The Spectacle Blog

Kilgore Lost on Taxes and Death Penalty

By on 11.10.05 | 6:42AM

So argues the Wall Street Journal editorial board today (sub. req'd):

In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine's defeat of Republican Jerry Kilgore shows what happens when the GOP loses credibility on taxes. Virginia is a state that Mr. Bush twice carried comfortably. But the GOP divided over Democratic Governor Mark Warner's record tax increase last year, and Mr. Kilgore never said he'd repeal it. He tried to straddle the difference between business lobbies who liked more money for roads and the rank-and-file who hated giving more to the government. The result was that there was little real difference between the candidates on fiscal issues -- and Republicans lose those campaigns nearly every time.

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I Won, Blame Bush

By on 11.10.05 | 6:39AM

That's the impression one gets from newly reelected Virginia Del. Dave Albo in the Washington Times' Kilgore-Bush post-mortem.

"We know that George Bush is just killing us," said Delegate David B. Albo, a Republican who narrowly defeated his Democratic challenger in Fairfax County. "His popularity just brought the ticket down. There's no other way to explain it."

Well, it must not be that bad, Mr. Albo. The GOP's hold on the House of Delegates only slipped by one seat.

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Moderates Kill ANWR

By on 11.10.05 | 6:24AM

House Republicans held out against the deficit reduction bill until leaders stripped from it last night provisions for drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. And again, the pols put their interest groups ahead of national welfare.

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Split Decision

By on 11.10.05 | 1:01AM

Do you sometimes get the sense that when it comes to politics, the adage "your view is as good as mine" holds true most every time? Consider two expert responses to Tuesday's Virginia election. Robert Novak says it was a disaster for Bush. Fred Barnes says it was nothing of the sort. Whom to believe? Over the years Barnes has said more than once that Novak is the finest political reporter in the business. Then again I've never known Barnes ever to be wrong. I can only draw one conclusion: Both men are right.

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Can’t Kill It If It’s Dead

By on 11.9.05 | 8:10PM

The Amtrak Board fired President David Gunn today. Chuck Schumer whined that it "decapitated Amtrak." Hello, Chuck? Methinks it wasn't running too well anyway.

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Exxon Premium

By on 11.9.05 | 6:56PM

The single-most salient feature of today's grilling of oil company executives is a number: 93 percent. It was stated by Exxon's Lee Raymond as the percentage of Exxon Stations run by local managers who set their own prices. So much for those who insist it ain't the local gouger, but rather some far away company fellow who accounts for the mysterious outrage.

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Zorro on French Riots

By on 11.9.05 | 6:20PM

French National Party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen is colorful person as Dennis Kucinich, Cindy Sheehan, or Cheech or Chong might be called colorful. He is best known for saying, "I am like Zorro...Everyone knows he exists, everyone believes he exists, but nobody has ever seen him."

Now, Monseiur Zorro has opined on the riots that have torn up so many French cities. Quoth he to the AP, the recent violence is "just the start" of conflicts caused by "massive immigration from countries of the Third World that is threatening not just France but the whole continent." Le Pen said people with immigrant backgrounds who commit crimes should be stripped of their French nationality and sent "back to their country of origin." Hmm. Maybe he's not entirely wacky. At least in comparison to the crowd of Chirac, Dominique, and Mr. Bean.

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Blair’s Defeat

By on 11.9.05 | 5:55PM

Tony Blair suffered his first major parliamentary defeat as prime minister today, according to the Beeb. According to the report, one of Blair's proposed new anti-terror law that would have allowed detention without charge or trial of terrorist suspects for 90 days was pared down to only allow suspects to be held for 28 days.

The defeat was handed Blair by his own Labour Party, leading to many suggesting, as did Tory leader Michael Howard, that Blair should resign and, as did Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, that Blair may be a lame duck.

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A Job Opening For Mapes

By on 11.9.05 | 4:57PM

Judith Miller is gone at the New York Times and Bill Keller clears up his mysterious description of Miller's "entanglement" with Scooter Libby. Now Miller is freed up to write a book titled, say, Truth and Duty: The Press, The President, and the Privilege of Power (The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter who broke the WMD stories). That's the title, with a few changes, of Mapes' book. Mapes says she "broke" the National Guard stories. That's right: She turns her forgery fiasco into a journalistic coup. It is more accurate to say she was broken by the story. But no matter: unlike the sacked (or, as Keller puts it, "retired") Miller, Mapes realized that if she ran amok for the right cause the elite media would never pin that label on her.Â

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Journalism is Hard

By on 11.9.05 | 4:34PM

Judy Miller has been fired from the New York Times, and one of the Times's crack pavement-pounding reporters writes that "Ms. Miller could not be reached for comment."

What, they lost her phone number? And couldn't walk down the hall to the desk she was cleaning out?

UPDATE: Yes, I realize the Times story says they've "reached an agreement" to end her career, not that she's been "fired" per se. I'm reading between the lines.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Gabriel Sherman at the New York Observer's Media Mob blog somehow tracked Miller down. It sounds like the Times was trying to get her to leave (without firing her), and the sticking point was giving Miller space in the paper for a farewell, which will run tomorrow and is already posted at Miller's website.

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