BREAKING FOR KERRY? Check out the new tally on <a href = http

//www.electoral-vote.com/ target = _blank>Electoral-Vote.com. Money quote:

It was bound to happen and it happened. Today we have more state polls than there are states. There are 54 new polls in 22 states today. Furthermore, the lead has changed in five states, and all five changes favor Kerry. As a result, Kerry has now passed Bush in the electoral college. If today’s results are the final results Wednesday morning, John Kerry will be elected as the 44th President of the United States, with 283 votes in the electoral college to George Bush’s 246. But don’t count on it. Many of Kerry’s leads are razor thin. Counting only the strong + weak states, Bush leads 229 to 196, with 113 electoral votes in the tossup category Kerry’s leads in the tossup states mean little to nothing.

Hmmm. But you sure want the polls to breaking your way at this point, no? Despite Osama? Maybe this is a weekend poll problem, favoring the Dems. But this can’t be good news for Bush.

MEANWHILE: Here’s another piece of analysis from the same corner:

As everyone knows, Bush supports amending the constitution to forbid same sex marriages, although he knows full well that this amendment has zero chance in Congress and will be completely forgotten after the election. The purpose of supporting it was to rally the 4 million evangelicals who didn’t vote for him last time. It didn’t work. The Los Angeles Times reports that he has less support among evangelicals than he had last time. Like other Americans, they are also concerned about health care, jobs and other issues. That’s probably why last week he said it was OK with him if the states allow civil unions. In other words, forget the evangelicals and concentrate on the soccer moms in the Midwest who are fairly tolerant of civil unions. Well, that’s politics for you.

What does it profit a man if he win the entire electoral college and yet lose his own soul? And what if he doesn’t even win?

BEHIND AL QA QAA

Here’s the real issue at stake here. Check out this piece written over a year ago about missing munitions, nuke materials and the like. Now ask yourself: do you want the people who devised this strategy to continue in office?

THE SAME OLD ARGUMENTS I

Well, I guess they don’t have any new ones. Glenn Reynolds says no one should have expected a a mistake-free war. But whence this straw man? Who has ever said that? But let’s review: a humiliatingly bollixed war rationale, a completely bollixed post-war campaign, a bare chance of getting through the next few months in Iraq without calamity, a clear increase in terrorism within Iraq, the slow loss of most of our allies, and, with Abu Ghraib, the end of our moral high ground. These are “amazing accomplishments”? Yes, I guess they are. When you run the most powerful military in the history of the world, and had plenty of time to prepare, fucking things up this badly is somewhat amazing.

THE SAME OLD ARGUMENTS II: And then my good friend Michael Barone says that all the slime and negative campaigning has come from the Democrats. Has he been asleep for the last several months? Of course, there have been vile, rancid distortions from the Michael Moore wing; and if you read this blog, you will not have missed them. But it wasn’t the Kerry campaign that launched a direct attack on the other guy’s war-medals; or deployed every anti-gay slur known to man in critical races; or accused those who worried about missing munitions of attacking the troops; or implied that a vote for Kerry would mean a nuke going off in a major city. Both sides have been down and dirty in this campaign. But the sheer viciousness of the anti-Kerry tsunami, unleashed early and often and without cease, was remarkable for its negativity and desperation. Again, people have noticed. That’s why a war president with a buoyant economy cannot get outside the margin of error in the closing days. People recognize a negative campaign when they see one.

“A LITTLE GIFT”

I’d be leery of thanking Osama if I were a GOP “senior strategist,” wouldn’t you?

MAYBE NOT SO BIG A DEAL

The tracking polls do not show big Bush movement after Osama’s intervention in the election. Hmmm. Josh has the details.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“I honestly couldn’t stop laughing when I saw the news (thanks to Matt Drudge) that Bill O’Reilly, one of Fox TV’s biggest conservative stars, was being accused of making lurid phone sex calls to his woman producer. It was just too hilarious to believe. O’Reilly is such a blowhard. He’s bizarrely arrogant and politically all over the map. I never watch him since he talks right over his guests — he’s a boorish host. That show is such a waste of time, unless you have low testosterone and want to get jacked up by a squinty-eyed dork pretending he’s John Wayne.
I think that, in uncertain times, people like the sound of confidence, even when that confidence is mimed, which is the case with Bush as well as O’Reilly. Unlike Rush or Hannity, O’Reilly doesn’t really have core values. And now we know why! Thanks to the wonders of the Web, we have learned that O’Reilly’s fantasy life is a high-school orgy of loofah gloves and tropical palms. It’s pitiful, in a way — O’Reilly needs phone sex because he’s trapped by his Catholic code. He’s in psychosexual paralysis — he doesn’t have the confidence in his low-down desires that Clinton does!” – Camille Paglia, Salon. By the way, she’s strongly pro-Kerry in this election.

ARE THEY BREAKING YET? Mystery pollster looks at the <a href = http

//www.mysterypollster.com/main/2004/10/are_they_breaki.html target = _blank>tea-leaves. My hunch is that Osama will nudge them to break toward Bush. Or is the cycle so fast now that Osama will be over by Monday? Nah.

BROOKS ON OSAMA: It’s more elegantly put than Bill O’Reilly, but it’s the same message. This, according to David, is a symbolic election. Who “gets” the existential battle beneath this war? Vote for him. But the more important question, it seems to me, is a calmer, graver one: who will do the most damage to Osama bin Laden and his enablers and accomplices in the next four years? Can we afford four years like the last one in Iraq? Can we afford a future international isolation far more profound than the past two years? Can we afford re-electing an administration that adamantly and fiercely resists any responsibility for any errors? I think we have learned that this administration is accountable to nothing, except the threat of lost power. Once that threat is removed, we will have no more leverage. That may be the case next Wednesday. And Osama just did his own little bit to make sure it is.

ME ON THE COUCH: It is, I suppose, flattering to have not simply my arguments in this election dissected, but my motives as well. Did I turn against Bush because of the war failures? Or because of the FMA? Or because of the spending? Am I a traitor or a thinker? Am I deluded or are my critics? Well, the great thing about a blog is that if you really care that much, you can see all the evidence splayed out in front of you. When someone writes daily, hourly, as I do, you don’t just make arguments or points. You’re showing the whole inglorious sausage-making of the intellectual process. I think that’s a good thing. This notion that writers somehow exist in a purely rational world outside of human emotion, passion, sensibility and bias is a silly one. We can struggle against these factors; but they can never be abolished. Read your Montaigne.

ALL OF THE ABOVE: I’ve made countless arguments about Bush’s spending record and his war conduct – from long before the FMA endorsement. I’ve been very candid, however, in saying that Bush’s opposition to a cause – equal marriage rights – I have devoted my adult life to is bound to have affected my preferences. I guess if you think the case for Bush’s incompetence is completely baseless or overblown, then it seems as if the only reason for backing Kerry is the FMA. Ditto if you simply don’t think of the FMA in the same dire terms that I do, or believe gay equality is a petty or objectionable cause, and not the moral imperative I do. If the view of the writer is of any interest here – move over, Derrida – then my best shot at self-analysis is that my main reason for backing Kerry is that I sincerely think that rewarding incompetence is not a good idea in wartime, and that Kerry is better suited to winning the next stage of the war than Bush is. But obviously, Bush’s hostility to gay equality, and the cynical manner in which he and his party have exploited this issue, has had a huge impact as well. It’s all of the above. And the point of a blog like this is not to persuade everyone I’m right; but simply to show how one person can grapple with a variety of factors – personal, intellectual, historical, political – in coming to a simple conclusion. You may disagree with my conclusion. But it seems unfair to me to call it a dishonest one.