Danny Ainge thinks the Celts are back to ‘normal’
after last year’s ‘unbelievable dysfunction.’ It’s a very strange ‘normal.’ Only the Celtics. ... Actually looking forward to the season. Haven’t a frigging clue what to expect.
‘Romney must have been drooling on that’:
Was Sal DiMati really referring to tax hikes
when he said ‘everything will be on the table’ and lawmakers shouldn’t be ‘hampered by preconceptions and biases’? The fun is back at the Statehouse. ... Notice the photo to the right in the above link. Picture Mitt saying, ‘Thank you, Sal. Thank you.’ ... The legislative elections
have just got very interesting.
‘Good men from a good people. But ...’:
Trying to sort out what’s happening in Iraq. So is the CSM -- and it’s doing a good job. Howard LaFranchi’s blog
shows how one Iraqi sees the escalating violence and U.S. troops. Goodwill is still there, but the patience is near the end. ... Another story ‘by the numbers’
shows improvement in some areas, setbacks in others: “They (numbers) don't sugarcoat the situation ... but neither do they depict a country overwhelmed by chaos.” ... The blunders over the past year are almost unforgivable. It’s as if they needed things to go from bad to worse to get their act together. Now it’s a race to January. After that an insurgency has to be crushed or else ...
-- George Will on tonight's debate between 'two delusional optimists.'
There must be something in the publishing/media air: JJ
has the goods on the latest Harvard plagiarism flap. ... Hub Blog yesterday read a print copy of an editor’s letter to readers in the current issue of National Geographic.
Can’t find it online. But it has to do with a staged photo controversy from the July issue, an embarrassing episode the editor previously addressed
in yet another letter. They’re still debating the issue at NGM's online forum.
At least NGM is openly airing the issue. ... Hey, kids! Want tips from NGM on how to discover fake photos
? I’m not making this up. I couldn’t make it up.
‘As if they are reading from Bush campaign ad scripts’:
Bush has a decent lead over Kerry, according to the latest WaPo/ABC poll
, even though 50 percent to 47 percent of likely voters disapprove the way Bush is handling both the economy and Iraq. What gives? As one voter puts it in the article: "Actually I would have voted for Kerry three months ago, but he's not improved or not shown his positions any more clearly in the last three months than he did a year ago. ... I think he's trying to be everything to everybody, and you just can't." ...
... Hub Blog got a kick out of a reference in the article to how voters’ views on Kerry’s flip-flopping appear to have been forged ‘as if they are reading from Bush campaign ad scripts,’ though the article quickly notes how that image might be ‘partly’ of Kerry’s own making. Partly? The boys-on-the-bus campaign media, never ones to acknowledge the average American has brains, just can’t accept that voters have downloaded and processed what Kerry has said over the past year and come to a conclusion he’s a pandering flip-flopper. So you read articles like this
that suggest it’s all the result of some sort of GOP plot. ... But weren’t local columnists, bloggers and even Dem opponents in the primaries bringing up the Kerry flip-floping issue before the Right Wing Attack Machine uncorked? All politicians flip-flop. Kerry has just taken it to new heights or lows, depending on your view of the guy. ... FYI: Great campaign stats here
‘He talks to us at our level’:
Good article about the rise of Southern Baptists
in Northern New England. If anything, the article might be underplaying the trend. On a recent drive through Maine, I noticed at least six Baptist churches, shouting out ‘There’s another one!’ like I was counting Volkswagen Beetles when I was young. ... Important question old-line New England churches should be asking themselves: What have we done wrong that makes us so irrelevant in these people’s lives?
The Sox had a chance to overtake the Yanks in the past two series. They didn’t. Now they’re celebrating the last two wins
that allowed them to stay at divisional status quo. Not impressed. Neither is Howard Bryant
‘Reestablish security, rebuild the state institutions’:
The bad news: The Iraq pessimists have good reasons for pessimism.
The good news: Iraqis have sound ideas on the minimum we should have done and still could do to leave Iraq with our ‘heads held high.’ ... The occupation has been badly botched, starting with failure to secure the nation. But the lingering goodwill of Iraqis is amazing. Start from scratch, I say. Pretend the past 18 months didn’t exist. There’s still a decent chance of success. ...
Nasty, nasty, nasty person, Abu Musab Zarqawi.
... Ten, nine, eight, seven. ... That’s yet another countdown until the Bushies pronounce that the article proves the existence of the secret Iraq-Osama terrorist link! Not quite. Read the article. Think.
Bush volunteered to go to Vietnam!:
Amusing sideshow as GuardGate/SwiftieGate mercifully (or hopefully) winds down: Bush actually volunteered
to go to Vietnam! Really! ... Um, er, well, he didn’t go to Vietnam -- but Kerry volunteered and managed to get to Vietnam and one would think if George really wanted to go to Vietnam ... Thirty-five-year-old charge stands: Draft dodger during highly unpopular war. Simple. Obvious. And irrelevant. Move on. ...
