The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, October 02, 2004


New Newsweek poll has Kerry leading 49-46. (47-45-2 with Nader factored in)

Why did this happen? Maybe it was Kerry's clear, strong, concise statements and strong demeanor compared to Bush's snippy repetition of 2 or 3 lines and assertions without support. But come on, it was the microphones. Let's face it.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Man, I'm so excited about this. St Helens is my favorite mountain of all time. Only been there once, though.

From the Washington Post:
The unusual public-relations effort by the Pentagon and the U.S. Agency for International Development comes as details have emerged showing the U.S. government and a representative of President Bush's reelection campaign had been heavily involved in drafting the speech given to Congress last week by interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi. Combined, they indicate that the federal government is working assiduously to improve Americans' opinions about the Iraq conflict -- a key element of Bush's reelection message.
This is interesting because up until now the White House had been denying involvement in the creation of Allawi's speech in Washington. This is also interest because up until now Bush and his surrogates have chastised Kerry and Democrats about their criticisms of Allawi and his speech, namely that he seemed like "a puppet" (as Kerry staffer Joe Lockhart said).

But of course, it is a friday, and it is the day after the big debate, so no time like the present to sneak out some bad news and hope nobody notices.

Al Franken was talking about this earlier today on Air America, and said the following, in his characteristic deadpan:
You know who I wouldn't tell about this? The Iraqi people.
Agreed. Allawi's legitimacy (and by extension, the legitimacy of the Iraqi government) hinges on perceptions that he (and it) is independent from direct American influence. The Bushies may have just shattered those perceptions, thus fucking up our chances at long-term success in Iraq, in the interest of his short-term success in America, vis a vis the November election.

A while back (I'm too lazy now), I wrote a post genuinely complimenting the Bush administration for the "kabuki dance" they conducted to make Allawi appear independent of America when he was settled upon as the choice for interim Iraqi president. By writing his friggin DC speech, they may have undone that effort. Fuck, are these people unserious or what. Get Kerry in there NOW.

I am just out of the shot on the right, near the screen. You would have seen me with my shiny HP laptop and a couple of my friends.

If you didn't watch the debate on C-Span, this gives you an idea of what we saw. They had the split screen going the whole time. Note that even though the two shots are at different levels to even the candidates' heights (the top of Bush's lectern is higher than Kerry's by six inches), Kerry is still taller. And there's the discrepancy in microphone length, too.

Anyway, much to do.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

LOST IN ALL THE HOOPLA the fact that the FMA went down to a smashing defeat. In the House, no less.
The Republican-controlled House emphatically defeated a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage Thursday, the latest in a string of conservative pet causes pushed to a vote by GOP leaders in the run-up to Election Day.

The vote was 227-186, 49 votes shy of the two-thirds needed for approval of an amendment that President Bush backed but the Senate had previously scuttled.

Bush issued a statement expressing disappointment with the vote’s outcome.
Because societies only become more and more tolerant over time, this is the best that the measure could ever possibly do from now on. So relax, ol' Consty, no one's gonna fuck with you.

The first transcripts are in, and Bush's Saddam/Osama gaffe has not been scrubbed.

Foolmuh cant get fooled again.

The post debate numbers, these are direct reports via AIM

Josh:CBS and ABC initial polls both show Kerry winning the debate. . . ABC says 45-35 percent lead, CBS says 45-25 percent lead, the remaining percentages being undecided.

Liz: All the undecided Ohio people that were interviewed (on NBC) said that Kerry did a better job and that he looked really strong

In the comments to one of my rapid-fire posts, Paul expressed concern about Kerry's "global test" line that Bush seemed all too eager to jump on. To be honest, I'm not worried about that.

We all know what was up. Rove and Bush were rehearsing the debate, and right after repeating "stick to principle!" for the 87th time, Rove leaned into Bush's ear and told him to look for something, anything that sounded even remotely like Kerry saying that America should sacrifice its own goals in favor of those of other nations.

What Kerry said was not about international veto power. Rather, it was an abstract comment about America's international credibility.

Regardless (or "irregardless"), Bush pounced, in his stuttering, repetitious way (for some reason, people call it "folksy"), saying over and over again "global test? what is this global test?"

