View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Monday, November 08, 2004

I'm Moving! 

No, not like Jonathan, to the wilds of Utah to build the new Zion. Heh.

No, this website it moving, from Blogspot to

This site's archives will remain up, although what happens to the images is anyone's guess. Since I want to go ahead and dim the lights, join me over at the new site for the ribbon-cutting.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Arab Liberals Miss the Point 

The Indispensible MEMRI is reporting that a number of Arab Intellectuals are petitioning the UN to establish an international tribunal to try alleged terrorists:

On October 24, 2004, the liberal Arab websites and published a manifesto written by Arab liberals, in which they petition the U.N. to establish an international tribunal which would prosecute terrorists, as well as people and institutions, primarily religious clerics, that incite terrorism.

The idea to petition the U.N. with this request was raised by the Jordanian writer and researcher Dr. Shaker Al-Nabulsi in early September 2004, in response to the fatwa issued by Sheikh Yousef Al-Qaradhawi - one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood movement and one of the most important religious authorities in Islamist circles - which called for the abduction and killing of U.S. citizens in Iraq. The idea was developed and written up by Al-Nabulsi, Tunisian intellectual Al-'Afif Al-Akhdhar, and former Iraqi Minister of Planning Dr. Jawad Hashem.

During the first 24 hours since the manifesto was published on the Internet, it was signed by approximately 2,000 people worldwide, including intellectuals, authors, poets, and journalists. The authors of the manifesto hope that within a week the number of signatures will reach 10,000, at which point it will be presented to the U.N.

Their assessment of the causes of terrorism is also striking:

It is not enough for the Security Council to adopt resolutions 'condemning' terrorism. What will be more effective is the establishment of an International Tribunal affiliated to the UN organization for the prosecution of individuals, groups, or entities involved, directly or indirectly, with terrorist activities including, but not limited to, fatwas issued by religious clerics in the name of Islam calling upon Muslims to commit terrorist acts.

By these fatwas all terrorists have died, or will die, fully convinced that they will immediately enter Paradise. Of course, we are not excluding other causes for committing terrorist acts, such as the ticking-bomb of population explosion with its resultant illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, backwardness in education systems, reactionary religious teaching, and, above all, living under dictatorial systems of governments in almost all Arab countries. But despite the above causes, certain religious fatwas remain the pivotal cause of terrorist acts - fatwas which clothe such terrorist acts with legitimacy as being one of the sacred tenets of Muslim faith.

There's both good and bad here. The good is that the folks are putting the blame where it goes. The only mention of Israel in the entire document is a quote of an unacceptable fatwa. There's no dodging, no attempt to blame the West, no attempt to blame Israel. They point the finger directly at the bad guys for exploiting the degraded state of the Arab world. The also recognize that this is a Muslim phenomenon, rooted in a mutant strain of the Muslim religion. It'll be a hopeful sign if they can actually get 10,000 signatures.

Nevertheless, the petition is misdirected. The UN is hardly the place the go with this. In the first place, it's clearly not interested. In the second, the Arab delegations there, controlled by the dictatorial governments these people so obviously despise, have a stranglehold over any deliberations there. The diplomats who prowl around Turtle Bay aren't really interested in empowering the people of these countries; they're interested in getting along with the other diplomats. How long would it be before Israel and her government officials, or the US and her President were designated "terrorists?" Ask the Belgians.

Secondly, I'm a little dismayed that these men of good faith, while recognizing that the rot is from within, cannot also see that the solution has to be there, as well. They're repeating the mistake that Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami have often noted: the temptation to look to someone else for a solution.

The notion of a terrorist tribunal is not without merit. But it will have to be run by those countries part of a Coalition of the Willing. For now, this means the US and her allies in Iraq, but also Iraq itself, Afghanistan, and perhaps India, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia. The inclusion of responsible Muslim states, or states with responsible Muslim minorities, would encourage Arab countries to clean up their acts. If backed up by vigorous military action, it should be able to finish its work and disband.

Why, even after all this time, is the UN seen as the only, or even the proper source, for international legitimacy?

The Guardian In Mourning 

I am reliably informed that the Guardian's pull-out section on Thursday had a solid-black cover, with the two words, "Oh, God".

How I wish I could get a copy.

The Election Isn't the War 

Iraq is facing, at this point, a civil war. Now, it's not a Civil War like ours, with the sides holding roughly comparable territories, and looking even-matched at the outset. But Iraqi-vs.-Iraqi it is.

It takes a special kind of steel to order the deaths of your countrymen. Grant was not the butcher he was made out to be, he just wanted the war to be over with. Sherman understood that the US Civil War wouldn't be over until, maybe 10,000 "bitter-enders" had been killed. Lincoln gave him the room to do it, and it must have tortured his soul.

