Captain's Quarters Blog
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November 6, 2004

If you can't beat 'em . . . .

Despite President Bush's election victory, destructive attacks on the GOP continue. Last night, a mob vandalized the North Carolina Republican headquarters. According to the AP (emphasis mine):

A police officer reported Friday night that about 100 people wearing masks and gloves were walking down a street near the headquarters, police Capt. D.S. Overman said.

Officers investigating that report found a second group "vandalizing and damaging" the GOP headquarters, said police Maj. D.R. Lane.

The vandalism was a "planned and orchestrated event," police spokesman Jim Sughrue said.

"This is not a political statement," Sughrue said. "A political statement is what we made Tuesday. This is a crime."

The officers found several spent fireworks, poster boards with slogans and spray-painted expletives on the walls. At least two windows were broken and police said it appeared that the vandals tried to put incendiary devices inside the building.

This is yet another example of the left attempting to enact a Kristallnacht. And they call President Bush Hitler and all conservatives Nazis.

UPDATE: CQ reader HCQ points out that Powerline has on the post-election violence.

UPDATE: CQ reader Bounty Hunter point us to this post about an SUV which was vandalized by a young liberal. Ironically, the high school senior drew swastikas on the vehicle and wrote "Bush is Hitler."

Posted by Whiskey at 5:49 PM | TrackBack

Iran Continues Its Defiance

Iran has defied the EU-3 yet again, concluding the latest round of talks without an agreement to end uranium enrichment and stiffarming the international community:

Talks between Iran and three European Union heavyweights ended on Saturday without an agreement on Tehran's nuclear program, a source close to the negotiations said.

Iran was seeking a compromise in the talks with France, Germany and Britain to avoid a dispute over its nuclear program being referred to the United Nations Security Council and avert the risk of sanctions.

The EU trio wants Iran to stop enriching uranium.

"At the end of difficult talks, the two parties made considerable progress toward a provisional agreement on a common approach on these issues," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement. But a source close to the negotiations said: "Nothing is settled ... The discussions were difficult, very difficult. The Iranians struggled hard."

"Everyone has to touch base now," the source added after the second day of talks. "That's the end of this meeting ... There is no (further) meeting planned."

The question that the EU-3 need to answer is how much longer will they allow the Iranians to stall before escalating the issue to the Security Council? Negotiations are not a neutral activity; while they're busy talking, the Iranians keep working hard to develop their nuclear-enrichment program. It's becoming painfully obvious that the laughable deterrent value of France and Germany has outweighed the credibility of the British.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:09 PM | TrackBack

AP Analyzes Kerry's Prospects

The AP's Lolita Baldor and Jennifer Peter analyze the future prospects of John Kerry now that his bid for the presidency has ended, and they see big things ahead for the Massachusetts Senator:

Like many presidential candidates before him, John Kerry must now decide what to do with the rest of his political life. While he relaxed at his Boston home on Friday, elsewhere friends, colleagues and presidential historians said they didn't see the Democrat fading into political obscurity like the last Massachusetts politician who ran and lost, Michael Dukakis in 1988.

Instead, they said he would probably take the road less traveled by recent senators who tried and failed to take the White House, and remain a strong voice in Congress on issues he cared about.

Like what? The AP continues its ignorance of Kerry's Senate record even past the election. In 20 years as a senator, Kerry got six bills passed. Six. In. Twenty. Years. I have no intention of riding Kerry into the dust here, but Baldor and Peter have the credulity of three-year-olds if they accept this notion of Kerry as an activist member of the Senate from "friends and colleagues". Kerry's pathetically thin Senate record was one of the reasons his campaign decided to focus instead on his four-month combat record in Vietnam.

I wish John Kerry the best of luck now that the election is over. Running for President is a grueling, grinding task that few can withstand with any grace, and yet it is absolutely necessary that people do so in order to give American voters a choice every four years. But let's not kid ourselves about Kerry's record or the likelihood that he will transform himself into any kind of legislative force now that his life's ambition has gone unrealized. Unless he's planning on running again in 2008, which seems unlikely in the extreme given the campaign he ran this time around, then he hasn't got much use for the Senate any more. Certainly, if he had the predilection for legislating, that would have been apparent in the previous twenty years.

Kerry's term runs to 2008, and I expect that he will complete it, especially since a resignation allows Republican Governor Mitt Romney to appoint a replacement. After 2008, when Kerry will be in his mid-sixties, I expect Kerry to retire and enjoy the last years of his life with the vast resources at hand to do so. And I wouldn't blame him a bit.

UPDATE: Jaws, in the comments below, reminds me that the Massachusetts legislature changed the law so that they select a replacement Senator and not the Governor. Perhaps Kerry will leave even sooner than 2008.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:55 AM | TrackBack

Annan, UN Prove Their Fecklessness

Kofi Annan sought to protect the terrorists who continue their bloody grip on Fallujah by writing a letter to the governments of Iraq, Britain, and the US demanding a cessation of hostilities. The three governments reacted with scorn to the notion that Iraq should somehow live with terrorists setting up their own city-state within Iraqi borders, allowing them to maintain a base of operations with which to terrorize the entire country:

In letters dated Oct. 31 and addressed to President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and interim Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi, Annan said using military force against insurgents in the city would further alienate Sunni Muslims already feeling left out of a political process orchestrated largely by Washington.

"I wish to share with you my increasing concern at the prospect of an escalation in violence, which I fear could be very disruptive for Iraq's political transition," Annan wrote to the three leaders.

"I also worry about the negative impact that major military assaults, in which the main burden seems bound to be borne by American forces, are likely to have on the prospects for encouraging a broader participation by Iraqis in the political process, including in the elections."

Notice that Annan lays the blame for "escalating violence" at the feet of the Allawi government and the Anglo-American coalition that supports it. This has always been the UN approach; blame the victims for the terrorism. It matters little to Annan and the UN that the Allawi government has tried patiently -- a little too patiently, in my opinion -- to negotiate a peaceful solution with Fallujans, who absolutely refuse to give up the foreign terrorists that behead civilians for entertainment. As carbombs continue killing civilians, the UN wants Allawi to sit back and talk things over more with the masterminds who want Allawi dead and an Islamic dictatorship imposed on Iraq.

In the words of General McAuliffe -- "Nuts."

Annan's reaction to terrorists in Fallujah is quite enlightening. Here we have a city that holds some of the worst terrorists in the world, including the bloodthirsty Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, and Annan gets weak-kneed at the thought of eliminating him. It shows that the UN will never be an effective partner against global terrorism. For Annan and the UN bureaucracy, negotiations become an end instead of a tactic, in which the existence of dialogue is held more valuable than the saving of lives or the freedom of people.

Annan and the UN would love nothing more than to inject themselves into the Iraqi security situation, but for some reason won't actually come to Iraq to do it. Perhaps that reason is because they trusted the same ex-Ba'athists to provide their security in August 2003 that they want Allawi to negotiate with now. As I recall, the UN's experience in dialoguing with the Saddam remnants turned out rather poorly for them, and they haven't had the guts to return since. Why, then, should anyone listen to Kofi Annan's opinions on how Iraqi security should be maintained?

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:12 AM | TrackBack

An Unfair Comparison

A report on CNS News seems to be getting a lot of attention this morning, which states that liberal bloggers think that George Bush's re-election is "more depressing" than 9/11. After reading that incendiary headline, I took a look at the article and found out that the headline is quite misleading:

Bloggers on the liberal Democratic Underground website have overwhelmingly labeled Nov. 3, 2004, the day after Election Day, "more depressing" than Sept. 11, 2001 in a poll of online members.

Seventy-two percent of poll takers said they believed the day Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) conceded defeat in the presidential election was more tragic than the day more than 3,000 Americans were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and on a hijacked plane that crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

So what happened is that the nutcases at DU put up one of those instant polls and, not surprisingly, three-quarters of the lunatic fringe picked the most hysterical answer offered. DU is not a hangout for liberal bloggers; it's an asylum for the politically insane, and if CNS doesn't know this, it shouldn't be reporting on it. Besides, the DU isn't a blog, it's a forum, and the comments CNS quotes come from comments.

Liberal bloggers -- at least the well-known ones -- have been disdainful of middle America and disgusted at the loss of the first widely-blogged election, but none that I've read has come close to saying that Bush's re-election trumps 9/11. Let's try to keep from painting the entire port side of the blogosphere as nutcases based on the rants at the DU. That's a tactic more suited to the people who claim to have lost the election to a bunch of inbred morons who want to turn the Midwest into Jesusland.

Now that comes closer to what we're hearing from leftist bloggers than what CNS reports.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:48 AM | TrackBack

Specter's Folly

Arlen Specter stuck his foot squarely in his mouth just hours after winning election in Pennsylvania, suggesting in his comments to the press that under his presumed leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee, George Bush should take care not to nominate anyone except middle-of-the-road candidates. The uproar from the conservative base has threatened to derail Specter's ascension to the chair and has caused the GOP's Senate contingent to wonder at the best option for response:

Republican lawmakers and top Senate aides, speaking privately for the most part, said the uproar from the right was becoming an impediment for Mr. Specter, a Pennsylvania lawmaker who has coveted the chairmanship. They said while it was likely he would still get the post, it was no longer a certainty.

"He is not out of the woods,'' said one Senate aide who is closely monitoring developments on the Judiciary Committee, echoing a sentiment expressed by Republican senators and other party officials. ...

The outpouring illustrated how the party's conservative wing has been emboldened by the White House victory and the strengthening of Republican majorities in Congress, potentially raising new hazards for moderate Republicans who might want to break from the president or House and Senate leadership on major issues.

Some Republicans on Capitol Hill said the attempt to quickly exert that influence could work in Mr. Specter's favor. They said that after an energizing election, senators would not necessarily want their first action to be jettisoning Mr. Specter under pressure from outside groups. "We need to show some discipline and not overreact,'' one said.

New webistes have already sprung up exhorting conservatives to lobby the other Judiciary Committee members to bypass Specter and instead nominate the more reliable Jon Kyl, next in seniority, to the chair. The evangelicals that consider the millions of abortions that proceed unfettered each year to be their primary domestic issue will not be pleased to see a pro-choice litmus test applied to Bush's nominations by a member of their own party. Specter has already backpedaled, claiming that he had been misunderstood and pointing out that he voted in support of every nominee Bush sent to the Senate.

Both sides of this internecine fight need to slow down and think this through. The anti-abortion activists need to reread Specter's original statement. As Specter explained later, he only stated that any nominee that didn't support the continuance of Roe v Wade would have a difficult time getting passage, although he wasn't artful in explaining that objective fact. Specter has voted in support of Bush's nominees in the past and probably would continue to do so.

However, the timing of Specter's comments certainly call the Senator's judgement into question, explanations or no. Within hours of Bush's re-election, he mananged to singlehandedly create a huge controversy without even having a nomination in front of the committee. Moreoever, Specter's notion that he would serve as a gatekeeper on this process usurps the presidential prerogative for nominating candidates, a curious thing to do to a man who endorsed Specter for his winning candidacy. Speaking of that, Bush's support for Specter was supposed to allow Specter to help carry Pennsylvania for Bush on November 2nd, which Specter failed to deliver. Causing problems after dropping the ball should make the GOP wonder why Specter should chair any committee, let alone Judiciary.

After tossing Trent Lott out of his leadership position, the Republicans have to be careful not to give the knee-jerk reaction and bounce Specter just because of one bad press conference. They should give this some time to settle down before making a decision; after all, no Supreme Court openings are before the committee at the moment. But based on Specter's performance and lack of political judgement, and because his unfortunate statements have given the Democrats an excuse to filibuster anything coming from Judiciary, I think Specter has to go.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:47 AM | TrackBack

Don't Let Us Stop You

While I was in flight, Michael Moore apparently issued his long-awaited response to the election results, having watched his efforts to smear George Bush and run him out of office come to naught. He exhorts his fans to keep from slitting their wrists by giving them 17 reasons to live on. This, of course, matches the hysterical tone of the rest of the Left today, who have either decided to kill themselves or move to Canada, when they're not busy claiming that vast conspiracies have stolen the election from them.

Memo to Democrats: in order to support democracy, you have to accept its results, even when your side loses. If you can't do that without threatening to move away, kill yourselves, or commit violence, then you don't believe in democracy at all. You only want democracy as a cover to impose your beliefs on others, even when the majority disagree with you.

In the spirit of the Left, CQ reader Jeff Dennis gives a point-by-point rebuttal to Moore's message of hope...

1. It is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again.

So far.

2. Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

Close only counts in horseshoes.

3. The only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%), proving once again that your parents are always wrong and you should never listen to them.

Unlike you, they will grow up.

4. In spite of Bush's win, the majority of Americans still think the country is headed in the wrong direction (56%), think the war wasn't worth fighting (51%), and dont approve of the job George W. Bush is doing (52%). (Note to foreigners: Don't try to figure this one out. It's an American thing, like Pop Tarts.)

Foreigners: Americans don't choose to drive off a cliff when we realize we've made a wrong turn. When we make mistakes, we fix them. We even fix yours.

5. The Republicans will not have a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.

...until 2006.

If the Democrats do their job, Bush won't be able to pack the Supreme Court with right-wing ideologues. Did I say "if the Democrats do their job?" Um, maybe better to scratch this one.


6. Michigan voted for Kerry! So did the entire Northeast, the birthplace of our democracy. So did 6 of the 8 Great Lakes States. And the whole West Coast! Plus Hawaii. Ok, that's a start. We've got most of the fresh water, all of Broadway, and Mt. St. Helens. We can dehydrate them or bury them in lava. And no more show tunes!

We've got most of the guns. Mt. St. Helens is in Skamania County, which went for Bush. What are show tunes?

7. Once again we are reminded that the buckeye is a nut, and not just any old nut -- a poisonous nut. A great nation was felled by a poisonous nut. May Ohio State pay dearly this Saturday when it faces Michigan.

You are the poisonous nut who helped us reelect George Bush. Thanks!

8. 88% of Bush's support came from white voters. In 50 years, America will no longer have a white majority. Hey, 50 years isn't such a long time! If you're ten years old and reading this, your golden years will be truly golden and you will be well cared for in your old age.

You will live to see a black Republican elected President before you see a white Democrat elected President.

9. Gays, thanks to the ballot measures passed on Tuesday, cannot get married in 11 new states. Thank God. Just think of all those wedding gifts we won't have to buy now.

They cannot get married in any states.

10. Five more African Americans were elected as members of Congress, including the return of Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. It's always good to have more blacks in there fighting for us and doing the job our candidates can't.

That is because your party is the one with the Stupid White Men.

11. The CEO of Coors was defeated for Senate in Colorado. Drink up!

He was defeated by a conservative Democrat. Drink the Kool-Ade. Resistance is futile.

12. Admit it: We like the Bush twins and we don't want them to go away.

They will probably run for office.

13. At the state legislative level, Democrats picked up a net of at least 3 chambers in Tuesday's elections. Of the 98 partisan-controlled state legislative chambers (house/assembly and senate), Democrats went into the 2004 elections in control of 44 chambers, Republicans controlled 53 chambers, and 1 chamber was tied. After Tuesday, Democrats now control 47 chambers, Republicans control 49 chambers, 1 chamber is tied and 1 chamber (Montana House) is still undecided.

You have got us, there.

14. Bush is now a lame duck president. He will have no greater moment than the one he's having this week. It's all downhill for him from here on out -- and, more significantly, he's just not going to want to do all the hard work that will be expected of him. It'll be like everyone's last month in 12th grade -- you've already made it, so it's party time! Perhaps he'll treat the next four years like a permanent Friday, spending even more time at the ranch or in Kennebunkport. And why shouldn't he? He's already proved his point, avenged his father and kicked our ass.

Good and hard, didn't he? Admit it -- you love it. Expect more in '06.

15. Should Bush decide to show up to work and take this country down a very dark road, it is also just as likely that either of the following two scenarios will happen: a) Now that he doesn't ever need to pander to the Christian conservatives again to get elected, someone may whisper in his ear that he should spend these last four years building "a legacy" so that history will render a kinder verdict on him and thus he will not push for too aggressive a right-wing agenda; or b) He will become so cocky and arrogant -- and thus, reckless -- that he will commit a blunder of such major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from office.

It sounds like it is completely out of your hands. Too bad you don't believe in God -- at least then, you could pray.

16. There are nearly 300 million Americans -- 200 million of them of voting age. We only lost by three and a half million! That's not a landslide -- it means we're almost there. Imagine losing by 20 million. If you had 58 yards to go before you reached the goal line and then you barreled down 55 of those yards, would you stop on the three yard line, pick up the ball and go home crying -- especially when you get to start the next down on the three yard line? Of course not! Buck up! Have hope! More sports analogies are coming!!!

Here's one: Close only counts in horseshoes.

17. Finally and most importantly, over 55 million Americans voted for the candidate dubbed "The #1 Liberal in the Senate." That's more than the total number of voters who voted for either Reagan, Bush I, Clinton or Gore. Again, more people voted for Kerry than Reagan. If the media are looking for a trend it should be this -- that so many Americans were, for the first time since Kennedy, willing to vote for an out-and-out liberal. The country has always been filled with evangelicals -- that is not news. What IS news is that so many people have shifted toward a Massachusetts liberal. In fact, that's BIG news. Which means, don't expect the mainstream media, the ones who brought you the Iraq War, to ever report the real truth about November 2, 2004. In fact, it's better that they don't. We'll need the element of surprise in 2008.

Here's a surprise for you: the real truth about November 2, 2004 is that you lost.

Feeling better? I hope so.

It's only going to get worse. Drink the Kool-Ade.

As my friend Mort wrote me yesterday, "My Romanian grandfather used to say to me, 'Remember, Morton, this is such a wonderful country -- it doesn't even need a president!'"

Morton's grandfather was right. This is a wonderful country. It has a President -- George Walker Bush. Eat your miserable stunted hearts out.

But it needs us.

It does: there will be more elections. Until you decide to cash it all in, please keep doing what you have been doing, and thanks again for helping us reelect George Walker Bush.

Rest up, I'll write you again tomorrow.

When you wake up tomorrow, George Bush will still be President and you will still be losers. Go on, drink the Kool-Ade, then take a nice long nap. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:19 AM | TrackBack

November 5, 2004

Traveling ...

I'll be leaving shortly to visit family in Southern California. I plan on blogging a bit while I'm there, but the productivity may be down somewhat. It'll give me a chance to recuperate from the bruising campaign and recharge the batteries for the next four years.

Tonight the Northern Alliance gang will fill in for Hugh Hewitt, so be sure to tune in!

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 1:43 PM | TrackBack

AP: Democrats Losing Ground In Middle America

The AP notes that the final tallies in Iowa and New Mexico show that George Bush took the former blue states from Democrats as expected, indicating that the Democrats have increasingly isolated themselves to the two coasts in the past several elections:

The Democrats' defeat in Iowa reflects a larger problem for them in the Midwest and across the political map.

Along with Wisconsin and Minnesota, Iowa and its seven electoral votes are part of the once-Democratic Upper Midwest that is growing more conservative with each presidential election. Kerry won Minnesota by just 3 percentage points, Wisconsin by a single point.

In addition, Michigan and Pennsylvania went Democratic by 3 percentage points or less and Bush won Ohio despite its economic miseries.

The close electoral vote masks the problem Democrats face in traditionally friendly territory. Iowa hadn't gone for a Republican in 20 years, and that time only during the massive Reagan landslide. They barely carried the other Upper Midwest states, formerly bastions of progressive politics. They only held Wisconsin by less than a point for the second presidential election in a row, and Minnesota by less than three in a state election that saw the GOP lose thirteen seats in the state legislature. They have completely lost the South; the GOP beat them in every contested Senate seat below the Mason-Dixon line. Zell Miller pointed out that the South now accounts for almost a third of the American population, making its alienation from Democrats a dark portent for the party.

Clearly, the Democrats have to rethink their approach to national politics. They won in the last decade by nominating a centrist candidate with unbelievable political skills, but abandoned that approach the past two elections. Worse yet, they nominated two candidates who tried to hide their more radical agendas, and lacking Clinton's political skills, paid the price for it.

Had the Democrats nominated a candidate with credibility on national security, one who eschewed the liberal snobbishness towards people of faith but represented traditional Democratic policy positions, they probably could have beaten George Bush in this election. Joseph Lieberman, in particular, would have been Bush's worst nightmare. Instead, the two leading candidates for the nomination both embraced the America-hating leftists that instantly alienates most people. Both of them professed some respect for religion, but the first front-runner abandoned his church when they failed to build a bicycle path, and the other talked about how his Catholicism informed his politics while he voted to support partial-birth abortions.

Exit polling, for what it's worth, supposedly showed that this election turned on morals and values, which everyone interpreted as opposition to gay marriage and abortion on demand. I think they missed the point; plenty of people in red-state territory are ambivalent on both issues. What is meant by morals and values is primarily loyalty -- loyalty to America and Americans. In one campaign venue after another, we heard nothing from the Democratic base except vitrol and condescension for Americans who love their country and support the nation during a time of war. And after the election was over, we saw these same people completely unmasked as radicals who assume that Republicans are either rich conspiracists or drooling, inbred morons.

If the Democrats allow the radicals to continue their grip on the party, the red states may wind up pushing all the way to both coasts.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:19 AM | TrackBack

Captain's Caption Contest #34: That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! Now that the election is over, the surprising results have caused some of our "friends" overseas to rethink their positions regarding George Bush and the US. This group of stalwart supporters of all things American put their heads together today to determine their new strategy:

What did Jacques Chirac say to Luis Zapatero, Josep Borrell, and Jose Manuel Barroso? You tell me -- enter your best caption into the comments on this post! NO e-mailed entries, please! E-mailed entries will be entered onto provisional ballots and destroyed surreptitiously by Karl Rove's evil minions. The contest will end on Sunday, November 7th at 8 pm CT, when our guest judge will select the winners.

Let the games begin!

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:56 AM | TrackBack

A Spectre in the Senate

Remarks made yesterday by Senator Arlen Specter, who is in line to become the new Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, have disturbed conservatives and offered hope to abortion advocates. Here is a portion of the transcript via NRO:

JORDAN: Senator, you didn't talk about the Judiciary Committee, it is something you are expected to Chair this January. With 3 Supreme Court Justices rumored to retire soon, starting with Rehnquist, how do you see this unfolding in the next couple of months and what part do you intend to play on it?

SPECTER: You know my approach is cautious with respect to the Judiciary Committee. I am in line, Senator Hatch is barred now by term limits and Senate Rules so that I am next in line. There has to be a vote of the Committee and I have already started to talk to some of my fellow committee members. I am respectful of Senate traditions, so I am not designating myself Chairman, I will wait for the Senate procedures to act in do course. You are right on the substance, the Chief Justice is gravely ill. I had known more about that than had appeared in the media. When he said he was going to be back on Monday, it was known inside that he was not going to be back on Monday. The full extent of his full incapacitation is really not known, I believe there will be cause for deliberation by the President. The Constitution has a clause called advise and consent, the advise part is traditionally not paid a whole lot of attention to, I wouldn't quite say ignored, but close to that. My hope that the Senate will be more involved in expressing our views. We start off with the basic fact that the Democrats are have filibustered and expect them to filibuster if the nominees are not within the broad range of acceptability. I think there is a very broad range of Presidential Discretion but there is a range.

ODOM: Is Mr. Bush, he just won the election, even with the popular vote as well. If he wants anti-abortion judges up there, you are caught in the middle of it what are you going to do? The party is going one way and you are saying this.

SPECTER: When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v Wade, I think that is unlikely. And I have said that bluntly during the course of the campaign and before. When the Inquirer endorsed me, they quoted my statement that Roe v Wade was inviolate. And that 1973 decision, which has been in effect now for 33 years, was buttressed by the 1992 decision, written by three Republican justices-O'Conner, Souter, and Kennedy-and nobody can doubt Anthony Kennedy's conservativism or pro-life position, but that's the fabric of the country. Nobody can be confirmed today who didn't agree with Brown v. Board of Education on integration, and I believe that while you traditionally do not ask a nominee how they're going to decide a specific case, there's a doctorate and a fancy label term, stari decisis, precedent which I think protects that issue. That is my view, now, before, and always.

ODOM: You are saying the President should not bother to send somebody up there like that.

SPECTER: Can't hear you

ODOM: You are saying the President should not bother or make the move to send somebody up there who is clearly anti-abortion.

SPECTER: I don't want to prejudge what the President is going to do. But the President is well aware of what happened when a number of his nominees were sent up, were filibustered, and the President has said he is not going to impose a litmus test, he faced that issue squarely in the third debate and I would not expect the President, I would expect the President to be mindful of the considerations that I mentioned.

These comments gave immediate cheer to the left, according to the New York Times:

Abortion rights advocates, feeling beleaguered after Senator John Kerry's loss to Mr. Bush, said they were encouraged by Mr. Specter's remarks.

"Welcome back, Senator Specter," said Elizabeth Cavendish, interim president of Naral Pro-Choice America, in a reference to what she views as the senator's recent efforts to distance himself from abortion rights. She called his remarks "an important statement to the president that he should not interpret the election results as a mandate to take away fundamental freedoms."

Fundamental freedoms? Its been a few years since Ive read Roe v. Wade, but I seem to recall the issue was decided on penumbras or some such nonsense. (Law students: feel free to correct me if Ive misstated the clarity of the decision.) The Kathryn Jean Lopez encouraged NRO readers to call and write their senators and lobby against Senator Specters rise to chairmanship:

I think that transcript emphasizes Specter does not have the conservative temperment or instincts to be judiciary chairman. Why, after yesterday's victory, would the majority party put in place such a huge obstacle, just because of tradition?

Is this an overreaction? Consider the following statement made by Senator Specter after the press conference:

"Contrary to press accounts, I did not warn the President about anything and was very respectful of his Constitutional authority on the appointment of federal judges.

"As the record shows, I have supported every one of President Bushs nominees in the Judiciary Committee and on the Senate floor. I have never and would never apply any litmus test on the abortion issue and, as the record shows, I have voted to confirm Chief Justice Rehnquist, Justice OConnor, and Justice Kennedy and led the fight to confirm Justice Thomas.

Certainly, the prepared statement was reasonable and tone-appropriate. But the remarks made off the cuff indicate he is willing to adopt Senator Kerrys abortion litmus test into the committee process.

Posted by Whiskey at 6:39 AM | TrackBack

Exit Polling Samples Not Reliable: NYT

The stone golem of the 2000 election was the hanging chad, and this time around it looks like exit polling. Two reports out today continue the post-mortems on the National Election Pool, one discounting allegations of conspiracy theories and the other boosting them. First, Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times has reviewed a clandestine copy of the pollsters' final report on the debacle, proving yet again that the NEP has major security issues. The pollsters blame sampling difficulties and the infidelity of its clients for the problems:

The report, written by Joe Lenski and Warren Mitofsky and obtained by The New York Times, details systemic glitches that skewed the data in ways of which several news organizations, who paid tens of thousands of dollars for the service, were not aware.

In some cases, the report said, survey takers could not get close enough to the polls to collect adequate samples of voters opinion. They were often stopped by legal barriers devised to keep people electioneering - not necessarily bona fide poll canvassers - away from voters.

The report also theorized that the poll results more frequently overstated support for Mr. Kerry than for President Bush because the Democratic nominee's supporters were more open to pollsters. Whatever the case, according to the report, the surveys had the biggest partisan skew since at least 1988, the earliest election the report tracked.

That story differs from the statements made by Lenski and Mitofsky yesterday, when they insisted that their final numbers came almost exactly into line with the final balloting. The difference doesn't just relate to the reluctance of the networks to call states for Bush where he obviously had comfortable leads. In some cases, the faulty data cost NEP subscribers money and time. Washington Post editor Steve Coll told Rutenberg that the final set of numbers had it reversed, with Kerry topping Bush by three points. Coll made the assumption that a three-point margin would mean a sure Electoral College victory -- a safe bet -- and made decisions on the paper's Wednesday publication that had to be reversed at the last minute when the vote counts showed the NEP to be seriously compromised.

Speaking of compromising, Rutenberg says the report specifically refutes the conpiracy-theory notion that the exit polling was accurate and the final vote counts are wrong. Diehard partisans on the Left have begun spouting that theory, yet another method to call Bush's legitimacy into question and one that addresses the sense of unreality they feel in dealing with Bush's victory.

On the other hand, leftist partisans are not the only ones spouting conspiracy theories. Dick Morris, the closest example of the world's oldest profession in politics we have, finds the NEP explanations highly improbable and accuses the media consortium of cooking the surveys to depress GOP turnout:

Exit polls are almost never wrong. They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state.

They've been wrong three elections in a row now. Where has Dick Morris been?

But this Tuesday, the networks did get the exit polls wrong. Not just some of them. They got all of the Bush states wrong. So, according to ABC-TVs exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points.

To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.

Morris does have a point here. The NEP conducted exit polling on a state-by-state basis, and it does look like the only states that came in with wide inaccuracies were the so-called battleground states or states Bush was expected to win. At least, that's the way it appeared on Tuesday night as each network hesitated to put several key states into the red column for Bush. However, the results may have been skewed in the blue states as well, but with Kerry winning those as expected, it would make no difference in calling them during the coverage. Morris does not address that possibility.

Next to the forged documents that sent CBS on a jihad against Bushs National Guard service and the planned 60 Minutes ambush over the so-called missing explosives two days before the polls opened, the possibility of biased exit polling, deliberately manipulated to try to chill the Bush turnout, must be seriously considered.

At the very least, the exit pollsters should have to explain, in public, how they were so wrong. Since their polls, if biased or cooked, represented an attempt to use the public airwaves to reduce voter turnout, they should have to explain their errors in a very public and perhaps official forum.

This was no mere mistake. Exit polls cannot be as wrong across the board as they were on election night. I suspect foul play.

