Archive for the ‘McCain’ Category

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Why The McCain Camp Didn’t Want To “Free Sarah”

November 6, 2008

Hopefully, this will be the very last Chamber post about Sarah Palin….

The election is over, and Obama won, so I acknowledge that the subject matter around here should probably be covering things that involve looking ahead.  But I couldn’t help but be struck by some of the stories that are surfacing today about McCain’s choice of VP.  In short, the narrative goes that Sarah Palin is even more clueless than parodied by Tina Fey.

Before I link to that stuff, however, I’d like to revisit something I read right after Palin’s disastrous interview with Katie Couric:  Kathryn Jean Lopez: Free Sarah Palin! A plea for authenticity in the veepstakes

My guess — based on nothing but hope for a change — is that Sarah Palin just needs some freedom. I don’t know who is holding her back but if John McCain wants to win this thing it had better not be him and his staff. When I watch these interviews, I see a woman who looks like she’s stayed up all night studying and is trying to remember the jurisprudential chronology of privacy vis-a-vis reproduction, the war on terror, and public figures (add 12 more things, described in the most complicated way possible, to the list to be more accurate). She looks like a woman who’s been cramming talking points and great Matt Scully lines and Mark Salter-McCain war stories and Steve Schmidt marching orders into her head since that first plane ride from Alaska. She looks like a woman who has ceased being the confident, successful executive who got herself elected governor of Alaska without the full force of her party behind her and managed to have an approval rating of which most can’t even dream.

Starting with the Gibson interview, it sure did seem like Palin was simply regurgitating talking points that someone had crammed into her head.  Much of the rhetoric didn’t have anything to do with the question that was being asked.  Like Lopez, I thought that she was being “handled” because the McCain camp wanted to be certain that she stuck to the officially approved talking points.  There were some cringe-worthy parts, sure (like the “Bush Doctrine” thing), but I didn’t really think that she was exceedingly ignorant.

As the weeks passed, however, there were certain statements that Palin made that made me think that she just might be breathtakingly clueless.  One of the most notable was something that I didn’t take the time to mention here in the Chamber (opting instead to roam to other blogs that had brought it up), which was the fact that Palin didn’t seem to understand the meaning of “negative campaigning” and, even more concerning, the First Amendment:

 “If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

That’s enough to give someone the ol’ dolor de cabeza. 

And now, with McCain’s succession, the campaign insiders apparently can’t contain their frustration with Palin any longer.  Just get a load of this:

Could it be that Palin was given a list of talking points to cover any and all interview questions simply because the alternative was worse?   Sounds pretty likely, all things considered.  It isn’t hard to imagine the staffers running through trial interviews with her behind the scenes, having a huddle, and coming back to her with a little “Um… yea.  On second thought, just read this.”  If she refused the help, it would make sense that the Couric interview was a hodgepodge of the talking points, cluelessness, and of course, plenty of “also”.

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Update: For those who like to roam to other blogs discussing the subject, here’s the memeorandum link.

UpdateAs the world turns…The leaks from the anonymous McCain staffers have been flowing for the last few days now, and naturally, pro-McCain blogs like Hot Air are wondering aloud why the heck The Maverick isn’t jumping in to defend his VP pick.

Update (11/12):  Amazing.  Palin still hasn’t looked up the definition of “negative campaigning”:

BLITZER: So looking back, you don’t regret that tough language during the campaign?

PALIN: No, and I do not think that it is off-base nor mean-spirited, nor negative campaigning to call someone out on their associations and on their record. And that’s why I did it.

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The Rightosphere’s Grand Finale

November 2, 2008

As a Brave Nomadic Warrior of the Political Web™, I’ve noticed some insanely desperate attempts to change the course of the race over the last year or so.  From the idea that it was Ayers who secretly wrote Obama’s book, to the elusive Michelle Obama “whitey” tape, to allegations that Barack forged his birth certificate, the width and breadth of the assertions seemed to be limited only to the boundaries of the human imagination (an absolutely hilarious rundown of these “greatest moments” was penned in a classic post by Jon Swift here). 

