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Between the Lines

March 08, 2004

The battle for Hanging Chadland

Florida determined the last presidential election, and this year could well see a replay. Florida has 10 percent of the electoral votes needed to become president. It’s probably impossible for Bush to win without Florida and next to impossible for Kerry to prevail without it.

So what’s happening down there? Plenty, as it turns out.

A new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times poll shows that as of last week Kerry “holds a 49 to 43 percent lead over a president who just four months ago led every potential Democratic challenger by as many as 18 percentage points.” Ralph Nader drew 3 percent support in the poll.

Among the findings of the survey, which had a 3.5 percent margin of error:

-- More Florida voters disapprove of Bush’s job performance than approve.

-- A majority of voters believe that the United States is ''moving in the wrong direction'' under Bush -- a marked reversal from two years ago, when 7 in 10 voters, including half of Democrats, approved of Bush's job performance.

"Florida is on the knife edge of partisan balance," Lance M. deHaven-Smith, a professor at Florida State University who has studied voting patterns tells the New York Times (free site registration may be required). "It's a place where little things can alter the turnout just enough to tip the scales."

Unsurprisingly, both campaigns are working feverishly to organize their voters, get their ads on the tube and get their candidates on the ground. Bush has visited Florida 19 times since he took office and Kerry is campaigning there now.

Posted by tbrown at 12:18 PM

The veepstakes

John Kerry still needs a running mate. DailyKOS briefly characterizes 10 who could show up on the ticket.

Posted by tbrown at 12:16 PM

More about those Bush TV ads

First, Newsweek says everybody but the firemen in what appeared to be scenes from 9/11 were actually actors.

Then, at Slate, Jacob Weisberg and Will Saletan “debate” the content of the ads (it’s actually an exchange of memos). They provide a link to the ads themselves so you can check out their conclusions for yourself.

Posted by tbrown at 12:15 PM

Class warfare revisted

If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning."
-- Warren Buffett, billionaire CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Somehow we’ve moved from the sensible notion that the people with the most money should pay the most taxes to the point where even suggesting it is “class warfare” against the mistreated, unappreciated, deserving rich.

Well, Warren Buffett, the grandfatherly financial genius who turned a bankrupt textile company into one of the most successful holding companies in history, still holds to the now quaint notion that wealthy individuals and profitable businesses ought to be paying their share. Buffett pointed out in his company’s annual report, which is must reading for many investors, that with the single exception of 1983, the percentage of government receipts from corporate income taxes in 2003 was the lowest of any time since record-keeping began in 1934. Buffett’s letter to shareholders is here.

Buffett also opposed President Bush’s individual tax cuts on the ground that most of the benefit went to people like him. Here are some tables from Citizens for Tax Justice that include estimates of the cost of the tax cuts and who got the money. The benefits flowed disproportionately to the top 1 percent of earners. Are you expecting a $51,627 cut in taxes for last year? Me either.

Posted by tbrown at 12:13 PM

Zimbabwe detains a plane full of mercenaries

It’s hard to know what to make of this one. The thuggish government of President Robert Mugabe says it has detained an American-owned Boeing 727 with 64 suspected mercenaries, and military equipment, aboard. No indication yet who these guys might be working for, though they were said to be of numerous nationalities.

The FAA’s web site says the plane is registered to Dodson Aviation of Ottawa, Kan.

Posted by tbrown at 12:10 PM

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February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
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The battle for Hanging Chadland
The veepstakes
More about those Bush TV ads
Class warfare revisted
Zimbabwe detains a plane full of mercenaries


Blogs to watch

Abu Ardvark
Andrew Sullivan
Atrios Eschaton
Best of the Web
Drudge Report
Joe Conason (subscription required)
Josh Marshall
Kaus files
No More Mr. Nice Blog
Real Clear Politics
The Corner
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Whiskey Bar

Mideast blogs

Salam Pax (Iraq)
G. in Baghdad
L.T. Smash (U.S. military in Iraq)
Lady Sun (Iran)

City blogs

L.A. Examiner

Africa blogs

Cathy Buckle

Media blogs

Dan Gillmor's eJournal
Media Whores Online


Newspapers online (guide to papers on the web)
International Herald Tribune
The Guardian U.K.
New York Times (free registration required)

Economy blogs

Brad DeLong

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