Morris beats this media conspiracy into the ground. No one doubts that a significant number of people at CBS conspired to stage forged and fraudulent documents to pervert the election, just as someone obviously went out of their way at NBC to excise a damning admission by John Kerry from a transcript of an interview with Tom Brokaw. ABC's political editor, Mark Halperin, told his staff to ease up on Kerry and put more heat on Bush. What Morris alleges is that there was an explicit conspiracy amongst all of these entities to misrepresent the exit polls, but for what advantage? Morris doesn't explain.

I strongly disagree with Morris on the penultimate point as well. Exit polls are not an official part of our electoral process; for that matter, neither are "calls" by broadcast networks. I have no idea what he means by "official forum", but the notion is ridiculous and somewhat chilling for both free speech and free-market operation. Unless Morris has probable cause for a RICO conspiracy to throw the election via bad exit polling (probable cause requires evidence, not conjecture), then calls for prosecution or government censure are inappropriate. The FCC and the FEC could, and should, ask the broadcasters to explain why they collude with each other on analysis instead of compete with each other. Before the NEP and VNS, we may have gotten conflicting information from each source, but at least it wasn't uniformly unreliable.

In other words, despite the rantings of conspiracy theorists on both sides, what we have here is another episode of incompetence in a process that never should be used for predictions on Election Day anyway. Perhaps the media will learn that lesson for 2006, but incompetence stretches far beyond the pollsters, and I doubt that the decisionmakers at the consortium are immune from its influence.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 1:18 AM | TrackBack

November 4, 2004

25th Annniversary Of Islamofascism

Rusty at My Pet Jawa noticed an anniversary that escaped my notice -- twenty-five years ago, Islamic revolutionaries in Iran commandeered our embassy in Teheran and took dozens of Americans hostage. This act of war went without effective response from the USA and set the stage for our present war against Islamist terrorism. Indeed, it informs our present muscular foreign policy so much that this could be considered an anniversary of the Bush Doctrine.

Rusty writes:

Like the English before us, America found itself in the position of standing between the Iranian revolutionaries and their vision of the global caliphate. The US became the 'Great Satan', the obstacle, the one nation with the power to stall the inevitable coming of Sharia law to all Muslim nations (and eventually beyond). So, the jihadis declared war on that day. Their war aims were simply stated and straightforward--weaken American resolve so that jihad could spread unchecked throughout the Islamic world from Morocco to Indonesia. Unlike the English before us, America retreated, only fighting the jihadis through our proxies and never fully aware of the dangers of this cancerous ideology. We had bigger fish to fry. The Cold War seemed much more imminent and the stakes certainly were much higher. We slept.

September 11th may have awakened us to the fact that we were at war, but that war had been declared long ago. It was declared 25 years ago today by the extremists in Iran. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking nuclear technology--technology that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons--and the Europeans have taken the Carter route in dealing with the mullahs. For each concession given to them by the Europeans, the jihadis in Iran see Western weakness. They saw this weakness in the US as we gave them cash in exchange for the hostages. They saw this weakness as Reagan retreated from Lebanon. We can bear to show them weakness no more.

When the Iranians overran the embassy, I was sixteen years old and in my senior year of high school, and even I understood that the sacking of an embassy constituted an act of war. At first the mullahcracy kept the facade of blaming it on overexuberant students, but when it became apparent that the Carter administration would take no action in response to the provocation except file diplomatic protests, the government explicitly took over the siege and the hostages themselves. It may have been no coincidence that two short months later, the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, secure in the knowledge that Carter was incapable of opposing them militarily.

Teheran became a symbol of retreat and humiliation for the United States, and after a decade of quasi-socialist meddling with the economy and two big shocks of oil shortages had left our economy ruined, Americans had had enough. When Carter came on television to lecture the country that America was not special -- the infamous "malaise" speech -- we were ready to throw off the stultifying so-called leadership of the Left and allow real conservatives a shot at running the country.

Since then, it hasn't been all smooth, especially in regard to radical Islamofascism. Reagan's mere presence got the hostages released from Iran, but he wavered on Islamist terror, cutting deals with the Iranian mullahcracy to free more hostages in Lebanon but leaving us looking weak and inviting further attacks. Those came in a rush during the 1990s, and we alternately treated them as crimes or ignored them altogether. It took us 22 years and a catastrophic attack that left 3,000 Americans dead before we finally learned the lesson of Teheran: the Islamofascists are at war with us whether we recognize it or ignore it, and ignoring it just increases the scale of murder.

We're awake now, and the election proves that Americans still recognize the danger of this war and the need to prosecute it on the offensive rather than the defensive. Too bad we didn't learn it 25 years ago when we could have stopped it in its tracks.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:58 PM | TrackBack

Joan Baez Performs Birth Of A Nation

Reason's science editor Ronald Bailey bought his mother a pair of tickets to a Joan Baez concert as a birthday gift. Baez performed last night and, as one might expect, had quite a bit to say about the outcome. What Bailey didn't expect was the bizarre minstrel show that recalls Ted Danson's Friars Club debacle:

However, the most remarkable and disturbing episode occurred halfway through the concert when Joan stopped singing and announced that she had "multiple personalities." One of her multiple personalities is that of a fifteen year old poor black girl named Alice from Turkey Scratch, Arkansas. Baez decided to share with us Alice's views on the election. Amazed and horrified I watched a rich, famous, extremely white folksinger perform what can only be described as bit of minstrelsyonly the painted on blackface was missing. Alice, the black teenager from Arkansas Baez was pretending to be, spoke in a dialect so broad and thick that it would put Uncle Remus and Amos and Andy to shame. Baez' monologue was filled with phrases like, "I'se g'win ta" to do this that or the other and dropping all final "g's." Baez as Alice made statements like, "de prezident, he be a racist," and "de prezident, he got a bug fer killin'." Finally, since Bush won the election with 58.7 million votes to Kerry's 55.1 million, Alice observed, "Seems lak haf' de country be plumb crazy." Since Baez was reading Alice's notes, it is evident that she thinks that Arkansas' public schools don't teach black children to write standard English.

Once Joan finished her minstrelsy riff, the audience, in which I did not see a single black person, went wild with applause and hoots and hollers. I have never felt so embarrassed for a bunch of "liberals" in my life.

So the champion of the working folks likes to channel Amos & Andy as part of her act, eh? Perhaps Baez would like to add "Mammy" as an encore. I wish I could be scandalized by this, but it's all part of the utter hypocrisy one finds on the left.

It should be mortifying for Baez, and not just for its blatantly racist tenor. Since when does an entertainer get up on stage and pretend to be mentally ill in order to convince people of her political and intellectual acumen? And look what she picks as an alter ego to bolster her argument -- not a scholar or a statesman, but an apparently uneducated teenager who can't speak properly.

Baez surely will rate an entire chapter if Laura Ingraham ever decides to update Shut Up And Sing. (via Memeorandum)

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:10 PM | TrackBack

Oil Prices Begin To Drop

CNBC reports this evening that oil prices, which drove up inflation and dampened consumer confidence in the third quarter, has suddenly begun to drop significantly:

Oil futures prices plunged by more than $2 a barrel Thursday, continuing a selloff that began last week amid rising U.S. supplies of crude and expectations of a surge in heating oil production before winter arrives. ...

Light crude for December delivery fell by $2.06 to settle at $48.82 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the first time prices settled below $49 a barrel since Sept. 24.

Oil prices have fallen $6.35, or 11.5 percent, since last Tuesday, when Nymex futures settled at $55.17 per barrel, matching the record settlement price first set Oct. 22.

Does anyone else see something fishy here? After crude prices skyrocketed in the summer, we heard all sorts of explanations as to why. Most of them focused on uncertainty regarding "deepening violence" in Iraq and potential instability in Southwest Asia caused by the war on terror. China's growth had some impact as well, but China has been steadily increasing its purchases, not spiking suddenly upwards in demand.

Suddenly, on the day that George Bush stood for election after getting pounded by high fuel prices as a drain on the American economy, crude prices dropped -- and oil futures have lost more than 11.5% of their value in three days of trading. How does that happen? CNBC notes one reason:

This is acting like a bear market, said Ed Silliere, vice president of risk management at Energy Merchant Corp. in New York.

Silliere said there was a large wave of selling among well-financed institutional investors, adding to the downward momentum.

Institutional investors -- people who handle large funds, making decisions for thousands of aggregated investors. Who fits that description? George Soros certainly might; so might Warren Buffett. Both men waged public campaigns to unseat Bush, and George Soros spent an approximated $29 million on advertising and interest groups that focused on electing John Kerry.

One fact is certain: a few large investors started dumping significant amounts of oil at a big loss in the commodities market when high prices could do no further damage to George Bush. The SEC needs to take a look to find out why.

UPDATE: CQ reader Adleone writes this in response:

If these guys were manipulating the oil markets, they would have been doing since the beginning of summer and they would have been long the oil futures at a substantially lower prices. If they were dumping these futures contract, they would be sitting on huge profits. But if they were manipulating the oil futures market, their actions would have shown up in the Commitment of Traders Report and we would have known it by now. it is highly doubtful they were, considering the size needed to manipulate this market (and trust me, only OPEC can manipulate these markets and they were unsuccessful this year in trying to lower oil prices earlier. That's how huge and liquid the oil markets are.).

Secondly, if there were to be an investigation, it would conducted by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, not the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC regulates stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. while the CFTC regulates the derivative markets such as futures.

Good points, especially the second, but CNBC's own report says that someone's dumping oil in a big way, at least one "well-financed institutional investor". Who's doing it, and why?

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:23 PM | TrackBack

Uncommon Foolishness At Tompaine.Com

Just when I thought I'd take an evening off from the blog, Power Line pulls me back in. Rocket Man notes some cartoonish logic and bitterness at, where Greg Palast tells his readers that John Kerry really won Ohio. Any notion that he didn't apparently comes from a media conspiracy to cover up "spoilage":

I know you don't want to hear it. You can't face one more hung chad. But I don't have a choice. As a journalist examining that messy sausage called American democracy, it's my job to tell you who got the most votes in the deciding states. Tuesday, in Ohio and New Mexico, it was John Kerry.

Most voters in Ohio thought they were voting for Kerry. At 1:05 a.m. Wednesday morning, CNN's exit poll showed Kerry beating Bush among Ohio women by 53 percent to 47 percent. The exit polls were later combined withand therefore contaminated bythe tabulated results, ultimately becoming a mirror of the apparent actual vote. [To read about the skewing of exit polls to conform to official results, click here .] Kerry also defeated Bush among Ohio's male voters 51 percent to 49 percent. Unless a third gender voted in Ohio, Kerry took the state.

So what's going on here? Answer: the exit polls are accurate. Pollsters ask, "Who did you vote for?" Unfortunately, they don't ask the crucial, question, "Was your vote counted?" The voters don't know.

Here's why. Although the exit polls show that most voters in Ohio punched cards for Kerry-Edwards, thousands of these votes were simply not recorded. This was predictable and it was predicted.

You see where this is headed, don't you? Palast bases his entire argument on the fact that the pollsters got one result from their sampling while the actual count of the ballots turned out differently. Not only does Palast discard the much-larger sample of ballots versus street interviews, he deliberately uses the wrong polling data -- the midstream data that later sampling superceded.

Palast argues that the pollsters had it right before they got it wrong, and that the difference between a Bush win in Ohio (and also New Mexico, Palast argues) is the total provisional ballots plus the spoilage, which would comprise around 450,000 ballots overall. He also asserts that most of the provos resulted from challenges to overwhelmingly minority voters, an argument for which he provides no supporting evidence whatsoever. The strongest Kerry county in Ohio, Cuyahoga (Cleveland's county), only generated 25,000 provos. That's how Palast sets up his hypothesis that if all the provos are counted and the voter intentions somehow divined from the spoiled ballots, Kerry could make up the 136,000-vote difference.

It's a ludicrous argument, and anyone with a lick of common sense could tell you why.

First, even supposing the exit-poll numbers are what Palast claims (and they're not), which sample provides the better accuracy: interviews with 1,000 voters at a few random precincts -- likely all in accessible urban areas -- or 6,000,000 ballots? Based on the larger sample, one would expect the questionable 450,000 ballots to break along the lines of the 6,000,000. Kerry would have to win 293,000 to 157,000, almost a 2-1 margin. Even based on the exit polling, where Kerry was up by four or five points, you'd expect the remainder to split 237K-213K, only taking 24,000 off of Bush's lead.

But let's focus on the nugget of Palast's conspiracy theory: "spoilage". Palast spins such dark malevolence into the term that it's easy to forget what it means -- the voter simply did not follow the instructions. Palast accuses Ohio of using punch-card technology as a means of oppressing voters and maintaining an ability to steal elections, but we've used punch-card technology in most states for decades. People have used punch cards to elect Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, the real JFK, Ted Kennedy, Barbara Boxer, and whole choirs of other liberal politicians. The systems come with a 97%-98% success rate, a pretty good achievement for machines that get used in high numbers only once every two years.

Palast claims that more people went into the booth in Ohio intending on voting for John Kerry than George Bush. How he manages to divine that goes without explanation, but as in Florida in 2000, it's not intent that matters -- it's results, and for good reason. Election officials can judge results objectively. Even in a punch-card system, voters can check their ballot to make sure they handled it properly, and if they question its validity, they can ask for a replacement ballot and start over. Creating a valid ballot is the responsibility of the voter, and if the voter can't be bothered to double-check his work, then he disenfranchises himself.

I'll put it another way: if a voter cannot be held responsible for marking a ballot properly, why would we think that the electorate can make a responsible decision on who to elect?

In truth, as Rocket notes, Palast is being intellectually dishonest. He doesn't care about spoilage, or else he'd be checking Wisconsin, where pre-election polling put Bush ahead, or Iowa, or even Pennsylvania, where the margin of votes putting Kerry up on Bush was even smaller than Ohio (127,000 votes). He's using statistically suspect exit polling and intellectually bankrupt arguments about mishandled ballots because his candidate lost. He's whining, and unfortunately, it appears the left will continue to whine for the next four years just like they did with the last four.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:29 PM | TrackBack

Mrs. Edwards Has Our Prayers

There is a difference between an enemy and an opponent, a distinction lost on more than a few people on both sides of our necessary and beneficial political divide. Osama bin Laden, Abu Masab al-Zarqawi, and Mullah Omar are our enemies; John Kerry and John Edwards were our political opponents, but first they are our fellow Americans.

Today, the AP reports that Edwards' wife Elizabeth has been diagnosed with breast cancer:

Spokesman David Ginsberg said Mrs. Edwards, 55, discovered a lump in her right breast while on a campaign trip last week. Her family doctor told her Friday that it appeared to be cancerous and advised her to see a specialist when she could.

She put off the appointment until Wednesday so as not to miss campaign time.

The Edwards family went straight to Massachusetts General Hospital from Boston's Faneuil Hall after Kerry and Edwards conceded on Wednesday.

Mrs. Edwards had a needle biopsy performed at the hospital, where Dr. Barbara Smith confirmed the cancer, Ginsberg said.

I wondered at Edwards' concession speech; it hit several flat notes, which was uncharacteristic for the normally charismatic Senator, and Edwards looked peeved and distracted. For a man usually in tune with an event, I thought it seemed a poor performance. Now we know why.

Let's all hope for a quick and complete recovery for Mrs. Edwards, and keep her family in our prayers.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:13 PM | TrackBack

A picture is worth a thousand words

The MSM continues to insist ours is a nation divided and President Bush must therefore make concessions instead of rushing forward with his agenda. No time for an essay this morning, but this will suffice:


Hat tip: Sean Hannity.

Posted by Whiskey at 6:18 AM | TrackBack

Gulf War Syndrome Caused By Sarin Exposure: Researchers

The BBC reports that researchers working for the VA have determined that Gulf War veterans complaining of unexplained chronic illness have neural damage that indicates chronic, low-level exposure to sarin -- a possible explanation for Gulf War Syndrome:

The New Scientist journal has reported a leak of a US inquiry into the ill-health of veterans of the 1991 war. The US Department of Veterans Affairs' Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses is due to publish its findings next week. But the magazine said researchers have found neural damage consistent with the nerve agent used by Saddam Hussein.

The link is said to have been "crucial" to a change of heart by the US authorities over Gulf war syndrome.

After over a decade of denying a single root cause, and a lack of evidence of such, the US government will finally concur that the Gulf War vets have a specific war-related illness, one that can be diagnosed and hopefully treated. It may change the commonly held belief that Saddam never deployed chemical weapons against US troops during the first Gulf War, although the BBC offers another plausible explanation:

After the fighting was over, a large chemical weapons dump was blown up, creating a plume of gas, which would have contained sarin and which could have affected at least 100,000 allied soldiers, possibly far more, the New Scientist said.

I personally find that rather unlikely. Coalition forces specifically looked for Saddam's chemical weapons after the collapse of Iraq's defense in February 1991. Explosive ordinance demolition teams do not just blow up weapons -- they carefully inventory them first to ensure they don't do precisely what the BBC suggests. Could they have missed something, or could Saddam have purposely mislabeled them to keep them from detection? Possibly, but in the former case we had people who knew what to seek; in the latter, if the weapons were kept that well hidden, how could they have deployed them in battle?

The BBC report notes that coalition chemical-weapons monitors generated many false alarms during Operation Desert Storm. I would bet that some of those alarms weren't as false as first thought.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:56 AM | TrackBack

EU's Lisbon Strategy A Failure

Four years ago, under the prevailing winds of a booming global economy and the optimism generated by the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the European Union embarked on the Lisbon Strategy -- a plan to transform Europe into a single economy that would rival the US for global dominance. The Lisbon Strategy called for major reforms and investment into the EU's economic infrastructure, considered at the time to be ambitious but achievable. However, a new study conducted by a former Dutch premier has determined the Lisbon Strategy to be a failure, mostly due to the refusal of the EU's most prominent members to discipline themselves:

Commissioned by EU leaders in March, the study is a mid-term review of the Lisbon Strategy -- the ambitious set of social and economic reforms agreed by European heads of state four years ago. Then, with the dot-com boom in full-swing, unemployment falling and growth rates chugging along at more than 3 percent, the goal EU leaders set themselves of becoming the world's most competitive economy by 2010 looked ambitious but not impossible. Now, it has become a distant dream that even outgoing European Commission President Romano Prodi believes is unachievable. ...

France and Germany are two of the worst culprits, ignoring EU fiscal rules and single-market regulations, while failing to push through the painful reforms needed to make their economies more competitive and their social security systems more sustainable. But few EU countries, with the exception of the Nordic states, are in any position to boast about their housekeeping.

"The problem with Lisbon is not technocratic, it's political," says Paul Hofheinz, president of the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based free-market think tank. "At the end of the day, as long as it remains political suicide for politicians to put reform plans on the table in their countries, there will not be any reform." Fierce resistance to French and German attempts to make even minor changes to welfare rules have proved how difficult the task is in Europe.

Part of the problem with the Lisbon Strategy comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of why the American economy creates such dynamism -- and that misunderstanding is not limited to Europe. However, Europe loves to paint Americans as workaholics, a population obsessed with money and competition. They see themselves as a much more empathetic and mature society, where social concerns matter more than economic and culture most of all. As the Washington Times reports, Europe does not want to create a highly competitive economic culture that will overwhelm their Europeanness; they want economic prosperity with no extra effort.

And how ironic that the two worst offenders for violating the Lisbon Strategy agreements are France and Germany -- the two European nations most obsessed with competing against America, both economically and diplomatically. Both have entrenched socialism that has created nanny-states and a population addicted to their services. Germany's government almost fell when it attempted the mildest of reforms designed to lessen the overwhelming burden of its smothering entitlements; France hasn't even tried offering any serious reforms.

What the EU and its populations, especially in these two countries, cannnot grasp is that one does not build dynamic economies by enacting 32-hour work weeks and forcing businesses to give everyone a month off in the middle of summer. The power of creativity cannot survive overwhelming handicaps on the capital investments needed to turn creativity into production. Tax burdens and a lack of an open market approach to labor dooms the EU, especially the Old Europe members, to economic ennui and decay, especially as its populations age and fewer workers must support the social programs servicing an increasing number of retirees.

The EU can draft all the Lisbon Strategies it wants, but until Europe faces some hard truths about their impaired ability to compete, all will be doomed to failure. Europeans have to decide whether they want to create a unified, world-class economy -- or whether they're content to fall further and further behind the dynamic markets of the capitalist nations, especially the US. And Americans must also recognize the failure of the European models so we can stop transforming our economic powerhouse into a European nightmare.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:53 AM | TrackBack

Moore & Friends Despondent Over Bush Victory

Two reports this morning focus on the reaction among the entertainment elite to George Bush's re-election this week to a second term as President. As one might imagine, the mood in Hollywood has taken a steeper dive than a Bennifer film in its second release week. The Washington Times' Stephanie Mansfield takes Hollywood's emotional temperature:

For a rich and powerful demographic used to getting its way, Hollywood was downbeat yesterday as President Bush -- more heinous than a mid-February release date to so many celebrities and other bold-faced names -- made his gracious victory speech. ...

Long decried as out of touch with "the real America," Hollywood woke up to its worst nightmare on Main Street.

"This is definitely Kerry country," said Gabriel Snyder, senior writer for Variety, the industry bible.

One can only imagine the despair of the Hollywood stars over the specter of glittery state dinners and policy lunches that could have been: Barbra and Moby,, Uma Thurman and Viggo Mortensen, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, Bette Midler and George Clooney. Directed, perhaps, by Rob Reiner and Steven Spielberg.

Perhaps Hollywood might consider that American voters could indeed picture these policy tete-a-tetes, and such visions could have provided all the impetus needed to re-elect Bush. The last time Meryl Streep got involved in policy development, she almost put apple growers out of business with her phony Alar scare. Some of that list makes her look like a beacon of reason in comparison, and most of them generate resentment rather than sympathy when they pontificate without portfolio.

But of them all, the most outspoken and certifiably dishonest has disappeared. Michael Moore had pledged to unseat Bush by any means necessary, and after spending most of the year as the toast of the talk-show circuit and industry awards presentations, he has suddenly turned mute, according to both the Times and The Scotsman:

FOR the first time in years, Michael Moore was speechless.

The film-maker and author was keeping quiet yesterday as he digested the inconceivable: his books, films and campaigns had not even dented Mr Bushs political lead.

His book, Stupid White Men, and film Fahrenheit 9/11 have sold well in the United States as they have across the world - radicalising a young audience which had never before voted.

But yesterday the self-styled "capped crusader" was searching in vain for any evidence that the shadow he has cast over American politics for the last three years had touched the polling station.

For such an unremarkable blowhard, Moore managed to insinuate himself rather prominently into the electoral process. First he produced one of the most egregiously dishonest political propaganda films seen since Triumph of the Will in Fahrenheit 9/11, which even sympathetic journalists found detailed fact-checking necessary to perform while reviewing. He received the embrace of Democratic leadership and occupied a prominent spot during their convention; in fact, Tom Daschle may owe his retirement to a literal embrace of Moore at the film's DC premier.

Moore traveled to Florida with over a thousand cameras, salivating over documenting incidents of voter intimidation on Election Day. Having discovered that those urban legends were just that, Moore traveled to Ohio in the afternoon to stir up whatever mischief he could make. And at the end of the day, Moore found himself soundly rejected by the American electorate, either in spite or as a result of his best efforts to sway them.

So now they're quiet as church mice while they absorb their complete failure on the political stage. Their silence is as sweet music to my ears, I must admit. I advise you to enjoy it while it lasts. Hollywood and Michael Moore won't go away forever; they're too convinced of their moral superiority to leave quietly.

However, the Democrats may finally have learned to steer clear of them. Daschle learned that lesson one election too late.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 4:39 AM | TrackBack

Look Who Wants To Chat Now

The re-election of George Bush has resonated around the globe as a message of American determination in our current foreign policy. That message has apparently been heard quite clearly in Pyongyang and may push North Korea back to the multilateral negotiations it disdained during the campaign:

North Korea is likely to return to six-party talks on its nuclear programs now that the U.S. presidential election is over, Yonhap news agency quoted South Korean Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon as saying on Thursday. ...

"With the U.S. election over, if the United States pursues an early resumption of the six-party talks, there is a chance that North Korea will respond to a resumption, considering it now has to continue dealing with the Bush administration," Ban reportedly told a closed-door meeting of parliament's foreign affairs committee.

This confirms the handicap that the election placed on the Bush administration's attempts to force North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. John Kerry and his foreign-policy team -- mostly the same people who crafted the Agreed Framework treaty that Pyongyang broke almost before the ink was dry -- argued for a return to the unilateral approach that failed so spectacularly before. This rhetoric encouraged Kim Jong-Il to wait out the election for a better deal with a new Kerry administration, and made sure his intransigence got enough publicity to damage Bush's efforts to get re-elected. Kim knew that either Bush would have to accede to Pyongyang's demands if Bush wanted to claim progress on North Korea's nuclear proliferation or risk appearing a failure.

Let's be clear on this point -- debating the Korean question during the election was not unpatriotic or unacceptable; my objection was that Kerry was wrong and had chosen to hire all the same people who put us in this mess in the first place. Kerry had to enumerate his differences on major issues with George Bush, and on Korea I think he did so in an acceptable manner. (I have a much different opinion on his handling of the Iraq debate, with his rhetoric of the "coalition of the bribed", "grand diversions", and seizing on every tiny bit of bad news and magnifying out of all possible context to paint pictures of Gallipolian catastrophes.) Pyongyang's reaction came as an unavoidable side effect of open elections and free speech.

Fortunately, Bush stuck to his guns and won his re-election in spite of Kim's attempted extortion. Bush continues to leverage the major powers that surround Kim Jong-Il to force him to negotiate an end to his WMD, the best way for any peaceful solution that might exist to come to fruition. Kim may be the first foreign leader to understand our endorsement of the Bush Doctrine, but he won't be the last.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:25 AM | TrackBack

Exit Polls Misused, Not Inaccurate, Pollsters Say

After twenty-four hours of solidly negative coverage of the exit polls that led many to believe that John Kerry would cruise to an easy victory, the pollsters themselves spoke out in their own defense. Today's Washington Post reports that the data fed to the networks -- and released without authorization to Internet sources such as Drudge -- carried a specific warning of its incomplete status:

Results based on the first few rounds of interviewing are usually only approximations of the final vote. Printouts warn that estimates of each candidate's support are unreliable and not for on-air use. Those estimates are untrustworthy because people who vote earlier in the day tend to be different from those who vote in the middle of the day or the evening. For instance, the early national sample Tuesday that was 59 percent female probably reflected that more women vote in the day than the evening.

That is why the early leaks anger Lenski. "The basic issue here is the leaking of this information without any sophisticated understanding or analysis, in a way that makes it look inaccurate," he said.

After the survey is completed and the votes are counted, the exit poll results are adjusted to reflect the actual vote, which in theory improves the accuracy of all the exit poll results, including the breakdown of the vote by age, gender and other characteristics.

I wrote about this problem in my midday post on Tuesday. The problem with taking results from the middle of the survey is the incomplete nature of the sample. When the demographic of the polls showed that 59% of the responders were women, people cried "Fraud!" A more likely answer is that by mid-afternoon, when the numbers leaked, more women had voted than men. This simple analysis eluded the people who at first latched onto the premature raw data as a validation of John Kerry as well as those who used them to beat up exit polling in general.

Not that I carry any water for the idea of exit polling -- lately, we've had two elections where the exit polling impacted election coverage negatively, and some might argue actual voting as well. Exit polling has never been terribly predictive, as pollster Pat Caddell explained on Fox News this afternoon. It can give interesting demographic information about the vote after it's complete, but as a predictive model, it's a disaster.

Blaming the pollsters in this case looks more like shifting the blame for bad coverage. ABC's Charlie Gibson bluntly told viewers yesterday morning that the polling information "got it wrong," which isn't accurate in itself. Once the polls were complete, the information they yielded came close to matching the overall vote -- but the talking heads had already seized on the earlier, incomplete raw data for their punditry and the producers were using it to make calls on states. A computer crash that delayed the final results didn't help, either.

Putting an end to exit polling may be desirable, and if states upgrade their voting process to modern machines able to quickly and accurately tally ballots, they may be unnecessary for predictions. The best poll, after all, is the ballot itself. However, the pollsters do not deserve all of the blame for Tuesday's blown calls.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:14 AM | TrackBack

CNN Also Missed Kerry's Unity Call

In a sign that the mainstream media will not go gently into that good night, CNN's Netscape Network Election 2004 page included a picture of George and Laura Bush, smiling and waving for the camera, catching Bush mid-sentence. If you take a look at the properties of this picture (shown below), you'll find out what CNN thinks of President Bush.

As of 12:41 am CT, the filename is asshole.jpg -- another example of the objectivity and fairness so evidenced by CNN. (Hat tip: CQ reader Jinx McHue)

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:37 AM | TrackBack

November 3, 2004

UK Guardian All Bummed Out, Dude

Pity the poor UK Guardian, which tried valiantly to stick its nose into our election but wound up only irritating the very people it hoped to influence into voting for John Kerry. Now that George Bush has been re-elected for a second term, these die-hard leftists have reacted true to form -- they are immersing themselves in their own victimization:

When, some time after midnight, news came through that the exit-polls for Virginia were too close to call - a sure sign, we'd been warned, that Bush was in trouble - there was exhilaration of an intensity not felt since Stephen Twigg unseated Portillo. We were going to win!

The first email I received the following morning read: "F****d off, dejected, our hopes have been blown to shit."

The next one read: "As REM once sang: 'It's the end of the world as we know it.' Only unlike REM, I don't feel fine."

At around 11am, shock gave way to group therapy through shared experience: "The time difference was particularly cruel on Brits, who yet again went to bed thinking the Democrats had won." This was from a friend of a friend. "Did anyone else hear supposed-polling guru Bob Worcester say something on ITV along the lines of, 'I'm Bob Worcester, it's 2am, and I am calling it - it's PRESIDENT KERRY!'? A real bloody Michael Fish moment."

