September 12, 2004
MIDDLE EAST REALITY?: David Broder attacks
the Bush administration's policies in the Middle East and
suggests John Kerry isn't much better in his Washington
Post column today. He points to Michael Kraig of
the Muscatine, Iowa-based Stanley
Foundation as a person to look to for a better perspective.
But I have to question the wisdom of this man's perspective
when later on in the article he says:
this context," Kraig wrote, "a serious question was raised:
Why is so much international and global pressure exerted
on Iran . . . while Israel, with its own alleged WMD arsenal,
because Israel is a democracy. Maybe because Israel doesn't
support and fund terrorism. Maybe because Israel didn't
kidnap 54 Americans and hold them for 444 days. Maybe because
Israel isn't run by theocratic fascists who just might be
willing to nuke a city or two while chanting "Allah
know how much "perspective" on Middle East policy
I would want to get from a guy or group that doesn't understand
why the world is concerned about the mullahs in Iran acquiring
nuclear weapons and not Israel who has had nukes for over
30 years. J.
McIntyre 1:41 pm Link
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September 10, 2004
EYE ON THE GENERIC VOTE: One of the numbers
that's been totally lost in all the focus on the horserace
is the generic congressional vote. Indeed, the most interesting
number from the Democracy
Corps poll released today wasn't the 3-point Bush lead
but the Democrats single-point lead in the generic congressional
vote(46-45). That's a nine-point swing against the Democrats
since the last Dem Corps poll in early August.
that to the recent numbers from the Battleground Poll (Dems
+3), Rasmussen (Dems +4) and CNN/USAT/Gallup (GOP +2) and
you see a significant tightening of the generic vote across
the board. Of course, some of this can be attributed to
the wake of the GOP convention, but probably not all of
it. Regardless, having the congressional vote this tight
after Labor Day could be a real harbinger of bad news for
the Blue Team.
remember that in the final round of polls before the 2002
midterms there was a small but real shift toward the GOP
in the generic vote which manifested itself in a big way
on election day. Keep your eye on the generic vote this
year as we get down to the wire.
THE TRIBUNE ROOTS AGAINST BUSH: The Chicago
Tribune is a very large, very well respected paper. Once
upon a time it was actually considered a conservative-leaning
paper and had a reputation for fairness, though I don't
think either of those characterizations really apply any
60 Minutes/Dan Rather Memogate story is a case in point.
On Thursday, September 9 the Trib ran an
1,100 word front-page story on the new documents obtained
by 60 Minutes and broadcast on Wednesday night.
start to finish the piece by Mark Silva and Jeff Zeleny
is laden with lopsided quotes from Democrat partisans, excerpts
from the memos in question, and the sort of loaded language
you'd expect to find on the editorial page, not A-1.
graf really says it all:
increased examination of Bush's service record in the
National Guard came as the death toll of American troops
in Iraq has surpassed 1,000. Democrats are urging Americans
to keep their skepticism about the war alive as they try
to erase the advantages polls indicate the president gained
last week during the GOP convention."
the whole thing and it's difficult to conclude that the
Trib isn't standing right along side Democrats "urging
Americans to keep their skepticism alive."
proof comes in today's print edition of the Trib where readers
not only have to make their way to page A-10, they have
to read deep into Mark Silva and Jil Zuckman's article titled
Kerry Dodge Vietnam Debate" to find the following
160 word treatment of the controversy currently raging around
the authenticity of the documents that were so highly profiled
on the front page of the Tribune just the day before:
White House this week released records showing that Bush
failed to appear for a physical exam, as ordered, to maintain
his fighter pilot's rating in Texas in 1972. Instead,
records show Bush was seeking transfer to Alabama, to
work on a political campaign--a transfer Bush won before
receiving an honorable discharge in August 1973.
Thursday the son of an officer who signed memos about
Bush's National Guard Service, first obtained by CBS News,
questioned the authenticity of one of them, The Associated
Press reported. Gary Killian said he doubted his father,
Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, who died in 1984, would have written
that he felt pressured to "sugar coat" Bush's
performance review. "It just wouldn't happen,"
Gary Killian told AP.
the memos looked as though they had been produced on a
computer using Microsoft Word software, said Sandra Ramsey
Lines, whom AP described as an independent document examiner.
said Thursday it stood by its reporting."
is simply no way you can look at the language, the placement,
and the overall comparative treatment of these two articles
and conclude the Tribune is giving its readers a balanced,
objective assessment of the what's going on with the story
of the Bush National Guard documents.
