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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Watching The Train Wreck

October 13, 2008

I couldn’t help but notice that the number of conservative pundits coming out against -or otherwise expressing dissatisfaction with- the McCain campaign appears to be growing.  There’s frustration out there, that’s for sure, and its on full display and playing out all over the political web.  So, for the purposes of discussion and future reference, I decided to recap what we’ve seen in the last few days/weeks and post a little link depot (in no particular order, out of laziness):

David Brooks: Sarah Palin “Represents A Fatal Cancer To The Republican Party”

David Frum: Palin the irresponsible choice?

Kathleen Parker:  Palin Problem

Christopher Buckley:  Sorry, Dad, I’m Voting for Obama

Christopher Hitchens:  Vote for Obama McCain lacks the character and temperament to be president. And Palin is simply a disgrace. (ouch!)

Heather MacDonald: Gettin’ All Mavericky

Bill Kristol: Fire the Campaign (and later, the Campaign Fights Back!)

With regards to some of the other prominent pundits who refuse to accept all that, I’ve witnessed a few rather strange posts; a decent into the realm of rants and accusations that lie on the frayed ends of sanity.  Here’s one example:

Amdy McCarthy: Did Obama Write “Dreams from My Father” … Or Did Ayers? (a post that resulted in a WTH? exchange from one of his collegues at NRO)

And speaking of NRO and their unusual practice of conversing thru blog posts, there’s even more drama today, and Frum feels compelled to defend himself:

Do my correspondents (and now my Corner colleagues) truly believe that – but for my pitiful media and social ambitions – nobody in America would have noticeed that Sarah Palin cannot speak three coherent consecutive words about finance or economics? 

Double Ouch.

Now, having officially endorsed Obama for president here in the Chamber, one might assume that I’m watching all this with a certain amount of glee.  I’ll admit, there might be some of that, but mostly I feel a little vindicated for some of my recent threads.  After all, contrary to some of the charges made against me in the comments section that I’ve turned the Chamber into a medium of dishonest propaganda, here you have some evidence of similar criticism coming from those who are wearing partisan goggles of a different shade.

I hereby open up the thread, but I may add a few more derailment examples as I stumble upon them.

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Update: Well, that didn’t take long: Bush Strategist: McCain Knows He Put Country At Risk With Palin Pick

The other panelists were surprised, a bit, by Dowd’s bluntness. Not least because McCain’s well-known campaign motto is “country first.”

“No, I don’t agree,” said Mark McKinnon, a former McCain aide, after chiding Dowd for claiming particular insight into McCain’s soul.

“Well,” responded Dowd, “that’s even more disturbing than my thought” — the implication being that it would be truly frightening if McCain didn’t know how bad Palin truly was.

But maybe this one shouldn’t count (too RINOish).  I report, you decide, I guess.

Update:  Almost forgot about this one: Surprise: Peggy Noonan not sure who she’s voting for

Update: In Philly, Conservative Talk Radio Host Backs Obama

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Obligatory (and official) Obama/McCain Debate II Thread

October 7, 2008

My take?  It was a bit of a snoozer, but I think Obama emerged victorious again.  Perhaps it was less of Obama winning, and more of McCain losing.  The Arizona senator sounded anxious and a bit desperate, and Obama more poised and presidential.  Overall, though, most of this stuff was covered in the last debate.

And now, a little round-up from around the internet:

  • CBS and CNN call it for Obama.
  • Malkin (right) and Beeton (left) agrees with me that it was a snoozer, and Justin at Donklephant agrees that McCain lost it.
  • Over at the Corner, Andy McCarthy is irate that McCain didn’t turn it into a poo-flinging contest.
  • Althouse earns the Mr. Conspiracy award (hilarious).
  • The transcript.
  • Drunkblogging?  (drink!)

Another wonderful night in American politics.

