Thursday, 28 October 2004
BBC News and Boing Boing report, and I have confirmed, that the Bush campaign's official web site is no longer accessible from overseas. Overseas Americans who try to visit Bush's page now get the message "You are not authorized to access www.GeorgeWBush.com."
We're not authorized to access George W. Bush. That's sort of been the problem all along, hasn't it?
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 12:29 am. comments.
Wednesday, 27 October 2004
Hey mister deejay:
So, what did you do after work last night? Watch a little TV? Go out to dinner? Catch up on some reading?
That's nice. I helped raise over $5,000 for John Kerry.
For reasons best explained as "have iBook, will travel," I spent yesterday evening in the audio/video booth at our Democrats Abroad Sydney fundraiser — where we had about 120 (!) Kerry supporters show up to cheer our candidate on to victory. (Our previous attendance record was somewhere around 45 people, so this was a big, big night; the people at Bar Broadway, who've been incredibly supportive as we commandeer their upstairs function room once a week, said we should do this more often.)
Here's Tanya Plibersek, a Member of Parliament and of the Australian Labor Party, speaking about the importance of the upcoming American election and its effect on U.S.-Australia relations — but, more importantly, I'm supplying the Kerry/Edwards logo in the background! Doesn't it look great.
Crowd scene! I'd guess this was taken around 7:30 or so, when there were about 50 or 60 people; the room was even more packed an hour later. Bar Broadway took phone calls all day from people asking for directions, which they said only happens on major events.
Here's me doing a song and dance number — no, actually this is me talking about the current state-by-state polls, what Kerry needs in order to win, and why he's going to. Incumbents, challengers, undecideds, two-to-one ratios, getting out the vote, and it all adds up to Kerry 300, Bush 238. The October surprise is that Democrats are registering to vote in record numbers.
By the end of the night the Kerry campaign was over $5,000 richer, courtesy of donations large and small: From $500 checks to $5 bills, Kerry supporters in Australia showed their support with money, enthusiasm… and with the thousands of absentee ballots they've already mailed in.
(Thanks to Greg for taking the photos. Next week we have the all-day victory party on Wednesday; the returns will start coming in around 11am our time, so we'll be partying for ten hours straight at least.)
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 12:45 pm. comments.
Tuesday, 12 October 2004
Meanwhile, back in Oz…
Australia's main conservative party, which in an ironic twist is named the Liberals, wins re-election in a race expected to be closer than it was. This election was a referendum on the Bush Administration in the same sense that the race between John Kerry and George Bush is about stem cell research: It's an issue, but it wasn't the deciding issue. Most Australians appear to have voted with their pocketbooks — the Howard government is doing a much better job of managing Oz's economy than some political parties I might name — with logging in Tasmania providing an interesting side issue.
As he has all along, Tim Dunlop's Road to Surfdom has a good summary of the Oz elections and what they mean going forward.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 4:49 am. comments.
Thursday, 07 October 2004
The boy who cried WMDs:
George W. Bush fails the global test.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 10:18 pm. comments.
Wednesday, 06 October 2004
Two good men.
A passing salute to Pennsylvania's John Murtha and California's Pete Stark — the only two members of the House to vote in favor of reinstating the draft. I don't support the idea of a draft myself; I think we need to expand the military, but I'd like to see it done by calling for more volunteers. But I do admire Murtha and Stark for the courage of their convictions, and I wish the GOP-controlled House would take its duties more seriously.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 1:44 pm. comments.
Wednesday, 06 October 2004
No, John Edwards. I am your father.
I've only watched part of the vice-presidential debate — I simply can't watch Dick Cheney speak without stopping the tape and fact-checking him. (Cheney says Afghanistan will have its first-ever election in four days… hmm… nope. Afghanistan's first election was in 1965.) But I think the best summary I've read so far is that, out of the four candidates, Bush is now in fourth place.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 11:56 am. comments.
Monday, 04 October 2004
Winning the spin:
In 2000, the initial polls showed that Al Gore won his first debate against George W. Bush — but the GOP waged a very effective campaign to change that outcome. They shifted the focus away from the substance of the debate, and relentlessly hammered away at Gore's mannerisms. He sighed. He "wasn't comfortable in his own skin." Never mind the debate itself: Bush won the game of low expectations, and packaged himself as the candidate you'd rather have a beer with.
