Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Arnold vs. Ronald

A few years ago I wrote an article (I think it was for the Ashbrook Center) hoping that Warren Beatty would indeedd run for president, for the simple reason that he would surely flop on the real campaign trail, and thereby make people reflect again on how great Reagan really was at politics.

We may be about to get another lesson in this. Naturally there have been lots of comparisons between Reagan the actor running for governor in 1966, and Arnold today. One of the interesting things Reagan did, though, was to realize that people would think he was just an actor repeating memorized lines. So in his campaign travels around the state he gave short speeches, and then took questions from the audience for as long as an hour. He demonstrated a real ability to think and talk on his feet, as well as a decent familiarity with state issues. It was this that impressed reporters, and made the media take him seriously.

Arnold needs to do something like this to prove he is for real. So far he has been vague and platitudinous, which is a disappointment.

Federalism, or paleocon states rights?

There’s an interesting fight brewing down in Alabama that will press the envelope on our understanding of federalism. What do you do when a federal court orders a state court judge to remove the 10 Commandments from a broader display of the origins of law in western civilization? The federal order is clearly contrary to the original understanding of the Establishment Clause, and a lower federal court clearly has no hierarchical power over a state court (only the Supreme Court has that). But can the state court judge just ignore the order without bringing about a nullification crisis of Calhounian proportions? Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, no opponent of 10 Commandments displays, thinks not. Methinks we haven’t heard the last of this showdown.

Dignified leisure

Terrence Moore has some advice for parents.

Immaculately conceived foreign policy

Adam Garfinkle has a thoughtful (and long) essay in Policy Review on what he calls "foreign policy immaculately conceived." He means this: "The immaculate conception theory of U.S. foreign policy operates from three central premises. The first is that foreign policy decisions always involve one and only one major interest or principle at a time. The second is that it is always possible to know the direct and peripheral impact of crisis-driven decisions several months or years into the future. The third is that U.S. foreign policy decisions are always taken with all principals in agreement and are implemented down the line as those principals intend — in short, they are logically coherent." The examples he works thorugh, from the U.S.’s support of the mujahedeen through the Pakistani regime during the 1980’s, to our support of the Shah of Iran (and other "friendly tyrants" problems), to the ending of the Gulf War in 1991, all illustrate the complications involved in making decisions. Another: "When President George W. Bush strove, from September 12, 2001 onward, to make the moral and strategic stakes of the war on terrorism clear, he was immediately enshrouded by an inescapable fog of irrepressible fact: namely, that our two most critical tactical allies in the war on terrorism, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, were the two governments whose policies had led most directly to 9-11. If that was not enough ambiguity with which to start the war on terrorism, the various sideswipes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon provided more." Garfinkle is a speech writer to Secretary of State Powell.

Davis support continues to dive

San Francisco Chronicle reports on the latest Field Poll in California. This is worth paying attention to: "The survey indicates that 58 percent of likely voters favor ousting Davis in the landmark Oct. 7 recall vote, up from 51 percent a month ago. Even among Democrats, 27 percent say they’ll vote to recall Davis and nearly a quarter of his fellow party members say the governor should resign.

Seventy percent of California voters disapprove of the job Davis is doing as governor, the lowest level a politician has recorded in the 56-year history of the Field Poll, said Mark DiCamillo, the poll’s director. It matches President Richard Nixon’s approval rating in August 1974, days before he resigned." All the numbers are trending down and down from numbers that were already very low. This means that all categories of Democrats, moderates, Latinos, etc. are defecting from Davis. Davis still insists he will not

Ramirez cartoon

A great Michael Ramirez cartoon from The Los Angeles Times on the moral decline in America. (via The Remedy.)

Buffetting Winds


The Buffett business is bad, but it may be slightly more complicated than you might think. Here is what I blogged on "The Corner":

So Warren Buffett thinks it is wrong that he pays $16,000 a year in property taxes on his $500,000 Omaha house, but only about $5000 a year on his $2 million California home. The obvious point here is that he is massively overtaxed in Nebraska.

More to the point, if he bought his California home today, he would pay $20,000 in property taxes, and because housing turnover is so rapid in California (property tax assessments are set on sales price in CA), not that many people are in Buffett’s position of having an old assessment (though I am one of them, with a home that has been in the family for over 40 years--under Prop. 13, you inherit your parent’s property tax basis when property passes between generations).

