Media overpessimism on Iraq--Exhibit A.

A mostly political Weblog.
June 20 2005 12:17 AM

Mr. Pecker in a Pickle!

Plus--the LAT's wacky wikiness.

The Bolton nomination is already paying dividends, WaPo notes.  ...Moving him from State to the U.N. seems part of a shift that's highly favorable from a Democratic foreign policy perspective. Too bad that the need to posture prevents Dems from admitting this (and the need to pretend that Bolton's being elevated prevents Republicans from admitting it).. ...Maybe Newsweek should start a Kabuki Watch to go with its existing  CW Watch:

Surface story:  Bolton promoted to powerful U.N. post where he'll destroy U.S. relations with allies!

Real Story: Bolton moved out of powerful State job to U.N. post where he can do much less damage!

8:29 P.M.

Further Father Study:  From today's WaPo:

Resarchers at the University of Washington and Columbia University said Friday that child support laws' power to reduce single parenthood is an unintended consequence of a policy designed to help children and cut public welfare costs.

"Often the unintended effects are bad, so it's refreshing to see that," said lead study author Robert Plotnick, a University of Washington professor of public affairs. "Women living in states that do a better job of enforcing child support are less likely to become an unwed mother." [Emphasis added]

Unintended? That's like saying toppling Saddam was an unintended effect of the invasion of Iraq. Of course reducing single-parenthood has been a goal of tough child support laws--and not just on the right. Anti-cad feminists, liberal scholars (like Irwin Garfinkel), centrists (like Bill Clinton) and free-range egomaniacs (the late Sen. Moynihan) all suggested that cracking down on deadbeat absent fathers would encourage them to think twice about becoming absent fathers in the first place. I was skeptical myself, but it will be a good thing if it turns out they were right and I was wrong. ...P.S.: If potential parents can take long-range consequences like the need to pay child support into account, they can take long-range consequences like the need to go to work into account!  One of the arguments against welfare reform (from the left) was that low-income couples in the heat of passion wouldn't think about such things, even though most people with access to birth control succeed in having sex without having unwanted illegitimate children. ...

Update.: I fear the left will use the success of enforcing "child support" as a way to reinstall welfare in the form of "assured child support" checks from the government to single moms (a proposal of Garfinkel's), with the newly-aggressive government assuming the responsibility of getting the child support from the dads. But this latest study--by suggesting that people have fewer unwed children if they know that heavy responsibilities will result from having unwed children--undermines, rather than supports, that idea. If a mother knows the government will "guarantee" child support to an out-of-wedlock child, that makes a bad decision easier--for fathers as well as mothers, I might add. ...

Which raises the possibility that the 1996 welfare reform is what enabled the study's finding that tough child support laws (which were part of the same 1996 law) had an impact. When single mothers know they'll have to go to work to make up any missing child support, they are apt to really go after the absent dads. Similarly, if dads know the moms will have to work to make up the missing money, they are more susceptible to a moral appeal--and they know in advance they'll be susceptible to that appeal. ... Plus they know the moms will really come after them! ... They may shape their behavior accordingly. ... 12:54 P.M.

Friday, June 17, 2005

[S]eeing how Susan Estrich has cancelled her LAT subscription, can someone call her and tell her about the wikitorial? Here's her chance finally to write for the editorial page!

A gratuitously nasty crack. The best kind! In this case, anyway. ... 11:08 P.M.

Kf''s editor and the WSJ's James Taranto were on Kudlow this afternoon-- transcript here. I came unhinged and called Sen. Durbin an "idiot" for his violation of the Hitler Rule,** which holds that a politician must never, ever, compare anything or anyone to Hitler or the Nazis, no matter how apt the comparison. Durbin's comparison was not apt, however. ... Mainly I was worried I'd call him Sen. Durkin. ...

