Official Bush-Cheney Re-election Site
Friday, August 29, 2003
The lieutenant governor proposes amending the state Constitution to regulate gasoline prices. (Matea Gold and Elizabeth Douglass, August 29, 2003, LA Times)
Charging that international oil companies are manipulating the gasoline market, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante said Thursday that as governor he would work to bring the industry under state regulation in an effort to control gas prices.

Bustamante, who compared the behavior of oil companies to deception in the electricity industry, proposed amending the California Constitution to define gasoline as a public utility and subjecting gas prices to approval by the state Public Utilities Commission. [...]

Hawaii approved a price cap on gasoline that is set to take effect in July, but no state regulates the oil industry as Bustamante proposes. Oil companies would likely challenge the new law as a violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

"Gasoline -- and the business of selling gasoline -- is part of interstate commerce that belongs to Congress to regulate, if at all," said Anthony Sabino, an associate law professor at St. John's University's Peter J. Tobin College of Business in New York. "With all due respect to Mr. Bustamante, he is either very ignorant of the law, or he's getting incredibly bad advice from his advisors, or it's a publicity stunt."

Write Letters to the Editor for President Bush Today!

Get active in support of the President by writing letters to the editor TODAY!, when the Deanites again intend to attack the site.

The topic is up to you, but a key focus could be the President's excellent speech on the war on terror and the great editorial reaction to it. See Jay Reding's analysis of the speech for more.

Enter your ZIP code:

If you're a blogger who wants to join this effort, just copy and paste the following ZIP-code lookup box so people can write letters directly from your site for Friday's festivities:

Let's show them what the Bush-blogosphere can do! If you support President Bush, write a letter to the editor today and every Friday!

Thursday, August 28, 2003
Marc Racicot Calls Dean to the Carpet and Dean's Flack Flinches

In an e-mail sent to Bush supporters nationwide:
[Campaign Chairman Marc] Racicot's e-mail attributes quotes to several Democratic presidential hopefuls criticizing Bush. Among them, Racicot says former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean stated that Bush might suspend the 2004 election, called Bush "reckless" and "despicable," compared him to the Taliban and said Bush was trying to destroy Social Security, Medicare, public schools and public services. "This ugly, overheated rhetoric shows Democrats will say anything and stop at nothing to defeat this president," Racicot wrote.
Consider the facts:

* Dean indulged conspiracy theories that Bush would suspend the election, possibly as part of the Patriot Act

Whereupon one respectable-looking, articulate, and deadly earnest lady announces that she's "terrified" over a rumor that "at the next election, George Bush is going to drag out the war and declare a national emergency and suspend the election." Dean makes no effort to reassure her. "I've actually heard that," he says, with a facetious, speculative aside about whether "that's in the Patriot Act or not."
* Comparing Bush to the Taliban-like policies:
Dean told NARAL that "next thing, girls won't be able to go to school in America": (speaking now if Bush is re-elected) "I'm going to talk to you as a governor and as a doctor tonight, but I was thinking as I was listening to the four speakers how much is at stake. It's not just abortion rights or reproductive freedoms. Title IX is under attack by this administration [applause] and I think if one of us doesn't win, next thing girls won't be able to go to school in America, you watch."
Asked if the comments attributed to Dean were accurate, Dean spokeswoman Tricia Enright was incredulous:
"Compared him to the Taliban? Absolutely not. Suspend the 2004 election? What is that about?" Enright asked. "He said his (Bush's) tax policies were reckless. Obviously all this was taken out of context."
Oh really? Check the transcripts linked above...

Sick of hearing about Howard Dean? Donate now.

Most say Iraq war was worth fighting (Richard Benedetto, 8/28/03, USA TODAY)
The news from Iraq is mostly bad, and criticism of President Bush from Democrats is relentless. But nearly two-thirds — 63% — of Americans say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows. (Related: Full poll results) [...]

Fifty-seven percent say they believe the war in Iraq is part of the overall war on terrorism. Bush has repeatedly made that argument, and the poll suggests his message is getting through.

Bush's handling of the Iraq situation is approved by 57%, down slightly from 60% a month ago; 66% approve of his handling of terrorism in general.

And 59% approve of the job he is doing overall, a range he has maintained for more than a month, regardless of the ups and downs of the news from Iraq.

Contrary to the Conventional Wisdom on the Left Before the War, Apparently Iraqis Are Happy We Liberated Them
An Iraqi couple has named their 6-week-old baby boy George Bush to show their appreciation for U.S. efforts to force Saddam Hussein out of power.

"He saved us from Saddam and that's why we named our son after him," the baby's mother, Nadia Jergis Mohammed, told the Associated Press Television News. "It was George Bush who liberated us; without him it wouldn't have happened."

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Write Letters to the Editor for President Bush on Friday!

Last week, a number of liberal websites decided to use President Bush's website to send out negative anti-Bush letters to the editor. Let's turn this into an opportunity to get active in support of the President by writing letters to the editor this Friday, when the Deanites again intend to attack the site. All you need to do is make a reasoned argument for President Bush's leadership, and you'll have the Democrats beat by a mile.

The topic is up to you, but a key focus could be the President's excellent speech on the war on terror and the great editorial reaction to it. See Jay Reding's analysis of the speech for more.

Enter your ZIP code:

If you're a blogger who wants to join this effort, just copy and paste the following ZIP-code lookup box so people can write letters directly from your site for Friday's festivities:

Let's show them what the Bush-blogosphere can do! If you support President Bush, write a letter to the editor this Friday and every Friday!

UPDATE: John at BushBlog, Right We Are, Matt Margolies and Zonitics are in! Drop me an e-mail if you are too so I can add you to the list!

Which Party Needs Lessons in Tolerance?

Meghan McArdle at has an interesting take on party politics and the fracturing of the Democratic Party:

The Republicans, after all, are in many ways a larger tent than the Democrats. For example, they have pro-choice politicians, and they don't bar them from the cabinet or speaking positions at their convention, the way the Democrats did with Bob Casey. (As more than one commenter noted at the time, this was a nice way of telling the party's remaining white ethnics not to let the doorknob hit them on the ass on the way out.) They tolerate a broader range of opinion on hot-button issues such as affirmative action than Democrats do in their senior officials. And that's because they can. The Republicans only have two groups to please: social conservatives, and fiscal conservatives. Fiscal conservatives will, by and large, allow you to throw a bone to the social conservatives so long as you do it somewhere the fiscal conservatives don't have to look at, such as prisons and homeless shelters, or small towns in Alabama. The small towns in Alabama, so long as they are left alone and not asked to celebrate gay wedding ceremonies next to the creche in the town square, will generally leave the fiscal conservatives to their own devices except during the annual farm-subsidy festival. These two groups do not agree, but there are only two of them, and there are enough issues on which they do agree that they can generally carve out a reasonably coherent platform. (Reasonably coherent, that is, for American politics). And because their members often shade from one group to the next (such as a near relative who is for gay rights, but against gay marriage, and generally fiscally conservative, but in favor of a Medicare drug bill), there is some tolerance in the party for dissent from the platform.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are a veritable festival of interest groups: unions, teachers, minorities, feminists, gay groups, environmentalists, etc. Each of these groups has a litmus test without which they will not ratify a candidate: unfettered support for abortion, against vouchers, against ANWAR drilling, whatever. A lot of groups means a lot of litmus tests, because with the possible exception of the teachers, no one group is powerful enough to swing an election by themselves.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Retreat in the face of terror would only invite further and bolder attacks. There will be no retreat.

