James Carville is off the reservation.
With the Republicans having taken over this city for a week, you'd think the Ragin' Cajun, one of the masterminds of Bill Clinton's nomination at Madison Square Garden 12 years ago, would be sticking to the Democratic script. A hardy band of Dems, like the Republicans in Boston, is here to stick some pins in the Bush balloon.
As the cohost of CNN's "Crossfire," Carville is no longer a party hack. But he raises money for the Democrats, gives high-level advice and is a certified insider.
So it was surprising to hear him declare at a Time Warner party last night that the Kerry-Edwards message is muddled. That there's no bark, no bite to what the candidates are saying. That the Democratic campaign is too timid when it comes to attacking the Bush-Cheney team. That too many people are in charge, so no one's in charge.
"They're a perpetual committee listening to a perpetual focus group, and it's got to change," he says.
The campaign was particularly derelict, says Carville, when it comes to deploying John Edwards. "He's a racehorse, and you've got to get him on the track."
On the day the Census Bureau announced an increase in poverty and millions more Americans lacking health insurance, "the event they did was credit card debt," he says derisively. "Because someone in a focus group must have said something."
What the Kerry operation sorely lacks, Carville says, "is someone who can drive a communications message." This has created a "vacuum" at the heart of the campaign.
Carville has made this argument to the Kerry leadership and believes a change will take place by the time the senator hits the trail again on Thursday. "I know that what they're doing now ain't gonna stand."
The Louisianan has his own candidate for message meister--could it be Joe Lockhart, who gave up a CNBC gig to join the Kerry team?--but wouldn't tip his hand. He says he's talking about someone to win the news cycle, not a high-level shakeup. We'll see if he's right.
My print column | http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45203-2004Aug29.html today is about Laura Ingraham and the role that conservative talk radio is playing in the Bush campaign. Some other juicy items too.
In the None Too Subtle department:
"Republican leaders said yesterday that they would repeatedly remind the nation of the Sept. 11 attacks as their convention opens in New York City today, beginning a week in which the party seeks to pivot to the center and seize on street demonstrations to portray Democrats as extremist," says the New York Times. | http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/30/politics/campaign/30convene.html?hp
Oh, like anyone had forgotten?.
"Party aides said the convention would begin with an elaborate tribute to Sept. 11 victims, with speeches by Senator John McCain and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, reminding voters of Mr. Bush's role in leading the nation after the attacks, which took place less than two miles from Madison Square Garden."
Oh, and there's this attempt to tie the demonstrators to the Kerry camp: "The Republican Party chairman, Ed Gillespie, noted to reporters that the legion of protesters included Peggy Kerry, Mr. Kerry's sister, who lives in New York and attended an abortion rights rally."
Peggy Kerry, a woman with Known Ties to the nominee.
The Chicago Tribune | http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0408300190aug30,1,3428507.story?coll=chi-newsnationworld-hed also picks up on the 9/11 theme:
"In the city where the attacks marked a new era of national fear, the Republican Party opens its convention Monday, leaning heavily on the episode that transformed Bush into a wartime president and protector, a mantle he hopes will secure his re-election.
"If the convention of Bush's Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry, could be distilled into a single word--Vietnam--the president's might be reduced to a word and a number--Sept. 11. It is the first time in 30 years that a president has sought re-election in wartime, and the Republicans will provide a showcase for what they believe is the greatest single strength that Bush possesses: resolve in the face of terrorism."
For the New York Post | http://nypost.com/news/nationalnews/29622.htm, the big story is Rudy:
"As he revved up for his speech to the Republican convention tonight, Rudy Giuliani said Democrat John Kerry shifts with the wind -- and that's 'very bad' for a leader when America faces the war on terror. . . .
"Tonight's speech -- which Giuliani wrote himself longhand on legal pads -- casts Bush as a leader who faces up to threats, just as Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler, and Ronald Reagan saw that the Soviet Union was an 'evil empire.'"
Why did the campaign release portions of Rudy's and McCain's speeches a full day in advance? Could it have anything to do with the fact that there's no coverage on the Big Three networks tonight?
