Newsweek reporters and editors flunk Journalism 101

Newsweek's Mark Hosenball and his editors should get their journalism degrees revoked. Today, Hosenball published a story about John McCain, Phil Gramm, and UBS.

For weeks now, John McCain's presidential campaign has faced awkward questions about the outside activities of several top advisers. Add one more name to the list: former Texas senator Phil Gramm, McCain's longtime friend and one of his five campaign co-chairs. ... Gramm is not a paid McCain adviser, but his day job—vice chairman of a U.S. division of Zurich-based financial giant UBS—could pose new tests for a candidate who has promised high ethics standards and ditched advisers who failed to meet them.

Sounds like a big deal right? Well maybe. The big deal is that Hosenball was either so incompetent (I will not assume dishonest, which would be the other explanation) to not notice that the CEO and Chairman of UBS USA is a bundler for Barack Obama. According to Obama's website, Robert Wolf has promised to raise "Over $200,000" for the Obama campaign.

We hope that Newsweek does the decent thing and puts Hosenball and his editors on paid leave while they renew their journalism degrees.

By Soren Dayton, ago

A plan for new (congressional) leadership: Nationalizing the congressional election against Washington

Clearly it is a horrible environment to be running as a Republican. Megan McArdle makes the point when she advises Bobby Jindal not to run:

He's being widely touted as McCain's potential running mate, though I agree with Ross that this would be a mistake--for Jindal. No one should run for office this year as a Republican who doesn't have to.

But for an ambitious politician, an open seat for Congress is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The question I want to ask is what a candidate running for Congress can do to seperate their public image from that of the Republican Party. Furthermore, these are things that the NRCC could do to help.

The NRCC's advice is "localize and run against Washington." While this is better advice than "run as a Bush Republican", it may not be the best advice.

My advice is different: nationalize as a different kind of Republican. Hold a big signing ceremony for a new pledge at the Lincoln Memorial, explicitly embracing the great past of the Republican Party, but rejecting both Congressional and Presidential leadership. Or better yet, do it somewhere else like Indianapolis, Sacramento, Minneapolis, or Baton Rouge, where Republicans have sucessful and popular records of leadership. (John McCain could join because he is a different kind of Republican)

Read on after the jump


The problem with the "localize" message is that the Democrats will effectively argue that this candidate would be just "same old Republican." One option is to criticize Washington in one way or another. Another is to band together and be part of an anti-Washington movement in the GOP.

We need a "Plan for New Leadership". Here's what this plan might entail. (this is not a finished idea, at best a discussion draft)

  1. Stop the corruption in Washington. It is important that we object to failed Republican leadership and also put the corrupt-by-design Democratic Party on the defensive.
    1. Earmark reform. Stop Members of Congress from giving money to special interests. There are several earmark pledges. Everyone should agree to sign one.
    2. Ethics reform. Create an independent ethics panel that forces the ethics committee to review ethics complaints against Members of Congress. Current members of Congress will object, but no one in the real world believes that Members of Congress can police their own ethics violations. A candidate for Congress shouldn't believe it either.
    3. Legislative Line Item Veto. Still a winner and Democrats hate it.
  2. Lower gas prices and demand an end to energy subsidies. It is important for Republicans that this includes something that can be heard as an attack on oil companies, which is both a rejection of special interest politics and, very quietly, associations with Bush:
    1. Cut all subsidies for oil companies. Phrase this as "repeal part of the Bush energy plan" (which Barack Obama voted for and John McCain against)
    2. Cut all ethanol subsidies. Phrase as "repeal part of the corrupt Democratic Farm Bill that promised more money to special interests". (again, which Barack Obama voted for and John McCain against) Also would cut food prices.
    3. Invest in green energy. Double the amount of money that the federal government spends on research in wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. (or something, I don't understand this)
    4. Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less. Patrick has written about Newt's plan.
  3. Suport John McCain's healthcare proposal. This is also a policy area that I don't understand, but all the evidence suggests that there is good stuff.
  4. Education reform. In the end, nothing is more important than a good life for your kids, but the teachers unions are the single most important barrier to better schools.
    1. School vouchers. Still a winner.
    2. Merit pay for teachers. This is good policy that is opposed by corrupt unions.
    3. Additional federal support for community colleges. There are great models of conservative reform from Florida and Texas.
    4. Additional support for charter schools. Still a winner.
    5. Review and end corruption in student loans. We have to recognize that the hope of a middle class life depends on graduating from college. Anything that makes it easier is good.
  5. Better regulation of the financial services industry. (read housing and Enron) Abolish the SEC and replace it with a UK-style Financial Services Authority.
  6. Make Washington tell the truth about our country's fiscal state. There are a number of very good reform proposals. For example
    1. Include pertetuity numbers in the budget, not merely 5 or 10 year numbers.
    2. BRAC-like commission to cut federal agencies. People believe that government is too big. Start solving it by cutting out the special interests.
  7. Support John McCain in winning the War in Iraq and bringing our troops home.

I am sure that I am missing things. Big things. But these are all issues that address very significant problems that Americans are facing. These highlight conservative success stories in government.

