Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Mitt Romney’s Cruelty to His Dog

OK, it may not be the biggest story of the day. But it’s the biggest story to me.

And it may not decide the 2008 election. But it should.

I’m talking about Mitt Romney’s unbelievable cruelty to his dog, as reported by the Boston Globe.

Back in 1983, going off on a family vacation, Mitt loaded his wife and kids in the car, then put the family dog — an Irish setter named Seamus — in a dog carrier on top of the car, and drove from Boston to Ontario, a 12-hour drive, with the dog on top of the car, whipped by the wind and noise, scared to death and crapping all over the place.

What the hell was he thinking? And what were his kids thinking?

In Praise of the Hard Road

If we all had to wager, success in Iraq and passage of immigration reform are unlikely, and so is the nomination of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has staked his political career on both. In the past few months McCain has been practically left for dead by political observers for his disappointing poll numbers, disappointing fundraising in the first quarter and the expectation that his disappointing numbers in the second quarter will depress his remaining supporters and doom his chances for good in this race.

McCain is getting pummeled on immigration, but refuses to back down, and the Washington Post reports he has even canceled fundraisers to vote on immigration when politically he undoubtedly needs those dollars more than his legislative integrity. McCain has not said anything different on Iraq than his rivals in the primary contest — they all supported the surge and opposed withdrawal, and none have parted ways with President Bush yet on the war. Yes, McCain invited ridicule by spooking himself into saying he was safe in Baghdad, but he has sat where he stood on the hot-button issues: immigration reform, campaign finance reform and abortion. Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney will continue to have some fudging to explain. 

Defeat of Immigration Bill Boosts Dems' Chances in 2008

The defeat of the immigration bill will boost the chances of a Democratic victory in 2008, giving Hillary Clinton, the probable Democratic candidate, a strong advantage. Hispanic voters will undoubtedly blame the Republicans for the failure of the bill. In 2004, Bush made progress among Latino voters, coming within 10 points of Kerry among Hispanics, having lost them by 30 points to Gore four years before. But in 2006, Latinos voted Democratic by more than 40 points, according to exit polls, because of their anger at the harsh Republican immigration proposals. Now that the Republicans have defeated the immigration bill, they will very likely pay a steep price at the polls in 2008.

The price is likely to be compounded by the probability that a Democratic Congress and president after the '08 election will pass some form of immigration reform, probably a bill even more to the liking of the Hispanic community than the Bush proposal Congress just defeated.

Top 5 Things We Should Have MORE or LESS of in Presidential Politics

5. LESS discussion of quarterly fundraising totals. When did the chief fundraisers or bundlers become the most important people in a national campaign? The national media is fixated on money in politics (very bad) but covers the subject all out of proportion to its importance. The fact is that past big-money candidates have included John Connelly, John Glenn, Mario Cuomo (he never ran), and Phil Gramm, and none of them ever were elected.

4. MORE plaudits for politicians who are willing to take principled positions at real political cost to themselves. We say we want legislators who stand up for what they really believe, but when they do, we ridicule them for having a tin political ear. I’m speaking of people like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who believes in comprehensive immigration reform, and Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who believes that troops in the field should be funded, not abandoned. The mainstream media is all too willing to join the “How dumb can they be?" chorus even as they lament the lack of “principled” political figures. 

Gore Tops Hillary in New Hampshire?

I almost missed it with all the excitement about Ann Coulter vs. Elizabeth Edwards, but did you see the latest polls in New Hampshire regarding the upcoming Democratic presidential primary?

According to a just-released 7NEWS-Suffolk University poll of likely voters, should Mr. Gore jump into the presidential sweepstakes, he would top Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) 32 to 26 percent. Moreover, he would edge the remainder of the Democratic field.

Despite the coy tut-tuts to the contrary, I can’t help but shake the notion that Mr. Gore has not yet shut the door to running for the Democratic nomination. No question Gore would be the immediate darling of the left and could quite possibly leave the remaining Democrats in his dust as he sailed to his second nomination for president in a decade. Does he still have the fire in the belly? Calling Donna Brazile, anyone?

