Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Saturday, July 31, 2004

Politics as usual
Written by: Beck

From Kerry's speech Thursday before the DNC:
I want to address these next words directly to President George W. Bush. In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity. Let's respect one another.
From Kerry on the campaign trail two days later:
Democratic White House challenger John Kerry mocked President Bush's new "turning the corner" campaign slogan on Saturday and said he offered voters more than "little itsy bitsy" sound bites.

[...] "I think the American people are a heck of a lot smarter than some of these politicians and political consultants think they are," Kerry told more than 8,000 people gathered in a light drizzle outside a railway station in Greensburg, a Republican stronghold in western Pennsylvania.

"They keep telling them, 'Just talk in this tiny, little, itsy bitsy sound bite. Be negative, go out there and attack.'"
So much for respect. Of course, much of the Democrats' tactics have revolved around accusing the Bush campaign of going negative, playing the roll of wounded martyrs, and then going negative themselves. But wait, there's more.
Kerry said Americans wanted real leadership and vowed -- if he defeated Bush in the Nov. 2 election -- to be a president in the mold of Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.
Either Kerry & his speech writers don't know their presidential history too well, or they're hoping most Americans don't. The Dwight Eisenhower bit's my favorite. Apart from the fact that he was a Republican, Eisenhower set the record for most hours spent playing golf by a US president. Eisenhower never wanted to be the president, and only accepted the nomination because the entire country wanted him--his sense of duty and obligation wouldn't let him turn them down.

Of course, you can't have an article from Reuters without a hefty share of liberal bias, now can you? Of course not.
Despite slower-than-expected economic growth and a record budget deficit, Bush insisted that the nation's economic prospects were improving as he campaigned in neighboring Ohio, another battleground state hit hard by job losses.
Pardon? Slower-than-expected by who? We've had 11 straight quarters of growth, and are averaging a pace faster than Clinton enjoyed when running for reelection in 1996. 1st quarter GDP growth was just revised up to 5.1% from 4.8%. And that record budget deficit? It was just recently revised down by $100 billion.

Finally, this article has the first numbers I've seen on Kerry's convention bounce. To give you an idea of how important these are, in 1984, going into the Democratic National Convention, Mondale trailed Reagan by over 15 points. After the convention, he had pulled 4 points ahead. Each new election cycle sees less impact from the conventions as they grow increasingly trivial and draw ever fewer viewers. Nonetheless, the conventions, and the candidates' speeches at them, are the single most important moment in a campaign. So now, the numbers:
A Newsweek poll released on Saturday showed Kerry gained a four-point bounce from last week's Boston convention where he was formally nominated.

In the survey conducted on Thursday and Friday, Kerry received 49 percent to Bush's 42 percent and 3 percent for independent candidate Ralph Nader. In early July, Kerry led Bush 47 percent to 44 percent, with Nader at 3 percent.

Without Nader in the race, Kerry led Bush by 51 percent to 45 percent. The poll of about 1,000 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.
Four points folks. That's it. Unless Bush screws something up big time during one of the three debates, Kerry is in serious trouble.

Update: OTB links to an MSNBC article on the Newsweek poll which confirms something I'd already suspected: Kerry's bounce wasn't just small, it was record breakingly small.
Kerry’s four-point "bounce" is the smallest in the history of the NEWSWEEK poll. There are several factors that may have contributed to the limited surge, including the timing of the poll. On Thursday, Kerry had just a two-point lead over Bush (47 percent to 45 percent), suggesting that his Friday[sic] night speech had a significant impact. Additionally, Kerry's decision to announce his vice-presidential choice of John Edwards three weeks before the convention may have blunted the gathering’s impact. And limited coverage by the three major networks also may have hurt Kerry.

Friday, July 30, 2004

I wasn't making it up...
Written by: Beck

This is just too good.
We were standing on a dock waiting for a boat to take us on a summer trip. Vanessa, the scientist, had packed all her animals including her favorite hamster. Our over-zealous golden retriever got tangled in his leash and knocked the hamster cage off the dock. We watched as Licorice, the unlucky hamster bubbled down to a watery doom. That might have been the end of the story. But my dad jumped in, grabbed an oar, fished the cage from the water, hunched over the soggy hamster and began to administer CPR. There were some reports of mouth-to-mouth, but, I admit that's probably a trick of memory. He was never quite right after that [ed: You mean Kerry or the Hamster?], but Licorice lived.
My own simul-reaction to this line was easily the best few lines from my live blogging efforts:
She's telling a story about a hamster. Something about, "bubbling down to a watery doom." Dad jumped in and rescued said hamster.

Oh. My. God. John Kerry has, according to his daughter, administered CPR to a hamster.

Update: CPR. To a hamster. Did you catch that?
That should just about lock up the PETA endorsement.

More good news
Written by: Beck

From the Senate's Joint Economic Committee:
The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported today that real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an estimated 3.0% annual rate in the 2nd quarter of 2004, the 11th straight quarter of economic growth. The moderation of growth from an upwardly revised 4.5% growth in the 1st quarter was due largely to a pause in consumer spending. The BEA also released annual revisions to past data to incorporate more complete data than previously available. Average quarterly growth between the 2nd quarter of 2003 and the 1st quarter of 2004 was revised up to 5.1% from 4.8%. After adjusting for inflation, GDP has increased at a robust 4.8% pace over the past year. The annual revisions suggest that growth over the past year has been steadier than initially estimated.
Question: has any incumbent president ever lost an election with an economy this strong?

Once in a... well, tomorrow
Written by: Beck

Two full moons in one month? You know, I've read plenty of advice against going blue when blogging, but I've never taken it.

Puns, on the other hand...

Yeah, I don't have anything better to write about. But that's Fridays for you.

Random stuff
Written by: Goemagog

The Bush administration stands by it's appeasement policy.

China ups it's timetable for war against Taiwan from 2020 to 2008.

The UN offers a resolution condemning absolutely nothing about the ongoing genocide in Sudan. "There are too many blacks in Africa. They all need to die." said Mr. Annan, endorsing the statement of non-opposition.

The Europeans have announced that if Iran continues it's nuclear weapons program despite ongoing european appeasement and support, they will be left with no choice but to request further appeasement and support of Iranian hostility from the United Nations.

Panda sculpture stolen. Has anyone checked Berger's pants?

Goe, wishes he were a politician so he could steal stuff with impunity.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

DNC Final Day Take 17
Written by: Beck

David Brooks: It was almost a Republican speech. One of the best I've seen him give.

Mark Shields: He had to give the best speech of his life. He did. The crowd stayed with him the entire way. He got a bigger applause on the way out than on the way in. You couldn't tell if it had been read by a Republican or by a Democrat.

John Edwards just joined him on stage, and I'm pretty sure, I just saw the two of them smooch.

Update: Brooks has a great point: not too long ago, we were thinking that Deaniacs were going to take over this party, and now we're talking about a speech which could have been given equally well by a Democrat or a Republican.

You know what? I think you've all had enough now. The commentary is all over the blogosphere, the internet, and the televised news media. I am done for the night.

Thank you all for sticking with INCITE through the DNC. It has been a challenge to live-blog this whole thing--to be frank, it's my first stab at live blogging anything--but it has also been entertaining and rewarding. Please keep coming around for our regular daily commentary and posting, and definitely swing by during the Republican National Convention. GOOD NIGHT!

DNC Final Day Take 16 - John Kerry edition Part III
Written by: Beck

Kerry's moved onto the obligatory, "Naming poor people I've met and detailing their stories of misery," section of the speech. Time to give my fingers a rest.

Update: More "help is on the way" chanting. And evidently 15% of children in Harlem have asthma because of air pollution. What percentage of children normally have asthma might I ask? Oh, sorry, I forgot, you're never allowed to say anything disparaging about something for the children.

Update: More firm policy recommendations: 1st, new incentives to improve manufacturing, 2nd incentives for technology, 3rd, close tax loopholes. That's all their is to it. Incentives and further complicating the tax code. Oh, and that loop hole for corporations? They're talking about not taxing income made overseas by companies until they repatriate those profits. You know how many countries in the world tax foreign made profits? Didn't think you did.

More Kerry: "What we won't do: raise taxes on the middle class... I will cut middle class taxes, I will reduce the tax burden on small businesses, and I will roll-back the tax cuts on the wealthiest individuals." Time for some economists to begin crunching some numbers.

Update: Kerry will save $1000/year on waste and abuse with his health care plan. "Medicare will negotiate lower drug prices for seniors." What are they doing now precisely? Begging for higher prices?

Update: "We will stop being the only advanced nation in the world which thinks that health care is a privileges of the wealthy... it is the right of all Americans." Yeah, I definitely feel an anti-socialized health care rant coming on.

I just missed a dig regarding "The Saudi Royal Family." Ugh.

Update: "I want to address these next words to George W. Bush." First mention of Bush's name in prime time. Kerry wants to be friendly and respectful. "Let's never misuse for political purposes... the Constitution of the United States." Them's fightin' words Clem. The gauntlet is tossed, and the crowd goes wild.

"The high road may be harder... this is our time to reject the kind of politics calculated to divide race from race, region from region, group from group... People may see things as red states and blue states, but I see us as one America, red, white and blue." Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. What happened to John Edwards' "Two Americas." I'm so confused now.

