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The LiberalOasis Blog
The daily view from the oasis

August 6, 2004 PERMALINK
Will The Oil Men Be Done In By Oil?
(posted Aug. 5 11:30 PM ET)

Oil prices jumped to more than $44 a barrel yesterday, with some analysts saying $50 is possible.

On ABC's World News Tonight, in its top story, one energy analyst said:

We are one disruption away from shortages...That's what this market is telling us. This is why we are at an all-time high right now.

One does not wish for shortages, as it is the poor and middle-classes that would bear the brunt.

At the same time, it would be deliciously ironic for the oil-soaked Bush Administration to be turned out in part because they were incompetent at managing oil politics.

Let's look at many of the factors contributing to the price spike.

1. Russia Prez Putin's political power-play against oil company Yukos, freezing its bank accounts over a tax dispute, which may lead to a shutdown.

Bush's Blunder: praising Putin's vision while he turns Russia into a quasi-dictatorship, thereby allowing Putin to go after Yukos, which is headed by a political opponent.

2. Pipeline sabotage in Iraq.

Bush's Blunder: War and occupation under false pretenses.

3. General fear of terrorism.

Bush's Blunder: Orange Alert under shaky pretenses.

4. Expected strikes and disruptions in Venezuela following the Aug. 15 referendum on Hugo Chavez's rule.

Bush's Blunder: Backing coups and encouraging unrest instead of facilitating democracy.

Perhaps Bush thought his Saudi buddies were going to bail him out.

After all, they had a deal to do just that, and the Saudis followed through.

But the market is tight and production is close to capacity already, so the Saudi moves haven't helped as desired.

So Bush is getting all of the baggage for his Saudi ties, and none of the benefit.

One of Kerry's biggest applause lines in Boston was:

What does it mean for our economy and our national security when we only have three percent of the world's oil reserves, yet we rely on foreign countries for fifty-three percent of what we consume?

I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation -- not the Saudi royal family.

And one of the unintentionally hilarious lines in Dubya's stump speech is:

In Saudi Arabia, before September the 11th, terrorists were raising money and recruiting and operating with little opposition.

Today, the Saudi government is taking the fight to al Qaeda. America and the world are safer.

Bush is trying to paint his Saudi ties as a selling point.

He gets points for chutzpah, but that's all he'll get as long as oil prices remain this high.

August 5, 2004 PERMALINK
Operation Salvage The Terror Alert
(posted Aug. 5 12 AM ET)

Operation Salvage The Terror Alert went into high gear yesterday.

Anonymous officials leaked info to the big 3 network news shows in a successful attempt (all 3 made it the top story) to make fresh headlines that treat the alert as credible.

ABC was told that they suspected Al Qaeda had people on the inside of the cited buildings who helped them with casing.

NBC was told that a recently captured Qaeda operative named Abu Eisa al Hindi gave info "not yet verified" saying a plot was about to be "put into action".

CBS was told about a new detainee named Abu Talha who gave similar info.

So everyone had their own little exclusive to hype at the top of the news.

Pretty well done damage control.

But it doesn't disguise the fact that it was damage control.

For terror alerts to help Bush politically, they need to be executed competently.

This was one surely was not.

On Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was very tight-lipped on the specifics of the information that the alert was based on.

For example, when Ridge was asked if recent Pakistan arrests gave key info, he responded, "we will not comment on the specific sources."

As you can see above, that's now inoperative.

But most importantly, Ridge said nothing about the age of the data.

In the damage control phase, officials have noted that just because these buildings was cased a few years ago doesn't mean they're not targets now.

Fair enough.

But by hiding that info from the public initially, combined with failing to privately convince other law enforcement pros (who then went quasi-public with their qualms), Ridge allowed suspicions to fester.

That's failing Crisis Management 101: get problematic info out yourself so you can frame it.

And running Homeland Security is all about crisis management.

Clearly, Ridge and others were afraid that the Day 1 headlines would be "3-Year Old Info Sparks Orange Alert," and be a bust, similar to Ashcroft's Memorial Day weekend alert.

Ridge tried to hint at it on Sunday when he said:

We have no specific information that says an attack is eminent [sic], but given the specificity and the quality of information around these sites, obviously one would conclude, if you were considering a potential attack, these might be among the targets.

He probably considered that a risky enough statement that could undercut himself and make him look foolish.

And so, he wasn't willing risk any more.

Bad call.

