Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Election thoughts, Osama thoughts

I have been unnaturally busy the last few days, and I’m afraid that my hectic schedule will continue for a few more. I say this because a few folks, both on the comments page and via e-mail, have complained that this page was relatively silent yesterday. Hey, we are days away from the election, and you not talking! Well, I am talking (to the press, for example), but it is also true that I don’t have very much to say about the election that I haven’t already said here and elsewhere. Nothing has changed in one day, except the bin Laden tape and, whether you like it or not, that is entirely in Bush’s interest. In shorgt, I still believe that Bush will win the election, and will win handily. If you click here
you will see that both John Moser and I have given our predictions, in detail for the electoral vote, and some Senate races. Cleveland Plain Dealer has a poll of Ohio today, and the short of it is that Bush is ahead by 3 points (48-45%). And that’s how it’s going to turn out, imho, except that it is more likely to be Bush 51-48% in Ohio (very similar to the national vote). Let me also note a few things: Cheney is on his way to Hawaii, and today Bush is in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Florida (not Ohio), While Kerry is in Wisconsin and Iowa, and then back to Ohio. Edwards is in Ohio, then Maine, and then Florida. Kerry is fighting for state he should have nailed down weeks or months ago. And then, of course, there is this bin Laden tape. Is there anyone who thinks this is in Kerry’s interest? I don’t think so, although the MSM spin is this: "gosh, we don’t who this will help or hurt." That’s bull. I guess this is the real October surprise. If you are a Kerry supporter, you will call Bush lucky, I guess.
Take a look at Belmont Club’s comments on the Osama tape. He quotes some of bin Laden’s talk and then concludes:

"It is important to notice what he has stopped saying in this speech. He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.

The American answer to Osama’s proposal will be given on Election Day. One response is to agree that the United States of America will henceforth act like Sweden, which is on track to become majority Islamic sometime after the middle of this century. The electorate best knows which candidate will serve this end; which candidate most promises to be European-like in attitude and they can choose that path with both eyes open. The electorate can strike that bargain and Osama may keep his word. The other course is to reject Osama’s terms utterly; to recognize the pleading in his outwardly belligerent manner and reply that his fugitive existence; the loss of his sanctuaries; the annihilation of his men are but the merest foretaste of what is yet to come: to say that to enemies such as he, the initials ’US’ will always mean Unconditional Surrender.

Osama has stated his terms. He awaits America’s answer."

Why I am Voting for Bush

My friend Bob Lawson at Division of Labour has invited his contributors to say for whom they are voting, and why. In case anyone is interested, my answer is here.

OBL’s Endorsement of Kerry

Well, okay, not quite. It seems obvious that bin Laden does not want to see George W. Bush elected to a second term, but if the president has handled the War on Terror as incompetently as the Al-Qaeda chief suggests, then wouldn’t he want a Bush reelection more than anything else? On the other hand, if he wanted to use reverse psychology--he really wants Bush to win, so is making it appear that he prefers Kerry--I find it hard to believe that he would be playing up the president’s alleged incompetence.

No matter how one looks at it, the really puzzling part is why he would think that such a message would work; perhaps he’s hoping to boost anti-Semitism by linking his terror campaign to U.S. support for Israel. But I can’t see this as anything else but a boon for the Bush campaign.

By the way, Power Line notes the similarity between bin Laden’s words and arguments heard in Fahrenheit 9/11. "Do you suppose there are any Democrats honest enough to be embarrassed that Osama bin Laden has enthusiastically adopted their campaign themes?"

Kerry’s Polling About Bin Laden

AP is reporting that Cheney has blasted the Kerry campaign for taking a poll on the Bin Laden videotape. "A spokesman for Kerry’s campaign did not deny polling on the bin Laden videotape, but suggested President Bush has done so. Bush’s campaign strategist denied asking any poll questions about the al-Qaida terrorist." The best denial that Joe Lockhart could make is that the poll wasn’t quite made by the Kerry campaign: "Lockhart said Cheney was referring to a Democracy Corps poll and inaccurately linked it to the Kerry campaign’s private polling. Democracy Corps is a Democratic organization and not part of the Kerry campaign, though its management has worked closely with Kerry’s team." The only thing this poorly executed legerdemain raises in my mind is the question of whether "Democracy Corps" has made an in-kind contribution to the Kerry campaign, and if so, if they have complied with FEC rules.

