Sunday, February 29, 2004

Academy Awards

I don't care what they say the rest of the night (e.g. "tanking" economy, Air National Guard) - the opening sequence where Michael Moore was crushed by a LOTR elephant was awesome!

Best Supporting Actor: Tim Robbins
Best Supporting Actress: Renee Zellweiger
Best Actress: Charleze Theron (sp?)
Best Actor: Bill Murray (my big dark horse pick!)
Best Director: Peter Jackson
Best Picture: Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King

Update: I'm actually posting this after the first two major awards, but I told Mom this morning so I'm sticking by 'em. Tim Robbins gave an unpolitical speech (whew!) and the guy who won for "Finding Nemo" gave the best speech ever to his wife: "I'm repeating in front of a billion people the same thing I said in a note when we were in the 8th grade: I love you." Priceless.

Update again: It looks like a LOTR evening, winning every non-acting Oscar so far. Good night!
Even the Canadians are weary of Kerry's invocation of Vietnam: "I would argue that Kerry keeps Vietnam at the forefront of his campaign because it is just about all he's got."
Dog bites man: Kerry's Spending, Tax Plans Fall Short - Review of Proposals Shows Expenditures Exceeding Savings by $165 Billion I'm shocked, shocked!
Signs you’re losing a debate: Terry McAuliffe was on Fox News Sunday this morning, going head-to-head with RNC chair Ed Gillespe. McAwful felt the questions (which were all very general an open-ended) weren’t going his way and at one point whined: “Are we going to talk about President Bush? I mean, I know this is Fox News, but come on.” Wuss.
Mark Steyn lists: THE JOHN KERRY CANCELED WEAPONS SYSTEM OF THE DAY - Thrilling tales of America’s fighting men and women in action using stuff Senator Kerry didn't want them to have!
Overheard on David Letterman Friday night (from memory): “Did you see that John Kerry has now come out and said that he opposes gay marriage in Massachusetts? This guy has more positions than a Paris Hilton video.”

Friday, February 27, 2004

Blogging hiatus - Goin' to see Mom. Be back Sunday night.
Don't mess with the Devils

New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur waves to a friend in the stands as he leaves the ice after beating the Buffalo Sabres 8-2 in their NHL game in East Rutherford, New Jersey, February 25, 2004. Brodeur got his 30th win of the season, which set an NHL record for goaltenders with at least 30 victories in nine straight years.

Jay says: “I hate the Mets, Jets, Islanders, Nets and the Devils.”

Hey, don’t you mean the World Champion New Jersey Devils?

I thought so, punk. Oh, and the Rangers suck.
Proving the theory: the more people know about Kerry….

….the less they like him. From the Rasmussen tracking poll:

As Super Tuesday approaches, North Carolina Senator John Edwards is once again gaining ground on Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry. The latest Rasmussen Reports tracking poll shows Kerry leading by 14 percentage points, 48% to 34% among Democrats nationally.

Earlier in the week, Kerry held a 25-point lead over Edwards, 54% to 29%. That means Edwards has gained a net 11 points in four days.

Go Speed Racer!
After “I’m rubber, you’re glue” Kerry turns to “He started it!”

From the NY Times account of the Dem debate last night:

Mr. Kerry, of Massachusetts, attacked Mr. Bush for raising the issue [of gay marriage] in the first place.

Can we call this a lie? Sure, why not. And it’s one that Charles Krauthammer disposes of in today’s WashPost:

Who is dividing the country? Was it the Republican National Committee that told the Massachusetts court to make May 17, the midst of a hotly contested election year, the day on which gay marriage is to be imposed for the first time in America?

A front-page Post "analysis" piece asserts that with the constitutional amendment the president is ready "to rekindle the culture wars." Who did the kindling here? It was the mayor of San Francisco, who, in violation of California law and in the middle of the 2004 election campaign, issued the first same-sex marriage licenses in American history.

Bush had no desire to get involved in this issue. If not for the activism in Boston and San Francisco, it would not be an election issue at all. Boston and San Francisco have made the question very stark: We are going to have national gay marriage or we are not.

We didn’t start the fire.
Byron York in “John Kerry’s Time Warp”: “Kerry's penchant for looking back would not be a good trait in a president who will have to deal with a distinctly 21st century, post-9/11 world. America faces threats that were unheard of in Kerry's formative years. While those threats build, Kerry is turning on Hendrix, toking on an imaginary joint, and telling you about Vietnam.”
Here’s the normally annoying Derrick Jackson in the Boston Globe: “Kerry is no Gandhi on corporate donations
“Do I dare to eat a peach?” – J. Alfred Prufrock

“Do I dare to see a film?” – J. Forbes Kerry
Can you feel the energy!?!

American Prowler picks up on John Kerry’s library meetings campaign rallies:

"The scariest moments have been when he's doing one of his Q&A sessions with folks," says the staffer. "He'll give this incredibly long-winded answer, then the people just sit there. No applause, no feedback, no nothing. And he just stands there. You can hear a pin drop. That's not good in campaign settings."

Christopher Hitchens also comments on the attenuated support for Senator Splunge:

One reason I think this campaign is very lame -- it's supposed to have momentum, I wouldn't say it had much enthusiasm behind it -- he gives the impression that it's kind of his turn to be president and that he has a feeling of entitlement to the job.

Is it too late to get Dean back? (Hat tip to Tim Blair for the Hitch quote).

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Dennis Kucinich: A Man of Integrity

Maybe it’s because he has no chance at the nomination and therefore nothing to lose, but Dennis Kucinich impresses because he lays out a bold vision dramatically different than what the Republicans (or the Democrats) promote. At tonight’s CNN debate, he advocated free college education, withdrawal of troops from Iraq, universal health care – the whole socialist she-bang. There was something endearing about this mini-Quixote tilting at the establishment; you have to admire his cojones.

At that brings me to my bete noire, John Kerry. He offers nothing different. If you read through the transcript of tonight’s debate, you’ll discover that on nearly every issue he doesn’t fundamentally disagree with any policy of the Bush administration. He only disagrees with the way these policies are being executed. Over and over again, he uses the words: “broken promise” or “fully funded” or “loopholes” that “aren’t being enforced.” At one point, Kerry was asked about his “flip-flops” and he flippantly replied [paraphrasing] “If I have two sides on issues, the president is on the wrong side on every issue.”

Bravo, Senator. At least the President chooses a side. When you pick every team to win the World Series, you’ll never be wrong.
Happy Blogoversary to Jay Solo and his nifty song parody.
Jeff Jarvis on “The Death of Broadcast” and the rise of satellite radio. Interesting read about how government regulation will enervate commercial radio into oblivion.

Nick Gillespe has more on the Howard Stern censorship outrage thing. Also see here and here.
Then he sought to clarify his position…”

A variation of that statement appears in just about every article on John Kerry. Every day, another issue emerges where Senator Splunge either vacillated, equivocated, flip-flopped, or lied. Today’s there’s two!

The WashPost (where the quote on top appears) has “Kerry Donors Include 'Benedict Arnolds' - Candidate Decries Tax-Haven Firms While Accepting Executives' Aid

And the American Spectator has “The Kerry ERA” and his support for the Equal Rights Amendment back in the 70s:

So if Kerry, as he says today, is opposed to constitutional amendments which touch on marriage, why did he support ERA as it threatened to upend marital laws? Kerry is opposed to Bush's support for a marriage amendment not because he finds the amendment process dubious or that marriage is a matter for the states but because its goal of protecting marriage is one he does not support.

Kerry is sure to respond: “What is it about these Republicans who have only married once, attacking those of us who have married into money twice?”

Update: Yet another pesky clarification (or “staff mistake”) via Little Green Footballs
The Beatles on XM

Have I mentioned I love my new satellite radio? This morning, I was tuned in to a BBC special called “Beatles: A to Zed” where they were playing all the Beatles tunes in order, punctuated by little vignettes about the Fab Four.

There was this great story recalled by recording engineer Norman Smith about one of the first meetings between the young Beatles and producer George Martin. After a brief recording session, Martin and Smith met with the Beatles and discussed what was expected of them as recording artists. Martin then asked if they had any questions or comments for him.

