March 19 2004
KERRY IS "BIG TIME": This guy is some piece of work.
Off camera, he calls people names. On camera, he berates them
in public. Now we see how he treats
the people charged with the unenviable task of taking a bullet
to save his life.
to what it tells us about Kerry's character, it's an even more
revealing indication of what a terrible politician he is. Most
elected officials, even those with significantly less experience
than Kerry, know better than to make these kinds of mistakes and,
more importantly, learn very quickly not to repeat them. Kerry
seems either unable or unwilling to figure it out. That's not
the sort of thing most people find appealing in a President.
THE CASE: Josh
Marshall and Kevin
Drum both trumpet this
quote by Ivo Daalder as proof positive George Bush is an anathema
to Europe and its leaders:
is the third election of a major ally in which the party running
against George Bush won. Look at Germany in '02, South Korea
in '03, and now Spain. The message is: If you want to get re-elected,
don't go to Crawford. Bush is a political liability -- in Europe,
in particular. His foreign policy has trampled on the European
views and it's now resulting in the election of governments
that do not support his approach."
good degree of truth to this statement, of course. But Daalder
also avers in the TAP interview that "the Spanish election
was a referendum not only on Aznar but on Bush as well. They both
lost." I don't think he could be more wrong.
that right up until the very second those bombs detonated in Madrid
last week, the Socialists had very little chance of winning this
election. With less than 100 hours until the election, Aznar's
hand-picked successor, Mariano Rajoy, was well ahead in the polls
and virtually assured of winning. So explain to me again how this
was a "referendum" on George W. Bush?
Nor could a Rajoy victory have been seriously trumpeted as a referendum
vindicating Bush and Aznar. And Lord knows Marshall, Drum, et.
al would have ridiculed anyone trying to suggest as much.
the terrorist attack changed the outcome of the election. But
that's really the point, isn't it? It was terror, not hatred of
George Bush, that was responsible for the vote in Spain. No bombs,
no Socialists, no convenient but erroneous arguments about "referendums."
MARRIAGE: The Mayor of Seattle, Greg Nickels, wrote an
op-ed in today's Seattle Times explaining his decision to
issue an executive order to recognizing gay marriages among city
was not very long ago that interracial marriages were outlawed
in many parts of our nation. That was wrong. And it's wrong
to outlaw same-sex marriages. Just as you cannot change
the color of your skin, you cannot change your sexual orientation.
written before, the highlighted sentence is really the nut
of the issue. Public attitudes are changing about whether sexual
orientation is genetic or not, but there is still no scientific
proof to support Mayor Nickels' assertion. He's not only wrong
to claim this as fact but to use it as the basis for his decision
to issue an executive order. That's why we have things called
legislatures and courts in this country. - T. Bevan 8:20
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March 18 2004
STRIKES AGAIN: And you wonder why the Senator
from Arizona isn't well liked by some of his fellow Republicans....
From the AP:
I do not believe that he [John Kerry] is, quote, weak on defense.
He's responsible for his voting record, as we are all responsible
for our records, and he'll have to explain it. But, no, I do
not believe that he is necessarily weak on defense. I don't
agree with him on some issues, clearly. But I decry this negativism
that's going on on both sides. The American people don't need
asked on "The Early Show" if Kerry's election would
compromise national security, McCain responded: "I don't
think that - I think that John Kerry is a good and decent man.
I think he has served his country."
Bush's rival for the Republican nomination in 2000, said he
believes Bush has led the nation with clarity since the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that he supports Bush's re-election.
"But I would certainly hope that we could raise the level
of this debate. Otherwise, we're going to have very low voter
turnouts in November," he told CBS.
watch any television this morning so forgive me if I'm not getting
this right. Did John McCain really go on two different national
television shows this morning to defend John Kerry's record on
And did he
further suggest that taking a critical look at Kerry's 19- year
voting record on defense issues is somehow impugning Kerry's patriotism
by suggesting that he is NOT a "good and decent man"
who has "served his country"? Can he name a single person
who has ever said such a thing?