This afternoon, President Bush made some extensive and eloquent remarks on the war on terror and the battle of Iraq that you should definitely look at and link to. Included are some excerpts:

In the 20th century, the American flag and the American uniform stood for something unique in history. This nation gained great power and we used that power in the service of human freedom. Americans liberated continents and concentration camps. America's armed forces humbled tyrants and raised up and befriended nations that once fought against us. Our nation led a great alliance against a communist empire, until that empire was gone and its captives were free. America's veterans have all been a part of this great story of perseverance and courage, and people and nations across the world are better off because of your service. (Applause.)

On Memorial Day last year, I visited the military cemetery at Normandy, and saw the grave of one of the founders of the American Legion, Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. When Roosevelt landed with the first wave of his unit on D-Day, he and his men found themselves in a different part of Utah Beach from the point they expected. Roosevelt quickly sized up the situation and called in a whole division to the new sector. Turning a challenge into an advantage, he declared: we'll start the war from here. (Applause.)

Well, a great challenge came to America on September the 11th, 2001. Enemies who plotted for years in secret, carried out missions of murder on our own soil. It was a day of suffering and sorrow. It was also a day of decision for our country. As a united and resolute people, America declared: we'll start the war from here. (Applause.)

In this first war of the 21st century, America and all free nations are facing a new threat and fighting a new enemy, a global network of terror supported by outlaw regimes. We've seen the hand of the terrorist enemy in the attacks on our country. We've seen the deadly work of the terrorists in Bali, in Mombasa, in Riyadh, in Jakarta, in Casablanca. On a single day last week we saw the true nature of the terrorists once again. In Baghdad they attacked a symbol of the civilized world -- the United Nations Headquarters -- and killed men and women who were there to bring humanitarian help to the Iraqi people. They killed a respected U.N. Special Representative, Sergio Vieira deMello, from Brazil.

And on the same day in Jerusalem, a terrorist murdered 21 innocent people who were riding a bus, including little children and five Americans.

The terrorists' aim is to spread chaos and fear by killing on an ever-widening scale. They serve their cause by sacrificing the innocent. They celebrate the murder of women and children. They attacked the civilized world because they bear a deep hatred for the values of the civilized world. They hate freedom and religious tolerance and democracy and equality for women. They hate Christians and Jews and every Muslim who does not share their narrow and violent vision.

No nation can be neutral in the struggle between civilization and chaos. Every nation that stands on the side of freedom and the value of human life must condemn terrorism and act against the few who would destroy the hopes of the many. (Applause.)

Because America stands for freedom and tolerance and the rights of all, the terrorists have targeted our country. During the last few decades the terrorists grew bolder, believing if they hit America hard, America would retreat and back down. Five years ago, one of the terrorists said that an attack could make America run in less than 24 hours. They're learning something different today. The terrorists have not seen America running, they've seen America marching. They've seen the armies of liberation. (Applause.) They have seen the armies of liberation marching into Kabul and to Baghdad.

The terrorists have seen speeding tank convoys and roaring jets and special forces arriving in midnight raids. And sometimes justice has found them before they could see anything coming at all. We've adopted a new strategy for a new kind of war. We will not wait for known enemies to strike us again. (Applause.) We will strike them and their camps or caves or wherever they hide before they hit more of our cities and kill more of our citizens. We will do everything in our power to deny terrorists weapons of mass destruction before they can commit murder on an unimaginable scale. ...

We've also pursued the war on terror in Iraq. America and our coalition removed a regime that built, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, a regime that sponsored terror and a regime that persecuted its people. Our military coalition destroyed the Iraqi regime, while taking extraordinary measures to spare innocent life. (Applause.) The battle of Iraq was conducted with the skill and honor of a great military, the United States Armed Forces. (Applause.)

Because of our military, catastrophic weapons will no longer be in the hands of a reckless, unstable dictator. Because of our military, Middle Eastern countries no longer fear subversion and attack by Saddam Hussein. Because of our military, Iraq will no longer be a source of funding for suicide bombers in the Middle East. Because of our men and women in uniform, the torture chambers in Iraq are closed, the prison cells for children are empty and the people who speak their minds need not fear execution. (Applause.)

In all the debates over Iraq, we must never forget the brutal nature of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Mass grave sites, literally thousands of people buried in mass grave sites were recently discovered by our troops. They contain the remains not only of executed men and women, but of executed children, as well.

Our people in uniform, joined by fine allies, ended this nightmare in Iraq, removed a threat to the world, and they have made our nation proud. (Applause.)

The work of our coalition in Iraq goes on because that country is now a point of testing in the war on terror. The remnants of Saddam's regime are still dangerous, and terrorists are gathering in Iraq to undermine the advance of freedom. Al Qaeda and the other global terror networks recognize that the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime is a defeat for them. They know that a democratic Iraq in the heart of the Middle East would be a further defeat for their ideology of terror. They know that the spread of peace and hope in the Middle East would undermine the appeal of bitterness, resentment, and violence. And the more progress we make in Iraq, the more desperate the terrorists will become. Freedom is a threat to their way of life. (Applause.)

They have sabotaged water mains and oil pipelines, and attacked local police. Last week, they killed aid workers bringing food and medicine to the country. The terrorists have killed innocent Iraqis and Americans and U.N. officials from many nations. They have declared war on the entire civilized world, and the civilized world will not be intimidated. (Applause.)

Retreat in the face of terror would only invite further and bolder attacks. There will be no retreat. (Applause.) ...

And as we help the Iraqi people establish security, we are working through that famous deck of cards. So far, of the 55 most wanted Iraqi leaders, 42 have been captured or killed. (Applause.) The brutal, viscous sons of the dictator are gone. (Applause.) Recently we captured the former Vice President of Iraq. He was one of Saddam Hussein's most feared enforcers. And recently, as well, we captured the man known as Chemical Ali. He earned his nickname by ordering chemical weapon attacks on whole Iraqi villages, killing thousands of citizens. Chemical Ali's savage career is over. (Applause.) The search goes on for other former leaders of Iraq, and we will find them. (Applause.) After decades of smothering fear, the Iraqi people can be certain: the regime of Saddam Hussein is gone, and it is never coming back. (Applause.) ...

Iraq's progress toward self-determination and democracy brings hope to other oppressed people in the region and throughout the world. It is the rise of democracy that tyrants fear and terrorists seek to undermine. The people who yearn for liberty and opportunity in countries like Iran and throughout the Middle East are watching and they are praying for our success in Iraq. (Applause.)

More progress will come in Iraq, and it will require hard and sustained efforts. As many of you saw firsthand in Germany and Japan after World War II, the transition from dictatorship to democracy is a massive undertaking. It's not an easy task. In the aftermath of World War II, that task took years, not months, to complete. And, yet, the effort was repaid many times over as former enemies became friends and allies and partners in keeping the peace.

