Friday, August 20, 2004

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One More Piece
of the Landslide Puzzle

Professor Juan Cole adds another element to the possibility of a Kerry/Edwards landslide victory. Apparently there are Arab-American and Muslim-American voters in the Midwest who voted for Bush in 2000 but are now starting to lean toward Kerry.
Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans have particular presence in the Midwest, including in swing states like Michigan and Ohio (these two plus Pennsylvania and Florida all have more than 100,000 Arab-Americans. Since many Arab-Americans are Christians, they aren't exactly an overlap with Muslim-Americans). They do not ordinarily swing an election, however, because they were about evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. But when the Iraqi Shiites start demonstrating against the Bush administration, it is a sign that they may well vote for Kerry. A large number of Muslim-Americans is deeply upset by the fighting in Najaf, and by what they see as Bush administration trampling of their civil rights.

In a very close race, the Muslim Americans and Arab Americans in the above states could be a decisive constituency. There are about 300,000 Arab Americans in southeast Michigan, a state with a population of 11 million. All the signs are that they are migrating toward Kerry and Nader in large numbers. In 2000, many of those who voted Republican were afraid that with Joe Lieberman on the ticket, a Gore administration would be very hard on the Palestinians. But what I'm hearing from the community is that they are so upset with Bush that they will vote Democrat this year.

In general, swing voters in the battleground states are closer to Kerry on Iraq than Bush. Robin Wright argues that they think Bush has been too quick to use military force, and a majority feels that the Iraq misadventure hasn't helped the US in the war on terror.
Michigan and Ohio combined have 3 more electoral votes than Texas. If Texas is cancelled out, it doesn't much matter how many Wyomings and Montanas Bush wins. He might as well start packing for that return trip to Crawford.

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Just a Test

Having trouble getting Blogger to post today. This is just a bare-bones test.

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Vote for Change Comes West
Seattle & Phoenix added to tour

Kudos to the folks who are putting the Vote for Change music tour together. They have responded to my feedback (and that of many others, I'm sure) and added a couple of dates in western battleground states.

Looks like Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, and Keb' Mo' will be in Seattle on September 27, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash will join some combination of Jackson, Bonnie and Keb' in Phoenix on September 29.

Unfortunately, there are no shows scheduled in Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, or Colorado. If you live outside the Seattle or Phoenix metro areas you'll just have to fill the tank and get the map out.

Iowa, on the other hand, gets 3 shows. Go figure.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

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No Terrorists Here

Note to the 97B weenies at CIFA: There are no terrorists or terrorist sympathizers on this site. We're all just good Americans like yourselves.

All the terrorists are over at little green footballs.

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The August Surprise?

My brother-in-law in Arizona called yesterday. He said the hot rumor is that John McCain will replace Dick Cheney on the Republican ticket.

I think this is a sign of how desperate Republicans are becoming. They are holding their breath for some piece of good news, some sign, some event that indicates that their candidate and his campaign are not about to crash and burn.

He's a nice guy, so I'm not going to say anything else.


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

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Not to be Missed in New York:
the Axis of Eve Panty Performance Protest

This may be the only thing connected to the Republican National Convention that is worth seeing.
Salon.com reports:
The Axis of Eve coalition is planning a "Panty Performance Protest" at 6pm in the park, where its "brazen women" will carry out their mission of exposing themselves (no nudity, mind you) in order to help "expose and depose" President Bush. More than 100 women will participate in the mass flash, which will showcase the group's provocative line of protest panties emblazoned with such sexy admonitions as "give bush the finger," "expose bush" and "weapon of mass seduction."

Conservative Republicans may prefer to be titillated behind closed doors, but anyone sympathetic to Axis of Eve's desire to strip bare the Bush administration's numerous transgressions won't want to miss this spectacle.
We've mentioned Axis of Eve before (and I hope we will again). Here's a sample of their tasteful underthings. Get some.

Thanks to Digby for the link.

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Next Year's Entertainment

Legal Fiction:
I suspect that, if Bush loses, the GOP will enter a period of temporary chaos. All the various factions – which include overlapping and often incompatible groups such as neo-cons, paleo-cons, realists, Rockefeller Republicans, deficit hawks, libertarians, corporate executives, and Falwell conservatives – will find themselves in a full-blown civil war for leadership of the newly-headless GOP. It will be fun to watch.
Roger that.


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

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Could a Landslide Bring Them Down?

WARNING: Freepers, wingnuts, and other slow learners who somehow got here by mistake -- you should probably just steer away now. You're not going to like this.

Paul Waldman, Editor-in-Chief at The Gadflyer, is pitching the Democrat version of winning the Lotto. He suggests that, not only will John Kerry win in November, but that he could blow George W. Bush out of the water.
Of course, because of the bizarrely undemocratic system we have, you don't actually have to win the most votes in order to become president, and on election night we'll be watching a relatively small number of states to see which way they swing.