After an uncomfortable pause, George Harrison spoke up.

“I like your tie.”

Bonus trivia I did not know: Ringo Starr stormed out during the recording of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” so Paul McCartney played the drums on that track.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Oh Mickey you’re so fine – Viking Pundit passes 100K visits

Well, I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen, but a fortuitous link from none other than Mickey Kaus pushed Viking Pundit decidedly over the 100,000 mark today.

As always, I’d like to thank everyone for reading. And a big shout-out to Moe Freedman who basically set up this page for me a little more than a year ago. It’s totally been a blast and I’m still a little amazed (and humbled) that so many people visit on a daily basis.

- Eric
Wednesdays are for W

I’ve mentioned that I’m a one-issue voter and I agree with the guy in Wisconsin who said: “'None of us will have jobs if we're dead. Only Bush will keep us safe.” But the Democrats are bound to whine that Bush is trying to get re-elected on the war, so here’s another compelling reason to vote for Bush in November: clarity.

On issues domestic and foreign, President Bush has offered a lucid policy. For example, on Social Security, Bush has advocated Personal Savings Accounts. This is a topic for debate. The Democrats have, in turn, offered…no solution. Bush has “Leave No Child Behind” while the Dems have no education policy. You may disagree with the need to open up ANWR for oil development, but at least it's a genuine approach to energy independence. Domestically, Bush offers reform while the Dems call for (surprise!) more spending. On nearly every international issue (Kyoto, ABM, Iraq), the Dems crave the world’s approval over our national interests.

And then there’s the presumptive Democratic nominee who offered this convolution:

"If we hadn't voted the way we voted, we would not have been able to have a chance of going to the United Nations and stopping the president, in effect, who already had the votes and who was obviously asking serious questions about whether or not the Congress was going to be there to enforce the effort to create a threat."

Support President Bush, the steady hand at the helm, by volunteering or donating to his re-election campaign. Then visit the other bloggers who have joined in the “Wictory Wednesday” effort. Thanks.

After reading this passage from Robert Samuelson’s latest WashPost article - “A Phony Jobs Debate” – I wondered “What Would Krugman Do?”

Facing a weak economy, a government can do three things: cut interest rates; run a budget deficit; and allow -- or cause -- its currency to depreciate. The first two promote borrowing and spending; the last makes a country's exports cheaper and its imports costlier. All these weapons have been deployed.

For that matter, what would Kerry do? His latest ploy shows he’s entirely unserious about job creation:

Democratic front-runner John Kerry proposed Wednesday requiring a three-month warning before factory jobs are exported.

More regulation. Great idea.
The Man Sans Qualities finds a quote critical of John Kerry’s votes on military systems…from John Kerry. “How dare Senator Kerry impugn his own patriotism and challenge his own military record this way!”
Because answering “yes” or “no” never takes five minutes

I loved this graf from a Boston Globe article: “Even in victory, Kerry’s caution is seen as risky

Later, Kerry led a question-and-answer forum with workers at a Youngstown manufacturing plant, where the senator drew polite applause at points but also some lengthy silences. He answered seven questions over 27 minutes; three of his answers lasted more than five minutes apiece.

As John Ellis noted, every word Kerry says is a regurgitation of his stump speech:

Veteran Kerry watchers are also resigning themselves to another grim JFK fact. He never says anything even remotely new or interesting. We're not even to March yet and Ellisblog is already bored to tears. Everything is boilerplate.

I caught a bit of Kerry on the news last night, extending an eager hand to a worker at an Ohio factory. This guy’s body language was classic: he was slouched over and only gave his hand (slowly!) out of politeness. Not a fan of Senator Splunge, I gathered.
Waffles for everyone!

Senator Splunge tries the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense: “Kerry labels Bush a ‘Contradiction’” He then quickly added "Or maybe he's not."

Then there's this: “I oppose the security wall that’s a legitimate act of self-defense” Another pesky clarification from Kerry, via the Cracker Barrel Philosopher.
It’s all over but the shouting: Real Clear Politics has updated Super Tuesday polls and Senator Splunge has a huge lead everywhere. The only thing that could help Edwards now is an endorsement from Howard Dean. Or Al Gore could endorse Kerry.
ABC News: "Osama bin Laden and his No. 2 man have moved out of Pakistan and are believed to have crossed the mountainous border back into Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence officials tell ABCNEWS."

I'm dubious of the accuracy of these reports on Osama...but there sure seems to be a lot of them lately.
Boston Herald: “Kerry’s Loan Twice as Nice” – Essentially, the Herald is alleging that Kerry inflated the assessment of his "co-owned" Beacon Hill townhouse to secure a loan for his campaign.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Et tu, Village Voice? When John Kerry’s courage went M.I.A. - Senator covered up evidence of P.O.W.s left behind.
The ACLU: Lying for Justice

Somehow I got on an ACLU mailing list and their latest pitch for money came today. Here’s something I didn’t know: “Attorney General John Ashcroft is waging a relentless campaign to undermine our freedom.” Whew. Are they still pissed because Tim Robbins wasn’t invited to the “Bull Durham” celebration at the Baseball Hall of Fame?

This paragraph smacks of unsubstantiated scare-mongering:

“Thousands of Americans who have done nothing more than attend a particular church service or peace rally have come under surveillance. Others have been placed on “no-fly” lists with no explanation from the government. College students and retirees have been interrogated by Secret Service or FBI agents because of anonymous tips about their anti-Bush statements or the posters on their walls.”

Notice the unprovable qualifiers in that graf such as “nothing more” – does the ACLU have some omniscient power to know that “thousands” of people are beyond suspicion? Do they have moles at the FBI bearing witness to these anonymous tips? Doubtful. And the whole “no fly” list story is an urban legend.

The ACLU is playing the whole JFK-conspiracy card: no matter how bad you think it is, it’s even worse and everybody in the government is in on it. Send cash!
Losers: In “The Kerry Cascade” Duncan Watts explains the psychology of how Senator Splunge looks like a winner, so he wins primaries, which make him look like a winner, and the Democrats all think they have a winner, because he’s winning.
John Kerry sure hangs out with some unsavory characters (warning: these may be Photoshopped – I’m not sure.)
The “Do Over” for the State of the Union speech

Former Clinton speechwriter David Kusnet really liked Bush’s speech last night (from the New Republic):

When it comes to making his case for another term, last night's speech was Dubya's do-over--and this time he got it right. Where his State of the Union speech had been partisan and pedestrian, devoid of what his father called "the vision thing," his new stump speech is both presidential and political; it makes the case for the Bush presidency--and against John Kerry and John Edwards--in forward-thinking, rather than defensive, terms.

There’s something else about the Bush’s speech: he was self-assured and relaxed. In every way, he gave the appearance of a confident leader. He joked, he jabbed, he jelled. Bush played to one of his great assets: people really like him as a person. Now that the Democratic attacks are no longer going unanswered, I predict Bush will see a rebound in his poll numbers.
Winds of Change has a good roundup of action along the Afghan-Pakistan border (Task Force 121 is on the way!) I’m keeping my expectations low but – as long as I live – I’ll never forget that morning when my wife woke me up and said: “They got Saddam.”
The Back-Seat Driver

The WashPost has an article too good to excerpt: “Past Votes May Dog the Kerry Campaign

Question: Are Americans really going to swallow Kerry’s argument that although he supported many of Bush’s policies, he bemoans the execution? That sort of backbiting seems…un-Presidential, shall we say. It’s like Bush saying: “We’re driving this car to the future!” and Kerry carps: “You didn’t fill the windshield wiper reservoir.”
Quip of the Day goes to Tim Blair: "If consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds, John F. Kerry’s mind must be freaking enormous."