But now as we enter the final moments of this long campaign, the rightosphere is faced with the reality that McCain’s chances are slim.  So, I’m going to take the opportunity to use the end of a 4th of July fireworks production as a metaphor, and document the components of the flurry as I stumble upon them.  And believe me, there are some definite oohs and ahhs here (just in the last 24 hrs or so):

-Barack Obama Malcolm X’s secret love child?

Kidding!

….not:

Tom Mboya, and Philip Ochieng, all share common physical features of the Kenyan Luo tribe: Modest stature under six feet, round faces, small chins, wide set eyes, slanted back foreheads, and retracted hairlines…none of these features are shared by Malcolm X and Barack Hussein Obama Jr.

(That one earned Pamela a Countdown “worst person” award)

The Weather Underground and Obama’s campaign both feature a logo that is circular!

Do you see the connection?  I don’t.  Then again, I assumed that the Obama logo was designed by some outside group anyway.  As it turns out, I was right.  In any case, go ahead and click the link, as the other suggestions of Obama/WU correlation in the post are just as flimsy.

Update:  Good grief:

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OK, so they knew it was a dishonest smear.  I’m not sure if that makes them better or worse.

The Obamas have no pets!

That one may actually be fact, but the stab at spinning it into a game-changer earns a spot here.

DID VERA BAKER ABORT OBAMA’S BABY? IS OBAMA BEING BLACKMAILED BY HER? BY OTHERS? DID OBAMA RIDE HER DIRTY?

??????

-An Examination of Obama’s Use of Hidden Hypnosis Techniques in His Speeches

This one comes to us in the form of a 67-page pdf!

I’ll continue to highlight more eruptions as we march towards the finish line, since we still may have yet to witness the most spectacular example.  You can almost hear the groaning sound as these people grasp at straws, desperately hurling anything and everything they can think of, as soon as they think of it.   In a way, this is a more extreme shadow of what the McCain campaign has done, so I have to wonder that it never occurred to any of these people that all this crap might have done more harm than good. 

Oh well, let’s enjoy the fireworks!

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Update: I should probably rethink the title for this thread, as I totally forgot about the PUMA’s: *Breaking* Ayers Advises Obama on a Regular Basis (source)

Ah yes. *Breaking*, the day before the election.

Update:  Speaking of which, Drudge finds his inner PUMA:

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The screenshot of the middle finger scratch, again!  LOL

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Enough Of “Joe The Plumber” Already!

October 28, 2008

Ok, I realize that the media was going to glom onto this guy when he came up a bazillion times in the debate, but enough is enough.  It has gotten to the point where “Joe” is not only on the campaign trail with McCain/Palin, but the media is reporting his statements as if he’s a candidate himself.  Just check this out:

‘Joe the Plumber’ Backs Claim That Obama Would Bring ‘Death to Israel’

That’s an actual headline.  On Fox

So, naturally, Shep Smith had to call him up and give the “could you explain that?” interview.

Or how about this:

Joe the Plumber says Obama would make US socialist

That’s an AP headline.

Or this:

Records searches anger Joe the Plumber

The Columbus Dispatch.

Is it just me, or does this “Joe the Plumber” blitz give you the feeling that we’re living in a children’s book?  Are we all six year-olds?  

Apparently, McCain thinks so, as he’s adopted and embraced the Toys ‘R’ Us-esque marketing gimmick and plastered him all over his campaign website as well:

Go here, and you’ll see videos of Brad the Welder, Jeff the Truck Driver, Tara the Teacher, Josie the Transcriptionist, Jeff the Realtor, etc.

{{{sigh}}}

I realize that most of the country doesn’t give a rat’s hinder what my opinion is.  OK, scratch that.  Most of the country doesn’t know who the heck I am.  But I certainly wouldn’t expect Fox or the AP to pick up the Chamber, anyway.  Chen the Salesman hasn’t gotten the attention of David the Campaign Strategist, I guess.

