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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Congrats to Dennis
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:34 am

Via the AP: Kucinich Gets Hitched to British Woman

Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Nader Aide Guilty of Election Fraud
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:26 am

Vai the AP: Nader Campaign Aide Pleads Guilty to Fraud

The coordinator for
Ralph Nader’s 2004 presidential campaign in Virginia pleaded guilty Tuesday to election fraud.

James P. Polk, 47, will serve 30 days of home detention and was fined $2,500.

Polk was accused of illegally certifying petitions to get Nader, an independent candidate, on the ballot. He was indicted on 10 counts of election fraud in October, but prosecutors withdrew nine of those counts.

Wow. Not good.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Thursday, June 9, 2005
Kerry and the Saga of the Documents
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:48 am

Despite the fact that it appeared earlier this week that Senator Kerry had, in fact, finally released a complete set of his military records, it now appears that he, in fact, did not.

This kind of nonsense continues to underscore why it is that Kerry lost, and why he can never win the presidency: he seems incapable of providing a straight, clear answer and he constantly made (and continues to make) odd strategic choices. If one makes clear promises that appear to mean that one will releaes all one’s record, yet one then drags one’s feet in doing so, and then doesn’t really release the docs, one is either hiding something or one is stimply inept.

From the Chicago Sun-Times: Did Kerry really release Navy records?

“There is nothing magic about signing a SF 180,” said former Naval Judge Advocate General Mark Sullivan. “It is sort of like your checkbook. You can fill out a check for one dollar or a million. It is the same check form.”

“And the Globe story says Kerry sent it to the Navy Personnel Command, which is only a limited storage location. So it is not surprising that the Globe then notes that what they received was largely ‘duplication’ of records previously released. The Navy Personnel Command primarily stores a subset of service records rather than a person’s full military records. There is no doubt there are a lot of after-action records missing from what Kerry has released,” said Sullivan.

and

Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs has already found a discrepancy confirmed by the Department of the Navy of “at least a hundred pages” missing from those already disclosed by Kerry.

Now, this may all still be nothing. But still, it just isn’t smart.

Indeed, as the LAT put it yesterday:

Kerry’s reluctance to provide easy access to records that buttressed his war resume remains one of the more puzzling aspects of his campaign strategy.

At a minimum, if the man thinks he wants to run in 2008, he needs to figure out how to more directly deal with this kind of situation-and I am quite doubtful he will manage to do so.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign, 2008 Campaign | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Tuesday, June 7, 2005
Not a Bang, but a Whimper
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:29 pm

Via the BoGlo: Kerry allows Navy release of military, medical records

Senator John F. Kerry, ending at least two years of refusal, has waived privacy restrictions and authorized the release of his full military and medical records.

The records, which the Navy Personnel Command provided to the Globe, are mostly a duplication of what Kerry released during his 2004 campaign for president, including numerous commendations from commanding officers who later criticized Kerry’s Vietnam service.

The lack of any substantive new material about Kerry’s military career in the documents raises the question of why Kerry refused for so long to waive privacy restrictions. An earlier release of the full record might have helped his campaign because it contains a number of reports lauding his service. Indeed, one of the first actions of the group that came to be known as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was to call on Kerry to sign a privacy waiver and release all of his military and medical records.

But Kerry refused, even though it turned out that the records included commendations from some of the same veterans who were criticizing him.

The interesting thing about all of this isn’t that there were no revelations-quite frankly, that doesn’t surprise me. Rather, the interesting part is that this episode yet again illustrates Kerry’s serious lack of political acumen. Instead of releasing all this info years ago he allowed his recalcitrance to make it appear that there might be something being hidden. Aside from revealing that he wasn’t a mental giant in college, which is a marginal finding that barely rates above “amusing” I don’t see what the man was thinking in holding the records back.

Most, most odd.

Of course, maybe he just wanted this photo kept under wraps. Ick.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (8) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Pirate's Cove linked with WTW: Kerry signed and released
Bush v. Kerry: GPA Soulmates
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:51 am

Via the AP: Kerry’s Yale Grades Similar to Bush’s

Sen. John F. Kerry (news, bio, voting record)’s grade average at Yale University was virtually identical to President Bush’s record there, despite repeated portrayals of Kerry as the more intellectual candidate during the 2004 presidential campaign.

Kerry had a cumulative average of 76 and got four Ds his freshman year — in geology, two history courses and political science, The Boston Globe reported Tuesday.