Likewise, the work we do today is essential to the peace of the world and for the security of our country. America is a nation that understands its responsibilities and keeps its word. And we will honor our word to the people of Iraq and those in the Middle East who yearn for freedom. (Applause.)

Murderers will not determine the future of Iraq, and they will not determine the future of the Middle East. In Jerusalem, as in Baghdad, terrorists are trying to undermine the hopes of peace with acts of violence. Their desperation also grows as the parties move closer to a just settlement. But terrorists do not speak for the Palestinian people. They do not serve the Palestinian cause. And a Palestinian state will never be built on the foundation of violence. (Applause.) ...

We also remember what this fight is about. Our military is confronting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other places so our people will not have to confront terrorist violence in New York, or St. Louis, or Los Angeles. (Applause.)

Our Armed Forces are doing the work they are called to do. They're taking the fight to the enemy so that America and our friends can live in peace. The war on terror is a test of our strength. It is a test of our perseverance, our patience, and our will. This nation has been tested before -- by the character of men and women like you, we've come through every trial.

And so it is today. Our course is set. Our purpose is firm. No act of terrorists will weaken our resolve or alter their fate. Our only goal, our only option, is total victory in the war on terror. And this nation will press on to victory. (Applause.)

Thank you for having me. May God bless you, and may God continue to bless America. (Applause.)

The Media Conspires . . . While W Just Keeps Winning (John Podhoretz, 8/26/03, New York Post)

"The president no longer enjoys the aura of invincibility that surrounded him only a few months ago . . . Democrats especially have re-evaluated his presidency and concluded that, on the issues now dominating the political debate, Bush does not have the upper hand."

Only one problem: The article by Dan Balz and Dana Milbank was published a year ago - on Aug. 11, 2002.


Meantime, let's get serious. George W. Bush has led the military to victories in two wars over two years. There hasn't been another terrorist attack. The economy is evidently poised for a comeback, with all growth trends looking favorable.

And let's get serious - and cynical - about another matter. Terrorist attacks in Iraq and Israel play to the president's strengths as a leader. They remind people that he is the only major politician in the country who has a serious plan to deal with terror.

He never, ever, ever said it was going to be an easy fight, or a short fight. He has always said it would be long and difficult, that there would be reversals and troubles along the way.

Even in his speech aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln announcing the end of "major combat operations" in Iraq - for which he has recently received vicious criticism from Democrat John Kerry, among others - Bush sounded an important note of caution:

"We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We've begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. . . . The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done."

Enriched Uranium Found in Iran

Inspectors have found traces of highly enriched uranium at an Iranian nuclear plant, but say they have not determined whether Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, a spokesman for the U.N. nuclear agency said Tuesday.

Sunday, August 24, 2003
What Isn't Being Reported in the UN Bombing in Baghdad (Ralph Peters, 8/23/03, New York Post)

[W]hat were the first complaints we heard from the media "experts"? That the U.S. Army was to blame, because it failed to provide adequate security.

In fact, we offered the U.N. armored vehicles. They told us to take a hike. U.N. bureaucrats put more trust in the good will of terrorists and Ba'athist butchers than they did in GI Joe.

But when the U.N.'s own people lay bleeding, they were glad enough for our help. As one U.N. employee, speaking from inside the Baghdad compound, put it to me, "It was a proud day for the U.S. Army."

Of course, no one at U.N. headquarters had any public thanks to offer our soldiers. By the end of last week, the French delegation had already warned its U.N. colleagues not to be tricked into supporting American and British efforts to help the Iraqi people just because of a terror bombing.

And our own media didn't give five seconds of coverage to the superbly professional rescue efforts our military made after the bombing.

One is tempted to say, "Next time, let the French do it." But we're Americans, of course. We'll save your sorry backsides, even after you trash us.

If the United Nations won't say it, I will: "Thanks, GI."

Bushphobia Stronger Than Any "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" (Jonah Goldberg, 8/22/03)

Have you noticed how we don't hear much about Bush-haters? It's odd since not long ago "Clinton-hatred" was a national epidemic. The New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine and others devoted dozens, if not hundreds, of articles to "Clintonophobia" and other maladies stemming from "right-wing paranoia" and "irrational Clinton hatred."


Well, today the campaign of "manufactured hate" against George Bush in many respects dwarfs the campaign against Bill Clinton. As my colleague Byron York notes in the Sept. 1 issue of National Review, the most outrageous accusations against Bush are commonplace on the left and in liberal circles today, but we don't get articles in the mainstream press ridiculing "Bushophobia."

Web sites dedicated to the Bush family's "Nazi past" are all over the place. Articles comparing Bush to Adolph Hitler abound on the Internet and in countless elite newspapers and magazines in Europe and the Middle East., edited by respected leftist journalist Alexander Cockburn, has run more than one article detailing how Bush and Hitler use "the same playbook" and how "the Fuhrer would be proud that an American president is emulating him in so many ways." T-shirts and posters with Bush and Cheney in Gestapo gear and Hitler mustaches are staples at every leftwing rally today.

And it's not just on the fringe or overseas. Accusations and insinuations that Bush launched an entire war for base political reasons are commonplace on cable TV debates and by many leading Democrats, including Al Gore. This charge is vastly more outrageous than the one leveled at Bill Clinton's conveniently timed cruise missile strikes during impeachment, but no one seems to mind.

Indeed, start watching the Democratic presidential candidate forums on C-SPAN. If the contenders don't say Bush is a murderer, the Democratic activists often do - and the candidates almost never correct them.

The activist base of the Democratic Party today strikes me as demonstrably more paranoid and irrational about George Bush than even the most "obsessed" of my conservative brethren ever were. And to Bush's credit, he's not biting his lip and whining about it.

Saturday, August 23, 2003
Iraq Update: Out of Chaos Comes Order (Dexter Filkins, 8/23/03, New York Times)

As the area around Baghdad endured a week of repeated violence, a happier scene unfolded in this city, a two-hour drive to the south.

American soldiers, without helmets or flak jackets, attended graduation ceremonies of the Diwaniya University Medical School. At ease with the Iraqi students and their parents, the American marines laughed, joked and posed in photographs. One by one, the students walked up to thank them, for Marine doctors had taught classes in surgery and gynecology and helped draw up the final exams.

"We like the Americans very much here," said Zainab Khaledy, 22, who received her medical degree last Sunday. "We feel better than under the old regime. We have problems, like security, but everything is getting better."

Excellent Editorial on the Bush Presidency (8/22/03, The Seattle Times)

When this page endorsed Bush, it was in spite of his lack of experience in foreign affairs. Bush learned on the job — and fast. He paid his respects to the United Nations, but he did not hang American security on a U.N. vote. The president presides over a democracy in a very different world, and a different America, than the contentious moment of his election. We believe that, overall, he has acted responsibly and well when it comes to the overriding issue of our times — our country's security. We need a strong leader in a world threatened by insane terrorism. He has been that.

This page expected that Bush would fumigate the White House of its odor of licentiousness, pardon-selling and general juvenilia. He did, which is why nobody talks about those things any longer. He has surrounded himself with adults.

Finally, he is focused. All presidents know that they have eight years at most, maybe four. Some waste that time on tricks to get their poll numbers up, or a dozen other things that seem important at the time, but aren't. Bush is making his time count.