**See also, "Godwin's Law." [Thanks to readers B.T. and J.G.] 10:59 P.M.

NYT's Raymond Hernandez breathlessly reveals that "Republican and conservative activists are behind a vigorous campaign to promote a controversial new biography about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton." Apparently it's advertised on a Web site that once got some money from Richard Mellon Scaife! The real story--too subtle for a paper that has to  dispatch a correspondent to cover conservatives the way they'd send a foreign correspondent to India--is that the right-wing reception of the new Hillary book has been wary and remarkably hostile. (The New York Post'sDeborah Orin picked up on this yesterday.) See, for example, these Web sites-- Polipundit, Captain's Quarter's, Ankle-Biting Pundits--some of which may have gotten some money from someone who once got money from someone who knows Tom DeLay! ... P.S.: Lucianne Goldberg, who knows about anti-Clinton conspiracies, hasn't been too friendly to the book either. ... P.P.S.: This is a classic Pinch-era NYT story in that it unabashedly assumes its readers are near-cliched New York City liberals. If you weren't ready to be scared and shocked by the latest right-wing outrage, this story would simply make no sense to you: People who are against Hillary are behind a book against Hillary! ... Except in this case maybe they're not ... P.P.P.S.: Printing the predictable story your readers expect to read instead of the intriguing story that's really out there is more or less the definition of "hack," no? ... [But the NYT actively ignored the previous day's Orin piece, which said the opposite and had some GOP quotes to back it up--ed  Good point. That makes the NYT  piece less "hack" and more ... something worse. The GOP congressional delegation could ceremoniously burn the book in the middle of McPherson Square and the NYT would ignore it and write a piece describing the book's insidious promotion by "Republican activists."] 3:07 A.M.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Arnold vs. the Unions: Gov. Schwarzenegger is not dead yet. His three reform initiatives are off to an inauspicious start, but L.A. Weekly's Bill Bradley has a mole who leaked him "a private Democratic poll"  showing that a fourth "paycheck protection" initiative, which could scare public employee unions into cutting a deal, might pass. ... Bradley would apparently like it to be known that his mole was not Paul Maslin. ... He also reports that "Schwarzenegger has said privately for the first time that he will run for re-election." ... P.S.: Is there any distinction between public employee unions and the Democratic Party in California anymore? Just asking! ... Compare and contrast: At the LAT, George Skelton calls for statesmanlike compromise and Michael Hiltzik works himself into the same paroxysm of anti-Arnold rage he worked himself into three weeks ago. Meanwhile, at the alt-Weekly, Bradley delivers the inside goods about what is actually happening. ... Without the MSM, we'd be left with ... the news! ... Update: Is this why the LAT can replace its writers--not with robots, but with something cheaper, namely its customers!  [Maybe it's just that Kinsley's sections are experimenting like mad to counter the tedium of the rest of the paper--ed I agree the wikitorial is impressively seat-of-pantsy and un-Timesian. If only I could rewrite Hiltzik.]   9:11 P.M.

I came across the Iraq article discussed below while noodling around on the impressive new Truth Laid Bear site. I'm not sure there's anything else like it on the Web--it groups blog entries by popularity and by topic ("Iran," "North Korea," "Linda Foley"). All the new MSM "blogwatch" columnists should now have easy jobs. Or else they've just been replaced by a robot. Maybe their editors left a memo on the Xerox machine! ... P.S.:  Is Defamer really this huge? Update: Apparently. ... 4:12 P.M.

The Growing Number of Growing Numbers Comes At a Time When ... : Here's a good example of seemingly overpessimistic media coverage from Iraq. On Sunday, in a story carried on front pages around the country (including in Houston, Philadelphia and Miami),  Knight-Ridder'sTom Lasseter portentously reported:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A growing number of senior American military officers in Iraq have concluded that there is no long-term military solution to an insurgency that has killed thousands of Iraqis and more than 1,300 U.S. troops during the past two years.

Instead, officers say, the only way to end the guerilla war is through Iraqi politics ...

But hasn't it been a staple of Pentagon policy for a long time that the eventual solution in Iraq will not be a military solution but a political one? I remember hearing various American military people saying that a year ago. For a random example I picked up off of NEXIS, here's NPR reporter Eric Westervelt last September:

WESTERVELT: ... I think General Myers has said for a long time and many Pentagon officials and White House officials have said that it can't just be a military solution to the Iraq insurgency. It has to also be a dual-tracked political and economic agenda that tries to bring some political stability to Iraq and economic prosperity and jobs. [Emphasis added]

At about the same time then-Secretary of State Colin Powell said "[i]t's a cycle and it doesn't have a simply political solution or a simply military solution. You have to come up with a political-military-economic solution to the challenge." ...

