Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Tanks In Los Angeles

First I got an e-mail alerting me to a story that was carried on LA IndyMedia:

LOS ANGELES, November 9, 2004 - At 7:50 PM two armored tanks showed up at an anti-war protest in front of the federal building in Westwood. The tanks circled the block twice, the second time parking themselves in the street and directly in front of the area where most of the protesters were gathered. Enraged, some of the people attempted to block the tanks, but police quickly cleared the street. The people continued to protest the presence of the tanks, but about ten minutes the tanks drove off. It is unclear as to why the tanks were deployed to this location.
There was video from the event as well, which, curiously, has since been taken down from the site or at least the link has been disabled. It's definitely worth watching if it comes back up. It's extremely creepy.

It had become a big story on dailyKos and since this event happened in my backyard, I figured I'd do some digging. I called Representative Henry Waxman's office and they were equally curious about the story and have been extremely helpful in trying to get to the bottom of it. They found out that the tanks had driven up from Camp Pendleton in San Diego to attend a Veterans Day event that was to take place today at the West LA Veterans Affairs Center, which is just up the street from where the protest was.

Now what the tank was actually doing stopping at the site of the protest is still a bit murky. The woman I spoke with at Waxman's office told me that it was suggested to her that the tanks were merely pulling over to ask for directions. And another said that the protesters got in front of the tank when they saw it and actually prevented the tank from moving on. The tank certainly had no business driving past the protest if it was going directly to the VA Center, so either they really were lost or...well you can imagine the speculation. Hopefully we'll hear more on Friday but Waxman's office is closed tomorrow...for Veteran's Day.

He's Baaaack

According to the NY Post's Page Six, Zell Miller was on Imus In The Morning yesterday and had this to say about New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd:
SEN. Zell Miller (D- Ga.) laced into New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd yesterday on the "Imus in the Morning" radio show, saying, "The more Maureen Loud [sic] gets on 'Meet the Press' and writes those columns, the redder these states get. I mean, they don't want some high brow hussy from New York City explaining to them that they're idiots and telling them that they're stupid." Miller also suggested "that red-headed woman at the New York Times" should not mock anyone's religion: "You can see horns just sprouting up through that Technicolor hair."
The column he's probably talking about is here. In it she says:
Even as a child, I could feel the rush of J.F.K.'s presidency racing forward, opening up a thrilling world of possibilities and modernity. We were going to the moon. We were confronting racial intolerance. We were paying any price and bearing any burden for freedom. We were respecting faith but keeping it out of politics. Our president was inspiring much of the world. Our first lady was setting the pace in style and culture.

W.'s presidency rushes backward, stifling possibilities, stirring intolerance, confusing church with state, blowing off the world, replacing science with religion, and facts with faith. We're entering another dark age, more creationist than cutting edge, more premodern than postmodern. Instead of leading America to an exciting new reality, the Bushies cocoon in a scary, paranoid, regressive reality. Their new health care plan will probably be a return to leeches.

America has always had strains of isolationism, nativism, chauvinism, puritanism and religious fanaticism. But most of our leaders, even our devout presidents, have tried to keep these impulses under control. Not this crew. They don't call to our better angels; they summon our nasty devils.

There's more, of course, all very much worth reading. But I will leave you with this gem, her response to Zell Miller's criticism:
I'm not a highbrow hussy from New York. I'm a highbrow hussy from Washington. Senator, pistols or swords?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

John Ashcroft Has Resigned

I'm extremely curious to know the machinations behind John Ashcroft's departure from the administration. Was this the original plan, is he being dumped because he is particularly divisive, is it his choice, whome will he be replaced with, etc. But I am temporarily sated by this tidbit from his letter of resignation:
The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved.
Umm, OK, thanks for that. I guess we're all safe now. If this is any indication, Bush's second term is sure to be as surreal as his first.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Rove Was Right

One of the worst aspects of Bush's win on Tuesday is the reality that Rove was right. Karl Rove, Bush's senior campaign advisor (aka Bush's Brain) apparently always felt that if the "evangelicals" had voted in 2000, the election wouldn't have even been close. So he designed Bush's presidency to appeal to those people to ensure a second term. Witness the limitations on federal funding for stem cell research, the passage of the partial birth abortion ban, the removal of federal funds for international family planning organizations and the endorsement of a federal amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage. This radical right wing social agenda that has so incensed us on the left is exactly what got him elected, for this time the evangelicals did turn out and they voted for Bush. And according to Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times, they constitute one-third of Americans, which would explain the statistic that 36% of all Bush voters counted "moral values" as the number one issue they voted on. Greater than terrorism, greater than Iraq, greater than the economy. This utter contempt for and assault on our values is what has made us so passionate and feel like this was more than a mere election. Thomas Friedman of The New York Times agrees.

What troubled me yesterday was my feeling that this election was tipped because of an outpouring of support for George Bush by people who don't just favor different policies than I do - they favor a whole different kind of America. We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.

Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?

