Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Greening of the Golden Arches

As a long-suffering shareholder of McDonald’s depressed stock, I’ve been pondering Peter’s observations from the other day about McDonald’s declining quality. I can now authoritatively pass along the news that environmentalists are the proximate cause of McDonald’s downfall.

As every double-quarter pounder lover knows, McDonald’s now has this stupid "made-for-you" system that supposedly makes your burger fresh when you order it, just like Wendy’s. If you have ever peered back into the kitchen, you will see them pull patties out of some heated drawer. This, we are told, is supposed to be better than having a wrapped burger sit under a heat lamp. And it always takes a long time for them to get it all together; not-so-fast-food.

In retrospect, I can date the decline of McDonald’s back to their caving in to environmentalists over the old polystyrene clam-shell burger box that used to keep a burger reasonably hot and fresh-tasting even under a heat lamp. (And they made great buckets to dump your fries, too, remember??) McDonald’s agreed to dump the clamshell and use paper wrappers instead after a huge campaign by environmentalists, who disliked the polystyrene box supposedly because it can’t be recycled. (This is not true, as it turns out.)

So: a new cause for the Ashbrook Center is clearly to bring back the clamshell box, heat lamps, and fast service.

The American Killed by Hellfire

This Post article has more on the American Kamal Derwish who was killed in the Yemen attack. He was the guy who recruited the Buffalo six.

Saddam the Tyrant

This is a book review of the just published Saddam: The Secret Life by Con Coughlin. It appears in the London Telegraph. It is reviewed by William Shawcross. "Power into will, will into appetite, And appetite, an universal wolf."

Dems as Wile E. Coyote

This is Mark Steyn’s contribution to the debate on why the Dems lost so big on Tuesday. It is, of course, well written and funny. I can’t resist citing one paragraph:

Whether the Democrats understand any of this is difficult to know: To
their cheerleaders in the press, Bush is still too dumb to be President:
He’s "Shrub," the idiot Dauphin, the pampered frat-boy. Even I
underestimated the guy: In this column on Monday, I figured he’d blown
it. As usual, I was wrong! And I couldn’t be happier! The Dems are
beginning to look like the cunning predator in a Looney Tunes campaign,
standing there charred and bewildered having mistaken their tail for the
dynamite fuse. If Bush is too dumb to be President, how dumb do you
have to be to be consistently outwitted by him?

Dennis Miller, neocon II

More Miller from the Jay Leno show:

"Of course the Democrats lost. Just look at the **9%#! platform they were running: (1) We want to take more of your money, and (2) We really don’t care all that **l@! much about protecting you."

Dennis Miller, neocon

The indispensible Media Research Center posted a transcript of Dennis Miller’s rant on Iraq on the Tonight Show:

"It’s not a perfect world. Listen I think Bush’s old man could have ended this whole dilemma in the Middle East around 12 years ago. We were like two exits away on the Jersey Turnpike from croaking this toad and we back off because the coalition doesn’t want us to go up the road. Are you kidding me? The coalition? This better not happen again. You know Tony Blair is a cute kid and one of my favorite Martin Short characters in waiting, but the simple fact is we don’t consult the Brits on anything anymore. We haven’t listened to them since our boys dressed up like the Hakawi tribe and boosted all the Tetley tea in the Beantown Harbor around 200 years ago. I don’t want to ask the Brits what to do here. We gotta assassinate Saddam Hussein. Why have we taken assassination off the table as a viable political tool? And yet they’ll tell you the collateral damage of civilians is acceptable. But you’re not allowed to assassinate the main pain in the ass. My theory is if you have trouble with your conscience pretend you’re trying to kill the guy next to him and think of him as collateral damage, alright?! If that will allow you to get to bed at night." [applause] Miller: "Listen. Negotiating with Saddam Hussein is about as practical as practicing aroma therapy on a French man. Okay? It’s not going to happen."

Pelosi to Get the Nod

Martin Frost has dropped out the running for House Minority Leader, clearing the way for liberal Democrat Nancy Pelosi to succeed Gephardt in that position. The Washington Post gives some background on the selection and on Pelosi here. And yes, Schramm predicted that Pelosi would best Frost as well. Look for the Democrats to take a serious lunge left, a move that will likely alter the predicted Democratic presidential candidates in 2004 and 2008. More on that later.

Bayou Politics II: A House Divided

The Times-Picayune reports that Governor Foster (R) has refused to endorse Suzanne Haik Terrell (R) in her bid to unseat Senator Mary Landrieu in next month’s Louisiana runoff. Foster, who backed Rep. Cooksey in the election that forced the runoff, claims that he was turned off by negative campaigning and held out the possibility of endorsing Landrieu.

Bayou Politics I

Wandering the French Quarter last evening, I saw a large campaign banner for Mary Landrieu. I know that politics are a little different in the bayou, but I have to presume that tourists are still not eligible to vote.

Will Viagra Save the White Rhino??

. . . or, The Doctrine of Unintended Conseqences, Chapter 2 Million:

A news squib on the CNN craw said that Chinese herbalists are killing fewer rare animals for their aphrodisiac properties; it is not necessary because of the availablility of Viagra.

Who knew that Viagra would help the environment?

South Dakota

Peter asks whether a recount in South Dakota is mandatory. From my quick review of the South Dakota law, a recount is only undertaken if, in elections closer than 1/4 of 1 percent, a petition is filed by the candidate or the requisite number of voters.
S.D. St. 12-21-08 through 12-21-14. An automatic recount is required only in the event of a tie. S.D. St. 12-21-16.

South Dakota Recount--Question

Could someone tell me the truth: Is there a mandatory recount in the South Dakota Senate race? Thanks


This is a good conversation about anti-Americanism between Paul Hollander, Victor Davis Hanson, Stanley Kurtz, and Dan Flynn.


This is a very cool machine; a combination motorcycle, boat, or even jet-ski.

Voter Turnout was Up

Curtis Gans’ study of voter turnout is in and some of the details are worth noting. First, for 2002 (39.3%) elections was higher than 1998 (37.6). Second, because of Bush and GOP efforts the Republicans did better than the Demos. Do read this.

A Global Election?

Is it merely a coincidence that the UN Security Council has agreed at last to a US-sponsored resolution on Iraq three days after Bush smashed up his opposition in the election? Perhaps the UN, like the Supreme Court (supposedly), now follows elections returns, too.

McDonald’s Closes 175 Restaurants

I have been saying for over a year that the McDonald’s chain was running some inferior operations; slow service, messy, chaotic places they have become. They are closing 175 of them. I’m not surprised.

Bush’s Humor

John Podhoretz appreciates Bush’s humor during the press conference. I actually believe that some good writing is in order on this issue (Podhoretz is fine, but it’s just a start) because Bush does have a great sense of humor. I have seen it in person. And I think it means something more than what is ordinarily understood by such matters. His kind of wit, it seems to me is to be found among a certain kind of person, with a very fine and special character (e.g., Lincoln, Churchill, Coolidge). Where did you study all this goodly speech? Asks Ketherina of Petruchio. He replies: It is extempore, from my mother wit.

UN Security Council is Unanimous

The Security Council just approved, unanimously, the Iraq Resolution.

Hellfire Comment

This is a comment on David Tucker’s article "Hellfire" sent in by a reader:

I believe Tucker errs on the side
of caution.

