Thursday, September 30, 2004

The first debate

I think John Kerry made a fairly big mistake in saying that America needs to pass a "global test" to go to war. I also think that Bush nailed Kerry for saying that the Iraq war is the wrong war and still saying that he could persuade allies to join us in the effort. But, Bush didn't spend enough time attacking Kerry's US Senate Record on intelligence, defense and his votes.

The media might spin this debate as a big Kerry victory. But I don't think it will have a big impact on the race. It might just slow down the bleeding that the Kerry campaign has been suffering from for the past two months. It's amazing that John Kerry has reverted back to mentioning his Vietnam service again. But on what else does Kerry have to base his candidacy?

Was I the only one puzzled that Kerry talked about winning the war in Iraq and then, a few minutes later, talking about how we have spent 200 billion dollars on Iraq that could have been spent on health care, firehouses and schools? If you think that spending money in Iraq is an incorrect use of resources then you aren't really committed to winning.

Rally in New Jersey for the President!

Check it out here. Attend if you are able, otherwise please help to spread the word!

(note that due to building capacity attendance is limited so please send the event coordinator an email to secure a spot. Also, this is a privately funded and organized event)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Getting tough with Syria

The Bush administration has drafted contingency plans for bringing military and economic pressure against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"Officials warned that unless Syria changes its policy within the next few weeks, the administration would consider economic and military measures against Damascus that would intensify in 2005. They said the Defense Department has drafted a range of military options meant to put Damascus on the defensive and encourage insurrection within Syria."

"It's not just a question of border control," the senior official said. "Institutions within Syria are actively colluding with our enemies in Iraq."

Monday, September 27, 2004

Elections and Media Spin

Even when Republicans win an election in a landslide, it often gets spun against us. Horace Cooper, Senior Fellow at the Centre for New Black Leadership, addressed this theme at the GOPUSA Issues and Action Conference that I attended two weeks ago.

The fact is, liberals are very good at explaining why they win their elections. The GOP is not. Cooper walked us through a few recent elections to illustrate his point.

In 1980 Reagan's economic plan was based on what became known as Supply Side economics. The history books, however, don't tell it as a defeat for big government and unfair taxation policies, but as a win for the rich at the expense of the poor. "Trickle down economics" became derided by the press.

Reagan's 1984 theme, "Morning in America" was seen strictly as an image campaign with no substance. They refused to see it as a repudiation of the gloom and doom espoused by Jimmy Carter.

In 1988 the media was focused on the alleged "negative campaigning" of George H W Bush. His attack on Dukakis as a "card carrying ACLU liberal" was not seen as truth telling, but as "divisive". The use of Willie Horton to illustrate flawed law-enforcement policies was "mean spirited" or even "racist".

In 2000 the electoral college was suddenly illegitimate. A conspiracy of "disenfranchisement" was ascribed to the GOP.

Horace Cooper's answer was that we cannot be satisfied with a simple victory this time; we must win decisively.

Further, the Democrats have surveyed the electoral landscape and see that their prospects are bleak. It is simply hard for them to win the presidency based on likely voting in most states. Their latest attempt to get around this is a proposal that some states split their electoral vote; instead of the current "winner take all" formula, electoral votes would be split proportionally according to the popular vote. Such a proposal is actually on the ballot in Colorado, for example. If it passes, the proposition is written in such a manner that the split will become effective in this election. A quick survey of news articles regarding the initiative convinces me that, if they win in Colorado, similar initiatives will appear in many other states in short order.

This idea of "splitting" electoral votes is a very bad idea, for many reasons that I do not have time to go into here. Suffice it to say that Horace Cooper and I see it as a nakedly partisan attempt to win elections.

But of course such a proposal is not really surprising. As we saw in the Florida ballot counting during the last election, the Democratic strategy was to change the rules every time they started to fall behind.

As for Cooper's thesis about media spin, he is no doubt correct. His conclusion that the only thing we can do is to win decisively strikes me as incomplete, however. Reagan won overwhelmingly in 1984 and it did him little good in the mainstream media: see "decade of greed" references.

I and many others see something else emerging; the alternate media. This was in fact the subject of another panel at our conference, one hosted by G Gordon Liddy, which I will discuss in a future article. The two largest parts of the "alternate media" are the blogosphere and talk radio. The latter is overwhelmingly dominated by the right. There are liberal bloggers, but they have not made themselves relevant as we on the right have. Conservative talk radio has come about as far as it's going to, but the bloggers are just starting to make an impact. It is the combination of these elements, I believe, that will allow us to challenge the old-time media elite.