Sunday, November 28, 2004

A Seasonal Thought for The Week


As Thanksgiving recedes and Christmas approaches, this poem, one of my favorites, seems appropriate:

Christ Ran Stumbling
Anthony Ross
Lord Rector, University of Edinburgh

Christ ran stumbling down the street
on little twisted feet;
small blue hands over the place
where someone had bruised his face.
His starved, thin body shook with tears
and quick short gasps of fear.

Bitter the December day,
streets and sky an equal gray;
no brightness, but the neoned pub
where city men with Christmas grin
forgetfully went out and in.

When did we see you? folks will say,
at the last day.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Saturday Morning Musings


The Political Scene

This article by Russ Smith in the New York Press is a very readable, dispassionate review of the position of both parties heading into GWB's second term. A tantalizing excerpt:

. . . while it's early to speculate about the president's successor, remember that shortly after Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in '96, Republicans were already looking to Bush for 2000. The GOP has a very weak bench for '08—Bill Frist? Chuck Hagel? George Pataki? All non-starters who'd get trounced by a moderate Democrat from any region but the Northeast.

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney vs. Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh: That's the race to watch.
Falluja: What's Next?

Meanwhile, Mackubin Thomas Owens writes about Falluja in The Weekly Standard. He observes, regarding news media reports that have already begun to second-guess the success of the operation there:

An equivalent headline in June 1944 would have read: "Massive U.S. Casualties on Omaha Beach; Hitler's Reich Remains Intact, Defiant." Such stories fail to place Falluja, Mosul, Tal Afar, and other cities in northern Iraq in context. The fact is that Falluja is part of a campaign, a series of coordinated events--movements, battles, and supporting operations--designed to achieve strategic or operational objectives within a military theater. Falluja is just one battle, albeit an extremely important one, in a comprehensive campaign to stabilize the Sunni Triangle.
Owens goes on to discuss the military's apparent plans in Iraq based on compelling logic and experience. He is a professor of national security at the Naval War College, and his piece reflects his expertise: It's a fine example of hard-headed, careful strategic military thinking (not something we will see much in the news media, I fear).

Culture Watch

By the way, is anyone else wondering how it is that within a three-day period, an NBA basketball player can charge into the stands and start beating up fans, then be suspended for the rest of the season, then appear on the Today show hawking his rap CD and downplaying the beating incident with the comment, "Stuff happens?"

And while I am asking questions, here's are a few about the new evening soap opera "Desperate Housewives" (which I am planning never to watch, thank you): Why is it that Hollywood types think that they need to tell the "truth" about the suburbs? None of them would ever descend to the level of actually living in the suburbs, although they may have when they were kids, so what qualifies them to produce programming about what it's "really like" out there? (The Movie "American Beauty" comes to mind. I never saw that one either but I sure did read a lot of reviews with quotations from Kevin Spacey and Annete Bening about how they "know" what it's like in suburbia and it's about time a movie forced us all to confront what goes on there.) Do those folks really think that spending their teen-age years in places like Chatsworth, California, qualifies them to write about the lives of adults in such places, and to portray those neighborhoods as hellish mini-societies full of cynical, selfish, or clueless morons? Do others besides me recognize that these suburban tales are really simple-minded caricatures of a large and important part of American society?

Oh, well, Hollywood's contempt for "regular" people has become pretty widely recognized. I'll stick with Biography. At least it's about real people.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Thoughts During A Tryptophan Hangover


Ticked-Off Democrats Turn on Their Own

Jonathan Chait is a New Republic writer who somewhat famously suggested that it was necessary and appropriate for voters to hate G.W. Bush. Now, in today's L.A. Times, he has turned his sights on three Democrats who are prominent in early speculation for 2008: John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Howard Dean. Chait doesn't think much of them:


Probably the only worse option than Dean or Clinton, short of nominating Paris Hilton, would be to renominate John Kerry, who, reports have suggested,
inexplicably harbors ambitions of running again in 2008. In a previous column I
compared Kerry's contribution to his own campaign to an anchor's contribution to a boat race. In retrospect, I seem to have given him far too much credit.

On H. Clinton:

Her advisors point out that she's religious and speaks the language of
Scripture. That's nice, but nobody seemed to notice it during her eight years in
the national spotlight. She's painfully uncharismatic. Her only political
accomplishment is that she won a Senate seat in an extremely Democratic state,
where she ran six percentage points behind Al Gore. Clinton's supporters like to
note that she's not as liberal as people think. That's exactly the problem. I
can see the logic behind nominating a liberal whom voters see as moderate.
Nominating a moderate whom voters see as liberal is kind of backward, isn't it?

On Dean:

Dean argued that Democrats didn't really need to engage the cultural issues that Republicans had long used to win white, working-class voters. Instead, Dean argued, it would be better to persuade culturally traditional whites to vote
their economic self-interest. But of course, a candidate can't always decide for
the voters what issues they should pay attention to. Economics is complicated.
Cultural issues are visceral. The presidential election showed pretty decisively
that Democrats can't get a hearing on their more popular economic platform if
voters don't think their values are in the right place. A secular Yankee like
Dean is about the worst possible candidate.

Supporting The Troops: The Web Makes It A Lot Easier Than It Used to Be

This Daniel Henninger column in Opinion Journal is encouraging and informative about how citizens on their own have developed ways to support the men and women fighting in Afgahnistan and Iraq. Henninger notes:

At last for the troops fighting the war on terror, there is a home front.
There are no victory gardens on this home front, no Rosie the Riveter. It's on
the Web.

You simply must read the whole thing and visit the web site listed there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Two Thanksgiving Thoughts, One Funny, One Serious

First, the following from the always-reliable Scrappleface:

Maryland Renames Thanksgiving 'Lucky Thursday'

(2004-11-24) -- Faced with the constitutional prohibition against teaching about the Christian origins of Thanksgiving in public schools, the Maryland State Department of Education has rewritten its curriculum, and renamed the holiday 'Lucky Thursday'.

Starting in 2005, 'Lucky Thursday' lessons in public schools will instruct children in the random, yet fortuitous, events which led a band of deranged religious fanatics (called Puritans) to beach their boat on an unexpected continent where the native people stumbled upon, then rescued them.

"The Puritans jumped on a boat, spun the wheel of fortune, and whammo...they ended up here," said an unnamed professor at the University of Maryland who directed the curriculum adjustment project. "Then they knelt in the sand and thanked their lucky stars."

Donald Trump, whose casino operations declared bankruptcy earlier this week, has promised to provide dice, cards and other instructional tools to help reinforce the curricular concept that "We're Americans because biology accidentally collided with geography."

Visit Scrappleface often. Scott Ott, the author, is a funny, funny guy.

The second, much more sober Thanksgiving thought is the one annually printed on the Wall Street Journal's editorial page. It never ceases to prompt a little deep reflection on my part:

The Desolate Wilderness
November 24, 2004; Page A12

Here beginneth the chronicle of those memorable circumstances of the
year 1620, as recorded by Nathaniel Morton, keeper of the records of Plymouth
Colony, based on the account of William Bradford, sometime governor thereof:

So they left that goodly and pleasant city of Leyden, which had been their resting-place for above eleven years, but they knew that they were pilgrims and strangers here below, and looked not much on these things, but lifted up their eyes to Heaven, their dearest country, where God hath prepared for them a city (Heb. XI, 16), and therein quieted their spirits.

When they came to Delfs-Haven they found the ship and all things ready, and such of their friends as could not come with them followed after them, and sundry came from Amsterdam to see them shipt, and to take their leaves of them. One night was spent with little sleep with the most, but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and other real expressions of true Christian love.

The next day they went on board, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting, to hear what sighs and sobs and prayers did sound amongst them; what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each other's heart, that sundry of the Dutch strangers that stood on the Key as spectators could not refrain from tears. Butthe tide (which stays for no man) calling them away, that were thus loath to depart, their Reverend Pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with the most fervent prayers unto the Lord and His blessing; and then with mutual embraces and many tears they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be the last leave to many of them.

