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Posts filed under Republicans

Gas Prices Drop Below $2.00

Filed in PoliticsTags: Democrats, Economy, Elections, Missouri, Republicans, Saint Louis

Democrats' worst post-Labor-Day nightmare, Part I:

Gas Prices 002

Gas Prices in the St. Louis area fall below $2.00. Here is the gas station nearest my house.
Photo © Chip Bennett, all rights reserved.

Great timing, Claire [emphasis added]:

“Considering that Jim Talent thinks giving tax breaks to oil companies raking in record profits is the best way to lower gas prices, it’s difficult to see how keeping him in the Senate will result in cheaper prices at the pump,” DSCC spokesman Phil Singer said. “Claire McCaskill thinks it makes more sense to eliminate those tax breaks so that we can invest in alternative energy sources like ethanol. That’s the kind of change that’s needed to deal with the record gas prices.”

Plame-Gate: Flame-Out

Filed in PoliticsTags: Media Bias, Republicans, War on Terror

I told you so.

Christopher Hitchens lays it out.

Plame-Gate, Part I: The Joe Wilson Niger Affair:

I have now presented thousands of words of evidence and argument to the effect that, yes, the Saddam Hussein regime did send an important Iraqi nuclear diplomat to Niger in early 1999. And I have not so far received any rebuttal from any source on this crucial point of contention.

Plame-Gate, Part II: The "Outing" of Valerie Plame:

But there was always another layer to the Joseph Wilson fantasy. Easy enough as it was to prove that he had completely missed the West African evidence that was staring him in the face, there remained the charge that his nonreport on a real threat had led to a government-sponsored vendetta against him and his wife, Valerie Plame.

In his July 12 column in the Washington Post, Robert Novak had already partly exposed this paranoid myth by stating plainly that nobody had leaked anything, or outed anyone, to him. On the contrary, it was he who approached sources within the administration and the CIA and not the other way around. But now we have the final word on who did disclose the name and occupation of Valerie Plame, and it turns out to be someone whose opposition to the Bush policy in Iraq has—like Robert Novak's—long been a byword in Washington. It is particularly satisfying that this admission comes from two of the journalists—Michael Isikoff and David Corn—who did the most to get the story wrong in the first place and the most to keep it going long beyond the span of its natural life.

And the conclusion:

The answer to that question (of whether the Intelligence Identities Protection Act had been broken), as Patrick Fitzgerald has since determined, is "no." But there were plenty of senior people who had known that all along. And can one imagine anybody with a stronger motive to change the subject from CIA incompetence and to present a widely discredited agency as, instead, a victim, than Tenet himself? The man who kept the knowledge of the Minnesota flight schools to himself and who was facing every kind of investigation and obloquy finally saw a chance to change the subject. If there is any "irony" in the absurd and expensive and pointless brouhaha that followed, it is that he was abetted in this by so many who consider themselves "radical."

Checkmate.

(Hat tip: Lucianne)

Polls: As Worthless as the PDFs They’re Written On

Filed in PoliticsTags: Democrats, Media Bias, Republicans

So, I keep hearing this Bush 37% approval rating number thrown around.

Yeah, about that: it comes from an AP-IPSOS poll (.pdf file) taken 6-8 March. The poll has some interesting internals (I'm particularly fond of the cluelessness revealed by the 77% who believe it "likely" that civil war will break out in Iraq), but the telling number is this demographic (found on page 10 of 13):

Total Republican: 39
Total Democrat: 51

Now, I can't find the actual numbers from, say, the 2004 elections with respect to votes cast by party affiliation, but if I remember correctly, registered voters were evenly split (and Republicans may have even had a slight advantage). Still wonder why that approval rating number looks so low?

Via RealClearPolitics.

Clone The Truth: Stem-Cell Research Splits Republicans

Filed in Politics, Science, Social IssuesTags: Clone The Truth, Cloning, Democrats, Republicans, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Today's obfuscation comes from roto-Reuters, in Stem Cell Research Splits Republicans.

