Monday, November 29, 2010


What does it say about the Obama Administration when two WikiLeaks dumps of classified Department of Defense operational documents rated little more than a shrug, but a similar leak of State Department documents--many of them important no doubt, but many more consisting of glorified gossip--resulted in outrage and calls for prosecutions?

Answer: nothing good. There are a lot more people in the DOD who are in personal danger thanks to WikiLeaks than there ever will be at State.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Got The News

The WSJ catches up today with something I noticed a week ago:

On paper, the numbers tell you the Democrats held on to a majority in the Senate last week.

In reality, things won't be quite that neat. In fact, on some issues the Republicans actually may have a functional majority, given the sentiments likely to prevail among certain Democrats who face the voters in two years.

On paper, Democrats kept control of the Senate after the elections. But in reality, Republican leader Mitch McConnell actually may have the functional majority on some issues. WSJ's Jerry Seib explains.

Here's the situation. After last week's midterm election, the Senate next year will have 51 Democrats, two independents who caucus with the Democrats, and 47 Republicans. (The Republican from Alaska could be either Joe Miller, the tea-party candidate who was the official GOP nominee, or write-in incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski. It appears Ms. Murkowski got enough votes to stick around, but all her write-in votes haven't been counted yet.)

So, in theory, that means Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid, having survived his own election-day near-death experience, should be able to muster 53 votes if he keeps his troops in line.

But life is never that simple in the Senate and certainly won't be now. Among the Senate Democrats, 23 will face re-election in just two years, and, having just witnessed the drubbing some in their party took at the polls, they likely will be even less willing now to toe the party line. Independent Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who caucuses with Democrats, often leans rightward, anyway.
Advantate: Me.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Free Keith Olbermann

MSNBC has suspended Keith Olbermann, "indefinitely and without pay," after Politico reported that Olbermann donated money to several Democratic candidates in the last election.

This is completely bogus.

Don't get me wrong, I've got no use for Olby, and I'll shed no tears when his clown act finally shuffles off the air for lack of viewers. But NBC's stance that its employees ought to be removed from participating in electoral politics out of an antiquated notion of "journalistic independence" is, as I wrote in a similar vein six years ago, nonsense on stilts.

Olbermann, like any other American, ought to be able to donate to and support anybody he damn well pleases. The only thing I'd ask of him is that he disclose his donations when talking about those candidates or their opponents (which, in this case, he apparently didn't do, but still).

I suppose if NBC wants to discipline an employee for violation of their corporate rules, that's their business. But that doesn't change the fact that the rules in question are at best nonsense and at worst obfuscatory. This rule is in effect, in my opinion, not to protect the chimera of unbiased reporting, but rather the notion that people in the news media ought to actively hide their personal opinions from the populace.

That's a reprehensible and dishonest stance. I'll take an Olbermann who's up front about where he's coming from over a fraud like Katie Couric any day of the week--although I reserve the right to watch neither of them.

So get over yourselves, NBC suits. Free Keith Olbermann.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New at PJM: Not So Fast, My Friend

I have a new column up at PJM today (yes, really), here's a preview:

Of the 21 (!) incumbent Democrats in 2012, nine are in deep-blue “safe” states and their seats are likely to remain Democrat even in the case of retirements (Feinstein-CA and Akaka-HI lead that potential list). Four more are in normally Democratic states that shifted to the GOP in the 2010 cycle — Stabenow-MI, Klobuchar-MN, Menendez-NJ and Bingaman-NM — and as such could be considered as possible takeover targets. Assuming Herb Kohl (who will be 77 in 2012) retires, you can likely add an open seat in Wisconsin to that count — but realistically, those seats would only be in danger of flipping in a really big GOP year.

I count seven incumbent Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012 who are, today, in serious trouble: Nelson-FL, McCaskill-MO, Tester-MT, Nelson-NB, Conrad-ND, Brown-OH and Webb-VA. Most if not all of the above, if they had been on the ballot Tuesday, would probably have lost to a GOP opponent — and they know it.

You can also add to the deep-trouble list the newest senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin, who eked out a special election win this week only by doing a fair imitation of Ted Nugent. Manchin will be back on the ballot in 2012, and running as hard to the right as he can manage in the interim.

What’s interesting here is not so much a long-term prediction for 2012. The political ground will, of course, shift between now and then in ways that no one can anticipate. If the last four election cycles have proven anything, it’s that one who makes long-term predictions based on a single election is liable to look very foolish sooner or later.

But don’t consider 2012 yet, simply consider 2011 and what’s just happened in 2010. If you are one of those eight Democratic senators, how will you react the first time Harry Reid wants your vote on an issue your state’s majority can’t stand? Would you be willing to take the chance of following Blanche Lincoln and Russ Feingold — plus Evan Bayh and Byron Dorgan, who jumped before they could be pushed — right (or more accurately, left) off the cliff?

Click through for the rest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's The Great Election, Charlie Brown!

"I got a cool new gavel!"
 "I got a mandate to cut spending!"

"I got a rock."

"I got a bunch of new conservative senators, and a bunch of vulnerable Democrats to pick off!"

"I got to keep my old job!"

"I got a rock."

"I got a ton of new conservative Republicans elected and major clout!"

"I got a rock."

"I got subpoena power!"

"I got a whole bunch of new friends on the way!"

"I got a rock."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Eve "Name That Party!"

From the AP:

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- A candidate for a state House seat in northwestern North Carolina apologized Monday to supporters after he was arrested twice over the weekend and accused of impaired driving.

Randy Wolfe, 58, was released on a $10,000 secured bond Sunday night after a Mount Airy police report said his blood alcohol content was 0.20 percent, or more than twice the 0.08 percent that state law defines as intoxicated. He was blowing the horn on his sports utility vehicle excessively in traffic and later charged with driving while impaired, resisting a police officer and driving with a revoked license, the report said.

Wolfe also had been stopped Saturday evening when an officer saw his car weaving on the road, according to police. He was charged with driving while impaired and driving left of center and released on a written promise to appear.

The story, naturally, never names Wolfe's party (he's a Democrat--please, contain your surprise), except, as below, by implication:

Wolfe, a former producer for the CBS Evening News who recently moved to Surry County, said Monday he turned off his campaign web site Monday morning but hadn't withdrawn from Tuesday's election against Republican Rep. Sarah Stevens.

Hey, it's possible you'd think the guy was a Liberterian... until you read the CBS News part, of course.

Recommended Reading

Janet Daley in the U.K. Independent:

[C]ontrary to the superficial British assumption (heavily promoted by the BBC), they were not devoting their excoriation exclusively to the Obama Administration – or even to its clique of Congressional henchmen, led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. That they were opposed to the Big State, European social democratic model of government which Obama had imported to Washington went almost without saying. But they were at least as angry with the leadership of their own party for having conceded far too much of the argument.

And this anger – again, contrary to the general understanding in Britain – is not new: it goes all the way back to the Bush presidency. It was widely known in Europe that the American Left hated George Bush (and even more, Dick Cheney) because of his military adventurism. What was less understood was that the Right disliked him almost as much for selling the pass over government spending, bailing out the banks, and failing to keep faith with the fundamental Republican principle of containing the power of central government.

So the Republicans are, if anything, as much in revolt against the establishment within their own party as they are against the Democrats. And this is what the Tea Parties (which should always be referred to in the plural, because they are not a monolithic movement) are all about: they are not just a reaction against a Left-liberal president but a repudiation of the official Opposition as well.