Friday, October 29, 2004

Kerry's clear stand on removing Sadaam

From Tom Brokaw's interview with the Senator:
Brokaw: The flip side of that is that if you had been president, Saddam Hussein would still be in power. Because you...

Kerry: Not necessarily at all.

Brokaw: But you have said you wouldn't go to war against him...

Kerry: That's not true. Because under the inspection process, Saddam Hussein was required to destroy those kinds of materials and weapons.

Brokaw: But he wasn't destroying them...

Kerry: But that's what you have inspectors for. And that's why I voted for the threat of force. Because he only does things when you have a legitimate threat of force. It's absolutely impossible and irresponsible to suggest that if I were president, he wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone. Because if he hadn't complied, we might have had to go to war. And we might have gone to war. But if we did, I'll tell you this, Tom. We'd have gone to war with allies in a way that the American people weren't carrying the burden. And the entire world would have understood why we were doing it.

How can anyone who hasn't beenliving under a rock on the far side of Mars for the past three years believe that this man has even the faintest hint of a clear stand on this, or any other issue? The mind boggles at the utter futility of Kerry's attempts to appear decisive on Iraq. Does he realize how he sounds? He can't even come out and flatly deny that Saddam would be in power if he were president. The best he can manage is "Not necessarily at all." What kind of an answer is that? It's like saying "Absolutely probably not", the sentence is meaningless.

Boy, and doesn't Kerry get definitive in that last paragraph? "He wouldn't necessarily be gone. He might be gone....we might have had to go to war. And we might have gone to war." Elitist snobs mock Bush's mangling of the English language, but Kerry, in his own way, mangles it just as badly. I suppose they didn't use William Strunk, Jr.'s The Elements of Style in his Swiss boarding school. John Kerry really needs to memorize and apply Rule 12:
12. Put statements in positive form. Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language. Use the word not as a means of denial or in antithesis, never as a means of evasion.
Whether consciously or subconsciously, I believe people pick up on the inherent weakness in Kerry's language. John Kerry simply can't hide his weakness of character. Sure, he can speak with large, impressive words in a deep, sonorous voice. But his very language betrays a man who, at his core, is deeply unsure of himself, his beliefs, and his place in the world. It takes more to lead and inspire than a cheaply won medal and a European education. Leadership demands the kind of confidence that is so deeply rooted in one's character that it expresses itself not only in the words one uses, but how they are used.

John Kerry is not a leader.

Harkin hears from God too!

In what some are calling "the REAL October surprise", the Almighty has switched from supporting George Bush to John Kerry, according to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin (D):

Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says John Kerry has been gaining in the polls every day since Oct. 21, and George Bush has been going down every day.

"That's how God wants it to be," Harkin told a group of about 25 people at the Benton County Headquarters in Vinton on Thursday afternoon.

Sounds like Harkin and Pat Robertson need to have a chat. It reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer and Ned Flanders pit their sons against each other in a contest of miniature golf:

(While the Flanders family prays) Homer: Hey Flanders, it's no use praying. I already did the same thing, and we can't BOTH win!

I guess one of these two men is going to have a crisis of faith next Wednesday morning.

Who'da thunk it?

BILD, the largest newspaper in Germany, endorses...BUSH? Via Davids Medienkritik, who provides the translation for the 10 reasons that BILD backs Bush:

1. Bush has clear priorities. He sees the inhuman Islamic fundamentalism and the murderous mullahs as the largest danger for the Western world.

2. Bush has learned the lessons of history. Military strength, not pleasant talk, is the only thing that helps against violent fanatics. And with Bush -- unlike with Kerry -- there is no doubt about this.

3. Under Bush, the US, as a superpower, will continue to bear the financial, military and casualty burden in the fight against terrorism in a "holy war" which Islamic fanatics unilaterally declared.

4. Along with fighting terror and the terrorists, a re-elected Bush will do everything he can to prevent nuclear proliferation. That is especially true with regard to the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

5. Bush has learned that America can defeat every country in war, but needs allies in peace. Thus, his second term will be characterized by cooperation with international partners. But he will not depend on how Syria or Libya vote at the UN.

6. Bush knows that Europe and Germany don’t have the military at their disposal to become involved in any further foreign military engagements. Therefore he won't ask them for help. Kerry will do exactly that – and will further burden already damaged German-American relations.

7. Under Bush, America will remain a reliable partner for Israel in its fight for survival. That must especially be in our German interest.

8. Republicans have always been stronger supporters of free trade than Democrats. That is also true of Bush when compared to Kerry. And that is good for Germany as an export nation.