Getting right into it:

The Republican rift pits religious conservatives and abortion foes who oppose the research on moral grounds against supporters who tout its potential benefits in fighting diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Embryonic Stem Cell (ESC) research has proven no potential for benefits in fighting or curing any diseases. Adult Stem Cells (ASRs), however, have already proven to be efficacious in treating Parkinson's Disease, and are beginning to demonstrate effectiveness in fighting Alzheimer's Disease. Proponents of ESC research never seem to note these accomplishments of ASRs, nor do the MSM outlets reporting on stem-cell related news and issues.

With polls showing large majorities of Americans backing stem-cell research, some Republican candidates find themselves stuck in the middle. Democrats, who largely support the research, are eager to take advantage of their quandary.

Large majorities of Americans back stem-cell research? No differentiation between ASC and ESC research? This 2001 ABC News poll says most Americans support stem cell research, yet buried in the article is this note:

In a poll it released last month, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops posed the issue by saying "live embryos would be destroyed" for undefined "experiments"; it found 70 percent opposed. By contrast, a pro-research poll didn't mention embryos, referring to "excess fertilized eggs" and listing seven "deadly diseases" the research could help treat. It found 77 percent in favor.

Words matter.

In Missouri, supporters are gathering signatures to put a referendum on the state ballot in November that would protect certain types of stem-cell research.

Not "certain types" - all types. The initiative redefines "cloning" as "not cloning":

Voting YES on the Initiative protects stem cell research and cures - and strictly prohibits human cloning.

Clearly, a state ban on any lifesaving stem cell research and cures that are allowed in our country would be unfair to Missouri patients and medical institutions. The Stem Cell Initiative will prevent such unfair bans by making it clear in our state constitution that any stem cell research and cures allowed under federal law will continue to be allowed in Missouri.

It also sets responsible boundaries and guidelines to ensure that stem cell research is conducted ethically and safely. And, it resolves concerns that stem cell research could lead to human cloning by strictly banning any attempt to clone a human being.

And intentionally to confuse the issue with voters, and practically requires the state to fund research with public funds.

But he recently dropped support for a controversial ban on human cloning and offered a compromise on stem-cell research, angering conservatives who were among his base supporters.

The proposed cloning ban is "controversial" in the same way that Cheney's hunting accident was "news" - only because the MSM tried to make it so. Yet another 2001 ABC News poll found that 9 out of 10 Americans oppose human reproductive cloning, and Americans oppose human therapeutic cloning 2 to 1.

"Talent is in a political no man's land where he is in the line of fire from people on both sides of the issue," said Sam Lee, director of Campaign Life Missouri, an anti-abortion lobbying group. Lee said opponents of stem-cell research were angry enough to skip voting for Talent in November.

Right, Republicans are going to allow - actively or passively - the staunchly pro-ESC research Claire McCaskill to unseat Talent. Roto-Reuters is smoking the funny mushrooms again.

Stem-cell research is opposed by conservative groups who compare it to abortion because it destroys embryos. But supporters, including some Republicans who oppose abortion rights, say the research offers crucial hope for medical breakthroughs.

Again, ESC research has offered no hope whatsoever - much less, "crucial hope" - for any medical breakthrough, while ASC research has already yielded at least 65 treatments, and the numbers keep growing. (Caveat emptor: the "Stem Cell Research Foundation" is complicit in the redefinition of terminology, including this statement: "Therapeutic cloning is not the same as reproductive cloning, which is intended to genetically duplicate a person" knowing full-well that SCNT genetically duplicates the donor of the somatic cell. However, even their "what's new" section cannot hide the fact that ASCs produce benefit, cure, and therapy after benefit, cure, and therapy while ESCs are long on hype and woefully short on results.)

Via John Combest.

Filibustering to Facilitate Fraud

Filed in PoliticsTags: Democrats, Elections, Missouri, Republicans

Missouri Senate Democrats intend to filibuster a bill requiring government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. Their justification? Typical democrat non-sequitur:

Democrats say the Republican aim is to suppress turnout among the poor, elderly and disabled — many of whom lost their Medicaid coverage last year and would be more likely to vote Democratic this fall.

