Friday, October 29, 2004

As I was saying . . .

the Bush team was hoping for some shake up in the electoral dynamics, and the latest appearance of bin Laden certainly qualifies. However, I have no idea how it shakes out -- voters may see bin Laden and run toward Bush as a safer choice, or they may see him and realize that he is still running loose after 3 years. Or maybe, voters have already factored bin Laden into the equation, and his appearance will have no impact.

Both sides will try to spin it their way, and both sides would have a point and will find supporters. Personally, it reminds me that three years after 9/11, the murderer of 3000 Americans is walking around and trying to influence this election. But my guess is that for most people this newest tape will have little influence on their final choice. If bin Laden was the prime factor for your vote, on either side, you probably would have already made up your mind.

JUST WONDERING . .

if anyone had noticed that there was no hockey being played this year.

Me neither.

Republican Worries

It is becoming clear that the Republicans are increasingly worried about next Tuesday's election. A quick perusal of the Corner will show that this once confident group are beginning to grasp at straws. Jonah Goldberg is clinging to the "our voters are underrepresented in the polls because they are embarrassed to admit they are voting for Bush" theory.

And yesterday, the Corner host bit hook line and sinker into the obviously bogus Bush campaign "internal polling numbers." It is a sign of the nervousness of the Bush camp that they are leaking numbers like those at this point; the campaign is worried that their voters will see the trends for Kerry and become discouraged by Tuesday.

It is still a close race, and something could swing it for Bush, but absent something that changes the dynamic, the White House will beginning packing up on Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

THE UNTHINKABLE FINALLY HAPPENS



Yes that is a broom and, of course, there was champagne!

We Win!!!!

The Curse is Dead!

Long Live the World Champion BOSTON RED SOX!!!

NINE OUTS AWAY!

States That May Be Back In Play

In the last week of a race there are always states that surprise you as being in play, after you had essentially assigned them to one candidate or the other. This year is no exception.

States that may be back in play: New Jersey, West Virginia, Virginia, Arkansas, Missouri and Hawaii. Two of these states were in the Kerry camp, the other four were in the Bush column. But recent polls suggest that they are again toss ups. If I were the Democrats I would have Clinton camped in Arkansas and hope for spill over coverage in Missouri. If I were Republicans, I would stay away from NJ, because closeness in that race is more a reaction against the state Democrats, and less an affirmation of the national Republicans.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

ENDORSEMENT WATCH

For the most part, I don't give a huge amount of credence to newspaper endorsements, since they are usually very predictable. For example, it surprised no one that the New York Times and the Washington Post endorsed Kerry and that the New York Post and the Washington Times endorsed W. Further, with a very few exceptions, the endorsements don't bring any additional voters.

However, one category of endorsements that does bear watching, and which might influence voters, are those that go against grain, namely they endorse a different party's candidiate in 2004 than in 2000.

So the endorsement of John Kerry by the Orlando Sentinel is notable not because it is the major newspaper in the most contested area of the most contested state, although both of those are true -- but because four years ago the paper endorsed George W. Bush. Indeed, it has been 40 years since the Sentinel endorsed a Democrat for President. This is not a liberal media endorsement (the Sentinel also endorsed the Republican candidate for the Senate and 4 GOPers for House seats) which makes this the type of endorsement that may actually sway a voter thinking and which must be especially painful to a White House that is clearly going to be sweating out this last week.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

We Win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Sox!

Win it All!

Monday, October 18, 2004

TEXAS REDISTRICTING

No, this is not a flashback. The Supreme Court has sent back for reconsideration a lower court's decision that the Texas redistricting last year did not violate the Constitution.

I would be all over this, if there weren't an election in 15 days. (Also if I thought that this was any more than a stall by the Supremes, instead of addressing this thorny issue right before an election.)

More on the Kentucky Senate Race

The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Ky., Thursday all but declared Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) unsuitable for office following "outrageous statements" and "increased belligerence."

The editorial endorsed Senator Bunning's rival, Dan Mongiardo.

I have not, however, seen any recent polling data on this race. I imagine that it is getting big play in Kentucky and that it cannot be good for Bunning, but I haven't seen any firm evidence either way so far.

[UPDATE - Finally some polling, according to Dem. leaning poll, the race is now tied at 43, a 4 point bump for Mongiardo and a four point loss for Bunning from the last poll that this group did. Not enough to draw any firm conclusions, but certainly enough to cause some panicking in certain circles.]

Sunday, October 17, 2004

UPDATE ELECTORAL COLLEGE PREDICTIONS

Mine, of course. You can see them here. The race is getting closer as Election Day draws near.

Friday, October 15, 2004

More Kentucky Senate Update -

The leading newspaper in Kentucky (The Lousiville Courrier-Journal) published this editorial yesterday:

In Washington last week, Sen. Jim Bunning reportedly was complaining about his slipping poll numbers. He blamed the President, blamed the Governor, grumbling that their political slip-ups were rubbing off on him.

