BY JAMES TARANTO
Tuesday, August 17, 2004 4:20 p.m. EDT
Meet Us on the Web
Tomorrow we'll be participating in an online seminar sponsored by the Tom Peters
Co. on the topic of "Presidential Leadership: Rating the Best and the Worst
in the White House." (Sneak preview: We'll mention that you can buy it
from the OpinionJournal
bookstore.) The hourlong presentation runs from noon to 1 p.m. EDT. As we
understand it, you'll log in to see the PowerPoint slides, and you'll phone
in to hear the audio. It's free, and you can register and find more information
Kerry's Identity Crisis
Remember when John Kerry went to the prom and got doused with pig's blood? Oh
wait, sorry, that wasn't Kerry; it was Carrie,
Sissy Spacek's character in the eponymous 1976 film. We regret the error.
The Kerry campaign seems to have made a similar mistake. Bloggers Eugene
Volokh and Robert
Tagorda note that campaign press releases from Jan.
29 and March
24 describe Kerry as a former vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
But although Kerry was a member of the committee until 2000, Volokh and Tagorda
show that he almost certainly never served as vice chairman.
A fellow senator with a similar name did, however. The biography of Bob
Kerrey, now president of New York's New School University, says that he
was the commmittee's vice chairman between 1995 and 1999. Kerrey also, by the
way, served in Vietnam.
Dangers of Normalcy
Time magazine reports on a March 2004 "gathering of terrorism's elite"
in the Pakistani province of Waziristan:
Although some summit participants have been arrested, others are still at
large and are considered very dangerous. At least two are believed to have
done some of the surveillance of targets in New York City and elsewhere that
authorities found out about last month. Some U.S. officials fear that the
meeting may have been a pivotal planning session, much the way a 2000 meeting
in Kuala Lumpur was for the 9/11 attacks. "This was a meeting of a bunch of
cold-blooded killers who are very skilled at what they do and have an intense
desire to inflict an awful lot of pain and suffering on America," says an
official familiar with the summit. A senior counterterrorism official said
analysts are scrutinizing the recent pattern of enemy activity against timelines
of previous attacks. This, he said, has contributed to the worry that at least
some members of a strike team are already in the U.S.
It's been almost three years since terrorists last succeeded in striking on
American soil, but that doesn't mean they aren't trying. Voters would do well
in November to consider how seriously each candidate takes the terrorist threat.
Here's an excerpt from John Kerry's convention
speech that makes us uneasy:
My fellow Americans, this is the most important election of our lifetime.
The stakes are high. We are a nation at war--a global war on terror against
an enemy unlike any we have ever known before. And here at home, wages are
falling, health care costs are rising, and our great middle class is shrinking.
People are working weekends; they're working two jobs, three jobs, and they're
still not getting ahead.
We're told that outsourcing jobs is good for America. We're told that new
jobs that pay $9,000 less than the jobs that have been lost is the best we
can do. They say this is the best economy we've ever had. And they say that
anyone who thinks otherwise is a pessimist. Well, here is our answer: There
is nothing more pessimistic than saying America can't do better.
So there's a pro forma mention of the war before Kerry jumps into what he really
wants to talk about, namely "outsourcing," the latest left-populist
economic fad and the sort of thing politicians could be excused for dwelling
on back before Sept. 11.
Last month, before taking leave to work on the Bush campaign, Peggy
Noonan wrote that she feared John Kerry would win the presidency through
a Hardingesque appeal to "normalcy." Mickey
Kaus subsequently (albeit grudgingly) endorsed Kerry on precisely these
grounds. Normalcy is certainly appealing, but "normalcy" now would
mean a return to the 1990s, when al Qaeda was plotting Sept. 11 and carrying
out various smaller attacks. Real peace, and normalcy, will come only through
Would We Do Without Witnesses?
"Witness: Alleged 9/11 Helper Was Anti-U.S."--headline, Associated
Press, Aug. 17
"British researchers . . . predict that Democratic challenger
John Kerry will oust President George Bush on November 2 because he boasts more
royal connections than his Republican rival," reports London's Guardian:
After months of research into Mr Kerry's ancestry, Burke's Peerage, experts
on British aristocracy, reported yesterday that the Vietnam war veteran
is related to all the royal houses of Europe and can claim kinship with Tsar
Ivan "The Terrible," a previous Emperor of Byzantium and the Shahs of
Burke's director, Harold Brooks-Baker, said Mr Kerry had his mother, Rosemary
Forbes, to thank for most of his royal connections.
"Every maternal blood line of Kerry makes him more royal than any previous
American president," Mr Brooks-Baker said.
"Because of the fact that every presidential candidate with the most royal
genes and chromosomes has always won the November presidential election, the
coming election--based on 42 previous presidents--will go to John Kerry."
We wouldn't place much stock in Brooks-Baker's predictive model, seeing as
how his statement that the royalest candidate "has always won" is
- In 1796 John Adams beat Thomas Jefferson. Four years later Jefferson beat
- In 1824 John Quincy Adams beat Andrew Jackson. Four years later Jackson
- In 1836 Martin Van Buren beat William Henry Harrison. Four years later Harrison
beat Van Buren.
