Sunday, August 31, 2008

Is Tax Policy Important To You? And What About Character Traits Like Honesty And Integrity?


In all the hubbub over McCain's reckless selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate and Bush's slash-and burn, though, alas, retroactive, denunciation of Neocon lunatic John Bolton, it is slipping past the zeitgeist that the increasingly deceptive and shady McCain campaign is attempting to literally brainwash the American public by constantly repeating blatant lies about Barack Obama's tax proposals. Today's Washington Post didn't call McCain a lying sack of shit but... almost. Their editorial is titled Continuing Deception and the subtitle makes it clear what sort of deception is continuing: "Mr. McCain's ads on taxes are just plain false."
There is a serious debate to be had in this presidential campaign about the fundamentally different tax policies of Barack Obama and John McCain. Then there is the phony, misleading and at times outright dishonest debate that the McCain campaign has been waging-- most recently with a television ad.

The two candidates have very different positions on taxes. Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and cut them substantially for low- and middle-income taxpayers. He would cut taxes for more households, and by a larger amount, than Mr. McCain, who would give the greatest benefits to wealthy households and corporations.

These are disagreements rooted in divergent views about the role of tax policy: the importance of reducing inequality versus the importance of encouraging investment. Mr. Obama has the wiser and more fiscally responsible of the plans, on balance, but this is by no means a one-sided debate between evil, tycoon-hugging Republicans and good-hearted Democrats. Higher taxes do have consequences for the behavior of both individuals and corporations. Listening to the candidates debate and defend their actual plans would be a useful exercise.

Instead, the McCain campaign insists on completely misrepresenting Mr. Obama's plan. The ad opens with the Obama-as-celebrity theme-- "Celebrities don't have to worry about family budgets, but we sure do," says the female announcer. "We're paying more for food and gas, making it harder to save for college, retirement." Then she sticks it to him: "Obama's solution? Higher taxes, called 'a recipe for economic disaster.' He's ready to raise your taxes but not ready to lead."

The facts? The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that the Obama plan would give households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution an average tax cut of 5.5 percent of income ($567) in 2009, while those in the middle fifth would get an average cut of 2.6 percent of income ($1,118). "Your taxes" would go up, yes-- but not if you're someone who is sweating higher gas prices. By contrast, Mr. McCain's tax plan would give those in the bottom fifth of income an average tax cut of $21 in 2009. The middle fifth would get $325-- less than a third of the Obama cut. The wealthiest taxpayers make out terrifically.

The country can't afford the tax cuts either man is promising, although Mr. McCain's approach is by far the more costly. We don't expect either side to admit that. But neither side should get to outright lie about its opponent's positions, either.

I suspect a banner headline across the Post's front page, "John McCain Caught Lying About Taxes Again," would go a long way towards the Post's consistent policy of allowing shameless McCain shill, David Broder, set the tone for the paper's fawning coverage of the most ruthless and untrustworthy political hack to ever seek the White House.

Oh, and if you'd like to see how you, personally, would fare under an Obama presidency, here's a website that allows you to enter your income and find out how much you will pay in taxes if Obama wins in November. It's a better way of finding out where you stand than by watching ads supervised by Karl Rove, the man who brought on 8 years of George W. Bush and his policies. And, along those lines, here's a report from everyone's favorite tax expert, Brian Deese:

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Republican Party Propaganda Writer Andrew Ferguson Dissects McCain's Platform


Officially Andrew Ferguson is a senior editor of the neo-fascist Weekly Standard, but he's been a notorious shill for the Bush Regime for many years. Yesterday the NY Times published an Op-Ed by him that examines the McCain Party platform. He starts with an unpleasant dose of reality about what it was like for the platform writers: "This one must have been no fun at all. Republicans this year faced a special difficulty, of course. Every American who’s not a Republican can’t stand them, a complication that robbed the platform writers of several traditional techniques." He then follows with why the platform writers were up that special creek without any paddles. "If your party holds the White House but not Congress, you blame Congress for the country’s precarious position. If you hold Congress you blame the White House. But what if, for most of the previous eight years, you’ve held both the White House and Congress, and things are still a mess?" The solution? Join the parade and do what everyone else is already doing: blame Republicans.
The writers distinguish between the grossly incompetent and corrupt Republican officeholders in Washington who created the mess and the terrifically thoughtful and luminous “grassroots Republicans” who sent the corrupt Republican officeholders to Washington in the first place. (We are to assume, needless to say, that John McCain and Sarah Palin are as grassrooted as Republicans can be.)

“The American people believe Washington is broken... and for good reason,” the draft concedes, without conceding too much. Special interests rule, expediency triumphs, congressmen are indicted. No need to mention any names.

Instead, the platform goes on, “As grassroots Republicans, we demand a return to our party’s core principles.” Such a revival, the platform implies, will fix just about everything.

OMG! No wonder John Boehner, House GOP Leader couldn't wait to go running to the media and announce that tomorrow's convention sessions are being called off! Bush and Cheney, who might expect to not feel too much love, had already joined scores of Republican senators and congressman declaring they're staying as far away from the "festivities" (which many see as a wake for the GOP) as possible. Boehner added that "It is doubtful there will be any kind of program tomorrow night." So aside from Bush and Cheney, what will the TV-viewing American people be missing out on? I think two of their biggest stars, Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger (CA) and Rick Perry (TX) had already backed out, one to make believe he's handling a budget crisis and the other to make believe he's keeping Gustav at bay. And the ones who were to speak-- basically the far right ideological lunatics who have brought so many problems to our nation in the past seven and a half years-- freaks like Mitch McConnell (KY), Richard Burr (NC), Norm Coleman (MN, who has told everyone who would listen that he wouldn't even be going if it was in any other state but his own), John Ensign (NV), Joe Lieberman (CT), Boehner himself (although I think he is scheduled for Tuesday, along with Howdy Doody and Marsha Blackburn as well), Michele Bachmann (MN), Tom Cole (OK), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (FL, who fancies himself, by dint of birth, the next president of Cuba), Thelma Drake (VA), Mark Kirk (IL), Kevin McCarthy (CA), and a pathetic gaggle of wanna-be candidates like Chris Hackett (likely to be the only GOP challenger to win this year, since he is going up against a Democrat, Chris Carney, who votes like a Republican), Erik Paulsen (MN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), and Jay Love (AL).

One Republican incumbent pointedly not invited to speak or get anywhere near the platform is radical right maniac, Scott Garrett of New Jersey, one of only 11 members of Congress who voted against giving aid to Katrina-ravaged New Orleans on September 8, 2005. All 11 were far right Republican ideologues, of course, and this brings us right back to Fergusons' Times Op-Ed, claiming the platform, like McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, has a kind of "devil-may-care flavor."
“Republicans,” the platform says, “will attack wasteful Washington spending immediately,” even though they can’t. They can’t impose anything on anybody, either, but nevertheless “we will impose an immediate moratorium on the earmarking system.”

Powerlessness opens up a limitless future. It has the fierce urgency of not right now.

As for the core principles, they’re the same ones you’ll remember from back when the Washington Republicans were violating them: less regulation, smaller government, an end to bureaucratic “social engineering.”

But the urge to stick their fingers into other people’s business is too much for even Republicans to resist, as the Bush years have shown. The draft platform condemns the current tax code for its endless complications, for example, and then proposes several ways to make it more complicated: a tax-free Lost Earnings Buffer Account and a Farm Savings Account, more elaborate tax-free accounts for education and medical expenses, credits for people who don’t get health insurance at work and enough alternative-fuel tax incentives to make T. Boone Pickens hop up and down in anticipation.

