Saturday, July 31, 2004

NOMAH NO MORE

Well, technically, I guess he is still Nomar, he's just not Nomah. The Sox traded him to the Cubs.

Most of the poster over at Sons of Sam Horn (a must read for any Red Sox fans) think the Sox got "hosed." I have mixed feelings, Nomar was going to leave at the end of the year, but he was a Red Sox great. (It never ends well for the Red Sox "great" players -- Clemens, Fisk, Mo Vaughn to name a few.) The team probably got a little better -- significantly better in defense, and picked up some speed, but is certainly weaker offensively, and in the fan's hearts.

Only time will tell on this wisdom deal, but I appreciate everything that Number 5 has done for the team, and although I wish he could stay, I wish him the best of luck.

Four Point? Or Ten Point Bounce?

This NBC/Newsweek poll (49 Kerry-42 Bush-3 Nader) is being described as a four point bounce for Kerry/Edwards, but the polling done after Kerry's speech has him up ten points, so you choose the headline.

Even more importantly, Kerry is now ahead or equal with Bush on such important topics as: who will make the right decisions during an international crisis; who do they trust more with handling the situation in Iraq; as well as issues pertaining to health care and Medicare. Even on issues of terrorism, Bush is down to a 5 point lead.

Now, I think that these numbers will continue to bounce around, and after the GOP convention, I predict that this race will be tied again. But the most important thing to remember is that undecideds will probably break 2 to 1 for Kerry, (undecideds normally go about two to one for the challenger) so if Bush is not at about 48% on Election Day, he will probably be seeking new work come January. (Baseball could use a commissioner)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

A B+

That's my early grade on Kerry's speech. It was an interesting speech, but probably a speech that reads better on paper than as delivered. He is not an inspiring speaker (ala Clinton or Edwards), but I don't think the purpose of the speech was to inspire. The purpose of this speech is to reassure people that this man is strong, that he can relate to their values, and that America will be OK with him in the White House.

And just for the record, the run up to his speech (the 45 minutes or so before) gets an A+: his daughters speeches, the biopic, Max Cleland, and the men who served with him in Vietnam. That was inspiring. The single message that comes out of the convention is this: John Kerry is an authentic American hero. Republicans disparaging his record in Vietnam do so at extreme risk.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Hope Is On The Way

A brilliant last hour for the Democrats. The Edwards family came across as more "typical American" than any other political family that I can remember. At the end, with the little kids being twirled around by their Dad, the message was clear - these are people who understand what it is like to be a regular American.

And that was the message that John Edwards got across so effectively in his speech. The simple message that "I know what it is like": know what it is like to start at the bottom; know what it is like to face adversity; know what it is like to wonder how we can get through the next week or month. When he talked about most Americans living from paycheck to paycheck, he sounded like he knew what he was talking about from experience. And the fact that he was standing there, accepting the nomination to be Vice-President just served to underline that there is always hope, no matter how bleak things may look.

The Republicans will attack Edwards for his experience, and the Democrats obviously know that, so instead of getting into a shouting match over "experience", they are changing the argument. Every time the Republicans say that Edwards isn't experienced enough, the Democrats will counter with the fact that he has "real" experience, that he know what the American voters face on a day to day basis, and that message is very powerful, especially because after tonight, most people will think of the Edwards family as a normal American family. It's "Washington" experience vs. "Real Life" experience. (Besides Edwards has more foreign policy experience than Junior did last election, but then again, look where that has gotten us.)

In 1992, people could relate to Bill Clinton, he spoke their language, so did Ronald Reagan, John Edwards is by far the most authentic person to be on the ticket this year. If the voters are worried that John Kerry doesn't understand them, well, Edwards is there to keep it real.

John Edwards gave a great speech, but the whole picture, from Cate's and Elizabeth's speeches, to the perfect picture at the end with John swinging Jack and Emma Claire, was what the Democrats wanted. John Edwards has put a lot of Southerners and Midwesterners at ease about this ticket. They aren't sold yet, only Kerry can do that, but John Edwards spoke their language, and in doing so, made it a whole lot easier for John Kerry's message to sink in tomorrow night.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

SITE OF THE WEEK

Since this is the week of the Democratic National Convention, I have linked to a site that updates what other bloggers are saying about the convention, Convention Bloggers

Other sites to watch for convention commentary are The New Republic, which has set up its own blog for the convention; MSNBC, which has several updates, including a Howard Fineman blog; Reason; The Corner, which has lots of updates and snarky comments; and the National Journal, which has opened up the products which you usually have to pay for, like the Hotline, just for convention week. (Registration is required.)

That should be enough to keep even the most devoted of political geeks happy.



John, Martha . . . Martha, John

This little tidbit on my former governor is just too tasty to let pass.  John Rowland was a someone I never liked, and frankly, 5 months in not nearly long enough. 

But I guess I can understand why he would never want a jury made up of the citizens who elected him three times, and who he he treated like fools while he was their governor, to decide his fate.  So John, enjoy Danbury.  (It's not like you ever paid any attention to the city while you were governor, so maybe you can ponder our fair city while you are sitting in our lovely jail.)

STRENGTH AND WISDOM ARE NOT OPPOSING VALUES

Folks, I think we have the early leader for best line of the convention.  (Better than the "send me" refrain, which was pretty good in its own right.)

Leave it to Bill to knock his speech out of the park.  If he is sitting home for the last two months of this election, I will give up on Kerry.  His speech was perfect in tone, in form, and, of course, in delivery.  It is the same message that resonated with most Americans in 92 & 96, and even with the changed world, the message still has the right pitch (both tone and message).

