In comments at The Captain’s Quarters, “Judge Crater” writes:
There seems to be no amount of time that is too small (at least in New Jersey) to invoke the “Torricelli Option”.
With the RNC so late, Bush had problems as it was in Illinois. I can’t imagine trying to pull the “Torricelli Option” off in 50 states.
To effectively replace a presidential candidate, you don’t have to exercise the “Torricelli Option”; all that has to happen is the Democratic electors have to agree to support a single candidate when the Electoral College meets in December. A few electors might run foul of “faithless elector” laws if they supported someone other than Kerry, but (to my knowledge) nobody has ever been seriously punished for violating them—and, besides, the deed will have been done, as there’s no way to revoke the vote of a faithless elector.
Besides which, the odds of this happening are about zero; even if Kerry melts down due to blowback from Rathergate (a prospect that’s dubious at best, unless it turns out some higher-up in the campaign typed the memos himself), it’s hard to believe any Democrat consensus candidate could emerge other than Edwards, who’s already on record as lending credence to the memos.
Steven Teles and Philip Klinkner have an interesting debate that’s worth a read on the proper role for ideology in the classroom: parts 1, 2, and 3 (so far). I tend to agree with Teles that the wrong approach is to follow the David Horowitz-style “anti-discrimination paradigm,” although I suspect Horowitz has adopted it not to truly encourage its use on matters of political and ideological diversity but to shame academics into abandoning its use on matters of racial and gender diversity.
On the other hand—and I probably shouldn’t mention this, but what the hell, I’m not applying for a job there again this year—I’ve seen firsthand, on an interview, the sort of blatant ideological group-think that libertarians and conservatives would view as an intolerable workplace environment, and I strongly suspect that I was not offered their position because they found out—through other channels, not the interview process—that I wasn’t “one of them”—or, it could be because I mentioned the word “research” more than once during my stay. I’m not particularly annoyed, since I’d already decided not to accept their offer even if they made me one. (Free hint: if multiple faculty members spend a good deal of their time with you mentioning their involvement in the Unitarian Universalist Church, that might be a sign to run for the hills.) Granted, this sort of thing seems to be more common at places where the professors harbor a deep-seated resentment against the podunk communities they’ve been exiled to, but it happens nonetheless.
Bruce Rolston notes that all four memos raising questions about George W. Bush’s service reproduce exactly in Microsoft Word (þ Colby Cosh). As he says, one could buy one memo looking exactly like a Word document on the basis of coincidence… but four? That seems pretty implausible to me, at least.
What about the Selectric Composer—could Killian have used it? That’s not very likely either. And, you too can be a handwriting expert for the day. (Both links to Jeff Harrell’s The Shape of Days.)
Update: Surely if CBS lies to its interview subjects they would’t also lie to the American people, would they? And surely CBS would tell us if the guy allegedly pressuring Killian had retired 18 months before the memo was allegedly written? Right? Bueller?
A senior CBS official, who asked not to be named because CBS managers did not want to go beyond their official statement, named one of the network's sources as retired Maj. Gen. Bobby W. Hodges, the immediate superior of the documents' alleged author, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian. He said a CBS reporter read the documents to Hodges over the phone and Hodges replied that "these are the things that Killian had expressed to me at the time."
"These documents represent what Killian not only was putting in memoranda, but was telling other people," the CBS News official said. "Journalistically, we've gone several extra miles."
The official said the network regarded Hodges's comments as "the trump card" on the question of authenticity, as he is a Republican who acknowledged that he did not want to hurt Bush. Hodges, who declined to grant an on-camera interview to CBS, did not respond to messages left on his home answering machine in Texas.
So the “trump card,” Hodges, didn’t actually verify the documents’ authenticity (and CBS went out of its way to tell him the memos were in Killian’s handwriting), and Staudt was apparently only able to influence the Guard in 1973 via telepathy.
I suppose the good news is they didn't rig anything to explode (yet). And it's not like 60 Minutes has a record of basing stories on fake memos or anything:
In 1999, "60 Minutes" apologized, as part of a legal settlement with a Customs Service official, for reporting on a memo that was later found to be fake."
Oh, scratch that one then.
Dean Esmay wants to know if John Kerry has sat down for an interview with a journalist (Jon Stewart doesn’t count) since August 8th. I’m sure he’d appreciate any leads.
I’m not sure that represents “ducking the press” so much as a recognition of the increasingly marginal role that political journalists have in campaigns; why sit down with Russert or Brokaw if you can talk without a filter on the stump (receiving national coverage) and let surrogates handle the spin and the bad PR?
Like James Joyner, I have some more GMail invites to give away. Email me (email@example.com) for yours.