Runner-up for quip of the day – Bush at the Republican Governors Association dinner: “The governor of California is new to politics, so he's still getting used to all the cameras and lights.”
Mickey Kaus stole my punditry! I was going to say that Bush's speech pretty much freezes out John Edwards by elevating Senator Splunge. Kaus' headline this morning: "Bush boosts Kerry over Edwards - The President drowns out the man he really fears" Yep.
The right strategy takes shape

From President Bush's speech last night:

"The other party's nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group with diverse opinions," Bush said. "They're for tax cuts and against them. They're for NAFTA and against NAFTA. They're for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act. They're in favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts." His supportive audience erupted in laughter and applause.

Good. Don't go for Liberal/Dukakis II - hammer Kerry on the "Senator Splunge" issue. You can read the entire speech here.

Monday, February 23, 2004

A nation of laws or maverick politicians?

A year ago, when this blog was read by…me, I wrote a post about the MCAS exam in Massachusetts. The MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) is a test that must be passed before anybody in the Bay State can earn a high school diploma. At the time, the Berkshire Hills school committee voted to essentially ignore the law and hand out diplomas to kids who didn’t pass the MCAS (they were later forced to back down under pressure from Boston). Back then, I was stunned that “elected officials – the putative leaders of the land – openly disregard[ed] both the letter and the spirit of settled law.”

I really have no strong feelings on the issue of gay marriage; if pressed, I would have to come down on the side that a marriage is between a man and a woman. But I’m in full-throated agreement with the Wall Street Journal noting: “San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom decided to throw away the rule of law and declare it was his duty to recognize marriages between gay couples, despite a 2000 voter initiative codifying the traditional definition of marriage.”

This sentiment was shared by Mark Shields (!) who raised the gay marriage issue in his Capital Gang “Outrage of the Week” on Saturday:

Liberals could learn some political self-discipline from conservatives. For example, the conservative National Rifle Association has never been so self-indulgent as to insist that George W. Bush or any other conservative be photographed brandishing an AK-47 assault weapon to prove that conservative's devotion to the NRA cause. But as openly gay Congressman Barney Frank, a strong supporter of Senator John Kerry, rightly points out, San Francisco's rush of gay marriages promotes the notion that laws you don't agree with you can simply ignore or break. And it gives the conservatives a large issue. [Emphasis added]

And the WSJ Opinion Journal article expands on Barney Frank’s concern:

Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the first openly gay member of Congress, says he warned Mayor Newsom that his stunt would fail legally and would also force more-mainstream politicians to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. He is aware there has been a backlash since the Massachusetts court decision, and San Francisco's civil disobedience may accelerate that. A December poll by CBS and the New York Times found that 61% of Americans opposed gay marriage, up from 55% in July. Opposition to gay rights was the highest since the survey began asking the question in 1992.

The issue of gay marriage is one that should be decided by debate and legislation, not by judicial fiat. And no matter how well-intentioned their motives, elected officials have a solemn duty to uphold the law or invite anarchy.

Extra: Dodd adds his thoughts on "Instant Gratification"
Zarqawi Bomb-Maker Killed in Iraq: “The top bomb-maker for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed in Fallujah, Fox News learned Monday.”
My guess is that Kerry will be a bigger disaster for the Dems than Dukakis was.” Robert Musil thinks that the Republicans are keeping their powder dry on Kerry while they collect information, poll voters, and run focus groups. I also wonder if there isn’t a twisted Rovian strategy at work, allowing Kerry the limelight so that he thoroughly exasperates voters with anachronistic and irrelevant references to Vietnam.
Al over at Sasha Castel’s blog is “Admiring Terry McAuliffe” and, in particular, his appearance on “Face the Nation” yesterday: “I'm talking about his ability to just plain flat out lie his ass off, with a straight face, no matter what the facts are.”
More American dichotomy: William Safire portrays the battle between Optimistic and Pessimistic America.
Joshua Muravchik onKerry’s Inner Dove

Once he has the nomination in hand, Kerry is likely to resume his tack toward the center (as candidates from all sides are wont to do). He cannot, however, renounce an entire record that bespeaks the deeply dovish beliefs he brought home from Vietnam. Perhaps his heroism in the war will make voters comfortable with that outlook. But with fears of terrorism and nuclear proliferation, that may not be enough.

Like Mark Steyn, I largely consider myself a one-issue voter. What bothers me about Kerry is that he’s a September 10th candidate, blathering on about how the "exaggerated" war on terrorism is a matter of “law enforcement.” Senator Splunge would say that he’s actually a Sept. 11th candidate, but he probably means September 1972.
A Vietnam vet says: "John Kerry ain't my brother": "Does it matter to me that he is a Vietnam Veteran? Not in the least, because he hasn't shown me that he has taken that experience and turned it into any meaningful commitment to the things that are important to the people of my state and, more importantly, our country."
Heat shield deployed

John Ellis notes that when the thin-skinned Senator Splunge is confronted with uncomfortable details - like his record of voting against defense and intelligence programs - he deploys his Vietnam heat shield.

There is, one supposes, a certain pre-emptive logic to Kerry campaign broadsides against the "GOP smear machine." It might, just might, deflect the criticisms incoming. But as a rule, you don't want a candidate who whines when he is attacked. And surely complaining about Senator Chambliss's attack comes under the general category of "whinery."

I find it bemusing that whenever Kerry is confronted by his record, his campaign sends out a press release saying something like "The Senator will fight against these smears." But there's never an actual rebuttal - it's always "we're gonna fight" and Vietnam. And Vietnam again.
That's not Flipper!

So many good corrections in the NY Times today, but this one was best:

A picture in Arts & Ideas on Feb. 7 with an article about homosexual behavior in animals, including bottlenose dolphins, was published in error. It showed killer whales.


Sunday, February 22, 2004

Kerry wants to control the narrative of his years months in Vietnam

From the Sunday Times: Book reopens Kerry war wounds

VIETNAM has been the defining issue for John Kerry. His status as a decorated war hero has helped to propel him to the front of the pack of Democrat candidates seeking to evict George W.Bush from the White House. Conservative critics believe he has been given a free ride for too long on his war record, however, and are planning a fightback.

Support for their case is expected to come from a book to be published next month by reporters from The Boston Globe in Kerry's home state of Massachusetts. The book, JF Kerry, the Complete Biography, will question the extent of his injuries in Vietnam and whether he was entitled to an early release from the war.

Vietnam, The Washington Post opined at the weekend, "is a double-edged issue" for the 60-year-old Democratic frontrunner. Kerry has not authorised the release of his war records - a strange omission, say his political foes, given the ferocity with which his supporters have demanded to see every last document of Bush's military service in the Texas Air National Guard.

Kerry will of course simply dismiss the Boston Globe as part of the “right wing” media conspiracy against him.
“Americans don’t vote retrospectively” – George Will responding to George Stephanapoulos about whether John Kerry gains anything by bringing up Vietnam. (On This Week this morning)

Extra: Jettison gets it right in this post. Kerry position on foreign policy is: “Doesn’t matter: I was in Vietnam.” Nine more months of this.
The new Toast-O-Meter is up. I think Steven's going to have to retool the format after Super Tuesday.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Gay gun nut backs Bush

Jeff Soyer at Alphecca doesn’t like President Bush. But he loathes John Kerry because of his anti-gun positions: “Aside from ridiculous "hunting" photo-ops, this guy has voted FOR every single anti-2A bill that's ever crossed his desk.”

Also see his older post, back before Kerry was even a candidate, tracking Senator Splunge’s position on gun control (possibly the only issue he hasn’t vacillated on).

(Hat tip to Rosemary)
Alleged Kerry 1984 campaign memo found

Finally, John thinks it’s time for a Senator who will stand up for what’s right and not go along with what’s expedient.”

Hahahahaha!!!! Oh yeah, and he wanted to cancel a lot of defense programs. Check this out and more at NoJohnKerry.
Mark Steyn asks: "So which would America rather have: Pretty Boy or Long Face?"

Edwards is condescending. Kerry is far too grand to condescend. But both are agreed that America is a vast wasteland of unemployed, shivering, diseased losers. For single-issue guys like me, Edwards barely says a word on Iraq and the war, though I am inclined to think he'd be better than Kerry. The latter seems eager to do whatever Chirac and Kofi want, whereas with Edwards there's always the possibility he will wind up suing the UN Security Council for emotional distress. More importantly, even as he's painting his heart-wrenching portraits of starving children, Edwards is sunny, albeit in a grotesque and mawkish way. And, as a general rule, the sunnier disposition wins (see Bush/Gore, Clinton/Dole, Reagan/Mondale).

