A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A blondie production

Tim Blair. . .

. . .is bowled over by his countrymen. Worth a read if only to give an Aussie a slap on the back for the election results.

Tim Blair: I WAS WRONG

That's alright, Tim. That's quite alright.

UPDATE: Don't underestimate the impact of the victory for Howard in Australia. It's a very big deal when you think about the fact that one of Kerry's few effective attacks on Bush has been to use anti-American sentiment abroad as an indication that we are virtually alone in the world.

Australia knows the right thing to do. Like us, she has orphans of terror. Her support and the degree to which it was shown is a big message to the American people. She's saying, "Don't go wobbly, George."

I see that. . .

. . .Dick Morris seems to come to the same conclusions I came to. This is reassuring, even though he does make his money in politics. Heheh.

I still haven't gotten. . .

. . .any of the major pundits' takes -- at least not in detail. I've read a few blurbs here and there, and some takes over at Lucianne, but I'm getting the impression that I'm not alone. Not that I thought I would be. I'm among the Bush partisan crowd, and I don't see any point in denying that.

But, if Paul Begala and James Carville can have a full 20-something minutes on TV five days a week, I don't see why I can't appeal for five minutes out of a person's day. And, I'll at least make some attempt at fairmindedness. After all, I don't make any money in politics -- in that regard, I don't have a stake in who wins -- unlike Begala and Carville.

Be that as it may, I think the President spoke to just the right people last night in that debate. I think he came across exactly how he needed to with regard to people of my age group -- 30-murmurs. We grew up in the Reagan era. We remember "tear down that wall" and we remember the wall being torn down. They happened in our formative years and had an impact on our worldview.

President Bush came across as a man who has the kind of vision and determination to fight the War on Terror aggressively, and not simply wait until thousands more civilians die. He came across as a man who understands that this is the time to demonstrate resolve, even at the expense of diplomacy. He has shown that he understands that this is a long war, and that 9/11 was just a calling card foretelling what will come if we don't kill this enemy right now.

John Kerry came across in an entirely different way. He sounded like a man who is overly given to compromise when it comes to America's interests abroad. In that sense, when people say Senator Kerry seems "French", the word has come to mean "internationalist".

My age group is familiar with internationalists. Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale spring immediately to mind, and that's not exactly the image the Kerry campaign wants to conjur. For all the fawning that people do whenever they talk about Carter's post-presidency, and how he's the greatest former president in history, you don't hear a lot of people longing for the Carter days, when Battle of the Network Stars and CPO Sharkey were America's diversion from thinking about gas lines and hyperinflation.

And there's just something about internationalism that strikes many in my age group as being a little "too good" for America. It's as if they're saying to us, "America's interests alone aren't sufficient justification for action in all circumstances. Sometimes, we must have the approval and cooperation of all the allies we've had in recent history, and it must not provoke those who would do us harm." Thirty-mumbles don't buy into that. And, at this point, I should qualify that.

When I refer to "my age group", I mean the part of my age group that Bush needed to target. That is the part of my age group who are living and voting in the battleground states -- mostly middle America. The coasts are already sewn up, and there was little point in appealing to people whose minds are already made up, and have been since 2000. In the battlegrounds, there may very well be a few moms out there who haven't been able to pay attention to the presidential campaign because of work/school/soccer/church/civic/you-name-it responsibilities. And there may very well be some guy out there who's been working swing shifts and hasn't really been able to focus on the election to the degree he'd like to. Not all "undecideds" are simply "uninspired" -- a sloppy generalization I made very recently. Some people are just too busy in their daily lives and don't have the energy to give a damn all the time.

George Bush seemed to understand that last night, and he said things that had a strong appeal to the people who generally fall into that category. Young moms, working class dads, and anyone who saw what happened to those Russian school children. People generally understand that, given intelligence that an attack on our soil was imminent and that planning was taking place at a camp in Yemen or Sudan, both men would likely strike preemptively, without notice. The question isn't whether either man would willingly allow attacks to take place on America. The question is which man is most determined to get out in front of the situation.

Americans don't let their homes get infested with rats before putting out the poison. George Bush understands that. John Kerry seems to be asking, "What rats?"

About the whole Dred Scott business. . .

. . .a lot of people are discounting that as a sort of goofy thing to say, but they're missing something. You see, a lot of the talking heads in the last campaign used that case as a scaremongering tactic when debating the wisdom of strict constructionism, and much of that was directed toward the black community. I think it's possible that he felt he needed to address that right up front.

