And On This Farm He Had Some . . . .

Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

Mere hours after Bush unveils an ad using scary wolves, Political Wire is reporting that Kerry has a response ad comparing Bush to an ostrich:

Ad transcript: "The eagle sours high above the earth; the ostrich buries its head in the sand. The eagle knows when it’s time to change course; the ostrich just stands in its place. Given these challenging times, shouldn’t we be the eagle again?"

Some one wake me when they get to snow leopards.

UPDATE: Actually, the eagle/ostrich ad comes from the DNC. And it’s pretty effective.

Bush Doesn’t Understand The Nature of The Terrorist Threat

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

It’s odd. Bush says that Kerry is failing to comprehend the war on terrorism.

It’s odd, I say, because Bush’s own people, are saying (implicitly anyway) that it is Bush who doesn’t get it.

The Bush Administration seems to think that the way to defeat terrorism is by decapitating the leadership of al Qaeda. Capture or kill those AQ leaders (from a three-year old list) and you have defeated terrorism, the theory goes. Hey, that might work if we were fighting a nation-state like, oh, Nazi Germany, but as the above article suggest, that is not the true nature of our enemy. Our true enemies have morphed into numerous cells who no longer wait on al Qaeda leadership for their marching orders. Does Bush care about these facts?

Interesting article — recommended reading.

What It Means

Ken AshfordRed Sox & Other SportsLeave a Comment

I am by no means a sports nut. And I don’t understand the "fandom" that comes with many sports. Like NASCAR. How can car mechanics even be called a sport, which (I always thought) had something to do with physicality and the indomitable human spirit . . . or something close to that?

No matter. I’m in no position to judge. I am a Red Sox "fan". Or more correctly, a long-suffering Red Sox fan. Everybody raised in New England (as I was) is a Red Sox fan — even those like my sister who has never seen the Red Sox play as much as an inning in her entire life.

Being a Red Sox fan means being for almost winning, or — as some bright person once said — snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory. And for the first time in my life, I am beginning to think that the Red Sox might be unable to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the American League Championship. I may have to accept the fact that — this one time — they were actually victorious over the Yankees (although, like Robb Cordrey of TDS, I still haven’t quite entirely ruled out a Yankees comeback . . . somehow).

I won’t bore you with "the curse". You either know about the Bosox’s 7th game World Series loss in 1967 to the Cardinals . . . or not. Or its extraordinary 6th game win in the 1975 World Series, only to be followed by an excruciating loss in the 7th game, to the Reds (29 years ago today). Or its one game tiebreaker against the Yankees in 1978, where it lost (that Bucky Fuckin’ Dent!). Or the painful 1986 World Series, where the Red Sox were one strike away from winning the World Series, and that awful grounder that (somehow!) went through Buckner’s legs. Or 1999, when the Yankees (again) denied the Red Sox a trip to the World Series. Or 2003, when the Yankees hit a home run in the bottom of the 11th in the 7th game of the AL League Championship.

No, I won’t bore you with "the curse".

But I will tell you this. There are graves, my friends. Graves of my relatives — as well as the forebears of many a New Englander — bearing the remains of once-lively bodies who have done little but wait for a baseball year like this. My grandmother never saw the Red Sox win a World Series — she died in 1977. My mother — as diehard a Red Sox fan as they come — is pushing 70. She knows there aren’t many more chances to see a victory. "What would that be like", I remember her thinking out loud to her kids . . . 30 years ago!!!

What would it be like? The psyche of an entire region of the United States will change overnight with a Red Sox victory.

And I can’t stress this enough: the impact of a Red Sox World Series victory will extend to those who never even watch baseball. New Englanders — all New Englanders — even those who are not Red Sox fans — possess an undercurrent of cynical pessimism which can be directly attributable to the tortured history of the Red Sox. You soak it up like a sponge, whether you pay attention to the Red Sox or not.

The cataclysmic sea change in the social psychology of New England will have far-reaching implications beyond the world of sports — it will effect millions of people politically and culturally. Instead of repeating the well-understood lesson of accepting defeat from an almost-win with grace (like Gore in 2000), millions will taste true victory. Heck, we might even become "faith-based Republicans"!!!

So send some good karma up North and to the East.