It is true that in his five years in Washington Edwards hasn't accomplished anything, but then neither has Kerry, and he has been there four times as long. If Pretty Boy wins somewhere, anywhere, on Super Tuesday, the mantle of inevitability falls away from Kerry. If he doesn't, Dems are stuck with the default guy, and by April they're going to be awful sick of him.

Hat tip to Ryne.
Jay Solo has named Viking Pundit “your source for all things Kerry”

Well, let's get to work then, starting out with this quote by Andrew Sullivan: "The Clinton administration's feckless attempts to get Osama are, to my mind, a huge neon warning about what might happen if John Kerry becomes president."
Anybody know what’s up with Susanna? Hmm.
I don’t believe this story myself, but I wonder how many staffers over at the DNC or the Kerry campaign are saying “Gosh, I hope it’s true!”

Follow-up: Little Green Footballs has the DU response.
If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” - Harry Truman

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush's dog Spot, the 15-year-old English springer spaniel who had remained eager to please despite increasing health troubles, died on Saturday.

So long, old girl.
Kerry and Edwards to debate on February 29th. I think this may be a huge mistake for Kerry. His less-than-impressive win in Wisconsin was traced back to his terrible performance in the debate a couple of days before the primary. Now Kerry's going to go head-to-head with Senator Handsome and the full glare of the "frontrunner" spotlight on him. Go Edwards!

Friday, February 20, 2004

XM: No static at all

Have I mentioned that I love my new satellite radio? Suddenly my hour-long commute feels like nothing....

Songs I heard today:
Graham Parker - "Nation of Shopkeepers"
Aimee Mann - "Red Vines"
The Toadies - "Possum Kingdom"
Boney M - "Rivers of Babylon"
Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Breaking the Girl"
Belle & Sebastian - "I'm a Cuckoo"

If a “gaffe” is accidentally telling the truth, what word describes purposely stating the truth so plainly as to be irrefutable?
(In Mr. Burns' voice) “Excellent” - Nader’s gonna run

Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 as a Green Party candidate, will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate, advisers told Fox News on Friday.

Nader-Dean in 2004!
John Kerry: the “Why Not?” candidate

Kos on the Democratic matchup:

But ultimately, Kerry's biggest weakness is that no one likes him, unlike the well-liked, charismatic Edwards. The exit polls have been clear -- people vote for Kerry not because they are inspired, agree with his policies, or otherwise find him an attractive candidate. They vote for him because they think he is "most electable". And that aura is fading. The attacks are taking a toll on him and that perceived "electability". And since his support is not deep, it's artificial and thin at best, he has nothing to fall back on. [Emphasis added]

Wow! If that enthusiasm for Kerry can spread to the general electorate, there’s no stopping him! Wheeeee!!!

Speaking of enthusiasm, Kevin Drum thinks it’s in short supply for the California primary vote. Will a suppressed turnout help Edwards? Or will the Left Coasters file in line for (hooray) Kerry? We’ll see.
Disaffected Deaniacs! Are you looking for another slightly-unhinged candidate to support? Your man has arrived!
Outraged by the truth

Here’s Al Hunt with his Capital Gang “Outrage of the Week”:

HUNT: Mark, a right-wing hit lady named Ann Coulter charged that Max Cleland, who won a Silver Star in Vietnam and is a prominent Kerry supporter, lost his three limbs while getting ready to drink beer with pals. She said it just as easily could have occurred in the Texas Air National Guard. That's irrelevant, that's vicious, and that's a lie. Captain Cleland lost his legs and an arm on a reconnaissance mission in Vietnam. They don't usually carry live grenades and M-16s in the Texas Air National Guard. This despicable venom was carried on the Heritage Foundation Web site.

I’m temped to say that people don’t really care about what happened 30 years ago, but it’s the Democrats who have perpetuated this mythos. So take it away, John Hawkins.
Follow-up: Romney rips bid to protect Kerry seat – “Governor Mitt Romney yesterday denounced a maneuver by Democrats on Beacon Hill to block him from naming an interim replacement if US Senator John F. Kerry wins the presidency and resigns his Senate seat.”
See what happens when you add Viking Pundit to your blogroll? Betsy’s Page has moved up to “Large Mammal” status. The causality of this could not be more obvious.
Charles Krauthammer today: "The Republicans have yet to go after Kerry on his most critical vulnerability, his breathtaking penchant for reversing course for political convenience."
Go send Edward some love on his two-year blogaversary at Zonitics.
Endlessly entertaining! Dialect maps

Homer: "Come on, Marge, I want to shake off the dust of this one-horse town. I want to explore the world. I want to watch TV in a different time zone. I want to visit strange, exotic malls. I'm sick of eating hoagies. I want a grinder, a sub, a foot-long hero...I want to live, Marge!"
The Great Hollowing-Out Myth

Sometimes it’s useful to get a perspective outside the American media so on Fridays I check the latest updates from the British magazine The Economist. Today they have a cogent and comprehensive article on job migration in America summarized thus: “Outsourcing to other countries has become a hot political issue in America. Contrary to what John Edwards, John Kerry and George Bush seem to think, it actually sustains American jobs.”

The “jobless recovery” first, then. Despite strong productivity growth and an accelerating recovery from the recession of 2001 (the economy grew by an annual 4% in the fourth quarter of last year), jobs are being created at a feeble rate of 100,000 or so a month. The jeremiahs point out that a net total of 2.3m jobs have been lost since Mr Bush came to office.

Although this date is often used as the starting-point from which to make a comparison, it is a silly one. In early 2001 the hangover effects from the investment boom of the late 1990s were only starting to be felt. Unemployment, at 4.2%, was unsustainably below the “natural” unemployment rate, consistent with stable inflation, that most economists put at around 5%. In other words, perhaps two-thirds of those 2.3m jobs were unsustainable “bubble” ones. Given the scale of job losses—along with the shocks of a stockmarket bust, corporate-governance scandals and terrorist attacks—it is a wonder that the recession was so mild. By the same token, a mild recession is now being followed by a commensurately mild recovery.

This week, the White House retreated from a claim that 2.6m new jobs would be created this year. But there are reasons to think that job growth will be more robust. In particular, the remarkably strong productivity growth, running at twice its long-run average of 2.1%, must slow down eventually. In the face of rising order books, businesses will have to hire more workers.

And, as three economists in the article point out, the American economy is in constant state of flux, “churning” out obsolete jobs and replacing them with new ones:

Churning, they point out, has being going on in the American jobs market for years, and “the creation of new jobs always overwhelms the destruction of old jobs by a huge margin.” Between 1980 and 2002, America's population grew by 23.9%. The number of employed Americans, on the other hand, grew by 37.4%. Today, 138.6m Americans are in work, a near-record, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of the population (see chart).

See also the accompanying article “The new jobs migration” – “The movement of jobs to the developing countries does not alter the overall level of employment in the advanced economies; however, the pattern of employment, to be sure, does change.” Hey, if it didn’t we’d still be a country of candlestick makers and livery stables.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Senator Splunge strikes again!

Here’s part of the transcript of John Kerry’s remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations in December 2003.

AUDIENCE: Just to move back on shore for a minute, or off shore. Domestic employment - what's the best American policy with respect to outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, increasingly service jobs?

Here’s the opening of Kerry’s response:

KERRY: Well, any candidate for president who stands up and tells people, as some are, that they're going to just stop it by getting tough on trade or whatever, is lying to the American people.

And here’s the conclusion of his answer:

We also need to do a better job of negotiating those trade relationships, but it's not the only way to do it.