At one level this election was about nothing. None of the real problems facing the nation were really discussed. But at another level, without warning, it actually became about everything. Partly that happened because so many Supreme Court seats are at stake, and partly because Mr. Bush's base is pushing so hard to legislate social issues and extend the boundaries of religion that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution, not electing a president.

Elizabeth Edwards

I received this from a fellow Las Vegas Kerry traveler:

As difficult as this week has been for all of us, the Edwards family is dealing with a far more serious issue. On Wednesday, Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with breast cancer. She found a lump in her breast last week but held off getting a biopsy until after Election Day. Please keep Elizabeth and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Cards and well wishes can be sent to her at:

Mrs. Elizabeth Edwards
P.O. Box 75428
Washington, DC 20013-0428

Thursday, November 04, 2004



Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Morning After...

Words escape me still.

Kerry has conceded and we have 4 more years of George Bush to endure. Here's hoping our worst fears are not realized.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

So Far...

...no surprises. I will say that it looks like the Senate and House are not looking good for the Democrats and while exit polls have reported good things for Kerry in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, the real time votes currently have Bush up in Ohio & Fla. and Kerry up in Penn with only a portion of votes counted. So this is a nailbiter. We'll hopefully hear Wisc., Minn., and Michigan soon. Keep your fingers crossed, everybody.

Novak on Ohio

On Crossfire, Bob Novak reported that his contacts on the gorund in Ohio are increasingly pessimistic about Bush's chances there. Also, lines are still long in African-American precincts in Toledo and Cleveland.

Slew of Results Coming In As Most East Coast Polls Close

CNN Projects Bush to win the following states:

Tennessee - 11 EVs
Alabama - 9 EVs
Oklahoma - 7 EVs
South Carolina - 8 EVs
Virginia - 13 EVs

CNN Projects Kerry to win the following states:

Delaware - 3 EVs
Massachusetts - 12 EVs
Maryland - 10 EVs
Illinois - 21 EVs
Connecticut - 7 EVs
New Jersey - 15 EVs
D.C. - 3 EVs
Maine (partial) - 3 EVs

Current tally:

BUSH: 87
KERRY: 77

First Results Are In

CNN Projects Bush to win the following states:

Georgia - 15 EVs
Kentucky - 8 EVs
Indiana - 11 EVs

CNN Projects Kerry to win the following states:

Vermont - 3 EVs

Current tally:

BUSH: 34
KERRY: 3

No surprises. What's interesting is that Virginia and South Carolina have not been called yet. Look for SC to go Bush in a few minutes for an additional 8 EVs, but I bet Virginia will take a bit longer.

Drudge Reports...

For what it's worth, Drudge Report spins the numbers as favorably toward Bush as possible. But who knows, he has been known to be right on occasion. Also, he claims that Ohio is tightening but concedes that exit polls have Kerry up by 2 in Florida.
Exit poll mania spread through media and campaign circles Tuesday evening after exit data from big media sources claimed Kerry competitive in key states.... OH Tied FL Kerry +2 PA Kerry+2-4 WI Kerry+4 MI Kerry+2 NH Bush +7 // EXITS SENATE: Martinez+ FL Thune-Daschle TIED SD Bunning+ KY Salazar+ CO //
[CAUTION: Early 2000 exit polls showed Gore +3 in Florida; showed Gore-Bush even in CO [Bush won by 9], 2000 exits showed Gore +4 in AZ [Bush won by 6]]...
Developing...

Voter Priorities

Thanks to Guru who is experiencing the election in a hotel room in Hong Kong, who reported this interesting tidbit on voter priorities from CNN International:

Kerry Voters:

Economy/Jobs 33%
Iraq War 28%
Terrorism 3%

Bush Voters:

Moral Values 36%
Terrorism 32%

Pretty much says it all , doesn't it?

Melinda On The Ground In NV

Melinda is hard at work going door to door in Las Vegas, along with ground troops from ACT and MoveOn. They are sort of carpet bombing houses asking if people have voted and if not, offering to take them to the polls and if they say they will vote later, they go back to the house to make sure they do.

Melinda said she's had extensive conversations with four people she felt could be turned to Kerry, and she pushed the issue of the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump 1 hour north of Las Vegas that Bush supports and Kerry opposes. There was one guy who said he may not even vote and Melinda urged him to reconsider and told him where his polling place was. She said it looks like he'll make it over there to vote for Kerry.

Way to go, Melinda! Latest exit polling has Kerry up by 1% there.

Zogby Predicts Kerry Landslide

This is beautiful. John Zogby, who predicted Gore's popular vote win in 2000 and Clinton's win in 1996 down to the percent, predicts a huge Kerry Electoral Vote win with 311 to 213.

Interestingly, he also predicts that Bush will barely win the popular vote 49.4% to 49.1%. While a solid win of electoral and popular votes would be a great statement and give Kerry a solid mandate, wouldn't it be sweet revenge to see how Republicans feel when the shoe is on the other foot?

