Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blink Darling, Blink

After watching today's CBS News clip of Palin rambling about Biden and creating an unwittingly funny argument against John McCain for President, I'm starting to see one reason why Gambler McCain might like Palin-- she has a stinkingly obvious tell.

The issue isn't her inability to parse language, on one level that could be arguably refreshing. No, the issue is her inability to communicate like a rational, thinking adult in the business of persuasion.

Clearly... she doesn't know what she's saying.

Talking Points Memo has a great headline for the video above: Palin: I'm Obama to Biden's McCain

Right Foot, Left Foot

Amid the bailout hoopla and awaiting this Thursday's gift to political nerds (it truly will be like having the Tooth Fairy come on Christmas Eve) I came across this poll result today from Rasmussen Reports:

Survey of 1,000 Adults
September 27-28, 2008

On a fall weekend, how likely are you to take a long walk?

Very Likely 40%
Somewhat Likely 27%
Not Very Likely 21%
Not at all Likely 8%
Not Sure 4%

My favorite people of the week are the 8% of Americans who just don't see that happening. No way, no how.

Walk on, friends.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Johnnie's Sense of Smell

It was immediately obvious to me as I watched Friday's debate that Senator McCain's constant, "Senator Obama doesn't understand" refrain was-- viscerally--a rhetorical stinker, a la "That's not change you can believe in..." from McCain's famous Green Screen speech.

Snap polls and subsequent polls prove that the phrase was a net negative for viewers. But McCain still pushed it at an appearance today.

It reminds me of the old joke: An old man goes to visit his doctor about a very personal health issue. Doctor, says the man, I am having a horrible time. What is it? the Doctor says. Doctor, says the old man, I'm having horrible silent gas emissions. On Monday I had 17 silent gas emissions. Yesterday I had 30. Why, even while sitting here I've had 4 silent gas emissions! Well, says the doctor after a pause, first, we need to check your hearing.

You can't fix that kind of tone deafness. Not even with lipstick.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Domestic Relations

If a couple gets into a substantive argument, say over the couple's finances, and one of the two makes a giant stink and flat out refuses to attend an event the couple had previously agreed to attend over the weekend as retribution for the argument, but then the weekend comes around and that one of the two just goes ahead and shows up to the event anyway... isn't that person then weakened for the next argument? Doesn't such a thing then alter the dynamics of the relationship, even if temporarily?

The person in the relationship who didn't make the threat would subconsciously know they won. And they would be right.

Congrats, Barack.

Go kick some butt.

Twins of Logic

Part of the joy of today will be watching GOP pundits and their hackneyed attempts to cast McCain's pathetic stunt as brilliant.

Declaring Victory will be easy. This recent stunt was brought to you by the Party of Mission Accomplished.

Note: You can print some banners, fools, but that won't make it true.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

About Last Night

McCain tells NBC tonight that he is hopeful financial issues advance enough to enable Friday's debate.

Translation: I hope everyone forgets about my tantrum on Thursday.

There's really no way McCain can skip the debate now and not lose face.

If he skips, Obama gets a nationally-televised townhall.

I predict that while Obama goes into the Oxford debate looking steady and ready, McCain will try to upstage the event by bringing along his pal Palin and her bag of Alaskan Distractions.


I'm not a fan of posting clips with an advertisement showing before them, but this should really scare you. Share it with your friends.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Deal or No Deal

McCain's decision has truly over-politicized a process that while political, was nearing at least some tentative foundation for an eventual agreement. Now, it seems that the GOP has more incentive to slow it down in order to help McCain save face and not debate tomorrow (and for McCain to prevent Governor Palin from speaking in public on October 2nd). But hasn't this "deal" been relentlessly pushed by a Republican President who spoke last night of "once in a century crisis"?

After 8 years of George W. Bush, the term "crisis" doesn't really mean what it used to.

Americans are suspicious of any rushed deal and rightfully so. But Democrats seem inclined to see the disaster as real and the need for a solution urgent. And so I trust Chris Dodd more than Bush on this point. Sensibly, Obama seems to trust in the Democrats back in town, too.

In today's New York Times Gail Collins calls McCain too "hot" and Obama too "cool" when it comes to the financial implosion on the Street.

Oh, please. Restraint and thoughtfulness are not "cool" --they are simply "smart" for a President of the free world. Let's stop playing games while Rome burns.

