Archive for August, 2004

More thoughts on Arnold

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Not only was Schwarzenegger’s speech simply brilliant, but the timing was exquisite. He walked on stage at exactly 10:00 PM EDT, just as the network coverage was starting. So viewers who had been watching The Amazing Race, Scrubs or According to Jim (on CBS, NBC and ABC, respectively) literally didn’t have time to change the channel before seeing the Governator’s face. I’m guessing that, as a result, a lot of people who were not planning to watch probably did so, figuring, “Hey! It’s Arnold! I don’t care about politics, but I’ll watch Arnold!” If any of those folks happen to be swing voters in swing states, that’s good, good news for Bush.

It bears repeating: Karl Rove is a genius.

Here’s the full text, including Arnold’s line about the “two Americas” meme:

Now, the other party says there are two Americas. Don’t believe that either. I’ve visited our troops in Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Germany and all over the world. I’ve visited our troops in California, where they train before they go overseas. And I’ve visited our military hospitals. And I can tell you this: Our young men and women in uniform do not believe there are two Americas!

They believe we are one America and they are fighting for it! We are one America — and President Bush is defending it with all his heart and soul!

Like I said before: Wow.

P.S. I was right: the Republicans are much better at this convention thing than the Democrats are. I can think of only three remaining key questions: 1. How will Cheney do tomorrow night?; 2. Will Bush on Thursday live up to the awesome billing that he’s being given?; and 3. Will Hurricane Frances distract media attention (particularly during the news cycle immediately after Bush’s speech) enough to reduce the bounce?

P.P.S. Andrew Sullivan, on the other hand, is less impressed:


The intern has no clothes

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Playboy‘s pictorial of Jessica Cutler, a.k.a. the infamous Washingtonienne, is now available online, according to The National Debate (link SFW).


140 mph

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Look out, Florida:

Hurricane Frances is now a Category Four hurricane, and she’s got a weekend date with the Florida coast.

The latest National Hurricane Center discussion contains this interesting detail:

One disturbing piece of information is that all of the [computer] models…excluding the GFDL and GFDN [both of which are forecasting a South Carolina landfall, but are believed at the moment to be erroneous]…agree that Frances will slow down to less than 10 kt after 72 hours…and the GFS even reduces the forward speed to 4 kt in 96 hr. This suggests that steering currents may briefly collapse as Frances approaches the northwestern Bahamas and the Florida East Coast.

In other words, Frances may just sit and spin for a while offshore of Florida, producing all sorts of severe storm surge and flooding problems.

Ah-nold’s American Dream

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Arnold says the Democrats should have called their convention “True Lies.” Hahaha.

UPDATE: He’s praising Nixon. Is this really a good strategy for the GOP? Is Nixon a good role model? A “breath of fresh air”? Wow.

UPDATE 2: “In America, it doesn’t make any difference where you were born. It doesn’t make any difference who your parents are.” Oh, really? Tell that to the crack baby born to a welfare mom in the ghetto…

UPDATE 3: Now there’s something I can agree with: Disagreeing with Republicans is what’s great about America! :)

UPDATE 4: “If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government, then you are a Republican.”

“If you believe that a person should be treated as an individual, not a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican.”

“If you believe that your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does, then you are a Republican.”

“If you believe that our education system should be held accountable for the progress of our children, then you are a Republican.”

If you believe that this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope for democracy, then you are a Republican.

“If you believe that you must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism, then you are a Republican!”

Of course, none of those are necessarily true, per se, but they’re good sound bites. Way to go, Ahnold.


UPDATE 5: Nice dig at Edwards’s “two Americas” there! Wow, this is some good sh*t.

“Leadership isn’t about polls. It’s about doing what’s right, and then standing behind that decision. That’s why America is safer with George W. Bush as president.”

If a decent number of undecided voters are watching, I think this speech might single-handedly win Bush the election.

“I’ll Be Back”… that’s three movie references and counting. :)

FINAL UPDATE: Foah Moah Yeahs! Foah Moah Yeahs! Foah Moah Yeahs!

Wow, that was brilliant.

RNC: Nerdynotes, a Day Late

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

I can’t honestly Convention-blog in a serious way, because unlike Andrew I haven’t paid much attention so far. Truth be told, I haven’t watched any of it today. Not Boycotting, just doing other stuff.

But I did catch Giuliani (not McCain) last night. I agree with Andrew (!): he was excellent. Very persuasive. (Roo-DEE! Roo-DEE!! NOWAIT! My God, what am I saying? :) Yes, leave it to a savvy Nyew Yawk City Italo-Am Republican Pol. If Irish Diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to Hell in such a way that he’ll enjoy the Trip, Rudy’s Italian charm may consist in the ability to bash John Kerry’s alleged Flip-flopperies in such a way that the little interrogatory shoulders-shrug-with-palms-upturned-&-smiley-face humanizes the Attack Dog assignment. VERY well done.

