Philocrites : Scrapbook : January 2004 Archive

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Deanism is dead

Quoted 01.29.04:

By "Deanism" I don't mean Dean's mix of issue positions, or his novel strategy of Internet organizing (which, I hope, will become a model for Democrats in the future). What I mean by Deanism is the belief that some combination of technology and Dean's charisma can somehow suspend all the known laws of politics, that liberals can wish away unpleasant facts about the American electorate, and that the failure to do so represents cowardice, betrayal, and the absence of principle. . . . Thankfully, this myth has been dispelled before it was too late. It's apparent to just about everybody--except, perhaps, the die-hards on the left who always believed it--that neither Dean nor anybody else has the ability to conjure millions of new voters out of thin air merely by making the differences between Republicans and Democrats sufficiently stark.

Jonathan Chait, New Republic Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe 1.28.04

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Dear voters, You're fired!

Quoted 01.27.04:

Do you have any idea how many millions of dollars we spend on polls? We have national polls, state polls, tracking polls, rolling polls, rolling tracking polls, tracking rolling polls. And when we use irrefutable science to determine exactly who wins what race and why, you willfully ignore the memo. So there's the problem: You're not paying enough attention, and I don't mean to the boring candidates. To us.

You're sure not paying enough attention to the roughly 50,000 fund-raising stories and analyses we've provided over the last year that have told you exactly why Howard Dean is going to walk away with the nomination or why Wes Clark still has a chance or why John Kerry has none at all. Forgive my tone of incredulity, but how could you possibly ignore the crucial fact that some candidates can already afford to advertise in New Mexico while others can't?

So let me ask one simple question: Do you have any idea how much it costs to house and feed R. W. "Johnny" Apple and the rest of the New York Times newsroom in Des Moines for a week? Are you aware of what the Suites of 800 Locust charges a night? Do you know that cuts of beef at the 801 Steak and Chop House run somewhere north of $35 apiece? You think Richard's Bistro in Manchester is cheap?

And for what, all this money? So you can vote any way you want and make us look like idiots?

Brian McGrory, Boston Globe 1.27.04

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Bush team shifts to campaign mode

Quoted 01.24.04:

[A]s Democrats scramble for their nomination and dominate the news, an organization lubricated with money and commanded by disciplined veterans of Bush's 2000 campaign is quietly and methodically managing a nine-month marathon to secure the president's reelection. . . .

The campaign has established a database of 6 million names and reaches out to them with several e-mail updates every week. More than 6,000 individuals in battleground states have trained as county and precinct organizers and been given goals for registering voters, recruiting volunteers, and spreading the Bush gospel to the local media.

Mary Leonard, Boston Globe 1.24.04

Kerry's campaign: Shifting strategy is nod to surge in polls

Quoted 01.24.04:

During Kerry's visit to Maryanne's diner yesterday morning, voters like Joe Kelly, a semiretired tax adviser, expressed doubts about the senator's ability to attract a broad cross-section of Americans.

"I just don't think a wealthy Massachusetts liberal can win," Kelly said as he waited for his pancakes in a booth with two friends. "I'm supporting General [Wesley K.] Clark. We need a leader who can be tough with Americans, tell them what sacrifices we have to make to be safe. I get the feeling with Kerry that he tells people what he thinks they want to hear."

Patrick Healy, Boston Globe 1.24.04

Friday, January 23, 2004

Passions are swirling anew

Quoted 01.23.04:

[I]t takes a particular sort of chutzpah to put a phony quote in the mouth of Pope John Paul II. But according to the pontiff's longtime secretary and confidant, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, that is precisely what filmmaker Mel Gibson and his company have done as part of the run-up to next month's Ash Wednesday release of "The Passion of the Christ." . . .

"The promoters of this film tried to pull a fast one and got caught," said Father Richard P. McBrien, the Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at Notre Dame. . . .

Shortly before he began filming "The Passion" in Italy, Gibson told the newspaper Il Giornale that he regards the Vatican as a "wolf in sheep's clothing." He said "my love for religion was transmitted to me by my father," a Holocaust denier who believes that there has been no legitimate pope since Pius XII and that the election of John XXIII was engineered by a conspiracy of Jews and Masons. "I do not believe in the Church as an institution," said the younger Gibson, who financed "The Passion" out of his own pocket. So in what does he believe that has led him to solicit the backdoor imprimatur of this lupine usurper, Pope John Paul II?

