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So Where Are We?

Well, those horse race data keep coming in so let's see what they tell us about the state of the race. Here are the Bush leads in the polls released since the end of the GOP convention. I use Kerry-Bush results and, in the one case where the 2-way race is not available (the Washington Post poll), I estimate a result based on their 3-way race margin and how the 3-way and 2-way races compared in their previous poll.

I use RVs intead of LVs where both are supplied for reasons I have dwelt on extensively. But where only LVs are available I use LVs. In these cases, based on what we know about the relation between LV and RV results this year, the results should actually be better for Bush than if the RV results had been available (though with Zogby and Rasmussen, since they party-weight, it's hard to know how the two factors (LVs vs. party-weighting) net out).

Zogby, September 8-9 LVs: +2
Rasmussen: September 7-9 LVs: +2
Democracy Corps, September 6-9 LVs: +3
Fox News: September 7-8 LVs: +2
CBS News, September 6-8 RVs: +8
Washington Post, September 6-8 RVs: +4
Gallup, September 3-5 RVs: +1

Conclusion: Bush is ahead but probably not by much. September 6-8 was apparently a good period for him, relative to the immediate post-convention period covered by the Gallup poll, but he appears to be fading a bit based on the pattern of surveys covering slightly later time periods.

As for the idea that Bush has surged into a commanding lead: not in this universe anyway.

Comments

It's interesting to see that the race is basically where it was after the Democratic Convention, but in Bush's favor. He has some momentum. However, it can't be good news for Bush that his job approval negatives have actually increased according to Zogby. I've been one of those distraught Democrats since the Swift Liars came out. It all felt so predictable, Dukakis redux. However, if I remember correctly, Gore's numbers began to slip prior to the debates and he was able to pull off a vote victory. Having seen Kerry destroy his opponents in '90 and '96, I believe JK is in the process of regrouping and developing a devastating counter-attack. During the debates he will be seen as human, and not the punching bag of the RNC. If he performs reasonably well in the debates and then unleashes as series of attacks (plus a hopefull alternative), he will have the Bushies off balance and he'll be able to pick up Florida or Ohio and break through the frustrating 269 electoral votes I now believe he holds. Let's hope, anyway.

There's also an AP poll out today that has Bush ahead by 5 among LVs and 8 among RVs. Not as good for Kerry as the other polls, but this is similar to the lead Kerry had in some polls after the DNC. Historically, bounces tend to last two weeks, and we're only at the end of week 1.

First its all about turnout folks.

Second its all about electoral college votes.

Third i do not beleive for one second that one Gore voter is gonna vote for Bush.

The polls are all wrong, how do they account for the increase in voter registration? How can they account for turn out...even Karl Rove says 110 million...it might be higher...How do they account for the crowd the Kerry campaign generates...

we can go on and on...but I believe that the American people see right through Bush and are going to come out in large #s.

The thing that strikes me about some of the poll internals lately is how -- in an atmosphere where 'most voters have made up their minds" -- Kerry is suddenly losing to Bush in such areas as job creation and the economy! This simply makes no sense, unless most of the voters are as dumb as I fear. In two weeks, Bush nets 10-15-20 points on ECONOMIC issues? It just can't be. Can it?

I don't understand it either, unless this vast right-wing conspiricy is got the polsters too. Maybe they are asking their questions like most of the news comentaters on TV with an obvious tilt toward Bush and trying to convince people to vote for Him. Like" With Bush's overwhelming sucess at his convention and a comanding lead in most polls are you now more inclined to vote for him?"

Bush is now hitting 50% or better when he couldn't break the mid 40's for months...plus his intenals have improved significantly in AP./Ipsos..


On the whole I'd rather have 50 +1

I hear real's argument a lot: "Bush can't possibly gain, because what 2000 Gore voter will vote for Bush?"

While I don't think it's all over, I don't think the argument holds water. I can easily imagine Gore voters who'd vote for Bush: Democrats who don't think very hard about foreign policy, were shocked out of their complacency by the attacks three years ago, and still buy the idea that only Republicans are macho enough to protect them now. If you hadn't been following events very closely and got your impression of the parties from the conventions, it might well be a compelling story.

The job is to explain why Bush's strategy for preventing future terrorist attacks is actually appallingly bad. It's hard because it's swimming against the emotional current.

Bush's numbers are up and Kerry's are down because first, Bush was more effective in revving up his base at his convention. No question either that the campaign coordinated the Swift Boat attacks to precede the convention by a few days and thereby get more bang for the buck.

Second, the Swift Boat ads were effective in peeling off some of the support of independents. That process was also aided by the fervor of the GOP and the power it projected at its convention; which had the effect of legitimizing a change of mind.

Finally, Bush talks more clearly and forcefully about his positions. People are so mezmerized by the strength of his convictions they can't seem to focus on what he's so convicted about.

Kerry, on the other hand, can't seem to stop knitting intellectual doilies when he talks to voters. Moreover, he finds a way to step on his own message of the day. For example, in St. Lois today he had what appeared to be a town meeting on health care, arguably his strongest issue in the minds of voters. Instead of focusing solely on that he took Bush to task for a failure of leadership on renewal of the assault weapons ban. Guess what got the most coverage on TV?

As usual, the GOP attack machine and propaganda mill is continuously grinding it out with great discipline and volume. No mixed messages. Its like everybody connected to their campaign in any way were wearing a hidden earphone that feeds them the info to be spread on any given day.

I stand in awe. I can only wonder how Kerry can stay that close. I pray that Kerry will have the strength to march on with vigor and enthusiasm. We need to win this one.

I agree Joe.

The great mistake is that we judge Bush's team by Bush himself. Bush is just a figure head -- a bad one at that -- but his team understands America better than Kerry's.

Remember when Kerry was attacking Bush on the economy and Bush's team came out saying Kerry was a pessimist? What did Kerry do? He started emphasizing "hope is on the way". And that's exactly what Team Bush wanted. Why? Because they know that fear WINS!

Saying one million people lost their job since Bush took over does nothing for the 137 million that have a job (or whatever the real number is) and are grateful they do.

Kerry shouldn't have changed his tune. He should have said: 1 million lost their job and if you elect Bush the next job to be lost could be yours! That's why you should vote for me... I have a plan to create jobs.

FEAR works for Bush and it can work for Kerry.

Another example: X number of children have no health insurance. Elect Bush and the next child to lose health coverage could be your child. Vote for me because I have a plan to cover your child and all other children, even if something bad happens to you!

Kerry has to make Bush a scary alternative. Team Bush knows that, hence the rise in the polls (modest as it may really be).

Kerry does need to focus and attack, which I believe he's getting better at now that Carville is on board. There are so many issues that Kerry must go after, it's amazing all the great commercials and attacks they could make just on the last 2 weeks of news:
Poverty rate are up
Heathcare coverage is down
Deficits hit record high
1000 death in Iraq
Medicare premimums up by 17%
Healthcare costs up double digits.
Assault gun ban to fall
1,000,000 less jobs

These are real and unbiased facts. Kerry needs to pound these continually. And his new W stands for Wrong on.....,
is fantastic! Bumberstickers and tshirts should be made to play up this slogan.

I also feel we really need to go on the attack on the only isssue that W. thinks he can win on, terrorism and 9-11
Why are we not going after his failed leadership on stopping 9-11 before it happened. We have Clarke's testimony, a Aug 6 memo, and numerous warnings and yet W. was on a 30 day vacation! WHY AREN'T WE GOING AFTER THIS????

Imagine attacking his very reason for existence, 9-11 was a massive screw up that could have been delt with like the millinium attack which was stopped.

Ruy, Could you share your thoughts about the Colorado initiative to replace the winner-take-all system with one that divvies up its 9 electoral votes in proportion to a candidate's popular vote?

As a CO dem, I am leaning toward voting for it because the republicans are simply frothing at the mouth over the possibility that it might pass.

I am new to your blog, so if you have already addressed this issue, I am sorry to raise it again.

Well I am a Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore voter that will vote for Bush. So you have one at least. But there is Ed Koch, Ron Silver and others as well.

Before anyone gets mad and endeavors to "kill the messenger" let me just say that some here are thoughtful and realistic and some are chasing their own wishes. I also have heard over and over that, "I know many that voted for Bush that will vote for Gore, but none that voted for Gore that will for Bush" Don't comfort yourself with such thoughts because reality could be even worse.

The above phrase about “Bush voters voting Gore” comes across very elitist because that is where it lies, with the elitist types. I suspect 911 and the nature of the campaign is going to rouse certain hard hat “Reagan Democrat” types in the Mid-West and that is the true problem. In many of these Mid-West States the natural swing is to the right in a post 911 world. I am middle aged and I understand the natural blindness by Democrats to the effect National Security has in Presidential Politics. For a generation more Republicans won the Presidency even though they were much weaker as a Party then the Democrats now for this simple fact, National Security.

