Friday, November 5, 2004

Inside the Kerry Campaign

Inside glimpses of the Kerry campaign are starting to leak out. My brother Bill passes along this one by Tim Reid of the U.K. Times Online. Here are a few interesting excerpts:

JOHN KERRY constantly squabbled with his difficult and hypochondriac wife, ran a campaign team riven by internal feuding, and repeatedly begged the Republican senator John McCain to become his running-mate, according to a riveting inside account of his doomed presidential bid. The Massachusetts senator was so obsessed with getting advice from a multitude of rival advisers that one aide confiscated his mobile telephone. His wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, became such a moody distraction that in the closing weeks of the campaign another aide instructed her to stop whispering advice in his ear and back off.

One of the untold stories of the presidential campaign was the erratic behaviour of the candidate's wife, the Heinz heiress Mr Kerry married in 1995, according to Newsweek. She drove her Secret Service detail mad with her chronic lateness, constantly demanded attention, including her husband's (who seemed to tread on eggshells when around her). She even sent him off on errands, such as fetching bottles of water. She clashed with Mary Beth Cahill, Mr Kerry 's campaign manager, and Mr Kerry was caught in the middle.

Mr Kerry...grew increasingly frustrated. After a faltering press conference by Mr Bush in April, and with Iraq in turmoil, Mr Kerry exclaimed: "I can't believe I'm losing to this idiot".

During the early summer, Mr Kerry implored Mr McCain, the maverick Republican who ran against Mr Bush in the 2000 Republican primaries, to become his running-mate, meeting him seven times. He even offered to expand the vice-presidency to include running the Pentagon. "I can't say this is an offer because I've got to be able to deny it," Mr Kerry told Mr McCain. "But you've got to do this."

Mr McCain told him he was out of his mind, and went on to embrace Mr Bush. "Goddammit," a furious Mr Kerry said to an aide. "Don't you know what I offered him? Why the f*** didn't he take it?"

James Carville, Bill Clinton's former strategist [joined the campaign]. So appalled was he by the chaos inside the campaign, and so desperate to see Mr Bush defeated, that in early September he decided that Miss Cahill had to be ousted, and Joe Lockhart, Mr Clinton's former spokesman, inserted as manager. When he called a meeting with the pair, he was so worked up, he began to cry, screaming to Miss Cahill: "You've got to let him (Mr Lockhart) do it!"

None of this is very flattering to either the Senator or his campaign. There's more at the link.

De-elect Arlen Specter

John Miller of The National Review wrote an article last spring which concluded that Arlen Specter is the worst Republican Senator in the Senate. His reasons were numerous, but chief among them, perhaps, was the fact that Arlen Specter joined Teddy Kennedy in killing the nomination of Robert Bork. Even so, at a time when Specter was fighting for his political life last spring in a tough primary fight against Pat Toomey, President Bush weighed in to lend his support to Senator Specter.

Specter ran the President's endorsement in his ads over and over, but once he had defeated Toomey, solely because the endorsement of the president and his fellow Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum persuaded a lot of Republicans to ignore their better judgment, Specter never again identified himself with George Bush. His gratitude to Bush didn't extend to mentioning the President in any of his ads for the general election. Having exploited the President's endorsement to garner him a win in the primary, he didn't wish to risk defeat in the general election by being too closely identified by liberals with the despised George Bush.

For some reason that we'll leave to the psychiatrists to fathom for us, Republican voters reelected him to the Senate and now he shows his true character by essentially warning the President that sending up pro-life judges to the judiciary committee he is in line to chair would be pointless. He as much as told the president that he will personally kill the nomination of any judge who might be less than enthusiastic about Roe v. Wade. This is as incredible an arrogation of power as it is a monumental act of political ingratitude. One Republican senator is threatening to thwart the will of 59 million Americans who voted for President Bush's agenda.

His arrogance has created a storm of criticism and he has subsequently backtracked, but the man is not to be trusted. Once he is ensconced in his chairmanship he can do pretty much whatever he wants. He needs to be prevented from being elected to the chair in the first place.

The Republican caucus may vote on committee chairmanships as early as next week. If you feel the same about Senator Specter as does Viewpoint you can do something about it by contacting your senator (if you have a Republican senator) by phone or e-mail (check here for numbers and e-mail) and tell them you believe Arlen Specter is unsuited to be chairman of the judiciary committee. If you don't have a Republican senator, (or even if you do), contact Bill Frist the Senate majority leader and make your concerns known to him. Let them know that this is a very important matter to those of us who comprise the base of the Republican party.

There's a lot more on Arlen Specter at NRO's The Corner.

How Bad Can it Get?

This Reuter's report pretty much puts the kibosh to the left's complaint that the economy under George Bush is in such miserable shape:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. jobs soared at the sharpest rate in seven months in October, the government reported on Friday, helped by a surge in construction activity as hurricane-battered areas in the Southeast were rebuilt.

A surprisingly strong 337,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month -- twice the 169,000-job growth that Wall Street economists had forecast and the strongest since March when 353,000 jobs were created, the Labor Department said.

Still, the unemployment rate edged up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in September, but that was because more people joined the search for employment, a potentially hopeful sign.

Not only was October a strong month but the number of jobs created in the two prior months was revised up -- to 139,000 in September instead of 96,000 and to 198,000 in August instead of 128,000.

The dollar, which has been under pressure, strengthened broadly on the news while bond prices weakened in the expectation that a resurgent labor market may foster higher interest rates and that investors may favor stocks.

"It looks like the job situation is improving and that this will support consumer spending going into the holidays and offset some of the drag caused by high oil prices this year," said economist Gary Thayer of A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc. in St, Louis, Missouri.

If things get any "worse" under the evil Bush we'll have to bring our troops home just to guard our borders to keep the rest of the world from pouring in.

Analyzing the Election

If you're a political science type or just a junkie you'll find Jay Cost's analysis of the recent election well worth reading. You can read it at Horserace Blog here