Saturday, January 24, 2004

Clark is as Dean was
As the eternally fascinating NH primary draws closer, Dean looks weaker and weaker. In the latest poll on Real Clear Politics, he's in third place, with Clark and Edwards jostling each other to take over second. Clark is what Dean was: the "unknown quantity" that all the Bush-haters - meaning, nowadays, every Democrat except Joe Lieberman - hope will prove to be the silver bullet to stop Bush. Many Dems don't see John Kerry as having staying power, especially in the South. As the outlines of Clark become clearer, though, it's apparent there's something monstrous hidden behind his four stars and deer-in-the-headlights stare. If with Clinton there was nothing there except naked lust for power, with Clark there's nothing there at all. His handlers have apparently told him to deny saying everything he ever said that contradicts the position he wants to take in any particular situation. And then counterattack, like a good general. If Clinton was the first black president, Clark would be, in the infinitesimally possible event that he makes it, the first president with no grasp on reality at all.

If Dean comes in third or worse in NH, he's done. The combination of a rejuvenated Kerry and homeboy Edwards in South Carolina will doom him there. General Clark has to pull rank on Lieutenant Kerry at every opportunity and I don't think that will work. Regular soldiers don't like Generals. Grunts outnumber brass. And his general buddies wouldn't vote for him to save their souls. So who's left? The Clintons? Maybe (pleasepleaseplease!) their support of Napoleon XIV will be the beginning of their political decline. Think about what Kerry and Ted Kennedy will do with the Democrat Party apparatus if Kerry becomes the nominee. Doesn't look too good for McAuliffe and the Beelzebubbas. But it's all good for Bush, so far.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Wes Clark and New Hampshire taxes
I heard - no link, sorry - that Wes Clark has been saying to New Hampshire voters that their problems - which he of course promises to solve - can be traced to the fact that New Hampshire has no sales or income taxes. Has no one told him that New Hampshire politics are based on not having a sales or income taxes? I lived in NH for decades and saw many Dem candidates shrivel up and die when they appeared to be advocating more taxes. Even Jeanne Shaheen, the former Dem governor, carefully avoided trying to push sales and income taxes. For one thing, if a sales tax were imposed, the border communities would immediately lose millions of dollars of sales to Taxachusetts consumers. This includes massive liquor store sales on Route 93 from state liquor stores that would lose both profits and liquor taxes for the state. An income tax would mean fewer Mass. workers living in southern NH and paying the increasing property taxes. And of course the infamous 8% (or is it more now?) rooms and meals tax would still be in place, soaking tourists. For Newhampshiremen, taxes are something tourists pay so they can keep their money where it belongs. Clark's tin ear strikes again.