The Spectacle Blog

Shuler’s Head Prevailed

By on 11.6.06 | 9:01AM

On Friday North Carolina Rep. Charles Taylor (R-11) failed to show up in Asheville for a radio debate with challenger Heath Shuler, as he had promised. This was a huge blunder, as a lot of media were present in studio, and callers were lined up, for what was to be the only live debate between the two. Shuler has been running slightly ahead in polls.

But what did Shuler do when handed this gift by his opponent? Did he act like he'd reached the end zone before? The answer is no -- he walked out.

The Kerry Effect

By on 11.6.06 | 12:42AM

One more note on that Pew poll that I mention below. It gives some evidence that Kerry's "botched joke" is hurting Democrats, at least marginally:

In addition, Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke" about the war in Iraq attracted enormous attention. Fully 84% of voters say they have heard a lot or a little about Kerry's remarks with 60% saying they have heard a lot...Most voters say Kerry's statement is not a serious consideration in their vote, but 18% of independent voters say it did raise serious doubts about voting for a Democratic candidate.
That 18 percent may not seem like a lot, but if even a small percentage of independents break toward the Republican candidate in close races, it could make a difference. Control of the Senate will be decided by tossups in four red states (Montana, Tennessee, Virginia and Missouri).

Polls vs. Polls

By on 11.6.06 | 12:22AM

If you really want a case study in how wacky poll results can be, check out the latest contradictory generic ballot polls. Pew, USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post have the Democratic lead among likely voters in the 4-7 point range, while Newsweek and Time have it in the 15-16 point range. The polls not only contradict each other as far as the numbers are concerned, but also in terms of their trajectory. The Pew poll "finds voting intentions shifting in the direction of Republican congressional candidates in the final days of the 2006 midterm campaign," while Newsweek says "Republican candidates are falling further behind Democratic rivals."

The Saddam Effect

By on 11.6.06 | 12:03AM

Obviously, I'm happy to see Saddam get what he deserves, but I don't think it will have any effect on the elections. This outcome was already written into people's expectations the day he was caught, and now the issue is not Saddam but how to fight the insurgency and contain sectarian violence. It was also pretty absurd for anyone to suggest that the timing had anything to do with the midterms.

A Note on Unemployment

By on 11.5.06 | 11:48PM

A number of readers raised objections to my Friday post about the low unemployment numbers, so I wanted to clarify something. In the post, I pointed out that wage growth was starting to trigger fears of inflation. Readers saw this as me looking for bad news in a positive economic report, but quite the contrary. One of the criticisms liberals have made about the Bush economy has been that even though unemployment has been going down, wages have been stagnant. I was countering these arguments by pointing out that now not only are wages growing, but they're growing at a fast enough clip to actually trigger fears of inflation.

The Macaca Blues

By on 11.5.06 | 1:45PM

A classmate's brother wrote and recorded this funny, clever music video -- "The Macaca Blues." After much consideration of Sen. Allen's merits, the young Reaganite is still ambivalent. That is a familiar feeling.

Iraqi Bloggers React

By on 11.5.06 | 9:33AM

Omar Fadhil: "The Day of Justice"

Mohammed Fadhil: "I was overwhelmed with joy and relief as I watched the criminals being read their verdicts."

AYS: "I was watching it alone in my flat, honestly, tears flew from my eyes as the judge announced the 'death by hanging' sentence, I don't know why!"

Sooni: "Finally, we folded the book of tyranny in Iraq... Many whiners from different Arab countries who hate to see Saddam hang but they like to see the Iraqi blood spilled in the name of 'resistance'... Can anyone deny that about 80% of the Iraqi people are happy with this verdict?"

More Pence

By on 11.3.06 | 3:34PM

I find it amusing that Matt Yglesias has pointed to a column I independently wrote as evidence that "Mike Pence is already trying to gin up support for a leadership bid in the wake of a GOP electoral defeat." Pence may be angling for a leadership post, and I hope he obtains one, but I had absolutely no contact with Pence's people in writing the piece.

More substantively, Yglesias calls the analysis that the Republican Party needs to return to its limited government roots "pretty daft" adding that "if the GOP really does react to defeat by moving in the direction of Pence-ism, I think they'll find it doesn't help them."