Take your links however you get them...
...even if it's the result of a search for the word "gloryhole." :)
Musings, usually in politics and sports
...even if it's the result of a search for the word "gloryhole." :)
Wins both Nevada and DC. These are the DC results. Howard Dean, despite finishing 2nd in DC ahead of Edwards, may be gone after Tuesday, leaving the race entirely to Edwards (and Sharpton and Kucinich). Edwards is still stumping hard in WI and seems to have no inclination to leave, which makes sense. His people surely guessed that Dean couldn't go much longer. The link is actually headed by release of Edwards' 3bil jobs plan, noted vaguely in the article, details of which I was unable to yet find at his site. Thanks to Politicalwire for the heads-up.
If you've been reading along, you'll remember that I view veterans' issues as a key component of the forthcoming election--from background to symbolism to voting influence. There are many sides to document the phenomenon from, and I'm going to attempt to hit on all of them as the election season continues.
Why would you call up someone and pretend to be notifying next of kin that their loved one was killed in Iraq? I sort of hope that the husband or the soldier had a personal enemy who did this to them, because otherwise I can't for the life of me figure out who would do this, and why. I tracked this down through the Hartford Courant, but the photo showed up in my local rag. They haven't updated the photos for today's paper yet; if they do I'll post it. Imagine the relief to talk to someone you thought was dead.
someone asked me today:
"If it isn't something people are biologically compelled to do, what makes the union any more valid than say me marrying my dog? Why does someone have the "right" to get benefits for consciously choosing to live an alternative lifestyle?
I think they are biologically compelled, but let's consider that they may not be, or are but not primarily. I still don't think that changes anything. We have a natural state of rights, certainly equal to others of our status (ie, non-minor US citizen). The onus is ALWAYS on the government to infringe upon those rights only after detailing the compelling interests.
*tradition is not a compelling state interest
*religious acceptance/rejection is not a compelling state interest
*majority opinion is not a compelling state interest
diminishing the rights of others is compelling, but so far I can't think of any way it diminishes the rights of others.
family encouragement is a valid state interest, IMO, but not a compelling one. And absent strong evidence of harm to children raised by gay parents, I don't see how you fairly use reproductive capability as a compelling interest. We let the impotent, the sterile and the transgendered marry (as far as I know, on the last one). Stable relationships are what we seek. Do you want your gay people paired up and watching Sex and the City in their home out of sight, or do you want them roaming the park bathrooms and airports separately, leaving gloryhole messages for each other? So on family encouragement grounds, this seems like a no-brainer positive outcome, socially.
You can't marry your sister because it's already illegal on incest grounds--either you've consumated with her already, or you will once you're married. You can't marry a pig because a pig has no human rights to offer benefits to. You can't marry multiple people because bigamy is already illegal.
Being homosexual ISN'T illegal. So that means that there's nothing that gays are doing that have been actually declared wrong by the government. So on what grounds do you deny them the rights others have?
If you want to ban homorsexuality first and then go after this, it at least makes judicial sense. This, I don't get.
There is an explosion of stories swirling EVERYWHERE, it seems. Commissions, investigations, rumors, mysteries, reports--and 2/3 of them seem to be about Bush in at least some fashion. My neurons are fried, and I've put a string of late nights together, so I'll spare you most of the pontification and hold Clearinghouse Night at Torrid's...
Christopher Dickey has a piece in the latest Newsweek that starts out a little over the top, but calms down and contains a full analysis of the Zarqawi letter. The White House has been quick to spin it as evidence of tough times for terrorists in Iraq, but it ignores the fuller implications--that al-Qaeda is not there just to make trouble and be a pisser to George Bush; they consider the Shiites traitors and the Sunnis lackeys. And the "crusaders" are the most clueless of all.
This piece in USAT discusses a pre-war intelligence report worrying about how a lack of security and control will make finding WMDs difficult. The article tries to play up the mention of the possibility that none would be found, even though the report eventually rejects that consideration. The true point to the report is in how poorly the administration planned (or didn't) for the aftermath, given this briefing.
