The Facts Machine

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

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Instapundit gets all indignant over a line from a Guardian columnist sarcastically advocating the assassination of President Bush. (of course, Glenn is currently employed by the Guardian which makes this rather interesting)

All this coming from a guy who is more than happy to keep the guy who wrote this on his permanent blogroll.

Lastly, in the comments to Jack's post on the same Guardian story, I provide a recent historical example of the media jumping all over an American media personality (Craig Kilborn) when he jokingly advocated the shooting of then Republican Presidential nominee Bush.
I believe that's my cat Bailey in slide 9. Or his long-lost brother. Either way, great ad.
Paper... midterms... possible precinct-walking... more blogging later...

No loyalty oaths or 1-page essays required.

No, not Mikey.

That would be one Marshall Mathers. From Slim's "Mosh":
They ain't gonna stop us, they can't, we're stronger now more then ever,
They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go,
Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push up, mush, fuck Bush, until they bring our troops home
And check out the entire third verse:
Imagine it pouring, it's raining down on us,
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone's trying to tell us something, maybe this is God just saying
we're responsible for this monster, this coward, that we have empowered
This is Bin Laden, look at his head nodding,
How could we allow something like this, Without pumping our fist
Now this is our, final hour
Let me be the voice, and your strength, and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme, just to amplify the noise
Try to amplify the times it, and multiply it by six
Teen million people are equal of this high pitch
Maybe we can reach Al Quaida through my speech
Let the President answer on high anarchy
Strap him with AK-47, let him go
Fight his own war, let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our soil
No more psychological warfare to trick us to think that we ain't loyal
If we don't serve our own country we're patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes, it's all lies, the stars and stripes
They've been swiped, washed out and wiped,
And Replaced with his own face, mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you'll know why, because I told you to fight
Eminem has turned George W Bush into Moby. Uh oh.

I imagine that the segment of our population who meet the criteria of being of voting age, undecided, intending to eventually vote, and could be potentially swayed by Eminem is rather small. Or, at least smaller than the same group with Howard Stern. That said, Eminem has over the years built up a reservoir or credibility loosely in the category of "speaking truth to power", even if some of that truth is un-PC at best. Now if we can only get him to cross the stateline and do some precinct-"moshing" in Toledo.

"They told us we were shooting a Greenpeace commercial!"

President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are deadlocked among likely voters in Hawai'i, a surprising boost for the Republican president in a state that many Democrats had considered safe for Kerry.

The findings of the Honolulu Advertiser Hawai'i Poll suggest that Hawai'i's four electoral votes are in play with just over a week to go before the election. Nationally, other opinion polls have found that Bush and Kerry are essentially tied for the popular vote.

The Hawai'i Poll, taken among 600 likely voters statewide between Oct. 13 and Monday, had Bush at 43.3 percent and Kerry at 42.6 percent. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.

A large number of voters, 12 percent, said they were still undecided, giving supporters of both candidates hope during the final days of the campaign.
Theory: I think some sneaky Democrats are floating some fake close poll numbers in an effort to get Bush to take time out of his busy Iowa-and-Wisconsin-only schedule to fly out to Hawaii and campaign.

Hey, it worked in New Jersey. Muahaha.

Friday, October 22, 2004


According to a synopsis written up by Kos diarist GoKeever, the Sinclair "news" special was surprisingly even-handed, with equal weight given to Stolen Honor and Going Upriver. Not only that, but the charges made in the former were answered by veterans in the show, and the special also touched upon parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, and Bush's Guard service as well.

And the Freepers? They're not happy.

Advantage objective, somewhat-balanced news! And us too, because we found out that liberals can "work the refs" just as well as the righties can.

Ann Coulter makes Ralph Nader and Willie Brown look reeeeally bad with her pie-dodging abilities. (quicktime video link via Ezra)
Back on the 15th, the Mighty Reason Man wrote what now, retroactively, would be the last word on the Mary Cheney thing. I didn't read it until now because, well he doesn't update that often, hehe.

The MRM does away with the last Stupid Analogy that righties offered up which might have applied:
It has been suggested that Kerry's mention of Mary Cheney is analogous to a Civil Rights-era politician trying to gain favor among racist constituents by pointing out an opponent's friendliness with a black person.

This is backwards.