you agree that the Trib is misleading its readers then Don
Wycliff, the Tribune's public editor, is your man: firstname.lastname@example.org
"CLEANS UP": In an interview
with the Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday Vice President
Cheney cleaned up his widely reported comments from earlier
in the week about the importance of the coming election
and the war on terror. Frankly, I'm glad he did.
original comments were a less than artful way of stating
the obvious argument that George W. Bush's has a more aggressive
stance in the war on terror than John Kerry and that Bush
will do a better, more effective job of keeping the country
safe against future attacks.
the way Cheney's comments were phrased (and reported by
the media) left open the suggestion that a Kerry victory
in November might lead to a future attack, which I think
is something that probably struck the wrong note with a
lot of voters. I know it did with me.
"clean up" does a much better job of presenting
perfect defense isn't good enough. You can be right 99
percent of the time on defense, and that 1 percent that
gets through will kill you. So we made the decision to
go on offense, and I think it was absolutely the right
T. Bevan 3:35 pm Link
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NEWS EXPOSED?: The problem is CBS News wanted the
Bush National Guard memos to be true. In fact, the memos
confirmed all of their suspicions and doubts about George
W. Bush so they more or less assumed they were authentic.
They got some "expert" to say they were legit
and then they plowed ahead with their hit
piece on President Bush.
years ago, ten years ago, even five years ago they might
have gotten away with it. However, in the new information
age that we live in today, driven by the blogosphere, the
fraud appears to have unraveled in less than 24 hours.
friends over at Powerline
got the ball rolling at 7:51 yesterday morning. The flood
gates were fully opened when the 800lb gorilla on the internet,
linked to Scott
Johnson's post on Powerline. From there the likely hoax
spread like wildfire throughout the blogosphere.
Green Footballs and indcjournal
followed up with a series of posts outlining more evidence
against the CBS' documents. Before noon Jim Geraghty over
Kerry Spot asked:
want to reserve my final judgment on this one — but the
early evidence doesn't look good for CBS, or the Boston
Globe.....CBS News and the Globe ought to check this out
big-time, and fast. If they ran with a story based on
a forgery (and a forgery that the blogosphere managed
to check out in just a few hours) this report will join
Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair, and Janet Cooke in journalism's
hall of infamy.
friend Hugh Hewitt was able to track down forensic document
expert Farrell Shiver and interviewed him at length on his
syndicated radio show, and subsequently posted the full
transcript at hughhewitt.com. And then at 7:20 EST,
less than 24 hours after the original 60 Minutes exclusive
ran, Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard filed: Is
It a Hoax?
Experts weigh in on the 60 Minutes documents. Says one:
"I'm a Kerry supporter myself, but . . . I'm 99% sure that
these documents were not produced in the early 1970s."
morning the front page of the Washington Post becomes the
the first major paper to acknowledge the likelihood that
CBS was duped. The New
York Times and the Boston
Globe, which ran front page stories attacking President
Bush Wednesday and Thursday, citing the CBS documents, were
silent on their front pages. The Globe actually ran an above
the fold story titled: "Kerry
Team, DNC Hit Bush on Guard Issue."
to be fair this story has not been conclusively proven to
have been a fraud, and there is still a chance, albeit a
pretty darn small one, that CBS, the Times and the
Globe have it right, and the blogosphere has it wrong.
But I wouldn't be making any big bets on Old Liberal Media
on this one.
get in to the political dynamics of this fiasco later, if
indeed it does turn out that this story is a hoax, but let's
just say that after yesterday's three major polls showing
Kerry trailing 4 - 9 points
nationally and Gallup's
state polls showing Kerry behind in Ohio, Pennsylvania
and Missouri this is not what the Kerry campaign needed.
J. McIntyre 8: 33 am Link
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September 9, 2004
ZELL: I knew Zell Miller's speech last week was
tough, but I was still a bit surprised by the visceral reaction
to it by members of the chattering class. Here's just a
small sampling of the outrage it generated:
was one of the most vile political speeches in recent
American history...last night Miller declared war on democracy."
