Friday, August 10, 2007

A la carte at week's end

Action (and inaction) on a number of fronts:

The ’08 Democratic presidential candidates hemmed and hawed and wriggled and twisted last night, as they took questions at a gay forum in Los Angeles (video here). They dearly want gay votes and gay donations, but the gay marriage issue still scares them witless. A majority of Americans remain cool to the concept, and the Republicans (those exemplars of morality) are poised to pounce on the first major Democratic contender who warms to it.

So last night most of the candidates floated a variety of rationales for their continued opposition:

Hillary Clinton said it was a “personal decision,” although it sounded more like a political science decision when she suggested that all marriage laws should be determined by the state legislatures. (When a Washington Democrat invokes “state’s rights,” you know that it’s a dodge.)

Bill Richardson said it was a pragmatic decision, explaining that “the country isn’t there yet.” (Which means, in translation, that he has no appetite for leading on that issue.)

Barack Obama said, “We should try to disentangle what has historically been the issue of the word ‘marriage,’ which has religious connotation to some people, from the civil rights that are given to couples.” (Which suggests, in translation, that he doesn’t want to risk a backlash from people of faith who oppose the concept. That includes many people in the black community.)

And John Edwards, who has been tripping over his shoelaces on this issue since 2003, did it again. He has long suggested that he has personal religious reasons for opposing gay marriage, but last night he decided to dump that argument. He basically apologized for having previously said that his opposition was guided by his faith. In his words, “I shouldn’t have said that.” But if his faith is not the source of his opposition, then what is? He never explained.

But it was Richardson who had the worst moment. When asked whether he believed that being gay was a personal choice or inherent biology, he quickly replied: “It is a choice.”

Ouch. That’s the equivalent of a Republican candidate standing on stage at a Christian Coalition forum, and declaring that religion has no place in the public square.

Richardson knew he had goofed on that one. Shortly after his forum appearance, he emailed this statement: “Let me be clear -- I do not believe that sexual orientation or gender identity happen by choice. But I'm not a scientist, and the point I was trying to make is that no matter how it happens, we are all equal and should be treated that way under the law…”

You know how the Republican candidates would prefer not to talk about Iraq, because they fear that the issue will hurt them with independent swing voters? For Democrats, gay marriage is the same kind of headache.


In his press conference yesterday, President Bush – always anxious to demonstrate his leadership – declared that he will stand in opposition to the notion that American motorists should pay a few extra cents per gallon of gas, as a way to finance much-needed road and bridge repairs. “That’s not the right way to prioritize the people’s money,” said the guy who is spending roughly $10 billion of the people’s money every month, just to keep U.S. troops entrapped in the midst of an Iraqi civil war.

He basically argued that Congress has had plenty of road and bridge money already, but that Congress has spent it badly. Referring to special-interest earmarks, he complained: “From my perspective, the way it seems to have worked is that each member on that (transportation) committee gets to set his or her priority first…” And he’s right, because that’s how we wound up with “the bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, and other wasteful junk.

But, as usual, Bush omitted a basic empirical fact: It was his free-spending Republican Congress that ran rampant with earmarks over a four-year period (including the bridge to nowhere in 2005), and Bush never said a word about it. Yet now he’s invoking the issue as an excuse for not supporting a hike in the gas tax, which would be the first in 14 years.

But elsewhere in the press conference, Bush gave us the quote of the week. The topic was Iraq: “If one were to look hard, they could find indications that – more than indications – facts that show the government is learning how to function.”

Just one week ago, the largest Sunni political faction walked out of the government, vacating five Cabinet positions. Bush apparently has a flexible definition of "learning."


There might actually be a good reason to track the Iowa Republican straw poll results on Saturday night, despite the fact that you can probably think of 100 better things to do on a summer Saturday night. The wild card, potentially, is the antiwar libertarian, Ron Paul. He may not have the money to buy enough votes in the straw poll tradition, but it’s conceivable that some of his followers might gain entry by stealth - allowing other candidates to pay for their tickets, then declaring their allegiance to Paul.

The Mitt Romney camp is banking on a media boomlet for their man, who is expected to win handily against second-tier opposition. Sharing the Sunday story would Ron Paul would be their idea of a good time.

