Just because Katherine Harris has proved herself to be extremely bullheaded (and that's not the only bovine word that comes to mind), that's no reason for other potential candidates, or the state or national GOP grand poobahs, to defer to her without a fight. At the very least, Florida's Republican voters deserve a choice. And that's all the more reason for wise party elders to prevail upon Jack Nicklaus to run for the Senate -- if not instead of her, then against her. I could even write his basic campaign message, which would not have to sound wonkish, but just full of good mainstream conservative common sense coupled with the Golden Bear's legendary integrity (and with Barbara Nicklaus' legendary graciousness and kindness). Run, Jack, Run!
The Spectacle Blog
The Family Research Council is holding a press conference now at the National Press Club announcing a "Value Voters Summit" for September. They're also presenting the results of a March 9-12 poll, focusing on value voters, conducted by bipartisan firm Riehle-Tarrance.
We had an early look at the numbers this morning, which we can now relate. There's a flood of data here, so we'll pull out what strikes us as most important. The sample seems evenly distributed among Republicans and Democrats (31 to 28 percent), and among Republicans and Democrats including "leaners" (36 to 40 percent). Eighty-five percent of respondents were registered voters.
Forty-one percent described themselves as born again or evangelical Christians, versus 52 percent who said they were not. By party, this breaks down into 53 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats self-identifying as evangelicals. Fifty-six percent of conservatives and 20 percent of liberals report being evangelical.
By the issues:
President Bush is blowing it, Dick Morris writes, because of his disregard for pursuing popularity -- "All because he doesn't want to do what he must -- get up every day and speak to America."
Think back to the December 2004 press conference, in which Bush bragged about the political capital that he intended to spend. If you don't feed that capital with a little popularity, there's no public clamoring for the other guys to work with you, and your capital has suddenly disappeared. It happened with Social Security, and it'll happen again with Iraq after the President completes his current burst of attention to that PR breakdown.
And that was not a typo or oversight calling Sen. Olympia Snowe a Democrat.
Anyone who wants to argue otherwise is free to do so. ... over on the Daily Kos.
Lost in yesterday's news was the victory by Democrat Sens. Ron Wyden and Olympia Snowe in getting price controls placed on pharmaceuticals. The amendment passed with Republican support, and allows Medicare to negotiate over prices for pharmaceuticals that are part of the Bush Administration's prescription drug plan.
The official word is that these aren't price controls. But, in fact, they are. Republicans privately were complaining that they couldn't afford to alienate seniors with a "No" vote. It's this lack of courage to do the right thing that not only makes the Republicans look bad to conservatives, but it feeds into the growing frustration with the Bush Administration. By saying no to Wyden-Snowe, they would have been saying no to the president's drug plan, which would have been saving the President from himself. And that's a good prescription.
In his column today, Bob Novak hits a topic that everybody should be banging the drums on: all the unconfirmed judicial nominees still languishing. It absolutely astonishes me that Senate Republicans remain so stupid -- and I do mean stupid, as in dumb, utterly without sense, lame-brained, moronic, idiotic -- as to STILL not realize that judges are a winning issue for them. Whenever the topic is judges, the right wins. One reason is that -- even though judicial conservatism isn't really concerned with "results" -- when the issues are put in political terms, the right is on the popular side of every issue that swirls around judgeships. On partial birth abortion, we win and they lose. On law and order, we win and they lose. On faith references in the public square, we win and they lose. We win on eminent domain. We win on judicially imposed homosexual "marriage." And so on and so on: We win, we win, we win.
Northern Virginia's Rep. Jim Moran, a Jack Murtha booster, is backing another great and sturdy political horse: Al Gore for 2008. For most folks, Gore "jumped the shark" long, long ago when he started giving arm-swinging, red faced speeches about the horrors of the Bush administration. But for the angry left, he's a reliable perennial also-ran, like Eugene Debs. Al Gore: use in case of emergency.
So Harris stays and essentially self-finances. We got a clarification last night that should Harris resign from the House to focus on the campaign, her staff would not be fired, but would instead continue working through the special election period. Our point was that Harris would "essentially" be firing her staff, given that she wouldn't be around after the resignation, and while constituents always have issues, it helps to have a someone at the top.
As for the Senate campaign, recent polls have Harris down to Sen. Bill Nelson by 20 points or more. We're dubious of most of those polls, which have a respondent pool of between 500 to 600 people. That puts the margin of error up in the five point range, which is awful for a serious political or opinion poll. Twenty points is a big number, and so is 15 or even ten points. But people should take a deep breath and hope that the national party can help her right her ship.
That said, we keep hearing that there are more shoes to drop related to Harris's sale of home down in Florida, as well as other issues, and she continues to have problems finding senior management staff for her campaign. All not good.
The White House, in support of the president's latest speeches on the war, has just released a new National Security Strategy document. It reaffirms preemptive action and - still - relies on the spread of democracy to be the endgame of the war against terrorists and terrorist nations. Here's a few excerpts:
"While the War on Terror is a battle of ideas, it is not a battle of religions. The transnational terrorists confronting us today exploit the proud religion of Islam to serve a violent political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These terrorists distort the idea of jihad into a call for murder against those they regard as apostates or unbelievers – including Christians, Jews, Hindus, other religious traditions, and all Muslims who disagree with them. Indeed, most of the terrorist attacks since September 11 have occurred in Muslim countries – and most of the victims have been Muslims…