October 03, 2004

Did Kerry Cheat?

Drudge is accusing John Kerry of cheating in his first debate against George W. Bush.

He has video showing that Kerry took something out of his jacket pocket and placed it on the podium.

Why is this a problem?
Section 5, pages 4-5 of the binding "Memorandum of Understanding" that was negotiated and agreed upon by both political campaigns states:

"No props, notes, charts, diagrams, or other writings or other tangible things may be brought into the debate by either candidate.... Each candidate must submit to the staff of the Commission prior to the debate all such paper and any pens or pencils with which a candidate may wish to take notes during the debate, and the staff or commission will place such paper, pens and pencils on the podium..."

Hmm. I dunno. It's so...high school. If Kerry were to actually be busted cheating in the debates he would be in far worse trouble than if he had lost the debate. And why should he worry about losing a debate in the first place? Bush is awful in public and he always has been. Kerry is well-known as one of Yale’s top debaters. This looks bad for him, though.
A top Kerry campaign source explained to the DRUDGE REPORT late Sunday how Bush supporters were once again trying to distract.

"Kerry did not cheat," said the Kerry insider. "This is more lies from Republicans, who are hoping for a quick change of subject away from the president's performance, and the new polls."

When pressed on the fact that even brandishing a pen from his jacket would have violated debate rules, the Kerry staffer laughed, adding, "See you at the inauguration, Drudge".
That’s it? The Kerry campaign doesn’t have anything to say except this is a Republican lie? Look at the video. It’s not a lie. He may not have pulled a hidden note card out of his pocket, but he pulled something out of his pocket. I watched him do it, and I watched in slow motion.

That lame defense only makes Kerry look guilty. And I’m inclined to think he isn’t guilty, not because I’m a fan but because it would be just too damn stupid. Maybe he pulled a piece of gum out of his pocket. I’ve no idea, but his campaign is going to have to come up with something more convincing than “that TV camera is a lying GOP operative.”

UPDATE: Bush cheated, too! Well, no. Actually, he probably didn't. And like I said, Kerry probably didn't cheat, either. The odds that one of them cheated are miniscule enough. The odds that both of them cheated are vanishingly close to zero.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 3, 2004 09:49 PM
Comments

Notice the timing of the reach in. As Kerry's turning away from the crowd, his left arm reaches to his right pocket, perfectly timed so that the audience doesn't see it. He would have been a great illusionist.

The Kerry campaign should be asked what he was reaching for, and what he was opening and flattening out at the lectern.

Posted by: David at October 3, 2004 10:00 PM

Its just drudge being drudge grasping for starws. Besided bush pulled something out too.

Posted by: JohnC at October 3, 2004 10:01 PM

The freeze frames definitely show something wide and stiff. It's not a handkerchief or a pen. Kerry should at least put out a lame excuse, like it was a good luck card from his daughter.

By not saying something Kerry is just making this into a Dan Quayle moment.

Dear Senator, remember, it's the cover-up that gets you, not the crime. Yes, Clinton did survive, but you're no Clinton.

Posted by: Remy Logan at October 3, 2004 10:02 PM

JOhnC,

it's not about Drudge. The video clip is all over the web. What's Kerry reaching for? He broke the rules? And what's with the flippant brush off by his campaign?

Posted by: David at October 3, 2004 10:19 PM

Hey Mr. Moderate Totten, watch Bush's hands in that video. Then consider posting an update.

Posted by: Mithras at October 3, 2004 10:29 PM

Mithras,

What's to watch about it? I don't see Bush reaching into his pockets and pulling something out.

Posted by: David at October 3, 2004 10:32 PM

mithras,

sorry, but no matter how many times i watch i don`t see bush reaching in his pocket and i do see kerry pulling something out of his.

Posted by: nathan in tokyo at October 3, 2004 10:57 PM

MT,

During the debate I watched Kerry regularly making movements on the podium that looked to me at the time like he was taking notes or crossing things off a piece of paper. Didn't strike me as a big deal, or any deal at the time.

If he broke the rules? That'll be big news. But it seems like a dumb restriction to me in the first place.

Posted by: spc67 at October 3, 2004 11:08 PM

spc67,

blank paper and pen was provided to the candidates to take notes during the debate. They weren't allowed to bring any "study aids" though.

Posted by: David at October 3, 2004 11:19 PM

Iran rejects John Kerry's nuke offer. What a moron:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/872307.cms

First the Arabs, then the French and Germans; who's next in line to reject Kerry's next brilliant idea.

Posted by: David at October 3, 2004 11:23 PM

Have some dignity, Michael.

You're starting to look desperate.

Posted by: Mork at October 3, 2004 11:52 PM

OK, after watching the video about twenty times, the President picks up a pen off the podium. Kerry takes something out of his pocket, it looks like he MAY be slitting open an enevelope, he CERTAINLY then unfolds something on the podium. Having read the rules, my question is what could POSSIBLY be within the rules that could be treated in that manner.

Seriously, what could POSSIBLY be within the rules?

Posted by: spc67 at October 4, 2004 12:00 AM

Look real close. What he removes and unfolds is obviously a not-yet-filled-out Form 180, which he meant to sign, before he didn't. He intended to do this months ago so that we could all have a look see at those military medical reports. Now that we know he actually HAS the form, I'm sure that he will sign it very soon.

Posted by: Terry Ott at October 4, 2004 12:58 AM

I voted for Kerry before I voted against him.

And you're a right-wing jihadist for even suggesting he did anything wrong, totten.

Posted by: Moonbat_One at October 4, 2004 01:03 AM

"Notice the timing of the reach in. As Kerry's turning away from the crowd, his left arm reaches to his right pocket, perfectly timed so that the audience doesn't see it. He would have been a great illusionist."

Yeah, notice that timing - he reaches in as he's turning away from the crowd - then PULLS IT OUT ONLY WHEN HE'S IN FULL VIEW OF THE AUDIENCE. That's some illusionist, huh? And I bet Kerry just happened to think that there were no cameras behind him, too, huh?

Then someone says it looks like he's slitting open an envelope... now even if we run with this notion that Kerry would think it necessary to bring a cheat sheet to remind him of things he says on the stump every day of the week in front of large crowds (and clearly without any cheat sheets), why on Earth would he put it in a sealed envelope that he would then have to spend time (and conspicuous effort) opening in front of an audience and any number of cameras? That's just ridiculous.

LGF had another video that showed it at higher resolution, and it looks entirely like he is taking a pen out of his pocket, taking the cap off, then putting the cap on the opposite end of the pen. Bush appears to be doing something similar. Some say it looks like Bush is unfolding a piece of paper, but I think it also looks like him fiddling with a pen.

