30 March 2007
Fred vs. Obama
Bill Kristol: "In 2008 It's Ronald Reagan vs. Bobby Kennedy"
Definitely some parallels, but Reagan was more ambitious than Fred Thompson; he didn't need to be drafted.
Interesting, if true
Ben Ginsberg -- all around GOP super-lawyer -- writes a memo for Mitt Romney's campaign today:
As you know, Romney for President has raised only primary funds, but the McCain, Giuliani, Clinton and Obama campaigns have raised both. (While there may be some advantages in raising both kinds of money now, know there are also disadvantages – for example, 100 percent of general election monies raised must be returned if the candidate is not the nominee. This means that all the costs of general election fundraising, including fundraisers' commissions and event costs must be paid for with primary funds.)I thought all the campaigns were raising primary and general money right now.
If what Ginsberg says is true -- and I assume it is -- why are campaigns wasting primary funds on raising money for the general? That doesn't make sense to me at all.
Ginsberg also makes the point that was obviously intended to be leaked to the media:
[Also], be aware that some campaigns' totals will include monies raised for the general election. This money will artificially inflate totals, but it is meaningless in gauging current strength since not one penny of a campaign's general election funds can be used in the primary. Reports that don't separate primary and general election contributions will be misleading.
26 March 2007
This blog needs more soccer
Everyone tells me all the time, "Evan, what your blog really lacks is soccer highlights."
Fortunately for you, I aim to please. Landon Donovan's hat trick against a very good Ecuador.
The US Men's National Team plays again on Wednesday at 8pm central time. Ole!
23 March 2007
Today's fun story
One of the things I love about Houston is the culture. Another is the low cost of living.
I get to put those two things together when I get my hair cut. I go to a Mexican lady who doesn't speak much English. And I don't speak too much Spanish, although we both enjoy laughing about it when I do.
There's always useful information for me to learn in there...which taco stand has the best tacos de trompo, for example. Or little tidbits about Mexico's soccer league.
As I was getting my hair cut today, she asks me, "Where are you from?" I give her my story about being a native Texan forced to leave when I was young, coming back for college, etc. She looks pretty uninterested, so I wrap it up. As soon as I do, she says, "You don't have hair like white people." I wasn't sure how to tactfully ask what kind of hair I had, so we danced around that until she figured out what I was getting at. "You have hair like Mexicans." Nope, I'm Dutch, but it seemed like a compliment to me.
Anyway, I love this about Houston. Let's hope they don't put the light rail on Richmond and put her out of business. If only we had a mayor who didn't let crime soar, Houston would be awesome indeed.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation has an interview with House Appropriations Chair Warren Chisum about the budget.
22 March 2007
Which way will he vote?
Michelle Mittelstadt writes for the Chron on the Texas Democrats who are considering voting with a small group of strident liberals who are trying to bring down Pelosi's bill:
Doggett, Sheila!, and...Lampson all considering voting with the uber-liberals in the House.
As the House edges toward a showdown with the White House over Iraq, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has been among the band of Democrats resisting her party's leadership-backed bill setting a fall 2008 deadline for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops.
She's been summoned to a one-on-one meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., lobbied by the party's vote-mustering "whip" organization and dealt with telephone calls from constituents on all sides of the issue.
Several members close to the leadership predicted that Rep. Lloyd Doggett, of Austin, would be the sole Texas Democrat voting against the bill, which many liberals fret doesn't move quickly enough to bring the troops home. Doggett's office offered no comment.
Rep. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, was still weighing his vote. "He is still going to wait until there's firm movement to bring it to the floor and then there's debate, and then to see what happens to that accordingly," said spokesman Bobby Zafarnia.
Wait, I thought Lampson ran as a moderate? I bet he'll end up voting for the leadership's bill. If he votes against the leadership's bill, it'll be interesting to see if he tries to play it as too anti-war. That sounds like something he might do.
It all goes back to the 98 coup
Todd Gillman does Texas' former congressional leaders:
"People retire from Congress and they basically write a book that says, 'I was a true and honest, hardworking, honorable guy and everybody around me was a bunch of slugs,' " Mr. Armey said when asked about [DeLay's] critique.
The DeLay book devotes relatively little space to Mr. Armey and does include some praise. Recounting the genesis of the 10-point "Contract with America" that helped Republicans win in 1994, Mr. DeLay writes that "I believe Dick Armey first proposed it," and added that "I have to give Dick Armey credit" for rounding up GOP support.