4PM Exit Polls

Kerry:

FL +2.2

IA +0.5

MN +13.7

NV +0.9

NH +15.6

NM -0.2

OH +3.2

PA +13.4

WI +5.0

Fletcher Christian Reports...

This is 4 p.m. analysis by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, according to exit polls. Luntz thinks Kerry is going to win. [Luntz did a 4 PM conference call with some business CEOs]

Turnout overall has been as much about economic security as about national security vote. Kerry is winning economic voters 4 to 1. (Bush wins on national security vote.) Kerry could be headed to 310 or 320 electoral vote. But if Bush carries Fla. or Ohio, Bush can still win. (Networks aren't likely to make a call early because of tight races in Fla. and Ohio.)

But ...

Fla & Ohio: Way too close to call/BUT leaning Kerry by 1 percent
Pa.: 54 percent for Kerry
Wisc: 3 point lead for Kerry
Iowa.: 1 point lead for Kerry (Bush supposed to win)
NM: Kerry plus 2
Nev: Bush plus 1
NH: Kerry by 3
NJ: 8 points for Kerry
Colo: Bush plus 2
Mich: Kerry plus 4

When all is said and done: "Kerry's people must be feeling very confident." Election not over. But based on initial data, Luntz's educated judgment is that Kerry is headed to victory. Unless something happens with late voting. Right now, Kerry is doing about 2 points better in states where expected to be closer. Looks like economy security more important than Bush knew.

Senate: Looks like GOP picks up 3. Dems pick up 1, for net up 2 for GOP Thune over Daschle by 4 points. Likely enough to sustain Indian reservations numbers coming in later for Daschle. GOP picking up N.C. and S.C. Bunning in Ky. Oklahoma goes GOP (Coburn) Plus 3 for GOP. Castor in
Fla. is looking good. Salazar up in Colo.

Exit Polls Cause Stock Market To Dip

The prospect of a Kerry victory, the first hints at which were exit polling posted on several prominent blogs, sent the stock market into retreat.
U.S. stocks reversed course suddenly on Tuesday and drifted lower as chatter on the Internet speculated that early exit polls had Sen. John Kerry leading the presidential election in key swing states.

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 42 points, or 0.42 percent, at 10,012. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index was down 2 points, or 0.20 percent, at 1,128. And the technology-laced Nasdaq Composite Index was down 0.69 of a point, or 0.03 percent, at 1,979.


The Dow Jones and S&P 500 had been higher for most of the session, heading for a sixth straight day of gains, but turned south sharply just after 2:30 p.m. EDT on the exit poll speculation.
I know, Blah blah blah blah. The point is, traders and big business are shaking in their boots at the prospect of returning to a higher tax bracket. Ha ha.

Bizarre Zogby Predictions

John Zogby, pollster extraordinaire, has released polling numbers and tentative predictions, and they're a bit strange. He currently sees the race as a 252-252 tie with Pennsylvania and Virginia too close to call. Virginia!? Also, he gives Florida and Ohio to Bush but Kerry wins Colorado, hence all Kerry would have to do to win is win Pennsylvania, which, while it's tightened recently, has seemed to be a lock for Kerry all along.

His final predictions will be released at 5PM Eastern.


Exit Polls Looking Good For Kerry...So Far

Slatehas released some updated exit poll data from the battleground states that look good for Kerry, although Ohio and Florida are turning out to be just as tight as expected:

Florida

Kerry 50
Bush 49

Ohio

Kerry 50
Bush 49

Pennsylvania

Kerry 54
Bush 45

Wisconsin

Kerry 51
Bush 46

Michigan

Kerry 51
Bush 47

Minnesota

Kerry 58
Bush 40

Nevada

Kerry 48
Bush 50

New Mexico

Kerry 50
Bush 48

North Carolina

Kerry 49
Bush 51

Colorado

Kerry 46
Bush 53

These should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. For a reality check, here's Slate's Jack Shafer:

The first wave of exit-poll data reaching my desk comes from a variety of sources. In some states the sources disagree about the specific margin by which a candidate leads, but never about which candidate is out in front. Some of the confusion may stem from the mixing of morning exit-poll numbers with early afternoon numbers. With those provisos and the understanding that the early numbers are predictive of nothing without their accompanying computer model.


We Just Want It More

Thanks to MyDD
Ohio - African American precincts are performing at 106% what we expected, based on historical numbers. Hispanic precincts are at 144% what we expected. Precincts that went for Gore are turning out 8% higher then those that went Bush in 2000. Democratic base precincts are performing 15% higher than GOP base precincts.

Florida - Dem base precincts are performing 14% better than Bush base precincts. In precincts that went for Gore, they are doing 6% better than those that went for Bush. African American precincts at 109%, Hispanic precincts at 106%.

Pennsylvania - African American precincts at 102% of expectations, Hispanics at 136% of expectations. The Gore precincts are doing 4 percent better than Bush precincts.

Michigan- Democratic base precincts are 8% better than GOP base states. Gore precincts are 5% better than Bush.

