« August 2004 | Main | October 2004 »

September 30, 2004


The Lincoln-Douglas debates it wasn't.

Bush did exactly as well/poorly as I expected, and Kerry did somewhat better. Were I not familiar with Kerry's all-over-the-map positions on Iraq, I'd say he looked pretty good.

It will be interesting to see how the spin plays out.

He defended this country as a young man...

Again, another Vietnam reference without saying "Vietnam." Who was he defending us, exactly? Those Viet Cong hordes massing on our border with Canada?

Look, I applaud his service in Vietnam. But, particularly in light of his anti-war activities back at home, how can he honestly claim to have "defended our country" during his tour of duty in Indochina?

My God!

Are we actually going to get through the entire debate without saying the word "Vietnam!?"

So now Kerry's quoting George Will....

There he goes again...

...shutting down another weapons program. In this instance, nyookyaler bunker-busting bombs. Now, we can debate about the merits of this particular program, but Kerry's pseudo-moral argument ("how can we preach non-proliferation while we develop these weapons") strikes me as wrong-headed.

John Kerry's never wilted

Did you know that? He's also been "consistent" on the war in Iraq. So why does he feel the need to keep reminding us?

"Back door draft"

Kerry finally said it. Does that remind anyone else of the Clarence Carter song, "Back Door Santa?"

Kerry's going to add two new divisions, but not for Iraq? For what, then, exactly? Maybe they can help the 70,000 troops we already have in Germany drink all that beer and eat all those sausages.

Heh heh...

I know Bush wanted to say "screw" during that last long pause.... He finally settled on "doing injustice to."

Heh, he said "MOO-lahs." And nyookyaler. It finally happened.

Jesus Christ...

John Kerry is trotting out that stoopid Charles de Gaulle anecdote....


My God, somebody actually mentioned it! And it was Kerry!!


Kerry's defending sanctions and no-fly zones.

So far...

I can't say there's much unexpected here. It's hard to imagine this could actually change anyone's mind. Bad news for Kerry.

I was waiting for this!

Bush is attacking Kerry for his comments on Allawi. Good for him. If Kerry is gonna be so fuckin' great with allies, he should perhaps stop insulting them (Allawi), or sending his sister around the world to undermine them (John Howard.) This is what I wanted to hear.

Kerry wants to...

"change the dynamics on the ground." Great. And he's pissed that we backed down from "PFTHFafaluja." Me too.

Heh heh...

As my friend Roger just pointed out, Bush just said "doody."

I'm typing so much...

...between liveblogging and chatting with friends online that I barely have a chance to look at my TV. Am I missing any visual cues? Any noteworthy body language? Has anyone picked their nose yet?

...Christ, he's doing Vietnam again. But now he's referring to it as "that war." Evidently Clinton's (sound) advice finally sunk in... sorta.

"I've had one position on Iraq..."

...at a time.

My God...

I never would have guessed that John Kerry could look like Jay Leno. But he just did. Or maybe I've had too much beer....


Kerry is giving Bush shit for saying that "even knowing there were no WMD" he would have done the same thing. I'm sorry, but didn't Kerry actually say the same thing? That's the problem with Kerry. In a debating club, he'd win on points, but the problem is, he has his own incoherent record haunting him like a golem.

And I'm sick of hearing this coalition being termed fraudulent. Do we comprise the vast majority of troops and casualties? Of course. But the same was true in the first Gulf War. I'm sorry, but the allies there were window dressing. The only difference was that we went there under U.N. auspices.

"Which is worse?"

Interesting defense of Kerry's flip-flopping. Kerry wins a lot of debating points on style, but Bush has clearly been schooled on Kerry's contradictory record, and feeds it right back to him. Kerry may be a smoother talker, but it's a tough, uphill climb for him to cast his paper trail on Iraq into anything resembling a coherent position.

So attacking Iraq was like FDR attacking Mexico after Pearl Harbor? I just heard that. Does Kerry have any idea how widespread our troop deployment was in World War II? I'm sure he does, actually. I just think he doesn't recognize this war as a "world war," and that troubles me even more.


I just heard the first Vietnam reference! It was oblique, but undeniable.

Tax cuts...

I'm sick of the false contrast between tax cuts and effective security. But if Kerry want to campaign against tax cuts, more power to him.


Does anyone actually believe that President Kerry (or anyone else) can convince France and Germany to commit troops to Iraq? Does Kerry even believe it?

Pace yourself

I actually thought Bush started out strong, but he almost seems as if he's beginning to tire already. The conventional advice for Bush had been not to swagger and not to smirk. I think he'd be best served not...

OH MY GOD!! Did you hear Kerry's response? "I've spoken with parents of soldiers in [insert several swing states here...]" Shameless.

Wow, I wish I could type faster. This is tough to keep up with.


Kerry's jokes are not working for me. And that laugh was just ghastly.

I can't believe he's trotting out that "$200 billion we could have used for health care" line again.

That's good

Kerry said he's in favor of killing terrorists. You just knew there had to be a "but" coming, didn't you?

Can this be possible?

I'm bored already! This does not bode well.

Time for another beer....

I admire Bush's ability to be repetitive within less than two minutes of speaking.


He doesn't look too orange tonight. Maybe that tan-in-a-can job needs a couple of days to settle in.

Orange is in?

Haven't seen Kerry yet, but Jim Lehrer is lookin' pretty orange. Maybe it's my TV.

A question

What's the point in having an audience here. Anyone know? They're not allowed to have a reaction, and they're kept in darkness.

The buildup

Crimminy, was there always this much hype surrounding these things? I doubt it. Funny, but they're so scripted nowadays they've become all but meaningless, and yet you'd think it was the friggen Superbowl.

Why? My guess is that so much of presidential politics has become packaging these days, that the rare chance to get a glimpse of these men stripped of all their advisors, consultants and handlers captivates us.

The pre-game!

Half an hour to kickoff!

I'll be watching the coverage on FoxNews, because their coverage is "fair and balanced."

Enthusiasm gap?

The Democrats I know who are neither despondent nor in denial seem to be pinning their hopes on a historic, Democratic turnout at the polls -- the idea being that a wave of anti-Bush anger will gin up Kerry voters in record numbers.

Via Power Line, however, I note a story from today's Washington Post, suggesting that that's probably not going to happen.

Nearly two in three likely voters who support President Bush -- 65 percent -- said they were "very enthusiastic" about their candidate while 42 percent of Sen. John F. Kerry's supporters express similarly high levels of enthusiasm for their choice, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

That's a 23-point difference in relative excitement. Although the polling record is incomplete for earlier elections, the available data suggest that the enthusiasm gap in the 2000 presidential campaign was negligible, at best.

I have to admit, these numbers surprised even me. I knew Kerry was boring and uninspiring, but I did think the virulence of anti-Bush rage would generate more enthusiasm than this. And what about all those news stories we've been reading for months, about how Bush's base was becoming disenchanted and ambivalent? Were those just wrong?

Most polls are still showing a two- or three-point race, but these numbers don't tell the whole story (see here). I've come to believe Kerry's campaign is in far worse shape than the head-to-head poll numbers suggest. Unless George W. Bush breaks down and cries during tonight's debate, it's difficult to see how Kerry can win with numbers like these.

