Wednesday, October 29, 2008
This was a weird idea. But it does give him a chance for numerous sound bites over the rest of this campaign.
People talk about how this half hour is just this half hour, but by creating a half hour commercial, they are creating a full half hour of things people can quote over the next 6 days.
We'll see if it matters. He was winning anyway, so probably not.
Posted by Librocrat at 5:05 PM
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Read this article. Here are some gems:
Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
"Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic," said another McCain source with direct knowledge of the process to prepare Palin after she was picked. The source said it was probably the "hardest" to get her "up to speed than any candidate in history."
"She's no longer playing for 2008; she's playing 2012," Democratic pollster Peter Hart said. "And the difficulty is, when she went on 'Saturday Night Live,' she became a reinforcement of her caricature. She never allowed herself to be vetted, and at the end of the day, voters turned against her both in terms of qualifications and personally."
There is a reason that McCain's judgment should be questioned.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Palin and McCain have found the strategy it looks like they are going to stick with. The "Don't Write Us Off" strategy. What they do is they go from state to state and say "we can still come back" or "it's not over yet" or "team X knows a little something about being an underdog" and then they compare Obama to a socialist and then leave for another state.
This is a stupid strategy.
There are less than 2 weeks until the election. You are not going to pick up 7-10 more points nationally by telling people that you are losing but hope to pick up votes. What McCain is doing is analogous to apologizing before a speech - "I'm sorry in advance if this speech sucks, I didn't have time to practice." He is making himself sound bad before he tries to excite people - and with that, with the exception of the socialism argument that hasn't seemed to hold much weight, he doesn't say anything to win over those 7-8% of voters. He is speaking directly to his supporters assuming that he is going to win over voters that are not in attendance at every one of these events.
He has very little left. Attack ads haven't worked. This socialism thing is stupid. Robocalls only served to alienate voters and trying to steal the message of "change" away from Barack Obama was never going to work, ever. It is time to give up - not on the campaign, but on these stupid strategies that were designed to appeal to the Bush parts of America.
McCain has one option left. The Republican strategy has always been to appeal to gullible people that will somehow believe that the Kerry swiftboat attacks were real, or that Obama is a Muslim, or that Hillary Clinton secretly had someone killed. It is the Sarah Palin strategy - be a good hockey mom that someone can have a beer with or buy a beer for and you will get people to think: "Awesome, this woman is just like me. She would make a perfect president because I would too!"
But this year, people are finally looking for something different - they are looking for someone to show that they can intelligently run this country. Someone that has actual, substantive, possibly even complicated plans to run this country. Someone that can understand complex things.
The only way McCain can win the election is if he starts running it how campaigns were meant to be run - as though he were intelligent. Explain specific, complicated plans - don't talk in ways that Joe the Belcher can understand, but show that you are not an unintelligent prick by laying out comprehensive plans for the country.
His last hope is to show people his actual plans for the country in all aspects of foreign and domestic policy. What Barack Obama does every day that seems to give him this "elitist" label is what McCain needs to do, otherwise he is wasting time and money.
John McCain should lose. Obama is a better candidate in every way. But McCain's best strategy is also the one that even many Barack Obama supporters want to see - because if McCain also finally starts providing a clear, intelligent message, it will be easier to have hope for the future country.
With Barack Obama's universal healthcare plan, many Republicans are screaming "socialism," saying it will be the end of quality care and health services.
"Look at the UK! You have to wait months to get seen by a doctor. More people die waiting than are saved by the universal care."
The idea, then, is that universal healthcare will cause doctors to leave the country, and hospitals to go out of business.
The problem with that is that it is already happening. Over 50% of hospitals are in severe debt and at risk of closure. Over half have either already claimed bankruptcy or is close to it, and even more are slowly hemorrhaging money. And because more and more people are now uninsured due to the state of the economy, that number is expected to balloon.
Doctors are already leaving. Hospitals are already closing. And because people DON'T have insurance, that number is going to get worse.
As much as Republicans like to complain that universal healthcare is going to bring about the end of quality care, at this point that end is already just a short time away, and without universal healthcare, it's guaranteed to occur sooner, rather than later.
Posted by Librocrat at 5:18 AM
Friday, October 24, 2008
Clearly I went into the wrong profession. I should have become a makeup artist - that's where the money is at:
Who was the highest paid individual in Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign during the first half of October as it headed down the homestretch?
Not Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain’s chief foreign policy adviser; not Nicolle Wallace, his senior communications staffer. It was Amy Strozzi, Gov. Sarah Palin’s traveling makeup artist, according to a new filing with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday night.