The favorite liberal solution for this is a "split roll" property tax, i.e., commercial and business property would be taxed at a higher rate than residential property. There is some element of fairness to this, because there is less turnover in commercial property than residential property. However, just as the corporate tax burden is borne by consumers and not corporations, commercial tennants (especially those with net leases) will bear the cost of any property tax increase--that is, businesses will pay the tax. Just what California business needs--more taxes.

One little wrinkle in this is that even Tom McClintock has said he might be open to a split roll tax. But he said this more for political than economic purposes; the business communiti in California, especially big business, has been notably feeble in recent election cycles, if not outright supporting Davis and the liberals. A number of conservatives have started to say, as I’ve heard Kate O’Bierne and others say through the years, "big business is not out friend," and why should we keep defending their interests if they won’t?

So as bad as Buffett is, this may be a trial balloon that could play out in a number of interesting ways. (P.S.--A liberal-sponsored split roll property tax initiative failed on the ballot several years ago.)

Now back to the beach.

Buffett on taxes being too low

Warren Buffett is hinting that property taxes in California are too low! Never mind Proposition 13 in 1978 and what all that meant, but if this is the beginning of Arnold’s clarification of "policy" positions, then I will have been quickly proven to be wrong in saying that Arnold will get elected. Somebody better tell Arnold that the core of his so-called policy positions has to be to attack the political class in Sacramento and not the people’s pocketbooks: What that means in it’s essence is that he has to argue that the size of state government has to be cut back in a big way; the various bennies Davis has given to state employees has to be repealed; and taxes (especially on business) have to be lovered so that folks don’t leave the state. If he re-fights Prop 13--and thereby throws the burden of state mismangement unto the middle class--he loses. Bad omen.

The income-tax checkoff to fund presidential campaigns

This is a great George Will Newsweek essay. He considers the public financing of presidential campaigns by pointing out that the political class adopted for itself an entitlement, and they are not about to give it up. This despite the fact that only 11% of the public allows the $3 to be taken from their taxes through the sneaky income tax checkoff (which has gone from $1 to $3 to increase the amount of money since so few people were allowing it). So now some Republicans want to raise it to $10. Outrageous. Read it all.  

Daniel Pipes’ recess appointment

Charles Krauthammer gives a good account of Daniel Pipes’ scholarship and why he deserves to be on the U.S. Institute of Peace (where he would join Kagan, Keegan, Berns, Mansfield, Ajami) and how Senators Dodd, Harkin, Jeffords and Kennedy have gone over the deep end over this and call Piepes "controversial," therefore, they will fight the nomination. Bush is thinking of making a recess appointment. Krauthammer thinks Bush should fight this in public; a great opportunity to take on this "quartet of craven Senators." He may be right. Either way, Pipes should be placed on it.

Arafat and the 1973 Khartoum assassinations

Scott W. Johnson writes an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that is of more than historical interest: Why does the State Department continue to deny Yasser Arafat’s responsibility for the 1973 assassination of two U.S. State Department officers in Khartoum, Sudan? Johnson writes about it again (he wrote on it a year ago) because he just now--a year after his request--got the documents he rquested through the Freedom of Inforation Act, and those documents prove he was right. Interesting. 

Language Geeks Take Note

I live with one for whom language is so fascinating that the recent release of the 15th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style and the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary have become major household events. The latter has been (harshly) reviewed in the Weekly Standard by the editor of the on-line Vocabula Review. The whole piece is worth reading, but especially nice is this contrast between language liberals and language conservatives:

As most people know by now, dictionary makers today merely record how the language is used, not how the language ought to be used. That is, lexicographers are descriptivists, language liberals. People using "disinterested" when they mean "uninterested" does not displease a descriptivist.

A prescriptivist, by contrast, is a language conservative, a person interested in maintaining standards and correctness in language use. To prescriptivists, "disinterested" in the sense of "uninterested" is the result of uneducated people not knowing the distinction between the two words. And if there are enough uneducated people saying "disinterested" (and I’m afraid there are) when they mean "uninterested" or "indifferent," lexicographers enter the definition into their dictionaries. Indeed, the distinction between these words has all but vanished owing largely to irresponsible writers and boneless lexicographers.

