Monday, September 13, 2004

Kiss of death

When discussing the fall of Governor Howard Dean, most people talk about The Scream-- but this was a result of his decline, not a cause. Dean's meltdown happened in a pep rally with his supporters on the night of his Iowa defeat. The scream, though it got lots of play on cable news shows afterwards, does not explain how Dean went from first place in Iowa to third in the course of a few short weeks.

So what caused it? I remember right after Gore endorsed Dean as the Democratic candidate and told the other hopefuls to be good party soldiers and get in line, Mickey Kaus (I think) jokingly suggested that this endorsement would be the kiss of death for Dean. And if I remember correctly, the week of Gore's endorsement was Dean's high-water mark, poll-wise. From that point on, he sank steadily downward, and became a loser, a joke.

Was it Gore? Now that Gore is in Senator Kerry's corner, will Kerry go down, Dean-like, to a humiliating defeat? Los Carniceros de Llamas dicen: Sí.


PS - One way or another, I find it interesting that so many of the Democrat party heroes are people famous for losing, like Gore and Max Cleland. Then again, Bob Dole recently resumed his role as a Republican party hatchet-man, so maybe this is bipartisan phenomenon.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Texas Air National Fnord

Now that it is clear that the new documents brought forward by CBS as proof of President Bush shirking his Guard duty were forged, I have only one question. Who will be the first lefty to say, "These documents were such obvious frauds that they must have been planted by the Republicans in order to discredit the Democrats." First paranoid to say it gets an ice cream sundae, my treat. (Disclaimer: The sundae will be purchased with filthy imperialist blood-for-oil money.)

UPDATE (10:48 AM): Too late! Should have got up out of bed last night and posted this when I thought of it. Apparently, Chris Lehane is already the winner. Congratulations, Chris! Next time you're in the Davis Square area, look me up for your free sundae.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Was blind but now I see

A quick post before dinner. For the Llamas.

Since Zell Miller's fiery speech at the Republican National Convention, he has attracted the ire of Democrat-and-allied bloggers not just for what he said at the convention but because of his allegedly racist past. Nobody raised this issue in 1992 when he gave a keynote address for the Democrats, but we all know Republicans are racist, so I guess it's relevant now.

Ridiculous. I will say the same about Senator Miller as I said about Senator Byrd. Words and deeds from forty years ago would only serve as evidence that he WAS a racist, not that he IS a racist. And there is nothing wrong with being an EX-racist. In fact, we can go further and say that being an EX-racist is right and good. Turning your back on evil is a virtue to be lauded.

So, if the sin has been repented of, stop bringing it up. And if the sin hasn't been repented of, then find some new evidence. Stop talking about what the man said in 1964.


PS - For the Kerry fans among my imaginary readers, remember that it is only a virtue if you forsake the sin. I would not care what John Kerry said in 1971 if he later recanted. But he hasn't. In fact, his post-war/anti-war activities were the ways that John Kerry repented of the sin of his military service. This is why I find it hard to understand his current stance: proud to have served, and proud to have been ashamed to have served.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Conventional wisdom

My apologies for the title. I frequently make fun of journalists for throwing lame not-quite-puns into their coverage for no good reason. And now I start off a post with a title like that. What a slave to convention I am.

Okay, I'm done.

Anyway, I have two thoughts about the convention that I would share with my roommates, except that the one who works is already in bed and the one who goes to school is still out.

Thought one: Zell Miller would intimidate the devil himself. And when I say "the devil," I mean the junior senator from Massachusetts. Tonight Zell Miller showed me the fires of hell, and I have seen the light. Hallelujah! Deliver me from Kerry!

Zell Miller also intimidated Chris Matthews. I will let other people make the obvious points about declining respect for mainstream media, etc. Me, I just want to see the tape again, because that was crazy. Jeff Goldstein on little red pills crazy.

Thought two: I have never paid a lot of attention to conventions before, but I can not imagine that so much time has been spent sucking up to the US military ever before. The Democrats certainly spent an enormous amount of time talking about how much they love soldiers (so much that they want to bring them home so they are always be within hugging distance). An unbelievable amount of time. I thought at the time that if Republicans were to spend so much time talking about how they love soldiers, people would think that they were bloodthirsty warmongers, or hypernationalistic hawks, or wacko gun nuts, or something.

But watching the convention tonight I wondered how it would be different if the only people voting were soldiers and vets. Not much different, I think. And that worries me.

I realize that we're in a war and everything, but defense is not the only issue out there. It's okay to talk about other things. And even when we're talking about defense issues, soldiers are not always right. Soldiers deferring to civilians makes for a healthy democracy. Civilians deferring to soldiers makes for trouble.

I miss Eisenhower. Not literally. Before my time, Ike. But he certainly didn't defer to the Defense Department. No. He surveyed the international threat environment and examined the nation's finances. And he chose a grand strategy that would address the threats without breaking the bank. And the military did not like the changes that his strategy required of them. But what could they do? He beat Hitler.

There is no one in the United States today who could do that. The generals have acquired too much expertise in bureaucratic infighting. (See: Powell, Colin.) And the politicians have lost the expertise in military affairs. When a politician tells a general to cowboy up, the general calls a press conference and talks about how some politicians just don't realize the importance of national defense, etc. And so the pork keeps getting barrelled up and shipped out.

I am tired of hearing about how President Bush is going to give our boys everything they need to win the war. I'm not worried about that. I have faith that our boys will win the war, even with crummy equipment. (See: Sherman tank.) What they need to win the war is leadership, not servility.

Kerry's worse. The other JFK would have told the DoD what he told everyone else: "Ask not what your country can do for you..." He was not afraid to tell them to do things they thought were foolish, but which he believed were necessary to defeat the America's enemies. (See: Green Berets; Special Warfare School.)

It's nothing, I know. We're not going to have a coup and be ruled by a junta. But Eisenhower was right about the military-industrial complex. And Washington and the rest were right about standing armies. The defense budget is now almost half a trillion dollars right now if you count everything. And lots of that money is going to things that have nothing to do with the war on terror because no one in this country has the standing to challenge the military, like Ike did. Bush doesn't. Rumsfeld doesn't. Kerry sure doesn't. Good grief. If there's one thing I've learned from the Swift Boat Vets it's that Kerry can not stand up to the military-- He's not Nixon enough to take that trip to China.

Perhaps Senator McCain has the right stuff. He's an enemy to waste and pork, and his patriotism and his defense credentials are unimpeachable. And he sure seems to be scratching Bush's back right now. Maybe he will get the SecDef post if Bush wins. And maybe he can take his medals

Hope is on the way!