Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for October 2004

Halloween Carnival of the Cats

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The latest Carnival of the Cats is up at When Cats Attack. Chloe is in there, but you’ll have to click through all the kitty goodness to see where.

Written by martinipundit

October 31, 2004 at 10:41 pm

Posted in Catblogging

Tagged with ,

Sunday Reads

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The big story Friday was the Osama tape – who would have thought that bin Laden would supply this year’s October surprise?

Two reads on that. First, the Washington Post clarifies the weak horse in this editorial. Then, William Kristol opines on how Kerry could not resist trying to make it political.

For balance, there’s also the New Yorker’s unprecedented endorsement of John Kerry, something the weekly has never done. While I disagree with pretty much all of it, and indeed, find it factually in error in numerous places, it’s a succint summary of prevailing thought on the Left. File it under ‘good to know.’

And could the week be complete without some Mark Steyn?


Written by martinipundit

October 31, 2004 at 1:06 pm

Posted in General

MartiniPundit Endorses George W. Bush

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It should come as no surprise to even cursory readers that this blog is unabashedly partisan and supports the reelection of George W. Bush to a second term as President of the United States.

I am a conservative first and a Republican second (if at all). I came of age politically during the Carter presidency and it affected my political views deeply. The United States had not had a more feckless, incompetent, inept fool who was totally over his head in the Oval Office in the Twentieth Century (some in the Nineteenth certainly were worse). I watched with growing horror and anger a 444 day crisis in which the United States stood impotently by as Mad Mullahs controlled US foreign policy and the lives of dozens of our citizens. These same Mullahs were in power because Jimmy Carter stood by and allowed a coup to take place against the Shah of Iran because we didn’t like the way he ruled his country. Human rights trumped Realpolitik, plunged the Iranian people into a worse nightmare from which they have yet to escape, endangered American lives, and reduced out clout throughout the world. At the time I was shocked and openly wondered if America could survive if its democratic institutions allowed such a man to win the highest office in the land.

I was too young to vote in the election of 1980, and I did not know enough about the Republican Candidate Ronald Reagan to support him, but I knew I opposed Jimmy Carter. You could say I was an ‘ABC’ supporter. It took a couple of years, but Reagan restored my faith in democracy, which had taken a near-fatal blow from Carter. By 1984, when I was old enough to vote, I was an enthusiastic supporter of Ronald Reagan. My faith was not misplaced. By 1988, I was living in Massachusetts, and had a first-hand look at Michael Dukakis and saw nothing that commended him to the Oval Office. I knew the so-called ‘Massachusetts Miracle’ was a sham which Dukakis had nothing to do with, but at the same time I was suspicious of George H.W. Bush who reminded me of the old country-club Republicans I had grown up with and who couldn’t actually be bothered to oppose the Democrats. Bush the Elder proved to be just that sort with the sole saving grace of an excellent campaign against Saddam Hussein in 1991.

1992 to 2000 were the twilight years. I watched a talented man squander the presidency as though he were Leo X and no one had ever heard of Martin Luther. For eight years we lived in a bubble, both economically and historically which could not be sustained and was in many ways a mythic time. In 2000 things changed. I know that John McCain is some sort of paragon to the Democrats. To me he is a straddling, ho-hum politician whose quest for the Great White Campaign Finance Reform was seriously misguided and a ridiculous basis upon which to seek the presidency. In George W. Bush I caught the glimpse of Reagan’s heir, and the whiff of optimism. To those of us in the right positions, it was clear that the bubble had already burst, even though the economy as a whole had not felt it. The next president would face challenges. Al Gore’s tax and regulate approach would be disastrous. I happily pulled the lever for president for George W. Bush in 2000 for the first time since 1988.

I foresaw the economic troubles. No one could foresee 9/11. If we were only voting on the economy, Bush deserves a second term. Twelve consecutive quarters of growth. Unemployment two tenths of a point below where it was when Clinton won a second term. Federal tax receipts up proving once again the benefit to the treasury of cutting taxes. A president who is the friend of the small businessmen and women of the nation, and who understands they are the engine of growth.

However, this year, I’m a single-issue voter: the Global War on Terror. Admittedly, as those of you who have stuck it out this long in this piece will have realized, foreign policy is high on my list and typically the single most important factor for me. This year, it is the only factor. For if we lose, none of the rest will matter.

