July 30, 2004
My latest AmSpec column examines the crowd reactions peaking out from behind the strong-defense facade in Boston.
July 28, 2004
My newest AmSpec, on the speeches in Boston thusfar, is now posted.
July 27, 2004
Just in case you're wondering why I had no comment on last night's convention speeches: I'll be rolling my reactions to the first two nights into one forthcoming column. Stay tuned.
July 26, 2004
Word from USA Today spies: Coulter is being replaced with another conservative columnist. No word who it is yet...
One look at her column-- which she's posted here, with editorial notes-- makes it clear why it wasn't suitable for USA Today: it's written as if for Coulter's usual audience, who eat up her invective-- not for a general readership.
Of course, USA Today shouldn't have hired her if they didn't want an Ann Coulter column, or at least should have been clearer on their standards before they signed the contract.
Will they have similar problems with Michael Moore? It wouldn't be much of a surprise.
UPDATE: Drudge says on his mainpage that they're replacing Coulter with Jonah Goldberg; my USA Today source confirms this. He's an entertaining writer who'll play well for a general audience, but a suitable foil for Michael Moore? No way. Perhaps if they replace Moore with, say, Al Franken.
LAST UPDATE: The official word.
More Moore & Coulter
I have a new AmSpec column on the convention coverage that Michael Moore and Ann Coulter will be doing for USA Today's op-ed page, and an ad that was canceled last week because, I strongly suspect, Moore refused to appear with Coulter.
My information this weekend was that Coulter's first column in a series would appear in today's edition of the paper; I got a tip late Sunday that this was no longer the case. I can only speculate as to what that means.
UPDATE: Drudge has the answer:
Coulter filed her first report from Boston Sunday night, only to be told hours later that editors found it "unusable" and "not funny."He also confirms the news that Moore has been hired for the Republican convention, just so you know I'm not making this all up.
"Apparently no one at USA TODAY had ever read Ann Coulter before!" Coulter, who has sold nearly a million copies of her various works and his written a syndicated column for five years, said from Boston.
UPDATE: The saga continues here.
July 24, 2004
Exclusive, Must Credit JohnTabin.com, etc.
Any handwringing over the presence of bloggers at the party conventions is now officially ridiculous.
I can confirm, via a very reliable source, that conservative bomb-thrower Ann Coulter will be writing from the Democratic Convention for USA Today's op-ed page. For the Republican convention, they're sending none other than-- yup, some of you have already guessed it-- Michael Moore.
This is a terrible idea, obviously. And rumor has it that Moore's habit of making life difficult for those who try to work with him has already reared its head.
Much more on this to come. Or, as they say: Developing...
UPDATE: More here.
July 20, 2004
I root for Herman Cain in my latest AmSpec column, though truth be told I have a feeling that Isakson will squeak by with an outright win. Unless more than one polling outfit is operating with fatally skewed sampling methods, undecideds will have to break overwhelmingly against Isakson to force a run-off.
I don't have anything against Isakson particularly, least of all his heterodoxy on abortion. (I'm an anti-Roe supporter of early-term--but only early-term-- abortion on demand, so I have little use for purity tests on that issue.) But Cain would be a steadfast friend of taxpayers, and is the kind of figure who could emerge as a national star.
July 15, 2004
Desperately Seeking Ditka; Disappointed
July 11, 2004
Bloggers in Boston Update
Patrick Belton of OxBlog emails that my tone at the end of that column might be too accusatory: he posted at 1:45 but actually recieved the call at 12:12. I mentioned in the column that my cell phone runs fast; specifically, it's about nine minutes fast as of now (it was probably different last week). So they were calling Belton before my phone conversation was finished. It might still not have been a coincidence-- I was on hold for part of the call and talked to more than one person-- but lets give them the benefit of the doubt. Why was OxBlog notified by phone at all, while every else got letters? When I spoke to Jesdanun, he speculated that it might have been because they're overseas, and mail is so slow.
(Belton also noted in his email that he thinks OxBlog is "best classified as centrist rather than 'rightish', particularly if you look at our positions on domestic issues such as gay rights." He apparently said the same thing to Jesdanun, who notes that "Belton is a registered Democrat who considers himself centrist." Well, I tried to imply some ideological wiggle-room by intentionally using 'rightish,' rather than, say, 'right-wing" or "conservative." I'm also a pro-gay marriage registered Democrat, after all.)
