Sunday, October 31, 2004

E-minus 2 days and counting....

Another plateau day - which way will it go tomorrow?

Poll Composite: Bush 47.8%, Kerry 46.2% (Bush +1.6 – no change)

The great thing about poll analysis is that there are so many prisms through which you can interpret the data. Also the rotten thing.

The naked partisan in a Bushie's position can launch chapter and verse on polling methodology and skewed samples and the like. This, of course, can be at least somewhat negated by averaging polls to net out those differences and biases between surveys, which was the genesis of my polling composite.

The sadder but wiser analyst, no matter how pro-Bush s/he is, has to take other factors, like current events and an avalanche of last-minute Big Media "gotchas," into account. That's what I've striven to do over the past few days.

So, what does today's composite mean? Well, it suggests to me that whatever negative impact the OBL video had on Dubya was short-lived, and since 60 Minutes didn't drop any fresh daisy-cutters tonight, Big Media just might be out of ammunition. It also might mean that the "tracking polls on weekends are as credible as Ted Kennedy addressing an Alcoholics Anonymous convention" argument is a significantly bigger factor in all of this.

Let's take the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics tracking poll in particular. Today's number shows Bush and Kerry tied at 46%. That's a five point move toward Kerry in the space of three or four days. Not a good sign, right?

Ah, but look at those delightful internals. Specifically this one noticed by the KerrySpot:

"I am told the poll shows Kerry leading with men 47-45, Bush leading by 1 with women. That strikes me as a bit odd. Were many men out watching college football during this period?"

Indeed. I will personally shag footballs for Kerry on the White House south lawn before I'll buy that Mr. French is leading among male voters. Bush by ten (to use a nice, round figure) is a lot closer to reality.

I did some back-of-a-bookmark arithmetic this morning between Sunday School and worship services to plug in that adjustment figuring the daily sample size of 400 respondents. The result? This purported 46-46 tie becomes a 49-43 Bush lead, which approximates the 50-45 lead that Fox posted for the President in their normal survey released last Tuesday. And plugged into my composite, that moves GDub's lead back to three points, well outside the vote fraud discount zone (see below).

Ergo, by this theory, tomorrow the tracking polls should show some movement back towards the President as Friday's numbers pass off the board and are replaced by Monday's.

At the very least, barring a massive al Qaeda strike tomorrow, there shouldn't be any more outside events - genuine or nakedly contrived - to influence the race.

Electoral College: Bush 223, Kerry 185 (tossups 130)

-New Jersey moves from tossup to "leaning Kerry"
-Pennsylvania moves from "leaning Kerry" to tossup


Popular Vote: Bush 50.2%, Kerry 48.5% (Bush +1.7 - down 0.1%)

Electoral College: Bush 301, Kerry 237

Minnesota and Wisconsin switch places again.

All you can do is chuckle at this point. Zogby shifted Iowa four points and New Mexico ***NINE*** points toward Kerry overnight. He's still over the Kerry cliff on Wisconsin (seven points), but is neatly balanced by Gallup which has Bush up there by eight. But by the same token, Gallup has Kerry ahead by eight in Minnesota, which is the one and only reason Minnesota flipped again in my polling average. In this they echo the notorious Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which now has an assortment of assholes out of which to defecate thanks to the gents at Powerline.


Florida: Bush +0.8
Hawaii: Bush +0.9
Iowa: Bush +0.4 (+1.3 w/o Zogby)
Michigan: Kerry +3.3
Minnesota: Kerry +0.8 (Bush +1.0 w/o Gallup)
Nevada: Bush +4.0
New Hampshire: Kerry +2.0
New Mexico: Bush +2.0
Ohio: Bush +1.0
Pennsylvania: Kerry +1.0 (+3.5 w/o Gallup, which has Bush up four)
Wisconsin: Bush +0.2

Today's bottom line: It's all but impossible to figure Democrat vote fraud into election forecasting because there's no way to tell how much of it will succeed and how big an impact it will have on the outcome from state to state. Accepting that arbitrariness as the foundational premise, I've used a twofold rule of thumb: if Bush's national lead falls below two points, but his projected final number is above fifty percent, any state in which his lead is under a point is assumed to be stolen by Kerry. If the President's projected final number falls below fifty percent, any state in which his lead is under two points is assumed to be stolen by Kerry.

As of tonight, Bush leads in my composite by 1.7% with a projected 50.2% of the popular vote. Accordingly, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, and Wisconsin would, by these criteria, be larcenously flipped over to Kerry, giving him the Electoral College 285-253.

I've heard experts who know a lot more about this stuff than I do suggest the same two percent fraud buffer, so I'm assuming it has some validity.

I've gone on at some length about this tonight to save myself keystrokes tomorrow, when I'll be making my final election predictions, both nationally and state by state ANNNNNND the Senate races as well.

Suffice it to say, tomorrow the President has to get back above a two-point lead nationally, or he - and America - are going to get robbed.

Happy Halloween....

Saturday, October 30, 2004

E-minus 3 days and counting....

The Kerry surge resumes....

Poll Composite: Bush 47.6%, Kerry 46.0% (Bush +1.6 – down 1.0%)

A number of explanations spin around for this number. "Weekends are always bad for us"; "GOP voters aren't answering phones on Fridays because they're out at high school football games"; and of course, the ever present standby, bitching about poll methodology.

Any or all of those may well be playing a factor in what is looking like a Bush collapse. But we've got to face up to the possibility that NYTrogate cut in half the four-plus point lead with which the President began the week, and the bin Laden video is having precisely the effect on Americans that Osama intended - to make Bush look like a failure at combatting terrorism because he hasn't captured OBL.

Yes, it's complete BS, but four years ago GDub almost didn't make it to the White House because of a lousy DUI conviction half a lifetime before, too.

Incidentally and just for giggles, at the current rate of Bush's slide, Kerry will wind up winning the popular vote by 0.2%.

Electoral College: Bush 223, Kerry 191 (tossups 124)

-Colorado moves from tossup to "leaning Bush"
-Nevada moves from "leaning Bush" to tossup
-New Mexico moves from "leaning Bush" to tossup
-Pennsylvania moves from tossup to "leaning Kerry"


Popular Vote: Bush 50.1%, Kerry 48.3% (Bush +1.8 - down 0.8%)

Electoral College: Bush 301, Kerry 237

Bush flips Ohio, trades Wisconsin for Minnesota.

More Zogby insanity. Now he has Bush up five in Ohio, but down eight in Wisconsin??? A four-point lunge back toward Bush in Minnesota? I'm getting motion sickness....


Florida: Bush +0.3 (+1.6 w/o Zogby)
Hawaii: Bush +0.9
Iowa: Bush +2.2
Michigan: Kerry +2.7
Minnesota: Bush +0.7
Nevada: Bush +3.8
New Hampshire: Kerry +2.0
New Jersey: Kerry +2.3
New Mexico: Bush +4.0

Ohio: Bush +0.8 (Zogby and the LA Times poll showing Kerry up six negate each other quite nicely.)

Wisconsin: Kerry +1.0 (Bush +0.8 w/o Zogby)

Today's bottom line: There's a definite dichotomy going on between the national margin and the state-by-state numbers. One would think that if Kerry were closing the gap by half a point a day, the aforementioned states would all be showing similar movement. But that isn't the case. Bush drops another point nationally but gains a net ten Electoral Votes (twenty if you throw out Zogby's Wisconsin whimsy)? They can't both be true.

The aforelinked Jay Cost had this to say:

Fox released its new poll about 45 minutes ago. Note that the poll uses the last day sample of the previous poll. This indicates that Fox is going to start doing a rolling average. As is typical of media organizations who do not know any better, they have junked the previous day's poll. This is quite stupid. If you average the two results out, taking in all the data collected in the four days thus far, Bush is ahead 49.2% to 45% with a margin of error of less than 3%. Apparently, Bush did not poll well in Friday's Fox sample. The Washington Post's polling director was on Fox just now and he said Kerry did very well on Friday, too. Look for that poll's margins to fall. Try not to let this upset you. They only sample about 200-300 people in any given day. Kerry had a blip last weekend in the WaPo tracking poll, too. It was just a blip. I would note that the evidence from last electiondoes not indicate that WaPo was pro-Gore on the weekends. This year, though, they are 3 for 3 pro-Kerry on the weekends, if the WaPo does the same now.

Generally speaking, the state numbers follow the national number. And right now that's not happening.

OTOH, if the national figure is accurate and the state numbers are off, Team Bush has a big problem, because not only are they in freefall, but they are on the precipice of falling below their fraud-adjusted breakeven point, which is about two percentage points. Or, put another way, Bush has to win by more than two points nationally and/or win an outright popular vote majority in order to remove Democrat vote fraud as a material factor in the election outcome.

Otherwise, based on today's tossup margins, Kerry would defraud away Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, turning a 301-237 defeat into a 288-250 victory.

The bottom, bottom line? The President cannot lose any more ground. If he does, the election, and his presidency, will slip-slide away.

Then again, maybe it was high school football....

SENATE UPDATE: Mary Castor has barely nosed ahead of Mel Martinez in Florida (thanks to Zogby and the NY Times; they make quite a tag-team, don't they?). For the time being, that reduces the GOP gain to two seats.

Kerry Gives up on Trying to Keep His Lies Straight

Remember how John Kerry has insisted all year long that he's released all his military records? Well, he had an attack of inadvertent candor with Tom Brokaw the other night:

Brokaw: Someone has analyzed the President's military aptitude tests and yours, and concluded that he has a higher IQ than you do.

Kerry: That's great. More power. I don't know how they've done it, because my record is not public. So I don't know where you're getting that from.

Captain Ed highlights two interviews earlier in the campaign where Kerry claimed entirely otherwise at first, then began to characteristically hedge:

Hardball, April 2004:

MATTHEWS: OK. You did that today, Senator. You went after, you put out a statement in your campaign, asking tough questions, documented questions—you had all the material there—about President Bush‘s — President Bush‘s participation.

