Saturday, September 27, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Truth and Hope: Recently, a video by independent filmmaker and DailyKos member cartwrightdale "went viral", earning more than 200,000 YouTube views in only 48 hours, and was discussed widely on blogs, magazines, radio, and television. After hundreds of emails asking "how can we get this on t.v.", truthandhope.org has partnered with cartwrightdale to produce a broadcast-quality version of this ad, and create other ads in the same theme.
After the Republican National Convention's bizarre attacks on Community Organizers, truthandhope.org has decided to also run a themed ad by fellow DailyKos member ourhispanicvoices. We are currently raising money to air this ad as well, in specific battleground states. (more)
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Alec MacGillis, Washington Post: ...Since joining the Republican ticket, Palin has faced questions about whether she is qualified to be vice president or, if necessary, president. In response, the first-term Alaska governor and Sen. John McCain point to the executive qualifications she acquired as Wasilla mayor, a six-year stint from 1996 to 2002 that represents the bulk of her political experience.
Palin says her time as mayor taught her how to be a leader and grounded her in the real needs of voters, and her tenure revealed some of the qualities she would later display as governor: a striving ambition, a willingness to cut loose those perceived as disloyal and a populist brand of social and pro-growth conservatism.
But a visit to this former mining supply post 40 miles north of Anchorage shows the extent to which Palin's mayoralty was also defined by what it did not include. The universe of the mayor of Wasilla is sharply circumscribed even by the standards of small towns, which limited Palin's exposure to issues such as health care, social services, the environment and education.
Firefighting and schools, two of the main elements of local governance, are handled by the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, the regional government for a huge swath of central Alaska. The state has jurisdiction over social services and environmental regulations such as stormwater management for building projects.
With so many government services in the state subsidized by oil revenue, and with no need to provide for local schools, Wasilla has also made do with a very low property tax rate -- cut altogether by Palin's successor -- sparing it from the tax battles that localities elsewhere must deal with. Instead, the city collects a 2 percent sales tax, the bulk of which is paid by people who live outside town and shop at its big-box stores.
The mayor oversees a police department created three years before Palin took office; the public works department; the parks and recreation department; a planning office; a library; and a small history museum. Council meetings are in the low-ceilinged basement of the town hall, a former school, and often the only residents who show up to testify are two gadflies. When Palin was mayor, the population was just 5,500.
Palin limited her duties further by hiring a deputy administrator to handle much of the town's day-to-day management. Her top achievement as mayor was the construction of an ice rink, a project that landed in the courts and cost the city more than expected.
Arriving in office, Palin herself played down the demands of the job in response to residents who worried that her move to oust veteran officials would leave the town in the lurch. "It's not rocket science," Palin said, according to the town newspaper, the Frontiersman. "It's $6 million and 53 employees."
Further constraining City Hall's role is the frontier philosophy that has prevailed in Wasilla, a town that was founded in 1917 as a stop along the new railroad from Anchorage to the gold mines further north. The light hand of government is evident in the town's commercial core, essentially a haphazard succession of big-box stores, fast-food restaurants and shopping plazas.
The only semblance of an original downtown is a small collection of historic cabins that have been gathered for display in a grassy area beside a shopping center. Most residents live in ranch houses scattered through the woods. Churches, offices, stores and most other buildings are made of corrugated metal or composite materials. Standing in contrast to the utilitarian architecture are the lakes and majestic peaks.
Many of those in town were astonished to learn that Palin had been named McCain's running mate six years after leaving City Hall.
"I was happy in a way, because it is a new beginning for the country, but also I am very worried due to her lack of experience," said Darlene Langill, a self-described arch-conservative who served on the City Council during Palin's first year in office.
Duane Dvorak, the city planner when Palin took office, said the mayor's ambition had been plain to see, but added: "My sense is that this opportunity maybe came along before she was ready for it or thought it would come along." (more)
Katha Pollitt, The Nation: John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.
If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps. And Palin would be wearing quite a few of them. It takes chutzpah for a mother to thrust her pregnant teen into the world's harshest spotlight and then demand the world respect the girl's privacy. But then it takes chutzpah to support criminalizing abortion and then praise Bristol's "decision" to have the baby. The right to decide, and privacy, after all, are two of the things Palin wants to deny every other woman, and every other family, in America. Palin's even said she would "choose life" if her daughter was pregnant from rape. Can't you just hear Bristol groaning, "Mo-om...!"
The Republicans bashed Barack Obama as a "celebrity," but now they've got a star of their own, so naturally the rules have changed. Nothing would suit them better than for the media to spend the next two months spellbound by the wacky carnival on ice that is the Palin family: Todd, aka the First Dude, the kids, Levi the hunky bad-boy dad-to-be--well, maybe not him so much after his expletive-adorned MySpace page briefly came to light ("I'm a fuckin' redneck"; "I don't want kids"--whoops). The snowmobiles, the moose burgers, the guns, the hair, the glasses that are flying off America's shelves (starting at $375 a pair, and she has seven). Fretting over the work/family issue alone should take up enough column inches to employ all the female journalists in America from now to next Mother's Day. And don't forget that op-ed staple, What Does This Mean for Feminism?
Well, I'm not playing. I don't care about Sarah Palin's family. I don't care if she's a good mother. I don't care if she's happily married, or who shops and who vacuums, or who takes care of the kids while both parents are at work. I don't want her recipe for caribou hot dogs, either. Life chez Sarah and Todd might make an adorable sitcom (Leave It to Jesus?) or a scathing tell-all a decade or so down the road (Governor Dearest?). Either way, so what? This is an election, not The View. As for feminism's meaning, what can you say after you've said that her career shows that even right-wing fundamentalist women have taken in feminism's message of empowerment and that's good, but that Palin's example suggests women can do it all without support from society and that's bad?
