Monday, October 18, 2004


The Ultimate Bush vs. Kerry Symposium

Some of the most respected bloggers weigh in on the issues.

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Monday, October 18, 2004
Vox Blogoli IV: Why vote for Bush, and what's wrong with Kerry?

Posted on Monday, 6:00 PM
LittleGreenFootballs (pictoral entry)
Be Critical
DANEgerus (heh)
A Better Future
Ultima Thule

Posted in Monday, 4:35 PM
EjectEjectEject (from the archives, but key)
SCSU Scholars
GotDesign (a blog of the month for October)
FroggyRuminations #1 (SEALs get two)
stuff n things
InfiniteMonkeys 1
USC GOP (who knew people from USC could blog?)
TheDailyBlogster (from the archives)
Powerline #2
CenterFeud (9/11 Democrat alert)
RadioBlogger (Duane woke up.)

Posted on Monday, 3:00 PM
Powerline #1

Posted on Monday, 9:30 AM

The Belgravia Dispatch (not a symposium submission, but exactly on point)
Section 31

Posted at 7:00 AM, Pacific
The weekend symposiums are a lot of work, but very successful in identifying interesting new blogs and new perspectives on crucial questions.

So successful, in fact, that I am going to run a week-long virtual symposium on the question of the day: "In 250 words or less, why vote for Bush and what's wrong with Kerry?" I hope that this collection of links will make it easier for Bush voters to persuade the undecideds in their life by either providing succinct persuasive arguments, or by pointing them to a clearing house of such arguments.

As with my weekend symposiums, I will decline links that lack taste or use profanity, and all entries must have "symposium" in their subject line. I will open the thread later this morning and keep it running through next Sunday.

Please send entries to, with the link embedded in the e-mail. I will publish only links, no text, because of time and space limitations.

Ron Brownstein's front pager in the Los Angeles Times is a pretty transparent attempt to keep hope alive for Democrats as poll after poll shows momentum for George W. Bush in the aftermath of the third debate and Kerry's outrageous assault on Mary Cheney's privacy.

It isn't until paragraph four that a reader discovers "On Sunday, Bush reached 52% among likely voters in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll, opening an 8-percentage-point advantage over Kerry." Most objective reporters and editors might have thought a break-out number like that would be the lead, followed by the qualifications, like this USA Today article. Not in the upside down world of the Lost Angeles Times.

Be sure to check the Iowa Electronic Futures Market. Bush rising. Kerry tanking. Real people using real money here. Watch for a Soros-like manipulation later today.

It is best for Bush supporters to keep their eyes on the blogopshere and away from the Kerry cheering section in the MSM. Senior Bush strategist Matthew Dowd put out this memo (hat tip KerrySpot) which puts the Bush lead at 4%, and offers advice for Bush voters:

"To: Interested PartiesFR: Matthew Dowd Re: State Of The Presidential Race

As the campaign enters its final days, President Bush has seized the momentum and is well-positioned to win re-election in a close race.

Supporters should use the momentum to recruit two new George W. Bush supporters between now and Election Day. In the next two weeks, let's each try to get two new people to vote for the President who we haven't touched yet – two in two!

With this momentum in hand, the campaign will be spending the last two weeks on the offensive. The President is doing increasingly well among voters deemed a part of the key swing group: the President is winning independent voters, he is doing better among women voters than 2000, and we have the opportunity to achieve historic gains among minority voters.

...The President led Kerry by about 5 points prior to the debates, but the debates energized the Democratic base and closed the race to dead even. Now, the President is on the upswing and leads Kerry by 4 points nationally, 49% to 45% — almost identical to his position before the debates.

When Kerry adviser Tad Devine declared in Tempe that 'we leave the debate with an advantage that is measurable,' the Kerry campaign was dancing on the 50-yard line. Now they'll be crying in their beer. No challenger who trailed an incumbent president after the conclusion of the debates has ever gone on to win.

Terrorism and Iraq remain key issues of the campaign, and President Bush continues to lead by double-digits on both of them. In the recent Newsweek poll, terrorism was the top issue for 26% of voters (President Bush leads Kerry by 16 points on handling terrorism in the same poll) and Iraq was the top issue for 20% (President Bush leads Kerry by 10 points on handling Iraq).

Yesterday's Gallup poll shows that John Kerry's favorability has remained stagnant through the debates. Between Gallup's Sept. 15 and Oct. 16 polls, Kerry has remained at a net +7 favorability. President Bush now has a net +11 favorability, at 55% favorable and 44% unfavorable.

In yet another sign of the President's momentum, the Kerry campaign pulled its advertising out of West Virginia on Friday, making it the latest in a string of their retreats from former 'battleground"' states. In fact, the Kerry campaign and its allies have now conceded victory to the President by pulling out of Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia, after they combined to spend $36 million on ads in those states.

But Kerry and his allies aren't the only ones who are increasingly skeptical of their chances — Americans also believe that President Bush will win re-election. According to the recent ABC News poll, 56% of Americans believe that President Bush will win the election, compared to just 33% who think Kerry will win.