KERRY: I have not—I don‘t—I haven‘t seen what went out.

MATTHEWS: What went out, it basically tracks what you did the other day on “Good Morning America.” And the question your staff put out, under your name, is, is Bush telling the truth, President Bush, when he said he had no special privileges or favoritism in jumping 150 places to get in the Air Guard in Texas? What do you think about that? Is that something you care about? You want to know the truth?

KERRY: He ought to answer that question.


KERRY: Because I‘ve answered the questions. I released all my military records. Mr. Gillespie thought it was important enough to go travel to another state, make a big speech, demand that I release my records. I did. Everything. All of it. Including my officer fitness reports.

The Don Imus Show, September 2004:

IMUS: A Freedom of Information Act request by The Washington Post regarding your military records produced six pages of information, while a spokesman for the Navy Personnel Command said there were at least 100 pages of information available, but he was not authorized to release them. Why can't we see this stuff?

KERRY: We've posted my military records that they sent to me, or were posted on my Web site. You can go to my Web site, and all my - you know, the documents are there.

IMUS: So is - everything's available?

KERRY: To the best of my knowledge. I think some of the medical stuff may still be out there. We're trying to get it.

So Senator Kerry has gone from "I've released all my records" to "I think I've released some to the best of my knowledge" to "I haven't realized squat."

Has the campaign worn down his ability to duck and dodge? Is a dawning realization of impending defeat causing him, consciously or subconsciously, to say, in essence, "Ah, to hell with it"? Or did Brokaw confronting him with the report of George W. Bush - GEORGE W. BUSH!!! - having a higher IQ trigger an involuntary vanity reflex that caused Kerry's ingrained narcissism to overpower his public relations discretion?

I don't think this will hurt Kerry at this late stage. His character defects were exposed and jumped up and down on by the SwiftVets back in August. That wiped out his post-convention lead and set the table for the President to vault ahead for good.

But it is a useful reminder of who and what John Kerry really is that voters can take with them, wherever they go, come next Tuesday.

"I am Osama bin Laden, and I Approve this Message"

Tsk-tsk. All this uproar over another Osama bin Laden tape. Assuming, of course, that it is bin Laden and that he's still alive. CGI technology being what it is today, this tape could just as easily be some old footage of OBL with an impressionist dubbing in the contemporary-sounding dialogue. Besides, every time one of these tapes surfaces, whether audio or video, the "experts" always say it's "authentic," so who really knows?

But even if it is, and he is, how much does it really matter, within and without election context?

One thing we know about al Qaeda's MO is that if they can strike, they don't give their victims a heads-up in advance. I don't recall any such Lombardi-era-Green-Bay-Packers-power-sweep-like, Babe-Ruth-pointing-to-left-center-field-esque "We're gonna hit you and you can't stop us" press conferencing preceding the first WTC bombing, or the Khobar Towers attack, or the African embassy bombings, or the attack on the USS Cole, or, of course, 9/11. They all came out of the proverbial (and in the latter case, literal) clear, blue sky.

As to influencing the U.S. presidential election, you want further proof? How about the Spanish election last March? Was there a videotape warning the Spanish people not to re-elect Mr. Aznar? No; there was a Madrid subway train that went BOOM. Or what of the Australian election? Did OBL pop up like a whack-a-mole to instruct the Australian electorate to replace John Howard "or else"? No; al Qaeda bombed the Australian embassy in Indonesia.

Now, with four days to go until America's election, instead of carrying out actual attacks that would "make American blood run in the streets" and cause us to "forget all about 9/11," we get an al Qaeda infomercial that makes OBL look like a taller, gaunter, tranquilized version of Michael Moore.

I agree with Gerry Daly: "They would have hit us if they could." Instead, the combat fatiques, the AK-47, and the jihadi bravado are all gone, replaced by a tired resignation that goes through the motions of admonishing us, the American voters, with what fingers he still has left.

Assuming, of course, that he actually is alive.

But even if he is, what we're seeing is a defeated man, maybe or maybe not sitting atop a defeated organization that, thanks to the leadership and resolve of George W. Bush and our allies, is no longer a threat to the American homeland.

Possible suitcase nuke sleeper cells implanted in the late 1990s not withstanding.

My guess is the vast majority of us saw the story, watched/listened to the tape excerpts, shrugged, and went about our business.

Which, on Tuesday, will include re-electing the President of the United States.

UPDATE: "Obi-wan Kenobi," the KerrySpot's Republican political Jedi Master, opines that "this makes terrorism THE issue of the election, and Bush is now likely to win in something approaching a landslide."

He's got the usually cautious Jim Geraghty convinced.

Personally, I'll believe a "landslide" when I see it.

But a lame-ass video tape showing more than anything else how Dubya has humbled one of our principle enemies certainly doesn't hurt him.

What's gotten in to Uncle Colin?

With the election and "missing explosives" and Osama bin Laden Kerry endorsements raging all this week, Colin Powell's shafting of Taiwan got buried beneath the static.

Powell told CNN and Hong Kong-based Phoenix Television the following:

“There is only one China. Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy.”

Needless to say, this royally pissed off the Taiwanese without extracting a blessed thing from the ChiComms on pressuring their North Korean clients. Retorted Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, “Taiwan is absolutely a sovereign, independent nation. It’s a great nation, and it absolutely does not belong to the People’s Republic of China. That is the present situation, that is the reality.”

Using the island’s official name, Republic of China, Chen said no country had the right to tell Taiwan it isn’t independent. “Other countries, whether they have official diplomatic relations with our country or not, have no way of influencing or deny the present situation and the fact that the Republic of China or Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation.”

Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun was even blunter: “Taiwan is a sovereign, independent nation. This is reality.”

Apparently realizing how badly he had stepped in it, the SecState was backpedaling furiously only a day later. He lamely "clarified" his earlier remarks in a CNBC interview Wednesday, saying the "goal" "really is to have a peaceful resolution of the problem" between Taiwan and China, which split amid civil war in 1949.

I didn't find an analysis of this FUBAR until yesterday. The money shot is this:

"It is unsettling for the United States to be seen siding with an arrogant, belligerent, and aggressive Communist dictatorship against any democracy. But Taiwan isn't just any democracy: It has been one of America's staunchest allies — despite the 1979 break in formal diplomatic relations. Over the past 16 years, Taiwan has been the biggest purchaser of U.S. defense services and equipment, even bigger than Saudi Arabia or Israel. Taiwan is America's tenth-largest export market. Taiwan has Asia's fifth-largest military and Asia's second-largest merchant-marine fleet (after China's). And with the approval of long-range radar systems for Taiwan's army, the island could potentially be a vital link in America's global missile-defense architecture. It is the world's 17th-largest economy (on par with Russia's), and has nearly twice the population of Australia. The State Department also acknowledges that Taiwan is the third-largest contributor to Afghan reconstruction. Taiwan gave $150 million to U.S. efforts in the war on terror, refugee and victim relief, and Afghan reconstruction since the 9/11 attacks — and at Washington's request, it has seized dangerous chemical cargo from a North Korean ship, something no other U.S. partner except Japan has been willing to do.

"Yet somehow Secretary Powell has been persuaded that democratic Taiwan's interests can be sacrificed to the warlike threats of Communist China."

This makes Powell's decision to leave his Cabinet post after Bush's first term look better and better. But it won't be enough unless Dubya makes fumigating Foggy Bottom a second term priority, and reorients State toward actually representing American national interests instead of a dictator-fellating "international stability" that is indistinguishable from the foreign policy nostrums of the man he will have defeated.

Sure, it'll incense his enemies there. But it's not as if they've been refraining from stabbing him in the back for the past two years. Once safely re-elected, it'll be long since time for some payback.

Nominating Condi Rice as Powell's replacement would be a good start.

Echoes of Bob Dole

Well, this side-by-side has been made several times elsewhere, so I might as well be the next link in the chain:

John Kerry on October 29, 2004: "Wake up, America, wake up...You have a choice." (Patricia Wilson, "Kerry: 'Wake Up America' And Choose Fresh Start.")

Bob Dole on October 29, 1996: "Wake up, America." ("Bob Dole addresses his election struggles," CNN AllPolitics interview with Candy Crowley.) (Courtesy of Kathryn Jean Lopez and The Corner via Powerline.)

They say that "real" (i.e. unscripted) moments are when the inner man reveals himself. Here Kerry diverted from his prepared text and, so it would appear, vented a little frustration, which can only come from what his private, internal campaign polling is telling him. He's worked towards this election for his entire adult life, and now it's a mere 72 hours away, and he feels like he's so close, and yet he's not quite there, and he's having to spend irreplaceable home stretch time darting hither and yon shoring up this demographic and reassuring that constituency. Like the little Dutch boy, as soon as Lurch gets one leak plugged, the dike springs two more just out of his immediate reach, and as he moves to plug them, the first plug starts weakening again. Despite outward appearances, this campaign will have a terminus (even if we don't know exactly when it will be...) and even if Mr. French weren't running out of time, he's running out of fingers.

The lib punditariat is reflecting this. After spending the past few months writing prebituaries on the coming Kerry defeat, now some of these same soothsayers are predicting a coming Kerry triumph fueled by that old chestnut of chimeras, the massive tidal wave of new voters.

Part of this is the "Kerry is a strong closer" angle. Doubtless another part is the "psy-ops" effort of the Left that began with the debates to pre-empt the last month of the campaign by propagandizing that the Boston Balker has the race "in the bag." But I think wishful-thinking is a big part of it as well.

I can relate. Harken back to the aforementioned Dole candidacy eight years ago. I spent most of 1996 keeping up a brave front, predicting that the "plain and honest man" would, on the strength of his 15% tax cut plan, "shock the world" and upset Sick Willie. I comforted myself with the notion that the polls showing Clinton up by double-digits were all "wrong" (as in by ten points or more) due to "liberal bias." And when Dole seemed to finally come alive in the last three weeks and go balls-to-the-wall across the country, and started steadily closing the gap, I chortled to my lib "friends" that the tortoise was overtaking the hare, and they'd better have their crying towels handy.