Big Turnout

Salon's War Room reports on today's massive turnout:

It's pouring rain in Cleveland. After much legal wrangling, a last-minute court ruling allowed Republican challengers into polling places, and according to America Coming Together's Rashad Alaji, who was meeting with volunteers in the basement of Cleveland's Shiloh Baptist Church, they're slowing down the process by demanding identification from some voters. Usually the only time poll workers ask for ID, he says, is when they can't find someone on their lists. Thus many voters are "resistant" to such challenges coming from outsiders. "The lines are long not only because of turnout, but also because of red tape," he says.

But for all that, Cleveland is a lovely place to be a Democrat today.

Political analysts say that in order to carry Ohio, Kerry needs heavy turnout in Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland and which is the most solidly Democratic part of the state. So far, despite everything, that's exactly what he's getting. In fact, people here say they've never seen anything like it.

Gary tells me that it's cold and rainy in Cincinnati today as well. With all the crappy weather in Ohio, this just may come down to who wants it more. And I think we all know the answer is "we do."

Diary Of A Poll Checker

My brother Kyle is poll checking in the 2nd Congressional District of Maine. Maine has a partial Electoral Vote system whereby the overall winner in the state automatically gets 2 Electoral Votes, then the winner of each of the 2 Congressional Districts is awarded 1 EV (for a total of 4). The 2nd CD is more rural and Bush almost won it in 2000 and while polling has Kerry up there, it looks like it's going to be tight this year as well.

Kyle is standing in a polling location in a small town in the 2nd CD with a list of people whom the DNC has identified as likely Kerry voters. So whenever any person votes, the person who crosses the voter off the voter rolls yells out the person's name and Kyle cross checks it with his list. If the person is on his list, he crosses it off and, every half hour, someone comes by to gather Kyle's tally. This is to identify those that have already voted so they can stop calling them to urge them to vote and also to gauge Kerry's support. There has not been any challenge yet but there was some confusion where a voter needed to fill out a provisional ballot to be counted later. He informed me that if there is a challenge, all voting must stop until the issue is resolved. I don't know if that's the law in all states, but it seems prime for abuse, if a partisan challenger wishes to hold up the line so that people leave without voting.

As of 1:30pm local time, about half the people in the tiny town had voted, which seemed exceptional to him.

Nevada Update

400,000 Nevadans either early voted or voted absentee this year, out of a total 1.1 million registered voters there. As of now, about 75% of the absentee votes have been returned and, judging only by the registration of the voters who've voted, Democrats have a 5,000 vote lead over Republicans in that state.

Melinda is on the ground there today so hopefully I'll get a real time report of her efforts soon.

Election Day Morn

Dave and I began Election Day phonebanking to Florida, urging registered Democrats to get out and vote. For the most part we got answering machines and left heartfelt pleas to vote for John Kerry, but among the people we did reach, many had voted already and still more were planning to vote later. I didn't encounter any Bush voters but I was surprised to speak to 2 undecided voters. How in the world can these people still not know whom they're voting for? It was remarkable. I refrained from expressing this disbelief and simply made my case for John Kerry. But more notable than the undecideds were the several people who didn't know where their polling place was. I proceeded to provide them with a toll free number to call to find out where they need to go to vote, and they assured me they would call it and go vote for Kerry, but I had to think, what if I hadn't called? They would have gone about their day without even thinking about voting. This is the true value of phonebanking and the Get Out The Vote efforts -- not to convince UNDECIDED voters, but to deliver UNLIKELY voters. And conventional wisdom is that there are more Democratic unlikely voters than Republican, hence why large turnout helps Democrats. Keep an eye on turnout. Chris Matthews said that if it reaches 120 million, this could be a big night for John Kerry.

Monday, November 01, 2004

State by State Poll Closing Times

The Green Papers has a great page with a state by state rundown of poll closing times tomorrow. I summarize it below. Some states exist in more than 1 time zone or have different poll closing rules for different cities. So the following list includes only the final poll closing time in each state, in other words, most likely the earliest time by which the media would announce any results:

7PM Eastern

Georgia
Indiana
Kentucky
South Carolina
Vermont
Virginia

7:30PM Eastern

Ohio
West Virginia

8:00PM Eastern

Alabama
Connecticut
Delaware
D.C.
Florida
Illinois
Kansas
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Missouri
New Hampshire
New Jersey
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Tennessee

8:30PM Eastern

Arkansas
North Carolina

9:00PM Eastern

Arizona
Colorado
Louisiana
Michigan
Minnesota
Nebraska
New Mexico
New York
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Texas
Wisconsin
Wyoming

10:00PM Eastern

Iowa
Montana
Nevada
Utah

11:00PM Eastern

California
Hawaii
Idaho
North Dakota
Oregon
Washington

1:00AM Eastern

Alaska

Vegas, Baby, part deux

Guest poster Melinda tells her tale of going to Las Vegas to volunteer for Kerry this weekend and why she just might go back tonight.