There's a deeply unflattering portrayal of Mr. Armey's role in the 1997 effort to depose Mr. Gingrich.
Both Texans had met secretly with rank-and-file members plotting the ouster. Mr. Armey ended up exposing the plot, and Mr. DeLay accuses him of lying by portraying Mr. DeLay's role as more active than it was. In his view, Mr. Armey was angling for the speakership but "few respected Armey" and many "didn't trust him."
Lots of stories have been told about the aborted coup in 98, but I don't think the story has ever been well told.
I remember Maraniss reported that Newt used to threaten Clinton in 95 that if Clinton didn't make a deal with Newt, Clinton would find it more difficult to deal with a Speaker Armey.
21 March 2007
Obama fires Hillary 1984 video creator
The mystery creator of the Orwellian YouTube ad against Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Democratic operative who worked for a digital consulting firm with ties to rival Sen. Barack Obama. Philip de Vellis, a strategist with Blue State Digital, acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press that he was the creator of the video, which portrayed Clinton as a Big Brother figure and urged support for Obama's presidential campaign.
De Vellis said he resigned from the firm on Wednesday after he learned that he was about to be unmasked by the HuffingtonPost.com., a liberal news and opinion Internet site.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Obama campaign said:
"The Obama campaign and its employees had no knowledge and had nothing to do with the creation of the ad. We were notified this evening by a vendor of ours, Blue State Digital, that an employee of the company had been involved in the making of this ad. Blue State Digital has separated ties with this individual and we have been assured he did no work on our campaign's account."
How about a different kind of presidential campaign: one where the candidate doesn't fire people [who aren't even in his campaign!] for coming up with a fantastic and funny clip.
If Obama is so different, I'd have liked to see him reward the guy, even if only with a compliment. I guess he's afraid of being called 'negative' after the recent Geffen dustup.
P joins the navy
W's nephew George P. Bush is joining the Navy Reserves as an intelligence officer.
Bush, 30, said in a telephone interview from his office at a real estate development firm in Fort Worth, Texas, that he was moved to join the service in part when he attended the rainy commissioning in October of the aircraft carrier named for his grandfather -- the USS George H.W. Bush.Perry was the first Aggie governor of Texas. P might be the first Rice Owl governor -- though obviously that's still a ways away. 8 years at least.
"My grandfather's my hero, and what really sold me on the ultimate decision was having the chance to see the CVN-77 be commissioned under his name," he said. "That was pretty moving, and I had a chance to meet some Navy admirals, as well. I had a chance to talk to them briefly about the opportunity, and I was won over."
George Prescott Bush, the oldest son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, said the death of Pat Tillman, the NFL player and Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 in what was later determined to be a friendly-fire incident, "was a wake-up call for me." He said he even "looked into active duty" and had somber conversations with his wife about the possibility.
Bush said he had not intended to announce his plans. "Honestly, I'm kind of a little disappointed that the word got out," he said. "I was hoping to keep this as confidential as possible. I'm not doing it for political purposes or anything along those lines. I'm just doing it because I've been inspired by the friends of mine that have served, either through the JAG (military law) program or through the Reserves. I thought this was a small way that I could get involved."
But good for him. I thought seriously in the past year or so about joining the Army. However, I'd have needed a few waivers just to apply to OCS. I couldn't take the uncertainty of putting so much work into the process, so I declined to pursue it further. I'm jealous.
Citizen K Street
The Washington Post has a pretty interesting series going about former McGovern aide Gerry Cassidy, who helped invent the modern-day congressional appropriations lobbyist.
I guess you can blame him for all the earmarks.
Rove vs. W
The one tid-bit I picked up prior to the lunch, and confirmed at the meeting, is that the president and Karl Rove are competing to see who can read the most books during 2007. For the first six weeks, the President was ahead. But by the beginning of March, Rove had surged ahead to twenty books, to the President's sixteen. Just to make sure that no one cheats, Rove also keeps track of the number of pages and the number of lines per page.I guess Rove just wasn't that busy in the latter half of February.
20 March 2007
Latest SurveyUSA Cornyn and Hutchison poll numbers
Considering that he's only 63/25 among Republicans in this survey, the only place to go is up. Interestingly, the place where he is closest to KBH's number is in Hispanics.*
3/9-3/11. 600 adults (not RVs or LVs), MoE +/- 4.1%
Crosstabs here. Keep in mind that subsamples may lack accuracy.
* That may be an aberration: in the previous SUSA approval poll, the numbers were divergent.
