Monthly Archives: October 2004

Worse Day in Six Months

Eight marines died in fighting today west of Baghdad, making it the most lethal in six months.

A car bomb killed at least seven people in attack on an Arab television network in the capital, and Iraqi troops fired wildly on civilian vehicles, killing at least 14 people, witnesses and hospital officials said.

The U.S. military said nine Marines were also wounded in the fighting in Anbar province west of the capital which includes the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah. The statement gave no further on how or where they were killed.

It was the most U.S. deaths on a single day since May 2, when nine U.S. troops died in separate mortar attacks and roadside bombings in Baghdad, Ramadi and Kirkuk.

The deaths came as U.S. forces are gearing up for a major assault on Fallujah, seen as the toughest bastion of Sunni Muslim guerrillas, ahead of crucial elections due by Jan. 31.

This can’t be good news for Bush.

And I agree with Josh Marshall: Dems need to stop worrying about the bin Laden tape. Stick with the plan and Kerry will get 55% of the vote.

After reading of pollster John Zogby’s suggestion that Bush is in trouble because he can’t get more than 48% of the vote and looked at Thursday night’s Jon Stewart show. When asked who would win the race, he didn’t hesitate: “Kerry.”

Keep the faith!

And there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic. In Florida, the Dems are turning out the vote.

There are no statewide totals of early voters, and votes will not be counted until polls close on Election Day. But some counties have made numbers available, and Democrats appear to be considerably outstripping Republicans in turnout — significantly, in the belt of counties across the state’s midsection, from St. Petersburg to Orlando, the prime battleground for swing voters.

In Orange County, home to Orlando with a 5 percent Democratic edge in registration, 50,839 early votes had been cast by Friday morning — 48 percent of them Democrats and 33 percent Republicans. In Pinellas County, home to St. Petersburg, where Republicans have a slight edge in registration, Democrats have a slight edge in early voters. In heavily Democratic Broward County, almost 130,000 votes were cast, with no party breakdown; and in Miami-Dade, almost 180,000.

Mindy Tucker Fletcher, a GOP strategist, said the Democratic advantage in early voters is irrelevant because Republicans have a bigger advantage in absentee ballots.

But Colleen Murphy, a Republican official in Orange County, posted an alarmist message on the party’s Web site about the intensity and numbers of Democrats casting early ballots there.

“I want to tell you, it’s been a culture shock,” she wrote. “If you don’t get yourselves out of your routines and your comfort zones and do what is necessary to support the president between now and November 2, I’m afraid we’re all in for a little culture shock that will last beyond the next four years.”

Bushies are clearly worried. Given the turnout already, they should be. (same story)

According to the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey, 14 percent of voters had cast absentee ballots or voted by Wednesday, and an additional 11 percent said they would vote before Tuesday. In 2000, 13 percent voted before Election Day.

I still think Kerry is in the running in Virginia. GOTV!

And you tell me. Doesn’t there seem to be a lot of young people in this line waiting to vote. They will make the difference. And they should: It’s their future at stake.

The Tracking Polls

Daily Kos has uncovered a bit of perspective. In late October 2000, the CNN tracking poll had the race Bush 52%, Gore 39% and Nader 4%. Not let me try to remember how that race turned out.

And pollster John Zogby on the Post’s discussion forum today.

I don’t have a crystal ball I just have a hunch based on my numbers. And I still think that an incumbent president polling 48 or under nationally and in key states in trouble. The burden is still on John Kerry to persuade the undecideds but if history is any judge undecideds break against the incumbent.

Zogby’s tracking poll: Kerry & Bush at 47%.


Psalm 2004

Bush is my shepherd, I shall be in want.
He maketh me to lie down on park benches,
he leadeth me beside the still factories.
He restoreth my doubts about the Republican Party.
He leadeth me onto the paths of unemployment for his cronies’ sake.
Yea, though no weapons of mass destruction have been found,
He makest me continue to fear Evil.
His tax cuts for the rich and his deficit spending discomfort me.
He anointest me with never-ending debt;
Verily my days of savings and assets are kaput.
Surely poverty and hard living
shall follow me all the days of his administration,
And my jobless child shall dwell in my basement forever.

Are We Really Surprised?

The press is playing up both sides’ legal maneuvering that may delay until December before we know who wins this election. But the bottom line is this: Democrats are giving people the benefit of the doubt in registering people, while the GOP is trying to block poor people and blacks from voting. Republicans will argue that people need to obey the election laws. While that’s true of course, I’d rather be on the side trying to get greater participation, not stifling it. The GOP is adopting tactics reminiscent of decades of black disenfranchisement in the South. It’s not new to the election.

