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Friday, May 16, 2003

Now it's official. George W. Bush filed papers with the Federal Election Commission announcing his intention to run for president. Fundraising will begin in a few days.
--Posted at 1:11 PM | link

Last week, Ted Rall gave Democrats some advice about how to win in 2004. This week, he does the same for the Republicans. He says that Republicans should do nothing that could disrupt the current state of public opinion. They shouldn't start any more wars. They should talk a lot about how they care about the poor and unemployed, in order to minimize the perception that they don't care about economic problems. They should keep the fundamentalist nuts in their party quiet until after the election. Although Rall is clearly no fan of the Republicans, his advice to them makes sense. As long as the Republicans don't ruin the economy too obviously or make themselves seem war-crazy, it will take a lot for the Democrats to win in 2004.
--Posted at 12:35 PM | link

Howard Dean, Dick Gephardt, and John Kerry are now promoting health plans. Slate's William Saletan explains how the plans fit into the 2004 campaign and Robert Shapiro discusses the difficulties of coming up with a workable universal health care plan. Blogger "The Bloviator" offers some comments on the Dean plan. The Washington Post reports that Kerry had rescheduled an event to reveal his own health plan so that he can vote against President Bush's tax cuts. The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn reviews Kerry's plan.
--Posted at 11:48 AM | link

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

People are saying that the Democrats' chances of toppling President Bush don't look good right now. But blogger Ezra Klein quotes some similar predictions from 1991 that didn't come true. Some of them are nearly identical to words being spoken today, such as this quotation from Howard Fineman:

"If you are a Democrat with a compulsion to run for president, this would be a good time to find a detox program for the ambition-addicted. President Bush's popularity is at Founding Father levels. The Republicans have a cassette full of your doleful prewar words about Desert Storm, ready for media man Roger Ailes to pin to your hide."

Bush's people aren't stupid though, and they are going to do everything in their power to analyze what went wrong for them in 1992 and avoid repeating it. Still, that election year might provide some hope to Democrats.
--Posted at 11:58 AM | link

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Howard Dean said "even the French have health insurance for everybody." Clay Risen of The New Republic explains why this is a stupid comment. He says that it is ignorant because of course the French have health insurance for everybody, since they have "one of the world's most robust welfare states." The phrase "even the French" makes it sound like Dean considers it remarkable that people as horrible as the French could surpass the United States in health coverage. Risen also says that pandering to Francophobes ("a pretty tiny constituency") is a bad strategy. I don't think that it would be a bad strategy for a neoconservative Republican or even a pro-war Democrat. A depressingly large number of Americans believe that World War II eliminated France's right to disagree with America about anything, ever, so France-bashing could help some candidates. But Dean is an anti-war candidate--and his supporters agree with France's stance on the war, if not always for the same reasons. Thus, he should stay away from France-bashing.

Jonathan Cohn of the same magazine likes Dean's health plan though.
--Posted at 4:01 PM | link

Monday, May 12, 2003

Bob Jones University Won't Welcome Kerry, according to the Guardian. A spokesman for the school made this announcement after a Kerry campaign spokesman said that Kerry would "challenge the university on some of its views" if he went there. The Bob Jones spokesman also said that Joe Lieberman's views come closest to matching the school's.
--Posted at 11:47 AM | link

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