Tuesday, November 23, 2004


This may surprise many of you, but I don’t play in the NBA. This is in spite of the fact that I am truly a wonderful person. I’m the consummate team player, I used to dive for every loose ball in my rec-league, and I’m generally considered a delight to be around. And yet the NBA has stubbornly refused to make a roster spot for me.

Why this injustice you ask? I think it has something to do with the fact that I’m not a very good basketball player. I stand 5’9’’ and have a vertical leap that hardly merits the adjective “vertical” let alone the noun “leap”. I’m also not a particularly good shooter, my frequent protestations on the subject to the contrary. If you’re seeking a blogger for your league team, you’d be better off turning to Jonathan Last than me.

Unlike me, Ron Artest does play in the NBA. This is in spite of the fact that over the past several years he has proven himself to be a particularly flawed human being. Aw hell, let’s take the gloves off – he’s a perfect ass. But he’s a perfect ass who happens to be wonderfully gifted basketball player. I believe this latter fact accounts for there being a professional basketball team willing to pay him a gazillion dollars a year to play for them and another 29 teams that would love to similarly employ him.

Sadly for doughy Jews who happen to be great team guys like myself, the coin of the realm in professional athletics is talent, not character. Always has been, always will be. So when you read lamentations of how our pro sports are being ransacked by scummy Artests who have somehow gained access to our athletic temples, it might be helpful to remember that Babe Ruth wasn’t noted for his ascetic devotion to his craft nor was the murderous racist Ty Cobb known as a warm humanist. If you can play, the pro leagues will find a place for you. This is nothing new.

Also nothing new is the players making the occasional foray into the stands to deal with misbehaving fans. 25 years ago a handful of Boston Bruins scaled the plexi-glass at Madison Square Garden to mete out some frontier justice, hockey style, to some particularly rowdy New Yawkers. Believe it or not, a generation later this event is now considered a golden moment in Bruins history.

Don’t believe me? Take the description of the above incident from hockey scribe Ed Seero writing back in 2001 three years before observations like this would become topical:

“I wish I was around to see this. Mike Milbury, Peter McNabb, Terry O'Reilly and virtually the entire Bruins team went into the stands after a game at the Madison Square Garden and just beat people up. The video is fun to watch. McNabb pins this guy in a suit onto a section of seating. He's holding the guy by his collar and then Milbury arrives on the scene. He proceeds to methodically take off the man's shoe and beat him with it. And the best part of the whole thing is there is a cop in the stands right next to the whole thing, and he just watches it happen. Oh, how I wish I could have been around in those days.”

I was around in those days – I along with Brother Soxblog actually saw the event in question on live TV. Ed’s got it pretty much right; the Bruins, in full uniform somehow got themselves into the stands and proceeded to kick-ass. The most memorable image was that of McNabb, oddly an extraordinarily gentlemanly player, racing up the stadium steps pursuing the fan/provocateur who, no longer protected by his plexi-glass shield, was in full flight mode. In spite of having the advantage of wearing street shoes, the frightened New Yorker managed to be caught from behind by the ice-skate wearing McNabb. It was actually the most impressive feat of McNabb’s long and distinguished Bruin career.

McNabb did pin the guy down. Soon he was joined by his teammate and ESPN commentator-to-be Mike Millbury. In a surreal coda to the episode, Millbury did in fact relieve the belligerent of his apparently useless footwear and pummel him with it. Once done with the pummeling, Millbury tossed the shoe on the ice. The guy went home in one shoe – that was part of the story.

Another part of the story was the media lamenting the imminent end of civilization that this event symbolized. There was consensus on this. I don’t think anyone anticipated that 25 years later this would be a cherished memory for Boston sports fans.

Surprisingly enough, society weathered the Bruins’ foray into the stands. But given the fact that some 60 years earlier Ty Cobb had almost killed a belligerent fan, maybe the Bruins’ shenanigans weren’t quite the menace an alarmed media made them out to be.

Sports are supposed to be passionate. Periodically, and indeed unacceptably, that passion will erupt in inappropriate ways. When the eruptions are occasioned by jerks like Artest, they are particularly unsavory. But Friday night’s melee is not indicative of societal rot; it’s indicative of a sociopathic jerk being given to much freedom by his employers (like Larry Bird who, by the way, followed his teammate Kevin McHale into the stands in Milwaukee in 1987).

The NBA right now is populated by a lot of unsavory figures. Is that news? Is that unprecedented in the annals of sport? Hardly.

The Detroit fans also acquitted themselves poorly. Again, nothing new. In 1976, one of my fellow Celtics fans decided that referee Richie Powers needed a pop in the nose during Game 5 of the Finals against the Phoenix Suns, a game that is commonly known as the greatest ever played. Indeed, for a frightening moment or two it looked like the game wouldn’t be able to continue into its third overtime because Celtics fans were refusing to leave the playing floor.

All I’m saying is, let’s get a grip on this Artest thing. Ron Artest is a jerk – that ain’t news. Pro sports sometimes turn ugly – again no news there. Society may indeed be going to hell in a hand-basket, but Ron Artest and the NBA are not to blame.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


Five days after 9/11, my best friend and I had one of our semi-routine Sunday morning breakfasts. Naturally the conversation centered on what forms the then-undeclared Global War on Terror would take. My friend’s a math guy by training, not a lawyer, so he’s allowed to make certain obvious comments without the customary prefacing niceties. He observed that one thing we would have to agree on is the necessity of curbing some of our “stupid” civil liberties to allow for the public's safety. By “stupid” civil liberties, he meant things like checking out library books with Constitutionally guaranteed privacy and boarding airplanes without the inconvenience of yielding your box-cutters. He wasn’t talking about trashing the Constitution, just making certain common-sense adjustments to forestall our destruction.

I agreed. It was a war that we were (and are) in, a war for our very survival. And I’m not using “survival” as a metaphor; I’m using the term to suggest that if we lose this fight it will register an uncountable toll in terms of lives and freedoms. I amplified his comments by suggesting that sadly there were certain once noble elements of our society that had become so debased that they would be unable to help us in the looming struggle. Indeed these parts of our society would be unable to resist hindering us.

Parts of our society like the Courts. The ACLU and the media had spent the previous decades turning justice into a game and/or a circus. The ACLU would lament the threatened “durability of the Constitution” every time the Boy Scouts would say a prayer while the media had grown accustomed to turning every serious judicial matter into a three-ringed spectacle after witnessing the spike in ratings that the O.J. Simpson melodrama had provided.

Hollywood would also be unable to help. During WWII, the leading lights of Hollywood either fought (like Jimmy Stewart) or used their talents to spiritually boost the country (like Frank Capra). Even on 9/16/2001, the prospect of a modern-day replay of such patriotism was laughably remote. Already our glittering betters were talking about how war was never the answer and how Afghanistan had proven in the past to be the burial ground of empires.

The question was, which of our institutions would be able to help us with the tasks that needed doing. Would the Democratic Party go the Wendell Willkie rout or would it succumb to knee-jerk partisanship and seek political advantage in every situation regardless of what was best for the country? Would our professoriate persist in its Chomskyite belief that America is the locus of all the world’s evil or it would it be able to recognize that the facts on the ground suggested otherwise? And how about the U.N.? Would it continue to be morally obtuse and consider periodic condemnations of Israel its raison d’etre or would it be capable of something more?

The answers to all those questions have proven to be less than we would have hoped but not less than we should have expected. We have been disappointed, but we should not have been surprised.