As for Romney, the sole first-tier candidate at the straw poll, he wins our Mitt Romney Flip Flop of the Week award (a category reserved for him).

Back in February, he said he opposed the crown jewel of the pro-life movement: a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban abortions nationwide. This proposal, known as the Human Life Amendment, has long been a plank in the Republican party platform. But Romney told the National Journal magazine on Feb. 9: “My view is not to impose a single federal rule on the entire nation -- a one-size-fits all approach -- but instead allow states to make their own decisions in this regard.” A week later he repeated the argument on ABC News: “My view is that we should let each state have its own responsibility for guiding its laws relating to abortion.”

Well, apparently Romney was against it before he was for it. Asked again about the Human Life Amendment earlier this week, he told ABC News: "You know, I do support the Republican platform, and I support that being part of the Republican platform.”


And speaking of hypocrisy, let’s update the extracurricular activities on the family-values front. Everything comes in threes:

First we had David Vitter, the family-values GOP senator from Louisiana, exposed as a longtime patron of prostitutes in Washington and Louisiana. Then we had Bob Allen, the anti-gay rights GOP Florida lawmaker, who got busted for offering to pay a cop $20 for the privilege of performing oral sex on the cop…and now we have Glenn Murphy Jr., (until recently) the GOP chairman in Clark County, Indiana, and (until recently) the chair of the Young Republican National Federation.

He’s reportedly under investigation for criminal deviate conduct, after a young associate filed a police complaint alleging that, while he and Murphy were bunking in the same room during a work trip, he awoke around dawn to discover that the GOP chairman was performing an X-rated act upon his person.

The police probe may well last a month or two. Murphy has quit both chairmanships, explaining that he has suddenly discovered some business opportunities worthy of his pursuit. The Young Republican National Federation has erased all traces of Murphy from its website. To paraphrase George Orwell in his book 1984, Murphy doesn’t exist; he never existed.

Back on Sunday.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Until tomorrow

I'm traveling today, back online tomorrow. I plan to compensate for today's absence by writing on Sunday about the results of the scintillating Iowa Republican straw poll, in which '08 contenders vie for supremacy by literally buying votes.

With Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Fred Thompson skipping the event, that should clear the way for a Mitt Romney "win." I'll write the most truthful news lead right now: "By busing in the most loyalists, and paying for their tickets, Mitt Romney defeated similar vote-buying strategies employed by his more modestly-financed rivals, including Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback. But it's doubtful that this Saturday night event was an accurate barometer of anything, given the fact that, as in the past, it attracted only two percent of Republican voters statewide..."

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Pandermania and Hillary-hunting

The Democrats sure know how to stage a pander festival. Last night’s presidential candidate forum, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, was a veritable clinic. Any second, I was expecting everybody to shed their Washington threads and reveal their solidarity T-shirts, but they managed to confine themselves to bursts of competitive rhetoric. Hillary Clinton boasted that she is the New York AFL-CIO’s favorite “sister,” whereupon Barack Obama essentially said: Oh yeah, well, I happen to have done lots of great work with Illinois labor. Meanwhile, John Edwards boasted that he has walked on 200 picket lines during the past two years, whereupon Joe Biden essentially said: Oh yeah, well, I’ve been walking picket lines for the past 34 years.

And so on. Far more interesting was the insider-versus-outsider dynamic. Clearly, Obama and Edwards – both trailing badly in national Democratic polls – feel compelled to hammer the frontrunner as a status quo establishment toady. In the hopes of attracting the grassroots labor resources that might help them slow Hillary’s march through the early primaries (a greater imperative for the relatively cash-strapped Edwards), they’re willing to reopen the old party wounds of the early ‘90s, an era when labor and liberal activists widely perceived Hillary and Bill Clinton as sell-outs who were too close to Wall Street.

Edwards said, “We don’t want to exchange one group of insiders (the GOP regime) for another group of insiders (Hillary and the Democratic establishment).” He assailed the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has hurt domestic working people, reminding the 15,000 labor people in the audience that “this deal was negotiated by Washington insiders, not by anybody in this stadium tonight” – which was a polite way of pointing out that Bill Clinton’s administration pushed for NAFTA and Bill signed it. (When Hillary had earlier acknowledged that “broad reform” was needed to fix NAFTA, she of course neglected to mention that her husband had signed it.) Edwards also assailed Hillary for making the July 9 cover of Fortune magazine, and told the labor folks that “the one thing you can count on is you will never see a picture of me on the front of Fortune Magazine saying, ‘I am the candidate that big corporate America is betting on.’”