Count me as a feminist who never believed that being PTA president meant you could be, well, President. The more time we spend on dippy ruminations--how does she do it? Queen Bee on steroids or the hockey mom next door? how hot is Todd, anyway?--the less focus there will be on the kind of queries that should come first with any vice presidential candidate, and certainly would if Palin were a man. Questions like:
- Suppose your 14-year-old daughter Willow is brutally raped in her bedroom by an intruder. She becomes pregnant and wants an abortion. Could you tell the parents of America why you think your child and their children should be forced by law to have their rapists' babies?
- You say you don't believe global warming is man-made. Could you tell us what scientists you've spoken with or read who have led you to that conclusion? What do you think the 2,500 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are getting wrong?
- If you didn't try to fire Wasilla librarian Mary Ellen Baker over her refusal to consider censoring books, why did you try to fire her?
- What is the European Union, and how does it function?
- Forty-seven million Americans lack health insurance. John Goodman, who has advised McCain on healthcare, has proposed redefining them as covered because, he says, anyone can get care at an ER. Do you agree with him?
- What is the function of the Federal Reserve?
- Cindy and John McCain say you have experience in foreign affairs because Alaska is next to Russia. When did you last speak with Prime Minister Putin, and what did you talk about?
- Approximately how old is the earth? Five thousand years? 10,000? 5 billion?
- You are a big fan of President Bush, so why didn't you mention him even once in your convention speech?
- McCain says cutting earmarks and waste will make up for revenues lost by making the tax cuts permanent. Experts say that won't wash. Balancing the Bush tax cuts plus new ones proposed by McCain would most likely mean cutting Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security. Which would you cut?
- You're suing the federal government to have polar bears removed from the endangered species list, even as Alaska's northern coastal ice is melting and falling into the sea. Can you explain the science behind your decision?
- You've suggested that God approves of the Iraq War and the Alaska pipeline. How do you know?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Jo Becker, Peter S. Goodman and Michael Powell, The New York Times: Ms. Palin walks the national stage as a small-town foe of “good old boy” politics and a champion of ethics reform. The charismatic 44-year-old governor draws enthusiastic audiences and high approval ratings. And as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, she points to her management experience while deriding her Democratic rivals, Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as speechmakers who never have run anything.
But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
Still, Ms. Palin has many supporters. As a two-term mayor she paved roads and built an ice rink, and as governor she has pushed through higher taxes on the oil companies that dominate one-third of the state’s economy. She stirs deep emotions. In Wasilla, many residents display unflagging affection, cheering “our Sarah” and hissing at her critics.
“She is bright and has unfailing political instincts,” said Steve Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska. “She taps very directly into anxieties about the economic future.”
“But,” he added, “her governing style raises a lot of hard questions.” (More)
Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post:
While McCain's accounts have captured the pain of her addiction, her journey through this personal crisis is a more complicated story than she has described, and it had more consequences for her and those around her than she has acknowledged.Her misuse of painkillers prompted an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration and local prosecutors that put her in legal jeopardy. A doctor with McCain's medical charity who supplied her with prescriptions for the drugs lost his license and never practiced again. The charity, the American Voluntary Medical Team, eventually had to be closed in the wake of the controversy. Her husband was forced to admit publicly that he was absent much of the time she was having problems and was not aware of them.
SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: Yup, that’s John McCain boarding the yacht of Raffaello Follieri, former playboy beau of actress Anne Hathaway and current felon. What’s the Ol’ Maverick doing celebrating his 70th birthday on a yacht in Montenegro with his campaign manager Rick Davis? The Nation has the scoop.
The McCain-Follieri Love Boat. John McCain has been hammering rival Barack Obama for being little more than a vapid “celebrity” and “elitist.” But The Nation has obtained a photo revealing just how star-struck a straight-talking maverick can become when offered the chance to celebrate his birthday aboard a yacht filled with celebrities–even if one of those celebrity types turns out to be an A-list con man.
What would the reaction be if it were Obama schmoozing on the yacht of a Hollywood celebrity with David Axelrod? Do we even have to ask? Yglesias sums it up:
Long story short, John McCain who hates lobbyists and celebrities decided to spend his seventieth birthday partying on a yacht off the shore of Montenegro with an Italian con man and his movie star girlfriend, a meeting organized by a lobbyist who also happens to be McCain’s campaign manager.
SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: This scandal is as easy to follow as it is transparently outrageous. Since choosing her as VP, the McCain campaign has been trying it’s hardest to make the case that as “Commander in Chief” of the Alaskan National Guard, Sarah Palin has relevant national security experience. On August 31, the actual commander of the Alaska National Guard– Major General Craig Campbell — punctured a hole in that meme when the AP reported Campbell saying:Change we can believe in, huh? VetVoice has much more.
“[Palin plays] no role in national defense activities, even when they involve the Alaska National Guard.”
On September 3, Campbell went even further, saying:
“The Alaskan governor is not in the ite’s chain of command and has no authority over its operations.”
Realizing that Campbell was severely undercutting one of the campaign’s main talking points, it appears someone leaned on him and got him to change his tune…on FOX News:
“In the last few days, I’ve been watching the press, and I’ve not been very pleased with what I’ve been seeing about the chastising of the National Guard by having it diminished by the insinuation that a commander-in-chief of the National Guard doesn’t really control the military. The National Guard has 500,000 people in it around this great country, serving in states and overseas. National Guards are state military forces run by governors, and Sarah Palin does it great.”Now, for being a good soldier, Campbell has gotten a major promotion.
SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars: recently received the following email from the McCain campaign, titled “Shameful Attacks”:
Friends,You’ve surely seen the shameful attacks Senator Obama and his liberal allies have launched against our vice presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin.Even before our national convention, the Obama campaign dispatched what The Wall Street Journal called a “mini-army of 30 lawyers, investigators and opposition researchers” to Alaska to dig up dirt for their personal attacks on Governor Palin and her family. FactCheck.org has called the attacks on Governor Palin, “completely false” and “misleading.” However, the Obama Democrats continue to launch these attacks, hoping you’ll never find out the truth.These misleading, offensive attacks must be stopped.
Factcheck.org was on Hardball this week, and in a very non-partisan manner debunked McCain’s claims. [Click the pic for the vid.]
From a man who just recently approved the most misleading and sleazy attack ad of the entire political season. Second, the very same FactCheck.org website that John McCain cites in his email has a new post up today saying that McCain’s attack ad is distorted their finding.
For McCain to say that “these misleading, offensive attacks must be stopped” is downright ridiculous. But then again, it’s becoming clearer every day that McCain’s strategy consists of lying and lying, hoping that the media and fact-checkers can’t keep up. It’s gonna be a long, tedious two months. Buckle your seat belts.
John Aravosis (DC), AmericaBlog.com: (From time to time, I'm going to share interesting viral emails I get about the election. Here's one to start.)
"I'm a little confused. Let me see if I have this straight...
- If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're "exotic, different."
- Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, a quintessential American story.
- If your name is Barack you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
- Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.
- Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
- Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
- If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
- If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
- If you have been married to the same woman for 16 years while raising 2 beautiful daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
- If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
- If you teach teach children about sexual predators, you are irresponsible and eroding the fiber of society.
- If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
- If your wife is a Harvard graduate laywer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America 's.
- If you're husband is nicknamed "First Dude", with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that hates America and advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.
UPDATE: I'm now convinced this is what's going on. There's a nationwide issue going on where "Christian" hospitals or doctors are refusing to give these medications to women who were raped. John McCain's good buddy, Joe Lieberman, thinks that's okay. I will bet you that is what happened here. Sarah Palin didn't want to give rape victims the choice to stop being impregnated by their rapists.
UPDATE: Joe Sudbay just sent me this article. In fact, there are those in the pro-life community who consider treating rape victims "abortion.")
A reader writes and asks an interesting question. Sarah Palin's town of Wasilla, Alaska, was the only - or at the very least, one of the very few - towns in Alaska to charge rape victims for their own rape kits. Now, rape kits are the medical equipment that the police use to examine rape victims for forensic evidence. During that exam, women are sometimes given drugs to stop the implantation of a possibly fertilized egg in the uterus. (As an aside, the reader asked if sometimes during these exams a fertilized egg is collected as evidence - does anybody have the facts on this?)
Now, Sarah Palin's policy on rape is the following - rapist gets your pregnant, too bad, you're going to carry your rapist's child for 9 months whether you like it or not. Palin wants to outlaw all abortion, unless the mother is going to die. You get raped? You don't get an abortion. And extreme conservatives like Sarah Palin consider stopping a fertilized egg from implanting "abortion." (And if a fertilized egg is collected, they certainly consider that abortion, and murder.) Is this why Sarah Palin was quite possibly the only mayor in Alaska to charge for "rape kits"? She considered treating rape victims a form of abortion?
It's been almost a week now that the Obama campaign has ignored this issue. We wrote about it last Monday, a good 5 days ago. Obama said yesterday that the reason he's not hitting back harder against McCain is because he doesn't want to "lie." It's not lying when you tell the truth about a hideous issue that affects every woman and man in America. This issue had all the hallmarks of a perfect response to throw John McCain off his game:
1. Palin was the only mayor in Alaska to charge rape victims.2. McCain voted against Biden's own legislation to ban the charging of rape victims.3. Palin and McCain have made outreach to women, and faux outrage over "sexism," a central part of their campaign.4. McCain got into trouble years ago for telling a rape joke.5. McCain hates talking about these issues.6. The media has shown a marked interest in this story - it's a compelling story they want to tell, but they won't truly jump on it, full force, until the Obama campaign does something with it.7. The "reason" Palin's chief of police gave for charging for the rape kits was that they didn't want to raise taxes (imagine linking tax cuts and rape, imagine John McCain having to deal with the rape question every time he talks about tax cuts).8. And now we find out that Palin may have been against rape kits because she may have thought they were a form of abortion.
And the thing, it's all true.
At some point, someone needs to have a chat with whoever in the higher reaches of the Obama campaign is responsible for missing so many no-brainers - it's beginning to look like it's Obama himself - while at the same time complaining that the media insists on covering the "lipstick" story, and accusing anyone who is worried about the direction of this campaign of being a "bedwetter." Had Obama jumped on this story on Monday, when he first knew about it, we'd have still spent this week talking about sexism - but it would have been the sexism of John McCain and Sarah Palin. And before anyone says that the story is telling itself - no it's not. There have been a smattering of news stories about it. That's it. There should have been a media feeding frenzy over this story, but there wasn't because the Obama campaign refused to touch this story.
NOTE FROM JOHN: A reader writes:
I should add that the contraception offered in these instances would either be Plan B or something called the Yuzpe method which is 4 tablets of a high dose oral contraceptive. It would not be RU486 which does expel an implanted ovum. Plan B and the second method have several modes of action, including prevention of implantation of a fertilized ovum in the uterus, but these modes of action do NOT include aborting an already established ovum.
