Politics: October 2004 Archives


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People keep saying undecideds usually break for the incumbent. Perhaps that's technically true, but there's a few things to keep in mind:

  • In 2000, while Gore was not the incumbent, he represented incumbency to most people, to a large degree, and undecideds broke to him (Bush led by about 4% in polls, going into election day, and Gore had more votes nationwide by 0.5%).
  • We usually have a lot more undecideds, and the number by which undecideds break for the incumbent (about 2/3 to 3/4) is the approximate number undecideds are fewer now than in 2000 (was 7% in 2000, is 3% now).
  • One of the major reasons undecideds break for the challenger is because people decide that they just want change (this is probably why they broke for Gore in 2000, because the felt we did NOT need change), but security concerns changes all that math.
  • We have less reason to grant credibility to the polls this year than any year before, anyway.

Just some random thoughts in my noggin' ... it will be interesting to see the results of polls vs actual results. slashdot.org


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Over and over, Democrats say the President is waging a campaign of fear. Maybe he is, but in what way is Kerry not waging a campaign of fear? His primary message for nearly a year now has been that Bush has made us less safe. Kerry says it every chance he gets.

I seriously don't get this at all.

And not to belabor the point, but jeez, Kerry just keeps lying over and over, mostly about the war, just so he can scare people. He's hammering hard on some idea that Bush mishandled Tora Bora, saying Bin Laden is still at large because we didn't send our troops in and "outsourced" the job to Afghan fighters.

But in December 2001, he said the Tora Bora operation "is having its impact, and it is the best way to protect our troops and sort of minimalize the proximity, if you will. I think we have been doing this pretty effectively, and we should continue to do it that way," and said, "I think our guys are doing a superb job.  I think they've been smart.  I think the administration leadership has done it well.  We're on the right track."

Of course, Kerry's real message is clear: if Bush had done what Kerry now says he should have done, Kerry would be attacking Bush for putting our troops in harm's way instead of relying on the more knowledgable Afghan troops, not "minimalizing" the risk to our troops.

That is, the real message is that anything Bush does is wrong, because Bush does it. And how anyone thinks this message equates to "real leadership" is beyond my understanding. slashdot.org

Electoral Predictions

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For any electoral predictions you see, take four from Kerry and add to Bush, if they are giving New Hampshire to Kerry. New Hampshire is close, and New Hampshire is Red Sox country, and the Red Sox won the World Series, and the man who won two huge games -- one against the Yankees, one against the Cardinals -- while having a torn ankle tendon, blood oozing through his sock while pitching, is campaigning for Bush.

Curt Schilling can't actually walk and go to campaign stops, but he has a recorded message, and this will tip the scales for Bush in New Hampshire.

Some people think this is frivolous, but no, those of you out there who think so really don't understand how deeply us New England natives feel about the Boston Red Sox and winning the World Series. We've been waiting 86 years for this. How we see the world is changing because of it. Most of us thought we would die without seeing it happen. And it happened. And it's like a cloud has been lifted. It's as though New England knows it will never have to huddle through another Nor'easter ever again. Everything has changed.

And this man literally came back from the athletic dead, a sports Frankenstein: his tendon was separated and the doctors sewed it to his skin to keep it from touching anything else, so it wouldn't hurt so much. The reason he can't campaign physically is because he can't walk, and yet in the last two weeks, on this hemmed stick, he pitched 13 innings and gave up only one run. He has surgery this Wednesday, if it is not infected.

He laid everything he had on the line, plus some, and without him, the whole region would still be under The Curse, miserable, despondent: the usual. The biggest crowd probably ever -- for anything -- in New England history came out to celebrate the World Series victory on Saturday. And this hero of it all, Curt Schilling, who came to the team last year specifically to win a championship for us, the fans, is campaigning for Bush in a state too close to call, in the final days.

Mark my word, New Hampshire is Bush's. Maybe Maine, too.

Of course, predictions in many of these states are hard enough on their own that we really don't know who will win. But one thing seems likely: if either candidate wins OH, PA, and FL, it is over, and it is almost over if Kerry wins only one of those three. Our chance of a very close election is if Kerry wins two and Bush wins only one, in which case Curt Schilling becomes the deciding factor, just as he was in the playoffs for the Red Sox.