Here today, gone tomorrow:
Wow. Tom Finneran’s rapid exit has caught most everyone off guard (or at least moi). Starting with Friday’s news
, events culminated quickly with today's news that Rep. Salvatore F. DiMasi has apparently locked up the speakership (stories here
). ... Quick observations, the first bordering on the banal but sometimes not stressed enough: A.) It’s yet more evidence of the decline of the city’s Irish Guard B.) Not so sure Finneran’s departure foils Republicans’ attempt at winning seats, at least in the long-term; it can be argued the Hack-Progressive Alliance just consolidated its hold on the Statehouse (Finneran was very popular within business circles -- and despised by the Progressive side of the alliance) C.) Going out on a limb here, but I think we may be entering the very early stages of major political divisions between suburbs and the city over the economic spoils of power (social issues are generally not a big deal to young suburbanites) and D.) The Italian Guard of DiMasi-Trav may be a caretaker arrangement, depending on how they handle matters (see point C. and remember the rising clout of minorities).
-- To those coming over from Adam’s site
: I’m aware of the suburban-city split in past gubernatorial elections. In fact, it’s been evident the past four gubernatorial elections, not to mention referendums. My point, not made at all clear in the above post, referred to a possible legislative split along those lines, something that hasn’t happened in the past to a degree you see in other states.
Methodist Catholics lecturing Catholic Catholics:
Dems are going ballistic over the GOP’s playing the Catholic card
against Kerry and other Dems. They should. To a degree. ... The story is quite good in looking at A.) how Dems have, by their own admission, consistently failed to appreciate the religious component of politics and B.) the irony of some Catholics’ attitude toward JFK II compared with JFK I. Notice the emphasis on ‘some’ Catholics, a reference to right-wing Catholics, the Mel Gibson types. They’re well organized, disciplined and still honked off about Vatican II. As many Catholics drift away from the church
(growing affluence, disgust at church leadership etc.), the conservative/Opus Dei wing of the church is filling the void. ... Hub Blog a few weeks ago speculated the Christian Right
might be a hidden factor in the November election, the argument being they seem somewhat lackluster in their support of George. I was referring to the Christian Right, Protestant variety. But could the conservative Catholics be picking up that slack? I don’t know. The story still strikes me as being more about the state of Catholicism. But ...
‘Europeans have responded in vastly different ways’:
OK, I agree Europeans have done a lot of things right
in fighting terrorism. I also agree that the justification for war in Iraq had highly dubious connections with the war on terrorism. But I just can’t stand the lingering criticism of our swift and impressive action against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Yes, Europe has suffered 5,000 casualties from terrorism over the decades. But they were from a wide variety of criminal sources spread over a wide period of time. The U.S. suffered 3,000 deaths in one single blow -- and it was connected to one single source in Afghanistan. It had to be taken out by ‘war’ and not through diplomatic/police niceties. Thus, not surprisingly, the U.S. and Europe approach current terrorism matters from two different perspectives because they’ve had two different experiences. ...
Speaking of Afghanistan, bloggers may already have seen this highly encouraging and insightful account
of what’s going on in Afghanistan. Knock on wood, but it looks like Karzai is doing it. ... This is indeed good for Bush -- and America. But the contrast to Iraq remains stark and depressing. Could it be argued that the war in Iraq has had the unintended effect of giving Karzai breathing room? I think so. ... Ten, nine, eight, seven ... That’s the countdown for Bushies to starting beating their chests that that was the plan all along!
Raised on Jaws, Part III: She’s still there.
Or was late yesterday.
Raised on Jaws, Part II:
And this is cool too.
... Tempted to go down to Falmouth to see.
The crackpots of ‘The Da Vinci Code’:
Got a chuckle out of the church’s recent denunciation of the book. But these guys are just losers.
... Not at all tempted to go to Paris to see.
‘Let me be as blunt and direct’:
OK, a little better
from Kerry. Emphasis on ‘little.’ He’s still fighting last year’s debate about the original justification for the war -- something that raises uncomfortable questions about his authorization vote. Why did he vote for it if he now thinks Iraq was a ‘diversion’? Honest answers, please. ... He says he will ‘finish the job in Iraq.’ But the future-looking question is: How? No detailed answers are provided to either question. Raising doubts about his doubts strategy. Raising doubts about the truthfulness of his truth strategy. ... Kerry has to catalog all the blunders (a little looking back into the past) and channel them into the future. The connection of the past to the future is the key. ...
The attacks on Ayad Allawi
-- and, yes, they were attacks -- were a blunder by the Kerryites. They may have to end up working with Allawi, who strikes me as much pro-American as he is pro-Bush. The criticisms of Allawi were transparent partisanship. Not impressive at all. Moderates notice these type of things. Then again, Bush did push Allawi front and center and the issue had to be neutralized somehow. Mark the Allawi episode down as Something To Remember and Watch. ...
