Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Swift Vets Are Back

Transcripts of two new Swift Boat Veterans ads, set to run during Monday Night Football, can be found here. The second of the two sounds like it will be very powerful. Thanks to Kerry Spot for the tip.

Mr. Bush's Liabilities

Many people have wondered why President Bush doesn't defend his record more vigorously in the debates and attack Kerry's record, which is eminently vulnerable, more incisively. The answer, perhaps, is that Mr. Bush suffers from three rhetorical liabilities. First, he seems to assume that everybody already knows all the facts. He himself is immersed in matters of policy all day long, and it's easy for such a man to think that what's obvious to him is obvious to everybody. Perhaps he doesn't realize the depth of political ignorance and indifference that resides just outside the beltway. When, for example, he accuses John Kerry of being a "liberal", probably three quarters of citizens of voting age have no idea what he means.

Second, he's just not a quick thinker on his feet. His mind doesn't seem to work well when he's under the pressure of having to come up with gaffe-free answers in front of the whole nation. He no doubt works much better in intimate, relaxed settings where he can be himself, has time to consider options and think through problems.

Third, he's not particularly eloquent so that when he does know what he wants to say he has trouble putting it into words and using the appropriate inflections and gestures to drive the words home.

All of these liabilities work to his detriment in a debate setting, and it's quite surprising that his team didn't insist on the same sort of format that was used in the Cheney/Edwards debate which would have put him more at ease. It's also surprising that they didn't insist that he be allowed to use notes which would've made his task much less onerous.

None of this, mind you, should be taken as in any way a reflection upon his intelligence. Brilliant men have suffered the same sorts of disabilities, and absolute dolts can appear eloquent and articulate in public. Everyone is different in this respect. One reason why Viewpoint opposes Presidential debates is that they give the impression that the skills needed to do well in such events are somehow necessary qualifications for the presidency. That is not the case and never has been, and we do our nation a disservice by placing so much emphasis on the minutiae of these events.

Left-Wing Loopiness

Among the many reasons why the nation seems so divided this election season is the fact that the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic party (about 90% of politically active Democrats) seems to have taken leave of their senses. Their febrile minds conjure up all manner of nightmarish fantasies that they are quite certain are accurate accounts of Bush administration plots and machinations, and out of their paranoia and hallucinogenic condition arises the most spiteful and vile rhetoric. Or they express their distaste so ineptly that it just sounds dumb. Either way most sane folk are put off by it and wish to have nothing to do with them. provides us with a fine illustration of the mental state of the contemporary left. They interviewed thirty one novelists to see who these writers will be voting for in November. As one might expect from such a group, twenty four responded that they will be voting for Kerry and four favor the President (three chose other options). More interesting than who they support, however, are their reasons for their selection. Here's a sample from the twenty four Kerry supporters:

Dan Chaon

He [Bush] seems truly, frighteningly dangerous and completely without scruples. I'm alarmed by his administration's attacks on civil liberties, by the deliberate lies that brought us into a poorly planned war, by the gleeful disregard for the environment, by the social policies - the tax cuts, which so nakedly benefit the very few to the detriment of almost everybody else; the ugly, merciless No Child Left Behind educational policy; the reckless budget deficit .... I have found myself recoiling from the newspaper, and I dread where another four years of his administration would lead us. I find myself particularly repelled by Bush's professed "Christianity," even as his administration repudiates every value that Christ represents. He's probably not the Antichrist, but he comes as close as I've seen in my lifetime.

Amy Tan

I'm voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he.

Rick Moody

The Bush presidency is the most corrupt in modern history. Under the cynical disguise of evangelical Christian moralizing (and don't even get me started on Bush's moronic theology), Bush conducted (and continues to conduct) a fire sale, in which he auctioned off the entire nation to the highest corporate bidder, piece by piece.

Jonathan Franzen

He's [Bush] the candidate whose defeat Osama Bin Laden (if he's alive) is praying for. I trust him not to pour additional gasoline on the fires that Bush has set overseas. Also, since he's [Kerry] a Democrat, I trust him to exercise a modicum of fiscal sanity and to show a little compassion for the unlucky. Also, his wife is hot hot hot.

Jane Smiley

Would George Bush steal the election if he thought he could get away with it? The evidence is that he has (disenfranchising black voters in Florida in 2000) and wants to again (attempting the same trick already this year). That such a man, an amoral prevaricator and ruthless opportunist, actually has supporters in his bid to wreck American democracy appalls me. I think that the coming election will result in a constitutional crisis of unprecedented danger. I consider a vote for Bush a vote for tyranny.

David Amsden

A cousin of mine spent a year fighting with the Army in Iraq. He was a harder man when he returned, tweaked, difficult to relate to. His stories were crushing - did you know that there are giant spiders that creep up on sleeping soliders at night? That this is the sort of thing that causes nightmares....For all his swaggering bravado, the guy has no real backbone, no confidence in anything but his squinty little grin, which is frightening.

Well, we could go on, but why bother. After all, the level of ignorance, falsehood, anti-Christian bigotry, and plain stupidity in this brief sample of responses is just too depressing to warrant prolonging the exercise.

Despite the intellectual perversities, eccentricities, and loopiness on display here, there are a few bright lights of rationality shining amidst the liberal gloom. These are mostly provided, however, by those novelists who are supporting Bush. Click on the link above to read their statements.

George Bush Should Receive a Nobel Prize

Scott Norvell has a fine piece here on the election in Afghanistan. He writes from Kabul:

It was a regrettably typical comment from an American reporter in this part of the world. "At least it's news," he said of the Afghan election scuffle over the weekend. "Otherwise, this is just a success story."

God forbid it be a success story.

But that's what it was here, no matter how hard the international media tried to spin it. There were no car bombs raining body parts all over the polling stations. There were no last-minute assassinations. There were no drive-by shootings. The best they could come up with for "news" was grumbling from hopelessly trailing opposition candidates about washable ink and threats of a boycott. The media's disappointment was palpable.

When Kabul came out of its election-time shell on Monday, the picture was instead one of a city reveling in the chaos of commerce. Real estate prices are rising, and the din of new construction is pervasive. Foreign investment is up. There are three times as many private cars on the streets as five years ago, and women can go shopping without getting whipped by thugs from the Taliban Ministry of Vice and Virtue for baring sockless ankles beneath their burqas. It is a chaos to which Afghans have been accustomed for centuries, one they are happy to have back.

This is a Nobel prize caliber accomplishment. In fact, it surpasses in magnitude virtually anything any previous recipients of that award have achieved. What other world leader has done so much for so many of the world's oppressed in just four years? Maybe FDR in WWII (although it's questionable), surely Reagan, but it took him eight years, and even then it wasn't until after his presidency that his policies toward the communists brought about the collapse of their tyranny.

What other world leader has done as much for women's rights in such a brief period of time as has George Bush? Twenty five million women in Afghanistan and Iraq can vote for the first time ever. In Afghanistan they can go to school and hold elective office for the first time. This is monumental, but it leaves our feminists unimpressed. After all, Bush still opposes the right of a woman to kill her unborn child.

Bush's accomplishment of freeing fifty million people in Afghanistan and Iraq is probably unique in world history, but the odds that Bush will be awarded the Nobel are probably about the same as they were for Ronald Reagan. Doubtless the enlightened eminences who decide upon the recipients, if they don't select some mentally unstable virago who rants about white scientists developing AIDs in order to wipe out the black race, will choose someone who campaigned hard to prevent what Bush has achieved. Maybe Jacques Chirac, now that he's no longer receiving bribes from Saddam, can use the cash.