This will probably not be covered enough in the day leading up to the election to have an effect, but it could have a substantial effect if it is covered. This act will likely remind people of Bill Clinton’s poll driven foreign policy--a foreign policy suited for unserious times--and would thereby confirm many voters’ worst fears about Kerry.

Colloquium Today

David Hackett Fischer, author of Washington’s Crossing, Paul Revere’s Ride and Albion Seed, will be at the Ashbrook Center today at 3:00pm discussing his newest book, Liberty and Freedom.

You can listen in live starting a little before 3:00pm by clicking here.


Ignore the polls. Here’s why the planets are coming into alignment for a solid Bush victory.

First, the victory of the conservative party in Australia by an unexpectedly large margin three weeks ago. I know--they say Iraq wasn’t an issue, but just imagine what the New York Times would have said if Howard had been defeated. Seems like a good omen.

Last week Castro falls ass-over-tea kettle on his face, looking remarkably like Saddam’s statute being toppled in Baghdad last year. Coincidence?

Now we see Yassir Arafat being rushed to a Paris hospital for an "undisclosed" mystery ailment. But did you see his photo yesterday? To paraphrase Monty Python’s parrot sketch, we’re looking at a soon-to-be ex-Arafat.

And then there are the Kerry factors: Americans are not going to elect a guy who owns a powerboat named "Scaramouche," or who wears a flower-power zipper-pull on his ski jacket.

An Observation about Trick-or-Treating

Last night my wife and I sat out on our front porch for an hour, handing out candy to the costumed kiddies who stopped by. And it occurred to me how much Halloween has changed for the worse. For one thing, it was still light out! When we finally packed it in at 7:00, it was just about dark--roughly the point when, during my childhood in the 1970s, we would have first ventured out of the house with our trick-or-treat bags in hand. And while Ashland has designated but a single hour for trick-or-treat, we would have been out for at least two, circulating far and wide in search of candy corn, Smarties, and the always-prized Reese’s Cups. By 9:00 or so we’d come home, exhausted, to begin the process of sorting our haul according to overall desirability, making trades when the opportunity arose.

But there’s something else I noticed. Today’s costumes are far more elaborate than what we had--anyone remember those boxed costumes with the cheap plastic mask? And it appears that folks today put a lot more effort into decorating for Halloween. It used to be nothing more than slapping a few cardboard cut-outs on the windows; today one might be suspected of having insufficient Halloween spirit if one doesn’t have a few styrofoam tombstones in the front yard and ghosts-made-from-sheets hanging from the trees. Okay, most don’t go as far as I do--I use a fog machine--but certainly the bar has been raised. But here’s what’s odd--the kids seem to enjoy it all less. I remember trick-or-treating as something I engaged in with absolute glee; we’d run from house to house, breathlessly shouting "TRICK OR TREAT" at each door. But the children we saw wandering through the neighborhood were sluggish. Few even seemed to be smiling; most didn’t even give the obligatory "trick or treat" unless I insisted on it as a condition of the transaction (which I began doing about halfway through). It was as if they were going through the motions. They wanted the candy, sure, and were willing to put on the silly costumes if that was what it took to close the deal. But one got the sense that their little hearts weren’t in it; that they’d much rather be sitting at home, waiting for the candy to be brought to them.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by this. I probably would’ve been far less thrilled by Halloween if I knew it meant wandering the neighborhood in broad daylight, with my parents standing fifteen feet away. But I can’t help but find it sad; maybe next year I’ll leave the fog machine in the garage.

Cognitive enhancers

The Economist writes on the advances in drugs that will, somehow, help you remember more things than you now do. Very interesting, but I don’t think I’m interested. The only "cognitgive enhancers" I’m interested in is coffee to help me wake and a warm glass of milk (or a hot toddy) to get me to sleep, but I’m really not interested in having a better memory. There is a good chance that I would remember more than is good for me. Yet, wouldn’t it be good to remember with greater ease lines like these? "Now see that noble and most sovereign reason/Like sweet bells jangled, out of time and harsh." Maybe not.

The big picture

Andy Busch goes beyond the hurly-burly of the last few days of the campaign, as well as the confusing opinion polls, to try to get to the nub of the matter. What is the big picture in this election? One, do we have the courage to keep fighting? Bush is determined, Kerry is--at best--queationable on this issue. Two, are Americans willing to draw the line against the further erosion of the moral foundation of the society? Kerry wants us to obliterate ethical boundaries (on abortion, gay marriage, etc.) whereas Bush (to the consternation of his opponents) is determined to clarify those issues: nihilism is not an appropriate foundation on which to run a free society. Three, if they vote for Kerry Americans will contribute to the collapse of rational discourse by rewarding the Michael Moore, George Soros, and the others. Four, the next president may more than a few Supreme Court appointments. Do you think it will make a difference whether they are appointed by Bush or Kerry? Do you want judicial imperialism to continue? I think this sums it all up pretty well and I think the American people understand, and I think that’s why Bush will take not only Ohio, but the country.

