October 13, 2004

The Third Debate

Stephen Green:

This thing is, mercifully, two-thirds over. Kerry is doing what Bush did in the first debate. He's smirking "off" camera, he's droning, he's dull. Bush, no matter how boring I find the material, at least sounds passionate. Problem is, other than intoxicated political junkies like me, who the hell is still watching?
Not me. Not anymore. I watched the first few minutes and was instantly put off by John Kerry once again accusing George Bush of “pushing our allies away” in the very first question. And I find Bush excruciating to listen to, whether I agree with him or not, unless he’s giving a prepared speech written by somebody else. I couldn’t handle yet another hour and a half of sitting there and listening to Bush mangle his English and Kerry drone on about whatever it is he droned on about tonight.

I’m not the target audience for these things. I learn nothing by watching them. If I actually liked either of these mooks or found even one of them a compelling speaker that might make up for it. It also might matter if I were still undecided.

As it is, I would rather watch a re-run of The X-Files. So that’s what I did. I may be a political junkie, but tonight Mulder and Scully beat Kerry and Bush.

Feel free to argue amongst yourselves in the comments about who "won" (ie, who sucked less).

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 13, 2004 08:41 PM
Comments

Bush did much better on style than in the previous two, but still nowhere near as well as Kerry, who was, once again, calm, focused, articulate, and presidential.
On substance it wasnt even close. Bush had a string of answers he seemed not able to respond to, - all roads apparently led back to his rote lines on education, irrespective of the question. Bush had some very good answers on the personal stuff - e.g. women in his life, but on the substantive issues of the day seemed once again out of his league.

ABC - Kerry by one with a 8 point republican skew in the sample.
CNN - Kerry by 13.

Posted by: Tano at October 13, 2004 09:10 PM

ahh, by the idiotic standards the media sets up for both of them, they both did fine. bush's standard: don't smirk, look pissed, or stare blankly into camera: check.

kerry standard: appeal to some completely unrecognizable standard of "likeability" and "looking presidential": check.

as for being any sort of meaningful discourse: negative.

look, as we know michael -- and so i guess i'm talking more to myself and your commentators than you -- the debates mean essentially nothing to people who filter and seek their own news, as most people who read blogs do. I don't have to visit hugh hewitt's blog to know what he thinks ("big bush win," right?). and i don't have to watch this debate to learn anything about kerry's or bush's domestic policy. the debates about the future of this country are not played out in the platitudes of the debate commission's comically empty formats: they take place in the pages of policy journals, law reviews, and economic analyses (though perhaps slightly less so in Bush's extremely ideological case).

on a slightly more important note: the blogosphere has been right that mainstream media has been hysterically obtuse in its coverage of this election and the underlying facts and ideals that are driving it. but in my very humble opinion, us arm chair commentators and pillbox orators still pale in comparison to the civil servants, foreign service professionals, and dedicated academics who devote their lives to studying the policy we all so happily bloviate about. we must occasionaly remember that most of us don't know so much about "what" we are tlaking about as we know "how" we are talking about it.

Posted by: harry at October 13, 2004 09:26 PM

Tano,

Come on! You and I could not have watched the same debate. Bush did far better than Kerry. Kerry continues to look and act as fake as he is. And, what about that strong women remark? He didn't even say he loved his wife, only that he "Married up." He is all about money. He did however tell us that his Mothers dying 3 words to him were "Integrity, integrity and integrity." Think about that statement. Why would any mother's dying final words to her son be something that most of us already know about our Children.

I will say though that he gave me the biggest laugh of the night when he proclaimed

"Love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord your God with all your heart. WERE TWO OF The GREATEST AMENDMENTS."

Bush saying "I can't tell you how much I love my wife and my 2 girls." bought him alot of women votes.

Posted by: Cathy at October 13, 2004 09:27 PM

Michael,

Bush commited a gaff that should, if anyone was listening, coherent, or sober, be a huge issue in the final weeks.

He stated, that all of the government delivery of healthcare is substandard. I am sure all medicare recipients, madicaide recipients, VA recipients and govenment employees could wade in with an opinion on this statement.

I seems to me that the question is was this an idiologically driven statement, or was it factual. He has had 3 years of undivided government to deliver quality health care to government recipients. Has he?

Why, is the government system substandard, especially for our wounded veterans George?

Posted by: Matthew King at October 13, 2004 09:32 PM

Cathy,
We didnt watch different debates, but clearly we saw different debates.

CBS poll: - Kerry by 14

Posted by: Tano at October 13, 2004 09:36 PM

Why are you basing your opinion on what the hell CBS says..I wouldn't take any news station's polling results over my own opinion. In my OWN opinion based on what I heard (and saw) I felt Bush won hands down. I thought he was more at ease than even the last debate. His answers were genuine and Kerrys answers always sound fake, like he is just saying what he thinks a certain group might prefer he say.

Where oh where oh where is he going to get ALL THE MONEY to do all the things he says he will do? Raising minimum wage will do what? Pay people more money and give them more incentive to go to work or will it create a negative situation and actually put more people out of work. Do the economics!!

Did he answer the draft question? If he did I missed it. All I hear in his every response is attacke against George Bush and what he has done. He says he will develop a stronger military and have many more numbers added to our Military. So, how does he do that if he doesn't have a draft in effect?

Posted by: Cathy at October 13, 2004 09:55 PM

My excuse is: I listened to a webcast while stuck at work. And it was horrible, it's just painful to hear politicians talk economics. Or morality. At one point they were boasting about how deep their faith is.

Bush did give one good answer I wasn't expecting, in which he showed some understanding of the reason for rising health care costs. But Kerry's reason? "The Bush administration" -- which was his answer to nearly every question, peppered with about 4,000 mind-numbing statistics. FactCheck.org really has their work cut out for them tonight.

Posted by: Brad Williams at October 13, 2004 09:57 PM

Cathy,
Obviously you are going to go with what you feel. And I will go with what I feel. The point of a poll is to get a sense of the numbers of people around the country who feel the way you do, or who feel the way I do.

As for the economics of minimum wage. I suggest you do the research. Everytime the issue comes up, the standard republican line is that it will cost jobs. But it doesnt.
It is, in fact, basic demand-side economic stimulation. A raise to people who make so little is absolutely going to be spent - creating demand, and from that jobs end up being created.

As for the draft - yes, Kerry answered it directly. NO draft, but an increase in the size of the military. Increased number of positions available for volunteers.

For larger questions of how he pays for his programs, go check out the website. Try an open mind.

I found Bush to have a few good answers, but mostly evasion, and / or rote answers - redescribing the problems raised in the question rather than answering them.

Posted by: Tano at October 13, 2004 10:04 PM

Cathy,

The lesson of this campaign, if anything, is that the MSM are unreliable and are absolutely on the side of the Democrats. From Evan Thomas' admission that the media want Kerry to Win, from CBS' partisan witchunt with false memos, from Mark Halperin's ABC memo, it's clear as day that the MSM will stop at nothing to spin this for Kerry.

The result? People no longer believe their spin anymore. Their credibility is SHATTERED. And so Tano can point to poll #s after the debate by the MSM which are apparrently supposed to authenticate that Kerry won, without saying why. But no one believe that. OF COURSE THE MSM ARE GOING TO SAY KERRY WON THESE DEBATES. THEY ARE SPINNING FOR KERRY.

Real people make up their own minds. I did think this debate was kinda boring in the beginning, so I can understand why Michael switched it off. It got more liverly towards the end.

As for the "winner": I think Bush demolished Kerry. Absolutely demolished him. As a Catholic, I thought Kerry's answer on abortion was insulting. He'd legislate his faith on the environment and the poor, but not on a fundamental right to life? I also thought his name-dropping of Dick Cheney's daughter was an unbelievably outrageous low blow. Guarantee that he drops in the polls from that, and if anything he might be forced to apologize for it tomorrow.