Saudi diplomat expelled from UK

The Guardian reports: "Britain has expelled a Saudi diplomat, described as an intelligence officer, after allegations that he bribed a Metropolitan police officer.
Ali al-Shamarani is alleged to have paid PC Ghazi Ahmed Kassim, 52, to obtain confidential information from police computers about people with Middle Eastern connections living in the UK." Maybe this is just an isolated incident, a small time operation. Maybe.

More on the arms dealer missile plot

This Newswek "web exclusive" is very much worth reading. If it is true, it’s too darn bad. And we may have the BBC to thank for blowing a potentially significant operation. The story claims that a premature leak made the story public, and this may have prevented us from breaking into al-Qaeda’s arms-buying network. It is possible that the FBI was trying to "flip" Lakhani, and then use him as an undercover informant who could have then led our guys to real-life Osama bin Laden operatives seeking sophisticated weapons. After the BBC report the FBI had to abort the plans.  

The Godfather Speaks

Irving Kristol , the Godfather of Neoconservatism, raises and answers the question ’What is Neoconservatism?’


Part of Ashland was in a blackout last night for about four hours (my part, of course). It was a little spooky, but everything was OK as far as I could tell. Becky and Johnny continued playing Scrabble by candelight, while Vicki read. I had dinner at the university with a couple hundred people last night (one of those celebrating the 125th anniversary of AU). I bumped into the mayor and asked him why he is out partying during a blackout, he should be at his desk trying to do something. He said, "The part of Ashland I live in has lights." I should run against this guy! I did notice that there were more motorcycles (a lot more) on the roads during the blackout than would be normal for such a hot evening. Because I now have XM radio in my car, I listened to CNN and FOX quite a bit. I was pleased by the reaction of people, all moderate and full og pretty good humor. I couldn’t help noticing three other things, though: First, California Governor (still) Gray Davis was pontificating about what all this means on CNN at great length, I’m gusessing over thirty minutes. That was unfortunate. Clever. Two, former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson also got a lot of face time (got in a couple of nice digs on Bush). Three, I did not see or hear anywhere, at any time, the current Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. Now it’s possible that (unlike Ashland’s mayor) he was hard at work on the matter, but, still, he could have made a few appearances. Bad move. Here is the New York Times coverage.

Top al Qaeda captured

Here’s more detail from ABC News on the capture of Riduan Isamuddin — also known as Hambali, a top al Qaeda operative. "The CIA called the arrest the ’most significant capture since that of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed,’ who was nabbed in March and is believed to have been the military commander al Qaeda’s global terror network and to have masterminded the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. In the past, the CIA has called the Indonesia-born Hambali the ’Osama bin Laden of Southeast Asia.’"

Can Bustamante win?

I got this note from a reader. His point is perfectly reasonable. I quote it in full:

"In a two-way race Schwarzenegger could beat Bustamante with ease. But with Simon and McClintock in the race (and maybe Ueberoth), if they campaign seriously, then Schwarzenegger has to beat Bustamante by the additional margin of what Simon and McClintock get in the vote. The race is basically Bustamante as the lone establishment Democrat against half a dozen (or at least three) republicans in a state that is heavily Democrat.

That’s 1 candidate from the majority against 3-6 candidates from the minority. Schwarzenegger cannot overcome that. The numbers just aren’t there. Bustamante should be considered the heavy favorite to win."

Clearly, everything I have put out on NLT implies at least that I think AS could win. Indeed, I think he will win. The short of it is this: If this were a regular run-of-the-mill elections, the reader would be right. We would have make such careful mathematical calculations. My assumption is entirely different, and there is the rub. I assume that this is not a normal election. Gray Davis is being recalled. That is a massive fact. He will lose the recall vote; it will not even be close. Then what? People will look for the anti-Davis in the bunch. For good or ill this will not mean that they will look to his last Republican opponent, or to the Republican who is most conservative. They will look for the exact opposite of Davis. Davis has come to represent the lying, cheating, boring, political class. They will look to the person who--for whatever reason or lack of reason--they think they can trust, someone that is identifiably, visibly so to speak, the opposite of Davis. And the only one running--who is also already known to all--who fits that description is Arnold. That Arnold may turn out to be a charlatan, or one who may not be able to re-establish the trust necessary in government, is another matter. I submit that that will only be known after the election, about six to twelve months after. For the election they are inclined to give him the benefit of every doubt. Now it is still possible that Arnold will get buried in detail (as the liberal press wants him to be) by talking policy, or make some other foolish mistakes. It is also possible that Bustamante will turn out to be as Machiavellian a politician as Davis (I doubt this) and by pulling in every chit and every IOU from every group that he ever benefitted or promises to benefit (as well as dividing the votes of oipponents) he thereby ends up winning. But I don’t think he is smart enough, energetic enough, (besides he doesn’t have enough chits) to pull it off. Of course, if my assumption is wrong, I crash.

