Conservatives dithering about whether they can find an ideologically perfect presidential candidate suitable for drubbing by Hillary or Barak ought to consider the onle viable alternative to that option: actually winning.
In case you haven't heard, the picture in the video below- which appears to show a man sitting on the surface of Mars, checking his watch- is real. It was released by NASA only a couple of days ago. From the wording of the press release, NASA thinks it looks like a woman.
The "person" of whatever gender is really a rock (no, not The Rock), and is actually only a couple of inches high.
I suspect from the music that the maker of the video below suspects that it might be Rocky Balboa, but Stallone is a great deal taller.
Still, I expect Bryan, the president of my astronomy club, to be absolutely enthralled with that two inch-high rock.
I learned a few days ago that Evangeline Plum Hemingway's mom, Lutheran journalist M.Z. Hemingway, has given this outcome for the Republican presidential race at least some whimsical thought.
I think it unlikely that, having failed to make much of a dent in the primaries, Fred Thompson will have the party breaking down his door to be a compromise candidate in the event of a brokered convention- an eventuality I am apparently in the minority for seeing as less and less likely, if John McCain continues to do as well as he's doing in places like California and New York, for example.
Still, it's easy to see a scenario in which a Reagan coalition on the verge of collapse could go in search of a unifier. A candidate who had already failed in the primaries would probably be badly wounded by that fact in November. Otherwise, Fred would do.
Any other ideas, people- somebody, perhaps, who could keep the coalition together and maybe even have a run at winning, but who hasn't tak…
With only five days to go until the pivotal Florida primary, the last five polls- taken essentially over the same time period- show the following results: McCain by three points, McCain by two points, Romney by five points, Romney by five points, and McCain by five points.
Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani- who probably has to win in Florida to remain viable- is respectively three, ten, five, six, three, and five points behind the leader in these polls, trailing by an RCP average of three points.
Mike Huckabee trails badly, and Ron Paul is in single digits.
An honorable, thoughtful man with a bothersome streak of apparent disorganization and laziness, it wasn't simply his failure to develop adequate "fire in the belly" in the last two weeks that doomed his chances. A series of gaffes in discussing matters relating to abortion, euthanasia and other life issues seemed to show that he was either not conversant with the state of the debate, or hadn't thought matters through well enough to display philosophical consistency in his positions on closely related life issues.
I've admired Fred Thompson ever since the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle, when he was a frequent guest on news programs, putting whining Democrats in their place after their party's attempt to steal Florida and the presidency was foiled by the U.S. Supreme Court. That debating style would have served him well if he'd been truly engaged in the campaign he ended today from the outset. A…
I was eleven years old at the time, but I remember Ab MacDonald's winning goal like it was yesterday.
The Blackhawks' last Stanley Cup is ancient history, of course. Since that night, the Hawks have gone longer than any other team without hoisting The Mug. But I just found these highlights from the Sixth Game of the 1961 Finals- and that night was one of the highlights of my life.
The Hawks' last appearance in the Finals, BTW, was in 1992.
Though I preferred Chicago Hope when the two shows originally debuted, I've always been a fan of ER. Somehow, through the years, the changing cast has managed to keep my interest.
Last night, ER had a remarkable episode. Part of the story involved an intramural hockey game between two squads of ER docs from County General- including Neela (!) who does double-duty as first a hotshot center and an emergency goalie. As a life-long, second generation hockey fan, I really enjoyed that part of the plot- despite the predictable outcome (everybody ending up as ER patients when Neela gets tired of Morris's trash talking, jumps him- and a brawl ensues).
But the main dramatic thrust of the episode concerned Dr. Robert Truman, a physician dying of cancer who was trying to atone for a career spent administering lethal injections to condemned prisoners at Statesville. It seems that he botched an injection, requiring a second dose of the chemicals. This one worked- but evidence later was disco…
Anybody still want to argue that the surge hasn't worked?
ADDENDUM: Here Steve Huntley of the Chicago Sun-Times wonders where all the cheering is over the increasingly indisputable fact that we've turned the corner in Iraq, and that even the political situation there is looking up.
Huntley's explanation for why Iraq's politicians are suddenly getting religion: the prospect of Hillary Clinton being President of the United States scares them to death.
In which they have a great deal of company, including yours truly.
Well, John McCain's lead in the polls twenty-four hours before South Carolinians vote is an RCP average of 4.2%. The two most recent polls show him, respectively, tied with Mitt Romney and seven points ahead of him.