But here's the key point: the number of battleground states has grown since the beginning of this race, and in each case a state that Bush won easily in 2000 has, to the surprise of many, become highly contested, complete with multiple candidate visits and a tsunami of television ads. Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado were all supposed to be safely Republican; Kerry could win one or more.

In fact, there is not a single battleground state save Louisiana (which many people don't consider and actual battleground state) in which a non-partisan poll shows Bush with a lead larger than the poll's margin of error, while in many, things are trending Kerry's way. Bush won Missouri comfortably in 2000; Kerry now leads in polls there. Pennsylvania, the state Bush has visited more times than any other save Texas, now looks like it might not even be close, with Kerry garnering double-digit leads in some polls. Kerry also leads by a good margin in Michigan. Ohio was supposed to be the Florida of 2000, the state on which all could hinge; most polls show Kerry with a lead there.

Which brings us to Florida itself. After Jeb Bush coasted to re-election in 2002, some were saying Democrats shouldn't even bother trying to contest the Sunshine State; now Kerry leads there in every poll.
I'm old enough to have had a dream or two shattered in my life. Even so, I want to believe it's possible. And there are reasons to believe.

My election analysis often focuses on what's happening in the battleground states. There are a few of those states where a large, motivated Hispanic population could have a major influence in the electoral outcome. This is particularly true in Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Florida. Nationwide, Bush has lost around 5% or the Hispanic support he had four years ago.

Stan Greenberg observes, the economy is a high priority issue for most Hispanics, and Kerry's vision for the economy resonates with Hispanic voters much more than the president's does:
The looming debate about the economy between John Kerry, arguing for continued middle class economic problems, and George Bush, arguing for economic progress, is likely to consolidate Hispanic voters for Kerry. Bush is simply on the wrong side of the Hispanic experience on the economy. Over 70 percent say the middle class faces job scarcity and rising health care costs and rejects the evidence of new jobs and an improved economy; 62 percent believe that strongly. Among independents, 81 percent opted for the critical view of the economy.
It's no secret that Bush won't get even 10 percent of the Black vote (I thought Rev. Sharpton answered Bush's questions to Blacks pretty unambiguously at the Democratic National Convention). And according to Ryan Lizza, Kerry will get overwhelming support from Jewish voters.

But if Bush and Karl Rove have decided that there is nothing they can gain in the traditional Democratic constituencies, their efforts to shore up their traditional Republican base aren't going that well, either. When Greenberg looks at rural voters (
quoted in another Ryan Lizza article), he sees support for Bush eroding there, too.
The problem for Republicans is rooted in their base. Greenberg's analysis shows that Rove's base strategy is in trouble--President Bush is falling roughly 4 points short of his 2000 vote in nearly every group in the Republican loyalist world. If Bush was depending on the white evangelicals, white rural and Deep South voters, and older blue-collar men, he's got a problem to address. He will have to play an even stronger cultural politics to stay in the game.

These changes are illustrated by trends among rural voters, one of the core Republican groups discussed in The Two Americas. These rural voters, referred to as "Country Folk," represent 21 percent of the electorate. In 2000, 63 percent of Country Folk backed Bush. Yet today, only 58 percent support him and only 51 percent want to continue in Bush's direction; 47 percent want to go in a "significantly different direction."

An overall drop of 5 points in the Republican presidential vote among these voters may not seem like a major shift, but in a country at parity it could provide the margin of victory. This impact is amplified by where the Country Folk live: they are concentrated in the battleground states, like Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Minnesota.
Looking at the numbers in a recent Zogby Poll, That Colored Fella sees a few things that may point to where this election is ultimately headed.
As a ticket, Kerry/Edwards now leads Bush/Cheney among men, 47-45%! That is unheard of for a Democrat, and something even Bill Clinton failed to achieve. Another significant trend is the 2% percentage points Kerry picked up came from the Undecided voter column. Meaning, one quarter of that previous Zogby survey group, decided not to wait until the Republican Convention to make their choice. In fact, Bush will need to win over all 6% percent of the remaining group of Undecided voters, just to get back within a plausible margin of error. The fact that since the Democratic Convention, John Kerry has captured about 4% to 6% percent of an already small group of Undecided voters was unfathomable just 3 weeks earlier.

Recent polling also suggests, that Kerry has opened up small, but solid leads in the battleground states of Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire and Nevada. And, the 18-29-voter group is a 2 to 1 margin in favor of Kerry. (They split evenly in 2000). Plus, for only the second time in history, a majority of this group is expected to go to the polls in November. (The previous occurrence was Clinton's election in 1992.) This type of movement in the polls is the very definition of a Convention 'bounce'. However, it usually occurs days after the event, and would've been expected to be slipping, now 3 weeks hence.
Finally there are the sites that are tracking the polls and tweaking the potential electoral vote counts on a daily basis. The Votemaster has Kerry ahead of Bush, 327 to 211. Dale's Current Electoral Breakdown has Kerry leading 316 to 206. Even Bush fan The Blogging Caesar has Kerry ahead of Bush, 327 to 211. Not to belabor the point, but there is quite a bit of consistency in the numbers between these three.