Certainly capturing terrorists is important
because of the additional intelligence that can be
gained from them. But killing them also is important
because it accomplishes two things:

1) It undermines the belief (created by the
Clinton administration) that the United States is a
paper tiger, unable or unwilling to strike back. Bin
Laden and folks like him have spread the notion
throughout the world that the U.S. is wussy and can be
defeated by a handful of determined terrorists. Taking
out terrorists a handful (or more) at a time is an
effective counter-argument, one that Muslims will
respect, even if they hate us.

2) It makes it clear to terrorists that the middle
east and surrounding Muslim nations are not a safe
haven. There will be no more undisturbed terrorist R&R
in Yemen or anywhere else. They’ll all be glancing
over their shoulders watching for the hellfire missile
with their name on it. And next time, while they’re
watching the sky, a U.S. special forces rambo should
leap out of the sand and cut their throats.

Tucker’s concern that the Yemen strike will
provoke the terrorists to retaliate is a bit bizarre.
The terrorists already are hitting us whenever and
wherever they can, and will continue to do so whether
we react or not. We’re already on the downside, so
there is no downside in striking back. If anything,
successful retaliation by the U.S. will give the
terrorists pause.

Also, arithmetic is on our side. The tit-for-tat
will only go on only for so long. When the terrorists,
who are outnumbered, are all dead or cowering in a
cave, it ends.

Tucker also says such attacks make it harder for
us to tell the Israelis not to do the same, and such
attacks make us look like the Israelis, feeding the
Muslim belief that the U.S. is anti-Muslim.

Well, we shouldn’t be telling the Israelis not to
do the same. We should be telling the Palestinians
that until they stop the homicide bombings, we fully
support Israel’s right to retaliate against those who
direct the bombings.

As for convincing Muslims that we aren’t
anti-Muslim, those Muslims who understand this don’t
need any further convincing, and those who believe the
U.S. is anti-Muslim probably are not going to be
persuaded otherwise, no matter what we do. The best we
can hope for with the latter is simply too overawe
them with our power to kill those who attack us.
That’s the familiar Machiavellian approach I guess:
They’re never going to love us, so the next best thing
is to make them fear us.

I think the Yemen attack was all to the good. We
need more victories like this. This IS a war, not a
criminal investigation. We should prosecute it like a
war. That means killing the enemy with great vigor
whenever we can.

Wounded Democrats

Here are a few interesting pieces on the election from today’s press, with special emphasis on the plight the Demos find themselves in. Ruffini has a few good paragraphs, as does Sullivan. And then Michael Lind writes in the Financial Times, and Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. And then Peggy Noonan. All worth reading, all useful for future arguments about the meaning of the Demos loss for both them and the GOP.

New Orleans

I know why you are going to the Big Easy. You are going to eat at the finest restaurants in the country and pretend you are doing something important. But, in case you do something important, you might want to check out this blog site run by a guy--as far as I can tell--who knows a lot about Louisiana politics. Try to learn something, Alt.

NLT’s Continuing Election Coverage: On Location

Showing the lengths to which NLT will go to provide in-depth election coverage, I am off to New Orleans this weekend to provide on location analysis of the Landrieu runoff. Look for the special "Politics in the Big Easy" blogs beginning this evening. Any claims by Schramm that I am just going down there for hurricanes and for the favorable exchange rate for beads is just more sour grapes over that whole "theory v. philosophy" exchange.

Decline of Parties

Allison’s point is well taken. I agree that this is a problem. One of the things I didn’t like about Reagan is that he didn’t work on this problem explictly enough. Remember when he stopped off in Minnesota the night before the 1984 election, on his way to California, just to hold a rally at the airport because he (and his advisors) wanted to win MN (and every other state). He should have stopped off at a critical Congressional district and helped the GOP candidate. My sense is that Bush (and Rove) are thinking about this; he certainly acted like it during this campaign, and bowed to the party during his press conference yesterday. Also, one of the reasons I don’t like the so-called campaign finance reform is because it hurts parties. This has to be fixed.

50-50 of what?

I note that Schramm (can I call you that, Peter?) found the partisan breakdown of the vote at the federal and state levels. Yes, people voted for Republicans more than for Democrats. But we should remember that we are living in a time with decreasing party identification and loyalty. Membership groups and volunteer organizations are sucking wind today as it is. Political parties have had increasing trouble attracting grassroots participants.

Moreover, the damage McFein ShayMe reforms do to political parties (by federalizing and limiting state and local grassroots activities) also means that the GOP (in particular) seems poorly positioned to take advantage of this election and increase its partisan base.

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Photos of Prisoners

I pulled this off Drudge. They are photos taken inside a C-130 transporting captured terrorists. Very interesting.

Is this the 50-50 Nation?

Steve Sailer at UPI crunched some numbers to show that the sizable swing to the GOP ; he ignored third parties.

House races: 53.5 % Republican/46.6% Democratic

Senate races: 52.2% Republican/47.8% Democratic

Governor’s races: 52.8% Republican/ 47.2% Democratic

Pro-Islamic Hackers

Pro-Islamic hackers based in Malaysia and Indonesia have been increasing their activity in Asia, causing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of damage.

Slavery in Mauritania

An AP story on the continued existence of slavery, based on a report by Amnesty International, in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in West Africa. Here is the CIA Factbook on Mauritania.

Bush’s Speech

Here is the text of Bush’s short speech before the press conference.

California GOP

Ken Masugi comments on the chaos that is the GOP in California. And Arnold Steinberg explains why Simon lost.

GOP Wins State Legislatures

The GOP had a net gain of about two hundred (200) legislative seats in the election and will hold a majority of these seats for the first time since the Eisenhower presidency. Historically, the party that holds the White House also loses seats in state legislatures.

New Governors

ABC News profiles the new governors.

To Move Left or Not to Move Left

Here is a short overview of the upcoming battle for the Democratic (minority) leadership position in the House between Pelosi and Frost. Pelosi will win.

Andrew Busch and E.J. Dionne on the Election

This is a thoughtful analysis of the outcome of the election by Andrew Busch. It not only gives you a good perspective historically, but attempts to answer two questions:
Why did this historic victory happen? What difference does it make?
And here is E.J. Dionne’s take on this "electoral catastrophe."

Tina Brown and Her Needs

You should read this by Tina Brown (remember this deep thinker?) not because it will teach you much, but because it is well written and amusing. And also, it is revealing of the Democratic tendency to want a star (aka Bill Clinton) who will just mesmerize any pundit who uses the words aphrodisiac and testosterone with such revealing ease. Tina is jealous because (she thinks) Bush has that quality, as is revealed in Alexandra Pelosi’s Journeys With George. She thinks that once Al Gore sees the movie, he will want to slit his wrists. She also comments on Hart, Kerry, and the Norwegian Wood.

Bush Press Conference

I have been watching Bush’s press conference. He is clearly enjoying himself, has the wind at his back, and is quite amusing. I couldn’t help reflecting on what he is like compared to Clinton. Clinton would be hectoring, lecturing, preaching, holding his ego out in front of him for public view and forcing the universe to be, albeit temporarily, as political as he is. Bush isn’t gloating, his ego is not ominpresent. He is not running a perpetual campaign. Very good. You can’t help liking the guy.