It has something for everyone, the way platforms do, leaving the impression of a government that is not so small, not very limited, and busy, busy, busy.

The platform is also comprehensively solicitous, specializing in the political equivalent of narrowcasting-- “narrowpandering” might be the term-- which hits a bull’s-eye with a tiny constituency and leaves the rest of us puzzled. “We support the Native American Samoans’ efforts to preserve their... land tenure system.” Make fun if you want, but somewhere in Samoa at least one Republican is very happy.

One passage nicely summarizes the Republican approach to government, at the dawn of its long exile from power-- bold and feckless, all at once. In a section on “Technology and Innovation,” the platform’s authors look to the heavens. They write, “As a symbol of that commitment, we share the vision of returning Americans to the Moon as a step toward a mission to Mars.”

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McCain Salutes The Troops-- And The Rest Of Us


I'm hearing anecdotal evidence-- lots of it-- that Republican-leaning American servicemen in Iraq are mighty pissed about McCain's choice of pot-smokin' Little Miss Sunshine to be backup Commander-in-Chief. But then I read she's undergoing a crash course in all things foreign one day this week from Neocon lobbyist Randy Scheunemann. Ostensibly this is to prepare her for her debate with Joe Biden. It's far worse that it's also preparing her-- just in case many unlikelies happen-- to take over the running of U.S. foreign policy. You see, aside from being McCain's chief foreign policy advisor and a notoriously corrupt lobbyist-- most recently credited with encouraging Georgia to start a war with Russia that helped no one but Vladimir Putin and possibly McCain-- Scheunemann is also credited with being one of the 3 or 4 men most responsible for dragging the U.S. into attacking Iraq. He's the president of the treacherous, and probably treasonous, Neocon group the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and was a major player in the shady neo-fascist conspiracy, Project for the New American Century. He is a very close associate of Iranian spy Ahmad Chalabi and routinely sells access to top right-wing American officials like Cheney, McCain and Condoleeza Rice. And he's explaining the world outside of Wasilla to someone one heartbeat-- one very old heartbeat-- away from the presidency. The GOP has lost its mind to a pack of medievel religious fanatics.

John Kerry was on with George Stephanopoulos this morning who made the point that McCain's attempt at proving he's a maverick only shows, once again that he's dangerously erratic. Kerry:

With the choice of Governor Palin, it's now the third term of Bush-Cheney, because what he's done is he's chosen somebody who actually doesn't believe that climate change is manmade. He's chosen somebody who has zero-- zero-- experience in foreign policy.

The first threshold test of a president of a nominee in choosing a vice president is to prove to the American people that the person that you've chosen can fill in tomorrow, that they come with the requisite experience to lead the nation in foreign policy and in national security.

You know, she may be-- I mean, I'm sure she's a terrific person. I'm not attacking her. I think John McCain's judgment is once again put at issue, because he's chosen somebody who clearly does not meet the national security threshold, who is not ready to be president tomorrow.

...Do they think Clinton supporters supported Hillary only because she was a woman. For Heaven sakes, they supported Hillary because of all the things she's fought for, because she fights for health care, which John McCain doesn't support; she fights for children and children's health care, which John McCain voted against; she fights for a windfall profits tax on the oil company, which John McCain opposes.

I mean, for Heaven sakes, the people who supported Hillary Clinton are not going to be seduced just because John McCain has picked a woman. They're going to look at what she supports.

The fact that she doesn't even support the notion that climate change is manmade-- she's back there with the Flat Earth Caucus. And I don't see how those women are going to be fooled into believing-- I think it's almost insulting to the Hillary supporters that they believe they would support somebody who is against almost everything that they believe in.

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What Was McCain Thinking When He Decided On Palin?


McCain certainly had his heart set on Lieberman as a running mate but the religionist powers inside the shrinking tent said they'd walk if he dared. He was too much of a coward, and too driven to get his hands on the White House, to call their bluff. It was then that the Secret Service went out and started guarding Pawlenty and his family. But at the last minute, McCain made history instead: he chose the least qualified, least prepared person in the history of American politics to run as vice president for the man most likely to die before he finishes his term than anyone else ever running for president; yes, someone worse than Dan Quayle. The choice of Palin, someone McCain didn't know and his team didn't bother to vet, over his closest crony and co-conspirator, says more about McCain than about the hapless wretch he picked, someone who is liable to not even make it as running mate all the way to November. Although there was no polling on Palin-- a complete unknown-- the religious right pols promised to deliver the group-think evangelical masses if McCain chose her. The only "vetting" done, was checking with a cabal of right-wing religionists.
For weeks, advisers close to the campaign said, Mr. McCain had wanted to name as his running mate his good friend Senator Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrat turned independent. But by the end of last weekend, the outrage from Christian conservatives over the possibility that Mr. McCain would fill out the Republican ticket with Mr. Lieberman, a supporter of abortion rights, had become too intense to be ignored.

Would they have abandoned him if he actually picked a mainstream conservative instead of a radical right loon from the fringes of American politics? According to this morning's Washington Post many conservatives still distrust McCain. And the article was written by the most pro-McCain shills in the entire national press corps, David Broder. He dredges up some Fox TV interviews from 2000:

Karl Rove, the manager of the Bush campaign, dismissed McCain as someone whose "legislative accomplishments are few and far between, because he cannot work well and bring people together and persuade them of a positive issue." Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), on his way to the leadership of Senate Republicans, said most of his colleagues thought that while Bush was "a bridge builder, Senator McCain is a bridge burner."

Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform and a pivotal figure in the conservative movement, told the New York Times at about the same time that while President Ronald Reagan fought the liberal establishment, John McCain "kowtows" to it.

After that Broder goes climbs back into his residence up McCain's ass, interviewing a gaggle of shills like Lindsey Graham and Vin Weber about the greatness of St. McCain.

McCain is a disgusting old man and a freakish lech. Did he pick his "soul mate" based on the same way he picked his two wives-- because she was a beauty pageant contestant? Ruth Marcus at the Washington Post doesn't always get it, but she sure sees right through McCain on this one. "
The spin on McCain's choice of the Alaska governor is that it reinforces his maverick credentials. I see it the opposite way: It undermines them. McCain looks like any other calculating politician, willing to do whatever it takes to win." And why does he keep fingering his wedding ring while his eyes wander all over her torso?

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Dobson Fails To Get Satan To Rain On Obama's Parade But McCain Ready To Turn Gustav Into A Photo-Op


I've said for months that in mid-October when McCain's numbers are still struggling to get into the low 40's, he'll go with the ultimate strategy: the Manchurian candidate will try tarring Obama as the anti-Chist. I've been told they've thoroughly tested this strategy in small backward towns in Tennessee and Kentucky and that it works fairly well on people with 2-digit IQs, much of the GOP's southern base. I still don't see how that's going to get McCain's numbers from, say 38-39 up above 45. But you probably already saw McCain's One video. To a sane person it looks like a joke. To the Buy Bull thumpers, it's deadly serious. They even have their crazed websites up and e-mail chains going.

One of the worst of the charlatan preachers fleecing the 2-digit IQ flock is Jimmy Dobson, head of a GOP Front operation called Focus on The Family. Although they have now scrubbed it from their website, one of Dobson's more heinous lieutenants, Stuart Shepard, a former weatherman turned crooked religionist, tries persuading church-goers to pray for rain on the night Obama gave his acceptance speech in an outdoor arena. God must have heard and overruled Satan, because it was the most beautiful night of the year. And Dobson was foiled. What kind of a man asks God to send torrents of rain so hard that it will block out network TV coverage so no one will be able to see or hear Obama's speech during the convention? Shepard defended his nutty video in an interview with KOAA. Anyway, the actual video they scrubbed is below.