Ann Coulter

Washington is full of "Katrinas in a cup" — political brouhahas that flare up on weekday afternoons like scattered thunderstorms. They're full of rumblings and lightning, but over in a few hours. That's how the latest clash between a presidential hopeful and a controversial political pundit will be remembered.

I think the terms "controversial" and "political pundit" are synonymous in this context, because that's the nature of these pundits' jobs — to poke and prod at their ideological opponents to expose the soft underbelly of their hypocrisy. Apparently, what Ann Coulter has written about her husband really has Elizabeth Edwards more furious than a Category 5 hurricane.

But set aside for a moment who said what and what's out of bounds and think about the ramifications of these political fistfights. 

Black Caucus Should Cancel Fox Presidential Debate

When I wrote on this site in support of a Gore-Obama ticket I received a number of hate notes against Barack Obama.

They all made reference to Obama's middle name or the lie that a 6-year-old Barack studied at a school that was friendly to terrorists.

Recently on "Hannity and Colmes," Ann Coulter, who called Sept. 11 widows "harpies" who were not unhappy their husbands died on that day, offered the latest smear against Obama.

It was Rupert Murdoch's Fox News that also "reported" the lie about Obama's childhood.

Last night Chris Matthews demeaned the legacy of NBC and the reputation of MSNBC by giving Ann Coulter a full hour, including a discussion of whether or not she should publicly call for John Edwards's death. 

June Unkind to Giuliani

Ouch, it just keeps coming at Rudy Giuliani. Turns out June is really not his month. Today's dose of news he doesn't want you to use: Giuliani refuses to fire his friend Alan Palca, a Catholic priest accused of molesting students, despite a call from an abuse survivors network; a piece appears in the New York Times about his abortion problems, including a detail about how he was spotted leaving a church service in Washington without taking communion; and former New Jersey Gov. Christine Whitman now says that after Sept. 11, 2001, Giuliani refused to allow EPA workers to wear hazmat suits and refused her request that workers at the World Trade Center wear respirators. "They didn't want this image of a city falling apart. I said, 'Well, that's not acceptable.'"

This last bit is probably the hardest to swallow for Mr. 911 himself because it echoes criticism from the firefighters and their families who still protest Giuliani whenever he is in New York, claiming he failed to keep them safe. Rudy-watchers believe he may not take the eucharist because his second marriage was never annulled. And Giuliani insists Palca has been "unjustly accused." I doubt any of it falls lightly on the ears of conservative primary voters. 

Hillary's Opponents Caught in a Bind

Hillary Clinton's opponents, eager to make up the ground between their candidacies and hers in most national polls, face a basic problem: The Democratic primary voters will not tolerate negatives. So partisan is the division in the country as the 2008 election approaches that Democrats resent it when members of their own party speak ill of Hillary. So how are Obama and Edwards to make up lost ground? They can't throw negatives. Hillary has co-opted their position on Iraq by reversing her previous commitments and voting for a date certain to withdraw and to cut off funding. Neither of Hillary's major opponents has a handle to use in defeating her. And that's why she will probably win the nomination.

The Idle Mind (Part II)

More of today's random thoughts (which really means I didn't have anything I wanted to write about):

I wonder if those sickeningly sweet Romney family blogs can be read safely by diabetics. Or, for that matter, anyone with a gag reflex.

Or can the insider accounts of Rudy Giuliani balance things out?

Do any of the presidential candidates have tattoos? If so, what do they say? Do any of the Romney kids? If they did, they'd probably say "Mom."

With so many companies trying to save money vis-a-vis layoffs, I can't help but wonder why they need a chairman, a CEO, COO, CFO. I mean, what do those guys all do, anyway?

And I've been meaning to mention this: Forget whether Fox News is "Fair and Balanced" — the Democrats and their liberal supporters who want to boycott that network's debates are way out in, uh, left field. I don't know how to say this, folks, but speech in this country is supposed to be free.

Although after this column, people may want to reconsider that.