Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Never Answer a Hypothetical

Say you're conservative. It's 2012 and the primaries have narrowed down to two candidates: Sarah Palin and Condoleeza Rice. Who gets your vote?

Speaking Of Leadership

John McCain's latest campaign ad, running in key states.

"Wall Street Squanders our money. And Washington is forced to bail them out with -- you guessed it -- our money. Can it get any worse?" asks the ad's narrator, as the words "BAILOUT WITH OUR MONEY" cross the screen.

The ad blames Obama for the plan that congress passed yesterday. Two problems - it didn't pass (the ad was sent out before it went down in horrific flames) and McCain has been taking credit all week for the plan and its success. I'll cut him some slack for the first thing but the second, that's just weird.

McCain lead America? He's not even talkin' to his own campaign.

Nancy and Sluggos ***Updated**

Republicans hate Nancy Pelosi with the white-hot heat of a thousand suns. Perhaps they think it's arrogant and presumptuous for a woman to be Speaker of the House; maybe they just resent her for looking less like Tina Fey and more like Judge Judy. Whatever it is, this blind crazy antipathy leads them to weird behavior.

Yesterday's budget bill meltdown is a prime example. Most Republicans opposed the bill; even more Americans did, and in the end a lot of Congressmen decided to save their jobs and vote against it. But when you ask them why it went down: Pelosi! She made a speech critical of Republicans and that cost them 12 Republican votes.

Madeline's Dad says:

Keep in mind that only 12 more votes were needed to pass the legislation. So if you only need 12 votes, the Republicans won't support it, and you have 95 members of your own Party saying "no", wouldn't it be a sign of strong leadership if the powerful Speaker of the House could get those 12 votes?
I guess it speaks to the "leadership" of Nancy Pelosi that she couldn't get 12 members of her own Party to cross over.
(for the record, 95 Democrats represent 40% of the Democrat population in the House.)
Worst. Speaker. Ever.
In other words, Pelosi failed to strong arm Democrats into passing a bill that we despise, and because of that we will despise her. I suppose the model of "Best. Speaker. Ever." would be Tom DeLay, who was famous for being able to pressure, bribe, or threaten votes out of anyone, to the point that he got a near unanimous vote for Clinton's impeachment. Which was extremely UNpopular with most Americans. So apparently, leadership is forcing Congressfolk to ignore their constituents and vote for dumb things.

What about Blunt & McCain? McCain suspended his campaign to come to Washington, put the negotiations on track, get everyone on the same page. Then, satisfied that he'd accomplished that, he put Blunt in charge and jetted off to grandstand elsewhere. Any blame for Blunt? Any for McCain? Not from my usual talking point sources.

In fact, the implication seems to be that Republicans were going to vote for the bill, but look at what Nancy Pelosi made them do! Whaaaaaaaaa! It's crazy that they're taking an opportunity to prove that they are fiscally responsible and instead turning it into an excuse to blame their behavior on mean Democrats. They hate her so much, they say bad things about her instead of good things about themselves.

***A day late, 700 billion dollars short:

REP THADDEUS McCOTTER(R): I think it was a mistake for House leadership to say that Pelosi’s speech mattered to anybody on our side.

DENNIS MILLER: Yeah, me too, me too.

McCOTTER: Because we yell at each other like this all the time. And so, what they’ve actually done is a victory for the American people, a victory for the institution of Congress, and a victory for Republicans and Democrats who voted against it. It’s being counter-messaged by their own leadership, who didn’t get it through. That is a terrible mistake and it’s hopefully not going to impact our ability to get this done more quickly than we, as quickly as we need to.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Republican Doesn't Claim Obama is the Anti-Christ

Let's just quote this one in full, and let it stand on its own.

FORT MILL, S.C. -- Fort Mill Mayor Danny Funderburk says he was “just curious” when he forwarded a chain e-mail suggesting Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is the biblical antichrist. “I was just curious if there was any validity to it,” Funderburk said in a telephone interview. “I was trying to get documentation if there was any scripture to back it up.”

Funderburk apparently sent the e-mail from his business account at Gastonia Sheet Metal where he works as a business agent.

The e-mail, which has circulated in the last six months since Obama secured the Democratic nomination, claims the biblical book of Revelation says the antichrist will be in his 40s and of Muslim ancestry.

There is no such scripture. And Obama is not a Muslim. But that hasn’t stopped the e-mail.

The urban legend Web site Snopes.com first exploded the myth in March. Funderburk forwarded the e-mail this month.

When asked if he believed Obama was the antichrist, Funderburk replied, “I’ve got absolutely no way of knowing that.”

Funderburk said it “probably does give that impression” that he believed the e-mail was true “but that was not my intent.”

The mayor said it was a mistake not to include a subject line when he forwarded the chain e-mail.

“I am curious about current events and their connection to the Bible,” he said.

(h/t Wonkette... comments worth checking out!)

A Little Light Reading

I haven't paid for an issue of the National Enquirer in about 30 years, but I had to pick up this week's because I wanted to see if my karaoke buddy's name was on the byline of the Sarah Palin hatchet job. And there he is!

No, I'm not going to specify which name because frankly if I were him, I'd be fearing for my life right now. Still I'm going ask him when I see him later this week how he's holding up. Assuming he leaves the house later this week.

Silver Lining? Silver Certificates!

Wonkette: "The last time Congress swiftly passed a major, bipartisan piece of legislation was to authorize an idiot to launch the worst foreign policy decision in modern American history. So maybe things aren’t so bad hmm?"

They also note that among the few winners on Wall Street today is Campbell's Soup, who make canned goods suitable for survivalists. In fact, only Campbell's showed a gain today. Scary!

Well, the market goes down and then goes up again, so we shouldn't read so much into a 777 point drop on the Dow. Though that number itself is a little eerie, innit? Point is, a one-day event is worrisome but no crisis. If it STAYS down then it's officially a crash, not unlike that one near the end of the 1920s. Which pundits say was preventable but the government didn't act quickly enough.

The investment (bailout!) (note the change in running gag there) will still likely happen, and one hopes happen soon. What congress rejected was the Paulson plan. This is sensible. The amount was arbitrary, the concentration of power in Paulson's office was overreaching. However, we as a nation can afford to throw a little seed money at this problem. Just letting these companies fail is satisfying, in the same way that letting the slackers on a chain gang die of dehydration because they didn't earn water. Problem is, you gotta drag 'em back to the cells with you.

As it happens, I have enough liquid cash to tide me over for a while in case we wind up in a post-apocolyptic third-world scenario, so I can afford to laugh a little. My retirement is still at risk but then it always was, wasn't it?

Couple of other things. 1: Obligatory McCain cheap shot - if he suspended the campaign to make sure the negotiations were sound, then went back to campaigning because he was confident, doesn't that suggest a judgement problem? Pardon me, ANOTHER judgement problem? and 2: Gingrich. He spent a lot of last week whipping up opposition to the vote, which would make him look pretty good right now, if it wasn't for this. If the American People are against the bailout, the only people who look good right now are Congress. How the hell does a thing like THAT happen?

Friday, September 26, 2008

McCain: I Ain't Freakin' I Ain't Fakin' It

To which most of Congress and the majority of Americans reply: Shut up and let me go!

John McCain announced this morning that he WILL debate tonight. From the campaign's press release:

At a moment of crisis that threatened the economic security of American families, Washington played the blame game rather than work together to find a solution...The Democratic interests stood together in opposition to an agreement that would accommodate additional taxpayer protections.

(Sen. McCain) is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement...The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.

So McCain said he was suspending his campaign (he didn't) until the bill was completed (it wasn't). It is, of course farther from completion than it was before he arrived in Washington yesterday and all signs indicate that he's the one who threw the monkey wrench into the gears. And now, with that work done, he's going to a debate after all.

Furthermore, if the bill turns out to be anything like the 700 million bailout that everyone says is necessary, then McCain officially loses the base for not stopping it. I am salivating to read the polls this weekend.

