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The Senate Race
Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs, 2.0
My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
If you, like me, have been trying to follow the polls to see what's going on, you're probably about as confused as I am.
I think it's important to separate the national polls from the tracking polls. Watching the tracking polls will make you nutty--TIPP showed an 8 point swing away from the President over four days this week, which has since reversed a little; Zogby (who has already admitted to "tweaking" numbers that he didn't believe in South Dakota) has been steady on the national numbers, but the state numbers are so whacky that you wonder if anything he does is valuable; ABC/WaPo tracking has been zig-zagging; and Rasmussen has also been a bit unstable.
The national polls, on the other hand, have been remarkably consistent: Gallup Bush +5; Battleground Bush +5; FoxNews Bush +5; Newsweek Bush +6. Even looking inside the Battleground poll at the tracking numbers shows a bit of constancy notably absent from the other tracking polls.
So who to believe? I know Hindrocket thinks the Newsweek poll is bad, and it may be; but when four separate organizations come op with the same numbers using the same basic methodology, and four organization come up with wildly different numbers using their methodology, as a scientist I'm inclined to lean a little heavier on the first set.
Besides, I'd really like to think that this is a Bush +5 race--I can't conceive of it being anything else in this 9/11 world.
A local note: The Rocky Mountain News has the President up by 9 in Colorado again. If those numbers hold up, that should be enough to "coattail" in a Senator, a couple Representatives, and a State Legislature.
|So What's Going On In the Senate Race?
I wonder if many of you out there might be wondering why the posting at this site has been so sparse of late. Quite simply, it's because there's not a lot of news. As Ben's analysis below shows, both candidates have been doing pretty basic campaigning for the last couple weeks, and not making a lot of news. The Denver Post has coverage of Salazar's bus tour and of Coors' brutal schedule, and the Rocky Mountain News has stories of Coors' message and of Salazar's appeal, but neither story really does a whole lot to move the story down the field.
By the way, if you're concerned about the Zogby tracking poll that shows Salazar up by 11, don't be: in 2002 Zogby's last poll had Tom Strickland up on Wayne Allard by 9--Allard won by 5. Make no mistake--this will be a close one; but I tend to agree with Ben that the candidate's itineraries tell you alot about where they think the race is.
Cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors
To all who found my little blog through Hugh Hewitt. I noticed a little "bump" in my traffic today (like, about a 1500% increase), and I'm honored to have you aboard.
Especially pleased to make the acquaintance of Brittany. Visit her site--she says she's seventeen, but her command of the language and of reality belie a maturity far beyond that number.
What a pleasure it was to break bread with the members of the RMA last night and our blog-father, Hugh Hewitt. He is what he seems on the radio--a generous, intelligent, outgoing, witty individual who is very happy leading the charge of the new media. His blog should be one of your first three stops every day.
Also, be sure to visit the other members of the Alliance (linked at right) for ongoing ruminations on everything political and otherwise.
And when you get out to Aurora, enjoy the fine food and service at the Outback Steakhouse at Iliff and I-225.
Special thanks to Michele for her ongoing assistance in providing opportunities for the RMA. YOU ROCK, Michele!!
|Thoughts On Early Numbers
Hugh posted this story which contains this nugget:
Nine percent of "likely" voters in the ABC News tracking poll say they've voted for president, either by absentee ballot or early voting, a number that's jumped in the last week. Fifty-one percent say they went for George W. Bush, 47 percent for John Kerry.
Given the potential for election fraud and theft, that margin strikes me as not NEARLY wide enough. It's encouraging, make no mistake; but I hardly find it convincing.
I also have a feeling that Dems in Colorado are going to be among the late voters. They have two dogs in this fight: Kerry and 36. If it looks in the last few days like Kerry is going to win, they go into the polls and vote no on 36; if the other way, they vote yes.
Keep on working--gotta get out the vote and make this one an overwhelming win.
This must be the October Surprise. 380 tons of high explosives are missing from Iraq--compared to the 400,000 tons secured or destroyed. And this is what the Kerry camp is hanging its hat on.
Let's just think about this for a minute. 400,000 tons. That's in the vicinity of 8 billion pounds of explosives in this little country. Or roughly 325 pounds of explosive for every man, woman and child in the country (assuming the correct number of Iraqis is roughly 25 million). Anybody else think this is just a little over the top, even for Saddam? But no, this country was not a threat.
And then there's the 380 tons, somehow spirited out of its depository (according to the NYT) by looters. Yep, just wandered in, grabbed a few chunks of the stuff and wandered back out to Fallujah. CQ has a nice calculation of just how possible this is. I'll go a different route: If you accept that the number of insurgents, high end, is around 12,000, that means each of the insurgents managed to whisk away about 63 pounds of highly explosive materiel--without anybody noticing. Yep, every one of 'em, just wandered in, tucked 63 pounds of the stuff under their robes, and walked back out again.
OR. . .
The stuff was gone long before the US Army got anywhere near the site. Almost like how NBC News reported the story.
Maybe even, and I'm just speculating here, but no. . . .then again. . .Well, maybe Saddam shipped the stuff to Syria, the way Israeli intelligence reports it.
And if this stuff was anywhere near as explosive as it's supposed to be, why in the Hell didn't the IAEA destroy the stuff? And if this stuff is used as a catalyst in a nuclear detonation, why doesn't that constitute a WMD find?
Oh, never mind.
IF the President wins re-election, the next major thing--and perhaps a cause to which I will devote myself over the next four years--is to inform the broad electorate of the alternatives to the MSM, and of the public's ability to bring pressure to bear on the MSM stranglehold. I'd welcome thoughts from those more informed and savvy on this issue than I.
But, next week.
Light blogging for the next several--seven, to be exact--days. Just about every free minute I have I'm giving over to the 96 Hour Victory Team. Yes, even those goofy overnight hours that seem to be the staple of my blogging time.
It's not enough to observe and write about the goings-on. So, in the tradition of the New York Times, CBS News, ABC News, and the LA Times, I'm actually going to go out and try to influence the outcome.
|If They Steal It, It Doesn't Have To Be Close
The Commissioner has written a book titled "If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat" which proposes that the only way to guarantee that the Democrats will not try to litigate their way to an election victory is to beat them soundly.
But given the evidence starting to creep out (neatly rounded up at Powerline and RealClearPolitics, among others, I'm beginning to wonder if the Dems are even going to bother waiting until after Novemeber 2nd. Mort Kondracke pointed out yesterday on The Beltway Boys that the Dems have filed 35 lawsuits around the country already, and that 21 of them had settled (23 after today)--all going against the Dems. But we learned a few years ago that that rarely slows them down--expect more suits, more ridiculous claims, and many more attempts at outright fraud (my favorite is the story out of Ohio of a county that has somewhere around 845,000 voters registered this year--for a county whose voting age population is only 842,000).