Economy Continues to Improve (Steven Gray, 8/22/03, Washington Post)

A widely followed measure of U.S. economic activity rose in July for the fourth consecutive month, providing another sign that the pace of the recovery is picking up.

The Conference Board, an independent New York business research group, said its gauge of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent last month, to 112.5 percent, compared with a 0.3 percent increase in June.

Also yesterday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people who filed new claims for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in six months.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, said its index of regional factory business conditions surpassed forecasts in August.

Wall Street responded favorably to the reports. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 26.17 points, or 0.3 percent, closing at 9423.68. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Stock Market composite index rose 17.01, or 1 percent, to 1777.55, its highest point since January. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index advanced 2.97, or 0.3 percent, to end the day at 1003.27.

"What we've got this summer is not signs that the economy might get better, but proof that it's actually getting better," Ken Goldstein, an economist for the Conference Board, said. "The big picture is that after having spent a year and a half in limbo, the economy is finally getting somewhere."

Friday, August 22, 2003
The High Stakes of 2004 (William Kristol, 9/01/2003, The Weekly Standard)

THE 2004 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION will be the biggest in at least a generation. Perhaps more. The choice between Bush and Dean/Kerry/Hillary (to list Democrats in the order of their chance to become the nominee) will be the starkest since Reagan-Mondale in 1984. More will be at stake in terms of the direction of the country than in any election since 1980, or perhaps since 1964. After the last decade's noticeably smaller elections, in terms both of starkness of choice and magnitude of consequence, 2004 will be the real thing.


Imagine the two most likely outcomes in 2004: a Bush victory, almost certainly accompanied by increased GOP majorities in both houses of Congress, and by a pickup of gubernatorial and legislative seats, leaving Republicans as the true governing party for the first time since the New Deal; and a Bush defeat, which would mean that the Democrat would have received more votes than the Republican in four straight presidential elections. In the latter case, even if the GOP hung onto majorities in Congress, moderate Republicans would suddenly be interested in working with a Democratic president, and bitter fights would emerge among Republicans and conservatives, rather than among liberals and Democrats.

So: the Bush doctrine abroad, a moderately conservative judiciary at home, an administration putting its thumb (however gingerly) on the conservative side of the scale in the culture wars. Or a Dean-Kerry doctrine abroad, an ever more liberal and activist judiciary, and the most culturally left-wing Democratic administration in 40 years.

The stakes could hardly be higher.

Instapundit Reads Victor Davis Hanson

And so should you:
Indeed, the abhorrent assault on a U.N. complex in Baghdad — taken together with the near-simultaneous murdering of innocents in Jerusalem, the recent attack on the Jordanian embassy, and the bombing of Iraqi oil and water pipelines — may suggest to critics of the Americans that the enemy is recouping and gaining the upper hand.

Far from it. We are indeed entering a third phase. But it is not quite what most people think, since it has brought a brutal clarity to the conflict that the terrorists may not have intended. For those who were still unsure of the affinities between the West Bank killers once subsidized by Saddam, Baathist fedeyeen, the Taliban, and al Qaedist terrorists, the similarity in method, the identical blood-curling rhetoric, and the eerie timing of slaughtering during peace negotiations and efforts at civil reconstruction should establish the existence of a common enemy. It has been fighting us all along — a general fascism, now theocratic, now autocratic, that seeks to divert the Middle East from the forces of modernization and liberalization.

Contrary to the latest round of punditry, the liberation of Iraq did not stir up a hornet's nest nor create ex nihilo these terrible alliances. No, they are natural expressions of the hatred manifested on 9/11 that will continue until either we or they are defeated.
This seems right to me. Treating them as reasonable people with possibly legitimate grievances has mostly been a matter of Western self-deception. Read the whole thing, but don't miss this bit:

Our astonishing defeats of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban cannot blind us to the reality — unchanging since 9/11 — that we are in a war to the end with those who wish to destroy Western society and all that it holds dear. Both tactically and strategically this is a conflict that our enemies cannot win — given their military inferiority and accompanying failure to offer an attractive alternative to the freedom and prosperity of the West.

This doom the nihilists grudgingly accept. Thus the past week in Afghanistan, in Baghdad, and in Jerusalem they have once more embraced the tactics of the bomb-laden truck and suicide belt to demoralize civil society and to win the only way they can — as was true in Beirut and Mogadishu — by eroding public support for the continuance of war. Otherwise, they will lose and the virus of reform and legality will only spread.

Either the Middle East will be a breeding ground for terrorists and rogue regimes that threaten sober nations and peoples the world over, from Manhattan to Jerusalem, or it will desist and join the rest of the world. It really is as simple as that.
VDH is just about the best essayist on the global perspective necessary during the entire Middle East conflict and Glenn Reynolds touches just the right chords.

Thursday, August 21, 2003
RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie Urges the Grassroots to Register New Republicans to Vote

Over the course of the next year, I'm going to challenge you to take on one of the most important tasks any American can be charged with - voter registration. Did you know there are millions of American citizens who are not registered to vote? Not only is this sad for our democracy, but for our party as well.

We must encourage civic participation on every level and the
best way to accomplish this is to register new Republicans. You've heard it before, but even one more Republican vote in each precinct across the country can turn a tight race into a landslide win.

This is why I charge each and every Team Leader to register 5 new voters. If we are successful in our efforts, there will be over 1,635,000 new Republican votes. These new votes will help the President enact his positive agenda for America.

Therefore, I ask you to join the rest of your fellow Republicans
in educating and registering American citizens across the country. This effort will pay off on Election Day with successes from the court house to the White House.

Click here to register yourself, or to send a message to your friends and family to encourage them to register. I know together we can be successful.


Ed Gillespie
Republican National Committee

Polling for the Recall Election by Taco Bell?

Probably no less accurate than any other poll...

Forgive Russia, Ignore Germany and Punish France? . . . . We Might Want to Rethink Russia's Position (Ion Mihai Pacepa, 8/21/03, Washington Times)

Ion Mihai Pacepa, a Romanian, is the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc:

On March 20, Russian PresidentVladimir Putin denounced the U.S.-led "aggression" against Iraq as "unwarranted" and "unjustifiable." Three days later, Pravda said that an anonymous Russian "military expert" was predicting that the United States would fabricate finding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov immediately started plying the idea abroad, and it has taken hold around the world ever since.

As a former Romanian spy chief who used to take orders from the Soviet KGB, it is perfectly obvious to me that Russia is behind the evanescence of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. After all, Russia helped Saddam get his hands on them in the first place. The Soviet Union and all its bloc states always had a standard operating procedure for deep sixing weapons of mass destruction — in Romanian it was codenamed "Sarindar, meaning "emergency exit." Iimplemented it in Libya. It was for ridding Third World despots of all trace of their chemical weapons if the Western imperialists ever got near them. We wanted to make sure they would never be traced back to us, and we also wanted to frustrate the West by not giving them anything they could make propaganda with....

Iraq, in my view, had its own "Sarindar" plan in effect direct from Moscow. It certainly had one in the past. Nicolae Ceausescu told me so, and he heard it from Leonid Brezhnev. KGB chairman Yury Andropov, and later, Gen. Yevgeny Primakov, told me so too...