Mark Steyn

Here is Mark Steyn’s site. Even though I try to bring almost everything he writes to your attention, I invariably miss some. So you should check it regularly. He is smart and all that, but above all he is a writer who always winds up the watch of his wit, and it always strikes. Can anyone find me a left-leaning writer of such wit? I am told that he will have a piece on Arianna Huffington in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal. I’d love to see her expression when she reads it. Oh, before I forget, here is his take on what the Arnold candidacy should mean to the liberal media, i.e., that Arnold is not part of the trivial, self-promoting, self-obsessive political club. He wrote this a few days after Arnold announced, I think.

Characterization of bloggers

A reader of Weintraub’s blog said this charming thing about bloggers: "I’ve decided that you bloggers are like the 17th century French court: an obsessive social circle constantly calculating alliances (with other bloggers); gossipy and sometimes outrageously catty about people in power; carefully measuring the political climate, whispering rumors of beheadings; members of the highest reaches of the establishment but outsiders in an insider’s world.

And I love every minute of it."

California candidates

Here is the official list of candidates running for governor of California. According Daniel Weintraub the list includes:

50 Democrats

42 Republicans

32 Independents

4 Greens

3 Libertarians

2 Natural Laws

1 Peace and Freedom

1 American Independent

MANPADS worries

Should we be worried about "man portable air defense systems" (MANPADS) shooting down civilian planes, like the one this arms dealer was trying to purchase? Yes, writes Ralp Kinney Bennett, and we should be worried about other, even more low-tech weapons. 

CIA arrests al Qaeda terrorist

ABC News reports: "A top al Qaeda member and a leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, Riduan Isamuddin, (aka Hambali), 36, was arrested as part of a CIA undercover operation in the last 24 hours. He is currently being returned to Indonesia to face terrorism charges there."


Rebels lift siege of Monfrovia, as Marines arrive to shouts of "Thank you. Thank you, America!"

Gay unions poll

The Washington Post reports on their poll which shows that 60% of people oppose the Episcopalian decision in favor of same-sex unions. This opposition is broad and deep, and growing. The public’s acceptance of same-sex unions has fallen by 12 points since May.

Man with two families

It was only discovered two weeks after his wife of 51 years died and the man re-married: he had two families, living but twenty miles from one another, and the two women knew one another. He has children from each, all well cared for. Amazing.

A California note

That Warren Buffett, a Democrat who is much respected and admired, has signed on to the Schwarzenegger campaign is another indication that Arnold is both serious and clever. I continue to think that his political acumen is being underestimated, and this is entirely to his advantege. Please note that the media is entirely devoted to trying to make him look as if he has no "policy options" to offer. The media, in leaning left, always thinks that politics is "policy." This is only true if you accept that New Deal-Great Society understanding of politics, as they do. Unfortunately, most of the time politics is about policy, but not when politics really matters. Not when there are fundamental issues of trust or character at stake. And this is what is happening in California. Although Arnold will, no doubt, have some things to say on policy matters, the enthusiasm for him, and his probable victory, will have to do with the fact that he is an outsider who might be trusted. And that’s all there is to it. This is a not-so-small revolution in California politics that is likely to have a longer range effect than merely the overthrow of a governor who has lost all authority. I do not believe that Clinton’s attempt to advise Davis on how to win the recall vote will prove to be of any value to a governor who is already not trusted; despite what the press says, Clinton is neither respected or admired. Davis has made the exact opposite of the choices Arnold has made. Besides, I believe that Clinton’s involvement in the Davis effort is more about Hillary and Bill (that is, her presidential prospects in either 2008 or 2004) than it is about Davis. This is all worth watching. But also note that the venerable John Fund argues that Bustamante should be not counted out; he thinks it is possible for him to win the election. I disagree.

