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Re: Mailbag



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Oh come on. Ramesh, your reader’s and Digby’s outrage is just too self-serving. Over the years we’ve heard one sweeping generalization after another about Bush voters, red-staters, “Christianists” etc. Many of these wholesale denunciations of fellow-citizens even predate the current era of anti-Bush mania. There was the NPR commentator, Andrei Condrescu who hoped that believers in the Rapture would be swept away already. “The evaporation of four million [fellow American citizens] who believe in this [Christian] crap would leave this world a better place” There was Paul Begala’s idiotic rant about Red staters being bigots. Since anti-Bushism has reached full-flower, we’ve seen whole books dedicated to the proposition that Bush-voters are religious fanatics, fools and warmongers. I have no problem with criticisms of  “hate” politics — though the devil’s in the details and politics will always involve such stuff — but let’s not let even the hint that liberals have avoided hating their fellow citizens go unchallenged. 

Duncan Hunter ‘08--why not?



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I now think that any conservative politicians out there with any ambition to be president, no matter how far-fetched, should throw their hats in the ring. It looks to be shaping up to be a McCain-Romney race, but you never know. If Romney stumbles–and we’ve already seen how far off the mark early handicapping can be–it will be wide open for a non-McCain conservative in the race. Will that candidate be Duncan Hunter? Very, very, very, very, very unlikely. But if there’s any year for extremely long shots to run, this is it.

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America Alone



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In at the office this morning, tried to cadge a copy of Mark Steyn’s book from Mike Potemra.  (Literary editors often have more than one copy of a book lying around.)  No, said Mike, he’d only had one copy, and it had gone to the reviewer (Stanley Kurtz in our current issue).

Went down to the Borders on 2nd Avenue.  Their computer showed three copies, but when they checked the shelves, they’d all gone.  “Sometimes the computer doesn’t keep up,” explained the lady.

Home to Huntington, to our big indie bookseller, the Book Revue.  They’d had some copies, but were all sold out, and their supplier was too.

Finally tracked down a copy at the B&N in Huntington Station.

That sound you hear?  Oh, that’s the envious gnashing of the teeth of people who write political books, watching America Alone fly off the shelves.

[Consolation prize:  I got two entries in the index, Jonah only one.  Ha!] 

Web Briefing: July 14, 2014

Mailbag



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A reader writes:

I just saw this article by Paul Burgess, who was one of Bush’s lead speechwriters: http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2006/102006/10282006/232595/printer_friendly He basically whips himself into a lather of rage and self-confessed hatred against what basically amounts to half of his own countrymen (anyone who doesn’t like Bush or the Iraq war, he hates). My point is, do you think we can have a moratorium on talking about “unhinged” liberals and Democrats?  It actually frightens me that the Bush administration would have people like this working for them, people who literally hate America (or half of America, anyway). Digby has a good summary of this particular Republican/conservative malady:One thing to keep in mind about this: he’s not getting his hate on about politicians. It’s about his fellow citizens. They complain mightily about “Bush hatred,” and there’s been plenty of it. But there’s a difference between hating the leader of a political party and hating your fellow Americans. Take a look at the Amazon listings of political books and you’ll see the difference is stark.
Well, I’m not in favor of any of the hatred described in that article, but I don’t think that the distinction between hating a political leader and hating ordinary people really works here. Burgess seems to hate Democratic leaders and pols, although a very few of his constructions admit of a broader reading. And I have certainly read liberal op-eds and blog entries that express contempt for Bush voters as a class. My sense is that at the present historical moment, there is more “unhingedness” on the left than on the right, although the reverse would have been true circa 1996-97. But I have no deep investment in the idea.

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This Moment in Ecumenical Understanding



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brought to you by NRO: John Paul II “was mad that the communists presumed to think that they owned men’s souls because in his mind the Church was the rightful owner of men’s souls. That’s why he hated Communism. Well, nobody owns my soul. That’s why I hate Communism.”