What has been surprising is how elements of our government, critical elements, have been unable to help us and unable to resist harming us. The C.I.A. is a rogue agency, or I should say it aspires to be a rogue agency. As it currently exists, the C.I.A. is far too inept and pathetic to merit a menacing and swashbuckling label like “rogue agency.”

And the State Department is similarly ridiculous. Both of these agencies seem unable to grasp the fact that the American people have not elected them. They serve the President who the American public has elected. Obviously the entrenched bureaucracy in both agencies are entitled to their opinions, even if they’re really stupid and ignorant opinions like those of bestselling author and C.I.A. analyst “Anonymous” (a.k.a. Steven Scheuer). But it’s even clearer that they are where they are in order to serve the President. They don’t have the right to undermine him.

The President is setting about fixing these agencies. He’s got his work cut out for him. Both the Agency and Foggy Bottom are clearly more debased than even their harshest critics would have figured.

But that’s what these recent Beltway machinations are all about – trying to fix elements of our society that should be helping us in the current struggle but as currently constituted simply cannot. The President should be lauded for taking on the challenge. And the bureaucracies should be condemned for making such an effort necessary.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


“His blood was up. He was fighting for his life, and killing then for him was as much a profession as writing was for me. He wanted to kill individually or in vast numbers…The front line soldier wanted (the war) to be terminated by the physical process of his destroying enough Germans to end it. He was truly at war.”

Legendary World War II reporter Ernie Pyle, describing the transformation of the American soldier during that war’s North Africa campaign.

The above quote comes from Rick Atkinson’s magnificent “An Army at Dawn.” Atkinson offers Pyle’s insight as proof that the American Army had learned a necessary lesson in those first months of the war. As Atkinson puts it, “The American combat soldier had finally learned to hate.”

In the current war, most of us learned to hate on 9/11 and for most of us it’s a lesson that has not come unlearned since that awful day. Most of us also feel fortunate that we are represented around the world by young soldiers who have also mastered that same lesson. Make no mistake, though – this wasn’t a lesson any of us wanted to learn and most of us resisted it throughout the 1990’s. But our enemy kept teaching, and on 9/11 school was finally out.

Quite frankly, the latest manufactured “controversy” about the Marine who shot a Fallujah Jihadi who may have been wounded and helpless is the dumbest and most venal stunt yet conjured by the mainstream media. The simple facts that the American public will extend every benefit of the doubt to our brave soldiers and none to those who seek our destruction remain maddeningly beyond the media’s comprehension.

The precise nature of what happened with this shooting will never be known, even with the benefit of videotape. The main allegation is apparently that the American military was overzealous; to most Americans, given the techniques employed by the enemy, a surfeit of American zeal is literally an impossibility.

One thing I distinctly recall is a recent Presidential candidate who repeatedly and ostentatiously declared his desire to “kill” the terrorists. Even the most harmonious Bruce Springsteen tribute to brotherhood wouldn’t mollify this blood-thirsty candidate.

Now, after the election, we have finally set about killing some of these people in Fallujah. That was the entire goal of the exercise, right, killing the “insurgents”? And the elements of society who supported that blood-thirsty candidate now express shock over the brutality of the endeavor.

The primary goal in the global war on terror, and on this we have a rare bi-partisan consensus, is indeed to "kill" the terrorists, the bad guys, the ones who delight in decapitating the innocents. One could argue that there’s a difference between "killing" them and "murdering" them, but to make such a hair-splitting distinction in a combat theatre is outrageous.

There’s been much talk the last two weeks about “values.” Make no mistake – this controversy is also about values. Those who seek to pillory the administration and/or the troops over this incident have quite a different set of values than most of America.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, November 15, 2004


Colin Powell will be leaving. That’s probably for the best.

Powell first came to prominence during the first Gulf War when he was a charismatic and effective Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His signature moment came during Desert Storm when he revealed his two step plan for Saddam’s Elite Republican Guard: Cut if off, then kill it. Powell became, not without reason, wildly popular with both his troops and with the American public.

The Gulf War also ushered in what became known as the Powell Doctrine. Having learned several lessons from the disastrous Vietnam struggle, Powell determined that American wars should be fought only with full public support and overwhelming force.

Under ideal circumstances, there’s no doubting the wisdom of the Powell Doctrine. The problem with the Powell Doctrine was, and is, many of its proponents refuse to fight unless both prongs of the Powell Doctrine can be satisfied.

Historically it’s seldom been possible to satisfy such a stringent requirement for making war. Obviously every American struggle except the first Gulf War would not have met the requirements dictated by the Powell Doctrine.

The mere existence of the Powell Doctrine suggested a country that couldn’t or wouldn’t deal with casualties. Perhaps that was a good thing. Maybe the Vietnam syndrome could never have been licked without an experience like the first Gulf War.

But more likely, if America beyond her leadership class ever had such an overwhelming and self defeating aversion to casualties, that aversion was only truly defeated by 9/11. After 9/11, the general public has consistently shown an awareness that terrible prices will have to be paid in order to win the present struggle.

The Powell Doctrine serves as abiding evidence that its creator prefers peace to war. That’s obviously a good thing - Powell is a good man. But regardless of our preferences, war is upon us. These are times that demand perhaps less good men, or certainly more ruthless and resolute men. There is a world full of rough customers who will have to be dealt with cruelly and decisively. Diplomacy will always be important and remains so today, but a diplomacy that obscures the moral shortcomings of a Yasser Arafat is toxic indeed. A diplomat whose first instinct is to mollify our foes is not the man that the times demand.

There can’t be peace with an Arafat; Ariel Sharon realized this and has done a great job protecting his nation. In many ways, Colin Powell is a far preferable man to Ariel Sharon. But Ariel Sharon is a man right for the era, Colin Powell is not.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


You knew they couldn’t resist. You just knew it.

Keith Olberman was the first person in the semi-mainstream media to talk about the “election flaws” with the obvious aim of cheapening the President’s victory. Now this asinine topic has migrated to purportedly respectable publications like the Boston Globe.

The Globe’s front page today has a treatment of the “internet buzz on vote fraud.” To the Globe’s credit, the fifth paragraph of its story bears the following disclaimer: “Much of the traffic is little more than Internet-fueled conspiracy theories, and none of the vote-counting problems and anomalies that have emerged are sufficiently widespread to have affected the election's ultimate result.” Indeed, the general thrust of the Globe story is that this whole story is a steaming pile of liberal fever swamp crap.

But old habits die hard. The Globe story fans the flames of the nascent controversy by repeating some of the wilder allegations without refutation. The Globe also attempts to show how the story is developing legs: “Leading academics have joined the fray as well, saying that the integrity and future of the nation's voting system demand a vetting of all claims. 'The kind of thing that has to happen is a full-scale investigation,’ said Troy Duster, a New York University professor who is president of the American Sociological Association. 'It sounds like a paranoid fantasy, but I think the data suggests that even if Bush won, he didn't win by the kind of margins that are out there. We have a crisis here of potential legitimacy with all the stuff going on on the Web, and the way to deal with this is to do the research.’”

Reading that quote by “leading academic” Troy Duster, I couldn’t help but wonder if this “leading academic” has any history of political involvement. Fortuitously, “Troy Duster” is a name just made for Googling.

It turns out Professor Duster does some interesting stuff when he’s not busy being a “leading academic.” As fate would have it, Professor Duster is a member of a little group known as “Nader 2000 Leaders United to Beat Bush.” Among the other 70 members are such well known objective neutrals as Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, and Noam Chomsky.

Perhaps when seeking a leading academic to discuss the gravity of the 2004 Election fraud allegations, the Globe could have found someone a tad more objective than Professor Duster. Then again, perhaps they couldn’t.

