Friday, September 17, 2004

Bush is a liar!
Continuing our lying Bush series, let's hear from John Kerry on the subject.
Watch the video, and listen to him carefully.
Then, kindly comment below.
Kerry Still Proud of Trashing Ribbons (Not Medals?) -- Veterans Question Kerry's Trustworthiness

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

What it boils down to
The Burden of Belief
I've declined commenting on the whole CBS memos flap because other bloggers far more knowledgeable than I have already done a more than sufficient job of doing so. Fred Barnes's piece in The Weekly Standard (link above) however, does an equally good job of boiling down to the obvious:
"To accept CBS's insistence the four documents from the early 1970s are authentic, you would have to believe the following:

  1. That the late Jerry Killian, Bush's commanding officer, typed the documents--though his wife says 'he wasn't a typist.'
  2. That Killian kept the documents in his personal files--though his family says he didn't keep files.
  3. That the disputed documents reflect his true (negative) feelings about Bush and a contemporaneous official document he wrote lauding Bush did not.
  4. That he typed the documents on a technically advanced typewriter, an IBM Selectric Composer--though that model has been tested and failed to produce an exact copy of the documents.
  5. That this advanced typewriter, which would have cost $15,000 or so in today's dollars, was used by the Texas National Guard and that Killian had gained the significant expertise needed to operate it.
  6. That Killian was under pressure to whitewash Bush's record from a general who had retired 18 months earlier.
  7. That Killian's superior, Maj. Gen. Bobby Hodges, was right when, sight unseen, he supposedly said the documents were authentic, but wrong when, having actually viewed the documents, he declared them fraudulent.
Now if you can't accept all that, there's another side. To believe the documents are forgeries, you have to believe this:
  1. The documents were typed recently using Microsoft Word, which produces documents that are exact copies of the CBS documents. [In case you don't believe this one, here is an illustration.]
  2. There is no number 2. All you have to believe is number 1."
I've decided to comment on this further, because it adds to a growing feeling I have in my gut: Kerry's campaign has begun damage control for their eventual loss. And I'm not alone in sensing this.

Glenn Reynolds said yesterday: "I take [Kerry's sudden fury over the Assault Weapons Ban's expiration, after his prolonged silence when something might actually have been done about it] as a sign that the Kerry campaign now expects to lose, and has shifted to a rally-the-base mode intended to protect downticket candidates. I could be wrong, of course, but that's how it looks to me."

He also points out that Al Gore's gloves have been removed: "Al Gore's stiff jokes are gone now, replaced by recount jokes. The cautious campaigner of 2000 is gone, too, replaced by a fire-breathing Bush basher."

You may remember that Gore endorsed Dean, the previous "fire-breathing Bush basher." Since Dean's surprise implosion in Iowa, the Kerry campaign has kept Gore quiet. Though he did speak at the July Convention, his rhetoric was noticeably calmer than what we heard from him in the primary months of the campaign. The screaming "He betrayed this country! He played on our fears! He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure, dangerous to our troops -- an adventure that was pre-ordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place" (audio clip available here, the rant begins about 20 seconds in) disappeared for a while. But he's back; his tight leash has been released.

The fact of the matter is, from a strategic standpoint, this is not the way to win elections. The anti-Bushites, the people who do truly support "Anybody but Bush," who, as my friend Robby so aptly described in Friday's Yale Daily News, believe "that the seven horsemen of the Apocalypse will be arriving on Earth if President Bush is re-elected. And that they'll be serving in his cabinet" already support Kerry. They do not need to be stroked. Maybe, maybe, some of them need encouragement to vote, but they certainly don't need to be reminded of why -- they know. Gore's speech, though, does exactly what is not needed, trying to inspire fear of Bush. It's throwaway effort, that in the meantime scares people who don't feel so strongly anti-Bush away from the Dems. They may not vote for Bush, but they certainly won't vote for Kerry.

In closing, I leave you with this bit from Lileks. It's long, but bear me out, because it is precisely the problem I've predicted (over, and over, and over) for Kerry:
"Had another DNC canvasser the other night. Very young. She read from a piece of paper. She wanted my help to defeat Bush, and said that with only 55 days until the election it was clear that the Republicans would stop at nothing and we are out tonight to (squint, doublecheck word) encourage your support. Then she handed the board for me to sign.

'Why?' I asked.

She stared at me. 'Tell me why I should vote for John Kerry,' I said.

'I'm - new at this? And I-' she looked over her shoulder for the other canvasser. 'I had some paper, but I gave it away.'

'Tell me what you believe,' I said. 'Tell me what you feel in your head and heart about John Kerry.'

Whereupon she said that the War in Iraq was wrong and was 'killing all those innocent soldiers,' and someone the other day said that if we didn't elect him Bush would have another 9/11, but she didn't know who said it.

But tell me why I should vote for John Kerry,' I said. Gently, mind you. With a smile.

'I don't know,' she said.

I said I would think about it; I thanked her for her time and closed the door.

I mention this not to prove that DONKS ARE ALL IDIOTS because that's as boring as REPUGS ARE ALL CROOKS or whatever. Yes, everyone on the other side is evil. Noted. I bring this up because it's the third time the DNC has sent a canvasser to my neighborhood who's utterly lost as soon as she gets beyond a talking point. Which means nothing, perhaps; it's a safe district. Send out the newbies to learn on the job."

