Until very recently, I felt very little need to tackle the 3/11 attacks, politically. Personally, I knew how I felt. Terror attacks in places like Israel, Iraq, and Afghanistan feel almost commonplace. I know that's a somewhat disturbing thing to say, but it's the truth; I've become desensitized to such things. But waking up to hear that such a massive terrorist attack had taken place in Spain was just heartbreaking.
When I heard Spain, I jumped to the conclusion that it was ETA. When I heard 200 dead, I started thinking al Qaeda. When I saw the pictures of the aftermath of the attack, I immediately decided that it was definitely the latter.
The Spanish government's insistence that the attack was the responsibility of the ETA bothered me immensely. It was clear to me--along with many others--that placing the blame on the Basques was a purely political move on the part of the conservatives. These people were ignoring facts. They were ignoring proof. They were ignoring logic.
Imagine, if you will, the Bush administration blaming Iraq for 9/11 on 9/12. I know what you're thinking. They DID blame Iraq for 9/11. Well... yes and no. Administration figures like Powell and Cheney certainly implied blame. But in mid-September, there was no question that al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks.
So how does this all relate back to the election?
There is an idea floating out there in the journalistic ether that the terrorist attacks in Spain broke the back of the Spanish people, sending them running to the dovish socialists when the voting started. If this idea becomes accepted as fact, John Kerry could be in serious trouble.
Let me try to clarify the situation for everyone as I see it. The Spanish electorate, pre-3/11, was not happy with Aznar's leadership. They were especially angry at him for involving Spain in the war in Iraq. Aznar and the conservatives' lies to the Spanish people about ETA's involvement with 3/11 was the straw that broke the camel's back. Not only did he ignore them on Iraq, he lied to them when he thought it was politically convenient about 3/11.
Now, that sounds like bad news for George W. Bush. There are a few places in the media where you will find similar arguments being made. But the much more popular idea can be summed up with the statement, al Qaeda influenced Spain's election.
This plays perfectly into Team W's election slogan, steady leadership in times of change. The Bush re-elect gang will, subtly and not so subtly, put forth the idea that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for al Qaeda. If you vote for Kerry, in other words, the terrorists will have won. This will become especially true in the terrible event that there is another terrorist attack on US soil before November.
My only concern in writing this is that people start waking up to the reality that recent events in Spain hold all sorts of indications of things to come here in America. It may seem painfully obvious to most that al Qaeda is no better off with either a socialist government in Spain or a Kerry government in America, but you can bet that's the campaign script being written by Rove & Co. as you read this.
posted by Scott |
| Monday, March 15, 2004
Polling Madness; A Word On Ralph Nader
Unlike during the primaries, I will not be constantly reporting on daily tracking polls. Call me crazy, but I think the idea of running daily tracking polls every day from March to November (as seems to be doing) is nothing short of insane. The numbers are not going to tell us anything real this early in the campaign season. Even if they do--instant responses to new ads or the latest news, for example--there comes a point where you just say that enough is enough.
That said, it seems that some of the latest polling has Kerry losing his early lead to Bush. Again, as an indicator of November, I think this is nonsense. But it does hint at an incredibly tight right to the very end.
So outside of the typical horse race coverage the polls get, here's some interesting information out of the Investor's Business Daily poll.
Bush - 45%
Kerry - 40%
Nader - 6%
Commenting on the results, pollster Raghavan Mayur says that "Nader is clearly an asset for the president." This made sense to me, so I had little reason to question it. However, the math (at the moment) does not really justify the statement. Of Nader's supporters, 51% comes from Kerry and 17% comes from Bush. But according to these poll numbers, if these voters backed their preference between Kerry and Bush and ignored Nader, Bush would still beat Kerry, 46% to 43%.
I am absolutely not saying that a Nader run doesn't hurt Kerry more than it hurts Bush. What I am saying is that Kerry could lose this thing on all his own.
If I could give some advice to John Kerry right now as it relates to Ralph Nader, I would tell him not to handle Nader the way Gore and the Democrats did in 2000. Treat Ralph with respect and kindness. Talk publicly about the things that you have in common. Defend his right to run for office. Never assume (out loud, anyway) that his voters are rightfully yours.
Many of you are probably asking why John Kerry should be nice to Ralph Nader while Nader is potentially hurting a Kerry candidacy. Here's why...
In the final days of the general election, there are going to be many undecided voters who really like and respect Ralph Nader, who have either voted for him in the past and/or are thinking about voting for him in 2004. Kerry's treatment of Nader during the campaign is going to resonate with those people. If Kerry does not treat Nader with respect, they will do one of three things. They will stay home. They will vote for Nader. Or, though far less likely, they will vote for Bush.
And who knows? There is always the possibility that Nader will pull out of the race, satisfied that Kerry has adopted enough of a progressive populist platform, and throw his lot in with the Democrats.
It's been said by many (myself included) that Nader is running on ego this year. I still believe that to be the case. But Ralph knows he can't win the White House. He knows he's unlikely to do as well as he did in 2000. So what better ego boost is there than a new honorary title for the tireless old crusader than King Maker?
posted by Scott |
| Sunday, March 14, 2004
Kansas put John Kerry over the top on Saturday, giving him more than enough delegates to secure the Democratic nomination.
Both Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich have pretty much thrown in the towel, though neither officially. The two men seem to be staying in the race to influence the debate and possibly snag a speaking spot at the convention.
No word from Lyndon LaRouche on his failure to win the Democratic nomination. Or any delegates, for that matter.
posted by Scott |