I think George Bush has done as good a job as could be expected, and in fact it is a superb job. Those who demand perfection, those who nitpick, those who say that a president must be prescient with 100% accuracy are fools like Jimmy Carter. It is no accident that Carter has come out of the woodwork this year for this President must be stirring up the Ghosts of his failure like no one since Reagan. Bush understands that the GWOT must be fought on multiple fronts with multiple tools in multiple places. Afghanistan was the logical starting point as they were harboring the (living) perpetrators of 9/11. We took that base from them, killed or captured large numbers of al Qaeda operatives, and overthrew the noxious Taliban regime. We did not capture Osama bin Laden, which would have been an unalloyed good. But Bush did not — let him go” as Kerry has charged.

The logical question to ask after Afghanistan was — what now?” Some would have answered that question — job done, now we go home.” I stand with those who answer that question — we’re cleaning house, who’s next?” Among the logical choices of terror-supporting states, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia are on the list. North Korea is a separate but related problem. For a host of strategic reasons, the Bush Administration made the correct choice to go after Iraq next. In a campaign that will be studied in military academies around the war for generations to come, the Saddam regime was overthrown in a brilliantly conceived and executed plan. Quiet diplomacy has been exerted and has borne fruit in Pakistan, Libya, and possibly Saudi Arabia. I have no doubt that it will take military action to deal with Syria and Iran, and that to leave those heinous regimes in power is to lose the GWOT. These are the rogue states that support al Qaeda and other terrorists and without that support, these groups will wither and die. I do not intend to live in the world that the terrorists want for me nor do I intend for my son to live there. My only option is to support the candidate who will fight them because he’s proved he will fight them – George W. Bush.

There are other issues. The President has spent too much money, gay marriage is a distraction in such an election, we’re a long way from resolving the health care debate. These and others are issues for a later time in my view.

MartiniPundit proudly and happily endorses George W. Bush for President of the United States.

Written by martinipundit

October 30, 2004 at 9:08 am

Osama bin Back

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There he is!

Assuming the tape al Jazeera aired is authentic, it appears Osama bin Laden has surfaced in time for the election, although he doesn’t actually come out and endorse Kerry, he does mention him by name. Some excerpts:

“We decided to destroy towers in America,” bin Laden said, referring to the World Trade Center.

“God knows that it had not occurred to our mind to attack the towers, but after our patience ran out and we saw the injustice and inflexibility of the American-Israeli alliance toward our people in Palestine and Lebanon, this came to my mind,” he said.

He accused President Bush of “misleading” the American people since the 2001 suicide airline hijackings that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

“Your security is not in the hands of (Democratic candidate John) Kerry or Bush or al-Qaida. Your security is in your own hands,” bin Laden said.

“To the U.S. people, my talk is to you about the best way to avoid another disaster,” he said. “I tell you: security is an important element of human life and free people do not give up their security.”

“If Bush says we hate freedom, let him tell us why we didn’t attack Sweden, for example. It is known that those who hate freedom do not have dignified souls, like those of the 19 blessed ones,” he said, referring to the 19 hijackers.

“We fought you because we are free .. and want to regain freedom for our nation. As you undermine our security we undermine yours.”

Since there would be no reason to refer to Kerry before last spring, if this tape is real, we can infer that it was made this year, which would definitely put a crimp in the theory that Osama is dead. On the other hand, this tape is no different from the others, nor the one aired yesterday in its posturing and empty threats.

We’ve got these savages on the run and Osama – if alive – is still living in a rat hole somewhere. His talk of freedom is spurious nonsense which is clearly aimed at us, as quite different language is used towards his followers. One could try to follow the logic of the statement, but what would be the point? Two things stand out: he takes credit for 9/11 for the first time which one wonders what those who still think the whole thing was a CIA-Mossad plot will do now that their tin-foil hats are spinning round their collective brow, and he also said his patience had run out.

Wow, we exhausted Osama bin Laden’s patience. Apparently over the Palestinians and Lebanon for which you should read our support for Israel.