His grades improved with time, and he averaged an 81 his senior year and earned an 89 — his highest grade — in political science as a senior.

And Bush:

In 1999, The New Yorker magazine published a transcript showing Bush had a cumulative grade average of 77 his first three years at Yale, and a similar average under a non-numerical rating system his senior year.

Bush’s highest grade at Yale was an 88 in anthropology, history and philosophy. He received one D in his four years, a 69 in astronomy, and improved his grades after his freshman year, the transcript showed.

And why do we know this only now?

Kerry, a Democrat, previously declined to release the transcript, which was included in his Navy records. He gave the Navy permission to release the documents last month, the Globe reported.

Amusing. Ultimately it doesn’t mean much, but amsuing nonetheless.

Filed under: US Politics, Academia, 2004 Campaign | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Not a Bang, but a Whimper linked with [...] e to make it appear that there might be something being hidden. Aside from revealing that he wasn’t a mental giant in college, which is a marginal finding that barely rates above “amusing& [...]
Saturday, May 7, 2005
Note to Kerry: You Had Your Shot, Time to Move on
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:20 am

Via the NYT: On the Go, but Not Running, Kerry Looks Like a Shhh!, i.e., Kerry is running for President in ‘08, despite being coy on the subject.

As I have argued on numerous previous occassions, losers in this system are not well positioned to make a come back. Nixon was the last to do it and he sat out eight years and had the Viet Nam war as a backdrop to aid him (a war that sufficiently problematic that a sitting President did not seek re-nomination to run for a second term).

Kerry may view himself as the guy who almost won, and therefore one who has the chance to win in the future, but the reality is that he is the guy who lost an election that he could have won-as such, that is political failure. Further, despite all the fundraising, he didn’t run a partiularly good campaign. He lacked a coherent theme, was mushy on Iraq, played right into the flp-flop thesis, was overly focused on Viet Nam, mishandled the Swift Boat business and started out by essentially writing off the South.

And last, but not least, since the main reason the primary voters chose him was his alleged “electability” it would seem that, since that didn’t work out, that he really would have a hard time making that appeal in 2008.

Why would the Democrats want to re-nominate him?

Indeed:

Yet Democrats say Mr. Kerry has little choice. “He needs to show that he’s a party guy, that he’s willing to help anybody out,” said Steve Jarding, a Democratic strategist, adding, “When you don’t have reporters and opinion leaders coming to you saying, ‘You’re the opposition leader, you’re the titular head of the party,’ it’s tough to break in.”

So tough, in fact, that not a single Democrat interviewed described Mr. Kerry as the front-runner in 2008. Most echoed Senator Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, a member of the Democratic leadership, who said: “There is not going to be a clear path for anybody to the nomination. I think it would be helpful to our party to have an aggressive competition.”

In other words: “we really aren’t all that interested in a second Kerry run. Thanks for playing. NEXT!”

Update: Commenting on the same piece, Ann Althouse makes the following apt observation:

Althouse: Are we ready to start blogging about the ‘08 election?Could there be better evidence of his lack of political skill than his failure to go away and stay away long enough for us to forget how tedious we found him last time?

She also correctly notes the Kerry seems to do better the less we see of him.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign, 2008 Campaign | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Monday, May 2, 2005
Election Challenge Continues in Washington State
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:28 pm

Via the AP: GOP Wins Election Challenge in Washington

The Republicans won an important victory Monday in their legal challenge to the election of Gov. Christine Gregoire when a judge allowed them to use a type of statistical analysis to try to prove illegal votes swayed the race.

[…]

Republicans claim they have identified more than 1,000 illegal votes-mostly ballots cast by felons, but also unverified provisional ballots and votes cast in the names of dead people.

Superior Court Judge John Bridges gave the GOP the go-ahead to apply “proportional analysis” to the illegal votes.

Using proportional analysis, they want the court to subtract illegal votes from both candidates’ totals according to precinct voting patterns. For example, if 10 illegal votes came from a precinct that voted 60 percent for Gregoire and 40 percent for Rossi, six votes would be deducted from Gregoire’s total and four from Rossi’s.

Democrats said the method amounts to statistical guessing. At the same time, they have been collecting evidence of illegal votes in GOP-leaning counties, and plan to use the same proportional analysis in court.

Ok, I was opposed to the suggestion that statistical analysis should have been used in Florida in 2000 and I oppose it actual application here.

This situation shows the folly of trying to contest an election that is this close: you hit a point wherein it is impossible to really know who won, as is sufficient room for error in eithr direction that certainty is impossible.

