Tuesday, September 30, 2008

McCain and Couric Spar on "Gotcha Journalism"

COURIC: Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, "stop the terrorists from coming any further in." Now, that's almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud. So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this?

MCCAIN: Now, just a minute, Katie. I have to step in here. That's another example of the media's "gotcha journalism"...

COURIC: But, it was a question from a citizen. How is a citizen asking a candidate a question an example of what you call "gotcha journalism?"

MCCAIN: Because it was hard, Katie.

We don't want Gov. Palin to be asked questions, unless she is prepared for them. When she is prepared, as she will be before the debate, she sounds intelligent, knowledgeable and feisty. But when she has not been prepared, she sounds lost and incoherent.

We can't have people asking her questions when she has not had time to be prepared with an answer.

COURIC: But, Sen. McCain, I have to say, you are 72-years old. Actuarial preditions show that if you were to be elected, Gov. Palin would have a 1 in 5 chance of actually becoming President. These are perilous times--unprecedented crises in financial markets, tensions across a wide range of critical foreign policy arenas. Shouldn't we have a Vice President, and a potential President, who actually understands these issues, beyond the preparation necessary for a debate?

Here is her response to a question on the economy, a critical issue, you would agree, Sen. McCain:

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

COURIC: That answer, Sen. McCain, as noted by Fareed Zakaria, is incoherent.

MCCAIN: Yes. (nodding his head).

COURIC: Well, isn't it actually important that a potential President actually comprehend issues? That is, beyond debate preparation?

MCCAIN: No, Katie. That's what I mean by "gotcha journalism". It's obvious from these prior interviews that Palin has little to no comprehension of fiscal policy and economics. For heaven's sake, she received a "D" in macroeconomics in college! And, as I've said in the past, I have little understanding of economic issues myself.

No, what's important, Katie, is that she sound like she understands the issues. In the debate. If she is sufficiently prepared, she can give an illusion of understanding the issues--even if she is only giving answers with the prepared and practiced spontaneity and content necessary to give that illusion force.

Given that the bar is set at the lowest standard imaginable, Katie, if she accompanies that performance with sufficient charm, we believe that media will follow, into focusing on the change from that low standard, and on those superficial entertainment values--you know, Katie, (McCain smiles through tight lips and squinting eyes and moves his hands up and down)--"She certainly appears to be more confident tonight; she appears more poised, coherent, humorous"--rather than her readiness to be President from an objective standard. After all, using the more important standard of Presdidential capability, she has already demonstrated that she is unprepared to be President.

So, Katie, we want them to focus on that difference, on her debate preparation, rather than on her actual well-demonstrated Presidential unreadiness. And that's what I mean by "gotcha journalism."

KATIE: But if I understand you correctly, Sen. McCain, you actually believe that it's not important that she understand the issues actually facing the nation...

MCCAIN: Right.

COURIC: On which many people's very jobs, health and life will rely at this critical time...


COURIC: And that all that really matters is creating a standard so low that she actually is rewarded for her widely seen and repeatedly demonstrated lack of knowledge and understanding. That we would be using what is essentially a remedial standard for Presidential capability--rather than one of actual capability.

Sen. McCain, you seem to be actually suggesting that we should decide that she is ready for the Presidency, simply because, after preparation, she has improved. Even though just days earlier, time after time, she was unable to give coherent answers on these subjects.

No one can gain Presidential-level understanding in days. And in the office of the Presidency, with its intense crises and unforseeable events, she will not be prepared for each unpredictable day, as she was for the debate.

Yet you expect media to focus on these values, rather than actual readiness to be President. That's what you mean by "gotcha journalism"?

MCCAIN: Exactly. And they will. I would say to the media, Katie: Once again--we "gotcha" to lower the bar. We "gotcha" to set expectations far below those actually required for a President. We "gotcha" to focus on characteristics unrelated to Presidential capability, and to ignore her statements on these issues made only days earlier--as if a few days of debate preparation can erase a glaring and dangerous actual lack of knowledge and preparedness. Yes, indeed--we "gotcha." (smiles).

COURIC: How can you expect the media to fall for that?

MCCAIN: It worked for Bush.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Great Moments in American History

The Signing of the Declaration of Independence:

House Republicans: "We were going to sign. We were. We had dipped our quills in the very ink. However, it was then that John Witherspoon made a rude noise, directed at our very standing area. Therefore, we refused to sign."

The Gettysburg Address:
Lincoln: "Four score and seven years ago...Why are you looking at me like that? No, I mean like that. Don't look at me like that. I refuse to continue."


General Eisenhower: "Men...off the carrier and to the shore! No...No...I said it nicely. I was just trying to be enthusiastic. No, I didn't mean that you wouldn't get off the carrier. No, that's the usual tone of my voice."

Man's Landing on The Moon:

Neil Armstrong: "That's one small step for man, one giant...What, Buzz? No, I'm not trying to imply anything. No, I've never even thought about that. Yes, we all have the same size suits. No. Size 9. Yes, double E."

The Stabilization of the American Economy in the 21st Century:

"You hurt our feelings."

Willing To Sacrifice Your Income for Their Principles

Most everyone disliked the Bailout bill.

They saw it as necessary to stabilize the markets.

Republicans were concerned about electoral chances. Their feelings were hurt. And they put their ideology before the income of millions of average Americans and the stability of the nation. Asw so often--charging without thought.

"He's like a commander who said 'Charge!" and his troops went into retreat"

Chris Matthews on MSNBC on McCain and his role in the Bailout failure:

"He's like a commander who said 'Charge!", and his troops went into retreat".

Draw Your Conclusions

The bailout bill was brought forward by a Republican administration.

Over 2/3rds of Democrats voted for it.

John McCain said that he would deliver the votes of Republicans.

He "suspended his campaign" to do it.

He made this a central test of his leadership by doing so.

He said he would not attend the debate unless the bailout bill passed.

He attended the debate.

He failed to deliver the Republican votes.

The bill did not pass.

Draw your conclusions.

McCain Team To Debate Moderator Gwen Ifill: Go Easy on Palin

From Talking Points Memo:

McCain Camp to Ifill: Go Easy on Palin

The McCain camp is saying that veep debate moderator Gwen Ifill will have to answer for herself if she asks too many foreign policy questions Thursday night.

This is outrageous.

Palin may well be President. At a time of unprecedented financial crisis.

Ifill cannot, should not, and must not be intimidated

The Impulsively Unreflective Duo In..."Crisis on Wall Street!"

The Impulsively Unreflective Duo In:

Crisis on Wall Street!

John McCain is leaning back in a chair in his office in the Fortress of Irritability. An aide is carrying in a map of Spain when the Macphone rings.

McCain (answering): Fire Cox! Send him to Yugoslavia! Hello?

Hank Paulson (on other end of line): John, it's Hank. We are here in the Capitol. Every financial expert is assembled here, John. We have consulted every master, conferred with the widest and most informed authorities, asked every adept. We need you, John, you, with your mastery of financial expertise, to arrive at the door of our ineptitude and help us find an answer.