Ms. Strozzi, who was nominated for an Emmy award for her makeup work on the television show “So You Think You Can Dance?”, was paid $22,800 for the first two weeks of October alone, according to the records. The campaign categorized Ms. Strozzi’s payment as “Personnel Svc/Equipment.”
To put that in perspective, the president of the United States makes $400,000. A United States senator makes $169,300 per year. The governor of Alaska makes approximately $90,000. At Amy Strozzi's current rate, she would make $592,000. Excellent use of taxpayer money.
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL:
In addition, Angela Lew, who is Ms. Palin’s traveling hair stylist, got $10,000 for “Communications Consulting” in the first half of October.
There are no Republican hair stylists willing to volunteer their time?
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Obama receives Powell's endorsement. This is good news, but also irrelevant news. The scenarios about this endorsement were:
- Obama receives endorsement. Not likely to change anyone's mind.
- McCain receives endorsement. Shock makes this bigger news than it would have been. McCain gets wave of undecided voters that had been looking for an excuse to vote for him.
The endorsement of a major political figure only matters when people do not know much about the candidate. At this point, everyone knows Barack Obama. He's "the biggest celebrity in the world."
It would have made a difference if he supported McCain because he would have received the endorsement during a time where the media narrative is discussing his "surprise comeback" (though there is no evidence that is actually occurring) and because everyone expected him to choose Obama, so the narrative is only fed. Since media narrative is really the only way an endorsement like this can sway voters, this endorsement should unfortunately not make any difference to either candidate.
Still, it is nice to hear.
Posted by Librocrat at 8:12 PM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
This is less funny than I thought it would be, but I took the time to write it and no one is going to read it anyway, so here you go:
The Curmudgeon John Sidney McCain III
By Joe the Plumber
Published: October 16, 2008
IF you think way back to the start of this marathon campaign, back when it seemed preposterous that any old man could be a serious presidential contender, then you remember the biggest fear about John McCain: a crazy person might give him a heart attack.
“I’ve got the best health in the world, so stop worrying,” McCain reassured his supporters. Eventually the country got conditioned to his appearing in loud arenas without incident (though I confess that the first large numbers of young people at the end of his convention speech gave me a start). In America, nothing does succeed like success. The fear receded.
Until now. At Obama-Biden rallies, the raucous and insistent cries of “Octogenarian!” and “Senile!” and “Nursing Home!” and “Get off my lawn!” as well as the uninhibited slinging of elderly epithets, are actually something new in a campaign that has seen almost every conceivable twist. They are alarms. Doing nothing is not an option.
What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at Obama-Biden rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Obama. McCain “launched his political career in the living room of James Garfield.” He is “palling around with elderly Jews” (note the plural noun). McCain is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America. At this point in his life, he’s not sure where he is.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context McCain quote, Biden slurs him as an enemy of young kids and their music.
By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the real John McCain? I’m serious, I forgot.” it’s no surprise that someone cries out “Corpse!” The rhetorical conflation of McCain with old dead people is complete.
That’s a far cry from simply accusing McCain of being a senile-by-correlation-with-his-age erratic old fogey. McCain is being branded as an accessory to past attempts at signing the constitution. “John McCain’s friend tried to discover India” was how an Obama press release last week packaged the remembrance of the Santa Maria incident from 1492 — when McCain was 8.
Could the old ageist politics still be determinative? I’ve long been skeptical of the incessant press prognostications (and Republican panic) that this election will be decided by educated young men on the Coasts.
But we’re not at Election Day yet, and if voters are to have their final say, both America and McCain have to get there safely. The Obama campaign has crossed the line between tough negative campaigning and inciting ageism, and each day the mob continues to listen to that “rap music.” The onus is on the man who says he puts his country first to call off the dogs, pit bulls and otherwise.
One side note - Kristol and a few other neoconservatives on Fox News very reluctantly (and with a hint of disappointment) called Obama the winner of the debate. Shocked, I went to Fox News message boards to check what people "thought" of the debate.
Scrolling down the comments, I found that over 30% of the comments were about these neoconservatives "becoming traitors to their party."
"Traitors" requires that one believe that the purpose of Kristol et al. as a "political pundit" is to try to get McCain to win, not actually to analyze the event. It is good to see that at least Fox News supporters understand what Fox News is for.
Posted by Librocrat at 9:04 PM
Well, the third and last debate is over, and it was - as far as I'm concerned - the most exciting one thus far with everything that went on. Perhaps I will write more on it tomorrow, but I do like this statement that popped up on FiveThirtyEight:
10:26 EDT: [Sean] McCain keeps saying Palin's son has autism, but it's Down's Syndrome.