Hey, NO FAIR!!!

And with great hesitation to click “publish”, I dub this the one and only Official Chamber “Joe the Plumber” thread.

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Oh, What The Heck

October 24, 2008

I’ve been resisting the temptation to comment on this bizarre Ashley Todd mugging hoax fiasco, but I just can’t hold it in anymore.

Well, on second thought, I think instead I’ll comment on the stupidest of the stupid things I’ve seen said on the subject.  After visiting dozens of blogs and news sites, and watching the coverage on the cable news networks, I’m going to give the prize to none other than the VP of Fox News, John Moody, posting this (before the fact that the gal made it all up came out):

If Ms. Todd’s allegations are proven accurate, some voters may revisit their support for Senator  Obama, not because they are racists (with due respect to Rep. John Murtha), but because they suddenly feel they do not know enough about the Democratic nominee.

If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting.

So let me get this straight.  Mr. Moody was making the claim that the outcome of this 2-year long campaign could hinge on this singular, isolated incident?  Forget, for a moment, that the incident was later revealed to be a hoax, what the hell kind of ridiculous notion is that?  Because his network made a big deal out of it?

And why in the world would voters “revisit their support for Senator Obama” based on an ugly mugging?   I just don’t get it.  The only thing that makes sense to me is that this guy is really revealing his inner thoughts, and not offering some insight on what he feels “some voters” might think.  It looks like a strawman concocted by -as Andrew Sullivan put it- a racist of massive proportions (and my readers would know that I certainly don’t toss the “racist” label flippantly).  Or, put another way, Moody is attempting to convince his readers that Obama supporters like myself should revisit our support because of the alleged actions of one big crazy black man.  And not because we’re racist, of course, but because it seems logical?

The bottom line is this: Any objective observer can see that, real or staged, this incident has no bearing on the candidates, the campaigns, or the myriad of important issues of the day, regardless of what the Drudges or the Fox VP’s of the world want. 

 

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Does Al Qaeda Care About Our Elections? (Part III)

October 22, 2008

Interesting.  A month after I posed the question in Part II, I think I saw the answer pop up today.  Here’s the WaPo via memeorandum: On Al-Qaeda Web Sites, Joy Over U.S. Crisis, Support for McCain

Al-Qaeda is watching the U.S. stock market’s downward slide with something akin to jubilation, with its leaders hailing the financial crisis as a vindication of its strategy of crippling America’s economy through endless, costly foreign wars against Islamist insurgents.

And at least some of its supporters think Sen. John McCain is the presidential candidate best suited to continue that trend.

“Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election,” said a commentary posted Monday on the extremist Web site al-Hesbah, which is closely linked to the terrorist group. It said the Arizona Republican would continue the “failing march of his predecessor,” President Bush.

The Web commentary was one of several posted by Taliban or al-Qaeda-allied groups in recent days that trumpeted the global financial crisis and predicted further decline for the United States and other Western powers. In language that was by turns mocking and ominous, the newest posting credited al-Qaeda with having lured Washington into a trap that had “exhausted its resources and bankrupted its economy.” It further suggested that a terrorist strike might swing the election to McCain and guarantee an expansion of U.S. military commitments in the Islamic world.

Whether the current financial situation we find ourselves in is due to the expensive “War on Terror” is surely to be disputed, of course, but it’d be pretty hard to argue that it’s helped the situation (unless one wants to make the claim that the Iraq intervention has somehow prohibited another financially ruinous attack, thereby being a net plus).  It’s been 4 years since Osama released his “bankrupt the U.S.” October surprise, and it has been argued that the tape put Bush in the White House (as designed), so one may naturally wonder if AQ has something up their sleeve this time around.  And like I posted in Part II, there apparently have been warnings of another attack.   So, What would they do?  An attack, or maybe drag Osama out of the cave to release another taunting video?

Actually, the better question would be:  Would the American people fall for it again, whatever they did?

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Update: No signs of Qaeda election threat – U.S.