The Soviet bloc not only sold Saddam its WMDs, but it showed them how to make them "disappear." Russia is still at it. Primakov was in Baghdad from December until a couple of days before the war, along with a team of Russian military experts led by two of Russia's topnotch "retired"generals,Vladislav Achalov, a former deputy defense minister, and Igor Maltsev, a former air defense chief of staff. They were all there receiving honorary medals from the Iraqi defense minister. They clearly were not there to give Saddam military advice for the upcomingwar—Saddam'sKatyusha launchers were of World War II vintage, and his T-72 tanks, BMP-1 fighting vehicles and MiG fighter planes were all obviously useless against America. "I did not fly to Baghdad to drink coffee," was what Gen. Achalov told the media afterward. They were there orchestrating Iraq's "Sarindar" plan.
Read the whole thing.

Winning the War on Terror: Chemical Ali Captured

Ali Hasan al-Majid, a feared cousin of Saddam Hussein nicknamed “Chemical Ali” for his use of poison gas in attacks, has been captured by U.S. forces in Iraq, U.S. Central Command said on Thursday.

CONFIRMING A REPORT by NBC News, Central Command said al-Majid — no. 5 on a U.S. list of the 55 most wanted Iraqis and the “king of spades” in a U.S. Army deck of cards depicting fugitive members of Saddam’s government — was in custody, but provided no details.

Pentagon officials, who spoke with NBC News on condition of anonymity, said al-Majid was captured within the last several days, but did not say where or how he was captured.

Al-Majid was a ruthless member of Saddam’s clan who played a leading role in the violent suppression of Iraq’s Kurdish and Shiite Muslim rebels and the seven-month occupation of Kuwait which began in 1990.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003
What Can You Do To Help The Bush Campaign Today? Take Action!!!

Take action and join the most important part of the 2004 election: the grassroots team to re-elect President Bush. The campaign's action center gives you the tools to join the Bush team and help spread President Bush's positive message to your friends, family and your community.

Simply enter your ZIP code below and learn about all of the ways you can help in your area to re-elect President Bush!

Try it out!

Looks like the Dean trolls are going to use the action tools to get their message of anger and hatred across because they can't come up with anything better themselves. Like locusts, they are invading every other campaign to spam and clog the lines. Make sure we represent our views with the campaign!

To see the Dean Flood the Zone tactics click here and here.

New York Times Buries Important Facts on UN Bombing

To slam Dubya for the bombing of the Baghdad UN headquarters, NYT buries the key fact on page A9, paragraph 11...

Yesterday's attack is described as "another sign that surly, chaotic postwar Iraq is becoming a magnet for terrorists," which in turn is described as "yet another consequence of the Iraq war that the Bush administration failed to anticipate."

Damn dumb Dubya & Co., falling down on the job again! Idiotic cowboys! Is there any other possible conclusion you can reach from this coverage? Unless ...

Unless you flip back to page A9 to the article entitled "The Scene: Amid Blood and Rubble, a Sense of Helplessness." This article is also filled with criticisms, such as the one attributed to "many" Iraqis that the bombing is "another sign of the poor job the occupation forces are doing providing security in a country they now nominally control." But there — tucked away nicely in the eleventh paragraph, without subheading or italics or boldface or sidebar ("too damn bad we don't have footnotes we could drop this into," you can almost hear the editors murmur) — we finally learn the key fact to answer the questions, "How could this have happened and who's to blame?"

After a bombing at the Jordanian Embassy last week, senior American officials warned that other soft targets might be next. But the United Nations deliberately avoided sealing itself off because it feared that such barriers would send the wrong message to Iraqis seeking help.
Also slipped into that story is an acknowledgement that "[t]he United Nations has been a target before. Three employees were killed over the last few months in various shooting attacks."

But you have to leave altogether the bizarro-world of the NYT to learn from somewhere like the Associated Press, as printed in the Houston Chronicle, that

U.N. officials at the headquarters had refused heavy security — aside from the recently built concrete wall — because the United Nations "did not want a large American presence outside," said Salim Lone, the U.N. spokesman in Baghdad.

Via Instapundit.

Perspective on the U.N. Bombing (Ralph Peters, 8/20/03, New York Post)

Over the past several days, the Iraqi hardliners and their terrorist allies attacked an oil pipeline and a water main. Yesterday, a terrorist drove a truck bomb into the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad, killing dozens and wounding more than 100 people.

Our enemies' initial "Mogadishu Strategy" - based on the faulty notion that if you kill Americans they pack up and go home - was a disaster for them. Our response devastated their already-crippled organization. Now, with reduced capabilities and decayed leadership, they've turned to attacking soft targets. It's the best they can do.

It's ugly. But it's an indicator of their weakness, not of strength.
Via K-Lo at "The Corner"

Winning the War on Terror: Vice-President Under Saddam Hussein Captured (John Tierney, 8/14/03, New York Times)

The former vice president of Iraq, No. 20 on the most-wanted list put together by the United States and one of the most zealous defenders of Saddam Hussein, was captured today, the Pentagon said.

A spokeswoman, Chief Diane Perry, could not confirm reports that the capture of the official, Taha Yassin Ramadan, had been carried out by Kurdish forces in the northern city of Mosul.

She would also not give any details of where Mr. Ramadan is being held.

But officials of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Baghdad and London said it tracked down Mr. Ramadan, a member of Iraq's Revolutionary Command Council, the nation's top governing body, and handed him over to United States forces, Reuters reported.

Mosul was the city where two of Mr. Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, were found hiding last month and killed by American forces.

Chief Perry said 38 of the 50 Iraqis on the most-wanted list had now been captured or killed.

Bush Enery Plan to Upgrade Power Grid Scrapped by Democrats . . . 2 Years Ago! (Elisabeth Bumiller and Jeff Gerth, 8/20/03, New York Times)

President Bush stood at a gasoline station near his ranch in Texas today and said he had been calling for an energy bill to modernize the nation's electricity grid "for a long time."

Mr. Bush is quite right. A comprehensive energy policy was part of his platform as a candidate for president and seemed prescient from his very first week in office, when he was forced to ensure there was enough power in California to ease the state's rolling blackouts. By May 2001, largely because of the California crisis, Mr. Bush had released his energy plan.

But the president's ambitious policy quickly became a casualty of energy politics and, notably, harsh criticism from Democrats enraged by the way the White House had created the plan. Although the policy included recommendations to improve the nation's electric grid that everyone agreed on, they were lost in the shouting and have been dormant in Congress for the past two years.

Since last week's blackout, those proposals have again taken on new urgency, and Mr. Bush, like other politicians, has been compelled to speak out. This morning, he told reporters that he was assured on Monday night by Congressional Republicans that a conference committee would begin work within 20 days on a final package of energy legislation.

"Now is the time for the Congress to move and get something done," the president said.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003
The Official Site is also providing very cool Screen Savers, Wallpapers, Banners and Buttons

Add the Official Bush News Feeds to Your Blog!

If you would like to add the news ticker like the one I have displayed on the right, simply include the following code in your template:

<SCRIPT language=JavaScript src=""></SCRIPT>

If you want a verticle news crawl, simply include this code in your template:

<SCRIPT language=JavaScript src=""></SCRIPT>

The news will update itself automatically! If you are having any difficulties, click here for the official site's instructions.

