Archive for the ‘Clinton’ Category

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A Video Montage Of PUMA Craziness

August 27, 2008

With the Democrat National Convention going on in Denver this week, much has been made out of the effect that the disgruntled Hillary supporters will have on the event, presumably because the drama-loving cable news networks thrive on this kind of thing.  I’ve noticed that, sprinkled throughout the coverage, there have been interviews with a few of them, and with each one I can say that I can feel my own IQ level dip a bit.  So, to share my pain with the rest of the world, I’m putting together a little montage of the ones I’ve come across.

First, enter Elizabeth Joyce, the founder of justsaynodeal.com who was interviewed by Larry King last night:

My favorite parts are where she is visibly upset with King for basically being called out on her air-headedness, but then reminds herself to smile as to not appear rattled.  King tries to remind her that things like some vitriolic comments on blogs are outside the control of Obama himself and is a pretty weak reason to not vote for the guy, given the fact that Hillary shares the same position as Obama on virtually every issue and his trying her darnedest to convince people like Elizabeth that she needn’t worry.  But oh well.  Spite wins the day, I guess, and victimhood by association has a new poster girl.

Next, lets take a look at Chris Matthews mucking it up with the founder of “Clintons 4 McCain“. (h/t sensico)

Now, Cristi Adkins had me there for a second, since I think she was referring to this:

This registration document, made available on Jan. 24, 2007, by the Fransiskus Assisi school in Jakarta, Indonesia, shows the registration of Barack Obama under the name Barry Soetoro into the Catholic school made by his step-father, Lolo Soetoro. The document lists Barry Soetoro as a Indonesian citizen, born on August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, and shows his Muslim step-father listed the boy’s religion as Islam.(AP Photo/ Tatan Syuflana)

Of course, this has been brought up before, and the claim she’s making that the school itself is some sort of radical Islamic madrassa has been debunked.  Not to worry though, she moved the goal posts about three times there, so in the end I’m not quite sure what she was getting at.  A little too much TexasDarlin methinks (you might notice that the linked page discussing this document has been removed from Darlin’s site.  Why, oh why?)

Finally, we’ve got an actual delegate at the convention who is quite obviously overcome by emotion, interviewed by Suzanne Malveaux right after Hillary’s big speech.

So let me get this straight…oh nevermind.  I don’t even know where to begin with that one.  “Get a grip” comes to mind.  Another thought would be bewilderment on how a Dem delegate could rationalize sitting out the vote for the Dem candidate for president.   But there you have it, big ‘H’ t-shirt and everything.

Anyway, McCain hears you, brave PUMAs!  He has come to pander to you:

I’d like to say that most people would see right through that, but given the collective intellect of the few that I’ve just highlighted, I’m not sure if “Its OK” is all the whiners need to tip them over.

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Why Biden?

August 24, 2008

Like so many others who signed onto Obama’s “Be the first to know” text message gimmick with regards to who he was picking to be his running mate, I received my alert about 5 hrs after the media confirmed that Joe Biden was the guy (the message came via twitter and was timestamped 4:24 AM CST; the other text message I never received, so I’m not sure what I did wrong there).  I was pretty disappointed, and I think it had less to do with the fact that it was a waste of time, and more to do with how it reflects on how Obama was managing his campaign, and what that might mean about he would handle his presidency.  ‘Cause lets face it, “Be the first to know” was a bit of a broken promise.  And for the record, I don’t think that the middle-of-the-night message was designed as a jab at Hillary (as many have opined and discussed) or to imply anything, rather, I imagine that it was timed that way to save as much face as possible, in light of the fact that CNN and others had pretty much let the cat out of the bag (a text message received after it was all over cable news networks on Saturday morning would have seemed pretty silly, no?).

In any case, Biden is the guy, and as an Obama supporter, I must say that I have some mixed feelings about this pick.  I have stated here in the Chamber my feeling that the best choice would have been Bill Richardson, but I’ve never voiced my opinion on anyone else on the short list (although now I’m not sure if Richardson was even on the list), so now that the pick has been made, I thought I’d post something about my initial reaction.  From where I sit, the selection of Biden as VP has pros and cons for both the campaign and the eventual presidency, so I’ll break it down here.