Anyone who's been paying attention knows exactly what he was trying to do, and thus, knows that it wasn't Kerry's point. To those who haven't been paying attention that closely, it must have looked like Bush was genuinely clueless about something Kerry said. So I'm not worried about that.

In large part, both candidates said a lot of things they've been saying on the stump before. The difference, of course--other than all those large words Kerry was using--is that we've heard what Bush has had to say a lot more than we've heard Kerry. The end result? Each exchange went something like this:
Kerry: Well organized, detailed answer.
Bush: String of platitudes
Kerry was able to counter a lot of the long-term attacks against him (flip flopper, the 87 billion quote, etc). What I noticed about Bush is that he did what he always does: Returns to the same two or three points over and over again (the wrong war wrong time comment, etc). Either because he's an incumbent, or because his record is a target-rich environment, or perhaps both, Kerry was able to stay on the offensive for much of the debate.

The problem with Bush was that he took his bumper-sticker campaign with him to the lectern. He kept saying that John Kerry is "inconsistent" and keeps "changing positions" on Iraq, at least half a dozen times he said this, but he essentially never offered any support for this assertion.

Whoops! Hold on, my phone is beeping, I have to anser a tixt missage.

From a character standpoint, the biggest victory for Kerry was his identifying the problems that occur when "stubborn" and "wrong" converge.

And in the "sigh" department, Kerry did not give the pundits an opening. Frankly, I can't believe he didn't break out in laughter a coupld times; my friend kept remarking how it looked as if he was holding back a smirk. Bush, on the other hand, seemed almost snippy at times.

Other random thoughts:

I'm trying to decide how I feel about Kerry not out-and-out calling Bush a liar.

Neither "bring them on" or "mission accomplished" really came up in this debate. Is Kerry waiting to bring the hammer down two weeks from now? We'll see.

More thoughts later, as it's time to argue with my friends.
I was about to note that there wasn't any quasi-evangelical talk from Dubya tonight... but there came the mountain, and the valley... oy.

Bush just referred to Russia as "a strong ally in the war on terror".

Russia did not take part in the Iraq war.

The Iraq war, as Bush likes to say, is "the central front in the war on terror".

So which is it, Mister Bush?

The ratio of Bush saying Kerry changes his positions on Iraq to Bush identifying these varied positions is rather high right now.
I should also mention that there's a huge crowd here at the UCen, along the lines of 200 people at least. And it's not a very big room. I'll post a pic or two tomorrow if I have time.
By the way, am I a hypocrite for joking about trivialities here?


Yeah, the Iraq war cost a lot of moolaaa indeed.
Someone used the DeGualle story before, and it wasn't Kerry. Was it Dean? Am I on crack about this one?

Anyway, this is going well...
Please take a moment to appreciate the disparity in the lenghts of the two candidates' microphones.

That is all.
Kerry is outlining where Bush has been "less than candid" about the Iraq war.

In two minutes, prepare for "I saw a threat", and that canned line about how he'd "defend America every time".

UPDATE: Whatever Bush just said, I simply don't get it. And he goes on to say Kerry changes his positions, without actually saying how. No surprise there.

QUICK 2nd UPDATE: In his 30second answer, he repeated, sans support, that Kerry "changes positions". He then moved on. The pause was nice though.
I'm watching on CSpan here actually, are they the only ones doing the perma-split-screen? I feel like I'm missing out if the Fox News pool camera isn't part of my debate-watching experience.
He said Saddam when he meant Bin Laden. Well, don't that just sum it up.

That better show up in transcripts tomorrow morning.
"Saddam Hussein has no intention of disarming. And why should he?"

Well, because he had no arms.
"A strategy of freedom"

Hmm. Glad we're finally getting into the specifics!
The split screen is hilarious. Look where the podium begins for each candidate. And even with that, Kerry's still taller! This election is in the bag.

Dear John Kerry,

Please don't suck tonight.


Wolf Blitzer: "Initially a lot of people thought Al Gore won that first debate, but two or three days later that changed"

Well Gee, Wolf, not that you played a part in that or anything?


Someone's holding up the "One Simple Question" on a sign behind Jeff Greenfield right now!

The UCen is showing CNN's pre-debate coverage, and given the presence of Paula Zah, Candy Crowley etc, there's a lot to complain about.