The end of the Cold War opened the door for Democrats, but 911 puts us back in the same balance between Economics and National Security similar to what existed during the Cold War. There exists a well deserved perception that Republicans were more willing to be protect our interests first, the Security Mom aspect is now an issue for sure. The problem I see is that most people have very stereotypical perceptions of the Political Parties. McGovern had a record even better then John Kerry in my opinion as a WWII Vet. In truth it provides little cover as neither Lincoln nor F. D. Roosevelt had military experience. The true problem is Kerry has displayed a wishy-washiness that to me is a no-no in a post 911 World.

I see the Democrats in the very same trap they had been tapped in for a long time. I had hoped that Clinton would have helped cure us of this but alas I was wrong. We went to Kosovo for much less cause then Iraq, and the Democrats as a Party supported that, yet the Party and much of the base has decided to go back to Pre-Clinton policies, they are acting like they did during the 1980’s with Reagan. I am afraid many like me who in retrospect never voted for Reagan but in whose hearts now know he was right have been thoroughly spooked, people who display what we see with dismissiveness offer no comfort. Certainly no domestic issues have a prayer of trumping such sentiments with us.

I am Jewish, pro-Gay Marriage, Pro-choice and wouldn’t mind a small tax increase, but all these arguments are mute if I feel we have a Commander in Chief that would hesitate to protect our interests, or wait for France, Germany or any other country in this world. We are a Sovereign Nation first and foremost. I say nothing to cast aspersions on the Democratic Party for that has been my life. I say it as I honestly see the landscape, and as food for thought.

Samuel: I would agree with you that we need a strong unequivical leader. Unfortunately. Bush is not the leader you seek. He PROJECTS that aura and has done quite well in manipulating and deceiving the country. Bush is not interested in protecting the USA. Bush is interested in protecting Bush.
So what if he is resolute if his resolution leads right over a cliff? For that matter. Bush has flip flopped on any number of occasions.
The US reminds me of Germany in the '30s and early 40s - totally willing to accept Hitler as a strong leader and paying no attention to where he was leading. I have no problem with comparing Bush to Hitler.
Samuel-doesn't it bother you that Bush was given warning after warning in August 2001 and still chose to kick back on the ranch? He is as guilty as sin re: 9/11, why do you think he opposed creation of the 9/11 commission, dragged his feet on releasing information, tried to stop funding it etc????

Samuel, if you think that this fiasco in Iraq has furthered our interests, I don't know what can be said. Bush has made us weaker, not stronger. Bush has crippled our alliances, diverted funds from homeland security to fighting an unneccesary, unwinnable war and is in the process of breaking the back of our military and the nations finances.
President Kerry will not hesitate to protect the interests of this country..he'll be better at determining what those interests are rather than seeing the world throught the eyes of a 4th grader. Americans sure do like their propaganda.

Samuel-

Thanks for the thoughts. It's important for us all to remember that all sorts of variations of voting are possible and that Gore voters might switch to Bush, just as Bush voters might switch to Kerry.

Two thoughts, though on your perception of Kerry. First, I'd encourage you to track Kerry's speeches about Iraq, back from when the issue was first up. To my eye, he's had a consistent message...give the President authority, and the President should do various things to make sure this invasion either is not needed or goes down well. The Republicans have been impressive in their ability to cast Kerry as a flip-flopper. The media has bought into this as a storyline they can use to draw readers/viewers. But looking at Bush and Kerry, I could construct a reasonable argument that Bush is the bigger flipper.

Note that Kerry has not said that he'd wait on France if need be. But there's something to be said for being more effortful at pulling in, say, France, than Bush was. (Note for instance the difference in travel between Baker in preparation for Gulf War I and Powell for Gulf War II. Why weren't we aggressively talking to and listening to countries like France, hoping to pull them in?)

Finally, as noted before, there's the question of whether the war in Iraq has made us safer. Bush is framing it as the importance of having Saddam gone. Of course, everyone wants Saddam to have been gone. The problem is that there are unintended consequences of that action. It sure seems to me that we have increased the number of people trying to blow us up, and that can't be helpful to our national security. Once upon a time, the Republicans, reasonably, emphasized the law of unintended consequences in criticizing big experiments on the part of Democrats. They seem to me to have forgotten that part of their philosophy as they've launched the war in Iraq. I live in DC. I believe that the likelihood that I'll be blown up by nuke has gone up quite a bit as a result of the President's actions, and this does not make me happy.

I'll point out that I went out to watch as Bush went to National Cathedral after 9/11. I was at the reflecting pool by the Capitol for a vigil on 9/12. I resisted the arguments of other friends, before the invasion, that going into Iraq would be a disaster. I told them that I thought we had to believe the Bush administration knew what it was doing. All the evidence of my eyes tells me they did not. As a result, I cannot support this man and have been working harder to have him defeated than I ever have before.

Best wishes, and again thanks for the thoughtful post.

Meanwhile, back to the polls.

There's more good news from surveyusa state surveys.

Kerry has a 2% lead in Pennsylvania, though it's within the margin of error.

Also, they have Kerry down only 2% in Missouri. After the large Bush leads that have been shown there, this was a very hopeful sign to me.

Samuel,

If there are enough people like you who believe that we should put up with all of the problems of the Bush administration (Gross abuses of Power, Secrecy, Outing CIA operatives, Massive budget deficits) because we will be safer (stronger on National Security), we deserve the government we have. What kind of country do you think we would live in if our Founding Fathers were so worried about their safety at the expense of all else? In many ways though, what are are really voting for is the appearance of safety. Clearly, Agfghanastan was a necessary war - and supported by most this country - and even the world. But IRAQ has made many people feel better because we are "doing something". However, if you listen to most non-partisan observers (even some partisans like Rumsfield), we are actually doing is creating the next generation of terrorists so fast it is mind boggling. It may feel you feel safer/stronger, but it is actually quite scarry. It is sort of funny, Bush may win this election solely on National Security issues, but history will judge this administration to have done more to harm our National Security than perhaps any before it.

Guys,

These these aren't arguements to change minds.

Josephine, What does saying "Bush is only interested in protecting Bush" mean? That is shallow sloganeering. Accusing me of being manipulated also addresses nothing. As far as...

"Samuel-doesn't it bother you that Bush was given warning after warning"

They were all given warnings and nobody had more opportunity to act then Clinton. The main difference is Bush has shown more willingness to respond and shows he understands well above his predecessors the nature of the conflict we are in ...

"The US reminds me of Germany in the '30s and early 40s - totally willing to accept Hitler as a strong leader and paying no attention to where he was leading. I have no problem with comparing Bush to Hitler."

This is exactly why I am driven to the political corner I am. This is an offense to a Jew like me. Comparing Bush to Hitler is demeaning to many like me who suffered tremendously because of that bastard Hitler. Did Hitler seek to save lives? Saddam Hussein is a Hitler figure, I view Bush more as the President who is willing to risk all politically to do what is right.

I view the Democrats as having gone into the Neville Chamberlain appeasement camp, your hysterical comparisons is a turn off and will convince no one that has legitimate beliefs we are in a world struggle against Islamo-Fascism.

This is like the 30's for sure, but Bush is doing what America should have done then, act more fully and not waited until things got even worse. I imagine if FDR had gone in and taken out Hitler in the 30's killing and capturing his henchmen my guess is he would have been compared to some former barbarian as well. My former hate of Bush wasn't deep enough for me to come close to buying such comparisons, I do believe most Americans tend to agree with me on this. You don't help your political cause in my opinion, it is for the benefit of satisfying yourself because saying Bush = Hitler detracts and causes the average person who lives in a world of realistic comparisons to turn away in disgust. I guess that makes John Ashcroft Himler… YUUK!

Tom saying...

"Bush has crippled our alliances, diverted funds from homeland security to fighting an unneccesary, unwinnable war and is in the process of breaking the back of our military and the nations finances."

If we must appease against our own interests to maintain alliances then I chose to move forward and find new friends, we are no more hated now then when Reagan was President. It is interesting that the countries we have helped most recently are the ones we get the most help from, I am sorry that Germany and France have forgotten the lessons of WWI and WWII. I suspect in their hearts they know they are lucky they don't have to do the heavy lifting, but their actions of irresponsibility is going to come home to roost on them as their show of lacking resolve will not pacify those that in the end seek their downfall as well. Also this is a winnable War and I guess it is time to exorcise those ghosts of Vietnam that many Democrats seem to be frozen by. You make my point of lacking resolve. Also...