Seeing the direction of the polls, especially the Battleground Poll (which I tend to put a lot of weight in), I am feeling pretty good about where we stand nine days out. But I'm very worried about the reality of the fraud and intimidation that the other side has been rolling out.
And we don't even know what this year's version of the DUI story is.
|Symposium Topic, Final
Just to clean up the ballot. . .
This is a measure that would raise $158 million annually--eventually totaling upwards of $8 billion-- through taxes to expand the current light rail lines and other structural upgrades to the current RTD system. Opponents have cited the RTD goal of 1.4% reduction in rush hour traffic as an insignificant reduction, rendering the tax increase (cost) WAY too expensive for the impact (benefit). And I agree. 4A is too much money for too little effect.
This is a measure to continue a tax we are currently paying for the benefit of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District. In as much as I don't think I notice the tax as it is, and I think, all things considered, Denver does have a thriving cultural community in return. I think that is worth continuing--I voted "yes" on 4B.
Question 3A and 3B
I take these as a complete package, since they are for essentially the same thing--Jefferson County Public Schools. The first, 3A, would increase property taxes paid by JeffCO residents to increase funding for the school district's operational budget; 3B would raise $324 million for school reconstruction and new school construction. Regular readers of this space know that I am employed by this district, so you know that I have a personal stake in this issue. Nonetheless, this was actually a very difficult decision to come to. On the first issue, the school district passed a "Performance Promise" mil increase in 1998 which would have provide increasing funds for the school district as our performance increased, as measured by the CSAP test. We did not earn this additional money. Beyond that, there have been a number of financial scandals in the district in the last few years, including a $10 million "overspending" of the technology fund and a massive miscalculation of employees' taxes this past year which will end up costing many employees several hundred--even thousands--of dollars. On the second issue, the school district has built several new schools in the last couple years, and not a one of them is now filled to capacity; one wonders if more new ones aren't superfluous. Nonetheless, this district has many, many difficulties to deal with, and, as the News points out:
Among big metro-area districts, Jeffco has nearly the lowest per-student funding under the state School Finance Act. . .But Jeffco also falls short of other districts in additional funding approved by local voters. At $428, it is far behind Denver at $724 and Boulder Valley at $1,225.
What the News fails to point out is that, in the last round of CSAPs, the overall state averages were basically stagnant; if, however, you factor out the scores of JeffCO students, the state average drops between one and two points (some may quibble with this data--I am basing this off of the first set of reported tests last May). In other words, despite cutting $50 some million out of the budget the last three years, JeffCO has continued to outperform many of their colleagues around the state. At some point, the cuts will reach a critical mass and the district will be unable to provide even the most basic services, much less the vigorous and broad curriculum it now provides. So, reluctantly, I voted YES ON 3A and 3B.
34--NO. First of all, I am loath to amend the Constitution for any but the really good and necessary reasons--this is not one of them. Seriously??to remove caps on awards for settlements in cases of home construction? Even it were a good idea-which it isn't--this does not take an amendment.
35--YES. This is to raise the tax on tobacco products to be used for public health reasons. Again, in general I don't like amending the Constitution; however, given the extraordinary public costs of treating smoke-related illnesses, and given that this tax moves the burden of those costs away from the general public and on to the actual perpetrators, it strikes me as a good idea. Besides which, it may incentivise a change of behavior for a few people I care about.
36--NO. Ha ha ha ha. . . NO. This is the REALLY STUPID IDEA to permanently cripple Colorado's influence in the national election scene by dividing our electoral votes in a fashion proportional to the popular vote in our state, effectively reducing Colorado's EV to 1--one-third of North Dakota's. Did I mention. . .NO!!
37--NO. This amendment requires that at some future point 10% of all Colorado energy output be produced by renewable sources. Does anybody remember California in a heat wave? Suppose twenty years from now our growth forces a huge increase in the available energy; suppose also that we don't have the ability to increase our renewable output proportionally. What happens? Oh. . .we have to reduce our total output until the total of the renewables amounts to 10%. To do this, we would have to deny service--in other words, brownouts, rolling blackouts, and rationing. NO.
|Symposium Topic, continued
Why I Am Voting For Jessica Corry (State Senate)
Several months back there was a bill pending in the State Senate regarding an end to all racial preferences in the state university system. At the time, I e-mailed a question to the current Senator from my district, Sue Windels, asking if she had discovered any real evidence--empirical evidence--that preferences in admission actually lead to an increase in graduations. Her first response was a head-fake towards real scientific inquiry--"that would be important to know"--but when the bill came to a vote on the floor she voted to kill it. When I again e-mailed her asking if she had uncovered evidence that preferences increased results, her response was that the testimony in committee was overwhelming in favor of preferences.
Now, I was actually at that committee meeting. The testimony offered was emotional grandstanding by the entire cast of usual suspects--Black Student Alliance, Hispanic Student Alliance, NAACP and the like--without a single shred of scientific, documented evidence. On the other hand, I am well aware that evidence out of California points to the end of preferences as actually having a positive impact on the overall college graduation rate for minorities (with a nod to the News' Linda Seebach). An incoherent defense of a vote cast for which there is contrary scientific evidence indicates to me a lack of intellectual honesty in a politician. Add to the fact that Sue Windels is a retired educator, and I am forced to wonder if she ever let this sort of intellectual befuddlement fly in her own classroom. Add to that her seeming inability to work with the majority to influence important education bills, and I do believe my current representation is lacking.
So when I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Corry earlier this year, it was refreshing to say the least. She is young, bright, and energetic, with a resume that belies her age. I am not thrilled by her apparent hostility to the public schools, but I am impressed with her ability to influence civic events (such as the imminent domain intrusion in Arvada earlier this year). On top of that, we saw in 2001 with the redistricting battle that Republican majorities matter, even at the state level. The State Senate is held by a very thin majority, and this race could be pivotal. Oh, yeah--and don't forget that Forward Colorado is taking some serious AND DECEPTIVE swings at Mrs. Corry; I also like to measure a person by the enemies that they make.
It is easy to picture Mrs. Corry making the leap in the future to higher offices, and I am happy to support her in this first foray into elected office.