Did he do it inelegantly? Perhaps. It didn't strike me as all that goofy a thing at the time, though.

Friday, October 08, 2004

He's still got it.

Drudge has unearthed a memo that could have a big effect on the way the campaign is covered from here on out, if it's ever picked up by any of the big media outlets. Connected bloggers might want to get to work on this.

If at first you don't succeed. . .

So, this will be my second actual attempt at live blogging. It will most likely be just thoughts that occur to me as I'm watching -- those that I can type quickly enough. As a primer:

A nice list of questions that won't be asked at the debate.

Not even a hint of sheepishness from Charlie at the mention of being from CBS News.

CORRECTION:A reader named Maria emails to inform me that Charlie Gibson is with ABC News, and not CBS. That would explain the lack of sheepishness, if only temporarily. Thanks!

Kerry -- Wishy-washy addressed by WMD reference? Hasn't changed positions?

Kerry tries to go populist. "Fight for you!"

Howard Dean. . .Keep talking about Howard Dean.

Pres is looking cool and confident. A little swagger.

He is looking better and better. If he keeps it up, he wins.

Kerry is walking like a saw horse. Way out of his element.

Kerry is digging a hole he'll never get out of with his "never changed my mind" riff.

Thank God Mr. Baldi wasn't bald.

Kerry sure lends a lot of weight to Sen. Lugar's feelings on the management of the war. Too bad no one else really does anymore.

I don't know why Kerry thinks allowing coalition members first crack at reconstruction is a bad thing to most people in middle America, where he needs the most help.

If Kerry has to keep reminding people that he wants to win the war on terror, it's not good.

Pres -- Good point about the popularity of doing the wrong thing.

Slinging blood at the President isn't a smart thing to do -- "and now, our kids are being killed by those ammos."

Make people feel good about feeling safe in our military? Maybe if we supply them with some of Joycelin Elders' famous "safer bullets".

Oops...Silvio Berlusconi.

Not one accomplishment from Kerry on Medicare in his 20-year Senate career -- good one.

Kerry -- I'm a lawyer, too. Dumb.

Kerry -- Want details on my tort reform proposal? Go to my website.

Pres -- Nice slip there. "Senator Kennedy".

The Pres is hitting his points nicely. A stumble here or there with his speech, but getting his point across very well.

Kerry -- going to the "Top One Percent" riff.

Kerry is very uncomfortable talking about taxes.

Pres -- Kerry voted to break spending caps 200 times. Very good.

Kerry -- Going to "fuzzy math"?

John Kerry is indeed a different man with every sunrise. He's visibly morphing into Al Gore.

Red Sox fan? Whuuuh?

Pres -- If you want to be popular in the halls of Europe. Nice.

Pres is sounding very solid on the economy and taxes.

Kerry's making a better case for the Patriot Act than Bush is.

Pres -- Did well on stem cell research.

Kerry -- Said again that Bush made a mistake in invading Iraq.

Overall, a good, solid performance by the President. I didn't see any knockout blows, but I'd give Bush the edge both on style, and on substance.

I reserve the right to revise and extend without objection no objection so ordered.

One more thing. . .

. . .if you notice some Kerry ads on there, I've been adding their addresses to the URL filter as I see them come up. But, I got to thinking. . .

See, the DNC and Kerry's campaign are paying for those ads, and if I get paid for the clicks they get, that means I'm getting some of their campaign money. And that's money that won't be spent elsewhere. So, I'm indirectly profiting from the Kerry campaign, even as I oppose it. That's not an altogether unpleasant thought.

I'll just hold off on adding more for a while, but will start again if they seem to become too prevalent. In the meantime, you could maybe make a game of it. Call it "CabanaBoy's Pizza on Terry McAuliffe," or "Redistribution".

My finals are over. . .

. . .and I start new classes on Tuesday. I know I did well on one of them, and I feel pretty good about the other, but won't find out the result until, I think, Thursday. So, score two for the CabanaBoy. Click on an ad and we'll call it a scholarship.

So, now I have to start writing again. I guess I picked a good night to jump back on the horse. There ought to be plenty to write about. And, I'm sure I'll probably lose some sleep over it. And, I've already made a pot of coffee. So, if by the end of the night, I begin to sound like the mean uncle that made Michael Moore the person he is today, you'll know why.