Will Kerry’s Iraq strategy work? Depends on how he plays the game. But he couldn’t ignore it. An 18-27 percent confidence gap in favor of Bush on Iraq (depending on the poll) is and was just unacceptable. But the main Iraq problem for Kerry has always been Kerry himself. ... Freebie strategy tip: Start jabbing away at the economy on issues of concern to the moderate middle-class, the run-away deficit, growth of part-time jobs, loss of health-care benefits (BIG issue, bigger than outsourcing), the sense corporate America always gets what it wants etc. I know. I advocated concentration on Iraq. Still believe that. But jabbing is always a good strategy too. ... Punch Iraq. Jab, jab economy. Punch Iraq. Maneuver warfare. Break up Bush’s strategy of consistent Almighty Ruler. Don’t try to knock him out. Get behind his lines. ... See Manhattan-based WMD Spy’s frustrations and field observations below.
-- Tom Oliphant
is also urging the jab, jab approach.
'Wishy washy Ivy League liberal from Massachusetts':
Manhattan-based WMD Spy, taking time off from the perilous duty of monitoring the enemy from within, writes in:
“Things are such a mess now, that I almost wish the Republicans win so that they can take clear responsibility for it. If Bush wins: He appoints a right winger to the supreme court and Roe gets threatened. Young women go nuts and vote Democrat in 2008. Iraq continues down its current quagmire path and sooner or later George will be forced to send the helicopters in to pull the last US people off the roofs of the Green Zone. Young men go nuts and vote Democrat in 2008. Facing the deficit, George realizes that he either has to cut entitlement programs or raise taxes. He seems averse to repeating Daddy's mistakes, so he'll cut entitlement programs. Old people go nuts, and vote Democrat in 2008.
“Then all the Democrats have to do in 2008 is not nominate a wishy washy Ivy League liberal from Massachusetts and they'll win. But of course, that's all they had to do this year to win.”
‘A Myth That Should Not Be Perpetuated’:
The source of the curse myth
revealed. … Repeat: Never heard of the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ while growing up. It started cropping up in the ‘80s. That’s not to say old-timers weren’t still bemoaning the Babe trade when I was young (my grandfather certainly was). But … Thanks to JJDaley
for the great column catch.
Jumbo power and history:
I’m biased, but I think Rocky has a good case that the first recorded college football
game in U.S. history was Harvard-Tufts in 1875. The first game in North America, if you buy the argument, was Harvard-McGill. ... The problem with the famous Rutgers-Princeton game is, while some sort of sport was clearly played between the two teams, it hadn’t developed yet into North American football. What’s with ‘goaltenders’
? Sounds like it was three-quarters soccer, one-quarter rugby. ...
But what’s with ‘Boston rules’? Never heard of them. Still, don't they indicate that the modern game of football (as we roughly know it) was invented somewhere near here? An argument against the Harvard-Tufts game: The local sportswriter who wrote about the ‘75 game writes as if he already had an understanding of the rules. Indicating it was played sometime beforehand. Not Rutgers-Princeton. Something in between. Probably in Boston. Probably involving Harvard. Probably involving ‘Boston rules.’ ...
‘It’s a stupid, idiotic comment ...’: Guess who said this and why:
"That's my problem. ... If I don't call up, you don't apologize for it. You don't retract it. Somebody calls, and you make it a bigger deal than it is. It's a stupid, idiotic comment to make. It's irresponsible. And you don't know. Obviously, you just made it up."
Love the guy ...
‘Raised on ‘Jaws’ ’:
I was raised on Jaws. This is cool.
‘The red dot is now on your head’:
John Ellis has another ‘Dear Mary Mapes’
letter. ... RatherGate has turned into an unintended reality show. I'm hooked. Will Mary Mapes escape? How's it going to end? Where's the popcorn?
‘Did something amazing ...’ David Brooks
is in awe that Kerry’s rhetoric was actually clear yesterday. George Will
ain’t so impressed with either side. ... Lots of various blogs have been running emails from troops in Iraq. But a sad story
from Iraq about GIs, on the record, voicing doubts about the war. The CSM piece admirably bends over backwards to emphasize that this may or may not be a trend, that the majority of troops appear to be proud and pro-war. But ... It’s sort of sick that beheadings
no longer create the outrage they deserve. They’re becoming the norm. ...