Case in point: Paula just put up CNN's electoral college map, which placed Ohio in Bush column, even though the latest Gallup poll has Kerry with a 3 point lead. Remember that CNN jerks off to Gallup. (well, they are a polling organization)
Coming to you live from the UCen, deep in the heart of UCSB, blogging the debate and pre-debate. More to come.

Next Wednesday's vice presidential debate is going to be held at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

If that name is familiar to some of you, it should be: It is the alma mater, for both undergrad and postgrad, of one Dennis Kucinich. He also taught political science there for over a decade (82-94).

Maybe he'll be there in some capacity.
For those of you who are too pretentious for TV but not pretentious enough for NPR, live streaming video of tonight's debate can be seen on C-Span's website.

--If you're a seasoned political junky who likes watching huge amounts of highly-charged spin being dispersed by talking heads posing as centrists, then by all means, watch the post-debate coverage on the cable news networks and gasp at the the sentences that emerge from the likes of Noonan, Crowley, Hume and the rest.

--If you haven't actually decided which candidate you intend to vote for, then by all means, watch the debate and then turn off your fucking TV. We'll take it from there, thank you very much.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


They were taken TODAY.

So Drudge, smut-writin' Lynne and any others: STFU. Thanks.
TBogg notes that the upcoming Bush Meetup in San Diego is generating, uh, a lot of excitement.

Of course, the meetup in question is supposed to be in the Hillcrest district of San Diego, so maybe that explains the underwhelming response?

(funny thing is, I know one Bush-supporter who lives mere blocks from there, but alas for them, she is off in Hawaii)

From the Reuters wire:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Wednesday he was ready to open up contact with captors of a British hostage in Iraq, shown on video begging Blair to save his life.

Kenneth Bigley, 62, appeared on the tape chained and squatting in a cage, pleading to the prime minister for help while accusing him of lying over the hostage crisis.
This is the equivalent of diplomatic recognition of the terrorists who are killing American soldiers and murdering innocent Iraqis, all to prevent representative government in Iraq. Tony Blair has gratuitously dignified and emboldened our enemies, and can no longer be considered an ally of the United States.

I wonder if anybody in the national press corps will think to ask George Bush whether he supports Blair's decision to conduct official contact and negotiation with the decapitators and suicide bombers who are trying to destroy the prospects for representative government in Iraq. Does he consider this the act of a "friend and ally", or is there some new reason why we should blame that flip-flopper John Kerry?

(apologies to Jack, hehe)

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia goes to Harvard and says some fun stuff:
An audience member later rose to ask Scalia “whether you have any gay friends, and—if not—whether you’d like to be my friend.”

“I probably do have some gay friends,” Scalia said. “I’ve never pressed the point.”

But Scalia said his personal views on social issues have no bearing on his courtroom decisions.

“I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged,” Scalia said.
Hmm. Indeed, sir, that would require more than one position. And frankly, coming out of your mouth, I don't think the student body of Harvard wants to picture that. Maybe he saw Natalie Portman in the audience. Eh.

Still, was that what Bush had in mind when he identified Fat Tony as his ideal Justice in the 2000 debates?

Anyway, hope he receives a cordial welcome if and when he ever turns up in Berkeley. Or here in SB for that matter.

UPDATE: Ooh! Ooh! Beat Atrios to it by half an hour. Eh, he's the man.

It was hard for me to work up the will to start reading Al Gore's how-to-debate-Bush piece in today's NY Times. I was overcome by waves, sometimes blaming Gore, sometimes blaming the media whores for playing up trivialities. But when I came to, I got into it and decided I agree with much of what Gore actually says here. He makes a point so blatantly obvious that few in the media have even thought to make it:
While George Bush's campaign has made "lowering expectations" into a high art form, the record is clear - he's a skilled debater who uses the format to his advantage. There is no reason to expect any less this time around. And if anyone truly has "low expectations" for an incumbent president, that in itself is an issue.
(emphasis mine)

And I had forgotten that Bush expressed support for people buying prescription drugs from Canada in the 2000 debate.