Well newsflash Jihad-boy – you don’t know what patience is. You don’t know the patience of a people who endured its embassy to be seized, its marines blown up, its elderly shot and thrown overboard, its planes hijacked, its terroritory attacked, its soldiers dragged through the streets, its embassies blown up, its ships blown up. But you started this fight weak horse, and whether it’s Kerry or Bush next week, the American people will finish it.

Oh, and as for freedom, just ask the Afghans and the Iraqis. They are free because of the war you started. But not because you were on their side.

Written by martinipundit

October 29, 2004 at 4:31 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, GWOT

Chloe in the Afternoon

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Chloe wanted it understood that she had no intention whatsoever of meddling with that string hanging down from the blinds, and was just watching the pigeons outside.

Right. A string in the paw is worth two pigeons outside the window.

Written by martinipundit

October 29, 2004 at 2:12 pm

Posted in Catblogging

Tagged with ,

Bad Call John VI

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Dick Morris – a svengali-like figure in his way – is typically entertaining, and has the peculiar distinction of being the only significant insider to bolt the Clinton fold. He rubs many people the wrong way, and while I often read his perspective I rarely post on it. Yet today he’s summed up the blunder the Kerry camp has made over the ‘missing explosives’ so well, I felt an exception ought to be made:

John Kerry was on the verge of moving out to a victory after the third debate. Taking advantage of its pre-ordained focus on domestic issues, he had finally, finally swung the debate back to the issues on which he has — and has always had — a lead: domestic policy. Next he got a short-term bounce from Bill Clinton’s presence on the campaign trail and seemed on his way to closing the Bush lead.

Then came the “disappearing explosives” story. Kerry’s handlers, tacticians to the last, disregarded the needs of basic strategy and hopped on the issue with all four feet, running a TV ad lambasting Bush for losing the weapons after the invasion.

Strategically, this flawed decision assured that the final week of the campaign would focus on the areas of Bush’s strength and Kerry’s weakness: Iraq and terrorism. Tactically, it tied the electorate’s confidence in John Kerry to the mystery of what actually happened in an ammo dump in the desert 18 months ago.

Then it began to explode in Kerry’s face. Soon we heard that there were only three tons of explosives . . . and they weren’t there when we occupied the dump . . . and they were removed by the Russians before we got there . . . and, perhaps, there are satellite photos to prove it.

All of a sudden, Kerry seems just not ready for prime time.

The backfire is amplified by the involvement of CBS and The New York Times. The plans of “60 Minutes” and Dan Rather to break the story on the Sunday before the election reflect overt partisan bias — an overt conspiracy of these leading outlets to stack the deck in favor of Kerry.

Kerry apparently doesn’t get that at all. You see, he’s still talking about it even as the Pentagon releases satellite photos of trucks at the site before the US got there.

Written by martinipundit

October 29, 2004 at 10:35 am

Terrorists Thump Their Chests

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They must be worried.

Worried that Bush will be reelected and continue the relentless pounding.

Worried that they won’t get to see America turn tail and run.

Drudge has the story.

The latest tape from the savages sounds ghoulish enough – rivers of blood, our turn to die, we’re guilty, etc., etc.


The only message on this tape is that the savages are scared that Bush will be reelected. Which, come to think of it, is an excellent reason to do just that.

What truly amazes me is they simply have no idea who they’re screwing with even now. If they were to somehow pull off a serious attack such as their predictable and tiresome rhetoric implies, if they were somehow to inflict some sort of catastrophic blow which actually threatened the fabric of our society, it would all be in vain.

For under those circumstances, even John Kerry would have to turn their sandy, flea-bitten tents into a carbonized parking lot.

It shouldn’t need to come to that, of course, but when people living in the dark ages with dark age technology fight a people generations ahead of them technically, the outcome is not in doubt. Only how many people the savages are prepared to see die before they surrender.

If only that were a small number.

Written by martinipundit

October 28, 2004 at 11:01 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, GWOT

Well, We’re All Just Brutes Now

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Teresa Heinz (Kerry) strikes again! First we were un-American, we then de-evolved to idiots, and now we’re finally Neanderthals.

“The perpetration of certain myths that diplomacy and alliances are a sign of weakness is Neanderthal,” Heinz Kerry said. “I never heard of teaching a child to make enemies so they can get along in the playground.”