Wow, this is a real tinfoil hat moment for the right. Shouldn't y'all be concentrating on the imminent thrashing of Edwards by Cheney?

Cool soundtrack, though - they should have had that for the whole debate.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 01:34 AM

YOU KNOW, IF YOU TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT BUSH, YOU WILL SEE THAT HE TOO TAKES SOMETHING OUT OF HIS JACKET POCKET.

Posted by: somebody at October 4, 2004 02:02 AM

Kerry: Inspirational photo of Michael Dukakis.

Bush: Gum.

Posted by: Jack Bogdanski at October 4, 2004 02:10 AM

Mork,

You're starting to look desperate.

I'm hearing that angle a lot form Kerry supporters every time his eloquent stupidity gets pointed out. You guys are desperately trying to keep the focus on the style of the debate instead of the substance. I can understand that because all of Kerry's foreign policy ideas are already in shambles.

Posted by: HA at October 4, 2004 03:13 AM

This is the stuff that drives me crazy. Of course he cheated! Read the rules, look at the video, end of story.

Is it a big deal? Obviously, yes. He wouldn't have cheated if it weren't. Does it "speak to character issues" with Kerry? Hell, yeah.

Will the MSM touch it with a 10 foot pole? Hell, no.

Posted by: Priscilla at October 4, 2004 03:48 AM

Sorry to say, but your desperation makes me feel better about Nov 2nd. Now let's talk about Bush's earpiece.

Posted by: novakant at October 4, 2004 03:54 AM

Priscilla,

"Is it a big deal? Obviously, yes. He wouldn't have cheated if it weren't. Does it "speak to character issues" with Kerry? Hell, yeah."

I agree with novakant... people getting this worked up about this story does smack of desperation...

... plus it sets you up for a let-down when the story is deflated.

"Will the MSM touch it with a 10 foot pole? Hell, no."

The joke's on you: they just did. And not just some dubious lefty rag either. The New York Post via Fox News:

But the mystery was solved when The Post reviewed a Fox News Channel feed from Thursday's debate: Kerry pulled out . . . a black pen.

Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade remained angry at the bloggers' guilt-by-insinuation.

"The right-wing attack machine will say anything to steal a debate do-over," he said.

"We plead guilty to having a pen."

The Bush campaign did not comment.

http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/31273.htm

Now if there's anyone out there who insists on whining about how this is a violation of the rules and wants to see justice done, perhaps they should consider that by the rules, Bush would not even be on the ballot in Florida this year. Rule of law indeed.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 04:51 AM

Cassidy,

Was there a signed agreement that neither candidate would bring anything to the podium? Yes. Did Kerry violate it? Yes. When faced with the evidence of his act, did the Kerry campaign tell the truth? No.

It's the same old, same old. It's like the "everyone lies about sex" defense that Clinton used. When the Dems lie, it's no big deal.

Btw, I'm beginning to think that there should be a corollary to Godwin's Law, (the first person in an argument to refer to Hitler or the Nazis loses the argument) which would state that the first person to refer to Florida 2000 in an argument over the 2004 election automatically loses......

Posted by: Priscilla at October 4, 2004 05:41 AM

At what point does a violation of the rules become important? The rules say the staff will place pens at the podium, if he brought his own out, he broke the rules. Right?

So at what point does this become a problem?

Posted by: Doc at October 4, 2004 05:49 AM

I like Bush as much as the next guy (assuming that guy is a Republican) but I gotta say, this is a little silly. You're better than this Michael. Let's talk about why Kerry's foreign policy would be a failure because it isn't based in reality (France and Germany joining us? Not likely) This is more of the same SBVfT/Michael Moore stuff that I've been trying to avoid all season.

Posted by: Court at October 4, 2004 05:53 AM

I think it was a picture of his lucky hat from Cambodia. (He takes that hat everywhere you know.) Or maybe it's a picture of his Chinese assault rifle. Or notes from his research at Treblinka.

Bush was getting instructions from his Alien Overlords through the earpiece. What else is new?

Earlier someone said we should be focusing on the content of the debate, and I agree. That's disturbing enough.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 05:56 AM

If we had real media, somebody would ask Kerry directly what it was he pulled out of his pocket.

The story would end pretty quick.

If he actually told the truth, of course. That wasn't a pen.

Posted by: TmjUtah at October 4, 2004 06:05 AM

My God, I have to laugh at some of these responses. You Kerry supporters always seem to have displaced anger each and every time he does or says something wrong...Now, it is DRUDGE's fault that Kerry pulled something out of his pocket? Or, it is Michael's fault for being the messenger? Never mind that this has been all over the net this past weekend..The bottom line is, he pulled something out....What was it? Oh and by the way "TSBVFT" has now been renamed to "The swiftboat veterans AND POWs for truth."

Posted by: Cathy at October 4, 2004 06:08 AM

Unfortunately, I missed the debate (last of hurricane Jeanne did a number on my basement - was a bit busy). Saw the linked video, no doubt something came out of his pocket. Probably in everyone's best interest to find out what. On the other hand, hard to believe that there is anything on that card that Kerry could'nt have memorized before walking on stage. Nonetheless, the issue is raised, probably worth it to get to the bottom of it.

However, as a young college student, there were two things in particular done by the Republican party that had a very adverse effect on my opinion of them. One had to do with a sweet deal they had with the Indiana DMV (I lived in Indiana at the time). Part of your tag renewal was a donation to the Republican party. Their argument was that driving was a privledge, not a right. Therefore, the contribution was voluntary. Driving might be a privledge, but for many, a car is a necessity. No resonable person could not see that argument as total BS. It gave me an impression of the Republicans as conniving and manipulative.

The second such event (and more appropos to this thread) was the Reagan-Carter debates. The Republicans go to great lengths to characterize themselves as moral, responsible, ethical, and upright. Yet, not only did they steal Mr. Carter's notes, they bragged about it. At the time, I saw this as hypocrisy. Now, they want to whine to me about Kerry pulling a slip of paper out of his vest? Tell it to someone who cares.

Now, don't get me wrong, I can fire some shots at the left side of the aisle as well - which is why I'm independant. However, focusing for now on the Republicans, the reason I am not a member of that party is because, in my experience, they are not whom they present themselves to be and that makes them untrustworthy. On the other hand, show me a truly honorable person, and he'll get my vote despite his party affiliation.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 06:27 AM

Cooties.

Posted by: MrGrumpyDrawers at October 4, 2004 06:30 AM

Wait a minute.....

Watch the video again, they both take something out of thier pockets. Kerry is in better view, but Bush is actually flipping through a couple of cards before setting them down on the podium.