I forgot about that, but that is funny.
Anyway, McCain did his best. His first and second were less so. But was it a victory? I doubt it. If any debate was a tie, it was this one, and since Obama wins in a tie, that's what I'm guessing he was going for.
Posted by Librocrat at 7:33 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Several years ago, William Buckley Jr., a conservative, founded the National Review - A Newspaper with a right wing lean. In a way, it is the Fox News of Newspapers, except they generally do not make up facts - only choose what to discuss and believe, and hire almost exclusively conservatives for their editorials.
Buckley's son, Christopher, is equally as conservative and also wrote for the National Review.
Despite a like for McCain and his continued conservatism, Chris Buckley endorsed Barack Obama for president.
Needless to say, the subscribers of the National Review were displeased - so displeased, in fact, that his personal opinion of a presidential candidate had thousands of individuals emailing the Newspaper to cancel their subscription - even though the endorsement did not actually take place in the pages of the National Review.
Buckley resigned from his own dad's newspaper.
For an editorial columnist, his endorsement is not that well written. But his reasoning is sound, even for a conservative, as to why someone with his views seems McCain as the wrong pick.
Hint: Palin - big part of that.
Full article here.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Today is a day of several well written articles and gems. Some quotes:
The Republican campaign strategy now involves sending their candidates to areas where everybody is a die-hard McCain supporter already. Then they yell about Obama until the crowd is so frenzied people start making threats. The rest of the country is supposed to watch and conclude that this would be an enjoyable way to spend the next four years.
“Barack Obama’s friend tried to kill my family” was how a McCain press release last week packaged the remembrance of a Weather Underground incident from 1970 — when Obama was 8.
From the start, there have always been two separate but equal questions about race in this election. Is there still enough racism in America to prevent a black man from being elected president no matter what? And, will Republicans play the race card? The jury is out on the first question until Nov. 4. But we now have the unambiguous answer to the second: Yes.
There are indeed so few people of color at McCain events that a black senior writer from The Tallahassee Democrat was mistakenly ejected by the Secret Service from a campaign rally in Panama City in August, even though he was standing with other reporters and showed his credentials. His only apparent infraction was to look glaringly out of place.
Posted by Librocrat at 8:08 PM
Friday, October 10, 2008
While it was his fault for getting this started, I have to give credit for McCain for realizing that it has gotten out of hand. At the recent rally, he had to correct someone in the crowd that said he was genuinely scared of Obama as President, by pointing at that Obama was a good man (receiving boos from his own supporters).
He then took the Microphone away from a woman that called him a Muslim and said "no, he's not. He's a good family man and not a Muslim." You also hear the woman saying out of embarrassment and confusion "He's not?"
While it is McCain's fault that all of this got started, and likely his fault that it will still continue, at least he did what few other Republicans would and tried to correct them - at his own rallies, on the Microphone.
Don't vote for him. You don't get credit for correcting something that you caused, and it was his own strategy of trying to refer to Obama as a terrorist that made this anger arise in his supporters. But at least he's said something about it. Let's see if that kind of honesty will continue so that he loses with dignity instead of with disgrace.
From the New York Times, only a few minutes ago:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority in firing the state's public safety commissioner.
The investigative report concludes that a family grudge wasn't the sole reason for firing Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan but says it likely was a contributing factor.
This sounds like old news, but this is the first step towards saying outright that she abused her authority. She can now officially be called "corrupt" without the word "alleged" though nothing is going to happen quite yet.
If she is going to leave the campaign in order to help McCain, this is exactly when she would do it. Within the next 72 hours, if she does not step down, she won't do it at all. I hope she stays.
Well, I've changed my mind. Sarah Palin is qualified to be President. I recently found out she is multilingual. Observe:
The governor fired back from her private e-mail account: "I've never driven Trig anywhere without a new, approved carseat. I want to know who said otherwise — pls provide me that info now."
Notice she used the world "pls." There is nothing I respect more than someone that writes in abbreviated chatroom speak like a 13 year old girl. Nothing.
From here. Article itself is only somewhat newsworthy.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
To solve the economic crisis, the United States needs to shut up. That's it. Shut up. Stop cutting rates, stop approving bailout packages - stop panicking. Stop doing things to fix a market that is based solely on consumer confidence. If you stop trying to "save" the market, people will stop worrying that something is horribly wrong with it.
Get on it. Get on it by stop getting on it and shutting up.
Posted by Librocrat at 3:16 PM
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Sarah Palin has picked out an All-American set of names for her children. There's Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper.
