Misc Commentary For Nov 13, 2006

— Over at Townhall, Rusty Shackleford is trying to sell this idea:

“Forget left of center bloggers, Jon Stewart is this year’s kingmaker. Without him and The Daily Show, the Democrats would not have made such large inroads in the midterm elections.

…On the college campus where I teach, Jon Stewart’s is the first and last word on all things political. His is the only name that all recognize. It’s more than that: his views are the only views considered socially acceptable. When Jon Stewart believes something, students believe it. He who Jon Stewart hates, students hate.

John Stewart is the Rush Limbaugh, and faux news the talk radio of 2006.”

You know, I’m a fan of Rusty’s work over at The Jawa Report, but I don’t buy his theory about Stewart.

How is it that a guy who has an audience of around 1.5 million per night could possibly swing an election in a nation with around 300 million people? The answer is, he can’t.

Just as a point of comparison, Rush Limbaugh has an audience that’s somewhere between 14 and 20 million listeners per week.

So, up to 1/15 of the United States may be listening to Rush while Stewart is pulling in roughly 1/200 of the population. I think that tells you a lot about how big Stewart’s impact actually is (or more accurately, actually isn’t).

— Speaking to Rush, I’m a huge fan of his work, but was very disappointed to hear that he said the following

“I feel liberated, and I’m going to tell you as plainly as I can why. I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried.”

Personally, I always said exactly what I thought about the GOP in Congress — and yes, that meant raising money for the GOP, doing Googlebombs to help them, and encouraging people to vote Republican while I simultaneously criticized them for spending too much money, illegal immigration, the Gang-of-14 Compromise, Harriet Miers, and their numerous other defects.

I’ve never been of the opinion that sugar coating the truth is advantageous and in Rush’s case in particular, he’s influential enough that he might have been able to actually make a real difference in the way that Republicans behaved up on the Hill, which may have helped them save their majority.

— Iran’s nut-job-in-chief is making a veiled threat to nuke Israel again:

“The western powers created the Zionist regime in order to expand their control of the area. This regime massacres Palestinians everyday, but since this regime is against nature, we will soon witness its disappearance and destruction.”

Here’s an interesting thought: let’s say we’re a year or two down the road and the United States hasn’t done anything about Iran. Furthermore, Israel has decided that it’s not militarily feasible to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. However, Iran is almost ready to roll out nukes and Israel is genuinely concerned that the Iranians are going to nuke Israel out of existence. (By the way, all this is completely plausible. It may very well play out just this way).

Now, if you’re Israel, do you seriously consider pre-emptively launching nuclear weapons at Iran? Since it could, at that point, be their only hope of survival, I’d have to certainly think that they’d be seriously considering it.

It’s all well and good to talk about mutually assured destruction, but when you’re going up against a maniacal religious fanatic who’s developing nuclear weapons and who is, in so many words, promising to use them against you once they’re ready, you can’t really afford to cross your fingers and just hope that Ahmadinejad is a lot more rational than he appears at first glance. And although pre-emptively nuking another nation into oblivion is a horrible thing, it’s far preferable to launching a salvo in revenge once Iran has missiles in the air or once a truck bomb with a nuclear missile in it goes off in Tel Aviv.

This isn’t a lot of fun to think about, but unless Iran is dealt with, this could be how this situation will eventually get resolved.

— From Liddy Dole:

As the chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, it was Sen. Elizabeth Dole’s job to keep the Senate in GOP hands. She couldn’t.

So after two years in the Senate Republican leadership, Dole tumbles into the minority – back to her status as the freshman senator from North Carolina and, perhaps, out of favor among Republican activists frustrated by Tuesday’s election results.

Dole said she’s satisfied with her performance.

“I can sleep well at night knowing we did everything possible to hold the Senate,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday. “All I know is I worked my head off, and that’s all you can do.”

Liddy Dole was terrible at fund raising, terrible at candidate recruitment, and the huge effort she expended for Lincoln Chafee, a guy who said after the election that he was considering becoming a Democrat, was an embarrassment. Oh, and she can, “sleep well at night?” after the job she did? They should fire Liddy Dole as chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and then hire her back, just so they can fire her again. She was that bad at her job.

— Speaking of people who are bad at their jobs, James Carville thinks Howard Dean should be fired because the money that was wasted on his lame 50 state strategy could have been better spent picking up potential Republican seats. He’s right, but he’s not going to get anywhere after the Democrats just had a big win — and Republicans should be glad of that. If someone competent had been running the DNC last cycle, we would have probably lost somewhere between 40 and 50 seats in the House.

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