Saturday, August 07, 2004

Speaking of Iraq, Our Man Allawi has given us another example of his commitment to the democratic principles we hold so dear by shutting down al-Jazeera's Baghdad offices for a month. Go team!
I'm a bit reluctant to put up something so macabre, but for a 'horse race' that matters more than the latest slapped-together poll check the top of the sidebar. It'll be very interesting to see whether the US suffers it's 1000th casualty in Iraq before -- or even during -- the Pub convention, and how Big Media handles it if it does.

Friday, August 06, 2004

This latest bit of Bush hypocrisy could do with some more attention as well, come to think of it.
In some saner alternate dimension somewhere, this case would be getting round-the-clock media attention, and Scott Peterson would be an unknown figure in America.
Until now I've avoided saying much about the actual 'substance' of the anti-Kerry swift boat charges, because it stretches the definition of the word 'substance' beyond all reason.

Fortunately, the accusers themselves do a fine job making this abundantly clear, as this dKos diary demonstrates.

Go ahead, fools. Make Vietnam service an issue in this campaign. I'm sure the Kerry brain trust have a giggle fit every time it gets coverage.

I almost miss the days when Karl Rove seemed like an evil genius... almost.

UPDATE: Atrios adds some more nails to the coffin.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

It's been a while since I paid a visit to Mr. I-Hate-Kerry-and-Everything-He-Is-Standing-For-This-Minute-Which-Will-Change-Tomorrow-But-I'm-Voting-For-Him-Anyway... I wonder what he's up to? Let's take a look, shall we?

Hmm. One long-winded, snide attack on Teresa which amounts to one post from one audience member at a speech who thought she talked too long. This, in Kausese, suggests that Teresa has become a problem for the Kerry campaign, one that needs to be jettisoned. Um, sure.

Next, we have a link to a blog post that, through the use of torturous logic Lynnie England would certainly give a big thumb's up to, deduces Kerry is dumber than Bush because Bush went to Harvard Law School and Kerry didn't. O-o-o-okay.

Next, a muddled rebuttal of Ruy Teixeira's somewhat-less-muddled explanation for the missing bounce, which basically reduces to "I don't like that Kerry guy." Kaus' logic has become so repetitive and ouroborean that he really should reduce his 'arguments' to a system of symbols, just to save bandwidth.

Finally, Kaus makes a big show of researching a Tommy Franks appearance with Hannity, in which Franks "backed up John Kerry's old claims of atrocities in Vietnam". Of course, Kerry made no such claims -- merely repeated the claims of others when questioned about them before Congress -- but Kaus was probably too busy mapping out Kerry's every move the night he slept on the Mall to bother with trivia like what he actually said.

You have to go back to Sunday before Kaus posts anything at all about Bush or the Republicans.

I guess the president's campaign must have been pretty quiet, with nobody doing, saying or delegating anything worth commenting on...
Scottie Mac may want to watch the skies for lightning bolts... didn't Jesus say something about three denials? Can't imagine the Big Guy would be too happy about someone stealing his schtick.

Q Do you -- does the President repudiate this 527 ad that calls Kerry a liar on Vietnam?

MR. McCLELLAN: The President deplores all the unregulated soft money activity. We have been very clear in stating that, you know, we will not -- and we have not and we will not question Senator Kerry's service in Vietnam. I think that this is another example of the problem with the unregulated soft money activity that is going on. The President thought he put an end -- or the President thought he got rid of this kind of unregulated soft money when he signed the bipartisan campaign finance reforms into law.

And, you know, the President has been on the receiving end of more than $62 million in negative attacks from shadowy groups. The President is calling for an immediate cessation to all the unregulated soft money activity. He believes that it should all be stopped. The unregulated soft money activity that is going on does nothing to elevate the discourse. We hope the Kerry campaign will join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft money ads and activity.

Q So the President joins McCain in criticizing this particular ad?

MR. McCLELLAN: We hope the Kerry campaign will join us in calling for an end to all the unregulated soft money ads and activity that are going on. Again, the President has been on the receiving end of more than $62 million in negative attacks from shadowy groups. And the President thought he got rid of this kind of activity when he signed the bipartisan campaign finance reforms into law. This campaign should be about the issues and it should be about the records.

Q Scott, more specifically, though, will the President or the campaign ask this particular group to pull this particular ad off the air?

MR. McCLELLAN: We're calling for a cessation to all the unregulated soft money activity, and we hope that the Kerry campaign will join us.

No report on how many times the cock crowed when Air Force One landed.
There's something familiar about the recent batch of Kerry talking points.

First, there was the 'Saudi royal family' line in his acceptance speech.