Pro

First, the oft-mentioned experience factor.  I see this from two points of view, in that the experience that the long-time Democrat Senator from Delaware brings to the table can have an effect both perceived (in the sense that voters are more comfortable electing Obama with the resume gap filled) and real (in the sense that Obama’s presidency will be shaped by the actual advise or influence that Biden wields).  I guess the question is which one overshadows the other.  Either way, I view this as a plus.

Second, as a no-nonsense character who is unafraid to speak his mind, Biden is a good choice for a candidate that promised to pick a VP that would  “challenge my thinking and not simply be a yes person when it comes to policy-making”.  I must admit that this is pretty comforting, considering that we’ve just been subjected to 8 years of governance from people who placed loyalty above competence.

Con

I’ve long stated that I wasn’t going to favor a candidate that voted in favor of the 2002 Iraq AUMF.  Biden did, and later ran his own campaign for the presidency that included an Iraq policy that was more in line with what Republican Senator Sam Brownback was proposing, namely, partitioning Iraq into Sunni, Shia and Kurd regions.   This was a position that, as Allah at Hot Air reminds us, even the Iraqis are vehemently against.

Also, Biden has a history of saying some really stupid things, which explains why blog after blog on the right are overjoyed, as they’re anxious for the next opportunity to highlight his next gaffe.  In fact, the front page of the RNC’s website features a “gaffe clock“, counting down the time until his next one.  If Biden takes on the role of a loose cannon, it could really be a turnoff to those who might otherwise be inclined to support the ticket, and can be a major distraction when they’re trying to get the message out.

Up For Grabs

The role of “attack dog”.  Traditionally, one of the benefits of a VP was the ability to deflect partisan criticism away from the president and allow him to remain above the fray.  When Obama launched his campaign and announced his bid for the presidency, he promised a “new kind of politics”, and one could make the argument that the addition of a fire-in-the-belly persona like Biden would undermine that.  On the other hand, as this campaign slides into the sewer of attack ads and personality wars, Biden could be the perfect countermeasure (something that Richardson wouldn’t have been as effective at), and provide Obama the ability rise above it.   The deciding factor might come down to the aforementioned gaffes, and a nightmare scenario might be one where Obama is called upon to disavow something that Biden has said (and don’t be surprised to see those calls come early, often, and for just about anything).

Also, the Biden pick could be seen by those Clinton supporters as a slap in the face, further disrupt party unity, increase recruitment of the PUMA mindset, and eventually lead to disaster in November.  Indeed, the McCain camp sees a light at the end of this tunnel, and has already begun to exploit it with a recent ad painting Clinton as “passed over”.  Will people fall for this?  Does Biden represent the “risky” choice, and Clinton the “safe” one?  Just how fractured is the party?  Time will tell, I suppose.

This is going to be one heck of a home stretch.

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Update: It would appear that I was right about the text message: CNN forces Obama to release VP pick early

“Had a certain network not blown our cover at a certain time the text message would have gone out in the morning, 8 a.m. Eastern,” Robert Gibbs, a senior advisor, said with a grin on Sunday. “We told people they would find out from us. When we decided it was going to get out we decided to send the text out.”

Gibbs said he believes despite the fact that the rollout plan had to be altered, a “vast majority of the people” still learned by text message when they woke up in the morning.

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Wild PUMA’s On The Prowl

August 11, 2008

I’ve come across some pretty bitter netizens during my travels through the political web, but some of the disgruntled Clinton supporters who have dubbed themselves PUMA’s (Party Unity, My Ass) have to win some sort of award for their high concentration of focused and unhinged spite.

Back in April, I first noticed that the hub of this rancor appeared to be centered around Hillary supporter Larry Johnson’s No Quarter blog, represented by a flurry of posts accusing Obama of slyly giving Hillary an obscene gesture at a speech (see Chamber entry Obligatory “Obama Flipped Hillary The Bird” Post).   The premise was silly, and the theory subsequently debunked, but little did I know that this was just the beginning.   After all, in June, I used some space here to comment on the still unseen Michelle Obama “whitey” video, which, last I heard, Johnson is still insisting exists. 

