There are none so blind as those who will not see

Mark Steyn’s latest column on Iraq points out the blind insanity of the Democratic Party’s cut-and-run “war strategy.” Some good bits:

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Democrat of Connecticut, came out with a big statement on Iraq last week. Did you hear about it? Probably not. Everyone was still raving about his Democrat colleague, Rep. Jack Murtha, whose carefully nuanced position on Iraq is: We’re all doomed unless we pull out by next Tuesday! (I quote from memory.)

It must be awful lonely being Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Party these days. Every time he switches on the news there’s John Kerry sonorously droning out his latest pretzel of a position: Insofar as I understand it, he’s not calling for a firm 100 percent fixed date of withdrawal — like, say, Feb. 4, 2 p.m.; meet at Baghdad bus station with two pieces of carry-on. Don’t worry, it’s not like flying coach on TWA, you’d be able to change the date without paying a surcharge. But Kerry drones that we need to “set benchmarks” for the “transfer of authority.” Actually, the administration’s been doing that for two years — setting dates for the return of sovereignty, for electing a national assembly, for approving a constitution, etc, and meeting all of them. And all during those same two years Kerry and his fellow Democrats have huffed that these dates are far too premature, the Iraqis aren’t in a position to take over, hold an election, whatever. The Defeaticrats were against the benchmarks before they were for them.
These sad hollow men may yet get their way — which is to say they may succeed in persuading the American people that a remarkable victory in the Middle East is in fact a humiliating defeat. … In a week’s time, Iraqis will participate in the most open political contest in the history of the Middle East. They’re building the freest society in the region, and the only truly federal system. In three-quarters of the country, life has never been better. There’s an economic boom in the Shia south and a tourist boom in the Kurdish north, and, while the only thing going boom in the Sunni Triangle are the suicide bombers, there were fewer of those in November than in the previous seven months.

So Bush has chosen to embark on a project every other great power of the last half-millennium has shrunk from: the transformation of the Middle East. You can argue the merits of that, but once it’s underway it’s preposterous to suggest we need to have it all wrapped up by Jan. 24.

Read Steyn’s whole column, then give Good News From The Front a look. And you might want to revisit President Bush’s speech at the U.S. Naval Academy, too.
Don’t get down about the war. We are winning.

Purple America

Robert J. Vanderbei at Princeton takes the red state / blue state meme to a much more informative level, using shades of purple on a county-by-county map to show the results of this election.

Purple America

On another map, he even added false mountains to designate areas with higher population.

Election2004textured_small.gif

What a great way to clearly convey a mountain of complex information. Edwin Tufte would be proud.

UPDATE: An apparent Tufte fan found a map of Purple America with highly-populated areas artificially expanded. Groovy.
UPDATE 2: More maps.
UPDATE 3: Another one using elevation for population differences between counties (I’m guessing it’s showing population density, not absolute population), and no shades of purple.

Finally, a respite

President Bush won re-election. Senator Kerry will graciously deliver his concession speech in about an hour (thank you, Senator). I saw record turnout where I served as an observer, but only one minor instance of absentee ballot fraud. The economy’s improving. The war on islamism is turning the corner, and there were no terror attacks in the run-up to the election.
I’m knocking off today to take a deep breath, read something frivolous, avoid political news, and quietly celebrate the steadfastness of my ellow citizens.

Brief update from the trenches

Today I attended a three-hour training session for Republican election observers in NE Ohio. We hailed from Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Erie Counties (see map), and this was just one of three training sessions taking place today in NE Ohio alone. Although I won’t reveal any strategy or data that Democrats might find useful, I do have some interesting tidbits to share.

