October 26, 2004
I've been feeling like a pessimist lately.
The thing about this missing weapons story, and the media's obvious complicity in helping the Kerry campaign by releasing this fake story so close to election day, is that there is only a week left. This is a huge story, bigger by miles than the 'Kerry lied about meeting with UN Security Council members' story. But, this isn't like the Rather story that can play out for the next month and we can all cheer and jeer every new development (whether it's the liberal bloggers holding out against hope that the documents were real, the 'fake but accurate' line and finally the on air confirmation by Rather that CBS was had). With only a week left, people may only remember that 'Bush lost tons of explosives' and not that it was a pack of lies made up by a media who can not stand that he may be reelected.
Posted by Karol at October 26, 2004 12:59 PM
I am not so sure - I think if the story is indeed "fake" as you say, Bush's team (which is indisputably very good) is going to be able to use it to its advantage. The timing is suspect; however, the letters written by the IAEA and the Iraqi government are recent and justify the release of a story (although perhaps not this one). As for the development of the facts of the story, John Marshall has a relatively unbiased (for him I suppose) breakdown.
At worst, I don't think the NY Times made this up in the same way CBS did. The reporting may have been incomplete, but the element of obvious falsity is just not there...
I'm going to give the people of this country the benefit of the doubt and they'll see the fraud, and the deliberate attempt by the press to shill for Kerry. That CBS was part of it is going to be the nail in the coffin of the story, and the NY Times will go down with it (as it should).
Based on the hysterical panic your earlier post on this subject generated from the liberals who view your site, they too believe it's true. It's evidence enough for me that they're trying to lawyer the story asking you to disprove something false.
Kinda like Rather. I don't have to prove the story is true, you have to prove it's false.
In the end, I think this will work to Bush's advantage.
And so much for the value of the NBC News account: http://tinyurl.com/3r822
This is the same Josh Marshall who was gleeful about the CBS memo story (I mean, the actual story, not the fact that the memo was forged), right?
Yes (thus, the parenthetical) - I'd actually recommend the MSNBC interview and LA Times articles that were cited therein, but I don't have direct links to them.
Um... I don't know that it'll go either way (Rathergate or October Surprise). By my estimates, the story barely got picked up outside of the big liberal blogs and a few of the right ones. It barely made an impact on CNN or MSNBC yet, and although I haven't checked Fox, I doubt it was a big story there at least until the NBC counter-story popped up.
So I don't think you need to feel all that pessimistic about its effect on the election, but also not that optimistic about its effect on public perception of the NY Times. This seems like one of those times when the insiders thought something was going to be "huge" and then it just fizzled out publically. But I haven't been watching that much TV, so I could be way off.
I second Alceste. If you don't trust the analysis, just go to the source material he links to.
As an aside, I think there's a fairly high probability that the explosives weren't there, the US government did not notify the IAEA or the Iraqis in charge of the site (a mistake not worthy of the outrage we've seen), and what we're really seeing is the reaction of those who felt they should've been informed. The NY Times then played off of those reactions without fully confirming the story. Again, I don't think this is fake, but it may be poor reporting. And I still want to see the story develop...
First, I appreciate Karol's candor here. It is never easy to give an honest opinion that hurts your political candidates. Unlike most of us, Karol puts bread on her table through her political activities so I appreciate the fact she is not offering us a rosy picture when she does not believe that to be the case.
This story clearly hit a nerve with the Bush defenders, that is obvious. This story also seems to have made an impact with the public that builds upon a two year story.
First, people intitially supported Bush based on his reaction to 9/11 and gave him a mandate in 2002. Had Bush's people been able to find the WMDs or link Hussein to Al-Queda, this election would not be close. The problem is the attempts to prove Hussein had WMDs and was supporting Al-Queda (I'm thinking of the work of Stephen Hayes at Weeklly Standard) did little to convince most Americans. Americans were looking for a smoking gun and the Bush team did not provide them one. Doubts began to grow.
Couple that with a continuing occupation. I think Bush helped sell America into thinking this would be an easy war much like Gulf I, Panama, even Afganistan. His appearance on the carrier (mission accomplsihed) helped reinforce that mistaken assumption. Sadly a lot of people on the right helped spread that message. So did the mainstream media with embedded reporters and cheerleader sections. We did not expect the situation to continue to be unstable, from Fallujah to the 50 Iraqi executions from earlier this week.The war drags on. Casualties continue. Bagdad is unstable and that conjured images of Tet which the media reminded us of.