In fact, if this whole financial meltdown has a silver lining, it's the schadenfreude that McCain is generating for Democrats. We don't relish the disaster, just the one guy that it's bringing down. It's kind of like rooting for the crocodile in Peter Pan, I suppose.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain Economy/Debate Update, for People Without Better Sources For This Info

Congress said they had agreed to a bailout (investment!) plan, McCain arrived in Washington and shortly thereafter the agreement was no more. Almost as if McCain had said "for God's sake, if you shut this thing down I have to debate on Friday!" Or not. For whatever reason, the deal was not reached today.

Interestingly, a lot of the discussion of McCain's campaigning suspension seems to only fall into two camps: It's good strategy, a gutsy move that will convince people he cares more about the country than his candidacy - or it's terrible strategy, obvious grandstanding that will just delay the inevitable and make him look like he's afraid of the debate. What's NOT being discussed is the possibility that McCain is sincere, which to me means the cause is lost. If we all think it's strategy, who is it fooling?

What's more, people hate congress right now. Why? Because they take forever to make decisions and they spend too much time in partisan bickering. And here they were, on the verge of a quick, bipartisan decision, and McCain gums that up. I can't imagine people are going to respond well to that.

It's generally felt that if a decision isn't reached by Sunday, the market is going to open badly on Monday. Very badly. From there it could see-saw back up or we could slide into the next great depression. I'm inclined to think, as much as it would suck, that bailing out the markets would stop history from repeating itself. Remember the FDIC, which insures your paltry sub 100k deposits, was started as a direct response to the Great Depression and it's already saved our bacon in the last couple of weeks. We don't have to go through this thing twice. I don't want to be like my grandparents, 50 years from now still refusing to throw out a pair of socks until there is nothing left to darn. 

And I can't stand in breadlines. I've given up bread. Too many carbs.

It's Not The Economy, Stupid

Well, it looks like the ticking clock scenario of the bailout (investment!) is about to be solved as of this hour. That's a relief, because I worried the administration was going to have to abduct some economists and torture a solution out of them.

Still, McCain isn't backing down on his insistence that the Friday debate must be postponed, if the bills aren't all signed. I was joking earlier that he wants to postpone it indefinitely, but McCain actually is suggesting a date, which is Thursday, Oct. 2.

Let me check my calendar.

I don't have anything sched... oh wait, there is the Vice Presidential debate that night! Well, we could postpone THAT indefinitely I suppose. I wonder if this exchange with Katie Couric had anything to do with the strategy?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

I'd like to point out the implications of this move-the-VP-debate-further-down thing: they think that Sarah Palin will come out looking worse than JOE BIDEN. Also, if McCain doesn't show Friday and Obama does, they'd probably have to change the format - maybe make it more a town-hall style event.

You know why I keep pushing for Sarah Palin to do more interviews and appearances? I'm tired of doing all the heavy lifting.

(h/t to Wonkette)

Possibly Not McCain's Best Move ***Updated***

Some say that McCain pulling out of the debate on Friday is brilliant, because it demonstrates that he's willing to put the hard work of running the country ahead of frivolous activities like debates. Some say otherwise.

I'm the "some" in that case.

Because not campaigning is, of course, a form of campaigning. Republicans scored pretty big points by cutting down a convention night and turning it over to Hurrican Telethon activities. So let's put the idea of nobility aside and concentrate on the practicalities. McCain recognizes that he's getting clobbered in the polls right now, and not campaigning is simply a way to avoid throwing resources (ad money, political capital) into a huge pit. Once the economy is a little more stable, that's when McCain has a chance to land a few blows. So to me, this is strategy.

So as brilliant strategy, why aren't we supposed to believe that he's simply afraid to debate Obama? He made such a big deal of those 10 Townhall meetings, and here he is indefinately postponing a third of the scheduled presidential debates.

Now there's the troublesome problem of the debate itself. Friday's event was (is?) to focus on foreign policy, the subject McCain is supposed to be strongest on. He should be able to take it on in his sleep. And yet, he has to go into intensive preparation for it, so intensive that he can't do that AND decide how to vote on the Senate Budget bill. So the fabled straight talk express doesn't have enough time to rehearse its straight talk.

In other words, campaigning is TOO IMPORTANT to McCain for him to concentrate on it this week. He's putting his party second. And if he truly believes that he's the best man for the job, he's putting his country second as well. To avoid, I assume, personal humiliation.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time Republicans had other things to do than to show up for debates with black people at them.

Update*** Good news, he CAN campaign and save the economy at the same time!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Okay, This Is Just Stupid

Michael Douglas, appearing at the United Nations to talk about nuclear disarmament, made to answer questions about the current economic crisis.

After world leaders here condemned the "boundless greed" of world markets, Douglas was asked to compare nuclear Armageddon with the "financial Armageddon on Wall Street."

But the likening to Gekko did not end there, with a reporter asking: "Are you saying Gordon that greed is not good?"

"I'm not saying that," Douglas replied. "And my name is not Gordon. He's a character I played 20 years ago."
Just goes to show that bringing Michael Douglas to the UN for ANY reasons is a bad idea. I'm down with seeing Catherine Zeta-Jones Douglas discuss world hunger though. She's hot.

It Takes Two To Debate

Remember that talking point, about Obama promising to do ten townhall style debates then backing out? Looka this!

NEW YORK (AP) - John McCain wants to delay debate with Obama to focus on economic crisis.

Because John McCain, you know, is running the economy right now and he doesn't want to drop the ball.

Still, it's a perfectly legitimate excuse for Obama to run misleading, vicious attack ads. McCain has said it's okay!

A few more details, courtesy WONKETTE.

No No, They're a Legitimate News Organization Now

Uh oh, it looks like one of the four people in the Presidential race has gotten the attention of the National Enquirer.

In a world exclusive The NATIONAL ENQUIRER names GOP VP Candidate Sxxxx Xxxxn's secret lover! No less than three members of the man’s family including one by sworn affidavit have claimed that Sxxxx Xxxxn engaged in an extramarital affair with husband Todd’s former business partner, Brad Hanson. These sources have named Hanson as Pxxxx’s secret love, and say their affair nearly wrecked both their marriages.
I'm not going to dignify the story by revealing the candidate's name. I've long maintained that candidate's messy personal lives are not my business, or yours.

I only bring it up because when the Enquirer published a not dissimilar story about John Edwards, I heard an awful lot of complaining about how long it took the mainstream media to pick it up and run with it. About how this was a legitimate examination of the candidate's character; about how the Enquirer is a legitimate source of information nowadays.

Suck it up, boys.

(h/t to my friend xxxn on the staff of the Enquirer)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just A Reminder

(H/T Crooks & Liars)

Rush Limbaugh Offers a Helpful Antidote to Racism

Yesterday, on his radio show.

...but he's not black...He's Arab.
I had you all wrong, Rush. And all this time I had accused you of cheapening the national discourse.

(Note for context mavens - here's more context.)

LIMBAUGH: These polls on how one-third of blue-collar white Democrats won't vote for Obama because he's black, and -- but he's not black. Do you know he has not one shred of African-American blood? He doesn't have any African -- that's why when they asked whether he was authentic, whether he's down for the struggle. He's Arab. You know, he's from Africa. He's from Arab parts of Africa. He's not -- his father was -- he's not African-American. The last thing that he is is African-American. I guess that's splitting hairs, I don't -- it's just all these little things, everything seems upside-down today in this country.
Hat tip to Media Matters!

Discrete Reporting to Avoid Angering Sensitive Peoples

The LA Times reports that a certain Vice Presidential candidate is having his or her first meetings with world leaders at the UN. Pictured: Hamid Karzai.

The campaign told print and wire service reporters that they would not have a representative in the pool of reporters accompanying (Candidate X) to her meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, a foreign policy advisor to McCain.

The pool of reporters, which was to include a television crew, was supposed to be in the room for a few moments -- just to capture the opening of (Candidate X's)meetings. But when the campaign announced that even the pool television producer -- who is charged with capturing editorial content for the five networks -- would not be permitted in the room, the networks threatened to pull their cameras from (Candidate X's) events today.

