Saturday, August 30, 2008

Stewart & Colbert Mock Sarah Palin VP Choice

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report” aired special Democratic Convention coverage Friday night and absolutely laced into McCain’s ridiculous choice for VP, Sarah Palin. [Click the pic for the vid.] As a bonus, Jon rips into FOX’s Steve Doocy for seriously arguing that Alaska’s proximity to Russia gives Palin meaningful foreign policy experience.

6 things the Palin pick says about McCain

Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris, Politico: The selection of a running mate is among the most consequential and the most defining decisions a presidential nominee can make. John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says a lot about his decision-making — and some of it is downright breathtaking.
We knew McCain is a politician who relishes improvisation and likes to go with his gut. But it is remarkable that someone who has repeatedly emphasized experience in this campaign named an inexperienced governor he barely knew to be his No. 2. Whatever you think of the pick, here are six things it tells us about McCain:
1. He’s desperate. Let’s stop pretending this race is as close as national polling suggests. The truth is McCain is essentially tied or trailing in every swing state that matters — and too close for comfort in several states, such as Indiana and Montana, that the GOP usually wins pretty easily in presidential races. On top of that, voters seem very inclined to elect Democrats in general this election — and very sick of the Bush years.
McCain could easily lose in an electoral landslide. That is the private view of Democrats and Republicans alike.
McCain’s pick shows he is not pretending. Politicians, even “mavericks” like McCain, play it safe when they think they are winning — or see an easy path to winning. They roll the dice only when they know that the risks of conventionality are greater than the risks of boldness.
The Republican brand is a mess. McCain is reasonably concluding that it won’t work to replicate George W. Bush and Karl Rove’s electoral formula, based around national security and a big advantage among Y chromosomes, from 2004.
“She’s a fresh new face in a party that’s dying for one — the antidote to boring white men,” a campaign official said.
Palin, the logic goes, will prompt voters to give McCain a second look — especially women who have watched Democrats reject Hillary Rodham Clinton for Barack Obama.
The risks of a backlash from choosing someone so unknown and so untested are obvious. In one swift stroke, McCain demolished what had been one of his main arguments against Obama.
“I think we’re going to have to examine our tag line, ‘dangerously inexperienced,’” a top McCain official said wryly.
2. He’s willing to gamble — bigtime. Let’s face it: This is not the pick of a self-confident candidate. It is the political equivalent of a trick play or, as some Democrats called it, a Hail Mary pass in football. McCain talks incessantly about experience, and then goes and selects a woman he hardly knows, who hardly knows foreign policy and who can hardly be seen as instantly ready for the presidency.
He is smart enough to know it could work, at least politically. Many Republicans see this pick as a brilliant stroke, because it will be difficult for Democrats to run hard against a woman in the wake of the Hillary Clinton drama. Will this push those disgruntled Hillary voters McCain’s way?
Perhaps. But this is hardly aimed at them: It is directed at the huge bloc of independent women who could decide this election — especially those who do not see abortion as a make-or-break issue.
McCain has a history of taking dares. Palin represents his biggest one yet.
3. He’s worried about the political implications of his age. Like a driver overcorrecting out of a swerve, he chooses someone who is two years younger than the youthful Obama and 28 years younger than he is. (He turned 72 on Friday.) The father-daughter comparison was inevitable when they appeared next to each other.
4. He’s not worried about the actuarial implications of his age. He thinks he’s in fine fettle and Palin wouldn’t be performing the only constitutional duty of a vice president, which is standing by in case a president dies or becomes incapacitated. If he were really concerned about an inexperienced person sitting in the Oval Office, we would be writing about vice presidential nominee Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge or Condoleezza Rice.
There is no plausible way McCain could say that he picked Palin, who was only elected governor in 2006 and whose most extended public service was as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (population 8,471), because she was ready to be president on Day One.
Nor can McCain argue that he was looking for someone he could trust as a close adviser. Most people know the staff at the local Starbucks better than McCain knows Palin. They met for the first time last February at a National Governors Association meeting in Washington. Then, they spoke again — by phone — on Sunday while she was at the Alaska state fair and he was at home in Arizona.
McCain has made a mockery out of his campaign's longtime contention that Barack Obama is too dangerously inexperienced to be commander in chief. Now, the Democratic ticket boasts 40 years of national experience (four years for Obama and 36 years for Joe Biden of Delaware), while the Republican ticket has 26 (McCain’s four years in the House and 22 in the Senate).
The McCain campaign has made a calculation that most voters don’t really care about the national experience or credentials of a vice president, and that Palin’s ebullient personality and reputation as a reformer who took on cesspool politics in Alaska matters more.
5. He’s worried about his conservative base. If he had room to maneuver, there were lots of people McCain could have selected who would have represented a break from Washington politics as usual. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman comes to mind (and it certainly came to McCain’s throughout the process). He had no such room. GOP stalwarts were furious over trial balloons about the possibility of choosing a supporter of abortion rights, including the possibility that he would reach out to his friend.
Palin is an ardent opponent of abortion who was previously scheduled to keynote the Republican National Coalition for Life's "Life of the Party" event in the Twin Cities this week.
“She’s really a perfect selection,” said Darla St. Martin, the co-director of the National Right to Life Committee. It is no secret McCain wanted to shake things up in this race — and he realized he was limited to a shake-up conservatives could stomach.
6. At the end of the day, McCain is still McCain. People may find him a refreshing maverick or an erratic egotist. In either event, he marches to his own beat.
On the upside, his team did manage to play to the media’s love of drama, fanning speculation about his possible choices and maximizing coverage of the decision.
On the potential downside, the drama was evidently entirely genuine. The fact that McCain only spoke with Palin about the vice presidency for the first time on Sunday, and that he was seriously considering Lieberman until days ago, suggests just how hectic and improvisational his process was.
In the end, this selection gives him a chance to reclaim the mantle of a different kind of politician intent on changing Washington. He once had a legitimate claim to this: After all, he took on his own party over campaign finance reform and immigration. He jeopardized this claim in recent months by embracing ideas he once opposed (Bush tax cuts) and ideas that appeared politically motivated (gas tax holiday).
Spontaneity, with a touch of impulsiveness, is one of the traits that attract some of McCain’s admirers. Whether it’s a good calling card for a potential president will depend on the reaction in coming days to what, for the moment, looks like the most daring vice presidential selection in generations.
LSB: This selection makes the Dan Quayle selection look like sheer genius. My question: can the RNC convention delegates NOT nominate her for V.P. during their roll call? What a stunning repudiation of their candidate, but nominating his selection for V.P. is certain defeat.