Critics continued to harp and they started to gain traction. Write off John Kerry as an opportunist and Andrew Sullivan (who came out for Kerry today in TNR) as a partisan hack (while I disagree with Sullivan on a lot, I think there is more than just same sex marriage in his case against Bush). The problem was there were other critics as well, moderates and conservatives. Write off the Buchananites who are isolationists and have little influence anyway. There are other critics on the right, from Richard Lugar, Buckley, Will and even the National Review. These are hard criticisms to shoot down.
Bush seems in a cocoon, unwilling to admit things have not worked out as we thought, unwilling to remove people from office for failures. It is cruel but it has to be done. Bush the elder did not do that, keeping Nicholar Brady and others on well after they had failed. I think W. has done the same thing after two of the biggest intelligence failures in American history.
There are some other factors here as well for why Bush is on the defensive here. Momentum is one factor. Kerry had it, Bush had it after the convention and now Kerry has it. Bush had more to lose at the debates and did. Many Americans thought Kerry was as presidential-if not more so-than Bush. Bush came off as a brat in the first one when he kept on whining about what a tough job he had. He did not recover enough in the other debates.
Bush has been hemoraging support for the past two years after his stunning triumphs in 2002. I do not rememebr any president going into as much a downward spiral as Bush has in the last two years with the possible exception of his father.
Bush's people are on the defensive here in the last week of the campaign. A lot of states that should not be up for grabs are: Ohio, Colorado and, yes, Florida (which Jeb won huge in 2002). I think the recent comments from Karol and Jake seem to indicate just how much Bush is on the defensive here.
Nor is history a reason for optimism. With the excpetion of Wilson in 1916, incumbents do not win that many close elections.
I think Bush and his allies chose the wrong strategy. They went after Kerry, all attacks all the time. He is French, nuanced, not a real war hero, a flip flopper, an elitist, blah blah blah.
But when a president runs for a second term, the election is not about the challenger, it is about the incumbent. It is why the American people were willing to turn away from the steady, if uninspiring, leadership of Gerald Ford to trust a naive unknown in Jimmy Carter based a lot on Ford's record, namely the Nixon pardon. It is why Americans who liked Wilkie and Dewey a lot were willing to stick with FDR and Truman.
Bush may still win this election. I hope he beats Kerry (I'm voting for Peroutka but if I was in a close state, I would vote for Bush). But I am not feeling too good about his chances. Much like his old man, Bush made the mistake of peaking too soon. I do not know if he can dodge the bullet here. And his prize team are losing the headline battles in the pivotal last week. I do not feel hopeful for his chances.
Let me be the first here to encourage people to vote for Peroutka in close states.
Only 1 week to go and after that your taking a break from the liberal media. You won't be aloud to watch the news, no papers, and (dare I suggest it) no blogging! Your burning out and a burned out Karol is no good to anyone. Watching the news is just to frustrating and all it will do is make your blood pressure go up!
The most challenging obstacles you will face when you come back to New York are as follows:
1)Finding the perfect manicure & pedicure place
2)Choosing between a cosmo or a beer
3)Consuming mega amounts of leftover chili & guac
5)Driving me to Brooklyn for decent pizza
The below comments by Von Bek are very interesting (his comment was long so I pasted the two paragraphs I want to talk about).
The 2nd paragraph I believe is completely correct. I hope he is right about the first, but considering the problems Bush faced with the many errors, they may have made the correct choice, even though it demonstrates to a critical thinker the weakness of their position. The reality is that Bush has very little to crow about to UNDECIDED voters (who are likely to be relatively moderate). Taxes is about the only thing and his tax cuts did not make a huge impact on the middle class. Bush should just be happy the Dems did not find a Clinton. Someone with half of Clinton's campaign skills would be wiping the floor with Bush.
"[von bek]I think Bush and his allies chose the wrong strategy. They went after Kerry, all attacks all the time. He is French, nuanced, not a real war hero, a flip flopper, an elitist, blah blah blah.
But when a president runs for a second term, the election is not about the challenger, it is about the incumbent. It is why the American people were willing to turn away from the steady, if uninspiring, leadership of Gerald Ford to trust a naive unknown in Jimmy Carter based a lot on Ford's record, namely the Nixon pardon. It is why Americans who liked Wilkie and Dewey a lot were willing to stick with FDR and Truman.[end von bek]"
Von Bek, you would vote for Bush in a swing state?
Whoa. Totally misjudged you.
(Howzabout moving to a swing state this weekend?)