Update: Kerry just pissed away the religious vote. He was trying to include them, but I'm fairly certain he alienated them. "I don't wear my faith on my sleeve..." and so on. It was definitely an attempt to reach out to the 40% of Americans who go to church every week, but I'm pretty positive he just floated a raft of offensive nonsense.

Update: He's speaking, as many have, about how we shouldn't let bigotry and hatred divide us. I'm curious what exactly he's speaking to. Is he suggesting that his opponents have been using hate and bigotry to divide us? Last I checked, the Republicans would love to have every racial group on their side. Where is this hate and bigotry? They keep using these phrases to tug at the emotions of minorities, but they're grasping at straws that just aren't there.

Update: He's done. Thank god. I say that because I'm exhausted, not because the speech was dragging. For such a long acceptance speech (46 minutes), it passed remarkably quickly. Commentary to follow, but don't expect too much, my fingers are about to fall off.

DNC Final Day Take 15 - John Kerry edition Part II
Written by: Beck

That was getting a bit long. Considering how long this speech is anticipated to be, I hope I won't have to break things up into too many more pieces.

Talking about Edwards, Kerry just said he'd be good to replace Dick Cheney as the new VP of the United States. Funny how they're not afraid to use Cheney's name (I've heard it perhaps 3 times during the convention), but they never use the word Bush.

Now he's praising Teresa, but briefly. He loves her. How sweet.

Update: I'll need to go over a transcript afterwards, but in thanking his children, I'm pretty positive I didn't hear the name "Alexandra." Oops.

He's thanking everyone now, including every single person who ran against him for the Dem nomination. "Thank you for teaching me and for testing me, but mostly, we thank you for standing up for our country and for giving us the unity to move America forward."

Update: He's moved on to Sept. 11. "It was the worst day we have ever seen." "There were no Democrats, there were no Republicans, there were only Americans, and how we wish it had stayed that way."

Now he's getting defensive over use of "nuanced," only now he's using the term "complexities." "Proclaiming, 'Mission accomplished,' doesn't make it so."

"I will immediately reform the intelligence community." "I will bring back this nation's time honored tradition--the United States of America never goes to war because we want to, The United States of America goes to war because we have to."

Update: "You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace." Kerry's message to our armed forces. "I know what we have to do in Iraq. We need a president who has the credibility to bring our allies to our side... That's the way to get the job done and bring our troops home." I must say, Kerry's rhetoric, while reminiscent of much of what has come before him in the past 4 days, is better worded and better delivered than that of any of his colleagues.

Update: Kerry first firm policy recommendation: to add 40,000 active duty troops. Again, this is the first Democrat--nominee or president--that I can recall calling for an expansion of the military. Followed again by that rapidly-becoming-trite line "Help is on the way."

Update: "Strength is more than tough words." I wonder if Kerry fully realizes the implications of that statement.

Update: Second firm policy recommendation: to fully implement all recommendations of the 9/11 Commission.

Update: "When Americans stand up and speak their minds... that is not a challenge to patriotism, that is the heart and soul of patriotism." These people have it all wrong. When the patriotism of the likes of Michael Moore is attacked, it's not because he calls into questions the policies of the nations' leaders, it's because he directly attacks American beliefs and values. Patriotism and nationalism go hand in hand, and people who like to call themselves internationalists, so long as they are ever willing to make domestic sacrifices to the benefit of the rest of the world, are not acting patriotically. Nonetheless, this campaign has tried to insulate itself against any such accusations by trying to take a holier-than-though, or rather, more patriotic-than-thou approach to pandering to the opinions of foreign states and leaders who ultimately do not have America's best interests at heart.

Update: He's moved onto family values. "I will not privitize social security." Do you have any idea what a damning thing you're saying Kerry? Do you have any idea what a boon it would be to the welfare of the nations' middle-aged citizens the privitization of social security would be?

DNC Final Day Take 14 - John Kerry edition
Written by: Beck

I've been waiting to say this for a while now.

Heeeeeeeeeere's JOHNNY!!!

Update: Teresa looks like she's laughing. I guess she too appreciates a good round of raw absurdity. She knows her husband. And she thinks this whole deal is funny.

"I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty."

There's your theme.

Update: "We are united here tonight in one purpose, to make America stronger and to make it more respected in the world." That's it?

Update: First stumble: trying to say "open minds, open eyes, and an open heart." Bit of a tongue twister.

"I am not one to read into things... but I was born in the West Wing [of this hospital]."

Now more about his parents. This is necessary, if uninteresting to me. We've been so inundated with the--

Wait, he just said, "Trees are the cathedral of nature." Beg pardon?

As I was saying, we've been so inundated with the Commander in Chief stuff that we haven't seen anything but 4 months of his life.

Update: Anecdote: young Kerry rode a bike into East Berlin and was promptly grounded by his father. I can't believe he actually got in. I mean, East Berlin was one of the most heavily guarded borders in the history of the world. Still, interesting if true. Frankly, it sounds like the kind of dumbass thing I would have tried to pull off as a kid.

Update: "My parents inspired me to serve." Kerry's delivery has thus far been excellent. "Tonight we're setting out again and together we're going to write the next great chapter of America's story." "...but only if we're true to our ideals, and that starts by telling the truth to the American people." I agree, but as for being true to your ideals, there's a lot more about your liberal and anti-war credentials that you need to either "be true to" or repudiate.

Update: He just mentioned things he did as a DA in Mass. and things he voted for as a senator. Finally. Now he's mentioned trying to bring peace to Vietnam. "I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war." "I will have a VP who will not have secret meetings with polluters." "I will appoint an attorney general who will uphold the Constitution of the United States." The crowd goes wild. This is what they've been waiting 4 days to hear.

I'm beginning to see the strategy now. Leave it to everyone else to establish his tough-as-nails credentials and leave it to him to make the core happy.

He just quoted the "New jobs making $9,000 less" line. I fucking hate that line. As I pointed out yesterday and before, it's complete and absolute bullshit.

Now he's working to associate himself with the Clinton legacy--something which Gore did not do (he worked to distance himself with Clinton's problems) and which Gore paid for.

Update: He just accepted the nomination. That was still, to a tiny extent, hanging in the balance (because of campaign finance rules).

DNC Final Day Take 13 - Max Cleland edition
Written by: Beck

This is the war veteran that we're supposed to take seriously because he was accidentally wounded when a grenade went off. I don't know much about the guy, but I know there's been a lot of controversy about him--primarily about Republican treatment of his "heroics." Updates to follow if worth printing.

Update: Patriotism, patriotism, patriotism, patriotism, patriotism, patriotism, patriotism, patriotism, patriotism. Don't alienate allies, don't lose jobs, don't limit educational opportunity, health care, environment.

Update: When Kerry announced he was running for president, Cleland pressed a bible into his hands that he used to read as a child. You're going to need it, he told Kerry. At first Kerry didn't want to accept it(!). But finally he did. I won't let you down, said Kerry.

Well, I guess a few Democrats aren't afraid to acknowledge their faith every now and then. And by "few" I don't mean to include Kerry.

DNC Final Day Take 12 - Band of Brothers edition
Written by: Beck

Up now are various people who served with Kerry in Vietnam, including people whose lives Kerry saved in combat. Swiftboat PCF 44. I don't think there can be any doubt that Kerry served bravely, regardless of the questionable nature of the injuries which lead to his purple hearts.

Update: Now they're introducing the skippers of various other swiftboats. I'm not sure what the point of that is. Now comes the green beret who Kerry's boat rescued. He'll be addressing the convention.

"There was a time when I thought I'd never see these friends again. A lot of our friends never made it home." "Nobody asked me to join this campaign. I volunteered." Oddly defensive note.

Update: Blah, blah, blah, I know John Kerry will make a great commander in chief. That about wraps it up. There has been essentially no other major issue or point to be made in this entire convention other than that Kerry can be commander in chief. While that's nice, that's only one small part of the responsibilities of a president of the USA. And I don't think they've convinced any of the unconverted of his abilities in those other responsibilities. Either they're saving it for Kerry's speech, or they're saving it for the debates. Or they're planning on completely pissing away the election. We shall see.

DNC Final Day Take 11 - John Kerry edition: The Film Montage
Written by: Beck

First up, the film montage. It's narrated by Morgan Freeman. I doubt I'll have much to say on the topic.

Update: Re: Kerry's rock band The Electras, in Kerry's words, "Well, it was a way to meet girls." Now that's what I call honesty. Because why else does anyone else ever form a high school garage band?

Update: We're up to the Vietnam war in the film montage. What I'm curious to see is how much time is spent on his 4 months in Vietnam relative to his 30 years as an anti-war agitator and a liberal senator.

Update: "I had come back after that against the war. I thought the US government had not been truthful to its people." I'm glad that Kerry has finally acknowledged this. Now they're discussing his testimony in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Now he's in law school. Roughly 3 minutes on the war, just under one minute on the anti-war. Fair enough I suppose.

Update: He's in the Senate now. They're discussing his family life while in the Senate. Now we're in 1995 marrying Teresa Heinz. Not one word on his senate career. Nothing on what he supported. Nothing on what he opposed. Nothing on what he voted for. Nothing on his committees. Nothing.

Update: Now he's running for president. Because he wants to make the world a safer place. Not one mention of his senate tenure beyond the fact that he was, in fact, in the senate. That's it. Incidentally, good call on having Morgan Freeman narrate. That guy's got a perfect voice for it.

