Sunday, August 31, 2008

Evidence of Idiocy

Michael Tomasky
In 2006, the Alaska state branch of the right-wing Eagle Forum asked gubernatorial candidate Sarah Palin if she was offended by the inclusion of the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance:

"Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its [sic] good enough for me and I'll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."
As Tomasky notes, the Pledge wasn't written until the late 19th Century (by a Socalist, no less) and "under God" wasn't added until the mid-20th Century.

Ok, this woman's candidacy could be pretty funny. She's a doofus.

Though in all likelihood the press will never ask questions to establish her general knowledge of US history, civics, and general knowledge.

If the press is true to form, we will probably get through this campaign without knowing if she can enumerate the rights in the Bill of Rights, or what the Alien and Sedition Acts were, or the Missouri Compromise, or the difference between SALT and SALT II, or what the Warsaw Pact was or anything that a President should know. I'd say she'll do ok in debates if they're vague and airy with little knowledge required. Get ready to scream at your TV screens, I suppose.

Palin Press Conference Pool

When will Sarah Palin give her first solo press conference, open to large national media reporters, lasting more than 20 minutes?

I'm thinking: Never unless some scandal erupts.

Straight talk!

Related: can anyone point to anything that indicates she's thought seriously about any issues other than abortion and Alaska-specific topics?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Forget Experience, How About Mere Knowledge?

It's laughable to make the argument that Palin has national security experience.

But what about mere knowledge? Starting with the easy (how many continents are there?) and moving to the more difficult (What are the prime exports of Brazil? Who was Kamal Attaturk? What's the difference between SALT and SALT II?) and beyond. Name the three major ethnic groups in Iraq and their religious breakdown. Name three minor ethnic groups there.

What kind of knowledge does she have of the world?

Palin: Did McCain Run Out of Time?

I heard tonight on NPR that McCain made his decision on Palin the day before the announcement.

Then there's this:
ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg reports: It wasn't until Sunday night that John McCain, after meeting with his four top advisers, finally decided he could not tap independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to be his running mate. One adviser, tasked with taking the temperature of the conservative base, had strongly made the case to McCain that it would be a disaster for the party and that the base would revolt. McCain concluded he could not go that route. The next day, McCain studied the three men at the top of his shortlist: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. All had different strengths and negatives, but McCain was not satisfied. None of them had what McCain believed he needed to do -- and would have done -- with Lieberman.
So on Sunday he excluded Lieberman due to the venomous reaction of his base. Then on Monday -- four days before the announcement -- he excluded all the other frontrunners.

He had basically Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to vet her long distance ("So, over the next few days ... lawyers reviewed her vetting information.") and work on messaging, rollout, etc.

That's three days to vet a VP candidate, though she had been "in the mix" and presumably her vetting info was on file.

I just wonder if McCain, harried by aides and friends who all had different opinions about the merits of Pawlenty, Romney, and others, decided basically "screw it" and tossed out weeks of vetting and prep work.

From this timeline, I'd wager he ran out of time and had to make a pick too quickly. It's the opposite of a considered, deliberate approach. It's a total trainwreck leading to a rushed decision at the last minute.

In short, it's a disaster of executive decisionmaking.

By contrast, Obama took quite a deliberative app;roach and decided early in the week before his Saturday announcement of Biden. There was no drama.

Of course, Palin could turn out to be a foreign policy savant with a photographic recall of every line in the Federal Budget.

More than likely, she looks good on TV and can read a speech capably thanks to being a sports tele-reporter.

I have a feeling there will be shoes dropping quite a bit in the next few weeks. Like this whopper:

Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements.

Fiscal conservatism? Well, it's Republicanism, no doubt.

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain: Drill Here, Drill Now, Drill Palin

For the irony-impaired, the title is a reference to McCain's dog-whistling approach to this appointment. Watch the video of their interaction at the announcement -- I sure got a creepy vibe from it. And, as Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review wrote: "Tokenism. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?"

Yes, McCain's calculation is pretty much that cynical. The McCain campaign really is a "war room masquerading as a campaign."

Thanks to Instaputz for the image, and yes it's really her.

For further illustration, Jed has a video of some of what I'm talking about.

Battle of the Narrators

I didn't think I'll ever enjoy David Straithairn more than Robert Duvall, but this week and next will give at least one comparison where I will.

[I've always liked Strathairn, he's a great actor. But Duvall has been one of my favorite actors for many years.]

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Message to Convention Delegates

If someone asks you about Barack Obama, go on about how great he is.

If someone asks you a process question involving Bill or Hillary Clinton, please say a nice word about them and bash John McCain until the reporter takes the microphone away.

If they ask about the Clintons again, bash John McCain from a different angle.

The Clintons aren't running: talk about the candidates: Obama (positively) and McCain (negatively).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

What I learned at Rick Warren's Place

John McCain can precisely define the moment when life begins, but can't define "rich."

The right to privacy is "one of the most fundamental and basic rights," but he may want to run it by his favorite justices such as Scalia and Alito.

The US won the Cold War "without firing a shot," but McCain was held captive during the Vietnam War, which was part of the Cold War and, of course, a shooting war.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Way-Pre-Debate Takeaway

The thing I took away from this long James Fallows piece about the Presidential primary debates this cycle is what the coverage of the Obama-McCain debates will be like.

Obama will perform very well and will appear to be a very smart grounded adult with well thought-out policy positions. But some tiny meaningless issue will be blown up by the TV gabbers into a "moment that crystallizes his flaws as a candidate" and be repeated endlessly.

It will be obvious to all media types that McCain often doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. But even if he has feces streaming down his leg he will be shitting "authentically" and sages will note that "at least it's brown, not green!"