Well what do you expect from small-brained, slope-heads? But hey, she’s got opinions and she ain’t afraid to use’em! Heh.

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October 28, 2004 at 5:23 pm

Everyone Likes Catblogging

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Despite the savaging the NYT is receiving this week for its story about the incredible diminishing explosives, they do find something about bloggers they can get behind: catblogging. The usual suspects are mentioned along with the Carnival of the Cats which yours truly will be hosting come January 2nd.

Oh, and for those of you keeping track, the new kitten will be arriving a week early this Saturday, so next Friday she should make her debut here.

Written by martinipundit

October 28, 2004 at 2:24 pm

Posted in Catblogging

Tagged with ,

Schilling for Bush

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A few days ago I nearly caused the inestimable Soxblog to suffer a coronary with this post. I herewith make amends:

From Good Morning America today:

GIBSON: “Well, well said, Curt and Shonda. You both have certainly lifelong membership now in the Red Sox nation. It was a great thing to watch, and I think everybody — whether they were great Red Sox fans or not — had to admire what this team did. It was extraordinary, and one of the great stories of sport. And sport always produces such great stories. Curt, Shonda, great to have you with us. Congratulations.”

SCHILLING: “And make sure you tell everybody to vote, and vote Bush next week.”

A glass raised to Jim Geraghty at the Kerry Spot

Written by martinipundit

October 28, 2004 at 2:12 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

This Horse Will Get Us Across

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Hugh Hewitt in the Weekly Standard:

John Kerry wants to be commander-in-chief, and it is on the question of who is better equipped to lead the war on global terrorism that the choice between President Bush and Senator Kerry should be made. Here we should consult the men and women who will be responding to the orders of that C-in-C.

Polls of the military show a decisive advantage for President Bush. Superb essays on the qualities necessary in a commander-in-chief are available from a retired Navy SEAL blogging at Froggy Ruminations, and by an active duty soldier now stationed in Iraq and blogging at Mudville Gazette. Indeed, only the most partisan of Kerry supporters would assert that active and retired military prefer Kerry over Bush. Such a preference is only a factor in considering a vote, but it’s one that should weigh more heavily in wartime.

THIS ELECTION has had a Greek Chorus — the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the POWs who testified in Stolen Honor. The mainstream media did not want to hear this chorus, even when the first volley aimed at Kerry successfully exposed his fabricated tale of a secret mission to Cambodia on Christmas Eve, 1968 — an episode Kerry asserted on the floor of the Senate was “seared, seared” into his memory. The mainstream media has refused to question Kerry on his other accounts of incredible adventures transporting CIA men up river and running guns to anti-communist Cambodians, afraid perhaps to pull on a thread that might leave the candidate exposed as a serial fabulist. Despite the hostility, the chorus has kept chanting, this week even, pointing to meetings Kerry held in Paris with the North Vietnamese.

I am grateful for their work, especially this week as Kerry lashes out again at the men and women in uniform. Many times over his long political career Kerry has taken credit for missions he did not undertake and successes in war he did not achieve. What a sharp contrast with his attempt this week to deny credit to active duty soldiers for missions that really did occur and which really did succeed.

The left genuinely hates these veterans of that long ago war: for refusing to shut up and sit down; for questioning the pose struck by Kerry long ago; for rekindling memories of a war that, once lost, resulted in the death of millions.

Therein lies the key. America has lost but one war — Vietnam. America has changed horses in mid-stream while the country was at war but once — 1968 in the midst of Vietnam which the Left likes to think of as Nixon’s war. Although largely squirreled away down the memory hole, the anti-war Democrats brought down Lyndon Johnson. They hated Johnson because of the war. They thought they would replace him with Robert Kennedy — and they might have but for Sirhan Sirhan. And then John Kerry came home and testified before Congress. Nixon tried vainly to win something that would allow the US to exit with some shred of dignity, but he failed. The Left likes to tell us that Vietnam was illegal, immoral, and that we never should have been there in the first place. What they don’t like to tell you is that it wasn’t the North Vietnamese but the Left with John Kerry in the front rank holding aloft the bloody shirt of war crimes who defeated America.

They’d like a second crack at it too. I say, let’s deny them this time.

