The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Thursday, July 29, 2004  

Together With Media Miscellany
July 29, 2004

It’s Not Getting Better in Florida
I’ve started to wonder whether voters have a better chance of having their choices accurately counted in Guatemala or Venezuela than they do in Flordia. Glenda Hood: the new and unimproved Katherine Harris.

Mixed News From Jersey
Fairleigh Dickinson University yesterday released a poll showing Sen. John F. Kerry leading President George W. Bush by only two points in New Jersey (an important state: 15 electoral votes: 45 percent to 43 percent, with 10 percent undecided. (Poll specs: conducted July 20 to 26 of 834 registered voters; margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points).

The good news is that neither party has yet put much effort in to New Jersey, in no small measure because of the state’s extremely late, and therefore irrelevant, primary date (June 8). The better news, or that which can make Kerry-Edwards supporters optimistic, is that former Vice President Al Gore whipped the knickers off now President Bush by 17 percentage points.

On the Matter of “Undecided” Voters
With respect to the strange, almost inexplicable phenomenon known as “undecided” voters, take a look at Jill Porter’s column in today’s Philadelphia Daily News, “How Odd to be an Undecided.” Pull quote:

It boggles my mind that in the midst of the most polarized campaign in memory, with starkly defined issues and candidates who are opposites, some people can't make up their minds.

How can that be? Do these people get stumped at the newsstand about whether to buy the National Enquirer or The Wall Street Journal?

Vacillate in the shoe store between Birkenstock sandals or Blahnik spikes?

Linger at the liquor store over the competing virtues of grain alcohol or Cristal champagne?

Because this election is not about nuance, folks. It's not about gradations in policy. It's not clouded with areas of gray.

From tax cuts to stem-cell research, the camps are as well defined as a two-lane road with a yellow stripe down the middle.

Not to mention that rancor runs so high that both sides see the other's candidate not as the lesser of two evils but as the incarnation of evil himself. […]

I can’t help but think that in this election, the undecideds are the lunatic fringe.

It’s a clever piece, and one that’s particularly interesting to me because while I know several Bush-backers, not a single person has told me he or she is undecided.

An Op-Ed Worth Reading
From Theodore C. Sorenson, a speechwriter to former President John F. Kennedy, writing in today’s New York Times (“Meant Well, Messed Up”): “Our nation cannot go on like this -- squandering brave young lives and hundreds of billions of dollars on unnecessary war, losing old friends and creating new enemies, abandoning the middle class while making the rich richer and saddling our children with unsustainable debt and pollution. The Kerry-Edwards administration, unlike the Cheney-Bush agenda, will invest in jobs, health care and education, not Halliburton and other corporate cronies. We will practice transparency, not evasion. When trouble comes, we will find solutions, not scapegoats. We will protect our borders without bending our Constitution.”

Another Op-Ed Worth Reading
From Douglas Pike, a speechwriter for the late Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), writing in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (“Kerry Needs Style as Much as Substance”): “Good: Dropped Gs, Bad: Oui, oui!; Good: Mekong Delta, Bad: Mozambique; Good: Two wonderful daughters, Bad: Two rich wives; Good: Swift boat, Bad: Switzerland; Good: Forgetaboutit, Bad: On the other hand; Good: 100,000 more cops, Bad: Protesters’ rights; Good: I will never..., Bad: I shan’t...; Good: Let’s roll, Bad: Let America be America again; Good: Bring it on, Bad: Shove it.

[Note: Additional items may be posted to “Political Notes” after initial publication but only on the day of publication, excluding post-publication addenda. Such items, when posted, are designated by an asterisk.]

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