Monday, May 31, 2004

We Want You Not To Vote!

This seems to be the most obvious element of Bush's re-Selection campaign.

Today's Washington Post has an article about how increasingly negative and misleading the Bush campaign has been. As impressive as the sheer numbers ("Bush so far has aired 49,050 negative ads in the top 100 markets, or 75 percent of his advertising. Kerry has run 13,336 negative ads -- or 27 percent of his total") is the fact that the Bush campaign doesn't seem to care whether or not the ads are truthful. This is not surprising, but what it does say is that Bush and co. don't fear that the public will learn the truth. Or that they don't seem to care if people find out they're lying as they'll still create an echo chamber out of these lies. Beyond the whining quotes from academics that are inevitable in any article about negative advertising, there was one quote that really got to the heart of this campaign strategy. Scott Reed, Dole's '96 campaign manager, said:

"'The Bush campaign is faced with the hard, true fact that they have to keep their boot on his neck and define him on their terms,' Reed said. That might risk alienating some moderate voters or depressing turnout, 'but they don't have a choice,' he said."

This implies that it is an unconvenient fact that they might have to depress turnout. In fact, I strongly believe that this is the Bush strategy for this time around. In the last election, there was a lot of controversy over disenfranchised voters, with charges over Republicans using illegal tactics to alienate minority and inner city voters. Assuming that there was no overt voter suppression; it's undeniable that the low level of turnout in many areas benefitted Bush. It's also been constantly documented that negative campaigning directly impacts voter turnout. What's more, if Bush can instigate Kerry into a mud fight; then Bush can turn around and claim the high ground as the President.

So what else is new? Republicans benefit when voters stay home. How do we convince people that the threats to their rights, their future and their well-being are clear and present dangers with this president so that they actually want to vote?

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Russo out, Badnarik in - Nader trudges on

Today's Libertarian convention in Atlanta contained all the drama that the major parties' conventions have missing.

Film producer, Aaron Russo went into the convention as a slight favorite over radio host Gary Nolan. However, in a last minute surprise, computer consultant Michael Badnarik took Nolan's endorsement to best Russo, in a move that seems to have resulted from bad blood between Russo and Nolan.

It's really cool to see that true conventions with drama still take place (granted that this is at the expense of meaningful primaries). That said, this outcome is very disappointing, Russo probably had the best chance to make the Libertarians a force this election and Badnarik isn't even that popular within his own party (he only won two of his party's non-binding primaries).

This comes close to eliminating the Democrat's last hope for the Right to have a 3rd party challenger to counter the Naderites. The Independence Party sold out in endorsing Nader who has nothing in common with their Perot founding except for delusions of grandeur. The Constitution Party was unable to get Judge Roy Moore to run, in what would have probably shifting the entire country to the left. Although Moore acts coy by saying he may still run; there's no hope of him running with any success as an independent.

And so, we're left with Nader swiping votes from the Left - forcing Kerry to walk a tightrope on the war, outsourcing and labor - while Bush can move back to the center for the next 6 months with no credible threat to his left.

Thanks Mr. Nader!

Friday, May 28, 2004

Lots of Angry Chickens

There was an interesting dynamic on the editorial page of the NY Times today.

Bob Herbert has joined the growing chorus of people who are fed up with this administration , and expressed his agreement with Al Gore. Meanwhile, on the other side of the page, Paul Krugman tries to explain why his more moderate colleagues are sounding more like him every day; outraged by what the Bushies have gotten away with.

Quoting Krugman:

"After 9/11 much of the press seemed to reach a collective decision that it was necessary, in the interests of national unity, to suppress criticism of the commander in chief.

Another answer is the tyranny of evenhandedness. Moderate and liberal journalists, both reporters and commentators, often bend over backward to say nice things about conservatives. Not long ago, many commentators who are now caustic Bush critics seemed desperate to differentiate themselves from "irrational Bush haters" who were neither haters nor irrational — and whose critiques look pretty mild in the light of recent revelations.

And some journalists just couldn't bring themselves to believe that the president of the United States was being dishonest about such grave matters.

Finally, let's not overlook the role of intimidation. After 9/11, if you were thinking of saying anything negative about the president, you had to be prepared for an avalanche of hate mail. You had to expect right-wing pundits and publications to do all they could to ruin your reputation, and you had to worry about being denied access to the sort of insider information that is the basis of many journalistic careers.

The Bush administration, knowing all this, played the press like a fiddle. But has that era come to an end?"

I think that the answer lays closest to the tyrrany of evenhandedness. According to the most recent Pew study of journalists; 34% of national journalists and 23% of local journalists are self-described liberal. As responsible journalists, many of these individuals feel the need to balance their own emotion by taking it easier on the Right. This is, no doubt, the result of decades of hearing about the "Left-wing Media".

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that according to the same Pew report, 55% of the national press feels that the media has not been critical enough of Pres. Bush (as opposed to 34% in the general population); while 57% of management feels that the press is headed in the right direction.

How do I read this?

Most media wants to walk a middle ground, however, their editors and producers are constantly inundated by calls from the right about media bias and the liberal bias. As such, they have done two things to their journalists. They have constantly told their writers that they're too liberal; essentially doing the right's job of moving the middle to the right. They've also censored their own journalists on behalf of the right (don't discount the journalists own ability to censor themselves; Friedman as much as admitted this last week).

But all of a sudden, Bush's house of cards is crumbling; and everyone is getting to say what they always wanted. Will it be too little, too late?

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Putting my money where my heart is

Just donated $25 to Richard Morrison's Campaign at Kos' Suggestion.

First of all, the ability for people, like Markos of Daily Kos, to start what is essentially his own PAC is unbelievable. dKos has targeted the dKos 8, 8 progressive house candidates who he is supporting and throwing his community's support behind. Truly remarkable.

Secondly, how can anyone with a conscience not support Richard Morrison? I could care less about him, HE'S CHALLENGING DELAY!!! Anything to make that bastard watch his back is well worth my money.