9.25.2004

The Alan Jackson Strategy for California Republicans


As this election cycle has played out, it has proven to be not only a battle between the political parties, but a battle among celebrities, moonlighting as politicians, as well. In the Left Corner, we’ve got the Hollywood elite – the George Clooneys, the Alec Baldwins, the Martin Sheens, and the Michael Moores. In the Right Corner are the Nashville Country Music stars – your Toby Keiths, your Clint Blacks, and your Alan Jacksons. While in past years, the role of celebrities in campaigns has been largely ceremonial, this year it is much more profound.

Michael Moore has largely shaped the message for John Kerry and the Democrats – focusing their efforts on spewing hatred at President Bush, rather than bothering to spend any time developing any actual ideas of their own.

Toby Keith’s song, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” is a largely symbolic, but by-and-large accurate portrayal of the feelings of many Americans, especially those in Bush Country.

Now this nation that I love has fallen under attack.
A mighty sucker punch came flying in from somewhere in the back.
Soon as we could see clearly through our big black eye,
Man we lit up your world like the Fourth of July.

Hey Uncle Sam put your name at the top of his list,
And the Statue of Liberty started shaking her fist.
And the eagle will fly,
And there's gonna be Hell,
When you hear Mother Freedom start ringing her bell!
It's gonna feel like the whole wide world is raining down on you...
Brought to you courtesy of the Red, White and Blue!

Oh, Justice will be served and the battle will rage.
This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage
You'll be sorry that you messed with the US of A
'Cuz we'll put a boot in your ass
It's the American way.


Out here in California, the influence of country music may take on an even larger role, and California Republicans may prove the beneficiaries of Alan Jackson’s hit, “It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere,” provided of course we can learn from our past mistakes, and take be prepared to take advantage of situations should they arise.


Despite the media’s instance to keep calling the Presidential election a “horserace,” it’s starting to look more and more like Clinton/Dole in 1996. The President is starting to pull away in some key Battleground States. Since early August, the President has gone from down 7, to up 3 in Florida. He’s gone from down 6, to up 6 in Ohio. He’s gone from down 12, to a dead-heat in Pennsylvania. Missouri, Arizona, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Nevada are all showing a dark reddish hue.

So, what if this trend continues? What if by election day, Kerry’s only support comes from New England, New York, and California – though each of them by a much smaller margin than once thought? What happens to California if as the first returns come in from the East Coast at 5PM Pacific, the Eastern Seabord is a long red streak?

If we are ready, it could mean a big swing back towards balance in Sacramento.

Think back to 1996. Clinton was routing Dole. Throughout the day, tv and radio reports in California made clear that all the exits showed Clinton ahead. Then, as 5 o’clock came around, and the first results started coming in, it was clear – Clinton was going to be re-elected.

GOP turnout plummeted. Those who usually vote after work, those who live in commuter districts, those Republicans in rural California who we count on to complete the fishhook – they didn’t make it to the polls.

And why should they have? Dole was our top of the ticket guy, the reason that most Republicans bothered to go vote in the first place. And if he was getting his butt kicked, the motivation to make it to the polls became nearly nonexistent. And while Dole didn’t exactly have a stellar shot at taking California in the first place, the repercussions of that depressed GOP turnout were dramatically felt down-ticket.

That year we lost 4 seats by less than 1000 votes. In AD26, Dennis Cardoza (D) beat Thomas Berryhill by 86 votes! In AD43, Scott Wildman (D) beat John Geranios by 192 votes. The awful Loretta Sanchez beat conservative hero Bob Dornan by 984 votes in the most notable race that year. Just up the road from there, George Brown (D) beat Linda Wilde by 996 votes. It was a depressing year for Republicans. 3 more seats were lost by the GOP by less than 7,000 votes. Republicans barely held onto 3 other seats by less than 4,000 votes.

Fast-forward to the present. There is ample reason to speculate that history could repeat itself, and the California GOP could stand to benefit in a big way by a Bush blowout – that is, if we have our act together.

Lets assume that the returns in the Eastern Time Zone Battleground states all have the President winning. Democrat turnout is hurt throughout the day. Then, at 8:00 EST (5 Pacific), the returns from Florida, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire all have the President winning. As work lets out, and rush hour begins, voters will hear about nothing but the Bush blowout. This will excite Republicans and depress the Democrats. After an hour of hearing this, Dem turnout will have spiraled downward into oblivion.

If this scenario, or anything remotely resembling it plays out, the onus then is on Republicans to get every last Republican, no matter how low-propensity, out to the polls. If we’re ready with phone calls, precinct walkers, and knock and drag efforts – we could push Republican turnout in key areas around the state. Robo-calls from the Governor and other GOP celebrities urging them to make it to the polls and help be a part of history re-electing the President could be made every 15 or 30 minutes to GOP homes who’d yet to vote. This has nothing to do with swing voters or with convincing Independents to cast their ballot for a Republican. We wouldn’t be fighting against opposing values; at this point we’d be fighting apathy.

In 1996, we lost control of the legislature because we weren’t ready at 5 o’clock. If we’re ever going to take this state back, this November will be key. And when the returns start coming in at 8 PM back east, showing the President cruising to re-election – we need to keep in mind that “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

SCALIA: KING OR MERE INTERPRETER OF WORDS?


I love some of the egghead blogs around. There’s nothing like elevated discussion to make one feel downright elitist. Well, recently a coupla pretty smart hombres (if I do say so myself) went toe-to-toe over the judicial style of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. What follows is a reprinting of that debate, starting with the article and the comment that set it off…


From the San Francisco Chronicle…

Justice Antonin Scalia on Monday bemoaned the Supreme Court's willingness to decide political questions such as the death penalty and abortion and predicted as a result a tough confirmation fight for the next nominee.

Scalia, who made no mention of possible retirements on the court, said judicial appointments are becoming increasingly bitter because justices are improperly deciding morally charged questions that are best left to elected legislatures.

"Each year, the confirmation of judicial appointments grows more intense. One shudders to think what sort of turmoil will greet the next appointment to the Supreme Court," Scalia told an audience of 60 at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center.

"The lesson is: One way or another, people will have their say on significant issues of social policy ... and judges will be made politically accountable," he said.

In the coming term that begins Oct. 4, the high court will hear several cases involving the death penalty, such as whether states can execute juvenile killers. Several constitutional challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act are also expected to make their way up to the Supreme Court.

Scalia, who was appointed to the court in 1986 by President Reagan, outlined his judicial philosophy of interpreting the Constitution according to its text, as understood at the time it was adopted. He said unelected justices too often choose to read new rights into the Constitution, at the expense of the democratic process.

President Bush has said if he is re-elected he would appoint justices, such as Scalia or fellow conservative Clarence Thomas, who strictly interpret the Constitution. Scalia also has been mentioned as a possible candidate for chief justice should William Rehnquist, who turns 80 on Oct. 1, retire.

"You want the death penalty? Persuade your fellow citizens" to pass legislation or a constitutional amendment, Scalia said. "You don't want abortion? Persuade them the other way. ... Judges have no more capacity than the rest of us to determine what is moral."