There are 78 days left until the election. A lot of things can happen. But a lot of things already have. And despite the media's best efforts to be oblivious, American voters have noticed. A landslide is entirely possible. Keep the faith and keep up the good work. Pray for a landslide.

UPDATE 8/18/04: Timing is everything. Josh Marshall has some thoughts on this. So does Digby.

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Site Meter has Sprung a Leak

Don't know why, but Site Meter keeps showing Rain Storm getting hits from sites we've never heard of -- some of them written by wingnuts, others even more obscure.

When I check them out, there is no link at all to Rain Storm. Very strange. Any other bloggers experiencing this?

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Violence in New York City
plays right into Bush's hands

Eric Alterman has gone to the trouble to
post an article from The Nation which would not otherwise be available online. It is written by Todd ("The whole world is watching") Gitlin and Greenpeace Executive Director John Passacantando. The article looks at the similarities between the 2004 Republican Convention and the now infamous Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968:
Red-hot rage may seem in order when the country's values have been trampled upon by a government with a dubious claim to legitimacy. Yet the theatrics of rage can easily play into Bush's hands. Righteousness, if not rooted in humility and focused on results--on persuasive power--will offend more than it attracts and fall victim to its own arrogance, as surely as arrogance undercuts Bush.

The power of nonviolence rests in its welcoming spirit, its power to elicit identification and its promise of reconciliation. Consider the brave young men and women of the civil rights movement, sitting with dignity at lunch counters throughout the South. In film footage of the time, you can see them attacked by uncivilized whites, who curse them, beat them--and thus reveal themselves as bullies and cowards. The civilly disobedient cover themselves in self-defense but never raise their hands in anger. They appeal over their adversaries' heads to the majority who, they believe--they have to believe--will see the justice of their cause.

As thousands of Republicans gather to nominate Bush for re-election, and as many more protesters--perhaps fifty times more--gather to express themselves against the damage Bush is doing, Americans of all stripes will be watching. Fair-minded people can understand dignified opposition even when they disagree with it. Rage in the streets is something else altogether. Protesters who spell "Bush" with a swastika, who smash windows, fight the police or try to block Manhattan commuters might as well stay home and send their contributions to the Republicans.

It is, or ought to be, so obvious that violence and chaos in the streets works to Bush's advantage that not a few oppositionists worry about the Republicans planting their own provocateurs in the protest. Such a scenario is not farfetched. Provocateurs know some history, too. They know that disciplined handfuls can start riots amid turmoil. In 1968 a substantial number of the toughs who surged through the Chicago streets, inciting the police to riot, were later revealed to be police and intelligence agents. They urged violent actions, pulled down American flags, led taunts and otherwise triggered police attacks. Afterward, demonstrators exulted, equating their seduction of the cameras with victory. But most spectators who watched the clashes on TV sided with the police. Richard Nixon's people knew what use to make of the footage. They strengthened their hold over the law-and-order vote.
Needless to say, Faux News and the other media whores would have a similar field day with video footage of violence in the streets of New York. If you're thinking of going to New York to make sure that your voice will be heard, read the whole article and then think again.

It is critically important that we win this election in November. While it might be personally fulfilling to make a scene in New York in an effort to embarrass Bush/Cheney, Inc., that is not the best way to guarantee victory in November. It could very likely make winning more difficult.

Thanks to Avedon for the link.

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Orwell and Ordinance,
Killers and Kids

The latest from MY WAR: Fear and Loathing in Iraq. Go read it.

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Chip, Chip, Chippin' Away

The Votemaster says that Bush may only get 5 of Colorado's 9 electoral votes:
The big news today is in Colorado. The Colorado secretary of state, Donetta Davidson, has certified that the petition to change the way Colorado allocates its electors has gathered enough signatures to be on the ballot. On Nov. 2, Colorado voters will be asked if they approve a change to the state constitution that divides its nine votes in the electoral college in direct proportion to the popular vote. If it fails, George Bush will most likely get all nine electoral votes. If it passes, probably Bush will get five electoral votes, Kerry will get four, and the Supreme Court will get a world-class headache. Badly polarized as it is, the Court probably does not want to decide another election.
The Bush campaign needed all 9 of those votes, and the way things have been going in the battleground states, it needed them desperately.

It's always fun to watch Karl Rove sweat.