Being now passed the vast ocean, and a sea of troubles before them in expectations, they had now no friends to welcome them, no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour; and for the season it was winter, and they that know the winters of the country know them to be sharp and violent, subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known places, much more to search unknown coasts.

Besides, what could they see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wilde beasts and wilde men? and what multitudes of them there were, they then knew not: for which way soever they turned their eyes (save upward to Heaven) they could have but little solace or content in respect of any outward object; for summer being ended, all things stand in appearance with a weatherbeaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and thickets, represented a wild and savage hew.

If they looked behind them, there was a mighty ocean which they had passed, and was now as a main bar or gulph to separate them from all the civil parts of the world.

Rather Remarkable


The responses to Dan Rather's decision to step down as CBS Evening News anchor (but not from anything else important) keep rolling in. A sampling:

Hugh Hewitt:

Let's not spend a lot of time watching the barge go over the falls.
Rather's not even a footnote in the history of American journalism much less
American history. He was standing around in the right place at the right time
and will be remembered for his pratfalls not his professionalism.


Michael Goodwin in the New York Daily News:

I guess we're supposed to believe it was mere coincidence that Rather is
packing even before the network's probe is released. Or we're supposed to
believe that, as Rather claimed, he and his bosses had been discussing his
retirement over the summer.

Whatever. The fact-fudging was perfectly consistent with the dishonest
way CBS handled the story from Day One.

Double Ouch!

UPDATE: Power Line has a nice collection of comments about Rather. Power Line has extra credibility because of its role in exposing the CBS National Guard forgery scandal.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Dan Rather Quitting As CBS News Anchor


This news is not surprising at all; it was only a matter of time. The blogosphere will be awash in commentary about Rather's decision, so we will be mainly obervers. But if we see good posts we'll link to them for you here.

A couple of thoughts: I found it hard to dislike Dan Rather. He seems like a very decent man. Over time, what I found most remarkable about him was his insularity and general cluelessness about America and ordinary Americans, even though he came from ordinary America. He was so tragically blind to his own biases and those of his colleagues in the old news media.

Once Rather said that when you get to know them, you see that most news people are really "common sense moderates." Isn't that an amazing statement? Even so, I don't doubt that Rather truly believed it. And therein lies the tragic flaw in Dan Rather. Unfortunately there are many more like him in the news business.

You can follow this story as it develops at


Scrappleface has a light take on this development, entitled "Dan Rather Scrambles to Confirm Story of His Resignation."

Andrew Sullivan notes:

Why on earth is Rather staying on full-time at Sixty Minutes, the show whose reputation he besmirched by rashness and partisanship? . . . A simple question: How can you rehire a man for Sixty Minutes when you haven't even published your own investigation into the journalistic meltdown that he presided over? Shouldn't you wait until you know what actually happened before you declare that someone will stay on full-time? And how long does such an investigation take, for pete's sake? My b******t detector just went through the roof on this one.

Meanwhile, some people are wondering where the heck that report on Rathergate is.

Management Tips for Today


A friend sent this to us. If you are like us you will recognize many of these management strategies.

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says:

“When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount."

In government, education, and in corporate America, however, more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  4. Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride horses.
  5. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
  6. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.
  7. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
  8. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase speed.
  9. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse's performance.
  10. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse's performance.
  11. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses.
  12. Rewriting the expected performance requirements for all horses.

And, of course, a management favorite . . .

13. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

A Marine Major Reports from Fallujah

The Green Side has another report from Major David G. Bellon, USMC. Major Bellon's first paragraph:

Just came out of the city and I honestly do not know where to start.
I am afraid that whatever I send you will not do sufficient honor to the men who
fought and took Fallujah.

Read the whole thing. No matter how you feel about the war.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Saturday Morning Musings


Frivolous Stuff First

Well, it's not frivolous to everyone, only to those who don't understand. This is college football "rivalry weekend," when everyone plays their arch-rival: Michigan-Ohio State, USC-UCLA, Texas-Texas A&M, and Utah-BYU. (The animated graphic at the left is my little nod to that last one. My Utah Utes are rated 5th in the country and appear to be headed to the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day. But first they have to get past the BYU Cougars, who, as our much-maligned but long-standing arch-rivals, will not go without a fierce fight. Go Utes!)

I don't really look like this; I'm much thinner and have more hair.

So, frankly, this is one Saturday when I expect to be parked in front of my TV for much of the day. It's the only Saturday I do that. Honest. Just ask my wife.

More Serious Stuff

The CIA Tranformed

Has anyone else noticed how the CIA, which was the gang that couldn't shoot straight, has suddenly became the beleaguered good guys fighting against a Bush Administration "purge?" Talk about a quick change in standing. Call me a cynic, but I suspect a little (drum roll) mainstream media bias at work here. Steven Hayes of the Weekly Standard provides information that has been missing from the Washington Post and New York Times stories pushing the purge theory. An excerpt:

Let's entertain an alternative scenario: that after several years of painful and very public intelligence failures by the CIA, the new director and his team hope to make changes that will protect Americans; that Goss will draw on his decade as a CIA operative in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe and his seven
years as chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence to ameliorate a
deteriorating situation that he watched from the front row; that perhaps it is
the CIA officials who leaked against Bush who have a political agenda or
interests to protect.
Sounds right to me.

Hysteria on The Left

Yes, she's photogenic,but she wields an acid-tipped pen.

I avoid reading Maureen Dowd, but someone sent me a clip from her November 7 New York Times column:

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.

Perhaps you can understand why I don't read her?

But Ms. Dowd is not alone in churning out such claptrap. Mort Kondracke, writing in RealClearPolitics, surveys the field and offers this devastating summary:

It simply destroys the credibility of liberals, and Democrats, for them to go so over the top. Ordinary Americans overwhelmingly know they didn't vote for Bush to tear down the wall between church and state. Mainly, they voted for him
because they trusted him more to fight America's enemies, who are real and
menacing - and in no way resemble Bush.

If liberals imagine Bush's America to be a theocracy, they should take a field trip to Iran or the Sudan. Sorry, Taliban-dominated Afghanistan is no longer available.
Ouch! Kondracke urges the Democrats to get serious:

If the Democrats are ever going to get out of their political hole, they've got to get real and reform. The first part is fairly easy. The second, since it involves separation from some of the party's favorite interest groups, isn't.

By "get real," I mean, stop believing your own metaphors - stop saying that President Bush barely won the election and start paying attention to what concerns average voters.

Stretch out on the couch and read the whole thing if you can-- during commercials, of course.

Friday, November 19, 2004

A Little Weekend Lift


Power Line provides it in this post about Natan Sharansky, Ronald Reagan and the end of the Soviet's Evil Empire, and modern-day application of the same principles by George W. Bush.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Time's 2004 Man of The Year

Hugh Hewitt offers this interesting and somewhat amusing take on Time's annual "Man of The Year" designation. It really is difficult to see how they can choose anyone but George W. Bush without looking silly, but they clearly do not mind that. Remember 2001? They chose Rudy Giuliani:

Of course Rudy's an American hero, but 9/11 was about much more than New York City and its mayor. There are a dozen reasons why Bush should have been chosen then as well, but Time wanted to insult him. Let's see how silly Time wants to look this time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004



Forgive me, I was in a small-minded mood. (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds.)

The Fallujah Mop-up

The London Times reports on the awful mess U.S. soldiers are finding as they clean up Fallujah. Clearly it was a nest of vipers, and it is too bad we didn't get in sooner and do what needed to be done.

This photo gives a hint about how the Iraqis feel about the soldiers and their work:

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Quote of The Week


Tony Blair

And it's only Tuesday!

Tony Blair, in his speech at the Lord Mayor's Banquet on the occasion of Jacques Chirac's visit to London:

I know one thing. If we were under direct threat, America would be our ally. I
know that its people enjoy, as we have seen, a vibrant competitive democracy;
and that in America, Hispanics, blacks, Asians and former Europeans live
together, worship in their different ways and can rise from the bottom to the
top in a manner we could do well to emulate. I didn't agree with Michael Moore's
film. But in America he was able to make it and be praised for it. This is
called freedom.