While McCain rushes back to the District to take control of something he knows absolutely nothing about, and something that is already nearly decided, I am reminded of the end of a great Bob Dylan song:

Thunder on the mountain heavy as can be
Mean old twister bearing down on me
All the ladies in Washington scrambling to get out of town
Looks like something bad is going to happen, better roll your airplane down

Everybody going and I want to go too
Don't wanna take a chance with somebody new
I did all I could, I did it right there and then
I've already confessed, no need to confess again

Gonna make a lot of money, gonna go up North
I'll plant and I'll harvest what the earth brings forth
The hammer's on the table, the pitchfork's on the shelf
For the love of God, you ought to take pity on yourself.

: So obvious it hurts. Boehner acting like no deal is on the way.


Bill Clinton said today that he thinks the McCain suspension stunt was done in "good faith."

I have two questions for the definitionally-challenged former President:

1) If this was done in good faith, then why did McCain not want to make the announcement with Obama, in a true sign of bipartisan agreement?

2) If John McCain is such a great guy, which you obviously believe, why did your wife work so hard to campaign against him, and incur so much unpaid debt, once it was apparent McCain was the GOP nominee?

The Shameless Clintons. I wish they'd "suspend" their campaign as well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Delay Down

Say what you want about the politics of McCain's gamble to head back to D.C. and his attempt to get the debate moved...

but the suspending his campaign thing, that's just a little bit much, no?

Time's blog Swampland makes a great point- some states ARE VOTING ALREADY. By the time of the 2nd debate, even more states will have voters sending in ballots. All while those voters have never had a chance to see the two candidates speak back and forth on substantive issues on a non-managed stage.

Why pull your ads? Why say you're "suspending the campaign"? Isn't that somehow an insult to the people working day and night to get you across the line on election day? It is not as if McCain did this a few days ago, you know those olden days when the "fundamentals were strong"? No, he's doing it now, two days before the debate, after his poll numbers wilt and after Congress is nearing a slow-moving solution.

While the entire gamble itself seems more than poised to backfire, I believe the concept of "suspending" your campaign almost 40 days before election day is the most offensive to Democracy. It's a rhetorical over-reach. We have not been attacked on our own soil. Wall Street just got really greedy and messed up and wants bailed out by taxpayers. That's a big darn difference.

System fail.

Also: maybe McCain's "suspension" would have made more sense after President Bush's address tonight? I don't think most Americans understand what makes this crisis so far reaching and immediate. A post-speech McCain action might have seemed less, well, weird and self-servingly impulsive (which it purely is, from any standpoint).

But even then, injecting yourself as a Senator into the debate is not possible anymore.

McCain is a Presidential nominee for the Republican Party. Every act he takes has added consequence and would slow any solution. I don't suspect Harry Reid wanted McCain to come to D.C., but simply to tell his fellow GOPers to pick a side and work on it. The GOP is all over the place on this "bailout." McCain has not led them in any measurable way. A suspension won't ameliorate that.

Strength Through Schizophrenia

What the heck?

Everyone is reporting McCain is suspending his campaign to head to Washington to assist with the bailout. Which is funny, because we already have a President and we already have Democratic House leaders working furiously.

First, the fundamentals are strong. Now, we must suspend our campaign and delay the debate.

It looks desperate and odd. Flailing. Maybe undecideds will agree, maybe not.

Also: doesn't this action make the situation seem more dramatic and won't it cause some sense of panic? How will markets respond?

Obama should call McCain's bluff and demand a debate on the economy Friday.

Mental Recession

Why has the Wall Street bust and bailout thrust completely depleted my interest in everything Election 2008?

Even as Obama gains greater message footing and even more poll ground, I've lost the itch. Palin meets with leaders (on what Wanda Sykes calls her "Epcot" trip: a long but Must Watch Clip) and tells Katie Couric we're close to a Depression, and yet, nothing. Bill Clinton shows up on a media tour with weak, petty Obama support and plenty of his trademark-ed selfish, egomaniacal rubbish, and still, nothing. Maybe I need some blog prep while Obama debate preps.

In the meantime, try other people's efforts?

New York Magazine: "Obama's Foreign Policy Opening"

The New Republic: "McCain Tells Lies Everyday"

And a great Obama ad:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Que Sarah Sarah

Wherever Sarah Palin goes... Obama has a mini-surge.

After her recent "rally" in Iowa:

Obama 53, McCain 39
(Likely voters: 9/15-9/17)

Days after her big "rallies" in Virginia:

ABC News / Washington Post results,
Obama 50, McCain 45
(Likely voters: 9/18-9/20)

Keep up the good work, Governor!! She's in Pennsylvania today...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Home State Pride

Iowa is not the Field of Dunces, trust me.

No matter how much the GOP pretends, Palin is just too phony for Iowans, and McCain has never been well-liked in the State.

McCain will not win Iowa.