When Republicans talk about localizing the election…



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this is probably not what they have in mind:

This doesn’t happen every day: An incumbent member of Congress, in the middle of a re-election battle, says that storing nuclear waste shipments from around the world in her district may be a good idea.

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt does say that, and her support for studying the idea has become an issue in her re-election campaign, especially in rural Pike County, in the far eastern end of her sprawling Southern Ohio District, where the nuclear wastes would be stored.

Armey of Strawmen



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I found this a pretty useful counterweight to the “it’s all the theocrats’ fault” line we’re hearing from a lot of libertarians these days. Don’t get me wrong, I think Armey, Sager et al have some strong arguments and I don’t agree entirely with Ali Bubba’s analysis. But it’s worth noting that the “blame the Christianists” story line is a narrative which leaves out some important factors.

Niall Ferguson



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He has written a typically glib and shallow piece on the upcoming elections. Like seemingly everyone else, he swoons for Sen. Obama. Not that anyone in the punditocracy seems to care, but the guy has never had a serious race. I don’t think their praise would keep him from having one in ‘08.

Ferguson finds the time to pat himself on the back:

The most prescient column I wrote in 2004 (for which I was roundly abused by many Bush loyalists) was “Republicans for Kerry”, which the Wall Street Journal ran two months before the presidential election.

My prediction was that a second term for Bush would be a disaster for the Republican Party. “Its idée fixe about regime change in Iraq,” I wrote, “was not a logical response to the crisis of 9/11. Its fiscal policy has been an orgy of irresponsibility.”

“If he secures re-election,” I argued, “Bush can be relied upon to press on with a foreign policy based on pre-emptive military force, to ignore the impending fiscal crisis (on Vice-President Dick Cheney’s principle that “deficits don’t matter”) and to pursue socially conservative objectives such as the constitutional ban on gay marriage. Anyone who thinks this combination will serve to maintain Republican Party unity is dreaming; it will surely do the opposite.”

Not bad predictions. 

I’m guessing that the “abuse” wasn’t all that terrible, but let’s ignore that. None of these four predictions looks especially impressive. 1) On foreign policy, what exactly could Bush have done over the last two years to invalidate Ferguson’s prediction? He hasn’t pre-emptively invaded any other country. It’s true that he hasn’t repudiated the Iraq venture, but did anyone expect him to? 2) As for “ignor[ing] the impending fiscal crisis,” Bush proposed a net-present-value reduction in future Social Security benefits of several trillion dollars. He spent the first few months of 2005 going on and on about the impending fiscal crisis. If Ferguson’s claim here is merely that Bush hasn’t raised taxes, then he gets another point for accuracy but it’s a trivial one. 3) Bush actually dropped the push for a marriage amendment fairly publicly in early 2005. But yes, he has continued “to pursue socially conservative objectives.” 4) Shockingly, the Republicans are having a bad sixth-year election.

More Ohio



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From another reader:

Dear Jonah,

In response to your earlier emailer:
Of course conservatives adore Ken Blackwell and have similar sentiments for DeWine as McCain. That’s like saying that nationally conservatives liked Phil Gramm more than Arlen Specter. Not much profundity there. There are two more meaningful issues:

(1) most Ohioans do not realize how liberal Sherrod Brown is. Can most Ohioans distinguish Brown and Strickland (Blackwell’s gubernatorial opponent) issue-wise? I don’t think so. It seems to me that most Ohioans view Sherrod Brown as a typical wheeny moderate Ohio politician and not the to-the-left-of-Kucinch liberal that he is. Because Brown doesn’t talk about the crazy stuff (Dept. of Peace) that has gotten Kucinch so much attention most people perceive a difference that doesn’t exist.

(2) Is there anyone, who doesn’t follow politics closely, who knows anything about DeWine? In Ohio we can assume that the number of politically interested conservative and liberal voters roughly cancel out. And what do moderates and independents know about DeWine? Unfortunately, they know that he is a Republican and that Taft and co. are Republicans. The economy in Ohio actually sucks, and state-wide Republicans are rightfully getting called on it. As one of the brilliant columnists (Barone maybe?) noted this morning, Ohio is the only state were the economy is a bigger issue than Iraq. I am now in Boston for law school, and it seems like Massachussetts might be an easier climate for Republicans than Ohio is.

