Friday, October 29, 2004

On the road to victory...
I'm off to New Hampshire at around 7 PM Eastern, and before that I have a Bush Rally to attend here at Yale. I'll be up in Manchester until late Sunday night, so expect sparse blogging until then. I have located several free wireless hotspots in Manchester, and I will be bringing my laptop, so you will likely hear from me at some point. In the meantime, be sure to check back to see my election predictions.

And the undecided goes to...
Jane Galt offers an extremely comprehensive view of the two candidates, in her process of sorting out which one has won her support. If you remain undecided, I highly recommend you read the whole thing. So what does she decide? (Spoiler alert: I am about to reveal her last two paragraphs. I recommend you read her entire post before reading these two paragraphs) This:

"Ultimately, I've decided to take the advice of a friend's grandmother, who told me, on her wedding day, that I should never, ever marry a man thinking he'd change. 'If you can't live with him exactly the way he is,' she told me, 'then don't marry him, because he'll say he's going to change, and he might even try to change, but it's one in a million that he actually will.'

Kerry's record for the first fifteen years in the senate, before he knew what he needed to say in order to get elected, is not the record of anyone I want within spitting distance of the White House war room. Combine that with his deficits on domestic policy -- Kerry's health care plan would, in my opinon, kill far more people, and cost more, than the Iraq war ever will -- and it's finally clear. For all the administration's screw -ups -- and there have been many -- I'm sticking with the devil I know. George Bush in 2004."

Something interesting is happening...
The Weekly Standard has a story today about a meeting conducted by Matthew Dowd, Bush's chief strategist. He says a lot of interesting things, including what I've suggested recently about Bush not trying to appeal to swing voters. But here's the bit that grabbed me: "Trying to avoid any questions on the potential for legal wrangling post-election, Dowd said he expected the election to be decided on Election Night. He also didn't talk much about Ohio or Pennsylvania, which he said was 'dead even.' Instead, he placed emphasis on Michigan, a state to which both Bush and Gore devoted little time and resources four years ago. 'Residents in traditionally Democratic areas [in Michigan] are slowly considering themselves Republicans,' Dowd explained. 'If we win in Michigan, Senator Kerry can't win the White House--that's a reality,' he later added."

I found that really interesting when I read it late last night, because I hadn't heard much of anything about Michigan, and I hadn't expected it to be in play. But sure enough, I look at the Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 for today, and discover that Michigan has been moved into the "Barely Bush" column. Who would've thought that possible except Matthew Dowd?

UPDATE [10/29/2004 - 15:01]: While scanning Real Clear Politics, I came across the following:
Bush J[ob] A[pproval]: 50.2 Approve/46.8 Disapprove
Fav/Unfav: Bush: 52/45 | Kerry: 51/46


People have long been saying that Bush had to be at 50% by election day in order to win. Well, it seems like he may be doing just that. All EC polling data I've seen suggests Bush is trending upward, and his approval ratings are also trending upward. Kerry is not necessarily falling back, but he has reached a plateau. As I said earlier, I will make my final predictions on Sunday night, but this information will certainly factor in.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Election Predictions
The staff of The Weekly Standard release their Election Predictions. I want to wait and see what I experience in New Hampshire this weekend before I make my own prediction. So, check back here Sunday night, and you will know what I expect to happen.

Yet another interview
It's apparently becoming fashionable to interview me. Now this, from my friend Justine Isola, who is writing for OpenDemocracy.net, a non-partisan organization that seeks to provide both sides of debate in the hopes of creating a better debate.

Gotta love Schilling
Kerry, Bush congratulate Red Sox, Kerry celebrates as a fan (Hat tip: James): "Boston pitcher Curt Schilling, interviewed on ABC's 'Good Morning America,' said, 'Tell everybody to vote. And vote Bush next week.'
Bush congratulated the team's owner and president by phone - and thanked Schilling for his support.
The Red Sox pitcher will appear with Bush on Friday at stops in New Hampshire, according to the campaign."


Awesome. In New Hampshire, Schilling's siding with Bush could win a lot of votes, especially after the several ways Kerry has shown himself to be a phoney Sox fan.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

You cowboyed up, men - Great job
Congratulations to my Red Sox, and my fellow fans.

The curse of the Babe is dead. After 86 years, the Red Sox became the first team in baseball history to win a best of seven series after being down 3 games. They then went on to sweep the Cardinals in four games, on the night of a lunar eclipse.

The curse is over. We've kept the faith, and we are proud of our team.