Why I Am Voting For Bill Crane (State House)
Well, since I don't even know the name of his opponent, I sort of default into supporting Bill Crane. I think, on balance, Mr. Crane has done a fair job representing the district, though, again, his open hostility to public schools doesn't really sit well with me. He has a tendency to grandstand some issues, but I would rather have this seat in his hands than with somebody who would side with Ron Tupa and Andrew Romanoff.
Were his opponent a viable candidate, I would have to say that I would look seriously at him or her. Then I would ask them to put in writing for the press a condemnation and apology for the national party's attempt to disqualify military ballots in 2000--anything short of front page coverage would disqualify him or her from my vote.
I was serious a couple nights ago when I conveyed my bitterness about the Gore/Lieberman campaign. I just won't even seriously consider a Democrat unless a prominent one condemns 2000.
And, I know--not a ringing endorsement of Bill Crane, either.
But he'll still get my vote.
|Symposium Topic, Continued. . .
Why I Am Voting For Bob Beauprez
All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.
This duty of the House of Representatives is my first consideration when I consider my vote for Congress. I want to send somebody to represent me in the Congress who seems to understand that the money I earn is MY money, and that what I pay in taxes is still MY money, only earmarked for the government. Four years ago, Al Gore lost my vote because he talked a lot about the "government's money" and what he would do with all the extra money the people of the country sent to Washington. On the other hand, then-Governor Bush talked about putting that extra money back into the hands of the people who actually earned it--the taxpayers. I apply a similar calculus to my Congressional vote.
To vote for a Democrat, it would seem one must buy in to the fundamental liberal conceit that THEY know so much better than I do how to care for the people and causes that I believe in WITH MY MONEY. On the other hand, Republicans tend to trust that, given a little extra money, people will naturally act towards either their own self-interest in a way that creates revenue for other people, or that they will wisely apply the extra money in charitable ways that move the country forward. Not being one to let anybody else tell me what I should care about, much less how to put my money towards it, I tend to strongly favor Republicans in this regard.
Bob Beauprez has a track record of running a business, of creating jobs, and of being in touch with ordinary people. As a legislator, he also has a record of trying to create the conditions conducive to job growth and of trying to reduce the tax burden on the average citizen. His opponent's only record in this regard is one of a poorly managed county District Attorney's office, one which required an increased burden on the taxpayer. On the core issue, Bob Beauprez stands well above his opponent.
On the secondary issues, Bob Beauprez has amassed an impressive record of accomplishment for a rookie legislator, one that has served his district well. In addition, Bob has many personal qualities which recommend him well for this job, not the least of which is his reputation for integrity. I also just recently found out his college degree is in education, a factor which also goes in the plus column for me.
The next House of Representatives will have a clear Republican majority--strategic issues do not apply here. So it is even better to be able to cast a ballot for a man who really deserves two more years representing the 7th District.
|A Note On The Polls
First of all, I continue to be encouraged by the polls that keep trickling out. And, lucky for me, I don't have to go over each of them--just link to RealClearPolitics and you'll see exactly what I'm seeing.
And I know there are a handful of polls that show this to be a neck-and-neck race. The Harris Poll has even gone through some extraordinary intellectual calisthenics to show how the old turnout models probably don't apply this year, and how that makes a five-point difference in the race.
But what Harris really points out is that the pollsters don't know what's going on. Remember how surprised everybody was in 2002 when the GOP picked up seats? So then they changed all their models; unfortunately, it appears that the biggest factor those models are looking at is the angry youth factor. Thus, the swing to Kerry.
But we know from recent experience in Missouri and Louisiana that the biggest surprise turnout factor has been the traditional-marriage conservatives. This group turned out in gargantuan numbers early this year to propel Traditional Marriage Amendments to easy victories, and did so well under everybody's radar. I also suspect that the Evangelical Christian vote--of which some 4 million stayed home four years ago--is going to overwhelm the experts this time around.
Now, I don't remember every state in which there is a ballot initiative on Traditional Marriage, but I know Ohio is one of those. If the Right follows form and turns out in droves, that can only be very good news for the President.
In an aside, I had a conversation with a well-placed GOP "source" today (sorry--I don't mean to throw around pointless journalistic terms) who told me the word she has is the campaign polls show a comfortable Bush lead and a solid Coors lead in Colorado. For what it's worth. . .
|Symposium Topic, Continued
Hugh has been running an online symposium for the last few days on the topic of "Why I Vote For Geiorge W. Bush/What's Wrong With John Kerry" Tonight I'm going to extend the topic to the Colorado Senate race, and over the next few days to the other races of interest this cycle.
Why I'm Voting for Pete Coors
One of the most important powers granted to the Senate, under Article II, is to Advise and Consent on matters of appointments. For the last four years we have watched an unprecedented abuse by the minority party in the Senate of Senate procedures to prevent the Senate from fulfilling this power, especially with respect to judicial appointments. To be more clear (for those who haven't been paying attention): at no time in our history has the Senate been prevented from voting on nominees to the Federal Appelate Courts by means of the Senatorial filibuster--until the last three years. No less than 11 (and I think the number is actually thirteen) judges appointed by President Bush have been held up without a vote in the Senate because Senate Democrats have held ranks and prevented a vote on the nominees. This is because of a quirk in Senate rules which requires a supermajority of 60 Senators to vote to end debate on a topic or nominee. Without this vote, known as cloture, the Senate cannot vote on the appointment. In other words, it cannot do its job. Among those prevented from being voted on: Miguel Estrada, an Hispanic immigrant with an impeccable judicial record; Janice Rogers Brown, an African-American judge from California who has quite a compelling personal story; and William Pryor, a former Arkansas AG who was blocked based on his devout Catholicism.
The only way to break this Senate blockade is to increase the Republican majority in the Senate. At current, the GOP has 51 Senators, compared to 48 Dems and one Dem-leaning Independent; an increase of three or four Senators is required to both increase the likelihood of a cloture vote, as well as sending the message to the Senate Dems to end their blockade and allow these judges to be voted on. If they're bad judges, defeat them; otherwise, do your job and fill the federal bench.
I know--not saying much yet about Pete Coors and his personal qualities. In truth, that is less important to me than the strategic positioning of a GOP majority in the Senate.
Personally, I think Pete Coors will be a strong voice for conservative judges in the Senate. I also think that his tendency will be to back the vigorous and proactive use of American force abroad to further the goals of American security. In addition, we're talking about a man who has run a major company and who understands the importance of meeting a budget and creating the conditions that encourage job growth. All of these work in his favor. But in truth, these conditions would apply to many who could be GOP candidates for the Senate. . .