I was full of crap. Deep down, I knew I was full of crap. I just couldn't bring myself to contemplate, much less speak of, another four years under the domination of the Arkansas Mafia. And neither, obviously, could Bob Dole.

For four years, the entire American Left, not just John Kerry, have been dreaming of November 2nd, 2004 as their day of liberation, when George Bush would be dragged out of the White House and hanged upside down from a lamppost like Mussolini (and not just figuratively, either). The specter of four more years of Dubya has not and does not occur to them because for them, it is simply unthinkable.

And so they think the polls are wrong. They dream of entire armies of new voters swamping the polls and sweeping John Kerry into the presidency by overwhelming acclimation. They chortlingly advise the Bushies to have their crying towels at the ready.

They're full of crap. Only they'll never admit it, even to themselves.

Maybe Kerry will do a header off a stage this weekend. That would be appropo beyond words.

Friday, October 29, 2004

E-minus 4 days and counting....

Good news and bad news....

Poll Composite: Bush 48.6%, Kerry 46.0% (Bush +2.6 – up 0.2%)

Looks like the collapse of NYTrogate has finally rippled through the polling tract. The question now is whether Bush will rebound to where he was three days ago (and even beyond) or whether the race will stabilize again at this narrower (and far more vulnerable to vote fraud) margin. In which case, for the Times it'll be "mission accomplished."

And yet Team Bush seems bafflingly confident:

"Among early and absentee votes cast already, Bush has huge lead in Florida, bigger than his advantage in Florida in 2000.

"There’s a great contrast in the respective get-out-the-vote operations for Bush and Kerry. Around 25% of registered voters report being contacted by a Bush-Cheney volunteer, most often members of their church or community organization or neighbor. About 19% of registered voters have been contacted on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign, but the vast majority of these contacts are by paid temps of the campaign, the DNC, or a related 527. Will the personal touch have an effect?

"In Hawaii, the Bush campaign has quietly had its eye on this state for a while, and been building a surprisingly strong statewide organization with more than 2,000 volunteers. Kerry put up ad about how bad the economy was, while Hawaii has one of the lowest unemployment rates in country.

"In New Mexico, Bush is only few thousand behind in early/absentee ballots in Bernalillo county, a heavy Democrat county.

"In Florida, the campaign expects Bush to end up with an estimated 100,000 vote advantage among early and absentee voters.

"In Nevada, there is little expectation that this state will be all that competitive. Bush is competitive in Clark County (which includes Las Vegas). Right now Kerry leads 44%-41%. Kerry needed over 50% out of Clark county to win NV. But Bush within a few thousands votes of heavy Dem county.

"Finally, a big point of enthusiasm for the GOP is their deep bench of Bush surrogates who can garner big crowds and lots of media attention. The President is in New Hampshire and Ohio today, vith Ah-nuld. Cheney is going to Hawaii. Tommy Franks is in Florida, as is John McCain and former President Bush. Rudy Giuliani is in Iowa, Mitt Romney is in Michigan, and former President Bush will also be in Pennsylvania later."

To harken back to my verbiage of yesterday, the bleeding has indeed stopped. Now I want to see that "bit of a bump." Perhaps this new bin Laden video, which makes al Qaeda sound like the latest Democrat 527 group, will be of help.

Electoral College: Bush 224, Kerry 174 (tossups 140)

-Nevada moves from tossup to "leaning Bush"
-New Hampshire moves from tossup to "leaning Kerry"
-Oregon moves from tossup to "leaning Kerry"


Popular Vote: Bush 50.5%, Kerry 47.9% (Bush +2.6 - no change)

Electoral College: Bush 281, Kerry 257

-Bush flips Colorado, Kerry flips Minnesota

Both are the result of Zogby's gyrations. Just as he finally moves toward a sane result in Colorado, he has Minnesota erupt seven points in Kerry's direction in the space of 24 hours. Take the latter for what it's worth (which isn't much).

Why, then, do I include Zogby in my state poll averages? How about so I'll look more "objective" when the Gopher state is called for the President?


-Colorado: Bush +1.0
-Florida: Bush +1.3
-Hawaii: Bush +0.9 (Cheney drew the long straw...)
-Iowa: Bush +2.0
-Michigan: Kerry +2.0
-Minnesota: Kerry +0.3
-New Jersey: TIED (advantage Kerry)

-Ohio: Kerry +1.8 (Half a point movement toward the President - thanks to Zogby!)

-Pennsylvania: Kerry +2.9 (Governor Rendell re-enfranchises overseas military voters - but only after the revelation of his GOTV effort in the state prison system.)

-Wisconsin: TIED (Once again due to a big one-day Kerryward Zogby lunge; I still say Advantage Bush.)

Today's bottom line: Same as yesterday, except a Zogby outlier misrepresents Minnesota's leanings rather than Colorado's. Bush sits on 291 Electoral Votes, and the cold logic of the EC numbers points Kerry's rampaging army of Armani-suited Ghengis Khans towards Florida once again.

If Bush can only flip Ohio, this election, as a practical matter, might actually be over on Election Night.

What a concept, huh?

Thursday, October 28, 2004

"I'm John Kerry, and they made me approve this honest message"

(With apologies to Berke Breathed, but it just fits so perfectly...)

Finally, a candidate every American can call his/her/its own.

He's been a handicapped unionist minority farmer;

He's been a right-wing pro-choice born-again southern elderly protectionist pacifist;

He's been a redneck northern liberal ethnic pro-life Jewish fixed-income no-nukes gun nut;

He's been an anti-war pro-military anti-gun Wendy's-dining outdoorsman Francofilic sports fanatic;

And he's never been George W. Bush.

John Kerry for President - he thinks you know he's been all of us.

Iraq is Equivalent of BAY OF PIGS???

Anyone who desires proof that John Kerry is dumber than a box of hair got a gift-wrapped package with a big rhetorical bow on top today.

Pontificating at a rally in Toledo, OH, BrahMan actually said this:

"Can you imagine President Kennedy ... standing up and telling the American people he couldn't think of a single mistake that he had made? When the Bay of Pigs went sour, John Kennedy had the courage to look America in the eye and say to America 'I take responsibility, it is my fault.'

"Mr. President, it is long since time for you to start taking responsibility for the mistakes that you've made."

What a dumbass. Oh, you could say that he thinks his audience is a pack of drooling, knuckle-dragging mongoloids that thinks the Bay of Pigs is the annual NFL clash between the Packers and the Buccaneers - and you'd be right. But Kerry's statement itself is just so roaringly idiotic that it doesn't even qualify as intelligent enough to be misleading.

The Bay of Pigs didn't "go sour." The Cuban expatriate forces got massacred because President Kennedy chickened out at the last minute and withdrew American air and logistical support. That was his mistake. What he "took responsibility" for was his initial support for an operation from which he flip-flopped, at the cost of hundreds of Cuban patriots' lives.

If this sounds an awful lot like what John Kerry has planned for Iraq, you've been paying plenty of attention. If he gets elected, pulls the plug on Iraq, and the country really does collapse into "chaos" and "civil war," and becomes a Iranian vassal, do you think we'll ever hear this man "look America in the eye" and say "I take responsibility, it's my fault"?

That's a rhetorical question. He'll spend whatever time he has in office blaming every last one of his mistakes on George Bush. Because he's ***JOHN KERRY***, and he doesn't make mistakes.

Candidates and campaigns like Lurch's are what you get when an opposition party becomes brain-deadeningly reactionary. His entire platform consists of not being Dubya, and nothing else. That would be a formula for stagnation and disarray even in peacetime. In the midst of an open-ended (by its very nature) war, it's a formula for multiple disasters.

Unlike his fictitious Vietnam exploits, in the Oval Office John Kerry won't get do-overs complete with film crew to create propaganda footage of how he wants the country to see the events of his reign and how he imagines he must have handled them. Nor will he be able to spin reality into grotesque contortions like Bill Clinton did. This is not the 1990s. There is no longer a Big Media monopoly, as we're finding out again just this week. We no longer live in what George Will used to call "small times" when it was okay to entrust national leadership to small people. We're locked in a war of annihilation with transnational factions of Islamic fanatics who don't want our wealth or territory, but do want the grisly deaths of every last one of us. And they won't stop waging that war against us regardless of whether we stop resisting them.

A John Kerry presidency would be like riding a pogo stick through a minefield. Kerry would ride the pogo stick with such skill, such brilliance, such agility; and the successive explosions, killing hundreds and/or thousands of Americans, would never be his fault. Because, you see, all the mines would be made from the 377 tons of high explosive that George Bush incompetently allowed to be spirited away from al Qaqaa past the snoozing sentries of the 3rd ID and 101st Airborne and the entire Coalition Air Force and the vast network of orbiting surveillance satellites on a caravan of seven invisible, three-humped camels.

Idiot idealism and incorrigibly puerile finger-pointing; I think Americans would get sick of a Kerry administration REAL fast.

How fortunate that pre-emption is still an option.

E-minus 5 days and counting....

....and the trend is not looking good.

Poll Composite: Bush 48.3%, Kerry 45.9% (Bush +2.4 – down 0.8%)

On the one hand, NYTrogate has blown up in John Kerry's face, his campaign is now trying to run away from this latest Big Media hit piece fiasco, and the Bushies are exhibiting increasing optimism, almost like they're moving in for the kill:

"According to the Bushies, the last few days have seen a huge burst of momentum in their numbers. They think Bush is ahead by a few points nationally. They expect the next round of tracking polls to show a bit of a bump.

"Finally, the ammo dump story appears to have left the Kerry campaign deep in al-Qaqaa."

Of course, that's what they thought four years ago, and we know how that turned out.

On the other hand, the President has plummeted another point in my composite, seeming to indicate that the al Qaqaa "story" is becoming the DUI of 2004. At this rate, by next Tuesday John Kerry will be up two points nationally, and we can all go out and start digging our backyard bomb shelters.