The only solution to this kind of electoral outcome is to have in place (i.e., before the election) a law dictating that if the election ends up being especially close, via a pre-determined number, like .1%, then a re-vote takes place. Otherwise, I don’t see any mechanism by which it is possible to settle the outcome except by the existing (impefect) re-count methods.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » Still no Winner in Costa Rica linked with [...] llenges which need to be settled. Whether we are talking about this case, Florida 2000 or Washington state in 2005, it is clear that there needs to be a rule in place that results in a re-vote if the [...]
Monday, April 11, 2005
Kerry Whines Some More About 2004
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:41 am

Yahoo! News - Kerry: Trickery Kept Voters From Polls

Many voters in last year’s presidential election were denied access to the polls through trickery and intimidation, former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told a voters’ group Sunday.

“Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated,” the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters.

[…]

Kerry also cited examples Sunday of how people were duped into not voting.

“Leaflets are handed out saying Democrats vote on Wednesday, Republicans vote on Tuesday. People are told in telephone calls that if you’ve ever had a parking ticket, you’re not allowed to vote,” he said.

Hard evidence, rather than vague examples in a speech would be nice. This kind of talk simply further undermines faith in the system and accomplishes nothing more than allowing hardcore partisans to feel better about their loss, since they didn’t really lose, because the election was “stolen”. Indeed, such talk does damage to the Democratic Party because it continues to feed the idea that recent Democratic losses at the polls aren’t due to strategic errors on the part of the party, nor to weak candidates, but rather to some nefarious, nebulous Republican plot.

Further, Kerry must believe that many in his voting base are pretty stupid to fall for “Democrats vote on Wednesday” leaflets.

Further, if the following is true, then why engage in talk that will undermine confidence in the system?:

Kerry has never disputed the outcome of election, saying voting irregularities did not involve enough votes to change the result.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (2) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, February 3, 2005
Religious Breakdown of 2004 Vote
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:31 pm

Via the AP: Poll: Catholics Favored Bush Over Kerry

John Kerry (news - web sites) managed the best showing in decades for a Democratic presidential candidate among mainline Protestants, but his failure to capture a majority of Roman Catholics — people of his own faith — gave President Bush an important advantage in last November’s election, according to a new survey.

Bush’s showing also improved dramatically among Hispanic Protestants, 63 percent of whom supported him in 2004 — a 31 percent gain over 2000.

[…]

Among non-Hispanic Catholics, Kerry won the support of 69 percent with those with liberal or “modernist” beliefs, while 72 percent of “traditionalists” favored Bush. But importantly, 55 percent of the key swing group of “centrists” picked Bush over Kerry, who was criticized by bishops for his support of abortion rights.

The upshot: A one-time Democratic mainstay, Catholics gave Bush an overall edge of 53 percent to Kerry’s 47 percent.

Overall, the mainline Protestant vote split evenly, the poll found, with a Bush decline of 10 percent from 2000 and the best showing for a Democrat since the 1960s; results before then are unclear.

Interesting all around.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

quizas. linked with Latinos, faith, and politics
Sunday, January 16, 2005
Overly Simplistic
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:38 am

Via WaPo: Bush Says Election Ratified Iraq Policy

President Bush said the public’s decision to reelect him was a ratification of his approach toward Iraq and that there was no reason to hold any administration officials accountable for mistakes or misjudgments in prewar planning or managing the violent aftermath.

“We had an accountability moment, and that’s called the 2004 elections,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. “The American people listened to different assessments made about what was taking place in Iraq, and they looked at the two candidates, and chose me.”

Dare I say that perhaps a more nuanced interpretation of the elections results are in order? Of course, this is a typical reaction by a recently re-elected President-yet that doesn’t mean that the interpretation is correct. Clearly the voters preferred Bush to Kerry on a host of issues, not the least of which was Iraq (where Kerry never articulated a clear set of policies, in my opinion). However, re-election does not mean that the voters have given a 100% approval rating to every single thing that Bush did in his first four years.

Further, from a political POV I would advise the President that such statements simply feed the perception that he is arrogant and unwilling to admit mistakes. While his resoluteness has been a political asset overall, there are times when it ought to be tempered (as he did earlier in the week when discussing some of his War on Terror rhetoric).

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (4) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Election ‘04: Final Tallies
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:29 pm

Via WaPo: Election Turnout in 2004 Was Highest Since 1968

The final numbers are in — and turnout in the 2004 presidential election, it seems, was a bit more impressive than previously believed.