And I suppose I should note that, back in April, I predicted that these debates would cost McCain the election.   With only one debate remaining, I can’t honestly say that I was correct on this one (at least in the context of the argument I was making).  Obama will probably win the general, but there is no routs going on here.  On the other hand, I think its safe to say that these things aren’t exactly helping McCain’s situation.

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Doubling Down On The Ayers Controversy

October 6, 2008

It appears that the big news this week in this crazy 2008 election campaign is the return of Bill Ayers into the national spotlight.  The opening salvo came over the weekend, when Sarah Palin brought it up at a campaign stop in front of a group of supporters, and stated that Obama was “palling around” with terrorists (CNN’s attempt to fact-check the claim is here, and the Obama response here).  Perhaps the decision was made within the camp that, having been beaten in a couple of debates on the actual issues, and seeing themselves slide in the polls, the time has come for a little desperation.  And since everyone else is talking about it, I thought it’d make a good topic for the Chamber.

I’d like to kick this thing off and say that I’m not going to offer up any defense of Ayers here.  All those Weatherman activities took place during a tumultuous time in America (before I was born), so I don’t see myself in a position to offer up much of an informed opinion on the whole thing.  All I know is what I read in places like the blogs, CNN, the NYT, and wiki.  But to the overall notion that Obama’s association with Ayers is relevant to the campaign or his ability to serve as president, I’ll say a few things about what appears to be an attempted smear job…

First, are those associations any more significant than those at the University of Illinois – Chicago?  After all, Ayers is a distinguished professor there, and the university is state-funded.  Would that, by the McCain/Palin logic, disqualify the entire UIC faculty from ever becoming president? I mean, they’re “palling” around with him, right?  Or, how about anyone who has taken one of Ayers’ courses? The entire state of Illinois? Heck, that’s worse. They’re paying him!

And what about the other members of the various boards? Or the guy who does Ayers’ taxes? Or his mailman?

So, what level of association would be deemed damning?  I just don’t see how serving on the same board or whatever for something completely unrelated to Ayers’ past would be very relevant.  Its not like Obama was helping him build bombs, funding the building of bombs, or even anywhere near a bomb being built.  And unlike the Wright controversy, I don’t recall seeing so much as a picture of Obama and Ayers together “palling around” (a picture that they’d be anxious to get their hands on, one would assume).   If all the smear merchants have to work with is headlines like “Ayers Was on Woods Fund Board with Obama When He Stepped on Flag“, I’d say that the attack is pretty weak.   Perhaps the fact that they are even wasting time with it instead of focusing on the myriad of real problems we face in this country will mean that Obama’s lead in the polls will widen further. 

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Official Chamber Post-Debate Thread

September 26, 2008

As everyone knows, round 1 of the McCain vs. Obama debates aired tonight, and my roommate and I decided to watch it on CNN (’cause they had the cool graphs ‘n’ stuff in HD).  Overall, I think that both candidates performed very well.  Certainly there will be pundits everywhere pouring over everything and offering analysis, but I think it’s safe to say that the faults will be found with microscopes.  In other words, there really was no knockout blow given by either of them. 

So, for my part, I’ll just highlight what I thought was the most memorable part, and it came when Obama was given the opportunity to rebut the oft-delivered criticism that he advocated “attacking” Pakistan:

OBAMA: Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. Here’s what I said.

And if John wants to disagree with this, he can let me know, that, if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out.

Now, I think that’s the right strategy; I think that’s the right policy.

And, John, I — you’re absolutely right that presidents have to be prudent in what they say. But, you know, coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don’t know, you know, how credible that is. I think this is the right strategy.

I gotta tell ya, we let out quite a howl for the “sung songs about bombing Iran” part.  Awesome.  I mean, I’ve defended what Obama said about Pakistan many times here in the Chamber, but I think he did a better job thinking on his feet than I did sitting down in front of my laptop carefully choosing my words.  It was a beautiful rebuttal, and I don’t think McCain will be bringing up that criticism again.

I’ll leave the thread open for more discussion on the debate.  Here’s the full transcript.