Cowboy Bush

Reuters is running this great photo of Bush clearing brush on his ranch (from August) to make a point about the Europeans being more concerned than ever that the electoral victory on Tuesday gives Bush on opportunity to be even more of a cowboy. I say now, as I have said before, good for Bush (and the Europeans, even if they don’t know what’s good for them!). I ought to frame this thing.

Hellfire Revisited

David Tucker writes on our succesful attack on terrorists in Yemen. His reflections are good and thoughtful. Although he assumes that we did the right thing in killing them (in this instance) he suggests that just because we are able to carry out an operation like that doesn’t mean that we should. There are a number of other considerations that should be thought through. The argument moderates my inclinitation to kill these guys just because we can.

Why I got it Right

Dick Morris, of course, had said that the Demos would win (I can’t remember if I blogged it at the time; I thought it so stupid--about a week before the election--that I may not have). But here is his piece today trying to explain why he missed it all. The piece is perfectly ordinary, but the essence of it I quote here because this is what I did, and this is why I got it right (except for those 500 or so voters in South Dakota, darn it!); and this is what the ordinary pundits/pollsters can’t do; they pay too much attention to polls, numbers, all the inside crap. So Morris explains, in effect, why I got it right:

"Unfortunately, I missed many of these developments as they
were unfolding. The hardest thing to do in politics is to be an
insider and think like an outsider -- like a real, live voter."

Unfortunately, there is no formula for this. Add a little knowledge of human nature (theory, Robert!), know a few real citizens, talk to folks (not the oh-so-deep-thinkers), get a sense of the larger things they are thinking about (war, peace, economy, trust, etc.) and add a dash of common sense, and a little Shakespeare for the music. Of course, this is all "unscientific" (thank God!) so everyone calls it a guess. It is really analysis and insight. It used to be called thinking. Of course, it also means you can be wrong. Yet, when you are wrong, you can explain why you are wrong. You still end up learning something. This last point explains why the Demo operatives can’t explain what happened on Tuesday.

McCain-Feingold Questions Continue

In light of continuing questions about whether McCain-Feingold applies to runoffs or recounts, I have amended my previous entry to include the relevant language from the statute. The bottom line is that the bulk of McCain-Feingold does not apply to runoffs and recounts, so long as the election forcing the runoff or recount occurred before November 6. Therefore, it is the position of the FEC that McCain-Feingold’s rules do apply to the special election being held on November 30, 2002 to fill Patsy Mink’s seat in Hawaii, because it does not fit into the "runoff" exception.

The Demos Dangerous Predicament

And they are moving left. Peter Beinart of The New Republic argues that this is inevitable because there is now no counterweight as Clinton was the counterweight when Kennedy and Conyers tried moving the party to the left in 1994. The Demos are in a dangerous predicament, he argues. And if Pelosi and her kind take over the party they will not govern for a generation. Do read this.

Regime Change for Democrats

David Corn of the very liberal Nation writes a first class article attacking the Demos and McAuliffe and Gore and their spin on the outcome. Excellent.

Comment on Georgia

A reader sent this blogger’s note on Georgia politics, and the hard ball the Demos have been playing there, including reapportioning seats to the GOP’s massive disadvantage (on the face of it) and how all of it backfired on them. Good page-long read.

George Will’s Clarity

This is Will’s column for today. It is worth reading. Just note the following paragraph for clarity regarding those Demos who are claiming that this is still a 50-50 nation and therefore their huge losses don’t mean much:

"In 1980 a cumulative shift of 21,470 votes in four states would have prevented Republican capture of the Senate, blocking Ronald Reagan’s agenda. In 1982 a switch of 31,095 votes in five states would have given the Senate back to the Democrats. In 1986, 24,626 votes in five states gave the Senate back to the Democrats. In 2000, a switch of 1,115 votes in Washington state would have rendered Republican control of
the Senate invulnerable to the defection of Vermont’s Jim Jeffords. The 2000
elections produced a House with 221 Republicans, 212 Democrats and two
independents (one supporting each party), but a collective shift of just 2,750
votes in five districts would have made Dick Gephardt speaker."

Gore Interview

Here is the Gore interview with Barbara Walters. It doesn’t seerm especially thoughtful to me. He says: "I think it means the Democrats have to be the loyal opposition in fact and not just in name." I’ll chaw on this for a while.

Gephardt Quits

It is a start of the Democratic bloodletting. Here is the Post story. Don’t look for him to run for president.

Iraq Resolution in the U.N.

This is a pretty clear story on the U.S.’s final resolution to be voted on by the Security Council. It seems to me that this is all the administration wanted, and no one will veto it.

Laser Shoots Down Artillery

The U.S. Army has announced that a high energy laser was used to shoot down an artillery round in mid-flight. TRW is developing it for U.S. and Israel. Very cool.

Al’s Big Night

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats emerge from yesterday’s elections without a clear leader. But an insightful Senate staffer I spoke with this morning reads the tea leaves differently: given the crushing defeat suffered by the Democrats, Al emerges as the new Democratic standard bearer. No, not Al Gore . . . Al Sharpton. As I suggested yesterday, the big story in a number of the races was the poor Black turnout for the Democrats. This combined with Democratic rumblings about the need to get back to liberal policies and to run true "opposition" campaigns may be just the recipe for Sharpton ascendance.

Foreign Reactions to the Election

The reactions from overseas are entirely predictable. They are worried that Bush now has more power and authority to conduct American foreign policy. Here is the AP report and here is the one from Reuters. In case there is any ambiguity regarding my opinion on such matters, please see this short piece I wrote for On Principle recently. It is called "Cowboy."

VNS Breakdown is Good

Allison is right, but more needs to be said on this. I hope the VNS is never used again. In the old days (before Allison’s birth!) the networks reported the votes as they came in and also interpreted and explained what it meant. Example: That Kennedy (in 1960) was so far ahead in the Illinois return doesn’t mean much because the returns we have coming in are from Cook County which always votes Democratic by the following percent, etc. All the anchors used to do this. Albeit they weren’t as good as Michael Barone, they were doing similar things. It was thoughtful, valuable, and the listener learned a lot about American politics (and geography). With the advent of the exit polling data (VNS) all that died. The effects have been awful. Everything is driven by such polling; the results became everything and speed was everything. Last night was more fun than any election returns I have watched in about 30 years, and it vwas because VNS exit polling wasn’t being used.

Politics is no Longer in Miniature

This is a great victory for the President. His popularity is deep and broad and he is trusted. His political enemies (and even some friends) have always underestimated him and they still do so. Now, with yesterday’s results in mind, even a blind man ought to see that this is a serious person (as are the people around him) and he means to act in the world for larger game than what we have gotten used to under Clinton. We have moved into a mode of serious, high minded, politics. And, in some measure because of the war against terrorism, this is consequential politics. Bush is confident about his purposes, his means, the people he has around him. This confidence shows. The American people knew all this and voted accordingly. In this sense the election was "nationalized" by Bush. This is what the talking heads missed.