9. Every new American administration makes mistakes. Bush has already made his. Kerry, on the other hand, has of yet held no (executive) position in the government. He would be worse prepared than most Presidents preceding him.

10. With Bush, we know what to expect. With Kerry, nobody knows what he stands for and where he wants to lead America – and the world.

This is certainly a surprise, but a welcome one. Finally, a European newspaper that takes the threat from Islamic terrorists seriously. I found reasons 3 and 10 particularly interesting. Number 3 is all about German self-interest: they want us to bear the burden of prosecuting this war as long as we are willing, because they realize that no one else has the ability to do it. And by first recognizing that the threat is real, BILD progresses naturally to the conclusion that if we don't fight this war, there will be no protection for Germany against the terrorists.

Number 10 is particularly damning of John Kerry. If his sophisticated European friends can't figure out what he stands for, how can he expect the less nuanced, overly simplistic, average American voter to figure it out?

I offer my applause and my sympathy to BILD. They made what must have been a tough call to endorse Bush, and will likely suffer some blowback from their virulently anti-American readership in payment.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Section 31 EEI

EEI, for new readers, stands for Essential Elements of Information. In case you have recently started reading this website, I thought I would provide an EEI outline for what Section 31 is about.


That would be me, the Director of Section 31, ______________. If I actually told you my name, of course, I'd have to kill you.

Posted by Hello


The primary purpose is right up there at the top of the screen: to search out and identify potential threats to America...quietly. Right now the two biggest threats to America are Islamic terrorism and Western liberalism, and so at this point in time the bulk of this website discusses these topics.

The secondary purpose is for me to write about whatever I find interesting or worthy of discussion. Right now, the main things I find interesting and worthy of discussion are limited in number, but I hope to be able to branch out more post-11/2/04.


My cover occupation as an attorney keeps me quite busy, so I do not post Intel Reports as frequently as some. However, I believe in quality of writing as opposed to mere quantity. Whether the Intel Reports are of high quality or not, you can find them in the main area of the site. Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Trolls will be eliminated quite painfully.

The sidebar of the website contains key information and communication channels to Section 31 operatives and other sources. They include:

Display Info-- go here to update the display technology of your screen to match optimum Section 31 display specifications.

Subspace Transmissions-- click here to initiate direct communication with me.

About Me-- What little public informationn is available on me can be found there.

Previous Intel Reports-- A running list of my most recent reports.

Section 31 Document Storage-- archived Intel Reports.

Key Operatives-- these are agents from whom I receive daily, sometimes hourly intel . One, the U.S.S. Clueless, is a retired agent, but his own intel archives are well worth your attention.

Allied Organizations-- these are assorted groups of intel operatives who are all more or less working towards the same goals as Section 31. Their collective data collection abilities are most impressive.

Intel Analysts-- this is where I go to get analysis about current events and new intelligence.

Field Operatives-- these individuals are proven and experienced agents who may not have the exposure of the Key Operatives, but do a lot of the grunt work that the big boys sometimes skip over.

Raw Intel Processing-- if you want lots of raw data on breaking intelligence, go here.

New Assets-- these people are relatively new agents who are still in the process of proving themselves, but are showing a great deal of promise. Some of these may one day move on to become Field Operatives.

Informants-- just like it says, these agents are deeply embedded inside enemy territory, but nevertheless provide excellent insight on how the enemy thinks and operates. Finding credible informants is difficult, and so this list is very short at this time, but will hopefully be expanded in the future.

Finally, there are several links to miscellaneous support services which assist in the operation of Section 31. Go there if you are curious about how the nuts and bolts come together.

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what this website is about. The agent list is subject to change at any time, so stop in now and again to see what's new. Hopefully you will become a regular reader, and perhaps if you are lucky, you may get recruited into Section 31 yourself someday...we are always on the lookout for promising new agents.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Curse is over!

'Nuff said.

Will the curse be lifted?

I won't jinx anyone by speculating as to whether the curse will be lifted, but I will say that I hope it happens this year. Even though I was born and raised a Southern boy, I have been a Red Sox fan ever since I started collecting baseball cards as a kid. I remember one of the first cards I had was of Carl Yastrzemski, the last player in MLB to win the Triple Crown. When I had all the statistics on the card explained to me, I was so impressed, I figured that any team with such a great hitter on it had to be the best. I just KNEW in 1986 that they were going to win the World Series, and I cried when the ball went through Buckner's legs. It just wasn't fair, or right, or just.

And now the Red Sox are a game away. If it were any team but the Red Sox, I would be cheering the Cards on, but since it isn't...GO SOX!!!