Love your stuff. Keep fighting the good fight.
 

Senate Headlines



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MD: Washington Times: “Steele regrets the race issue not mentioned in Cardin debate“; Washington Post: “Debate Puts Steele on Defense”; Baltimore Sun: “Cardin and Steele face the nation“; “The grand inquisitor” ; New York Sun: “Maryland Senate Candidates Spar Over Iraq, Abortion

MO: AP: “Newspapers Split On Talent, McCaskill Endorsements“; St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Medicaid is hot issue in Senate race“; Time: “Battling for the Show-Me Moms“;

MT: AP: “Bush, Cheney to stump for Montana senator“; Billings Gazette: “Absentee ballot number hitting record level“;

NJ: New York Times: “New Jersey’s Senate Race“; Washington Times: “Gay ruling may boost N.J. values vote”; AP: “Poll: Menendez holds small lead“; “NJ Senate race may hinge on women voters“; Cherry Hill Courier Post: ”Menendez to visit Camco today“; Newark Star Ledger: “Voters beware: Internet gives free rein to jabs

OH: Ohio News Network: “Michael J. Fox To Visit Columbus“; Chronicle-Telegram: Brown talks vets’ issues“; Cincinnati Enquirer: ”The heat is on“; Cleveland Plain Dealer: Brown, DeWine take messages to the people“; The Morning Journal: ”Brown discusses health care with area veterans”; News-Herald.com: Re-elect DeWine to the U.S. Senate

PA: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Poll: Pennsylvania’s young voters are optimistic“; Lancaster Newspapers: “Santorum on Casey: ‘He has no ideas’”; Philadelphia Inquirer: ” A big sign of support for Santorum“; “Voters are engaged, motivated“; Pittsburgh Post Gazette: “Santorum charges Casey with abetting terrorism

RI: Providence Journal: “The people Whitehouse listens to

TN: Jackson Sun: ”Ford campaigning in West Tenn. today“; Gallatin News Examiner: “Corker, Ford camps work hard for every vote in close contest“;  Nashville City Paper: “Ford, Corker bring laughs, applause, jeers in final debate“; American Spectator:”Harold Ford’s Offensive Gaffe”

VA: Washington Post: “On Transportation, Allen and Webb Share Views“; Washington Times: “Allen credo is put to the test“; “Webb of deception”;  Los Angeles Chronicle: “Republicans and Democrats Agree: George Allen’s Campaign Is The Worst“; Virginian Pilot: “Pigskin in hand, Sen. Allen chats up voters”

DeWine



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He actually has a more conservative record than conservatives give him credit for. He’s a bit like former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald of Illinois in that respect. Fitzgerald cast generally conservative votes but still managed to irritate conservatives, especially political junkies. I didn’t agree with DeWine’s immigration vote, or his participation in the Gang of 14. But is going south on ANWR really a good enough reason to abandon DeWine?

House Headlines



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AZ-8:  Tucson Citizen: “Revere: In CD-8 race, your vote counts as never before“; AP: “Candidates draw outside support for race“; latest poll: Graf (R) 38%, Giffords (D) 48%

CA-11: San Francisco Chronicle: “Candidates trot out vets to win votes: Defense, Iraq war dominate political pitches on all sides“; latest poll: Pombo (R) 41%, McNerney (D) 40%

CO-4: Rocky Mountain News: “Republicans take a look in the mirror: With polls favoring Dems, GOP split on what’s behind their party’s woes“; “Ads pit disabled vet against disabled vet“; latest poll: Musgrave (R) 42%, Paccione (D) 45% 

CT-5: AP: “Poll shows Murphy with slight lead“; Hartford Courant: “Johnson Losing Her Hold?“; latest poll: Johnson (R) 42%, Murphy (D) 46%