"President Kerry will not hesitate to protect the interests of this country..he'll be better at determining what those interests are rather than seeing the world throught the eyes of a 4th grader. Americans sure do like their propaganda."

Kerry won’t hesitate? Where is the evidence to that? Too important and necessary of a trait to pronounce upon him with such ease against all evidence. The 4th grader crap is just total irony as that sounds like schoolyard name calling and just is not serious, yes I guess you do like your propaganda. I believe pre-911 Ruy was right about the Democrats soon becoming a majority, now I am not so sure. I see Democrats behaving very immaturely during serious times.

Tony, I don't have time to fully respond as I just noticed you post, but must leave. I really appreciate the respect shown. Now I also live in Wasington D.C. born and raised, my conlusion however is the opposite, like Ed Koch I don't view the Democrats having the stomach for the fight. The base of the Democratic Party forces much of this, but that is something he must prove capable of overcomng.

And yes Bush has changed his mind on much, I don't view his as flip floping because he was of one mindset before the war and one after. Kerry appears to be of a different one weekly, not comforting.

Samuel-

No sweat. I'll be logging off for the day after this myself.

First, on the changes of views. I hear the story line that Bush has changed his views because of 9/11. I can accept that on the importance of terrorism as an issue. I think he really did have a change of mind on that. I'd note that this suggests that before 9/11 he had much the lack of concern that Democrats are purported to have had, and that if he can have a change of heart, so can Dems. Indeed, there was a *lot* of support from Democrats for the Afghanistan fight. And much of the criticism of Democrats for Iraq is about the possibility that it was a costly diversion from the war on terrorism, not based on an aversion to the war on terrorism. Which takes me back to the point I raised above. Perhaps the most important question in this election is whether you share the perception of Bush and Cheney that the invasion of Iraq has served to decrease or increase terrorism. I've seen quotes from them both that specifically deny that the war there would rally more people to al qaeda's side. If they believe that, then the war in Iraq would seem likely to me to be in the interests of the US. The problem is that I really, really, really do not believe that. Instead, I see terrorists acts up worldwide in the last year. I see our troops being killed and wounded (and a much larger number of such, largely missed in the media) in Iraq and wonder if the people doing this would have done so before. I see survey data of the decline in the view of the US in the Islamic world. I see reports of the Taliban becoming more active again with so many of our forces in Iraq. And that makes me convinced that we made the wrong decision (invading Iraq), then compounded it with another huge wrong decision (invading based on best case scenarios of what would happen, thereby overriding the military's estimates of the number of troops needed to make the country secure.) I'd add to that list of mistakes if I didn't need to logoff soon.

Your analogy to Hitler I think doesn't work here. Hitler represented a nation state that could be stomped on by military force. In fact, that's eventually what happened, though it should have happened much earlier. Terrorism isn't primarily about nation states, as Timothy McVeigh amply demonstrated. And in particular al qaeda is not a nation state. It's a bunch of people scattered hither and yon. They're who we should be targeting in every way we can imagine.

A last thought here. I understand the concern about the Democrats carrying through. I don't share it, as I believe there was a fundamental shift after 9/11. To the extent that there has been some leakage, I attribute it to Bush's actions in 2002. He allowed the Republican party (and to my eye actively encouraged it) to make the war on terrorism a political issue. To some extent, I have no problem with a political debate on such things. I think it would have been appropriate to debate whether the nation would be safer with homeland security people being civil servants or not, the nub of the question over which Republicans nailed Democrats in 2002. I don't see a particularly compelling argument either way on that, but debate is good. But that sort of politicization is not what happened. Instead, the Republicans demonized the Democrats over a very debateable point, and Bush did nothing to stop the over the top rhetoric of his party. It was surreal to me to watch McCain and Giuliani at the RNC wishing back for times of unity when it was this sort of tactic (and lack of willingness on the part of Bush to stand up against those in his party who were over the top) that has gotten us where we are.

Ack. Really have to go. Was going to go back to Bush on flipflops. I can grant his realization that terrorism was important as a change arising from reality. But then we have other flipflops...on whether a homeland security department was wise, on whether a director of national intelligence is wise, on whether he'd continue the assault weapon ban, etc. The guy flips a lot, and not just because of 9/11. And I'd encourage you to read Kerry carefully. The media paints his views as changing every week. The Republicans do, too. But my read of his views on the war are that he's been remarkably consistent. The willingness of the media to parrott conventional wisdom without actually looking closely at things is simply appalling.

I appreciate the detailed and sophisticated analyses Ruy presents to us, particularly because it typically suggests that all is not lost, a feeling that is hard to dispel in light of the mainstream treatment of what's happened since the Dem convention. What does seem patently clear is that the bright lights in charge of the campaign once again misjudged objective conditions and thought, incorreclty, that Bush's negatives were so powerful, that the convention's sole purpose was to promote Kerry.

It now seems clear that in addition to promoting Kerry,the convention should have focussed on the big lie that lurks behind every policy iniative advanced by the Bushites, including that this group of neo-fascists will stop at nothing to retain power. With little or no notice from the mainstream press, we are in danger of completly eliminating the truth in our public discourse, certainly the precondition warned about in the now prophetic "Brave New World," and "1984."

Kerry could still win -- objective conditions could change for the worse, palpably, and enough sensible people could pull the lever. But, not to use every ounce of attention available and in the control of the Dems to hit over and over again on the failures, lies, flip-flops and more is now so obviously absurd as to be almost laughable in its institutional incompetence.

The big stage was the convention. And they blew it. We can only hope the debates are different.

Can someone answere this question for me, it might sound a bit dump to all of you polling experts but why are polling samples only limited to 1k people on the evarage? For a voting pool of over 100 million that seems to be a small sample. Any clue?

Samuel,

I admire you for having the courage to be open minded about voting for Bush. I remind you also that Ariel Sharon stopped just short of endorsing Bush and forcefully called him a "good friend of Israel", saying the relationship between the two countries "has never been better".

Of course many Dems will vote for Bush. They see themselves as Americans first and Dems second. Many people here are outraged that you could consider voting for Bush and probably consider you a traitor as if your loyalty should be only to the party line. That is so pre 9/11 and some will just never get it.

You should consider a new report implying that liberal viewpoints (opposing Sharons policies) in Israel actually encouraged Palestinian aggression. Putin, speaking of Beslan, said "we showed weakness, so we were attacked."

Don't worry, just because you vote for Bush this time it doesn't mean you've switched sides. I know you are a proud liberal and I respect that. But I also know you are the type of Democrat who puts policy above party and everyone should respect that!

I may be the "enemy" to some on this site but you can put your feet under my table anytime.

4 more years!

I don't know Samuel...I'm also Jewish, and I think the comparison between Bush and Hitler is entirely fair. The point isn't that Bush = Hitler, but rather that Bush is using a lot of the same tactics as Hitler. Keeping the population in a constant state of fear; constant war; constant lying; etc. Go read Hannah Arendt's book on totalitarianism. And you can argue that the democrats are the Neville Chamberlins in this situation, but I could just as easily argue that you're just like the Germans and German jews in the early 30s that weren't particularly alarmed by Hitler.

I'm sorry, but your support of Bush is entirely irrational and faith-based. The evidence simply does not support the notion that Bush has done an effective job in the war on terror or that the democrats don't have the stomach for it. Being a democrat means having a mature view of this country and our government. I don't want to be a 5 year old looking to mommy and daddy to protect me.

Samuel,

I find it interesting to read the list of president's you have voted for in the past and the policies you support. To sum up your support for George Bush is based on one issue, foreign policy and primarily middle eastern strategy. However this strategy has no basis in fact.

The Bush adminstration had the greatest outpouring of world wide support after 9/11 of any U.S. administration in history. After 9 months of closing out senior military officials in policy discussions at the White House, they turned to the Army for a plan in Afghanistan. However, they did not finish the job. With the international support available at the time they could have set up an iron curtain around Afghanistan and the U.S. could have gone in and taken the time to clean out the radicals in that country and also in areas of Pakistan. Instead they pulled out and left 10,000 troops to guard the government in Kabul, because they were in a hurry to go Iraq. In addition to all of the misrepresentations they made on Iraq that we all know about, they also fired the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. Eric Shinseki. General Shinseki had opposed them on reducing the size of the Army and also went public on the number of troops needed to invade and occupy Iraq. The leader next in line turned down the job of Chief of Staff and they finally went to a general who had already retired General Peter Schomaker to take the position.
Now we are hunkered down in a country that had no involvement in 9/11 or WMD's that has become
a terrorist breeding ground. Instead of dealing with religious radical fundamentalists numbering in the thousands around the world, we have hundreds of thousands of new radicals ready to strike anywhere in the world. As we just witnessed last week in Russia.

