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Monthly Archives: September 2004

Broken Promise

September 30th, 2004 - 10:14 pm

Wrap-up thoughts will have to wait until I’m more awake (not much sleep the last two nights) and coherent (did I mention that last martini packed a punch?) tomorrow morning. Also, there are so many other comments from around the blogosphere to digest that it’ll take some time. But I’ll give you the short version, with as little bias as I can muster.

Bush gets a B- for content, and a C+ for delivery.

Kerry also earned B- for content, and a solid B for delivery.

Neither guy scored any big hits, although Kerry landed more jabs. That’s disconcerting (although not very surprising) since Kerry left himself wide open for three or four knockout uppercuts.

Kerry annoyed me more than Bush did – and that’s saying something.

Kerry won on points, which probably was enough to shore up his weakened support in New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. But I doubt it was enough to make much (if any) headway in former Blue States like Wisconsin or Iowa. In national polls, the race will probably tighten, but electorally we probably won’t see much difference.

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“I have never wavered.”

September 30th, 2004 - 9:55 pm

John Kerry said that in tonight’s debate and, at least when it comes to North Korea, he’s right.

He was wrong tonight, and he was wrong on August 5, 2003.

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Not My Final Thoughts

September 30th, 2004 - 9:46 pm

But my first thought after the debate was, “Are you sure it’s not too late for me to vote for Lieberman?”

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September 30th, 2004 - 8:45 pm

Sammy T sends a limerick:

The Lerch with the three purple hearts,
once flamed his pants with his farts.
“Colin Powell,” he said,
“claims our mojo is dead.
But the burn on my Kerry still smarts.”


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Debate Drunkblogging – LIVE!

September 30th, 2004 - 6:56 pm

(All times Mountain)

6:56pm. One martini down, another poured. Waiting for the candidates. Promise to self for a job well done (assuming) a nice smoke on the pipe later. It’s sitting right next to me, along with lighter, tamper, and a fresh pouch of Noble Bachelor (an oxymoron if ever there was one).

6:59pm. I keep hearing reports that Kerry got a manicure today. What’s the problem? The man wants to look pretty, but it’s not like there’s much he can do with his face. Cocktail, anyone?

7:01pm. And we’re off.

7:05pm. “Yes, I do,” says Kerry, and then wasted half a minute thanking everybody. “I can make us safer.” I expect both guys to claim this, maybe they even both beleive it – but it’s BS in the Terror Age.

7:07pm. “I have a better plan.” Nice line, necessary line. But he sounds rushed, and the hand gestures seem unconnected.

7:09pm. Bush is doing that rapid blinking thing already, but he’s speaking slower and more comfortably. Call it a draw. And somebody hire me an at-home bartender – I’m in need of another martini.

7:35pm. “They’re not going to follow somebody. . .” Sweet. Kerry’s taking some rapid note. I’m watching this on Fox. Anyone on other channels getting verboten reaction shots?

7:36pm. Time to mix another drink. I might miss the mext question.

7:39pm “Meanwhile, North Korea has gotten nuclear weapons.” Actually, they got them under Clinton. And that’s no critique of Clinton. There’s nothing, short of a disastrous war, that would have stoppen NK.

7:41pm. I have a fresh cocktail, and Kerry sounds better. Causal connection? Probably, but you’d have to ask Teresa to know for sure.

7:43pm. “Osama bin Laden doesn’t determine American policy,” or words to that effect. Not well delivered, but the words themselves were perfect.

7:44pm. “I would have preferred that he [Bush] did more diplomacy.”

7:45pm. Here’s what we have so far. Kerry is an impressive attack machine. Bush impressively refuses to budge. If I had to guess, the question most viewers will ask is, “In time of war, do I want the debate team captain, or the guy he can’t move?”

7:48pm. “I will hunt and kill the terrorists wherever they are.” That’s the second (third?) time Kerry has used that line, and it’s a loser. For Kerry, it’s a promise. For Bush, it’s a perceived fact.

7:50pm. Kerry is hedging, in a nuanced fashion, his promise to withdraw troops. It’s a MEGO moment, and even a junky like me is getting lost in his answer. On the other hand, I’m drinking.

