Saturday, October 16, 2004

Insomnia Cures

I don't know about you, but I found this week's political soap operas relatively boring. Of course, the Presidential Debate on Wednesday dominated the news-, er, blog-cycle, along with much tea-leaf reading as various polls reported in. I watched a few minutes of the debate, and then switched over to the NY-Boston baseball game, which was much more entertaining. (My condolences to my brother-in-law on Boston losing again tonight.)

If you need soporifics, check out these items:

Hugh Hewitt's weekend symposium asks the question, "How deep a hole have John Kerry, Mary Beth Cahill and the Edwards dug for themselves? How lasting the damage?" The topic is in reference to Kerry's tactless remark during the debate about VP Cheney's daughter and the post-debate spin from his campaign. As I write this, there are more than 200 entries. Bill Kristol has a good take on the issue, and you should read the whole piece:
WAS JOHN KERRY born a shameless and ruthless opportunist, or did he choose to become one? In a way, who cares? Who knows how John Kerry became who he is? What is clear is that he is, as Dick Cheney put it, "a man who will do and say anything to get elected." And what is equally clear is that he shouldn't be elected president of the United States.

Leave aside the cheap, cold, calculating cynicism--and cruelty--in Kerry's appropriation of the alleged opinions of an opposing candidate's family member to try to embarrass his opponent. Leave aside the view Kerry and his campaign must have of millions of religious Americans if they think this particular McCarthyite moment will work. Leave aside their fear of having an honest debate about a legitimate public policy issue--same-sex marriage, the role of liberal judges in advancing it, and the proper response of the elected representatives of the American people. Leave aside the fact that Kerry's alleged opposition to same-sex marriage is manifestly dishonest and cowardly.

Leave it all aside. How stupid does John Kerry think the American people are?
Hugh also links to a post at Powerline, where John Hinderaker "Hindrocket" has an interesting character sketch of Mary Cheney from an encounter four years ago.

And in the "he'll say anything" vein, Senator Kerry has again brought up the specter of the draft being reinstated (link via News flash, Senator, IT WON'T HAPPEN! Powerline notes how the Kerry camp is backtracking furiously.

The various opinion polls have had each camp spinning furiously. As you might expect, the Kerry campaign crowed about the post-debate tracking polls that showed he "won" the debate. The latest Newsweek poll has Bush up by 6 over Kerry, although the internals indicate that it over-polled Republicans compared to earlier samples. Check out RealClear Politics for links to more polling than you need to make your eyes glaze over.

Jim Geraghty at NRO Kerry Spot argues that the real key to reading the polls is to watch where the candidates and their surrogates are campaigning (with follow-up here):

If the Kerry camp is so wildly confident that they’re keeping all of the important Gore states, why are they having Kerry and Edwards spend so much time in Blue States?

That's an inordinate amount of time to spend in states that are supposed to already be in the Democratic column. Note also that two of the non-debate-site red states on that list are New Hampshire and Nevada, and neither one alone is enough to put Kerry over the top.

Would a Bush supporter prefer the President to be up more? Certainly. But look at the amount of time he and Cheney are spending in New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey - all blue states where he's on the offense. Right now the Bushies are defending five states, really - Ohio, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Colorado. And obviously, neither New Hampshire or Nevada alone would put Kerry over 271, assuming he holds all the Gore states.

Right now, Kerry and Edwards are putting enormous time - a resource where he can't just raise more - into defending blue states. This could change. But for now, Kerry’s playing defense, while Bush plays offense.


[Updated at 10/17/04 01:48 AM to add Powerline link on draft story. It's time for me to take my own insominia cure!]