SurveyUSA (Sept 19):
Obama-Biden 54%
McCain-Palin 43%

How about BOTH???

"That's how we see this election: Country First or Obama First."

-- John McCain in Minnesota, today.

Joe on the Trail

Joe Biden actually says things at his rallies.

As in, he offers ideas and arguments and stuff. There's narrative and heart and raw political work being offered up.

Sarah Palin shows up to hers and recites lines handed to her. For about 10 minutes.

And the media prefers the recited lines? Yes.

On Wednesday evening, Biden drew a crowd of 4,500 people in Wooster, Ohio.

Would you ever know this? Or even know where he was? Nah.

He gave a great speech, too. Here it is, for you weekend enjoyment.

Woman of the People

Some key excerpts from a great, short piece, Sarah Quaylin by Jonathan Chait of The New Republic.

Ever since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I've gotten confused about all the reasons I'm supposed to dislike Barack Obama. The previous reasons, in rough chronological order, were his lack of experience, his empty rhetoric, his flip-flopping, and his "celebrity." But Palin has made each one of those critiques moot. The "celebrity" attack on Obama has a particularly Dada quality right now as starstruck Republicans bask in the charisma of their adorable veep. (Coldest state, hottest governor, read signs at her rallies.) With her hunky husband, touching family life and plucky personal story, she is the candidate of the People. And by People, I mean People magazine.

The flip side for Republicans of losing most of their attack lines was supposed to be a series of virtues Palin would bring to the ticket: She's a reformer, a steadfast opponent of earmarks, a proponent of transparency and clean government. Subsequent reporting has revealed that Palin embodies the precise opposite of every one of these virtues. She appointed unqualified cronies, abused her power to punish personal enemies, and has displayed a Cheney-esque passion for government secrecy. Her boast of having put the state airplane on eBay was undermined by subsequent revelations that she failed to actually sell it on eBay.

The swift disintegration of Palin's anti-pork credentials has been especially amusing. After initially casting Palin as a dedicated foe of earmarks, and then having it revealed that she asked for and received enormous sums of earmarked projects, the McCain campaign has fallen back to the defense that she requested fewer earmarks than other Alaska pols. This is true: Even though Palin took ten times the national per capita average in earmarked spending, in this regard she still rates somewhat below average by the standards of the petro-kleptocracy of the state from which she hails. Yet this defense raises the question of why Ted Kennedy never thought to run for president on the slogan "He Never Took a Drink In His Life," and then, when challenged, point out that other members of his family are less sober than he.

Chait goes on:

Engagement, not experience, is the difference between Palin's qualifications and Obama's. Obama has a longstanding interest in national and (to a lesser extent) international issues, and has answered questions on all those issues in extensive detail. Palin has dealt almost exclusively with parochial issues in a wildly atypical state. (Her fiscal experience, which consists of divvying up oil lucre, offers better preparation to serve as president of Saudi Arabia than the United States.) It's possible Palin has harbored a long-standing, secret passion for policy wonkery, but the few signs available thus far--her convention speech that spelled out "new-clear weapons," her evident lack of familiarity with the term "Bush Doctrine"--suggest otherwise. The Republican intelligentsia is frantically tutoring her while they run out the clock until November 4.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Princess of Tides

This evening I was watching last Friday's episode of the Bill Maher show, Real Time on HBO. John Fund, one of those muppet-like conservative men in a suit and tie, who start out pink-faced and progressively get redder as they get more defensive, was warning Bill and the room to "watch out" at the coming backlash in America in response to how horribly the media was treating Sarah Palin. He lamented how mean Charlie Gibson was, and demanded the election get back to issues, ignoring the fact that Palin can't exactly speak to any issues, since she's truly a political preemie on the national stage.

What kills me, using a week's hindsight, is how the conservative movement uses trumped up object lessons to shame anyone into questioning the legitimacy of their claims. As we all now know, no true backlash came. None was coming. Ever. In fact, yesterday's CBS/New York Times poll shows that Senator Obama has gained ground with female voters, all over America, since the cynical Palin selection. But the threat of a backlash, of angry masses demanding the Media cease it's cruel practice of asking questions in the quest for answers, well, it was supposed to assuage us all into perfect silence.

In a sense, conservatism has always used it's female representatives as twisted Cassandras of cynical convenience. Jeanne Kirkpatrick was distinctly used as a pawn to commence the "Blame America First" strain of Republican cultural warfare in the 1980s, lamenting "San Francisco Democrats" and their evil agenda, all while her Party re-nominated a former Governor from California against a public servant from the upper Midwest. Recall Condi Rice as a pawn for the Iraq occupation with her "we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud" mantra. Harriet Miers was a lazy, accidental ruse, but then she too was used, after the fact (for fun) by Republicans to shame the media and Americans for elite legal preferences and disdain for small universities. I'm sure there are even more examples (and perhaps I can flush this thesis out further-- it plays into my previous post about the myths the GOP bestows upon it's women).