He starts by dismissing trade negotiation and ends with…trade negotiation. This guy is the original Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I mean, he’s completely schizo. And by the way, the rest of his “solution” to outsourcing is changing tax policies (see the WashPost article on that matter - and my post here). He completely ignores the elephant in the room of wage variances between the U.S. and other countries.
John Cole on Bill Moyers’ departure from PBS: “I only hope they replace him with someone slightly less partisan. Maybe Howard Dean or Al Gore.” Heh.
One step forward and Saudi Arabia

Nice find from Mary at Exit Zero - The Saudis insist they’re reforming as fast as they can but, in “Saudis warn U.S. on pushing for reforms” they’re not so keen on, you know, democracy. And they’re unimpressed with American education: "Even in your schools you prevent the use of the cane to teach students."
Look who’s talking

In today’s NY Times, Tom Friedman expands on the viewpoint that the liberation of Iraq has far-reaching consequences for the Middle East that, in turn, enhances American security:

One major criticism of the Iraq war is that by invading Iraq, the U.S. actually created more enemies in the Arab-Muslim world. I don't happen to believe that, but maybe it's true. What the critics miss, though, is that the U.S. ouster of Saddam Hussein has also triggered the first real "conversation" about political reform in the Arab world in a long, long time. It's still mostly in private, but more is now erupting in public. For this conversation to be translated into broad political change requires a decent political outcome in Iraq. But even without that, something is stirring.

How about this for a candid assessment (from an Egyptian official):

"What we, as Arabs, should truly feel humiliated about are the prevailing political and social conditions in the Arab world — especially in Iraq — which allowed someone such as Saddam Hussein to . . . assume the presidency. We should feel humiliated that Saddam was able . . . to single-handedly initiate a number of catastrophic policies that transformed Iraq, relatively rich in natural, human and financial resources, into the poorest, most debt-ridden country in the Arab world, not to mention the hundreds of thousands killed and displaced. We should feel humiliated that some of our intellectuals, supposedly the representatives of our nations' consciences and the defenders of their liberty and dignity, not only dealt with Saddam, but also supported him. . . . The Arabs should have been the ones to bring down Saddam, in defense of their own dignity and their own true interests."

What they really need is more bloggers – keep this conversation going.
From the "When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail" department

Mugabe installs more thugs in cabinet for coming crackdown

This might be a good time to remind you to read the Atlantic's "How to kill a country - Turning a breadbasket into a basket case in ten easy steps—the Robert Mugabe way"
Market confidence up: "Investors poured money into stock funds at the record clip of $60 billion in January, outpacing the previous monthly high notched nearly four years ago, at the peak of the bull market."
The Democrats on jobs: they got nothin’ (a continuing series)

Senator Splunge and the unsavory characters at the DNC have hammered President Bush on the issue of jobs. Almost universally, they’ve decried Bush tax policies as the root cause. But as the WashPost points out today in “Democrats can’t get firm grip on jobs issue” almost all the Democrats’ rhetoric is empty:

Democratic presidential candidates have made the loss of U.S. jobs to international competition the centerpiece of their campaigns, but even some of the candidates' economic advisers acknowledge that remedies offered -- such as closing tax loopholes on overseas income and offering tax breaks for domestic hiring -- would probably do little to stop the bleeding.

The issue is that no manner of tax tinkering will erase the immutable fact that wages are much lower in other countries:

But virtually no one would say that taxes are a primary -- or even a significant -- factor in the movement of as many as 300,000 white-collar jobs and many more manufacturing jobs abroad in the past several years. No matter how sweet the tax incentive is to expand in India, for instance, it could not be more enticing than lowering a software developer's pay from $60 to $6 an hour, a figure cited recently by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

And George Will in “How to Kill Jobs” reveals the consequences of moral demagoguery supplanting economic common sense:

Recently, Indiana Gov. Joseph Kernan canceled a $15 million contract with a firm in India for processing state unemployment claims. The next highest bidder was a U.S. firm that would have charged $23 million. Because of this potential 50 percent price increase, there would have been $8 million fewer state dollars for schools, hospitals, law enforcement, etc. And the benefit to Indiana would have been . . . what?

When Kernan made this gesture he probably was wearing something wholly or partly imported and that at one time, before "offshoring," would have been entirely made here. Such potential embarrassments are among the perils of making moral grandstanding into an economic policy.

Meanwhile (this just in!): “New jobless claims drop sharply”. I blame the Bush tax cuts.
David Broder on Senators running for the Presidency: “But at some point in most elections, undecided voters are inclined to ask, "So what have you done that tells me you could handle the presidency?" That's when senators often have a hard time answering. The Senate is a remarkable place, but it's not the real world. And voters know it.”
Mass. Dems seek to retain figurative empty seat with literal empty seat

If the Republicans tried this move, the wailing of the Donks about “subverting Democracy” would be unrelenting: “Democrats eye plan to protect Kerry Senate seat

Massachusetts Democrats are devising a plan to keep John F. Kerry's US Senate seat in their party's hands by blocking Governor Mitt Romney from naming an interim replacement if Kerry wins the White House.

Beacon Hill lawmakers want to pass legislation that would leave Kerry's seat vacant for two months or more, until a special election is held to fill it. That would prevent the Republican governor from naming an interim senator, as is currently required by state law.

The initiator of the proposal -- Representative William M. Straus, Democrat of Mattapoisett -- insisted he is not being partisan.

Perish the thought!
The New Republic reviews the Wisconsin numbers: “Judging from the way Kerry timed his victory speech last night to bump Edwards off the air mid-sentence, it sounds to me like he's getting scared. And he should be. John Kerry is riding a bubble, and bubbles have a nasty habit of popping.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Non-political intermission

I finally succumbed to satellite radio yesterday and my verdict is thus: I should have gotten it a long time ago. The Delphi "Roady" receiver plugs straight into the car's cassette player and XM provides 100+ stations. It's like going from bread and water to a Roman feast.

On my Tuesday commute to work, I heard four Elton John songs from the homogenized market-driven playlists of commercial radio.
Today: "Reverend Jack and his Roamin' Cadillac Church" by Timbuk 3. Sweet.
Poll positions

Why sugar coat it? This should be a cause for concern for the White House. And it's not good enough to just dismiss it as a "blip" or a "biased poll." President Bush needs to abandon the "Rose Garden" strategy and start fighting back now.

The good news is that the Democratic nominee (whether Kerry or Edwards) is still unknown enough to be the "undeclared" Democrat (the uber-candidate) that always trumps Bush. But the fact that Bush's numbers continue to slide absent any real definition of his opponent means that Americans are not voting for the Democrat: they're voting against Bush. Time to turn things around.

BTW, Zogby's red state/blue state analysis should be more encouraging for Bush supporters. Now put down the Maalox....
Edwards ascendant

Here’s a New Republic article on how Edwards, if he really wants the nomination, should drop the “Mr. Nice” routine and go on the offensive:

And, make no mistake: attacking Kerry presents Edwards with a very real chance of success. Particularly if Edwards seizes on Kerry's greatest vulnerability -- his habit of taking both sides of every major issue. You can already see the press's growing unease with Kerry in the tepid reviews that they gave his performance in last weekend's debate -- and the schadenfreude they're enjoying after his disappointing Wisconsin finish.

And the PoliPundit (by way of the Note) details the Edwards Scenario:

Plus, and this is a big plus: Kerry is exhausted, by all our accounts, and while Edwards is tired, he seems fresher. Energy and verve will matter greatly during the next two weeks.

Anybody but Lurch.
Even more on the Kerry-Edwards showdown

Enobarbus of FauxPolitik has a good rundown/analysis of the battle which includes this line:

So the Kerry campaign has to kill this Edwards thing now. That's why they stepped on Edwards's speech last night.

I didn’t see this display of bad manners but it’s getting a glancing mention all over the place. For example, Classless Warfare sniffs: “It was really nice of John Kerry to step all over John Edwards speech last night about a minute into it. What a class act.” Wonkette quips: “Something Gore would do.”

Speaking of Gore, Jeff Jarvis notes: “The most amusing phone call of coming days will be Al Gore trying to endorse Kerry or Edwards. They, of course, should run far away fast.”