Ever wonder, What would your name be if Sarah Palin was your mother? Well now you can find out!
My name would be Copper Catfish Palin.
Posted by Librocrat at 11:51 PM
In case you don't believe that McCain and Palin's tactics are going to lead to intolerance and hate:
Her demagoguery has elicited some frightening, intolerable responses. A recent Washington Post report said at a rally in Florida this week a man yelled “kill him!” as Ms. Palin delivered that line and others shouted epithets at an African-American member of a TV crew.
Apparently Wasilla is a racist and dangerous city.
Posted by Librocrat at 12:43 AM
Monday, October 6, 2008
It seems my earlier post was only part one. The McCain campaign and the Republican Party are working together to try to create conspiracy theories about Obama being a terrorist. Palin starts discussing how Obama has domestic terrorist ties. McCain claims Obama takes illegal campaign contributions and then the Republican Party tells the FEC that Obama is taking contributions from Iran.
Except he isn't. "IR" which the RNC claims stands for "Iran" actually stands for "Information Requested." They know this, since it was widely available to the public, but they are pretending they don't so that the rumor starts to spread amongst the uneducated that Obama may be less than trustworthy.
It is no coincidence that all of this came out within 24 hours. This is a group effort - to use racism and ignorance to win an election. If anyone tells you to define sociopathology, Republican strategists are a good place to start.
Posted by Librocrat at 4:44 PM
Color me surprised.
Behind in the polls, Republican John McCain on Monday called Democratic rival Barack Obama a liar as he leveled his harshest criticism yet, and said the campaign boils down to one basic question: Who is Obama really?
Adopting an aggressive tone on the eve of their second debate of the season, the Republican presidential candidate criticized Obama's ties to Chicago, his legislative record and even his pair of best-selling memoirs.
The crowded shouted "liar" and "send him home" and booed loudly and angrily. McCain has decided not to start a discussion, but rather to energize his party to hate and want to physically harm his opponent.
Way to Maverick yourself. Way to set yourself ahead of the pack. You, McCain, are a horrible person and your ultimate defeat should be followed by an extensive stoning and public humiliation. Go away.
Posted by Librocrat at 3:37 PM
Saturday, October 4, 2008
It's hard to use an editorial piece from the New York Times and claim that it accurately reflects what the country sees, but this piece by Bob Herbert was exceptionally well written, and I also think that this year a lot of the points he brings up matter to voters - at least to over half of voters.
For Ms. Palin, such things as context, syntax and the proximity of answers to questions have no meaning.
After Ms. Palin had woven one of her particularly impenetrable linguistic webs, Joe Biden turned to the debate’s moderator, Gwen Ifill, and said: “Gwen, I don’t know where to start.”
Of course he didn’t know where to start because Ms. Palin’s words don’t mean anything.
This is such a serious moment in American history that it’s hard to believe that someone with Ms. Palin’s limited skills could possibly be playing a leadership role.
Where is the evidence that Governor Palin even understands these complex and enormously challenging problems?
She has done pretty much nothing that has displayed any competence for a leadership role in any occupation, let alone the most complicated job in the world. And while her "gosh golly gee" is likely to win over some voters still, I think displaying competence (even if it is fake) is far more important in this election than others.
Also, I want to note that this election is really about McCain vs. Obama. The reason Sarah Palin is so important, however, is because it reflects so poorly on McCain's judgment as to reflect on his ability to be president. I'd prefer to go off on how stupid McCain is, but going off on Sarah Palin is essentially the same thing.
Friday, October 3, 2008
I remember when a single debate was really two debates, where one candidate was debating nothing but issues, and another debater was essentially reading from a transcript various forms of propaganda that never actually addressed the issue. When one candidate was considered boring for actually wanting to discuss substance while another one made strange, false, vague references to intangibles like [lack of] patriotism and elitism. When one candidate was seen as whiny for pointing out with facts how almost everything the opponent said was wrong, while the other opponent was allowed to make up blatant falsities that were left unchecked by both the media and the American people.
But before you say that 2008 is exactly like 2004, I don't believe it is. Back in 2004, "have a beer with" was still considered a qualification. It was a time where enough Americans assumed things were going smoothly that they were able to believe that issues were less important than character, and in 2004, Bush had the character, Kerry had the issues.
It was that belief that gave Bush that election, and - in my opinion - it is that belief that was essentially shat on when Bush continued to suck at his job. That is not to say that there aren't large numbers of people that still view intelligence as a negative quality - they are still there, probably at least a fourth of the country - but these days they are in much more of a minority. In this election, they matter less.