I am Todd's "friend Melinda" who volunteered with him this weekend, and is debating (bags are packed and waiting in the car right now) of hopping on a bus at 7pm to go back through the desert and work through Election Day in Las Vegas.

Why? I keep asking myself this same question. This weekend was not easy: dealing with large groups of only marginally organized people; eating the pre-determined food at the pre-determined time; being windburnt and sunburnt; walking and knocking and walking and knocking; getting lost in a maze of lower-income apartment homes; getting screamed at by a crazy woman threatening to sic the police on us for "soliciting" in her precious gated community; approaching people in their homes about often polarizing politics; having dirty hands all the time and using port-a-potties. These things I chose to patiently endure. But, above all, what's really hard, is the exhaustion factor. I am so tired that I'm feeling dizzy as I type this ... and I am considering doing this all over again - only in a more intense fashion.

Well, why? I'll tell you why.

Because I think all the time about my nieces and nephews and the myriad youth that I work with at church. And I think about what another four years of Bush could do to our nation, our world, our culture, our bodies. And it's (somewhat, to the point that non-biased entities actually control the election and that each voice is heard that wishes to be) fair for us - those who can vote and do or don't. It's somewhat fair that the choice we make is the choice we make, that our voices are heard and acknowledged, and we get a president.

But it's not fair for those who have no voice: are too young to have a loud-enough voice; are too poor to have their voice heard (as working three jobs is more important to survival than getting the time off to register or ink their dot); are silenced by a language barrier. It's not fair that the children and the poor who are relying on us to make their decisions, could be and have been let down over and over and over again by the man who we presently call Mr. President.

It's up to us, and by that, I mean, it's up to me. I take this race personally, because I hear those unspoken voices in my head. And right now, they are screaming at me for Kerry '04.

Slate Breaks It Down

Slate’s Electoral College estimates have been all over the map, literally. Last night, their map showed a Kerry landslide with both Ohio and Florida colored a lovely shade of blue. This morning, those states shifted to Bush, only to be split this afternoon, with Kerry taking Florida and Bush taking Ohio (for a tie 269-269.)

Slate’s exasperation about the constant flux of the numbers is pretty funny, actually. So what they’ve decided to do is take an average of Bush’s numbers in the swing states and, assuming his level of support on Election Day does not exceed his pre-Nov. 2nd polling, they’ve charted the likelihood that Bush will win each state as well as the Electoral College ramifications thereof.

Interestingly, this method confirms that the race is really down to Ohio and Florida. It shows that Bush is more likely to win Ohio than Florida and more likely to win Florida than Wisconsin. So if Bush wins his most likely states up to and including Ohio, Kerry wins 286-252, but if Bush also wins the next most likely state, Florida, Bush wins 279-259. Also, confirmed within this estimate is the idea that Kerry can win with either Ohio or Florida but Bush needs both of them to win.

Another Election Bellwether For Kerry

From Salon.com's War Room:
We thought that Kerry's odds were pretty good when the Nickelodeon Kids Poll decisively picked him as the winner (the kids have correctly forecast 4 out of the last 4 elections). And we were elated when the Washington Redskins went down 28-14 on Sunday (ever since 1936, the fate of the incumbent has been correlated with the Redskins' last game before the election). But when the closing bell rang today at the New York Stock Exchange, a Kerry victory became pretty much a certain thing.

Financial analysts have long noted that a president's odds of reelection appear to be closely correlated with the state of the Dow Jones Industrial Average -- specifically, in years when it loses more than .5 percent in the October before the election, the incumbent should invariably start packing his bags.

Well, it was a close race, but it looks like Bush is on the way out. At the end of trading today, the Index was at 10054.38. That's a loss of .52 percent since October 1st.

The Morning After

Our favorite female correspondent J Ho sounds in with her election eve thoughts:

I have been pacing my apartment all day, filled with a weird frantic energy. For the last four years, this country has been cursed with a radical, right wing presidency and a lethargic, cowed opposition. And now, after months of rhetoric that would have shocked George Orwell, we are finally at the moment of reckoning.
Democrats need to realize that even a Kerry win in tomorrow’s election will not restore us to a safe, responsible course. There is even an argument to be made that a Bush victory would be a blessing for a Democratic party that has been hampered by misguided notions of appeasement and centrism.
The contemporary Republican agenda has taken too strong a hold on the country to be eradicated with one electoral victory. Kerry in office will not guarantee peace in Iraq, the defeat of terrorism, or health care reform.
What this country needs to wake up to is the fact the current Republican party is- to borrow a refrain from the Bush songbook- a danger to freedom. How else can you view a movement with a radical agenda of destroying the public sphere that shrouds itself in upsidedown ideological propaganda?
The GOP’s growing popularity with lower middle-class and blue collar voters, who are clearly going to be rendered further disenfranchised by Bush’s policies but support him anyway, has frightening implications. Any totalitarian movement worth its salt is built upon harnessing the fears and anger of the ordinary man. Those who think this is alarmist need only look at the way the Bush camp has portrayed itself; the military posturing, the smearing of opponents, the preying on feelings of vulnerability and fear and the embracing of an ugly machismo. Does anyone remember the Brownshirts?
Yes, yes, previous presidential elections were conducted under the specter of mass-rape and race baiting. Ugly behavior is part and parcel of democracy. But presidents in the 19th and 20th centuries did not have anywhere near the kind of power that is now in George Bush’s hands.
The fact that so many new voters, many of them Democrats, have registered in the last few months is a comforting sign that thousands of people in this country are alarmed by the Bush administration. But removing him from office would only topple the top of the iceberg. If the Democrats lose tomorrow, they should take heart. They can sit back and watch as Iraq, and who knows where else, burns. They can reap mid-term electoral gains as the impact of the Bush tax cuts really start to be felt among the middle-class. They can fine-tune their own message as the Republican Party, split by Bush’s radical agenda, really starts to eat itself once his second term is won. They can use the time in opposition to come up with a strategy to emasculate the extreme Republican agenda once and for all.
It’s the rest of us that should worry.