And the President's travel will reflect this movement. In the next two weeks, 2/3 of the days will be spent in states Al Gore carried in 2000, as opposed to protecting states. For example, the President will visit New Jersey today, a state that Gore won by 16 points, but recent public polls show to be competitive. And in those states he will be visiting swing as well as high-growth areas with many new voters.

Please do all you can in this 'two voters in two weeks' program, and if we are successful, we will be celebrating on November 2nd."

The Washington Times has a summary piece on the campaigns' strategies for the last two weeks. What a surprise: Kerry is trying to scare old folks on social security. Yeah, that'll work, even better than Kerry's "he'll bring back the draft" of last week. How desperate is the Kerry campaign?

Jeb Bush announced yesterday that he will not seek the presidency in 2008. Of course he would make a tremendous running mate four years out.

I saw Team America last night, which is too vulgar to recommend to any but the most hardened audience. This is why, as Roger L. Simon noted, the box office was so low. Vulgarity doesn't play in the red states, period.

Yes, the ridicule heaped upon the Hollywood left was very funny, and I suspect the voters under the age of 30 will celebrate the movie, and that the likes of Sean Penn and Timothy Robbins will be smirked at for years to come by that demographic in part because of their treatment at the hands of the South Park gang. Certainly the Kim Jong Il and Hans Blix scene will be an instant laugh line for decades to come, as will the Kim Jong Il solo song and some of the other score. But you can't put out that kind of dialogue and expect to get the over 40 set. (BTW: When did Matt Damon join the knucklehead caucus? He gets the worst treatment by the writers.)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Posted at 9:45 AM, Pacific

I have added the final entries below, and the symposium and the opportunity to submit a link with your take on the political consequences of Kerry-Edwards-Cahill's crass and ruthless abuse of Mary Cheney's privacy is closed. Thanks to the 225 who submitted a link. The very fine analysis among some of the very new bloggers tells me not only is the self-inflicted political damage done to the Democratic ticket extreme, the explosion in blogging popularity is expanding and deepening.

The technology has finally caught up with the talent. A year from now, I expect N.Z.Bear's ecosystem and rankings by traffic to have changed dramatically. Given that the talent is overwhelmingly on the side of the center-right, and that MSM is tilted way left, every further expansion in participation in and readership for the blogosphere is a huge structural advance for center-right politics and economics.

Given the volume and intensity of reaction to the symposium, it is amazing that the big three-and-a-half --The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and The Los Angeles Times (given this last paper's ongoing collapse in credibility, it only gets a "half," read Patterico daily for news of the Fall of the Norman Empire)-- did not cover the Kerry and Company blunder in their opinion pages.

Michael Kinsley mentioned it in passing in his Los Angeles Times column (also printed in the Washington Post) as did some other pieces, but my guess is that the Sunday papers were full of analysis of President Ford's "Poland" blunder the weekend he made it in 1976. This is the subtlest form of MSM bias --averting their collective eyes from the train wrecks of the left. Even if the entire country is buzzing about the shamelessness of Kerry's gay baiting gambit, the editorial staffs find many other things to talk about.

The Los Angeles Times did find space on Friday to run lefty Margaret Carlson's apologia for Kerry, which adopted the Elizabeth Edwards argument wholesale:

"You couldn't read Lynne Cheney's outburst about a cheap and tawdry trick without thinking that she herself finds homosexuality cheap and tawdry."

Of course a significant majority could and did read Lynne Cheney's argument exactly the opposite way of Margaret Carlson, but what can you expect of the pundit who four years ago labeled the military serving overseas but registered to vote in Florida as "tax dodgers."

You see, the commentariat on the left just doesn't see the campaign and the issues and the voters the way those on the center-right do, which isn't a call for an expulsion from the opinion pages of these sadly out-of-touch talking heads like Kinsley and Carlson, but for the addition of voices that actually represent mainstream opinion in America.

This commentary gap shows up in the Globe, which runs a lengthy article on the subject of gay marriage and a commentary on the subject by Peter Gomes. The story will be a troubling one for Kerry this week, because it quotes his interview with The Advocate and says of it:

"In an interview in the latest issue of The Advocate, Kerry left himself some wiggle room on gay marriage.

'I have my view, and my view is my view,' he said, when asked whether he would ever change his mind on the matter. 'I can't tell you in 20 years or whenever, if someone made a persuasive argument, the world changes . . .

So I don't predict the future. What I tell you is that my position is what it is.'"

That's a lot of nuance on an issue that has received verdict after verdict from the public at the polls against same-sex marriage. The Peter Gomes op-ed states:

"Under the ruse that marriage is under attack, the president and the Republican congressional leadership have determined to 'defend' marriage against 'activist' judges and to use the proposed amendments as the newest blunt instrument in the prosecution of a culture war."

Reverend Gomes is a good man and a fine writer, but charging all Americans who oppose judicial imposition of same-sex marriage with hypocrisy and he embrace of a "ruse" is not up to his standard.

