The Spectacle Blog

1994 vs. Today

By on 10.31.06 | 7:29AM

Charlie Cook yesterday reported that there "is no ebb in the wave" for Democrats, and he predicted losses of 20 to 35 seats for the GOP in the House. He said Republicans should expect to lose, most likely, five or six Senate seats.

The dynamics we are seeing this year are eerily similar to those in 1994. The President and party are different, so are the issues, but the dynamics are comparable.

In 1994, Democrats were in trouble because of tax increases, a failed health plan, and the crime bill (read, guns). There were also a myriad of scandals that started in the late 1980s that moved voters, including many Democrats, to reject the party's candidates, including some once-popular incumbents.

RE: Excessive Film, Gore

By on 10.30.06 | 9:40PM

Paul: While the NY Times could quote the alarmist, guess they couldn't be bothered to find a scientist who might support the editor.

Speaking of editors, maybe the Times should hire the guy from Maine. Would be a big improvement.

In the Eyes of an Islamist Radical

By on 10.30.06 | 2:48PM


Pakistani troops backed by missile-firing helicopters on Monday struck a religious school purportedly being used as an al Qaeda training center, killing 80 people in what appeared to be the country's deadliest-ever attack against suspected militants.

The country's top Islamic political leader said American planes were used in the pre-dawn strike against the school -- known as a madrassa -- and called for nationwide protests Tuesday, claiming all those killed were innocent students and teachers.

Good: Any attack on Western or Israeli establishments in which innocent people are killed.

Big Spending and GOP Troubles

By on 10.30.06 | 1:00PM

In an excellent essay in the Washington Post yesterday, Dick Armey made the case that Republicans' current predicament stems from their abandonment of small government principles. Matthew Yglesias countered that the Iraq War is what's actually hurting Republicans, pointing out that "all of the key policy steps that Armey's citing actually came before the 2004 election, which went fine for the GOP." However, Yglesias is oversimplifying things by neglecting to mention other developments during the past two years and ignoring important distinctions between midterm and presidential elections. In short, the spending problem has gotten worse since 2004, and because this year's election is less consequential, disgruntled limited government conservatives seem more willing to sit out than they were when the presidency was up for grabs.

Panic! At Der Spiegel

By on 10.30.06 | 11:41AM

The Europeans are starting to catch on to the idea that they're destroying their own culture at fatal cost to the liberal project of universal progress for individuals everywhere. Yet though Der Spiegel, at least, can see clearly enough to the crisis, the worried fumbling toward awkward questions that closes out the inquiry is cause, over here, for extra concern. In all fairness, it's a devilish problem. Western liberalism may have already sown the seeds of its own demise. The European experience disproves the hypothesis that American-style underclasses are the ruin of the hegemon alone. And however much we might enjoy a laugh at the folly of idealists, there is absolutely zero guarantee that what will replace it won't be even worse.

Hunter and ‘08

By on 10.30.06 | 10:51AM

No, this story is NOT from the Onion:

With his prized committee chairmanship very much in peril, Rep. Duncan Hunter is poised to announce today that he is considering a long-shot run for the White House….

Hunter's ambitions come as a surprise to other Republicans, none of whom had an inkling that he might look to jump into what is likely to be a crowded field for the GOP presidential nomination. But even more shocking is that he would do this a week before the midterm election that may shift control of the House to the Democrats and cost Hunter his chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee. Hunter is running for re-election Nov. 7.

Via Hit and Run.

Dean on Iraq

By on 10.30.06 | 10:30AM

It's worth noting how Howard Dean toned down the anti- Iraq War rhetoric on CBS's "Face The Nation" yesterday. Speaking on what would happen if the Democrats took control, he said:

"The president will still be in charge of foreign policy and the military so the influence of a Democratic Congress will be I think a positive influence but I don't imagine that we're suddenly gonna force the President to reverse his course. We don't have the ability to do that, but I think we will put some pressure on him to have some benchmarks, some timetables, and a real plan other than stay the course."

Full transcript (in PDF) here. Excerpts (in HTML) here.

Excessive Film, Gore

By on 10.30.06 | 8:36AM

Well, at least one news editor is willing to handle modern-day scientific hysteria with a measured approach:

How important is global warming in Maine? Not important enough for local television.

Michael Palmer, the general manager of television stations WVII and WFVX, ABC and Fox affiliates in Bangor, has told his joint staff of nine men and women that when "Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories."

"Until then," he added. "No more."