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Thursday, September 30, 2004


Posted at 9:15 PM, Pacific


With close to 30,000 visitors in the last hour, I am overwhelmed by e-mail of three types.  First, from the lefties:" You stupid, %$#@* fool,etc. Kerry killed Bush.  The forces of the left are on the march.  We must leave Iraq! We must buy off Kim Jong Il!  We need the approval of the French!"

From spooked Bush-supporters: "Most of the MSM talking heads are saying Kerry won on points!"  True, and some of them are even Bush supporters.  Which is why I watch the debates alone, which leads to a very different conclusion than my days of debate watching in television studios with their pressure of the collective voice pushes you towards "don't be wrong."    So you overanalyze and over-react. MSM talking points thought that Kerry might pull a Gore, which would have finished him off.  He didn't.  He executed an excellent retreat to the left side of his party, and secured 45% in the general election.  Ho-hum. The same folks that declared his Boston salute a brilliant bit of theater are now saying he's back in the race.  Wrong in July, and wrong in September.  Why?

Because as group three notes: "America will never elect a man who believes in (1)"global tests," or (2)that we can't be trusted with 'bunker-busters.'"  Kerry trotted out vintage nuclear freeze thinking tonight, arguing that the United States' development of a new generation of nukes is a bad thing.  No, it is not, because we are a good and responsible country.  End of debate, because Kerry's distrust of our weaponry is really a distrust of our national purpose.  As the president kept saying, it is about the core of the candidates, and at Bush's core is a certainty about America's purpose in the world and its essential goodness.  At Kerry's core, despite many protestations to the contrary, is a deep suspicion of America with its nukes, its weapons, its preemption and its resolve to go it alone if necessary.

There's lots of other parts of Kerry's presentation that will melt tomorrow like a chalk sketch in a thunderstorm.  Selling nuke fuel to Iran?  "Outsourcing" Tora Bora? Here's my favorite e-mail of the night:


Kerry’s comment stating that President Bush “outsourced” the fighting in Tora Bora was a direct slap in the face of all Special Operations soldiers. The whole Afghan campaign is a classic “Unconventional Warfare” scenario. A UW mission is one where teams of Green Berets enter a denied area (Afghanistan) and train a rebel force to overthrow a rogue government. Our Special Forces soldiers in Afghanistan accomplished in weeks, what Alexander the Great and the Soviet Union could not accomplish in years. John Kerry is an idiot.


Former SOTA Team Leader

10th Special Forces Group (Airborne)."

Kerry didn't pull a pratfall, which is a very good thing for the GOP. Bush will be re-elected and Kerry soundly defeated on the basis of their ideas about American power and the conduct of the war.  No excuses about the left's candidate's inability to get the message down. Kerry got it down, and he delivered it, and it will be rejected. Bush's message, by contrast, will be accepted, confirmed, embraced.  The strongest nation in the world is also the best nation in the world, and its voters will not trade in a president certain of that fact for one interested in passing the tests laid down for us by Chirac or Shroeder, or distrustful of our stewardship of nuclear weapons.

So don't turn off the talking heads.  Study them and make notes on the necessity of ignoring the herd.  You came to the right place.  Would I like the president to deliver a better comeback?  Four years ago I would have said yes.  Now I am not so sure. I like him to get the big stuff right.  And he has for nearly four years, and he did again tonight.

Finally, the many compliments on the format I used are appreciated.  Lynne the WebZena designed it, and the kudos go to her.  I just filled in the blanks. Question: Worth doing again?



Posted at 5:45 PM, Pacific, with updates throughout


Overall: Bush gets a big win, by hitting all his messages over and over again. He wins on substance. Biggest mistake by Kerry: "The Global Test."  Sorry, the American voters aren't interested in passing any global tests. Bush stresses steadfastness and resolve.  Kerry firmed up the hard-left vote, but you can't win on this.

Lehrer started poorly, but came on strong.

UPDATE: The FoxNews panel agrees: "Global Test" is the takeaway.  On substance, Kerry wants appeasement of North Korea and Iran, globalization of conflict resolution, and a summit.  Bush wants  to take the war to the terrorists.  Kerry wants meetings.

Bill Kristol thinks Kerry supporters are heartened. I agree.  But so are Bush supporters.  Kristol: "The core of the Bush claim is 9/11, and the world changed, and the Democrats want to go back to 9/10."

The message is simple, says Barnes: Your children will be safer.  Fred's right.  Bush knew what he had to do which is speak the truth about the war and the nature of the struggle.

Spinning is underway everywhere, but tomorrow and for 30+ days I'll be playing the global test clip, because it was the window into Kerry's soul, and Bush immediately rejected it because Bush wants nothing of it.  As I wrote below: Game, set, match.


Presidential Debate Scorecard

Round No.
Camera Shot
do you believe you could do a better job in preventing another 9/11

September 11 changed how America must look at the world."  Taliban gone. Elections coming.  In Iraq, we saw a threat, and after 9/11 we realized we must act before threats fully materialize.  Libya, A.Q. Khan.  "Pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world.


"I can make America safer than President Bush has made us." Better plans here and there.  Go after the finances. Reach out to the Muslim world.  "I know I can do a better job in Iraq." Summit.  Better job of training Iraqi forces.  Didn't answer question. C 
Good question
Election of Sen. Kerry increase the chances of 9/11-like attacks?

Great deflection.  "It isn't going to happen." 10,000,000 registered to vote in Afghanistan


"We also have to be smart, Jim.  And smart means not taking your eye off the target."

List of a few generals.  Weak response.

Osama bin Laden escaped.  Blaming Bush for outsourcing


Cheap shot. Biased question. Kerry got a straightforward question. Bush got one Kerry could have drafted.  
Mistakes Bush made?

Says Kerry declared Saddam was a grave threat.  Nice comeback, "I agree with him" on Kerry's 2003 statement


"Somebody who's been in combat"  Talking points.  Says Afghanistan is going bad


Another biased question, leading Kerry to where he wants to go. Split screen briefly
"What about Senator Kerry's point?" Bin Laden v. Saddam

"We've got the capacity to do both."

Global nature of war.  Staying power. Praises Allawi.


"Iraq was not even close to the center of the war on terror until the president invaded it."

Big mistake.


Another biased question, one that Kerry would want.  Lehrer is four for four. Both Kerry and Bush look quite good.

"He voted to authorize the use of force."  I don't see how you can lead this country if you say wrong war, wrong place...what message does that send."


"We have to be steadfast and resolved, and I am.  We can't leave. But that doesn't mean it was a mistake to take the focus off Osama."


"As president, what would you do, differently to increase the Homeland Security of the U.S.?"

"I hope he gets to how he;s going to pay for all these promises.  My administration has tripled the amount of money that we have spent on Homeland Security."  Facts.  3.1 billion for fire and police.  But the best way to protect this homeland is to be on the offense.  We have to be right 100% of the time, the enemy has to get it right once."

Stumbled on delivery.  Good content


"What kind of mixed message does it send to ...police there, not here, firemen there, not one nickle into tunnels, bridges, subways, bridges.  Containers not inspected.  Cargohold not x-rayed.  More important to this president to give tax cuts to wealthiest Americas..."

A  nice set of charges.

Unbelievable. Does Kerry get any fast balls tonight?  
  Of course we are doing everything to protect America.  I wake up every morning thinking about how to do that. It is hard work.  You'd better have a president who chases these terrorists down and bring 'em to justice." FBI changed its culture? There are 100,000 hours of tape unlistened to. test is not more money, it is everything possible.  Didn't need that tax cut.    
Criteria for bringing troops home?

I want to do so because we have achieved an objective.  When our generals on the ground and Ambassador Negroponte tells me the Iraqis are ready to defend themselves.."

