Well, Jonathan, I'd hazard a guess that too many Democrats are inclined to give in over domestic surveillance because, like the article says, "Democrats will be called 'soft on terrorism if they insist on strict curbs on gathering intelligence."
Just because it's simple and stupid doesn't mean it's inaccurate.
How much of the last twenty years' worth of political capitulation by Democrats does this explain:
1. Republicans want something.
2. Democrats wonder if they should fight them for it.
3. Republicans tell Democrats they'll call them names if Democrats don't give them what they want.
4. Democrats say, "No, no! God, no! Anything but that! Don't call us names! Oh, the derision, it stings! It burns! Ow, make it stop! We'll do anything, anything you want!"
(yes, this is ridiculous. yes, this sounds ridiculous. and yet... it happens, again and again.)
If Arlen Specter really gives a rat's ass about habeas corpus rights, he can have one of his staffers sneak the language into the bill in committee when nobody's looking.
Wouldn't be the first time.
But then again, it wouldn't be for an authoritarian-enabling cause, so maybe that'd prevent Specter from doing the right thing.
Strange how now he's interested in this stuff. It's too bad someone with such scruples and ideals and an appreciation for the rule of law and legal history was never, you know, like the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee or anything.
I think Kerry laid off of Osama Bin Laden as insurance in case Bush produced OBL between July and October. I wouldn't be surprised if Kerry decided his odds were better with that particular genie still in the bottle - especially if he didn't trust Bush to actually catch him, but instead claim he'd caught him, thus capturing the "Catch the SOB, now!" vote without actually improving national security. At least that's how I rationalize watching him not play what seemed like a good hand.
What Kerry was thinking about Iraq, I hope (because it's the least implausible explanation) was that if he'd differed from Bush in any substantial way, he'd be accused of not "supporting the troops!" - a crock of shit, I know, but bad PR - and that he was hoping that people would recognize who oversaw the fucking-up of Iraq, and who wanted to change things.
I'm astounded that we didn't have a comprehensive precinct-by-precinct roster this year, because I think the second-most-valuable service this would provide is to serve as a check on the possibility of election fraud. "What do you mean, only 224 people voted for Kerry at Precinct X? My team drove three hundred Kerry-button-wearing neighbors to the polls OURSELVES!"
Dean/DFA ought to issue good-natured challenges to the people who think he's got the wrong ideas: "Let's see whose supporters can raise more money for (Gregoire's recount, LA-3/7, etc.)" - and see how that goes.
(apologies for the informality and presumptuousness, but I think the DC ABD campaign is even worse than we're assuming)
I would believe the DC Democratic establishment (DLC, DNC, and assorted ABD forces) had something noble, altruistic, and/or helpful to the party in mind during the primary's ABD campaign and the current DNC-Chair ABD campaign IF these same people had the balls to actually oppose Bush and his inflated mandate.
I'm curious where they get off claiming that Dean would've been such a horrible candidate, that we would've lost so badly, and we'd be getting so steamrolled in the aftermath of what would've been a certain Dean defeat WHEN THEY ACT LIKE THAT ANYWAY AFTER A CLOSE KERRY DEFEAT?!?
But at least now we know what the DC ABD forces really care about when it comes to organizing the party: keeping their jobs, and keeping the Iowa caucus first. Who gives a shit about winning elections, or building a party and a fifty-state campaign, or crafting a message?
I really don't see the potential for a lot of turnover in the Senate (the House, though, that's another matter), even if people are pissed at Bush. It's just not the people in the right states.
Democrats outnumber Republicans, 18-15 (counting Jeffords as a Democrat), and there aren't a lot of swing (or mis-matched Sen/Pres) states represented. The vulnerable Republicans/Republican seats look to be Chafee (leave the party now, dude!), Snowe (your constituents don't like Bush, why would you?), and Frist (if he retires). Santorum's going to be a target, but he survived 2000, so I'll grudgingly admit he must've done something right. And Kyl, Talent, Burns, Ensign, and Allen could be challenged, but they're in red-purple states. Not a lot of room for turnover.
The vulnerable Democrats/Democratic seats look to be the Nebraskan Nelson (how did Nebraska elect a Democratic senator?), and the purple trio: Nelson(FL), Dayton, and Cantwell. Everyone else seems comfortable and/or entrenched with their voters, even if they aren't aligned on partisan lines.