Scalia, however, declined to comment on a House bill that would strip the Supreme Court's authority to hear cases involving the Pledge of Allegiance and whether the words "under God" violate the separation of church and state. The bill, which is expected to be voted on this week, would give that review only to state courts.

Earlier this year, Scalia was forced to recuse himself from a pledge case after complaining in a public speech that courts had gone overboard in keeping God out of government.

"If they're moving through Congress, I probably shouldn't comment on them, and I won't," he said of the legislation.



Dennis - See, this shows exactly, yet again, the problem with Scalia. He thinks that morality is constructed by the democratic process, which is to say there are no intrinsic moral laws to guide all of humanity, including supreme court justices. I find that quite troubling.

Barry - Scalia's point was not that there are no intrinsic moral laws, only that judges are no better than the common folk at understanding those laws. Accordingly, democratic votes on issues of morality are preferable to a judicial dictatorship, of either the left (see Ginsburg) or the right (what you, apparently, want).

Scalia's point, once again, is that, simply because he wears a black robe does not make him more apt to judge morals than anyone else. As such, it is immoral for him as a judge to impose his vision upon those other people.

Dennis - Actually, the point is that none of us human beings determine what is moral. Morality is what it is, and it's not subject to anyone's opinion, whether Supreme Court Justice or Joe Sixpack. Scalia has a long trail of espousing this "whole theory of democracy" misconception.

You're skirting with moral relativism with this "impose his vision" thing of yours. Scalia's constitution, unfortunately, is an empty vessel not secured by a moral foundation. It's not a question of imposing a vision, but of applying the constitution in a way consistent with the rights it secures and the powers it enumerates. Justice Thomas, on the other hand, understands that the rights the constitution secures are inherent to all mankind, as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.

By rejecting natural right, Scalia fundamentally misunderstands republican government and its proper role in securing our rights.

Well, at least he is on the right side in the vast majority of cases....

I love you conservatives who accuse us Straussians of wishing for a tyranny of the judiciary! This is fun stuff!

Barry - Morality may be, but the point remains that a judge still has no better a claim to know what it is, rather than that it exists, than anyone else.

Accordingly, the best approximation is, in fact, a general societal consensus- and not of the "emerging standards" so often cited with no actual evidence, but of actual consensus, as espoused at the ballot box.

The Declaration of Independence, while an important historical document, is not law in the United States, or anywhere else in the world, for that matter. All rights due a citizen of the United States must be found within either the Constitution or the general laws of the nation. Even liberals recognize this, which is why Roe v. Wade is allegedly a 14th Amendment case, rather than some amorphous "natural right."

The Constitution, when you read it for itself, is a radically amoral document. Rights are not conferred out of the dignity of man, but rather as part of the status of the individuals as citizens of the United States, hence the ease with which it excludes slaves and Indians not Taxed. It is not a declaration of rights, but rather of privileges of citizenship, unique to the American people.

In fact, it rejects any notion of natural rights- if you notice, even in the Preamble (also not legally binding), the rights inhere and flow from "We the People of the United States," not from our status as members of the human race or from God or any other higher power. Also, the Constitution was by the people of the United States for themselves and their Posterity. It is not, and never was, a document expressing the worldwide rights of man- if you want that, consider the UN Charter. It is a fundamentally nationalist, rather than humanist or internationalist, document.

The Constitution is not a moral document- rather, it is a framework for the functioning of a government and a citizen body which is, itself, entrusted to make moral decisions, based on whatever ideals it desires. Scalia simply states the obvious.

Dennis - Sure, a judge has no better claim than anyone else to know absolutely what is moral and what is not. But isn't any decision a judge or anyone else makes is a judgment on moral questions? Doesn't every decision rest on what is good and what is bad?

The constitution does not explain every single conceivable question under the sun. Our founding law does not dictate what is right in every circumstance, and we thus necessarily do not have simply a government of law, we to a great extent have a government of men. As Publius famously wrote:

"If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to government men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself."


Scalia would have all questions not expressly decided through the constitution decided democratically. Hence, he does not concern himself with the fact that there was a high degree of wisdom, intelligence, virtue, etc. that produced our constitution that makes it great, that the constitution is secured by certain principles understood by sober and prudent minds that are the basis for the powers enumerated. He would have any amendment rightly voted on by the people to be as legitimate as those critical rights placed into the document by prudent and wise men.

Right, the Declaration is not binding positive law. Rather, it expresses the rights of mankind that are from the laws of nature and nature's god, true and just everywhere and always. This is the essence of what separates the United States from every country this planet has ever known, and what makes us great. One is not conferred certain rights because one is a citizen of the United States, one has those rights as a human being, but they will be secured by the condition of being subject to the laws of our great nation.

Roe v. Wade doesn't even rest on the language of the 14th amendment. It's complete rubbish for its rejection of the equal natural rights of all human beings, which is covered by its ridiculous speculative ruminations on "emanations" and that nonsense.

Our constitution is not perfect; it was crafted out of compromise. The acknowledgment of a temporary inequality between races was for the greater long-term good that our political system would bring. Political prudence often requires such compromises.

I submit that your understanding of the preamble is completely false. In no way does it reject any notion of natural rights. To the contrary, states that the constitution establishes "Justice," and that it secures the "Blessings of Liberty." This is an explicit acknowledgment that what Justice is, is set prior to any particular political construct. I don't see the constitution define "justice" anywhere. How could this have any meaning whatsoever if not by an understanding of natural right? And who confers "Blessings of Liberty"? Are we blessed by the people who gave us our laws, or by nature and nature's god? Our constitution does not attempt to secure the rights of mankind, so, sure, it's not idiotic like a world government that UN boosters would envision. However, that has no bearing whatsoever on the question of whether those things that it does secure are good and true, everywhere and always.

At least I believe there's hope for you and Justice Scalia, Mr. Barry. I could never have a discussion like this with a flaming liberal, which is why I and other “elitists” relish the opportunities to attempt to enlighten our fellow conservatives.


Barry - No, it doesn't.

Most judging has nothing to do with what is right, but rather simply what is. That's why, after all, the first step in statutory analysis is "plain meaning" rather than the policy implications of it. Also, what's moral about determining whether one party owes money to another on an insurance contract? These are the vast majority of judges' work.

You're exactly correct that the Constitution doesn't address every question under the sun- it doesn't address most, even. That's why the remainder of the questions are left up to laws. These laws are not created by judges, but by the people, through the legislature, as Scalia correctly notes.

Further, it is rather interesting that you're unwilling to accept modern democratic judgments in favor of prior ones, simply because they are prior to our own time. Sure, you include some empty praise of the Founders, but your actual beliefs come through in the statement that "[Scalia] would have any amendment rightly voted on by the people to be as legitimate as those critical rights placed into the document by prudent and wise men."

This is such a glaring dismissal of our own body politic and constitutional scheme that I can barely begin to comment.

You're missing my point on the Declaration- my point was that, while Jefferson and those who signed it expressed those ideals, those ideals have never been an explicit part of American law sufficient to justify your demand for judicial invention of nonexistent rights. The rest of your paragraph is an appeal to human rights, much like the pabulum that comes from the United Nations.

