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Monthly Archives: August 2004

Wargaming the Electoral College

August 31st, 2004 - 11:50 pm

It seems optimism is breaking out all over.

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An Early Endorsement

August 31st, 2004 - 11:46 pm

You probably know Ben Nighthorse Campbell as that Colorado Democratic Senator who switched parties a few years back. He’s retiring (in all likelihood, his seat will be taken by Pete Coors) this year — but that doesn’t mean he’s done with politics. Denver’s own 5280 magazine has the scoop:

U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO), who in March threw Colorado politics into a panic with his announcement that he would retire from the Senate, is now considering a run for governor.

In an exclusive interview with Denver’s 5280 magazine, the 71-year-old Senator says his decision would depend on the career path taken by Colorado’s current governor, Bill Owens.

“For instance, if between now and the end of his term, he was picked for the Cabinet or some very important position by President Bush, and then our Lt. Governor became the Governor, I don’t think I would challenge her,” Campbell tells 5280. “It’s not in the best interest of the party to have an in-house fight among high-level Republicans.”

But if Owens were to finish out his term as governor, Campbell says his options would change. “If the seat was open however, I might consider it. I’ve had a number of people call and ask if I would consider it,” he says.

Republican, Democrat, whatever — I’d vote for Ben.

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Move Along, Nothing to See Here

August 31st, 2004 - 11:35 pm

Today’s bullet points:

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Honorary Protest Warrior

August 31st, 2004 - 10:57 pm

Yeah, yeah — I know Glenn already linked to Jeff Goldstein.

But he linked it before the target popped back up to get shot down again.

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Lost Lunch

August 31st, 2004 - 10:15 pm

Well, if this is true, Tom Daschle

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Advantage: VodkaPundit

August 31st, 2004 - 2:51 pm

Via Mickey Kaus comes Al Hunt’s analysis of what’s wrong with the Kerry campaign:

Leading Democrats describe a command structure often frozen — or at least tempered — by too many chefs, a too-heavy reliance on polls or focus groups and an aversion to risks. As a result, the message often is muddled and the reaction to hard-hitting attacks from Republicans often is slow and unconvincing.

If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because you read it here six weeks ago.

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The Laphamator

August 31st, 2004 - 2:32 pm

Chuck Simmins caught his very first Lapham. Here’s a snippet from the filed-too-early-to-be-real AP story:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put his star power to work for President Bush on Tuesday, praising him for “perseverance, character and leadership” in a time of war and terror.

Chuck has the rest at his site.

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Notice

August 31st, 2004 - 11:33 am

For those who asked, yes, I will be liveblogging Bush’s speech Thursday night.

And, yes, like Kerry’s speech last month, I’ll be doing it with at least a couple martinis in me.

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Notice

August 30th, 2004 - 11:10 pm

Light blogging tonight, thanks to some not-so-fun computer problems — Office XP crashed on me. Hard.

Not one of my Office applications will boot, not even in Safe Mode. Complicating things, the “detect and repair” feature crashes, too. Further complicating matters, I still don’t have an Office XP disc.

(If you’re wondering how I reinstalled Office after losing the disc last winter, it was easy. Since Gateway wasn’t willing to replace my lost media for anything less than full retail price, I borrowed a friend’s Enterprise Edition. Pirating? Moi? I don’t think so. I paid for the product, and I can hardly be blamed for Gateway’s “vindictive disinterest” in helping out a customer in trouble.)

So I’ve ordered a gray-area OEM edition of Office 2003, and it will be here early tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve got no spellchecker, no spreadsheets, and not even any way to finish up the GX magazine food column I have due tomorrow.

This bites.

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Everything New is Old Again

August 30th, 2004 - 5:12 pm

Another Kennedy in trouble:

Sen. Edward Kennedy’s nephew, William Kennedy Smith, said on Monday he had quit his job to confront what he called false allegations by a former employee that he had sexually assaulted her five years ago.
“At this point I am focusing all my energies on dealing with the situation that confronts me. The damage has been done, but the truth will be sorted out,” Kennedy, a doctor who founded and heads a Chicago-based nonprofit organization that helps disabled people in war-torn countries, told reporters.

Appearing to choke back tears of anger or frustration, Smith, 43, admitted he had a five-month relationship with Audra Soulias in 1999, who at the time was a 23-year-old employee of his Chicago-based organization.

