Friday, October 18 2002
ANOTHER LAYER IN SD: Okay, okay, we're a little fixated on the South Dakota thing. New story in the Rapid City Journal reports the DNC has shelled out $12,867 over the last three months to Becky Red Earth-Villeda, the "independent contractor" used by the Dems to register new voters in SD.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall makes the case that the whole vote fraud investigation is a sham, trumped up by the Thune campaign and its connections with KSFY-TV. I'm not sure I buy this theory and I've sent Josh the registration numbers and asked him to comment. - TB 12:39 pm

Thursday, October 17 2002
The data I've collected on South Dakota voter registration certainly seems to support the idea that something is amiss, though ultimately the numbers alone aren't conclusive. See for yourself:

# New Registered Voters in South Dakota
(Primary Day Thru Election Day)

Source: South Dakota Secretary of State's Office

With about one week left of registration, Democrats have accounted for 49.4% of all new voters put on the rolls since June 4. That's a 23% increase over the last election and 16.8% more than their average from 1996-2000. In terms of raw numbers, Democrats have already managed to register more people this year between primary day and election day than they did in 1996, a year in which both the Presidential race and Senate race were hotly contested.

Are these registration numbers proof of vote fraud? Of course not. But with recent evidence from the ongoing investigation suggesting that in certain counties as many as 1 in 10 registrations are invalid, just based on the data I've collected there could be upwards of a thousand fraudulent registrations in South Dakota by election day. That, my friends, would be a serious case of vote fraud. - TB 6:09 pm

SD NUMBERS UPDATE: I just got off the phone with the South Dakota Secretary of State's office. Here are the numbers they provided regarding voter registration:

SD Voter Registration June - November
(Primary Day - Election Day)
# New Voters Registered
*June 4 - October 17

As you can see, this year's numbers are already double the number of new voters registered between June and November in the last mid-term election and we still have three weeks left. There were, however, no real competitive races in 1998 that would drive voter turnout (Janklow won 64%-33% and Daschle won 62%-36%) and the numbers are consistent with Presidential election years.

In overall voter registration in South Dakota the GOP enjoys a 10 point advantage: 48% Republican, 38% Democrat, and 13% unaffiliated. (Source: 2002 Almanac of American Politics). Now take a look at the breakdown of the 18,111 new voters registered since June 4:

# New Registered Voters
% of Total

Make of this what you will. Personally, I haven't drawn any conclusions just yet based on these numbers. Maybe the Dems are just doing a better job of registering voters this year and there really are only a couple of bad ballots. I'm skeptical, but it's quite possible.

The one piece of information missing (which I'm working on getting) is how this year's breakdown of new registered voters by party (June-November) compares to similar breakdowns from 2000, 1998, 1996. In other words, if over the last three election cycles the new voters registered between June and November are historically in the GOP's favor (along the lines of overall registration), but all of the sudden this year the Dems have turned that number on its head then I will be VERY inclined to believe there is some sort of organized fraud occurring.

As you can see, at most we are talking about a few thousand ballots which, though they will represent less than 1% of the total vote cast on November 5, are probably going to make all the difference in the world. - TB 1:03 pm

Note: The Secretary of State's office could confirm the claim of higher absentee balloting this year because ballots are sent and received by the county offices - and I'm not industrious enough to call them myself.

THIS MESSAGE BROUGHT TO YOU BY: One of the nice things about a blog is that is allows for shameless self-promotion. Today, that means we'll be talking about the Weekly Standard. It's one of our favorites and a staple on the main page. We told Terry Eastland we could help him sell some subscriptions, so do us a favor and sign up for the magazine.

Also, we've partnered with Zogby to promote his 2002 election polls. The second batch was released this past weekend. Subscribe now to get all of the great internal numbers as well as the next round which will come out at the end of the month. - TB 11:35 am

WHAT FRAUD?: Senator Tim Johnson says he's "not particularly familiar" with the vote fraud investigation going on in South Dakota.

