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Between the Lines

October 21, 2004

Mixed message to the terrorists

From our steadfast president, who said he'd accept an Islamic theocracy in Iraq if that's what January's scheduled elections produce:

"I will be disappointed. But democracy is democracy," he said during an interview given on Air Force One.

"If that's what the people choose, that's what the people choose," he said. Free elections are expected in the country next January.

An appropriately appalled Mark Kleiman asks:

Does the leader of the free world really understand so little about the meaning of democracy that he thinks an elected religious tyranny is a democratic form of government? Or that 1000 American lives was a fair price to pay for creating a second mullocracy next to Iran? Or that an Islamist Iraq would be less of a threat to the United States than Ba'athist Iraq?

George W. Bush just stuck a knife in the back of every Iraqi working for a truly republican form of government and a truly democatic way of life for his or her country.

With leadership like this, I suppose it's scant wonder that Bush supporters seem just as out of touch with reality as he does. Read on.

Posted by tbrown at 11:44 AM

It's not a river in Egypt

Denial, I mean. It's a persistent state of mind among Bush supporters, as documented by the Program on International Policy Studies:

Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.

These are some of the findings of a new study of the differing perceptions of Bush and Kerry supporters, conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes and Knowledge Networks, based on polls conducted in September and October.

Posted by tbrown at 11:41 AM

But voters aren't comfortable with Kerry yet

Exhibit A: The Slate electoral vote predictor, which yesterday had Kerry winning, has Bush winning today following new polling.

Exhibit B: Andrew Kohut, one of the nation's best pollsters, says the reason polls (and by extention electoral-vote counts such as Slate's) won't give us reliable results until the very end, if then, is because of great volatility among undecided voters:

The round of national surveys taken after the third presidential debate indicates that the polls are not going to give us a clear picture of who will win the election until the final days of the campaign, if then. This is not because polling no longer works - it's because voter opinion is highly unstable. While many Americans are strongly committed to re-electing President Bush or getting rid of him, there remains a relatively large bloc of swing voters who are critical of the president but who still cannot comfortably back Senator John Kerry.

This cross-pressure remains the dilemma of millions of uncommitted voters.

I've written several times about Kerry's limitations as a candidate. They're not going away. So the question we'll get answered Nov. 2 is whether people have decided to stick with the incompetent they know or switch to someone who says he can do better.

Posted by tbrown at 11:40 AM

Revisiting the Mary Cheney and Bill O'Reilly flaps

"In the annals of election year 2004, Oct. 13 will be remembered as the day it rained lesbians in red America."
-- Frank Rich in today's New York Times

Funny and right on point. Read it all here (free site registration may be required).

Posted by tbrown at 11:39 AM

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Mixed message to the terrorists
It's not a river in Egypt
But voters aren't comfortable with Kerry yet
Revisiting the Mary Cheney and Bill O'Reilly flaps


Blogs to watch

Abu Ardvark
Andrew Sullivan
Atrios Eschaton
Best of the Web
Drudge Report
Joe Conason (subscription required)
Josh Marshall
Kaus files
No More Mr. Nice Blog
Real Clear Politics
The Corner
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Whiskey Bar

Mideast blogs

Salam Pax (Iraq)
G. in Baghdad
L.T. Smash (U.S. military in Iraq)
Lady Sun (Iran)

City blogs

L.A. Examiner

Africa blogs

Cathy Buckle

Media blogs

Dan Gillmor's eJournal
Media Whores Online


Newspapers online (guide to papers on the web)
International Herald Tribune
The Guardian U.K.
New York Times (free registration required)

Economy blogs

Brad DeLong

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