You tell him, Tony!

Monday, November 15, 2004

A Comprehensive Catalogue of Old Media Bias

When you have five minutes, go here and scroll through a growing catalogue of "left-leaning bias in MSM media coverage." The blog is called Cheat Seeking Missiles, and Hugh Hewitt plugged it on his show today. The author has (at this writing) 132 examples. A randomly-selected excerpt:

Coverage of the Bush-bashing Paul O'Neill book, the first of many launched on 60 Minutes, when O'Neill claimed that W made plans to invade Iraq immediately after his inauguration. CBS neglected to mention that their affiliate, Simon and Schuster, was the publisher, as was the case with the case with the Clark book. The press neglected to mention that contingency plans are regularly done by all
Presidents, preferring to give the impression that Bush was an out-of-control,
crazy cowboy war monger.

Also, here is a fascinating photo essay (with audio narration - turn your sound up!) about the assault on Fallujah. Hat tip, again, to Cheat Seeking Missiles.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

New Hedgehog Blog Feature: Thought for the Week


[We'll post these generally on Sunday nights. When a particular thought seems especially appropriate for some reason, we'll just post it when we feel it's right.]

"Perhaps the greatest madness of all is to see life only as it is, and not as it ought to be. "

Miguel Cervantes

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What Is It Like to Be An Iraqi Right Now?


It is impossible to know, but this blog will give any reader some insight. It's run by a 16 year-old girl in Mosul who goes by the moniker Aunt Najma. She describes herself as follows:

My name is not Najma Abdullah, and I'm not going to tell you my real name, coz I don't want to get killed. . . . [Has any one of us complacent Westerners ever had to worry about that?] I started to write a blog to fill my time, and it really worked.
. . .
I was born in Baghdad in 1988, April, 23rd. I'm originally from Mosul but my father had to complete his studying of medicine in Baghdad, so my mother and father settled down with my aunt in her house, because her husband was caught as a prisoner to the enemies in the Iraq-Iran war. And there I was born. All of my mother's family members are living in Baghdad coz my grandpa moved to Baghdad 1967.

Read her latest heart-rending post and leave a comment for her.

Why Did Bush Win? I Guess It All Depends on Your Point Of View


Friday, November 12, 2004

If You Don't Read Anything Else This Weekend . . . .


Read this piece by Daniel Henninger in today's Opinion Journal. Instead of simply bashing the old mainstream news media (a sport that I admit to enjoying myself from time to time), Henninger offers a non-partisan view of the state of today's news media and asks some important questions about where we go from here. Some excerpts:

In fact, it's too bad this abdication [of authority and credibility by the old news media] has occurred just as political opinions have become overheated by the kind of electronic technology deployed in the 2004 election. We really could use some neutral ground, a space one could enter without having to suspect that "what we know" about X or Y was being manipulated. The problem with being spun day after day by newspapers or newscasts is that it gets tiresome, no matter your politics. You end up having to Google every subject in the news (Guantanamo, gay marriage statutes, Tora Bora, the Patriot Act) to find out what's been left out or buried at the bottom.

. . .

The real winners here are the politicians. Pig heaven for them. If much of the public (a margin large enough to decide elections) believes it no longer has access to a settled information baseline, an agreed-upon set of facts, then it's so much easier for the pols, using this new arsenal of high-tech info firepower, to manipulate a doubtful public and push it around with propaganda (they can demographically target ads to the TV screens in health clubs).

As we say here in the blogosphere, read the whole thing.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

A View of Fallujah from The Ground

This is a very interesting read from a Marine captain who is right there outside Fallujah and has been for many months. Not surprisingly, the situation the Marines are combatting is much worse than most of us had realized.

Everyone Should Read This On Veteran's Day


The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier

Hugh Hewitt has posted some comments about a young marine who died in Fallujah. Read it here; it will make a difference in your day, and perhaps in your life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wednesday Morning


Martin Peretz, Editor of the New Republic, has a stinging rebuke of John Kerry in today's Wall Street Journal. (The Journal is a pay site.) An excerpt:

But the problem is that many Democrats have a downright hostile attitude to
the flag, to patriotism itself, which is thought by some in the party to be a
retrograde sentiment. And they have, at best, a queasy disposition towards
religion. To tell the truth, it gives many of them the creeps. You can't really
do much with that, can you?

I am surrounded by people at my law firm who fit this description to a "T."

Meanwhile, RealClearPolitics has the most compelling and balanced analysis of the election I have seen yet. John McIntyre concludes:

This brings us back full circle to how devastating to liberals that 135,000
vote margin in the Buckeye state will be to the future course of this country.
Was this a mandate or a landslide for President Bush? No. But it was one of the
most consequential elections in this nation's history, the ramifications of
which will be felt for decades. And behind all the vitriol, blather and
post-election spin; that sick feeling among Democrats is because they know this
to be true.

John Hughes, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, agrees: "It will be [Bush's] last presidential term, and it's going to be a doozy."


Left-wing blogger Norm Geras at Normblog asks an interesting and honest question of his fellow liberals.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Future Chair of the Democratic National Committee?


The New York Times reports that Howard Dean is interested in the job.

Oh, please, please, please, let it be true, and let Dean get the job. Please, please.

Fallujah and Memorial Day


The Congressional Medal of Honor

This week the blogosphere is awash in political analysis, including the usual post-election thoughts about "why we won, and why they lost;" and "why we should have won but we blew it." Here's something a little different.

This week American forces are invading Fallujah, Iraq. Their mission is clear: To rid the city (and Iraq) of the assassins and terrorists using it as a base.

There will undoubtedly be great sacrifices by young Americans in Fallujah. Some will lose their lives. Here at home, some families will be visited by armed forces representatives, and then will await the flag-draped casket and the military honor guard.

All of that brought to my mind an e-mail I sent out earlier this year, after Memorial Day weekend. I would have posted it her, but the blog had not been born yet. Here it is. I think it epxresses thoughts that are most appropriate at this time.

In the spirit of the day I wanted to share with you all an experience from this weekend.

Saturday morning, for the sixth year out of the last seven, my sons (aged 18 and 14) and I put on our Scout uniforms (I am a former Scoutmaster and now serve with the volunteer Scouting commissioners in my area) and drove to L.A. National Cemetery to participate in the annual decoration of the veterans' graves there. We take a group from our church every year. (It is a group of congregations within the Granada Hills Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often called the “Mormon” Church.)

At this annual event there is always a short patriotic program of remembrance and then several thousand Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts swarm over the grounds and plant flags on over 82,000 graves. At the end of the process the sight of all those acres of little American flags is breath-taking, thought-provoking, and downright beautiful.

This year, one aspect of the event stood out in my mind. It was how much my own two boys and others their age wanted to do this. They are normal teen-agers, and to participate in this event they have to get up at 6:00 a.m. on a holiday weekend morning. But the same two teen-agers who are sometimes so hard to rouse out of bed on a weekday got up at 6:00 without any prodding last Saturday. It is like that every year.

I am not the only parent who experiences this; others report the same phenomenon. Another young man in our LDS congregation (who just finished his freshman year at college) heard about our plans and joined us. He is one of my former Scouts and a veteran of several past Memorial Day excursions to L.A. National.

When we got there two other troops from our Stake joined us. After the boys all planted flags at various graves, we held a brief ceremony at the grave of a Medal of Honor winner and remembered his heroism. (The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States.)

Why this eagerness to participate in such an event? I'm proud, of course, of my boys' commitment to this type of service and of their patriotism, but there is more to this story. We are not a military family and have no special connection to veterans. What happened is that we took part in this event one year, and afterwards most boys (and girls) who do so seem to want to take part again and again.