The appropriate analogy would be for a politican supporting Civil Rights to point out that Strom Thurmond had a black daughter - thereby partially neutralizing Strom's own appeals to virulent racists.
The righties offering up their analogies fail to point out, or understand?, that the genesis of this chapter of the debate was George W Bush pandering to homophobes, or as MRM puts it, "Idiot Queer Haters", through the FMA.
From The Nation,

100 Facts and 1 Opinion - The Non-Arguable Case Against the Bush Administration.

And to find out just how reality-based Bush's supporters aren't, read this.

Taegan notes that the Bush-Cheney campaign's new ad, "Wolves" (viewable at miserable failure central), is a shameless ripoff of Reagan's "Bear" ad from the 1984 race.

Of course we can expect Bush to try and emulate Saint Ray-gun as much as possible, but it's hard for it to come off as genuine as old Ronnie seemed to people. And alas, as usual the Bushies make a cardinal error, that being ignoring the old rule of "when you make an ad with animal metaphors, don't make disputable factual claims".

The ad attempts to take Kerry to task for supporting 6 billion dollars in cuts in the intelligence budget in 1994. This is framed as being "after the first terrorist attack on American soil" (The '93 WTC bombing, as the ad is willfully reluctant to point out).

There are two problems with this, of course:

1) Dick Cheney supported similar cuts in the intel budget.
2) CIA Director Porter Goss, then a Republican Congressman, supported even larger cuts than Kerry did!

Taegan also gives us word that Kerry will employ a Bush-as-ostrich metaphor in a soon-to-be-released ad. But with the "Wolves" ad in mind, might I propose a new ad for the Kerry camp to work on?

Thirty seconds, all on Porter Goss. After noting that Bush nominated Goss to be DCI, take the three big Goss problems and throw them together:
1) Goss supported huge cuts in the intelligence budget while in Congress.
2) Goss is hiding the CIA's 9/11 report from the American people without giving a reason.
3) Goss, in his own words, called himself unqualified for a job in the CIA.

Tie it all together with a sentence about how unserious Bush is about protecting America and combatting terrorism.

UPDATE: The "eagle vs ostrich" ad is actually from the DNC, it's posted on their site's front page right now.

Happy 6,000th birthday, Earth!


You know, young-earth creationists give Darwin all this shit all the time, yet the person upon whom they really should be training their fire is Einstein. His work in discovering a constant speed of light, combined with the fact that some visible stars are millions of light years away (meaning the light we see in the sky from them is millions of years old), throws a mighty large wrench into the idea that the universe is only as old as the biblical creation.

But if they want to keep on giving Darwin shit, they can feel free to go to med school, complete their residencies, become doctors, overprescribe antibiotics and see what happens.

(PS: The linked article begins "Britain's geologists are about to celebrate the fact that the universe is exactly 6,000 years old." Uh, who are these geologists?)

Thursday, October 21, 2004


Kevin links to Reason Magazine's "Who are well-known libertarians voting for?" thingy for the upcoming election.

First of all, it seems that in an effort to beef up the list, a capital "L" isn't a requirement.

However, in going through the list I came across a disturbing discovery.

John Perry Barlow, longtime Grateful Dead lyricist, is a Libertarian? Gah?

Maybe I'm right that they're casting a very wide net; after all, Barlow cast his 2000 vote for John Hagelin because "I discovered, in the voting booth, that a friend of mine was his vice presidential candidate". And he says he's voting for Kerry two weeks from now.

But still, come on, you're telling me that the guy who wrote "Throwing Stones" is a Libertarian? (Or at least a libertarian?)

Frankly, I'm shaken... nearly stirred.

White House, or Ministry of Truth?

Blogger Brad Friedman -- no, not my highschool drama teacher -- is keeping a close eye on the White House's efforts to scrub the taxpayer-funded website of potentially embarassing material. (link via Kos)

George Tenet had better bolt his windows shut.
Addressing the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Wednesday night, George Tenet, former director of central intelligence, called the war on Iraq "wrong," according to [Herald-Palladium correspondent Anna] Clark's article today. Tenet added that while the Iraq war was "rightly being challenged," the CIA was making important strides toward success in the greater war on terrorism.
First Pat Robertson, now this. They sure don't need this.

