My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Late Impression

The overall MSM impression seems to be that Bush's style--in a very Gore-esque fashion--was too impertinent and slightly irritated. I think there's a vested interest on their part in making this back into a horse race, but I also think they may be right. I just don't think it changes things very much.

If the President is going to lose ground based on style, that would have happened many moons ago. We've all known forever that George W. Bush is not very polished at events such as this, so I find it difficult to believe that that is going to have much effect.

On the other hand, Kerry did seem pretty polished, and, yes, "presidential." On the other hand, he did manage to contradict and confuse, which plays into the image that he is a flopper. Will this move Kerry voters--hardly.

Overall, I stick by the idea that this really won't move things very much. I would imagine the overnights aren't too important.

On the other hand, what we learned in 2000, it's really whatever manages to make it onto the Today Show that survives the debate. So. . . two final items:

One: watch for stories about the rebound of John F Kerry; esp. watch the media spin about how Kerry was so strong in his weak suit.

Two: watch for MSM stories about how our allies in England and Poland don't feel at all slighted by John Kerry's rhetoric. This is in desparate hope of inocculating Kerry from the Bush/Cheney ad blasting Kerry for the "global test" comment.

Live Blog the Debate

Questions for John Kerry

You seem to have an awful lot of information about “secret plans” in the White House; would you, at this time, either divulge the source of your information about the secret plan for a draft, or completely dismiss that rumor which you’ve been talking about in your stump speeches?

Pete Coors—[blogs] heightens the accountability. . .makes everybody watch what they say so that the other sides bloggers don’t have fodder

Would you care to elaborate on your plan to provide enriched uranium fuel to Iran? For instance, what leads you to believe that we could be any more successful maintaining an inspections regime when a similar plan from President Clinton vis-à-vis North Korea has proven to be a dramatic failure?

NOTE: as I'm commenting, I'll put the JFK or GWB in front of it to indicate whose answer is inspiring my thoughts

1908 Opening statement all about making the alliances. . .I can do a better job. . . the Senator’s opening statement is just as personable and engaging as a table. . . cold, impersonal, negative. . . .C-

GWB ticks off a list of successes that fall back on a first principle. . .freedom . . . B+

GWB on another attack—SLAM; shut the door on that question, and project strength, confidence and capability;
I really appreciate the offered prayer—it plays to his core and the strong beliefs that guide him

GWB seems impassioned and relentlessly on message—he is clearly in his comfort zone

JFK just has so little ability to project core beliefs

Gotta admit, highly charged partisan atmosphere makes it a little difficult to stay focused on what the Sen is saying

JFK talks about building a true alliance—yet he voted against the true alliance in 91
JFK is just not able to be funny or engaging; he ticks off a list of former high commanders who support him, but I’m not convinced

GWB swings back effectively and quickly; cites JFK’s own words; takes a sidewise swipe at the UN; pre-Sep 10th mentality: good line

1718 GWB clearly has a better core of belief—he’s optimistic about our ability to accomplish multiple missions and who understands the nature of the conflict; he seems pretty charged up—maybe even a little too passionate about this issue. His eloquence on this isolated issue leads him to speak a little too excitedly

JFK should not talk about body armor after voting against the $87 billion; he can’t make headway when he only cites the negatives with no vision for a better future

JFK must have some polling that indicates that turning the focus onto UBL would play into his strengths

GWB gets it—the way to respond to attacks is to prevent them by taking the fight to them on foreign soil

1927 GWB asked about bringing troops home, talks about success first—that’s what Americans understand; why is it important for Iraq to be free is crucial

JFK remarkably is always able to cite these multitudes of anonymous supporters; oh, good—call your own troops “occupiers”

JFK keeps calling for a summit—perhaps, like the one he held in Paris in 1971?

GWB is a little more aggressive than I was expecting—he’s not pulling any punches at the Senator

JFK keep talking about the UN; I’d rather stick with the real alliances

JFK “I’ve had one consistent position” . .. and it’s shaped like a pretzel; that teed up a pretty good humor line

GWB specific citations about troops—real people with real reactions; very human, serious, sober, and genuine; strong contrast

JFK “confuse the war with the warrior”???? seriously, considering how he described the atrocities and war crimes of his fellow soldiers upon his return? Seriously?

GWB may have just missed an opportunity—talking about “wrong war, wrong time, wrong place” is just not, I think, the approach; it would have been better in my opinion to talk about his undermining of his own troops in the 70s

JFK point to the website for information? Isn’t it incumbent on the candidate to deliver the message, not make the voters go looking for the message;

I think the question was about a specific plan; this is so vague I have no idea what he just said.

GWB good—bring it back to Allawi, and hammer the just-a-minute-ago statement of the opponent

JFK preemptive strike is a right? But he proves he’s unwilling to use it; did he just cede that the use of preemption is incumbent on the agreement of the UN?
GWB too easy—brings it back to the ability to our ability to defend ourselves regardless of “world opinion”

2004 GWB hammers on the popularity contest that the Senator seems to want to win

GWB seems to be losing a little momentum—stumbling on his words just a little bit; may have hit his seventh inning stretch; doesn’t change that his message is strong and right, just the delivery is a little faltering

JFK if the US should have been more involved in curbing Iran’s nuclear program, why did he just offer nuclear fuel to them?

I’m just guessing, but probably most of the country has tuned out by now. I wonder what the overall impressions are going to be. I expect that the President’s ability to stay relentlessly on message made the point he wanted to early on, and the overall impression of John Kerry was probably not changed. My guess is most people walked away thinking “blah blah blah” whatever. I think everybody got what they were expecting before tuning out, which leaves us back at square Bush +7.

GWB nice to take the high ground with the Senator related to an easy question: character. This was an opportunity for humanity, which the President has in deeper supply than JFK.

The crowd is not losing any momentum—they are still right on message. “I have never wilted” JFK what an interesting comment—didn’t get past the laugh test in the room.

We’re getting down to the last ten minutes here. So far, the vast majority of the debate has centered around Iraq; brief diversions into Iran and North Korea interspersed.

I wonder how Russia feels about JFK pledge to secure the nuclear materials in four years; I wonder if that encroaches at all on their sovereignty.

One quick hit at Russia; after most have tuned out. Neither answer was very interesting.

Final Statements: JFK has he not learned—WE DON”T CARE ABOUT VIETNAM. I have a plan. . .I have a plan. . .blah blah blah. Back to this message: stronger at home, respected abroad. This just doesn’t resonate, in my opinion.

GWB—strong first statement about the role of America in leading the world; appreciate the quick hit about the all-volunteer military; there’s nothing new here—this won’t change anybody’s opinion, but at this point, that’s good.

FIRST TAKE: I don’t think this moved the field at all. Neither scored any great points, neither lost any points. It’s not as if we didn’t know this already. I think the big thing was that GWB came out aggressively and was not going to cede any ground on foreign policy, and that showed just the sort of leadership we have come to know.

CHENEY: 2058

Points out how Kerry spoke of commitment and support, but was constantly negative about the outcome. Draws the contrasts, and notes the strength of experience on the one side and the inconsistencies on the side of the “wannabe.” “Global Test” line seems to be the soundbite. Brief comments—has to do the interviews.

I know the nature of this live blog renders this a bit hard to follow. I apologize. While I will acknowledge that, maybe you should just consider this preparation for reading James Joyce later.

PreGame Show


So I get home from work today at 3, maybe 3:15. The wife is working, the baby’s “asleep”, and so I hop on the computer to check the e-mail. Lo, and behold, in my box are about a dozen or so messages from other members of the RMA all on the subject of “VP event credential request.” What’s this? I say. Turns out some savvy members of the Bush/Cheney team are aware of the emergence of blogging, are likewise aware of the presence of the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Bloggers, and would like some of us to cover tonight’s event.