Update It’s been pointed out by an alert reader that we changed horses in mid-stream over Korea. I hadn’t counted that partly because Korea ended right after the election, although Eisenhower did say he would do that. The other reason is that while it could be argued that Truman, like LBJ, did not run for reelection because of Korea, I prefer to accept Truman’s own reasons not to run in 1952 regarding the “lure of power.”

Written by martinipundit

October 28, 2004 at 9:39 am

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

Arafat Ailing

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First Castro, now this:

An ailing Yasser Arafat collapsed Wednesday night, was unconscious for about 10 minutes and remained in a serious condition. A team of Jordanian doctors was urgently summoned to treat the ailing Palestinian leader, whose wife headed to her husband’s side from Paris.

When will these guys stop toying with us?

Written by martinipundit

October 28, 2004 at 8:49 am

Posted in GWOT

Stolen Honor

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For those who have not seen it, the Swift Boat Vets make Stolen Honor available here.

Written by martinipundit

October 27, 2004 at 10:16 pm

Waiting for the Explosion

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Shawn Macomber has a worthy piece in the American Spectator:

KERRY AND EDWARDS SPEND quite a bit of time frantically demanding that Bush go before the nation and admit some — any — mistake. Now with the truth about Al Qaqaa well known and Duelfer on record saying the Iraqis had plenty of time to pass materials — possibly conventional weapons, possibly WMDs to nations such as Syria — are they willing to admit their own mistake in dragging their feet in the so-called “rush to war”? Now that they have taken such an interest in the weapons stockpiles of Saddam Hussein, are they willing to stand before us and admit maybe we should have spent less time appeasing their precious pals over at the United Nations and gone into Iraq sooner to secure these weapons?

I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s a must read.

Written by martinipundit

October 27, 2004 at 4:00 pm

Lawyers vs. Voters

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Powerline notes that the Democrats have already filed 35 lawsuits in 17 states in advance of the election. This got me to wondering how many lawsuits the Republicans have filed. A quick Google search reveals two:

MINNESOTA: The Minnesota Republican Party filed a lawsuit challenging the lineup of election judges in three big counties. Under state law, no more than half of a precinct’s election judges may be affiliated with a single party. Among other things, election judges obtain results after polls are closed and certify them.

NEVADA: Republican Secretary of State Dean Heller rejected efforts by the Nevada Republican Party to get a broad interpretation of state law that would have made it easier to challenge early voters. His office said the law governing challenges should be effectively limited to challengers who live in the same precinct as a challenged voter.

Ralph Nader has apparently filed more than this, but mostly to challenge efforts to keep him off the ballot in various states. (Anyone aware of any additional Republican suits let me know, and I’ll update this post.)

Now I know that some think that I’m unable to grasp the views of the Democrats on this issue who feel that the Republicans stole the election last time and are just getting a head start to see that it doesn’t happen again.

An alternative view is that the Left has been unable to succeed with its causes at the ballot box for decades and has more and more resorted to the courts to win from judges what it cannot from voters. After the genie was let out of the bottle in 2000 (and who did that?) why should anyone be surprised?

Written by martinipundit

October 27, 2004 at 3:20 pm

Waiting Game

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So we wait.

Other than the statutory requirement to hold the election the first Tuesday in November, first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, with less than a week to go, there seems no reason not to just get it over with. Indeed, many people have done just that as I’ve noted below, and today Drudge has a story about absentee ballots still undelivered in Florida. Look for those to be a cause celebre for Kerry after the election (what is it about Broward County?).

But most people seem tired, and ready to have it done with. Still, we must wait until Tuesday.

No one knows what’s going to happen. The polls are literally all over the place, and even accounting for varying methodologies, it’s pretty clear they have not the first clue what they’re talking about. By focusing on a handful of so-called ‘battleground states’ they’ve so overpolled those people that completion rates are down, and I doubt many people are even starting. The vaunted undecided – a group one wag has suggested are only in it for the attention at this point – aren’t a factor in my view. In the most important election anyone can remember (I know, I know, they’re all important) in which interest and coverage have been at a height, anyone still undecided is checked out of the process. Indeed, there could not be a starker choice between John Kerry and George Bush, and it almost seems like the undecideds are longing for the days when it seemed there was no difference between the candidates. (I have no idea when those days were, but some people claim to remember them.)