Watch the video again and pay close attention to Bush's hands. If I can find a way to freeze-frame it, I'll e-mail it to this blog.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 06:34 AM

Well, well, well...

Obvious proof that Kerry shouldn't be President. Can you imagine the gall of pulling an ink pen out of ones pocket? How dare he besmirch the high quality of that debate with... gasp... an ink pen.

Surely he will lose the November election.

Priscilla,

As an aside: Godwin's Law does not state that(the first person in an argument to refer to Hitler or the Nazis loses the argument). Godwin's law postulates that as the length of a discussion thread grows, the probability approaches one that one participant will introduce the terms "Hitler" or "Nazi".

Ratatosk

Squirrels for the Ethecil Treatment of Black Pens

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 4, 2004 06:42 AM

Oh please, Michael. I'll see your thing taken out of the pocket and raise you a suspicious bulge on Bush's back (scroll down) and his strange "let me finish" comment when he had a minute left.

Posted by: Randy Paul at October 4, 2004 06:45 AM

Kerry clearly outperformed Bush in the debate. And now Bush partisans are reduced to whining, "But he cheated!" Pretty sad.

Posted by: Gene at October 4, 2004 06:45 AM

Priscilla: "When faced with the evidence of his act, did the Kerry campaign tell the truth? No."

Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade: "We plead guilty to having a pen."

"Btw, I'm beginning to think that there should be a corollary to Godwin's Law, (the first person in an argument to refer to Hitler or the Nazis loses the argument) which would state that the first person to refer to Florida 2000 in an argument over the 2004 election automatically loses......"

Fine by me, but I wasn't talking about Florida 2000, I was talking about the 2004 election, and my post was clear about that. Candidate Bush missed the September 1st filing deadline. According to the rules, he shouldn't have been on the ballot in Florida this year. And yet he is. Guess it's okay to bend the rules even if you're a Republican...

So how much of a stickler for the rules do you want to be? Kerry bringing a pen to the debate has exactly zero impact on the outcome of said debate; a cheat sheet would have had an impact, but a pen, zip.

The fact that Bush supporters are up in arms about this only shows how embarrassed they are by Bush having suffered in a debate in which he should have triumphed.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 06:49 AM

Cathy,

"Now, it is DRUDGE's fault that Kerry pulled something out of his pocket?"

I can't find any such response above. I think you made that up.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 06:55 AM

My God. Are Bush supporters this desperate? What if Kerry did have notes in the debate? Is this high-school? In the grand scale of political cheating and lying this would be one the most minor ever recorded. Really, this is Michael Moore type stuff. This used to be an intellectually serious blog.

Posted by: Vanya at October 4, 2004 06:58 AM

Ratatosk,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

Some interesting corollaries:

There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. In addition, whoever points out that Godwin's Law applies to the thread is considered to have lost the battle, as it is considered poor form to invoke the law explicitly.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 07:06 AM

Cassidy,

Nice summation. :)

Sorry, Priscilla, looks like you lost.

Damn that recursive nature of geek laws.

Posted by: ratatosk at October 4, 2004 07:12 AM

joekm -

That sounds interesting - tieing Rep campaign donations to getting your driver's license.

Could you provide a link? I can't seem to find one....?

Posted by: TmjUtah at October 4, 2004 07:14 AM

Actually, as a Bush supporter I have to keep telling myself not to get smug. During the debate Kerry handed the Republicans two killer talking points ("global test" and "uranium for mullahs") and a couple of other that won't have the legs of those two.

The Democrats got video of Bush looking peeved.

Vanya, I think some people here are really, honestly disturbed by the prospect of Kerry cheating. (Personally, I don't give a damn because compared to my other reasons for not liking him, the cheat sheet ranks with his remarkable technique for hunting deer.)

Let's put it another way: some people may believe that the most important characteristic for a President would be respect for the rules. The position is too powerful to give to someone without that basic instinct. (Actually, that's a pretty good summary of the logic behind the "Bush AWOL from TANG" thesis, never mind that the supposed infractions happened 30 years ago.)

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 07:15 AM

Heh, ok. I'll take the loss. I was hoping you weren't going to nail me on invoking Clinton.

Posted by: Priscilla at October 4, 2004 07:15 AM

Curioser and curiouser....

Being un-successful at getting a still shot from the .wmv file. I started searching for this video in .mov (quicktime) format. The only such videos I can find have Bush truncated off and, in it's place, a close-up of Kerry. I even went back to the Drudge Report website and it seems that this in the only video they have now.

Looks like I may not be the only person to have noticed the cards in Bush's hand.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 07:15 AM

tmjutah,

We're talking like 20 years ago, I'm no longer in Indiana and it's my current understanding that this is no longer the case. However, back then, you used to see bumper stickers with slogans like "I gave at the license bureau", which referred to this very thing. In fact, I think Indiana is a Democrat state now, but I may be wrong.

I only brought it up because it was one of two events that soured my opinion of the Republican party and the other such event happens to be pertinent to this discussion.

On the other hand, looks like a non-issue anyways. After looking at the video again, it appears to me that they both pull something out of thier coats.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 07:28 AM

Twenty years? Ah, that's o.k. Just that reading your post gave the impression that you were forced to donate to a political party to get your license.

Twenty years ago, though. Just about impossible to find anything on A SEARCH (won't let me use G**gle for some reason) on something that far back, I guess.

Twenty years ago. Say, that's when Kerry came up with his 2004 National Defense posture, isn't it? There's consistency for you.

Posted by: TmjUtah at October 4, 2004 07:40 AM

Mark Polling,

What the Democrats got was Bush looking very un-presidential and defensive, while Kerry came off as focused, resolute, and clear. It's a surface thing, granted, but an important one. Many people expected Kerry to come out and waffle and look ineffectual; instead, it was Bush who seemed out of his depth and looked ineffectual. That changed the dynamic of the race, and that was important.

Re. "global test": the only way to turn this against Kerry is to completely misrepresent what he actually said, as, surprise surprise, the Bush campaign has been doing consistently since Kerry said it. Ah, but Bush would never have to lie to win, right?

Re. iranium for the mullahs - a possible gaffe, but since Bush has been quiet on this issue, one has to wonder what exactly he has been trying to offer Iran as a carrot during their negotiations.

Vanya, I think some people here are really, honestly disturbed by the prospect of Kerry cheating. (Personally, I don't give a damn because compared to my other reasons for not liking him, the cheat sheet ranks with his remarkable technique for hunting deer.)

There was no cheat sheet, only a black pen. How much impact does Kerry pulling a pen out of his pocket at the beginning of the debate have on the debate?

Zip.

Let's put it another way: some people may believe that the most important characteristic for a President would be respect for the rules. The position is too powerful to give to someone without that basic instinct

Are you one of those people?