Also, Kerry’s every answer seems to hinge on “look how much smarter I am.” As I wrote last night, there’s a danger there for Kerry. Try to sound too smart, and he risks making the rest of us feel dumb. That’s no way to win an election.

7:52pm. Ahh – Bush has his opening on Allawi.

Yet Bush is giving us a strangely weak defense of our best ally in the world’s sickest region. It could’ve been a knockout blow. Instead, he gave Kerry a chance to sound smart again, and duck the issue.

7:54pm. We’re back live – for now. Be easy on the page reloads, please.

7:57pm. We’re almost to the two-thirds mark now, and it looks like a draw. A draw is a loss for Kerry, for reasons I’ll get into around midnight or so Eastern Time.

8:00pm. “The president has always had the right of pre-emptive strike.” Kerry said that. His Senate record, however, doesn’t support it. Kerry has scored debate point after debate point, but I’m not sure he’s done so in ways that will be reflected in the polls. His whole “allies” rant seems to depend on his own, personal magnestism – and that’s the only thing he hasn’t demonstrated tonight.

8:02pm. Finally. I mean – finally. Bush is attacking Kerry’s multilateral foundation. Maybe that’s just red meat for semi-Jacksonians like myself. Maybe it’s a real attack. Maybe (probably) it’s how he really thinks. Whatever the cause, it plays well with me, and should play well with security moms.

8:04pm. MOO-lahs. I love it when Bush tries to pronounce foreign words. For all I know, it’s an act. But it left Kerry saying, again, “I think we could have done better.”

I’m bored with both of these guys, and have been almost from the start. But Kerry just annoys me. And he thinks he’s going to win me over by complaining we aren’t TALKING to North Korea? What’s there to talk about? Clinton exhausted talk with them ten years ago. And what did it get us?

8:07pm. Time to make another drink. The talk has drifted to Darfur, which is more InstaPundit’s realm than mine. Back in two minutes.

8:10pm. Bush is showing his multilateral stripes when talking about Sudan. He also sounds pretty informed. Now, Sudan is an unmitigated disaster. It’s also where Bush has been the most multilateral. Draw your own conclusions.

8:13pm. Kerry is smiling as Bush praises Kerry’s daughters and longterm service in the Senate. That was perfect. Bush’s complaints aren’t as well-developed, but he (like Kerry has all night) sounds sincere.

8:15pm. Kerry sounds just as sweet. It’s been a nice moment for them both – and right now, Kerry is (in my mind) scoring his best points of the night. Why? He sounds less like a debater, and more like a human. Kerry has finally found the right pitch. Problem is, the debate is almost over. Only 15 minutes to go.

8:17pm. Methinks he doth protest too much. Kerry, for the umpteenth time tonight, has said he’s never wavered on Iraq. The record says different and, even if it didn’t, that windsurfing TV ad makes it the public perception.

Again, on this response, Kerry has the right tone, and he doesn’t sound overly wonk-y. But it’s even later in the evening – twelve minutes to go.

8:18pm. Kerry’s talking nuclear test ban TREATY? In an age where we-can’t-know-who is trying we-can’t-know-what with nukes?

Prediction: He’ll get ripped for this one on Friday, or perhaps as late as Monday by more thoughtful pundits. Stupid stupid stupid.

8:22pm. I explained months ago why I think bilateral talks with North Korea would be a mistake. I’ll link to that old post later, if someone would be so kind as to remind me. It’s a loser for Kerry, at least in the post-debate spin cycle.

8:24pm. Last question, and neither guy has flubbed anything. I’ll have final thoughts in 90 minutes, after I’ve had a chance to reply to some emails and digest some vodka.

8:26pm. Oh, who am I kidding? I love the sound of my own voice too much to make you wait an entire 90 minutes. Besides, there’s been so much good email, some of it will find its way to the blog, long before I write my final thoughts around midnight.

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September 30th, 2004 - 6:36 pm

The Swanky Conservative is also drunkblogging.

Anyone else liveblogging (drunk or otherwise), leave a comment and a link here.