While we're stopping by USAT, we can also learn about David Kay's shanking of the President, lecturing him and others in the Circle of Trust for delaying improvement by clinging to the idea that WMDs exist and were not likely destroyed by Saddam. As Annenberg's tracking polls have noted, Bush's slide has pegged to Key's comments, and here's more evidence: ABC/WaPo's latest poll, which have historically been relatively favorable to Bush, has him seriously tanking on issues of general trustworthiness, straightforwardness on WMD, the economy (based on respondent's impressions of it since he took office), and most notably, against John Kerry. Some polls from last weekend showed Bush with a little bounce, but the slide has not yet abated. This is becoming less about Kerry's good press, and much more about Bush's bad press--and that's got to worry Karl Rove. Bush has had a shield of trust and honor surround him, and if he loses that with enough people, his job performance becomes easier to see critically.
Other stuff that's almost buried in the avalanche of stories: the top US officer in Iraq was attacked (apparently unbenknownst to the attackers); the UN envoy sent to discover the ability for direct Iraqi elections has at least endorsed the concept if not the timing; and a National Guardsman was arrested for aiding al-Qaeda.
Bush also is having to defend his Economic Advisors Chair, who is already Scorned Administration Dupe of the Week for the highly optimistic job creation numbers his Council signed off on. Although the statements in context will ring as truthful to those who understand that free trade is not a 100% winning situation for the US, Bush is having to decide how to handle his underling saying out loud, "well, jobs will go overseas, and that's life." This is one issue that's less than meets the eye, but it's a political nightmare for the way it portrays an administration increasingly viewed as out of touch (see the full WaPo poll #s, above).
And we haven't even gotten to the National Guard stories! Calpundit of course keeps hammering away. Turnipseed continues to lose his own duty hours in continual revision of how often he himself was around to not see Bush. But he's not the only one. This is a fairly devastating account from a theoretical contemporary of Bush's that summer in Alabama; not only does he never recall seeing Bush, he claims he was LOOKING for him, because they knew they had the son of a bigwig coming to town. As he puts it, “There’s no way we wouldn’t have noticed a strange rooster in the henhouse, especially since we were looking for him.” Another Guardsman of the time corroborates the no-show. I'm sure if they didn't see him, Bush would rather they just not come forward.
In another of a string of loosely related documents, the White House pre-empted criticism of possible arrests blacked out on his service materials by releasing driving and arrest records. The crimes? Speeding tickets and college pranks. There is some speculation that this is what Bush was trying to keep covered in the first place, and perhaps by clearing up the record almost offhandedly, they feel they can come out looking better if that's all they were hiding and that's as bad as it gets. However, the issue is raised in the article that even a group of minor offenses such as Bush's would very likely have warranted a formal review of those charges to determine fitness for service, of which none appears. I can see how that would look bad.
And it seems like it was days ago already, but a Guard official with an admitted axe to grind is sticking to his story that they were told to purge the records of bad things, and he's earning wide coverage for repeating things he said in 1999. Also, the dentist who supposedly saw Bush in January in Alabama doesn't remember him">, although I believe he probably wouldn't unless he had prior knowledge Bush was transferring there. What's a lot more interesting is why Bush was having it done in Alabama in January, when he was supposedly back in Texas by then. And oh yeah, the 9/11 Commission would like to chat with both Bush and Clinton.
Back over at Calpundit, there's a link to American Prospect, for what that's worth, discussing the possibility that Novak was well warned not to release info about Plame, but did it anyway. Scooter Libby to Novak: thanks, Bob...asshole.
In (somewhat) less intrigue-filled news of the day, the Senate passed the big highway bill 76-21, apparently not afraid of a first Bush veto that wouldn't stick if the vote remained the same.
Perhaps you have no interest in running a blog, or you ARE a blogger and need someplace to steal good ideas from (cough). Now something that serves both lazy ideals: PoliticalWire's News Aggregator. Bravissimo!