Bush hammered that Kerry voted against the first Gulf War and that no global test would pass Kerry's warped standards. Bush was animated and happy. Kerry was sonorous and boring. All in all, it was a great victory for Bush.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at October 13, 2004 10:06 PM

Tano, if Kerry said "NO DRAFT" Then I simply missed it. Im sorry! But, he can't have it all ways. First he tells us how the voluntary military isn't working because men (and women) are being deployed to Iraq over and over and that military personnel aren't being discharged when they are supposed to be, because we need them. He clearly implies that volunteer military isn't working. But, then he promises to increase the numbers in our military by having more volunteers..If that isn't talking out of both sides of your mouh, what is?

Posted by: Cathy at October 13, 2004 10:12 PM

This was, far and away, Kerry's worst and Bush's best debate. Not that that is saying much for either of them, though. Bush's style trumped his complete lack of substance and Kerry's mind-numbing drone trumped the tangible facts he presented. Overall, probably a marginal win for Dubya. This shit is dead-even, now. It's nothing but trench warfare and turnout from here. The weather on November 2nd will probably determine the winner. The 50/50 nation marches on.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at October 13, 2004 10:12 PM

I thought it was pretty much a draw but I have to say Bush finally said what I've been screaming at my television for three debates. The soundbite: "A litany of complaints is not a plan". That pretty much sums up my personal take of John Kerry.

Posted by: Will at October 13, 2004 10:33 PM

Maybe I'm looking for different things and have different priorities. But Kerry really sealed up my vote tonight.

Posted by: Epitome at October 13, 2004 10:42 PM

Epitome,

You have different priorities. But the world of September 10th will never return. Live in the now.

Posted by: Sydney Carton at October 13, 2004 10:50 PM

Sydney, He won't apologize for saying that about Cheney's daughter. Edwards made the same type remark in the Vice-Presidential debate directly to Dick Cheney,no apology came.

Posted by: Cathy at October 14, 2004 12:04 AM

It does not matter who did better, Bush and Kerry are both the same; the person eventually sitting in the White House will still be able to disastrously affect events in the Middle-East:(.

Posted by: Highlander at October 14, 2004 01:14 AM

Highlander,

Keep blaming the US for the disaster that the Middle East has been for the past thousand years, and the terrorists will keep thanking you for it.

This debate was far from interesting or meaningful. The only important thing that came of it is the same important thing that came from the previous two- nothing important. Nobody "screwed the pooch," and so the campaigns can go on intact. Watch out for the Swiftees in the days to come- I think they'll be the difference as we hit the final stretch....

Posted by: $lick at October 14, 2004 01:37 AM

"The point of a poll is to get a sense of the numbers of people around the country who feel the way you do, or who feel the way I do."

The point of an online poll is for Terry McAuliffe's marching morons to stuff it, in order to create false hope in credulous people like you and Andrew Sullivan.

Bush was great tonight, Michael, I think you would have enjoyed it.
You know I disagree with him on gay marriage and abortion, but his answers had much more integrity and respect than Kerry's. And Kerry's waving Mary Cheney around shows that is a deliberate strategy of the Dem campaign, and not just a blurt by Edwards the week before. One more example of sleazy Kerry. That is NOT going to play well in the heartland.

Posted by: Yehudit at October 14, 2004 02:15 AM

Sydney,

I wasn't aware that issues like a woman's right to choose, protection of minorities, fiscal responsibility, the environment, medicare, health coverage and gun control were all issues that didn't make the leap from 9/10 to 9/11. 9/11 changed alot but it didn't change that much.

Posted by: Epitome at October 14, 2004 02:17 AM

MJT,

Problem is, other than intoxicated political junkies like me, who the hell is still watching?

The Iranian mullahs are watching. And they are watching so they can discern the threshold that they would have to reach before Kerry would take military action against them. And what is Kerry's threshold? We have absolutely no idea, except we do know that Saddam's record DID NOT EXCEED Kerry's threshold.

In spite of everything Saddam has done, Kerry still says wrong war, wrong place, wrong time. And the mullahs will look at that and will know with a high degree of confidence that John Kerry will not take miltary action against them.

So let's consider the precedent set by Saddam. We see a man who spent 12 years defying America and 17 UN resolutions. He violated the terms of the '91 surrender agrement. He spent 12 years firing on coalition aircraft. He tried to assasinate an American president. He gave refuge to the '93 WTC bomb maker. He gave refuge to Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas. He had a terrorist training camp at Salman Pak. He violated the 91 surrender agreement. He bought off the UN. He was sponsoring suicide bombers in Israel. He had numerous contacts with Al Qaeda. He kicked out the UN inspectors in 98. He invaded two neighboring countries. He gassed his own people. He was running rape rooms and filling mass graves. He refused to cooperate fully with UN inspectors in 2003 even in spite of having 200,000 coalition troops on his border.

And none of this meets Kerry's threshold. What kind of signal does this give to the mullahs? A green light. If Kerry wins, a nuclear armed Iran is a done deal.

Posted by: HA at October 14, 2004 03:36 AM

Cathy,

Did he answer the draft question?

He couldn't because the simple fact is that at draft is far more likely under Kerry.

If Kerry wins, it will be a tremendous blow to military morale. Fewer people will enlist or re-enlist. He will either have to reduce our commitments, lower military standards, or consider a draft.

Posted by: HA at October 14, 2004 03:43 AM

I agree with Michael, didn't watch the debate, and the better X-Files episodes were awesome, my favorite being the one with Charles Nelson Reilly as the pulp writer doing a story on Mulder and Scully. And I'm sick of hearing Kerry drone on about the "rush to war"; Saddam was ousted ten years too late.

Posted by: Zacek at October 14, 2004 04:35 AM

I have been struck by how many female bloggers commented on how incredibly angry Teresa looked after Kerry's flat-footed quip about "marrying up."

Men might not notice these things as much, but to me Kerry's comments came across as extraordinariliy ungenerous and emotionally cold, especially in contrast to Bush's genuine feeling, and the utter naturalness of his response -- "listen to 'em." I also learned that lesson the hard way and it resonated with me. This kind of stuff has nothing to do with debating points, but I certainly do think the people who saw it noticed it.

Posted by: Daniel Calto at October 14, 2004 04:49 AM

Charles Rangel blowhard from NYC even voted against his own stupid Draft bill. THERE WILL BE NO DRAFT, THE MILITARY IS NOT THAT OVER EXTENDED!
Our military was designed to fight simultaneous wars in two big theaters. I really thought you people were smarter than worrying about the draft. I guess you're saying if the country needs you for another war you ain't going.

The best line of the night was when Skerry looked into the camera and said his healthplan is not going to be a government run healthplan. He was right because Bush is going to win and privatize parts of it. As far as who won, we will know around Jan. I suspect that's when the vote counting will end.

Posted by: Barney at October 14, 2004 05:26 AM

Kerry's 'lesbian' comment using Cheney's daughter is cheap, nasty and is representive of Kerry's approach in life, that being, use everybody and anybody in any way possible to achieve a personal means to an end.

Kerry has shown throughout his entire life that he has absolutely no integrity. None.

If elected, Kerry will drag America into his self-made sewer.

Posted by: syn at October 14, 2004 06:07 AM

Matthew King

You really should direct your question towards Kerry, Clinton and numerous other Liberal leaders as to why they decimated over the years, not only Veterans care, but also the military and intelligence resources.

In addition to voting against everything military, Kerry also stole honor from those he served with through his Winter Soldier lies and fabrications. Kerry is unfit to command.

Posted by: syn at October 14, 2004 06:16 AM

Daniel Calto -

I agree with you on what the women saw - my wife is not nearly the horned-helm conservative that I am and she was mystified by Kerry's response.