The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate reported yesterday that more than 122 million people voted in the November election, a number that translates into the highest turnout — 60.7 percent — since 1968.

President Bush officially won 62,028,719 votes, which was 50.8 percent of the ballots cast and 11.5 million more than he won in 2000. Sen John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) took 48.3 percent, or 59,028,550 votes. That was about 8 million more than Al Gore won in 2000. Independent Ralph Nader won 440,513 votes, less than 0.4 percent of the total. In 2000, he won more than 2.8 million votes.

Turnout was 6.4 percent higher than in 2000, the largest uptick in voter participation since the 1952 election. The numbers are a bit higher than the research group’s initial estimates, which were based on unofficial tallies and released days after the election.

Impressive all that way around-although even as early at November 3rd it was clear that the tunrout was going to be in the 60% range (and that was higher than the 55% I had predicted).

The numbers support the general hypothesis about turnout that a closely competitive race bolsters turnout and also underscores the very successful get-out-the-vote efforts by both parties.

And, as usual, lots of folks stay home:

The report noted that although turnout reached new heights, more than 78 million Americans who were eligible to vote stayed home on Election Day. The group estimated that Bush won just 30.8 percent of the total eligible voters.

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Monday, January 10, 2005
CBS Report Released
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:41 am

Via CBS News (insert your own joke here: CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story

Four CBS News employees, including three executives, have been ousted for their role in preparing and reporting a disputed story about President Bush%u2019s National Guard service.

The action was prompted by the report of an independent panel that concluded that CBS News failed to follow basic journalistic principles in the preparation and reporting of the piece. The panel also said CBS News had compounded that failure with a “rigid and blind” defense of the 60 Minutes Wednesday report.

No joke. I don’t think Rather has yet to admit that the documents were obvious forgeries.

Asked to resign were Senior Vice President Betsy West, who supervised CBS News primetime programs; 60 Minutes Wednesday Executive Producer Josh Howard; and Howard’s deputy, Senior Broadcast Producer Mary Murphy. The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was terminated.

And while they don’t conclude partisan bias:

While the panel found that some actions taken by CBS News encouraged such suspicions, “the Panel cannot conclude that a political agenda at 60 Minutes Wednesday drove either the timing of the airing of the segment or its content.�?

They still do note:

The producer of the piece, Mary Mapes, was also faulted for calling Joe Lockhart, a senior official in the John Kerry campaign, prior to the airing of the piece, and offering to put Burkett in touch with him. The panel called Mapes’ action a “clear conflict of interest that created the appearance of political bias.�?

Gee, ya think?

Update: My original posting was interupted by a phone call, so I missed this incredible nugget (which I noticed in James’ response to the document at OTB):

While the panel said it was not prepared to brand the Killian documents as an outright forgery, it raised serious questions about their authenticity and the way CBS News handled them.

You have got to be kidding me. That those documents were produced on modern equipment was plainly obvious (for a refresher, look at this).

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign, MSM | Comments (5) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

bLogicus linked with CBS Ousts 4 For Bush Guard Story, Mapes Terminated
Rooftop Report linked with CBS Report Out - 4 Fired
Outside The Beltway linked with RatherGate Investigation Report Released
Saturday, January 8, 2005
Rossi to Contest
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:59 am

Via the AP: Rossi to Contest Wash. Governor Election

More than two months after Washington voters cast their ballots, Republican Dino Rossi is hoping the courts will give them another chance to pick their next governor.

Rossi and the state GOP announced Friday they will contest the gubernatorial election that gave Rossi’s Democratic foe, Christine Gregoire, a 129-vote victory.

Republicans have been building a case over the past few weeks, gathering evidence of voting irregularities, including illegal provisional ballots and a handful of votes cast by dead people. They are pushing for a revote, an unprecedented step in a statewide election.

“There are so many improperly cast and counted ballots that this election is invalid,” said Rossi, a real-estate millionaire and former state senator. “You cannot tell who won. The only way for us to get out of this problem is for us to have a revote.”

While I will be curious to see the evidence, I remain unconvinced that this is the right move. I am not in favor of the litigation of elections unless there is truly remarkable evidence of fraud.

Further, I maintain that from Rossi’s point of view, that politically he would be better off being gracious and coing back to fight another day. I predict that if he is able to force a re-vote, he will lose.