And one other thing is for sure: we won't need to wait 86 years to find out. Maybe 86 days, though ...

P.S. In the Globe story I linked to, the last line makes it sound like Schilling went back on his word when he agreed to record the messages. It's a lie. Schilling apologized for endorsing Bush on Good Morning, America, which he said was the inappropriate time and place to do it, not that he would be reticent to endorse Bush in other, more appropriate, settings. slashdot.org

Sports and Elections

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Some people think the Red Sox winning the World Series is a sign Kerry will become President. Those people are on drugs. It's not like we haven't had a Democratic President from MA in the last 86 years.

However, what we've never had is an incumbent win when the Redskins lose their last home game before the election, which is scheduled for this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, versus Green Bay. If they win, Bush wins. If they lose, Kerry wins. Or so the story goes.

So, what are the chances the Redskins win?

The Redskins have not won consecutive games since September 2003, when they beat the New England Patriots. The New England Patriots have not lost any games since, rattling off an NFL record 21 in a row. The Redskins are the only team to not win consecutive games during that streak. Talk about a curse.

If the Redskins win, does it mean the Pats lose to the Steelers at 4 p.m., thus making Bush the victor? Or do the Pats have to lose first to enable the Redskins to win consecutive games, meaning the Redskins cannot possibly win on Sunday, since their game is earlier, meaning the election is already over and Kerry has won? slashdot.org


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A lot of people say as one of their main reasons for being against Bush is that, in the words of George Soros, he "doesn't recognize his mistakes."

Yet, Bush has admitted mistakes, in Iraq and elsewhere. And, Bush has said on occasions when he has not mentioned specific mistakes, that he is confident he has made mistakes. So we know it is false to say he does not admit mistakes, that he thinks he makes no mistakes, etc.

This whole thing is a set-up. If Bush admits his mistakes in public, people jump all over him for them. If he doesn't, people jump all over him for it. So he plays the safer political card and doesn't say anything. You may not like it, but you're part of the problem causing it, so shut up.

It's a non-issue. It's pure politics. And what bugs me about it is that people are talking about it like it is something that has relevance, when it is a pure smokescreen. slashdot.org

Back to Real Politics

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I read this in a comment today: A good leader should be able once elected to then be a leader to the whole country. Not just those that voted for him. Simply put considering the recent american election results a democrat should be half repiblican and a republican half democrat BECAUSE THAT IS HOW THE AMERICAN PUBLIC VOTED.

I wouldn't bother mentioning it except that a lot of people believe it. A lot of people believe Bush was obligated to do things the Democrats wanted because the election was so close in 2000.

Ignoring the fact that this goes against our Constitutional system, let's examine what this actually means. You have a leader. He has his beliefs of what is best for the country. You want this leader to, half the time, go AGAINST his beliefs of what is best for the country. This is your definition of a good leader: someone who FOLLOWS what other people think is best for the country, instead of doing what he thinks is best.

Pardon me for saying that this is a load of bunk.

Update: Oh, and many of you might think this is just some idiot on Slashdot saying this. I forgot to mention, this was in the New York Times editorial endorsing Kerry: Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right. slashdot.org

Reformation Day, October 31

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On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked his 95 theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Today, many celebrate "Reformation Day", to honor that day in particular, and all who have stood up against the Catholic Church and its dogma, who were branded heretics, who risked excommunication, who said, "The Catholic Church is wrong, they are corrupt and immoral, and I am here to put a stop to it!"

I recommend this year we give the day a motto: "Honoring Heretics, From Luther to Kerry."

Any recommendations for how we can celebrate? Maybe go trick or treating as John Kerry, carrying theses in one hand and a hammer in another? Things like, "The Pope is correct that the fetus is a life, but incorrect that we should protect that life."

And don't forget to tell your friends! slashdot.org


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John Kerry says he is a devout Catholic, but that he merely disagrees with the Church on certain things.

There's a word for the sort of Catholic who disagrees with the Church on some doctrinal issues, who defines his religion for himself, personally: Protestant. Hand that man a hammer and nail for his theses! slashdot.org

Sunday Thoughts

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Team America was an awesome movie. Go see it. It's extremely crass, smart, and funny. And stay until the end of the credits to hear the bonus song, "You Are Useless, Alec Baldwin."

