Joe Conason's Journal

Dems make gains in the Lone Star State; GOP meltdown in Illinois. Plus: How will Bush's new low poll numbers alter his war plans?

By Salon Staff

Published September 5, 2002 2:31PM (EDT)

Greg Palast on Donahue
Tonight Phil Donahue will feature an interview with investigative journalist Gregory Palast, who broke the important "felon-purge" story about the 2000 election in Florida on Salon. (Disclosure: I wrote a foreword to Greg's recent book, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," published by Pluto Press.) He'll be talking about Jeb Bush, and will reportedly bring with him some new "smoking gun documents" that reveal more about the Florida governor's role in the voting rights scandal. Donahue airs on MSNBC at 8 p.m. ET and is repeated at 11 p.m. EDT and 3 a.m. EDT on Friday.

Longhorn Horserace
A new poll shows that those Texas races are still worrying the White House. The Democrats' candidate for governor, Tony Sanchez, is closing what was a huge gap against Gov. Rick Perry, and their Senate candidate, Ron Kirk, remains close to a statistical dead-heat with Enron-friendly Republican John Cornyn, the state's attorney general. [6:25 p.m. PDT, Sept. 5, 2002]

Paging General Rove
Now that Bush's approval ratings are falling back to pre-September 2001 levels, as this new poll indicates, is he more or less likely to invade Iraq? The latest Pew poll, released Wednesday, shows that as his numbers decline, more voters are also questioning his rationale for war.

Ryan's Hopeless
In Illinois, very few of this year's elections are seriously contested -- and certainly not the gubernatorial, where every survey shows Democrat Rod Blagojevich stomping Republican Jim Ryan. The unfortunate Ryan, who has served for several years as the state attorney general, shares the surname of the incumbent (and scandal-plagued) Gov. George Ryan; this coincidence has cost Jim Ryan around 7 percent in trial polling heats with Blagojevich. As might be expected, the confusion has led to some bitter comedy while the GOP implodes. Just the other day, Mr. Ryan called Mr. Ryan "a lousy candidate." Mr. Ryan replied that Mr. Ryan is "a bitter man ... who ran the worst administration in the history of Illinois." As the Second City native who sent this Chicago Tribune link (registration required) quipped, "They're both right."

Their Owen Fault
Byron York laments the Republican abandonment of Priscilla Owen, whose nomination to the federal appellate bench is likely (and justly) to be interred this morning by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
[10:25 a.m. PDT, Sept. 5, 2002]

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