Yet for some (network newscaster, the New York Times, et al) this will be difficult to understand because they have gotten used to the Clinton/Demo mode of expediency and trimming and victory at any cost. It is the beginning of the end of winning elections by the repetition of little mottos: prescription drugs, faltering economy, etc. This sort of pap, delivered by the always boring and always predictable Daschle and Gephardt will have to end (although it will not yet end, of course) for them to get anywhere. In the meantime a new mode in American politics has been created, a mode that is really a continuation of Reagan’s massive good work that was temporarily interrupted by the Democrats miniaturization of politics.

Vaporous Nowhere Service

The story on VNS seems to be that after the $12 million dollar revamping of the service post-2000, the media participants were shocked to discover its exit polling in meltdown on Tuesday. But I heard early on election day that VNS had indicated over the previous weekend things weren’t working, and had signaled on Saturday to participants that they should make a backup plan. I assume that the failures were in the context of the exit polling analysis, since the backup plan suggested was to go with AP’s service.

Anyhow, it has been a while since I incorporated a link so here’s one to Mickey Kaus’s blog, which is fun to read on VNS and other news.

Waking Up

I slept well, albeit little long. I have spent the morning taking phone calls from friends and allies. The kowtowing got so bad that for a while this morning I confused myself into thinking that I was responsible for this GOP victory, whereas I only guessed it. But now we shall see, as the Duke says to the Friar, ’If power change purpose, what our seemers be." Bush is no Angelo, so I am content. There is much of interest in this outcome and for me the next step is to try to figure out what it means for the Democrats, what they should do, what they will do, and how they will do it.

Schramm Gloating Through Silence?

Is Schramm gloating through silence today? The lack of blogs suggests the quiet before the storm.

Correction: The Election Continues Without McCain-Feingold

The elections are not over. In addition to the automatic recount in South Dakota, there is still the runoff in Louisiana for Senator Landrieu’s seat. I previously suggested that this would be run under McCain-Feingold’s rules, because the effective date of the law is today. I have been informed that a last minute amendment grandfathered in this race and any recounts under the old rules. Here is the relevant language:

Except as provided in the succeeding provisions of this section, the effective date of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, is November 6, 2002. . . . . [Selected provisions, including soft money rules] shall take effect on November 6, 2002, but shall not apply with respect to runoff elections, recounts, or election contests resulting from elections held prior to such date.

Accordingly, under this grandfather provision, the parties will be able to use soft money to conduct the recounts in South Dakota, and for the runoff in Louisiana.

South Dakota: Let the recount begin

The SD Sec. of State reports that with all precincts reporting, Johnson leads with 167477 votes to Thune’s 166949 (don’t make me do math--I didn’t get enough sleep to do math). I say "leads" rather than "wins" because this triggers an automatic recount. Remember those alleged voting irregularities at the Indian reservations? Early reports suggest that this recount may take up to two months.

Predictions V: The Cynic Concedes

The spoils of victory rightly go to Schramm, who best as I can tell has been running through the streets of Ashland for the past month screaming "Never Give Up! . . . Never Give Up! . . . NEVER GIVE UP!" He was chomping on a cigarette rather than a cigar at the time, but you get the idea. That said, I’ve never been so happy to have been judged wrong in my life.


Mondale, the candidate of "the sad" (as he claimed to be in 1984), is more proof of the remark (I think it was Fitzgerald??): There are no second acts in American life.

Realignment or Coattails?

The first sign that something big was afoot came early in the evening, after the VNS numbers were thrown out and when initial returns from Georgia showed Chambliss leading Cleland, Bush ahead in Florida, and, for me, the most important sign, Anne Northup comfortably ahead in her swing House district in Kentucky (where I lived for a year). Suddenly Pat Caddell melts down on MSNBC, attacking Democrats as corrupt, lacking courage and message! Chris Matthews’ dyspeptic shreik reached a whole new octave, and Donna Brazille slumped in her chair in a clear funk. And it got worse from there. (James Carville finally put a trash can over his head in CNN, a vast improvement over his normal visage. . .) By far the most savory moment was when NBC’s Bob Kur and Brian Williams announced that Kennedy Townsend had lost in Maryland: Both looked obviously stricken at the news.

What does it mean? Is this a sign that Bush’s coattails showed up two years late? And/or is this a sign that the foundation of realignment, first suggested in the results of 1980 and 1994, is starting to solidify in a meaningful way? The late pre-election polls and what exit polls we have suggest that Republicans are increasingly competitive with Democrats even on the issues where Democrats are supposed to be strongest (economy, health care, etc). Social Security and Mediscare didn’t work. (The Oregon health care initiative went down HARD, a sign that there isn’t much room to go with that issue.) There is no sign that environmental issues helped Democrats anywhere (and the enviro groups spent big on this election). GOP wins on northeastern governor’s races shows that the GOP is alive in its historic homeland.

Let the Democratic bloodletting begin. It will be said, correctly, that black turnout was not sufficient, and Democrats will now try hard to reverse this in the next election. How? Look for a renewed push for reparations. (There are signs in windows in black neighborhoods in Oakland, CA that read "Reparations Now!") More generally, Pat Caddell is right: liberals will now blast the centrists for depriving the party of a message. This will be fun to watch.

No Left Turns Indeed!

All hail Schramm, who wins the prize for the best predictions. I won’t say anything about humility. . .

Gaddis on National Security

The president’s foreign policy may not have many friends among American academics, but the ones it does have tend to be ones that matter. In this essay, John Lewis Gaddis, author of Strategies of Containment and perhaps the world’s most distinguished historian of the Cold War, discusses why he thinks that Bush’s September 2002 report on "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America" represents "the most important reformulation of U.S. grand strategy in over half a century."


If this is what it feels like to be wrong, then I’ll try to be wrong more often. (Grin.)

Election Results

Here is the chart of our predictions and the results . The short of it is that the GOP increased their majority in the House, and regained a majority in the Senate. For the three results that are yet in question at this hour you can click on "results here" and go the secretary of state site for the state. Regarding my own predictions, all I have have to say to my friends Hayward and Alt is this; In victory: magnanimity.

Terminological Inexactitude

Alt is a lawyer.

VNS Returns

It seems to me that the Voters News Service numbers that are coming in are not realiable. I wouldn’t trust them much anyway, but especially not since they have said publicly that much of their numbers they themselves do not trust. There has been some sort of breakdown. So I think we are just going to have to wait for some real numbers to start coming in. In the meantime, I’ll hold an abbreviated Churchill seminar. Here is the CNN site that should have real numbers after the polls close.

Beauty and Language: Of Theory and Philosophy and Politics

Schramm accuses me of confusing "theory" and "philosophy." One must always be careful when lodging accusations at lawyers. I do no such thing, and in fact I will demonstrate that it was Schramm who made this characterization.

I stated "I knew Schramm was a theory guy . . . ." Where could I have gotten the idea that Schramm was preoccupied with "theory" rather than "philosophy"? Faithful readers of this page will no doubt recall that this arose not from my pen (or keyboard), but from an entry written by none other than Schramm. In a blog raising questions about what the new campaign laws mean for the Dems, Schramm asks:

"Somebody explain this to me. Simply, clearly, please, I teach theory" (emphasis added).

I personally would have been happy to have attributed Schramm’s diversions to philosophy, but it was Schramm who suggested that his intellectual journey took him not to Athens or even Piraeus, but all the way down to Paris, where theory is in fashion. Forgive me Schramm, know that it is not I that wishes you such a fate.