Now fast-forward to yesterday, when I followed a few links to land on No Quarter groupie TexasDarlin’s site, and found this little nugget: Obama’s Dual Citizenship Disaster: an Overview

Now, I’d like to expand this by offering up a little excerpt of the content, but in the transparently desperate attempt to be taken seriously, TexasDarlin has included about a half dozen paragraphs of “disclaimers” and “copyrights” attached to both the post and the blog itself, so I sit here hoping that I won’t be served with legal papers for simply providing the link.  Well, I guess there’s the copyright thing, and the fact that the ‘Darlin appears to have an extreme paranoia with regards to being “outed’ by “stalkers”, but since “mocking” is a far cry from “stalking”, I’ll continue.  In short, this latest volley of undoubtedly sleep-depriving attempts at spreading disinformation alleges that Obama’s birth certificate is fake, that his real name is Barry Soetoro, and that he’s not eligible to be running for president.

Note to the rabid PUMA’s:  No one is taking you seriously*.  You can add all the disclaimers and copyright notices that you want, but that credibility check has been cashed months ago, and it’s been stamped NSF.  Forget the claims of being backed up by mysterious sources and anonymous “computer forensic experts”, at this point you’re just being laughed at.  Hillary lost, and concocting wild theories about Obama isn’t going to change that. 

Exit question for the PUMA’s:  If you asked Clinton to comment on all this, do you really think that the response would be anything other than a disapproving shake of her head?  I mean, really.

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conspiracy.gifNote to Chamber readers:  Don’t bother commenting over at TexasDarlin’s blog if you plan on challenging any of that.  It won’t make it past her moderation.  You see, it’s much better for the propaganda if it appears that everyone agrees with you. 

For more fisking and play-by-play of TD’s antics, check out this site.

*I did wonder to myself for a moment why I should give any attention to this, as it would serve to add some sort of legitimacy based on perceived worthiness of comment, but the stupid assertions appear to have gone viral.

Update: More background on the origin and major players in the BO birth certificate myth by Patrick McKinnon at Taylor Marsh’s blog.

There seem to be a couple main sources for this constant myth. The biggest are the formerly sane “NoQuarter”, and the blog of PUMA “TexasDarlin”. “TexasDarlin” is the one who cross-posts the latest round of myths to “NoQuarter” as the old ones get busted. However, the Conservative blog “Atlas Shrugs” is another source, as well as the right-wing “Israel Insider” and one of the supposed “experts” that “TexasDarlin” uses is on Townhall.com

On the debunking side, you have “Koyaan” of Koyann’s Weblog, Dr. Neal Krawetz of “HackerFactor”, (and a widely recognized computer forensics and security expert). PUMA Joseph Cannon of “Cannonfire” has become a vocal critic of the people promoting this myth, (and feels they’re damaging PUMA’s cause). “AJ Strata” of the right-wing blog “Strata-Sphere” is where I got the term “Cult of the COLB” to start with.

So in a nutshell, you have a mix of some PUMA sites and some right-wing sites promoting the myth, and a mix of anti-PUMA, pro-PUMA, left-wing, and right-wing sites debunking it.

All I have to say is, when you’re a Hillary supporter looking for back-up from Atlas Shrugs, you might have issues.

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Mental Gymnastics: Not An Olympic Event (I checked)

June 23, 2008

(OK, OK, so I was watching the Olympic trails, and it inspired the title for this post.  So what?)

Anyway, I just had to bring up this post I saw (and commented on) over at Hot Air:  McCain advisor: A new terror attack would be “a big advantage to him”

Now, before I continue, I suppose I should note that I have addressed this issue before here in the Chamber: What Color Is The Sky On Hillary Clinton’s Home Planet?

