A P E I R O N
Mike's little corner of the opinion universe.
Friday, October 29, 2004
The New Onion?
From my new favorite satire site, Redstate.org:
A sign that a campaign is desperate is when the campaign flails everything and the kitchen sink at their opponent, oblivious to the truth of the story.Desperation you say? By the looks of this I think Redstate is blissfully unaware of where the desperation exists.
...Bush has forced Kerry to play on Bush's terms, whether he likes it or not. The challenge for the administration, which has proven itself frequently inept at rapid response on Iraq, is to effectively cast Kerry as a desperate candidate flailing about and, in the process, attacking the commitment of our troops, which he is doing.
And, by the way, I assume that by "Bush's terms" it is meant national security, Iraq, terrorism, etc. If so, I think it's fair to say Kerry is happy. As I've been saying for two years, national security is THE terrain on which Democrats should have been fighting the whole time. The strongest indictment against Bush is his ineffective security policies. Fittingly, we hope, his ineffective security policies will also be his undoing.
Also (and this is just a nit) is it really possible to "flail" an object an someone? Just curious.
I used to like Redstate. But the quality and thoughtfulness of the posts has really gone downhill lately. Where are the Tacitus posts?
Why Does Bob Smith Hate America?
Conservative icon, former New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, demonstrated his utter contempt for America by endorsing John Kerry today. In a letter to the future president, Smith wrote:
As someone who worked with you daily for 12 years as a United States Senator, I am acutely conscious of the fact that we disagree on many important issues. Despite our differences, you have always been willing to engage in constructive debate in an effort to forge sound public policy.The shock that a principled conservative would criticize the Bush administration will surely leave pseudo-conservatives gasping for breath and grasping at straws. In their attempts to vilify Bob Smith these pseudo conservatives would do well to remember the reaction from other true conservatives the last time this "conservative giant" castigated the modern Republican party. When he briefly left the Republican party in 1999 Smith
I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...
Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism.
President Bush has failed to restrain federal spending, sending our deficit spinning into the stratosphere. I well remember that you were one of a handful of Democrats who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget [...]
John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you. So will my wife, Mary Jo, and all three of my children: Jason, Bobby and Jenny.
Moreover, I will do all that I can to encourage my friends in New Hampshire and Florida to join me in supporting you.
I wish you Godspeed, and every best wish for victory next Tuesday.
gave a speech criticizing Republican leaders and the Republican Party for having betrayed its principles on core conservative issues such as abortion in the hopes of winning more elections. Upon hearing the news of Smith's decision to leave the GOP, conservative presidential candidate Gary Bauer's remarked "It's hard to imagine a Republican Party without Bob Smith. I'm not sure that a Republican Party without Bob Smith is a party worth fighting for". Fellow conservative GOP presidential candidate, Alan Keyes, heartily concurred with Bauer's assessment.Now, it's true, I probably don't have a lot in common with Smith, Bauer, or Keyes. But I have never, nor would I, question the conservative bona fides of these men. Thankfully, I don't have to. Pseudo conservatives will do that for me.
I look forward to yet another instance of conservatives destroying their own. It really is quite entertaining to watch their sad, petty attempts to hang on to power and justify the stain that is George W. Bush.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
Softening the Target
It's pretty clear what's happening across the conservative media. They're busily softening up the post election terrain for all out assault:
Having done as much as possible to create the conditions for a confusing election, the GOP is getting ready to cast the inevitable results of that confusion -- people turning up in the wrong precincts, people who've moved from the neighborhood they originally registered and are trying to vote wherever they live now, and so forth -- as symptoms of outright election fraud. On Election Day, the GOP will challenge as many votes as they can at the polls, on whatever pretext is handy. They've already said they will. And then, if they're behind at the end of the day, GOP officials will start alleging massive voter fraud in Ohio, Florida, and elsewhere, whatever the facts on the ground are. That will give them a rhetorical advantage in the short-term -- if, say, John Kerry is far enough ahead that he declares victory, but there are still some votes to be counted or re-counted. And it's important for the long-term, too. If Kerry does win, but only narrowly, the GOP will allege that the Democrats stole the election, which will set the stage for later Republican efforts to shut down Kerry's ability to govern and deny him legitimacy.You know, if Bush and his GOP brethren had devoted one tenth of the energy to the Iraq post-invasion as they have to their electoral theft strategy then right now Iraq would be the most democratic nation on earth.
Oh well. Priorities you know.
