Democratic National Chairman Terry McAuliffe inexplicably
delayed announcing the selection of Boston for the party's 2004 national
convention when early disclosure might have helped Democratic chances in
Massachusetts Nov. 5.
WASHINGTON - The decision for Boston was made more than three weeks before
McAuliffe's post-election announcement. Party insiders wonder whether
announcing it then might have helped Democrat Shannon O'Brien's losing race
for governor of Massachusetts against Republican Mitt Romney.
A footnote: Tampa appears to be in front to be the Republican
convention site, but GOP officials say New York and New Orleans are still in
the running. The decision is being made strictly on a business basis of
which city provides the best deal, without political considerations.
BUSH'S LOST OPPORTUNITY
Amid all of George W. Bush's mid-term election
triumphs, veteran Republican and Democratic politicians in California agreed
that the president missed an opportunity when he did not visit the state
just before the election to campaign against Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
Davis's surprisingly narrow re-election over Republican Bill
Simon by six percentage points led hostile Democrats to speculate that Davis
might have been denied a second term had either the campaign lasted another
two weeks or Bush helped. The president was urged to stay out by his
A footnote: Davis's unimpressive performance against a novice
candidate and a flawed Republican campaign is believed to have ended his
presidential hopes for 2004. The governor also faces the near certainty of
raising taxes to deal with the state's unresolved budget crisis.
THE SPEAKER'S LASH
House Speaker Dennis Hastert's surprise move Thursday in the
House Republican conference that imposed leadership control over the House
Appropriations Committee was aimed at both staffers and subcommittee
The heads of the appropriating subcommittees (commonly called
"The Cardinals") no longer will be picked strictly by seniority but will be
subject to review by the Hastert-controlled Republican Steering Committee.
That was intended to clip the wings of James Dyer, the powerful
Appropriations Committee staff director who often defies the GOP leadership.
The Cardinal whose chairmanship could be ended by the change is
Rep. Ralph Regula, a 15-term veteran from Ohio who heads the important
Labor-HHS-Education subcommittee. Republican leaders were furious this year
when Regula, representing a safe district, refused to support President
Bush's request for trade negotiating authority. That forced the party whips
to get a vote from Rep. Robin Hayes of North Carolina, which endangered his
re-election though he wound up winning Nov. 5.
GETTING NANCY READY
Democratic insiders worry less about Rep. Nancy Pelosi swerving
to the left as the party's new House leader than her stumbling performances
on television. She is being privately coached to fulfill new demands for
As a San Francisco Democratic power broker that included service
as California's state party chairman, Pelosi has been mainly a backroom
fund-raiser rather than a pronouncer of policy. When she became House whip
last year and appeared more frequently on television, she delivered set
speeches when asked a question.
A footnote: Pelosi led all House Democrats in raising money for
colleagues and leading challengers for Republican House seats. Her opponent
for the leadership, Rep. Harold Ford of Tennessee, raised almost no money.
GOODBYE TO FRITZ?
Sen. Ernest (Fritz) Hollings, South Carolina's junior senator
for 36 years prior to his senior colleague Sen. Strom Thurmond's retirement
at the end of this year, may choose to enjoy his senior status for only two
South Carolina Democratic State Chairman Richard Harpootlian is
making assurances that Hollings, the state's lone prominent elected Democrat
still remaining, will seek another term in 2004. But his political friends
doubt that the 80-year-old senator will want to buck the state's Republican
Analysis of this year's GOP sweep in South Carolina shows the
problem for Democrats is not a weak African-American turnout but
overwhelming white rural and suburban voting. That poses ominous prospects