I think the reason why some film critics hated this movie is because one of its main points is that actors in our society are considered to be far too important.

Hey, if you are voting absentee, don't forget to send in your ballot! slashdot.org

Iraq Did Have WMD

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Some people think Iraq did not have WMD. They are wrong.

The moral of this story is twofold. First, "WMD" is inspecific. We know Iraq had some WMD agents and delivery systems. What is in question is whether they had *significant* programs for *NBC* weaponry (that is, nuclear, biological, chemical): and the answer to that question, by all indications, is No. But that doesn't mean there were no WMD: in fact, there were.

And second, following from the first, don't jump all over people who say Iraq did have WMD. Be specific, and first agree on specifically what you mean by "WMD." NBC weaponry and delivery systems? Significant quantities of material, or significant programs? Simply going by "WMD" is far too vague to draw conclusions from when people use it, without clear context.

Update: You people are all retarded. I make an absoultely accurate point about the fact that WMD does not have a specific meaning to many people, and that therefore a survey must define it for the survey to be valid, and you idiots all attack me for things I never said. Really, screw you. If you are going to intentionally or carelessly attack me over your pet straw men, go the hell somewhere else.

I realize the general rule is that when communication fails this badly, that it is rarely one side that is to blame for it. But I never even came close to saying the things you're accusing me of saying, and further, I continually denied I was saying those things. Yet you morons kept attacking me for them anyway. <cartman>Screw you, I'm going home.</cartman> slashdot.org

Sunday Thoughts

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I went to 61 houses over a few hours on Saturday, asking the people within to vote for Rossi and Bush. We went to mostly "friendlies," houses with people who identified somewhat with the GOP or Bush, because as you've all heard, this election is largely about getting the base out. We had dozens of people in the county going to dozens of precincts, and hopefully it helps.

Wrong Number

I got an automated call asking me to vote for State Senator Don Benton. But I am not in his district. I am about 200 miles from his district. There are at least six districts between his and mine. He should ask for some of his money back, if he's paying by the call.

$200,000? Really?

John Kerry was asked in the second debate, "would you be willing to look directly into the camera and, using simple and unequivocal language, give the American people your solemn pledge not to sign any legislation that will increase the tax burden on families earning less than $200,000 a year during your first term?" Kerry answered, "Absolutely. Yes. Right into the camera. Yes. I am not going to raise taxes."

The problem is that his own economic plan calls for increasing taxes on people who make far less than $200,000: it would "restore (the) top two tax rates," and the second highest tax rate begins at $143,500 for individuals and $174,700 for married couples.

Maybe to Senator Kerry those numbers are close enough, but the people who get stuck in between who he says, and who actually, will get increased taxes probably disagree.

Also, note that Kerry also claims that "middle-class taxes will go down" if he is elected, despite the fact that there is nothing at all in his plan that would lower middle-class taxes. He has some tax credits for children and education, but those do not apply to the middle class specifically, and many in the middle class won't get those cuts at all.

Don't believe what Kerry says about taxes. OK, don't believe what any politician says about taxes, but especially Kerry.

The New York Times Editors are Stupid

The New York Times, in an editorial recently, wrote, "Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right."

This one paragraph just shows how drastically unintelligent the paper's editors are, or how little they think of their readers.

First, Bush was not awarded the Presidency. This is a bald-faced lie, and anyone who believes it should spend more time reading newspapers instead of writing them.

Second, being elected is a mandate, by definition: it is authorization from the electorate to act. He was given a mandate by the people, period, when he was elected. There is no reasonable sense in which was not given a mandate.

Third, and perhaps worst, they imply that if there is a lack of mandate, a representative should therefore act how he thinks people who voted against him want him to act. But an elected official is obligated to act in what he thinks are the best interests of the country, not how he thinks other people want him to act, whether they voted for him or not. That the Times thinks Bush should not do what he thinks is best for the country makes no sense on any level.

Fourth, to imply the right-wing views of the President are "radical" is to say that the majority of the people in this country who agree with most of those views are "radical," which strips the word "radical" of any useful meaning.

Look, like the President, don't like him, whatever. But don't be stupid about it.