The problem here reamain that it is, for all practiacl purposes, a tie and Gregoire won using the established rules. Are there some irregularities? Yes, of course. Does that mean that in a race this close that those irregularities may have caused Gregoire to win-maybe. Is there any way of knowing for certain-no (and that’s the crux of the matter).

Perhaps there ought to be a law in all states that if the votes is within a miniscule percentage that a revote of the top top candidates is automatic. That is the only way I can think of to solve this kind of problem.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Friday, January 7, 2005
Worst Written Headline of the Day
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 4:33 pm

Via Reuters: Job Gain Less Than Expected, 2004 Strong.

Really, shouldn’t the headline be something like “2004 Job Growth Strong” or “2004: Best Year for Jobs Since 1999″? Does the fact that December had 18,000-ish less jobs than expected mean that a mention of not meeting expectations was needed in the headline?

U.S. employers added 157,000 employees to payrolls in December, completing the strongest year for job growth since 1999, according to a government report on Friday that cemented expectations of rising interest rates in 2005.

While the Labor Department reported slightly fewer new December jobs than the 175,000 Wall Street had anticipated, it also revised up the numbers for each of the two prior months to 137,000 new jobs in November and 312,000 in October from 112,000 and 303,000 respectively.

Indeed, the body of the paragraph uses the phrase (as highlighted) “slightly fewer” jobs than expected.

The issue of job growth, loss and the true severity of unemployment were huge political footballs in 2004-and it would seem that they continue to be so for at least one editor at Reuters.

Update: The headline in the NYT: Economy Adds 157,000 Jobs, Ending Best Year Since 1999.

Filed under: US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
Thursday, January 6, 2005
Better Dead Than Red (State) (Steven L.)
By Steven L. @ 10:15 am

Since the election, everyone is probably as tired as I am of the entire Red State/Blue State analysis that has been pouring forth like well water in Disney’s Fantasia. This late in the process, I hesitate to even mention the topic.

However, this guest-blogging gig, lucrative though it is, cannot last forever. I need to think about the future — my future. Where some people see dissention and acrimony, I (from my lawyer training) see a lucrative opportunity. I would therefore like to take advantage of this free forum to announce my availability as an Executive Image Consultant for the New Democrat Party.

Shortly after the election (prior to the recent tsunami, widely considered the “worst disaster in human history”), there was a temptation amongst some Democrats to reexamine their policies and positions in an attempt to gain ground with moderate voters. This temptation, however, appears to have been fought off rather successfully. A majority of the pundits have instead focused on creating a new image, rather than making any substantive changes in their actual positions. This calls for marketing, and I would like to offer my services. As someone living in a very red state, I can assist you in repackaging the same message into something a little more palatable to a typical “red state” voter.

While I do not want to give away my services, I can offer a brief example in the hopes of showing the Democrat party my value. The real focus of this new marketing campaign, as put by a poster on one private message board I lurk on, is “how to reach out to the buck-toothed Neanderthals in those red states.” (only a slight paraphrase)

This is tip number one:

Avoid using phrases like “buck-toothed Neanderthal” when speaking to red state voters. There is the tiniest chance that one or two of those voters will crack your code and begin to question your attempts to drag him from the dark pits of his own ignorance into the light of reason.

Other phrases to avoid:

“ignorant, in-bred trailer trash”

“knuckle-dragging, cousin-kissing Jesus freak”

“racist, homophobic, red-necked Nazi”

I will admit that my advice is in stark contrast to that being offered by many consultants who are also out to help the Democratic Party:

“We must learn to speak to all of the people. But we mustn’t be afraid to sneer when we do it. . . . [U]ntil you finally learn to respect yourselves, we can’t respect you, and we therefore can’t be bothered to give a rat’s ass about you.”
- a self-proclaimed representative of “The New Democrat Outreach Program” Source

Similarly, Jane Smiley feels that it would be better to woo new “red state” voters in a “dialogue” with them by referring to them as some combination of “sexist, racist, and homophobic” or perhaps “greedy, pompous, or ignorant.” Source

There are more examples. They are, in fact, too numerous to even begin to cover them.

Okay. I’ll be the first to admit that those are pretty catchy slogans and I can certainly understand why Democrats find them appealing — but I think that I can do better. And really, looking back over the results of the past 4 years — could I do much worse for you?

So, please, when the “New Democratic Outreach Program” begins, please think of using my services. I assure you, my advice is not nearly as costly as the advice of the people you listened to for the last election.

Steven L.

Filed under: General, US Politics, 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
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