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BLOGWATCH

BUZZ FROM ONLINE JOURNALS OF POLITICS & CULTURE

Issue: "As the West burns," Sept. 6, 2003

California bloggin'

The conventional wisdom has Gray Davis doomed as governor of California, but blogging has grown contra-conventionally. Kevin Thurman (raise-your-hands.org) broke ranks with lefty bloggers who despite their political allegiances think that Mr. Davis will soon be history. Mr. Thurman predicted a double victory on the Oct. 7 ballot, with both Mr. Davis and Cruz Bustamante winning their halves of the ballot. Mr. Thurman thinks that Mr. Davis's union support will translate to dollars, and dollars to turnout: "This election will hinge on turnout, and no one thinks otherwise, why do you think Arnold is the GOP candidate?"

Yet another sign that blogging is here to stay: Mr. Davis's wife, Sharon, has started a blog in defense of her husband. The Sharon Davis Blog (no-recall.com/sharondavis.asp) defends the governor's integrity by offering observations like, "While newspaper profiles have suggested that my husband and I have few friends, they inevitably come to this conclusion by interviewing people we rarely see socially," and "Like most guys, my husband loves sports.... He watches a lot more ESPN than CNN, FOX, or MSNBC." Meanwhile, Sacramento Bee columnist Daniel Weintraub revealed some problems unique to the Arnold campaign: "The Schwarzenegger campaign kept the details about this event under wraps until early this morning to keep down the size of the crowd. A political campaign trying to keep down a crowd?" As fellow blogger Mickey Kaus (kausfiles.com) wrote sardonically, "This is not a problem even as charismatic a figure as Cruz Bustamante faces." c

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Stone strategy

Predictably, suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore came under sharp attack in the blogosphere. Iranian blogger HamMihan (hammihanirani .blogspot.com), based on the exaggerated reports he received, wrote that "Moore should move to Iran, and join the Ayatollahs." But Christian bloggers also offered criticism, with Josh Claybourn (joshclaybourn.com), who moderates blogs4god.com, fearing "the rallies, fighting, and protests will likely turn off more people than they will convince."

For Vision Forum's Doug Phillips, (visionforum.com) the opinions of unbelievers are irrelevant. He's been stalwart in his defense of Justice Moore, and in his "Doug's Blog," Mr. Phillips refers to the Alabama jurist as "a Moses to the children of these United States."

Mr. Phillips, a constitutional lawyer and confidant of Justice Moore, predicted on his blog a month ago the crisis that stands today. "Because the Chief Justice will not obey this order, he may well be found in contempt and the stage will be set for one of the greatest constitutional crises in American history (second perhaps only to the crisis between Andrew Jackson and the Supreme Court over the establishment of an unconstitutional monetary system, and the crisis precipitated by the Lincoln Administration when it raised troops against Virginia)." c

Face off

North Korea continues to loom in the background of U.S. foreign policy, and occasionally some new analysis pops up in the blogosphere. This week, the honor belonged to Stephen Green (vodka pundit.com), who wrote that the United States and its "partners" in negotiation, China and Russia, have vastly different goals in the forthcoming multilateral talks. Mr. Green wrote that "we'd like nothing better than a peaceful devolution of the North, followed by a not-too-expensive anschluss with Seoul.... We won't get that, obviously, but it doesn't change the fact that our ultimate position is for North Korea to go the way of East Germany." But Mr. Green argued that Russia and China would "lose face" if North Korea faded away, and that's "the next worst thing to losing a war. So their desire is to come up with some complicated compromise which preserves the North in perpetuity, while somehow restraining Kim from doing something so stupid as to cause them to lose face, anyway."

Meanwhile, terrorism was in the foreground. Hawkish David Adesnik (oxblog.blogspot.com) wrote, "The senseless destruction of UN headquarters in Baghdad demonstrates just how desperate the Ba'athist underground has become," while dovish Jonathon Gradowski (gradowski.blogspot.com) countered: "The source of Ba'athist power was never moral or democratic legitimacy, but fear. And after seeing that CBS video, I am certain that whoever was responsible for this bombing, succeeded in that respect."

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