The Spectacle Blog

Re: Running Against San Francisco

By on 11.2.06 | 11:49AM

Paul, I think the strategy of running against Nancy Pelosi, and by extension, San Francisco, says more about the sorry state of the Republican Party than anything else. We wouldn't be hearing much about "San Francisco values" if Republicans had actual accomplishments to run on and inspire their base. I doubt the SanFran strategy will work for Republicans this time around, but even if it does, it's still upsetting to me that it had to come to this.

Convenience Voting

By on 11.2.06 | 11:14AM

Regarding the panel I mentioned below, it's also worth noting some of the comments made by John Fortier, author of Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises, and Perils, who discussed the evolution of the trend of so-called "convenience voting." Up until the late 1970s/early 1980s, a voter had to either be in the military or give an otherwise compelling reason to vote by absentee ballot. In addition, absentee voters had to have a notary public watch them fill out the ballot and sign on to it. But those restrictions went away and in the 1980s absentee voting became more about convenience. The convenience voting trend grew in the 1990s with the expansion of early voting. In 1980, 5 percent of the public voted before Election Day, but in 2004, about 25 percent did. In Oregon, everybody votes by mail because the state did away with polling places altogether. Some voters send their ballots in as early as September, meaning that they miss out on a significant amount of election news, including candidate debates. Also, according to Fortier, there's no evidence that convenience voting boosts turnout.

Carry the Day

By on 11.2.06 | 11:05AM

Two interesting things in Howard Kurtz today. He agrees with Power Line's John Hinderaker's "fault[ing] The Washington Post for not front-paging" the Kerry stuck-in-Iraq story. (Not that Kurtz's clout at the Washington Post could compel it to run the bias-testing "Halp Us Jon Carry" photo in today's edition.)

Would Al Gore Kill Stem Cell Research?

By on 11.2.06 | 10:27AM

In the late seventies, Rep. Al Gore Jr. was the leader in pushing for the elimination of any kind of buy/sell market in the United States for human body parts. While there are obviously two sides to this ethical question, it is also obvious that many people have died in the last 40 years who would have lived with a purchased kidney, etc.

Now - in 2006 - Tennessee has an embrionic stem cell measure that will empower women to sell their eggs for research. Who - other than the economically least fortunate - will participate in this?

So - does Al Gore support the embrionic stem cell initiative in his home state?

Elections and Foreign Policy

By on 11.2.06 | 9:38AM

Robert Kagan has a thoughtful piece in today's Washington Post arguing that whether or not Democrats win, the U.S. probably won't withdraw from Iraq or back off from international entanglements in general. Among the points he makes:

Indeed, the preferred European scenario -- "Bush hobbled" -- is less likely than the alternative: "Bush unbound." Neither the president nor his vice president is running for office in 2008. That is what usually prevents high-stakes foreign policy moves in the last two years of a president's term.

I have always taken that into account when considering whether or not the U.S. would take military action against Iran. Under the circumstances that Kagan lays out, it's possible that with nothing to lose in 2008, President Bush would authorize air strikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

A Product of Her City

By on 11.2.06 | 8:25AM

The New York Times reports today that some Republican candidates are trying in their advertisements to invoke the idea of boogeyman Rep. Nancy Pelosi as the next House Speaker. Some interviewed for the article -- including Pelosi herself -- say it is a likely-to-fail strategy, because few people in the country know who she is.

But they know what San Francisco is, which is why it just might work.



Reaction to Romney

By on 11.2.06 | 7:34AM

George Will may think Mitt Romney "will emerge from this bruising (election) season with enlarged prospects" (no, not a Mark Foley line) for the presidency because of Sen. George Allen's missteps on the campaign trail, but the Massachusetts governor got booed in his home state yesterday at a Red Auerbach tribute.

I know, I know, it happens all the time to politicians at sports-related events...

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