CT-4: Connecticut Post: “Students key to a Shays or Farrell win“; latest poll: Shays (R) 43%, Farrell (D) 43%

FL-16: South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Fall of Foley overshadows campaigns for congressional seat“; Palm Beach Post: “Two seem cut from same cloth in some ways, but patterns split“; latest poll: Negron (R) 43%, Mahoney (D) 50%

FL-22: AP: “Shaw, Klein face off in their final debate ahead of Nov. 7 election“; South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Shaw seizes on environment in fighting strong congressional challenge by Klein“; latest poll: Shaw (R) 42%, Klein (D) 48%

IL-6: Chicago Tribune: “Suburbs to Chicago: Butt out of our congressional elections“; Chicago Daily Herald: “Voters unhappy with GOP, but it has little to do with scandal“; “Key races near even“; latest poll: Roskam (R) 46%, Duckworth (D) 42%

IN-9: New York Times: “Bush Shows Potency in Rallying the Faithful“; AP: “Bush stumps for Sodrel in southern Indiana’s 9th District“; Indiana Daily Student: ”Bush travels to Indiana to rally for Sodrel“; latest poll: Sodrel (R) 45%, Hill (D) 47%

KY-2: Louisville Courier-Journal: “Scrappy battle for 2nd District could be pivotal: Lewis faces tough re-election fight“; latest poll: Lewis (R) 50%, Weaver (D) 42%

KY-4: AP: “Democrats pushing hard to win Kentucky congressional seats“; latest poll: Davis (R) 46%, Lucas (D) 44%

MN-1: Wall Street Journal: “In Minnesota,’Everyman’ on the Ballot: Political Novice Battles Republican Incumbent, With Iraq and Immigration at Forefront“; Bloomberg News: “Bush, Republicans Find Strong Economy Doesn’t Win Middle Class“; latest poll: Gutknecht (R) 48%, Walz (D) 47%

NC-11: New York Times: “In Key House Races, Democrats Run to the Right“; News and Observer: “Big names put Western N.C. race on the map“; latest poll: Taylor (R) 43%, Shuler (D) 51%

NH-2: Washington Post: “As Elections Near, Dueling With Dollars: Party Operatives Try To Influence Races“; Concord Monitor: “Bass, Hodes lay out differences: They take questions from public in debate“; lastest poll: Bass (R) 39%, Hodes (D) 48%

NM-1: Los Angeles Times: “All politics is local? New Mexico is test“; latest poll: Wilson (R) 42%, Madrid (D) 45%

NV-2: AP: “President Bush Plans Visit To Northern Nevada“; latest poll: Porter (R) 41%, Hafen (D) 37%

NY-26: Amherst Record: “Reynolds leads the PAC“; CNS News: “White House Accused of Using Tax Dollars to Boost Struggling Republicans“; Washington Post: “Midterm Vote May Define Rove’s Legacy“; latest poll: Reynolds (R) 50%, Davis (D) 45%

OH-2: Georgetown News Democrat: “Race is on for Congress: Schmidt is challenged by Wulsin“; latest poll: Schmidt (R) 45%, Wulsin (D) 48%

OH-15: Dayton Daily News: “House GOP could suffer major blow from Ohio voters“; Columbus Dispatch: “GOP can’t spare cash for local races in ’06: Tight statewide races take nearly every dollar“; latest poll: Pryce (R) 41%, Kilroy (D) 53%

OH-18: Athens News: “National parties spending little on 6th House race, lots on 18th“; Canton Repository: “Race for 18th district has national implications“; latest poll: Padgett (R) 41%, Space (D) 48%

PA-4: Beaver County Times: “Altmire’s putting Hart to the test“; AP: ”Laura Bush touts GOP candidates at Pa. campaign stop“; latest poll: Hart (R) 46%, Altmire (D) 42%

PA-7: Chester Daily Local Online: “Mired in untimely scandal, Weldon turns to his base“; latest poll: Weldon (R) 43%, Sestak (D) 50%

PA-10: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Congressman’s indiscretion endangers a GOP seat“; latest poll: Sherwood (R) 38%, Carney (D) 50%