Of course, the next question from my mouth was “what event?” Turns out the Vice President and his wife have chosen to watch the debate and do the post-game show from here in Denver.

So, at this point, it seems there is a big event in Denver, with a distinctly partisan crowd starring George W Bush, and I’ve been invited to go. Ummm. . . OKAY! Of course, I’ve been gone every night this week so far, so. . . let’s see. How to present this to the wife. Of course, that might be underestimating the Bewitching Mrs. Best Destiny.

[interlude: Ted Hallaby, Colorado GOP Chairman, has stopped by, so we’re gonna chat with him for a minute—
Asked about the role/influence/ presence of blogs, Hallaby replied [it] certainly was made clear with the Rather fiasco. . . [which]publicized the growing influence. . .Further questioned about it .particularly keeps the mainstream press on its toes. . .

Mike Coffman—use technology to disseminate imfo to the faithful. . .as Treas its non-partisan so the info from him is from a self-selected group, but it grows old . . . options provide a check and balance on major media outlets . . . on the school budget situation, I think we need to rethink the way school finance is handled; cited a 45% reduction in StVrain admin costs as a good step and evidence of waste in the system

Okay—turns out Clay is pretty well connected, so we may be interrupted on a number of occasions to speak with dignitaries such as the two above.

1735 so, as I was saying, . . .the Bewitching Mrs. Best Destiny looked at me and said “this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Go. So, whoo-hoo.

Fly out the door after bringing my oldest home from school, because I need to check in by 4:30. From Arvada into downtown in less than 30 minutes, rush hour, not to mention that my tendency downtown is to just get lost. But, luck was on my side, I go straight to my destination, luck out with some on the street parking (yeah—I’ll probably have a parking ticket later tonight), and I’m there. Right at 4:30.

Now comes the fun part. Amateur journalist, never done something like this before, so how do I handle this? Turns out the people down here with the campaign are about as nice as they could possibly be given the security situation and all. Walk up to the first person I see with a nametag, ask “is there a separate entrance for press (heh heh heh—I’m “press”)?” and immediately I’m guided down the stairs to the person who can walk me through the secret service and everything else. Jared walks in right behind me, and thus is a blog event begun.

From there, we’re directed to the room, and our table, whereat Clay and Jonathan are already busy at work. A few jokes about pajamas and how quickly the MSM move away from us when they find out who we are. . .

And I’ve settled in, ready to cover the big event.

Now, I’ve got a couple hours to kill here before the debate starts, so I’m going to fill with off-the-cuff observations.

Immediately to my left here, in a little adjunct room, are about 30 volunteers busily stamping Bush/Cheney campaign materials. I guess there could be no better place or reason to find motivated volunteers, eh?

The room itself is about 100’ by 90’ (and, yeah, I have a very bad sense of distances in that regard—it seems to be a little further from here to the opposite wall than from 1st to 2nd base), and at the moment, is largely empty. As evidenced by the interviews I’ll be posting, there are many GOP dignitaries on the scene, as well as a small paddock of impatient-looking MSM. I recognize Adam Schrager from channel 9, and Greg Nieto from channel 2, but nobody else. They seem content to remain in their paddock and compare notes.

The sound system is blaring country music—what a surprise. I have to admit, I really was not a fan of country music. At all. Even as recently as two years ago, my general opinion was dismissive—just nothing there interesting to me. Of course, the women of country music tend to be rather attractive, so I didn’t mind buying the CD’s for my wife. I just didn’t like listening to it. That’s another one of those things that changed after 9/11; most notably with Toby Keith, but also in the general mood of country music, I found a musical style that was unapologetically patriotic (Dixie Chicks excepted). It even turns out that some of those good-looking women can flat-out sing—much more pleasant to listen to than Alanis Morrisette or some of the other Rock and Rollers. So, I would have to say that I don’t mind the emphasis on country music here.

Yes, I know—time to kill.

1815 The room’s starting to full up pretty good. Lots of energy and excitement, a pretty big contingent of veterans. And everybody seems pretty happy—a very pleasant bunch in the room.

Greg Walcher (CD 3)—has to use technology to get the message out unfiltered. . . contest whatever spin the media puts out . . .

Shari Williams of the Leadership Program of the Rockies dropped by; deadline for the institute—October 8th; find it at leadershipprogram.org

1830 Pete Coors is addressing the crowd. . .Query: did Ken Salazar show up at the John Kerry event a couple weeks ago?? Um, no. As Jared says, “it was the stench of death he was avoiding” Coors seems to be here to introduce Bill Owens

1833 Gov. Owens is addressing the crowd. He’s pretty well loved in this room. A prediction from the Gov—a good year, starting with the re-election of Pres. Bush and VP Dick Cheney. And he’s here to introduce the Veep.

1835 Lynn Cheney gets to start—she is so easy-going in front of the crowd. It seems to be a very easy role for her to assume, and she projects pride in her husband, a love of country, and in particular the West, a sort of self-effacing humor that is instantly endearing. I’ve seen her a couple of times now, and she never fails to poke a little fun at her husband, which humanizes them both to a degree the elite just can’t fathom.

1837 Dick Cheney is up now, poking fun at the Kerry camp for it’s disapproval of the lights on stage at the debate. What? Too much yellow and orange? He’s very comfortable in this role, as well. He interacts with the crowd, works right through a misspeak (called Edwards Kerry—what’s the difference, really?). And then he slips into his stump speech, starting with terrorism.

As I’m thinking about it, I’m going to make one more prediction: Bush’s implacability, combined with Kerry’s adrenaline and aggression, will cause John Kerry to lose his cool. Maybe just for a moment, probably towards the end of the debate, but I bet he talks himself into a corner or gets flustered and confused at some point. May be wishful thinking, but I’m convinced it’s a possibility.

1844 The room is not quite full as the Veep is talking. Not surprising—I think I follow things about as closely as anyone, and I had no idea this event was happening. Probably just not enough time to mobilize.

1847 The Veep is done now, and everybody seems to be settling in to watch the debate itself. I guess this is about the end of our pregame show. I’m gonna go stretch a bit, and come back ready to blog the debate.

A Prediction

because we all know how good I am at this. . .

I think the President had better be prepared for a serious attack from John Kerry. The problem for John Kerry is that he's just so danged dour--even if he makes effective points, he's still going to be off-putting to the average person.

So, how should the President counter? First off, with humor. A joke or two, a witty zinger, anything that contrasts him to Icabod Crane over there. And after that, looking directly into the camera, telling the American people that he did what he thought was right, that he continues to view their protection as his number one priority, and that he's willing to make the tought decision and take responsibility for it.

I would hope at some point that he mentions all the positive news that's only leaking out of Iraq via the milblogs. And I would also hope that he mentions Saddam's $10 billion take from the oil-for-food, the records of bribes from that money, and all the energy Kerry has spent trying to break down our real alliances.
A quick nod towards Kerry's chief foreign policy advisor on her oh-so-successful negotiation with North Korea, a curt dismissal of the Kerry plan of giving Iran nuclear fuel, and a return to the high ground of purpose, clarity, and seriousness.

Oh, and, by the way, a quick point about how our chief foreign policy problem has become a major domestic economic problem--i.e. oil, and who we have to deal with to get it--and the Senator's role in preventing an Energy Bill from getting to the floor for a vote wouldn't hurt, either.