"Because he wants to have it both ways," McBrien said. "Gibson isn't going to allow his own bizarre theology to get in the way of his recouping his $25-million investment and even making a nice profit besides. Why should he care what the pope thinks?

"One word: money!"

Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times 1.21.04

Thursday, January 22, 2004

General's orders

Quoted 01.22.04:

The Advocate

"I'm the one person who can bring gay issues forward. And I will."

Wesley Clark, on the cover of The Advocate 2.04

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Of endorsements, real and fake

Quoted 01.20.04:

Over the weekend, George McGovern -- the man whose last name has become synonymous with the word 'liberal' -- endorsed Wes Clark, proclaiming that Clark's "ideals, decency, and compassion are in the great tradition of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton." Well. It seems to me that if people are going to go around calling you a closet Republican, probably the best thing you can do is have George McGovern at your side.

Amy Sullivan, Political Aims 1.20.04

Monday, January 19, 2004

Skiing the New Hampshire primary

Quoted 01.19.04:

The Wesley Clark I saw tonight is no longer running just on the theoretical advantage of a military man's "electability" in a race against Bush. His time in New Hampshire has made him into something he was not a couple of months ago: a candidate who looks and sounds as if he really could get elected.

Jacob Weisberg, Slate 1.19.04

Friday, January 16, 2004

GOP chair claims Clark supported war; transcripts show otherwise

Quoted 01.16.04:

Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, charged Thursday that retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark endorsed President Bush's policy toward Iraq two weeks before Congress voted to authorize Bush to go to war . . .

The complete transcript [pdf] of Clark's Sept. 26, 2002, testimony, however, reveals that Clark didn't endorse Bush's policy during the congressional hearing, and that the Republican charge is based on selected excerpts of his remarks . . .

Clark's congressional testimony was further distorted Thursday by cyber-gossip columnist Matt Drudge, who quoted selected portions of Clark's testimony and added sentences that don't appear in the transcript on his Web site Thursday. Drudge didn't respond to an e-mail request for comment.

Dana Hull and Drew Brown, Knight Ridder 1.15.04

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Will a schism destroy the Episcopal Church?

Quoted 01.15.04:

While conservatives say that the Episcopal Church will hemorrhage members as a result of the church's liberal position on gay rights, statistics seem to tell a different story. The church has been openly, frequently, and vehemently debating homosexuality for 20 years. Yet between 1991 and 2001 (the latest available figures), the number of Episcopal communicants was up nearly 16 percent. This is because, beginning in 1994, the church added another category to reports sent each year by parishes: "others active in congregations." This means people who regularly worship, give money, and actively contribute their time, but who haven't yet officially joined the church. In 2001, that figure was almost 200,000 people.

Deborah Caldwell, Slate 1.14.04

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Church opens just for yuppies

Quoted 01.14.04:

Grace DC is part of an effort by an Atlanta-based Presbyterian denomination to begin a network of hip, theologically conservative churches for young urban professionals in the hearts of America's cities.

Julia Duin, Washington Times 1.10.04 via Holy Weblog!

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The Western world must learn to sing again

Quoted 01.13.04:

Until recent times, says Ivan Hewett, music was everywhere, and always an authentic expression of the social situation that called it forth. The idyll was shattered, in the developed West, by the notion that music could be transportable: a mass could be taken out of church and performed in a concert hall. Then music began its long retreat from the public domain. It turned into something made en famille, then something listened to in the privacy of a room, until finally the Walkman reduced its operative space to six inches between the ears.

Michael Church, The Independent 1.1.04 via A&L Daily

Paradise lost: Has the Dean campaign reached its upper limit of support?

Quoted 01.13.04:

When is a record $15 million fundraising total, and an army of 550,000 identified supporters, a disappointment? Answer: When it's juxtaposed against web guru [Joe] Trippi's promise that harnessing the Internet would facilitate near exponential growth in Dean's support base, enabling it to pose a realistic organizational and fundraising threat to the Bush juggernaut.

Sandeep Kaushik, The Stranger 1.8.04

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Ultimate concerns

Quoted 01.10.04:

One of the most overlooked stories of Bush's faith, in fact, is how atypical it is, nurtured not in the Methodist church -- as misreported by Michael Massing in week before last's Times -- but in a new movement of small group Christianity, marked not only by its folksiness and therapeutic style, but also by its disregard for the "body of God" as a collective.

