In some circles, it's pretty much taken for granted that the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster with no possible gain for all the pain, and that you can make this observation over and over with no one objecting. Only someone is. Rudolph Giuliani.
"Do I think the mission overall in Iraq is the correct one?" he asked the other day, following up with a quick answer. "I think without a doubt it is."
The spotlight on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee just got a bit brighter.
That could explain why he was grinning as he strapped on a bass guitar and stood Friday night on the same stage where Buddy Holly played his last concert.
"We want to show that conservatives, Republicans, Christian believers can have as much fun as anybody else in the whole world," he told a festive and decidedly well-behaved crowd at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake.
At a recent regular function where an eclectic group of doctors, lawyers and former and current chiefs meets periodically over dinner to discuss issues of the day, I asked one of the early icons of conservatism whom he liked for the Republican presidential nomination.
How about Fred (former Sen. Thompson)?" I said, nudging a prominent moderate standing next to me. "It looks to me like he fits your profile about as well as anyone."
"Lord, no!" he exclaimed. "He's a Washington insider and I don't trust him any more than I would any K Street manipulator."
The media, with its need for front runners, rankings and pedestals to both place candidates upon and then knock off, creates an artificial environment for political campaigns.
That's the conclusion of a study due for release today on the effect the media has on the political campaign process.
A key finding suggests the media is, for the most part, our of touch with the attitudes of American voters.
The study should provide ample fodder for both Republican and Democratic candidates who will blame the media for their campaign failures.
Here come the Sixties again, hijacking another presidential campaign with their endless generational pathologies.
This time it's John McCain, Vietnam vet, trashing Woodstock and Hillary Clinton, a woman some view as the high priestess of the baby boomer left.
You may have missed it, if you're not a navel-gazing boomer ("Hey! Woodstock was really important! Because we were THERE, man! In the MUD!") or an old Establishment square still disdainful of your once-long-haired younger cousins.
A longtime Democratic fundraiser has abandoned Barack Obama's campaign to help rival Hillary Rodham Clinton win the party's presidential nomination.
Bob Farmer, who was a top fundraiser for several past Democratic presidential candidates, had served on Obama's national finance committee.
Farmer did not respond to a request for comment after a message was left at his home in Bal Harbour, Fla. But Kirk Wagar, Obama's Florida finance chair, said Farmer let him know he was switching sides without saying why.
"I thanked him," Wagar said.
A University of North Carolina professor said Friday that John Edwards' campaign demanded that he pull a student reporter's television story that focused on the upscale location of the campaign's headquarters.
C.A. "Charlie" Tuggle, an associate professor at the school, said the Edwards campaign contacted the reporter, second-year master's degree student Carla Babb, asking for a video of her report to be removed from the Internet. When that failed, the campaign demanded in three calls to Tuggle that the TV story be killed, he said.
It had to happen. Blogs have become so much a part of the information mainstream that mainstream news providers had to get into the act.
Just about every newspaper, from the smallest weeklies to the mighty New York Times, has jumped into the blogging game and, as with the non-mainstream "blogosphere," politics dominates the topics.
Which means political campaigns will be using newspaper and magazine bloggers to serve their interests.
The second shoe fell last week when the Christian-conservative "Values Voters" met in Washington. Out of 5,775 opinion votes cast, national front-runner Rudolph Giuliani finished next to last, with only 2 percent, in a field of six contenders.
The Christian right is far from reaching consensus. Meanwhile, Latino evangelicals, a crucial swing bloc, have quietly left Republican hopefuls to fend for themselves.
The first shoe to drop came the day before, when Sen. Mel Martinez of Florida announced he was resigning as general chairman of the Republican National Committee.
There was a big, imaginary bull's-eye covering the media section at former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's town-hall meeting in Davenport, Iowa.
For once, his attacks on Democrats were relatively mild compared with the incessant derision he aimed at a monster called "the liberal media."
During the gathering Wednesday night at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Giuliani cited an alleged media bias at least nine times, blaming it for everything from the struggles in the Iraq war to higher taxes.