Monday, April 30, 2007

Romney (The Scientologist?) Has Good Taste In Books

Alright, we admit, we've happily played some AD&D in our day. And we're sure you boys at the RNC know what we're talking about (don't deny it).

So we give Mitt Romney props for choosing L. Ron Hubbard's Sci-Fi book Battlefield Earth as a "favorite novel".

We're not sure how this is going to play down south however. Of course, that's not our problem.

Levinson Attempts Damage Control As Giuliani Asks, "Ah, What's An Endorsement Really?"

This. Is. Embarrassing.

And no, we're not talking about the picture (we actually think Hiz Honor looks kinda cute).

We're talking about the latest "Rudy isn't serious about New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation Primary" narrative out this morning.

Of course the latest AP article isn't a critical blow to Rudy. At least in 49 other states.

Per the AP's Phil Elliot:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani released his latest slate of New Hampshire supporters last week. One problem: Not all of them back the former New York City mayor.

Alongside a former state GOP chairman, a congressman and an executive councilor who do support Giuliani, a handful of people made the list of 125 supporters despite their objections.

Some are openly criticizing their mistaken inclusion. Others, who did not want to be quoted or to embarrass the Giuliani campaign, have since decided to join it.

Wendy Stanley Jones, named a state co-chair for Women for Giuliani, said she was considering Giuliani, but also was weighing staying out of the race because of a busy personal schedule.

In New Hampshire, ``we take our endorsements very seriously,'' she said. ``I wasn't ready to endorse. I'm not sure I will be endorsing. I'd like to think this is because of a little sloppiness.''

Mike Galante said a friend told him he had been named as the Carroll County small business chairman, although he never agreed to the post.

``I'd been traveling and there were messages on my machine. I hadn't returned them,'' Galante said.


If GreenMountainPolitics1 had asked Giuliani spokeswoman Katie Levinson for comment on the AP article we think she would have responded, "Oh whatever. New Hampshire would so be like a flyover state if it wasn't on the coast."

That's our Katie!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Calling Bullsh*t On The Union Leader

6 weeks ago we wrote about Democratic candidate Mike Gravel being excluded from a June 3rd New Hampshire debate sponsored by the Union Leader (UL) newspaper and CNN.

The UL and CNN stated that they excluded Mike Gravel from the debate because "Gravel is a 3rd tier candidate nut".

Or something like that.

As New Hampshire's chattering classes are scared silly that the Granite State is going to lose its first-in-the-nation status after '08 why in God's name would the UL exclude a legitimate candidate (a former U.S. Senator who has filed the correct paperwork, participated in at least 2 other high profile debates and who is fully on the campaign trail) from their debate?

The UL's decision to exclude Gravel (or at least not formally invite him to debate) seriously jeopardizes NH Secretary of State Bill Gardner's work to keep New Hampshire relevant.

If New Hampshire is the last true "retail" state where "unknown" candidates can compete on the strength of their ideas then a candidate who campaigns in NH must expect to be able to campaign in a Union Leader debate as well.

They must.

Otherwise you undercut the legitimacy of New Hampshire as a retail state.

Question to John DiStaso: How much of a "must-read" will your little column continue to be at the national level if New Hampshire's Primary gets gutted? Time for you to be nervous? Maybe get out on the campaign Trail? We're just saying.

Which brings us all the way around to yesterday's Union Leader editorial.

You've got to give the Union Leader editorial board credit - they are hemorrhaging influence and political clout but they still write as if it was the grand old days of the 1940s.

Yesterday's UL editorial actually had the stones to criticize Clinton and Obama for not participating in the same debate that the UL won't let Gravel participate in:

That is going to be the nature, we suspect, of what will be the longest presidential campaign ever. It is going to be different. It is likely to ebb and flow. It is likely, therefore, for the candidates to at times assume that the electorate is a lot more familiar with their campaigns and stands on issues than is actually the case.

New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary will again play a crucial role, but it also will change. The push by so many other places to crowd us out has already meant that candidates' time is more and more divided, with a lot of it being spent elsewhere.

The two best-known Democrats, for instance, draw big crowds when they are here, but that doesn't mean many likely primary voters are clued in on their positions or nuances thereof, the clarification of which will be crucial in this crowded and well-groomed field.

So we can't fathom why Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are saying "no" to giving a wide New Hampshire audience the first real chance to see them in debate with other contenders here on Sunday, June 3.
Like we said earlier. Stones.

We certainly hope that Obama and Clinton decide join the debate in June. INCLUSION is a good thing for NH's first-in-the-nation status.

Therefore, we think that the Union Leader should just shut its mouth on this issue.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Mr. Vice President? Monday Morning Clacker Interviews Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

About 70 supporters turned out for U.S. Senator John McCain's "official" campaign office opening in Manchester, New Hampshire this morning.

Although Senator McCain was not present for the office opening Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Governor and co-chair of McCain's national campaign, acted as a surrogate.

Noted: 70 supporters for an office opening less than 3 days after Senator McCain himself did a campaign event in Manchester? Willingly inside on a beautiful Saturday morning? Even though the main roadway to the campaign office was closed due to a Manchester marathon? Not bad at all.

Governor Pawlenty is one of a few Republicans to win a statewide re-election campaign in a "purple" state in 2006.

Which means that even though the Governor is a "good" Republican (believe it), he isn't afraid to talk honestly about the problems currently plaguing the GOP.

Which is probably why he and John McCain get along so well.

GreenMountainPolitics1 caught up with Governor Pawlenty at McCain's office opening and asked him several questions including why he is a Republican, what the Republican Party can do to win back young people and Independents and why he is so fond of John McCain.