All of this because a group of neocons gained control of an adminstration and convinced them to
ignore the advise of analysts in the CIA, State Department and Pentagon on the policies to follow.

To top it off a spy was uncovered working in the office of one of the neocon leaders last week.
The big question is could this be the source of
the some of the unfounded information this adminstration has been using for the past 3 and 1/2 years.

Either way we are at a critical junction in the history of this nation. If we do not change course now, and elect leaders including Congress, who will uzitize the knowledge and assets we have available in this country to fight an effective assymetric war and win international support, our window of opportunity will have passed.

I fear that not only is Bush invigorating his base -- he is adding to it. I'm afraid that is where the "bounce" is coming from. Undecideds now declaring as Republicans. The Nightmare Scenario.

For months we've been deriding the turn-out-the-base formula Rove has been following. But if you can do that AND increase the base number, it's pure genius.

Only Dean had that ability with us, and he's long gone. Kerry is too old-school to grasp the new math, I'm afraid.

Kerry's only chance to win this thing is with a three-pointer at the buzzer. Sometimes those shots do go in, but you don't want to be in that position.

Samuel,

i believe Ben Franklin's famous quote is apprpriate here:

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security

In 2000, polling done the weekend before the election (except for Zogby) showed Bush winning by a few points.

Al Gore then went on to win the popular vote by half a percentage point.

I do not see any cause for alarm in these poll numbers. The Republicans hold their convention,which contained the most radical "red meat" rhetoric since 1964, and they have a small bounce. Did we think there would be no bounce?

The analysis on this website follows that of Zogby
and other independent polling organizations, and
also coincides with other structural issues in the electorate. This is a deeply divided electorate and the outcome will be determined by voter turnout, especially among single women and 18 to 24 year olds. If the turnout is high among these two segments of the electorate Kerry/Edwards wins.

These two groups also have the biggest stake in this election. It will be their generation that could be fighting the battles and paying the taxes for the next 40 to 50 years for this administations foreign policy blunders.

A few comments:

Samuel: if I feel we have a Commander in Chief that would hesitate to protect our interests, or wait for France, Germany or any other country in this world. We are a Sovereign Nation first and foremost.

"Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response. I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security." --John Kerry, Acceptance Speech to the Democratic National
Convention


Samuel: Also this is a winnable War

"I don't think you can win it."--George W. Bush, 8/30/04 (only to flip-flop the following day)


Samuel--They were all given warnings and nobody had more opportunity to act then Clinton.

Despite the derision and obstructionism of a number of congressional Republicans, who accused them of using the "bogus" threat of Al-Quaeda to distract America from the Lewinsky "scandal", the Clinton administration broke up a number of terrorist plots (most notably the Millenium one). Bush, on the other hand, presided over the worst single terrorist attack in human history. That is _nothing_ to be proud of.


Samuel--I view the Democrats as having gone into the Neville Chamberlain appeasement camp.

Kerry (and virtually all other Democrats) strongly supported going into Afghanistan to take out Bin Laden, Al Quada, and their puppet Taliban regime. His gripe, which he voiced at the time? That Bush didn't immediately send US special forces in mass to the Tora Bora caves and eliminite Bin Laden, instead of leaving the job to unreliable, reluctant, and poorly motivated warlords. This was the only occasion post-9/11 we had Bin Laden cornered, and Bush let him get away, because of Rumsfeld's lunatic belief that wars in the 21st century can be fought on the cheap, without any actual US troops on the ground. Had John Kerry been President on Sept 11, there is every reason to believe Bin Laden would be dead today, Al Quada would have been crushed in the mountains of Afghanistan, and would not have metastisised around the world in the wake of the US pullout for the Iraq invasion. Doesn't sound much like "appeasement" to me . . .

Let us also remember:
Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq = 0
Evidence of Hussein-Al Quada ties = 0
Relation of Iraq to the War on Terror = 0
Money spent in Iraq that could have been used on US homeland security* = $200,000,000,000

*Securing ports, nuclear and chemical facilities, and equipping first responders, most of which are as vulnerable as they were on 9/11


If, as you say, Samuel, your primary concern in this election is national security and the war on terror, then a vote for John Kerry is clearly the way to go. Bush has utterly botched the job, and it's time for him to go. Or, to put it another way:

Osama bin Laden = Adolf Hitler
George W. Bush = Neville Chamberlain
John Kerry = Winston Churchill

RP,

Let's be real about this Hitler thing. The Dems use that canard to keep the Jewish constituency the same way they use "disenfranchisement" to scare up the black vote, and Social Security to get the senior vote. What did Clinton or Carter ever do to help Israel, when they had the chance? They both were eager for Israel to make concessions, i.e. trade land for peace but is that really in Israel's best interest?

Jim is right, the nightmare scenario is just gathering momentum and will be fait accompli in 7 weeks. It seems to me that Jews are switching allegience from the Dems in droves and I'm willing to bet that will be the big story in this election. Also, wake up, take off the blinders, and observe some of the black supporters of Bush on the talking-heads shows. They are so much more articulate, confident, and pleasant than their more traditional counterparts, wholly owned by the Dems (angry, inflexible, and seemly uneducated...or maybe they're just "keeping it real"). Of course you'll all probably call me an ageist, anti-semitic, bigot but thats okay, I've come to expect knee-jerk invective from the Dems.

Don't be afraid to think outside the box!

4 more years!

B.J.

It is obvioius from your comments you are an ideologue. Which makes your comments about thinking outside the box ludicrous. It is the "group think" of ideologues who have caused this foreign policy disaster. If the neocons would pay attention to the evidence of the past 50 years on assymetric warfare we would have a clear plan for fighting religious fundamentalists. Go watch the documentary "Battle of Algiers".

BJ -- you're wrong. Jewish voters stongly support the Dems and Kerry. There's no evidence that legions of Jewish voters are defecting to Bush b/c of the war on terror. Also, if you think Clinton and Carter never did anything to help Israel is ludicrous (as is the assumption that Jewish voters only care about how well the US treats Israel). You obviously know nothing about the middle east or Israel.

Jim,

That's priceless. The "Battle of Algiers" is a wonderful movie, shot like a documentary, and not an actual documentary. I bet you believed every word in Farenheit 911. Do you understand what "neocons" are or is the fact that the NY Times uses the term as a perjorative good enough for you?

Tell me, oh wise one, what that clear plan would be. Take a look at a map of the Middle East, note Iraqs location in relation to the region, and you'll see the plan. Why do you think Iran is flooding Iraq with terrorists? They recognise that we've captured the Queen in the larger war to stabilize the region and they are desperate to prevent a secular democracy.

And since when is being an idealogue a bad thing?

The very reason you are voting for Kerry is that YOU are a victim of "group think", happily sipping the koolaid in the echo chamber.

4 more years

Landulph nails it pretty well. Its group think to believe Bush is strong on terrorism. His record is awful from letting OBL get away in Tora Bora to getting (neo) conned into an Iraqi quagmire. You can spin all you like, but the facts on the ground ain't pretty.

As for the Neocons, they are the return of the "Best and the Brightest" without actually being either. They are wedded to a nonsensical reverse domino theory. And while Blow Job alludes to their being Jewish and the idea that anyone who is against them is anti semitic, that is also nonsense. For one thing, not all neo cons are Jewish- Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Rice are also neo cons. What the neo cons are, are chicken hawk arm chair warriors. Almost none of them have ever been to war, and with their history, it would be wise not to follow their advice. The American Prospect had an article (a year or so ago) tracing their history from the end of the cold war to their rise in the Bush II administration. Bottom line- they were wrong more often than they were right.

RP,

Okay, I see that both you and Jim like the word "ludicous". But after you dismissed my question, you forgot to tell me what they had done for Israel.

Of course, you are right that Jewish voters don't vote solely on Israel's interests. But really, tell me you don't have Jewish friends leaning towards or already decided for Bush. I do, but then you probably don't believe I have Jewish friends! Don't kid yourself, Israel and Israel's interests are protected ONLY by themselves and the US. Kerry has alienated many Jews by suggesting that he would send Carter as an envoy to mediate the conflict, a mistake he withdrew the next day and blamed on his staff.

Speaking of that, isn't it amazing that everytime Kerry is in trouble, it's always his campaign staff that made the mistake?

But I digress.

Will you at least accept that the Muslim extremists are united in their hatred of Israel and, because of our support for Israel (partly, but not exclusively), we are also targeted?

And one more thing, just because you are Jewish that does not make you all-knowing about Israel or the Middle East.

4 more years!

Oh BJ...

You crack me up.. you are way too loud and way too full of rhetoric. Unfortunately, you too are blinded by your own rhetoric.