Notes Kerry's six month promise.

  "This is a vital mission..."



My message to the troops is also thank you, but it is also "Help is on the way."  The troops deserve better than they are getting.  Story of "we need you. You gotta help us over there."

Cites Bush 41.  "That's exactly where we find ourselves today.  The only building that was guarded was the oil ministry." Moore's Disease?

"I know what its like to go out on one of those missions..."


Shades of Vietnam, Jim.  Why don't you ask him if he thinks about Lyndon Johnson.  

Help is on the way: Wrong war wrong place. Wrong time.  Not a message a Commander in Chief gives.  $87 billion.  Flip flop.  That's not what a Commander in Chief does.

Home run.


President made a mistake in invading Iraq. 

"Vietnam" mentioned.


You spoke to Congress...How do you ask a man to die for a mistake?

"That's totally absurd."  Nails Kerry on blasting our allies.  "Join us in a grand diversion."

Core convictions keep changing because of politics in America."



"It isn't a mistake."

Huh? He just said it was a mistake.


Halliburton shot.


Finally, a good question, tough.  And Kerry whiffs. Both candidates still speaking well and making their points.
To Bush:What was the miscalculation of conditions.

Rapid victory allowed Baathists to lay down arms and slip away. I am a realist and an optimist, but we cannot win if we send mixed signals to our troops, our friends, and the Iraqi citizens."


North Korea?


Tough but fair question for the president  
To Kerry: You have accused the president of lying. Give us examples.

My opponent just said that Osama used the invasion of Iraq...Osama doesn't get to decide how we defend...Uses Kerry's own words. I wasn't misleading. And uses Kerry's word agains and again.

What is misleading is to say that you can lead and succeed if you keep changing your positions.  Not how Commander in Chiefs act.

Same intelligence. 

A, because Kerry cannot answer this.

You cannot change positions on this war on terror if you change positions.

B. Stumbled on the Osama explanation.

I have never used the harshest word, I'll tell you exactly how.

Yellowcake!  Unbelievable.

The coalition wasn't big enough

The UN was cut short

I have worked with these leaders longer than the president


Tough question for Kerry  
To Bush: Has the war in Iraq been worth the 1,052 lives lost in Iraq

"The hardest part of the job is to know I committed the troops to the mission, and then to comfort the loved ones who lost a son or a daughter or a husband and a wife."  "I told her after we prayed and teared up and laughed some that I thought her husbands sacrifice was noble and worthy, because I understand the stakes of this war on terror."

Was it worth it?  Every life is precious, that's what distinguishes us from the enemy. But I think it is worth it.

Bush has made the "wrong war" comment half a dozen times. He knows this is the doom for the Kerry candidacy.


I understand what the president is talking about because I understand what it means to lose people in combat ...Vietnam again...It is vital for us not to confuse the war with the warriors. That happened before [who did that JFK, in 1971?] 



The Pottery Barn rule?  Yeah, Powell said that years ago.  But this isn't the Pottery Barn

Tough but fair.  The number is just drama from a moderator who isn't supposed to hunt for drama.  
To Kerry: Specifics, time-lines, for ending major US military involvement in Iraq

"There's 100,000 [Iraqi] troops trained. Now my opponent says he is trying to change the dynamics on the ground. Alklawi was here.  My opponent questioned his credibility. You can't change the dynamics on the ground when you do that. nailed the Lockhart"puppet" slam. Very strong.

Bush is very well prepared and confident.


Bad for Kerry: "I didn't say six months, I said six months if..."

Sound bite.

Fallujah?  Heading to the right of the President as RogerLSimon suggested on my show tonight?  Shouldn't have backed off. Bush needs to answer that.

Bad start, good finish.  B-

Fair question, needs a follow up  
Another pre-emptive war?

I would hope never to have to do so again.  But by speaking clearly, sending messages that are clear...Look at Libya...Libya understood. But there's a solemn duty to protect...


In answer to your question, he just said "The enemy attacked us. Saddam didn't attack us.  Al Qaeda attacked us.  We had him cornered, we didn't use the best trained troops in the world, they outsourced the job..."

A from the fever swamps view; a disaster for mosy of the electorate.


Great question  
  To think that another round of resolutions would have caused Saddam to disarm is ludicrous. 35 to 40 countries had a greater capability of making weapons than Saddam Hussein. And while he's gotten diverted, NK, Iran Darfur...    
To Kerry Pre-emptive war?

What's he mean, passes a global test? You take preemptive action in order to protect the American people."

Game, set match.


President always has the right. "But if and when you do it Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the global test..."

The global test?  Prove to the world that you did it for legit reasons?

Disaster. Major disaster.  UN John surfaces.


Great question  
NK/Iran: Diplomacy and sanctions enough

I certainly hope so.  Explains five party process. Firmness on Iran.


We should have given Iran the fuel?

Another disaster.

Misrepresents the North Korean dynamic, which won't last through tomorrow as it

Ais a tissue of lies.

Good questions  
Lehrer: Talks The minute we have bilateral talks.  The breach of the agreement was the highly enriched uranium. We have already sanctioned Iran.  Kerry wants bilateral talks    
Kerry: Darfur


Responds on Iran by noting the sanctions were there long before he got there. Good reply to the bad move by Kerry.I agree it is genocide, and Colin Powell so stated.  Offers some troops.  Takes same position as Kerry.


Back to Iran. Bad form.  Wants more cooperation.  There again he kind of slid by the question. Yes it is a genocide.  We can do this through the African Union provided we give them the logistical support...

"Back door draft taking palce today..."

More fever swamp stuff


Good question.  Neutral.  name the subject and back away. Cameras have been solid throughout.
To Bush: Are there underlying character issues that you believe are serious enough to deny

Bush doesn't take the bait.  Starts with many compliments.  But comes back to changing positions on Iraq. "You cannot lead if you send mixed messages.  Mixed messages send the wrong signals to our troops, to our allies, to the Iraqi citizens. I admire his service, but I just know how this world works, and in the councils of government there must be certainty from the US president."


I appreciate the personal comments the president just made.  Gracious back.  Nice moment.

This issue of is one thing to be certain, but don't be certain and be wrong. Take new facts and change and get the policy right. he's not acknowledging stem cell research global warming etc


  "That's a loaded question.." said Bush. He's right

Agree if you need to shift tactics, but I won't do is change my core values because of politic or because of pressure.  You cannot wilt under that pressure


I have no intention of position has been consistent...

Doesn't make sense.


If you are electeded, what's the single most serious threat

We have increased funding for dealing with nuke proliferation. I agree that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network is the biggest threat.  We began the proliferation security initiative.  60 nations involved. Effective.  We busted A.Q. Khan. A proliferator.  Libya disarmed. 

Continue with missile defenses. We have a robust r&d program. Implementing it quickly. Kerry opposes missile defenses.


On re-ask: Nukes in hands of terrorist enemy

Big mistake to have bilateral talks with NK. China no longer involved. Must have China's leverage,

Nuclear proliferation.  Unsecured nuclear material in Russia. Wrote a book about this.  Is Kerry saying he foresaw the war against the terrorists? Too great a reach.  Demands more money.  Then on to North Korea. Blasts bunker busting nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense? Again, the freeze is back!  The US can't be trusted?  I am going to shut that program down. It is the freeze. How stupid can you be?


On re-ask

The difference between us is North Korea's got more weapons, Iran is moving there. I am going to do it in 4 years

To Bush: Did you misjudge Putin

Not ok to change democratic processes. Need checks and balances.  He's sending a signal to US that perhaps he doesn't believe in checks and balamnces I have told them that. He's also an ally in the war on terror. That's the nature of the enemy which is what Putin understand. "I have a good relations with Vlaidmir, and that's important. I have told him my opinion, and I look forward to discussing it with him. Very important for the president to remidn him of the great benefits of democracy.I will continue working with him over the next four years."