John, you must...suspend the campaign.

McCain: Suspend the campaign? But...the people need my expert advice here, Hank. (Aide is unfolding the map on a table, circling Spain in red, and writing in large bold letters "Not Czechoslovakia"). They need me here. Where my acts can matter most. In...In...(pauses)

Aide: The Fortress, Sir.

McCain: The Fortress, Hank. I can't just sit up and say "I suspend my campaign." That would look to anyone like the most clear act of political pandering, why, it's just...just...

The "I" on his chest lights up and begins to blink.

McCain: I'll do it!

Hank: That's wonderful, John. We'll see you...

McCain: (Standing up, cape waving behind him) In a moment!

Aide: (to McCain): But who will man the fortress?

McCain walks to secret bookshelf. Removes book entitled "Courage". The bookshelf magically spins, revealing a grey vault. McCain turns the combination lock.

McCain: 21...72...23...skidoo...Drat! (starting again) 21...90...I'm sure that I disagreed with President Bush a lot of the time, Senator Obama! (pauses).

Aide: Let me help you with that, Sir. (quickly turns the lock left, right and left. The door of the vault slowly opens, with the sound of a vacuum seal.)

This reveals a large auditorium, filled with advisers, cameras, and teleprompters. Over loudspeakers, a voice is filling the hall with sound: "The capital of Iraq is...Baghdad. Bagh...dad. The capital of Iran is..."

On the stage is Sarah Palin. She is holding a college text entitled "World Geography."

Palin: Ooooh. I know this one.

An adviser is standing to her right.

Adviser: Take your time, Sarah. Remember--think before you talk.

Palin: I know, I know. Can't I just say "A place that is deserving of our freedoms"?

Adviser: We've been over this before, Sarah. Remember--"Specific is terrific!"

Palin: Specific is terrific. Specific is terrific.

She shuffles her index cards and the loudspeakers intone..."The capital of Iran is...Tehran. Teh...ran."

Palin: Oooooh. They sound so much the same! Iran, Tehran. That's why I can't remember!

As McCain, hands on hips, cape waving, enters the auditorium.

McCain: Sarah.

Palin: Mr. McCain!

Both of their "I"s blink briefly.

McCain: Sarah, I want you to watch the Fortress until I return. I have a very important mission. About Wall Street.

Palin (to adviser): But I thought Mr. Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to 'tear down that wall!'

Adviser slowly shakes head.

Palin: But...can't I come on this mission, Mr. McCain? Please? I just know I could help!

McCain: Well, I think that a largely unprepared economic novice, struggling to comprehend concepts that are confounding the most experienced and educated authorities in the area...

Both McCain's and Palin's "I"s blink brightly.

McCain: ...Is just what this market needs! Let's go, Sarah! To the rescue!

Sarah: To the rescue, Mr. McCain!

NEXT EPISODE: The Evil Katie-Woman endangers Palin with a hypnotic confusion device...Questions! Can Sarah resist their terrible power?

Coming this week! On...

The Impulsively Unreflective Duo!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


John McCain chose the woman below as his Vice Presidential candidate.

He is 72 years old. He has been treated for a very serious illness. Four times.

He says that Sarah Palin is "ready to be President."

We are currently in what may be the most serious economic crisis in American history.

COURIC: Why isn't it better, Governor Palin, to spend $700 billion helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries; allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess?

PALIN: That's why I say I, like every American I'm speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it's got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we've got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we've got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.

Read the above again.


Palin will no doubt be prepared with crisp, coherent responses for Thursday's debate. However, the above indicates that this is not a mind that is prepared with the breadth and depth of understanding and knowledge to take on the duties of the President of the United States at a time of financial crisis.

Unlike others, do not act on impulse.


Transcription of Couric interview from Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What A Debate Reveals: Anger, Entitlement and Contempt

What I found shocking reflecting on last night's debate was how angry and entitled McCain was, in a very open way.

McCain's manner was one of that who believed he should not even be on the same stage with this person. This indicates a person of extreme rights and extreme wrongs, not a statesmanlike persona, but an angry and impulsive one.

McCain carries strong ideas of what a liberal is, ideas that vary little from his cherished ideas of who betrayed the nation during the Vietnam war. A stock character, driven and created by his own rage, carried, as it has been since the '70s, with a virtual ideological blindness--blinded by a contemptuous rage--that there are others who cannot understand the world the way he can. This is not judgment, but angry certainty. This is not readiness, but a just-contained rage that he should be confronted by such ideas.

You can see it in his constricted "can you believe it" rage at one who disagrees with his ideas. This kind of contemptuous, angry dismissal of others ideas leads easily into the impulsive decisions of the last few months--generated with barely contained contemptuous rejection of those who would reject his ideas--only the most recent forms of those essential constructs--a contemptible media, easily fed with false notions and panaceas, as he believes they were earlier in his life; intellectuals, whose reason and deliberation is contrasted with the sharp, impulsive action that for his life has constituted a certain knowledge, and an angry, certain need to sweep away those who would stand in the path of righteous certainty.

What is beautifully ironic is how McCain maintains this contempt even as he switches from one position to another in the opportunistic second--this is when the look of contempt and entitlement turns, for a moment, to anxiety and panic.

Soon, however, the gaze is back. No matter what the new position is--impulsively determined, desperately grasped--if only "they" knew better. If only "they" knew the truth.

This kind of ideological rigidity and certainty (note how Obama could not contain himself from smiling when McCain attempted to compare him to Bush in that regard) combined with impulsive decision making, from the "gut" of sure knowledge, is what has created the outcomes of the past 8 years.

It was--in a setting where one would not expect it to be, where one would expect McCain to contain it--glaring apparent last night.

This is an amplification of the last 8 years rather than a change.

We do not need to experience this type of decision making again.

Obama Wins

CNN Poll of Debate Watchers:

Who won:

Obama: 51%

McCain: 38%

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Credit Where Credit Isn't Due: McCain and Bush's Kabuki Theatre

Now we know why McCain hired the Bush contingent.

It emerged in the White House briefing today that McCain called Bush and asked him to initiate a meeting today at the White House, putatively for him to "deal with" the crisis.

That is, McCain asked Bush to help him create an trifecta: To try to lend some credence to McCain's desperate assertion that a suspension of his campaign is necessary, in effect either avoiding a debate in which he would face critical questions about his stance on the economy or marching in claiming "victory"; attempting to co opt the financial crisis thereby trying to put an end to his plummeting in the polls created by his flailing positions on the economy--perhaps best reflected by his statement days ago that the "fundamentals of the economy are strong"; and, while avoiding his own debate, also buying more time for Sarah Palin after her embarrassing photo op at the UN yesterday, by moving her debate forward as well.