Look over there! Teresa said something!

Of course, if Mr Tenet wants to be a real help to the country, he'll give his successor, the thoroughly non-partisan Mr Goss a nudge to release that hidden 9/11 report.

Still, I see a kiss of death in Tenet's future.
The General writes to Bill O'Reilly... no, not about that.
Sean Hannity, consummate gentleman.

Zogby and Survey USA both polled Tennessee this week. Zogby's poll, released Tuesday, showed Bush with a 2-point lead, 50-48. SUSA's poll, released yesterday, showed Bush with a 22-point lead, 60-38.

That's, uh, quite a difference.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Juan Cole notices something interesting Bush said earlier today while aboard Kerry's future air transport:
"I think the Iraqi people want us to leave once we’ve helped them get on the path of stability and democracy and once we have trained their troops to do their own hard work," Bush said yesterday.

Still, Bush said, "It’s very difficult for me to predict what forces will exist, although I will tell you that Iraq’s leadership has made it quite clear that they can manage their own affairs at the appropriate time."

If free and open Iraqi elections lead to the seating of a fundamentalist Islamic government, "I will be disappointed. But democracy is democracy," Bush said. "If that’s what the people choose, that’s what the people choose."
Ohh, so that's why we invaded Iraq. We wanted to replace a secular dictatorial regime with an Islamic fundamentalist one!

Cole writes:
Since Bush began acting aggressively in the region, the United Action Council of (often pro-Bin Laden!) fundamentalist parties in Pakistan has come to power by itself in the Northwest Frontier Province, in coalition in Baluchistan, and has 17% of the seats in parliament! Despite Pakistan's unwarranted reputation for "fundamentalism," in fact most Pakistanis are Sufis or traditionalists who dislike fundamentalism, and the latter parties seldom got more than 2-3% of seats in any election in which they ran. Until Bush came along.

In Iraq, a whole series of Muslim fundamentalist parties-- al-Da`wa, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Sadrists, the Salafis, and now al-Qaeda, have been unleashed by Bush. They seem likely to win any election held in Iraq, since the secularists remain disorganized.

In the parliamentary elections in Afghanistan now slated for spring 2005, the Taliban or the cousins of the Taliban are likely to be a major party, benefiting from the Pushtun vote.

We could go on (a similar story of new-found fundamentalist strength could be told for Indonesia, e.g.) The real legacy of Bush to the Muslim world will likely not be secular democracy, but the provocation of Muslim publics into voting for the Muslim fundamentalists on a scale never before seen in the region.
So a fundamentalist Iraq is not just some far-fetched hypothetical. Can't wait to hear Bush explain all this to one of those widows he hasn't hugged yet.

Bush has the "war on terror" completely backward. My idea would be: First you drain the negative sentiment against us, thereby undercutting the main plank of Al Qaeda's recruitment pitch, then you sell people on democracy, and if you do it in that order, maybe you don't have to democratize countries through implosion.

Bush's idea has been to pre-emptively attempt to bomb a country in the heart of the Islamic world into democracy, without doing much of anything to counter Al Qaeda's central recruitment pitch. The result, unfortunately, is the opposite of our goal.

(p.s. no, I don't think this is Robertson's specific beef, though it may be Franklin Graham's)

You will not hold down my optimism, man.

Via reader Jonathan, here's a nifty site that automatically takes the most recent state polls available and uses them to create election simulations.

No, not that 700-club. The other 700 Club:
A White House spokesman denied Wednesday that President Bush told Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson that he did not expect casualties from the invasion of Iraq.

"The president never made such a comment," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

Senior Bush campaign adviser Karen Hughes, a longtime confidant of the president, said she was "certain" Bush would not have said anything like that to Robertson.

"Perhaps he misunderstood, but I've never heard the president say any such thing," Hughes said on CNN's "Inside Politics."

Robertson, an ardent Bush supporter, told CNN in an interview Tuesday night that he urged the president to prepare the American people for the prospect of casualties before launching the war in March 2003.

Robertson said Bush told him, " 'Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties.' "

More than 1,100 American troops have been killed in Iraq since the invasion, most of them battling an insurgency that followed the overthrow of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
I must admit, I would never have expected this.