Willie must be happy
Neat; they plan another plant in Texas soon. I wonder how much of their profit is government subsidy. Some friends of mine are grad students working on extracting more diesel out of fats. I think I'll send this to them and see if they have any pithy comments. Anyway, I excerpted quite heavily. Read the whole thing.
Using the slimy, light-colored tallow as the source for clean-burning biodiesel, Biofuels Power Corp. flipped the switch on three, 2,000-horsepower diesel engines a couple of weeks ago, adding a bit more energy to the massive grid that powers much of the Lone Star State.
Privately held Biofuels Power and others in the renewable energy business say the plant is the first of its kind to produce power for sale on the open market using only biodiesel, a petroleum-free alternative fuel made from plant oils like cotton seed and animal fat — in this case, chicken fat.
For now, Biofuels Power's contribution to Texas' energy supply is a mere blip. Its new plant in [The Woodlands] has the capacity to generate 5 megawatts of power. Crimmins said that translates into roughly enough juice to power 3,500 homes, though the number can vary widely depending on the size of the home and the time of day and year.
But the plant doesn't run around the clock; the idea is to create power for times of the day when demand is greatest — and prices are highest. Like other power generators, Biofuels Power uses a registered agent to sell the power on the open market. The price of a kilowatt of electricity can sell for as little 2 cents when demand is low to 65 cents or more at peak times.
Why I'm posting
So the reason I've had time to post these past few days is that I'm sick.
But I think I'm going to suck it up and head into the office tomorrow. There's a free lunch, and I'm a sucker for that.
Of sanctimony and revolving doors
The SAEN/Chronicle's Peggy Fikac wrote up Chris Bell's new career move: DC lobbyist!
I seem to recall Bell relying quite significantly on lobbyistphobia quite frequently during his campaign. I have nothing against lobbyists; most are good people. Chris Bell's holier than thou sanctimony followed by his benefiting from the revolving door? Amusing, but not unexpected.
Imagine that I'd told you in March 2003, that both Tom DeLay and Chris Bell would be out of Congress in 2007 after both had been admonished by the House Ethics Committee. Which one would the media caricature suggest would cash in by becoming a lobbyist?
Related: Chris Elam skewers Bell. I got another hearty laugh about Bell withdrawing from the three-way runoff.
I think I'll keep renting
Tim Harford, in Slate:
English economist Andrew Oswald has shown that across European countries, and across U.S. states, high levels of home ownership are correlated with high levels of unemployment. More conventional factors such as generous welfare benefits or high levels of unionization don't explain unemployment nearly as well as the tendency to own houses. Renting your home and staying flexible do wonders for your chances of always finding an interesting job to do.I haven't read the study, so I can't vouch for it.
Intuitively though, I buy it. Think about how many times you or someone you know didn't pursue a specific job or a different type of career because of home ownership. I can come up with quite a few just among kids my own age.
Of course, encouraging home ownership is one of the most prominent social engineering aspects of the federal tax code.
The Rise of the Realists
WSJ: (sub. req'd)
Realist thinkers, who favor more of a pragmatic rather than ideological approach to foreign policy, are starting to find greater traction after years of being overshadowed by the neoconservatives who have dominated President Bush's administration.
As their star rises, some of those realists have created an informal base at a Texas institution founded and named after another Bush: The George H.W. Bush School of Government and Public Policy at Texas A&M University, named after the father of the current president.
The Bush School plans to establish a foreign-policy institute similar to ones at Johns Hopkins University's School for Advanced International Studies. SAIS hosts a range of think-tank-like institutes, which mix academia with more direct policy influence. More than a dozen of its faculty members serve as advisers to the federal government; this month, Condoleezza Rice -- considered a realist when she became secretary of state -- tapped SAIS Professor Eliot Cohen to help reformulate administration policy in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Bush School's version, called the Brent Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs, will be led by Mr. Scowcroft and offer one-year research fellowships to midcareer military officers and civilian government employees.
Rather fascinating that Poppy Bush is naming a branch of his school after one of the foremost GOP critics of his son, isn't it? Of course, HW is famously loyal to his aides, so perhaps there's that too.
It will be interesting to see if this affects the practice of realism in govt. Democrats have largely shunned realism over the past century, although some congressional Democrats have occasionally made realist-sounding speeches in the past few years. I presume this is mostly oppositional politics. On the other hand, W's administration has clearly shied away from balance of power considerations, at least publically.*
The title of this post is a reference to James Mann's seminal The Rise of the Vulcans. Many of the Vulcans were once considered to be realists.