Here's how it happened, according to Q and A at the WHB:

McCain emailed Bush asking for the meeting. Now, one reasonably might ask, why is today such a necessity for McCain, if his interest is solely the national good?

Because it is before the debate. McCain hopes to stage a meeting at the White House, thereby, with Bush's cooperation, lending plausibility to his claim to need to suspend his campaign. Then, if Republicans, in their own electoral interest, can be persuaded to come to agreement after the meeting, and before the debate, he would claim--in an act of utter stage management--to have "resolved" the crisis. Thereby hoping to take the heat off on his past careening stances and sliding polls and staunch the bleeding on the polls--before the debate.

This is Kabuki Theatre masquerading as substance--no different than what we saw at the U.N. yesterday.

It is utterly stage managed, utterly cynical, and utterly unrelated to the substantive deliberation necessary to actually resolve these matters on the merits and for our nation's future, rather than for short-term and desperate political advantage.

These occurrences are equally important for what they indicate about McCain's governing style as they are for their impact upon democratic process: impulsive acts that rely on drama and theatrical posture rather than substantive reasoning and long-term deliberation; a strong willingness to sacrifice substantive reasoning, deliberative process, and even prior structures and agreements to immediate political need; an attempt to reach outcomes through last minute stage management rather than substantive argument.

These should create deep concern for anyone who wishes for a change in governmental process from the past eight years.

We have an economy, rather than a campaign, to rescue. Putting nation before politics means putting all attempts to resolve it before political attempts to co opt it--and to move towards one's commitments, rather than towards a more immediate and short-term salvation.

UPDATE: He apparently plans to claim "victory" due to his last minute intervention.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What "Suspending My Campaign" Actually Means

From the Chicago Tribune:

John McCain's sudden "suspension'' of his campaign and his call for a postponement of the premier campaign debate Friday night has sparked a round of criticism from people asking why the presidential candidate cannot manage a financial crisis and a debate at the same time.

Among them: "Late Night's'' David Letterman, who told his own audience in taping at CBS today that he was hoping to see the Republican nominee for president but McCain called him to say that he had to rush back to Washington to deal with the nation's financial crisis. Then, as Letterman told it, he got word that in fact McCain was down the hall sitting for an interview with his colleague at CBS, Evening News anchor Katie Couric, which aired this evening.

Let's Move Palin's Debate to This Friday!

McCain wants to cancel the first debate and move it to the Vice Presidential debate. Moving that debate into the future.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone--in addition to McCain's avoiding his debate in the face of falling poll numbers, after Palin's day of near-silent photo-ops at the U.N., attempting to also give Palin more time to prepare.

As suggested by Dana Milbank on CNN, there's an easy solution--just let Palin debate this Friday night.

The fundamentals of the debate are strong!

McCain, Trailing in Polls, Continues Campaign By "Suspending" It

John McCain, trailing by 9 points in national polls, has announced that he is "suspending" his campaign.

Having lost significant ground to Obama on the issue of the economy, and facing a potentially defining and withering debate on Friday where he would be confronted on his statements on the economy that have led to this sharp decline, McCain has attempted to change the rules of the game, to erase many past errors through a putatively "unpolitical" move--something we have seen before.

A simple question: Under the same economic conditions, if McCain had been leading, does anyone believe that McCain would have "suspended" his campaign?

This is the ultimate in cynicism--using the current conditions in order to attempt to blunt a sharp decline and try to control the media dialogue, through a political act designed to avoid a potential political debacle. He is continuing his campaign--which was leading to loss in all directions--by "suspending" it. It is an attempt to silence media criticism and questions--and to prevent a debate on these issues that for him is sharply unfavorable.

It is impulsivity masked as statesmanship, along with an attempt to control the media dialogue, as we saw yesterday at the U.N.--the cynically political masked as the unpolitical, as we saw in the VP pick.

McCain, in attempting to avoid the debate in the face of his decline in the polls, until he can try to control the issue that has caused his decline, shows the lack of press access and communication that has characterized his campaign, as well as an extraordinary willingness to use difficult conditions to serve political ends.

He surely would like to put off the debate, and attempt to create more favorable conditions for it.

This is just the time for a debate. We can work on solutions as well. Don't be cowed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin: The Soft Preparedness of Lowered Expectations

In all seriousness, expect the following from Palin's "meetings" with leaders on Tuesday and Wednesday:

A series of serious-sounding quotes, direct from her days of preparation, that cannot possibly indicate her actual knowledge on the issues, data and risks facing each and with regard to each nation. Quotes, not knowledge, happen in days.

A bevy of positive statements from each leader--after all, that's why they were chosen--all being nations seeking U.S. favor, and having nothing to lose and potentially much to gain by doing so.

A rush of "surprised" reactions from media at "how seriously she was taken."

An attempt by the McCain camp to drive through her supposed preparedness as a result, as quickly as possible, before the debates.

Still no in-depth, free-form, extensive challenging interviews from this prospective President.

Don't buy it.

Remember: A few days ago, she was ready to invade Russia (which she could see from her border).

A series of rehearsed quotes does not a President make.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ignore The Shiny Bauble

Washington Post:

The list of foreign leaders GOP vice president Sarah Palin will meet this week in New York just keeps getting longer.

In addition to having private sessions with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Colombian president Alvaro Uribe scheduled for Tuesday, the Alaska governor now has a more elaborate list of heads of state lined up for Wednesday.

According to the campaign, she will meet Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili; Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko; Iraqi President Jalal Talabani; Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari; and Indian Prime Minister Manhoman Singh in a single day.

And Wednesday offers Palin a tete-a-tete with another category of globe trotter: she'll also be meeting with U2 frontman Bono, whose work with the ONE Campaign has earned frequent plaudits from GOP presidential nominee John McCain on the campaign trail.

This is clearly an attempt by the McCain campaign to change the subject from the economy (which, for the party in executive power, is a sure loser when the economy is bad) back to Palin.

The hope here is that, before the debate on Friday, media will be irresistibly drawn to the lure of an absurd number of meetings on one day--including the most irresistible media lure, Bono.

Even if there is conflict about the meetings, they wager, the subject is changed back to whether Palin is/is not qualified, rather than a powerful build, right up to the debate, to what is now the most important, relevant, and most salient topic: the economy.

On which they lose.

Ignore that shiny bauble. As they say, everything has changed.

Be smart.

Don't fall for it.

Stay with the economy.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sarah Palin Meets with Afghan President Karzai (Transcript)

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will meet next week with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in New York, on the sidelines of the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, according to Afghan officials in Washington. --Washington Post

Palin: Oh, Mr. President, it is such a pleasure to meet you, you're the first head of state that I have had the opportunity to meet--which is more than many Vice Presidents--and I'm so glad that my first one is an Afghani.

You know, in Trig's class there was a little Afghani? He was the child of one of the oil executives, and he was so cute, with his little turban runnin' around, everyone just loved him, and felt for him...

Karzai: Yes.