He will have "exceeded expectations."

And grading John McCain on the curve will continue apace.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

McCain: Feel the Excitement!

[Click image for larger version.]

I know you think this photo has been everywhere. But, really, it hasn't been here yet.

Want to know why McCain is trying to fool people into thinking it's a bad thing that Obama is popular? Because, on his own, McCain gets crowds like this.

Via Americablog.

Georgia, not the US one.

All you really need to read about the Georgia / South Ossetia conflict, from War Nerd:

South Ossetia, The War of My Dreams

Some snippets, but read the whole thing:
The fretting and fussing and sky-is-falling crap about this war is going to die down fast, and the bottom line will be simple: the Georgians overplayed their hand and got slapped, and we caught a little of the follow-through, which is what happens when you waste your best troops—and Georgia’s, for that matter—on a dumb war in the wrong place. We detatched Kosovo from a Russian ally; they detached South Ossetia from an American ally. It’s a pawn exchange, if that. If it signals anything bigger, it’s the fact that the US is weaker than it was ten years ago and Russia is much, much stronger than it was in Yeltsin’s time. But anybody with sense knew all that already.

Many more good points about how the Georgians learned all the wrong lessons from Bush and the neocons.

And, his distillation:
There are three basic facts to keep in mind about the smokin’ little war in Ossetia:

1. The Georgians started it.
2. They lost.
3. What a beautiful little war!

Of course, his point 3 is ironic. You have to read the whole thing. You will likely learn some things and laugh a bit, too.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Well-Known John McCain

I keep hearing from media folks and cable gabbers that "the American Public knows John McCain."

Well there are things I know about every previous presidential candidate that I didn't know about McCain without looking. So I'd say the American public doesn't know McCain as well as the media thinks we do.

For instance: How many childrend does John McCain have?

John McCain has seven children. Wow, I didn't know that about John McCain, and I know that fact about every other presidential candidate in my lifetime.

2 stepchildren: His first wife, Carol, had two kids which he adopted when they married. Then they had another child in 1966.

Total so far, three.

McCain and his second wife, Cindy, adopted a Bangladeshi child, and had four biological children.

Seven total: 2 stepkids, one adopted, and four biological children.

Also previously unknown to me, John McCain has four grandchildren.

How come, if he's "so well known," I didn't have those facts at my fingertips about basic biographical information?

Because his image may be known, but many basic facts about McCain aren't well known.

So stop telling us that "well-known" falsehood, media-drones.

McCain Trawls and Trolls the Gutter.

John McCain 2008 - John McCain for President: "Spread The Word

Help spread the word about John McCain on news and blog sites. Your efforts to help get the message out about John McCain's policies and plan for the future is one of the most valuable things you can do for this campaign. You know why John McCain should be the next President of the United States and we need you to tell others why."

McCain zombies will rule the web comments!

I still think "Country Club First" should get me a few McCain points. McCain? MCCAIN?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Paris and Cindy: Data Points

It's odd that McCain would raise Paris Hilton as a campaign issue, since Paris actually reminds me of Cindy McCain.

Paris Hilton is 27 years old now.
Cindy was 26 years old in 1980 when McCain (then aged 44) married Cindy.

Paris Hilton: is a wealthy heiress
Cindy McCain: is a wealthy heiress

I admit I don't know enough about Paris Hilton to know if she's had a drug problem and a related federal investigation and punishment. But Cindy did.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

McCain: Country Club First

For Country Clubbers at McCain's store:

McCain Divot Tool: $25
McCain Golf Balls: $10

Country Club policies:

Tax breaks for millionaires.
Giveaways to oil companies
His health plan will destroy employer-provided health insurance and replace it with huge out-of-pocket payments for patients.
He wants to privatize Social Security and thinks it is an "absolute disgrace."

Country Club lifestyle:
He wears $520 Ferragamo Italian calfskin loafers!
He owns ten homes valued at $13,823,269.
He married an heiress (who he began dating before divorcing his first wife after she was disabled).

John McCain: Country Club First!

Prop Comics of Politics

Prop comics of Politics: Republicans:

This tire gauge ploy from them, it's prop comedy, just like the purple heart band-aid. Both just props to extend some ridicule.

This takes me into some territory I've been thinking about and may actually suss sometime: Republican humor (Limbaugh, O'Rourke, and McCain) is almost totally mere ridicule. It's only funny if you already buy into the joke -- if you believe the ridiculed object is worthy of ridicule (Think about ridiculing some people, institutions, or deities who aren't considered worthy of ridicule--fill in the blank).

All humor includes ridicule, but I'm thinking one reason there aren't more standard-issue comedy shows featuring right-wingers is that ridicule wears thin. The Daily Show uses derision a lot, but it derides a broad swath of media life (including, especially recently, Obama), and it features all sorts of staples of humor beyond ridicule.

I'll think about this some more.

In the meantime, I'll insert Doug and Dinsdale Piranha below.

Where I Prove I'm More American than Democrat

Some Republican people seem to think I'd prefer electoral outcomes that favor Democrats over those that favor America. Below I spotlight two election winners from today that, while they may complicate Democratic wins in November, are still good for America though they make Republican wins more likely.

1) Phil Kline, panty-sniffer, loses big. What's the matter with Kansas?

2) Brock Oliva, even more idiotic (funny how much his gibberish is like McCain's) than the generic Republican dullard, loses.

Both losses make Democratic pickups less likely in November. Still, I am glad for these outcomes. They're both wretched as public servants.

I'm an American Patriot first, a Democrat second. Proven.
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