The President is famously disciplined in these sort of things, and John Kerry (as we saw with Dianne Sawyer this morning) can have a tendency to wander off the reservation a little bit. I expect that if the President can weather and even counter the first few salvos from Kerry, Kerry might just get a little flustered (turning orange-in-the-face) and do something Kerry-esque.


A Case Could Be Made

This piece in today's OpinionJournal strikes me as the best evidence yet that a new National Security Management Center should be installed as soon as possible.

If it is true--and I've heard it said enough times by enough different people to think that there's something to it--that the CIA is a strongly liberal organization, and that certain of its employees are willing to sidestep the oaths they took when they got their jobs in the interest of forwarding their political agendas, then the CIA has forfeited its credibility as a security agency.

What the President should do, since Congress has to be around for another week or so, is announce at the debate tomorrow night that he's going to ask for the Congress to act before recess on the creation of the NSMC, and that this agency should have the same sort of employment rules that the Homeland Security Department has, and that it should be in place sooner rather than later.

Remember how the Dems tried to quash the Homeland Security Dept in the Fall of '02? They wanted to make sure that the employees had all the same union protections as all the other agencies. Remember how the Dems surprisingly lost seats in the '02 elections? Remember how quickly they approved HSD upon their return in mid-November.

If the President announces such a move now, with the support of Tom Delay and Bill Frist, he can corner the Dems (including SEN Kerry) into either acting according to his wishes or obstructing. If they obstruct, they are likely to walk the same path they did two years ago. If they go along, the President sends out a forceful message to the bureaucrats at the CIA that their days are numbered--either do your jobs and cool it with the political back-biting, or pack your bags for a return to civilian life while your capable colleagues are preparing to move in to the new Agency.


Other Races of Interest

Bob "Landslide" Beauprez is running what was supposed to be a hotly contested race for the 7th Congressional District. However, Ben reports today that the DCCC is cutting its ad buys for Beauprez's opponent, Dave Thomas, in half, a clear indication of lack of interest. . .er, "reshuffling of priorities."

Perhaps this was a catalyst of this change of heart, from the Saturday Rocky Mtn. News. The crucial lines:

Dave "In Denial" Thomas . . .says in today's Speakout that he "took no part in the preparation of the written press statement delivered by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office" regarding a draft affidavit for a warrant to search Eric Harris' home. He also assures the public he had nothing to do with "the delivery of that statement." We are relieved to know Thomas did not do two things no one has accused him of doing.

The News' conclusion: Perhaps Thomas was not party to the initial decision to keep the public ignorant of the existence of the draft affidavit, but he certainly was aware of that policy as practiced by the sheriff's office. And yet for reasons he is apparently reluctant to discuss, he chose to give the sheriff's office a free pass.

As I said before (with a slight pat on my own back--see post of 9-18)either he's a bad lawyer or he's a bad manager; either disqualifies him to be my Congressman.


Let's Get Her In Here More Often

So Teresa Heinz-Kerry was in town today. She's got to love the coverage she's getting. This quote from the Post highlights her effectiveness:

Heinz Kerry, who appeared tired and lost her train of thought a few times, said she had spent seven weeks on the campaign trail talking about the issue.

"Lost her train of thought . . ." Maybe she was just having a hard time staying on message, what with the ever-changing landscape of her husband's message over the last few months. . .

Points of Logic

If, as John Kerry has claimed, the Iraq War is a distraction from the War on Terror, then --

--Why are the terrorists fighting so hard for Iraq? If Iraq wasn't important to the overall war on terror than why are they "pouring in" to the country to do battle with us there?

--Why is it a bad thing for the terrorists to be fighting us in Iraq? By my simple math, their kill-to-death ratio on 9/11 was about 150:1; in Iraq, that ratio has certainly been pulled down (by my guess, down to about 1 American killed for every 10 terrorists killed).

--Isn't the fact that they come to Iraq to fight an indication of a lack of other places to go? Driven out of Afghanistan, with Syria and Jordan under pressure and Iran under a microscope, is it possible that--as bad as it is--Iraq is just about the last refuge for these guys?

--Isn't this one of the first indicators of a successful military engagement? We've picked the battlefield; Iraq is surely a preferable field of battle for us to, say, the streets of New York and London. And, in all certainty, the terrorists would rather not fight us at all--they prefer shooting children in the back to open engagement.

Somebody should call the Dems on the lunacy of their rhetoric. Oh, wait. . . I guess that's what the pajamahadeen is here for (credit that name to Captain's Quarters (I think)).

9News Poll

This seems a little more like it. Bush 52, Kerry 44 in Colorado. But let's hope the Kerry camp thinks they still have a chance here--he's got three different ads running in the state right now, at what has to be an extraordinary cost to the campaign, while suddenly having to defend places like Maryland, New Jersey and Maine (courtesy Survey USA).

I would expect this trend to begin to translate towards the Coors/Salazar race, also. Hopefully the President has coattails--and long ones. They don't have to be very long to help in Colorado, but Washington, South Dakota, and Florida's Senate races could use some help.

New Ad

Tonight I saw, for the first time (yeah, I try not to watch too much TV) the new Pete Coors ad. The main thrust: Ken Salazar can't help do anything about health care because he's too deeply tied to the trial lawyers' lobby; I can help, because I have no such entanglement.

I think this is a great thrust at just this time in the campaign. Coors has already worked the home-grown son angle, and continues to hit hard about taxes. Now, his campaign is opening up a new front which seems to undercut Ken Salazar's primary issue: health care reform. The more Coors ties Salazar to the trial lawyers (especially like the way the ad points out that Salazar has taken $500 million from the trail lawyers), the better that will play in this state, which tends to like candidates not so tied up to goofy fringe lobbies.

Now, is it just me, or is the next front to open up in this battle the one which starts "Ken Salazar would vote to prevent judges from even being considered by the full Senate; judges like Miguel Estrada--the first Hispanic nominee to the 1st Circuit Court, Janice Rogers Brown--the first black woman to sit on the California Supreme Court, and Bill Pryor--a man whose nomination has been opposed because he (like Salazar) is Catholic"

I'm actually asking--is it just me? The only reason I care about the Senate is because of its role in shaping the judiciary; do I just have too much time on my hands, or do people just not understand the importance of that role?

cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors


So, Just To Clear This Up

John Kerry has claimed that he will rebuild our alliances and bring the rest of the world to the table. As evidence of this, two exhibits:

:early statements calling the coalition in Iraq the "Coalition of the Bribed and Coerced"
:today's nearly brilliant comment on the P.M. of Iraq:

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Thursday that Iraq's Ayad Allawi was sent before Congress to put the ``best face'' on Bush administration policy.

Shortly after Allawi, the interim government's prime minister, gave a rosy portrayal of progress toward peace in Iraq, Kerry said the assessment contradicted reality on the ground.

``The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story,'' Kerry said

In other words, those countries who have chosen, at some risk and requiring great courage, to stand with us are dupes and pawns, and the leader of an emerging state who has to stand against assassination attempts on a nearly daily basis is a puppet and a liar.

On the other hand, countries like France, Germany and Russia, all of whom have been implicated as being on the take from Saddam are old friends whose egos need to be massaged, and the U.N.--which supervised a scam the likes of which we've never seen and whose ranks are populated with many of the dregs of world society--is a noble international organization upon whose auspices we must rely.

I'm not sure which bothers me more: the utter irresponsibility of a Presidential candidate insulting the head of another state, or the fact that said Presidential candidate is clearly incapable of recognizing truth. Or perhaps its the fact that almost half the population (including in this state!) seems willing to hand the reins of power over to this loon.

Kinda makes me feel a little less safe driving down the road.

For more on this topic, visit Jared, the Kestrel, and Jonathan.