I think it is much more scary that a majority of republican voters believe that WMD's have been founf and believe that Saddam had ties with Al Qaeda. Having wrong beliefs on a minor issue is one thing but having wrong beliefs about such a fundamental matter as that is really startling . Is there any republican that can explain why this? Cause I get the feeling that they must be or plain dumb or must be intensionally kidding themselves. And i have no idea which one is worse.
I have a bad feeling about it too. But if they want to play ball this way, if they want to propegate things they know to be false (the draft, privatizing social security, voter disnefranchizement) then let's get dirty. It's on. If they win this one, they better look out. Because it is going to get ugly.
Yeah I would. While I do not like the growth of government spending and defecits under Bush (and don't tell me it is the war on terror-what do farm subsidies and increasing the funds of the art endowments have to do with that?), his plan for amnesty for immigrants and so on, Kerry offers no hope for a conservative. I'm pro-life. Bush may appoint a pro-life judge (may...his dad and Reagan named O'Conner, Souter and Kennedy after all). Kerry will not. On taxes, Bush is tolerable. I am a conservative, not a Republican and too often W. and his supporters have betrayed the ideals of American conservatism. But Kerry is much worse.
All i know, is that instead of spending time and energy trying to find these explosives, the bush administration is focusing on asking questions like "when were they stolen?" Either way they are gone, so do something about it rather then run around asking questions and pointing fingers...
I thought this was a no whining zone.
Yeah, why isn't Bush personally in Iraq for the weapons. I mean, why kind of leader is he? He should immediately round up Rice, Rumsfeld and the rest and catch a flight to Iraq to look.
And, of course, on the flipside, if the Bush administration wasn't asking when they were stolen, there would be a lot of 'why doesn't the Bush administration care what happened to these weapons!?!?'
Actually, Karol, I think the problem is that it took a year and a half for the Bush administration to look into what happened to these explosives. And the initiative didn't come from the administration, they are responding to the concerns of the international inspectors.
I'm so confused. I just woke up an hour ago, and I'm hearing that terrorists most probably obtained 768,000 pounds of some kind of plastique explosives (one pound of which brought down the plane over Lockerby, Scotland) from Saddam's regime before we invaded Iraq. That's HORRIBLE news, but what's dumbfounding to me is why in the HELL is Kerry talking about it? Why would he bring attention, at this late date, to the fact that there not only actually were WMD there, but, as feared, they actually fell into the hands of terrorists? This absolutely makes no sense!
I first thought it all happened this week, but I called a friend and she said that it was definitely before any of our forces got there, because when they DID first get to that storage facility, the IAEA seals were already broken and the stuff was already gone. I've since confirmed that.
What is going on? Am I still asleep?? Is Senator Kerry self-destructing? Bush won't have to try hard to convince his minions that anything able to down 768,000 airplanes qualifies as a weapon of mass destruction!!!
Buck up little camper. Karol, it is going to be ok. Interesting spin TIC but you see these types of Mass Destruction Weapons are not Weapons of Mass Destruction as defined by the people in the know because they are just glorified dynamite.
Von Bek has great points, but I believe that The administraton underestimated Kerry and the left. Kerry stuck to foreign policy this entire campaign. The old saying If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes true seems to have worked. We will see if this story sticks. Tomorrow will be the bellweather to go by.
The explosives were NOT WMD. they were according to the relevant UN department IAEA or whatever El Bardaei leads classified them as conventional explosives. the amount is enourmous but the explosives themselves are not WMD they are conventional explosives.
For the record tthe British media picked up the missing explosives today as well. Karol perhaps you and your republican friends might also care to call FOX and Bush on their well known LIES such as
1. Link between Saddam and 9/11. Since admitted to be false by Dubya.
2. WMDs in Iraq.
Not sure where else to put this but found it on bbc website.
New Florida vote scandal feared
By Greg Palast
Reporting for BBC's Newsnight
A secret document obtained from inside Bush campaign headquarters in Florida suggests a plan - possibly in violation of US law - to disrupt voting in the state's African-American voting districts, a BBC Newsnight investigation reveals.
Two e-mails, prepared for the executive director of the Bush campaign in Florida and the campaign's national research director in Washington DC, contain a 15-page so-called "caging list".
It lists 1,886 names and addresses of voters in predominantly black and traditionally Democrat areas of Jacksonville, Florida.
An elections supervisor in Tallahassee, when shown the list, told Newsnight: "The only possible reason why they would keep such a thing is to challenge voters on election day."
