The party's generals stupidly supposed that by making the Bush-Cheney ticket look "pink" that they could get homophobic Democratic voters back onto the rolls of the party faithful. The result, however, has been to draw further scrutiny to the issue and at once intensify the suspicions of homophobic blacks and Latins towards Kerry while also making suburban women think he lacks class, chivalry and sensitivity as a father.
Even in the gloom it took little imagination to visualize what had gone on here long ago when the house had been properly maintained and staffed. Those not dancing were crowded around the makeshift wet bars set up on the patio, sipping their champagne cocktails, side cars or slow gin fizzes, the bartenders pouring with alacrity and practiced skill. If Jay Gatsby had summered in southern Maine instead of Long Island, this might all have been his.
A look at U.S. foreign policy since the last election suggest the president's certainty and inability to acknowledge error are all of one piece: He knows he's fulfilling prophecy, so the details and problems along the way cannot be significant. At the least, his refusal to admit mistakes or adjust course seem to stem from his born-again beliefs.
Wouldn't it have made more sense -- since putting the spotlight on Mary Cheney was a strategic decision -- to let one of Kerry's expendable advisers raise the issue in a casual, on-the-record discussion with the media? Kerry would then have it both ways: the intended damage would be done and he'd immediately fire the aide, sanctimoniously telling friendly reporters "That was out of bounds, and as I just told Dick and Lynne Cheney, whom I admire as parents, my campaign won't stoop to such a level."
Many immigrants now aspire only to low-wage, low-skill work. In Arizona, fewer than 12% of Mexican-American students are even making it to the 12th grade. And the children of these students tend to have low educational aspirations as well.
The president's gaffes haven't generated the sort of ridicule that greeted, say, Gerald Ford's refusal to acknowledge Poland's membership in the Warsaw Pact in his debate with Jimmy Carter. But they're at least as shocking.
It's not clear what Kerry meant by saying he wants to return "to the place we were." Does that mean the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was so busy hosting Arafat at the White House that he didn't notice the growing threat of Osama bin Laden? Does that mean that the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing were a "nuisance"?
Jokes about Kerry's affinity for all things French are worth a chuckle, and his continual Vietnam references are just irritating, but when he spoke about a "global test" for foreign policy, that got into Stephen King territory. This guy makes Jimmy Carter look like George Patton.
Give Kerry credit for admitting he's "confused," which is one of the more colossal understatements of this campaign.
Those who disparage liberalism and the movements of the 1960s era generally avoid speaking of liberalism's victories: the end of separate facilities for blacks in the South, voting rights unhindered by poll taxes and "citizenship tests" and, gosh, the end of girdles on secretaries who were expected to take dictation in the boss's lap.
Breslin is a relic, every bit as extinct as the "new journalist" and "street columnist" genres that once guaranteed him a table at his Manhattan restaurant or saloon of choice, often in the company of Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, Pete Hamill and visiting dignitaries like the late Mike Royko. It was a wonderful life.
Americans like candidates to have big personalities, though, so Kerry should be himself with gusto and treat the president as he actually feels about him, with barely masked contempt, peppered by incredulity.
Dowd, a Hollywood hag whose words are enveloped by pop-culture references, doesn't give off the same noxious upper-crust aroma so common among her Times colleagues. Instead, she bathes in the "argot" of movies.
When anyone fresh out of college can strike the pose of the world-weary pundit, when fools with broadband connections can read them and then fill their comments fields with freshly contrived analysis of polls, press spin and other professional matters, and when panicked professionals then mistake this mass sewer of callowness for the presence of the future, it is inevitable that there will be no conversation, no confrontation of unpleasant facts, nothing meaningful beyond the analysis of analysis. Politics finally attains to the status of literary criticism.
Many have made hay over the president's connections to Saudi Arabia. Sen. Graham lights it aflame: the White House classified the portions of a Congressional inquiry into 9/11 that documented official support from Saudi Arabia for the hijackers. The inquiry determined that Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassan, both major funders of the attacks, "were working for the Saudi government."
When Jon Stewart asked whether Teresa got a nickel every time he used ketchup, Kerry pumped his fist and replied, 'Would that it were, Jon! Would that it were!' I have now asked 10 guys from Brooklyn whether they know what 'would that it were' means. My favorite answer came from ex-garbageman and ex-cop Ray Garvey, who asked, "'Is it a golf club!?"
Do the protestors, whose visceral hatred for the president's supposed simplicity is everywhere on display, believe that their paraphernalia of protest (posters, T-shirts, slogans and chants) present a counterpoise to the simplicity of George W. Bush's worldview?
Powell gives eleven detailed reasons why abdicating the Geneva Convention would spell disaster. He was right, but no one was really listening.
…a very white protest, even as such things go, full of youngsters who spent an awful lot of time cheering wildly for things that happened 20 blocks further north, as applause no longer connected to events snaked its way backward.
Democrat Edwin Peterson, registered in Palm Coast, FL, and Queens, was more forthcoming, explaining his 2000 double-dip as a hedge against official mischief.