Someone make me smart; what does being poor, elderly, or disabled have to do with obtaining and presenting a government-issued photo ID when voting?

Now, the real constituency in danger with this bill is the deceased vote (the Democrats' strongest voting bloc in the Saint Louis area). Given the difficulty of providing photo IDs for dead people (and the additional provision in the bill, repealing the state law allowing people to appeal their removal from voter rolls - something intended to cull voter rolls of those who have already assumed room temperature), I can completely understand why state democrats would want to block passage of this bill.

The final nail in the coffin (so to speak) to the democrats' fraud-vote efforts is the bill's provision eliminating Missouri's early voting.

UPDATE:

For reference: Senate Bill SB1014 Summary:

Under current law, election authorities shall arrange registration cards in binders or authorize the creation of computer lists to document voter registration. This act requires election authorities to use the Missouri voter registration system to prepare a precinct register of legally registered voters for each precinct.

The act bars persons from compensating others for registering voters. Those who agree to or offer to submit a voter registration application for another person shall not knowingly destroy, deface, or conceal such an application and shall submit the application to the election authority within seven days of accepting the application. Those in violation of these provisions are guilty of a class four election offense.

Persons paid for soliciting more than ten voter registration applications, other than those paid by the government, must register with the secretary of state as a voter registration solicitor. A solicitor must be eighteen years old, registered to vote in Missouri, and register for every election cycle. Penalties for the failure to register are provided in the act.

The act allows anyone who believes a violation of the Help America Vote Act has occurred, is occurring, or is about to occur may file a complaint with the elections division of the secretary of state's office. Complaint requirements are established.

The act amends personal identification requirements to be shown to gain voter eligibility at polling places. The identification must be issued by the United States or the state of Missouri, include the individual’s name and photograph, and must have not expired before the date of the most recent general election. Voters with physical or mental disabilities, handicaps or sincerely held religious beliefs who do not have sufficient identification are exempt from the requirement if they execute an affidavit stating such a sufficient reason. These individuals may cast a provisional ballot.

The act allows for issuing non-driver's licenses with photographic images to fulfill the identification requirement. The state of Missouri shall pay all the legally required fees for applicants for non-driver's licenses. Persons residing in convalescent, nursing, and boarding homes shall be issued a non-driver’s license through a mobile processing system operated by the department of revenue at no cost.

Procedures to be followed to establish a voter's eligibility to vote at a polling place are established. Provisional ballots are allowed in some circumstances. Prior to counting provisional ballots, the election authority must determine if the voter is registered and eligible to vote, and the vote was properly cast. Procedures for this determination are included in the act.

Under the act, state courts shall not have jurisdiction to extend polling hours.

Procedures for inspecting ballot cards are established.

The act makes the engaging in any act of violence, destruction of property having a value of five hundred dollars or more, or threatened act of violence with the intent of denying a person’s lawful right to participate in the election process, and knowingly providing false information about election procedures for the purpose of preventing someone from going to the polls, a class one election offense and a felony.

This act repeals provisions requiring election authorities to establish advance voting plans. This act also repeals current law allowing voters to appeal the removal of their name from voter registration records.

This act contains an emergency clause.

SB1014 Full Text

Regular reader Dwayne comments:

As far as why the requirement for a government issued ID (beyond, I assume a voter registration card) is discriminatory is because the population that you describe is much more likely than the general population not to have such a card already. You've most likely already got a driver's license. Odds are much greater that the poor, elderly, and disabled do not. So they would have to invest time and money for something of very limited value to their subsistence lives. Yes, they can get one. But if you're worrying about having enough food for the day, you're not going to "waste" any money and effort on getting a silly card.

As these arguments are fairly common for such legislation, I'll address them here, rather than in the comments.

I don't find the argument very persuasive that the poor, elderly, or disabled are especially disadvantaged or disinclined to have or get a government-issued photo ID in order to vote.

First, voting is both a privilege and a responsibility. Ensuring that voting is free of fraud and an accurate reflection of the will of the citizenry is of such paramount importance that some inconvenience toward that end on the part of the voters is acceptable.

