Wednesday, November 24 2004
TERRORISM & SECURITY TRUMPED MORAL VALUES:
These poll numbers from Mason-Dixon's final round of polling in battleground states (Oct 26-29) contradict the widely held belief from the exit polling that "moral values" were the number one issues for voters - particularly Bush voters.

Question: Which ONE of the following issues will be MOST important in determining your vote for president this year: (ORDER ROTATED)

BUSH VOTERS
OH
MO
PA
MI
IA
WV
WI
AR
OR
NH
FL
Terrorism/Security
43
39
44
42
41
41
41
39
40
40
40
Moral/Family
22
26
23
24
24
24
23
27
24
20
22
Economy/Jobs
12
10
12
17
8
13
11
9
13
12
4
Health Care
9
9
10
6
9
8
8
10
6
9
7
Iraq
7
8
5
6
10
6
8
6
11
8
15
Others
7
8
6
5
8
8
9
9
6
11
12

Question: Which ONE of the following candidate qualities will be MOST IMPORTANT in determining your vote for president this year: (ORDER ROTATED)

BUSH VOTERS
OH
MO
PA
MI
IA
WV
WI
AR
OR
NH
FL
Strong Leader
45
44
41
44
47
50
44
40
46
47
N/A
Honest/Trustworthy
21
19
20
17
18
17
22
22
19
21
N/A
Religious Faith
16
17
18
15
16
14
13
17
16
11
N/A
Stand on Issues
13
15
19
18
14
14
16
14
15
17
N/A
Others
5
5
2
6
5
5
5
7
4
4
N/A

I have more confidence in these pre-election numbers from Brad Coker and Mason-Dixon than from any of the exit polls. While moral and family issues were obviously important to Bush voters, the number one issue was clearly terrorism/security and President Bush's leadership.

If there is one reason the Democrats lost this election, it is 9/11 and the War on Terror. Period. To acknowledge this reality, however, liberals would be forced to confront their left-wing opposition to the President's War on Terror and their attitudes toward the application of American military force. So instead they prattle on about moral values, gay marriage and James Dobson.

Democrats will continue to be at a profound disadvantage in national elections as long as so many in their party cling to the post-Vietnam baby-boomer mentality towards the American military, American power and continue to be conflicted over whether America is a force for good or evil in this world.

RICHARD COHEN: While we're on the subject of liberals being conflicted about America's role in the world, this paragraph from Richard Cohen's column yesterday is a perfect example of the type of attitude I'm talking about:

Iran is an Islamic (Shiite) theocracy, and it is engaged in a struggle with Israel that makes as much sense from Iran's point of view as did, say, the American effort to rid the world of the Nicaraguan Sandinistas. In its own way, every country is a bit nuts.

So the mullahs decreeing that Israel has to be destroyed is the same as Ronald Reagan's nutty idea that the U.S. had a moral and strategic obligation to fight communism in Central America?

This type of wrongheaded moral equivalency is standard fare in the modern Democratic Party. As long as it remains, its members are going to have a very tough time convincing a majority of Americans that they (and their Presidential candidates) are up to the task of dealing with the serious challenges presented in a post 9/11 world. J. McIntyre 9:00 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Tuesday, November 23 2004
POST-ELECTION COCOONING AT THE NEW YORK TIMES:
The election is over - but the liberal cocooning at the New York Times is not. Compare the following treatment of the latest CBS News/NY Times poll:

CBS News (No byline)
Title: "Poll: Bush's Next Four Years"
Lead Paragraphs of Story: "The majority of Americans feel optimistic about the next four years with George W. Bush as President, but they disagree on whether Bush’s second term in office will bring Americans together or further divide them.

Most are confident that President Bush will make the right decisions to protect the U.S. from terrorist attacks, and just over half think he will be able to end the war in Iraq successfully. "

New York Times (Adam Nagourney & Janet Elder)
Title: "Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda"
Lead Paragraphs of Story: "After enduring a brutally fought election campaign, Americans are optimistic about the next four years under President Bush, but have reservations about central elements of the second-term agenda he presented in defeating Senator John Kerry, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll.