September 29, 2004

The "Clintons turbo Kerry" conspiracy rolls on

Liveblogging the debate

After shamefully allowing my professional and personal life to interfere with my blogging duties during the party conventions earlier this summer, I'm going to be liveblogging the debate tomorrow night. From what I've heard about the negotiated ground rules, I hold little hope that anything interesting might actually happen, but you never know.

September 28, 2004

More conspiracy fodder

Most of you know that I don't normally traffic in conspiracy theories. The exception that proves the rule is that I do believe that the Clintons are hoping for a Bush victory in November, if not actively working for it behind the scenes. A Kerry win would certainly muddy the waters separating Hillary from her own presidential aspirations, so I don't see why my theory is particularly outlandish. Believing it demands only the belief that the Clintons' own political ambitions are larger motivating forces to them than the short-term health of their own party. Is that really so difficult to believe?

Well anyway, here's more fuel for the fire. There's a story in today's Haaretz about someone on the Clinton team whose behavior may be a bit more transparent. The article is about Ed Koch, and how he's been campaigning for Bush, particularly among Jewish voters. We all knew that, of course, but check out the two paragraphs at the end.

"I'm a Democrat, I'm for Hillary," he says, referring to the US senator and wife of Bill. Koch relates proudly that when Hillary Clinton won the race for senator, he stood near her on her victory night, and she urged him to get closer and be in the historic photograph. The photo now hangs in his office, and on it there is a dedication from the senator in which she thanks him for his support and backing.

Koch himself promises that in 2008 he will be there again, at Hillary's side, though this time as the winner in the race for the presidency of the United States. But before that he has to run to Florida to ensure that it will be George Bush who will be in the White House during the next four years, until Hillary Clinton arrives.

September 27, 2004

We must thwart the will of the people!

At least according to this piece. That's what I'm hearing from pro-Kerry forces in my neighborhood, anyway. The most important issue in this election is the Supreme Court!

In an AP-Ipsos poll taken last week, 56 percent of those surveyed said they wanted the president to nominate a Supreme Court justice with conservative political views if a vacancy occurs; 37 percent said they preferred a justice with liberal views.

Quel choc!

In light of this, does Kerry have a "Plan B?"

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Heh, I love that term "significantly increase military assistance." Seems like they missed a perfect opportunity to pledge a "doubling" or even "tripling" of their existing commitment during a Kerry administration. They want the guy to win, right?

Speaking of voter fraud, Part Whatever...

I thought this was illegal.

UPDATE: I guess it's not illegal everywhere. Like most election laws, it varies from state to state. I think this is what I had in mind when I posted. A similar site was shut down in California in 2000.

Speaking of voter fraud...

...vote early and vote often! James Taranto continues to receive proposed new slogans for Heinz ketchup. Among my favorites so far:

  • "One drop is enough for three Purple Hearts."
  • "New and improved flip-flop top."
  • "Guldens lied, burgers died."
  • "Only an idiot would use mustard."
  • "Our flavor is stronger at home and respected in the world."
  • "Foreign leaders prefer ketchup."
  • "Ketchup: C'est magnifique."
  • "The taste that's smeared--smeared--in your memory."
  • "By the way, served in your kitchen."
  • "For your papases fritas, your pommes frites, your patate fritte and your fritadas francesas."
  • "Mustard: The wrong condiment in the wrong place at the wrong time."
  • "Too good for the common man."
  • "Hunt's is for scumbags."

Shut up, already!

Jesus, I am so sick of this guy! Doesn't he have enough houses to help rebuild in Florida?

Voting arrangements in Florida do not meet "basic international requirements" and could undermine the US election, former US President Jimmy Carter says.
Mr Carter, a veteran observer of polls worldwide, also accused Florida's top election official of "bias".
He accused Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood, a Republican, of trying to get the name of independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader included on the state ballot, knowing he might divert Democrat votes.

"A fumbling attempt has been made recently to disqualify 22,000 African Americans (likely Democrats), but only 61 Hispanics (likely Republicans), as alleged felons."

"Vote for Kerry or get nuked!!"

I guess this sort of thing is only bad if Dick Cheney does it.

The Bush administration's failure to shut down al-Qaida and rebuild Iraq have fueled the insurgency and made the United States more vulnerable to a nuclear attack by terrorists, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Sunday.

In a speech prepared for delivery at George Washington University on Monday, Kennedy said that by shifting attention from Osama bin Laden to Iraq, Bush has increased the danger of a ''nuclear 9/11.''

September 24, 2004

Vote fraud outrage?

No, not Florida. New Mexico.

Amazing that some can be so angry about Florida yet completely ignore New Mexico. You know, the state that Al Gore "won" on election night in 2000 only to flip to Bush during the audit process, then return to Gore when several additional ballot boxes were "found". I guess vote fraud is only a concern when it's against your candidate.

Anyway, looks like the Secretary of State (a Democrat) is now playing games with state election law:

But the hottest spot for pre-election litigation this year is New Mexico, a state Al Gore carried by only 366 votes. On Monday, a Democratic judge tossed Ralph Nader off the ballot after another judge rescinded a similar order she'd issued because she'd contributed $1,000 to the Kerry campaign. Nader forces have accused Democratic Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron of railroading their man using legal pretexts that have never been applied in New Mexico.

Earlier this year, Ms. Vigil-Giron issued guidelines saying that a new state law--which mandates that voters who register without an election official present must show a photo ID at the polls--doesn't apply to registrations collected by groups like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (Acorn), but only to those people who sign up to vote by mail. So far, such groups have helped collect 112,000 new registrations, or one out of nine of the state's voters.

Mary Herrera, the clerk in Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque, says her office has received over 3,000 suspicious registration forms. A 13-year-old boy received a voter card in the mail. Acorn organizers admitted that registration was submitted by one of their employees, who has since been fired. But in a court case this month, Acorn director Matt Henderson invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and refused to answer whether his group illegally copies voter registration cards before turning them in to election officials. Previously, he had admitted to the Albuquerque Tribune that it did so.

All this has prompted U.S. Attorney David Iglesias to form a statewide criminal task force. "Mischief is afoot and questions are lurking in the shadows," he told reporters. But Ms. Vigil-Giron, whom Mr. Iglesias named to his task force, told me that "the U.S. attorney is the last person in line who should look at vote fraud. It's seen as Big Brother getting involved and won't help anything." Citing the burden on local election officials, a local judge has declined to overrule her decree that most new voters don't have to show ID--even though he acknowledged the law is "clear" and "unambiguous."

Is a return to fiscal sanity even possible?

Sorry for such a pessimistic headline, but this WaPo piece is truly depressing.

Congressional negotiators beat back efforts yesterday to expand and preserve tax refunds for poor families, even as they added $13 billion in corporate tax breaks to a package of middle-class tax cuts that could come to a vote in the Senate today.

Those evil, skinflint Republican bastards! How dare they?!

Of course, for those who bother to read beyond the first paragraph, the full story is considerably more "nuanced" than WaPo would have you believe.

The use of the word "refund" in this article is misleading, first of all. The word generally carries the connotation that you have paid something, and then you receive some portion of it back. The item at issue is a refundable tax credit, and it means people are receiving "refunds" for taxes they've never paid.

In fact, progressive income tax rates and refundable credits have proliferated to the extent that the bottom half of income earners pay only four percent
of income taxes. People are getting "refunds," in other words, who never paid taxes in the first place.