My grandfather was born in 1919. He died in 1994. When I was in about 3rd grade, I was a Yankees fan. My grandfather came up to me and said "enough of this." He explained to me the curse of the babe, and how long it had been since the Red Sox had won a series. He told me that he didn't think he'd live to see it happen, and that it was my job to carry on the faith, to see them win a World Series. Tonight, that happened. I know he is smiling down on me from heaven. I miss him, and I'm proud to have this moment thanks to him.

I could not be prouder of my boys. Cowboy Up, baby, round two next year!!!

Going into Rush-mode
Ok, folks, this is it. The mainstream Press (thus far consisting of NBC, CBS, and NYT in particular, but also loosely associated with CNN and MSNBC) have officially revealed themselves as partisan. Not only did CBS plan an 11th hour report designed to hurt Bush, not only did they get upset when the NYT reported it early, but making assumptions against the President, without any effort to keep the story balanced. NBC news reported after the fact that when US forces arrived at Al Qa Qaa, they did not find the weapons in question, begging the question, how can the US be expected to guard something that is gone before they get there? More importantly, how can you blame the President for a failure to do that? If anything, the Left is to blame for forcing whatever delay in starting the war that they may have caused. Maybe if we'd gotten there earlier?

But now they've changed their story, using semantics to destroy any possibility in their minds that the President is free from blame. Here's the text of a piece from today's NYT, Kerry Attacks Bush Over Loss of Explosives (free registration required): "Republican officials have sought to discredit the initial reports and seized on an NBC News account, broadcast Monday night, that said when troops from the 101st Airborne arrived at the vast site on April 10, 2003, they found conventional weapons but none of the extremely powerful high explosives, HMX and RDX, which can be used to set off a nuclear weapon. In an e-mail message sent to reporters on Monday evening, Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said, 'The weapons were not there when the military arrived, making John Kerry's latest ripped-from-the-headlines attack baseless and false.'
But Tuesday evening, NBC again reported on the issue. This time it reported that it had not said that the explosives were gone before American troops arrived at Al Qaqaa. Instead, it reported that troops from the Third Infantry Division and the 101st Airborne searched bunkers at the site and had not found the powerful explosives. NBC reported that it was not clear whether American troops searched all of the bunkers.
'Last night on this broadcast we reported that the 101st Airborne never found the nearly 380 tons of HMX and RDX explosives,' Tom Brokaw, the NBC anchor, said. 'We did not conclude the explosives were missing or had vanished, nor did we say they missed the explosives. We simply reported that the 101st did not find them.'
'For its part, the Bush campaign immediately pointed to our report as conclusive proof that the weapons had been removed before the Americans arrived,' Mr. Brokaw added. 'That is possible, but that is not what we reported.'"


This began as an accusation that we failed to safeguard the weapons. That accusation has been disproven, because the weapons were gone before we got there. Now, Brokaw, it seems, is leading the charge to spinning the story in another direction. But honestly. If the weapons were there when the UN inspectors went in, and they were not there when the US troops arrived, they had to be removed, did they not? What other explanation can there possibly be, Tom? They searched for them, and didn't find them. Are you implying that there were orders to "not find" them?

Honestly, based on the media's utter hatred of Bush that is becoming so apparent, I wouldn't be surprised to see that story in the next few days.

A Wise Decision
The liberal pundit at Yourish.com (via InstaPundit) boils the election down to the War on Terror and declares his support for Bush: "I think Kerry is a liar and a poseur. You cannot have a career of pacifism and voting against military issues and suddenly turn around and declare yourself a fit commander-in-chief. It takes more than a campy salute and a 'reporting for duty' at the DNC to make me believe Kerry is fit for command."

This is why I, and every other conservative, have been baffled by the campaign's reluctance to hit Kerry with his record. Though they have done so in recent weeks, it seems it should have been happening all along.

I'll tell you where to stick your "dissent"
Just saw a bumper sticker that I've seen countless times before, and I couldn't let it pass without commenting.

The bumper sticker said "Dissent is Patriotic." That's true. Disagreement with your leadership is patriotic. If, by some chance, you dissent from the general consensus in ways that are dangerous to the national security of this country, in some cases that can be called traitorous. It's a fine line, I know, but one that can be drawn, just the same.

These bumper stickers were originally purchased to show someone's dissent from the War on Terror, and specifically the War in Iraq. There's a problem I've noticed, however. An increasing number of them, like this one, are placed right next to a "John Kerry" sticker. Is this a sign that Democrats have conceded the election already? After all, to be in dissent, there has to be a majority to dissent from. Accordingly, if Kerry voters are dissenting, then Bush supporters must be the majority, and Bush will win at least the popular vote.