I must agree with his observation that beauty is inherent, and not in the eyes of the beholder. I would point to the observations of Lewis, and through him to Coleridge. Coleridge observed two tourists viewing a waterfall: one called it "pretty," the other "sublime." Coleridge applauded the one who called it sublime. Contrary to the view of subsequent literary critics, Lewis argues that "sublime" best conveyed the inherent beauty of the thing, and was not an observation of the viewer’s subjective "feelings" about the waterfall. This is true and good. Now on to the beauty of election returns.

Latest Numbers

Drudge is posting numbers which are pretty consistent with the unreleased polls I have seen. Here’s a brief overview:

AR: Pryor (D) with an easy lead

CO: Strickland (D) with an easy lead

GA: Chambliss (R) +4

MN: Coleman (R) +3

MO: Talent (R) with the lead over Carnahan

NC: Bowles leads Dole

TX: Cornyn (R) +8

Based on tracking numbers I have seen, Georgia and Minnesota are looking increasingly solid for the GOP. It’s way too early to tell with Dole in NC, although I’m sticking to my prediction of a Dole win there.

Beauty and Victory

I am sorry to see that my friend Alt doesn’t appreciate my philosophical repose in the midst of an election I am deeply interested in (this means, among other things, that he confuses theory with philosophy; dangerous, that). I know the game’s afoot. Therefore, to things beautiful. Beauty is not in the eyes of the beholder. Human beings recognize it by a sort of natural intuition and a natural pleasure. There are many forms, from the antiphonal birdsong, to the color and shapes of flowers, to the Mona Lisa and David; and then the stars. This is not to deny that man-made things cannot be beautiful; even the words that they use in their attempt to pierce the object they behold. So Romeo says (upon seeing Juliet for the first time): "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright." Never mind what Enobarbus says about Cleopatra when she appears on the wharf; you might be too young to handle it. The point is that all beautiful things are good for you and, sometimes (perhaps always?) a participation in, yes, even a look at, will swell the soul with joy. Then, you may to turn to other lovely sights (such as the slaying of political opponents in battle) with a deeper appreciation of those human qualities that both allow you to see the beautiful, and sometimes even to make it. There, beauty and victory become one. That is not theory, it is philosophy, and "There is nothing ill that can dwell in such a temple."

Wrong and Happy in Colorado

Internal numbers from last night show Allard with a slim lead in Colorado. This combined with the strong showing Owens (R) in his bid for governor (some polls show him leading by more than 30 points) suggests that Allard may well pull out a squeaker. For the record, this would balance out my miscall on Hutchinson.

Beauty is Politics: More News from Georgia

The beauty of space? I knew Schramm was a theory guy, but I had know idea of his fondness for the Laputans. In addition to rain today and thunderstorms this evening, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution is reporting longer than usual delays for voters, most likely caused by the fancy new voting machines, which crashed in one location due to an electrical failure. Look for really low voter turnout.

The Reform Islam Needs

James Q. Wilson writes a thoughtful (and lengthy) article in City Journal about the reform that Islam really needs: religious freedom. Without it, he argues, modern politics--and modernity--is not possible. He summarizes the essential elements in European history that led to this religious freedom (and briefly addresses the American addition to its deepest understanding). Unsurprisingly, he uses Turkey as an example of an Islamic country moving in this direction. Given the political developments of last week in Turkey--where the fundamentalist based party has come to power, yet claiming to respect religious freedom--I hope he is not overly optimistic.

Beauty is Space

Although I am satisfied with seeing some beautiful shots of symmetrical planetary nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists are interested in knowing what causes the beautiful things. Apparently magnetism has something to do with the amazing shapes and colors. Click on the image. Take a break from politics; it’s not everything.

Union Voter Fraud in Massachusetts; Plain Old Bribery Allegations in MD

The Mitt Romney (R) campaign in Massachusetts has filed a complaint, alleging that union officials were seen entering the polls with voters, and instructing them on how to vote. This follows suggestions that Democratic operatives in Maryland had planned to offer $75 to $100 in "walking around" money to voters--no strings attached of course.

Red Army Faction No Longer Terrorists

The Christian Science Monitor has an article that one the one hand claims that the Baader-Mainhof Group (also known as RAF) is being "re-examined" (i.e., placed in a better light) in German society, and, on the other hand, the article itself helps toward making liberal-left idealists out of these homegrown Marxist terrorists. Read the article and see if you get a real sense of how awful these people were, of how many people they killed and kidnapped, of how many buildings they blew up? You don’t get the truth, you get historical revisionism of the worst sort. The movies and t-shirts and writings in the new Germany glorifying these terrorists are no longer judgmental, they now become "activists" and examples of "natural growing pains" of a new state. And this is supposed to be good news, according to the The Christian Science Monitor. The Germans ought to be ashamed and the Monitor ought to lose all its readers.

One Down

Rich Lowry reports that Hutchinson is toast. I guess I shouldn’t have relied on chicken entrails in making my predictions. On the brighter side, there is some optimism about Thune in SD, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

Huckabee’s Coattails?

The one prediction I am worried most about is my pick for Hutchinson to win in Arkansas. The latest Zogby poll has Hutchinson trailing by 13 points. Hutchinson is most hurt by revelations of his marital infidelity, which has turned off conservative Christian voters. The question is whether these voters will cross the line and vote for Pryor, or simply not vote. In years past, the trend has been that they would not vote. This was demonstrated in the low Christian Coalition turnout for Bush in the southeast after the drunk driving revelation. Here then is the X factor: Governor Huckabee is facing a relatively close re-election bid. Christian coalition voters are likely to show up to the polls for Huckabee. The question is whether they will relent and vote for Hutchinson when they are in the booth. The Huckabee coattails may be the one factor which would permit Hutchinson to pull the upset.

Go Back to Paper Ballots!

I agree with Glenn Harlan Reynolds that everyone should go back to paper ballots. It is cheap and easy, and if there have to be any recounts, it can be done by anyone. There is a direct connection between the citizen voting and his choice; there is something concrete and firm about it. With the advent of computers the citizen is progressively removed from the act of voting. Also, the recount is done by experts who only other experts can question. It will be like dueling Medieval theologians. It will be a matter of faith. Those matters of faith will begin tomorrow. It will be a mess.

Here We Go Again

According to Matt Drudge, there are already complaints being made about Florida’s new election machinery! Could we be in for another messy, messy election?

November Madness in NC

Overlooked in the coverage of the Dole/Bowles race in North Carolina is the role of college basketball in this race. In a state which is dominated by Blue Devils and Tarheels, what is more natural than looking to Coach Krzyzewski or Dean Smith for voting guidance? Thus, Coach K held a fundraiser for Dole (and has been criticized for doing so), while Smith threw his weight behind Bowles. We’ll see who’s holding the trophy later tonight.

Harvard’s Bad Teachers

This article really shouldn’t surprise anyone, yet I take delight in it. It is by a student at Harvard and appears in The Harvard Crimson. It reflects on the lack in teaching ability at Harvard. I love the reference to "incomprehensible, wandering lectures." What the student misses here is that those incomprehensible and wandering lectures are supposed to reflect the oh-so-deep-thinking going on in front of the student who, it just so happens, isn’t smart or deep enough to understand it; or at least that is what the professor would say if he were asked.