Please read the entire article; for parents, it's somewhat similar to the frequent life-isn't-fair-and-it's-all-your-fault whining that appears with remarkable frequency with pre- and post-adolescents. Emma Brockes throws everything into this jumbled stream-of-consciousness mess, including a healthy share of psychobabble:

This sense of powerlessness was also raised by American psychologists, who, anticipating high levels of disgruntlement among voters, were on standby yesterday to analyse the fallout. Dr Robert R Butterworth advised those individuals who felt depressed and despondent to take refuge in the long view, and warned of likely displays of "anger towards the electoral process, [that could] could result in alienation, cynicism and even antisocial activities".

Not to burst Brockes' self-involved bubble, but Americans don't hold elections to validate her existence or to make her feel better about life. Americans hold elections in order to determine the direction our government will take. While her concern about us is touching, perhaps she'd be better off worrying about British elections a bit more and dialing down the Armageddon references just a bit.

Brockes mentions that Americans got into the partisan pity party in their own effort to assuage liberal Brit depression:

At lunchtime, friends from America woke up and joined the chorus. With a defeated sneer, the Brits among them threatened to move home in protest; it isn't hard to imagine a Republican reply to this. "There's going to be a brain drain from this country which will leave the Red-State [Republican] morons to fend for themselves," wrote an American on the Guardian talk-boards. "I wonder what the immigration requirements are like in the UK?"

A friend in New York wrote: "The one consolation that people are clinging to is that he will fuck things up so badly in the next four years that the Democrats will move back into favour. That's if we still have a world." People in the city, he said, were wondering, "How we are going to survive the next four years. Unbelievable." I rang my cousin in Chicago. "I'm good," she said. "Well, no, actually, not great." The hope thing had prospered there, too. "We thought we were going to win. Bruce Springsteen ... the youth vote ... "

Can't you feel their pain as they realize, maybe for the first time in their lives, that life isn't a rock song and The Boss isn't God? The horror! No wonder they're so depressed.

However, Brockes' article does point out yet another reason to be grateful for Bush's re-election. In an age of war against Islamofascist aggression, the left's tendency to curl up in a ball and contemplate complete abdication from responsibility for their setbacks perfectly demonstrates why they cannot be trusted with command, and for that matter, why their criticisms so often wax hysterical. In serious times such as we face now, people this immature and self-absorbed offer nothing in terms of leadership. The teenagers need to wipe their tears in silence and allow the grown-ups to get to work now.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:18 PM | TrackBack

Pelosi Skips Calls For Unity, Melts Down

In the aftermath of the 2004 election debacle that saw the Democrats lose even more ground in Congress than two years ago, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi might have heeded John Kerry's call for unity and bipartisanship, putting aside the campaign rhetoric and divisiveness in order to find middle ground. After her reaction to the losses, it's clear that she didn't listen to Kerry's concession speech:

A day after strengthening the Republican Party's majority in the House, Speaker Dennis Hastert called on Democrats to assist GOP efforts to fight the war on terror, create jobs and expand health insurance to more Americans.

"I pledge to work with those Democrats who want to work with me to get good things done for the American people," Hastert said Wednesday.

But House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, stung by her party's losses on Election Day, seemed unlikely to accept the offer.

"The Republicans did not have an election about jobs, health care, education, environment, national security. They had an election about wedge issues in our country, and you know what they are," she said. "They exploited the loveliness of the American people, the devoutness of people of faith for a political end."

One could excuse Pelosi for sticking to the Terry McAuliffe playbook, in which Democrat leadership follow their own failures by accusing evil, greedy, corrupt, mean, lying Republicans of not reaching out to them in true bipartisan spirit. Democrats have been using this line since the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and while it resonated with the American electorate in 1998, it has led their party to three embarrassing electoral efforts in a row since then.

Rep. Tom Reynolds, who chaired the GOP's Congressional efforts in this election, analyzed Pelosi correctly:

"She lost seats," he said. "This is a demoralizing loss for House Democrats and is personally damaging to leader Pelosi."

When Pelosi first ascended to her role as Minority Leader, she replaced Dick Gephardt, who was blamed for allowing the House to slip from Democrat control in 1994, ending their 40-year reign. Pelosi was seen as more aggressive, more partisan than Gephardt, able to stand up to the GOP.

Unfortunately, Pelosi has failed in almost every way imaginable since she took the reins, and Democrats should reconsider their choice. Her moment in the national spotlight after the last State of the Union speech revealed her as a terrible spokesperson for the party, a woman who fills her speeches with the worst generalizations and demagoguery and whose delivery almost encourages people to dial 911 on her behalf. Her constituency includes the most radical and lunatic left-wing activists, the same people who pushed Howard Dean into the front-runner spot early on and tried to remold John Kerry into a tower of will.

Pelosi's leadership has been the ruin of her party. She has helped perpetuate the poisonous atmosphere in DC, and her ungracious comments today as well as her knee-jerk reaction to blame everyone but herself for her failure will not appeal to a campaign-weary American electorate. The Democrats need to quit demanding bipartisanship and start exhibiting it, and they need real leaders willing to work across the aisle rather than spit across it. If the Democrats want to compete in 2006, they need to jettison the Pelosis, McAuliffes, and Carvilles of their party now.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:52 PM | TrackBack

And I Thought American TV Was Bad

The Guardian reports that British television broadcaster Channel 4 has become so desperate for material that they have created a new "reality" TV show -- watching a human body decompose (via Drudge):

Channel 4, no stranger to challenging broadcasting taboos, is about to cross another televisual rubicon by filming the decomposition of a human body.

The broadcaster, which billed the show as a "unique scientific experiment", has in the past featured controversial documentaries showing the first images of aborted foetuses seen on British TV and, two years ago, Britain's first public autopsy for 170 years. ...

The plan is to film the body decomposing, which could take several months, in London's Science Museum, though not in an area open to the public.

So they plan to keep the decomposition outside of public view, but then broadcast the film of it across the British Isles? Laughably, the broadcaster defended the programming decision by claiming that the publicity stunt would yield important scientific results, even though decomposition studies take place in the US and their data is, presumably, available for peer review:

"We hope experts can learn more about the processes involved and that the data collected by the project can help forensic pathologists in murder investigations," said Simon Andreae, Channel 4's head of science and education.

Dr Richard Shepherd, a senior forensic pathologist and president of the British Association in Forensic Medicine who will lead a team of scientists, said: "This project represents an urgently required step forward for forensic medical research in this country."

Watching one body rot under one set of controlled circumstances will assist scientists and forensic investigators only when they happen to find a dead, rotting body inside a museum after several weeks. Pretending that this weird bit of performance art has any scientific value just provides a thin veneer of respectability to Channel 4's pandering to the morbid tastes of their public.

What other value the experiment has as entertainment is questionable at best. It does give us another simile for tedium, replacing the more mundane "watching paint dry" -- as in, viewing Channel 4 programming is like watching a body rot.

It should surprise no one that this same broadcaster owns the television rights to Fahrenheit 9/11.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:21 PM | TrackBack

Caption Contest Winners!

The votes are in ... the pundits have spoken ... the AARP has filed lawsuits in every state of the nation ... it all only means one thing -- the guest judge has picked the winners of the latest Captain's Caption Contest! The Anchoress would just like to thank everyone for their patience while waiting for the results:

Try to keep the excitement under control, people!

Here are the winners!

Captain's Award (Dan Rather Field Reporting Award) - Famous Mort:

(AP) "Kerry Energizes Crowd to 'Dangerous Levels'"
by Nedra Pickler

(MIAMI) Soon-to-be-President Kerry energized a standing-room-only crowd of rabid supporters that left his GOP competition feeling, well, flaccid, as polls show that Kerry leads lame duck Bushitler by a whopping 120% among likely voters and an astounding 200% among dead, incarcerated, or incarcerated and dead voters. Paramedics were called to the speech dozens of times to provide aid for Democratic supporters overcome by Sen. Kerry's awesome personal charisma, razor-edged nuance, and overpowering masculinity...

You Have The Conn #1 (AARParanoia) - Mike:

"Sourpusses for Kerry" wonder whether the rather normal looking younger gal is a Karl Rove plant who is just faking it.

You Have The Conn #2 (Hollywood Endorement Award) - Jeauxjeaux:

Gary Busey and George Hamilton find time between tanning booth appointments to man the lines for Kerry/Edwards.

You Have The Conn #3 (Slo-Mo Photo Award) - Stephen Macklin:

At a rally today, Kerry supporters showed their enthusiasm by attempting to start "The Wave".

Report to Sick Bay (Jane Russell Memorial Award) - Rodney Dill:

"Silly! We're not known as the flip-flop brigade because of our sandals, we're know as the flip-flop brigade because we don't wear bras."

Thanks to everyone who entered, and congratulations to the winners! Remember, here at CQ, everyone's a winner -- just some of us have higher winning percentages than others. Comments on this post will remain open, as usual, in order for the winners to gloat, the others to disparage The Anchoress's intellect and/or my parentage, and for any other entries submitted just for the sheer enjoyment of amazing your friends and confounding your enemies.

Send me a photograph or an e-mail with a link to a great picture you think should be the subject of our next Caption Contest, and let me know if you'd like to be the guest judge!

Note: The Caption Contests will continue as scheduled. I would ask CQ readers to skip any John Kerry pictures for a while, now that the election is over. There are all sorts of great targets out there -- Michael Moore could give us enough material for years, as an example ...

UPDATE: Left Rodney's name off the Sick Bay Award!

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:20 PM | TrackBack

Dayton Slouches Back To DC

Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton, who did his best Brave Sir Robin* impersonation last month when he "bravely ran away, away" from DC after a security briefing that caused no one else to leave town, has decided to make his triumphal re-entry now that George Bush won the election:

Sen. Mark Dayton said Wednesday he is reopening his Senate office after closing it last month, citing terrorist threats.

Dayton, D-Minn., said that the threats outlined in classified intelligence reports that prompted the closure covered activity only through Election Day.

"The timeline for the heightened threat has passed in those reports," Dayton said in a conference call with reporters. "I will be opening the office effective next Monday."

Dayton announced that he would release the declassified report next week so people can make up their own minds about his decision to run screeching for the hills. However, the report will not outweigh two incontrovertible facts:

1. No one else who read their report went into hiding.
2. Dayton announced the re-opening of his office the day after the election.

Only two explanations for these facts exist. Either Dayton got spooked and, without so much as a "women and children first" thought, hid under the first blanket he could find -- or he planned the entire stunt as a way to embarrass the President just before the election. Neither explanation should ease the anger and revulsion Minnesotans should feel towards their Senator for his actions during wartime.

It's time to get serious about ensuring that Dayton is a one-termer.

* - Gratuitous Monty Python reference.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 3:20 PM | TrackBack

Bush's Victory Lap

I had to take the First Mate to the doctor's office for a flu shot (immune-depressed transplant patients are always at the top of the priority list), and I TiVo'd the President's victory speech. I caught part of it on the radio but wanted to watch the entire speech on its own before commenting.

I noticed an odd reaction on my part when I saw Dick Cheney and George Bush on stage at the same time; three years of war have made me worry about an attack every time they make a joint appearance. At some point those worries will be behind us, but not yet.

Cheney introduced Bush as Edwards did Kerry, but focused on the election and Bush rather than Edwards' approach, which seemed more aimed at keeping a spot warm in the 2008 primaries. The VP's speech also seemed shorter than that of his election counterpart, for which I am grateful.

Bush started out by reminding his gathered supporters that he represented all Americans, reaching out to his poltical opponents. He didn't spend too much time on that point, avoiding the maudlin; perhaps he would have been better off talking more on that note at the very beginning, in order to emphasize the healing and unity that we all want.

He spoke movingly about his family and complimented Cheney and his family before thanking all of his campaign staff. He got a big cheer and a laugh from me whn he called Karl Rove "The Architect", in what had to be a mild slap at conspiracy theorists who love to blame Rove for every imagined evil of this Administration. He spent more time thanking his many supporters, as is appropriate.

His best moments, I think, came when he sketched out the tasks which we have faced and those we still face. He made it clear that we are not going to back away from the war on terror, and indeed it seems clear that the mandate he received yesterday centers on his efforts to win that struggle. America will not be deterred in our determination to defeat this enemy.

A good speech -- gracious enough, and inspiring at times. Not necessarily a great speech, but the campaigning is over.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:49 PM | TrackBack

Kerry's Concession

I'm watching John Kerry prepare to make his concession speech on Fox News, and I'll live-blog it. I probably won't get the chance to do that with the President's speech because of some appointments...

12:55 CT: Teresa Heinz Kerry and her family have entered the Boston hall where Kerry will make his concession speech. She looks exhausted. I wonder if she might be relieved it's over...

12:56 - Kerry has just been announced and is taking the stage, broadly smiling ...

12:57 - Edwards will speak first, interestingly enough. He promises to continue to "fight for every vote", even though they're conceding. That seems to me to be a very ungracious thing to say -- as if the administration is suppressing the vote. Edwards just can't escape the urban-legend pimping ...

1:00 - Edwards gets more to the point, showering Kerry with praise and exhorting their supporters to stay involved. This is how he should have started his speech ...

1:03 - Edwards introduces Kerry. If the Massachussetts Senator is smart, he'll keep it brief ...

1:04 - Frankly, a terrific start, making Edwards look like a piker, and a rejection of the idea that elections should be won in court ...

1:07 - I just saw the first genuine emotion from John Kerry during this campaign, and the crowd really responded. Like Al Gore, he saved his best for his valediction, it appears...

1:10 - Kerry thanks his "band of brothers" for speaking the truth. One assumes he excuses David Alston, of course. Perhaps the Senator might finally consider apologizing to the rest of his fellow Vietnam veterans for slandering them and creating a political career off of their suffering? ....

1:13 - Why all the childrens' stories? I don't really get that. One would be enough. This speech has started sounding like a Senatorial ramble. It's stopped being inspiring and has become rather mundane and boring ...

1:15 - "Whether or not our candidate wins, we all wake up as Americans, and that is the greatest privilege" ... That was a good rhetorical flourish, and now he uses that to call for an end to a partisan divide. He's back on track, at least for now ...

1:19 - A good speech by an exhausted and emotional candidate -- not a great speech, but occasionally inspiring. What can one do with a concession speech? He did a better job than his running mate.

CNN is a bit cynical about the Kerry/Edwards calls for unity, interestingly enough -- they all say the bipartisanship will last exactly long enough to get to the first judicial nomination. I tend to agree. The Democrats have fueled themselves for four years on hatred, and that addiction will be hard to shake. However, trying to block nominations in a Senate in which they have a ten-seat disadvantage will be positively Quixotic, and a sign that the Democrats learned nothing from the last two elections.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:46 PM | TrackBack

Our Very Short National Nightmare Is Over

I just woke up from my post-election exhaustive collapse to Fox News on the TV and CNN on my laptop announcing that John Kerry has decided to concede Ohio and the election to George Bush:

Democratic Sen. John Kerry phoned President Bush on Wednesday to concede the presidential election, aides in both camps said.

President Bush was to deliver a victory statement at 3 p.m. ET, Bush aides said. Sen. Kerry's aides said he was expected to make a concession speech at 1 p.m. ET at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts.

A Kerry adviser said the campaign had concluded that the too-close-to-call battleground state of Ohio was not going to come through for the Democrats.

The adviser said there was no way to gain votes on Bush without an "exhaustive fight," something that would have "further divided this country."

I am delighted that John Kerry finally came to this conclusion, although I wish he had reached it a few hours earlier. However, I've never run for office, especially the highest in the land, so I cannot imagine the disappointment that Kerry must feel at this moment. And not just Kerry -- his staff and volunteers have to be crushed this morning, and he had to consider how to best serve them as well.

In reaction, President Bush has scheduled a victory speech an hour after Kerry makes his concession public, and by all accounts, both men will emphasize that healing is paramount. I would expect both men to be gracious towards their opponents, and to call for an end to any litigation aimed at overturning the electoral results.

What does this election mean for George Bush and for America?

First, as the media has discovered, George Bush actually appeals to the American public. Even with a big voter turnout, or likely because of it, George Bush just won the first majority for a president since his father's election in 1988. Not only did he win his election, he made electoral history by gaining in both the Senate and House at the same time, unseating the Democratic leader in the Senate at the same time. No one has seen that kind of electoral performance by a president since ... 2002.

Do you think it might be time for the media and the Democrats to drop the notion that George Bush is an idiot?

Now, with what looks like a 10-seat majority in the Senate and a 30-vote gap in the House and with his newfound popular-vote mandate, Bush has heavyweight-class political clout with which to push his agenda in the second term. More importantly for his domestic agenda, Bush has a clear majority for his judicial nominations, especially for the three or four Supreme Court nominations that will undoubtedly occur. Democrats paid the price for their obstructionism in the upper chamber, especially Tom Daschle, and don't think for a moment that the message has not been delivered.

In terms of foreign policy, the other nations of the world may be stunned to learn that their desires had little effect on an American electorate they assumed was ready for a change. This is a strong endorsement of American independence of action and a rejection of the notion of a "global test", which will force the Europeans to reconsider their intransigence. Certainly North Korea and Iran know that far from being let off the hook, they can expect a newly-strengthened George Bush to increase the pressure on them to fall into line.

And most importantly, the Iraqis know that America won't cut and run on them. I'm not convinced that a Kerry administration would have been able to do that, but nothing Kerry ever said made me confident that they had the courage to stick out any bad news there to accomplish the overall mission. Now it won't be an issue and the insurgents and Islamists that have tried all year to shake American resolve know that their own mission has failed. Fallujah will find out what that means for the dead-enders very soon.

What does it mean for the Democrats? They have lost three successive elections, retreating in both houses of Congress, despite the best efforts of Hollywood, George Soros, the mainstream media, and their leader Terry McAuliffe. Or ... perhaps they continue to lose because of all these people. One Democratic analyst on Fox just talked about the New York fundraiser in July being the turning point of the campaign, when Whoopi Goldberg and friends put on an obscenity-laced hatefest regarding George Bush, and Kerry referred to the Hollywood elite as the "heart and soul of America". I don't know that it tipped the scales in the end -- I think Kerry's phoniness and numerous vacillations did him in, which Democrats will be loathe to admit -- but the fallout revealed a strong distaste for the bitter, hatefilled rants of those who are paid to entertain.

The biggest loser, in my mind, will not be John Kerry, whose limitations as a candidate were well known prior to his elevation as party standardbearer. Terry McAuliffe has destroyed the modern Democratic Party, taking it from a political force dedicated to the spread of traditionally liberal values throughout the world, support of the working person, and government solutions for real problems. I never agreed with the latter as a philosophy, which is why I am a conservative. But under McAuliffe, the Democrats have become a shrieking bunch of hysterics, spouting conspiracy theories, promoting urban legends, and suing their way to power when denied by the American electorate.

He has destroyed the party -- and the Democrats have allowed him to continue his leadership. Will they finally retire Terry? Until they do, they will never win a major election, and the next time out, they might give the GOP a filbuster-proof majority in the Senate if they don't wake up and start getting serious about being a responsible alternative to the Republicans.

All in all, this election provided another historical moment in American politics. If 2002 didn't make this clear, voters clearly are realigning themselves, and the GOP will shortly be a majority party. George Bush gets the credit -- and the Democrats can only blame themselves for their own leadership.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:54 AM | TrackBack

For your victory celebration

Here's a little treat for your victory party. (I saw this on The Corner yesterday but not able to post at the time.)

Posted by Whiskey at 11:53 AM | TrackBack

Kerry concedes!

Both Fox and AP are reporting that Kerry called President Bush to concede. President Bush to make public announcement within the next couple of hours.

UPDATE: Kerry will make public concession at 1:00 pm Eastern time.

UPDATE: Kerry concession speech seems to be delayed by logistics. Stand by.

Posted by Whiskey at 11:00 AM | TrackBack

The Guardian Strikes Out

So much for the Guardian's Operation Clark County:

Bush -- 34,444 (50.96%)
Kerry -- 32,824 (48.56%)

As the Professor would say ... Heh.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:16 AM | TrackBack

Provisional Ballots And The Election

After a couple of hours, the new count of provisional ballots in Ohio appears that it will barely outstrip the margin of victory by George Bush over John Kerry. With 10 smaller counties left to report their provos, Ohio has 135,149, including 24,788 from Cuyahoga County. At the moment, the Ohio Secretary of State's website shows that Bush has a lead of 133,164 votes, with 99.9% of all precincts reporting. The gap between the two numbers is significant legally, if not for the overall result.

Races in Ohio get automatically reviewed under two scenarios. First, by statute, if the margin of victory does not exceed 0.25% of the overall votes cast for that race, a recount is automatically undertaken. The gap for President is much broader than that -- 2.44%, making a recount unnecessary. The second regulatory threshold is if the margin fails to exceed the number of provisional ballots cast, the provisional ballots must be reviewed and qualified ballots counted before the results are final. It looks like the latter case will automatically be invoked at this stage.

It doesn't matter anyway. The Kerry/Edwards campaign wanted to make the case that 250,000 provisional ballots remained, which was clearly an exaggeration. Assuming that absentee ballots, including those from the military, broke exactly even between the two candidates (and that would be a hell of an assumption for military ballots), the remaining provos would all have to be legal and almost every one of them would have to vote for John Kerry.

It's ridiculous on its face. First, as veteran pollworkers told news organizations all night long, provisional ballots have a low rate of acceptance, usually around 25% at best. A good deal of them wind up being cast by ineligible voters, people who went to the wrong precinct or have no proof of residence. Even giving them a 75% approval rating, the best Kerry could get would be around 90,000 fresh ballots into the calculation. If every single one of them voted for Kerry, not only would that be extremely suspicious, it would still leave Kerry about 40,000 votes shy of victory.

Once that math starts to sink in at Kerry's campaign HQ, I suspect we'll be hearing a concession from the once and future Massachussetts Senator. The math will sink in elsewhere in the party, and as I heard at least one Democratic spokesperson say on television a couple of hours ago, Kerry will be forced to concede by his own party. Attempting to pull another Florida after losing by so many votes, and losing the popular vote by over three points, will be disastrous to the Democrats.

Expect the concession speech by noon today. All the votes will be counted, of course, but the outcome is not in doubt. Only the character of the loser is.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:39 AM | TrackBack

Final Thoughts On The Election

I have just a few more thoughts to share with everyone on this election. I started this blog about a year ago, and although I didn't conceive of it as an election project, it certainly became that. It has been my privilege and pleasure to share my thoughts and opinions with you, and my honor that so many of you have become regular readers.

One aspect of this election that may have been lost in all this analysis is that we successfully held a national election in the middle of the war on terror -- and while we had a highly negative and immature discourse, no one shied away from speaking out, and we turned out in record numbers (at least it looks that way now), rather than cower under our beds. Democrat or Republican, Libertarian or Green, pat yourselves on the back. You just won a major battle against the terrorists.

Bush won an absolute majority of the popular vote, by more than three points, and took about a 30-vote majority in the Electoral College. Once the Kerry campaign learns to do math in the morning, this election will have little or no stigma attached to it, hopefully lightening the political mood for the next four years. Everybody voted, no one got chased from the polling station, and that means we can give up the conspiracy theories and the demonization that has poisoned our political processes for the last two election cycles.

I'm hopeful. Of course I wanted Bush to win, but my primary concern was that we have a clear result. We've seen that come to pass. The people have spoken; now it's time to move on with the nation's business.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:50 AM | TrackBack

Ohio Provisional Ballots: The New Democratic Mythology

CQ reader and fellow insomniac Byron Matthews found this tally of provisional ballots for Ohio, showing that the total number of provos -- 76,027 -- comes up to just over half of Bush's lead in the state.

This race is over. Even Democrats can do math.

UPDATE: Maybe I can't -- Cuyahoga has nothing listed, meaning that they haven't counted there. I believe that the Democrats estimated 25,000 provos there. If that isn't the final tally, the Ohio Secretary of State will probably have the updated totals tomorrow. Mea culpa...

UPDATE II: 3:28 AM CT -- Bush now leads by 171,000 votes in Ohio. My math is at least good enough to realize that 125,000 provos cannot outweigh that margin. Ohioans have spoken. Let's demand that John Kerry do the right thing and concede so that we can present a confident and united front, at home and especially abroad.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:33 AM | TrackBack

No Concession

John Edwards just told Kerry supporters that the campaign would not issue any statements on the race until at least tomorrow night, and plan on vigorously pursuing the provisional ballots cast in Ohio. Right now the estimates on the number of such ballots range from 170,000 to 250,000. Even on the outside edge, that would require Kerry to win 187,501 ballots, opposed to 62,499 for Bush, to edge Bush by one. It's unlikely in the extreme that he will beat Bush 3-1 in the provos. It's just another way for the Kerry/Edwards campaign to demonstrate their classlessness.

UPDATE: BamaBear makes a great point in the comments on an earlier point. The media won't call Ohio when Bush has a 125,000-vote lead with 97% of the precincts reporting -- but they just gave Michigan to Kerry, when he has an 89,000-vote lead with 78% of the precincts reporting? Can someone explain that one to me?

UPDATE II: New Mexico -- 30,000-vote gap, 5% lead, 95% of precincts reporting ... and CNN won't call it for Bush?

UPDATE III: 2:06 AM CT ... Bush leads Kerry in Ohio by 136,000 votes with 98% of the precincts reporting. Bush continues to widen the gap in the Buckeye State and putting an exclamation point on his victory there. Too bad Kerry is too self-obsessed to recognize defeat.

UPDATE IV: 2:28 AM CT -- Bush now has a 144,000-vote lead in Ohio with 99% of the precincts reporting. It's over, folks! Call your local Democrat party to stress that to them.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 1:35 AM | TrackBack

Nevada Starts To Swing Towards Bush

One of the wildcard states in this election was Nevada, and it appears that Nevadans relished that status. The gap right now is about 10,000 towards Bush with 65% of precincts reporting, and it looks likely that Bush can add Nevada to his column.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 1:28 AM | TrackBack

Iowa Goes Bush

I'm going to beat the major news outlets on this one -- as I predicted, Iowa has swung back solidly towards Bush, who now has a 12,000-vote lead with 94% of the precincts counted in our neighbor to the south. I think that we can safely say that Iowa is now in the Bush column, and adding in New Mexico, that gives Bush 281 electoral votes.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:51 AM | TrackBack

Whither Ohio?

Fox and NBC have called Ohio for George Bush, and with 92% of the precincts reporting, Bush has a two-point lead. The other major networks have yet to call Ohio, but the reluctance has more to do with Florida 2000 than Ohio 2004. Kerry's bastion of support, Cuyahoga County, has reported 99% of its precincts now, and Bush is still up by 102,000 votes. Athens, where they've reported 2/3rds of their votes, split 2-1 for Kerry -- but if you work the math, there's only 6,000 possible upside there. There may be another 6,000 in Lucas, but after that it gets mighty thin. Kerry has run out of votes. Ohio should be in everyone's red column by this point.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:37 AM | TrackBack

Daschle May Have Pulled It Out

Tom Daschle, who looked as though he was heading to defeat as soon as an hour ago, now has pulled ahead in his bid for re-election to his South Dakota Senate seat. CNN shows Daschle up by about three thousand.

UPDATE: No -- I think they had miscalculated. Now it shows Thune up by 2% and 6,000 votes.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:23 AM | TrackBack

NBC Calls The Election For Bush

NBC just gave Ohio and Alaska to George Bush, putting the President at 269 electoral votes, guaranteeing at least a tie, and the GOP-controlled House of Representatives would certainly put Bush back in the White House. If New Mexico goes Bush, which it looks like it will, that gives him 274 and a clear victory.

UPDATE: Bush just edged ahead in Iowa with 87% reporting -- by a few hundred votes. I told you the momentum was with Bush! Let's hope he holds it.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:07 AM | TrackBack

November 2, 2004

Upper Midwest Tightens Up (Except For Us)

The three big Upper Midwest states that the GOP thought might be pickups in 2004 have improved still further for George Bush. Despite having a hard time with the urban centers in each of these states, Bush trails by only one point in Wisconsin and Iowa and just two in Michigan. In each of these states, Bush trailed by double digits after the urban precincts filed their votes. The president has the momentum and hopefull will ride it to a victory in at least one of these states, and preferably all three.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:53 PM | TrackBack

Fox Calls Ohio For Bush

Fox News has called Ohio for George Bush, putting the president within four electoral votes of winning his re-election. According to Fox, the precincts left in Cuyahoga County won't have enough impact to change the direction of the vote in the Buckeye State. That puts George Bush at 266 electoral votes, meaning that New Mexico will put him over the top -- and Bush leads in NM by 4 points with 74% of their precincts reporting.

So much for Ohio being a swing state! Hugh Hewitt, as you might imagine, is delighted...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:42 PM | TrackBack


Fox News just called Ohio for Bush!

Posted by Whiskey at 11:42 PM | TrackBack

If Bush Gets Ohio, New Mexico, And Colorado ...

... he's been re-elected with 271 electoral votes. Even if Bush loses Nevada and Alaska, he wins the election. And in my mind, we still look pretty good to win by a small margin in Wisconsin. The major urban areas have already reported most of their results (Milwaukee over 80% and Dane County -- Madison -- two-thirds complete). The suburban and rural vote still has yet to roll in, and that's where Bush's strength lies.

Not only that, but Bush is making a bit of a comeback in Minnesota as our own suburb/exurb vote starts coming in. In the past hour, he's made up about 25,000 of his gap and now trails by a shade under six points. The race here in the North Star state looks like it will go on for a while.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:17 PM | TrackBack

Michigan And Wisconsin Both Lean Kerry

The vagaries of the random precinct reporting have moved the states of Wisconsin and Michigan to the Kerry leaners, according to the AP. With the urban precincts starting to report heavily, the votes originally swung significantly towards Kerry, but have gradually moved back towards the center. That puts all of the Upper Midwest as Kerry-leaners, at this point, which is where they went in 2000.