Dean talks to Edwards….something something?
Wednesdays are for W

Poll after poll indicate that really the only thing that Democrats care about is defeating President Bush in November. It’s troubling that a whole group of Americans is bound by antipathy towards the President, rather than towards a common, positive vision for the future. But as Eric Hoffer once noted, hatred is the most accessible of all emotions to motivate mass movements, so there you go.

Today’s the day that I ask my readers to donate or volunteer for President Bush’s re-election campaign. When you’re done, be sure to visit all the other bloggers who are helping out in this important effort. Thank you.
Dean throws in the towel.
Is the soufflé about to collapse?

A couple days back, Viking Pundit presciently called John Kerry’s campaign “The Soufflé Candidacy.” Senator Splunge has been propped up by this aura of “electability” but the Wisconsin results may shake his support. Will Saletan has the numbers:

But the exit polls show that, by and large, Democrats aren't voting for Kerry because they prefer him on the issues. They're voting for him because they think he's the Democrat most likely to beat Bush. What happens if they find out he isn't? What happens if they realize that Edwards is doing as well as Kerry among independents and is doing better than Kerry among crossover Republicans?

And Mickey Kaus adds his analysis:

Doesn't Edwards' appeal to potential swing Republicans and Independents make him more, you know ... what's the word ... electable? Is it really good news for Kerry that he doesn't travel well beyond the base?

No, it isn’t! And John Ellis nails the issue:

What they [the Kerry people] dread most of all is negative momentum, because (let's face it) the candidate has no strong base of support within the party. They're only for him because he's winning. Once he starts losing, he's a loser.

I’m going to buck the conventional opinion and predict that Kerry will be facing a Wall Street-type selloff panic in the next couple of days. The Dems will be looking at those independent numbers, which broke 2-1 for Edwards in the final hours (thus completely surprising the pollsters). Then they’ll recall Senator Handsome is from the South. Then they’ll look at the latest Rasmussen poll numbers which indicate a sudden 6% shift in a Bush-Kerry matchup.

And then, Howard Dean drops out of the race and endorses John Edwards.

Although Dean is not a kingmaker, he can be the frontrunner-maker. By staying in through Super Tuesday, this anti-Warwick could ensure Kerry's nomination. By throwing his waning strength (and Web fund-raising) to Edwards, he could help transform a routine Boston coronation into a neck-and-neck race down the homestretch.

The next two weeks are going to be a bacchanal for pundits.
Morning headline: Kerry wins Wisconsin Edwards finishes strong!

John Edwards is clearly the story this morning and Senator Splunge couldn’t keep Senator Handsome out of the headlines:

Boston Globe: “Kerry slips by Edwards in Wisconsin vote”
NY Times: “Kerry Holds Off Push by Edwards in Primary Vote in Wisconsin”
Fox News: “Kerry wins Wisconsin, Edwards does well”
WashPost: “Kerry captures Wisconsin, Edwards is a strong second”
CNN: “Kerry ekes out Wisconsin win over Edwards”
USA Today: “Kerry holds off Edwards in Wis. N.C. senator's surge means race isn't over”

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Wisconsin update

At this writing, Senator Splunge has a wafer-thin 2% lead over John Edwards with about a third of the vote reported. Awesome. Kerry can spin his "victory" but the headlines tomorrow will be all Edwards.

Meanwhile, Howard Dean weighs his options.

Extra - Jonah Goldberg in the Corner: "The mantra that Kerry is the most electable -- or a particularly electable -- Democrat is hogwash."
Didn’t Edwards get the memo?

Uh-oh. The other day Zogby had Kerry up by 24% in Wisconsin and the Real Clear Politics composite poll had him up by 32%. But according to Drudge, early exit polls show Senator Splunge with only an 11% lead over upstart Edwards. (It’s all about expectations, you know.) We’ll know the full picture in a couple of hours. He was wrong about the intern "scandal" after all.
Andrew Sullivan fisks John Kerry - 'nuf said

From Sully's TNR article "Say Anything":

Kerry is pro-war, except when he's antiwar. He votes for war against Saddam but opposes financing it. He's for equality for gays, but against equality for gays in marriage. And his attempts to explain his having it every which way only confuse matters even further.

I'm going to make a bold prediction that Kerry will be creamed in the Presidential debates. And not because Dubya is a silver-tongued orator. Kerry's had it easy so far with these pre-fab multi-candidate "debates" and a compliant press. In the real debates, he'll finally have to explain his war vote and why the international force in Iraq is a "fraudulent coalition." Is the threat of terrorism really "exaggerated"? Yes or no on gay marriage? What income level constitutes "rich" when you talk about tax increases? These convoluted responses (they really can't be called "answers") won't wash with voters in November.
Erick the Political Junkie: “I guess someone really never did teach John Kerry that being a Senator means you can draft legislation to attempt to accomplish something.”
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan.....

Taliban reduced to cowardly attacks

U.S. general: Time ‘running out’ for bin Laden
James Lileks: "Let's just be blunt: The North Koreans would love to see John Kerry win the election. The mullahs of Iran would love it. The Syrian Ba'athists would sigh with relief. Every enemy of America would take great satisfaction if the electorate rejects the Bush doctrine and scuttles back to hide under the U.N. Security Council's table." There's more, so read up.
Kerry hopes that Americans (and Bay Staters) are idiots

I cringe at the breathtaking cynicism of this defensive justification every time Kerry offers it (from U.S. & WR story, hat tip to BushBlog)

"The special-interest senator." Kerry has indeed taken money from an array of lobbyists. "John Kerry has left himself open to a charge of hypocrisy because he says one thing and does another," argues Bush chief strategist Matthew Dowd. But Kerry responds that he doesn't take money from political action committees, which, he says, shows him to be a reformer.

Oh! Mr. Clean takes money from noble lobbyists but not from those dirty, dirty PACs. Stand back, wicked special interests!

Does Kerry seriously believe that this argument inoculates him from charges that he’s taken more money from special interests than any other Senator? Does he truly believe Americans can differentiate between PACs and lobbyists? I doubt it and I think he offers this up as the only defense he can make.

But if your intelligence was only moderately insulted by that mendacity, check out this howler from MSNBC: “Candidate Kerry won’t quit Senate

Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Kerry, who has won 14 of the 16 Democratic primaries and caucuses to date, “will continue to fight for the issues important to the people of Massachusetts and all Americans” as he makes his bid for the White House.

Steven the Poliblogger notes: “It never occurred to me that he would quit, although in many ways quitting to devote his full time to running would 1) show confidence that he will win the White House, and 2) give the people of Massachusetts an actual Senator for the rest of this year, because goodness knows that Kerry won't have time to actually serve while he is campaigning.”

No kidding.
Quote of the Day

From the NY Times article: "Arabs in U.S. Raising Money to Back Bush":

"He has saved Iraq," said Mr. Hosseini, who left Iran when he was 13. "He's the savior, if not of Iraq, but also of the other countries around Iraq. They want freedom. I am so sure of this because I am from that part of the world."

Is this the emerging viewpoint in the Mideast? Hope so.
From Business Week Online: "For the Dems, "Fired Up" won't cut it" Subheading: "It turns out the Republicans have the "intensity factor" on their side, too" Good read.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Not my fault!

From tomorrow's NY Times: "Kerry Promises Effort to Halt Flow of Jobs Out of the U.S."

What's his grand plan? "Mr. Kerry replied that the problem was not Nafta [which he voted for] per se, but rather the Bush administration's failure to press compliance with nonbinding treaties that would raise labor and environmental standards overseas, making American companies more competitive."

Kerry's sounding more and more like Leon in that Budweiser commerical:

TV reporter: "So then your four fumbles didn't contribute to you losing?"
Leon: "Not if one of those guys had jumped on the ball. Once again, Leon can't do everything."

Added to the blogroll: a brand new blogger called the New England Republican and "The ramblings of a lonely Republican stranded in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts." Welcome, brother: share the misery.
Viking Pundit: 100% original material!