Monday, October 25, 2004

Good news in Florida for Bush

Jay over at The Horserace Blog has a very detailed and compelling analysis of the current state of the campaign in Florida. Based on current registration data compared against the results in the 2000 election, Jay feel safe predicting a Bush win in Florida. For those worried about the tight polling data, the last paragraph is for you:
Note for all of you poll watchers, if Kerry loses Florida by 100,000 -- he will lose it by about 2%. This means that you will see pro-Kerry polls between now and election day. It is a statistical inevitability. Roughly one in every six polls, actually, will be pro-Kerry. So, don't worry about the polls! Just keep your eyes on my rolling, unweighted average (which currently shows the likelihood of a Bush FL victory at >90%).

If you are a Bush supporter, read the whole thing for maximum feel-good effect. For Kerry supporters I suggest a good antacid.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Last gasp of the Boomer Left

Why are the leftist baby boomers so frothing-at-the-mouth desperate to win this election? Bill Quick hits the nail squarely on the head:
This election is the last shot. They know, in their hearts, that John Kerry is not John Kennedy, no matter how much the Senator tries to assure the comparison. But they are older, and much more tired, and are willing to settle for half a loaf. Just to beat the damnable Bush, the damnable Republicans, to get a little of their own back, to hold their heads up and taste the sweet drafts of hope one last time.

Maybe Kerry can reverse the fall. (They know he can't, but still...)

Bill is exactly right here. The plain fact is that the baby boomer generation was largely converted to socialism in its infancy and as a result has produced no good ideas since. For all its preening about intellectualism, it is surprising that more liberals don't recognize the devastation this idealogy has wrought upon the group politically.

For today's left to become once again competitive with the right politically, it must abandon its communist heritage. This won't happen until the left has been driven into the electoral and political wilderness for a substantial period of time. Hopefully the wandering in the wilderness will begin next Tuesday.

Friday, October 22, 2004

What is courage?

cour·age (kûrj, kr-) n. Middle English corage, from Old French, from cuer heart, from Latin cor. The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.
By its nature, courage is something of a dormant virtue. That is, it is generally not visible under ordinary circumstances. Notwithstanding contrary opinion on the Left, courage is not required to "dissent" in America. Sean Penn, Michael Moore, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry face no danger, fear, or vicissitude when they mock, degrade, and slander George W. Bush and other conservatives. If they call Bush the demonspawn of Satan and Adolph Hitler, John Ashcroft's wild-eyed, ultra-conservative, Christian thought police will not show up at their mansions, drag them to torture rooms, lop off ears and tongues, and rape their family members before running them all through a wood chipper.

True courage is only revealed in the face of true danger, trials, and tribulations. What liberals call "courage" is a vile sham of the true article. The plain fact is, in 9/10 America, we faced so little real danger that we substituted increasingly mundane challenges and fears as the catalysts of courage. However, 9/11 presented our nation with a real and truly frightening test of our collective ability to face danger with confidence and resolution. For a time, at least, our country remembered what true courage looked like: firefighters and police officers rushing into the World Trade Center, certain that their death was before them, but resolute in their determination to dare every chance to save and preserve the lives of their countrymen inside.

Courage, I believe, is a virtue which is either nurtured or suppressed by the culture in which one is reared. Courage is more likely to be found in a nation which, as a whole, prefers confidence, boldness, and self-determination over acquiescence, timidity, and reliance on others. This is why democracies tend to engender courage in their citizens.

Courage is a virtue which we may not even realize we have until we are tested. I do not scorn the man who, when faced with true danger, finds that it is more than he can bear. However, I mourn a culture that so dilutes and weakens the notion of courage in its people that, when push comes to shove, what was thought to be courage is revealed, in the worst possible circumstances, as cheap fakery. I revile the man who boasts of his courage when he has faced no danger or fear worthy of the virtue. And I laud those who, when faced with the darkest and most hopeless terror, respond with steeled determination and will.

I ruminate on the topic of courage because of this story, which is receiving extensive media coverage:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Margaret Hassan, the kidnapped director of CARE International in Iraq, wept and pleaded for Britain to act to save her life in a video aired Friday. "Please help me. This might be my last hours," the gaunt Hassan begged, shaking with fear and burying her face in a tissue.....

"Please help me. Please help me," Hassan said, trembling. "This might be my last hours. Please help me. Please, the British people, ask Mr. Blair to take the troops out of Iraq, and not to bring them here to Baghdad. That's why people like Mr. Bigley and myself are being caught. And maybe we will die like Mr. Bigley."