Careful readers should note that families would still keep their fully refundable $1,000 credit. On top of that, they get yet another credit that's based on 10% of their earned income over $10,000. No one's trying to take that one away either. The only debate is about whether to adjust the $10,000 threshold over time for inflation.

Does that sound particularly Draconian to you? No, not to me either. I'm not sure which is more depressing, the alarmist and misleading tone of the coverage, or the fact that many Republicans also balked at this reasonable and very modest cost-saving measure.

No wonder "fiscal conservatism" has become so popular lately. It's a completely theoretical, abstract notion these days. Nobody's actually doing it.

Sigh. How bad will things have to get before we're willing to get serious about controlling costs? Perhaps the best we can truly hope for is another divided government, which helped keep spending down during most of the Clinton years.

Ted Rall calls for literacy tests

His reasoning for doing so seems to be that Bush is winning, and he's convinced that keeping stupid people at home on election day would somehow stop that.

In the Old South, literacy tests were used to disenfranchise blacks. Alternatively, a basic political literacy test should be used to ensure that anyone who picks ESPN over CNN--regardless of race or creed--stays home on Election Day. Prospective voters should be required to answer at least three of the following questions correctly; to give people a fair shot, the test should be published in newspapers a week before an election:

1. Who is the vice president?

2. What is your state capital?

3. Name one of the following: your governor, congressman or one senator.

4. What is the capital of the United States?

5. Name one federal cabinet-level department.

Obviously, I question Rall's motives, but the example questions he poses here are perfectly reasonable. Anyone who's ever heard Sean Hannity's "man on the street" segment is likely horrified at a) how many people have no idea who the vice president is, and b) how many of those people vote. It's frustrating to spend four years informing yourself on the issues only to have your vote cancelled out by a moron.

This is a sensitive topic. It reeks of elitism and brings back bad memories of Jim Crow discrimination in the South. Still, I'm not so certain it's a bad idea, although I'm reluctant to say so in politically mixed company.

But remember the saying, "only Nixon can go to China?" Well, maybe only the Left can break the taboo on discussing literacy tests. If Bush wins reelection, there's an excellent chance that a lot of liberals may come to agree with Rall on this one. I guess I'm not 100% sure such tests are a good idea, but I think it's a debate that's at least worth having.

TeRAYsa, again

Now if they could only get her to contract laryngitis.

In regard to the hunt for terror leader Osama Bin Laden, Heinz Kerry said she could see the al-Qaida chief being caught before the November election.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next month," said Heinz Kerry, alluding to a possible capture by United States and allied forces before election day.

September 23, 2004

A new Kerry strategy?

Drudge is reporting that Kerry has laryngitis, and has been forced to go "speechless." I've always maintained that Kerry polls better when people neither see nor hear him. Could this be the Kerry campaign finally getting smart? Did James Carville call him and say, "John, for the love of God, shut up!"?

Authority "not" to go to war?

Listening to Kerry try to spin his position(s) on Iraq into a coherent and defensible whole has long been entertaining, but now it has become theater of the absurd. In an interview yesterday with NPR's Bob Siegel, Kerry unveiled a new level of "nuance" in justifying his vote authorizing the war: he also gave Bush the authority not to go to war!

No, I am not making this up. Listen for yourself.

Now this is a new one. A president needs congressional authorization not to go to war? Who knew? I never really thought that was an issue.

Frankly, I've always found this Clintonian hair-splitting over what "authorization" means to be a bit disingenuous:

WIFE: Honey, can I borrow the car?

HUSBAND: Sure. I hereby authorize you to drive the car.

***Screeeech! CRASH!!***

HUSBAND: What the hell are you doing? You shouldn't have driven this car!!

WIFE: But you told me I could.

HUSBAND: No no no!! I merely authorized you to drive the car! I didn't want you to actually drive it! I'm opposed to your driving the car! I also gave you the authority not to drive it!

September 22, 2004

Why Bush?

My wife and others have suggested that I might be supporting Bush for the wrong reasons. They think that perhaps I should vote for somebody who shares more of my views, like a third-party or write-in candidate. This is in part, no doubt, to the fact that I become more motivated to vote for the guy by the sheer irrationality of the "anybody but Bush" mindset, and by the desire to see Michael Moore wake up shell-shocked and despondent on November 3.

Well, they've got a point. Those are not good reasons to vote for a candidate. Moreover, I've made it no secret that I disagree with Bush on a number of issues. The problem, however, is that I disagree with Kerry even more. And on the issues that are truly important to me (think war and taxes) I am especially likely to side with Bush.

And to a large extent, there is only one issue for me this year: the war. In that sense, there is nobody whom I support more than Bush. Why? Because he fights.

Three years ago, when the sidewalks were still choked with dust and the skies still heavy with smoke, this country was ready to go. We were prepared to get down to business and do what needed to be done -- to "bear any burden," to "pay any price," even if final victory were a generation away.

But now, half the country seems to have moved on. The white-hot rage has long been spent, and things have gotten a little ugly, and many of us are beginning to balk. A mere thousand days later, and pissing off France is too great a burden for many to bear.

Well forgive me, but I am far, far from being ready to move on. If that means I'm stuck in 2001, then goddammit, so be it! I don't think that's such a bad thing in this case. John Kerry can't maintain a consistent opinion on Iraq from one week to the next. How in the blue hell is he going to fight a focused, determined enemy that plans attacks against us over decades? If we're going to fight this war, we cannot do it with a leader who changes his stance every time there's a two-point movement in the polls.

Bush is far from perfect, even on the war. But like it or not, either he or Kerry will be our next president. Now I'm not any more thrilled about that than you are, but if you're like me, and you're in this thing for the long haul, and you're in it to win it, I don't see as how we have another choice on election day.

Bush in 2004.

Manly men!

USA Today thinks this election could be decided by which candidate is the manliest, and they've provided you with a Flash animation that lets you judge for yourself.

However the election comes out, we've come a long way from those woefully depressing Clinton-Gore days of the "Renaissance Weekend," in which the contest seemed to be about which man could cry the most. Progress indeed.

On a related topic, John Kerry now needs to try to erase his gender gap with Bush. Yes, you read that correctly. According to a NYT/CBS poll, Bush now leads with women nationally, 48 to 43.

Well, Kerry's bold new initiative appears to have worked on one person, at least. Kelly Ripa seemed to have quite the wide-on. Good thing Regis was there to prevent her from crawling onto his lap.

Swift Vets strike again

Am I the only Bushie who's a bit uncomfortable with the latest Swift Vet ad? It's damning, sure, but allegations of treason are not to be thrown around lightly, and I have a sense this may backfire.

But we'll see. And I have it on good authority that the Swift Vets still have more cans of whupass left in their pantry, and that they're saving the biggest cans for last. It'll be interesting.

September 21, 2004

The new electoral map

Zogby rides to the rescue again.

Bush 256
Kerry 239

September 20, 2004

This pretty much says it all

Check out the bumper sticker in this CBS van's windshield from this photo that was taken yesterday.

Sorry for the interruption. You may now continue your hand-wringing about how partisan and biased FoxNews is. Thank you.

NYT flogs the lifeless TANG horse

Today's New York Times brings us yet another hit piece on Bush's TANG records. It's the usual stuff, allegations of missed drills and special treatment, but nothing substantial or novel enough to elicit anything more than a stifled yawn from any but the most partisan Kerry backers.