While you might believe that all humans have rights, that these need to be secured by a government betrays that notion. If these rights cannot exist without the protection of a nation, they are dependent upon that nation, and cannot exist beyond it.

Roe v. Wade paid lip service to "substantive due process," a right, much like your supposed natural rights, nonexistent under the Constitution.

I'm not sure what style of English you speak, but "establish" is a word of foundation- where there was not before, now there is. And it is quite clear from the language that the government being established (that is, the social contract among the citizens, you know, the ones you don't trust to govern themselves, instead instituting moral Archons) is what confers the Blessings of Liberty, not nature, which is notoriously brutal and unfair.

Generally, you're blinded by the secular paganism that worships "nature and nature's god." You might want to consider Hobbes' observation that life is nasty, brutish and short when you think about whether anything from nature is desirable. In fact, I submit, government, and civilization in general, is an explicit rejection of the natural in favor of the artificial, of the natural law of the jungle for the laws of men, of chaos for order.

In such a system, men most rule themselves, as Scalia says. He does not want to be a king, as you would crown him.

9.21.2004

CLUB FOR GROWTH SENATE RECCOMENDATIONS


The Club for Growth maintains about as high a batting average as any group around. Not only are they lethally precise with their targets, but when you back a Club candidate, you know they are REAL, true, actual, no-nonsense, RINO bashing, Goldwater/Reagan Conservatives! That said, here's an update from Club Honcho Steve Moore on the Club's Senate targets...

As you well know, the GOP controls the Senate by just one vote. A
review of all the polls in all the Senate races shows that if the election
were held today, the Republicans would win just 50 seats in the Senate.
Clearly we must do everything we can to prevent Sen. Tom Daschle and
the Democrats from seizing control of the Senate again.

Even with today’s margin, the GOP doesn’t have effective control of the
agenda as the Democrats use the filibuster to kill pro-growth reform or
crucial judicial appointments. The next Senate could confirm two U.S.
Supreme Court justices. All in all, control of the Senate could be
equal to control of two of the three branches of government, and that’s a
key reason the Club has become so active in key Senate races this year.

The thought that Daschle may return as Majority Leader next year is a
frightening prospect, but it’s a very real one. Even more horrifying is
the possibility of Daschle working with a Kerry Administration. But if
this makes you feel more than a little queasy, don’t despair -- we’ve
also got a decent chance of not only adding to the Republican’s razor
thin one-seat majority, but improving the quality of Republicans and
ridding the Senate of Mr. Daschle once and for all. Wouldn’t that be fun!

If the Republicans do manage to pick up a few extra seats in the
Senate, there could also be an ideological shift toward pro-growth issues.
Right now, the balance of power is in the hands of the RINO Republicans
like Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter. With a 2 or 3 seat pick-up for
the GOP, plus the addition of GOP superstars, Olympia and Arlen would no
longer be deciding votes. We could move away from watered-down
Republicanism toward a genuine pro-growth agenda on taxes, trade, Social
Security, and budget reform.

One issue that will instantly be impacted by a Republican pick-up in
the Senate is permanent repeal of the Death Tax. We need 60 Senate votes
to win full and immediate repeal. We are now 4 votes away from
breaking that impasse.

So the stakes are mighty high in the Senate elections. That’s why
we’re providing you now with our outlook for every competitive Senate race
and a list of our top tier choices. Please be as generous as always by
donating to as many of these “A” and “B” candidates as you can, and
since the election is just a few weeks away, donate as soon as you can.


“A” List Candidates

Candidates make this list because their races are competitive and they
are the very best on economic issues.

Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Race Rating:
Toss up.

We sent an email out last week reminding you of why we think Coburn
would be an absolute superstar in the Senate. If you haven’t already
donated to Tom’s campaign, please consider it – his race is our TOP
PRIORITY.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below to make
your contribution online, fax in the form below, or call us toll-free at
800-687-2582:

https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


Jim DeMint, South Carolina Race Rating:
Leans Republican.

Jim DeMint is running for the open seat being vacated by the retiring
Senator Fritz Hollings. He’s going up against tax-hiking liberal Inez
Tenenbaum.

Jim is one of the most free-market and principled men in Congress.
Here’s a quick recap of Jim’s outstanding record:

Earlier this year, Jim received the prestigious lifetime “Taxpayer
Hero” citation from Citizens Against Government Waste. He has earned “A”
grades from the National Taxpayers Union in four of the five years he
has served in Congress. Among all the Republicans running for Senate
nationwide, we strongly believe that Jim is the cream of the crop. A man
of his word, DeMint promised to serve three terms in the House and he
did.

He was one of the 25 Republican heroes who voted AGAINST the fiscally
irresponsible Medicare expansion bill last year, even though he was told
that it would hurt his chances of winning the Senate seat. He is the
author of the most comprehensive proposal for Social Security personal
accounts in the U.S. House.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below:
https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


Pete Coors, Colorado Race Rating:
Toss up.

The former CEO of Coors Brewing Company solidly supports free markets,
lower taxes, and smaller government.

In a Congress filled with too many career politicians and lawyers, Pete
Coors would bring much-needed perspective from someone who has spent
years in the private sector creating jobs, meeting a payroll, and
delivering profits for investors.

While many Republican candidates know the economic theory, he has the
experience of dealing with complicated tax laws and regulations and the
stifling effects these burdens create on the free market system.

Pete favors making the Bush tax cuts permanent, creating Social
Security personal accounts, enacting tort reform, and controlling federal
spending. In short, he is rock solid on all the key economic growth issues
that will confront the next Congress.

The polls have this race very tight. The Democrats have nominated a
popular Hispanic state attorney general, Ken Salazar, who is masquerading
as a centrist. In reality, Salazar is a Kerry Democrat who wants to
repeal the Bush tax cuts, renew the death tax, and prevent meaningful
tort reform.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below:
https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


“B” List Candidates

Candidates on this list are all in hotly contested races too, but they
are not as rock solid on economic growth issues.

John Thune, South Dakota Race Rating: Toss
up.

This race is all about Tom Daschle. It’s about ridding the Senate of
its most obnoxious and persistent adversary of pro-growth legislation.
The good news is that Daschle is the Democrat senator most likely to be
defeated in November. If we beat Daschle, we cut the Left off from its
central nervous system.

Former Congressman Thune ran away from some key pro-growth issues in
his loss to Sen. Tim Johnson two years ago. He also compiled only an
average voting record for a Republican during his time in the House.

Thune lost his Senate race in 2002 by only 524 votes out of 334,000
cast. This time we want to make sure that he’s on the winning side of
that margin, especially since George W. Bush stands to win with more than
60% of the vote in South Dakota this year.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below:
https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


David Vitter, Louisiana Race Rating:
Toss up.

Congressman Vitter currently has a strong lead in this race to replace
the retiring Sen. John Breaux (D). However, Louisiana’s unique “jungle
primary” means there is a good chance the next Senator won’t be decided
until December. Anyone who qualified to run is on the November ballot.
If none of the candidates gets over 50%, there is a December runoff
with the top two candidates. Vitter may have a better chance of winning
the “primary” outright than winning a runoff.