If that is today's "most important characteristic" (simply because today that happens to supposedly benefit Bush), then what do you make of Bush having missed the filing deadline in Florida this year? Should he not only abide by the rules and agree not to run as a candidate in Florida, but worse yet, does him disrespecting this deadline make him completely unsuitable to be president in the first place?

It is, after all, today's "most important characteristic", right?

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 07:46 AM

tmjUtah,

Here ya go [http://www.octobernight.com/bwyatt/chap3.htm]

Appears that this practice ended in 1989 with the election of a Democratic Governor. Here is the best quote I can find so far (I should be working, but I did though the comment out in teh first place):

== Despite the relative weakness of the state chapters of Common Cause and the League of Women Voters during the 1970s, the political patronage systems of both states became the target of significant criticism after the Watergate scandals.[200] Citizens were particularly incensed by the mediocre service provided by many state agencies, while good government groups emphasized how the forced contribution system perpetuated one-party Republican dominance.[201] In 1976, leaders of the political parties in Indiana and Ohio arranged for a more institutionalized system where revenue from license plate charges of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in both states were distributed more equitably among the political parties.[202] By most accounts, this ended paycheck deductions in Ohio, though the system survived in Indiana until the inauguration of a Democratic Governor, Evan Bayh, in 1989.[203] =

I done some further research, as it stands right now, they still collect donations on vanity plates only and this money is divided between the Demoncratic and Republican parties. However, third party candidates are still crying foul.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 07:49 AM

Cassidy,

Now, now, don't start applying logic across the board to both cannidates... next thing ya know, you'll be telling us that pulling a pen out of one's coat during a debate isn't a High Crime and Misdemeanor.

So I heard that while Kerry pulled out a pen, the mysterious object that Bush pulled out was a Crayola 12 pack... he's just more comfortable with them.

Posted by: fnord at October 4, 2004 07:52 AM

TMJ - Interesting. I called my stepsister in Indiana and asked her if she had ever paid a mandatory fee at the DMV to the Republican party. She is a democrat. She claims the only fee or donation she has seen is when purchasing vanity plates.( ie: pink ribbon - donation goes to breast cancer) I would be interested in a link to that too.

joekm - There is nothing moral, responsible, ethical, and upright about this except perhaps that no one is actually bragging about it.
SEATTLE (AP) - Three laptop computers containing campaign plans were stolen overnight from the Bush-Cheney state headquarters office, Republican officials said Friday.

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20041001/D85EUJG01.html

Posted by: Kim at October 4, 2004 08:05 AM

tmjUtah,

Your quote:

"Twenty years? Ah, that's o.k. Just that reading your post gave the impression that you were forced to donate to a political party to get your license."

For the record...I was, and then I got to listen to them tell me that it was a "voluntary" contribution.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 08:05 AM

Cassidy, I simply wanted to point out why a person could get righteously upset by Kerry cheating on the rules. (I had those reflexes destroyed by eight years of Clinton. Now I consider myself more nuanced on that whole honesty thing. But others may not be as jaded as me.)

To answer your question, and repeat what I said earlier in the thread, Kerry cheat-sheets would not be a hot-button issue for me. My overriding concerns this election cycle are security and foreign policy. I'm happier with Bush's performance in these areas than most readers here, and Kerry's track record is awful. So for me this election is easy.

As to the Florida ballot thing, I'm going to flip this and ask if you are really gung-ho to disenfranchise all the pro-Bush voters in Florida?

Situational ethics suck, dude.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 08:06 AM

"In 1976, leaders of the political parties in Indiana and Ohio arranged for a more institutionalized system where revenue from license plate charges of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in both states were distributed more equitably among the political parties."

But reading the link indicates that it wasn't a question of the levies going solely to the Republican party, but rather one of the distribution of the levies themselves? The issue was public subsidy of the political process, and the distribution favored the Republicans.

" Part of your tag renewal was a donation to the Republican party." is true. You just left out that the same fee applied to the Democrats, too.

This isn't the thread, but I know LOTS of teachers who have problems with where their UEA/NEA dues go, too. grin

I'm off for the day. Y'all have a fine one.

Thanks for the link.

Posted by: TmjUtah at October 4, 2004 08:08 AM

Is this real? is this what the Right has been reduced too? Certainly there are thicker straws to grasp at than this.

Personally I hope this doesen't go away. I hope they go for broke on this. If anything, pengate will remind sensible Americans that unfortunately loony partisanship affects the right as detrimentally as it affects the left.

Posted by: Epitome at October 4, 2004 08:09 AM

No TmjUtah,

I realize it's not clear in that text, but, in the mid-late 80's, the fee went exclusively to the Republican party. It wasn't highly advertised as you may imagine, but it went to the Republicans.

Read the entire quote, not just the part that supports your position. They may have arranged for it in 1976, but, to quote the article, the system survived in Indiana until the inauguration of a Democratic Governor, Evan Bayh, in 1989.

Back then, I got into some serious debates with the president of the local chapter of College Republicans over this. It really did happen, I really did make an involuntary political contribution in exchange for being allowed to drive in Indiana.

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 08:25 AM

Mark Polling,

"As to the Florida ballot thing, I'm going to flip this and ask if you are really gung-ho to disenfranchise all the pro-Bush voters in Florida?"

No, I am not. And I am not going to pretend that "breaking the rules" is always the absolutely worst possible thing one can do, as some Bush apologists are pretending today. I was being sarcastic when I said that Bush should not be a candidate in Florida, in an attempt to point out how silly it can be to harp on about the rules when in the larger picture the infraction simply doesn't matter, or when taking it to its logical conclusion would be fruitless or wrong.

Bringing a pen to a debate, even if it is technically against the rules, is really not a big deal. Allowing an incumbent president on the ballot, even if it is technically against the rules, is not a big deal either.

You're entitled to your opinion about Bush's foreign policy. Personally, I think many things could have been handled better, most notably the post-war planning in Iraq, which has now likely left us with no appetizing options, nor an appealing exit strategy. If ever there was any merit to the idea that a democratic Iraq would serve as a catalyst to transform the region (and there well might have been, I'm open to that, and it would have tied the invasion of Iraq to the War on Terror in a positive sense - as opposed to perpetuating it, which may well be what we're looking at now), then that goal has surely not been served well by the way Bush has supervised the post-war planning. The reason for this lies, in my opinion, in Bush's unwillingness to consider other points of view, as well as in Rice's ineptitude. (If she's doing her job, she sure hides it well.) Rumsfeld also miscalculated severely. Cheney operates behind the scenes for the most part, so we don't really know for how much of this he is accountable.