God, this must be frustrating as hell for those guys! Why does this story seem unable to gain the kind of traction that the Swift Vets got?

Here's why: people don't care.

Well okay, maybe they care a little, but it will never be a huge campaign issue for most voters. The average person on the street likely just assumes that Bush got some favorable treatment while in the Guard. They may not like the fact that this kind of thing goes on, but they pretty much accept it as a matter of course.

My guess is that Bush's less-than-stellar Guard service may have cost him a point or two in the polls, but that hit has long ago been factored into his overall approval rating, and repeated questions and innuendo are unlikely to result in additional damage.

The ABB crowd is seething at the hit Kerry took from the Swift Vets, and they're desperate to reproduce it. The problem is, Bush's campaign didn't package him as a war hero. They haven't made his TANG service the centerpiece of his campaign. Bush doesn't constantly invoke the imagery of his National Guard duty in practically every speech or public appearance he makes.

These things matter. That's why the Swift Vets campaign resonated in ways that the "Texans for Truth" cannot achieve. It's astonishing that they're still unable to realize this.

It's official

In a carefully worded statement, CBS is finally admitting that it failed to perform the necessary due diligence to authenticate the forged Killian memos. Also, they finally seem to be fingering Bill Burkett as the source. It seems too little, too late to salvage Rather's and CBS's credibility, but at least it's done.

I am trying to figure out how I should regard news stories from CBS in the future. Are they always this negligent in their fact checking? Or is it only when they're attacking Bush?

Either way, this has been an eye-opener for me. I never doubted the existence of a liberal slant to the MSM, but I never attributed it to a deliberate, left wing conspiracy either. I simply wrote it off as an inevitable, unconscious side effect of a profession whose practitioners are, as individuals, almost monolithically liberal. Perhaps I was too naive.

Who's right?

The New York Times says we're getting ready to crack down on the Iraqi insurgency. Bob Novak says we're planning to bug out. It's hard to imagine they could both be right.

The Novak scenario, if true, would be devastating. Aside from the damage to our international reputation, it would seem to render the past year's ordeal in Iraq meaningless. Moreover, it would call into question whether we, as a nation, have the stomach to fight a real war anymore. I believed we did after 9/11. Now I'm not so sure.

September 19, 2004

John Kerry, albatross

From "electability" to "liability."

Democrats Reassess Prospects to Win House

As Kerry's Momentum Lags, Hopes of Regaining Majority of Seats Dim, Analysts Say

Democrats' hopes of regaining the House majority this fall -- never bright at best -- appear increasingly dim, in part because of Sen. John F. Kerry's lackluster campaign performance over the past six weeks, numerous analysts say.

In late July, as upbeat Democrats held their convention in Boston, party leaders said they had capable, well-financed House candidates poised in several states to exploit a nationwide trend that seemed just around the corner. "Democrats can win the House back if this breeze, this movement for a change, continues," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Since then, however, Republicans conducted a sharp-edged convention in New York, Kerry was slow to respond to attacks on his character and policies, and many of the Democrats' most promising House challengers seemed frozen in place.

When the Massachusetts senator appeared to gain momentum entering and exiting the Boston convention, "the theory was it would all seep down to the House races," said Amy Walter, who tracks House contests for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. "But it hasn't happened." Among top Democrats, she said, "you just don't hear that same level of enthusiasm you did a month ago."

Once again, Terry McAuliffe hoses it for the Democrats. How in God's name does this man still have a job? McAuliffe was the architect of the Democrats' compressed primary season strategy. The thinking was that the party would unify behind a candidate early, sparing him from incurring damage from an extended primary fight. The problem is, in the rush to find someone "electable," they ended up with a "pig in a poke," as my friend Mal put it. There was no time for Kerry to be properly vetted by his own party, and with the "anybody but Bush" mindset pervading the party, Kerry seemed good enough at the time. They were pressured into signed the dotted line before they'd shopped around or kicked the tires.

Well, now they're stuck with him. I can sense the anger and frustration out there, largely directed at our side, of course. But hey, it's not our fault you nominated this guy. Had you chosen Lieberman, or even Gephardt, does anybody believe Bush would be leading in the polls right now?

I don't.

September 18, 2004

Letter from Afghanistan

I received an e-mail yesterday from a captain in the U.S. Army, currently stationed in Afghanistan. I will not reveal his unit or his name, but based on the content of the letter and the e-mail address, I believe it to be authentic. He included the usual disclaimer that these are his personal views, and in no way represent the thinking of the DoD, although his thoughts are widely shared within his organization. Inadequate as it is, Captain, I would like to thank you and your men for your service to this country. I will reproduce the letter in full.

Reference Senator Kerry's latest speech in front of National Guardsmen and women; "Right now, too many in the Guard still don't have the body armor, night vision goggles, and radios they need to do their jobs. Too many are using outdated equipment and hand-me-downs from regular forces - and they're wondering if today will be the unlucky day when something just doesn't work. That's wrong, and we have to change it."

Senator Kerry is right. "Right now, too many in the Guard still don't have the body armor, night vision goggles, and radios they need to do their jobs. Too many are using outdated equipment and hand-me-downs from regular forces -- and they're wondering if today will be the unlucky day when something just doesn't work." There are too many Active Duty Units "regular forces" that don't have the right equipment either. This did not just happen over the past 4 years. If anything the past 4 years have proven the most prosperous for the military. We have finally started getting better equipment. Senator Kerry may want to reexamine his voting record before he tries to blast the President, my Commander-in-Chief.

The bill Kerry opposed did contain $300 million requested by the Pentagon to buy best-grade body armor for all troops in Iraq, and also contained additional combat pay and health benefits for reservists called to active duty.

And to think Senator Kerry had the audacity to use National Guardsmen and women as a backdrop for his own political gain. Again Senator Kerry, I do agree with your statements, "That's wrong, and we have to change it." Senator Kerry. If you are going to gain the support of our Nation's military you have to make a decision. You are either with us or against us. You can't have it both ways. Your rhetoric may be serving you well back home, but those of us serving our country, and not ourselves, see though
your smoke and mirrors.

Some questions

I know everybody's sick of Memogate already, but I've got some questions. The Lefties would have us believe this issue of forgery by a major network is a mere distraction. We should really focus on the underlying story, right?

Remember the forged Niger-Uranium documents? Weren't these same people telling us that the forgery discounted the entire story? And even later, when independent, corroborating evidence backed up the "underlying story," they were still dismissive. The forged documents tainted everything. Remember that?

And remember those "purloined" Senate Judiciary Committee memos? It seems that the Left didn't want to discuss the content of them at all (strategies for stonewalling judicial appointees). The content didn't matter! The only thing that mattered was that the documents were tainted! To discuss their content was to unacceptably change the subject from our damnable guilt!

Remember that? Why the double standard?

Heh, at least our documents were real.

September 17, 2004

Bush polls well in Iraq?

Take this with a huge grain of salt, of course, but it purports to be a global online preference poll for the U.S. presidential elections. Predictably, if the whole world were allowed to vote, Bush would get creamed. Two countries where he fares better than he does here at home, however, include Iraq and Afghanistan. Not bad for such dismal foreign policy failures, huh?