TX-22: Houston Chronicle: “Write-in tightens race in District 22: Sekula-Gibbs running close to Lampson for the seat DeLay held“; New York Times: “A Tangle of a Race to Fill DeLay’s Old Seat“; latest poll: Sekula-Gibbs (R) 28%, Lampson (D) 36%

WA-8: New York Times: “Liberal Republican Suburb Turns Furious With G.O.P.”; latest poll: Riechert (R) 50%, Burner (D) 47%

WI-8: Green Bay Press Gazette: “Gard, Kagen in a dead heat“; latest poll: Gard (R) 46%, Kagen (D) 48%

Seriously...



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On CNN just now, I’m watching Duncan Hunter announce his run for the White House. Really.

In case you are wondering, he and Ronald Reagan brought down the Soviet Union. So much for John O’Sullvan’s book!

UPDATE: CNN, by the wake, broke live to the announcement and made Jeff Greenfield do analysis without laughing.

This Just In



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On Fox right now they’re showing the headline: “New Trend: Very young girls wearing sexy costumes.”

Yeah, back in the good old days it was only the grandmothers who wore those.

Cheney Interview



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I’m down in D.C. where I just finished my interview with Vice President Cheney. We’ll air the entire interview on CNBC’s Kudlow & Company this evening.

A few highlights:

I mentioned that stocks have been going up while GOP polls have been going down, and whether the market was signaling it wants a divided government after 6 years of GOP rule. Cheney doesn’t think so. He talked about how Republicans passed the investor tax cuts – and how this has boosted the U.S. stock market and economy, and reignited growth

We discussed Charlie Rangel telling CNN this weekend that he didn’t want to raise taxes and how Nancy Pelosi told me in our interview last week that she wants tax hikes as a last resort. Despite all this, he still believes they’re tax hike threats.

Mr. Cheney took the no new tax hike pledge and although he can’t speak for the President, he believes he would veto any potential tax hike bill.

On the midterms, the Vice President was still very much optimistic for a GOP victory on November 7th.

With respect to backdating stock options: he’s concerned about this, but he’s not in favor of additional regulation on hedge funds and private equity funds. He also said he’s willing to work with Pelosi on easing the overreglation of Sarbanes-Oxley.

He was not hopeful of capturing al-Sadr whose death squad militias are causing sectarian strife throughout Iraq. Nor was he hopeful about a “big victory” event that would give hope to people like myself who want to win the war. I mentioned Vicksburg and The Battle of Midway and he basically said this isn’t that kind of war.

Tune in to the show tonight to catch the whole interview…

DeWhining about Ohio



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Two more representative emails:

Mr. Goldberg,

I agree with the Email you posted from Ohio. I too am a conservative Ohioan in a conservative part of the state. DeWine is such a downer that it has chilled the enthusiasm.  When I think of DeWine, I think of the “Gang of 14,” and his opposition to ANWAR.  My Emails to his office over the last four or five years usually go unanswered.  When they are answered, that are answered weeks later with the usual trite dismissals of my position.  I was going to leave the Senate vote blank (‘cause it makes little difference), but I guess I’ll vote for DeWine, but do nothing else to help.  I am all in for Blackwell and have contributed to my neighbor state race for Santorum.

 The reason DeWine will lose is that DeWine turned his back on his constituents.  Good riddance Mike, we hardly knew ya.

And:

Jonah,   If you look at the polls, DeWine is doing better than is Blackwell.  However much conservatives, myself included, may dislike DeWine for going along with the Gang of Fourteen, he is clearly the lesser of two evils and this reality (not to mention control of the Senate) will lead conservative voters to hold their noses and vote DeWine.  However, the political waters are so sullied her in Ohio that any marginally viable Democratic candidates, such as Brown and Strickland, are likely to win the independent vote by large margins, and with that, the election.

I’m Amazed



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that CNN keeps showing that video of Mrs. Cheney vs. Blitzer. (I’ve seen it easily three times today alone on CNN.)