The audience chuckled with Bush when he talked of learning to stand straight and not scowl. Bush loves his wife and it shows.

Kerry's "Married up" pitch hung out there in a vacuum and then the crowd laughed nervously when he said "maybe me more than anyone else"...and then rolled out that momma story.

I would like to have seen the look on her face when Teresa Heinz-Kerry approached the stage. Somehow, I don't think media will have any clips of that. Maybe CSPAN will, maybe not, but according to those who watched the debate (I followed the liveblogs and listened to the closing statements on radio) she was an unhappy camper.

I agree with Hugh Hewitt about 'global test', too. (9:15 update) -

"If a bullet wound takes two weeks to kill you, it still killed you right? I rest my case."

We enter into an election with clear choices to make. How refreshing.

Posted by: TmjUtah at October 14, 2004 06:26 AM

Cathy writes,
"He clearly implies that volunteer military isn't working. But, then he promises to increase the numbers in our military by having more volunteers..If that isn't talking out of both sides of your mouh, what is?"

Huh? I cant follow your logic here Cathy. Kerry says the military is overextended. Therefore he proposes to enlarge it. Talking out of both sides of his mouth??? Hardly. Rather the obvious solution to the problem he identifies.

"He won't apologize for saying that about Cheney's daughter."

For saying what, pray tell? That she is a lesbian? If Kerry had "outed" her, then I would agree that this would not have been appropriae. But Mary Cheney is not only "out", she has made her gayness the basis of her professional career - doing gay/lesbian outreach for the Coors Corp. and for the Bush/Cheny campaign. Kerry's comments were wholly appropriate - pointing out that even Republicans, in the context of their own families, accept and recognize the fundamental equality of gays, and their right to be who they are. In distincition to the party's policies.

Posted by: Tano at October 14, 2004 06:30 AM

Yehudit writes,
"The point of an online poll is for Terry McAuliffe's marching morons to stuff it,"

Thats true Yehudit. Unfortunatly for you guys, the CBS, ABC, and CNN polls were not online polls, but telephone polls done the way any other poll is done.

Posted by: Tano at October 14, 2004 06:35 AM

I found both to be tedious, but I didn't see anything that would justify that as a Bush win. He didn't make a complete fool out of himself, as he did in the first one, but thats a far cry from winning.

The one thing that did stand out, was his constant attack on Kerry's voting record, with obviously misstated information. Kerry did the same and I find it morally reprehensible from both of them.

Why do politicans feel that its ok to misstate numbers, in order to sway voters? What ever happened to integrity?

And I thought that Kerry's comment about Ms. Cheney was unnecessary and trite.

I'll be voting Kerry, and I'm happy to say that myu old friend William, who I've had many a good debate with, has changed (i thought it truly impossible) and instead of being a definate Bush vote, is now a definate Kerry vote.

He based it on his own final analysis, and on arguments that I didn't make (ones he made himself).

Well, now its time to watch the worst of both sides desperately struggle for final numbers. Honestly, it doesn't really look good for Bush. He's at or under 50% and for an incumbent in thew final three weeks, he'll have a hard road ahead.

Kerry, I think will see another boost after this debate, because all he has to do, is prove that he is at least a valid option. I think he's done that in all three debates.

Bush may win it, but its gonna be hard, the politics of the next few weeks will probably make me feel bad that I'm an American.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 07:22 AM

Mulder and Scully. Now there's a ticket I could support.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 14, 2004 07:27 AM

My God, Yankees-Red Sox AND Astros-Cardinals going at the same time and you watch an X-Files repeat? Get the DVD set.

Posted by: vanya at October 14, 2004 07:29 AM

Sydney, Cathy, Yehudit, syn -- the Mary Cheney comment sounded a little crass and I'm not sure if it was smart politically for Kerry. But it was justified, given the Cheney family's refusal to allow her onstage with the rest of the family at the convention, and given the importance that the Republican Party, led by the President, attaches to securing the vote of every anti-gay bigot who thinks that homosexuality is not only a choice, but also a wrong choice. Sullivan put it better in his blog:

This issue is not an abstract one. It's a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this - and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized? Does this makes Bush's base uncomfortable? Well, good. It's about time they were made uncomfortable in their acquiescence to discrimination. Does it make Bush uncomfortable? Even better. His decision to bar gay couples from having any protections for their relationships in the constitution is not just a direct attack on the family member of the vice-president.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 14, 2004 07:30 AM

Hey Tano, here's the lede paragraph to the post-debate poll from that bastion of integrity, CBS News:

(CBS) A majority of uncommitted voters (39 percent) who watched Wednesday's third and final presidential debate felt Sen. John Kerry won, though nearly as many (36 percent) thought the result was a tie, and about one-quarter gave the debate to President Bush.

Since when was 39% a majority? The other way to spin that would be to say 61% thought it was a tie or that Bush won. And of course, the story says squat about the opinions of "committed voters."

And I've been busy this morning, so I don't know about the other polls that may or may not have been done, but here's how CBS got their numbers:

This CBS News poll was conducted online by Knowledge Networks among a nationwide random sample of 211 uncommitted voters - voters who don't yet know who they will vote for, or who have chosen a candidate but may still change their minds - who have agreed to watch the debate. Knowledge Networks, a Silicon Valley company, conducted the poll among a sample of adult members of its household panel, a nationally representative sample given access to the Internet via Web TV. The questions were administered using the Internet.

No chance of sample bias or population manipulation there, right?

Don't treat me like I'm Montel Williams.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 14, 2004 07:37 AM

The winner is the one who convinced more people to vote for him.

It rankles me that post debate polls say Kerry won, but in the exact same poll, when asked who they will vote for, the result is the same as before the debate.

Nobody won if no voters made-up or changed their minds. Duh!

Posted by: Doug Purdie at October 14, 2004 07:39 AM

Doug,

Debates are won and lost according to the rules of debate, not necessarily according to who people liked.

Zoogby shows Bush still under 50% (46%). Thats up one point (from Oct 9-14), but in a poll which has a 2.9% MoE, thats not really saying anything.

How many incumbants won, when they were below 50% in the polls, this close to the election?

I've heard 0, but I don't know that for a fact.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 07:52 AM

http://gallup.com/poll/content/?ci=13642

The Gallup polls about the debates are pretty conclusive. I'm sure that some of you will tell me that Gallup is teh Evil MSM, but they've done a pretty good job of polling for the past several years.

So, any thoughts?

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 08:02 AM

I agree with you, Michael. The thing is, when it comes to foreign policy and combating terrorism I'm with Bush. But when it comes to social security issues and domestic policy I'm with Kerry.

I too find Kerry's hopelessly repetitive outbursts of "reaching out to our allies" appalling. This almost makes me support Bush more. However, as you say, Bush does have a problem with giving a speech that hasn't been prepared for him. Although, you're right -- the guy has passion.

I'm glad I'm a Swedish citizen and don't have to vote for any of the canditates. However, the outcome of the elections will of course effect politics worldwide. So it's still a pretty important issue to me and many others.

Posted by: Frederick at October 14, 2004 08:13 AM

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/europe/10/13/germany.iraq/index.html

Looks like Germany is starting to drop hints that it may not be as opposed to working in Iraq as we thought.

I wonder how much our choice for President will have on their choice to join or abstain? I wonder if I care ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 08:21 AM

The polling this election has been utter crap. You can't learn anything from them.

Posted by: Eric Blair at October 14, 2004 08:33 AM

Eric,

Really? What makes you say that?

Do you thnk that Gallupo and Zoogby are slanting questions, picking and choosing respondants, or that respondants are not responding accurately?