What’s certain, though, is that the Globe should have identified Professor Duster for the activist that he is rather than bestow upon him the lofty and in this context misleading title of “leading academic.” One must wonder how “mistakes” like this keep happening.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


A lot of people are beginning to jump on the Keith-Olberman-Is-An-Idiot bandwagon. Hey boys – don’t leave the station without me!

For those of you lucky enough to have missed all of this, Olberman is exposing putative voter irregularities that he hopes will cast doubt on last week’s electoral humiliation. There’s stuff popping up all over the blogosphere exposing Olberman for the partisan fraud that he is; Instapundit has a good rundown. But before heading over there, allow me to add my 2 cents.

Olberman takes special note of the “remarkable results out of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In 29 precincts there, the County’s website shows, we had the most unexpected results in years: more votes than voters. I’ll repeat that: more votes than voters. 93,000 more votes than voters.”

What’s surprising given the no doubt dispassionate and intellectually honest nature of Olberman’s exercise, the thorough and objective journalist fails to note that Cuyahoga County went for Kerry by a 2-1 margin. When you take that fact into account, it sure seems like the Bush/Cheney campaign did a crappy job of cheating.

Hey, since we’re engaging in completely unsupported and reckless speculation here, I want to play. Perhaps the reason even the most hackish of the left wing sites (Kos, Oliver Willis) have opted not to wave this particular bloody flag is because they sense a thorough investigation into the astonishing Cuyahoga County turnout might not be in their interest.

Just theorizing here. I sleep well knowing that if there’s any evidence of Democratic skullduggery, muckraking journalists like Keith Olberman will get to the bottom of it.

UPDATE: A few minutes ago I posted an update that said there was no overage in individual Cuyahoga precincts. That update was incorrect. I regret the error and apologize to Mr. Olberman.

For a list of Cuyahoga precincts' registration and turn-out, click here.

UPDATE II: For what it’s worth, in Cuyahoga County in 2000 Al Gore received 359,913 votes, George W. Bush 192,099 for a difference of 168,000 (Nader got roughly 17,000 in case you’re preaparing a report for school tomorrow). In 2004, Kerry received 433,262 votes compared to the President’s 215,624 for a difference of roughly 218,000. You math wizzes out there will also note that Kerry’s percentage went up relative to Gore’s (and Gore’s + Nader’s) in 2000. Once again, if the Bushies cheated in Cuyahoga county, they sure did a crappy job of it.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


The battle rages in Fallujah. The U.S. military, at last unleashed from political worries and other domestic concerns, is finally setting things right.

So what’s really going on there? If you turn to the New York Times or even FoxNews for your coverage, you’ll have little idea beyond the fact that two Marines were killed when their bulldozer over-turned in the Euphrates. You’ll also learn that an explosion of some sort appears to have wounded a few other Marines. Beyond that, you’ll have no idea what’s occurring beyond the alleged chaos of a “wild firefight.”

But if you turn to the remarkable Belmont Club blog, you’ll learn what’s actually happening from a strategic and tactical perspective. You’ll see how the American military is truly a frightening killing machine, and that the soldier we saw promising “hell” to the Jihadis on the news this weekend most certainly knew what he was talking about. Read the Belmont Club and you’ll gain an appreciation for the capabilities of the incredible U.S. military and maybe even feel hopeful that victory in this “war on terrorism” is indeed attainable. You’ll also see that what’s going on there is anything but a chaotic “wild firefight” but is instead the carefully planned and meticulously executed destruction of a dangerous enemy.

The difference between the Times’ coverage and the Belmont Club’s coverage could hardly be more stark. The Times’ coverage benefits no doubt from eye-witness reportage. But if the Times’ reporters have any knowledge of military strategy or tactics, this knowledge is carefully concealed. If they have any understanding of what’s going on beyond the explosions they personally witnessed, they've got this reader fooled.

The Belmont Club’s Wrectchard, on the other hand, knows and understands military tactics and strategies. Wretchard might well benefit from his distance from the battlefield, for his website offers perspective that the MSM’s coverage sorely lacks.

The Belmont Club’s coverage today brilliantly illuminates the potential of the blogosphere. Here’s an entity that actually understands what’s going on in Fallujah and brilliantly deconstructs the events there for his less knowledgeable audience. This isn’t really a disparagement of the Times’ coverage; they’re doing the best they can and the physical courage of their reporters is to be lauded. But the Belmont Club actually understands the topic at hand inside and out. It’s no wonder their analysis is vastly superior.

If everyone knew about the Belmont Club, would anyone rely on the Times?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, November 08, 2004


In 1994 I managed a friend’s campaign for school committee in Newton, Massachusetts. Newton was and is very liberal; Barney Frank lives there and he usually carries the city by a 9-1 ratio.

My friend was part of a slate of conservative Republican candidates who coalesced around their shared hostility for condom distribution in the local high schools and a couple of other sex-ed related issues. While these issues left me cold (I’m pretty much agnostic on both – I think the schools should spend most of their time on their primary mission which is of course the cultivation of self esteem in their young charges), this was the Republican slate. I was (and am) a partisan, she was a friend, so I reported for duty as it were.

On run-off day most of the slate got skunked, but not because of their radical stance on prophylactics. They got killed because they were Republicans running in a city that was 70% Democratic, 20% Independent, and 10% Republican. There were a few conservatives who did not share in their fellow condom warriors’ fate, among them my candidate. I’d like to say my friend won that day because her campaign manager was so damn smart, but that would be untrue. My candidate prevailed because her last name was Stein (a clearly Jewish surname), and her district was 90% Jewish. She had the additional good fortune of running against an opponent whose last name was clearly not Jewish. As a consequence, she eked out a narrow victory on run-off day, only to get killed by a liberal but comparably Jewish foe in the general election.

On the night of the run-off, we were jubilant as we celebrated her surprise victory in her campaign headquarters which conveniently doubled as her kitchen. On Newton’s cable access channel, a few of the Democratic hacks who made up Newton’s political elite parsed the election results. They delighted in discussing the dreadful performance of most of the conservative slate; the voters were well informed, they assured their viewing audience and had made an unmistakable statement – they want condoms in the schools and “Heather has Two Mommies” and dental dams galore. They had offered a resounding “NO” to the knuckle scraping policies of the conservative slate. (Note to my evangelical readers – see, Jews can scrape their knuckles, too!)

But then the panel came to the 7th Ward where Ms. Stein had registered her unlikely triumph. The tone on the set changed as the eminent chatters lamented the ignorance of Ward 7 voters and the fact that they voted for a candidate just because of her ethnicity. So in the rest of Newton, the wise voters had made an unmistakable statement; in Ward 7, though, the voters’ sagacity had failed them.

In a way I admired the audacity of the panel, so boldly trying to have it both ways: The voters are geniuses when they agree with them, ignorant when they don’t. But I was also was disgusted that they actually ever thought a chunk of the city had spent a lot of time mastering the stances of dozens of school committee members. What could be dumber? As I told them when I called into their show (I was back then one of Newton’s more prominent Republicans), most people have busy and full lives and they leave the political junkie stuff to the tiny population of political junkies.

All this reminiscing was provoked by today’s Bob Herbert column which lamented the voters’ idiocy and ignorance for picking Bush. One can’t help but suspect that if 75,000 or so voters in Ohio had tabbed Kerry instead of Bush, Herbert’s column would instead have offered praise for the average American voter’s perspicacity.

Let’s agree on a few things. Most people don’t follow politics obsessively, and that’s to their credit. Most people get the broad picture and care not to color in the details. Moreover, the politicians know this.