The truth is, Sen. Bunning has no one to blame but himself. He has never been a warm and fuzzy guy, not even as a young baseball star.

But his attacks on his opponent, Daniel Mongiardo, and the outrageous statements he has made in his rare public appearances are giving voters pause.

They are raising questions about Sen. Bunning's suitability for office. Is he, as he ages, just becoming a more concentrated version of himself: more arrogant, more prickly? Certainly that would be a normal occurrence.

Or is his increasing belligerence an indication of something worse? Has Sen. Bunning drifted into territory that indicates a serious health concern?

His latest blast is the most outlandish so far. He accused Dr. Mongiardo or a member of his campaign staff of "trying to abuse my wife" at Fancy Farm last summer. "My wife was black and blue," he said. Of course, the Mongiardo campaign denied any connection to any injury Mary Bunning may have sustained, calling the charge "sad and untrue."

And as his wild statements mount and he increasingly isolates himself, small things take on great significance. For example, Sen. Bunning broke the rules and read from a teleprompter during his so-called "debate" with Dr. Mongiardo. Was that simply because he thought he could get away with it, since he was ensconced in a remote location in Washington? Or did he need to read his opening and closing statements to avoid stumbling into another gaffe?

There is, of course, an easy way for Sen. Bunning to end what has become national speculation about his fitness. He could call press conferences throughout the state, stand before the public and say, "Here I am. Ask me questions. You'll see how fit I am."

Successful, reasonable public interaction would be far more reassuring than statements from doctors that his blood pressure and cholesterol are OK.

That, of course, is important information. This time, however, the concern isn't about physical health.

NOW, LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT

Dick Cheney is an "angry Dad" and Lynne Cheney think talk about her daughter is tawdry. And this is their reaction not to the GOP Senate candidate (Alan Keyes) her referred to their daughter as a "Selfish hedonist", but to John Kerry's comment that her homosexuality is part of her nature.

It boggles the mind.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Insta-polling

ABC News Instant Poll of voters who watched the debate also found Kerry the winner, 42% to 41%. (Significant Note, this survey group was 38% Republican, 30% Democrat.)

CNN/Gallup instant poll finds Kerry the clear winner, 52% to 39%.

CBS News poll of uncommitted voters who watched the debate found Kerry won, 39% to 25%, with 36% calling it a tie.

[Update - CNN Focus Group, 24 undecidedes on the panel, Kerry 10, Bush 7, 7 Tossups)]

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

ALAS,

Kerry won, but the Red Sox lost.

I think that New England would probably have accepted a switch.

Once again, New Englamd sacrifices for the country.

(Let's just pretend that the two are somehow related.)

Final Debate

I thought that once again there was one candidate who looked Presidential, and one who looked pedestrian.

With the exception of the question on abortion, I thought that Kerry looked more relaxed and more in control of the facts. (And even on that question, his uncomfortableness was not a true negative, since most Americans feel some uncomfort when that questions arises.)

Simply put, I thought that Kerry had a superior debating performance, yet still connected on a human level. Except for the last question regarding wives and daughters, I thought that Bush didn't really connect so well, and did not have a great mastery of the issues.

I think that this debate may have sealed the deal -- I think that most Americans (at least a majority) can feel comfortable with John Kerry as President.

KENTUCKY SENATE UPDATE

Sen. Bunning admits (at least his staff admits) that he used a teleprompter during opening and closing arguments during the debate. They claims that this is the same as using "notes". Of course, no out side observers were allowed inside the GOP studio in Washington to objectively say if Bunning used the teleprompter throughout the entire debate.

I think this race is now one to watch very carefully. My gut says Bunning will lose.

Oh Gee, Maybe The Kerry Plan For Iraq Has Some Substance To It After All

Reuters reports that Defense Minister Peter Struck said in an interview with the Financial Times newspaper that Germany might deploy troops if conditions in the country, now riven by insurgency, changed.

"At present I rule out the deployment of German troops in Iraq," Struck told the paper. "In general, however, there is no one who can predict developments in Iraq in such a way that he could make such a binding statement."


UNDECIDED VOTERS

Zogby's latest tracking poll has the candidates tied at 45%. But the key number is that "three-day track reveals that only 11% of the undecided voters feel that President Bush deserves to be re-elected. That is the lowest figure yet. Two in five -- 40%-- feel it is time for someone new and 49% are undecided about his future."

11% reelect number?!? That is deadly!

Kentucky Senate Race

Some weird stuff is happening in this race.