Editor's Note: We apologize in advance for the (somewhat) poor lighting as well as Monday Morning Clacker's tendency to rush when asking the questions. We're still getting used to this.

You can read the New Hampshire Presidential Watch write-up of the McCain's office opening here.

And you can hear Governor Pawlenty's radio interview with Granite Grok here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

So, You Think You Want To Be A Citizen Pundit?

We often experience this exchange on the New Hampshire Primary Trail:

Us: "I am a Citizen Pundit. Hear me roar!" (Cue chest beating).

Them: "A what?" (Cue puzzled look).

Well then, let us explain.

- a person who has a membership (read: pays taxes) in a political community (town, city, country etc.) and has the right of political participation in that community.


Pundit - a expert or opinion-leader who analyzes events in his or her area of expertise and then disseminates their analysis through a popular medium.

= Citizen Pundit

We pay taxes (35% bracket last we looked). We have opinions (oh boy do we ever). And we have a internet connection that we are not afraid to use.

Content talks and bullsh*t walks. It's a brave new (flat) world.

Of course, it's the "expertise" part of the pundit definition that gives so many members of the Gang of 500 heartburn.

"But, you're not really an 'expert', are you?" many of them happily state when we explain to them what it is that we do.

We'll just smile and say, "Well, most of you aren't either, are you?"

Note to Citizen Pundits who come after Monday Morning Clacker: Avoid referencing (too heavily) the MSM (read: "paid" journalists so eager to hold onto their Washington access that they act blind, deaf and dumb) who dropped the ball in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Especially on a Presidential Press Bus. Or prepare to cut the awkward silence with a knife.

Note to the 350 (or so) Gang of 500 members who are nothing but deadwood: You better get your asses in gear. We can't stand Howard Dean, but he is right about the "news as info-tainment" phenomenon. And, the rising generation is absolutely getting their news from non-traditional sources.

Translation: We don't think that we are breaking any new ground when we state (unequivocally) that many members of the Gang of 500 are lazy and pack oriented even BEFORE they are incompetent.

Iceberg dead ahead!

But that's a problem for the info-tainment corporations'. And their shareholders. We're moving forward.

So, what does a Citizen Pundit do?

Well, we are the folks who gleefully jump up and down yelling, "The Emperor has no clothes! The Emperor has no clothes!"

Of course, bomb tossing is easy. Any Tom, Dick or Harry blogger ("reporter") can do that.

Crib Note: We do like bomb tossing. How can you not when you have Hiz Honor and Big Love running for President? But that's not why we're here.

GreenMountainPolitics1 attempts to inform, in a meaningful way, its readership. Of course, when we say "inform" we generally mean "outlining the world as seen by Monday Morning Clacker".

But so what? In the Information Age every computer screen is a church door and every blog post is a Theses.

If you don't like what we write simply move on to the next church.

And, to be honest (and not too arrogant) we'll put our opinions up against anyone else's (though some more politely than others). This doesn't mean that we are always correct. Far from it. It simply means that we have spent and do spend a whole lot of time thinking about this crazy Republic of ours and we have opinions. And we look forward to sharing that opinion.

There are hundreds of folks just like us (probably thousands). We cover angles of the American political process that the MSM (in general) is too tired, too vested in the status quo or to stupid to look at.

Every as*hole has an opinion and (almost) every as*hole has a Internet connection.

Breaking outside the Gang of 500's filter is a good thing for our American democracy. Are there risks and downsides to flattening the information pipeline? Of course. But, the benefits far outweigh those risks.

Don't believe us? Take a look at this and this. This is what happens when you have a media elite too invested in the status-quo to report reality.

So, the New Media will do it for them.

Noted: Yes, we admit, when you are dealing with the New Media you have to kiss many frogs to find a prince. But there are princes.

Content talks and bullsh*t walks. The world is flat.

So flat that when we write a blog post on "Hillary Clinton" our post is processed and disseminated in the exact same way by Clinton's communication staff as is a news article about Hillary Clinton in the New York Times. Of course the NYT article is given more weight at the outset (more eyeballs in general), but GMP1 can go viral just as easily as a NYT's article and (competent) political Game Players recognize this.

Content talks and bullsh*t walks. The world is flat.

Crib Note: The concrete nature of this simple fact keeps Redstone/Murdoch/Immelt up at night.

MSM journalists (the 4th Branch) must help maintain the integrity of the other 3 branches of government to remain relevant. You are not doing your jobs!

American Idol, Paris Hilton, the American political horse race - these are empty calories!

You are going to have enough trouble remaining relevant in the Information Age without allowing long lunches at the Palm and the credo "give the mob what it wants" to continue to cloud your judgement.

Here come the Citizen Pundits.

We're just saying.

Bringing The Friday Funny (Again)

A blast from the past.

This skit appeared on the 2000 recount "scene" BEFORE the Supreme Court had even issued its first ruling.

Tequila, gunshots and "cutting down the rain forest to drill for oil". It's all in there.

Jeb's down!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Rally Crashers

What should a NH campaign staffer do when his candidate for President of the United States decides that he isn't going to play in the Granite State?

Well, if you work for Rudy Giuliani, you get your Prez Fix by attending another candidate's event.

And, you bring a "buddy" from Giuliani's national campaign office along for company.

And, this isn't the first time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Have You Heard The One About The Two Men Who Go Turkey Hunting?

Mike Huckabee actually knows a little something about turkey hunting and Mike Huckabee thinks that Mitt "I'm a hunter" Romney is full of turkey scat.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Organization Might Not Be Everything...

But it's a good chunk of the overall shooting match.

And, as Team Hillary continues to put its organization together (today announcing 500 NH woman who publicly support Hillary Clinton for President including State Senator Betsi DeVries), GreenMountainPolitics1 wonders if any Democrat can match Hillary on the ground in New Hampshire.