And that's the point. This seat must remain GOP, because, as I wrote last night, the first principles of my life are most actively applied at the Judicial confirmation level and at the national security level. These are two fronts upon which the Senate exerts considerable pressure, and why it is so important to elect Republicans to this body.
|A Different Take
Many bloggers have theorized about what is going on in the polls. Most notable among them are Hugh Hewitt, Instapundit, and Powerline, all taking their cues from this piece by Steven den Beste.
Hugh's take is that this is not necessarily indicative of pollster bias so much as evidence of a shared mindset.
It does indeed look like pollsters generally adopted techniques that resulted in a false impression of Kerry momentum in the past few weeks. This is not a charge of "conspiracy." Far from it in fact. It is an observation that shared "mindset" --when shared across a set of independent operators-- produces similar results.
I take a different thought, though not to discount my betters. It seems to me just as likely that the pollsters recognized John Kerry's inherent weakness as a candidate--weaknesses so profound that they could hasten a dramatic electoral realignment. Were John Kerry's numbers to really reflect the way the country feels about him--debating ability or no--it would have had a significant drag effect on base enthusiasm, on fundraising, and on down-ticket candidacies. In other words, I think it somewhat likely that some pollsters have known for weeks what the recent polls show--they just couldn't expose it that early for the sake of propping up Senate, House and Gubernatorial candidates.
Do I have any evidence of this? No. Well, maybe. Isn't it curious the lengths that Ken Salazar has gone to to avoid being photographed with John Kerry? If Kerry were really running that strong, in this "battleground state," wouldn't you think one of the most important Senate candidates in the country would run shoulder to shoulder with him? Perhaps its just coincidence; perhaps the Dem internal polling shows how weak Kerry is and they're keeping Salazar away from him.
Am I verging on the brink of a conspiracy theory? Mmmm, maybe. But after Rathergate, the CBS draft follow-up, the Koppel expedition to Vietnam, and everything else over the last four years, I have a hard time discounting media intervention out of hand. If the news division can be so biased, why not the polling division?
|If They're Shooting At You, You Must Be Doing Your Job
I keep getting these annoying campaign fliers from a group called Forward Colorado (backed by one-time Senate candidacy consideree Rutt Bridges) saying that Jessica Correy (GOP candidate for Colorado State Senate 19)wants to starve children in public schools.
Okay, I'm exaggerating. . .but not by much.
All I can say is, Jessica--keep it up. You must have them worried.
In a few days, I'll blog my rationale for voting for Jessica Correy.
P.S. I've heard Jessica say that my particular Senate district is the most GOP-leaning in the state taht has a Dem Senator. Could someone shoot me those numbers? Or point me in the direction of where I can get that info? I'm just curious.
|Vox Blogoli IV
Hugh Hewitt is having another symposium today, on the topic of "Why Vote for Bush, and What's Wrong With Kerry." The RMA is already represented by Joshua, Bob, and Clay, and Ben, as well as my brother, a Colorado expat. For me, the trick was getting this under the Hewitt-imposed limit of 250 words (though clearly he's not imposing it too strictly).
Below is my symposium submission, for you consideration:
I am voting for George W. Bush for President because of my priorities in life. And, more importantly, because his priorities in governance are in close alignment with my priorities in life.
First, and foremost, my number one priority is my Faith. On any number of occasions over the last several years, that Faith has been under attack in the secular world. From “One Nation, Under God,” to the Boy Scouts being thrown out of a city park in San Diego, to a student having a scholarship taken away from him because he chose to use it to study Divinity, this nation has been taking extraordinary steps to remove Faith from the public arena. George W. Bush has, and will continue to, appoint jurists to the court who will not be hostile to Faith in America.
My second priority is my family. I have no greater responsibility on earth than to guarantee the safety and well-being of my children. In these times, terrorism not only threatens the lives of all Americans, including my children; it also threatens to force Americans to live in constant fear, to look over their shoulders, and to view the world with a degree of mistrust ill-suited to this great nation. George W. Bush is the only candidate who has a realistic chance of ending this threat, because he is the only candidate who has a realistic view of the danger and the root causes thereof.
Everything else is window dressing.
|Symposium, and ramblings
The Commish--Hugh Hewitt--is hoding an online symposium this weekend on the subject of John Kerry's Mary Cheney comment. RMAlliance members Joshua and Bob have made significant contributions to the symposium, as well as my brother. Well done, gents--proud to be affiliated!!
If you don't think the Kerry comments were out of line, you either have no standards of decency (in which case you're probably net reading this site, anyway) or you're a Anybody-but-Bush type. . .
who has got to be distraught over the sudden softening of John Kerry's poll numbers. In tracking (courtesy Real Clear Politics) polls, ABC/WaPo Bush +3, Rasmussen Bush +2, Zogby Bush +4, TIPP Bush +3; in snapshot polls Time Bush +1, Newsweek Bush +6. All of these show some movement in the direction of the President, and this after the third debate.
Think it's impossible to win the debates and lose the election? Remember the smartest kid in class? Always the best at everything but miserably unpopular? Yeah--that's John Kerry.
So John Kerry went over an unwritten line and brought into play one of the family members of a candidate.
Forgive me if this doesn't tick up my shock-o-meter.
There was once an unwritten rule that politics ends at the water's edge; I guess the Dems missed that memo, too. Between Jim McDermott actually going to Baghdad, the Senate minority leader calling the President's policy a "miserable failure," and a whole host of Dems screaming "Bush lied", it's safe to assume that that rule is out the window.
Wasn't there also somewhat of an unwritten rule that you don't criticise one of your successors in the Highest Office? Guess Jimmy Carter missed that one.
There was also an unwritten rule that you never use personal tragedy for politcal gain. And while the Minnesota Democrats forgot that rule in 2002, the voters still enforced it on them. Unfortunately, the national Democrats failed to learn that lesson, and continue to try to exploit the beheadings of Americans for political gain.
And, while it was never really an unwritten rule, wouldn't it be safe to assume that one of the qualifications to be a national leader would include graciousness in defeat? Ahem. . . calling Al Gore.
Speaking of Al Gore, one would have thought it went without saying that you never, NEVER screw with the military to win political victories. It was on a cold December night in 2000, when I heard about the Dem memo on how to get military ballots thrown out, that I vowed to never vote for a Democrat again until a prominent Democrat condemned the Gore campaign for that act and apologized. I'm still waiting.
Was Kerry out of line? Absolutely, but that's not really surprising. What is surprising is how cavalier the Democrats view this sort of behavior. If they really had any sense of where that line was, MBCahill would not have described the Veep's offspring as "fair game," and with twelve hours to reflect on it, Elizabeth Edwards would not have tried to defend the action by attacking Lynn Cheney.