We Have Screenshots!

Washington Post Jumps on the Bloggers Angle to the Official Website

President Bush's campaign will unveil a Web site today that allows proprietors of online journals -- Blogs or Web logs -- to "get the latest campaign headlines and inside scoop posted instantly to your site through a live news feed from!"

Bush's campaign is leaving nothing to chance as his devotees spread his message. The automatic feeds are offered in horizontal and vertical versions.
Update: Here is the New York Times take on the new website.

Official George W Bush Campaign Site Up and Running and Bloggers Are a Vital Part

Bloggers are helping to shape today’s political discourse and how the Internet is used in political campaigns. As an important voice among online activists we wanted you to be one of the first to know about the launch of the Bush-Cheney ’04 Web site at

At 7am on Tuesday, August 19, the redesigned will launch with innovative new features and tools that will enable you to become a part of this campaign. A feature we designed specifically for bloggers is a unique news feed box that posts the latest news from Bush-Cheney ’04 to your blog for your readers instantly. Check out the news feeds at:

We designed the Web site to make sure that President Bush’s supporters have the ability to spread the information they find on to their community, as well as friends and family with ease. Some of the features you will find on include:

· President Bush’s Agenda. contains detailed issue specific action areas for visitors to quickly get the information they want, and easily use that information to take action by writing news editors, calling talk radio programs, emailing friends, registering to vote, ordering an absentee ballot, or donating. Check it out at:

· Buttons and Banners for Your Blog. Link to with your choice of Bush-Cheney ’04 logo graphics at

· Photo Album. Extensive photo galleries of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, First Lady Laura Bush, and Mrs. Lynne Cheney feature compelling photos that are easily forwarded to friends and family at

· …and much, much more.

Don’t wait – be the first to visit and blog about President Bush’s new re-election Web site at Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions or feedback.


Patrick Ruffini
Webmaster, Bush-Cheney ‘04

P.S. Stay tuned for the official Bush-Cheney ’04 blog in the months to come!

Monday, August 18, 2003
Official Bush Campaign Ready to Launch State-of-the-Art Website

President Bush's re-election effort plans to complement his campaigning with a new online push, launching a new Web site to take advantage of increasingly e-savvy political donors and activists.

The new site, scheduled to go up Tuesday morning, invites visitors to punch in their zip codes for information on how to get involved in the campaign locally, such as writing letters to local newspapers, phoning in to radio shows, volunteering at Bush events and helping to get out the Republican vote.

The site will also be an important fund-raising tool. The campaign has raised at least $1.3 million over the Internet since a temporary Web site went up in mid-May....

"I think smart campaigns use the Web, to reach the 58 percent of Americans online," campaign manager Ken Mehlman said Monday.

Mehlman said the Bush site will include several "cutting-edge" features. Among them, it will have a constant campaign newsfeed and list Bush fund-raising volunteers and donors.

Casting a Leery Eye at the Reporting in Iraq

A reader of Instapundit writes Glenn to inform him of the multitude of factual errors in an AP News story blaming the Coalition forces for Iraq's forecasted light harvest:
I'm now working in the public affairs office in Baghdad for the CPA. Got here three weeks ago. Fascinating experience. I thought I'd forward you a good example of reporting that starts with the premise that everything is the fault of the Coalition and ignores facts simply to prove that point. Here is a humble fisking of an AP story now on the wire, which I fear will become yet another myth unless you dispell it on your blog. Feel free to use any or all of my commentary below. I think you'd agree that flaw five is truly weird.
Read the whole thing. There are plenty of discouraging items in this "news" story.

Bush Critics Continue to Distort the Truth in Attempt to Smear the President (Spinsanity, 8/18/03)

In several recent cases, prominent liberal figures have resorted to rhetorical extremes and factual deception to attack conservatives and the Bush administration...

Those who profess concern for the state of American democracy or honesty in democratic debate - as Ivins, Jackson and Dean all do - should do their part to improve the discourse by refraining from rhetorical excesses and falsehoods.
And they wonder why their criticism fails to gain traction... (via Instapundit)

The Andre Agassi Strategy? Image May Not Be Everything, But It Is Incredibly Important (Julian Guthrie, 8/18/03, San Francisco Chronicle)

Political strategists, historians, pollsters and image-makers agree on one thing: Wimps don't make good leaders.

Throughout history, politicians have gone to great lengths to look strong. John Kennedy transformed himself from sickly kid to unequivocating leader, ready to take on Nikita Khrushchev and Russian missiles. Ronald Reagan rode horses, chopped wood and taunted the Evil Empire with make-my-day catchphrases....

In more recent times, President Bush's popularity soared after bombs were dropped on Iraq. The actions transformed his image from preppy former frat boy to square-jawed commander in chief. The president has even been turned into a 12-inch action figure. The figurine sells for $39.99 over the Internet and is "fully poseable," dressed in a "detailed cloth flight suit, helmet with oxygen mask, survival vest, g-pants, parachute harness and much more."

Bush isn't the only leader promoting a tough image for tough times...

"There's always been a tough guy, strong leader angle in politics," said Lawrence Jacobs, a political science professor at the University of Minnesota. "I think it's been given more importance post-9/11. It feels like people want a strong leader who won't flinch when the punches start to fly."

He added, "Arnold, like our onetime governor (former wrestler) Jesse Ventura, projects a strong personality of someone who will come in and kick butt."


"People vote on image," he said. "At this point, there's a desire for a tough outsider who will come in, clean up politics and get rid of the bad guys.

That's a recurrent theme in American culture."

Sunday, August 17, 2003
New York Times Thinks Bush's "Working Vacation" Merits a Real Vacation (ELISABETH BUMILLER, 8/17/03, New York Times)

When President Bush returns to Washington from his Texas ranch at the end of the month, he will need a vacation from his vacation. True, he has spent time relaxing in the Sisyphean struggle of clearing cedar and brush from his 1,600 acres of prairie. But events of the past week, from the blackout to Arnold Schwarzenegger's entry into the California governor's recall race, ruined the most meticulous of White House plans.

Mr. Bush loves order, but disorder was what he got.

Arrested A-Queda Member Said to Target President Bush (Alisa Tang, 8/17/03, Associated Press)

Hambali, alleged mastermind of al-Qaida's campaign of bombings in Southeast Asia, was plotting new terror attacks when he was captured this week, possibly against a Bangkok summit President Bush is due to attend, Thailand's prime minister said Saturday.
Hambali, an Indonesian whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, had planned to make Thailand a base for terror operations, but his arrest -- and three of his associates since June -- has uprooted his terror network, Jemaah Islamiyah, from the country, the Thai leader said.

Thailand's porous, jungle and river frontiers and lax security at border posts made it a tempting place to hide for Jemaah militants. But its cells have been more prominent in other nations of the region -- Malaysia and Indonesia. Indonesia -- scene of the group's deadliest bombings -- hiked up security, fearing revenge attacks during Independence Day celebrations this weekend.

Winning the War on Terror: Quick Arrests Send Strong Signal (AP News, 8/17/03, Chicago Sun-Times)

Nine people have been arrested in connection with last week's attack on the Marriot Hotel in Jakarta that killed 12 people and injured nearly 150, the national police chief said Sunday.