Need more incentive? A Red Sox win will stop New England intellectuals like me from pontificating out of our butts about the Red Sox. We simply will have nothing to write about anymore.

Thank you.

White House Stops Airing Its Dirty Linens

Ken AshfordBush & Co.Leave a Comment

A little late, in my opinion, but the White House realized it is probably not a good idea to have Bush’s bloopers and flip-flops on the official White House website. So they have been slowly and quietly removing them.

Not to worry. This guy is on top of it. Gone now are Bush’s "I’m not that concerned about Bin Laden" audio and video, as well as audio and video where Bush talks about how dangerous Saddam’s WMD are, and all those Saddam-AQ links.

Now if only the White House could get a hold of them nifty flashy mind-erasing pen-things they had in "Men in Black" . . . .

Fisking Ann

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/IdiocyLeave a Comment

Yes, she’s an easy target, but her Amazon Interview is too priceless to miss. Plus, it’s short. Let’s begin. How important is this presidential election in the larger context of the Republic and its history?

Ann Coulter: Insofar as the survival of the Republic is threatened by the election of John Kerry, I’d say 2004 is as big as it gets.

The survival of the Republic? Yes, that DOES sound pretty big and important. But what a weak system of government we must have to begin with if John Kerry’s election can bring it to shreds. Who were the assholes who thought up our pansy-ass Republican structure? Is there one standout issue, and why does it make a difference? What are the most crucial issues?

Coulter: I repeat: The survival of the Republic is threatened by the election of John Kerry. I’d say that’s the big one.

I’m detecting a theme here, Ann. Actually, it’a theme they floated around back in — let’s see — 1860, if I’m not mistaken. What are the top five books you’d recommend to become an informed voter? And what can your new book contribute?

Coulter: The Bible, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Slander, Treason, and How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must).

One of these things . . . is not like the others. One of the these things . . . doesn’t belong. Can you tell me which thing . . . is not like the others . . . before I finish my song.

Oh, and Ann? How come you didn’t answer the second question? What’s the closest parallel from American history to this year’s race?

Coulter: 1864. Bush is Lincoln and Kerry is General McClellan–who, I note, was a great military leader.

I see. A "great military leader" is a general who repeatedly refuses to take the fight to his enemy, based on false paranoia that the enemy has more strength than it actually does. Thank you, Ann. I didn’t realize you were such a military historian. What is the most important lesson from President Bush’s term so far?

Coulter: Peace through strength is an idea that never goes out of style.

Where have we achieved peace through strength in President Bush’s term thus far? Just asking.

Coulter: Also, some people can’t be negotiated with but have to be crushed; e.g., the Taliban, al Qaeda, possibly North Korea and Iran, Pat Leahy, Carl Levin, Richard Ben-Veniste…

Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! I’m getting writer’s cramp here, Ann!

So . . . Richard Ben-Veniste has to be crushed, but only "possibly" North Korea and Iran?? I’m glad to see you have your priorities in order. What happened to peace through strength, by the way? What would a Kerry administration mean?

Coulter: Quite possibly the destruction of the Republic.

And we return to the theme which we started, just like they taught us in freshman writing class. Wow.

So to recap: Kerry = "end of the Republic". Ann’s books are kind of like the Bible. McClellan was a great general which explains why there are so many statues of him as opposed to, say, Lee. And saying "go fuck yourself" to Pat Leahy isn’t as effective as crushing him with a huge boulder.

Thank you, Ann. Nice Halloween costume.



Bush Supporters Are More Likely To Be . . . er . . . Wrong

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

It’s true, according to this study. For example . . .

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program.

But how can this be? Could it be because Bush & Co. misled — and still continue to mislead — their supporters?

You betcha. How about how the U.S. is perceived around the world? Do Bush supporters have an accurate sense of the world’s view toward us?


Despite an abundance of evidence–including polls conducted by Gallup International in 38 countries, and more recently by a consortium of leading newspapers in 10 major countries–only 31% of Bush supporters recognize that the majority of people in the world oppose the US having gone to war with Iraq. …

Similarly, 57% of Bush supporters assume that the majority of people in the world would favor Bush’s reelection; 33% assumed that views are evenly divided and only 9% assumed that Kerry would be preferred. A recent poll by GlobeScan and PIPA of 35 of the major countries around the world found that in 30, a majority or plurality favored Kerry, while in just 3 Bush was favored. On average, Kerry was preferred more than two to one.

