I predict a Kerry victory

OK, it’s time to stick my neck out. I think that Kerry will do better than expected,

taking all the states he plans to and two or three unexpected states. I’m not going

to guess at numbers but I think that it’s 50/50 that Kerry’s win will be decisive enough

to cancel out the Republican dirty tricks and late smears, and also to make the Bush

legal challenges irrelevant.

So here’s my call:

60% — Kerry is sworn in Jan. 20.

25% — Bush is sworn in, probably in the face of protests at massive Diebold fraud and

voter intimidation

15% — the election is not resolved by Jan. 20, and that the country is approaching civil


It’s in the realm of possibility that the Democrats will retake the Senate or even the House,

but I’d put that at less than 50/50 — let’s say 25% for the Senate. Too many things would

have to go right, so I think that this will happen only in the best case of a Kerry landslide.

I don’t really see the possibility of a legitimate Bush win. But as I’ve said before — if Kerry isn’t

elected, I will obviously have worse problems than a bad election-prediction track record. It will

mean that I am totally out of tune with this country and don’t understand its people.

If Bush Wins

I think that if Bush wins, we’re all going to have to make individual decisions

whether to forget about politics, to struggle on as lonely dissidents in the face

of increasing intimidation, or to emigrate as our ancestors did when they came


I’ve already received a solicitation from an EU recruiter looking for talented and

skilled Americans, and it’s a darn shame that I’m not talented or skilled. (Every

nation has its own supply of disgruntled political polemicists). I think that Bush’s

election would trigger an exodus somewhat comparable to the Jews’ exodus from

Spain and Germany or the Huguenots’ exodus from France. I hope that there’s

someone out there preparing to welcome us.

Once reelected, I expect Bush to get worse rather than better. He will have won by

dint of a moron fluff campaign, without having having made any significant concessions

to moderate Republicans or rational conservatives, and he will thus have a four-year

blank check. I would expect a draft, an expanded Middle East war, the demolition of

the New Deal (sooner rather than later), and increasing police-state measures against

American citizens. (Many of the provisions of the Patriot Act have never been used yet).

I have been mostly arguing against defeatism up until now, but if we can’t beat Bush this

year I don’t see how we will ever be able to do so. The second victory will ratify Bush’s

policies, just as Reagan’s second victory did, and upon reelection he and his team (with

the help of movement-conservative thugs) will work effectively to turn the U.S. into a

one-party state.

No, Bush isn’t Hitler. History doesn’t repeat itself, and I don’t really expect Bush to try to

murder millions of Americans. I do think that he’ll turn out to be some kind of lesser fascist,

like Admiral Horthy or Francisco Franco.

Ground Operation Wins It? Don’t Know.

The Democrats are counting on the strong ground operations that have been put together to help win in the swing states. But I just don’t know. I used to think that precinct operations are the key to winning. But I remember being confident that the huge volunteer army that Dean brought to Iowa would clinch it for him, and look what happened. It did not bring him victory and seemed almost irrelevant. So, like everything else in this election, I just don’t know.

But there were several other factors in Iowa that contributed to Dean’s defeat. Joe Trippi writes about Iowa in his book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. (I highly highly recommend this book!) I don’t have the book in front of me in my hotel room in Secaucus, NJ, home of MSNBC, so this is from memory – but Joe wrote that Gephardt’s attacks on Dean drove voters to Kerry and Edwards, and that the ground operation was not well-organized and needed more seasoned professionals.

And I have my own pet opinion about what happened to Dean in Iowa: message. However much the Dean campaign was tuned in to the Voice of the Grassroots, in the last weeks before Iowa they were not. Every person I was talking to in California, and every voice I was hearing on the web — and from what I am told every voter in Iowa — was concerned with “How do we beat Bush?” But Dean was not answering that question. I think the Dean campaign failed to understand that. They should have had a good, short, one-sentence answer to that question and he should have been repeating it over and over, no matter what question he was asked. He should have been repeating that answer until people were running away from him with their hands over their ears, and only then moved on to any other subject. Kerry sure was, and that is why Kerry won in Iowa. Kerry was a war hero, and Bush was not, and that was how he was going to win. But what do I know?

I was so happy that Dean had a strong ground operating in Iowa. But it didn’t win it for Dean, and some say it may have even hurt because the door-to-door operation annoyed the locals. The current swing-state ground operations ARE managed by seasoned pros and ARE well-organized.

Does TV and spin nullify hard work and direct contact? I just don’t know.

Stolen Honor

MaxNews.com will be running Stolen Honor, the notorious movie about John Kerry, almost constantly from now until the election on various stations as a paid program. I haven’t gotten this morning’s paper yet, so I don’t know if it’s listed by name. Last night’s showing, on PAX, was listed only as “Paid Program.” I stumbled across it by accident.

If Kerry wins, I’m sure we’ll be seeing variations of this theme constantly over the next four years. The bitterness still with us because of the Vietnam war is not going to go away. Old ghosts never die. There’s a lot of painful truth, but even more half-truths, in the message being brought to us, and we would do well to try to understand it. The most immediate lesson we can learn is that we must not treat the veterans of the Iraq war the way the Vietnam veterans were treated. The soldiers who fought in that war were not to blame for the war and the country turned against them and dishonored them as though they were. The Iraq war is every bit as misguided as the Vietnam war. In both wars, not only the public but even the highest levels of government were tricked and deceived.