There's no indication of a trend toward anyone else. My prediction: it'll be McCain, but probably not by a whole lot. That will set him up quite nicely for Florida on Jan. 29- where he's also leading. There, his chief competition is Rudy Giuliani.
You remember him.
I have no doubt that Mitt Romney will win the Nevada Caucuses tomorrow- but that the day's big winner will be perceived, quite rightly, as McCain, who will have scored in Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson's home territory.
People usually think that Iowans are overstating things when they speak of the seat of the University of Iowa as "the People's Republic of Iowa City." But every once in an while, something happens that demonstrates just how extreme and distorted things get out there.
Donna Holman is 72, and an anti-abortion activist who until recently did sidewalk counseling at Planned Parenthood's Iowa City abortion clinic. She and her husband, it should be said, tend to be somewhat extreme in their rhetoric, and are unpopular even in Johnston County's pro-life movement. In any case, she was arrested after some of the women using the Planned Parenthood facility protested that she was harassing them.
Thing is, the whole incident was filmed- and no harassment is visible. Furthermore, when the case came to court, the complainants didn't show up.
Case dismissed, right? Wrong.
Johnston County Magistrate Karen Egerton found her guilty on the basis of the hearsay testimony of Planned P…
One of the things that makes me most uncomfortable about what is commonly called the Christian Right is its utter inability to see the distinction between common decency based on God's witness to Himself in creation, and dogma based on His self-revelation in Scripture and, ultimately, in Christ.
Each have their separate purposes and realms. In Lutheran circles, we refer to these as the "Two Kingdoms."
God is the Ruler of both- although they have different purposes, and function in entirely different ways. These are not- as I keep hearing Reformed Christians, Catholics, and even certain Lutherans mistakenly insist- church and state. They are rather the realm of law- of rules and punishments and consequences- and of grace- of totally self-giving and unconditional love and forgiveness.
As Christians, we- only we- live in that second of the two "kingdoms," usually referred to as the Kingdom of the Right Hand. But we also live in the Kingdom of the Left Hand, even as C…
Here is a superb rebuke from Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle to Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Hugh Hewitt, and all those who miss the point that John McCain is the closest thing to a soul mate they might conceivably see elected president this year- along with a salutary warning about consequences to the very things they believe involved in ignoring that fact.
Sorry, but I don't see it. Granted, Thompson almost has to either win or at least stage a strong race to remain more than a hypothetical compromise choice at St. Paul in September. But two days before the vote, McCain's numbers in South Carolina look like bad news for both Fred and for Mike Huckabee- and, in a different way, for Mitt Romney.
Romney, however, ought to score his third victory that same day in Nevada- though a McCain upset isn't entirely out of the question.
All right, Mitt Romney's victory in the state where he grew up yesterday was the only one he's been able to manage anywhere. And OK, the Chameleon Candidate had to morphed from his usual guise as a social conservative into his more natural color as an economic troubleshooter in order to do it. And yes, there was a certain amount of demagoguery in holding out hope to unemployed Michigan auto workers that jobs in their industry which have long since gone overseas are going to come back any time soon. Nobody ever said that Mitt Romney doesn't know how to pander.
But he still beat the national leader, John McCain, by nine points in a major state. Although it remains far too early to matter much, he further increased his lead in the delegate count. And most important, he saved his own candidacy.
As one of the three candidates who have won big races so far, Romney remains a major player. More than that, his delegate lead- early as it is- even makes it possible to make a shaky c…
It's an interesting aspect of the current race for the Democratic nomination for president that neither of the leading candidates is qualified to hold that office.
Yes, that's what I said. It's rather obvious, really, that an absentee U.S. senator who has spent more time running for president than attending to the public business during the less than one full term he's spent in national office lacks anything resembling the background necessary for the job. Barack Obama certainly didn't learn about foreign policy and national security as a member of the Illinois General Assembly, where he's spent most of his public career. But what isn't nearly as apparent is that Hillary Clinton's resume isn't that much more impressive.
Her "35 years of experience" includes- law school! I suppose time spent as an activist counts- though on that score even Obama's credentials are more impressive than Hillary's. But any number of ceremonial visits to c…
The result tonight will depend upon the size of the independent vote. The more of them vote, the better for McCain. Since there is no contested race on the Democratic side, independents and even Democrats may vote in unusually large numbers.
