PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BLOG! CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION. Monday, November 01, 2004 THE IMMINENT BATTLE: No, I don't mean the election. I mean the attempt to retake Falluja. Allawi is giving clear signals that it could begin this week. Upon it hinges the future of Iraq. Yes, if you read Instapundit, you will believe that everything is going well, or at least well enough that worries are simply a function of ignorance or spin. And then you read this report in Newsweek:
the truth is, neither party is fully reckoning with the reality of Iraq — which is that the insurgents, by most accounts, are winning. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged this privately to friends in recent weeks, Newsweek has learned. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out. "Things are getting really bad," a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government told Newsweek last week. "The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired. They see this as weakness."...
Throughout much of Iraq, but especially in the Sunni Triangle at the heart of the country, U.S. troops are unable to control streets and highways, towns and cities. And allied Iraqi troops are simply not numerous, well trained or trustworthy enough. Attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces are now in the range of 100 a day; casualties among Iraqis are far greater. More than 900 policemen have been killed in the past year, according to the Ministry of the Interior. The Iraqi media have been targeted, too: in just the past three weeks, assassins have killed two Iraqi journalists, both female TV personalities. On Saturday, a car bomb detonated near Al Arabiya TV in Baghdad, killing seven.
Most overseas attention has focused on the 160 or so foreigners who have been kidnapped, many of them representatives of Coalition countries. But militants and criminal gangs have also kidnapped thousands of Iraqis, most of them held for ransom. As a result, Iraqi elites are fleeing by the thousands, many to neighboring Jordan. "Iraq is there for the bandits now. Anyone with the financial ability to do so has left," says Amer Farhan, who departed last summer with his father, Sadeq, a factory owner, and all of their family.
According to Glenn Reynolds, this is all an inevitable downside of an amazingly successful war-plan. Anyone worrying about the conduct of this war "hasn't paid much attention to history, and warfare. Or they're just posturing." Let's just pray that Glenn is right; and that almost every serious piece of reporting out of Iraq is completely off-base. - 3:25:31 AM LEFT, RIGHT, BUSH, KERRY: With traditional labels obsolete, this election throws our politics into a new ideological landscape. My take, now posted opposite.
COULD IT BE ANY CLOSER? Gallup finds a dead heat in its final poll:
Using voting behavior data from previous elections, the Gallup organization attempted to estimate how the undecideds would vote Tuesday. The result was a tie of 49 percent each for Bush and Kerry, with 1 percent for Nader and 1 percent for other candidates. In the history of polling, Gallup has never come out with a tied race in its final pre-election estimate -- just one more footnote for the history books in a history-making campaign.
I hear all sorts of different things - how the Bush internals are looking good, how the Dem GOTV operation is on fire, etc etc. But I doubt anyone really knows how this will turn out. What's clear is that this country is so far reluctant to give an incumbent war-president in a good economy a clear new mandate. I think I know why.
YOUNG, RESTLESS, KERRY VOTERS? A Zogby poll of twenty-something cell-phone users finds a big Kerry lead. Have these people been adequately factored in to the current polls? Who knows? - 3:23:47 AM RED STATES, BLUE STATES, MARRIAGE: We all know which states have stronger marriages, don't we? The ones so keen to "protect" marriage, right? Some data:
The Associated Press, using data supplied by the US Census Bureau, found that the highest divorce rates are to be found in the Bible Belt. The AP report stated that "the divorce rates in these conservative states are roughly 50 percent above the national average of 4.2 per thousand people." The 10 Southern states with some of the highest divorce rates were Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. By comparison nine states in the Northeast were among those with the lowest divorce rates: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
Actually, I do think that one reason the anti-marriage forces in the South are so strong, when it comes to gay couples, is due to classic scapegoating. How much more comforting to believe that the problems of marriage lie with a distant "other" than in the heart of your own neighborhood and culture.
DERBYSHIRE AWARD NOMINEE: "I'm happy to see some of the Church leadership taking a leadership role on this issue. Separation of church from state does not mean separation of state from church. If people of faith (not simply Catholics, but all people of faith) were to let their faith guide their civic duty, this election would be a landslide." - Shannen Coffin, National Review Online. I think that's a pretty transparent assertion that God - everyone's God - wants the Republican to win. But, hey, there are no theocratic tendencies at National Review, are there? - 3:20:41 AM VOTE FOR WEED: Yes, someone can and should.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "The race is enjoined fully. Each man has consolidated his own base. Bush has good leads in the Red States, among investors, and among Republicans, Born Again Christians, Men, and married voters. He is right where he needs to be." - John Zogby, commenting on his poll showing a race deadlocked 48 - 48 nationally.