I don't know if Kerry has a clear, executable plan for Iraq, but I do know that Bush doesn't have one and exacerbates the situation by being in denial about the situation. In general I think he values re-election over good policy, and that disturbs me.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 08:32 AM

Epitome,

Amen.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 08:33 AM

I saw bush reading or handeling papers at histation and thought that was odd. and does it really matter? and the comments thingy seems to be some what messed up.

Posted by: Ben at October 4, 2004 08:45 AM

Regarding Kerry's style and lack of substance on Thursday; what is he going to do now about Iran rejecting his peace offering/tribute? The Arabs and Europeans have already rejected his pleas for help in Iraq. All his foreign policy ideas so far have fallen flat.

Will his impeccable style ever make up for his lack of substance?

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:45 AM

Okay Cassidy, I missed the sarcasm. But there really are people in the ABB crowd who would seriously be happy if Bush weren't on the Florida ballot. And situational ethics do piss me off.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 4, 2004 08:49 AM

Bringing a pen to a debate, even if it is technically against the rules, is really not a big deal.

John Kerry didn't bring a "pen". The object is squarish and white, and he unraps it like a cheatsheet. He doesn't lift the cap off as with a pen. For a high res view:

http://homepage.mac.com/cfj/.Movies/JFKCheat.mov

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:57 AM

Cassidy, I don't make things up, thank you very much! The quote I was refering to is..

"It's just Drudge being drudge grasping for straws." "John C."

He didn't have to grasp far, when it is in plain view on the video. Kerry did take something out of his pocket!

Posted by: Cathy at October 4, 2004 08:58 AM

Mork: Have some dignity, Michael. You're starting to look desperate.

I am? Why? I said he probably didn't cheat but his campaign staff had a lame answer. That's desperate? How?

I had breakfast with a conservative friend of mine yesterday where I tried (and failed) to convince him that Kerry probably didn't cheat. Yet I look "desperate" to you? Sigh. Big sigh.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 4, 2004 09:10 AM

The video should also show what happened at the end.

Did Kerry pick up the "object?"

If not where is it? Is it plausible that no one picked it up?

Posted by: David Sucher at October 4, 2004 09:11 AM

A senior Kerry campaign advisor is caught red handed removing WOT related documents from the National Archives. And nobody cares.

Joe Wilson, another Kerry campaign "advisor"/ hatchet-man, is also exposed as an out and out liar, and lied to protect an enemy dictator supporting terrorism. And nobody cares.

Dan Rather uses forged documents, the source of which is linked to the Kerry campaign. And nobody cares. Kerry actually rises in the polls.

This is not to mention that Kerry has previously testified falsely about our military's actions and purposes in Vietnam. Under oath. In front of Cogress. Giving a massive propaganda victory to an enemy. Demanding defeat at all costs from his own country. And even as we fight another, equally critical war, no one cares.

When he returns from a dubious four month tour, is involved with an organization that seriously considered assasinating Senators they considered "right wing". He lies, boldface, about being at the meeting. But no one cares.

Why the hell would anyone care about him sneaking a pen and crib notes into a debate?

Posted by: Annonomo at October 4, 2004 09:14 AM

David,

http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/31273.htm

Now I know that the NYPost is an evil member of the MSM, bent on destroying the American way of Life and replacing it with a facist state, using Kerry as the new Furher, but they claim that high quality footage, as viewed on professional equipment shows an ink pen.

I suppose those evil leftists would have been much better served watching a low-res internet video, then they would have seen the facts!

sigh

Annonomo,

\Good points, Kerry and Bush are now neck and neck in the 'full of shit' dept. Bush's people are all part of the vast oil conspiracy, and Kerry's people are all part of the 'Get Bush the Fuck out of Office' conspiracy.

Shame....

;-)

Posted by: ratatosk at October 4, 2004 09:30 AM

Tosk,

I have my own two eyes, so why should I care what the NYPost says? Why don't you take a look yourself.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 09:35 AM

""global test": the only way to turn this against Kerry is to completely misrepresent what he actually said,"

Clearly he said that he was for a global test before he was against it.

Regarding Bush being on the Florida ballot, doesn't Frank Lautenberg have to resign his Senate seat before the Dems can contest Bush on the Florida ballot?

I believe the MSM will give the Republicans 'one shot' - a story that's only a story on Fox News and the Internet that bubbles up - between now and the election. And that's simply to be able to have some sort of rationale to show lack of bias - how could be be crooked if we covered 'x'?. And the Republicans want to waste it on crib notes?

Posted by: Matthew Ryan at October 4, 2004 09:36 AM

David,

I looked at the video. It was obvious that 'something' got pulled out, but I would need a better quality video to make any accusation that its more than a pen.

Consider:

Kerry's side of the debate expressed nothing detailed or new. Its the same hash he's been spooning out for months... would he willingly risk the debate, to have notes on rethoric that he must know by heart now?

Kerry knew that he was being videotaped the entire time, what advantage would crib notes give him, that would make him take such a risk?

I'm not saying that he didn't cheat, I don't have enough evidence to support the claim either way... I have yet to find a scenerio where such action would help him though.

But of course, for those who wish to demonize someone, there is no 'innocent until proven guilty'... its just straight up condemnation.

Political Dogmatists are making me sicker by the day. If there is not some reduction in the violently partisan rethoric and accusations from the Left and Right, I wonder how we will fare in four years... no matter who is president.

as an aside: I can't believe that people have nothing better to do with their lives than watch a debate frame-by-frame looking to see who pulled what out of their pockets. The video shows both cannidates doing something. If you're gonna condem Kerry, you might as well add Bush...

Or, you could just wait until there was clearer evidence. But, if Dan rather doesn't, I guess you don't have to either.

Ratatosk, Nauseated Squirrel of Discord

Posted by: tosk at October 4, 2004 09:49 AM

Michael,

This is not a big deal at all. There is a lot of gamesmanship that goes on in debates. Debaters make distracting noises and raise a variety of disturbances to psyche out the opponent. They're always going over their allotted time. They pretend the other has said something he hasn't. If he knew that Bush would be upset by it, Kerry would have pretended to take something out of his pocket, hoping that Bush would call him on it. Bush himself is known for being good at this stuff. I have seen stories about him working the moderator before the debate and mugging for the audience when the camera was elsewhere.

Personally, I would not want a president who was incapable of working in this grey area. He's going to have to deal with opponents in this world that are a lot more treacherous than that.

Posted by: jj at October 4, 2004 09:56 AM

Wow, I really gotta start reading blogs on the weekend as well. I missed pengate!

The blogosphere, flush with the success of memogate, urgently looks about for the next scandal. And this may be it, people. We're through the looking glass. Feel the mighty laser-like intensity of the blogodome, Kerry Campaign! Fear our wrath!