Interesting. But surely if there is ONE thing that Bush supporters get right, it is their own candidates’ positions, yes?

Bush supporters also have numerous misperceptions about Bush’s international policy positions. Majorities incorrectly assume that Bush supports multilateral approaches to various international issues–the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (69%), the treaty banning land mines (72%)–and for addressing the problem of global warming: 51% incorrectly assume he favors US participation in the Kyoto treaty. After he denounced the International Criminal Court in the debates, the perception that he favored it dropped from 66%, but still 53% continue to believe that he favors it. An overwhelming 74% incorrectly assumes that he favors including labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. In all these cases, majorities of Bush supporters favor the positions they impute to Bush. Kerry supporters are much more accurate in their perceptions of his positions on these issues.

So to Bush supporters, I say this: Be sure that Bush really believes what you THINK he believes.

Actually, the same should be stressed for Kerry supporters, too, although this seems to be less of a problem.

God Sent Mixed Messages

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Godstuff, IraqLeave a Comment

We all know He speaks to Bush, and we all know He speaks to Pat Robertson.

So why was He telling Bush one thing about the War in Iraq, and telling Pat Robertson something else:

"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned [President Bush] about casualties."

Robertson said the president then told him, "Oh, no, we’re not going to have any casualties."

Okay. Thanks for the guidance, God.

But jokes about God aside (hey, I kid God because I love, you know?), I’m really interested in the response from conservative Christian coalitions. Did Bush really say that? Or is Pat Robertson lying? Let’s play it out — publicly. Please?

UPDATE: Apparently, the Kerry campaign is thinking along similar lines as me:

Kerry campaign advisor Mike McCurry responds:

"We believe President Bush should get the benefit of the doubt here but he needs to come forward and answer a very simple question: Is Pat Robertson telling the truth when he said you didn’t think there’d be any casualties or is Pat Robertson lying?"

Arnold, Arnold, Arnold . . .

Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

From Reuters:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Monday that his speech backing President Bush at the Republican Convention in August resulted in a cold shoulder from his wife, Maria Shriver, a member of the famously Democratic Kennedy family.

"Well, there was no sex for 14 days," Schwarzenegger told former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta in an on-stage conversation in front of 1,000 people.

Arnold, let me give you some advice. This doesn’t help you with the Missus. Expect at least another 14 days of banishment (if not more) for discussing the prior banishment.

We’ll Call It “The Freedom Vaccine”

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs, Health CareLeave a Comment

Now we’re told that Chiron (which, by the way, Bush lied about in the last debate) was supposed to supply "46 million to 48 million doses, nearly half of the country’s projected need of 100 million doses" of the flu vaccine, according to CNN.

But should we worry? No, says Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. See, apparently when we have a "projected need" of 100 million doses of vaccine, that does not represent a need. Basically, the vaccine is like something you buy on impulse at the checkout counter — nice to have, but you don’t really need it.

But if you are still concerned, it’s FRANCE to the rescue: "The loss leaves Americans with a supply of about 54 million doses of vaccine made by Aventis Pasteur, based in Strasbourg, France . . ." That’s going to cheese off the French-bashers a bit.


Ken AshfordElection 2004Leave a Comment

NYT endorses Kerry. Captains Quarters blog endorses Bush. Whew! Because I was on the edge of my seat.

Does anyone know ANYONE who votes based on a newspaper endorsement? I’m seriously asking, because I don’t.

Even when it is a bit of a surprise (like a newspaper which traditionally endorses Republicans now "switching" sides and endorsing Kerry). I mean, it’s interesting, but does it have an impact? No. Should it have an impact? No.

I guess the reason we hear about endorsements so much is because the media (whether it be left, right, or mainstream) is always one thing: obsessed with itself.

So . . . enough already with the endorsements. Please.

And at the risk of sounding Andy Rooneyish . . . why do Republicans poke fun at liberals who like listen to liberal actors/entertainers? At least we KNOW they are actors/entertainers. We don’t, you know, idolize them to the point of electing them like Repubs do!