Interview with John Kerry

MenStyle.com has an interview with John Kerry. Here’s a portion:

Q: You served honorably in Vietnam. The men with whom you served were onstage with you when you accepted your party’s nomination. So how did the Republicans paint you as an enemy of the soldier?
A: Because they spent a huge amount of money lying. And we thought the truth was sufficiently out through the free media. That was one of the mistakes. You needed to put an enormous amount of money behind the truth to counter every lie. And there wasn’t sufficient . . . it wasn’t sufficient.

Q: But you were there in Vietnam. You held a gun.
A: Trust me, I know. But again, everybody believed that the truth was out there. The data indicated that it was. The data was wrong. And therefore, it was a mistake. It would never happen again, if I ever did anything again, I can assure you.

Q: I canvassed friends, and what I heard most was “Please tell me he’s not going to run again.”
A: You know, different people have different feelings. Some people react and say, “Oh, you lost. Why try again?” Well, John McCain ran and lost, and he’s trying again. Ronald Reagan ran four times. Richard Nixon lost the presidency, then ran for governor, lost the governorship, and then six years later, he was president. For six months in ’03, everything I read said I was dead. I felt I could win and would win, and I won the nomination. And I came within a hair of beating a wartime president with a pretty decent economy and a 50 percent approval rating. I think that’s a campaign to be proud of, not defensive about.

Q: You served honorably in Vietnam. The men with whom you served were onstage with you when you accepted your party’s nomination. So how did the Republicans paint you as an enemy of the soldier?
A: Because they spent a huge amount of money lying. And we thought the truth was sufficiently out through the free media. That was one of the mistakes. You needed to put an enormous amount of money behind the truth to counter every lie. And there wasn’t sufficient . . . it wasn’t sufficient.

Q: But you were there in Vietnam. You held a gun.
A: Trust me, I know. But again, everybody believed that the truth was out there. The data indicated that it was. The data was wrong. And therefore, it was a mistake. It would never happen again, if I ever did anything again, I can assure you. (more…)

Frank Rich on Truthiness in the 2006 Elections

Frank Rich sees this election as confusing truth and fantasy:

The 2002 midterms were ridiculed as the “Seinfeld” election — about nothing — and 2006 often does seem like the “Colbert” election, so suffused is it with unreality, or what Mr. Colbert calls “truthiness.” Or perhaps the “Borat” election, after the character created by Mr. Colbert’s equally popular British counterpart, Sacha Baron Cohen, whose mockumentary about the American travels of a crude fictional TV reporter from Kazakhstan opened to great acclaim this weekend. Like both these comedians, our politicians and their media surrogates have been going to extremes this year to blur the difference between truth and truthiness, all the better to confuse the audience.

Rich looks at “the president’s down-to-the-wire effort to brand his party as the defender of “traditional” marriage even as the same-sex scandals of conservative leaders on and off Capitol Hill make “La Cage aux Folles” look like “The Sound of Music.” Any discussion of reality versus fantasy would inevitably lead back to Iraq:

And always, always there’s the false reality imposed on Iraq: “Absolutely, we’re winning!” in the president’s recent formulation. After all this time, you’d think the Iraq fictions wouldn’t work anymore. The overwhelming majority of Americans now know that we were conned into this mess in the first place by two fake story lines manufactured by the White House, a connection between 9/11 and Saddam and an imminent threat of nuclear Armageddon. Both were trotted out in our last midterm campaign to rush a feckless Congress into voting for a war authorization before Election Day. As the administration pulls the same ploy four years later, this time to keep the fiasco going, you have to wonder if it can get away with lying once more.

Given the polls, I would have said no, but last week’s John Kerry farce gives me pause. Whatever lame joke or snide remark the senator was trying to impart, it was no more relevant to the reality unfolding in Iraq than the sex scenes in Jim Webb’s novels. But as the White House ingeniously inflated a molehill by a noncandidate into a mountain of fake news, real news from Iraq was often downplayed or ignored entirely. It was a chilling example of how even now a skit ginned up by the administration screenwriters can dwarf and obliterate reality in our media culture.

On the same day Mr. Kerry blundered, the United States suffered a palpable and major defeat in Iraq. The Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, once again doing the bidding of the anti-American leader Moktada al-Sadr, somehow coerced American forces into dismantling their cordon of Sadr City, where they were searching for a kidnapped soldier. As the melodramatic debates over how much Mr. Kerry should apologize dragged on longer, still more real news got short shrift: the October death toll for Americans in Iraq was the highest in nearly two years. Some 90 percent of the dead were enlisted men and nearly a third were on extended tours of duty or their second or third tours. Their average age was 24.

When the premises for war were being sold four years ago, you could turn to the fake news of Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” to find the skepticism that might poke holes in the propaganda. Four years later, the press is much chastened by its failure to do its job back then, but not all of the press. While both Mr. Stewart and Mr. Colbert made sport of the media’s overkill on the Kerry story, their counterparts in “real” television news, especially but not exclusively on cable, flogged it incessantly. Only after The New York Times uncovered a classified Pentagon chart documenting Iraq’s rapid descent into chaos did reality begin to intrude on the contrived contretemps posed by another tone-deaf flub from a former presidential candidate not even on the ballot.

In retrospect, the defining moment of the 2006 campaign may well have been back in April, when Mr. Colbert appeared at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. Call it a cultural primary. His performance was judged a bomb by the Washington press corps, which yukked it up instead for a Bush impersonator who joined the president in a benign sketch commissioned by the White House. But millions of Americans watching C-Span and the Web did get Mr. Colbert’s routine. They recognized that the Beltway establishment sitting stone-faced in his audience was the butt of his jokes, especially the very news media that had parroted Bush administration fictions leading America into the quagmire of Iraq.

Frank Rich includes a link to the video of Colbert’s appearance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in his column. I have also  placed the  transcript below the fold. (more…)

Wal-Mart and Appletinis

Much has been said about Wal-Mart’s effects on local business. Here’s another effect of Wal-Mart’s tremendous influence on local governments which we might not have expected. It is also another example of how the interests of Main Street Republicans conflict with those of the religious right:

While much of America put Prohibition to rest 73 years ago, large parts of the South have remained strictly off-limits to alcohol sales.

But local and national business interests that stand to profit from the sale of alcohol, including real estate developers, grocery chains, restaurant groups and Wal-Mart, are combining their political and financial muscle to try to persuade hundreds of dry towns and counties to go wet. In the process, they are changing the face of the once staunchly prohibitionist Bible Belt.

Since 2002, business groups have spent upwards of $15 million on campaigns, including professional lobbyists, to persuade voters in some 200 dry towns and 25 dry counties in six Southern states to legalize alcohol sales in stores and restaurants.

Wal-Mart has financed dozens of local elections, contributing from $5,000 to $20,000 a campaign, said Tim Reeves of Beverage Election Specialists, which supports local alcohol referendums.

All I can say about this is, how abut an Appletini? It seems as good a time as any to look back at the old Appletini Blogging from The Democratic Daily, under the fold.

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