Right now I'll be happy if the bleeding stops tomorrow. That "bit of a bump," if it comes, will be gravy.

Electoral College: Bush 219, Kerry 163 (tossups 156)

-Nevada moves from "leaning Bush" to tossup
-New Mexico moves from tossup to "leaning Bush"
-Oregon moves from "leaning Kerry" to tossup


Popular Vote: Bush 50.6%, Kerry 48.0% (Bush +2.6 - down 0.7%)

Electoral College: Bush 282, Kerry 256 (no change)


-Colorado: Kerry +1.0 (Same analysis as yesterday. George Bush will carry this state. Period.)

-Florida: Bush +2.1 (See the KerrySpot story linked above. Team Bush believes the President is leading here beyond the margin of error. Isn't reflected in the public polling, but his lead has been inching ever upward this week.)

-Hawaii: Bush +0.9 (Should the President make an Election Day surprise visit to the Islands?)

-Iowa: Bush +1.3

-Michigan: Kerry +1.0 (See the KerrySpot link. BC04 thinks they can pick up this state as well.)

-Minnesota: Bush +2.0
-Nevada: Bush +3.5
-New Hampshire: Kerry +2.4
-New Jersey: TIED (Advantage Kerry)

-Ohio: Kerry +2.4 (This state continues to trend away from the President. Perhaps Ah-nuld's joint appearance with Dubya tomorrow can turn things around.)

-Oregon: Kerry +4.0

-Pennsylvania: Kerry +2.0 (Like Michigan, a tantalizing Electoral morsel seemingly within Bush's grasp. Grabbing either would offset the loss of Ohio. But GDub has been within two points in the Keystone state for weeks and hasn't been able to get over that hump. With Governor Ed Rendell openly disenfranchising some 12,000 overseas military voters - a net of about 6,000 of the 100,000 or so votes Bush would need, it's hard to see where that additional oomph is going to come from.)

-Wisconsin: Bush +0.3 (The Cheeser state seems to be trending ponderously toward Kerry as Minnesota has been toward Bush.)

Today's bottom line: a mixed bag. Bush sits at 291 EVs, 287 if Hawaii is a fluke. Not enough to absorb having Florida sued away from him, though if his internal polling is correct and he's ahead there by more than three or four points, that particular threat diminishes proportionately. Would have to hold onto Iowa and either Minnesota or Wisconsin. Flipping one of Michigan, Ohio, or Pennsylvania would negate that vulnerability.

Unlike the national horserace figure, there just isn't a common thread running through the "battleground" state-by-state numbers. The thing to generally do is look at the national margin and assume that the state numbers will more or less follow it, barring any local issue-inspired exceptions.

And, of course, the national numbers are moving toward Kerry.

Here's hoping that Matt Dowd knows something I don't know.

UPDATE: I notice I've been leaving out my poll averages on the U.S. Senate races around the country. I'll post final calls on Monday, complete with more numbers than a telephone directory, but here it is as of the date of this post, summarized:

GOP pickups: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota

Democrat pickups: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois

Net result: GOP +3

Saddam, WMDs, al Qaqaa, and the Russian Connection

Well, well, well.

The New York Times/Kerry-Edwards axis thought it were pulling an October surprise on George W. Bush by coming at him from his Right on Iraq after defenestrating themselves attacking him from his Left. They thought - they were certain - that after a year and a half of incessantly and ferociously dishonest villification of the President as a "liar" and a "warmonger" and a "war criminal," they had him by the balls: dangerous weapons - almost, dare their hearts start singing, weapons of mass destruction - that the IAEA had sealed are now missing, perchance to fall into terrorist hands, and it's all George Bush's fault.

Except it turns out that no, it isn't George Bush's fault, because the famous 380 tons weren't at al Qaqaa when our forces arrived. Since 760 thousand pounds of anything cannot be "looted" in any practical sense, it can only mean that the high explosives in question were moved somewhere else in the month between the last IAEA eyeballing and the fall of Baghdad.

For nearly a year there have been repeated stories nibbling at the edges of the media "mainstream" (particularly from reporting that Saddam shipped his WMD stockpiles to Syria two months before the beginning of OIF for safekeeping against his eventual return to power. This elicited lots of derision and eyerolling from libs who persisted in their fanciful, almost excruciatingly naive belief that Saddam never had WMDs so they could stoke their equivalently malevolent belief that George Bush is the Devil.

Well, the Kerry-Big Media cabal threw their "gotcha" boomerang out there, and now it's coming back to cave in their collectiv[ist] skull.

The Washington Times' Bill Gertz reports in just a few hours from now that, according to John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, Russian troops "almost certainly" helped Saddam's men clean the Al Qaqaa site out before the Iraq War started, sending the contents to Syria, Lebanon (same thing) and even Iran.

Brother Mirengoff over at Powerline wonders why the Bush Administration would sit on such information for so long when disclosing it months ago would have been immensely helpful in refuting the "Bush lied about WMDs!!!" attacks. Anybody who has read my maunderings over at knows all too well that I have pondered that very same question on numerous occasions. My biggest criticism of the Bush campaign has been its choice between May of last year and March of this one to play rope-a-dope and let the DisLoyal Opposition pound the bejesus out of them without resistence rather than adapting the Clinton "instant response" strategy. Knocking the donks on their asses at every turn may well have sent the President into the spring with the sizeable advantage he should have enjoyed given the lackluster nature of his eventual opponent.

It's possible that they didn't come into possession of this information until recently, I suppose. But it may also be that Rove & Co. decided to hold this haymaker in reserve against just such a Dem/media gambit.

Call it an October "counter-surprise."

If so, I would say it is already successful. As Deacon observes, "[Kerry] will have (a) jumped to a conclusion that wasn't supported by the facts, (b) assumed the incompetence of our troops, (c) confirmed President Bush's position that Iraq had weapons worth worrying about, and (d) unleashed evidence that...suggests that chemical and biological weapons could easily have been moved out of Iraq just before we invaded."

Looks like political jiu-jitsu to me. Or allowing the Boston Balker to braid enough rhetorical rope for a noose, and then swooping in to hang him with it. Having essentially conceded the President's war premise in order to recklessly attack him with it, Kerry has now left himself with no place to go. If he backs away from what he today shriekingly called a "burgeoning scandal," he confirms the "he'll say anything" label and forfeits any credibility he has left; but if he clings to the phony story anyway despite its discrediting, he brings back all the bad things that so damaged him in August during the SwiftVets sturm und drang - his penchant for "embellishment," fantasizing, and cynical indifference to inconvenient facts - and still forfeits his credibility.

It's taken the entire campaign, but John Kerry has finally talked himself into a corner he cannot flip-flop his way out of.

It's almost - almost - worth the President cutting this so damned close.

I still prefer the "swatting a fly with a Buick" approach.

But a second term is a second term.

Arafat on death's door, ready to be buggered for all eternity by 72 horned satyrs

Good. I hope he suffers greatly on the way to his fiery fate. My only disappointment is that he's expiring of "natural causes." It would have been far more poetically just if the Israelis had shot a missile up his ass and instantly transformed his worthless carcass into li'l Palestinian pork sausages.

As to who will succeed Arafat, who cares? Nobody will get power over the PLO who is any better than he is, and the only thing separating him from the rest of that criminal rabble is his Gorbachevian "rock star" status with the impenetrably ignorant, tiresomely anti-Semitic Western Left. I mean, what are his lieutenants (those that are still breathing) going to do? Strap bigger explosive belts to their teenage suicide bombers?

In that light, you have to chuckle at this almost oblivious graf from the AP story:

"Polls show the second most popular Palestinian after Arafat is Marwan Barghouti, a leader of Fatah's young guard. But Barghouti is serving five consecutive life terms in an Israeli prison for involvement in deadly shooting attacks." [my emphasis]

There's your "peace process." May such Orwellian sophistry die with him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Attempted Vehicular Homocide as "Political Speech"

"A Florida man has been charged with attempting to run over controversial Republican congresswoman Katherine Harris with his Cadillac.

"According to the below Sarasota Police Department report, Barry Seltzer, 46, told cops that he was simply exercising his 'political expression' when he drove his car at Harris and several supporters, who were campaigning last night at a Sarasota intersection.

"Seltzer - pictured at right in a booking photo - allegedly drove up on a sidewalk and headed directly for Harris before swerving 'at the last minute.' Harris told officers that 'she was afraid for her life and could not move as the vehicle approached her,' according to the report. For his part, Seltzer - who's a registered Democrat - told cops, 'I intimidated them with the car. They were standing in the street.' He added, 'I did not run them down, I scared them a little!'

"That explanation did not stop investigators from arresting Seltzer for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a felony. Harris, Florida's former secretary of state, is best known for her role in te aftermath of the state's disastrous 2000 presidential election." [my emphasis]

What's it going to take to finally generate a full-blown public backlash against the Demofascist party? The driver not swerving next time? Or will that just be the beginning of the next phase of left-wing "activism"?

Understand this, gentles, and understand it well: if you elect John Kerry, this is the kind of evil you will be rewarding and encouraging.

On both sides.

E-minus 6 days and counting....

Ya know how when you open a can of soda it fizzes a lot...?

Poll Composite: Bush 48.8%, Kerry 45.6% (Bush +3.2 – down 1.0%)

Ruh-row; could Qaqaagate have taken a bite out of Bush before the story began to collapse of its own absurdity and partisan malice? Will the latter generate a rebound in the next couple of days? Stay tuned.

Electoral College: Bush 219, Kerry 170 (tossups 149)

-Arkansas moves from tossup to “leaning Bush”
-Nevada moves from tossup to “leaning Bush”
-New Mexico moves from “leaning Bush” to tossup
-New Jersey moves from “leaning Kerry” to tossup
-Pennsylvania moves from “leaning Kerry” to tossup


Popular Vote: Bush 50.9%, Kerry 47.6% (Bush +3.3 - down 1.1%)

Electoral College: Bush 282, Kerry 256

Kerry flips Colorado, Michigan, and Ohio; Bush flips Minnesota


-Colorado: Kerry +4.0 (Don’t panic. My un-weighted state polling average has a seven-day window, the only survey from this state in the past week is Zogby’s, and he’s notorious for under-sampling Republicans in his state polls. Just ask Senator Ron Strickland. He’s also the only pollster to show Lurch with a lead in this state all year long. What else explains Kerry’s recent pullout?)