Palin: And everyone knew that we just had to defend him and keep him free and that's why I think that with a Palin/McCain...

Palin Aide: (looking up from clipboard) McCain/Palin.

Palin: ...McCain/Palin ticket, we can make sure of that, if we have to attack Russia, even, I mean, to keep people free at home, just like we want to keep our people free. We have so much in common! I know you have the problem with the poppies, and I understand because we have the same problem with the crystal meth in Wasilla? And I said "Look, we've got to shake this up" and that's just what I said, I said 'Look, let's just see what we have in common with these guys!" And that's just what you could do with the Taliban, Mr. Karzai. They've got so many of the same ideas, they've already so moral, and they want people to live by the straight and narrow, and they've got the newspapers sayin' and the schools doin' lots of the right things, they just need to get some of the right ideas, and pray to the right Lord. And, if they don't understand, we still have the weapons left over from Iraq, and then we can't blink, we can't blink, can we, Mr. Karzai?

Karzai: (Looks at Palin silently without moving his head. Pauses.). Blink?

Palin: Right. The thing is, we just have to hit the ground runnin', Mr. Karzai. That's what I do. A few weeks ago I didn't even know what a Vice President does! That's why I put a clock on my wall--do you have the same clocks as we do in Afghanistan? With the twelve numbers? (Points in air to numbers on air clock)--Anyway, I said "I'm gonna measure just how much time I have left here" and that's what you could do, I think, with the war, Mr. Karzai, is to put up a clock so you know just how much time you have left until you finish it. I tell you, Mr. Karzai, it's such a motivating influence on my staff, the good ones, anyway, they know what they're supposed to finish and when, they hear me sayin' "Look at the clock, people, look at the clock, and know what you have left to finish..."

Karzai: Yes.

Palin: And so I said to my husband, Todd--I call him the "First Dude"--Do you have that word 'Dude' here in Afghanistan?--maybe it's like "Khan" or "Emir" or somethin'?--I said to him, 'Todd, we have to take a look at what's happenin' in Afghanistan--before McCain called or any other thing happened--' cause I saw that Russia was right across from us, and then right next to that you have all the 'Stans (counts cross fingers) Kyrgyzstan, oh, what's the others?--well, you are aware of them, of course, Mr. Karzai (laughs)...

Karzai: (Nods)

Palin: And if we don't let other people know of what I'm aware of, then the world won't change Mr. Karzai. I know we have the same goals even if we don't have the same God yet (aide touches Palin on shoulder, whispers)...'Even', not 'yet', I meant 'same God even ,' Mr. Karzai, and my point is, we can't let others stop our choice, which is freedom for those who deserve it, and that's why I know a Palin/McCain...

Palin Aide: (reaching over to touch shoulder)

Palin: Stop! (brushing aide's hand off) ...McCain/Palin ticket will do just what you want, Mr. Karzai...

Second Palin Aide Approaches: It's time for our next appointment, Gov. Palin.

Palin: It was so good meeting you President Karzai, and all of your other people, it was so good meeting you too! Shalom! (waves, exits)

Karzai: (to his aide, in Pashto): She makes the last one look like the Grand Mufti.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin Announces Palin/McCain Ticket: Ambition, Inexperience First

From ABC News:


Gov. Sarah Palin is now talking about "a Palin and McCain administration."

Hilarious if it wasn't so frightening. The kind of slip made by a very young person whose ambitious fantasies all-too-easily break through her manifest inability to think before talking.

Incidentally, this has been her MO all along. From the New Yorker:

Palin’s record as the mayor of Wasilla, a town forty miles north of Anchorage, told a somewhat different story. According to “Sarah,” a biography by Kaylene Johnson, Palin had got into politics after she befriended the man who was then mayor and his police chief at a step-aerobics class. She made them her allies and ran for City Council. Then she challenged them for control of City Hall, and drove them out. As she purged her former friends and patrons, she denounced them as “good ol’ boys,” although her takeover of Wasilla had been aided from the start by Alaska’s Republican Party establishment.

Impulsive, inexperienced, unreflective, and ambitious--a dangerous combination at a time when wisdom, knowledge and reflectiveness are truly a necessity.

Also Will Call For Democratization, Removal of Burger King

ABC News:

At a joint rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa Thursday, Republican John McCain slammed the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) for being "asleep at the switch" saying that if he were president, he would fire Chris Cox, the chairman of the SEC since 2005 and a former Republican congressman...

But while the president nominates and the Senate confirms the SEC chair, a commissioner of an independent regulatory commission cannot be removed by the president.

Perhaps he could name him President of Spain.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

And, So, My Friends, I Have Decided Not To Run For President in 2008...

Washington Post:

McCain, September 19:

"'This is not a time for political opportunism,' McCain said. 'This is a time for leadership.'"

What else can one say but--I'm speechless.

Watching Palin

I'm watching Palin speak right now in Vienna, Ohio.

She looks as if she is about to burst into tears.

The outcome of this election will be frightening if she and McCain are victorious.

She was placed in a position where she was unready for the tasks she was to engage in.

Now, she is being buffeted by questions that she is unable to respond to, and she is wholly unready for this and cannot deal with the outcome or ramifications.

She is like a hurt young girl rather than a Vice Presidential candidate.

She looks as if her head will burst with anger and hate and hurt.

This is closer to the Palin we have heard of in Wasilla and as Governor.

Hutchinson and other candidates would not have responded in this way.

She is clearly not ready for the Presidential status she aspires to and cannot be let to have this position for the sake of the nation. This is not only valid and obviously true, but must be understood by anyone who cares about the future of this nation

She is not only unprepared, but likely to be overwhelmed by the provocations that regularly come to the President and cannot plausibly respond to issues in economic or any other area of substantive policy.

If we blindly stagger into this through the usual gathering at the trough of excitement, we will not only have a potential tragedy in the making, but a final aspect of America consuming itself through its fascination with novelty and short-term thinking in the face of an utterly unprepared holder of the nation's highest office.

McCain Invents Fire, The Wheel

From ABC News:

McCain and the BlackBerry

This morning McCain domestic policy adviser Douglas Holz-Eakin was asked what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., could point to from his work on the Senate Commerce Committee that would prove to the American people that he has experience on technology issues.

"He did this," Holz-Eakin said, holding up his BlackBerry. "Telecommunications in the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create. And that's what he did."...

Even more remarkably, he did this using only a piece of flint and crude stone tools.

The first message he sent: "Watson. The fundamentals of the economy are strong."

Parachutes Away!

From ABC News:

Republican ticket mates John McCain and Sarah Palin Monday blasted corporate executives who leave their company with a "golden parachute" and pledged to "stop multimillion dollar payouts" to CEOs, seeming to forget their own top economic adviser Carly Fiorina walked away with $45 million, including a $21.4 million severance package when she was dismissed by Hewlett Packard in 2005.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Cynicism of McCain's VP Choice

If you read Jeffrey Goldberg's excellent piece on McCain in the new Atlantic, one fact stands out clearly. McCain's stance on the war is inviolate--it involves what for him are principles of honor that stretch back immediately and directly to his own experiences in the Vietnam war, and to those of his father in World War II. Just one example of many in the first-rate article:

I told Swindle [a cellmate and friend of McCain's] that McCain had argued to me that he doesn’t think about Vietnam overly much when he thinks about the wars of today.

