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Friday, August 01, 2003

Daily Kos uses some rankings from the American Conservative Union and the League of Conservation Voters to refute the myth that Lieberman is no different from a Republican.

If Lieberman wins the nomination, Democrats will want to emphasize figures like these to limit the number of liberal Democrats who defect to the Green Party (if the Greens decide to run). Still, I think that Lieberman's reputation as a "conservative" Democrat is so well-established that a certain number of defections is inevitable.
--Posted at 7:41 PM | link

The Onion has an article on the Kerry campaign, titled: Adorable Democratic Candidate Actually Believes He Has a Chance.
--Posted at 5:53 PM | link

Dick Gephardt got an early endorsement from the Teamsters, showing that his support among organized labor groups is strong despite his weak fundraising.

A labor trophy from the nation's most recognizable union, the most high profile to date, will give Gephardt's struggling presidential bid a substantial boost.

"There are unions and there are unions with capital letters," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. The Teamsters union "is a capital letter union. They back their designated candidates with lots of money and volunteers."



--Posted at 5:49 PM | link

Hmmm...

WASHINGTON - James A. Traficant, a former Ohio congressman in prison for bribery and racketeering charges, has given his approval to supporters to form a presidential exploratory committee.

"The battle to free James Traficant and to evict the Socialists and 'free traders' from the Democratic Party is now under way," campaign spokesman Marcus Belk said. "Someone buy the Washington establishment a bottle of Maalox."

Belk said the group, which announced Friday that it had gotten Traficant's approval by letter, has raised $10,224 in cash pledges made on Traficant's campaign Web site. The average contribution was $71, he said.


Here's the campaign website. It contains swipes at other Democratic presidential candidates:

Offer 'Free Trader' Joe Lieberman a chance to visit prison labor camps in Communist China which are producing goods imported into the United States.

'Free Trade' really does reduce labor costs when all your workers are political prisoners!


and

Give Howard Dean the chance to rekindle his Socialist spirit by communing with Lenin's tomb in Moscow.


Add a Traficant candidacy to the list of "interesting" things that could happen during this campaign season, along with a Ralph Nader run for the Republican nomination.

Meanwhile, speaking of "interesting" things, we might have an Arnold Schwarzenegger vs. Larry Flynt race for governor of California.
--Posted at 5:38 PM | link

Thursday, July 31, 2003

I'm not alone in wondering what legal changes Bush wants to make regarding gay marriages. From a NY Times article:

But while Mr. Bush's response had political clarity, it left supporters on both sides of the issue puzzled as to the legal aspects. The reason is that there already is a law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, that appears to address the two principal concerns of gay marriage opponents. The law, signed by President Clinton in 1996, prohibits any federal recognition of gay marriage, meaning that benefits like those given under Social Security or to veterans may be claimed only by a surviving spouse of the opposite sex. In addition, the law relieves states of any obligation to recognize gay marriages performed in other states where they might be legal.

"We can't figure out what it means," Winnie Stachelberg, the political director of the Human Rights Coalition, a large Washington-based advocacy group for gay rights, said of Mr. Bush's comments.


My theory is that Bush felt that he had to say something about gay marriage, even if his statements have no substance. With the Supreme Court's decision on sodomy laws, Canada's steps toward legalizing gay marriage, the Massachusetts Supreme Court's imminent ruling on whether to legalize gay marriage, and the Vatican's condemnation of legally recognized gay marriages, the Bush administration felt pressured to say something. I still have no idea if administration lawyers can devise legislation that won't be redundant or purely symbolic.
--Posted at 2:41 PM | link

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

George W. Bush is proposing a law that would define marriage as a union between one man and one woman, while saying that America must remain a "welcoming" country for homosexuals. Apparently, he still does not support a constitutional amendment on the issue, as some conservatives have urged.

I'm not exactly sure what this law would change. Bush did not explain what kind of law is being devised, or whether it would be different from the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages. It is up to the states to decide what kinds of marriage or "civil union" to recognize within their jurisdiction, and no state is obligated to recognize the marriages of another state. And--despite Scalia's warnings--it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will declare that law banning gay marriage are unconstitutional. And even if it did, what could Bush's law do to stop it? A constitutional amendment, not a law, would be necessary to override the Supreme Court.

This move is certainly designed to appeal to Bush's conservative base, but polls indicate that the general public is moving in a more conservative direction on this issue. It's possible that Bush is suggesting this "law" as more of a political statement than a substantive change in policy.

Here is the full text of Bush's press conference, during which he also claimed "I take personal responsibility for everything I say, of course" when asked about the "16 words" of the State of the Union address.
--Posted at 6:03 PM | link

Monday, July 28, 2003

The Self Made Pundit says that the Bush administration has jumped the shark.
--Posted at 5:15 PM | link

Like TNR, Salon has published opposing views about whether Dean is electable or unelectable. To view the article, you need to be a Salon subscriber, or watch an ad to get a free day pass.
--Posted at 12:08 PM | link

The website www.presidentelect.org published an electoral map that predicts the results of a Bush-Dean race. According to this analysis, Bush has 268 "solid" electoral votes and 53 that are leaning his way, whereas Dean has 122 solid and 95 leaning.

To win, Dean would have to capture every state that is solid for or leaning toward him, as well as every state that is leaning toward Bush. It's a tall order, but the people who made the map think that it is possible.

Also, thanks to Daily Kos, I have a link to another set of electoral college maps for every major Democratic candidate except Dean. The main page for the maps is here. Kos refers to Larry Sabato, who compiled the maps, as "the most quotable of political scientists in the country" and "CW [conventional wisdom] incarnate," but takes issue with some of Sabato's conclusions.

According to Sabato, every Democrat except for Kerry would beat Bush in 2004. His predictions seem much more generous for the Democrats than the President Elect site, although there's no way to know for sure since Sabato does not have a map for Dean. However, Sabato has a generic Democrat losing to Bush by only a few votes.
--Posted at 10:29 AM | link

Two senior editors of The New Republic--Jonathan Chait and Jonathan Cohn--published opposing views in the current issue of TNR about whether Dean is a viable candidate for president. You have to buy the magazine or pay online to see the original articles, but Cohn and Chait are continuing their debate online, and you can access this for free.
--Posted at 10:17 AM | link

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