-Florida: Bush +2.1
-Hawaii: Bush +0.9
-Iowa: Bush +2.0
-Michigan: Kerry +0.5
-Minnesota: TIED (allotted to Bush)
-New Hampshire: Kerry +2.4
-New Jersey: TIED (allotted to Kerry)
-New Mexico: Bush +3.5
-Ohio: Kerry +2.0 (The day’s big flip. But only on the strength of an LA Times poll showing Kerry up six; that’s an outlier if I’ve ever seen one. Click here and here for the reasons why.)

-Pennsylvania: Kerry +3.5
-Wisconsin: Bush +0.5

Today’s bottom line: strip out the aforementioned two polling aberrations in Colorado and Ohio, concede the two ties and Paradise to Mr. French, and that leaves Bush with 297 Electoral Votes, and his opponent with the task of suing in Florida and at least one other “red” state.

Once again, Florida is the key. Bear in mind in this context the primal constitutional role of state legislatures in determining their states’ presidential Electors, and that Florida is a Republican state. If ‘Pubbies in Tallahassee are prepared to put their feet down on Kerry’s telegraphed post-election insurrection, this cancer on American democracy can be smushed in its tracks.

If, however, they run for the tall grass and let the courts decide the matter, well….

The "Curse of the Bambino" is About to Strike Like Never Before

I am doing quite well in my baseball playoff picks. Only one I've missed is the NLCS (thanks to the vaunted Roger Clemens. Good thing I don't actually bet on this stuff). I looked especially prescient in my ALCS pick, which was looking really wobbly when the hated Yankees were up 3-0.

Now my World Series pick, the Boston Red Sox, on a torrid seven-game winning streak, are perched on the brink of their first MLB crown in 86 years.

Here's an addendum to that pick: the BoSox will lose the last four games and the Series to St. Louis.

It would be so perfect. Coming back from a 3-0 deficit to beat "the Evil Empire," the first baseball team (and third team in any major pro sport) to ever do so, only to turn around, take a 3-0 lead in the World Series, and return the favor.

C'mon, Red Sox fans, admit it: you're almost craving that collapse. Your team can't win a championship. Your team has to choke. They wouldn't be the Boston Red Sox any other way. Winning it all would turn your lives upside-down. It would throw your whole region into chaos. Heck, it'd almost be unAmerican.

You know it's true. And you know it's going to happen. Curt Schilling's season is done, and Pedro Martinez shot his wad last night. The rest of that rotation is going to get lit up like the Baghdad nighttime skyline.

Cardinals in seven. History will be made. Again.

And all will be right with the New England world.

Besides, from the look of things, the Patriots are never going to lose another game ever again.

UPDATE: Boston 3, St. Louis 0. Red Sox win Series 4-0.

You people have done it now. Don't say I didn't warn you....

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Qaqaagate the Ultimate Kerry Flip-Flop

John Kerry's habit of grasping for what ever comes up in the latest media spin cycle as campaign ammo to use against President Bush is anything but new. This "missing explosives in Iraq" business is just the latest example of it.

If, however, this was the big "gotcha" the President's enemies have been holding in reserve for the sprint to the tape - a sloppy, underresearched "story" marred by convenient assumptions and partisan wishful thinking that collapsed inside of a day without fabricated documents and incestuous media-Kerry collusion (so bad, in fact, that the New York Times couldn't even get the "journalistic" batton to their dubious partners at CBS to run on - I swear I couldn't make this up - 60 Minutes) - color me as unimpressed.

Reminds me of what T.S. Elliot once wrote (with one word strategically replaced):

"This is the way a political party ends
This is the way a political party ends
Not with a bang
But a whimper"

It goes without saying that both the Times and Kerry are blustering forward with this discredited turkey anyway. They may as well, since draftmongering and scaring grandma and counterfeit messiahnism hasn't gotten them anywhere.

But do you really want to know just how bottom-of-the-barrel John Kerry's propects have become (leaving aside the rumor that he's abandoning Florida - not that he is pulling out of the sunshine state, but that there could even be such a rumor)? Consider the underlying premise of this fraudulent story:

1) Saddam Hussein had high-explosives used to detonate nuclear weapons; ergo
2) Saddam Hussein had, or wasn't far from acquiring, nuclear weapons;
3) These explosives could be passed on to terrorists;
4) American troops didn't get to al Qaqaa soon enough, and let these 380 tons of dual-use high explosive get stolen by "looters" right out from under their oblivious noses (a logistical and physical impossibility)

Now, what has Kerry spent all year insisting?

1) Saddam Hussein didn't have any WMD;
2) George W. Bush "misled" the country into believing that he did;
3) He "rushed to war" instead of giving multilateral diplomacy yet another round of chances

Does anybody besides me (and Jason Smith) see a contradiction here?

Okay, I won't be coy about it: After spending all year as the McGovernite pacifist anti-war candidate attacking the President with relentless ferocity from the Left (which got him precisely nowhere), John Kerry's last-chance gambit is to attack the President with compressedly frantic ferocity from the Right.

The logic of the underlying premise is irrefutable: to use this critique of Mr. Bush's wartime leadership, you must conclude that Saddam was dangerous, a terrorism sponsor, possessed WMDs, and that the President's mistake was in not "rushing to war" fast enough.

Oh, yes, and that the elite 101st Airborne Division is bumblingly incompetent.

It is an argument that, actually, does possess a great deal of merit (not about the 101st Airborne, or the "looted" explosives, which were long gone by the time our forces arrived - most likely to Syria, along with the rest of Saddam's WMD stockpiles). When Mr. Bush foolishly took Colin Powell's advice, went to the UN, and tried to go the John Kerry route, I was highly critical. I called it a waste of time, scoffed at the idea that France, Germany, Russia et al would ever truly cooperate with us, and predicted that we would have to go in anyway without a UN fig leaf, that this extra time squandered on diplomatic dithering would give Saddam the chance to come up with some unpleasant surprises, and that Bush would never get credit from the DisLoyal Opposition for this gesture to "multilateralism."

Every one of those stances was vindicated.

But John Kerry, even in his "hawkish" persona, never once held any of them (an astounding realization when you stop and think about it...).

Until now, apparently, whether or not he realizes it. Next, he'll be calling Bush a "wimp" for having failed to keep going into Syria to capture the Qaqaa HE.

Just goes to show that the Boston Balker really will say anything to get even one more vote.

Even if it makes him look and sound utterly incoherent.

And nobody is really listening anymore.

9% of the Vote is in: Bush 51%, Kerry 47%

So sez ABC News.

Fascinating, isn't it? My projection? Bush 51%, Kerry 47%. What did I predict after the Dem convention? Bush 51%, Kerry 47%. What did I predict a full year ago? Bush 51%, Kerry 47%.

What was the late Freddie Prinze's catch-phrase? "Loooooking goooooooood!!!"

This isn't "Desperation"; This is Who These People ARE

The following is a letter from Bush-Cheney '04 Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman:


I am appalled.

In Missouri, a flyer shows a photograph of a young black man under a fire hose in the 1950s. The flyer tells African-Americans this is an example of how Republicans have kept voters from the polls. In Colorado, Republican voters got calls telling them their family members in Iraq had died. The callers claimed that call would be real unless Kerry was elected.
In these final days, we can only expect more of this filth.

I urge you to turn on your answering machine. If you get a call from an unknown number, let the machine pick it up. It may be the latest campaign of smear, fear and lies from our opponents.

If you get one of these disgusting calls, or an outrageous flyer or mailing, save the message, call our hotline and let us know.


Just a few weeks ago we saw a Kerry campaign manual that told their staff to allege intimidation even if no evidence existed. Now their allies have begun an incredibly dishonest and disgusting campaign of shadowy calls and misleading flyers.

We need to know immediately if you get one of these calls. We need to know the lies, threats, and distortions those allied against us are spreading.

With very few days left, we need you to be our eyes and ears on the ground.

Call our hotline at 1-888-610-8170 if you get any suspicious messages.

Thanks for all you have done, and all you continue to do.


Ken Mehlman

P.S. The shadowy groups allied against us have begun a campaign of filth and lies. Turn on your answering machine. If you get a message filled with lies, call our hotline at 1-888-610-8170 and let us know.

Kerry conceding Florida?????

So Tony Snow apparently suggested to Bill O'Neill on Fox tonight, in order to focus his remaining resources on Ohio and Pennsylvania.

There's two ways to look at this rumor:

(1) Kerry is doing a lot worse in these three states than state polling is indicating. If this is the case, the election is over, because there is no way on God's green Earth that Kerry can win without Florida, and if he's having to "shore up" Pennsylvania and Ohio, the other Midwest battleground states are likely too far out of reach to make up for it.

(2) It's crap.

I agree with Jim Geraghty's take - with only a week left in the pre-election campaign anyway, what would be the point? Besides, no matter how Kerry is doing in these three states, he can't quit Florida for the same underlying reason: without it, he's finished.

October Surprise Steps: (1) Pull Grenade Pin; (2) Throw Pin; (3) Plug Ears With Grenade

Ed Gillespie weighs in:


It's October, but it's no surprise. Remember last week, when I highlighted a quote by Newsweek editor Evan Thomas that the media's desire to see John Kerry elected may be worth five-to-twenty million votes, and urged you to be on the look-out for evidence of that desire in articles and news programs?