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Another Notice

September 30th, 2004 - 5:57 pm

Usually for these live-blogging things, I put up a separate post for each entry. As we learned during Bush’s convention speech last month, that can play hell on my server. If I understand the details correctly (and I don’t), my blog software can’t handle the stress of constantly creating new pages while getting constant “refresh” requests from eager readers. So – all tonight’s drunkposts will be combined as one. Just scroll down for the very latest.

And try not to hit “refresh” too often, please.

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September 30th, 2004 - 5:28 pm

Getting ready for the debate – mostly by carbo-loading and admiring my new martini pitcher. I kid, of course. I didn’t actually buy a new pitcher just for the debates; I plan to use it for many, many years.

Meantime, here’s some stuff to keep your Inner Geek happy while we wait for the big event.

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Pre Post-Debate Wrap-Up

September 30th, 2004 - 10:24 am

A Small Victory over Neal Pollack? Click here and find out.

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Required Reading

September 30th, 2004 - 10:20 am

This has me rethinking my support for Turkey’s admission to the European Union – and a lot of other things, too.

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September 30th, 2004 - 9:54 am

Reader Beege Welborn asks, “Is nothing sacred?” Apparently not:

JACK Daniel’s has sparked outrage among serious drinkers by unceremoniously lowering the proof of its famous Tennessee Whiskey from 86 to 80. The change

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September 30th, 2004 - 9:21 am

A few things that caught my eye this morning:

Pace Dick Cheney, I’m glad Mark Steyn is on our side.

Sith Lord Reynolds has taken the Boeing–er, Concorde, no, Airbus. He’s also resurrected that old Darth Blogger picture. (Great piece, incidentally; fairly shocking to read this much good sense in The Guardian.)

Bob Novak says Kerry is boldly going where Al Gore has gone before.

I’ve also been watching the multitude of stories on potential vote fraud with some interest. I grew up in Alabama, where vote fraud is almost as much of a tradition as college football.

One of the perennial favorites is fraudulent absentee ballots, sometimes “discovered” in the last moments of vote-counting for a tight race (Greene County in particular is infamous for this), as well as the disgusting practice of campaign “volunteers” filling out ballots for catatonic Alzheimer’s and stroke victims in nursing homes.

I would go on to note which political party held monopoly power in the state while all of this was becoming standard practice (hint: it’s the same one that still dominates the crooked legislature), but nah, that’d be piling on.

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September 30th, 2004 - 9:10 am

Jeff Goldstein has all the links on CBS’s BS draft story.

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Immoderately Good

September 30th, 2004 - 9:01 am

Joe Gandelman takes on the old men of the old media:

What it boils down to is this: some of the folks with journalism degrees who have had to work and/or brown nose their way up the corporate ladder know that before blogs no one could get their views or writing out without The Big Corporation (pick a name) bestowing upon him/her PERMISSION to get their views out. That’s all outdated by the Internet.

Read the whole thing here.

UPDATE: Ed Driscoll explains that the news isn’t always so good at reporting anything. . . new.

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Molly’s Tooth

September 30th, 2004 - 12:26 am

After writing a couple of semi-serious, long-winded posts tonight, I was in need of a good laugh.

I got one here.

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Debate Prep

September 30th, 2004 - 12:04 am

Going into tonight’s debate, let’s take a look at the last week of Rasmussen’s tracking poll.
RasmussenForget Bush’s one-day gain of 1.2 points. As of now, that’s a blip, and can’t be considered anything other than a blip until it’s held steady for three or four days. Forget, too, Kerry’s one-day, one-point drop. Blip city, folks. What it looks like we’re seeing here is the final exhaustion of Bush’s three-week long convention bounce – and it leaves us looking at a one- or two-point race.

Needless to say, a stellar performance by either candidate could result in a two or three point gain. Maybe more, but I doubt it.

I doubt either guy will commit a serious gaffe, for reasons explained in some detail by the Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows. For serious political junkies, that link is today’s Required Reading. Regular humans should get on with their real lives already.