“Bullshit,” Swindle said. “He’ll say Vietnam didn’t affect him, that he doesn’t think about it, that he’s aloof from it. But I see it. It’s there.”

This is the issue on which McCain is inflexible, certain, fully invested, passionate.

It is equally clear that as a result, he views all other issues as malleable, political issues--stances that can be easily taken, and easily changed, tactically-- in order to win a campaign and thus deal with the issue that, to him, matters.

This is utterly clear in his choice of Palin, where his Vietnam-and-since cynicism about political necessities is manifest--one of feeding the bread and circuses desire of the electorate, giving them, so easily fooled, as they were so easily fooled by the media in Vietnam, what they need, in order to be able to deal with the important issue. The choice of a remarkably unqualified Vice Presidential choice is simply a political necessity. The attitude towards the public, and the media, in this choice, as in many of the public representations and statements of his campaign, is one of an extraordinary, world-weary, cynicism: Feed the beast with whatever fantasies and half-truths it takes. We'll take care of it later.


In my conversations with McCain, however, he never appeared greatly troubled by his shifts and reversals. It’s not difficult to understand why: tax policy, or health care, or even off-shore oil drilling are for him all matters of mere politics, and politics calls for ideological plasticity. It is only in the realm of national defense, and of American honor—two notions that for McCain are thoroughly entwined—that he becomes truly unbending.

This is no doubt rooted in McCain's eternal certainties, drummed in by three generations of such certainty. And there is no doubt strength and decency--as well as these "family values"--that drive this commitment to an ideological core.

The question is this: Do we need another president with such a core of ideological inflexibility, rigidity and unwillingness for self-reflection, linked to a long past conflict--and who is willing to resort to half-truths, deceptions, and distortions in its service?

Palin on Economics: I Passed, Technically

From ABC News:

Sarah Palin deviated briefly from her standard stump speech to acknowledge the news from Wall Street today...

This was the first time Palin had mentioned Wall Street in her stump speech. Mostly she tends to reprise large portions of her nomination speech from the convention. Palin herself may not be the most authoritative spokesperson on such issues. In the past, when she was running for Alaska governor, she freely admitted to a reporter that she got a "D" in macroeconomics in college.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Proposed Commercial: Mac vs. PC

(White background. Childlike piano music plays)

(A picture of Barack Obama appears against the background)

VO: (Similar to voice of "Mac" character): Barack Obama is like a Mac.

(A picture of John McCain appears against the background)

VO: (Similar to voice of "PC" character): John McCain is like a PC.

(Picture of a bank against the background)

VO: McCain likes the old economics, corporate welfare, and tax breaks for the wealthy of George W. Bush.

(Quick cuts: Picture of Countrywide Branch, Picture of Bear Stearns, Picture of IndyMac against background)

(Picture of Obama)

VO: Obama doesn't like old systems that crash.

(Picture of a mother, father, son and daughter against the background)

VO: Obama thinks that when it comes to health care, every American should have the access and support they need.

(Picture of family fades to blank background)

VO: McCain is against these health benefits for children, families and the elderly. He believes that when it comes to access and support for health, it's an "ownership society"--you're on your own.

(Picture of a woman standing against background)

VO: For women, McCain talks a good game, but he is against a woman's right to choose, would repeal Roe v. Wade, and even voted against equal pay for women.

(Picture expands to show many women standing behind her)

VO: Barack Obama believes that every woman should be paid the same for the same work as every man, and that every woman has the right to make her own choices.

(Picture of George W. Bush)

VO: Barack Obama has called for an end to the distortions, mismanagement, and failed policies of the Bush Administration that have left so many families in distress.

(Famed picture of McCain hugging George W. Bush)

VO: McCain has agreed with George W. Bush 90% of the time.

(Picture of McCain)

VO: John McCain. Do you really want to spend another four years with the same old system?

(Music outro. Fade.)

McCain Adviser: "Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line". Also: "Up is Down", "Bad equals Good"

From "Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line" by McCain Adviser Donald Luskin, Op-Ed, Washington Post, September 14.

Things today just aren't that bad. Sure, there are trouble spots in the economy, as the government takeover of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and jitters about Wall Street firm Lehman Brothers, amply demonstrate. And unemployment figures are up a bit, too. None of this, however, is cause for depression...

Full disclosure: I'm an adviser to John McCain's campaign...


And black is white.

And up is down, you see.

Freedom is slavery.

Injustice is truth.

I know. A McCain adviser told me so.

This is not the understanding of the average struggling American McCain wants to portray.

This is what we will receive.

Another Bush era.


A Proposed Commercial

(Fade into B & W picture of Sarah Palin: Audio begins with opening powerful chords of "Won't Get Fooled Again [if can get rights]--striking, new, suggests a new tone and powerful, straightforward message. Independent/Centrists/moderate Republicans will also know as theme from CSI-creates identification, underlying comfort. Song continues underneath.)

VO: Sarah Palin is not running for President.

(Fade out on pic of Palin. Fade into B & W pic of John McCain)

VO: John McCain is running for President.

VO: McCain claims he is for the common American (Color pic of average American men and women--five standing left to right, looking at the camera--evokes vulnerability, frustration with the past, identification, fiscal need)

VO: He owns 10 homes (Quick cuts: B & W pic of the 10 homes, POV preferably from above).

VO: He wants to keep Bush's tax cuts on the rich (B & W picture of Bush)

VO: "Rich", by the way, for McCain is 5 million dollars and over. *They* get the break. You pay. (Pic moves to split screen--same B & W pic of Bush on L, B & W pic of McCain on R).

VO: McCain has voted against funding for veterans, against funding for children's health, he has a zero record on women's choice. (Quick color pics of tired, worn veteran; children standing together looking up, working woman).

VO: In 1993, McCain promised that he would cut taxes. (B & W pic of McCain behind rostrum, making promise)

VO: Now, compared to Barack Obama, he wants to raise them. On you. (Color pic of middle class man and woman, POV looking straight at the camera).

VO: (B & W pic of McCain and Bush together, arms linked if can be found). Vote with knowledge. Vote with the facts. Remember the last 8 years. Don't get fooled again (Final resonant, powerful chords of "Won't Get Fooled Again").

And I Can See Russia From My House...

Instant classic from SNL last night. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

He'd Rather Win The Election Than Portray The Truth--Part II

From NBC News today:

From NBC's Mark Murray
For a candidate who prides himself in "straight talk" -- and whose political image in part is based on that truth-telling reputation -- Saturday proved to be a brutal day for John McCain and his campaign.