Joan Lowy, MyWay:
A conservative political forum on Saturday sold boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.The product, Obama Waffles, was meant as political satire, said Mark Whitlock and Bob DeMoss, two writers from Franklin, Tenn., who created the mix and sold it for $10 a box from a booth at the Values Voter Summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council.Republican Party stalwarts Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were among speakers at the forum, which officials said drew 2,100 activists from 44 states.While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama's politics by poking fun at his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the image of the classic pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima, which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype.Obama is portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate of waffles and smiles broadly.Placing Obama in Arab-like headdress recalls the false rumor that he is a follower of Islam, though he is actually a Christian.On the back of the box, Obama is depicted in stereotypical Mexican dress, including a sombrero, above a recipe for "Open Border Fiesta Waffles" that says it can serve "4 or more illegal aliens." The recipe includes a tip: "While waiting for these zesty treats to invade your home, why not learn a foreign language?"The novelty item also takes shots at 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, Obama's wife, Michelle, and Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
LSB: Yeah, racist stereotypes are hilarious. Think the Right would mind if Dems sold "Cindy McCain Drug Testing Kits," or "John McCain Condoms" (for when you're committing adultery with young, blond heiresses), or "Sarah Palin Rape Kits?" Will McCain condemn this racist tactic, or is he too busy seeing imaginary sexist messages in Obama's speeches?
Sunday, September 07, 2008
ThinkProgress.org: The cover of the new issue of the New Yorker spotlights Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) multiple houses, contrasting his wealth with the foreclosure crisis many Americans are struggling with.
ThinkProgress spoke with New Yorker spokeswoman Alexa Cassanos, who said that the McCain cover is in no way intended to be a response to the controversy over the satirical Obama cover in July.
LSB: AGHHH! I'm such a hypocrite! I hated the Obama's cover this summer because I thought it was racist; I should hate this one because it speaks to McCain's elitism. But I don't hate it. Does this type of hypocrisy make me a Republican? ARGHHHH!
ThinkProgress.org: On Thursday night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) formally accepted his party’s nomination for president at the Republican National Convention. During his speech, a mysterious image of a building appeared on the screen behind him, which TalkingPointsMemo identified as Walter Reed Middle School, in North Hollywood, CA. (The school did not grant permission to use its image.) Some suspect McCain had intended to show a photo of Walter Reed Medical Center; the McCain campaign has offered conflicting explanations for the bizarre use of the photo.
Appearing on MSNBC’s Countdown last night, Paul Riekhoff, director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, slammed McCain for completely ignoring Iraq and Afghanistan veterans during his speech, saying the mistaken background was “about as close as Sen. McCain got to veterans issues”:
RIECKHOFF: I think honestly that backdrop, whether it was Walter Reed medical center or Walter Reed middle school — that’s about as close as Sen. McCain got to veterans issues last night. He didn’t mention the word veteran once during his entire speech, didn’t talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, didn’t talk about veterans funding. I think he really forgot where he came from last night.
Watch the entire interview:
Rieckhoff also mentioned McCain’s opposition to the 21st Century GI Bill. “We told America that if Sen. McCain was on the wrong side of the G.I. Bill, it would hang around his neck for the election. That’s exactly what’s happening now,” Rieckhoff said.
ThinkProgress.org: In March, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took a hard line against government economic intervention, saying that it is “not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.” Watch it.
In what may be the “largest financial bailout” in U.S. history, the federal government is now set to take over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises that “own or guarantee almost half of the country’s $12 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt.”
Despite McCain’s supposed opposition to bailing out “those who act irresponsibly,” Senior Policy Adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin has issued a statement supporting the bailout:
John McCain supports the steps needed to keep the financial troubles at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from further squeezing American families and endorses the idea that management and shareholders should not benefit from government backing. While details are not yet available, the actions taken today are consistent with those objectives. Fannie and Freddie have been the poster children for a lack of transparency and accountability, and remind us of the needed reforms to financial markets in general.
Organizations such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are too important to allow to fail. McCain and the Bush administration are willing to throw away their hard-line ideologies when it comes to powerful corporations, but not when it comes to struggling homeowners who also need government intervention. As Center for American Progress Senior Fellow David Abromowitz noted:
There are many good reasons, of course, to act to avert a [financial corporation’s] bankruptcy. … But the reasons are no less compelling when the devastation hits individual Americans directly—home by home, block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood—instead of mainly in the boardroom circles in which F. Scott Fitzgerald traveled, and which have changed so little since the Roaring Twenties.
This is now the second major government bailout McCain has backed this year. In March, he supported the Federal Reserve’s $30 billion credit line to finance the takeover of Bear Stearns by JP Morgan.
Frank Rich, New York Times: Sarah Palin makes John McCain look even older than he is. And he seemed more than willing to play that part on Thursday night. By the time he slogged through his nearly 50-minute acceptance speech — longer even than Barack Obama’s — you half-expected some brazen younger Republican (Mitt Romney, perhaps?) to dash onstage to give him a gold watch and the bum’s rush.
Still, attention must be paid. McCain’s address, though largely a repetitive slew of stump-speech lines and worn G.O.P. orthodoxy, reminded us of what we once liked about the guy: his aspirations to bipartisanship, his heroic service in Vietnam, his twinkle. He took his (often inaccurate) swipes at Obama, but, in winning contrast to Palin and Rudy Giuliani, he wasn’t smug or nasty.
The only problem, of course, is that the entire thing was a sham.
As is nakedly evident, the speech’s central argument, that the 72-year-old McCain will magically morph into a powerful change agent as president, is a non sequitur. In his 26 years in Washington, most of it with a Republican in the White House and roughly half of it with Republicans in charge of Congress, he was better at lecturing his party about reform than leading a reform movement. G.O.P. corruption and governmental dysfunction only grew. So did his cynical flip-flops on the most destructive policies of the president who remained nameless Thursday night. (In the G.O.P., Bush love is now the second most popular love that dare not speak its name.)
