Friday, October 15, 2004

Selection 2004: Flip-Flops

A couple weeks ago, I ran into a display of these at the local Walgreens.  (Click here for the website.)

Apparently these pendants, in all sorts of designs for every holiday and theme you can imagine, are widely available, but I’ve never run into one before.  (I’m not a sorority girl, though.  Delta Nu!!!)  Can’t help but think that there’s a political intent behind a patriotic-bejeweled flip-flop during this Election Year, though.

But what intent?  Are you projecting a constant reminder of the “flip-flop” imagery used against Kerry, like with all the people holding such footwear at the Republican convention?  Or would you be embracing that imagery and saying “Flip-flops are okay, and they can even be patriotic!

Updated on May 20, 2011

Selection 2004: Likely Voters

Repeatedly, we’ve heard about polls of “Registered Voters” and “Likely Voters”.  I had kind of assumed that the latter term meant that the pollsters asked “Do you plan to vote on November 2?” and got some answer other than “No” or “If I get around to it.”

That’s not the case, however.  “Likely” actually means “voted in the 2000 election.”  Suddenly the polls of these people is shown in a different light, and the value of the polls becomes somewhat questionable.  “Likely” voters leaves out two important sets of people.
  • Those who could have voted in 2000 (were registered), but did not.  An oft-quoted statistic is that perhaps 4 million “Evangelical Christians” stayed home in 2000.  This is the group that Bush is trying to pull in via his stances on stem cell research, abortion, and gay marriage, and which assorted bishops and ministers are trying to fire up.
  • And then there are those who could not vote in 2000 but can now: especially young adults ages 18-22, and newly naturalized citizens.  Young people tend to vote the Democrat/liberal side more often, as do immigrants.  There will likewise be millions of these potential voters this year.
There’s no way of knowing just what percentage of each group will actually turn out to vote, nor who they will actually vote for (although we can probably guess for the Evangelical Christians), nor which group will be larger in the end, but with the believed very small set of “undecided” voters out there, these groups loom large in their power.

I have heard is that there has been a much greater volume of new voter registrations this year than in years past — significant enough that there’s one case under investigation of a company in Nevada gathering registrations and then discarding the Democrat ones rather than turning them all in — and that a lot of these registrations are coming from high schools and colleges.

Among other things, these kids are smart enough to see the potential for a draft looming.  I know that when I was their age, avoiding such would have been one of my big issues (as it clearly was for Bush when he was younger, and presumably to a degree for Kerry), and I would have tended toward the candidate less likely to institute such.  (And here, that would be the guy who is opposed to the war.)

Updated on May 19, 2011

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Selection 2004: The Great Debate (#4)

Admission up front: I am biased against Bush, in favor of Kerry.  Admission out back: I’m not overly thrilled with Kerry.

I again listened to most of the debate, all but maybe three questions worth, but did not see any of it.  Nothing surprising, although phrases like “flip-flop”, “I have a plan”, “It’s just not credible”, and “You can run, but you can’t hide” were mercifully absent (or at least less prominent) in this debate.
  • Is there anything which can’t be solved by Pell Grants, Mr. Bush?
  • “No litmus test on judges” as the answer to whether you’ll try to overturn Roe v. Wade?  We’ll take that dodge as a “Yes,” since you didn’t say no.  Not that anything but “Yes” could be expected, given the Republican platform plank this year seeking a Constitutional amendment outlawing all abortions.  (And Bush has already said he does have a litmus test: strict Constitutional interpretation.  Flip-flop much, Mr. President?)
  • Speaking of Dodge City, what kind of an answer was that on the Minimum Wage?  For a 25 year-old single mother working at Taco Bell, education (and Pell Grants) are not the answer.  A 40% pay hike from $5-something an hour to $7-something an hour, that will help.  (Not that education isn’t important, but that pays off 2, 5, 10 years down the line, and it doesn’t do shit for those who are below the poverty line now.)
  • Kerry is being painted as not just a liberal, but a liberal from Massachusetts.  I’m inclined to interpret that as code for “He supports gay marriage,” despite Kerry’s protests to the contrary.  Same-sex civil marriage is the most prominent recent event pushing Massachusetts into the hearts and minds of Americans.
  • In one question, Kerry made a reference to there being two education systems in this country, one for the haves and one for the have nots.  (Or something similar to that.)  While that mostly plays to Edwards’s “Two Americas” speech, it also may be code for Kerry not supporting Charter Schools, since such are usually painted as either a benefit only for better-off families, or as a method for publicly funding religious-oriented schools.