Obama - whose aides like to point out that even when the Clintons had a Democratic Congress in 1993 and 1994, they failed to enact health care reform – went on repeated jags last night about “Washington insiders,” using that as a synonym for Democrats (like Hillary) who have failed to advance liberal/progressive issues and have fatally compromised with Republicans (especially on Iraq).

Obama played the card during yet another dustup over his recent speech calling for the possibility of U.S. military strikes against al Qaeda in Pakistan. After second-tier candidate Chris Dodd rebuked him for making an “irresponsible” proposal that would only serve to further destabilize Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf, Obama – perhaps hoping that Hillary would not pile on – retaliated with a preemptive strike at the first tier:

“I find it amusing that those who helped authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster of our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war on terror.”

I got the feeling that he came to the forum armed with that line, and was poised to launch it at the first opportunity. But two can play that game. The ever-prepared frontrunner lashed back with a critique that was surely designed to suggest that outsider is a synonym for inexperienced and naive.

After elaborating on Dodd’s warning about destabilizing Musharraf, she sought to smack Obama across the mouth: “You can think big, but remember, you shouldn’t say everything you think if you’re running for president, because it has consequences across the world. And we don’t need that right now.” (At this point, the audience booed – perhaps because this was Chicago and Obama had home-field advantage. Or perhaps because, at that moment, she seemed to be echoing Bush administration warnings about how Democratic dissent aids the terrorists.)

I suspect it was the latter, given the way Obama was cheered when he replied, “We’re debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have a right to know. It is not just Washington insiders that are part of the debate that has to take place, with respect to how we’re going to shift our foreign policy.”

Edwards mostly stayed out of the Pakistan fight. He preferred to pick a new fight with Hillary over the lobbyist issue - perhaps to his own detriment.

Last weekend (as I mentioned yesterday), Hillary told an audience of liberal bloggers that she would continue to accept campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists, all of whom “represent real people,” everyone from nurses and social service workers to employes of big corporations. Edwards was again in high dudgeon last night, because he doesn’t take any campaign money from lobbyists (he does take money from employes of the hedge fund where he earned $479,000 in salary after leaving the Senate, but never mind). Again seeking to paint Hillary as an establishment sellout, he said that all candidates “should be saying no to lobbyist money in Washington, D.C.”

But he ran into trouble when he pushed his argument too far. It was pointed out to him that rich trial lawyers (aiding one of their own) contribute heavily to his campaign, and then he was asked why that’s any different from taking lobbyist contributions. He then sought to draw a distinction between the rules governing lawyer conduct and the rules governing lobbyist conduct: “When lawyers give money to the jury who are making the decisions, that’s called a bribe. When lobbyists go to members of Congress and give money to them, that’s called politics.”

Much audible grumbling in the audience. The labor activists didn’t like that line, not one bit. And here’s why:

Organized labor does a lot of lobbying.

When labor lobbyists ply their trade, they don’t consider that to be “politics” in any bad sense. They consider themselves to be engaged in buttonholing senators and congressmen for the betterment of mankind. Indeed, between 1998 and 2005, organized labor’s lobbying expenditures totaled $265,639,714. (Far less than the corporate tab, but still significant.) Last year alone, labor’s lobbying tab was $30 million. One of the jobs of a labor lobbyist is to ensure that they get satisfactory results from the Democrats who benefited, in the previous election, from labor’s campaign contributions.

Labor doesn’t mind a bit of demagoguery, but it also wants to win. Hillary’s reputation as a seasoned partisan may well be enough to at least thwart a labor stampede to the less seasoned “outsiders.” Hence, this Hillary remark last night, a line that was clearly well-crafted in advance:

“For 15 years I have stood up against the right-wing machine, and I’ve come out stronger. So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I’m your girl.”

Girl?...Clearly, we have entered the post-feminist era.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The heart versus the head

If all political factors were equal, organized labor would be endorsing John Edwards for president. More than any of his rivals, the rich trial lawyer with populist instincts has been effectively plucking labor’s heartstrings – coming out early for universal health care, wooing union leaders one by one, walking picket lines, assailing trade deals that appear to favor big corporations at the expense of working stiffs.