I finally got around to registering for the Washington Post and reading this editorial about John Kerry called "Time for Clarity." It was so similar to my post below, I was afraid regular readers would think I simply re-worded it and presented it as my own. I did not and only read it a couple of hours ago. However, I'm happy to see that the Washington Post shares my concerns on Senator Splunge.
“Unprincipled” versus “Steady Leadership”

As readers of this blog know, one of my major gripes with John Kerry – whom I often refer to as “Senator Splunge” – is that he’ll take all sides of an issue. He refuses to answer a straight question with a straight answer. Yet he’ll be the first to take credit if things turn out OK and the last to claim responsibility if trouble starts.

The Bush campaign has released a video (which I haven’t seen) called “Unprincipled” describing the flip, flops, and straddles of John Kerry. Apparently, Senator Splunge’s vacillations are wearing thin already – here’s Chris Suellentrop in Slate on the Dems last debate:

How bad was Kerry's night? It wasn't disastrous, but it's as bad as I've seen him. He sounded like the meandering, orotund Kerry of last summer. His answers to questions about diversity and gay marriage were muddled incoherence, and he claimed that it wasn't his fault that the Bush administration has abused the Patriot Act, the No Child Left Behind Act, and the congressional Iraq war resolution. But if you vote for broadly written laws that are abused by the administration in power when you passed them, aren't you at least partly to blame for the consequences? [Emphasis added]

William Saletan agrees:

John Kerry lost his lead in 2003 because he couldn't give straight answers to simple questions. Then the guy with the straight answers, Howard Dean, started giving answers so brutally straight (your taxes will go up, sit down and let me finish) that people decided a bit more diplomacy was in order. But Kerry has to watch his bad habits in this area. He never walks into a sentence without leaving himself a way out. His evasiveness smells fishy.

. . . . . .

The pattern went on. Panelist Lester Holt asked Kerry to explain why he had voted for—but then criticized—the Patriot Act and the No Child Left Behind law. Kerry gave another lawyerly answer, blaming Bush for implementing both laws improperly. Gilbert asked Kerry, "Would you see yourself as a war president?" Kerry replied with a ridiculous litany: "I'd see myself first of all as a jobs president, as a health care president, as an education president, and also an environmental president." Later, Holt asked, "If it were to come before you today for a vote—the issue of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as that between a man and a woman—would you vote yes or would you vote no?" Kerry replied, "Well, it depends on the terminology ..."

In case you've forgotten why so many people soured on Kerry in 2003: This is why.

I’ve heard the Kerry people blather on incessantly about how their man will “fight back” against the Bush “smear machine.” But how can they possibly do so when nobody can understand where Kerry stands on critical issues? His war policy is a jumbled mess, especially when viewed through the prism of his 1991 and 1998 positions in Iraq. And his energy, trade, and education positions have diminished into the clean-hands excuse of “Bush didn’t enforce the laws.” Yet, somehow, Bush managed to dupe Kerry over and over again.

When you look at Kerry’s positions, both past and present, there’s really no other conclusion to reach than he took the most politically expedient position at the time and now he can’t square his record. I’m not saying that it’s necessarily wrong: it’s what politicians do. But Senator Splunge really can’t stand tall and define himself a “principled man” when his record tells a different story. No wonder he can’t answer a straight question.
Kerry Vote Watch

As Patsy Cline might sing: “Who’s AWOL Now?” The Senate convened for only two days last week, casting six floor votes in the process. Last week, Kerry had been off the campaign trail to “rest” in Washington and for a moment I thought he might actually do his job. No luck.

Votes cast this session: 0
Voting percentage: 0/14 = 0%
Days worked in the Senate: 0
I was home, watching "The Electric Company"

Mark Steyn is the greatest: "You could hardly ask for a neater precis of the atrophied boomer heart of the Dems than their decision to fight the 2004 election on the oldies station slogan of ''Where were you in '72?''

Sunday, February 15, 2004

President Bush accosted at Daytona by angry crowd

President Bush patiently answers questions from hostile NASCAR drivers about his National Guard service.

Poor guy can't catch a break....
Whoa! The Poliblogger has a new design – happy 2nd birthday, Steven!
An embarrassment of riches

There’s all sorts of good stuff on Kerry today! Mark Steyn quips: “If character is the issue, Bush can relax. And, if doing your bit for national security is the issue, then John Kerry's been Awol for two decades.”

George Will has some questions. The Cracker Barrel Philosopher has the best breakdown of how Senator Splunge must repay the loan against “his” Boston condo before the Donk convention. And, in a “2 good 2 be true” moment: the Sun (UK) screams: “Kerry girl tells all!” (I’ll believe it when I see it).
Two words to scare Democrats that aren’t “gay marriage”

I just got back from my weekend jaunt to Boston and there’s no way to overstate the travesty of the “Big Dig.” As the Dems meet in Beantown in July, the GOP should hammer away that this boondoggle is the pinnacle of Democratic pork, patronage, and poor planning.

We passed through several of the vaunted tunnels, each one with their own toll (I was gouged electronically with Fast Pass!) Still, the traffic was horrendous for a weekend. As we walked over an overpass near the Museum of Science, there was a line of cars at least a mile long at 1 P.M. on a Sunday. And everywhere you look is the eyesore of destruction where they’re tearing down the old highway. The union kickbacks for this project must dwarf even Ted Kennedy’s bar bill.

The Republicans should highlight this long sap on the federal and state budgets as an example of how Democrats handle the taxpayers’ money. Hell, the GOP might even win Massachusetts.
Cool: Iraqi Police nab “Four of Spades”

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Nader’s gonna run!

From the Seattle Times: “Nader candidacy expected

Former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is poised to declare that he will seek the presidency again this year, this time as an independent and despite a vigorous effort by the left to dissuade him, according to friends and associates.

"I think there's very little doubt," said Micah Sifry, author of a book on third-party politics and a longtime Nader watcher. "I think he's going to run."

And today’s my birthday! Hooray!

Friday, February 13, 2004

Happy Valentine's Day!

See you in a couple of days.
More Democratic lies

Tonight, I received a fundraising letter from the DNC (don't ask) that included this line: "Poll after poll shows Bush's numbers plummeting as Democratic candidates take their positive visions of America directly to the people."

As I've noted here and here (and many other places) the Democrats have no positive vision. They are all about Florida, anger, and a red-faced, screamin' Al Gore. Keep that AWOL story alive, boys!
Jay summarizes Krugman’s column today, which is good because I won’t read it. Apparently, he wrote some critical things about President Bush. Huh.
Dueling headlines on Iraqi elections from Solomonia.
John Kerry calls for openness on sex allegations

"We are being tested here," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. "Let's tell the American people we are not going to cover up and we're not going to have a double standard."

Oops! That’s his position on Republican sex scandals. Nevermind...nothing to report here.
America is safer because of a “justified mistake”

A new WashPost poll shows that Bush’s numbers have slumped and “a majority of Americans believe President Bush either lied or deliberately exaggerated evidence that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction in order to justify war.” But here’s a key graf:

While 21 percent said they believe that Bush lied about the threat posed by Iraq, a larger number -- 31 percent -- thought he exaggerated but did not lie. Indeed, six in 10 Americans believed, as Bush did, that Iraq had such weapons.

I think we can dismiss much of that 21% as the Democratic wing that wouldn’t vote for Bush if Osama Bin Laden was captured tomorrow. It’s understandable (although not necessarily forgivable) that Bush over-perceived the threat in Iraq, but to think he deliberately lied is simply slander. As Jonathan Rauch noted in the Atlantic: “The War in Iraq was the Right Mistake to Make,” everybody thought they saw a gun:

A policeman shoots a robber who has killed in the past and who brandishes what seems to be a gun. The gun turns out to be a cellphone. The policeman expects a thorough investigation (and ought to cooperate). In the end, if he is exonerated, it is not because he made no mistake but because his mistake was justified. Reasonable people, facing uncertainty, would have thought they saw a gun.

George W. Bush and the CIA thought they saw a gun. So did French President Jacques Chirac, who last February warned of Iraq's "probable possession of weapons of mass destruction." So did Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, a former Vermont governor, who last February said, "My personal belief is that Saddam may well possess anthrax and chemical weapons. That being the case, he must be disarmed."