Kerry is going to need to win by more than the 10 point margin I've predicted in order to prevent the GOP's almost inevitable power grab. What, do you think, is the minimum margin necessary to prevent the GOP from challenging the results?
Saturday, October 23, 2004
"7 Mary Four and Five"
487 In Progress
For the uninitiated, 487 is the police code for "Grand Theft."
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Bush, AWOL Again
Was Bush AWOL from his sixth-grade English class:
Mr. Bush ridiculed Richard C. Holbrooke, a Kerry confidant on foreign policy, for asserting that the nation is not in a "war on terror, in the literal sense."That's MET-A-PHOR. Look into it.
"Senator Kerry's top foreign policy advisers question whether this is even a war at all," Mr. Bush told a cheering Republican crowd at the fairgrounds in Mason City, quoting comments Mr. Holbrooke, a former representative to the United Nations, made in a recent article in The New York Times Magazine. "Here's what he said, and I quote: 'We're not in a war on terror in the literal sense. It is like saying 'the war on poverty.' It is just a metaphor.' End quote."
Mr. Bush added, "Confusing food programs with terrorist killings reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the war we face and that is very dangerous thinking."
In a telephone interview, Mr. Holbrooke responded: "Perhaps I should be flattered that President Bush has misrepresented me as badly as he has misrepresented John Kerry. But this is serious business. Terror is a tactic, we are at war with Islamic extremists who use it as a tactic and the administration is fighting this war ineffectively."
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Regarding three different issues I've heard the following words come out of three different Bush sycophants: "John Kerry will do or say anything to become president."
I think it's fair to guess that whatever Rove decides to unleash in the next few weeks will use this stale mantra as it's theme.
Of course, despite it's staleness -- it was used against Al Gore (I recall Rush frequenly flogging the "say anything" phrase) -- it worked once. If this idiocy is not effectively countered it may work again.
You've Got To Be Kidding...
You probably missed this news -- what with the raging gayness of MaryCheneyGate -- but I think the Friday night release another 31 pages of Bush National Guard records deserves at least a cursory mention.
For at least the fourth time this year the Keystone Kops at the Pentagon and the Texas National Guard conducted a late night document dump. This, of course, after they declared on each previous occasion of releasing documents that ALL documents had been released. In the immortal words of Dr. Evil: "Riiiiiiiight."
Incidentally, in my opinion, the documents do much to explain Bush's absence during those heady days in 1972 and 1973:
The 31 pages of documents turned over to AP Thursday night include orders for high-altitude training in 1972, less than three months before Bush abruptly quit flying as a fighter pilot.High altidude training? Well, there it is. Bush didn't feel the need to show up for high altitude training. Afterall, what could the Texas Air National Guard possibly teach an inveterate Par-Tay Man like Bush about how to act when high?
The Theft Begins...
As I noted yesterday, Karl Rove most assuredly has a plan to steal the should he come out on the losing side. The first public steps of that plan are on display today...
Friday, October 15, 2004
Bush's Electoral Thievery
Like Marvin over at The Ivy Bush I'm feeling good about where Kerry stands today. But now is not the time to get soft and dewy-eyed. None of this, please:
I feel a little sorry for [Bush] today. He's clearly in over his head. He's clearly been outclassed. And his defeat is looking more and more inevitable.Yes, Bush is in over his head (he has been for four years). Yes, he's been outclassed (we've known that since the mid term elections). And yes, if the election were held today we would be rid of the embarrassing Bush booger on the end of our collective finger.
But the election is 17 days away. The outcome is not a foregone conclusion because no one plays dirtier than the Bush family.
So no -- an emphatic NO! -- I do not feel sorry for George W. Bush.
In fact, I'm somewhat scared at what depths of depravity they're capable of. They have an ace in the hole (literally) in Karl Rove. These next 17 days will be Rove's swan song. He will not go gently into forced retirement. Like a cornered, wounded, rabid animal, Rove will direct the Bush machine to fight and flail furiously for at least the next three weeks. And even when all the votes are cast they will continue to fight. The next three weeks are going to be ugly. And where there is ugliness there is Rove.
And I don't mean to single out Marvin here. The (over) confidence is apparent elsewhere:
For this reason, Kerry enters the final two and a half weeks of the campaign with the race his to lose.No, no, no! This race is not Kerry's to lose.
It is Bush's to steal.
Remember that when Bush and Rove start trying to snatch media and judiciary victory from the jaws of electoral defeat. There is a record here. We'd be wise to remember it.