A pen. Ferchristsake, people, get a grip.

Posted by: double-plus-ungood at October 4, 2004 10:00 AM

MJT,

Thanks for the update, I am somewhat relieved to see that my observation is showing up in the blogosphere. Now we can get back to arguing "style vs. substance" again. ;)

As for me, I'm voting Lumberjack:

http://www.illclan.com/movies.htm

Posted by: joekm at October 4, 2004 10:07 AM

The update says Bush pulled something out of his pocket too. I can't see it though? someone wanna help me out?

Posted by: Epitome at October 4, 2004 10:07 AM

Epitome,

here's a high res view:

http://homepage.mac.com/cfj/.Movies/JFKCheat.mov

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 10:10 AM

David,

That's not Hi-Res. It's a blown up version of a low-res shot.We see something casually being pulled out and fiddled with... If you're going to make accusations based only on that, then you're getting desperate indeed... I wonder if it has to do with the new polls?

;-)

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 10:18 AM

Tosk,

there's a split second where you can see the object in his hand is most definitely NOT a pen.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 10:20 AM

I'm pretty sure it was a wardrobe malfunction. In the frame-by-frame on Bush, I think I saw the top left portion of Bush's nipple.

In the meantime, until we know what the object is, what we have is known as an unproven accusation. Those who feel their side would benefit from the accusation being true are encouraging people to assume facts that are simply not in evidence.

Sure, if the accusation that Kerry was cheating substantively (notes, not a pen) were shown to be true, I think that it would be a big deal. That's obvious. But it's no more obvious than that the unproven accusations are at this point, nearly pure speculation.

My sense of the Kerry campaign response is not so much that it's lame, but that they think the accusation is so laughable, they don't feel the burden to refute it. The saddest thing is that no matter what story the Kerry campaign comes out with, many partisans will still insist Kerry was cheating. The happy part is that these insisters will be laughed at by everyone else.

Posted by: bk at October 4, 2004 10:24 AM

""global test": the only way to turn this against Kerry is to completely misrepresent what he actually said,"

Clearly he said that he was for a global test before he was against it.

Teehee...

I take it you still misunderstand what Kerry meant by the phrase, then, and that Bush and Cheney have been misrepresenting it on the stump. It does not mean that our national security is held hostage to foreign vetoes. In fact, if you look at his quote, it is remarkably precise, and there is nothing about it that's objectionable:

"No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

What's wrong with a leader communicating to his people what he is doing? And what is wrong with being able to justify a pre-emptive action in hindsight? (Not in advance so that other nations can stand in the way of us protecting ourselves.)

It is, in a word, the Powell doctrine. The Bush campaign is pretty desperate to attempt to spin this as a blunder and misrepresent it into a fear-mongering issue.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 10:27 AM

David,

I've watched it several times, I see him pull something out of his pocket and I note the point where you 'see' something 'squarish and white'.

However, for you to be willing to base your conclusions on this low quality video, without any rational explanation of WHY the man would cheat in a debate where he was obviously the far better debator, is just silly.

In a crime we need motive... there's no motive for him to cheat in this situation. Not on national TV, with cameras all around him, and certinaly not with that very obvious large movement of going to the inside jacket pocket. If he wanted to cheat, he could have slipped it up his cuff and popped it out on the podium with none the wiser.

The hypothesis has too many questionable leaps in logic for me to believe without some evidence, and that blocky low-res video is no evidence.

Hoepfully, someone with professional tools will get a better image.

Posted by: tosk at October 4, 2004 10:29 AM

tosk,

Well said. One of the most logical posts I've seen all day.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 10:37 AM

Tosk,

even if what you say is true, it's not a pen. So what is it?

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 10:38 AM

David,

I just watched the other video clip from Olliver Wills.

I don't know what was in his pocket, I don't know that it was or was not a pen, I do know that he and Bush, at almost the same time, made nearly the same move.

So what is it?

How in the hell should I know? I wasn't there, I don't have the original footage and a hi-tech editing suite, therefore, I am not qualified to make any sort of rational guess of what it is. It may be a pen, it may be a handkerchief, it may be crib notes, but I don't know.

I'm all right with saying that I don't know the answer to some things. I always find it better to honestly say you don't know... then to pretend like you do and have to apologize later. I guess in my mind, its just an issue of honor. If I pretend to know something that I don't... is what I'm saying any different than a lie?

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 4, 2004 10:44 AM

I'm witholding my opinion on this too... http://americablog.blogspot.com/

There are video/screencaps that show Bush pulling out something white, unfolding it and placing it on the lectern. Later shots seem to show some sort of outline laying on the lectern.

I still say the shots are far too grainy to accuse Bush of cheating... but there are quite a number of better shots of potential cheating than we have of Kerry (so far).

One wonders if people will go vote on election day, or if they'll be going frame-by-frame through all available footage of the opponent to find ANYTHING.

Politics in America, the joke is on... well everyone on the planet I suspect.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 4, 2004 10:50 AM

Tosk,

what a joke. The Kerry clip shows him reaching into his pocket.

The Bush clips, on the other hand, just show Bush's hands moving around over the podium. I guess if Bush had scratched his head that also would be proof he "cheated." Whatever, spare us the dishonesty please.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 10:55 AM

David, while we're all being honest and clear, you have no proof of cheating, right?

What you have is grainy inconclusive video accompanying an accusation that you demand be refuted, right?

At this point, you have proof that Kerry took something out of his pocket, and that's IT, right?

What am I missing?

Posted by: bk at October 4, 2004 11:01 AM

blink

Wow David,

You utterly amaze me. You're willing to damn Kerry on a split-second where you see what might, maybe be a cheat sheet. Yet, you completely poo-poo the more than split second of Bush fiddling with something whitish and making hand motions that look like someone unfolding something. (not to mention the later "bigfoot" quality shots that show some sort of outline-like paper on his podium).

Is your partisan bias so great that you dismiss out of hand pseudo-evidence against your man, that you would use to damn your adversary?

I don't know why you're accusing me of dishonesty, I've stated that there's not enough evidence to damn either cannidate, nor clear enough video to reprive either cannidate. I'm not the one making hard and fast decisions based on crappy wmv formatted videos from the Internet!

Dishonest indeed! I'd expect an apology, but I assume that in your reality, you really do think that saying 'I don't know' is dishonest.

I expected a higher quality discussion from you,

Tosk

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 11:09 AM

Bill at INDC Journal has posted an update.