...Eventually, the campaign relented and allowed a CNN producer into the room for the meetings. But there were no wire service reporters or print reporters present for the first meeting, with Karzai...The president and (Candidate X) talked about his son.

I'd comment on this, but I fear I've said too much already. Please don't be angry at me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Space Olympics

Honest, I have no idea why this appeals to me.

Right Wing Bites the Hand That Feeds It

You know how the right believes that the media has a far left, nutroots bias? SNL took a step to correct that perception this week.

The sketch, which isn't available online, takes place in the offices of the New York Times. In it, a team of 30 reporters are attending a meeting about their upcoming trip to Alaska. They're going to learn about the community about about Sarah Palin. One by one they start asking questions of the one Alaska expert there. Is there a problem with people getting mauled by polar bears? What if I can't reach my therapist on the phone, how much time does it take to get an appointment? As they hear the bad news, reporters start bowing out. About half the room leaves when they learn that you can't get a cab in Alaska. None of them can identify a snowmobile, though one guesses that maybe it's a "baptizing machine" of some kind.

Gradually the roomful of 50 reporters is whittled down to a tiny few, including the one who is obsessed with the danger posed by roaming polar bears. The point of the sketch is that New York Times reporters are neurotic and clueless about anything that happens outside of New York. It would have fit right in on the 1/2 HOUR NEWS HOUR. It was kind of a gimmee to the right wing, an attempt by SNL to say, well, you got a point there guys.

Guess what? There is outrage.

I would think that that complaint is that compared to the first sketch of the evening, about John McCain's misleading campaign ads, this one was slack and lame and went on too long. They didn't bring as much funny to it. But no! The outrage revolves around this punchline, a title card at the end of the sketch.

"In 2009 [reporter] Howland Gwathmey Moss, V was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Times series on unproven, yet un-disproven incest in the Palin family. Sadly, he was to die 3 months later, run over by a snow machine, driven by a polar bear."

You'll note that the headline for the story I'm quoting is NBC JOKES: TODD PALIN HAS SEX WITH HIS DAUGHTERS. This is why I say that there is no point in paying attention to right-wing complaints of media bias. A couple of writers on SNL throw them a massive, tasty bone. This is misperceived as a slam, because the WHOLE NETWORK COULDN'T POSSIBLY ever be sympathetic to their concerns. These guys don't do nuance. You can't win with 'em. This whole thing reminds me of a flyer I read earlier in the year, which tried to convince me that Al Franken endorses a plan put old people in rockets and shoot them over the Snake River.

By the way, I'm furious with SNL for suggesting that Obama wants to supply health care for the whole universe. Obama never said that!

(Will it help if I put (snark)(/snark)brackets around that last sentence? I'm reaching out here.)

Sunday, September 21, 2008


AP/Yahoo conducted a poll which suggests that if the election is close, racism could be the deciding factor

...one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks—many calling them "lazy," "violent" or responsible for their own troubles.

The poll...suggests that the percentage of voters who may turn away from Obama because of his race could easily be larger than the final difference between the candidates in 2004—about 2.5 percentage points.
If you believe the validity of the poll, then this is bad news for Obama. And as it happens, I do believe it. I've blogged about the idea before. At the time I wasn't sure I bought it, but the poll sure seems to shore the idea up.

"Paulie" at Where Are My Keys, where I saw this first, comments: This is not good; we aren't supposed to document this.. this.. this truth... Democrats are racist. Tee-hee.  My response was "Ann Coulter?! What have you done with Paulie!" 

More in this vein can be found at Say Anything Blog, and RedState.com.

Most bloggers I Googled are a little more cautious. Read Allahpundit's careful, discompassionate analysis here. NewsBusters, which is incapable of care and discompassion, opts to call the study ITSELF racist. Hey righties, why not jump in with both feet? This PROVES that it's the Democrats who are the racists!

I think I know why.

Admitting that racism could prevent Democrats from electing Obama flies in the face of an argument that wingnut bloggers have been making for months - that there is practically no racism in America nowadays, and people just hate Obama on his own terms. In fact, they have made a major talking point out of the idea that when Obama brings it up, he's being racist. You can't paint the Democrats with with this without contradicting yourself. Not that a thing like that would stop some of 'em.

Similarly, it would be such an incredible stretch to suggest that 30% of Democrats are racists but 30% of Republicans aren't (the poll goes out its way to disabuse you of that notion) that only partisan hacks would suggest it. 

This whole thing doesn't worry me, by the way, because liberals have a self-canceling racist mechanism: liberal guilt. When the rubber hits the road, we can count on it to thwart our own worst tendencies. This is probably how Obama got the nomination in the first place. Republicans, without that mechanism, look more like racists then Democrats do, and that's why the closest they've been to having a black presidential candidate is Alan Keyes. It's not that Republicans are more racist, it's just that they're less interested in compensating for it.

(For some delicious racial ugliness, read the comments in the Breitbart article about the poll. There's an awful lot of "blacks are prejudiced against whites!" arguments. Yeah, all those black people think the same way - they're a bunch of racists. )

Friday, September 19, 2008

Alternative Scenario Playhouse

Just think - if Bush (and McCain) had succeeded in privatizing Social Security in 2004, we'd be buying it back today!

It Don't Get More Mavericky Than This

Today both candidates did a little speechifyin' about the troubles and vexation on Wall Street. Let me stipulate here that I don't think Presidents really influence the economy that much. Believe me, I wish they did because I could blame the crash on Bush and credit the boom to Clinton. Now and then I'll even argue those points, but caveat emptor: I don't really believe them. I'm just trying to throw you off guard.

So considering how little influence an ELECTED official has, you gotta figure that these speeches this morning are pretty useless. But there is something to be gleaned from them. H/T to Anna Marie Cox at Swampland - Obama this morning:

I have asked my economic team to refrain from presenting a more detailed blue-print of how an immediate plan might be structured until the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have had an opportunity to present their proposal.
Okay, nothing new there. McCain:

I will lead in the creation of the Mortgage and Financial Institutions trust -- the MFI. The underlying principle of the MFI or any approach considered by Congress should be to keep people in their homes and safe guard the life savings of all Americans by protecting our financial system and capital markets. This trust will work with the private sector and regulators to identify institutions that are weak and fix them before they become insolvent.
See the difference? McCain wants to fix the problem by creating another government bureaucracy, while Obama favors using the ones we already have in place. Interesting. Regardless of how empty the campaign promises are, it suggests that a vote for McCain is a vote for bigger government.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Worrisome Trend

It's almost two months until election day, so the fact that polls show Obama up in the last couple of days don't mean much. At least in terms of the final vote. Sure if the election were held tomorrow, it's likely that Obama would win the electoral vote 284.8 to 253.2. But by November, people may have forgotten how McCain seemed blissfully unaware that there was any problem with the economy, much like Bush was unaware that there was storm damage in New Orleans. Or maybe McCain will be passing out free loaves of bread and soup around the voting booths, and that will endear him to swing voters at the last minute.

The sudden 4 point jump in the polls seems to coincide with some savvy advertising on Obama's part, which wasn't a character hit piece or scare tactic. The worrisome thing is Republicans will step up their ad efforts. And since Obama didn't do town hall debates, the new ads will probably be ugly smear campaigns, filled with obvious lies and subtle allusions to Hitler, miscegenation, terrorism and the book of Revelations. They have to. They ain't got anything else.

So the next month and a half is going to be a race to the bottom of the muck pit, probably on both sides. Which means that it's not going to be appreciably different than normal. Hmmm... why even bother to write this? Oh yeah, to cite the poll results.

More Non-Racism III

Unfairly or not, the Northern Virginia branch of the Republican party realizes they are having a little trouble convincing the non-whites that they're on the same side. So they're holding what they're calling a Unity Rally on Saturday.

"We confront a perception problem, which we have to fight every day -- that the Republican Party is not for working people or immigrants," said Jim Hyland, a rally organizer and chairman of the Fairfax County Republican Committee. "The only way that we can battle that is to take the fight directly to the people in these communities, spread the word that the Republican Party represents more of their views than the Democratic Party."
Splendid idea. So who's speaking?