In 1981, the Republican National Committee sent letters to predominantly black neighborhoods in New Jersey, and when 45,000 letters were returned as undeliverable, the committee compiled a challenge list to remove those voters from the rolls. The RNC sent off-duty law enforcement officials to the polls and hung posters in heavily black neighborhoods warning that violating election laws is a crime.

In 1986, the RNC tried to have 31,000 voters, most of them black, removed from the rolls in Louisiana when a party mailer was returned. The consent decrees that resulted prohibited the party from engaging in anti-fraud initiatives that target minorities or conduct mail campaigns to “compile voter challenge lists.”

Undeliverable mail is the basis for this year’s challenges in Ohio. Republicans also sent mail to about 130,000 voters in Philadelphia, another heavily black and Democratic stronghold.

The civil rights groups and labor unions, which are backed by the Democratic Party, also charged that GOP plans to put challengers in thousands of precincts nationwide on Election Day are race-based. In several Florida counties, for instance, GOP challengers will disproportionately be based in black precincts.

Republicans said their plans involve putting challengers in precincts won handily by either Bush or Gore and has nothing to do with race.


Winning the Ground War

Virginians are pumped up about a possible upset in the Commonwealth, and Governor Mark Warner is holding two rallies (one right now in Alexandria and another Monday at 4:30 at the Capitol in Richmond), while the news from the ground across the country is good. (second item)

In the effort to get loyal voters to cast ballots on Election Day, a Republican polling firm has found that the campaign of John F. Kerry and its Democratic allies have personally contacted many more voters in key swing states than the Bush campaign and its allies.

Tony Fabrizio, of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates, surveyed voters in 12 contested states and found that an unusually high 18 percent had received personal visits seeking their vote.

Of these, the largest group, nearly half, consisted of Kerry supporters. The next-largest group, about a third of those who had received visits, was contacted by both campaigns. The smallest, about one fifth, was Bush supporters.

Although not conclusive, the Fabrizio poll suggests that Kerry and Democratic groups have been far more active contacting supporters than their GOP counterparts.

In terms of exclusive visits, “Team Kerry holds a 3 to 2 contact advantage over Team Bush, and it appears to be paying dividends. Not surprisingly, both candidates win handily among those voters who have been visited exclusively by their respective camps,” Fabrizio said.

Who Cares?

I’d be pissed off about this except that Schilling isn’t a real Red Sox and I’ve been pissed off with him since he left the Phillies.

Last minute clarification

Howard Kurtz of The Washington Post summarizes the last minute ad campaigns for Bush and Kerry and gives us – at the last minute – one of the few clarifications he has bothered to make about the most notorious alleged Kerry flip-flop.

The newest Bush spot, which recycles previous attack lines, is a bit unusual in that it is a negative assault on a positive Kerry ad. “Just when you thought there was a limit on what John Kerry would say, now he claims he’ll always support our military,” the narrator says. “The same Kerry who voted against 87 billion for our troops in combat in the war on terror. Against body armor, bullets and supplies. The same Kerry who after the first attack on the World Trade Center proposed slashing America’s intelligence budget.”

The last-minute ad makes no mention of Iraq, instead referring to the “war on terror.” Kerry has said that he opposed the $87 billion funding bill for Iraq and Afghanistan as a protest against the administration’s Iraq policy, after the failure of his proposal to link the measure to a rollback of Bush’s tax cuts for the richest Americans. Kerry’s 1994 proposal to cut $1 billion in intelligence funding was smaller than those of some GOP lawmakers, including current CIA chief Porter J. Goss.

Needless to say, the two paragraphs above appear in the two penultimate paragraphs in the story. Gee, Howie, now you tell us the rational explanation!

100,000 Dead

Throughout the Iraq campaign, there’s been little discussion about the toll on Iraqis, especially the casualty count. Now at last what is described as “[o]ne of the first attempts to independently estimate the loss of civilian life from the Iraqi war….” has given us a number: “…at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians may Iraq_death_rateshave died because of the U.S. invasion.”

The researchers called their estimate conservative because they excluded deaths in Fallujah, a city west of Baghdad that has been the scene of particularly intense fighting and has accounted for a disproportionately large number of deaths in the survey.

“We are quite confident that there’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 deaths, but it could be much higher,” Roberts said.

Others aren’t so sure. A Human Rights Watch analyst thought the numbers were “inflated.”

Even if it’s inflated, there are tens of thousands of civilians who have died. Forty-six percent of the deaths were of children under the age of 15. How many Iraqi soldiers were killed in the invasion is a number I still haven’t seen.

Off the Record?

I’d like to hear from anyone as to how reporters can ignore a subject’s request to be “off the record.” If that’s the stipulation to attend a briefing, how do they get away with ignoring it?