Maybe God was pissed off enough that He decided to send Gustav towards America, just in time to disrupt the Republican Convention in St Paul. First McCain was thinking he could turn the coming disaster in his favor by using it as an excuse for Bush to not show up at the Convention, because, after all, Bush has always been so concerned about victims of hurricanes. Last time there was a big one, in fact, he and a certain Arizona senator were so busy eating birthday cake that they didn't bother doing anything at all while the residents of New Orleans were drowning.

Since then, though, McCain has been talking about scrapping the convention altogether (or at least postponing it until Rove can run another week of negative ads smearing Obama) and staging some kind of show of concern by the Forces of Evil for the folks who get hit by the Hurricane God is sending to show how much he disapproves of Republicans. Yes, they're hoping to "turn Republicans into Red Cross-type volunteers who would help collect donations, food and goods for storm victims."

McCain, who just made the most cynical choice of running mates in American history, showing absolutely zero regard for the good of the country, yapped on Fox about his campaign motto being "America First" and how "helping people during an emergency will take precedence over accepting the nomination... It wouldn't be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near-tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster." SO instead McCain will go down to the Gulf Coast and try to capitalize on the problems while getting in the way-- seriously in the way-- on rescue operations. He's really a disgusting excuse for a human being. He did the same thing when there was flooding in Iowa. Does McCain think natural disasters are sent solely to provide him with opportunities for campaign backdrops?
It is genuinely revolting to think of a Cat 4 or 5 hurricane as a marketing op, but this is, after all, a country run by a man who let himself be photographed carrying a fake turkey to feed soldiers in Iraq. So I wonder if the Obama team has given any thought to what a spectacular PR coup this will be. And the bar for Republicans to "succeed" is particularly low. All Bush needs to do is to ensure that less than 1836 Americans end up drowning in their own waste, as they did the last time a hurricane struck during a Republican presidency to declare Operation Hype The Hurricane a triumph.

Meanwhile, brutally authoritarian-type police sweeps of the Twin Cities are seeing round-ups of potential protesters already-- kind of like Communist China's response to peaceful protesters at the Olympics. There is a problem with postponing the convention, though. If they change the date, does that mean that all the Republican senators and House members who had "previous appointments they couldn't get out of" that week, can now come? I mean would it really be a Republican Convention without Gordon Smith, Susan Collins, Ted Stevens, Pat Roberts, Mike Johanns, Roger Wicker, John Sununu, Liddy Dole... not to mention half the Michigan Repug congressional delegation? And of course there's the Larry Craig problem. They finally persuaded him to stay away from the city where he so grievously disgraced himself and exposed their collective hypocrisy, but the following week, he'll be in court in St. Paul for another appeals hearing. So... would he actually miss the convention and the parties (and the party boys) if he was actually in town? McCain better decide what's gonna be worse, Larry Craig or Gustav.

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Too Bad JibJab Did Their Latest Video Before Anyone Outside of Alaska And Idaho Had Ever Heard Of Sarah Palin


Yes, it's future celeb Sarah Palin in her Idaho dorm room

OK, I'm taking a 12 hour break from discussing the historic Sarah Palin nomination... starting... now. Although I do want to point to one last story before the 12 hour cease fire kicks in: Jim Vandehei and John Harris' 6 Things The Palin Pick Says About McCain. They say he's desperate and according to Republican and Democratic insiders he "could easily lose in an electoral landslide;" he's willing to gamble-- bigtime; he's worried about the political implications of his age; he's not worried about the actuarial implications of his age (so what happened to "Putting America First?); he's worried about his conservative base; and he's an asshole (although they phrase that one slightly differently).

Our Blue America congressional candidates contest is off to a great start. Please go over and vote for your favorite candidate. It just takes a buck and the winner gets $5,000. So far Russ Warner (D-CA) is way out ahead. And then, if it strikes your fancy, treat yourself to this hilarious, non-partisan music clip:

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Apparently Palin Is As Bad A Vetter As Is McCain


But, alas, there IS substance... and is it ever extreme!

The TV report below on Palin's ethics problems in Alaska was aired on August 14th. Was McCain's so-called vetting operation so lame that they missed this? I mean it was on the biggest TV station in the state. And as for Palin's earth-shattering approval ratings... well 87.8% of people who took this poll think she's lying about Trooper-gate. And McCain is trying to sell her to the American public-- despite her thin resume and lack of qualifications-- based on her being a supposed squeaky clean reformer? In fact, her flippitty-floppitty relationship to the Bridge(s) to Nowhere doesn't fit in with the McCain meme and it's all very public so their attempts to just paper over it with blatant lies isn't going to work. McCain's operation is looking more and more like the gang that can't shoot straight.

There's another part of the whole Trooper-gate scandal that a sharp vetting team would have picked up on-- or even a dull vetting team. It's now apparent that there was no vetting team other than Lindsey Graham ascertaining that she hunts moose at 3AM and Ralph Reed giving McCain the thumbs up from the lobbying and religionist right communities.

After Palin fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan on July 11, she replaced him with an appointee, Chuck Kopp, who was nearly as awful as John McCain's pick as his running mate. And two weeks late he resigned too! Why? Apparently an unvetted 2005 sexual harassment complaint!
Kopp's decision to resign came after spending hours with the governor Friday. Thursday night, asked if he was considering stepping down, he said: "No, not at all. I've had an enormous outpouring of support from people across Alaska, from people down in Juneau right now, from people in the Anchorage Bowl area, from southwest Alaska in the Bristol Bay Borough and in the Lake and Peninsula Borough, and, of course, the Kenai Peninsula and Southeast Alaska. It's been a nonstop stream of support. I'm very encouraged. Things are going well at work."

"I'm positive and I'm encouraged," he said Thursday night.

Kopp came under increasing scrutiny from the governor after he acknowledged this week that a 2005 sexual harassment complaint while he was chief of Kenai Police resulted in a letter of reprimand from the city. The governor learned of the reprimand when the public did during a press conference that Kopp held Tuesday.

...Kopp and Palin entered the governor's conference room, read their statements, then departed three minutes later. Neither Kopp nor the governor would answer questions after reading from their prepared notes.

..."The recent media firestorm has been detrimental to the Department of Public Safety mission, the citizens of Alaska and my family," Kopp said. "While I have been portrayed in a negative light, my personal worth is found in the person of Jesus Christ, and not on the one who accepts or rejects me."

Said Palin: "This has been a tumultuous week in the Department of Public Safety, and as your governor, I apologize.

"This is in the best interest of Alaska at this point."

Meanwhile, the first polls on McCain's ill-starred choice of Sarah Palin yesterday came out today-- and contrary to what the GOP probably hoped, she scored less well with women than men. Here's a finding from Gallup: Among Democratic women-- including those who may be disappointed that Hillary Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination-- 9% say Palin makes them more likely to support McCain, 15% less likely." They also polled Obama's acceptance speech Thursday and found that Americans viewed it positively by significantly greater margins than they viewed either of George Bush's convention speeches, or, for that matter, speeches acceptance speeches by John Kerry, Al Gore or the Republican candidate most similar to McCain, Bob Dole. 58% had a favorable impression and 35% graded it "excellent." The latest Gallup tracking shows Obama at 49% and McCain at 41%, and it includes registered voters on Friday who had already heard about McCain's terrible running mate selection. Most Americans are still unaware of Palin's extreme political positions and her ethical problems in Alaska. Once that starts sinking in, McCain's polling numbers are expected to sink back into the 30s.

