Review:My Take on the Kerry Acceptance Speech

2004-07-30 00:00:00

Last night I wrote a critical analysis of Kerry’s speech, but it was mostly focused on its style and delivery. After some reflection, I realized just how bad it was in content, especially concerning foreign policy issues.

1. There was no discussion of the Israel-Palestine issue, no discussion of Israel at all.
2. There was no discussion of the Iranian nuclear arms program.
3. There was no discussion of the North Korean nuclear arms program.
4. There was no discussion of how we will fight the war on terror other than saying we will meet every attack.
5. There was no discussion of how we prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into the hands of terrorists.
6. There was no discussion of America’s role or objective in the world.

Instead all Kerry mentioned was his objective to free ourselves of our dependence on the Saudi Royal Family. (Once again, appealing to the Michael Moore wing of his party.)

At best, it was the speech of an isolationist liberal. The more I think of Kerry’s speech, the more contented I am.

-- Alexander K. McClure

Review:More fun with consumer sentiment data

2004-07-30 00:00:00

Well, judging by the paltry number of responses in the post, from earlier today, that discusses the stunning correlation between consumer sentiment and a President’s chances of winning re-election or a successive term, I guess many people either are speechless or they think (or still think, as the case may be) that I’m smoking something funny.

Okay, fair enough.

Maybe if I bring Bill Clinton directly into the discussion it will get people motivated to talk.

Check this out:

Jan. - 89.3 - 103.8
Feb. - 88.5 - 94.4
Mar. - 93.7 - 95.8
April - 92.7 - 94.2
May - 89.4 - 90.2
June - 92.4 - 95.6
July - 94.7 - 96.7

Those are readings on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan, folks. The first set of numbers, in the middle column, are from 1996. The numbers immediately to the right of those are from this year.

Note: See here (Jan. and Feb., 2004); and here (March and April, 2004); and here (May 2004); and here (June and July, 2004); and then go here (1996).

-- Jayson

Review:Maybe Bravery Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

2004-07-30 00:00:00

I have heard a lot about John Kerry’s bravery in Vietnam. A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show today pointed out that there has not been any mention of Bush’s bravery. In spite of accusations that Bush went to war for political reasons, Democrats and media pundits alike know that even when the public opinion polls showed support for the war, Iraq was a huge political gamble for Bush. The potential for massive casualties from house-to-house urban warfare, an outbreak of civil war, burning oil wells, an erupting Arab street and many other possible outcomes was huge and very real. Bush knew when he went into Iraq that he would be risking his presidency and sacrificing the astronomical approval ratings he enjoyed in the post 9/11 days. He knew that the action would invite intense criticism of every aspect of the decision and that he would be, as his father was by Saddam Hussein, a marked man for the rest of his life.

I guess I can understand why Democrats like to compare the bravery of Kerry in a combat zone in Vietnam to that of George W. Bush serving in the Air National Guard in Texas. (Although I personally would never volunteer to fly a jet fighter–it does require a brave soul.) I would like to hear the Bush campaign talk about Kerry’s lack of bravery in his career in the Senate and even in his past year of campaigning when it comes to taking a stand on the issue of the war. We are hearing about how he flip-flopped on the issue, but nothing about the lack of bravery he displayed by declining to take a principled stand and stick to it. Rather,in almost every instance, Kerry seems to have chosen the politically advantageous thing to do. I would like to hear Bush’s campaign extol his bravery in the decisions he has made in the past 3 years. But those who are truly brave and heroic are not prone to tooting their own horns. That alone says volumes about one of the differences between the two men running.

-- Lorie Byrd

Review:New Polls in Alabama, Iowa, and West Virginia

2004-07-30 00:00:00

A new American Research Group poll in Iowa confirms what the Des Moines Register poll reported last weekend.  Kerry and Bush are tied 47%-47%. 

A new American Research Group poll in West Virginia indicates that Kerry has a slight lead 48% to 44%.  However, my guess is that after a month of painting Kerry as an out of touch liberal, Bush will pull ahead in the state.

Finally, a new poll in Alabama shows President Bush ahead 56% to 34%.  Incredibly, the undecided vote is largely  composed of African-Americans.  Alabama Republicans should try to persuade these voters.  It would DESTROY the Democratic Party in the South if Republicans could win 20% of the African-American vote in states like Alabama, Louisiana, etc. 

-- Alexander K. McClure

Review:Consumer Sentiment Alert!!!

2004-07-30 00:00:00

So, the latest economic-oriented meme that appears to have developed on the far left (and, ironically, is a recurring lament among the nervous right) is that it makes no difference, at all, what the actual economic numbers might be; that “perception” is the only relevant criterion. And I’m hearing similar things from the “libertarian” types, who for some reason are real interested in the possibility of having “divided government” yet again. Strange. You know, I never heard that refrain when our government was not divided, but it was the GOP on the outside looking in.

Anyway, I’ll play along: facts don’t matter a lick, it’s all perception. Fair enough.

Well, what better way is there of assessing the economic perceptions of mainstream Americans than a professional survey of consumer sentiment?

So, this morning, I asked myself: “Jay, is there a correlation between Consumer Sentiment Indices during a Presidential election year and the results of the election?”

August 1956*

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 99.9.
Result: Ike wins his re-election bid . . . by a landslide.