Even more fraudulent, if that’s possible, is the contrast between McCain’s platonic presentation of his personal code of honor and the man he has become. He always puts his country first, he told us: “I’ve been called a maverick.” If there was any doubt that that McCain has fled, confirmation arrived with his last-minute embrace of Sarah Palin.
We still don’t know a lot about Palin except that she’s better at delivering a speech than McCain and that she defends her own pregnant daughter’s right to privacy even as she would have the government intrude to police the reproductive choices of all other women. Most of the rest of the biography supplied by her and the McCain camp is fiction.
She didn’t say “no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” until after Congress had already abandoned it but given Alaska a blank check for $223 million in taxpayers’ money anyway. Far from rejecting federal pork, she hired lobbyists to secure her town a disproportionate share of earmarks ($1,000 per resident in 2002, 20 times the per capita average in other states).
Though McCain claimed “she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities,” she has never issued a single command as head of the Alaska National Guard. As for her “executive experience” as mayor, she told her hometown paper in Wasilla, Alaska, in 1996, the year of her election: “It’s not rocket science. It’s $6 million and 53 employees.” Her much-advertised crusade against officials abusing their office is now compromised by a bipartisan ethics investigation into charges that she did the same.
How long before we learn she never shot a moose?
Given the actuarial odds that could make Palin our 45th president, it would be helpful to know who this mystery woman actually is. Meanwhile, two eternal axioms of our politics remain in place. Americans vote for the top of the ticket, not the bottom. And in judging the top of the ticket, voters look first at the candidates’ maiden executive decision, their selection of running mates. Whatever we do and don’t know about Palin’s character at this point, there is no ambiguity in what her ascent tells us about McCain’s character and potential presidency.
He wanted to choose the pro-abortion-rights Joe Lieberman as his vice president. If he were still a true maverick, he would have done so. But instead he chose partisanship and politics over country. “God only made one John McCain, and he is his own man,” said the shafted Lieberman in his own tedious convention speech last week. What a pathetic dupe. McCain is now the man of James Dobson and Tony Perkins. The “no surrender” warrior surrendered to the agents of intolerance not just by dumping his pal for Palin but by moving so far to the right on abortion that even Cindy McCain seemed unaware of his radical shift when being interviewed by Katie Couric last week.
That ideological sellout, unfortunately, was not the worst leadership trait the last-minute vice presidential pick revealed about McCain. His speed-dating of Palin reaffirmed a more dangerous personality tic that has dogged his entire career. His decision-making process is impetuous and, in its Bush-like preference for gut instinct over facts, potentially reckless.
As The New York Times reported last Tuesday, Palin was sloppily vetted, at best. McCain operatives and some of their press surrogates responded to this revelation by trying to discredit The Times article. After all, The Washington Post had cited McCain aides (including his campaign manager, Rick Davis) last weekend to assure us that Palin had a “full vetting process.” She had been subjected to “an F.B.I. background check,” we were told, and “the McCain camp had reviewed everything it could find on her.”
The Times had it right. The McCain campaign’s claims of a “full vetting process” for Palin were as much a lie as the biographical details they’ve invented for her. There was no F.B.I. background check. The Times found no evidence that a McCain representative spoke to anyone in the State Legislature or business community. Nor did anyone talk to the fired state public safety commissioner at the center of the Palin ethics investigation. No McCain researcher even bothered to consult the relevant back issues of the Wasilla paper. Apparently when McCain said in June that his vice presidential vetting process was basically “a Google,” he wasn’t joking.
This is a roll of the dice beyond even Bill Clinton’s imagination. “Often my haste is a mistake,” McCain conceded in his 2002 memoir, “but I live with the consequences without complaint.”
Well, maybe it’s fine if he wants to live with the consequences, but what about his country? Should the unexamined Palin prove unfit to serve at the pinnacle of American power, it will be too late for the rest of us to complain.
We’ve already seen where such visceral decision-making by McCain can lead. In October 2001, he speculated that Saddam Hussein might have been behind the anthrax attacks in America. That same month he out-Cheneyed Cheney in his repeated public insistence that Iraq had a role in 9/11 — even after both American and foreign intelligence services found that unlikely. He was similarly rash in his reading of the supposed evidence of Saddam’s W.M.D. and in his estimate of the number of troops needed to occupy Iraq. (McCain told MSNBC in late 2001 that we could do with fewer than 100,000.) It wasn’t until months after “Mission Accomplished” that he called for more American forces to be tossed into the bloodbath. The whole fiasco might have been prevented had he listened to those like Gen. Eric Shinseki who faulted the Rumsfeld war plan from the start.
In other words, McCain’s hasty vetting of Palin was all too reminiscent of his grave dereliction of due diligence on the war. He has been no less hasty in implying that we might somehow ride to the military rescue of Georgia (“Today, we are all Georgians”) or in reaffirming as late as December 2007 that the crumbling anti-democratic regime of Pervez Musharraf deserved “the benefit of the doubt” even as it was enabling the resurgence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
McCain’s blanket endorsement of Bush administration policy in Pakistan could have consequences for years to come.
“This election is not about issues” so much as the candidates’ images, said the McCain campaign manager, Davis, in one of the season’s most notable pronouncements. Going into the Republican convention, we thought we knew what he meant: the McCain strategy is about tearing down Obama. But last week made clear that the McCain campaign will be equally ruthless about deflecting attention from its own candidate’s deterioration.
What was most striking about McCain’s acceptance speech is that it had almost nothing in common with the strident right-wing convention that preceded it. We were pointedly given a rerun of McCain 2000 — cobbled together from scraps of the old Straight Talk repertory. The ensuing tedium was in all likelihood intentional. It’s in the campaign’s interest that we nod off and assume McCain is unchanged in 2008.
