Friday, October 01, 2004

TODAY'S TOP FIVE: Don't Call It a Comeback: Special Post-Debate Edition

I Am Undecided: Should I Vote for Bush Because of His Excellent Foreign Policy, or His Superb Domestic Policy? I am totally suspicious of the people that the networks get to watch the debates as "undecided voters." None of them ever talk like undecided voters (granted, I don't know what undecideds really talk like; maybe they just make gurgling noises), but rather like campaign partisans who fake their way into the focus group to give their candidate some good spin. But such things can't happen, right? Wrong. One of the guys who CNN has been pimping as an undecided Floridian voter is actually the head of the College Republicans at his school, as this blogger discovered with the amazingly esoteric research tactic of a google search. Hey CNN: Nice background check.

Second Round KO Here's what the pundits and the insta-polls are saying about the debate: It's a clear Kerry win all the way. This is especially good news, since the most important component of these debates is the press coverage afterward: Gore won every debate in 2000, but he lost in the post-debate spin cycle, and so people actually believe Bush won those debates.

"Bush Looked a Bit Like a Gargoyle" The Wall Street Journal provides a handy wrap-up of opinion from around the chattering classes about the debate. Most people, even conservatives, give it to Kerry, but there are a few who claim Bush won, and they are the funniest to read. They simply make the claim that Bush won, and then complain bitterly about how badly he did. What would Nelson Muntz say right about now? Oh yes: "Ha! Ha!"

Johnny Iselin Numbers In the classic film "The Manchurian Candidate" (let us never speak of the 2004 remake), US Senator John Iselin, a patsy for the fascist machinations of his wife, is told to constantly announce that he's in possession of a list of names of Communists in the State Department. The number of said Communists always keeps changing as part of the strategy: keep people off balance. Facts are not important; what is important is making people believe you have crucial information on serious matters. A similar strategy was on display last night, with Bush claiming there are 100,000 trained Iraqis (presumably in the army and police force, although the president never specified). But how many are there actually? According to Iyad Allawi, there are 50,000 trained Iraqis, although NBC News notes that in the last five days, 40,000 of those have been fired. The actual number of trained Iraqi soldiers/policemen, it turns out, is a whopping 8,169. So, just a little bit off there, Mr. President.

The Daily Mayhem: Israel Edition And, as a final thought, here's one important country that wasn't discussed at all during last night's foreign policy debate: Israel. On Thursday, 28 Palestinians and 4 Israelis were killed in fighting in the Gaza Strip, the highest single-day death toll in 30 months. Today, 200 Israeli tanks are rolling into Gaza as part of "Operation Days of Penitence."

-Consider Arms