In pointless national debate news, San Francisco's new mayor helped preside over what appears to be the first US gay civil marriage, ever. Picking a pair of elderly lesbians who have been together 51 years was a nice move. Meanwhile, over on the other side of the country, Massachusetts gave up for a month trying to figure out which side of the gay marriage issue would be the least politically damaging for them.
I do have comments on that last. Separate post.
Amid voting on a state constitutional gay marriage ban, and threats of a national ban amendment, the ball has already been set to rolling by San Francisco, who endorsed the first known gay civil marriage in the US today. The hastily arranged ceremony was fixed up to precede an expected injunction filing tomorrow by groups opposed to the idea.
Obviously the concept is to take the most innocuous gay couple possible--two lesbians in their 70s who have been together for over 50 years--and take their new marriage to the courts, first in California and if necessary beyond.
The cat is out of the bag, just a few months sooner than expected. Now not only must opponents of gay marriage hold sway that it is bad, and requires amending the Constitution, they must also convince legislatures (and ultimately citizens) that removing rights already granted will not become a major headache.
from AP this morning, on the news that Sept-Nov '03 expenditures for Iraq hit $14bil:
"The Iraq war and occupation, along with the ongoing operations in Afghanistan, are being paid for through supplemental spending bills that are approved by Congress outside of the regular budget process.
Already, Congress has approved $166 billion for those operations. The Pentagon has said it does not expect the Bush administration to seek another spending bill until January 2005, but the chiefs of the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps suggested Tuesday that money will run out by the end of September."
The month before the election is not a good time to either a) ask for more money, or b) pretend you don't need it, and watch the consequences. The article goes on to suggest that shifting money from other DoD accounts might cover the gaps, but it's hard to find 40 billion or so in delayed oil changes and paint jobs.
Check the usual sources (TalkingPoints and Calpundit) for full details on new-old details on the developing pieces of the Guard story, and be sure to read the comments from Calpundit for additional sources and discussions that lead elsewhere. Not all of them are useful or close to objective, but that's the sphere for you--quality may vary. Stay skeptical. Still, several questions continue unanswered: why are there no paper records or personal recollections whatsoever, that give evidence he was ever there? Why did he not take the physical? Was he placed on "control group" status as a result of the grounding, and if so, when? Why was he ordered to report on specific dates in October and November 72 in Alabama, but records provided by the White House credit different weekends for each? Why is he credited with working on November 11th--Veteran's Day? As a federal holiday, did the Guard even drill? How was Bush able to drill and fulfill obligations in Texas during the early part of 73, yet--again--no one saw him? White House records show service performed on the very day his superiors wrote "not observed" for the year? May to November, maybe--but Bush was back in Texas after that. Why was his service apparently extended six months?
All of which is beginning to grate on the nerves of supporters of the president, who deride the questions as inane, arcane, mundanities. And I think they probably are. But it's a total dodge for the White House to make this about an attack on Guard service, or an attack on how tightly Bush adhered to an expected service schedule, or an attack on Bush's privilege in getting a plum assignment, long absences for political work, and an early discharge for school. What's at issue (at least for me) is: why is he being unforthcoming about something so inane, arcane, mundane? It took all of three days for the White House to backpedal from Bush's unconditional agreement to release whatever records there were:
"In an interview that aired Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Bush said he fulfilled his Guard commitment and offered to make his records public. Host Tim Russert asked, "Would you authorize the release of everything to settle this?" Bush replied, "Yes, absolutely."
Since then, White House officials have released only documents concerning whether Bush fulfilled his service obligations. White House statements have not addressed the release of any papers that could show disciplinary actions, medical exams, legal scrapes and the like.
When reporters asked for further evidence Tuesday, Bush press secretary Scott McClellan said, "Obviously, if there's any additional information that came to our attention that was relevant, we would make that information available." (USAT)
Why is the White House deciding what's relevant? DoD is sending a pack of records from Colorado to the Pentagon--they're public documents. Bush can sign a document and they will all come flooding back. Why the dribs and drabs--now there's a dental record? It's stonewalling, and it's keeping the story alive.
John Kerry won some primaries, or something.
