October 5, 2006

Larry Sabato: A Political Hack Who Complains of ‘Gutter Politics’ While Practicing It

Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia’s Center for Responsive Politics should, by rights, watch his reputation as a nonpartisan observer of the political scene go up in smoke as a result of inserting himself into the George Allen “N-word” controversy. More than that, he is a longtime practitioner of selective outrage at negative campaigning so characteristic of so many 527 Media journalists and the “experts” they go to for quotes.

Specifically in the Allen situation, Sabato claimed that he KNEW Allen used the “N-word,” when he himself actually never heard Allen use it.

The Associated Press reported the following on September 26, in part:

Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, would not tell The Associated Press how he knew Allen used the n-word. He told Chris Matthews on MSNBC that he did not know whether it was true that Allen used the word frequently while in college.

“I’m simply going to stay with what I know is the case and the fact is he did use the n-word, whether he’s denying it or not,” Sabato said.

But an e-mail response by Sabato that was relayed to the Powerline blog made it very clear that Sabato had absolutely no basis for claiming to know what Allen did or didn’t say:

I didn’t know these things until the past few months.

People I know and who are very credible contacted me and shared the stories.

Then reporters checked them out: I am not a reporter. Based on everything they learned, they believe the stories and so do I. Other things will determine the election, though.

All of this is especially helpful to know, because a recent and little-noticed contribution by Sabato to political coverage in Ohio makes him appear to be a man who is repelled by negative campaigning.

In a Columbus Dispatch article on July 27, Sabato had this to say about an e-mail sent without authorization by a state Republican staffer that made personal allegations against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and his wife:

“Every time we think we’ve reached the sewer, there’s a lower level of sewer,” said Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, who has written about dirty campaign strategies in both parties.

….. None of this surprises Sabato, who said that while the public is turned off by gutter politics, the political campaigns of both parties are addicted.

“The operatives today are part of the polarization of our politics,” Sabato said. “They’re in an army and they are firing real bullets at the opponents and they want to kill them.”

“It is now the accepted mode of campaigning. That’s why it’s so insidious. There’s no limit to what is revealed publicly. … Privacy as a concept is almost dead. It’s all just thrown out there in the hope that something will stick.”

But Sabato’s outrage at negative politics is a very selective one-way street:

  • In Minnesota’s US Senate contest, Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” also ignores the computer-hacking theft (HT Powerline) of their opponent’s unreleased ad by a blogger who gave it to staffers of Democrat candidate Amy Klobuchar. The theft was reported four days later, and AFTER Klobuchar’s spokeswomen and several staffers had viewed the ad. One high-level staffer was fired.
  • - On the other hand, Sabato is positively salivating today at the prospect of a “Democratic Wave” resulting from the Mike Foley fallout.

His complaints to the Columbus Dispatch notwithstanding, one can only conclude that Sabato’s take on “gutter politics” is “if it might hurt Democrats, bad, and I won’t touch it; if it might hurt Republicans, good, and if it helps I’ll even participate.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

WSJ Has a Great Idea That Will Drive Some People Nuts

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 2:39 pm

The idea is to index capital gains to inflation, and their belief is that it can be done through ….. an Executive Order (link to yesterday’s editorial requires subscription):

The Pence-Cantor bill would protect against this by allowing any taxpayer holding an asset for more than three years to have a gain or loss determined by a cost basis adjusted for inflation. The proposal would immediately raise the after-tax return on capital investment, thus providing an incentive for more of it.

The Bush Administration should consider getting behind the bill, but it might also be able to achieve the same result without legislation — that is, via executive order. The tax code says only that taxes must be paid on gains as measured by the increase from the “basis” a taxpayer has in the property. The code then defines that basis as “the cost of such property,” but without declaring whether that cost is real (after inflation) or nominal. If Treasury had the authority to define “cost” in one manner in 1913, it surely has the authority to redefine “cost” today.

President George H. W. Bush flinched from making this change in 1992 on the advice of government lawyers who argued that the definition of “cost” had been around so long that only Congress could now change it. But that legal interpretation is open to argument, all the more so given that inflation is once again making a comeback, albeit far more modestly than in the 1970s. Nonetheless, an inflation rate of 3% over a decade devalues the dollar value of a financial asset by about 35%. Academics have also argued that a President could redefine cost to allow, for instance, the indexing of depreciation schedules — another bow to fairness and a boost for investment.

I’d like to see him do it just to see the apoplectic reactions to it.

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Previous Post:

May 22 — Kudlow on the Cruelest Tax of All, and a Solution

So This Is ‘Repugnant’

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 1:22 pm

So warned “objective” news anchor Katie Couric about the following (HT NewsBusters) from her show’s “Free Speech” segment on Monday contributed by Brian Rohrbough:

Oct. 2, 2006

(CBS) I’m saddened and shaken by the shooting at an Amish school today, and last week’s school murders.When my son Dan was murdered on the sidewalk at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, I hoped that would be the last school shooting. Since that day, I’ve tried to answer the question, “Why did this happen?”This country is in a moral free-fall. For over two generations, the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum, expelling God from the school and from the government, replacing him with evolution, where the strong kill the weak, without moral consequences and life has no inherent value.