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 08:35 AM

You poll heads should remember if any poll matters its the state by state polls. If Bush wins all the states he did last time and Skerry gets the ones Gore had , then Bush wins narrowly.
Most battleground polls show Bush up in those states.This is a simple vote, if you hate Bush vote for Skerry. If you want someone who cares about the country vote Bush.

Posted by: Barney at October 14, 2004 09:03 AM

I can't believe that we're 42 posts into this thread and no one, no one has mentioned Bush's unbelievable gaffe about Osama bin Ladin: "never said I wasn't worried about Osama bin Ladin! That's one of those eg-zad-gerr-a-shuns!" Whoops!

Bush lives in a world of his own creation. Anything he says that doesn't match his image of "Bush the Avenger" is automatically forgotten.

Kerry won the debate, guys. No amount of spinning can turn Bush into what he's not - a clear thinking rational person. Stick a fork in him - he's done.

Posted by: Mara at October 14, 2004 09:17 AM

Barney,

http://www.americanresearchgroup.com/

This one shows Kerry leading or tied in Oregon (+5), Iowa (=), Ohio (+1), Penn (+2), Florida (+2), New Hampshire (=).

None of those states give Bush over 47%, in one case he's at 44%, for an incumbant that is potentially troubling.

I know that many people on here arew pro-Bush, and I think thats great. I don't believe that I have ever told anyone that they shouldn't vote for Bush or that they're idiots for supporting him. However, you all should at least assume 'some' grain of truth in the polls... I haven't found a single poll that currently give Bush wins in the debates or over 50% of the vote nationally, or in swing states.

Its good to support your cannidate, I think its better to support your cannidate honestly, though.

Tosk

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 09:18 AM

Tano,

Don't be obtuse! Of course he talks out of both sides of his mouth. When I said "If he answered the draft question with a Yes or No then I missed it." was not meant to imply that I didn't hear any of his answer to that question. He absolutely said there needs to be more people in the military and that under him he will enlarge those numbers. How Tano? Either people join a brach of the military under their own free will ie: (voluntary) or they are forced to join, ie: (Draft). He can't possibly be talking about a voluntary military because HE says it isn't working. Did he not point that out??

Posted by: Cathy at October 14, 2004 09:26 AM

Cathy,

I believe he said that he was opening new positions in the millitary, basically raising the headcount allowed, so that recuiters will have more spaces to fill. I have no idea if that will work or not. Personally, I doubt it, I don't see many people disappointed that there wasn't room for them in the army.

In fact, most GenXers and younger I know are in no mood to join the millitary.

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 09:31 AM

Actually, thinking about that last post...

I don't think its disingenious to say that a large majority of the 20-something crowd will vote Kerry. That same group are the anti-war, protest everything, folks.

Now, if their man gets in, and asks for more volunteers, will they be more likely to go (perhaps they're not so much anti-war as anti-Bush?)?

It was just a thought, I have no basis for it, and I don't believe it, just thought about it and wondered.

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 09:39 AM

Cathy,
I think it is you who is being obtuse. Tosk repeats what I said earlier - just pony up the money to expand the number of slots, then recruit the people.

And Kerry has never said that the military "isnt working". He said it was overextended, but doing a fine job. It is the political leadership that isnt working.

Posted by: Tano at October 14, 2004 09:45 AM

Cathy,

I have to ask whether you consider yourself a thinker, because, if you were a thinker, a creative thinker, you could come up with several ways to increase military numbers without instating a draft. I ask you to quit following the board for a while, take up a pen and paper, and throw out as many ideas as you can. This is a creative process called "brainstorming". It helps people not get bogged down by dogma and boxed-in thinking patterns. Let us know what you come up with later today. I would be curious. Good luck!

Posted by: Jeff at October 14, 2004 09:49 AM

Tosk,

the politics of the next few weeks will probably make me feel bad that I'm an American.

Maybe that is why you support Kerry. He shares your pain.

I OTOH will be proud to be American no matter who wins. Getting elected as President shouldn't be easy. It should be a grueling, brutal trial by fire. And regardless of who wins, either will be a better President for having survived it.

And although I despise Kerry, I despise him less now. That isn't because my impression of him has changed, but because I think this process has changed him. In this campaign, he has had to confront the demons he unleashed in this country over 30 years ago. There can be no doubt that this has cost him dearly and he knows it.

Last night was the first time I've seen a flicker of humanity in him. I'm fed up with Kerry as a robotic heckling demagogue. This process has token a toll on him and it shows. He looked tired and beat up last night, just like Bush did in the first debate. That's a good thing especially if he wins.

Posted by: HA at October 14, 2004 09:58 AM

HA,

I said that the politics of the next few weeks would make me feel bad, not thew final election. I'll support either one as President.

I, however, think that both sides will increase the mud slinging and attack with numbers spun straight out of fantasy land. Tahts what saddens me, not the trial by fire, but the dishonesty of the rethoric of both sides.

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 10:04 AM

Don't they know any other gay people they could mention?

Kerry was totally inappropriate.

Posted by: d-rod at October 14, 2004 11:16 AM

To $click ( hope i got that right?!)

"Keep blaming the US for the disaster that the Middle East has been for the past thousand years, and the terrorists will keep thanking you for it."

where in my short post did you read that I blamed the US for the ME mess of the last millenium ? all I said was [the person eventually sitting in the White House will still be able to disastrously affect events in the Middle-East]. Since the US is the de facto sole superpower and Security with a capital S forms a large part of its foreign policy agenda, and like it or not a stable ME will reflect better on the US internal security, now if it messes up things even more than they already are now ( thanks to the US 'liberation' of Iraq might I ad) my post is therefore still relevant about the potential disastrous effect of either of the candidates on the security of the ME. After all I cannot recall who said this maybe D.A. Baldwin or perhaps Barry Busuzan(I'm not sure )but 'one state's efforts to increase its security reduces the security of other states'.

Posted by: Highlander at October 14, 2004 11:31 AM

"If some god of taxes would want to come in and look at all of my portfolio, I'd let them...but I don't think I have the right to put my children's privacy out into the open." - Teresa Heinz Kerry, 4/2004 on making her tax returns public.

Is the billionairess ashamed of her children's finances or something? That quote belongs in the X-files.

Posted by: d-rod at October 14, 2004 11:47 AM

d-rod,

X-files?

Posted by: Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 11:52 AM

Or maybe the Twilight Zone.

Posted by: d-rod at October 14, 2004 12:10 PM

Or possibly Rowan & Martin's Laugh-in.

Posted by: Zacek at October 14, 2004 01:12 PM

In fact, most GenXers and younger I know are in no mood to join the millitary.

Posted by Ratatosk at October 14, 2004 09:31 AM
**************************************************
Enlistment quotas are being met way before the end of each year. Not by people who think of themelves as GenXers, but Jacksonians, as it usually has been the case

Posted by: Daniel Kauffman at October 14, 2004 01:15 PM

Did I mention that Dick Cheney has a lesbian daughter?

Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said Cheney's daughter was "fair game." Fair game? Who was being attacked?

Kerry is VILE.

Re Pell Grants, Kerry lied. Kerry claimed the Bush administration had cut Pell Grants for low-income students to attend college.

Department of Education figures show the number of Pell Grants awarded the year before Bush took office was 3.9 million. The number grew to 5.1 million for the most recent academic year -- an increase of 1.3 million, actually.

Factcheck.org

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 01:32 PM

Well, at least the debates are over, thank God. Every time I watch Bush debate, I spring from the couch and send another donation to the Swifties.

Bush clearly lost the first, I give a slight edge to him in the second and third, but he failed to put Kerry away and the law of diminishing returns was in play. Watching the poll trends on Realclearpolitics.com, two key battlegrounds PA and OH went from a teensy drift towards Bush to the same towards Kerry (OH was a little stronger Bush than PA). Not enough available to know if the momentum to Kerry is holding. Which brings us to Florida which is staying pretty strong for Bush.