I know how shocked you must be — “a Kennedy with a job?” And yet it’s true. And, yes, this is the same Kennedy from the famous 1991 rape trial.

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Dissecting The Undecideds

August 30th, 2004 - 3:53 pm

Check out this page of Zogby internal numbers from an August 11-24 poll. It’s a rundown of the subset of undecideds. There were only 501 of them, out of a poll of over 19,000 likely voters. The results are counter-intuitive at first glance. Bush’s job performance number is abysmal: 23% approve, 77% disapprove. His re-elect number is better, but still not good, at 43% for and 53% against.

But he’s still favored over Kerry by 15 points, 35%-10%, with the various wannabe third parties collecting 16% and 38% of the undecided still really undecided.

While this poll, like any single poll, ought to be taken with many grains of salt, I think it’s an instructive look at this vanishingly-small cohort of remaining undecideds. They think things are generally gloomy (59% pick the “wrong track,” vs. only 19% for “right track”), they’re in agreement with the media by a large plurality (47%) that Iraq is Bush’s “most significant failure,” but they’re still trending his way by a very considerable margin. Why?

Check out this number: when asked whether they like Bush “as a person,” the numbers are staggering: 68% like, only 15% dislike. Those numbers are virtually reversed for Kerry, 52% dislike, only 16% like. That large of a difference, paired with Bush’s overall lead, suggests these voters are making their choices based on emotion, and a gut reaction of “who do I like better” that isn’t necessarily grounded in any ideology or policy stance. And frankly, what do you expect of people who’re still undecided in a race this polarized? Let’s face it–they’re not likely to be policy junkies.

On the other hand, even this cohort of the terminally undecided have apparently decided that the 2004 race is going to turn on foreign and defense matters. Interestingly, the only issues that really stand out in the policy questions are Iraq (see above)–and September 11, which is named by a large plurality (46%) as Bush’s “most significant achievement” (one must assume they mean Bush’s response to the attacks, and not the attacks themselves). Even more intriguing, Iraq is number two on that list, at 20%.

UPDATE: In the comments, a couple of readers have come up with a possible explaination that would keep Bob Schrum up at night: What if they’re dissatisfied with Bush’s job performance because they think he hasn’t been tough enough in Iraq and elsewhere?

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Local News

August 30th, 2004 - 3:43 pm

David Schuler forwarded this story:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Entomologists say spiders are so prevalent that you’re never more than three feet away from one, anywhere you go. That realization may cause some residents of Colorado Springs to be even more jittery.

Tarantulas have been spotted in several neighborhoods in the south end of the city as mating season for the venomous spiders begins.

While tarantulas usually prefer more wide-open, arid conditions farther south of Colorado Springs where they can easily spot prey, the warm, dry weather in recent years may be pushing them farther north when they look for mates, said Jerry Prisk, plant and pest management technician at the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

“Until a few years ago, I never heard of people seeing them, even on the south side of town,” he said.

Ginny Hall found one of the spiders, with its imposing fangs, on her front doorstep when returning home late one night last week.

“She called me on my cell phone and said, ‘Come out here and get this thing out of my way,’” said her husband, Patrick Hall.

He removed the spider with a plastic container and took it to a different area, which Prisk said is a good idea.

Two words: Screw that!

I see a furry-ass tarantula anywhere near my own self, I am not going to offer it a ride in my to-date spider-free car. No, sir. I’m going to step on the little bastard. Then I’m going to spray it with chemicals. Then I’m going to set fire to the squishy, toxic remains. And perform the sacred Spider No Come Here No More dance around the ashes.

Assuming, of course, that I don’t first run away screaming like a little girl. Or, more accurately, like a grown man who really, really, really has problems with nature.

Thanks for the heads-up, David. You owe me the price of a refill on my Ambien prescription.

UPDATE: Turns out, Dave has a blog. Check it out.

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New Blogs

August 30th, 2004 - 3:25 pm

The Infidel Cowboy is a fine new blog — and worth visiting just for the name. If I’d have thought of it, I’d have used it myself. Well, except I look stupid in the hats. And I tend to fall trying to walk in the boots. And the belt buckles are sometimes bigger around than my scrawny waist.