We teach there are no absolutes, no right or wrong. And I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including by abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children.

Suicide has become an acceptable action and has further emboldened these criminals. And we are seeing an epidemic increase in murder-suicide attacks on our children.Sadly, our schools are not safe. In fact, we now witness that within our schools. Our children have become a target of terrorists from within the United States.

I can think of any number of other infinitely more “repugnant” items that Ms. Couric and her network’s associates have aired over the years that contained no accompanying warning.

The Chicago Trib’s Debbie Downer Delivers a Dud

I would suggest that Ms. Downer’s name is eponymous, as her profession seems to be delivering downers to readers (HTs to Porkopolis via e-mail, Instapundit, and extended blog commenter Sensible Mom).

I have already noted that I’m not particularly impressed that the Dow has turned around after six years and is at an alltime high, even by 100-plus points (given that the S&P 500 is still well below its peak), but that doesn’t mean I think the economy stinks. Far, far from it.

Ms. Downer, whose eponymous profession is thankfully not the pharmaceutical business, cites anecdote after anecdote of “woe is me’s.” Sensible Mom sensibly compared 1998 to 2004, and found that, among other things:

  • The percentage of Americans owning stocks, directly or indirectly, is almost identical.
  • Median family wealth has increased.
  • A higher percentage of Americans is in the banking system.
  • The percentage of people in the bottom income quintile that are actually saving money has increased.

It goes on and on. Bottom line, from SensiMom:

It would be helpful if the Chicago Tribune reporters and editors could leave their biases at the door, but this comparison shows they cannot. When Clinton was in office and the stock market surged as a result of a strong ecnonomy, the Tribune reported it by quoting facts from the Federal Reserve. Yet when Bush is in office and the stock market surges because the economy is equally strong, the Tribune ignores the facts and quotes special interest groups to downplay the postive.

People don’t believe the economy is strong because they’re constantly told it isn’t by the media.

The more people who hear that message, the better.

Carnival Barking (100506)

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 10:22 am

Newshound’s 42nd Carnival of Ohio Politics is here.

Boring Made Dull’s 15th Economics and Social Policy go-round is here.

Ted Strickland’s Ohio Gubernatorial Candidacy Challenged on Residency/Voting Grounds

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:15 am

Lincoln Logs has the news on a topic that BizzyBlog readers know has been a hot button for me ever since Carpetbagger Bob McEwen attempted to highjack Ohio’s Second Congressional District GOP primary in June of 2005 by buying a residence in the District shortly before the filing deadline after RESIDING in Northern Virginia as a private citizen for 12 years. It continues to anger me that congressional candidates like Tammy Duckworth in in IL-06 and Charlie Wilson in OH-06 are running for those respective seats as non-residents who don’t even plan to move into the districts they still think they can “serve.”

This time the candidate in question with residency AND voter-registration issues, something that came back to haunt McEwen in his second primary run a few months ago, is, ironically, the person who ended Bob McEwen’s congressional career in 1992.

That would be Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland:

Democrat Challenges Ted Strickland’s Residency

LISBON – Democrat Jaquelyn Long of East Liverpool today challenged the candidacy of gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland to the Columbiana County Board of Elections because of allegations of election fraud in Columbiana County.

“I am tired of seeing political commercials of Ted Strickland claiming he lives in Lisbon when he actually resides in Columbus,” said Long. This is exactly why I filed this challenge against him. He doesn’t pay taxes here, so he shouldn’t vote here.”

Pursuant to Ohio Revised Code R.C. 3503.24(C), Long asked the Columbiana County Board of Elections to remove Ted Strickland’s name from the registration list and concel his voter registration…..

There’s much more at Lincoln Logs, and I suspect there will be a lot more elsewhere before too long.

Perhaps knowledge of his vulnerability on ths matter explains Ted Strickland’s waffling on entering the gubernatorial race in the summer of 2005. If so, he should have either cleaned up the mess, or listened to that little voice saying “Don’t do it.”

Similar items about Strickland surfaced a couple of months ago (here, here, and here, for starters), but then faded into the background, for no apparent reason I could determine. Despite the brickbats that will inevitably be thrown at the GOP, even though it is a purported Democrat who is bringing the Columbiana County complaint, the better question is why the Ohio Democratic Party didn’t fully vet Strickland’s shaky residency situation at least a year ago and insist that the candidate either clear up any ambiguities or drop out. Or does ODP really think these things don’t matter?

At the very least, Strickland appears to have represented a district he has chosen not to live in for some time; voters in previous 6th District congressional elections who think residency matters deserved to know in 2004, and perhaps even earlier, they were voting for an after-the-fact carpetbagger if that is indeed the case. At most, Strickland’s actions could conceivably make him ineligible to be on the ballot as a gubernatorial candidate 33 days from now.

Ohio’s voters deserve to have the issues involved fully resolved to their lawful conclusions before the election.