But for now we have Ms. Sarah Palin. Don't question her at all, because deep down, any question you ask is an affront to her small town values and her hockey mom ways. No questions please. Please be deferential to this woman.

And the backlash is coming, I suspect.

Just from the other direction.

Carbon Copy

From CNN and Talking Points Memo:

Sarah Palin likes to tell voters around the country about how she "put the government checkbook online" in Alaska. On
Thursday, Palin suggested she would take that same proposal to Washington. "We're going to do a few new things also," she said at a rally in Cedar Rapids. "For instance, as Alaska's governor, I put the government's checkbook online so that people can see where their money's going. We'll bring that kind of transparency, that responsibility, and accountability back. We're going to bring that back to D.C." There's just one problem with proposing to put the federal checkbook online - somebody's already done it.

His name is Barack Obama.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

She's In Love (with Herself)

From any objective perspective, when you are completely new in the national political arena, it is really unwise to introduce yourself with insults and sarcasm. Not only does it reek of immaturity and a deep lack of self-discipline, but it reflects poorly on your capacity to get along with others. Which in a democracy is sort of required.

Put simply: people in America don't like their public servants to be, well, sorry... dicks.

Now, modern-day Republicans don't care about these things. In fact, they love it if their public servants are dicks. But even the biggest one of all, Dick Cheney, kept his true jerkiness hidden until after the election. And dicks don't govern well. They are the reason why the last 8 years has brought cultural division, war, explosive debt and crumbling, well, you name it (businesses, schools, hospitals, homes, roads, reputation, rights, etc.).

But looking at the recent favorable/unfavorable movement for Palin, it's evident that independents and undecideds don't care for her self-impressed brand of chilly snottiness.

Asked by Hannity about Joe Biden, Palin says, "“I think he was first elected when I was like in second grade.”

I honestly don't think there's ever going to be enough lipstick for her.

Also: Palin has gone from not blinking when McCain asked her to be VP to now saying she had a family vote. But her son did not vote, since he's going to be in Iraq. Don't you like her even more now?

Also Also: One more thing about Fox. Why did Palin get the grand dining room from Clue for her interview but Obama got some creepy office? Coincidence?

Spanish Lessons

So apparently McCain either (1) got confused or (2) became irritated and subconsciously emotional during an interview when asked about the leader of Spain. Both options are a net-negative for Gramps. Now his campaign says he was acting confused on purpose. "Confused" was a brilliant smokescreen for McCain's pro-American principle. Because Spain is not enamoured with America enough these days, and all. So McCain wanted to send a passive-aggressive lesson to Spain.

But even with McCain's maddeningly bad attitude and judgment aside, the episode is telling. McCain does not know how to communicate clearly or honestly, at least not enough where people understand what he is saying. This, or McCain cannot simply say he did not understand the question.

This is the guy that is going to be teaching Sarah Palin everything he knows about Foreign Policy? This is the guy that will restore our standing in the world?

It's time for Obama to go after McCain's legendarily awful temperament. He's the wrong kind of cowboy.

But First, I Really Need A Nap

“Tomorrow I will be talking in greater detail about the crisis facing our markets and what I will do as president to fix this crisis and get our economy moving again.”

-- John McCain, at a rally in Cedar Rapids today.

U.S. Americans

Enough with the insanely tepid Beauty Pageant answers.

Note that Palin does not name one skill. Not one.

It really is starting to mirror this parody:

What's Good for the Goose's Email

I sure don't think McCain showed this much outrage when he allowed President Bush and Homeland Security to read through all of our e-mails!!!

"Palin's E-Mail Account Hacked, Published on Web Site...McCain-Palin 2008 Campaign Manager Rick Davis: 'This is a shocking invasion of the Governor's privacy and a violation of law. The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these emails will destroy them. We will have no further comment'..."

Standing By Her Man

No one sees old school chauvinism in this?

So the Republicans won't allow Sarah Palin to answer any sustained questioning by herself.

She cannot be allowed to speak her mind. She obviously has no genuine opinions. No personal policy positions.

The main part of this that bugs me, is that as a citizen of a state not in the lower 48, how does Sarah Palin know what concerns non-Alaskan-Americans have? Does she not care about those voters and their issues and needs? It is such pure arrogance to act as if Sarah Palin already knows all she needs to know about the state of America. The McCain camp just wants us to trust that she's ready to go. She doesn't even need to visit most places or hear from voters. She's from small town Alaska, right? What else is there to know about America, right?

