Dan vs. the Pajama People
It's not nice to mock the blogosphere ...
Mr. Bush had succeeded over the past month in transforming the race from a referendum on an incumbent president to a referendum on Mr. Kerry.
"It was an enormous shift," Mr. Begala said last night.
This of course completely contradicts Nagourney's thesis of ... yesterday, which was precisely that over the past month nothing enormous had happened at all. .. 12:06 P.M.
Sunday, September 5, 2004
OK, We'll Panic Later! Crushkerry.com-- blogging against interest--warns against putting too much faith in that Newsweek poll showing an 11 point Bush lead. Scott Rasmussen says the same about the similar Time poll. .. .Both polls oversampled Republican voters, the argument goes--which would mean that the actual Bush lead is much smaller than 11 percent. ... Update: Minuteman piles on--and he offers the obvious explanation: "proper Reps were at home watching their convention and answering the phone when pollsters called, while proper Dems were off doing" whatever Dems do during the GOP convention. [If that's right, shouldn't the Newsweek poll have shown a big Kerry edge during the Dem convention?--ed It did!]... 2:14 A.M.
Saturday, September 4, 2004
Doesn't Bush's seemingly substantial post-convention bounce give the lie to the theory--which has infected Bush's own campaign--that there are no swing voters left (so the best bet is to turn out your "base" voters)? Obviously there are plenty of swing voters because Bush just swung 'em! ... 5:03 P.M.
Friday, September 3, 2004
Can we panic now? 52-41. [Thanks to Dr. M ] .. Update: All you cocoon-enforcers who've been emailing me about how the 52-41 Time poll is an outlier can stop now. Newsweek has replicated the finding. Time and Newsweek can't both be wrong, can they? Don't answer that. Update: Actually, the answer is they might both be wrong. ... More: An appropriately panicked Susan Estrich suggests some lines of negative Dem counterattack. They don't seem out of bounds to me. They do seem ineffective. Bush isn't running on his Vietnam service record. ... But Estrich does bury some juicy charges about Lee Atwater's role in planting nasty negative stories about Dukakis in 1988. ... 3:43 P.M.
1) Another State of the Union laundry list, at least in the first half. We'll just all have to reconcile ourselves to the unfortunate popularity of SOTU-style speeches. Voters must like them for some reason, the way TV viewers like stories about the weather.
2) Good theft of Clintonesque lifelong learning theme;
3) Good theft of Shrumian populist cliche ("And government must take your side");
4) Emphasis on portable everything (health, pension, training) alarmingly coherent; almost makes it seem as if Bush has a second-term domestic agenda!
5) He only says he'll "keep the promise of Social Security for our older workers." [Emph. added.] Younger workers are on notice;
6) Question: Will the increase in training money come in the form of vouchers? That would fit with the portability and ownership themes but runs afoul of the powerful job training/community college lobby. Bush does not seem to be rocking that boat--he doesn't mention vouchers.
7) The speech seems self-confident, yet there are remarkably few sharp edges that might bother moderate voters (e.g. no stem cells, no U.N.-bashing);
8) Between the "we saw a threat" rationale for invading Iraq and the messianic democracy-spreading rationale, this wasn't a good day for the traditional concept of sovereignty;
9) Bush has sacrificed any "return to normalcy" appeal. It's "transformational" history-making from here on out for him.
Overall, the speech was highly effective if not memorable. The one possible upside for Democrats: If Bush now pulls ahead in the polls Dems may substitute a clear-eyed panic for their previous media-fed belief that this is necessarily a close race--abandoning as well all the bogus comforting spin ("Wbrong track" internals will save us! Hispanics will save us! 527s will save us! Cheney's unpopularity will save us! Joe Lockhart will save us! etc.).
Photograph of Howard Dean on the Slate home page by Jim Bourg/Reuters.