Which polls are good

For those of you totally confused by pollsters and their methods--given the different conclusions they seem to come to--you should look at this very clear explanation of their differences and similarities by E.J. Drummond. Also see The Horserace Blog for thoughtful commentary on polls and polling. After examining the various national polls and their methods, Horserace Blog says this:

"So...what does this mean? Essentially, it means that the reliable polls are, roughly speaking, Time, Battleground, Gallup. All of the rest skew toward Democrats, and should be viewed with caution. A surprising number of the rest are either using questionable methods or are using unadvertised methods. This is absolutely taboo among social scientists. Methodology is the only element that the researcher can control, and thus it is critically important -- indeed it is an ethical responsibility -- for the researcher to make his/her methods avaiable."

Time, Battleground, and Gallup. Keep your eyes on those.

South Dakota

has Thune ahead of Daschle, 48.5-45.5%. He also has the load on the one House race, where the Republican (Diedrich) leads the Demo (Herseth), 48.5-45.5%.
Earlier this year, Daschle and Herseth had double-digit leads.

Missing explosives?

Washington Post editorial raises some good questions (some raised by Cliff May and others yesterday) about the weapons cache story. Bill Gertz thinks the Russians might have been involved. Could this be true?

More on Kerry and the Military

I was curious about the possibility of men and women in the armed forces choosing to retire rather than face the prospect of serving under John Kerry as commander-in-chief. I therefore e-mailed a friend of mine from graduate school, who is now serving in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, to get a sense for what he’s heard. Here is his response:

I have heard a little bit of "If that turd Kerry gets elected." type talk, but I haven’t been in position to do much political observation around here. I have had to ponder that question myself - I am approaching my 20 year mark. I don’t know if I would want to serve under that guy. I managed to stomach 8 years of Bill Clinton - although he made sure I saw Bosnia close up - and only got really, really angry when I found out he had Monica Lewinsky under the desk fellating him while he was on the phone with a swing vote Congressdude from KY during the run up to the vote on the Bosnia authorization.

Obviously it’s dangerous to try to generalize from this, but his dilemma is worth noting here nonetheless.

Afghanistan Reborn

Charles Fairbanks writes a terrific (and long) article on what a great success Afghanistan has been. He find it all remarkable and much to the advantage of the Afghans (and the U.S.). Fairbanks is a prof at Johns Hopkins/SAIS, and runs their Central Asia-Caucasus Institute.    


Quinnipiac poll has Bush ahead, 49-47% in PA. Zogby
disagrees. He has Kerry leading Bush, 49-46% in PA. Zogby also has figures from other states and nation-wide polls in the above Reauters story.

Kerry’s religion

Maybe we should give Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe the last word on Kerry’s religion. Also see this on the normality of Bush’s faith by Joe Knippenberg.

Bush and Gay Unions

I have not heard much said about this story today. Why is Bush saying this and why is he saying it now? I have no great insight on either question--except to say that if he is saying it, he must believe it. Anyone else?

Might Kerry Reinstate the Draft?

One of our readers, Vernon Dozier, has offered a comment that deserves to be moved front and center:

Hasn’t anyone considered that Kerry would need a draft a lot more than Bush? Bush is very popular among current military personnel (he stands to get 75% to 80% of the military vote), and the various branches are currently meeting recruitment goals. In contrast, Kerry is reviled by about 95% of those who served directly with him because he pissed all over them with false accusations of atrocities merely to promote his own political ambitions. Who the hell would volunteer to serve under such a commander in chief?

In fact, this is very much in line with what I learned today from talking with a student who has friends in the armed forces. It is no secret that the men and women of the military find Kerry despicable, and apparently there are many who say that if he is elected they will not reenlist. Assuming he would be unable to make up for these losses with French and German soldiers, it is at least as reasonable to suppose that Kerry would reinstate the draft as it is to suggest that the president might.

Kentucky’s gay marriage amendment

increasingly support a constitutional amendment that would ban civil unions and strengthen a state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, according to a new Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll.