Ponder. Ponder.

Baby's Big Day!

UPDATED -- About 48 seconds after we first posted this we got a request from "several" campaigns in NH for a "write-through". Their point, and it is a good point, is that a college town hall meeting comes with a built-in audience - the students.

But, as this is Rudy that we are talking about and he needs all the benefit of the doubt that we can muster, we still consider the New England College Town Hall Meeting Rudy's first "real" event in New Hampshire.

Break out the bubbly!
Breaking on the wire - Rudy Giuliani is actually planning on doing a real campaign event in New Hampshire!

No, we're not talking about the Lincoln Day Dinner and the Business Leaders Forum. That's campaign window dressing in a controlled environment with a built-in audience.

We're referring to the "town hall style meeting" that Rudy is doing at New England College on the 24th.

It's his first "real" event in 4 months.

Doesn't exactly scream "New Hampshire" does it? Maybe Baby thinks that NH is already lost to the GOP?

Of course, as this is Baby's first event outside the hyper-controlled RudyLand bubble that has been built between Baby and New Hampshire voters, Baby does deserve some kudos.

Kudos you big baby.

Don't worry Team Giuliani, we're sure Baby will be fine.

In the meantime, we sure would like to know when you are planning on releasing Giuliani's client list.

We're just saying.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Clacker Interviews Chris Dodd

Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize the back of George Stephanopoulos's head. We took the photo about 10 minutes before Chris Dodd sat down with George for an interview today in New Hampshire.

We interviewed Chris Dodd about 45 minutes after Stephanopoulos did.

Hey, no one is going to argue that we're Network.

Our interview has Dodd's energy plan, his plan to deal with the war in Iraq (and why he disagrees with the Kucinich plan) and what New Hampshire voters are saying around their kitchen tables.

Unedited. No Snark.

Bringing The Friday Funny (Again)

SNL's The Barry Gibb Talkshow - Justin Timberlake as Robyn Gibb and Jimmy Fallon as Barry Gibb.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The New Hampshire Primary - See You At Thanksgiving?

GreenMountainPolitics1 is NOT a gossip column.

Shudder the thought.

However (and there is ALWAYS a however), every once in a short while we come across something that is just too good to pass up.

As happened tonight at the Manchester restaurant, Z Food And Drink.

We've been hearing for months that New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner was considering holding the '08 New Hampshire Primary in '07. Around Christmas.

Of course, we never heard that "rumor" from anyone worth quoting (good guys and girls though they were).

Tonight was different.

Tonight we heard that Bill Gardner and his office are "actively" and "officially" exploring dates to hold the '08 New Hampshire Primary between Thanksgiving and Christmas of '07.

And, tonight we heard it from a fellow who would know. No Snark.

Of course, we're just a humble Blogspot Blog so take us with a grain of salt.


Not Even The Perception Of Power?

The Politico's Carrie Burdoff has this description of the political mood of the U.S. Senate regarding the Alberto Gonzales affair:

Senators from both parties have elevated the hearing into the U.S. attorney firings as critical to Gonzales's future as head of the Justice Department.
Critical? To whom? 99 other Senators and the inside-the-beltway Pundit Corporation?

We would dryly Note that the Cowboy Governor has sure shown a willingness to work with those people in the past. Especially when the White House absolutely has the upper-hand.

And, we sure as heck aren't hearing any "Gee, I wonder what's going to happen to old Alberto and those sixty billion emails now that Leahy/Schumer have their banana hammocks in a bunch" talk at the Merrimack Diner these days.

In fact, now that we think about it, we never were.

Chuck Schumer should know that Power not perceived is power not attained.

This is a chickensh*t issue surrounding a mediocre (at best) Attorney General.

Let's all get over it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Huckabee Tunes Up His New Hampshire Operation

We spent today with Governor Huckabee on the Trail in New Hampshire.

The AP's Holly Ramer did as well and has the MSM story here.

The former Governor is definitely getting some traction in New Hampshire. But don't take our word for it. Simply Note which prominent New Hampshire State Senator will announce his endorsement of Huckabee tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy our first (!!!) MyTube clip of Governor Huckabee jamming on a 4-string bass guitar at Daddy's Junky Music in Manchester this morning.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

McCain's Economic Speech

It's no secret that we are fond of Senator John McCain. Very fond.

So we don't feel uncomfortable when it comes time for us to give Team McCain some GreenMountainPolitics1 "Straight Talk".

Which we feel obligated to do after reading (and twice re-reading) the good (but not great) speech on economic policy that McCain gave at the University of Memphis yesterday.

There is no question that John McCain has a long and admirable record as a strong fiscal conservative.

There is no question that John McCain, who is criticized by "morons" (our words) for his opposition to Bush's '01 and '03 tax cuts, was right to oppose the tax cuts because the country could not afford them at a time when the Congress and the President were trying to pay for huge entitlement expansions.

And, if the Heritage paper is a little too "sissy" for you, simply ask Pete Peterson what his take on the Bush tax cuts are. Peterson ain't sissy.

Remember, the world is always more complicated than what monkeys like this are attempting to sell you.

But the folks who read our humble little Blog already know that the world is complicated so why, they ask, do we have a problem with the McCain economic speech from yesterday?

Our beef is that it took John McCain 14 paragraphs (half of his speech) before he began talking about reforming Medicare and Social Security. Here are paragraphs 15 and 16 of the 27 paragraph speech:

"I'll fight to save the future of Social Security and Medicare. I won't leave office without doing everything I can to fix the fiscal problem that, more than any other, threatens our future prosperity and power. No problem is in more need of honesty than the looming insolvency of our entitlement programs. No government program is the object of more political posturing and spin than Social Security and Medicare. Americans have the right to know the truth, no matter how bad it is. So here's a little straight talk: the current Social Security system is unsustainable. Period. A half century ago, sixteen American workers supported every retiree. Today, it's just three. Soon, it will be only two. If we don't make some tough choices, Social Security and Medicare either won't be there for our children and grandchildren or we will have had to raise taxes so dramatically to support them that we will have crushed the prosperity of average Americans.