You have obviously allowed Bush' own brand of chat to blind you and just like Bush, you have started to believe in all of what you scream, not taking a moment to determine the validity of what you are saying.

Can you believe that Bush too believes all the nonsense he talks? Talk is very cheap however, its the results that matters and for all the talk he has laid down since 2000, he has nothing to show that his talk is worth squat. He is just a lousy performer. The guy cannot point to single success in four years. What more do you want to show that he is a worthless president? Point to something that he did with resounding success... alas there is nothing.

You are sooooooooooo eager to dismiss Bush' multitide of failures and focus on all kinds of possibilties. You dont have to do this tho, you have enough evidence b4 your eyes that you can clearly see that bush is bad for america and the world.

I appreciate your need to keep it loud so that you can drown out your own thoughts of bush' failures but in the end, I am pretty sure that you will vote for Kerry.

I have a strong belief that Bush wont win anything in Nov. Here's an interesting survey BJ (its informal however)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/comment/story/0,14259,1299134,00.html

Hey.... go vote for Kerry, it will be worth it. You are guaranteed a better life during the next four years.

Tony-

Thank you for the respectful response I feel you deserve in kind. First you said…

“Indeed, there was a *lot* of support from Democrats for the Afghanistan fight. And much of the criticism of Democrats for Iraq is about the possibility that it was a costly diversion from the war on terrorism, not based on an aversion to the war on terrorism…I see terrorists acts up worldwide in the last year. I see our troops being killed and wounded… I see survey data of the decline in the view of the US in the Islamic world. I see reports of the Taliban becoming more active again with so many of our forces in Iraq. And that makes me convinced that we made the wrong decision (invading Iraq), then compounded it with another huge wrong decision (invading based on best case scenarios of what would happen, thereby overriding the military's estimates of the number of troops needed to make the country secure.) I'd add to that list of mistakes if I didn't need to logoff soon.

Tony for me it is a matter of the scope one views the struggle we face. I see it as a worldwide struggle that is to be fought on many fronts. Many on the political left see it as more of a combination of Police action and Diplomatic struggle. Worse the arguments of Appeasement and détente type policies just don’t appeal to me as realistic. So what you consider diversions I see as jump the gun arguments that lack vision because I see the current struggle as one that will continue well past my lifetime. I see Bush rightfully taking out a tyrant in Saddam and setting up shop surrounding Iran on both sides, and also next to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and others. Too me this seemed risky no doubt, but if he pulls it off, do we really feel the world is worse for it? As far as terrorist being created and acting up? Well of course they have as we have made War on them. Is appeasement a solution? We must do all we can, War, providing opportunities for them to change, reach out to those that take us up on such offerings, but make no mistake we had a rotting policy for 50 years. When I turn on the lights in a unkempt home, cockroaches come out of the walls and the need to fumigate, it does not mean I created such cockroaches, maybe this is a generation of cockroaches that needs confrontation.

Also What did we do to piss the world off before September 11th, 2001? Was it ending the Cold War? Shortly after the end of the Cold War did not terrorist seek to achieve the same goal in 1993 when they bombed the basements of the World Trade Centers? They still continued to attack and will continue to do so, making nice will not do it on its own. Also in a post 911 world could we afford having Saddam continuing to thumb his nose at us for the whole world to see? NO WAY! Also was he not funding Palestinian Terrorist in Israel? Where was Abu Nidal residing? Did Saddam not break the terms of a ceasefire? Did he not attempt assassination of a President? What people call a rush to War, I now believe is merely a slow delayed reaction that should have been dealt many years earlier. Such missed opportunities did not take away our right as a nation to act, agree or not, Bush had to dispel the notion of a weak nation. We have now gone after terrorists and the States that support them, this carries more weight then appeasement. Also the predictions of the left were far more off target by a mile, both sides need to answer why.

I also find arguing budgets is also very short sighted. During the 1980’s Reagan had three goals but had to make a choice of which two were more important. One was to cut government waste, the second was to expand democracy and bring down the Soviet Union, and the third was to change the way Government was relied upon, the fiscal policy on the nation. He wisely chose the latter two. Now I hated Reagan back then and way over the top like many are today with Bush. This is why I avoid such extreme vacillations of emotions. Seeing the hate of Reagan and then the hate of Clinton brings a perspective I apply today.

Tony the left has a very big problem, Bush is not Hitler and such comparisons denigrate the fallen and cheapen true discourse. What is the evidence of such by people who make such pronouncements? We have no mass graves of fellow country men or enemies from Bush. This kind of crap just so jades the mind, it was wrong yesterday and it is wrong today. Painting one (Bush) as being a greater danger then he is in reality is just as bad as painting an enemy (Saddam) as a less threat to the world then he was. I just am not going to be one sided in viewing of history, it leads to blindness. Tony these people reside loudly in the Democratic political establishment and it is more then I can take I don’t care what some of my fellow Jews might say, and many of them perjoratively calling me a "neo-con" doesn't cut it either.

I also run a business and find it ironic that that many that rail against Reagan fail to acknowledge that a neo-liberal like Clinton, despite the rhetoric is simply a liberal that has come to his senses about fiscal policy. Clinton did more to finish Reagan’s job then George Bush Sr. NAFTA, Welfare Reform, etc. Yet the demonization of such while they cry for the days of Clinton is not credible. If they want to return pre-Clinton/Reagan policies to the Great Society then I am gone for good. Yet many make me feel that this is what is wanted on the left. Further I find the arguing on the margins of the current tax policy is silly because it is still mostly tooled after Reagan’s model. Do we want to go back to the Day of 70% top tax rates? In those days the rich paid less percentages of the total then today and I will further predict that if George Bush moves to simplify the tax code and the Democrats fight it they will get clobbered and clobbered big. I wish I could stop them, but I know the hard left will have nothing of it and this is going to cause many Clinton moderates to further rethink their allegiances. Also much opposition to Bush seems for the sake of opposition and is reckless. We spend more on education today then before Bush took office and we rail againts that? I see a Medicare bill and other pieces of legislation the Democrats would have gladly taken from Clinton so what gives? It has the appearance of blind hatred and sour grapes that is unbecoming of a Party that feels it is their right to lead. I feel this inspires them to make few good arguments because they are against more then they are for, and it has been this way for a long time. In truth I would much rather ally myself with a socially liberal party, but one behaving like adults on other policy matters is important to me and that is not what I see. Also if one believes we are in World struggle then we suspend arguing about minor deficits, especially when they are at historic lows relative to GDP.

Also when you said…

“Your analogy to Hitler I think doesn't work here. Hitler represented a nation state that could be stomped on by military force. In fact, that's eventually what happened, though it should have happened much earlier.”

Well that is exactly what Iraq fits, a nation state to be stomped and something that should have happened earlier yet I am still getting the “But we had him in a box argument” from the left, but I hear “It is about damn time” from the right. I happen to agree with the latter even though I wrongfully opposed the first Gulf War.” Kerry doesn’t seem that repentant about such opposition in the past and I would fell better if he did, at least I would then have a sense he had learned. And you correctly note the…

”Terrorism isn't primarily about nation states”

But then misfire with…

“al qaeda is not a nation state. It's a bunch of people scattered hither and yon. They're who we should be targeting in every way we can imagine.”

True enough but that is not the point, Bush’s policy is to go after both, so we have a policy disagreement and not as painting Bush by so many on the left as some nefarious undermining leader that compares to Hitler as many on the left chose to spew forth. States that show sympathy towards and harbor terrorists need to be taken out one by one as well. When I hear people say, “Iraq was the wrong country, Iran is more a true terrorist state.” I think “Now would this person really want us attacking Iran?” I think that because I would! These same people will have such arguments thrown back at them, yet they aren’t sincere because in truth as Ed Koch has said, ”they lack stomach for the fight” there arguments are hollow because they attack rhetorically yet offer no counter policy. In truth my guess is many of these people really want us just appeasing France and Germany and then put their heads right back into the sand where I believe they find comfort.

As far as…

“He allowed the Republican party (and to my eye actively encouraged it) to make the war on terrorism a political issue.”