The now-derided euphoria following the January elections was all about such a political solution, no? [So, how is that political solution working out?--antiwar kf reader Not so bad  today.]
 12:16 P.M.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

It looks as if the aptly-named David Pecker's stewardship of the AMI tabloid empire may be facing a distinct ... absence of success. ... Somewhere two former editors of Premieremagazine are smiling. ... 4:17 P.M.

Sticky Wikiness: How could a McCain third party candidacy overcome the obstacle posed by the Constitution, which says that if no candidate achieves an electoral majority the race is decided by the House of Representatives, currently dominated by the two major parties? Numerous readers offered solutions to this dilemma (originally framed by Walter Dellinger below). But their responses raise as many questions as they answer!  

1. Many readers suggested that a plurality win by McCain could easily translate into an outright electoral college victory, thus avoiding the House entirely. "Clinton won 370 electoral votes with only 43% of the popular vote in 1992," notes reader J.S.  Ah, but this assumes states keep the winner-take-all statutes that govern the distribution of electoral votes in 48 states. "There was ... a lot or popular pressure recently to ditch [these statutes] anyway on principle," says D.P, .who predicts that if McCain threatens to sweep up huge blocs of electoral votes with only a 45% showing we'll see "a lot of high minded posturing from Dems and Reps about ... how we should ... allocate electors on a proportional basis."

2. Suppose McCain wins a mere plurality of electoral votes. "How can he avoid the race going into the House in the first place?," asks D.T., who (along with several other readers) has an answer: "Bargaining in the Electoral College itself." Under this scenario, blue-state Democratic electors--nominally pledged to, say, Hillary Clinton--will switch their votes to McCain rather than throw the race into the GOP-run House and see a more conservative Republican become President. That would be "faithless" of them. Doesn't mean it can't happen. Take it away, Timothy Noah!

3. The same sort of bargaining could occur in the House itself, with lesser-of-two-evils Democrats winning over enough moderate Republicans to take over a majority of state delegations on behalf of McCain. Reader C.S. suggests that during the election McCainiac swing voters would extract a pledge from Congressional candidates that they would support the plurality winner should the race be thrown into the House.

4. Which House would make the decision--the lame duck House elected in 2006 or the new House elected in 2008? Readers come down on both sides of this issue, noting that Jefferson was elected by the lame duck House in 1800, but that since then the 20th Amendment has moved up the date for seating the new House. I've been unable to find an answer to this seemingly simple question, which I thought had been resolved. (Emailing Norman J. Ornstein!) Secondary question: If the answer is given in a statute, couldn't the 2006 House, anticipating a McCain-GOP showdown, change that statute?

Update:  Ornstein says, "The House meets on January 6 to count the electoral votes and settle disputes. The new Congress meets on January 3.  So it is the new House." [Emph. added]

5. Inventive reader S.B. suggests that McCain could "flaunt the electoral college" by naming as his electors the very same people named by the Republican candidate. But wouldn't it be, like, illegal for an elector to be on two slates? If not would electors who got votes on the McCain slate and also on the GOP slate be able to add up those votes to gain victory? If they did, for whom would they vote in the Electoral College? Even Noah's mind reels!

P.S.: Meanwhile,E.J. Dionne spins a McCain/Bush scenario that ABC's  The Note condemns as "a bit in fantasyland."kf to E.J.: When The Note thinks you're crazy, that's when you're adding value! 12:14 P.M. link

Vacuum Detector: Isn't the administration overdue for some fight-back against the growing unpopularity of the Iraq War? Even if the polls overstate this unpopularity, even if they are driven by an overpessimistic media, the legend could easily become fact. ... At the moment the debate is being driven by suicide bombers,  Anthony Shadid and various Republicans cashing in their Strange New Respect by  calling for a withdrawal deadline. ... [This is the CW-ed True. But was it at 12:54?] 12:54 P.M. link

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"More babies, young kids going hungry in US" That's the headline of an Agence France-Presse story. There's a similar headline on the link in  HuffPo--"More U.S. Kids Going Hungry While 2/3 of Population is Overweight."  But if you read the story all the way through, it turns out that the kids aren't going hungry. They're malnourished, which is not quite the same thing (and not unrelated to obesity):

Some children in the United States occasionally look like the malnourished children we see in some parts of Africa, however, welfare programs targeting society's poorest ensures that problem is generally avoided, the pediatricians say.

