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« The Moral Equivalent Of A Space Program | Main | More On Stealth Killer Comets »

Another Pig In A Poke

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows who I'm going to vote for, and it's not just because of his space policy. I'm still hopeful that Bush will win, but I fear a Kerry presidency for reasons that I've heard few discuss. Some have said that a Kerry presidency will be similar to the Carter presidency, because he'll have no mandate other than to not be George Bush. While I think that's true, I fear that a Kerry presidency will be unlike Carter's in one very important way, and more like Bill Clinton's, thanks to the extreme bias of the MSM.

Say whatever you will about Jimmy Carter (and there are plenty of uncomplimentary things to say), he wasn't corrupt, and he had no skeletons in his closet. Bill Clinton's presidency, by contrast, was wracked with scandal, and it wasn't just because of fabrications by the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. While not every charge flung at him was true, many were, and he truly was the most corrupt president since Harding, and perhaps in US history. That he was came as no surprise to those who had observed him as Attorney General and Governor of Arkansas. The Whitewater problems were no secret before the 1992 election, nor were his dalliances, except to most of the public. While many of his scandals were for things that occurred during his administration, his Arkansas record should have been adequate to keep him out of national office, had it been known.

Thus, the tragic thing about the Clinton presidency is that it didn't have to happen, and we could have been spared all of the scandals, including Lewinsky, had there been proper coverage and investigation of him before the election. In fact, the media could have even gotten a different Democrat president, had they simply properly aired the laundry during the primaries. But they fell in love with Bill Clinton, and as we all know, love is blind. The problem, of course, is that when the major media wear blinders, the rest of us don't get the view, either, and that was particularly the case in 1992, when the web had just been invented, and the only people using the internet were nerds.

As Ed Driscoll and the Powerpoint guys point out here and here (and others have as well), they really are putting a cocoon around Senator Kerry that is astounding and dismaying.

I'm not saying that a President Kerry will be a crook (though he certainly has character issues, in his continual willingness to lie about his Vietnam record, and other things). His problem is not corruption in the sense that he will do anything for campaign contributions, or engage in shady business deals for personal gain. The senator has figured out a more legal way to raise money--by marrying it. But I am saying that because much of the media refused to take the Swift Boat Vets seriously, because they continue to ignore his fantasy Cambodia adventures, his unwillingness to release his military records, his potential less-than-honorable discharge, his behavior after the war, and in fact become part of his auto-cycle spin machine when anyone else mentions these things, the American people are once more forced to buy a pig in a poke (though nowhere near as much of a pig as Bill Clinton was and remains).

And those stories will come out (indeed they already have--they just haven't fully penetrated through to the public, or been fully fleshed out). If John Kerry is elected, this stuff is not going to go away. There will be at least four years for it all to seep out, particularly as the current trends continue and more people get their news from the web, and fewer from newspapers and television network news. The response will be similar to that of the Clintons', of course. "It's old news." "It's just lies by the right wing."

But once again, we will have a president in the White House that will give great cause for buyer's remorse, and once again, we'll have a continuing issue on which to divide the electorate that doesn't directly relate to performance in office, but says a lot about the character of the man who holds it, and whether or not he can be trusted. He sold himself as a war hero, and as the books and stories come out that he was oversold on that basis, a lot of people are going to feel cheated, and whatever legitimacy he gets from whatever the electoral results are will evaporate.

I just hope that, if the MSM manages to drag the carcass of this rotting campaign across the goal line, thanks to the revolution of the new media, it's the last election in which they'll be able to do so.

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 01, 2004 03:17 PM
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Over at BeldarBlog a commenter "ed" makes the interesting argument that the low quality of recent Democratic leaders is the result of uncritical MSM support for them.

Essentially, it's a Darwinian argument. The MSM coddles Democratic candidates and attacks Republican candidates. Hence, after natural selection does it thing, we end up with unusually high-quality Republican candidates with very few skeletons in the closet, and unusually low-quality Democratic candidates with plenty of unpleasant surprises in store for us.

To make a hideous but vivid analogy, the MSM makes heroic efforts to save infant Democratic campaigns with severe birth defects, while culling the Republican nursery mercilessly. Not surprisingly, the campaigns that survive to adulthood are, in the case of the Democrats, much more likely to be brain-damaged.

James Taranto makes a similar point with his "Roe effect." The bottom line might be that the situation is ultimately self-correcting, and that the more a given slice of the media morphs into uncritical Democratic shills, the faster both they and their proteges will flame out.

Posted by Carl Pham at November 1, 2004 01:28 PM

You're a strange guy Rand, you just summed up all the reasons why you should vote for Kerry. If Bush is elected there won't be any scandal to blog about and life will be boring as hell. Or are you allready going to start blogging about the 2008 campaign when Hillary Clinton will be a canditate?