BREAKING NEWS: FOX News: "99% Sure It's a Black Pen"

A FOX News representative has reviewed several versions of the debate tape and is almost positive that the object in question is a black pen. "What he takes out of his pocket ... I'm almost 99% sure that it's a pen. It's a black, oblong object," a FOX News producer told INDC Journal.

http://www.indcjournal.com/archives/001066.php

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 11:18 AM

Cassidy,

Yeah, but you can't trust the MSM, they're teh evil Socialists Left-Wing Nazis. FOX News probably edited in the black pen to save Kerry from embarassment.

Or, maybe FOX was so afraid of this stunning revelation by the blog community that they covered it up to maintain their control over the media.

Whoops, there's me being dishonest again.

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 11:21 AM

This thread is too funny. I just got off a Democratic blog where they're talking about Bush's earpiece, and the mysterious black box under his jacket! See the picture below.

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2004_10_03_digbysblog_archive.html#109684306116880682

I don't believe the Kerry cheating or the Bush cheating theories, but I gotta admit I'm really puzzled by the black box that can be clearly seen under Bush's jacket!

Posted by: Mara at October 4, 2004 11:33 AM

Mara,

I'd guess personal armor or suspenders...

But, it could indeed be a direct link back to the headquarters of the Order of Illuminated Bavarian Seers, better know as the Bavarian Illuminati!

Hey, there's as much evidence for that as there is for a Kerry or Bush cheat sheet.

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 11:52 AM

In the Nostromo's labyrinthine passages and decks, the Alien prowled. Already responsible for the deaths of two crew members, the surviving huddled in the living quarters. One might have thought that the discussion would have been about the best options for defeating the Alien predator on their ship, or how they might escape.

But no, debate centered on what colour costume to wear, or if certain members of the crew had been passing each other notes...

Deep in the dark recesses of the ship, the Alien moved.

Posted by: Eric the Unread at October 4, 2004 11:55 AM

A sub-lieutenant, whose function and position were obscure to most, pointed to the most talkative group and asked pointedly, and somewhat too loudly, what people were going to do about the "situation". No one deigned to look in his direction. If the Alien had seen and understood the little farce, perhaps It would have smiled.

Posted by: jj at October 4, 2004 12:11 PM

"In fact, if you look at his quote, it is remarkably precise, and there is nothing about it that's objectionable:

"No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."

If there was any doubt about the intent of a "global test" Kerry clarified what it in the same paragraph - "prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons". If Kerry is trying to talk up his capacity to engage in necessary unilateralist activities it seems odd that he would cite a 'global test' and the necessity of 'prov(ing) to the world' the legitimacy of his proposed actions. I agree there is nothing objectionable here - I personally don't think the US President should be reflexively kow towing to the rest of the world on matters of US security. Would Kerry? I can't say for sure but he certainly signals that there is some sort of international 'hurdle' that must be cleared before he would act.

Posted by: Matthew Ryan at October 4, 2004 12:19 PM

I'd rather the President prove to the world, instead of neglecting to prove to half of his own country... but thats just me.

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 12:28 PM

Kerry is a self admitted war criminal (under oath) - really, I can't get worked up about a minor technical violation of the rules (assuming it was just a pen).

Posted by: Joe Marino at October 4, 2004 12:37 PM

Cassidy,

if Fox can show us a different angle, then it's settled. If not, then obviously it isn't. A white squarish object shown in the above clips isn't black and oblong, I don't care who says it.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 12:38 PM

Tosk,

if I can show you foolproof evidence of the Bavarian Illuminati, will you then admit into evidence Kerry's cheatsheet?

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 12:41 PM

David,

If you show me proof that Bush is wired to the BI, and show me proof that Kerry had a cheatsheet, I will let you admit both into evidence. Hell, just show me proof that Kerry had a cheat sheet and I'll let you submit that into evidence.

I don't like Kerry, I'm not trying to defend the man, by saying that he wouldn't cheat because he's honorable or anything else. All I'm saying is that there has yet to be ANY clear evidence that something happened (other than Kerry pulling something out of his pocket). Base accusations without proof, constitute partisan barking, and I'm not interested in that.

Are you really so convienced of what you saw on the Internet, in a low-res copy of a video, that you'll hold your position, when a right-biased source like FOXNEWS says they have examined the video (one would assume they looked at the original footage and used an actual videosuite to examine the data) and found it to be a black pen?

It would be in FOX's interests to show proof of a Kerry cheat.

So now, the list of issues with 'Kerry Brought a Cheat Sheet' are:

1. Why would Kerry bring a cheat sheet when his entire show was a rehash of everything he has said for the past year? Don't you think it would be memorized by now?

2. Kerry is a known Good debator, Bush is, well, Bush. Why would Kerry risk getting caught, when he was obviously at an advantage?

3. Why would Kerry put his cheat sheet in his right breast pcoket, requiring a cross-body movement, in front of numerous cameras? If he was going to cheat, why not put the cheat sheet in his cuff (College Finals 101)?

4. Why would FOX news come to the conclusion (99% sure) that Kerry had a black pen, if there was any possible spin that could support Bush against Kerry?

Answering those questions still doesn't constitute proof, but without logical answers to those questions, low-res video is no proof at all.

Why are you so intent on every little crumb that might possibly be against Kerry? Are you really that obssesed?

Tosk

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 01:05 PM

David,

You're suggesting that the issue hasn't been "settled."

This is the same thing as saying that the accusations are unproven, right? C'mon, now, let's be clear and honest, shall we?

That same video that doesn't conclusively show the object to be a black pen also doesn't conclusively show it to be anything else incriminating, does it?

A simple yes will do.

Posted by: bk at October 4, 2004 01:37 PM

If the Bush campaign thinks that Kerry is cheating and it is hurting their candidate, they certainly have the right to withdraw from the remaining debates.

If they don't seem to care, then maybe their supporters should accept that position and move on to the next gotcha.

Posted by: rance at October 4, 2004 01:53 PM

Rance,

I have yet to see anyone by Drudge and random blogger commenters accuse Kerry of Cheating... I don't believe that the Bush administration, or any reasonable news org (or even unreasonable in the case of FOX), has followed up on these accusations which hve as much video support as Bigfoot.

Fie on all who choose partisan over preference!

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 02:02 PM

bk,

I don't think anything is proven. But it's not a pen as the Kerry camp alleges, and their explanation just raises more suspicions. If I were in the Bush camp, I would demand an official explanation.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 02:22 PM

Matthew,

"you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons" is not the same as "'prov(ing) to the world' the legitimacy of his proposed actions".

It is this crucial difference that Bush and Cheney willfully disregard on the campaign trail, and why they insist wrongly that Kerry proposes to test foreign waters before any hypothetical future pre-emptive move.

What Kerry is saying is that it has to be justifiable, at least in hindsight. And that only makes perfect sense.