It is not to early to begin to talk about Bush's electoral thievery. Because I guarantee that Rove already has a plan to talk about Kerry's attempt to steal the election.
So, your mission for the next three weeks is to talk incessantly about Bush's attempt to steal this election. He got away with it once. But we ought to be damned if we let him get away with it again.
George Bush -- A Retarded Sexual Deviant?
That seems to be Karl Rove's opinion.
How else to explain this flyer in conjunction with the manufactured and much over-hyped outrage over Mary Cheney's gayness?
Sure, the less well-informed among us may fall for the rumors that the flyer was associated with a Tennessee Democrat with nominal ties to the Kerry/Edwards campaign.
DON'T BELIEVE IT FOR A SECOND.
The flyer (not to mention the Mary Cheney idiocy) has all the earmarks of a Karl Rove dirty trick. In fact, by Rove standards, calling Bush a retard is tame. When Rove starts manufacturing outrage by accusing Bush of being a pedophile then we'll know he's hitting his stride.
Steve Clemons has the details. Josh Marshall has the context.
My guess is that we're at the beginning of Karl's three week plan to paint Kerry as mean-spirited and wicked-tempered. Afterall, only a mean and hateful man would demean special needs kids or use homosexuality as a wedge issue.
Mean and hateful? Well, Karl would know.
I've wagered on George Bush, not because I wanted him to win but rather because I thought he would. Now I'm changing my mind. It's not the tightening polls that have done it -- I knew that would happen -- but rather something I could not have predicted. The president is missing.God knows I hate Bush. And I've accused him of lots of things. But I don't believe I've ever equated him with a cold-blooded serial killer...twice in the same paragraph...in the op-ed pages of a major newspaper.
The president I have in mind is the funny, good-natured regular guy I once saw on the campaign trail -- a man of surprisingly quick wit and just plain likeability. I contrasted this man to John Kerry, who is as light and as funny as a mud wall, and I thought, "There goes the election."
Where it has mattered most -- the three debates -- Bush has been wooden, ill at ease and downright spooky. He makes bad jokes, cackles at them in the manner of a cinematic serial killer and has lacked the warmth that he not only once had but that I thought would compensate for a disastrous presidency and give him a second -- God help us -- term. In short, he could take over the Bates Motel in an instant.
Republicanism Promotes Gayness!
Republicans are all up in arms that John Kerry mentioned what various members of the Cheney family have themselves stated in various public forums over the years: Mary Cheney is gay! Horrors! What will we tell the children?
The Cheney's "indignation" is hypocritical and actually quite sad.
Yet while Republicans in general and the Cheney's in particular are busy crying crocodile tears about Mary's lesbianism, they've got a much bigger problem on their hands. No, it's not the sanctimoniousness of tearing down the only candidate (including Mary's own father, Dick) who had the guts to speak movingly about ensuring rights for all people regardless of how God made them.
No, the problem Republicans have is that their own policies are increasing the planet's GQ. GQ, as everyone knows, is "Gayness Quotient" which is a measure of the ratio of gay to straight creatures on planet Earth.
This news will come as quite a shock to Bible thumpers who view gayness as unnatural and contrary to God's law.
And the news gets even worse for homophobic social conservatives, many of whom have always suspected that gays were on a mission to convert them. It turns out that gayness is transmitted through the water supply! And, to add final insult to inglorious injury, this gay, water-borne deluge is moving downstream right into the heart of red state America.
According to a front page story in Friday's Washington Post:
Many of the river's male bass are producing eggs.Yes, that's right. The South Branch of the Potomac River has gay fish. And the causes of this perversion of nature are the very Republican policies promoted by the homophobic George Bush and his sidekick Dick.
Scientists believe this inversion of nature is being caused by pollution in the water.
Mary Cheney? Looks like Republicans have bigger fish to fry.
And who says God doesn't have a sense of humor? Or justice.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Who Is George Today?
The third debate is over and we now have the answer to the question that's kept us on the edge of our seats since the last debate.
Who was George tonight? With his plastic grin and lame jokes, I think the answer is obvious.
He tried to get a laugh with a bad PAYGO joke. He sort of giggled to himself as he said "I sure hope it's not the administration" that's responsible for the 36 percent rise in health care costs. And he seemed positively giddy when he tried to zing CBS (the network of moderator Bob Schieffer) with this line:
BUSH: In all due respect, I'm not so sure it's credible to quote leading news organizations about — oh, never mind.He had other failed attempts at humor, but they're not worth repeating.