Vitter is running on a pro-growth platform and he was a big hit at our
candidate forum in Florida last February. He compiled a
better-than-average voting record for a Republican congressman in the last four years
-- though he is no Pat Toomey or Jeff Flake.

Louisiana has not elected a Republican to the Senate in 125 years!
Vitter has a great chance of breaking that century long lock down in Bayou
country. That is why we make this race a priority and believe that our
members should donate to David Vitter.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below:
https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


Mel Martinez, Florida Race Rating:
Toss up.

We tend to play down this race for Club members simply because the race
will be so expensive that it’s hard for us to have a major impact.
Then again, it is Florida, and who can forget how close the presidential
race was last time?

It’s also hard to predict whether Martinez would be a totally reliable
pro-growth vote in the Senate.

He performed reasonably well at our New York candidate forum in August.
He also returned a strong pro-taxpayer candidate survey to the National
Taxpayers Union. We like the fact that he escaped from communist Cuba
and knows first hand the importance of limited government -- something
that too few members of Congress seem to appreciate. He also compiled
an admirable record as Secretary of HUD for President George W. Bush,
often showing a backbone. He says that having overseen the agency, he
would like to cut many of the corrupt programs at HUD. Amen, to that.
How about getting rid of the whole agency?

One worry about Martinez is his trial lawyer background. However, he
says that he favors tort reform.

His opponent is awful. Betty Castor is about as left wing as they come
on economics, which explains why she has the enthusiastic backing of a
who’s who of the nation’s liberal groups, including Emily’s List and
MoveOn.Org. We don’t need another Hillary Clinton or Barbara Boxer in
the Senate—which is exactly what she would be.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below:
https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


Richard Burr, North Carolina Race Rating: Toss up.

Congressman Richard Burr is running for this open seat created by the
vice presidential run of Sen. John Edwards. He faces former Clinton
chief of staff, Erskine Bowles, who lost two years ago to Elizabeth Dole.

Burr has compiled an average record for a House Republican. He is
solid on tax cutting, making the Bush tax cuts permanent, and advocates a
flat tax or consumption tax along with Social Security personal
accounts.

The problem is that Erskine Bowles is pumping millions of dollars into
this race and current polls show him with a lead, but in recent weeks
that lead has been shrinking. The race leans slightly Democrat, but
Burr definitely has a shot of picking up an extra seat for the GOP.

To donate to this campaign right now, click on the link below:
https://www.clubforgrowth.org/c-d/index.php?m_id=12538&ea=bjpo&cs=8,11,20,23,24,25,27


The Other Senate Races…

If you’d like to read about our “C” candidates, and be kept abreast on
ALL of our endorsements (including House races), log into the MEMBERS
ONLY section of the Club’s website, www.ClubForGrowth.org. We will be
making updates right up until Election Day on November 2:


Best,

Steve

9.19.2004

QUOTE OF THE WEEK


“When your opponent is in the middle of committing suicide, don’t interfere.” - GOP Supergenius Lee Atwater


Seems also applicable as the BC04 official motto

WITH CUNNING INSIGHT & HUMOROUS PROSE - BROOKS NAILS IT


Kerry's Cast of Thousands
By DAVID BROOKS
September 18, 2004
dabrooks@nytimes.com


Across the wine-dark sea they come, honing Kerry's message. They come from Harvard, K Street and the studios of CNN. "Once more into the breach!" they cry, as they join the conference call of thousands.

Look at them, these great, unhuddled masses, yearning to wear White House badges. They are consultants, flacks, spinners, strategists, Knights of the Palm lunch table. And yet they come as one, from all corners of the Democratic world, to figure out what John Kerry, age 60, should believe and say.

Into the valley of hope ride the 600, the inner ring of Kerry confidants. A year ago, there was just a small and hearty band. There was the campaign manager Jim Jordan. There was Gibbs, Cherny and Mellman. But under their reign, the message was not honed. The candidate did flounder. The quest for a Kerry conviction was not fulfilled.

And so the great accretion began. The call went out to pollsters, wonks and wandering wordsmiths to come gather and fill the void of Kerry's core. Brave souls emerged from the Land of Ted - the Kennedy brigades led by Cahill and Cutter are now abetting the mighty Shrum.

Boldly they rode and well, into the morass of Kerry's mind. Through the thicket of equivocations they ventured, across the paradoxical plains of Kerry's prose - all in the quest for a conviction.

Policy committees gathered. Of domestic policy councils there were 37. Of foreign policy councils, 27.

And in each of these councils resided faculties and think-tankers by the score. On the justice policy task force there were 195 members, lawyers brave and strong. On the economic council, more than 200 economists did search for a conclusion. When these groups did meet, so long was the line of approaching Volvos that it was visible from outer space.

Yet still the message was not honed. King Kerry still did equivocate, hedge and reverse. Of flip-flops there were more than a few. He still did Velcro his principles upon the cathedral door, and change them by the hour.

The apparatus grew again. Elmendorf from the Land of Gephardt was hired, along with Lackey from the House of Edwards. Teams of de-equivocators gathered. And still the fog spread.

And so the age of nymphomottomania did begin. Suddenly it was realized what was missing. A theme! A slogan! The muses were mobilized to find that motto, which would give shape and precision to the cause. Over the weeks "A Better Set of Choices" begat "Safer, Stronger and More Secure," which begat "The Real Deal," which begat "Change Starts Here," which begat "Let America Be America Again," which begat "Hope Is on the Way."

Night and day the serial sloganators did work. And the seasons did turn and the conventions did come and go. Kerry's speeches were shortened, and parts of his life were edited out of his story (adulthood, for example). And yet there was still wailing in the House of Kerry for the message was still unhoned.

Kerry himself pinpointed the problem. Of advisers, there were not enough! So this month yet more were brought in, mostly from the camp of Clinton. There is McCurry, Lockhart, Carville and Begala. There is Greenberg and Wolfson.

And so it came to pass there are no swing voters left, because they've all been hired by campaign Kerry. They form a great and mighty leviathan, dedicated to the proposition that John Kerry should believe in something. The flow chart is as clear as can be. Sasso reports to Lockhart, Devine, Sosnick, Cutter and Cahill, while Cutter reports to Devine, Mellman, McCurry, Shrum and herself - except on weekends, when Devine reports to Mellman and Sosnick and Cahill reports to McCurry and Sasso. Lockhart handles strategic response, McCurry daily response, Cutter tactical response and Cahill metaresponse.

Vast is the empire crafting Kerry's creed. Immense is the army of Michelangelos trying to sculpture the melted marshmallow of Kerry's core. And the seasons do turn and the polls do shift and the rending of garments gives way to the sunshine of hope and back again.

And tumultuous is the cry of the strategists, and loud are the furies of the campaign, but in the center there is a silence. For in the beginning all was vacuum and a void, and while all the king's horses and all the king's men do build this grand and mighty structure, the sound of their hammers echoes limitlessly in the hollow within.