Seventy-six percent of likely voters polled said they would vote for the amendment. Eighteen percent of likely voters said they opposed the amendment and 6 percent said they were undecided. The telephone poll — of 690 likely voters taken Oct. 18-20 — had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points."

Depressed mice

Although this story is only tangentially related to the election, I post it anyway. Scientist have discovered that newborn mice when given prozac get depressed as they get older. "Mice treated with the antidepressant Prozac early in life grow into adults with emotional problems, a new report concludes."

"Researchers began injecting mice with fluoxetine four days after birth until they were 21 days old. Nine weeks after their last injection, the adult animals were given a series of behavioural tests designed to assess their level of anxiety and depression.

The team found that rodents who received drug as newborns were more intimidated by new surroundings and moved more slowly to avoid painful shocks compared to controls. ’They are more inhibited in novel situations,’ says Gingrich. ’Extrapolating to people, we’d say the mice are showing symptoms of anxiety and depression or emotional problems.’"

Missing explosives, the non story

The Belmont Club, as Joe Knippenberg says in the comment section, is all over the missing explosives story. The bottom line: the place was searched by units of the 3rd Infantry Division before the 101st Airborne arrived and there are contemporaneous press reports to document this.

Ohio is not a swing state

I wrote this paragraph on Ohio for NRO’s Battlegrounders:

"This is a brief response and note to Kathryn’s bringing to our attention Jay Costs points (below). I also think that Bush is doing much better in Ohio than the MSM gives him credit for; the MSM are spinning. And this explains why Bush was able to stay away from the state for ten days; he has a chance to take Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, and still hold Ohio. Rove isn’t an idiot and they haven’t given up on Ohio. Jay mentions many good reasons for thinking this and he is essentially correct. I want to emphasize a few things, only some of which he mentions. First, as he mentions, Ohio is very much of a GOP state, it is not a swing state; the Democratic party is hardly to be found; and there is no interesting state-wide Demo candidate running for any position that in any way will help Kerry; Voinovich will be re-elected with about 63% of the vote. Second, the social-moral issues (gay marriage, abortion) and security concerns have a huge impact in Ohio, especially among women and African-Americans. This is even reflected in nation-wide polls. Kerry cannot break even with Bush with female voters; he needs to get at least 10% more of them than Bush and Bush will pick up about 13% of the black vote. Third, only fools will think that the roughly 800,000 newly registered voters are all going for Kerry; they will end up breaking about 50-50; pay attention to the large number of voters the GOP has registered, these guys have not been napping for the last five months; there are new voters in rural counties too, they’re not all up in Cuyahoga County. Fourth, Bush will get a much larger percentage of Independents than some folks think. Fifth, there is no enthusiasm for Kerry, even among his supporters. Nobody likes this guy, and his wife seems to justify the worst tendencies of the French Revolution; it is impossible for people to envision her in the White House as first lady. I will predict that Bush will win the state by one or two points less than "Issue 1" (no gay marriage) will pass with: "Issue 1" will pass by about 6%, and Bush will take Ohio by 4 or 5 percent. It is my considered opinion that the Democrats and the Kerry campaign are extremely desperate in Ohio. And I understand why."

Another MSM non-story on the draft

Thomas A. Ricks writes another MSM spin piece a few days before the election on how the draft just might be re-instituted. Are there no certain dregs of conscience left within these people?

The Jewish vote

Peter Beinart of The New Republic writes on the Jewish vote. Worth reading, even though it is not as conclusive regarding how Jews will end up voting in this election; despite the GOP push for those votes, most Jews will still back Kerry. Yet, Bush has succeeded with Orthodox and more religious Jews and the implication of that is this: "Religion is eclipsing ethnicity as a force in American politics."

Voter Fraud as Disenfranchisement

We’ve all heard the charges and counter-charges by now. Every time a Republican wants to take steps to prevent voter fraud, he or she is accused of trying to "suppress the vote" or to "disenfranchise" people. But as Will Wilkinson points out, voter fraud is in itself a form of disenfranchisement:

If somebody’s dog manages to vote for John Kerry, then, in effect, Velma Thompson (or whomever) failed to vote for that nice man, George W. Bush, even though she tried. Whiskers cancels out Velma. Here’s another way to make the same point. Each Bush vote is paired with a Kerry vote and they’re both thrown away. The winner is the one who has votes left on the table after all the other guy’s votes have been chucked. Pairing legitimate voters with voting felons, dogs, corpses, and Frenchmen has precisely the same effect on the outcome as shooting legitimate voters before they can get in the door of the high school gym.