The lack of interest in what real voters want is sickening. Screw the media, Sarah. Take some tough questions from the voters.

Even Dan Quayle got a solo press conference right away after being selected, let alone nominated.

Verdict: the McCain campaign is undoubtedly afraid of what Palin might say.

Update at 410pm: After watching some of the event, it's clear she's been programmed to the max. A cheerleader all the way.. but man, both vocally and visually Palin just plain overpowers McCain in a massive sense. The crowd digs it, but I wonder how independents view that.

This Book Totally Makes Sense Now

I have been reading this book for a few days and was not understanding it...

to say the least!

But now I totally get it.

Thank you, Sarah Palin.*

*(see post below)

"Fundamentals" Means "Workforce"

Sarah Palin to Hannity on McCain's "fundamentals are strong" comment.:

“It was an unfair attack on the verbiage that Senator McCain chose to use… He means our workforce. He means the ingenuity of the American people and of course that is strong and that is the foundation of our economy.”

To which I ask: In what regard, Charlie?

Maybe that's what it means up in Alaska, Governor, but not in the lower 48...

I watched the clip and the Governor clearly says, "verbage" (like "garbage") not the traditional "verbiage".

I wonder what "verbage" means?

Maybe "workforce"?

Obama Ticks Up for Lead in Gallup

For the first time since that slick, halting Republican spectacle in Minnesota Obama now leads in the Gallup daily tracking poll, 47% to 45%.

From Gallup, "there has been a general drift towards Obama since McCain moved to a five-point lead over Obama through the weekend after the GOP convention."

Don't hold your breath for the media to stop the "Democrats continue to worry" storyline.

Running On Ice

Today in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd tries to relate to the natives in Wasilla, AK, carping stereotype and regurgitated trope that doesn't amount to much. But she does get a great money quote:

R. D. Levno, a retired school principal, flew in from Fairbanks. “She’s a child, inexperienced and simplistic,” she said of Sarah.

“It’s taking us back to junior high school. She’s one of the popular girls, but one of the mean girls.

She is seductive, but she is invented.”

Yes, Virginia

All I read about Virginia is that it is a very "uphill" battle for Obama.

Fine. But he's marching hard up the hill.

Today's Public Policy Polling survey has Obama up 48-46 over McSame.

Close, definitely. But worth noting: even with Pitbull Barbie on the ticket, Obama is still ahead.

Slippery CW

Mark Halperin parrots already-old and disproven conventional wisdom with this odd snippet:

Axelrod: “The Battle is Now Joined”
Wednesday, September 17th, 2008
Obama’s top strategist acknowledges “more urgency” behind the Democrat’s campaign, as insiders worry about McCain’s surge of popularity since tapping Palin.*

Just as McCain is now universally known as a guiltless liar, as Palin's unfavorables are steadily rising and as Obama has utterly deflated the McCain "bounce"... it is extremely important the press reminds us about those insiders and their worrying.

And can Halperin please halt all use of the word "tapping" in regards to Palin and Clinton? Really not necessary.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

People Who Need People

When McCain gets money from a bunch of rich guys in Miami shelling out 50K a piece, it's patriotism at it's best.

If Obama does the same thing in Hollywood for 28.5K, then McCain claims Obama's turning his back on the real folks.

Old game, played out.

All Politics Is Colloquial

Courtesy of Air America's Stephanie Miller (who played it on a loop all morning)...

forward the video to 55 seconds and listen.

"Guys! and Gals!"

Barbie means business.

The Lyin-ization of GOP Women

Carly Fiorina is a horrible surrogate for McSame (and let's face it, she's pretty darn "uppity, too). (See: Palin can't run a corporation. But neither can McCain. Or Obama or Biden. Just me.)

But don't forget Carly was an even worse business leader. She depressed the stock and morale of a solid corporation, and left with 21 million dollars in "severance."

In a true sense, the Fiorina placed in front of the cameras by McCain's camp has been blessed with a very similar whitewashing of history and thus, myth, to the whitewashing and myth created by McCain's advisors for Sarah Palin.

Look at these Top 10 Reasons People Hate Carly Fiorina, from BusinessPundit.com:

10. She didn’t take the time to build trust.
9. She didn’t provide numbers to back up her promises.
8. She favored market dogma over innovation.
7. During her time in office, she didn’t successfully implement her own vision.
6. She failed to preserve HP’s key cultural assets.
5. She lacked focus.
4. She didn’t listen.
3. She was a bad manager.
2. She was a bad leader.
1. She won’t admit to her own failures.