First came a front-page New York Times piece noting that McCain "has drawn an avalanche of criticism this week from Democrats, independent groups and even some Republicans for regularly stretching the truth." There was also an accompanying fact-check of McCain's latest TV ad, which called it the "latest in a number that resort to a dubious disregard for the facts."

The Washington Post gave "four Pinnochios" to McCain's recent assertion on "The View" that Palin never took earmarks as Alaska governor. Then the Boston Globe reported that Palin didn't really travel inside Iraq as has been claimed. And Bloomberg News said that the McCain camp may not have been exactly truthful in estimating the size of its recent crowds. "Now officials say they can't substantiate the figures McCain's aides are claiming."

To top it off, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said this to the Politico about the increased media scrutiny of the campaign's factual claims: "We’re running a campaign to win. And we’re not too concerned about what the media filter tries to say about it.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

He'd Rather Win The Election Than Portray The Truth

John McCain ran an honorable campaign in 2000.

He was beaten due to scurrilous dishonesty.

He's learned the lesson well.

He's hired those who did this to him.

And now, they are doing it again.

This approach brought us George W. Bush--and the dissembling, half-truths, omissions and distortions to come. And so brought us the tragic consequences that have followed for individuals and families across the nation and the world.

As Americans, we often have short memories and powerful impulses. We tend to act on the latter. This is why history can repeat itself.

Remember. Remember how driven by emotion many became in 2000. By impulse. Without thought. Remember the statements that were made. Remember the realities that followed. Remember.

You will feel those emotions--anger, aggression, glee, without examination of the underlying truth--for a moment.

You will live with the consequences for years, decades to come--perhaps for the rest of your life.

Remember the thoughts and feelings that preceded these last 8 years.


According to the non-partisan FactCheck.org (http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/factchecking_mccain.html), McCain has strained the truth about health care. About small business. About education. About taxes. About corporate welfare. About energy independence. About free trade.

We've seen this before.

We were distracted from the truth in just the same way before.

And we've lived the consequences--for the past 8 years.

This is the way we need to change this nation: By realizing what is true, rather than simply, vacuously emoting for the moment.



And act accordingly for your future.

Second Time As Farce: How Palin is Exactly Like Bush, Part 2

Gibson interview of Sarah Palin:

Palin: "Our national leaders are sending them on a task that is from God"

Gibson: Are we fighting a holy war?

Palin: (looking strained, desperate, trapped): The reference there is from Abraham Lincoln who said "Never presume to know God's will..."

Robert Zimmerman: She failed to describe how a McCain/Palin foreign policy would differ from a Bush foreign policy

Gibson: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?

Palin: I have not, and I think that if you go back in history, and ask that question of many Vice Presidents they have the same answer that I just gave you

Anderson Cooper: Bay, ABC News just did a fact check. They looked back the last 30 years, all Vice Presidents have met a foreign leader. Does that matter?

Bay Buchanan: No, it doesn't at all. Her answer was excellent. It will make Americans feel that much closer to her. She's very real. Sure, she hasn't traveled overseas to meet these foreign leaders. But that's not what American's are looking for. She's absolutely correct. They want somebody that they can relate to. Who's hearing them. They're sick and tired of those people in Washington who may know lots of facts and figures and meet lots of people...

Zimmerman: It's always a danger when we have leaders who know facts and figures, Bay. That really does get in the way of setting up policy...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Mark Halperin, on Anderson Cooper 360, September 9, from Talking Points Memo:

"AC: Mark, has there ever been a vice presidential candidate who has yet to talk to the press at this point in the race?

MH: No. And it's another thing I get that I'm embarrassed about our profession for. She should be held more accountable for that. The "bridge to nowhere" thing is outrageous. And if you press them on that, they falter because they know they can't defend what they're saying. They're saying it on the stump, as a core part of their message. It's in their advertising. I'm not saying the press should be out to get John McCain and Sarah Palin. But if a core part of their message is something that every journalist...journalism organization in the country has looked at and says it's demonstrably false, again, we're not doing our jobs if we just treat this as one of many things that's happening."

Palinism: Politics as The Content-Free Violation of Expectation

What is Palinism?

What is it about?

What policies?

What ideas?

What positions?

Even in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, while no doubt many were motivated by regional partisanship, local prejudices, and "the measure" of the candidate, one suspects that at least a rough rendering of the issues--secession vs. Union, free vs. enslaved--was carried in and animated the crowds.

Now, it is pure reaction to pattern. To one impulse expectation--the bland suited form--violated by the provocation of another impulse: a novel one. Irrespective of qualifications--blind to them, the freedom of being purposely so-- the impulse simply feels new, gleeful, aggressive--it simply feels good.

We have reached the content-free phase of American politics.

A form, an image--glasses, hair, a voice, what it suggests--is enough. She could be speaking the words to the airport timetable, the swearing-in speech of Ferdinand Marcos, the ingredients of a
box of Sizzlean--the form, the image, the sound, and the gathering impulse, the bare stirring from dull lack of novelty--is sufficient to awaken the crowds to angry perturbance at...the stimulus to be perturbed, and the bare sense of actual directed action and purpose that comes with doing so.

Palin herself wears a glazed, slightly confused look in her eyes--trying to cover her own bewilderment at what is it that has unleashed this roar, this approbation. Being used to herself, and having been among those who are well used to her, she is unaware of the novelty that her mere form releases in the dazed electorate, yearning for a pretext for expression. Soon, she'll believe it herself.

And, after all, isn't that what democracy is all about? The ability to choose to decide without knowledge? Better yet, to choose your knowledge, irrespective of fact, in correspondence with the liberating, confirmation-free impulse?

This is what today's moment stands for.

These are our satisfactions and securities in this golden age.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Fear and the Result of Our Decisions: Media, Palin and Iraq

I recall keenly the days of the run-up to the Iraq war. How many journalists--including those I knew and admired--drew back from criticism of obvious gaps and flaws in the logic leading to the conflict; who, despite stories of critical importance for the future of the nation hanging before them, left them hanging in the group-reinforced fear that they would be accused of a lack of patriotism if they were to report them.

And so they were left to be reported long after--in books looking back at the clear issues, landmark errors, and trail of missed opportunities that has led to the fatal outcomes we now see before us.

The issues were there at the time. To be reported.

They were not.

Today, they are again being cowed, by an equally powerful fear of unnecessary intimidation and restraint, the consequences of which stretch far beyond those that we have seen in Iraq.

At a time when we are at war, the economy in shambles, when today Fannie and Freddie Mac are, for the first time in their history, in effect being nationalized, we are being swept by emotion and fear--career fear--into ignoring a situation that would likely send us tumbling into the unknown.

In reaction to vague, short-term threats regarding gender, they fail to report issues that have nothing to do with gender, yet have the longest term consequences--namely, those concerning the preparedness of a candidate for Vice President of the United States, running alongside an elderly and chronically ill Presidential candidate.