"If I'm President, I'll submit a plan to save Social Security and Medicare, and I'll ask Democrats in Congress to do the same. We'll listen to what people outside government suggest as well. I'll work on a bipartisan basis to make the hard choices; to protect the retirement security of the American worker, and the growth of the American economy. And if Congress is afraid to make those choices, then they can just let me do it. I'll take the heat. I'll ask Congress to let me submit a comprehensive proposal. I'll prepare it carefully, fairly and honestly. And they can vote yes or no on that proposal: no amendments; no filibuster; no tricks: no band-aid solutions; no more lies; no more kicking the can down the road as the problem becomes harder and more expensive to solve; no more hoping that a future generation of leaders will have the courage we lack. If some of their constituents complain, and they will, they can put the blame on me. I can take it. What I can't take is the shame of leaving office knowing that America's future was less promising than its past. I've spent my life fighting to make sure that sad day never comes.

While McCain's language goes further than does the language of any other Republican candidate for President on this issue it's still not good enough. Any "real" government speech on the "future" of the American economy must begin and end with entitlement reform. With details. With details that make people sit up and take notice. With some sort of "phased-in overhaul of the entire system".

Just ask David Walker.

McCain's record of support for the line-item veto, cutting government waste, attacking pork barrel projects and making the the business of government more transparent is Noted and appreciated.

We also know, from listening to McCain on the stump in New Hampshire and talking with him on the Straight Talk Express, that the Senator takes entitlement reform very seriously.

Which must scare the hell out of some of the Senator's political Game Players.

But we are not sure that his Game Players need to be that antsy.

David Walker told 60 Minutes "We've been to 13 cities outside of Washington with the fiscal wake up tour. They are absolutely starved for two things: the truth and leadership."

Starved for the truth and leadership? Paging John McCain?

Now all the good Senator has to do is get in there and own this issue. Because, with this, it really is about our children.

We're just saying.

Monday, April 16, 2007

GreenMountainPolitics1 Is Now Straight To Video

What a weekend. What a haul.

Note the new video camera (a gift from a most special someone). We expect that baby is going to get some use on the Trail.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Human Starting Gun

When Hillary Clinton comes to New Hampshire she is, on average, trailed by a larger press mob than any other candidate.

Hillary's "major policy address" today at St. Anselm's college was no different.

There is no question that the Junior Senator from New York is the human starting gun of the race so far. Hillary's entire (entire!) existence is recorded, dissected and spun, which is why she can be forgiven if she sometimes oversells what Mark Penn is pushing (A major policy address? Not quite. But certainly good, "bite-sized" policies).

The passion of the "Anyone But Hillary" crowd is matched only by the passion of the "I Love Hillary" crowd. And everyone is partying in the microwave.

She knows it. The press mob knows it. Now we know it.

Inside Baseball Non-Snark: Mea Culpa.

Two items of Note from the St. Anselm event that the MSM will (most likely) not report.

First, Team Clinton's organization is very, very good (we've Noted this before). In the 30 minutes leading up to the start of the event we watched as Hillary "supporters" worked the voters while her campaign staff worked the press corp.

No Hillary staffer ever sat. No Hillary staffer ever made an ass out of himself or herself (take Note Rudy) and almost no voter or press person was left without at least a handshake and a "thanks for coming" from a Team Hillary member.

That sort of behavior goes a long, long way. Especially in New Hampshire.

To top it off, the room was set (as usual) for Presidential Prime Time.

Second, today's press mob liked "dropping" Mark Halperin's name almost as much (but not quite) as we do. Twice in one hour we heard two different members of the mob begin a story with, "Mark Halperin and I..."

We can only wonder if Mark knows he has so many friends.

Bringing The Friday Funny (again)

Even Alex Castellanos thinks that this is funny.

And the Senator is certainly a very good sport. As always

But remember, "good sports" tend to get this, while "bad sports" tend to get this.

Crib Note: Look for the Streisand comment.

Inside Baseball Question: "Steve" wants to know if Mark Salter wrote the jokes.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mourning In The Monkey House

Joel Achenbach has all you need to know right here.

Mr. Vonnegut will be missed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Taking Aim At Washington's "3rd Way In Iraq"

A "Statesman" who believes that the War In Iraq is unnecessary and truly a lost cause will vote to cut off funding for the war - no matter what the political consequences are.

Dennis Kucinich has done just that:

Democratic leaders are poised to give President Bush another $120 billion ($120,000,000,000) for the war, more than enough money to keep our troops in Iraq through the end of his term and enough money to expand the war into Iran. Democratic leaders want to fund the war while saying they oppose the war. They are promising to use the war as a campaign issue against Republicans in 2008.

We do not have time to discern whether the leaders who say they are for peace yet vote for war are motivated by sincerity, self-deception or duplicity.

A "Statesman" who believes that the War in Iraq is necessary and not yet lost will forcibly advocate his support of the troop surge - no matter what the political consequences are.