With ambivalent polling results indicating possible movement going Mitt Romney's way in Michigan, tomorrow's Michigan primary assumes all the more importance. Especially combined with a victory tomorrow, a national lead the size of McCain's forecasts sweeping victories on "Tsunami Tuesday," Feb. 5.
McCain might or might not upset Huckabee in South Carolina this coming Saturday (a performance which in itself would probably put yet another nail in the coffin of the Fred Thompson candidacy). The same would seem to be true in the volatile Nevada caucus on the same day. But a victory over Romney in Michigan (Huckabee seems to have fallen out of the picture) would simply add to the momentum McCain achieved by winning decisively in New Hampshire,probably …
The polls seem to have broken Mitt Romney's way in Michigan over the weekend, It still looks extremely close, but there strikes me as being an excellent chance that Romney will pull this one out and keep his candidacy alive- thereby confusing the already confused GOP presidential race even further.
After the surprising (and perhaps questionable) CNN poll yesterday that showed him opening up a 13-point lead nationally he leads the pack nationally in the RCP average by four percent. And remember: the national polls are probably the best indication of how a candidate is likely to do on Tsunami Tuesday, Feb. 5.
In an article here, Dick Morris and Ellen McGann explain why McCain is the man to beat for the GOP nomination. They may be right in saying that the fib that McCain is pro-amnesty has been repeated so often that it will be hard to fight against. But I think they're also right in recognizing that the American people- including, reluctantly, most conservative Republicans- know deep down that we can't simply deport 11 million people- it isn't…
Here is the debunking of another common Paulista fantasy mentioned at my precinct caucus last week- the "North American Union," which supposedly will result from the merger of the United States, Canada, and Mexico- unless alert American patriots stop it! ;)
Bill Richardson, arguably the best qualified of the Democratic presidential contenders and the first major Hispanic candidate for the White House, has just announced his withdrawal from the race.
Richardson- who, of all the Democratic candidates, should have known better- disappointed me by demagoging the Iraq issue. Withdrawing to our troops to neightoring countries at the moment when the tide has finally turned isn't a grownup proposal, much less a smart move. Still, I'll remember the Richardson campaign for the best commercials of the Iowa caucus season- a humorous series in which he was given a hard time trying to get through a series of job interviews for the presidency because he was supposedly overqualified for the job.
With his political career on the line in Michigan next week, Mitt Romney is pulling all of his ads in South Carolina and Florida, and pouring all available resources into a last stand in Great Lakes country.
If Mike Huckabee or John McCain wins in Michigan, you can stick the proverbial fork in Mitt.
While it's far too early for it to mean anything, Real Clear Politics has become keeping track of the committed delegates each presidential candidate has.
The Republican count is here; the Democrats are here.
At the moment, the GOP count looks like this:
The Democratic count looks like this: Clinton 183
You can get a good idea of how far along in the process we are by reflecting that some 1,191 delegate votes are needed to win the Republican nomination in St. Paul come September; 2,025 are needed to clinch the Democrats'nod in Denver in late August.
Just when we start to get used to the idea of living in a world without the impending threat of a President Rodham, the people of New Hampshire go and bring her back from the brink of political oblivion.
John McIntyre reports that when exit poll results are reweighted and combined with actual town-by-town returns, it begins to appear that Hillary might just win this thing by roughly two percentage points!
Given the size of the Obama blowout the polls have been predicting right up until the last moment, and especially the unanimity of the polls, a Clinton victory tonight would be one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.
It also would make sense, in one way. I thought being rid of Hillary once and for all was too good to be true!
Mitt Romney will be addressing his supporters In New Hampshire shortly. I would be very surprised if he throws in the towel, or even admits how very badly his candidacy has been wounded tonight.
However, Shushannah Walshe of FOX News recalls here what Romney and his people have said previously about the consequences of losing both Iowa and New Hampshire for the Romney campaign's continued viability.
My guess is that Romney will stick it out until his showdown with both McCain and Huckabee in Michigan, his firewall state, on January 15. But I expect tonight's result to wound Romney in Michigan just as much as it boosts the chances there for the new Republican front runner, John McCain.
Tom Beavan at Real Clear Politics is reporting, on one hand, that FOX's exit polls have Obama beating Hillary 30-34, but that CNN's show a "tight race-" and that the Clinton camp is reported to be happy with the exits they've seen.
On the Republican side, Beavan reports that FOX's exits give John McCain a 35-30 victory over Mitt Romney.