My guess is that there is simply something compelling to them about the connection to the past and to the sacrifices of those who have gone before, and about the idea of America. We put flags on graves with names like Munemori (a Medal of Honor winner), Sadowski, Harvey, Cohen, and McCoy. There are Buffalo Soldiers buried at L.A. National (black soldiers, post-Civil War, who fought in West), as well as Tuskegee Airmen (black pilots in WWII).

Every year the boys want to go. This year I was tired from a busy week of travel and could easily have passed on this event. But Friday night, as it is every year, it was, "Hey Dad, what time are we leaving tomorrow for the cemetery?"

So we pulled ourselves together and went, and have another year of great memories-- and deeper appreciation than ever before. Happy Memorial Day to you all. And if you want to add some new awe-inspiring true stories to your collection, visit this web site:

It is the site for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, and includes the citation for every Medal of Honor ever awarded. You will find gems like this one:

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company E, 142d
Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Mertzwiller, France, 15
March 1945. Entered service at: Phoenix, Ariz. Birth: El Paso, Tex. G.O. No.:
75, 5 September 1945. Citation: He advanced with a platoon along a wooded road
until stopped by heavy enemy machinegun fire. As the rest of the unit took
cover, he made a 1-man frontal assault on a strongpoint and captured 8 enemy
soldiers. When the platoon resumed its advance and was subjected to fire from a
second emplacement beyond an extensive minefield, Pvt. Herrera again moved
forward, disregarding the danger of exploding mines, to attack the position. He
stepped on a mine and had both feet severed but, despite intense pain and
unchecked loss of blood, he pinned down the enemy with accurate rifle fire while
a friendly squad captured the enemy gun by skirting the minefield and rushing in
from the flank. The magnificent courage, extraordinary heroism, and willing
self-sacrifice displayed by Pvt. Herrera resulted in the capture of 2 enemy
strongpoints and the taking of 8 prisoners.

According to the web site, Silvestre Herrera is still living. He was in his 20's when he lost his feet fighting for our freedom. Let's all think about him today, and about the brave young men in Fallujah and many other places, who stand in harm's way for us.

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Few Excellent Thoughts


Victor Davis Hanson in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Television commentators Walter Cronkite, Bill Moyers, Andy Rooney or Ted
Koppel have morphed from their once sober and judicious personas into highly
partisan figures that now carry political weight among most Americans only to
the degree that they harm any cause or candidate with whom they are associated.
Readers do not just disagree with spirited columns by a Molly Ivins, Paul
Krugman or Maureen Dowd, but rather are turned off when they revert to hysterics and condescension. To the degree that the messages, proposals or endorsements of a delinquent like Ben Affleck, an incoherent Bruce Springsteen, or a reprobate
like Eminem were comprehensible, John Kerry should have run from them all.

From a story in the Chicago Tribune about Democratic Chicago Mayor Daley's review of the presidential election:

"I think there is political change in this country," Daley said. "You talk
about Roosevelt. You talk about Kennedy. And you have to talk about Bush. You
have to give credit to his discipline, to the message he stayed on line. People
made fun. They underestimated him all the time. He showed them all."

"Elitists" in the Democratic Party in Washington have underestimated the
religious right, Daley said.

"They don't like people who have different beliefs than they do, who maybe
read the Bible, read the Koran. ... They were shoved out, not to be

And the mayor decried the "hatred" on both sides of the campaign, fingering
at one point billionaire financier George Soros, a Kerry supporter who funded
anti-George Bush ads.

"A lot of one-issue people," Daley said. "When I see a guy like George Soros
spending $33 million--why doesn't he get a life and give money for scholarships?
Why doesn't he get a life and give money to [poor] people in communities? Just
because you hate one individual--I really worry about that."

Sounds like a Democrat trying to position himself. Or maybe he's just being honest.

Meanwhile, Back in Iraq, Unreported Good News Continues to Develop


Power Line has the latest interesting set of interviews with Iraqi voters here. An excerpt:

Mr. Abed Azuhra said: "I will participate in the elections because they are free and fair. Then we asked, "How do you know they are fee and fair?" His answer:

"I have seen the previous elections, they were mandatory, with only existing government officials on the ballot and only one president 'Saddam.' The baathists cut our rations if we did not vote. There has been a fundamental change in Iraqi government, this government is for the people. This government invites and asks us to vote they do not threaten us. I wish the security situation were better. But it will not stop me from voting."

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Quotes of The Day


Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun-Times:

[N]obody who campaigns with Ben Affleck at his side has the right to call
anybody an idiot. H. L. Mencken said that no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Well, George Soros, Barbra Streisand and a lot of their friends just did: The Kerry campaign and its supporters --, Rock The Vote, etc. -- were awash in bazillions of dollars, and what have they got to show for it? In this election, the plebs were more mature than the elites: They understood that war is never cost-free and that you don't run away because of a couple of setbacks; they did not accept that one jailhouse scandal should determine America's national security interest; they rejected the childish caricature of their president and paranoid ravings about Halliburton; they declined to have their vote rocked by Bruce Springsteen or any other pop culture poser.

Mike Cassidy in the San Jose Mercury-News:

Why not make California a country of its own? The state has plenty of
people, a global economy, a budget deficit to rival any country's and enough
enemies to be a nation unto itself.

Think of it. ``In Dude We Trust.'' ``E Pluribus Tofu.'' We could have
our own national anthem -- ``A Kind of Blue.'' Our own capital city --
Hollywood. (Is there any place else?)

Bernadette Malone in the Manchester Union-Leader:

It’s perfectly fine to feel fear, as long as the reaction is courage. And
Americans showed great courage in the face of fear on Tuesday.

Americans knew the terrorists — and our European friends — would prefer
John Kerry as President, but a majority of us voted for Bush anyway. Americans
knew they would be dismissed as easily led sheep if they supported the
President, but 51 percent of us did it anyway. Americans knew they would be
labeled religious zealots and homophobes if they voted for “values,” but we did
it anyway. Smart Americans are afraid in these times. They’re courageous enough
to admit it, and courageous enough to do something about it.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Saturday Morning Musings


What a difference a week and a big electoral victory make! This is a much calmer and more pleasant Saturday than the last one.

The Mainstream Media and Religious Voters

I was just looking again at a Washington Post column by David Broder, "An Old Fashoned Win." There are a lot of liberal-leaning journalistic pieties expressed in this piece, which concludes with a somewhat ominous statement:

[T]he democratic process -- in an election that fulfilled all of its most
important requirements -- endorsed the Bush presidency. And if we know anything
about him, we know he will exercise the full powers of his office.
Just makes you want to huddle by the fire with your loved ones and reassure them, doesn't it?

Broder also observes:

A crucial element of the [Bush] strategy is the mobilization of religious
conservatives, those who are normally more conscientious about going to church
than about voting. Exit polls showed more than one in five voters Tuesday named
moral values as the most important issue determining their vote -- more than
cited terrorism, the economy or Iraq. More than three-quarters of them supported

Does anyone else see that little slap at religious conservatives-- "those who are normally more conscientious about going to church than about voting?" According to Evan Thomas of Newsweek on the November 5 Laura Ingraham broadcast, the mainstream media (a church in which Broder is a high priest) is very uncomfortable with religion and with openly religious people. Broder's unintentional expressions in his writing of that discomfort provide an interesting example.

Along Those Same Lines . . .

David Brooks in today's New York Times begins his column with the following:

Every election year, we in the commentariat come up with a story line to
explain the result, and the story line has to have two features. First, it has
to be completely wrong. Second, it has to reassure liberals that they are
morally superior to the people who just defeated them.

. . .

Here are the facts. As Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center points out, there was no disproportionate surge in the evangelical vote this year. Evangelicals made up the same share of the electorate this year as they did in 2000. There was no increase in the percentage of voters who are pro-life. Sixteen percent of voters said abortions should be illegal in all circumstances. There was no increase in the percentage of voters who say they pray daily.

Read the whole thing, it's excellent.

Friday, November 05, 2004

TRUE NORTH by Sonja Eddings Brown


The Happiest Man In The Country

He didn't win two terms.