9.15.2004

NOBODY LIKES HIM


By DICK MORRIS

September 15, 2004 -- JOHN Kerry is in deeper trouble than the polls indicate. While the Fox News survey taken last week after the Republican convention shows Bush with a small lead over Kerry, the internal data indicates big shifts against the Democrat.

For example, Kerry is now seen unfavorably by a record 44 percent of the voters (his personal worst), giving him a slightly higher unfavorable ratio than Bush — whom 43 percent dislike. (Bush's edge comes from the fact that he gets 51 percent to rate him favorably, while Kerry has only a 46 percent favorable rating.)

But worse, the poll shows that Kerry must face a basic problem: His own voters don't like him very much.

The Fox News poll asked Kerry supporters if their vote for the Democrat could best be described as motivated by support for Kerry (41 percent) or by opposition to Bush (51 percent). By contrast, Bush voters emphatically say, by 82-13, that they are voting for the president rather than against the challenger.

This puts Kerry in a tough position in the coming debates. He has no real base of support and any attenuation of the dislike his voters feel for Bush will weaken him substantially. All Bush has to do is to persuade a few Kerry voters to stop disliking him, and he can get their votes. There is no residual affection for the Democrat to get in the way of their switching to the president.

The polls already have shown how Kerry's own voters break almost evenly on the issues, with half supporting the war in Iraq and half opposing it, and almost equal numbers saying we must stay the course as say we should bring the troops home.

So Kerry can't use issues to hold his own in the debates: Whatever he says will antagonize some of his base. And now it's plain that he can't rely on personal popularity to hold them, since most are just voting against Bush.

If the president gives an even moderately effective presentation and comes across as even somewhat likeable, he can cut deeply into Kerry's vote.

In addition, the poll shows that there has been a shift in the issues on which voters are focused. Those who identify terrorism or homeland security as key issues has risen from 7 percent before the convention to 22 percent afterward, and issues such as taxes and gay marriage, which did not make the polls before, now draw 4 percent each who feel they are the most important issue before the nation.

Asked which is more important in their votes, national security or the nation's economy, voters split 45-38 for security — a clear Bush win.

The electorate remains sharply divided in its loyalties based on voters' perception of the most important issue. Of those who see security as key, Bush wins by 68-28, while Kerry triumphs among those who focus most on the economy by 56-19.

Underscoring Kerry's popularity problems, voters rate Bush better on a host of adjectives. Who is the stronger leader? Bush, by 51-37. Who is more honest and trustworthy? Bush, 42-37. Who will make the United States a stronger country? Bush, 46-40. Who takes strong stands and sticks with them? Bush, 56-27.

Kerry only wins "Who understands the average American better?" — and by only 43-36.

Kerry never had time to make America like him. He won the nomination before anyone really got to know him and has coasted on anti-Bush campaigning ever since. Even now, he relies on the old National Guard records of Bush to animate his campaign, as if we are about to form our judgment of how Bush would be as a commander based on 30-year- old, possibly forged records rather than on our own observation of how he has done the job. But Kerry has got to close the most fundamental gap of his candidacy: Voters don't like him very much.

If Morris is right, ya, Kerry's done!

9.12.2004

John Kerry, Lazy Diner-Waiter

Everytime Kerry opens his mouth and spews out something about multilateralism and the war in Iraq, I can't help but think of a really lazy waiter. Kerry is the lazy waiter who doesn't know the house special, maybe a special entree that is somehow different from the normal house variety, but didn't bother to learn what's different about it. Despite not bothering to learn the difference, he is still going to recommend it because somewhere inside of him he thinks that is his job. Kerry's vagueness in interview questions on Iraq ( and as he will surely respond in the debates) are the lazy waiter's responses to questions from me, the happy diner.

This post was going to contain some sample dialogue, but then I decided that everyone knows what a lazy waiter is and will think of it next time Kerry speaks. He just states over and over again that he will do a better job and will not alienate the world. This is great for staying on message, but it's scary because he doesn't have a clue how he is going to kill terrorists. I follow the news fairly well, yet have not heard a concrete policy difference or strategy Kerry would embrace to win the peace in Iraq. Like the lazy waiter, he pushes the concept but is lost on the details. (BTW, feel free to use this simile yourself sometime soon)

9.11.2004

MR TIMUS - FORESEER OF EVENTS


From John Fund's Political Diary



When in Doubt, Blame Karl Rove

The widow and son of the late Lt. Col Jerry Killian both say they don't believe the documents CBS News used to claim George W. Bush failed to meet performance standards during his Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard are genuine.

For now, CBS is standing by its claim that the documents are from Lt. Col. Killian's files and that it consulted "a handwriting analyst and document expert who believes the material is authentic." But CBS won't reveal the name of the expert and the network's claims are challenged by several other experts who say it is almost certain the documents were generated by a computer that wouldn't have been in use in 1972.

But CBS has begun an internal investigation after reports surfaced from inside CBS that the documents may have been brought to the network's attention by Democratic National Committee opposition researchers. Today, the network also trimmed back its statements to rival news organizations about how "convinced" CBS is of the documents' authenticity. If the documents indeed turn out to be fakes, it won't be the first time CBS has been snookered by partisans in a presidential race.

In 1992, Bill Clinton's presidential campaign was nearly ended when tapes between the Arkansas governor and cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers were released. At the time, KCBS, the network's owned-and-operated affiliate in Los Angeles, took the tape and submitted it to private detective and forensic tape expert Anthony Pellicano for analysis. Mr. Pellicano's conclusions that the tapes were "misleading" and "not credible" played a role in Mr. Clinton surviving the controversy.

Only later was it learned that Mr. Pellicano had no formal training in evaluating tapes and was at the time being paid by Democratic sources to squelch "bimbo eruptions" surrounding Mr. Clinton. In other words, Mr. Clinton's own private eye was able to discredit one of the most damaging eruptions that preceded Monica Lewinsky. In his own memoirs published this year, Mr. Clinton confessed to the Flowers affair, contradicting his fierce denials at the time.

Years later, Mr. Pellicano did demonstrate facility with tapes when police investigating threats made against Los Angeles Times reporter Anita Busch uncovered evidence that Mr. Pellicano had been involved and had also illegally wiretapped her conversations. Mr. Pellicano is now serving a 2 1/2 year federal prison term for possessing firearms and explosives. A federal grand jury is still investigating allegations that he wiretapped Hollywood celebrities. CBS would be wise to conclude its internal investigation quickly. If it results in bad news, it should cut its losses immediately.


Meanwhile, former Clinton and Gore operative Chris Lehane, an acknowledged master of the black arts of opposition research, is already making the rounds on television hinting that Karl Rove could have planted fake National Guard documents to embarrass Democrats. If CBS is offered that scoop, my advice is simple: Don't take it, no matter how many documents with Karl Rove's signature you are shown.


LET THE SLIMING BEGIN!


This is the time of year that slime starts to get slung at candidates…it’ll start as a trickle, and as we get closer to election day, and as more and more voters begin paying attention to things other than forgeries, swift boats, flip-flops, and society ownership, the slime at the lower levels will be slung in larger and larger amounts.