Iraq is particularly interesting in that it's split almost perfectly down the middle, whereas in other Arab ME states, Bush goes down in McGovernesque proportions. Now why would that be the case, especially after Bush fucked up their country and all?

Has anyone bothered to count...

...the number of 'the bounce is fading!' pieces that have been written since the Republican convention? I think the first one probably came out while the balloons were still falling at MSG, and they just keep coming! Now I wish I'd kept track.

September 16, 2004

Judge orders Bush records released

Well, someone had to go first, I guess. I think this is welcome news, so long as Kerry gets equal treatment.

Joey Ramone, RIP

Fer cryin' out loud, what's going on with the Ramones? They're dropping like flies. Are there any left?


September 15, 2004


First it was to be noon, then at 5 PM, then we finally get a terse, meaningless, misspelled statement from CBS, which basically said, "we'll get back to you." Do they have any idea how this looks?

The whole thing is just sad.

I have confession to make. I don't share in the enthusiasm felt by some, now that the vultures are circling around Dan Rather. Instead, I feel disappointed.

Don't get me wrong! I think the pressure on CBS and Mr. Rather should be kept up until we get some straight answers. I will be happy to see them get the comeuppance they deserve. Most of all, I'm happy that technology has finally destroyed the monopoly that the MSM has heretofore enjoyed as the gatekeepers of information.

But I feel no joy in the sorry crumbling away of Mr. Rather's career and reputation. Perhaps I'm just a sentimental sap, but I grew up with the guy in my living room, for crying out loud. He was the kindly, affable, trusted uncle who comes to your house on Sundays for dinner. For all the jokes about his automatonic demeanor, I always found him to be warm and personable. I remember his singing "Strawberry Roan" on Gil Gross's talk show. And how could I forget his poignant tears on David Letterman after 9/11? That single appearance taught me that it was okay for grown men to cry in public, something I'd been doing a lot of that week. For years, until it was no longer possible to do so, I even defended him against charges of liberal partisanship. I remember his coverage of the 1984 election, and as Ronald Reagan seemed on course to sweep all 50 states, Dan did not come across as bitter or depressed to me. Indeed, I could have sworn I detected a certain twinkle in his eyes, not normally apparent.

Why did it come to this? Have we learned nothing from Watergate, Clinton's impeachment, and countless other, less serious scandals? The American people are enormously forgiving of almost anything besides a cover-up -- a willful, persistent attempt to mislead. Surely Dan Rather must know this. A brief, simple mea culpa the week after the Killian documents aired would have made it all go away.

But now it's come to this. It's a damn shame.

September 14, 2004

Kennedy campaigns for Kerry

Oh yeah, this should help.

Kennedy to Hit Campaign Trail for Kerry

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, often credited with giving a boost to John Kerry's presidential campaign, is launching a seven-week election drive for his Massachusetts colleague that will pair fund raising and travel with a barrage of speeches condemning President Bush's policies.

I've gotta ask a question. Is Karl Rove advising this guy? Kerry, I mean. I have an image of Rove in a darkened office, speaking to Kerry through in a disguised voice into a phone with a hankie draped over the mouthpiece: "Listen, senator, you must focus on the Vietnam years, exclusively! For you and your opponent! Do this at all costs. This is key! Then you should spend four days hammering Bush on the gun control issue. And... uh... oh yeah, get Ted Kennedy to come campaign for you. That should pretty much nail it!"

"Thank you, Mr. Unknown Campaign Advisor. But why can't I ever meet you in person?"

"Uh... gotta go, kid! Remember! Vietnam!"

Exactly what I hate about MTV

...besides the fact that they don't show videos. During election season, MTV becomes even more excruciatingly annoying than normal, as they try to get a nation of horny slacker tweens to stop huffing solvents long enough to shuffle out and vote, after four years of giving them absolutely zero encouragement to inform themselves on the issues.

The Decadent West gives the best interpretation of the whole sorry spectacle I've ever seen:

Gideon Yago: Hey guys. Gideon Yago here, with another MTV Choose Or Lose update. You guys TOTALLY have to vote this year! It's TOTALLY the most important election of your lifetime! You TOTALLY have to make a difference in this year's election. Why? Because we TOTALLY have to vote out George W. Bush this year, even though we're TOTALLY pretending to be an impartial advocate of voter's registration. You see, when we say you have to make a difference in this year's election, it's TOTALLY implied that the difference is to vote out the incumbent. And whether that's TOTALLY right, or TOTALLY wrong, it's TOTALLY fucking biased! But who cares, right? Here's Britney Spears fucking Bobby Brown with a coke injected gerbil shoved up his ass. DECK!

Click on the link and read the whole thing, if you're not easily offended.

New electoral map

Courtesy of electoral-vote.com.

I had a TV set like this once. Over time, all the blue sort of gradually leaked out of it.

Kerry 238
Bush 291

RIP, "assault weapons" ban

You will not be missed.

Not here, anyway. Liberals in the 90's had a woody for this "feel-good" legislation, but it was ultimately ineffective, as weapons with identical capabilities and lethality could still be sold after undergoing a few minor, mostly cosmetic, changes.

Many readers have asked, if the ban was so ineffective, why oppose it? I shouldn't really have to explain it, but it's something called the Second Amendment. Granted, no rights are absolute, but when you pass legislation infringing on a constitutionally guaranteed right, you need to have a damn good reason. "They look scary!" does not cut it.

September 13, 2004

They just can't stop stepping in it, can they?

According to Drudge, the DNC will soon issue a press release saying that Bush never served in the Air Force, contrary to claims from some of Bush's ancient campaign literature. Problem is, there's this document, (PDF) which shows that Bush was indeed placed on active duty for four months.

None of this strikes me as a big deal, but I have two thoughts:

  • When are these people going to learn? In their obsession with gunning for Dubya, these guys have just received their second self-inflicted wound inside of a week. Dan Rather and the DNC are going to end up re-electing Bush before it's all said and done.
  • Note the typeface in the Drudge document. That's what a real typewritten document looks like.

You're all goin' ta Hell!!

Sin. Sin, Sin. You're all sinners. You're all doomed to perdition. You're all goin' to the painful, stinkin', scaldin', everlastin' tortures of a fiery hell, created by God for sinners, unless, unless, unless you repent.

Is this Al Gore or Elmer Gantry?

This has become a sad spectator sport, watching the complete dissolution of this man who was once one of my favorite Democrats. This is truly the portrait of a man on the brink, if indeed he has not already plunged over it. Howard Dean is beginning to look like Gerald Ford by comparison.

Al Gore's stiff jokes are gone now, replaced by recount jokes. The cautious campaigner of 2000 is gone, too, replaced by a fire-breathing Bush basher.

When Gore delivered his latest-in-a-series slam at the Republicans last week, faulting Vice President Dick Cheney for "sleazy and despicable" criticism of the Democrats, a White House spokesman dismissively responded: "Consider the source."
Republicans... say Gore's passion on the campaign path has reached an unhealthy fever pitch that could do Democrats more harm than good.

GOP strategist Keith Appell likens him to "some kind of cheerleader on acid."

"Some of the things he has said have been outrageous and he says them in this high-pitched scream," Appell said. "I really don't know what to call that."

The more I think of it, Hazel Motes sounds more apt than Elmer Gantry.

