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Between the Lines

November 01, 2004

Still undecided?

Read this – the first presidential endorsement by The New Yorker magazine in its 80-year history. It's long – but so is the list of reasons why we need a new president.

Posted by tbrown at 12:07 PM

Ignore the polls

They're no more relevant to what will happen tomorrow than the latest Bin Laden tape. None of the polls can tell you with certainty what's going to happen. Either it'll be close, as they're predicting, or it won't because of the unmeasurable influence of new voters, who don't fit into polling models. Instead of worrying about this, think about who's right for the job and why. Then vote.

It's up to you now, in the only poll that counts.

Update: Here's an election indicator that's at least as accurate as those polls -- and it indicates a Kerry win.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 10,054.39 today, a loss of about 2.4 percent for the two months preceeding election day. As I noted here, stock-market historian James Stack says that the action of the Dow in the two months before an election has been an uncanny forecaster of the winner. In nine of the 10 cases since 1900 in which the Dow declined, the incumbent party lost.

Make of it what you will.

Posted by tbrown at 12:06 PM

Meanwhile, in Iraq: Beyond merely FUBAR

While we await word on who the next president will be, our prospects in Iraq continue to swirl down the drain. This piece from Newsweek paints a bleak picture. Whoever wins the presidency will face the thankless task of extricating us from this mess. And it won't be easy.

U.S. Marines are preparing for a block-by-block battle with insurgents and terrorists in Fallujah. The fighting is expected to last into December. If it does, you can expect scores more U.S. casualties to add to the 1,120 Americans who have died and the more than 9,000 wounded so far.


For months the American people have heard, from one side, promises to "stay the course" in Iraq (George W. Bush); and from the other side, equally vague plans for gradual withdrawal (John Kerry). Both plans depend heavily on building significant Iraqi forces to take over security. But the truth is, neither party is fully reckoning with the reality of Iraq—which is that the insurgents, by most accounts, are winning. Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged this privately to friends in recent weeks, NEWSWEEK has learned. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out. "Things are getting really bad," a senior Iraqi official in interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's government told NEWSWEEK last week. "The initiative is in [the insurgents'] hands right now. This approach of being lenient and accommodating has really backfired. They see this as weakness."

A year ago the insurgents were relegated to sabotaging power and gas lines hundreds of miles outside Baghdad. Today they are moving into once safe neighborhoods in the heart of the capital, choking off what remains of "normal" Iraqi society like a creeping jungle. And they are increasingly brazen. At one point in Ramadi last week, while U.S. soldiers were negotiating with the mayor (who declared himself governor after the appointed governor fled), two insurgents rode by shooting AK-47s—from bicycles. Now even Baghdad's Green Zone, the four-square-mile U.S. compound cordoned off by blast walls and barbed wire, is under nearly daily assault by gunmen, mortars and even suicide bombers.

And the assassinations and abductions continue.

Posted by tbrown at 12:05 PM

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Still undecided?
Ignore the polls
Meanwhile, in Iraq: Beyond merely FUBAR


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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