- In 1888 Benjamin Harrison beat Grover Cleveland. Four years later Cleveland
Presumably if, say, Adams had more royal blood than Jefferson in 1796, the
same was true in 1800.
Grove of the New York Daily News, meanwhile, reports that Kerry "flew
his Washington-based hairstylist, Isabelle Goetz, across the country to give
him a camera-ready trim."
Grove continues: "A knowledgeable source told me that the French-born
Goetz . . . caught up with the candidate in Portland [Ore.] on Friday
(after flying commercial, I'm told), trimmed his luxuriant salt-and-pepper locks
and then returned to Washington the same night."
"That's where John Kerry gets his hair cut," our friend Rich Miniter
quipped last week as we strolled through a small city in France. We looked up
at the sign to read the name of the establishment: Nuances Coiffeur.
Leiby, who replaced Grove at the Washington Post, says that in a forthcoming
interview in GQ, Kerry offers some "advice on what to seek in a woman":
"Look for what gets your heart. Someone who excites you, turns you on.
. . . It's a woman who loves being a woman. Who wears her womanhood.
Who knows how to flirt and have fun. Smart. Confident. . . . And
obviously sexy and saucy and challenging."
It's sad to think that some people just marry for money.
The Last Refuge
"Tonight, we have an important message for those who question the patriotism
of Americans who offer a better direction for our country. Before wrapping
themselves in the flag and shutting their eyes and ears to the truth, they
should remember what America is really all about. They should remember the
great idea of freedom for which so many have given their lives. Our purpose
now is to reclaim democracy itself. We are here to affirm that when Americans
stand up and speak their minds and say America can do better, that is not
a challenge to patriotism; it is the heart and soul of patriotism."--John
Kerry, July 29
"When I hear this coming from Dick Cheney, who was a coward, who would not
serve during the Vietnam War, it makes my blood boil."--Sen. Tom
Harkin (D., Iowa), Aug. 16
All the Way to the Bank
Yesterday we published a letter from once Bruce
Kieloch, who defended the "comedic" stylings of Rep. Linda Sanchez,
whose performance we'd earlier panned.
It turns out that Kieloch is not exactly a disinterested observer. He is president
of Kieloch consulting, a Washington-based firm, which, according to OpenSecrets.org,
has received a total of $45,000 from Sanchez's campaign during the 2003-04 campaign
cycle for "consulting" and "fundraising" services. In addition,
the Sanchez campaign paid Kieloch himself $300 for "room rental."
During the 2001-02
cycle the Sanchez campaign also paid Kieloch's firm $6,875.
Her campaign was successful, so we suppose she got her money's worth--but we
hope she's not paying too much to whoever writes her jokes.
Kieloch, meanwhile, wrote us to explain why we received similar letters from
him and Christine Dorr:
I am both Bruce Kieloch and Christine Dorr. Having wrongly thought
my first letter was lost when I was mistakenly logged off my friend Christine
Dorr's computer, I wrote another from my own computer the following Monday.
The first must have somehow been sent "three days later" from Dorr's computer.
There was no letter-writing campaign--just a guy with technical problems.
I appreciate your response to my letter as I do your work in general (albeit
in frequent need of retort).
P.S. Don't you think "South Park" is "unfunnier" than "The Simpsons"?
Actually, we think "The Simpsons" and "South Park" are
both quite funny.
"Torpedo Sinks Phelps' Shot at Spitz Mark"--headline, Press Associated,
of My Birth Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
This "clarification" ran in the Houston Chronicle Saturday: "Today's
Star section includes Julia Child in the birthdays list on page G3. That section
was printed before news of her death was reported Friday morning."
"A man and his two sons have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a
neighbor and then eating parts of his body after he tripped over a woman relative
at a dance," Reuters reports from Manila.
(For an explanation of the "Not Too Brite" series, click here.)
"Police say they are seeing a surge in the number of gang-related attacks
involving machetes," the Associated Press reports from Boston. "The
troubling trend has led some departments to crack down on machetes, and not
just in urban areas. Some suburban communities have also enacted new laws to
ban the knives."
But machetes have their defenders:
Some Hispanic community leaders say the use of machetes in crime has tarnished
the image of a useful tool used to cut sugarcane or clear underbrush.
"For people in El Salvador, the machete is not looked at as a weapon," said
Luis Morales, who grew up in El Salvador. He is now the pastor at the Vida
Real Evangelical Center in Somerville.
Members of Boston's Hispanic community often hang machetes on living room
walls as a reminder of home or gardening.
Some say they are dismayed that the machete is increasing [sic] being seen
"What about baseball bats? They are also used in gang-related attacks. Even
a shoe can be considered a weapon if someone uses it to hit someone else,"
Ah, the agony of the feet!
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Today on OpinionJournal:
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Finnerty: Julia Child combined a Puritan work ethic with a love of life.