Meanwhile, Brett Healy, head of the SD Democrats, says only a couple of ballots are involved and the GOP is blowing the whole thing out of proportion for political purposes. "The fact is," said Mr. Healy, "he (the GOP State Chairman) is trying to inflame rhetoric. Painting a picture of some grand conspiracy is ludicrous at best" But hold on a minute. The next sentence of the article suggests Mr. Healy might be the one stretching the truth a bit:

Statewide, 17,000 new voter registrations have been reported since the June primary, according to state records. Additionally, the level of absentee voting has been higher than a presidential election year.

Seventeen thousand people in four months sure seems like a lot. And the high level of absentee balloting smells fishy as well. I'm trying to dig into this a little deeper and hopefully will post an update later in the day. - TB 10:20 am

DAMAGE CONTROL: So North Korea has a nuclear weapons program. This is news in a weird "it's not really news" way, because everyone pretty much knew they were trying. Maybe the big news is that after 50 years of telling nothing but lies, North Korea decided to come clean on something. It will be interesting to see how the Bush administration responds. By the way, Dubya's now batting .667 on the AoE thing.

The more interesting story to me, which Andrew Sullivan alludes to in a brief post, is that this revelation is yet another piece of Clinton's legacy that's gonna need some quick fixing. You know, the choice Time Magazine profile piece with quotes from "top administration officials" detailing how engaged Clinton was on the issue, how it was their top priority, and how when they handed off the urgent files to the Bush administration it got buried. No doubt we will all be treated to a full hour of Madeline Albright fielding softballs from Larry King in the near future. Sandy Berger has probably already filed his op-ed with the Post.

North Korea fits perfectly into a pattern that continues to develop with respect to foreign policy in the Clinton administration. It was a foreign policy that was neither practical nor effective and, with the conspicuous example of Kosovo, relied on handshakes and deals worth little more than the paper they were printed on. From Iraq to North Korea to Russia to China, Clinton's foreign policy was all trust and no verify. Treaties were signed, backs were slapped and everyone walked away feeling good about themselves. At least for the next few years, it don't work that way anymore.

CHANGED FOREVER: The Australian death toll from the Bali bombings continues its excruciating rise as more bodies are identified. Meanwhile, PM Howard confirms the US warned the Aussies about a possible attack in a tourist location. The arc of this tragedy is absolutely haunting.

LINKAGE: NY Times reports that Indonesia has finally labeled Jemaah Islamiyah a terrorist group. Let's hope kicking the terrorist habit works just like a 12-step program: after denial comes recovery.

MORE LINKAGE: Instapundit links to our little experiment. The King lives in Tennessee, and I'm not talkin' about Elvis. - TB 12:15 am

Wednesday, October 16 2002
PROP 52: Given what's happening in South Dakota right now, can you imagine the chaos Prop. 52 would cause in California?

By the way, I haven't heard anyone decry the obvious conflict of interest in having the DNC (and probably the RNC as well, though I haven't seen proof of it yet) providing financial incentive to "independent contractors" for registering new voters. Of course there will be people who will be willing to cut corners and forge documents to get paid, especially if they know there is little likelihood of getting caught. - TB 11:54 am

WHO THINKS LIKE MIKE?: In typical fashion, Michael Moore poisons any serious debate on real issues:

It's why conservatives usually win: law and order, bigger military. They appeal to the most basic instinct in us as humans, our self-preservation. We'll always vote for anybody who's going to promise to protect us. But sometimes they need to create the illusion there's a greater threat than there actually is, they create the need to be protected. They have to invent the Other. The Other can be the black man, the Other could be the poor, the Other could be Saddam Hussein. Whatever it is, they've got to have it.

He's right about one thing: people do want protection. It's the primary mission of the US government and an issue that deserves much needed attention in today's world.

OH, CANADA!: This is amusing. I'm sure the above mentioned Michael Moore will conclude the poll results are directly correlated to Dubya's excessive war mongering and falling approval ratings. After all, he predicted exactly such a scenario years ago.