Miller began his career by working for Lester Maddox,
a man of hate. And he unfortunately capped his career
tonight by sounding like Lester Maddox. It was a very
rough speech. It was full of hate. It came very close
to accusing the Democrats of treason." - David
don’t think anyone had quite been prepared for Miller’s
synthesis of Joe McCarthy and the Grand Inquisitor."
we had Andrew Sullivan, who not only called
Miller's remarks "a classic Dixiecrat speech,
jammed with bald lies, straw men, and hateful rhetoric"
but went out of his way to dig up a 40-year
old quote to brand Miller as a racist. "A
liar and a bigot. And a hero to conservatives
everywhere," Sullivan huffed.
you're struggling to understand what a 40-year old quote
about African-Americans has to do with John Kerry's 20-year
voting record in the United States Senate then I'm with
Kaplan also immediately jumped up to defend Kerry's
voting record and to debunk Miller's speech as a pack of
"damned lies." Kaplan complained that Miller distorted
Kerry's votes and took them out of context, except that
the true "context" of Kerry's votes also includes
1984 memo explicitly detailing the weapons programs
Kerry was in favor of canceling as well as his
remarks on the subject from the floor of the United
struck me most about Kaplan's piece, however, was his conspicuous
mocking of Miller's assertion that "our nation is being
torn apart and made weaker because of a Democrat's manic
obsession to bring down our commander in chief." Kaplan
"manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief"?
Most people call this a "presidential election."
Someone should tell Zell they happen every four years;
he can look it up in that same place where he did the
research on Kerry's voting record.
Kaplan is executing a full twist with a high degree of difficulty:
deriding Miller's characterization of the left's ruthless
assault on President Bush's record, integrity and motives
over the last four years with a "hey, politics ain't
beanbag" attitude while simultaneously slamming Miller
for playing hardball against John Kerry.
what you will about Miller's speech, but at least he was
attacking Kerry's record. The bottom line is that over the
course of his career as a United States Senator, John Kerry
has had to face a number of up
or down votes on security-related matters (including
the vote for the $87 billion to fund the troops and the
reconstruction in Iraq) and he has to live with the consequences
of those votes.
the way the game has always worked - Kaplan's hollow outrage
notwithstanding. Even Glenn
Kessler, in his front page defense of Kerry's voting
record in the Washington Post last week conceeded that:
cast by lawmakers are often twisted by political opponents,
and both political parties are adept at combing through
legislative records to score political points. Former
senator Robert J. Dole's voting record was frequently
distorted by the Clinton campaign eight years ago -- as
well as by his GOP rivals for the Republican nomination."
Kerry's job as a candidate or President of the United States
is to put his record before the American people and convince
us it shows that he's up to the job. If Kerry feels his
record is being distorted by Miller and/or Bush (which I'm
sure he does) then he should get out in front of the American
people and defend it. Kerry should explain those votes to
us, tell us why he voted the way he did and, most importantly,
why he thought his votes were in the best interests of the
country at the time he cast them.
not doing that. In fact, he's not talking about his record
at all. Instead, he's letting his supporters in the media
do his defending for him and posturing himself as a victim
whose patriotism is being attacked rather than his judgment.
long as John Kerry continues to respond to questions about
his record by raising the decibel level of his rants about
being smeared, he's going to continue to flounder in the
let's look at the other side of the coin for a moment. I
would argue that the way prominent Democrats have mainstreamed
the argument that President Bush purposefully lied and misled
the country to war in Iraq is far more objectionable than
anything Miller said about John Kerry last week.
case you hadn't noticed, we're about to mark the one-year
anniversary of Senator
Ted Kennedy declaring that the Iraq war "was made
up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership
that war was going to take place and was going to be good
politically. This whole thing was a fraud." Kennedy
had (and still has) no proof for that statement, nor has
he let his conscience get in the way of repeatedly impugning
the motives of the President of the United States over the
Kerry hasn't been much better. He was a full three
months ahead of Kennedy in declaring that President
Bush "misled everyone of us." And just last month
acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention,
Kerry averred to the nation that he "will be a commander
in chief who will never mislead us into war."
are free to question Bush's record as harshly as they want.
It is well within bounds for them to say that Bush compounded
bad intelligence with bad judgment on Iraq. What they shouldn't
be able to say without being rebuked by the media and the
public, however, is that this President deliberately misled
the country on the issue of Iraq and that 1,000 US soldiers
are dead because Bush lied.
hasn't happened. In fact, we seem to be rapidly headed in
the other direction. I fully expect John Kerry to call President
Bush the "l" word within the next 55 days. It's
looking more and more like Kerry's only hope is to go nuclear
against the war in Iraq and against the President personally.
EVOLUTION OF CONVENTIONAL WISDOM:
this point, I believe, it's safe to say that unless something
happens to change the dynamics and circumstances of this
race, Bush will lose." - Charlie
Cook on July 25
side is likely to win big, but the odds of a Bush blowout
win seem lower than those of a Kerry blowout, barring
some dramatic event such as a major terrorist attack."