Second, the requirement itself does not present an undue burden, since in order to vote, a person must have first made the effort to register and second made the effort to vote. Making an effort to obtain a government-issued photo ID falls in line with these activities. Presumably, if someone is able to do what is required to register to vote and to do what is required to cast a vote (namely, being able to travel to the required location), then that person is equally able to do what is required to obtain a government-issued photo ID (again, being able to travel to the required location).

Third, I believe that most/all states that have enacted similar photo-ID requirements have made provisions to allow for the impoverished to obtain an ID (in order not to violate the poll-tax laws). If the state were to charge $50 for an ID, I would agree with your argument. However, according to this Post-Dispatch article:

Gibbons, R-Kirkwood, replied that there's no intent to "suppress voter turnout." He said free photo IDs would be made available to those who need them, and he envisions teams of state workers sent out to help photograph voters who are home-bound or in nursing homes.

The bill also makes provisions for other potential forms of discrimination:

The bill also contains an exception for disabled voters, or those who object to a photo ID on religious grounds, if they sign an affidavit at the polls verifying their reason.

Two other key points from the article:

Hearne said he believes that a photo ID will "increase voter participation," because voters will face fewer questions at the polls since they could easily prove their identity.

He emphasized that Missouri will foot the bill for the free photo ID cards.

Note the unhinged rhetoric of the bill's opponents:

But Mary A. Ratliff, president of the Missouri NAACP, called the bill "just another attempt by Republicans to keep African-Americans and people of low and middle incomes off the rolls."

Photo IDs are racist? What?

A photo ID "erects another barrier to people with disabilities," said Michelle Bishop with the Missouri Disability Vote Project.

A barrier is only erected for dead people and non-people to get a photo ID.

"This bill seeks to solve a problem that doesn't exist," said state Democratic Party spokesman Jack Cardetti. "These are the same people who the Republicans threw off Medicaid. Now they're taking away their right to vote."

Ah, yes; those EEEEEEVIL Republicans! Took granny's food and medicine away, and now they're coming for her voting rights...

The Rev. Gil Ford, regional director for the NAACP, said he was amazed that Missouri legislators were seeking to make it tougher for residents to cast ballots "at the same time that they're trying to make it easier for our soldiers to vote in Iraq."

"In preacher terms," Ford said, "we call that hypocrisy."

Hypocrisy? To make it easier for US soldiers fighting abroad to defend your right to live, vote, and make asinine statements like this one? No, sir; what is hypocritical (and unconscionable) was for Al Gore to go to court to disenfranchise those same soldiers due to absentee ballot technicalities. What is hypocritical is for you to attempt to lend moral authority to your statement by appealing to "preacher terms" while speaking as nothing more than a spokesman and political hack for a racist and ideologically discriminatory organization.

Vote fraud in Missouri is well-known and rampant. See this excerpt from a floor statement made by Senator Kit Bond in 2002:

Now our friends on the other side made fun of the fact that we had dogs registered to vote in Missouri and in Maryland. Well, that sounds kind of crazy, but the system is so sloppy, the motor voter law has made it possible for people to register dogs. I will guarantee there are a lot more fraudulent votes than just the dogs.

Some have objected and said we have not shown widespread fraud in St. Louis. Oh, yes, we have. Wherever we have looked, we have found fraud. Wherever we have looked, we have found ineligible people voting, dead people voting, felons voting--in Virginia, Wisconsin, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida, and Texas.

What we found that in Missouri they had judges ordering people to be registered to vote. They went before a judge, and he said: Why are you not registered? One said: I am a Democrat. Another one said: I want to vote for Gore. Another one said: I have been a felon and forgot to re-register. Thirteen hundred people were registered by judge order. The secretary of state went back and did an exhaustive search on those 1,300 and found 97 percent of them were not lawful votes.

In the mayoral primary in 2001, 3,000 postcard registrations were dumped on the election board on the last day. At that point, my colleagues in the other party in St. Louis, who were a lot more concerned about stealing a mayor's race than they were about stealing a Governor's race or President's race or a Senate race, raised cane.