I do not mock this poor woman or condemn her pleas. Given the modus operandi of her Islamic captors, she is likely already dead, or soon will be. She knows that the same fate likely awaits her as awaited Americans Danny Pearl, Nicholas Berg, Jack Armstrong, Jack Hensley, and fellow Briton Kenneth Bigley. The guillotine of the French Revolution was merciful compared to the slow, manual sawing-off of a head with a dull blade, the preferred method of the jihadists. I cannot say that I would respond differently in her place. I've never been placed in that sort of immediate, life-or-grisly-death situation. I hope I never am. What I do say about this situation is that Margaret Hassan has faced a true test of courage, and was not able to face it with self-possession and confidence. Nor did Kenneth Bigley, only a few short weeks ago:

"Here I am again, Mr Blair," Mr Bigley added. "Very, very close to the end of my life, you do not appear to have done anything at all to help me." Mr Bigley said his captors patience was "wearing thin, and they are very very serious people."

In a calm voice, he continued: "I beg you ... British people, more then ever I need your help, more than ever I need your voices, to go out in the street and to demand a better life for the females and the women who are imprisoned in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad."

As Mark Steyn put it in a column which was spiked by The Daily Telegraph:
None of us can know for certain how we would behave in his circumstances, and very few of us will ever face them. But, if I had to choose in advance the very last words I’d utter in this life, “Tony Blair has not done enough for me” would not be high up on the list. First, because it’s the all but official slogan of modern Britain, the dull rote whine of the churlish citizen invited to opine on waiting lists or public transport, and thus unworthy of the uniquely grisly situation in which Mr Bigley found himself. And, secondly, because those words are so at odds with the spirit of a life spent, for the most part, far from these islands. Ken Bigley seems to have found contemporary Britain a dreary, insufficient place and I doubt he cared about who was Prime Minister from one decade to the next.
This from the island which spawned such and women of courage and determination as Wycliffe, Richard the Lionhearted, Henry V, Elizabeth I, Victoria, Churchill, and Thatcher. Steyn hits on the precise reason for such a change: "the dull rote whine of the churlish citizen invited to opine on waiting lists or public transport." True courage is apparently something that is less frequently tested now, across the pond, as well as at home.

Which leads me to an example of courage from the most unlikely of places. We've all heard the one about the shortest book in the world: the book of Italian war heroes. Well, that book needs a new page in my opinion, for Italian baker-turned-security guard Fabrizio Quattrocchi. Never heard of him you say? Not surprising. Quattrocchi's kidnapping and demise at the hands of Islamic butchers back in April of 2004 does not fit the pattern that most other such stories followed. In fact, the key portion of his story received only a few words from the BBC:

The Italian hostage killed by kidnappers in Iraq was a defiant "hero" in his final moments, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini says.

The dead man was identified as Fabrizio Quattrocchi, 36, a security guard.

As the gunman's pistol was pointing at him the hostage "tried to take off his hood and shouted: 'now I'll show you how an Italian dies,'" he said.

Fabrizio Quattrocchi was faced with the same danger, the same fear as Margaret Hassan and Kenneth Bigley. He knew that his life was at an end, and likely a gruesome one. But he refused to be mastered by fear and the certain knowledge of imminent death. Quattrocchi responded to this dire situation with total self-possession, supreme confidence, and utter contempt for his murderers. He refused to let the jihadists use his murder as a propaganda tool to stoke terrorist fervor. How interesting that the al-Jazeera network declined to air the footage of his valiant death, while they gleefully play every second of cowed and defeated Western captives. And how interesting that more people are not aware of the Fabrizio Quattrocchis of the world.

Did 9/11 rekindle the embers of America's latent national courage? Or has our safety, our freedom from apparent danger, and our obsession with the banal drained our collective national courage? I certainly hope and pray for the former, and not the latter. The results of this election will prove telling on this question.To those who have doubts about our national courage and whether we can (or should) face the dangers of our times head-on, I suggest you read again the story of Fabrizio Quattrocchi. And I commend you to a certain other Briton, who never, never, never, never gave in:
"One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half." --Sir Winston Churchill

Pat Robertson is a fool

During a conversation with Paula Zahn, Pat Robertson had this to say about the President and Iraq:

He was just sitting there, like, I'm on top of the world, and I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties.

Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties. Well, I said, it's the way it's going to be. And so, it was messy. The lord told me it was going to be, A, a disaster and, B, messy. And before that, I had deep, in my spirit, I had deep misgivings about going into Iraq.

