October 2004 Archives

I received this commentary on Kerry supporters (30 October 2004, 3:08 PM):

I was just going over the list of John Kerry supporters - Kwazy Mfume [sic], the French, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the Germans, Eminem, Kofi Anan [sic], Michael Moore, teachers unions, trial lawyers, people who support partial birth abortions, Ted Kennedy, and now Osam Bin Laden [sic].

With friends like that, who needs enemies?

My response follows:

This type of baseless "Osama supports Kerry" smear has been circulating for months, in complete opposition to the fact that at least one group linked to Al Qaeda has already endorsed Bush. In a March letter, they said that it wasn't possible to find a leader "more foolish than you [Bush], who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom." Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps... [...] "Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."

It takes a great deal of effort to spin Osama's latest statement to America that "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda" into support for Kerry. That hasn't, however, stopped the GOP media machine. As Maureen Dowd noted this morning:

"The Bushies' campaign pitch follows their usual backward logic: Because we have failed to make you safe, you should re-elect us to make you safer. Because we haven't caught Osama in three years, you need us to catch Osama in the next four years. [...] You'd think that seeing Osama looking fit as a fiddle and ready for hate would spark anger at the Bush administration's cynical diversion of the war on Al Qaeda to the war on Saddam. It's absurd that we're mired in Iraq - an invasion the demented vice president praised on Friday for its 'brilliance' - while the 9/11 mastermind nonchalantly pops up anytime he wants."

As far as the rest of the "list" goes, I'm not surprised at the breadth of support for Kerry's candidacy, especially when the alternative is so much less appealing. I don't much care about the political opinions of Kweisi Mfume or Kofi Annan...but I'll take teachers and Democrats (in particular) and most Americans (in general) every day of the week, and twice on Tuesday. The fact that most of the rest of the world agrees is irrelevant.

With facts like that, who needs spin?

I've found PIPA (Program for International Policy Attitudes) to be a useful resource before, and their new study "The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters" continues the trend. The study looks at what each candidates' supporters know about Iraq, the war, and foreign policy.

I have a quibble with the report's title, as it implies a false equivalence between the two political camps. The report reflects not two realities, but one reality (that of most Kerry supporters) and one fantasy (that of many Bush supporters). There is undoubtedly fantasy in the Kerry camp as well, but it remains unquantified.

The study notes that "the current election is unique in that Bush supporters and Kerry supporters have profoundly different perceptions of reality" and asks why Bush supporters are "clinging to tightly to beliefs that have been so visibly refuted?" (p. 12). Of the five areas studied,

1. Iraq, WMD, and al Qaeda
2. What the Bush Administration is Saying About Pre-War Iraq
3. The Decision to Go to War
4. World Public Opinion on the Iraq War and George Bush's Reelection
5. Candidates' Foreign Policy Positions

I found the third one most interesting:

Majorities of Bush supporters and Kerry supporters agree that if Iraq did not have WMD or was not providing support to al Qaeda, the US should not have gone to war with Iraq. (p. 2)

Later, the report asserts that:

"...the cohesion of society can be damaged by a persisting and fundamental division in the perception of what is real, undermining pathways to consensus and mutual sacrifice, and making the country increasingly difficult to govern." (p. 14)

Democrats pride themselves on belonging to the "reality-based community" while conservatives complain that the facts are "biased" against their agenda. Their cognitive dissonance doesn't change the facts, however--it merely ignores them; governing at variance with reality is never advisable. Evangelical Outpost's "Whose Reality Is This?" makes many complaints about the study's adjectives--which are somewhat valid--but then ends with this snide BS about the inability of Bush supporters to correctly identify Bush's positions:

The Kerry supporters, on the other hand, were able to correctly identify their candidates [sic] position on almost every issue. To be fair, though, they had an advantage over the Bush supporters. All they had to do in order to guess where Kerry stands is to ask "What would France do?"

Rep. Bernie Sanders observes in "Fox News and the Iraq War: Fact vs. Fox-tion," that:

Fox News' hosts and contributors made misleading comments -- many of which have been proven to be 100% false. The question now is whether or not Fox hosts and contributors will admit they were wrong and apologize to their viewers for giving them unfair and unbalanced information.

He lists many falsities propagated by Fox News Propaganda hosts Sean Hannity, Brit Hume, and Bill O'Reilly; no wonder their audience is so ill-informed.

Campaign Signs

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Inspired by Peter Kuper's "mission accomplished" cartoon, I created a pair of parody campaign signs in preparation for the election: "Fear/Failure 2004" & "Dumb/Dishonest 2004." (I'm fully aware that "dumb" is a cliché with regards to Dubya, but I couldn't resist the alliteration.) I changed the signs' website address to www.misleader.org just for laughs.