Paradoxically, malnutrition is not always due to lack of food -- rather to the quality of the food being consumed.

"People often ask me how many children go to bed hungry. The answer is the parents work very hard so they don't go to bed feeling hungry. The parents try to fill the baby up with french fries and soda pop," said Frank.

In some areas, green vegetables and fruit are impossible to buy -- even in a can, because there may be no supermarket. Moreover, such items are costly. [Emph. added]

"Hunger" is not the right word. But "hunger" is a crude, tried-and-true basis for liberal campaigning, so "hunger" is what gets emphasized.  "Hunger" also neatly directs attention to the standard question of money and away from the touchy issue of parental and cultural foolishness.  Junk food is costly too. ...

P.S.: [What about that survey showing, according to AFP, "In 2003, 11.2 percent of families in the United States experienced hunger, compared with 10.1 percent in 1999, according to most recent official figures."--ed. That's misreported. Those figures in the U.S.D.A. survey measure "food insecurity," not hunger. "Food insecurity" supposedly means that a household had "limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (i.e. without resorting to emergency food supplies ...)." Food bank food doesn't count! "Many food-insecure households were worried or unsure whether they would be able to get enough to eat, and most reduced the quality, variety, and desirability of their diets."  I added the italics to make the point that you don't even have to reduce the variety or "desirability" of your diet to qualify as "food insecure."  The number of children who actually skipped meals in 2003 was .4 percent, according to the survey--down from .6 percent in 2000.

P.P.S.: [Aren't liberals smart to talk in shorthand about "hunger," instead of about junk food and bad nutrition?--ed. I say no. Like talking about "kids," talking about "hunger" scores well in polls but avoids the complicated reality of poverty. Antipoverty activists defended the welfare system for decades by talking about "kids" and ignoring the problem of subsidizing single-motherhood. What all that "kids" talk got them was welfare reform and a GOP Congress. I think focusing deceptively on "hunger" is a similarly misguided strategy, even on liberals' own terms (i.e., the truth would encourage more government antipoverty expenditures).  1:34 A.M.  link

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mickey Goes Wiki! Walter Dellinger emails about the possibility of a McCain third-party presidential run (should McCain fail to get the GOP nomination):

There is one final barrier to a third party candidacy, however, that may be dispositive.  Even if you get over "Duverger's Law"   about the tendency to vote for the top two, and the winner-take-all state-by-state character of the Electoral College, the real problem is the House of Representatives which will choose the President from among the top three in electoral votes unless one of the three candidates gets an absolute majority of all electoral votes.   Thus, if each of the major party candidates can simply scrape together one-fourth of the total electoral votes, the election will be decided by the House, each state delegation casting a single vote with the votes of 26 state delegations necessary to a win.  Regardless of how their district and states vote, there will be very strong party pressure on both Republican and Democratic members of Congress to cast a party vote.   There will be no Independent party members in the House, making it virtually impossible for McCain to assemble 26 states even assuming he runs first by a significant margin.

I agree with you that in a three way race it is quite possible that John McCain could finish first in both the popular vote and the electoral vote.  But that isn't enough.   McCain would need 270 electoral votes -- an absolute majority.  Otherwise, given the shape of the House in 2008, all the Republican candidate needs in a three way race is to finish third. [Emphasis added]

Hmmm. The only responses I can think of now are: 1) If McCain wins, say, 45% of electoral votes vs. 25 and 30, plus a similar plurality of the popular votes, there will be a lot of pressure on the House to pick him; and 2) Maybe his third party should also run some candidates for the House! 