The Christian Science Monitor | http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/2004-08-29-risky-bush_x.htm sees a potential downside to the September 11 theme:
"As the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaches, the legacy of 9/11 has become more complicated for the president, presenting political risks along with opportunity. References to such a searing emotional event could come across as exploiting a tragedy -- something critics accused the Bush campaign of doing when it ran its first advertisements using 9/11 footage, months ago.
"More problematic, the president's handling of the terrorist threat has lately generated pointed criticism as well as praise -- both from neutral sources such as the bipartisan 9/11 commission, as well as partisan opponents such as filmmaker Michael Moore, whose movie 'Fahrenheit 9/11' highlighted the seven minutes Bush continued to sit with schoolchildren he'd been visiting after learning that the second tower had been hit.
"Notably, the campaign has declared that Bush will not visit the actual site of the attacks, where already one group of activists has held an anti-Bush protest. But the president is planning to visit a firehouse and attend a prayer breakfast while in the city. And the campaign is showcasing the former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who has become all but synonymous with 9/11."
The campaign must be going all out--Karl Rove is doing interviews. Here's one with the Boston Globe | http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/08/30/strategist_focuses_on_presidents_devotees/.
The Los Angeles Times | http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/2004/la-na-fatherson29aug29,1,5036137.story?coll=la-home-headlines offers a psycho-profile of the candidate:
"Yale and military service, the Texas oil business and politics: George W. Bush has traveled a route similar to that of his accomplished father, sometimes seeming diminished by his father's long shadow. Even when he became president, the son's lack of foreign policy experience was shrugged off by many who thought his father's expertise and former aides would guide him.
"But this week, as he accepts the Republican nomination for a second term, President Bush is clearly more than his father's son. The man who will stand before the nation on Thursday is a product of his father's example, his high expectations and expansive advantages, but he is also someone who has bristled at them enough to establish his own style: openly religious, politically combative and aggressive in his approach to foreign policy and tax cuts.
"The path Bush has chosen also has put him in one more competition with his formidable father. If he wins in November, he will have surpassed the career of the first President Bush, who was defeated after a single term. If he loses, Bush will end up repeating his father's fate as a one-term president in part because he worked so hard in the White House to cut a different path."
Newsweek | http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5853701/site/newsweek/ also does the father-and-son thing:
"It is an article of faith with the president and his advisers, repeated like a mantra, that George W. Bush is 'comfortable in his own skin.' President Bush himself thinks so: 'I know who I am,' he told a pair of NEWSWEEK reporters recently. 'If you're the president, you don't have time to figure out who you are. I think it's unfair to the American people to sit in that Oval Office and try to find your inner soul'. . . .
"And yet, at other times, he can seem not so self-assured. There is the deer-in-the-headlights look that still pops up at press conferences, and that annoying smirk, possibly meant to convey an air of disdain or superiority, but showing the defensiveness of a teenager.
"The country is evenly -- and hotly -- divided over the real George Bush. Some, predominantly those who live in the conservative Red States, proudly see a confident, self-knowing Bush, the steady commander in chief. Others, mostly liberal Blue Staters, cringe at a cocksure (but insecure) bully boy who seems to strut about the world. How to reconcile the two? One way is to examine how George Bush has dealt with an old curse."
U.S. News | http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/040906/usnews/6bush.htm wonders where the policy beef is:
"As the president prepares to accept renomination at the Republican National Convention this week, voters are sharply divided over whether Bush's sunny and determined outlook is what the nation needs and whether they want a continuation of Bush's controversial policies for another four years. Bush's challenge is complicated by the fact that it's not exactly 'morning in America,' the phrase Ronald Reagan used to such good effect in winning re-election 20 years ago.
"The country is at war, the economy is shaky, and large numbers of Americans have real doubts about the future. So far, Bush has served up a pretty thin gruel in outlining his menu of priorities for a second term. But he says that will change when he gives his acceptance speech at the convention Thursday night, and he believes strongly that the voters will give him a second term."
The Note | http://abcnews.go.com/sections/politics/TheNote/TheNote.html says the election boils down to a few points:
"1. President Bush is going to have to win over a disproportionate share of wrong-track voters to take this race, and the way to do that is to disqualify John Kerry.
"2. John Kerry is failing to take full advantage of the wrong-track dynamic, and has yet to clear the national security, likeability, and credibility bars.
"3. No matter how much the President fills in his second-term agenda, his case amounts to "I will keep you safer."