This year, in California, the new fad is low-budget websites.

Within just the past week, we’ve seen the creation and launch of:

Nicoleparra.com

Whoisdeangardner.com

And

Youjudgewapner.com

From an effectiveness level, these sites only work when they get reported on. The Parra people were smart to link whoisdeangardner on rtumble.com. The average voter probably wont see the site, but if the research is good, and the site is properly leaked to the press, the dissemination of oppo can be done without a campaign’s fingerprints being directly attached.

This is kind of scary though because as accountability diminishes, outlandishness increases. Evidence the anti-Wapner site, where nothing but personal attacks are leveled. It is no secret that Wapner has a sizable oppo file on him, filled with not-so-good stuff, but when largely-anonymous charges can be leveled, and no one is held responsible, you can expect that they will continue and slowly be the home of all the personal charges an oppo firm can find.

I’ll keep on this – as I’m sure 3 sites I a week don’t pop up out of coincidence.

9.08.2004

MassDebate

It would be awesome to see Cheney, Edwards and Camejo debate on primetime. I'd be less excited to see Bush, Kerry and Nader debate, mostly because I don't think any of them make for interesting t.v. But I like Cheney's style and Edwards would look childish next to him. And Camejo would be there to steal hippie votes from Kerry and to say ridiculous things that make good t.v. This would be a very watchable event and would benefit the Bush Cheney camp enormously.

Scolinos to get help from Rogan

Former Rep. says he'll support challenger in bid to unseat Adam Schiff.

By Josh Kleinbaum
The Leader

September 8, 2004

NORTHEAST GLENDALE — On election night of Jim Rogan's three congressional races, he would always walk through the phone banks, thanking the volunteers who called registered voters, encouraging them to vote. Each year, he'd spot former Congressman John Rousselot working the phones, just another volunteer.

"Nobody knew who he was, nobody knew that he had served in Congress," Rogan said. "Most of them were high school or college kids. John was a constituent, and he just wanted to make sure he did everything he could for me, even if it was just calling people on the phone."

Rogan, who lost his Congressional seat in 2000 to Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) in the most expensive race in the history of the House of Representatives, plans to help Republican Harry Scolinos defeat Schiff in the November election.

Scolinos and Rogan appeared together for the first time recently at a fundraiser at Oakmont Country Club. Scolinos pushed a conservative agenda that echoed many of President George W. Bush's battle cries, with a focus on national security and the war on terror. He painted Schiff as being too liberal for mainstream American values.

"The number one responsibility of government is to protect its citizens," Scolinos said. "I served and fought in Vietnam. We need strong leaders in Washington willing to fight for and support the president. Adam Schiff, he's got his priorities mixed up."

Scolinos questioned Schiff's voting record, focusing on an $87-billion supplemental package for the war in Iraq that Schiff voted against.

Schiff said he voted against it because he supported an alternate package which also provided supplemental aid for the Iraq war. Schiff said his alternative included $73 billion for troops and $14 billion for reconstruction.

The administration's package included $69 billion for troops and $18 billion for reconstruction.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a member of Congress who's been more supportive of our troops than I have," Schiff said. "Mr. Scolinos needs to check his facts."

Rogan and Schiff faced off in three elections, with Rogan winning the first two.

"My plans right now are to make sure a guy named Harry Scolinos goes to Congress," Rogan said. "I'll do anything I can. If he needs me to walk precincts or do car washes down by the college, I'll do whatever it takes. Whenever Harry needs me, I will be there for him.

"Schiff is a tough competitor. But if Adam thought he had his hands full with me, he's in for a big surprise with Harry."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/burbank/news/la-blr-scolinos08sep08,1,3586522,print.story?coll=la-tcn-burbank-news

www.scolinos4congress.com

9.07.2004

FROM A FRIEND


I was just thinking--which is rare, I grant you--that if john f-in' kerry is as patriotic and principled as he claims, he woouldn't be at a podium, bragging about his military "achievements" or "service", as he runs for commander-in-chief, he'd be begging for mercy in front of a war crimes tribunal after in relation to the "numerous criminal acts" perpetrated by he and his comrades. Cozying up to the vietcong doesn't answer for for those crimes. Nice try.

9.06.2004

BUSH’S SPEECH


So, last Thursday George Dubya gave a speech accepting the nomination to run for President on the Republican ticket. First of all, you’ve got to love the process! A guy with no challenger still has to go thru the nominating process to run…Democracy in action!

Bush’s speech was the single best I’ve ever seen him deliver. For once in his life, he seemed genuinely comfortable with what he was saying. It’s never been the subject matter, but rather an inability to feel at ease speaking in public. While he still screws up rather often, and seems overly tense, for this speech, for this half-hour, Bush was in-the-zone. And it made a world of difference.

The speech itself signified a partial shift in campaign strategy. While all the media focus, and in fact the first three days of the convention were dedicated to the almighty swing voter, Bush’s speech was aimed directly at the base of the Party. Dowd, Mehlman, Rove and Co figured that there would be no better use of a speech who’s audience was comprised mostly of Republicans than to get them pumped up.

Lyn Nofziger and Pat Buchanan have really been the only ones hitting this point, but it’s not an automatic that every single Republican a)goes out to vote, and b)votes for the President. In fact, the difference between 60% turnout and 90% support, and 55% turnout and 85% support is wider than the margins of most of the major polls. “Swing Voters” be damned, Bush’s speech was about getting the troops motivated and out to the polls.

This was much needed. Pollsters I know have said that the Democrats have been much more enthusiastic about voting than the Republicans. The hatred of Bush has been more overwhelming than the aggregate of support for Bush and hatred of Kerry. Bush’s speech last Thursday was a step towards fixing that.

The speech itself was brilliantly written. It read like a mini-State of the Union address, but much more politically targeted.

The first 30% of it was FISCAL
The next ~10% was SOCIAL
The final 60% was SECURITY


FISCAL

Much as Bush added the word “Compassionate” to Conservative to make Republicans more fuzzy, he changed the word “Privatize” that scares the bejeezus out of moderates, and called it “Ownership.”

President Clinton scored high points talking about building a bridge to the 21st Century. Bush’s “Ownership Society,” looks to actually make that happen. By pushing for Medical Savings Accounts, and Individual Retirement Accounts, Bush looks to hand Americans the control of their own future. Policy-wise its great, and PR wise it may be even better

But Bush didn’t stop there – he also singled out Medical Malpractice Reform, and talked of its urgency. Richard Shelby watch out, this needs to get passed!

SOCIAL

I was shocked that President Bush – the risk-averse man he is, used the “U” word. He actually said that we as a society, need to protect the unborn. WOW! The “Fundies,” as the Clam used to call them are now back in action, and are fired up to re-elect the Prez.

The other part of the section on social issues that I loved was the part where Bush defined values.

"My opponent recently announced that he is the candidate of "conservative values," which must have come as a surprise to a lot of his supporters. Now, there are some problems with this claim. If you say the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood, I'm afraid you are not the candidate of conservative values."