Someone else who got a phone call: the proprietor of Librarian.net, who, for variety, got a letter turning down her application and then got a call saying she was actually approved. She writes that she "heard that there had been a bit of a dust-up earlier in the week when the credentialling bloggers started announcing themselves and it became clear they were mostly [all? I have no idea] men. So, I figure I got in on an affirmative action plan, though really I have no idea." (Brackets verbatim.)
Finally, Jerome Armstrong of MyDD.com left a comment on the post where I noted that he'd only gotten "Perimeter" credentials; this was yet another screw-up, and Armstong is in fact approved for the Hall.
UPDATE: James Landrith, another disinvited blogger, has an in-progress list of the invited and disinvited.
July 09, 2004
My new column for The American Spectator online covers the convention credentials nonsense some more, complete with actual reporting.
July 08, 2004
Hear My Voice
UPDATE: You can now go to NRAnews.com and hear the interview by clicking on "If you missed the last show..."; it's about an hour and twenty minutes into the broadcast.
Oh, and that upcoming column I plugged there at the end? I think you'll find a new discovery in it quite interesting.
The Boston Blogger Bungle
I'm following up on the weirdness with press credentials to the Democratic National Convention. The line from the DNCC Press Gallery (I just got off the phone with them) is that this was a mistake, they're really sorry, they were overwhelmed with applications, and there was not (they're emphatic about this) an ideological litmus test. The spokeswoman I talked to insisted that there are bloggers of all stripes invited.
Bleg to the blogosphere: Please email me at John at JohnTabin.com if you've
a) gotten the same invited-and-then-disinvited treatment as Bill from INDC Journal and I got;
b) You've been approved and not disinvited, especially if you could reasonably be described as a "conservative blogger" (the spokeswoman used those words) or even simply not left-liberal, though I'd also like to hear from approved lefty bloggers just to get a count;
c) You applied and never heard back.
Something Rotten in Boston
Well, this is an interesting bit of email:
Dear John Tabin:The letter announcing my approved credentials, by the way, was apparently signed by hand by Ms. Gage.
Last week you were sent a credential allocation letter not properly
authorized by the DNCC for press coverage of the 2004 Democratic
Upon further review of the overall site capacity at the FleetCenter, we
are no longer able to issue your organization a DNCC Press Gallery
Credential. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
Again, we thank you for your interest in covering the 2004 Democratic
National Convention and wish you well in your endeavors.
Francesca Gage and Michael Hurlbut
Directors of the DNCC Press Gallery
According to Wizbang, the same thing happened to Bill of INDC Journal. This might imply that they're trying to hastily shut out non-lefty bloggers, though when they asked for more info on my blog I listed the places I've written for professionally (AmSpec, TCS, OpinionJournal), so it's not like I kept my perspective secret. Basically, this looks like more of the incompetence that is by all accounts endemic to the Democrats' operation in Boston.
Incidentally, if you look closely at the scan of the letter that Jerome Armstrong of the liberal MyDD blog received, you'll notice that he's only approved for "Perimeter" credentials-- i.e., no access within the FleetCenter. I was approved (according to my letter) for "Hall" credentials, i.e. full access, possibly because I've actually done some professional journalism; if that was the reason, then there might be a bit of stretching involved in the official line that bloggers will be treated "just the same as other reporters," as the convention's director of online communications Mark Lidell put it. (To be fair, though, I'm sure plenty of "real" reporters are also only getting perimeter credentials.)
UPDATE: More here.
July 07, 2004
How is John Edwards Like a Botox Injection?
My newest AmSpec column is up.
July 06, 2004
Boston, Here I Come
(UPDATE: Or maybe not; important follow-up to this post here.)
I'm not a full-time employee of any news organization, and the press rules specifically forbid credentialing freelancers. I suspect that that rule isn't enforced with any particular rigor, but getting into the press gallery on my own behalf nonetheless has its advantages, not the least of which is covering the historic blogger invasion from the inside. I'll no doubt be filing reports that I get paid for, of course, but the short little tidbits that don't fit into a coherent structure will go right here. Maybe I'll add digital photos or other multimedia elements (this might be a time when audioblogging actually becomes worthwhile). And the blog will run in as close to real-time as my arsenal of gadgets will allow. This ought to be fun.