When those postcard registrations were looked at, they were all found to have had the same handwriting--many of them had the same handwriting. They were on one or two blocks. Those have all been turned over to the prosecuting authorities. We have not gotten any convictions yet.

We also know that right before the general election in November of 2000, 30,000 postcard registrations were dumped on the St. Louis city election board. Nobody has gone back and reviewed them, but the guess is that at least 15,000 of them were fraudulent. Is it not a little bit beyond credibility that St. Louis, which had 200,000 registered voters, would on the last 2 days of registration register 30,000 people, equal to 15 percent?

That is one of the reasons St. Louis has almost as many registered voters as it has adults. It would be truly remarkable if each one of those registrations equaled a registration of somebody who was an adult human being entitled to vote in Missouri. I do not believe it. We have not had the resources to go back and check.

St. Louis RNC 2008?

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections, Missouri, Republicans, Saint Louis

Saint Louis was among 31 cities invited to bid for the 2008 Republican National Convention:

Cities that received requests for convention proposals are: Anaheim, Calif.; Atlanta; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Detroit; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Kansas City, Mo.; Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Minneapolis; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; New York; Orlando, Fla.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis, Mo.; and Tampa.

I think the Gateway City would be a great place for then convention. TexasRainmaker wants it in Houston; others think that idea is full of crap.

Inaugural Carnival of the GOP Bloggers

Filed in PoliticsTags: Carnivals, Republicans

Another Wednesday carnival, this one the Carnival of the GOP Bloggers.

Say It Ain’t So, Jim!

Filed in Politics, Science, Social IssuesTags: Clone The Truth, Cloning, Media Bias, Missouri, Republicans, Saint Louis, Sanctity of Life, Stem Cells

Hat tip: Arch City Chronicle. Also, Jamie Allman discussed this article this afternoon on 97.1 FM Talk while filling in on the Dave Glover Show. He mentioned an email I sent him regarding some of these issues.

The Post-Dispatch reports Senator Talent's capitulation on banning embryonic stem cell research in Missouri, and, as usual when reporting on stem cell research, gets the story completely wrong.

First, on the poor reporting:

Following the lead-in, the article makes the following statement:

Wading into a political minefield that has pitted abortion-rights opponents against some scientists and families struggling with debilitating diseases, Talent, R-Mo., said Friday there were "no prospects" for enacting the ban on human cloning—a bill he has co-sponsored for the last four years.

The argument that this debate pits abortion-rights opponents against scientists and families struggling with debilitating diseases is both specious and sensational. It evokes the entirely unproven notion that embryonic stem cell research has shown at all any unique promise in therapeutic benefits in order to appeal to the emotional sensibilities of an otherwise-ignorant audience. (See this previous post for related links.) The inarguable reality is that, for those families struggling with debilitating diseases, the only real hope exists right now in adult stem cell research. While embryonic stem cell research has produced not one benefit, adult stem cell research has produced some sixty-five benefits (as of July 2005) for cancer, auto-immune diseases, cardiovascular and ocular problems, neural/degenerative illnesses and injuries, anemia and other blood conditions, metabolic disorders, and various wounds and injuries.

Without this context, the uninformed reader is led to assume that without embryonic stem cell research, no hope exists for therapies or cures for such debilitating diseases. Without this context, such a reader is left ignorant even of the differentiation between adult and embryonic stem cell research. Without this context, the reader does not recognize that the ban only applies to embryonic stem cell research, preserving the efficacious adult stem cell research.

Toward the end of the article, the following statement appears:

In his speech Friday, Talent said the new form of stem cell research makes therapeutic cloning unnecessary.

In that process, also known as or somatic cell nuclear transfer, the nucleus of an unfertilized egg is replaced with the nucleus of another cell from a human body. The egg is then stimulated to divide, as it would when fertilized by a sperm, and the early stem cells are harvested. Stem cells can mature into a variety of cells to form organs and other body parts.

Now here's a semantic argument I've not yet heard; likely, because Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT) and therapeutic cloning are exactly the same thing. The two terms are interchangeable:

Therapeutic cloning (also known as somatic cell nuclear transfer, cell nuclear replacement, research cloning, and embryo cloning)...