A couple of weeks ago, John Edwards was asked a question in the debate about Mary Cheney, Dick Cheney's daughter, who is homosexual. Edwards responded, complimenting the Cheneys. The following week, John Kerry was asked a question about homosexuality, and he responded by bringing up Mary Cheney out of the blue, when she had not been mentioned, and trying to co-opt her feelings to provide his answer.

Mary's parents, Dick and Lynne, complained, as most parents would. Some people have said this anger at Kerry is feigned, but the panelists on The Chris Matthews Show this weekend got it right: pro-gay-rights conservative David Brooks said this is not about homosexuality, but about using the child of an opponent to score political points; moderate Bob Woodward said that there should be a rule in politics that children are off-limits; liberal Chris Matthews agreed. On This Week, Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) said it was a mistake. Pundit after pundit, Democrat after Democrat, have said Kerry made a mistake.

I wasn't going to bring this up, because while Kerry really blew this one -- and in my opinion, the reason he brought her up was to hurt Bush with far-right voters who might be offended at the fact that Mary Cheney is gay -- it's not a big issue in my mind. There are so many more important things to talk about, like, say, the economy and war.

But two things changed my mind. First, Elizabeth Edwards -- wife of John Edwards -- attacked the Cheneys and said she thinks they are ashamed of their daughter. The wife of the VP candidate is not a huge deal, but building on that, this morning on Fox News Sunday, Kerry spokesman Joe Lockhart attacked Lynne Cheney, calling her "intolerant" for saying in response to Kerry's remark, that Kerry "is not a good man." On Meet the Press, Kerry advisor Bob Shrum echoed Lockhart's sentiments.

These people clearly Do Not Get It. They do not get that family is sacred (not in the "protect marriage from gay homosexuals" sense, but in the aforementioned and widely recognized "my family is off-limits to you" sense). They do not get that you don't get to decide if the line has been crossed, only the family does. They do not get that if you cross the line, the mother is going to come after you with her righteous anger, and that you have no defense against it, so you better just shut up and take cover. They do not get that attacking the mother in return is fruitless, because the mother is always right, period.

The Kerry position is that he was not trying to do anything wrong. I think he's lying, but I would be willing to drop it, forget about it, and accept that as a pseudo-apology, if it weren't for the fact that his campaign is continuing to attack the Cheney family, even through this morning. And I wonder what this says about the real family values of the Kerry campaign.

Yes, that's a low blow, but is it not well-deserved?

Other Low Blows

And I wonder if this is not a sign of Kerry's desperation. It's not just the family thing: for example, there was Edwards' recent statement that Kerry would cure diabetes and Alzheimer's and make the lame walk again. He is manipulating people, giving false hope to victims and their families. But what do we expect from a trial lawyer?

Then Kerry said this week that a draft would be more likely under Bush, despite no logical evidence supporting this. He said, well, Bush wants to use the military everywhere, which means we need more troops, which means a draft is more likely. But Kerry is talking about increasing the troop numbers more than Bush would, which necessarily means by Kerry's own logic -- that 'increased troop needs' == 'draft is more likely' -- that a draft is more likely under Kerry, not Bush.

Of course, a draft is not likely under either one. The Pentagon does not want it, the people do not want it, the Congress does not want it, and the Presidential candidates don't want it. There is literally no one with any power who wants it to happen.

Further, the military had hundreds of thousands more volunteers in it a couple decades ago, and there's no reason to think we can't get back to that level if necessary, if there's a real need, without a draft. This is just scare tactics from Kerry.

Not that the Bush campaign hasn't engaged in some scare tactics of their own, most notably the Cheney remark about how another terrorist attack might be more likely with Kerry as President. I didn't interpret it the same way many people did, but most people seemed to.

But if Kerry ever had any high moral ground in this campaign -- which I never believed to begin with -- he's tossed it in the garbage now. slashdot.org


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I've known since the beginning that the guy who runs http://www.electoral-vote.com/ hates Bush. But his hatred is becoming more a part of the daily commentary than ever.

Today, he starts off by saying this country is more polarized than ever, but that he himself is still open-minded, because he respects McCain, Lugar, and Hagel. It just so happens these three men have been critical of the war. Could it be that he respects them not because they are decent and honest guys, but because they have criticized Bush? Naaaaaaaah. (Memo to votemaster: don't be so transparent next time.)