I'm going to take another shot at liveblogging, but there are two factors to consider in this: (1) I'll be watching a live webcast, and that means the connection will be precarious, and (2) I didn't do so hot last time. But, I figure this is one of those things that gets easier with practice.

Thanks for all the good luck wishes!

The Anchoress. . .

. . .has updated with a wonderfully written column on an image that is forever imprinted on the American psyche (Thanks, Senator Kerry, for removing all meaning from the word "seared"). The Woman in the Black Hijab reminds us of the fact that there are people out there, despite what the John Kerry would have you think, who want nothing more than to see America erased from the face of the earth. Yes, Senator, there are some things that can't be solved with a summit, and no global test can possibly cover this kind of hatred and determination:

"Lately, whenever I see John Kerry and John Edwards, I don't see two well-dressed, smooth-talking lawyers with expensive haircuts and private jets. I don't see them at all. When I look at Kerry or Edwards, what I see is that toothless woman in her black hijab, dancing and whooping and reveling in blood and fire and death, displaying her joy for the camera, for the entire world to see."

UPDATE: Repaired link to show the image.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Not much. . .

. . .blogging tonight. I have a couple of finals to study for tomorrow, but I will check in periodically to see if there's anything that needs my immediate opinion.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Some great analysis by Polipundit

The poll numbers get sliced and diced in this long, but excellent read. I don't know that I'd go so far as to call it a 12-point win for Bush, walking away, but I do like the overall picture. And there's some sound reasoning behind it:

"You see, when a challenger runs against a President, he starts way behind. A successful challenger, a Clinton or a Reagan, he not only finds a way to get people to doubt the President, he also builds up his own base. In fact, he builds up his base first, which is why the Primaries are so important. The Democrats forgot some basic reasons why you run a full-scale Primary season. Part of that, a big one, is that you have to get people to like your guy. When Kerry became the front-runner, he ought to have decided where he was going to be on the big issues, and stick to them, but he did not."

Thanks to another longtime Ldotter for passing this along.

Extree! Extree!

CBS Unearths Machine Used on Bush Guard Docs

Thanks for the heads-up to the longtime Ldotter who sent the link.

A website dedicated to. . .

. . .the evolution of the toilet was just passed along to me by an Ldotter. The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets

And here you'll find this:

The paper presented by Dr. Bindeswar Pathak, Ph.D., D.Litt., Founder, Sulabh Movement at International Symposium on Public Toilets held in Hong Kong on May 25-27, 1995

So, I'm guessing that's what you'd call the definitive toilet paper.

A blondie production
 Posted by Hello

Then, by all means, allow me:

Nice to see this. . .

. . .actually being reported, albeit in a foreign paper. I'd like to see the President use some of this information in the context of the "global test".

"Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the ISG that the "primary motive for French co-operation" was to secure lucrative oil deals when UN sanctions were lifted. Total, the French oil giant, had been promised exploration rights.

Iraqi intelligence officials then "targeted a number of French individuals that Iraq thought had a close relationship to French President Chirac," it said, including two of his "counsellors" and spokesman for his re-election campaign.

They even assessed the chances for "supporting one of the candidates in an upcoming French presidential election." Chirac is not mentioned by name. "

Great piece by Jim Geraghty. . .

. . .over at The Kerry Spot on National Review Online. It's all about the kind of political hooliganism that seems to be developing among the anti-Bush left. It's one of those things that make you wonder how many instances go unreported?

Doesn't that make it. . .

. . .even worse?

Editor & Publisher joins the Kerry-Edwards damage control squad by pointing out that the hometown paper that has taken to referring to Edwards as "Senator Gone" is just an itty-bitty one that only comes out three times a week.

Well, OK. Let's see how I would take that if I were in the same position -- a sitting senator, running for the vice presidency, hailing from small-town America. I'll stipulate that I can't really say what it's like to be a sitting senator running for vice president, but I do know what it's like to live in a small town. In fact, I lived in a town so small that it didn't even have its own paper. Instead, it has a small section of a county-wide newspaper that only comes out once a week.

I know a lot of people around here. Chances are, if you're in the area and ask ten people at random if they know me, I'd just about bet my last cigarette that one of them will know about me, either directly or indirectly. The guy who runs the water and sewer service used to cut the hair of most of the boys in town. A girl who went to the Miss USA pageant over ten years ago now has a sign pointing out the fact that she lives here posted on the roadside as you drive through on your way to some other place. She's a friend of mine.