Impressions Of The Day

No, don't worry. . .I won't make you sit through my Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Stewart impressions. . .

So today the Swift Vets put out a new ad, Dick Cheney delivers a blistering assessment of John Kerry's suitability for President, and the campaign airs a new ad which mocks John Kerry on his windsurfing-like constancy. In the meantime, a whole slew of new polls came out, all of which show the President either holding pat against the last poll or increasing his lead.

John Kerry? A new ad whining about the hard-hitting new ad while trying to imply "quagmire", and footage (via FoxNews' Special Report) of the candidate doing his Charlie Rangle imitation before retired voters in Florida.

Another day which goes comfortably in the Bush column. You know it's bad for your chances when you become the subject of mockery. It's one thing to be attacked--it's entirely another to be made fun of.

Check These Out

Joshua and Clay both have thorough discussions of today'spolling news from in the state. In particular, read the stuff about Amendment 36 (the REALLY STUPID IDEA)--support for this right now is, at best, soft. Time to kill it. . .and soon!


Quick Hit

So, in the last 24 hours, the President has addressed the U.N. and met with the Iraqi P.M.; Sen. Kerry has met with David Letterman, Regis Philbin, and given a tightly controlled press conference.

I like the comparison.

By the way, at some previous juncture the President said the U.N. was in danger of losing its credibility if it didn't enforce its own resolutions vis-a-vis Iraq. Makes me wonder why the President went back there today. Maybe that's part of the agenda for the next four years.


Other Thoughts On The Debate, and The Campaign

Sunday's Denver Post coverage of the Salazar/Coors debate was a bit short, for my taste. It really did not give a very full picture of an hour-long event.

But the coverage did contain this important section:

For the first time in a public debate, Coors and Salazar were asked about abortion. Salazar said he does not personally support abortion, but he would uphold the law under Roe vs. Wade.

"I believe the decision about an abortion should be made between a woman and her God," Salazar said.

Coors, who opposes abortion with "no exceptions," said he too would not try to overturn Roe if elected to the Senate. He also said he would not use abortion as a make-or-break issue when voting in judicial confirmation hearings.

"People ask me if this would be a litmus test for me as to who I would approve as a federal judge," he said. "I don't think there should be one single, specific litmus test."

I also spent some time on Saturday volunteering with the Coors campaign, and the bulk of the time was spent putting out a mailing--a massive mailing. You should be seeing it in the next couple of days. It's slick, it's impressive, it's full color, and it hits all the same notes as the campaign up to this point.

And it says not a word about the judiciary. This, combined with what I gather was a gentle approach to this issue in the debate, is a great disappointment to me. It seems that this is an issue that Coors can run on hard and win with--Salazar, regardless of his personal views, would vote with the Dems to block judicial appointments, then will vote to confirm judges who would enable partial birth abortions, and who would assert a "right" to gay marriage.

The cultural issues underlying this election are all centered in the judiciary, and oversight of the judiciary is one of the unique characteristics of the Senate. This is where the battle should be fought--and won. If we've learned nothing from Missouri and Louisiana, it's that support for these issues is stronger than we tend to think, or tend to be willing to articulate.

cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors

Not To Toot My Own Horn. . .

. . .but I am a trumpet player, and it's pretty much what we do.

It turns out that one of my pajama-clad tirades snuck out of the ether and onto a piece of paper--the Denver Post editorial page, it turns out.


Connecting Some Dots

I'm going to go out on a little bit of a limb here, possibly revealing an unfortunate hole in my knowledge base. But if I'm right, this seems to be important.

First, the Rocky Mountain News runs this story today, detailing a secret meeting held in the aftermath of the Columbine Massacre. The purpose of the meeting: "A draft affidavit for a warrant to search the home of Columbine High School killer Eric Harris, written in April 1998, had been deliberately kept under wraps for nearly two years."

Which leads to my spiel. Who was at this secret meeting? Until the stunning disclosure by deputy Mike Guerra, no one - not the sheriff's officers or prosecutors or Jefferson County officials who were there - told anyone else about the meeting, in which it was agreed the affidavit should not be publicly disclosed. So there were sheriff's officers, prosecutors and JeffCo officials there. Hmmmm. Later in the article the opinion of "attorneys" was disclosed: He said attorneys in the room examined the draft affidavit and said it lacked enough evidence to have been approved by a judge.

At this point, it is unclear which attorneys raised this point--prosecutors or attorneys from the JeffCo Attorney's office. Why is that important? Well, if I understand the nature of the county government correctly, attorneys from the JeffCo Attorney's office are charged with advising and defending the county; "prosecutors" would come from the office of the Jefferson County District Attorney. And if one of the officers of the District Attorney's office was involved in this secret meeting, and hid the existence of this affidavit--which was mysteriously destroyed before the grand jury convened--that puts things in a whole new light.

Because at the time of the Columbine Massacre, the District Attorney for Jefferson County was Dave Thomas. And Dave Thomas aspires to higher office right now--namely, the 7th Congressional seat. So if someone in his office failed to reveal and pursue this affidavit, which seems fairly germaine to the investigation, that reflects on Thomas.

Again, I don't know all the salient facts. But it seems this would be a good time to ask Mr. Thomas "What did you know? And when did you know it? And does it trouble you that members of your staff seem to feel free to obscure evidence in ongoing criminal investigations?"


Even Though It's Friday Night. . .

and nobody reads blogs on Friday night, I just saw something that demands a post.

THE REALLY STUPID IDEA--i.e. Amendment 36--was just the subject of a piece on FoxNews' "Special Report." The piece's central speaker was State Rep Ron Tupa (D-Boulder), who is also one of the primary legislative backers of this idiocy. On the right, Ted Hallaby did a nice job of portraying this idea as "cherry-picking" in a fairly reliable GOP state.

Add this story to the one in the Wall Street Journal on Sep 8, and today's editorial in the San Fransisco Chronicle, and it highlights the degree to which the nation has its eye on Colorado. And the fact that as disparate sources as the Journal and the Chronicle come out against this idea SHOULD make the point that this is a REALLY STUPID IDEA!

So, everybody take the opportunity, through town-hall meetings and "meet the candidates" forums, to try to pin down the candidates for local office on this issue. In fact, to arm yourself better, Tupa did put forward a bill two years ago to accomplish much the same thing--anybody who held office at that time has a track record on this issue (I will go searching for the legislative record on this, but the state's website seems to be down right now).

Consider: would both George W. Bush and John Kerry have made a trip to Colorado this week if the state was only worth one vote?

Senate Polling

The Pete Coors for Senate team announced via e-mail the results of a recent poll conducted by the Tarrance Group.

The key points: the race is still Salazar's, but by a statistically insignificant 46%-44% (LV, MoE 4.5%); among voters with a favorable impression of both candidates, Coors +20; among voters who identify terrorism/homeland security as their number one issue, Coors +46; on fiscal discipline issues, Coors +20.

The main shortfall of Coors (somewhat inexplicably) at this point seems to be name I.D.--that should change with the current media blitz. Though I'm not sure why recent media blitzes haven't done the trick.

I'm not sure how much weight I put in this poll--it was conducted on behalf of the Coors campaign. However, I could be downright hostile to this poll and I would still have to concede that a 46 point advantage on national security issues is astonishing, and not good news for Ken Salazar. His attempt to portray himself as a "law and order" candidate has clearly not broken through on the issues of defending the country. If this issue advantage finds a way to get through the murk of the campaign, this should be a race that mirrors the Allard/Strickland race of 2002.

Factor in the recent RMN poll that has the Presidential race at a dead heat, and it would seem that this state is much closer than anybody would like. Time to get to work.