Lehrer" He used the word truth again.

"I am a pretty calm guy. I don't take it personally. I don't hold it against him that he said "grave threat" and I don't go around the country saying he didn't tell the truth.

I watched that transition up close and personal, one of the first senators to go down into the KGB and see reams of files andsee names in them. I regret what's happened in these last months. Mr. Putin now controls all the televisions tatsions.  His oppsoition is being jailed. We always have to stand up for democracy.

Back to China: Just because the president says it can't be done, doesn't mean it can't be done.  We can have thos ebilateral talks and still get China.

Follow-Up: Kerry shifts away from WMD. "incredible mess in Iraq," it is not what the American people thought they were getting

Closing statement

"If America shows uncertainty or weakness in this decade, the world will drift towards tragedy. That will not happen if I am president."

No draft. Stay on offense. We will fight the terroists around the world so we do not have t fight them at home.  No veto on American foreign policy.


We both love this country very much. But we have a different set of conmvictions about making us stronger at home and respected at home. You want to know who can get your kids in Iraq home and get the job done.  To other [parents: Let me look you in the eye and say to you I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president. I am not talking about leaving. I am talking about winning. A plan to win the war on terror. Re-warmed acceptance speech from Boston. 






Posted at 4:40 PM, Pacific


Go to The Belmont Club and read it first, then continue.


Peter Beinart is editor of The New Republic, its TRB columnist,  and a frequent and welcome guest on my radio program.  His most recent TRB, "Speech Impediment," (from the October 11th issue, and available here thanks to Peter) is not up to usual standards of argument, and represents a shrill, illogical, and hyper-partisan attempt to silence critics of John Kerry's vacillation on Iraq. 

The first paragraph:

"This column should not be necessary. A more decent president would not accuse his opponent of assisting terrorists and harming American troops merely because he criticizes U.S. policy.  A more decent conservative movement would call such accusations anti-democratic, rather than mindlessly parroting them, as National Review Online's Jed Babbin did this week. But the president is who he is. And so are his supporters. And so, in response to John Kerry's increased criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq, Bush and his surrogates have essentially accused Democrats of helping insurgents kill American troops."

Additional excerpts from Beinart's column:

"Bush's argument is stupid and repugnant. It's stupid because it involves unsupported assumptions about how Iraqi insurgents think....Maybe hearing Kerry call for a new strategy makes them fear America will fight the war more effectively --which disheartens them."

"The stupidity doesn't end there. Bush surrogates also say Kerry's criticisms demoralize American troops. But once again, the argument could just as easily go the other way.  Perhaps American troops, who are watching attacks multiply and comrades die, find Bush's happy talk demoralizing... .A poll by the publisher of Army Times found that only 56 percent of active-duty troops support Bush's handling of the war.  How can American troops feel demoralized by the Kerry's Iraq criticisms when large numbers of them appear to feel the same way.

"But the biggest problem with the president's latest talking point isn't that it's dumb; it's that it's anti-democratic. When Bush says Kerry's Iraq criticism emboldens America's enemies, he's essentially saying that --for the good of the country-- Kerry should shut up."

First, I have to start with an excellent source on war and national will: General Vo Nguyen Giap:

"Q: Was your Têt offensive in 1968 a failure?

Giap: As far as we're concerned, there's no such thing as a purely military strategy. So it would be wrong to speak of Têt in purely military terms. The offensive was three things at the same time: military, political, and diplomatic. The goal of the war was de-escalation. We were looking to de-escalate the war. Thus, it would have been impossible to separate our political strategy from our military strategy. The truth is that we saw things in their entirety and knew that in the end, we had to de-escalate the war. At that point, the goal of the offensive was to try to de-escalate the war.

Q: And did the de-escalation succeed?

Giap: Your objective in war can either be to wipe out the enemy altogether or to leave their forces partly intact but their will to fight destroyed. It was the American policy to try and escalate the war. Our goal in the '68 offensive was to force them to de-escalate, to break the American will to remain in the wa r....

We did this by confronting them with repeated military, as well as political and diplomatic victories. By bringing the war to practically all the occupied towns, we aimed to show the Americans and the American people that it would be impossible for them to continue with the war. Essentially, that's how we did it."

Once any observer admits that part of war is the effort to destroy the enemy's will to fight, then we have to assume the enemy in Iraq wants to destroy America's will to fight in Iraq. If the enemy sees no progress in that regards, the enemy becomes dispirited, more prone to quit.  But if the enemy sees a vigorous anti-war movement develop in the United States, sees masterful anti-American propaganda gain audience and respectability (Michael Moore at the DNC) and then sees a candidate announce his hope that American troops will be withdrawn from Iraq within his first term, then the enemy takes hope --courage-- and resolves to fight on, to kill and maim and do so again and again in the hope of further eroding the will of the enemy.

Thus Kerry has encouraged the insurgency to shoulder on.  It is not "anti-democratic" to point out that "B" follows "A".  Neither Bush nor Bush supporters have asked Kerry "to shut-up."  On the contrary, I want him to be given a cable channel all to himself: 24/7 Kerry. A strong majority of Americans reject John Kerry's defeatism, his pessimism, his instinct to "cut and run," and that's why he's losing.

Beinart's real complaint is that Bush is winning on the very issue that Beinart believes he should be losing on  -the conduct of the war-- and that Bush's arguments about the effect of Kerry's campaign and of the campaign of his supporters in the fever swamp are heard and believed by a strong majority of the electorate.   This majority believes that Kerry's rhetoric is destructive of troop morale on the ground in Iraq, and does deserve blasting.

The hyperpartisan Beinart can't seem to understand that the Army Times' poll isn't on point. What is on point are the reactions of the troops in Iraq --their morale is what matters. For evidence of what that morale is, Beinart should talk to them, as I did with Colonel Geoff Cooper, USMC, just returned from the theater. Or read the e-mails at TheGreenSide. Or any of the many e-mails posted at this site over the past months.

Peter's went through the looking glass with this line:  "Maybe hearing Kerry call for a new strategy makes them fear America will fight the war more effectively --which disheartens them."   I read it to OpinionJournal's Claudia Rosett, who responded "That would require terrorists dumber than they are."  In short, Peter is making an absurd argument, one so preposterous as to stun readers with its sheer chutzpah.  But the effect is fleeting.  It is followed by laughter.  And then by sadness.  Walter Lippman would have seen right through Kerry to the defeatism he embodied, and denounced it.  So too would have FDR and Truman and the real JFK.  That the editor of the magazine that ought to be carrying that legacy forward is instead devotes his space to neoMcCarthyism  --the charge of "anti-democratic" is nothing but McCarthyism-- aimed at silencing criticism of a candidate who deserves to be criticized is surprising, unfortunate and troubling.

It is a war, not a political game.  Which is why Kerry, and his partisan fans at The New Republic, The New York Times, CBS, and many other bastions of old media, are losing. They can't be trusted to see even the obvious things of 2004, much less distant horizons and far-away challenges of 2005.


Posted at 1:00 AM, Pacific


My column, "On Notice: Jim Lehrer and the rest of old media should know they have to play it straight tonight," argues that Jim Lehrer and MSM are as much on trial tonight as John Kerry is.  This campaign has been harder on old media than it has been on Kerry, and it has been pretty tough on Kerry.  The old rules are gone, and the new rules poorly understood. Best to play it straight, Jim.

Pundidiot has some pretty funny photos.  (Scroll, man, scroll!)