OK, OK, big moment in Hub Blog history: Just where do I stand on the war? Knowing all that I know now, I’m with William Buckley, we shouldn’t have gone in. Sorry. The war should have shifted to the mountains of Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan. East. Osamaland. Deal with Iraq later, but not too much later -- and with much better pre-war diplomacy and post-war planning. But now? Iraq is Iraq. Deal with it. Push back. Hard. Get through January’s elections, give breathing room to new government at least through next year. Step up the training of an Iraqi security force and start handing out that reconstruction aid. More troops? Probably. But with the intent of providing security and said breathing room, not to give some cigar-chomping Army officer more baseball bats to kill flies. More emphasis on special ops. Try to get more international troops, but don’t hold breath. ... And that’s my Armchair General analysis for the week. It has the benefit, at least, of having more clarity than what the candidates are saying.
We ... we ... we ... we:
Oh, yeah. James Carroll is back.
Nineteen uses of ‘we,’ the ultimate all-encompassing Big Think word, or so addicted users of ‘we’ think. ... Hey, I’ve been critical of the war. But tying it to Dresden, the Cold War, Vietnam and Richard Nixon? I slap my forehead and only wish I had thought of those connections! ...
‘Rather messy’: Posted
so I can’t be accused of not caring.
‘In Praise of Bacon’:
Posted to get ‘our’ mind off Iraq. The bad news: Yankee magazine
doesn’t put its content online. The good news: I’m a satisfied subscriber and have the goods on this edition’s
Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Dates recipe. Quickly: Pitted dates sliced like a New England hot dog roll, stuffed with tiny teaspoon of goat cheese, wrapped with half-cooked piece of bacon, broiled together for an extra few minutes. ... For other greasy bacon recipes, head to your newsstands now. ...
‘For those of you ...’:
From Brighton Reader:
“For those who think that the Big Dig or new Convention Center are massive boondoggles, how about this: they are CLOSING
an airport in Montreal that was built in the 1970's because it just isn't used. Something about the sheer scale of this disaster impresses me.”
Behind most modern boondoggles, there’s a tourism and hospitality lobby.
'Dear Mary Mapes':
If you can only read one blog item today, make sure it's John Ellis' memo to Mary Mapes.
Brutal blogger bluntness at its very best.
‘Lowe throws stinker ...’, Part II: Pedro throws stinker.
Time to turn attention elsewhere. Pretend the Sox aren’t there. Maybe they’ll start playing better again. ... Ah, the Pats.
A very encouraging development yesterday: the Pats found a running back
(reg. requ.). It was great to see someone who sees holes where there’s not supposed to be holes. I.e. Corey Dillion has great lateral movement.
Mr. Blair speaks, Hub Blog listens: Tony Blair
is urging people not to waver on Iraq. Stirring words. Agree with him. ... Now only if we could get supporters of the war to start focusing on the war and stop the cop-out blaming of the media’s use of certain words
for not paying attention to the war. ... Good article in the Christian Science Monitor
on the ‘classic guerrilla war forming in Iraq.’ If the insurgency manages to jell together, it could take 10 years to defeat, military experts are warning. It may already be too late, but the lack of political coherency among insurgents is a big wedge we can still use against them. Get to January, hold the elections, and hope Iraqis rally to their new government. That’s the short-term goal with major long-term implications. ... Oh, forgot. Not supposed to use the word ‘insurgency.’ Must be more conscious of new conservative political correctness. My apologies. Everything else stands.
-- More Republican criticism
of the administration's handling of Iraq. ... They must have been quoted wrong. It simply can't be!
‘Is there one culinary culprit ...’:
Reader No. 1 spots this Brian McGrory article
on whether Boston restaurateurs are going the way of modern architects -- hopelessly over intellectualizing their profession with artsy anti-bourgeois snootiness while yanking bills from your wallet like good capitalist barons. ... Reader No. 1: “(McGrory's) overview of the Boston food scene is an article for the ages. Completely fair and balanced in how well he captured the weird balance of pretentiousness, skill, and the bottom line (at least according to Chef Oringer).” ... Oringer’s defense of small meals is also one for the ages. ... Don’t want to blow McGrory’s apt ending, but I will say I don’t think chefs have gone too far. If they do, they fall over the sales cliff. The ultimate check and balance of the marketplace. How and why the marketplace failed to check architects is a different issue for a different blog post ...
-- To the emailers who have written in: The comparison to architects is mine, not McGrory's. My pet-peeve, not his, though I think there's a parallel. I thought it was clear. My apologies.
‘If you go 10 mph, you'd bite your tongue off’:
Here they are, the worst paved streets
in Boston. Look where they’re located (see chart at bottom). What a surprise. ... Andrea Cabral’s primary victory
is about to show whether the proverbial squeaky wheel really does get the oil. I think it’s about to get drenched. ... FYI: Adam Gaffin
probably had the pithiest summary last week on Cabral’s victory. It’s really not a black-white issue per se. It’s more about minorities finally flexing their political muscle and everyone else getting tired of the usual hacks. Last week’s ‘turning point’ actually began to turn with Ralph Martin’s elections. ...