THE OTHER ZOGBY : James lectures the Saudis about getting involved in U.S. politics.

PAKISTAN'S TROUBLES: Here's a detailed analysis of the recent elections in Pakistan that will have the State Department working overtime. - TB 10:46 am

Tuesday, October 15 2002
SHRIEKING GLOBE : Now here's a piece of unbiased journalism for you. I can just see Maeve Reston sitting in her office typing away on her computer, tight against deadline, with press releases from NARAL and the Shaheen campaign littering her desk. Consider the following statements from the article:

1) "Shaheen supports the right to abortion in all cases"
2) "Sununu supports abortion only in the case of rape, incest, or if the life of the mother is in danger"
3) "Only about 10 percent of New Hampshire's voters believe abortion should be illegal in all cases"

Anything missing from this analysis? How about the number of people who are against abortion in all cases? I've never understood why pro-life candidates can't turn this argument in their favor. Being in favor of abortion under any circumstances is an inherently more radical position than being pro-life with exceptions. Most people, whether pro-choice or pro-life (or whatever you want to call them) support some moderation. It would seem very easy to make this case by asking candidates like Shaheen, who favor third-term and partial birth abortions, why ending the life of a baby a week or two before birth is considered a "woman's choice" but doing the same a week or two after birth is legally defined as murder. The logic just isn't there to support such a radical position - TB 3:35pm

SAY WHAT?: Trolling the web looking for the latest political stories I came across this one on Drudge: "Trial in Brutal Killings Grips Kansas." Just too clickable. The AP story, written by Roxana Hegeman, details the gruesome abduction and killing of five people by two brothers in Wichita in December 2000. About half way through the story Hegeman drops this bomb:

The case has become a rallying cry for white supremacists groups across the nation because the suspects are black while all the victims were white. Weeks before the trial was set to begin, a Nazi group held a rally in Topeka where the case was repeatedly cited.

One incident in Topeka a few weeks ago (this could also be read as "nearly two years after the murders took place") by a few whackos and it's a "national" rallying cry for skinheads? Puhhlease.

Let's ask a couple of more pertinent questions: why did this brutal case not receive more media attention at the time? Surely the election chaos that gripped the nation until mid-December is part of the answer. Still, if the races of the suspects and the victims in this case were reversed does anyone believe for one second that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson wouldn't have raced into Wichita and made it an issue? One more question: this case is not being tried as a "hate crime"; that peculiar, extralegal designation of which liberals are so fond. Shouldn't somebody alert Ron Kuby to this gross miscarriage of justice? - TB 2:07 pm

POOR CYNTHIA: The Altanta Journal-Constitution reports that GOP crossover votes weren't the cause of her stinging defeat to Denise Majette earlier this year. But don't worry, Cynthia isn't going to let the facts get in the way of her self-righteous pity party. The lawsuit she filed challenging the election results will go on. And it looks like McKinney is going to make a statement today around 11:00 am. Democrats shudder every time she opens her mouth.

TWO VIEWS ON THE LAW: Here is an instructive piece in the Chicago Tribune about how the two candidates (Republican Joe Birkett and Democrat Lisa Madigan) in the hotly contested race for Illinois Attorney General view the position. Here's the money quote:

Madigan sees the attorney general's office almost as a social service agency that actively advocates for consumers, seniors and others in need. Birkett views the job from more of a law-enforcement perspective and would focus on getting tougher on crime, rather than injecting himself into social issues.

Madigan is a young, liberal State Senator who makes no bones about the fact that she will seek to shape as well as enforce law. The article quotes her as saying she "will oppose efforts by the General Assembly to pass anti-choice legislation that is clearly unconstitutional and will result in the waste of taxpayer dollars on litigation."

Birkett, on the other hand, is a 47 year-old career prosecutor in the State's Attorney's office who sticks to the line that he will enforce all state laws regardless of whether they conflict with his personal views.