Steve Levy goes Valley Girl at Instapundit:

"What I would really love is if when someone who writes on dead trees criticizes something on computer screens, the knee jerk reaction isn't "No wonder he's griping, he's just a terrified/embittered/envious old media guy." Please."

"Please?"  I repeat: Are there no editors at Newsweek?  The reason the blogosphere routinely kicks the old media around like a tin can is that many of them are lawyers who have been obliged for decades to write to standards of argument enforced by judges with attachments to logic.  Make an argument, Mr. Levy.  Name names and make points.  Just don't sigh and pout and expect to be taken seriously.  It isn't worth our time.   Nick Coleman gets a hall pass for exposure to wind chill factors below -50 degrees.  You don't. (Note to St. Paul Pioneer Press publisher: Hire Ed and Mitch and you will see a circulation spike that you can only dream of. What are you waiting for?  You don't want to sell papers?)

Memo to Rick Brady: You have to post, or you're toast.

Check out A Better Future: A college kid gives me hope for 2040.

E-mailer Wally Waltner sent me to this excellent article on blogs.  Thanks, Wally.



Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Posted at 5:15 PM, Pacific

It is "Secure the Senate" day on the program, and Virginia's Senator George Allen, who is quarterbacking the national effort, encouraged donations to all of the campaigns linked here.  He also pointed to the strong surge being put on by former Army Ranger Tim Michels in Wisconsin. Michels is closing the gap on hyper-liberal Russ Feingold, and you can help keep the heat on by donating here.


Posted at 4:00 PM, Pacific


The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a columnist, Nick Coleman, who, while hardly read at all, does amuse the bloggers of the Northern Alliance. They make much sport of him.  Evidently he has noticed, and just as evidently, someone left the bottle out at the Strib.  Coleman goes on a rant about bloggers today, which includes these priceless graphs:

"Do bloggers have the credentials of real journalists? No. Bloggers are hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world.

Bloggers don't know about anything that happened before they sat down to share their every thought with the moon. Like graffiti artists, they tag the public square -- without editors, correction policies or community standards. And so their tripe is often as vicious as it is vacuous."

I've got fifteen years as a broadcast journalist, ten of those with PBS, and I can say without hesitation that every member of the Northern Alliance of Blogs is far better credentialed and professional than Mr. Coleman and most print journalists who have turned four year degrees and years of being willing to work for extremely low pay into a "calling" and an attitude of privilege and arrogance that would always be amusing were it not so often tragic.  As it is with Mr. Coleman's palpable bitterness.  Hat-tip to Fraters.


Posted at 3:15 PM, Pacific


I missed this last night: We are going to get hearings into Rathergate and related matters.  Put some subpoenas out now, Congressman Barton, so the files don't get cleansed. 

Check out this "balanced" CBS story. Moore's Disease -advanced stage.


Posted at 2:30 PM, Pacific



Click here to donate to John Thune for Senate in South Dakota.

Click here to donate to Lisa Murkowski for Senate in Alaska.

Click here to contribute to Mel Martinez for Senate in Florida.

Click here to contribute to Tom Coburn for Senate in Oklahoma.

Click here to contribute to Richard Burr for Senate in North Carolina.

Click here to contribute to Jim DeMint for Senate in South Carolina.

Click here to contribute to Pete Coors for Senate in Colorado.

Click here to contribute to George Nethercutt for Senate in Washington St.

Click here to donate for Bill Jones for Senate in California.

Give $10, $20, $50 or $100 per candidate and spread the Democrats thin.  Take the 90 minutes it will require. The servers are secure, and the time is now to get the donations in to close strong. If you need motivation, think about the Democrats trying to suppress the ballots of the military serving overseas in Florida in December 2000, or of the filibuster judicial nominees, or of the relentless obstructionism of Tom Daschle, Pat Leahy, Ted Kennedy and Hillary. Dig deep and then dig deeper.

What CBS must consider a Gang of Four --Powerline, LittleGreenFootballs, RatherBiased, and Instapundit-- have been digging again on the CBS side of the road and have unearthed another huge fraud. CBS is being exposed as a serial killer of the truth, and the more people dig, the more horror stories they find.  Now it turns out that CBS actively peddled the already widely lampooned "the draft is coming, the draft is coming" hoax.  Read about it and then go back to the affiliates and demand the obviously out-of-control Dan Rather and his obviously over-the-edge partisan colleagues step down now.

Kerry must actually be rooting for more CBS pratfalls as a sort of decoy for the bloggers.  If they are chasing after the Rather story, they won't be as focused on Kerry's ongoing collapse, right?  Except for RogerLSimon, Polipundit, Ace, INDC Journal, Captain's Quarters, KerrySpot, JustOneMinute, Wizbang, SlantPoint, GalleySlaves, RedState, not to mention thousands of Freepers, Best of the Web and RealClearPolitics.  And 1,000 other blogs looking for a chance to make some news.  Oh.  Did I mention, and the online editions of the New York Post and Washington Times?



Posted at 9:15 AM, Pacific


Secure the Senate day.  All the necessary links here.  Dig deep.

Courtesy of Bud Vesta:

 The Ballad of Dan Rather
(Sung to the tune from the Beverly Hillbillies)

Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Dan,
The documents were fake and he didn't give a damn;
He put 'em on the air, an' he thought he'd done the job,
But up from the web come a howlin' mob.

Blogs, that is.
Web logs.
Checkin' facts.

Well, the first thing you know ol' Dan's a-runnin' fast;
Made a false report an' it bit him in the ass;
He said 'dog-gonnit, I done thought I'd get away!'
But it turned out to be his a-reckonin' day.

Busted, that is.
Mud in the eye.

Well, now it's time to say goodbye to Dan and all his men;
And they would like to shoot you folks for turnin' them in;
You're all invited back next week to watch the Evening News,
And see which correspondent's picked to fill Dan's empty shoes.

Y'all come back, now, hear?

 Very nice, Bud.  Will comeone record and forward an MP3?

Howard Kurtz is slipping on old media ice.  Talk radio and the blogs had Oompa-LoompaGate yesterday, but Howard writes this morning: " I wonder if talk radio will start buzzing about TanScam" this morning.  Gotta read before your write, HK.


Posted at 6:15 AM, Pacific


My WorldNetDaily column is titled "Endgame" and contains all the links to all the U.S. Senate races that need your financial help as we enter the last month of campaigning.  Please visit it and donate as much as you can towards keeping the Senate in responsible hands and increasing the Republican advantage in that body so that the filibusters of judicial nominees can be broken and the obstruction of crucial legislation ended.

Al Gore has an op-ed in the New York Times titled "How to Debate George Bush."  Really.  It is right next to Al Franken's "Building a Radio Empire," Phil Donahue's "Comebacks on Television," and Martha Stewart's "Timing the Market." I haven't read Gore's piece yet --I don't know if I can, actually, as certain levels of absurdity should be avoided-- but I hope it includes:

*Don't get made up like a saloon girl with small pox;

*Don't fidget and sigh like a second grader in time-out;

*Don't make up travel adventures to disaster sites with FEMA directors;

*Don't stalk the president in a way as to alarm the Secret Service;

*Don't suddenly go passive as though you'd been hit by a dart gun containing a paralyzing agent.

*Don't bring up anything with "dingle" in the title.

Those are pretty good starters.

George Soros, the shadowy currency trader who hates George W. Bush is complying with McCain-Feingold and giving a few more million to the anti-Bush fever swamp.  Let's hope the 527s getting the big bucks remain as competent as they have been throughout the campaign to date.  I also have to believe that the American electorate isn't so keen on a billionaire's attempt at buying an election. 