The new 2004 electoral predictions are in! Ohio, Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico. DemoKerry needs everything Gore got, give or take, plus one of the big ones on that list, or a couple of the smaller ones. Once summer hits, watch that space. I'd love to see his methodology, but even without it's something I've been hungry for. Some of you might remember that the electoral shakeout was unusually important last time.
Well, we officially have our 2004 wedge issue. I have to respect that George Bush is following his belief and representing his base on this one, because I sure don't think it's a wise gamble to take. As an incumbent president over a divided nation, on an issue that divides them in much the same fashion, Bush has taken a bold step that will--unfortunately--dominate political coverage at times this season.
I think it's a bad idea for two reasons, although I can think of one good one. Bad ones first: the Musgrave law, as Volokh points out, treads dangerously close to nullifying civil unions-- or the practical purpose thereof, at any rate. "Incidents" are the part of civil unions that make them a mushily palatable alternative to using the word marriage. If the state doesn't recognize you as unioned, why should they recognize your right to partner health care?
One hopes that someone--at least Barney Frank, if you'll forgive the stereotype--will be keen enough to point this out during Congressional debate, and frame it in exactly those terms: if you pass this amendment, you have taken the option of civil unions away from any state that might want it. While I may not share their views, for those who do not rely on strictly religious rationales I understand the ambiguity--they don't necessarily think gays need to be punished, they're just not willing to endorse them. If the view of the bill becomes that it punishes gays in the process of endorsing heterosexual marriage, it will be rather less popular, I think. Look at where the issue ranks in terms of priority--it's a tangential issue. Bush's position is directed at shoring up a softened base, but potentially costs some of the valuable middle. Independents appear to share views more closely aligned with Democrats on the issue. The opposition to gay marriage is reasonably strong, and that may be where Bush thinks he has an advantage. But amendments are a whole different ballgame, and for a certain sector of the electorate (beyond those who think he's Himmler anyway) this will appear mean-spirited. So if he were going to pick an issue, he should have picked a more sure-fire winner. I don't think this is it.
Secondly, it's a totally unnecessary gamble, in my view. Where is the religious right going to go if Bush lets them down on gay marriage? (Judge Roy Moore, that's who--I guess this kills any Democratic hope of a far right 3rd party). This is not the part of the base he's in danger of losing. He's risking veterans and hardcore fiscalites, and weak Republicans in general. He gets maybe the weak links back with this, but the people it will light a fire under are already in his camp and ready to witness. And who it alienates--young, socially moderate Republicans and many swings--are the people he needs the most to keep him on top.
I did say there was one reasonable angle--it forces Kerry's hand. Get this--Kerry's been kind of hard to pin down on gay marriage. I know, go figure. He voted against Defense of Marriage, but says he opposes gay marriage, but likes civil unions. He didn't like the amendment, but now he's not sure. Jeeesus. Now with Bush firmly on one side, Kerry has a choice: make the divide clear and take the anti-amendment position, or cede the issue and lodge another Bush-following vote.
Play up the punishment and state's rights angles, John. Outflank Bush to his right by asserting the rashness of overriding state autonomy, and to the left on compassionate grounds. I'd say, "I don't give a rat's ass if my next door neighbor wants to marry his dog, as long as the dog keeps the grass cut and doesn't put out his trash too far in advance of pickup day." OK, maybe that's not quite the parlance Kerry ought to use, but even though it's a dicey issue no matter what, Bush has handed him an issue where Kerry can look like the uniter, changing the tone. We're already in a military war; let's not start a cultural civil war too. We can't afford it.
For the second day in a row, Iraqi security recruits were killed en masse by a suicide bomb. I don't know what's sadder--that over 100 people have been killed in two days as a result of the power vacuum in Iraq, or that despite clear signals of terrorist M.O., the below quote represents a significant view from ordinary Iraqis:
"Many angry townspeople blamed the Americans for the blast, and some claimed that a U.S. air attack was to blame. 'This missile was fired from a U.S. aircraft,' said Hadi Mohy Ali, 60. 'The Americans want to tear our unity apart.'"