Michael Moore: "One Day Left"

The mainstreaming of Michael Moore has been one of the more compelling stories of this year. A 2000 Nader supporter and fiercely anti-2-party system, he endorsed Democrat General Wesley Clark in the primaries, proudly calling the President a deserter while he was at it. This stunt singlehandedly got Bush’s Vietnam service records back on the media’s radar screen. Then his scathing and extremely moving Fahrenheit 9/11 broke box office records, bringing the stories the media was too afraid to tell about 9/11 and Iraq to cineplexes all over the country. And for the last several months, Michael Moore has been a fierce advocate for John Kerry for President, albeit most likely with some trepidation. He has been an excellent model of leftwing pragmatism for other former Nader supporters to follow and is likely largely responsible for what will be Nader’s pathetic showing tomorrow night.

His final missive to readers and supporters before tomorrow’s election is up on his website and is worth reading. Actually it’s several short notes to various constituencies (“decent conservatives” and “friends on the left”) as well as the two candidates. I’ve excerpted some below:

To My Friends On The Left

Okay, Kerry isn’t everything you wished he would be. You’re right. He’s not you! Or me. But we’re not on the ballot – Kerry is. Yes, Kerry was wrong to vote for authorization for war in Iraq but he was in step with 70% of the American public who was being lied to by Bush & Co. And once everyone learned the truth, the majority turned against the war. Kerry has had only one position on the war – he believed his president.

To Nader Voters

After the debacle of 2000, the Democrats got smart and abandoned the conservative wing of their party. That’s why 8 of the 9 Democrats in the primaries this year were from the liberal wing. Ralph should take credit for that and declare victory. It’s so sad that he doesn’t realize the good he’s accomplished. But for reasons only known to him, he’s more angry at the Democrats than he is at Bush. He has lost his compass. I worry he has lost his mind. But he still gives a great speech!

To Non-Voters

Almost fifty percent of Americans don’t vote. That means you belong to the largest political party in America – the Non-Voting Party. That means you hold all the power to toss George W. Bush out of the Oval Office. How cool is that?

I believe that we are going to have the largest election turnout in our lifetime tomorrow. You don’t want to miss out on that. The lines at the polls are going to be long and raucous and fun. It is an historic election. You won’t want to say that you were the only one who wasn’t there. Promise me you’ll vote, just this one time.

To George W

I know it’s gotta be rough for you right now. Hey, we’ve all been there. “You’re fired” are two horrible words when put together in that order. Bin Laden surfacing this weekend to remind the American people of your total and complete failure to capture him was a cruel trick or treat. But there he was. 3,000 people were killed and he’s laughing in your face. Why did you stop our Special Forces from going after him? Why did you forget about bin Laden on the DAY AFTER 9/11 and tell your terrorism czar to concentrate on Iraq instead?

To John Kerry

Thank you.

And don’t worry – none of us are going away after you are inaugurated. We’ll be there to hold your hand and keep you honest. Don’t let us down. We’re betting you won’t. So is the rest of the world.

This is What Desperation Sounds Like

Beginning on Sunday, some Michigan voters received the following automated phone message:

When you vote this Tuesday remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry. We need John Kerry in order to make gay marriage legal for our city. Gay marriage is a right we all want. It's a basic Democrat principle. It's time to move forward and be progressive. Without John Kerry, George Bush will stop gay marriage. That's why we need Kerry. So Tuesday, stand up for gay marriage by supporting John Kerry.

Not surprisingly, no one has claimed responsibility for these calls, but looks like some desperate Republican dirty tricks.

State of The Race - 1 Day Out

While I share Dave's optimism about Kerry's carrying Ohio AND Florida, I do want to point out that Kerry can win without Florida. If Kerry holds Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and gains New Hampshire and Ohio, even if he loses Florida, Iowa and New Mexico, he wins with 272-266. This is actually quite a conservative estimate. Dave reported earlier today that Kerry is actually diverting attention away from Ohio to focus on Florida because he feels so confident in Ohio. That had better be true because, while Florida is winnable, I'd hate to have to depend on it, considering the voter suppression efforts there as well as the fact that the governor is the president's brother.