And, frankly, I doubt either Bush or Kerry will put in a stellar performance, either. Kerry, when he’s at his best, is also at his most unlikable. That won’t go over as well with the broader American public as it has in the past with Massachusetts voters. Bush, at his best, is simply on message.

So. With all that in mind, here’s how to score tonight’s debate.

If Kerry screws up, then he’s Mike Dukakis Jr, and we might as well just cancel the election and paint 40 states red. What would constitute a Kerry screw-up? Could be something as simple as a fake tan. Could be something as simple (sort of) as trying to sound too smart in an attempt to make Bush look dumb – thus making a lot of Americans feel dumb. And we don’t like that. Just ask that guy who won a bazillion dollars on Jeopardy. Think he got any dates before the big payoff?

If Bush screws up, he’ll have to screw up, as Dick Cheney likes to say, big-time, to make much difference. We’ve been watching this guy for five years, and we know better than to expect Winston Churchill, or even Tony Blair. Have I bought into the Low Expectations Game? Maybe – but I know good debate, and Bush on a good night still oftentimes makes me wince.

If Kerry whups Bush and whups him good, then he can stop worrying about states like New Jersey, Minnesota, and New Mexico – which would put a minimum of 30 EC votes back in his pocket. That’s no small change. What would count as a whupping? Taking Bush off message, making him do that blinking thing, making Bush look like the flip-flopper. Any and all of which Kerry could do.

If Bush whups Kerry, then, again, it’s all over. What would count as a whupping? Leaving Kerry speechless (something I’d pay real American dollars to see), making Kerry look unnervingly boring, successfully painting Kerry as an overly-nuanced flip-flopper. The first two whups probably aren’t doable – Kerry is just too nimble a debater. The third is the trap Bush has been setting for Kerry for months. All that remains to be seen is, can the trap be sprung? Well, that depends on Kerry – and any trap relying on the willingness of the intended victim isn’t all that likely to work.

All in all, Kerry has a slight performance edge. However, he also has the most to lose. Makes for an exciting night, yes?

REMINDER: I’ll drunkblog the debate tonight. Same as Bush’s convention speech, I’ll have dinner beforehand, consisting of one large burrito and two strong beers. Then, as many martinis as it takes to get me through the gawdawful show.

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Not Getting It Department

September 29th, 2004 - 11:22 pm

Everybody is going to link to Thursday’s Bleat; I’d just like to be the first – and, well, maybe add a thought or two of my own.

Ace reporter Nick Coleman wrote a boneheaded column on blogs for the Strib today. Lileks says, “he

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News from the Future!

September 29th, 2004 - 10:33 pm

Mid-Day.com’s Khalid A-H Ansari filed his post-debate story just a leetle teensy bit early:

Buffalo: US presidential candidate John F Kerry finds himself between a rock and a hard place, as the American expression goes, after yesterday

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Some People Never Learn

September 28th, 2004 - 11:05 pm

Dan Rather does it again:

Three weeks after he denounced the internet as being “filled with rumors,” the embattled CBS anchor ran a story on his Tuesday “Evening News” program hoping to stir up fear of an impending military draft.

In a story that was a textbook example of slipshod reporting, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger used debunked internet hoax emails and an unlabeled interest group member to scare elderly “Evening” viewers into believing that the U.S. government is poised to resume the draft.

At the center of Schlesinger’s piece was a woman named Beverly Cocco, a Philadelphia woman who is “sick to my stomach” that her two sons might be drafted. In his report, Schlesinger claimed that Cocco was a Republican and portrayed her as an apolitical (even Republican) mom worried about the future.

Schlesinger did not disclose that Cocco is a chapter president of an advocacy group called People Against the Draft (PAD) which, in addition to opposing any federal proscription, seeks to establish a “peaceful, rational foreign policy” by bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq. Like Schlesinger’s Cocco, the group portrays itself as “nonpartisan”although its leadership seems to be entirely bereft of any Republicans.

The group’s domain is registered to a man named Jacob Levich, a left-wing activist who in a 2001 essay compared the Bush Administration to the totalitarian government portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984.