The important thing, at least from his handlers' perspective, is that he showed he can still take instructions. Clearly, his staff told him to liven up his first debate performance while at the same time not assaulting people as he nearly did in the second debate. His response was an odd, glued on smile that must have made his cheeks hurt by the end of the debate.
Verdict: Three debates and at least three different Georges.
Doesn't he realize that the American president must be consistent? Maybe he does and he's just not up to the job?
Johnny Sunshine on the Tonight Show:
I run, and I played a little football back when I was in school. And the president, I think, was there at those football games too. He was, I think, on the side maybe with his pompoms? Can you run fast with those cheerleading outfits on? I don't know.Well said Johnny.
Kerry needs to follow that up tonight with something along these lines:
Mr. President, you can't fix the economy by talking about how strong it is. The country needs a real leader, not a cheerleader.Make no mistake, George W. Bush is, underneath it all, an insecure man. A subtle and yet overt challenge to his leadership skills (not to mention his virility) might just cause an appearance of Stuttering Murderous Rage George.
Third Time's The Charm
Tonight is the third and final presidential debate. The questions will focus on domestic affairs.
But the BIG QUESTION is this: Which George will show up tonight?
This is a seminal moment in television history.
Bigger than a Super Bowl half-time show featuring Janet Jackson's nipple.
Bigger than the final episode of Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire in which Rick Rockwell and Darva Conger perverted the meaning of marriage.
Bigger even than the Who Shot J.R. cliffhanger of 1980.
Will it be another episode of Furious George? Passive George? Intoxi-George? Grimace George? Wired George?
Will the moderator wear body armor to protect himself? Bob Schieffer is from CBS raising the possibility that Petulant George might cry (or at least whine).
How many times will Angry Timber Boy George use the word "librul?" How many times will Inconsistent George claim his opponent has raised taxes? (Sort of like McCarthy's "card-carrying Communists -- the number keeps changing.) How many codes (e.g. Dred Scott = Abortion) will Blinking Morse Code George try to send subliminably?
Will Pretty George wink knowingly at the moderator? Will Ineffective George try in vain (as in the first debate) to drink from an empty glass? (Sort of an apt metaphor, don't you think?) Will "I Hear Voices" George interrupt himself to demand that he be allowed to finish his remarks? Will Hard Work George start to fall asleep at the lectern at around 9:55 EST?
And just how many different Georges can make an appearance in one 90 minute debate?
Yes, it should be an exciting night. I'm all atwitter. The suspense is killing me.
Who will George try to be tonight? Tune in and find out.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
If Amy Tan Says Tomato Then I Say Toe-MAH-Toe
I don't often read Andrew Sullivan. His most recent post offers ample reason why:
POSEUR ALERT: "I'm voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he" - Amy Tan, novelist. Barf. Every time I come close to supporting Kerry, I come across comments like this one that make me want to rush out and back Bush. Or I read the latest pearl of wisdom from Teresa. If I were running the Bush campaign I'd send a copy of this nauseating Slate symposium to every swing voter in the country. More effective than the Swiftees for the bobo angst-ridden pro-war blue-stater like, er, me.Sullivan presents himself as an angst-ridden pro-war (homosexual) conservative and sometime
But here's the thing. All of his supposed angst loses whatever patina of legitimacy it might have had when he writes, apparently seriously, that the flippant attacks of others on a candidate somehow affect his vote. More than that, who the fuck is Amy Tan and why the fuck do I care one way or another what she thinks? Why does her opinion (on a non-policy matter, no less) drive Sullivan toward or away from either candidate?
It's the dumbest reason I've ever heard upon which to even contemplate basing your vote.
NB: Yes, I do know who Amy Tan is and what books she's written. The point is that she's a nobody when it comes to this topic, at least insofar as proferring an opinion on substantive issues. And even on the non-policy viewpoint upon which she opined: Why does anyone -- Andrew Sullivan in particular -- care that Amy Tan think Bush has no brain?
Strong, Presidential Candidate Beats Angry Timber Boy in Second Debate
Further evidence that Kerry won the second debate is now available. Via Political Wire:
Here's who independents thought was the winner:Elsewhere, the analysis is summarized thusly:
Gallup: Kerry 53, Bush 37
ABC News: Kerry 44, Bush 34
Democracy Corps: Kerry 44, Bush 33
Women backed him 50 to 41. Bush rallied his base, but Kerry won over the middle.Kerry is doing what needs to be done. He's pitching to the middle and they're supporting him.