Then he maliciously spreads unsubstantiated rumours about two Republican Senate candidates, Jim Bunning and Tom Coburn. Apparently he forgot what he had just said about polarization (or never really meant it).

Not to leave it at that, he continues to bring up the stupid story about what Bush MIGHT have had under his jacket in the first debate, if anything at all. He makes no mention of the fact that Kerry broke the rules in that debate by bringing something on stage, of course.

And when he does talk about debates, he makes no mention of the fact that Bush has taken the lead since the last debate, and has increased his lead daily. Every other time one of the candidates takes the lead after a major event, he mentions it in context. Here, he treats it as an anomaly, and says he has the lead "for the moment," and questions the pollsters' reliability.

So sad.

I apologize to all the people I've led to this site previously. It's deteriorating rapidly. slashdot.org

Do Me A Favor

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This is a new thought on the previous journal entry.

The next time someone complains about local jobs, taxes, roads, schools, etc., and attacks the President or U.S. Congress, ask them what the name of their state Senator or Representative is.

If they don't know, encourage them to find out, and talk to them about it. As we who read this space know, such things are almost always controlled far more by the local legislators than the U.S. Congress, let alone the President. slashdot.org

Debates Tonight

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A bunch of people on the TV and online said Bush looked bad in the debate tonight. Something about being "testy." I have absolutely no idea where this is coming from. I thought he looked and sounded great. What am I missing? Or maybe it's the media elite not getting it? I am leaning toward the latter ... slashdot.org

My Questions

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I would ask Kerry tonight: "You say you're a hockey fan, so what would you do as President to end the NHL lockout and get the season going again?"

I would expect him to say he would try to get them in the same room and talk. I would want my President to say that it is none of his business as the President, and he would not abuse his power by getting involved in a private dispute, as much as the lockout dismays him.

What questions would you ask the candidates? What answers do you want to hear, or do you expect? slashdot.org


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On CNN yesterday, representatives of the Bush and Kerry campaigns were in Wisconsin or something, talking to voters in a sort of "town hall" format meeting.

One man asked what Bush is going to do about jobs, since his city has the worst unemployment in the state. No one said the most ovious response to this: "well, some city has to have the worst unemployment in the state."

So many people complain about how this policy sucks because it hurts those people, or this candidate sucks because my city has these problems. But everyone has problems, and every policy hurts someone. It's a balance. And if you want a President who actually cares about the problems of every individual and tries to please them all, then you need to stop and think about how that is even possible. Sure, you've got problems, but it is your job to fix them, not the government's, because the government can't fix everyone's problems.

Take outsourcing. Let's assume for the sake of argument what many people think, that outsourcing helps create MORE jobs in the U.S. You lose your job to outsourcing. Do you really want a President who would sacrifice the jobs of many other people so you won't lose yours? If so, you've got issues.

The job of any government is to do what is best overall, and moreso for the President, who is essentially in charge of 300 million people, all with different and conflicting needs. Before you whine about your problems, consider if the solution would hurt even more people. slashdot.org

Revenues vs. Expenditures

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A lot of people call a decrease in revenues -- such as a tax cut -- an expenditure.

These people are either idiots, or liars.

If a business starts selling less product, it doesn't say that they are spending more money, it says they are bringing in less money. But when the government brings in less money, many liars say they are SPENDING MORE money, not bringing in less.

They are twisting the language to suit their own purposes, completely inventing definitions that did not previously exist. It's like when Bush said Kerry voted 350 times for higher taxes, despite knowing full well that some of those votes were actually for tax cuts. Bush was lying then, and the (mostly liberal) people who talk about tax cuts as expenditures are lying now. slashdot.org

Inspections Did Not Work

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People keep saying the fact there were no WMD in Iraq means inspections worked.

This is demonstrably false.

First, we still don't know there were no WMD. That seems likely, but the work is not done. But let's assume for the sake of argument there were none.

So assuming that, we therefore conclude that Iraq was largely disarmed. It had some illegal missiles, and it could not account for everything it had.

But this does not mean inspections worked. Far from it.

The group performing the inspections is called UNMOVIC, the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. The name clues us in to the essential truth: it's not enough to inspect. You have to be able to monitor and verify. You cannot say inspections worked if they've not been verified.