And by decrying
"this negativism that's going on on both sides"
did McCain really equate the Bush administration's characterization
of Kerry's record as "soft on defense" on par with some
of the bile that has been coming out of the Kerry camp, including
Kerry's own remark calling Republicans "the most crooked
... lying group I've ever seen?" I guess McCain wasn't too
upset with Kerry's crack about Republicans since it doesn't really
apply to him : ) - T. Bevan 1:00 pm | Link
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VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: Lynn
Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times:
took Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee, only two hours and 24 minutes after the
polls closed in Illinois to e-mail a note to donors looking
for cash, predicting Ryan, who poured about $3 million of his
own money into his GOP primary, will "spend millions more''
of his fortune to prevail in November.
know - he bought his NJ Senate seat in 2000 for the bargain-basement
price of $62.8
million. - T. Bevan 10:16 am | Link
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TERRORISM AND ELECTIONS: The
terrorist attack last week and the subsequent victory by the Socialists
in Spain has led to all sort of speculation as to whether we might
expect similar attacks in the future and the possible consequences
on elections in the democratic world.
may seem unseemly to speculate on the political fallout from such
awful attacks, they are an unfortunate part of the reality of
the world we live in today. And as we have seen this past week
in Spain, these events can have profound consequences on democratic
attacks even occurred last week I'd been pondering how two very
different events - the capture of Osama bin Laden vs. a major
al Qaeda strike - might affect our election this fall.
I don't think
there is any question the capture of bin Laden would provide a
tremendous short-term benefit to President Bush. But over the
longer run the capture of OBL could also lead to a sense of complacency
in the American public that the War on Terror had been won - a
sentiment that I think would work to the advantage of Senator
Kerry and the Democrats.
On the other
hand if we were to be hit with a serious strike from al Qaeda
between now and November, the President's approval would skyrocket
and the American people would refocus their anger and attention
on the War on Terror. Most Americans would have little or no patience
for Senator Kerry's suggestion that this war is "primarily
an intelligence and law enforcement operation."
So, as far
as the U.S. is concerned, if al Qaeda wanted to see George W.
Bush defeated I don't know that a pre-election strike would be
the best way to accomplish that objective. I'm pretty confident
the American people would not respond like the Spanish this weekend.
A small majority might suggest that our actions brought on the
attack, of course, but the vast majority would most likely conclude
that the problem is that we haven't been aggressive enough and
haven't killed enough of these murderers.
Which leads us to the Vice
President's address at the Reagan Library yesterday. The federal
government's primary and most important job is to provide for
the nation's defense and security. Senator Kerry and the Democrats
might prefer to talk about jobs, outsourcing, healthcare, big
oil, big drug companies, etc..., but when it comes to voting time
the American people are going to want to know who is going to
protect the country from this murderous enemy.
for the Democrats, at the moment the choice is stark. Cheney did
a brilliant job of methodically exposing just how much trouble
Senator Kerry will have this fall when it comes to debating the
War on Terror.
a few excerpts, but the entire speech
is worth reading, and should chill any excitement Democrats may
currently feel in regards to Kerry's chances of unseating the
attacks of September 11th, 2001, signaled the arrival of an
entirely different era. We suffered massive civilian casualties
on our own soil. We awakened to dangers even more lethal - the
possibility that terrorists could gain chemical, biological,
or even nuclear weapons from outlaw regimes, and turn those
weapons against the United States and our friends. We came to
understand that for all the destruction and grief we saw that
day, September 11th gave only the merest glimpse of the threat
that international terrorism poses to this and other nations.
If terrorists ever do acquire weapons of mass destruction -
on their own or with help from a terror regime - they will use
those weapons without the slightest constraint of reason or
morality. Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose
tens or even hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day
great and urgent responsibility has required a shift in national
security policy. For many years prior to 9/11, we treated
terror attacks against Americans as isolated incidents, and
answered - if at all - on an ad hoc basis, and never in a systematic
way. Even after an attack inside our own country - the 1993
bombing at the World Trade Center, in New York - there was a
tendency to treat terrorist incidents as individual criminal
acts, to be handled primarily through law enforcement. The man
who perpetrated that attack in New York was tracked down, arrested,
convicted, and sent off to serve a 240-year sentence.
this kind of determined, organized, ruthless enemy, America
requires a new strategy - not merely to prosecute a series
of crimes, but to fight and win a global campaign against the
terror network. Our strategy has several key elements. We have
strengthened our defenses here at home, organizing the government
to protect the homeland. But a good defense is not enough. The
terrorist enemy holds no territory, defends no population, is
unconstrained by rules of warfare, and respects no law of morality.
Such an enemy cannot be deterred, contained, appeased, or negotiated
with. It can only be destroyed - and that, ladies and
gentlemen, is the business at hand. (emphasis added)
it for Senator Kerry to explain, or explain away his votes and
his statements about the war on terror, our cause in Iraq, the
allies who serve with us, and the needs of our military. Whatever
the explanation, whatever nuances he might fault us for neglecting,
it is not an impressive record for someone who aspires to become
Commander-in-Chief in this time of testing for our country.