Update:  This is already up on memeorandumPoll Results Suggest More Uncommitted Voters Saw Obama As Debate Winner

UPDATED WITH FINAL NUMBERS CBS News and Knowledge Networks conducted a nationally representative poll of approximately 500 uncommitted voters reacting to the debate in the minutes after it happened.

Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters who watched the debate tonight thought Barack Obama was the winner. Twenty-four percent thought John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw it as a draw.

Forty-six percent of uncommitted voters said their opinion of Obama got better tonight. Thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better.

I think McCain needed to do a lot better than 24% with uncommitted voters tonight.

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

September 22, 2008

I know it was a year and a half ago, but I bring this question up again, in light of what I saw on memeorandum today: Spies Warn That Al Qaeda Aims for October Surprise

WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of two major terrorist attacks on Western targets, America’s counterterrorism community is warning that Al Qaeda may launch more overseas operations to influence the presidential elections in November.

Assuming they do, who do you suppose the al Qaeda boys want us to elect?  What could a bunch of chaos and carnage do to influence us?  The author of the Sun article doesn’t really spell it out.

So, I suppose that if you were to ask your average righty blogger, Rep. Steve King, or the former prime minister of Australia, it would be Obama.  But it you were to ask others, like the gang over at Think Progress, well, it would be McCain.

I’ll just leave it open to discussion…

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It’s Called An “Idiom”, Dimwits

September 9, 2008

Ah…It was a typical day.  I got home from work, turned on my laptop, checked my email and the Chamber control center, then decided to see what was new in the world of politics.  And what did I see at the top of the memeorandum page?  This: Obama Says McCain Is Offering Fake Change: ‘You Can Put Lipstick on a Pig, But It’s Still a Pig’

LEBANON, Va. — “That’s not change,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said of what Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is offering.

“You know, you can put lipstick on a pig,” Obama said, “but it’s still a pig.”

The crowd rose and applauded, some of them no doubt thinking he may have been alluding to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s ad lib during her vice presidential nomination acceptance speech last week, “What’s the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick.”

Then I see that Drudge once again seizes opportunity to mislead, and puts it front and center:

A few more clicks, and I discover various bloggers hysterically rushing in to attack Obama for calling Palin a “pig”.

Still more clicks, and I notice that the McCain camp calls for Obama to apologize to Palin:

Reporters were a bit skeptical that Obama intended to do that; from the sketchy reports we have, he seemed to be talking about how John McCain can claim to represent change but isn’t really an agent of change.  But Swift said, “it’s pretty clear the crowd thought that that was the insult he was leveling.”  And Swift made the (hopefully) undeniable observation that Palin is the only one of the four national candidates who wears lipstick.

{{{sigh}}}

Where to begin?  Well, this transparent attempt to make something (sexist) out of nothing appears to have gone viral throughout the political web, and I’d just like to point out a few things (just in case it will do any good)…

First, “lipstick on a pig” is what those of us who don’t consider English to be second language call an idiom, and it’s a fairly common one

If people put lipstick on a pig, they make superficial or cosmetic changes, hoping that it will make the product more attractive.

Second, the crowd was probably applauding because said idiom was fitting in the obvious context that the “pig” was the Republican’s actual record, policies and stance on the issues, and the “lipstick” represented their facade of “change”.  

Third,  I should mention that the same site that assumed that Obama’s crowd was applauding because he was “no doubt” referring to Palin and her ad lib, later pointed out that…wait for it…McCain has used the exact same figure of speech when referring to Clinton’s health care plan.

McCain surely wasn’t calling Clinton a pig.

{{{slaps forehead}}}

Dear readers, have any of you seen the movie Idiocracy?    ‘Cause that’s America, right now.  Yep, we’ve officially traveled through time or to some alternate universe where the average IQ has dropped to 60 (yes, I know that the average IQ for any time or alternate universe is always 100 by definition, deal with it).