EMAIL OF THE DAY: "I am sitting here crying after reading your endorsement of Kerry. I have been a faithful reader for a long time. No longer will I have you on my 'Favorites.' I am a 65 year old white, straight female with 4 children, 14 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren. I have told so many of them about you and how much I admired you. That changes now.....I don't have the eloquence or the skill with words that you do and I am so sorry that I can no longer respect your opinion." Don't miss a swathe of responses to the endorsement on the Letters Page. - 3:01:22 AM
Sunday, October 31, 2004 BREAKING FOR KERRY? Check out the new tally on Electoral-Vote.com. Money quote:
It was bound to happen and it happened. Today we have more state polls than there are states. There are 54 new polls in 22 states today. Furthermore, the lead has changed in five states, and all five changes favor Kerry. As a result, Kerry has now passed Bush in the electoral college. If today's results are the final results Wednesday morning, John Kerry will be elected as the 44th President of the United States, with 283 votes in the electoral college to George Bush's 246. But don't count on it. Many of Kerry's leads are razor thin. Counting only the strong + weak states, Bush leads 229 to 196, with 113 electoral votes in the tossup category Kerry's leads in the tossup states mean little to nothing.
Hmmm. But you sure want the polls to breaking your way at this point, no? Despite Osama? Maybe this is a weekend poll problem, favoring the Dems. But this can't be good news for Bush.
MEANWHILE: Here's another piece of analysis from the same corner:
As everyone knows, Bush supports amending the constitution to forbid same sex marriages, although he knows full well that this amendment has zero chance in Congress and will be completely forgotten after the election. The purpose of supporting it was to rally the 4 million evangelicals who didn't vote for him last time. It didn't work. The Los Angeles Times reports that he has less support among evangelicals than he had last time. Like other Americans, they are also concerned about health care, jobs and other issues. That's probably why last week he said it was OK with him if the states allow civil unions. In other words, forget the evangelicals and concentrate on the soccer moms in the Midwest who are fairly tolerant of civil unions. Well, that's politics for you.
What does it profit a man if he win the entire electoral college and yet lose his own soul? And what if he doesn't even win? - 4:24:42 PM BEHIND AL QA QAA: Here's the real issue at stake here. Check out this piece written over a year ago about missing munitions, nuke materials and the like. Now ask yourself: do you want the people who devised this strategy to continue in office? - 3:55:52 PM THE SAME OLD ARGUMENTS I: Well, I guess they don't have any new ones. Glenn Reynolds says no one should have expected a a mistake-free war. But whence this straw man? Who has ever said that? But let's review: a humiliatingly bollixed war rationale, a completely bollixed post-war campaign, a bare chance of getting through the next few months in Iraq without calamity, a clear increase in terrorism within Iraq, the slow loss of most of our allies, and, with Abu Ghraib, the end of our moral high ground. These are "amazing accomplishments"? Yes, I guess they are. When you run the most powerful military in the history of the world, and had plenty of time to prepare, fucking things up this badly is somewhat amazing.
THE SAME OLD ARGUMENTS II: And then my good friend Michael Barone says that all the slime and negative campaigning has come from the Democrats. Has he been asleep for the last several months? Of course, there have been vile, rancid distortions from the Michael Moore wing; and if you read this blog, you will not have missed them. But it wasn't the Kerry campaign that launched a direct attack on the other guy's war-medals; or deployed every anti-gay slur known to man in critical races; or accused those who worried about missing munitions of attacking the troops; or implied that a vote for Kerry would mean a nuke going off in a major city. Both sides have been down and dirty in this campaign. But the sheer viciousness of the anti-Kerry tsunami, unleashed early and often and without cease, was remarkable for its negativity and desperation. Again, people have noticed. That's why a war president with a buoyant economy cannot get outside the margin of error in the closing days. People recognize a negative campaign when they see one. - 3:42:09 PM