Ion Sancho, a Democrat, noted that Florida law allows political party operatives inside polling stations to stop voters from obtaining a ballot.
They may then only vote "provisionally" after signing an affidavit attesting to their legal voting status.
Mass challenges have never occurred in Florida. Indeed, says Mr Sancho, not one challenge has been made to a voter "in the 16 years I've been supervisor of elections."
"Quite frankly, this process can be used to slow down the voting process and cause chaos on election day; and discourage voters from voting."
Sancho calls it "intimidation." And it may be illegal.
In Washington, well-known civil rights attorney, Ralph Neas, noted that US federal law prohibits targeting challenges to voters, even if there is a basis for the challenge, if race is a factor in targeting the voters.
The list of Jacksonville voters covers an area with a majority of black residents.
When asked by Newsnight for an explanation of the list, Republican spokespersons claim the list merely records returned mail from either fundraising solicitations or returned letters sent to newly registered voters to verify their addresses for purposes of mailing campaign literature.
Republican state campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker Fletcher stated the list was not put together "in order to create" a challenge list, but refused to say it would not be used in that manner.
Rather, she did acknowledge that the party's poll workers will be instructed to challenge voters, "Where it's stated in the law."
There was no explanation as to why such clerical matters would be sent to top officials of the Bush campaign in Florida and Washington.
In Jacksonville, to determine if Republicans were using the lists or other means of intimidating voters, we filmed a private detective filming every "early voter" - the majority of whom are black - from behind a vehicle with blacked-out windows.
The private detective claimed not to know who was paying for his all-day services.
On the scene, Democratic Congresswoman Corinne Brown said the surveillance operation was part of a campaign of intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party to intimate and scare off African American voters, almost all of whom are registered Democrats.
Why am i not surprised.
Not sure where else to put this but found it on bbc website.
Not sure where to put it? My first suggestion will probably get me comments of being uncivil but my second suggestion is: don't you have a blog?
And, I know you've got zero interest, but there have been over a dozen GOP offices vandalized and broken into now throughout the country and plenty of intimidation from Democrats toward Republicans going to vote. What? The BBC isn't carrying those stories!?! Be still my heart.
Karol, not uncivil at all.
And without checking the BBC archives, I imagine they have run some of those stories.
There is a difference between most of the Dem shenanegans and the Republican ones this year, though. For the most part, while inexcusably destructive, the vandalism and intimidation was largely unorganized. On the other hand, several organized voter fraud attempts have been exposed among state Republican and "non-partisan" groups. This probably isn't surprising, because organization is one of the Republican party's strong suits, and being full of idiot "activists" is one of the Democrats.
So while I'm not saying that either side's doing a good job of keeping this stuff under control, it just so happens that one side's behavior actually is more newsworthy.
Oh Andrew, check this out. And this took me 1/2 a second to find. I don't feel like looking for any other because I'm too busy looking for the real thing in real life at the moment.
Couldn't get the linked NR article to load, but I did track down the story through other media. I suppose that they must be untrustworthy liberal media since they aren't Fox or NR, but this is what I got:
The judge who was asked to resend Naderfied ballots refused to do so, and also refused to extend the response deadline to Nov 17th.
The state governor decided to stand by that decision.
Oh, wait, no. That's not voter fraud, that's just saying "let's not mess with the system two weeks before the election."
If this is voter fraud then we should all be agitating for every state to keep absentee polling open until electors absoultely positively have to be selected. Screw organizational planning, screw sending out the ballots 6 weeks in advance, screw setting a deadline and sticking to it. If we don't let people send in their ballots until the very last minute and decide to do this a week before the election, we're willfully disenfranching tens of thousands of our poor soldiers.
Karol, you can't make this argument and be against same-day registrations at the same time. It's not consistent. Hell, even though I'm in favor of same-day registrations, I'm not going to start calling a governer partisan just because he/she doesn't change the election rules in the last week before the election.
(sorry if that's not the story you were talking about. I'll try to check again later.)
On another note: what were you trying to look for? All I said is that the BBC probably did carry a couple stories on the Democrat-aligned vandalization and intimidation incidents. I never alleged that anything needed to be looked for, or how much effort it would take to find it.
Given that you've found something and found it quick, I'm curious what it is you were looking for.
i do have a blog yes and will put the story on it along with the one you linked. i meant where to post it as part of a comment to one of your posts on here.
The problem is Rendell extended the time for absentee ballots during the Primaries earlier this year. So he set a precident for himself then and not following it now. So pretty much "count every vote except military ballots" holds true in PA.