"4. If John Kerry has a health care plan, an education plan, and a jobs plan (and we are pretty sure he does/might . . . he hasn't figured out how to explain them yet."
What, exactly, do those 100,000 or more protesters want? New York Daily News | http://nydailynews.com/front/story/227269p-195032c.html columnist Zev Chafets takes a look.
"The vast army that marched past Madison Square Garden yesterday afternoon yelling, 'Bring the Troops Home!' and 'Fox News Sucks!' and 'Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!' were united by one great emotion: Contempt for George W. Bush.
"They denounced the President and all his works in blunt generic slogans and in distinctive New York-ese (my favorite: 'Bush is a Tush'), and sang out 'No more years!' . . .
"They hate Bush but they didn't show any love for his opponent, either. They didn't even mention him. If there was a single 'Kerry for President' banner in the crowd, I missed it."
The New Republic | http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040906&s=editorial090604 scolds the press, including The Post, for its swift boat coverage:
"Just how dishonest must a smear campaign be for American journalists to say so plainly or, better yet, to ignore altogether? That's the only real question still unanswered in the controversy sparked by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth over John Kerry's service in Vietnam--although even to use the word 'controversy' affords the issue's protagonists too much dignity.
"The veterans featured in the organization's TV ad claim to have 'served with Kerry,' but none actually served on the same boat. (Yes, we've been reduced to arguing over what the definition of 'with' is.) Several of the charges are based on recollections by veterans who, years earlier, had praised Kerry for the very same actions. The accusation that Kerry faked one of his injuries turns out to come from a third hand account.
"Most important of all, the surviving crew members from Kerry's boat--as well as Navy records--back Kerry's version of events. As the Los Angeles Times editorialized this week, citing one of its own reporter's fine work debunking the Swift Boat Veterans, 'no informed person can seriously believe that Kerry fabricated evidence to win his military medals.'
"Unfortunately, even as reporters eviscerated the Swift Boat Veterans' essential claims, the conventions of evenhandedness (at least on news, as opposed to editorial, pages) prevented them from stating their findings in bald, unvarnished terms. And so writers for papers like The Washington Post repeatedly played the dispute as a he-said, she-said campaign argument, seizing on the relatively minor discrepancies in Kerry's story (chiefly Kerry's questionable claim that his boat had gone into Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968) and then balancing those against the far more egregious distortions they had found in the swift boat ads.
"'Both sides have withheld information from the public record and provided an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of what took place,' read the key passage from a lengthy front-page story in last Sunday's Post. 'But although Kerry's accusers have succeeded in raising doubts about his war record, they have failed to come up with sufficient evidence to prove him a liar.' And, while careful readers could parse the truth, more casual readers were left to take their cues from headlines like 'Veterans Battle Over the Truth' or 'Swift Boat Accounts Incomplete,' which compounded the misimpression that there was something ambiguous, if not downright suspicious, about Kerry's military record.
"But it wasn't primarily the print media that kept this story alive. It was television, particularly cable news, with all of its now-familiar pathologies. Predictably, Fox News hyped the story, weaving it seamlessly into a larger narrative about Kerry's character flaws."
National Review's Byron York | http://nationalreview.com/york/york200408270929.asp seizes on a number in the latest Gallup survey:
"The poll shows Kerry's unfavorable rating at its highest point since Gallup began measuring Kerry's performance in February 1999. Forty percent of those surveyed have an unfavorable opinion of Kerry, compared to 52 percent who have a favorable opinion. Kerry's favorable rating is lower than the 54 percent of those surveyed who have a favorable opinion of President George W. Bush.
"From late March until early August, Kerry's unfavorable rating hovered in the mid-30s. It was 37 percent in a poll taken July 30-August 1. In a survey taken July 8-11, it was 34 percent. Before that, it was even lower. In mid-February, when Kerry locked up the Democratic nomination, his unfavorable rating was 26 percent.
"Part of the increase is the natural result of Kerry's becoming well known. Candidates with little national recognition normally have very low favorable and unfavorable ratings. In February 1999, for example, Kerry's unfavorable rating was nine percent.
"But the recent increase in Kerry's unfavorable rating is likely the result of something else -- a combination of ads aired by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, negative ads by the Bush campaign, and the simple fact that the public has had more chances to see Kerry, leading some to decide they dislike him."