He didn't get Saddam Hussein.

Never enjoyed a majority in the House or Senate.

As "Bush 41", he never managed to deliver a tax cut or a fat economy.

But he raised 5 wonderful children and one of them for sure, is a chip off the old block:

The 43rd President of the United States-- "Bush 43."

George Herbert Walker Bush has to be the happiest man in the country this week. After sitting on the sidelines for four years watching his son be denied, attacked, insulted, underestimated and unappreciated at a level of viciousness never before seen in American politics, this week's convincing and historic crush of the opposition must have been indescribably. . . delicious.

Prouder of his accomplishments as a father than as a leader of the free world, Bush 41 must feel enormous joy at seeing his son not only equal him, but surpass him.

Election night Herbert Walker Bush stayed up all night with George W. and the rest of the family hoping for a victory celebration. Jeb Bush had already announced earlier in the day that his parents were a little on edge about the election. He said Mother Bush was going out of her mind with nerves and his Dad's ulcer seemed to have returned.

No wonder.

By 3:30A.M., the elder Bush finally had to give up the vigil and go to bed. He had hoped to join George W. at the Reagan Center for a jubilant acceptance speech. Heaven knows he'd earned it.
But once again his son was denied a more traditional and predictable win. Notice that the White House chose not to hurry Senator Kerry, nor pressure him into accepting the obvious.

Bush 41 had to pass on the public victory. But what a private celebration it must have been:

To watch the New York Times eat crow after Maureen Dowd and lesser reporters snidely denigrated his son's abilities and motives for over a thousand days. To see Dan Rather starving for ratings. To see Tom Daschle, such an effective obstructionist, come up short for another term. To watch the Capitol align in favor of a sitting Republican president for the first time since 1900. To see believing people turn out by the millions to stand up for George W. Bush, because he stood up for them.

Yep. As a father, it doesn't get much better than that.

George Herbert Walker Bush may not go down in history as one of the most pivotal presidents in history, perhaps just a good one. But he will go done in history as being the proud father of a president who truly "met his moment" in challenging times.

It is easy to trace George W's strengths right back to the place where they were cultivated: at home.

The source of George W's greatness is his family and his faith in something larger than himself. The gift of wealth certainly gave him up a leg up, but that isn't what defines him. It is the values of his parents, and their examples, both publicly and privately, that distinguish him from others.

Perhaps you will remember a picture in a national magazine of George and Barbara Bush reading the paper in bed on a Sunday morning. The President's hair was unkempt, and newspapers and grandchildren were strewn about the covers. That picture spoke a thousand words about the success of the Bush family.

The Bush grandkids jumped on the bed because their parents probably jumped on the bed. Strong, close, healthy families recognized that comfortable and safe little scene.

The photographer behind that picture revealed a most precious secret about the confidence and the convictions of President George W. Bush.

There is a clear and simple reason that George W. is well-married and has a strong
family, why separating right from wrong comes easily to him, and why he cares about keeping his commitments to the American people.

He has been well-loved.

Quotes of the Day


George F. Will in The Wall Street Journal:
Never in this [election] marathon did Mr. Kerry himself do anything to change
the campaign's dynamics. He counted on events in Iraq, and on the power of his
party's unconcealed belief that Mr. Bush is an imbecile. But Democrats cannot
disguise from the country their bewilderment about how to appeal to a country
that is so backward, they think, that it finds Mr. Bush appealing.
Here's evidence of the phenomenon to which Will refers, from Washington Post columnist and devout liberal E.J. Dionne, in the Houston Chronicle:

Begin with the facts: A 51-48 percent victory is not a mandate. Even Democrats
have talked about their party being confined to an "enclave." Enclave? Blue
America includes the entire Northeast, all of the West Coast but for Alaska, and
much of the upper Midwest.
One wonders what Mr. Dionne would be calling a 51-48 win by Kerry. Something tells me it would rhyme with "historic mandate."

James K. Glassman, also in the Wall Street Journal:

The best advice I can give Europeans is: Live with it! President Bush is no
fluke, and there's no wishing him away. The good news is that Mr. Bush isn't
devious or unpredictable. He's entirely open and obvious. A major theme of his
campaign was that he does what he says.

This is from November 3 post by "Blue Marble" on a Democrat message board who, although probably not a European, needs to heed Glassman's advice:

. . . a lot more people are going to die because of 11/3/04 [than /11/01]. 11/3/04 is truly the day that will live infamy all around the world. I have lived 61 years, lost my parents and my sister plus many many pets and this is the darkest day of my life.

Oh, my goodness.

Mark Steyn, in The Spectator:

[J]ust to run through what happened: in the House of Representatives the
Republicans have picked up five seats; in the Senate they've picked up at
least three, maybe four, including David Vitter winning a Louisiana seat
that's been Democrat since post-Civil War reconstruction; it looks like
they've knocked off their chief obstructionist in the Democratic caucus.

And, oh yes, the most hated man in the world has become the first President since 1988 to win over 50 per cent of the popular vote.

In other words, it's the perfect hat trick: a Republican President, a Republican Senate and a Republican House have been re-elected for the first time since President McKinley and the GOP Congress of 1900.

. . .

The Democratic party have got themselves out of step with a huge chunk of the population. They'd probably do well in Belgium and much of southern England, but unfortunately neither of those jurisdictions is a US state. And, in the places which are, the party is increasingly uncompetitive. None of its issues resonates with rural America, and most of them -- abortion and race-baiting -- just sound stale: Selma, Alabam' is 40 years old, Roe vs Wade is 30 years old, and the scare talk about Bush's Supreme Court appointees just doesn't work. The party is intellectually exhausted and short of talent, which is how a vain, mediocre senator ended up with the nomination. There are still enough tribal Democrats to make it impossible for even the worst candidate to fall below 40 per cent, but they're so concentrated in New England, New York and California that the party can't break beyond that. Hence, the White House, Senate and House in Republican hands.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Is It Possible to Laugh at The Same Time You Are Appalled?


A "red state" voter, according to Jane Smiley

Here's a test to help answer that question. Read this article by Jane Smiley (a novelist) in Slate.

If you're like me, you will laugh to think that someone could actually, truly, sincerely believe such rubbish.

Then you will be appalled that an educated person does actually, truly, sincerely believe such rubbish.

Hint: Ms. Smiley's piece is entitled "Why Americans Hate Democrats—A Dialogue."

Subtitle: "The unteachable ignorance of the red states."

Get the idea? It's an old leftist conceit: "Anyone who disagrees with me is stupid or ignorant."

A Post-Election "Must Read" List


Not much time for blogging today but two days after the election is such a great time to reflect that I did scan these op-ed pieces. I heartily recommend them all:

William Kristol, "Misunderestimated." (This one is delicious.)

Peggy Noonan, "So Much To Savor." (Even better.)

Ryan Lizza, The New Republic (The view from the Kerry camp as things fell apart for them Tuesday afternoon.)

Hugh Hewitt, The End of The Sixties.

David Broder, "An Old Fashoned Win." There are a lot of liberal-leaning jouralistic pieties expressed in this piece, which concludes with a somewhat ominous statement:

[T]he democratic process -- in an election that fulfilled all of its most
important requirements -- endorsed the Bush presidency. And if we know anything
about him, we know he will exercise the full powers of his office.

Just makes you want to huddle by the fire with your loved ones and reassure them, doesn't it?

Broder also observes:

A crucial element of the [Bush] strategy is the mobilization of religious
conservatives, those who are normally more conscientious about going to church
than about voting. Exit polls showed more than one in five voters Tuesday named
moral values as the most important issue determining their vote -- more than
cited terrorism, the economy or Iraq. More than three-quarters of them supported

Does anyone else see that little slap at religious conservatives-- "those who are normally more conscientious about going to church than about voting?" According to Evan Thomas of Newsweek on the November 5 Laura Ingraham broadcast, the mainstream media (a church in which Broder is a high priest) is very uncomfortable with religion and with openly religious people. It is interesting to see unintentional expressions of that discomfort in Broder's writing.