9/11 remembered

My lack of a post commemorating 9/11 was intentional. It was not that I didn't care, of course. Rather, I felt that any words of mine on this ridiculous little blog would be wholly inadequate to the remembrance of that terrible day and of those we lost.

In hindsight, I spent much of the day trying not to face it. My wife and I had a gate sale, and we worked a lot around our new house in Hoboken trying to get completely moved in. That night we became thirsty, and went out for a drink. As soon as we stepped out, we saw the WTC tribute in light -- two brilliant, argent beams, reaching heavenward.

We walked up the hill to the campus of Steven Technology Institute, on the Hudson River, and saw the most spectacular view of the light sculpture we had ever seen. We heard the drums, we heard the pipers, and then and there, we allowed ourselves to feel what has been lost.

September 11, 2004

I believe...

I believe the Killian documents are authentic.

I believe that Killian's widow, who doubts their authenticity, has a pro-Bush agenda and is lying.

I believe Killian's son, who doubts their authenticity, has a pro-Bush agenda and is lying.

I believe the personnel clerk in Killian's unit, who doubts their authenticity, has a pro-Bush agenda and is lying.

I believe Dan Rather when he says the Killian documents were conclusively authenticated, even though CBS only had access to low-quality photocopies.

I believe Dan Rather's lone "handwriting" expert was telling the truth when he pronounced the typed documents legit.

I believe the multiple "printed document" experts, who dispute their authenticity, are all Bush partisans, and are all lying.

I believe that Ben Barnes's daughter, who thinks her father is lying, has a pro-Bush agenda and is lying herself.

I believe that Ben Barnes, who is a Kerry campaign vice-chair, and has raised more than $100,000 for the campaign, does not have a political agenda, and is telling the truth.

I believe Ben Barnes when he says he helped Bush enter the guard when he was lieutenant governor, even though he didn't actually become lieutenant governor until a year after Bush had already enlisted.

I believe that all 250 Swift Vets for the Truth are pro-Bush partisans, and that they are all lying. All of them.

I believe the dozen or so vets who travel with the Kerry campaign from stop to stop do not have a political agenda, and they alone are telling the truth.

I believe John Kerry when he said he spent Christmas in Cambodia.

I believe John Kerry when he said he did not spend Christmas in Cambodia.

I believe that questioning Bush's military record is justified, even patriotic, even though Bush never made it a campaign issue.

I believe that questioning Kerry's military record is vile and despicable, even though Kerry made his service the centerpiece of his campaign.

I believe I'll be glad when this election is over.

(With apologies to Michael Kelly, who left us too soon.)

September 10, 2004

Rather sticks to his guns

My conservative friends have been telling me that CBS was going to cover up this forged document business, but I scoffed. I felt that the story had assumed such proportions that CBS would be forced, reluctantly or not, to launch an investigation in order to salvage their credibility (and, at least according to Beldar, to avoid legal liability.) I went to bed thinking I'd been vindicated. But now this:

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: I know that this story is true. I believe that the witnesses and the documents are authentic. We wouldn't have gone to air if they would not have been. There isn't going to be -- there's no -- what you're saying apology?

QUESTION: Apology or any kind of retraction or...

RATHER: Not even discussed, nor should it be. I want to make clear to you, I want to make clear to you if I have not made clear to you, that this story is true, and that more important questions than how we got the story, which is where those who don't like the story like to put the emphasis, the more important question is what are the answers to the questions raised in the story, which I just gave you earlier.

Maybe I'm naive, but I'm stunned. Not just so much that Rather is standing his ground, but the rationale (or rather lack thereof) that he gives: I'm Dan Rather. Trust me.

Un. Fucking. Believable.

Another low blow from Kerry

Dick Cheney has clarified his remarks, which caused so much angst. I think anyone reading his comments in their full context would likely accept his clarification as accurate.

Perhaps John Kerry would like to take his cue and clarify this, from his website (emphasis mine):

Four years ago, George Bush said he'd stand with and protect America's police officers by extending the assault weapons ban -- which keeps the most dangerous assault weapons off our streets. The same weapons that America's police officers want off our streets, not just to fight ordinary crime but to take on terrorists. In fact, an al Qaeda training manual recovered in Afghanistan included a chapter urging terrorists to get assault weapons in the United States. Why is George Bush making the job of the terrorists easier and making the job for America's police officers harder?

Yep, Susan Estrich was right. Those Democrats are just too warm and fuzzy to campaign effectively.

Another Kerry-Clinton confab?

Kerry and Clinton Have Another Long Talk Days after Democrat John Kerry and former President Clinton had a lengthy, late-night telephone chat to discuss campaign strategy, the two were at it again on Thursday. Only this time, politics weren't involved, says a Kerry aide.

Kerry just wanted to check in and see how Clinton was doing as he recuperates in a New York City hospital after heart bypass surgery earlier this week, said Kerry spokesman David Wade.

Yeah. Right.

"He only called to see how he was doing," Wade said. "They didn't talk politics."

Uh-huh. Sure.

Does anyone buy that? Does it really require a "lengthy" chat to ask, "Hey, Big Guy, how's it hangin'?"

And I've got another question. How much should Kerry really trust this guy? Yeah, I know, I'm going to get e-mail accusing me of being a conspiracy freak, but I do find it highly unlikely that the Clintons want Kerry to win.

I don't have much evidence to support this, but it's primarily the "dog that didn't bark." The Clintons have been pretty much AWOL in the campaign so far, doing only perfunctory campaign duty, basically the minimum required by them as leaders of their party. Why did Clinton wait until Kerry called him, on the eve of his surgery, to offer crucial advice about Vietnam?

Again, I can't prove it, but if I were Kerry, I'd have to at least question whether Bill and HRC had my best interests at heart. A Kerry victory would definitely be a huge obstacle for Hill's presidential aspirations. Then again, Kerry has shown remarkably inept political instincts for someone who's been in the game as long as he has.

Okay, let's take bets!

How long before we start hearing lefties allege that the CBS forgeries were part of a sinister, "reverse dirty tricks" tactic, masterminded by Karl Rove?

Don't laugh! I've already heard it once, and I'm waiting to see whether others will pick up the chorus.

UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long. Two minutes after I posted this, I went to Power Line, and read the following account of Ted Koppel's interview with Chris Lehane:

Koppel returned to the forgery issue late in the show during an interview with former Gore operative Chris Lehane. This was the damage control segment but, significantly, the damage being controlled was not that inflicted on CBS, but rather the potential damage to the Kerry campaign. Koppel and Lehane agreed that the campaign almost certainly was not responsible for the forgery because the consequences of being caught are too high. (Lehane even floated the idea that the Bush campaign might have been responsible).

That was quick

Looks like this CBS "forged document" story has legs. From today's Washington Post

After doubts about the documents began circulating on the Internet yesterday morning, The Post contacted several independent experts who said they appeared to have been generated by a word processor. An examination of the documents by The Post shows that they are formatted differently from other Texas Air National Guard documents whose authenticity is not questioned.

The blogosphere was on fire with this story today. As I said, I was skeptical at first, but it seems to have merit.

Is it too much to ask that the major media outlets be a little less cocky and holier-than-thou going forward? They accuse bloggers of being sloppy in their research and negligent in their fact checking, yet it happens again and again that the blog world steps forward and does the homework that retail media fails to do.

