget year ends.

The need to raise the debt ceiling reflects the record budget deficits of the past two years. The deficit for the 2004 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, was an all-time high of $413 billion, surpassing the old mark, in dollar terms, of $377 billion in 2003.
That's the first act of Mr Bush's second term. Good news, eh?

TOUGH WEEK -- Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards, has breast cancer. This is sad news, indeed, and I wish this truly wonderful woman a speedy recovery.

TOUGH WEEK -- Elizabeth Edwards, wife of John Edwards, has breast cancer. I wish this truly wonderful woman a speedy recovery.

ONWARD, SOLDIER -- Atrios is correct, post-mortem recriminations are a waste of time and--worse--only turn important elements of the party against each other. We need to pick ourselves up, dust off, and get back to work. There's nothing else for it. Don't be a political narcissist. Be a political warrior.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

RESULTS -- Looks like I was too optimistic earlier today. So far it appears to be a big night for the Republicans in the Senate, House, and possibly the White House, as well.

BUCKEYES: GOOD NEWS -- The GOP is filled with "volunteers" who desperately want to keep African-Americans from voting in this election and lawyers who craft legal arguments to enable this fraud to take place. Fortunately, the Democrats also have lawyers and we might have won something in Ohio.
An order by U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott of Cincinnati found that the application of Ohio's statute allowing challengers at polling places was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge John Adams of Akron said poll workers are the ones to determine if voters are eligible.

"In light of these extraordinary circumstances, and the contentious nature of the imminent election, the court cannot and must not turn a blind eye to the substantial likelihood that significant harm will result not only to voters, but also to the voting process itself, if appointed challengers are permitted at the polls," Adams said.

The ruling says people appointed as challengers cannot be at the polls for the sole purpose of challenging voters' qualifications.

Republicans said Adams' ruling would allow them to still be in the polling places. In that case, challengers would plan "to observe, to be vigilant, to take notes," Weaver said.

But Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's office sent a memo to county election boards Monday telling them to bar all challengers from polling places, based on the two rulings. Adams' office refused to clarify the ruling.
The GOP will appeal this, of course. They wrote their arguments in favor of voter intimidation and electoral fraud some weeks ago. They know they can't win this election, they can only steal it. They won't give up.

TWO MEN AMERICA NEEDS RIGHT NOW -- John and Bruce.

ON THE RECORD -- Well, it is election day and time for me to make a prediction. I'm going against the grain, partly because it is more fun to do so. I'll give Kerry 50% of the vote to 48% for Mr Bush. This will translate to a Kerry victory in the electoral college by a margin of 312-226. Ohio and Florida will go for Kerry, despite widespread electoral fraud. Kerry will also win New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Iowa. Bush will win New Mexico, Colorado and West Virginia. No decent prediction is complete without an upset pick, so I'll go with Kerry to squeak out a win in Arkansas, against all expectations. There you go. Here's my rundown of the states:

For Kerry
Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine (all EVs), Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.

For Bush
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Monday, November 01, 2004

NEW ZOGBY POLL -- has Bush at 48% and Kerry at 47 percent. In Zogby's subscriber-only website there is more, but I thought I'd share a few bits of his wisdom with you.
The President’s overall job performance has moved up a point to 47% approve and his disapproval rating has held at 53%.
...
The right direction percentage drops one point and is now 45% while wrong direction holds steady for the third night in a row at 47%.
...
Mr. Bush’s re-elect numbers drop a point to 46% with time for someone new remaining at 50%.
...
Razor thin margin here, if there is one at all. The President still does not get above 48%. The real news here is that 18-29 year olds favor Kerry 64% to 35%, with 1% for Nader—and 0% undecided. When I see a low undecided number it means that group is going to vote. I am factoring this group to be 12% of the total vote -- but it could be higher. Each point it goes higher translates into two-thirds of a percent for Kerry -- if these numbers hold up.
For whatever it is worth.

BACK TO POSTING -- Future in-laws were in town over the weekend. Wonderful people, couldn't be luckier to have them. Did cut into blogging a bit, though. Now I'm back. You'll just have to learn to live with it.