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:: Friday, October 01, 2004 ::

Let me reiterate..

The sticking point on these debates, what has to be Karl Rove's biggest fear is that -- unlike 2000 -- expectations for Bush are higher than they are for Kerry.

Not media expectations, not spun expectations, but deep-down public expectations. Spin can mitigate this to a degree, but in the end, Bush faces a handicap that Kerry does not.

Kerry merely has to look Presidential. To give off the air that he will make a good President. Bush has to be Presidential. Bush is the President.

And last night, he did not have the gravitas of the office. And that hurts him. Hurts him badly. Bush is running, in many ways, on sheer inertia. He's trying to convince the public that since he's been on the job four years, you shouldn't trust this new guy. At least Bush "knows the ropes", he's "getting the job done".

It derails his entire justification for reelection when he comes off looking too small -- mentally and emotionally -- for the office of President.
:: Morat 11:29 AM :: ::

The Debates

So I watched the damn things last night, against my better judgment. I tend to agree with the common blog wisdom on this one: Neither candidate did well at the start, but Kerry got much better....and Bush did not. This was his best topic, and I counted several "deer-in-a-headlight" moments, something that doesn't come across as Presidential.

Admittedly, I'm a bit biased, but I think that what were strengths for Bush in 2000 are on the verge of becoming liabilities. In 2000 America was rich, employment was strong, the world was at peace, and everything seemed rosy. Electing a simple, "moral" fellow with a black-and-white view of right and wrong didn't seem to have that high a cost.

Four years, several trillion dollars, one massive terrorist attack and two wars later, I'm not sure America wants a "simple fellow" in the White House. Character counts, but when the chips are down, I'm thinking those undecided voters value competence a hell of a lot more.

I caught the Daily Show after the debate, and thought the post-debate spin by Clark and Guiliani was rather interesting. They both were pushing talking points, of course, and prepared spin....but Clark looked like he believed it a hell of a lot more than Rudy did. Rudy's heart just didn't seem to be in it. It didn't help, of course, that Clark was spinning the debate and Rudy was trying to reiterate the "flip-flop" meme. (Note to Rudy: When Jon Stewart presses you to address the substance of an accusation, you know "back it up with facts and such", he's not going to actually back down. He's not Tim Russert.).

All in all, it looked like Clark was spinning a decent-to-good performance, and Rudy was doing damage control. Given that Rudy is the experienced politician, that's quite telling.

Further note:: I bet someone in the White House is pissed about the split-screen view. Bush fidgeted more than my seven year old does (and that's when he's off his meds) while Kerry calmly took notes.

In terms of "Who looks Presidential", it's going to go to the calm, collected guy taking notes rather than the guy looking like he'd rather be anywhere else.
:: Morat 8:10 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 ::

Private manned spacecraftreturns from wild ride

SpaceShipOne successfully blasted into space at about Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound, above the California desert on Wednesday in its quest to win the Ansari X Prize.
It touched down in a smooth landing about 11:35 a.m. ET, completing a successful flight despite nail-biting moments.

And just so you know I'm not going all soft on you: This breakthrough made possible by the almighty power of the Free Market....and 40 years of government money into materials and space research.
:: Morat 8:56 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, September 28, 2004 ::

Yahoo! News - Crude Oil Prices Hover Near $50 a Barrel

And the good news keeps coming:
Oil prices hovered near $50 per barrel Tuesday after a Saudi Arabian oil official said the world's largest petroleum exporter would raise its production capacity by nearly 5 percent in a bid to calm markets.

Light sweet crude for November delivery was up 16 cents at $49.80 per barrel in late morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, retreating from the $50.47 high reached in overnight electronic trade.

Let's recap George's day, shall we?

  1. The New York Times reports that, yes indeed, Bush was warned that Iraq had a really good chance of becoming an unholy mess, yet he invaded with insufficient troops anyways and spent the next year or so lying about how good it was going.
  2. North Korea becomes a nuclear power.
  3. Oil spikes past 50 dollars a barrel.

I'd imagine Karl Rove had to change pants.

:: Morat 11:57 AM :: ::

Welcome to the club....

Good job there, George. That whole "making us safer" thing is working out real damn well:
North Korea says it has turned the plutonium from 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods into nuclear weapons to serve as a deterrent against increasing nuclear threats and to prevent a nuclear war in northeast Asia.

Warning that the danger of war on the Korean peninsula ``is snowballing,'' Vice Foreign Minister Choe Su Hon provided details Monday of the nuclear deterrent that he said North Korea has developed for self-defense.
Just a quick question here: North Korea was on that "Axis of Evil" thing of yours, and you DID hammer Clinton for "failing to deal with them" or some such nonsense.

I note that your "getting tough" plan seems to have resulted in a member of the Axis of Evil becoming a damn nuclear power. Thanks George!
:: Morat 10:54 AM :: ::

Prewar Assessment on Iraq Saw Chance of Strong Divisions

Remember, kids, that when it comes to things Bush wants to be true, the CIA knows what's going on. But when those pesky facts contradict what Bush wants to hear, they're just guessing:
The same intelligence unit that produced a gloomy report in July about the prospect of growing instability in Iraq warned the Bush administration about the potential costly consequences of an American-led invasion two months before the war began, government officials said Monday.

The estimate came in two classified reports prepared for President Bush in January 2003 by the National Intelligence Council, an independent group that advises the director of central intelligence. The assessments predicted that an American-led invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict.
I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a president who wasn't living in Fantasyland.
:: Morat 10:10 AM :: ::

:: Monday, September 27, 2004 ::

What is "Patriotic"?

With all the subtle -- and not so subtle -- claims that criticizing the Iraq war, or Bush, or the GOP is somehow "un-American" or "un-patriotic", I thought I'd take a moment to share a simple thought on the subject.

A patriot is one who upholds the ideals of his country, not one who blindly roots for the home team no matter what. In that light, the second most patriotic, the second most American thing I can think of doing is criticizing those in power, regardless of whether we're "at war".

The most patriotic, most American thing is to hold those in power responsible for their mistakes, and to toss their butts out of office for failing to adequatly represent the American people. Regardless of whether we're at "war" or not.

Democracy and freedom of speech are the cornerstones of America. Those suggesting John Kerry shouldn't critcize the war, or the President, are the ones acting against the ideals of America.

Not that I'm surprised that Bush and his supporters would buy into the "we must destroy democracy in order to save it" logic. I just figured they'd hide their fascist tendencies a little better.
:: Morat 1:37 PM :: ::

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