But some readers may have a better answer. (Send them to Mickey underscore Kaus at msn dot com.)

P.S.: Dellinger's response to point (1):

Sure, I agree that at the outer margin (McCain 45, Dem 30, Republican 25) the House might crumble to popular McCain fever.  But it would be tough to pull off such a landslide.   One point for your argument -- Those numbers are percentages of electoral votes.  If McCain actually got  that percentage of popular votes--beating one major party candidate by 15% and the other by 20% (or anywhere close to that margin) he would very likely win an electoral vote landslide and avoid the House.  Still,  that is very, very tough.  Much tougher than (merely) finishing first in the popular and electoral votes.

Doesn't mean he won't try!  5:39 P.M. link

Steady Sully Watch: Bad Iraq Day at AndrewSullivan.com--

It's still winnable, but the odds are against us. [Emph. added]

Here's Sullivan on Chris Matthews' show in January:

I'm a complete optimist about this. I think it'll--I think it'll work. [Emph. Added]

He's our Oscillating  Orwell! ... P.S.:At an L.A. appearance last week, Christopher Hitchens, declared that "of course" the anticoalition forces would be defeated. So there appears to be an intra-Orwells schism on this issue. For the moment. Tomorrow is always another day at andrewsullivan.com. ... [And what do you think?-ed Fair question. I don't know any more than Sullivan--I assume I know less--but based on what I've seen and heard "odds are against us" seems too pessimistic. Greg Djerejian--who prompted Sullivan's "odds" remark with an extended attack on Cheney's "last throes" comment and other overly rosy predictions--says he's "still cautiously optimistic we will prevail in this war." The balance of news since Sullivan's January "complete" optimism--some  of it positive (elections and ongoing political accommodation), some negative (continued attacks, varyingly grim press reports about the current effectiveness of the newly-trained Iraqi forces here and here)--doesn't seem to justify the big downward opinion swing registered in either the polls or on Sullivan.com.]10:57 A.M. link

Jon Klein Rule #1: Make Jon Klein Look Good! Harry Shearer on the silliness of CNN chief Jonathan Klein's latest goo-goo pleasing pronouncement. ... (Klein said "we should have just covered the beginning and the end" of the Michael Jackson trial. Why not cover the evidence as it developed? Because that would be ... storytelling!) 1:38 A.M. link

Quayling Kerry? Many Democratic friends have assured me that John Kerry--whether he knows it or not--won't be a candidate for president in 2008. Lack of fundraising support will force him to drop out before then, according to this theory, just as it forced Dan Quayle to drop out the year before the 2000 primaries. But something's changed since 1999--namely the ability of candidates to raise money in small chunks over the Internet. If Kerry can raise enough Web cash early enough, he won't care if the big donors don't want him. Perhaps that explains why I seem to get a Kerry Internet fundraising appeal every other day. (It's actually about every other week.) Kerry's permanent campaign is a way to keep on raising money while he still has Web celebrity value, before his rivals declare. Then nobody will be able to Quayle him. ... 1:18 A.M. link

Sunday , June 12, 2005

Jill Stewart, the exact last person in the world the LAT will hire to write their editorials--they'll let their readers do it first!--writes a good one, attempting to educate California voters  who still seem to believe that a) California is near 'the bottom' in school funding, and b) the main issue in education is whether we pour more or less money into it. Neoliberalism has yet to reach Sacramento, in many ways. That is what Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is up against if he calls for a special election on his budget initiative. ... 11:40 P.M. link

Saturday, June 11, 2005

More LAT Pathos:1) The New York Times beats Los Angeles Times by a day on the possible actions of prosecutors against aggressive paparazzi. It's not as if the prosecutors were Los Angeles prosecutors. ... Oh, wait ... 2) Fishbowl LA notices the NYT's Laura Holson cleaning the LAT's clock  on the Halo-movie rights story. The LAT's version is dull, but at least it misses the point! ... It's not as if ... 7:31 P.M. link