Well, yesterday the front page of New York Times featured a flawed article asserting, "The Iraqi interim government has warned the United States and international nuclear inspectors that nearly 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives — used to demolish buildings, make missile warheads and detonate nuclear weapons — are missing from one of Iraq's most sensitive former military installations. The huge facility, called Al Qaqaa, was supposed to be under American military control but is now a no man's land, still picked over by looters as recently as Sunday."

CBS News' 60 Minutes admitted today they were saving the same story to air the Sunday before the election.

John Kerry seized on the New York Times headline to launch a political attack on President Bush, saying U.S. troops "failed to guard those stockpiles" and that is "one of the great blunders" of the war.

Senator Kerry and the New York Times leave the impression that these weapons went missing recently and U.S. troops were derilict in their duty to guard the stockpile — neither of which is true.

Network and cable news programs repeated the incomplete report and Senator Kerry's attacks more than 100 times on Monday.

But last night NBC Nightly News reported that on April 10, 2003, one day after Baghdad fell, U.S. troops entered Al Qaqaa, accompanied by an embedded reporter from NBC, and found no such weapons.

It also turns out that our troops have found and destroyed or are destroying 400,000 tons of weapons and explosives.

There was no mention of either one of these facts in today's New York Times front page "story," which regurgitated yesterday's charges and Senator Kerry's attacks based on them.

Liberal groups like have already blasted out e-mails repeating the discredited report and urging people to vote against President Bush based on the flawed coverage.

We can not count on the media to set the story straight. We have to get the truth out to our friends and neighbors ourselves.

We are counting on YOU to set the record straight. Please forward this e-mail and the attached fact sheet to family and friends, call your local network, call talk radio, write letters to the editor, and post facts on blogs.

I suspect you'll be hearing from me again in the course of the next seven days as Mr. Thomas's prediction proves true again.


Ed Gillespie
Republican National Committee

E-minus 7 days and counting....

The numbers as they stand at the end of the day today:

Poll Composite: Bush 49.1%, Kerry 44.9% (Bush +4.2 - no change)

Electoral College: Bush 213, Kerry 206 (tossups 119)

-Iowa moves from "leaning Bush" to tossup
-Michigan moves from "leaning Kerry" to tossup
-Pennsylvania moves from tossup to "leaning Kerry"


Popular Vote: Bush 51.4%, Kerry 47.0% (Bush +4.4 - down 0.1%)

Electoral College: Bush 318, Kerry 220

-Bush just barely noses past Kerry in Michigan


-Arkansas: Bush +2.5
-Colorado: Bush +3.7
-Florida: Bush +1.1
-Hawaii: Bush +0.9
-Iowa: Bush +2.0
-Michigan: TIED (tie goes to the champion)
-Minnesota: Kerry +2.0
-Nevada: Bush +4.0
-New Hampshire: Kerry +2.4
-Ohio: Bush +1.3
-Wisconsin: Bush +1.5

Today's bottom line: If the President is leading by 4-5 points nationally, all the "tossup" states where he leads will fall into his column, plus probably Minnesota (Michigan being the bellweather in this instance). Throw Kerry back Hawaii as consolation prize and that leaves Bush with 323 Electoral Votes.

How can GDub be only breaking even in Florida and three points behind his 2000 pace in Ohio? (1) Kerry has made a much stronger effort there than Gore did; (2) I'd say vote fraud, but I know of no way to quantify that in a poll unless you specifically ask respondents, "are you voting illegally, and if so, for whom are you voting...?"; (3) much as in 2002, state polling is underreporting GOP mobilization capabilities.

As for Kerry's much-vaunted post-Election litigation offensive, I think it will be limited to Florida and Ohio (assuming both are close enough, AND he also carries Michigan, AND he holds onto Minnesota; otherwise, fugedaboudit), with Florida being the key. If Lurch could sue Florida into his column, he'd only need to flip one other state to go over the top. Without Florida, he'd need at least three, including Ohio, and that becomes a lot more problematic.

More likely is that his early declaration of "victory" will be on a par with his magic CIA hat, UN Security Council meeting, Vietnam combat exploits, and the rest of his treasured fantasies. He'll probably never concede as such.

But Bush will still be a two-term president.

Monday, October 25, 2004


Brother Hinderaker had to go and inflict this blurb on my psyche yesterday:

"This morning Ted Kennedy, of all people, preached a sermon at the Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia in which, according to the Associated Press, he 'urged the congregation to vote for Kerry.'"

Well, of course he did. What better place to pour the Massachusetts Manatee into than a black church pulpit? The pulpit itself could hold him up, and they doublessly hollowed out the inside and installed a mini-still, or perhaps a keg if he could get the paritioners to pass around an extra collection plate to cover the deposit on it.

Do yourself a favor and avoid looking at the accompanying AP photograph. As left-wing hypocrisy goes, it's an obscenity.

This is worse:

"Mount Hermon's pastor, the Reverend John F. White [I swear I'm not making that up], promised to lead a pilgrimage to the polls next Sunday after services, and compared Mr. Kerry to Moses leading the children of Israel to the promised land.

"For the last four years we've been living in the wilderness," he shouted from the pulpit, Mr. Kerry seated by his side. "There is one who can divide the Red Sea for us and we can cross over on dry ground. You've got a vote in your hand - use it on Election Day, use it and be liberated and be set free." [my emphasis]

High on George Bush's second-term agenda should be the revocation of the tax-exempt status of every last church in which any Democrat befouled the pulpit with blatant politicking that, were any Republican to do it, donks would bellow to high heaven it was "unconstitutional."

No, I'm not kidding. What I am is pissed. I'm sick and tired of the Left's one-way streets, and on nothing more than their Christophobic bigotry that seeks to all but herd evangelicals into cattle cars while at the same time turning black churches into political campaign halls.

Much has been made about Republicans "controlling" the elective branches of government. But that control is meaningless unless Republicans also use that power to change society and governing institutions to their liking, and that includes doing what's necessary to entrench themselves in a ruling hegemony that will last at least as long as the Democrats' dynasty did. And part of that is taking away or minimizing to the greatest extent possible any advantage or edge that the Democrats possess.

In this particular context, that means either openly politicking in evangelical churches, along with de-liberalizing the federal bench and re-Christianizing the public square, or applying the same restrinctions across the board.

I'd prefer the former, personally. But I wouldn't shrink from the latter if need be.

This campaign has demonstrated that the Demofascists have moved way, way beyond "hardball." If Republicans don't match them, continuing to naively trust in "the rules" and "the law" and "the system" to assure a "level playing field," their political doom is inevitable regardless of the quality of their candidates, organizations, and message.

Once again, I am serious. As a heart attack.

Leo Durocher once said that "nice guys finish last." A week from now a nice guy and Republican is going to win. My advice? Have your DVD burners and TIVOs running. Because it will be the last time you ever see that combination again.

Did you know that John Kerry was the real life Rambo? Just ask him!

"Democratic presidential nominee and ***VIETNAM WAR VETERAN*** John Kerry tried to burnish his national security credentials on Saturday by vowing to hunt down terrorists with the same energy he used to pursue the Viet Cong. ...

"With the same energy ... I put into going after the Viet Cong and trying to win for our country, I pledge to you I will hunt down and capture or kill the terrorists before they harm us," Kerry said. "And we will wage a war on terror that makes America proud and brings the world to our side."

He will, my fellow Americans. Personally. Shirtless. With headband, rippling, oiled musculature, and his trusty ChiComm rifle. And those that he captures (after sneaking up on them on his belly through the underbrush) he'll tie up securely and then torture by forcing them to listen to his stump speech indefinitely until they beg to be beheaded.

You know why it's time for this campaign to end? Because everything has already been said. By John Kerry. Particularly this relentless, interminable macho chest-thumping. It reminds me of all the sexual boasting I used to hear in junior high gym class.

Indeed, I had one high school friend who was a year behind me who used to tell me that he had had sex "over a thousand times." Given that he was not quite sixteen at the time, I suppose that was just barely biologically possible, assuming that he was also related to (or well-connected with) Wilt Chamberlain. He never made that particular claim, but fearing that he might if I asked, I let discretion be the better part of valor.

Strangely enough, he never suggested that we double-date.

John Kerry, however, is suggesting that some 160 million Americans turn out and vote to make him President Rambo, which would last about twenty-nine seconds after he'd had George W. Bush arrested by his "security forces," after which he would morph back into a gangly Adlai Stevenson.

After this election is over, the Massachusetts mercenary is going to look back and realize that his critical mistake in a campaign littered with them was when, in the final debate, he failed to walk out from behind the podium, unzip himself, and prove to the American people that his really is longer.

Providing the President with the opening to remark, "Well, Senator, how do you think they're keeping me tethered to my podium....?"

If Clinton & Gore are the Cavalry, Kerry would be better off with Custer

Of course, that analogy doesn't hold all that well, because in context, Kerry is Custer....

Ask yourself this question: when did George W. Bush ever send Bob Dole and Gerald Ford out to campaign for him as his "star" surrogates? Oh, yes, that's right, Ford was never elected. His pappy, then?

Look, I know that Clinton is the only the third Dem since Grover Cleveland to have won two terms as president, and is the only donk with certifiable "rock star" status, but when has the man ever gotten anybody but himself elected to anything? I mean, sure, given his sheer volume of campaigning during and since his moist reign, there must have been a few, but as a rule he's had the sidaM touch (you know, he touches chicken salad and it becomes...well, you know...). Criminy, have people forgotten that there are now 52 fewer Dems in the House and eight fewer in the Senate than when he was first elected POTUS twelve years ago?

Rumor has it Clinton's primary role is to fire up black voters for what has to be the single whitest man ever to seek the nation's highest office. Culturally speaking, that is - the picture I saw of Clinton today would seem to make him the physically whitest man in the land, as well as looking about eighty years old. One wonders if he really ought to be out campaigning only seven weeks after open heart surgery.

Indeed, one wonders why Clinton is out campaigning at all given his wife's candid designs on the Oval Office and her legendary impatience. Then the answer dawns - Mr. Bill believes that it's already too late, Kerry can't win, so it's safe to return to the campaign mosh pits again and create the appearance of intra-party amity now that his operatives have effectively stuck the knife in Lurch's back. Which, at this point, seems redundant.

