Great article in the NYT today about how the GOP plans to steal the election in Ohio. They've signed up 3600 people to be "poll watchers", hanging out in heavily Democratic districts and challenge whether specific voters have the right to vote. They may or may not catch a few people improperly registered, but that's not the point. The point is to make voting in Democratic districts really upleasant.
"Our concern is Republicans will be challenging in large numbers for the purpose of slowing down voting, because challenging takes a long time,'' said David Sullivan, the voter protection coordinator for the national Democratic Party in Ohio. "And creating long lines causes our people to leave without voting.''As usual, the Democrats are now trying to match the Republicans for dirty tricks but aren't doing as good a job at it. They've got 2000 poll watchers of their own in Ohio.
During last night's debate, Bush bragged "10 million people have registered to vote in Afghanistan in the upcoming presidential election". But there are fewer than 10 million eligible voters in Afghanistan. Democracy is so successful, folks are taking two helpings! And the election has been "upcoming" for a long time, postponed twice because there is no safety. Go Bush!
Kerry issued a major new speech yesterday morning criticizing the war in Iraq in plain-spoken terms. The Bush campaign immediately answered, and by the time you get to today's NYT article the story is half about what Kerry said, half about how Bush answered. I counted: 15 inches about Kerry, 14 inches about Bush, 6 inches of context.
Mr. Bush's advisers watched the 10 a.m. speech on television at the White House and set to work with him aboard Air Force One at noon to insert a hard-hitting response into the president's remarks at a campaign event in Derry, N.H.Just like with the war record flap, the Bush campaign is controlling the debate around Iraq. And it's working.
The New York Times has a Diebold love piece about voting machines. It's well written enough, explaining various concerns with the technology in clear language. But every concern is answered as if it's not a problem, and in the end even I was wondering why Computer Geek Lunatics were harassing Poor Diebold. My favourite bit, the last sentence:
Critics say they can only hope that the problems will not be severe enough to require recounts, since paper ballots will not exist.Why the #$($*#*$ won't paper ballots exist? The article doesn't get into that. Nor does it discuss the Diebold backdoor that lets you change the votes, nor the ACM's emerging position against electronic voting. And it only briefly touches on the long sorry operational history. Still, it was nice to learn Diebold's gonna add some crypto to the communication links. Duh!
I generally like Guernsey's articles, but I think she relied too much on Diebold for this article.
I give the Bush campaign credit for their evil powers. There's a debate about the war record of Bush and Kerry. Whose service are we questioning? Are we talking about the Texas Air National Guardsman who flitted off to Alabama where no one can tell if he he really showed up for duty and he even lost his pilot qualification before leaving early to go back to school? No, we're debating the record of the the man who went to Vietnam and was awarded many medals for his leadership and service.
To win an election, the first thing you have to do is control the terms of the debate.
The Bush campaign's Orwellian technology of words is in full force now around the word "pessimism". The Hitler ad warns "this is not the time for pessimism and rage". The Bush campaign claims "Senator Edwards delivers his pessimism with a Southern drawl and a smile". The new Bush ad Pessimism talks about Bush's "optimism" and then chides Kerry for talking about the US economy, ending with the tag line "Pessimism never created a job".
Unhappy that Bush tax cuts and military expenditures are destroying the US budget? Be an optimist! Worried that you have no job? Blame Kerry, that mean ol' pessimist, for complaining about the economy. Upset that we're in a war in Iraq under false pretenses? Blame the pessimists for confusing you with stories and congressional inquries. America Number 1!
By taking this single word "pessimism" and using it to characterize the Democracts, the Bush campaign brilliantly defuses any criticism of the Bush presidency. Even better, it shifts the blame to the opposition who is calling attention to the problems. Use of single words is the purest technology of campaigning; the Republicans are brilliant at it.
Wow, the new Bush/Hitler ad (WMV) is brilliant propaganda. The overt message is to discredit moveon.org and the Democrats by claiming they improperly compare Bush to Hitler. But the ad happily uses the juxtaposition of Hitler with images of Gore, Dean, Gephardt, Kerry to implicitly connect the Democrats to Nazis. It's like Karl Rove was taking notes when he watched Oliver Stone's JFK.
The ad also neuters the appropriate outrage of the Democrats. Frankly, this is the time for pessimism and rage. But the ad turns that on its head. Mean ol' Kerry, wouldn't you rather vote for nice piano music Bush?
And showing this video only on the web bypasses all sorts of pesky campaign laws. Because of the Hitler controversy this ad is now all over the mainstream media. It may be hypocritical, but it sure works.
Jon Carroll nails the impact Dean has had on the Democratic candidates:
Whoever the Democratic nominee is, he should thank Howard Dean for leading his party out of the darkness. The electorate is energized; people are finally paying attention to the Bush bunco schemes. Good going, Howard; whatever happens, you done good.