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friday, december 12, 2003

Hot Links 7:45 am | link

thursday, december 11, 2003

Great Minds Thinking Alike
I just came across this Jimmy Breslin essay about what makes a presidential candidate electable.
I value Alice Krakauer's opinion. "I judge a candidate on poetry and juice," she was saying as we walked the street.

"He actually has to write poetry?"

"No, it has to be in his speaking."

"And what is juice?"


"And that's all?"

"I hate to say it, it sounds so awful, but the guy with the most sexual charisma wins. Bush looks real good in jeans. He's hot. Then he opens his mouth. That makes it impossible." [Jimmy Breslin, "Passionate View of Politicians," New York Newsday, December 9, 2003]

Read Breslin, then click here and read the first essay, "Electability and the Masculine Mystique."  The "M" factor cannot be ignored.

Very, very roughly, you've got about a third of likely voters who consider themselves to be Democrats and another third who consider themselves to be Republicans. These people will vote with their party. The election is won or lost with the "independent" third.

Some people in this last third are genuinely independent thinkers. But mostly they are independent because they don't think and don't know a dadblamed thing about what is going on.

(In my experience, the more knowledgable a person is about politics and current events, the more likely it is he or she aligns himself with a party.)

These "independents" are reached only on a subconsious level. Because the Republicans are better at propaganda -- using imagery and buzzwords to make Bush look like a hero and any Democrat to look like a wimp -- the Republicans have an edge with the independent voters.

That's why policy ideas are not enough. You can talk about policy all day long with these people. Then the Republicans trot out and wave a flag and a Bible, and the Chickenhawk in Chief plants himself in front of an American flag and talks about "resolve," and the Pugs win.

And this, in a nutshell, is why Clark would be stronger in the general election than Dean or anybody else. Standing next to Clark, Bush is the wimp. 

12:30 pm | link

Hot Links 7:08 am | link

wednesday, december 10, 2003

First, I want to say something nice about my web host, Interland. This morning I couldn't log on to make updates to the site, so I alerted tech services through their site. And lo, a couple of hours later a techie from Interland called me to apologize for the problem.
Web hosts I've used in the past (Tripod; FortuneCity) took days just to acknowledge there WAS a problem. So I'm impressed.
Anyway, I'm chasing after some personal matters and also feeling a little burned out, so I haven't been writing as much on the blog this week. I've got the series I wrote for Open Source Politics all together on this page, and if you haven't read it, please drop by.
Regarding the Gore endorsement of Howard Dean -- I like Howard Dean and I think he'd make a good President. But for a lot of gut-level reasons (explained as best I can here) I worry that his candidacy will sink like a stone in February when there are primaries around the nation, not just in New Hampshire. I could be wrong. But I wish people would keep their pants on about endorsements and climbing on bandwagons until February. Then we'll have some indication if Dean can sell himself in the Midwest and South.
I didn't watch much of the debate last night. I understand Ted Koppel was unusually obnoxious. Sigh.

8:39 pm | link

tuesday, december 9, 2003

Clark Fading?

I worked out an average of four most recent polls of likely Dem voters (Associated Press, Pew Research, Ipsis-Reid Cook, and CNN Time) and these are the results: 

Dean 16.75
Clark 14.25
Gephardt 11.5
Lieberman 11.25
Kerry 9.5
Edwards 5.25
Sharpton 4.25
Braun 3.75
Kucinich 2.5

Not sure 21

I post this because I keep running into people who say that Clark is fading or that his campaign hasn't caught fire. But, nationally, only three percentage points separate him from front-runner Dean.

You can find the polls at

These polls were all done before the Gore endorsement of Dean. A big deal, certainly, but I don't think it will shake up the race all that much. I predict the endorsement will give Dean a little bump, which will come mostly out of Lieberman.

1:26 pm | link

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monday, december 8, 2003

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sunday, december 7, 2003

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Regarding the RSS Feed: My web host insists it works. Cendron J. at Tech Support wrote me the following:
"I was able to subscribe to the using rss/xml blog reader from
as the blog reader by entering the url
The blog link should work as long as your blog reader can read xml."

Good luck.


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The Loyalties of George W. Bush

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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." --Theodore Roosevelt, 1918


The War Prayer

I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!... He has heard the prayer of His servant, your shepherd, & will grant it if such shall be your desire after I His messenger shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause & think.

"God's servant & yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused & taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him who heareth all supplications, the spoken & the unspoken....

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed, silently. And ignorantly & unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. The whole of the uttered prayer is completed into those pregnant words.

"Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.

"O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended through wastes of their desolated land in rags & hunger & thirst, sport of the sun-flames of summer & the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave & denied it -- for our sakes, who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask of one who is the Spirit of love & who is the ever-faithful refuge & friend of all that are sore beset, & seek His aid with humble & contrite hearts. Grant our prayer, O Lord & Thine shall be the praise & honor & glory now & ever, Amen."

(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! -- the messenger of the Most High waits."

ˇ   ˇ   ˇ   ˇ   ˇ   ˇ

It was believed, afterward, that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

[Mark Twain, 1905]

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