August 27 2004
KERRY WEAKENING AHEAD OF RNC: Four
new major polls came out yesterday all showing a small
lead for President Bush, except for the FOX
News poll which has Kerry ahead one point among likely
voters. (So much for the liberal gripes you hear about FOX's
poll favoring the GOP.)
poll dump yesterday seems to confirm the damage done to
the Kerry campaign from the swift boat/Vietnam blowup over
the last two weeks, as the following chart of our RCP
3-Way average indicates:
more troubling for the Kerry campaign, however, are the
state polls of registered
voters done by the decidedly not conservative Los Angeles
Times that show Kerry
trailing in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Missouri. It's not
good news for Democrats when the front page of the Los
Angeles Times runs a headline story, "Key
Midwest Swing States Are Leaning Toward Bush."
the bad news for Kerry from the LA Times polls, a
new IssuesPA/Pew poll of 861 likely voters in Pennsylvania
shows President Bush ahead 45%-44%.
concern for the Kerry campaign is these new polls showing
the President ahead both nationally and in critical battleground
states are occurring before next week's GOP convention
in New York.
Fred Barnes astutely pointed out on FNC's Special
Report with Brit Hume last night, Kerry's call for
issue debates is a de facto admission by their campaign
that they don't like the dynamic of the race as it currently
next three weeks will be crucial for the Kerry campaign.
To use a sports analogy: they're no longer playing preseason
games against Dean, Gephardt, Kucinich and Wesley Clark.
Kerry is in the Superbowl now, and the reigning champs are
staring to pound the ball up the field with a good deal
and the Democrats are in a much more precarious position
than the recently adopted Cook/Sabato/Broder conventional
wisdom suggests. Senator Kerry must keep this race close
over the course of the next few weeks, because if President
Bush is able to build onhis new found lead Kerry's chances
in November will be seriously diminished. J. McIntyre
9:47 pm Link
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August 25 2004
THE MEDIA & THE SWIFTEES: A question: imagine,
just for one minute, what would happen if a few dozen of
George W. Bush's former colleagues - from Harvard Business
school, Harken Energy, the Texas Rangers, or from the statehouse
in Austin - came together as a group to denounce his leadership
skills and say he was unfit to be President.
big media ignore the group's story? Would The New York
Times print a front page defense of Bush and try to
cast doubt on the group's credibility by showing a "web
of connections" to his opponent? If you answered yes
to either of those questions you are, with all due respect,
either hopelessly naive or living on Mars.
that's exactly what we've seen with the Swift Boat Veterans.
Peters pointed out yesterday, the most salient fact
of this entire episode is that the Swift Boat Veterans for
Truth group exists at all. SBVT is an unprecedented rebuke
of John Kerry's character, one that is over thirty years
in the making and one that would have happened regardless
of who was in the White House.
- and I know many of you may disagree with me on this -
I think the Swiftees made a mistake in questioning Kerry's
medals. Most people aren't going to sit down and read Unfit
for Command and thus aren't really going to absorb all
the details of why he may not deserve a couple of them.
(Public disclosure: I purposefully haven't read the book
yet because in addition to already having done a good bit
of personal research on Kerry's record, I wanted to experience
the book's treatment in the media as most of the public
the end, people generally tend to "trust the system"
- whatever system that may be - and give the benefit of
the doubt to the accused on the most basic of facts. One
of the reasons the National Guard story never really hurt
George Bush in a major way is because there was no getting
around the simple fact he received an honorable discharge.
To disregard this fact you'd have to start engaging in speculation
and conspiracy theories, and people naturally tend to shy
away from that sort of thing.
the case of John Kerry, the basic facts are equally simple:
he went to Vietnam and he won some medals while he was there.
Irrespective of the circumstances surrounding each medal,
unless the Swiftees can prove that Kerry won them in a way
distinctly different from how everyone else won their medals
(i.e. forged a report, etc), then Kerry is going to be more
or less protected by the system and the public will probably
give him a pass.
problem is that by making so many detailed accusations,
the Swiftees have allowed supporters of John Kerry and the
press to conflate the truly important issues (like the "Christmas
in Cambodia" lie and Kerry's antiwar statements) with
the not so important ones.
example, take the
much-ballyhooed William Rood piece from the Chicago
Tribune earlier this week. The Trib, which to my knowledge
had not spent any time on the SBVT story prior to this,
went with a double-front page defense of John Kerry. But
both Rood's first person account and the news story that
accompanied it focused exclusively on the February 28,1969
incident in which John Kerry won the Silver Star.
more specifically, Rood rebutted the SBVT charge that the
person John Kerry killed that day was an unarmed teenager
rather than a full grown VC soldier with a rocket launcher.
This is so far down in the weeds as to be almost irrelevant
- not to mention unprovable either way.
I said, shifting the focus to such micro-details obscures
the larger questions about John Kerry's character and motivation
that should be occupying the public mind. What the Swift
Boat Veterans do in a very compelling way is provide further
evidence of the bigger picture that John Kerry has been,
since his very earliest years, a shameless opportunist and
a person of insatiable ambition.
record is clear that Kerry had serious doubts about Vietnam
before going, yet went anyway. Kerry and his supporters
hold this up as a noble example of service to country. And
indeed it would be - if that were the end of the story.
But it's not.
conspicuously bought a video camera in Vietnam to record
and reenact his exploits. He seemed excessively,
even obsessively - interested in being awarded his first
medal, a Purple Heart, for action on December 2, 1968.