In terms of the raw vote, though, with a little over ten percent in in both races, there is literally no change for anybody since my last post.
Most Americans, I'm sure, would react to that news apathetically. But as I've written before, we of a certain age well remember what it was like when the Russians beat us into orbit with Sputnik I, and then put their first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, into space before we could get an American up there. The shock to our national prestige and self-esteem was traumatic. It wasn't until Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon twelve years after Sputnik that we really recovered.
The voyage of Apollo 11, on the other hand was a unifying event of just the kind our badly divided society could use today. Factor in the technological and economic advances of a program to send a manned mission to Mars (perhaps even a joint one with the Russians, the Chinese, and other nations), and the case becomes overwhelming. Such mission would end up pumping far more money into the economy th…
Ron Paul has a well-earned reputation as a political extremist- someone who goes beyond the label "gadfly," and skates the outer edge of reason. Certainly many who have rallied to his cause- neo-Nazis, KKK types, anti-Semites,"truthers," white supremacists, America-hating Far Leftists, conspiracy theorists of various kinds, and assorted other nut jobs- are enough to scare the living daylights out of any reasonable person, and to cause one to wonder just what it is about this guy that attracts such a disreputable following.
There has been a tendency to view Paul as simply a kindly old eccentric who is as horribly naive about the people with whom he associates, and from whom he accepts support, as he is about matters of foreign policy, defense policy, and practical government. But it seems that The New Republic has come up with some old issues of his newsletter that put him in a somewhat different light.
It should be emphasized that it cannot be proven that he actually…
When even the Washington Post is wondering why the Democratic presidential candidates don't make contact with reality and acknowledge the progress we're making in Iraq, you know the Donkey People are being unreasonably stubborn.
Her staff is said to be divided on the issue, with James Carville arguing that she should stick it out through Tsunami Tuesday, while others maintaining that "the Clinton brand"(?) should not be damaged by her name being associated with the avalanche of one-sided primary defeats the polls now project for her.
I've maintained all along that Hillary is the most beatable of the Democratic candidates, with negatives far too high for her to have a realistic chance of winning in November if the Republicans nominate a half-way decent candidate (John McCain has been giving her a consistent thrashing in the polls of late, and Huckabee and Romney have shown occasional recent success against her as well). Now, I don't necessarily buy the notion that Hillary is on the …
Mitt Romney is fighting for his political life in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, and his supporters are casting about for excuses to explain away his defeat at the hands of Mike Huckabee here in Iowa earlier this week.
The standard excuse they seem to have hit upon is that it was the overwhelming support of the "Evangelicals" that gave Huckabee his Iowa victory, and that since there are fewer "Evangelicals" elsewhere, Iowa was merely a fluke that really doesn't count.
Of course, that doesn't explain Romney's troubles in New Hampshire.I suppose if- as I expect- John McCain defeats Romney in New Hampshire Tuesday (and McCain's lead there is growing), it will turn out that the Granite State is just home to entirely too many Episcopalians, or war heroes, or short men with white hair! While the strong "Evangelical" vote doubtless helped Huckabee significantly, using that as an excuse is a cop-out, as the Romney forces may learn to their…
Next Tuesday. January 8. The New Hampshire Primary.
Most polls show John McCain leading, with Mitt Romney second and Mike Huckabee fourth.
McCain has come right out and said that he needs to win in New Hampshire. Romney probably wouldn't pull out of the campaign if he lost in New Hampshire, but his candidacy would be fatally wounded.
If McCain wins, he arguably becomes the front-runner. If Romney wins, he's back in business.
Contrary to what everybody seems to think, Mike Huckabee doesn't have to do anything in particular in New Hampshire, other than not fall flat on his face. A respectable fourth is fine. Because, two weeks later, we have
Tuesday, January 15. The Michigan Primary. The RCP Consensus has Romney and Huckabee neck-and-neck- with McCain within striking distance, and Rudy Giuliani not far behind.
If Romney loses New Hampshire, I think he'll lose Michigan. That might well be the coup de grace. If Huckabee wins- and he just might- Iowa is no longer a fluke, a…
I went to Lovejoy School a little early to scope out the territory. I was shown the three rooms supposedly being set aside for the Republicans, and quickly realized that- given the pictures and drawings and charts all over the wall- that putting up posters wasn't going to be terribly practical (usually at caucuses the candidates cover the walls with the stuff whenever they can, I guess as a psychological measure). On the way out I noticed a poster about astronomy, and had a very pleasant conversation with a teacher about it.