TRUE NORTH by Sonja Eddings Brown

The American People Have Spoken

Early Tuesday morning, November 2, CNN caught a glimpse of an African American mother and her child, standing in line to vote . . . in the dark.

Most viewers probably didn't even notice the woman standing at the rear of a long line. But as she bent over to encourage her little one to be patient, I realized that the election was probably being decided right before my eyes.

Experienced political scientists would likely have identified the woman as an economically-challenged Kerry supporter showing up early to vote her pocketbook. As a mother, and not a political scientist, I felt like a lightning bolt the realization that she was probably willing to wait in the dark because she was voting with her heart.

The only thing more important to a mother than keeping her child from going hungry is protecting him from danger.

In uncertain times, by a convincing popular and electoral margin, America has chosen to put its trust in George W. Bush.

He didn't win because he is the best communicator the White House has ever seen.

He didn't win because the electorate is completely convinced that we should be pressing a war in Iraq.

He won because even Americans who don't agree with him, know that George Bush has his eye on the best interests of the country and will not hesitate to defend America.

It isn't going unnoticed that many groups, special interests and politicians who have made sport out of George Bush the past four years are now packing their bags. Americans not only re-elected George Bush by a large margin, they also gave him a healthy ruling majority on Capitol Hill. These are acts of confidence, not coincidence.

Washington insiders, the national media, Hollywood, and fast-spending millionaire lobbyists should take note of the following:

The public spotted your gang war against the President and they were not fooled by it.

In general, Americans are just as happy if actors act, and singers just sing.

American voters in at least 11 states don't want the judiciary changing the fabric of America or the fundamental family without their say so.

The heartland is going to continue voting each and every night. That loud click you'll hear at dinner time will be channels changing from the CBS Evening News to . . . anything else.

And that great patriot Michael Moore might as well take his 200 million dollar savings account from Fahrenheit 9-11 and make workout tapes, because his days of misinforming the public . . . are over.

The deafening roar we have endured coming from self-interested politicians, movie stars, money-grubbing authors, the media and others, has paused for a moment.

And the voice we now hear is our own.

Sonja Eddings Brown

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

This One Is Just Too Much Fun To Pass Up


A friend clued me into Michael Moore's web site, which I must admit I had never visited (nor did it occur to me to do so!).

Here are excerpts from Moore's last post before the election. I must admit that I find this a lot of fun to read today. (You can find it here.)

Dear Friends,

This is it. ONE DAY LEFT. There are many things I’d like to say. I’ve been on the road getting out the vote for 51 straight days so I haven’t had much time to write. So I’ve put together a bunch of notes to various groups all in this one letter. Please feel free to copy and send whatever portions are appropriate to your friends and family as you spend these last 24 hours trying to convince whomever you can to show up and vote for John Kerry. Here are my final words …

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.

President Kerry had better bring the troops home right away. My prediction: Kerry’s roots are anti-war. He has seen the horrors of war and because of that
he will avoid war unless it is absolutely necessary. Ask most vets. But don’t
ask someone whose only horror was when he arrived too late for a kegger in

There’s a reason Bush calls Kerry the Number One Liberal in the Senate –
THAT’S BECAUSE HE IS THE NUMBER ONE LIBERAL IN THE SENATE! What more do you want? My friends, this is about as good as it gets when voting for the Democrat. We don’t have the #29 Liberal running or the #14 Liberal or even the #2 Liberal – we got #1! When has that ever happened?

Those of us who may be to the left of the #1 liberal Democrat should remember that this year conservative Democrats have had to make a far greater shift in their position to back Kerry than we have. We’re the ones always being asked to make the huge compromises and to always vote holding our noses. No nose holding this time. This #1 liberal is not the tweedledee to Bush’s tweedledum.

To African Americans:

First of all, let’s just acknowledge what you already know: America is a country which still has a race problem, to put it nicely. Al Gore would be president today had thousands of African Americans not had their right to vote stolen from them in Florida in 2000.

Here is my commitment: I will do everything I can to make sure that this will not happen again. And I’m not the only one making this pledge. Thousands of volunteer
lawyers are flying to Florida to act as poll watchers and intervene should there
be any attempts to deny anyone their right to vote. They will NOT be messing

For my part, I have organized an army of 1,200 professional and amateur
filmmakers who will be armed with video cameras throughout the states of Florida
and Ohio. At the first sign of criminality, we will dispatch a camera crew to
where the vote fraud is taking place and record what is going on. We will put a
big public spotlight on any wrongdoing by Republican officials in those two
states. They will not get away with this as they did in 2000.

. . .

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?

There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)

Speaking of my movie – can I ask you a personal question before we part ways for good on Tuesday? Why did you and your friends fund SIX “documentaries” trashing me -- but only ONE film against Kerry? C’mon, he was the candidate, not me. What a waste of your time and resources! Sure, I know what your pollsters told you, that the film had convinced some people to vote you out. I just want you to know that that was not my original intent. Funny things happen at the movies. Hope you get to see a few at the multiplex in Waco. It’s a great way to relax.

. . .

Michael Moore

Now, please join with me in the following:




Reader jae of Ohio (God bless the State of Ohio!) comments below:

I'm curious of your opinion of how this positions Hillary in 2008? We've
all seen or heard the wide speculation of her presidential ambition. If such an
overwhelming vote for a conservative, seemingly unpopular president [George
Bush] exists this time, do you think the chances are realistic for her
candidacy in 2008?

This is a very interesting question. My thoughts, which are worth about what you are paying for them: I expect Hillary to try to become a born-again conservative Democrat, along the lines the Democratic Leadership Council suggests. Whatever she does will be poll-driven.

What I wonder is whether she can get away with being a New Democrat from New York. Daniel Patrick Moynihan did, but Hillary does not have Moynihan's gifts. Not even close.

To me, the really interesting question is whether Hillary can overcome the deep reservoir of distrust and revulsion that millions of American voters feel towards her. I'm talking about the people who are absolutely horrified by the prospect of her serving as President of the United States. (I am one of those people.) I don't see it happening but the Clintons have a way of sliding past such opposition.

Right now, I'm enjoying the Bush victory.

True North Is On Its Way


Bulletin: There has been a brief delay in posting this morning's vital True North column. Hedgehog senior political correspondent Sonja Eddings Brown has volunteered to assist Teresa Heinz Kerry in writing a gracious, thank you speech to the people of America, and it's taking a lot longer than expected. She can't seem to break away from a small dispute with the Senator over who is going to pay back a lot of money to the Heinz Trust.

Stay tuned.

If I Were A Democrat . . .


I would be very frustrated today, and I'd be asking lots of questions.

They would not be tactical questions, like, "Why didn't we have a better get-out-the-vote effort?" They'd be much more basic. The Democratic Party nominated a weak candidate and the party needs to to start taking a close, hard look at itself and its message.

Bush was not a dream candidate either. (I would have designed a candidate who is a little more nimble with the English language. Otherwise, I love the guy.) It speaks volumes about Bush, the issues, the electorate, John Kerry, and the Democratic Party that Bush was able to win. Consider:

  • Bush's inarticulateness is a real limitation in a modern candidate.
  • He had an very unpopular and difficult war going on in Iraq.
  • The entire old news media pounded him relentlessly. Everyone from Michael Moore to the entire Hollywood establishment to Dan Rather to the New York Times was all over him.
And yet Bush won. Why?

Kerry did not connect with people. That is beyond doubt. Bush, in all his inarticulate glory, did, for some reason. That's also beyond doubt.

Calling on my B.A. in political science earned so many years ago, I think the Democrats have a big, big problem: They have a very liberal wing of their party that makes it very difficult for their candidate to reach an electorate whose center is far from the left wing on many issues. The left is reflexively anti-military and anti-war; abortion rights and any offshoot, such as unfettered embryonic stem cell research, are sacred to them; they want to facilitate same-sex marriage; and so on. (I do not lump all Democrats into this group any more than I can lump all Republicans into the more extreme faction of my party.)