This week, this day, is a time of testing for Iraqi President Allawi. He must allow us to go in and finish the job. The enemy are men who fancy themselves tough. Their leaders routinely prove themselves cowards by blowing up unarmed and innocent men. But they are willing to do horrible things in order to win.

Weakness now will only persuade both Americans and Iraqis that Allawi is not willing to do what it takes to win.

Lincoln understood the Civil War to be a terrible price for the nation's sins, but a price we had to pay in order to emerge united and free. Allawi needs to look that bill in the face and say he's willing to pay it.

The Unfunny One At It Again 

You would think that Garrison Keillor would learn. He ranted and raved after 2000. He called electing Norm Coleman in 2002 a "cheap, low-rent mistake, like going to a great steakhouse and ordering the tuna melt." He published a book during the campaign that he probably thought sounded like blogging but came off more like a guy who had mislaid his glasses and hearing aide, couldn't find his meds and couldn't hear the answer when he asked where they were.

Last night, I happened to catch the first few minutes of Prairie Home Companion, and Keillor's welcome to his audience (I'm quoting from memory, but there's nothing missing that changes the clear meaning of his rant):

Now that the election is over, I'm going to start a movement to revoke the vote from born-again Christians. (Laughter & Applause.) My feeling is that they're citizens of Heaven, so they really should be exercising their rights up there....

If you believe that higher education is superfluous, if you believe that war in the Middle East is the fulfillment of a prophecy, if you believe that poverty is God's way of drawing you closer to Him by making you more dependent...

Right. I read Alliance blogs all the time, and that's just what they say. I know screwing yourself into the ground flaililng away at an Eephus pitch is awfully embarassing, but why compound the humiliation?

Sadly, the good showing by Minnesota Democrats this year is only likely to encourage this sort of thing.

Your tax dollars at work.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Blogspot Beginning to Creak 

The last few days have been rough ones for blogspot. I've had problems posting and editing that extend across computers, firewalls, and platforms. It's about time I joined the exodus. More details as they become available...

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Golden Days 

Tired of being in the house, and not want to be bound by the Arafat Death Watch, I decided to head out to Golden for the afternoon.

I used to work here, when I first moved to Denver, back in 1997-1998. It's one of the few towns that hasn't been swallowed up by development. The geography is such that even with the new Home Depot, and the huge Colorado Mills Mall, the downtown area is largely untouched and untouchable. Still, while it hasn't grown all that much, it has been...upgraded.

Clear Creek still flows here, but there's a new bridge across it carrying Wahington Street, with a little museum on the sidewalks. There's a new hotel, the Golden Hotel. The things looks nice but dull as dishwater, and the name suggests Black Hawk or Central City. There's a new parking lot, and the library advertises Free Wifi. And now, the houses are clinging to ever-more-vertical parts of South Table Mountain.

It's pushed right up against the foothills, and you can walk right up into them from town. The downtown has been preserved from the late 1800s, early 1900s.

Now, if we could only get a shul out there...

The Eephus Pitch 

Last year, I diagnosed Jonathan Chait's problem as similar to the batter facing an eephus pitch. Looks easy to hit. The batter either ends up drilling for oil in the batter's box, or grounding out weakly to the infield.

The Daily News reports that John Kerry used virtually the same words as Jon Lovitz back in April. (Hat Tip: Kerry Spot)

The article actually reveals what we had all feared: a man with virtually no understanding of the motives of others, outmaneuvered tactically by Karl Rove, and unable to capitalize on his advantages. In particular, he can't understand why John McCain might not want to be his Veep:

It started in August 2003, but kicked into high gear after Kerry nailed the nomination. He even offered to expand the veep's role to control defense and foreign policy. "You're out of your mind," McCain told Kerry. "I don't even know if it's constitutional, and it certainly wouldn't sell."

Kerry seemed stunned that McCain rebuffed him "after what the Bush people did to him," referring to the 2000 GOP presidential primary.

This ought to bother people more than a little. Suppose that Kerry actually meant it. He was running a strategy that called for attacking the President's strong suit. If it succeeded, Bush would have little left to respond with. He was presenting himself as the foreign policy alternative. He was running on his war record. But he was going to outsource foreign policy control to his Vice-President. Spare me the jokes about Dick Cheney as Puppetmaster. Nobody doubts that the President has a strong team, but he makes the final decisions.

Worse, Kerry was going to staff his cabinet and foreign policy staff with appeasers, and ask them to work under the unofficial direction of a man whose only point of agreement with the President is the war.

There's a reason Senators don't get elected President very often. Senators have to put together staffs, but they don't have to execute policy. Thank G-d this one never got the chance.

The Jewish Vote 

George Bush's gains among Jewish voters were disappointing at best. Boker Tov, Boulder! has a breakdown of the numbers, and it appears that President Bush got about 25% of the Jewish vote nationally.