In every incumbent's campaign, some intrepid journalist comes along and says, Hey, the guy's actually running the thing!
"President Bush will accept his party's nomination in New York this week on the crest of a campaign that aides say reflects an unusual level of involvement from the president himself, particularly in driving attacks on Senator John Kerry that have characterized his re-election effort since the spring," the New York Times | http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/29/politics/campaign/29elect.html?hp says.
"Several aides said Mr. Bush views this as the campaign of his life, and has intervened on matters as large as the themes it should strike and as small as camera angles on his television advertisements.
"While making sure Mr. Kerry is challenged at every opening, they said, the single most consuming concern for Mr. Bush is that there is an elaborate get-out-the-vote operation in November in anticipation of a contest as tight as the one in 2000.
"Mr. Bush, in an interview in New Mexico last week, was careful to present himself as above the rough and tumble of a campaign, saying he was busy dealing with the problems of the country. . . .
"Beyond the involvement of the president himself, aides say the strategy that has brought Mr. Bush to this point is quietly being directed not from the Oval Office but by what his inner circle privately calls the Breakfast Club - a small group of advisers who gather on weekends at Mr. Rove's home in northwest Washington, where, over eggs and bacon cooked by Mr. Rove, they measure the campaign's progress against a detailed plan devised 18 months ago."
Don't these guys worry about cholesterol? Wait, it gets worse: Rove serves "eggies," "concoctions of eggs, butter, cream and bacon fat . . . with slabs of bacon." What better way to get the campaign to sizzle?
Oh, and what happened to Bush the guy who doesn't bother reading newspapers because his staff knows what's going on? "By 7 a.m., when he is in the Oval Office, aides say, Mr. Bush will frequently tell them about an article they have not seen and tell them to call the reporter and complain."
Hmmm. I got one such call. I wonder if . . .
NEW YORK -- Every time I come back here, someone is yelling at someone else.
This time it took about four minutes.
I had gotten off a packed flight from D.C., carrying the likes of David Dreier and Pat Buchanan, who isn't running for president for the first time since 1988. (Buchanan, by the way, thinks the Swift boat controversy has gotten so much attention because it's a great reality show, a national mystery, with new accounts or documents or secret tapes surfacing by the day. Pretty good theory.)
First problem: No taxis on a hot day. None, zero. Perhaps they hadn't gotten the word that some folks were coming to town for a somewhat important event? It's a Saturday, shrugged the LaGuardia dispatcher.
Finally split one with Lisa Todorovich, the deputy political director of ABC News, and no sooner did the cab start heading down the exit road than a large SUV swerved in front of him and cut him off. I've talked to enough correspondents in Iraq to know that this can be a dangerous maneuver, and indeed it was no accident. A rather large man emerged and started cursing at the driver that he had hit his van. The driver meekly protested that he had done no such thing. Indeed, we had heard not so much as a tap and the van had no visible scratch. SUV Man got back in his vehicle and sped off.
WelcometaNaYawk, if ya don't like it, tough. The boiling point is reached a heckuva lot quicker here.
I wondered how some delegates from Iowa might have reacted to such a scene.
The convention folks are taking fabulous care of the press so far. At the Saturday night media bash, showing off Time Warner's dazzling new Columbus Center towers, we were plied with excellent finger food and enough free booze to float the Queen Mary.
Volunteers wore orange T-shirts with slogans: "You Gotta Believe (it's a Mets thing); "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors"; "You Talkin' To Me?"
Between bites, I asked some of the esteemed journalists--what do all these people do?--what they planned to cover. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru said, "The story is interviewing all the delegates about the Swift boats," as well as "figuring out how much conservative disaffection there is with Bush."
Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle wants to gauge the degree of enthusiasm for the Bush campaign. "In Boston, I looked out at the delegates and they didn't seem that excited."
New York Post columnist Robert George says that "unlike some Republican conventions of the past, there's more than one event or party featuring prominent black Republicans." He's also interested in Mayor Mike Bloomberg holding a Bryant Park reception for gay Republicans.
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal believes that "everyone will gravitate toward the 2008 story. I'm conducting my own auditions." One applicant, he says, is Tim Pawlenty.