And, oh yeah, I get beat up at cowboy bars.

But other than that, I really wish I’d thought of it first. Anyway, there was supposed to be a Significant Link in all this, so let’s get to it. Ever seen a sportswriter get fisked?

Let’s just say that Rick Reilly really ought to stick to sports.

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Make Mine a Double

August 30th, 2004 - 3:10 pm

Roger Simon knows what to look for at a political convention:

Mine own self, I’m hoping for an open bar.

Amen, brother. A-freakin’-men.

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More Photoblogging

August 30th, 2004 - 2:58 pm

Can you spot the looney?

UPDATE: Forgot to tip the hat to Reason’s Jesse Walker.

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Congrats!

August 30th, 2004 - 2:40 pm

There’s a brand new Drezner in town.

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Photoblogging

August 30th, 2004 - 2:34 pm

Give peace a chance! And if that doesn’t work, riot, punch, spit and spray mace at anyone who disagrees!”

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Not Bad for a New Guy

August 30th, 2004 - 2:28 pm

Simon has all the tips you’ll ever need to become a good blogger.

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Let’s Do the Time Warp. . .

August 30th, 2004 - 1:32 pm

. . .again.

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Wargaming the Electoral College

August 30th, 2004 - 10:26 am

Yesterday’s vote projection might have been a tad pessimistic — James Joyner finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Iowa slipping away from Kerry.

Meanwhile, others disagree.

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No Touching Please

August 30th, 2004 - 10:13 am

Earlier, I asked which pundits would next distance themselves from John Kerry — but I never in a million years expected to see this:

“DEM DASCHLE SEEKS BUSH BOOST; AD FEATURES ‘HUG’”

There’s no link yet; it’s the latest above-the-mast teaser from Drudge. You can bet that somewhere right now, Kerry is throwing darts at a picture of Daschle.

Or at least having a servant throw them for him.

UPDATE: Now filled with linky goodness.

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Newsweek has a fun interview with Protest Warrior co-founder Kfir Alfia.

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Shop Talk

August 30th, 2004 - 9:47 am

Soxblog (hat tip, Glenn) comments on the Bill Kristol-fueled rumor that John McCain will replace Dick Cheney at the bottom of the ticket:

Left unsaid in Kristol

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There He Goes Again

August 30th, 2004 - 9:44 am

Soxblog tosses up a rumor, courtesy of the Weekly Standard’s Bill Krystol, that George W. Bush will dump Dick Cheney in favor of John McCain. I have but one word to offer:

Hooey.

Okay, a few more words: After blatantly campaigning for press secretary in a presumed McCain Administration during the ’00 primaries, Bill Krystol has been floating this and similar trial balloons for years, hoping against hope that it’ll go over with the Bushies, and that he, Krystol the Younger, might ascend with McCain back into the White House firmament.

He might as well hang it up. Bush and McCain don’t trust or even particularly like each other, even though they do agree on a few–but certainly not all–key policies. There’s no chance (and no reason, at this point) for Dubya to dump somebody he trusts implicitly for a wild-card like McCain. If there were to be a replacement for Cheney (not gonna happen), that individual would almost certainly come from within Bush’s inner circle–which definitely does not include John McCain.

If it comes to that, nobody in the Bush White House is likely to give much creedence to Krystol in the first place. There’s an old animus between Bush and Krystol, going back to Dubya’s advising his father to dump Dan Quayle in 1992; Krystol was then Quayle’s chief of staff.

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Abandon Ship!

August 29th, 2004 - 11:49 pm

First, it was Maureen Dowd. Today, William Raspberry. Who will be the next Big Media pundit to distance themselves from John Kerry?

Click on the Comments and make your prediction.

NOTE: There are probably some Big Media pundits I’ve missed, other than Dowd and Raspberry. If there are, please let me know. And don’t you think Andrew Sullivan is starting to feel awfully lonely about now?

UPDATE

James Joyner notes that Don Imus has moved from being mildly pro-Kerry to “open minded.” Two other commenters say that on Fox, Susan Estrich isn’t exactly singing Kerry’s praises.

Estrich is a partisan Democrat, sure, but she’s also been a fair-minded analyst for Fox. She calls’em like she sees’em. Good for her — but because of that, I don’t know if she counts. And I can’t count Imus because, well, he’s Imus.