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UPDATE: This AP profile, using info one would assume was given to it by the candidate, says that Strickland “now lives in Lisbon.” At the very least, given what he previously told the Columbus Dispatch about his Columbus-area condo, that’s some serious dissembling:

For example, Strickland said he and his wife do not live apart nor does she live in Kentucky as the e-mail said. When he is not in Washington, the couple lives in a rental property in Ohio or in a condo they own in Columbus.

It seems odd that the reporter wasn’t told where “in Ohio” the rental property is located.

UPDATE 2: Good question — Electoral fraud, or tax fraud?

UPDATE 3: The Lisbon Morning Journal’s coverage is here (HT Pullins Report).

UPDATE 4: The Blackwell Blog has the siren up. Matt at Lincoln Logs reports that the Cleveland Plain Dealer considers the story “lame.” NO, reporting that someone who is still living and breathing is dead (as the PD admits to in the post; the original reference to Mr. Lukens’ death at a previous post has apparently been removed) is lame.

Now THIS Is What I Call a Drug Problem

Henry I. Miller at TCS Daily explains that the problem is counterfeit drugs, and that the problem has vast potential for getting worse without corrective action. More can be found at this condensed report at the American Council on Science and Health’s web site.

I Sure Hope This Isn’t a Put-On

Filed under: News from Other Sites — Tom @ 8:04 am

In a letter to the editor, Howard Dean’s mother says she reads and enjoys the New York Sun.

The Latest of 57 Reasons to Reject the Ohio Learn & Earn Initiative (100506)

Filed under: News from Other Sites,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 7:59 am

From Jill at Writes Like She Talks (original entry relating to Jill’s effort is here) –

Reason 37 — The absolutely idiotic editorial written by the Cincinnati Business Courier to justify their support (posted Monday at BizzyBlog).

Reason 36 — “Because slots are the 21st Century version of saying, “Want some candy little girl?” to entice a youth into otherwise inadvisable behavior….. Youth and adolescent gambling produces addicted gamblers at a 2 to 4 times greater rate than adults.

Reason 35 — “Because it will add to the size and cost of the Ohio state government. And no, I’m still not a neo-con.” (Jill — Your protests say “no” but your reasoning says “yes.” — Tom)

Turning the Tables on Potential Employers: Proceed with Caution

Filed under: Business Moves,Money Tip of the Day — Tom @ 7:54 am

Well, if they get to investigate you, why shouldn’t you be able to find out what it’s really like to work there from people who can comment on the topic anonymously?

It makes some sense, but as is noted at the end of the linked article, it’s unsubstantiated hearsay. There’s too much potential for corporate sock puppets to post undeserved praise, and for company detractors (employed or not) to post undeserved pans.

Positivity: Pro Football Brothers Give $1 Million to Alma Mater

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:01 am

At the University of Virginia:

Ronde and Tiki Barber Make $1 Million Gift to UVa

Former University of Virginia football stars and current National Football League All-Pros Ronde and Tiki Barber and their families have made a $1 million gift to their alma mater.

Announcement of the Barbers’ gift was made on Saturday night during a dinner to launch the University’s $3 billion campaign. The Barber twins served as the emcees for that event in the John Paul Jones Arena.

The Barbers’ gift was made in two parts with $500,000 divided among the McIntire School of Commerce, where both received their undergraduate degrees; the Virginia Athletics Foundation; the U.Va. Children’s Hospital; the U.Va. Alumni Association’s Walter N. Ridley Scholarship Fund, which benefits African American students; and the Young Alumni Council. The other $500,000 will be in the form of a challenge to encourage young alumni of the University to participate in the campaign.

Ronde Barber is a cornerback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Tiki Barber is a running back with the New York Giants.

The Barber twins, members of the Class of 1997, have actively supported of the University since their graduation. Tiki Barber served on the Young Alumni Council and is the founder of a program that encourages young alumni to begin a tradition of giving to U.Va. — MY-D-CAV (My Yearly Dollars Count at Virginia). The Barbers will be celebrating their 10th class reunion next spring and hope that the challenge will spur giving on the part of their classmates.

“We want to be an example to other alumni to participate in this campaign,” said Ronde Barber. ” We want to emphasize that now is the time for our fellow alumni to join us. U.Va. has an ambition to compete with all of the great universities in the country, and we are going to lend ourselves to be a vessel for the University.”

“For us, at this time in our lives, to be able to do this is phenomenal,” said Tiki Barber. “We’ve both done pretty well as NFL players and, as a result, have made a great living. A lot of that is a result of being here at the University, not only being mentored and guided as football players but guided as people. The meaning of philanthropy is being able to make a different to those who helped push you up.”

The two NFL players were able to participate in the weekend campaign kickoff because both of their teams had bye weeks from the NFL.

Craig Littlepage, director of athletics at U.Va., called the Barbers “great models for all alumni and all former student athletes,” adding: “The generosity they demonstrate through this gift clearly shows how special Ronde and Tiki are.”

“The Commerce School is very proud to count Ronde and Tiki Barber among our many successful alumni, not simply because they are All-Pros in their profession, but because they are All-Pros as people,” said Carl P. Zeithaml, dean of the McIntire School of Commerce.