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It's Only America At Stake As Irresponsible John McCain Plays The Wildcard


The crack McCain team-- are they on crack?-- has rushed up to Alaska to see how deep the doo doo is that surrounds Palin. One wonders why they didn't do this carefully and systematically over the last two months-- or even last week? Although Walt Monegan, the Alaska Public Safety Commissioner she fired when he refused to fire her ex-brother-in-law, has already started talking, they also want to get the nitty gritty from Alaska GOP chairman Randy Reudrich, who seems to have come to the conclusion that Palin should probably be impeached. And then there's Andrew Halcro, who knows a lot-- and has written a lot-- about why Palin fired Monegan.
So why was Walt Monegan fired out of the blue? Why would Governor Palin send a surrogate to fire her Public Safety Commissioner and then not have a decent explanation for the public? And why would Monegan's replacement be telling people three days before Monegan got fired, that he was going to become the new Commissioner of Public Safety?

Walt Monegan got fired for all of the wrong reasons. Walt Monegan got fired because he had the audacity to tell Governor Palin no, when apparently nobody is allowed to say no to Governor Palin.

Monegan said no, he couldn't cut his budget because his State Troopers were already being stretched to the limit and public safety suffering. He said no, he couldn't cut his budget because fuel costs for planes, boats and patrol vehicles soaring, while crime in rural Alaska was putting more demands on the Troopers transportation system.

But more alarming than any budget battle, Monegan said no to firing a State Trooper who had divorced Governor Palin's sister because the guy was being maliciously hounded by Palin's family.

And not just that; Monegan's firing came after his Colonel had to reprimand the governor's office for meddling in department personnel affairs.

The mainstream media keeps talking about how wildly popular she is in Alaska. And maybe she is. Or maybe they're just happy she's not as overtly corrupt-- and headed to prison-- like most of Alaska's other top office holders. The Republican corruption up there goes way beyond just Ted Stevens and Don Young, even if they profited most from it. Nevertheless, Alaska newspapers don't seem as enthusiastic about McCain's choice as the TV news anchors are all indicating. Many, in fact, are now worrying that the choice has shown incompetence and unbridled willingness to put the country's best interests in jeopardy for a couple of imaginary polling points.

In an editorial, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner points out that Palin "has never publicly demonstrated the kind of interest, much less expertise, in federal issues and foreign affairs that should mark a candidate for the second-highest office in the land. Republicans rightfully have criticized the Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, for his lack of experience, but Palin is a neophyte in comparison; how will Republicans reconcile the criticism of Obama with the obligatory cheering for Palin?…Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job. McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation's when he created the possibility that she might fill it. It's clear that McCain picked Palin for reasons of image, not substance."

The Anchorage Daily News is the biggest newspaper in the state (by far) and they're not detecting universal celebration for their native daughter's ascension to national prominence. "She's not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president? said [State Senate President Lyda Green, a Republican from Palin's hometown of Wasilla]. "Look at what she's done to this state. What would she do to the nation?"

More from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Lately her reputation within the state has been bit by allegations of mixing political and family business, and by mistreating one of the state's premier marine mammals. Palin's catch-phrase of "openness and transparency" has been tarnished by revelations that staff members tried to have Palin's former brother-in-law fired from his job as an Alaska state trooper. Also, the governor of the only state with polar bears has adamantly opposed listing the animals as a threatened species, despite strong evidence that global warming has devastated their sea ice environment off Alaska's coast. Dermot Cole, a longtime columnist for Alaska's second largest newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, called McCain's choice of Palin "reckless" and questioned her credentials. "Sarah Palin's chief qualification for being elected governor was that she was not Frank Murkowski," Cole said of her enormously unpopular predecessor, who lost favor with Alaskans in part because of unpopular budget cuts. "She was not elected because she was a conservative. She was not elected because of her grasp of issues or because of her track record as the mayor of Wasilla."

Her lies and flip-flips on the notorious Bridge to Nowhere aren't going over all that well in certain parts of the state either. Kate Golden in the Juneau Empire noted that some in Ketchikan recated to the nomination with concern and ire: "In her acceptance speech as McCain's running mate Friday morning, Palin held up her opposition to the bridge from Ketchikan to Gravina-- the 'bridge to nowhere'-- as an example of 'the abuses of earmark spending.' …When campaigning in Ketchikan in September 2006, Palin promised Ketchikan residents the bridge."

And, obviously, it isn't just in Alaska, where thoughtful newspaper editorial boards are scratching their heads with dismay at McCain's bizarre choice. The Denver Post pretty much sums up how most everyone across the country is reacting:
Palin an odd choice for VP; Alaska guv's inexperience is glaring-- and a probe into the firing of her public safety chief is due just before Election Day: "I served with Hillary Clinton. I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. You, Sarah Palin, are no Hillary Clinton." Sorry to steal Joe Biden's thunder, but we didn't want to wait for the vice presidential candidates' debate to say the obvious. Yes, John McCain, who argues with a straight face that Barack Obama's 12 years in the Illinois legislature and U.S. Senate aren't enough to qualify him to run for president, has picked a running mate who just two years ago was serving as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 5,470. In short, the presumptive Republican nominee, an Old Soldier in all senses of that term, drafted the political equivalent of the Unknown Soldier as his co-pilot. McCain's pick of Palin jettisons his attack that Obama isn't ready to lead and looks more like a desperate "Hail Mary" campaign tactic aimed at female voters.

Perhaps playing on McCain's gambling problem, the Detroit News calls his choice a roll of the dice-- for us. The Kansas City Star judged the pick by the same criteria that they had earlier applied to Obama's choice of Biden. "[T]he most important question in evaluating a vice-presidential pick is whether that person is prepared to step into the Oval Office. Palin, with no national political experience and only a couple years in the Alaska governor's office, is a very tough sell for the Republicans on that score. McCain's age-- he turned 72 on Friday-- certainly doesn't help. The Republican presidential candidate has emphasized the importance of military and national security issues, and taken shots at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama the Democratic presidential nominee for having only four years of experience in the U.S. Senate. Yet McCain now suggests that someone halfway through her first term as governor is "exactly who this country needs" only one step away from the presidency." And the Tampa Bay Tribune just flat out calls it a risky choice "that stunned even some party leaders who fear that voters will have trouble imagining the former beauty queen as commander in chief, if it should ever come to that." The Bangor Daily News called it puzzling and concluded that the "pick makes no sense." What you read all over the country are descriptions like "not ready" (and here), "risky" (and here), "lack of experience," and inexcusable.

David Gergen, on CNN, pointed to McCain's stark, bare hypocrisy: "But what surprises me so much is, that John McCain again and again and again has said the transcendent issue of our times is the fight against terrorism and that we live in a dark, dangerous world. And the most important thing is to have a commander in chief that's ready. So, here to reach out-- and he's criticized Barack Obama as not being ready-- to reach out to Sarah Palin who has no national security experience, no national security exposure, and say you're my standby and I'm 72 years old and I've had some bouts with melanoma, I think that's a very large gamble and I wonder how it's going to play out with the American people."


The denunciations are coming in so fast and furiously that I can't even keep up with them. Right wing shill Charles Krauthammer calls McCain's pick "near suicidal" from a tactical point of view. Noah Millman, who's not even opposed to Palin says "she's totally unqualified to be President at this point in time. If McCain were to die in February 2009, I hope Palin would have the good sense to appoint someone who is more ready to be President to be her Vice President, on the understanding that she would then resign and be appointed Vice President by her successor." And Mark Halperin at Time sums it up nicely for all of America: "McCain has failed the ultimate test that any presidential candidate must face in picking a running mate: selecting someone who is unambiguously qualified to be president."

