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Wednesday, September 08, 2004

BACK ON THE TRAIL: 'Now That That's Behind Us' edition
It was bad for Broadway and bad for the NYPD's reputation, but thankfully, it's over. And hey, the grass in Central Park is still in immaculate condition, so there's that. If you're still starving for a bit more RNC coverage, see here and here, or see here for images of the most titillating highlight of the week, the Axis of Eve Mass Panty Flash. (oh come one, you know you want to...) But now that I'm fully recovered from my post-RNC hangover, I'm ready once again to hit the trail.

No More Beating Around the Bush Dick
In previous entries I've dissected the Bush campaign's strategy thusly:
1) Scare the hell out of voters
2) Make John Kerry out to be a big pussy
3) Convince voters that, if elected, Kerry the Big Pussy would let terrorists attack us at will.

Until yesterday, the Bush camp, save for Zell Miller, had been somewhat subtle about this tactic. Then, Dick Cheney said this:

"It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States."
This vote-for-us-or-suffer-the-apocalypse tactic is absolutely disgusting and even a little McCarthy-esque, but it isn't surprising at all. After all, earlier this week Cheney took shots at a post-op Bill Clinton (not surprising) and a post-mortem Ronald Reagan (very surprising). Dick Cheney and his cronies are trying to make you think that John Kerry's view of the world hasn't been changed by the events of 9/11, but that's a ridiculous assertion. Everyone's views have changed since 9/11, including the Bush team's. Let's not forget that this administration pretty much ignored terrorism as a major concern before 9/11 (first meeting on the subject: September 4, 2001), choosing instead to focus on other priorities such as the war on drugs and missile defense.

Don't believe these fearmongers. Don't let them scare you into voting for them. Preying on the public's fears is a sign of desperation and evidence that they have little else to fall back on. Besides, if Cheney wants to compare records, we can do that. Who's weak on defense?

Poll Dancing
Public opinion polls are an integral component of any election campaign, and this year's contest is no different. Every day seems to bring a new poll, and every day the polls seem to change. Inexact science may be too mild a term to describe the practice of polling, but hey, it's all we've got. The New York Times poked a little fun at this obsession with polls by printing some lesser known results, including this gem, earlier in the week:
"Before the Republican convention, 86 percent of the population thought Zell Miller was a professional golfer. After the convention, 92 percent of the population would not like to be in his foursome."
Read them all here.

A Head-to-Head, Unscripted Discussion of the Issues? Who Would Want That??
Understanding that presidential debates are perhaps the best forum to give voters some true insight into a candidate's character and ability to lead, the Bush campaign sought yesterday to limit the number of debates to just two. Opponent John Kerry, who originally pushed for a debate a week leading up to election day, has already agreed to three. But that's apparently one too many for the Bush camp... heaven forbid the voting public actually find out how incompetent this boob actually is. Here's what the Bush camp had to say about the debate negotiations:
"He'll [Bush] be fine with two as long as the talks are resolved quickly and don't give the press a chance to hammer him for being chicken."
Much like W. ran from service in his younger days, he's now running from a useful discussion of the issues. I actually understand that Bush wanted the Swift Boat Veterans for Untruth to do his debating for him but the Debate Commission wouldn't let it happen. They also wouldn't let him sit on Dick Cheney's lap.

I don't really understand what the Bush people are so scared of, it's not as if he's ever misspoken before. Well ok, sure, there was that time last week when he said we couldn't win the war on terror. And yeah, he did refer to the US mission in Iraq as a "catastrophic success" the other day. And ok, yesterday he dropped these two gems during campaign stops in Missouri:

"Too many good docs are getting out of business. Too many OB/GYNs aren't able to practice their love with women all across this country."

"I went to the Congress last September and proposed fundamental - supplemental funding, which is money for armor and body parts and ammunition and fuel."

But really, what do they have to be worried about?

Come on Chicken, debate!!

Remember Bob Graham?
Yeah, that Bob Graham. He was actually running for president at one point before seemingly dropping off the face of the earth. Well, the retiring senator and former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee released a book, Intelligence Matters, this week. In it, he makes some pretty weighty allegations. He says the Bush administration successfully attempted to block investigations into two agents of the Saudi government who provided financial assistance to two of the 9/11 hijackers. Graham writes that Bush had concluded that "a nation-state that had aided the terrorists should not be held publicly to account. It was as if the president's loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America's safety."

Bush opponents will no doubt point to this information as yet more evidence of the corruption seeping through the halls of the Bush White House, while ardent Bush supporters will no doubt decry Graham's allegations as yet another wild-eyed, leftist conspiracy theory. Overall, it's difficult to predict what impact Graham's revelations will have. I'm guessing zilch. I mean, who's gonna read another book on the Bush administration's failed leadership when Paris is sitting right next to it on the shelf?

A Tragic Milestone
In what Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld played down as "relatively small," the US military suffered its mounting deaths in this tragic, failed war into just another number, essentially saying the 1,000th death is no more significant than the 999th death. And they're right, every death is tragic. But the reason the 1,000th death is significant is because it serves as a stark reminder of the mess this president has gotten us into. Sadly, the press and the public had begun to treat the daily casualties in Iraq as ho-hum news, relegating the stories to the back pages behind the Laci Peterson and Kobe Bryant news. But these are not just numbers, these are people, kids usually, 1 or 2 of them every day with no end in site. No matter what your politics, their sacrifices should be remembered and honored, from the first to the 1,000th. One way to do that is to attend a candlelight vigil this Thursday night. They're being held all across the country, you can find one near you here.

Some other numbers, all significant, to keep in mind:
- 859 American troops killed since Bush declared "mission accomplished" on May 1, 2003.
- 799 killed since Bush taunted the insurgents telling them to "bring it on."
- 538 killed since the capture of Saddam Hussein on Dec. 13, 2003.
- 150 killed since the handover of sovereignty, June 29.
- More than 6,900 U.S. fighters wounded or injured.
- 127 deaths among non-U.S. coalition forces in Iraq and 132 American fatalities in Afghanistan.

More "relatively small" numbers tracked here.


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