It is tough to win a national election when you have to keep that leftist base happy-- especially in wartime. Kerry could not do that and still reach out to the "sensible center" without looking like a waffler. To pull that off you need a Bill Clinton, and a Clinton only comes along every 50 years or so.

It is telling that the only Democrat to serve two full terms as president since FDR was Bill Clinton-- a New Democrat. The last Democrat to receive more than 50% of the popular vote was Jimmy Carter in 1976, and he got only 50.1%. Before that you have to go back to the Lyndon Johnson landslide of 1964 for a popular vote total exceeding 50%.

This time the Democrats nominated an old-line liberal-- the most liberal member of the U.S. Senate-- with limited personality skills. I think the Democrats will be more successful as a national party if they listen more to guys like Al From and the Democratic Leadership Council.

Meanwhile, I'm happy my guy won. In fact, "happy" does no justice to how delighted I am!

Power Line Declares Victory; We Like It



Power Line notes:

President Bush's reelection is a remarkable victory. He won not only an
electoral college majority, he won the popular vote. He won not only the popular
vote, he appears to have won an outright majority of the popular vote, an
accomplishment that has not occurred since 1988. Yet his victory was not only a
personal triumph, it was a triumph of party. Republicans increased their
majority in both the House and the Senate.

Yes. Yes. And triple-yes.

Read the whole post here.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

URGENT Election Night Update & Call To Reasonable Minds from The Hedgehog Blog's War Room


Comfort Food Monitor:
Chewing nails.

A Call To Action

All Hedgehog Blog readers are encouraged to begin a massive and uninterrupted e-mail and phone campaign demanding that the Kerry campaign cease to hold the outcome of this election hostage. The people have spoken. The margins are beyond legitimate legal contest. The only possible motivation for a challenge is to undermine a clear victory by the Bush administration and the voting public.

This is not 2000. Bush has won the popular vote by a several million vote margin. The margin in Ohio is around 120,000 votes, not the 500 votes or so that separated Bush and Gore in Florida.

To e-mail Kerry Headquarters, visit

Here is the e-mail we sent to this address:

Senator Kerry: I respect you as a patriotic American who has given much to his country. Please concede the election to President Bush. It is the right thing to do. He won the popular vote with an outright majority,by a margin of nearly three million votes. He has carried Ohio and has an electoral vote majority that you cannot reasonably hope to overcome. Again, it is simply the right thing to do. Please concede.

Throughout the final months of the campaign, there have been rumors that the reason Clinton campaign strategists like Paul Begala and James Carville attached themselves to Kerry's flailing campaign . . . was to begin setting the stage for a close, contested loss in the 2004 Presidential election, a Kerry loss being actually a "win" for Hilary Clinton's presidential agenda. This late Tuesday night, it is clear that democratic strategists facing a disastrous loss in almost every category, are spoiling for a fight over the legitimacy of Bush's win.

Let us unite against the self-serving activities of Terry McAuliffe and the rest of the Kerry team.

Five thousand readers have accessed this site in the last five days.

Join us in making a difference in this election by making yourselves heard. Today.

11:30 P.M. Election Update From The Hedgehog Central War Room


11:30 P.M.

Comfort Food Monitor:

Can't swallow when I'm smiling this big.

Los Angeles: Someone get a message to John Kerry: Tell him to start writing his book and let the rest of us get some sleep!

Speaking of hold-outs, I wonder if Al Gore has taken his medication tonight?

Sonja Eddings Brown
(Too weak now to write more than headlines)

Kerry Refuses To Concede Ohio


Brit Hume on Fox News just read a statement from Kerry Campain Manager Mary Beth Cahill. She states that Kerry expects to win Ohio.

Hmmm. With 90% of the vote in and Bush holding a 130,000 vote lead, that looks doubtful.

Black Knight: Ohhh, had enough, eh?
Arthur: Look, you stupid *******, you've got no arms left!
Black Knight: Yes I have!
Arthur: LOOK!!!
Black Knight: Just a flesh wound! (kicking Arthur again)
Arthur: Look, STOP that!
Black Knight: Chicken!!! Chicken!!!!!!!
Arthur: Look, I'll have your leg!
(The Black Knight continues his kicking)
Arthur: RIGHT! (He chops off the black knight's leg with his sword)
Black Knight: (hopping) Right! I'll do you for that!
Arthur: You'll *WHAT*?
Black Knight: Come 'ere!
Arthur: (tiring of this) What're you going to do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I'm *INVINCIBLE*!!!
Arthur: You're a looney....
Black Knight: The Black Knight ALWAYS TRIUMPHS! Have at you!!

(NOTE: If you have never seen Monty Python And The Holy Grail and thus have no idea what the above is all about, go here.)

9:00 P.M. Election Update From The Hedgehog Central War Room


9:00 P.M.

Hedghog Central Correspondent S.E. Brown was briefly unable to report due to an anxiety attack, but returns to our live blog at this late hour:

Comfort Food Monitor
Three kinds of pizza
Two varieties of root beer
1 Banquet chicken pie
Breyer's Rocky Road w/whip cream
(food not necessarily presented in above order)
1 M&M miniatures (kid size)
An accidental salad
1 sack Trader Joe's Cinammon Apple Rings

Fortunately, the voting in Florida has cemented for President Bush relieving previously debilitating concerns for this campaign observer. With 95% of all precincts reporting, Uncle Jeb seems to have delivered much more handily for his brother George this year. The sky will be the limit for his family Christmas wishes.

Ohio continues to count, but pollsters seem to be redeeming their dynamic, and seemingly unpredictable model outcomes in this close election. In other words, Bush seems on his way to a win shaped almost identically as the polls and this longtime campaign watcher had predicted.
It is likely that Bush may hit my predictions precisely and win by as much as a four point margin.

Overeating seems to be working, so no sense breaking the spell now.

Sonja Eddings Brown

News from Ohio!


Reader JAE notes:

I'm pretty confident in a Bush victory tonight. As an Ohio resident and student at perhaps the most liberal university in the state... we held mock elections and Bush won that one with it being highly biased towards younger students.

I've heard of problems in Columbus, but I had no problem voting at all. I took my 7 year old daughter with me, who asked rather loudly while I was poking out chads... "Mom, do we know anyone stupid enough to vote for John Kerry?" Out of the mouths of babes :)

Thanks, JAE!

UPDATE 8:45 Pm Pacific Time: It's looking like the election will turn on Ohio. Florida's headed Bush's way. With 64% of the vote in, it's Bush, 52-48%. Stay tuned!

5:00PM Election Update From The Hedgehog Central War Room


5:00 P.M.

Comfort Food Monitor:
Lays Potato Chips
2 Advil

Los Angeles- John Fund, an editor at the Wall Street Journal, stepped boldly foward with predictions today that may give Hedgehogs a reason to live until more results are available:


Popular vote: Bush 50.0%, Kerry 48.5%, Nader 1.0%, others 0.5%.

Electoral vote: Bush 296, Kerry 242.

Battleground states: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Wisconsin for Bush;

Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania for Kerry.

The polls are pretty consistent. Mr. Bush is at 48% or above in all of them that push leaners. Now that Zogby has reported a tied race on Monday night, no national poll of consequence has Mr. Kerry in the lead. (Marist has him up 49% to 48%, but it would be historic if Marist were the only pollster to call the election correctly.) More than half have the race in a tie, and a couple have Bush in front by a few. I would normally give the race to Mr. Bush by three points, but I forecast a slightly tighter race because the few undecided votes are likely to break in Mr. Kerry's direction since they have resisted going with the incumbent for so long.

Sonja Eddings Brown

4:00 Pm Election Advisory From The Hedgehog War Room


4:00 P.M.

Comfort Food Monitor:
16 ounce Diet Coke
No additives removed


The Hedgehog War Room will be watching Brit Hume and Chris Wallace on Fox News. Brit Hume is one of the few, old-fashioned, well-trained, uncompromising Washington insiders left in television news today. For the plain truth, get his analysis first.