Here you accuse the Republicans as if they had exclusive blame on such points. Look going into 2002 I was very much anti-Bush any way, in fact I was very much against the Iraq War, it was a combination of a “Peace March” sponsored by Answer that made me sick along a realization that the dire predictions that preceded both military endeavors were very wrong by the left. Is accountability not a two way street? Democrats banked on Bush caving in and increasing federal union control to even greater levels then now, Bush simply wanted the status quo concerning Unions, the public rendered their verdict. What was that verdict? A verdict this President more then gets. The public wants the Democrats to clearly yield to the President on National Security and the President to work with Democrats on Domestic policy like Education, Medicare, etc. The Democrats can’t expect better then a half of loaf. Unfortunately the President can on matters of National Security. That is the landscape and DEEmocrats ffight or yield, crying about losing is unbecoming, they hit easily as hard as Republicans. Now as far as wrong pronouncements? Democrats talked of over 100,000 body bags in 1991. They spoke of Predictions of Stalingrad with Baghdad in 2003, is the public going to believe these people have light to shed about Republican’s inability to be 100 correct in their pronouncements? These people have to prove their accuracy exceeds the Republicans if they want the job. To cry about Republican inaccuracies seems cynical isn such light. When Zell Miller says Kerry has been more wrong on issues of National Security then any other Senator, is that a smear or a challenge that is rebuttable? It is tough, but definitely rebuttable. The problem for Kerry is he must send the said rebuttal to those who reside outside the very liberal State of Massachusetts, a tough challenge but doable. He has so far declined.

Crying about smears and leaving these statements unchallenged is going to do Kerry in. Either he says, “Look, I voted that way then but would never vote that way today because I was representing my constituency but my constituency of 50 states would require me to do differently would be acceptable to someone like me. Even if he defended the votes agree or not, then fine. But when people saw him “Reporting to Duty” basically saying “Vietnam is my main qualifying factor”, in truth he said don’t look at my Senate record, focus on my service in Vietnam! This is what invited scrutinization of such but still left the other Senate issues unanswered. Chief Swift Boat Veteran O’Neil is a Democrat (obviously way more far gone then I) who voted for Gore and recently for John Edwards in the Primaries. This to him isn’t about Bush, he didn’t even want Bush, it is about Kerry and Kerry must answer him. Kerry chose to make this central to his campaign and now the Democrats want to retread the National Guard thing with Bush as a counter, man people will reject this and if the current documents put forward by CBS continue to be questioned and prove to be “planted” the backlash will be huge, I hope not. But again what was he thinking, and what political fight are the Democrats trying to win? Now Kerry must answer both questions, not about the medals he ought to say “fuck-off” on that one as it is bullshit, but unfortunately the public testimony to Congress in 1971 can’t be ignored, and in some ways much more difficult. Either way Kerry made Vietnam his qualifier and Bush made the last four years as Commander in Chief his, both are public record. Personally I feel the medals like the National Guard stuff is bullshit and a waste of time.

Area of agreement is this concerning Bush’s flip flops…

“But… on whether a homeland security department was wise, on whether a director of national intelligence is wise, on whether he'd continue the assault weapon ban, etc. The guy flips a lot, and not just because of 9/11.”

All very true, he did indeed flip flop. But the more cogent point is the reality that Bush finally settles in a position and holds it with all the stubbornness of a Ronald Reagan (who also drove the left crazy as well). That is the question, will Kerry settle on his positions or forever be nuanced to the point never settling in? A question the public needs to feel comfortable about, it remains hanging of Kerry’s own doing and that must be acknowledge before it can be dealt with. Now the following you make the mistake of not putting responsibility where it belongs…

“The media paints his views (Kerry’s) every week. The Republicans do, too. But my read of his views on the war are that he's been remarkably consistent. The willingness of the media to parrott conventional wisdom without actually looking closely at things is simply appalling.”

First anyone that feels Bush has had it easier with the Mainstream Press is blinded by partisanship. The real question is why does it stick to Kerry? That is Kerry’s problem and one he must solve, I’ll give you one thing for sure, attacking Bush’s National Guard Service will not yield that answer. Presidential politics rightly or wrongly vets both people unfairly, surviving that vetting process is part of how people view one worthy of the tough job of being President.

Anyway I hope others that read this don’t get mad at me for saying these things as I simply think these are truths Kerry needs to deal with, his burdens to overcome. I have come to see some political things differently. I read this page and see views that just aren’t as universal as some here claim. Tony, I do hope you are right about Kerry if he wins, but unless Kerry and his supporters start facing their predicament with clearer heads, it is not something I will have to worry about.

Bel,

Enough with the puffery already. You assert, imply, assure, maintain that I should vote for Kerry. Alternatively, you insist that Bush is a failure. But you never provide an argument or cite facts to support your conclusions. Where's the beef, Bel? How about some chewy stuff.

I've given you the benefit of the doubt because I know you are a disoriented Brit trying to find your way in the brave new world but, really, you must begin to apply yourself.

Go strong or go home!

The rest of you guys need to give Samuel a break. Can't you see he is an honest Dem struggling to find a reason to vote for his party's candidate.

You guys should have had the courage of your convictions and nominated Dean. Imagine that! A classic Right vs. Left struggle with lots of red meat. At least you would have had liberal enthusiasm to couple with your hatred of Bush. But you didn't think Dean would be accepted by the independents. Shame on you for prizing power above principle.

Zell is just a high profile example of a problem you guys have throughout the South. You are losing the conservative Democrats! The Jews are next, followed closely by about 30% of the black vote.

4 more years!

"What did we do to piss the world off before September 11th, 2001? Was it ending the Cold War? Shortly after the end of the Cold War did not terrorist seek to achieve the same goal in 1993 when they bombed the basements of the World Trade Centers? They still continued to attack and will continue to do so, making nice will not do it on its own."

1st, We didn't piss off the world after the cold war. The world is not attacking us. Al Qaeda attacked us. Al Qaeda is where we should be concentrating. Don't over state the facts.

2nd, what OBL objected to, among other things, was US troops on Islamic holy land- Saudia Arabia.

"Also in a post 911 world could we afford having Saddam continuing to thumb his nose at us for the whole world to see?"

Thumbing in what way? There were no WMD in Iraq. Inspections were working. Please be more specific.

"Also was he not funding Palestinian Terrorist in Israel?"

Not one of Bush's stated reasons for attacking Iraq. Not a reason a majority of Americans would have agreed to attack Iraq. A majority of Americans were in agreement to attack Iraq because Bush said Iraq had WMD to threaten us with. That was a lie. Period.

"Where was Abu Nidal residing?"

If you mean the man, not the group, wasn't he killed August 2002 in Bagdad, before the war? Abu was a "bad man" and an enemy of Israel, but I don't think the American people would have gone to war over Abu Nidol and certainly your man GWB didn't think so either, cause Abu wasn't the reason given for going to war in Iraq.

"What people call a rush to War, I now believe is merely a slow delayed reaction that should have been dealt many years earlier."

Then why wasn't the case for war made on that basis? It wasn't. The case for war was made based on WMD's in possesion of Saddam. Many people thought that was a dubious assertion in the first place, notwithstanding Powell's shaky evidence before the UN.

"But the more cogent point is the reality that Bush finally settles in a position and holds it with all the stubbornness of a Ronald Reagan..."

Huh? do you consider changing the rationale for war from WMD, to removing a bad man and placing his torture chambers under new management, to be consistent? (We will ignore the dubious assertion that we are bringing democracy to Iraq... that remains to be seen, although it is yet another Bush flip flop). The only consistency here is the refusal of Bush to acknowledge mistake. That's hardly a virtue. Continued faith in a mistken path in the face of all evidence to the contrary is not a reason to vote for someone. Its a reason to AVOID someone!

"Swift Boat Veteran O’Neil is a Democrat (obviously way more far gone then I) who voted for Gore and recently for John Edwards"

Given O'Neill and his swift boat buddies track record with the truth, I'd put more stock with where we can document he put his money, not in his verbal (and uncheckable) statements as to how he has voted. The man has given thousands of dollars to the GOP and GOP candidates over the years... do you really believe he voted for Gore? I wouldn't bet the ranch on it! O'neill gives money to the GOP and his playmates are card carrying members of the GOP. He is no democrat, "far gone" or otherwise.

I think, if your mind is not already made up to vote for Bush, that you should rethink this and do some more research. Bush is not what he seems. We need more than faith or mere words, we need deeds!

Wading through Samuel's voluminous "Continuing Republican Majority" posts... Samuel, you had some of the folks here going for a while (the Koch/Israel references were a nice touch), but completely gave away your hand with the John O'Neill is a Democrat and to him this is not about Bush line. It would be nice to discuss strategy here about the emerging Democratic Majority, rather than wade through pro-Bush rhetoric. From mediamatters.org:

"Houston lawyer John O'Neill is a Republican - as the Houston Chronicle noted the day after O'Neill's interview with Blitzer. According to the paper, O'Neill voted in the 1998 Republican state primary. But O'Neill's ties to the Republican Party extend far beyond party affiliation. During the CNN interview, Blitzer reported that former President Richard Nixon had urged O'Neill to publicly counter Kerry on The Dick Cavett Show, but there is more to the story. O'Neill was a creation of the Nixon administration, as Joe Klein detailed in the January 5 issue of The New Yorker. Former Nixon special counsel Chuck Colson told Klein that Kerry was an "articulate" and "credible leader" of those veterans calling for an end to the Vietnam War and therefore "an immediate target of the Nixon Administration." As such, the Nixon administration found it necessary to "create a counterfoil" to Kerry. Colson recounted, "We found a vet named John O'Neill and formed a group called Vietnam Veterans for a Just Peace. We had O'Neill meet the President, and we did everything we could do to boost his group." Articles from the April 21 Houston Chronicle and the June 17, 2003, Boston Globe confirm close ties between O'Neill and the Nixon administration.