What is unclear from this simplified description is that what results from this process is a genetically complete human cell. Stem cells are extracted from the developing embryo (at this stage, referred to as a "blastocyst"), destroying the embryo in the process. Left to its own devices, it would develop into a fully formed human being. This point is indisputible. From Clone The Truth:

SCNT is the same in both therapeutic and reproductive cloning. The only difference is whether the cloned embryo is implanted.

Implantation differentiates between therapeutic and reproductive cloning - not the process that yields the embryo in question.

It appears that the Post-Dispatch just got the story completely wrong. From the Kansas City Star, Talent is favoring not SCNT, but a technique known as "altered nuclear transfer" (ANT):

Saying new scientific research may make it possible to create stem cells without cloning human embryos, Sen. Jim Talent on Friday withdrew as co-sponsor of a bill that would ban all human cloning and make it a crime for anyone to take part in the process.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Talent said the alternative research made the bill unnecessary. The new research - called altered nuclear transfer - would provide common ground for people on all sides of the issue, he said.

First, a brief description of ANT:

Altered Nuclear Transfer uses the technology of NT but with a preemptive alteration that assures that no embrye is created. The somatic cell nucleus or the emucleated egg contents (cytoplasm) or both are first altered before the somatic cell nucleus is transferred into the egg. The alterations cause the somatic cell DNA to function in such a way that no embryo is generated, but pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are produced.

"...no embryo is generated, but pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) are produced" - a curious statement, that. In layman's terms, ANT alters the two components prior to the nuclear transfer, such that the embryonic development is genetically altered to prevent the ability of the embryo to develop fully. The claim that the embryo is non-human is clearly untrue; it is simply a human embryo genetically altered to prevent its full development. Contrary to the claims that this method eliminates ethical concerns over SCNT, I find the method to be even more morally repugnant, as researchers assume even more God-like power over the embryo, choosing which will be allowed to develop, and which will not.

ANT still performs a nuclear transfer; this process is, by definition, cloning. Regardless of how the components are genetically altered, the resultant clone still develops enough to produce human embryonic stem cells. Only a human embryo can produce human embryonic stem cells.

Now, on to Senator Talent:

From the article:

In a surprise turnabout, Sen. Jim Talent withdrew his support Friday for a controversial ban on human cloning and offered what he said was a compromise proposal that would heal the deep divide over stem cell research.

...

Talent said his alternative proposal, which he is still developing, would fund a newly emerging technology that avoids the most dicey element of the debate -- the destruction of human embryos that occurs in traditional stem cell research.

...

But even as Talent outlined his new position on Fridays -- saying he’d spent a year researching the issue -- the Missouri senator still declined to take a position on a state initiative petition that has made the stem cell debate so hot at home.

Mr. Talent, with all due respect, if you have "researched the issue" for an entire year, surely you wouldn't make the mistake of trying to differentiate between any form of nuclear transfer and therapeutic cloning. Surely you would know that no such "emerging technology" exists that would avoid the destruction of human embryos. From one of your staunchest supporters, know that you will have a great deal of explaining to do, and will have an extremely difficult time trying to justify this move.

Senator Talent, your argument fails on two points:

First, if ANT, as its proponents claim, is not cloning, and does not produce a human embryo, then it is not inconsistent with a proposed ban on human cloning. Passing such a ban - either federally, or in Missouri - would not prevent research that neither clones human DNA nor produces human embryos.

Second, if ANT is a form of human cloning, and does produce human embryos, then all the same ethical and moral questions remain. It is not then a "compromise" acceptable to both sides of the controversy, as you claim:

"There's a sense on both sides of the controversy that if you propose something that concedes something to the other side, you give up something yourself," Talent said. "It is going to become increasingly clear that the way for both sides to get what they want is to compromise."

Senator Talent, with respect to the destruction of human embryos, we have no intention of compromising on the sanctity of every life, no matter at what point in its development. We have no intention of conceding even a single human life.

Consistent with the Clone the Truth campaign, I am committed to ensuring that the truth about adult and embryonic stem cell and related research is made known. I am likewise committed to ensuring that this deceptively worded and ill-advised ballot initiative is defeated.