Flash: ABC just called Florida for Bush. That puts us up to 235 or so electoral votes ...

UPDATE: Wisconsin continues to push back towards Bush. Kerry now only has a 1% edge over Bush with 47% of precincts reporting. If Milwaukee and Madison have reported in, the state may go back to leaning Bush in the next hour...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:47 PM | TrackBack

Minnesota Tightening Up, Michigan Bouncing

Taking a look around the Upper Midwest, we're seeing the presidential race tighten up in Minnesota. The suburbs and exurbs have finally started to report, and John Kerry's lead has dropped to 7.5%. We think that Kerry may have hit his high-water mark for Minnesota, although we're not sure how much of the Iron Range has reported, and he may have built up enough of a lead to withstand the more conservative suburban vote.

Michigan shifted back to a Kerry leaner, but that's because the urban precincts of Wayne County have reported in. A flood of Kerry votes came in all at once from Detroit, so Kerry got a double-digit swing. Looking at the county map for Michigan, though, that's the only strong point for Kerry so far this election. Bush could reclaim that lead as more suburbs and exurbs come back to the table.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:09 PM | TrackBack

More Leaners Towards Bush

Taking a look at the AP map, here are a few additions leaners toward Bush: Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. NM went to Gore last time out by a whisker, but with 27% reporting, Bush leads by 5. He's up by 10 in AZ with 47% reporting and 7 points in CO with 13% reporting. Expect to see Arizona get called for Bush in the next few minutes, affirming the GOP grip on John McCain's state.

Keep watching Wisconsin and Michigan -- Bush continues his lead there, as well as in Ohio and Florida. In fact, he added a point to his leads in both states in the past few minutes. Momentum is starting to build, I think, for a significant win.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:55 PM | TrackBack

Florida Coming Into Focus

None of the networks will dare call this race anytime soon, but with 84% of its precincts reporting, Bush is maintaining his five-point lead. The key counties of Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach all have results coming in now, and the gap still appears significant.

If Bush can hold onto Florida and Ohio and pick up Wisconsin, this race is over -- and if he takes Michigan too, it may be significant enough to force a concession from Kerry.

PLEASE NOTE!!! -- We can be heard on our Internet stream now at this link, doing the breaks on the Hugh Hewitt show. Check us (and Hugh) out!

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:36 PM | TrackBack

AP Announces Significant Bush Leaners

The AP has updated its election map, and has put the following states in the Bush-leaning column:

Wisconsin - Bush 56-43 (9% reporting)
Michigan - Bush 55-43 (5%)
Ohio - Bush 52-47 (24%)
Colorado - Bush 56-43 (5%)
Washington - No data reporting?

Presumably, the AP has some exit polling for Washington that supports that decision, but that would be an unexpected and stunning result...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:10 PM | TrackBack

Big Trunk Joins Us

Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson just joined us, and tells us that Bush/Cheney HQ was inundated with complaints about polling irregularities -- he promises us an update at the top of the hour.

With a number of states reporting, the news starts looking pretty good. Wisconsin has 4% of their precincts reporting and Bush is up by 15. Bush also leads -- surprisingly -- in Michigan by seven points, even with Macomb County reporting in. Iowa hasn't begun reporting vote results yet, but if Bush hangs onto Wisconsin and Michigan, it's over.

Ohio: Bush 52-47, 15% reporting. Hmmmm.

UPDATE: AP shows Wisconsin a Bush "leaner" - with 8% reporting, Bush has a thirteen-point lead. This would be a tremendous capture from the Democrats...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:50 PM | TrackBack

Minnesota Results Start Coming In

We're looking at the results from Minnesota as they begin reporting. Right now with 1.5% of the precincts in, Kerry leads Bush 52-47. However, almost all of the precincts reporting are from Hennepin County, with Minneapolis driving the liberal vote here. Hardly any outstate results have come in. It seems to me that Kerry should be up by considerably more that five points from these precincts -- possibly pointing to a Bush conversion. We'll know more when Ramsey County (Saint Paul) comes in.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:34 PM | TrackBack

Florida Creeps In, Ohio Starts Rolling

With slightly under half of all precincts reporting in Florida, Bush is still up, but the lead has settled down to seven points as Broward County started reporting. We still haven't heard from Miami-Dade or West Palm Beach, so keep checking back. Quite a bit of the Panhandle has yet to be heard from, too.

Ohio, on the other hand, looks stronger. Cuyahoga has pretty much reported, and Bush has pulled ahead with 5% of the precincts reporting now. This looks better than it did earlier.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:12 PM | TrackBack

Voter Fraud In Duluth?

David Strom, our friend from the Taxpayers League, lets us know that allegations have been made that a suspicious number of voters being bused into the polling stations, with "massive vouching" going on. Minnesota allows registration with a registered voter vouching for the registrant instead of insisting on more positive ID. We'll stay on top of this, as local media seems to have responded to this story.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:03 PM | TrackBack

Senate Update

Fox and CNN have both called the Oklahoma Senate race for Coburn. This was a hard fought, sometimes nasty race.

OOPS: Ed and I did a double-post, so see below for his comments.

Posted by Whiskey at 8:00 PM | TrackBack

Coburn Holds The Oklahoma Senate Seat For GOP

Not all the festivities have to do with John Kerry or George Bush. In Oklahoma, the GOP candidate for Senate pulled out a tight race to hold the seat, after being accused of forced sterilizations:

Conservative Tom Coburn on Tuesday defeated his Democratic opponent in one of the nation's tightest Senate races and will succeed retiring Don Nickles, also a Republican, NBC and ABC television networks projected.

That's good news for the GOP, which had started to sweat this race over the past few weeks,

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:56 PM | TrackBack

Old Dominion Stays Red

Fox News has called Virginia for Bush with 45% precincts reporting.

Posted by Whiskey at 7:52 PM | TrackBack

New Jersey Called Too Soon?

Watching Fox News, I see that they called New Jersey for Kerry very quickly, before posting any results. However, with 2% reporting now, Bush holds a 1-point lead over Kerry. Fox and CNN must have called it based on their exit polling, but it looks like it's too close to call based on the results. Keep an eye on the Garden State. It may wind up becoming the Florida of 2004 -- called too soon...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:39 PM | TrackBack

Eastern Polls Close

CNN and Fox just called New Jersey for John Kerry with no precincts reporting, indicating that their exit polls must be rather strong. A good chunk of the northeastern Atlantic seaboard has been called for Kerry now, but that was expected. So far -- no surprises, although I'm surprised that so many of these have been called with no vote counts.

Florida so far shows rather strongly for Bush, but Miami-Dade and Palm Beach haven't reported yet. Nor has any of the panhandle, either. At this point, with 18% of the precincts reporting, Bush has an 11-point lead, a good head start. No numbers yet on Ohio or Pennsylvania.

UPDATE: South Carolina goes Bush, again no surprise. I'm not surprised by the caution being shown by Fox and CNN, but I am surprised at how quickly both have called a couple of states for Kerry without getting any vote counts first. Keep a close eye on them. Not alleging anything yet, and these states are expected to stay blue -- but it's worth re-checking later.

One interesting phenomenon is the popular vote. With Bush weak along the eastern seaboard, his 13-point lead there at this stage looks a little odd. It's not meaningful yet, but it's certainly unusual.

UPDATE II: Fox exit polling shows that Bush took the Hispanic vote by ten points in Florida -- very good news for the GOP.

UPDATE III: NBC calls North Carolina for Bush, even though there was a two-point gap with 6% of the precincts reporting. The Senate race looks like it's leaning towards the Democrat, Erskine Bowles.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:05 PM | TrackBack

Election, 6:36 PM - Looking Good So Far

Instead of updating the same post over and over, I'll post new thoughts as we go along in sepearate entries. Checking the election ticker on Fox and the CNN election website, and the early results are fairly promising, if unsurprising. CNN called Vermont for Kerry, not exactly a shocker, and Indiana, Knetucky, West Virginia, and Georgia for Bush as expected. The overall vote tabulated shows Bush up 15 points, but it's very, very early.

So far, nothing's been called for Virginia, although Bush is up strong there with 5% of the vote counted. Expect that to get called next -- and Kerry's campaign insisted this weekend that they would carry Virginia.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:36 PM | TrackBack

Election Day Observations, Midday

I went to vote first thing this morning. When we arrived at our polling place, the line snaked around the vestibule like a confused boa constrictor and went out the door, into the rain. At first I assumed we would be there for hours, but at 7 am precisely, the line began moving and kept going steadily. After 10 minutes, the First Mate and I finally made our way to the check-in station. One of the judges saw me providing sighted-guide to the FM (she's blind) and stopped us.

"Are you going into the booth with her?" the poll worker asked me.

"Yes," I replied, "I do this every year."

"You have to have an election judge go with you," she told us.

Now, I had no real objection to that -- after all, I'm not doing anything wrong and I don't have paranoia about people knowing how I voted. But the statement amused me as much as it irritated my wife, and I challenged the poll worker on it. I told her I had assisted my wife in every election since we'd been married and no one had questioned the legality of doing so before now. She insisted that we needed two judges, one from each party, to supervise my assistance to the FM.

Putting aside the urge to ask why a Green Party judge wasn't needed, I politely asked her to check with the supervisor to determine the necessity of adult supervision for a pair of middle-aged voters. She went off while we checked in, and came back a couple of minutes later to let me know that no supervision was necessary.

Other than that, the entire process went smoothly -- and quickly. Despite having about a hundred people in front of us, the FM and I (and my neighbor/co-worker/buddy, who carpooled with us) finished about twenty minutes after the polls opened. The poll workers constantly swept through the building, insisting that any partisan displays be removed or covered up and reminded the voters that no politicking was allowed within 100 feet of the polling station.

Now that a few hours have gone by, I've read many reports of minor disturbances, although the Milwaukee tire-slashing certainly wasn't minor. MoveOn apparently crowded too close to a number of polling stations here in the Twin Cities, prompting 400 complaints by 10 am, but all in all, the complaints have not involved anyone being barred from polling stations. I'm optimistic that good preparation has led to a smooth operation here in Minnesota.

Keep in mind: You will hear a lot of raw exit-poll numbers during the day today. Exit polling is the least reliable indicator of voter behavior, as it involves subjectively-selected samples. Timing also matters -- earlier voters tend to be students and people with non-traditional jobs, which probably skews the results Democratic. Later samples, where traditional jobholders show up after work, go the other direction. We're only a few hours away from the real thing -- be patient.

Also: Don't forget that I will be blogging all through the night until 3 am CT or someone concedes, whichever comes first. Keep checking back for updates. I will be on AM 1280 The Patriot with the Northern Alliance between 8pm CT until 3 am CT tonight, giving updates on local and regional races and talking with guests during the quarter-hour breaks. (Hugh Hewitt will be on live during the regular Salem programming.) Keep listening for our take on the returns!

Housekeeping: Hosting Matters is trying to keep up with unprecedented levels of traffic. My blog and others may not respond occasionally, but just keep trying back.

More to come ...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 4:00 PM | TrackBack

Democratic Pollster Predicts Bush Victory

In one of the more unusual analyses of this presidential campaign, The Hill published a prediction of victory by George Bush in today's race. That may not sound unusual, but when the pundit making the prediction turns out to be John Kerry's chief pollster Mark Mellman, it raises a few eyebrows:

First, we simply do not defeat an incumbent president in wartime. After wars surely, but never in their midst. Republicans have been spinning this fact for months, and they are correct.

Democrats have spoken often and powerfully about the nations economic problems. But by historical standards, they are not that bad. The misery index is 7.8 today but was 20.5 when Jimmy Carter was defeated. Economic models of elections show Bush winning 52-58 percent of the vote.

Nor does Mellman stop there. Much has been made about Bush's approval ratings and the "right direction/wrong direction" polling during this cycle, and how both have consistently run negatively towards Bush's re-election chances. Mellman doesn't buy that either, and explains that those numbers have to be significantly further south for them to portend an early end to Bush's career:

Bushs approval ratings are also indicative of the difficulties Kerry faces. It is certainly true that the average incumbent who has been reelected has had a much higher job approval rating 62 percent. Bushs approval rating is now about 49 percent. Yet the last time an incumbent was beaten Bushs father just 33 percent approved of his performance. When Carter was defeated, he had an approval rating of only 37 percent. On average, incumbents who have been defeated have only had a 38 percent job rating. Bush is 10 points higher than that.

We often point to the fact that a majority of Americans say the country is seriously off on the wrong track. Fifty-two percent hold that view. But when Bush Sr. was defeated, 72 percent thought the country was seriously off on the wrong track.

Only 39 percent give the economy a positive rating, a problem for the incumbent. Yet in 1992, only about 10 percent were positive about the economy.

Remember, too, that Bush 41 only lost his re-election bid due to a strong independent campaign by H. Ross Perot which sucked out the right-center voters from underneath the Republican incumbent. Most models showed that even with the internal issue polls where they were, Bush 41 had a good shot at winning a second term.

Mellman then delivers a shocking prediction, for a Democratic pollster -- Bush wins by three points in the popular vote, a gap that not only guarantess an Electoral College win but also wide enough to discourage post-election lawsuits:

Taking all that and more into account, an expert forecasting model suggests that Bush will get 51.6 percent of the two-party vote.

So while Bush faces formidable obstacles, not the least of which is Kerry himself, the senator also faces a strong candidate. Bush is weaker than some other incumbents but much stronger than those who have been defeated.

This poll result sounds much more credible than anything else I've heard, given the source and the testimony against interests. (via The Corner)

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! I corrected a double-paste from Mellman's article.

UPDATE II: Some people point to Mellman's assertion that he thinks he will be "smiling broadly" as a prediction of a Kerry victory:

It's crap. They're taking his comments totally out of context, and missing the whole point of the article.

The DU post then says, "Here's the *actual* article from Kerry Pollster Mark Mellman, in which he predicts a Kerry victory, despite the huge obstacles facing of our candidate (emphasis added)," but takes a huge chunk of it out of the middle in order to emphasize Mellman's hope of smiling broadly. DU conveniently omits the key passage:

Taking all that and more into account, an expert forecasting model suggests that Bush will get 51.6 percent of the two-party vote.

Pollsters make predictions precisely by inputting poll data into forecasting models -- meaning that based on the data the Democrats have, their forecast shows Bush winning. That's the actual prediction. Mellman's broad-smile aspirations come from something other than the forecasting model and its outcome.

Read the article itself in its entirety and decide what you thisnk Mellman tried to say...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:17 PM | TrackBack

Sabotage In Milwaukee

Unfortunately, some people believe that they have the prerogative to determine who can and cannot vote in today's election. In Milwaukee, thirty rental vans that were intended to help GOP voters get to the polls to exercise their franchise rights had their tires slashed, presumably in an attempt to keep Wisconsin from slipping away from John Kerry:

The tires of at least 30 cars and vans rented by the Republican Party to carry voters to the polls were slashed, Milwaukee police said this morning. The discovery was made at 6:30 a.m., said Sgt. Mark Wroblewski.

The rental cars were parked near a GOP office in the 7100 block of W. Capitol Dr. Wroblewski said "at least" 30 cars were disabled. At least one tire was slashed and in some cases, all four tires were cut. Detectives were on the scene, the sergeant said. Police had no suspects in custody as of 8 a.m.

Milwaukee police said just after noon today that they have a suspect description. A private security guard reported a man running from where the tires were slashed, said Sgt. Ken Harris.

The guard reported seeing a white male, 18 to 25 years old, 5-feet-6 to 5-feet-9 tall, 170 pounds, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans, running from the Republican offices around 6:45 a.m., Harris said.

Milwaukee police detectives typically would not investigate a case of slashed tires but were put on the case given the potential political overtones of this crime, Harris said.

I know that this idiot in no way represents Wisconsin Democrats, but instead is a part of a small but insidious element on the radical Left that uses any means necessary to achieve what they cannot through democratic means. It's the same mentality that led to the riots in Seattle during the WTO conference a few years ago, and to the violence from radical environmentalists like the Earth Liberation Front, among others.

The best revenge is to make sure all the people this drooling moron tried to handicap still gets to the polls today.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:13 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Why I Support George Bush (3/1/04)

Mark asked me a direct question yesterday in response to my post about the laughably transparent Iranian attempt to influence the election Friday:

And what do you have against Kerry? Or has Bush really fought to improve your way of life?

I wrote later that his question was valid, and rather than point to a collection of earlier posts on various incidents, I think it would be more honest for me to put together a comprehensive argument for my position on this election. I will address this in two parts, just as Mark asked: why I oppose John Kerry, and why I support George Bush.

Primarily, I don't trust John Kerry, and I never have. He's spent most of his Senate career carrying Ted Kennedy's water and regularly competes with Kennedy for the most liberal voting record -- a contest he won last year, according to the National Journal. He rarely writes legislation, preferring to follow rather than to lead. He's been mostly a non-entity for the past 19 years.

His sudden aspiration for the Presidency hasn't brought out any coherent philosophy of governing, either, except to continually state over and over that he would be the Anti-Bush. For example, he's continually carped over and over that Bush "lied" to him when Kerry voted for military action in Iraq, and derided Bush's attempts to gather UN support for an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein (which he spent five months negotiating before finally giving up on France and Russia). However, as soon as Haiti popped up, Kerry derides Bush for taking five days to get a UN resolution creating the multinational force that Kerry insisted Bush should have waited for in Iraq!

Kerry (D-Mass.) said he would have sent troops to Haiti even without international support to quell the revolt against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. "President Kerry would never have allowed that to get where it is," Kerry said, though he added he's not "a big Aristide fan." (via Tim Blair)

This is part of a pattern of equivocations by a completely reactive Kerry, who keeps playing both sides of every argument. He voted against action to expel Iraq in 1991 and later claimed he supported it in concept but felt the timing wasn't right. In 2002 he voted for military action, and spent all of the latter half of 2003 claiming he opposed the war. He has made a great deal out of his support for the troops in Iraq and his determination to keep America secure, but was one of only 14 Senators to vote against the spending appropriation to keep the troops supplied.

During the campaign, he has repeatedly thundered about his staunch opposition to "special interests", famously saying in Iowa that he was coming, they were going, and don't let the door hit them on the way out. But Kerry's own record demonstrates his hypocrisy, as he has gone way out of his way to use his influence to benefit his contributors. In one instance, he personally wrote 28 letters on behalf of a company that made several thousand dollars in illegal contributions to his 1996 re-election campaign. In another, he used his influence on the SEC to arrange a meeting for a contributor's friend -- who turned out to be a Chinese spy. Kerry's raged about Benedict Arnold CEOs who move their corporations offshore for tax shelters and send jobs overseas, but then has received more than half a million dollars from the same CEOs he excoriates. That's not counting his wife's fortune, which relies on a company that locates most of their manufacturing facilities overseas.

In short, Kerry is Clinton without the charm. He doesn't just attempt to triangulate his opponents -- he triangulates himself. Someone who twists himself into these kinds of pretzels isn't the kind of man who will stand up to the challenges that face this country. Not to say that he's a coward, but that he won't lead; instead, he'll take polls and follow the political winds of the moment, which is what leaders without vision do.

Which brings me to why I support George Bush. He's not the most accomplished politician, and in 2000 I was a McCain supporter. I've been a Republican for most of my life, except a short period when I registered Libertarian. My social philosophy doesn't match up well with Bush; I'm a laissez-faire man for both economics and social issues. I think that the government which governs and spends least governs best, and we got precious little of that philosophy so far in the Bush Administration. However, on the most pressing issue not of this time, not of the past couple of years, but over the past three decades, Bush grasps the issue completely: the rise of Islamofascistic terror and its targeting of America and Americans.

Starting in 1979 with the sacking of our embassy in Teheran, Islamofascism has pressed its attack against the "Great Satan" in a number of ways -- and successive American administrations have retreated in the face of it, both Republican and Democrat. Starting with Carter's paralysis in the face of a clear act of war, proceeding through our retreat from Beirut, negotiating for hostages in Lebanon, the shameful bug-out in Somalia, and our complete failure to respond in any meaningful way to the attacks on our African embassies and the USS Cole, American Presidents have continually communicated that we were less interested in protecting our assets than in covering our ass. For instance, shortly after taking office, Clinton discovered an Iraqi plot to assassinate former President G.H.W. Bush. That is an act of war, and Saddam only held power due to a cease-fire that he already was continually violating. Instead of taking decisive action, Clinton followed his polls and tossed a few missiles at Baghdad, solving and resolving absolutely nothing. The lesson we taught our enemies -- and that is what they are -- was that we would not risk anything to protect ourselves and our interests, that we were paper tigers who would not risk open war in case an American got hurt.

After 9/11, the rest of the country realized we were at war, but I don't think it's really settled in that we've been at war for 25 years against Islamist terror. But George Bush got it. He understood that we weren't dealing with a law-enforcement problem. Serious people wanted to kill Americans by the thousands, by the millions if possible, and they were being funded and sheltered by hostile governments. Bush also understood that in order to beat those dictatorships and kleptocracies, America would have to create a new reality on the ground in Islamofascism's breeding ground. That's why Phase I was Afghanistan -- to specifically go after al-Qaeda -- but Phase II had to be Iraq. A good portion of our military in the area was already pinned down there, enforcing a sanctions regime that had already become riddled with holes, and provided yet another example of American and UN vacillation in the face of provocation.

The Democrats, with the notable and honorable exceptions of Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt, fail to understand the lessons of the last 25 years, and in John Kerry's words, continue to see terrorism as a law-enforcement issue. Ironically, even the one law-enforcement approach all of them supported, the Patriot Act (which passed in the Senate 95-1, with Kerry and Edwards voting yes), they have spent the last year vilifying when even Joe Biden, Ed Koch, and Dianne Feinstein called such criticism unwarranted. The problem with using a law-enforcement model is that law enforcement takes place after a crime has been committed. We arrested a dozen or so people after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 even though we had intelligence that other governments and terror networks were involved, got our convictions, and stuck them in prison. How effective was that? Take a look at the New York skyline and see for yourself.

Finally, instead of campaigning on issues and his record, Kerry has missed no chance to make this campaign personal. He started by explaining his law-and-order philosophy as "John Ashcroft won't be the Attorney General" and explicitly equating Bush's Guard service with draft dodging and implying it was morally inferior to it, egged on by his party's national chairman. Every time his voting record in the Senate comes up for discussion, he hides behind Max Cleland and cries about attacks on his patriotism. He throws his fine service record around on the campaign trail but insists that discussing his politics on his return -- which he played out on a national stage -- is nothing but "dirty politics".

George Bush has his flaws, no doubt; everyone does, including (and especially) me. John Kerry has his virtues. But when it comes to securing the United States and creating a better world, I'm going to vote with the man who liberated 50 million people in the Middle East and got Moammar Gaddafi to knuckle under. I'm going to vote for the man who finally resolved the 12-year quagmire of Iraq and the multibillion-dollar drain it represented on our military. I'm going to vote for the man who woke up on 9/11 and saw the danger that our country and the Western world faces, and who has remained consistent in his determination to fight and beat that danger regardless of the polls and the calls for appeasement from weak and corrupt allies.

That's my answer, Mark. You may not agree, and that's why we have elections. But you asked me an honest question, and you deserved an honest answer. Thank you for reading, and thank you for asking.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:44 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: The Man Who Can't Say No

For a man who claims not to be beholden to special interests, John Kerry certainly appears to enjoy thir fruits as often as possible. The Los Angeles Times -- not exactly big boosters of the Right -- reports today that Kerry wrote 28 letters on behalf of a defense firm that filled his coffers with illegal campaign contributions:

Sen. John F. Kerry sent 28 letters in behalf of a San Diego defense contractor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions to the Massachusetts senator and four other congressmen. ... Between 1996 and 1999, Kerry participated in a letter-writing campaign to free up federal funds for a guided missile system that defense contractor Parthasarathi "Bob" Majumder was trying to build for U.S. warplanes. ...

Kerry's letters were sent to fellow members of Congress and to the Pentagon while Majumder and his employees were donating money to the senator, court records show. During the three-year period, Kerry received about $25,000 from Majumder and his employees, according to Dwight L. Morris & Associates, which tracks campaign donations.

Court documents say the contractor told his employees they needed to make political contributions in order for him to gain influence with members of Congress. He then reimbursed them with proceeds from government contracts.

As in the Liu Chaoying case, which is mentioned in this article but curiously doesn't mention Liu or her status as a spy, there is no indication that Kerry was aware of DR. Majumder's illegal activities. However, this clearly demonstrates the extent to which Kerry can be bought. After Majumder began sending contributions to Kerry's campaigns, Kerry clearly wanted to keep that funding channel open and spent an enormous amount of time throwing his weight around to make sure Majumder stayed in business.

It worked. Majumder managed to wring $150 million in government contracts over the past several years, helped along by his friend in high places, the man who can't be bought but is available for lease, and the man who wants to be President, John Kerry. Read the entire article. Clearly, if the Democrats nominate Kerry, they will have to forfeit their normal "holier than thou" approach, and unfortunately for the Dems, Kerry has none of Bill Clinton's warmth and charm.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:44 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Champion Against Special Interests? (2/4/04)

The AP reports an "exclusive" on an apparent conflict of interest involving Senator John Kerry from four years ago, when he blocked legislation and later received cash from a beneficiary of his action:

A Senate colleague was trying to close a loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the nation's most expensive construction project. John Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation. Over the next two years, the insurer, American International Group, paid Kerry's way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns.

The colleague was John McCain and the project involved was the Big Dig, a highway project often cited as an example of cost overruns and government inefficiency. McCain wanted some government funding of the Big Dig stopped in order to put an end to American Insurance Group's overbilling on the project, which eventually totalled over $125 million, as well as create legislation to prohibit the abuse from occuring again. Instead, Kerry convinced McCain to hold hearings instead, and the legislation was never submitted. As a result, AIG continued to collect government funds, and Kerry collected thousands of dollars in contributions from AIG and its management.

Is this Kerry's idea of fighting special interests?

A few months later in December 2001, several AIG executives gave maximum $1,000 donations to Kerry's Senate campaign on the same day. The donations totaled $9,700 and were followed by several thousand dollars more over the next two years.

The next spring, AIG donated $10,000 to a new tax-exempt group Kerry formed, the Citizen Soldier Fund, to lay groundwork for his presidential campaign. Later in 2002, AIG gave two more donations of $10,000 each to the same group, making it one of the largest corporate donors to Kerry's group.

The insurer wasn't the only company connected to the Big Dig to donate to Kerry's new group. Two construction companies on the project — Modern Continental Group and Jay Cashman Construction — each donated $25,000, IRS records show.

The Big Dig sounds exactly like what you need when Kerry starts talking about how he fights special interests when election records show that he's taken more special-interest money that anyone in the Senate in the past 15 years. As this boondoggle's history shows, Kerry's contributors get their money's worth.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:14 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Voting In Bizarro World (1/26/04)

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry's inconsistencies seem to be catching up to him on the stump, if not quite yet in the polls. Facing a challenge from Howard Dean on his votes in 1991 against military action in Kuwait and in 2002 to authorize military action in Iraq, Kerry has come up with a novel explanation -- his votes meant the exact opposite of what they were:

Kerry said Sunday that he supported the Iraq resolution 15 months ago because he believed President Bush would use force only as a "last resort."

"The vote I cast was not a vote to go to war immediately," he said. ...

Although Kerry said he "believed we ought to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait," uppermost on his mind in 1991, he said, was public ambivalence about sending U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf. "I said we ought to draw a line in the sand, [I] couldn't have been more clear. But we had a very divided nation," he said. "That was actually a vote to go at that time, and I thought we ought to take a couple more months to build the support of the nation." ...

To recap: Kerry voted against military action in 1991 because he believed we should have used military force, and he voted for it in 2002 because he thought we should wait.

And Democrats wonder why we don't trust them with national-security and defense issues ...

Why doesn't he just tell the truth -- that he was against military action in 1991 but favored it in 2002? Because those positions aren't popular with the Democratic base. Instead of running on his convictions, he's running on his focus groups. Of course, Bill Clinton got elected and governed that way, but Clinton didn't have a long Senate record full of inconsistencies like this, either. Expect more Orwellian doublespeak from Kerry in the months ahead.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:29 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Calls GOP Racists, Promotes Urban Legends (9/11/04)

John Kerry told the Congressional Black Caucus that the Republicans want to suppress the black vote in November, repeating the canard that a million black votes went uncounted in 2000:

"We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election," the Democratic presidential nominee told the Congressional Black Caucus. "We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we're hearing those things again in this election."

Kerry has a team of lawyers to examine possible voting problems to try to prevent a repeat of the 2000 election disputes. He also has said he has thousands of lawyers around the country prepared to monitor the polls on election day.

"What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year in battleground states all across this country," Kerry said. "Well, we are here to let them know that we will fight tooth and nail to make sure that this time, every vote is counted and every vote counts."

The fact that Kerry has hired "thousands" of lawyers to do anything about the election should tell you exactly what a Kerry presidency would look like: a sellout to the trial-lawyer lobby, where lawyers go to court to create Kerry's brand of radical legislation that Congress would never approve. Even worse than Kerry's threat to follow Al Gore's precedent of attempting to sue his way to the Oval Office, though, is Kerry's despicable use of the race card and his painting of the GOP as racist. As a member of the GOP, I take that accusation personally, as I believe it was meant.