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New Blue America Contest Starts Today


Today's the first day of a week-long Blue America contest, I'd like to invite you to participate in. Some of our candidates have been endorsed by the DCCC's Red to Blue program, which makes it easier for them to access institutional Democratic money-- big donors, labor unions, single-issue groups, incumbents, etc. And some haven't. Blue America wants to spotlight nine of our House endorsees this week who may eventually wind up in the program but who need campaign cash to compete effectively now. These are the nine:

Sam Bennett (PA-15)- Lehigh Valley
Debbie Cook (CA-46)- Orange County
Larry Joe Doherty (TX-10)- northern Austin to Brenham and Katy
Alan Grayson (FL-08)- Orlando
Jared Polis (CO-02)- Boulder and Westminster out to Eagle County
Dennis Shulman (NJ-05)- northern New Jersey from Bergen and Passaic around to Warren County
Annette Taddeo (FL-18)- Miami-Dade from Miami Beach and Coral Gables down to Key West
Russ Warner (CA-26)- northeast L.A. suburbs from Rancho Cucamonga to Arcadia
Barry Welsh- (IN-06) east central Indiana centered on Muncie

We're counting votes at a just launched new ActBlue contest page. Whether you donate a dollar or $20 or $2,000 to the candidate of your choice, it counts as one vote-- although you can certainly vote for as many candidates as you'd like. The candidate who gets the most votes gets a $5,000 Blue America check. The winner will be announced on Saturday, September 6th.

We're discussing the candidates and the contest over at Firedoglake (in the comments) today between 11am and 1pm, PT.


Did McCain Just Throw A Dart At A Boardful Of Republican Pols To Come Up With Palin?


Campaign ad by Jesus' General

Palin endorsed Pat Buchanan in the 2000 GOP primary (and this year preferred both Willard and Ron Paul)-- over of John McCain. And McCain doesn't even know her-- neither do any of his close associates. Lindsey Graham seems to think that she's qualified for a job that puts her a heartbeat away from the presidency because "she hunts moose at 3 in the morning." He's one silly, silly goose, giggling like a little girl.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson, a very conservative and distinguished Texas senator who McCain passed over to pick the little known and extremely inexperienced favorite of religious extremists, said that she doesn't know anything about Palin but implied that since the state of corruption among Alaska Republicans is so intense, it's probably better that she doesn't know anything about her!

She's just a fresh new face for the same old failures. Is it a gimmick? Is this John McCain's best judgment? He may feel invincible but he's old and in bad mental and physical shape. Was he just thinking about how it would enthuse evangelical ground troops or was he thinking about what would be best for the United States of America? Give me a break! He's been running all over the country like a chicken without a head screeching that Obama is too young and not ready to lead? And Sarah Palin? Did he ever even talk to her? Did anyone vet her? This is scary. And it's not about Palin; it's about McCain. He's lost his mind.

The Palin split in the Republican Party is lining up like this: the Neocons think McCain just shot himself-- and their cause-- in the foot. The religionist extremists, bigots and lobbyists love her. David Frum (like lots of Americans) asks, "If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?" Ralph Reed, the embodiment of religionist extremist, corrupt lobbying and bigotry, is "beyond ecstatic... This is a home run. She is a reformer governor who is solidly pro-life and a person of deep Christian faith. And she is really one of the bright shining new stars in the Republican firmament.'' Yeah... Spiro Agnew meets Dan Quayle with a dash of Harriet Miers.

Other Republicans-- not the Ralph Reeds, not the grasping lobbyists or the giddy silly ones like Lindsey Graham-- ones for whom "Country First" is more than just a cheap campaign slogan, are uncomfortable with this choice, not just because Sarah Palin may turn out to be the next Tom Eagelton but because it throws into very serious contention the state of McCain's ability to lead. We just came through 8 years of George Bush being persuaded he was always right because he was always sure. Many people now see he was never either. This McCain selection, the most important indication of his ability as a head of state, is looking like it could be indicative of a reckless old man who thinks he can make snap judgments without thinking things through. Many thoughtful Republicans, realizing she wasn't vetted, are coming to the conclusion that bold isn't necessarily smart. McCain has a sordid history-- one he has gone to great lengths to keep from the public view-- as a reckless, high-stakes gambler. That's not what this country needs. He's not right for the presidency.


He's a truly wonderful writer but when it comes to technology... not so much. He couldn't figure out how to post this in comments, so I figured I do it for him. And I added a link to AmericaBlog that is truly amazing
Oh, why all this wondering what happened with the Palin selection? It seems quite simple: John McCain was listening to a newscast whilst falling asleep, which could be at any time, and heard someone say ...."and presidential candidates often tend to consider a running mate from a Big State, someone likely to put him over the top in a tight race...."

  And John McCain jumped up and said to himself, "Big state, big state...hmm."  
  He then asked a flunky for that handy NatGeo Atlas that he uses to see,for example, where North Dakota is compared to South Dakota; and besides the colors are pretty.

  "Now I'll see for myself what the BIG states are, and by the way, who left this goddamn book open to the Caucasus? I hate fucking caucuses anyway, everyone is always taller than me, ah, here we go...

  "Say, this Alaska is SOME big state!! Bigger than asshole Texas and frigging Montana put together, if you ask me! Whoa, didn't I meet some Marian-the-librarian from Alaska once, like within the last year?

  "I knew it! Go now and find out where she stands on abortion-- WHAT?! she has five children including an enlistee and AND a little tiny Mongoloid that she let be born?!

 "Get her on the phone! Bring her here,wherever the hell we are. Better yet!--ask Cindy to pick a house. And bring me there, and her, what's her name?  Now!"

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Nick Liebham Takes On FISA Traitors While Charlie Dent... Punts


Barely a day goes by when I'm not on the phone with either a congressional candidate or one of their staffers. Yesterday my first call, at around 6AM, was from Sean Millan, the somewhat over-wrought campaign manager of rubber stamp Republican Charlie Dent (R-PA). He wanted to let me know that Charlie thinks Adam LaDuca is "an idiot." The Pennsylvania College Republicans executive director, LaDuca, has been exposed as a virulent racist and now Dent's campaign, in an hysterical "he said/she said" dispute is claiming he's not on their staff. I suggested to Millan that Charlie, already in trouble with Lehigh Valley voters for his complicity in energy policies that have led to $4/gallon gasoline (while he scarfed up $75,831 in "donations" from Big Oil), should denounce LaDuca's racism, sexism and homophobia and sound a little like a statesman instead of a 5th grader in a spat with a playmate. He said he'd e-mail me; still waiting.

But it wasn't just the Dent menagere on the phone spinning its shady relationships with seedy characters. I had some long conversations of a more substantive nature with Democratic candidates who didn't shun speaking about tough issues facing Americans. One was with a southern California candidate we haven't talked much about, Nick Liebham, who's opposing revolving door lobbyist/congressman Brian Bilbray in the northern San Diego suburbs. Across a broad array of issues Nick is a thoughtful and committed Democrat with an excellent chance to send Bilbray back to K Street. But the part of cour conversation that really got me going was his lawerly take on Bush's FISA legislation. I didn't have my recorder on but he told me he had said basically the same thing to Lucas O'Connor at Calitics a couple months ago and he sent me the link:

As somebody who has been a prosecutor and dealt with the 4th Amendment, I can tell you that this happened to have been the one amendment in the Bill of Rights that all the Founding Fathers could agree upon; that in order for the government intrusion there had to be probable cause signed off on by an independent magistrate that says you may have committed a crime. I find the entire FISA process to be constitutionally dubious. That doesn't mean that it couldn't be made constitutionally valid but I think that anytime you have wiretaps involved... that deals with an American citizen, you've gotta have a court sign off on it. The only question in my mind is whether or not that has to be done prior to there warrant being executed or whether or not there is some grace period. There is no doubt in my mind that the executive branch itself cannot act as both overseer and executioner (of warrants or wiretaps). That, I think, is constitutionally impermissible; I think it's a violation of the judiciary's proper role of interpreting laws.

