A New Can Of Worms
19 March 2004
Hail To the Chief!

Students vote 2-1 to keep Chief Illiniwek writes AP.

Yet, further down in the story:

"The chief has divided the university's flagship Urbana-Champaign campus for years."

I would characterize 2-1 more of a consensus.
18 March 2004
Kerry Foreign Supporter Steps Forward

This will backfire:

"Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero on Wednesday described the U.S. occupation of Iraq as a 'fiasco' and suggested American voters should follow the example set by Spain and change their leadership.

'I said during the campaign I hoped Spain and the Spaniards would be ahead of the Americans for once,' Zapatero said in an interview on Onda Cero radio. 'First we win here, we change this government, and then the Americans will do it, if things continue as they are in [Sen. John] Kerry's favor.'"

Yesterday, Kerry stated that he didn't want Spain to pull its troops out of Spain. His Secretary of State in waitning Richard Holbrooke blurred the lines of disagreement in an interview with Chris Mathews on Hardball. Holbrooke zeroed in on the common goal for Iraq, but said the Kerry would have different means to that end.

As I understand it the Kerry solution is to internationalize Iraq by convincing France and Germany (our friends) to come on board and to put Iraq under UN control. However, if things continue the way they are, much of Iraq will be turned over to Iraqi's by then. It will be up to the Iraqi government to let the UN, or Nato, in.

Kerry's criticism of the Bush administration is essentially that Bush wasn't nice enough to the French and Germans. Don't believe me, go back and look at the record. Also note, that the French are working with us both in Eastern Africa and Afghanastan. The French and Germans have their own interests, misguided as they may be, in Iraq and they acted upon those interests. The idea that our allies are our "friends" plays to the American bias toward being "liked." It's a cultural bias that is just plain wrong, exploiting it instead of correcting it is a mistake too.
17 March 2004
Health Care Efforts

"First, Do No Harm..." continues to monopolize my efforts. I've spent the last two days pitching editorial boards. Yesterday, I spent 35 minutes doing a radio interview in Carbondale. That's a looonnnggg interview. We went through all nine chapters of the report. Which can be found here, by the way.

So far I have meetings scheduled in Bloomington and Champaign. I'm working on Peoria, Carbondale and Quincy. I'm going to try and touch base with every paper below I-80.

My goal is not so much to receive coverage but to develop relationships and get people thinking about alternative health care policies. Press is good for donors, but results are better.

My problem area continues to be the State Journal-Register in my home town of Springfield. It seems they are backed up at the editorial board, so I'm, temporarily I think, getting brushed off.

Of course my first effort on behalf of the Illinois Policy Institute was in Sept. of '02. I have yet to rate a mention in my hometown newspaper. I find this odd, considering I grew up here and have dozens of friends, as well as thousands of acquaintances. If the Institute were a normal business, the business section would probably at least note that the Institute exists.

Morever, from my academic training, to my relationship with national figures in DC, (visits to the White House???) to my background in policy community you would think I would be a credible source. Having the Senate Republican Leader write a tansmittal letter for "First, Do No Harm,..." doesn't hurt either. Alas, it takes time to develop relationships and timing in the PR business can mean a lot.
Election Results

Congratulations to Barak Obama and Jack Ryan. This race should be a great one to watch. Obama is hopelessly liberal and Jack Ryan is the personification of compassionate conservatism. Both are men of ideas. Illinoisans will have a pretty starkc choice.

I would say the Obama seems more comfortable with the details (most lefties are, though). Both are articulate and charismatic.

On the negative front, one has used cocaine and the other went through a hollywood divorce. Who know whether or not this will balance out. In one sense, being damaged goods does humanize them. A little humility will go far with midwestern voters.
15 March 2004

According to " AFP:

"Socialist Party (PSOE) leader and future prime minister Zapatero vowed to keep his pre-election pledge that barring new developments in Iraq before June 30 -- the date the United States has promised to hand power over to an Iraqi provisional government -- Spain's 1,300 troops in Iraq 'will return home'. "

Five will get you ten that between now and June 30th "new developments" will emerge. At some point the Socialists will figure out that with Germany and France running the EU, they will need us far more than we need them... There will also be economic fallout from this election, too. The socialists don't have a mandate to overturn many of the free market reforms in Spain. Just electing them could have significant negative affects on their economy. If they attempt to do anything it will get worse.
Socialists Win In Spain

According to the Sun-Times it wasn't the sweeping defeat portrayed yesterday in the news. Something like 34 seats were gained by the Socialists -- which wasn't enough to gain a majority. In other words, the Socialists still have to form and hold a government.

If Al Quaeda did this bombing, they'll now be emboldened to do more. Any sign of weakness will be exploited. It was the perceived weakness of the US that led to 9/11.

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