So we have perhaps been saved from ourselves. Had the President lost, and Charles Krauthammer been right, and a President Kerry thrown Israel to the European wolves, we would have had mostly ourselves to blame.

The news and the vote come at a dangerous time. Tony Blair used his post-US-election speech yesterday to cash in his foreign policy chips with President Bush. He was there for Bush in Iraq, now it was time to get serious about helping the Palestinians dismantle Israel.

The imminent death of Arafat could certainly provide a false sense of optimism among some, an excuse to hope that the next round of brigands are "practical men," "pragmatists," not ideologues. In other words, the same thing some of us convinced ourselves that Arafat was.

Those of us who voted for the President did so because we believe that he's shown himself to be a man of principle over politics. Now, more than ever, we're relying on that belief.

The 2nd Term Begins 

Hey, if Mark Halperin can pronounce Bush a lame duck, he can start his 2nd term early, right?

President Bush has announced that he's going to move quickly to reform Social Security. This will include partial privatization, but surpsingly, will not cut seniors' benefits by 45%. This can only be good news. The window for action, especially on the domestic agenda, is going to be short.

The only real issue here is the transition costs, as money that would have funded current expenditures some years from now is in personal accounts instead. The main selling point here is that returns will, over the long haul, be much higher than the 1-2% you see now. Most of the middle-class is used to talking to financial planners. This is just going to be one more revenue stream for many of them.

The counter-argument will be that the poor, or working poor, don't have that familiarity and are liable to "gamble" their money on junk bonds or high-tech stocks or the next Big Bubble. Two answers. First, the poor and working poor are the ones who get cheated the most by the system as it stands. They put in less, get out less, have less saved for retirement, and the paltry returns mean they often don't live long enough to even get their money back.

Second, you can tailor a system to allow only certain kinds of investments. Mutual funds, or bond funds. Funds that don't jump around so much. Yes, the overall return won't be so high, but financial planners generally tell you to have some portion of your money in conservative investments. This can be that money.

Someone needs to figure out a simple way to explain future value to people. President Reagan liked to use charts. Maybe, when he's unveiling his proposal, President Bush can use a simple chart explaining how much more this will mean to the average middle- or lower-middle-class wage-earner.

I always felt that the "ownership society" was one of the key long-term accomodations to reality the country needs to make. It allows us to be more flexible, while at the same time relieving the government of a fiscal burden it's not going to be able to bear.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Dial's Not For Turning 

Warning: Not Edited. Rated PG. Just not edited.

I'm with Hugh. It's not a time for gloating, just great relief, great thanks, and great hope. I feel a great deal like I imagine John Wesley Powell must have felt going through the first set of rapids in the Grand Canyon. There's no sense climbing out - three guys tried that and never came back. We've got no idea how long this goes on. But those rapids, going through them was hell, but we're through them now.

Still, it's worth exulting in the depression of the maniacal left. So, after Hugh, after the coffee shop, and in the car to class, it was over to Randi Rhodes and Air America!, that ongoing contribution-in-kind to the flesh-eating virus of Michael-Mooreism, eating away at a once-great party. Maybe it says something about me that the only time I could listen to Air America for more than, oh 30 seconds, was right after everything they hold dear had gone up in smoke on the runway. I like to think it says something about them.

When I tune in, she'd going on about Diebold! and Ohio! and Missing Ballots! and electronic voting machines!

I'd be happier with a paper trail, too, Randi. One like the punch cards provide, ahem. I wasn't the one who shrieked that punch-cards were Torquemada's polling device, or sued to stop a recall election because not everyone was using electronic machines yet.

Jeb Bush! and Broward! and we'll never know! Even the Bloody Chad made an appearance, where the newspapers after the fact showed that 6 our of 9 Post-Election Recount Scenarios recommend Gore. That is, if there had even been a recount.

When that's sort of played out, "Sigh, I'm not saying it isn't over, just that we know they stole Ohio." She's off on how "they" ("they" being "you") have established "one-party government" where "dissent isn't allowed." Where, and I'm not making this up, people like her, who oppose the war, will be treated like Salem Witches by the People of a Certain Kind of Religion who now run the government. "We've turned the clock back so far...." So far that what? That there are no clocks, just lines on a big rock in the middle of town that are useless, useless! when the sun's not out. Which is always, now that "they've" stolen the sun!

Enough. I can listen to this now, knowing that their heads exploded and their technicians are busy cleaning pumpkin off the studio walls. But I don't want to. I listen to this for about 15 minutes, and I feel the physical heat that accompanies pain and unpleasantness. I long for Radio That Aims at My Head Not Below My Belt.

