Saturday, October 30, 2004

Saturday Morning Musings


As the campaign lurches into its final wild days, a few thoughts:

1. Most news media reports from now until Monday evening will be pretty much undifferentiated noise. The Chicago Tribune, which, to the surprise of many, has endorsed President Bush, makes these observations, which have the feel of wisdom:

This year . . . a mudslide of charges is oozing into print and broadcast
reports. It has tended to reinforce the perception among some Americans that
many journalists are rooting for Kerry. . . . No, we're not going to skip down
that path holding hands with Rush Limbaugh. But it's harder to refute those
suspicions when CBS, which reported the weapons story cooperatively with the
Times, acknowledges that it originally planned to break the scoop on "60
Minutes" this Sunday--two days before the election.

For news consumers, blaming reporters for turning last-minute leaks into unflattering stories is one option. The better option is to realize that most journalists want to chase potentially important stories whenever they occur. Best to pay attention, even in the closing days of a campaign, but with a grain of salt close by. Remember, when the embarrassing story breaks late, there's usually a reason.

2. is an indispensable source of interesting and important commentary and news, on both sides of the issues. Everyone interested in politics should bookmark it.

3. This Power Line commentary on Osama bin Laden's latest tape is simply terrific-- and devastating.

4. Is anyone else tired of the punditocracy's predictions about who will win which state and which issue is cutting which way for which candidate? The folks we refer to as pundits (bless 'em) are just doing their job. But I remember how, since the 1988 election, the Fred Barneses and Bill Presses of the world are wrong at least half the time. After all, it's their job to comment, not to be right. In the election post-mortem, they'll all be on talk show and think tank panels, wittily commenting on how they were wrong about this or that, and how "that just goes to show you."

5. Despite no. 4 above, I do pay attention to Hugh Hewitt. He is a real GOP cheerleader but seems to be right more than he is wrong. He certainly got the 2002 results right in many places where the mainstream media "wise men" were wrong.

6. Dick Morris, one pundit who seems to be right a little more than he is wrong, sees it this way:

a) Ask yourself: What is the issue we are talking about these days? Are we
focused on terrorism and Iraq, or on health care and jobs? The answer is
obvious: terrorism and Iraq.
b) Now look at the polls. Not the page that shows who they're voting for. That changes every hour. Look at the page that asks, "Which candidate do you think would do the best job of handling the war inIraq?" The answer is always President Bush, usually by 10 points. And right below that, on "Which candidate do you think would do the best job of handling the War on Terror?" Bush leads again, usually by 20 points. If the issue is terrorism and Iraq, and Bush wins those issues by double digits, then the winner will be . . . voila, Bush!

I think Morris may well be right this time. I certainly hope so. Read the whole thing.

6. As a life-long (and very happy) Boston Red Sox fan, I was a little annoyed that John Kerry tried to associate himself with the Sox and their World Series victory. (This is the man who, as the Senator from Massachusetts, tried to pose as a Red Sox fan by named as his favorite Sox player Eddie Yost, who never even played for Boston.)

So I had to grin when Curt Schilling, the ace Red Sox pitcher and playoff-World Series hero pictured here, enthusiastically endorsed Bush, on national TV. (Still grinning about that one.)

7. For a little boost (maybe a big boost) to your spirits, watch this Bush advertisement. I hope millions of American voters see it before Tuesday.

UPDATE: Here is an interesting column by Joseph Perkins in today's San Diego Union Tribune about the impact of Al Gore's decision to contest the 2000 election results. I think Mr. Perkins is spot on.


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Sunday, October 02, 2005 7:23:00 AM  

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