With a worldview like this, it's no wonder that Democrats so feverishly opposed (and continue to demonize) John Ashcroft. I think it's fair to say that Ashcroft has let his personal views effect DOJ policy, including the government taking a broader interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and stretching federal law to get involved in the assisted suicide issue out in Oregon. By and large, however, Ashcroft has not used the office to be an activist for conservative causes - like allocating extra resources in an attempt to challenge Roe v. Wade - and has stuck to a core belief in enforcing the rule of law. - TB 9:05am

Monday, October 14 2002
OSAMA'S STATEMENT : I've long thought Osama is dead. Megalomaniacs of his stature - especially those trying to inspire an intense, burning hatred in their subjects - simply can't do the job with press releases. Good media exposure can, however, be a nice way to reinforce your primary message:

Ye nation of Islam ... whether this whole nation is targeted, without distinguishing between allies or foes, is no longer an issue. The issue now is, how do we face this flagrant aggression?

The attacks in Bali and on the French tanker in Yemen have served yet further notice that the war against civilization has begun in earnest. Still, it strikes me as extraordinarily unwise for al-Qaeda to provoke the rest of the world with such attacks now and eliminate any remaining opposition to an aggressive pursuit of terrorists by other nations. Yes, there will always be the appeasement-at-all-costs crowd, but it would have seemed much smarter for al-Qaeda to continue to focus on American interests. Perhaps, just perhaps, the United States has been much more effective in preventing attacks at home and abroad than we even know, and the terrorists have become frustrated, impatient and willing to strike wherever possible. Or perhaps they simply don't care about strategy and are consumed with the desire for jihad. - TB 5:45 pm

HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT: A new Marist College poll shows 69% of Americans say Hillary should "never" run for President. But don't be fooled into believing that the poll results indicate Hillary couldn't run - either in 2004 or 2008 - and still have a decent chance of winning. Let's do the math: Hillary would be virtual lock to win the Northeast (CT, ME, MA, NY, RI, VT), most of the Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ), California, Hawaii, and most likely her home state of Illinois. That's 172 electoral votes. Other liberal leaning states that could easily break for Hillary are Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. That's 45 more. So we're back to a few key battleground states like Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania and, of course, Florida. Don't laugh, it could happen.

Sure, a lot depends on the economy, the War on Terror and the like. But the overall dynamics of the electorate, the ones that produced that vivid red/blue map of the United States in 2000, don't seem to have changed that drastically - despite the tragedy of September 11. In fact, the scenario outlined above is equally plausible for almost any potential Democrat nominee: Al Gore, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, Howard Dean. -TB 5:03 pm

STATE OF THE RACE: Zogby came out with a batch of new polls this weekend on the hotly contested Senate races. If the election were held today, Democrats would hold Minnesota and New Jersey, Republicans would win Missouri and South Dakota, but Colorado and Arkansas could go either way. Still, that's a worse case scenario of no change to a best case scenario of a two seat pickup and control of the Senate.

But Republicans are on the defensive in New Hampshire (where Shaheen has taken a slight lead over Sununu in the latest poll) and North Carolina (where Bowles has pulled to within 4 points of Dole). Democrats have their own concern in Georgia, where Max Cleland's lead over Saxby Chambliss has dwindled to mid-single digits.

Right now, it looks as if Republicans are in a slightly better position to make gains, but only by a seat or two - contrary to what Don Nickles said on Fox News yesterday. Bush will be campaigning nonstop over the next three weeks and even though his high approval ratings may not provide coattails in November, the amount of attention and money he will raise for Republican candidates will be significant.

THE OIL EXCUSE: The canard that the impending war with Iraq is "all about oil" is so tired and so false it's a wonder people are still using it, including Michelle Martin just yesterday on ABC's "This Week." Because of Bush and Cheney's background it's an irresistible story line for the cynical far-left crowd, but the reality of the situation is significantly different. -TB 9:08 am

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