UPDATE: The Rocky Mountain News has as its headliner today the results of its own poll which puts Salazar up by 11 points. In the article it does acknowledge the Coors internal poll, but this still can't be a good sign.

cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors


Fisking the Roberts

Today's Rocky ran a column by Steve and Cokie Roberts about CBS' current difficulties titled "Emergence of advocacy journalism is troubling."

I like Cokie, generally. She always struck me on ABC's Sunday Morning as a voice of reason, if a little to the left of center. She and her husband also represent the old media--both are (if memory serves) children of Congressmen, and both have worked for various old media outlets for decades. So, I suppose, it shouldn't surprise me that they came to Rathers' defense.

They start: We don't know yet if the documents uncovered by CBS about President Bush's National Guard service are real or fake. Not an auspicious start--the docs have been fairly thoroughly discredited, with even the tacit admission by Dan Rather last night and today that they deserve "looking in to."

Later: No matter how shaky CBS looks right now, its report on Bush's guard service was subject to intense vetting by squads of producers, fact-checkers and lawyers. Bloggers operate on a far lower standard of accuracy and authenticity. And yet, all those lawyers, producers, fact-checkers and King's horses failed to catch the fraud which was discovered by bloggers in a matter of hours.

They conclude: America's free press is rooted in the tradition that professional jounalists here don't identify with a faction or an ideology. In the current rush to celebrate the glories of the "blogosphere," the virtues of independence and fairness should not be forgotten. They are still essential to a well-informed democracy. Exactly. The problem is that without the blogosphere, the mainstream media would be free to identify with an ideology--AND HIDE THAT FACT.

The blogosphere is generally peopled by writers quick to identify their biases; readers of those sites know what the bias is going in, and can adjust their intake of information accordingly. The mainstream media is quick to lay claim to "ideological neutrality;" thus, an uninformed or unskeptical consumer has no idea to filter the information reported, and the bias becomes part of the "news."

What Dan Rather and CBS did is either an example of a political hit piece, or an example of shoddy journalism. In either case, the root cause must be organizational bias--CBS either participated in the perpetration of a fraud, or overlooked obvious problems because those problems were inconvenient to the story they wanted to tell.

At any rate, "advocacy journalism" is nothing new--it's just that, for some reason, those of us with "lower standards" admit to our bias, while those "on high" refuse to acknowledge theirs.

Aside: good line from the column: Even if many bloggers do have partisan agendas, they can't be dismissed with an imperious wave of The Anchorman's hand.


THIS Took Six Extra Hours?

We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing."

In other words, we believed them, but since we can't credibly establish their authenticity, we think we ought to look into it. Probably not very hard, but we'll take a look-see (in much the same way we edited this memo for spelling errors).

It took seven days--plus six extra hours--for CBS to come up with this. And here I thought dinosaurs were relatively quick animals.

If the Dems Did This. . .

I got to thinkin' today: they can't actually be this bad, can they? I mean, really. The whole swift vets thing was starting to fade, having run its course, and people were coming back to the present, when somebody gets us going on the past again. And since this was so poorly done, it hasn't hurt the President, has done irreparable harm to CBS, and has kept John Kerry's message off the air for another five days. If this is the result of some party operative, they must be the dummest campaigner ever.

It's almost so bad I'm starting to suspect a rope-a-dope. And, no, that's not a pun on my opinion of John Kerry. It's just that, no matter what I think of Dems, I can usually recognize that they are capable opponents. But not this year.

I smell an ambush.

Which Leads To. . .

Two lingering questions. Where did the documents come from in the first place--who was the original source and what is their role? And, in the end, who really cares about Bush's ANG service?


The Reader's Digest Version

Wed Sep 8--CBS News' "60 Minutes, 2" news magazine airs a report anchored by Dan Rather which reported several new things regarding Pres. Bush's service in the Air National Guard. Among them:
:the discovery of four new documents from the "personal" files of Col. Jerry Killian; of these, one is an order to report for a physical, one refers to a phone call between Lt. Bush and Killian regarding how Lt. Bush can "get out" of drilling for a period of time, one is a memo detailing Lt. Bush's suspension from flight status, and the other is titled "CYA" and refers to the Col. Killian was receiving from higher-ups, including one referred to as simply "Staudt", to "clean up" Lt. Bush's record.
:an interview with once Lt. Gov. of Texas Ben Barnes, in which Barnes states "a friend of the Bush family, came to see me and asked me if I would recommend George W. Bush for the Air National Guard. And I did."

Thurs Sep 9--Powerline, Captain's Quarters, Little Green Footballs and others begin to note, with a great deal of help from their readers, that the memos cited by CBS have certain characteristics unlikely to be found in a circa 1972 military document. Among them are the use of superscript "th", as in 111th, the use of proportional text spacing, and the "kerning" of text, and the leaning of apostrophes. Also on Sep 9 a reader to Powerline points out that the "Staudt" referred to is one Gen. Staudt, who retired from the Texas Air National Guard more than a year before the memo in question was written. By the end of this day, a number of officers and forensics experts have weighed in that the documents appear "inauthentic." CBS quiet.

Fri Sep 10--by this date, ABC news has found the widow and son of Jerry Killian, both of whom say it was unlikely that Killian authored these documents. In addition, Ben Barnes' testimony has been called into question, particularly on the point that he did not take over as Lt. Gov until early 1969, while George Bush entered the TANG in 1968. CBS stands by report, saying that the documents were authenticated and that they were not the sole basis for the report, but the "preponderance of evidence" points to the accuracy of the story. CBS even names their document expert, who turns out to be a handwriting analyst.

Sat Sep 11--Maj Gen Bobby Hodges, one of the sources cited by CBS, comes out and says he thinks the memos are fakes; in addition, the "expert" cited by CBS comes out and says he only viewed and attempted to authenticate one document based on the signature. CBS acknowledges that it does not have the originals of the documents, and refuses to turn over what they have to independent groups for analysis. CBS still stands by story. Additional difficulties are found in the details of the documents, including the size of the paper and certain addresses. The Boston Globe runs a story that claims a Dr. Phillip Bouffard authenticated the documents; he fires off an angry retort to stop mischaracterizing what he actually said (that he would "look into it"), and CBS uses the Globe's misreport to back up its claim.

Sun Sep 12--CBS is stonewalling on its source and the originals of the documents; their counter-argument resort to characterizing bloggers as whack jobs. Many MSM outlets following CBS meltdown and reporting that their own experts tend to discredit the documents.

Mon Sep 13--CBS stands by its report on the grounds that the dates of the memos are consistent with Lt. Bush's service (what. . .no soap?) and that certain persons have come forward to say that the character of the documents is consistent with reality, even if the docs aren't.

Tues Sep 14--CBS stands by its report. Meanwhile, two separate document experts come forward to say that they informed CBS prior to the airing of the report that the documents had severe credibility problems, but were ignored by CBS. In addition, the former secretary of Col Killian states publicly that Killian would not have typed these for himself, and that she never typed these--"These are not real."

There. That's it in a nutshell. Docs are forged, Barnes is a discredited political hack, and CBS refuses to listen to its friends who are telling it "you're drunk."

UPDATE: regarding Ben Barnes:

It has been pointed out that Barnes, in the CBS interview, implied that he took action for a young George W Bush while Speaker of the Texas House. However, I remember seeing some video about a week ago when this whole bruhaha started of Barnes telling the story, only in this telling he was Lt. Gov. I think the video I saw is of some sort of campaign event, though I can't be sure. So, at the very least, Ben Barnes has been caught embellishing a story, one that he could also tell (it sounds like) of maybe dozens of other young connected people in the late 60's in Texas. It just so happens that this particular one made it big.


