You probably know Ben Nighthorse Campbell as that Colorado Democratic Senator who switched parties a few years back. He’s retiring (in all likelihood, his seat will be taken by Pete Coors) this year — but that doesn’t mean he’s done with politics. Denver’s own 5280 magazine has the scoop:
U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), who in March threw Colorado politics into a panic with his announcement that he would retire from the Senate, is now considering a run for governor.
In an exclusive interview with Denver’s 5280 magazine, the 71-year-old Senator says his decision would depend on the career path taken by Colorado’s current governor, Bill Owens.
“For instance, if between now and the end of his term, he was picked for the Cabinet or some very important position by President Bush, and then our Lt. Governor became the Governor, I don’t think I would challenge her,” Campbell tells 5280. “It’s not in the best interest of the party to have an in-house fight among high-level Republicans.”
But if Owens were to finish out his term as governor, Campbell says his options would change. “If the seat was open however, I might consider it. I’ve had a number of people call and ask if I would consider it,” he says.
Republican, Democrat, whatever — I’d vote for Ben.
Today’s bullet points:
Leading Democrats describe a command structure often frozen — or at least tempered — by too many chefs, a too-heavy reliance on polls or focus groups and an aversion to risks. As a result, the message often is muddled and the reaction to hard-hitting attacks from Republicans often is slow and unconvincing.
If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because you read it here six weeks ago.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put his star power to work for President Bush on Tuesday, praising him for “perseverance, character and leadership” in a time of war and terror.
Chuck has the rest at his site.
For those who asked, yes, I will be liveblogging Bush’s speech Thursday night.
And, yes, like Kerry’s speech last month, I’ll be doing it with at least a couple martinis in me.
Light blogging tonight, thanks to some not-so-fun computer problems — Office XP crashed on me. Hard.
Not one of my Office applications will boot, not even in Safe Mode. Complicating things, the “detect and repair” feature crashes, too. Further complicating matters, I still don’t have an Office XP disc.
(If you’re wondering how I reinstalled Office after losing the disc last winter, it was easy. Since Gateway wasn’t willing to replace my lost media for anything less than full retail price, I borrowed a friend’s Enterprise Edition. Pirating? Moi? I don’t think so. I paid for the product, and I can hardly be blamed for Gateway’s “vindictive disinterest” in helping out a customer in trouble.)
So I’ve ordered a gray-area OEM edition of Office 2003, and it will be here early tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve got no spellchecker, no spreadsheets, and not even any way to finish up the GX magazine food column I have due tomorrow.
Another Kennedy in trouble:
Sen. Edward Kennedy’s nephew, William Kennedy Smith, said on Monday he had quit his job to confront what he called false allegations by a former employee that he had sexually assaulted her five years ago.
“At this point I am focusing all my energies on dealing with the situation that confronts me. The damage has been done, but the truth will be sorted out,” Kennedy, a doctor who founded and heads a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that helps disabled people in war-torn countries, told reporters.
Appearing to choke back tears of anger or frustration, Smith, 43, admitted he had a five-month relationship with Audra Soulias in 1999, who at the time was a 23-year-old employee of his Chicago-based organization.
I know how shocked you must be — “a Kennedy with a job?” And yet it’s true. And, yes, this is the same Kennedy from the famous 1991 rape trial.
Check out this page of Zogby internal numbers from an August 11-24 poll. It’s a rundown of the subset of undecideds. There were only 501 of them, out of a poll of over 19,000 likely voters. The results are counter-intuitive at first glance. Bush’s job performance number is abysmal: 23% approve, 77% disapprove. His re-elect number is better, but still not good, at 43% for and 53% against.
But he’s still favored over Kerry by 15 points, 35%-10%, with the various wannabe third parties collecting 16% and 38% of the undecided still really undecided.
While this poll, like any single poll, ought to be taken with many grains of salt, I think it’s an instructive look at this vanishingly-small cohort of remaining undecideds. They think things are generally gloomy (59% pick the “wrong track,” vs. only 19% for “right track”), they’re in agreement with the media by a large plurality (47%) that Iraq is Bush’s “most significant failure,” but they’re still trending his way by a very considerable margin. Why?
Check out this number: when asked whether they like Bush “as a person,” the numbers are staggering: 68% like, only 15% dislike. Those numbers are virtually reversed for Kerry, 52% dislike, only 16% like. That large of a difference, paired with Bush’s overall lead, suggests these voters are making their choices based on emotion, and a gut reaction of “who do I like better” that isn’t necessarily grounded in any ideology or policy stance. And frankly, what do you expect of people who’re still undecided in a race this polarized? Let’s face it–they’re not likely to be policy junkies.
On the other hand, even this cohort of the terminally undecided have apparently decided that the 2004 race is going to turn on foreign and defense matters. Interestingly, the only issues that really stand out in the policy questions are Iraq (see above)–and September 11, which is named by a large plurality (46%) as Bush’s “most significant achievement” (one must assume they mean Bush’s response to the attacks, and not the attacks themselves). Even more intriguing, Iraq is number two on that list, at 20%.