The Civil Rights Commission reported that African-American voters in Florida were more likely to have spoiled ballots or be denied a vote than other voters, but never quantified the number of voters. It claimed that 14.4% of African-American voters could not successfully vote in the 2000 general election. The total number of African-Americans in Florida for 2000 was 2.3 million. If half were adults, that would make a potential electorate of 1.15 million. Registration rates for African-Americans in 2000 were about 75%, one of the highest rates for all ethnic groups. Voter turnout for this group in 2000 was 61% of this 75%, or about 526,000 votes. If 14.4% of these voters were unsuccessful, that represents just under 76,000 votes -- nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but a far, far cry from one million votes.

But let's take a look at where these voters were disenfranchised, according to the USCCR. As the nation painfully learned in the aftermath of the 2000 election debacle in Florida, the counties control the ballot preparation and voting procedures in the Sunshine State. In the executive summary of the report, the commission specifically mentions Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties -- all controlled by the same party: Democrats. In fact, 24 of the 25 counties that had the highest ballot-spoilage rates were run by Democrats, not Republicans.

The only state-level function specifically pointed out by the commission was the felon purge list, which has only been confirmed to have kept three eligible voters from casting ballots on Election Day in 2000. In fact, as USCCR member Peter Kirsanow put it in his minority report:

Whites were actually twice as likely as blacks to be erroneously placed on the list. In fact, an exhaustive study by the Miami Herald concluded that "the biggest problem with the felon list was not that it prevented eligible voters from casting ballots, but that it ended up allowing ineligible voters to cast a ballot."* According to the Palm Beach Post, more than 6,500 ineligible felons voted.

Put simply, the "million black voters disenfranchised in Florida" meme is a fraud, an easily debunked one at that if anyone looks at the Census Bureau reports for Florida in 2000. Kerry has decided to cast his lot with the conspiracy theorists and the race-baiters. His use of a hoary urban legend does not speak well of his intelligence, his ethics, or his judgement. Kerry should be ashamed of himself.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:29 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Calls McCain A Liar, Erases History (9/7/04)

Two days ago, I wrote that John Kerry called John McCain (and just about everyone else at the Republican Convention) a liar, based on a press release at his website. A number of you wrote to tell me that the page had disappeared from Kerry's website, but it had mysteriously reappeared by the time I checked on it.

Well, it has disappeared once more, as the Kerry campaign tries to keep its candidate from infuriating the one man who has tempered the criticism from the right in this electoral cycle. McCain, who constantly refers to his friendship with Kerry, might take the gloves off if Kerry impugns his character as he did with the Viet Nam veterans who have campaigned against Kerry. The campaign made a smart move taking down that list, especially since they never bothered to factually refute even one of the 143 statements they listed as lies, half-truths, and/or distortions.

Too bad I cached it here.

UPDATE: While we're at it, let's look at another "lie" that Kerry helpfully points out -- this one at #143, right at the bottom:

Bush Lies About Kerrys View of Coalition.

143. Bush: 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. I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.

Bush lied, Kerry cried? Not quite. Here's John Kerry from March of this year, as reported by the Des Moines Register:

Kerry said during the speech at the downtown Marriott Hotel that Bush has been impatient, which has cost the U.S. support from its allies. "The greatest position of strength is by exercising the best judgement in the pursuit of diplomacy," he said, "not in some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted, but in a genuine coalition."

It seems to me that the only one who's telling lies, half-truths, and mischaracterizations is the Kerry campaign. Their only defense these days is to be offensive, and calling everyone a liar not only is offensive but smacks of desperation as well.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:29 AM | TrackBack

Live Blogging Tonight!

I will be live-blogging the presidential-election results tonight while Mitch Berg, King Banaian and I give quarter-hour updates on AM 1280 The Patriot, starting at 8 pm. I plan to start blogging at 7 pm or so as the Eastern time zone polls close up.

Be sure to keep checking back here -- more details later!

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:34 AM | TrackBack

Kerry Apparently Wants US Election Law To Meet Global Test

Foreign election monitors complained yesterday that they had been assigned to overwhelmingly pro-Kerry events, calling their neutrality into question even as their members lobbied John Kerry to make changes in electoral law:

European election monitors touring central Florida were dismayed yesterday at their local hosts' emphasis on Democratic events, saying their schedule of pro-Kerry and left-leaning themes has left little time for similar Republican visits.

The day started with a small airport rally for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry, who appeared to promise a senior member of the delegation that he would commit to reforming federal election processes.

The four-member delegation of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) also listened to filmmaker Michael Moore address the League of Conservation Voters and visited a polling station in Sanford, Fla., which was the site of voting irregularities four years ago.

"I would say we are dismayed," said Bart Tommelein, a Belgian congressman, of missing a Bush campaign rally that coincided with their arrival here Saturday evening. "We are neutral, you know, and we really should be spending more time with the other side."

Other OSCE observers concurred.

GOP workers expressed puzzlement at why election observers needed to attend campaign rallies and events at all. A spokesman for the Bush/Cheney campaign in Florida questioned the propriety of them coming to either headquarters at all, and wondered how that squared with their mission as impartial poll observers:

"Why would foreign election observers want to go to Bush-Cheney headquarters in Orlando?" said Republican Party spokesman Joseph Agostini from Tallahassee. "If Kerry-Edwards want to welcome them with tea and cookies, well, that's terrific. But if they're here to observe polling, this has nothing to do with polling."

Mr. Agostini stressed that any "registered" observer was free to watch the voting, "but to us, international monitors are a peripheral issue."

It's a transparent attempt to suck up to the foreigners, a very strange strategy for an American political party to adopt in a presidential election during wartime. It looks like they're perverting their neutrality in order to get them to claim that unfair polling practices hampered their efforts. Democrats in Florida apparently have no problem embarrassing their nation by trumping up phony charges (see Daschle's insistence that eye-rolling is a form of voter intimidation) to excuse their losses.

Not that there's much neutrality to pervert. One of the observers, a Finnish legislator, told John Kerry that US election law had to be changed, and Kerry agreed to enact his demands:

While shaking hands with supporters yesterday, he paused to speak with Finnish senator Kimmo Kiljunen, who pressed the case for better-regulated U.S. elections.

"Mr. Kerry, I am an international elections observer from Finland; I have a proposal for you," Mr. Kiljunen shouted above the cheering and tumult and added that Mr. Kerry should work for uniform election rules for the entire country at the federal level.

Mr. Kerry leaned in, nodding, and responded, "Yes, that's a good idea. I will do it."

Kerry campaign officials did not respond to calls for comment on the statement.

The Finn, a veteran of more than two dozen OSCE observing missions, said he felt satisfied that the Democrat had given him more than an empty campaign promise.

Phase one of John Kerry's Global Test plan: eliminate federalism and change over 200 years of American electoral tradition. Putting America's national security policy to an international approval process isn't enough, apparently; now our internal electoral processes will have to get their seal of approval. You will note that Kerry has never shared this plan with American voters. Instead of offering a defense of our Constitution and our process, Kerry instead promised to roll over for European demands to change it all.

It's the Kerry approach in a microcosm.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:51 AM | TrackBack

Good News Out Of Ohio

Staff Mate Joseph tipped me off to this early and more significant election result from Ohio (also at Megapundit, if the SoS's site is down). According to the Secretary of State, George Bush has a slim lead over John Kerry in early and absentee voting:

Bush: 49.87% with 800,950 votes.
Kerry: 49.12% with 788,799 votes

The Democrats have made a huge effort into getting their voters to go early or vote absentee, and the fact that Bush still leads after all that effort has to be encouraging. As Megapundit notes, that represents 34% of the Ohio popular vote in 2000. We're not talking Dixville Notch here, and when the rest of Ohio's voters go to the polls today, we can presumably expect a greater share of Republicans than Democrats remain.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:42 AM | TrackBack

Zogby Bounces Back To 2000

In what must be a crushing blow to those on the Left who crowed about the positive Zogby numbers from the weekend for John Kerry, Zogby revised the numbers last night -- and put the states right back to where they were in 2000:

Last night, habitual poll-watchers had new numbers to digest when John Zogby released results for a four-day poll that included some voters surveyed yesterday.

That poll showed Mr. Bush with a solid lead in Ohio (49 percent to 43 percent) and also ahead in Nevada (50 percent to 45 percent) and Colorado (49 percent to 47 percent), while Florida was a tie at 48 percent each. According to the final Zogby pre-election survey, Mr. Kerry was leading in Pennsylvania (50 percent to 46 percent), Wisconsin (51 percent to 45 percent), Iowa (50 percent to 45 percent), Minnesota (51 percent to 45 percent), Michigan (52 percent to 46 percent) and New Mexico (51 percent to 48 percent).

In every case, the state is leaning toward the party it backed in 2000.

In other words, Zogby has defaulted back to the base position. Who knows? Maybe he'll be right, but the significance of the shifts (6 points in one day for Ohio???) tend to reinforce the notion that Zogby makes it up as he goes along. In every election, Zogby winds up having to make a huge correction in its numbers in the final hours. It's easily one of the most unreliable surveys receiving wide attention.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:20 AM | TrackBack

Bush Wins First Scrimmage While Daschle Melts Down

The French press service AFP reports that George Bush has won the traditional Dixville Notch vote at midnight, while Daschle v. Thune liveblogged Senate minority leader Tom Daschle's strangulation of the remnants of his credibility and dignity.

From Dixville Notch:

A tiny population of 26 registered voters backed Bush by a comfortable 19-7 margin over Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry, according to a tally by the town clerk's office. ...

The settlement's 26 voters trooped into the luxury Balsams hotel just after midnight local time (0500 GMT) Tuesday to cast some of the first votes in the 2004 election. Almost half were registered Republicans.

The 26 voters included 11 registered Republicans, two registered Democratic voters and 13 independents, according to the town clerk's records.

Bush won the key Dixville Notch vote in 2000, but Bill Clinton won it twice before that. As portents go, I'd rank it right up there with the Washington Redskins' inability to win a home game: meaningless. But it's a tradition, and at least he won it.

The same cannot be said for Tom Daschle, who spent last night humiliating himself in a courtroom presided over by a judge he helped get on the bench. Daschle had attempted to sue John Thune into withdrawing all GOP poll workers in South Dakota, infuriating South Dakotans and making himself look small and pathetic. Even more pathetically, the only witness they called wound up making a mockery of the entire process:

A Mr. Jordan was just testifying at the hearing in Daschle's lawsuit to stop poll watching. He worked for Howard Dean in Iowa. He said that poll watchers would "roll their eyes" and make a "negative face" at times and that, in his opinion, this constituted "intimidation" of voters. See SDP for a look at the complaint. ...

Another report on Daschle's first witness, the Howard Dean worker. He's a lawyer from Virginia who works for Lexis-Nexis and has been in South Dakot for 48 hours. He testified to "note-taking" and "faces" being made. He said nothing was said to voters and nobody was disenfranchised. They are taking a short break before the next witness. Lawyers in the courtroom think this is an absurd joke.

Not as absurd as the conflict of interest that having Larry Piersol preside over the case, as it turns out:

SDP has some more information on the judge, including this comment from Daschle at the American TRIAL LAWYERS Association convention:
First, I got my start in politics thanks to lawyers... rather, one lawyer in particular. In 1978, I won my first election to the House by 14 votes. Dont laugh, in South Dakota, thats 60 percent of the vote. Apparently undaunted by that landslide of support, my opponent sued to contest the election. I was fortunate to be represented by a great lawyer and a dear friend, Larry Piersol. It took one year and 21 days, but here I am 25 years later.

And -- Daschle still managed to lose, and lose badly. Say goodnight, Tom.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:03 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Flip-Flops On Life (7/5/04)

Despite having a more consistent record on abortion than any other issue in his career, John Kerry yesterday tried to have it both ways again, flip-flopping on the definition of human life. Kerry tried to pander to Catholics and strict Christians but instead raised far more questions than he answered:

But even as he tried to avoid making news Sunday, Kerry broke new ground in an interview that ran in the Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph Herald. A Catholic who supports abortion rights and has taken heat from some in the church hierarchy for his stance, Kerry told the paper, "I oppose abortion, personally. I don't like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception."

Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said that although Kerry has often said abortion should be "safe, legal and rare," and that his religion shapes that view, she could not recall him ever publicly discussing when life begins.

"I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist," he continued in the interview. "We have separation of church and state in the United States of America." The comments came on the final day of a three-state Midwest swing, during which Kerry has repeatedly sought to dispel stereotypes that could play negatively among voters there.

Not only does this completely belie every vote Kerry has ever taken on the subject of abortion, including his support of the late-term abortion procedure sometimes called partial-birth abortion, but it demonstrates the intellectual and philosophical bankruptcy of the Democratic nominee. It is true that Catholics and a large segment of Christians overall believe that life begins at conception, which is why these groups oppose all abortion altogether. Other people believe that life begins at "viability", the moving target of when a baby can survive outside the mother's womb. Others still believe that life cannot be defined until birth itself and separation from the mother.

These beliefs and definitions lead to one purpose: to define life so as to protect it. After all, only the lunatic fringe wouldn't try to defend innocent life, once established. Catholics wish to protect life from conception forward, and others seek to protect it from their definition of its inception. John Kerry, in his remarks to the Iowa newspaper, comes up with a completely different raison d'etre -- he seeks to define life so as to protect his political career. Kerry now admits he practices hypocrisy on a scale so monstrous, it boggles the mind.

If life begins at conception, why then does John Kerry not only agree to allow abortion, but campaigns on its behalf? Does he care so little for human life and the souls of the unborn that he cheerfully sells them out for political gain? John Kerry was one of only 14 Senators who voted to continue the practice of partial-birth abortions, which take a fetus past the point of viability into the birth canal and kills it by sucking out its brain. How does that match up with a belief in life at conception?

No. Unlike those who define life differently, and who therefore have a consistent philosophical argument to support abortion, Kerry's actions do not equate with these professed beliefs. Either Kerry has trotted out a new lie in order to shore up his Catholic support, or he has opened the window into his heartless, calculating political soul. Not only that, but even those who support abortion must be scratching their heads, wondering if Candidate Kerry will toss them under a bus with as much alacrity as he has his principles.

And that really gets us to the crux of this statement. Kerry not only has voted to support abortion, he openly campaigned for it, up to the point that he found himself running for national office. Now he says he personally opposes abortion but felt as though he could not impose his "beliefs" on others. If true, Kerry also never felt the need to argue for his beliefs, to try to convince others of the truth of his own beliefs. Many others, including George Bush and a whole Party of politicians, have managed to stand up for what they believe is right and still be successful. What other beliefs will Kerry find as easy to sell out for political expediency?

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 3:00 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: For Small Businesses, Kerry's Help Has Never Been On The Way (9/8/04)

CQ reader Mike Maerten noticed this analysis from the Small Business Survival Committee over at regarding John Kerry's voting record on small-business issues over the past 10 years. Bear in mind my earlier analysis of National Journal's ratings of John Kerry during the Clinton Administration, where his votes skewed more conservative when Bill Clinton occupied the White House than when Republicans held executive power.

Even during this more conservative period, John Kerry's voting record displays a remarkable hostility to small businesses:

Of the 101 votes in the U.S. Senate that SBSC has rated since the 103rd Congress Senator Kerrys record is unsettling. He has voted on the side of small business a mere 13 times out of the 101 votes that SBSC rated during the past decade giving him a weak 13 percent rating on key small business issues.

Senator Kerry voted against small business 94 percent of the time on tax-related legislation rated by SBSC. Given 34 different opportunities to support small business on tax issues, Kerry chose to do so on only two occasions.

Given 30 different opportunities to vote on the side of small business on regulatory initiatives, Kerry chose to vote against small business 25 times.

SBSC has rated four votes concerning the starting wage, and on every single occasion Kerry voted in favor of the wage hikes and in opposition to small business. ...

SBSC rated eight votes on health coverage reform issues. These ranged from votes supporting the passage of health savings accounts (HSAs) to allowing self-employed small business owners to deduct their health insurance expenses to help make health coverage more
affordable. Senator Kerry voted against the interest of small business 100 percent of the time.

Of ten votes rated by SBSC in the area of legal reform, Kerry voted in opposition to small business 90 percent of the time.

In fact, the SBSC could only find one category in which Kerry supported small businesses, and that was voting against corporate welfare programs that put small businesses at competitive disadvantage against larger firms. Otherwise, Kerry voted almost down the line to make life tougher on small-business owners.

Why is this important? Small businesses provide the engine for the economy, and widespread failures of these entrepeneurships will cause the American economy to stumble badly. Small businesses still provide the leading number of jobs for Americans (99%, according to the SBSC), especially new jobs (75%). They generate more than 50% of the GDP of the US. Perhaps even more significantly, the symbolism of small businesses resonates with middle America, which still believes in the American dream of hanging your own shingle out of the door and being your own boss.

For a man who intends to run against George Bush on the economy, Kerry's dismal record of supporting the main component of American dynamism should not go unnoticed by the electorate. Be sure to read the entire SBSC report to learn how a Kerry/Edwards administration would unleash its hostility towards small business. John Kerry not only is wrong on the war, he's bad for the economy as well.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:27 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Looking Backward On Security (5/28/04)

John Kerry talks about strengthening security and fighting terrorists, saying earlier this week that those who plan to attack us should understand that he would hunt them down and kill them, if he became president. However, The New York Times reports today that the foreign policy/national security team he has assembled for his campaign represents a flashback to eight years of the so-called "law-enforcement approach" that culminated in the 9/11 attack:

Seated in leather swivel chairs in the glass-walled conference room at Senator John Kerry's Washington campaign headquarters two Fridays ago was a veritable reunion of President Bill Clinton's national security team: Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, William J. Perry and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili. Richard C. Holbrooke joined his former colleagues via conference call from Tokyo. ...

Besides the Clintonites and Mr. Biden, those in the loop or on its fringe include former Senator Gary Hart, who ran for president largely on a foreign policy platform in 1984 and 1988; Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations; and James P. Rubin, Ms. Albright's former aide, who just moved from London to join Mr. Kerry's staff and is traveling with him this week.

These deans of the Democratic foreign policy establishment have been corralled into a coordinated chorus of television appearances in recent days to speak in Mr. Kerry's stead about President Bush's prosecution of the war in Iraq.

The Times focuses on the involvement of Senator Joe Biden, a crank of the first order who uses his glasses to make him look professorial while on television, and uses the speeches of British politicians to make him sound intelligent. Biden's involvement indicates that Kerry would be likely to tap the Delaware senator for an important post, probably Secretary of Defense. John McCain has been mentioned (and mentioned and mentioned and mentioned) for this post in a Kerry administration, but I don't see John McCain mentioned as a member of this brain trust. All indications are that Kerry will bring in the crew from the last administration for his national-security team.

What does that mean for American foreign policy? Take a look back over the past decade, where the US sent a consistent message of cluelessness and lack of resolve. First and foremost, our response to numerous terrorist provocations showed that we refused to take them seriously, starting with the initial World Trade Center attack in 1993. A string of terrorist attacks on US assets followed during the Clinton administration -- Khobar Towers, which killed 19; the African embassy bombings, which killed over 200 people, mostly native Muslims; and finally the October 2000 USS Cole attack, which killed 17 sailors and to which this team never bothered to respond. (Laughably, the 9/11 Commission blamed the Bush administration for this lack of response, even though it took office more than three months after the attack.)

The cumulative response for these declarations of war were a series of arrests and four missile strikes, two in Afghanistan and two in North Africa to take out a pharmaceutical factory that supposedly produced chemical-weapons precursors. No strategic plan was ever implemented to kill those who had declared war on the US; the only plan was a tepid tit-for-tat response to individual attacks.

Nor did the Clinton team impress anyone with its foreign policy achievements. While the twelve-year Iraq quagmire started with the first President Bush's refusal to march on Baghdad while the road was open, the Clinton team ignored provocation after provocation, again demonstrating a lack of American will. Iraq regularly fixed targeting radar on our fighters enforcing the no-fly zone and on several occasions fired missiles at them, which not only violated the cease-fire agreements but on its own constituted an act of war. Saddam sent a team of Iraqis to assassinate former President Bush during Clinton's first term by Clinton's own admission, another act of war, and what response did we give? We dropped a few bombs on Baghdad, which did nothing to free the Iraqi people from Saddam's grip and only demonstrated (again) that we had no stomach to respond to acts of war. Clinton pushed for, and got, a Congressional act that made regime change our national policy, and promptly did nothing about it. The only other action he ever took against Iraq was another few nights of bombing suspected WMD sites in Baghdad when Saddam kicked out the weapons inspectors in 1998, again a violation of the cease-fire agreement as well as a dozen UNSC resolutions.

What did this team actually do? They allowed Jimmy Carter to eat their lunch on North Korea, for one, which gave Kim Jong-Il enough time to actually develop a handful of nukes when they could have stopped him in 1994. The Clinton team also managed to involve us in the centuries-old civil war in the Balkans by dropping bombs on Yugoslavia, despite the lack of any American interest in the conflict, and without the UN approval that they scream about regarding Iraq. They talk about the supposed "quagmire" of Iraq while ignoring the upcoming ten-year anniversary of our continued involvement in the Balkans, where we remain to this day without any idea how to remove ourselves, and where people continue to kill each other over ethnic and religious differences.

Of course, Slobodan Milosevic engaged in genocidal "ethnic cleansing" -- but so did the Rwandans, and we didn't lift a finger to stop that, and a whole lot more Rwandans were being slaughtered than Bosnians or Kosovars. For that matter, so did Saddam Hussein. He put at least 300,000 Iraqis, mostly Shi'a, in mass graves, used chemical weapons to kill and terrify the Kurds, and drained the marshes of the Euphrates in order to wipe out the Marsh Arabs. Why didn't these people deserve protection like the Europeans in the Balkans? Don't "brown" people deserve protection from genocide, as long as that's the excuse we're using in the Balkans?

Kerry promises a forward-looking foreign policy, but he's signed up with the people who demonstrate nothing except the fecklessness of the past. This is one reunion show that we don't need in prime time.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:00 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: A Distinction Without A Difference

John Kerry continued his attempt to differentiate himself from George Bush on Iraq policy yesterday in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, following Dick Cheney's widely-criticized political speech last week at the same venue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Kerry continues to expound on "international cooperation" without explaining how that differs from what the US is doing now:

Sen. John F. Kerry challenged President Bush on Friday to engage in personal diplomacy to try to repair relationships with other influential nations and gain their support for an international mission in Iraq.

During a 30-minute address at Westminster College here, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee pledged to support his rival's policy in Iraq if Bush pursued that effort. ... He urged the president to form a political coalition with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and other nations to endorse the effort to stabilize Iraq and back the plan for an interim Iraqi government proposed by U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

In other words, Kerry wants a new United Nations Security Council resolution, but he now takes care not to mention the UN. After all, a "political coalition" between the US, UK, France, Russia, and China comprises all of the veto-holding members of the UNSC. Kerry's campaign must realize now that the electorate won't buy any more rhetoric about coughing up control to the war on terror to the UN or even the UNSC, given the elaborate scam into which the UN Oil-For-Food program dissolved. And the primary beneficiaries of the OFF Program happened to be French, Russian, and Chinese to a smaller extent.

On the question of international participation, though, the Coalition comprises more than 30 nations already, although not the three that Kerry likes best:

The Bush campaign dismissed the speech as a rehash of steps the administration was already taking, arguing that many U.N. and NATO members were already involved in the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq.

"Sen. Kerry has constantly disparaged the coalition of over 30 nations that are making the contribution and sharing the sacrifice in Iraq," said Bush spokesman Steve Schmidt. "The president is constantly in communication with those nations, so Kerry's criticism has no basis in fact."

Kerry says, repeatedly, that he will use "personal diplomacy" in order to bring the Recalcitrant Three into a new, broader coalition that will "end the sense of American occupation" in Iraq. However, he does not address exactly what he will give up in order to buy their participation; France and Russia in particular are not suddenly going to send troops to Iraq just because Kerry has a lucky face. Both countries made billions off of Saddam's monopoly grip on oil production in Iraq before the war, both legitimately and illegitimately. The Iraqis have not shown an inclination to do preferential business with Saddam's enablers of their oppression, post-liberation. Since their commercial interests in Iraq have been seriously curtailed, they don't have much to gain by risking the ire of the electorate that they have deliberately kept against Iraq's liberation, to the extent in France that people were openly rooting for Saddam to win.

Kerry's proposal, such as it is, means one of two things. Either Kerry intends on forcing the new Iraqi government to honor contractual agreements that existed under the Saddam regime with France and Russia, thus undermining their sovereignty while forcing them to do business with the same people who cheerfully called for their continuing oppression, or he simply wants meaningless statements of support in order to claim France, Russia, and China for partners in Iraq. Either way, will this change the number of American troops in Iraq? No, since none of these countries will send significant numbers of troops either way. What it will do will be to remove Anglo-American control on the effort and instead turn Iraq into the Balkans all over again, where we have been for nine years with no end in sight.

Kerry may have dialed down the political rhetoric at Westminster, but he continues to keep substance even lower. Twenty years ago, Walter Mondale tormented Gary Hart (and everyone else) by asking him, "Where's the beef?" every time the Senator tried to get by on mere platitudes. It seems that question has only become more applicable to this Democratic campaign.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 1:00 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Senator Flip-Flop Lectures Bush On Values? (7/10/04)

I guess it didn't take me too long to find my post for the day -- in today's New York Times, Jodi Wilgoren and Richard Stevenson report on the "full-throated battle" between the major party nominees after Thursday evening's Democratic fundraiser:

A day after a $7.5 million Democratic fund-raiser in New York at which an array of stars harshly ridiculed President Bush, the Bush campaign criticized Senator John Kerry for what it called a "star-studded hate fest." Mr. Bush's campaign manager, Ken Mehlman, demanded that the Kerry campaign release a videotape of the event at Radio City Music Hall, which featured performers including Chevy Chase, Whoopi Goldberg and Jessica Lange.

Although Mr. Kerry had told the crowd at the New York fund-raiser that "every single performer" on the bill had "conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country," his campaign on Friday sought to distance Mr. Kerry and his running mate, Senator John Edwards, from the anti-Bush jokes, lyrics and statements of some of the entertainers.

But it declined to release a videotape of the performance at which Ms. Goldberg, a bottle of wine in hand, made an extended sexual pun out of the president's surname.

In other words, Kerry and Edwards laughed at the jokes before they frowned at them. Even Howard Dean had the good sense to state at a similar event for his campaign his dissatisfaction with the tone of the evening, and to do so immediately. Events like this fundraiser actually do quite a bit of public good; they separate Hollywood fools from their money and puts in the hands of working people, like ad agencies and so on. Even better, these public displays demonstrate just how out of touch, tacky, and downright gross Hollywood celebrities have become and dilutes their political impact.

Their refusal to make the performances available on videotape is also telling. They know that outside of the true believers gathered in New York for that hatefest, the material would tend to disgust the centrists they desperately need. All of this played well enough in 2000, when many people thought choosing a president to be somewhat irrelevant to their daily lives. In 2004, that's changed. People have become serious while Hollywood wants to convince people it's still just one big party.

Mary Beth Cahill, Mr. Kerry's campaign manager, said that the candidates "do not approve of some of the remarks" but that "the performers had a perfect right to say what they said."

Thank you for the complete non-sequitur. No one disputes they have a right to say what they did; what people question is their judgment. Why is it that every time the Left is critized for what they say, they wrap themselves in the First Amendment, as if it gave them some protection from the folly of their lips and pens? Whoopi had the right to stand up and compare Bush's name to female genitalia. We have the right to call her a bloody idiot for wasting time on such puerile and obvious "jokes", and to question the character and bearing of Kerry and Edwards for countenancing it at an official event for their Party.

Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards in turn intensified their own attacks on Mr. Bush, saying that his "values" on issues like Iraq, how much vacation time he takes and the Justice Department's prosecution of Kenneth L. Lay, Enron's former chairman and a former top Bush fund-raiser, showed him to be out of step with the American people.

Oho, this is just too rich. The two Senators who have missed the most votes over the past two years -- Kerry has missed 90% of the votes in the Senate during that period -- are critizing Bush for taking four weeks' vacation? Working vacations, at that, as Presidents are on the job 24x7? This has to be a Karl Rove plant, right? Bush has initiated more legislation (through proxies) in three years than Kerry has in his entire 19-year Senate career. As far as Lay's prosecution goes, it demonstrates that Bush will prosecute anyone who breaks the law, instead of issuing pardons for big-time contributors like Marc Rich. Too bad the Democrats don't have that kind of track record.

If Kerry and Edwards want to take Bush on over values ... well, you know the three words we're thinking.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:29 AM | TrackBack

November 1, 2004

CQ Flashback: John Kerry -- Not A Black Man After All (3/8/04)

A few days ago, John Kerry tried on the Bill Clinton approach to civil rights, noting that Clinton had sometimes been called the nation's "first black President" for his humble Southern beginnings as well as his affinity to African-American leadership, and said that he wouldn't mind being known as the second black President. Oddly enough, having a rich, white, power-born politician describe himself as black didn't sit to well with those who actually are black -- and they're not just giving Kerry disapproving glances:

The head of a civil rights and legal services advocacy group wants Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to apologize for saying he wouldn't be upset if he could be known as the second black president.

"John Kerry is not a black man he is a privileged white man who has no idea what it is in this country to be a poor white in this country, let alone a black man," said Paula Diane Harris, founder of the Andrew Young National Center for Social Change.

John Kerry seems to think that he can simply mimic Bill Clinton and and all Clinton's constuencies will magically become his own. However, Clinton had charm and wit (and a much different background than Kerry), qualities sorely lacking in the presumptive nominee. Presuming to represent people who are quite capable of representing themselves is the height of condescension, as Ms. Harris reminded Kerry this evening. Not a particularly adept way of winning friends and support among this community, considering the long history of Democrats taking them for granted.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:00 PM | TrackBack

Mike Weighs In On Iraq, Al Qaqaa, and Osama - Part I

I had an opportunity to interview my friend "Mike", the Navy SEAL and private contractor who spent the last three years in Iraq. I wanted to get his perspective since the Al Qaqaa story broke, since part of Mike's work as a private contractor dealt with explosives demolition. Part I of the interview focuses on that issue.