I commend to Robertson's attention Proverbs 17. There's a lot there concerning fools and their words. I especially recommend verses 16 and 28: "Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no sense?"; "Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent."

Where to begin? As RealClearPolitics points out, the notion that Bush told Pat Robertson that we would have no casualties in Iraq is so ludicrous as to suggest to me that Robertson is lying. Proverbs has some things to say about liars as well as fools.

Furthermore, if the Lord told Robertson that Iraq would be a disaster, maybe Robertson should have asked, for whom, us or the terrorists? Perhaps Robertson should read Arthur Chrenkoff's excellent blog, starting with this post on all of the good news in Iraq that it appears the Lord didn't know about when He told Pat that Iraq would be a disaster.

Come to think of it, this isnt the first time Pat Robertson has claimed to hear from the Lord. I certainly hope for Robertson's sake that the Lord really is telling him all these things. I don't think that the Lord would approve of someone attributing statements to His name which aren't true. Seems like I read something about that in the Bible too...

"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain." --Deuteronomy 5:11

Monday, October 18, 2004

What does America mean to the Jews?

Powerline has this post with a very moving account of a meeting between the president and 18 rabbis from around the nation. The account closes with this paragraph:
When I left I went across the street to the park and cried. I had so much emotion about being there. After all we have gone through as a people for 4000 years, so many tyrants under whom we have lived who have brutally mistreated us, to live in an an age when the leaders of the most powerful nation of the world care so deeply for this small people, as many presidents have, is amazing. It had a feeling of holiness to it -- of feeling God's words that "those that bless the childen of Israel will be blessed."

Read the whole thing.

Why I voted for Bush

Last Friday I fulfilled one of my duties as a citizen of the United States of America and the sovereign state of Tennessee by voting early in the presidential and state elections. I voted for George W. Bush for president because of a single issue: America's involvement in World War IV. Of the candidates for president, Bush is the only one who, 1) recognizes we are at war, 2) has a long-term strategy for ultimate victory in this war, and 3) is committed to executing that strategy until our victory over the enemy is achieved. Whether the issue is taxes, government spending, healthcare, jobs, gay marriage, or faith-based initiatives, all of them are secondary in importance to fighting and winning WW IV. All of these other issues can be ranked in importance based on how and whether they fit into the overall strategy for conducting the war.

Fighting and winning WW IV is the only issue our enemies have as well. It has been said that in deciding who to vote for, one should determine who the terrorists want to win, and then vote for the other man. The terrorists have made it clear who they want to win. What does that say about a candidate when he is endorsed by a terrorist organization?

John Kerry does not recognize that we are in WW IV, stating that we need to get back to the time when terrorists were a "nuisance." John Kerry has no strategy for victory in the war, only a strategy for withdrawal and effective surrender. And the most frightening thing about John Kerry is that I believe he is committed to that strategy. Such a man cannot protect and defend this country. George Bush, like him or not, has proven that he can, and will.

UPDATE: Welcome to readers referred over from Hugh Hewitt's online symposium. I hope your stay is worthwhile. If you haven't come from Hewitt's site, I suggest you go to the symposium and start reading for 1001 excellent reasons to vote for Bush.

UPDATE 2: Left-leaning readers and other Kerry supporters are encouraged to comment on this post. Why vote for Kerry? Do you agree/disagree with my reasons? Please note, while rational discussion is welcomed, trolls will be dispatched via Varon-T disruptor.

So who won the debates?

The question, of course, is how you define a win. Going into the debates, I thought that for Kerry to "win" the debates, he had to seize the momentum from Bush by either pushing Bush into making a serious gaffe or by scoring a knockout on the issue of Iraq. Anything else would not be sufficient to halt or reverse Bush's momentum. So while the mainstream media was all agog with how well Kerry performed during the three debates, the fact remained that Bush committed no gaffes and Kerry was revealed as the inconsistent weakling on Iraq and terrorism that he truly is. After the third debate, I said that the election polls in the week following would show you who truly won the debates.

These results tell the tale. And this longterm trend is even more telling. Complacency should definitely be avoided like the plague, but I feel rather comfortable in predicting that Bush will be re-elected in 15 days. Kerry's best hope now is the DNC's planned election-day chicanery. While I am concerned about the high possibility of fraud, it is reassuring to know that the Democrats have nothing else to rely on.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Final thoughts on the Final Debate

In 10 words, George Bush was John Kerry's daddy, but who was watching?

