Quick Hits (OR Selectivity)

August 31, 2008

Does anyone else find it interesting how completely, yet subtly, Sen. Obama has shifted the campaign language and how little anyone is talking about it. Does anyone argue that the dominant meme has been “change”? Can anyone argue that anyone has promoted that idea more than Sen. Obama? I mean, stody, old, 20 plus year Senator McCain even has a commercial that says something “We need change, John McCain knows it”.

Seriously? I don’t really recall the Republican primary being about change. It was more about who could be more hawkish than President Bush, who could cut more taxes than President Bush, and so on. Change wasn’t part of the conversation. And now, the Republican nominee is trying to run a campaign on “change”:

SEN. MCCAIN: [Sen. Lieberman ] said, “John, I want you to do what’s best for this country.  And I’ll be at your side.”  […]  And so, it had everything to do with my judgment about what we can do to change things in Washington.

And then there’s the narrow definition of “need”.

In speaking to some delegations, Sen. Mcain said:

[We’ll] put on our American hats and we say “America, we’re with you. America, we’re going to care for these people in their time of need”

What about the need 47 million people have for health care? What about the need of the unemployed to have jobs? What of the need of the middle class to see their incomes grow?

Obviously, these needs don’t get any play on national media, or headlines in the newspaper, so Sen. McCain doesn’t need to talk about them.


In Detail (OR More Information on Gov. Palin)

August 31, 2008

Here are couple stories about Gov. Palin’s difficulties back in Alaska:

From Talking Points Memo: Getting Real About Palin

Here’s the most interesting part (from a campaign point of view):

In an interesting sidelight, that may end up telling us a lot, Monegan says no one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him in the vetting process.

That is, the McCain campaign did not vet one of the primary actors in Gov. Palin’s current political difficulties. That doesn’t seem very Presidential.

And, from the Washington Post: Long-Standing Feud in Alaska Embroils Palin

Most interseting here:

The legislative [investigation] report is due in October.

Which means that a major wrench could be thrown in the McCain/Palin hopes in the last month of the campaign. Kinda makes you think that, perhaps, the McCain campaign should have vetted Gov. Palin a little more/better.


Palin Thoughts (OR A Matter of Perspective)

August 31, 2008

As Dave pointed out, his post on Sarah Palin has elicited lots of traffic, and some very interesting comments.

There’s been a bunch of stuff bouncing around the interwebs for the couple days, and I thought I’d take a (somewhat snarky) stab at it. Dave points to, probably, the most relevant question: What does the Palin selection say about Sen. McCain’s commitment to the value of experience in the Presidency?

The answer to that question will, in all likelihood, play itself out over the next couple months. In the meantime, we get commited McCain supporters trying to claim that Gov. Palin is, in fact, more experienced that Sen. Obama. The rationale? She’s been an executive, with a side of Alaska National Guard commander in chief.

By this logic, of course, Gov. Palin is more experienced that either Sen. McCain or Sen. Biden, which is absolutely preposterous on its face. How many years in the Senate, then, are necessary to provide more experience than 20 months as Alaska’s governor? Where, exacty, do we draw that line?

In other ‘experience’ news, it’s entertaining that the party which, 8 years ago, argued that experience shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor in deciding a president (Gov. Bush vs. VP Gore) is now arguring that experience matters more than any other attribute.

Changing gears to foreign policy, it’s clear the Gov. Palin has excellent foreign policy credentials because she lives so close to Russia. That being said, it’s obvious we need to elect Sen. Obama because of his extensive foreign policy experience with China due to growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia. How is this even acknowledged as a valid point? What would Gov. Palin do? Negotiate a truce between US and Russian polar bears? Even if Anchorage is close to Russia, it’s not like that’s a part of Russia where anybody lives.

Additionally, there is the fact that she’s a woman, which The Daily Show deconstructs nicely. I’ll only add that, if women voted for any ticket with a woman on it, Mondale/Ferraro wouldn’t have had their asses handed to them in 1984.

Also, there’s the fact that Gov. Palin is not on record on a whole variety of national issues. At this point, I can’t withhold my cynicism any more. It’s entirely possible that Sen. McCain selected Gov. Palin precisely because of this. She can be asked to adopt positions which aren’t counter to those previously stated, because she’s never been asked to state those positions. This makes her an ideal pander candidate. The McCain campaign can evaluation what issues they need help on, and ask Gov. Palin to adopt them without being accused of “flip-flopping” or altering her positions for political benefit (which is something that Sen. McCain is facing). Essentially, she’s a candidate that might help Sen. McCain get elected, but probably won’t help him govern.

And, finally, most cynically, I wonder if Sen. McCain is looking at a Palin Vice Presidency as an impeachment shield in much the same sense that VP. Cheney has done for Pres. Bush. Democrats have been loathe to impeach Pres. Bush, partly for fear of elevating and even more dangerous VP Cheney. I can imagine even greater hesitance to elevate a largely unproven VP Palin.

OK, that last might be a stretch… still, this VP selection certainly does make one wonder.


McCain’s VP (OR Pale in comparison)

August 29, 2008

I don’t have too much time right now… but it appears that Sen. McCain has selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

This, in particular, caught my eye:

Governor Palin is a tough executive who has demonstrated during her time in office that she is ready to be president.

I guess this means that 10 years of Mayorship of a very small town (Wasilla, AK: Pop: ~5,500) and 2 years as governor trumps 7 years in a (large) state Senate and 4 years in the US Senate.

Although, there was this bit, too:

As the head of Alaska’s National Guard and as the mother of a soldier herself, Governor Palin understands what it takes to lead our nation

Which, I guess outweighs being essentially raised by a veteran…


Wrong State (OR Move to another house)

August 26, 2008

I had been wondering when this was going to come up.