But while labor’s heart is with Edwards, its head may be elsewhere. Labor is concerned that Edwards might be another Dick Gephardt – in other words, a sentimental favorite who can’t win. Gephardt, the former House Democratic leader and labor darling, won support from several dozen unions during the runup to the 2004 Iowa Democratic caucuses…where he proceeded to flame out. Or the fear is that perhaps Edwards might be another Howard Dean. Back in the autumn of ’03, Dean picked up some big-ticket labor endorsements, including the blessing of AFSCME…yet he too flopped in Iowa, quitting the race in late February.

On the eve of tonight’s Democratic debate, sponsored by the AFL-CIO, it’s clear that labor is pondering the electability factor. Put bluntly, labor wants to back a winner. And with Hillary Clinton topping Barack Obama by 22 points and topping Edwards by a whopping 36 points in the latest poll of Democratic primary voters, sheer pragmatism suggests a head tilt toward Hillary.

But that can’t be a very comforting thought.

Organized labor was rarely happy with her husband’s White House tenure – as I mentioned here recently, Bill did little to address the gap between rich and poor, or the exodus of U.S. jobs thanks to globalization, or the wage stagnation that plagued the average worker – and suspicions linger that Hillary might be too close to corporate interests. Some labor activists have also been grumbling for weeks about the fact that Hillary's pollster, Mark Penn, is the head of a public relations firm that has provided union-busting advice to business clients.

And even though she has been talking like a populist lately – lamenting “rising inequality and rising pessimism in our work force,” and declaring that global free trade “is working only for a few of us” – she may well have stoked labor’s suspicions anew the other day, when she defended her decision to take campaign money from Washington lobbyists.

As she told an audience of liberal bloggers on Saturday, "A lot of those lobbyists whether you like it not, represent real Americans…and yes, they represent corporations and they employ a lot of people." She was booed for that remark. (She also pointed out, rightly, that lobbyists also represent nurses and social-service folks, but when a liberal or labor audience hears the word “lobbyist,” it thinks “corporate interests.”)

Tonight, Edwards or Obama may well invoke her defense of lobbyists, in the hopes of sowing fresh doubts among the union members in attendance. But here’s where pragmatism comes into play: Shrewd labor leaders might well conclude that Hillary’s willingness to tell a liberal audience something it didn’t want to hear is actually a testament to her potential electability in November 2008. Swing voters dislike Democrats who are perceived as pandering to their left-leaning interest groups. By braving the boos, on Saturday, Hillary was essentially “doing a Sister Souljah,” a tactic used by her husband in 1992, when he ticked off a black audience (and Jesse Jackson) by rebuking the black rapper for her song lyrics.

Hillary is hardly labor’s first choice, but her daunting Democratic lead, and her early willingness to stake out a general election strategy, should be enough to squelch any consensus labor stampede toward Edwards. And that’s precisely her short-term intention. He’ll probably pick up some endorsements from individual unions late this year, but the umbrella AFL-CIO will probably remain officially neutral. And that would serve her needs just fine; one of her priorities, between now and next winter, is to ensure that Edwards, already outmatched in fundraising, is also denied the grassroots labor resources that would allow him to threaten her in key early primaries - notably Iowa and Nevada.

And Hillary knows that if she does win the nomination, the labor ground game (which was crucial in helping both Al Gore and John Kerry win Pennsylvania and Michigan) would aid her general election candidacy, regardless of labor’s lingering qualms about her solidarity credentials.


I didn’t have the time yesterday to highlight this priceless story out of Florida, forwarded to me by a resident of the Sunshine State, but it’s still worth a rueful laugh or two:

It’s always fascinating to look at the excuses that politicians invent, when entrapped by their own egregious screwups. This one surely ranks with Bill Clinton’s ’98 contention that oral sex is not really sex.

Our story is about a Florida Republican legislature named Bob Allen, who until recently was serving on John McCain’s statewide campaign committee. Allen has been having a few legal difficulties, stemming from the fact that in July he was arrested at a park restroom for offering to perform oral sex on an undercover cop, and for allegedly offering to pay the object of his affection $20 for the privilege.