Updated on May 18, 2011

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Winnie the Pooh (joke)

You heard that Winne the Pooh came out of the closet?
He’s a silly willy nelly little bear.

Original to me, circa 2002

Sondheim and King (joke)

You heard about Stephen Sondheim doing the music for the new Stephen King Broadway musical?
It’s called Misery Loves Company.

Original to me, circa 2002

Friday, October 8, 2004

Selection 2004: The Great Debate (#3)

Admission up front: I am biased against Bush, in favor of Kerry.  Admission out back: I’m not overly thrilled with Kerry.

I didn’t get to see or hear all but about 10 minutes of the second debate.  The third one, I listened to about half of it — on the computer at work and in the car — and then saw the last 20+ minutes of it.

A few items that I haven’t seen noted enough:
  • Bush did better with this debate, or at least he did “less badly”.  If my estimation of him didn’ fall as far after this debate as after the first one, does then mean he did well?
  • Yes, it begins to sound repetitive that John Kerry “has a plan.”  But you know, at least he does have one.  Does Bush?
  • The first thing out of Bush’s mouth about what he’s done for the environment is to limit emissions on off-road diesel engines.  Oh, that’s way up there among high-priority items.
  • On one of the last questions (on mistakes, I think) — asked by the gray-haired woman in glasses — Bush was talking directly to her (or at her?), and she had this terrific shell-shocked look on her face, like she was thinking “I wish he’d leave me alone, and God, I hope he doesn’t get re-elected.”
  • I don’t think either candidate did well on the controversy questions — stem-cell research, tax dollars for abortion, Supreme Court appointments — but Bush certainly fumbled his way verbally through the minefield much more so than Kerry did.
  • Bush is still on the repetition track: “It’s just not credible.”  (With little other than repetition to prove the lack of credibility, of course.)

Updated on October 14, 2004

Updated on May 11, 2011

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Selection 2004: The Great Debate (#1)

By now, you’ve read all the pundits about the debate, with the liberals all saying Kerry won and the conservatives mostly saying it was a tie (because they couldn’t say Bush lost, of course).

I listened to the debate on the radio.  The main effect this has is that you hear what the candidates say and how they say it; you are not distracted by what they are wearing or the gestures they make, nor in how a given network displays the debate, focusing on one candidate or the other at critical times.  (On the flip side, you don’t get to see the gestures they make, whether they look at the camera or the moderator, or how they visually project themselves.  Andrew Sullivan’s blog (archives only go back to 2006, unfortunately) had an e-mail from a viewer who saw mostly the reverse of me: he saw the debate with the sound off, and so could focus exclusively on the visuals.)

A few items that I haven’t seen noted enough:
  • Bush sounded uncertain in the debate.  Kerry would hit an answer or a rebuttal hard out of the gate, but Bush tended to spend (waste) the first 10 seconds or so with false starts and the like.  Not only did this cause him to have less time for his answers, but it made him sound unprepared, annoyed, and flustered.  Not a good image to project.
  • Bush had a couple of major flubs, most notably the bit where he conflated 9/11 with Iraq as the attacker.  It’s bad enough that he continues to project this misconception, but it gave Kerry an automatic attack point.  (Bush lobbed the ball up and didn’t defend against a spike.)  Bush’s handlers should have planned for this and directed Bush to never, ever make that sort of a comment, knowing the damning response it would get.  Either Bush’s handlers are overconfident, or Bush ignored their advice. That’s potentially fatal.
  • As I understand it, the focus of this debate — Foreign Policy — was chosen by the Bush campaign.  It is the arena where Bush is supposedly strongest, and if that were true, choosing to do that debate first and giving Kerry a major smackdown would have been very good for Bush.  But that distinctly did not happen.  If this was Bush on his strongest topic, how will he do when discussing domestic issues?  (But Kerry needs to be sure he doesn’t get overconfident by the results of this debate.  I suspect that’s what Bush did.)

Updated on May 10, 2011