I only mention this now because …well…because there’s this phrase that’s etched into my brain.  It’s “NO ATTACKS SINCE 9/11″.  This probably comes to me so quickly since, as a brave traveller of the political rightosphere, I’ve heard it dozens of times.   The phrase has been effective, apparently, as it had somehow permeated and invaded Mrs. Clinton’s brain as well (however many fallacies inherent), but the reason why I title this post the way I have is because…well…because it would mentally take a perfect-10 triple-backflip with a stuck dismount to somehow reconcile this phrase with the now de-facto notion* that another attack on the US would be beneficial to the side that has spouted it with such confidence.

I mean, how in the hell can both the lack of attacks and an attack be a political advantage? 

*just see the comments section of that Hot Air post

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Why Obama, Part VIII: Gas Prices

May 6, 2008

I know it’s been a little while since I added another installment to my “Why Obama” series, so I figured that with all the talk here in the Chamber about those obscene gas prices lately it was as good a time as any to highlight the issue. 

There’s been quite a bit of debate over this (with good reason), and a lot of attention has been paid to the fact that Obama is departing from McCain and Clinton with regards to suspending the 18-cent federal gas tax for the summer.  I know that when I first heard about it, my initial reaction was that it was a gimmick and wouldn’t really save people that much.  Of course, I’m no economist, so…

Luckily, the economists have weighed in, as the Obama campaign posted on the “fact-check” portion of the website:

Washington Post Fact Checker: Temporary Illinois Gas Tax Holiday Showed that Economic Benefit Was Minimal and the Majority of Consumers Didn’t Feel They Were Paying Less. “The gas tax moratorium proved politically popular in Illinois, but economically questionable. The Illinois Economic and Fiscal Commission estimated that the state lost $175 million in revenues during the six-month period. A subsequent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research showed that gas prices fell by 3 percent, meaning that only three fifths of the savings from reduced taxes was passed on to consumers. “It turned out to have a pretty small effect,” said Joseph Doyle, an assistant economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Consumers were slightly better off, but the benefits were spread very thinly, and the government was a lot worse off.” A poll by the Chicago Tribune showed that only 28 percent of motorists believed that they were actually paying less for gas as a result of the temporary suspension of the tax. Obama has changed his mind dramatically on the tax cut since voting for it back in 2000 in Illinois. On the campaign trail Monday in North Carolina, he described the proposal as a “short-term quick fix that we can say we did something even though we’re not really doing anything.” [Washington Post Fact Checker, 4/29/08]

Economists Agree: Most Savings from Gas Tax Holiday Are Passed on to Producers, Not Consumers. “James Hamilton, professor of Economics at the University of California-San Diego, said that most of the benefits from a temporary tax moratorium would likely go to producers rather than consumers. He said that states that suspend gas taxes are able to respond to rising demand more efficiently than the country as a whole, because gasoline supplies can be easily moved from one state to another. “Prices would certainly rise to the market-clearing level,” said Hamilton. “I would expect the price [of gas] to go back to very close to where it was before [the tax cut], in which case consumers would not see any benefit.” Another economist, Jeffrey Perloff, of UC-Berkeley, agreed that a federal tax moratorium would likely have less impact on consumer gas prices than a state moratorium. He said his models showed that a suspension of the 18.4-cent federal tax on gasoline would likely result in a temporary 9 to 12 cent reduction in the cost of a gallon of gas to the consumer, with the remainder of the reduction coming in wholesale prices.” [Washington Post Fact Checker, 4/29/08]

There’s a lot more there there, but the consensus is pretty universal.  In fact, when Clinton was pressed to name a single economist that has endorsed the “tax holiday”, her response was “I’m not going to put my lot in with economists,”, which is an answer that sounded like it came from George Bush.   It kinda begs the question as to who she is putting in her lot with, if it isn’t the experts.

The bottom line here is this is a phony gimmick; an easy thing to propose in light of the current situation as an attempt to buy some votes.   Obama’s position is grounded in reality.

What Obama should do right now is take this and pivot to a reminder to everyone that there are certain easy things we as Americans could do to relieve the financial burden of gas, as long as we’re talking about pennies on the gallon:

At this stage, I’d consider it a patriotic duty to make sure my air filter is clean and my tires are inflated.   hmmm…maybe I should be running a presidential campaign?