And, odds are, if I were a sitting senator, running for the vice presidency, everyone would know me. That's a really big deal in a small place. And, I can't imagine anything less than fawning treatment from the local weekly press, if I managed to attain such a position of prominence. Favorite sons are heavily doted on in small towns. They're a source of pride for small communities -- something they can brag about. "Yeah, I knew him growing up. I'm a lifelong Republican, but I think he's a good ol' boy, and I don't mind voting for him one bit."

Little newspapers draw their talent from a very small, local pool -- people likely to know what kind of person you are. And for E&P to demean those little newspapers strikes me as the exact opposite of what a publication that purports to work for the betterment of the press should do. Steven Brill ought to be ashamed of this provincial attitude and insularity. John Edwards ought to be ashamed of every facet of his Senate career. No record. No accomplishments. Just a lot of ambition.

Probably a Johnny Come Lately. . .

. . .to this, but I found the clip extremely compelling. Check it out and forward the link if you haven't seen it already:

The Celsius 41.11 Interactive Media Center - A Citizens United Production

LA Times' Peter Wallsten demonstrates. . .

. . .the old axiom that sometimes, the exception proves the rule (Sorry. Registration required). The Democrats trotted out a video capture from a National Prayer Breakfast as evidence that Dick Cheney "lied" about having never met John Edwards.

Well, let's put this into the context of what we "everyday people" understand. Say, one day, you're at work and you are summoned onto the carpet by your boss. He looks you up and down, and says, "You know, you've been around this shop for about six years, but you hardly ever make it to work. You're always calling in with some lame excuse about how you have some pressing business to take care of, some sort of personal crisis, or illness. In fact, I come in every week or so, and I don't recall ever speaking to you. I really can't see any justification for keeping you here."

To which you reply, "No sir! That's not true! I. . .we talked at the employee Christmas party last year! You wished me and my family 'Happy Holidays' in a toast!"

Do you think you just saved your job?

Regarding Gwen Ifill. . .

. . .I think she did one of the best jobs of moderating a debate that I've seen since I've been watching them. She was even-handed and authoritative, whether rebuffing Cheney's appeal for more time to address the distortions that Edwards threw at him, or chiding Edwards for not answering the question on Israel.

I think the chiding of Edwards was precipitated by the comments he made regarding Cheney's record of voting against the MLK holiday, Nelson Mandela, etc.

I got the impression immediately that his pandering really hit her wrong. The way he pleaded with her, expecting some sort of Pavlovian response to the words "against" "MLK" and "Mandela" in the same sentence just struck me as a shameless attempt to draw Ifill into the debate.

When she pointed out that he hadn't said much about Israel in his answer, to me, it seemed she was saying, "Listen here, young man. You're not going to get me off my game with some cheap emotional appeal. Now, go sit in the corner and don't say a word until I tell you so."

The sheepish laughter and fingerpointing Edwards displayed after being grabbed by the ear said it all.

One of my favorite blogs. . .

. . .IMAO shares the conventional wisdom gleaned from the VP debate. Among the more salient observations are:

* Though Cheney made Edwards look like a little scrappy schoolboy, Edwards's hair was shiny.

* Cheney showed he wasn't the mean ogre the Democrats liked to portray him as by not lifting Edwards over his head and snapping him in two - something Cheney could easily do since his bionic heart gives him ten times the strength of the average man.

TheAnchoress. . .

. . .has updated with a link to a great article by Claudia Rosett over at Opinion Journal

Thanks for the heads-up. It was a great read.

Well, hey. . .

. . .at least Saletan and Sullivan have Jimmy Breslin in their corner. Never underestimate the influence of a washed-up, hyperpartisan drunk who chases his shots with a splash of misanthropy.

William Saletan. . .

. . .was obviously watching a re-run of Designing Women, wherein Susanne Sugarbaker dressed down an overbearing customer. On the question of what "uninformed voters" tuned in to see, he soothes himself by proposing this possibility:

"Cheney seemed to think most viewers were tuning in to judge the vice presidential nominees. Edwards seemed to think they were tuning in to hear about the presidential nominees.

If Cheney guessed right on that question, he probably won. But if he guessed wrong—and I suspect he did—Edwards kicked his expletive."

But, how many "uninformed voters" tuned in to watch the debate itself? Do "uninformed voters" tune in to vice presidential debates at all, or do they just switch back and forth between the hundreds of channels and wait to see what the press is saying?