That was the whole justification for war: that Iraq refused to cooperate with the inspectors to verify conclusively that he had no weapons. Blix said several times that Iraq was not fully cooperating in January through March 2003. Some of the times he came back he said they were cooperating more, but they were not fully cooperating, and we therefore could not have confidence they were actually disarmed.

I used this analogy a lot before the war began: a cop tries to apprehend a convicted felon, and tells the felon to take his hands out of his pockets and put them on his head. The felon refuses. What is the cop to do? His partner moves in to grab him, the felon flinches, the cop fires.

Now, some people say we could have verified, we could have gained complete cooperation, given enough time. But this kind of stalling is what UN Resolution 1441 -- approved of unanimously -- was designed to avoid when it said cooperation must be full and immediate.

Kerry himself echoed this sentiment in February 2002, when Chris Matthews asked him if Iraq "can be reduced to a diplomatic problem -- can we get this guy to accept inspections of those weapons of mass destruction potentially and get past a possible war with him?" Kerry responds, "Outside chance, Chris. Could it be done? The answer is yes. He would view himself only as buying time and playing a game, in my judgment. Do we have to go through that process? The answer is yes."

We did go through the process. We went through the UN. We gave him multiple chances over those three months. Hussein bought time, he played a game.

It's unfortunate it came to what it did, but let us be clear: finding out after the fact that there were no WMD does not mean inspections worked, and does not mean we were wrong to act.

Some might think I am trying to justify the war in light of the lack of WMD. But no, I said the same thing before the war. I never believed WMD existed in the couple months leading up to the war (and Powell's UN speech only made me more skeptical): I only believed Iraq was clearly not in compliance and as such we could not know that disarmament had occurred, and must therefore act as though it had not.

Also, I found the real reason for war. slashdot.org


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The Bush campaign had a stroke of genius by putting the vice presidential debate less than a week after the first debate, on foreign policy.

Cheney completely commanded the portion of the debate on Iraq tonight. Edwards came out swinging about how things are going poorly in Iraq, and Cheney pointed out there are many positives. Deflated. Edwards came right back and said Hussein had no connection to 9/11. This was his rebuttal to Cheney's point about how there are positives, and he continued this as his main point in the next question. Cheney said, well, I never said there was any such connection. Deflated.

So now all those people who might have been a bit concerned about US foreign policy direction under Bush after the first debate, see that it is all sane and reasonable and under control after this debate. And therein lies the genius.

The Bush people knew Bush would have problems in that first debate, and by putting Cheney in this position neutralized much of the negative effects on Bush.

Cheney didn't smack down Edwards as much as I thought he might, but he won the day handily. Edwards simply isn't equipped to handle Cheney: he has a tremendous grasp of all the issues, is quick, and neutralizes passion with calm reason.

I did finally listen to the Bush-Kerry debate from Thursday. I watched about 10 minutes of it, listened to the rest. I thought Kerry "scored more points" in debate contest terms, but I thought Bush's arguments were just fine, and I think his case was stronger. Of course, that's largely because I agree with his arguments, but I still think he made a decent case.

That said, Kerry still owned the debate, commanded it. Bush was on the defensive and really didn't score many hits. But Cheney owned Edwards. The big question is whether Bush will handle the next two debates well. I think he will handle the town meeting one better than Kerry by quite a bit, and I think the final debate will be a draw. slashdot.org


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Kerry seems to pride himself on being an internationalist. His spokesman Richard Holbrooke called him an internationalist the other day on the news.

Does an internationalist sneer at countries helping the U.S., by calling these "nations you can buy on eBay" the "coalition of the bribed"?

Is it internationalist for fellow internationalist and ardent supporter Jimmy Carter to describe our allies -- who are actually putting lives and resources on the line -- as "a handful of tiny countries supposedly helping us in Iraq"?

Is it alienating our allies for Bush to assert our own interests, but not for Carter and Kerry to impugn the allies who help us?

And is it internationalist to preach economic protectionism? Do our allies abroad appreciate it when Kerry bashes companies that hire their workers, who turn around and buy our products, and says he wants to increase barriers to those companies?