Outstanding job, guys.

September 09, 2004

They got the memo!

JFK and TeRAYsa must have gotten Susan Estrich's memo about the need to fight dirty. (As an aside, how could Ms Estrich possibly have never heard of Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 911"? It was in all the papers.)

Anyway, first it's TeRAYsa calling Kerry's opponents "idiots," and now JFK himself likens Bush's policies to Jim Crow


"Wrong choices of the Bush Administration... are taking us back to two Americas -- separate and unequal. Our cities and communities are being torn apart by forces just as divisive and destructive as Jim Crow," Kerry to say in speech to Baptist convention . . .

Sorry for the interruption. You may now resume your hand-wringing about how horrible Dick Cheney's speech was.

60 Minutes documents forged?

I was skeptical about this claim at first, but now I'm beginning to wonder. Drudge is reporting it now, so it's going to get some attention. Here's a guy who was able to duplicate the documents using Microsoft Word, and the superimposition supposedly lines up perfectly.

We'll see....

I'm an idiot

And they wonder why people call them "elitists."

Teresa Heinz Kerry says "only an idiot" would fail to support her husband's health care plan.

But Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, told the (Lancaster) Intelligencer Journal that "of course, there are idiots."

Kerry's proposal includes health care subsidies for children, the unemployed, small companies and more; and government assistance to insurers and employers that keep premiums for workers down.

If Kerry is elected, Heinz Kerry predicts that opponents of his health care plan will be voted out of office. She says, "Only an idiot wouldn't like this."

Convention afterthoughts

There was a curious phenomenon surrounding the GOP convention that you probably had to be in New York to notice. For weeks, if not months, leading up to the event, New Yorkers were walking around, huffing and puffing about how the Republicans should just stay away, about how it was going to screw up the whole city, foul our traffic, ruin our commutes, and just generally be a pain in the ass. The grumbles were never overtly political, as people seemed simply to be bitching about the nuisance of the whole thing.

This attitude was reflected with undue ugliness in the New York print media. Magazine after newspaper after magazine offered tips on "surviving" the convention, and how to "get through the week." Our own copy of New York magazine, delivered to our house, had a cover famously depicting the rear-view of an elephant, strolling calmly away from the camera, after have left a steaming pile behind.

What city is this, New York or freakin' Provo? Mammoth events are routine in this town. We regularly play hosts to the World Series, huge celebrity bashes and awards shows, and U.N. summits that include practically every head of state in the world! The city takes them in stride, and most people ignore them altogether. It's simply an aspect of life in the big city. Was the Republican convention really such a huge logistical deal in the overall scheme of things? Of course not.

My wife, herself a Democrat, noticed this as well, and offered a simple, and I believe correct, explanation: "New York just doesn't like Bush."

I am happy, by the way, to note that many of the direst, frequently made predictions utterly failed to materialize:

  • That the decision to host the convention in New York would prove a disastrous miscalculation,
  • That the president would not get a post-convention bounce, or would perhaps get a negative one, and
  • That Zell Miller's speech would famously backfire, much as Pat Buchanan's did in 1992.

All of these were wrong. I'm glad.

Now I'd like to talk a bit about one aspect of the convention that didn't make me so happy.

Like most Republicans, I thought the first half of Bush's speech was by far the weaker part. I was dismayed at the SOTU-like laundry list of new spending initiatives. We might as well be blunt, and call this what it is: vote buying, plain and simple.

There are two big problems with this.

  • When Republicans do it, they are betraying their own principles.
  • Worse, it avails them nothing, since the Democrats will always outbid them.

I wish this administration would finally realize that. If the GOP is to survive, it must (among other things) reclaim the mantle of the party of fiscal responsibility. Fiscal conservatism is actually "cool" these days. That's a good thing, because it means that our side has finally won that debate. It would be a damn shame, after winning the philosophical victory, to cede the issue to the Democrats.

There were two domestic initiatives in Bush's speech I liked, however: Social Security reform and tax code simplification. The president was short on details, of course, but these are perfect examples of potentially winning campaign issues that can be deeply popular with the public while remaining true to conservative ideals.

Social Security is no longer the political third rail. If Bush can effectively communicate the structural, actuarial problems that FICA now suffers, as well as the benefits of (at least partial) account ownership, this issue could be a huge win for the Republicans.

The case for tax simplification, by contrast, does not even need to be made. We don't know exactly what the president has in mind. A flat tax, or a consumption-based tax, is probably too much to hope for, but we can always fantasize, right?

The Democrats would immediately attack either plan as "regressive," of course, as poor people have much less discretionary income than rich people. They may have a valid point here, but this could be easily corrected by a standard income exemption or rebate program. This would give us an effective tax rate of zero for income earners below a certain threshold. This effective rate would increase with income, asymptotically approaching the actual (flat) tax rate. Ultimately, this is the only kind of "progressivity" that makes any sense. Anything more is merely redistributionism, plain and simple.

I'd love to see Bush tackle both these issues in a second term. I know that's a tall order, but he does have a reputation for boldness. Do it, George. "Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid."

All right, enough. I apologize for the rambling, uneven character of this post, but there were some things I just had to get off my chest.

Old news

Has anyone else noticed something profoundly odd about the reemergence of Bush's TANG records as a campaign issue? I've had numerous Democrats approach me personally as well as through op-ed pieces with smirking zingers like, "Turnabout's fair play, huh?" or "Two can play at that game!" or, my favorite, "It's our turn now! Deal with it!"

Is our collective memory span truly that short? Am I the only person who remembers the subject of Bush's military records came first, before the Swift Vets? Been there, done that. I've seen several people who already have the t-shirt.

Their side would claim that "new evidence" has once again breathed life into the controversy. Fine, but my prediction is that it won't work. Most of the voting public who follows such things have already assimilated the belief that Bush's military record is probably less than stellar, and this information has already been factored into Bush's stock price. I do, however, find the whole debate further evidence that many Bush-haters are no longer dealing in reality.

September 08, 2004

A question for the readers

Both sides of the campaign have hypocritically demanded that the opposing candidate sign a Form 180, thereby releasing their complete military records to the public. To the best of my knowledge, neither side has complied, although Bush released his records via executive order, an option Kerry does not have.

Now the Democrats can grouse that the White House has been less than forthcoming on the issue, but it does beg the question of why Kerry won't just sign the damn form. It would be a huge PR coup for him, far more effective than wheeling around a triple amputee to play "mailman" on a Texas ranch. He could sign it on camera, with his "band of brothers" in attendance, and challenge Bush to do the same, thus unambiguously seizing the moral high ground. Can you imagine? It could be devastating.

So why doesn't he do it? Clearly, he doesn't want to. I wonder why. After all, it's Kerry, not Bush, who is running on his military record; and it's Kerry, not Bush, who seems more recalcitrant on the issue of releasing the relevant documentation. Still, for the record, I'd like Bush to sign a Form 180 as well, just to remove any potential ambiguities involving the executive order.

The problem is, I don't know for a fact that he has not already done so. In my research, I've found conflicting accounts. Many people claim that Bush has signed the form, while others deny it. It's hard to prove a negative, of course, but I haven't seen any documentation supporting the claims that Bush signed the form either.

Can anyone out there confirm whether or not Bush actually signed the form? You can post a comment below, or discuss the matter here.

Another country...