Instead--just as in the run-up to Iraq--each is making the easier choice--to join the risk-averse chorus of personality pieces, each, in the same diffusion of responsibility that had such a major role in leading us into the war in Iraq, taking the route that leads away from fact, regardless of gender.

As in Iraq, reporting fact--regardless of pressure for a mindless conformity and silence--represented actual patriotism, providing the nation with the information it needed to make a reliable and authentic decision, so reporting the facts here--regardless of pressure for an unthinking conformity represents a true balance, a true equality, a true lack of bias.

This is a time of difficult decisions. However, those decisions--your decisions--matter. We have seen this.

Report it. Don't be cowed.

Father-Daughter Evocations of Emotion--As Compared to Four Years of A Drastic Reality

Palin's addition to the campaign evokes the feelings--most often without the viewer even realizing it--of a daughter standing up for her elderly father, or grandfather. It gives rise to the emotions related to such a situation.

We are often controlled by emotions that we do not even realize are evoked by a situation--often incorrectly.

So realize:

Palin is not McCain's daughter. If McCain wins, she will not be in such a role.

Instead, utterly unprepared for the demands of the office--for foreign policy that she has never experienced, for economic demands that current are sweeping over the nation--she will be one step away from the Presidency, with the President an elderly and chronically ill man--the oldest who would ever take office.

We have been swept away by emotion before: "Bring it on!"

We have seen the reality that it has brought us.

Think. Think of what we will be living with. Think past the emotions of the moment. Then decide.

The role of a daughter does not require foreign policyShe will be one step from Presidency

Sunday, September 07, 2008

10 Ways in Which Sarah Palin Is Exactly Like George W. Bush

1) Like Bush, she is completely against a woman's right to choose (in fact, she exceeds Bush in that she is against a woman's right to choose even in cases of rape or incest;

2) Like Bush, she opposes stem cell research to prevent fatal diseases in men, women and children;

3) Like Bush, supports the teaching of Creationism alongside Evolution in public schools;

4) Like Bush, does not believe that Global Warming is man made;

5) Like Bush, has supported abstinence-only sex education methods that have proven ineffective;

6) Like Bush, has virtually no foreign policy experience prior to running for national office--(in Palin's case, despite a 72-year old, chronically ill running mate)

7) Like Bush, has engaged in conduct that has resulted in current government investigation of her actions;

8) Like Bush, has made statements which indicate lack of knowledge of basic elements of the office they are running for (Palin, July 2008: "What exactly does the Vice President do everyday?");

9) Like Bush, has been sequestered to prevent her being asked questions that she has not yet been prepared to answer;

10) Like Bush, talks like a reformer--yet in her actions (i.e., relying on lobbying, supporting the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it) acts in the most typical, all-too-familiar fashion.

H/T: On The Issues

"Actual Responsibilities": If You Can't Manage a Hockey Rink, Can You Manage National Economic Policy and Security?

From the Wall Street Journal:

Palin's Hockey Rink Leads
To Legal Trouble in Town She Led >
September 6, 2008; Page A5

WASILLA, Alaska -- The biggest project that Sarah Palin undertook as mayor of this small town was an indoor sports complex, where locals played hockey, soccer, and basketball, especially during the long, dark Alaskan winters.

The only catch was that the city began building roads and installing utilities for the project before it had unchallenged title to the land. The misstep led to years of litigation and at least $1.3 million in extra costs for a small municipality with a small budget. What was to be Ms. Palin's legacy has turned into a financial mess that continues to plague Wasilla.

"It's too bad that the city of Wasilla didn't do their homework and secure the land before they began construction," said Kathy Wells, a longtime activist here. "She was not your ceremonial mayor; she was in charge of running the city. So it was her job to make sure things were done correctly."

Ms. Palin, now Alaska's governor and Republican Sen. John McCain's running mate, has pointed to her two terms as Wasilla's mayor, from 1996 to 2002, as evidence that she has enough executive experience to take on the presidency, should the need arise -- more than Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, who touts his own background as a community organizer in Chicago.

"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," Ms. Palin said Wednesday in her acceptance speech at the Republican convention.

Litigation resulting from the dispute over Ms. Palin's sports-complex project is still in the courts, with the land's former owner seeking hundreds of thousands of additional dollars from the city.

Palin likes to say "Good judgment can make the difference between avoiding a crisis and managing a catastrophe."

McCain is 72 years old.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

What Are The Duties of The Mayor of Wasilla?

Given that Sarah Palin has been Governor of Alaska for less time than John McCain has been running for President, and that, given McCain's age, she could well become President, it is important that we look at the duties that she had in her major position in government--Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

Here, direct from the City of Wasilla, are the entire duties of the Mayor of Wasilla (population 9,700). These are the complete duties, as listed by the city:

The duties of the Mayor of Wasilla can be found in Wasilla Municipal Code 2.16. For your convience, the duties are outlined below from WMC 2.16:

Chapter 2.16 MAYOR

2.16.020 Power and duties of mayor.

A. The mayor is the chief administrator of the city, has the same powers and duties as those of a manager under AS 29.20.005, and shall:

1. Preside at council meetings. The mayor may take part in the discussion of matters before the council, but may not vote, except that the mayor may vote in the case of a tie;

2. Act as ceremonial head of the city;

3. Sign documents on behalf of the city;

4. Appoint, suspend or remove city employees and administrative officials, except as provided otherwise in AS Title 29 and the Wasilla Municipal Code;

5. Supervise the enforcement of city law and carry out the directives of the city council;

6. Prepare and submit an annual budget and capital improvement program for consideration by the council, and execute the budget and capital program as adopted;

7. Make monthly financial reports and other reports on city finances and operations as required by the council;

8. Exercise legal custody over all real and personal property of the city;

9. Perform other duties required by law or by the council; and

10. Serve as personnel officer, unless the council authorizes the mayor to appoint a personnel officer.

B. The mayor may appoint a person to the position of administrative assistant and deputy administrator. If appointed, the positions may not be eliminated during the mayor’s term of office without prior consent of the mayor. (Prior code § 2.16.010)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Impact of Media Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm driven by false information. It's easy to get caught up in it; This is something that has happened before, as we all recall--with devastating results.

Ari Melber, The Nation:

[In her speech Palin
claimed] to oppose earmarks that she supported, and dissembled on her $1.5 billion tax hike and record of raising sales taxes by 25 percent in Wasilla. Reviewing the McCain Campaign's bullying, "unprofessional" onslaught against anyone who notes Palin's extreme positions and dishonest claims, Time's Joe Klein urged reporters to face facts:
I hope my colleagues stand strong in this case: it is important for the public to know that Palin raised taxes as governor, supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it, pursued pork-barrel projects as mayor, tried to ban books at the local library and thinks the war in Iraq is "a task from God."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Post Vetting Vetting: What Top Republicans Think of Palin (When They Are Off Mic)

Via Talking Points Memo, top Republican Strategist Mike Murphy--who served as Chief Strategist to John McCain, and Peggy Noonan discuss Sarah Palin, off mic:

Chuck Todd: Mike Murphy, lots of free advice, we'll see if Steve Schmidt and the boys were watching. We'll find out on your blackberry. Tonight voters will get their chance to hear from Sarah Palin and she will get the chance to show voters she's the right woman for the job Up next, one man who's already convinced and he'll us why Gov. Jon Huntsman.