But I must differ with President-Elect Gore on one thing:
The debates aren't a time for rhetorical tricks. It's a time for an honest contest of ideas. Mr. Bush's unwillingness to admit any mistakes may score him style points. But it makes hiring him for four more years too dangerous a risk. Stubbornness is not strength; and Mr. Kerry must show voters that there is a distinction between the two.
While I agree with the bulk of the paragraph, I am not of the position that Kerry should shy away completely from "rhetorical tricks". I'm all for Kerry methodically chipping away at Bush on the specific realities of Iraq, the economy, the continuing health care crisis, and so on.

But this is the nation of "There you go again". Our media wants pithy soundbytes, and when coupled with detailed arguments (which we're sure to hear from Kerry tomorrow) they are not inherently a bad thing. I'm not asking for Kerry to interrupt Bush the way Reagan did Carter. But I want Kerry and his campaign to come up with at least one line that brings out Bush's inner Quayle. This is not a requirement for tomorrow, but it would help. Hammer Bush methodically on the substance (which is, shall we say, a "target-rich environment"), but remember the media under whose rules we are, to an extent, playing.

This isn't a necessary thing for him to do, just something bumper-stickery for the chewy nougat center of the country.

Back to Gore: And it's just like him to top his piece off with a little humor at his own expense:
Comparing [Bush's] grandiose promises to his failed record, it's enough to make anyone want to, well, sigh.
Awww. Fuckin Jeb.

Amazing, just amazing, that the Bush campaign can put an ad together that strings together a group of John Kerry quotes, ignoring the context of virtually every single one of them! (links via pandagon)

Went to this year's first meeting of the UCSB Campus Democrats last night. Easily the highest-attendance I can remember in my time with the group, at least 150 people packed into a relatively small room. Probably more, I'm not generally that good with crowd size measurements.

A number of local candidates came to speak at the meeting. The first was State Senate candidate Paul Graber. I'm pondering volunteering for him, for one reason and one reason alone: He's running against Tom McClintock. Graber spoke briefly about the nature of the race, mentioning that the voter registration advantage Republicans have in the Senatorial district has shrunk by more than half this year. I doubt he can win, but it's nice to know that Ahhnuld probably won't be stumping for Tom. I'd like to see some high-profile California Dems offer their coattails to this guy; Boxer doesn't have much to do lately, given the ease with which she'll win reelection (god I love saying that). And besides, if McClintock lost, he wouldn't mind, since it would free up a lot of time for him to sit on a well-placed lawn chair in San Ysidro with a high-powered assault rifle in his hand.

The other major candidate to speak last night (after a candidate for Goleta's school board did her thing) was Pedro Nava, running to fill the outgoing Hannah Beth Jackson's seat in the State Assembly. He's an engaging speaker and a scourge of the corporate behemoths, so I'll go to bat for him.

But the real star of the night was a life-size cardboard standee of Big John Kerry, next to which people posed, measured their height, etc. Sadly I was cameraless last night. Also, Professor Eric Smith, of PS155 fame (mock congress, the Best Class In The Entire University) was in attendance.

I schmoozed with fellow club members for a few minutes, but due to other committments I had to depart relatively quickly. But if you want more Campus Dem fun, be sure to join us at the Hub in the University Center (UCen) at 6:00 tomorrow evening to watch the first presidential debate!

Also, it looks like I'll be going with them to Arizona in a few weekends to do the things volunteers do in swing states, and it's all pre-paid by our Congresswoman, Lois Capps.

Ok, that's enough for now, GO DEMS!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Slate's Bill Saletan on the comically Orwelian logic of the Bush administration on Iraq.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with Jim Carrey, and I grew tired of the whole rubberface thing as the years went by, and as I wandered further and further into puberty.

Thus, it's fitting that the absolute best movie he ever acted in was the one in which he was the most muzzled.

So yeah, if you need something to do today, go buy/rent Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind today. It's also the best movie Charlie Kaufman ever wrote.

Off to class, more political blogging to come later!

Monday, September 27, 2004


My day wouldn't be complete without saying CONGRATS, CONAN!

Hope he takes the Vomiting Kermit, the Constipated Washington Monument, and the Cactus Chef Playing "We Didn't Start the Fire" on the Flute with him.
The folks at Comedy Central were annoyed when Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly kept referring to “The Daily Show” audience as “stoned slackers.”

So they did a little research. And guess whose audience is more educated?

Viewers of Jon Stewart’s show are more likely to have completed four years of college than people who watch “The O’Reilly Factor,” according to Nielsen Media Research.

