Saturday, October 30, 2004

Spoke too soon?

In contradiction to my post below, apparently at least Martini Republic agrees with the "Osama knew that this would be used to help Bush" theory.

Edit: Never mind. It looks like I wasn't the only one rousted into posting by Osama. Billmon is back.

By the way, I hadn't really weighed in on Billmon's attack on the professionalization of blogging. (Not linked- AFAIK it isn't available in a public archive). I had mentioned that the massive concentration on a few key sites was a problem, but I don't buy that it's ruining blogging, just that it has lead to somewhat of a "rich get richer, poor get poorer" distribution of eyeballs on the left. Atrios and Kos have their huge audiences largely because they're excellent commentators and update constantly. Many other worthy bloggers don't fit either the former or latter criterion (largely the latter), and that's natural enough as well. A professional needs to be both, but blogger isn't going anywhere, and as long as it's around so will the larger community.

The Obvious..

I'm going to say it, even if others aren't. (Atrios, for example, at least whilst commenting on the laughable antics of NRO and other Bush surrogates.)

Osama Bin Laden is stumping for George W. Bush.


Full stop.

He knows his appearance could be (and likely would be) spun as a boost to Bush, he's clearly quite aware that the election is coming shortly, and knows that by attacking Bush he's helping Bush make his case. In fact, by aligning his critiques with those of Michael Moore and Kerry (the "Pet Goat" bit, for example), he's subtly ensuring that they'll be seen as discredited.

(Note that I say "seen" for a reason- the point Moore made is in no way modified by its adoption by Bin Laden months later. )

He also knows that the Bush surrogates would try to catch Kerry in a bind, arguing that critics should "get behind the president" in the face of the attack. They would try (and are trying) to resurrect the "politics stopping at the water's edge" idea that they themselves discredited in 2002. The Democrats could never do this to the Republicans, as they'd screech "wag the dog" and keep right on attacking... but the Democrats' astonishing growth of spirit and backbone has only gone so far. The fearfulness and tentativeness of 2002 still lurks in the background.

(Additional Note: None of this should be construed to mean that the tape actually should help Bush, just that it can be used as a tool to do so. The media wants Bush to win, both because a Kerry win would undermine the polling and narratives that they've built up and because there's a lot of personal animosity between the media and the "patrician" (and vaguely wonkish) Kerry. Thus, if something can be spun in favor of Bush, it will be.)

Osama Bin Laden wants George W. Bush to win. The reasons are endless and obvious, even if the Republicans want to pull the wool for just a few more days. Bin Laden is closer to his goals than ever, and knows it. He wants Bush to win, and saw that it wasn't happening. Rove didn't have an October surprise, so Osama provided it.

The old saw of 2001 has returned. If George W. Bush is elected president next Tuesday, the Bin Laden has won.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Guess the quote- not just for Atrios anymore

I'll provide the answer, though.

"If you attack your opponent wildly, ruthlessly, they will come to their own conclusions. "

Where is it from? David Brooks.

Unfortunately, he's talking about Kerry.

Gotta love Republican projection, huh?

Title Change

Just changed the title. Why not? The "RBC" bit is about the funniest, most cogent remark on this whole bizarre drama thus far.

(For those who don't recognize it, it's from this Ron Suskind article about Pres. Bush and his "faith-based" presidency.)

Friday, October 15, 2004

"Even If You Photoshop, You're Still Retarded"

A quick heads-up for those (like Steve Clemons and Josh Marshall) who are tracking with the distribution of a flyer in Tennessee, blamed on Democratic candidate Craig Fitzhugh, saying "Voting for Bush is like running in the special olympics; even if you win you're still retarded".

The flyer is a simple photoshop modification of another one that says "arguing on the internet is....", adding the new text and placing Bush's head on the original special olympian (you can tell the font difference for the former.) The original was almost certainly created by someone on a long number of years back. It is not original.