I was really worried at times on Monday, even with Obi-Wan and Qui Gong and the gang at Kerry Spot telling me that the Force was with Bush. (At one point Tuesday night, when things were uncertain, I tried a pidgin accent a la Jar-Jar, "Ain't nobody know nuthin'". Ben: "That's not very convincing." Me: "Yeah, well neither was Jar-Jar.")

But I got up from the makeshift studio in the doomed Senate campaign believing that everything would be all right. Good leaders will do that for you.

Regionalism & A Word of Caution 

There's been a lot of discussion of the collapse of the Democratic Party in the South. That's fair. The numbers are indisputable, from governorships to House seats to Senators to state legislatures. The lineup is making is structurally impossible for the Democrats to take back the House, difficult to be competitive in the Senate, and puts them at a large disadvantage in the Electoral College.

And yet.

Take a look at the Northeast. See any red? Me either.

Take a look at the margins in these states. Aside from Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, they weren't even close. In the upper midwest, with the exception of the Illinois Implosion, the party is still competitive, or newly competitive.

The party remains viable in most of those states. A number have Republican governors. Left-leaning or centrist Republicans can get elected to the Senate. Connecticut and New Hampshire can still elect Republican congressmen. But the parties have shown steady erosion.

Among state legislatures, the Republicans control only 6 chambers total in that blue region: New Hampshire and Pennsylvania outright, and splitting New York and Delaware. This is an even worse showing than the Democrats in the south.

Over time, voters will discover that they're happier voting for left-leaning Democrats than for left-leaning Republicans who lose their power to Southern conservatives and vote with a conservative caucus. More blue; less red.

There's a reason that George Pataki and Rudy Giuliani will never win the nomination. They may be law-and-order, strong-defense Republicans. But neither really has much spending discipline, and both are pretty leftish on social issues. It's a reason that there are so few northeastern Republicans in leadership positions, and as Powerline points out, it costs us more than distinctive rhetoric.

Watching Giuliani reminded me of one of the costs of the party's decline in the Northeast. The party's leaders are now generally Southwestern and Midwestern; as such, their styles tend to be laconic and soft-spoken. Giuliani is urban, Italian and Northeastern to the core, and he needed those traditions to deliver the speech he gave last night.

This needs to be addressed. Just as smart Democrats are looking to reconnect with the south, so smart Republicans need to find a way to make their party acceptable to people in New York. A national party needs to have national acceptance. First of all, not everything that turned red last night will always be so reliable. Look at what happened in Colorado. Secondly, as the Democrats are finding out, the longer you're out of touch with one part of the country, the harder it gets to reconnect. It also becomes more difficult to govern that part of the country, to draw on its talents and resources when they're needed.

The President has put together a remarkable coalition, but like all political achievements, it's written on water. Probably sooner than we think, we'll either need, or regret not having, one or more of those states.

Another Note on Last Night 

Is there any doubt that the CNN Election Site is the crack cocaine of election night? It was easier to follow the election from there than it was from the floor of the party, with people who actually knew bits and pieces of what was going on.

So here's a suggestion for 2006. Instead of wasting a screen on a projected "Leadership Matters" banner that nobody is going to remember 2 minutes after they leave the room, line up a bunch of windows from important states and races, and keep refreshing them.

Gay Marriage Initiatives 

I personally don't think they actually do much good directly. They passed in all 11 states. The threat is that either state courts or federal court use the "Full Faith and Credit" clause to shoehorn in a national requirement. These measures, even the state constitutional amendments, won't stop sufficiently determined judges.

Such judges are not only willing to ignore the law to achieve their ends, they have also shown utter contempt for even overwhelming popular opposition to their social engineering. David Frum chronicles in detail how courts in Boston, and indeed, nationally, ignored popular, bi-racial majorities of 80-90% opposing busing.

The value of these referenda isn't that they establish any law that courts can't overturn. The value is that they place front-and-center, in terms most people can understand, the importance of judges, and the importance of appointing judges who respect the law, rather than making it up as they go along.

UPDATE: Listening to Hugh's show. I say it here. John Eastman says it there five minutes later. At least I'm in good company.

Memo From Mark Helperin 

To ABC News:

I understand that Bill Clinton was also at some point a "lame duck," in that he, too, was elected to a second and final four-year term. However, President Clinton was only a lame duck in a narrow, technical, factual sense, where Presiden Bush is a lame duck in a broad, ideological sense. While we must be fair, we musn't allow electoral similarities to push us into a false equivalence.

Exit Polls 

Fox News is also obsessing a little with the exit polls. Honestly? When I called a friend of mine who had Net access and was following the exit polls, and he said Kerry was rolling them up, my first reaction was, "eh." Really. Look, I was worried about Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. But exit polls? WIth 25% of the electorate having voted early?