As a former prosecutor [and] law clerk in the US Attorney's office in the Major Frauds and Economic Crimes section... I've never heard of anybody being given immunity when you don't know what they've done. It's not how the immunity process works. You don't say to somebody 'Whatever you've done, don't worry about it.'... It's unthinkable to me as a lawyer and as somebody who will have... sworn to uphold the Constitution that I could ever support that.

What a tragedy that Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer, both Democratic leaders who have received huge pay-offs from the telecom industry-- this year Emanuel was the #1 recipient of their bribes in the entire House ($49,950), even more than GOP telecom shill Eric Cantor ($34,200)-- led 105 Democrats across the aisle, most of them well-bribed by the telecoms, to join the Republican rubber stamps in passing this horrendous legislation.

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Throwing Gas On The Fire Of Republican Discontent-- OH-02... Time For Mean Jean Schmidt To Leave Congress


Mean Jean Schmidt has been a complete puppet for Big Oil. She doesn't even charge a lot for her services. Other congressional shills-- from both political parties-- have been paid massive amounts of money to vote the way Schmidt does. But Big Oil only threw her $9,100 in return for having never opposed them on anything-- not on cutting their corporate taxes ($13.6 billion in tax breaks for the most profitable corporations in history), not on sabotaging every attempt to increase fuel efficiency standards, not on irresponsible footdragging on the development of alternative energy, not on cracking down on price gouging, and not on supporting any efforts to force Big Oil to drill on the millions and milliosn of acres they current lease from the federal government. Mean Jean is what you call a patsy.

And crazy. Her idea of energy policy is to make up stories about China drilling under Florida from Cuba and stealing American oil. She embarrassed the Republican leadership with her wild and false claims and finally Florida's Republican Senator Mel Martinez had to step in and explain that her bizarre charges were an "urban myth." If he was unfortunate enough to actually know Mean Jean, he'd know most of her public pronouncements are what polite society might call "urban myths."

Anyway I was really happy to find out today that Victoria Wulsin's campaign is about to run the TV ad below all over southern Ohio starting on the opening day of the Republican Convention. If you can spare any change, please consider making a donation to her campaign so she can run the ad lots of times. Recent polling shows that only half the Republicans in the second district are considering voting to re-elect Schmidt. Overall, the poll found that only 33% approve of her performance in Congress and only 36% are prepared to re-elect her.

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So Far McCain's First Executive Decision Is Going Over Like A Lead Balloon-- What A Contrast With Obama's Choice Of Biden!


Even the far right GOP propagandists are having a hard time swallowing this one. Jonah Goldberg (might as well start at the bottom of the barrel): "She may not be ready for primetime. The heartbeat-from-the-presidency issue is a real one." Yeah, might be. Sharing the bottom of that barrel with Jonah is Ramesh Ponnuru, also writing for National Review. He's trying to play down what a terrible choice she is but he's clearly very worried:
Inexperience. Palin has been governor for about two minutes. Thanks to McCain’s decision, Palin could be commander-in-chief next year. That may strike people as a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain's age raised the stakes on this issue.

As a political matter, it undercuts the case against Obama. Conservatives are pointing out that it is tricky for the Obama campaign to raise the issue of her inexperience given his own, and note that the presidency matters more than the vice-presidency. But that gets things backward. To the extent the experience, qualifications, and national-security arguments are taken off the table, Obama wins.

And it’s not just foreign policy. Palin has no experience dealing with national domestic issues, either. (On the other hand, as Kate O’Beirne just told me, we know that Palin will be ready for that 3 a.m. phone call: She’ll already be up with her baby.) 

Tokenism. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?

Compatibility. It doesn’t seem as though McCain knows Palin well. Do we have much reason to think they would work well together? 

Debates. Maybe, as Jonah said the other day, Biden will look like a bully going up against her-- and maybe she’ll shine. But I can think of a lot of other picks who would have been lower-risk.

I am not even sure that the pick will have quite the galvanizing effect on conservatives that it seems to be having now as it sinks in. The concerns I’ve mentioned here-- about her readiness and her credentials-- are the kind of thing that many conservative voters take seriously.

Also over at National Review Katherine Jean Lopez was harsh:
As much as I loathe Obama-Biden, I can't in good conscience vote for a McCain-Palin ticket. Palin has absolutely no experience in foreign affairs. Considering both McCain's advanced age and the state of the world today, it is essential that the veep be exceedingly qualified to assume the office of president. I simply don't have any confidence in Palin's ability to deal effectively with Iran, Russia, China, etc. I certainly will not cast a vote for Obama-Biden, but nor will I vote for McCain-Palin. Looks like I'll either sit this one out or vote for Bob Barr. Why, o, why, didn't McCain listen to Rove and just pick Romney?

The worst of the McCain shills-- well not counting staffer David Broder-- in the legitimate media, A.P.'s resident rightist loon Ron Fournier, tries minimizing Palin's lack of credentials by comparing her to Obama. He writes what many Americans are saying, that "it's a recognition of how vulnerable McCain is despite polls showing it's close." People recognize that this important decision-- especially important-- was frivolous and made not with the good of America in mind but strictly in terms of superficial political considerations. McCain really comes across as a crass, grasping hack... which makes sense, since that's exactly what he is. He just doesn't always come across that way, thanks to his media pals like Fournier and Broder.

The only people who seem overjoyed by this awful choice are the religious extremists, who seem especially excited that Palin is a notorious homophobe.
...[W]hen conservative leaders heard the news this morning at a meeting at the Council for National Policy, one attendee told me that there is "nothing but elation. People are giddy. They are energized and they now believe that in fact this campaign has the ability to win this election."

My comments are below but first some more reaction. This from Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council:

Senator McCain made an outstanding pick from the choices that were on the table. Sarah Palin clearly addresses the issues so many conservatives are concerned about. It balances out the ticket. She's also really a checkmate for the Democratic Party because folks who were looking to make history for Barack Obama can make history by voting for John McCain in seeing the first woman elected to the vice-presidency. It was a very strategic move by John McCain.

This from one of the key Evangelical leaders out there, Mat Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel:

"Absolutely brilliant choice. John McCain could not have chosen a better vice-presidential nominee that Gov. Palin. She is attractive, articulate, conservative, pro-family, pro-life, and pro-marriage. John McCain hit this one out of the ballpark."

Many observers feel that Palin's selection will strengthen Obama's bounce from the convention. The new Gallup poll numbers show a steady climb from a 45-45% tie before the Convention to a 49-41% Obama v McCain split... before Obama made his incredible acceptance speech last night at the highest rated (TV viewer-wise) convention in history.

Over at Time Mark Halperin wonders aloud if McCain's pick was bold or disastrous. And desperate. Since she's already being referred to as "Dan Quayle with a pony tail," Halperin remarks that "those who point out that George H.W. Bush was able to win despite Dan Quayle's presence on the ticket forget that the country was much more solidly Republican at the presidential level back then than in today's 50-50 America."