There are wars which cannot be won except by killing everybody. If the population of a country is determined not to be defeated, it is impossible to defeat them, even by bombing them back into the Stone Age. Shock and Awe just can’t cut it. Military might and power have their limits, hard as this is to believe. There are other examples that this is true, one of the best being that feeble, rag-tag army that defeated the British and founded the United States. There was Ghandi’s brilliant passive resistance, which defeated the British in India. Russia pulled out of Afghanistan once it was clear that even bombing them into the Stone Age wasn’t enough. The Nazis made it clear that they would, in fact, be perfectly happy to kill everybody, and they scored a brutal but temporary victory in Europe. During the Vietnam war, we could see for ourselves what was going on. It was served to us every evening as we ate dinner watching the news on TV. My most vivid memories are of the napalmed children; hardly enemies of anybody. There were indeed savage atrocities, our soldiers were not a bunch of blessed saints, and much of what is now being dumped on Kerry is denial of their own guilt.

There was no way for them to be certain who was an enemy, who harbored enemies, they were trapped in a war for which there was no obvious justification they could not win without killing everybody. This was not the fault of the soldiers, but of those who lied and deceived the country, including most of the government, into continuing the war. Blaming Kerry for having the courage to speak out against this is a fine example of attempting to Kill the Messenger. Somebody had to finally speak out, make it clear that the citizens of this country would no longer tolerate and support the war. Kerry did what he does best, have the courage to tell the truth to the country.

Thank God he had the guts to do this. There are those who will never forgive him, but lets put the blame where it belongs.

Right-wing delusions.

On October 29th, the Chron ran a feature that briefly quoted the thoughts of nine separate historians on the long term consequences of the war in Iraq.

Historians dissect war in Iraq

Eminent academics scrutinize the single most important issue in the presidential campaign and find two central truths: quick success, long-term problems

There was one exception to that overall consensus: Victor Davis Hanson, of Stanford’s Hoover Institution, who was bold enough to predict that “in five years, if we persevere, there will be a stable consensual government, and then both Iraq and Afghanistan will properly be seen as the anchors of a new Middle East”.

Which is, of course, exactly what I thought to myself as I opened up the article: that if any voice dissented from the overall consensus (“reality”), it would be one associated with an identifiably “conservative” institution like the Hoover Institute (who give my great uncle a bad name). … because, of course, these organizations don’t pay their “fellows” to do anything but toe the party line.

Side note: I’ve been making a habit of reading through the paper each day… I find that you get more out of a paper that way, as you see stories develop over time, and you begin to follow larger threads in the news that transcend individual stories. Admittedly, the San Francisco Chronicle, in comparison to the Los Angeles Times (the paper I grew up reading) is mediocure at best, but it is still better than nothing. I find reading a paper exposes me to a wider variety (in terms of topics and points of view) than merely getting my news on-line. This is a change from my previous position that “I get all my news on-line and don’t need a paper.”

Side, side note: Debra Saunders really is a Republican talking point parrot. We need more people writing the Chronicle and other papers complaining about this phenomenon, wherein allegedly “independent” pundits spew Republican talking point propaganda in barely edited form.

Thomas Leavitt

Citizen Journalist

Another thing MSNBC is doing for the election is a “Citizen Journalist” experiment. Joe Trippi writes, “I am hoping you will be a citizen journalist and file your story or stories with us from now through Tuesday.”

Report your stories to MSNBC.com.

And see them here.

First Post at MSNBC’s Hardblogger

Part of what I’ll be doing for MSNBC is helping put together a sort-of “pulse of the blogosphere” for Hardblogger. My first post is up, at The buzz from Bloggers’ Cafe. (Scroll to “The Little Gift.”) This is sort-of a dress rehearsal post.

In fact, they’re doing a real dress rehearsal for Tuesday night’s election broadcast in the big studio around the corner (and lots of remote locations) and it’s on the monitors. “Pennsylvania is still too close to call.”

Osama isn’t running and he isn’t hiding. He’s laughing.

Osama doesn’t have to run, and he doesn’t have to hide. He’s kicking back ,

and he’s laughing. “I truly am not that concerned about him”, says George.

Osama is looking forward to laughing at Bush for four more years.

Election Day at Seeing the Forest

For your Election Day pleasure Seeing the Forest will have a blogger writing from the Kerry Headquarters in Boston. Sam Perry will introduce himself in a post Tuesday or maybe sooner.

I’m writing this from a Starbucks in Manhattan. I took an overnight flight, and will be working from MSNBC through Tuesday night. I’ll post details later.

And the other regulars will also be keeping you informed. So bookmark Seeing the Forest and check in regularly.

October Surprise

Right on schedule we’ve had our two terrorist warnings now.

Will they help Bush? Were they intended to help him? I have no idea. I can’t read Osama’s mind,

and I can’t read the mind of the American people either. We’ve been waiting for months for something

fishy to show up, and now we have it.

Pray for the Kerry spin doctors — let’s hope they’re up to the job. So far the Bush spin hasn’t been

too powerful, but it usually takes them a few days to saturate the media. The Osama tape came at

almost exactly the right time for Bush, if his guys succeed in winning the spin war. He sure needs

the help.

I have no evidence, but I can’t help suspecting that both warnings were fake — Rove’s magnum opus.

(Did they unload a couple of the loose billions floating around Iraq on Osama?).

But probably that’s just me.

Vote or Die

From an e-mail I received:

1. A simple Banner for Florida beaches:


airplane ~~~ rope ~~~ banner:”READY TO DIE IN IRAQ? DON’T VOTE TODAY”


They have an airplane pulling a banner along Florida beaches, so young people will see them. The idea is to suggest they might want to go vote…