We have all the weaponry and brave souls we need to take down a country and build it from scratch, just like in Germany and Japan. What we lack this time is credibility, and it's literally killing us.
courtesy Slate--not exactly surprising, except perhaps for the wider-than-previously-polled margins, especially in VA. If they hold even relatively close to that form, they are pretty devastating. Internet money means Edwards and Clark may hang around (although I'd give an odds edge that Clark doesn't stay past the 17th) with Dean--who's gotten almost 2 million more from his legion--but that doesn't mean their chances are any better for staying. Unless Kerry crumbles from the savage beatdown he's getting from Denny Kucinich (see below), he can start plotting general election strategy.
Amazing how they just found it!
I suspect it's the ARF form that shows points earned. I may be wrong about the blowback--regardless of whether it closes the case, the WH will say it does and it will be on the conspirators (myself included, now) to show some there, there.
Damned if I can find the link now, but I promise you Al Sharpton said something vastly similar to this today:
"This election is not going to be about who you sleep with tonight; it will be about whether you have a job when you wake up the next morning."
Fresh off a big weekend in which he finished 3rd in both Washington and Maine, Denny the K went full throttle with his new Denmentum and held a press conference. Rock on, Dennis! Have a wheatgrass juice on me!
Oh, by the way, John Kerry should win both TN and VA by solid if not Michigan-like margins. Wisconsin is looking mighty anticlimatic.
Why has no one said out loud, "Look, it worked! We got rid of almost all the WMD after the war, strangled his money and access so he couldn't start up again, bombed what little he had left, and pushed to verify things were still quiet after 9/11, which, it turns out, they were. Christ, even the North Koreans weren't stupid enough to give this guy materials (although they took his money!) Other than setting up thousands of Kurds to be massacred when we bailed on supporting them, how is it again that postwar diplomatic multilateralism failed in Iraq?"
whether it results in anything or not, it could be one of the bellwether blog events. There's been a cottage industry in it for a while, but the Democrats have ripped off the tinfoil, and every blogger is suddenly Frank Abagnale, Jr.. Anyway, another Cal pundit offers this caution:
> I sense a big caveat. The first rule of cross examination: Never ask
> questions you don't have the answers to.
> Did the gloves fit? You must acquit. Giving legs to the National Guard
> service issue, could turn out favoring Bush.
Only by virtue of petering out and making Democrats look shrill, which is entirely possible. Kerry better lay off right away and let it ride out underneath him. Tell Howard if he uses it, he'll make the shortlist--ha ha--for Veep.
There's way too much evasiveness and pat answer denial going on. The certitude of Calpundit's analysis is substantially challenged as you work your way through the hundreds of comments, but I think if correct, he's seized on a piece that's only mildly horrific factually, but evocative symbolically: the guy appears to be trying to hide the fact that he failed a drug test, was grounded and put on ARF, and rode out the string from there until he found a reason for them to let him go altogether.
Let's not start the hate mail just yet; I am not saying any evidence proves the entire scenario. But if there's one thing it seems you can't get Presidents to come clean about, it's their secret lives as horny little frat boys, played out embarassingly long after their last "damn glad to meetcha."
What I can't figure out is why Bush thinks he has to block out all memory of his party past. He has always had the hole ace: "that was my sinner's life, before I quit drinkin'." The public's reaction to candidate alcoholism is much like the lung's reaction to a smoker: there's an immediate salutory effect when you quit, and slowly things get better until after only 10 years or so, it's almost as if it never happened. Bush had so much time put in since going dry, he could have taken Miss Yellow Rose of Texas '69 on a drunken F102 tour of downtown Houston, looked contrite 30 years later and said, "I sure regret those days when drink ruled who I was,"...and that's the end of the scandal right there. Clinton never really had a chance at that kind of redemption, since he wasn't, y'know, ever done trying to bang chicks.
Caution is indeed noted. But I think he's busted for trying to hide something merely stupid instead of criminally evasive. Thanks, Rob from California! The email is open; just tell my producer what you want to talk about, and she'll put you right through.
