Almost everyone's out of D.C. at the moment, save for a few reporters at the Washington Post who seem to have sunstroke because they are writing stuff that makes little sense, at least to those of us who don't think the DNC handouts of Republican doom constitute news.
On the left of Sunday's front page above the fold was a story indicating the Dems are closing the financing gap with the Republicans, the suggestion being that this will be a midterm in which the minority party will be victorious. But if you wade through a couple of pages to the conclusion of the story the headlines and "bad omen" lede are undercut:
While Democratic challengers are doing well in the most competitive districts, overall figures for House races make plain that the incumbent financial advantage is hardly on its way to extinction. When all Republican incumbents are figured in, they have raised an average of about eight times what challengers have.
Even in the most intensely contested districts, Republican operatives say their candidates are in good shape to preserve the GOP majority. "If you look at Republican incumbents in competitive races, they are raising more than enough to have the resources they need in October and September," said Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "I think our incumbents are in great financial shape and will continue to raise money until Election Day."
Of course, as in every election year, we are treated to the anecdotal tale of party switchers. The most recent was the report that "security moms" are leaving the Republican party. (The liberal press follows contrived electoral segments like "Nascar dads" and "soccer moms" like alchemists seeking a secret potion to success, while the rest of us simply concede that from dross like the Democrat's policy positions you can't make gold.)
There are a couple of problems with the story. In the first place, the anecdotal switcher seems not to be who the author says she is. Redstate.org is on the case:
There appears to be just one problem. RedState has learned that there aren't too many Jean Thomas's in Columbus, OH. In fact, we're pretty certain the Jean Thomas quoted in the article from Columbus, OH is the same Jean Thomas who has voted in every Democratic primary since 1998. Why are we so sure? Because a source we have gave us enough information to pinpoint which Jean Thomas was talked to and we could go from there to confirm her Democratic voting record.
So, um, what point was VandeHei trying to make again?
(BTW, we have not ourselves called Ms. Thomas. We've tried, but get an automated message that there is something wrong with her phone line. The only other Jean Thomases who Mr. VandeHei could have talked to have said they were not in the story)
This, too, is nothing new.It is, in fact, sadly all too common. One Redstate commenter noted that in September of 2004 CBS quoted Beverly Coco as saying she'd vote for Kerry because she was afraid of a chimerical draft:
Beverly Cocco has spent most of her life protecting children in Philadelphia.
She spends most of her time worrying about other people's kids. But as Election Day approaches, it's her own two grown sons who Beverly is most worried about.
"I go to bed every night and I pray and I actually get sick to my stomach," she says. "I'm very worried; I'm scared. I'm absolutely scared; I'm petrified."
Beverly is petrified about a military draft, and she's not alone. There's an undercurrent of anxiety; mass e—mails are circulating among parents worried their kids could be called up.
"I think there's a good possibility," Beverly says.
But neither President Bush, nor Sen. John Kerry has said he will re—institute the draft. In fact they both say they won't. [snip}
"The war on terror will continue," says the president. "It's going to take a while and no, we don't need a draft."
But Beverly's not buying it. She's a Republican, but also a single—issue voter.
Would she vote for a Democrat? "Absolutely," she says. "I would vote for Howdy Doody if I thought it would keep my boys home and safe."
In fact, Ms. Coco was unlikely to vote for Bush even if he'd announced his engagement to Kofi Annan in 2004:
CBS News has tacitly admitted wrongdoing in not identifying that Beverly Cocco, the woman featured in its story about the draft. In the original CBS report, Cocco's membership in an anti—war group, People Against the Draft, was not disclosed. In a CBSNews.com piece based on the TV story, Cocco's membership was not revealed, either.
After RatherBiased.com debunked the CBS report and criticized the network for once again featuring a member of a liberal group without revealing her political background, CBS News has since gone back and changed the online version of Richard Schlesinger's story. It now informs readers that Cocco is a member of People Against the Draft. LGF [Little Green Footballs] first alleged that CBS had altered its page. Now we have proof positive that the network has changed its story. In the image below, the upper portion is a snapshot of Google's cached copy of the original CBS story. The lower part of the image comes from the altered CBS page.
The Washington Post story on security moms rests not entirely on this anecdotal evidence from an apparently misidentified source. There is also a Pew poll. (You know, the folks who covertly drummed up support for the unfortunate Campaign Finance Reform Act and then reported it was a key issue to voters.)
The study, which examined the views of married women with children from April through this week, found that they support Democrats for Congress by a 12—point margin, 50 percent to 38 percent. That is nearly a mirror—image reversal from a similar period in 2002, when this group backed Republicans 53 percent to 36 percent.
....Significantly, Pew and other polls in recent days have found little or no advantage for Republicans in the aftermath of last week's foiled terrorist plot in London, even as Vice President Cheney and GOP leaders have warned that the event showed the risk of voting for a Democratic Party that they say is dominated by security doves.
If you read to the end of the story, you may some reason to question the premise of the piece:
In its latest poll of the general public, conducted after the news from London broke, Pew found a majority voicing concerns that Democrats were too weak on terrorism, the precise charge Republicans have made over the past 10 days. Yet an even larger majority said they fear Republicans would involve the United States in too many military operations.