In any case, "uninformed voters" are really just "uninspired voters" with the extra clout that comes with the importance placed upon them by the respective campaign operations. To say that Edwards was in any way inspiring to anyone who cares so little as to not know who they're voting for at this point is like saying, "though Dodgers fans are known for showing up late and leaving early, 2nd baseman Alex Cora displayed enough sound fundamental skills to stir them up and cause them to start actually showing up early, and staying well after the game waiting for 1st baseman Shawn Green to come out of the clubhouse for a hat tip to the crowd."

NY Times-style correction:

Andrew Sullivan is clinging to the preposterous notion that Cheney was reduced to "roadkill" last night, and sets about documenting all the people who agree with him -- which amounts to a coalition of the star struck and the obviously drunk. Today, he cites a couple of snap polls (ABC, CBS) that were referred to him by a reader as an indication that he was more right that wrong, having this to say in conclusion:

"The Republican base saw the election slipping away last Thursday. They needed a win and they convinced themselves they had one. But Edwards directed his answers to the undecideds. And, unless the pro-Cheney spin gets deafening, he scored big."

However, he does have this to say about the numbers by way of correction:

CORRECTION: The reader is wrong. The ABC poll shows independents favoring Cheney 42 - 37 percent.

So, does that mean the Cheney scored big, or just that Edwards didn't score big?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I just figured out. . .

. . .what it was about John Edwards that seemed so familiar when he tried to get testy. He sounded like Susanne Sugarbaker.

There's no other way to put it. . .

. . .Dick Cheney just pummelled John Edwards for two hours. I would liken it to Randall "Tex" Cobb's bout with Larry Holmes, but Tex somehow manages to find his beating a source of pride. But, Andrew Sullivan -- well:

"IN BRIEF: Boy was I ever wrong. If last Thursday night's debate was an assisted suicide for president Bush, this debate - just concluded - was a car wreck. And Cheney was road-kill. There were times when it was so overwhelming a debate victory for Edwards that I had to look away. I have to do C-SPAN now, but stay tuned for more post-debate blogging in a little while."

I can't help thinking Andrew must have been watching with a more hopeful than observant eye. To even contemplate the idea that Cheney lost, much less was reduced to "road kill" reveals something about his mindset--perhaps a blindspot for middle America. But, however you view that debate, I'm willing to bet my first Corvette that Cheney won in the states where it counts.

The "thirty-year record" of being on the wrong side of defense line was a great one, and I think it will resonate strongly with people who grew up in the Reagan era, like me. What it tells me on a personal level is that, for just about as long as I've been alive, John Kerry has been an anti-defense Democrat. He's opposed military spending longer than I've been able to read about it in the newspaper. And now -- now -- he's the strong, steady Commander-in-Chief type? Ready to defend our nation preemptively, despite world opinion if need be?

OK, one thing is clear. . .

. . .I'm not cut out for live blogging. I have to hand it to the bloggers who can do it. I kept getting too wrapped up in it.

I'm as biased as it gets, admittedly, but I don't see where there is any doubt whatsoever that Dick Cheney won.

Just brutal.

Edwards is taking Kerry down with him on the gay marriage issue.

Edwards showed his lack of resolve.

"How many of those countries are we going to invade?"

Edwards is coming across as a real slime on the Halliburton question.

He's stumbling all over the place on the Israel question.

First time I met you was when I walked on the stage tonight. OUCH!

Head start, meals on wheels, MLK Holiday, Mandela.

Edwards is toast.

Howard Dean

The Howard Dean reference rattled Edwards. "This history's country"

More than 35 people from the UN to hold elections in Cleveland?

Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time -- oh by the way send more troops.

Little wiseass move there, Edwards -- "the -- Coalition -- casualties".

Nice dressing down by Cheney. Edwards looks worse every minute.

Cheney vs. Edwards

Cheney is taking it to Kerry, instead of Edwards. I like the "thirty-year record of being on the wrong side of defense issues" attack.

Love the El Salvador reference. A little shot at Edwards' lack of experience and stature.

Edwards is trying to slip around the "Global Test" question.

Cheney is just spanking his ass at this point.

OK...I'm going to try live blogging again tonight. . .

Scrappleface. . .

. . .chimes in with a preview of the Vice President's debate strategy for tonight.

"The vice president will try to look stoic," said one unnamed aide. "He'll curb his raging passions, and do his best to look like a bland, retired accountant. It will be tough, because he's an emotional powderkeg."

(Thanks to blondie, again, for the heads-up.)

Captain's Quarters. . .

. . .sets the record straight on the debate impact.