In his years in Washington, Senator Kerry has been one vote
of a hundred in the United States Senate - and fortunately on
matters of national security, he was very often in the minority.
But the presidency is an entirely different proposition. The
President always casts the deciding vote. And the Senator from
Massachusetts has given us ample doubts about his judgment and
the attitude he brings to bear on vital issues of national security.
American people will have a clear choice in the election of
2004, at least as clear as any since the election of 1984. In
more than three years as President, George W. Bush has built
a national security record of his own. America has come to know
the President after one of the worst days in our history. He
saw America through tragedy. He has kept the nation's enemies
in desperate flight, and under his leadership, our country has
once again led the armies of liberation, freeing 50 million
souls from tyranny, and making our nation and the world more
Americans, regardless of political party, can be proud of what
our nation has achieved in this historic time, when so many
depended on us, and all the world was watching. And I have been
very proud to work with a President who - like other Presidents
we have known - has shown, in his own conduct, the optimism,
and strength, and decency of the great nation he serves. (Emphasis
This is why
some Democrats, like the former mayor of New York, Ed Koch, have
said publicly they will vote for President Bush. Our enemies are
at war with us, and whether we like it or not we are in a war.
In many ways
this election will boil down to that very question: Are we or
are we not at war? If the American people truly believe we are
in a war, President Bush will be extremely difficult to beat.
However, if the horror of 9/11 recedes from the public's mind
and people think the War on Terror either 1) has been won or 2)
isn't a top priorityl, then Senator Kerry will have a real shot
to conventional political wisdom, the Democrats should hope we
catch Bin Laden as soon possible, that everything in Iraq goes
great and that we don't suffer another terror strike between now
and November. Then, like Churchill in 1945, the American people
might say "thank you President Bush, but we no longer need
AGAIN: To be fair to the Spanish people I don't know that
you can blame them 100% for being appeasers and cowards. The Aznar
government and his Popular Party appeared to have been less than
truthful in who was responsible for the bombings in the immediate
days afterward. While I understand the reason they might have
wanted to downplay the possibility of al Queda involvement, the
first rule when a tragedy of this magnitude hits is honesty, and
the truth has to take priority over short-term political calculations.
If the Spanish government deliberately mislead their people
they deserved to lose, no matter how pathetic the Socialists may
be. While this may partially excuse the Spanish result, unfortunately
most of the people in Spain appear to blame Bush and Aznar for
the attacks last week and not the murderers. They will learn the
hard way, over time, where the evil truly lies. - J. McIntyre
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March 17 2004 - Happy St. Patrick's Day
NAIL ON HEAD: When an ad
like this generates a response
like this, you know it has done its job.
IL SENATE: Our friend Kevin
McCullough has a detailed analysis of yesterday's action and
what it may mean for the GOP come November. - T. Bevan
IT'S OBAMA V. RYAN: When
I said last Tuesday that Barack Obama was the real deal, I
meant it. But I'm still surprised by the way he
crushed the Dem field today. People outside of Illinois don't
realize that Obama started this race as a modestly experienced
State Senator (albeit a
very impressive one) with little money and even less name
recognition battling for the nomination against a guy worth $500
million who ultimately spent close to $40 million in the race
(Blair Hull) and another guy who not only had been twice elected
statewide - the last time in 2002 with over 2 million votes -
but who also had the backing of large portions of the vaunted
Democratic machine (Dan Hynes). None of it mattered. Obama vaporized
Let me try
to give you an idea of the magnitude of Obama's win: I just saw
his campaign manager, David Axelrod, on television and he said
that Obama captured something like 60% of the white vote and more
than 80% of the black vote in Cook County and the collar counties.
This is absolutely unheard of. Axelrod said it shattered even
the most optimistic turnout models they had looked at. When we
get a chance to dig through the full returns tomorrow I think
we're going to find some very impressive numbers from all over
the state - including among independents and crossover Republicans.
of Republicans, it looks like in the last few minutes since I
started writing The
Tribune has put a red check next to Jack Ryan's name. Ryan
took a wave of vicious hits during the final week and it's showing
in the vote tally, but he's held on to win.
Blair Hull's implosion over the release of his previously sealed
divorce documents showing that he had struck his wife in 1998
wife hurt Ryan down the stretch as well because Ryan also has
sealed records from his 1999 divorce with actress
Jeri Ryan that he's refused to release.
swirling that there is something embarrassing in those files and
that the Dems have already got their hands on them. Frankly, this
smells to me like a little underhanded game of guilt by association,
but we'll have to wait and see what, if anything shows up when
Ryan's divorce records are leaked - and you know they will be
leaked if this race is even remotely close.