Hyland said he expects as many as 1,000 supporters to turn out for the event at Edison High School, where former senator George Allen and Reps. Tom Davis and Frank R. Wolf are expected to speak.
Excuse me, what was that first name again? George Allen, you say? You mean, this George Allen? The guy who went out of his way to tease an African-American Democratic activist at an event by repeatedly calling him "macaca?" That guy? Well, this just proves that Republicans are so colorblind that they don't even KNOW when something is racist. Like the word "uppity." Why can't you dumb b-- well, anyway, they're color-blind.

I'm not sure if they'll get a thousand people for the rally, but I bet the majority of attendees will bring camera phones.

(h/t Crooks & Liars)

Palin's Convention Speech Zinger Re-Written

"What's the difference between a soccer mom and a delicate french poodle with anemia and a rare condition that makes her skin sensitive to sunlight? Lipstick."

Honestly you Republican guys, I cannot imagine Obama running an ad where the theme is that people are being DISRESPECTFUL to Obama. For that matter, disrespectful to McCain. For all their claims of gender-blindness, the Republicans are treating Sarah Palin like she is prone to fainting spells, like she can't do interviews because she's locked in her room, crying her eyes out at the mean treatment she's getting.

Tell you what. I'm going to lay off Palin. She's a sideshow anyway. As much as you'd like her to be the next president, that's not what the ballots say. So this way I can avoid treading on her delicate manicured toes and you will be able to devote your attention to John McCain, the maverick who will change everything.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Episode II: A New Outrage

Wait long enough in a day... someone has hacked Sarah Palin's emails.

The internet griefers known as Anonymous took credit for the intrusion, and screenshots of e-mail messages and photos belonging to the Alaska governor have been published by WikiLeaks. Threat Level has confirmed the authenticity of at least one of the e-mails.
It is outrageous, but there's a mitigating factor here. Like the Bush Administration, Sarah Palin enouraged her staff to use personal email for government business, reportedly because it cannot be subpoenaed. All government email accounts are public record. And Anonymous appears to have been acting out of a desire to circumvent that strategy rather a desire to be mean to Sarah Palin.
An e-mail from her press secretary, Meghan Stapleton, indicates the message is about the "Motor Fuel Tax Suspension".

The subject line of an e-mail from Randall Ruaro, her deputy chief of staff reads, "Draft letter to Governor Schwarzenegger." Another one from Ruaro says, "Please approve" and another one is about "Court of Appeals Nominations."

Other e-mails from Ruaro indicate they're about employee and budget issues for the DPS. DPS is how Alaska refers to its Department of Public Safety.

Palin's chief of staff, Michael Nizich, sent her an e-mail August 22 with the subject line, "Using Royalty Oil to Lower the Cost of Fuel for Alaskans." The subject line of another e-mail from Nizich reads "CONFIDENTIAL Ethics Matter."

E-mails from the governor's scheduler, Janice Mason, indicate that they're about Palin's schedule for the week of August 10.

On the other hand, it doesn't appear that anything untoward or scandalous was found in the emails. On the outrage-o-meter, I'd call this a draw. If she had used public accounts to begin with, the private accounts wouldn't have been hacked.

While I'm at it, if you are conducting government business using a private account FOR GOD'S SAKE don't use your Yahoo account. That's just askin' for trouble.

Read My Lips: No New Outrage

It's kind of a slow outrage day, judging from the blogs I read.

Obama released another ad, two minutes long, which is apparently thoughtful and not even an attack. What an odd strategy! In it he DETAILS his POLICY toward our economic recovery. Weirdo.

Obama: Here’s what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the “anything goes” culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America’ that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists - once and for all — so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as America.

Obama: In the past few weeks, Wall Street’s been rocked as banks closed and markets tumbled. But for many of you - the people I’ve met in town halls, backyards and diners across America - our troubled economy isn’t news. 600,000 Americans have lost their jobs since January. Paychecks are flat and home values are falling. It’s hard to pay for gas and groceries and if you put it on a credit card they’ve probably raised your rates. You’re paying more than ever for health insurance that covers less and less. This isn’t just a string of bad luck.

The truth is that while you’ve been living up to your responsibilities Washington has not. That’s why we need change. Real change. This is no ordinary time and it shouldn’t be an ordinary election. But much of this campaign has been consumed by petty attacks and distractions that have nothing to do with you or how we get America back on track.

Here’s what I believe we need to do. Reform our tax system to give a $1,000 tax break to the middle class instead of showering more on oil companies and corporations that outsource our jobs. End the “anything goes” culture on Wall Street with real regulation that protects your investments and pensions. Fast track a plan for energy ‘made-in-America’ that will free us from our dependence on mid-east oil in 10 years and put millions of Americans to work. Crack down on lobbyists - once and for all — so their back-room deal-making no longer drowns out the voices of the middle class and undermines our common interests as Americans.

And yes, bring a responsible end to this war in Iraq so we stop spending billions each month rebuilding their country when we should be rebuilding ours. Doing these things won’t be easy. But we’re Americans. We’ve met tough challenges before. And we can again. I’m Barack Obama. I hope you’ll read my economic plan. I approved this message because bitter, partisan fights and outworn ideas of the left and the right won’t solve the problems we face today. But a new spirit of unity and shared responsibility will.”
Well, perhaps McCain could do something similar. Or maybe he'd use his next ad to imply that Barack is too thin, in an un-American way. It's okay. It's not like he promised to change the way Washington works or anything.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There, That's Better

THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!

Make Lemonade

Check out this l'il piece at REDSTATE.com. Quoting:

On the Obama website, there is the Obama Blog, Barack TV, Obama News, Obama Events, Obama Maps, the Obama Store, and even Obama Everywhere, like he really is the messiah. The Obama Store's front page has zero Joe Biden stuff for sale. In fact, the Obama sign for sale on the front page is the old Obama '08 sign.
Nice framing, boys!

In response, because a picture is worth a thousand words, I give you this cartoon, triumphantly run by the Right-Wing WHERE ARE MY KEYS the week of the Republican National Convention. The WAMK caption?

More Non-Racism II

Speaking of Jonah Goldberg's piece in the LA Times, what do you make of this?

Perhaps it's because Barack Obama has never run a competitive race against a Republican. After all, Obama won his U.S. Senate seat in Illinois by running against Alan Keyes, a fire-and-brimstone, right-wing black carpetbagger from Maryland (or perhaps Mars) who had no real ties to Illinois.
Can you spot the unnecessary modifier in that paragraph? And the modifier which should be in there but isn't?

The first one is "black" of course. What difference does Keye's race make? (Read the whole thing for context, if you like.) The other is "Republican" as in "Alan Keyes, a fire-and-brimstone, right-wing black REPUBLICAN carpetbagger from Maryland." Because he is a registered Republican, you know. Somehow Goldberg tries to steer you away from that factoid, almost literally saying he's not. Interesting way to throw Keyes under the bus! That'll teach him to be so uppity.

"Uppity" as you know, is often used to refer to someone of any race, not just teh blacks.

The New Strategy - How DARE Obama Raise MONEY!

Meanwhile, unbiased independent Matt Drudge rolls out a new talking point - Obama's fundraiser tonight is excessive because the market is crashing. (Just above that, by the way, headline: Dow Swings Up!)

This to me seems to be of a piece with the other anti-Obama strategies they've been trying: He's too famous! He's too good a speaker! He's too popular! He's too black! He's too white! They're all good shots in this respect - they're so out-of-left-field-crazy that you don't see 'em coming, and you're a fool to defend yourself against them. Suddenly one of them catches on, and you're knocked off balance by it. I think the goal of this one is to make Obama defensive about raising money, which is a pretty evil little trick. Yesterday I read on Huston's blog that Obama charges more for campaign souveniers. He thinks it's elitist. I think it's supply and demand.

