Friday, August 03, 2007

Romney's Iraq dance

Mitt is the only one of the two GOPers whom it seems has a chance of winning the nomination, is slowly trying to back away from their support of the Iraq war. But let's put the emphasis on slowly:
In April, Romney said Bush's plan to send about 30,000 additional troops to Iraq had a "real chance" of succeeding. On July 26, he was more equivocal, saying in an interview: "I don't give that a high probability, I give it a reasonable probability."
Romney, who isn't noted for jabs at Bush, is simply preparing for a call for a post-surge strategy, said Tom Rath, a senior adviser.
"That cannot be viewed as a sign of disloyalty or disrespect, but rather an inevitability in the political process," he said.
The issue, Rath said, "is how far any candidate should go in separating from the president."

Yes, how far should a candidate for the job of commander-in-chief go to show he should hold that position when discussing one of, if not THE, biggest foreign policy mistake in U.S. history? If you agree with 62% of Americans, the answer would be get out of Iraq...and the details of how and when would be between now and by next spring. In other words, you would either be a Democratic candidate, or Ron Paul.

But if you a Republican trying to win the Republican nomination for president, the answer is really much more complex because reality and sanity doesn't exist for the issue of Iraq for the GOP base.

Now Romney is [shocking I know] trying to have it both ways, first by giving a extremely weak critique of the escalation of the war, and then by saying they still support the war itself.
"There is no guarantee that the new strategy pursued by General Petraeus will ultimately succeed," Romney wrote in an Aug. 1 letter to supporters, adding that the stakes are too high to undermine the troops charged with the mission before it has an opportunity to succeed.

No guarantee? I will bet Romney all of his millions that Gen. Petraeus will claim that "success" is at hand or "progress" is being made, despite the fact that there is absolutely nothing resembling a functioning government at any level. I can also guarantee that it will remain a dog-eat-dog world out there for Kurds, Shi'a and Sunnis in Iraq.

But don't tell that to those serious men in Washington and on the GOP campaign trail. We wouldn't want to hurt their feelings and make them look bad. Poor Mitt is already upset, look:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

SLC mayoral money race

All in all, Ralph Becker looks to be in pretty good shape...but still has significant ground to cover if he wants to make that second slot in 6 weeks.
The most recent reports show the candidates have maintained their financial rankings in the past two months, with former Salt Lake City Councilman Keith Christensen still the top fund-raiser. He has raised a total of $556,996.
While he is the only candidate to have passed the half-million-dollar mark, he has slowed his fund raising more than any of the other four front-runners since June, bringing in only $47,497 in the past two months.
"The important thing is the total money raised and the amount of money left on hand," said Christensen...
"Our campaign is fairly balanced in what we do," Wilson said. "I understand the role that money plays in a mayor's race. I wish it were different — I'm actually a big proponent of campaign finance reform and will work to reform it in the city — but I understand the role it plays."
She said that after the first round of financial reporting in February, she was shocked into action by the emerging reality: This is going to be an expensive race.
"Keith's fund raising has really surprised me," she said. "I've been in politics a long time, and the amount he raised really did wake us up."
The money race is just one part of the highly competitive campaign. Recent polls show the candidates stacking up differently when it comes to voter support rather than dollars raised and spent.

The Deseret News only tells half of the money race story. I bolded Christensen's quote for a reason. Check out the Salt Lake Tribune's graphic:

As you can see, although Ralph is 4th place in the money raising race, he is second in the cash-on-hand race. This frugal spending bodes well for the final days of the race when those undecideds (a quarter of the electorate) will chose their candidate or soft supporters will shift.

But as my future boss Kirk Jowers notes, you can't horde cash for too long
"They can't wait now," he said. "They have to start spending. If they wait until the first week of September, it will probably be too late."

Nevertheless Ralph didn't waste his money on billboards, like Buhler and Christensen have. Instead, he has done more innovate means of flashing his sigange around town

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Good for the Gander

When Rep. Rob Bishop introduced the Cedar Mountains Wilderness Act, he did so babbling about "local stakeholders." The environmental community praised him for getting the bill passed last year, which in turn reduced SUWA's wilderness proposal by about 100,000 acres.

In fact, that same local vs. east coast liberals talking point was the reason his Chief of Staff Scott Parker gave me when I stopped by the office this spring to ask him to support SUWA's proposal to make over 10 million acres in Utah wilderness areas. That is, such wilderness bills should only pass if Utah's delegation approves of it.

But then I saw this:
Bishop took the lead this week in trying to kill a measure to designate the Eightmile River in Connecticut as part of the federal Wild and Scenic Rivers system ...
...supporters of the measure - which passed the House Tuesday by a 253-172 vote - say Bishop is out to embarrass freshmen Democrat Rep. Joe Courtney. Bishop, a Republican, tried to send the bill back to committee Tuesday with instructions to amend the bill - a move used often by Republicans this year to kill measures. Bishop says he wanted to make sure there is language to protect homeowners and landowners.
The Day of New London, Conn., however, said Bishop and the Republicans' opposition to the river designation was to foil Courtney's attempt to pass legislation, a move the newspaper said was payback for Courtney's razor-thin win in November.
"After 10 years of hard, bipartisan work by local citizens, elected officials and environmental organizations to protect Connecticut's Eightmile River and its rural watershed, GOP clowns made political hay of the effort last week, following the lead of a Utah Republican and defeating the wild and scenic designation for the river," the newspaper's editorial said last week referring to a procedural block Bishop helped initiate. "It was just their way of getting back at Rep. Courtney."
Bishop says his effort was solely focused on protecting private landowners and he otherwise supports the state's effort to protect the waterway. Connecticut [Republican] Gov. Jodi Rell and the state's federal delegation all supported the measure.

So this private land owner protection routine is a new one. Bishop is trying to say that this would be like Kelo v. New London, which is crap. This is for wilderness, not a public-private development project like in Kelo.

Bishop, if you don't want Connecticut politicians interfering with Utah wilderness on behalf of the environment, how can you honestly interfere with Connecticut wilderness on behalf of private land holders? That's right, you can't

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In case you missed it

A story in today's Salt Lake Tribune caught my eye:
Provo police cited actor Gary Coleman for disorderly conduct after witnesses said they saw him having a heated discussion with a woman last Friday evening.
Passers-by told police Coleman's temper was rising and he was hitting the steering wheel of his vehicle. The witnesses were concerned and called police.
Coleman moved to Santaquin in 2005, around the time he starred in "Church Ball" an LDS-genre movie filmed in Utah County.

Now Utah County has two black people in it. I guess I am a bit Gary Coleman obsessed because I just listened to the soundtrack of one of my favorite Broadway plays Avenue Q while driving 1,070+ miles this weekend:
I'm Gary Coleman from TV's Diff'rent Strokes
I made a lot of money that got stolen by my folks
Now I'm broke, and I'm the butt of everyone's jokes
But I'm here, the superintendent of Avenue Q!

It's bad enough that Gary Coleman was exploited by his parents and TV producers, but now he has to live in Santaquin? Talk about adding insult to injury.