Q. What do you know about the ASP at Al Qaqaa and the missing 380 tons of explosives?

A. Not much first-hand knowledge That was not one of the sites I was sent to blow anything up or acquire any of the explosives that were there. I had access to a lot of different site maps, and I dont remember seeing it on a site map. It may have been there, but I dont remember it. If it was the size they say it is, I cant imagine that we need to be worried about anything that was stored there. All these other places were inventoried, and were systematically blowing things up there. There was over a dozen major ammunition supply points [ASPs], which would be the largest places to find enemy ammunition. There were also 400 smaller cache sites all around Iraq.

Q. And Al-Qaqaa was not one of the major ones?

A. Im not saying it wasnt, Im just saying that it wasnt anything Id seen on a site map. It wasnt one of the places they sent us. We were destroying up to a hundred tons a day at a single site.

Q. In the ASPs you went to, how were they known to be ASPs? Were they discovered as we invaded, or did we know about them ahead of time?

A. Everything was known everything was on a map before we went in. In fact, in every place I was, we had bombed several of the bunkers or magazines that were there, and that created more work for the EOD [explosive ordinance demolition] guys, because it spreads ordinance all over the place, which then becomes designated as unexploded ordinance. Just dropping any size JDAM into a bunker will blow up everything in the center, but the rest It makes it unusable by the enemy during the invasion.

But yeah, we knew before we went in where all the main ASPs were, in any aerial map you can see all these pods. There were several hundred magazine bunkers in every one of these ASPs, all loaded with artillery rounds or tank rounds, or rockets, bombs, or land mines all the things that are comprised in captured enemy ammunition.

Q. Walk me through a typical process when the Army or Marines would come upon an ASP. How would they normally go about securing the site?

A. If theyre doing a ground assault, theyd take over the base; if they met any kind of resistance, theyd shoot and kill anyone whos resisting. The First Marine Division, followed by the Third Infantry Division went into these places to secure them during the war. If there was a firefight and everyone was killed, they just moved on towards Baghdad. I mean, during the invasion the main objective was to get to Baghdad and go north to Tikrit, and overthrow the government.

Q. The primary mission of the invasion was to overthrow Saddam it wasnt to stand guard at the ASPs, right?

A. Right. There was not enough people to do that, and that would not be the number-1 priority anyway that was to get Saddam. All of these follow-on projects and missions was why we had all the contractors there, like me, to take care of other projects like captured enemy ammunition.

Q. Once theyve captured a site and confirmed that its secure and pushed past it, its still part of their lines of communication, right? At least the area?

A. Im not what youre asking.

Q. In other words, take Al Qaqaa, although I know you dont have any personal experience there. Al Qaqaa was on the way to Baghdad, and I would assume then that they would still need to secure the general area in order to keep their lines of communication secure all the back to Kuwait.

A. Yeah, and Im sure that judging by the description and size of it that we did that. In fact, I was reading something that two military units went into Al Qaqaa and they didnt find anything the first few times they went in. All the places Ive been theres a camp outside of An Najaf, which is probably the largest one in Iraq, and theres another one near Tikrit, and Fallujah, and these major ASPs are all over the place we certainly went in there and took care of them, and turned them over to contractors in order to do the demolition.

Q. Were you surprised when you heard at the press conference at the Pentagon that it was the regular Army that did the demolition at Al Qaqaa?

A. No, because they do some demolition operations, too. They dont have time to do a thorough like what we do, we have an Army Corps of Engineers contract. You can look it up on [their] website. Under captured enemy ammunition, youll find some pretty conservative estimates on how much there is there and what our role is. Well go in there and inventory, set aside anything useful for the Iraqi army which isnt much and then blow up the rest of it.

Q. When you were going into these ASPs, were you given inventories of what was expected to be found there?

A. No. Now, I did mainly the security and the medical aspects of the job, but theres several different types and pieces of it. One is EOD people, usually former military EOD techs with 20 years of experience or more. Their main role is blowing things up. Then theres ammo handlers, guys who used to be in the ordinance field in the military, and their job would be to inventory, for the most part. They can recognize every different kind of ordinance, find out how much there is, put it all together and record it on the inventory sheets, and keep track of what we have over there.

Its an awesome task, because it was estimated a year ago September that theres over 2 million tons of captured enemy ammunition in Iraq. Except for maybe the US and Russia, its the largest arsenal in the world.

Q. Ive seen varying estimates since then, between 600,000 tons and 2 million tons. That estimate was made after wed been in-country for six months er, five or six months after the fall of Baghdad, is that right?

A. That sounds about right. Theres been various estimates, but I dont think anyone can say for a fact how much there is because we keep finding more. Then theres the question of what you call enemy ammunition and what you call unexploded ordinance or UXO. UXO is not included in the calculation of captured enemy ammunition. UXO is the stuff thats been dropped, exploded; its the stuff laying all over the place thats unstable. CEA the 2 million tons is whats in boxes and crates. Its relatively stable and you can move it without having to worry about it too much. The amount of submunitions and stuff just laying around and not stable is considered UXO, and I dont think anyone has an estimate of how much of that stuff there is. All of that [UXO] is usable by terrorists for IEDs, or improvised explosive devices.

Q. And when you wrote to your friends and family in April, you talked about that and the fact that it was difficult to guard the UXO, because the stuff was literally fired and dropped all over the place and spread over wide areas. In fact, villagers would go into those areas to try to pick that ordinance up for resale and end up killing themselves.

A. Thats absolutely true, and we corpsmen wound up sometimes helping to take care of the remains, or capturing prisoners who were stealing things.

Q. Its something that people dont usually think about but is fairly typical of most shooting wars a lot of ordinance doesnt explode on impact, but its still volatile and extremely lethal.

A. And any bunker thats been hit by a bomb, everything in it becomes UXO. A percentage of it goes high order, which means it explodes, but theres a lot more that doesnt completely explode, so youve got high explosives in all these unexploded shells all over the place. The reason people are willing to steal this kind of stuff is that theyre either terrorists or they sell it to terrorists, who use it to make IEDs. Sometimes theyre just going after the casings to resell the brass. I dont know if you know what an artillery shell looks like, but the casing is the largest part. Inside the casing is [the propellant and related parts]. After you take the projectile off the top of the shell, they dump the propellant on the ground and keep the shell, which they can get $10 for a lot of money. But that propellant is a significant UXO hazard. One match and it all can go up, and I;ve been there when that happened. They create patients for me to treat.

Q. There doesnt appear to be any shortage of that [UXO] there, either.

A. No, when we first got there it was lying all over the place. The propellant is good to use for many things in the terrorist world as well.

Q. At the ASPs where you worked, how difficult would it be for looters to come in and haul off tons of materials, as has been described in the allegations surrounding Al Qaqaa?

A. Any place used by us as a forward operating base, where we set up a perimeter, it would be pretty difficult. In fact, while I was there we had incidents where people tried to penetrate the wire and we would either take them prisoner or shoot and kill them. Unfortunately, the majority of ASPs are not FOBs or bases, and theyre fairly open for people to go in and steal. Theyre supposed to be patrolled, and we have aerial reconnaissance planes and all sorts of things like that, but you cant be everywhere at once. Thats why its so important that we stay in Iraq and places like Iraq until weve completely cleaned out all those places and gotten rid of all that stuff.

Tomorrow I hope to transcribe the second part of the interview, which deals with the new Osama bin Laden tape, and Mike's perspective on the war on terror and how it relates to this election.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:12 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Flip-Flops On Education (4/5/04)

Who wrote these words about education reform?

"It bothers me," the reformer wrote, "that some Democrats have resisted the idea of making educational outcomes the skills and knowledge our kids obtain from the educational system as important as educational inputs the adequate funding, the good facilities and the higher teacher pay we all want."

The answer? John Kerry, in his campaign book he published just last year. However, Kerry the Candidate has reversed course and now campaigns against No Child Left Behind because of its "punitive" provisions for schools that fail to raise educational outcomes. The Los Angeles Times' Ronald Brownstein -- who usually acts as a reliable spin doctor for the Democrats -- unspins Kerry on this issue:

After voting for President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, Kerry, during his race to the nomination, joined the mob of Democrats condemning the education reform law. ... [H]e reversed himself to insist that schools be judged not only on outputs their success in improving student performance but inputs as well, such as whether teachers and students show up regularly.

Kerry and other skeptics point to some legitimate problems in No Child Left Behind. But many education reformers worry that the changes he's demanding will do more to hide problems in the schools than to fix them. Put another way: His proposed revisions mostly favor the adults working in the school system over students and their parents.

Various denunciations of the NCLB Act have filled the campaign trail; it's vilified almost as often as the Patriot Act -- both of which Kerry voted to support while in the Senate. As Brownstein notes, Kerry's attitude on education reform changed when Howard Dean vaulted to the front of the pack during the run-up to the primaries and threatened to take all the union endorsements with him. Suddenly, Kerry had a lot less to say about "outputs" and ever since has criticized the act for the potential consequences for failing schools.

Calling the measure "punitive", though, certainly mischaracterizes the act, as Brownstein points out:

Kerry's clear intent is to loosen the standard so that fewer schools are identified as needing improvement, even if student test scores fail to rise. It's easy to see why teachers and administrators worried about their public image like that idea. It's more difficult to see how it helps parents or children.

The demand for loosening the accountability standard is based largely on the myth, now embraced by Kerry, that the law punishes schools designated as needing improvement.

In fact, schools face no changes until they have failed to raise student performance for at least two consecutive years. Even then, they are only required to develop an improvement plan and, more important, to allow parents to transfer their children to other public schools. If the school fails to improve student performance for three consecutive years, it must provide low-income parents stipends to obtain extra tutoring for their kids, often from respected providers like Sylvan Learning Center.

How exactly can this be construed as "punitive"? It focuses sanctions specifically on providing more options for parents and students for the first three years a school continues to fail to generate age-appropriate test results. Over a hundred thousand students in the nation's largest school districts get extra tutoring, thanks to those requirements. Now Kerry proposes to water down the evaluation standards by including silly measurements like teacher attendance, which would have eliminated the tutoring opportunity for most of those students. Aren't the teachers getting paid to show up for work? And who exactly is Kerry trying to help here?

Kerry has built a record of flip-flops that the Bush campaign has exploited very skillfully in the first month of the head-to-head campaign. When formerly reliable Democratic voices like Brownstein pull a fisking like this pointing out these inconsistencies, you know that Kerry's gone off the rails.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:00 PM | TrackBack

Election Eve Phone Banking

While some voters get calls from an ersatz Norman Schwarzkopf or from the real Bret Favre or Curt Schilling, I've only been fortunate enough to get one call tonight from the GOP. After hearing someone grunt "Please listen," I got this recorded message with a female voice:

"Democrats keep accusing Republicans of secretly planning on reinstating the draft. But Democrats are the only ones who have proposed a new military draft ..."

It would have been all right if someone like the Bush twins had done the commercial. Heck, since Pete Coors is running for the Senate, maybe they could have had the Coors Twins record it. But no -- all I get is the gosh-darned generic message. I'm already supporting the GOP, of course, but I did feel a twinge of resentment that I didn't get to be phone-spammed by a really cool celebrity. I'd even have settled for Stephen Baldwin ...

Notes: I will continue posting flashbacks on the presidential election all night, as well as keep my eyes on the wire services to see if any news pops up. I'll stagger them through the night, so keep checking back.

Breaking news: I have a new interview with "Mike", my friend who served in Iraq for the past three years, discussing Al Qaqaa and Osama bin Laden. I'll be posting that in two parts tonight.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:48 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Still Sacrificing The Freedom Of The Vietnamese (8/25/04)

John Kerry has taken to pleading for a return to debate on current issues and more relevant qualifications for the presidency in a bid to bury the debate on his Viet Nam record, which at one time was all Kerry would discuss on the stump. Speaking in New York, Kerry told a crowd that all the Bush campaign had was fear, while he wanted to talk about how he could outperform Bush in areas such as foreign policy.

So let's talk foreign policy, as practiced right here at home, by Senator Kerry.

Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bradley Clanton of the law firm Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, in Jackson, MS and Washington, DC. Brad represents several Vietnamese-Americans who came to the US as refugees of the Communists in their native land. Some of his clients have names that students of the era would recognize, such as Bui Diem, former ambassador to the US from the Saigon government. This group of Vietnamese refugees filed a lawsuit against the University of Massachussetts (Boston) and the William Joiner Center, one of its research centers, due to irregularities in its awarding of fellowships for researching the Vietnamese disapora.

Their case -- and I stress it has not been concluded -- is that the Joiner Center failed to follow the protocols outlined in its research grant when selecting candidates for the Rockefeller Foundation fellowships offered for the grant. Among other actions, the Joiner Center allegedly failed to publish notices of the grant's availability until just before the deadline for applications expired, failed to advertise in any of the required scholarly journals which targeted the American Vietnamese community, and in general made it almost impossible for the scholars of that community to know about the paying jobs in time. The effect of this failure is to keep Vietnamese who emigrated to the US as adults in the Diaspora from taking part in the program, as younger members of academia already had some access to the grant information up front.

Why? Because the Joiner Center and UMass already had scholars in mind to study the forced migration of the South Vietnamese people. And half of those scholars came from the People's Republic of Viet Nam -- the same Communists who tortured and massacred the refugees into fleeing Viet Nam in the first place, after the fall of Saigon. (The other two fellows are an American-born, 25-year-old person of Vietnamese ancestry and a Caucasian listed in the complaint as "under 40".)

This is akin to hiring Khmer Rouge officials to study the Cambodian killing fields. It's intellectually indefensible, on several grounds. First off, the "scholars" that one gets from a totalitarian government are hardly free thinkers; the Vietnamese would not approve researchers who weren't prepared to toe the Party line. Furthermore, if any of them suddenly got a bad case of truthtelling, their families would certainly suffer the consequences, and in Viet Nam, that means the re-education camps that killed hundreds of thousands of people over the past 30 years. The biggest problem is that the current government in Hanoi has a great deal of interest in ensuring that any such research points away from their atrocities in the final product. They would only approve those researchers who understand that need, which renders the entire exercise unreliable.

So Vietnamese-Americans over 40 got passed over by UMass-Boston and the Joiner Center on behalf of two Vietnamese Communists with an axe to grind. They started protesting the university's management of the research grant in June 2000 and throughout the summer and fall, finally filing suit on several grounds on October 27, 2000. When the protest hit the local press, it provoked a negative reaction in Boston. The controversy made Joiner Center management uncomfortable, and they decide they need political cover from as high up as they can get it.

This is where Senator John Kerry makes his appearance in this case.

Kerry wrote a letter to Kevin Bowen, director of the Joiner Center, dated September 27, 2000, in order to praise both his research and his selection of scholars for fellowships. This is the final paragraph in Kerry's letter to Bowen supporting the hiring of Communist nationals from Viet Nam over hiring Americans who escaped and survived the persecution of the government which these two 'scholars' represent:

I commend and extend my welcome and congratulations to the initial group of fellows selected. Choosing two established and accomplished scholars from Vietnam and two emerging scholars from the United States assures a diversity of views and combines fresh perspectives with time-tested observation. It is essential and critical that a project of this magnitude regarding a phenomenon as sweeping as the Vietnamese diaspora consider candidates from all countries, political backgrounds and cultural orientations to achieve free and unencumbered inquiry. Only through such a free and thorough inquiry and a generous sharing of findings will the cause of the Vietnamese people be advanced.

It may be impossible to find more fatuous thinking in such a short paragraph anywhere else. Before dissecting Kerry's intellectual failings, let's be clear about his intent. He made it clear that he understood that half of the fellowships went to Communist nationals in a study that purported to research a refugee catastrophe their government initiated. Implicit in this letter is Kerry's contention that any dissent erupting from this choice would be invalid. This letter is no mere boiler-plate salutation for a constituent; Kerry knew the situation and gave his blessing to Bowen's handling of it.

Now, looking at the actual reasoning behind this letter, one can safely state that John Kerry has no concept of totalitarianism; the intervening years between 1971 and 2000 taught him nothing. He presumes that Communist 'scholars' have academic freedom. Kerry lauds the diversity of views they bring to the research but fails to recognize the lock-step mentality of a single-party system, and one that caused the deaths of as many as 750,000 of its men, women, and children in concentration camps or on the run from its oppression. He repeats the same tired moral relativism he did in his radical days of 1971 when he presumes that the diversity of "political backgrounds and cultural orientations" will ensure that truth results from the inquiry, even though by 2000 the world understood that totalitarian regimes and truth coexist on rare and usually coincidental occasions.

Kerry's reasoning reveals much more about his philosophy, and this isn't just the radical youth that Kerry uses to excuse his activities at the end of the war. This letter was written less than four years ago. Kerry defended Communist nationals in the Senate in 1971, and 29 years later continued to do so (not to mention defending Bowen's outsourcing of jobs to a country known for its sweatshops). This uncomprehending naivete does not befit the office of President even in times of peace and prosperity, and recalls the more ludicrous exploits of the Carter presidency. In a time of war against Islamofascist aggression, such unseriousness will get us killed.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:30 PM | TrackBack

OBL Transcript Posted (Updated)

Matt Drudge has posted a transcript of the new OBL tape. I'm with my partner on this: OBL has definately been watching too many Michael Moore videos in his cave.

As Captain Ed also noted, the emergence of two AQ tapes signals something very, very bad. Apparently federal officials agree. On Fox News, Shepard Smith is reporting that analysts believe the first tape symbolizes brute force and AQs presence in the US while the tone of the OBL video justifies killing of innocents. While that's a plausible analysis, it is also possible (knock on wood) the videos were made because AQ no longer has the ability to attack us here and hopes to influence the election via propaganda. I think it must come down to either of those scenarios. Or maybe he's seeking a larger speaking part in the next Michael Moore mockumentary.

UPDATE: Aljeezera has posted the full transcript. A quote that didn't appear in the MSM snippets:

Finally, it behooves you to reflect on the last wills and testaments of the thousands who left you on the 11th as they gestured in despair. They are important testaments, which should be studied and researched.

Among the most important of what I read in them was some prose in their gestures before the collapse, where they say, "How mistaken we were to have allowed the White House to implement its aggressive foreign policies against the weak without supervision." It is as if they were telling you, the people of America, "Hold to account those who have caused us to be killed, and happy is he who learns from others' mistakes," And among that which I read in their gestures is a verse of poetry, "Injustice chases its people, and how unhealthy the bed of tyranny."

As has been said, "An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."

And know that, "It is better to return to the truth than persist in error." And that the wise man doesn't squander his security, wealth and children for the sake of the liar in the White House.

This is cleary the rant of an evil lunatic. An evil lunatic who wants you to vote for Kerry.

Hat tip: Powerline.

UPDATE: Dan Darling of Winds of Change provides an extensive analysis of the tape. (No MSM outlets have provided such indepth coverage, no big surprise there!) If you don't have time to read the entire post ('tis long), here are his conclusions:

1. Bin Laden's adoption of Wilsonian rhetoric and painting himself as a champion of freedom and democracy in the Islamic world. To put this as best I can, if the US shifts policies and ditches the neocons' pro-democratization initiative the way a lot of people in the foreign policy establishment are hoping for, he appears ready to pick up the tab as best he can. Basically, in the absence of responsible people leading the pro-democracy movement in the Middle East, bin Laden is positioning himself to pick up the tab. This represents a shift in strategy as much as anything else, as it represents a tacit concession that his own Salafist "base" isn't enough to defeat the US. If he were a politician, I'd say that he was trying to move to the center in a bid to win the general election.

2. Bin Laden's ability to compromise his fanaticism and desire for power with a sophisticated political savvy and pragmatism is an extremely dangerous one. If he's really starting to adopt the same kind of friend/foe distinctions among his Western enemies that he apparently does among his fellow Muslims (allying himself with Shi'ite heretics, for example), then he might be open to making overtures to them for his advantage. Neither political party in the US is going to be open to his overtures, but can we really say the same of Europe? Or North Korea?

BTW Dan isn't convinced by analysis (posted by MEMRI) which cast OBL's conclusion as a red state threat.

Hat tip: Command Post

Posted by Whiskey at 7:23 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: A Moment To Acknowledge Our Humanity (5/6/04)

Hindrocket at Power Line directs our attention to a story, with accompanying photograph, from the Cincinatti Enquirer Hugabout a moment on the campaign trail where we can remember that despite all of the partisan vitriol and rhetoric, we are all Americans. George Bush, making a campaign appearance in Lebanon, OH, shook hands with the crowd who had gathered to enthusiastically greet him. As he did, the following incident briefly made everyone forget about campaigns and speeches:

Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke:

"This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11."

Bush stopped and turned back.

"He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and a man," Faulkner said. "He looked right at her and said, 'How are you doing?' He reached out with his hand and pulled her into his chest."

Faulkner snapped one frame with his camera.

"I could hear her say, 'I'm OK,' " he said. "That's more emotion than she has shown in 21/2 years. Then he said, 'I can see you have a father who loves you very much.' "

"And I said, 'I do, Mr. President, but I miss her mother every day.' It was a special moment."

I don't include this story to try to convince readers to vote for George Bush because he took a moment to acknowledge a young girl's grief and loss by reaching out to her; John Kerry will have similar moments on the campaign trail, I am sure. I include it to remind us all that despite all of our policy differences, we are all still human beings ... even the politicians. We do well to remember that in our current political climate.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:15 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry -- Democracy Not Important (5/29/04)

In words that echo his 1971 Senate testimony on the Vietnam war, John Kerry told the Washington Post that establishing democracy would not be a priority of a Kerry administration, preferring to work on more pressing issues other than liberty and freedom:

Sen. John F. Kerry indicated that as president he would play down the promotion of democracy as a leading goal in dealing with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Russia, instead focusing on other objectives that he said are more central to the United States' security. ...

In many ways, Kerry laid out a foreign-policy agenda that appeared less idealistic about U.S. aims than President Bush or even fellow Democrat former president Bill Clinton. While Kerry said it was important to sell democracy and "market it" around the world, he demurred when questioned about a number of important countries that suppress human rights and freedoms. He said securing all nuclear materials in Russia, integrating China in the world economy, achieving greater controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons or winning greater cooperation on terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia trumped human rights concerns in those nations.

Unfortunately, John Kerry demonstrates almost every day that he just doesn't understand the critical issue of Islamofascist terrorism. Fanatics grow in the dark, as we continue to learn, as the various thugocracies, kleptocracies, and mullahcracies in the area oppress their citizens and feed them a steady diet of anti-American and anti-Semitic rationalizations. Not only will America make no progress on human-rights abuses until the regimes change, but the region will continue to produce terrorists until representative governments replace the dictatorships, so that free discourse and self-determination provide safety valves for anger and voting can replace the gun and the vest-bomb.

Kerry engages in moral relativism, a long-standing habit that has cropped up in his public life again and again. Kerry said much the same thing last month, as the Post's editorial noted in a scolding editorial:

"WE NEED A reasonable plan and a specific timetable for self-government" in Iraq, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) said in December. "That means completing the tasks of security and democracy in the country -- not cutting and running in order to claim a false success." On another occasion, he said: "It would be a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle to speed up the process simply to lay the groundwork for a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops."

Contrast that with what Mr. Kerry told reporters last week: "With respect to getting our troops out, the measure is the stability of Iraq. [Democracy] shouldn't be the measure of when you leave. I have always said from day one that the goal here . . . is a stable Iraq, not whether or not that's a full democracy."

Trading liberty for stability is the philosophy that brought us the modern Middle East. It's a short-sighted strategy that the British and French employed after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when they propped up strongmen like the House of Saud in order to play power politics in the region. Only in Turkey, which fought for its independence under the legendary Kemal Ataturk, actually realized a self-determinative and free government, and that mostly at the opposition of the West.

John Kerry often expresses a disdain for democracy in the name of expediency and moral relativism. During his 1971 Senate testimony, Kerry made the following declaration:

Senator, I will say this. I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satisfy their felt needs, and you can satisfy those needs with almost any kind of political structure, giving it one name or the other. In this name it is democratic; in others it is communism; in others it is benevolent dictatorship. As long as those needs are satisfied, that structure will exist.

Continuing his campaign of snide remarks, Kerry also said this about the 2000 election:

"The last time I looked, except for Florida, an election is an election," Kerry said.

So did we, Senator, until Al Gore unleashed his lawyers on Florida to overturn it.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:15 PM | TrackBack

QandO Explodes The Afganistan "Outsourcing" Myth

Jon Henke at QandO, the essential neolibertarian blog, does some research on John Kerry's oft-repeated assertion that the US "outsourced" its efforts at Tora Bora in order to do war on the cheap. Despite the vehement denials by General Tommy Franks and others within the Afghan operation and the detailed explanations as to why our strategy not only made sense but paid off, Kerry continues to use this canard as a major part of his stump speeches.

It should surprise no one at this date that Kerry's position represents a complete reversal from what Kerry advocated at the time of the Afghan operation. Jon notes Kerry's appearance on the Bill O'Reilly show for December 11, 2001, where Kerry not only approved of the Afghan operation as implemented but called for moving our focus to militarily removing Saddam Hussein and leaving the liberation of Afghanistan to the Afghanis. He also made clear that if the international community refused to act against Saddam, then we should respond unilaterally:

OREILLY: Have you seen any...evidence thats really compelling that has not come out yet?

KERRY: I have not seen any evidence yet with respect to the 11th. But there are avenues of -- to pursue there. The important thing is that Saddam Hussein has used weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein fired weapons on Israel. They took some -- I think it was 29 or more Scuds without even responding during the war.

In addition to that, he has refused to live by the terms of the treaty that he signed at the end of the war in which he agreed to do certain things.
He hasnt...the international community ought to hold him accountable for that.

OREILLY: But the international community wont. If were going to get -- if hes going to get...

KERRY: Well, ultimately...

OREILLY: ... out of there, its going to have to be us. ... Nobody else going to do anything because theyre all frightened little ninnies. Now...

KERRY: In the end ... we protect our own national security interests. In the end, Im prepared for the United States to do what it has to do in order to do that.

Read all of Jon's excellent post, which is too rich and complex to excerpt properly here.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:22 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry -- Bush/Cheney "Most Crooked ... Lying Group" (3/10/04)

Senator John Kerry revealed an ugly and poorly controlled side of himself when he thought he was off-mike this afternoon while speaking with AFL-CIO union workers in Chicago:

Sen. John Kerry, all but officially the Democratic presidential nominee, called Republicans he is battling "crooked" Wednesday. ... "Keep smiling," one man said to him.

Kerry responded, "Oh yeah, don't worry man. We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you -- we're just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen."

Simply appalling. In the picture above, you can see a Kerry aide hurriedly trying to disconnect the microphone, to no avail, which leads me to wonder what else John Kerry says when he thinks the mikes are off. Does he speculate on Roswell? Discussing alien abductions?

Kerry's campaign immediately retreated into damage control, saying that Kerry was referring to the Republican "attack machine", but that's absolute hogwash. The Democrats have spent the last nine months throwing all sorts of personal ad hominem attacks against George Bush and Dick Cheney, including allegations that Bush was AWOL during his National Guard duty, that Cheney was getting rich off of Halliburton contracts in Iraq, and most notoriously until now, that George Bush had been told by the Saudis ahead of time about the 9/11 attacks and did nothing about them. They're not discussing issues -- they're slinging mud, and that should tell you something about their intellectual bankruptcy in this election cycle.

John Kerry needs to put up or abjectly apologize. If Kerry has evidence of corruption or lying, then put it out for all to see. Then we can all be enlightened and investigate it, and determine if Kerry is right or a full-fledged member of the Tinfoil Hat brigade. If he refuses to do so, then he is a coward and a sneak, a mumbler who won't take responsibility for his rumormongering.

Die-hard Democrats will probably cheer Kerry for his character assassination, but independents should take note: this man is not temperamentally or morally suited for the job of an executive. The Democrats should be ashamed of this behavior instead of trotting out weak justifications about "attack machines". Grow up and take responsibility, or go home.

UPDATE: Here's the AP article that broke this story. Money graf:

Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Kerry toughened his comments about his GOP critics after a supporter urged him to take on Bush [emph. mine]. "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight," Kerry said. "We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

That's the context; it wasn't about talk radio, it wasn't about people with Photoshop and too much time on their hands, and it wasn't about Captain's Quarters. Kerry meant George Bush and Dick Cheney, and by association, their entire administration.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:00 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Give UN Command Over US Forces

John Kerry, when he first ran for elective office in 1970, told the Harvard Crimson that he was an "internationalist" who felt that the UN should retain command of the US military:

"I'm an internationalist," Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. "I'd like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations." Kerry said he wanted "to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care."

The Kerry campaign, celebrating primary victories in Virginia and Tennessee last night, declined to comment on the senator's remarks. As a candidate for president, Kerry has said he supports the autonomy of the U.S. military and has never called for a scale-back of CIA operations.

When a candidate takes elective office, they swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does it allow any entity except the President and Congress to control or restrain American armed forces. John Kerry comes from a radical-left group of thinkers who believed -- and still do -- that the only way for the world to get along is for everyone to cede sovereignty to the UN, despite the fact that not only does the UN not uphold democratic ideals, but it puts nations like Libya and Syria in charge of committes on human-rights abuses and counter-terrorism.