I'm not particularly fond of Pat Robertson; his and Falwell's comments in the aftermath of 9/11 were despicable and had no place in an advanced society. But man, what exactly did Bush do to piss him off so much that he went forward with this less than two weeks before the election?

I'd love to hear from either Bush or his underlings exactly why it is that ol' Pat isn't credible on this issue. And naturally, the Kerry camp would love to hear about that as well.
Kerry's campaign issued a statement Wednesday challenging Bush to say whether the "700 Club" founder and 1988 GOP presidential candidate was telling the truth.

"We believe President Bush should get the benefit of the doubt here," Kerry spokesman Mike McCurry said in a news release.

"But he needs to come forward and answer a very simple question: Is Pat Robertson telling the truth when he said you didn't think there'd be any casualties, or is Pat Robertson lying?"
This is an interesting situation because we have exact opposite statements from both sides, and we have them quickly. Wonder how it will pan out. Someone needs to stick a mic in front of Bush soon.

Even if we operate on the idea that Robertson is lying about the Bush comment, what would his aim be in doing that? Maybe Bruce Bartlett was right about the whole "civil war" thing.

The Yankees took over the series very quickly, jumping out to a 3-0 lead. But they did so without also having a plan to win the peace. Fortunately, some Bostonians showed them how to finish the job.

It was either that, or a Red-Sox-as-insurgency metaphor, so count your blessings.

That was a pretty good way to spend my last four evenings. Go Red Sox!

And if the Astros win tomorrow, it will all be Atrios' fault.

Condi Rice, the National Security Adviser, is stumping for Bush:
In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 2 election, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice has traveled across the country making speeches in key battleground states, including Oregon, Washington, North Carolina and Ohio. In the next five days, she also plans speeches in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida.

The frequency and location of her speeches differ sharply from those before this election year -- and appear to break with the long-standing precedent that the national security adviser try to avoid overt involvement in the presidential campaign. Her predecessors generally restricted themselves to an occasional speech, often in Washington, but counting next week's speeches, Rice will have made nine outside Washington since Labor Day.
Uhh, gee, why is Condoleeza Rice -- the head of national security -- taking time from her busy nation-securing schedule to stump for Bush?

Would it have anything to do with the fact that she's the only member of the entire administration who still polls remotely well?

And doesn't the National Security Advisor have better things to do, especially in the run-up to an election just three years after a large terrorist attack on our soil? Hmm reminds me of the September 8 headline at this site.

You mean... the right-wing media is taking a quote from someone in the Kerry campaign out of context... and is attacking them with it!?

Say it ain't so!

My dog back home, Maggie, shares a birthday with Michelle Malkin.
A diarist at DKos gives us Kerry-boosters not one but thirty-five reasons to be confident.

The electoral map looks pretty good today. They've finally weeded out those silly Strategic Vision polls. Actually they have one saying Bush is only down two in NJ, while a poll done at the same time by a non-partisan outlet shows a 13-point Kerry lead. Eh.

Interesting that the day after Survey USA showed Bush with unexpectedly small leads in the mid-Atlantic (3 in NC, 4 in VA), Zogby finds a similar scenario in VA (3 pt lead for Bush), as well as close races in not-quite-battlegrounders like WV (Bush +3) and TN (Bush +2!). SUSA also shows a close race in AR (B 51, K 46).

With all this stuff, I have to ask... why is Bill Clinton's first campaign stop next week with Kerry gonna be Pennsylvania!? The Bush campaign has essentially given up on the Keystone State. Get him to those "reach" battleground states. If Karl Rove can try the "band-wagon" strategy, then damnit, we can too.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Hehehe, I made that observation years ago, back when I wrote my political commentary on my old GeoCities page. (link via kevin)

I find it interesting that Richard Dreyfuss has played both a Cheney role and a Rove role.
Sinclair inches backward:
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., the nation's largest owner of TV stations, said on Tuesday it would only air part of a documentary critical of Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam war record, as critics demanded it cancel the broadcast altogether or face legal action.
No reason to let up on them yet.

Leader of an increasingly authoritarian country with largely state-controlled media endorses Bush: Good!

Leaders of another increasingly authoritarian country with largely state-controlled media endorse Bush: _______

A) "Heh"
B) "Indeed"
C) "I wonder if the MSM will say anything about this"
D) *crickets*
Hello Pot? We have Kettle on line one...