Hat tip to Instapundit

Show time!

A couple of pieces in the Washington Post merit a mention this morning. One claims that the electoral map has expanded, that a few more states are back on the table. While this

of the electoral map--with Hawaii, Arkansas, and West Virginia now being back in play--may be temporary, it may also mean something, the Post just doesn’t know what. Well, it means that the election will be really, really, really, close. Yup, that’s very thoughtful stuff. Good analysis! Except, of course, it is wrong. And then there is this calculus that claims to show 33 different possible combinations in which the Electoral College could come out in a tie! Sure, this is fun stuff, but politics is not mathematics. The election, as you know, will not be close, but I send this stuff your way because this gives the Kerry campaign something to talk about, rather than focus on their funk. Quick ads based on a set-up NY Times headline not based on fact does not a campaign make. It doesn’t matter what Kerry does during the last few days, he will not get more than about 47% of the vote nationwide and will end up losing the Electoral College by between 50 and 60 votes. Spend the last few days of the campaign watching them--and the MSM--spin and squirm. It’s show time, folks!

More on the Missing Explosives

Here’s Bill Kristol’s take on Kerry’s use of the New York Times allegation of missing explosives in Iraq. Even Richard Holbrooke, one of Kerry’s most important foreign policy advisors, admits that he has no idea whether or not the charges are true.

What we have here is a naked effort on the part of a UN agency to unseat the current president, fully backed by the New York Times, CBS, and the Democratic Party. This should bring consequences.

General education in a free society

Apparently, Harvard is reviewing its general education curriculum. This booklet, Essays on General Education in Harvard College was published in April, and some of it is very interesting. Note especially this one by Harvey C. Mansfield, called, "A More Demanding Curriculum." (PDF file) While all seven pages are worth reading, note this especially:

"Far too little is taught about America at Harvard. The Government Department has too few courses on America; little on the Supreme Court, for example, and less on American foreign policy. The History Department has no course on the American Revolution or on the American founding. The first half of sophomore tutorial in Government, Government 97a, does have a good syllabus on American ideas and institutions, but this is taught in small sections and is not a regular lecture course. Courses in American history and politics should be part of the recommended or required part of the curriculum."

Much thanks to Joseph Knippenberg for bringing this to my attention, and to Southern Appeal for posting it.

Fahrenhype 9/11

The Dick Morris documentary Fahrenhype 9/11 which sytematically takes apart Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 is available for rent at most Hollywood Video stores. My husband and I watched it this weekend and I thought it was quite effective. One of the reasons it was so effective is that it takes pains to interview people (other than Ann Coulter) who are not the usual suspects. Many Democrats and New Yorkers who truly understand the threat are interviewed and support Bush. An easy recommendation for any relatives/friends you may have who are sitting on the fence.

Mr. Kerry, you are no FDR.

Despite his "Rushmore-like" facial features, John Kerry is no FDR. Thomas Sowell has a devastating article that demonstrates how Kerry’s political immaturity and irresponsibility lead him to his never ending demand for "plans." In war, however, some things cannot be planned. Sometimes we have to react--and sometimes we will take it in the shorts and there will be no one to blame but the enemy.

A sample from Sowell’s piece: "FDR said something else that has relevance today: ’If we are to be completely honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is risk in any course we take.’ He said that on December 29, 1940. But today there are those who think you can ’plan’ everything and that anything bad that happens is the fault of leaders who did not "plan" for it right. ’Plan’ seems to be a magic word politically."

Missing explosives?

If you are interested in the NY Times story on the missing cache of explosives, see Powerline.
They have all the links, including the NBC report that questions the NYT report. Also this from Cliff May at NRO. I quote in full: "Sent to me by a source in the government: ’The Iraqi explosives story is a fraud. These weapons were not there when US troops went to this site in 2003. The IAEA and its head, the anti-American Mohammed El Baradei, leaked a false letter on this issue to the media to embarrass the Bush administration. The US is trying to deny El Baradei a second term and we have been on his case for missing the Libyan nuclear weapons program and for weakness on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.’

(For the record, I don’t reveal my sources so if that means I end up sharing a cell at Sing-sing with Judy Miller, so be it.)"

Additional note: Drudge
has an interesting big footnote to the story. It turns out that CBS’s 60 Minutes was going to run with the story on the evening of the election. The NY Times ran with it, and has now been proven to be highly questionable by NBC. So CBS either got lucky or some producer made the right decision. Yet, one I can’t help wonder who fed the (bogus) information to CBS in the first place.