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Clan Warfare:
small town America feels the pain

Publius, the blogger of Legal Fiction, is one of the more thoughtful guys in the blogosphere.
In an interesting post inspired by some insightful commentary by Juan Cole, he looks at the impact of clans in Iraq and the U.S., and notes that, because of Iraq (and especially the war casualties among local young men and women), Bush is losing support in small town America.

Each soldier that dies in Iraq doesn’t merely cause the soldier's family to question the war (or our execution of the war), it causes the entire town to question these things. The lost soldier is discussed at the local restaurants and in the local churches by people who have seen him or her grow up and play Little League. The grief is collective - and it runs deep. Thus, Bush is losing these people in clusters. And the polls show it. Ryan Lizza linked to a recent poll by Stanley Greenberg that showed Bush’s rural support has dropped, and has dropped in states where Bush can’t afford to let it drop.
I think he makes a very salient point. When a soldier or Marine from a small town is killed or wounded in Iraq, it is not an anonymous event. The very social fabric of small town America requires that the information be communicated, almost instantaneously, to extended family, friends and co-workers, teammates from school, and church members. Pretty soon, everyone in the county has heard the bad news.

Just as each death or wound or indignity suffered by an Iraqi family is considered an assault upon the entire clan, so does each clan in small town America feel the pain of every casualty of one of its own. And through the anger and grief, each clan member, here and there, must surely wonder does this American President have any idea what he is doing, or why?


Monday, August 16, 2004

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Hate the Sin,
not the Sinner

Kevin Drum, in a must-read post, responds to Johah Goldberg's suggestion that Bush-hating comes anywhere near Clinton-hating:

Jonah Goldberg, in the middle of a post about Clinton haters and the people who hate them, says this:
The Bush-haters — who are just as extreme and nasty as the Clinton-haters were, and in many ways more so....
Tell you what, Jonah. As soon as the most popular liberal editorial page in the country accuses George Bush of murdering one of his aides, maybe I'll give your argument a hearing. And as soon as one of the most influential liberal interest groups in the country starts distributing hundreds of thousands of videos suggesting that George Bush ran a coke ring out of Austin, then I'll really perk up. And when Senate Democrats spend $70 million investigating the Valerie Plame affair — compared to the current $0 — and end up bringing impeachment charges against George Bush, then you'll have me. You'll really have me.

But until then, sell it somewhere else. Michael Moore calling Bush a liar and a moron just isn't in the same league as what your side did to Bill Clinton, and nobody who was sentient during the 90s can find the contrary suggestion anything but laughable.
I don't think of myself as a hateful person -- at least as far as people are concerned. In fact, I do my best to avoid people who speak in terms of hate.

So, despite being absolutely committed to removing George W. Bush from office by any means necessary, I don't hate him.

Now, when I consider what he and his toadies and fixers have done to my country, I do get angry. I also get sad. But sad doesn't hold much motivation for me. Anger, at least, has some energy to it. So I do my best to channel that anger. I go out and register voters. I talk with my friends and neighbors about the importance of this election. And I write this blog, too.

But I'm not really sure what all this right wing hot air about Bush-haters is about. Nobody wants to put Bush on the next bus back to Crawford more than I do. His administration has been an unmitigated disaster, and he has done immeasurable damage to the country I love.

But hate is the territory of the likes of Cheney and Limbaugh and Coulter. It's not what the Progressive agenda is about. Never has been. And when they start spouting off about all the Bush-haters -- well, that's just one more thing they got wrong.

UPDATE 8/17/04: At Fafblog, Giblets helps Gary Farber and the rest of us get in touch with our hate. Thanks to Susan for the link.

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Things you should have read

No time to blog this morning. My apologies. Major day job stuff looms.

While I'm off at the widget factory, be sure to take a look at the following:

Intel Dump on Gen. Tommy Franks' failure to tell the administration to wake up and smell the mission;

Legal Fiction's comments on Dahlia Lithwick's op-ed piece in the NYT about the need for a term for conservative judges (re-activists?). There was another good blog review of this that I read yesterday, but I can't find it anywhere now. Feel free to remind me who wrote it;

And Suburban Guerrilla's post on the loss of white collar high tech jobs in America: Where did the jobs go?

In the mean time, get out on the street, register some voters, and remind them that their votes may very well make the difference in the most important election of their lives. Hasta.


Sunday, August 15, 2004

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Republicans Voting for Kerry:
Help MoveOn get them on the air

One of the highlights of the Democratic National Convention was a series of video clips (shown on the big screens in the convention hall) that were statements by Republicans who were fed up with George W. Bush and were voting for John Kerry.

MoveOn.org wants to show some of these on the TV networks during the Republican convention. They would make a great counter-punch to the convention blather coming out of the great right wing noise machine.

Check them out here, and if you can, make a donation to help get them on the air.

Thanks to The Sideshow for the link.


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