The result is a public that is essentially split over which party can best defeat terrorists. Washington Post—ABC News surveys found the Republicans held a 30—point average on the issue of terrorism in 2002—2004. But in the past two years, the GOP advantage has evaporated.
Moreover, terrorism does not have the salience as a political issue it did two years ago. In the latest Pew survey, only 2 percent of respondents cited it as the top issue they want to hear candidates discuss —— and that was after the news from London. Voters are less moved by sudden scares like that episode than they might have been two years ago, Kohut said.
So, to recap, after yet another threat by Islamofascists to kill thousands of innocent Americans is revealed, a Pew study shows a majority of polled voters considered the Democrats too weak on terrorism but that doesn't matter because it is not "a top issue they want candidates to discuss", therefore, we should not consider it a significant factor in the midterm votes.
I wouldn't bet on that. I suspect that whoever was home when Pew called was busy enjoying the dying days of summer and paid little attention to the pollster's probably slanted questions.
Then there's the Washington Post's odd obsession with Senator George Allen's offhand remark that his opponent's operative was a "macaca" whatever that means.
As Outside the Beltway notes
...there have been over two dozen stories in the Post dissecting the incident—including four in today's edition! In addition to the B1 piece this morning, we have:
For One Group, 'Macaca' Recalls Slurs After 9/11 — Many Indian Americans Are Disturbed by Allen's Remarks, but Some See a Chance to Strengthen an Alliance Sunday, August 20, 2006; Page C01
The Zeitgeist Checklist Sunday, August 20, 2006; Page B02
Va. Senator Apologizes for Comments — Allen's 'Macaca' Remark Called Demeaning Sunday, August 20, 2006; Page C04
Allen Flap May Give A Boost To Webb — Reenergized Va. Democrats Gain Support Saturday, August 19, 2006; Page A01
Post Politics Hour Friday, August 18, 2006; 12:00 PM (online chat)
The 'Real World' of Sen. Allen Friday, August 18, 2006; Page A21
The Friday Line: U.S. Senate (Politics blog)
What Did Mr. Allen Mean? Thursday, August 17, 2006; Page A24 (Letter to the Editor — Two letters against Allen, none for)
'Macaca' Brouhaha: Fierce Guessing on What Allen Meant Thursday, August 17, 2006; Page VA04
Allen Gets Help For Vets' Votes — Webb Pushes for War's End Thursday, August 17, 2006; Page B01 (includes discussion of 'Macaca' incident in early paragraph)
Here's the Big Hairy Deal Thursday, August 17, 2006; Page C01
Beltway and Beyond Thursday, August 17, 2006; 2:00 PM (online discussion and blog roundup about controversy)
Post Politics Hour, Thursday August 17, 2006; 11:00 AM (online discussion)
Allen Meets With Indian PAC Over Remarks Wednesday, August 16, 2006; 9:40 PM (AP wire story)
Allen on Damage Control After Remarks to Webb Aide Wednesday, August 16, 2006; Page A01
What is 'The Real World' of Virginia, Sen. Allen? August 16, 2006; 12:19 PM ET (blog entry)
The Post's VandeHei and Shear on Allen August 16, 2006 (audio discussion)
Post Politics Hour Wednesday, August 16, 2006; 11:00 AM (online discussion)
EDITORIAL George Allen's America: Whom it includes, and whom it doesnt Tuesday, August 15, 2006; Page A12
Welcome to America, George Allen August 15, 2006; 8:02 AM ET (Joel Achenbach blog post)
Allen Sorry for Calling Man 'Macaca' Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 8:24 PM (AP wire story)
Allen Quip Provokes Outrage, Apology — Name Insults Webb Volunteer Tuesday, August 15, 2006; Page A01
Virginia: Much Ado About 'Macaca' August 15, 2006; 12:15 PM ET (blog post)
Opinion Focus Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 1:00 PM (online discussion)
Post Politics Hour Tuesday, August 15, 2006; 11:00 AM (online discussion)
Sen. George Allen Speaks in Breaks, Va. Monday, August 15, 2006 (Video courtesy Webb Campaign)
Dispute Rises Over Va. Sen. Name Calling Monday, August 14, 2006; 11:53 PM (AP wire story)
One gathers the Post is more offended by the insinuation that inside—the—Beltway elites aren't part of 'real America' than about the 'racist overtones' of the Macaca incident. Perhaps Allen's remarks hit a wee bit close to home?
Snce it seems to me the comments of Andrew Young (former head of the NAACP and key Democratic figure) about mom and pop stores owned by Jews, Asians and Muslims are far more incendiary and newsworthy but ignored by the paper, I have to conclude there is nothing newsworthy besides the Post's agenda (they don't like Allen) in this over coverage of a minor, utterly obscure comment.
And then we had another report on Haditha——anonymously sourced as usual, with a breathless suggestion that the death of civilians in asymmetric warfare is something unusual.
It's the summer doldrums. I'm kicking back with a pitcher of peach sangria and waiting for the post—election articles on why the Dems' get—out—the—vote effort faltered (again), the shortcomings of electronic voting, and the discovery of yet another hitherto unknown voting bloc the pundits missed. Because unless a new picture of Abu Ghraib shows up or the editors return soon from Martha's Vineyard vacations, we seem to be condemned to this same warmed over tripe day after day until the post—election issues roll off the presses.
Clarice Feldman 8 21 06