After winning three Purple Hearts he chose to leave at the
first opportunity and then he immediately turned around
and used his status as a decorated veteran to rise to fame
by throwing these same medals (or someone else's medals
and/or ribbons) away and by slandering his fellow soldiers.
now, as with every run for public office John Kerry has
ever made, he's draped those same medals around his neck,
wrapped himself in the flag, and showered himself in the
glory and sacrifice of service in a war that he and those
in his party have hated and opposed for decades with every
fiber of their being.
at the Belmont Club pointed out the other day, Kerry
is a fitting symbol, if not the perfect one, for today's
any proof were needed that the Sixties were dead, the
subterfuge of the Democratic Party would be Exhibit A.
Instead of running under their own colors, or barring
that, changing them, they have decided to sail beneath
a false flag, as if under a cloud of shame. That in itself
is tacit admission that they can no longer walk in their
own guise; and what is worse that they cannot look themselves
in the face, nor go into battle daring to win nor willing
to lose in their own name, as is the mark of men.
Bevan 10:15 am Link
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August 23 2004
HERBERT'S DISHONEST JIHAD CONTINUES: On Friday,
this morning, Bob Herbert accused Republicans of conspiring
to suppress the black vote in Florida this November. Later
this week I'll take a closer look at Herbert's claim that
Governor Jeb Bush and his Secretary of State, Glenda Hood,
tried to specifically and secretly target African-American
voters by concealing a "felon purge list."
now, however, let's focus on Herbert's
claim on Friday (repeated again today) that the vote
fraud investigation in Orlando continues despite a letter
from the FDLE on May 13, 2004 shutting it down for lack
was no basis to support the allegations of election fraud
concerning these absentee ballots. Since there is no evidence
of criminal misconduct involving Mayor Dyer, the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement considers this matter closed."
holds this letter up as a smoking gun and proof positive
that the vote fraud investigation in Orlando is politically
motivated and continues only because of Jeb Bush's desire
to intimidate African-American voters. But again, Herbert
May 13 letter from FDLE only addressed the initial criminal
complaint generated against Dyer. I've also been told the
letter was written specifically at the request of the Mayor's
office to help distance himself from the controversy. Here
is how the Orlando Sentinel reported the release of the
letter on May 14:
spokesman Tom Berlinger said the review of the complaint,
done in conjunction with the Florida Elections Division,
pertained only to Dyer and doesn't necessarily clear other
people associated with the mayor's campaign.
Mulvaney, Ken Mulvaney's brother, said he filed the original
complaint alleging election fraud at the Orlando Police
Department, which forwarded it to FDLE. He said Thursday
he did not think FDLE conducted a thorough enough investigation
to close the case.
impossible they've concluded any investigation because
they haven't sent one person out into the field to interview
anybody," said Brian Mulvaney, who said he has received
no correspondence from FDLE since he filed the complaint.
says he and others have collected affidavits from voters
who cast absentee ballots witnessed by Dyer campaign worker
Ezzie Thomas. Those ballots, Mulvaney's campaign says,
were improperly collected and filled out. (empahsis added)
May 17, three days after Dyer leaked the FDLE letter clearing
him of any criminal wrongdoing to the Orlando Sentinel,
Ken Mulvaney's brother and his former campaign manager showed
up at the FDLE office in Orlando with the 42 sworn affidavits
they had collected alleging that Ezzie Thomas mishandled
on that evidence, Orange County State Attorney Lawson Lamar,
who Herbert fails to mention is both a Democrat
and a longtime ally of Buddy Dyer, asked
the FDLE to reopen the investigation.
Friday I spoke with Jeff Billman, the reporter from the
Orlando Weekly who wrote this
detailed account of the matter. Jeff, who described
himself and his paper to me as "pretty liberal"
- has spoken to most all the principals in the case, including
Ezzie Thomas. He said Herbert's claims are absolutely ridiculous
and he's currrently writing a rebuttal to them now. We'll
post it as soon as it's available.
last thing: Billman said that Joe Egan, one of the lawyers
representing Ezzie Thomas (and the firefighters union) has
been shopping this "voter suppression" story around
for a while now. But because the claim is so outlandish
(not to mention irresponsible), nobody had been willing
to take the bait until Bob Herbert came along.
couldn't have found a better possible surrogate for the
story. Herbert hates George W. Bush so much and is so intent
on portraying Republicans as racist that he has no problem
willfully misleading his readers as to the facts of this
couldn't have found a more influential surrogate for the
story, either. The day after Herbert slung the accusation
of voter suppression last Monday, six Congressional Democrats
(four of whom are black and five of whom are from Florida)
the misleading claims in his column to indignantly call
for a federal investigation and to further inflame the
racial fears and distrust among African-Americans everywhere.
is what Rep.
Alcee Hastings had to say:
from Rep. Corrine Brown:
is just another example in the long list of efforts to
stop black folk from voting. They can't stop us, so now
they're trying to scare us. Well, it's not going to work.''
don't know who this is, and I don't know who these people
are, but I want it to stop. I just don't want voters to
feel intimidated. This goes back to the old Jim Crow days,
and I would not think this would be going on as we speak
an extraordinary statement coming from a Congresswoman whose
district includes the west side of Orlando. This investigation
has been going on for months and she doesn't have a clue?
She needs Bob Herbert to tell her there is voter intimidation
and suppression going on in her district? Corrine Brown
is either completely incompetent or she's being willfully
deceitful to rouse the partisan passions of African-American
voters. I'll let you decide what you think is more likely.
are definitely witnessing a case of fraud, manipulation,
and intimidation - but it has nothing to do with what's
going on in Orlando. - T. Bevan 10:15 am Link
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