Cook on July 27
Bush must have a change in the dynamics and the fundamentals
of this race if he is to win a second term." - Charlie
Cook on August 10
really is pretty amazing how fast the conventional wisdom
can change." - Charlie
Cook on August 31
in large, to the extent that this election is about terrorism
and leadership, or if news stories about those dominate
the news, President Bush is very likely to win."
- Charlie Cook on September 7
T. Bevan 1:45 pm Link
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September 8 2004
BIG MEDIA COUNTERATTACKS: Old Media and the Left,
enraged by President
Bush's surge in the polls and what they view as an illegitimate
examination of Kerry's record, has decided that today is
the day they will counterattack hard in an attempt to reopen
the Bush National Guard story as an issue in the campaign.
Boston Globe unloads an above
the fold, front-page story: "Bush
Fell Short on Duty at Guard: Records Show Pledges Unmet."
The Globe's parent corporation, The New York Times
Company, gets into the action with Nicholas
Kristof 's "Missing in Action." Then of course
there is the headliner with CBS's Dan Rather interviewing
former Democratic Texas House Speaker and Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes
Minutes II later tonight.
steered clear until now of how Mr. Bush evaded service
in Vietnam because I thought other issues were more important.
But if Bush supporters attack John Kerry for his conduct
after he volunteered for dangerous duty in Vietnam, it's
only fair to scrutinize Mr. Bush's behavior.
it when post-hippie 1970 liberals indignantly throw around
words like "evaded service in Vietnam." Of course
for eight years while Bill Clinton was Commander in Chief
this was a non-issue, but suddenly they are enraged that
somebody might have "evaded service in Vietnam"
by serving in the National Guard. Now liberals will say
the issue is not that Bush served in the National Guard,
but rather how he got into the National Guard. But Kristof's
own words accuse the President very directly of "evading
service in Vietnam."
hypocrisy here is so stunning and the gall of baby boomer,
anti-war lefties getting all self-righteous about "evading
service" is a joke. The fact the Left has decided to
go back to the trough on this issue just shows how few attractive
avenues of attack they have left against the President.
This is a sign of weakness, not strength.
Kerry campaign, The New York Times, the Boston
Globe and CBS are all excited that they are going to
"swift-boat" George W. Bush and turn these next
two weeks into the equivalent of John Kerry's August for
the President. But after the heat of the 2000 Presidential
campaign and then the attempt several months ago to reignite
the National Guard issue, the likelihood that there is going
to be something substantive in all of this noise is extremely
the Kerry folks and the liberal glitterati in the press
will say that there was nothing substantive in the swift-boat
story yet it caused tremendous damage to John Kerry. It
is this logic that has probably deluded them into thinking
that this old National Guard issue can be used effectively
against President Bush.
they are missing two key points to why this re-attack on
President Bush's National Guard service will not have nearly
the effectiveness of the swift boat attacks on Senator Kerry.
First, and this is not a small point, George Bush has not
made his stint in the National Guard one of the primary
reasons to vote for him as President. Bush is more than
happy to run on his 6-year record as Governor of the second
largest state in country and his four years as President
of the United States. It is Senator Kerry who decided to
make his four-month service in Vietnam the prime qualification
to lead this nation in war as opposed to his twenty-year
public record in the United States Senate.
and it is this point that infuriates the elites in the media,
there happens to be quite a lot of substance in the swift-boat
attacks. The Kerry campaign and their friends in the press
like to pretend that this is all just a pack of lies conjured
up by the right-wing slime machine, but the facts seem to
suggest a different story. The reason the swift-boat controversy
continues to resonate is there is significant evidence supporting
media did their best to cherry pick one story here and another
story there in an attempt to discredit the swift-boat veterans,
but when you have over 90% of the people Kerry served with
corroborating the story, at some point it becomes difficult
to suggest the whole thing is all a pack of lies. As Bob
Dole said very devastatingly just a couple of weeks ago:
every one of these people can be Republican liars. There's
got to be some truth to the charges.
Kerry is truly the victim of a right-wing slime attack and
all of these scurrilous charges are really just a pack of
lies, then why hasn't he put this story to bed by walking
out in front of the press and the American people, stared
in to the camera, and explained how his honor has been trashed?
