The Politics Junkie

TIME.com's Frank Pellegrini logs on in the wee small hours to survey politics in the papers

  • Share
  • Read Later
It's "Welcome, Democrats" in all papers as Act Two of convention season descends on the Left Coast. NYT's James Dao goes civic with a platform layout: "The Democratic National Convention will adopt a platform on Tuesday that, like its Republican counterpart, makes a broad effort to reach voters in the middle, calling for schools to be more accountable for student performance, stricter control of the nation's borders, expanded global trade, a stronger military and the death penalty." Mmm. Exciting stuff, and in bullet points too. WP's Mike Allen figures the action's still with the second banana: "While Democratic delegates streamed into the city on the eve of the Democratic convention, Connecticut Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman tried to minimize his differences with Vice President Gore today and reached out to his Hollywood hosts by promising not to seek laws enforcing his views about sex and violence in the media." No such thing as a free Shabbas Goy.

USAT's Richard Benedetto goes with Gore's worst nightmare this week — Clinton — looking ahead to Bill's Monday night speech, chewing on this: "He is ending his presidency with a higher job-approval rating than when he came into office, a feat no other president has achieved during the 50-year history of scientific polling. But Clinton, the only elected president to be impeached, also is likely to exit with the lowest personal ratings of any modern chief executive." WSJ's John Harwood, with just a hint of reluctance, unveils a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll that finds Lieberman choice has "blunted George W. Bush's postconvention rise... Some 47% of voters say 'it's time for a change' after eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration, while 46% say "we should continue with the Democrats in the White House to preserve peace and prosperity." Is "tight election" still considered news?

Sidekicks

NYT dutifully polls the delegates in town, and unsurprisingly finds the mirror image of its Philadelphia ask-around: "Their views on issues from affirmative action to an activist federal government are more liberal than those of the public or even Democratic voters generally, a New York Times/CBS News Poll shows."

WP mulls the wonder that is Bill: "... as he takes a final bow before his party here Monday night he remains above all a man of paradox... his name still possesses an unmatched power to start an argument. But during his tenure many of the arguments that used to animate national politics have been rendered obsolete." Until Gore starts them again.

Either this is USAT's way of running a correction, or America shouldn't even be allowed to vote. Right-arm story is a poll that renders Gore's Lieberman insta-comeback — which only showed up in their pages — obsolete: "Al Gore trails Republican presidential rival George W. Bush 55%-39% in the latest USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll and appears to be struggling to emerge from the shadow of President Clinton as the Democratic convention opens Monday."

WSJ goes interestingly off-topic again with a look at the telecom lobby and its grip on Gore: "Barbra Streisand may draw top billing at Thursday's Hollywood party honoring Vice President Al Gore. But nearby will be another star, who shines even brighter in the Gore-for-president firmament. His name is Chris Korge and he is a Miami-based lobbyist for BellSouth Corp...." Read on, brothers.

That's Why They Call Them Democratic Delegates

Toeing the party line at Gore's big bash (NYT)

"Now is the right time to focus on the environment. The economy is strong, unemployment is low. Address this issue in the best of times, and focus on inspection, regulation and enforcement." —Donna I. King, delegate from Norwalk, Conn.

"As long as there is discrimination, there should be affirmative action." —Deborah Goldberg, Democratic delegate from Farmington, Mich.

"It's going to be a close election here in Pennsylvania, but this will energize those of us who feel empowered by this choice to work even harder." —Rosemary Trump, on the Lieberman factor.

Worst Running-Mate Vetting

"As if he did not have enough problems, embattled Reform Party faction presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan today found himself defending his choice of a black woman as a running mate after discovering that she belongs to the John Birch Society." (WP)

Strangest Kicker

"Karen Hughes, Bush's communications director, has said such packages are standard in corporate America and that the public should be pleased to have such a successful vice presidential nominee. Clinton takes in L.A.'s sun, stars and fund-raisers." —Kathy Kiely, USAT

Least Necessary Bit of Color

"They also waved large photos of aborted fetuses." —AP, in USAT, on pro-life picketers

You May, But It Still Doesn't Help Gore's Campaign Coffers

"This is, if I may say so, a different kind of expression of what Al Gore has been talking about, which is standing with the people against the powerful." —Joe Lieberman, on his feud with Hollywood over the risqué content of television programs and movies. (LAT)

Paper in the News: L.A. Times, of Course

But only because I'm on West Coast time now, and it's actually online at a decent hour

LAT leads with the ongoing Lieberman explanatory, wondering whether differences between Al and Joe actually strengthen ticket. Plenty of good takes on the stuff East Coast papers are doing: Clinton v. Bush, Dem platform, unions are excited. So how come so many of these links don't work?

Locally: Placid news from the protester front so far: "Demonstrations against death penalty and police brutality are mostly disciplined, as are officers facing the marchers. Both sides seemed satisfied." Still plenty of trouble brewing.

The Expectations Game, If You Actually Plan to Watch on TV This Week

"From the sea of see-through iMac computers on the convention floor to a center-stage program of prominent officials engaged in issue 'dialogues' with ordinary people, the Democratic National Convention that opens on Monday is intended to be, in look and feel, a brainier and meatier antidote to the Republicans' feel-good Philadelphia spectacle." (NYT)

Quoth the Times: "The Democrats promise a convention less overtly rehearsed than that of their rivals. The party is not well known for sticking to the script anyway, as was demonstrated over the weekend by the tussle over the plans by Representative Loretta Sanchez of California to stage a benefit at the Playboy Mansion, and Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.'s tepid expression of support for Mr. Gore."

The key word being "overtly."