"Who?" a Journal colleague asked about the governor of Minnesota. Fund is also interested in Rudy Giuliani, George Pataki and, he says, "the McCain campaign is running at full gear here." I wonder if McCain knows about this. 2004, already old hat.
Fund has a point, according to this Los Angeles Times | http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/2004/la-na-mccain30aug30,1,1510855.story?coll=la-home-headlines story:
"Those who know McCain well say he is not focused on the prospect of working in someone else's White House but, rather, on protecting his treasured political iconoclasm, in soaking up the adulation it brings and in keeping open the possibility of a presidential run in 2008.
"As he turned 68 Sunday, the tight-jawed former Navy pilot with the wispy white hair was the toast of Republican New York -- feted in a midday luncheon at tony '21' and celebrated that evening at an exclusive dinner with media moguls and the anchors of all three network news programs."
Dan, Tom and Peter -- who better to have on your side?
And in that hot rumor department, we turn to a site called Soxblog | http://dbsoxblog.blogspot.com/#109387797552127636:
"Bill Kristol was just on FoxNews irresponsibly disseminating a rumor that he began the previous day on FoxNews Sunday with Brit Hume. Since I love the rumor and fervently wish for its accuracy, it is my pleasure, nay my responsibility, to continue its irresponsible dissemination."
Kristol, of course, is a McCain booster from way back. But does he know something?
"Reading the tea-leaves, Kristol has concluded that McCain might be poised to replace [Vice President] Cheney on the ticket. Here's the logic: After his convention speech tonight, McCain is flying out to New Mexico to hook up with the President and introduce him to the American Legion convention and then he's going to travel with the President to Nashville. Kristol wonders what could possibly occasion this flurry of McCain activity. He speculates that Bush and McCain could make an announcement together in New Mexico and then later in the week triumphantly wing their way back to New York. . . .
"Left unsaid in Kristol's analysis but clearly implicit is that dropping Cheney for McCain would be pure political gold for the Bush administration. Whether deserved or not, John McCain has become a virtual political saint in this country."
That would sure put an end to all the whining about scripted conventions.
Meanwhile, who says that New York is enemy territory for the Republicans? A taxi driver from West Africa assured me in a shouted voice worthy of "Hardball" that he's a passionate Bush supporter because of the way the president is fighting terrorism. He says his cab revenues have been down since 9/11 but he doesn't blame Bush for that.
When I walked into Madison Square Garden to do my CNN show, it seemed smaller than I remembered from all those Knicks games. Turns out the floor was raised 11 feet from where they play basketball and hockey to bring the speakers closer to the fans. The sound system got a roaring musical rehearsal during the show. Good thing I was wearing one of those Britney Spears headsets.
Want to know who the biggest media celebrity here is? Judging from the huge billboards in midtown, it's Jon Stewart. "The Most Trusted Name in Fake News," the signs say. And how many people can say that?
By the way, the police, who are everywhere, have done a nice job with security, but there's one flaw in the plan. Because the streets around the Garden are blocked off, it's nearly impossible to get a cab when you come out. That has left some people arriving at Penn Station having to walk 20 blocks, with luggage, to their hotels. For me, it meant lugging my computer and other gear into the subway, where the platform temperature was about 100 degrees yesterday. I'm a veteran of the city subways, but when you're loaded down with equipment after a long August day, you come out dripping. Memo to Bloomberg: Set up a taxi stand outside the protected zone. Do something, anything, just fix da problem.
Be careful what you say while wearing a mike. That's the lesson of this Slate | http://slate.msn.com/id/2105781/ piece on Bob Dole:
"The former Senate majority leader and 1996 presidential nominee of the Republican Party made several demonstrably false statements about John Kerry's war record this past Sunday on CNN's Late Edition before saying that 'not every one of these people can be Republican liars. There's got to be some truth to the charges.'
"But Dole also made another statement that day, one that hasn't been aired until now. Of McCain's charge to President Bush during a 2000 debate -- 'You should be ashamed' -- Dole told Wolf Blitzer, 'He was right.' Dole made the remark off-air, while CNN broadcast the Kerry ad called 'Old Tricks,' the one featuring McCain's 2000 debate remarks. The campaign stopped airing it recently at McCain's request.