McCain, on the other hand, is only ahead by 6 points: 47% – 41%. He’s not even breaking 50% and barely breaking 45%. That’s why John McCain has to campaign in his home state. Arizona is the place where McCain has most of his houses. The people who know him best don’t really like him.

I can’t find it now, but I seem to remember a story about how little the Arizona press cared for Sen. McCain. It seemed significant, considering how much the national press adores him. It seemed that those most familiar with Sen. McCain cared for him least.

And so it seems to be with the voters in his “home” state. And, if the trend holds true, what does that say for the nation? The more information voters get, the less they’ll like Sen. McCain?

One can only hope.


Looking Ahead (OR What’s in store)

August 7, 2008

As I mentioned in my last post, there doesn’t seem to be much new to talk about. Still, I was stuck by this post from the Wonk Room and thought it would be good for us all to be reminded about what a terrible thing a McCain Presidency would be.

In a new report from the Center for American Progress, Senior Fellow Scott Lilly chronicles the “extraordinary transfer of wealth that took place between ordinary households and the extremely well-to-do” during the past eight years under President George W. Bush.

There are lots of pretty (and pretty disturbing) graphs to go a long with it…  go read it.

And yes, stats like these make me wonder why any middle class person would support a Republican on economic grounds.


Mental Images (OR Things I’d rather not envision)

July 28, 2008

I was reading this post about how Sen. McCain appears to be trying to throw the election. It’s not an entirely novel or unsatisfying thought…  still, I was struck by this:

Perhaps McCain, realizing that the media will never question his gravitas, has decided to continue to elevate his rhetoric against Obama[…]

And then, unbidden, came the image of Sen. McCain demonstrating his gravitas in much the same way Sam Cassell does:

Huge Huevos


Damn Lies (OR Do people really believe this stuff?)

July 27, 2008

Marc Ambinder also points out this trashy, unfounded, underhanded ad from the McCain campaign. I’m not going to embed it here…  but here’s the transcript:

Script For “Pump” (TV :30)

ANNCR: Gas prices – $4, $5, no end in sight, because some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America.

No to independence from foreign oil.

Who can you thank for rising prices at the pump?

CHANT: Obama, Obama

ANNCR: One man knows we must now drill more in America and rescue our family budgets.

Don’t hope for more energy, vote for it. McCain.

JOHN MCCAIN: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.

There’s so much in here that’s just crazy…  The implication that drilling for oil in America will defray the cost of gas, which Sen. McCain himself has said would only have psychological impact…  That drilling in America would create independence from foreign oil, which could only really be accomplished if we stop using any oil… That Sen. Obama is in some way responsible for the current prices, even though he’s only the junior senator from Illinois.

And I love that voting for Sen. McCain is analogous to voting for more energy, even though Sen. Obama is the candidate who has touted his support for alternative energies like solar and wind, while Sen. McCain can’t get past his oil fetish.

Anyway, it’s clear now that Sen. McCain has absolutely no compunction about making crap up to get elected. I think we all knew this was coming, but I’m a little surprised the it’s happening in July. What will be left for Sen. McCain to make up come October?

In other news, Sen. McCain’s ad campaign is going to make me rethink my usage of the candidates titles in my posts.


Self-Awareness (OR Represent what you tout)

July 27, 2008

I am, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, a bit behind on stuff… I imagine that’ll only get worse as I start my new job. For now though, let’s catch up on the week.

As Sen. Obama traveled the world (after Sen McCain goaded him into it, only to attack him for doing it), Sen. McCain released this “poster”

Matt takes a shot:

I’ve seen a good deal of mockery of this McCain campaign poster on the grounds that he seems to be more angling to be God’s successor than George W. Bush’s but less on the underlying claim that he somehow possesses a unique level of wisdom necessary to bring about peace:

In fact, McCain has a notably thoughtless approach to the world situation.

Which was rather along the lines of my thoughts. It’s perhaps true that peace is born of wisdom, but it seems rather odd for Sen. McCain to claim that he possesses that wisdom. Especially, when his foreign policy approach is best described as hawkish. Peace is born of the wisdom to not go senselessly to war; of the wisdom to not joke about bombing a country in the already unstable Middle East; of the wisdom to to not joke about killing that same country’s inhabitants with cigarettes.

In other humorous aspects of this, why include fighter jets, which are, after all, tools of war, on a poster endorsing the value of peace?


Unintentional Comedy (OR It’s not as good as it sounds.)

July 25, 2008

Terry Gross interviewed the top economic advisors for the McCain and Obama campaigns on Fresh Air yesterday. I just finished listening to her interview with Douglas Holtz-Eakin, from Sen. McCain’s campaign. They finished with this exchange:

Terry Gross: John McCain has said that the economy is not his strong point, that he doesn’t know that much about the economy. Is that a fatal flaw for a President? Does it matter?

Douglas Holtz-Eakin: He has a phenomenal grasp of the economy and the remark he made is self-deprecating. That’s John McCain in his truest form. But he is comparing himself to a standard of excellence on international affairs and national security that no one could meet. He’s the pre-eminent expert in those areas. He’s been chair of the commerce committee. He’s a superb policy maker in economics and the US economy is in good hands with John McCain.

If international affairs and national security are your standard of excellence, and your measure of comparison for competency on the economy or other issues, shouldn’t you not do things like confuse Sunni and Shi’a muslims, claim there’s a border between Iraq and Pakistan, and not confuse when the Surge in Iraq started? 

If this equates to “good hands” I don’t want to see bad ones.