When a poll says that Bush voters feel that there were conclusive ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda, we can figure they say that not because they’ve read Stephen Hayes brilliant series of columns in the Weekly Standard (which I’m pretty sure the brilliantly informed Herbert hasn’t read either) but because they’ve made certain conclusions about Saddam’s evil nature. And those conclusions aren’t wrong, even if some of the specifics might get a tad mangled at times.

I love the new mantra at the Times – “The Voters are Idiots.” I just hope their contempt for the public doesn’t hurt their circulation.

That would be a shame.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


On the one hand it’s been disheartening, reading the rants of Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman and others. Michael Moore pines for impeachment or some other truncation of the Bush Presidency (“he will commit a blunder of such major proportions that even his own party will have to remove him from office”), and that comes as little surprise. It would been a shock if Moore had offered anything constructive. More disturbing was Dan Payne’s ominous claim in the Boston Globe on Saturday that the Iraq war will “topple” Bush. Payne is a political pro, formerly John Kerry’s campaign manager for his Senate races, so presumably he wouldn’t be the type to be echoing the juvenile destructiveness of a Michael Moore.

On the other hand, it’s been a little amusing to see these folks so thoroughly discredit themselves. The big problem for the Demcoratic Party this year wasn’t gay marriage or even the naked ambition of its standard bearer. The big problem was one of maturity. There was a sense that some of the people that the Democratic Party embraced had no business being involved in serious affairs of state. The left wing commentariat proved this week that their efforts the past six months weren’t a by-product of campaign induced hysteria but rather that they’re likely incapable of better than they’ve recently shown.

Reading the unhinged bile coming from the usual suspects on the left, I’ve nevertheless concluded that it’s vital that Bush take the necessary steps to unite the country. Let’s face two important things: First, there is absolutely nothing that the President or the Republican Party can do to bring the Krugmans, the Dowds, or the Moores along for the ride. Nothing. These people are a lost cause, destined to forever stew in their noxious brew of condescension and loathing.

But the more important thing to realize is that while Dowd et. al are the most prominent faces of their movement, they are not representative of it. I live in Boston where George W. Bush has few supporters. Most of my friends and acquaintances are of good will even if they dislike the President. Most of them also are a lot more mature and, yes, patriotic, than Maureen Dowd – they want what’s best for America even if that means the prospering of George W. Bush. While Michael Moore is obviously not reachable, most Democrats are. There will of course remain philosophical differences, as there should be in a Democracy, but the bile can be diminished.

As a first step, the President should have some sort of unity cabinet. Joe Lieberman is a good man and has a similar world view to the President’s; he would make a fine replacement for Colin Powell at Foggy Bottom. As an additional bonus, having an orthodox Jew in such an office will drive the Europeans nuts. The Arabs probably won’t much care for his presence either. Dick Gephardt is looking for a job and he too is a good man. He called the President a “miserable failure” on the campaign trail; what would be more magnanimous than the President welcoming him into the government, probably to replace the hopelessly inept Norm Minetta at Transportation?

We’re facing a rough time ahead, probably years of war. Most Democrats are reachable, and I’m certain the grown-ups among them are dieing to marginalize the voices that did them such harm in Election 2004. We need these reasonable people on our side, not to agree with the Republican agenda but to minimize the spite so unity will be possible when (not if) it becomes necessary.

The President won – it’s therefore incumbent upon him to reach out.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Friday, November 05, 2004


At a dinner party last weekend, our host and I discovered a mutual fondness for Ariel Sharon’s autobiography, “Warrior”. Sharon’s life makes a fascinating memoir. Both of us were drawn to the time in Sharon’s life where he went alone (or with one or two other Israelis) into enemy territory night after night to take an opposing soldier or two hostage so Israel would have something to bargain with to get her own citizens returned safely. Sharon’s military career was characterized by great audacity, skill and willpower. In a region full of tough men, he was the toughest.

So when he became Israel’s Prime Minister, you’d figure Israel’s Palestinian malefactors would have figured this wouldn’t be a good guy to challenge to a battle of wills, especially considering he had the advantage in both materiel and manpower. To challenge this guy, you’d have to be really dumb. Then again, no one ever accused the Arafats or the Yassins of being rocket scientists.

Arafat’s big problem was that he couldn’t face the reality that he had an enemy who was more than just a descendant of pigs and monkeys; in Sharon he had a foe who would ignore the human losses and certainly not be intimidated by European bluster. This was a guy who had been killing Arabs and burying his friends for over half a century. As foolish as Arafat was, it’s still pretty amazing that the Nobelist allowed himself to be so ignorant of his foe’s most basic characteristics.

All this is a long-winded way of leading up to the following statement: I read the risible Jane Smiley piece in Slate (“They are borne of hubris and hatred, and will destroy their purveyors in the end”) that so many of you have emailed me about. I’m not saying Smiley’s as bad as Sheik Yassin or Yasser Arafat, although I wouldn’t be surprised to learn she sympathized with one or both of them. But Smiley does share a major trait with Palestinian caudillo – she too refuses to understand her foes.

It’s just so facile for the Jane Smileys out there to assume all Bush voters are stupid. And it’s just so enticing for Paul Krugman or Maureen Dowd to say Bush won because 51% of the country is just seething with hatred and fear. These views are so idiotic I don’t think they really require refutation.

But Smiley and company aren’t satisfied to just misunderstand Bush’s voters. It’s a constant source of amazement for me how this crew won’t allow themselves to deal with Bush and Co.’s real strengths. Calling Bush a moron or Hitler may have been satisfying for them on some level, but since the analysis stopped there it didn’t help them figure out a way to defeat him.

Similarly, it was doubtlessly delightful for them to believe that John Ashcroft became the nation’s top law enforcement officer just so he might live the dream of making every librarian bow before him. And it was no doubt gratifying to think Cheney was all about adding to Halliburton’s bottom line and in so doing increase the value of his stock options. Of course he would have made a lot more money by staying on as Halliburton’s CEO but why deal with facts?

I’m not blasting them for saying these outrageous things, not here anyway. But like Arafat, Smiley et. al stubbornly refused to take into account their foes’ real strengths and real motivations; Bush isn’t a moron, and his supporters aren’t evil knuckle scrapers. As a consequence of their willful ignorance, Smiley, Dowd, Krugman, Kristof, Kos, Oliver Willis and a ton more got their brains beat in.

Who said there’s no justice in the world?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


The big thing now is that that the Democrats got whipped on Tuesday because of morals and values. That’s what those oh-so reliable exit polls say anyway. The perennially confused commentariat has therefore concluded that it was all about gays and guns and abortion. They’re wrong. Morals and values are squishy topics, not limited to a handful of issues. They’re omnipresent, but paradoxically hard to see or pin down.

Here’s a bunch of things that I think fall in the morals/values rubric, all of which worked to the President’s advantage and his challenger’s detriment:

1) Americans idealize the stoic and heroic Gary Cooper type. John Kerry’s repeated instances of whining were very un-Cooper-ish. They like Bush’s tough talk.

2) Americans value an uxorious nature in their leaders; every President going back to Washington understood this. If it wasn’t there, they tried to fake it (see Clinton, William J.). Kerry was on his second billionaire wife and it was impossible to imagine this woman would have won the heart of a United States Senator had she been, say, a 55 year old Subaru driving nurse or school teacher.

3) Americans like their leaders to have both greatness and the every-man touch. They loved it when Reagan chopped wood, when W. cleared brush, and when Clinton ate Big Macs. Kerry never could seem normal, and even seemed to go out of his way to not appear normal.