John McCain has done just that:

“What struck me upon my return from Baghdad is the enormous gulf between the harsh but hopeful realities in Iraq, where politics is for many a matter of life and death, and the fanciful and self-interested debates about Iraq that substitute for statesmanship in Washington. In Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers risk everything to hold the country together, to prevent it from becoming a terrorist sanctuary and the region from descending into the dangerous chaos of a widening war. In Washington, where political calculation seems to trump all other considerations, Democrats in Congress and their leading candidates for President, heedless of the terrible consequences of our failure, unanimously confirmed our new commander, and then insisted he be prevented from taking the action he believes necessary to safeguard our country’s interests. In Iraq, hope is a fragile thing, but all the more admirable for the courage and sacrifice necessary to nurture it. In Washington, cynicism appears to be the quality most prized by those who accept defeat but not the responsibility for its consequences.

“Before I left for Iraq, I watched with regret as the House of Representatives voted to deny our troops the support necessary to carry out their new mission. Democratic leaders smiled and cheered as the last votes were counted. What were they celebrating? Defeat? Surrender? In Iraq, only our enemies were cheering. A defeat for the United States is a cause for mourning not celebrating. And determining how the United States can avert such a disaster should encourage the most sober, public-spirited reasoning among our elected leaders not the giddy anticipation of the next election. Democrats who voted to authorize this war, and criticized the failed strategy that has led us to this perilous moment, have the same responsibility I do, to offer support when that failure is recognized and the right strategy is proposed and the right commanders take the field to implement it or, at the least, to offer an alternative strategy that has some relationship to reality.

“Democrats argue we should redirect American resources to the ‘real’ war on terror, of which Iraq is just a sideshow. But whether or not al Qaeda terrorists were a present danger in Iraq before the war, there is no disputing they are there now, and their leaders recognize Iraq as the main battleground in the war on terror. Today, al Qaeda terrorists are the ones preparing the car bombs, firing the Katyusha rockets, planting the IEDs. They maneuver in the midst of Iraq’s sectarian conflict, sparking and fueling the horrendous violence, destroying efforts at political reconciliation, killing innocents on both sides in the hope of creating a conflagration that will cause Americans to lose heart and leave, so they can return to their primary mission – planning and executing attacks on the United States, and destabilizing America’s allies.

There is no "3rd Way" in Iraq.

Only Washington politicians believe in deadlines, timelines, troop caps and non-binding resolutions.

And only Statesmen deserve to be President.

We're just saying.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Live Blogging The Huckabee Blogger Conference Call

Actually, we're just kidding about the "live blogging" part.

We believe "live blogging" is just about the stupidest way to report anything - "Candidate X is walking over to us... Candidate X is continuing to come this way... Candidate X is holding out his hand towards us... Candidate X... Ah... Candidate X walked right past us and shook the hand of the guy standing next to us... Ah..."

Get it?

Now, how well do you think "live blogging" works when it comes to disseminating complicated ideas from a dynamic environment full of competing ideas?


Take a breath Bloggers. Now take another one. You do your readers justice that way.

(Crib Note: Sometimes we think a majority part of the Gang of 500 "live blogged" their way through the run-up to the Iraq War. But that's another story for another day).

But back to the Governor Huckabee and his conference call with Bloggers that we just finished up (but no "live blogging").

On the call the former Southern Fat Boy sure didn't sound like a candidate who is mired in the 2nd tier (money and polling). He was articulate, upbeat and cheerful. As usual.

And why shouldn't he be? There are 4 solid months till the Ames Straw Poll. Huck's got sterling conservative credentials (a former Baptist Minister and, to take just one tiny example from his days as Arkansas Governor, was the first Governor in the history of the United States to put a Home School parent on the Arkansas state school board).

Sterling. Conservative. Credentials.

Crib Note: We're not even going to dignify the Club For Growth, an organization that helped bring us this, attacking Huckabee's decision to LISTEN to 80% of the Arkansas electorate and (modestly) raise gas taxes to improve the state's infrastructure.

Dividend paying infrastructure ain't free. Besides, we'll take 80% of a state's electorate telling us what THEY want THEIR Governor to do with THEIR tax dollars over some inside-the-beltway organization who (really truly, truly really) believes we can grow ourselves out of this.

Sure we can boys. We'll see you at the bar at The Palm.

And yes, we do like Huckabee. A lot. Its hard not to. Next to John McCain, we feel that Mike Huckabee is probably the most authentic candidate currently in the 2008 race.

But what does that mean?

Authenticity might go a long way with us but it's not worth a bucket of warm spit if it's not backed up with a campaign organization that can get things done on the ground.

In Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to start.

We can speak to Huck's New Hampshire organization - it seems like its coming together nicely. Everything we've heard while dining (drinking) our way from one end of the Elm Street information pipeline to the other makes it sound as though Debra Vanderbeek is getting Huckabee's soldiers lined up.

Authenticity backed up by field soldiers is a good thing to have for New Hampshire campaigns. And, we look forward to getting an up-close look when Huckabee comes back to the Granite State next week.

But Governor Huck also used the Blogger conference call to let everyone know that he's getting it done (organizationally) in Iowa as well.

Which is why Huck's Iowa campaign organizer, Bob Vander Plaats, was on the conference call to discuss their Iowa operation.

We don't know a darn thing about Iowa. Not. One. Darn. Thing.

But Vander Plaats did say that Team Huckabee has a 99 County grassroots organization based on "life, marriage and the 2nd Amendment" up and running. That sounds good.

Vander Plaats also told we Bloggers that Huckabee's reputation in Iowa is that of "the Main Street Candidate" (as opposed to the Wall Street or K Street candidate). That sounds good to.

Finally, Vander Plaats told us that it was his firm belief that Huckabee would do "extremely well" in the August 11 straw poll. That sounds great (if it's true). And, Huck needs to OWN that straw poll.

Like we said earlier, our opinion of Mike Huckabee isn't worth a bucket of spit - unless he's got the campaign organization to back it up. Time will tell.

In the meantime, Vanderbeek and Vander Plaats might want to talk to the (former?) supporters of this candidate.