Bill Maher and New Rules are back!

Bill Maher returned to HBO last night with a great show and a hilarious “New Rules” segment. Click the pic for the vid.

2 Top Alaska Newspapers Question: The Palin Hits Just Keep Coming

LSB: Anyone care to guess how long she stays in the race? My guess is she hasn't got the balls for a rough national campaign.
Now a word from religious right leader James Dobson:
"[O]ur conviction is that birth and adoption are the purview of married heterosexual couples. Traditional marriage is God's design for the family and is rooted in biblical truth. When that divine plan is implemented, children have the best opportunity to thrive. That's why public policy as it relates to families must be based not solely on the desires of adults but rather on the needs of children and what is best for society at large." – James Dobson of Focus on the Family, TIME, December 2006
Joe and I discussed this post before writing it. We weren't even sure we were comfortable posting this because, as Democrats and progressives, we don't pass judgment on children born out of wedlock, or their parents. Every child is a gift, and we don't believe it's the government's, or anyone else's, business what you do in your own bedroom.
But the conservative base of the Republican party, the very base that McCain's VP choice, Sarah Palin, was chosen to woo, does care about legislating your sex life. Though it was 20 years ago, who can forget the infamous Murphy Brown controversy, when then Republican VP Dan Quayle criticized a fictional TV character, Murphy Brown, for having a child out of wedlock. For conservative Christians, aka "values voters," getting pregnant while not married is still severely frowned upon. Remember, it was only 18 months ago that religious right leader James Dobson famously, and publicly, criticized vice presidential daughter Mary Cheney in a column in TIME magazine for having a child out of wedlock. It is exactly Dobson who McCain is wooing with the choice of Palin.
As Joe notes in his post below, pregnancy and birth control - and overall sexual mores - are key issues for conservative voters, and for the Republican party leadership. It is therefore newsworthy, and a legitimate issue, while admittedly somewhat uncomfortable, to inquire as to the practice of those very same issues in Sarah Palin's own life. Let me walk you through the issue:
1. Sarah Palin's first son, Track Palin, was … born on April 20.
2. Sarah Palin was married on August 29, 1988. She eloped.
3. 38 weeks is the typical human pregnancy.
4. 38 weeks before her son's birthday, April 20, 1989, is July 28, 1988 - i.e., that would be the hypothetical day of conception.
5. If this data is correct, that would mean that Sarah Palin eloped four weeks after
her son's conception.
6. Sarah Palin's son could still be legitimate if he was born four weeks premature, AND if he was conceived on the night his parents eloped.
Again, Joe and I aren't very comfortable discussing these kind of issues because, honestly, we don't care when Sarah Palin's son was conceived. But Sarah Palin and John McCain and James Dobson care very much about the conception of your children. James Dobson, the very man McCain is wooing, himself decided that Mary Cheney's out of wedlock conception was worthy of an entire commentary in TIME magazine only 18 months ago. It is at least fair to ask that Sarah Palin meet the James Dobson/Mary Cheney standard, and clarify for James Dobson and values voters everywhere whether her actions match her words.
We know McCain, Palin and the GOP will reverse Roe v. Wade. They also want Griswold gone. That means birth control. Joe Sudbay (DC), The traditional media thinks the Palin pick means Roe v. Wade is now part of the presidential debate. It always has been -- McCain wants to reverse Roe (although the punditry often overlooks that extreme view.) The real question isn't Roe. We know how the GOPers feel about that. The bigger issue is birth control. Remember how freaked McCain got when he had to answer a birth control question?
Roe is based on the holding in Griswold v. Connecticut, which held we have constitutional right to privacy. If Roe goes, Griswold is on the chopping block. Griswold overturned a Connecticut law that prevented the use of contraceptives by married couples. That case was decided in 1965. Think about that: 43 years ago, in Connecticut (not Alabama or Utah), married couples were prevented from using contraceptives.
Here's are a couple questions for any reporter who has access to the GOP ticket: Do John McCain and Sarah Palin want to reverse Griswold v. Connecticut? Do John McCain and Sarah Palin want to prohibit any forms of contraception? Do John McCain and Sarah Palin think "the pill" is a abortificant?
These are important questions. In case anyone doesn't think that Republicans want to ban the use of contraceptives like the pill, watch this video of Mike Huckabee, who is from the same theocratic wing of the party as Sarah Palin. Huckabee thinks the pill is abortion:
Then read the draft RNC platform with that in mind:
Faithful to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence, we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.
For the GOP, the pill is abortion and all abortion must be stopped. Ergo, no pill.
Earlier this month, we did an online chat with Congresswoman Diana DeGette about her new book, "Sex, Science and Stem Cells: Inside the Right Wing Assault on Reason." In the chat, I asked her this question:
I’m interested in the issue of birth control. In the book, you describe the debate about expanding insurance coverage for birth control - an issue that has recently come up in the presidential race. It sounded like Rep. Chris Smith and some of his right wing colleagues really would just prefer to ban birth control. Are there people on Capitol hill who would ban access to contraception?
DeGette gave this response:
There are many examples in my book where far-right members have tried to deny
access to birth control. For many years, we gave international HIV/AIDS prevention money to religious organizations which would not provide information about condoms about AIDS prevention. Rep. Smith tried to exclude certain types of birth control methods to be covered in federal employees' insurance plans and exclude birth control pills, IUD's the patch, and others. There are other juicy examples in the book.
As I say in the forward to the book, I have concluded that many powerful politicians want to ban birth control altogether and think we should have some sort of Christian nation (according to their views) where people should be abstinent until marriage, and then only have sex for procreation. I have not arrived at these conclusions lightly.
This is real. And, the American people need to know where McCain and Palin stand. Will any reporter dare to ask them about birth control?
McCain impressed by Palin's courageous work at the Wasilla PTA. Joe Sudbay (DC), My sister, Karen, directed me to this quote People Magazine. This says a lot more about John McCain than Sarah Palin:
Sen. McCain, of all the candidates you considered, what drew you to her?
JOHN: Obviously, I found her to be very intelligent and very well-versed on the issues. But I think the important thing was that she's a reformer. She's taken on special interests since she ran for the PTA and the city council and mayor. The courage, I guess, is what most impressed me.
That's what most impressed John McCain. Granted, McCain doesn't really know Palin, but that's still frightening. Knowledge and understanding of all the foreign policy crises to which McCain is always referring -- al Qaeda, Islamo-facists, Iran, Russia, Georgia -- that stuff doesn't really matter if one stands up to the special interests at the Wasilla PTA, according to John McCain.
John McCain showed once again that he doesn't have the mindset to be President.
Alaska's GOP State Senate President on Palin: "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" Joe Sudbay (DC), Did the McCain campaign do any research on Sarah Palin? Talk to anyone in the state? Even do a google search?Apparently not. Check out this hometown smack down:
State Senate President Lyda Green said she thought it was a joke when someone called her at 6 a.m. to give her the news."She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?" said Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"
All politics is local. Palin doesn't like State Senate President Lyda Green. Palin laughed out loud when a radio talk show host called Green a "bitch" and a "cancer." (Green is a cancer survivor):
Now, if Palin had been vetted by the McCain campaign, some of this stuff might have come up. But, McCain is erratic and impulsive. It was more important for McCain to "win" the news cycle than pick a v.p. who was qualified.