MSNBC investigates cartoon porn.

Game, followed by Campus Dems meeting, later!

Here's the Ron Suskind piece from this weekend that everyone's been talking about. It's on Bush's "faith" (in both the religious and abstract sense) and how it affects his decision-making process (as in, not letting facts get in the way).

One snippet:
What underlies Bush's certainty? And can it be assessed in the temporal realm of informed consent?

All of this -- the ''gut'' and ''instincts,'' the certainty and religiosity -connects to a single word, ''faith,'' and faith asserts its hold ever more on debates in this country and abroad. That a deep Christian faith illuminated the personal journey of George W. Bush is common knowledge. But faith has also shaped his presidency in profound, nonreligious ways. The president has demanded unquestioning faith from his followers, his staff, his senior aides and his kindred in the Republican Party. Once he makes a decision -- often swiftly, based on a creed or moral position -- he expects complete faith in its rightness.

The disdainful smirks and grimaces that many viewers were surprised to see in the first presidential debate are familiar expressions to those in the administration or in Congress who have simply asked the president to explain his positions. Since 9/11, those requests have grown scarce; Bush's intolerance of doubters has, if anything, increased, and few dare to question him now. A writ of infallibility -- a premise beneath the powerful Bushian certainty that has, in many ways, moved mountains -- is not just for public consumption: it has guided the inner life of the White House. As [former EPA administrator Christine Todd] Whitman told me on the day in May 2003 that she announced her resignation as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency: ''In meetings, I'd ask if there were any facts to support our case. And for that, I was accused of disloyalty!''
There's plenty more, a lot of it historical, but the passage that has a lot of people abuzz is not about Bush directly, but is a quote from a nameless White House official:
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''
That's... grand. Cue Christopher Hitchens telling us all how liberals are the Orwelian ones.

My general take on the piece is that Suskind tries too hard to wrap everything in a neat little package. Lyndon Johnson didn't need to be a fundamentalist nut to be simultaneously stubborn and wrong about Vietnam.

I think a lot of factors contribute to the overall critique of the Bush administration: the "faith" thing, the lie of "compassionate conservatism", that 8 or 9 neocons were the only people who truly had his ear in the run-up to Iraq, the politicization of 9/11 and homeland security, the rather unChristian tax cuts for the affluent, the "bubble" he seems to exist in (on jobs, certainly)... all of these things are present, but can't all be shoe-horned into one negative narrative to describe Bush the way, say, the bad side of Nixon could be described. ("a ruthless prick")

The above quote, though, is important because it's the one thing that comes closest to a universal critique. It's not just Bush vs "reality" in that he's in a bubble, wearing rose-colored Iraq glasses and having his Treasury Sec call job losses "a myth". It's also Bush vs reality in that his administration is enforcing a new reality upon us; an active, aggressive bubble.

Top-down reality dissemination.

If I wanted that, I'd spend my next vacation here:

(that's the Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea, by the way)

Anyway, seeing as I am late to the party, I'll defer to a number of others on this piece, some more skeptical of Suskind's conclusion than others...

Ogged is startled.
Kevin Drum thinks the "reality-based" quote is being misinterpreted, but I think that his personal interpretation of it is closer to what the masses believe it to mean than he realizes.

Why am I not surprised by this? From Robert "shrill-before-it-was-cool" Scheer:
It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.

"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."

When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned."

According to the intelligence official, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, release of the report, which represents an exhaustive 17-month investigation by an 11-member team within the agency, has been "stalled." First by acting CIA Director John McLaughlin and now by Porter J. Goss, the former Republican House member (and chairman of the Intelligence Committee) who recently was appointed CIA chief by President Bush.

The official stressed that the report was more blunt and more specific than the earlier bipartisan reports produced by the Bush-appointed Sept. 11 commission and Congress.
I wonder if we'll be hearing more about this in the coming days.

TANGENT: Many on the right seem to have recently fallen in love with their acronym du jour MSM, which I'm told stands for "mainstream media". That's cute. We at TFM would like to note that those of us on the left have been employing our acronym, SCLM ("so-called liberal media") for a year and a half. So, uh, welcome to the party, boys and girls!
Steve Soto has even more on the most recent Gallup poll.