Bush, on the other hand, continues his strategy of self-aggrandizement via willful divisiveness.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Call to Arms!
In case you haven't already heard, Sinclair Broadcast Group is forcing its local affiliates to air an anti-Kerry movie in the days prior to the election. The reprehensible part is that they are planning to skirt FCC regulations by claiming that the paid political advertisement (c'mon, that's really what it is...) is "news" and thus not subject to the Equal Time Rule.
There are a variety of efforts underway to bring pressure against Sinclair and it advertisers. My personal belief is that direct appeals to Sinclair are likely to be ineffective as Sinclair is an avowed part of the eerie calliope that is the Right Wing Media Wurlitzer. So, I don't think they're going to give in to pressure. Unless it hits them where they live.
Furthermore, I do think their advertisers are susceptible to an effective boycott. And that's where you come in.
If you live in any of the areas listed below, please go here and find out what companies in your area are advertising on your local Sinclair station. Then, please take a moment to call a few of the advertisers and register your displeasure at Sinclair's blatent attempt to meddle with the election. Be tactful and polite, but let them know that you will have to give serious thought to shopping at an establishment that condones the efforts of a partisan media outlet to subvert the democratic process.
Please do this. Remember, if the advertisers don't know you're boycotting them then they don't know you're boycotting them.
I know I don't have a huge readership. But I also know that people from the bolded locations below read this blog at least ocassionally. Please go here take action.
Update: Josh Marshall has this:
Another reader writes in the following ...
[I've removed the introduction to this letter where the reader describes a local TV market where he works. Suffice it to say that he works in local TV and says he has friends who work at some of the Sinclair affiliates in question.]Let me tell you, they're NOT afraid in the least of the license challenges that Steve Soto has proposed. I mean, what's the point? If they air it, then fine, challenge away, I'm all for taking revenge on them. But the goal should be to shut down the broadcast before it happens.
What they're deathly afraid of is the stink of this thing will somehow waft over to their advertisers. That's of course why they're not selling local ad time for this show. Having worked in the ad department of Sinclair's competitor, I know that local Sinclair stations make over 60% of their ad revenue from their nightly 6pm newscast. That's their bread and butter. You make a concerted effort to go after their top advertisers on the 5pm/6pm news hour and you'll have the executives spiking this show so fast it'll be amazing.
Have you ever noticed that whenever Bush is talking about something that is bad for America (e.g. "the Enemy", "terrorists", "attacks") he reflexively gestures toward himself? I've noticed this in his speeches before but it's been very noticeable during the debates. Is he trying to send us a message? Or does his odd syntax affect his gestures as well? The third debate on domestic policy won't offer quite as much opportunity for Bush to refer subconsiously to himself as an enemy. But keep an eye on his gestures. They may be more revealing than you think.
Saturday, October 09, 2004
Howard Bush or Muskie Moment, Part II
I'm always impressed with the Marvin's prescience. Back in January he wrote about Dean's post-Iowa "meltdown." What's interesting is how easily his January post can be made applicable to Dubya's St. Louis debate performance (particularly his audience hectoring and near Gibson takedown):
Did you hear/see [George Bush's] Smackdown moment [during] the [St. Louis debate]? I heard it on the radio. NPR was playing snippets of the top three candidates, and I was halfway paying attention. Then came this [persistent] screaming, and I glanced at the radio. "That was [George Bush]?" I wondered.Do I think Bush's angry performance has made this election a cakewalk for Kerry? Of course not. But the key point is what Marvin wrote in January: "Voters don't like to see emotional instability in their Chief Executive."
People are talking about it. A short article in [Reuters] quoted [George Mason] political scientist who labeled it ["angry"]. [cut]
Seriously, I think that this is worth 5-7% in the [election]. It's as if [Bush] tried to confirm every stereotype the public has about him by going tomatohead up there. He really IS mean, people are thinking.
Senator Edmund Muskie's bid for the White House ended when it appeared as though he was crying while taking questions from reporters about his wife's mental illness. Muskie, I think, always insisted that he wasn't crying; the snow was getting in his eyes. [Bush's angry] pump up the volume performance may well have ended his [chances] for the same reason; voters don't like to see emotional instability in their Chief Executive, even in this post-I feel your pain era.
But hey, when God closes one door; he opens another. [Bush] may yet have a vibrant future in the WWF.
Describes George W. Bush precisely.
