Walter Jones: All Talk

Rob Christensen interviewed Congressman Walter Jones this week. It's a story worth reading because it reveals three things we should never lose sight of:

First, we can't count on newspaper reporters to ask hard questions. There's some weird version of the Stockholm Syndrome in play between these guys and their sources - or maybe something more like co-dependency. But whatever is going on, don't expect serious pushing by North Carolina reporters about anything. Ever.

Second, the Party of Greed is scrambling like hell to make the Iraq War a bipartisan disaster instead of a Republican disaster. There's a whole diary about this at Daily Kos, but more to the point, Jones himself is shamelessly trying to spread the blame.

"Probably many of us did not know the questions that should have been asked," Jones said. "Many of us, in both parties, felt we had to accept and trust the intelligence that was being given." (emphasis added)

GOP Anger, Elizabeth Dole and Brian Nick

Sen. Elizabeth Dole's unpopularity within the national Republican Party continues to build. It has been a year with more than its share of reasons for GOP failure at the polls; the war in Iraq, Congressional scandals and George Bush's unpopularity among them. However, within the party hierarchy primary blame for the loss of the Senate is now being placed at the feet of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and most especially its chair, Elizabeth Dole.

Frustration with Dole's incompetence took form as the NRSC fell $30mm behind the Democrats in fund raising, and then burned through $4.8mm with television ads in New Jersey and Michigan probing for weakness in a strong field of Democratic candidates. Meanwhile Republican candidates like Sen. George Allen in Virginia and Sen. Conrad Burns in Montana were starved for advertising in ultimately tight races because Dole believed Allen couldn't lose and Burns couldn't win.

Weekend Open Thread

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Seems like all the media rats are jumping off the tarnished Nifong ship. The Charlotte Observer today joins the frenzy for "investigating the investigator." Nifong has undoubtedly screwed up big time, but shouldn't we wait until the frickin' trial takes place before we take down the district attorney?

Dan Blue is claiming to have locked up a majority of the Black Caucus, and also says Bill Faison has dropped out of the race to back him. Faison never had a shot, but its interesting that he supports Blue instead of his Orange County colleague, Joe Hackney. I was kind of hoping Blue would pass on Speaker and hold out to challenge Elizabeth Dole in 2008. I suppose he could do both, though if he gets the Speaker job, it's going to be a sh*tstorm that will make nobody look good.

One happy blessing of the holiday season is that the Puppets are on vacation and haven't darkened with Internets with more of their "reports" for a couple of days. Thank goodness for small pleasures.

And just a reminder. Congressman Brad Miller will be visiting on Thursday morning for a live-blogging session. You can get your questions in early, but be sure to join for the big event too. We had a session with Elizabeth Edwards last month, and it was a blast.

Tango Out on Bail

This just in from The Kansas City Star...

Evidently Tango, the storybook penguin is out on bail and back on the shelves of four Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary schools. The offending penguin, or rather the book that tells her story, was reported to the authorities by Republican county commissioner, Bill James (pictured left).

It seems that Tango's story starts harmlessly enough when her parents abandon her and she's left to fend for himself. However, after that hopeful beginning the story takes an unsavory turn when she's rescued and cared for by two male penguins.

John Edwards, Labor's Choice in 'o8?

I'll bet that a Robert Novak column is not often referred to in these pages, but today let's make an exception. This week's column is all about John Edwards, and it suggests that he is the front runner to win the endorsement of the Teamsters Union and the Service Employees International Union.

According to Novak part of their preference for Edwards is the fact that they're not optimistic about Clinton's electibility, nor are they encouraged by Obama's lack of experience. However, even with these concerns set to one side, Edwards has made it a big priority to court labor. Some quarters regard his choice of former Rep. David Bonior of Michigan as his national campaign manager as an effort to demonstrate his support for labor. According to Novak,

John Edwards Unfiltered: Webisode Videos and Chapel Hill Edwards Rally!

-edited by RP (BlueNC doesn't like the embed code I guess, Lance?)


I've come to the personal conclusion that I actually want the country to see who I am, who I really am. But I don't know what the result of that will be. But for me personally, I'd rather be successful or unsuccessful based on who I really am, not based on some plastic Ken doll that you put up in front of audiences."

Open thread: Move over, New Jersey

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A small N&O story this week heralds North Carolina's arrival as the 10th most populous state in the union, bumping New Jersey from the top ten.

That may not surprise North Carolina suburbanites who sometimes feel as if they live close to the last stop on the New Jersey Turnpike. A humming state economy, cheaper homes and lower local taxes lure thousands of Jerseyites each year. They're part of a broader influx. Last year, North Carolina grew by 184,000 people, roughly the size of Winston-Salem.
Population growth will help our bureaucrats get a bit more federal money for Medicare and other subsidies, but all those extra people require more schools and bring more cars to our traffic jams.

Gambling on Iraq

Among my friends is a source in the Romanian defense ministry. This person tells me that even before the Iraq Study Group had delivered its report, administration envoys were asking the Romanian government to increase their troop commitment in Iraq as a complement to America's decision to do the same.

Despite all the posturing about reaching out for advice, and nothing being off the table, it's long been decided that George W. Bush is going to double down in Iraq. The only question that remains is whether the increase in our number of troops will be 20,000, 30,000 or more. All that argues for the lower end of that range is the reticence of The Joint Chiefs and General Abizaid who seem certain that if the Iraqi government is to become effective, and legitimate, it has to succeed without the promise of an ever larger American crutch.

The sacrifice of more lives for a failed policy is counterintuitive, but we shouldn't be surprised. This new initiative is a spasm born of aggravation and a fatal lack of understanding. George W. Bush cultivates a reputation as the ultimate cowboy, a risk taker who enjoys gambling on long odds. He avoids gray areas, goes with his gut, and never looks back. In the first instance he relies on a sense of entitlement that comes from a lifetime of failure and evaded responsibility. In the last instance he's emboldened by a belief in God so narcissistic that he's convinced the Almighty is obliged to save him from himself.

NY Times Blows DeLay Blog Story

The NY Times today published an article by Philip Shenon called The Hammer Strikes a Comeback Blow about Tom DeLay's new blog but completely omitted the fact that when the blog started up a 11 days ago it was quickly bombarded with unflattering unmoderated comments and just as quickly taken down to be restarted in a moderated format with the offending comments removed. Tom DeLay blew it and the NY Times blew it by not reporting on his false start in this fluff piece about DeLay that displays very little knowledge about blogging.

Not to worry. Enterprising blogger James J. Risser saved the original for posterity (or posteriority) at

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