Gen. Da'i Bachtiar said the nine suspects had been picked up in separate raids over the past week. He gave no further details.

On Friday, police said they had detained one suspect and were interrogating several others in connection with the attack on Aug. 5 in downtown Jakarta.

Bachtiar's announcement came two days after the arrest in Thailand of Hambali, an Indonesian whose real name is Riduan Isamuddin, the alleged mastermind of al-Qaida's campaign of bombings in Southeast Asia.

Hambali was the head of the al-Qaida linked terror group Jemaah Islamiyah that is blamed for both the Marriott blast and October suicide bombings in Bali that killed 202 people, mostly foreign tourists. He is now being interrogated by U.S. investigators at an unknown location.

The speed with which the arrests were made in the latest bombing indicates that police investigators may have the same degree of success in solving the Marriot bombing as they had with the Oct. 12 bombings of two nightclubs on Bali.

November 2004 GOP Target: South Carolina

Republicans are salivating over the prospect of picking up the U.S. Senate seat being vacated next year by the retiring Democratic incumbent, Fritz Hollings. The White House has put South Carolina on its short list of must-win seats. Normally, the Palmetto State would be easy pickings for the GOP, given that South Carolina is viewed as the most Republican-leaning state in the South...

The four Republicans seeking Hollings' seat are U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint of Greenville, former Attorney General Charlie Condon of Sullivan's Island, Charleston businessman Thomas Ravenel and Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride.


Three Democrats are running: Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, state Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum of Lexington County, and Camden political consultant Marcus Belk.


President Bush remains popular in the state, getting a 60 percent favorable rating in the Hickman poll. Fifty-two percent said they would vote for his re-election and 36 percent indicated they would replace him with an un-named Democrat. Usually, his re-elect is higher when pitted against a specific Democrat.

The July 28-Aug. 3 survey was based on telephone interviews with 628 likely general election voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

It's early yet, and much could happen between now and Election Day to alter the political landscape. Bush's popularity could be a factor. So could the Democratic presidential nominee. "I don't think Inez or Coble would want to campaign with Howard Dean in South Carolina," Black said.

Keeping Vigilant in the War on Terror (RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD, 8/17/03, New York Times)

President Bush spoke with Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia today to discuss progress in the fight against terrorism and "ongoing cooperation" in the crackdown of the financing of terrorists, the White House said. It was one of several calls Mr. Bush placed to other world leaders to discuss terrorism.


Mr. Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah "had a very positive discussion on recent cooperation in the war on terrorism," said Allen Abney, a spokesman for Mr. Bush. "The two leaders also talked about how strong relations are between the United States and Saudi Arabia."

In June, Saudi Arabia announced the arrest of a senior figure in Al Qaeda suspected of playing a central role in a bombing in May in Riyadh that killed 34 people, including eight Americans.

Today, Mr. Bush also spoke with the leaders of Thailand, Russia and Indonesia.
Update: Details on Bush's Thanks to Foreign Leaders re: War on Terror

Saturday, August 16, 2003
Bush Promotes National Parks in Environmental Message (Amy Goldstein, 8/16/03, Washington Post)

President Bush today hiked a dusty trail, lifted a few shovels full of dirt into an irrigation ditch, and sought to bolster his faltering environmental credentials by promoting his administration's plan to complete neglected maintenance work in the country's national parks.

Speaking here in a section of the Santa Monica Mountains, Bush laced his conservation message with his religious faith, saying: "God designed this park's beauty, but men and women make sure it remains beautiful."

. . .

Today's visit to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was his second event of the week with an environmental theme, after an appearance in Arizona on Monday to promote his disputed idea of reducing the risk of wildfires by allowing more thinning of national forests. He has scheduled two more appearances focused on environmental issues for late next week, in Oregon and Washington state.

This morning, with a backdrop of a dramatic peak called Boney Mountain towering above him in this Ventura County spot, the president sought to project an outdoorsman's image. He was jacket-less, his shirt was open at the neck, and his face was shiny with sweat when he reached an outdoor lectern after his hike along the crest of a hill.

Before turning to his central message, Bush sought to reassure Americans unsettled by Thursday's massive blackout, calling the disruption "a wake-up call for a need [to] modernize our electricity delivery systems. . . . We will figure out what went wrong. We will address it."

Friday, August 15, 2003
Cheney Warnings on Blackout Unheeded

"The report we issued last month presented more than 100 recommendations covering virtually the entire range of concerns that face the American people. One of the concerns, obviously, is the aging power grid and the growing problem that we have in getting electricity from the power plant to the light switch. It's clear that we must upgrade and expand the power grid. If we put more connections in place, we'll go a long way towards avoiding future blackouts. Another broad aim is to increase energy supplies from diverse sources; from oil and gas, renewables, coal, hydro and nuclear. This is the kind of balanced approach we think is essential if we're going to meet the country's energy needs down the road and take care of many of our other concerns, especially with respect to the environment."

-- Vice President Dick Cheney, U.S. Energy Association Efficiency Forum Washington, D.C. June 13, 2001

Bush Praises Troops in San Diego (John Marelius, 8/15/03, The San Diego Union Tribune)

President Bush yesterday thanked military personnel in San Diego for helping the United States toward winning the war against terrorism as he steered clear of the California political spectacle that is overshadowing even his own re-election campaign.

The president raised more than $1 million for that campaign last night at the San Diego Convention Center, telling supporters, "You're laying the groundwork for what will be a great victory in 2004."

Bush flew to San Diego yesterday morning from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and was greeted on a steamy airfield at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station by thousands of cheering Marine, Navy and Coast Guard personnel.

"Many of you have recently returned from Iraq, and it seems like you're happy to be home," the president said to a burst of applause.

"More than 70,000 men and women from bases in Southern California were deployed in Iraq. You served with honor. You served with skill, and you were successful."

Blackout took me out of commission (I live in NYC) but I am back in the saddle so let the blogging re-commence!

Thursday, August 14, 2003
Monitoring the Senate: John Edwards Indecision Creates Opening for GOP

U.S. Sen. John Edwards and his family shoved off Wednesday on a high-visibility bus tour of Iowa, the first presidential caucus state, as pressure mounted in North Carolina for a decision on whether he will seek re-election to the Senate.

In an interview in Raleigh with News & Observer editors, Marc Basnight, president pro tem of the state Senate, said Edwards' indecision about seeking re-election in 2004 is "hurting other candidates" who might run if Edwards does not...

Under state law, Edwards could seek both offices, but few ultimately expect him to do so. U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who is in a similar predicament, has given his blessing to other Democrats in his state to get started.

More Bush and the Economy

Bush has concluded that the best response is to press Congress to hold the line on spending and pass bills that limit awards in civil lawsuits and allow more domestic drilling for oil. He believes those measures will encourage companies to hire more workers.

He was determined to convey optimism and concern.

"We're interested in people being able to work," Bush said. "And we're upbeat about the chances for our fellow citizens who are looking for work to be able to find a job."


Some recent economic indicators have provided signals that the sluggish economy might finally be improving. On Wednesday, government reports showed a sharp pickup in retail sales in July and an increase in business inventories in June. Rising inventories are a sign that companies are becoming more confident that a recovery is underway.