That thought struck me, and I thought I'd share it. Feel free to comment.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Well, I've hit the big time
Even if they do make me sound like a tool, PCWorld.com interviewed me for an article about blogging: "Brian Cook, 21, an avid blog reader and political science major at Yale, says bloggers announce 'here's where I stand and here's my take on things' and allow a debate to spread from there among their audience.
'The nice thing about the blog is everyone gets heard,' Cook adds."


First Le Monde, now PCWorld.com.
Hmmm... shall I sing?
"Well, we're moving on up!"

Monday, October 25, 2004

Aargh
Articles like this one by one of my fellow Yalies just tick me off. The allegation that Mr. Koffler makes is based around the idea that Mr. Kerry would bring a more "adult" form of diplomacy to the White House, which would be more effective in our international pursuits.

This entire idea is laughable to me. Think back to your childhood. Remember the pecking order? (This may be more applicable to my male readers, as I know nothing of female adolescent hierarchy, aside from what I saw in the movie Mean Girls). Remember how there were guys on the totem pole that ranked above you, and to go against their wishes meant a beating, or stolen lunch money, or, worst of all, endless ridicule as you sank to the absolute bottom of the social ranking? Keep this in mind as we review Koffler's column.

The column starts with the not-so-new revelation that "Recently the Financial Times broke the story that Germany might join the reconstruction effort in Iraq if John Kerry wins the presidential election." And goes on to assert that: "very country that opposed the war had its own reason for doing so -- in Germany's case, a kind of default pacifism. The fact of the matter is that if France were the only country to have opposed the Iraq war, its opposition would have been irrelevant; the international community could certainly have overruled France's moral veto (if not its UN veto) and conferred legitimacy upon the effort toward democratic transformation in Iraq."

The problem here is, Mr. Koffler assumes that France's objection was morally based, as were those of Russia and China. Germany--it's true--has not joined an aggressive war since WWII, and that is a major part of their foreign policy. As I said to many peers at the outset of the Iraqi war, I was entirely OK with that objection. As we all know, their last two aggressive endeavors did not work out so well for the rest of the world.

But, as we're now learning, France, China, and Russia all had strong interests in maintaining Iraq's status quo. They had vested interests in the Oil-for-Food program, and in Saddam's continued manipulation of that for his own gain, so that they might continue to benefit from the kick-backs.

Oh, and if you disagree with this assessment of the situation, read Mr. Koffler's next paragraph:
"Here's how you know that the Bush administration was never serious about a genuine diplomatic campaign before the invasion of Iraq: An honest and competent pre-war diplomacy would have circumvented France entirely and appealed directly to Germany and other nations (but especially Germany) to support the war at least financially and politically if not militarily. Instead, the administration essentially ceded to France the role of spokesman for the bulk of the United Nations, knowing full well that the French had been bought off by the Baathists and were going to do everything in their power to block any effort at regime change."

But... but... but... I thought it was a moral objection! (Oh, and, if you remember, we did appeal to the entire Security Council, and each of these individual nations separately, not dealing simply with France). He then takes a slight tangent and rants about France's unworthiness to be considered an ally, using this to justify the following theory: "So the goal of any sensible American foreign policy vis-a-vis Europe would be to engender a split between France and Germany and pull the Germans into a tripartite alliance along with Britain, and in so doing attain some leverage over the consolidation of the European Union."

Um. Does anyone else remember Gerhard Schroeder's run for reelection? It seems to me that it was based entirely on an anti-American policy. Are we just supposed to forget that and assume it was all pandering to his people? Personally, that campaign makes it hard for me to believe that Schroeder would have done anything to help our efforts. His next point? "The alternative -- the Bush doctrine, if you will -- is to thumb our noses to all of Europe and pretend that hegemonic power can withstand near-total diplomatic isolation, until reality intervenes and at last proves otherwise." Well, that's not the Bush Doctrine, so I won't. Beyond that, this was not even the Bush diplomatic policy, but rather all we were left with. I'll address this more directly in a moment.

"What would it have taken to bring Germany into the pre-war coalition?"
Before I give you his conclusion, let me just say that if it is anything more than a recognition of the threat to the world and his own people posed by Saddam Hussein, based on the premise that he had, and was attempting to acquire further, WMD, then it's something I'm not willing to concede. So, his conclusions: "The same thing that it will take to bring Germany into the post-war coalition: some combination of recognition of the International Criminal Court, willingness to negotiate over Kyoto, easing of trade restrictions with the European Union, a return to the framework of the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, international leadership on nuclear proliferation (which, pace Mr. Bush, is a lot more complicated than preventing terrorists from getting WMDs), etc."

