Friday, October 8, 2004

Mistaken, Deluded, or Lying

Hugh Hewitt has the facts concerning Senator Kerry's repeated claim that General Shinseki was fired because he criticized the decision not to put more troops in Iraq. The truth is he wasn't fired. He retired after serving a full term and his retirement was announced months before the invasion of Iraq.

When someone says what is false they are either mistaken, deluded, or lying. The claim that Shinseki was fired has been made too often, and rebutted too often, for it to be a mistake.

Senator Kerry keeps repeating this falsehood because it makes the White House look like it punishes dissenters and wouldn't listen to advice from military men about how to plan for the invasion. Kerry's campaign could be forgiven for having made a false claim once, maybe even twice, but to continue to mislead the American people and to persist in slandering the President when they know that what they're saying is false is unconscionable.

Strange Folks

It should give John Kerry supporters, as well as the rest of us, some measure of pause to consider that a large segment of Kerry's supporters are voting for him because either they believe he's lying or they hope that he is. Something like 30% of the Democrat party is fervently anti-war. This is the overriding issue for them and they want us to get out of Iraq now. Even so, Kerry has vowed to stay and win it. Yet this 30% is solidly in his camp. There can be only one reason for this discrepancy and that is that they don't believe the Senator really means what he says.

After all, everything he's ever done in his public life suggests that he doesn't mean it. He first broke upon the national stage by insisting that the United States summarily withdraw from Vietnam because it was the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time and there were no national interests at stake. Since then he has consistently sought to thwart efforts to use military force abroad. To think that he would now be genuinely transformed into an advocate for "staying the course" in a war he believes is misbegotten and pointless is to think that he has somehow undergone an ideological transformation that would be nothing short of miraculous.

Moreover, there is another sizable chunk of Democratic voters who are viscerally opposed to an unfettered right to bear arms. It is perhaps one of the top three issues for them in determining their vote. Kerry flaunts his support of such a right and yet the anti-gun folks are out campaigning for him. Why? Is it because they don't think he's telling the truth about his love for the 2nd ammendment?

It is certainly one of the oddities of this election season that the Democrats have mustered such an animosity toward President Bush because, as they claim to see it, he lied to the American people, while, at the same time, a large number of them are going to vote for Senator Kerry precisely because they believe, or are hoping, that he really is lying to the American people.

Strange folks, these liberals.

Where Things Stand

Jay Cost has some great analysis of recent polls which show the race tightening. The news is not all as bad for Bush supporters as it might seem. Kerry Spot posts the following excerpts from Cost:

The first moral of the story is to try to be sanguine about these polls. It is important to remember that last Thursday was the low-point for Dubya and the high-point for Kerry. Even now, Dubya still has a lead. The way to look at this is week is that, given the public's reaction to his performance last Thursday, the president has really dodged a bullet.

The second moral of the story is to remember that polling is, at best, ill-suited for presidential politics. We political junkies are desperate for some kind of certainty, and so we cling to these polls. But the bottom line is that there is no certainty in these polls. Once again, to obtain any kind of certainty, you would have to conduct the same poll at least thirty times and average the results. And you would have to do it before there are any possibilities of substantial changes in the electorate (e.g. you would have to do thirty identical polls in between the two debates). That would give you an indication of where the race stands. That would give you certainty.

The campaigns probably do something like this. Thus, if you want to know where the race really stands, take a look at where they are campaigning. Kerry is spending time in Wisconsin and Colorado. Bush is spending time in Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Interestingly, nobody is spending time in Florida, New Mexico, West Virginia, Minnesota, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri.

My guess is that the Bushies are reasonably confidant that they will hold all the states they held in 2000 except New Hampshire, Colorado and Ohio without much effort (which Kerry thinks he can pick up). But, on the other hand, he can hold Florida and likely pick up Iowa and probably Wisconsin (which Kerry is worried that he will lose), and possibly one EV from Maine.

Suppose all of this breaks against Bush. Suppose he loses PA, OH, CO, NH, WI, ME. He holds FL and picks up IA. That would put the final EV count at 254. We should call that Dubya's floor. There are lots and lots of different things Dubya could do here to get to 270. It would be pretty easy. A hold in OH. A pick-up of PA. A pick up of NH (4 EV's) and WI (11 EV's) and ME (1 EV). A pick-up of WI (11 EV's) and a hold of CO (9 EV's).

On the other hand, Kerry's floor is 229. Kerry has to do a lot more than Dubya to get to 270. This is where the real race is, people. It is not in that AP-IPSOS poll!

In other words, a solid performance tonight by Bush might make victory irretrievable for the Democrats even with one debate left.