And retirements could change the scenario, too. But without a few big changes, or another national election, the Senate shouldn't change much. The House, on the other hand... it isn't a great map, but at least it's all theoretically in play. And we don't have to wait 4-6 years to build on this year...
One last thing (for now) that bad polls do: they encourage the media to ask everyone's two least favorite questions, "So, why aren't you doing better?" and "What's wrong with your campaign?"
If challenger Candidate A is deadlocked with entrenched incumbent Candidate B, who can't break 47% reliably and there's expected to be huge turnout, the press will fixate on Candidate A's inability to "close the deal" or "connect with swing voters" or "beat such a weak candidate", and they'll start making up reasons, and referring to spin - because after all, if Candidate A can't do better, he must be pretty weak, right? Facts and stories that fit the "desperation" meme are shoehorned into the news; facts and stories that don't fit that meme are downplayed (e.g., "Kerry is speaking to big crowds, but even with that, he can't do better in the polls. Looks like he's gonna need to do something else... Kerry says X, that must be a political move to make up a deficit we think exists.")
Kerry has a much higher ceiling than Bush does. Few Kerry supporters would be swayed by facts they don't know. Plenty of Bush supporters could be swayed by facts they don't know.
Okay, maybe telling these people facts is a lost cause, given their absurdly misguided faith that Bush agrees with them because he's (sniff) a "good man." But it does mean that a Democratic president who pushes for these things will find a broader consensus than it appears - a silent majority if you will. A Republican who opposes Kerry can't persuade those people using facts (okay, not like that stops the Rs, but it's a start).
Kerry could plausibly tell Bush that the "mainstream" is where KERRY is, and that the country is actually about as liberal as KERRY is - given that his positions are more widely supported than Bush's vague promises and values. "What mainstream, Mr. Bush, do you think your 27% support comes from? I'm in the mainstream with seventy percent of the American public. If you can't see that, it's because YOU'RE out of the mainstream!"
Granted, none of this changes the fact that a distinct chunk of the population is apparently totally delusional when it comes to politics. That's not exactly a good thing.
I can think of a number of reasons to be angry about these polls, and two good reasons. First, the good: polls like this probably motivate some Democrats more, so people don't think their efforts are unnecessary (flip side: being down 8-10 may convince some people their efforts are futile, and that's also bad); the other silver lining of these polls is that it may lull Bush & Co. into complacency, and Rove might do something else as dumb as going to California during the last weekend.
But there's a lot not to like:
They're just f**ing wrong.
They make people think that we're doing worse than we are. This has a couple effects: people are pessimistic and that's what they spread to their friends; it also pushes any bandwagon voters into the Bush camp.
They feed the "Bush is gonna win" perception. Bush is already favored on the "is he presidential?" issue by virtue of being, well, the president (regardless of what you think of his actual performance), and given the unduly high self-esteem in which Bush and his supporters hold him, it's just obnoxious for him to claim he's actually popular enough to win - not when he's only speaking to supporters, requiring loyalty oaths, barring t-shirts, and benefiting from widespread misunderstanding of his policies. And when there are numbers that purport to back him up, it's harder to tell people, "it's an even race" or "Bush is gonna lose." It hinders our momentum, and with the expectation of a tight race, we should gather all the momentum we can.
It gives the press one more excuse to talk bad about Democrats. "Bush is popular" says pundit #1. "Bush is doing well" says pundit #2. "I don't know anyone who's voting for a Democrat" says pundit #3.
MOST IMPORANTLY: It makes it easier for Bush to get reelected without, actually, getting elected *AGAIN
- if Bush is in a tight race, let's say down 48-47, and somehow wins with FL, OH, and a few more states with touch-screen machines and voter intimidation, it'll be easier for him to claim that he really won, and blame the media for inaccurate polls. And the media might well go along with it, in a way that they wouldn't if he'd lost 54-42.
With something like, "Randy Kuhl's taste for violent intimidation and disdain for the rule of laws he should be helping enforce would put him right at home in Tom DeLay's Congress. We can't have our leaders running around half-cocked."
Or maybe revise the classic: "Senator, when did you stop threatening your wife with a shotgun?"
I wonder if the (ex-?) wife is angry because it puts her in more danger. That's the only reason I can think of that would make it worth downplaying - and even then, if Kuhl would harm his wife after that, we really need him not to be elected to Congress.
p.s. invasion of privacy? it's a public f***ing record! if there were any responsible journalists in the district, do you think any of them would've dug this up?