Michael Brendan Dougherty tells us about the current state of dandyism and how some dandies are trying to reclaim dandyism for real men. 

The Economist is blogging the midterms on their politics blog Democracy in America, some of which just highlights the magazine’s own election coverage in the new issue, but they do also include some posts drawing on other sources, such as National Journal’s Jonathan Rauch on the virtues of divided government.  (Via Kevin Drum)  They also have an economics blogs called Free Exchange, which I’m sure all the paleos and traditional conservatives will just be rushing off to read.  

Drum, for his part, fears a Sports Illustrated jinx-like effect in the magazine’s call for Republican defeat, since The Economist often endorses the candidate/party that ends up losing.  They were tepidly for Kerry in ‘04.  But in this case I am not sure that even bad Economist vibes can keep the Democrats down this time.  Funniest thing I’ve read this week: according to Drum, The Economist has a “tiresome conservative tilt”!  No more, I can’t take it!

Rachel Morris at Washington Monthly’s election blog, Showdown ‘06, notes that Rep. Doolittle in CA-04 is once again in hot water thanks to allegations of taking a junket from nonprofits that were actually fronts for corporate interests operated by the lobbying firm Alexander Strategy Group.  (Morris’ commentary is interesting, but all her links seem to be broken.)  Here’s the Post story (via MSNBC) on the Group and why Doolittle is in trouble:

Records show that the Korea-U.S. Exchange Council was funded by the Hanwha Group, a South Korean conglomerate. The stated goal was to enhance the influence of Hanwha’s chairman, Seung Youn Kim, a controversial figure once jailed for violating Korean financial law in his purchase of Sylvester Stallone’s Hollywood mansion. Lobbyists for the U.S.-Malaysia Exchange Association filed reports stating that their funds came from a Malaysian energy firm and that the work was “on behalf of the government of Malaysia.”

Federal law prohibits members of Congress from knowingly accepting overseas travel from foreign governments except as part of a cultural interchange program approved by the State Department. The travel in this case was not part of such a program, government officials said. House rules ban members from taking trips paid for by lobbyists or foreign agents. Nonprofits and their officers are prohibited under federal tax law from using a charitable organization for private commercial gain.

Once a major lobbying firm, Alexander Strategy Group closed down early this year. Its owner, Edwin A. Buckham, former chief of staff to now-departed House majority leader Tom DeLay, is under investigation in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, according to lawyers and witnesses with knowledge of the probe. Authorities are also reviewing Buckham’s use in the 1990s of another nonprofit, the U.S. Family Network, the sources said.

The fatal grip of Abramoff continues to pull Doolittle into an early political grave.  Will this latest revelation be enough to sink the drowning Doolittle once and for all?  We’ll see in four days.

The December Washington Monthly, perplexed as to how to handle post-election coverage when the issue is put together before the election, has articles on the consequences of both a Dem victory and GOP survival.  Notable among the latter was Mark Schmitt’s view of what would follow continued GOP control, in which he imagines the McLieberman secession from both parties to form a third party and then moots it as a preposterous alternative:

One faction of a splintered party might even lead to the creation of a third party: One can imagine McCain, if rejected by social conservatives for the Republican presidential nomination, allying with Lieberman on an independent candidacy. With the Democratic Party in crisis, and a Republican nominee markedly too conservative for the country (Newt Gingrich, for example), such a third-party ticket—made up of people who can claim they were rejected by the ideologues in both their parties—would have a superficial appeal. The problem with it is simply that it would be a very, very conservative party, not a centrist alternative at all. McCain is no moderate, and never claimed to be one. And Lieberman’s strained relationship with the Democratic Party, it has become apparent, has nothing to do with the party and everything to do with his own journey toward deep neoconservatism.

I have said more or less the same thing about McCain-Lieberman fantasies for some time.  That doesn’t stop some people from hoping, of course, but it is a bizarre thing to hope for in any case.  Gingrich will never get the nomination (consider that my first reckless prediction of the next election cycle!), and there are probably all kinds of people whom folks at the Monthly think are too conservative for the country who are only too likely to get the nomination and win in a general against a Clinton or Biden.  The only trouble is that none of them is running for President this time around.  

Hanna Rosin at Slate describes the bizarre way in which “the Christian right” has been viewed up till now:

All the election tick-tock stories hint that the drama is yet to come. Any day now Karl Rove will unlock the cages and poke the beasts out of their slumber. Any moment the right court decision, or medical ethics case, or sex scandal will have them storming the polling booths and taking back the country.  This is the zombie paradigm that has been applied to the Christian right ever since its forces entered politics in the late ’70s, and in fact for most of the century: One minute they’re dead asleep, and the next minute they’re biting your head off.  

This is a funny view to hold, but it would make a lot more sense of the sheer dread some people seem to have of politically active conservative Christians.  It does make a certain amount of sense that their political opponent would regard them as attack zombies since that is exactly how the horrendously bad ’70s remake of Night of the Living Dead depicted them.  In any case, zombies or not, Ms. Rosin claims that “the Christian right” has “peaked” and has actually become largely establishmentarian and mainstream.  Perhaps, but Ms. Rosin would do a lot better than invoking Rick Warren of Purpose-Driven Life fame and juxtaposing him with Pat Robertson, since both are as representative of “the Christian right” today as I am of New Mexican politics.

At The Plank, Noam Scheiber notes that Bush has committed to keeping Rumsfeld through 2009.  Apparently there will be no post-election recriminations and firings for this President! 

Ron Rosenbaum manages to overthink his review of Borat’s use of anti-Semitism way, way too much.  

CQPolitics has shifted NH-02 to No Clear Favourite from from Leans Republican, and notes that even in NH-01 GOP strength is waning. 

Pat Buchanan has a new article, Why the GOP Is Losing.

Fr. Neuhaus mocks Alan Wolfe’s review of David Kuo’s book and manages by the end of it to intimate not too subtly that the crowd at The New Republic is basically espousing an elaborate anti-Semitic conspiracy theory (with an anti-Catholic angle to boot).  To wit:

On the surface of things, it might appear that the threat is the religious right, composed of the great unwashed of vulgar evangelicalism. But they are only the foot soldiers manipulated by clever Catholics. And at the very center of these developments are those Jewish neoconservatives. At stake in these sinister goings on is, according to TNR, nothing less than the identity of America. And it is true that there is a long and darkly shadowed history of people who view America in terms of naïve Protestants being manipulated by devious Catholics and even more devious Jews. In the past, however, those who propounded such views did not usually go by names such as Wieseltier, Wolfe, and Heilbrunn.

Last, but certainly not least, Hotline TV has their anticipated predictions episode.  See what Todd and Mercurio have to say about the coming “wave” or whether there will, in fact, be a wave at all.