What is there not to understand about this? The Democrats understand one standard of behavior: obtain and wield political power. Unless there is a serious backlash that costs them a shot at political power, they will continue to ignore and even disparage the standards of decent political behavior that have governed this country's politics for many years.
In other words, they will continue to do this unless WE CRUSH THEM!
And even then, they would only change to accomodate political reality--not out of any sense of honor.
|Why Did He Wait So Long?
Baseball fans will remember one July night in 1983 when George Brett hit a game-changing home run, only to have it taken away because he had pine tar too high up on his bat. What ensued was one of the most explosive reactions by an athlete to an umpires' decision ever captured on film.
I was reading a book a few years ago that added a new fact to that story: the Yankee manager (Billie Martin, I believe)who lodged the protest that resulted in the homer being taken away had noticed the pine tar two or three weeks prior to that night. He took that information and sat on it, waiting for a moment when its use could be game-changing. Clearly, the ploy worked.
Everybody needs to remember that George W. Bush is a baseball man.
He saved the best line of attack--John Kerry's 1991 vote not to authorize war on Iraq--for the last half-hour of the last debate. And he delivered it in a rebuttal opportunity, which guaranteed that Kerry did not get an opportunity to answer.
Taking the baseball analogy further, for the last month the President has been playing the first three games of a seven game series on the road--the debate format with the mainstream media. The task of any road team in a series is just to keep it close, so you can close the deal on your home field.
The President has succeeded in accomplishing just that: that the Kerry camp is ecstatic to be tied in the polls at this point tells you everything you need to know about their expectations. And that's if you think the polls are even close to accurate, which I don't think is the case (remember, Zogby called the 2002 Colo Senate for Tom Strickland by 9 points 3 days before the election--Allard won by 5).
Now, the President goes back to his home turf with a fistful of Kerry blunders in the debates to bang on, a substantial financial advantage (I'm just guessing here, since Kerry had to spend from his $75 mil in August), a potentially game-ending offensive starting up in Iraq, and a substantial advantage on the serious issues of the day.
I'm feeling okay about this whole thing.
|One More. . .
to complete a busy night.
I've been waiting for the Archbishop to weigh in on the issue. Not because I've been waiting for instruction on the issue: I already agree with him. And not because I'm waiting for the opinion of a leader whom I respect and admire, even if I left the Catholic Church ten years ago.
No, this is important because this sort of thing will play heavily in important political spheres: the Colorado Senate, the Colorado Presidential vote, and as far as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, all which have high Catholic populations.
So when the Archbishop of Denver says If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil? referring to abortion and embryonic stem cell research, he makes the case that Catholics should always vote with these issues in mind.
It doesn't get laid out much clearer than that. And candidates who try to claim all the benefits of Catholicism--identification with the largest religious denomination in the country--while denying and even mocking its orthodoxy should be on notice.
|John Kerry's Nuisance
The blogosphere (and even FoxNews' Special Report) has been all over John Kerry for lamenting the days when terrorism was "just a nuisance" and likened it to prostitution and gambling. And so many others havewritten so lucidly on the matter that I have little to add.
But there's another story underneath: How in the world did Kerry's staff and a friendly New York Times reporter let that quote get into print? Surely, somebody recognized it as a colossal blunder. How does this get past the gate?
The answer is, and surely must be, that nobody in the room noticed it because THIS IS HOW THEY REALLY THINK. It's hard to recognize a screw-up when you agree with it (or him), and this fact is far more revelatory than anything he actually said: he believes this, his people believe this, that reporter and his editors at the Times believe this, and roughly 45% of the country believes this.
On a fundamental level, this is why we can never let our guard down and let this man or a majority from his party get elected: he/they either fails to or CHOOSES to misunderstand the nature of the world, and the threats it contains. And frankly, that outweighs any other consideration in this election by about 300%.
So a major media outlet is planning on running a one-hour show detailing the problems one of the Presidential candidates had in their past related to the Vietnam War. Included in this hour will be innuendo, opinion, and thirty year old memories, backed up by scant documentation.
Oh, you thought I was talking about "Stolen Honor" on the Sinclair Corp. stations. No, I was referring to 60 Minutes,II. Actually, an hour and a half, if you include the silly draft story from about a week ago.
The only difference being Sinclair hasn't tried to slip a couple forged documents into their hour.
|When Men Stand Up For Something
I still have a hard time controlling my reactions to the phenomenally gifted Jake Plummer (of the Denver Broncos) when he makes phenomenally boneheaded decisions, like the one to lob the ball into the end zone on fourth down resulting in a 101-yard return by Julius Peppers--a defensive end.
But, I think after reading this story I will have a very difficult time criticizing him at any length for anything he ever does again. A line that leaps out at me:
After the Broncos' game with Carolina on Sunday, Plummer said: "I'm expecting to be fined. . . . I want to keep honoring Pat forever. . . . I wore the sticker; I felt it was the right thing to do."
And we're not just talking peanuts here; the league mandated fine (as threatened two weeks ago): $30,000.
Somebody ought to sell #40 stickers at the stadium for $1 apiece and turn the money over to the Broncos to pay that fine.
|Just By the Numbers
So, in case you missed this in the coverage, the President has been in town twice in the last few weeks, and has filled to capacity Coors Amphitheater (formerly Fiddler's Green) and Red Rocks Amphitheater--combined capacity: in the vicinity of 30,000. And in the last few weeks John Kerry has been in town twice and John Edwards visited today, both managing to fill to capacity. . .
two high school gymnasia--combined capacity: about 3,500.
Still have doubts about Colorado being Bush country?
For more coverage of the President's visit to Red Rocks yesterday, visit my fellow RMA members Jonathan, Joshua, Ben, and Richard (of whom I am eternally jealous!)
|Survey USA on Colorado
Survey USA (courtesy RealClearPolitics)published the results of polling done last week in Colorado.
1. Bush 52, Kerry 44. Wonder how long it will be before the Dems pull their money out of this state?
2. Coors 48, Salazar 48. Related to the above question, how long are the President's coattails, and how important will they be to this race? The Prez will be in town tomorrow to fundraise for Coors and stump for himself, so this could be pivotal.
3. Amendment 36 (the REALLY STUPID IDEA!) Yes 45, No 44, Undecided 12. Even Survey USA mentioned that the emerging Democratic strategy is one of Yes is Bush, No if Kerry. Gotta get to work on those undecideds.
