The Jaker

Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.

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Monday, February 26, 2007
Hagel interested in Unity '08
He really is emerging as the most likely 3rd party candidate.

From Political Wire:

"He said that if he ran he would seek the Republican nomination. Yet he's also talking up Unity08. That's a plan by a bipartisan group of political operatives to draft a bipartisan presidential ticket on the Internet and offer voters an alternative to the Democratic and Republican candidates next year."

I discussed the possible Unity '08 candidates here previously.
posted by CB @ 10:39 AM   0 comments
Friday, February 23, 2007
Visack is out... what does it mean?
This was very quick. Vilsack was a candidate for less than 3 months. That's all it took for him to realize he couldn't raise enough money.

Obviously this means the heavyweights - Clinton, Obama, and less-so Edwards - are getting all the attention, and the $. It can't be a good sign for someone like Bill Richardson... he must be facing the same challenging environment (though undoubtedly he's got more going for him than Vilsack). Same goes for Joe Biden and Chris Dodd (however they do not have much going for them).

This could be a 3 or 4 person race sooner than we expected.
posted by CB @ 3:00 PM   0 comments
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Bush's Buddies
This article in the NYTimes disturbs me. The basic point is that a bunch of people who have known George W. Bush for decades are in very important jobs today.

One of the major shortcomings of Bush is that he places way too much emphasis on loyalty, and not enough on competence. Some of these people even admit in the article that their positions are based on "loyalty and friendship". So Bush's former personal assistant is Assistant Secretary of Commerce. A high school buddy heads the OMB. And his former personal attorney gets nominated for the Supreme Court!

While not great, this fact alone wouldn't get me up in arms. But combine that with Bush's demonstrated lack of ability to choose capable Republican establishment types for the other positions (I'm thinking super-hawk Dick Cheney, uber-incompetent Don Rumsfeld, even questionable-diplomat Condi Rice) and you've got a recipe for a disastrous administration.

Here's the list of high-level people in Bush II that I think are competent:
Josh Bolten
Hank Paulsen

And both of those have been in their positions less than a year.
posted by CB @ 12:28 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Congratulations to the Bush administration
Yes, you read that headline correctly. I think they finally got one right. The treaty negotiated with North Korea is a winner. Economic aid for a truly impoverished country in return for shutting down their nuclear weapons program. Next step is to improve the humanitarian crisis in that country, and I hope the administration will pursue that in its bilateral talks.

I don't think (as John Bolton does) that this precedent is bad at all. In fact, this is a clear sign to Iran... this is what the carrot looks like, and you've seen the stick up-close.

I hope the administration gives them every possible chance to choose the carrot.
posted by CB @ 12:32 PM   2 comments
Thursday, February 08, 2007
My current thinking
I'm still trying to figure out who to support for President. My personal current ranking is as follows, but is still subject to some change:

Gore -> just seems to me to be the right combination for this time.
Obama -> he's definitely smart enough.
Clinton -> i think she'd be a good President, but there are unignorable likeability issues.
Richardson -> like his experience, but how could he possibly beat all 4 of these others?
Edwards -> i actually was very impressed by his Meet the Press appearance. he's definitely decided to be straightforward and honest ("yes that means new taxes") this time around, which i admire.
posted by CB @ 4:22 PM   1 comments
Richardson's Foreign Policy Platform
in its early stages (per the NYTimes). i agree with much of this.

Today, before an audience at the Center of International and Strategic Studies in Washington, Mr. Richardson outlined his seven-point plan for foreign policy, which was heavily grounded in diplomacy and the exercise of soft power.
“We must work with our friends, our enemies and everyone in between,” he said.
Here’s the plan:

1. “…repair our alliances.”

2. “…renew our commitment to international law and multilateral cooperation.”
This includes U.N. reform, debt relief, and joining the International Criminal Court, he said.

3. “… reduce greenhouse gas emissions”
Mr. Richardson called for a “man on the moon effort” to improve fuel efficiency.

4. “We need to stop treating diplomatic engagement like a reward for good behavior.”
He criticized the Bush administration’s tactic of refusing to engage with some countries until they make major concessions, and he called for talks with North Korea and Iran.

5. “…focus on the real security threats…”
Those ‘real threats’ include global terrorism and the nuclear arms trade.
“If we want Muslims to open up to us then we need to close down Guantanamo,” he said.

6. Pay more attention to the Americas
The son of a Mexican immigrant who grew up in Mexico City called for comprehensive immigration legislation and for a doubling of the border patrol instead of a fence on the Mexican border.

7. “America needs to lead the global fight against poverty.”
posted by CB @ 4:20 PM   1 comments
Thursday, February 01, 2007
Much overdue odds update
Hillary Clinton 3:1
Barack Obama 3:1
John Edwards 5:1. Moving him up slightly, from 6 to 5, since he polls well in Iowa. Personally, I don't favor JE this time around, but he'll stick around for awhile.
Al Gore 7:1
Bill Richardson 9:1
John Kerry 14:1
Wes Clark 14:1
Joe Biden 18:1. Dropping him from 16 to 18 because of his Obama comment.
Tom Vilsack 18:1
Chris Dodd 20:1

Also, as of today I'm removing the following candidates, who haven't made any move toward running since I added them a couple years ago. Sayonara Bill, Brian, Bill, Howard, and Janet... see you in 2012 (or hopefully 2016).
Bill Bradley 48:1
Brian Schweitzer 60:1
Bill Nelson 65:1
Howard Dean 85:1
Janet Napolitano 100:1

John McCain 4:1. Dropping from 3 to 4. See comment below.
Mitt Romney 5:1. Moving Romney up from 6 to 5. A lot of the smart, well-connected NYC and DC GOP'ers I know are joining Romney's camp. They'll try to position him as the best balance of conservative values, stability, and electability.
Rudy Giuliani 8:1. I'm still not a believer.
Newt Gingrich 11:1
Sam Brownback 14:1. Upping from 17 to 14. Announced.
Mike Huckabee 14:1. Upping from 20 to 14. Announced.
Chuck Hagel 17:1
Condoleezza Rice 25:1. Dropping to 25. She's not going to run.
Tommy Thompson 35:1. Dropping from 30 to 35.
George Pataki 40:1. Lowering from 20 to 40. Probably not running.
Jeb Bush 50:1. Dropping from 24 to 50. Probably not running
Duncan Hunter 100:1

I'm removing the following:
Mark Sanford 30:1
George Allen 30:1
Colin Powell 35:1
Tom Ridge 35:1
Frank Keating 36:1
Bill Owens 40:1
Haley Barbour 40:1
Dick Cheney 125:1
Christie Todd Whitman 150:1
posted by CB @ 11:42 AM   2 comments

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