Mitt goes local ...:
The issue isn’t Mitt skirting the intent of silly campaign finance laws. The story is he’s deadly serious
about making the GOP a viable opposition party in Massachusetts -- and he’s raising the dough to try to accomplish it. The demographics of Boston have changed. The demographics of the ‘burbs have also changed. ... Hub Blog’s hunch is the effort could be a bust, at least this year, in part because Mitt himself has damaged his own ‘reform’ image. But maybe suburban voters will get the general intent and hold their noses while flipping the switch for some admittedly lame GOP candidates.
‘Lowe throws stinker ...’:
Hub Blog has deliberately held off on Sox coverage, having come to the conclusion that the Sox play better when attention is elsewhere. But seven runs on four hits and three walks
in only one-plus innings? ... You Know Who
actually wrote a great piece this morning on Lowe, a column that almost made up for You Know Who’s
flowery attempt at Whip the Fans Into a Silly Frenzy pre-series column. ...
‘I feel those October juices flowing’:
Kerry is rallying the troops.
In Massachusetts. Has it gotten that bad? ... The Geritol Couple photo to the right is mere coincidence.
‘Falluja will be tough’:
Reader No. 1 actually thinks I was wrong below to question Kerry’s harping on the Reserve/National call-up: “I think he might actually have something there given that Rasmussen, and common sense, indicate a majority don't want more troops in Iraq. If he actually had a plan on Iraq besides being 'more effective' than Bush, it might make a difference.” ...
... Yep, the Kerry camp is going to focus on the war more.
Good move. Lot’s of discontent out there on the issue. It probably won’t be enough to win in November. But it’s better than the tired It’s the Economy, Stupid strategy being promoted by the new self-promoting Clintonite clique trying to take over the campaign. They’ll stab Kerry in the back after November, asserting he didn’t follow their advice, I’m sure. But the Clintonites don’t seem to understand that Clinton won in ‘92 in part because A.) The Cold War was over and B.) The War on Terrorism hadn’t begun yet. Times are different. Not that the economy isn’t important. It is. Much to mine there. But you also can’t just ignore Iraq, Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism.
... And yep, something short of hell is definitely going to break loose in Iraq post-election.
The CSM had a good article last week on the delay-the-inevitable-showdown
Failure to tell the truth and those secret call-up plans:
Hub Blog was all set yesterday to blog on Kerry’s big speech
about untruths in Iraq. I was impressed with the speech, perhaps Kerry’s wisest, boldest rhetoric of the campaign. But then I thought: Whoa, Nellie. Let’s give it a day and see if Kerry has hit some sort of intelligent stride. Here’s the next-day Kerry story: The president has secret plans to call up reservists
after the election! ... Now, there’s little doubt, at least in my mind, that the administration is making major war decisions with an eye on November. Things are definitely going to heat up in Iraq after the election, if only because of Iraq’s own scheduled January elections. No big surprise. More troops and/or rotations will be required. Kerry himself has also said we need more troops in Iraq. So why make a big deal about something we already cynically know is going to happen -- under either post-election administration? Isn’t that kind of stretching the truth to score cheap points? Of all the untrue assumptions about Iraq (WMD, flowers on the streets, Occupation Lite, etc.), Kerry reaches out to pick something that hasn’t happened yet. ...
Ah, the polls. Two polls
show Kerry narrowing the gap. But a third poll
shows blowout and another survey
also shows blowout. Times like this require bold guesses by rank amateurs. Here’s Hub Blog’s: The two close polls show events as they roughly stand today, the two blowouts show how the final election may probably turn out. ...
is making an interesting argument about possible blowback over the RatherGate forgery issue, noting Gallop’s
latest Bush-is-winning-big poll went through Wednesday, full height of the RatherGate frenzy, and therefore Kerry might be suffering from suspicions his camp planted a bogus story. Possible. But highly unlikely. Gallop’s latest poll merely reflects the trend of its recent findings: Bush is widening the gap. ... This Rasmussen data
seems to make the most sense to me.
- 11 a.m. --- A new very interesting NYT/CBS poll
, showing Bush’s lead at about 8 percent. It’s all there: SwiftieGate and GuardGate (they seem to cancel each other out; both are viewed as 'Nam fibbers), the unease about Iraq and economy, Kerry’s failure to make a connection due to his backward-looking strategy. Bottom line: Bush vulnerable, Kerry vacuous.
... David Brooks
has a fun Kerry column. Hmmm. Is the column’s cadence Kiplingish? But there's also a little Longfellow. Can’t quite put my finger on it. It’ll bug me all day if I don’t figure it out. ...
‘He wants to be President from the early 1960 TV archival footage’:
Love that phrase. It’s from a Reader No. 1 email I didn’t have time to post. Had to fit it in somewhere. ... If I see one more Camelot black-and-white shot from the Kerry Compound on Nantucket, I’m going to ...