Does anyone here know if there are any decent facts available on supposedly suppressed military ballots in 2000? There was a lot of smoke in 2000 that was eclipsed by the other squabbles (also I don't really trust WorldNetDaily or InsightMag).

There were two problems, ballots delayed in transit, and ballots that Dems attempted to suppress for technical stuff like postage marks (denied).

Current MSNBC

On election day in Florida in 2000, Al Gore received 200 more votes than George W. Bush. Only after the overseas ballots were counted, including a few thousand from the military, did Bush emerge with a lead.

What caught my eye in 2000

According to naval spokesman Cmdr. Greg Smith, the ballots of about 3,000 sailors and Marines on the USS Tarawa, USS Duluth and USS Anchorage hadn't been delivered. He said that the ballots - many of which would be counted in Florida - were going to be flown back to the United States "expeditiously," although it wasn't clear if all would make it back in time to meet a Nov. 17 deadline for absentee votes in the Sunshine State.

I bring this up, because it will probably be harder for the military vote to be delayed or suppressed in 2004, So I am counting Florida as a little more solidly for Bush than the polls show.

Any takers?

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 02:06 PM

I believe Kerry said that the amount available for each Pell grant had been cut. Neither lied. As voters we have to be on our toes.

Posted by: Mark Hamm at October 14, 2004 02:23 PM

"I believe Kerry said that the amount available for each Pell grant had been cut."

Spin it to somebody else. A 40% increase in Pell grant dollars can only be a "decrease" in an election year. Kerry was being misleading, intentionally; that's all.

He'll say anything to get elected; including looking into a camera and pretending he won't raise middle class taxes.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 03:20 PM

From the indispensable FactCheck.org

Department of Education figures show the number of Pell Grants awarded the year before Bush took office was 3.9 million. The number grew to 5.1 million for the most recent academic year -- an increase of 1.3 million, actually.

and

Spending for Pell Grants grew from just under $8 billion in the academic year that was underway when Bush took office to nearly $12.7 billion three years later, a jump of nearly 60%. That's some "cut."

and

It is true that during the 2000 presidential campaign Bush promised to increase the maximum size of Pell Grants to $5,100 for first-year students, a promise that remains unfulfilled. The maximum grant has risen from $3,300 at the time Bush made that promise, but only to $4,050.

More students, more money, a higher max. Where's the cut?

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 03:26 PM

Oops, bad factcheck link

This should be it

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 03:28 PM

In other words Kerry LIED in every sense of the word. Go ahead, vote for him you koolaid drinkers. You'd vote for Attila the Hun if only to beat Bush. How inspiring.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 03:30 PM

David -- your point and Bush's point is that more Pell Grant funding is available overall. This is irrelevant to individuals and families that depend on Pell Grants to fund their higher education. Kerry's point was that Republicans had refused the increase the maximum individual grant allowance, and the amount of the average grant has decreased. Both Bush and Kerry were telling the truth, though Kerry's assertion has the added advantage of being highly relevant to those same individuals or families. Kerry pointed this out last night, effectively I think.

Also, much to my chagrin, Kerry won't raise middle class taxes. He won't get much of his very modest health care plan through either. He just won't find the votes in the House to do so. He has already announced that he will put deficit reduction ahead of new programs in priority. Greenspan, House, Senate, media, Wall Street, Democratic fundraisers will all hold him to this, and those of us preferring instead to increase spending on health care and other vital needs won't be powerful enough to stop them.

Posted by: Markus rose at October 14, 2004 03:43 PM

Jeff, I had to wait until I returned home from work to respond to you. I asked, and my boss said, absolutely "NO BRAINSTORMING" during work hours! Strange comment for a boss!

First, you have to understand, before I answer you, that my opinion is quite subjective and an objective person could probably answer you much more effectively.

I haven't done any real brainstorming of this as there are about a million other things my mind needs to brainstorm about. But, just sitting here thinking about what you say, I can come up with several ways to increase military troops.

1.Recruiting technics

2.call-ups

3.guards

4.reservists

5.draft

6.extend military time of troops already deployed.

How realistic are some of those options? Some are very realistic and are already being done.

How would the Military go about using better recuiting technics? I only have experience to fall back on to answer that. Remember VietNam when the draft was in effect? It was a 2 year commitment if you were drafted.

For whatever reasons the military decided to recuit, using a technic that was sure to work for many high school kids just geting ready to graduate. It was 1967 and my brother and several cousins would be graduating that year. They knew they were going to be drafted and have to do 2 years. But, lo and behold, here comes the recruiters to the high school with a much better option..

"Forget about being drafted and sent to VietNam. Sign up now on what I'm going to offer you and you will not ever see VietNam." "Not only that, you get to take your best friend with you." You and your "buddy" can now sign up willingly and see the world together, atleast most of the world." You won't be seeing VietNam, so if thats your goal, wait to be drafted." You give me THREE years now and I give you a buddy to take along and no WAR!"

Do you know how good that sounded to a bunch of kids scared out of their minds? So, my brother and my cousin signed up for this great deal together. True to that recruiters word they left and went to Columbus Ohio, together, for their physicals..Haaaaa, when they came out, one got on one bus and the other a different bus. They never saw each other for 3 years and they both did 13 months in VietNam...It was 1968 then and more than 16,800 Americans died in VietNam in that single year. I wonder how many were KIDS that were there because they had been promised they wouldn't be?

Is that a good option to do now? Not in my mind it isn't!

Call-ups? Sure thats also possible..If they have done their time and been released but didn't serve 8 years lets just give them no choice and make them come back.

Guards and reservists?...Haven't we been using them? Not only that, if everyone is sent away then who protects us at home?

Draft?...You and I both know it's a possibiliy so let's not pretend it can't happen.

Extend time for the troops already serving? This is where I get very subjective! Not when it's my child that's been fighting for a year! But, sadly, I already see that occuring. My best friend has 2 sons in Iraq and neither have came home where they were supposed to. My son is supposed to come home in Feb. We'll see if that happens.

I can't really give you an honest answer about what I feel about a draft. Because, right now I think, if my child can fight this war then so can yours. I'm not sure if thats a fair assessment for me to make. But there it is.

Just today I had the scare of my life! I was driving home when I heard that one of the American causuties in Iraq yesterday was a man not only from Ohio but from NW Ohio and they wern't releasing any other information at that time. I live in NW Ohio and I had to stop the car because I was unable to drive. I now know it wasn't my child, but I have a problem with feeling better about that when some where across town a family has just lost their son..

So, I still want to know how Kerry or even Bush can enlarge our military without going to a draft or completely burning out the existing troops?


Posted by: Cathy at October 14, 2004 03:55 PM

and the amount of the average grant has decreased

Sorry, Markus

Forgetting any overhead, and doing simple averages we get:

Before $8 billion / 3.9 million grants = $2,051

After $12.7 billion / 5.1 million grants = $2,490

Not spectacular per student, but an increase.
When you consider 1.3 million more grants, it becomes quite an accomplishment.

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 04:05 PM

Also, much to my chagrin, Kerry won't raise middle class taxes. He won't get much of his very modest health care plan through either. He just won't find the votes in the House to do so. He has already announced that he will put deficit reduction ahead of new programs in priority.

Markus,

in other words, you believe just about everything that's come out of John Kerry's mouth is a lie.

But you'll vote for him anyway. Pathetic.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 04:26 PM

jdwill -- in that case I stand corrected. But unless there has just been a sharp increase in college age people, or eligibility requirements have been liberalized, Kerry's statement that the increase in number grant recipients (as evidenced by the 1.3 million additional grants you say were made) is a result of worsened economic conditions still stands.

Posted by: Markus rose at October 14, 2004 04:31 PM

David - No, I don't believe Kerry's lying. You do.