That’s why the Palin choice was brilliant politics — not because it rallied the G.O.P.’s shrinking religious-right base. America loves nothing more than a new celebrity face, and the talking heads marched in lock step last week to proclaim her a star. Palin is a high-energy distraction from the top of the ticket, even if the provenance of her stardom is in itself a reflection of exactly what’s frightening about the top of the ticket.
By hurling charges of sexism and elitism at any easily cowed journalist who raises a question about Palin, McCain operatives are hoping to ensure that whatever happened in Alaska with Sarah Palin stays in Alaska. Given how little vetting McCain himself has received this year — and that only 58 days remain until Nov. 4 — they just might pull it off.
Prediction Markets Bet Sarah Palin Will Withdraw. The Intrade prediction market opened today trading on whether “Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as Republican VP nominee before 2008 presidential election.” At 8:55AM, Tuesday morning, the market is selling the prediction at 18 a share and rising. That means 18 percent of traders think Palin will be removed.
Intrade predicted Joe Biden would be Barack Obama’s running mate in August and its traders were also correct about every Senate race in 2006. It fell flat in predicting a Democratic majority.
Check back throughout the day for updates on Palin’s trading numbers.
Click here for Sarah Palin’s trading chart.As Mayor, Sarah Palin Tried to Ban Library Books. According to GOP mythology, John McCain’s decision to select Sarah Palin to be his running mate was because Palin is a tough, reform-minded person, willing to break with the Republican party for the right cause. Would one of those causes be banning library books?
According to a revealing article about Sarah Palin in TIME, Inc:
“As mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. She asked the library how she could go about banning books.”
Palin said some voters thought they [the library books] had inappropriate language in them.
“The librarian was aghast.”
When the librarian refused, Palin threatened to fire the librarian.Sarah Palin, flushed with the power that comes from being the mayor of a tiny town of 6,500, forgot all about the First Amendment.
Did Palin have an Affair with Her Husband’s Business Partner? Did Sarah Palin have an affair with her husband’s business partner? That’s what the National Enquirer team has apparently unearthed in their investigative work in Alaska. The tabloid recently dispatched the same team to Alaska who unearthed the sordid details of the John Edwards/Rielle Hunter affair earlier this summer.
The McCain campaign is so worried about the possible disclosure of an affair between his Christian conservative, vice presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah “McCandy” Palin and her husband’s business partner, becoming public that McCain is threatening legal action to prevent the tabloid from publishing their findings.
Sarah Palin Was a College Hopper. In America, most people attend and graduate from one college. The exception is beginning at a two-year college and then transferring to university. The latter option can be a smart economic alternative to four years at a university.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, inexplicably attended five colleges in six years before finally graduating in 1987.
The schools included: Hawaii Pacific University, North Idaho College, the University of Idaho, Matanuska-Susitna College and then University of Idaho again.Due to Federal privacy laws prohibit the schools from disclosing her grades, none of the schools contacted by the Associated Press could say why she transferred. Even stranger, there was no indication any were contacted as part of the vetting process of Palin by presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign.
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the righting and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”Palin’s value to those patriarchs is clear: She opposes just about every issue that women support by a majority or plurality. She believes that creationism should be taught in public schools but disbelieves global warming; she opposes gun control but supports government control of women’s wombs; she opposes stem cell research but approves “abstinence-only” programs, which increase unwanted births, sexually transmitted diseases and abortions; she tried to use taxpayers’ millions for a state program to shoot wolves from the air but didn’t spend enough money to fix a state school system with the lowest high-school graduation rate in the nation; she runs with a candidate who opposes the Fair Pay Act but supports $500 million in subsidies for a natural gas pipeline across Alaska; she supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, though even McCain has opted for the lesser evil of offshore drilling. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger. Read on…
John McCain chose party over country by selecting Palin, a move that eerily reflects George Bush’s reckless style of governing. The McCain camp may think they can fool women voters, but Steinem does a fantastic job of shredding the idea that Hillary Clinton supporters would automatically be wooed into voting for a woman who is her polar opposite and unfit to serve. Quite simply put, Palin isn’t qualified to carry HRC’s briefcase, let alone be considered her political equal.
Let's break this down in the most basic of terms — Sarah Palin is a Bush Republican — say it loud and say it often. I grind my teeth every time I hear someone in the corporate media tout Palin as a candidate of change. A change of gender does not equal a change in policy or direction for America. John McCain may consider Palin to be his “political soul mate,” but unfortunately for him, her heart belongs to George W. Bush.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sent out a fundraising solicitation today that charged that “the Obama/Biden Democrats have been vicious in their attacks directed toward me, my family and John McCain.”I asked spokespeople of the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee just which “Obama/Biden Democrats” they’re referring to.The response I got was that Obama spokesman Mark Bubriski erroneously attacked Palin as a supporter of Pat Buchanan.That’s it. That’s the evidence.An attack on Palin herself.In other words, they can’t name one person affiliated with the Obama-Biden campaign who attacked the Palin family.
SilentPatriot, AmericaBlog.com: Jon finds some eerie similarities between John McCain’s convention speech and the one given by George W. Bush eight years ago.
John Amato: McCain wants us to forget that if he wins the election—America will be controlled by the Republicans for four more years that have produced such disastrous results. And the media will only help make this election about personalities instead of issues and then use Palin to distract us from those issues.