So it's game
on in Illinois. It's a shame this race won't get the sort of national
attention it deserves - mostly because Illinois isn't really in
play at the Presidential level - because I think you'll see a
debate of the issues at an incredibly high intellectual level.
These guys are both rising stars of their respective parties with
very similar pedigrees.
44, a summa cum laude graduate of Dartmouth, earned a JD from
Harvard, became a millionaire at Goldman Sachs and then left to
teach at an all-black school on the South Side of Chicago.
43, went to Columbia, earned a JD at Harvard graduating magna
cum laude and becoming the first African-American president of
the Harvard Law Review. In addition to being a State Senator he's
also a senior lecturer specializing in constitutional law at the
University of Chicago Law School.
resumes ain't small potatoes. But that's about where the similarities
end. Obama is a hardcore "progressive" and Ryan is what
I would characterize as a staunch fiscal conservative but a bit
more to the moderate side on social issues. They are both very
articulate and they'll be great advocates for their respective
positions and ideologies.
you have my late night Illinois primary wrap up. May the best
man win. - T. Bevan 12:01 am | Link
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March 16 2004
WEAK ON REALITY: Perhaps
planet" discovered earlier this week should have its
name changed from Sedna to "Krugman," because the New
York Times columnist is definitely not living here on Earth. Today's
column is so detached from reality it reads more like an exploration
of some alternate universe than a serious opinion essay.
me wrong, I think Bush and his folks have made a number of mistakes
in the War on Terror, all of which are fair game and a few of
which Krugman touches on.
But, as usual,
the legitimate particulars of Krugman's argument are far outweighed
by a number of ridiculous assertions that are at worst outright
falsehoods and at best an absolute affront to common sense.
on a couple of these statements. One of Krugman's main points
is that Bush diverted valuable resources away from pursuing bin
Laden in Afghanistan to depose Saddam. Fine.
I look at this
list and don't think the War on Terror has been an either/or
proposition over the last two and a half years, but it is certainly
a rational argument to make.
truth is that Mr. Bush, while eager to invoke 9/11 on behalf
of an unrelated war, has shown consistent reluctance
to focus on the terrorists who actually attacked America,
or their backers in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
reluctance to focus on the terrorists?" If you want to know
just how ridiculous this statement is, imagine it in a public
opinion survey and then try to guess the results. You'd be hard
pressed to find 5% of Americans who would agree with it, and they
would be the same five percent who carry the "BUSH = HITLER"
signs around at anti-war rallies. Nice company for a Princeton
professor and columnist for the "Paper of Record."
moves into Cynthia McKinney territory:
reluctance dates back to Mr. Bush's first months in office.
Why, after all, has his inner circle tried so hard to prevent
a serious investigation of what happened on 9/11? There has
been much speculation about whether officials ignored specific
intelligence warnings, but what we know for sure is that the
administration disregarded urgent pleas by departing Clinton
officials to focus on the threat from Al Qaeda.
the tinfoil-hat innuendo suggesting advance knowledge of 9/11
and get to the "what we know for sure" part. Krugman
is obviously referring to this
Time Magazine article from August 2002 reporting a briefing
by Sandy Berger and Richard Clarke with Condi Rice in early 2001
to present a plan to "roll back" al-Qaeda.
portray the Clinton folks as "urgently" focused on the
threat from al-Qaeda is an attempt at historical revisionism so
audacious it would make Stalin blush.
nearly a decade go by while al-Qaeda attacked the World Trade
Center, the Khobar Towers, U.S. embassies in Africa, and the USS
Cole. During that time our government's response to those attacks
consisted of a couple criminal convictions and cruise missile
his team had eight years to come up with a plan. We got nothing
- except a Richard Clarke Powerpoint presentation during their
final month in office.
had eight months. The final plan, which Time described as "designed
not to 'roll back' al-Qaeda but to 'eliminate' it", was sitting
in Condi Rice's inbox on September 10. You decide who was "more
reluctant" to fight terrorism and whether Krugman is even
remotely near the truth.
the problem with Krugman. He's not content with making reasonable
arguments about how John Kerry (or any Democrat for that matter)
could do a more effective job in pursuing the War on Terror. Instead
he tries to turn black into white and argue that George Bush is
soft on terror. It just doesn't wash.