Kerry Defeats Murdoch
It's Edwards, and the New York Post is caught with its pants down. (UPDATE: the Kerry-picks-Gephardt cover has been replaced. Imagine that.) It looks-- as John J. Miller has already suggested-- as if the Kerry camp let out a false leak to both keep the buzz going on the morning shows and screw a newspaper they hate. Now let's see if the Post strikes back tomorrow with a vicious expose of the scoundrel(s) who duped them...
Final Veepstakes Post... Part 2
Hit with insomnia, I got up to check on the veepstakes news, and yes, the buzz is still going at this hour. The New York Post's front page says I'm right, it's Gephardt. (UPDATE: All evidence of that has now been scrubbed from the Post's website, but the early print editions survive.) On the other hand, an aviation chatroom, cited several places, suggests that the Post might be having a "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment: someone claims to have seen "Edwards" decals being added to Kerry's plane in the hanger. Time will tell...
A Final(?) Veepstakes Post
Since the rumor (via Drudge UPDATE: ...whose info obviously came from an early copy of this NYT story) is that Kerry will announce his vice presidential pick in the morning, let me dump out all of my thoughts on the topic now:
I've always thought that Edwards would be the best choice. I second what an unnamed GOP strategist told Rich Lowry, especially this part: "whatever can be done to make the Democratic ticket seem less dour, in all senses, helps Kerry."
Edwards had a surprise meeting with Kerry last week, but I wouldn't read too much into that: Kerry has no doubt been meeting regularly with all the top contenders. An Edwards pick would be something of a surprise to me, in fact; I think there's a lot to the theory that Kerry won't pick Edwards out of vanity: even if being outshone would do him some good, he might not want to accept that.
Vilsack? Strikes me as a shortlist space-filler, a name kept afloat to throw the press off the scent. My view could be skewed, I suppose, since most of what I know about Vilsack comes from Iowa commentator David Hogberg, who dislikes Vilsack and tends to focus on his liabilities. But I've seen little to indicate that many people really think Vilsack is a likely choice.
As for Gephardt, John J. Miller made the case last month that he would be a good choice (scroll down the opening item, at the very bottom). I didn't find it entirely persuasive at the time, but it may be what Kerry is thinking. The rumor I noted earlier of positive evidence that Gephardt is in strikes me as no less solid than anything else that's floating around.
The others? Bob Graham's name has been popping up the past few days; ABC's The Note posted yesterday:
Gift to our competitors: the key to the whole Veepstakes puzzle might just be found by clicking on this link. LINK.The link goes to information on the distance from Washington to Orlando, which might mean, of course, that a Floridian isn't in the running (that is, the nod to ABC's competitors could be sarcastic). I pronounced Graham damaged goods after his presidential run, noting that if Kerry wants a senator from Florida, he'd do just as well to go with Bill Nelson, who as far as I can tell is completely off the radar. Drudge was speculating about Evan Bayh earlier, presumably because he's reporting that the announcement will come in Pittsburg just before Kerry leaves for Bayh's home state of Indiana and that the "running mate's political director would be Linda Moore," who was Bayh's deputy chief of staff. But Drudge has taken down the picture of Bayh, which may mean he's gotten a tip that there's no there there. The other names who've been mentioned are all foreign policy guys: Sam Nunn, Joe Biden, William Cohen, etc. I don't think most of those are serious contenders, but the possibility that Kerry's pick will come from outside the publicly known shortlist (Edwards, Gephardt, and Vilsack) can't be easily discounted; it wouldn't be the first time that a presidential nominee surprised most of the tea-leaf-readers.
But I'll set the surprise candidate possibility aside, for the moment. I used to cover Illinois politics for Political State Report with Archpundit, and he was always very well informed and a perfect gentleman to boot, so I'll go ahead and endorse his scoop: I predict that it'll be Gephardt.
July 05, 2004
From Archpundit, for what it's worth:
Just got some scuttlebutt, top Gephardt aide Joyce Aboussie has been sent a private plane to join Dick Gephardt for....one can only assume the announcement that Dick Gephardt will be the next Vice President Nominee for the Democratic Party.Of course it could also be misinformation (that is, wrong, but not intentionally so). Interesting, though-- and, if correct, a blogosphere milestone.
UPDATE: If Aboussie is being flown out and ordering staff to be ready for a change, it's hard to imagine that it is anything, but gearing up for an announcement that he is the VP nominee. He and Aboussie are incredibly close and she is his right hand. Unless this is a bit of disinformation, this is the real deal.