...wakes up and smells the coffee. Pity it took a horror like Beslan to prompt it.

Russia is prepared to make pre-emptive strikes on "terrorist bases" anywhere in the world, the Interfax news agency cited the country's chief of staff as saying.

"With regard to preventive strikes on terrorist bases, we will take any action to eliminate terrorist bases in any region of the world.

Bush just clenched it!

If there was any doubt before, I'm definitely pulling the lever for him now.

Bush Picks Mustard Over Ketchup on Burger

No, no, it doesn't have anything to do with TeRAYsa's company. I happen to believe that all ketchup should be boycotted as a matter of principle. I will (and do) eat almost anything, but ketchup is the one food substance I absolutely cannot abide.

Yeah, I know, that makes me some kind of commie or something....

September 07, 2004

North State Blogs

I'm happy to announce Cynical Nation's inclusion in North State Blogs. As a Tarheel who moved to New York City (and thence to Hoboken) four years ago, I figured I'd be eligible. The requirements, though, were pretty tough:

1) You must be Born in, or now live in, or once lived in, or would like to live in, North Carolina

2) You must not be ashamed to admit to #1

3) When using the term Barbecue, it shall only refer to Pork Barbecue cooked in either the Eastern NC or Lexington Styles. This term shall never be used in reference to chicken, beef, other animals, grilling equipment, and under NO circumstances shall it be used as a term for a backyard cookout.

4) Must update your Blog once a month.

5) The North State Blogs shall never collectively take sides on any disputes between members about which is the best College Basketball team or Nascar Racer. (Individual members are encouraged to take their own stands on this view.)

5) All shall affirm that no other doughnuts can compare to those heavenly creations made hot and fresh at Krispy Kreme.

6) All Must be a fan of the Andy Griffith Show.

Let's see. Check, check, check, check, check, and check. Okay, well that was pretty easy, for me at least. The North State blogroll is posted on my site. Feel free to browse around and support my fellow Carolinians.

Me vs. the Pennsylvania Democrats

My wife and I recently got back from three weeks nestled deep in the black walnut trees of Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains. We were staying in an old farm house, out in the boonies, to focus on our creative endeavors. Here are some pictures of some of the friendly denizens who surrounded us.

Okay, that last one doesn't really count, but I found it mildly amusing nonetheless.

In addition, we spent some time antiquing, discovering local folk art, and we took a trip to the Wyoming County Fair. God, what a great American tradition! My wife, God bless her, went to the pie auction, and won us the blue ribbon-winning cherry pie (minus the slice the judges had sampled, obviously.) Quite a bargain for eight bucks.

We spent a fair amount of time speaking with the Democrats who were manning the DP booth on the fairgrounds, too (Mrs. Cynic, as loyal readers will recall, is a Democrat herself.) They were very nice and engaging people, but a bit on edge. In fact, tempers flared twice, and it was not (pinky swear!) my doing. And this, mind you, was before it was widely acknowledged that Bush had assumed the lead in most polls.

I engaged them in debate, but to tell the truth, they didn't really have much other than, "Well, if you support the war, then why aren't you over there fighting? Huh? Well?"

Still, they were charming people, and I left, comforted, that even if Kerry wins, there are still some sane Democrats to be found.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, my friend Boaz was way ahead of me. He actually attended the convention, saw Zell Miller's speech in person, sat near Sean Hannity, and met Dick Cheney. (I am actually jealous of one of these three things, but I won't say which.)

September 06, 2004

Democrats too nice to win?

I'm already sick of this meme, typified here by Susan Estrich, that the Democrats are inherently handicapped by "playing fair," whereas Republicans are unhindered my morals or conscience.

If the Democrats do indeed lose the election, I can assure you, this will not be the reason.

Cynical Nation scoops "The Smoking Gun"

September 05, 2004

Panic at the Kerry campaign?

Sure sounds like it to me.

Under fire to shape up his presidential campaign, Democratic challenger John F. Kerry on Sunday tapped two veteran party strategists from Boston to assume top roles in an operation that has been criticized by Democratic allies for allowing President Bush to regain the initiative in the battle for the White House.

Campaign officials said John Sasso, who has been running general election operations at the Democratic National Committee, will become the senior Kerry adviser aboard the candidate's traveling charter until the election. Michael Whouley, who helped rescue Kerry's campaign in Iowa during the nomination battle, will take over Sasso's responsibilities at the DNC, reprising the role he played for Al Gore four years ago.

September 03, 2004

Best wishes, Bill

It looks like Bill Clinton needs emergency bypass surgery. That procedure is fairly routine these days, but it's still serious business. I wish him well. My own father had cardiac bypass surgery back in 1984. He did quite well with it for many years, and the technique has only improved since then. The surgery gave him fifteen good years after his first serious heart attack, so I can't complain. I can't help but wonder, however, whether he'd still be with us today had he taken better care of himself afterwards.

I wish you a speedy recovery, Mr. President. And please take care of yourself. Eat right, watch your weight, and exercise. If not for yourself, then for Chelsea.


I have decided to vote for George W. Bush in the upcoming election. I know that few of you are going to be bowled over with surprise, since I've made it quite clear that I prefer his candidacy to Kerry's. Still, it was very much an open question for me until the past few weeks.

I never seriously considered voting for Kerry, but had nearly made my mind up to vote Libertarian. I actually have a long history of voting for third party and write-in candidates for president. I did not vote for Bush in 2000. In fact, the last time I voted for a major party presidential candidate was in 1988, and then I regretted it.

So why the departure from tradition? I think you already know. At the end of the day, I want a president who thinks it's more important to wage war on Islamofascism than to be liked by France. Yes, it's that simple. I admire certain other aspects of the Bush presidency and loathe others, but at in the final analysis, my decision will hinge on that one issue.

I am further motivated by the prevalence of the "Anybody but Bush" sentiment. It is a proposition fueled by irrationality and naked hate, and its pervasiveness has warped our political discourse.

When 14 months (or 12 years, depending on how you look at it) becomes a "rush to war," there is a problem.

When Bush's initiation and subsequent annual increases of funding for embryonic stem cell research are characterized as a "ban," there is a problem.

When a demagogic filmmaker's wildly inaccurate, venom-filled agit-prop is welcomed as a serious political documentary, there is a problem.

I cannot combat the poison of the ABB mindset by voting Libertarian.

I will vote for Bush. And yes, I will probably come to regret this vote as well. Less so, however, than I would regret doing otherwise.

The speech

It was not great, but it was good enough.

Like many others, I thought it was too long in the beginning, and I'm afraid many viewers dropped out before he got to the good stuff.

I could have done without the return of "compassionate conservatism," to be honest. If you subscribe to Thomas Sowell's definition of compassion as "the use of tax dollars to buy votes," then I think we've seen quite enough of Bush's compassion already.

Still, it was a solid speech and a good delivery, if nothing spectacular. The stakes were high, and he did well enough.

Lynching Zell Miller

Massah's pissed off because Zell Miller done left the plantation! Who the hell does that Miller Boy think he is? By God, we got ways of dealin' with the likes of his'n! We gonna call him a "dixiecrat", and allege a segregationist past. Never mind he's been a Democrat for 8 years and we never said squat about it before! He gives a speech at a Republican convention, though, and we're going to suddenly "discover" what a vile racist he is!