In more than 10 words, I think that Bush decisively defeated Kerry in this debate, but the victory may not help the president as much as he might hope, thanks to the baseball playoffs. I would predict that at worst, the current poll average of a 2 point Bush lead will stay put, and at best, the president gets a 2 point bump. Bush was in command of his facts, had better facts, and really kept Kerry on the defensive for most of the night. It has been my belief since the debates started that the pressure was on Kerry to land huge blows to Bush in order to change the momentum of this race. Tonight we saw Kerry "in defeat and retreat", to borrow Bush's line. Not only did Kerry score no significant hits on Bush, the president on several occasions had Kerry completely flummoxed. Key examples were the health care question, and every single time taxes were discusssed. And I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when Bush finally hung the albatross of Kerry's 1991 Gulf War vote around his neck. Too bad he didn't do it in the other debates.

In addition, I think Kerry made a huge mistake bringing up Dick Cheney's lesbian daughter during the question about gay marriage. I think most people will consider this over the line and a low blow.

All in all, Kerry has not only failed to swing the momentum his way, I think that Bush will come out of this debate with increased momentum. I believe Kerry now has two last hopes to pull the election out. The first is some sort of major scandal about Bush, a la the drunk driving charges in 2000. The second is massive voter fraud in key swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, and especially Ohio. The good news for Bush is that there are probably no further skeletons to be dragged out of the closet, and, to paraphrase the title of Hugh Hewitt's book, "If it isn't close, they can't cheat."

I think Bush sealed the deal tonight. If the polls next week stay the same or bump for Bush, then it's over.
Kerry's close: "I believe I offer proven, tested leadership, to calm the waters of a troubled world." Sorry Senator, every poll disagrees, and gives Bush a 2 to 1 advantage on leadership.

Bush's close: Hope, freedom, and liberty. I've enjoyed every one of his closing statements, and this one was no different.

Bush hits the last question completely out of the park. "What have you learned from the strong women in your life?" "To listen to 'em!" Lots of laughs from the audience on this, and a couple of other one liners. Kerry's response on "mmarrying up" got a few laughs, but does he really want to remind the voters that he married a billionaire?
Kerry plays the race card, saying that Bush is the first president ever not to meet with the NAACP.

And that's a bad thing?

Seriously though, Kerry's sanctimonious line that he will "reach out" to minority and civil rights groups like the NAACP, as if that was a courageous thing for a Democrat to do, was laughable. The fact is, the NAACP has whored itself out to the Democratic party, and there was absolutely no reason for Bush to meet with a group that is actively dedicated to smearing him with false accusations (ie, the Byrd lynching in Texas). Meanwhile, Robert KKK. Byrd, the dottery old senator from West Virginia, is lauded by the NAACP and other civil rights groups, in spite of a past civil rights record that would make Strom Thurmond blush, were he still here. It's a shame that the modern civil rights movement has sold its soul to the Democratic party in exchange for political influence.
FINALLY. Two thirds of the way through the final debate, Bush brings up Kerry's vote against the 1991 Gulf War. And he did it in his final rebuttal, so Kerry couldn't respond. I'd say it was brilliant, if he hadn't missed this point in the previous debates. But it needed to be said, and better late than never, I always say.
Bush misses a trick responding to the minimum wage question. Kerry promises to help middle class families by raising the minimum wage. Instead of responding to the issue, Bush talks about No Child Left Behind. Why couldn't he have said what needed saying? "Middle class families aren't working for minimum wage, and if we raise minimum wages, employers will lay people off. Raising the minimum wage to $7/hour will cost American jobs!"

Oh well.
I think Kerry just shot himself in the foot on privatization of Social Security. He said that for young people to take their money out of Social Security and to put it in a private account "would be a disaster." A lot of young people would disagree with you, Mr. Kerry.

Kerry also says that he wouldn't change Social Security, and Bob Schieffer, to his credit, calls him on it. "Are you saying Senator that you wouldn't change the current system, you would just leave it as it is?"

"No Bob, not at all." Does Kerry not realize how apparent his inconsistencies are?
For the first time in these debates I can remember, Kerry gives specifics to one of his plans. His answer on how he plans to provide health care for all Americans is fairly detailed and will probably sound reasonable to the average citizen. Surprisingly, Bush's response is detailed and cuts Kerry's answer to pieces. "There is a fundamental difference of opinion between my opponent and I. He wants government controlled health care, I want private health care." Nice distinction, and nice counter on the costs of Kerry's plan.
"My opponent's rhetoric doesn't match his record." We will probably hear that more than a couple times from Bush tonight.

Big surprise, Kerry responds to the question about gay marriage by bringing up Dick Cheney's daughter. His answer seemed a little too nuanced for me: "Yes marriage is between a man and a woman, but I want gays to have the same rights as married couples." So what does that mean?
Bush gives a reasonable answer on the flu vaccine shortage, and Kerry ignores that and talks about his plan to cover all Americans with health insurance. I fail to see how that would make more flu vaccines.

Bush then knocks this out of the park with a comment he should have made in the second debate: "A plan is not a list of complaints." This hits Kerry right between the eyes, as he always has a "plan" for everything, but never says what it is.

Debate Finale

First question lets both men recap their positions on terrorism, which is good for Bush. Glad he got to mention the Afghan elections. I wonder if other Americans are as tired of hearing that we "outsourced" the hunt for Osama to others. Bush does good pointing out that this war is not a matter of law enforcement.

Will we give them work permits?

Bill Gertz, in my opinion the best investigative journalist around when it comes to national security issues, has this frightening report in the Washington Times:

U.S. security officials are investigating a recent intelligence report that a group of 25 Chechen terrorists illegally entered the United States from Mexico in July. The Chechen group is suspected of having links to Islamist terrorists seeking to separate the southern enclave of Chechnya from Russia, according to officials familiar with intelligence reports.

Members of the group, said to be wearing backpacks, secretly traveled to northern Mexico and crossed into a mountainous part of Arizona that is difficult for U.S. border security agents to monitor, said officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Gertz is not known for being an alarmist, so the fact that he felt comfortable running this story tells me that it should be taken seriously. Kerry could hammer Bush with this story in tonight's debate, as Bush's border policy has been tepid in my opinion. In the meantime, think back to the days and weeks after 9/11, when we all had just a little bit more caution and awareness of what was going on around us. It would behoove all of us to continue to maintain that sense of vigilance. The bad guys are still out there, and they still want to kill us.

"He is most free from danger, who, even when safe, is on his guard."
--Publilius Syrus

Iwo Jima, Take 2

Senator Zell Miller of Georgia shows once again why he is one of the only Democrats in the nation who truly understands the world we live in. Excerpt:

What if today's reporters had covered the Marines landing on Iwo Jima, a small island in the far away Pacific Ocean, in the same way they're covering the war in Iraq? Here's how it might have looked:

DAY 1 With the aid of satellite technology, Cutie Cudley interviews Marine Pfc. John Doe, who earlier came ashore with 30,000 other Marines.

Cutie: "John, we have been told by the administration that this island has great strategic importance because if you're successful, it could become a fueling stop for our bombers on the way to Japan. But, as you know, we can't be sure this is the truth. What do you think?"

Pfc. Doe: "Well, I've been pinned down by enemy fire almost ever since I got here and have had a couple of buddies killed right beside me. I'm a Marine and I go where they send me. One thing's for sure, they are putting up a fight not to give up this island."

Cutie: "Our military analysts tell us that the Japanese are holed up in caves and miles of connecting tunnels they've built over the years. How will you ever get them out?"

Pfc. Doe: "With flame throwers, ma'am."

Cutie (incredulously): "Flame throwers? You'll burn them alive?"

Pfc. Doe: "Yes ma'am, we'll fry their asses. Excuse me, I shouldn't have said that on TV."

Cutie (audible gasp): "How horrible!"

Pfc. Doe (obviously wanting to move on): "We're at war ma'am."

Read the rest.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Debate Preview

I wait with great anticipation to see whether these rumours of DNC ringers in the debate audience will pan out (hat tip to Allah). Regardless of the audience composition, I think Bush needs to focus on two objectives in order to build on Dick Cheney's great performance on Tuesday. Both objectives require Bush to stay on offense tonight.

First, Bush needs to attack Kerry on the so-called "Global Test." Kerry has tried to spin this gaffe away, but it needs to be hammered again and again by Bush. The idea of submitting U.S. defense interests to ANY sort of international approval is a clearcut loser with most voters. Bush must ignore Kerry's spin about how the comment was out of context and Kerry's accusations of distortion and misleading. Bush need only quote Kerry's own words:

No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

Bush should tie the "Global Test" in with the Duelfer Report findings which clearly state that the very nations Kerry would have in charge of administering his test were totally complicit in enabling Saddam and violating the U.N. sanctions on Iraq in exchange for lucrative oil vouchers.

The second objective Bush should have in the debate tonight is to attack Kerry's twenty year Senate record. This was also done quite effectively by Cheney, and Bush started in as well on Wednesday. Much as Kerry cannot hide or obscure his "Global Test" comments, he cannot obscure the fact that his record shows him to be lazy (poor attendance at committee meetings, especially post-9/11), unproductive (no major legislation with his name as sponsor), and dangerously naive regarding national security (votes against major weapons systems). Especially damning is Kerry's vote against the Gulf War in 1991, which puts the lie to his requirement of needing a "broad" coalition before using military force.

Bush should not spend much time responding to Kerry's barbs tonight. He needs to build on the strong performance by Cheney and give his campaign more momentum heading into the final weeks before the election. He should also keep in mind the advice of General George S. Patton: "A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week."

For Kerry to come out of this debate with a win, two things need to happen. First, George Bush must have a repeat of his primarily defensive performance from last week, allowing Kerry to control the direction of the debate. Second, Kerry must not make any new gaffes along the line of his "Global Test" comment. I suspect that the first will not happen because Bush will not allow it to happen. I suspect that Kerry will fail in the second instance, because I don't believe that Kerry truly believes he committed a gaffe, but that his actual core belief (if you can believe he has any) is that the United States should submit itself to international approval on matters of national security. To paraphrase Cheney, tough talk in a debate cannot obscure a 30 year record.

For these reasons, and against conventional wisdom, I give the edge going into the debate tonight to Bush. More to come during and after the debate.

WWOE: Who Would Osama Elect?

Charles Krauthammer pens this excellent article in the Washington Post today. The key portion:

It is still prudent to be on high alert at home, because it is not wise to bank on the political sophistication of the enemy. The enemy is nonetheless far more likely to understand that the way to bring down Bush is not by attack at home but by debilitating guerrilla war abroad, namely in Iraq. Hence the escalation of bloodshed by Zarqawi and Co. It is not just aimed at intimidating Iraqis and preventing the Iraqi election. It is aimed at demoralizing Americans and affecting the American election.

The Islamists and Baathists in Iraq are conducting their own Tet Offensive with the same objective as the one in 1968: to demoralize the American citizenry, convince it that the war cannot be won, and ultimately encourage it to reject the administration that brought the war upon them and that is the more unequivocal about seeing it through.

This analysis is spot-on. This is the reason I don't worry so much about a terrorist attack before or during the election. The enemy is aware of the political discord in America (thanks in no small part to the ambivalent message of the Kerry campaign). Now they are doing whatever they can to give legs to the anti-war argument Kerry is hammering day in and day out on the campaign trail. Americans need to honestly and objectively ask themselves: who would Osama vote for? Can anyone with a straight face say that Osama would not vote for Anybody But Bush? And once you admit that point, what does that say about those in America who scream for Anybody But Bush?

What wonderful company they keep.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Thoughts on the debate

For those who did not sit through the debate last night and wish to inform yourselves, here is the transcript, along with video. In my posting last night I tried to jot down what I thought were any key lines from the candidates, but I didn't analyze the debate too closely. I really wanted to sleep on it and have fresher comments this morning.

The current trend of opinion seems to be that Kerry came out on top by a small margin. After reflection, my own opinion is that this debate was a tactical draw (according to Drudge, Joe Lockhart agrees with this), but a strategic Kerry defeat. Neither side committed any significant gaffes or scored any massive take-down blows against their opponent. Kerry was smoother in his presentation than Bush, although I felt that his statements were often rushed and sounded like he was reading a checklist. Bush had a number of rather pregnant pauses when responding to questions. I've had the same kinds of pauses myself, almost always when my mind was not focused. I think that Bush was tired, in part because he spent part of the day visiting hurricane victims in Florida, and in part because he is normally in bed by 9 PM.

As I expected, Kerry spent the bulk of his time on the attack, while Bush concentrated on defense. I was surprised that Bush did not counterattack more often than he did. Kerry offered his flank to Bush several times, but the president failed to follow up. I was disappointed in this, as Bush could have taken these opportunities to try and score a knockout punch, but opted to either ignore the openings or settle for rehashing his talking points.

Unfortunately for Kerry, while he was consistently on the attack, none of his attacks really hurt Bush. I thought Bush had a number of very good counters to Kerry's charges which largely negated them. As I wrote in my pre-debate analysis, Kerry really needed to score big in order for this debate to help him in the election. It didn't happen. Kerry may have eked out a small victory on style points, but I think that substantively, he did not accomplish what he needed to do.

What effect will this debate have on the campaign? I think that John McIntyre at RealClearPolitics hit the nail on the head when he said that Kerry has to get the polling gap between him and the president down to 3% by the first debate, otherwise the current gap of 5%-8% will harden. Though Bush did not put the nail in Kerry's coffin himself last night, Kerry's failure to land any solid blows on Bush may have done it for him.