Salon.com reports that Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who was expected to coast to an easy re-election over state senator Daniel Mongiardo, has been acting very strangely. Among other things, he tore up his agreement to debate Mongiardo in Lexington, KY, and insisted on being in the Republican National Committee headquarters with no audience or reporters present and the debate held over a satellite link. He refused to debate live so it was taped and will air tonight. People who have seen the tape say Bunning appears to be reading from a TelePrompter, leading to speculation that the 73-year-old Bunning is ill, possibly with Alzheimer's.

This is not the first time this has been speculated on, and indeed the campaign released two doctor's notes that said he was in fine physical health, but which did not mention Alzheimer's. This race could get close fast, if this speculation is not effectively dealt with quickly.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

NEWSPAPER ENDORSEMENTS

In case you were wondering.

Newspapers that endorsed Gore in 2000, and have endorsed Bush in 2004:

None

Daily newspapers that endorsed Bush in 2000, and have endorsed Kerry in 2004:

The Oregonian (Portland): 342,040
The Seattle Times: 237,303
The Day (New London, Conn.): 39,553
The Albuquerque Tribune: 13,536

You can see the full endorsement list here.

Kerry leads 13-10 in the endorsement race, and inthe circulation race -- 2,637,297 to 724,728.

(Hat tip to Daily Kos)

Sinclair Broadcasting

Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns about 62 televisions station - including ones in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin and Iowa, has directed its stations to preempt their regular schedule and broadcast the anti-Kerry documentary film "Stolen Honor." (You can read further coverage about this in the LA Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post.)

In response to this, several liberal website (Josh Marshall and Daily Kos among them) have begun to publicize a boycott of the Sinclair advertisers (You can visit the boycott Sinclair website here.) Sinclair stockholders are also being urged to complain about this, or perhaps bring a shareholders lawsuit.

There are many interesting issues that this raises, including the differences between the print media and the over-the-air media. (For example, no one will complain when the New York Times endorses John Kerry, but traditionally, the over-the-air media does not make explicit endorsements, in large part to the fact that they are merely renting their prime distribution method (their channel frequency) from the government, and have to apply and reapply for a license to use this public resource.)

Beside the propriety of airing a partisan documentary, it also raises the issues of how do "average folk" combat such a decision made by a corporation. An effective boycott could have wide ranging implications. As we sit here today, publicly owned corporations can do close to anything they want, without regards to their shareholder wishes (privately owned companies can, of course, do whatever they please), but changing that dynamic would be have wide, and I think positive, repercussions.

It also raises "fair use" and equal time issues, which Sinclair is trying to get around by inviting Kerry and call this a "news program."

This is what Sinclair Broadcasting has had to say so far (from CNN):

However, the accusations coming from Terry McAuliffe and others, is it because they are some elements of this that may reflect poorly on John Kerry? That it's somehow an in-kind contribution of George Bush?

If you use that logic and reasoning, that means every car bomb in Iraq would be an in-kind contribution to John Kerry. Weak job performance ratings that came out last month would have been an in- kind contribution to John Kerry. And that's just nonsense.

This is news. I can't change the fact that these people decided to come forward today. The networks had this opportunity over a month ago to speak with these people. They chose to suppress them. They chose to ignore them. They are acting like Holocaust deniers, pretending these men don't exist.

My best guess is that this "news program" never airs, but it is a side drama, which could have some real lasting effects.

Monday, October 11, 2004

SCARY

I am, to this day, mostly agnostic on the Iraq adventure -- I think that Junior"misled"the nation (purposefully or negligently--both are bad) about why we invaded Iraq, but regardless, Saddam had to go; America can't depend on the UN and foreign allies to support our foreign objectives, but we cannot discard them either; I think that America should be involved in the "nation building" that Junior so easily dismissed in 2000 (but has involved himself in Iraq and Afghanistan), but if so, we need to be realistic about it, not pretend that it will be easy (because it won't be) or pretend that we can do it alone. As the President might say, nation building is "hard."

That said, Iraq seems to be getting out of control. This is the money quote from this Newsweek short blurb:

It is absolutely the worst war I've ever covered," says John Kifner, a New York Times reporter who worked in Lebanon during that country's civil war in the late 1970s and '80s. "[In Beirut] you had a much better physical sense of where danger could come from, whereas in Iraq it's just all over."

So Beirut was better than Baghdad, and then the Newsweek article end with this:

The mayhem has led some American journalists to dye their blond hair brown, grow unkempt beards and avoid speaking English in any public setting. It has also prompted a lot of soul-searching. Asks Sarhaddi Nelson: "The question becomes, 'What service are you providing other than having a Baghdad dateline?'

The "discussion" should not be about why we are there (although there are serious questions that the Bush administration needs to answer), but how we might win, or realistically, at this point, not lose . You might dislike John Kerry's response as unrealistic (train Iraqis and get European allies), but I'm not sure what exactly Junior's plan is at this point, other "than things will get better, trust me, I'm the President."

