November 26, 2004
Since You Asked...
Tim Carney writes in the comments below:
I wonder what your after-the-fact assessment of Bush & Santorum's saving Specter in April is now, that Arlen didn't help Bush a lick, and we didn't need him for a GOP majority anyway.Let me return to what I wrote at the time. Regarding the Senate majority:
While it's true that Democrats, on balance, face tougher Senate challenges this year, an upset is not impossible, and a Specter-chaired Judiciary certainly couldn't be any worse than one dominated by the likes of Patrick Leahy and Ted Kennedy. But granted, this is not the most likely scenario.I was much more worried about the effect on the presidential race. It wasn't so much that I thought Specter would help (though I wasn't sure he wouldn't help, and I certainly didn't foresee those Kerry/Specter signs), as I was concerned that Toomey might hurt:
Toomey may excite conservatives, but he's also likely to galvanize liberals. Toomey could very well become a figure that liberals successfully define as an extremist, and serve as a tool for scaring moderates. A humdrum Senate race, where Specter remains the frontrunner for months, keeps the focus on Bush, who (polls show) can appeal to Pennsylvania moderates on his own terms.Is that moot now that we know that Bush won without Pennsylvania? Not necessarily; many campaign resources are fungible, so changing the dynamics in Pennsylvania would also change the dynamics elsewhere. I have no idea what the fallout might have been; maybe it would have been a wash, maybe Kerry would have won Ohio, maybe Bush would have won by an even greater margin. The bottom line is that the prospect of a Toomey candidacy was high-risk/high-reward, whereas backing Specter was low-risk/low-reward. If I'm right that Specter's on a short leash now, then he turned out to be not so low-reward as one might have thought. So I have to conclude that Bush and Santorum's risk-aversion in the spring remains just as defensible as it was at the time, if not more so.
November 19, 2004
Some conservatives may feel discouraged by Arlen Specter taking the Judiciary Committee chairmanship. (Tim Carney, who's railed against Specter everywhere he could get the column-inches to do so, was fuming about the matter at an AFF panel the other night.) They shouldn't be: Specter's wings are now thoroughly clipped, and many of the potential dangers associated with denying him his chairmanship will be avoided. So I argue in today's AmSpec column.
November 11, 2004
It's a Girl!
Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law on their new addition, Quincy Greenfield Bartlett, born in Texas on November 10 at about 9:00 PM local time (10:00 PM Eastern Time).
Trivia question for the day: Which is heavier, my niece-- born 6 pounds, 12 ounces-- or 8 pounds of gold? I'll post the answer tomorrow (no points unless you explain why).
UPDATE: Answer in the comments. Credit goes to The Timekeeper of Horologium.
It's a Corpse!
Congratulations to the world, now rid of Yasser Arafat, finally pronounced dead in Paris on November 11 at 3:30 AM local time (November 10 at 9:30 PM, Eastern Time).
November 10, 2004
Tidying up the Cabinet
Now to replace Don Evans as Commerce Secretary, might I suggest... no one? The Commerce Department ought to be dismantled; check out this 1995 congressional testimony on the subject by Edward L. Hudgins, then the Cato Institute's Director of Regulatory Studies (he's now with the Objectivist Center).
I mentioned in my column today that denying Arlen Specter the Judiciary Comittee chairmanship is okay with me, if it's necessary for the pursuit of originalist judges. But I'm not entirely convinced that it is. Hugh Hewitt's argument, that the cure to Specter's chairmanship may be worse than the disease, strikes me as fairly persuasive. On the other hand, the point made by Kate O'Beirne and others about how outsized Specter's behind-the-scenes power as chairman would be does give me pause, and I don't think the fact (telegraphed in his Wall Street Journal op-ed today) that Specter is feeling the heat is such a bad thing. Thoughts?
About that Election
I was so burnt out after the election that I decided to take a week off. I'm glad I did, because it made it possible to stand on the shoulders of several other writers in today's AmSpec column, which, for a change of pace, gives post-election advice to Republicans rather than Democrats.
November 03, 2004
All Big Fat Losers: Please Hold Up an "L"
(I almost got through the day without openly gloating...)
God Bless John Kerry
I've never been a fan of the guy, but he just gave the best speech of his career-- he was heartfelt and sincere and struck exactly the right notes of unity and healing.
Oddly enough, John Edwards's "the fight has just begun" speech was both inappropriate-- the 2008 campaign could wait for another day-- and poorly delivered; it sounded insincere and rushed. Edwards may be the better politician; I've long thought he'd even make the better president. But Kerry is the better loser.
Stop the Madness
George W. Bush has won this election, and everyone knows it. The networks are playing a silly game-- Fox and (MS)NBC called Ohio for Bush, giving him a 269 electoral vote count, but left Nevada uncalled, while CNN, CBS and ABC called Nevada for Bush but left Ohio uncalled out of deferrence for the Kerry campaign's ludicrous claim that they will close a 135,000 vote deficit with provisional ballots. Likewise, no one will touch Iowa and New Mexico. When charged with being the first to push the President to the 270 mark, the networks reacted like a group of summer camp boys asked to do their dishes, simultaneous shouting "not it!" The Florida recount was apparently even more traumatic for the media than it was for the country.
Speaking of trauma for the country: The Kerry campaign is scheduled to make it's next statement at 10:00 AM or so. If patriotism and decency don't persuade them to concede that a win is mathematically impossible, concern for the long-term political health of the Democratic party ought to. "The Sour Grapes Party" is not the wisest image to cultivate.
UPDATE: Kerry's conceded. Good for him.