There was too much contrary data out there for a 5-point national move in Kerry's direction over night. Or a 5-point national move in Bush's direction. There was nothing in this electorate that suggested that kind of volatility. So the only thing to do was to ignore them, along with all the other polls, and wait for actual returns.

Shepard Smith just said another network looked "giddy." Good for them. They got what they deserved.

By the way. Kerry's concession seems to have emboldened those analyzing the Senate races to finally call Florida and Alaska the way they'd obviously gone.

Blair on Palestinians 

The gang on Fox is going on about Blair's speech after the election. Blair really hit the Israel-Palestinian thing hard. It's clear that he wants to return to the status-quo-ante, propping up a Palestinian Authority that still seems committed to Israel's destruction, perpetuating war rather than allowing Israel to defend itself. Let's hope that the President is able to resist the pressure.

And remember, it's unlikely that a Prime Minister Howard would be giving the same signals...

Concessions & Acceptances 

Funny that, after a campaign where Edwards often seemed to outshine Kerry, at the very end, Kerry's speech was much more - Presidential - than Edwards's.

Edwards, following on his obnoxious line about having "waited four years for this victory [sic]," started off harping about "fighting for every vote" in an election he was giving up on. He then went on to further unify the country by sympathizing with "mothers who've sent their sons to Iraq still waiting for an answer why." Way to go, John.

Kerry's speech did have its weak spots. He thanked his "Band of Brothers" yet again. Personally, I was thinking the same thing. Heh. And going on again about the 6-year-old he took $680 from probably reminded a lot of people of what they didn't like about the man.

But then: "We all wake up as Americans." And then, calling for his own party and the country to fall in line behind the President on the Iraq War, and acknowledging our soldiers in harm's way, for the first time in a long time. It turned into a gracious speech, sticking to liberalism, acknowledging that politics goes on, but nicely and fairly concisely admitting that the first priority has to be the country.

Kerry managed to rise above his campaign in his concession, and the country will be better off for it.

Contrast this with Cheney and Bush. Cheney was funny, accepting credit for delivering Wyoming. Bush didn't talk much about the phone call from Kerry, except to call it a "really good phone call." Doesn't that sound just like Bush?

The speech, especially the part about the Democrats sharing one country, one Constitution, and one destiny was particularly good.

It was short on specifics, but it sounds like those will be along fairly quicky. On the whole, both speeches leave me a little more hopeful than yesterday.

Who Knows How They're Calling These? 

As of this writing, the President is at 270 in none of the network projections. None of the networks that has called, say, Nevada for him has called Ohio, and vice-versa. Since he needs Ohio and one other state, he's below the threshold for avoiding 1824. Interestingly, there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to who's calling what. Those who've called Nevada won't call Iowa. Wisconsin has a smaller margin than New Mexico, but seems safe for Kerry?

I'm resolutely not calling this typical media bias, or a left-wing conspiracy in newsrooms. Any such theory would have to account for Fox. More likely, these guys are just being overly cautious. But while it adds to the drama, it only encourages Daschle-like obstinacy and feeds the fever swamps.

More, after I walk the dog and have breakfast, check the job listings, and enjoy a few minutes away from television and the Net. Probably about this prediction-concession business, and My Day At The Polls.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Coors Concedes 

Pete Coors is on the podium now, conceding the election to Ken Salazar. Coors is being gracious, almost courtly, in thanking his volunteers, congratulating Salazar, and complimenting the process and the state. It's a good speech, but vanilla, which perhaps better than anything else sums up the Coors campaign, and possibly what lost him the seat.

Money line: "I will now go back to having the greatest job in America: runnin' a beer company."

This, along with the loss of the state House and Senate, has to make this one of the worst nights for Colorado Republicans in a long time. If Powerline talks about the Minnesota Massacre, perhaps we now have a Colorado Catastrophe.

The good news in the medium run is the presence of a fine state Treasurer Mike Coffman, and the likelihood of his being the next governor of the state. Hopefully, he'll have some coattails, too.

RMA In Force 

Clay, Bob, and Michael all showed up, Ben just walked into the Business Center, and for a while, I was helping them out stealing a dial-up, which was probably more reliable that the land-line connection from the ballroom.

I also had a chance to talk with Nicol Andrews from the Bush-Cheney Colorado campaign. Nicol has been very accomodating to requests for press credentials, and spoke very highly of the blogs in general, and the alternative news source they provide.

Back Online, Back from the Wars 

I made it to the Republican party here in the DTC, straight from the polling place. The experience was nowhere nearly as harrowing as I had feared, except when the two old hens I was working with started obsessing about The Return Of The Draft towards the end.

