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Between the Lines

October 28, 2004

The real October surprise?

Yasser Arafat appears to be near death, despite the stream of Kremlinesque reassurances from his headquarters.

When he goes, and it seems like that could be at any moment, there will be an immediate and intense refocusing of world attention on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and new questions about what the U.S. role should be. In other words, a huge dose of new uncertainty. And uncertainty favors the incumbent.

Posted by tbrown at 11:29 AM

The November surprise?

Here's a really interesting new poll by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, taken only in the so-called battleground states. The burden of it is that two trends are pointing increasingly to a Kerry victory:

-- Ralph Nader's support is "evaporating."

-- More importantly, a possible surge in minority voting could put Kerry over the top Tuesday.

... as the data below illustrates, when the data is weighted to reflect minority turnout based on the 2000 exit polls, Sen. Kerry leads by 3.5% and if minority turnout is weighted to census levels, Sen. Kerry's lead expands to 5.2%.

"It is clear that minority turnout is a wildcard in this race and represents a huge upside for Sen. Kerry and a considerable challenge for the president's campaign. If one assumes minority turnout exceeds their 2000 election levels, then it appears a number of these stats would tip to Sen. Kerry," Fabrizio concluded.

Note: Here's a link, but be forewarned that this is a PDF file.

Posted by tbrown at 11:28 AM

The 'stab in the back' buildup

Blogger Matt Yglesias is concerned that the foundation is being laid to blame the media if Bush does lose Tueday:

The groundwork is being laid for a new version of the "stab in the back" myth that helped destroy Weimar Germany. No matter how far south things go in Iraq, the blame will be laid not at the feet of the president who initiated and conducted the war, but rather on those who had the temerity to note that it wasn't working. Rather than the critics having been proven right, or so the story goes, the critics are to blame for the failure of the very policy they were criticizing. It's an ugly tactic, and as you go down the journalistic food chain, it grows uglier still.


The image of an "unpatriotic" press hell-bent on wrecking Bush's war couldn't be further from the truth. Indeed, we got into this mess in no small part because of the media's reluctance to apply a proper degree of scrutiny to the administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction and the likely postwar situation.

Posted by tbrown at 11:26 AM

The disappearing explosives

Blogger Josh Marshall does a pretty good job here of untangling the threads of what happened to the 380 tons of high explosives that disappeared, apparently to looting, during the first days of the war.

There is also this story from The New York Times (free site registration may be required), based on interviews with Iraqis who where there:

The Iraqis described an orgy of theft so extensive that enterprising residents rented their trucks to looters. But some looting was clearly indiscriminate, with people grabbing anything they could find and later heaving unwanted items off the trucks.


The accounts do not directly address the question of when 380 tons of powerful conventional explosives vanished from the site sometime after early March, the last time international inspectors checked the seals on the bunkers where the material was stored. It is possible that Iraqi forces removed some explosives before the invasion.

But the accounts make clear that what set off much if not all of the looting was the arrival and swift departure of American troops, who did not secure the site after inducing the Iraqi forces to abandon it.

"The looting started after the collapse of the regime," said Wathiq al-Dulaimi, a regional security chief, who was based nearby in Latifiya. But once it had begun, he said, the booty streamed toward Baghdad.

Posted by tbrown at 11:24 AM

Find your polling place

People for the American Way has put together a national database of polling places. Enter your street address and ZIP and it returns the address of your polling place. It worked fine for me and my polling place was one of many in Washington state that has moved since the last election.

Posted by tbrown at 11:22 AM

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The real October surprise?
The November surprise?
The 'stab in the back' buildup
The disappearing explosives
Find your polling place


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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