NATO’s New Mission?

This is an interesting story from today’s Washington Post about not only the expansion of NATO but about its imminent embrace of a new military strategy which would include setting up of a multi-national deployment force. This will merit some conversation, but for now my political instinct say it’s not a good thing.

Gary Hart for President

It is being reported that Gary Hart is considering running for president. This has been floating around for a few weeks and does not surprise me. Given the hollow core of the Democratic Party now (and its looming losses today) I think Hart should run; he will have as good a chance as anyone else to become the Democratic nominee. Besides, he just may be old enough not to get into any more monkey business.

Conservative Races to Watch

Stephen Moore of the Club for Growth points us to ten conservative races to watch. Some are especially interesting, including Indiana’s 2nd Cong district, and the governors races for So. Carolina, Arizona, and Wisconsin.

The Spineless Washington Post

On one of the closest election day’s in recent memory, the lead editorial in the Washington Post online isn’t on the races, but addresses campaign finance law. The Post criticizes the parties for acting within current law by raising soft money, and refers to the FEC as "spineless" for attempting to undercut the law.

As someone who has testified twice before the FEC in the last few months, I can assure you that the Commission has been anything but spineless in its attempts to assure that its regulations don’t make the McCain-Feingold any more unconstitutional than it already is--and this despite constant and rancorous opposition by editorial boards of the Post and NY Times. No, to be spineless is to work for a editorial page which has an exemption from campaign funding limitations--an exemption which permits you to expressly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates--and then to use that privilege to cast stones at others who don’t take kindly to having their free speech rights impaired.

If the editorial post really wanted to assure that soft money is out of politics, they would forego the huge contribution they make every year by writing favorable op-eds and endorsing candidates. After all, column space costs money, and therefore would constitute a contribution in the absence of the statutory exemption. The Post is angry that the parties didn’t follow the spirit of the law by foregoing soft money in this election, even though the law didn’t require this. I suggest then that the Washington Post set the standard for obeying the purported spirit rather than the letter of the law by foregoing the press exemption.

NLT Election Prediction Re-cap

No exit polls yet? Hungry for election coverage? Did you miss NLT’s election predictions and commentary? For Peter "larger than life" Schramm’s picks, click here. For Steve "Megatech" Hayward’s picks, click here. For Allison "don’t blame me for ’megatech’" Hayward’s picks, click here. And finally for Robert "when do I get to file the election lawsuits" Alt’s picks, click here.

Sweet Home Alabama

WaPo reports this morning that Justice Department officials are increasingly looking at Alabama as a strong option to get the first opportunity to prosecute the sniper suspects. The reasons offered are the strength of the evidence--witnesses and fingerprints place both Muhammad and Malvo at the scence of the liquor store murder--and Alabama’s tough capital punishment laws. As I have mentioned here before, Alabama has the toughest law, and so it is good to see that it has not been ruled out as a first prosecution option.


This is a report on how six al Qaeda members, including one that was responsible for the USS Cole bombing, were killed in Yemen yesterday by a CIA Predator firing a missile. The President said the following: "The only way to treat them is [for] what they are - international killers. And the only way to find them is to be patient and steadfast, and hunt them down."

Senate Breakdown as of 8 AM

Think that the Senate is divided 50(D)- 49(R)-1(I)? Think again. With Governor Ventura’s appointment of Independent Dean Barkley to fill Wellstone’s seat until the winner of today’s election is certified, the count is 49(D)-49(R)-2(I). Trent Lott is reported to have already called Barkley.

Peggy Noonan on Mondale-Coleman Debate

Noonan nails the debate. I watched many newscasts last night and was struck by how inane and/or misleading the newscasters were on this issue (and many others having to do with the elections).

Low Turnout Weather

As poll watchers know, weather impacts voter turnout: worse weather means worse turnout. Typically, Republicans do better when turnout is low. With that in mind, here is your election day forecast, with compliments to

Minneapolis, MN: 38H/30L; Rain and Snow showers.

Sioux Falls, SD: 40H/27L; Freezing drizzle this morning, followed by afternoon sun.

Baton Rouge, LA: 70H/50L; Heavy rain and thunder.

St. Louis, MO: 48H/37L; Morning rain.

Nashville, TN: 55H/43L; Heavy rain.

Atlanta, GA: 60H/53L; Heavy rain with thunder storms in the evening.

Little Rock, AR: 55H/40L; Cloudy.

So put on your rain slicker and get ready for low voter turnout in a number of states with close elections.

Rudy Agrees

I just saw Giuliani on Fox and Friends. He predicted a one seat gain in the Senate for Republicans, with Republicans holding the House.

More on Minnesota

On Monday, November 4, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura appointed Independent Party member Dean Barkley as interim senator to replace Senator Wellstone. See news account at

Contrary to media accounts, Senator Barkley is to serve until the person chosen at the election on November 5 is certified to take office. Minnesota Statute sec. 204D.28, subsect. 11 and 12, provides that the Governor may fill vacancies with a temporary appointment, who holds office only until a successor is elected at a special election or, in the case such as this when the vacancy occurs in the year before the term was set to expire, only until an individual is elected for the regular six-year term, in which case the newly-elected Senator will take office immediately for the remainder of the unexpired term.

Blue Dog Demos will Leave Party

This is an article from Roll Call claiming that there are a number of Democratic Congressmen who might leave the party after Pelosi gets elected to Gephardt’s job (the assumption is that Gephardt will give up his leadership of the Democratic caucus after the unsuccesful attempt to gain a majority in the House and the party will turn left with Pelosi in charge). I don’t think Gephardt will give it up, but who knows. Things may change after tomorrow.

Chameleon Tanks

Nanotechnology is being used to have tanks change their colors as needed, and even heal themselves. This short article from the BBC is very cool.

Customers rather than Citizens

This is an interesting piece trying to show that the idea and practice of citizenship is losing ground; people are seeing themselves more and more as customers rather than citizens. This analysis is not perfect--and certainly not comprehensive--but it is worth reading. It is by Crenson and Ginsburg.

On Muslim Retreat into Self-pity and Fantasy

David Pryce-Jones writes about Muslim self-pity, fantasy, and conspiracy by way of consolation. It is from The New Criterion. Thoughtful and instructive.

Putting Gore on the Couch

Mark Levin writes a very funny letter to Al Gore giving him some advice on how he should regain his balance and composure. It’s a great quick read.

Dewey Beats Truman?

The networks had egg on their respective faces after the 2000 debacle, in which they called states too early, then pulled them, then reannounced them . . . well, you get the point. In light of this, networks claim to have taken a "once bitten, twice shy" approach to declaring election victories this year. Even so, there is a high likelihood that they will error when declaring the outcome in Minnesota.

As I have suggested below, the key factor in Minnesota will be absentee ballots. If the networks assume that the absentee ballots will be within a standard deviation of the outcome from the exit polls, then the networks will most likely be wrong, and may erroneously announce the race. Remember that under the Minnesota Supreme Court’s opinion, absentee votes cast for Wellstone count for Wellstone unless the voter casts a subsequent vote for another candidate. Given the limited timeframe for mailing ballots, the majority of these secondary votes will be cast directly at the physical polls, and there is likely to be a large number of individuals who simply fail to do so. This means that the absentee vote should overwhelmingly favor Coleman.