One may be tempted to say that this was all just youthful idealism that has long since matured, except that Kerry keeps returning to these first principles in his legislative career, and sometimes goes past even that. In 1991, despite UNSC approval, Kerry voted against taking military action to eject Saddam from Kuwait, although he says now that he was in favor of action -- just not at that point. He voted for action in 2002 but has backpedaled furiously from that vote ever since Howard Dean entered the race, claiming he meant for Bush to get a permission slip from the UNSC prior to taking any action. And despite what his campaign claims, Kerry has repeated attempted to gut the CIA by stripping it of funding. Power Line noted back in July 2003:

Kerry, whose involvement in politics arose out of his virulent opposition to the Vietnam War, said at the beginning of his career that he would like to "almost eliminate CIA activity." This might be defended as a youthful indiscretion, except that throughout his career in the Senate, Kerry has acted in a manner consistent with those early sentiments. In 1994 he tried to cut $1 billion from the intelligence agencies' budgets. In 1995 Kerry offered legislation to "reduce the intelligence budget by $300 million" in each of the fiscal years 1996 to 2000. His bill never made it to the floor.

In the face of Kerry's lifelong antagonism to the intelligence community, his preaching about intelligence failures and gaps of knowledge are crassly hypocritical. Kerry's record reveals him to be just as much of an internationalist as he was when he tossed someone else's medals over the White House fence; the only aspect of Kerry that has improved is his opportunism. His recipe of appeasement and forensics in securing America, while emasculating the CIA and ceding military sovereignty to the anti-democratic majority at the UN, will bring disastrous results if he is elected.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 12:00 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Would Have Waited For Saddam To Attack (1-27-04)

Senator John Kerry continues to make odd statements about the Iraq war, trying to reconcile his vote authorizing it with his current anti-war platform:

Kerry said that the administration had promised to go through the United Nations first, and then didn't do it, but he added that at the time Saddam Hussein constituted a threat.

“From 1991 to 1998, we had inspectors in Iraq blowing up weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry said. “A lot of people seem to have forgotten that. We destroyed plenty of weapons of mass destruction in those 7½ years. We found more weapons than we thought Saddam had, and evidence of a nuclear program. "

Kerry is either lying or being deliberately obtuse. Bush went to the UN twice. In December, he pushed through UNSC resolution 1441, demanding immediate and full compliance from Saddam Hussein with the previous 16 UNSC resolutions. Inspectors were supposed to report on full compliance, not become detectives conducting search warrants for the entirety of Iraq. When UNSCOM inspectors found evidence of evasion and banned weapons, Bush went back to the UN to get them to finally recognize, after a dozen years, that Saddam was in material breach of the resolutions and the cease-fire that left him in power.

Note that Kerry, in attempting to bolster his vote, acknowledges that Saddam had WMDs until 1998, when he threw UNSCOM inspectors out of Iraq. Any reasonable interpretation would not include that Iraq was complying but were too shy to do so while UN inspectors were around. Certainly the Clinton administration and Congress in 1998 didn't take that interpretation.

And then Kerry said something truly bizarre, in the next breath:

"I voted for the process," Kerry said. "Go to the UN, build a coalition, and go to war as a last resort. George Bush broke his promise and went around us. He set the date for the war, not Saddam Hussein [emph. mine]."

So what Kerry proposes is to wait until we're attacked before taking any action? Maybe in a non-proliferated era we had the luxury of trusting the wide oceans to act as a buffer for any attack, but 9/11 should have taught everyone the folly of that philosophy. An attack from Saddam would not have begun with an invasion of Kuwait or missile attacks on American troops in the Persian Gulf -- it would have begun on our soil, especially if Saddam retained WMD capability. Such a statement indicates why John Kerry and the Democrats cannot be trusted on national security; they're living in the past.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:36 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Said Terrorist Had "Legitimate Voice"

John Kerry continues his quest towards self-destruction today in an NPR interview this morning, as he described a radical Islamist currently attacking American troops in Iraq as a "legitimate voice" who shouldn't necessarily be arrested if encountered:

In an interview broadcast Wednesday morning, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry defended terrorist Shiite imam Moqtada al-Sadr as a "legitimate voice" in Iraq, despite that fact that he's led an uprising that has killed nearly 20 American GIs in the last two days.

Speaking of al-Sadr's newspaper, which was shut down by coalition forces last week after it urged violence against U.S. troops, Kerry complained to National Public Radio, "They shut a newspaper that belongs to a legitimate voice in Iraq."

Never mind that this "legitimate voice" used that newspaper to call for an armed revolt against the Coalition and the Iraqi provisional government. John Kerry isn't concerned with that. John Kerry sounds more concerned with Moqtada al-Sadr's ability to express himself than he is with the lives of American soldiers, even as al-Sadr and his gang of thugs are killing Marines at this very moment.

After making that mistake -- and he clearly recognized it, as he tried to back away from the word "legitimate" -- NPR asked if Kerry supported al-Sadr's arrest. Given the shooting going on in Kufa, NPR pitched Kerry a softball, which he then proceeded to whiff:

"Not if its an isolated act without the other kinds of steps necessary to change the dynamics on the ground in Iraq," Kerry told NPR, in quotes first reported by the New York Sun.

John Kerry continues to demonstrate his complete inability to take a position on almost any issue. He can't even bring himself to support arresting a terrorist who has sworn to kill Americans, engaged in a shooting battle with US Marines. Not only does Kerry want to return to a law-enforcement strategy to fight terror, he doesn't even want to arrest terrorists that he finds as a result of law-enforcement action. Unbelievable.

Two questions: Does America want to elect a man to the Presidency who displays this callous of a nature to our troops when they're under fire?

Does America want to elect a man to the Presidency who is so incompetent that he can't keep his foot out of his mouth when NPR practically gift-wrapped its interview questions?

UPDATE: I found this LA Times article to provide some background for the current debate. The whole al-Sadr situation has been a growing danger for months, and shutting down al-Sadr's newspaper wasn't just about what he was printing in it:

The occupation administration has had an ongoing battle with Sadr that extends far beyond the pages of his newspaper.

Sadr, who is in his early 30s, has routinely denounced the occupation in his Friday sermons and has sought to raise his own militia, the Mehdi Army. Initially a ragged collection of unemployed youths, it has become increasingly organized, and Sadr now has militias operating in several southern cities, including Nasiriya, as well as Baghdad's Sadr City, home to more than 1 million Shiites. U.S. officials have been closely tracking Sadr's efforts to expand the corps.

The coalition has also forced government officials and security forces in the city of Najaf to shut down an illegal court convened by Sadr and a private prison where he was believed to be torturing some of the people sentenced by his court.

Last week, U.S. civilian administrator L. Paul Bremer III met with Najaf's governor and police chief to urge them to investigate reports that Sadr had continued to operate the court underground.

Under these circumstances, shutting down al-Sadr's means of communicating to an expanding organization makes sense, especially since they had warned al-Sadr several times to knock it off. Allowing him to publish a newspaper that recruited people for his own personal militia is suicidal, not an endorsement of freedom of speech.

Unfortunately, this is one "nuance" that escaped Kerry, who found it easier to sympathize with al-Sadr and his right to expression. Even up to two days ago, this conversation would be rather unremarkable. But after al-Sadr started shooting at Marines, the time for nuanced approaches was over. The only message American politicians should send after the shooting starts is that anyone who attacks Americans will pay a deep price. Kerry had an opportunity here -- two of them, in fact -- to support troops under fire, and he blew it by defending the guy responsible for killing Americans. That's not just unacceptable, it's plain stupid.

UPDATE II: Power Line also has more background on al-Sadr. The notion that he represented a "legitimate voice" in a society that wants to work towards freedom of expression looks more and more ludicrous. Kerry's "recent days" qualifier either points out his cluelessness or his willingness to toss BS in order to hoodwink voters.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:42 AM | TrackBack

With 24 Hours To Go, Democrats Running Away From Kerry

The AP reports that Democrats running for state offices around the nation have one thing in common -- a desire to put as much distance between themselves and John Kerry as possible:

Democrats running for the Senate in Republican-leaning states want to be more like President Bush clearing brush in Crawford, Texas, than John Kerry windsurfing off Nantucket Island, Mass.

Democratic chances of regaining control of the Senate may depend on candidates who run away from their party platform and their presidential contender.

"We've got eight or nine really competitive races and just about all are in strong Bush states," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "Democrats have some bad luck here."

I'd argue that it has less to do with bad luck than it does from the obstructionist tactics of the Democratic Senate contingent the past four years. Obviously, Democrats got elected in these states six years ago, so winning a majority didn't amount to Mission Impossible back then. Now, however, they've been unmasked in their unprecedented hijacking of presidential duties, and the one who faces perhaps the toughest race is the architect of their strategy -- Tom Daschle, who campaigned in South Dakota by showing clips of him hugging George Bush:

The Senate's top Democrat, Minority Leader Tom Daschle in South Dakota, has run an ad showing him embracing the president when Bush spoke to Congress shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. The message was that Daschle can work with Bush when necessary. Republican opponent John Thune says Daschle is a major source of the gridlock that has blocked much of Bush's agenda in Congress.

Perhaps South Dakotans will remind Tom Daschle tomorrow of the wisdom contained in "As Time Goes By", the classic song from Casablanca:

You must remember this,
A kiss is just a kiss,
A sigh is just a sigh ...
The fundamental things apply,
As Time Goes By.

Fundamentally, Dashle has been an obstructionist. He may have hugged George Bush once, but he's had his lips pressed firmly to Ted Kennedy's backside ever since. South Dakotans won't be fooled into thinking otherwise.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:15 AM | TrackBack

Mainstream Media's Love Affair With Kerry

The Center for Media and Public Affairs conducted a study confirming what everyone already knew -- the mainstream media gave John Kerry the kid-glove treatment this year, while being unusually harsh to George Bush. What most of us didn't realize is that the amount of positive press given to Kerry set a new record for media brown-nosing, the Washington Times reports:

"It's not just that John Kerry has gotten better press than President Bush before this election, he's gotten better press than anyone else since 1980. That's significant," said Bob Lichter, director of the D.C.-based nonpartisan research group.

"Kerry also got better press than anyone else in the days before the primaries as well," Mr. Lichter added.

In October alone, Mr. Kerry had a "record-breaking 77 percent positive press evaluations," compared with 34 percent positive for Mr. Bush, the study states.

The overall treatment of Kerry broke the record of a man whose shoes he appears to fill -- Walter Mondale in 1984. Not coincidentally, the man Mondale opposed received the worst treatment by the media since they began recording the data: Ronald Reagan received only 9% favorable press coverage in the year of his landslide victory against Mondale, an appalling number that reveals the complete lack of context and intellect of the mainstream media. The man who broke the back of the Soviet Union and won the Cold War could not rate any better than 9% favorable treatment from the American media?

The CMPA notes that in 2000, treatment of both candidates by the media was roughly equal. Unfortunately, that's only the second time it ever occurred, the first being Carter vs Reagan in 1980. Considering the attempt by NBC last night to sanitize John Kerry's interview with Tom Brokaw, I don't think the MSM were aiming for the hat trick on this election cycle. These results should embarrass every decisionmaker at every mainstream news outlet in America.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:49 AM | TrackBack

Kerry Discharge "Other Than Honorable": NY Sun

Our friend Thomas Lipscomb writes today at the New York Sun that based on records produced at the John Kerry campaign website and military regulations and practice at the time of Kerry's Navy career, John Kerry received a less-than-honorable discharge for his service. Because of Kerry's refusal to make all of his records public and the Privacy Act of 1974, Lipscomb's sources would not go on the record. However, a reserve JAG and a former Navy officer from the Bureau of Personnel have helped Lipscomb build a strong circumstantial case for the negative separation:

The "honorable discharge" on the Kerry Web site appears to be a Carter administration substitute for an original action expunged from Mr. Kerry's record, according to Mark Sullivan, who retired as a captain in the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps Reserve in 2003 after 33 years of service as a judge advocate. Mr. Sullivan served in the office of the Secretary of the Navy between 1975 and 1977.

On behalf of the Kerry campaign, Michael Meehan and others have repeatedly insisted that all of Mr. Kerry's military records are on his Web site, except for his medical records.

"If that is the case," Mr. Sullivan said, "the true story isn't what was on the Web site. It's what's missing. There should have been an honorable discharge certificate issued to Kerry in 1975,if not earlier, three years after his transfer to the Standby Reserve-Inactive."

Another retired Navy Reserve officer, who served three tours in the Navy's Bureau of Personnel, points out that there should also have been a certified letter giving Mr. Kerry a choice of a reserve reaffiliation or separation and discharge. If Mr. Meehan is correct and all the documents are indeed on the Web site, the absence of any documents from 1972 to 1978 in the posted Kerry files is a glaring hole in the record.

Sullivan notes the possibility that Kerry received no discharge at all when he separated from the service between 1972 and 1975. Commonly at that time, eligible officers were only issued discharges when being involuntarily separated from the service if their service was deemed honorable; the lack of any discharge was considered a stigma and a highly negative comment on an officer's record.

Lipscomb also has more circumstantial evidence of the aftermath of Kerry's discharge which indicates it was either dishonorable or "undesirable". After Kerry left the Navy, he intended on entering law school, but had trouble getting accepted. The official Kerry explanation is that his applications were too late for most schools to consider for the term Kerry wanted to start, but that's not how Lipscomb's source at Harvard remembers it:

Certainly something was wrong as early as 1973 when Mr. Kerry was applying to law school.

Mr. Kerry has said, "I applied to Harvard, Boston University, and Boston College. I was extremely late. Only BC would entertain a late application."

It is hard to see why Mr. Kerry had to file an "extremely late" application since he lost the congressional race in Lowell, Mass., the first week of November 1972 and was basically doing nothing until he entered law school the following September of 1973.A member of the Harvard Law School admissions committee recalled that the real reason Mr. Kerry was not admitted was because the committee was concerned that because Mr. Kerry had received a less than honorable discharge they were not sure he could be admitted to any state bar.

The fact that Mr. Kerry had cancelled his candidacy for a Congressional seat in 1970 in favor of Father Robert Drinan cannot have hurt Mr. Kerry's admission to Boston College. The Reverend Robert Drinan's previous position was dean of the Boston College Law School.

Read all of Lipscomb's article. With a day to go before the election, Kerry managed to skate by without releasing his complete service records, even admitting it on NBC before NBC decided to "sanitize" the records and remove the admission from its interview with Kerry. It follows a pattern of complicity in the mainstream media to cover up John Kerry's even while hypocritically demanding transparency on George Bush's honorable discharge, received normally and on time for his service.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 4:45 AM | TrackBack

Captain's Caption Contest #33: Energizing The Base Edition

It's Friday, so it must be time for another Captain's Caption Contest! It's the final countdown, so this contest will remain open as long as the polls do -- which means 8 PM CT on Election Night! This weekend, the candidates have to get their voters to the polls -- that means they have to get them motivated, get their energy up, and inspire them to go to the polls in unprecedented numbers. Here's an example of that Kerry/Edwards magic:

As always, make sure you put your entries in our comments section -- NO e-mailed entries, please! E-mailed entries will be tied to the leg of Ohio geese and flown over John Kerry's official hunter surrogates. The contest will end on Tuesday, November 2nd at 8 pm CT, when The Anchoress will select the winners. The Anchoress is an excellent writer on Catholicism and her personal spiritual journey; make sure you stop by often.

Let the games begin!

BUMP 11/01: Tons of great entries so far -- and don't forget, this contest ends when the Minnesota polls close, so keep it going! ...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 4:00 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Admits Attendance During Assassination Planning Meeting (3/19/04)

John Kerry's campaign has backed off their earlier denials that Kerry was not present for the VVAW meeting in Kansas City, November 1971, where the "Phoenix Project" was brought to debate and a vote:

Senator Kerry of Massachusetts yesterday retreated from his earlier steadfast denials that he attended a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate U.S. Senators was debated. The reversal came as new evidence, including reports from FBI informants, emerged that contradicted Mr. Kerrys previous statements about the gathering, which was held in Kansas City, Mo. in November 1971.

John Kerry had no personal recollection of this meeting 33 years ago, a Kerry campaign spokesman, David Wade, said in a statement e-mailed last night from Idaho, where Mr. Kerry is on vacation.

The historian Gerald Nicosia, who happens to be a Kerry supporter, released the minutes of the VVAW meeting, as well as FBI surveillance documents he received under a Freedom of Information request while researching a book on anti-war activism. Nicosia says that the evidence of Kerry's appearance and participation in the debate is "incontrovertible". This puts to lie Kerry's earlier contention that he was nowhere near Kansas City in November 1971 and that he had resigned from the VVAW in July of that year.

The Phoenix Project, as I earlier related, was the brainchild of Scott Camil, who had found several volunteers for the mission to assassinate public figures who supported the war, including Senators John Tower, Strom Thurmond, and John Stennis. Camil brought the proposal to the 11/71 VVAW meeting for a vote, and VVAW leadership knew about it; they changed the meeting venue twice on the spur of the moment in a futile attempt to avoid being monitored by the FBI.

While it's true that John Kerry spoke against this plot and later resigned because of it, it's equally true that he warned no one about the existence of the plot or the plotters. What's false has been Kerry's story ever since, and for good reason -- someone who sits in league with putative assassins plotting their crimes and fails to notify authorities implicitly legitimizes the use of violence for political and electoral ends. It should be a disqualification for public office; I for one don't want a Senator who thought, during his political career (he ran for Congress in 1970), that such a debate was a legitimate political discussion.

Kerry needs to explain himself and his participation in the 11/71 VVAW meeting. Non-denials from David Wade won't cut it.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:21 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flasback: Convention Interview With Tommy Franks

franks.jpgGeneral Tommy Franks announced today that he will support George Bush for president at our blog conference at the Republican National Convention.

Q: General, do you support George Bush for President?

A: Yes.

Q: With regards to consistency, did George Bush hurt himself with his remarks on Matt Lauer that maybe we can't win a war on terror?

A: Absolutely not. We won a Cold War, didn't we? And we didn't do that in 15 minutes.

Q: Did Ronald Reagan show that kind of doubt in his effort to win the Cold War?

A: I don't know that there was any doubt shown at all. I think that we're talking about consistency, and persistency, and anybody who looks at this thing over the last three and a half years is going to have a heck of a hard time trying to point out when he was not consistent or persistent. You got a lot of people who look at the other side, see, and they'll say, well, my goodness, he shouldn't have been so persistent. By gosh, he should have changed his mind. Well, absolutely not.

Q: He did clarify himself on Rush Limbaugh.

A: I didn't see that. I didn't hear that.

Q: He did clarify his Matt Lauer comments.

A: What'd he say?

Q: He basically said that he misstated it. Well, he clarified his point that it is a winnable war, it's not going to have an official end. It won't --

A: Well, yeah.

Q: It won't end in a treaty.

A: Yeah, and I think that it's one of those kind of things where you have to look real hard to find a parade after the Cold War. You know when the wall came down? The greatest standoff of our time. A nuclear standoff crisis that went on for decades. I believe if you had asked any president, during that time, and asked, "What do you think? Is it winnable?", he might well have said, "Well, I don't know, it's kind of standoffish." But the fact of the matter is that the war on terrorism is winnable. But it's not winnable in 15 minutes or in 12 months. It's going to go for a while.

Q: Do you think John Kerry can fight an effective war on terror?

A: Well, I support George W. Bush. You know what? I know what John Kerry is against. I'm having a little trouble figuring out what he's for.

Q: Is our successful fight against Moqtada al-Sadr in Najaf diverting us from the more important effort in Ramadi and Fallujah and the rest of Western Iraq?

A: No, I don't think so. I think what you have to do in Iraq is you have to play each day at a time. You know, we can criticize ourselves for not having the perfect plan, at any juncture we want to criticize ouselves. We can break out the sackcloth and the chains and all that sort of stuff, but the fact of the matter is when we were talking about 25, 28 million people, and they have been in the circumstances they've been in for the last three decades, then what you're going to find is that fractious behavior by the al-Sadrs, you're going to find situations like Fallujah, you're going to find situations in Mosul or Tikrit on a given day. We rise to them as they come up.

Q: General Franks, there has been a lot of criticism with some people saying that President Bush did not have a plan to win the peace. Can you address that?

A: Sure. Of course he had a plan to win the peace. Of course he did. Of course the United States had a plan to build the largest coalition the world has ever seen. And did it. Of course the United States had a plan to lead a coalition to remove one of the most despotic regimes we've seen in the last 100 years. Of course the United States of America has a plan to lead the coalition that will permit and assist the Iraqi people in claiming a new Iraq for themselves, a free Iraq. And all of that is going to take longer than a flash in the pan associated with popping a balloon.

You guys OK now?

Q: On the Swiftboat controversy, when you were first asked about it --

A: Yes. I'm still not -- I'm still not a big guy into hyperbole. I mean, I'm not a big guy into hyperbole, on either end of the continuum. I think he had two issues, and I think Senator McCain has pointed them out very well. You have situations that went on where the Swiftboat guys were on down in Vietnam, I was in Vietnam, John McCain was in Vietnam, John Kerry was in Vietnam, and the vets were in Vietnam. And I don't have anything to say about that. On the other hand, my concern is what happened after Vietnam, after Senator Kerry returned from Vietnam, and I may well have something to say about that.

Q: They said that if Kerry would apologize for his 1971 testimony, they would drop all future Swiftboat ads from the campaign. Do you think that's fair?

A: Oh, in my personal view, it's not a matter of dropping something. I've said right from the start --

Q: That's what the Swiftvets said today. They offered it to Kerry if he would apologize.

A: Wouldn't that be great? You know why it would be great? Because the people of the United States of America could focus on what's important, and that's our children and our grandchildren and the next four years of leadership for America, where we are faced every day with one of the most serious threats we've faced in 100 years and that's terrorism. We're going to have to display consistency, character, be persistent in the face of the difficulty. And that's what America's going to have to draw from her President. Where are we going to get that kind of leadership? It's one thing to know what a man is against; it's an entirely different thing to know what a man is for.

Q: Thank you, General Franks. [Applause]

It appears that George Bush has the fresh troops ready for the final push. Having a man with the credibility of General Tommy Franks on the trail pushing George Bush will raise confidence in Bush's leadership on national-security issues at the moment when Kerry already sees his support eroding on this critical quality. And it sounds like the former General has plenty to say, now that his retirement allows him to speak out.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:08 AM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Convention Interview With Sen. Alan Simpson

simpson.jpgFormer Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson came by Bloggers Corner just a few minutes ago and spoke to the group about liberal Republicanism, the electoral college, the current campaign and its tone, and John Kerry's Senate career. As you might imagine from his press conferences during his tenure in Congress, Senator Simpson spoke directly and even bluntly in responding to our questions. My audio of the interview turned out poorly as Sean Hannity's show insists on blaring out their program over speakers pointed directly at our area, but I can rebuild the important parts.

In response to questions regarding the Electoral College, Simpson strongly defended the current structure and explained that any attempt to eliminate it would never pass muster with enough states. Too many smaller states would lose their impact on presidential contests, and as Simpson said, no one would ever see a campaign outside of New York, Chicago, and California.

Simpson also responded about the current partisan brinksmanship by telling us to expect it to get worse. He advised anyone finding themselves under unfair attack to fire back and not to listen to advisors instructing them to rise above the attacks and ignore them. "An insult ignored is an insult believed," Simpson said, and related that he even contradicted his own family's wishes and responded on the offense.

"You're all keyed up," Simpson said his wife warned him, and he replied, "I know. It's going to be fun."

On John Kerry, Simpson clearly felt that he lacked any sort of legislative record and even gave us some insight into who John Kerry may really be as an explanation:

Q: You spent several years with John Kerry in the Senate. What is your opinion on his legislative accomplishments?

A: A big goose egg would be a pretty good approach, because I never saw anything that he did. But don't forget, he was under the shadow of Ted Kennedy and his issues were much like Ted's. He's not an evil man, but he didn't do anything that I remember. I was involved in significant legislation on immigration and nuclear high-level waste, and Superfund, and I don't remember him doing any of that.

Q: No leadership, then?

A: None. I didn't see any. In fact, I think he was almost shy. I think part of his problem right now is that I think he's basically a shy person. They've got him in a role that's uncomfortable for him.

Q: Thank you, Senator.

Simpson's insight into Kerry should not go unnoticed. He worked with Kerry for at least two terms in the Senate and had the opportunity to see him in action. I found his observation about Kerry's shyness intriguing, and it fits with the lack of personal connection that has caused much discussion and debate during the campaign season. The distance people feel from Kerry may not be something he can control, let alone overcome.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 2:03 AM | TrackBack

October 31, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops On Foreign Leader Endorsements

After maintaining that he had met with several foreign leaders who told him that they want him elected, John Kerry's campaign suddenly has shifted positions on overseas endoresements:

An adviser to US presidential challenger John Kerryhas criticised Australian Prime Minister John Howard over "inappropriate" public comments wishing for President George W. Bush to be reelected.

Australians had complained when Bush and his aides publicly commented on Australian politics and had told Bush to steer clear of US politics, adviser Kurt Campbell told The Sydney Morning Herald.

"I would remind Australians that the same applies at home. Such comments about our politics are a little inappropriate," he said, reacting to Howard's comment last month about Bush, saying: "I hope he wins."

It's a far cry from Kerry's strategy in March, when he told everyone that foreign leaders had told him how important it was for him to win the election. He had no problem with heads of state weighing in on our election, as long as they endorsed ... John Kerry. Let's not forget that Kerry's sister Diana made quite a splash in the run-up to the Australian elections, ostensibly to campaign among American ex-patriates but also criticizing Howard's policy of alliance with George Bush.

Besides, Kerry can hardly complain about John Howard publicly indicating a preference for George Bush when the other choice publicly called him "bribed" and "coerced". This is the result of John Kerry's vaunted diplomacy; first the Polish president scolds Kerry for slandering his country's alliance with the US, and now the Australian PM gets his own payback, post-election. Instead of broadening our alliances, John Kerry has only demonstrated a talent for pissing off our friends.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:39 PM | TrackBack

Final Gallup Poll A Muddle

Gallup announced the results of its final presidential poll, but its odd report and jumble of state results make it easily the most bizarre and forgettable poll of the bunch. Even its attempt to call the race looks transparently laughable:

Bush gets 49% and Kerry gets 47% among likely voters in the poll, which was conducted Friday-Sunday. Three percent offered no opinion. The poll has a margin of error of 2 percentage points, meaning Bush does not have a clear lead. Ralph Nader failed to break the 1% threshold, as all other candidates as a group drew a single percentage point of support.

The poll used a sample of 2,014 national adults a larger sample than past polls, which reduces the margin of error. In addition, in this final poll, Gallup used a statistical model to allocate undecided voters to the candidates. Using that model, the race is in a 49%-49% tie, with Nader getting 1% and all other candidates also receiving 1%.

We can stop there for a moment. Their poll shows Bush up 49-47, but when they attempt to divvy up the undecideds, Bush gets none of them? How exactly did that methodology work out? Gallup cannot be seriously predicting that almost every single undecided voter will go Democratic. If so, they need a new computer model.

Their state results look equally unusual:

Florida: Kerry with 49%, Bush with 46%.

Ohio: Kerry 50%, Bush 46%.

Pennsylvania: Bush 50%, Kerry 46%.

Iowa: Bush 48%, Kerry 46%.

Minnesota: Kerry leading Bush, 52%-44%.

Wisconsin: Bush leading Kerry, 52%-44%.

Bush has consistently led in Florida and lately by a significant margin. Kerry has led consistently in Pennsylvania, but by a much smaller margin. Ohio has been a tossup, of course, and may wind up in Kerry's column, although I find it unlikely. But even if this falls out exactly as shown, Bush wins the election. All he needs is one of the three big eastern states and a conversion of a significant Midwestern state.

I'd say this is a Hail Mary pass, designed to differentiate itself from other pollsters and gamble on a big scoop. It's a disappointing finish to an otherwise respectable campaign effort by Gallup.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:44 PM | TrackBack

Cheney Zings Kerry For Polling On Osama Tape

I first saw the report on Drudge that the Democrats took a poll to see how the Osama bin Laden tape played with the American electorate immediately after it aired. I thought at the time, "I'm not going to link to this ... even the Democrats aren't that foolish." Apparently I must stand corrected, as the Kerry campaign admitted their party conducted the poll, only after Dick Cheney slammed Kerry for not knowing what to do without sticking his finger in the air:

"The thing that I find amazing about it is that John Kerry's first response was to go conduct a poll," Cheney told supporters in Fort Dodge, Iowa. "He went into the field ... to find out what he should say about this tape of Osama bin Laden."

"It's as though he doesn't know what he believes until he has to go and check the polls, his finger in the air, to see which way the wind is blowing and then he'll make a decision," said the vice president, who offered no evidence to back up his claim. "George Bush doesn't need a poll to know what he believes, especially about Osama bin Laden."

"I don't think that's a man who is up to the task of being commander in chief," Cheney said of Kerry.

Joe Lockhart, the Clintonista serving as spokesman for the Kerry campaign, shot back that the GOP did the same thing, a charge which Matthew Down strongly denied. Lockhart then tried to pass it off as a poll taken by a group unaffiliated with the Kerry campaign, but the AP reports that the conference call announcing the poll results to the press included a number of Kerry staffers. That demonstrates a high level of coordination with the campaign, and at the least, the poll results were available for Kerry's use very quickly.

So I was wrong. The Democrats really are that stupid. Didn't any of the grown-ups at the DNC or the Kerry campaign realize that a dozen or more media-based pollsters would do that work for them? Perhaps there may not be any grown-ups at the DNC or Kerry campaign.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:21 PM | TrackBack

NBC Covering Up Kerry's Admission On Records

Alert CQ reader Gracias Deo noticed that NBC has edited the transcript of the interview Tom Brokaw did with John Kerry three days ago. As I reported then, Brokaw's questioning of Kerry about his IQ caused the Senator to bristle (emphasis mine):

Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.

Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from.

However, in the transcript for the interview based on tonight's Dateline segment for the interview, the answer has been edited to remove Kerry's admission:

Brokaw: "Someone has analyzed the president's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do."