Make-up call: On Friday the L.A. Times ran a huge front-page (A-1) photo of an empty freeway--it had been closed for an hour after a shooting incident. Was the paper clumsily trying to make up for its embarrassing and emblematic failure to give any prominence to a far more dramatic and disruptive, nationally-covered freeway chase and four-hour closure two days before? You make the 'make-up call' call! ... P.S.: The photo's caption roped in the earlier incident, noting, "It was the second freeway closure this week. ..." This is classic LAT behavior. Don't report the news when it happens. Any newspaper can do that! But only magisterial, monopoly newspaper can ignore the news when it happens and then provide readers with an analysis of what the trend in the ignored news means a few days or weeks later! Coming soon: A Sunday thumbsucker on "Freeway Closures: What They Say About Southern California's Identity." ... Update: Here's another front-page story the LAT buried on B-3-- rich Malibu homeowners hire bulldozers to scoop up the public beach and move it onto their private property. No tabloidish populist potential there! ...  Note how the Times reporters stoke the drama of the story by calling it "as predictable as the spring tides" in the first paragraph and belittling it as a "brouhaha" later in the piece. ... The thoughtful analytic distance of the Pulitzer-winning Los Angeles Times enables it to see that what seemed like uniquely infuriating, mobilizing news--actual taking of beach!--is really just "the latest chapter in a long-running clash over public access and the private-property rights." The LAT formula for excitement! ... No need for citizen involvement. It's all being taken care of by the lawyers. ...  Suggestion to fellow Angelenos: Get your L.A. news from L.A. Observed! Kevin Roderick links to the Times stories worth reading, and you don't have to bring a soggy stack of paper into your house. He  covered the Tuesday freeway drama on ... Tuesday! 1:46 P.M. link

Friday, June 10, 2005

Deep Throat--The Prequel: Why did Mark Felt leak to Bob Woodward ... about the Wallace assasination attempt? Mark Blumenthal puts together the evidence. The result? Felt looks considerably more non-venal than has recently been charged, while the allegedly reformed Chuck Colson looks like a tendentious faker!10:18 P.M.   link

Don't Blame Kerry. Blame E.J.! E.J Dionne argues that Democratic Kerry-bashing is "dangerous because dissing Kerry is an easy way for Democrats to evade discussion of what the party needs to do to right itself." True. But Dionne then claims another sort of "cheap grace" by blaming the 

Bush machine ...so skillful at turning little things into big things — always with help from Rush and Fox and the rest of the party-line conservative media eager to read scripts generated by the White House.

Yes, that's the problem--the mighty Bush machine and Roger Ailes, in combination so powerful that Bush's approval numbers are now soaring into the mid-60s. ...

More important--because Dionne does acknowledge some deeper Dem problems--even if Kerry is history, a Quayle-like dead man walking, the conditions that led Democrats to delude themselves into thinking he was a plausible candidate are still in place and still a problem.

I'm talking about a) The dutiful, clueless susceptibility of liberalism's main organ, the New York Times, to the elite appeal of a manifest phony like Kerry; b) The cocooning echo chamber of wishful-thinking self-reinforcement that led so many Democratic opinion-shapers to actually believe everything Paul Krugman was writing about the economy, to believe in the primacy of the "wrong track" numbers--in short, that led even highly sophisticated MSM politicos (like those at the Note) to believe the spin that the underlying dynamics of the election were hostile to Bush, hence the race was "Kerry's contest to lose."c) The semi-conscious Emperor's-Clothes-like suspension of normal powers of judgment, lest you write or say something in public that might be seen as aiding Bush. ...

Without these blinders, the Liberal Media might have noticed the bad joke aspects of Kerry's candidacy and saved their party from a nominee who everyone now recognizes as fatally flawed. Is there any guarantee they won't make the same mistake again in 2008?