4) Americans prize decorum in public spaces. If you go out to a restaurant and an 8 year old is miss-behaving, the rest of the patrons will shoot the miscreant’s parents angry glances. The Democratic Party allowed its 8-year olds to run all around the restaurant that is our great democracy. Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, John Mellencamp et. al had not learned enough manners to dine out in public. And yet dine out in public they did, while former presidents and current candidates chortled at their juvenile antics even as many of the other patrons became increasingly annoyed.

5) Americans want their President to be the alpha-dog. So when the guy seeking to be the alpha-dog spends the last week of the campaign sucking up to a rock star, even if that rock star is the great Bruce Springsteen, it doesn’t work.

6) Americans want to live the golden-rule. We all fall short sometimes, but that’s the goal. When Kerry constantly called Bush an incompetent and a liar, it made him look mean and small. The Bush campaign had the good sense to leave the vile stuff to surrogates.

7) Americans believe they and their country are exceptional. That means a challenger has to walk a tight-rope – any criticism of the administration can also be seen as criticism of the nation. By inviting people like Michael Moore into the tent, individuals who harbor contempt for their country and their countrymen, the Kerry campaign made a tragic mistake.

8) Americans want things to be “normal.” A party that tries to move things away from “normal” does so at its peril. That means great changes must come by evolution, not revolution.

9) Americans are a good and decent people, always have been. Tell them they’re fighting a war for oil, they’re not going to like it. Tell them they’re bigots, they’re not going to like it. And tell them they elected a moron-fascist for President, they’re not going to like that either.

10) Americans dream big. A poll of 20 year olds showed 70% of them expect to be millionaires. They feel anything is possible. Most do not feel oppressed.

11) Americans don’t resent those who have been more fortunate. You’d think the Democrats would know this. How many Democratic Senators have astronomical net worths? And yet every four years multi-millionaire Bob Shrum convinces them they can campaign on the grievances the poor allegedly have for the rich.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Thursday, November 04, 2004


A while ago I offered a review of the liberal “it” book, Thomas Frank’s “What’s the Matter With Kansas”. If you follow the link, you’ll find I didn’t think much of it. Here’s what I perceived Frank’s thesis to be: “People, especially Kansan people, are really incredibly stupid. First, they can’t divine their own best interests. Second, they can’t see through the manipulations of politicians. And lastly, they allow themselves to be fooled in the same manner over and over again.”

Mercifully Frank’s awful book hasn’t crossed my consciousness much since I reviewed it in July. But when Nicholas Kristof admiringly cited it during his extended lamentation regarding Tuesday’s display of American dunderheadedness, I figured it was time for a stroll down memory lane. If you prowl the anti-Bush websites and publications, you’ll note the frequent appearances of Frank’s thesis: Most of America is pretty darn dumb.

You know what my biggest fear was regarding election 2004? It wasn’t that Kerry would win. Believe me, the republic would have survived. No, my biggest fear was that a 51-48 Kerry win would have caused some conservatives to lose heart and decide that Americans are hopeless. In other words, defeat might turn us into a bunch of right wing Thomas Franks.

I could picture it. I could see a furious Victor Davis Hanson essay the Friday after the election lamenting our short attention span and linking us to dieing societies of millennia past. I envisioned a rueful Peggy Noonan column bemoaning our moral decline and describing her forthcoming purchases of bottled water so she would be prepared for the Armageddon that feckless Americans had brought upon themselves. I saw a Wall Street Journal editorial lamenting the way Hollywood values had over-taken good old fashioned American decency.

I hoped this wouldn’t happen, and I especially apologize to Professor Hanson (who I admire deeply) if I got it all wrong. But I had a distinct fear that the condescension that is so characteristic of the Democratic Party and its champions might cross the aisle if Kerry won.

But Kerry didn’t win and happily my fear wasn’t realized. Condescension remains a liberal stronghold. Of course it’s okay if liberal polemicists want to condescend. They’re not running for anything. But if you’re seeking office and you think 70% of the people whose votes you seek are morons, it becomes difficult to cobble together a majority.

I know a lot of liberals (most, I’d wager) love their country and respect their countrymen. But they’re not the face of the Democratic Party. The face of the Democratic Party is Thomas Frank, a guy who views his countrymen as dim-bulb schmucks. If the Democrats want to win elections, that’s a big problem.

America’s a great country and Americans are a great people; a party so lost that it doesn’t realize such basic facts is a long way from electoral success.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


I’ll get back to writing coherent pieces soon, perhaps even this afternoon. But for now I still need the crutch of numbered paragraphs. Bear with me.

1) EXIT POLL THEORY – A theory that accounts for the exit polls breaking erroneously to Kerry comes courtesy of Mrs. Soxblog. A brief word on Mrs. S’s politics – she often votes for the wrong guy, if you get my drift.

Mrs. Soxblog says that there’s a self righteousness to liberals that just demands they share their wisdom with the world. You see it by the way they drive their Priuses and insist that their milk come from bio-degradable cows (or something like that). Obviously there are conservatives like that also (she’s married to one), but such behavior is far closer to the norm in the liberal community.

So when exit pollsters are about, the liberals are likely to not only eschew evasive action but actually pursue the pollsters so their vital voices might be heard. Conservatives are more likely to want to get on with their lives or at the very least get to work.

2) RE-ALIGNMENT? – The Conventional Wisdom is that the Get Out The Vote (GOTV) program won the election for the Republicans. There was a much higher percentage of self-identified conservatives voting on Tuesday than there was in 2000. So, the CW holds, the victory came due to Karl Rove’s brilliance; he found the 4 million missing Evangelicals (and other knuckle-scraping conservative types) and got them to the polls.

Wrong! The country is more conservative than it was four years ago. That’s why there was a higher percentage of self-identified conservatives in the electorate. 9/11 drove the country to right, and the social agenda and juvenile counter-cultural antics of the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party kept them there. A smart party would have marginalized Michael Moore; an insecure party sat him next to a former President at its convention.

3) GAY MARRIAGE – I’m out of step with my party on this one; I have no problem with gay marriage or civil unions or whatever you want to call it. I do, however, have a big problem with such enormous policy changes being affected by an arrogant judiciary; such dramatic policies should of course be enacted only by an arrogant legislature.

But gay marriage could never make it through most (maybe all) legislatures. The country’s just not ready. It will be some day, but that day’s not yet here. But the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court perceived a right for gay marriage in the state Constitution that John Adams wrote 225 years ago, and the battle was joined prematurely.

4) Two times in the past four years, George W. Bush was confronted with election nights that around 8:00 p.m. looked pretty hopeless. Both times, he was a rock and the cameras captured him being a rock. I find that to be worth something, but maybe I’m just scarred by the Carter presidency.

During the final days of the 1980 campaign, President Carter was trailed by one of those all access Time Magazine reporters. Time wrote that on Election eve the Carters were approached by their pollster (probably Pat Caddell) on Air Force One who told them all was lost. Time reported that the Carters then cried.

Cried? The leader of the free world? In front of a reporter? Are you kidding me? My whole junior high class was appalled. I still am.

5) Take a virtual stroll through the liberal blogosphere. Check out the DailyKos and Oliver Willis. Be sure to check out the threads in the comments sections of how the election was stolen. Then go to the New York Times and read Maureen Dowd. She makes Kos and the Big O look reasonable.