Several things that look interesting today, presented in scattershot form:
File under "Near and Dear": first responder funding slow in coming, short in lasting. Never let it be said I don't draw from Faux News! The figure of 800mil in drops for first responder grants is real, and I hope will become a campaign number for the opposition--but note the increase in a different block grant, the Urban Area Security Initiative. So best case, according to Fox emergency response-related funding is taking a 250mil hit in the latest budget--at a time when the administration wants you to believe that homeland security is getting a big boost. Don't be fooled--this is front line money that's going to kill some local emergency management divisions.
File under "Here Comes Sickness": Fox(!!) also reports on CARS--Campaign Acute Respiratory Sickness, afflicting all the campaigns except, perhaps not so coincidentally, Kerry's. While Fox wants to attribute problems to psychosoma, maybe they should just stop eating crap on the campaign trail.
File under "Iraqi 2nd Amendment Rights": Much more seriously, NYT carries this report on the likely reluctance of militia in Iraq to disarm once a central government is established. The pesh merga of the two Kurdish parties would seem to be the most intractable; if you'd gone through what they had--including and up to the horrible bombings a week ago--would you give up YOUR militia? Me neither. The Shia militia are perhaps the most dangerous to political unification, however. They will come to symbolize Shi'ite strength in the new Iraq, and zealously guard it.
File under "It's a Big Report; No One Will Notice": Brad Delong exposes the utter incomprehensibility of predicting 470,000 new jobs PER MONTH during 2004, in order to match the official Bush administration estimates. What makes it incomprehensible? How about the fact that it's never come close to happening? It sounds even worse if you say "5.3 million new jobs by the end of the year. " Will someone PLEASE alert the mainstream media, or the Kerry campaign?
[Update 11pm--Delong has shifted his foreceasts downward, for reasons that are somewhat unexplained. The new figure is 320,00k per month average, more plausible although not really more likely, considering we've started off 200k+ in the hole. I think I understand the possible flaw in figuring on linear trending (instead of a big-bump-and-taper effect) , but an average is an average. You get 1 million in two months, you still have to come up with the other million six. That's an extended bump before the taper hits, and I don't think the stimulus put in has much coal behind it. I think a comment from Calpundit's posting is good speculation: 2.6 million new jobs runs just ahead of 2.5 million--the number of jobs lost since he took office.]
File under "Adverse With Out Letup": Calpundit (who pointed me towards Delong, by the by) continues the detective work on the AWOL story. The "torn document " is now shown un-torn, and the implication is that the change in Bush's service pattern was punitive, leading to reassignment to a paper-only reserve unit. Along with that documentation is another record, Bush's Form 712 Master Personnel Record, which shows not a single bit of active duty credit after May 1972, the last time that anyone's willing to say they saw Bush near a military installation as an employee. Bush claims he'll authorize release all his records from that period--but said on MtP that he had done so in 2000, which is false, so it remains to be seen. Cal is doing an excellent job following the story so far, although one hesitates to reach solid conclusions at this point still.
That oughta hold you people for a while....
More after I actually get to see it myself, but the folks at NRO's The Corner don't seem that thrilled. I fear my own personal revulsion at watching Bush snake his way through a press conference or interview will keep me from being 100% impartial in any review, so the take from those who ordinarily support him should be instructive. It is. John Derbyshire in particular is pretty harsh. There are some comments that rightfully make a distinction between punditry and how it plays with the public at large, and others suggest there weren't many folks watching. On the latter, I think that underestimates the notoriety of his appearance, but it's no primetime debate, that's for sure.
More of my own terribly slanted take later.
Updated later, with a compedium of other takes on the interview:
TalkingPoints thinks it was a bad political call for Rove or whomever else to suggest. It had low upside and great downside potential. It was no disaster, but he did himself no favors. TP also links to the Peggy Noonan take, which is that yeah, he wasn't very good, but he's a vision guy not a policy guy, and interviews are policy--his speeches show off the vision. "Visionary" probably isn't coming up on a Google link along with "2003 State of the Union," so she's conceded half and isn't holding much on her end either.