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Michelle Bachmann Said What? (Pt. II)

October 17, 2008

Knowing Bachmann, I might have to make this a recurring theme here in the Chamber.  My ears perk up every time I see her on the cable news networks or web headline, as she represents the Congressional district just to the North of me.  My fellow neighbors must be so proud to see this:

“I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America, or anti-America.  I think the American people would love to see an expose like that.”

I’m speechless.

Anyway, Bachmann was speaking to Matthews on the subject of McCain’s robo calls (incidentally, a tactic that, in his 2000 campaign, McCain had denounced).

Also see:  Bachmann: Alaska’s Caribou Will Love Oil Drilling ‘Because Of The Warmth Of The Pipeline’

And, of course, Part I

Update:  Colin Powell responds.

Update:  Bachmann’s opponent, Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg, has raised $640K since she made the comments.  Oops.

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Poll Wars

October 17, 2008

I haven’t commented much on the polls here in the Chamber as we march toward election day, mostly because I’ve seen the practice of touting Obama’s lead as something I might regret.  In other words, whatever the polls might say, I still think that this election is going to be very close.

I only bring it up now because I’ve noticed a couple of things on the web that reminded me of an old debate on whether these presidential opinion polls are less an attempt to gauge public opinion, and more of an attempt to influence it.    One such sighting came the other day, when Tex brought to my attention an interesting yet poorly-sourced and flawed essay by the enigmatic Zombie, in which he/she accuses Obama supporters of “stuffing” the post-debate polls in an effort to make the idea that Obama won the debates an accepted “fact”.  Like I said, an interesting theory, but unfortunately Zombie didn’t provide much of anything to back up the assertion, so I let him/her know.  (I had always assumed that the reputable and referenced post-debate polls weren’t internet-based anyway, although I always wonder how they determine who the “undecided” voters are)

The other sighting happened when I visited Drudge Report, and I obviously couldn’t miss this:

Drudge is right about one thing, in that a dramatic swing like that certainly would be considered a shock.  So, I decided to investigate a little on my own, and turned to fivethirtyeight.com (since they watch this stuff daily), and I came across this analysis:

Let me be clear: I don’t blame Drudge for trying to drive the narrative. Unlike certain other folks, it’s not as though he’s made any claim to being objective. With real news — which polls aren’t — he generally has excellent and entertaining instincts.

I do, however, blame those of who allow yourselves to have your day ruined when Drudge moonlights as some kind of polling analyst.

A fairer way to analyze tracking polls, in any event, is something like this: McCain gained ground in three of the seven trackers today (Gallup, Rasmussen, Battleground). He lost ground in one (Zogby). Three others (Research 2000, Hotline, IBD/TIPP) were unchanged.

So, what is Drudge doing here?  Is he cherry-picking the most McCain-favorable poll he could find in an effort to influence opinion?  After all, much has been said about Drudge’s uncanny ability to drive the national conversation.  Is he trying to exploit a variation of the principle of social proof and frame the narrative that McCain is making some sort of spectacular comeback?

My guess would be, yes.  Especially since he went for it again today.  This one appeared to be picked up by Lou Dobbs, as he repeated the Drudge headline almost verbatim on his show this evening.  

Of course, the only poll that really matters is the one taken on November 4th, but I think that a debate on how much the polls taken leading up to the big day influence the outcome is worth having.  Do the candidates alter their tactics based on the polls?   You bet.  Do those tactics then play a role in winning and losing?  Of course they do.    If the shift of tactics is transparent, and the voter assumes that the change is based solely on the polls, does it (the tactic) lose some of its effectiveness (i.e. “McCain’s just going negative because he’s behind in the polls”)?  Sure.  In fact, it would be interesting to get an idea what the change in the electoral dynamic would be if the poll results were kept privately within the campaigns, or if they did away with polling altogether.   Of course that would never happen, but when you think about it that way, one revisits the reasons why they are everywhere. 

Wait a second.  Why are they everywhere, anyway?

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