And last but not least, is the fractured GOP hierarchy. It will take a few days-- or at least hours-- before we find out how angry Rove is about this choice and how vulnerable GOP members of Congress think it could impact their own races. But already, the Washington Post claims that the Pawlenty and Romney camps are fuming, feeling like they were made to look foolish and then humiliated as props in McCain's self-centered and irresponsible media hype. "Two senior Republican officials close to Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty said they had both been rudely strung along and now 'feel manipulated.'"
"They now know that they were used as decoys, well after McCain had decided not to pick them," one Republican involved in the process said.

Who vetted this hack? She may be good at avoiding Kudlow's questions but even with a Republican shill like him she still manages to come off sleazy and incompetent:


When I first saw that video above, I thought Palin looked like a weasel. That brother-in-law stuff looked fishy right away. And sure, enough, the Washington Post has an exclusive interview with the Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, the guy Palin fired. It looked like McCain's crack team on vetters didn't talk with him before settling on Palin. I wonder who they did talk to. Her pastor?

Monegan told the Post that Palin "repeatedly brought up the topic of her ex-brother-in-law, Michael Wooten, after Monegan became the state's commissioner of public safety in December 2006. Palin's husband, Todd, met with Monegan and presented a dossier of information about Wooten, who was going through a bitter custody battle with Palin's sister, Molly. Monegan also said Sarah Palin sent him e-mails on the subject, but Monegan declined to disclose them, saying he planned to give them to a legislative investigator looking into the matter." Alaska's the most corrupt state in America and they run it like a one-ring rural circus. Fine; it's up to them. But what the hell was McCain thinking?

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McCain-- Like Hope... But Different


Let's take a short break from celebrating Sarah's celebrity and listen to a different take on a musical treatment you might recall from last February. After all, it's John McCain's birthday today (sorry to bring Sarah up again.)


The Hail Sarah Pass Open Thread


Picking Sarah Palin was a real desperation move on McCain's part-- and it's going over badly. I'll keep updating all day. Even Rahm Emanuel gets this one right:
"After trying to make experience the issue of this campaign, John McCain celebrated his 72nd birthday by appointing a former small town mayor and brand new Governor as his Vice Presidential nominee. Is this really who the Republican Party wants to be one heartbeat away from the Presidency? Given Sarah Palin's lack of experience on every front and on nearly every issue, this Vice Presidential pick doesn't show judgement: it shows political panic."

And it's no wonder McCain was so antsy about leaking out an "exciting" name to get the attention off Obama. Over 38 million people watched Obama's speech last night.
Nielsen Media Research said more people watched Obama speak than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final "American Idol" or the Academy Awards this year. Obama talked before a live audience of 80,000 people in Denver.

His TV audience nearly doubled the amount of people who watched John Kerry accept the Democratic nomination to run against President Bush four years ago. Kerry's speech was seen by just over 20 million people.

Obama's audience might be higher, since Nielsen didn't have an estimate for how many people watched Obama on PBS or C-SPAN Thursday night.

Although the McCain campaign is busily re-writing history to make Palin sound like she opposed the corrupt earmarks that have landed Ted Stevens and Don Young in hot water-- particularly their "Bridge to Nowhere" that McCain is always railing against-- Palin was always a big supporter of the Bridges to Nowhere and all the criminal pork Young and Stevens were bringing back to Alaska. In 2006, when she was trying to make the leap from runner up in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant and mayor of Wasilla (population 8,471) to gubernatorial contender, she was asked how she felt about the Bridges to Nowhere. According to the October 5th, 2006 Anchorage Daily News she replied. "I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the state of Alaska that our congressional delegations worked hard for." In fact, she then started complaining that the federal money for the two horrible projects weren't coming in fast enough!

In fact, Palin has always been a pork-crazed maniac, the kind of straw man McCain loves to bash on the stump. This year Alaska received nearly $100 million more In pork than any other state ($379,669,715). According to the Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, Palin employs the lobbying firm Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates to seek earmarks for the state of Alaska. You think the vetters missed that when they were looking into her past? If so they also missed this: According to that same Senate Lobbying Disclosure Database, Palin paid the lobbying firm of Hoffman Silver Gilman & Blasco to lobby on behalf of the City of Wasilla while she was mayor and according to Citizens Against Government Waste, in 2000 the City of Wasilla received a $1 million transportation earmark for the Wasilla Intermodal Facility for bus and bus related facilities while Wasilla's Life Quest Community Mental Health Center gobbled up a $500,000 earmark, same amount as the town's emergency shelter, although less than the $600,000 earmark for the Wasilla city bus facility. Meanwhile Wasilla received a $1 million earmark for the Wasilla Regional Dispatch Center, a $1.5 million earmark for water and sewer improvements, and a $2.6 million transportation earmark for an alternative route project. And back then only 5,000 people lived there. Now that's pork. So, as inexperienced as she is about everything else, she sure knows how to rook the federal government out of boucoup taxpayer dollars. I wonder if McCain will still be screamin' and hollerin' about earmarks and Bridges to Nowhere now that she's on his ticket.

My friend David said this reminded him of Bush's ill-fated choice of Harriet Myers for the Supreme Court. "They can't judge women... (Or pick women judges... ) They're at a loss when they have to leave the country club and cigars and hang with" real people. Jonathan Singer goes further and sees Spiro Agnew in her.
It has been forty years since someone as inexperienced as Sarah Palin has been put on a national ticket, and surprisingly enough there are some real similarities between Palin and her unprepared predecessor, Spiro T. Agnew, who also had been governor less than two years at the time Richard Nixon picked him to be his number two and who also had a corruption problem lingering in the background that would end up causing his running mate problems.

...But the comparisons between Palin and Agnew do not end there. Just as a corruption scandal from Agnew's time as Maryland Governor plagued him throughout his Vice Presidential tenure-- in the end forcing him to resign-- so too does Palin have a corruption problem brewing in the background. What's more, her corruption and abuse of power problem is one easily understood by voters: She allegedly attempted to have fired a state trooper in a custody battle with her sister.

...Do we really need to put another wildly inexperienced, purely political choice into the White House, only to see issues from that candidate's past potentially stain the Vice Presidency?

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On To The Nutter Event-- McCain Throws A Hail Mary Pass


Not Britney; not Paris-- it's the GOP VP nominee, Sarah

Republicans were horrified by Obama's eloquence and by his effectiveness in delivering an analysis tying their policies-- and John McCain's championing of those policies-- to the dissatisfaction most Americans feel about the direction the country is headed. And offering his clear and compelling vision about how the country can proceed. McCain media surrogates like David Brooks in the NY Times and Charles Babington at A.P., as well as the hyperbolic far right McCain blogging brigade and the wind-up extremist propaganda rags like the Wall Street Journal editorial page and the National Review came out swinging, if limply and ineffectively, to trivialize it. The Republican Party official response was incoherent, banal and quickly forgotten as they quickly floated the idea of postpoing their own convention (ostensibly because God sent Hurricane Gustav to plague them, although Rove thinks he needs to run a few million dollars in more negative campaign ads sliming Obama) before McCain can face the nation without being laughed off the stage.

McCain will take the stage today and introduce Sarah Palin, his surprise VP nominee. He's following Obama's appearance before a sold out house of 80,000 people at the Denver Bronco's Mile High Stadium with a little show of his own at the Nutter Center-- what name could be more appropriate?-- in Dayton. The Nutter rally, which hold 12,000 people but is unlikely to even reach half capacity, kicks off McCain's sadly pathetic "Road to the Convention tour" of Little League fields and minor league stadiums where he'll be offering 4 more years of disaster at the homes of the Washington (Pa.) Wild Things of the Frontier League, and the River City Rascals of O'Fallon, Missouri. Even though the vaunted McCain hype machine is promising to unveil the running mate, interest is minimal, excitement is nonexistent and they can't give the Nutter tickets away.