BTW-  Kudos to Allahpundit and Rusty for being intellectually honest and remaining in our time and universe.

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Update: I read at one of the blogs that the idiom was also the title of a book, so I Googled, and sure enough:

And just to prove how utterly ridiculous the McCain camp’s outrage really is, consider this exhibit, um…F: Meghan McCain: My Dad Says ‘Lipstick on a Pig’ 

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McCain’s Pander Pick For VP

August 29, 2008

As the overdose of punditry over the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate overwhelms casual readers everywhere, I thought I might as well add my own take on the matter.  And if there is a single word that immediately comes to mind, it would be “pander”.

I mean, is there really any other way to look at it?   I’m no political scientist, but it seems to me that there are three rationales at work when a presidential candidate selects a running mate, and it would come down to a) who helps one’s chances getting elected, b) who would help one govern effectively, and c) who would be a logical successor to the presidency.   On the surface the selection of Sarah Palin would satisfy (a), and that’s about it.   

Why (a)? 

-Well, first, you’ve got a presidential candidate that, throughout the primaries, was derided by the Rush’s and Hannity’s of the world as not being conservative enough.  So, check the box for the conservative pander, since it would appear that Palin is solidly on that side of the fence. 

-Second, as I’ve pointed out with a few posts on the PUMA’s, there is a certain percentage of the female voting block that would be inclined to fill the feminist gap now that Hillary is out of the race, and/or is bitter, having viewed the campaign (or the media coverage thereof) as sexist, or whatever.  For voters out there who wanted to cast their vote for a woman, Palin picks up the baton from Clinton.  So, check the box for the female pander. 

-Third, in Palin you have something that is slightly less tangible, but possibly more powerful than the first two.  Much of political campaigning involves principles of marketing, and marketing 101 students learn about the principle of liking and attractiveness:

Liking. “People prefer to say yes to individuals they know and like,” Cialdini says. In negotiations and sales situations, one can influence the outcome by developing a kinship with prospective clients or being familiar to them. Being physically attractive is also a big advantage. Research shows that people attribute talent, kindness, honesty, and intelligence to people they find attractive. 

Palin, as a former runner-up in the Miss Alaska pageant, is still attractive at 44, and her “hockey mom” likability is likely what helped her win her own elections.  The McCain camp is probably counting on injecting this principle as an attempt to offset what Obama brings to the table in this regard.  So, I suppose one can say that they’re pandering to the emotional side of the electorate.

-Finally, there is something to be said about what Obama’s selection of Biden did to influence this pick.  We may be seeing a bit of political chess being played here, specifically with regard to the upcoming debates.  Someone in McCain’s circle probably figured that it won’t be hard for the fiery Biden to appear as a big bully when going one-on-one with the cute female Alaskan governor.  In the very least, this dynamic could serve to handcuff Biden in light of how the machine of spin and subsequent perception works.  A couple of 5 second clips could be all that is needed to cement this impression, and the opportunity to do so would be something that McCain’s people will be looking for.  If you expand on that theme and include treatment from the rest of the Obama camp, the punditry and the broader media, you can see where this might play into their hands.  It’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out, but some are already urging their fellow detractors to tread carefully.

Also, its conceivable that McCain went out of his way to select someone that wasn’t an opponent in the primaries, thereby avoiding the threat of past criticism and appearances of hypocrisy being used against him as we head towards November.  Again, political chess.

But do you notice that none of those considerations actually has anything to do with effectively running the country?  Say what you want about Biden (I have), but with Obama’s pick, at least one can say that there was more attention placed on the aforementioned (b) and (c), that’s for sure. 

It’s been pointed out that, given McCain’s advanced age, reliance solely on this rationale is risky (both politically and otherwise).   New Republic columnist Peter Scoblic opines that the selection even reveals a certain level of arrogance on McCain’s part.  I think he makes a pretty good point.   Let’s hope that the rest of America sees it that way as well. 

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