By the way, the Electoral College is looking pretty good for Kerry, at least for the time being.

Monday, October 18, 2004


Karl Rove: Political advisor, crafter of dirty tricks, skidmark. Yep, that's about right.

Maybe Kerry is off to the left, long-snapping a football right into Karl's bracket.

If I were Ludacris, by now I would have constructed a rather comprehensive list of words that rhyme with "loofah".

from MediaMatters:
Nationally syndicated radio host and frequent FOX News Channel contributor Mike Gallagher, as guest host of the October 16 edition of FOX & Friends: "What if the question was, 'Listen, there's a big problem in America with obesity. We do know there is. It's a health care thing.' And what if the answer had been, well, you know, Edwards's wife has talked about the struggles she's had with weight, I mean, right away people would have said, 'Come on.'"
Note, of course, that Gallagher frames lesbianism, in this context, as a problem in and of itself. (obesity is "a health care thing")

Similar framing mechanisms are used in the other examples cited by MM: Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan on having abortions, Tucker Carlson on marital infidelity, and E.D. Hill on alcoholism. They're all suggesting that being a lesbian is either a bad thing, a problem against which one struggles, or a sad and perhaps shameful thing.

Suddenly Elizabeth Edwards is beginning to make a lot more sense, eh?

For all of history starting at this very moment, I hereby dub this 30-second campaign spot for John Kerry "The Borg Cube Ad".

Your get-out-the-vote capabilities are unable to withstand us.
The Lowest Blow

*Associating a lesbian person with the word "lesbian" is indecent, and grounds for a sincere apology.*
MediaMatters has more on ol' Bill.

UPDATE: Elton Beard's version: "To use people's sexual orientation as a political wedge issue is unconscionable."


UPDATE II: Roger Ailes (not that one) has more.

No endorsement for you!
In a break with tradition, The Tampa Tribune, a Republican standard-bearer for decades, refused Sunday to endorse anyone for president for the first time since 1964.

The newspaper has solidly supported every Republican presidential nominee since 1952, except for Barry Goldwater, but withheld its endorsement this year, calling the decision "achingly difficult" and blaming shortcomings of both candidates.

Editors instead published an unusual full-page editorial with harsh criticism of the war in Iraq and President Bush's economic policies.

"President Bush told us that he was 'a uniter, not a divider,' but shortly after taking office, his administration took a sharp right turn that has divided this country," the editorial said. The newspaper said it was "deeply disappointed" with Bush on federal spending, the budget deficit and the recession.
I'd be interested to see if there are newspapers which endorsed Gore in 2000 but endorse Bush this time around. The Chicago Trib also endorsed Bush in 2000, btw. The only possible candidate among the major papers is the Washington Post, given their Iraq war cheerleading in 02-03. We'll see.

Steve Soto gets a hold of the internals from that new Gallup Poll, and, as with those of prior Gallup polls, it's about what you'd think.

Sunday, October 17, 2004


Zogby/Reuters: Tied!

CNN/USA Today/Gallup registered voters: Bush within margin of error!
CNN/USA Today/Gallup likely voters: Bush by a few!

Newsweek: Tied!

Democracy Corps: Kerry within margin of error!

The Votemaster: Kerry with slight edge in electoral college!

Slate: Kerry with slight edge in electoral college!

So in other words, there's something for everybody to be happy about.

From here on out, it's going to be the state polls that really determine who has an advantage come 16 days from now. The interesting thing about both the national polls and some state polls is that the voters who are likely to decide this election -- newly-registered voters, first-time voters, people who didn't vote in 2000, etc -- are the people least likely to be properly factored into polling models.

I do, however, feel safe in the prediction that in the 24-hour period between 8AM on November 2nd and 8AM on November 3rd, every non-incarcerated adult American will file a lawsuit against every other non-incarcerated adult American.

We'll see what happens.

UPDATE: Nevertheless, I do find it interesting that the daily tracking polls of both Zogby and Rasmussen show Kerry picking up 4 points on Bush in the same 3-4 day period.

Quick dime-store theory: The Gallup poll was taken at the height of the intial reaction to Kerry's Mary Cheney comment (you know, the mock outrage and all), while the two daily trackers reflect voters saying to themselves 1) "Gee, I think they're overracting juuuust a wee bit, and 2) "Oh wait, I'm an undecided middle-class voter, what I really care about is my lost job, my lack of decent health care, and my son fighting in Iraq".