Colorado initiative is unconstitutional

Todd Gaziano and Tara Ross deliver the death blow to the Colorado initiative that would destroy the winner-take-all system for the electoral votes of Colorado. They argue that it is "flatly unconstitutional." There is a large difference between the people and a constitutional or representative body of the people, i.e., a legislature. The framers knew the difference, and the Supreme Court has upheld the fact that it is only state legislatures that may act; a state constitution may not delegate certain national functions to anyone else or redifine its legislature to be the people. Although only op-ed length, this piece has it all, including footnotes. Very good and very useful, get it out to everyone!

So, what was Kerry’s stand on Iraq again?

Mickey Kaus calls our attention to yet another old quote by Senator Kerry that has returned to haunt him. Today he may be claiming that Iraq was a "diversion" from the War on Terror, but here’s what he told John McLaughlin late in 2001:

I have no doubt, I’ve never had any doubt -- and I’ve said this publicly -- about our ability to be successful in Afghanistan. We are and we will be. The larger issue, John, is what happens afterwards. How do we now turn attention ultimately to Saddam Hussein? How do we deal with the larger Muslim world? What is our foreign policy going to be to drain the swamp of terrorism on a global basis?

So, in other words, his fear was that Afghanistan was a diversion from Saddam Hussein! As Megan McArdle over at Instapundit put it, "Don’t Kerry’s people know about the internet yet?"

Most important poll?

The Weekly Reader poll is out, "and the winner is President Bush. Hundreds of thousands of students participated, giving the Republican President more than 60% of the votes cast and making him a decisive choice over Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president, making the Weekly Reader poll one of the most accurate predictors of presidential outcomes in history."

Catholics against Kerry

Brian P. Golden, a three-term Democrat state rep in Massachusetts, explain why he and other Catholics should not support Kerry. Latest polls have Kerry carrying about 50% of the Catholic vote. The short of it is this: "For 20 years, on matters most fundamental to Catholics, Kerry has been consistently wrong."

Bush doubling his black support?

Star Parker tries to explain the two recent polls showing Bush with about 17-18% support from blacks (double what he got in 2000). Parker is not surprised by this and thinks that the gay marriage issue is one reason, aside from general disillusionment with the Demos.  

Hawaii for Bush?

Michael Barone considers the a recent poll showing Bush ahead by one point, and another showing Bush and Kerry even. Is it possible that Bush will win Hawaii? Barone thinks it is, and he explains why; one reason, they tend to vote for incumbents. A bit of useful Hawaiian political history. Good.  

War Plan Orange and Iraq

The Belmont Club has a tight essay (circa four pages) called "War Plan Orange." It weaves seamlessly between the retreat into Bataan, and Saddam’s war plan. The start: "In retrospect Saddam’s plan to defend Iraq may bear a resemblance to War Plan Orange’s retreat into Bataan. Since reinforcements could not come to the aid of US divisions in the Philippine Islands in time to repel an anticipated Japanese invasion, the plan called for the abandonment of the capital and a concentration of forces and supplies into the Bataan peninsula, where MacArthur’s forces could hope to hold out until relief eventually arrived. MacArthur attempted to change the plan at the last moment, attempting to fight near the beaches and was belatedly forced readopt the strategy of withdrawing into Bataan, a mistake which cost him thousands of tons in supplies. Still, by skillful rearguard actions at the Agno and Pampanga Rivers, MacArthur slipped 80,000 men into his defensive redoubt and held out for four months. Three years later, Tomoyuki Yamashita, facing the same strategic problem against superior forces, moved his 272,000 troops into the mountainous spine of Luzon where he held out for a little over eight months.

Faced with an invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam carried out his own sideslip maneuver into a redoubt. The Duelfer report notes that Saddam may have begun moving his WMD materials into Syria as the US vainly attempted to get UN authorization to topple his regime." Read on.

Historians in disarray

Peter Charles Hoffer a professor of history at University of Georgia, "contends that his profession ’has fallen into disarray’ and aims a polemical blast at his fellow historians for condoning sloppy scholarship and an anything-goes ethical climate." And: "Hoffer accuses the American Historical Association (AHA), where he has served as an adviser on plagiarism and a member of its professional standards division, of abdicating its responsibility to enforce basic scholarly principles in both realms [both scholarly and popular history]." This report on Hoffer’s latest book in the Boston Globe is worth a read. 

