Political Animal

CHESS UPDATE….The fifth game of

CHESS UPDATE….The fifth game of the match between Garry Kasparov and Deep Junior ended in a draw. Kasparov was playing white but couldn’t pull out a win.

The match score is now tied 2.5-2.5 and Deep Junior will be playing white in the final game. The last time this happened (against Deep Blue in 1997), Kasparov melted down and lost the match in spectacular fashion. It’s not likely he’ll repeat that performance, but it’s also unlikely he’ll win. Best bet: the match ends up tied 3-3, with a small likelihood (30%?) that Kasparov caves in under pressure and allows Deep Junior to pull out a victory.

Game 6 is on Friday.

D-SQUARED IS BACK….I’d gotten a

D-SQUARED IS BACK….I’d gotten a little tired of clicking over to D-squared Digest for the past month wondering if anything new would ever appear, but yesterday Daniel finally promised “More soon,” so today I checked back.

I don’t want to say the wait was worth it, since that might provoke him to take long hiatuses (hiati?) again, but, well, it was worth it. He’s got three (!) posts up today, including perhaps the final word on the Michael Dini evolution controversy and a bit about the war.

But the best news is this:

As part of my New Year’s Resolution to pick a really nasty fight with someone, and as a potential supply of more regular updates, I’ve decided to become a “watcher”. I believe that this was all the rage in weblog circles about a year ago.

Anyway, I want to do it, and nobody convinced me that there were better targets for a jihad than Stephen den Beste, so I picked him. It also helps that, as far as I can tell, he’s incredibly thin-skinned (see my comments board somewhere for proof).

So what’s he going to do about Mr. Den Beste? Click here and find out.

As near as I can tell, Daniel’s opinion of Den Beste is eerily identical to mine, but he is not restrained by any sense of politeness from expressing it in public. Thank God for people like him.

MIGUEL ESTRADA….STEALTH CANDIDATE?….Kathryn Jean Lopez

MIGUEL ESTRADA….STEALTH CANDIDATE?….Kathryn Jean Lopez writes in The Corner:

Nick Schulz, honorary Cornerite sends this: Wow, I see Tom Daschle come on the TV screen live, so I turn up my volume wanting to know how the Democrats’ Leader in the Senate reacted to the Powell speech, the most significant issue before the country today… only to find that he’s playing the race card, blasting Miguel Estrada with several Hispanic “leaders” behind him as a nice backdrop. Tom Daschle, all class, 24/7.

Were they assuming that just because the administration has something new to say about the war that Senate Democrats should let Estrada slide through without a fight?

Of course, the main attraction of the war to the Bush administration does seem to be as a distraction from a domestic agenda that is either (a) nonexistent or (b) pretty unpopular once people figure out what it’s really about, so that probably was what Nick was thinking.

And speaking of a domestic agenda, does anyone else think that a successful Democratic candidate for, say, the presidency, could basically pin his entire campaign on two things:

  • Deficits, deficits, deficits. Americans, especially moderate swing voters, don’t like deficits.

  • Pounding on Bush for being unserious about “homeland security.” There’s just a ton of stuff to criticize on this front.

I know it’s not like us liberals to pound on simplistic hobbyhorses for months on end, but it’s probably time to start. Bush is pretty vulnerable on both these fronts, and I think they’re proven vote getters.

INVADING IRAQ….The latest Gallup poll

INVADING IRAQ….The latest Gallup poll shows that Americans trust Colin Powell over George Bush by more than 2 to 1 when it comes to Iraq. What a surprise.

Post SOTU, the poll also shows that the public’s trust in the Bush administration has increased and faith in the UN has dropped. A week ago 47% of the public trusted the UN more than Bush, while this week only 39% do.

In a different poll, Gallup found that over 90% of Americans believe Iraq is probably obstructing UN inspectors, has biological and chemical weapons, has facilities to manufacture WMDs, and has ties to al-Qaeda, and 79% think Iraq probably has nuclear weapons. Despite this, 38% are opposed to invading Iraq and two-thirds oppose invasion unless the UN approves. It’s obvious that the American public is still deeply conflicted about the entire question.

UPDATE: The second paragraph has been completely changed. I read the poll numbers wrong the first time around. Thanks to Adam Sandler (no, not that one) for pointing it out.

UPDATE II: David Adesnik at OxBlog thinks the poll numbers show a more consistent public view of Iraq than I give them credit for.