DNC Final Day Take 10 - Various Heinzes and Kerrys edition
Written by: Beck

Andre Heinz is stepping up to the podium, and Outkast's "Hey Ya" was playing. I find that amusing. I wonder if the Dems have ever listened to the lyrics of that. "Don't wanna meet your daddy. Just want you in my caddy."

Update: Chris Heinz is up there now too. And they're introducing the Kerry daughters. Anyone else remember the picture of her see-through dress from Cannes? I'd post a picture, but it's not exactly family friendly.

Update: "As someone who knows all 6' 4" of my daddy best, or, as the family jokes, 6' 6" if you count the hair." She's working to humanize Kerry, something Teresa Heinz failed at. Followed by dad showing up at sporting events in a bright orange hunting hat. Anyone else remember Kerry's line about hunting deer with a shotgun?

Update: For those who don't know guns: you don't hunt deer with a shotgun.

I didn't catch this particular Kerry daughter's name, but they're fairly interchangeable. They're both tall, skinny, and horse faced. Yeah, so that's not very nice to say, but then, I don't find the Bush daughters attractive either.

Update: "At my father's core is integrity," which is why he voted for the $87 billion before he voted against it. Cheap shot? Sure, but it's not like anything is being said which merits serious analysis. I mean, she's talking about weaving foliage now.

Update: The overriding message is "integrity." Funny that they feel the need to drive that point home so hard. People actually possessed of integrity don't typically find themselves in such need of asserting and defending it.

Alexandra Kerry is up now (the former one was Vanessa it turns out). She's even more horse faced than her sister. I must say: this is the first presidential candidate daughter whose rack I've seen. Way to go.

She's telling a story about a hamster. Something about, "bubbling down to a watery doom." Dad jumped in and rescued said hamster.

Oh. My. God. John Kerry has, according to his daughter, administered CPR to a hamster.

Update: CPR. To a hamster. Did you catch that?

Now daddy is opining about young men who died in combat on a drive to Alexandra's college when she was 19. I always assume that these remembered "conversations" in speeches like this are entirely fabricated. I assume that because I'm trying to give these people the benefit of the doubt. Does anyone actually have conversations like that? Yes, honey, remember as you head off into college that young men your age died, there are families that were never born that... and on and on and on.

Update: She just mentioned daddy's life's work. I wonder if that's the closest we'll come to hearing what happened during daddy's career between the Vietnam War and September 11.

And now...

DNC Final Day Take 9
Written by: Beck

Walter Mondale is now being interviewed by Jim Lehrer. Perhaps this will be interesting.

They're calling him out on his crappy 1984 acceptance speech.

Mondale: "I went through a process... you start getting advice... you take polls... you start writing drafts... you have a conversation with yourself... it sort of liberated me... that's when I said, 'Well, we're going to have to raise taxes.'" It's not easy to shoot yourself in the foot with a torpedo of that size. But Mondale pulled it off.

Lehrer: "Do you regret [saying you would raise taxes]?" Mondale: "I'm really glad I did it."

Mondale: "This is the most important night for Kerry, the first debate possibly being of equal importance."

Mondale: "He has connected [with voters] but not enough. It's a gap that Bush is somewhat forfeiting, but Kerry has not yet filled it." I agree. Bush has abandoned much of the middle to secure his base--take the effort behind the FMA. Frankly, the moderate and undecided vote is Kerry's to lose. And he's doing a damn good job of losing it.

Brooks: "All the attention on one person... what's that pressure like?"

Mondale: "This is it. You can't hide it if you fail, and you love it if you succeed." And that about sums it up. This is Kerry's to win or lose, the ball is most certainly in his court.

Money quote from Mondale, "Well, recall, I was running against Ronald Reagain in 1984, which was a very foolish thing to do in the first place."

DNC Final Day Take 8 - Madeleine Albright edition
Written by: Beck

This woman used to be a professor at my alma-mater. As neat as that is in terms of bragging rights, it's not something I'm entirely proud of. Updates to follow.

Update: More about Kerry's war record and how he's "Not afraid to put his life on the line." After four days, this message is getting really really tired.

"As president, John Kerry will lead America and our allies to defeat and destroy terrorist groups around the world." I wish I could believe that Madeleine. I really do. But I don't.

Update: On the war on terror: "Wanting something is not the same as doing something." Ummm... are you suggesting that Bush hasn't done anything? How many terrorist leaders have we put in irons or in the ground? Afghanistan? Iraq? Cut off funding? No terrorist attacks on US soil since 9/11 despite repeated efforts from terrorists? Despite massive attempts on their part to get back into the States and cause death?

Update: Her hawkish message continues to get a luke-warm response. The mainstream of the Democratic party might agree with the message, but these delegates most certainly do not. I guess it's fortunate for Kerry, now, that the roll of convention delegate in this day and age is a purely ceremonial one.

Update: I've not heard a single new thought--or even catch phrase--from Albright. I don't expect to hear anything new tonight, at least not until Kerry speaks. That could make this commentary rather challenging, as I myself have gotten to the point where I'm saying things twice. But don't worry, I'm into glass of wine number three, so at least I can compensate via sheer randomness.

Update: "Uniter not a divider." "Beacon of truth and hope." Blah blah blah she's done. Finally.

DNC Final Day Take 7
Written by: Beck

Talking head: Not one word about Kerry's service in the Senate, where he has spent the bulk of his political life.

She makes an excellent point which I hadn't thought of. There has been hardly any mention of Kerry's service in the Senate these past 4 days. There's clearly something they're trying to avoid discussing here, and I think it's obvious what it is: John Kerry's voting record.

Richard Smith: "We are hearing an extraordinary amount of attention about several months that Kerry spent in Vietnam. We've heard virtually nothing about the 20 plus years that Kerry has spent in the Senate."

The only senators to go from the Senate to the white house in this century: JFK and Warren Harding. Evidently, talking about Senate stuff causes voters' eyes to glaze over. The talking heads have a point there, but there's more to the story. Kerry's voting record makes him out as one of the most liberal senators currently serving, and it also serves to highlight many of his flip flops and his policy contradictions.

There's also been no mention of his anti-war activities after the Vietnam war--evidently another thing Kerry is ashamed of. Yet far more than the 4 months in Nam, the years of anti-war activism do much more to define Kerry the man. But we haven't had a chance to see that (nor will we). The Republican convention, as a consequence, will have to be much more confrontational, as it falls now to the Republicans to highlight Kerry's anti-war record

David Brooks: "Kerry's senate record stands in contradiction to the message of this convention."

I'm glad someone finally said it.

DNC Final Day Take 6 - Nancy Pelosi edition
Written by: Beck

"I am honored to stand before you as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives." Pelosi has a reputation as being very critical of Bush's policy on the war. It'll be interesting to see how closely she sticks to that message.

Update: She seems inexperienced at visually tracking across the teleprompters. Her delivery is quite staccato and unpolished.

"House Democrats are fighting to bring prosperity, opportunity, and security to every corner of America." She's now going back and forth between what Republicans have done and what Democrats stand for. She's being more confrontational than previous speakers. Her catch phrase is, "Democrats have it right." It'd be nice if afterwards Milton Friedman got a chance to stand up and explain why Democratic policies lead to neither prosperity, opportunity, nor security.

"Health care is a right." So is not being robbed at the point of a gun, but that doesn't stop Democrats from happily raising taxes.

Update: "Republicans have broken their promises on education." What promises would those be? Bush has increased spending on education by record levels. What is this woman talking about?

Update: "Republicans have continued their assault on bi-partisan environmental protection." Um, if Republicans are assaulting it, it's not bi-partisan is it? No matter, there's no point in arguing with the rhetoric of a disingenuous partisan like Nancy Pelosi.

Update: "Democrats are leading the way in turning red states into blue." Precisely who else would be leading those efforts Nancy?

"Democrats do not exploit fear to divide and distract the nation." No, you use other methods to divide and distract the nation, primarily race baiting, class baiting, and deceptive pseudo-nomics.

Update: "The story of John Edwards is the story of the American dream... Hope really is on the way." Followed by chanting, "We can do it!" It would be nice if she wouldn't act like she was addressing a kindergarten class.

She plans to take the Senate, the House, and the White House. Ambitious, ain't she? And now, she's done. Thank god.

DNC Final Day Take 5 - Joe Lieberman edition
Written by: Beck

Lieberman was my favorite from among the crowd running for the Dem nomination this year. I'm kind of disappointed to see him here tonight.

Lieberman opens by thanking the party for nominating him as VP in 2000, "The first Jewish-American to receive that honor." We're using the phrase "Jewish American" now? Ugh.

Update: "America's future will be a lot brighter with Kerry & Edwards in the white house." Followed by a joke about winning the popular vote and losing the election. Get. Over. It. Also, you have to offer more than promises of a brighter future. No one took Bush's Thousand Points of Light seriously either, and that at least had a tangible meaning behind it.

Update: "...when we were attacked by Islamist terrorists..." I'm glad someone pointed a finger at Islamism (not Islam, mind you, Islamism). The fight is with Islamofascism generally, not just Al Qaeda, just as WWII was a fight against Fascism, not just Hitler.

He's getting a weak reception at best. This is not the message the Dems like to hear. Which I guess has a lot to do with why Lieberman was my favorite out of the field.