A few more tracking polls

The TIPP tracking poll has it this way nationally: Bush 50%-Kerry 42% (Nader 2%). Five days ago they had Bush ahead by 1 point. See the nice chart, starting
September 13th. Zogby
tracking poll of the ten battleground states is interesting:

Colorado, Kerry 49-45%. Florida, Bush 49-46%. Iowa, Bush 47-45%. Michigan, Kerry 52-42%. Minnesota, Kerry 46-45%. New Mexico, Bush 49-44%. Nevada, Bush 48-44%. Ohio, Bush 47-42%. Pennsylvania, Kerry 47-45%. Wisconsin, Bush 48-45%.

Gallup poll

The Gallup/CNN
poll is out. Bush leads Kerry 51-46%, among likely voters. Here is the way CNN reports it:
"The presidential race continues to be tight, with President Bush possibly holding a slight lead over Sen. John Kerry among likely voters, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup national opinion poll published Monday.

Fifty-one percent of likely voters said they would back Bush, and 46 percent expressed support for Kerry.

The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points, meaning the true leader was unclear." Among registered voters Bush leads 49-47%. Bush gets a 51% job approval.

Kerry leaving Colorado

Rocky Mountain News reports that the Kerry campaign has packed its bags, in effect, and left the state; Kerry scrapped a planned campaign stop in Denver.

Maybe He Should Have Tried Inventing the Internet . . .

In the second presidential debate, Senator Kerry chastised the President for failing to adequately consult with the UN Security Council prior to action in Iraq--something he claims to have done:

"This president hasn’t listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable," Mr. Kerry said of the Iraqi dictator. (emphasis added.)

In December 2003, the Washington Times reports that he made a similar statement to the Council on Foreign Relations, in which he explained that he understood the "real readiness" of the United Nations to "take this seriously" because he met "with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein." (emphasis added.)

Joel Mowbray of the Washington Times reports this morning that UN officials are disputing Kerry’s claim that he met with the entire security council:

An investigation by The Washington Times reveals that while the candidate did talk for an unspecified period to at least a few members of the panel, no such meeting, as described by Mr. Kerry on a number of occasions over the past year, ever occurred. . . . [O]f the five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who were reached directly for comment, four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries’ U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either.

Equally damning, a U.N. spokesman said that "our office does not have any record of this meeting." Of course, Kerry did meet with the French representative to the UN (shocking!), but his statements reported by the Times do not help Mr. Kerry:

Jean-David Levitte, then France’s chief U.N. representative and now his country’s ambassador to the United States, said through a spokeswoman that Mr. Kerry did not have a single group meeting as the senator has described, but rather several one-on-one or small-group encounters.

He added that Mr. Kerry did not meet with every member of the Security Council, only "some" of them. Mr. Levitte could only name himself and Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock of Britain as the Security Council members with whom Mr. Kerry had met.

Some will inevitably suggest that this was a mild exaggeration or a misstatement to be ignored. But aside from going to Kerry’s honesty, which had been questioned in this campaign, it also goes to the heart of Kerry’s claims against Bush. Kerry does not appear to have disputed that Bush spoke with select representatives from the UN, such as Britain. Kerry’s complaint was that Bush failed to adequately consult (or, bow deeply) to the full Security Council. But now we learn that Kerry did not do so either. He went and talked to a few of his friends--notably the French--and construed that as sufficient consultation. We again see that for Kerry, the sine qua non of multilateralism is appeasing Old Europe. This is why the facts underlying the gaffe, or to use the language of Democrats--the fact that KERRY LIED!--is important. Hat tip to Powerline.

A note on the Scots-Irish

Yesterday I mentioned James Webb’s new book, Born to Fight, and his op-ed in the WSJ on the same theme. Instapundit pointed me to this NPR interview with Webb on his book. Also note
this especially thoughtful (and long) comment on the whole matter. Also note that David Hackett Fisher, author of Albion’s Seed, will be holding forth at the Ashbrook Center at the Colloquium this Friday, although it will be on his new book, Liberty and Freedom.