Arianna has a great post about this:
Listening to McCain, you’d think it was the Democrats who occupied the White House the last seven-plus years and it was time to throw the bastards out.Given that 82 percent of voters believe we are heading in the wrong direction, it’s a logical position to take. But for the American people to buy into the notion that McCain, who has raced to Bush’s side on tax cuts, on offshore drilling — even on torture — is this campaign’s agent of change, it’s going to require an incredible suspension of disbelief. Or a serious case of amnesia.And this is clearly McCain’s campaign strategy: inducing amnesia about the past and confusion about the future, attempting to hoodwink the American people about what he has become. Which is where Sarah Palin comes in. As a major distraction. In the effort to divert attention from the matter at hand — McCain’s embrace of all things Bush — Palin is the perfect storm… read on
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Don Frederick, Top of the Ticket (LA Times): Heretofore little-known Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia was born in 1950 in Atlanta and was raised in one of its surrounding communities.
Which means the Republican grew up at a time when the racial divide in the South was stark, a time when Jim Crow laws helped enforce a segregationist credo that limited opportunities for blacks, a time when -- as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article puts it today -- "uppity" was "a word applied to African-Americans who tried to rise above servile positions."
But to hear Westmoreland tell it, he had no clue he was using a racially tinged word when, as reported by The Hill newspaper, he said in Washington this week: "Honestly, I've never paid that much attention to Michelle Obama. Just what little I've seen of her and Sen. [Barack] Obama, is that they're a member of an elitist class ... that thinks that they're uppity."
The remark, the Journal-Constitution reports, quickly "zipped around the Internet, causing Westmoreland’s office phones to ring off the hook."
That furor, in turn, prompted the two-term congressman to issue the following statement:
I’ve never heard that term used in a racially derogatory sense. It is important to note that the dictionary definition of ‘uppity’ is ‘affecting an air of inflated self-esteem -- snobbish.’ That’s what we meant by uppity when we used it in the mill village where I grew up.
The Ticket finds it amazing that someone with such a sheltered upbringing could achieve such success in life.
LSB: This man is either lying through his teeth or completely unaware of his environment. Let's hope the 3rd District in Georgia educates this man or removes him this November!
LSB: I don't know this blog or the writer, so I'm taking part of this with a lump of salt. But if any of it is remotely true, how sad that the Party of Lincoln has sunk so far. Granted with Karl Rove in the Party it pretty much hits the bottom, but this might take it to a new depth... if it is true.“So Sambo beat the bitch!”This is how Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin described Barack Obama’s win over Hillary Clinton to political colleagues in a restaurant a few days after Obama locked up the Democratic Party presidential nomination.According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.“It was kind of disgusting,” Lucille, who is part Aboriginal, said in a phone interview after admitting that she is frightened of being discovered telling folks in the “lower 48” about life near the North Pole.Then, almost with a sigh, she added, “But that’s just Alaska.”Racial and ethnic slurs may be “just Alaska” and, clearly, they are common, everyday chatter for Palin.Besides insulting Obama with a Step-N’-Fetch-It, “darkie musical” swipe, people who know her say she refers regularly to Alaska’s Aboriginal people as “Arctic Arabs” – how efficient, lumping two apparently undesirable groups into one ugly description – as well as the more colourful “mukluks” along with the totally unimaginative “f**king Eskimo’s,” according to a number of Alaskans and Wasillians interviewed for this article.But being openly racist is only the tip of the Palin iceberg. According to Alaskans interviewed for this article, she is also vindictive and mean. We’re talking Rove mean and Nixon vindictive.
No wonder the vast sea of white, cheering faces at the Republican Convention went wild for Sarah: They adore the type, it’s in their genetic code. So much for McCain’s pledge of a “high road” campaign; Palin is incapable of being part of one. (Read the entire article.)
SilentPatriot, Crooks and Liars:
I think Jeff and I are on the same page here.
“I thought it was the worst speech by a nominee that I’ve heard since Jimmy Carter in 1980. I thought it was disorganized, I thought it was it was themeless, I thought it was very, very boring […] I personally cannot remember a single policy proposal that he made because they had nothing connecting them. I found it shockingly bad.”
Not only was the speech poorly delivered and mind-numbingly boring, it was without substance. Obama’s speech was a generational call to arms to disaffected Americans who are sick and tired of the paralyzing partisanship and unacceptable status quo. McCain’s was boilerplate.
While he tried his damndest tonight to distance himself from the past eight years, at the end of the day, John McCain has voted with George W. Bush more than 90% of the time. Hell, we have him on tape bragging about it.It remains to be seen if the GOP can successfully convince a majority of Americans that John McCain is not responsible for the Bush/McCain legacy.
In 2000, Sarah Palin, as mayor of the Alaskan town of Wasilla, hired a Washington lobbyist to secure federal earmarks for her community.
This is not totally atypical in her state. Alaska’s government receives more money per capita in federal earmark money than any other state, despite being the only state in the union with no income tax and no sales tax. They fund their government primarily with petroleum money, and recently distributed oil profits to its citizens in the form of rebate checks.But even in her heavily earmarked state, Sarah Palin was the earmark queen.
As mayor, Sarah Palin managed to secure a thousand dollars a year per person in her city in earmarks, yet…
When Palin left office in 2002, Wasilla had “racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt,” or roughly $3,000 of debt per resident. …(more)
Asked in 1996, her first year in office, about her ability to “effectively run” the city, Palin claimed:
“It’s not rocket science,” Palin said, “It’s $6 million and 53 employees.”
Only “$6 million and 53 employees” and yet she managed to bury it $20 mil. in the red in just two-terms. How very Bush-like. And she wants us to trust her to be a heartbeat away from the national budget?
JED Report: Todd Harris, a GOP strategist who is close to the McCain campaign, says Palin won't be available to the press for about two weeks. His defense? She might make "a mistake."
If she goes out and makes a mistake, that is something that [voters will] care about, and that's something that will haunt [McCain] for awhile, so I think this is a smart move.
This has got to be one of the craziest messaging decisions ever: Harris is conceding that Palin's not even ready to be a vice presidential candidate, let alone be president.