First Senate Debate

Pete Coors and Ken Salazar met in their first one-on-one debate over the weekend, at an event in Grand Junction sponsored by Club 20.

To read the article (since I was in Denver over the weekend) it sounds like both men came off about equally bad--neither being able to claim the role of "statesman." On the plus side for Coors, this assessment by Gwen Florio:

It was a newly assured Coors who took the podium, in contrast to the man who stumbled through some of his primary debates,

I hope that's true and it holds up throughout the process. I blogged before about how unimpressed I was with Coors at two events during primary season, so I am encouraged that he may have picked up a little polish.

It also seems the two men have staked out their signature issues: Salazar, the economy and Coors, national security. I like the comparison--I think if those positions hold, this state will go with national security.

cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors


Okay, I'm going to renege on a pledge I made last night--I'm not going to give the Reader's Digest version of the CBS Memo Meltdown. I got a little distracted tonight by the Denver Broncos.

Thank God for the Fall and football.

Clinton who?

I think the Broncos got the better of the deal here. Champ Bailey more than did his part in shutting down Tony Gonzalez, got a pick, and was even an offensive threat--on that point, the Bailey for Portis trade seems to be a break-even. But when you factor in what QGriffin did, it turns out we got a cover corner for somebody we really didn't need, anyway. Advantage: Broncos.

Now if someone can get Jake Plummer to stop balancing his moments of brilliance with moments of stupidity, we'll be on our way.

Ever notice how sports fans are like wives? When things are going well, it's always the plural-possessive "we" or "us"; when things aren't so good, it's the detached "him" or "them." So for tonight, I'll be generous with the role fans play and say "we" are on "our" way.


Quick Event Report

I was at the Arvada Harvest Festival Parade this morning. A few quick observations.

1. Jessica Corry (state Senate 20) has a very good grassroots organization going--her people seemed to be out in force, dwarfing the support group for her opponent.

2. Kerry/Edwards was out in force today, far outnumbering the visible supporters of the President.

3. The Dave Thomas organization was also out in force, appearing to outnumber Bob Beauprez supporters, though not by as much.

4. Neither Senate campaign appeared to have massive presence.

Now, I will admit shortcomings in my observations, and I would welcome contrary observations. Mostly, my observations were limited to what I could see from the vicinity of my two daughters and wife, all of whom were participants in the parade. Which is also why I, to my chagrin, was unable to be a visible supporter of my candidates or to sit at the GOP booth--family first.

Again, I welcome contrary observations. But based on what I saw today, the bigger candidates need to take some lessons from Jessica Corry about events organization.

Two Questions

It would appear now, to a degree almost unimaginable, that the documents about the President's service have been proven to be frauds. Tomorrow, assuming nobody else does this service (which I would imagine someone will), I'm going to go through all the CBS assertions, the evidence against those claims, and the CBS defense, in a concise form. The reason I'm waiting for tomorrow is that a) that gives it one more night to percolate and see if the new developments push the story forward--especially interesting will be the Sunday morning shows; and b) I'm kinda hoping someone does it before I do.

At any rate, the story brings up two very compelling questions for every lefty out there, which immediately follow the obvious question--"Who did this?"

1. If the Democrats--who claim to be the good guys, who argue that their problem is that they don't know how to "fight back" against the Republicans (for which we do have some new evidence)--perpetrated this fraud, is the best defense that they're incompetent or that they're morally bankrupt and capable of any sort of dirty trick? In either case, assuming that incompetence extends to governance, how does that make you feel about the people you support?

2. If CBS, the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The LA Times, and the rest of the mainstream media are so "unbiased," how did they get so fooled by this so transparent fraud? Again, are they incompetent, or biased? In either case, shouldn't the answer cause you to re-examine your opinion of the media (or do you prefer to wallow in the mud with them)?


Quick Hit

IF the documents do, indeed, turn out to have been forged (if you don'tknow what I'm talking about, go read Powerline), it brings up two things:
1.)We need to beat these people. Soundly. Convincingly. And Unapologetically. They only understand one thing--power. Take it from them, and maybe--MAYBE--they'll reform.
2.)Could this campaign be any more incompetent? THIS is what Begala and Carville were called in to accomplish?!?

Finally, I am sick to death of talking about thirty years ago! When the Beslan Massacre and the bombing in Jakarta ought to be dominating the news, we're talking about what two men did or didn't do thirty freakin' years ago!! C'mon, media!! At least pretend to be serious!!


The Post Leans on the Playing Table

Today the Denver Post ran an editorial giving the current state of the Senate race--at least, giving their view of it.

The first assessment reads like this:
Aside from the fact that both hail from old Colorado families, they provide quite the contrast. A moderate vs. a conservative. Pro-choice vs. pro-life. Prosecutor vs. businessman.
It goes on to introduce Salazar: Salazar, a popular attorney general, is a centrist politician ; and then to Coors: He's identified himself with GOP social conservatives, but seems to be most comfortable talking about economic growth, tax-cutting and building up the military.

I guess I don't mind the Post calling Coors a conservative; I'm not so sure the label "moderate" fits Salazar. To quote from his own website:

No one likes paying more taxes. But we must have a fairer tax policy that rewards work, not just wealth. We need to be realistic: we cannot fund a strong national defense, homeland security, continue the war and nation-building in Iraq, as well as address education, health care, infrastructure and other domestic needs, at the same time that we permanently and significantly reduce our revenue base.
In other words, I'll vote to raise taxes.

I believe the decision to have an abortion should be between a woman and her God. I will defend that Constitutional right. . . I do not support mandatory waiting periods, spousal consent, biased counseling requirements or other extreme limits on abortion rights Seems pretty moderate, eh? Somewhere between Justice Stevens and Tom Daschle (another good Catholic politician).

I believe that marriage is between one man and one woman. I oppose the Federal Marriage Amendment. I support expanding hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation, . . . Well, that's clear as mud.

We need to re-gather our friends and allies to this essential international goal, a goal we all share. Our foreign policy is most effective when we act as the leader of a broad coalition of nations. Ah, yes, but first let's have some clarity about who our "friends" actually are.

In truth, on many issues Salazar makes a painful effort to strike the middle ground. However, the real questions are "would you vote to end the blockade on judicial nominations" and "would you vote to be proactive in the defense of the country, or do you support John Kerry in the position of 'striking decisively AFTER we get hit?"

It's hard to demonize Ken Salazar--he has a compelling personal story and credibly lays claim to some moderation. Certainly not to the degree that the Post intimates, however, and--more importantly--the effect of his winning would not be a moderating one on the Senate.

cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors


Troubling Numbers

This, from the Sunday Denver Post:

according to the Colorado secretary of state's office, there are now roughly 4 percent more registered Democrats than Republicans in the 7th. It's only 4,700 voters, but that's a lot more than 121.

That is disturbing to me, as a person who sincerely would like to see Bob Beauprez sent back to Congress. In 2002 the voter registration margin was .4 percent, or one-tenth the amount it is now. Guess I'll just have to work a little harder.

This was also in an article about Nancy Pelosi coming to town to raise money for Dave Thomas. I hope she does that often. The more visible, the better. The closer Dave Thomas gets to Nancy Pelosi, the better.

Deconstructing Hartman

or, In Defense of the Mainstream.

Yesterday, for some unknown reason, I actually had enough time to sit and read through the whole newspaper. Which, I guess, is good in that it was a relaxed Sunday at home with the family. Bad in that the only paper in town on Sundays is the Post.