"It was Democrats who lead the way in creating the Department of Homeland Security." Huh? Next he's going to be proudly laying claim to the Patriot Act.

Update: "...Americans yearning to cast a vote, not a protest." I guess the focus groups have decided that the Anyone But Bush line isn't playing too well in the mainstream. They recognize that it's a vapid, hollow motto, and likely only to get you a candidate who's mediocre and unprincipled.

Update: Very weak ending with a "Hope is on the way" parroting of Edwards' speech. He said it slowly, hoping the audience would catch on and chant along. But they didn't.

Michael Beschloss: The Dems are looking to inoculate themselves against accusations that they are weak on war.

DNC Final Day Take 4 - Wes Clark edition
Written by: Beck

"Thank you my fellow Democrats." How long ago was it that you were a Republican Wesley? Updates to follow.

Update: Clark opens with a thank you to the troops, past and present. Shouldn't this have been done on Day 1? Actually, one of the speakers yesterday did the same, but still.

Wesley's son's name is Wesley. I've never been a fan of people giving their children the same name. How's that for incisive political criticism?

Update: Clark, having finished reciting his resume, "Anyone who tells you that one political party has a monopoly on the best defense of this nation is committing a fraud on the American people."

Update: He's delivering an ode to the American flag. I gotta say I'm enjoying it. The American flag is one hell of a symbol. One of the more distressing things during the initial Iraq war was when troops were encouraged not to make overt displays of the flag for fear of offending the locals.

Update: "Kerry has heard the thump of enemy mortars." Clark is by far the best of the military types so far at evoking the power of combat experience. To be honest, Clark was one of my least favorite of the original Democratic field for president. He seems unprincipled, his change in stance from support of the war when he was serving to opposing the war once it was politically fashionable is offensive. Still, he's making a good opening speech for today.

"John Kerry will join the pantheon of great war time Democrats." Does that mean the Democratic party is finally acknowledging that the War on Terror constitutes a real war and not simply a police action?

Among the pantheon of "great wartime Democrats" is Bill Clinton for "ending the genocide in Yugoslavia." Sorry, but Clinton showed up late, and when he got there, we were ineffective. Furthermore, there's no mention of the Somalian debacle.

Update: Other heros Clark lists: "Firemen, policemen, teachers..." Well, two out of three ain't bad. Assuming you're discussing batting averages.

I wish I had the full quote he just rattled off. Basically it was an adoption of the end of the Boy Scout Oath, "I will keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight." He even used the word "physically."

David Brooks: I thought this was a great speech. Weak start, but he ended really strong.

Dave Shields: ...Really a great exhortation...

Written by: Goemagog

This will make someone's day worth living through.

Goe, turning on the AC before he starts melting... too late.

DNC Final Day Take 3
Written by: Beck

Random convention entertainment link: Go read Fafblog's interview with Wolf Blitzer.

David Brooks: "This is the most military convention I have ever seen... I expect to see John Kerry come out in full body armor and deliver the Braveheart battle speech."


Wesley Clark stepping up to the plate now.

DNC Final Day Take 2
Written by: Beck

Mark Shields: "This is the last chance [Kerry]... has to speak to the American people... He's already passed the threshold test to whether he's intelligent enough and experienced enough to hold the office... What remains is to convince people he can serve as commander in chief."

Personally, I'm getting sick of all the speeches directed towards convincing us of Kerry's ability to lead the military. Also, I remain completely unconvinced that being a good soldier is somehow synonymous with being a good leader.

Shields: "He's not going to out-charm George Bush."

David Brooks: "This is the only time he can talk about himself. He still has the debates to discuss the issues... I think he has to show that he's comfortable with himself... He needs to show some self-knowledge." "This is going to be a campaign about the future, but he hasn't said what the product is... People want to know what they're going to get out of their next president."

Brooks believes Kerry needs to find four things that he stands for and that he's going to do and deliver on that. Something tangible.

Shields, paraphrased: Kerry trails by 15 points among the 40 percent of Americans who go to church every week. Gore lost that vote by 20 percent. Kerry needs to convince those people that he shares values in common with those people.


Brooks: "Democrat foreign policy seminars use the word "alliance" like it's some sort of pixie dust, like it's going to solve everything. While alliances would be nice, I'd like to hear what exactly he's going to do with them. Some specifics would be nice."

DNC Final Day Take 1
Written by: Beck

Talking head prognostication: Kerry needs to show his human side and let people know what he stands for. Evidently, polls indicate that a strikingly small number of people know what Kerry actually stands for (relative to normal levels for a challenger at this point in an election campaign). Furthermore, the adjective most commonly associated with Kerry is "rich" followed closely by his reputation as a flip flopper.

Some other talking head (wish I knew these people's names... but PBS is bad about captioning): Someone giving rousing rhetoric, turning red in the face, can be great motivating a crowd, but that doesn't necessarily play well on TV. Kerry is best in interviews where he can directly relate. In large public speeches, his oratory is lacking.

Amy Walter: People are saying that this is the most important election in our lifetimes, yet people are no longer able to sit through a 15 minute speech anymore. So the speeches don't matter as much.

The unstated implication, of course, is that media coverage becomes that much more important as the conventions & speeches lose their relevance. Inasmuch as the media leans heavily to the left, that makes such alternate sources of information, such as talk radio & online sources, that much more important.

Some other guy: This is important, but this is really only going to impact a very small number of undecided voters who haven't made up their minds. In other words, we shouldn't expect to see a big bump coming out of the convention.

While I grant that these conventions grow steadily less relevant each year, I wouldn't say that it's significantly less relevant than any convention since, say, 1992. And all of those have consistently yielded a tangible post-convention poll boost. If Kerry can't deliver, he's hosed.

DNC Final Day Take 0
Written by: Beck

According to one source, Kerry is planning to speak for a whopping 55 minutes. I'm not sure I can handle that. Regardless, live blogging will begin as soon as I have something worth saying. In the mean time, thanks to everyone who has linked my live blogging efforts, including people from the other side.

In other news, I've restocked my cheap wine supply, so I should be able to keep my sanity intact. Here goes nothing...

Mises tackles Moore (figuratively speaking)
Written by: Beck

Erich Mattei, writing today's daily article for the Mises Institute, takes on the issue of Michael Moore's film. On the surface, one might fear that the Mises folks would fall in line with Moore. After all, the Austrian school of economics founded by von Mises holds as one of its central conclusions that offensive war is never justifiable. Moore, as a vicious opponent of the war, would seem on the surface to support that cause. Indeed, Mattei opens his article as follows:
When has there been a single piece of art, theater, or literature that has had such a profound impact on politics as Michael Moore's latest film, "Fahrenheit 9/11"? Released at a pivotal time in both international affairs, in the wake of a much-debated military action in the ever-uneasy Middle East, and domestic politics, on the eve of the United States presidential election for the most powerful office in the world, the film has caused an unprecedented raucous. Moore is a teacher to millions.

The reason for this response is simple, for Moore's film strikes a universal chord within the consciousness of people from all cultures, classes, and ideologies: the fear of power and the love of freedom. The single greatest asset, and indeed only legitimate premise, of Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" is that it publicizes the coercive, grim face of the inevitable impoverishment that is the result of warfare. It investigates the rapid growth of the United States government and its trend of trampling the rights of individuals, and the corporatism that is spawned out of the close ties between big government and big business, especially in wartime.
There remains one overwhelming problem, however: Moore is most certainly not a supporter of the Libertarian state which the Mises folks would like to see come about. While Moore might join them in opposition to the military-industrial complex, he most certainly is not a brother-in-arms as it were.

Some people in this world are happy to make alliances of convenience, and they're happy to embrace the maxim, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." The alliance between Stalin and Hitler at the beginning of World War II is a classic example. The only thing Hitler hated more than communism was Jews, after all. Nonetheless, Hitler was never one to back down from opportunism or to shy away from making compromises in the name of military expediency. The question, then, is where does the Mises Institute fall? While I am no fan of many of the Mises school's conclusions, I can happily report that they stand on pure principle. They conclude that while the message is important, the messenger is equally so.
The "freedom" favored by Moore and those of his ideological orientation is the "freedom" of government to tax, regulate, and grow so long as it is managing economic, social, and cultural life. Free market capitalism is positively the only manifestation of the natural right that each individual has to the ownership of oneself. It is also the system that Moore, a self-proclaimed civil rights activist, undeniably rejects with much conviction. For capitalism is the only system wherein consensual acts between consenting individuals are permitted, be they civil or economic.

[...] Therefore, one must ask: is any credit due to Moore, and if so, how much? Consider this historical analogy: a German Neo-Marxist in the 1930s-40s making a film on the terrors of the Nazi rise to power. The film would speak of the obvious, and even do great good, but the motives and ends are almost just as bad or worse.

Until Moore and his like reconsider their stance on the many forms of welfare statism they support, they will continue to be everything but the advocates of freedom they would like the public to think they are, and the philosophical framework of their bantering will yield not freedom from power but merely a shift in the ideological justification for power itself.
For further discussion, you can always check out the Mises Institute's blog.

A humble request...
Written by: Beck

If you've enjoyed the live blogging thus far, and if you run a blog of your own, please, let your readers know! I'm wearing my fingers to a stub, to say nothing of the damage to my mental health from watching three hours of convention coverage per night, so it's nice to have people actually read it. The reward for all this frenetic blogging is knowing that others are reading it, so do your part to help!