"Beyond his role in the Nixon administration's strategy to undermine Kerry in the 1970s, O'Neill is also connected to Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist (a Nixon appointee) and to former President George H.W. Bush, according to Houston Chronicle articles from March 31 and April 21. In the late 1970s, O'Neill clerked for Rehnquist; in 1990, according to an October 7, 1991, report by Texas Lawyer, the former President Bush considered O'Neill for a federal judgeship vacancy...."

Molly Bloom,

Nice try but no dice. You would be hard pressed to show some evidence John O'Neill is lying. Go ahead, I dare you!

Kerry has already admitted:
1. No Christmas in Cambodia.
2. 1st Purple Heart was self inflicted.
3. He was at meeting where assasination of
US senators was proposed (Kansas City).
4. He wasn't the only boat to stay, he was the
only boat to leave.

These are just the facts he or his campaign has admitted. The other differences are in dispute, i.e. not enough evidence to force Kerry to admit he is lying!

You'd like paint O'Neill and the other 250 veterans as hardcore Republicans because the alternative does not bear contemplation, does it? You would have to consider the possibility the the guy you "settled for", Kerry, is a self promoting serial liar. Hey, why don't you get Begala and Carville to imply the vets are trailer park trash looking to make a buck (worked for Clinton).

Inspections were working. You must be joking or your prescription needs to be checked. Working for whom? Even the French, Russians, and Germans were convinced Saddam had WMD. If Saddam had nothing to hide, why did he act guilty and lose everything? I guess you think O.J. Simpson is innocent as well.

Agnes, shame on you. You went to all that trouble to detail O'Neills activites & support by the Nixon administration but intentionly left out the fact that O'Neill told Nixon, on tape, that he had voted for Humphrey. Jeez, have you people no shame? There is a tomorrow after this election you know. You may want that integrity someday so don't throw it away today.

4 more years!

Ok Blow Job, as you like it...

"You would be hard pressed to show some
evidence John O'Neill is lying. Go ahead, I dare you!"

The swifties:
1) Paul O'neill wasn't there. He arrived in Vietnam after Kerry's 2nd Tour of Duty. So Paul O'Neill is not an actual eyewitness to anything, yet he pretends otherwise.

2) O'neill says no-one was in Cambodia, except he told Nixon a different story back in the oval office.

3) Commander Elliot: 1968 kerry deserved medal, 1996 Kerry deserved medal; 1st swift boat affidavit, Kerry did not deserve medal; Boston Globe interview, Kerry deserve medal, Elliott in the wrong for swearing affidavit; 2nd Swift boat affidavit, Elliott says he was misquoted in the affidavit, but can't or wont give specifics as to how he was misquoted.

What story is Elliott selling today? Which assertion is the truth, which assertion was the lie, they cannot both be true. I hope whatever poor Elliott got out of this was worth his honor, because his honor was fatally wounded in this exchange and is not expected to survive... better call Dr. Letson. Paging Dr. Letson. Dr. Letson! Oh there you are!

4) Louis Letson: I treated Kerry, Kerry's wound a scratch... except the person who signed the medical records, wasn't Letson.

Letson's explanatin for this problem with the facts- he is the first Doctor in history to fill out the report so his corpman could sign it, as opposed to how every other doctor would do it- have the corpman fill out the form, so the doctor could sign it. Holy cow, a doctor without an ego! Never met one of those before! ROTFLMAO!

5) Larry Thurlow: Kerry not under fire when he rescured Jim Rassman. Rassman says otherwise. AS DOES THURLOW"S OWN CITATION FOR THE SAME INCIDENT...OOPS! Then there was the little thing about boat coming back shot up!

6) Swifies: Kerry filled out the after action action reports... The evidence for this assertion... The initials on the reports are KJW.... Do I really have to point out John Forbes Kerrys initials are JFK and not KJW... Not too swift are these swifties... Or their fellow travellers!

7) Regenery Publishing... the easiest way to get published is to submit an anti- President Clinton book to Regenery. Their track record isn't too good either. Even George Will teed off on one of their authors. Couldn't the Swifties get a real publicher?

Are all the Swifties lying... well the ones that are speaking out are.

As for: "Kerry has already admitted"

Please point to an actual statement by the Kerry Campaign where they admitted anything of the kind. Please try to use legitimate news outlets (i.e. not Fox) Your bald assertion (or wishful thinking) doesn't make it fact.

Want to talk about boy George's military records.. shall we compare the metals both candidates are carrying around as a result of Nam... Sen. Kerry's shrpanel to Boy Georges dental fillings?

in the end, Kerry's Vietnam record holds up to scrutiney and Boy Goerge's doesn't.

My advise, Blow Job, is for you to put down the crack pipe. Its never to late to try and sober up and make amends to all you have wronged. You will feel better. No really.

Molly,

1. O'Neill was there after Kerry left. He has never claimed he served concurrently with Kerry and said in the Cavett debate that he had taken command of Kerry's boat. Strike one!

2. O'Neill told Nixon "I was in Cambodia---I was on the border. " You can seize on this if you want to claim it proves Kerry could have been in Cambodia, during Christmas, sent by a President who had yet to take office, thus being seared, seared in his memory but even Brinkley has stated "that is clearly wrong". Strike two!

3. I'm grading on a curve so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. There was some confusion initially, stirred by Kerry's hometown paper but Elliot is standing by his affidavit. Ball one.

4. Is your point that it was other than a scratch or are you making the case that the Dr. is lying. No one, even those supporting Kerry contend it was a wound requiring more than a band-aid. To be fair, it is he said-he said. This is an example of not enough eveidence to prove Kerry is lying. Ball two.

5. Thurlow sticks by his assertion that there was no enemy fire, as do the vets on the other boats. He has further said, that if his own medal was predicated upon enemy fire, then he did not deserve said medal. Rassman says he immediately swam to the bottom for fear of enemy fire. If he was underwater how does he know there was fire, obviously he was hearing the guns from the boats that were blazing at the shore. And why was there no damage to any of the boats if there was "five hundred meters" of fire from the riverbanks? Strike three.

Sorry, Molly Blo-me, but you are out. Too bad, its clear you read the Dem talking points pretty closely...try watching Fox for both sides of the story. Better luck next time.

4 more years.

Samuel-

I stopped by to see if you'd replied. And did you! There's too much to tackle tonight, but I'll try tomorrow.

One thing I will note is that I don't see very many Dems calling Bush Hitler, and none who seem to be in responsible positions. There's at least as large a set on the right (to my eye larger, though I don't know that there's a good way to count) who do equivalent comparisons to folks on the left. I don't think that's the way to judge either party.

It should come back to policy and execution of policy, and as you note, you and I disagree pretty dramatically in assessing the Bush administration on that score.

But that's it for tonight.

Blow Job

Moving the goal posts won't help you. The point was whether or not the Swifties in general and O'Neill in particular were truthful

1) the point about O'neil stands. He lied about being in Cambodia, he lies when he implies he served with Kerry. To get side tracked, as you did, with Kerry's claims of being in Cambodia doesn't improve O'Neil's veracity. And O'Neill as well as the vocal Swifites have all implied they were there with Kerry, that they were eyewitnesses. I don't grade on a curve, I don't ask for quarter and I give none. Strike one for the Blow Job

2) the fact that Elliott may have found a story he is sticking with (this week) doesn't improve his veracity either (are you really this dense?) given his flip flopping depending on his audience. You don't really address that little problem of his. The point still stands, unrefuted by you that Elliott is not a reliable witness and is certainly a liar, if for no other reason than both of his tales cannot be true and one is therefore a lie (you really are this dense, aren't you?). strike Two for the Blow Job.

3) Thurlow learned, i suppose by Elliott's example and is sticking with his story despite its holes. The documentary record disputes Thurlow. Rassman, who wasn't underwater the enitre time (this has got to be the stupidist line pushed by the swiftie defenders yet) says he was under fire, when he was caught in the riggining trying to get back on the boat, when Kerry went forward and pulled him on board while under enemy fire. Tell me is Kerry's crew all lying when they say they were under fire? Strike Three and the Blow Job is out! Congradulations you whiffed. The manager has pulled you out of the game and you can head for the showers.