In the Commentary section was a column by some guy named Barrie Hartman (I can't find a link to this column). I've never read him before, but I did yesterday--the title "The Blurring of Christianity" got my attention. Unfortunate, that.

The lead in to the meat of the issue goes thusly: Has the right wing of the Republican Part not only hifacked the American flag and patriotism but Jesus Christ as well?

If so, how did it happen? And why aren't mainstream Christians screaming bloody murder?

So, let's start with a definition. Webster's defines "mainstream" as "prevailing current or direction of activity or influence." First off, to decry the prevailing direction of Christianity as "out of the mainstream" is, itself, oxymoronic. Secondly, the use of the word "mainstream" has turned into an exercise in sophistry.

Hartman quotes emails which he purports to support his claim on the mainstream. . . .beneath . . .the exterior facade, there lurks homophobia, steadfast loyalty to the war, and an inability to adjust to any view not consistent with Biblical revelations. Or The way the war was presented by our president made it look like it was the Christians vs. the Democrats. How about I am increasingly discouraged by the attitude that seems to be nurtured within the church that makes it acceptable to exclude persons. Then there's It's been said that the Christian church must change or it will die. And my favorite, from a non-Christian, I hold my two grandmothers up as my ideal of Christianity, and have said several times recently that they would be turning over in their graves if they could hear what is passing for Christianity today.

First of all, homophobia. And, oh yeah, 71-29. In what world is a 71% majority, the margin which passed the Gay Marriage Ban in Missouri, "out of the mainstream?" And that's all voters, not just Christians. If Hartman would like to make a case that that tiny sliver of 29% is the "mainstream," I've got some clover growing in the front yard I'd like to sell him as "turf."

Second, the war. This weekend's Newsweek poll shows 55-38 support for the war in Iraq. Now, whether or not you're on one side or the other of the war, it is awfully difficult to make a case that 55% is NOT THE MAINSTREAM!!

Third, the exclusion. Yes, it is true that Christ welcomed all, forgave all, and died for all. But I am constantly brought back to the line "Go now, and sin no more [John 8:11]." Further, "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him" [Luke 17:3]. Repentance requires a sincere effort to change behavior. Christians have a responsibility to bring more into the fold, but to also make every effort to keep the fold true to the teachings of the Bible. If none other than Jesus counselled "rebuke," perhaps Hartman and his other "mainstreamers" would do well to listen.

"Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." [Luke 12:49] I suppose Hartman would prefer a brand of Christianity that pronounces no right and wrong, and no judgements, but that is not Christianity.

What Hartman is really hoping to do with this article, I feel, is to re-define what "mainstream" really is. As is very common to the liberals of today, when they can't win an argument on the merits, they try to redefine the terminology. Thus abortion becomes "choice", discernment and differentiation become "judgementalism," and disagreement becomes "anger and hatred." Such sophistry is a clear indication of a weak philosophy.

And a quibble: Hartman cites a "large and thoughtful response" to his first article on the subject from Aug. 1; later, "here's a sampling from more than 70 e-mails plus letter I received." I get about 70 e-mails a month from the same spammers--I don't classify 70 as "large" for a columnist in a major city newspaper.

Beslan Massacre, pt. II

On Friday night I posted reactions to the massacre in Beslan, Russia, in which more than 150 children were killed. Inspired by this article of Mark Steyn's (courtesy Powerline), I have chosen to expand on my thoughts.

The central idea: The reality is that the IRA and ETA and the ANC and any number of secessionist and nationalist movements all the way back to the American revolutionaries could have seized schoolhouses and shot all the children.

But they didn't. Because, if they had, there would have been widespread revulsion within the perpetrators' own communities. To put it at its most tactful, that doesn't seem to be an issue here.

This is now a different sort of problem. As atrocious as the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Bali nightclub were, the deaths of children in those events could--in a wildly warped world--be conceived as "collateral damage." Beslan is different.

Children were the target, the tool, and the central theme of this event. And that moves the ball into a different court. Terrorism is now the problem of Islam.

Until and unless the broader Islamic community feels, expresses, and acts on the outrage that they SHOULD be feeling at this, then the broader Islamic community holds no moral authority or worth to express much of anything else.

Let me say this differently: Islamicist terrorism is a manifestation of a brand of Islam that only Islam itself can rein in. Until Islam acts to do so, it is complicit in the use of terror.

So you can hold on to your superior indignation about the "encroachment on the civil liberties" of Muslims in America. The Muslim community enjoys liberties and respect unprecedented in the rest of the world (including the middle east--right, ladies?) here in America, and for our troubles they whine about being looked at differently when they refuse to condemn the acts of others who share their heritage.

Step up, Imams. It's time to come to the plate and take a stand. Your "brothers" are guilty of crimes against humanity, and unless you condemn them and assist in the apprehension of them, you are accomplices.


A Diversion

So tonight I will go another direction.

I love fall. The colors, the crispness of the air, and football. I actually got to sit still for much of tonight and watch the CU-CSU game with friends. Very impressed with my alma mater for the first quarter, and then not impressed at all. It seems tradition continues--Barnett seems to be very capable at preparing his team, but they don't make adjustments well, and they almost always can be counted on to do stupid/undisciplined things that cost the team dearly. CU held on to win only thanks to a very questionable decision at the very end of the game.

I'm a CU fan; and, while I follow the successes and failures of CSU pretty closely, I don't exactly watch every play. But it seems to me that this may be the first time in many years--perhaps the whole Lubick era--that CSU lost a game because of a coaching decision. Run on second down with :30 on the clock? don't spike the ball for third down to confer? pitch the ball to an unheralded running back without escort? take the hands out of Justin Holland at all at the end of the game? don't play for the tie on the road?

Inexplicable. But it works in my team's favor, so . . . With this group, I'll take a win however they can get it.


Yesterday, I read the Time Magazine poll with much of the same skepticism as everybody else. Yeah, the convention was a success and all, but 11 points?? Shyeeah.

But then I see this today. Newsweek has the President up 11 points, also.

I'm still not sold, but if these two polls are any indication of the numbers that should be coming out midweek, that would be very encouraging. Not just for the President, but those are the kind of numbers that have coattails. We'll just have to wait and see. . .


Change of Plans

I wanted to take a day off from serious stuff today. It's been a big week, and, you know, a little diversion into football or some-such would be welcome.

But the news from Russia is just so overwhelming to me that I have to comment.

First, I would encourage everyone to pray for the families of the victims, for those in recovery now, and for the people whose lives have been forever shattered by this incident. When I walk into schools in the morning, I don't see children in mortal fear, I don't see parents anxious for the safety of their children, I don't see teachers and staff trying to form a defensive perimeter. But the people of that little town will now always walk into school with those characteristics. It is sad, it is horrible, and it is . . . well. . .

Second, this is the world as we know it right now. It's not on our soil yet, but these brave "freedom fighters" have now decided that the most innocent, the most helpless, and the most hopeful are now the best targets for their horrible brand of hatred. Clearly, this act is not designed to change policy through persuasion--it is designed to introduce to the collective psyche of the world an element of horror that we haven't seen since the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. The hope of these sub-human barbarians is that every person with an inkling of compassion will consider every decision they make in the context of "what if they do this at MY school?". And it is not--incredibly--unique to this situation. How many attacks by Palestinians on Israelis have specifically targeted school busses? or bar/bat mitzvahs? An attack on a child has a force-multiplying effect on policy makers, because civilized people everywhere recognize the primacy of protecting the young; and those who are willing to set aside that primary calling of the human condition no longer have any claim to rights, freedoms, or considerations accorded to human beings.