Giuliani, an effective, extremely controversial and divisive Mayor of NYC, was Reborn politically — and, I think, personally — on 09/11/2001. Transformed Utterly. (Apologies to Yeats. :) Ever since, he takes that and Runs with it. Who could blame him? Not me. He’s entitled.

Like father, like son: I like the Roll Calls. :)

Now let me jusht shay thish about that (apologies to JFK I :) — This is a Highly Irregular Procedure. (Apologies to the Wizard of Oz. :)

I gather that the Republicans, always conservatively respectful of Precedent, Custom & Tradition, adopted a convention rule yesterday morning, presumably by unanimous vote of about 37 seriously hung-over Delegates :), authorizing the Chair (Dennis Hastert of Illinois), at his doubtless-legendary Discretion, to conduct a Rolling Roll Call Vote over the course of 3 separate convention days. / Which Dennis the H. (not to be confused with that sellout Traitor to the Progressive cause, Dennis the K. of Ohio :) immediately, albeit Discreetly, decided to do, Surprise Surprise.

Accordingly, on Monday Bush and Cheney were placed into nomination; and the roll was called from Alabama through Louisiana — to resume today, and Wednesday.

Interestingly, the states voting yesterday (see, I watched this, though I didn’t watch McCain’s speech — I always focus on the important stuff :) voted for Bush. Nobody mentioned Cheney, though he had been Placed in Nomination for VP. / I watched the Secretary commencing the roll-call & I don’t think she ever stated what Office(s?) it was for. / One presumes, from the voting, that it is for the nomination for President — and thus, that they will Do Cheney by Acclamation, separately, later. / If not, maybe Brendan’s Tick-Tock Veep Clock IS still running. :)

Favorite Monday Votes (close paraphrases, from memory):

Connecticut – state GOP Chm. Herb Shepherdson – ‘Madame Chairman, many of you know Connecticut as the Nutmeg State. To us, we are the Next Battleground State! We are seven points down and we are coming up!’ (He then, after a nice mention of Gov. Jodi Rell — none of her predecessor of course — and of the twin-championship Huskies, cast all the votes for Bush. :)

Delaware‘Mme. Secretary, on behalf of the Delaware Fighting Blue Hens, Delaware votes for George W. Bush!’


Oh yeah: I also watched, on C-SPAN 2, some Conventions Past film. Favorite (you’ll never guess :) – 1964, Republican, Cow Palace, San Francisco. :) Yes, these 40 years have come & gone but still my memory of it is validated as accurate. Old Barry was Just Awful. :) Of course he was Doomed anyway; but I bet that speech, all by itself, is what knocked him down below 40%.

So which is it?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

First we can’t win the war on terror. Now we can.

Who’s flip-flopping now?

Reflections on Day 1 of the RNC

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Tom Bevan of stole some of my thunder with his analysis of Day 1, and I agree with him on virtually all points, the difference being that my vantage point was from outside the bubble, as opposed to Tom, who is inside the bubble as I was back in Philadelphia for the RNC in 2000.


The possible death of the leaders of tomorrow

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

For anyone who might care, the leaders of tomorrow are in trouble. Earlier today I stepped into the foray of college teaching. No longer am I some professor’s lackey, I am the professor. Officially, I am now known as an Adjunct Professor (“adjunct” being academic lingo for “teacher who barely gets paid anything) for Towson University in Towson, Maryland.

For anyone who knows the geography of Maryland, this means that twice a week I now get to drive roughly an hour each way to earn a meager income. But I get to put “adjunct professor” on my resume!

OK, so what does this mean? Basically, it means two things. (1). Towson can’t find anyone with a Ph.D. already to teach a class, so they have to resort to schmos like me to teach classes. (2). I can mold minds to my choosing. Mwah-hah-hah-hah!


We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

CNN Breaking News

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004
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Kerry’s precarious situation

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

I’ll get around to posting my fuller thoughts, reactions, and reflections on the first night of the RNC tomorrow (perhaps), but for now I want to focus on a new Zogby poll of undecideds.

I’ve been dismissive of the horse race numbers for months now, to the annoyance of Brendan I’m sure, mainly because they are snapshots that don’t tell us much; if you paused the game midway through the 3rd quarter Saturday night, a neutral observer would have every reason to believe that Virginia Tech was bound to beat USC. But just as the TV viewer has no idea what adjustments the coaching staffs made in the locker room and how that will translate in the second half, so too do horse race polls tell us very little about the underlying dynamics of the race.

What polls are good for, however, is painting a picture of what the electorate is thinking and who is thinking it, and they provides a data mine from which campaigns can determine where their focus should lie and what their strategy should be. This Zogby poll is a fine example.


Hermine update

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

According to the 2:00 AM EDT advisory, Tropical Storm Hermine officially made landfall near New Bedford, MA.

A retrospective vote for Gephardt

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Mickey Kaus reveals that according to a new Zogby poll, 77% of undecided voters disapprove of Bush’s performance in office, but when asked “Do you or don’t you like John Kerry as a person,” the undecideds revealed that they dislike Kerry by a 3-to-1 margin!