Kerry: "That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it."

What happened to the rest of the answer? NBC must have decided to cut it off, but its excision appears to make NBC look complicit in an attempt to cover up an embarrassing admission -- that despite months of assertions to the contrary, John Kerry knows full well that he has not released his full service records. Unfortunately for NBC, they haven't realized yet that the original transcript still exists on their servers.

NBC needs to explain to their viewers why they felt the need to edit John Kerry's response, and who made the decision to do so. In an electoral cycle that has seen the mainstream media burn its credibility time and again, it looks like NBC is the next in line to self-immolate.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:00 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: A Great Example Of The Left's Hypocrisy On Race (5/15/04)

The Left tosses another double standard at the Republicans today in an op-ed piece in today's Los Angeles Times. Lawrence Weschler, author and academic, writes a smirking, breathless piece on the audacity of George Bush to include pictures of black people on his website. Oh, the scandal! Of course, the lack of minorities in John Kerry's inner circle never quite comes up:

Quick. Before they take it down. Go to your computer, log on to the official Bush/Cheney '04 reelection website. ...

Nice big picture of Bush merrily shooting the breeze with two black teenage girls. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find a quadrant labeled Compassion Photos, with the invitation, "Click here for the Compassion Photo Album." Do so.

And let's see, what have we got? First one up: short-sleeved Bush, holding a black kid in his arms, a bleacher full of black kids behind him, and he's merrily waving to the crowd. Click "next." And it's Bush at a Waco Habitat for Humanity building site, his arm draped around a black woman, his other hand tapping the shoulder of another of the black construction volunteers. Next: Bush waving to the Urban League. Next: Bush working a crowd, a black or maybe, in this case, South Indian kid prominently featured in the foreground, gazing on in amazement. Bush in an African thatch-roofed schoolroom.

This goes on for quite a while, with Weschler finding it incredible that George Bush could actually be photographed with African-Americans. But why exactly does this show of diversity -- isn't that a worthy goal? -- bother Weschler so greatly? Here's part of his explanation, such as it is:

I mean, bracket for a moment some of the actual facts concerning the fate of blacks and other people of color across the years of the Bush administration. How, for instance, tax cuts massively skewed toward the wealthy favor whites, while the huge resultant deficits necessitate service cuts massively disfavoring the poor, a group that includes proportionally more blacks.

My question is, for whom is this photo gallery intended? Does anybody seriously think blacks are going to be swayed by one staged photo op after another, in which time and again their confederates are cast as the pitiable recipients of an ostentatious display of kingly compassion?

Ah, I see -- Bush has not followed Weschler's prescription for domestic policy, which means higher taxes and increased social spending, so he's not allowed to be photographed with minorities. But in answering Weschler's challenge on the last question, Bush rightly points to his track record in placing people of color (and women) in positions of power, especially in non-traditional roles. Instead of having a woman head Health and Human Services, he has women of color running the national security and Department of Labor. He selected Colin Powell to be Secretary of State and Rod Paige as Secretary of Education, and so on. Weschler, after having asked what Bush has done for blacks, then derides him for having the poor taste to answer:

Although in this context it's worth recalling Bush's own reply to a journalist in 2001 who, citing the new president's highly unusual refusal to address the annual meeting of the NAACP, had asked how he might respond to critics who said his "civil rights record was less than stellar." Smirking, the president replied: "Let's see. There I was sitting around the table with foreign leaders looking at Colin Powell and Condi Rice." End of discussion.

In the first place, it's not terribly unusual for people to avoid groups who spent most of the previous year slandering them, which the NAACP did by running ads suggesting that George Bush was responsible for the car-lynching of James Byrd, whose murderers were sentenced to death in Texas, and for running ads with Bush's face superimposed on a Confederate flag. Beyond that irrelevancy, Bush's answer to critics of his civil-rights approach was to show his own commitment to diversity. Weschler loves the question, I suppose, but hates the answer, because it shoots down his entire, and yes, bigoted notion of Republicans.

Let's take a look at the approach used by a Democrat, shall we? John Kerry, a rich Boston Brahmin who has been in politics for over thirty years as a water-carrier for liberals, has managed to create a miniscandal in his own campaign by surrounding himself with a monochromatic group of inner-circle advisors -- and that single color isn't blue. As the New York Times reported just two weeks ago, traditional constituencies of the Democrats are none too happy about it, perhaps a reason for Weschler to attack Bush for his commitment to real diversity:

For weeks, Senator John Kerry savored a Democratic Party that was unified in rallying behind his presidential candidacy. But in recent days, influential black and Hispanic political leaders whom the campaign had counted on for support have been openly complaining that Mr. Kerry's organization lacks diversity and is failing to appeal directly to minority voters.

Even as Mr. Kerry spoke here on Thursday to the National Conference of Black Mayors an appearance his community outreach team viewed as critical to building a network of minority support two influential Latino leaders circulated harsh letters expressing concern about the campaign's dealings with minorities.

And in interviews over the last week, more than a dozen minority elected officials and political strategists voiced concerns about what they said was the dearth of representation in Mr. Kerry's inner circle and worried that he was taking black and Hispanic votes for granted.

So what we have here is a transparent attempt to shift attention from the growing realization that minorities will only get token representation, as usual, from the Democrats in Kerry's campaign (and by extension, his administration if elected) by counting the black people in pictures on George Bush's website. You can bet that if Weschler had counted too few, this column would still have appeared, arguing that a lack of such images portended some evil, master plot to propose "Dixie" as the national anthem.

As usual, the Left targets appearance above substance, and perhaps those constituencies that have traditionally supported Democrats will realize that Bush offers a real voice in policy matters to people of all colors -- while the Left continues to count faces in the picture to demonstrate their commitment to diversity.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 8:00 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry Obstructed POW/MIA Investigation -- Village Voice (5/22/04)

John Kerry released new advertisements this month designed to shore up his credentials on foreign policy and veterans' affairs. Among the statements made in the advertisements made in his support promoted Kerry's efforts in investigating the POW/MIA issue, along with John McCain, whose partnership Kerry's ads also promote. As Kerry says on his campaign blog:

John Kerry and Senator John McCain chaired the country's most thorough investigation into the fate of POW/MIAs in Southeast Asia. Kerry has personally pressed Vietnamese officials to cooperate in ongoing efforts to get answers for families. And he also sponsored POW/MIA Recognition Day. Kerry's Senate committee pressed for unparalleled declassification of documents, increased excavation work in Vietnam, and gathering of testimony from 144 witnesses. According to the Boston Globe, "the effort produced real answers for the some 120 families who had lived for decades without knowing whether a loved one was still alive in Southeast Asia."

However, the Village Voice reported back in February that Kerry did more to obstruct that investigation than to pursue evidence indicating that Vietnam deliberately withheld captured American servicement after our withdrawal. Sydney Schanberg wrote this devastating expos for the Village Voice -- neither of which could ever be confused as Republican shills -- just as Kerry wrapped up the Democratic nomination in late February:

Senator John Kerry, a decorated battle veteran, was courageous as a navy lieutenant in the Vietnam War. But he was not so courageous more than two decades later, when he covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisonersperhaps hundredswere never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.

The Massachusetts senator, now seeking the presidency, carried out this subterfuge a little over a decade ago shredding documents, suppressing testimony, and sanitizing the committee's final reportwhen he was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on P.O.W./ M.I.A. Affairs.

Schanberg details the malfeasance of this investigation with plenty of blame to spread around. However, Schanberg makes clear that he holds Kerry in particular contempt for his actions in tubing the investigation:

Here are details of a few of the specific steps Kerry took to hide evidence about these P.O.W.'s.

* He gave orders to his committee staff to shred crucial intelligence documents. The shredding stopped only when some intelligence staffers staged a protest. Some wrote internal memos calling for a criminal investigation. One such memofrom John F. McCreary, a lawyer and staff intelligence analystreported that the committee's chief counsel, J. William Codinha, a longtime Kerry friend, "ridiculed the staff members" and said, "Who's the injured party?" When staffers cited "the 2,494 families of the unaccounted-for U.S. servicemen, among others," the McCreary memo continued, Codinha said: "Who's going to tell them? It's classified."

Kerry defended the shredding by saying the documents weren't originals, only copiesbut the staff's fear was that with the destruction of the copies, the information would never get into the public domain, which it didn't. Kerry had promised the staff that all documents acquired and prepared by the committee would be turned over to the National Archives at the committee's expiration. This didn't happen. Both the staff and independent researchers reported that many critical documents were withheld.

* Another protest memo from the staff reported: "An internal Department of Defense Memorandum identifies Frances Zwenig [Kerry's staff director] as the conduit to the Department of Defense for the acquisition of sensitive and restricted information from this Committee . . . lines of investigation have been seriously compromised by leaks" to the Pentagon and "other agencies of the executive branch." It also said the Zwenig leaks were "endangering the lives and livelihood of two witnesses."

* A number of staffers became increasingly upset about Kerry's close relationship with the Department of Defense, which was supposed to be under examination. (Dick Cheney was then defense secretary.) It had become clear that Kerry, Zwenig, and others close to the chairman, such as Senator John McCain of Arizona, a dominant committee member, had gotten cozy with the officials and agencies supposedly being probed for obscuring P.O.W. information over the years. Committee hearings, for example, were being orchestrated to suit the examinees, who were receiving lists of potential questions in advance. Another internal memo from the period, by a staffer who requested anonymity, said: "Speaking for the other investigators, I can say we are sick and tired of this investigation being controlled by those we are supposedly investigating."

Be sure to read the entire article. Kerry may wish to rethink campaign allusions to his participation in this investigation. (Via Mitch Berg)

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 7:55 PM | TrackBack

CBS Also Shows Bush Up By Three

The latest CBS poll mirrors that of the Pew result mentioned below -- George Bush is maintaining a three-point lead over John Kerry as the presidential race winds up:

In a CBS News/New York Times poll out Sunday, President Bush has the support of 49 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for John Kerry.

Forty-nine percent of likely voters think Mr. Bush will win, to 33 percent who bet on Kerry. More voters see the president as strong, a man in tune with their priorities, someone who says what he thinks. Fifty-five percent approve of the president's handling of the war on terrorism.

The new result shows a two-point gain for Bush and a one-point gain for Kerry as the undecideds finally start making up their minds. CBS notes that the percentage of undecided has dropped below 10% now. For those who have already decided -- and voted -- CBS finds an opposite result from Pew: Bush leads, 51-43, among early voters.

CBS notes that the last day of polling was yesterday, the day after the new Osama tape aired. After reviewing the answers given, the pollsters report that Osama's video missive had no effect on the amount of concern given to national security. Voters have already incorporated OBL into their electoral calculations, it seems, or they're determined not to let the Islamofascist lunatic decide their vote for them. It's one of the few points in this campaign that makes me proud to be an American.

Matthew Dowd, the man in charge of GOP polling, told CBS that their polling mirrors that of CBS and that they feel Bush will wind up with that margin on Election Day. Chief Kerry pollster Mark Mellman insists that with Bush still below 50%, he's in real trouble. However, in order for that to matter, the remaining undecideds would have to break almost 2-1 for Kerry in order to make up the three-point gap, which seems rather unlikely.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:47 PM | TrackBack

Final 48 Hours -- CQ Essays Redux

I will be reviewing my archives on John Kerry and reposting my favorite essays on the upcoming election. Instead of simply advancing the date, I will repost them as new in order to restart discussions on these topics.

Keep checking back over the next few days. The headers on the reprints will say "CQ Flashback" as part of the title. I will, of course, continue to post new thoughts on developments as they arise.

Note: Some links may no longer be valid. I'm copying these posts in their entirety from my blogging software and am not checking their validity.

Also, this is a great way to blog while handling Halloween door duty!

UPDATE AND BUMP: Speaking of Halloween door duty, the Little Admiral made a cameo appearance aboard ship tonight!


Her Aunt Cindy bought her this cute outfit for her birthday earlier this year, and I managed to get a quick photo of her while she bounded through our living room. She had already sampled some of the Halloween candy before she arrived, I presume ...

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:41 PM | TrackBack

Pew Poll: Bush Holds Slight Edge Over Kerry

It's down to the final polling reports before Election Day. Yesterday, Mason-Dixon published its final battleground-state results showing Bush ahead in most, some by significant margins. Zogby came out early this morning, trumpeted by the ever-vigilant Truck in one of the comment threads, showing the exact opposite -- but Zogby has earned its reputation as one of the least reliable pollsters in the business.

Now Pew Research, which enjoys a somewhat better reputation than Zogby, has issued its presumably last look at the election, and finds George Bush holding onto a three-point lead over John Kerry among likely voters in its largest polling sample of the season:

President George W. Bush holds a slight edge over Senator John Kerry in the final days of Campaign 2004. The Pew Research Center's final pre-election poll of 1,925 likely voters, conducted Oct. 27-30, finds Bush with a three-point edge (48% to 45% for Kerry); Ralph Nader draws 1%, and 6% are undecided.

Bush gained a point since the last Pew poll, while Kerry dropped two points and now sits at 45%. Pew also estimates that Kerry may attract slightly more than half of the undecideds, but when the turnout rate is considered, Pew projects that Bush will take 51% of the popular vote -- maintaining the three-point margin of victory. (Nader wins a single percentage point.)

Reviewing the demographics, Pew found that men still heavily favor Bush (52-43), but Kerry lost the significant edge that Gore held among women (48-44 Kerry). Pew shows black voters only giving Bush 7% support, which would be even worse than in 2000, while 86% support Kerry and 7% are undecided. That's disappointing, of course, but the Hispanic vote appears almost evenly split, 49-47 Kerry, which helps Bush tremendously.

The age and religion categories show some of the most interesting results. Kerry only wins among voters in age ranges of 18-24 and over 75. In every other age band, Bush wins, and he wins decisively among voters age 25-34, 58-39. Kerry narrowly edges Bush among Catholics, 49-46, while Bush predictably blows Kerry out of the water among evangelicals by twenty points. Kerry owns the "secular" vote by forty-three points, 67-24. For those who attend church once a month or more, Bush wins big, regardless of denomination.

As has been mentioned before, the real difference appears to be the marriage gap:

Marital Status..Bush....Kerry....Nader.....Und

The poll was conducted between October 27-30, which means the Osama videotape had been seen before a portion of the voters had been questioned. It looks as if it made little difference, as I predicted earlier.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 6:05 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry's Dukakis Moment? (6/23/04)

The Kerry campaign will scramble this afternoon with this AP report that one of their critical support groups has hired convicted felons -- in some cases, sex offenders -- to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives:

A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states.

America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison. ...

Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with the Kerry campaign federal law forbids such coordination. Yet ACT is stocked with veteran Democratic political operatives, many with past ties to Kerry and his advisers.

ACT responded by expressing its belief that convicted felons deserve a second chance in society and that former armed robbers and sex offenders present no extraordinary risk if they show up at your door:

ACT does not believe the felons it sends door to door pose a threat to the public, said Mo Elleithee, a Washington-based spokesman for the group. "We believe it's important to give people a second chance," Elleithee said. "The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society."

I want to believe that I'm writing this as a satire, but I'm not. Apparently, the Democrats feel very comfortable sending sex offenders, burglars, and drug dealers to the door of your house to get such information from you as your telephone number, Social Security number, and driver's license number. I agree that someone who has served their time deserves another chance, but that doesn't mean I want my kids or my granddaughter meeting them at the door, nor do I want my private information in their hands.

What could ACT be thinking? They have $100 million in funding -- apparently they must be a 527 -- which means they can afford to hire people who haven't been convicted of violent crimes to approach houses looking to register new voters. ACT instead acts with callous disregard for the safety of the public, offering us as a sacrifice on the altar of political correctness. The Kerry campaign has to answer for this breach of common sense. Is this how Kerry plans on "protecting America"? Next he'll be hiring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to run the Department of Homeland Security.

Now that I know this, I plan on bolting my door whenever anyone knocks on my door and identifies themselves as working to register Democrats. I suggest that you do the same. Your safety and your family's safety may be at risk.

UPDATE: Longtime reader Pennywit, who often provides intelligent counterpoint in the comments section, agrees with me in principle but feels I am being a bit of an alarmist. I don't think so, but then again, I'm telling y'all to bolt the doors, so ... Pennywit has sent an e-mail to ACT asking them seven questions to clarify the issue, and has promised to let me know if/when they respond.

Here's my problem with ACT. First, they act as though this presents no problem whatsoever, and uses as proof the desire of the felons to do the work to demonstrate their rehabilitation. No one at ACT seems to realize the attraction a legitimate excuse to approach peoples' homes holds for those who later may want to burglarize them (gives them a great opportunity to case the place, doesn't it?), or for sexual offenders to identify potential future victims. The personal data given for voter registrations can easily be used for identity theft as well, a non-violent but highly destructive crime, as its victims can attest.

The AP article makes clear that ACT hires these former felons to do the actual canvassing and to handle the information gleaned from the effort. To what extent felons do the actual work is anyone's guess; ACT wouldn't answer that question for the AP reporter. In the absence of such hard data, and with the $100 million in funding that ACT plans on using this year, it's a safe guess that their efforts will drive most of the voter registration efforts of the Democrats, and I suppose it's up to us to guess the danger.

In other words, since I live in Minnesota, and since my wife is visually impaired and home alone for parts of the day, I'd say locking the door and putting up the NO SOLICITORS sign is hardly being alarmist. In fact, it's good policy.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:52 PM | TrackBack

CQ Flashback: Kerry's Analysis Paralysis (7/14/04)

The proverb, "Too many cooks spoil the broth" comes to mind while reading the Washington Post article on the Kerry campaign's policy structure. While intending on casting a broad net to display inclusiveness, the nominee instead teeters on the edge of an unmanageable mess:

From a tightknit group of experienced advisers, John F. Kerry's presidential campaign has grown exponentially in recent months to include a cast literally of thousands, making it difficult to manage an increasingly unwieldy policy apparatus.

The campaign now includes 37 separate domestic policy councils and 27 foreign policy groups, each with scores of members. The justice policy task force alone includes 195 members. The environmental group is roughly the same size, as is the agriculture and rural development council. Kerry counts more than 200 economists as his advisers.

In contrast, President Bush's campaign policy shop is a no-frills affair. Policy director Tim Adams directs about a dozen experts who make sure the campaign is in sync with the vast executive branch that is formulating policy. Adams's group also analyzes Kerry's proposals and voting record. Fewer than a dozen outside task forces, with five to 10 members, also help out on education, veterans' issues, the economy, and energy, environment and natural resources, said campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel.

Perhaps it is this structure more than any other external factor which accounts for the notorious Kerry "nuance" displayed time and again during this campaign. When you have thousands of voices, each with their own pet causes and projects, coming together to develop coherent policies, you will wind up with either no product at all or long-winded and self-contradictory policies that look more like legal papers instead. Early on in our history, we were wise enough to limit the House of Representatives to 435 members for this very reason. Any body much larger than that increases policy inertia to a point where it is too difficult to overcome.

While the entire article is interesting, it fails to ask one key question: why does John Kerry, after having spent over 30 years in public office -- the last twenty at the federal level -- need thousands of people to decide what he thinks? One of the selling points of his campaign is supposed to be his long experience in government and foreign policy. Shouldn't that mean that Kerry has his core principles already staked out, and if so, shouldn't a smaller group of people be able to use them to build policy papers?

This overgrown and unwieldy organization not only looks like a throwback to Great Society-level bureaucratism but also demonstrates that Kerry has few core principles on which to build his policy. We already know that John Edwards is pretty much an empty suit from his legislative track record during his only term in office, but Kerry was supposed to be ready to take the reins right now. Candidates choose staff carefully to ensure that they match up with their already-expressed beliefs and principles, making large numbers of people for policy development unnecessary.

If Kerry needs a cast of thousands to make up his mind what he thinks at this late stage in his career, why should anyone vote for him?

UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt has some good thoughts on this article (and you should buy his book, If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat), and also points to another Post article that dovetails with the above:

Democratic Party leaders said yesterday they plan to make their nominating convention in Boston later this month a four-day reintroduction of Sen. John F. Kerry, enlisting his wife, children and former war comrades in Vietnam to make the case for a man they acknowledge remains an opaque figure for millions of Americans.

"Stronger at Home, Respected in the World," is the theme of the Boston event, said Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe. The phrase is designed to underscore the centrist and forward-looking image Kerry wants to present to voters -- an implicit attack on President Bush and a rebuttal to Bush's argument that Kerry would be a weak and irresolute commander in chief.

Not that there's anything weak or irresolute about needing a few thousand sign-offs on your policy statements.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 5:46 PM | TrackBack

Kerry's Profession Of Faith "Morally And Intellectually Incoherent"

In a book review of The American Catholic Voter: 200 Years of Political Impact, Philadelphia Inquirer editor Frank Wilson dissects John Kerry's repeated assertions of belief in Catholicism and his insistence that it informs his public life. In his analysis, Wilson correctly spotlights the hypocrisy and betrayal at the heart of Kerry's rhetoric:

In July, in an article in the Washington Post, Kerry was quoted as saying, "I oppose abortion... . I believe life does begin at conception." But, he added, "I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist."

That's morally and intellectually incoherent. "Every time you cast a vote on the floor of the United States Senate," Marlin says, "you're voting to impose your beliefs on somebody else. If you vote for higher taxes, you're voting to impose them."

He has a point. The Catholic view that life begins at conception is not put forward as a mere gynecological factoid. The church draws a moral conclusion from it: If human life begins at conception, then abortion - the direct and intentional termination of a fetus' life signs - amounts to the taking of innocent human life. It is hard to see how one could accept this as an article of religious faith, as Kerry says he does, and feel no obligation to act on it - in fact, to feel obliged not to.

Indeed, he seems to have done everything he could on behalf of those who espouse the opposite view. At this year's annual NARAL Pro-Choice America dinner, he pledged "no overturning Roe v. Wade, no packing of the courts with judges hostile to choice, no denial of choice to poor women." ... Kerry voted against the Partial Birth Abortion Act and has voted against bills requiring parental notification in the case of teens seeking abortion.

Most offensive to Catholics is Kerry's rationalization on his faith. He treats it like a tote board, justifying his blank-check support of abortion by pointing to his opposition to the death penalty and his anti-war activism. First, Catholicism doesn't work on a points system; you don't get merits and demerits. Second, the Catechism does not preclude either the death penalty or war, contrary to popular belief. In fact, the Church allows for both under very limited circumstances, a fact which a short perusal of the Catechism demonstrates. An entire philosophy exists within the Church on the nature of "just war", and execution can be supported if it surely saves other innocent lives. Abortion, on the other hand, is expressly called a "grave sin" in the Catechism and no mitigating circumstances are countenanced, either in the doctrine or the Magisterium, the two-millenia body of teaching and philosophy.

I point to this article because I had the privilege of corresponding with Frank Wilson and Father Gregory Lockwood (a CQ reader) while Frank researched this piece. I won't republish Frank's correspondence (because I haven't asked his permission), but I can report that this article must not have come easy from his pen. Frank has, as I also do, a strong libertarian streak which makes the abortion question difficult for him. I wrote this to Frank, and I used part of it in an earlier post:

It sounds like you are torn between a desire to be a good Catholic and some strong libertarian impulses -- a position for which I am very sympathetic. However, a preference for non-involvement on the part of the state is not a neutral position, it's at least a de facto legalization of abortion. There may be a good political argument for that, but I don't think it satisfies the responsibility that a Catholic politician would have to protect the life of the unborn (again, if one is concerned about being a "good Catholic" and a legislator concurrently). It's the Catholic definition of life that causes the intellectual hurdle.

Taking Kerry as an example, if he stated an ambivalence about the beginning of life or a clear belief that it doesn't start until birth, then votes to legalize abortion or take a laissez-faire approach to it would be consistent and understandable. It wouldn't be Catholic, but it would be logical. However, Kerry professes to believe that life begins at conception and that he is a faithful Catholic, a combination which would require him to use his votes to protect life. Refusing to do so is sinful, according to the Church, especially if one professes to believe in the Church.

Father Lockwood wrote in detail about the issues surrounding the abortion issue and Kerry's contradiction in his political standing. He not only addresses Kerry's hypocrisy on his faith and abortion, but also Kerry's demagoguery on embryonic stem-cell research:

It is manifestly unjust and never licit to intentionally kill the innocent, for whatever great end, and this applies also to other things such as the embryonic stem cell/cloning research phenomenon. The use of embryos for research, and possible production of treatments, could, potentially, dwarf the present death toll from abortion in this country. ...

A candidate who has shown himself in manifold ways over many years to support, and give material, legal support for the indefensible practice of killing children in utero (crowing about it during each successive speech to the Planned Parenthood/NARAL celebrations each year) is not eligible for the votes of faithful Catholics (my personal opinion, not stated this way anywhere in official church documents); his public record is clear, and consistent, on this matter, at least. I find it personally depressing that a Texas Methodist proudly holds moral positions on life issues in line with Catholic teachings, over against a Catholic who holds to a classic secularist morality that, in practice, would not differentiate him from most atheist thinkers on the left.

A voter who supports a candidate such as this for the reason of his pro-abortion stance would be providing immediate material cooperation for the sin of the politician (which is mortal sin). A voter who supports this same politician in spite of his views and support for abortion still provides at least remote material cooperation, which could be allowed in none-lethal situations, but could never be supported in the violation of one of the foundational issues of life, of which abortion is one, embryonic stem cell research/cloning another (this is my paraphrase of Ratzingers letter on the subject to the bishops this past summer). There are no circumstances in which it would be licit for a Catholic to support this politician (again, my own personal view, and Im not speaking for the church or the bishops).

It was my pleasure and honor to have these two men as correspondents the past couple of weeks. Be sure to read Frank Wilson's entire review in the Philadelphia Inquirer, and if you happen to be in Cincinatti, stop by and say hello to Father Lockwood.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 11:02 AM | TrackBack

Desperation In Kerry Campaign Leads To Anti-Israel Pandering

The desperation has broken through, loud and clear, from the John Kerry campaign this weekend, underscoring what appears to be a series of favorable battleground-state results for George Bush. First John Kerry scolded America on Friday to "wake up". Now his stepson has decided to accuse Bush of illegal drug use in the final hours of the campaign (via Radio Blogger):

John Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz, 31, displayed his mother Teresa's famous lack of rhetorical restraint at a recent campaign event with a group of Wharton students. Philadelphia magazine reports: "Heinz accused Kerry's opponents - 'our enemies' - of making the race dirty. 'We didn't start out with negative ads calling George Bush a cokehead,' he said, before adding, 'I'll do it now.' Asked later about it, Heinz said, 'I have no evidence. He never sold me anything.'"

In a moment that may portend a Kerry Administration attitude towards Israel and certainly reveals the campaign's dismissal of its Jewish support, Heinz told the crowd that Bush considered Israel as the "51st state":

Heinz also reminded writer Sasha Issenberg of Pat Buchanan by saying, "One of the things I've noticed is the Israel lobby - the treatment of Israel as the 51st state, sort of a swing state." Buchanan was blasted as an anti-Semite years ago when he cited Israel's "amen corner" in Congress.

The first quotes reveal nothing except a lack of character on the part of the shallow heir to the ketchup fortune, and by extension that of the entire Kerry campaign. (He officially represented his stepfather's campaign at his Wharton appearance, after all.) The second issue portends more substantive problems with Kerry and his viewpoint on America's strongest Middle East ally. Does the Kerry campaign believe in that alliance, or do they intend on distancing themselves from Israel once in power? How do they think that Israel resembles a "swing state" for anyone?

It sounds like Heinz wanted to send a signal to the anti-Semite conspiracy theorists, and Jewish voters need to ask themselves why Democrats feel the need to pander to that demographic. Ralph Nader couldn't have said it any better, although he's often tried. When candidates and their proxies attempt to scare voters through oblique references to Jewish conspiracies, it never amounts to anything but evil results.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Perhaps Glenn is right -- that may not be all that oblique. At least he didn't come right out and call them all "yahoods", which would have been a complete giveaway.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 10:18 AM | TrackBack

Osama Not So Cocky After All?

The New York Post reports that Osama's videotape last Friday may have been more than just an attempt to swing the American elections. The full tape, of which Al-Jazeera played only a small part, turns out to be an al-Qaeda State of the Gang speech, and Osama isn't very pleased with its present condition (hat tip: NZ Bear):

Osama bin Laden's newest tape may have thrust him to the forefront of the presidential election, but what was not seen was the cave-dwelling terror lord talking about the setbacks al Qaeda has faced in recent months.

Officials said that in the 18-minute long tape of which only six minutes were aired on the al-Jazeera Arab television network in the Middle East on Friday bin Laden bemoans the recent democratic elections in Afghanistan and the lack of violence involved with it.

On the tape, bin Laden also says his terror organization has been hurt by the U.S. military's unrelenting manhunt for him and his cohorts on the Afghan-Pakistani border.

If a full transcript ever gets released, this would certainly refute the ludicrous assessments by people like Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, who claimed on Friday that George Bush has been "big for [Islamist] business". Those who think that Bush has traded one set of miseries for another might have to grow up and finally admit that our efforts have had a severe impact on the networks of Islamist terrorism.

However, even if the entire tape had been available for American audiences, do you think that our media would have treated it any differently than Al Jazeera? Before you answer, consider the recent track record of the MSM in the run-up to the election. We've had a major broadcaster attempt to use forged documents to smear George Bush and his National Guard service; the same broadcaster team up with the leading American newspaper to issue a last-minute, poorly researched hit piece regarding the loss of 0.019% of the explosive ordinance in Iraq; and the absolute dismissal of testimony by 250 Vietnam veterans regarding the service record of John Kerry.

Al-Jazeera needn't have worried about releasing the entire contents. Their primary objective, after all, remains the same as our media outlets: removing George Bush from the White House.

Posted by Ed Morrissey at 9:36 AM | TrackBack

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