Shucks-- replace the "she/her" with "he/his" and "HP" with "America" and that's President George W. Bush.

Now compare this list to the New York Times front page article this Sunday, "Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes," examining Palin's very short tenure as Governor.

The Times article suggests, in part: Palin didn't stay around long enough in the state capital to gain anyone's trust, she favored loyalty over competence, she ignored the key components of the legislative process required in a democracy, and she was pretty vindictive, to such an extent it clouded her judgment.

Now add this picture of Palin next to the a few (of the many) contradictory myths pushed by the love-is-blind GOP: Sarah hates earmarks! (she actively sought extreme levels of earmarks both as mayor and Governor, and even kept and spent the millions in Federal Bridge to Nowhere funds), Sarah knows Russia! (it's geographically close), Sarah fought the oil companies! (she raised taxes on them, but McCain would rather die than do this), Sarah is a Reformer! (she made random budget cuts in a room alone with her un-elected husband, and she also supported corrupt Senator Ted Stevens, solely because he had seniority in the Senate and could bring home the pork).

The GOP adores their woman leaders, but only as symbols. Not as fully realized individuals. They cannot wait to transform these women into non-descript fictional characters celebrating personality traits more common to GOP males (Snark, hunting, and flags combined with blind loyalty, blind ideology, and free market first!). Why aren't more women in the U.S. not publicly outraged at the deep chauvinism fueling such "lionization" (lyinization?) of GOP women by the GOP white male elders (i.e., the Republican Party)?

Back to Earth

What do you want to bet you won't see many stories in the mainstream press saying how McCain has lost his Palin bounce? I haven't seen one yet. And I'm not holding my breath.

We can anticipate state polls, in a few days or so, should start to reflect this recent tightening.

Today's tracking:

DailyKos.com (D) / Research 20001 Obama 48, McCain 44

Diageo / Hotline Obama 46, McCain 42

Gallup McCain 47, Obama 46

Like the Results?

A great line of attack for Obama might be a version of:

Remember how the Republicans promised you a President who was a Reformer with Results?

They're promising the same with McCain.

Did you like the results the first time?

Are you better off with these Republican Results?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Good Line

"If you think those lobbyists are working day and night for John McCain just to put themselves out of business, well then I've got a bridge to sell you up in Alaska." -- Barack Obama, today in Colorado.

State Watch

Maybe my Virginia-not-Ohio inkling was based in fact...

Virginia-President September 15
SurveyUSA Obama (D) 50%, McCain (R) 46%

Ohio-President September 15
Suffolk McCain (R) 46%, Obama (D) 42%

Far From The Maddening Crowd

From Bloomberg this weekend: McCain-Palin Crowd-Size Estimates Not Backed by Officials.

I'm not one to hyper-ventilate about polling with so many media cycles left to churn before the election, but I must admit that recent reports about just how large and enthusiastic those Palin crowds have been kind of made me a tad, well, apprehensive.

Well guess what-- they weren't so big. The numbers were lies.

Bloomberg reports this: the McCain camp tells the press, "Hey we have 10,000 people here. The Secret Service confirmed it." Or they say, "Hey, the Fire Marshall says we have 23,000 in the crowd." Those numbers get reported. People like us read those numbers and think, geeze, that's impressive.

The catch? "We didn't provide any numbers to the campaign" says the Secret Service. That Fire Marshall? He says "his office did not supply that number to the campaign and could not confirm it." That 23,000 crowd? Most reporters attending estimated it was 8,000.

Still a big crowd, but that's not rounding up you can believe in.

The lie annoys me. What bothers me more is that I took the numbers for truth (and so did the breathless, gutless media) and operated accordingly. Those numbers made me uneasy about Democratic enthusiasm. It did not cross my mind to doubt them. We can argue whether it is good or bad that I still live in world where I figure, heck, why would the campaign lie about something so objective and so easily confirmed?

The GOP ticket in 2008 will lie about anything and everything.

I've been counseling others to take a deep breath about the media hype right now. The local Obama office in L.A. I visited this weekend was packed and had awesome energy. Obama is back up by 3 points in Research 2000 today. He is inching up with Gallup. The state polls are in flux, and will be in flux. Obama raised $66 million in August. His crowd in New Hampshire this weekend was solid. The Obama camp says about 7000 showed up. And unlike the Republicans, you can believe a Democrat.

Keating Heart

If McCain still believes this:

Isn't it time for some version of this? (Clip has volume issues, but worthwhile.)

Change of Fools

The Crazy Half: Per the notoriously GOP friendly Gallup, today: "A majority of Americans (54%) say John McCain would be effective in changing the way things are done in Washington..."

