Saturday, October 04, 2003
Where There's No Smoke...
No, I haven't read the David Kay report. Why would I? For one thing, I was busy with my day job. (Not that you'd ever see any tangible evidence that I do any work from the polls.)
More importantly, I knew, beyond and possible shadow of a doubt, that it doesn't contain one iota of incriminating information.
Why? Because I know the way people like these guys think They are not subtle. They don't whisper if they can use a megaphone. They're not into metaphors-- they like spectacles. And they don't have any emotions higher than their navels.
If the Kay report had contained any substance-- if there had been one item to film, or one location that you could point a camera at-- I would have seen W. standing in front of it, preening for everything he's worth. Simple as that.
No Nukes? Sez Who?
Every time I see Susan Estrich discussing anything about an election, I have to check the remote to make sure I haven't accidentally tuned in a rerun of The Joe Franklin Show. Estirich is to politics what Kitty Carlisle was to Hollywood; her sole qualification for being on the air is that she managed Michael Dukakis's presidential campaign.
Great... she managed arguably the worst-run presidential campaign in modern history. Why should I care what this woman thinks?
Her comments on the LA Times's story on Arnold Schwarzennggar's piggish behavior really defy rationality. The Hamster shreds the hypocrisy of her position (she ran a hit job on Arianna Huffington, calling her an unfit mother). And the "how can you trust anonymous sources?" argument just went into the toilet because three more women have gone public.
So let me take on Estrich's most ridiculous issue:
"But here's my point to the L. A. Times. If you had a serious story to run, if you thought there was serious misconduct, you don't wait until the Thursday before the Tuesday. You run it early."
Excuse me? Let's set aside all of the obvious objections:
1. It's a seven-week campaign, so any major story will be published only a short time before election day.
2. The stories took extra time to prepare because Schwarzeneggar is a first-time candidate, so all the political or investigative reporters had to start from square one.
3. Stories about Schwarzenneggar groping women aren't new. People have just chosen not to pay attention to past reports.
4. They're true.
My question is: when did we enact a nuclear-free zone during campaigns? I've been associated with one hell of a lot more campaigns than Susan Estrich-- not to mention more successful ones (thought it would be hard be associated with a less successful one). Anyway, I'm not aware of any non-proliferation rules based on the calendar.
In fact, there's a well-known rules of thumb in campaigns. The first two weeks and last two weeks of a campaign are the points when you're most vulnerable to negative stories. The people who don't want to see you elected will try to blow you out of the water very early (before you can connect with voters) or very late (when you don't have a lot of time to recover).
Which is why newspapers tend to run those stories very early and very late. Newspapers kinda have to wait to report what the people who know bad things about a candidate say until after they say them.
Which is why candidates with lots and lots and lots of skeletons in their closets bring out their dirty laundry early. Partly it's because fessing up is the expedient thing to do-- it gives voters the chance to get p.o.ed at you, get over it, change their minds and make up.
And the other reason you do it is because it's the honest thing to do. If you're going to grope any hot-looking woman who happens to cross your path-- and do the ones too attracted or too scared to say no-- then, by god, the voters have a right to know it before the election day.
And if you're too conniving or chickenshit to do that, then it's the press's job to out you. And if they do it at an inconvenient time for you, well that is just too damned bad.
The way I read it, both the press and Adolf-- excuse me, Arnold-- Schwarzeneggar were less than honest with the voters for six of the seven weeks of the campaign. But one of the two-- the one that didn't already know he was a pig-- is one hell of a lot more culpable than the other one.