Furthermore, once a Freshman class gets elected, this gives that class a set of bills to draft and introduce in, inevitably, a Democratic Congress. There will be amendments to offer based on these ideas. There will be special order speeches to give and press conferences and Democratic bills to condemn. There is a whole message strategy surrounding a good pre-election platform and victories to declare.

The candidates in open seats could pursue this. Some time and money spent on raising the profile of reform efforts in the GOP and leadership in those efforts could go a long way to branding a new freshman as a leader both at home and in Washington.


This is what The Next Right is about: building a new movement in the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement that wants to deliver a game plan for improving the governance of our country by solving problems, taking power from corrupt unions and politicians, and ending corporate welfare.

Please tell me what I missed both in strategy and issues. Something like this is what the GOP needs.

By Soren Dayton, ago

Obama endorsed by the Chicago Democratic Socialists in 1996

In 1996, Barack Obama was endorsed by Chicago's branch of the Democratic Socialists. Read the endorsement here. That year, he spoke to a meeting of the University of Chicago (my alma mater) Young Democratic Socialists. Several years later, his statements at that meeting were described this way:

When Obama participated in a 1996 UofC YDS Townhall Meeting on Economic Insecurity, much of what he had to say was well within the mainstream of European social democracy.

Endorsed by democratic socialists and "within the mainstream of European social democracy". And endorsed by the socialist New Party.

Just saying.

By Soren Dayton, ago

Mid-Day wrap up: NY-26, NY-13, and more


By Soren Dayton, ago

Obama’s transparency hypocrisy

Barack Obama's campaign tries to play "count the lobbyist" with John McCain. Now I don't accept the lobbyist = bad equation, and so I think that this is all a little trivial.

But hypocrisy is not trivial. Let's do a little recount of the lobbyists around Obama.

There's Jim Johnson, who I have previously written about. Johnson has represented the former Prime Minister of Senegal, and as CEO of Fannie Mae, he improperly disclosed profits that resulted in him getting a big bonus he didn't deserve. Obama put this lobbyist-fundraiser-foreign-agent in charge of picking his Vice Presidential candidate.

There's Francisco J. Pavía, his Puerto Rico state director, and a lobbyist for the Government of Puerto Rico. That violates Obama's lobbyist policy. What have they done about that?

There's his chief strategist David Axelrod, may not be exactly a lobbyist but certainly represents a lot of those corporations that Obama condemns. Obama said "I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over." I guess that the corporate lobbyists are elemental evil, while corporate admen and astroturfers are all good.

Find me the logic in that. It doesn't stop. Read on.

One person at MyDD never bought the argument. Unlike some people in the press, she actually checked the Senate records. This is what she found:

In fact, at least five of Obama's disclosed bundlers have registered in the past with the Senate Office of Public Records. Three of them hadn't filed the normal paperwork indicating termination of their lobbying contracts, though Alan Solomont, Tom Reed and Scott Harris all told they Hill they had stopped lobbying.

Then from NRO's Mark Hemingway, there is a lobbyist and Rezko money passthrough:

Peter Bynoe has pledged to raise between $100,000 and $200,000 for the senator. Bynoe was an Illinois state lobbyist who is on the federal government’s list of people who helped raise money for Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich through Chicago political rainmaker Tony Rezko. When he wasn’t helping Obama with his shady housing purchase, Rezko was busy arranging for kickbacks for Blagojevich’s wife and other senior officials in Blagojevich’s administration, which has also been the target of a number of unrelated Federal corruption investigations.

I am sure that he's a lovely man though...

Why is Obama getting a free pass on all of this? Yet again, he is just not coming clean.

By Soren Dayton, ago

Obama in full retreat: 4 issues in 48 hours

Barack Obama is in full retreat. In the last 48 hours, he has retreated in the following areas:

  • Iran. Barack Obama, who used to call for unconditional meetings with Ahmedinejad, now wants "preparations"
  • Iraq. Before, he wasn't going to go. Now he is.
  • Pfleger. Before there was one offensive pastor. Now there are two.
  • Auschwitz and the uncle. Except that there was no Auschwitz and no uncle.

This has got to be hugely embarassing for the Obama campaign. And good for the McCain campaign and the RNC for driving the message on all of Obama's ridiculous policies, gaffes and embarrassing connections.

By Soren Dayton, ago

Mid-Day wrap up


By Soren Dayton, ago

Jindal calls for stopping earmarks and corruption

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal talks about how stopping earmarks is the path back to a majority:

 The key parts:

It's about opposing these earmarks, these bridges to nowhere.It's about going after corruption. Whether they're Republicans or Democrats, we can't make excuses for them. It's about being on principled positions. ... Republicans aren't going to get the majority simply by being cheaper Democrats. We've got to stick to our core principles and understand the reason that conservatives go out and vote is they want lower taxes and effective, competent government. They're not looking for earmarks or cheaper versions of liberal programs.

 Why aren't more people saying this stuff? This guy is single handedly reshaping his state after running on reversing a history of corruption.

In particular, why haven't the Republicans offered an ethics pledge like a tax pledge? We have a couple of primaries that will be a showdown over ethics. Sean Parnell in Alaska (give here) but who else?

By Soren Dayton, ago

Mid-day wrap up: NH-01, LA-06, and more

Hopefully this will be a regular feature. Things that you need to read today.

What else is out there that we missed?

By Soren Dayton, ago