Still, Clinton does have "rock star" status and all. But what explains deputizing Gore? And to Florida no less. That fat bastard has a screw loose. Every time he's in front of a microphone you can just see something bursting inside of him like the victims in the scifi classic (work with me here...) Scanners.

What? He got 93% of the black vote in 2000? And Clinton's best was ten points short of that?

Piffle. He's still crazy as a loon. And sodomarriage wasn't an issue in that campaign.

Maybe being on stage with Gore would make Kerry look normal by comparison. But Gore is flying solo; it's Clinton with whom Kerry is hanging out. How that can make Mr. French look like anything but the pompous stiff he really is just baffles me.

But even seeking a lifeline from the don of the donks is pretty convincing evidence that the Kerry candidacy is going down for the third time.

Which means the Clintons have the Boston Balker right where they want him - ready to stick the hose down his throat and open the spigots on full.

The Countdown Begins Tomorrow

In light of the possibilities for another anti-Bush "gotcha," either from the domestic enemy (a la the DUI story) or the foreign ones (a la a mushroom cloud over Manhatten), I will post my current numbers at the end of each day through a week from tomorrow. Call it a chronicling of the preservation, or damnation, of the American branch of Western civilization as its day of reckoning approaches.

Or the political "two minute warning."

Here is the score with which we will begin tomorrow:

Poll Composite: Bush 48.9%, Kerry 44.7%

Electoral College: Bush 220, Kerry 202 (tossups 116)


Popular Vote: Bush 51.4%, Kerry 46.9%

Electoral College: Bush 301, Kerry 237

>TWEET< The clock is ticking....

America and Iraq: Two Democracies, Two Insurgencies

Is that parallel overblown? Well, maybe a little - Demofascists haven't taken to executing dozens of Republicans at once (yet...) - but the difference is only one of degree, and that difference is narrowing.

Just look at the headlines on my "Outside the Beltway" links page:

Early vote sites besieged by chaos
Dems Register al-Qaeda Terrorists in Ohio Vote Drive
Voter Intimidation in Florida
Campaign Violence in Oregon
Voter Intimidation in Colorado
Democrats Suppress The Vote in Florida
Campaign Violence in Arizona
Riots To Occur In Copley Square November 2nd
Ohio Dems registering terrorists
Democrat Insurgents Attack Cincinnati

That page used to have hardly any activity on it, aside from the periodic mention of Arnold Schwartzeneggar's latest gubernatorial exploits. Now it's becoming almost a domestic version of "World War IV".

It's a sobering irony, really: the world's oldest democracy and the world's youngest democracy, beset by the same fundamental problems, passing each other going in opposite directions.

If the Demofascist insurgency is successful, who, I wonder, will come to liberate us?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Not 2000, but 1980 - with a smidgen of 1865 to follow?

Hugh Hewitt, whose steadfast prediction of a big Bush win - which looked like homerism not so long ago - is looking better and better as the poll numbers show the President slowly but steadily expanding his lead.

I posted on the topic of Big Media's stubborn "It's 2000 all over again" paradigm at length yesterday. As I said then, for me it's all about the numbers as they stand today. But what raises Hewittian inclinations is the trends of which they are a part.

I commented back in the summer about a series of anecdotal press accounts regarding undecided voters who weren't thrilled with Bush but were even less so with Kerry (sorry, no convenient links available, as that was pre-blogspot). More recently we've seen polls showing GDub doubling his share of the black vote and doubling his Jewish support, in addition to his campaign's long-publicized goal of winning 40% of the Hispanic vote. The so-called "gender gap" has disappeared, substantiating the "security mom" phenomenon, where as the Dems' gender gap - among male voters - is bigger than ever. If Bush wins 20% of the black vote, a third of the Jewish vote, 40% of Hispanics, a majority of Catholics, breaks even among women, and dominates the "NASCAR dads," how can that produce another 2000-ish "photo finish"?

There are other signs. While Dems have made massive efforts (by hook and by crook) in Florida and Ohio, Bush still holds narrow leads in both, with strong finishes in offing for the final week. Meanwhile, the President is about three points ahead of where he was in Pennsylvania the last time. Ditto Michigan, where the sodomarriage issue is proving to be an anchor around John Kerry's bolted neck. Bush leads in Iowa, leads in Wisconsin, and is passing Kerry in Minnesota - all states Gore narrowly carried the last time. Those three states equal Florida in the Electoral College, BTW.

Even in states that are still safely "blue" (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York) Dubya is doing much better than his 2000 finish. And what is one to make of Bush suddenly edging ahead in Hawaii? Two polls have now shown this over the last few days.

If Kerry is in trouble in a state that, until 2002, had not elected a Republican governor since before statehood, and which has only gone Republican for President over that time in the Nixon and Reagan landslides, is this election really "too close to call"?

One of the pasttimes of a presidential election year is drawing parallels between the current campaign and previous elections. The "official" one for this matchup is, of course, 2000. Others have suggested 1864 (supposedly unpopular wartime president winning resounding re-election against all apparent odds), 1984 (fecklessly ultraliberal senator running openly on domestic liberalism challenges proven, tax-cutting Republican incumbent), and 1988 (pompous, dull, hectoring, feckless ultraliberal from Massachusetts challenges a Republican named Bush).

I, however, have another one to suggest: 1980.

The 1980 Carter-Reagan campaign was the first one I ever followed closely and avidly. As my conservatism grew out of what would today be called "neoconservative" foreign policy stances centered on the "Peace through Strength" Cold War paradigm, I inevitably became a staunch Reagan backer. Which made for some interesting discussions in sophomore social studies (for some reason, there were quite a few John Anderson fans in that class), but I digress.

One thing I remember well from that race was the cover of the Sunday supplement/magazine on the penultimate weekend of the campaign. It showed Carter's face and Reagan's face, facing each other, with a headline the jist of which was "Down to the wire." This was right before their one and only, well, "face-to-face" debate, in which Reagan delivered his famous "There you go again" quip that made the 39th POTUS look like the mean, small man he is to this day.

The Left, then as now, was maniacally opposed to Dutch, believing the fate of the nation and the world in mortal peril if that "numbskulled warmonger" got his hands on the nuclear button. The conventional wisdom, promulgated by Big Media, then as now, was that the Gipper and Mr. Peanut were neck-and-neck.

But they weren't neck-and-neck. Ronald Reagan ran up a popular vote margin of over eight million votes, won a PV majority in a three-way race, and swept 45 states and 489 Electoral Votes. Jimmy Carter conceded more than two hours before the polls closed on the West Coast.

I think something like this is shaping up for November 2nd.

Want some additional fodder for this theory? Let's return to my polling composite, only this time focus on the "elite four" that make up half of it (Harris, Fox, Zogby, IBD/TIPP) based upon being closest to the pin in 2000.

The Election-eve figures posted by these four surveys, weightedly averaged, projected the following result: Gore 47.9%, Bush 47.7%.

The latest numbers from those same four polls, weightedly averaged, project the following outcome: Bush 52.1%, Kerry 46.1%.

This projection is based upon the undecided vote mirroring the "decided" vote. I've read all the gibber-gabber about how four out of five "undecideds" think Bush doesn't deserve a second term. But if they think that, and still aren't committing to John Kerry - as referenced above - I think it not just possible, but likely that they simply will not vote. A "pox upon both your houses" conclusion.

Oh, and did I mention that even Kerry partisan John Zogby showed Bush up seven (50%-43%) in his daily survey yesterday? Yesterday being Saturday, which is a weekend day when Dems usually do better?

I'm sorry, keeds, but it comes back to what I said yesterday: unless the Kerryians have held back something devastating about Bush that nobody knows about (not even the President), or al Qaeda sets off one of their suitcase nukes on the Capitol Mall, or "Mr. " Zarqawi manages to behead Prime Minister Allawi on al-Jazeera, or God Himself decides to directly intervene on behalf of a man who condones child sacrifice, there is no way that John Kerry can change the dynamic of this race or the trends that are running against him. And those trends will push this election beyond the reach of his fixers and storm troopers.

But that may be a happy ending of very short shelf life; just feast your eyes upon this from the op-ed page of the British left-wing paper The Guardian:

"On November 2, the entire civilised world will be praying, praying Bush loses. And Sod's law dictates he'll probably win, thereby disproving the existence of God once and for all."

Athiests "praying" to a God in which they do not believe for a result they're positive they're not going to get, and pre-emptively citing it as "proof" that there is no God. Is it humanly possible to get any more incoherent than this?

Perhaps. But it's not possible to get any more evil, any more wicked, than this:

"The world will endure four more years of idiocy, arrogance and unwarranted bloodshed, with no benevolent deity to watch over and save us. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, John Hinckley Jr - where are you now that we need you?"

Well, there it is. From bumperstickers and (way) off-broadway plays and supposedly "tongue-in-cheek" books to the British counterpart of the New York Times: "For the sake of the whole world, George W. Bush must die."

I don't want to speculate about this horrific spectre. But I don't have to speculate about the mind of any "journalist" who would actually write such a thing, or a supposedly "mainstream" publication in an allied country that would print it. And, sorry, but I don't give a shit that they've now pulled the op-ed from their website or that the author, Charlie Brooker, is trying to pull an Alec Baldwin by claiming that it was all just an "ironic joke".

Remember the Oklahoma City bombing? Remember how the Clintonoid Left in this country tried to smear conservatives with complicity in the atrocity on the grounds that their purportedly "over the top" criticism of Clinton had "created an atmosphere of hate" that nurtured Timothy McVeigh and the Nichols brothers in committing this terrorist act? With the notion of assassinating President Bush nearing the left-wing mainstream (What's that saying? "Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, thrice is a trend"), is it remotely unreasonable to expect that there will be libs in a second Bush term who will try and take their shot at it for real? Or perhaps even make common cause with al Qaeda in the endeavor?