This break in ordinary voting patterns is likely to be forgotten by those handicapping the final outcome of the election, and may lead to a Dewey beats Truman moment for Minnesota.

Democratic Surge?

Here is a Dick Morris prediction that is almost exactly the contrary of mine. Morris bases his predictions on the latest Zogby polls. I think he is badly wrong. If there is a surge, it is a GOP one.

Cowboy Boots

Enough partisan politics! Here is a nice piece about cowboy boots and how everyone wears them, (at least in Texas) regardless of their politics. I hasten to add that not all cowboys live in Texas.

Mondale-Coleman Debate

I have seen about twenty minutes of this debate. I keep walking away from it because I am embarrassed for Mondale. I predict Mondale will lose by ten points.

Predictions IV: The Cynic Goes Out on a Limb

Rounding out the prognostications, here are my calls. First, though a few general thoughts. As everyone has said, these races are going to be decided by turnout. The Dems are in dire straits in the mid-Atlantic and the South, because their voting strength there is from Black voters, who do not appear to be energized in these elections (e.g., a high percentage of Black voters have reported being undecided, which is more likely a position of apathy rather than indeicision as between the Democratic and Republican candidates). This will have an impact in places like Georgia.

SENATE: Final tally: R+1

NC: Despite Erskine’s (D) charge, Dole (R) holds on. In order to pull off a win, the Democrats would need extraordinary turnout from Black voters. ED is just not the sort of politician who will engender that response, so look for a Dole win.

TX: Cornyn (R) bests Kirk (D). This is a race that shows that judicial nominations can have a bite. Kirk spoke out against Justice Owen’s nomination, and took a 3-point dive in the polls. He then spoke out against the President’s stance in Iraq, and took a 6-point dive. Despite a surge at the end, he has not been able to recover.

NH: Shaheen (D) beats Sununu (R). My sources in NH tell me that Sununu has run a lackluster campaign, and most importantly, Smith supporters are going to write him in at a rate of about 2-3%. This is enough to assure Shaheen goes over the top, and should be enough to assure that Smith never works in Republican politics again.

CO: The veterinarian isn’t going to the pet cemetary, but to the political one. Despite his best attempts, Allard (R) proved to be a poor campaigner, and suffered from low name ID despite being an incumbent. Look for Strickland(D) to take this race.

NJ: Lautenberg(D) takes this race. Don’t get me started on the NJ Supreme Court, or why it is truly despicable that the NJ voters are giving the Dems a pass on this race.

SD: Johnson (D) will hold on by a very narrow margin. Look for more allegations of voter fraud, and possible litigation if the final numbers are close (but I don’t think they will be quite that close).

MO: Score one for my alma mater. U. of C. alumni Jim Talent (R) pulls out the win over pseudo-incumbent Carnahan (D). Talent has run a strong campaign, and despite narrowing margins, will walk away the winner. Look for the governor to attempt to delay certification to the Senate (Talent should become Senator immediately upon certification), leading to potential litigation to force the governor to do his duty.

AR: If you asked me yesterday, I would have said that Pryor (D) would win. Hutchinson has been plagued by the basic principle that you don’t dip your pen into the company ink--at least not if you plan to run on a "family values" platform. His infidelity is likely to depress voter turnout among Christian conservatives--not to increase the vote tally for Pryor. That said, Pryor’s imbroglio over his allegedly undocumented alien nanny has the makings of an upset in what was going to be a close race. Given this recent revelation, I’ll give Hutchinson the edge, but by the slimmest of margins.

LA: Landrieu (D) won’t make it to 50%, thereby forcing a run-off.

MN: Youth and skill are going to make a surprise showing over old age and treachery. Look for Coleman (R) to pull out the W, in large part because Mondale (D) absentee voters will need to go to the polls to assure their ballots arrive in time, thereby depressing the Democratic absentee turnout. For the same reason, look for litigation in this race. As I understand Minnesota law, the winner takes the seat immediately, notwithstanding Gov. Ventura’s appointment today. A win here combined with a win in MO will give the Republican’s the lead for the lame duck session.

GA: My upset special. Look for Chambliss (R) to pull out the win over incumbent Cleland (D). There has been a definite buzz coming from Georgia for about the last 2 weeks. Cleland is vulnerable on national security, which given his war record seems ironic. This one’s going to be a squeaker, but the edge of momentum goes to Chambliss.

HOUSE: Final tally: R+2

The generic poll showing Republicans ahead of Democrats really hurts the Dems. Republicans normally do better than this poll shows, so look for a solid showing, with a pick-up of around 2 seats.


I don’t have a lot to say here. Look for Davis (D) to hold on in California and to be the most hated governor in the country. Ehrlich (R) appears to be poised to beat Kennedy-Townsend (D) in MD, and I’m calling Romney for MA. Finally, Jeb Bush (R) comes through with a solid win in Florida.

All-in-all, if the races break the way I predict, it will be a good day for the President. He will have broken the historical mid-term slump, and he will have defeated the Democrats in the two states where they specifically targetted him for symbolic reasons: TX and FL.

Predictions III

For a while I thought that it may be prudent to hold off on my predictions until I see five minutes of the Mondale-Coleman debate later this morning. But, one, Hayward already has his predictions in and, two, the debate doesn’t matter, it will just show what I already know. The media pollsters/pundits think that their best safety lies in fear; they are afraid to predict because everything-is-oh-so-close. There is no more valor in them than in a wild duck! Although I will not accuse Hayward(s) or Alt of being cowards, I do think they are wrong. They are counting trees, while I am looking at the forest.

SENATE. Just for the record: there is no question that Texas, North Carolina, Tenessee and South Carolina will remain in GOP hands. I don’t care what the last minute polls are saying about a Democratic wave here or there, it won’t happen. Although I admit that the races below will be very close and, inevitably, there will be some surprises, the GOP will take back the Senate. The main reasons for this are 1) Bush’s popularity and his great exertions for the GOP candidates, 2) No Demo theme that has a national appeal, and 3) poor Demo turnout. Coleman will win in Minnesota. He has run a good campaign and has been very prudent since Wellstone’s death. The Democrats’ campaign rally mode instead of a memorial hurt them badly (as I predicted). They have not been able to re-group and ended up both energizing the GOP base to come out and vote and also turned enough independents in their direction to make victory possible. Ventura has helped. Mondale is seen to be too ancient, too retro and the debate this morning will be proof of that. Allard will win in Colorado because: one, demographic trends favor the GOP, and, two, it is a re-run of the election six years ago and the last loser never wins in a re-match. Hutchinson will keep his seat in Arkansas, barely. Pryor is not exactly squeeky clean, and I believe the Christian Right will forgive Hutchinson’s antics (in part to keep the Senate in GOP hands). Talent will take Missouri. Carnahan shouldn’t be in there, she hasn’t proven herself, and has run an inferior campaign. But the GOP will lose New Hampshire. Shaheen will win because Smith screwed Sununu. It will cost him at least 3 points. And Shaheen has run a good campaign. And last, the GOP will take South Dakota. Bush will have more of an effect in this state than any other, Thune has been a good candidate and Johnson is boring. Landrieu will not take 50% on Tuesday, but she will win in December. The one I am least confident of is Georgia; yet I think this will be the surprise GOP victory, the great upset. Chambliss is a solid candidate and has been able to portray Cleland as a liberal (despite Miller’s attempt to help him). It is significant that no national Democrat has gone down to Georgia to help Cleland. Instead of helping, their presence would have lost him the election; the last thing he needs is liberal support. So, if my math is correct, GOP will be up by three.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. Not only will the House stay in GOP hands, but the Republicans will gain from two to four seats. This, of course, will be a huge victory given the history of the party holding the White House losing seats in off year elections, yet the media will portray it as a no-big-thing, something that was expected.