My thoughts on Junior's argument: been there done that, time to try something else.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Last Night's Results

I haven't watched the debate yet, but the buzz seems to be that it was a draw. Normally, a draw would help the challenger, but Junior was so disastrous in the first debate, a tie is an improvement for him. All in all, I imagine that this will merely set up next week's debate. (f I can watch the debate today, I will have further comments.)

However, there was one clear winner last night, the Sox are on to the ALCS with a 3-0 sweep of the Angels. I imagine that we will see the Yankees again, but hopefully, the Twins can at least extend it to a fifth game to screw up the Yankees pitching rotation.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

BLOGSPHERE REACTION

The Corner (conservative) is pretty much torn between a tie and a Cheney victory;
Political Wire (moderate to liberal) says Edwards won;
Josh Marshall (liberal) though Edwards won;
Andrew Sullivan (conservative turned Kerry supporter) says this was a car wreck for Cheney;
Poliblogger (fairly conservative) says it looks like a tie;
Hardball's online poll has Edwards ahead of Cheney 68%-32%, but those results will change, and it is just an online poll;
Jeff Jarvis (? political leanings) says Edwards won;
Outside the Beltway (conservative) thinks Cheney won;
CBS News online poll has Edwards ahead 79% to 19% -- again caveat, this is an online poll! it will change and it is not scientific;
Hugh Hewitt (conservative) says Cheney won, but that it was "not a disaster" for Edwards;
even Fox's online poll (can't link) has Edwards ahead right now, albeit slightly.

So I think the bottom line was a draw -- and on to Friday night's debate.








Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Pretty much even

A few thoughts on tonight's debate:

1) I didn't think that there were any knockout, or even any real hard jabs. Cheney best line was that tonight was the first time that he had met Edwards; Edwards' best line was that Cheney keep suggesting that Iraq had a connection to 9/11/01.

2) Cheney probably was ahead on points in the foreign policy section, but Edwards was stronger on the domestic part.

3) The most amazing part of the entire debate to me, and something that I think will resonate in a way I can't exactly predict, was Cheney's refusal to back the President in his anti-gay marriage amendment. I simply cannot remember a time where the VP has completely abandoned the President like that in any debate or race. It made Cheney look very human, but perhaps at the expense of the overall ticket.

4) I think that the GOP is more excited about this debate tonight than the Dems are, mainly because they will think that Cheney stopped the bleeding. Usually a tie goes to the challenger, in this case a tie helps both sides with their base, but I would be shocked if any voters actually base their votes on tonight. (I doubt, however, that many people think tonight that John Edwards in unqualified to be Vice-President.)

5) As an Edwards fan, I should point out that I thought he handled the most annoying debate tactic, not immediately answering a question, better than any other candidate I have seen. First, he acknowledged that he was getting off topic, but still always got back to the question asked. It is still a bit annoying, but he handled it well.

6) Finally, Sox wins, Yankees lose and a tie in the debate. 2 1/2 out of 3 ain't bad. (BTW-I was watching the Yankees' game in picture-in-picture, and every time I looked at the game, it seemed as if the Yankees were hitting into a double play. Amazing. I only wish I could correspond the double plays to something that Cheney was saying, alas . . . )

Monday, October 04, 2004

NOT SO FAST

The Washington Post/ABC poll has Bush ahead 51/46/1. This is not significantly different that the Post's last poll.

This will continue to be a horserace to the end. And both sides will have highs and lows that will make the next month seem to drag on forever.

Undoubtedly as a result of being forgotten by John Kerry last Thursday . . .

Poland has announced that they will begin withdrawing from Iraq in January, and will be out completely by the end of 2005.

RANDOM POINTS

1) I am sorry to see the Kerry camp pull out of Virginia. I know you can't contest all of the states, and that Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania are the top targets, but I thought that Kerry might be able to make this one of the November surprises. I still think it will be closer than people predict, but it is unlikely to move to the blue column absent a major win.

2) Newsweek has excellent coverage of Thursday's debate and the aftermath. Most surprising, the attitude toward preparation between the two candidates, and it showed when the lights came on.

3) It seems to me that the GOP (or at least the BC04 people) don't really take Kerry seriously. I don't know if this is part of a cocoon effect that insulates them from the outside world, or if they just so firmly believe in Junior that they can't see his flaws, but either way the superior attitude has not served them well in this race.

4) Bob Novak documents some worry on the GOP side about their guy.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Bounce Begins!

Newsweek now has Kerry/Edwards at 47%; Bush/Cheney at 45%; Nader/Camejo at 2%.

Their last poll that I can find was 43/49/2. By my reading that is a 8 point swing. Pretty much speaks for itself.

Friday, October 01, 2004

KAUS AGREES!!

KERRY WON !!!!

at least initially,

The post debate spin is always an issue, but lets not worry about that tonight.


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