All in all, a very nice beginning to the convention.  The hard part will be following this up tomorrow night.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Democratic Comeback?

That is the argument that Al From and Bruce Reed make here.  I'll let you be the judge, but it I think they make some very serious points.


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

SITE OF THE WEEK

This week's spotlighted website is the short film "This Land is Your Land."  It has certainly received much attention, primarily because it is really funny.  (Even my favorite conservative got a chuckle out of it.) 

Right now, with the country evenly divided and in the heat of a very contentious campaign things like this help to loosen the mood.  Go check it out, if you can use a laugh.


Friday, July 16, 2004

Yet Another Intelligence Mishap

This Washington Times story about how the Chinese just launched a new submarine class that we didn't know existed, is disconcerting. Not because we have anything to fear about this particular class of submarines, we probably don’t, but it is yet another in a growing string of intelligence failures. (At some point this string is going to become a rope.)

Now, I understand that we are much more likely to hear about intelligence failures than successes, but at some point, if you are President of the United States, don’t you have to shake things up? As if 9/11 and Iraq weren’t enough, this newest failure serves to underline the fact that our intelligence is poor.

Fortunately George Tenet is gone (and if he was pushed by the White House, they certainly did it quietly, which fits in with this administration’s philosophy that loyalty is more importance than competency.) And with the Senate Intelligence committee’s report on the failures in Iraq, it would seem that this is an opportune time t o make some "adjustments" to our intelligence community. But it seems that the President doesn’t think that major changes are warranted. Frankly this is yet another judgment call by this President that can be seriously questioned.

Now is the time to makes some changes, and significant, public changes. Our intelligence gathering is broken and if this President isn’t serious about fixing it, hopefully the next one will be.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

WHITHER CHENEY?

In light of all of the positive buzz about John Edwards, his youth and vitality (not to mention Jack Edwards, who will be the star of the campaign), the buzz about dour Dick Cheney’s future has returned.

It has always been the theory of my favorite conservative that Cheney would step aside and let someone else take his place. Apparently, this is not an isolated thought, Al D’Amato has suggested that Cheney be replaced with Colin Powell or John McCain. Rudy Giuliani is another popular choice.

Personally, I cannot fathom Bush dumping Cheney. It would look desperate, and would make it look like Cheney’s critics on the left had won. (I mean, come-on, no one would buy the “my health requires it” line.) But what really makes this unthinkable to me is that the replacement would have to be a star (ala Giuliani, Powell or McCain) otherwise the replacement would look desperate and create little buzz. But the problem with the Big 3 is that they are not popular with the conservative base of the party. To pick a “liberal” Republican would be to risk creating open warfare within the party. With the margins as narrow as they are, Bush cannot afford to look desperate, and he especially cannot lose his core support. So for good and for bad, or unless Bush is up by about 10 points come the GOP convention, Cheney is on the ticket to stay.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004

John Edwards

It comes as a great relief to have John Edwards on the ticket for many reasons.

John Edwards was the best campaigner in the 2004 primary. If he had had an organization like that of Kerry, or even Howard Dean, it is possible that he would be the one choosing a running mate, and not Kerry. His ability to connect with an audience is on par with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. He keeps audiences excited, he can get a message across effectively, and he should help improve John Kerry’s campaigning. (Remember Kerry was at his best when he was pressed by Edwards in the primary – Kerry may be good under pressure, but Edwards style made him loosen up, so as to not appear so stiff.) Also since none of the other three candidates in this race are particularly good retail campaigners, Edwards will be a breath of fresh air.

Politically, it makes the GOP take some of their resources and put it into North Carolina. I don’t expect that Kerry will win NC, but BC04 certainly cannot take it for granted. It also means that Edwards will be spending a lot of time in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, where being the son of a mill worker, who became a successful trial lawyer will mean something. (As much as the beltway crowd rolls their eyes when they hear something like that, for real people, it gives hope that no matter their circumstance, their kids can still achieve something.) It will also help Kerry to have a southern accent to rely on in Louisiana, Arkansas and the panhandle of Florida and I would expect to have Edwards narrated ads up there very soon.

And I think Edwards will come across as the most likeable person in the race. Certainly more than Cheney or Kerry, and probably more than Bush.

The criticisms of Edwards (at least the initial barrage) are twofold: he is inexperienced and he is a trial lawyer. The inexperience push is what the GOP is especially pushing hard, and it does resonate a bit, especially in the foreign policy area. But in the end this won’t be a factor because he is a V.P. nominee; his foreign policy credentials are the same, or perhaps greater those that Junior or Ronal Reagan brought to the table; and because Edwards will probably never look like he does not understand what is going on, he is too good a trial lawyer for that.

As for being a trial lawyer, it is a big bugaboo among some of the GOP faithful, but I have never seen it resonate beyond that echo chamber. Edwards made a very compelling case during the primaries that being a trial lawyer allowed him to face off against corporations and HMOs who were trying to screw the little guy. In a face-off between trial lawyers and HMOs or corporations who are shipping jobs overseas, who do you think the average voter would choose.

(As an aside I saw Elizabeth Dole trying to make these points last night on Hardball, and there may not be a worse person to put on TV. She tried to attack Edwards, but either her heart wasn’t in it, or she wasn’t competent enough to do. It is amazing that she once tried to run for President.)

In the end the Edwards choice was by far the best one that Kerry could make. I don’t think that V.P. nominees make much difference in the end, but Edwards may help Kerry to hone his game and make him a better candidate, and in the end that will make a big difference.
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