Slightly more than that, actually: the results were Dislike 52%, Like 16%. Sayeth Kaus:

It’s almost as if uninformed Iowa voters in a front-loaded primary system anointed the one candidate who might through sheer force of his own unappealing personality lose the race to a vulnerable incumbent!


This fits in nicely with something I was discussing with my roommate earlier. I speculated that, all things considered, Dick Gephardt — the first of the “big six” Democratic candidates to drop out — might well have been, in retrospect, the best, most electable choice, because unlike all the others (and unlike the White Knight, for that matter), he didn’t have that many negatives.

Sure, he’s boring and nondescript! But even if Gephardt didn’t have many positives either, that would have been okay — as it turns out, as vulnerable as Bush is, all we needed was a candidate without major negatives!

Back in January, though, we thought we needed a great candidate, and so we reached for the stars, and somehow ended up with a handful of mud. (Maybe we were drunk?) If only we’d settled for merely a passably competent candidate, we’d be golden right now!

Why Gephardt? Kerry, as we all know, is a flip-flopper (and maybe a liar!), and a terrible, terrible campaigner, and, well, a horribly unappealing person generally. Edwards would have been (much) better than Kerry, but the Bushies would have savagely attacked his inexperience, and in light of the war focus, it might well have worked. Who else? Dean’s a loony lefty and a nutcase (or at least seems that way), Lieberman’s too conservative (Nader would be in double-digits!) and Clark’s an all-around disaster.

But Gephardt? He’s your basic piece of cardboard, a dull but competent candidate — he’s the unnamed Democrat who we always hear about in the pre-primary general-election polls. And you know what? As it turns out, the unnamed Democrat would beat Bush!!

Alas, John Kerry won’t.

Iowa, of course, is the state that ended Gephardt’s run for the presidency, even as it boosted Kerry toward his date with inevitability. So if I’m right that Gephardt would have been the most electable candidate, now we have even more reason to “thank” the Hawkeye State for our current predicament.

Darn you, Iowa! Darn you to heck!

If you missed Day 1 of the RNC…

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Ann Althouse has the play-by-play.


Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but in this case, one word will suffice — and I couldn’t have abbreviated it better myself:

Here’s an article about the McCain-Moore kerfuffle. It seems Moore yelled “Two more months!” in response to the Republicans’ “four more years” chant — which indicates that, in addition to being a disingenuous filmmaker, he’s also a fuzzy mathematician. January 20, 2005 is a little over 4 1/2 months away.

Oh, well:

Here’s Moore’s USA Today column. It makes no reference to the McCain incident (it was probably written beforehand). As for the substance, I won’t bother to fisk it; that would be too easy, and pointless.

Gaston, Hermine converge on MA; Frances lurks

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Tropical Storm Hermine is making landfall in Massachusetts as we speak, while Gaston has regained tropical storm status over Chesapeake Bay and is now accelerating northeastward; it should take a swipe at Cape Cod tomorrow. Both are minimal tropical storms, but still! Wow! Massachusetts hasn’t seen this much hot air since… oh wait, John Kerry is their senator, they see this much hot air on a daily basis. :)

But seriously, folks… this satellite image from earlier this evening appears to show that Gaston, which had been downgraded and declared dead after making landfall in South Carolina early Sunday, actually began to restrengthen over land earlier today:

Weird, huh?! (Gaston, or rather its “remnants” at the time, is the rather strong-looking swirl of clouds over the mid-Atlantic states. The sickly, amorphous blob at right is Hermine, a few hours before its landfall near the MA/RI border.)

Of course, neither of these storms can hold a candle to the monster that is Hurricane Frances, what with its 125 mph winds (with gusts to 155 mph), its Category Three, “major hurricane” status, and its very ominous-looking long-term forecast track:

The current forecast track, as you can see, has Frances slamming into the Florida coast on Saturday. Such long-range projections are subject to large errors, of course, but if this track holds, methinks Bush’s big speech on Thursday will suffer a serious blow from the distraction caused by Frances, which will by then be slamming the Bahamas and probably prompting Hurricane Watches for the Florida coast (certainly watches will be up by Friday morning at the latest). Normally the national media coverage of an approaching storm doesn’t really kick into high gear until 24 hours before landfall, but because Florida was just hit by Charley, I think the Frances coverage will begin early and will be unusually intense.

Oh yeah, and it would suck if the storm hit. Let’s hope it doesn’t.

P.S. On other hand, maybe the fact that the storm’s name is “Frances” will remind people that John Kerry is French-looking, thus helping Bush. :) Get it? Like “France’s”… oh nevermind.

P.P.S. Seriously though, how much can the people of Florida be expected to suffer in one summer… and the summer of a presidential election year when theirs may again be the decisive state, no less? C’mon, Frances, hit somebody else.

P.P.P.S. But for your own sake, Frances, steer clear of North Carolina. If Kerry and Edwards lose the election, Johnny Boy will be unemployed, and he’ll need some work, so you might just find your sorry hurricane ass getting hauled into court on a class-action battery claim by the entire population of the Outer Banks. I’m just sayin’.