The Republicans rode "inventing the internet" a long way in 2000, and Al Gore didn't even say that. This time, actual borderline-trivial comments from John Kerry will not save them.

I am a cellphone-only person right now. My housemate is as well, as is my close friend Alex in Boston. As are a number of other friends of mine.

And what else do we have in common? We're all voting for John Kerry.
Legal restrictions are preventing political pollsters from reaching millions of Americans this election cycle because they rely exclusively on cell phones, according to pollsters and other election observers.

The inability to reach such voters, mainly young people, is contributing to the growing perception that phone surveys are skewed and inaccurate and should become a thing of the past, they argue.


The Yankee Group reports that while 6 percent of all cell-phone users do not have land lines, 12 percent of wireless owners between the ages of 18 and 24 are cord-cutters.
I'm sure there are plenty of cellphone-only college-age voters in places like, ohhh, Columbus, Gainesville, Ann Arbor, Madison, Tempe and Boulder. We'll be finding our way into your polling models in, let's say, 16 days.

Think harder, Mickey:
Best case: Of the explanations of the Kerry-Mary debacle I've heard, this is the one that's most favorable to Kerry (from reader C.H.):
the Mary Cheney remark was just off the cuff, the REAL problem is that most of America didn't know that Dick Cheney's daughter was a lesbian. So instead of Kerry making a pretty decent point, many Americans thought he had OUTED her.
Do you believe that 1) the remark was unplanned, even though Edwards had made a similar remark a week earlier; 2) Kerry didn't know that many Americans didn't know Dick Cheney had a daughter who was gay (i.e.; that he'd be informing them she was gay, out of the closet or not); 3) Kerry didn't know that many Americans would not like that she was gay even if they knew she was out of the closet; and 4) viewers would have thought Kerry's remark appropriate if they knew Mary Cheney was out of the closet? If Kerry had informed them in the same breath that she was out of the closet? That seems like a lot to swallow.
I have a little thought experiment to go with that hypothetical, Mickey.

Suppose what the emailer said is correct, that to many less-informed Americans it seemed as if Kerry "outed" Mary Cheney in the debate.

Now think about the responses made by both Lynne ("John Kerry is not a good man") and Dick ("I'm a pretty angry father").

Did those responses do anything in the slightest to take away from the idea that what happened during the debate was an outing?

Both Dick and Lynne would have to have known what the emailer said, that many would think Mary had been outed. Thus, their condemnation of Kerry was general and vague. Purposefully vague, I might add.

Of course, the willful distortion of John Kerry's record and public statements has been the MO of the entire Bush 2004 campaign, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. And it's not just the campaign: Let's take the gay marriage issue in general. Most polls have shown either a plurality or a simple majority of Americans oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. However, many of those who oppose it are under the impression that legalizing it would force private religious organizations (you know, churches) both to recognize them as valid and to perform them. This is, of course, not the case.

The problem is, has anybody in the White House, or their allies brought this to the attention of the American people? Nope, for one reason above others: Their position only thrives off of a dishonest ambiguity. As long as they're ambiguous, they can try to get away with their "ban the Bible!" scares.

For the very same reason, we are blessed with Dick and Lynne's purposefully ambiguous statements on John Kerry's comment.

Now who's being Machiavellian?
My personal embargo on generating new comments regarding the Mary Cheney reference is still in effect, so I will excerpt the money graf of Tim Noah's against-the-grain explanation of Kerry's comment without comment on my part:
I won't dispute that Kerry was using Mary Cheney to score a political point. But the political point was an entirely legitimate one, aimed, I believe, not at fundamentalists but at swing voters with libertarian leanings. Listen, Kerry was saying. This guy knows gay people, just like you and I do. So he must know that homosexuality isn't a "lifestyle choice." He must know that, and yet he pretends not to know it to score points with the religious right. How cynical can you get? And then he lends his support to a cockamamie Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage that even his right-wing-nut of a vice president can't stomach because his own daughter is gay. But even Cheney won't really speak out against this administration's exploitation of the gay-marriage issue to score cheap political points. Some father he is.