You need a public which is willing to to accept the idea that you can be too popular to run for office (or whatever) to make this stuff work. You need people who are so blinded by hate (let's say, hate of Democrats) that they're willing to overlook the obvious reasons why no one has used these arguments before. If people hate Democrats enough, they can smear a veteran's war record while at the same time ignoring a President without one, AND accuse the Democrat of hating the troops that he actually was in.

Whenever the Democrats fail to stoop to this stuff I'm bugged that they're letting Republicans get away with it; and when they DO it I'm bugged even more. On the whole, it's better when we take the high road. I think. You want hatred of America? When these kinds of tactics work, I'm willing to say yeah, America deserves what it's getting.

It's Not All Hope And Ponies

It's a worst case scenario... I agree with Jonah Goldberg!

In an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times, Goldberg takes issue with Obama's latest campaign ad. The ad, which depicts McCain as really really old and unable to work a computer, is substanceless and largely untrue, says Goldberg.

I'm with him on that one. First, it's a couple of cheap shots. Second, neither accusation speaks to McCain's ability to lead. Finally, I don't care how much success some have had with those kinds of ads, that doesn't make them good strategy.

What the hell is wrong with just running footage of McCain endorsing Bush policies, over and over again, until November? They're sitting on a gold mine there, and they're just wasting it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Fundamentals Of The Economy Are Strong

Of the

-John McCain, this morning

Sarah Palin's Tanning Bed

A non-story, as far as I'm concerned.

And I'll tell you why - she may have paid for it herself, and that's her own business. However, state-employed electricians apparently had to be called in to rewire the Governer's mansion to make it work, so in some small part, taxpayers helped Sarah Palin maintain that healthy outdoorsy glow.

Not that it matters, because she's not the presidential candidate. Then again, if we all ignore Palin, there goes that Republican convention bounce.

Fiorina Hates SNL

“I think (Tina Fey) looked a bit like (Palin)— I think of course the portrait was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin,” Fiorina argued, calling it “totally superficial,” “disrespectful in the extreme,” and “sexist.”

-Carly Fiorina, on MSNBC yesterday

I'm having a logic problem with this. The sketch featured Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin characters. I can see "superficial" and "disrespectful" but if it was pro-Hillary and anti-Palin, how could it be "sexist?"

Still, I certainly hope NBC called Palin and apologized for hurting her feelings. Very, very mean! Media, you should be ashamed of yourselves!

Rove Hates Fact Checking

“You can’t trust the fact-check organizations,” Karl Rove said on Fox News this Sunday. Curiously he did not add "but you absolutely can trust expressly partisan campaign ads. Oh wait, unless they're from Democrats. Same thing with speeches."

Yep, those facts and their liberal bias.

"Governer Palin Is Not A Pig Barack"

The title of this post also the title of the Townhall.com email I got this morning. Here it is, a whole 5 days after "Barack" (note the less respectful use of the first name, and yes I don't think it's a big deal, just worth noting) said this on the Letterman show: "Keep in mind, technically, had I meant it this way, she [Palin] would be the lipstick … The failed policies of John McCain would be the pig." Regardless of how you read the man's mind during the speech, this would certainly count as an apology, or at least a definitive denial that he thinks she is a pig NOW.

But of course, you can't raise money on the strength of an apology.

The actual content of the Townhall.com letter also includes this:

Michael Reagan even said that Governor Palin is the next Reagan. The Left has a different response. Barack Obama and his allies have unleashed a barrage of despicable smears and attacks on Governor Palin's record, her background, and even her family. Obama has even implied that Governor Palin is a "pig." There is debate if that is what he meant but as the video of his comments demonstrates, his liberal audience clearly took it as a reference to Governor Palin. The hateful speech from Obama must stop.
"This hateful speech from Obama" is, of course, non-existant. Neither candidate is throwing out hateful speech because neither one is nuts. To find hateful speech you have to drill down here to blogger level. Even campaign spokespeople are being careful and parsing enough that you have to tease out your insults from their remarks.

That's why building your whole campaign strategy on Obama's hateful remarks, as McCain is doing, is crazy. Not only is it easily fact-checked and disproved, but it casts McCain and Palin as victims of those mean Democrats. "They're hurting our feelings!" I'm not sure this is the image they're intending to portray. I mean, Palin is a little press shy, kind of a hothouse flower who is probably hoping to run the Vice-Presidency from Wasilla, where she can keep an eye on Russia; but I do recall during one of her rare public appearances at the convention that she is claiming to be tough. I think she made some slanderous allusion to herself as a pitbull with lipstick.

A few weeks ago I compared Republicans to schoolyard bullies. Now they're hellbent on characterizing themselves as the victims of bullies. And since they believe in the Bush Doctrine whether they know what the phrase means or not, they're going to hit first. Problem is, Democrats with their "nuance" and their "arugula" and their "science" are the chess club. The guy who walks into the chess club and starts swinging is either the bully or the troubled teen who needs to be taken out and moved to a special school across town, where he can be watched.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

More Non-Racism

Obama Waffles!

Asked if he considered the pictures of Obama on the box to be racial stereotypes, Whitlock said: ''We had some people mention that to us, but you think of Newman's Own or Emeril's -- there are tons and tons of personality-branded food products on the market. So we've taken that model and, using political satire, have highlighted his policies, his position changes.''

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Review Of a Portion Of The Palin Extravaganza

ABC sent Charlie Gibson up to Wasilla to mine the earth for rare nuggets. The rarest of nuggets: direct face time with Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin. And because this material is so precious, they used all of it.

Typically of TV news, they couldn't just take a chunk of footage and air it. They had to cut back and forth between several locations, throw in some archival footage when a sentence ran a little long, add a little narration, report on the reporters, and so on. I wonder if anyone told these people that rock videos aren't popular any more. News to them!

But most unusually, ABC was smart enough to use this little ratings viagra pill to engorge the numbers on the nightly news Thursday, then shave off a little more for the news on Friday, then they took a whole bottle of stuff for the 20/20 newscast on Friday night, finally attempting to push the erection to a fourth hour by devoting a NIGHTLINE episode to footage as a lead-in to Jimmy Kimmel. At this point they've either run out of Palin footage or they are consulting a physician.

I thought I had set my computer to record the Nightly News episodes but I was mistaken. However, I did catch 20/20. Aside from the juicy "Bush Doctrine" misstep, I suspect the rest of the interview was roughly like this. Gibson throwing tough questions at the Pitbull With Lipstick, the Pitbull hanging tough and holding her ground. Ultimately, of course, it was a stump speech in the Socratic Dialogue format, just like all candidate interviews. The double-O O'Reilly/Obama) was quite similar.

So what to take away from this? As advertised, Palin is tough and charming. I hope that after this we can put to rest the myth that attacking her is mean. She eats up attacks. Bring 'em on. Beyond that, I doubt the ABC interview (segment 3, 20/20) changed any minds about Sarah Palin. To me, she's still more far-right policy, and she only represents change in the sense than she's cuter than the current Republican president or her running mate.
UPDATE: The complete transcript without the jumpy editing! H/T to WHERE ARE MY KEYS for the link.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Not The Tiniest Bit Cynical

Yesterday the story came out that in July, George Bush secretly approved orders to allow US Special Forces to carry out ground assaults in Pakistan without informing the Pakistani government. This is a problematic bit of foreign policy, but then Pakistan is a problematic ally. On one hand, it's great to have their support because they're geographically well-positioned for our bases, being close to Afghanistan and Iraq and (shhhhh!) Iran. 

On the other hand, they fuckin' hate us. They hate us so much that they forced the one guy in the country who had a nice thing to say about George Bush out of public office. So this stunt isn't likely to make them like us any more. So do we still need their cooperation? Or is Bush kind of running a fire sale here?

I think it's the latter. I think Bush came to the conclusion that Musharraf was never going to give up Bin Laden and decided that he had to go in himself. (The extended commander-in-chief self, of course.) Still you wonder, why now? Why not, say, just AFTER an election? See where I'm going with this?

Bush is doing the party a favor by finally knuckling down and catching Bin Laden.  Ideally a couple of weeks before Halloween, to give McCain something to run on. If they already HAVE Bin Laden, I hope he has the smarts and bile to commit suicide while waiting to be presented to us.