If reasonable people thought Saddam possessed forbidden weapons, that was because Saddam sought to give the impression that he possessed them. He may have believed he possessed them. (His fearful and corrupt scientists, Kay hypothesized, may have been running a sham weapons program.) For four years after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Iraq successfully hid its chemical weapons program. When a defector blew the whistle, weapons inspectors were stunned at the extent of Saddam's deception. The Iraqis responded not by coming clean but by redoubling their efforts to obstruct and intimidate—for example, interfering with inspectors' helicopter flights and, at one point, firing a grenade into their headquarters. No one could have failed to conclude that Saddam was hiding the truth.

And what is the end result of, as Rauch puts it, the “justified mistake?” As Charles Krauthammer notes in “The Other Shoe,” we haven’t had another terrorist attack in America, minor or major:

Add to that a forward strategy of attacking not only the terrorists but the states that support them. Maybe al Qaeda does lack the capacity for even simple terrorism on U.S. soil. If so, it speaks well for an administration that, immediately after Sept. 11, designed and carried out a radically new strategy, both offensive and defensive, to fight the war on terror.

It’s impossible to measure the abstract of a free Iraq versus 500+ dead American soldiers. I’d like to think they died to prevent another 9/11, another U.S.S. Cole, another Khobar Towers. I’d also like to think the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein, Libya giving up their weapons, Syria on the ropes, and Al-Qaeda on the run.
Speaking of non-denials: "Journalist Alex was in Kenya last night refusing to comment." Say no more!
The non-denial: I didn't see Imus this morning, but according to the posters on Free Republic, John Kerry was asked about the Drudge Report and he responded: "There's nothing to report."

Update: Matt saw the "undenial" also. Here's Betsy's take: she's not happy with Imus.
Gentlemen, start your search engines: "Alex Polier"

From the UK Sun:

PRESIDENTIAL hopeful John Kerry was branded a “sleazeball” last night by the parents of a young woman he allegedly tried to woo.

Alex Polier, 24, was named as the woman at the centre of a scandal that threatens to damage Democrat Kerry’s bid for the White House.

Not a lot on Google, but the hits all list "Associated Press writer" which fits the description.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

The Wild Card

Election Projection notes: "If she [Teresa Heinz] decides to make a fuss, Kerry will probably implode as Wesley Clark predicted. If she swallows her pride and opts to go along, Kerry can still pull this off."

I don't think anyone, including Teresa, knows what she'll do. If she sticks by past statements, she'll be bolting tomorrow. But I'm sure she's being heavily sedated right about now and various Kerry staffers are urgently whispering: "You can be the First Lady if you just shut up."

What a sad statement on the Democrats and the feminist movement.
Survivor All Stars: Very briefly, how much of a bitch is Alicia? Jenna M. decided to drop out of the game to be with her dying mother and all Alicia can say is "I never would have come to play this game...blah blah blah" Finally, Kathy had to cut her off. Appalling.
The Watchblog called it a week ago! – “Rumor has it that John Kerry (D) is going to be outed by Time Magazine next week for having an affair with a 20 year old woman who remains unknown. The affair supposedly took place intermittently right up to Kerry's Fall 2002 announcement of candidacy.”
Counterintuitive conspiracy theory: Half the blogosphere is blaming Karl Rove and the other half is blaming Chris Lehane. How about this: Kerry knew this allegation would surface and he leaked the story now that he’s the presumptive nominee. The Democrats would have to decide whether to stick with their guy (which could be bad) or shift support to another candidate (which could be worse).

My feeling is that if there’s a kernel of truth to this story, it will be the end of Kerry. Crazy Teresa would divorce him in a second, enforce her pre-nup, and demand that wad of cash back from the mortgaged townhouse. The Democrats, who never really warmed up to Kerry, would flee from the ghost of Clinton into Edwards’ waiting arms.
From the Corner: Teresa on adultery

Her views on marital fidelity: "I don't think I could have coped so well" with a mate's philandering as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has. "I used to say to my husband, my late husband, 'If you ever get something I'll maim you. Not kill you, just maim you.' And we'd laugh, laugh, laugh." Heinz adds that she has never had any reason to suspect either of her husbands. "Not for one day, because what I expect of them, they have a right to expect of me. Maybe I'm into 18-year-olds." At which Heinz's campaign handler, former political journalist Chris Black, cautioned bleakly: "That was a joke."

Good one!
Instapundit: “My one fearless prediction: "JFK" jokes will abound.”

The conspiracy theorists will be attacking Karl Rove any minute now, taking note that this bombshell came just days after Kerry pretty much captured the nomination.

I’ll be keeping a sharp eye out for the Democrats who condemned the disclosure of Dubya’s drunk driving arrest a couple of days before the 2000 election.
Look what happens when I go to lunch

First, on the drive back to work, I heard Rush Limbaugh say that Bill Clinton had called John Edwards urging him to “stay in the race” but no further context was provided. I came back, checked my Sitemeter. Hmmm…a couple of hits from Ryne McClaren. Let’s see what he’s got.


And then, reflexively, a Rick Springfield song parody started playing in my brain:

I wish that she was Kerry’s girl
Where can I find a woman like that

Didn’t I say yesterday that Kerry was toast? Advantage: Viking Pundit!

Extra: The headline at “John Kerry for President? You must be kidding” is “Maybe this blog won’t last as long as we thought” Ha-ha!
Undeniably true quote of the day: “A vote for Kerry is, in effect, a vote for Kennedy, as well as the East-coast elitism that has never successfully governed the country…or understood the world as other than a very contentious faculty meeting that can be calmed with the judicious application of soothing words and the distribution of small perks.”

Dubious quote of the day: "You can't talk about Vietnam every day until November"
John Kerry’s shifting stands

An absolute must read by Jeff Jacoby in today’s Boston Globe: “In the 2004 presidential field, there is a candidate for nearly every point of view. His name is John Kerry.”

Reviewing the bidding, then, Kerry's position is that he voted against a war he was really for and voted for a war he was really against. But the war he was really for he never said he was for at the time. Except when he was writing to voters to say that he was. And that he wasn't.

As noted here repeatedly, the Democrats have picked John Kerry because he’s tall and doesn’t scream at campaign rallies. Jacoby notes: “Massachusetts residents have known this about their junior senator for a long time. Now the rest of the country is going to find out.”
Massachusetts debates gay marriage

There was lots of heated debate last night but no real progress during the Constitutional debate on gay marriage in the Massachusetts legislature. Outside the chambers, some expurgated words were exchanged:

Then the name-calling began. A black teenager in the church group yelled an antigay slur at the man. The man returned fire with a racial slur. "How do you like it?" the man said, as the boy retreated to the back of the group, shocked.

Oof! Never bring a knife to a gun fight.
Angry Dean re-emerges

From the Boston Globe: “Upset at Iowa ads, Dean questions Kerry’s electability” – it looks like Dean is taking the gloves off because disgraced New Jersey senator Robert Torricelli gave cash to a group than ran anti-Dean ads in Iowa:

The website "" first reported that Torricelli, who abandoned his reelection bid five weeks before the 2002 election amid a fund-raising controversy, donated $50,000 in November from his leftover Senate campaign account to Americans for Jobs & Healthcare. The group ran more than $500,000 in ads against Dean this winter. One ad questioned Dean's foreign policy credentials while displaying an image of terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The Kerry campaign responds: “We don’t know nothin’ about nothin’

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Have I mentioned lately that I *heart* Terry McAuliffe?

John Hood in the National Review in “The Democrats’ Dixie Lullaby

Why was it a good thing to wind down the Democrats' national Bush-bashing infomercial/party early for this? And why should party leaders be pleased with a process that, once the voting actually started in Iowa, took a scant few weeks to pick an unexciting, blue-blood left-wing senator from Massachusetts as their standard-bearer?

(Hat tip to Dodd)

Speaking of the Dems: Josh at BushBlog notes that they’ve been having trouble raising soft money. Terry McAuliffe replies: “But look at my office at the brand new DNC headquarters! That’s real teak there!”