My call: the undecideds are staying home. Not having been able to make up their minds at this late date, neither one of them will be jazzed enough to drag their cans to the polls come Tuesday. The dog that didn’t bark in this campaign is the vaunted undecideds.

Meanwhile, the rest of us must wait to see what additional shenanigans will come up. The NYT is still spinning its story about 380 tons of missing explosives as if Bush let the terrorists in Iraq (there are terrorists in Iraq – wait a minute, I thought that happened later) make off with suitcase nukes. The story is being sensationalized, but it seems that a “fake but accurate” statement is not far off. There are still those trying to spin the CBS forgeries that way, but the difference here is that I doubt many people are paying attention to ‘surprises’ this week. The Democrats are very good launching the ‘October Surprise,’ although the record on success is mixed, and I suspect the electorate is inured to them after the Arnold fiasco last year. Dirty tricks like that just don’t seem to play as well, and indeed, haven’t worked since 1992.

Both candidates and their surrogates will continue to jet around the nation, needlessly consuming thousands of gallons of fuel until the last minute. So they should, but this thing is over. We all know how we’re going to vote and neither Bush calling Kerry a “complainer without a plan” or Kerry droning that Bush has done nothing about athlete’s foot will change a single vote.

So we wait. And Tuesday cannot come soon enough.

Correction thanks to Kip Esquire

Written by martinipundit

October 27, 2004 at 10:41 am

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

Canaries Voting in the Coal Mine

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Some voters have already gone to the polls through early and absentee voting, amounting to some 9% of registered voters in a recent ABC poll. Although that does sound high to me, this is not a normal year. The results are encouraging.

While the 2004 election is locked in a virtual dead heat, for nearly one in 10 likely voters it’s all over but the counting: They’ve already cast their ballots.

Nine percent of “likely” voters in the ABC News tracking poll say they’ve voted for president, either by absentee ballot or early voting, a number that’s jumped in the last week. Fifty-one percent say they went for George W. Bush, 47 percent for John Kerry.

There is no way to know, of course, if this result is statistically significant – it is far too early to tell. However, coupled with the historically reliable Weekly Reader poll of schoolchildren which has correctly predicted every president since 1956 and recently gave Bush the nod, it looks good for Bush. Moreover, it underscores that Kerry has a no margin for error, and indeed, must hope that there is some margin at all. His latest carping attacks have collapsed and his talking points appear to have failed to convince the electorate. All in all, I suspect Joe Lockhart and Mary Beth Cahill would rather be playing the other hand.

(BTW, it should be known that I myself participated in a Weekly Reader vote back in 1976. My school voted for Ford, as it happens, although I myself voted for Carter. I was young, people, and knew not what I did.)

Written by martinipundit

October 26, 2004 at 11:13 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

I’m a Villain

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The Maximum Leader has seen fit to deem us a Villainous Blogger.

I don’t know what to say. I’d like to thank the academy, Mom and Dad, and there’s Chloe – she taught me all the villainy I know. Such an honor. I need to take a moment …

Written by martinipundit

October 26, 2004 at 9:18 pm

Posted in Blogging

Yellow Dawg Moonbats

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I had a fascinating run-in with two Kerry supporters today. He was not, interestingly enough, their first choice, but more on that later.

As some of you may know, I live in a part of Boston that is typically overrun with tourists, and they can’t help but get in the way on a regular basis. (I take the joke “if it’s tourist season, why can’t we shoot them?” in a way that is a genuine question.) As I sat in my favorite café enjoying my second cup coffee, two tourists came in and sat at the table next to mine. I paid them very little attention as one more pair of middle-aged gawkers stumbling through the place is of no more interest than a fruit fly buzzing by. There was a moment of concern as the man nearly tripped and landed on my laptop, but it wasn’t until a brief news piece on Kerry (MSNBC is typically on) caused me and the owner to exchange some comment about his wealth that they drew attention to themselves. (The owner, as a small businessman, is naturally part of Bush’s base.) The lady, who was basically sitting next to me, muttered something about how Bush and Cheney have a lot more money than Kerry. Still not paying that much attention to her I turned and said, “Are you kidding?” in a genuine belief that she was. She said she was perfectly serious, and at that moment I noticed she was wearing a Kerry button, which I noted out loud. Correcting me, she said “Look closer.” I did, and noticed it was a Clarkies for Kerry button. I knew at that moment that my relaxing second cup of coffee was history. Acting like it was almost impossible to fathom, she asked me if I were supporting Bush. Telling her yes, I was prepared to return to my laptop, but now they had the bit in their teeth. I mean, how could someone in the solid Blue State of Massachusetts, John Kerry’s home base, be supporting Bush? (Actually, there are a lot of us, including more than a few Democrats. Kerry is very unpopular personally in these parts.)

