REAL RAGE. Far be it from me -- very far be it from me, Moons Of Freaking Neptune be it from me -- to be perceived as defending NewsMax, but I think Ezra's a little glib in dismissing the story about John McCain's temper. It is a very real, and very startling, and very important part of his personality and, unless the campaign press corps spends more time in the tank than Shamu, it's going to be an ongoing story in the 2008 campaign. In 1998, I wrote a long profile on the senator for Esquire, and his volatility was very much an issue ever then, particularly with people back in Arizona.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GROVER. On June 23, Grover Norquist met with a bunch of liberals for a Prospect-sponsored breakfast here in Washington. Grover expounded on the structure of the two major political coalitions in America; the politics of Iraq, gay marriage, and immigration; the philosophical link between the inheritance tax and Jim Crow; anti-Mormonism and Big Love; the complete innocence of Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform in this whole Abramoff-Indian tribes brouhaha; and much more. Here he is handicapping the Democratic presidential contenders for 2008:
MCCAIN'S TEMPER. For an interesting preview of the coming smear job on John McCain, check out Newsmax's article questioning whether McCain has the temperament to be President. It warns that, "to insiders who know him, McCain has an irrational, explosive side that make many of them question whether he is fit to serve as president and be commander in chief." Ooh -- scandal!
ON ITS FACE! Remember two weeks ago? Those were the days. The Boston Globe offers a recap of Jason Zengerle versus the blogs (without mentioning, though, the hilarious "blogofascism" interlude) in which Zengerle observes, "I mean, what do they call us, 'The Joe Lieberman Weekly,' stuff like that. That is kind of ridiculous on its face." On its face, I would say people call them that because they ran an unsigned editorial arguing that . . . Joe Lieberman should be President of the United States and put it on the cover of the magazine.
THERE SHE GOES AGAIN. My eagle eyes are always scouring the Web for mentions of unlikely reformer Queen Nour, absolute monarch of Jordan, who seems to be in Aspen:
Secretary Albright was to discuss "The Changing Middle East" with the Jordanian, Egyptian, and Israeli ambassadors to the United States, with Queen Noor sitting beside the Jordanian ambassador. Dov Zakheim, the former CFO and Under Secretary of Defense, moderated.
THE POLITICS OF PERSONALITY. There's a fascinating new Gallup poll out today parsing the public's views of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Surprise finding: Only 3 percent of Democrats dislike Clinton on account of her views on the Iraq War. The main reasons Democrats do object to Clinton are, instead, a perception that she's wishy-washy or changes her mind on issues; is overly aggressive or overbearing; and that they "simply don't like her," for unspecified reasons. Republicans who dislike Clinton, meanwhile, do so primarily for substantive reasons (e.g., a disagreement with her "political views in general") as well as for personal reasons (e.g., seeing her as "wishy-washy" and simply not trusting her).
WHITE FLIGHT? I'm not really sure what to make of this data showing that the deterioration in the President's poll numbers is largely due to "white flight," with non-Hispanic white support for Bush dropping by about 20 points since June 2004. That tracks pretty closely with the accelerating rise in gas prices, but it's hard to disaggregate concerns over fuel costs from the war in Iraq, Bush's mishandling of Katrina, and all the other sundry scandals and failures that have marked this administration's second term.
WHY OBJECTIVITY NEEDS DEFENDERS. To follow up on something we were discussing last week, via ThinkProgress comes word of this shift on the part of the U.S. military:
Rod Nordland, a former Baghdad bureau chief for Newsweek, says the U.S. military �has started censoring many [embedded reporting] arrangements.� �They want to know your slant on a story - they use the word slant - what you intend to write, and what you have written from embed trips before. If they don�t like what you have done before, they refuse to take you.�
BLOGS AND GROUPS.Noam Scheiber, in this whale of a post, teases out some of the implications of the interactions between netroots types and traditional liberal interest groups that Garance wrote about yesterday. I think the macro-level impact of the rise of netroots influence should actually be pretty easy to summarize -- ceteris paribus it will make the party less liberal on the issues that are really, really important to key interest groups and more liberal on the other issues.