Why hasn't he been willing to talk open and fully about
his Vietnam service and dispel once and for all these vicious
attacks on his character? More than anything else it is
Kerry's reluctance, or inability, to answer these questions
personally that is the most damning piece of evidence for
the American public.
see where this George Bush National Guard service story
goes on the umpteenth go around on this issue, but because
of those two key points it is going to be difficult for
this story to really hurt the President the same way the
swift-boat story has hurt John Kerry. None of this is going
to stop the Bush-haters in the press from trying to make
it an issue, but it is going to be really hard unless there
is something legitimately new, and substantive - and right
now that doesn't seem to be the case.
tag-team follow up to the National Guard foray is the unrolling
of the Kitty Kelly personal attack on the Bush family that
is scheduled for next week when Kelly is lined up to appear
Today Show for three consecutive days. This should
be of more concern to the Democrats than Republicans for
this story has every bit as good a chance to hurt Kerry
as it does Bush, because of the very real possibility of
a backlash over the personal and tabloid nature of the attack.
the intensity of this campaign over the last few months
and the vitriol (if not almost pathological hatred for Bush
on the Left) it is not surprising that this campaign will
continue to get uglier and uglier. The Democrats and the
media began banging on Bush as far back as last fall when
the Democratic primary campaign began in earnest. In August
when Bush and Kerry's opponents struck back the Democrats
howled at all the negative campaigning. This is going to
be an intense two months and it is going to get considerably
uglier between now and election day. J. McIntyre
7:58 am Link
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September 7 2004
ENTERING THE HOMESTRETCH: With the exception of
the poor, hurricane-battered
folks in Florida, the rest of the country is waking
up today after a nice, long, holiday weekend refreshed and
ready to get back to work - and down to the business of
electing a new president.
just say it's going to be an interesting fifty-six days.
For those who haven't been checking in over the weekend,
three polls have been released since Friday afternoon giving
President Bush a healthy 6.4-point
lead in our three way RCP Average.
there has been a lot of talk about oversampling
of Republicans in both the Time and Newsweek polls. Furthermore,
Gallup, the most respected of all major polling firms, gives
Bush a 7-point
lead among likely voters but only a 1-point lead among registered
all the spin being put on the horserace numbers, the more
important (and much less talked about) numbers in these
polls were the President's job approval rating: 55% in the
Time poll, 52% in Newsweek and 52% in Gallup. Very little
discrepancy across the board. Should Bush's job approval
rating stay in this range through November 2 it will be
more than enough to win him reelection.
to say, the Bush
bounce has unnerved many Democrats and added a whiff
of desperation to the Kerry campaign.
the desperation started last Thursday about thirty minutes
after the President's acceptance speech when John Kerry
out of his political coffin" at midnight to deliver
a stinging, though supremely ungracious, rebuttal to Bush.
Not pretty. Not Presidential.
over the weekend Kerry shook up - excuse me, "made
some additions to" - his staff and emerged yesterday
new position on Iraq, calling it "the wrong war
in the wrong place at the wrong time."
a different (and much uglier) note we're now also being
treated to Kitty
Kelly's hit job on the First Family which includes all
manner of slanderous accusations. Like Fahrenheit 9/11,
this book will be ignored by 80+ per cent of the population
as baseless propaganda but will be ingested by Bush-hating
partisans everywhere as gleefully and rapidly as a bunch
of homeless crack addicts sitting in the alley passing the
pipe around the burning trash bin.
doubt there will be much more ugliness to come in the next
TO THE 800-LB GORILLA: One of the reasons this
campaign is going to get even uglier is because John Kerry
is currently sitting in a pretty tight box right now.
on the Kerry campaign made the (correct) strategic assessment
that that national security was the 800-lb gorilla of this
election - one they couldn't go around but had to try and
problem, of course, is that given Kerry's record on national
security in the United States Senate, the only thing the
campaign could use to address the issue was Kerry's service
in Vietnam thirty-five years ago.
result is that we now have one candidate running a campaign
based on issues and another running a campaign based on
a four -month piece of his biography when he was twenty-five
years old. This has led to the bizarre, disjointed dialogue
we've seen in the past few months which has gone something
"After 9/11 national security is a paramount concern
to our republic.We must take the fight to the terrorists
where they are and not wait to be forced to fight them
"I served two tours of duty in Vietnam."
"Senator Kerry's 20-year voting record shows poor
national security judgment."
"Stop questioning my patriotism."
the NY Times reported that Bill
Clinton advised Kerry to stop talking about Vietnam.
It may be too late. The 800-lb national security gorilla
is still sitting there in the middle of the room, and despite
Kerry's best effort to use his four months of active duty
in Vietnam as a weapon to vanquish it, Kerry has made little
(if any) progress in getting through the issue and convincing
voters he's up to the task.
- T. Bevan 8:45 am Link
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