And to all those who've already helped, thank you!

Still no kitty pirates.
Written by: Goemagog

The Arabians want to send soldiers to Iraq. They've already got people fighting in Iraq. They say that any new troops will pretend to be on our side.

Iran has the EU groveling. "Please don't nuke us after you build nuclear bombs with the technology we sold you." Samizdata has more information on how German policy towards Iran is helping to free political prisoners. And by "free", I mean "kill". I mean, if you want to kill all the jews, set up puppet governments in your neighbors, and kill anyone who stands against you, who better to get advice from than the Germans? It's not like they'll tell you it's wrong to kill a few million people.

France is also trying to emulate the german example.

South Korean has become a "terrorist" state, after it accepted refugee's from North Korea. Everybody's calling everybody else terrorists, except Reuters, which uses "freedom fighters" for anyone participating in anti-american violence.

Canada asks to borrow a herd of Magic Flying Ponies from Iran. Who do the Canadians think are actually going to fall for that?

Edwards says "hope is on the way". No, despair is. Barring aliens or divine intervention, freedom will be dead within our lifetimes.

On a more positive note, an american mountain is going to blow up.

And somebody figured out when they stepped on their dick that it was a bad thing. But why is a call center for a state program in Missouri being run from Wisconsin now? Why was it ever out of Missouri anyways? Answer: The politicians who sent it out-of-state are keeping Missouri economically and technologically crippled to the extent that nobody would have a call center there.

Zero empathy.

Goe, is liked by his cat regardless of what happens in the world.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

DNC Day 3, Take 13
Written by: Beck

Well, that about wraps it up. From here there's just commentary from the talking heads, plus the roll call to officially nominate John Kerry. I don't expect any surprises from here, if the commentators (the ones I'm listening to anyway) have anything especially interesting to say, you'll hear it here first.

Update: Mark Shields first impression: "This was not his 'A' game... He rushed his speech... I thought he was especially good when he talked about the people who work hard and cannot get ahead... I think that's the core of Edwards' message."

David Brooks: "It had a few very good moments... He's the only one who can really speak credibly about the middle class... I think it was the arena... Here you're talking to a mass, and you can't really find that one person to relate to."

I don't have the luxury of having heard Kerry speak on numerous occasions, so I don't know how it compared to his 'A' game, but the pundits are likening him to the "fast talking lawyer."

Update: Shields: Part of the message here was that it won't simply be a Kerry presidency, that the two of them will be partners going forward, and that he's not just the young guy who can speak well.

Update: Kerry advisor Ted Devine, "Bush has run the most negative campaign in the history of politics." Speaking on behalf of someone who saw Anne Richards run for Texas Governor, these people haven't got a clue what a really negative campaign sounds like. Sure these people have taken pot shots at each other, and if you'll recall the Democratic primary, the negativity hasn't been exclusively on the Republican side--not even close. But this is tame compared to some local races I've seen. Furthermore, I don't even think this qualifies as the most negative campaign in American presidential history.

Update: That's it! Go to bed! Enough already! Haven't you people got anything better to do?!

Anyway, I'll be doing this again tomorrow night. And then I think I'll take a month off to recuperate.

DNC Day 3, Take 12 - John Edwards edition
Written by: Beck

There are 40 minutes left in the evening. Presumably Edwards is planning on speaking for all of them. Wish me luck.

Update: According to Lehrer, Edwards wrote the speech himself. This is being treated as somehow mind blowing. It's also evidently significant that he's staying behind the podium to speak, something he normally never does.

Update: His opening is all about his family. Plus, he threw a line to Teresa Heinz. Now on to the parents. Definitely the softer side of this campaign.

You know, I'd never heard Edwards speak more than a line or two before. I never before realized just how annoying his accent is. His accent, and this is no small thing, trumps both Bill Clinton and Ted Kennedy for most annoying accent thus far.

The crowd has begun chanting. He can't even get into his speech, the crowd is so unruly.

Update: First substantive portion of his speech--John Kerry's war record. I hadn't expected that. He's also using the annoying index-finger-knuckle-thrusting-fist gesture. I think Bush Sr. pioneered that one, though Clinton was a huge fan as well.

Update: Edwards now is calling out the Bush campaign (without actually using the word "Bush") for running a negative campaign. His entire delivery is reminiscent of an attorney standing before 12 gullible people. Even the way it's written, a sort of question-and-answer call out to the audience, reminds me of a trial lawyer.

Update: Blogger seems to be slowly dying. That last update took two minutes to get out. If you don't hear from me after this, well, you know why.

Edwards is now harping heavily upon the only other substantive message from this convention: that everyone in America needs to have the same level of opportunity to succeed in life. The fact that all these self-made success stories, from Al Sharpton to Barack Obama to John Edwards, succeeded because that equal opportunity is already there doesn't enter into it. Creating opportunity would seem to involve hand outs to people who have never tried to take advantage of the already extraordinary levels of opportunity which exist in the United States.

No, these people have nothing new to offer. All they hope to offer is more handouts. The fact that you can get 16 years of education from the government (a free college education is just a Pell grant away) is insufficient it would seem.

Edwards on how we're going to pay for this: "We're going to keep the tax cuts for 98% of Americans. We're going to roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans, and we're going to close corporate loop holes." At least someone has finally said how they're going to pay for all this. It would seem that now 2% of Americans are going to pay for universal health care for the rest. Let's hope that 2% doesn't decide to take their wealth to Bermuda. Furthermore, I'd like someone to explain to me how the Kerrys, who are quite clearly in that top 2%, manage to pay so little in taxes. That's to say nothing of the issue that I'm fairly certain that "rolling back tax cuts" on 2% of Americans can pay for universal health care for 300 million people.

Update: Edwards seems to think we live in a nation divided by race. I'd be curious to hear from some minorities to see if they agree with that.

He's moved onto the War on Terror section of his speech. "We will safeguard and secure our weapons of mass destruction." HUH? "We will always use our military might to keep America safe." Kerry & Edwards message to terrorists: "You cannot run, you cannot hide, we will destroy you."

Update: The longer Edwards goes on, the less strong his accent grows. This is a good thing.

"We will double our special forces." First firm policy statement on strengthening the military from these guys. Special forces are what percentage of the military? Maybe 1%? This is strengthening the military?

Update: "Hope is on the way." Being repeated. The audience caught on quickly. It would seem that if Kerry wins in November, the world's problems--or at least the nation's--will be solved before the end of the year. Because hope is on the way.

Update: Captain Ed is unimpressed by Edwards' speech.

Update: Wizbang wonders what has become of Edwards' misplaced America.

DNC Day 3, Take 11 - Assorted Edwardses edition
Written by: Beck

Kate Edwards - She has clearly been spending time, quite recently, in a tanning bed. She has the inverted-raccoon eyes of someone who was wearing opaque goggles while lying under a UV bed. Apart from that, however, she's quite attractive. I think the DNC is finally going to get the "personal touch" that Teresa Heinz eminently failed to deliver, but which they so desperately need to convince voters that these candidates actually have a heart. She's quoting poetry now. Yep, count on enough sap to resuscitate petrified wood.

Update: Cate Edwards is speaking now. Second paragraph in, the "two Americas" line has been trotted out. Silly as I think the whole "two Americas" theme is, it's just about the only original thing I've heard from this campaign so far.

Update: "My father, like John Kerry, was in the navy." Nice way to dance around the fact that her husband has not served in the military (not that he's the right age (42) to have served during any major wars).

Update: Would it be inappropriate to make a joke about Cate Edwards's double chin? I suppose it would. But as I have already observed, I am officially out of booze, so I'm afraid I can't restrain myself.

Apparently the Edwardses always celebrate their anniversary at Wendy's. How touching.

Update: She's rushing her delivery. I think she's getting nervous. Nevermind, her speech is at an end.

DNC Day 3, Take 10 - General Shalikashvili edition
Written by: Beck

I hope I'm spelling the guy's name right. He seems to also be one of the newly minted Democrats who are being paraded in front of us tonight.

Update: I can't quite make out this guy's accent. It sounds like a cross between a mild Bostonian and a mild German accent. Presumably if I knew the origin of the name "Shalikashvili" I'd know what his accent was.

"These deployments are dangerously over straining our army... Unless we appreciably increase the size of our army... We are in real danger of returning to the days of the hollow army." Once again, a Democrat is calling for a larger army. I can't imagine this is exactly energizing the Democratic base. These people could just save themselves some time and vote Republican.

Ah, he's Polish. He lived through the Warsaw uprising it would seem. Ironic that Poland is one of the strongest backers of the United States action in Iraq and is a staunch member of the Coalition of the Willing.

Update: He's speaking now on the good he did defending the Kurds against the "extreme brutality of Saddam Hussein." Um... are we sure this isn't a Karl Rove plant?

Update: "Never should we go to war without a comprehensive plan to secure the peace once the war has been won." He's getting very luke warm response at best from the audience. I think the constant war mongering message of the past three days is really starting to wear on the convention delegates, many of whom advocate a complete pull out from Iraq, no matter the cost.

Update: PBS was showing a man in the audience who was clearly a retired soldier. They had to cut away suddenly when he spontaneously began picking his nose. You can't make this stuff up.