Let me say that more clearly: ANY person who believes that targeting children as a means to effect policy change forfeits any other rights--period. The concept of "Human Rights" presupposes a certain semblance of humanity; once that threshhold is crossed, no guarantee of any protection--Constitutional or otherwise--should be enforced. Call the lawyers from PETA--inexplicably, the ACLU is too good for these monsters.

Thirdly, the Russian government is the very model of ineptitude. Though the reports in this case seem to indicate that troops only stormed in after the explosions started, it would not surprise me to find out that some level of incompetency triggered the whole thing. In much the same way as the theater incident a while back, the Russian government managed to take a terrible situation and allow it to become a wost-case scenario. This, on top of a decade's worth of bungling the Chechan issue.

Am I saying the the Russians deserved this because of their treatment of Chechans? No--nothing any government in the modern world could do justifies the specific targeting of children. Even in Rwanda and Sudan, it would be unconscienable for the victims to begin targeting the children of those responsible for genocide. And historically speaking, as awful as Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot were, their children would and should have never been used as pawns in the great struggle between good and evil. Imagine how the world would have cried out had Jews liberated from the camps taken over a military prep school in Berlin and started executing the children of officers in the Nazi Party. It would have never happened because the vast, vast majority of peoples on the planet recognize that children occupy a special sanctuary in our duties as people.

Oh, and I can hear you out there--you idiots who are trying to make the case that Bush/Reagan/Nixon/Johnson/Kennedy/Truman were all "sub-human" too, because thousands of children were killed in their wars. But there is a distinct and important difference--in those cases the children were NEVER targets. In fact, most of the time our soldiers would go out of their way and put themselves at risk to avoid the needless killing of children. But Michael Moore and Al Franken don't get it--they don't have the clarity to recognize the difference, so let me spell it out easier. If I'm hitting a golf ball out on the course, and I'm aiming for the green, and the ball goes a little off course and hits a bystander, that's unfortunate and possibly tragic; if, on the other hand, I take out my seven-iron and walk up to that bystander and whack him/her on the head a couple dozen times, that's atrocious, criminal and sub-human. Do you get the difference? The result may end up the same, but the intent was vastly different.

And for me, that is the great fear. I'm not sure I'm all that scared of another 9-11 style attack; it's when we get to the point that Israel is at that I'm worried about. When walking into a mall could be met with a rain of bullets; when stopping at a stoplight puts me in a blast zone; or when my daughters become targets. . . that's what scares me.

This is no more a law enforcement problem than an infestation of termites is a law enforcement problem. There is only one solution--eradicate the vermin. Preferably at the nest and not in our home.

Two Last Thoughts

First, I am pleased, surprised, and thankful that we have now gotten through two conventions and an Olympics without a major terrorist incident. No, I'm not ignoring Chechnya and Israel--I'm talking about 9-11 style attacks. Of course what is going on in Russia and yesterday in Israel is repugnant, and indicative of what we have to face as we move forward.

Second, if you had told me on September 15, 2001 that on this day the economy would be growing and that we had not been attacked yet on our soil, I would have a. thought you were nuts, or b. thought the President's re-election would be a lock. In many ways, that this election is even still in doubt, is both surprising and somewhat troubling.

The President's Speech

First, the bad news: at about the 50 minute mark, I started to comment to my wife that this was a bit too long. And the President went on for about another 12 minutes. Even the line about the New York Times couldn't quite break the impression of lengthiness.

But that's it for that section. On just about every other count I thought the President hit a towering home run. He was sincere, self-deprecating, emotionally connected to his audience, and at ease. So if it ran a little long, I guess that's just the leisurely trip around the bases of a hitter who's been there before.

My favorite parts will be no surprise--I think they're everyone's favorite parts. Of course the section of the speech where he talked about the mothers and wives of fallen soldiers who expressed their prayers on his behalf was touching and heartfelt. I don't doubt that those events actually happened, and I don't doubt in the least that they truly moved the President (even tonight almost to tears). This line sums up the optimism and love of country that John Kerry can only feign: I am awed that so many have used those meetings to say that I am in their prayers - to offer encouragement to me. Where does strength like that come from? How can people so burdened with sorrow also feel such pride? It is because they know their loved one was last seen doing good. Because they know that liberty was precious to the one they lost. And in those military families, I have seen the character of a great nation: decent, and idealistic, and strong.

I always love a little self-deprecating humor, and the President did not disappoint: You may have noticed I have a few flaws, too. People sometimes have to correct my English - I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it. Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called "walking."

And, in what may have been the most well-delivered and appropriate shot across the bow of John Kerry: Again, my opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America's allies, quote, a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed." That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others - allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician.

Of course, the laundry list at the beginning sounded like a laundry list, but I think the President was fairly effective at framing it in terms of creating for people the conditions to increase their own freedom--financial freedom. "The Ownership Society" may not be an easy concept to get the intellecual arms around, but it is a strong message that resonates, especially with bold, young entrepeneurs. I also like the transformational elements of reforming the tax code, acknowledging the changed nature of the workforce, and creating infrastructure to adapt to that nature.

Oh, and, by the way, John Kerry was pathetic in his "Democratic Response." He's called for weekly debates, he's shaken up his team, he's turning out for strange and unscheduled events--I think he senses the walls closing in.

And all the while the President has been, well, Presidential. I might even start to buy in to Hugh's idea of a 40-state victory.


Four Numbers That Matter

I've held out along about getting too excited about polls. Of course, that hasn't stopped me from posting about them--I just include a caveat.

However, it is now September, the Labor Day weekend is upon us, and these things start to matter. So. . .

Item number one: Rasmussen has the President up by a 49-45 margin in today's three-day tracking poll. This is the first time since April that the President has enjoyed a four-point margin. But that's not the number I would get hung up on--that would be this one. Even while Kerry held a small advantage for almost all of August, the President's Job Approval number has never dipped below 50%, and today climbs to 54%.

Item two: The ARG poll today shows a one point advantage for the President--48-47 (head to head). This reflects a four point swing since the last poll in early August. (courtesy RCP)

Item three: Tonight's Zogby Poll has the President up by 46-44. This reflects a NINE point swing since the polls of August 12-14. Of course, I think we all know how much Zogby can be trusted. . .

And Item Four: of which I have no advanced knowledge. That, of course, is tomorrow's Job Growth numbers from the Commerce Department. After two months of relatively lackluster numbers, a strong number for August could be critical to the momentum the President has built. The "experts" seem to be expecting something in the range of 150,000; it would sure be nice if that number jumped to 200,000 or so.

Correction, and Update: Of course, it's the Labor Department that has the jobs numbers, not Commerce. And 144,000 is not overwhelming, but it, plus the revisions upward of the last two months, should be enough to keep the President's momentum rolling along.



I only got to watch bits and pieces of tonight's convention festivities. But, reading the text of the speeches I havve a few impressions.

First, Zell Miller is a man. He speaks with a passion and an eloquence that often escapes Republicans, including the President. And, in much the same way that only an immigrant (Schwarzenegger) could make the case for America as a great beacon of hope, perhaps only an ex-patriot Democrat could effectively make the case against the fever-swamps on the left.

My favorite line: following the litany of defense systems John Kerry voted against, This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces? U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?

Unfortunately, that sort of humor was lacking the rest of the night. It was, to my eyes, a very grim evening.

And, of course, the main issues of the day are rather grim. I can see how putting a serious face on this election might be the best way to go about this; on the other hand, as C.S. Lewis counseled, the one thing the bad guys can't stand is mockery. For my money, a few more laughs would have been nice.

Not like a roast, mind you. Just lots of humor spinkled in amongst the red meat.

But, what do I know?

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