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Intellectual Ammunition

August 29th, 2004 - 11:39 pm

In the heat of an election campaign, it can be difficult to remember what the stakes are. On more that one occassion, I turned to the recently-sort-of-and-hopefully-only-temporarily-retired Steven Den Beste’s strategic overview of the Current Mess to help sort things out. But it’s awfully big for a blog entry (surprise!) and can be too much for a newbie to handle.

Fortunately, Joshua Zader is here to help.

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New Blogs

August 29th, 2004 - 11:24 pm

Been to The Cold-Hearted Truth yet? You should.

As a follow-up to my latest Wargaming the Electoral College post, CHT calls it for Kerry, 291-247. His methodology is sound, but we disagree on Florida — and that makes all the difference in the world.

Check it out.

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There Oughta Be a Blog

August 29th, 2004 - 11:16 pm

Aaron Hood sends me emails so nice, I wish he’d start his own blog already:

Politics, like murder trials, have been turned into sports. At the end of the day, it’s all about who won, and who lost, with little regard for their message, or the public in which it affects.

On another topic, John Kerry is facing a much larger problem. I have not seen this covered yet, but it will if George W Bush wins.

Bill Salmon had a very good piece in U.S. News and World Report, where he chronicled how John Kerry came back and won the democratic primary. Reading the article, it revealed more about how Howard Dean lost.

Inside pollsters have a numbering system, of 1-5. Your 1′s put bumper stickers on their cars, signs in their yards, and try to convince their friends to vote for their guy. 2′s answer in telephone polls they will vote for you, but either may change their mind, or not vote at all. 3′s are the undecideds, and the 4′s and 5′s are your opponents 2′s and 1′s.

We have been led to believe, that this election is about a handful of 3′s in Ohio. I doubt it.

Howard Dean lost because his camp highly overestimated the number of 1′s he had. That is why you saw a huge shift in the polls in the last week before the Iowa Caucuses (when the 2′s REALLY make up their minds), and it’s why Howard Dean, who once had a double digit lead in the polls, came in 3rd place.

John Kerry now faces this battle. The polls have stated it’s a draw in Bush Vs Kerry.However, when you poll people who would vote for Bush, 75% strongly support him(1′s) and 25% somewhat support him(2′s). For John Kerry, its 50%-50%. So, what are we going to be talking about on November 3rd and the days after if Bush wins? The same thing we talked about in 2002 and in 2000. VOTER TURNOUT!

In the TCS column of mine Aaron was replying to, I made a throwaway joke about “die-hard Kerry supporters” being an oxymoron. As Aaron shows, that sad fact could very well cost him the election.

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Back to Basics

August 29th, 2004 - 11:11 pm

Here’s the story the way Drudge tells it:


MTV, ROLLING STONE and the rock and roll establishment — past and present — have cast their vote, and their man is John Kerry.

So on Sunday night when John Kerry’s daughters were announced to speak at the annual MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS, the MTV youth were expected to welcome his daughter’s as pop culture princesses.

Instead, in an era of the unexpected, the daughters of the Democratic candidate were met with a resounding wall of boos at the filming in Miami.

From the moment Alexandra and Vanessa started speaking, the boos outweighed anything close to cheers, and the reaction turned worse when the daughters asked the VIACOM youth to vote for their father. So shocked by the reaction, the taller of the two daughters tried to ‘shhhhhh’ her peers to no avail.

There comes a time to, ah, lay politics aside. And that time, uh, comes when hotties are on the stage. And the brunette daughter, whose name I’m sure is either Alexandra or Vanessa, is a hottie.

I’m convinced that at least half of what wrong in politics in this country is due to people too concerned with politics to stop and appreciate the scenery. The Kerry girls (at least the brunette one) deserved better.

NOTE: The two most insane-in-a-bad way women I ever seriously dated were named Alexandra and Vanessa. I kid you not. But you’d better believe, no matter how badly either one of them treated me, that had they been on stage flashing that much leg, I would not have booed.

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Required Reading

August 29th, 2004 - 10:21 pm

William Raspberry:

John Kerry is not George W. Bush — and for a lot of us, that’s reason enough to vote for Kerry come November. But reason enough for a majority of voters? I doubt it.

You’ll find the rest here.

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