I went to the library, blogged a little, and then stopped at McCain headquarters for some yard signs (as it happened, ours were the only ones any candidate of either party had at Lovejoy).
When I got back to Lovejoy at about 6:15 (caucusers are told to be at the site by 6:30, since the doors are locked at 7:00), I immediately noticed that the parking lot was packed, that there was a long line to get into the building- and that the driveway leading up to the m…
It was late Tuesday night that- angry as I was over Huckabee's inept pulling of a negative ad I believed should have been shown weeks ago- I visited McCain headquarters to make inquiries. I shared the nature of the main reservation I'd had about McCain (namely, his position on the use of existing embryos for stem cell research). McCain's field director, Grant Young, took me into a side room, and excused himself to summon reinforcements.
I was immediately surrounded by a prominent Iowa Right-to-Life activist, the former field director of Sam Brownback's campaign here in Iowa, Grant, and from time to time others summoned to reinforce their case. The first two pointed out that they also disagreed with Sen. McCain on the stem cell issue, but that the recent discoveries concerning pluripotent adult stem cells minimized the issue. They also pointed to McCain's quarter-century commitment to the cause of life- and the integrity which caused him, whenever someone asked abo…
From what I read in the papers (and to a lesser extent in the comments), the Romney spin on Mike Huckabee's convincing victory yesterday here in Iowa is that, in former Congressman Vin Webber's words, "The evangelicals all came out- and they all voted for Huckabee."
No, they didn't. Some voted for Romney, too. Some voted for Thompson. Some voted for McCain. And some- heaven preserve us- voted for Ron Paul.
The bottom line here in Iowa is that, with all his gaffes and blunders, Iowa voters pretty much across the board liked and trusted Mike Huckabee more than they liked or trusted Mitt Romney, and by and large found his record and positions more acceptable as well.
There is another factor at work here, too. Local commentators said it over and over again last night, and I've heard national commentators say it, too: Iowans notoriously dislike negative ads. To a not-inconsiderable extent, they punished Mitt Romney yesterday for his profoundly negative campaign.
They show Mike Huckabee leading Mitt Romney by five percent, six percent, and six percent, respectively. The RCP Average has gone from Huckabee by .07 to Huckabee by 3.0 overnight.
You don't get three polls that size taken over the same period with results that similar unless the result is pretty accurate. That the race is breaking for Huckabee seems indisputable- and by margins big enough that, along with the reasonably good weather here in Iowa today, the advantage in organization Romney has will probably not be the decisive factor I expected.
Mike Huckabee will finish first in Iowa tonight, with Mitt Romney second and John McCain third.
ADDENDUM: Given the way the wind seems to be blowing on the other side of the fence, I'm also going to change my mind and predict that Barak Obama, and not John Edw…
The one good thing about- er, eccentric presidential candidate Ron Paul is that he's pro-life.
Still, I'd like to hear him (or someone) explain why his NARAL (National Abortion Rights Action League) ratings for the past three years have been 65%, 75%, and 65%, respectively.
NARAL's prochoiceamerica.org- does rightly judge Paul's record over the years as "antichoice" (anti-natalistspeak for "pro life"). His NARAL rating four years ago was zero. But I'd be interested in knowing why Paul has voted with NARAL nearly two thirds of the time over the past three years.
If, as I expect, Mitt Romney wins tomorrow night here in Iowa, it won't help him much. After spending as much money as he has in this state, and having been as far ahead for as long before Mike Huckabee finally made a horserace of it, the only person who's coming out of Iowa with any momentum is Huckabee, win or place.
For the last week we've had a mixed bag in the polls, not only for Republicans, but for Democrats as well. Any of the Democrats could win, but my hunch is that's bad news for Hillary.
I'm going to guess that Edwards will pull off an upset. Just a feeling I have. Obama second- and Hillary third.
Contrary to the impression Romney supporters have been trying to give for the last week or so, there is no clear trend either away from Huckabee or toward Romney. The variable here is the nuts-and-bolts caucus night operation. Huckabee's supporters are far more enthusiastic, and in many cases far more loyal; they'll get to the caucus just fine.
But Romney will do better than fine. His organization is simply unmatched. If you're an Iowan who has expressed an interest in supporting Romney, they will get you to the caucus place.
In a race this close, it may come down to Huckabee enthusiasm vs. Romney organization. I may be a cynic, but organization would b…