UPDATE:
Clone the Truth references this post, and calls ANT a "Trojan Horse."

UPDATE II:
ProLifeBlogs is now running with this story, as well, linking also to Secondhand Smoke, who in turn references Ramesh Ponnuru in NRO.

Real Congressional Reform

Filed in PoliticsTags: Democrats, Republicans

I have absolutely no confidence that, as currently arranged gerrymandered, Congress will see no meaningful reform. Why? Incumbency. Virtually every incumbent seat in the House of Representatives is safe. We have almost no real congressional challenges. Once an incumbent, always an incumbent - until death do us part.

The primary reason that incumbency inhibits legitimate election challenges under the present system is that congressional districts are so absurdly gerrymandered that virtually all districts are sufficiently homogeneous with respect to party affiliation of registered voters that an opposing party's challenger has almost no chance to unseat an incumbent. Without facing a real election challenge in a politically diverse district, incumbents become much more likely to succomb to the "Beltway syndrome" with each successive term.

Some may say that instituting term limits would solve the incumbency problem. For me, the jury is still out on that idea. But I have a better, and more eloquent answer that would both solve the gerrymandering problem, and help resolve the incumbency problem: require that ZIP codes must reside wholly in a congressional district.

The solution is simple, objective, and still maintains the proportionality of congressional districts. More importantly, as the demographics of a given congressional district change, so will the political nature of that district. As populations move in and out of ZIP code areas, district sizes will change, but such changes would not inherently favor one political party or another. (Though, given the current "red-shift" of the population from "blue" states into "red" states, and given the county-by-county election results of 2000 and 2004, the democrats may cry foul.)

I don't know the intricacies of how the ZIP code system works, but on the surface, it seems to me the idea might be viable.

Conservatives Love Condi

Filed in PoliticsTags: Elections, Republicans

Glenn Reynolds links to a straw poll indicating Condi Rice would kick the snot out of Republican contenders in the '08 primaries.

The best part of the post, though, is the comments section, which demonstrates just how much Democrats just don't get it. They still think that mainstream America holds the opinion that Republicans are the party of racists, sexists, and bigots in general:

Joefrommass: Just out of curiosity, why would R.W. republicans want to sink Condi? I thought she was their poster child.

Dude, no way. The Paleoright and the Christian Right have about as much time for her as they do for Arnold Schwartznegger. She's black, she's a woman, she's an intellectual, she's a social liberal, she's single, she's not detectably religious at all, etc. She's a certain kind of right-winger's worst nightmare. (Trent Lott, James Dobson, and Pat Buchanan for starters. Henry Kissinger and Brett Scowcroft probably can't stand her either, for different reasons.)

Moderates and formerly liberal neocons like her, though. If you haven't yet figured out that neocons are the left-wing of the Republican Party, not the right wing, well, I don't know what to tell ya.

...posted by the original poster, and summarily rejected and corrected by other commenters.

Nominating - and electing - Dr. Rice could very well be the final and ultimate triumph of the Republican right over the Democrat left. The two remaining bastions of support for Democrats - women and blacks - are already beginning to erode. (And black support will continue to erode as they realize that they are nothing more than the pawns of the Democrats: used for their votes, with nothing substantive coming back in return. The values of the black demographic, in general, are much more in line with the Republican party, and Condi Rice on the Rep. ticket may very well open their consideration of the Republican Party.

Again, for the record, history demonstrates that the Democrat party has always been on the wrong/losing side of every meaningful civil rights debate, especially women's suffrage and equal rights for blacks.

But lest anyone claim that a Rice candidacy would be used as only a "tool" or "trick" by the Republicans, Republicans - across the entire spectrum - adore Condi for who she is, what she believes, and what she has accomplished. We support her because we believe she is one heck of a Presidential candidate - in my opinion, the best of the field (even if she currently stands by her statement that she is not going to run).

Grassroots support has already begun: Draft Condi is attempting to do just that, and Condi Blogs is collecting an alliance of bloggers supporting Condi.