It could also be timed this way as a desperate last-ditch attempt to salvage a troubled legacy, but given the way the terror alerts always spiked around elections (or when a distraction was needed) and the timing of Saddam Hussein's trial, this looks like the action of a man who can't be troubled to fight terror unless there are bonus points for Republicans in the deal.

But He's Cool and Light In the Summer

H/T Wonkette!

"I got nothing good to say about Obama," Lacasse told News 13. Lacasse put the sign in his front yard four days ago.

"If I see anybody touching that sign, I got a club sitting right over there," Lacasse said.

Half-breed - both sides were against him since the day he was born.

Sorry, wrong punchline - "Get a brain! Morans!"

Look, I shouldn't make fun like this. After all, the McCain campaign only has a handshake deal with him now. No contracts have been signed.

A Day Without Partisan Sniping

It was a relief yesterday to be able to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 events without having to listen to shrill negative campaining. The two candidates appeared jointly at an event in New York, for example, which appears to have been free of that kind of thing. Some bloggers observed the ban, some didn't. At the heart of it all was a very public agreement between McCain and Obama that this day needed to be above that kind of behavior.

As it turns out, maybe not the whole day. Salon reports that McCain's campaign aired an anti-Obama ad in the Denver area. It's this one.

Well, we can blame the TV station I suppose... maybe the got it and ran it by mistake. Then again, ithe ad was also uploaded to YouTube by the McCain campaign, and there is a September 11 date stamp.

In addition to it just breaking an AGREEMENT WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, the ad is another one that got on the wrong side of FactCheck.org. They take issue with most of it.

The ad says "they said she was doing 'what she was told.'" But the Obama adviser who's being quoted didn't accuse Palin of meekly following orders. What he actually said is that she made a false claim about Obama's legislative record and added, "maybe that's what she was told."
It says "they lashed out at Sarah Palin; dismissed her as 'good looking,'" But "they" didn't lash out at all. Obama -- who is the one pictured -- didn't say anything like that. The only one the McCain campaign quotes is Obama's running mate, Biden, and he actually offered the remark as a compliment. Biden said the "obvious" difference between Palin and himself is "she's good looking."
The ad says Obama was "disrespectful" when he accused Palin of "lying" about her record. But the truth is Palin's claim to have "said no" to the "bridge to nowhere" is indeed a dubious one, as we and many have pointed out.

So they broke the pact, they distorted quotes (so they went out of their way to break the pact) and to my mind they used 9/11 in a cynical way to attempt to gain a tactical advantage. Now THAT'S classy.

Instant Update - The Next Palin Interview


Interview to Run In Two Parts: Tuesday September 16th and Wednesday September 17th At 9PM ET

FOX News Channel (FNC) will present a special interview with Republican Vice Presidential nominee Governor Sarah Palin. The interview will be conducted by FNC’s Sean Hannity and will be presented on Hannity & Colmes in two parts on Tuesday, September 16th and Wednesday, September 17th at 9PM ET. This is Palin’s first cable news interview.

An array of topics will be discussed in the interview including being the Vice Presidential nominee, her role in the McCain campaign, Iraq and foreign policy, amongst others.

FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour general news service covering breaking news as well as political, entertainment and business news. For more than six years, FNC has been the most-watched cable news channel in the country, presenting the top eight out of ten programs in the genre for 2008 to date. Owned by News Corp., FNC is available in more than 90 million homes.
I can see the thinking behind the strategy, but it hasn't helped Dick Cheney's numbers any.

The Palin Floodgates Crack Open

Finally Sarah Palin takes questions from a guy! The guy in this case is Charlie Gibson, a journalist with roughly a quarter of the gravitas of Barbara Walters. Still, he is said by many to be fair and doesn't appear stupid. I guess. I rarely watch the nightly network newscasts, perhaps because judging by the commercials I'm about twenty years away from being their target audience. Boniva anyone?

This is all to say that even though I taped the news I didn't watch the segment. In fact, I watched an excerpt of the segment this morning, and they were using the excerpt to tease another segment tonight, which in turn is a tease for the 20/20 episode later tonight. I'm going to watch that. Its all a poor substitute for spending an hour with the candidate and just asking the questions yourself, but that would be impractical. I'm just too busy.

So, let's go straight to the "gotcha". (When I call it that, don't get me wrong - I don't think Gibson was trying to trip her up. The way he reacts, he seems more thrown off track than she was.)

GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

PALIN: (beat) In what respect, Charlie?

GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you — what do you interpret it to be?

PALIN: His world view?

GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.

PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that’s the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

GIBSON: (helpful but annoyed) The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.

It's pretty obvious that Palin wasn't famliar with the phrase "Bush Doctrine." To be fair, that doesn't mean she isn't aware of the policy, in fact she surely is. I'm sure a lot of Men-In-The-Street aren't aware of the phrase either. So this exchange doesn't make me think she isn't prepared to lead.

However, it does suggest that she isn't ready to campaign. It reinforces the whole last-minute-hail-mary-VP-choice meme that we've been hearing since she was first announced. It says that Palin has been concentrating on running Alaska rather than following the national political scene. Since the most unpopular president we've ever had (if he ain't, he's pretty close) has made it a badge of honor that he doesn't complicate his thinking with too much information, I don't know how much patience the voters are going to have with Republicans offering up more of the same in Palin.

We've got a whole hour tonight to see how much of the rest of the interview is like this; and after that probably, a handful of interviews tops. And the debate. Of course, even if she winds up being Dan Quayle, remember that guy made it in.

Of course, Republican voters LIKED Bush Sr.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rating The Conventions

On my showbiz podcast BOX OFFICE WEEKLY I covered the TV ratings for both conventions, and they were historically high. Obama held the record for most-watched acceptance speech, that is until McCain took the record by another 500,000 viewers. Palin was pretty close too. Biden, not so much.

But there's all kinds of fascinating qualifiers for these ratings, and they add up to nothing. For example, Obama's speech wound up in the top ten for the week while McCain's did not. It's a weird fluke of statistics - the ABC feed made the numbers, but the speech was carried live on 11 networks. A few more viewers on CNN or Fox would have meant less on ABC. McCain's speech was carried on 8 networks (BET, Telemundo and Network One declined on McCain but carried Obama) but still got larger overall numbers, but none in the top ten. I think he was edged out by sports on Sunday.

McCain may have also benefitted from a couple of good lead-ins - there was a football game on just before his speech. Had it run long or McCain started earlier, it probably would have hurt him but as it is, people are already in front of the TV anyway, right? Also Bill O'Reilly sported the first night of a multi-night interview with Obama, which garnered O'Reilly his second-best ratings ever. This preceeded the McCain speech, so arguably you couldn't ask for a more appropriate prelude. On the other hand, Obama had the advantage of being first, so he had to do less battle with convention fatigue.

And interestingly, the Neilsen company picked the month of September to add about 100,000 more people to its sampling pool; so they were sampling differently between the Democratic and Republican conventions. Does this skew the numbers any? Not really. More people in the sample presumably means a more accurate sample because there is more data, but it doesn't fundamentally alter the conclusions that Nielsen reaches.

Coming Around Again

The anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks is today. This is the most traumatic American event in living memory, and not surprisingly people have very strong feelings about it and what it means. Some of these interpretations differ dramatically from each other, and I'm not going to stir up trouble by pointing out how. We've had enough trouble.

My good wishes go out to anyone who was affected by the attacks. Which is everyone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Smeared and Smearing at the Same Time

Trust the people at factcheck.org. Their only agenda is the truth, their only mission is to clear up lies told by public figures. They've caught the Obama campaign in lies, and McCain as well. And as you might expect, there's plenty of material on both sides.

But don't misquote them, because that pisses them off.