Hedgehog will be flipping between NBC and CNN for worst case scenarios. CNN is not going to want to call Ohio for Bush...assuming the Gods prevail....until that cable network really has to....because that means the party's probably over. Use your channel changer for the best coverage. The Drudge Report, often considered the first in political breaking news, is promising that this will be a long night, and not a big win for either.

Political on-liners should also check out Powerline on line for the latest in internet election news, as well as trusting the Hedgehog for what this all means.

To the 5,000 new readers who have joined Hedgehog Central this week, we thank you for your interest and support. Make sure everyone you know, and everyone you know to call, has VOTED. The votes in the state of California are crucial to both candidates. Don't be discouraged by the televised election calls for other states. California and Hawaii will come in last, but our electoral and popular votes are critical.

Who can you still call?

Ohio is ten minutes away from polls closing. No network will call it, but exit polling results may begin to show trends in the national vote to come.

Sonja Eddings Brown

2:00PM Election Update From Hedgehog Central



Comfort Food Monitor
Pint, Dreyer's Chocolate Chip

Ohio- News from the ground game. Bush operatives are feeling positive after churning outsome 500,000 pre-election phone calls in that state. The Kerry campaign is also boasting the most organized democratic get-out-the vote effort. All indications that Ohio will produce voter turnout of 73% percent or higher. Unprecedented. The turnout in Florida and Pennsylvania is anticipated to produce voter participation not seen since Kennedy/Nixon campaign of 1960. Today alone, the Bush campaign sent 10,000 ground workers door to door. Provisional ballots are being offered to Ohioans who have not received absentee ballots by mail. All efforts are being made to get the votes in by 7:30pm.

Interesting sidebar. This report was just interrupted by a phone call from the Bush campaign, wanting to know if the Brown family had gotten out to vote today. What does it say if the Bush campaign has enough volunteers and enough money to ALSO support an organized get-out-the vote campaign in CALIFORNIA?

Pollsters are naming 7:30p.m. eastern time as the first predictor of this evening's outcome in Ohio. Exit polling and early returns on key Senate races will send up flares about voter turnout. These tallies are the undoing of the West Coast voters, but no media outlet will withhold voting data, even if it is preliminary.

Sonja Eddings Brown

NOON: Election Update From The Hedgehog Central War Room



Comfort Food Monitor:
No appetite

Los Angeles- Awaiting report from embedded source on the Bush Campaign in Ohio. Turnout is so heavy, all staffers are swamped.

An obscure shot on CNN minutes ago, may hold the key to this election. The "bumper shot", or the video which news shows use just before cutting to commercial, featured a scene from a Florida polling place. The video was shot in the dusk of morning before the polls even opened in Florida. A line of 50 people were waiting to vote. Near the rear of the line was a lone African American mother accompanied by a young child. She was trying to encourage the child to be patient. Before 7:00 a.m. in the morning.

Few television viewers probably even noticed this scene as it was broadcast.

What kind of mother, of any race, religion, or creed, would care so much about voting in this election, that she would be willing to be there early, before she had to go to work, taking her small child to.....wait in the dark.

Was she there because she was voting for the status quo? Or was she willing to make this sacrifice of her time because she is demanding change? Was she voting her pocketbook, or was she voting her heart?

These are the questions that will determine the outcome of today's historic election. Hedgehog Central has no polling data, just gut instincts. Most pundits would instantly guess this American woman to be a Kerry supporter, economically-challenged, and angered about the alleged mistreatment of Floridian African American voters in 2000.

I'm going to make a different call. Not as a media consultant, not as a public servant, not as a commentator, but as a mother:

My prediction is that I was watching a religious woman from central Florida with an early job and a daycare drop-off to make, answering the call of her minister to get out and vote. Who could benefit from a better economy than her? Or more government programs?

There is only one thing that mothers care more about than their children going hungry, and that's protecting them from danger. I suspect that this young mother was waiting in line to vote for Bush, part of the near 18% conservative, religious, African American vote, particularly in the South, who support the President's values and believe he will protect this country.

There is no question that the Democrats have organized like never before to get out the vote. But not in decades have Republicans been as passionate about an election as they are about this one.

If that one glimpse of life is any indication, tonite the American people may thank George W. Bush...with a mandate.

Sonja Eddings Brown

10:30 A.M. Election Update From The Hedgehog Central War Room


10:30 A.M.

Comfort Food Monitor:
Leftover Halloween candy
Milky Way (snack size)

Los Angeles- Pre-election anxiety creating appetite for chocolate. Scattered complaints across the nation by voters denied privilege to vote. Democratic party operatives in South Dakota won a successful court challenge prohibiting election "monitors" on Indian reservations. Senator Tom Daschle's camp is claiming his constiuents were being intimidated at the polls. Voting machines "pre-packaged" with vote tallies before voters even arrived in parts of Pennsylvania have been taken into custody. Clever, but most Americans of both parties are kind of proud of our tradition of "one man, one vote".


One Delta Pilot, and one U.S Air Pilot stepped forward this week to speak out against the American Pilot's Union's recent endorsement of John Kerry for President. In an open letter to their colleagues and to union leadership provided to Hedgehog Central, Ken Everson, Jr. and Chuck Glauser remind that without a strong, steadfast approach to terrorism, not only is America's safety in jeopardy, but the stability of the American economy is in jeopardy. Hedgehog Central offers a portion of Everson and Glauser's thoughtful letter for your consideration:

An Open Letter To The Airline Pilots Association

We have read recently of our union’s support of Senator Kerry for president. One of the recurring themes, that he would do a better job of protecting our livelihood, strikes us as an absurdity in the face of real threats to the country and the travel industry.

Our livelihood was almost destroyed when terrorists turned airliners into missiles. We are still reeling from the massive blow to our industry and our economy. The planning for such a blow took years, and it all took place while a Democratic administration, never strong on defense, was effectively dismantling our intelligence apparatus, creating all kinds of impediments to the flow of information. When the World Trade Center was attacked the first time, Pres. Clinton’s group treated it as a law enforcement issue, not as an attack orchestrated and financed by foreign entities and states. They didn’t get it, and Mr. Kerry doesn’t get it either. His position is much more French than it is American, and only the foolhardy would follow France’s lead in the area of national security.

Bullies and thugs and monsters who cut flight attendants’ throats and blow up children understand one thing—the projection of power. The idea that the UN, (which has demonstrated the moral leadership of a club for despots, elevating people like Ghaddafi and Saddam to its Human Rights Commission), will effectively fight terrorism is the most wishful of thinking. It is actually silly thinking, and it is Mr. Kerry’s approach. No, it is up to America to lead and to project power against radical Islamic terror everywhere it is incubated and trained and equipped.

Without national security, there is no economic stability and there are no jobs to protect.

The height of foolishness would be to choose a weak and unstable man, whose opinions have shifted with every tide, for the job of protecting us. His Senate record on defense, (the primary responsibility of the Federal government), is pathetic—there are few, if any, that are worse.

Most importantly, one way Mr. Kerry rose to fame and gained his Senate seat was by denigrating his former comrades in arms. He surely earned the right to criticize the war. But, like Jane Fonda and others like her, he went far beyond criticism. To make such a man commander-in-chief, especially in time of war, would be a terrible mistake for the country and a blow to the soldiers defending it.

We don’t believe that his record warrants the confidence Capt. Woerth expresses in saying that “he will be a faithful steward of our nation’s defense.” The facts simply don’t support that hopeful assumption. We will vote for a sure bet.

We hope our fellow pilots recognize that if we protect the country first, our jobs have a chance. John Kerry would be a terrorist’s dream. Wake up, America, and wake up, ALPA.

Signed: Capt. Ken Everson, Jr., Delta
Capt. Chuck Glauser, USAir

Hedgehog Central welcomes the opinions of aviation professionals who understand the real risks involved in underestimating the minds of terrorists. We welcome others.

Sonja Eddings Brown