I've gone ahead and got credentialed, although it appears that the only Net connection is available in a Business Center, and contrary to popular opinion at the front desk, they charge for the wifi. The press credentials though, are working their magic, making Republicans look at me like tuna carefully eyeing the shark swimming about. My cellmate here is a very pleasant British Blogress, the appropriately named Sarah Left, who's blogging for the Guardian, right now trying to figure out how the technology's working on the other end.

The short answer is: fine. There were 524 people registered at the precinct, 209 of them voted early, many of the rest voted between 7AM and 9AM, leaving the place cold and bereft of voters by closing time. The little purple "After Hours Voters" cards were a waste of the taxpayers' money. And the irony is that the people who went to vote early in order to avoid the lines ended up waiting the longest.

OK, into the breach. More later.

For What It's Worth 

After an adrenalyne-inhibited sleep, it's off to the polls. I'll be here, any case anyone feels like dropping off fruit. No? OK, I guess not.

Look, it's going to be a good day. This governor-then-president has gone through more second-guessing than just about anyone I can remember, including from you and me. 2000 was too close, should have campaigned through the weekend, weren't ready for the DUI. Should he be aiming so high for those tax cuts? Why did it take three weeks(!) to respond in Afghanistan? (I actually heard this.) And of course, why Iraq?

These are people with good instincts. Remember a month ago, when the conventional wisdom was that President Kerry would get a Democratic Senate? Not going to happen. Remember when Amendment 36 threatened to turn Colorado into a mudpit of litigation, the likes of which we haven't seen since last night in South Dakota? Not going to happen.

We all want this. But Kerry wants it too much.

Which is why he's not going to get it.

One More Note 

It was reported several days ago that a number of absentee ballots had been mailed out late. Apparently they were late coming back from the printer in California. While Hugh was on the air, the Secretary of State issued a media advisory that overseas and military voters would have an extra 10 days to return those ballots. No fuss, no muss, no Governor Rendell trying to disenfranchise people defending his sorry hide from religious fanatics trying to kill him.

Colorado has Ft. Carson, and a large number of soldiers have been deployed to Iraq from here, so in a close race, this could make a difference.

Good Night 

OK. It's late. I've finished calculating how the convexity of a bond changes with yield, and the dog is asleep next to my desk, too tired to demand I open the door so he can get to the pillow in the bedroom. I need to be up in 4 1/2 hours for a day of "Is that Schevaredsky with an 's' or with a 'z'?", and "No, I'm sorry Ma'am, but you really can't parade around in the polling place in a Kerry-Edwards shirt that looks like you're naming parts of your anatomy after them.

Good Night. Maybe a few words of encouragement in the morning.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pennsylvania Prediction 

Not to be an Eeyore, but I just don't see how Bush wins Pennsylvania tomorrow. Even if the polls really do show him surging, Democrats have registered so many new voters in Philadelphia so as to virtually secure the state. Ah, I hear you cry, "What if they don't show up?" Well, in 2000, some precincts had turnouts of 100%, going 98% for Gore. Who says they need to show up?

Congrats to Clay 

Who came down to HQ just as the network went down. Post hoc ergo propter hoc. Clay has been selected for the 2005 Leadership Program of the Rockies for Republicans.

Personal Impressions 

I got a chance to speak very briefly with three people at the "studio." First was Bob Beauprez. In studio, you get to see how people react, what they look like, what they laugh at, and what they look like when they laugh. And on radio, people may be conscious of the audience, but feel more free to be themselves. (Although I did find myself waving "hello" at the microphone more than once.)

Beauprez came across as the real deal.

He wasn't afraid to laugh out loud. He wasn't afraid to let it linger for a little while. Look, he's a politician, and he certainly came back to his talking points. But representing a district with few Jews, he's a strong supporter of Israel. And when I thanked him afterwards for going to Paris and talking to UNESCO about anti-Semitism, he was genuinely moved, and genuinely appreciative. The speech didn't get much play here in the states, and he clearly hasn't heard often enough from American Jews about this. Tell him.

Then, there was the woman from Omaha who came up to me to tell me how her aunt and uncle had converted to Judaism. She seemed delighted by this, happy to have the connection. Obviously, she loves her aunt and uncle, but it's astonishing to me that this was a source not of resentment, but almost of pride. No, we don't seek converts, and that's not the point of this story, if there is one.

And lastly, I got to meet Pete Coors, very briefly. Yes, he's very tall. And, yes, he's very busy. But he took a moment to let me know that he thinks DU has a better business school now than when he was there. Coming from guy running on his business background, I'm not quite sure what to make of that.

Finally, we need to thank Michele Austin. I know she pretends to be embarassed by all this, but she's been a trouper, producing Hugh's show locally, getting press credentials for us bloggers, doing legwork, handing Hugh pictures to sign, making sure we're aware of what's going on. It's people like her, who deliberately stay out of the limelight, who make this stuff work.