(cut away)

Peggy Noonan: Yeah.

Mike Murphy: You know, because I come out of the blue swing state governor world: Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, these guys -- this is how you win a Texas race, just run it up. And it's not gonna work. And --

PN: It's over.

MM: Still McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech to do himself some good.

CT: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

PN: Saw Kay this morning.

CT: Yeah, she's never looked comfortable about this --

MM: They're all bummed out.

CT: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

PN: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives --

CT: Yeah they went to a narrative.

MM: I totally agree.

PN: Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it.

MM: You know what' sreally the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

CT: This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.

MM: Yeah.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


"No Surprises From Palin, McCain Team Says"-Washington Post

Senior McCain officials described themselves as "unsurprised" today as huge storms of locusts flew from Wasilla, Alaska and descended upon McCain campaign headquarters. "Locusts were vetted. Locusts were vetted in the vet" said one campaign official, who spoke without attribution out of concern that he would be devoured by a verminous flying cloud. The campaign also said that they were nonplussed by reports that the rivers were running black with ashes, that family pets were begin to speak in human voices, declaiming "Release Sarah!", and that a huge spreading stain was beginning to blot out the Northern sun. "Vetted", said the campaign.

"There are exciting new studies that show that locusts can be used as a source of biodegradable fuel" said Newt Gingrich, as he hunkered down to avoid the black marble obelisks falling from the sky around him. "Palin, if she can be said to have played a role in bringing about these new biofuel resources, should be praised for her innovative role in the solution to our future energy demands".

"These events firmly demonstrate Palin's deep connection to traditional modes of traditional expression, in traditional forms, traditionally." said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard. "Experience, in the face of these more traditional events, is overrated..." continued Kristol, before ending the interview to wrap himself head-to-toe in mosquito netting and swallowing a bitter tasting anti-malarial drug, the taste of which, as his lips contorted, he noted to be "surprisingly refreshing."

Palin's schedule in the upcoming days of the Republican National Convention has been cut short due to, as one McCain communications aide reported, a desire not to "let the magic out of the bottle too quickly." "Sarah is a precious resource, who each moment brings a new vitality and energy to every worker on the campaign" said the aide, while fighting to remove the nest of serpents which had suddenly materialized on the floor beneath him, and were now slowly ascending his legs. "Do these bite, or just slink?" asked the aide, who spoke on conditions of anonymity so as not to provoke or otherwise alienate the reptiles.

Meanwhile, as the heavens darkened, the seas began to boil, and a deep voice tore through the clouds shouting, in stentorian tones to one and all: "It was a Mistake!", campaign offices described themselves as "unperturbed". "Serpents materializing, house pets suddenly called to vocal advocacy, Celestial callings to revise and repent...Vetted" said the spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was turning into a pillar of salt. "Everything that was vetted was vetted in the vet."

Monday, September 01, 2008

"Intrusive Personal Questions" from the Palin Vetting Questionnaire

"Mr. McCain’s advisers said repeatedly on Monday that Ms. Palin was 'thoroughly vetted'"- The New York Times

Palin "responded to a 70-question form that included 'intrusive personal questions' a senior campaign aide said today."- The Washington Post

"Intrusive Personal Questions" from the Palin Vetting Questionnaire:

1) Did we forget anything?

2) Secession from your own country is

a) Patriotic
b) A qualification to be the potential leader of that country
c) Maverick-y!
d) None of the above

3) John McCain has said that he has followed your record for "many, many years." Divide those "many" years by the number of years of your actual record. The result is

a) Three days
b) Two years as mayor of a town of 9000, and 20 months at the helm of the vaunted Alaska National Guard
c) 0: experience, as we know, is not relevant to one's record
d) Czechoslovakia

4) Moose Burger : Abstinence as Moose Hunting :

a) Brother-in-law
b) 50 state flag
c) Bridge to Nowhere (after it was made impossible)
d) All of the above

5) Did we forget anything?

6) Three Vice Presidential candidates are moving from three equidistant fixed points towards a podium. One, in his slightly glazed stare and awkwardly quasi-combative speech bears a faint resemblance to Dan Quayle; the next can only assist the ticket as we near closer to Rapture; the third seems to have stumbled out of one of Christopher Buckley's sharper efforts. Which one arrives at the podium first?

7) "Nothing that has come out did not come out in the vet." This sentence actually means:

a) Everything has come out and everything has been vetted
b) Everything that was vetted has come out
c) Everything that has come out was vetted
d) The vet came out and vetted the vets vetter than anything has ever been vetted. Really.

8) You are a right-wing, red-state conservative. During the Clinton Administration, you believed that President Clinton's behavior with Monica Lewinsky disqualified him from the Presidency on moral grounds; you fervently raised the terms "Lincoln Bedroom" and "Johnny Chung" to invoke notions of utter corruption, and regarded the "Travelgate" firings as an abuse of power. In the face of the recent revelations regarding Palin's directorship of Ted Stevens' 527, support of the Bridge to Nowhere, "Troopergate" imbroglio, and illegitimate pregnancy of her 16 year old daughter, you:

a) Blame George Soros
b) Talk about Bill Clinton instead of Palin
c) Hold your hands over your ears and loudly shout "La la la"
d) Try to change the subject

9) "Foreign policy experience" includes:

a) Being near another large nation
b) Seceding from your own country and then taking up residence in the new nation
c) Being close to "Nowhere" in your support for the Bridge to Nowhere, which is different than being "Somewhere"
d) Blame George Soros

10) If you were seeking to choose as your running mate someone who would please Evangelical Conservatives with very traditional values, who would be without taint of corruption or misuse of government power, and someone who, in line with your campaign's own slogan, would put "Country First", after thorough vetting and "intrusive personal questions", you would choose someone who:

a) Supported the Bridge to Nowhere
b) Supported the secession of Alaska from the U.S. (Slogan: "Alaska First!")
c) Was the subject of a state ethics investigation due to allegations that she had tried to have her brother-in-law fired and that she fired the state public safety commissioner due to his unwillingness to fire the brother-in-law
d) Would suffer from allegations that her 16 year old child had become pregnant illegitimately, despite her fervent support for abstinence only sex education
e) None of the above

Not Ready

From Kristol, today's NYT:

There are Republicans who are unhappy about John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin. Many are insiders who highly value — who overly value — “experience.”

This from the party that carried the slogan, days before, as Kinsley points out, of "www.notready08.com"

Read the Kinsley. It's good.