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  • BUSH'S MICRO-TARGETTING SUCCESS...

    BUSH'S MICRO-TARGETTING SUCCESS AND MARKETING FAILURE. That said , I also happen to be in the corner of Boston that draws the most Washington types, and a couple of days ago it drew former AP chief political reporter Ron Fournier , Bush '04 strategist Matthew Dowd , and Democratic consultant Doug Sosnik to talk about their new book , Applebee's America: How Successful Political Business, and Religious Leaders Connect with the New American Community , which grew out of the seminar Fournier taught at the Institute of Politics and which will be reviewed by E.J. Dionne in the upcoming print edition of The Prospect . A freewheeling discussion followed, and I thought Dowd's admirably candid comments in particular might be of interest to Prospect readers, since Dowd's micro-targetting initiatives were so central to Bush 's win in '04: * The old model of political affiliation, according to Dowd, is that people have stances on issue that lead them to identify with a political party, which then...
  • How Environmentalism Wrecked California's Economy

    Actually, California's economy has done pretty well over the last 30 years, yet its per capita use of electricity has barely budged. It also ranks near the bottom of the 50 states in per capita gasoline consumption. This is a striking story , given how much some politicians and economists have led us to fear regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Anyone who takes global warming seriously should look at this article. --Dean Baker
  • PASSING THE BUCK...

    PASSING THE BUCK ON DARFUR. During this morning's press conference, the president had this to say about the United Nations and Darfur: The problem is, is that the United Nations hasn't acted. And so, I can understand why those who are concerned about Darfur are frustrated. I am. I'd like to see more robust United Nations action. What you'll hear is, "Well, the government of Sudan must invite the United Nations in for us to act." Well, there are other alternatives, like passing a resolution saying, "We're coming in with a U.N. force in order to save lives." �So you asked of levels of frustration. There's a particular level of frustration. First things first: Legally speaking, the Security Council does not need to pass another resolution to deploy peacekeepers to Darfur without Khartoum�s permission. However, the logistics on the ground in Darfur require that Khartoum grant its consent; the 17,000 troops authorized by Resolution 1706 somehow need to get to the remote region, and once...
  • A PIECE THAT NEEDED TO BE WRITTEN.

    A PIECE THAT NEEDED TO BE WRITTEN. Many , including this blog , have criticized Rich Lowry and Bill Kristol for their recent proposal to continue and expand the American military presence in Iraq. Some raised the question of whether there are actually troops available to fulfill that mission. Now, two experts have definitely answered that question. Surprise! The answer is no. Daniel Benjamin and Mich�le A. Flournoy of the Center for Strategic and International Studies write that: According to in-house assessments, fully two-thirds of the Army's operating force, both active and reserve, is now reporting in as "unready"�that is, they lack the equipment, people, or training they need to execute their assigned missions. Not a single one of the Army's Brigade Combat Teams�its core fighting units�currently in the United States is ready to deploy.... In terms of ground-force readiness, the United States is in worse shape than at any time since the aftermath of Vietnam While this renders the...
  • BOSTON BLOGGING. I'm...

    BOSTON BLOGGING. I'm spending the fall in Boston as a fellow at the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy , but will still be popping over to Tapped to blog every so often. I have to say, after nine years in a Washington whose days of Democratic rule are but a distant memory (even during the late Clinton years, the town's central narratives were set by Republican attack, rather than Democratic initiatives), the most striking thing about being again in Cambridge (other than the 20 degree drop in temperature) is no longer feeling myself to be outside the political mainstream of the local community. In Washington, I've become used to being presumed to represent the left-most point on the spectrum of acceptable opinion in most every room I am in, and long ago made my peace with the frequent razzing for being a "a big lib" that comes with working at The Prospect during this era of Republican dominance. How odd then, to find a community of people here who sound...
  • TIMING IS EVERYTHING....

    TIMING IS EVERYTHING. Just as his former deputy confessed to being Robert Novak 's source in the outing of Valerie Plame , Sir Colin the (Self-) Righteous came riding into the Senate on a white-paper horse (PDF), stating his moral indignation and opposition to the Bush administration's attempt to legislate the terms of its torture of so-called "enemy combatants." I must admit, like many in the media, I salivated at the specter of Karl Rove in cuffs, so perfect a villain is he. On the other hand, most reporters I know who have dealt with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage like the man, believing him to be, in the words of one editor of a respected journal of politics, "a straight-shooter." But alas, Novak's insistence that Armitage summoned the Prince of Darkness to the State Department in order to dump those beans makes good sense. After all, the argument debunked by Joe Wilson in his famous New York Times op-ed was the one that Powell made himself before the United...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: W AND THE TB-GB'S.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: W AND THE TB-GB'S. James Crabtree tells the tale of the "curry house coup" that has brought down Tony Blair , laying out how the " Bush 's poodle" factor influenced events and why Lebanon may have been the tipping point. --The Editors
  • TURNING UP THE...

    TURNING UP THE HEAT. To follow up on Ezra �s points , let me add that President George W. Bush came out with both barrels blazin', demanding that Congress pass his two bills -- one sanctioning the sort of tribunals the administration wants to use for adjudicating the cases of the "enemy combatants." One can't help but wonder why he's pushing so hard and so indignantly against the likes of Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Va.), and Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham . On the second bill, George Washington University Law School Professor Jonathan Turley has repeatedly explained why the president wants the Specter version of the surveillance bill to pass: Without it, Turley says, Bush could be revealed to have broken federal law some 30 times in his domestic spying program. When a reporter posed a question about what he called the "eavesdropping program," Bush corrected him, saying, "We call that the 'Terrorist Surveillance Program,' Hutch." Later in the press...
  • BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE....

    BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE. This is by far the pissiest press conference Bush has given. He's furious . I assume his feet are manacled behind the microphone. Otherwise, he'd be stalking across the stage, tearing apart the podium, and occasionally leaping into the crowd to rip out David Gregory 's heart. The content is no finer than the normal Bush fare -- he's currently blaming the U.N. for not stopping the genocide in Darfur -- but the attitude is entirely different. Where Bush is generally petulant and unhappy at these events, he's now snapping at reporters, straightforwardly insulting them, yelling from the podium, losing control, and generally evincing a combativeness and barely suppressed rage that I've never seen from him before. On the bright side, his suit finally fits. Update : Okay, I was going to end on the suit fits note, but Bush just said: "I don't think the Democrats will take over, because our record on the economy is strong. If the American people take a step back and...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: HUFF'S FLUFF.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: HUFF'S FLUFF. Dana Goldstein is more than a little disappointed that Arianna Huffington 's new book, On Becoming Fearless , is actually quite timid. --The Editors

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