O’Reilly’s teasing came when Stewart appeared on his show earlier this month.

“You know what’s really frightening?” O’Reilly said. “You actually have an influence on this presidential election. That is scary, but it’s true. You’ve got stoned slackers watching your dopey show every night and they can vote.”

Comedy Central executives realized, and O’Reilly acknowledged, that he was poking fun. But they said they didn’t want a misconception to persist.

“If the head of General Motors was watching O’Reilly’s show, that could be very important to us,” said Doug Herzog, Comedy Central president.

“If you listen to O’Reilly, you get the sense that it was crazy longhairs behind the show,” he said. “And it’s not. It’s great, smart television that attracts a well-compensated audience, most of whom are voting age.” (full story)
I should know; I watch The Daily Show, and I'm on my sixth year of college! So there!

(explanation: I took two years off from college from 2000-2002, so even though it'll have taken me just over 5 years to graduate, I was only at UCSB for 9 academic quarters, so I'm actually getting out pretty fast... but enough excuse-making!)

One extra nice touch:
Comedy Central had no statistics on how many people watch “The Daily Show” stoned.
No, we save that for Chappelle's Show, and then we flip over to Cartoon Network.

The first Presidential debate is Thursday evening, 6pm Pacific Time (and thus, 9 eastern, and so on), on pretty much any channel.

In the next day or two I'll post on what the candidates need to accomplish and what to watch for and so on. But in the meantime, here's my first batch of predictions:

--When Saturday Night Live does their first parody of the debates, it will make underappreciated cast member Seth Meyers a star.

--The media will make a big deal about something really stupid. You know, like the sigh.

--George W Bush will not wear a watch like his daddy did, but he will look at his wrist anyway.

--Impressively, Bush will deliver his entire opening statement while Cheney drinks a glass of water.

--If he gets his way, the amount of times Bush says "Bin Laden" in the first debate will be as close to the number of times we can expect Kerry to say "lockbox". As in, zero.

--Unless, of course, Bush rolls the Al Qaeda leader on to the stage 45 minutes in.

--Bush will pause to windsurf while Kerry falls off a Segway... you know, for a change of pace.

--Regrettably, President Bush will not be asked this question, though I'd sure love to see him answer it.

--The moderator will talk over both candidates at different points in the debate when they have gone over their allotted time. The post-debate pundits will make a big deal only about Kerry's longwindedness.

--Bush will not trot out that Iraqi right-track/wrong-track poll again.

--If "bring 'em on" gets brought up, the intersection of deer and headlights on national television will be quite easy to see.

--If Kerry gets asked about his now-stupidly-famous quote on the $87 million, the American people will finally, FINALLY hear the context of the quote. The fact that Bush and his friends who repeated the quote at the GOP convention could only be snarky about it without providing its context is very telling. Thus, I desperately want Kerry to be asked about it.

Ok that's enough for now, my serious pre-debate analysis will come either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Lots of great events coming soon, for those of you in the UCSB area.

Tuesday, Sept 28: Dennis Ross, the Ambassador long involved with the Middle East peace process, 8pm, Campbell Hall, $8 (6 for students). I will be at a UCSB Campus Democrats meeting, and thus will be unable to attend.

Sunday, October 10: Seymour Hersh, the journalist who exposed My Lai and Abu Ghraib (No, look over there! Dan Rather put up a piece of paper! Much worse! Heh.). I'm so there. ($12, 10 for students) Hersh wrote a book about Abu Ghraib and its importance, titled Chain of Command. Hmm, it's about torture, and it's called Chain of Command... I had no idea Sy Hersh was a Trekkie!

Monday, October 11: Chris Hedges, former NY Times War Correspondent, and author of an incredibly powerful book on the nature of war. Again, I'm there. ($10, 8 for students)

Sunday, October 17: Chalmers Johnson, author of The Sorrows of Empire and the influential Blowback, a book that proved quite prescient after 9/11. One of my friends has my pre-9/11 first edition paperback copy, so my chances at an autograph are in doubt. ($8, 6 for students)

And if you need to get bummed out,

Thursday, November 18: Alice Sebold. I think I'll invite my sister up for that one. ($15, 10 for students)

On the music front, you ask?

I don't have price figures for these, but they're sure to be much higher.