And yet: "61%... feel this way about Barack Obama."

What is the deal?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Friday, September 12, 2008

Gender and Questioning

A possibly not-so-subversive reason Gibson and Hannity will be Palin's first two "interviewers"-- a man is never going to ask substantive, direct questions to Palin concerning her position on sex education and its relation to the pregnancy of her daughter, the role Palin directly played in charging rape victims for their own rape kits, her radical views on a limiting a woman's reproductive choices or her position on equal pay for equal work in America. It would seem a female interviewer would have a modicum of leeway to press Palin on her answers to such topics. But a male interviewer simply has no such leeway, definitely not with a woman so new on the national scene (my reflex is to add, "and rightfully so" but tell me female readers, is that progress? I honestly can't tell...).

Exhibit A: Charlie Gibson undoubtedly let Palin off the hook on the choice/abortion issue, allowing her to simply say she has a "personal opinion" and respects others that may disagree with her when it comes to permitting abortions in the horrific circumstances of rape or incest. Palin draws the line at the life of the mother, and nothing more.

"My personal opinion is that abortion [should be] allowed if the life of the mother is endangered. Please understand me on this. I do understand McCain's position on this. I do understand others who are very passionate about this issue who have a differing opinion," she said.

Perhaps a sensible follow-up might be: "So you are comfortable forcing a rape victim to not only pay for her rape kit, but then also to force her to carry the child, conceived by rape, to term?"

Can you imagine a man asking that? No way. Although, I doubt even a woman journalist in America would ask such a thing. And that is wrong. Right? Or am I wrong?

Update: No more Caribou Barbie after this, prometa. But how about this interchange: GIBSON: Homosexuality, genetic or learned? PALIN: Oh, I don't -- I don't know, but I'm not one to judge and, you know, I'm from a family and from a community with many, many members of many diverse backgrounds and I'm not going to judge someone on whether they believe that homosexuality is a choice or genetic. I'm not going to judge them.

Like the abortion and taxes questions from Gibson, absolutely no follow-up. Palin's non-answer is left there to wither and die. She won't judge those who decide homosexuality is not a choice? Well how gracious of the Governor. However, as a voter who isn't, oh, 100% comfortable with Palin's "no judgment" stance on deciding if you choose your sexuality, perhaps Gibson could have asked any of these easy follow-ups:
  • "So do you support an Amendment to the Constitution to ban gay marriage?"

  • "Do you support civil unions?"

  • "Do you support domestic partnership rights, and if not, how is preventing one partner from seeing the other in a hospital room, not judgment?"
But such issues only impact people's daily lives. And I'm sure Sean Hannity will ask them.

The GOP will swoon over how mean Uncle Charlie was to the isolated Ice Queen from the North. But in reality, Charlie (yes, Governor, we all see you know his name) asked a few good starter questions and then wandered away from them. Palin's answers were generic and entirely expected. Having some follow-ups wouldn't have been a miracle feat. But perhaps because Charlie was pressed for time (only a few minutes with the Queen, sir!) he wanted to zip through as much ground as possible. The political Iditarod for l'idiot. Bring your mushers.

In the end, that an untested candidate for Vice President can waltz so unchallenged through a soft focus chat with Charlie is not only an injustice to political journalism, it's an injustice to the voting public of this, yes... for now at least... democracy.

Celebrity Endorsed

Well, heck, my friends...

Grandpa sure seems to love the first day at the new site.

Next up: getting people to drop by every now and then.

What Lies Beneath

The Page headline:

Palin Defends “Bridge to Nowhere” Stance

The objective headline:

Palin Admits "Thanks, but no thanks" on Bridge Was A Lie

Community College

If you are a dedicated, multi-tasking politics nerd like me, you might want to spend some of your free time (come on, you have some free time, conceited) with the new Electoral College "Political Scoreboard" created by Markos over at Daily Kos. You can access it here: Daily Kos Political Scoreboard or here.

The Scoreboard's Race Calculator function allows you to mess around with different state result scenerios and to provide some context to the state polls you hear about. It also allows you to flip back two cycles to the elections of yore (or Gore) to see how certain candidates performed in certain states (my favorite).

It's vaguely intellectual, right? Maybe for those bored moments before giving in to Gawker.com.

And They're Proud of It, Too

"[N]eoconservatives style themselves as intellectuals, but they shy away from proper conversations about facts and ideas. Though some are erudite, and some even polite, their public face in magazines like the Standard and Commentary--with a few notable exceptions--is quite different: they are, at base, ideologues not intellectuals, propagandists not journalists, thugs not thinkers."