Sarah Palin doesn't know much about the Iraq war. Joe Sudbay (DC), You have to hear Sarah Palin's views on the war in Iraq -- from Sarah Palin. She really doesn't know what "the plan" is or too much about Iraq or foreign policy.
Just listen to excerpts of Sarah Palin from an interview with TIME magazine. It's from August 14, 2008. That's just two weeks ago. This should make you feel safer. She'd be one heart beat (or another bout of cancer) away from the being the leader of our nation. In these dangerous times of which John McCain so often speaks, John McCain made a craven political decision. He's willing to entrust the safety of our country to someone who knows nothing about keeping us safe.

Did McCain Just Throw A Dart At A Boardful Of Republican Pols To Come Up With Palin? Palin endorsed Pat Buchanan in the 2000 GOP primary (and this year preferred both Willard and Ron Paul)-- over of John McCain. And McCain doesn't even know her-- neither do any of his close associates. Lindsey Graham seems to think that she's qualified for a job that puts her a heartbeat away from the presidency because "she hunts moose at 3 in the morning." He's one silly, silly goose, giggling like a little girl.
Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a very conservative and distinguished Texas senator who McCain passed over to pick the little known and extremely inexperienced favorite of religious extremists, said that she doesn't know anything about Palin but implied that since the state of corruption among Alaska Republicans is so intense, it's probably better that she doesn't know anything about her!
She's just a fresh new face for the same old failures. Is it a gimmick? Is this John McCain's best judgment? He may feel invincible but he's old and in bad mental and physical shape. Was he just thinking about how it would enthuse evangelical ground troops or was he thinking about what would be best for the United States of America? Give me a break! He's been running all over the country like a chicken without a head screeching that Obama is too young and not ready to lead? And Sarah Palin? Did he ever even talk to her? Did anyone vet her? This is scary. And it's not about Palin; it's about McCain. He's lost his mind.
The Palin split in the Republican Party is lining up like this: the Neocons think McCain just shot himself -- and their cause -- in the foot. The religionist extremists, bigots and lobbyists love her. David Frum (like lots of Americans) asks, "If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?" Ralph Reed, the embodiment of religionist extremist, corrupt lobbying and bigotry, is "beyond ecstatic... This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith. And she is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament.'' Yeah... Spiro Agnew meets Dan Quayle with a dash of Harriet Miers.
Other Republicans -- not the Ralph Reeds, not the grasping lobbyists or the giddy silly ones like Lindsey Graham -- ones for whom "Country First" is more than just a cheap campaign slogan, are uncomfortable with this choice, not just because Sarah Palin may turn out to be the next Tom Eagelton but because it throws into very serious contention the state of McCain's ability to lead. We just came through 8 years of George Bush being persuaded he was always right because he was always sure. Many people now see he was never either. This McCain selection, the most important indication of his ability as a head of state, is looking like it could be indicative of a reckless old man who thinks he can make snap judgments without thinking things through. Many thoughtful Republicans, realizing she wasn't vetted, are coming to the conclusion that bold isn't necessarily smart. McCain has a sordid history -- one he has gone to great lengths to keep from the public view -- as a reckless, high-stakes gambler. That's not what this country needs. He's not right for the presidency.

What's He Going to Call Her in Public?

Jane Smiley, My responses to the Palin announcement in chronological order:

  • Who's that?
  • Is this a joke?
  • Who's that again?
  • She has a four month old baby and she's hitting the campaign trail?
  • Is she breastfeeding?
  • Does she know he has a history of abusing his wife in public?
  • Has she ever been called a "c***?"
  • Do they really think American women are that stupid?
  • A beauty queen?
  • Is she related to Katharine Harris?
  • Did the people who run his campaign know about this ahead of time?
  • What scandals is she embroiled in?
  • What was the last large animal she killed?
  • Does she pay her nanny's social security?
  • If the red phone rings in the middle of the night and she's breastfeeding, will she answer it?