In any case, it would be a feather in A&M's cap if this institute eventually rivals that of Princeton and Johns Hopkins.
* Some argue that the war in Iraq was a grand balance of power strategy, removing the Saddam/Sunni blocker on Shiite Iran. In practice, it may turn out that way.
Who pays income taxes
I blame those Bush tax cuts.
(Hat tip: WSJ)
19 March 2007
The previews of 300 make it look stupid. There is no way I'll see this movie, I thought to myself months ago on seeing the trailer. But, through a twist of fate, I decided to see it.
Awesome. Perhaps the closest comparison is to Braveheart; only not as realistic, not quite as good, but not as long either.
For a movie based on a graphic novel, 300 takes its themes very seriously. Flawed democracy triumphs over autocracy, liberty trumps authoritarianism, and life ought be lived in pursuit of a purpose. Perhaps the reason why the movie doesn't do even better is that some of the more fanciful elements seem to clash with those themes.
The Iranians have filed complaints at the UN over the movie's treatment of Xerxes. But perhaps that says more about them than it does the movie. Yes, Xerxes was made into a rather fanciful villian, but such is the essence of manichaean good vs. evil storytelling. The fact that Ahmandinejad and his government see themselves as heirs to the Persian Empire trumps the "democracy is good" message for them.
It's scary when Dennis Kunicich looks moderate
So, I knew Obama's voting record in the Illinois state senate was uber-liberal, but I figured he would've at least taken some steps to moderate himself in the last couple years.
Guess not. Steven Thomma, McClatchy: "Obama more liberal than Kucinich, analysis reveals."
Actually, I take that back after clicking through to the National Journal vote rankings. Obama's voting is slightly less liberal than in his Illinois days. But that doesn't really say much when you're hanging with Kucinich.
1984 Hillary YouTube
San Fran Chron (the other Chron) writes up the anti-Hillary 1984 Mac spoof. It's funny, I thought this was already old news, so I was surprised to find out that this is apparently the first media report on the ad made by Barack Obama supporters.
Turns out it was only put up 2 weeks ago, so I guess it's not that old. And it's got about 550,000 views (between different uploads), but some of that is probably from the Chron's article. I think it had about 150,000 when I saw it 10 days ago.
How long until someone takes credit for this ad? It's genius. They might have some potential as a media consultant.
Of transparent trial balloons
For media outlets breathlessly selling the story about how Bill Clinton would play the first lady role should his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, become president, well, just hang on a minute. We hear from key Clintonistas that there's an alternative to having Bubba around all the time, stealing the limelight. It's having Chelsea Clinton, the all-grown-up daughter, take over the East Wing. The scenario: Chelsea would move to the White House to handle social functions because the former president would be too busy with his surrogate work for his wife and his ongoing efforts for his foundation, which he'd probably move to Washington. And to keep out of Hillary's hair, he'd step up his already busy travel schedule out of Washington and the country.
Now here's a transparent trial balloon, put up to assauge the fears of a certain subset of Democratic moneymen that Bill would be a distraction if Hillary were president.
This does not strike me as plausible, but instead a PR move by some clever advisors.
AP, quoting Mayor Giuiliani on how his law firm has been lobbying for Hugo Chavez's Citgo:
Oh, they'll exploit everything. There are things that make sense and things that don't make sense and that doesn't make any sense. It was one of those political attacks where you have nothing to do with it, you're not involved in it and so it doesn't really worry you very much. What they're doing is lawful and honorable and helping to protect jobs for more than 100,000 Americans."
Uh, lobbying for anti-American Hugo Chavez is "honorable?"
18 March 2007
A surprising statement
The Institute for Politics, Democracy/Zogby Interactive poll found nearly two-thirds of Americans believe there is a bias in the media, with 64 percent saying it is liberal and 28 percent saying it's conservative.That logic would suggest that if more people see the media as liberal, and if people see bias when the reporting doesn't reflect their point of view, then the media is indeed left of the political center of this country.
But [a different study] found that people see bias as any reporting that does not reflect their point of view.
Also surprising was the omission that Zogby's poll found that "two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias."
America thinks the media leans left. That's not too surprising, considering that most reporters -- especially at the newspapers that set the narratives of national politics (NYT/WaPo) -- share a remarkably similar set of political beliefs, which tends to be left of center.