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Obligatory “Obama Flipped Hillary The Bird” Post

April 18, 2008

I should feel ashamed of myself for even entertaining this lunacy here in the Chamber, but since the story appears to have gone viral and somewhat mainstream, and I’ve spent a few moments commenting on it on other blogs, I might as well drag it in here for the WPPBA and the rest of my visitors.

Usually an analysis is followed by a verdict, but for this I’m going to do it backwards.  Bottom line:  NO, Obama did not subtly flip Hillary Clinton the bird in his speech yesterday

Good grief.  As if the premise alone doesn’t work sufficiently against the accusation, check out the evidence (h/t Balloon Juice):

Nothing, however, was going to stop both those in the Hillary camp and those on the right from seeing what they wanted to see, and declaring Obama’s actions to be childish and indecent.  One pro-Hillary blogger was so obsessed with it that he/she sat down in front of their computer and painstakingly composed a replay video of the event, complete with slo-mo and closeups:

One of my favorite hangouts, Hot Air, actually went from initially labelling the scrutiny “moronic” to, a few hours later, posting a thread about how Obama might have “let his guard down” and how the crowd “clearly recognized it”:

Obama has a pretty satisfied look on his face afterwards, which makes it look a little more purposeful than not. It’s subtle enough to have deniability for anyone who might get offended, but clear enough for his followers to enjoy the moment of disrespect towards Hillary. And who hasn’t wanted to flip off a Clinton at some time in their lives?

And Larry Johnson completely lost me as a fan as he spent the better part of a day and posted not one, not two or three, but four times making the accusation.  And this is a guy who used to work for the CIA.* 

How embarrassing.

*Update:  My apologies, as those posts weren’t posted by Johnson himself, but rather contributors to his blog.  But still…

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You Know, Those Philly Debate Questions, Maybe Not A Bad Thing

April 17, 2008

I had to work today, so en route I had a chance to listen to the righty talk radio personalities gloat over what happened last night in the Democrat’s debate, as well as their mocking of the various lefty blogs and op-ed columnists’ whining about it.   So, I figured that I’d check out some more of the reactions and post a few thoughts…

I’ll admit that, at first, I was pretty dismayed that ABC’s Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous spent so much time focusing on the sort of trivial tabloid-esque “issues” such as flag pins, Bosnia gaffes, and yet another trip down Wright avenue, instead of focusing on the actual issues (you know, the ones that the candidates feature on their campaign sites, like Iraq, immigration, national security, etc.).  And throughout the day on memeorandum, I saw plenty of commentary from blogs echoing that sentiment.   But the more I thought about and read and digested all this, the closer I came to the conclusion that this wasn’t really that bad.  In fact, maybe Stephanopoulos and Gibson did the Dems a big favor.

This epiphany came when I revisited No More Mister Nice Blog, which had a post titled “THE REPUBLICAN TALKING-POINT DUMP, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE“.  I came to realize that the title described what happened pretty accurately.  If there are these various talking points out there (and Hannity won’t shut up about them, trust me), wouldn’t it be better to just put it all on the table, let them respond to them on the public stage, get it out of their collective systems and then put it behind them sooner rather than later?   If, as Rush Limbaugh mentioned today, those things are going to come up in the general election, would it be such a bad thing to have addressed them preemptively?  In the very least, it’s practice (for both of them), and if they weren’t paying attention to this stuff before, they sure as heck will now, so it would make it harder for the 527’s and others to blindside them with it and force them to waste countless dollars shooting back when they’d otherwise be spending it making their distinctions known on the real stuff.

Also, this is the 21st debate.  I suppose one could make the argument that the majority of the policy differences between Obama and Clinton have been covered by now.  From that perspective, it’s a little harder to view the first 45 minutes of the session as a complete waste of time. 

So, how did Obama handle it?  Fairly well, in my opinion, although he could have done better.  It was clear that he really didn’t want to go down this road, ’cause at times he didn’t look entirely comfortable and even slightly perturbed.   But he made it through, and at this point what he should do is brush it off…

…and move on.

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