The ad quotes a factcheck article put on on Monday, and I'd encourage you to read it because it does put to rest a few crazy myths about Sarah Palin. So what's their problem with the McCain ad?
The ad strives to convey the message that FactCheck.org said "completely false" attacks on Gov. Sarah Palin had come from Sen. Barack Obama. We said no such thing. We have yet to dispute any claim from the Obama campaign about Palin.
Because you see, Obama is conspicuously taking the high road with Palin. It's a strategy, and it makes sense. By the way...
There is no more basis for attributing these viral attacks to the Obama campaign than there is for blaming the McCain campaign for chain e-mail attacks falsely claiming that Obama is a Muslim, or a "racist," or that he is proposing to tax water. The anti-Palin messages, like the anti-Obama messages, have every appearance of being home-grown.
See? Voice of reason.

In a better world, people would read this and (pardon the expression) move on. Of course in a better world, factcheck.org would kinda be unnecessary.

SIDE NOTE: Like both candidates, I'm taking off the partisan hat tomorrow. No negative campaigning for a day! Y'all can do what you want - that's what makes America great. Me, I'm choosing to honor our fallen by being a uniter.

Careful Who You Associate Yourself With

I'm ready to give up on this lipstick-on-a-pig thing, now that I've seen it on the morning news stripped of ALL context. That battle to smear someone by inferring thoughts they obviously never intended has been won, I think. Point goes to the those RNC boys.

Still, it makes things said in speeches fair game, right? 

So this Mrs. Palin woman said an interesting thing in her acceptance speech at the convention: "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty and sincerity and dignity." A lovely sentiment. It's a quote, but is it her own thought? Hard to say. We know she didn't write her nomination speech, though she may have had input. I'd like to think she did. For one thing, it makes her less of a cute puppet and more of a hands-on leader. For another thing, it would mean she's familiar with the work of Westbrook Pegler.

Most people aren't familiar with Westbrook Pegler, a right-wing columnist popular in the mid-twentieth century. But Ben Smith, at The Politico, did some digging.
It's an odd source because Pegler, who moved further right as his career went on, ended up very, very far out... he talked hopefully of the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt.

He was also known for what Philip Roth described as his "casual distaste for Jews," which had become so evident by the end that he was bounced from the journal of the John Birch Society in 1964 for alleged anti-semitism. According to his obituary, he'd advanced the theory that American Jews of Eastern European descent were "instinctively sympathetic to Communism, however outwardly respectable they appeared."
Does Sarah Palin share these views too? Have you seen her and Leiberman in the same place?

Maybe she can dispel this nonsense during her interviews.

I'll Take Those Rights, Thanks

In 1998 the DMCA was signed into law. That's Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It's unpopular with podcasters, normal people, librarians and free speech advocates, but oh so popular with Media companies. So by the rest of us, not well-liked. Still it is the law of the land (and it got through the Senate with unanimous approval!) so we are obligated to play by those rules.

Say you're a lawmaker who wants to distribute an ad which whips up phony outrage over a comment your rival for public office made. You slap together some out of context footage, pad it out with some other stuff, and call it "Lipstick." Guess what? CBS can make you pull it down, if you use footage of Katie Couric without getting clearance first.

McCain, who was IN THE SENATE at the time when the DMCA passed, and hopefully read the thing, has used the work of artists without obtaining their permission first 6 times in the course of this campaign. So what is it? End justify the means? Doesn't care about the rights of others? Naturally assumes everyone loves him? For a guy who has stopped talking to the press, with a running mate who hasn't yet started, relying on other people to get his message across is going to be stickier than he apparently thought.

MSNBC Off To A Good Start

The folks at MediaBistro (mmmmmm- media!) report that ratings for the first Rachael Maddow show are pretty good. She beat Larry King and Glen Beck in her timeslot though not Hannity and the Cartoonishly Weak and Ugly Liberal.

Actually MB just provided the ratings. They reported it. You decide!

A Republican Strategy I Like


I assume that he's trying to take the sting out of the word, as evinced by this:

The Goddard campaign didn't deny that he was discussing Ron Allen, telling the Journal-Constitution that Goddard "simply evoked a word -- that by definition -- described the reporter's demeanor as being superior, arrogant and presumptuous."
Yes, keep calling black folks that and telling them it's not racially charged. That'll settle this racism accusation once and for all! McCain, please please please! Lead on this one!

Wait, no one listens to McCain... Palin! Please!

Say something!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Desperation Is Back! Pt. 2

Oh, now I get it.

Maybe I'm Not Listening Hard Enough

I mean, it sounds like Sarah Palin is supporting the "bridge to nowhere" here:

And here:

And it's true she didn't support it EVENTUALLY. But when she says this:
"I told Congress thanks but no thanks for that bridge to nowhere up in Alaska,"
I hope I don't seem racist when I say that I find it a little hard to swallow. Only two more days until the hard-hitting Gibson interview!

The Desperation Is Back! ***UPDATED***

Convention bounce, Obama is up 8 points. Second convention bounce, McCain is up 9 points. So before the end of August they were close to dead even and now, after the conventions, we're back where we started. Some Democrats are worried because the White Women Demographic has swung toward McCain in a big way, 50% to 42%. But since the general number is back where it was, doesn't that mean Obama gained in all other categories to compensate?

Still, at least for today McCain is up a point. So why, today, did I see two of the most desperate talking points ever from Republicans?

Item number one: Hugh Hewitt et al accuses Obama of dissing Sarah Palin in a speech! The line "lipstick on a pig" according to them, obviously refers to Palin. Here's the clip that WHERE ARE MY KEYS put up to prove it:

A fasciating insult, lacking as it does ANY CONTEXT AT ALL IN THE SPEECH. Interestingly, McCain used the same expression last year, talking about Hillary Clinton's health care plan. So there is a little tempest raging over this, and the Obama people issued a statement that amounts to "Oh, come ON."
Enough is enough. The McCain campaign’s attack tonight is a pathetic attempt to play the gender card about the use of a common analogy – the same analogy that Senator McCain himself used about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care plan just last year. This phony lecture on gender sensitivity is the height of cynicism and lays bare the increasingly dishonorable campaign John McCain has chosen to run.
I gotta say also, Obama is savvy enough to know that crudely insulting your popular opponents femininity probably wouldn't win him back those white women. So I'm going to file this one under "implausible outrage."

Meanwhile my other favorite source of Conservative Outrage, Warner Todd Huston, offers this:
OBAMA LIES ABOUT SIGNING UP FOR THE DRAFT!!!!! ZOMG!!! (Okay, everything after the word "draft" was my addition.) Here's the talking point. On Sunday Obama talked to GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS and said this:
You know, I had to sign up for Selective Service when I graduated from high school. And I was growing up in Hawaii, and I had friend whose parents were in the military, there were a lot of Army, military bases there. And I always actually thought of the military as some ennobling and honorable option. But keep in mind: I graduated in 1979. The Vietnam War had come to an end. We weren't engaged in an active military conflict at that point. So it's not an option that I ever decided to pursue.
Huston, letting Newsbusters do his thinking for him, calls this a "lie" because: there was no selective service requirement in 1979! He's lying, don't you see!

I commented on the entry and asked Huston to explain what Obama hoped to gain by lying like that. After all, if he had failed to sign up and there HAD been a requirement, that would certainly be a scandal but this, this is nothing. Huston insists that Obama forgot when he signed up, and that's LYING. OMG!!!!

What I'm taking away from these two attempts to spin a scandal outta nothin' is that these guys are running scared. Not these two guys. The whole blogosphere. And that, more than anything else, makes me think that the Democrats got nothing to worry about. I mean, I suppose we shouldn't stop mentioning that Sarah Palin actually supported, and got money for, the Bridge to Nowhere (she just didn't spend it on the bridge) and that John McCain, well, we can just run his old quotes to bring him down. And that if the surge worked, why can't we send the troops home? But we have the luxury of not having to resort to character attacks. Especially weird ones.
***Upadate*** Anna Marie Cox, at Swampland: I don't think Obama meant anything crude with the phrase. And I didn't think the McCain campaign meant to portray Obama as the anti-Christ, either. Neither of these campaigns are quite as together as critics would like to believe. Amen, sistah, especially to that last part.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Bill Kristol With a Kind Word For Obama!