Senator Lightweight had to campaign in New Jersey yesterday --35 days before an election.  That was surely in the Kerry plan coming out of the convention.

No coverage that I can find in the New York Times of Oompa-Loompagate, underscoring that the gatekeepers-without-gates aren't interested in the stories that interest the electorate.  Kerry wants to try and talk tough on terrorism while slamming the Iraq battles that kill terrorists, which would be hard enough given his record of dithering on the issue, but it is practically impossible when the country is tittering at the sunset glow that has appeared overnight on your face.  The old media will cover silly stories like the Crawford, Texas paper endorsing Kerry --which won't even move votes in Crawford-- but studiously ignore the story that swept through American homes and offices yesterday, cementing opinions about Kerry's vanity, inauthenticity, and general campaign clumsiness.

Hate Drudge like you hate a hurricane headed towards Florida, but he makes the weather.  Not covering the storm is just another admission of stubborn elitism leading to irrelevance.  Especially when appearance has actually been a major factor in presidential debates from Nixon's sweat in 1960 to Gore's pancake in 2000. And when Drudge gets picked up by Best of the Web, story penetration is complete.

The Boston Globe provides this helpful paragraph:


"In Washington, meanwhile, campaign senior adviser Michael McCurry and other aides spent yesterday going over a set of post-debate talking points with senators, governors, and Democratic foreign policy advisers who will speak to reporters at the Miami debate site and in local media markets tomorrow night and Friday morning."

In other words, Kerry knew he had won before he knew that he had lost or tied.

This sort of posturing used to work when viewers had a choice of one of four networks, and then one of three morning shows.  The numbers will be huge for FoxNews tomorrow night, and then the blogs and talk radio and cable-land punditry will decide the spin, not Peter Jennings and Bill Schneider.

Even with an expected Kerry win, the dynamics of this race aren't going to change.  It is about the war and how it will be fought, or not fought in Kerry's case. 


"[T]he map is closing in on them," said Bush-Cheney senior strategist Matthew Dowd yesterday:

"Matthew Dowd, chief political strategist for the Bush campaign, was heartened by a new batch of national polls that showed the president ahead by four to six points as he heads into the debate. He also noted that Mr. Bush continued to chase the Kerry campaign out of states that once were considered battlegrounds.

 'We're doing, in almost every place, better than we were doing in 2000,' he said. 'It's why the Kerry campaign has decided they've written off Missouri, they've written off Arizona, they've written off Louisiana.'

 'As of today, they've pulled ads in North Carolina,' he added. 'And so the map is closing in on them, which makes it harder.'"

From the Wall Street Journal this morning (subscription required):


"WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy grew more rapidly this spring than an earlier report suggested, as businesses bulked up their stockpiles and the level of imports flowing into the country turned out to be lower than previously estimated.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that gross domestic product increased during the April-to-June quarter at a 3.3% annual rate, revised upward from an earlier estimated 2.8% advance. That was stronger than the average 3.0% revised reading expected by economists polled by DowJonesNewswires and CNBC."


And this, from KerrySpot, in its entirety, so you won't miss it:



The good news is John Kerry did an interview on Good Morning America, and he was asked about his "I voted for it before I voted against it" comment.

Kerry responded, "No, it wasn’t classic at all. It just was a very inarticulate way of saying something, and I had one of those inarticulate moments late in the evening when I was dead tired in the primaries and I didn't say something very clearly."

Hey, it happens! No big deal. Everybody has made a comment that doesn't make sense late at night... except...

“‘I actually did vote for his $87 billion, before I voted against it,’ he told a group of veterans at a noontime appearance at Marshall University. He went on to explain that he preliminarily backed the request, so long as it was financed not by deficit spending but with a tax surcharge on the wealthy that Bush opposed.”

As Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt suggested, maybe his watch was on Paris time."

What a Gomer Kerry has turned out to be.




Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Posted at 3:20 PM, Pacific


Oompa-LoompaGate:  Kerry campaign officials are blaming "a right wing smear job" for the outbreak of Oompa-Loompa parallels to John Kerry's Clockwork Orange moment. I admit to having played the Oompa Loompa song a few times today, but only after being prompted by the non-partisan Late Late Show.  New lyrics available from BlogsofWar.  An e-mailer suggests it is just Kerry turning colors for the fall.  Another writes that Kerry just wants to declare "Ich bin ein Pumpkiner."  A third says its a play for the Great Pumpkin vote. And finally, one suggests it is just nature's pumpkin cycle:

Blooms and grows in July.
Turns Orange in September.
Carved up in October.

Thrown out in November.

Another theory from WayOffBase.  The first sign of the meme at BlogsforBush.  And more lyrics from Carol Platt Liebau. And a key reference text.


If President Bush showed up looking like a jack-o-lantern tomorrow, would it make the front pages? Do you think Kerry's hue and cry will?  Visit PumpkinPapers for a good look at the "new" John Kerry.


Be sure to visit the's "best blogs" voting and cast ballots for the's The Corner in all categories, except in the category of "Best Political Dirt," where I urge a vote for KerrySpot.


Posted at 3:00 PM, Pacific


Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman on The Big Story with John Gibson today, on why John Kerry is trailing in the polls: "Weakness, vacillation, and pessimism are the last things people want to see."


Pretty simple, really.  Be sure to read Michael Murphy's analysis of the inevitable "Kerry is surging" story.  You can't fall off the floor, so Kerry will indeed tick up, but he can't recover from his disastrous foray into "always sound retreat" land.


The House of Representatives votes on Thursday whether to send a Marriage Protection Amendment to the states for consideration.  The Congressmen on the fence are listed here.  Call and urge one or more of them to defend marriage and vote yes on the amendment.


Posted at 6:20 AM, Pacific


In the mess of a Newsweek column by Steve Levy, commented on below and here by RogerLSimon, there is one attempted insult hurled by Levy which I neglected to comment upon in my rush last night: that bloggers are often "fiercely partisan."

In this charge Levy joins folks like Andrew Sullivan and Peter Beinart who have been tossing the term "partisan" around like a rotten egg for many months.  Time for some clarity: Partisanship is the bedrock of the American republic and has been since at least Jefferson's presidency.  The fellow from Monticello was America's first brass-knuckled partisan, looking for opportunities to impeach Marshall and cheering the treason trial of Burr.  Since then all the greats have been partisans  --Lincoln, TR, FDR.  "partisan" means playing to win in elections.

A small slice of "above-the-fray" posers trot out the term as a sort of sneer at the participants in the process that picks the winners or as a inflated currency spent on their own reputations.  Carville and Begala are partisans which is why they kick Tucker Carlson around the stage every single Crossfire.  The criticism of Rather has been that he's really a partisan pretending to be a ballet dancer, er, "objective" reporter.   I suspect Lehrer of partisanship, but camouflaged much better than Brokaw's or Jennings'.

It is right to complain when partisans lie, but not when they aim to persuade.  Hackery is the domain of the liar, which is why Begala is so often a hack.  Partisans wrestle for advantage, which is why I talk about the GWOT and not the lack of subway services in east Los Angeles.  That doesn't make me a liar about the lack of public transit for an undeserved portion of a great metropolis, but it makes me a smart competitor in politics in a year when the consequences of the election are so stunningly high.

Keep an eye out for the folks slinging around the word "partisan."  It is often a giveaway of hackery of the worst sort --shorthand for an admission of incompetence in the art of argument coupled with an arrogance that say's the speaker doesn't feel the need to persuade, just dictate.

Osama shows up in the ads, as described in this Howard Kurtz WaPo piece:

"Over the weekend, the conservative 527 group Progress for America Voter Fund released a commercial showing disturbing images of bin Laden, Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and terrorist attacks in Russia, Spain and at the World Trade Center. 'Would you trust Kerry against the fanatic killers?' it asked.