I’m afraid it’s not going to be easy getting these guys on board.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


A few more thoughts:

1) This race was the political equivalent of the ball going through Buckner’s legs. Honestly, I feel for the Democrats and their supporters. The exit polls may have been an illusion, but there was nothing illusory about the pain they caused. It was a real knee-to-the-groin kind of night. For my left wing readers, obviously I’m delighted that my guy won but, for what it’s worth, I sympathize.

2) There’s going to be a real battle for the soul of the Democratic party. I already see the lines being drawn. Some feel the mistake was nominating a putative centrist like Senator Kerry and ignoring the Deaniacs. More moderate types think the big error was giving a platform to the shrillest voices the Democrats could find: the juvenile Hollywood types, that porcine film-maker, the Prius drivers with “the Passion of the Anti-Christ” bumper stickers, etc. The moderates feel, accurately I say, that their party was debased by these individuals and that the great majority of Americans were put-off by their antics.

Kos now calls for Howard Dean to succeed Terry MacAuliffe at the DNC. So there’s the choice, Democrats. Rejoin the rest of the country, or go off on a self defeating tangent and pursue a strategy that will weaken the country while setting up a 2008 cataclysm for your party.

The Democratic Party doesn’t need Howard Dean – it needs Dick Gephardt, who I figure might well be available.

3) The Kerry farewell address was a touch of class – he did a very nice job. You want a real knee-to-the-groin? Be a losing candidate. I’ve been there, done that. The pain runs so deep, it’s physical. That was palpable during Kerry’s speech, and I thought it made the address quite touching if a bit narcissistic. But hey, politicians are nothing if not narcissists. (Me, I’m a former narcissist.)

4) The Edwards speech, on the other hand, was a disgrace. No congratulations for the President, no thanks for a good race, no signs of class whatsoever. And he kept saying “The fight has just begun” which apparently will be his slogan when he runs in 2006 for dog catcher in Charlotte. In other words, remember all that stuff about bringing the country together? Screw it. For those who thought Edwards would have been a stronger candidate than Kerry like yours truly, this speech was God’s way of telling us we don’t know what we’re talking about.

5) Early last night, I was mentally composing a piece about where Bush 2004 had gone wrong. There’s nothing like imminent disaster to focus the mind. I’m going to try to get something up on that topic later today. There’s a lot this administration still has to say and even more it has to do. We can savor the day a bit perhaps, but you look at our troops in Fallujah and you realize there’s too much work to spend much time at all savoring yesterday’s triumph.

6) BUT A BRIEF MOMENT FOR SELF SERVING TRIUMPHALISM WON’T DO ANY HARM – If you look back at last night’s posts, you’ll see that I called the divergence between the raw numbers and the exit polls before anyone else. Kristol and Gingrich are given credit for saying it first, but I beat them by a half hour. And this was without the benefit of having a glimpse at the exit polls!

Another triumph for the blogosphere was the stellar work of Jay Cost who was a lot more on the money than anyone else out there. The great thing about the blogosphere is that a smart guy like Jay Cost gets to be heard. A month ago Jay was an anonymous math whiz who could make more sense out of a bunch of numbers better than a green-room full of Bill Schneiders. If you were watching Bill Schneider last night, you would have been befuddled into the wee hours. If you were reading Jay, you knew this thing was done before 1:00 a.m.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


Refreshed by a few hours of sleep, I’m ready to dive back in. We have a lot of ground to cover:

1) EXIT POLLS – The exit polls were indeed worse than worthless. This is described as a scandal, but other than putting political partisans across the land through a living hell, there was no lasting harm done. If there was some malicious intent behind these crappy numbers, for the life of me I can’t figure out what it was. What was accomplished? Who gained anything and who lost anything because of these erroneous numbers?

The fact is, the campaigns and the political junkies go into Election Day starved for information. Unfortunately, we’ll scarf up any information that becomes available, even if it’s bad and unverifiable information. I’d like to think something like this will never happen again, but come November 2008 I will still have a hunger for early information and will still eagerly digest whatever becomes available. Sadly, there’s a market for this shit. Sadder still, I’m part of that market and I bet you are, too.

2) BUT…the Democrats were certainly spiritually and psychically wounded by the exit poll deception. As of 8:00 p.m. the Kerry campaign thought it was in the bag, a veritable landslide. The atmosphere in Boston’s Copley Square where tens of thousands awaited the imminent Kerry victory celebration was electric. Two hours later, the dream had suffered a serious blow – by then the Kerry people had learned that the exit polls on which they based their delirium were useless. Two hours after that, the dream suffered a mortal blow as it became apparent that Bush was going to win in both Florida and Ohio.

So in four hours the Democrats who had access to the exit polls went from the peak to the pits. Oh to have been a fly on the wall in the Kerry/Edwards inner sanctum. I think the glimpse we got of Susan Estrich melting down on Fox as she realized the real numbers were stubbornly refusing to conform with the exit polls gives us some idea of what it must have been like there.

3) CARVILLE – Shortly after I signed off last night, a somber and reflective James Carville was on CNN. Carville’s thesis: The Dems faced a weak incumbent, had enthused volunteers and limitless financial resources. And they still got whupped everywhere – House, Senate, White House. Carville’s takeaway was that the Democrats have to look into the mirror and figure out why they’re losing these elections. In Carville’s surrender (which was echoed by the adjacent Paul Begala), there was yet another portentous sign for the Kerry campaign: The Clinton wing of the party will not humiliate itself so Senator Kerry might tilt at Buckeye windmills for the next two weeks.

4) FOUR MORE YEARS – for Terry MacAuliffe. I assume the Democrats will finally fire Terry’s sorry ass after yet another election fiasco, but you never know. I, for one, hope the beleaguered MacAwful sticks around to set things right in 2008. Terry MacAuliffe is the Grady Little of party chairs – I’m thrilled to see him managing the other team. (By the way, I thought Carville’s comments were a completely unveiled slam at Terry.)

5) KERRY CONCESSION? - Get this – I actually have sympathy for the Senator and his campaign. Fate pulled a cruel trick on them last night. It would have been the proper thing for them to call it a day last night around 2:00 a.m. when it became completely apparent that the race was done, but one can understand the real humanness behind the Kedwards forces’ decision to fight on.

But in the light of day, cooler heads must now prevail. It’s over and there’s no legitimate reason for Kerry to continue the quest. So if the Senator concedes today, I’ll give him due respect and give him a pass for not doing the right thing a little earlier. But if he opts to prolong the “race”, such an act will say something quite damning about his character.

6) MEDIA NARRATIVE – Last night in one of my more coherent moments, I mentioned how the media pre-determine a narrative for a given event and then hew to that narrative regardless of whether or not it fits. Never was that tendency more on display than this morning.

We came into this thing with the notion that Ohio 2004 was to be a reprise of Florida 2000. In light of the facts on the ground, that’s hardly appropriate. Florida was settled by about 300 votes on Election Day 2000. Bush and Kerry are separated in Ohio by almost 140,000. And yet up and down the dial this morning, they’re all saying the same things – the race is too close to call, it’s a cliffhanger, blah blah blah.

It’s not too close to call. Bush won. Now we’ve got work to do.

I’ll be back frequently today with more thoughts as they occur.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


I must call it a night. Seriously - the orders come from on high. Keep your eyes on Ohio, and TiVO the next desperate Susan Estrich appearance. You'll want to save it for posterity.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Why, pray tell, has Florida not been called yet? If Senator Kerry won 170% of the remaining uncounted votes, he'd still come up short. What gives? Is the loyalty to the exit polls such that even when they're obviously wrong the netwroks quake at contradicting them?