VS. THE TIMES: Here we go again. Compare and contrast
the headlines from the latest CBS/New York Times poll which has
Bush leading Kerry by 3 points head-to-head (46% to 43%) and Bush
leading Kerry by 8 points in a three way race with Ralph Nader
(46%, 38%, 7%):
News: "Bush Moves Ahead Of Kerry"
"Nation's Direction Prompts Voters' Concern, Poll Finds"
in its first paragraph that:
months from Election Day, it is already a nip-and-tuck Presidential
race. George W. Bush currently leads John Kerry by three points
among voters, while two weeks ago Kerry was up by one. Seven
in ten of each candidate’s voters say they have already
locked in their choices, and most voters already have clear
opinions of the two presidential candidates’ qualities
and their potential strengths and weaknesses in office.
Who do they
think they are, Fox News? Give CBS credit for not burying the
As you might
expect, The Times is a different story. Before Adam Nagourney
and Janet Elder deliver the bad news to their readers, they load
up seven full paragraphs of copy - four of which contain either
favorable descriptions of Kerry or negative descriptions of Bush
including this big, fat quote from a disgruntled Republican:
priorities need to be reshuffled," Darrell Griffin, 64,
a Republican retired engineer from Hemphill, Tex., said in a
follow-up interview. "The protection of the homeland and
our allies from terrorism is important, but our economy in our
own country and Social Security and things like that here at
home are pretty important, too. "
is smiling right now, wherever he is... - T. Bevan 9:56
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March 15 2004
THE PAIN IN SPAIN: I'm deeply disappointed, but not too
surprised, by the
election results. This morning the AP is reporting that Spain's
incoming prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, says he
Spanish troops out of the Iraq coalition in July.
All the speculation
over whether the election was a result of the government's hasty
reaction in blaming ETA for the attacks or whether it was a referendum
on Aznar's support of the war in Iraq hardly matters now.
has been sent out loud and clear and there is simply no taking
it back or changing the way the enemies of civilization will interpret
the Spanish electorate honored the 200 souls who perished at the
hands of terrorists last week by promoting a government that will,
with a fairly high degree of certainty, adopt a less aggressive
policy toward capturing and killing the types of people responsible
for the massacre in Madrid.
I put this
quote on the front page yesterday, but it's worth reprinting here
for those who might have missed it. John
Lloyd, a severe critic of the Bush administration, wrote in Scotland
a world-wide alliance anathematises an America which has deposed
the world’s leading fascist murderer, has helped bring
a lesser fascist murderer to trial in the Hague, is struggling
to guard and guarantee democratic development in Afghanistan
and is seeking to stabilise a desperate Haiti. If fanatics are
beyond the pale and young idealists must live for a while in
their delusions, at least the rest of us should recognise the
change. A curmudgeonly, limited and hard-to-like administration
is pursuing causes which liberals have wished to be pursued
of these causes is the defeat of terrorism. Whatever we discover
on the identity of the Madrid massacre, the largest bulwark
we have against terrorism’s success is the United States.
The ‘international community’, usually equated with
the UN, is in the end a collection of nation states which will,
when push comes to shove, protect themselves.
can only say that its ‘cabinet’, the UN Security
Council, intervened to stop carnage since the war on a number
of occasions which can be counted on the fingers of two hands.
Policing the globe is a burden which we, the Europeans, have
so far politely declined. The US is, as Philip Bobbitt has written,
"the one state with the power and willingness to intervene
on behalf of world order".
reminds us that we need that willingness, whatever pure evil
hand left these bombs among the early morning workers of Spain.
elections in Spain yesterday, America's resolve to lead a relentless
fight against terrorists and those who abet them around the world
is more important than ever.
Blair has substantial round up of comments from the blogosphere.
BUSINESS: In a weird stroke of coincidence, yesterday
the U.S. Secretary of State and a 52 year-old man in Bethlehem,
the same question to John Kerry: tell us which leaders are
behind your recent boast about support
from foreign leaders. Kerry's response to both men: "That's
none of your business."
New Bush v. Kerry polls
in Florida and Illinois.
CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR: The Chicago Tribune runs a front
page story on Staff Sgt Camilo Mejia from the Florida National
Guard's 1st Battalion of the 124th Infantry Regiment. Mejia went
AWOL five months ago upon returning home from Iraq and he plans
to surrender to authorities today in Boston and seek "conscientious
to the Tribune:
accuses commanders of using GIs as "bait" to lure
out Iraqi fighters so that U.S. soldiers could win combat decorations.
He also says operations were conducted in ways that sometimes
risked injuring civilians. He has accused his battalion and
company commanders of incompetence and has reiterated other
guardsmen's complaints about being poorly equipped.
whole story. As someone who fought in a war he didn't believe
in and who is now adamantly opposed to our policy in Iraq, I'd
be interested in knowing what John Kerry thinks of the Mejia case.
And no, I'm not being facetious. - T. Bevan 8:39 am |
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