I received this email about a Kerry campaign commercial (18 October 2004, 6:48 PM):

Have you seen the John Kerry commercial in which George Bush pledges to help Seniors on Medicare and "the very next day imposes a 17% premium increase - the biggest in history"? That ad is a stroke of genius on Kerry's part and will surely gain him many votes among the uninformed.

I found it so amazing that I did some homework on the issue. As it turns out the 17% increase was not imposed by President Bush but was mandated by the "balanced budget agreement" signed by President Clinton, voted into law by Senator John Kerry, and was scheduled to come into effect during the Bush administration. President Bush had no authority to reverse what had been voted into law by Senator Kerry during the Clinton administration.

Once again Kerry is counting on the ignorance of the American people. Don't be duped by his mendacity.

My response follows:

I haven’t seen the ad, but I have read the Snopes article about this email.

If you’re interested in the details, factcheck.org has a good article titled “Bush falsely claims Kerry voted repeatedly to raise premiums. Kerry's spot blaming Bush alone for the latest increase isn't much better” that debunks both candidates’ ads.

Both parties are counting on voters’ ignorance.

Don’t be duped by Bush’s mendacity, either.

I received this email about alleged voter registration fraud (17 Oct 2004, 8:19 AM):

Democrats Try Anything

A recent publicized excerpt from the DNC's handbook suggests that democrats 'manufacture' allegations of voter intimidation even when there is no factual evidence to support the allegations. It seems that Terry McCaulife's crew is willing to go to any lengths to assure a Kerry/Edwards victory in November, regardless of the will of the people.

In our own Berks county, there is a large drive underway to register new voters. The two largest organizations involved in this drive are ACORN, which supports John Kerry, and Voting is Power, which is funded by the Muslim American Society Freedom Organization, which is, in their own words, working to defeat President Bush because he has dared to wage war in a muslim country.

So far the Country Voter's Registration Office has thrown out over halfof the 13,000 new voter registrations submitted by these groups. Apparently attempts are being made to register people several times, using different addresses, different birthdates, and different party affiliations. Many of the forms submitted have the birthdates and addresses written with different handwriting or different colored ink than the signatures. In the words of the Reading Eagle editorial staff "What kind of example is the United States setting for the rest of the world if we cannot condusct our own elections without attempts to stuff the ballot bax and subvert the will of the people?" Berk's County's only Republican Commissioner has called for an investigation, but the two democratic commissioners want any investigation delayed until after the election.

My response follows:

When I see this many errors - it’s the “Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation” (not “Organization”), Terry McAuliffe (not McCaulife), and the alleged Reading Eagle quote has two misspellings – my first impulse is to discard it as partisan junk email. (Republicans try anything?)

I always try to source these things, especially when I see phrases like “no factual evidence to support the allegations.”

Would these be:

- an alleged “recently publicized excerpt from the DNC's handbook” (Really? Where is it?)
- an alleged “willing[ness] to go to any lengths” that is completely dependent on the “excerpt”
- an alleged “in their own words” statement that doesn’t include a verifiable quotation

I expect to see some attempts at election fraud, and I will be as outraged as anyone else if any is proven (not simply alleged) to exist. It’s good to hear that the Registration Office is (allegedly) doing its job with the necessary accuracy and thoroughness. I await the investigation results, but (with HAVA) we may be examining provisional ballots for quite some time after Election Day.


UPDATE: I did some research today on the allegations, and found this article about the “Colorado Election Day Manual: A Detailed Guide to Voting in Colorado.”

The section misrepresented by Matt Drudge (and others) is titled “How to Organize to Prevent and Combat Voter Intimidation,” and it DOES NOT “suggest that Democrats 'manufacture' allegations.” It does, however, suggest that “pre-emptive strikes” be undertaken in states with a history of voter intimidation. It specifically recommends that Democrats:

“issue press releases denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting,”

“discuss the issue in the media,”

“express concern about the threat of intimidation tactics,” and

“warn local newspapers not to accept advertising that is not properly disclaimed or that contains false warnings about voting requirements and/or about what will happen at the polls.”

It takes a great deal of effort to spin that into something illegal or unethical.

The Answer is TEN:

1. One to deny that a light bulb needs to be changed
2. One to attack the patriotism of anyone who says the light bulb needs to be changed
3. One to blame Clinton for burning out the light bulb
4. One to tell the nations of the world that they are either "For changing the light bulb or for darkness"
5. One to give a billion-dollar no-bid contract to Halliburton for the new light bulb
6. One to arrange a photograph of Bush, dressed as a janitor, standing on a stepladder under the banner "Light Bulb Change Accomplished"
7. One administration insider to resign and write a book documenting in detail how Bush was literally "in the dark"
8. One to viciously smear #7
9. One surrogate to campaign on TV and at rallies on how George Bush has had a strong light bulb-changing policy all along
10. And finally: One to confuse Americans about the difference between screwing a light bulb and screwing the country

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This page is an archive of entries from October 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2004 is the previous archive.

November 2004 is the next archive.

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