It's awfully easy to get caught up in the emotion of the press when they feel their man is finally "getting his due". One rule of thumb all Republicans should live by is, when the press finds itself unable to contain its glee, try not to reciprocate it with your dismay. It just gives them something more to be happy about.

So on the "clear plan" internal, Bush still leads Kerry by nine points, and on enthusiasm by 7 points. The enthusiasm gap will likely expand after these results get wide dissemination as Kerry's supporters realize that Kerry didn't move the needle at all. Bush's support will rally on the same news.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

One advantage that Democrats seem to have over Republicans is the ability to see the good news mixed in with the bad. That's because they actually look for it -- something Republicans stubbornly refuse to do, and at the worst possible times.

A blondie production
 Posted by Hello

Monday, October 04, 2004

If I could have Bush's ear. . .

. . .for one piece of advice, it would be this: Forget your demeanor and your speech. Immerse yourself in the facts and get comfortable with relating them, and the other two take care of themselves. You are the man who stood atop a firetruck with a bullhorn and exhorted a nation laid low by an atrocity that unfolded before their eyes. Your ability to connect with them is beyond doubt.

The Anchoress. . .

. . .has updated to give her take on the post-debate apoplexy suffered by so many hothouse flowers in the GOP tent this week, and she appears to be feeling a little spunky.

Mr. Bush? Do you agree with Senator Kerry, that you bite and do not speak French?"

(Steam coming from his ears as he watches various pens, ipods, notecards and fine mints and truffles spill from the senator's pockets and sleeves) "Hey, I don't hinky dink the parlee vous, and I don't need to. The American people don't need a president who can speak French. They need a president who can take that over-botoxed, moribund fop over there and dunk his head in the twa-lay a few times and kick his ass, I'll tell you what, and I sure wish we didn't have that rule about not crossing the stage, so I could see what that neiner has up his sleeve, I bet it ain't foy grass!!"

I have it on good authority. . .

. . .that The Galvin Opinion will be updating with additions to the grand deception that was John Kerry's debate performance. Keep your mouse nearby.

And, since Mr. Galvin was kind enough to blogroll me, I'm going to start a new, separate blogroll for non-Ldotter blogs to accommodate his link.

Hat tip.

Sounds pretty convincing. . .

. . .at first blush. Cybercase News Service reports an exclusive on Saddam's WMD program and cooperation with terrorist organizations. Unfortunately, the sources are unnamed, which provides at least one grain of salt.

The French have invaded. . .

. . .the GOP. That's the only possible explanation I can come up with for the rush to hand victory to a hostile power at the first sign of adversity -- no, make that work.

For the past week, you couldn't wave a white flag without some Republican grabbing it to wipe away his tears and flop sweat. Words like "disastrous" and "stunk up the place" were used to describe a debate performance that, at worst, could be described as "uninspired".

So, the President seemed a little distracted. He didn't dazzle us with rhetorical footwork. He didn't rope-a-dope his opponent into an early-round knockout. He didn't send Kerry to the corner with the words "No mas!" on his lips. He didn't tear him limb from limb until nothing was left but a quivering stump. Big deal.

Here are the facts: Bush is the sitting champion. Sitting champions win decisions unless there is a clearly lopsided performance. That goes for politics as well as boxing, where scorecards are influenced by the stature of the combattants. No matter how officious and exacting the methodology for scoring, there is always subjectivity, and Bush's performance in that debate will be viewed in the greater context of his presidency and the events that have defined it.

Kerry may have elevated himself in the estimation of the part of the public that lends great weight to debating skills, but the net effect of that was to destroy the sense of complacency that existed among far too many Bush supporters. Unfortunately, the fickleness that seems to strike only Republican voters at times like this caused many to go from an "it's-in-the-bag" mentality to one closer to that which strikes Cleveland Browns fans about two games into the preseason every year.

The. Debate. Is. Over.

It had practically zero impact, other than to dispirit those who tremble at the feet of Master Spin. Those very same people are now grasping at straws, looking for something -- anything -- to convince themselves that their man got screwed. Right now, they're digging feverishly to find out how Kerry managed to answer those questions so smoothly, without pause. Many are convinced that he had an unfair advantage. But before you rush out and buy this particular brand of tissue, imagine the following scenario:

You're sitting in a local restaurant with a couple of friends from work. One of them is a liberal Kerry supporter, the other is an undecided independent, and you are, of course, a conservative Republican Bush supporter.