The Democratic National Committee responded yesterday with an ad in the same two states -- Iowa and Wisconsin -- that shows the president saying of bin Laden, six days after the Sept. 11 attacks, 'wanted, dead or alive.' Six months later, Bush is seen saying, 'I don't know where he is,' followed by 2004 headlines about bin Laden planning further attacks."


Fine by me. Both ads hit on the key issue --who will conduct the more aggressive war on terror.  Kerry wants to persuade America he's going to find Osama?  Fine.  That's like Jayson Blair applying to write for the Wall Street Journal.

What's really interesting is that the DNC is using Osama's mug.  Such use was what has fueled a thousand faux outrages over the attacks on poor Max Cleland's "patriotism" in 2002.  It has always been nonsense, of course, as anyone who saw the Chambliss ad knows.  Osama's picture is a grabber --an instant signifier that we are talking terrorism and the candidate's record in supporting or opposing aggressive war versus passive war or "law enforcement" technique.  Not only is the DNC ad incredibly stupid --Kerry cannot win on this ground, anywhere, ever-- but it also gives the perfect comeback for the next round of Max Cleland sputterings:  The DNC used Osama in 2004 and the GOP didn't complain about attacks on "Bush's patriotism."


Here we are, 35 days before the election, and all anyone and everyone is talking about is the war on terror.  Given the fact that there are enemy terrorists in the field scheming to kill us in as great a number as possible, that's appropriate.  But it is also a wonderful thing for the GOP generally and Bush specifically.  On every other issue, Kerry has a better chance of changing voters' minds than on the qualifications to lead the GWOT. 

I think I'll play Teddy Kennedy's speech from George Washington University on Sunday again on today's show.  He's the man behind Kerry, and he's for retreat.  So's Kerry.  So's Michael Moore.  So's Howard Dean. So's Pat Leahy.  So's Tom Daschle.  Patty Murray thinks Osama is a road builder.  Barbara Boxer can't be trusted to spell Al Qaeda correctly.  Madeline Albright wants to book a flight to Pyongyang to pick up where she left off.  Sandy Berger wants back in the National Archives.  Jamie Gorelick wants the wall back. is waiting to staff the new Kerry Administration.  Sara Lister for SecDef?

You remember Sara Lister, don't you?  Assistant Secretary for Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs for three years under Clinton. She was forced to resign in 1997, after she launched an attack the United States Marine Corps:

"The Marines are extremists. Wherever you have extremists, you've got some risks of total disconnection with society. And that's a little dangerous....The Marine Corps is -- you know they have all these checkerboard fancy uniforms and stuff, but the Army is sort of muddy boots on the ground."


Does Sara Lister get to come back under Kerry?


The GWOT is getting more complicated, not less, and it isn't the fault of the United States. We aren't breeding terrorists in Iraq, the military is killing them.  And the Boston Globe provides the perfect contrast for understanding this campaign.  Bush's surrogate is Rudy. Kerry's is Teddy:


"Yesterday, the Bush campaign staged a counterattack to Kerry's criticisms over Iraq. Former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani was dispatched to this rural town in southwestern Wisconsin, where Kerry is preparing for the debate, to make the oft-heard Republican argument that Kerry has changed his position on Iraq -- nine times in the last two years, by Giuliani's count.

During a 30-minute news conference with political reporters who cover Kerry, Giuliani portrayed the Democrat as a phony whose views have changed with his poll ratings -- prowar when he was tied or ahead of Bush, "antiwar" now that he is down.

Giuliani also mocked Kerry for having mixed up the names of Red Sox players David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez earlier this summer. 'Some of these things give you a pretty good idea of who's real and who isn't,' Giuliani said. 'I know President Bush, and he may not be a champion debater, like John Kerry, but he sure is real.'

Giuliani also compared Kerry unfavorably with two other senators, Republican John S. McCain and Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, saying those men showed far greater consistency than Kerry in their views on the war.

'John Kerry has changed his position more often than just about any American politician on very important matters of war and peace,' Giuliani said. 'And that's the damaging part -- the truth ultimately ends up being the most damaging thing in politics.'

Separately yesterday, in an interview with MSNBC, Kennedy -- a close Kerry ally and adviser -- accused Vice President Dick Cheney of 'McCarthyism of the first order' when Cheney suggested that the nation would be at greater risk of a terrorist attack if Kerry is elected president. During a speech at George Washington University, too, Kennedy sought to link the turmoil in Iraq with Al Qaeda's interest in obtaining a nuclear weapon.

'A mushroom cloud over any American city is the ultimate nightmare, and the risk is all too real,' Kennedy said. 'The war in Iraq has made the mushroom cloud more likely -- not less likely -- and it should never have happened.'

The Bush campaign hit back swiftly. 'Having Ted Kennedy argue that we are now more vulnerable to nuclear attack just shows how far John Kerry is willing to take his political opportunism and scare tactics,' campaign spokesman Brian Jones said in a statement."


If you missed KerrySpot's "secret plan" scorecard from yesterday, go read it.


Over at RealClearPolitics, the first five columns are on Iraq, by David Ignatius, David Brooks, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Cohen,  and John Podhoretz.  (Note to bean-counters at old media HQ --you might want to buy RCP and rebrand it as your own.  It is read by everyone in the business.)  Here's a quote from each.  Try and match to the author.

A. " But if the security situation is worse than it was six months ago, the political situation is so dramatically improved that it's almost a miracle. In almost every respect, the transition to Iraqi sovereignty has gone better and has had greater success than anyone could have predicted half a year ago."

B."It's simply astounding that in the United States, the home of the greatest and most effective democratic revolution, so many people have come to regard democracy as a luxury-brand vehicle, suited only for the culturally upscale, when it's really a sturdy truck, effective in conditions both rough and smooth."

C."All this solicitude for the welfare of the troops is both touching and a bit late in coming. It would have been the better part of prudence not to have gone to war in the first place. Barring that, it would have been prudent to wait until our traditional allies were as convinced as we were that Iraq was bristling with weapons of mass destruction."


D."Perhaps it takes an outsider -- a Frenchman, even -- to help Americans see the war on terrorism in perspective. Saturated in terrorism alerts and images of violence from Iraq, Americans may miss the essential fact that the terrorists are losing. And because we see this as a war against America, rather than one within Islam, we may miss the real dynamics."


E."What will it take to convince these people that this is not a year, or a time, to be dicking around? Americans are patrolling a front line in Afghanistan, where it would be impossible with 10 times the troop strength to protect all potential voters on Oct. 9 from Taliban/al-Qaida murder and sabotage. We are invited to believe that these hard-pressed soldiers of ours take time off to keep Osama Bin Laden in a secret cave, ready to uncork him when they get a call from Karl Rove? For shame."

Answers: (A)Podhoretz; (B)Brooks; (C)Cohen; (D)Ignatius and (E)Hitchins.  It is a pretty easy test because of the distinctive voices and style of the optimists and the dreary defeatism of Cohen and the almost hilarious "through they eyes of a Frenchman" writing of Ignatius.  (Mr. I: Most Americans know the terrorists are losing.  But they also know they remain deadly. Get out more.)   The polarization in punditry reflects the polarization in politics generally, and the good news is that the writing talent is on the side of the folks who want to press the war forward.

RCP also points to Brendan Miniter's upbeat assessment of the U.S. military's condition after three years of war in OpinionJournal.  Read it all.  Send it to your center-left friends taken in by the "secret plan for a draft" nonsense.

Bill Hobbes brings notice of attempted voter fraud in Nashville (and a nice plug for the book, thank you Mr. Hobbes).  When are the prosecutors going to get serious with this stuff and make an example out of higher-ups in an organization promoting fraud?