A party and/or movement that goes into such extremist rhetorical overdrive as to openly advocate assassination has left itself with few options besides humiliating retreat or moving beyond hate speech to violent action. And the wave of vandalism, drive-by-shootings, and physical assaults against Bush supporters and campaign offices that has marred the home stretch of this campaign does less than nothing to persuade any reasonable observer that Dems will chose the former over the latter.

It comes down to this: libs are fanatically convinced that George Bush has to be removed from office. John Kerry is not going to unseat him on November 2nd. Democrats will not regain the House, ruling out impeachment.

That leaves only one option.

Abraham Lincoln is alleged to have said once that if a man wants to kill the President badly enough, nothing can stop him.

Executive protection has improved quite a bit since then. But then so has would-be assassins' means.

And the level of partisan passion today is the most destructive seen since Vietnam - and perhaps Lincoln's day itself.

"'We're Democrats, so violence is OK.', writes Powerline's John Hinderaker today of the donks' evident mindset. "That is the attitude that has swept across America, leaving our democracy more threatened than at any time since 1861."

And our President - even, or especially, after his resounding re-election.

How Close is this Election REALLY?

Lately I've been wondering whether I'm on an emotional roller-coaster when it comes to this election. Now I'm thinking that I've been rooted in the same place all along, and it's everybody else who is whipsawing back and forth.

I am an accountant by profession. My job, distilled to its essence, is to crunch numbers and by so doing communicate information. And, as you can see, I have been doing so with regard to national and state-by-state polling numbers throughout the campaign, refining my weighted polling composite along the way to provide myself and my readers with as objective a picture of the state of the race as I can. And one of the primary reasons why is precisely to avoid the aforementioned emotional whipsawing as one poll comes out showing a tie or Kerry slightly ahead, while the next shows Bush up mid-to-high single-digits.

Eleven days I ago I gave my hardheaded analysis of the race as it stood on the eve of Debate III:

Contrary to Jonathan Rothenberg's laboring optimism, the polling trend is moving away from the President, not toward him. And it isn't just Zogby that says so. The fact is that from the four-point lead Bush held in my composite on the day of Debate I, he steadily declined to the 1.5-point lead posted yesterday. Today was the first day that showed movement back toward GDub, and one day does not a trend make.

If the election were tomorrow (bearing in mind the rampant Democrat fraud and violence across the country) and I had to call it, I would designate John Kerry as the next President of the United States.

Fortunately (perhaps), the election isn't tomorrow. But Debate III is, and because of his perceived pratfall in Debate I, the President has to do at least as well as he did last Friday in St. Louis. If he matches or exceeds that performance, I think he'll eke out a two or three point popular vote win and scrape by similarly in the Electoral College.

If we get the Coral Gables Bush, you can stick a fork in him.

That was what the numbers said, and I opined thusly. Eleven days ago.

I also took to task some on my side of this war who I thought were tangenting off into wishful-thinking by urging the disregarding of polls, and denigrating the ones showing Bush doing the worst (like Zogby) for no other seeming reason than that they were showing Bush doing poorly. I thought they were the proverbial shooters of messengers bearing bad news, and I opined thusly. Eleven days ago.

It's now eleven days later. And I find myself in the opposite position.

The President slam-dunked John Kerry in their rubber match. From the 1.9% lead Mr. Bush held in my polling composite going into Debate III, a week later (as of this past Thursday) he rebounded to the four-point lead he held when the debate phase of the campaign began, and is still there today.

Part of it was Kerry's despicable outing of Mary Cheney, and part was Bush's upward performance curve while Kerry's stayed flat, tarnishing the apparent quality of his Debate I showing. The Massachusetts mercenary's ostrich-like comments on terrorism in his infamous N.Y. Times Magazine interview didn't help, either. This past week brought Teraaaaaaayza's imperious mugging of Laura Bush. And of course there is the unprecedented wave of vote fraud and political terrorism being inflicted on Republicans across the country by the openly fascist Democrat Left, showing that they want power entirely too much and raising harrowing questions of what they would do if they seized it.

Yet now, instead of my fellow GOPers whizzing on the polliteriat, I'm seeing the conservative punditocracy ingesting the "It's 2000 all over again" conventional wisdom like it was chocolate chip cookie dough. (No, I'm not providing links - if I did, there'd be no room in this post for my counter-analysis, and that's what you logged on here to see - right...?)

There is a saying about old generals: "They're always fighting the last war." The same thing quite evidently applies to political commentators. Seems like every last one of them has been spouting this "50-50 nation" paradigm ever since then-Prince Albert withdrew his concession on Election Night four years ago. But how valid is it in terms of actually handicapping this election?

Consider a few caveats.

For starters, if the two major parties are at parity nationally in terms of registration and self-identification, hasn't that been the result of Republicans rising, and Democrats declining, to that equilibrium? Doesn't this mean that in previous elections, there were more Democrats than Republicans? Yet, with the exception of Bill Clinton's deviant detour, it is the GOP that has dominated the presidency for nearly two generations. How could that be in what was (1) "45-55 nation" and (2) a political landscape scarcely much less "polarized" than it is now?

None of the above is to suggest that we aren't evenly, and bitterly, divided. But does that demand that election results will be necessarily as rigidly monolithic? Or does it simply reduce the breadth of the range in which possible election results can oscillate?

Let's look back at 2000, and remember a few details that the "conventional wisdom" seems to have forgotten.

At this point in that campaign, George W. Bush held a mid-single-digit lead over Al Gore (a lead that would probably have been double-digits ten or fifteen years ago). He appeared to be cruising to victory. Yet he came within an ultimate 537 votes of losing. Was it "50-50 nation"?

No, it wasn't. It was "DUI."

The middle of that final week was when, ironically, Fox News broke the story about Bush's DUI conviction back in 1976. Yes, it was a last-minute dirty trick, and no, it wasn't relevant to the man Bush was a quarter-century later. But it accomplished what all dirty tricks are designed to do - raise public doubts. Since Bush was the de facto challenger, he was especially vulnerable to such a tactic. As a result, undecideds broke 3-1 for Gore, and a five-point lead evaporated into the dead head we've been hearing about ever since.

Without that DUI gotcha, there's no dead heat, no Florida insurrection, and no conventional wisdom that every subsequent election from now until doomsday is going to be a nail-biter.
Four years later, Mr. Bush is again up by mid-single digits, and though his team has a much less blase attitude about the last ten days of the campaign than it did last time, the fact is that they are cruising to victory. Not a landslide victory, but no nail-biter either.

Could the Democrats have one more "gotcha" up their sleeve? Certainly. Could it be one that would stampede undecideds away from Bush? Personally, I doubt it, or they wouldn't have resorted to shouting "draft!" and scaring grandma two weeks early.

Here's the $64 question, though: could massively increased vote fraud be the "gotcha"? Now you're getting warm.

Looking back on 2000, I can't help wondering if systematic vote fraud didn't account for at least part of that unexpected Bush collapse. The other day I plugged all the 2000 election-eve (and DUI story-influenced) poll numbers into my current composite formula. The projected result was Bush 49.0%, Gore 47.0%. Yet the actual outcome was Gore 48.4%, Bush 47.8%, roughly a two-and-a-half-point additional swing. That translates out to about 2.73 million votes nationally, or a straight per-state average of about 54,000 votes. Recent vote fraud stories in swing states like Ohio mention comparable numbers of phony ballots - and that, of course, is just the ones that have been uncovered.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that that 2.6% Goreward swing in 2000 was entirely vote-fraud driven. Plug that into the current numbers, and you get the following:

Popular vote projection: Bush 51.3%, Kerry 47.0%

PVP with vote fraud: Bush 50.1%, Kerry 48.4%

A four-point win, IOW, becomes a two-point win. And historically, a popular vote margin of greater than a percentage point always means victory in the Electoral College.

Could the Democrats' vote fraud efforts be vastly larger this time? Perhaps in certain key states. But how much would that matter?

Bush barely carried Florida last time, but he won Ohio by a full 4%, or approximately 180,000 votes. If he's five points ahead of where he finished in 2000 nationally, it's difficult to see how the most enormous conceivable vote fraud scheme could do much more than help Kerry match Gore's total. As to Florida, and battleground states in general for that matter, the 2002 mid-terms revealed a vastly improved Republican GOTV (get out the vote) apparatus that produced senate race results that exceeded last-minute poll forecasts by from four percentage points (in Iowa) to almost ten (in Colorado). Since vote fraud pretty much is Democrat "voter registration" and GOTV, and registration numbers in this election cycle are pretty much a wash, I would suggest that the only way Kerry could defraud his way to victory (the platform of his planned post-election litigation offensive) is if his brownshirts in battleground states succeed in intimidating Republicans from voting.

The unlikelihood of that prospect can, I think, be taken for granted. Whereas its flaming irony defies human comprehension.

So, the whole shebang returns, once again, to numbers. And mine, up-to-the-moment, show President Bush leading nationally by four points in the popular vote, and in 34 states totaling 311 Electoral Votes. Of those states, Kerry is within a percentage point in four (Florida, Hawaii, Minnesota, Ohio) yielding 61 Electoral Votes - or....nineteen more EVs than Kerry would need to steal the White House.

Cause for concern? As a nuts & bolts practical matter, yes. But Team Bush is going to be all over Florida and Ohio in the next week, the Governator is going to be campaign for Bush in the Buckeye state, and lastly, remember the lofty ambitions the Democrats had for the Sunshine state in 2002. Terry McAuliffe guaranteed, among other things, that Governor Jeb Bush was going down.

Jeb was re-elected by a thirteen-point margin.

Yes, my friends - and foes - I am the same man who sounded so "pessimistic" to my compatriots two weeks ago, and who doubtlessly sounds so "cocky" to my adversaries today.

But I'm just tracking the numbers.

And unless John Kerry can somehow regain the ground he lost since the debates - a possibility, but not a probability - then this election will not be a replay of 2000, but rather what 2000 should have been: a clear victory for George W. Bush.