Just for grins: The issue of Letson isn't the seriousness of the wound, it Letson's veracity as to whether or not he treated Kerry. You merely moved the goal post, you didn't challenge my point regarding Letson being a liar, so you must be conceding it.

Now go home, cry in your beer, its over, you lose, and Boy George goes down like a cheap hooker in November.

You really ought to lay off the crack...

Molly Blo-me,

The swifties are not running for the highest office in the land, Kerry is! So his credibility is the issue. He could release his records, hold a press conference and answer these questions and put this all to bed. Why he doesn't is indicative of his fear that the smoke covers a raging fire.

Sure, I could engage you in a point by point debate concerning the discrepancies in O'Neill's book, the official records, Kerry's diary, and Brinkley's book but what is the point. "A fool convinced against his will is of the same opinion still".

Why this preoccupation with smoking crack? Are you in recovery or just infatuated. Maybe you are so dense you don't realise you are repeating yourself.

No matter, you'll probably get help from a faith based initiative in your community when Bush is reelected.

God bless and good luck.

4 more years!

Blow Job

The whole point of this began when I said O'neill cannot be trusted and that we should look to where he give his money, which is documented and not what he verbally claims as to how he votes, given his track record. You then challenged me to show he lied. I did. You failed to refute.

I think your problem in following this could be explined by the possiblity that you suffer from ADD or possibly withdrawal from your crack habit.

Withdrawal from crack is right.

Withdrawing his head from his crack.

POP!

Samuel,

I'm not going to be able to reply in detail. Just too much on the plate right now.

Some points though..

1) When you exterminate cockroaches, it doesn't turn things that aren't cockroaches into cockroaches. And that's what's happened with the invasion of Iraq.

2) Demonstrating toughness? We did that in taking out the Taliban, showing what happens if a country holds those who attack us. Except that now the Taliban is showing a lot of life since we didn't stabilize our gains.

3) Much of what you complain about is unfairness that comes from some on the left. I'm happy to admit that there are some crazies on the left. But there are on the right as well. As I mentioned last night, I don't see that as a basis for discrimination between the parties. For instance, there were a fair number of people who predicted that after the Iraq war was won, we'd be in a situation fighting an insurgency for a long time to come. Those statements seem to have been right on target. Unlike the views on which Bush based his judgment.

4) Adding on that last point...In war, if you plan for the worst case, then you can handle it. If you plan for the best, you can't handle the worst. Thus if we look at the future as difficult to predict (fair enough), Bush's strategic decision to count on the best seems foolhardy.

5) I'm fine with the discussion over the civil service status of those who were going to be hired for Homeland Security. But there's a level of discussion (comparing Cleland to Osama for instance) about which Bush should have spoken out. He was in a unique situation as president of a country that was largely united at the time. To maintain unity, he simply has to show that he has some respect for people who disagree with him. He didn't.

6) About sticking with things...I don't see it with Bush. He didn't keep his focus on Afghanistan till the job was done. He didn't keep his focus on Iraq (mission accomplished!). He seems to me someone who keeps thinking jobs are done and he no longer has to attend.

And that's it from me this evening.

Molly Blo-me,

Again with this fascination with crack! Honey, get help--crack kills! Your spelling and word construction are deteriorating. Either you have impaired mentation or you're geeking and typing faster that your mind can keep up with.

Hey, I've enjoyed this little tete-a-tete. Is it good for you too, baby?

Let's try this.

You believe O'Neill is a Republican partisan. He says he is not. He told Nixon, on tape, that he had voted for Humphrey. He has contributed to the campaign of a Democrat for mayor of Houston. I know I can't convince you otherwise, but let me ask you a question.

Can a whore be raped?

Really!

Does the fact that O'Neill may have Republican tendencies automatically disqualify him from questioning a Democrat's integrity? If so, then I want the NY Times, Washington Post, and all 3 major TV networks, and CNN to list the party affiliation of all their reporters, editors, columnists, anchors, and staff so that we can all be prejudiced towards their commentary.

Molly, for Gods sake, put aside your Democrat filter for one second and consider that O'Neill has a legitimate ax to grind with Kerry. He took over command of Kerry's boat. He ate, slept, fought, mourned, and commiserated with Kerry's peer officer, superiors and subordinates. He watched Kerry get 3 Purple Hearts in record time and a Bronze Star, Silver Star (with an unheard of, never done before or since V for valor) all in 4 months when he and everyone else stayed for 12 months. Then he watched this same guy bug out, return to America, immediately slander in the most egregious, public fashion all vets with outrageous charges (I won't go through them but you know them) and run for public office based the national exposure he had gained. O'Neill then confronted same scoundrel on Dick Cavett, heatedly but respectfully debated him, and disappeared into civilian life afterwards. Have you even seen the Cavett interview?

Fast foward thirty years without a peep from O'Neill about Kerry and O'Neill watches Kerry get the nomination. O'Neill says this ain't right! This motherfucker is wrong! I'm going to expose this peice of shit for the for the lying scoundrel he is!

He reaches out to anyone that knew or served with Kerry. Of course, most said "John Kerry is a fine fellow! You should be ashamed, John O'Neill, slandering this prince of a man!"

Not!

I'll pause while you take another hit on the pipe.

In fact, the overwhelming majority of men contacted not only agreed that Kerry was misrepresenting himself, they agreed to go public, give their names, and sign affadavits.

We know what Kerry's motive for his self serving actions were. What do these men gain? Are any running for office? O'Neill is donating all of his royalties and income from sales to veterans causes. That can easily be checked, but I'm betting he does. He donated a kidney to save his wife, and while you may scoff that anyone would, do you really see Kerry doing that for Te-ray'-sa?

Come on Molly, you can't really be so deluded or so far into the crack spiral that you don't wonder "What if its true?"

Put down the pipe baby and take off the rose colored glasses. He wasn't your 1st choice anyway and deep inside you know he's not kosher.

Love ya, babe.

4 More Years

Blow Job,

Get a grip Dude! If its not crack you are on (BTW can't you come up with an original insult, rather than stealing mine- what am I thinking! Of course you can't!), it must be the ADD. AGAIN, the issue was veracity. Again, you failed to dispute the evidence of the Swifties and O'Neill's lack of veracity. I gather you cannot.

So give it up. Go Home. Cry in your beer, cause its over and you lost. You can keep coming out to batting practice all you want, you are still whiffing. Maybe you should try something you are good at (surely you are good a something, even if you are a lousy debater).

BTW if you actually would watch Kerry's testimony that you refer to, you would know that Kerry did not slander Vietnam Vets. He merely repeated the testimony of some Vets and he made it clear that was what he was doing. Kerry went on to condemn the leaders who got us into Vietnam, McNamara, McBundy and others who, Kerry charged had left the troops behind.

Kerry also condemned Tricky Dick for "asking some to the be last man to die for a mistake" because Tricky Dick didn't want to be "the first Amercian President to lose a war". Pretty powerful stuff. The audience gave him a standing ovation- an audience of veterans. You would know this if you bothered to view the tape in its entirity for yourself, rather than rely on the ironically named Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth.

Watching the tape in its entirity (with an open mind) would be what's known as reviewing the actual evidence, before making up your mind. I don't think you have the guts to do it Blow Job, because it just might alter your world view and I don't think you can handle the truth.

Blow Job, you remind me of a quote from Shakespeare's McBeth-

Out Out Brief Candle, life's but a walking shadow a poor player who struts and frets upon the stage...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Molly Blo-me,

As Dan Ackroyd would say, "Molly you ignorant slut!"

I loved the Shakespeare quote, but I asked you if you had seen the Cavett interview, not Kerry's testimony. Talk about moving the goalposts! By the way, if you look over Kerry's shoulder in the Senate testimony, you'll see Al Hubbard (Hibbard?), one of the co-leaders of Vets against the Vietnam War who turned out to have never been to Vietnam. Is that who you refer to as an "audience of vets".

As to your point that Kerry was merely repeating what he was told, I have even less respect for him on that account. If he were a disillusioned vet relating his own experiences I could give him the benefit of the doubt and maybe agree with him. But to repeat the big lie, without making an effort to verify, is unpardonable.

Hey, have you seen the new Swift Boat ad? I love it! It so perfectly reveals Kerrys duplicitous nature. "I gave back, I don't know, 6-7-8-9 medals" Priceless, hoisted with his own words!

C'mon Molly, you really have no comment about my summation of O'Neills agenda? Makes your comment about an "open mind" seem rather hollow. Seems less like a baseball analogy, than dodgeball. Bush is going to punk Kerry. It won't be pretty and its just beginning.

Cry Havoc! and loose the dogs of war!

I'm not kidding about the crack Molly. I want you to get help.

4 More Years.