This doesn't necessarily mean anything, of course, but I think it implies pretty heavily that it was a rush job that has nothing to do with the organized campaigns. Both the Dems and Repubs have much more (and better) talent on board than this hack job would indicate. It does NOT indicate any connection with Something Awful, as that image has been floating around for years. It is possible that it may have been made deliberately poorly in order to insulate the creators from criticism, but that seems very unlikely, at least for Craig Fitzhugh's office- they would know that they would get blamed no matter how bad the job. I also don't buy that the local campaign would be as tech savvy as even this relatively poor job would indicate, or would want to waste their time.

So, my take is that this was the work of a small, somewhat knowledgable Bush-sympathetic group trying to stir up trouble for the other side. Young Republicans, most likely, as they fit the profile of someone who knows a little bit about things like photoshop, but not enough to match the font and carefully blend Bush's head into the photo--as a professional or skilled hobbyist would-- as they'd be more focused on, well, politics.

In other words, Ratfucker trainees.

(Of course, I'm not a freeper, so I doubt this will get picked up by the SCLM.)

Edit: All over the wingnut blogs there are breathless accounts from people who have supposedly picked these flyers up at Fitzhugh HQ. I don't buy it; you can find people willing to back ANYTHING that will hurt a candidate they don't like, and Fitzhugh's involvement still doesn't make much sense. It could have happened, of course, and it would have been in extremely poor taste and deserve condemnation (much like, say, the RNC "democrats hate christianity" flyer did). I just can't see how it'd be useful, especially having them distributed at Fitzhugh HQ. That's just not how this sort of thing works.

Let's be honest, though- compared to what gets said about Kerry, Democrats, and liberals in general, this would be lightweight. Do "vote for Kerry and die screaming" Republicans really want to get into a shouting match over poor taste in advertising?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Kerry Leads

According to Newsweek, it's now a statistical tie with Kerry ahead 47-45. Plus, Newsweek has picked their narrative, and it's "The debate changed the perceptions of the candidates:"
In fact, Kerry’s numbers have improved across the board, while Bush’s
vulnerabilities have become more pronounced. The senator is seen as more
intelligent and well-informed (80 percent, up six points over last month,
compared to Bush’s steady 59 percent); as having strong leadership skills (56
percent, also up 6 points, but still less than Bush’s 62 percent) and as someone
who can be trusted to make the right calls in an international crisis (51
percent, up five points and tied with Bush).

If Newsweek is saying this, others will follow. The media loves comebacks and dramatic changes, and the debate provided both. Those that aren't completely following the RNC line will at least include this interpretation. Anybody reporting on bloggers would be forced to do the same, considering the weak right-wing response.

Now on to Tuesday....

Friday, October 01, 2004

Kerry Won

Yeah, there's no question about it. The only hole that Bush opened was, possibly, that "joining a war you called a mistake" bit, but other than that Kerry dominated it. He was pulling out EVERYTHING that the Republicans and Bush had screwed up, and Bush wasn't really able to rebut any of it.

More importantly, Bush's big "strength" here is his biggest weakness. He was consistent, and there's no doubt he intended to be. Kerry, however, did a fantastic job of saying that there's nothing good about being consistently wrong, and thus has opened the door to the Dems and 527s saying that Bush's consistency is due to his being completely out of touch. Since that hits Bush's greatest weakness, his competency, MoveOn and the rest can tear great chunks out of Dubya's hide.

The most surprising aspect for me? The image control was better on the Kerry side. Bush was smirking, leaning, interrupting, and looked just as bored and annoyed as his dad did in 1992. Kerry, on the other hand, simply smiled, as if to say "go ahead and say that, because I'll make you eat it". Then he did make Bush eat it. Again, and again, and again. The Republicans have practically nothing to run on from the image angle, and that's how they reversed Bush v. Gore.

(Then again, the online Dems aren't going to let them get away with it this time. The media knows Kerry dominated, but can't really say it... but they CAN quote those funny bloggers, and those funny bloggers know the score and will keep screaming at them until they admit it.)

This is a good base to build on, folks. Now on to making sure that the spin war is won by the good guys.