Names of military operations

Inteldump has some interesting comments on the naming of military operations, includiong the one just finished by the 4th Infantry Division; it was called Operation Ivy Lighting. "The Roman numeral ’IV’ was used for the division a long time ago, and the division picked up the moniker ’the Ivy division’ during WWI. Today, 4ID soldiers wear a patch with 4 ivy leaves pointing north/south/east/west on their shoulder.

Today’s 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) also calls itself the ’Ironhorse’ division, in a not-too-subtle reference to the armored vehicles it rides on into battle. The division plans team names every operations plan using a convention that incorporates either Ivy or Ironhorse into the name -- e.g. Operation Ironhorse Venture or Operation Ivy Lightning. Unfortunately, this means that every 4ID operation that ends in ’L’ will result in the acronym ’OIL’." On a larger side note, we ended up calling the Iraq war "Operation Iraqi Freedom" rather than "Operation Iraqi Liberation" because the acronym of the latter would have been "OIL." This is an interesting (and long) aricle on the naming of military operations from Parameters a few years back; interesting and sometimes very amusing.

Clinton is helping Davis

This a New York Times article on Clinton’s very direct (and not so private) involvement in the Davis recall race. He is helping Davis. The article asserts that Clinton will go to California to help Davis, even more publicly. Note this paragraph: "Mr. Clinton loves all things political and anything to do with California, a state where he considered settling after leaving the White House. And he has hardly been shy about serving as the Democratic Party’s political consultant in chief. But Mr. Clinton was said to be particularly drawn to the California recall because of what he described to associates as disturbing parallels between the post-election effort to remove Mr. Davis and the impeachment that almost led to his own ouster." I guess I don’t believe that Clinton will end up publicly helping him if it continues to look like Davis has no chance of beating the recall. There is too much at stake for Clinton. On the other hand, it could be argued that because now (according to all the polls) it looks like Davis doesn’t have a chance, then Bill should help him and--if Davis should end up pulling it out--Clinton could get all the credit, and that credit would go a long way. Interesting stuff, if anyone can shed light on this, I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Kerry On, Dude

Great story in the Washington Post this morning about how John Kerry ordered Swiss cheese on his Philly cheese steak in Phialdelphia yesterday, and then was photographed biting into it "daintily."

More evidence that the Michael Dukakis syndrome is something in the water up there in Taxachusetts.

Foiling the SAM plot

Here is today’s The New York Times artcile on the arms dealer arrested in Newark on charges that he tried to sell a Russian-made surface-to-air missille to an unedrcover agent posing as an al-Quade operative. And this is the latest on it from ABC News, it details the indictment. The immediate thing to note from all this (although we will learn more, even in the next few days) is the extraordinary cooperation between U.S., Russian, and British intelligence services (including the newly created Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of the Homeland Security Department. Also note that the Secret Service was also somehow involved. Does this mean that the President or Air Force I was a possible target? Here is a short note on the SA 18.

The Teeth of the Tiger

I picked up Tom Clancy’s new novel last night, The Teeth of the Tiger. Something came up, so I was just able to read the first few pages, but I mean to get to it right away. This interview of Clancy in Newsweek is worth reading. Thoughtful guy. I like this paragraph: "Mainly what I do is try to portray reality, to show things the way they really are. And with all due modesty I think I’m pretty good at that. The way the world really works is that the world is not digital, it’s analog. Which means the world is an untidy place. And I portray it as an untidy place." Clancy uses this George Orwell line in the frontispiece of the book: "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

Davis and the unions

Rich Lowry explains the deep and corrupt connections between Davis and the unions. It should shock you.  

California politics

NBC conducted a poll on Sunday night that confirms two important things: 72% said that California was headed down the wrong track, and 59% said they would vote to recall Davis. Arnold came in at 31%, and Bustamente trailed badly at 18%. First, it seems to me perfectly clear that Davis is finished and, even though he may not accept it, certainly other Demos (including Bustamente) will. Therefore, it is likely that Davis will be pushed to resign, therefore not only making Bustamante governor (which isn’t worth very much), but clearing the way for him to fight a clearer campaign on his own behalf (rather than arguing that people should come to polls to both vote against the recall, and to vote for him in case the recall fails). I see no reason why this shouldn’t happen. Second, both the Demos and the press will press Arnold to start making a catalogue of policy issues, hoping that with each particlat stance he will alienate part of his constituency. They have already started this process. But they don’t understand that people will vote for Arnold because he is an outsider (with 100% name recognition) and in general a good guy. You can already see part of this forming regarding his support of Proposition 187 in 1994 His opponents are calling it "anti-immigration."
See this Sacramento Bee on the start of this attack. It won’t work. It will remind conservatives that Arnold is not simply a liberal. But see John Fund’s thoughtful commentary wherein he cautions that Arnold has some serious obstacles to overcome.