Blackwell on the hot seat

The Cleveland Plain Dealer runs a front page story in today’s Sunday edition (above the fold, with large photo) on Ohio’s Secreteray of State Ken Blackwell. Blackwell, say Democrats, is the "next Katherine Harris" because he is in charge of what (say they) is a massively flawed electoral system in the state. The story mentions all that (although it was written before Blackwell’s position on provisional ballots was vindicated by a federal court), but really turns out to be a background piece on Blackwell, the most prominent conservative politician in the state. While the Plain Dealer story is not exactly in Blackwell’s corner, either on the voting issues for the upcoming elections or on his political thinking, you can still get a pretty good idea--if you read with care--of what Blackwell is like. He is a tough, smart, well read, conservative, and deeply religious man (the PD doesn’t mention that he is a Catholic) who is often at odds with his own party, a party still essentially moderate and Taft-like. And he is a guy who doesn’t mind taking chances, which shows me that he is principled. And, by the way, Blackwell will run for governor is 2006; and he has a very good shot at it. I should add that I know Blackwell very well, met him in 1988 when I came to Ohio (We were on a panel discussion about foreign policy; I didn’t know anything about him, but quickly discovered that not only was he smart, but we agreed on all the essentials; and he liked to laugh a lot!), and he has been sitting on the Ashbrook Center’s Board for many years. He is worth paying attention to for many good and serious reasons, not only on how he handles the election in Ohio.

Nasty, divisive politics?

All the MSM seem to think that this campaign is especially mean and notably partisan. David Brooks seems to agree and tries to explain this great divide by saying that the two candidates are describing different realities, not only different policies, and we are in the middle of a "leadership war": i.e., Demos and Republicans are looking for differnt things in a leader. Read it and judge for yourself, but I’m not quite persuaded. William Schambra, writing for The Christian Science Monitor thinks that we ought to get a historic grip! Our politics have always been
tough, vicious, overstated and divisive and the people don’t really mind. It is only the elites that mind this, he argues, partly because in this robust political world they don’t seem to have much influence.

"The Founders believed, as James Madison noted in Federalist No. 10, that ’So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts.’

The idea is that democracy would liberate individual self-interest and narrow political ambition to an unprecedented degree, thereby skewing our politics toward a fairly low common denominator. But the Founders believed that our dispersed, decentralized political institutions could harness and counterbalance this crude political energy, moderating it and directing it toward some semblance of the common good."

So we shouldn’t be shocked when Andy Jackson was described by his opponents as a bigamist, drunkard, adulterer, and even a murderer. Lincoln was called an ass, a grotesque baboon, a dictator, and a coarse vulgar joker (which he was, by the way). Schambra’s suggestion for us citizens: " In the closing days of this election season, American citizens should celebrate, enjoy, and throw themselves into the exasperating, wonderful spectacle of our presidential election.

And when they hear complaints about our debased politics, they should reflect on this lament: ’The age of statesmen is gone.... God save the Republic ... from the buffoon and gawk ... we have for President.’

That was the New York World in 1864, commenting on the renomination of Abraham Lincoln."

Bush and his IQ

John Tierney, writing for The New York Times, notes that--based on military test records--it looks like Bush’s IQ is in the 95th percentile, while Kerry’s is in the 91st percentile (circa 125 and 120 respectively). He bases his information partly on this.
(via Instapundit).

USS Virginia commissioned

The U.S. Navy commssioned a new attack submarine yesterday, the U.S.S. Virginia. It is the "the lead ship of its latest class of fast-attack submarines specifically designed for post-Cold War security threats. The $2.2 billion, nuclear-powered USS Virginia differs from other submarines because it can not only roam the deep blue ocean but also get close to shore in shallow water, which Navy officials say is important in fighting terrorism." Very cool. Read on.

Court decision on Ohio’s provisional ballots

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell’s provisional ballot rules are reinstated by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. This means that those ballots that are cast outside the voters’ own precinct (anywhere in the county according to an earlier decision by a lower court) will not be counted. This lessens the chance for mischief in Ohio.

Reporting from Michigan

I’m posting this from a hotel lobby in East Lansing, Michigan, where I’m attending a conference. The blogosphere seems to be buzzing about this tantalizing tidbit from Power Line. Hindrocket has learned "that a major newspaper will break a front-page story Monday morning that could create a serious problem for the Kerry campaign. We don’t yet have any details, but it relates to a foreign policy issue, and it will call into question--amazingly enough--John Kerry’s truthfulness."

Columbus Dispatch endorses Bush

Columbus Dispatch has finally endorsed George W. Bush. Although the paper has not endorsed a Democrat since 1916, it was wavering, according to all reports.
The endorsement is tepid, but it is an endorsement, and should mean something to the Bush campaign in Ohio, given the importance of the state’s electoral votes. The lengthy endorsement is worth reading because while it outlines the conservative criticism of Bush (spends too much, etc), it also makes clear the reasons why he should be re-elected.