Jeff Sharlet, The Revealer 1.7.04

Friday, January 9, 2004

A way to voters' hearts

Quoted 01.09.04:

[General Wesley Clark] was particularly clever when tackling the God question, noting that faith isn't just about where or to whom you pray, "but the values your faith teaches you. Charity, integrity, kindness. Growing up in Arkansas, we always knew a few people who could preach a revival, but who didn't live it. And now we've got one in the White House. George W. Bush talks a lot about his faith, but he hasn't exactly backed up his words with deeds. In fact, the only charity he's given is to big business and the very rich."

Michelle Cottle, TNR Primary 12.29.03, via Political Aims 1.9.04

Thursday, January 8, 2004

Bible basics

Quoted 01.08.04:

In the current Newsweek, Howard Fineman proves once again that he shouldn't be allowed to write about religion and politics. . . In the interview excerpts that accompany the story, Fineman decided to build on the expertise he demonstrated in last spring's "Bush & God" cover story (sarcasm alert) and posed a few questions to Dean about religion.

So, given this chance to talk one-on-one with Dean, does Fineman ask how his religious beliefs inform his policy positions? Does he ask the candidate to explain how any of his proposals might match the interests and concerns of religious Americans? No, Fineman's big question is: "Do you see Jesus Christ as the son of God and believe in him as the route to salvation and eternal life?"

Amy Sullivan, Political Aims 1.5.04

Dean says faith swayed decision on gay unions

Quoted 01.08.04:

Democratic front-runner Howard Dean said Wednesday that his decision as governor to sign the bill legalizing civil unions for gays in Vermont was influenced by his Christian views, as he waded deeper into the growing political, religious and cultural debate over homosexuality and the Bible's view of it.

"The overwhelming evidence is that there is very significant, substantial genetic component" to homosexuality, Dean said in an interview yesterday. "From a religious point of view, if God had thought homosexuality is a sin, he would not have created gay people."

Jim VandeHei, Washington Post 1.8.04

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Clark closes in on Dean in poll

Quoted 01.07.04:

Dean still tops the Democratic field in the national survey, at 24%, but the 21-point lead he held over Clark less than a month ago has narrowed to just 4 percentage points, within the poll's margin of error.

Richard Benedetto and Susan Page, USA Today 1.6.04

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Getting religion

Quoted 01.04.04:

Ed Kilgore, policy director of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, worries that when Dean exhorts audiences not to allow Republicans to use "God, guns, and gays" as decoys, he risks alienating the religious moderates whose support he needs to win. "Itís dismissive," Kilgore says of Deanís triple-G line. "The clear message is that Republicans have been using these issues for years as wedge issues to keep you from thinking about what theyíre doing to you socially and economically. And heís right about that. But thereís a reason the Republicans succeed in doing that ó itís because the Democrats donít seem to care about these issues. But youíre in danger of saying, ĎPut aside all your silly superstitions about the moral order of your universe, and think about your pocketbook like everybody else.í And thatís an offensive message."

Adam Reilly, Boston Phoenix 1.8.04

Saturday, January 3, 2004

A conservative ruling on gay marriage

Quoted 01.03.04:

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision declaring a constitutional right of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation, to access civil marriage licenses was undeniably bold and historic. More significantly, the power and clarity of the decision stems from the fundamentally conservative and family-values based arguments offered by the state's highest court. Yes, a majority of justices, nearly all appointed by Republican governors, used traditional values and conservative principles to make a compelling case to end discrimination against gay and lesbian families. The opponents of basic fairness for all Massachusetts families are left arguing against stable relationships, against increased protection for all children, against limited government, against individual liberty, and against religious freedom.

Patrick Guerriero, Boston Globe 1.3.04

The everything explainer

Quoted 01.03.04:

Revered and reviled, Noam Chomsky is a global phenomenon. Indeed, if book sales are any standard to go by, he may be the most widely read American voice on foreign policy on the planet today....

Chomsky is wrong to think that individuals within the American government are not thinking seriously about the costs of alliances with repressive regimes; he is also wrong to suggest that it would be easy to get the balance right between liberty and security, or democracy and equality -- or to figure out what the hell to do about Pakistan. But he is right to demand that officials in Washington devote themselves more zealously to strengthening international institutions, curbing arms flows and advancing human rights. "It is easy to dismiss the world as 'irrelevant,' or consumed by 'paranoid anti-Americanism,' " he writes, "but perhaps not wise."

Samantha Power, NY Times Book Review 1.4.04 (reg req'd)