Bush’ aggressive campaign

USA Today reports something that really isn’t news: Bush is establishing a campaign mode that is the most aggressive since Reagan’s in 1984; he is trying to set himself up so that by the time the Demos nominate someone, they will not be able to catch up. I would add that it will differ from Reagan’s ’84 campaign by not ignoring Republican candidates across the board. It will not be simply a personal campaign for re-election, in other words, but a campaign for realignment.

Wesley Clark to announce

The Boston Globe says that Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander, has told his people to crank it up, and he will announce on Labor Day. If Clark gets in, I predict that he will be immdiately catapulted to the top where he will vie with Dean for the nomination. His military credentials combined with not being a part of the political establishment will come to dominate his candidacy, entirely to the disadvantage of the other candidates, save Dean who has the anti-war crowd (and the left) locked up in part because he is also seen as an outsider. The other dry-as-dust Demo candidates will be seen even more clearly for what they are: predictable, monotonous, and utterly uninteresting. Now things might get interesting.

The selfish universe?

O.K. this is even harder than rocket science, but I find this stuff irresistible. Kenneth Silber writes a short piece for Tech Central Station on "Selfish Baby Universes."

Has an Oregon lawyer discovered the secret of the universe?

This question arises in connection with a new book titled Biocosm, by James N. Gardner. Gardner presents an imaginative, even bizarre, speculation about life’s role in the cosmos. Gardner’s hypothesis is called the "Selfish Biocosm." It states that intelligent life plays a key role in a cosmological cycle whereby the universe, over enormous timescales, creates new copies of itself. The laws of physics, in this view, strongly favor the emergence of life and intelligence -- and indeed are designed to do so. However, this design is not of supernatural origin. Biocosm (Inner Ocean Publishing) carries the subtitle "The New Scientific Theory of Evolution: Intelligent Life is the Architect of the Universe."

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals

The wrangle within the Sixth Circuit made the New York Times this morning. The article isn’t complete, by any means, but it will bring attention to the mischief going on there.

The Beltway Phenomenon

I missed this article yesterday, but OpinionJournal posted a terrific column by Peter Beinart about the Democratic presidential nomination. Beinart has a simple explanation why Dean is ahead of the rest of the pack: he knows how to present himself as an executive because he’s been a governor, and he’s not tied down to all sorts of interest-group compromises because he’s been outside the Beltway for his political career.

This is a very important phenomenon. Ever since the 1970s -- read, ever since the federal government grew massively during the Great Society and the Nixon Administration -- no member of Congress has ever won the Presidency. Walter Mondale and Bob Dole probably got the closest simply by winning the presidential nomination. John Marini likes to cite this fact as proof that the national administrative state is out of whack. To be sure, voters vote reflexively to protect the administrative state when conservatives try to cut it, as the Gingrich Congress found out the hard way. But every 4 years, when primary voters try to nominate a presidential candidate, the nominee who runs against Washington, D.C. has a huge edge over all the others: Carter, Reagan, Dukakis, Clinton, Bush II, and now it’s looking like Dean. (Bush I doesn’t count because he was Reagan III.) The pattern is so strong it makes you wonder why Senators like Kerry and Lieberman could be so obtuse to miss it.

I remember thinking of this phenomenon when the Democratic field settled together. I looked at Dean and said, "Nah, there’s no way it will work this time." Instead, Dean may turn out to be the best confirmation of the Beltway phenomenon yet.

Demos will not retake the House

Juliet Eilperin writes in the WaPo that Democrats don’t have much of a chance to retake the House in 2004. While she emphasizes the limited number of seats in play as a result of reapportionment, there is more to it, of course. But note that even Rep. Rahm Emanuel, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee vice-chairman, is modest in his expectation: "In terms of basic vitals -- money, recruitment and the message environment -- all the signs are pointed toward a slight gain for us." I think the Demos might be starting to settle into a "permanent" minority status; if not yet, they will after a couple of more elections, they must find their own Robert Michel. There are some useful details on a few races in the article.