So when Sarah Palin decided to bring out the "Gosh golly gee willickers" into the debate, what would have worked in 2004 I do not believe is going to work this year. That is not to say that the country is more intelligent - not at all. Just that they are more hesitant. They need to be convinced that someone is going to be capable before they are able to accept their character. Not that capable, mind you, but more capable than the president needed to be in 2004.
After the Couric interviews, among other things, Palin fell far below the baseline of "capable." Far below. So with today's debate, she couldn't bank on the character aspect. She needed to win back confidence.
And she didn't. All she did was read scripted answers without substance that did not establish her as a qualified individual. She may have reaffirmed the belief in some die hard republicans that had doubted her after her recent blunders, but a small gain is not what she needed, and certainly doesn't help McCain win the election.
With these debates, sometimes the winner is simply the lesser loser. Though I believe Biden did a good job without any major blunders, even if you assume he just did "okay" I would argue that Palin did below that, and Biden won the debate, because "Gosh Golly" isn't cutting it anymore.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Katie Couric is hilarious.
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
Couric: Can you name a few?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.
Couric: Librocrat, can you tell me where, exactly, you are right now?
Librocrat: Well, you know, where I am at the moment is where I am physically.
Couric: But Librocrat, can you name the specific place that you are.
Librocrat: That's exactly right, I'm where you'll find me, you know, where I am. That place, you know, it's like, that's what I do... Where I am.
Couric: Some people have credited the morning-after pill for decreasing the number of abortions. How do you feel about the morning-after pill?
Palin: Well, I am all for contraception. And I am all for preventative measures that are legal and save, and should be taken, but Katie, again, I am one to believe that life starts at the moment of conception. And I would like to see …
Couric: And so you don't believe in the morning-after pill?
Palin: ... I would like to see fewer and fewer abortions in this world. And again, I haven't spoken with anyone who disagrees with my position on that.
Couric: I'm sorry, I just want to ask you again. Do you not support or do you condone or condemn the morning-after pill.
Palin: Personally, and this isn't McCain-Palin policy …
Couric: No, that's OK, I'm just asking you.
Palin: But personally, I would not choose to participate in that kind of contraception.
Couric: So, tell me, Librocrat, do you think puppy rape should be legalized?
Librocrat: Well, I personally believe that puppies grow up to be dogs.
Couric: But about puppy rape, do you think that is an acceptable thing to do to puppies.
Librocrat: All kinds of dogs, too. Like, Golden Retrievers. Like, when those puppies - those ones that were born from older dogs, grow up, they can - you know, become other animals, and big dogs pull sleighs but sometimes they die young from cancer.
Couric: Okay, but about puppy rape - do you support its legalization. Yes or No.
Librocrat: Well, me, personally, I do not participate in surprise sex with baby dogs.
Couric: I want to start with climate change, if I could. What's your position on global warming? Do you believe it's man-made or not?
Palin: Well, we're the only arctic state, of course, Alaska. So we feel the impacts more than any other state up there, with the changes in the climates. And certainly it is apparent. We have erosion issues and we have melting sea ice, of course. So what I've done up there is form a sub-cabinet to focus solely on climate change. Understanding that it is real.
Couric: Is it manmade in your opinion?
Palin: You know … there are man's activities that can be contributed to … the issues that we're dealing with now with these impacts. I'm not going to solely blame all of man's activities on changes in climate. Because the world's weather patterns … are cyclical. And over history we have seen changes there. But kind of doesn't matter at this point, as we debate what caused it. The point is it's real, we need to do something about it. And like … Tony Blair had said … when he was in leadership position, he said, "Let's all consider the fact that it is real." So instead of pointing fingers … at different sides of the argument as to who is to blame, and if nature just to blame, let's do something about it. Let's clean up our world. Let's reduce emissions. And let's go with reality.
Couric: Because, if it's not man-made, then one might wonder, well, how can human beings contribute to a solution?
Palin: Well, human beings certainly are contributing to pollution today. And to some adverse effects on the environment. And it's all of our jobs to do to clean things up. And that's what we're committed to doing.
Couric: So you do believe … that man is contributing to global warming, because you just said they're causing pollution. Of course, pollution causes global warming.
Palin: I believe that there are a lot of causes. And there is one effect. And one is changes in the climate. And there are things that we can do to make sure we're cleaning up the environment. I also formed an integrity office that solely is focused on petroleum, on pipelines, on those things that we do up there in Alaska to contribute to the U.S. domestic supply of energy.
Wow, this sounds familiar. Where have I heard this before?