Georgie's Debate Evolution
It's clear that the American electorate doesn't know from one day to the next which George W. Bush will show up on our television screens. For those who have been trying to follow the inconsistencies of George "Jekyll & Hyde" Bush I offer the following guide to the many faces of "Debate George" (not to be confused with "War George", "Golf George", "Liar George", "Fearmonger George", "Orwellian George", "Mistake Free Messiah George", or "Coward George").
September 30, 2004
Coral Gables, FL
October 8, 2004
St. Louis, MO
October 13, 2004
Uncontrollable grimaces and facial contortions
Angry and aggressive
We don't know
And neither does he
Despite (or because of?) all his "hard work" George almost falls asleep during last half-hour
George nearly attacks moderator Charlie Gibson
|Memorable Image:|| |
"Who the fuck knows what I'm liable to say or do" George
As George Bush so eloquently noted during the second debate:
It's -- you've got to be consistent when you're the president. There's a lot of pressures. And you've got to be firm and consistent.Indeed. So we wait and wonder. With great faith in Our Leader's consistent ability to bemuse and embarass us we wonder, "Which fictional character will George try to be in Debate #3?"
Who will George try to be when he goes to Tempe?
Might I humbly suggest that he try to be...presidential?
Four years ago the Conventional Wisdom after the debates was that there were three Al Gores. The Gore of the first debate was derided as a huffy attack poodle. The Gore of the second debate was passive and somnambulant. By the third debate, so the CW goes, Gore had found the appropriate balance between sniping and statesmanship.
Thus, it is with much hope and little expectation that I look to our SCLM to point out how, in 2004, Bush is executing the Gore debate strategy.
To wit: In the first debate Bush one-upped Gore's huffiness with an amazing display of facial tics, grimaces, and scowls that induced casual observers to think that Bush suffers from voluntary Tourettes. Recall also that two different Bushes showed up for the first debate. The Bush of the first 45 minutes in the Coral Gables debate demonstrated the energetic pushiness we've come to expect from the exerciser-in-chief. But all of his contortions and facial mugging must have tired him out. For by the last half hour Bush had morphed into a barely cognizant automoton listlessly parroting his half-dozen canned talking points.
Prior to the St. Louis debate Bush must have gotten a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, perhaps, he was too well rested. For like the fighter who refuses to heed the referee's admonitions to return to his corner, Bush could barely be contained. He frequently burst off his stool and strode aggressively into the middle of the arena. Often, he didn't even wait for the moderator to extend a question before he unilaterally seized extra time to swing wildly with his new (yet tiredly retro) "liberal" attacks. Whereas the Bush of the second half of the first debate was oddly fagged, the Bush of the second debate was strangely intoxicated with energy and anger. Whether caused by a Grande Caffè Latte or some other stimulant, George's unmodulated speech and audience hectoring was truly jarring. Coupled with his odd statements about his timber company and the "internets" his animated and antagonistic performance must have left his supporters relieved that he wants to keep his job as they simultaneouly questioned his fitness to perform it.
As I noted before, on next Wednesday's debate hinges much. Not least of which is the answer to this question: Which Bush will show up?
Cross posted from Kos
Last night, after an abysmal first debate performance from which he had to rebound, Bush climbed back into the ring. But aside from rejoining the main event
Bush did form complete sentences. This is always a plus for someone who hopes to be president. But I'm hard pressed to find other praiseworthy moments from Bush's performance.
During the first 45 minutes Bush practically yelled his answers at the audience. He labored mightily to supress his inveterate smirk and constant grimacing. Sometimes he even seemed to succeed. He was less successful in containing his anger. At one point Bush almost took a swing at moderator Charlie Gibson. As it was, Bush stifled his pugilistic predilection and merely (rudely) interrupted and ignored the moderator on his way to berate (again) the audience.
To be sure, Bush took some swings. Less astute observers might even give Bush credit for some of his "liberal" sucker punches. But it was an uneven performance. Yet despite his not performing to expectations in his forte -- the town hall format -- Bush was clearly stronger in this debate than in the first debate. And while that can reasonably be construed as damning with faint praise, I do mean that sincerely. Bush truly did perform better last night than he did during his first face-off with Kerry. Unfortuntely for team Bush, Kerry performed better as well. Kerry was stronger on his own and stronger when countering Bush improved but still ineffective attacks.
Aside from resorting to cheating (i.e. voter intimidation, October surprise, etc. -- which would be completely in character for the Bushies) everything comes down to Wednesday's debate. To switch sports metaphors, Kerry merely needs to hold serve. Kerry has demonstrated his presidential bona fides. He has demonstrated a coolness, calmness, effectiveness, likability, and resolve that the electorate will find refreshing.