Hub Blog was browsing in a bookstore in Maine the other week. Found and flipped through a new photo book about Kerry’s life. Some eerie resemblances to the John-John Playing Under the Desk photos. All black-and-white photos, FYI, even the contemporary shots ... To be fair, all recent presidents have used the old black-and-white photo-op schtick to convey the historic gravity and importance of tense behind-the-scenes deliberations. I call them Important History Shots. The media plays right into it. But Kerry, well, he LIVES for those Pleasantville-like moments.
‘Let me give you an Out of the Box idea’:
Hub Blog and Reader No. 1 have been trading emails the past week about RatherGate and the war and the relative importance of the two. We’ve kind of groped toward a mutual consensus. I’ve belatedly recognized that the irrelevant GuardGate morphed into a more relevant RatherGate, while Reader No. 1 realized that, well, RatherGate is ultimately a mere relevant sideshow to what’s happening in Iraq. I think that pretty much summarizes the course of our discussions. Anyway, in the spirit of ‘thinking out of the box,’ Reader No. 1 has come up with a wild idea sure to infuriate many:
“Bush should ask Bill Clinton to be his point man on a global Democracy push, a Jimmy Carter with charm, and real teeth. The international diplomatic community loved/loves Clinton. He is a good listener and sensitive to culture issues. He could use an opportunity to fight the charge that he was asleep at the switch on Bin Laden. He wants to go down in history, and if he was a little successful, he just might (along with Bush).
“The Republican Party would hate this for obvious reasons. And having the Clinton nose under the GOP tent has real risks. But what's at stake isn't the next election; it's our future in a free world.”
I like it. Won’t happen. But I like it.
‘The sheer scale of some of these markets’:
Surprised Boston doesn’t have its own downtown weekend flea market
, complementing Haymarket. ...
Is Dan Rather a right-wing plant?:
It’s become a laughable full-scale contemporary media/political drama
-- no longer a highly dubious story about the highly bogus subject of Bush’s irrelevant Guard duty 35 years ago. ... A Republican friend of Hub Blog said yesterday that he talked with some low-level person in the Bush operation and that she and other staffers were ‘ecstatic’ about all the attention being paid to the Guard/RatherGate furor. Reason: Attention away from today’s you-know-what
, all because Danno and others couldn’t resist pushing a decades-old, non-story Guard issue that won’t swing a single vote either way. ...
That clever, well-oiled Right Wing Attack Machine. How did they lure Dan et gang into the old Let’s Revisit Vietnam trap? Dangling Vietnam works every time, I suppose. ... But what if it’s proven someone else dangled the Vietnam-era bait? Now who else is obsessed with Vietnam? Hmmm. ... Hub Blog thinks Reader No. 1 is onto something: Will Kerry soon insist we stop talking about Vietnam? Kerry lost all of August to a Vietnam debate. He’s losing most of September to a Vietnam-related debate. Checking the old calendar as I write and, yes, I think it’s possible some of October could be wiped out too. ... But they’ll get to the bottom of GuardGate, damn it!
Don’t look now, but two prominent Republicans
are now criticizing the administration’s handling of Iraq. Senator Richard G. Lugar: "Now, the nonsense of all [the predictions] is apparent; the lack of planning is apparent." ... Senator Chuck Hagel: "Maybe we ought to have a hearing with the inventors of this, have them come back up, all these smart guys that got us in there and said, 'Don't worry.' " ... Ah, Sen. Hagel, smart guy Paul Wolfowitz will be more than willing to explain the war -- after he finishes his new op-ed campaign
on behalf of an Indonesian journalist, whose fate is being linked to the war.
... Most of the senators’ were rightly furious about non-military reconstruction efforts in Iraq, a point made yesterday by Austin Bay
, via Instapundit
, who took time out yesterday from RatherGate to post on the latest depressing news from Iraq. But the problem just isn’t reconstruction: major military concerns
abound, too. ... Hey, where are all of last year’s mocking ‘They’re Bungling It’ comparisons between post-war Germany and Iraq? This ain’t post-war Germany, folks, unless I missed the part about suicide bombers and entire German cities being taken over by insurgents.
OK, so we knew there would be problems at the beginning
for the new Central tunnels. But I sure hope it’s not the concrete
A slide but not a fall:
Mitt's poll numbers
are down. No surprise. But they're not significantly off. Mild surprise. And lucky for him. Ignoring the all-politics-are-local axiom when you're not even at the halfway point of a first term is a dangerous game.
‘3.5 predictions ...’:
From Reader No. 1:
“3.5 predictions for Kerry's last national media interview of the campaign in 20 minutes on the Imus show:
“1. The headline-making : he'll say Vietnam service should not be an issue in the campaign (and in an aside suggest Bush has questions to answer about his National Guard Service).