Finally, read The Belmont Club on Iran's nuclear ambition.  It will be good to get past the election so that the country and the world can focus on this most dangerous threat.



Monday, September 27,2004


Posted at 6:40 PM, Pacific


I don't know who Steven Levy is, and have never seen a column by him before. But he has one in Newsweek today that Instapundit pointed me towards.   Here's a howler of a paragraph:

"While bloggers have been true to their promise to 'fact-check Big Media's a--,' their motives are often fiercely partisan. Name-calling and intolerance of opposing points of view have reached epidemic levels on Web logs. And when it comes to hammering away on a noisy subject that ultimately distracts from more important issues, the Blogosphere can make cable television look like a 1950s debating society. Judging by its dominance in the blog world (I'm talking about the civic sector here, not the countless blogs on other topics or people's personal lives), you'd think that Rathergate was bigger than Watergate, Iraq and Britney's putative wedding combined."

That is just plain stupid. Rathergate was a big story, but no serious blogger compares it to the GWOT --that means global war on terrorism, Mr. Levy. So right away we know we are dealing with a straw-man builder and not a serious analyst. A give-away he confirms in the next graph:

"True, there are indeed constructive, thoughtful Web-log commentators online. But they don't draw crowds like Glenn Reynolds."

yeah, I guess that nanotechnology stuff is really rabid partisanship run wild.  Oh, that's not what's bothering him? "[Reynolds] relentlessly flogged the question of whether John Kerry's boat was actually in Cambodian waters on Christmas Eve, 1968, as the candidate claimed."

This is unglued on two fronts.  "Relentlessly" would be, well, relentless, right?  But you go find the most recent post by Glenn on the subject.  I couldn't do so.  More to the point, Levy is apparently ok with a serial fantasizer as Commander-in-Chief.  That's his choice.  But it is a legitimate, and apparently majoritarian point of view, to be disturbed by "seared, seared" memories that didn't occur. Levy's belief in the superiority of his own point of view --as opposed to an argument as to why his point of view is superior-- is another giveaway of an elitist --in attitude if not accomplishment-- uncomfortable with the hard business of persuasion.  Authoritarian hierarchies are so much easier to deal with.

Then this:

"In his book 'We the Media,' San Jose Mercury News columnist Dan Gillmor claimed that blogs could enable 'the rise of the citizen journalist.' Bloggers, he said, had the power to mitigate the tyranny of media giants who no longer serve the needs of the people. But when I called Gillmor last week to ask what he thought of the invectives, partisanship and fixation on ultimately trivial issues in the face of a crucial election, there was a long silence before he said, 'I'm not going to disagree.'"

Look, maybe Gillmor just didn't want to deal with a bonehead, and if the question was put that way --"invectives, partisanship and fixation on ultimately trivial issues"-- why bother answering? Levy didn't call to get an opinion. He called for the columnist's equivalent of comfort food. Geez, don't they have editors at Newsweek? "Hey, Levy," a real editor might have asked, "why don't you call someone who will hand you your head on a plate?  Try those Powerline guys. They made short work of arrogance in suspenders when Boyd tried this tripe."

There's no bitterness in the conclusion that "the Blogosphere is looking more and more like a nation of ankle-biters," is there?  Alan Nelson, who I was pleased to blog alongside of at both the DNC and RNC, posted a comment of mine from the DNC last night on a thread at A Small Victory, which I am glad he overheard and reproduced:

"While at the DNC Hewitt and I were entertaining some MSM reporter types up in Bloggers’ Roost when Hugh so succinctly summarized the tenor Klam projects:

MSM Reporter: “How do you explain the way the mainstream press is treating bloggers?”
Hewitt: “I understand jealousy.”

I laughed off my chair.

Posted by Alan on September 26, 2004 08:54 PM"

Too many MSM-types like Levy are sounding aggrieved these days not to finger envy as the culprit.  And maybe ruin.  Like old Russian nobility floating around Europe after 1917, everything is gone, including their prospects of a cushy life spent reviewing the work of the serfs.

It's called the marketplace of ideas, Steve, and the ideas you don't like aren't delegitimized because you think them inferior to other ideas you do like. Rathergate was a media-establishment-shaking expose of fraud and corruption that even CBS now recognizes as well as other MSM, even if you don't. The Swift Boat Vets brought to light a string of misrepresentations so damning that Kerry hasn't held an on-camera interview with a journalist since August 1 for fear the magic hat will be brought up.  Get a clue, because it is embarrassing to have to watch another MSM scribbler whine about tone and partisanship when in fact the sound that comes through is a complaint that your guy is tanking.

A final point.  In a column complaining about snarkiness, what's with the "ankle-biter stuff"?  It is lame as invective, but it is invective nonetheless. Are we to think that invective, like accuracy, is reserved for the old elites? Inaccuracy, hypocrisy and jealousy, all in one column.  Levy gets a hat trick, though not of the sort any center-right blogger would like to score.


Posted at 5:40 PM, Pacific


President Bush's interview with Bill O'Reilly tonight was a great exchange.  O'Reilly asked pointed questions --tough questions.  The president answered them with confidence and conviction. 

This contrasts with Kerry who has not sat for an extended interview, or even a short interview, on camera with a journalist since August 1.  Kerry cannot do so because he cannot answerer the questions without colliding with himself.  So its Letterman, Dr. Phil and Jon Stewart. Some Commander-in-Chief, who won't even risk a meeting with Bill O'Reilly.

"[Kerry's] habit of soliciting one more point of view prompted one close adviser to say he had learned to wait until the last minute before weighing in: Mr. Kerry, he said, is apt to be most influenced by the last person who has his ear. His aides rejoiced earlier this year when Mr. Kerry yielded his cell phone to an aide, a move they hoped would limit his seeking out contrary opinions."

--Sunday's New York Times on John Kerry.

The last person to talk to Kerry will usually be Theresa or Teddy Kennedy.  Really.  So be sure to read what Teddy had to say at George Washington University yesterday.  Kerry's collapse must be across the board to allow the aging lion of the incoherent left to come out and growl.  Kennedy is Kerry's mentor.  Kennedy will be the decisive voice on foreign affairs. America is fully warned as to what that means by reading through the remarks Kennedy gave yesterday.

Finally, look at this chart from the WashingtonPost/ABC poll today:

If the 2004 presidential election were being held today, would you vote for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the Republicans, John Kerry and John Edwards, the Democrats, or Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo, the independents? (registered voters)
Responses by Age Group
18-30 31-44 45-60 61+ All
Bush and Cheney 53% 50% 53% 48% 51%
Kerry and Edwards 41% 44% 43% 45% 44%
Nader and Camejo 2% 1% 2% 2% 2%
(VOL) Other 1% 1% 0% 0% 1%
(VOL) Neither 0% 2% 1% 1% 1%
(VOL) Would not vote 0% 0% 1% 0% 0%
DK/No opinion 3% 1% 1% 4% 2%

Then look at the favorable/unfavorable rating for Kerry. Overall: Favorable 37%.  Unfavorable 42%.

I discussed both of these numbers with Michael Barone on the program tonight. Barone could not think of a candidate with this sort of unfavorable number who went on to win. And he noted the president's spectacular turn-around in the 18-30 year old demographic.  Why such a high unfavorable number, I asked. Barone directed the audience to the old Ed Koch reply to why people didn't like Bella Abzug: "Because they know her."   Ouch.  True, but ouch.

My theory about the turnaround among the young --which is close to a 30 point swing over a couple of months: That age group can smell a fraud 3,000 miles away. they are cynical as possible about marketing and ploys etc.  They have taken the measure of John Kerry and judged him a poser.  Bush by contrast, like him or not, is authentic.   