Bush, on the other hand, has confirmed perceptions of him as a selfish, petulant, childlike automoton for whom rules don't apply. He continues to believe in his own infallability despite the contrary evidence of reality.
To mix my sports metaphors one last time, Bush must hit a homerun on Wednesday. But, a homerun is merely a necessary and not a sufficient condition for Bush victory. As he's rounding third Bush must make a brief stop at the visitor's dugout, bat still in hand, and forcefully beat Kerry to a lifeless bloody pulp. And he must do so without confirming the public's suspicion of Bush as an angry bully. Anything less than the manly manhandling of Kerry while scoring run after run will be insufficient.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
The Cheney With The Mostest
Dick Cheney attacked Senator John Edwards last night over Edwards attendance record in the Senate:
And Senator, frankly, you have a record in the Senate that's not very distinguished. You've missed 33 out of 36 meetings in the Judiciary Committee, almost 70 percent of the meetings of the Intelligence Committee.Since Cheney was sworn in there have been 127 Tuesday during which the United States Senate was in session. Care to take a guess as to how many of those Tuesday sessions Cheney presided over?
You've missed a lot of key votes: on tax policy, on energy, on Medicare reform.
Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you "Senator Gone." You've got one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate.
Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session.
Cheney served as the presiding officer for 1.57% of the Tuesdays since he has been in office.
But, I guess it all makes sense. If 1.57% qualifies in Cheney's book as "most" then it's no wonder he has trouble understanding that America has borne 88% of the casualties in Iraq while his administration has presided over the loss of nearly two million jobs.
George W. Bush likes to joke that he didn't put Cheney on the ticket for his hair. Clearly, Cheney's math skills weren't part of the deal either.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Apparently Not So Hard Work...
It would seem that it's really not that hard to make a video that makes George W. Bush look like an idiot.
In addition to my Hard Work video, check these out.
Song and Dance
Hard Work 2
How Bush Did in the first debate.
Georgie's Hard Work Rap (song)
The Poor Man's Hard Work post
And, as I noted before, this classic video from the GOP Convention.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Bush to Marvin...Come In Marvin
There's a rumor going around that Bush was wearing an earpiece during the debate and was being fed his lines.
Marvin, are you willing to go on the record and disavow any involvement in this plot? And if you were involved, is that really the best Bush can do even when his lines are fed to him?
We earthlings must know if Our Dear Leader is even dumber than we've been heretofore led to believe.
Here's my latest self produced advertisement.
Uncertainty (1.3 MB) Windows Media Player
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Bush Owns The Town Hall Format
Marvin writes of the second presidential debate:
It's a town hall meeting. It's Bush's to lose. Spontaneity. Rhetorical banter. Bush can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee in there. Poor old scripted, stiff John Kerry's going to look like a corpse.To which I ask: What gives? Marvin leaves out the most important element in Bush's repetoire. The sin qua non which demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt why Bush will destroy John Kerry in the town hall debate.
The simple fact is that Bush has been practicing this particular format non-stop for the last four months. Almost all his campaign events (sometimes two or three, maybe even four times in a day) have been a speech followed by the town hall style give and take with the audience. Bush is primed to take any question from the audience.
I myself have been to a John Kerry event and there was no Q&A from the crowd. But nearly all of Bush's events have included some kind of crowd interaction. The bottom line is that Bush is going to murder, just MURDER Kerry in this format. Kerry will be lucky if he can remember his own name as he concentrates on interacting with the public that simply adores the homespun Mr. Bush.
In fact, the word on the street is that Bush's campaign events were such an important part of his training regime for the town hall debate that his staff prevented Kerry loyalists from entering in order to keep them from learning Bush's preparation techniques.
And, let's not forget, Bush has prior experience in this particular format that Kerry sorely lacks. Nearly 38 million people watched Bush destroy Al Gore in their town hall debate in 2000. Kerry couldn't buy that kind of experience.
I tell you, given the immense preparation Bush has had with the town hall format, and his innate skills connecting with the public (not to mention his abysmal showing in the first debate), Bush will come into the town hall debate loaded for bear.
Bush is going to run up the score.
Unfortunately, Kerry will have to content himself simply to breathe the same rarefied air as George W. Bush, the Master of the Town Hall format.
I mentioned before that I was thinking of starting my own 527. Well, I haven't gone quite that far yet. Although I have perused the required IRS documents.