Now they know (or should know): Even homeland security info will get out. Don't dare sit on it.

Because now, even CNN's Bill Schneider is noting how Ridge inserts politics into his alerts.

And that doesn't help Bush maintain that shrinking advantage on terrorism.

QUICK HIT

That's All Folks

[John Kerry] said today -- and I'm quoting now -- to this crowd in the Midwest, "I'm a fiscal conservative, folks."

You add "folks" when you're talking to ordinary people in the great flyover, apparently.
-- Tucker Carlson, CNN's Crossfire, 8/4/04

It's good for your congressmen to get a taste for the decency of the folks that live in this part of the state.
-- George W. Bush, Davenport, IA, 8/4/04

We believe in making sure local folks are in charge of public schools.
-- George W. Bush, Davenport, IA, 8/4/04

August 4, 2004 PERMALINK
Did Bush Blunt The Bounce?
(posted Aug. 4 12 AM ET)

There have been three polls taken after the convention was over that asked extensive questions: ABC/W. Post, CNN-USA Today-Gallup, and CBS.

One of those three (ABC) shows a significant bounce (8 pts) for Kerry in a two-way race among registered voters.

CBS has just a 1 pt bounce. Gallup shows an anti-bounce of 4 pts.

On other hand, two of the polls have Kerry with a solid lead. ABC has it at 7 pts, CBS at 6. Gallup is a tie.

Relatively more consistently favorable to Kerry are the internal numbers.

For example:

Economy

Gallup: "Better handle" the economy
Kerry lead: +10
Kerry bounce: +2

ABC/W. Post: "Trust to do a better job" on the economy
Kerry Lead: +11
Kerry Bounce: +12

Iraq

Gallup: "Better handle" Iraq
Kerry Lead: +1
Kerry Bounce: +6

ABC/W. Post: "Trust to do a better job" on Iraq
Kerry Lead: +2
Kerry Bounce: +14

Honest And Trustworthy

Gallup
Kerry Lead: +2
Kerry Bounce: +2

ABC/W. Post
Kerry Lead: +6
Kerry Bounce: +12

Favorable Rating

Gallup
Kerry Lead: +5
Kerry Bounce: +2

Kerry also made strides in all polls on shoring up credibility as a terror fighter, though the numbers a bit mixed, and Bush still retains a edge:

Gallup: "Better handle" terrorism
Kerry Deficit: -13
Kerry Bounce: +5

Gallup: "Great deal" of confidence to protect US from future terror
Kerry Deficit: -1
Kerry Bounce: +6

Gallup: Trust as commander-in-chief
Kerry-Bush Tie
Kerry Bounce: +8

CBS: "A lot" of Confidence to "make the right decisions" to "protect[] the country from terrorist attack"
Kerry Deficit: -13
Kerry Bounce: +1

ABC/W. Post: "Trust to do a better job" on terrorism
Kerry Deficit: -3
Kerry Bounce: +15

ABC/W. Post: "Make the country safer and more secure"
Kerry Deficit: -3
Kerry Bounce: +13

So overall, we have a positive picture for Kerry, if not a dramatic one.

Following the Kerry speech, LiberalOasis said that GOP spinning could step on the bounce. That looks to have happened.

Gallup's poll showed better numbers for Kerry on Friday than on Saturday and Sunday.

And Newsweek's poll showed stunning Friday numbers, far higher than the previous day, reflecting the power of the speech (which garnered a much larger audience than the rest of the convention.)

Most likely, it wasn't RNC Chair Ed Gillespie's spin that affected the weekend data (his spin was in gear during the convention, not after.)

But simply deploying Bush on the campaign trial Friday and Saturday scored headlines that mucked up any post-convention honeymoon period where Kerry's messages could have better sunk in to the electorate.

However, based on the internal numbers above, that mitigating effect didn't stop Kerry's speech from elevating his stature and increasing the public's comfort level with him.

And fortunately, the DNC has enough money to place a sizeable ad buy of "Strength", which is nothing but the portion of Kerry's speech dealing with terror, maximizing the speech's reach.

So it may also be true that, regardless of Bush's counterattack, the speech will prove strong enough to truly break the deadlock, as LO contended.

If the 6-7 point lead Kerry appears to have today holds through the GOP convention, that would mean the Kerry speech was the main factor that shifted the dynamic away from 50-50 Nation.

Another "bounce" analysis is at Donkey Rising.

The BlogWire
Tracking the liberal blogosphere

Coming soon.

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