August 1964

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 100.6.
Result: LBJ wins a successive term . . . by a landslide.

August 1972

University of Michigan’s Index ofConsumer Sentiment = 95.2.
Result: Tricky Dick wins his re-election bid . . . by a landslide.

August 1976

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 89.7.
Result: Ford very narrowly loses his bid to obtain a political office larger than a Congressional District.

July 1980

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 62.3.
Result: Carter loses his re-election bid . . . by a landslide.

July 1984

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 96.6.
Result: Reagan wins his re-election bid . . . by a landslide.

July 1992

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 76.6.
Result: Bush 41 loses his re-election bid . . . by an electoral vote landslide. Oddly enough, however, 57 percent of the electorate votes against the winning candidate.

July 1996

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 94.7.
Result: Saint Bill wins his re-election bid . . . by a landslide in the Electoral College.

I think I’m detecting a pattern here, but, then again, maybe that’s just me.

July 2004

University of Michigan’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 96.7.
Hmm. That’s higher than the level of consumer confidence that Clinton and Reagan enjoyed, at this exact same point in their respective re-election cycles. And it’s also higher than the level of consumer sentiment enjoyed by Nixon, at virtually the same point in his 49-state re-election cycle.

And the Conference Board’s Index of Consumer Sentiment = 106.1.
That represents a two-year high.

Result: TBA, November 2, 2004.

Note: *Prior to 1978, the University of Michigan only published their sentiment readings either three times per year or quarterly. So, the data from August, in the salient years, is the best data we have, temporally speaking.

P.S. - The U of M’s historical data can be obtained here.

-- Jayson

Review:The Missing Senate Years

2004-07-30 00:00:00

I think that omitting an entire two decades of Senate votes by Kerry in his speech last night might have helped him in the short run, but as I stated earlier, not only can Bush/Cheney now point out the record of votes Kerry didn’t take the opportunity to explain or defend, but they can show demonstrably (minutes allocated in Edwards and Kerry speeches) that Kerry is trying to hide his Senate record. CrushKerry has already put up a breakdown of what was and wasn’t included in the speech:

Birth-1966: 6 mentions - Born in the “West Wing", a Cub Scout; Biking in East Berlin; Watching soldiers in Germany; seeing people live difft lives in the same cityhearing JFK’s call to service
1966-1969 (Vietnam): 5 mentions - carrying an M-16; defended country as a young man; fighting with his “band of brothers; walking patrol in a dangerous place; writing letters home
1969-1976 (Anti War Activist): 0 mentions
1976-1979 (Prosecutor): 3 mentions: protected victims rights; saw kids abandoned; made prosecuting violence against women a priority
1983-1985 (Dukakis Lieut. Gov.): 0 mentions
1985-2004 (Senate): 3 mentions - put 100K cops on the street (a lie); working for a balanced budget (another lie); working with McCain on POW’s.

-- Lorie Byrd

Review:The Worst Line

2004-07-30 00:00:00

Click Comments and nominate the worst line from John Kerry’s acceptance speech.

I choose:

On one occasion, I rode my bike into Soviet East Berlin. And when I proudly told my dad, he promptly grounded me.
It’s such a pointless, narcissistic line that I wonder what possible rationale Kerry used to include it in his speech. The TV cameras showed the audience staring blankly when Kerry said it.

-- PoliPundit

Review:First Person

2004-07-30 00:00:00

Kerry’s speech was impossible to sit through. Most viewers would have dropped out after the first 5-15 minutes.

I watched the thing again on my TiVo to figure out why it was so atrociously boring. One reason seems to be Kerry’s overflowing use of the word “I,” one of the surest way to make an audience stop caring.

-- PoliPundit

Review:3.0 percent and 4.5 percent

2004-07-30 00:00:00

GDP growth in the first quarter of this year = 4.5 percent.  (Yes, Virginia, it was revised . . . upwards!)

Preliminary GDP growth estimate for Q2 of this year = 3.0 percent.

Average annual rate of GDP growth during Clinton’s first term = 3.22 percent.

Median quarterly rate of GDP growth during Clinton’s first term = 3.15 percent.

We report, you decide.

Note: Regarding the data from 1993-1996, the links provided above seem to be acting out.  You also can peruse this table for those numbers.

UPDATE: You know, it just dawned on me that I forgot to say something about the drop in reported GDP growth from Q1 of this year to Q2.  Yep, I’m sure the nervous right and the brain dead left both are preoccupied with the “slowing economy," huh?  Um, GDP does not go onwards and upwards in a nice, straight line.  It fluctuates.  It can rise sharply one quarter, but then plunge in the very next one.  It can fall sharply in one quarter, but then soar the following one.  And not only can GDP do that, it actually does it . . . all the time. 

Here’s some more data to chew on:

The largest sequential decrease in quarterly GDP growth during Clinton’s first term was 77 percent (!) (Q4-1994 - Q1-1995).  The second largest such decrease was 56 percent (Q2-1994 - Q3-1994).  The next largest decrease was 49 percent (Q2-1996 - Q3-1996). 

-- Jayson

Review:Review of the Day

2004-07-30 00:00:00

“It sounds like it was written by a committee. The funny irony is that Kerry is a committee of one.”

– Jonah Goldberg on John Kerry’s speech last night.

-- PoliPundit