I just don't see how they can sustain two weeks of keeping Palin in hiding. Every day the McCain campaign keeps her away from reporters just highlights the fact that they don't think she's ready.
This strikes me as a pretty impressive strategic blunder.
- yoda: Great point. If she's not ready to take questions from reporters in September, is she really prepared to be second in command in January?
- lorisc: If she can't answer questions from reporters, how does she meet with world leaders? Wake up America, this isn't American Idol!
- eclecticbrotha: When they say "ready" what they mean is "we haven't finished programming her yet."
- piktor: READY TO STEP IN ON DAY ONE TO DEFEND AMERICA FROM HER ENEMIES! Ready for the media sorta TAKES A LITTLE LONGER! ...People are watching, it is being noticed. You cannot spin a gimmick. It is what it is.
Adopting the typical DC GOP strategy, Palin stonewalls Troopergate investigation, forcing subpoenas.
Joe Sudbay (DC), AmericaBlog.com: Remember how Sarah Palin said she didn't like the way Washington worked? Sure. She sure knows the Washington way of stonewalling an investigation. What she's doing in Alaska would make George Bush, Karl Rove, Tom Delay and even Dick Nixon proud.
Today, we're learning that subpoenas will have to be issued in the Troopergate scandal. That's because the Governor, Sarah Palin, who previously talked about fully cooperating with the investigation, no longer is:
The Palin administration in recent days has shown resistance to the legitimacy of the legislative investigation.A press release today from [GOP State Rep. Ray] Ramras and Sen. Hollis French, the Anchorage Democrat who is managing the Branchflower investigation, says subpoenas are necessary to compel cooperation with Branchflower.Says the press release:"This week, seven key witnesses informed Mr. Branchflower through their attorneys that they would not provide depositions. Their depositions, which had been agreed to and scheduled earlier with Mr. Branchflower, were cancelled within the last 72 hours."Additionally, the governor's lawyer has stated that he represents the governor and the governor's office, and has forbidden any contact by Mr. Branchflower with any member of that office."Mr. Branchflower wishes to depose some of those employees. The issuance of the subpoenas is intended to get at the truth and to expedite the completion of his report to the public."
Palin is becoming Bush-like in her capacity to just say things that aren't true.LSB: Here's ABC's report.
Newt Gingrich - who left 1st wife stricken with cancer, cheated on 2nd wife, and now is on 3rd wife - does video in support of 'traditional marriage'
Chino: Newt dumped cancer-stricken 1st wife. When his pastor criticized him for not supporting his two kids, he left the church. Newt dumped 2nd wife after cheating on her with the Congressional aide who is now his 3rd wife. The scandal sidelined Newt in 2008.
My fellow Americans, meet a true defender of traditional marriage:With Newt's YouTube plug for Prop 8 now airing over at the Yes on 8 blogs, maybe today's a good day to revisit Jeralyn's TalkLeft post from 2002 on the subject of Republican Sexual Hypocrisy.
Jeralyn supplies three sources (one for each marriage, I suppose):
I. Jackie: In 1981, Newt dumped his first wife, Jackie Battley, for Marianne, wife number 2, while Jackie was in the hospital undergoing cancer treatment. Marianne and Newt divorced in December, 1999 after Marianne found out about Newt's long-running affair with Callista Bisek, his one-time congressional aide. Gingrich asked Marianne for the divorce by phoning her on Mother's Day, 1999. -- New York Post, July 18, 2000
II. Marianne: Gingrich's misbehavior goes back years. Fidelity was apparently never his strong point. After marrying his high school math teacher, Jacqueline Battley, even he admits: ''In the 1970s, things happened.''
As a congressional candidate, he conducted an affair in 1977, a year before enlisting Jackie to write a letter attacking his opponent for planning to leave her family in the district: ''When elected, Newt will keep his family together,'' declared one unintentionally hilarious campaign ad. Gingrich ended his 19-year marriage shortly after his victory.
He famously visited Jackie in the hospital where she was recovering from surgery for uterine cancer to discuss details of the divorce. He later resisted paying alimony and child support for his two daughters, causing a church to take up a collection. For all of his talk of religious faith and the importance of God, Gingrich left his congregation over the pastor's criticism of his divorce.
Soon thereafter, Gingrich married Marianne Ginther, whom he had previously met at a political fund-raiser. He called her ''the woman I love'' and ''my best friend and closest adviser'' in his first speech as House speaker, in January 1995... Yet, his relationship with Bisek, a House employee, apparently extended back to 1993 while he was talking of reforming the corrupt welfare state and promoting society's moral regeneration. Rumors of his relationship with Bisek, more than 20 years his junior, did not stop him from writing his political testament, in which he criticized sex outside of marriage, promoted traditional family life and opined that ''any male who doesn't support his children is a bum.''
In May 1999, however, Gingrich called Marianne at her mother's home. After wishing the 84-year-old matriarch happy birthday, he told Marianne that he wanted a divorce. -- Copely News Service, August 21, 2000
III. Callista: Gingrich's most recent ex-wife says he ditched her eight months after finding out she had multiple sclerosis. Marianne Gingrich, 48, shopping a book proposal "both personal and political" about how women are treated in D.C., says the ex-speaker of the House told her on Mother's Day 1999 that he wanted a divorce, after learning she had a neurological condition that could lead to MS. In 1981, the former congressman told his other ex-wife, Jackie Battley, that he was dumping her, after she had been hospitalized with cancer. Newt, 57, will wed ex-congressional aide Callista Bisek, 34 -- with whom he had an affair while still married to Marianne -- on Aug. 18. -- Akron Beacon Journal, July 25, 2000
In all fairness to the Yes on 8 camp, Newt was their Plan B.They had been hoping to snag Rudy Giuliani.