The economy is not expected to grow strongly enough to generate a steady stream of new jobs until late this year or into 2004. Nearly 2.7 million jobs have been cut from the U.S. economy since March 2001, when the economy tipped into an eight-month recession.

The economy grew at a surprising pace in the second quarter: a 2.4% annual rate, up from 1.4% in the first quarter. Gregory Mankiw, head of Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, told reporters he thinks the growth rate will be around 3.7% by the end of the year.

Bush Continues Focus on Economy to Get Americans Back to Work

President Bush said today that he has no plans for new measures to stimulate the economy and that he has faith his tax cuts will fuel job growth over the next year.

... [H]e said he believes strongly that his two tax cuts totaling $1.7 trillion are "going to have a very positive effect on economic growth and vitality."

"We're upbeat about the chances for our fellow citizens who are looking for work to be able to find a job," Bush said. "I firmly believe that what we have done was the absolute right course of action in order to help people find a job."


A White House official said Bush's aides are convinced that growth will continue through this year, and that by January, the public will give Bush credit for a solid recovery. But with unemployment remaining above 6 percent and polls showing weak support for Bush's approach to the economy, his political advisers say it is critical for him to instill more public confidence as he heads into his campaign.

Bush's aides told reporters after the meeting that they have forecast the annual economic growth rate -- 2.4 percent in the second quarter -- to rise to 3.7 percent by the end of the year. Anything above 3.1 percent, they said, should produce brisk job creation.

Bush's aides said he is not actively considering a new tax cut, but the president left open the possibility that he would continue his pattern of introducing at least one a year. After saying he was satisfied with his policies, he added, "If we change our opinion, we will let you know."

President Bush in California . . . Something About a 10 Foot Pole?

Bush does not plan to appear publicly or meet privately with any of the gubernatorial candidates. He'll have lunch today with military families at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego and speak at a fundraiser for his re-election campaign. On Friday, he'll tour the Santa Monica Mountains to promote his policies on the environment and attend another fundraiser.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003
California Recall Discussion: What Happens if Gray Davis Resigns (Nathan C. Masters, 8/13/03,

With recent polls showing that two-thirds of likely California voters will vote to oust California Gov. Gray Davis, some political observers are suggesting that Davis may resign to avoid the personal humiliation of being the first recalled governor in California history.

But the experts are divided on how the resignation scenario would unfold.

Changing the Tone in Washington Helps Bush Govern Better (Susan Page, 8/12/03, USA Today)

The urge to investigate defined the capital during the Clinton years. But no more.

For nearly a decade, special counsel inquiries and adversarial congressional hearings dominated the headlines, etched bitter partisan lines, led to the impeachment of a president and made the nation's political debates resemble hand-to-hand combat.

Now, some things have changed.


Not since the early years of Lyndon Johnson's tenure has a president had more breathing room.

"It's made an enormous difference and it's helped Bush in governing," says Larry Sabato, a political scientist who studied the pursuit of Washington scandals during the Clinton years. "When a president is seen as besieged and entangled in controversy, he really can't get very much done. But when a president commands the central institutions of American politics and has few institutional checks, he can range more widely and hover above the fray."


White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Bush has delivered on his campaign promise to "change the tone" in Washington.

"The American people want us to be forward-looking and want us to work together to get things done, not to continue to settle political scores from the past or score political points," he says. "There is an ugly side of Washington's recent past, and Americans will not look kindly upon partisans or presidential candidates who seek to exploit unsubstantiated rumors or innuendo for political gain."

Democrats Lurching Left According to Bush Campaign (Bill Sammon, 8/13/03, Washington Times)

President Bush's re-election campaign views Howard Dean as pulling fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls leftward and prompting them to contradict themselves on the Iraq war.

"The entire Democratic field is playing follow the leader with Dean," said a source close to the Bush campaign. "I don't think that's a healthy thing for a party."

Bush backers are confident the leftward lurch and resulting policy contradictions will hurt Democratic candidates like Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, who has been criticizing the Iraq war even though he voted for it.

"Now they've changed their position because Howard Dean has raised so much money," the Bush source said. "If you're willing to change your position on that, what aren't you willing to change your position on? There's a huge credibility issue."

Flouting Campaign Finance Law, Democrat Supporters Put Soft Money Back Into Play (Associated Press, 8/10/03)

Making a major foray into partisan politics, multibillionaire George Soros is committing $10 million to a new Democratic-leaning group aimed at defeating President Bush next year.

Soros, who in the past has donated on a smaller scale to Democratic candidates and the party, pledged the money to a political action committee called America Coming Together, spokesman Michael Vachon said.

The group plans a $75-million effort to defeat Bush and "elect progressive officials at every level in 2004," targeting 17 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Bush Choice for EPA Shows Friends on Both Sides of the Aisle (KATHARINE Q. SEELYE, 8/13/03, New York Times)

By 6 o'clock this morning, Utah time, Gov. Michael O. Leavitt, President Bush's choice for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, had called Carol M. Browner, the administrator under President Bill Clinton. He asked if he could use her as a reference as he prepared for his confirmation hearings, which are bound to be rife with Democratic dissent.

The call to Ms. Browner, a Democrat, was an indication that Governor Leavitt, a Republican, was executing a comprehensive confirmation strategy to win over Democrats as well as Republicans for his hearings, expected to begin in September.

And it illustrated his chief virtue, as his supporters describe it: an ability to work both sides of the aisle.

Hastert and Pelosi: Never heard of them (Geoff Earle, 8/12/03, The Hill)
According to a Gallup Poll conducted in late July, Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), who is third in line of succession to the presidency, is unknown to 41 percent of those polled. [...]

Of those who have heard of Hastert, many seem to approve. His ratings are 28 percent favorable and 12 percent unfavorable.

Public awareness of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wasn’t much higher as 34 percent of those polled had not heard of DeLay and 42 percent did not know of Pelosi. [...]

Although Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was not included in the Gallup survey, GOP charges that Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) was obstructing the president’s agenda appear to have had an impact.

Daschle, who is campaigning for reelection this year, has unfavorable ratings of 35 percent, exceeding his favorable rating of 31 percent. Twenty percent of respondents haven’t heard of him.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Ahhh-nuld's Campaign Website!!!

Democrats debate how to hit Bush (Peter S. Canellos, 8/12/2003, Boston Globe)
"In each of the three polls we've done we've seen a lower rating for the party among Democrats," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center, noting that registered Democrats are "very antagonistic to Bush. They really want a candidate to stand up to Bush."

The current thinking, according to strategists and those involved in the campaign, is that Bush remains personally popular among swing voters, even if they disagree with some of his policies. At a time of intense concern about national security, many voters are inclined to defer to the president, and still suspect that Democrats are weak on defense. Thus, they said, the party's candidates must zero in on weaknesses in the economy and the chaos in Bush's postwar Iraq policy, while persuading the electorate that they, too, are vigilant against terrorism.

The result has been many candidates competing for the mantle of Clintonian moderation.

But to many in the party's base, Bush's assertive tone and message call for a similar response. They yearn for a sharper line of attack and echo the Republicans in foreseeing a combative campaign with strict ideological dimensions.

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