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Say it ain't so, John...

As I mentioned earlier, I've not watched any debates this year, given that I sincerely doubt they're going to change my vote. Nonetheless, I thought this was some foolish overstatement by enthusiastic conservatives until I read the transcripts at the Committee on Presidential Debates:

KERRY: Well, let me just say quickly that I've had an extraordinary experience of watching up close and personal that transition in Russia, because I was there right after the transformation. And I was probably one of the first senators, along with Senator Bob Smith of New Hampshire, a former senator, go down into the KGB underneath Treblinka Square and see reams of files with names in them.

Erm... Treblinka's not in Russia, so far as I can recall. Decades of bad spy novels impressed upon many an American that the KGB had their headquarters in Lubyanka. Meanwhile, Treblinka was a Nazi death camp.

So when does this one make "Kerryisms," or some similar nonsense? Sure, everyone makes mistakes--I know I hate public speaking--but given how fond people are of quoting Bush's errors, historical or otherwise, one would expect at least some similar treatment.

UPDATE: Heidi and Ambimb point to another error by Cheney in his debate. It seems the Vice-President directed users to Factcheck.com instead of Factcheck.org. Of course, someone has set up the former so that it points towards George Soros' site.

I'll quote Heidi's observation on redirects, and then note one further point:

Now, when you buy a domain name you can choose to link your domain name, the www.name.com thing, to any number, anywhere. You can have four hundred domain names, all linking to the same number. And you don't have to own the computer that responds to that number at all.

This is true. And I think George Soros has been reasonably polite in pointing out on their homepage that anyone coming to their site accidentally is probably looking for Factcheck.org. On the other hand, every time you link to a website, you are almost certainly sending that server information on your referring link, e.g. the link you came from. If the Soros folks wanted to be really nice, they'd just throw a bit of javascript together that would bounce the majority of Factcheck.com users straight to Factcheck.org.

Of course, I doubt anyone in politics today is that nice.


Once upon a time you wrote about substance when you dealt with politics, I miss that.
Sorry, today's dose of substance comes in the piece on IRAC. Certainly you don't hope for two pieces of that a day?
Actually, Factcheck.com is not owned by George Soros. It is owned by a private company in the Cayman Island which chose to redirect people to Soros' website. "Someone" did not set it up that way, the company set it up that way when it was getting too many hits. Rather than call out Soros, you should be calling out the vice president for misquoting domain names. In any case, what incentive do the people at Factcheck.com or Soros have to redirect people to the correct site?
http://www.georgesoros.com/index.cfm?Fuseaction=ViewEntry&EntryID=18 Hope this makes you happy :)
C: First, I didn't say Soros was responsible for the redirect, nor did I say he owned the site. Secondly, I didn't "call him out" for anything. As I said, he's being reasonably polite in what he's doing. Nonetheless, I think it would be even more generous of spirit to deny oneself the free advertising. Sure, he has no real incentive to do so, but if it served to discourage this kind of thing in the future, it would be no bad thing.
My view is that accidentally saying "Treblinka" instead of "Lunyanka," especially when they sound similar and deal with major world events in the history of totalitarianism, is not so bad as saying "They misunderestimate me," or "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it." The former is an understandable gaff (as is Cheney's factcheck.com, in my opinion). The latter is just plain dumb. I'm all for partisanship, but trying to make Kerry's mistake seem *anything* like a Dubyaism is a bit much, dontcha think?
I don't know: I'd put it with a slip of the tongue like "misunderestimate" me. But (a) they don't sound similar, and (b) they aren't nearly the same kind of event in world totalitarianism. Further, a lot of the "Bushisms" that places like Slate like to highlight are actually not even incorrect, as Prof. Volokh has pointed out at length. I know Martin considers this not to be "substance," but in a way I think it is. For instance, I've written several times about Kennedy's statement that according to Dante, the hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who remained neutral in times of great moral crisis. (The full quote is elsewhere on this blog, but I'm in a bit of a rush, so no link.) The trouble is, it's simply not true: Kennedy just made up the fact, and attributed it to a poet few people read and who, being dead, couldn't really defend himself. (Those who remained neutral in times of great moral crisis aren't even in Hell, but moan in anguish about the gates.) Now, that is worse than dumb: it's intellectually dishonest, a sort of making up facts to make one sound intelligent. But it's been repeated so often that if you search for the quote, you find it commonly attributed to Dante himself. Yet no one gets down on Kennedy for it.

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