The Week in Review via YouTube

LSB: Eloquent, yet relateable; gives a clear direction and makes a distinction between his campaign and McCain's. This is the guy - this is the time!
LSB: Biden was an acceptable choice. Qualified? Without a doubt. Does he represent a ‘change?’ No, but he’s not at the top of the ticket and he has the experience/connections to get the needed changes through the Congress. Let’s just hope he doesn’t go off message too often or at the wrong time. And he’d better not be too deferential to Palin because she’s a ‘hockey mom’ with five kids – the GOP hasn’t shown and deference to Nancy Pelosi, another mom and grandmother.
LSB: A class act! We’ll be lucky to have her as our First Lady!
LSB: President Clinton went a ways to rehabilitate his image and legacy with this speech, but I will not soon forget his conduct during the Spring primaries. I'll always be a bit wary of him - and Hilary, too - and he no longer automatically gets a pass from me because (despite the Lewitzski mess) he was a pretty good president.
LSB: Sen. Clinton had a good evening, but it didn’t go far enough to erase the memory of those final weeks of the primaries. Long after everyone knew – and she had to have known – that she was not to be the nominee, she continued to trash Obama and to deplete his campaign coffers of the funds he would need in the fall. This was vanity run amok, and it certainly told me a lot about her character. Could I have voted for her? Doubt it. However, could I stand to see McCain win just to satisfy my discontent with Sen. Clinton? Probably not. Like in previous years, I would have held my nose and voted against one candidate more than voting for another. For the first time in many years I really feel I am voting FOR someone – and it feels great!
LSB: Where was this guy four years ago?
LSB: I believed in Al Gore eight years ago, and I believe in him today. What a burden he must carry, knowing that you won the popular vote but not the electoral vote. How many young men and women in our armed forces would be alive today had Gore been sworn into office and not our Liar-in-Chief?

Chuck Todd suggests Charlie Crist has a sham marriage. Via Matt Yglesias, MSNBC pundits this morning discussed potential running mates for John Mccain and whether there is a “glass ceiling” for unmarried individuals in politics. After Andrea Mitchell floated Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) as an example, Joe Scarborough noted that Crist is engaged. Chuck Todd suggested the engagement may be staged so Crist can be Vice President:
SCARBOROUGH: Did he get married? I thought he was engaged. Is he engaged or did he get married?
TODD: After Friday the engagement might be off if he’s not the running mate, right? … I don’t know!
As the group laughed, Andrea Mitchell remarked, “That is so mean.”
“Wow,” said Scarborough.
LSB: Of course that was going to be a sham marriage. I predict that Charlie and his un-bride wait until after the election (so as not to draw too much attention) and then quietly announce they have parted company.

LGBT Friends of Barack Obama

What do LGBT people who know Barack Obama have to say about him?

Separated at birth?

LSB: Does McCain's VP pick look more like Tina Fey or Karen Walker? (Another reason not to vote for McCain - who wants to see that goofy top-knot on Palin's head for the next four years?)

Palin and Gay Rights: The Straight Dope Republican Senator John McCain has selected Sarah Palin, Alaska's governor and a little-known conservative with a slim record on gay and AIDS issues, to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential race. ...
Palin opposes same sex marriage.
A 2006 Anchorage Daily News story, said of Palin: "She's not out to judge anyone and has good friends who are gay, but that she supported the 1998 constitutional amendment.'
Some press reports following the McCain campaign announcement have repeated that right-wing rhetorical flourish that has Palin declaring that she has gay friends. That softer image is not what some Alaskans saw.
"That's just completely wrong," said Allison E. Mendel, the attorney who brought the 1999 case. "She spoke on radio programs all throughout the campaign saying, 'I want a constitutional amendment, I think these things are only for a man and a woman.' ... I don't think she's ever said a friendly word about gay people, that they ought to have health benefits like other people do or anything along those lines."
On AIDS issues, Palin simply has no record at all.
"There is not a lot to speak of for AIDS policy because she hasn't done much," said Trevor Storrs, executive director of the Alaskan AIDS Assistance Association. "She's never been given the opportunity to address our situation here because it has never been put before her."
With roughly 1,200 AIDS cases, Alaska is a "low incidence state," Storrs said, and most of its HIV funds come from the federal government.
Then Palin's 20 months in the governor's office have been taken up with the state's oil and gas industry. Health issues generally, such as substance abuse or mental health, have not received much attention, Storrs said. "She has done very little to address the major epidemics," he said.
LSB: "The Straight Dope" - seems like an apt description of what we know so far.

In a Nutshell: Palin's Positions on Social Issues

Michael Paulson, Boston Globe: In October of 2006, the Anchorage Daily News described Palin's positions on social issues in a lengthy profile:
"A significant part of Palin's base of support lies among social and Christian conservatives. Her positions on social issues emerged slowly during the campaign: on abortion (should be banned for anything other than saving the life of the mother), stem cell research (opposed), physician-assisted suicide (opposed), creationism (should be discussed in schools), state health benefits for same-sex partners (opposed, and supports a constitutional amendment to bar them)."

VP Picks: Karl Rove Swings and Misses Big Time

SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: On August 10, Karl Rove went on “Face The Nation” to argue that Senator Obama would make an “intensely political choice” for Vice President without regard for the “responsibilities of president.” At the time, Rove believed Obama would choose Tim Kaine, and argued against him by saying this [click Turdblossom's photo for the video]:

With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?
As we now know, Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his VP, probably the least political choice he could have made, and probably the best governing choice he could have made. John McCain, on the other hand, is the one who made the “intensely political choice” by choosing Sara Palin — a political newcomer and self-described “hockey mom” who has less than two years of governing experience and ZERO foreign policy experience — all because the political winds dictated that “change” was going to trump “experience” this election.
Rove argues that Kaine’s mayorship of Richmond (pop. 200,000+) is insignificant and that his 3 years as Governor of Virginia (pop. 7,712,091, GDP $383 million) has been “indistinguisahable.” If Rove was intellectually consistent, wouldn’t that mean Palin’s mayorship of Wasilla (pop. 8,000+) and 20 months as Alaska governor (pop. 683,478, GDP $44.5 million) makes her even less qualified than Kaine?
Barack Obama chose Joe Biden because he knows his way around Washington and knows how to get stuff done. His selection mollifies virtually no voting block or constituency.
McCain, on the other hand, chose someone eminently unqualified for the job (seriously, can you see Sara Palin sitting down with Maliki or Karzai or any other world leader?) for the sole reason of appeasing the right-wing lunatic fringe and hoping to pick off a few die-hard Hillary holdouts, as well as assuaging voters’ concerns about his septuagenarianism.
So, Karl, who made the “intensely political choice”?
What can we take away from this episode? When Karl Rove suggests something — in this case, Obama would make an “intensely political decision” — always assume the opposite will happen. Remember, Rove predicted, according to “the math,” that the GOP would pick up seats in 2006. They of course were swept out of power in an historic landslide.
Remind me again why the punditocracy heralds this guys as some sort of political genius?
(Read the rest of this story…)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Political Pundits Pontificate on Palin