We're just saying.

Monday, April 09, 2007

C-Span Gives The Left, Center And Medium Right Some (More) Ammunition

By all accounts, The Cowboy Governor expects and rewards loyalty. Which is why Alberto Gonzales (probably) and Dick Cheney (most definitely) are not going anywhere.

Crib Note: But if Alberto were truly loyal to the President wouldn't he have resigned by now? Good question.

Anyway, although Gonzales and Cheney aren't going anywhere, this does not mean that C-Span can't editorialize their (staid) displeasure - as the cable channel did by using some interesting camera work at a Bush press conference last week.

Stay tuned as Alberto's Capitol Grilling is coming up.

Pay Attention To Details

This nugget just landed in our e-mailbox.

An article in latest issue of Details Magazine discusses 27 agents of change who are "bending the future to their will":

Chief Strategist, John McCain 2008
In a political climate where crossing the aisles is like scaling a razor-wire fence, John Weaver is the rare creature who not only went over but made it back again. After guiding John McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign, Weaver bolted the Republican Party following a blow-out with Karl Rove (remember South Carolina?). He worked for several Democrats in 2002 and 2003 before returning to his role as McCain’s secret campaign weapon. Now he’s tasked with selling his candidate both to voters (he’s leveraging McCain’s Daily Show charisma into free publicity) and to the party’s conservative base, which has long been wary of McCain (Weaver’s encouraging the senator to engage with figures like Jerry Falwell). “I think the most challenging part is being okay with McCain being McCain,” says Weaver. “The natural instinct is to smother with detail and attention until you end up with a candidate that a committee might devise but you couldn’t sell.” Weaver’s got his own edges, as evidenced by his smashing cell phones, tossing suitcases, and even forcing McCain to stick around for a critical press conference. “He said, ‘I’m getting on the bus and leaving,’” Weaver recalls. “And I said, ‘Well, that’s fine, but I’ve got the keys.’” Read that any way you want.
John Weaver - Spacetime Playa' ?

Peace, Love and Kucinich In New Hampshire

Let a (real) conversation begin?

We caught Dennis Kucinich, the loooong-shot Democratic Presidential candidate, at a Manchester campaign stop last Thursday night.

ABC News' Jennifer Duck has the MSM story here (nice to meet you at the event Jennifer).

About 40 people showed up to talk with Kucinich about "what was on their mind". After forming a "conversation circle", the Ohio Congressman began the meeting by asking everyone "What do you want America to be?"

Their answers were as varied and different as Kucinich's candidacy.

One voter said that he wanted an America where he would "feel the need to send the President a thank-you letter." Another said that he wanted to "be able to travel abroad and not feel ashamed that he was an American." More than a couple of voters talked about wanting "affordable health care". One woman said that she wanted to "harness America's intellectual power to create really good calorie free chocolate."

Who's against good calorie free chocolate?

Kucinich, who sat in the conversation circle like everyone else, took detailed notes, interjected with questions and offered occasional (expansive) comments.

And the (shockingly smart) conversation just flowered. Organically. For 2 hours.

It was one of the more remarkable things that we have seen thus far on the Trail (even if the group spent a solid 5 minutes discussing the merits of a "mandatory salary level for every American worker to be paid for by cutting the Pentagon's budget." That's LEFT baby! Although it doesn't look like the CENTER's economic policies are doing all that hot right now.).

And, we think it is a good sign of Kucinich's chances in New Hampshire.

If he can build some sort of campaign organization in New Hampshire.

Yet another "good sign" for Kucinich?

According to Kucinich, earlier in the day both WMUR-TV and Fox News Channel began their questions to him with something along the lines of, "How does it make you feel that you were so right about the War In Iraq?"

Crib Note to the Big Three Democrat Candidates (and the Democratic Majorities in both Chambers): Your Iraq War "3rd Way" answer stinks and you know it. So does Dennis.

Now, we didn't witness the exchange between the Kucinich and the media, but if it's even remotely true (and we don't think anyone has ever accused Dennis of being a fibber) it's a good sign.

If he can build some sort of campaign organization in New Hampshire.

Notice a pattern?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Video of Mitt Romney Hunting

GreenMountainPolitics1 has video of "lifelong hunter" Mitt Romney shooting ducks. Actually, Big Love isn't such a bad shot. No snark.

Bringing The Friday Funny (again)

Arguably the best 9 minutes in a comedy ever.

Crib Notes: Look for the alter wink, a sunshine state reference, true love being "hard to find" and Ferrell's wedding picture.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rudy Attempts To Engage McCain In New Hampshire, Engages GMP1 Instead

John Dickerson's write-up of Rudy Giuliani's recent "highly screened" trip to New Hampshire may be found here.

Noted: It looks like the "New York Velvet Rope Access" label is sticking. At least it is with the two national print reporters and the cable news crew that we gabbed with at a campaign event earlier this week.

Now, we're not media wizards (of course, neither is Katie Levinson), but we're willing to bet that being known as "New York Velvet Rope Access" in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa isn't a good thing.

In fact, we're not even really sure that will play in California. Maybe Los Angeles, but only because all of them want to live in Manhattan anyway.

But, that really is between Rudy and his staff.

What is between us and Hiz Honor is that Rudy attempted to take a shot at our man John McCain while he was in New Hampshire (hey, we play favorites on this Blog. Rudy would have elicited the same response from us if he had taken a shot at Dodd, Huckabee or Edwards).

As Dickerson reported in his article:

One participant asked about John McCain: "Has his time passed?" "I think so," responded Giuliani. McCain, he went on, "looked like he was tired and he's cranky."
We say Rudy "attempted to take a shot" because everyone knows that while McCain can be faulted for many things, being "tired" isn't one of them.