But that's exactly it: even the old guard have a hard time explaining why John Kerry is a strong candidate. Look at Bush's recent campaign speeches and you'll find that they're split about 50/50 between why he's a good candidate and why Kerry's a bad one. Then look at Kerry's, subtract the stuff about his Vietnam service, which doesn't count (fine, argue with me, but you know I'm right), and you'll find that relatively little of it is based on HIS merit. His platform, maybe; his party, a bit; he's not Bush, the majority. It's not a negative campaign in the traditional sense, but more accurately a campaign with a negative definition. You can't win a Presidential election because you're not the other guy -- it doesn't inspire people, it doesn't turn out the vote, and it doesn't win anyone from the other side or even the middle. It looks, to quote the President yesterday, like "the most tired, pathetic way to campaign for the presidency."

UPDATE [9/14/2004 - 23:16]: I've discovered via Political Wire that there's even more evidence of Kerry's implosion. Slate's political scorecard says that if the election were held today, Bush would win 307 to Kerry's 231. Once you've checked that out, head on over to the Electoral Vote Predictor. Start with yesterday, then move to today. You'll see that yesterday Kerry was up 269 to 233, and today, Bush is up 291 to 238. Additionally, in the "swing" state of Ohio, Bush is leading 52% to 42%.

Giver her a hand
Oprah: A brand new car -- for everybody!
While I find her show boring, I have to admit, Oprah does good things for people who need help. Get this:
"Winfrey said the audience members were chosen because their friends or family had written about their need for a new car. One woman's young son said she drove a car that "looks like she got into a gunfight"; another couple had almost 400,000 miles on their two vehicles.

Making sure the audience was kept in suspense, Winfrey opened the show by calling 11 people onto the stage. She gave each of them a car -- a Pontiac G6.

She then had gift boxes distributed to the rest of the audience and said one of the boxes contained keys to a 12th car. But when everyone opened the boxes, each had a set of keys."

But is she done? No, of course not.

"In other segments on the show, taped Thursday, Winfrey surprised a 20-year-old girl who had spent years in foster care and homeless shelters with a four-year college scholarship, a makeover and $10,000 in clothes. And a family with eight foster children who were going to be kicked out of their house were given $130,000 to buy and repair the home."

Amazing. Simply amazing.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Superficial Dietary Reqs. Trump Legitimate Ones
Yale has made a point of satisfying the dietary desires of a very small minority of students by making organic-only foods available for consumption in every dining hall. OK, I disagree with the decision, but I can abide by it. I think it's silly and unnecessary, but I"ll make do. What I cannot make do with, however, is the fact that they make no allowance for legitimate dietary problems. I am lactose intollerant. Please inform me as to what item on tonight's menu contains no lactose (bearing in mind that cream, cheese, ranch dressing, and butter contain significant amounts of lactose - via YUDS Menu Generator):

  • Cream Of Broccoli Soup
  • Made To Order Quesadillas
  • Cheese Spread & Cuke Sandwich
  • Ranch Style Spareribs
  • Lyonnaise Potatoes
  • Golden Pound Cake

That's right, folks, I can eat the pound cake. But no worries, as long as organic food is available, everything should be fine.

More Evidence Yalies are smarter...
...than their Harvard counterparts. David Brooks's piece in last week's NYT contains this interesting data point: "In the Harvard crowd, Democrats got 96 percent of the dollars. At M.I.T., it was 94 percent. Yale is a beacon of freethinking by comparison; 8 percent of its employee donations went to Republicans. "

Boola Boola.

If this doesn't prove it, I don't know what will
Robert Kagan and Bill Kristol are Taking Flip-Flops Seriously in a piece at the Weekly Standard. They have a nice round-up of Kerry's most notable and most important reversals, with dates, followed by a wonderful explication of why they are so important: "we single out these particular reversals because they are too important to be merely funny or to be chalked up simply to an inability of the Kerry campaign to "hone" its "message." Nor is the real problem simply Kerry's inability to make up his mind. Rather it is that on fundamental matters of war and peace, and on the major strategic and tactical questions that follow from them--such as how many troops to send and how much money to commit to a conflict--John Kerry will not or cannot hold to a position under pressure."

I've decided to repeat a few of the more key quotations here, but still implore you to read the whole piece:

I said at the time I would have preferred if we had given diplomacy a greater opportunity, but I think it was the right decision to disarm Saddam Hussein. And when the president made the decision, I supported him, and I support the fact that we did disarm him.
May 3, 2003
Those who doubted whether Iraq or the world would be better off without Saddam Hussein, and those who believe that we are not safer with his capture, don't have the judgment to be president or the credibility to be elected president.
December 16, 2003
Iraq was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."
September 6, 2004

We should not send more American troops. That would be the worst thing.
September 4, 2003
If it requires more troops... that's what you have to do.
April 18, 2004
I will have a significant reduction in the level of troops.
August 1, 2004
Misters Kristol and Kagan go on to wonder: "If this is how John Kerry behaves during the campaign, how would he react to the real pressures of being president and commander in chief?"
Decide for yourselves, but read the whole article.

You can't get rid of him
Zell Miller has a great piece in today's WSJ that just proves what a phenomenal man he is. You can say he's an angry Democrat, slighted by his own party, and frothing at the mouth for a little revenge, but you'd be entirely wrong. Read this piece and you'll understand that he truly believes what he says, and that he can pull the facts out to back himself up from sun-up to sun-down. He understands clearly what dangers face our country today, and that John Kerry is simply not a man we can trust to face them. I guarantee you that he disagrees with the President on many issues, but, like me, he sees that those problems pale in comparison to the dangers that became so evident three years ago.

The Left also likes to point at the Bush campaign's withdrawl from Senator Miller after his convention speech, and scream "see? Even they think he's a nut!" Well, I think it was a mistake for Bush to run for cover, because Miller has said nothing wrong, nothing inaccurate, and nothing that he has any trouble defending. The fact remains, when he's not using angry rhetoric to make himself heard, the Senator can very easily prove his point with a level head. If you don't believe me, read the piece.