Poll finds that in 25 years affirmative action not necessary

ABC News says that a new poll conducted by Harris (for the American Bar Association) found that: "Most Americans agree that in 25 years, colleges and universities should no longer need to look at an applicant’s race to make sure there is racial and ethnic diversity on campus, a new poll finds.

Seventy percent of respondents said they agree with Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who wrote in June that although the Constitution allows race to be a factor in college admissions now, there should be no need for that consideration in a quarter-century." The poll will be released by the ABA today.

Steyn on Arnold

Mark Steyn column on Arnold and the Demos is very good, and quite funny.

Cautionary note on the recall

Arnold Steinberg at NRO tries to give pause to those who think 1) that Devis will certainly lose the recall, and 2) that Ahhnold S. will become governor. He criticizes the Friday night poll (wherein AS gets 25%), but I have already mentioned the Sunday CNN poll, which even looks more promising on both issues. While being aware that polls don’t mean everything, yet I think the nature of the revolution taking place in California is such that the candidate that will prosper most will be the one that is seen to be least tied to the political establishment. So, while Steinberg’s cautions should be taken seriously, in the end, he will have been proven wrong, imho. Daniel Weintraub says "Gray Davis has a huge problem on his hands, one probably unprecedented in modern American politics. There is no model for how he can get himself out of it. The immediate problem is this: he is becoming irrelevant."

Foreigners migrate to London

This long article from The Economist addresses the issue of the growth the number of foreigners in London: two-thirds of foreigners coming to England end up in London. The inflow of foreigners to London is larger (per 1,000 inhabitants) than into Los Angeles and almost twice of what it is into New York. Also, the English are moving out to the countryside. 

WMD in Iraq announcement in September?

Robert Novak (always skeptical of the Bush administrations WMD in Iraq claims) writes that there is to be a big public announcement in September of things David Kay has already made public. In case you don’t trust Novak, Rich Lowry claims to have heard the same thing. The British government is said to be preparing a major report to the same effect.

California immigration politics

Matt Welch writes in the Los Angeles Daily News that whether or not illegal aliens should receive a California drivers license may become an issue during the recall election. Davis said in July that he would support it (after having vetoed it last year). Also see this LA Times op-ed by Ed Erler and Scot Zentner of a few days ago; they claim that this is a veiled bid for amnesty. Also note that Arnold supported Proposition 187 in 1994. It would have prevented illegals from receiving some social services, including education, but it was overturned by a court. The Davis supporters, and Democrats in California will make an issue of this, especially since former Governor Pete Wilson is a close advisor to Arnold.

Tourism drop in France

Steven Den Beste has a long essay on the various problems the French are having; he emphasizes the drop in tourism. While official numbers are not available, the standard estimates say that there is at least a 30% drop from last year (and that year was already low). There are many good sites mentioned along the way in this long bu readable essay. (via Instapundit.

CNN California poll

Yet another CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, a day after the poll below, shows Arnold with 42% saying there is a good chance they would vote for him, and, even more significantly, 73% said they take his candidacy seriously. Buztamante has 22% and SImon comes in at 13%. There is also some info in the article on the major candidates’ financial holdings.

Arnold Democrats

A Time/CNN Poll poll released yesterday claims that 54% of voters would recall Davis if the election were held today, and that Arnold would be elected with 25%, to Bustamante’s 15%. And Tony Quinn thinks that there is a good chance that Arnold can pull in a lot of Democrats, much like Reagan did. There are many voters out there who are "below-the-screen voters", voters, people who have been alienated from politics, and whose preferences for candidates are hard to determine; but it is almost certainly the case that they would not vote for Davis, or even Bustamente. I would add that the Arnold Democrats could include many, maybe even a majority of Hispanics.

Arnold now appears on the cover of both Time and Newsweek. Here is the Time story on him; worth a quick look. Note his cold relations with the Kennedy’s. Here is Newsweek. You might as well look at Rush Limbaugh’s op-ed in The L.A. Times. He explains why this extraordinary effort to recall Davis is perfectly understandable: he has turned the state into a banana republic, Rush argues, and the people are not amused.