Now, before anybody gets too excited, the poll contained 37% GOP, 29% Dem, and 34% Unaffiliateds. Sure, Colorado's voter registration numbers run GOP and Unaffiliateds ahead of Dems, but I don't think it's by that margin. Also, inside the numbers shows Kerry ahead with Unaffiliateds 51-43, and Salazar ahead with Unaffiliateds 56-38.
In other words, this poll shows nothing more than the imperative to keep working, keep working, keep working. Only three weeks to go.
cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors
|God Bless the English Speaking Peoples
Prime Minister John Howard has won re-election today in Australia. In fact, he may have even expanded his governing majority.
The coverage points to the importance of domestic issues in this election. Which seems to indicate that the Global War on Terror is a given in Australia--that's encouraging. But whatever the case, one of America's most important allies has won a resounding victory today.
In a related note, Afghanis voted today in their first-ever free elections. And though there seems to be some controversy as to the actual execution of the vote (kinda like Chicago), the important thing is THAT IT HAPPENED. In spite of Teresa Heinz Kerry's assertion that the Taliban is running Afghanistan again.
A good day for freedom and liberty.
I am at ground zero of one of the more hotly contested State Senate races between Jessica Corry (R) and the incumbent, Sue Windels (D).
Earlier this week I got a nice, glossy, color flier from the Windels campaign. . .er, Forward Colorado. First thought was that it was silly that the front page of the ad featured a picture of school kids in a crowded corridor making faces--not the most impressive ad I've ever seen. I would guess most voters saw it, couldn't find the candidate's name on the front or back, and chucked it.
But I actually read it. And the first line of text on the inside was this: With all the recent teacher layoffs in Jefferson County, . . . Now, I've tought in Jefferson County schools for many years, and don't remember a single teacher layoff--certainly not recently.
But it shouldn't be a surprise that they would lie to create fear among soccer moms, should it. It just kinda seems unusually shameless.
|Saturday Senate Update
Three items today:
1. The Denver Post and Mason-Dixon Polling released their most recent poll today, showing Salazar holding a slim 46-44 advantage over Pete Coors, with 9% undecided. Two thoughts--for a person with all the normal advantages of incumbency (having won statewide election twice) being statistically even and well below the 50% mark at this point has to be disconcerting for the Salazar camp; and, while I admit up front that I haven't seen the internals and my MATH MAY BE FLAWED (perhaps somebody out there better with matrices can help me out here), it seems that this poll rather substantially oversampled the unaffiliated vote--perhaps as high as 40% of the sample. Again, HELP ME WITH THE MATH to see if I have this analysis correct.
2. The two candidates held a major televised debate today in preparation for a nationally televised debate on "Meet the Press" tomorrow. Video of the debate can be seen here. I haven't had the chance to watch the whole thing, so I will withhold comment until after I do and after tomorrow's debate.
3. The Rocky Mountain News today endorsed Ken Salazar. Generally considered the less liberal of the two Denver major dailies, this is certainly not great news for the Coors camp. However, if you read the endorsement, it hardly comes across as a ringing endorsement. It congratulates Salazar for 18 years of good service and pragmatism, while saying he's also wrong on many issues.
Cross-posted at Salazar v. Coors
|A Third Approach
Tonight I had family business to attend to, so I was unable to watch the debate. Indeed, I was unable even to watch any of the post-debate spin.
Given those limitations, tonight's blogging is directly from my reaction to reading the transcript of the debate--I haven't even bothered to read anybody else's take yet. So it will be interesting to me to see if my take coincides with those of people who watched it.
First impression: the President hammered John Kerry tonight, and for two simple reasons. First, he highlighted John Kerry's record in the Senate. In fact, his attacks were so effective that at one point Kerry had to defend himself by saying "Well, again, the president just said, categorically, my opponent is against this, my opponent is against that. You know, it's just not that simple. No, I'm not." At any second, you could hear the word "nuance" starting to creep in. And secondly, it would appear that the President managed to connect with the audience, which, after all, was in the format he prefers best. On the transcript there are only a few breaks for the expository [LAUGHTER], but they are all attached to things the President said.
On specific points, I think we can close the door on the argument of the troops going without equipment; the President teed that on up and sent it back at Kerry's head with the simple "Why did he vote against the $87 billion?" On the judges, his answer was right in the pocket, talking about the Pledge of Allegiance and personal opinion. He could have even made his answer stronger by talking about Gay Marriage and about the Democratic blockade of his Judicial appointments, but I think he got the better of that exchange. And that interesting number that non-defense and non-security federal spending has been halted at less than 1% increases for the last three years was a number I'd never heard before--WHY THE HELL NOT?
Oh, and the President seems to have won the spin on the jobs report--John Kerry barely mentioned it in specific, and the President's response was effective.
By the way, is anybody else out there tired of hearing the John Kerry "has a plan"? And for the second time he directed people to go read his plan at the website. This is astounding to me--I always thought it was the candidate's job to sell his own plan with the force of his conviction and personali. . . Oh. Never mind.
All in all, I thought it was a very strong performance. I'll be curious to see how it spins out, and what others think of it. I am certainly heartened by the comparison to last week's performance.
By the way, did anybody else think it was strange for John Kerry to bring up baseball by mentioning the Red Sox? Hey, John--you're in St. Louis, and they have a pretty good club, too.
One: that the jobs number tomorrow is strong and breaks through the chatter to convince people that the economy is, indeed, improving.
Two: that the President is able to meld the new data into his thought process and use it effectively in the debate.
For some reason, I'm not entirely confident of either.
|The Commercial I'd Really Like To See
[camera shot: John Kerry before the Senate in 1971] In the 1970s, John Kerry estimated that we would need to evacuate a few thousand people if we withdrew from Vietnam. We know now that hundreds of thousands were murdered and millions set adrift by America's withdrawal.
[camera shot: John Kerry during first failed Congressional run] In the 1970s, John Kerry said that American troops should never be deployed except under the supervision of the United Nations.
[camera shot: John Kerry after first becoming a Senator, perhaps with quote from Congressional record] In the 1980s, John Kerry opposed the development and deployment of new American defense technology--the same technology which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In fact, John Kerry once called Ronald Reagan a dangerous warmonger and argued that the United States should disarm itself in the face of the Soviet threat.
[camera shot: Slightly older John Kerry, still in the Senate] In the 1980s, John Kerry voted for the cancellation of dozens of weapons systems, all while Soviet troops still patrolled East Berlin.
[camera shot: John Kerry/Saddam Hussein fading in and out] In 1991, even though a coalition of allies which pass Kerry's "global test" was waiting, and the United Nations had agreed to it, John Kerry voted against the use of American forces to repel Saddam Hussein from his invasion of Kuwait.