Cornyn and White
DMN compiles wire reports:
"We can't have one-size-fits-all," Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., said Thursday. He led a group of House and Senate lawmakers in introducing legislation that would let states opt out of No Child Left Behind requirements without losing federal education money.
Any state that does not adhere to the requirements of the $23 billion program cannot get the federal dollars that come with it. The requirements include annual testing in math and reading in grades three through eight, and once in high school. The tests must show steady yearly progress toward a goal of getting students working on grade level by 2014.
John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mr. Bush's most reliable defender in the Senate, is supporting the conservatives' bill. So is House Republican Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, even though he voted for the law in 2001.
It's quite fascinating to see Cornyn come out for a bill that guts NCLB. I have no inside information, but it is widely assumed that Karl Rove made calls encouraging folks not to challenge Cornyn once he had announced.
I assume -- though I haven't looked it up -- that the "Mr. Bush's most reliable defender in the Senate" is the DMN editors language.
Cornyn has two political weaknesses: 1) he is still unknown to many of the state's voters after 4 full years in the Senate. 2) the Establishment views Cornyn as too close to the President.
I continue to doubt that Democrats will field a serious candidate, however. Bill White might be the best choice, but he really, really needs some time to try to clean up the mess that he's created on crime in Houston. Check Taylor and Carnahan at Professors R Squared:
What peeves both of us is that Jon asked a direct question about HPD staffing (thank you to both Chris Baker and Councilman Michael Berry for inspiration!) when he was one of four academic panelists in a 2003 Mayoral debate… at a time when the issue of HPD retirements and manpower was just starting to heat up and could have been addressed quickly once Mayor Lee Brown blessedly left office to haunt Rice. Our then-future Mayor gave the usual hyperbole about being tough on crime, but essentially ignored the question. Surprised?
Crime has certainly lost some of its potency as an issue. But it will be salient in White's record, and the sort of suburban female swing voters who might swing towards White will be very turned off by his record as mayor. Everyone knew that the Houston Police Department was facing an impending shortage of officers, and yet Bill White did nothing. Houston's sharp rise in crime is directly attributable to Bill White's decisions. Whether he is soft-on-crime or not, the buck stops there.
Defeated CD23 Congressman Henry Bonilla has been appointed ambassador to the Organization of American States.
Sigh. Is Ciro Rodriguez really going to get a free pass? Bonilla would have a reasonably good shot at defeating Rodriguez. He barely* lost during a horrible, horrible environment in a runoff.
I'm disappointed. Bonilla should've picked himself back up, and challenged Rodriguez. He ran a bad race in 06, but there's no reason he couldn't have knocked off Rodriguez with a smart campaign.
*Well, it wasn't that bare: Rodriguez did pick up 54% of the vote.
Curt Schilling blogs
Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has started a blog. So far, his posts are mostly Q&A, but it's pretty interesting Q&A.
I'm not one of Houston's baseball sabermetricians (one should look to Kuff or Tom for that), but I'd have to disagree with Schilling's assertion that he is not a Hall of Famer:
That being said I am not a HOF player. I know this because I’ve played with actual HOF caliber players. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Manny Ramirez, Scott Rolen, Dale Murphy, Cal Ripken. When I think of Hall of Fame I think of guys like that.Intuitively, that doesn't sound right to me. Schilling has been excellent for a long, long time. A quick google search appears to confirm my belief. Here's a list of the top 10 RSAA guys in the post-expansion era, as of April 2005:
1. Roger Clemens 645Apparently, the sabermetricians are talking about this.
2. Greg Maddux 553
3. Randy Johnson 511
4. Pedro Martinez 477
5. Tom Seaver 361
6. Bert Blyleven 344
7. Curt Schilling 327
8. Kevin Brown 321
9. Jim Palmer 316
10. Tom Glavine 294
Once upon a time, I dated a girl who lived in Curt Schilling's neighborhood. He had a nice house, but nothing ostentatious. One thing always amused me, though: he frequently flew a baseball flag out front.
Bob Perry backs Romney
WaPo's Cilizza reports that Houston homebuilder Bob Perry has decided to back Mitt Romney.
Bob Perry, a Houston home builder, is named as a member of Romney's Texas Leadership Team in an invite for a fundraising event in Dallas on March 26.
Perry really should've kept his powder dry in anticipation of a Fred Thompson candidacy.
Greg Abbott's future
Selby checks in on AG Greg Abbott's political future:
Abbott, 49, was a candidate for lieutenant governor for several months in 2001 before the attorney general's job opened. There's talk of him trying afresh if Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst seeks another post.