Van Jones: Palin, You're no Hillary Clinton. None of my pro-Hillary female friends are falling for this obvious GOP pander. To the contrary, McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his VP is drawing hoots of derision. Once they learn that Sarah Palin opposes rape and incest exceptions for women seeking abortion, they completely write her off. John McCain has gone from maverick to "me too" -- trying to out-Democrat the Democrats and pick up some Hillary voters. But it ain't working.
William Bradley: 13 Reasons Why It's, Ah, Palin. John McCain doesn't like that he's lost the change mantle to Barack Obama. We shouldn't expect to see too much more from Team McCain about how inexperienced Senator Obama is.
Ari Emanuel: One Heartbeat Away. God forbid something bad should befall a 72-year-old man who's had skin cancer. But if it does, is this truly the woman we want dealing with Putin on an instant's notice?
David Sirota: At First Glance, Palin Is A Smart Choice Here's four reasons why this is a pretty smart choice -- and for progressives, I think its a good idea that we look at these factors as we head into the final stretch of the campaign.
Sarah Seltzer: A Feminist Appalled by Palin. It's no rare thing for the right wing to use prominent women to keep the rest of us down. But just because Sarah Palin is a woman doesn't mean she's good for women. And female voters know that.
Robert J. Elisberg: The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History. It's not that Sarah Palin is inexperienced -- it's that this is gross political misconduct. Do you know what the "powers and duties" are for the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska? Check their municipal code.
Bob Cesca: Seriously? Nookular? I'm not sure which was more bizarre today. Palin saying "nuclear" with the same "nookular" pronunciation as President Bush or FOX News' Steve Doocy suggesting that she has foreign policy credentials.
Seth Greenland: What John McCain Is Thinking, Part II. How's this for a kick in the pants, America! Sarah Palin? Like you saw that one coming! The Governor of Alaska, my new favorite state, Bridge to Nowhere, salmon, oil drilling!
Amb. Marc Ginsberg: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. If the McCain campaign was hoping to make the issue of experience a determining factor... it just took that issue completely off the table. Welcome Gov. Palin to the national stage and the collective sounds of shocked gulps from your own party.
Kimberly Brooks: Sarah Palin First Impressions. As a former Hillary supporter, my first thought when I saw Joe Biden up there with Obama was, "Darn... There's no more girls up there." I love seeing a woman in the fray. But this is indeed an unusual pick.

Gov. Palin is McCain's Choice for VP - WTF!?!

Sarah Palin not sure what the vice president does. (Here's one hint, Sarah: You might become President). Joe Sudbay (DC), Jed posted video of Sarah Palin admitting she really doesn't know what the V.P. does. Okay, here's the thing: The main job of the vice president is to become president if something happens. It's especially relevant when the possible president is 72 years old ("McCain's advanced age" is how a top writer at the right wing National Review Online puts it), has had cancer numerous times and wouldn't really show the media his medical records.
All of this makes Sarah Palin's lack of experience is disturbing -- and lack knowledge about her new possible job even more troubling:

UNDER INVESTIGATION: Palin. Robert Arena, So what kind of a politician is Sarah Palin? Well, let's just say she fits in quite nicely with the Republican culture of corruption that puts themselves ahead of the needs of the public. From the Anchorage Daily News, we learn why her fellow Alaskans authorized a $100,000 investigation into the firing of the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner for what appears to be exclusively personal reasons. From the Anchorage Daily News:
Alaska legislators on Monday voted to spend up to $100,000 to investigate Gov. Sarah Palin's controversial firing of former state Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The decision came from the Legislative Council, a bipartisan panel of state senators and representatives.
The committee itself will not conduct the probe. Rather, it will hire an independent investigator to explore whether Palin, her family or members of her administration pressured Monegan to fire an Alaska state trooper involved in a rough divorce from Palin's sister.
Monegan contends he did feel such pressure, and the question for the investigator will be whether Monegan might have lost his job for failing to dismiss trooper Mike Wooten.
Palin has denied applying any pressure or otherwise abusing her power as governor...
Palin abruptly fired Monegan on July 11 and later explained she wanted to take the Department of Public Safety in a different, more energetic direction. She replaced him with Chuck Kopp, the former Kenai police chief. But Kopp resigned Friday over questions about a reprimand he received after a sexual harassment complaint lodged against him in Kenai...
On Monday, the council voted 12-0 to spend up to $100,000 "to investigate the circumstances and events surrounding the termination of former Public Safety Commissioner Monegan, and potential abuses of power and/or improper actions by members of the executive branch."
A Republican who puts their personal interest ahead of the public? Palin fits in just perfect.
John McCain's gimmick: He doesn't even know Sarah Palin. They've only met once, maybe twice. Joe Sudbay (DC), So, Sarah Palin doesn't know what the V.P. does. That's bad enough. It gets worse. John McCain doesn't even know Sarah Palin, but he thinks she could lead our nation if something happens to him. (And, by the way, McCain is 72 years old today and has had cancer numerous times so we're not talking about some remote possibility.)
Watch this video Jed compiled. No one knows Palin:

Chuck Todd is right: "It's gimmicky." This is a gimmick -- a pure political gimmick. John McCain put politics before the best interests of his country.
Sarah Palin wants to let the polar bears die, too. On global warming, she's aligned with "most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints." Joe Sudbay (DC), Earlier this morning, before I left Denver, I wrote a post about oil companies and their cronies fighting the new rules designed to protect polar bears. Little did I know when I was writing the post that one of those cronies would be picked as McCain's v.p. Yes, guess who else wants no protections for the polar bears? Sarah Palin:
The State of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin said Wednesday.
She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas evelopment in prime polar bear habitat off the state's northern and northwestern coasts.
Palin argued there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.
Climate models that predict continued loss of sea ice, the main habitat of polar bears, during summers are unreliable, Palin said.
The announcement drew a strong response from the primary author of the listing petition.