But if and when I file my paperwork, I've got my first ad ready.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
Hard Work (3.1 MB) Windows Media Player
Friday, October 01, 2004
Why Does BusinessWeek Hate America?
SPUTTERING SCREWUP. The poignancy of a man ill-prepared for and overwhelmed by his job was never more apparent than when Bush said, "I never wanted to commit troops. When we were debating in 2000, I never dreamed I'd have to do that."Indeed.
The message that Kerry hammered home was that, in fact, Bush did not have to "do that," did not have to send our soldiers -- at least not to Iraq.
But Bush, the onetime black sheep of his family, wanted to wipe away the "wimp factor" stain that his old man had left on the Bush clan. And so he rebelled against the family mantra of prudence in all things. Last night, he looked for all the world like a sputtering screwup -- again.
Via Catch via Atrios
Moral Calculus? How Bout Rational Calculus.
Apparently NPR recently interviewed one of the so-called "security moms." Marvin has a short post noting the moral hazards of the security mom's preference for Iraqi children to be blown up rather than her own children.
I didn't hear the NPR report, but I agree with Marvin's response regarding the shaky moral underpinnings of the security mom's argument.
But leave the moral argument aside for a moment. Can we please dispense with the ludicrous PRACTICAL underpinnings of this blatantly illogical argument? In what world are these people living that they believe fighting the terrorists "over there" somehow prevents the terrorists from acting "over here?" Do the people who subscribe to this notion believe that al Qaeda is like the Bush administration and therefore unable to walk and chew gum at the same time? Sure it's abundantly clear that George Bush can barely handle one task at a time. But it is equally clear that al Qaeda and its related organizations have no such limit on multi-pronged simultaneous operations. Ask the people of Beslan, Madrid, Pakistan, the Philippines, Afghanistan, Israel, and other far flung global targets of recent al Qaeda operations.
Ironically, even Bush does not believe his own spin. As he noted last night: "We're facing a group of folks who have such hatred in their heart, they'll strike anywhere, with any means." Of course he misunderstands their motives. But he nails their operational capabilities.
To be clear: Americans fighting and dying in Iraq hinder al Qaeda operations in North America not one iota. If and when al Qaeda decides to strike in America we must pray that America's domestic security and intelligence apparatus are equipped to thwart the attack.
Pretending that we've got al Qaeda bottled up in Iraq is not a recipe for security. It's delusional.
What The @&* Was Bush Thinking?
Speaking of his daughters:
BUSH: I'm trying to put a leash on them.
Mr. Bush has no shame. Whether speaking to groups of 10 or tens of millions, he lies with equal aplomb. From last night's debate:
BUSH: Let me first tell you that the best way for Iraq to be safe and secure is for Iraqi citizens to be trained to do the job.And he lies repeatedly:
And that's what we're doing. We've got 100,000 trained now, 125,000 by the end of this year, 200,000 by the end of next year. That is the best way. We'll never succeed in Iraq if the Iraqi citizens do not want to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves. I believe they want to. Prime Minister Allawi believes they want to.
BUSH: There are 100,000 troops trained, police, guard, special units, border patrol. There's going to be 125,000 trained by the end of this year. Yes, we're getting the job done. It's hard work. Everybody knows it's hard work, because there's a determined enemy that's trying to defeat us.The fact of the matter is that according to the Pentagon Bush is off by at least an exponential factor of 10.
The documents show that of the nearly 90,000 currently in the police force, only 8,169 have had the full eight-weekDuring the debate Kerry has said that he's tried not to use the word "liar" out of respect for the President. Well Kerry should use the word that fits the facts at hand. Mr. Bush has earned the title: Liar.
academy training. Another 46,176 are listed as "untrained," and it will be July 2006 before the administration reaches its
new goal of a 135,000-strong, fully trained police force.
Six Army battalions have had "initial training," while 57 National Guard battalions, 896 soldiers in each, are still being
recruited or "awaiting equipment." Just eight Guard battalions have reached "initial (operating) capability," and the
Pentagon acknowledged the Guard's performance has been "uneven."
Training has yet to begin for the 4,800-man civil intervention force, which will help counter a deadly insurgency. And
none of the 18,000 border enforcement guards have received any centralised training to date, despite earlier claims they
had, according to Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.
They estimated that 22,700 Iraqi personnel have received enough basic training to make them "minimally effective at their tasks," in contrast to the 100,000 figure cited by Bush.