** John Grisham: “I am just shocked at the idea the Allen campaign would be this desperate. This is a clear sign of a desperate campaign if they plow through novels trying to find evidence of character. The old saying is ‘everything is grist for the writer’s mill.’ Every person you see, every country you visit, every bizarre, vile, repulsive act could one day be in a novel. That is not reflective of your character as an author; it is reflective of what you witnessed as someone looking for material.” from the Washington Post
** Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s re-election campaign moves into uplift mode today with the release of a new TV ad entitled “33.” That’s the current number of newspapers that have endorsed him over trailing Democratic candidate Phil Angelides. As the names of endorsing newspapers crawl across the bottom of the screen and the announcer reads some of the laudatory things written about the former action superstar as governor, pull quotes from the endorsements are superimposed on the screen over a spectacular montage of California scenes. With appropriate music, of course, which you’ve heard throughout the fine ad campaign produced for Schwarzenegger. The announcer manages to work in the word “bipartisan” twice in only 30 seconds.
The former Mr. Universe has pulled off the biggest sweep of newspaper endorsements for California governor in my lifetime. It’s especially striking in that many of these papers would not endorse him when he was elected in the tumultuous 2003 recall. It’s even more striking given the criticism he received from these newspapers just a year ago during his unsuccessful special election.
Angelides, to my knowledge, has only two newspaper endorsements. La Opinion, the Spanish language newspaper in Los Angeles, which could hardly endorse Schwarzenegger given his continued opposition to drivers license for illegal immigrants, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the most left-wing weekly newspaper in the state. Angelides had also been blitzed in the battle for newspaper endorsements by his narrowly defeated primary rival, ex-eBay honcho-turned state Controller Steve Westly, winning only the latter mentioned paper and two dailies, his hometown Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times, which went at Schwarzenegger hammer and tong in the recall campaign. Schwarzenegger, of course, won the endorsements of those two dailies for the general election.
** No sooner does former U.S. Navy Secretary James Webb move into the lead (in the LA Times/Bloomberg poll) for the first time in that heated Virginia race against Republican Senator George Allen than he gets hit for his … novels. Webb, one of the most highly decorated Marine Corps officers of the Vietnam War, is a highly acclaimed novelist. But Allen’s staff has cherrypicked salacious and, in one or two cases, arguably pornographic passages from his novels and presented them as evidence of Webb’s perversity and disrespect toward women. Webb’s novels are, for the most part, about current and former soldiers. The sexual side of that milieu is not all, shall we say, Norman Rockwell, which Allen might know had he been in the military. In the most inciting passage cited, a character in Webb’s acclaimed Lost Soldiers engages in what seems to be an act of incest and pedophilia.
Last night, the Drudge Report, which is the main conduit being used by the Allen campaign to inject this material into the media, splashed the scene, in all its explicitness, on the front page as “Allen’s Revenge.” That will not be the practice of NWN. Matt Drudge has since toned down his front page, but this is still the screaming headline there. The principal novel in question, incidentally, received a strong review from the Wall Street Journal. One of its principal endorsers was Senator John McCain, Webb’s fellow Vietnam vet and the Republican frontrunner for president.
** It was former Senator Bob Kerrey vs. Senator John Kerry in Connecticut’s Senate race earlier this week. Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska governor and senator and presidential candidate, winner of the nation’s highest military award in the Vietnam War, the Medal of Honor, now president of the New School in New York, was there to help his old colleague, independent Senator Joe Lieberman. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, current Massachusetts senator and Silver Star winner in the Vietnam War, was there for trailing Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Many Democratic senators have held back from the Lamont campaign, after rushing to endorse him in the aftermath of dramatic primary win over Lieberman last August. Only a few have contributed money to him. Lieberman looks like the winner now, despite all the hyperventilation over Lamont’s primary win. Kerry, in contrast, has been very active for Lamont, leading many to conclude that he hopes to curry netroots favor the 2008 presidential primaries.
** Track global and national energy prices in near real time via Bloomberg. Crude oil prices are holding steady at or near sixty dollars a barrel amidst signs of ample supply for the holidays.