He said he wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class. You said he was lying (and provided no evidence). I said he wasn't, about taxes and also deficit reduction, and explained one reason why. I also pointed out it will be hard to pass his health plan without getting it watered down.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 14, 2004 04:43 PM

Markus,

Not sure I parsed that. How can increased grant recipients receiving a higher average grant be a result of worsened economic conditions? Do you mean more people need the grants?

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 04:45 PM

The Pell Grant lie was like the DRAFT lie; both for the purpose of scaring up a few more ignoramus college votes.

It just reinforces my opinion that Liberals have to use deception to make themselves palatable as an alternative.

Yesterday a friend of mine told me her ver Liberal mother almost disowned her when she (my friend) joined the military. Oh, but wait, Liberals aren't anti-military, right?! Bullcrap.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 05:09 PM

jdwill -- yes, that's what I meant -- more people meeting the low-income requirements needed to qualify for Pell Grants.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 14, 2004 05:10 PM

Markus,

that's spin and you know it. He was talking about Bush underfunding Pell grants, not about how more people need Pell grants. Stop the lies, JUST STOP PLEASE.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 05:27 PM

David -- I enjoy debate and discussion with thoughtful conservatives who have a modicum of respect for those who disagree with them. That doesn't describe you. Why don't you go to a all-conservative blog, or else have some fun at democratic underground or something? stop the obnoxiousness. JUST STOP PLEASE.

from the transcript of last night's debate:
Kerry: But you know why the Pell Grants have gone up in their numbers? Because more people qualify for them because they don't have money.

But they're not getting the $5,100 the president promised them. They're getting less money.

We have more people who qualify. That's not what we want.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 14, 2004 05:38 PM

Markus,

the Mary Cheney comment sounded a little crass and I'm not sure if it was smart politically for Kerry

Don't you people have any shame? Even if Kerry had raped Cheney's daughter last night and you would still support for him. And don't tell me that is an exaggeration after the Clinton track record.

Posted by: HA at October 14, 2004 06:10 PM

HA -- Kerry raping Mary Cheney? What the hell? I don't get it. Did you forget to take your meds today?

The Clinton rape charges are like the Bush cocaine charges. In both cases, unprovable gossip for people with too much time on their hands.

Well, folks, that's all for me tonight.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 14, 2004 06:20 PM

I enjoy debate and discussion with thoughtful conservatives who have a modicum of respect for those who disagree with them. That doesn't describe you.

Markus,

How's this for thoughful:

"They've cut the Pell Grants and the Perkins loans to help kids be able to go to college."

--JOHN KERRY, from the transcript, debate #3

Markus, John Kerry is a LIAR, and now your Bush hatred has made a liar out of you too, so why should I care whether or not an intellectually dishonest Koolaid drinker such as yourself thinks I'm a "thoughtful" conservative? Please tell me that.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 06:25 PM

HA, alot of commotion going on about Kerry's remarks last night in reference to Mary Cheney. VP Cheney today issued a statement and said.

"You saw a man who will say and do anything to get elected. And, I am not just speaking that as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father. I'm speaking as a citizen."

Bad taste for Kerry to have done that.

Posted by: Cathy at October 14, 2004 06:26 PM

Kerry campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said Cheney's daughter was "fair game."

Fair game?

The Democrats are VILE and DISGUSTING.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 06:30 PM

Markus, (assume you will see this later)

Kerry:
But they're not getting the $5,100 the president promised them. They're getting less money.
We have more people who qualify. That's not what we want.

1. Since when did congress (which controls the purse) ever fully fund anything, unless held to it by emergency or threat? If Bush said "I want to increase the grant max to $5100" and congress halved the difference (see earlier post), then that seems to me to be the way the world works, you bargain and take what you can get. This reminds me of dealing with teenagers who take any suggestion in their favor as a hard promise and never forget it, and take any hard promise they made and promptly forget or say they didn't think it was important.

2. I think we established the overall grant money increased, the number of grantees increased, and the average grant per grantee increased. When Kerry moves on to complain that now too many people qualify it looks like goalposts on wheels to me. After a while you quit chasing them.

It is too ambiguous. You could have as you said "... has just been a sharp increase in college age people, or eligibility requirements have been liberalized," OR have more people reducing income so as to now qualify OR you could simply have a pent up demand among people who always qualified.

My beef is that Bush probably did a very good job on the Pell grants, but Kerry's rapid fire and shifting complaints are obscuring this. People tend to forget that Bush had a very well defined and limited, thus acheivable domestic agenda in 2000. If the war had not heated up on 911, he was on his way to acheiving quite a bit of it.

What is daunting to me is that politicians get up in debates and all their venues and spew this stuff out that affects our lives faster than a quinto-blogosphere of fact checkers can keep up. So we wind up sifting out the wankers based on a scowl or a trivial misstep.

This discussion is probably a dead horse by now.

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 07:06 PM

re. Cheney's daughter was "fair game."

David,
Why you make me go through the obvious explanation? The great Cheney outrage is thorougly disingenusous. Its an act. Its politics. Duh...

Look, Bush has lost three debates. His reelection, which was looking increasingly secure a few weeks ago, is now in serious trouble. They desparatly need for some other meme to dominate conversations for the next few weeks, lest the lessons of the debates, that Kerry is the better potential president, become cemented. So they try to manufacture a little outrage - find some way to call Kerry a "bad man" - and change the debate from all of the real issues.

And it is so transparent. Why would the Cheneys be upset? Kerry did not attack Mary - quite the contrary, he was very respectful. He didn't out her - she is a professional gay - working in gay outreach in the private sector and in the damn campaign, for chrissakes. They are acting as if she has been embarrassed or something - or that they have been, or shamed.

Are the Cheneys embarrased at having a lesbian daughter? I dont think so. They seem quite proud of her. They basically agree with Kerry that she has not "chosen' to be gay, but is simply being herself - and they support her in that. But therein lies the problem. Their base cant abide that. Their base thinks being gay is a sin. It IS something to be ashamed of. And they damn well expect their candidate to act that way.

I think it is pretty clear that the Cheneys are not really reacting angrily to Kerry, rather they are putting on a show for their base - acting as if they were embarrased, even though they arent. Because there would be some pretty damn upset fundies in the base if the candidates acted as if lesbianism is perfectly acceptable - and even a legitimate topic for polite discussion.

I would hope, David, that you are smart enough to figure all this out yourself. But not with all that kool-aid coursing through your veins.

Posted by: Tano at October 14, 2004 07:47 PM

Tano,

I don't think Kerry/Edwards were attacking Mary Chaney, they were gratuitously USING her. And her parents are rightfully outraged by it; they did this in the guise of being "respectful." Don't play innocent lamb with me.

Posted by: David at October 14, 2004 07:55 PM

Tano,

yeah right.

John Kerry: I meant no disrepect

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 08:20 PM

But never mind the kerfuffle over titillating word play. Here is our friend 2Slick putting the whole Swiftie/Guard story straight. This is what will nail JFK in the end. That and Sinclair Broadcasting Group's showing of Stolen Honor. Also the two new SVBFT adds are the best yet. Pucker up John, it's gonna hurt!

Posted by: jdwill at October 14, 2004 08:49 PM

Me, if someone were using my sexuality to smear my dad and my dad's boss, I'd be feeling a little violated, a little objectified, a little used.

But hey, I'm just a guy. Obviously famous lesbians (and their families) aren't due the same courtesies as me.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 14, 2004 08:55 PM

Smear?
Get real Mark. How in any way can you possibly consider what Kerry said to be a smear?

What do you mean by smear? Did he say something about her that wasnt true? Did he mischaracterize her in any way whatsoever? He smply said that she, like all gay people, feel that they are being themselves - they have not "chosen" to be gay. How is that a smear?