  • Pay close attention to news about Ohio’s new provisional ballots. Remember the dance of the hanging chads? To win Ohio without a court fight, President Bush must take this state by a wide enough margin to make all provisional ballots irrelevant.
  • The GOP expected no more than 300 volunteers at today’s poll observer training session in Westlake. Over 400 of us showed up, reportedly blowing away the attendance figures at a corresponding statewide Democrat confab hyped as a demonstration of their grassroots support. Keep in mind that there were two other GOP sessions in progress simultaneously, and you’ll begin to get a sense of the scale of our motivation.
  • We 400 observers are mostly average citizens getting involved in a campaign for the very first time. I saw plenty of retirees, college kids, housewives, small business owners, and accomplished professionals. Very few were experienced political operatives. All of us are taking Tuesday off to keep watch over the electoral process. We’re well-trained, we’re on rock-solid legal ground, and we’re motivated. Dear left-leaning friends: you’d be wise not to try any funny business. We won’t interfere in the election, but we’ll sure as hell catch you if you do. We know how to spot every trick in your playbook. You’ve gone a bridge too far, and managed to fire up more of the Republican base than in your worst nightmares.
  • Ohio law has permitted poll observers for something like 70+ years, but we’ve never used them and never challenged a vote … until the left forced us to react to their blatant intent to win at any cost. Feel free to thank ACORN, the NAACP National Voter Fund, MoveOn.org, America Coming Together, The Media Fund, George Soros, Peter B. Lewis, Senator John McCain, Senator Russ Feingold …
  • There are 78,000 GOP volunteers hard at work in Ohio. Young Republicans from out of state are knocking on doors (including mine, which is how I know) to get out the vote, and total political neophytes are burning up the outgoing phone lines at jam-packed local Bush/Cheney headquarters.
  • Democrats have filed lawsuits seeking to forbid more than one GOP observer per polling place. This is significant because many polling places contain voting facilities for multiple precincts. If the Democrat lawsuits succeed (as of 5 PM today the outcome was still up in the air), you’ll see polling places where a single overworked GOP observer tries to keep an eye on several precincts at once. That’ll be a situation ripe for exploitation by fraudsters.
  • At least one person tried to infiltrate today’s training session in Westlake by posing as a Republican who dropped in at the last minute to volunteer. His name wasn’t on the list and he couldn’t identify any references. He threatened to volunteer at the Kucinich call center unless we let him in. Odd threat for a “Republican”, eh? He left unhappy.
  • Infiltrating a political campaign carries stiff criminal penalties in Ohio. Mr. I-Love-Dennis-Kucinich ought to thank us for saving him from spending Christmas in the pokey.
  • Watch the Ohio poll results for a last-minute Democrat surge. Conservative SW Ohio and moderate Central Ohio report their results promptly, but heavily Democratic Cleveland always reports its results late in the evening and can tip the balance for the whole state. I’ll leave you to speculate about the reasons for foot-dragging by NE Ohio Democrats when they’re counting votes.
  • 20,000 Republicans turned up in Westlake last week to hear President Bush speak, and only two dozen lethargic Democrats managed to show up to protest. It’ll be raining hard in NE Ohio on Election Day. Rain discourages potential voters who aren’t motivated. Re-read all of the bullet points above and … you do the math.

Buckle your seat belts, folks. It’s gonna be a wild ride.

UPDATE (11/1, 9:00 AM): Thanks to a Clinton judge, we’re on hold. We’ll see what the 6th Circuit has to say.
UPDATE (11/1, 9:00 PM): Rock ‘n roll. Also, see Power Line for news from a blogger who’s an election lawyer in the trenches tomorrow (don’t miss their post on the limousine liberal Clinton-appoinrted judge we observers just thumped, too).

Why libertarians must vote for Bush

In a sequel to my admonition to Democrats, today I take on libertarians. Here’s the text of an e-mail that my very libertarian Dad sent me last week.

From: Dad
Sent: Monday, October 18, 2004 5:45 PM
To: Puddle Pirate
Subject: FW: Patrick Buchanan Endorses Bush
This is truly depressing reading, almost as depressing as watching the debates. I have sent over $2,000 to various libertarian type republican candidates but can’t bring myself to send George $1.
The scary part is that I disliked dad enough that I decided “How bad can a Clinton presidency be?” and voted my libertarian convictions. I now teeter on the same decision point.
So what is the correct ethical choice — the candidate without a moral compass or the one without a brain?
Dad

Too late for terror to derail Bush

There’s just one week to go. Lately there’s been speculation about whether a terror attack might occur on American soil before Election Day, and if so, what effect it might have on the outcome of the presidential election. I’ve been mulling this over and I think it’s too late for any attack here to hurt President Bush’s chances. At this point an attack can only help him, and I think the terrorists know it. Let me explain.