Posted by Problem at November 1, 2004 01:43 PM

No matter who wins, the big loser of the campaign is the Old Media. This is their swansong, and I hope it is short and cut off with quickly. An outstanding analysis, BTW!

Posted by Laughing Wolf at November 1, 2004 05:29 PM

Problem, you forget that this is primarily to be a space, not a political, blog.

Admittedly, there hasn't been a lot of news on the space front lately...

Posted by Rick C at November 1, 2004 06:38 PM

Rand, you really are full of it. What you wrote is as usual partisan garbage that reflects nothing other than your own prejudices about who you are not voting for. Your so called new media is no different to most of the tabloid press. One fact is enough to make anything else fly. Who cares if you make the rest up from there. You read it elsewhere on some other new media site so it must be right. And of course your so called new media is exempt from actually checking any facts. Oh that's right.... you already know the truth....

Posted by Partisan Joe at November 1, 2004 07:03 PM

Gee, "Partisan Joe."

What a compelling argument.

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 1, 2004 07:13 PM

Problem, you forget that this is primarily to be a space, not a political, blog.

If you believe that, then you don't understand the purpose of this blog. It's my blog, about whatever I choose to write whenever I choose to write about it. If people have gotten the impression that it's purely a space blog, or intended to be that, they haven't been reading it long enough...

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 1, 2004 07:15 PM

Actually, if Kerry wins, Daily Kos and the folks who only own cell phones will be the reason.

MSM? MSM is dead already. The Democrat(ic) ground game ignored the MSM. Not "Democrat" by the way which is a Luntz smear term. ;-)

= = =

Big picture, Rand I agree strongly with about 1/3 of your positions, mostly on getting private money into space exploration although we differ on how to do that.

About 1/3 of the time, its hard to say - - I mean come on Rand a dedicated evolutionist supporting the creationist supported Bush?

Anecdotally, how many Young Earth Creationists will be voting for Kerry? 1% 2% And you seek to empower such people.

Finally, about 1/3 of the time I think you are lost in space already or maybe you just have been reading too much Ayn Rand. . . ;-)

Either way, tomorrow, peace. And Ad Astra!

Posted by Bill White at November 1, 2004 08:02 PM

PS - - Mars First!


Posted by at November 1, 2004 08:04 PM

You bloggers are full of it aren't you. Get a grip. When you break some news then you can gloat and brag. All I can see here is a lot of blowhard verbosity based on wildly unreliable hearsay, conjecture, speculation and, in general, bullshit.

Posted by Billy Bloggs at November 1, 2004 09:23 PM

Bill White:

Although Rand says there is much he doesn't like about Bush, I suspect I like Bush much less than he does. Having said that, I still prefer him over Kerry. I would like another realistic choice - which is true in most elections, but especially now. However, that doesn't change the available choices.

Incidentally, what is an "evolutionist"?

Posted by VR at November 2, 2004 12:02 AM

Billy: Apparently you didn't pay attention to the story of the fake Bush memos. Although it actually started with a commenter, it gained ground because of blogs. That was a national story.

The MSM isn't dead, but it will have to adapt to the fact that people are watching and can share their observations far more easily than they used to. Stories that the MSM doesn't want to cover used to just die, but that isn't so likely to happen today. Ombudsmen are supposed to keep newspapers honest, but all too often share the same biases as the newspeople they are supposed to be watching. This is the first election where the blog effect became a big factor. It won't be so easy for newspeople to hide their bias in the future (whatever that bias may be).

Posted by VR at November 2, 2004 12:21 AM

Okay, I admit I went overboard with the Kos comment. My bad. I should have said Jon Stewart.

The #1 watched "news" program in America!

Posted by Bill White at November 2, 2004 08:37 AM

Rand, if you have to put a disclaimer at the top of your blog telling people it's not all about space, then it's reasonable for people to assume that's your focus.

Posted by Rick C at November 2, 2004 12:18 PM

Ummmm...if I put a disclaimer at the top of my blog that says it's not all about space it means that it's...not all about space.

Posted by Rand Simberg at November 2, 2004 12:20 PM

I am continually amazed at people like Bill White and Partisan Joe who think bloggers, and those of us who read them, fabricated Dan Rathers memo problems or Kerry's voting record and flip-flopping.

Guys the bloggers didn't create that stuff they simply disseminated it, when MSM WOULD NOT.

You can't blame mommy when you get caught with your hand in the cookie jar.

Posted by Steve at November 2, 2004 01:26 PM

I never said all about space, Rand. I said primarily about space. Quit with the strawmen. :)

Posted by Rick C at November 2, 2004 02:09 PM

Yeah! What's with all this posting about the candidates for President a week before the election? Why don't you post something important about space, such as who would. . .set the best. . .national. . .space. . .policy. . .um. . .oops. . .

Posted by Carl Pham at November 2, 2004 02:38 PM

Carl, Rand's already done that topic. :)

Posted by Rick C at November 2, 2004 08:17 PM

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