As I said earlier - if she was someone who would not want her sexuality to be in the public domain, then you might have a point. Not as a smear of course, but as a rather uncool thing to do. But that isnt the case. She proclaims her gayness every day, as her job, in the public arena - in a campaign. So, once again - what on earth is the problem with discussing it?

Ah, the shame!

Posted by: Tano at October 14, 2004 09:14 PM

Michael, "both candidates suck". What is the misery index? Inflation plus unemployment (plus mortgage rate?). It is low, really, really, low -- lower then when Clinton was re-elected.

By objective measures, Bush is doing great on domestic economic issues. What sucks is the media not being objective.

Although maybe these aren't the right metrics anymore.

Health care, immigration, retirement -- there are problems, and yet the media doesn't allow the politicians to honestly dicuss tradeoffs. Every proposal has good and bad points.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Liberty Dad at October 15, 2004 12:02 AM

Markus,

If George Bush treated women the way that Bill Clinton treated women, do you have any doubt at all that he would have been accused by every single feminist organization of being a rapist?

Of course he would have. The lesson is that if you are someone who wants to use your power to harass and abuse women, you damn well better be a Democrat. Is it any wonder given the complete refusal to hold Democrats to any minimal standard of personal ethical conduct that the Democratic party has become so thoroughly moral and intellectually corrupt?

Of course not. It was inevitable and it has already happened. This country is in deep trouble because of the combination of the corruption of the Democratic party, and a dominant media that works on behalf of the Democratic party.

Posted by: HA at October 15, 2004 03:08 AM

That Mrs. Edwards was so quick to accues Lynn Cheney of being ashamed of her lesbian daughter makes it clear that the remarks by Kerry and John Edwards during their debates were intended to box Bush & Cheney into a corner where they could be attacked as either hypocrites or homophobes.

That the Democrats would so cynically intrude upon a parent-child relationship for the purpose of political gain is appalling.

Posted by: David at October 15, 2004 09:00 AM

What is appalling is the manner in which the Cheneys exhibit such hypocrisy on this issue. His position is essentially a simultaneous flip-flop. He is against the constitutional amendment, yet he supports it. At the very same time.

Pandering to his base, at the expense of his own daughter's rights, which he basically supports. No wonder he is upset at having that exposed.

Posted by: Tano at October 15, 2004 10:40 AM

Tano,

you just proved my point. Thanks.

Posted by: David at October 15, 2004 10:56 AM

Tano, the exact type of smear Kerry used could be called the "Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no" smear. There really is no way to respond to it within the parameters of the rhetorical question. (I think the technical term is "False Choice".)

Whatever, Mary Chaney's sexuality was used as a weapon against her father. Crass. If it gave you a warm and fuzzy, you need to recalibrate your moral compass.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 15, 2004 12:46 PM

When the first WTC tower was hit, some thought it was an accident. When the second tower was it, everybody knew it was a pre-meditated attack.

Likewise with the Kerry/Edwards attack on Mary Cheney's privacy. When Edwards attacked her in the first debate, it could have been viewed as an off-the-cuff comment. When Kerry attacked everybody knew it was pre-mediated.

I am sure that there must be someone in Kerry's and/or Edward's extended family who is gay. Assuming this, why didn't they hold their own family member up as an example instead of invading someone else's privacy?

Posted by: HA at October 15, 2004 05:51 PM

HA, I have no idea if anyone in Kerry's or Edwards family are gay or not. But, we ALL know that Kerry himself has this history of marrying heiresses and living off fortunes made by other men. I think the word that best describes "that" is a far worse sounding word than lesbian!

Posted by: Cathy at October 15, 2004 06:38 PM

Cathy,

HA, I have no idea if anyone in Kerry's or Edwards family are gay or not.

Maybe someone should ask them. If Cheney's family is fair game, then why not Kerry's and Edwards'?

Posted by: HA at October 16, 2004 03:08 AM

Ha,
Your comments reveal the precise problem that the Republicans have. You say Kerry and Edwards "attacked" Mary. Which is absurd of course. What they said was entirely supportive of her. Unless you think that somehow acknowledging that she is lesbian is an attack. And "privacy"??? Need I repeat for the third time - that Mary Cheney is the gay/lesbian outreach person for the campaign? She is the one who has put her sexuality into the public arena, as an activist.

Same problem that Mark seems to have. He considers it a "smear". You people really dont get it, do you? Being gay is not something to be embarrased about, and Mary Cheney sure as hell isnt embarrased about it.

This faux outrage is all about pandering to that core constituency that believes that being a lesbian IS something to be ashamed of. Selling out their daughter for political advantage. Disgusting.

Posted by: Tano at October 16, 2004 07:20 AM

Your comments reveal the precise problem that the Republicans have. You say Kerry and Edwards "attacked" Mary.

Are you dense or something? Nobody has said the attack was against Mary. The Dems USED Mary.

And HA is right. Fool me the first time, your bad; fool me the second time, my bad.

Posted by: David at October 16, 2004 07:32 AM

David writes:

"Are you dense or something? Nobody has said the attack was against Mary"

No David, it is you who is dense, or else simply unable to read the English language. I was responding to HA, who wrote:

"Likewise with the Kerry/Edwards attack on Mary Cheney's privacy. When Edwards attacked her in the first debate,..."

You bad alright...

Posted by: Tano at October 16, 2004 09:04 AM

[HA,] You say Kerry and Edwards "attacked" Mary.

Tano,

You said HA accused Kerry of attacking Mary; not her privacy. You're being wily and disingenous; I doubt it's sloppines.

Posted by: David at October 16, 2004 09:12 AM

Tano,

This was absolutely an attack on her privacy. And the most likely purpose was to shore up support among blacks and hispanics who tend to be among the most homophobic demographic groups. The religious right is going to vote for Bush even if it means eternal damnation. They don't care about Cheney's daughter.

Posted by: HA at October 16, 2004 10:03 AM

And the most likely purpose was to shore up support among blacks and hispanics who tend to be among the most homophobic demographic groups.

HA,

I think that's possible; though I tend to favor the view that it was for the purposes of portraying the GOP as hypocrites.

Posted by: David at October 16, 2004 10:17 AM

David,
Read the second sentence. "When Edwards attacked her in the first debate..". You truly are dense.

And oh, BTW. As the the charge of "using" her, sorry, but that strikes me as another example of your hypocritical partisan hackery.

If John Kerry's daughter were a Christian fundie who supported the teaching of the 10 commandments in the public schools, and Kerry let it be known that he supported that view, and then appointed her as his outreach person to the evangelical community, but continued to publicly oppose that position in deference to his base - would the Republicans refrain from making that an issue? Not in a million years! And you would be the first and loudest here, raising the issue constantly, and certainly mentioning her by name.

And I would grudgingly, and uncomfortably acknowledge that it was a legitimate contradcition.

Posted by: Tano at October 16, 2004 10:19 AM

No Tano. I'm not such a good writer, but I'm actually very sharp. And I was willing to acknowledge sloppiness on your part -- in your own writing -- and an admission of such, and apology; it would have beceived with much grace and magnanimity on my part. But you respond only with more disingenousness, and insults. You dissapoint.

You say that you were only referring to an attack on "privacy"; but this simply isn't true. You only refer to privacy AFTER you make your initial disingenous point. See your statements below:

"You say Kerry and Edwards "attacked" Mary. Which is absurd of course. What they said was entirely supportive of her. Unless you think that somehow acknowledging that she is lesbian is an attack. And "privacy"??? ..."

See? Your initial attack on HA was a false accusation against saying he accused Kerry of attacking Mary. Only at the end of the paragraph do you address what HA actually said about privacy.

Tano, I think you're in to deep to apologize, so I won't be expecting it. But if you do, you'll find magnanimity on my part.