If Bush wins Iowa and Wisconsin as well as either Florida OR Ohio, Kerry is in trouble. If Bush wins Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa and New Mexico and Kerry wins Florida and New Hampshire, the vote is tied at 269-269, which would then go to the Congress, which would likely vote for Bush. In this case, Kerry would need Nevada to push him over the top. If Bush wins Florida, Wisconsin, and Iowa and Kerry wins Ohio and New Hampshire, then Kerry would need New Mexico AND Nevada to win. If Bush wins both Ohio and Florida, it's over, Bush landslide, nightmare scenario.

Some people see a Kerry landslide. A prominent poster at dailyKos sees Kerry by more than 311 and Slate currently sees the race as Kerry's 299-239 with the following commentary:

Florida moves to Kerry, giving him 299 electoral votes. But his lead is shakier than it looks. Both Florida and Ohio are on a knife's edge. We also think Gallup has exposed Wisconsin as a Tier 2 state, winnable for Bush with the right turnout. Kerry's consolation is that both Iowa and New Mexico now look winnable for him, and as a package, they would negate the loss of Wisconsin or Minnesota. Kerry can now afford to lose any of the following combinations: 1) Florida, Iowa, and New Mexico; 2) Florida, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire; 3) Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Hampshire; 4) Ohio and Pennsylvania; or 5) Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The good news for Republicans is that even if Kerry wins all the other states within his reach, he can't survive the loss of Ohio and Florida.

In addition, electoral-vote.com has it as Kerry 287-251. Right now, I'll be conservative and go with the 272-266 Kerry win scenario. We'll update over the course of the next 24 hours.

Random Thoughts From The Bus From Vegas

I was reading the Economist endorsement of Kerry on the bus back from Vegas tonight and I was struck by how evenhanded it is. It is hardly an enthusiastic endorsement. In fact, this magazine endorsed Bush in 2000 and does feel that the invasion of Iraq was the right thing, albeit handled incompetently. It criticizes Kerry for many things but ultimately endorses him with these words:

After three years of necessarily tumultous and transformative years, this is a time for consolidation, for discipline and for repairing America's moral and practical authority. Furthermore, as Mr. Bush has often said, there is a need in life for accountability. He has refused to impose it on himself, and so voters should, in our view, impose it on him, given a viable alternative. John Kerry, for all the doubts about him, would be in a better position to carry on with America's great tasks.
What the endorsement really got me thinking though was of what a waste George Bush's presidency has been. In these extraordinary times, Bush really could have been one of the great presidents. As often has been written, this country was united after 9/11. I believe it was the case in the nation if not among its politicians and Bush could have chosen to use this unity to push for majority rule, considering he did have control of both houses of Congress. But instead, he appealed to the worst in our natures. He appealed to the nation's fears after 9/11 to pursue nation building in Iraq, which was an unnecessary enterprise considering the lack of connection to our attackers and has been revealed to be merely a wargame of an extremist cabal of neocons that took Bush under their wing, perhaps even appealing to his own fears and insecurities.

But Bush also governed based on hate and anger. He appealed to the immense anti-liberal fervor fomented among the right-wing media against so-called liberal social programs, Roe v. Wade and the prospect of the legalization of gay marriage, as well as a supposed pre-9/11 appeasement foreign policy, even though Bush's very own Secretary of Defense served as appeasement's poster boy when seen on video shaking hands with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.

Instead of relegating the social conservative movement to the margins where it belongs, Bush has pandered to this extremist minority and in so doing, marginalized himself as a radical president. But unfortunately, the media doesn't see it this way. Because they have such a fear of confronting him, the media has perpetuated the idea of this president as a mainstream figure. They gave him a total pass post-9/11 for fear of being seen as unpatriotic, and, being the optimistic institution that is is, the media truly trusted that the president was being straight with us. When the opposite became apparent, they have covered the president with slightly more intellectual honesty, but with the cult of evenhandedness the media is engaged in, wherein they will only express or cover a criticism of the president if they can uncover a criticism of John Kerry to balance it out, often taking a talking point straight from the Bush campaign and treating it as news, the result has been that the mainstream has moved right and the "left" has grown bigger. It has also grown united. As Hillary Clinton said in Boston, we do have this president to thank for one thing, bringing us together as we have never been brought together before. As I say often, the fact that my brothers and I are all on the same page vis a vis this president is a great feat, considering our views range wildly over the spectrum of the left.

The disappointment the Economist expresses in this president seems typical of many institutions that previously supported him and now see him for the radical leader that he is. It's a shame that it had to take such a dangerous figure as Bush to give courage and motivation to an emerging progressive movement in this country, but it might be just what we needed. And so while there is some regret for the wasted presidency that has been that of George W. Bush, a waste of time, money and human life, I feel that ultimately, the polarization that he has created will benefit the country, because President John Kerry will unite the nation with his appeals to our better natures. And if he doesn't, I'll be the first to write of my disappointment in 4 years.