Taking the class-warfare rhetoric, the Two-Americas nonsense, and shoving it back at Kerry is awesome. Good for Bush for using this line. Polls consistently show a disdain among regular-Joes for the “Hollywood elite,” and Bush delivered the line near-perfectly.

INTERNATIONAL

Bush finally made the case for Iraq, and that was a good step. (Guliani did it better, but who’s counting?!?)

More than that though, Bush contrasted his straight-forward ways with Kerry’s flip-flopping (Campaigning 101 – DON’T let your opponent define you!) He talked about his strength, consistency, and resolve to not let up. The money line, I thought, was almost the throw away line:

This election will also determine how America responds to the continuing danger of terrorism — and you know where I stand. Three days after September 11th, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the Twin Towers. Workers in hard hats were shouting to me, "Whatever it takes." A fellow grabbed me by the arm and he said, "Do not let me down." Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America — whatever it takes.


Polls show consistently that those who think of the “War” as the “War in Iraq” favor Kerry, while those who think of Iraq and the war as an ongoing “War on Terror” favor the President. Thus, the President wisely pushed the necessity of the War on Terror. I think he won big points on that one.

OTHER THOUGHTS

Again, the theme of a good part of Bush’s speech was that he is consistent in his decision making, and in these trying times, I think that will matter a lot.

“Even when we don't agree, at least you know what I believe and where I stand.”


Bush also had some really good self-deprecating lines about his bluntness and his frequent fumbling of the English language. Good for him for being able to change the mood of the speech in parts, to transition from serious part to serious part, without making the speech seem old really quickly.

Towards the end of the speech is where I think Bush won-over anyone watching who was truly undecided. As he spoke of personal experiences with families, he really started to tear up. Now, he didn’t make a show of it, the way surely Kerry would have, and therefore I took it as genuine.

“I've held the children of the fallen, who are told their dad or mom is a hero, but would rather just have their dad or mom.”


Great line!


FINAL THOUGHTS

The Republican Party is essentially a coalition of three groups, Social Conservatives, Fiscal Conservatives, and Military Conservatives. Bush’s speech had something for everyone, and gave ample reason to push any Republican not-yet convinced to support the President to do so.

As the polls from here-on-out show a constant bump dating from the Convention, it is likely made up of re-born supporters of the President – those like myself.

This speech was a push for turnout. The President’s campaign knows it can only convert so many of the “Undecided” voters, and the only other well it can draw voters from are the Republicans (both the not-thrilled-with-the-President sort, and the low-propensity voter sort). I think it hit a homerun with all groups – great speech!


I've seen these ads all over the net, I think on CH and various other sites to waste time. There is absolutely no question that these chumps are extremely anti-GOP. They put on this facade that they are unbiased or somehow evenly presenting the same side of a coin, but this just hippie propaganda. The whole site is crap but this gem leaped out at me:

"Metro America produces the majority of the nation?s tax revenue, but some $200 billion a year of Metro taxes flow to Retro states and support the economic life of its small cities, towns, and rural areas."

Obviously they are not going to cite any sources but look how they characterize this crap. They take a place, say California, and call it "Metro" even though only 40% of the state is made of hippie-commie-democrats. A state that looses more money than it takes in from the Federal Government must be doing so because rural life is completely incapable of supporting itself. Let's take a wild guess and see how self sustaining a place like, oh, I dunno Oakland or South El Monte or Eagle Rock or any other crap hole actually is despite it Metro-ness. This whole site blows and maybe I'll pull all their arguments apart at another time, but just look at it and seethe as I do.

9.04.2004

MUST SEE WEBSITE


You have to go check out this website: http://johnkerrythenewsoldier.blogspot.com/

It shows what is in the book John Kerry wrote upon his return from Vietnam, but now won't allow to be reprinted.

Go there. Read it. Spread the word!

9.03.2004

CONVENTION THOUGHTS, Part 1


Time has a funny way of filtering out initially misguided thoughts, and putting things in perspective. As the news cycle speeds up, and opinions come hot n heavy, I wanted to take a little bit of time before jumping headfirst into my thoughts from these 4 days of Republican-Mania.

To put the week into the right context, I should make clear how skeptical I was coming into the Convention. Despite numerous invites, I consciously decided against going because of (ultimately misguided) thoughts I had on how the Convention would turnout (and to a lesser extent out of fear of some sort of terror stuff - Ya, when it's my time, God's gonna let me know...but why press the issue?).

C’mon now though, as a member of the McClintock/Toomey wing of the Party, and having just been put thru the passing of the Gipper, to see the Party put forward John McCain, Rudy Guliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a Democrat – Zell Miller, as the bearers of conservative values, of course I was going to be starting the week assuming the worst.

Boy was I wrong. As Bush would say, I misunderestimated things...a lot.

Night One - Damn McCain and Damned Yankees

For the first few hours of the Convention on Monday I was just confused. The first speech I saw was Democrat activist and actor Ron Silver. He came out and with what seemed genuine, but over-the-top passion gave a speech of which my favorite lines were, “We will never forget. We will never forgive. We will never excuse.” Quite powerful, especially considering the source.

So, I went on for a bit, doing some work before John McCain was going on. Now, I’m no McCain-iac by any stretch of the definition. I opposed him in 2000, and do now. His Campaign Finance bill is catastrophic, and a he should be embarrassed that it bears his name. But, I’d heard Peggy Noonan helped with a lot of the writing, so I was intrigued to say the least. It sucked. It wasn’t the writing, which goes almost without saying. It’s just that it was written to be very deep and profound. It would’ve been very powerful coming from someone like McCain, but he botched the delivery. He was either uninspired to be there, or just falling asleep. Either way, I thought – “Wow, that was a missed opportunity.” The way the speech was written, I thought Silver and McCain must have mixed up their speeches.

I really thought McCain was being sent out to give some of his “Straight Talk,” and rip apart Kerry’s Senate Testimony where he accused American troops of War Crimes. I think that is one of the most under-reported parts of Kerry’s record, and McCain would be such a great guy to beat that point home. Instead, he bored me to death. However, what amazed me was that afterwards, the talking heads were beside themselves, anointing him GOP nominee in 2008. Thank God Chris Matthews does not get to pick Republican candidates.

But anyway, Guliani was up next. I expected a lot from Rudy. No one, not a single person in the world, can give his perspective on 9-11. That was the day Rudy became not just New York hero, but an American legend. His little fireside chat started off slowly. At first I didn’t get what he was doing. When I caught on, I loved every second of it.

In a way only Rudy could pull off, he magnificently wove first-person storytelling from 9-11, with the macro view of what President Bush’s leadership means, and how Bush won’t let 9-11 happen again.

He dropped many a great one-liner, and they really stung.

President Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is. John Kerry has no such clear, precise and consistent vision.

---

When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, John Kerry voted against the Persian Gulf War. Later he said he actually supported the war.

Then in 2002, as he was calculating his run for President, he voted for the war in Iraq.

And then just 9 months later, he voted against an $87 billion supplemental budget to fund the war and support our troops.