I am just not sure what an internationalist is anymore! slashdot.org

Global Test

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Kerry is complaining that his words are being misrepresented. I don't think they are. Here is his quote:

"No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded -- and nor would I -- the right to preempt in any way necessary, to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do it in a way that passes the, the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Here's the quote cut down a little bit for clarity:

"No president has ever ceded -- and nor would I -- the right to preempt in any way necessary, to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do it in a way that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people, understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

And here is my best attempt to translate his actual words into something more succinct (leaving out the part about countrymen, because I don't believe it is relevant to the issue at hand). I know I reworded it some. I attempted to stay as faithful to what he actually said as possible, with the goal of making it easier to read. The final points I make are not based on this (they apply just as well to his actual words), but I think it can help us see better what he said:

"No President has ever given up the right to take necessary preemptive military action to protect the USA. I would not, either. However, if you do it, you have to convince the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

Kerry is saying that the President has a right to do it, but that this right comes with a requirement.

Kerry is arguing that because he said he would not cede the right, that therefore you may not interpret the "global test" as a requirement. But that's not true. The President has the right to do lots of things that have preconditions or requirements upon them. And according to Kerry's actual words, the right to take preemptive military action is one of them, and one of those requirements is convincing the world.

Taking his own words, saying that Kerry believes in getting a "permission slip" before acting is perfectly reasonable. Maybe that is not what he meant, but it is what he said. slashdot.org

Sunday Thoughts

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In this space some time ago, I commented about how Kerry's plan to deal with outsourcing. One of the things I mentioned was how Kerry talks about how he wants to discourage outsourcing ... except in one case. In his words:

Promoting America’s competitiveness in a global economy.

Kerry's plan will allow companies to defer the income they earn when they locate production in a foreign country that serves that foreign country's markets. This will ensure American companies can compete in international markets.
That means Kerry is in favor of encouraging outsourcing of jobs that manufacture goods for exportation.

But what I didn't quite notice before was that Kerry spent a whole page in that same "fact sheet" criticizing Bush for "want[ing] to raise taxes on American companies that export products in order to cut taxes for outsourcing." He goes on to talk about how it is horrible to discourage exporting. Which is what Kerry is doing by giving tax breaks for moving those jobs overseas. Which he says is bad for Bush to do. Which is a good thing for Kerry to do.

My head hurts!


I did not see the debates. I've read much of them, and caught a bunch clips. I'll see them eventually, probably. They are on my TiVo, and I downloaded them from iTunes Music Store.

Now, some of what happened struck me. Obviously, I disagree with much of what Kerry said, but when it comes down to it, I just think none of it will matter. If you still have not made up your mind who you're going to vote for, odds are you're not going to remember the specifics of what Kerry said that you liked or didn't like, you'll only remember how you felt, or how the newsman told you to feel.

And therein likes Kerry's problem: he can only work on those people who are undecided. He's going to need almost all of them to beat Bush. Even after he "won" the debates, that doesn't mean people agreed with him: debates are not scored based on which side you agreed with. And most polls show Bush still has the lead on Iraq and terror. It's a step in the right direction for Kerry, but it's hard to see that it's going to be enough.

And now we see why Iraq was the first debate: it's the most difficult one for Bush, and he wanted to get it out of the way. Now, it is the issue he polls the best on, but it is not an issue he has hopes to increase his poll numbers on, and war is somethign no one likes, and he's the one who led us into it.

Meanwhile, there's the economy, which is something Bush has plenty of room to grow on, by showing how the deficit is improving, the economy is growing, and jobs are being created. He doesn't need to sugarcoat the current situation, he can just talk about what is actually happening.

Reaction Shots

I love that the networks decided to not abide by the candidates' rules, and showed candidate reaction shots during the debate. Finally, the networks stood up to the candidates. May this trend continue.

That said, I didn't find this nearly as interesting as what many people said. I heard about how bad Bush looked, and then I saw a Democrat ad supposedly showing all these bad reactions, and I was severly disappointed. They were nothing. I think Democrats are still bitter about Gore's poor performance, and are trying to give Bush a taste of the same, but it wasn't even close to as bad as Gore. And I saw Kerry do some of the same as Bush; maybe Bush did it more, I dunno.

But if the Democoratic ad I saw is representative of the worst of it, then it was not significant in reality. Of course, perception is what matters, which is certainly why the Democrats are trying to make it seem like more than it was. slashdot.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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