Dispatches > The Buzz


Buzz from online journals

Issue: "John Kerry's dream," March 13, 2004

A preview of the veep stakes

The newest hobby among bloggers is trying to predict who John Kerry's running mate will be. Noam Scheiber (tnr.com/etc.mhtml) doesn't put much stock in the rumors of a Kerry-Edwards feud: "Who cares whether or not John Kerry personally likes John Edwards, or if he thinks Edwards has taken some cheap shots at him during the campaign? ... Yes, yes, everyone loved that great Clinton-Gore chemistry in 1992. But did Reagan like Bush Sr.? Did Kennedy like Johnson? Did Eisenhower like Nixon? ... The bottom line is that Kerry is going to pick Edwards if he thinks he'd give him the biggest boost electorally. And not if he thinks there's someone out there who'd give him an even bigger boost."

For a long-shot proposal, visit Eric Alterman (altercation.msnbc.com): "[The] ideal choice-even including Edwards-would be John McCain. Can you imagine? McCain's recent voting record is closer to Kerry's than to his party's leadership and the man does hate Bush's guts. It would be an enormous roll of the dice for both men but extreme times call for extreme measures." Wonkette (wonkette.com) points out suspicious similarities between Sen. Kerry's and Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh's websites: "Is Evan Bayh Kerry's first choice for veep? Upside: He's a red stater, he's personable, he's handsome, and he's not John Edwards. Downside: Also not the son of a mill worker."

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Meanwhile, Democrat Mickey Kaus (kausfiles.com) loathes John Kerry and says he is worried about not only Sen. Kerry losing but Sen. Kerry winning: "When President Kerry gets into trouble-when his first big proposals stall in Congress, when malaise or scandal arrives-he won't necessarily have the ability to go to the public and dig himself out. He'll be through, over. Jimmy Carter took several years to reach that point.... It's not inconceivable, I think, that Kerry could turn into a Carter after several months.... Four years is a long time."

Paper pushers

Bloggers were complaining last week about electronic voting machines. B. Preston of the Junk Yard Blog (junkyardblog.trans finitum.net/) wrote about his electronic experience: "The problem is, you get no paper record of how you voted. No receipt comes out, so you can't walk away with anything in your hands that shows how or even whether you actually voted. And I couldn't see any security mechanism that would stop poll workers from casting votes for absentees when no one is around-well, other than the fact that some are supposed to be Republicans and some are supposed to be Democrats and therefore they're supposed to serve as a check on each other. But what if there is a strong third-party challenge? It's not unthinkable that the two major parties could collude and block the third party using these electronic machines and their lack of verifiable output. It's very disturbing. What if the machine misregistered my votes? I have no way of detecting error, and therefore no recourse."

Glenn Reynolds (instapundit .com) provided several reader e-mails detailing similar unsettling stories: "My husband and I went to vote this morning at 7 a.m. in Carlsbad, Calif. (San Diego County), and the new and improved *cough* electronic voting system wouldn't boot up. I went back twice and at 8 a.m., they still weren't working. Apparently it's a sporadic problem county wide. When voter turnout is so low already, forcing people to try and come back multiple times is a huge problem. I miss my paper ballot."

Space insurance

Don't think that Gregg Easterbrook (tnr.com/easterbrook .mhtml) never has anything good to say about NASA. In his mind, all it needs is the right mission: "NASA has been floundering around without a vision.... At the same time our world has no security of any kind against rocks and comets falling from the heavens-a small but very real risk to kill huge numbers of people. Why not put NASA on this problem and give the space agency a meaningful task?" After describing the great asteroid and meteor strikes of history, Mr. Easterbrook tells us why we should be concerned with such an unlikely occurrence: "Of course, if NASA did invest years and billions in an asteroid defense, the system might never be used, causing detractors to rail that the money had been 'wasted.' But the ideal outcome for all forms of insurance is that your money is wasted. Every time I send in a payment on my life insurance, I think, 'I hope this money is completely wasted.' The same would be true for space-rocks protection."


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