Real Technical Difficulties 

As I wrote that last post, the Wifi at the campaign HQ went down. I assume it wasn't something I said. Since the real goal here was to put on a radio show, not coddle a weblog, I just sat back and enjoyed the rest.

Hugh's good, and, as you can hear, embarassingly generous with plugs. (Every day, I see the hourly hit count decline from 4-7 Mountain Time, and then pick back up a little. Today was the exception.) I really had no idea he'd say anything about my being there, but it's a sign of how much he wants the blogosphere to succeed as an alternative to the MSM. The Alliance, and whatever we tackle next after the Senate race, will be trying our hardest.

Power Hour 

I'm sitting here, maybe 15 ft. from Gov. Owens and future Senator Pete Coors. Pete is "stoked," and looks remarkably well for a guy who's been working nonstop for, what 96 hours already?

Honestly, Coors looks like he really, honestly appreciates the efforts of the volunteers. It's kind of like the NCAA Tournament, where they say, "nobody's a freshman." He's been hardened a little by the campaign, but is very much a political amateur.

Campaign Juvenalia 

As I've been sitting here, I've gotten the same piece of junk email claiming that a conservative columnist for the Orlando Sentinal has come out against Bush. This is below comment on many, many levels, but the fact that it keeps coming around it astonishing.

While You're Here 

Take a look the Daily Blogster. He's got a nice comprehensive roundup of campaign violence and intimidation that we're seeing around the country. Americans are made of tougher stuff than that, and let's hope that their abject failure tomorrow forces the Dems to reassess their party in more ways than one.

Hour Number 2 

Last techie post. I've finally gotten my computer to catch up with real life, but it's funny - it's running about 45 seconds behind, which is almost more disorienting than hearing half the conversation.

Back To the Top of the Hour 

They're getting crowded in now, and people are pressed up against the glass like little kids looking in a penny candy store with a dime to spend.

It turns out that all the Californians who are here are outside the demographic. Really an impressive showing by a party apparatus allccating resources.

Now, I've gotta figure out why I'm getting Friday's show from KRLA. They may have the third hour live, but right now, it's the third hour from yesterday.

Sean Tonner 

Here's the guy running Pete Coors's campaign, and managing the 96-Hour effort. Hugh's asking about snow again. Maybe it's hangover from the snowmobile incident, maybe he's just not used to seeing the stuff...

More Live-Blogging 

Trade Secrets. Hugh's interviewing Lileks right now, and we in the studio aremissing all the bon mots. Because of the feedback, they can't play it back in the studio. So we're getting one side of the conversation. If we were getting the other side, it would be like a Newhart monologue.

Ah, but I have a Net connection. So I go to KRLA, and listen to the show there. Tom Tancredo. Tom's a great guy, but he's not Lileks. He many even be shorter than Lileks. If I had locational disconnect Thursday, I have a temporal disconnect now.

Maybe we'll petition him to play the segment during the top-of-the-hour break...

Live Blogging Hugh Hewitt 

Interviewing Andy McIlhaney, the President-in-Waiting of the Colorado State Senate. Chance to talk about Pete Coors, GOTV, and the weather. (Personally, I think we're hardier than that.) And a good chance to talk about the Evil Amendment 36.

It's here in the Pete Coors HQ, in a conference room, with room for about 15 audience members. Even a couple "outside the demographic," i.e., younger than 40.

Also got a chance to meet Sean Duffy, proprietor of the new, smartly-written The Right Word. Sean's a real insider, and seems very optimistic about Pete Coors's chances tomorrow.

Missing Priorities at the Post 

The Denver Post has made an editorial decision that voter disenfranchisement is more of a problem than potential vote fraud. But their last pre-election article about potential election irregularities is among their worst. It contains not only emphasis on theoretical disenfranchisement and "chilling" at the expense of potential fraud. It, along with the Post's FAQ, contains factual inaccuracies. At this point in the process, with the story having been in the news for so long, neither of these is excusable.

First the FAQ:

Any voter ID with an address must reflect a Colorado address. The address need not match the voter registration address.

Mostly right. But very wrong where it counts: if they're using a utility bill, it does have to match, and I think I'm probably going to enforce this pretty strictly. People are going to read this, and show up thinking that any old utility bill will work. I can imagine dozens, hundreds of people in Denver being turned away over this, and then complaining about it, to news organizations, and poll watchers. The source for this faulty information is Fair Vote Colorado, who shouldn't be cited for anything like that. The Secretary of State and the Denver Election Commission should be sourced.

The Post also lists four organizations voters can report voting problems to. These are presented as non-partisan, impartial organizations. In fact, none of them could fairly be described that way:

  • Common Cause - the people who originally tried to turn our elections into a free-for-all.
  • Fair Vote Colorado - Founded and Funded by the Bighorn Center
  • Election Protection - Affiliated with People for the American Way
  • Coloradoans for Voting Integrity - Founded by Bob McGrath. Note his affiliations.