Update: I guess McAuliffe and company sat down and decided that the key to winning this election was to convince the nation that the Democrats could fight the War on Terror better than Bush. They've focused entirely on Iraq, however, and have said nothing about the future of the WOT. There have been a few noises about jobs and health care, but I think they recognize that frankly, Bush has got them pretty well snookered in that department as well. If this is the best they can muster, they really will lose. The only chance the DNC has to convince America's voters that the Dems offer something more than Bush-lite comes with Edwards speech tonight and Kerry's speech tomorrow.

"You have to give them your support and pledge it here tonight to make sure that the armed forces remain the best trained, the best equipped, and the best lead in the world." I'm sorry, say it as many times as you like, but I don't think anyone honestly believes that a Democratic president would do more to support our nation's military than Bush. The Dems convention came first, they had the opportunity to out maneuver Bush these four days, and so far, all they've managed to do is checkmate themselves.

DNC Day 3, Take 9
Written by: Beck

Talking Head on Edwards' age: "When you're someone as little known as John Edwards it helps to fill in by showing that this is a wonderful thing... that he's pulled himself up... it's the American dream." Well, I have to say I'd like it too were I a multi-millionaire retired trial lawyer.

Bad news: I've run out of booze. That could be bad for the even-tempered delivery you have all come to know and love. I'd hate for things to turn vicious.

Another talking head: "We've heard a lot of touchy-feely atmospherics so far." That's a nice way of saying that there has been a whole lot of noise and not a whole lot of substance.

And now, the first female three star general (who, it would seem, made her bones via a sexual discrimination suit) is about to introduce general Shalikashvili

DNC Day 3, Take 8 - Democratic Failures edition
Written by: Beck

They've actually dug up George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis.

(Sidenote: Jim Lehrer just observed that during Gov. Granholm's speech, people on the floor were milling around, completely ignoring her. There's a reason why, and it doesn't have to do with her relative status as an unknown outside of Michigan. It has to do with a terrible speech.)

Mark Shields: "All three of them had successful marriages to rather remarkable women." Response when asked what those three men had in common other than being failed Democratic presidential nominees. The other thing they had in common? They all lost in landslides. Mondale and McGovern both won only 1 state a piece. Dukakis won only 10 states, despite an overwhelming lead after his convention.

Brooks: "Sharpton's speech has still been the most remarkable speech so far." Think about the implications of that statement. Sharpton is a better reflection of the true heart of the Democratic party than this pro-war charade we've watched parade along thus far. People need to know and learn that.

DNC Day 3, Take 7 - Gov. Granholm edition
Written by: Beck

People are waving foam hands in the shape of Michigan. Both Parts. It looks like a bunch of deformed hands with a Fox Foto logo grafted on. Updates coming.

Update: She has a Shakespearean dramatic delivery. It's really silly sounding. She started very naturally and personably in reaction to her reception. Now she's lost that momentum.

Update: I'm getting to the point where I'm typing the word "Update" in my sleep. A long winding analogy about the Boston tea party and the Freedom Trail leads up to something or other about why people should vote. I think. I understand that she's a very popular governor, but right now it sounds like she's addressing a 1st grade class, reading them from her favorite Dr. Seuss.

Now evidently Bush is like a driver who refuses to stop to ask for directions. So we need a new driver. Or something.

Update: She just made the argument that new jobs earn $9,000 less than the jobs we're losing, along with the 2.7 million manufacturing jobs lost point. As I have posted about earlier, these facts are patently wrong. The Senate's own economic advisory panel has shown that that $9,000 number is a fabrication derived by some highly unorthodox statistical economic analysis. I have no respect for people who use such charged, loaded, and most of all, false rhetoric.

Further, she's making the argument about jobs going overseas. Only 2.5% of jobs lost have been to overseas outsourcing. Would this be a good time to point out that Granholm was born a Canadian?

Update: Affordable health care is evidently an important part of curing what ails our economy. No, sorry, affordable health care is a chimera which would create enormous new government expenses and horrible inefficiencies in health care delivery were it to be legislated into existence. More spending on welfare is never a key to economic growth.

Update: Another Paul Revere reference. These are getting really old. Yes, we understand. Massachusetts was involved in the revolutionary war. Never mind that the first shots were fired in Virginia, but by god, Paul Revere... sorry, my mind wandered off.

DNC Day 3, Take 6
Written by: Beck

Michelle Malkin just wrote to say she's linked me. It's four or five posts down the page, but I'm still enormously flattered. Welcome to Malkin's regular readers!

Back to the coverage...

(Ret.) General Merril McPeak, paraphrased: "Kerry's involvement in Vietnam is a huge thing for me." I wonder how true that is for most vets.

Hey, he was just asked that very question. Answer: "Yes, it's a historic groundswell in terms of... I speak for an awful lot of professional military people." Of course, the same was probably true of Bush Sr. when he ran against Clinton. Funny how that shoe is on a new foot.

Update: Gen. McPeak, when asked what makes a great commander in chief, "You have to have both the courage and confidence... and the conviction." My response: by that logic, pretty much every member of the US Marine Corp would make a great commander in chief.

Mark Shield: McPeak endorsed Bush in 2000. Shield makes a good point about the strength of that particular credential.

Jim Lehrer: McPeak was a supporter of Howard Dean before he supported Kerry. Well, so much for the value of those credentials.

Al Sharpton, interviewed from the floor: When asked about his speech's length, "I told them I wanted to expand the speech. They knew I was going to do that." When asked about not mentioning Bush by name, "Yes, that was deliberate."

Update: Howard Dean being interviewed now, asked why he thinks Kerry is going to be right on the war when he himself opposed it, "My campaign was about balancing the budget...whatever differences I had with the Kerry were very small relative to the differences between us and Bush." So right, though not necessarily for the reasons Dean's thinking.

More Dean: Asked about our commitment to Iraq, "Kerry's position and my position are not that different. Not that differently, neither is George Bush's. Bush adopted our strategy after Kerry won the nomination." Yep, my head just spun around. Fortunately, I brace for that any time I hear Dean speak.

"I think everybody understands that you can't [pull out of Iraq]. What I advocate is pull out the reserves." Sure, all hell wouldn't break lose if we pulled out 40% of our forces right now.

Update: Dean, asked how to handle the insurgency, "These are mostly foreign fighters who were not in Iraq prior to the invasion, despite what Bush has said."

Asked what he meant by saying Democrats shouldn't be ashamed of being Democrats, Dean: "People think Clinton won because he moved to the center... Democrats sprang up who thought that winning required acting like Republicans... The way to win elections is to energize the hell out of your base."

Asked if the Democratic party is a party of liberals, "My goal is to restore the word 'liberal...' If it takes a liberal to balance the budget... Some people have called me a liberal... Some people have turned the word liberal into a dirty word..." This kind of baffles me too. Why are liberals so afraid of being called liberals? "What I am is fiscally conservative and socially progressive, and if that makes me a liberal than so be it, but I'm running--uh, and I'm running for John Kerry." Slip up there. He started to lapse back into standard campaign rhetoric as though he were still going for office himself.

To be honest, I get more of a feeling of sincerity and integrity from Dean than from just about anyone else showing at this circus. Though I disagree with a whole heck of a lot of what he has to say, at least he seems to believe it unlike, for instance, John Kerry.

Update: After speaking on "internationalism," when asked what to do in situations where a situation arises when Americans must act alone, "It is not bad to act unilaterally, but it is much better to act as Clinton did to begin a dialogue, as in the case of Kosovo, than to act unilaterally." This after using Kosovo as an example of when acting unilaterally is necessary.

DNC Day 3, Take 5 - Bob Graham edition
Written by: Beck

I wonder if Graham's going to have to rush now. I wonder if he'll call for reparations too? Updates a comin'.

Update: Moreover, I wonder how much he's going to pound on the need for Floridians to get out and vote.

Well that didn't take long: "Florida has made a difference to me. I know that we are going to make a difference for [Kerry & Edwards]." "And friends, this time, when the votes are counted, we are going to make a huge difference in Florida for America." Weak stuff buddy. Surely you can do better than that--if nothing else, politicians are supposed to be good at rhetoric, right?

Update: Now the swine is likening the time table since September 11 to the timetable after Pearl Harbor. This stuff should offend any WWII vets listening to it today. "1000 days after the attacks, we still haven't even secured the beaches." No thanks to you, Bob.

Update: "As governor of Florida, I learned that the FBI and CIA failed to communicate..." "As Florida's senator I saw seaports where our greatest security was often a chain link fence."

I think he just suggested that as a member of the Senate Intelligence committee that he saw that there were WMD and that 9/11 could have been prevented. I'm going to have to parse the speech afterwards, but that's really what it sounded like. He got zero applause. You can hear confused muttering in the audience.

Update: This guy can't say nuclear. Funny how Bush gets made fun of for that very short coming. He's rambling. Something about John Kerry, pre 9/11, had a plan to cut off funding to terrorists. How come we haven't heard about that sooner? Wouldn't this be something Kerry would want to shout from the roof tops?

Update: "It wasn't Iraq that attacked the United States on September the 11th. It was Osama Been Forgotten [really, he said that]." Once again, Kerry is shouting to an advisor, "Send the secret service down there. Just take this guy out before he says anything worse!"