“2. He'll blame the administration for North Korea and Iran going nuclear, a fair point. If asked about culpability of the Clinton foreign policy advisors now advising him, he'll try to make a joke about Sandy Berger's socks.
“3. He'll echo his WSJ Op-Ed this morning on rebuilding the economy. He'll use the phrases 'invest' and 'Robert Rubin' a lot.
“Bonus #4: He'll say he doesn't know what a Blog is. That claim is believable...”
-- Reader No. 1 listens to Imus and reports back in:
"Well, I got it about half-right. I did hear 'investment' in conjunction with more government spending. Imus was surprisingly snide about the Clintonian influence on Kerry (of course, that's now a safe topic, so maybe not so surprising).
"I'm still waiting for the ultimate Kerry flip-flop: to give up his Vietnam experience. That would actually be the one flip-flop that could get him elected President. The Dems just cannot get past Vietnam. Understandable on one hand, as it was a formative experience for so many of the party's leaders. The idea that it will ever change seems unlikely as the party leaders grow older and more secure in their core beliefs. Call them 'The Lost Generation?'"
The colossal-waste-of-time argument:
The National Guard/RatherGate issue is getting so surreal that some are now suggesting the fake National Guard documents may actually reflect once real documents
-- which must be the ones hidden with the microfilm in the pumpkin buried on the grassy knoll. ...
OK, Hub Blog has received an avalanche of emails -- three, to be exact -- from worker bees berating my assertion below that the latest National Guard/Swift Boats controversy was truly a ‘colossal waste of time.’ I still believe it’s been a colossal waste of time -- from Swifties pretending they weren’t doing the Bush campaign’s dirty work to a CBS anchor and producers dredging up highly dubious material in obvious retaliation. ... This non-lead Herald editorial
roughly sums up many of my views and moods. But I must add: It's been great seeing a Ted Baxter-like TV anchor leading a scalping party and then getting scalped. ...
But that brings us back to my original assertion: This has been a colossal waste of time. I’d make it more specific: It’s been a colossal waste of time for both the media and bloggers. (See Monday's profound arguments below.) Historians will be arguing and writing about today’s war events for literally centuries. Bush’s National Guard service and the fate of a soon-to-be-forgotten hack TV anchor? Please.
Hub Blog has been lately experiencing mental flashes from the movie ‘Mister Roberts’
: There are those who dwell on the delivery of toilet paper during a war and those who dream of being on an aircraft carrier. ...
Rising U.S. anti-Semitism:
Good CSM article
on rising anti-Semitism in the country -- and on the left.
Has the Underwood been found in the buried pumpkin on the grassy knoll yet?:
The right-wing blogosphere certainly seems to have scored some major stinging points while I was away. CBS and Dan Rather are swollen and may take time, if not years, to recover from last week and this weekend’s beehive carnage (see detailed attacks and counterattacks here
etc.). ... But ya know what? I don’t care. I mean, what a colossal waste of time over such trivial issues. Hey, waddaya know. There’s a real live WAR GOING ON
on the other side of the globe. ...
‘Vacillate in the middle of that’:
The Marine commander ain’t happy
with recent events in Iraq, where, I’m sure, we’ll find the Underwood buried in a pumpkin on a sandy knoll, not to be confused with a grassy knoll. ... I can hear the swarms buzzing toward me, so I better get off this subject. ... Hey, we’re being pulled back again to -- Vietnam, this time by Kerry supporters
who have produced their own Years of Lightening, Days of Drums propaganda. Is it in classy black and white? Is there a pony nuzzling him while he tries to feed it oats? They’re even anticipating beehive attacks before the movie is released. Safe bet. ... Kerry
, meanwhile, is still harping on the harping on his past. What a frigging election.
Pro anti-laissez-faire laissez-faire: Dunkies
is meeting opposition in the North End? Good. The corporate chain restaurants have done so much to wreck the architecture and ambiance of too many neighborhoods/suburbs/towns. Keep 'em out. They're real-estate vultures who wait for others to rebuild/maintain/start neighborhoods -- then use their financial clout to muscle their way into neighborhoods they once shunned and/or will dump in a minute if they falter. Scram, Dunkies. ... And bring back our crullers! ...
‘Not being Bush is not enough’:
Ah, the old post-Labor Day homestretch. Lots of homestretch fodder to choose from yesterday (here
, for instance). But I liked this E.J. Dionne Jr. piece
about whether John Kerry can be the Comeback Kid. Dionne seems hopeful, then piles up all up all the obstacles Kerry has to overcome, chiefly himself. ... (Dems to JFK II: Stop the wind-surfing shots! ... JFK II to Dems: But I got to show I have vigahhh via black-and-white photos from the Kerry Compound on Nantucket! ... Republicans to everyone: More wind-surfing shots, please!)...