Florida's in the bag. Now all eyes turn to Ohio - Ohio is indeed everything.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


Things are looking quite a bit better now than they were a few hours ago. Once we get over the conceptual wall that the exit polls are worse than worthless, things seem to be going pretty much according to expectations. Everywhere except Pennsylvania, that is, but should Arlen fall I will countenance no tears being shed in Soxblog nation.

Still a few anxious hours to go, at least, and we’re nowhere near out of the woods. Hang in there, everyone.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


The exit polls do indeed seem to be worthless. The horrified reaction of Susan Estrich over reality's refusal to conform to the polling data bore eloquent testimony to that fact. The guys on the Fox panel are now taking it as a given - the exit polls will provide us little guidance.

So here's what we have to deal with: We have no idea who will win, or at least no better idea than we did 12 hours ago. Florida looks promising, and Ohio does also. Although no one has said so, I assume the Pennsylvania numbers are hailing from Dem strongholds.

Put some coffee on. Oh, and if you live in Boston, it looks like you'll have to wait awhile to hear Carole King sing the victory tune at the Kerry party. Bad news for you I bet, Major Mike.

Sorry about that.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


Gingrich and Kristol just repeated what I told you a half hour ago - there appears to be a startling divergence between the exit polls and the hard numbers in several states.

So where does that leave us? Hopefully, and I emphasize the hopefully, the exit polls are worthless. If they are, we're flying blind and waiting on raw numbers from every close state.

That means we're in for a very long night. Stay with me - unless I become hopelessly disheartened I'll continue to post frequently.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


The exit polls are obviously disastrous for the President. We're talking an electoral Hindenburg here.

But the raw numbers are telling a divergent story. So what's the takeaway? If the exit polls are correct, we're done. That's a big "if" though; it seems like the raw numbers coming in from Florida, Virginia, South Carolina etc. are actually promising.

It may be a long night. If it's a short one, it won't be a sweet one.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


...but just in case...

I welcome the prospect of a Kerry Administration! To get in the spirit of things, I present the top 10 good things of a potential Kerry Administration:

10. It just became a little bit easier to get a table at those fashionable Back Bay eateries that Mrs. Soxblog and I favor.

9. Kids with overly styled hair and manicured nails no longer need fear being teased and marginalized.

8. John Kerry will no longer be my Senator.

7. Hilary Clinton’s chances in 2008 are now zero.

6. John Edwards will not be returning to his pre-politics job.

5. American children will once again learn to dream, seeing that anyone can grow up to be President as long as they marry a billionaire or two first.

4. Remember all the crap we took for the vanity and materialism of Nancy Reagan? Hello Teresa!

3. In an effort to make amends, the French government will send every man, woman and child in America a bottle of top-shelf Bordeaux.

2. Michael Moore and The DailyKos will have nothing to talk about and perhaps slink away.

1. America remains the greatest country on earth, peacefully holding an election and perhaps even exchanging power in a time of war.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


In case you’re not keeping up with things on National Review’s The Corner, it turns out the samples in the exit polls are 59% women and 41% men. In other words, they’re worthless.

You know, there’s an old saw Bear Bryant-type coaches break out to calm down their players before a big game like the Sugar Bowl or something. They tell their young charges that no matter what happens in the game, there will be a billion Chinamen who don’t care (and they do actually say “Chinamen”, this being an old saw about politically incorrect southern football coaches).

Here’s a related sobering reality break: 98% of the American public not only doesn’t know what these “exit polls” say, they don’t even know they exist. Whoever peddled these things did so probably to rattle the cages of people like you and me. Speaking for just myself, mission accomplished. I spent half the afternoon making up jokes about potential Kerry Secretary of Defense Carl Levin’s comb-over (e.g., “I have to comb it this way or else people will know I'm bald!!") in order to better prepare myself for a Kerry Administration.

Do you know only 8% of the American public reads blogs? That means at least 92% of the American public has never known the displeasure of having Kos race across their consciousness.

Like most of you, I wish it were a rout for Bush. Like most of you, I’m relieved it’s probably not going to be a Kerry rout.

As one insightful reader emailed me this afternoon, I guess we’ll actually have to count the votes.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


I just took my little terriers out for a quick stroll (did I not say I was going to channel Andrew Sullivan?) and I returned to find we’re no longer losing, that the “exit polls” were worthless and in some cases not even exit polls at all.

Have we learned anything from this?

I think we’re all so thirsty for information, we’ve become like a lone rider dieing of thirst in an old Western. You know the scene: He comes across a filthy looking mini-swamp and slurps up some of the water in spite of the little sign with the skull and crossbones that a thoughtful pioneer had left behind at an earlier date.

How’s that for a snappy Election Day analogy? Do I have it working today or what?

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


A minute go, the following message appeared in my email inbox from my beloved Mrs. Soxblog:

"Who would Kerry appoint in key positions, like Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Treasury, etc?"

To paraphrase "newsman" Dan Rather, courage darlin', courage

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


Okay, the preliminary exit polls suck. I could go over how the exit polls blew half the races in 2002 and that the networks no longer use them since they’re so unreliable, or I could talk about how they’re in the margin of error, or I could even mention how every responsible Republican type would be inclined to tell an exit pollster to bugger off. But what fun would that be?

Let’s over-react! Let’s channel Andrew Sullivan and prepare for THE END. Let’s echo Rush and say this isn’t the America I know. Let’s give a big sad tut-tut and lament our short attention span and shake a futile angry fist at the New York Times. Let’s agree that while we can accept Kerry as our President, the thought of Teresa as first lady is truly bothersome. In short, let’s concede and panic, not necessarily in that order.

Better still, let’s vote and let’s encourage other like minded people to vote. Resolve, friends, resolve. Nothing worth having comes easy.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


I’m still feeling buoyant. Maybe I’m reading too much Hugh Hewitt and too much Kerry Spot, but I’m feeling good things developing. I’m beginning to think that we’ve been miss-led by the media and it won’t be quite so close after all. There’s even a chance that Bush might win so decisively that we might use the “M” word (mandate).

So how could the media bollix things so dramatically? It’s not just because of bias – Fox shares my biases and was saying the same things as everyone else. You know what the talking points were - that it was a nail-biter, Kerry was surging, Teresa is refreshingly candid, blah blah blah.

The media habitually mold any story into a narrative and hew to that narrative, facts be damned. The theme of the pre-ordained narrative the last few weeks was that the race was historically tight and too close to call and a coin-toss. But if you’ve read Jay Cost’s brilliant Horserace Blog, you know the race has never been a coin toss – Bush has been steadily winning.

The media hammered their narrative to such an extent that it became accepted truth. Which I think might account for a stunned nation this evening. Early this evening.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


I’ve received a bunch of emails asking me what I think. Rather than respond to all of them saying the same thing, I’m going to do a brief post on where the Soxblog head is currently at.

I feel a surge of optimism. Why? A few reasons:

1) Bush said this morning that he wanted it over tonight and that someone should offer a quick concession. If our polls showed a need to fight for say Ohio because everything hinged on that, I can’t imagine him saying such a thing.

2) Kerry’s spending the day in Boston after looking like a beaten man speaking in Ohio after the Boss last night. He looked even more haggard and sounded even more whiny than we’ve come to expect. (By the way, they should have done one of their stupid focus group polls on Kerry wearing a Red Sox cap – trust me, that rubbed every sports fan in America the wrong way. Adopting the colors of a winner after the games are played is just wrong. NOTHING irritates true fans more.)

3) Terry McAuliffe looked desperate last night on Hannity and Colmes. As the Soxblog brother points out, ole Ter’ always looks desperate, but he looked particularly pathetic last night talking about Dick Cheney going off his meds. This is not the way a confident and soon to be victorious campaign behaves.