RatherBiased has the whole story, which I suggest you read. But my favorite bit is a quote from Cocco’s son, asked if he and his college buddies are worried about a new draft:

Yeah. It’s the talk. The talk’s there. Though people aren’t actually coming out and saying it, it’s, it’s there.

Hey, just because no one is actually saying anything, doesn’t mean they aren’t talking. And just because memos are forged, doesn’t make them any less true.

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Blame Canada

September 28th, 2004 - 10:55 pm

No, not really – but there’s election trouble in Ukraine, and Canada can help:

. . .the key to post-election developments will be the assessment of whether the elections were free and fair or stolen. Ukraine has accepted international election observers, and the United States and like-minded countries should send more of them than ever before. This nation harbors a vigorous Ukrainian diaspora that could supply thousands of qualified election observers.

Canada also has a large Ukrainian community, and Canadian observers wouldn’t carry the “taint” of America’s electoral tomfoolery. Canada can’t do much in the world. Their military is barely able to put on so much as a decent parade anymore; their budget is too constrained to increase (or perhaps even maintain) their current levels of foreign aid; and their foreign policy consists of little other than “we aren’t America.” Well, here’s a place where Canada could do some good, and do so on the cheap.

How about it, Canada?

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Outsource THIS!

September 28th, 2004 - 10:13 pm

Hey, the blogosphere’s very own Dan Drezner has hit the big time.

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Required Reading

September 28th, 2004 - 10:11 pm

Stories like this one from today’s Wall Street Journal always restore my faith in politics:

One is a wiry, intense Chicagoan, the other a languid, slow-talking Southerner. In manner and philosophy, Rahm Emanuel and Tom Cole personify the nation’s blue-state/red-state political divide.

But scratch the surface of their divergent voting records as U.S. congressmen and you’ll find shared bonds as battlefield strategists for the campaigns of others. What that produces is surprising agreement — on how the 2004 election will be decided, who’s likely to win, and what the outcome may mean for the American public.

Just a couple of smart guys, sitting around talking shop. No rancor, no talking points, no hidden agendas. Just some insights on what’s going on. The only way it could be better is, if these guys had a couple of drinks in them.

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September 28th, 2004 - 10:03 pm


Does Teresa have the toll-free number to the George Hamilton Center?

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“Who Are These People?”

September 28th, 2004 - 9:48 pm

This week’s Tech Central Station column is up.

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September 28th, 2004 - 10:01 am

Wunderkinder analyzes the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. There are some interesting numbers beyond the “who will you vote for” stuff.

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Required Reading

September 28th, 2004 - 12:15 am

One last thing before I get back to writing some paid copy – read this.

Every last word.

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September 28th, 2004 - 12:12 am

I had the usual glib, snarky things to say about various stories, then I remembered I owed Nick Schulz this week’s TCS column.

Nick – if you’re reading this, I’m not writing the column I promised you. But I can promise you that this one is funnier.

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September 27th, 2004 - 10:37 pm

Jeff ain’t feelin’ the love.

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Fairly Unbalanced

September 27th, 2004 - 10:32 pm

Tyrannies hold better elections than republics do – or so says Jimmy Carter. Don’t believe me? Carter claims one reason his Carter Center won’t monitor Florida elections is that there is no

Uniformity in voting procedures, so that all citizens, regardless of their social or financial status, have equal assurance that their votes are cast in the same way and will be tabulated with equal accuracy.

Then there’s Article Four, Section One of the US Constitution:

The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Florida legislature – long controlled by Carter’s own party – decided eons ago to let the counties run elections, themselves. That’s simple federalism, devolved down to the local level.

Now, whether that’s wise or not isn’t for me to say – it’s for the people of Florida to say, through their elected (ahem) representatives.

What Carter demands – before he’ll deign to tell us if our elections measure up to, say, Venezuela’s – is that we all do things the one best way. Of course, once the one best way is decided, why bother with further elections? That’s simple tyranny, evolved up from the Carter Center.

Hugo Chavez learned his lesson. Why won’t we learn ours?

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September 27th, 2004 - 5:09 pm

Joe Gandleman thinks that Thursday’s debate (the one I’ll have trouble remembering) might just determine the election.

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