What Bush and Cheney are claiming Kerry is saying is that you have to ask other countries for permission beforehand, whereas Kerry very clearly said the opposite.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 02:34 PM

D. Clyde, good post, nice summary of arguments, thank you.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 02:34 PM

David,

"if Fox can show us a different angle, then it's settled. If not, then obviously it isn't. A white squarish object shown in the above clips isn't black and oblong, I don't care who says it."

Apparently Brit Hume is going to be showing enhanced video of this on the Grapevine section of his show on Fox News that will start in about 25 minutes.

Start up your Tivos.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 02:37 PM

Cassidy:

You don't see the flaw in that logic? "I won't take any action until I can be sure the right decision was made in hindsight." That is precisely the logic that will have me voting for President Bush.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at October 4, 2004 03:21 PM

You don't see the flaw in not being sure that the right decision was made, whether in hindsight or otherwise?

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 03:29 PM

I see several flaws. I see the flaw of waiting to be sure. I see the flaw of waiting for approval from allies. I see the flaw of depending upon others to ensure the safety of the U.S. All of these are talking points for Senator Kerry.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at October 4, 2004 03:43 PM

"I see several flaws. I see the flaw of waiting to be sure. I see the flaw of waiting for approval from allies. I see the flaw of depending upon others to ensure the safety of the U.S. All of these are talking points for Senator Kerry.

No, all of these are talking points pushed by the Bush campaign and misrepresenting Kerry's stance.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 03:49 PM

Different lens

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at October 4, 2004 03:52 PM
No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

No "waiting for approval from allies" (notice the past tense "did it for legitimate reasons" - meaning no delay up front. No "depending upon others to ensure the safety of the US".

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 03:52 PM

I'm not questioning the quote. I'm not getting the same thing from it you are. I see him basing his decisions on whether the world will "think he's a nice guy", a real "Continental" kind of guy. I feel John Kerry is more worried about his place in history and less worried about my family becoming history.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at October 4, 2004 04:00 PM

Fair enough. FWIW, I don't get that sense at all. People do grow into the presidency rather quickly and surprisingly. Kerry might surprise you.

Bush has driven us into a ditch in Iraq. The long term potential benefits of invading Iraq (the beacon of democracy that would transform the Middle East) have been all but ruined by the incompetence of Bush's leadership, and that has definitely not made you and your family any safer.

Posted by: Cassidy at October 4, 2004 04:11 PM

Well, I'm very late to this party and haven't read all the posts. The thing that I find fishy is not that Kerry took something out of his pocket. It's this, and I haven't seen much discussion about it anywhere. If people aren't tired of this whole thing, I'd appreciate some second opinions.

Looking at this link, we see Kerry shake Bush's hand with his right hand, then walk behind the podium:

http://www.boston.com/news/special/politics/debate_video/sept29/1.html

Over at Little Green Footballs there is a zoomed QuickTime movie. As Kerry rounds the podium and reaches into his pocket with his left hand, there is already some sort of object in his right hand. Did he have something up his sleeve? How did the object get into his right hand (which should have been empty)after he shook Bush's hand?

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=12967_A_Better_View_of_Jacketgate

If he did literally have something up his sleeve that got into his right hand, well that DOES look like some kind of cheating. Believe me, I'm trying to avoid tinfoil hat land, but I'd appreciate it if any of y'all could see for yourselves and comment.

Posted by: Matteo at October 4, 2004 05:34 PM

Okay, I took another long look at the evidence I mentioned above (specifically the Little Green Footballs Quicktime movie) and it looks like the object in the right hand is just a sudden glint due to the stage lighting (reflecting off the nail polish on Kerry's manicured thumb?). I've also seen via LGF a closeup of the black pen, and speculation that Kerry simply attached the pen to an index card rather than to the jacket lining.

I'm fine with that. Anyway, even if Kerry cheated (which I don't think he did, what did he say that was so brilliant anyway), Bush still SUCKED. And I support Bush!

Tinfoil hat now crumpled in the garbage.

Posted by: Matteo at October 4, 2004 06:13 PM

Shorter David: Torturing terror suspects is GOOD.

Bringing unauthorized object into debate is BAD.

Posted by: kc at October 4, 2004 07:20 PM

http://homepage.mac.com/cfj/.Pictures/KerryPen.jpg

There it is, PROOF Positive that Kerry brought a gasp Pen to the debate!!!!

Surprisingly, LGF decided not to apologize (since technically the pen was against the rules). Most of the comments that vitrolly accused Kerry of being a cheat (and worse) simply changed to "Well, no matter, he's still Evil".

The partisan smog is so thick I can cut it with a knife.

Tosk

Posted by: D Clyde at October 4, 2004 07:30 PM

kc,

saving lives is good, cheating during debates is bad.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:11 PM

ps. But as Tosk has already noted, it appears to have been a pen after all.

Posted by: David at October 4, 2004 08:12 PM

I see the flaw of waiting to be sure. I see the flaw of waiting for approval from allies. I see the flaw of depending upon others to ensure the safety of the U.S.

RickM, I agree with you that we needn't wait for approval from allies unless it's a potentially alliance-breaking issue and the alliance is more important than the action.

And I agree that it's better to do it ourselves when possible. (Tora Bora was probably a mistake of that sort. And now we're depending on pakistan to get al qaeda people from their areas. We'll have trouble dealing with north korea without china's help, and I don't know that we'll get it. It looks like we just can't do it all, and some of what we depend on others for will fail.)

But about waiting to be sure -- I'm real glad you aren't the one who can push the button.

Posted by: J Thomas at October 4, 2004 08:25 PM

Kerry had bad ideas and Bush had bad oratory. What kind of cheating could have reversed either of those flaws?

Posted by: Alan K. Henderson at October 5, 2004 02:42 AM

J. Thomas:

I don't believe the US has done anything that should have broken an alliance from a true ally. Those contries that are having the problems with our actions are those that were most severely affected economically by our actions. I don't consider any of them to be more important than my family's safety.

I don't live in a perfect world nor do I expect perfection from everyone else. It is easy to sit here and critique Tora Bora but I wasn't there. I don't know what was happening on the ground. I have patrolled in areas similar to Tora Bora and I believe the chances of anyone sealing it with even 10x the number of boots on the ground are pretty slim. Are we expecting help from Pakistan and China? Yep. Will we get it? If it is in their interests me might. Some of it WILL fail.

But about waiting to be sure -- I'm real glad you aren't the one who can push the button.

Me too.

Semper Fi

Posted by: RickM at October 5, 2004 04:31 AM

Very suspicious.

Posted by: frank at October 12, 2004 09:04 AM

Anyone can do any amount of work provided it isn't the work he is
supposed to be doing at the moment.
-- Robert Benchley

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