For example--specifically, examples of (b) and (c)--here are excerpts from E.J. Dionne's own writing in the run-up to the 2004 election:

Early boosting: "The potential presidential candidates can hit larger themes, and some of them--Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts comes to mind--are using this period to lay out some serious ideas and expand their reach." -- April 5, 2002

Pre-primary blindness: "Yet for the moment, it's Kerry--with his standing as a Vietnam veteran and by combining support and criticism of Bush on Iraq--who comes closest to the foreign policy balance a Democrat needs to strike to satisfy both his party and those outside it." -- Feb 25, 2003

Post-Iowa--Falling-in-line euphoria: "In the newly presidential Kerry, they found patriotism and a candidate who could go head-to-head with Bush on national security. 'Bring it on!' Kerry would shout about doing battle with the Bush who showed up on that aircraft carrier." -- Jan 21, 2004

"But a liberal with a uniform, a war record and a regiment of veterans marching with him is not what the GOP ordered up from central casting. The momentum is now with Kerry because Democrats have begun to consider the advantages of being led into battle this fall by a lieutenant who knows what battle is." -- Jan. 27, 2004

"Face it, Democrats: You have never gotten your message across the way you have in this presidential primary campaign. ... Howard Dean toughened you up--you all owe him a debt. Then the voters of Iowa decided the party needed a candidate, not a trainer, so they lifted up John Kerry and John Edwards. ... The prospect that the Democrats might nominate Kerry, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, reopened the issues surrounding the incumbent's Air National Guard service back in the 1970s."-- Feb. 17, 2004

Mid-Campaign--Wishful Thinking: "Here is the biggest surprise of the 2004 election so far: It is John Kerry who is eager to talk about terrorism and national security, and President Bush's campaign that is trying to quash a far-reaching debate on these issues." -- April 20, 2004

"The conventional wisdom on this presidential election is wrong. It's frequently said that John Kerry is the man in trouble. Yes, Kerry does have a gift for getting in his own way. But President Bush is the candidate with big problems. ... [O]n the current numbers, Kerry will win if he's simply good enough. Bush's task is harder: to seem a whole lot better than he does now to voters who already know him well."-- May 14, 2004

Pre-Convention--Utter Delusion:

"First Ripple of a Political Tidal Wave?

Rep. Jay Inslee knows about political tidal waves, because one of them almost sank his political career.

Inslee, who now represents a suburban Seattle district, was tossed out of Congress from another district in the 1994 Republican sweep. ...But he came back to the House in 1998, and now what he's seeing 'is the same tidal wave moving in the opposite direction. . . . There's a passion out there.' And the passion, Inslee says, is running against George W. Bush. ...

Even if the plural of anecdote is not data, the anecdotes are about citizens who avoided politics for years but are now devoting time to John Kerry's campaign out of hostility to Bush. Individuals who never before made a campaign contribution are opening their checkbooks to Kerry and the Democrats. ... And, perhaps most significant, moderate and moderately conservative Republicans are showing little enthusiasm for Bush, reflecting their worries about his Iraq policy and their qualms over large deficits." -- June 29, 2004

October--Looking for Friendly Faces in the Crowd: "In the torrent of polling information released over the weekend, the most significant finding was this one: John Kerry's supporters are more likely than George W. Bush's to believe that this year's election is the most important of their lifetimes." -- Oct. 26, 2004

[Couldn't someone do the same sort of embarrasing cherry-picking with what you've written?--ed Embarrassing in a different way! Excessive Kerry-appreciation was not my problem. It was the East Coast MSM's problem.] 3:17 P.M. link

Today, the New York Sun is backing John Kerry up against at least one charge--that because Kerry's Form 180 was sent to the Naval Personnel Command, as opposed to a central storage location in St. Louis, it failed to trigger a complete release of records. Not so, says the Sun [third item]. ... But RCP's Tom Bevan produces a succinct description  of why Kerry critics are suspicious:

Without maligning [Globe reporter] Michael Kranish's motives or his ability as a reporter, it's fair to point out that privately funneling documents through a single source from your hometown paper and then declaring the story "dead" and "over" is hardly the epitome of full public disclosure. John Kerry would never accept this type of standard from his political opponents or this administration. Why he thinks the public should accept it now from him is beyond me.

Is there any way to placate the justifiably paranoid Kerry skeptics? Not completely, because of Kerry's Meet the Press comments which suggest that he got some things excluded from even the "complete" record. But releasing those records to all comers and making public the Form 180  itself would help a lot. ... Update: It might even satisfy Lipscomb!  [via Polipundit ] ...2:46 P.M. link

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Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna--A hybrid vehicle. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk]

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