Will the Kerry emphasis on the economy and healthcare work? I’m not so sure. There are obviously two main issues out there: the economy and the war. Kerry has to seriously dent Bush on one of those two -- or somewhat substantively on both. In two months. Not good. The economy now seems barely improved enough to help Bush, or at least buffer him against sustained attacks. The prospect of a serious economic slide in two months is highly unlikely. Points to: Bush. ... The war in Iraq is not an issue Kerry can easily exploit, considering his contradictory positions, and Scott Lehigh
notes there’s a huge confidence gap between Bush and Kerry on the issue of war, Kerry on the losing end, not surprisingly. Points to: Bush. Again. ... But why did Hub Blog say the other week that ‘it’s the war, stupid’
? Because if you believe the more important economy is just solid enough to shield the president, then that leaves only the war as the other big issue for Kerry to pound into. And the war news is grim. There’s this CSM piece
about how British experts now think civil war in Iraq is likely. There’s this NYT piece
about how the U.S. military is all but conceding parts of Iraq to insurgents. The Iraq war, as Andrew Sullivan
notes, is intervening on its own in the election, regardless of Kerry’s flip-flopping rhetoric. ... I know, I know. The Clintonites are now joining Kerry’s camp and President Clinton has urged Kerry to emphasize the economy, stupid. But Clinton ran against Bush I during an economic downturn and after a war, while Kerry is running against Bush II during an economic upturn and an ongoing war. There’s room on the economy for Kerry to exploit. But that 27-point confidence gap on the war has to be closed by Kerry. Or he’s a goner. ... Mickey
feels roughly the same way. Wars count, folks. ...
FYI: Count me as a new member of the Militant Middle
FYI II: There’s always an overlooked component in every campaign. My early nomination for a hidden issue/development could be the Christian Right. They don’t seem so steamed up. Maybe it was the silly excesses of the GOP convention (and the mere sight and sound of the Bush daughters). They really did unite the country, in their own way. Whatever. But still ...
‘I must have misspoke’:
You just knew this was coming. More on Bush’s dubious National Guard service
during the War of All Wars, aka the Most Pivotal Period in the History of History, i.e. Vietnam. OK, get it out of your system, lefty and righty worker bees. Start buzzing. Start stinging. Start arguing facts you know nothing about. Then let’s concentrate on the future. ...
Remember Hub Blog’s cheat sheet on the earth-shattering issue of What Were You Doing During Vietnam, Daddy:
Bush -- Combat dodging Vietnam-era veteran.
Kerry -- Exaggerating Vietnam combat veteran.
Now, back to Hub Blog’s sofa-stretch vacation. Blogging will be light. ... Quickie recommendation for total get-the-rat-race-out-of-your-system lazy afternoon bliss: Geary Pale Ale and Mickey Spillane. HIGHLY EFFECTIVE.
The Mitt Stalker:
Not much to say about the president’s speech (coverage versions here
), though I did find two things interesting: A.) His assertions about spending and larger government under Kerry are laughable, considering his own record. Taxes are a different story. B.) Kerry comes out swinging -- on Vietnam. OK. ... But what I’m really interested in is the local angle: Tom is stalking Mitt.
But don’t concentrate too much about where Tom has opposed/diverged from Mitt on issues. The fascinating thing is where he’s agreed with Mitt: Billy, the ancient wedding law, backing the mayor against the police union, etc. Reilly’s been angling for the Independent vote for a while now. ... The State Police
look like they might -- or at least deep-down want to -- endorse Bush. No need to ask anymore, ‘Where’s that anti-Quinn bill?’ Now we know where it is: deep back-burner limbo, if it ever existed.
‘I grit my teeth as I write this’:
Very concerned about Tom. Very concerned.
... How can we ever break media members from TIC, the profound nervous reaction some members of the local media feel when the New York Times doesn’t say nice things about Boston (and by implication themselves), also known as the Times Inferiority Complex (I’ve stopped calling it the New York Inferiority Complex, since it’s been clinically proven that 99.9 percent of those with NYIC are in the media/arts -- and those who want to be working for, and/or appear in, the NYT.) ... ‘It’s almost embarrassing.’ ...
Hub Blog, obviously obsessed with other people’s obsessions, is feverishly working on a cure for TIC. Now all you members of the local media with TIC, repeat the following to yourself:
‘Comparisons to the world’s greatest city are insane. ... Comparisons to the world’s greatest city are insane.’
And: ‘Boston is to New York what Edinburgh is to London -- the two shouldn’t be compared. ... Boston is to New York what Edinburgh is to London -- the two shouldn’t be compared.’ ...
Finally: ‘I won’t be working at the New York Times in my lifetime. ... I won’t be working at the New York Times in my lifetime.’ ...
It really works. Try it. Repeat every night and every morning for a month. If unsuccessful, try moving to Springfield, Ill. for a few years to get a new perspective on life. I did it. It was hell. But it works.The Mr. Mittster at the convention: Is he coming home now?