[camera shot: John Kerry on Meet the Press circa 2003] In 2003, even though he himself described such an act as "foolish and irresponsible", John Kerry voted against appropriating the money needed to supply our troops with necessary body armor and ammunition.
[camera shot: last Thursday's debate] Now, John Kerry wants to GIVE nuclear fuel to Iran.
A man who has been wrong on every national security issue for thirty years now wants to give nuclear fuel to a regime that supports, trains, and commands terrorists throughout the middle east and the world.
Can America afford for John Kerry to be wrong even one more time?
Vote for George W. Bush on November 2nd.
|In Case You Missed It
The Rocky Mountain News has come out with its endorsement in the 7th Congressional District--Bob Beauprez.
That's good news for a camaign that promises to be very tight.
|I Feel the Shame
As many of you know, I am a teacher by trade. When I was 15, I had several influential teachers who opened the world up to me in ways that most of us wait for our whole lives. In that, I saw an opportunity to change the world for the better; on top of that, teaching music gave me the opportunity to be immersed in something I enjoy very profoundly.
I have often commented that I love teaching. It's really the best job in the world, confined within a really stupid profession. If I could go to work each day and deal with the students in front of me--no unions, no principals, no politics--I would be thrilled to show up for work each day.
Problem is, there's all thos other things we have to deal with. Stories like this just reinforce my frustrations. For those of you who missed it, Shiba Pillai-Diaz, a middle school teacher in New Jersey, hung a picture of the President and First Lady on a bulletin board in her classroom, as part of a montage of images of American heritage--the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, etc. When three parents confronted her at Back to School night, insisting that she put up a photo of John Kerry as well, she opted to remove the bulletin board entirely. At which point her Principal, Jim Wurfel, asked for her keys and told her to leave the building, citing her "inflammatory politics."
This drives me nuts. I know for a fact that a great many more teachers out there are generally conservative in their politics--mostly at the older grades, and often in positions of influence like coaches. But between the unions and the prevailing ethic that dictates a dependence on government, it's really hard to live in the education world and be a conservative. And, frankly, I consider myself pretty damn moderate!
It bothers me that I worry about going to work with a Bush/Cheney sticker on my car. The advocate in me says that you have do it to open up the dialogue and have an opportunity to influence people; the realist in me says that, in my particular job, which requires that other teachers be willing to cooperate with me on scheduling and sharing kids, if some teachers get worked up about my politics, my program--my chance to work with students--goes away. All things considered, if I'm not working, my chance to influence is zero.
Ocassionally it bothers me enough that I think I have to get out of this profession. Or if there were another way to work with students that didn't carry with it all the political baggage.. . Private schools pay poorly, charter schools have their own set of political problems. . .
Sorry to vent on you--all three of you. Suffice to say that not all teachers fit the stereotype, and that those of us who don't are at least as frustrated as the general public.
I also know that in the teaching profession are the most intelligent, self-sacrificing, caring group of people I have ever come across--and yes, there are many boobs. I daresay, proportionally, no more than in any other profession. It saddens me that the great and important work so many of my colleagues and friends do gets obscured by the utter stupidity of those who make the evening news.
Even sadder, I'm not sure there's any way to recover the profession.
|If It IS Close. . .
I think it were best if we started to prepare for the worst around here.
No, not a Kerry/Edwards victory; or even a Salazar victory.
I think we--meaning all honest, well-intentioned members of the electorate--need to be prepared for extensive efforts, both blatant and subtle, to steal the Colorado election.
First, violence and intimidation. If you don't know what I'm talking about, go read this post at Powerline.
Then, slight acts of lawbreaking. Some of the thievery and defacement of Bush/Cheney signs and others have been documented; is it really that big a stretch to imagine break-ins, mailer sabotage, and vandalism against property displaying GOP support?
Next, throw in a little simple voter fraud. For the Post take, see this; for great analysis, go read Joshua.
Beyond that, I look for pretty blatant efforts to overwhelm polling places and absentee voting with sheer numbers of questionable ballots, hoping to slip in a S.D. indian reservation-type victory in Colorado. That's why I sent in my request to be an election judge today--they may not need me, but if they do I want to be available.
|A Different Approach
Tonight I tried something different with the Veep debate--I didn't watch it. Actually, by a fluke, my wife turned it on at about the 50 minute mark, but with helping the kids with homework and putting them to bed, I really didn't watch much.
This time, I just wanted to watch the "analysis" and the "spin," to see if I could pick up what was likely to make the morning news. I'm even writing this before reading anyone else's takes, so if I'm redundant and/or out to lunch, it's not intentional.
Over and over I saw the clip of Cheney saying "if you can't stand up to the pressure of Howard Dean, how could you handle the enemy we now face?;" also saw the "this is the first time I've met you" clip and "frankly, your record in the Senate is not very distinguished." Nothing from John Edwards.
Then the spin. Here are the money quotes:
I just couldn't shake the impression that John Kerry just got steamrolled by Dick Cheney--Andrea Mitchell
You saw these two men up on stage, and you had the feeling it was like a father picking his son up after school--Mike Barnicle
You had the sense that John Edwards had gotten called into the Principal's office--and not for a good thing--and that this was the final one, no appeal.--Chris Mathews
As devastating as those quotes are, it's at least twice as bad that those quotes came from who they came from. If this trio called it a drubbing, it might just have been the worst thing ever.
The snap polls seem to be way out of whack with the talking heads--I wonder if I missed something, or if the snapshots are as bad as a Newsweek poll.
Oh, and one more:
Cheney I trust; he comes of as serious but human, like a good grandfather; the other guy I just don't trust. There's something just a little too slick about him--the Bewitching Mrs. Best Destiny, whose judgements of people I've come to trust implicitely (yeah, she seems to have gotten better at it after picking me.)
Now, on to read other people's thoughts.
Hugh spent much of tonight's show ridiculing Sen. Kerry for the silly blunders he made on Thursday night, even while managing to score style points with the chattering class. The theme of the show is around the idea of the Titanic--a ship whose slow, inexorable demise looks, at first, to be not very bad.
What John Kerry managed to do last Thursday--if I may extend the metaphor--is to raise up one bulkhead in the lower decks. It may slow the sinking, but really isn't cause to celebrate--certainly not to the degree the Dems have been guilty of this weekend.
And that's just fine with me. What actually happened, and I think this is a very VERY good thing, is that we can now attack at the center of the opponent's mass. For months, the Kerry flip-flopping has been amusing, if unattractive in a candidate, and I think the Bush-Cheney team has exploited it for all it's worth. But now, Kerry has taken a very clear position, and it is simply dangerous.