Posted by: David at October 16, 2004 10:33 AM

ha,

The only way you can claim that her "privacy" was attacked is to claim that something shameful about her was revealed, some dirty little secret. And that is an attack on her being - that her gayness is something that would be detrimental to her or her family were it to be known.

Because you certainly cannot make the case that her sexuality is somehow a private matter. She is the one who is up front and public about it, and explicitly using it in a campaign. It would be like claiming an invasion of privacy if someone mentioned that Teresa is rich.

Posted by: Tano at October 16, 2004 11:15 AM

Jeff, you asked, I responded. I'm waiting for your response as to how many ways to increase our military that you know of that I don't know about.

Posted by: Cathy at October 16, 2004 11:42 AM

Tano, I didn't say it was a smear to refer to Mary Chaney's homosexuality. I said is was morally repugnant to use her sexuality as a weapon against her father.

You keep trying to recast the issue as anti-homosexual; it's not. It's about civility, decency, and respect. If someone used something about me in an attempt to harm a member of my family, I'd be pissed off whether I was proud of
the trait or not.

Kerry turned Mary Chaney into an object with which to pummel her father. That's dehumanizing. Gay, straight, or plaid's got nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 16, 2004 01:49 PM

Actually, I just browsed back and saw I did use the word "smear":

Me, if someone were using my sexuality to smear my dad and my dad's boss, I'd be feeling a little violated, a little objectified, a little used.

Sloppy. Sorry if I caused confusion. Just because I think it's important to be precise, here's what Kerry actually said:

We're all God's children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as.

The question was: "Do you believe homosexuality is a choice?"

Now the smear seems to me to be that if Dick Chaney loves his daughter, he must be some kind of hypocrite for serving in the Bush Administration. Nuance-boy seems to see no complexity in this issue, and Mr. Diplomatic seems to have no problem using Mary as a weapon against her father.

Again, for the record, I think Bush is fundamentally wrong to support the FMA, whatever his reasoning. Whether homosexuality is a choice or not is irrelevant; the drive to marriage with a loving partner seems universal. As I understand it married people tend to contribute more to strong societies than unmarried people. So getting in the way of any kind of marriage seems to me bad governmental policy.

Having said all that, I will also note that Bush has never stooped to bringing up Kerry's first marriage as an indication of Kerry's commitment to his religion and the sanctity of marriage. By Mary Beth Cahill's logic, Kerry's treatment of his first wife should definitely be "fair game" for the Bush campaign.

So while I think he's making a huge mistake with the FMA, I also think comparative analysis shows Bush to be a fundamentally better person than either Kerry or Edwards. And that counts a lot for me.

Posted by: Mark Poling at October 16, 2004 02:17 PM

Dont follow your logic Mark. The kind of remarks that Bush might make about Kerry's first marriage would be what.....something negative about his religous convictions? Is that an appropriate analogy? I dont think so. Kerry didnt say anything about anyones religion. If his remarks had any affect they were about hypocrisy related to policy. And on consequential issues. There are no policy issues at large that are relevant to Kerry and divorce. He is not trying to prevent anyone from getting divorced, nor is he supporting policies that disrespect divorced people.

Cheney IS a hypocrite. Not necessarily for serving in the administration, but for supporting its anti-gay policies. Unless you think it is right and proper for a candidate to completely subsume his beliefs to those of his boss. In which case, why do we bother even listening to him, since nothing would come out of his mouth but Bush opinions?

He clearly agrees with Kerry that being gay is not a choice. So what is the basis for the outrage? Why doesnt he say - "I agree with Sen. Kerry that my daughter hasnt chosen to be gay, and we as a party respect gays, which is why we are proud that she is working for us on these issues. She is proof that if you are gay, you are not obliged to be a democrat". That would have been an honest remark, and would have reflected his true feelings (I suspect). And might have scored a few points with some voters too. But not with his base. Do Republicans have the slightest hesitancy calling out Kerry, or any democrat, when they are clearly dishonestly pandering to their base?

These are not trivial issues. Millions of real peoples lives are profoundly affected by the alternative policy choices that underlie this issue. If there were no consequences for real people, then I would agree that it would have been gratuitous. But in that case, he probably wouldnt have been asked the question in the first place.

Even given all that, I would agree with you that mentioning Mary would be not cool - if she were in the closet, or even if she made clear that she did not want to be in the public arena. But she is an activist - on these issues. As a member of the campaign staff, not just a family member, she is absolutely in the arena, by her own choice.

Posted by: Tano at October 16, 2004 02:59 PM

Tano, I read these things you write and I have too wonder if you even believe what you are saying, or, if you are just saying whatever it takes to continue an argument. What Kerry said was extremely disrespectful. You know it was, I know it was, EVERYONE knows it was.

Obviously, you are not a parent and have very little knowledge of "unconditional love." If you understood parenthood and unconditional love you would know how very weak your entire argument is.

Parents, at all cost do not want their children used. If I were to have a gay child, my personal feelings about that would mean nothing, if my child were being used as some type of pawn against me and my political view. Parenthood and politics are not one and the same. Stop calling Dick Cheney a hypocrite!!!

Posted by: Cathy at October 16, 2004 03:20 PM

Cathy,
Dick Cheney is a hypocrite.

He is pandering for votes to people who would deny his own daughter the respect that she deserves, and that he clearly feels she is entitled to. He doesnt stand up to them, he doesnt stand up for her. He has no "sister souljah" moment with these people. Some "unconditional love".

He is a good man in terms of his feelings for her, and his support for her. He is a calculating pol to have her work in his campaign. And he is a hypocrite for refusing to be her champion when she is disrespected by people whose votes he wants.

Posted by: Tano at October 16, 2004 03:27 PM

jdwill -- coming back to the Pell grant thing, we both left out one thing to consider: adjusting the actual increase in average Pell Grant awards with the increase in the overall tuition+other expenses that occured at the same time. If the average recipient got a 5% increase, but tuition went up 10% in the same period of time, that 5% increase really in effect is not an increase at all. And though I don't have any figures, my understanding is that education and health care are the two areas were inflation has been out of control for years.

This reminds me of the Democrat's accusations that Republicans wanted to cut Medicare in 1995-1996, and the Republican's counterclaim that this was unfair, they merely wanted a slower rate of growth. But the Dems pointed out (or at least should have) that the Republican increase would be less than the natural growth in the program. I think that Dems had the stronger argument at that time.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 16, 2004 06:19 PM

HA -- Several Democrats have had their careers derailed because of their sexual proclivities or wrongdoings, exposed by the liberal media. The current Congressman from Portland Oregon, David Wu, just might lose an election this year because of rape allegations that occured when he was in college. And if Juanita Broderick really was raped by Bill Clinton in the last seventies, then she was stupid not to come forward the week before the New Hampshire primary, 1992. Would have hit him like an 18 wheeler.

I should have answered your initial question more directly. If there was compelling evidence that John Kerry raped Mary Cheney, I would immediately withdraw my support and urge my fellow Democrats to do the same. The only instance in which I would tolerate him raping a Cheney is he did it to her father.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 16, 2004 06:30 PM

But the Dems pointed out (or at least should have) that the Republican increase would be less than the natural growth in the program.

The "natural growth" of the program?

Is it "natural" because that's the rate of growth set by tax-happy Liberals?

That's a real strong "argument".

Posted by: David at October 17, 2004 07:23 AM

David -- No, by natural growth of the program I mean the growth needed for it to keep up with two and only two things: overall inflation of the particular commodity (in the examples that have been raised, health care or college tuition) and number of recipients.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 18, 2004 09:01 AM
Winner, The 2007 Weblog Awards, Best Middle East or Africa Blog

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member



Testimonials

"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

"Terrific"
Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere


Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com


News Feeds




toysforiraq.gif



Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button

totten_button.jpg


Tip Jar





Essays

Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn