Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Friday, September 03, 2004

Not A Slow News Day!

Hi Everyone,

This is anything but a slow news day. Here are some brief comments to spark discussion about some of the stories.

Item 1: What did the Russians do to deserve the 1000 years of really rotten karma that they have endured? I mean damn! Russian history makes Irish history look like a Disney production. Now they've had this hostage situation in a school in the impoverished North Ossetia region. Russian commandos stormed the school and early reports say that not only did some of the terrorists escape but many of the children were killed in the crossfire. Pictures of the scenes are frightening. Not just because of images of naked and bloody children being taken away from the battle but because so many of the children show obvious signs of malnutrition. I saw at least one kid that looked like (s)he had suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome.

Item 2: A third hurricane in a month is about to hit South and Central Florida. 'Nuff said.

Item 3: American Research Group released a national poll taken just before the RNC started. It showed Kerry with a 1 point lead over Bush with Nader at 3% and 6% undecided nationally. Kerry has a 5 point lead among independents.

Item 4: "Give 'Em Hell Kerry." Kerry is coming out swinging after enduring days of personal attacks from RNC speakers. In a midnight speech at Springfield, Ohio (in the heart of the Republican part of the state, the "I-75 corridor"), Kerry defended his own character while slamming Cheney and Bush. Some highlights from the CNN story linked at "Item 4" are:

"For the past week, they attacked my patriotism and my fitness to serve as commander-in-chief. ...Well, here's my answer: I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country questioned by those who refused to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation into Iraq."
In response to charges by Zell Miller and Dick Cheney that Kerry was "unfit" to be Commander-in-Chief, Kerry said, "Misleading our nation into war in Iraq makes you unfit to lead this nation. Doing nothing while this nation loses millions of jobs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting 45 million Americans go without health care makes you unfit to lead this nation. Letting the Saudi royal family control our energy costs makes you unfit to lead this nation. Handing out billions of government contracts to Halliburton while you're still on their payroll makes you unfit. That's the record of George Bush and Dick Cheney, and it's not going to change."

Kerry has crossed the Rubicon with this speech. He's publicly and loudly declared the President to be unfit to continue in office. I think he's right and for a lot of the reasons (and more) that he mentioned. But it's not something he can take back. It's what political scientists call a "Costly Signal." What's more he made the speech in a Republican area of a swing state.

Item 5: Conan's a little light on historical accuracy. In his speech at the RNC, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he had seen Soviet tanks as a child in Austria and that when he left Austria he was leaving a "socialist" government. Both statements cannot possibly be true. First, Schwarzenegger grew up in the British Zone of occupation in Austria and so must have mistaken our loyal British allies for the Evil Empire - oops. Second, Schwarzenegger left Austria in 1968. At that time Austria was governed by the Christian Democratic "Austrian Peoples Party" (OVP). Eh, Christian conservatives - socialists perhaps he couldn't tell the difference. What's more the dominant characteristic of Austrian governments for a very long time was a "grand coalition" of Social Democrats and the aforementioned OVP. Hardly evidence of a Soviet style Austrian government or even "Finlandization" of Austria.



The Law Talking Guy said...

What did the Russians do to deserve 1000 years of bad karma? My Lord, don't get me started. Starting with Ivan the terrible who conqured that Tatar citizes of Kazan and Astrakhan, Russia has spent 600 years expanding East and South and subjugating the people there. In the 1780s, Catherine the Great even reversed the gradual liberation of serfs by re-enserfing most of the Russians. It's been that bad. 80 years of Communist rule was just as brutal. Most Americans don't know that within "Russia" are about 25 different large Asiatic nations that number many milions and have been brutally repressed. The time may be coming when Russia needs to withdraw from the Caucasus and parts of Asia. Unlike the Americans, they did not exterminate their native peoples. Pity.

US West said...

It is about time that Kerry came out swinging. I was wondering how long it would take him to get good and mad. People want to see some emotion; they want some fire from this guy. And playing Mr. Nice doesn't work. He has to get his hands dirty, too.

All the Kerry campaign has to do is look at what happened to Anne Richards and John McCain and to learn. Pretending that the attack isn't taking place and that you are above it, doesn't work. Spending all your time defending yourself is falling prey to the trap. It sucks up time and energy and is a distraction. That is what Rove wants. And if you don't stand up for yourself, you look weak. High-minded arguments don't resonate with the voters. So, Kerry needs to keep swinging- hard. Attacking the administration is a good move. It keeps it out of the gutter, but still hits where it hurts. What Kerry can't do is to keep "defending" his war record. He needs to be done with that and move on.