Graham just floated his suggestion for fighting terrorism: work with our allies to tear down Al Qaeda recruiting billboards. More bad lines. Not one catchy phrase or crowd capturing hook. This dude should never be allowed in front of a TV camera again. He ended on a dud note. He might as well have just walked up there and read a few pages at random out of an encyclopedia.

Update: Captain's Quarters remarks that Graham killed all the momentum which Sharpton's speech created.

DNC Day 3, Take 4 - Al Sharpton edition
Written by: Beck

If any speaker is going to do Kerry damage tonight, it'll be Sharpton. My fingers are crossed. Updates to come.

Update: Sharpton just dropped an "aksed" bomb. Those always amuse me. The first part of his speech seems to be devoted to thanking people for being here. "The first person to die in the Revolutionary War..." was evidently a black man from Barbados named Christmas. I did not know that.

Sharpton just invoked Martin Luther King and the Voting Rights Act of 1965... which the Republicans supported much more strongly than the Democrats.

"I have come here tonight to say that the only choice we have to preserve our freedom at this point in history is to elect John Kerry as President." There you have it folks. You can all go home now, you have no other choice or else we're all going to be thrown in jail. I guess.

Update: "I am convinced that [the two Johns] are men who say what they mean, and mean what they say." Even when they contradict themselves I suppose.

"We can't survive in the world by ourselves." Do you really believe that Al? "We were told we were going to Iraq because there were WMD." Well... no. "...they changed the premise of the war and said we went for other reasons..."

"We are faced that 2 or more Supreme Court justice's seats may come available... This court has voted 5 to 4 on critical issues of women's rights and civil rights." Yes, like upholding racial preferences in college admissions. "If George Bush had selected the justices in 1954, Clarence Thomas would have never got [sic] to law school."

Update: Sharpton just suggested that we spend more money on metal detectors in schools than on the schools themselves. WOW. Now he's likening "regulating behavior in the bedroom" to "providing food in the kitchen." This guy's off the deep end. OH GOD. He just repeated the whole damn line. It came across as though he lost his place on the teleprompter. He's terrible. Perhaps someone should point out that the Supreme Court Al is so opposed to struck down Sodomy laws in Texas, and that the FMA has nothing to do with what goes on "in the bedroom."

Update: His sentences are sorta crumbling. I can figure out his intent easily enough, but I'm fairly certain that a straight up grammatical deconstruction would cause the entire mess to fall apart.

Now he's arguing in favor of bilingual education. And NOW he's arguing that illegals should have the right to vote for president. Kerry's probably shouting from some listening room, "Would someone please send a flying tackle into him?" "And you aksed the question, 'Does the Democratic party take us for granted?'" (Speaking of Bush's questions earlier in the week). "It is true that Lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation... we were promised 40 acres and a mule." He's now arguing for reparations. "We didn't get the 40 acres. We didn't get the mule. So we decided we would ride the donkey as far as it would take us." You hear that sound? That's the sound of several million independent and undecided voters making sure the chads don't dangle underneath their votes for George W. Bush.

And the crowd goes wild.

And now Sharpton lays claim on behalf of the Democratic party to every good thing that has ever happened in the civil rights movement. So much for historical accuracy.

Update: It's pretty much just a frothing shouting rage now. This is great stuff. Thank you Al. Thank you so much for coming through.

"Mr. President, read my lips, our vote is not for sale." Nice how he manages to still avoid using the word "Bush." I haven't heard it once.

"Family values is not just those with two car garages and a retirement plan... I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me... she taught me that life is not about where you start but about where you're going." Well, yes, good point. I liked it better the first time around when it was Dan Qayle saying it, but still.

Update: Jim Lehrer: according to the script, he was supposed to speak for 6 minutes, but he went off for 20 minutes.

Update: The indispensable Michael King of Rambling's Journal has more thoughts on Al Sharpton & his Green Acres dreams.

DNC Day 3, Take 3
Written by: Beck

Steve Brozak is up now. It would seem he's a retired USMC Lt. Col. running for a House seat from New Jersey. He's part of tonight's strategy of parading lots of military people past the podium to speak to how John Kerry's experience as a navy Lt. somehow qualifies him to be the Commander in Chief. Updates to follow, assuming he has anything worth saying.

Update: This guy is a shouter. His style alternates between speaking-to-school-children and addressing-the-troops. He's also big on the Clinton patented gesturing-with-your-fist. Clearly studied Public Speaking for Dummies. His message: it's hard to win a fight without our allies. He switched parties from Republican to Democrat when he discovered this. Evidently the ability to win over the French is important enough to completely swap your political stripes (he just repeated that he switched parties to become a Democrat for the third time).

Update: Make that the fourth time. Now he's moved on to the experience-as-a-luitenant as qualification for Commander in Chief theme. "John Kerry has a plan to win the war on terror." I sure wish someone would explain what that plan is. "John Kerry will give our men and women in uniform solid support instead of hollow rhetoric." That'd certainly be more than anyone else at the DNC has given them so far. Time for someone to trot out some voting records re: "supporting" the troops. After all, what better way can elected civilian officials support troops than by voting to, you know, fund them, pay for bullets, that sort of stuff. Also, would someone please buy this guy a new hand gesture? What exactly is waving around your index finger knuckle supposed to signify anyway?

DNC Day 3, Take 2
Written by: Beck

David Brooks: "Barack Obama's was the only speech with enough substance that you could have a conversation about it." Nice thing to say about Obama, but not too complimentary of everything to come before or since.

Me: What's up with these new Louisiana Purchase nickels? I mean, I assume working at the US Mint isn't an especially exciting job, but when did currency become a place to showcase mediocre art?

UP next: Steve Brozak, Al Sharpton (turns out he is a prime time speaker. Oh goodie!), and Bob Graham.

DNC Day 3, Take 1
Written by: Beck

From the convention floor: "I think Kerry sees things in a much more nuanced way. Bush sees everything in black and white and I think Kerry sees things from all sides of the issue." That's a pretty good breakdown of the way Democrats' & Republicans' brains work if you think about it. Fortunately, there's a Republican in power, as I fail to see more than two sides to an issue which involves civilians being killed by terrorists.

From a retired soldier on the convention floor: "40% of the soldiers in Iraq right now are reservists... and that's not fair." Fair? I'm sorry, but when you enter the military, you know what your obligations are going to be in terms of active duty, active reserve, and inactive reserve obligations. Plus, you get paid by the government during that whole period. What's fair is that you step up to the plate when your nation's taxpayers need you to.

There is a lot of noise being made by various people about how you don't have to be a Republican to be pro-war. This seems to be the biggest single message to the undecided voter crowd. That this flies in the face of the reality of Kerry's anti-war statements evidently never enters the minds of these people as relevant. Of course, the more pro-war Kerry gets, the more votes he pisses away to Ralph Nader and, to a lesser extent, the Libertarians, so I guess I shouldn't complain.

Live blogging to commence in 3... 2... 1...
Written by: Beck

Tonight should be rather less interesting than either of the previous two nights. Pretty much all of the Democratic big guns are out of the way, and the B team will be carrying things until the last hour of the evening. You know your convention has run out of steam when the biggest speaker for the first two prime time hours is Dennis Kucinich.

After that, John Edwards, introduced by his wife, will speak, followed by the official process to nominate John Kerry.

Update: INDC is keen on entering a contest going on in the WaPo, and I'm happy to throw support behind him. Go have a look.

Update: Added to Beltway Traffic Jam.

Update: Blogs 4 Bush has a good roundup of what people are saying about the first two days' events, in case you haven't had enough already.

Say what?
Written by: Goemagog

The Army plans on having more soldiers on post, by restructuring. Not actually getting more soldiers, just moving them around is going to increase the number. That's the Army plan.

We used to have divisions, made up of brigades, made up of regiments or battalions, made up of companies, made up of platoons, made up of squads, made up of teams, made up of soldiers. This led to what was known as the chain-of-command.

If troops were needed for a task, they were sent in an appopriate sized unit. The plan now is to send a brigade sized unit, and never anything bigger (we won't have command or logistical structures capable of running anything bigger). Sending troops in smaller units would defeat the purpose of downsizing the big units, so we'll probably throw a brigade sized team at everything.

These brigade sized teams will be similar to a brigade-sized task force, known as a brigade combat team. Only they won't be known as brigade combat teams. They're now "units of action", like the army's many divisions sat on their asses since lexington.

The army will keep reorganizing the force in this manner, until they're achieved the "army of one" goal of an infinite number of soldiers (there will be only two, but they'll each have an infinite number of designations). These soldiers will be networked by cellphone, so they can ask each other for reinforcement when the Chinese attack. They'll be deployable in theory, but their other duties will require that the fifty remaining national guardsmen be sent in their stead.

In other news, I can't figure out how to link to it, but there's a report that the army is buying small arms ammunition from europe because they didn't plan for ammunition to be expended in combat anytime in the forseeable future.

Goe, thinks rumsfeld should resign already.

Un-Conventional News
Written by: Goemagog

This thing looks like a cross between a horse, a dog, a pig, and maybe a touch of anteater.

And it doesn't matter what they did or didn't do to the cop, these people
deserved to be maced, and maybe beaten a bit.

And apparently the british are having trouble keeping it in their pants. Maybe there's a new british pick-up line, "Have a sexual disease? Want to share?"