Even 3rd rate Clackers (like ourselves) know this. It's one of the upsides of McCain granting full access to the press corp.

So, while John Weaver probably saw this particular quote, our guess is that he simply snorted and went back to whatever it was that he was previously engaged in.

Not GreenMountainPolitics1. We're engaging.

And, we're engaging with two simple questions.

First, to the Giuliani campaign - How long do you think you can hold out releasing Hiz Honor's businesses client list?

We know, we know, "client confidentiality agreements".


The microwave of this Presidential campaign is going to cook that excuse. Probably in late summer, just in time for the first Iowa straw poll (which Rudy is already considering blowing off).

And, shouldn't Rudy's excuse be cooked?

How does a man running for the Presidency not have to tell the American public how he made his money over the last several years?

That pane of glass is going to shatter and it's going to shatter huge.

If Rudy's campaign did have any true media wizards they would have dumped the whole list on a Friday afternoon right before last Christmas and then told the press corp on the following Monday, "We've already discussed that and we're moving on."

That would have been smart. That would have been.

But now "smart" is defined by those members of the Gang of 500 who know that Rudy's true Achilles heel isn't his stance on guns, abortion and gay marriage. It's his client list.

Our second question is to the voters (and press) of New Hampshire - As it becomes more and more apparent that Rudy Giuliani is going to bypass New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation Primary to focus on Super-Duper Tuesday (don't take our word for it, just watch with you own two eyes), are you aware of what his campaign's talking points will be the morning after your Primary?

Again, we're not "media wizards" but we'll take a shot.

Wolf Blitzer: "Well Rudy campaign crony, the Mayor didn't do so hot in last night's New Hampshire Primary.

Rudy Campaign Crony: "Well Wolf, at the end of the day New Hampshire is just a tiny-tiny-tiny percentage of the delegates a candidate needs to win the nomination. In fact, the first-in-the-nation Primary isn't all that important anymore. See you in California!"

You get the point.

Which leads GreenMountainPolitics1 to wonder if Rudy's talking points on the day after the first-in-the-nation will be picked up and used by opponents of New Hampshire's sacred status.

Makes you kind of mad, doesn't it?

We're just saying.

Size Does Matter (Sometimes)

Can you judge how importantly a presidential candidate takes New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation Primary by the size of his/her staff on the ground in the Granite State?

We think you can. At least among the Big Six who all share approximately the same financial resources.

The campaign dinner party we were invited to last night was great (hey, we're writing a book and people want to be in that book). With enough food for an army (take a look at the pork chops everyone enjoyed), which is about the number of staffers that showed up.

After they made their phone calls of course.

Size doesn't always matter. Until it does.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

While we do not agree with everything that prints, we most certainly agree with their basic goal. We hope that we see them on the Trail a whole bunch this cycle. At both Republican and Democratic events.

Crib Note: Our belief in that shared goal is the reason why we want to put our head through 4 inches of plate glass window when presidential candidates start talking about the need to "rebuild our military".

And yes, we are aware that there is a "global war on terror going on."

But does anyone remember this?


We caught New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson pressing the flesh (but not the bread) at Consuelos Taqueria in Manchester this morning where he took questions from about 20 people for 45 minutes.

Most of the (pretty sophisticated) questions centered on foreign policy (Crib Note: W is a war monger who has screwed the U.S. royally, how would you rebuild our country's alliances?) on health care and on energy.

The Gov even managed to work in rhetoric about his recent fundraising "successes" and about how he has moved up and out of the "margin of error" in the polls.

Hi-yi! Hi-yi! Hi-yi!

Richardson does have a dedicated following in New Hampshire. In fact, in the last month we have talked to two savvy Democrat activists who both picked Richardson to "break out" in the first-in-the-nation Primary.

Although we're not activists, savvy or Democrats, we remain unconvinced of Richardson's long term viability.

The Governor clearly has a story to tell and some experience in diplomacy. But his tenure at the Department of Energy was a disaster (yes, we're citing a Republican hit piece but the quotes in it are accurate).

So New Hampshire is supposed to elevate a man who had trouble running 1 Executive Branch Agency to a position where he would control the entire Executive Branch?

That doesn't sound right.

We're just saying.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Soft Re-Launch?

We just caught Mitt Romney at a town hall meeting in Derry.

The highlight of the event, for us, was finally being able to thank our friend at Fox News for intentionally inserting B-Roll footage of us into a piece Fox ran a few weeks back, finally meeting (in the flesh) the world famous Cosmo (hey, when Ben Smith links to your Blog, you're famous) and being able to say a very quick hello to a slightly harried looking Mark Halperin.

Gotta love first-in-the-nation.

But what about Big Love?

One word - "RE-LAUNCH"!

Mitt gave a 20 minute stump speech to a crowd of about 100 New Hampshire residents before taking questions for 45 minutes.

Not one word (NOT ONE WORD!) was uttered in his stump speech about conservative social issues.

This is a Note worthy change from when we last saw Romney at a campaign event in Manchester in December of 2006.

The closest Romney came today to any of those pesky (Mitt-Flop?) topics was when he briefly touched upon his "strong" belief that children benefit from having a "mom and a dad for as long as possible".

We agree.

The rest of the 19 minutes and 30 seconds Mitt spent touting his record as a successful businessman and Governor.

And, it's an impressive record.

Which is why we can't understand why Big Love listened to some jackass consultant 6 months ago who told him "Governor, we're going to launch you as the true social conservative candidate. It's going to be great!"

Sure it will.

We bet Love wishes he could get some of that burn rate back.

Talking To The Sticks? Edwards Does UNH

Our love for Edwards is fully on the record. No snark.

