Monday, March 15, 2004

Adventures in Political Posturing
John Kerry said recently that he's spoken with some foreign leaders who want him to win in November and change the course of U.S. foreign policy. Colin Powell criticized him for his statements yesterday, and today, White House spokesman Scott "Ari" McClellan said if Kerry refuses to name names, then he's probably "making it up."

This is an example of political posturing that leaves one in awe of its perfect emptiness. Two facts are in evidence: First, there are certainly leaders who would prefer to see regime change in the United States--and not just in countries that have historically hated our guts, but also in places that we considered friendly up to the moment a year ago when they refused to be bullied into joining the Iraq adventure. Not that any of these leaders are going to stand up and admit how they feel, of course. Why make yourself a candidate to be Haitied or Venezuela'd if Bush wins in November? Second, Kerry isn't going to say who those leaders are, even under torture--which makes McClellan's statement into an accusation that Kerry is lying. Which, of course, McClellan would never come right out and do, being the upstanding Republican tool that he is.

Although making his statement in the first place probably won't go down as the brightest moment of Kerry's campaign, it won't decide the election either. Best to enjoy the kerfuffle for the next 12 hours as an example of the kind of playground-style pissing match you hope your children will grow up to avoid.

Babes in the wood: It's widely understood that the Dean campaign set the state of the art for Internet campaigning, and that other Democrats quickly got on board to offer their supporters the same kinds of tools for learning about the candidate and spreading the word. The Bush/Cheney campaign found itself playing catch-up last year. Its site was pretty old-school for quite a while, although they've since gotten with the zeitgeist--sort of. Recently, somebody at the campaign got the idea of putting up a page that allowed users to generate custom Bush/Cheney posters that would automatically convert to PDF files for printing and distribution. They even put in a function that allowed you to put the text of your choice on your poster. Apparently it didn't dawn on anybody how much mischief this could be put to--but it dawned on the people at Wonkette and Daily Kos last week. After Bush opponents started creating posters with unauthorized sentiments, the add-your-own text function was taken down--although some of the finished posters live on.

(User note: The Bush/Cheney '04 site is apparently using some fairly sophisticated tracking procedures on visitors, so if you don't want Big Brother to know where else you go on the web, delete cookies from your browser after visiting. Although you could have some fun with it, I suppose, by following your trip to the Bush site with stops at sites devoted to porn and Satanism, for example. Or you could click Wonkette's post about the newly minted list of words no longer acceptable on South Park. Mouse over the link if you dare, but don't click it at work. It definitely ain't safe--but it's damn funny.)

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