The Spectacle Blog

THAT Gary Hart?

By on 11.30.05 | 11:16AM

Yes, a fellow member of the political graveyard elite (qualification: U.S. senator, ran for president, failed, thinks folks still care what he thinks) has spoken for John Kerry. John Kerry's PAC/shadow campaign just sent a fundraising email under Hart's name:

When John Kerry called for the withdrawal of 20,000 troops over the holidays, and the majority of remaining combat troops by the end of 2006, linking bringing troops home to clear benchmarks, you added energy and passion to that initiative.

When John Kerry called for accelerated training of Iraqi troops, greater international involvement, and improved reconstruction efforts, you amplified his voice.

Now, because of your efforts and those of all these Democratic leaders, make no mistake: the wheel has turned in the national debate over the war in Iraq. The American people have responded to the tough questions we've been asking because they had the same ones. The result is that the Bush Administration is being forced to engage in something they've gone to great lengths to avoid: an open debate about the war in Iraq.

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Out of the Park

By on 11.30.05 | 10:45AM

A reporter friend of mine tasked with covering the Bush speech for a major daily newspaper which shall go unnamed here (suffice to say the outlet in question has not been all that friendly to this administration) just remarked to me that the president "hit a home run" in Annapolis and "really reclaimed a lot of momentum." The seasoned reporter was visibly moved just talking about it. I'll be interested to see if his true impression of the event makes it past his editors...

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RE: Today’s Speech on Iraq

By on 11.30.05 | 10:13AM

To read the full document on Iraq, "Victory in Iraq", released by the White House this morning, please click here.

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Preemptive Reading

By on 11.30.05 | 9:41AM

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in a recent interview, defended the Administration's policy of detaining potential terrorists, as a necessary component of the "War on Terror." Apparently Administration policy wonks have been re-reading works by 19th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who advocated arresting people from groups with a tendency to commit crimes. Bentham also advocated torture as a means of securing "confessions."

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Today’s Speech on Iraq

By on 11.30.05 | 8:16AM

The president will outline his strategy for winning in Iraq today in what is being billed as a major speech to be delivered at the US Naval Academy. According to information being released by the White House, the president will say that victory in Iraq comes in three parts:

*Short term, Iraq is making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.

*Medium term, Iraq is in the lead defeating terrorists and providing its own security, with a fully constitutional government in place, and on its way to achieving its economic potential.

*Longer term, Iraq is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.

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390-Horsepower Lawn Ornament Contest

By on 11.30.05 | 7:19AM

Duane Patterson, one of the evil geniuses behind the Hugh Hewitt Show, picked up on the idea of using my new car as a lawn ornament. If you are adept at photoshopping, and want to win a Crosley Solo radio for your imaginative entry, check out the contest we're running on Some of these are pretty funny. Duane will pick the top ten and post them separately for a listeners' vote to pick the winner. Have at it, folks.

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Last Blog Before One-Handedness

By on 11.30.05 | 5:31AM

In about 20 minutes, I'll leave my desk for minor shoulder surgery which will put me in a sling for a few weeks. How I'll manage to type, which is life itself for me, I don't know.

So a last blog note before going under. On Yesterday's "On Point" broadcast on NPR, host Tom Ashbrook introduced a show about what he called "a sickening culture of corruption" in the Republican party. I do not sympathize with bribe-takers like Randy "Duke" Cunningham, but I do want to remind Mr. Ashbrook of an earlier Presidential administration. Maybe three names will do the trick: Mochtar Riady, John Huang, Ron Brown.

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Post-Duke Appropriations

By on 11.29.05 | 3:08PM

Now that "Top Gun" has flown the coop, the interesting stuff begins.

Republicans in the House we are talking to say that the Cunningham exit will be the first real test to see how much influence Leader in Limbo Tom Delay actually still has.

Duke Cunningham had a seat on House Appropriations, and now that seat is up for grabs. The thinking is that another California Republican will get it, but word out of leadership office is that that seat is not necessarily a lock for a Left Coast heiney. Appropriations Committee chair, Jerry Lewis, a Californian, has told other committee members that he intends to fight hard to keep Cunningham's seat in California's grips.

Acting majority leader Roy Blunt is said to be pushing to give the Approps seat to a loyal Republican not necessarily from California, though no names have yet been floated. Obviously, Appropriations seats are some of the most coveted in the House.

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