Finally, we get to stop talking about the bizarre personality of the man, and get to slowly work at tearing down his ideology, which is built on th failed policies of the past, and stands up only on hope against all realities. This is the kind of debate that has the potential to have coattails and to spark a fundamental realignment of the electorate.
If, and only if, Rove et al. strike with overwhelming force at a time and a place of their choosing. Pop the popcorn, lads--this could be fun.
I quick thought about Tuesday night.
Expect the Vice President to bait the lightweight Senator into proclaiming the wisdom of giving nuclear fuel to Iran, and then to pounce; I would also expect the hair model to proclaim the wisdom of a global test, which I would expect the Vice President to hit out of the arena.
The Vice President, I believe, is much more effective on his feet than the President is, and much more capable of taking the attacks to the other side and expressing the folly of the other guy's position with the full weight of his well-deserved gravitas. I am optimistic that tomorrow night ends the momentum of the Kerry-Edwards camp.
|A Bit More Realistic
Real Clear Politics has the lowdown (as usual) on all the latest polls.
The cumulative effect seems to be a slight tightening of the race. Three polls have substantial bounces for Kerry, two polls show no change from before the debate. Interestingly, the three that show the bounce--Newsweek, CBS, and CNN/Gallup--all come from sources of notable bias, though I haven't seen the internals enough (except Newsweek) to thoroughly discredit them. However, ABC and Pew both show little or no bounce, and that seems more in line with reality to me.
Is it probably true that Kerry's performance re-energized his base? Sure. More likely, the effectiveness of the post-debate spin re-heartened a flagging base. But we've seen Kerry bounces before, and they seem to be fleeting, at best.
By my quick accounting, we're still waiting on an up-to-date Battleground Poll, Time magazine poll, and FoxNews Poll. We'll wait to see what they show before putting a lid on the first debate.
Of course, the poll that will probably have the greatest effect is the one that comes out Friday--the Labor Department's job numbers. Watch for that as a major setup to the Friday debate.
|The First Salvo
As predicted, here's the first in what I expect will be a long string of MSM stories about the resurrection of the Kerry candidacy.
Three points about this poll. First, remember it's a poll of registered voters, which is notoriously less reliable than polls of likely voters. Second, remember that the source is Newsweek, which four weeks ago had a poll with the President in the lead by 13. If that earlier poll can be wrong by anywhere from 6 to 8 points, so can this one. And third, the first poll was about 39% GOP, 30% Dem; this most recent poll 36% Dem, 34% GOP. An 11 point swing in sample . . .yeah, should just about account for that little swing in results.
I won't bother to go into detail on the LATimes poll, since it contains it's own disclaimer. (Courtesy RCP)
There's nothing new here--nobody needs to get their undies in a bunch.
Enjoy your Sunday, everybody.
|On A Roll
Well, another one of my tirades has snuck into the mainstream media.
If nothing else, trying to write something lucid everynight (with spotty success) has forced me to get used to writing. Maybe it's just coincidence that a couple of my thoughts have been published in the last couple weeks.
I think it's important that we bloggers aren't content to stay on the internet. While the influence of the mainstream press has surely diminished, it still reaches more readers than my pathetic visitor numbers. And so many of my blogger brethren are such gifted writers, we should try to "infiltrate" and increase our sphere of influence.
As cool as it was to be in the room and with the dignitaries, by far the best part of last night's event was watching it and interacting with Jonathan, Jared, and Clay. All are well-informed, intelligent, and very personable. I enjoyed the event thoroughly.
Jonathan even has a picture of us with future-Senator Coors from last night posted at his site. That's me on the left--and, just for the record, I was standing about four feet in front of everybody else just to seem to be on the same scale as the others.
Did I mention tall? Well-informed, intelligent, personable, . . .and TALL. Sheesh.
|Final Debate Thoughts
I, like my brother, am a little more optimistic about the outcome of last night's debate. Here's why: the 4 o'clock news.
I was watching with great curiosity the 4 o'clock broadcast of 9News. Not only was the debate NOT the lead story, but it only got about 45 seconds of play. And at that, those 45 seconds were of today's stump speeches, not last night. My conclusion based on this is that the MSM could not come up with a great moment to show today, so it skipped it altogether.
Now, I know I didn't see every broadcast on every channel--there's no way I possibly could. So I chose the 4 o'clock on Friday because I figured people (unlike me) tend to have lives, and have other things to do Friday night than watch the news; so if they do try to catch the news, they catch the 4 o'clock. And since that broadcast was noncommital, I'm thinking the MSM coverage will be unable to paint it as a clear Kerry victory.
So, given that, you have to ask "what's the next step?" And that is, clearly, the upcoming ad blitz. The Dems are planning on running out video of Bush making faces. The problem here is that nobody expects this President to be smooth in a debate, and they've spent five years mocking him, so this will have almost no effect at all on the electorate. In fact, it may have the opposite effect: I think people are tired of the condescension, and it may garner sympathy for the President. And that seems to be the best the Dems can manage.
The GOP, on the other hand, has enough material for several commercials. Here's a sample:
Global Test Kinda obvious, here.
The Role of Allies/Flip-Flop So it was wrong to go into Iraq without the international community; but it's wrong to engage North Korea with an international community; wrong to denigrate our old alliances, but it was okay to call Challabi a "puppet" and in "fantasy land"
Understanding the World (see if you can follow the chain of logic here) It was wrong to abandon the policy of the 90's vis-a-vis North Korea, because now they have nuclear weapons; it was our bilateral talks with NKorea led to us providing them the technology which led to their nuclear weapons program, so we need to return to those bilateral talks; and in a related story, we need to begin to provide nuclear fuel to Iran, assumedly because teh results of those actions with NKorea were so successful.
American Power We should immediately abandon a new weapons program which provides us with bunker-busting nukes, because it sends a bad message to the world. In much the same way as the military buildup of Ronald Reagan set a bad example for the Russians--like, give up. And, oh, by the way--just how far underground are those North Korean nuclear labs?
That is the territory of the next round, and I think the President has a clear advantage in this respect.
Could the President have scored the knockout and ended the campaign? Yes. Did he? No. So, in that respect, it was a missed opportunity. On the other hand, the field hasn't moved, and Kerry's internals aren't any better today than they were before.
Why else am I comforted? The Gallup poll shows Kerry won, but didn't gain any ground in the election.
Not a knockout. Call it a 12-round decision. Advantage Bush.