October 10: Branford Marsalis, famous saxophonist of the Marsalis family, former Tonight Show bandleader. Back in 99 I saw his trumpeter brother Wynton perform at Stanford, mostly Ellington stuff, not bad at all.

October 29: The Jazz Passengers with Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3-D. This will be a mixed-medium performance, with the jazz band playing along to a projection of the classic horror movie. Should be fascinating.

November 3: Angelique Kidjo. Cool.

November 8: Etta James, cool. Expensive, no doubt, but cool.

On the spoken-word/comedy front, December 1 brings the 80% annoying, 20% funny John Leguizamo. Two and a half seasons from now, though, we get David Sedaris on April 25. Another one to invite my sister up for.

Sunday, September 26, 2004


This is interesting:
A sweeping voter registration campaign in heavily Democratic areas has added tens of thousands of new voters to the rolls in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, a surge that has far exceeded the efforts of Republicans in both states, a review of registration data shows.

The analysis by The New York Times of county-by-county data shows that in Democratic areas of Ohio - primarily low-income and minority neighborhoods - new registrations since January have risen 250 percent over the same period in 2000. In comparison, new registrations have increased just 25 percent in Republican areas. A similar pattern is apparent in Florida: in the strongest Democratic areas, the pace of new registration is 60 percent higher than in 2000, while it has risen just 12 percent in the heaviest Republican areas.

While comparable data could not be obtained for other swing states, similar registration drives have been mounted in them as well, and party officials on both sides say record numbers of new voters are being registered nationwide. This largely hidden but deadly earnest battle is widely believed by campaign professionals and political scientists to be potentially decisive in the presidential election.

"We know it's going on, and it's a very encouraging sign," said Steve Elmendorf, deputy campaign manager for Senator John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee. The new voters, Mr. Elmendorf said, "could very much be the difference."

A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Christine Iverson, declined to comment on The Times's findings and said she did not believe Republicans were lagging in the registration battle. "We're very confident that we have a ground game that's as good as the Democrats', and better," she said.
Remember, a lot of these newly-registered voters, and perhaps all of them in some cases, would not be included in Presidential polls that include only "likely voters". If, let's say, half of these newly-registered citizens vote -- a conservative estimate -- that could be all the difference the Democrats need in Florida.

It's an interesting irony that with the 2004 election becoming more crucial than the prior presidential race, the polls become less useful in determining the state of the race.

Perhaps some registration cards might get "lost" in the winds of all them hurricanes that've been roaring through the Sunshine State lately. So it could all even out.
Digby gathers together some interesting quotes.

Say what?
President Bush said he had no regrets about donning a flight suit to give his "Mission Accomplished" speech on Iraq in May 2003 and would do it all over again if he had the chance, according to excerpts from an television interview released on Sunday.

When asked by Fox News if he still would have put on a flight suit to declare major combat operations in Iraq over, Bush replied, "Absolutely."

When Bush gave his May 1 speech fewer than 150 Americans had died in the war. Since then more than 900 have died.
Hum hum hum.

Ok Bush said it on national television as a direct answer to a question. Thus, Karl Rove must have decided it polled well.

So what's the idea here? Are they going to try and frame not saying "mission accomplished" as giving aid and comfort to the enemy? Would you tell Peter Pan to stop clapping for Tink? Are you an America-hating pessimist!?!? (gasp!)

Or maybe it's about the battle of rhetoric. John Kerry seeks to undermine our efforts in Iraq by not pre-emptively calling the mission "accomplished" while standing on an aircraft carrier that's far out to sea just off the San Diego coastline. If he said "mission accomplished", then that would put the onus on the insurgency and Ba'athist remnants to show that the mission is not coomplished. But you can't prove a negative! Bush is just the kind of rhetorical tactician who understands this.

But seriously, this is an awful statement, and a highly regrettable one for Bush, both politically and overall. During his 1971 Senate testimony, John Kerry famously asked the panel how someone could be asked to be the last man to die in a war like the one in Vietnam. Perhaps this lets Bush off the hook, because over 900 troops have died since the "last man" according to his definition.

As of yet, I'll mute my optimism that this is the beginning of the end for Bush. But Kerry and the Democrats need to jump on this. And look, they already have.
The best electoral map of the year, courtesy the New York Times.

More later...