Sullivan, except for the constant updates on gay marriage (which people have been unfairly giving him excrement for) is praying to the altar of Hitchens these days as regards Iraq: Saddam bad, Saddam gone, we're good folks and we'll make it right. That was his take, although he graciously offers a fairly devastating review from the mailbag, from a war supporter. (Sullivan's take, I mean; I cheated a bit and linked to Hitchens' appraisal of the collection of Democrats.)
Speaking of Hitchens--well, they're next to each other at Slate this evening--Bill Saletan has a particularly good piece for him, drawing a parallel between GDub's singleminded focus on the threat matrix he sees, and the reality that swirls around him like horesflies on a muncipal pool, to the abstraction vs tactilism of Plato v Aristotle. As Meg Ryan might say if Harry and Sally were Greek philosophers instead of New Yorkers, "Is one of us supposed to be Plato in this scenario?" Yes George, you are Plato. And yes, Saletan said it was OK if I called him Bill. [Lawyers won't say otherwise, will they?--ed]
Joshua Claybourne does a little fact policing on the economic portion of the interview. When I heard the part about 15% Clinton discretionary spending, I knew there was something very wrong, and there was. Take it with a keen eye, but the DNC does cite its way through several sets of dubious Dubuya claims. Brad DeLong basically blames Russert for not blowing it wide open. I tend to agree; Russert preps so well because he is either unwilling or unable to process the answer and work on a followup. He's a chess player who never really spends any time anticipating his opponent's response.
Dan Drezner is umoved either way, but he does note that the official campaign strategy clearly will be the fight against "terra," and how far it can be stretched like Press N Seal across the whole salad bowl of national security issues. Which Drezner points out, makes his flank the economy, but probably helps him if things go worse in Iraq. Calpundit essentially agrees, but makes it out to be a bit more ominous in that sense for the Democrats. Certainly on an odds basis I like Iraq to go into the toilet, moreso over the economy going southward from its tentative climbs over the last quarter. I've been polling people on their view of the likely effect another major al-Qaeda attack on the homeland would be on the election--redound to Bush, or against? Email me with your answers; if I get a bunch I'll compile them.
I started out agreeing with readers and others who said that the public will probably like it better than the pundits did--but even with a larger than normal crowd watching, the vast majority will only get the media/punditry viewpoint, and they will be at the mercy of which parts spin off to stories with legs. Obviously the whole AWOL thing will keep going, as will discussions of the comission. I've already seen a wire report that fairly crudely (but accurately) frames a Bush bite saying we have no idea whether we'll get OBL or not.
Digest the thoughts of these many (some fine) people. I think I shall close here. I have about 75% of the transcript marked up for review in this space. I thought I might do it tonight, but it's a 13 page transcript at 10 point size, and I've got rented movies to watch (Seabiscuit and Boogie Nights, since you asked). I'm going to take the thing to work with me; we'll see if I can knock it out during lunch. No promises, so don't bust my...server if it doesn't make your day. I think this was an important day in the political fortunes of the two major candidates (nominated or not, Kerry clearly is the other major candidate). Kerry cleaned up the primaries, got serious endorsements, and learned he's probably got the two Southern states in the bag Tuesday, and likely Wisconsin after that. (Look at what that can do to a guy--he looks human here. Almost like a friendly, happy guy! If he figures out how to put that smile into muscle memory, his chances rapidly improve. Damn you for working so well, Botox!)His challengers are now officially talking to the hand, and he's immediately taken the offensive against George Bush, seen here in his own review of the interview. It's truly amazing that Wesley Clark got so much crap for not denouncing Michael Moore--another feather in Clark's "Trophy Case of Crackpot Endorsers"--that it may have put the nail into a weak campaign, but I bet you not one typing finger of punditry will excoriate Kerry for making allusions to a theory Peter Jennings derided as whacko. The story has taken hold, and I don't see Bush brushing it off right away, at least in the media. So anyway, Kerry's on the offensive, Bush flatfooted, and as his MtP interview made clear, completely on the defensive. This is no time for the four corners, but it looks like the play coming in to Bush Cheney is one they wrote for the end game a long time ago. I wonder if it will work anymore.