"She's either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading, and both are unbecoming," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity. "Alaska deserves better."

Siegel said it was unconscionable for Palin to ignore overwhelming evidence of global warming's threat to sea ice, the polar bear's habitat.

"Even the Bush administration can't deny the reality of global warming," she said. "The governor is aligning herself and the state of Alaska with the most discredited, fringe, extreme viewpoints by denying this."
Another global warming denier. Great. Sarah Palin is grossly misinformed. Maybe she should spend some time with the biologists who've been monitoring the polar bears lately. A report on this very subject came out this week:

Government scientists reported seeing at least nine polar bears swimming in open water over a six-hour period on August 16, including one more than 50 miles offshore, World Wildlife Fund officials said.
That represents a huge increase over previous sightings, said Margaret Williams of the fund's Alaska office. A total of 12 polar bears were spotted in open water between 1987 and 2003, Williams said in a telephone interview.
In 2004, she said, four drowned bears were observed.
"Unfortunately it's what we might expect to see if bears are forced to swim longer distances," Williams said. "The Arctic is gigantic. When you have nine bears sighted in one transect (route) ... one can assume that there are likely a lot more bears swimming in open water."
Sounds like Sarah Palin thinks the polar bears should just die.
VoteVets.Org's Jon Soltz: McCain "put political PR above sound judgment." When Jon Soltz speaks, listen:

Maybe Palin could one day be someone who has the judgment and experience that would make me feel comfortable with her leading our Armed Forces. But not now. Not after just 60 days thinking about those issues, and even then, just toting the party line. What's this say about McCain's judgment - to put political PR above sound judgment when it comes to naming a potential, if not very possible, Commander in Chief? What's it say about his judgment vs. Barack Obama, who faced with the same question, answered, "Joe Biden."
In times like these, with the stakes so high, and the decent chance that McCain might not live long into his first term, I can think of no scarier thought as a proud war veteran than someone with such an empty resume holding in her hands the lives of my buddies still in the service.
Joe Sudbay (DC), What's bizarre is how the political pundits and talking heads are oohing and aahing over the raw politics of McCain's choice. McCain wanted to steal the news from Obama so he picked a v.p. who he even doesn't know -- and who has no foreign policy experience. None. So, the punditry is thinking McCain "won the day," as if that's the most serious implication of McCain's gimmick. It's not.
Jon Soltz once again cuts through the crap and explains quite clearly that McCain's political ploy could, god forbid, have dangerous implications for our national security and our troops.
  • Palin is the least qualified and experienced running mate in the history of the office, having served a total of 20 months in office, and none on the national level.
  • Does anyone really want Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the Presidency should McCain become unable to serve?
  • Although known as a reformer, Palin is a product of the corrupt Alaskan political machine, and is even under criminal investigation herself for abusing the power of her office.
  • Can she possibly face off against Joe Biden on any issue?
  • She pronounces “nuclear” like George Bush. I knew that the GOP ticket wanted to continue Bush’s policies….but four more years of Bushisms too!?
  • She supports Obama’s energy plan, all but undercutting the one supposed strength she brings to the ticket.
Rahm Emmanuel pretty much sums it up:
“After trying to make experience the issue of this campaign, John McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday by appointing a former small town mayor and brand new Governor as his Vice Presidential nominee. Is this really who the Republican Party wants to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency? Given Sarah Palin’s lack of experience on every front and on nearly every issue, this Vice Presidential pick doesn’t show judgement: it shows political panic.”
(C)ompare McCain’s pick with Obama’s: a man with solid foreign policy experience, six terms in Washington and real relationships with leaders across the globe.
One pick is by a man of judgment; the other is by a man of vanity.
She may be a fine person, but she’s my age, she has zero Washington experience, and no foreign policy expertise whatsoever.
McCain has just told us how seriously he takes the war we are in. Not seriously at all.
MSNBC has a good pro/con rundown.