“That fake turkey you’re carrying is your presidency”

Random thoughts on the eve of our country’s most important election…

Two slogans for the first term of Bush II :

“That fake turkey you’re carrying is your presidency”

“Never forget…Poland”

A book:

“How to Learn to Better Pronounce the Names of Leaders of Foreign Countries’ and Nothing Else in Four Years as President”

"My Fake Pet Turkey"

A movie:

"My Big Fat Fake Turkey"

At the beginning of this election season, Todd and I agreed we had to do everything in our own power to prevent another Bush term. Have we? Well, we started a newsletter and blog, went to the DNC, spent weekends traveling to swing states, and logged a load of hours phone-banking and talking to anyone who'd listen. Still, did we do everything we could? Absolutely not. Thousands of activists, many of whom we encountered on this journey, have devoted their entire lives, or committed every ounce of free time to the cause. People have left their jobs (permanently) and their families (temporarily) to volunteer in battleground states full-time. I gave money, but I could have stayed in a couple of nights and contributed more. I could have gone campaining every weekend. But I'm still proud of our efforts. We decided this was important and that we were going to be active in this campaign, and if we didn’t give everything, we gave (what at least felt like) a lot. If for no other reason, the time spent has been worth it just because of the friendship it has cemented between myself and Todd (who I hadn’t known for all that long when we began). If I got into this effort because I loathe He Who Must Not Be Named, Todd did because he loves what America can be. And really, really wants to legalize prostitution (kidding, kidding).

Electoral map:

Assuming Kerry’s safe in Pennsylvania, which I pray/believe is the case, our senator will most likely need to sweep Florida and Ohio. With the census changes and Bush looking likely to pick up New Mexico or Iowa and possibly either Wisconsin or Minnesota, going two-for-two in FL and OH could be a must. And I think he can do it. Kerry has a lead in OH and his position in FL looks stronger than Gore’s four years ago. But we’ll see…

On the bright side:

If He Who Must Not Be Named is reelected, at least we’ll know what we’re getting this time. When he makes the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent, starves government of funds for social programs, blows a diplomatic opportunity/crisis, raids social security, guts environmental protection, or recklessly invades another foreign country not involved in 9/11, there should be no shock. The writing isn’t on the wall this time. The writing is on all of us.


Why are we so pissed at the French?

It’s easy to hate on those who said you were wrong… and were proved right. Don’t we wish we could have our 250 billion and thousands of casualties back?

Vegas Baby

Just back from Las Vegas where 225 Californian volunteers, my friend Melinda and I among them, spent Saturday and Sunday canvassing, knocking on thousands of doors, urging registered Democrats or just some time Kerry supporters to get out to vote on Tuesday if they haven't already. It was, of course, always encouraging to find a supporter on the other side of the screen door, but that wasn't always the case. The first thing I'd say is "My name is Todd and I'm a volunteer with the Kerry/Edwards campaign" and I'd pretty much know whom I'm dealing with right then and there. If we got a "not interested," you can be sure they don't intend to vote for Kerry, and it's not our job to stick around to convince them otherwise.

There was a string of houses on Saturday that were all registered Democrats voting for Bush. It sucked. The responses ranged from "Bye bye," to "thank you but I'm for Bush." And then there was a guy who told me he wasn't voting for Kerry but seemed like he wanted to talk about it. So I asked him why not Kerry. He told me because he's a Catholic and Kerry claims to be a Catholic yet he's for abortion -- I corrected him, saying he's not pro-abortion, he's pro-choice, there's a difference, but his point was that he feels that Kerry's beliefs are inconsistent with his faith. I knew that I was not going to convince him otherwise, so when he expressed doubts about Bush as well, I hammered home the importance of voting with your consicience if you're not enthusiastic about either one, telling him about my brother, who just couldn't bring himself to vote for Kerry or Bush, is writing in Nader. Jeremy's in California so the vote doesn't help Bush. But this guy's vote could easily hurt Bush. Sometimes you just have to be content for one fewer Bush vote if not one more for Kerry.

We left Vegas with the assurance that the state is 49-49, despite what most polls say, and that our efforts really meant a lot, since this is going to come down to turn out. In my view, if Kerry wins Nevada, it will be a sign of a massive turnout nationwide, which will signify a Kerry landslide. Right now, I'd bet on Bush taking the state, but I'm certainly glad to have helped in my small way. And I will always have burned on my brain Melinda running into a gated community once a woman opened the gate for her car, only to watch the woman get out of the car with the remote, opening up the gate again demanding to know who we are, what we want, and that Melinda leave immediately or she'll call the cops. These are the lengths we go to for you, Johnny. I can't imagine the pressure you must be feeling but I think I speak for all of us when I say, please don't fuck this up.