And the Globe cannot find one able writer to underscore the series of votes that have been held on the issue and the single most important fact in the debate:

That in 215 years of federal and state lawmaking, not once --never-- has an elected body of representatives passed even one law that carried with it the intent of endorsing marriage between two people of the same sex.

"Who decides" is the debate before the debate, and every attempt to shout past the former to get to the latter is intellectually dishonest.

That MSM is collectively intellectually dishonest in its allocation of space is hardly news, but the new media has restored balance, and politics is changing dramatically as a result.

What may be news is that MSM tinkered with the polling data throughout the last few weeks in an effort to engineer a Kerry surge. This argument is put forward by Steven den Beste, and has already been linked by Instapundit and Powerline.

I am hoping that Michael Barone offers an analysis of the charge, as Barone may be the most trusted commentator on American politics working today. It does indeed look like pollsters generally adopted techniques that resulted in a false impression of Kerry momentum in the past few weeks.

This is not a charge of "conspiracy." Far from it in fact. It is an observation that shared "mindset" --when shared across a set of independent operators-- produces similar results.

An example of the dynamic at work on the right might be the story selection by talk show hosts on any given day.

There are no talkingpoints and no morning conference call arranged by Haliburton and conducted by Rove as the fever swamp seems to think, but we end up with considerable overlap because of a shared mindset of center-right ideology and the need to maintain and build audience.

The pollsters, though, are "branded" as "objective," and talkers are "branded" as partisan. In fact,both groups, and the editorial writers and elite media reporters themselves are all partisans.

Read Robert Kaplan's new piece, "The Media and the Military," in the new Atlantic Monthly on the mindset of journalists. The article is worth the price of a year's subscription, but the takeaway is in this paragraph:

"But the media do have a problem. They are supposed to explain what is happening in a diverse world, which is difficult to do if journalists all hail from the same social and economic background.

The media establishment may claim eclectic origins, but whether a journalist grew up in New York or Hong Kong or Mexico City matters less than you might think if in any case he is affluent and well educated:

the New Yorker will have far more in common with his colleagues from Asia or Latin America than he will with someone from a working-class background in Allentown, Pennsylvania."

Exactly. There are some remedies for the biases of the journalistic class, and one of them is wide travel in the third world, which is why Kaplan and Mark Steyn and Claudia Rosett may be the three most perceptive essayists at work today.

Where has Michael Kinsley traveled --alone and exposed to the locals? D.C., Oxford and Seattle? Pardon me, but I will take Kaplan who has wandered from Bulgaria to Damascus on a bus, Steyn who drove into Fallujah last year for a chicken dinner in the local cafe with a pistol in his pocket, or Rosett who has skipped around Beirut for meetings with dissidents when it comes to suggesting to me what is going on and what needs to be done in the Middle East.

So now there is evidence that, like opinion page editors, pollsters bring their hopes to their work. We have long known this about the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Los Angeles Times poll, and the polling results in 2002 races confirmed this bias, as demonstrated beyond doubt by KerrySpot this week.

Don't get angry, get even by promoting the blogosphere and sites like den Beste's and RealClearPolitics, CommandPost, Polipundit,Wizbang, Hedgehog, The NorthernAlliance, and the other reliable, professional observers of politics. Be sure not to panic when confronted by polls showing the president within the margin of error.

My best advice is to use the RealClearPolitics site to get an average on anything you want to know --national percentage of the vote, or any particular state-- and then add three points to the president's column to correct for the pollsters' bias against the president.

That gives the president about a 6 point lead today, one that may widen even more with the focus of the next two weeks.

Kerry's blunders on "global test," his "absolutely" pledge not to raise taxes, and his abuse of Mary Cheney's privacy showed him to be a not-very-good-debator despite the swoon of the same people who swooned for his acceptance speech.

He followed it up with draft-mongering and a focus on flu shots in a time of war. The editorial boards and pollsters may not want to hear this, but he's still the lame liberal from the far left side of the Senate, and he's not a pleasant member of that caucus either.

In fact, a lot of folks have got his number as an arrogant, ruthless and self-absorbed jerk. The president mangles his words, but you can trust his word, and he's "not for turning."

That's a pretty easy choice.

One last thing. The new Atlantic also has a piece on Karl Rove that Josh Marshall thinks is a big deal. I encourage everyone to read it. It is a silly piece that set out to argue that Karl Rove plays dirty in races, and doesn't come close to making such a case, with every single allegation of dirty tricks unsupported by anything like serious evidence.

Karl Rove is a very skilled political operative, and he does usually win, and he does use things like public disgust with plaintiffs' lawyers to defeat the candidates supported by plaintiffs' lawyers.

Wow. What a shocker.

But the stuff of anti-Rove legend --"whispering campaigns" etc-- is still the stuff of legend after you read the entire piece. One unnamed source here, one "former Rove staffer," also not named, there. But nothing concrete --just a "whispering campaign" against Rove.

It is another example of Rathergate standards at work --the reporter wanted so badly to believe in what he set out to prove that he has offered a grilled cheese on white bread, but thinks he's produced a meal fit for Gourmet to review and pronounce a feast for the ages. Only the Josh Marshalls among the critics will agree.

The above was found here:

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