Friends say Abbott, a former state district judge, even enjoys the scut work of politics many officeholders abhor.
Dallas lawyer Deborah Hankinson served on the Texas Supreme Court with Abbott, who was appointed to the court by Gov. George W. Bush in 1995.
"I didn't like raising money," she said. "He likes doing that. He enjoys the strategizing, the campaigning, the fundraising. . . . every aspect. Greg enjoyed every day, whether he was going to be out doing politics or he was going to be working at the court."
Royal Masset, a Republican consultant mindful of Abbott's zest, rates him the GOP favorite to succeed Dewhurst if Perry sets off the political dominoes. Abbott is better known than State Comptroller Susan Combs, Masset said, and hails from Houston, a strong Republican base.
That jockeying in the 2002 cycle was interesting. For a few weeks there, it looked like we were going to get a few Republican primaries for the first real time in Texas politics. But then Phil Gramm retired. Dewhurst had the Senate seat locked up until his indecision prompted Cornyn to declare and scare everyone out of the field. Then the dominoes cascaded the way they did.
Although I didn't quote it, Selby also brings up several (three?) times the freak accident that left Abbott paralyzed. Abbott must've been in a reflective mood when Selby interviewed him.
Kudos to Selby for not using the hackneyed AG/Aspiring Governor. I like to read the occasional story without that in there.
14 March 2007
I put a post up earlier tonight, which was apparently eaten.
Here's the synopsis: blogging not a priority recently, not paying as much attention to politics (so as to remind me how the median voter thinks), and I've been busy on the job search.
02 March 2007
Draft Fred: Successful?
Fox News is reporting that former Tenn. Sen. Fred Thompson is "seriously considering" entering the race. Yay. Draft Fred Thompson.
I've always thought it's a longshot to happen, mostly because he is supposedly such good friends with McCain. But Thompson would really be the perfect presidential candidate.
UPDATE: Charles Krauthammer, Fred Barnes, and Mort Kondracke all unanimously panned Thompson's entry. Krauthammer didn't like the idea that he'd come straight from a TV show, and Kondracke claims his record as Govt. Affairs Chairman was negligible.
I think they're entirely missing the appeal of Thompson and why he's electable.
The media does CPAC
I always love it when the media covers CPAC. That's the Conservative Political Action Conference, for those of you who aren't junkies. The coverage is generally amusing. No less so this year.
Start with the headline on this Julie Mason Chron article: Far right feeling left out. Assuredly Ms. Mason didn't write that, but even so, it's a standard old media paradigm that Republican primary voters are "the far right." Unless it's Hillary speaking, in which case it's "the vast right-wing conspiracy." Yeah, there's some nuts at CPAC, but there are way more normal Americans.
Leading American conservatives are fed up with President Bush and the Republican establishment, and they don't give a toss for the party's 2008 presidential front-runners, either.
At this year's Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual, three-day gathering of the far right and its leaders, the mood is feisty and disgusted — but not just at Hillary Clinton, this time.
"We as conservatives need new leaders," Richard Viguerie, the conservative father of political direct mail told hundreds of cheering conservatives in a Washington ballroom. "Just because the Republican Party has a death wish doesn't mean we have to go down with them."
A little context on Viguerie would be nice. Viguerie is a gadfly who breathlessly exclaims time and time again how all Republican officeholders are sell outs. The quote Mason uses could have been given in any of the last 25 years. Seriously. I think it took him all of a year during the Reagan Administration for him to start screaming about Reagan selling out.
Anyway, old media is mostly just recycling the ledes from last year's CPAC. 10 seconds of research found me this headline/lede on a Nina Easton story in the Boston Globe a year ago:
A WRATHFUL RIGHT TURNS ON BUSH/The Republican family feud was laid bare in public last week at the Conservative Political Action Committee's annual confab. CPAC activists are a notoriously cranky bunch, quick to pounce on politician friends who stray toward the center. But this year the spears aimed at George W. Bush were especially sharp.
One last bit from Mason's article:
Funny, I seem to recall people saying that about Italians, Irish, etc, etc.
"We cannot afford to let Mexico turn us into a two-language nation," [Phyllis Schafly] said, as her audience roared approval and banged on tables in support.
The greatness of America is its ability to assimilate immigrant groups and social mobility. Culture is not static, but dynamic. That's a good thing.
Still, I'd say Schafly is much more representative of CPACers than Viguerie. And hey, was Paul Weyrich unavailable to give Ms. Mason a quote?