In 2004, Bush is losing both the debate and the post-game spin: Kerry's team did a masterful job of setting expectations, playing a briar-patch game with the flashing red light on the podium — it turns out Kerry's speaking skills improve when he's limited to two minutes, while Bush does worse when he's forced to fill two minutes — and so far the Bush campaign's early attempts to shift the focus are failing. The Kerry campaign and their surrogates are keeping the Bushistas on their back feet; witness this exchange, for example, to see who's getting the better of whom.
The Cheney-Edwards debate will be a crowd-pleaser, but we've already seen that even a knock-out punch against a VP candidate will not move the polls very much. Lloyd Bentsen annihilated Dan Quayle in the '88 vice-presidential debate, with the line that all but ended Quayle's career: "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." But the senior Bush rode Reagan's coat-tails to victory, unlike Gore in 2000 — and Mike Dukakis did not look presidential on the campaign trail, where Kerry is looking more and more like the 44th President of the United States.
So the road to the White House now runs through the second presidential debate, the one with the town-hall format in St. Louis — and Bush's guilty secret is that he only won the 2000 town-hall debate because Gore did even worse. Bush is a walking disaster without a script, and the town-hall debates are known for throwing the most curveballs: The candidates could predict and prepare for the questions Jim Lehrer asked, but in a town-hall debate the topics could be anything from ethanol subsidies to Venezuela. If you thought Bush looked like a deer in the headlights last week, St. Louis should give him even more of a challenge — and Kerry doesn't even have to set expectations, because Bush can't afford to lose two consecutive debates.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 2:27 am. comments.
Sunday, 03 October 2004
The only thing we have to fear is…
…the GOP trying to scare up some votes. Given Bush's debate performance, I'd say we're due for a Code Orange soon.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 2:42 am. comments.
Saturday, 02 October 2004
Time zones being what they are, the first Presidential debate aired at 11am on Friday down here; I didn't get to watch it until the following day, although I did manage to read a lot of the post-debate spin first.
Overall impressions: Kerry spent 90 minutes on the attack without looking aggressive, which is hard to pull off; he stumbled a bit on the question about preemptive war (the one where Kerry talked about passing the "global test"), but otherwise he was calm, cool, collected, and kept Bush on the defensive all night. If you only listened to Kerry at this debate, it would be hard to figure out where his reputation for long elliptical sentences came from: He didn't deliver a knockout sound bite — no "you're no Jack Kennedy" — but he scored some solid punches with "you can be certain and be wrong" and about outsourcing the job of capturing Osama.
Meanwhile, in the other corner… I'm biased against Bush, but I really suspect he and his campaign got cocky going into this: They started to believe their own spin, that their exaggerated caricature of John Kerry was the real Kerry, and as a result Bush got knocked off his game in the opening seconds. The plan was that Bush would get up there, do his aw-shucks "I'm just plain folks" routine, repeat a handful of sound bites meant to sow doubts about Kerry, and Kerry would cooperate by being all college professor-y and maybe do a few of those flip-flops Bush keeps talking about right there on stage. The plan was not for Kerry to look and sound more presidential than the President, for Kerry to turn one of Bush's favorite attack lines back on him — when Bush mentioned Kerry's "voted for it before I voted against it" gaffe, Kerry was ready; he pounced on it immediately — or for Bush to run out of talking points and start repeating himself.
This debate was supposed to be Bush's strong suit, the one where people walked away reassured about Bush's steady hand and doubtful about Kerry's ability to lead. Instead, Kerry zeroed in on Bush's weak points — Osama and peacekeeping — and impressed viewers by sounding confident and strong. Bush came off second best, sounded petulant and defensive, and gave Kerry several more sticks to beat him with: "You forgot Poland," "of course I know Osama bin Laden attacked us," and Bush's repeated complaint that it's "hard work" being President are going to be next week's talking points.
For me, the highlight of the debate was this exchange:
LEHRER: New question, two minutes, Senator Kerry.
If you are elected president, what will you take to that office thinking is the single most serious threat to the national security to the United States?
ME, playing along at home: Nuclear proliferation! Say it! Say it say it sayitsayitsayitsayit—
KERRY: Nuclear proliferation.
Kerry sounded far and away like the more serious candidate about stopping the spread of nuclear weapons — which admittedly isn't hard to do when standing next to George W. Bush, but nonetheless. Bush's rebuttal on this one was especially weak, saying that proliferation "is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy," claiming that he'd "busted the A.Q. Khan network" (we caught a man selling nukes on the black market, let him off with an apology and a promise to Never Do It Again, and in Bush's universe this counts as a bust?!) and then somehow turning the rest of his answer into a plug for missile defense systems. I know who I'd rather have in charge.
- Posted by Scott Forbes at 9:53 am. comments.