-- Joe Klein of the Time blog Swampland, today.

Palin: Bridge Player?

Per ABC news, Palin insists, despite evidence to the contrary, that she opposed Bridge to Nowhere (and that she opposes outrageous Congressional spending).


Update: It's not the actual concept of earmarks that kills her, its the abuse! The abuse of it all!

So, students, please note that spending taxpayer money to study the sex lives of crabs is not abuse. Sex with crabs, however...

Speaking of exoskeletons, Senator McCain has decided, per the AP, to support the current highway bill, including all of it's earmarks. That's an $8 billion dollar bill. I'm sure there's no abuse in it though. Definitely, maybe.

So we're back to defintions. The Republicans love them the word play. What is "abuse"? What is "imminent"?

What is the "Bush Doctrine"?

Take it away, Sarah!

Clueless, Slippery CW

On Mark Halperin's The Page right now:

Slide? The guy is working his way back up from the Palin "bounce"! Look at todays polling:

Hotline/Diageo Obama (D) 45%, McCain (R) 44%
Research 2000 Obama (D) 47%, McCain (R) 46%
Gallup Daily McCain (R) 48%, Obama (D) 45%

The Gallup number is interesting in that Obama has gained 3 points over the week.

In pundit world, slides must climb up. And why not? Lies are truth in that world, too.

More Surrogates Like This Please

Koch's "oh, please" is great.

Unlike Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton could take the heat. And it's obvious Hillary didn't need the media to protect her the way Palin does.

And speaking of surrogates-- I was home last evening battling the flu (fun) and thus unable to change the channel when MSNBC's "Service" forum came on. Can someone explain to me why, after the forum, not one McCain or Obama surrogate was invited on to discuss the peformances? I was left to watch Andrea Mitchell twitch around like a muppet proclaiming what a hero McCain was, and endure Chris Matthews and David Gregory talk back-and-forth about basically nothing.

Watch Matthews at the 1 minute mark. He rambles for one minute (what is he talking about, seriously?) and then blames Obama for the tone of the campaign. If only Obama had agreed to weekly debates, Matthews asserts, there would be no spitballs. I almost threw up at the bile. And it wasn't because of the flu.

MSNBC just plain sucks now. This isn't commentary, it's pure ego-centric crap. Enough.

Country First: Which Country?

I read this somewhere online today and totally agree-- which country is McCain putting first with his little "Country First" slogan? McCain's economic policies put Mexico, India and Canada first. McCain's foreign policy, with endless war, surely puts our troops and their families, as well as our economy and international reputation, dead last.

Obama should create signs that say "America First" and start weaving that theme through his speeches, just to get under McCain's skin. I don't think Obama's lobbying ad today is enough. He needs to co-opt some McCain themes.

God Love Him (update 2:37 pst): Obama today to the Florida machinists: "So when American workers hear John McCain talking about putting country first, it’s fair to ask – which country?"

Now we can expect several prominent Republicans to be shocked--shocked!--at the "disrespectful" nature of these remarks. And to someone who is obviously a famous war hero*!!

*(deeply-troubled Track was never deploying on 9-11. Another "narrative" lie. But hey... it sounds cool!)

Meet Virginia

Paul Hackett writes today on Daily Kos that Obama is losing Ohio, in a most general sense due to silent racism. Whether this is true or not, recent polling does suggest a 2004-like tight race in the State. A State not known for efficient democracy.

Ohio is such a mess for Democrats, in no small part thanks to the ridiculously bruising primary there (and to the extremely non-progressive Governor Strickland, a grumpy, staunch Clinton supporter)... it makes me wonder whether Obama should focus all his efforts instead on Virgina.

The ground game in Virginia is obviously more familiar to Team Obama (the media truly under-reported the significance of Obama's huge primary win there last February--Obama garnered a whopping 64% to Clinton's 35%) and recent governing success under Democrats Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, in addition to shifting population dynamics in the north of the State, suggest a true, genuine opportunity for Democrats.

I've been reading a great new book by Thomas Frank, The Wrecking Crew, which exposes the State of Virgina as a deeply conflicted, demographically changing State that has witnessed the extreme incompetence of new-style GOP governance (i.e., unaccountable privatization) up close at every local level.

So, it makes me wonder if the land of Macaca could become the locus of the fight in 2008. If Obama can hang onto his leads in Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Mexico (or grab Nevada), all he needs to pass 270 is Virgina. A tall order, sure, but at least a change from the disgusting electoral shams of Ohio and Florida.

I'm going to pay less attention to Ohio polls and more attention to Virginia ones. The Commonwealth might pull through for real Change.