"Although the remark was made off-air, it wasn't made off-camera. A CNN employee who asked not to be named made a digital file of the raw camera feed from the Late Edition studio."
Time for a leak investigation! Call in the Valerie Plame prosecutor!
In a Chicago Tribune | http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/perspective/chi-0408290522aug29,1,1484346.story column, Jason Berry rips the talking heads:
"A stench of hubris coats TV convention coverage.
"It has become media feeds, a spectacle of narcissism in which anchor folk, talk-show hosts and journalists hog the airtime by talking to one another.
"Perhaps this is a natural progression of the stereotypical script for TV news: The anchor interviews the reporter about the campaign, with a candidate's remarks clipped down to a few seconds. This stylistic frame produces a satire of news: the medium, er, reporter, is the message.
"Internet bloggers, like primeval hunters, now track the news gatherers in stories about making the story.
"Navel-gazing on the news is a byproduct of the soaring campaign budgets. The big money in TV ads that fatten network coffers help pay the millionaire anchors and senior correspondents, many of whom earn greater salaries than do congressmen and governors. The media are a mandarin class competing with lawmakers for airtime: TV salaries turn on visibility."
Well, there's always C-SPAN.
Andrew Sullivan | http://www.andrewsullivan.com is back in action, with some thoughts about the challenge Bush faces:
"The Republicans are right: Kerry did waste some time at his convention by focusing on biography rather than his plans for the future. He had to, in some ways, after the character assassination attempts by the Bush campaign for months on end. But that leaves Bush an opening: can he offer a truly conservative domestic agenda? I mean: reform of entitlements, a U-turn on public spending, staying the course on education reform, reforming the military, simplifying the tax code. He deserves a chance to repudiate the big-government, nanny-state, sectarian legacy of his first few years and show us where his second term would leave us (and no, I don't mean Mars).
"Will he expand freedom at home or continue to curtail it? Will he reveal a strategy in the war that shows he has learned the dangers of waging war unprepared and on the fly? Can he show an ability to grow into more than a deeply polarizing president, more than a man who has clearly failed to win over fully half the country at a time when unity against Jihadist terror is essential? The party of McCain and Giuliani and Schwarzenegger could do that. The party of Santorum and Dobson and DeLay obviously cannot. I fear the battle is already lost, since Bush has caved to the Santorum wing on almost every single domestic issue. But I can still hope, can't I?"
Ah, what an idealist.
Josh Marshall | http://talkingpointsmemo.com investigates a question of family ties:
"Scott McClellan went on the offensive against Ben Barnes for describing the 'shame' he feels over helping President Bush duck service in Vietnam.
" 'It is not surprising coming from a longtime partisan Democrat,' he said. 'The allegation was discredited by the commanding officer. This was fully covered and addressed five years ago. It is nothing new.'
"It turns out that Barnes is such a down-the-line partisan that he supported Texas's Republican State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn for reelection in 2002.
"Strayhorn is Scott's mom."
There's a new oppo site, discovered by Wonkette, called Cheerleaders for Truth | http://www.cheerleadersfortruth.com:
" 'Did George Bush actually win a Varsity letter in Cheerleading at Yale? Or was this another "no show" like the National Guard?' current and alumni Yale cheerleaders are asking. 'Why haven't any member of Bush's Cheerleading Squad come forward and verified that he actually attended practice and the games?'
There's a nice picture of Bush in uniform.
Here are some fascinating misconceptions about the city, gleaned from a New York | http://www.newyorkmetro.com/nymetro/news/rnc/9702/index.html magazine poll.
What percentage of New Yorkers are Jewish? GOPers say 25 percent, NYers say 29 percent. The real answer: 12 percent.
Black? GOPers say 36 percent, natives say 38 percent, but it's actually 26 percent.
Welfare recipients? Republicans say 24 percent, and NYers say 35 percent. Slightly off. It's 6 percent.
As for millionaires, GOPers and 13 percent. New Yorkers say 20 percent. They've been watching too much Trump. It's less than 1 percent.
On the other hand, it helps to be a millionaire here. I just paid 26 bucks for a hotel breakfast of Special K, an English muffin and orange juice. A bargain compared to the tasting menu at the Alain Ducasse restaurant downstairs, which is $225. And monthly parking across the street? $350. I once paid less than that for an apartment here, but that was a long time ago.