"Character, judgment and the ability to learn seem to matter more to success as president than the number of years one’s been in Washington."

- New York Times, 9/7/08

Fox News, But Without The Enthusiasm

During the conventions, MSNBC's coverage was anchored by Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews. The network has announced that from here on in, David Gregory will chair the debates and the election night coverage, with Olberman and Matthews relegated to commentator positions.

This is interesting. At first I thought that it was a bid by MSNBC to avoid alienating the conservative half of its audience. Olberman is one of about 4 cable news hosts who is explicitly liberal; and Matthews, as I've noted before, is in some kind of weird distorted area where no matter what side you're on, he's against you. So I'll call him neutral. Therefore the coverage for MSNBC skewed left.

However, Glenn Greenwald points out in Salon today that Olberman is by far MSNBC's greatest ratings-grabber. MSNBC is the sad-sack of Cable News Organizations. Olberman is the only guy anyone watches there. In fact, they have just signed liberal lesbian Rachael Maddow to occupy the hour between Olberman's high-rated 7:00pm show and its 9:00pm rerun.

So MSNBC had no audience to lose by keeping Olberman as election maven; in fact, there is an obvious model for making money out of biased coverage. No one watches Fox News because they believe its fair and balanced. Even when it is the reason people tune in is because they already agree with the right-wing positions it usually takes. It's classic narrowcasting strategy, and in a landscape where there are 6 or 7 all-news channels it works just fine.

So why the switch? Because MSNBC responds to complaints by right-wing organizations. If they don't, the organizations tar NBC with the same brush. And these organizations have been screaming for years that the whole network is far-left-liberal because they carry Olberman. It doesn't matter to them that 3 hours a day goes to Joe Scarborough (former Republican congressman, current Republican), or that Chris Matthews has espoused positions like this:

I like [George Bush]. Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left . . . We're proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who's physical, who's not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who's president. Women like a guy who's president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. . . . Why don't the damn Democrats give the president his day? He won today. He did well today. . . .

Hat tip to Greenwald for that.

MSNBC people, here's my advice - they keep calling you the liberal network. Go for it. Keep adding liberals until the ratings level off. You got nothing to lose. If NBC complains, do something else they always say - sell out to George Soros. Believe me, GE would jump at the cash, and probably sell out cheap. You're never going to make any scratch by being fair and balanced in this market.

Sarah - Smile!

Why is the Barracuda, the pitbull with lipstick, waiting two weeks to talk to the press? I mean, how tough can she be if she won't even catch a few softballs from O'Reilly?

Yes, she's scheduled to weather the white-hot inquisition of ABC's far-left radical Charles Gibson later this week, but traditionally the VP appears on the Sunday talk shows the week of his/her announcement. Plus, McCain promised Larry King that he would have his pick the day after he announced.

Sarah Palin is AFRAID of LARRY KING!

(Granted so am I, but I have an irrational fear of suspenders.)

It seems plausible to me that as much as the base loves Palin, the RNC is concerned that the more the rest of us learn about her views, the less we'll like her. So they're coaching her in ways to say "I'm really really really to the right of most of you guys" while making it sound like "can't we all just get along?" It's the opposite of the problem that they have with McCain, who is a centrist but is positioning himself as a rightie, but a rightie who represents change from the current administration.

Presumably the congnitave dissonance of these messages will spook the average voter, but that could be me dreaming again. My dream candidate is a brainy wonk with not party affiliation whatsover, but that candidate would be eviscerated by all sides long before we got the booths. So I'm for Obama, who is said to be brainy and wonky.

More About Racism

It occurs to me that perhaps the reason why I'm suspicious about Republican's claims of color-blindness is simply that I don't have enough information. So I'm going to ask an open-ended question and ask for responses.

There is a well-known disparity between the percentage of African-Americans in general society, versus the percentage of them in prison. They also tend to be sentenced more severely and serve longer sentences than caucasions for similar crimes. Given these numbers (which are not in dispute as far as I've heard), liberals and African American advocacy groups generally blame racism for the problem.

So what is the alternate explanation? Or explanations.

Friday, September 05, 2008

This Is The Hand, The Hand That Takes

(Title from Laurie Anderson's O SUPERMAN: Now that's a campaign song!)

Here's a couple of items about the Republican Convention stagecraft. First: Sarah Palin's use of the song BARRACUDA by Heart? Not so popular with the Heart people.

Thursday afternoon, Heart e-mailed out a statement ... "The Republican campaign did not ask for permission to use the song, nor would they have been granted that permission," it read. "We have asked the Republican campaign publicly not to use our music. We hope our wishes will be honored."
Why does Heart hate the America, which fought and died for... wait, they're Canadian. Message: Republicans don't respect foreign dignitaries, and run roughshod over the wishes of women.

Second: During McCain's speech a picture appeared behind him. Apparently it was supposed to be of the Walter Reed Veteran's hospital, but the picture was actually of Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, CA.

In addtion to being the wrong image, it is said to have been distracting during close ups, which offered a shot of McCain surrounded by an unbroken field of green. Photoshop geeks had the time of their lives.

Donna Tobin, Principal, says this on the school's blog:

Permission to use the front of our school for the Republican National Convention was not given by our school nor is the use of our school’s picture an endorsement of any political party or view.”

Message: Republicans will ruin any endeavor that involves our nation's veterans, and run roughshod over the wishes of our nation's schools.

Oh, and don't be fooled by the picture; North Hollywood sucks. Believe me, I used to work there.

The X Factor

So last week in SLATE, Jacob Weisberg published an opinion that if Obama loses, racism must be the cause. His thinking is that the generic "Democrat" is running so high in the polls yet Obama is neck and neck with McCain. Actually he's still up about 4 points, but I haven't seen the polls since McCain's very high-rated speech last night. So even though America wants a Democrat, they fear the dark man.

I'm not sure I can buy into that argument. John Kerry, though not always recognizably human, was not black either and he had a pretty good theoretical shot. The Republicans are really good at taking qualified people and turning them into demons with or without racism. Not that they haven't used that arrow too but its certainly not the only one in the quiver. 

Both candidates could run the country, both are honorable men. Obama happens to be a little more clear-eyed about the war in Iraq, and a little less hooked up to the people who have been running us into the ground for the past eight years, so I'm for him. But "a little more" and "a little less" doesn't help lure the swing voters. 

It will be interesting to see who wields the club of racism more in the next couple months. It might not come up at all... depends on who gets the most desperate the quickest!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Republicans Aren't Nazis!

At least I have one thing in common with Shakespeare: Sometimes it's easier to understand what I'm saying if you hear it rather than read it.

(The other thing I have in common with Shakespeare is all my material is actually written by someone else. I'm really an idiot drunkard who is the public face of my media empire.)

Damn, I should learn to read... I wonder what I just said?

It's Only Funny If They All Do It

Hat tip to EVERY SINGLE LIBERAL BLOG ON THE PLANET: The Hill talks to Lynn Westmoreland (R, GA) about the Obama family.

"Just from what little I’ve seen of her and Mr. Obama, Sen. Obama, they're a member of an elitist-class individual that thinks that they're uppity," Westmoreland said. Asked to clarify that he used the word “uppity,” Westmoreland said, “Uppity, yeah.”
Oh how I wish I could say I TOLD YOU SO! But hey, just because one Republican in Georgia uses a term that describes Nigras who don't know their place, it doesn't mean that's what they're all thinking. All we know for sure is, if a white man runs for the highest office in the land, he's a leader and if a black man does it, he's arrogant. See? It's the Obama camp that keeps dragging racism into this!

Update: From Wonkette commenter ANGRYBLAKGUY:

…here is a translation of all the Republican code words:

Elitist = Uppity
Community Organizer = The person who gets all the “Color’ds” worked up
Exotic = N%gger
Hockey Mom = White woman(e.g. Carol Brady/June Cleaver)
Country First = the other guy is a traitor
They dont know enough about him = He might be a Mooslim
Sexist = Stop asking questions already
Liberal = the bottom 95% of the income bracket