Susan Greene, meanwhile, reports that:

Meanwhile, counties have faced heavy backlogs processing the swell of new voters. Most had caught up by Friday. But some, such as populous Jefferson County, still hadn't finished adding new names to its lists, even though early voting started 11 days earlier.

In the scramble, many mistakes were made.

One activist, Ben Prochazka - who registered through his own group, the New Voters Project - waited two hours to vote early in Denver before being turned away because the clerk who processed his registration form had spelled his name incorrectly.

Does anyone else find it more than a little suspicious that Mr. Prochazka, an activist who couldn't possibly be any more registration-aware, never bothered to check on the status of his own registration? Isn't it, perhaps, slightly more likely that he was testing the system a little, seeing how election judges would respond?

Ms. Greene was sitting not 10 feet away from me during the Common Cause hearings. One of the witnesses in those hearings had precisely this problem: her name on her ID had been trucated. She refused a name change form on the grounds that her name hadn't changed. Why didn't Mr. Prochazka, if he really wanted to vote, request the same?

In fact, the whole discussion of errrors is more than a little ironic coming from the Post, given that it spent weeks ridiculing the very notion that voter fraud did or could exist in Colorado. The paper relented only when hundreds of fraudulent regustrations were reported by 9News.

The Post discovered nearly 6000 felons on the voting rolls, but half the discussion of that topic is over a completely hypothetical "chilling effect" on criminals eligible to vote.

What's missing from this report, in fact, what's been missing from the Post's coverage all along is any attempt to take the next step seriously. When Common Cause launched their lawsuit, the paper pointed out, multiple times, that the state had no history of vote fraud. When registrations were found, the paper was more concerned with finding the numbers than in looking at the rules and potential holes. When some numbers were given, the paper never called for Attorney General Salazar to recuse himself. And the Post has yet to discuss mechanisms by which fraud could reasonably be perpetrated, aside from registrations in multiple counties.

Voter Rolls? Heck, Collections Lists 

Today, I got a call from some sort of agency trying to track down a K------ B------. When I first moved here, I got a lot of calls like that. Apparently, K------ B----- had my phone number just before I did, and left a trail of either bad debts or custody problems or something. Then vanished without a trace.

That was alsmost eight years ago. You would think that she'd pretty much be off all the records by now, but no. Now, we know that private firms are better at this sort of thing that governments. So you tell me what hope there is for getting the voter rolls cleared up.

Star Trek 

Sci-Fi Channel is running "Doomsday Machine" right now. I'm sure Lileks, or his TiVo, is glued to the set.

"The Moment of Accountability" 

Just heard Kerry on a sound-bite. "This is the moment of accountability, this is the moment where the world will be watching."

Sounds like an instant, last-minute GOP commercial to me.

The Post Discovers a Labor Shortage 

The Denver Post has finally figured out that maybe, just maybe, having tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots to count by hand might just lead to mistakes in counting.

What the Blogs are Saying 

Umbria, a Boulder company, is providing some competition to Technorati. Unfortunately, it looks like it's pay-only.

More Good Economic News 

Consumer spending and personal income were up again, while construction spending was flat, year-over-year it's up 9% from last year, and the Institute of Supply Manager's manufacturing survey stayed high at 56.8.

Naturally, none of this is going to get headline treatment the day before the election. Especially not when it can help the President.

This Makes Me Feel Much Better 

Apparently, those Europeans think they have something to teach us about democracy:

"We will tell the people of Ohio whether their election is free and fair," said one of the observers, Hugo Coveliers, a Belgian senator who plans to monitor voting in Cleveland.


Nevertheless, the observers hope their presence will serve as a "preventative to the shenanigans," said Mr. Coveliers, the Belgian senator. "What [the voters] can be sure about is, if there are obvious shortcomings, an international organization of 55 countries will declare there are shortcomings."

Admittedly, some of the delegates are here to learn and observe, rather than play schoolmarm to a bunch of untutored country bumpkins from the frontier. Still, do you want this clown lecturing you on your electoral process?

Would you like to tell him what you think of his "organisation internationale de cinquante-cinq pays." Be polite, sil vous plait.

It would appear that he's one of the directly-election Belgian Senators, the Beligians having taken quotas to their logical conclusion and reserved 21 Senators to distinct ethnic groups. Perhaps, like the Guardian, we might consider a letter-writing campaign during the next Belgian elections, describing the immense damage that Monsieur Coveliers has done to our valuable and much-cherished bilateral relations.

Just a thought.

Hat Tip: Andrew Stuttaford at the NRO Corner

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