UPDATE: In the comments, a couple of readers have come up with a possible explaination that would keep Bob Schrum up at night: What if they’re dissatisfied with Bush’s job performance because they think he hasn’t been tough enough in Iraq and elsewhere?
David Schuler forwarded this story:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Entomologists say spiders are so prevalent that you’re never more than three feet away from one, anywhere you go. That realization may cause some residents of Colorado Springs to be even more jittery.
Tarantulas have been spotted in several neighborhoods in the south end of the city as mating season for the venomous spiders begins.
While tarantulas usually prefer more wide-open, arid conditions farther south of Colorado Springs where they can easily spot prey, the warm, dry weather in recent years may be pushing them farther north when they look for mates, said Jerry Prisk, plant and pest management technician at the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
“Until a few years ago, I never heard of people seeing them, even on the south side of town,” he said.
Ginny Hall found one of the spiders, with its imposing fangs, on her front doorstep when returning home late one night last week.
“She called me on my cell phone and said, ‘Come out here and get this thing out of my way,’” said her husband, Patrick Hall.
He removed the spider with a plastic container and took it to a different area, which Prisk said is a good idea.
Two words: Screw that!
I see a furry-ass tarantula anywhere near my own self, I am not going to offer it a ride in my to-date spider-free car. No, sir. I’m going to step on the little bastard. Then I’m going to spray it with chemicals. Then I’m going to set fire to the squishy, toxic remains. And perform the sacred Spider No Come Here No More dance around the ashes.
Assuming, of course, that I don’t first run away screaming like a little girl. Or, more accurately, like a grown man who really, really, really has problems with nature.
Thanks for the heads-up, David. You owe me the price of a refill on my Ambien prescription.
UPDATE: Turns out, Dave has a blog. Check it out.
The Infidel Cowboy is a fine new blog — and worth visiting just for the name. If I’d have thought of it, I’d have used it myself. Well, except I look stupid in the hats. And I tend to fall trying to walk in the boots. And the belt buckles are sometimes bigger around than my scrawny waist.
And, oh yeah, I get beat up at cowboy bars.
But other than that, I really wish I’d thought of it first. Anyway, there was supposed to be a Significant Link in all this, so let’s get to it. Ever seen a sportswriter get fisked?
Let’s just say that Rick Reilly really ought to stick to sports.
Roger Simon knows what to look for at a political convention:
Mine own self, I’m hoping for an open bar.
Amen, brother. A-freakin’-men.
“Give peace a chance! And if that doesn’t work, riot, punch, spit and spray mace at anyone who disagrees!”
Simon has all the tips you’ll ever need to become a good blogger.
Yesterday’s vote projection might have been a tad pessimistic — James Joyner finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa slipping away from Kerry.
Meanwhile, others disagree.
Earlier, I asked which pundits would next distance themselves from John Kerry — but I never in a million years expected to see this:
There’s no link yet; it’s the latest above-the-mast teaser from Drudge. You can bet that somewhere right now, Kerry is throwing darts at a picture of Daschle.
Or at least having a servant throw them for him.
UPDATE: Now filled with linky goodness.
Soxblog tosses up a rumor, courtesy of the Weekly Standard’s Bill Krystol, that George W. Bush will dump Dick Cheney in favor of John McCain. I have but one word to offer:
Okay, a few more words: After blatantly campaigning for press secretary in a presumed McCain Administration during the ’00 primaries, Bill Krystol has been floating this and similar trial balloons for years, hoping against hope that it’ll go over with the Bushies, and that he, Krystol the Younger, might ascend with McCain back into the White House firmament.
He might as well hang it up. Bush and McCain don’t trust or even particularly like each other, even though they do agree on a few–but certainly not all–key policies. There’s no chance (and no reason, at this point) for Dubya to dump somebody he trusts implicitly for a wild-card like McCain. If there were to be a replacement for Cheney (not gonna happen), that individual would almost certainly come from within Bush’s inner circle–which definitely does not include John McCain.
If it comes to that, nobody in the Bush White House is likely to give much creedence to Krystol in the first place. There’s an old animus between Bush and Krystol, going back to Dubya’s advising his father to dump Dan Quayle in 1992; Krystol was then Quayle’s chief of staff.
Click on the Comments and make your prediction.
NOTE: There are probably some Big Media pundits I’ve missed, other than Dowd and Raspberry. If there are, please let me know. And don’t you think Andrew Sullivan is starting to feel awfully lonely about now?
James Joyner notes that Don Imus has moved from being mildly pro-Kerry to “open minded.” Two other commenters say that on Fox, Susan Estrich isn’t exactly singing Kerry’s praises.
Estrich is a partisan Democrat, sure, but she’s also been a fair-minded analyst for Fox. She calls’em like she sees’em. Good for her — but because of that, I don’t know if she counts. And I can’t count Imus because, well, he’s Imus.
In the heat of an election campaign, it can be difficult to remember what the stakes are. On more that one occassion, I turned to the recently-sort-of-and-hopefully-only-temporarily-retired Steven Den Beste’s strategic overview of the Current Mess to help sort things out. But it’s awfully big for a blog entry (surprise!) and can be too much for a newbie to handle.
Fortunately, Joshua Zader is here to help.