The following are the prepared remarks of Democratic Nominee Barack Obama:
"The American Promise"
Democratic Convention - Thursday, August 28th, 2008 - Denver, Colorado
To Chairman Dean and my great friend Dick Durbin; and to all my fellow citizens of this great nation; With profound gratitude and great humility, I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Let me express my thanks to the historic slate of candidates who accompanied me on this journey, and especially the one who traveled the farthest – a champion for working Americans and an inspiration to my daughters and to yours -- Hillary Rodham Clinton. To President Clinton, who last night made the case for change as only he can make it; to Ted Kennedy, who embodies the spirit of service; and to the next Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden, I thank you. I am grateful to finish this journey with one of the finest statesmen of our time, a man at ease with everyone from world leaders to the conductors on the Amtrak train he still takes home every night.
To the love of my life, our next First Lady, Michelle Obama, and to Sasha and Malia – I love you so much, and I'm so proud of all of you.
Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story – of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren't well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America, their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.
It is that promise that has always set this country apart – that through hard work and sacrifice, each of us can pursue our individual dreams but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams as well.
That's why I stand here tonight. Because for two hundred and thirty two years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women – students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors -- found the courage to keep it alive.
We meet at one of those defining moments – a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.
Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can't afford to drive, credit card bills you can't afford to pay, and tuition that's beyond your reach.
These challenges are not all of government's making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush. America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.
This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work.
This country is more generous than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment he's worked on for twenty years and watch it shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news.
We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty; that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.
Tonight, I say to the American people, to Democrats and Republicans and Independents across this great land – enough! This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: "Eight is enough."
Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.
But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than ninety percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I'm not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.
The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives – on health care and education and the economy – Senator McCain has been anything but independent. He said that our economy has made "great progress" under this President. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisors – the man who wrote his economic plan – was talking about the anxiety Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a "mental recession," and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."
A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third or fourth or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard and give back and keep going without complaint. These are the Americans that I know.
Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans. I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under five million dollars a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies but not one penny of tax relief to more than one hundred million Americans? How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?
It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it.
For over two decades, he's subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy – give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is – you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps – even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.
Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.
You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.
We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.
We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.
The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.
Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton's Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill.
In the face of that young student who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree; who once turned to food stamps but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.
When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.
And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle-management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman. She's the one who taught me about hard work. She's the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight, and that tonight is her night as well.
I don't know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes. Theirs are the stories that shaped me. And it is on their behalf that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as President of the United States.
What is that promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.
It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.
Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves – protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.
Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.
That's the promise of America – the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper.
That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.
Change means a tax code that doesn't reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.
Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.
And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.
Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.
Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.
As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I'll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I'll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I'll invest 150 billion dollars over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can't ever be outsourced.
America, now is not the time for small plans.
Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy. Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don't have that chance. I'll invest in early childhood education. I'll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries and give them more support. And in exchange, I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability. And we will keep our promise to every young American – if you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don't, you'll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for a sick child or ailing parent.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses; and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day's work, because I want my daughters to have exactly the same opportunities as your sons.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I've laid out how I'll pay for every dime – by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don't help America grow. But I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy.
And Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America's promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our "intellectual and moral strength." Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can't replace parents; that government can't turn off the television and make a child do her homework; that fathers must take more responsibility for providing the love and guidance their children need.
Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility – that's the essence of America's promise.
And just as we keep our keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America's promise abroad. If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament, and judgment, to serve as the next Commander-in-Chief, that's a debate I'm ready to have.
For while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats we face. When John McCain said we could just "muddle through" in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights. John McCain likes to say that he'll follow bin Laden to the Gates of Hell – but he won't even go to the cave where he lives.
And today, as my call for a time frame to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush Administration, even after we learned that Iraq has a $79 billion surplus while we're wallowing in deficits, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.
That's not the judgment we need. That won't keep America safe. We need a President who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.
You don't defeat a terrorist network that operates in eighty countries by occupying Iraq. You don't protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice – but it is not the change we need.
We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans – have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.
As Commander-in-Chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm's way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.
These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.
But what I will not do is suggest that the Senator takes his positions for political purposes. Because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other's character and patriotism.
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America – they have served the United States of America.
So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.
America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices, and Democrats as well as Republicans will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past. For part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose – our sense of higher purpose. And that's what we have to restore.
We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America's promise – the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.
I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.
You make a big election about small things.
And you know what – it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know.
I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don't fit the typical pedigree, and I haven't spent my career in the halls of Washington.
But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the nay-sayers don't understand is that this election has never been about me. It's been about you.
For eighteen long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said enough to the politics of the past. You understand that in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn't come from Washington. Change comes to Washington. Change happens because the American people demand it – because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time.
America, this is one of those moments.
I believe that as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming. Because I've seen it. Because I've lived it. I've seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work. I've seen it in Washington, when we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans and keep nuclear weapons out of terrorist hands.
And I've seen it in this campaign. In the young people who voted for the first time, and in those who got involved again after a very long time. In the Republicans who never thought they'd pick up a Democratic ballot, but did. I've seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day than see their friends lose their jobs, in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb, in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.
This country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.
Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.
That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.
And it is that promise that forty five years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln's Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.
The men and women who gathered there could've heard many things. They could've heard words of anger and discord. They could've been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred.
But what the people heard instead – people of every creed and color, from every walk of life – is that in America, our destiny is inextricably linked. That together, our dreams can be one."
We cannot walk alone," the preacher cried. "And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back."
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

McCain: Unfit To Lead

Plisko1, The John McCain campaign and the neocon smear machine are up and running saying all kinds of nasty things. In order to be "fair and balanced," I put together a negative ad against McCain to help with the conversation.
This presentation combines information on his military past from The US Veteran Dispatch and other sources which are hardly Left wing organizations. I also combined it with common knowledge from his own admissions and the public record of his life and career.