Let's take these in order. skipping the ICC because it is mentioned later as well.
Kyoto: I refer you to my earlier post, which quotes the Senate Resolution, approved 95-0 by the Senate, which "Declares that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the [Kyoto Conference] in December 1997 or thereafter which would: (1)mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex 1 Parties, unless [it] also mandates [...] commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties[...]" Sorry, folks, but the UN community isn't up for any such agreement, and the Senate will never ratify any alternative.
Easing of trade restrictions with the EU: 'Uh, hello folks, I'm John Kerry. I've got the support of trade unions precisely because I'm in the Party that supports restrictive tariffs, and, as a general policy, President Bush supports free trade.' Yeah, I'll leave it at that. You think the Dems are more likely to make trade concessions? Nice try.
Return to ABM treaties: Did you notice that once we officially and finally withdrew from the ABM treaty, the European governments all wanted to get on board? That's because it's a good idea to be able to protect ourselves from belligerent nations with ICBM capability (like, oh, say, North Korea?). Oh, and this is another couched example of Kerry's belief in the "global test" policy. The ABM treaty was written as an agreement between the US and Russia, and is against our national self-interest. Why should we give such sovereignty to frightened European governments?
Ratification of CTBT: Ditto on above, sort of. This is against our national interest, and we should not be willing to cede that choice to the EU.

"In other words, there are things that the Germans want from us, and things we want from them. Furthermore, I could make the case -- though it would take another column to do so -- that what we want from the Germans is good for Germany, and what they want from us is good for the United States. So both countries have a compelling interest in bringing Germany into the fold on Iraqi reconstruction, and diplomatic grown-ups should be able to reach some mutually acceptable settlement."
The problem remains that Germany's desires are not in our best interest, and they do not consider ours to be in theirs. In such circumstances, a consensus cannot be reached, and should absolutely not be pursued for the sake of diplomacy.

Koffler's closing: "Is it any wonder, now, why the president has taken so adamant a stand against joining the ICC in the presidential debates? American entry into the court might very well be the carrot that can enable us to internationalize the reconstruction and mend the diplomatic wounds of the past year. The unspoken message in Bush's non-sequiturs on the ICC was that the price of international cooperation in Iraq is too high to pay. If you, dear reader, think that's true, then perhaps you should vote for Bush. But if you know that it's plainly false, xenophobic and contrary to the national interest, then say whatever you please about John Kerry's equivocations: He's an adult on foreign policy and something significant is at stake in his election."

Ah, the ICC. If you'd like a copy of the West Wing episode that deals with this, I'd be happy to send it to you. Under no circumstances should we subject American soldiers to arrest by foreign nations. It is a clear invasion of our sovereignty, and puts our ability to make war effectively at serious risk. If your primary concern is preventing war crimes, and not simply placing checks on American power (the truth of the issue), then you should support the removal of Saddam Hussein without demanding concessions.

And, on to the "Kerry is an adult" comment. Remember that image I asked you to call up at the beginning of this post (long, long ago)? Do you also remember that, to avoid social ridicule, you behaved, dressed, and spoke the way the popular community did? The way they expected you to? And how the some people didn't, and were outcast for that fact? Or, maybe you were among the rebellious few. Where are those people now? Well, I'll tell you, the people that were smart enough to reject the expectation are succeeding at life, while the "popular" bunch is still manipulating others, and the followers are still following.

Do we want to be a nation of followers, leaders, or successful outsiders? Ideally, of course, we'd be the leaders, with other nations recognizing our points of view and falling into line. Failing that, should we make concessions to their ways of life? No. We should be content with being outcast, content with living on our own. We are prosperous, and will continue to be so. And eventually, the other nations will come around to see that we're worth dealing with. In the meantime, concessions are the childish way of life, not the actions of a mature, reasoning adult.

Don't Jump the Gun
I think this piece, about The Yankees' Leviathan State, comes a bit prematurely, as my beloved Red Sox have not yet won the World Series (though they are up 2-0, which is a good sign), and if history teaches us anything, they are anything but guaranteed to succeed.

All the same, it's an interesting comparison between the Yanks and big government.

The Fisking of Maher
Lileks fisks Bill Maher. Read it, it's worth it.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Read and Learn
No time for Kerry's Europhile delusions (via InstaPundit): a lot of really important thoughts here.