The Rittenhouse Review

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

Monday, August 02, 2004  

Together With Media Miscellany
August 2, 2004

Put a Button In It
Have some fun: Wear a Kerry button as you go about your errands, and drive a few Republicans crazy, including the whack job on Bainbridge Street, Philadelphia, this afternoon who screamed to me, with a crooked face and remarkable ignorance: “Your man’s got no experience in government!” On the flip side, there were the two thirty-something women in Washington Square who saw the button and yelled out “Go Kerry!”

Do a little educating: Wear a Hoeffel button. If anyone asks, take a few minutes to explain that this year Pennsylvanians have a real chance to send an outstanding Democrat to the U.S. Senate.

Watch Barack Obama
I’ve been reading about U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, for a while now, and have been pleased to see him receiving the coverage he deserves, including lengthy profiles in the New Yorker and the New Republic.

Like many others, I was extremely impressed by Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention, a speech that has resulted in added visibility, including “An Appeal Beyond Race,” by Scott L. Malcomson in Sunday’s New York Times, and Victor Navasky in the August 16 issue (posted July 29) of The Nation (“The Real Story in Boston”): “So maybe the story behind the story of this convention has to do with the next generation after all. And I haven’t even mentioned Barack Obama, the U.S. Senate candidate from Illinois who electrified the convention Tuesday night (and whom Studs Terkel thinks may one day be President).”

That wouldn’t surprise me one bit.

It’s All in the Details
Today President George W. Bush said he supports creating a high-level position, that of “national intelligence director,” all but bragging that he has a agreed to a principal recommendation included in the conclusions of the 9/11 commission’s report.

Let’s hope the media mouthpieces point out that the commission’s report called for the NID to be a cabinet level post, a notion the president specifically has rejected, and with his typical eloquence: “I don’t think the person should be a member of my Cabinet. I will hire the person and I can fire the person. I don’t think that the office should be in the White House, however, I think it should be a stand-alone group to better coordinate.”

And let’s hope the Sam and Susie Stenos on the campaign beat can recall so simple a fact as that Sen. John F. Kerry advocated the consolidation of major intelligence functions more than a year ago, and that for three years has been pushing for more aggressive anti-terrorism funding for critical, practical measures such as improved security at ports (fairly obvious, one would think).

Kerry Leads Bush in New Poll
Polls are yawners, particularly at this time of year, but the latest one I’ve seen, released just this afternoon by the Washington Post and ABC, shows Sen. Kerry ahead of the president among both registered voters and likely voters: “The new poll shows Kerry now claims the support of 50 percent of all registered voters, compared with 44 percent for Bush, with independent candidate Ralph Nader at 2 percent. . . . Among those most likely to vote, the race is tighter: Kerry holds a 2-point advantage over Bush in the current poll.”

Even more important, I think, at least at this early stage: “The survey also suggests that perceptions of Kerry as a dour pessimist may have eased somewhat. He is now viewed more favorably than Bush by the public.” [Emphasis added.]

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