GOVERNORS. That the Demos will pick up a a few seats goes without saying. Given the numbers of GOP governors that is natural. There are a few important ones the GOP will hold: Texas and Florida. Also, Ehrlich will win in Maryland. Of course, despite the great moral victory in these three states (especially Florida), the media will focus on the Demos picking up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

And the last prediction is that this will put the Democratic Party into a tailspin. Their great expectations of six months ago will not have been met. There will be chaos; Gore will end, limping, into the nomination for 2004. And then, all Hell will break lose, there will be no natural leader, save Hillary (and Bill). And she will be the nominee in 2008. I can predict the outcome of that too, but I restrain myself.

Predictions II: Must See TV

Hayward did the honorable thing and rushed through the starting gate with his predictions. I am pausing to see how the Mondale-Coleman debate goes this morning (10 a.m. central time--should be aired on FOX and I would think C-SPAN). But in fairness, I will reveal to Schramm and Hayward the thinking process on the delay. First, I am told that polls showed that if Mondale refused to debate, he would have lost the election. He therefore agreed, but agreed to this strange morning event rather than a prime time event, in order to give the event less impact.

This suggests to me that Mondale’s handlers are nervous about how he will do. They are right to be worried. I have distant memories of Fritz debating Reagan, and needless to say Fritz was no Churchill at the podium. That said, however, I think it is fair to assume that Coleman’s oratorical style is not likely to be confused with Reagan’s any time soon.

So where does that leave us? My sense is that the race is Mondale’s to lose. If he does poorly, or if he gaffes, then he is in trouble. He could also be in trouble if he allows Coleman to dominate the debate, either through consistently offering superior answers, or through some memorable quip in response. But if the debate is like most, with the candidates offering canned responses targetted to key constituencies, from which there is no clear winner, then Mondale emerges as the victor, both of the debate and of the election.

Predictions 1(a)

Steve invited me to blog along with him on Prediction Day, but after reading his post I don’t think I have much substantive to add. As a general matter I think that we’ll see more post-election litigation. Florida showed both parties that they can weather a big, mean recount when things are at essentially a tie. Where are the "ties"? Colorado? (lots of new voters, lots of potential for challenges regarding registration and early and absentee voting). We’ve already seen reason to believe that South Dakota and Florida will be messy post-election. Texas, too, where the Dems have not just close races to work with and the pleasure of taking the fight to the President’s back yard. So it may be a while before the Senate is resolved.

Here are my quick picks: Senate: Johnson in SD, Bowles in NCar., Lautenberg in NJ, Kirk in Texas, Sununu in NH, Talent in Mo., Coleman in Minn (that’s my upset pick); Pryor in Ark., Strickland in Colo., Lamar! in Tenn., and Landrieu in La. after a run-off.

Governors: Pataki in NY, probably Perry in Texas, Ehrlich in MD (please oh please), "Becoming" O’Brien in Mass. Bush in Florida (but it’ll be messy), and Davis in California.

I like Steve’s comments about the House, but I will add that I am concerned about Ann Northup in Ky3.

Predictions I

Okay, I’ll go first, heedless of the movie producer Sam Goldwyn’s advice: "Never prophesy--especially about the future." (That’s second only to his remark that "An oral contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on!")

House: I believe the Republicans will pick up a minimum of 2 seats. The tipping factor is today’s NY Times poll showing that a larger portion of the electorate believes that the Democrats (rather than the Republicans) have no plan for governing if they gain a majority.

This will be a heavy blow to the Democrats, and a testimony to their lack of courage in reapportionment. If they had been bold and willing to take a risk in California, they might have netted three to five seats there--if not in this election then the next two. Instead their incumbents who want safe districts rolled over easily for Karl Rove’s plan to have incumbent protection districts and freeze the current split in place--a net plus for Republicans in California at the moment. Now Democrats will have to live with that craven decision for a decade.

My special upset calls in the House are John Kline over Bill Luther in Minnesota, and possibly, just possibly, Beth Rogers over Lois Capps on the California coast. Keep your eye on this one: The GOP quietly targeted this district for their Latino outreach, and Rogers, a sod farmer who speaks fluent spanish, has worked the new Latino areas of the district very hard.

I am not optimistic about the Senate. I predict no change or a Democrat gain of one or two seats, unless two upsets come through. Here is my handicapping: Dems pick up seats in New Hampshire and Arkansas, and hold on to South Dakota. Landreau goes to a runoff in Louisiana, but will survive. Republicans will pick up a seat in Missouri, and hold on to Colorado (though Colorado makes me very nervous--here’s to hoping the studly Gov. Owens can pull Allard across the finish line with him).

This leaves Minnesota and Georgia. In both cases the Democrats should be favored to win, but in both cases a Republican upset is possible. I have a hunch that this will be one of those years where one party will either win both of these or lose both of these, though this may be true across the board for South Dakota and Colorado, too. Remember that in both 1980 and 1986 the six closet Senate races were decided by a cumulative total of less than 50,000 votes. This year will likely be the same. Saxby Chambliss might pull it out in Georgia over Max Cleland, and likewise Coleman coud prevail over Mondale in Minnesota. (Remember that Mondale only won Minnesota in 1984 by about 5,000 votes, and friends in Minnesota tell me those votes were stolen; Reagan really did win there, too. But if they stole those votes once, they can do it again.)

The point is: Republicans will gain one seat only if they pull off upsets in Minnesota and Georgia.

Even if the Democrats do hold the Senate or gain a seat, look what they had to do: dump an incumbent in New Jersey, and reach back to the dark ages with Mondale. (Both states would likely have gone Republican without the strange course of events that took place this fall.) Can they really do this again two years down the road if Barbara Boxer is in trouble in California? And the GOP gains in the House are going to lead to much wailing and gnashing of teeth within the Democratic leadership. This will be fun to watch. They may even tear themselves apart McGovern-style after this election.

A couple of state races to watch: Oregon’s governor’s race, where Kevin Mannix, thought to be a weak GOP nominee, has made a horse race out of it with the better known Ted Kulongoski. This is tied to two things: Oregon, like many states, has a huge budget deficit, which means tax hikes are expected. Which party do you think will do a better job of dealing with these deficits? The GOP may have an edge in several states on these grounds. Second, Oregon has a ballot initiative this year calling for universal heatlh care, to be paid for by an 8 percent payroll tax. Small business people, and even organized labor, are up in arms against this, which may help Republicans.

While Bill Simon probably can’t pull it out in California, watch for Republicans down the ticket in other statewide offices, especially Tom McClintock, the GOP candidate for Controller. I think some voters who hold their nose for Gray Davis may split their ticket for some GOP candidates down the ticket as a crazy way of checking Davis.