He even, at one point, declared himself an anti-war candidate. Now, he says he's pro-war. At this rate, with 64 days left, he still has time to change his position at least three or four more times.

My point about John Kerry being inconsistent is best described in his own words when he said, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."

Maybe this explains John Edwards' need for two Americas - - one where John Kerry can vote for something and another where he can vote against the same thing.

----

He said Saddam “himself was a weapon of mass destruction.”


Interestingly, Guliani also made a strong pitch for the Jewish vote. He criticized the fact that Arafat had received a Nobel Peace Prize. He used the wall in Israel as an example of Kerry’s inconsistency, and he made repeated references to promoting Democracies in the Middle East. (Mr. Guliani, your plane to Florida leaves in twenty minutes.)

Rudy has discovered this great way to be conversational during his speeches. It hardly looks like he’s using a prepared text at all. His storytelling seems spontaneous, and when he ripped on Kerry, he had this little shoulder-shrug and smirk that was awesome, “Who me?”

All in all, the first day of the Convention was quite good. I thought McCain could’ve delivered better, but it’s McCain and he sucks, so who cares?

Night Two - Girly Man Goes National

Night two was Arnold’s stage. After reports of Arnie’s speech having gone thru 19 drafts, I was expecting the most focused-grouped piece of talk-without-saying-anything garbage I’d ever heard. Much to my surprise and delight, I was wrong. One passage in particular summed up Arnold’s message:

They come because their hearts say to them, as mine did, "If only I can get to America." Someone once wrote -"There are those who say that freedom is nothing but a dream." They are right. It's the American dream.


Arnold reached out to moderates, conservatives, undecided voters, and immigrants all in one speech. Quite impressive.

Now if we could just get him to start acting that way at home!

Also, reports have started surfacing that Arnold will start stumping nationwide for Bush. If that’s all he’s good for...that’s good enough.

Night Three - Give 'em Zell

Night three had me perplexed leading up to the Convention. Dick Cheney was the only actual conservative lined up to speak in Prime Time. However, he never has been, nor will he ever be a powerful speaker. He’s a cerebral guy, and is the guy who we all know does our work behind closed doors. He is a lot of great things, but a Prime Time speaker isn’t one of them. Zell Miller, the Democrat Senator who endorsed the President, was also speaking. Zell had talked a lot about how his Party had abandoned him over the years (he even wrote a book about it!), but leading up until the Convention hadn’t had too many bad things to say about Kerry. I figured that had to change, but was curious how far he’d go after Kerry.

Turns out, Zell’s got balls like few people in politics. His speech was a blistering indictment of John Kerry. Not only was is very well written, but clarified certain arguments that I think had previously been lost on voters.

He started off talking about his family and how much they mean to him. He said that his family means more to him than petty politics ever will. He said that the only man he’d entrust to protect them is George W Bush – so far so good.

Zell then went into what was some obscure history for most people watching, how Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee against FDR, and how he would rather lose than make national security a partisan issue. It made his point, but to eat up that much of the body of his speech for that was questionable.

But then he got on a roll:

Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief.

---

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator... And nothing makes this Marine madder than someone calling American troops occupiers rather than liberators.

---

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.

It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.

It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag who gives that protester the freedom to abuse and burn that flag.


He also made clearer a series of criticisms that’d been used before – a listing of all the weapons systems Kerry had voted against, the B-1, B-2, F-14, F-15, etc. However, Zell made a point of mentioning their significance. Too often, military guys will just list these programs off, assuming their impressive sounding names will convince Americans that it is bad that Kerry voted against them. Compare that though, with what Zell said:

Listing all the weapon systems that Senator Kerry tried his best to shut down sounds like an auctioneer selling off our national security but Americans need to know the facts.

The B-1 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, dropped 40% of the bombs in the first six months of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The B-2 bomber, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered air strikes against the Taliban in Afghanistan and Hussein's command post in Iraq.

The F-14A Tomcats, that Senator Kerry opposed, shot down Khadifi's Libyan MIGs over the Gulf of Sidra. The modernized F-14D, that Senator Kerry opposed, delivered missile strikes against Tora Bora.

The Apache helicopter, that Senator Kerry opposed, took out those Republican Guard tanks in Kuwait in the Gulf War. The F-15 Eagles, that Senator Kerry opposed, flew cover over our Nation's Capital and this very city after 9/11.

I could go on and on and on: Against the Patriot Missile that shot down Saddam Hussein's scud missiles over Israel, Against the Aegis air-defense cruiser, Against the Strategic Defense Initiative, Against the Trident missile, against, against, against.


And then he delivered my favorite line of the night:

This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?

U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?


Just AWESOME!

He continued to drop some more good lines like:

As a Senator, he voted to weaken our military. And nothing shows that more sadly and more clearly than his vote this year to deny protective armor for our troops in harms way, far-away.

---

And, “George Bush wants to grab terrorists by the throat and not let them go to get a better grip.

---

From John Kerry, they get a "yes-no-maybe" bowl of mush that can only encourage our enemies and confuse our friends.”


He then went full circle talking about that these reasons are why he believes Bush is the right man to protect his family. Great speech.

I do admit being a little worried initially that Miller’s obvious anger while delivering his speech would chip away at what he was saying. While that might be true among the talking heads, after watching the speech twice more, it becomes clear that the moments of “unhinged” anger come while delivering lines and talking of things that one could reasonably become “unhinged” because of. We’ve seen what anger pointed towards Bush looks like, and it’s had some resonance with voters. This was the first we saw of someone who knows John Kerry and is genuinely pissed off at the prospect of him becoming President. It will have legs, especially among old Reagan Democrats.



I still have to digest the President’s speech a little more. I thought it was awesome – easily the best speech of his life. I was one of those “Bush is a squish” guys before. Now, I’m solidly marching in lockstep. We gotta re-elect this guy...More on the Bush speech, and my overall convention thoughts later...

9.02.2004

It's a bird!.... It's a plane......! It's ROVE!!!!
In the last few days I have been reading a lot about Karl Rove, political mastermind. But what I have been reading about him hasn't convinced me he is a genius, but everyone thinks he's a genius (which in many ways works better for Rove). If something goes really well for Bush, it's Rove. If there is suspicion about the funding of Swift Boat Vets commercials, it's Rove. If the GOP convention is a smash and the polls bounce in Bush's favor, it's Rove. If Kerry's corn flakes are soggy, it's Rove.

You get the idea. Karl Rove can be used in conversation or newspaper column as the deus ex machina of current affairs. Lots of smart people I respect do this; casually placing Rove at the scene of every political maneuver and it's accepted without a second thought. Try it if you don't believe me. Around the water cooler or in a class, throw out a current conspiracy/phenomena and then say Karl Rove did it, and no one will challenge you on it (unless you say something really moronic, then you're on your own).

This is really a demonstration of Occam's razor but it's significant because political commentary and analysis seem to be operate on Occam's razor seven days a week and twice on Sunday. It allows for debate to be replaced with common sense when it's often that events are not common nor sensible. This bugs me so I'll touch up on this again with links to examples and maybe a more a articulated version of what I'm saying.