4) We’re up in the polls and we’re TRENDING up in the polls.

5) While the Dems have looked desperate, the Republicans have looked confident. Has anyone seen a single Republican look as if he’s anticipating defeat?

6) The Dole Factor: When Dole ran against Clinton, I was obviously in Dole’s corner. But when it came down to voting time, even I had a pang of fear that maybe the dour Kansan won’t be up to the job if he should by some miracle win and, after all, Clinton hadn’t blown up the world in four years. Of course I still voted for Dole, but if I had a moment of doubt a lot other people when voting against the incumbent must as well. And, quite frankly, with Senator Kerry there are a lot of reasons to have doubt.

7) Most importantly, it’s almost official – no terror attacks since 9/11, no bloody October Surprise, no streets running with blood. Relating those facts to the Dole Factor, that will count for a lot in the voting booth.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight

Monday, November 01, 2004


Looking for some edifying political coverage, a few minutes ago I turned to C-SPAN. Instead of the normal fare of tedious panel discussions and sleep inducing symposia, there was a mini Bruce Springsteen concert taking place. My goodness, can’t the Democrats find some populists who aren’t zillionaires? The scene is depressing on so many levels, I can’t stand to begin listing them.

But anyway, now Bruce is speaking, not singing. Bruce’s soporific cliché spewing replete with multiple instances of gratuitous name dropping calls to mind the great directive first issued to musicians of the Woodstock era: Shut up and play your fucking guitar.

But enough on Bruce – here’s a serious thought about keeping tomorrow in perspective: There will be a tendency on all parts to make sweeping conclusions regarding the American character based on the election’s results. Don’t join the herd. America’s character tomorrow will be the same as it is today and as it will be the day after tomorrow. Whether Bush wins by 3 or Kerry wins by 3 just won’t give us any new insight into the American soul. America is weird and wonderful and marked by greatness; it will still be 24 hours from now regardless of who has won and who has lost.

And a word to our foes: You could look at this virtually tied election and think this is a deeply divided country. Sometimes it seems that way, but we’re united on the important things; always have been, always will be. You would be wise to bear that in mind.

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight


So much to say, so little time. Some things of great import, and a few of very little:

1) IT’S THE AGENDA, STUPID – Regardless of tomorrow’s result, the work will have just begun. Things just got a bit tougher Friday with Osama’s tape. Allow me to explain.

The 9/11 attacks took place with Al Qaeda feeling that they would cause not just an American withdrawal from the Middle East but probably the fall of the Bush government. This revealed a remarkable lack of understanding of America on Osama’s part.

In other words, 9/11 was an enormous strategic and tactical mistake. 9/11 forced the U.S. government to pursue Al Qaeda’s destruction with a single minded fervor. Even a dovish quagmire fearer like Al Gore would have had little choice but to vigorously go after the 9/11 perps.

It was Al Qaeda’s further misfortune to have not a roots-cause-seeking President Gore in office but instead President Bush who undertook the war on our Mid-East based malefactors with great gusto. So for the past three years the Al Qaeda types have been pursued and killed and marginalized. On September 12, 2001, none of us imagined we would go the next three years without seeing a 9/11 redux. And that includes Al Qaeda, I bet.

So bin Laden knows the next big terror strike must truly be devastating. To be able to deliver such a blow, Al Qaeda will need time and breathing space. That’s why Friday’s tape was so statesmanlike. Many Americans would love to believe that peace is possible with these guys; for those prone to such self deception, Friday’s tape gave them hope.

The next President will likely confront a more reasonable face of radical Islam. Look for Iran (I know, the Sunnis and Shiites hate each other – no letters necessary) to ape Al Qaeda’s tack and also seek breathing space to develop their WMD. And look for a great portion of the American populace to resist further military adventures since we’re enjoying peace in our time.

Regardless who is our President, he will need to be convinced that the fight against radical Islam must continue with as much ferocity as the United States military can muster. He will need the support of the American people to take on some unpleasant tasks. Indeed, he might well need the insistence of the American people to undertake such tasks. Lots of smart people think we can somehow slow history down and maybe spend the next four years enjoying the fruits of the last four years.

Such a strategy would be disastrous.

2) KERRY’S DISCHARGE – I received about 50 emails over the weekend presaging today’s newsbreak surrounding Senator Kerry’s army discharge. I didn’t respond to the messages, and I didn’t post on the topic. Here’s why.

There’s a real chance that Senator Kerry will be our Commander in Chief starting in January. I’m not a fan of the Senator’s, as you know, and if he’s elected I will criticize him when I deem it appropriate.

But Osama’s tape on Friday and especially the part about “My Pet Goat” had to sober us all. As you know, no one ever made much of “My Pet Goat” until Michael Moore came along and made it a symbol of the President’s stupidity and cowardice. Apparently this delighted bin Laden to such an extent that he decided to incorporate it into his how own pre-election address.

Let’s be clear – it’s a great thing that Michael Moore and Whoopi Goldberg and Bill Maher have freedom of speech and expression. Well maybe not Bill Maher. But the fact that they use this freedom in irresponsible ways is not to be admired. And the fact that their expressions give comfort to those who wish our streets to run with blood should come as no surprise.

So if John Kerry wins, we who might well be his critics must behave properly. We should bear in mind that whatever we do our enemies will be watching. And we should refrain from slash and burn campaign tactics.

3) SO WHO’S GOING TO WIN? Bush by 5.

4) WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT? A few things. The last round of polls is encouraging. We didn’t even have our normal weekend plummet. Our ground game is better. We’ve got zillions of real volunteers, Kerry’s got a bunch of paid volunteers. If any of you were called by both types of political animal this weekend, I trust the differences were apparent.

I also detect differing moods in the campaigns. The Kerry campaign has changed the candidate’s attire at the 11th hour. The Senator’s now a casual dude, sporting a Sox cap and some sort of leather jacket rather than his trademark Saville Row suits (38 XXXX Long). That can’t be a sign that things are working. Bush continues to look confident and exhilarated. Besides, Jim Geraghty is telling me it’s practically in the bag.

5) SPEAKING OF THE SOX – Many of you wrote to me curious as to why Curt Schilling punked out on campaigning with Bush last week. I wrote back saying that smart businesses know enough to not involve themselves in politics. Why go out of your way to gratuitously piss off half your customers? So I figured the Sox told Schilling that politics was a no-no, and that they were right to do so.

And then yesterday, betrayal! The Sox owners and their boy genius GM campaigned with Kerry. Theo Epstein (the aforementioned boy-genius GM) even made a little speech that had a juvenile put-down of President Bush. This Red Sox customer was offended, for what it’s worth.
Anyway, Schilling joined Bush on the stump today. A think it makes a nice comparison. The athletic hero who personifies guts and grit supports Bush; the hedge fund zillionaire, the big-money lawyer, the entertainment big wig (the Sox ownership team) and their pasty-faced Yale grad GM support Kerry. We can live with that.

6) ELECTORAL MATH – I haven’t created the scenario, but I bet it’s possible that it will all come down to Hawaii and we’ll have to stay up until 5:00 a.m. Maybe I’m a masochist, but I think that would be cool.

7) BLOGGING SCHEDULE – I will be back with great frequency the next 48 hours. Come back often, and bring some friends!

(Oh yeah, and I’ve fallen behind on emails. I’ve read ‘em all but there’s a bunch I haven’t responded to. Sorry. Write again, and I’ll write back – promise.)

Responses? Thoughts? Please email them to me at soxblog@aol.com

James Frederick Dwight