Talk turns to last week's debate. You're fully aware that the general consensus is that Kerry outperformed your man on points of style. Your liberal friend is beaming with pride, feeling as if his every opinion about the President has been confirmed. Your independent friend feels that Kerry did better than he expected, and is now more willing to listen to what the man has to say. You, on the other hand, are dejected and can't imagine how things managed to fall apart the way they did.

Of course, your liberal friend takes some delight in your despondency, and says, "So, what happened to your buddy George the other night." You grow indignant, and through clenched teeth, inform the liberal and the independent that you "read somewhere on the internet that Kerry cheated." What do you think the reaction will be?

Well, I'll tell you. Your liberal friend is going to have a nice little belly laugh, and your independent friend is going to nod politely and exchange a knowing glance with him. And, you won't be able to enjoy your meal because you'll be sitting there stewing over the fact that you're still thinking about a week-old debate, and no one is taking you seriously.

And, purely for the sake of argument, let's assume that Kerry somehow "did" cheat. There are 29 days left before the election, and two more debates. Those debates are going to soak up a lot of press coverage. One of them happens in three days.

Are you going to spend the next 29 days crying "cheater-cheater pumpkin eater" to an unhearing, skeptical press that has an election to cover, two more debates to report on, and a lot of soap to sell? Or, do you want to get to the substance of the matter (as the President did in the debate) and be ready with some actual "facts" to counter the smooth, polished delivery of John Kerry?

Wolfgang von Skeptik. . .

. . .has updated with a post that will surely raise the hackles of many a partisan. No punches pulled here:

"As I have said before, this election offers the U.S. electorate a truly abysmal poverty of choice that is certainly unprecedented in the history of this nation’s military crises and is probably without equal in our entire national history. What is also without peer is the media’s self-imposed silence about the nature of the Islamic threat – a silence dictated by victim-identity politics, ideologies of moral equivalence and, most of all, matrifascist hostility to American liberty and Western Civilization."

There was a time. . .

. . .when I would have been jumping for joy over the fact that the Dodgers clinched the division and left the Giants sobbing in their dugout. Nowadays, all I can really muster is childish satisfaction at the image of Barry Bonds spending the playoffs on his can.

A heads-up. . .

. . .from a loyal Ldotter to the Belmont Club with a post that simultaneously sends a chill down the spine while boiling the blood. It describes a civilization that, like Paris in 1939, does not know it's at war.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

And another thing. . .

. . .why are so many pro-Bush blogs out there still talking about the last debate? If they want to have any positive influence on the direction of the campaign, they need to be focusing on the NEXT debate.

Blogging is about the free flow of information and ideas. There's not a whole lot of either to be gained from going over the minutiae of a debate that happened a political lifetime ago.

The Critics are Unanimous!

Just wanted to point out. . .

. . .a blog I found a couple hours ago at Ldot. Froggy Ruminations is a smart, fun-to-read blog. I recommend it heartily.

"This policy revelation in effect initiates a nightmare scenario for the US in the event of a Kerry Presidency. It is hard to imagine a worse case than actually providing your enemies with the nuclear materials they need to produce a weapon and simultaneously shut down research on the only weapons program certain to destroy their nuclear weapon. In what universe does this idea have any effective foundation in sanity?"

An intriguing video. . .

. . .from The Daily Recycler reveals John Kerry pulling some kind of object from his jacket pocket during the debate. I can't tell what it is, but it brings to mind the lyrics of my nomination for blogosphere national anthem, "Mean Street" by Van Halen:

"And what ya think is nothin' might be somethin' after all. . ."

A couple of links. . .

. . .sent to my email by the ever-industrious blondie contain some interesting facts that don't seem to get much play in the media.

Political Vice Squad posts a collection of those kinds of odd, somewhat anecdotal facts that we hear quoted from time to time on the talking head shows. You know -- like, "no person has ever been elected president after it has been found that he lied about his conduct in a war zone". I think they're called factoids. But they're interesting, nonetheless.

Also, from Thomas Galvin comes a pretty thorough "fisking" of Kerry's talking points from the debate. I don't know if it's a running total, but at this point, he's managed to list 21 lies. That's a lot for one debate. You certainly can see Team Clinton's influence, though.

A CabanaBoy-Blondie Production
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Now comes the hard part. . .