At a time when the White House has portrayed Mr. Bush's 3.5-million-vote victory as a mandate, the poll found that Americans are at best ambivalent about Mr. Bush's plans to reshape Social Security, rewrite the tax code, cut taxes and appoint conservative judges to the bench. There is continuing disapproval of Mr. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, with a plurality now saying it was a mistake to invade in the first place."

Burying the lede seems to be a genetic predisposition among New York Times reporters. This time, Nagourney and Elder ladle on eight paragraphs of honey before slipping their readers the bitter pill:

And even after this tense and vituperative campaign, 56 percent said they were generally optimistic about the next four years under Mr. Bush. Mr. Bush's job approval rating has now inched up to 51 percent, the highest it has been since March.

I'm not suggesting this poll is full of fantastic news for President Bush. It has some good and some bad. But there's a difference between reporting the numbers straight - which is what CBS News did, to their credit - and constructing an article to present the numbers in the worst possible light. That's not objective reporting, it's an instinctive, reflexive bias against the President. And while it may serve as a nice piece of therapy for reporters in the New York Times newsroom, it doesn't serve the paper's reputation or its readers very well at all. - T. Bevan 7:30 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Monday, November 22 2004
"A GREAT MAN IN MANY WAYS":
I don't think I could have been less impressed with Michael Scheuer on Meet the Press yesterday:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you think Osama is still fully in control of al-Qaeda?

MR. SCHEUER: I think it's wishful thinking to think that he isn't, sir. The one example is the tremendous sophistication and spontaneity of his media machine. There has to be some command and control there. And to imagine that it doesn't--that he's unable to do it is just absolutely incorrect. He's really a remarkable man, a great man in many ways, without the connotation positive or negative. He's changed the course of history...

I'm willing to cut Mr. Scheuer a bit of slack here. In the heat of the moment on national television sometimes people can find inartful ways of expressing themselves. Though I personally would never have used the phrase "great man" to describe Osama bin Laden, I'll cede to Mr. Scheuer the point that there have been many men (and women) whose actions have changed the course of history - for better or for worse.

But then Scheuer went on to say this:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you see him as a very formidable enemy?

MR. SCHEUER: Tremendously formidable enemy, sir, an admirable man. If he was on our side, he would be dining at the White House. He would be a freedom fighter, a resistance fighter. It's--and again, that's not to praise him, but it is to say that until we take the measure of the man and the power of his words, we're very much going to be on the short end of the stick.

It's one thing to call Osama bin Laden a "formidable enemy," something entirely different to call him "an admirable man." The word admirable is defined as "having qualities to excite wonder united with approbation." Mr. Scheuer says he's not trying to praise bin Laden, yet he's doing exactly that.

And how can Scheuer suggest that the White House (or the American people, for that matter) would embrace a murderous thug who advocates the indiscriminate killing of innocent women and children, praises suicide bombings and beheadings, and hopes to annihilate his enemies with weapons of mass destruction? We made a similar mistake with Arafat in the 1990's. After September 11, one can only hope we won't ever make it again.

Scheuer went on to say that Osama bin Laden's "agenda is not to destroy America" and that we need to have "a debate in the United States on the set of policies bin Laden has identified, and we need to make sure that those policies, which have been on autopilot for 30 years, still suit American interests." This sounds awfully close to taking our foreign policy cues from terrorists.

Yet Scheuer admitted Osama is actively pursuing WMD to inflict massive casualties on America and that short of total capitulation to his demands (which include the complete withdrawal of US political, military and diplomatic influence in the Muslim world - something we cannot and would not do) Osama's agenda will not change and the jihad will continue.

In other words, we have no choice but to fight and to win. Should we always seek to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world while eradicating the terrorists? Yes. And should we respect our enemy's intelligence and zeal? Clearly. But we should never fall prey to the mind set that anything short of the utter annihilation of al-Qaeda is what is required. And we should never, ever, find anything to "admire" in Osama bin Laden. - T. Bevan 10:00 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

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