Now, we get this. The great thing about it, of course, is that it's essentially undeflectable. Take a gander at the first attempt by BC'04 spokesman Steve Schmidt:

The indecision John Kerry has shown on the war on terror is reflected in his incoherent explanations on his vote against funding for the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and his inability to take a stand on whether or not he thinks the removal of Saddam Hussein was the right decision.

Honestly now Steve, is 'indecision' really the word you want going through people's heads when they think about Bush's Seven Minute Gap?

If Kerry's next pledge is that, as president, he won't be on vacation all the damn time, I think we'll have a good idea what the senator's favorite movie of 2004 was...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

JMM looks into the Bush proposal for an intelligence czar and finds that it has a... well, the 're-arranging the Titanic deck chairs' thing has been done to death. How about 'last call on the Hindenberg'? No, that's not it. Anyway, Bush's proposal seems to do absolutely nothing, while studiously avoiding dealing with the structural problems inherent in the current DCI set-up, as the 9/11 commission saw them.

This isn't just the Bushies saying one thing while doing another. This is them actively working to keep the status quo while creating the illusion of constructive change. This is them, in effect, sabotaging the effort that's been made to correct the problems that lead to 9/11.

We've moved way beyond the administration simply not admitting their mistakes with this one.

Monday, August 02, 2004

It's bad enough going from Ari Fleischer to Scottie Mac, but the drop in dissembling quality when you get down to Andy Card is just appalling.

The President, after he received the 9/11 Commission report, and he received that report on the morning of the 22nd -- he did task me to put together a group we call the Intelligence Reform Task Force. And we started our work on the 23rd, and we held meetings over the course of the last 10 days that have taken an awful lot of time. The President was involved personally in hours of meetings, two hours of meetings with the task force, two separate meetings. He also spent an awful lot of time on the phone with me and Dr. Rice and Fran Townsend in going over the briefing papers that were written for him so that he could participate in the decision-making process.

Here's what we learn from Mr. Card:

1) After months and months of hearings, the Bush administration takes at most a week and a half to consider the implications and recommendations -- I say at most because it's clear what Card considers a "lot of time" is not what anyone outside of the insect kingdom would consider a lot. That ten days is just the elapsed time between the creation of the task force, and its report -- who knows how much time they spent in between actually working?

2) Bush himself spent only two hours directly involved in the process.

Actually, Card pretty much spells out how much time they spent in total:

The principals of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council gave hours and hours of time to this effort, as well. In fact, we had one three-hour meeting and we had two one-hour meetings beyond that, that included the principals without the President, talking through these issues. And then there was a working group of staff.

So that's two hours with the President, and five hours without. Seven hours over 10 days for the principals, plus the grunt work. Gosh. They really talked that one to death, didn't they?

3) The summaries of the discussions had to be dumbed down so Bush would understand them, and someone still had to talk him through them.

Card goes on, alas:

This does build on the many reforms that the President put in place after September 11th, 2001. Let's not forget how difficult it was to be able to respond to September 11th and find that we had a bureaucracy that was diverse, not well-coordinated, and required the President to take full action under his authority to create the Homeland Security Advisor and the Homeland Security Council.

He went to the limits of his constitutional authority to create that White House body that would force coordination among the agencies, and there are over 100 agencies involved in securing the homeland.

Damn that Constitution! Why does the Constitution hate America?

The President did direct that we be as forward-leaning as possible in working with the 9/11 Commission.

Cheap shot alert!: Is 'forward-leaning' White House code for 'bend over'?

This was a herculean effort, and the President has considered the recommendations. He thinks that he has embraced the most important recommendations to go forward with.

I always thought Bush was a stubborn dolt, but is it really a 'herculean effort' just to get him to consider something? Wow. And 'he thinks' he's embraced the most important recommendations? And you just let him carry on with his delusions? Have you broken the bad news about Santa to him yet, Andy, or are you working up to it?

But the process was one where I was kind of a cattle prod, keeping people to the task at hand, knowing that there could have been an opportunity for a long, long debate over these issues.

Yeah, heaven forbid there be a long debate. Not that there would have been any point...

The President instructed me to have a consensus develop early in the process, and where no consensus could be developed, he would be glad to make tough decisions. And he made some tough decisions.

Translation: "Cardy, I've already made up my mind on this, so get everyone on board or I will shit on their heads." No wonder they didn't waste much time on meetings.

This is, perhaps, more insight into the White House decision-making process than Card intended to reveal.
Bill Hemmer to Kerry this morning on CNN: "Your party spends thousands of dollars to determine which way the wind blows..."

Sigh. Mind you, Kerry's response wasn't particularly equivocal: "Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong." I'm sure Mickey K can find a flip-flop in there somewhere though.

I get the sense that Kerry is very relieved that the convention, and The Speech (because a new candidate's convention is always The Speech, for better or worse) are finally over with, and the campaign can begin in earnest.

Either that or he was just bored with waiting. Man, those debates are going to be a bloodbath.

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