. . .for the Kerry campaign. Despite its obviously giddy facade, there has to be some concern about where to go from here. The bare fact at this moment is that they have just won a foreign policy debate on style points -- not substance. They accomplished this after four years of Democrats maintaining the position that Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld handled foreign policy and simply handed the President the notes after the fact. So, essentially, they're doing cartwheels over the idea that they managed to defeat a "foreign policy dunce" with a four-term sitting senator with a number of years on the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

Now comes the problem of the next debate, which will be on domestic policy. This is where a sitting senator ought to be able to point to some record of accomplishment -- some piece of legislation he worked to pass that has made a difference in the lives of people. But, he can't. And it won't be easy to squeeze his Vietnam experience into a discussion on school funding or healthcare premiums.

And this is where Kerry will really fall short -- the personal touch. When it comes to domestic policy, people want a sense that the person in charge actually likes them, and cares about them. Kerry's style in the foreign policy debate will go over like a lead balloon. What seems like an air of credibility in discussing international relations will come across as animatronic and condescending in the context of domestic issues.

And Kerry has already made the mistake of pitting wartime spending against domestic spending when he stated that the $200 billion used to fight the war in Iraq should have been spent here at home, on domestic issues.

What Kerry doesn't understand is that people who support the war, whether Democrat or Republican, see it as a matter in which you spend whatever you have to to get the job done -- but get it done. On domestic issues, voters aren't outraged at the lack of money being spent on this program, or that. What they're outraged about is the way in which the money is spent. In the eyes of most voters, the government gets plenty of money to deal with social issues, but simply has no clue as to how to go about using it to an effective end. That's the argument Kerry has used against the President in the conduct of the war -- at least it was at one time.

So, now, Kerry has committed himself to two things: (1) spending whatever it takes to win the war in Iraq and establish Democracy, and (2) spending whatever it takes to deal with education, healthcare, and all the social programs that are supposedly being starved of their rightful slice of the fiscal pie. That means defending either going further into the deficit that Democrats seem to only care about in time of war, or raising taxes.

And, he's going to have to pull off all of this while appearing to have an actual soul -- not an easy thing for Kerry to pull off -- and a set of convictions.

Bush, on the other hand, has a natural ability to connect with people. And the next debate will be held in a "townhall" format, which is conducive to the "personal-is-political" advantage that the President holds. Kerry, like Gore, suffers from a personality deficit and will have to pull off an almost lycanthropic transformation to outperform the President in this setting. The problem with that is that Kerry hasn't managed to cultivate Gore's "People Over the Powerful" populist image, and it's too late for him to do so. Plus, it would be utterly counter to the polished, authoritative, analytical figure he struck in the previous debate. To even attempt it would ring as hollow as his medical files.

So, between now and the next debate, Kerry will have to somehow grow a personality without anyone noticing. If he doesn't do something to improve his overall image, he will lose the debate on style points -- not to mention the substantial difficulty of pointing to a record of accomplishment. If he does try to come off as more warm and personable, he runs the risk of doing it poorly and confirming the Bush campaign's assertions that he becomes a different man with every sunrise.

Kerry is firmly boxed in, if the President will use the opportunity to drive in the nails.

Minor Announcement

Just wanted to notify visitors that I've changed the setting so that the blog archives daily, and cut down the number of days displayed on the main page from seven down to three. This should cut back on the page loading time.

I did this for two reasons: (1) to make the blog more appealing to those with lower-speed connections, and (2) to allow for the use of more images at the same time.

I hope this will make the The Pack a little more user-friendly.

Believe it or not. . .

. . .this headline isn't referring to a wet t-shirt contest at a biker rally:
Entrant-filled truck rams patrol car, injures deputy

Captioned by CabanaBoy
Photoshopped by blondie
 Posted by Hello

Captioned by CabanaBoy
Photoshopped by blondie
 Posted by Hello

Captioned by CabanaBoy
Photoshopped by blondie
 Posted by Hello

Another great link. . .

. . .passed along by blondie, created by a gentleman named Mark Simone -- The Ultimate John Kerry Ad pretty much says it all.

A Longtime Ldotter. . .

. . .has just updated her blog TheAnchoress with some sound, thoughtful analysis of the debate:

"President Bush is not an attacker. He never has been. He campaigns the way he campaigns. One of the reasons he routinely confounds his opponents is because they do not think as he thinks, he does not operate as they do. They can project their own 'strategeries' (gosh, I like that word) on to him all they want and they will never succeed in understanding exactly how he will strike, because he doesn't strike. He plays cards, and he plays them very close to the vest."

But keep reading once you get there. It's very much worth it.

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