The World Will Not End Tomorrow



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Or in a hundred year’s time, for that matter.  Today’s Stern Review from the British government has been marketed as saying global warming means economic catastrophe if we do not decarbonize our economy now and is therefore being used to justify green taxes in the near future.

Well, let’s take a look at what the Review actually says.  I applauded the announcement of the review because it was obvious that the economic assumptions on which global warming models are based needs to be questioned.  Yet the review missed the point and just took these assumptions as read.  Actually, they did even less than that.  As Tim Worstall shows, they only picked one economic scenario (IPCC SRES A2 for the cognoscenti) and measured the effets of global warming from that, before adding one with worse feedbacks than the UN “consensus” currently forecasts (see where this going?).  That model just happens to be one with very high – 15 billion – population and low amounts of globalization, precisely the opposite of current trends.  As Tim concludes:

Their entire report and justification is based upon the following:

1) Mitigating climate change will cost more than business as usual in the short term.

2) Mitigating climate change will cost less than business as usual in the long term, as the costs of mitigation will, in the longer term, be outweighed by the costs saved of adaptation (or to be more precise, the damage to economic output caused by climate change).

3) We need to make some unusual assumptions about discount rates to show this to be so.

OK, I was certainly willing to believe them, willing to give it a try. But, that appalling faliure in their own modelling: only taking a medium high emissions scenario and then one with further feedback mechanisms to do your sums on.

Here: Page 61 in chapter 3. Before I believe any more of this I’m going to have to have explained to me why projecting savings from a 15 billion people world, with a medium high emissions scenario, creating global GDP of $ 243 trillion, and being able to save 20%  (or c. $50 trillion) by spending lots of money now is a better idea than other options such as A1 F1 (world markets, 7 billion people, $550 trillion….note that people are not two times richer here, they are four times richer than in the A2 scenario) or B1 or even B2….where we don’t spend any money now.

It’s almost as if that model were deliberately chosen isn’t it? The one that shows the lowest future wealth and thus makes the discounting make current expenditure look good?

Surely not?

Good question, A2 is clearly the outlier scenario, producing by far the worst results in terms of temperature rise at the end of the century.  That’s an irresponsible choice of model.  

Yet even under the A2 scenario, what Stern is saying is that, with all the negative consequences he has added on top of the scenario, the world will still be 4.25 to 9.5 times richer than it is now, instead of 5 to 10 times greater.  Catastrophe canceled, if you ask me.

Meanwhile, Stern asks us to believe that stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations at 550 parts per million (we’re at 430 now) would only cost 1 percent of global GDP.  There have been huge numbers of economic studies looking at the cost of stabilization at 650 ppm and they suggest a cost of 2-5 percent.  It’s inconceivable we could achieve 550 ppm for lower cost (there haven’t been nearly as many studies done at that level).

In short, Stern missed the point of his own review.  Unless, of course, the whole point was to provide justification for a series of tax rises.  Perish the thought.

Meanwhile, ConservativeHome has a wry take on the whole thing.

Re: NJ Polyamory



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By the way, I don’t mean that the New Jersey ruling by itself will suffice to usher in polyamory. But the logic of that ruling certainly might someday be carried forward by future rulings to apply to families like the one described in today’s NYT. For precedents, see “Slope Slipped.”

At Last



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A good George Allen flier just arrived in my mailbox. Rather than saying Jim Webb is a big meanie who doesn’t like women, it says “Jim Webb wants to rob Virginia families of the Marriage Penalty tax cuts, the Death Tax cuts, and the increased per-child tax credit.” There’s some detail on the flip side, and it cites the Heritage Foundation as a source. There’s also a photo of Webb with John Kerry. “Virginians simply can’t afford Jim Webb. No way he should be our Senator.”

This is a theme the Allen campaign should have been sounding for a couple of months now. The problem with Webb is that he’s too liberal. Better late than never, I suppose.

The NRSC had nothing to do with it, by the way. The Republican Party of Virginia paid for the flier.

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