They immediately started in on Iraq as the wrong war and a distraction. “Well,” I said, “I don’t agree, and neither did Kerry when he voted to authorize it.” She immediately responded that Kerry voted to give the President the authority as a last resort. I noted that the resolution says nothing of the sort, and asked them if they’d read it. The man replied that they had, so I said, “Then you know that it authorized the President to enforce by whatever means necessary the existing UN resolutions.” They tried to say that it referred to the resolution he didn’t seek, but I reiterated that there was no such language in the resolution, nor any qualifications of seeking one. They briefly employed France (can you imagine!) which I said, yes, the French were interested in Iraqi oil for themselves. The man agreed that was true. They then changed the subject to taxes.

Liberals cannot stand a conservative who has facts readily at hand from memory.

On taxes they said well thank you for saving us money.

“Oh?” I asked.

They said that they fell into the top group. I did not rise to that bait by asking them to define that group, assuming they meant more than $200K per year. Instead I reminded them that Kerry would not think so based on what he said in the second debate. They mumbled that wasn’t important, but it remained unclear why they thought I would find it offensive that their taxes would be cut. What was clear was that they don’t talk to a lot of conservatives. It was also clear they didn’t fall into that group at least not in income, but were trying a gambit that has obviously worked before – the politics of envy.

They next tried Halliburton. What a surprise. Surely, they asked, I would object to the no-bid contract.

“Before I answer that,” I replied, “Can you tell me how many companies in the world are qualified to take on such a task like rebuilding Iraq?” They looked at each other, and were silent for a few seconds. Obviously not – indeed, I don’t think that had ever occurred to them. So I answered my own question, ticking them off on my fingers. “There are three: Bechtel, Halliburton, and Schlumberger. As Schlumberger is French, I assume you understand why they were out. Bechtel being primarily in construction and Halliburton being more experienced in oil-field services it’s not a hard choice.” I’m not sure they actually heard a word of that, for they were obviously shocked that someone could come up with an argument in favor of Halliburton. They tried again.

“But it was a no-bid contract. Doesn’t that bother you?”

I released the depth charge. “Well, it wasn’t the first time.” Blank stares. “You do know who Al Gore and Bill Clinton chose for the no-bid contract to rebuild Kosovo, don’t you?” They stood up. This was not going like it was supposed to. “Halliburton.” I said calmly. They were now packing up, but they tried one last gambit.

“Do you know the only senior member of the Administration who isn’t a billionaire?” asked the man testily.

“No senior member of the Administration is a billionaire,” I said.

“Wrong!” He seemed a bit exultant. “They all are, except for Condi Rice. She’s the only one who isn’t!”

“No one in the Administration has a net-worth of a billion dollars. It’s a matter of public record. The only billionaire to ever run for the presidency is John Kerry.”

“Well, if you mean net-worth …” trailed the woman as they fled the café.

There you are folks: Clark voters turned Kerry voters. Maybe I was too hard on them, but then, I had facts at my disposal. It just wasn’t a fair fight.

Update I neglected to mention that they also brought up the report that the NYT made about the 380 tons of explosives but they were totally unaware that the story had been discredited by NBC yesterday. I note Kerry continues to use it on the campaign trail today, so maybe they can be forgiven. After all, if their candidate is willing to use a story which is filled with error, why should his supporters balk at it?

Written by martinipundit

October 26, 2004 at 5:01 pm

A Must Read Letter

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The Bidinotto Blog posts an open letter to Libertarians on why they need to vote for George Bush.

Some of you Democrats might do well to read it as well. Go on, I’ll wait.

Written by martinipundit

October 26, 2004 at 4:00 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

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