Detecting Increased Amounts of Weigeljournalism

New article at Radar magazine about the politics of terrorism. Here’s the lede:

For the first eight months of the campaign, it wasn’t clear whether Rich Tarrant was running for U.S. Senate or hawking home-baked muffins. The multimillionaire Vermont health care exec had sought to upset Congressman Bernie Sanders—an avowed socialist who is wildly popular in his home state—by running a series of soft-focus, cloying ads complete with a fiddle soundtrack, about his life. How was Tarrant’s Nice Guy offensive working out? An August 3 Rasmussen poll showed him losing to Sanders by 28 points.

And then came August 10 and the breakup of a UK-based terrorist scheme to blow up U.S.-bound jetliners. That morning, as news of the plot trickled in, Tarrant campaign director Tim Lennon was weighing his options.

Read the whole thing. Or watch the videos!

Playing the Lotts

Jeremy dares me to predict the elections… and while I’m terrible at this sort of thing, I think I know enough now to make some educated guesses.

– Republicans narrowly lose the House but retain the Senate. The House losses are almost all east of the Mississippi river and north of the Mason-Dixon line – the party gets eaten alive in the Ohio Valley and New England. They lose three seats in Pennsylvania, three in Indiana, two in Ohio, and two in Connecticut. Surprisingly, they lose the House seats of both Minnesota’s Mark Kennedy and Wisconsin’s Mark Green, two comers who picked the wrong year to move up the totem pole. But strong performances in the Southwest and Southeast keep their numbers above 210.

– A historic number of incumbent senators lose – six Republicans (Mike DeWine, Rick Santorum, Jim Talent, Conrad Burns, Lincoln Chafee, George Allen), one Democrat (Bob Menendez), and one independent (Joe Lieberman). Menendez’s race is the closest.

– Both parties spend the winter recess disgracefully lobbying the opposing party’s members to switch parties, or at least vote against the majority party’s Speaker/Leader candidate. Republicans almost get Democrat Gene Taylor to vote for John Boehner instead of Nancy Pelosi, until Pelosi promises him a key chairmanship.

– Democrats win most of the key governorships, starting with New York, Ohio, Maryland, Colorado and Rhode Island. They take Massachusetts and Arkansas, cooling some of the buzz around departing governors Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. Arnold Schwarzenegger and – in a surprise – Tom McClintock are elected governor and lieutenant governor of California.

– Only one African-American candidate wins statewide office as Deval Patrick becomes governor of Massachusetts. The GOP’s vaunted “year of the black Republican” storyline implodes, with only Maryland’s Michael Steele losing respectively enough (less than 6 points) to be considered a candidate for future office.

– Mark Warner becomes the first 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, announcing his run in Richmond, Virginia in December alongside Sen.-elect Jim Webb and Gov. Tim Kaine. Newt Gingrich becomes the first announced Republican candidate.

On to John.

Wow, the Senate does change you

“My friends — and I say this figuratively — let’s enjoy knocking their soft teeth down their whiny throats.”
Gov. George Allen, 1994

“Ow! Ow! Quit it! You’re mean.”*
Sen. George Allen, 2006

On this same topic, what is with Steve Gilliard? The dude who called Democrats cowards for not approving of his blackface cartoon of Michael Steele is asking Jim Webb to pull his TV ad after Nancy Reagan’s office asked him to. A change of heart, wild inconsistency, or what?

*This is a paraphrase.

This… is DC

Wake up at 10 am and head down Florida Ave for a heart-strengthening breakfast of scrapple and eggs. As I’m wrapping up, in comes DC mayoral candidate Adrian Fenty, shaking hands. I gently avoid him because I don’t vote in DC, and why waste his handshake on a gentrifier like me?

I change clothes (slowly) and head to a branch of my gym. As I’m setting up the elliptical machine, I crane my head… and there’s Sen. Barack Obama, walking to a treadmill. He sets the speed on 3 mph and flips through the channels on the treadmill TV screen, settling on a documentary about the birth of man on the Discovery Channel.

These people…

I am absolutely not a cafe person. On my left, exploiting a precious power outlet, is a fellow using his laptop to… read Washington Post stories! On my right, two girls discussing mens’ teeth in terms so funny it makes them pound the table with laughter. Two extremes, both suicide-inducingly irksome.

Everybody loves weekends

Praise Allah for 3-day weekend; I’ve been able to mix a little relaxation with my constant deadlinery for the first time in a while. The indoor relaxation was, as ever, the most rewarding; even if it is a rip-off of “It’s a Good Life,” the “Charlie X” episode of Star Trek is a good’un. I’m wrapping up David Frum’s How We Got Here, which is almost good enough to make me forget the Iraq War. (Almost.) I went to a pretty good party in the Northwest and a pretty good bar in the Northeast. I discovered that the space under my bed is the best chance mankind has of reducing my Herculean mass of clutter. And I put together two articles I’m pretty proud of, the first of which will be online tomorrow and the second in about a week.

All was not good. The holiday exodus from D.C. has replaced all the locals with stupider, slower versions of the locals. How can I possibly forget the guy who, standing at an ATM I needed to use right then, read every bit of text on every screen and then pondered the universe after his receipt was spit out. I bought a cheap, old, big TV that I can’t figure out how to connect to cable. (Although on reflection I probably just need a new set of av cables.) I saw Factotum, which probably doesn’t fit in the “bad” category, but for the first serious movie I’ve seen in months it was decidedly mediocre.