According to a police report released last Thursday, officer Danny Kavanaugh said he was drying his hands in a stall when Allen twice peered over the stall door, then pushed open the door, joined Kavanaugh inside, and suggested that the two men go somewhere quiet. Kavanaugh wrote that Allen told him, “I was thinking you would want (oral sex).” The officer replied that it would cost Allen $20. Whereupon the lawmaker allegedly said, “Yeah, I wouldn’t argue with that.” Allen was arrested as he sought to lead Kavanaugh to his car.

Anyway, that’s not the priceless part. And the fact that Allen is rated by a Florida gay organization as the worst state House legislator on gay issues (naturally!), and the fact that last May he had introduced a bill outlawing "lewd and lascivious exhibition"…no, that’s all just standard hypocrisy, which doesn’t rise to the level of pricelessness.

What truly distinguishes this guy is his explanation for what happened. It starts with the fact that he’s a white guy, and Kavanaugh is a black guy…and you can probably guess the rest. As he told the police in a tape-recorded statement, "This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park.” Therefore, he felt he “was about to be a statistic," and therefore he needed to say whatever was necessary in order to escape the scene.

Hence Allen’s legal defense: Scary black people made me do it.

According to the police report, Allen did try to wriggle out of the arrest, by asking Kavanaugh whether “it would help” that he was a state lawmaker. He was told that it would not help. So perhaps he can introduce a bill that codifies a new crime, Relieving Oneself While Black.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Saying no to the neocons

It was fascinating yesterday to watch various Republican presidential candidates trying to distance themselves from the Bush administration’s neoconservative fantasies.

Much of the instant analysis of yesterday’s ABC News debate was about how the candidates focused their fire on Democrats and supposedly reaffirmed their loyalty to Bush by supporting his Surge strategy in Iraq. But I saw something else as well:

At the midway mark of the 90-minute Iowa event, the ’08 contenders said that Bush’s signature ambition – to nurture democracy in the Middle East at the point of a gun - has been a failure, that the Iraqi voters' purple fingers do not necessarily signify a democracy, and that the neocon credo should not be repeated in a new Republican administration.

By making this argument, the candidates demonstrated that a fundamental split within the GOP over foreign policy – generally papered over during the Bush era – has now resurfaced, and vividly so. During the late ‘80s and the ‘90s, there were ongoing tensions between neoconservatives who believed we should export democracy worldwide, even by military means; and less idealistic Republicans, believers in “realpolitik,” who basically sought to respect (and perhaps manipulate) the balance of power abroad, and felt that America should act militarily only to protect its own national interest.

Bush had basically announced his neoconservative dream during his second Inaugural address in January 2005. Yesterday, this dream was essentially repudiated. For instance, when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was asked whether the spread of democracy would be the core of his foreign policy, he replied: “I don’t think it’s the job of the United States to export our form of government. It’s the job of the United States to protect our citizens, to secure our own borders, which we have failed to do for over 20 years. It’s the job of our government to make us free and us safe…I don’t think we can force people to accept our way of life, our way of government. What we can to is to create the strongest America: change our tax system, make it so that people are healthier, create the enviable education system on this planet, make sure that jobs come back to this country rather than disappear from this country…That makes a whole lot more sense to me than spending billions and billions and billions of dollars to try to prop up some government we don’t even like when we get it.”

And this is a guy whose basic strategy, in Iowa and elsewhere, is to appeal to religious conservative voters. Clearly he has determined that not even those voters will buy Bush’s neoconservative credo any longer - and that tells us plenty about the mood of the general electorate.

A minute or two later, Rudy Giuliani weighed in. Whereas Huckabee and Texas congressman Ron Paul were saying that Bush’s credo was a crock, Rudy essentially signaled that, at the very least, Bush’s credo has been undone by sheer incompetence.
He said: “Democracy is not necessarily immediately going to elections…The way I look at it, democracy also requires the rule of law. It requires stability. It requires people not being afraid they’re going to be killed every day when they go out on the street. Democracy’s only a theory if you’re living in an unstable situation. So sometimes, democracy is the long-term goal, but in order to get there, you have to first build a rule of law, you have to first build respect for human rights…”

That was an interesting riff, because it sure sounded like Rudy was condemning the long litany of Bush administration screwups in Iraq. For years, the Bush war team has been congratulating itself for holding a series of elections in Iraq, yet here was Rudy, and some of his rivals saying that elections don’t mean squat without “the rule of law” and “stability” – factors that received tragically short shrift in the prewar Pentagon planning. (What a difference two years can make. Back in February 2005, Republican lawmakers were so besotted by the Iraqi elections that they showed up for Bush's State of the Union address wearing purple suits and purple ties, in solidarity with the Iraqi voters whose fingers had been dipped in purple ink.)