How The Democrats Can Blow It ...In Six Easy Steps

Michael Moore, Rolling Stone: For years now, nearly every poll has shown that the American people are right in sync with the platform of the Democratic Party. They are pro-environment, pro-women's rights and pro-choice. They don't like war. They want the minimum wage raised, and they want a single-payer universal health-care system. The American public agrees with the Republican Party on only one major issue: They support the death penalty.
So you would think the Democrats would be cleaning up, election after election. Obviously not. The Democrats appear to be professional losers. They are so pathetic in their ability to win elections, they even lose when they win! So when you hear Democrats and liberals and supporters of Barack Obama say they are worried that John McCain has a good chance of winning, they ain't a-kidding. Who would know better than the very people who have handed the Republicans one election after another on a silver platter? Yes, be afraid, be very afraid.
In an effort to help the party doofuses and pundits — and the candidate himself — spare all of us another suicide-inducing election night, as the results giving the election to the Republican pour in, here is the blueprint from the Democrats' past losing campaigns. Just follow each of these steps and you, the Democratic Party establishment, can help elect John Sidney McCain III to a four-year extension of the Bush Era.
1. Keep saying nice things about McCain. If you want to help elect McCain, keep blessing him as if he were the white knight who accidentally hopped on the wrong horse. Keep reminding a country at war that he, and he alone, is a war hero. That he's been "good on global warming" and campaign finance. Say that enough, and you know what happens? People start to believe it! You've sold them on the idea that McCain isn't a bad egg, and they do not hear the rest of what you have to say: "But John McCain is four more years of George W. Bush."
Don't remind people that McCain wants to help the oil companies even more than Bush did. Don't bring up that he wants to outlaw abortion. Back away from painting him as the guy who thinks it's a good idea to stay in Iraq until pigs fly. That way, if you keep praising him, you can send a mixed message to the less informed, who are simply not going to figure it out. When they walk into a voting booth, they will see two names on the ballot:
Trust me, this ain't Sweden you're living in. War Hero wins every time.
2. Pick a running mate who is a conservative white guy or a general or a Republican. Yes, it will seem like smart politics at first. Shore up Obama's lack of military experience with a hawk. Be true to Obama's message that he'll be a president for everybody by having him run with a Republican. Make a pitch to the purple states of Virginia and Indiana by putting one of their own on the ticket. Or make the red state of Ohio happy by handing the vice presidential slot to its governor. Just so long as Obama's running mate screams "same old, same old," making it harder for him to attract the new voters he needs to win.
There is nothing wrong with picking someone who can help him win a swing state or someone who has more experience than he does in certain areas. But when I hear pundits say things like, "He has to pick a Catholic," well, John Kerry was a total Catholic, and the Catholic vote went to Mr. W. I mean, here's one of the largest groups in the country — 66 million Catholics — and they/we have only allowed one Catholic to be president in 219 years. You would think they would have been flocking to Kerry in 2004. THAT IS NOT THE WAY PEOPLE THINK. IT IS THE WAY PUNDITS THINK. Keep listening to them and you can help elect John McCain the next President of the United States.
3. Keep writing speeches for Obama that make him sound like a hawk. Here's what Obama said in front of the American-Israeli lobbying group the day after the final primaries: "The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat." And: "Let there be no doubt — I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally Israel. Sometimes there are no alternatives to confrontation."
Sounds like a speech McCain would give. Sounds like he's ready to invade Iran. Obama staked out an even worse position for the Palestinians vis-à-vis Jerusalem than the one held by George W. Bush. Keep that up, and more and more supporters will be less and less enthused. He also says he wants to send more troops to Afghanistan. The implied message of all of this is that the Republican plan is a good plan. So why would voters want to elect the candidate imitating the Republican when they can get the real thing?
4. Forget that this was a historic year for women. Obama should be making a speech about gender like the brilliant one he gave on race back in March. Millions of people, especially women, had high hopes for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Attention must be paid. And you don't pay attention to it by having your advisers run your wife through the makeover machine, trying to soften her up and pipe her down. Michelle Obama has been one of the most refreshing things about this election year. But within weeks of the end of the primary season, the handlers stepped in to deal with the "Michelle problem."
What problem? She speaks her mind? She wears what she wants? Her biggest sin, according to the punditocracy, was to say that, as a black woman, this may be the first time in her adult life she's been really proud of her country. Shock! Surprise! Outrage! But not from any of the black women I know.
You have to be white and stupid to not know what she was really saying. If you don't understand, let me ask you this: Have you been proud of what this country has been doing in the past few years? Are you proud your neighbors had their house taken from them? Are you proud to be sending a good chunk of your paycheck to the oil companies so they can post record profits? Are you proud to know your vice president outed one of our spies and put her life and the lives of others at risk?
That's all she was saying — what we are all feeling.
Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both lost the white-male vote but won the White House. They did so by winning the black, Hispanic and female vote. That HAS to be Obama's strategy to win. Otherwise, Cindy McCain will be our new First Lady.
5. Show up to a gunfight with a peashooter. Convince yourself that the Republicans are just going to roll over and play dead because there is simply no life left in their party. Convince yourself this one is in the bag! Convince yourself that if you play by the rules, the Republicans will too.
And when McCain and his people roll out their nuclear arsenal on you, just go all sweet and sensitive and logical. Believe that the truth shall prevail, that good people will see what the Republicans are up to. As they smear you, your family, your religious beliefs — cower, back down, go on the defensive.
If they say you should quit your church, quit your church! If they explode over your speaking the truth about the anger and despair of the white working class, take it all back! If they ask you to stand on your head and do the hokeypokey, snap to it and do it with a smile on your face — and don't forget to apologize for not doing the hokeypokey earlier; you meant no disrespect, and please don't take it as any indication that you do not love your country, your flag and your Christian God.
Do all of that and then listen for that sound — the sound of your supporters shuffling away in silence. They'll stop showing up at campaign headquarters. They'll say they're too busy to go on another door-to-door literature drop. On Election Day, they'll do their duty and vote, but they will not be up at 6 a.m. driving around the city's neighborhoods, picking up strangers who need a ride to the polls.
And on the way to the polls, some of them might just come to a stoplight, turn around and go home. Maybe they'll pick up a six-pack on the way. Maybe there's a new episode of Deal or No Deal on tonight. That would be nice. The girls are pretty, especially the blonde in the third row. Wait, they're all blond. No, not that one — THAT one! Oh yes, I see her. She is pretty. But the Man in the Booth has picked up the phone! He's calling down to you. Deal? Or no deal? No deal! No deal! Don't do it! Hey, I'm outta beer! Why didn't I pick up a case? Now I gotta spend eight bucks on gas to go buy more beer! Aaaaarrrggggghhhhhh!!!! HOWIE MANDEL ISN'T WEARING A FLAG PIN!! U-S-A! U-S-A!
6. Denounce me! Obama, at some point, might be asked this question: "Michael Moore has endorsed you. But he recently said (fill in the blank with some outrageously offensive line taken out of context). Will you still accept his endorsement, or do you denounce him?"
And he better denounce me, or they will tear him to shreds. He had better back away not only from me but from anyone and everyone who veers a bit too far to the left of where his advisers have told him is the sweet spot for all those red-state voters. I won't take it personally. After all, I'm not the guy who married him or baptized his kids. I'm just the idiot who went to the same terrorist, Muslim school of flag-pin desecrators he went to.
I remember poor John Kerry not even being able to admit, when asked by Larry King, if he had seen Fahrenheit 9/11. "No," he said, "I haven't. . . . I don't plan to, right now." But he had indeed seen it. I sat there watching him say this, and I just felt sorry for him and for the election he was about to lose.
We can't take four more years of this madness, Barack. We need you to be a candidate who will fight back every time they attack you. Actually, don't even wait till you have to fight back. Fight first! Show some vision and courage and smoke them out. Keep asking why these lobbyists are McCain's best friends. Let's finally have a Democrat who's got the balls to fire first.
So Barack, by denouncing me, you can help McCain get elected. Because when you denounce me, it's not really me you're distancing yourself from — it's the millions upon millions of people who feel the same way about things as I do. And many of them are the kind of crazy voters who have no problem voting for a Nader just to prove a point.
Elections have been lost by just 537 votes. I don't want that to happen to you.