Kerry the Diplomat? Uh, no.

The Washington Times reports the results of an investigation into John Kerry’s repeated claims that he met with all the members on the UN Security Council during the run-up to the war in Iraq:

After conversations with ambassadors from five members of the Security Council in 2002 and calls to all the missions of the countries then on the panel, The Times was only able to confirm directly that Mr. Kerry had met with representatives of France, Singapore and Cameroon.
In addition, second-hand accounts have Mr. Kerry meeting with representatives of Britain.
When reached for comment last week, an official with the Kerry campaign stood by the candidate’s previous claims that he had met with the entire Security Council.
But after being told late yesterday of the results of The Times investigation, the Kerry campaign issued a statement that read in part, “It was a closed meeting and a private discussion.”
A Kerry aide refused to identify who participated in the meeting.
The statement did not repeat Mr. Kerry’s claims of a lengthy meeting with the entire 15-member Security Council, instead saying the candidate “met with a group of representatives of countries sitting on the Security Council.”
Asked whether the international body had any records of Mr. Kerry sitting down with the whole council, a U.N. spokesman said that “our office does not have any record of this meeting.”

That’s gonna hurt.

More coverage:
Redstate (and still more)

Wolves

Rich Lowry at The Corner says the GOP is readying a new TV ad similar to the famous “Bear In The Woods” Reagan spot, this time with wolves instead of a grizzly. Look out, appeasement lobby.

UPDATE: Wow. Here’s the narration:

In an increasingly dangerous world … Even after the first terrorist attack on America … John Kerry and the liberals in Congress voted to slash America’s intelligence operations by $6 billion … Cuts so deep they would have weakened America’s defenses … And weakness attracts those who are waiting to do America harm.

The choice is clear.

Why Democrats must vote for Bush

My Democrat friends, you face a stark choice. One issue trumps all the rest this year: George Bush is serious about winning the war on radical Islam, and John Kerry isn’t. That’s really all there is to it.
European approval doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Abortion rights don’t matter if you’re dead.
Restarting the Israeli/Palestinian peace process doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Joining the International Criminal Court doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Tougher environmental regulations don’t matter if you’re dead.
GLBTQ rights don’t matter if you’re dead.
Higher employment doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
More education funding doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Affirmative action doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Alternative fuels don’t matter if you’re dead.
Cheaper prescription drugs don’t matter if you’re dead.
Universal health insurance doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Social justice doesn’t matter if you’re dead.
Once we defeat our common enemy, you can vote for Democrats without risking your life. But in 2004 a vote for John Kerry is a vote for appeasement, and appeasement never stopped evil men from attacking. President Kerry will retreat from our enemies, encouraging our enemies to attack us with renewed vigor and with far deadlier weapons than before.
A vote for Kerry is a vote for appeasement. Protect American lives. Vote Bush.


UPDATE: Here’s a sermon for libertarians.

Submitted to Vox Blogoli IV at HughHewitt.com

I’m optimistic about Bush’s prospects

The guys at Power Line read the tea leaves and conclude that Bush is winning (and they don’t buy the lastest Gallup poll results, either). RealClearPolitics has been constantly tracking all the major polls and averaging them, which when displayed on a handy chart reinforces the Bush-is-winning point. Outside The Beltway looks at all the polls individually, which is nice if you’re into detail. Stephen Den Beste digs into the RCP chart and thinks that the mainstream media have been monkeying with their polling samples and their stories (albeit not actively colluding) to manufacture “bounces” for Kerry; I’m not convinced, but you be the judge.
For an overview of where we stand, try Hugh Hewitt.