Even John McCain, whose slavish loyalty to Bush has helped precipitate his political plunge, felt compelled yesterday to echo Rudy and suggest that perhaps those purple fingers had been overrated: “We fail to appreciate that elections do not mean democracy, that it is rule of law.” (Then he segued to his standard rose-colored claim that, thanks to the Surge, rule of law “is beginning to take hold in Iraq…which will then allow true democracy to take place.”)

Then it was Mitt Romney’s turn to echo the others: “Just as these other two gentlemen have said, democracy is not defined by a vote. There have to be the underpinnings of democracy: education, health care, people recognizing they live in a place that has the rule of law…We need to reach out, not just with our military might - although that we have, and should keep it strong - but also reach out with our other great capabilities…I can tell you, I’m not a carbon copy of President Bush. And there are things I would do that would be done differently.”

If these guys are talking this way about Bush now, even while attempting to woo Republican primary voters, imagine what the putative nominee will sound like next spring, when it’s time to woo the independent swing voters who have already judged Bush to be an irreparable disaster.


With reference to the '08 Republican argument that security and rule of law are precursers to true democratic elections:

Now we learn, thanks to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, that the Bush war team botched its own security program in Iraq during 2004 and 2005. The Pentagon lost track of roughly 30 percent of the weapons that were supposed to be distributed to Iraqi security forces. And because the record-keeping and accountability procedures were so shoddy (what the GAO calls "numerous mistakes due to incorrect manual entries"), it's impossible to know how many of the 190,000 missing assault rifles and pistols have fallen into the hands of the insurgents.

Reportedly, the Pentagon is not disputing the GAO report, and says it will try to find out what happened. Perhaps the Bush war team will begin its inquiry by quizzing the military leader who was in charge of that program back in 2004 and 2005.

That would be Gen. David Petraeus.

You may have heard of him. He's the guy, according to Bush, who will soon provide us with an objective assessment of how the war is going.

In Mitt Romney's words yesterday, "we’re going to get a report from General Petraeus on the success." (emphasis added)


And speaking of neocons, it's worth noting that irrepressible war hawk Bill Kristol is now applying his trademark optimism to the domestic scene. Opining on Fox News yesterday about the Minneapolis bridge collapse, the perpetually sunny assessor of the Iraq war said this:

"I don't think this symbolizes any great failure of our infrastructure. Once every twenty five years some bridge falls down unexpectedly due to engineering problems and it is unfortunate obviously but the idea that the whole country is crumbling is not, I think, credible."

As Donald Rumsfeld used to say about the violence in Iraq, "stuff happens."


In a Sunday print column yesterday, I suggested that some voter concerns about Romney’s Mormon faith might well be appropriate. Romney, however, is clearly sensitive about this issue. Last Thursday, he visited an Iowa radio talk show, and during a commercial break (when the mike was still on, and the camera was still on), he vented a bit, saying, “I’m not running as a Mormon…I’m not running to talk about Mormonism.”

He said, “My religion is for me and how I live my life…We also inherently believe other people should be allowed to make their own choices…I don’t impose all of my faith beliefs on you.” He said, for instance, that it’s a tenet of his faith that he doesn’t drink, but that, when he was governor of Massachusetts, he never imagined trying to tell the citizenry to abstain. Nor, apparently, would he seek as president to persuade the citizenry to agree with his belief (stated in the radio studio) that, 1000 years after the Second Coming, Jesus will reign simultaneously in two places: Jerusalem and Missouri (the latter being the site of the Garden of Eden).

Naturally, given the fact that nothing goes unobserved in our contemporary political culture, you can watch the entire off-the-air (and presumably off-the-record)conversation here. It was also posted Saturday on YouTube.