While many thought that Seamus was strapped to the roof of the family car, and what has been widely feared in the fractured and severely divided party-- that they're being saddled with flip flopping vulture capitalist Willard Romney-- turned out to be incorrect. Pawlenty, once thought to be the only hope of many Republicans to stop the pushy Willard, ended the sham this morning and admitted he's not #2. So... turned out to not be someone from James Wolcott's list of sad-sacks. What did Willard in-- aside from how thoroughly McCain detests him?

Last week McCain's campaign delighted in running ads featuring Hillary Clinton campaigning against Obama in the primaries. They certainly knew the Democrats had prepared similar ads featuring himself and Romney bashing each other. I always liked this one, where Willard did the Democrats' job for them:
“I understand he’s anxious to try and see if he can’t get the topic away from the economy. But I’m going to remind him of his statements time and again about his lack of understanding of the economy,” Romney said. Reporters asked the presidential hopeful several questions on a range of topics, but he brought back most to his rival, John McCain going after him on his lack of experience and understanding of economic policy.

“I simply don’t think, I simply don’t think that the people of Florida are gonna say the nominee of our party ought to be a person who on more than one occasion has expressed lack of understanding of our economy at a time when the economy is the number one issue that people are talking about here in the state of Florida.”

And it wasn't just Floridians that Mitt warned about what a disaster McCain would be. Here he is telling people in the battleground state of Michigan, which Rove claims-- rather incongruously-- that Romney will help McCain capture in November, that McCain will be a catastrophe for the economy:
"I know that there are some people who think, as Sen. McCain did, he said, you know, some jobs are leaving Michigan and they're not coming back. I disagree. I'm going to fight for every single job, Michigan, South Carolina, every state in this country, we're going to fight for jobs and make sure our future is bright," said Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts whose family has deep ties to Michigan.

I guess the oft-repeated lines of attack Romney used to define McCain, had something to do with why McCain says his skin crawls when he's in the same room with Romney, who he personally detests. He's a little prickly and didn't appreciate hearing variations on these themes every day:
Republican Mitt Romney wound up his Florida primary campaign on Monday with his most bitter criticism yet of rival John McCain, saying three signature bills the Arizona senator pushed in Congress aimed the country on ''a liberal Democrat course.''

The former Massachusetts governor said the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign finance law ''hit the First Amendment'' with its controls over advertising spending.

He labeled last year's failed McCain-Kennedy immigration bill ''the amnesty bill'' for a provision that would have allowed illegal immigrants to remain in the country indefinitely. And he said a 2003 McCain-Lieberman energy cap-and-trade bill would have increased energy costs for the average Florida family of four by $1,000.

''If you ask people, 'look at the three things Senator McCain has done as a senator,' if you want that kind of a liberal Democrat course as president, then you can vote for him,'' Romney told campaign workers who would be manning his phone banks before Tuesday's primary vote. ''But those three pieces of legislation, those aren't conservative, those aren't Republican, those are not the kind of leadership that we need as we go forward.''

Palin will be a more difficult target. It's funny that for all McCain's carping about Obama's supposed lack of experience, Palin really has none whatsoever. I mean, talk about a "readiness gap!" Of course, she had more judgment than McCain himself-- having praised Obama's energy plan. (She has now tried to scrub her praise for Obama's energy plan from her website, very 1984 creepy.) CNBC, which had been all gung ho on Willard was in shock. "This is utter madness, absolutely insane," said political analyst Greg Valliere, who then ran down McCain's age and all of his health problems. "This woman makes Dan Quayle look reasonable." When asked about Valliere's assessment, John Harwood responded, "[it's] basically a nightmare scenario for the Republican ticket." On the other hand, this will sure up McCain's recent slide in Alaska.

Does anyone know if the rumors about the Rubi Girls warming up the crowd for McCain at the Nutter Center are true? Supposedly Giuliani persuaded Jonathan to do a few numbers. Only in Dayton or on the whole Road to the Convention Tour?

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McCain Prepares To Roll Out The Announcement Of His Running Mate-- As Though Anyone Could Care Less


Wolcott: A gay Metamucil ad

The only reason anyone remembers who Barry Goldwater's hapless running mate was is because his daughter, Stephanie, is a star morning host on liberal talk radio. It's highly unlikely that a decade from now anyone will know who ran with John McCain. But the brain trust behind McCain figured they'd hold down Obama's bounce and steal his thunder my making the announcement today. The drama is killing me. Not.

Supposedly at 11, he's doing a conference call with a sad array of true believers, the GOP's equivalent of the SS leadership-- the Grover Norquists, Pat Robertsons, Adam LaDucas, and Ken Blackwells. After that yawner... well, the name will leak out while the call is still in progress. Although the biggest Republican Party shill in the blogosphere is doing the Kaine/Obama routine with Tim Pawlenty, I can't believe McCain has the guts to go against what the Bush Regime and Rove are demanding: Willard. Yes, for once I agree with Utah reactionary Senator Bob Bennett, who's betting on his fellow cult member. He says the Kay Bailey Hutchison thing is off-base because women who feel strongly about Hillary "aren't inclined to vote Republican." You think? I'm sure McCain will enjoy reading this:
Sen. Bob Bennett predicts John McCain will choose former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as his running mate because he "fills all the holes in McCain's resume."

James Wolcott waxed poetic on the utter lack of excitement-- the sheer dullness-- wrapped up in McCain's selection. "No one," he writes, "being mentioned caused me the slightest worry. Even the long shots lacked dramatic coup value." The run-down:
Mitt Romney. An enamel figurine whose darty eyes betray anxiety whenever he's out of his depth, which is more often than not. He's already proven what a clay-feet campaigner he is, and if he couldn't fend off Mike Huckabee, how could he out-duel Joe Biden's shark grin?

Joe Lieberman. We saw what a lethargic, uninspired veep candidate he was in 2000 and he hasn't exactly picked up speed with age. His Joementum has pretty much come to a dead halt. Together on stage, he and McCain would look like a gay Metamucil ad.

Tom Ridge. A boring pundit's idea of a "solid pick," but even pundits don't want to be that bored.

Kay Bailey Hutchison. Boring beyond the call of duty, and not exactly a robust camera presence. Too moderate a persona to excite the jackal "base."

Meg Whitman. You can't mock Obama's thin political resume and then slot her on the ticket. Would she really be prepared to assume presidential duties were McCain to suffer a Fred Sanford setback? It would be a symbolic pick whose symbolism would wear off in 48 hours.

Carly Fiorina. Another CNBC CEO type with zero political flair. I don't recall her tenure at HP ending in a ticker tape parade and she's so dry and corporate in interviews that she makes Mitt Romney look like Alec Baldwin.

Tim Pawlenty. Who, what? Didn't he just barely squeak by in his last election in Minnesota? He seems to me the Republican counterpart to Mark Warner, one of those talked-about phenoms who light passes through at the first major exposure (Warner's keynote, what a snore). Yes, he would bring a youthful note to the ticket, but you can't fill a vacancy with a vacancy.

Eric Cantor. Even more of a nobody than Pawlenty and a nastier piece of work. Congressman and deputy minority whip, Cantor looks like the pricky proprietor of the Jerk Store; essentially an unregistered Israeli lobbyist with a domestic voting record to make Grover Norquist quiver with delight. Would make NRO's Corner happy but have everyone else running for the hills.

Now Fox "News" is trying to drum up some drama by pushing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the only Republican in her state not destined for a bribery trial. Anyone think they'll just cancel the whole thing?

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