Posted at 12:00 PM Pacific

On Friday we debated with Assemblyman John Campbell whether or not his tie was exceptional or ugly as dirt. We report and you decide on the usually dapper John Campbell. You can Email me and John with your comments. If you are interested in sending John your ugliest tie as a replacement for this one, you can do so via Assemblyman John Campbell, The State Capitol, Sacramento, California.






Posted at 5:30 AM, Pacific


I ask you not to go to Lileks until you have got to the bottom of the post, or you will never return.  It is like dessert.  Don't eat dessert first.


Hedgehog and Polipundit have the latest polls.  RealClearPolitics does the averages.  ElectionProjection puts the Electoral College split at Bush 295, Kerry 243.  Dale's Electoral College Breakdown has Bush at 291, Kerry 238.  Kerry's cratering in the Iowa Electronics Market.

Add it all up and there is tremendous pressure on Kerry to break Bush's momentum at the first debate Thursday night.  Which means a stunt of some sort.  Taegan's Political Wire asked James Fallows to give advice to Jim Lehrer.  Fallows responds with weak tea that includes a predictable slam at Bush.  Fallows has PBS perfect pitch, and that's we'll get from Lehrer on Thursday night --weak tea, but slanted Kerry.  When Kerry tries a stunt and Lehrer let's it pass or abets it, watch the blogosphere turn on Lehrer and the PBS brand he carries.  As I wrote yesterday, this is the first debate to be blogged, and Lehrer could be next week's Dan Rather with any sort of performance that smacks of a Kerry bias.  The vulnerability of the PBS "network" to internet activism is huge, given the overwhelming importance of a handful of stations that must be responsive to public outrage because of the ever-present fundraising appeals.

The spinning of debate expectations is fun to watch, but despite McAuliffe's clownishness, Kerry has a clear expectations hurdle to clear after four years of fever swamp attacks on the president's intelligence.

N.Z.Bear listens to the Northern Alliance.  Do you think Jim Lehrer has a clue as to what either of those terms means?  Advice to Lehrer:  Ask the candidates what they think of the milblogs reporting from Iraq.  Michael Novak provides a cheat sheet, and my WeeklyStandard piece from March provides some history.  (Michael Novak's willingness to blog at The Corner demonstrates again why he is among the nation's leading brains.  Like Michael Barone, Mark Steyn, Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes, he's another big player from old media who figured out the power of the new media and dove in.  David Broder is still out there grumbling about the Swift Boat Vets and ignoring Christmas-not-in-Cambodia.  Maybe there's a role for him in Left Behind 2.)

"Best I can tell, the only two people in America who think things are going well [in Iraq] are George Bush and Dick Cheney," Edwards said.

That's from this Washington Post story on Kerry-Edwards decision to go after the president's carrier landing.  Edwards hasn't been talking to the troops who have just returned, as I did on air with USMC Colonel Geoff Cooper last week.  Cooper  wouldn't talk politics, of course, but he's quite proud of the work his Marines did in Iraq.  So are the overwhelming majority of Americans who served in Iraq, both in its liberation and now in its reconstruction.  And their families.  And their friends.  And their admirers.  The president is right to stick to his guns, and Kerry-Edwards are trapped again in denigrating a great achievement, just as Kerry denigrated Allawi last week.

But Kerry is in desperate political condition.  He can't be a "responsible"opponent because he had to feed the fever swamp left at NYU last week.  So this is where he is today, via the New York Times:


"Mr. Kerry, arriving in Wisconsin on Sunday for four days of debate preparation, declared that Mr. Bush had misled the nation about the severity of the situation in Iraq. 'He owes the American people the truth and he owes the troops the truth,' he said.

A senior Kerry adviser, Joe Lockhart, laid out what Democrats said would most likely be another major theme for Mr. Kerry leading up to the debate, as he accused Mr. Bush of 'using the war on terror as a political tool and a political weapon' in seeking to silence dissent."

Kerry seems fated to try this stuff out on Thursday night, and while Michael Moore will cheer, the wide center of the political spectrum will conclude --rightly-- that Kerry's off the balance beam, a conclusion they have been moving toward for quite some time.   It doesn't help to have Kerry supporters provide money quotes like "'I voted for Nader, and I wound up with an imperialist nightmare,' said Skip Clarke, a 32-year-old computer programmer," in a Los Angeles Times story on Oregon slipping away from Kerry

Read the Boston Globe's story on the Kerry campaign that begins with these two paragraphs:

"The perception of a Democratic presidential campaign in disarray remained so widespread Wednesday morning that Senator John F. Kerry got unsolicited advice from a woman attending a town hall meeting on Social Security: Beef up your rapid-response team, the retired lawyer suggested.

The remark prompted laughter, including from the candidate himself. But the Kerry campaign was already undergoing a transformation."

Thus begins the long-anticipated "He's turned it around" campaign from friendlies in the media, which will morph into "Kerry's a strong closer" after the first and second debate.  The storyline is already set.  In a hilarious quote from perennial loser Mark Green, the talking point is read out:

'''John Kerry turned his boat into the ambush of Iraq today,' Mark Green, the Democrats' mayoral candidate in New York in 2001, said after Monday's speech at New York University, evoking the image of Kerry steering his Vietnam War swift boat into enemy gunfire. 'History's verdict is in on this war, but the public hasn't heard that because of all the static and noise from the Republicans.'"

It is still all about Vietnam for Kerry and his surrogates!  Will Kerry dare bring up Vietnam in the debate Thursday night?  Please God.  It will be a Saturday Night Live moment without Saturday Night Live: the candidate as caricature all on his own.

Don't miss The Fourth Rail and The Belmont Club on the implications of the strike on the Hamas leader in Damascus.  The GWOT goes on even as Senator John Forbes Ditherer harangues the academic left.

Finally, would someone send me a pointer to Wall Street analysts' assessment of the stock price future of old media, newspaper-heavy publicly traded companies.  Are these analysts factoring in the blogosphere's impact on subscriptions?  If not, why not?  My guess is that the National Journal's wildly expensive Hotline is doomed to either drastically lower its price point or fold given the availability of free blogs with faster, more comprehensive coverage, and while newspapers will lumber on, my e-mail over the weekend carried many tales of dropped subscriptions and fundamentally altered paper-buying habits.  The best analysts will have studied this,and I'd like to see where they think it heads.

BTW: ProfessorBainbridge has spun off ProfessorBainbridgeonWine, which is a shrewd blog-ad move for sure, if only he'd put them up.  The color scheme is sure to repel Trojans though.

What next?  Will Instapundit start InstapunditCamerasLileks on Hummels and PeepsSequinShop, of course.  I am considering HewittTravelAdventures.

Speaking of Lileks, savor this from today's Bleat:

"But I did want to say something about that silly NYT piece about blogging. All I needed to know I learned from the cover. Doing a story on blogging and putting Wonkette on the cover is like using Janine Garafalo to illustrate a story about the power of talk radio. Sure, Limbaugh has better numbers, but what’s more compelling? A story about someone who attracts 20 million uninteresting people, or someone who attracts 100,000 people who are Just Like Us?"

Heh.  But that's not the best part.  Read it all, and picture the poor reader whom it accurately describes.  And imagine the response --secret, of course-- among the editors of the magazine, all of whom will have read this by noon.  I hope Jim Lehrer reads it, as it is another warning.  They'll pretend they haven't, or if they have, that they don't care.  Heh again.  The talent's on the other side.  E.B. White's gone and Tina Brown's still around.  The Cimbri aren't coming. They are already inside the penthouse.  And they are laughing. 



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