Edwards is the "Crusader Candidate". And we really appreciate that.

Edwards was the first Big 6 candidate to grant us an interview. And we really, really appreciate that.

Edwards is smart and scrappy and consistently benches above his weight (a mill worker's son who rises to be a candidate for President generally does).

And, it is almost impossible to overestimate the advantage Edwards has having already been through (and survived) the "microwave" of a presidential campaign.

We believe Edwards, not Obama, is the most serious threat to a Clinton nomination and that he is the candidate best positioned on the Democratic side to win the 2008 general election.

Conventional wisdom might love Obama as the Clinton upset candidate right now but we think conventional wisdom is wrong.

And every 23 seconds brings a new media cycle.

So back on the Trail we go.

We went and saw John and Elizabeth Edwards host a town hall meeting on UNH's campus in Durham last night.

The Union Leader has the story here.

The AP's Beverly Wang has the story here.

Noted Nugget That Other Clackers Missed: Brigid Murray, one half of the brother/sister team running the Brentwood ice-cream shop Sweet Scoops, brought a container of homemade ginger ice-cream to the event last night for Elizabeth Edwards.

Brigid, who wanted only to donate the ice-cream and asked for nothing in return, told us that she hoped the ginger would help settle Elizabeth's stomach during her cancer treatment.

Brigid also told us that she had sent a container of ginger ice-cream to White House spokesman Tony Snow.

That's bi-partisan love.

Noted Nugget Two: Edwards New Hampshire Press Secretary, Eddie Vale, (graciously) took the ice-cream from Brigid and promised her that he would make sure Elizabeth got the ice-cream. We're sure that he did.

Edwards' town hall event last night was a presidential level event (20 months out!). His staff (in New Hampshire at least) is as good as the Clinton and McCain staffs are at putting together well-produced, well-attended events.

That's no small thing.

Noted Nugget Three: John, we love your politics. You're stump speech makes us tingle ("Its time for Americans to be patriotic about something other than war") Can we get a hell yeah!

Your politics are closer to our politics than any other candidate out there right now.

That said, your Iraq War answer stinks (so does the Iraq War answer of all the Democrats except for Kucinich and Feingold).

If you think the war is truly lost ("a festering sore") pull the war funding immediately. There is no other way to stop this thing and everyone knows it.

Troop caps, time lines and Congressional Resolutions - that's all crap.

It's a war - you're either advancing or you're withdrawing. The only people that think there is a 3rd way are the politicians in Washington and the pundits they are spinning.

We're just saying.

But back to everything else.

Edwards might also be the best public speaker of all the candidates that we cover. Smooth and polished, Edwards is comfortable in front of an audience.

Maybe too comfortable?

It's no secret that the rap on Edwards is that he is "pretty" (empty, blow-dried). We think that rap is groundless.

Edwards is "pretty" only in the sense that he has boyish good looks. So what of it?

You have got to be pretty (get it?) stupid to try to dismiss the mill worker's son running (so far successfully) a SECOND time for President as "pretty".

Yes, we did notice that last night Edwards used his entire opening statement to talk directly at the TV sticks and virtually ignored the audience members in the room with him.

While behavior like that doesn't threaten our Crusader love affair with Edwards we do take Note.

But when it was time for him to come back to the here and now (give and take) of the 45 minute Q & A portion of the event Edwards was right there, chatting happily and easily with the rank and file (Clackers included).

It was almost as if he got us flowers.

It is going to break our heart if we are wrong about him. No snark.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Money, Money, Money!

A couple of folks have called/emailed us to ask if (when) we are going to do a post on the 1st quarter fundraising numbers that have been trickling out of the presidential campaigns over the last 24 hours.

We're not going to do one.

We don't think 1st quarter fundraising numbers are all that important. Especially when the Big 6 candidates are (more or less) bunched together between $12.5 million (McCain) and $26 million (Clinton).

Crib Note: Everyone is still competitive with everyone else.

Yes, we recognize that there is a large percentage spread between $12.5 million and $26 million. Yes, we recognize that there are voters, activists and donors stupid enough to choose one candidate over another candidate because candidate X raised 38% more money than candidate Y. So yes, we recognize that the chattering classes will chatter away about what everyone's number means what to whom over the next 72 hours.

We're still not impressed.

Crib Note to the Chattering Classes: To make matters worse, you're chattering with incomplete data. The only data you have have from the campaigns is what they want you to have. Suckers!

To drive our point home we would ask that everyone try to remember who the Republican and Democratic 1st quarter fundraising record holders were before today.

Need a hint? It was Phil Gramm and Al Gore.

Let's move on to stuff that matters. Like what David Walker is talking about.

We're just saying.

Seriously, Does Anyone Take Bob Novak Seriously?

From Bobby's latest column:

Sophisticated social conservative activists tell me they cannot vote for Giuliani under any conditions and have no rapport with McCain or Romney. They do not view Sen. Sam Brownback, representing the social right, as a viable candidate. They are coming to see Thompson as the only conservative who can be nominated. Their appreciation of him stems not from his eight years as a U.S. senator from Tennessee but his actor's role as district attorney of Manhattan on "Law and Order." That part was molded to Thompson's specifications as a tough prosecutor, lending him political star power.
"Sophisticated" conservative voters? Sophisticated?

You've been living in DC too long Bobby. You're starting to feel the need to apologize to your liberal squawker friends for your politics.

But the kicker, for us, is that Novak's "sophisticated" conservative voters "appreciate" a Thompson's run for President not because of Thompson's career in public service.

Oh no.

These "sophisticated" conservative voters appreciate a Thompson run because they like the way that Thompson's fictional TV character handled fictional TV criminals on a fictional TV drama.

That's sophisticated all right.

Paging Robert Caro.