Thursday is the Internet’s 35th birthday.
I’d buy this bumpersticker: “WAR IS NOT USUALLY THE ANSWER.” Heh.
Hat tip: Wonkette.
This hadn’t occurred to me till just now, and I haven’t read it anywhere (though I’m sure someone somewhere has thought of it already), so I’m throwing it out there to see what everyone thinks.
Much controversy surrounds the motives of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. Are they nothing more than concerned citizens who want to make absolutely sure John Kerry does not become president because they truly feel that he is “unfit for command”? Or are they partisans who support Bush and want Kerry defeated for that reason? Or is it some mixture of the two?
If the Swifties were totally nonpartisan and their only objective was to stop Kerry from ascending to the presidency, wouldn’t it have made more sense to launch the main thrust of their anti-Kerry offensive during the primary season, when they might very well have popped Kerry’s “electability” balloon and given the nomination to someone else (say, Edwards)?
I mean, if they’re really and truly so committed to keeping Kerry out of the White House, why wait until he’s the nominee, thus playing with fire and risking a much greater chance of their worst fears coming true?
As it is now, they’re fighting not just against one candidate, but against the entire Democratic Party apparatus, the whole liberal establishment (including much of the mainstream media), and the entirety of the Anybody But Bush movement. That’s much more of an uphill battle than they would have faced if they had tried to destroy John Kerry in January or February, when the media would have been only too happy to help the Swifties tear him down in favor of golden boy Edwards, especially if Kerry started to look like — gasp — a loser.
On the other hand, if the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are Republican partisans, trying to help Bush win rather than merely trying to make sure that Kerry doesn’t win, it obviously wouldn’t have made any sense at all for them to unleash their anti-Kerry barrage during the primaries. If (hypothetically speaking, of course) they were clandestinely taking orders from Karl Rove, obviously they would have wanted to wait until Kerry was nominated — until the Democrats were stuck with him — before destroying him. Sure, they’re taking a chance that he might win the presidency in spite of their efforts, but if the goal is to re-elect Bush, that risk is well worth taking (whereas if the goal is to defeat Kerry, there’s no reason at all to take the chance; knocking him off in the primaries would have been easier and less risky).
Of course, waiting until the general-election season is just what they did. In fact, correct me if I’m wrong here, but didn’t the main thrust of the Swifties’ offensive (the release of the book, the airing of the ad, etc.) literally begin just as the Democratic convention was wrapping up? It seems awfully convenient that they waited until the precise moment when the Dem Panic clock had run out (barring the Torricelli option) and then started attacking Kerry hardcore. It’s almost as if it was planned that way or something!
Perhaps there are alternative explanations for all of this (fundraising limits, maybe?), and/or perhaps my analysis is flawed in some way. But it seems to me, at least at first blush, that the timing of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth’s anti-Kerry campaign suggests they might be more interested in electing George Bush than in defeating John Kerry.
I welcome any and all responses and thoughts.
P.S. Yes, I know the Swifties were around during the primary season and the run-up to the convention. But they weren’t making nearly as much noise. They clearly made a conscious choice to go for the jugular now, rather than earlier or later, and I think it’s fair to ask why they chose this particular moment to do so.
P.P.S. I acknowledge with some reluctance that I’m engaging here in that favorite Democratic pastime of “questioning the timing,” which I’ve mocked several times before. But I think there’s actually a substantive point to be considered here, rather than just an irrelevant, distraction-based argument, which is why I’m bringing it up.
P.P.P.S. Then again, if what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are saying can be proven to be true, their motives don’t change things much. But in the absence of concrete proof either way, obviously motives are a key factor in weighing credibility.
UPDATE: Andrew says the real issue is fundraising (and Kerry’s sudden and unexpected rise to the nomination) rather than anything more sinister. His explanation seems plausible enough.
The eighth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season — all of them in August — has formed off the East Coast; its name is Hermine, and it’s 325 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras right now. But Hermine is expected to be rather short-lived; by Tuesday, “the cyclone should have merged with the much larger circulation associated with Gaston,” which will by then be a tropical depression (or perhaps an extratropical low) moving over New England and out to sea.
Bottom line: Tuesday is looking like a very rainy day in the Northeast.
Meanwhile, 135-mph Hurricane Frances continues to churn up the waters of the Atlantic and move slowly west, with Florida or the Carolinas potentially in its long-term sights. Looking ahead, methinks Frances may have political implications: if it maintains its current course, I suspect hurricane watches may go up along the Southeast coast sometime on Thursday, distracting rather severely from Bush’s big speech that night.
In today’s men’s marathon, a man ran onto the course and shoved the then-leader of the race into the crowd at the edge of the road, before the spectators pried him off. The disrupter has been identified conflictingly as an Irish priest/ex-priest, who has a history of disrupting major races while holding signs imploring people to read the bible because it’s “always right”–for instance, at last year’s British Grand Prix, he spent 20 seconds on the race track, forcing cars to swerve around him while going over 200 mph. According to this man, he was protected by “the hand of God” while doing so. The sign on his back this time included the phrase “Israel, fulfillment of prophecy,” in addition to his standard exhortations to read the bible. The Brazilian victim of this behavior managed to take the bronze, but I suppose he’ll always have to wonder whether he lost the gold because of a crazed nutjob who failed to understand that the marathon is not a sport in which spectators are participants…
UPDATE: The unfortunate Brazilian competitor, Vanderlai de Lima, will now receive the Pierre de Coubertin Medal, effectively the Olympic medal of sportsmanship, at tonight’s closing ceremonies. The most complete story I’ve found on it so far is here, which also contains such useful things as proper spelling. Forgive my guess while posting comments–it was actually a live-development issue, and I’m not so great at determining how to spell last names I’ve only heard and not seen.
P.S. In a related story, The New York Times editorialized today in favor of abolishing the Electoral College:
The Electoral College’s supporters argue that it plays an important role in balancing relations among the states, and protecting the interests of small states. A few years ago, this page was moved by these concerns to support the Electoral College. But we were wrong. The small states are already significantly overrepresented in the Senate, which more than looks out for their interests. And there is no interest higher than making every vote count.
Here’s a snapshot of me and Adrienne at CJ’s last night:
And here’s Chris playing pool:
More photos here. (Scroll down.)
Karl Rove: “I’m not evil, I swear!“
Among the few who were [in Madison Square Garden today], the most popular topic of conversation was whether President Bush might surprise and announce during the convention that Vice President Cheney would not be running with him this year.
This rumor has swirled around a bit from time to time throughout the year, the chatter being that Mr. Bush would prefer to run with Sen. John McCain â€“ or maybe Rudy Giuliani â€“ and will sooner or later find a way to do it.
No one can be found inside the Bush-Cheney campaign who does anything but scoff at this. That, of course, doesn’t keep people from musing about it and some were today, but none of them were anywhere near in a position to know anything.
They were just shooting the bull.
Heartless Republican bastards, shooting bulls for sport! Compassionate conservatism, my eye! … What? Oh. Nevermind… :)
Tropical Storm “No one’s slick as” Gaston hit South Carolina today. But that’s not the biggest story in the tropics. That honor would belong to Hurricane Frances, a Category Four monster with 135 mph winds whose long-term, Andrew-like forecast track must have storm-weary Floridians seriously on edge.