Goe, cause summer is here and the heat is going to his head.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

DNC Day 2, Take 15 - Teresa Heinz edition
Written by: Beck

I'm not too hopeful for real entertainment from this, but I wish Heinz had a chance to write & deliver a speech without any vetting from the Kerry campaign. Updates to follow once the speech begins.

Update: Heinz's son introducing her, "When I first met John, I said to myself, 'Self, the only person good enough for mom is the president of the United States.'" I guess that means he was hoping she'd get married to Bush.

Update: Intro music: "Simply the best." Tina Turner: "Better than all the rest." Me: "So much for not appearing elitist."

She looks nervous. Opening sentence, "Thank you Christopher, your father would be very proud of you and your brothers." I wonder if it's in the backs of everyone's mind that their father was a Republican congressman.

Update: She's lapsed into Spanish. Time to show off that she speaks five languages. Her South African accent is weirding me out enough already, this is just really kind of creepy. Too bad it's not French, that'd be more appropriate.

"A free, good, and democratic society," is the noblest purpose of all, in her message to all "Continental Africans living in America." I guess that doesn't apply to, for instance, Iraqis, Iranians, North Koreans, Syrians... well, you get the point.

Update: Her speaking style is very slow and deliberate. And very annoying. The crux of her speech so far has been that apartheid was bad. Freedom is good. "My only hope is that one day soon women who have all earned their right to their opinion instead of being called, 'Opinionated,' will be called, 'Smart and well informed,' just like men." This is the stuff presidential campaigns are made of? My great great grandmother was a suffragette. Women can vote now, ya know? Apartheid ended over a decade ago. This is thin stuff.

Update: Her nice, warm, fuzzy message is that America is great, anything is possible, and freedom is nice. I guess that's about what you'd expect from a wife-of-the-nominee speech, but still, it's so unbelievably non-confrontational that I'm completely disappointed. At least she made a few opening references to her dead Republican former husband.

Good grief, now she's going on about alternative fuel. Would someone please clue these people in that you can't wish an alternate reality into being? "Good environmental policy is good economics." Sure, but good environmental policy is not Democratic environmental policy.

Update: "[John Kerry] will always, always be first in the line of fire." Well, no objections here. "...The awful toil exacted by leaders who mistake stubbornness for strength." OK, so we shouldn't mistake Iraqi insurgents activities as a sign of strength. Gotcha.

Hell, there's that "Speak truth to power," phrase again. That phrase has always bugged me, not because I have a huge problem with the principle involved, but because the phrase has never sounded quite grammatically correct to me.

Update: Teresa wants to draw the mystic chords of your memory. Look out.

Heinz was a net negative. Her accent was disconcerting, her message was rambling and inconsistent, and she's kinda scary looking. I'm exhausted. Goodnight.

Update: Everyone at The Corner thinks Heinz really sucked eggs. So to speak. I'm inclined to agree.

From Tim Graham:
Brooks and Shields on PBS agreed with Frum after Teresa was done: where was the warm personal anecdotes? Must we have a show of linguistic versatility, but no fuzzy-wuzzy stories about the hubby?
From Jonah Goldberg:
I've thought Teresa is horrible for a very, very long time. I think she's smug, unfunny, unsexy, unclever -- but not uninteresting. She is a fascinating specimen, but one I find entirely unappealing. I waited until now to commit to that position. But now there's no denying it. That was without a doubt the most self-indulgent, unnecessary convention speech in modern memory. To the extent anyone is paying attention, I think she damaged herself and her husband's ticket.

DNC Day 2, Take 14 - Ron Reagan edition
Written by: Beck

I don't know that I'll have much to say. I'm not quite sure what to think about Reagan. He's here to advocate stem cell research, but I'm pretty confident that the issue of stem cell research isn't big enough to merit a prime-time speaker slot. The Democrats opened the slot because they wanted to suck the wind out of Republican Reagan worship.

His opening paragraph makes it abundantly clear that regardless of Democratic strategy, he is not there for partisan reasons. And that's about all I have to say on the topic, as I agree with him completely. I know some of my co-bloggers don't necessarily feel that way, for what that's worth.

Last thought: he's a natural speaker. He has the voice for it, and his delivery is smooth, the speech written quite well. I guess he learned at least one thing from his father.

Update: KJL at The Corner points out that Reagan ended his speech on a decidedly partisan note.

Update: Ramesh Ponnuru, NRO's most libertarian contributor, already has an article up on Reagan's pro-stem cell research speech.

DNC Day 2, Take 13
Written by: Beck

Jim Lehrer and his talking heads, both of the left and the right, are gushing. David Brooks: "This is the reason why I love things like this... It's a shame that the networks aren't covering this tonight, because they just missed a bit of history."

More Brooks: "I thought John Edwards might overshadow John Kerry. I didn't think [Obama] would overshadow John Edwards."

Richard Smith: "This guy's going places."

More Smith: "People talk about him quite openly as the first black president of the United States." Hey, I had the idea first. Roughly three minutes ago. And I have the blog timestamp to prove it.

Brooks: "His style is different from Kerry. He had some social conservatism in there..." Yep.

DNC Day 2, Take 12 - Barack Obama Keynote Speech edition
Written by: Beck

Yeah, I hadn't heard of him before today either. Evidently he's running for senate in Illinois. Presumably, his chances are strong enough that the Dems are willing to throw the entire might of party support behind him. Here we go.

Update: From the introduction of Obama, it's safe to presume that the Democrats regard him as the key to retake the Senate.

Update: His father was a goatherd from Kenya. His mother is a Kansas native, and her father fought with Patton, while her mother worked in a bomb factory. This guy is the real deal. I'm already more impressed with him than with all other speakers tonight combined.

"I owe a debt to all the others who came before me, and on no other country on earth is my story even possible." Great line.

Update: He just quoted the opening to the Declaration of Independence, adding, "That is the secret to American greatness." Again, this guy is great. It sounds like he's delivering a Republican speech.

Bah, he just spoiled it all by making a joke about the Florida recount.

Update: Obama just used the word "forbearers" which Kennedy also used. I guess "forefathers" is no longer politically correct. Someone should have informed Lincoln.

Now he's talking about how people where he comes from don't expect government to solve all their problems. I hope he's right, but I don't believe it.

Update: "John Kerry believes in energy independence." Well then, he believes in an impossible myth. Sorry, but energy independence is not possible inside the next 50 years. Believe in it all you want.

Update: I wish I could type fast enough to give the full line he just delivered about our obligations to our troops. It was perfectly written. Learn this guy's face and remember his name, I assure you we'll all be hearing much more of him over the next thirty years.

Ramesh Ponnuru, over at the corner, wishes Ted Kennedy could speak every night. I'm just glad Barack Obama doesn't speak every night, because he's fantastic.

He's now going on about how you shouldn't divide the nation up according to blue state/red state as the pundits do. "We are one the United States of America." The crowd is chanting his name now, and he just supplanted Clinton as most effective speaker of this year's DNC.

Update: First black president of the United States: Barack Obama in 24-32 years. You heard it here first.

Update: Wizbang posts a roundup of liberal reaction to Obama.

DNC Day 2, Take 11
Written by: Beck

Governor Napolitano of Arizona has taken the stage. I can't say that I know very much about her. The heavy weights are out of the way, I think we're on cruise control now until Teresa's pending speech.

Update: "Hard work is no longer enough." That about sums up the beliefs of the Democratic party, minus the bit where it implies that they honestly believe that at some point in time hard work WAS enough. These people should have a chance at living in the 18th century for a while. Then they might learn that once upon a time, hard work might keep you alive, and anything less would most certainly doom you to misery and death.

"You know that something is wrong when Starbucks pays more for health care than for coffee beans and Ford pays more for health care than for steel." Something is wrong with that? Granted, it suggests something negative about rising health care costs, but the source of those costs can be found at the door of the current regulatory environment, not to mention the litigation environment created by people like John Edwards. Shouldn't we be GLAD that a fast-food style chain like Starbucks DOES spend more money on health care for employees? That's what you call admirable employee treatment. That's not a sign that something's wrong. That's a sign that something is very, very right.

Update: Now she's actually attacking the price of prescription drugs. Are they not aware of what party & what president foisted upon us the prescription drug benefit entitlement? You know, the biggest new entitlement in history?

DNC Day 2, Take 10
Written by: Beck

Mark Shields: "You saw more home made signs for Howard Dean tonight than for anyone else." Howard Dean is still the heart of the Democratic party.

Brooks: But they didn't think he could win an election, so they went with Kerry.

Dean's message, to the extent that there was one, is that Democrats shouldn't be ashamed of being Democrats anymore. The funny thing is, I've heard some of the same from Republicans regarding themselves. Perhaps the real message to take away here is that politicians all around deserve to be ashamed of themselves. They know it, and they're projecting their sense of guilt onto their supporters who at some level, have to wonder how it is that they keep electing losers like Kennedy and Kerry.

Some random talking head: Howard Dean is to republicans as Barry Goldwater was to conservatives. His supporters wanted him to run even if they didn't think he could win.

I think the real issue here is the profound fear of Democrats of being labeled "Liberal." Perhaps that's because Americans have figured out that Liberal means roughly the same thing as Socialist. Oh, and remind me some day to elaborate on my opinions about the abuse of the perfectly good word "Progressive."

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