Experience alone does not a president make

by lestro

After a day of celebration, relaxation and pride (remember the day after the 2004 election?  What a difference around the world, eh?), it is time to get back to the hard work of political punditry and that, of course, means post mortems on the campaigns.

The big game today seems to be “what went wrong” for John McCain and Newsweek goes right for the jugular, asking if the McCampaign was “the worst ever.”

It is tough to say it was the worst campaign ever, but it certainly ranks among them. According to Newsweek, the reason it is the worst comes down to two words: Sarah Palin.

… Team McCain ran a campaign that ranks on the bottom of this list. This was an aimless and chaotic operation made worse by poor choices at key moments. Their first mistake was picking Gov. Sarah Palin.

Actually, this was NOT their “first mistake.” However, Palin was the Gateway Meme, the first look behind the curtain that allowed the general public to see how everything Johnny Mac said was like a turd in the punchbowl that cannot be denied.

It was clear by September 3, 2008, before Charles GibsonKatie Couric and Tina Fey pulled on the thread that would eventually unravel the campaign, what Newsweek now describes:

By picking Palin, McCain simultaneously eliminated his own best argument against Senator Obama—the limited experience of his opponent—while compounding his own most negative image, that of someone who was erratic and out of control. The pick also fueled the feeling that grew throughout September and October that the Republican candidate was willing to take any step necessary to win the campaign. The Palin pick made every decision that followed seem purely political.

Like Katrina pulled back the curtain on the Bush administration, Sarah Palin revealed McCain as willing to do or say anything to get elected, all with little to no forethought.

And that’s no way to run a campaign, let alone a government. Read more of this post

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postcards from the internets

by twit

With McCain down in the polls and Obama increasingly projected to win the presidency in a landslide, it apparently is time for the kicking to begin:

Paging the gateway meme: via TPM, from The New Republic: “Charles Fried, … one of the most important conservative thinkers in the United States… announced that he has voted for Obama-Biden by absentee ballot.” But that’s not all: “he asked that his name be removed from the several [McCain] campaign-related committees on which he serves.” and: “… he said that chief among the reasons for his decision “is the choice of Sarah Palin at a time of deep national crisis.”  hmm. sounds familiar

Gateway meme to the front desk, please: via MSNBC: “In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released Tuesday, 55 percent of respondents said they believed Palin was not qualified to serve as president if the need arose. Palin’s qualifications were the No. 1 concern voters had about McCain’s candidacy, ahead of the economy and the war in Iraq.”

et tu, Lieberman? via Politico: ““[T]hank God she’s not going to have to be president from Day One. McCain’s going to be alive and well,” he said.”

McCain is a crappy hedge fund: via Politico: “Republican donors, at the end of day, aren’t stupid,” said another Republican familiar with third-party activities this cycle. “They’re not going to throw good money after bad.”

McCain volunteer snaps, goes insane: From the Associated Press, a truly tragic story of Ashley Todd, age 20, who “will be housed in a mental health unit at the county jail for her safety and because of “her not insignificant mental health issues,” prosecutor Mark Tranquilli said.”

Maybe it was the Palin shopping spree that did it: From the Associated Press: ““That whole thing is just, bad!” [Palin] said. “Oh, if people only knew how frugal we are.””

Read more of this post

McCain lies vs. McCain senility

by lestro

Those are the only options.

Last night in the debate, McCain returned to the topic of earmarks, delivering this:

Denouncing government spending, he tossed in an example. “You know, we spent $3 million to study the DNA of bears in Montana,” he said. “I don’t know if that was a criminal issue or a paternal issue,” he joked, but so rapidly that some viewers might have been confused, or wondered if the candidate was.

There are two problems with what he said. First, there’s this, from a Factcheck.org article last year:

Despite the fun McCain had ridiculing the bear project on the Senate floor, he didn’t actually try to remove it from the bill. He did introduce several amendments, including three to reduce funding for projects he considered wasteful or harmful, but none removing the grizzly bear project appropriations. And despite his criticisms, he voted in favor of the final bill.

The article also includes a discussion of the Bridge to Nowhere, noting McCain’s opposition, and his failure to show up to vote on whether to divert the Bridge to Nowhere money to New Orleans following Katrina.  The attempt to divert the money to Katrina aid failed.

Instead, Congress removed Gravina’s earmarks, tossing that money into Alaska’s general transportation pot to be used however the state chose. McCain wasn’t there for that vote, either.

In light of the furor over the “bridge to nowhere,” Alaska’s governor opted to use the money for other pursuits. The bridge was never built, but McCain has been using it as his prime pork example since 2005, even blaming it for the Minneapolis bridge collapse in August 2007. (He cited it as an example of a pet project that diverted money from necessary highway maintenance.)

Which brings us to his running mate. During the debate, McCain once again returned to a theme of experience – seeming to forget that his running mate is supposed to be qualified to take over should something happen to the president – but why would he mention the Bear DNA study when Sarah Palin made a similar request?

Palin, meanwhile, has requested $3.2 million to be spent in part researching the “genetics of harbor seals,” in one of the state’s many requests for federal funding of research into Alaska’s fauna.

So what else did Sarah Palin request your tax money for?

Read more of this post

But where’s Sarah?

by lestro

Following Friday night’s debate, NBC welcomed via satellite Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, to do a little post-debate spinning.

Following his segment, Anchor Brian Williams reported that NBC offered a similar spot to Sarah Palin, but the McCain campaign declined, offering Rudy Giuliani instead.  A similar thing happened on CNN, and all of the major networks, except for ABC, which would not interview Biden because Palin was ‘not available.’

Maybe that’s because in the debate, McCain returned to the experience theme and figures American voters aren’t stupid enough to buy that again when reminded of the selection of Palin as his running mate.

But no matter. So where was Sarah Palin while the focus of the political world was on Ole Miss?

Well, she started the night at a private pre-debate party at an Irish bar in Center City Philadelphia. (The party, by the way, closed the bar to customers on a night when the Philadelphia Phillies were battling for a playoff spot, beating the Washington Nationals 8-4 and lowering their magic number to 1 following a Mets loss to Florida.)

No word where she was for the actual debate, probably getting tutored by her Bush Administration teachers

But what does that say?

Dave Letterman touched on this after McCain lied to him about having to go back to Washington to fix the economy, an issue he has admitted not knowing anything about (when McCain didn’t leave until the next day and did an interview with Katie Couric AT THE SAME TIME he was scheduled for Letterman). Letterman wondered where McCain’s “second string quarterback” was, pointing out that if your choice for second can’t step in when you have to run off, what good are they?

Read more of this post

“Palin” is an Inuit word for “two-faced liar”

by lestro

paging the Gateway Meme. Gateway Meme to the front desk, please.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has made a crackdown on gift-giving to state officials a centerpiece of her ethics reform agenda, has accepted gifts valued at $25,367 from industry executives, municipalities and a cultural center whose board includes officials from some of the largest mining interests in the state, a review of state records shows.

The 41 gifts Palin accepted during her 20 months as governor include honorific tributes, expensive artwork and free travel for a family member. They also include more than $2,500 in personal items from Calista, a large Alaska native corporation with a variety of pending state regulatory and budgetary issues, and a gold-nugget pin valued at $1,200 from the city of Nome, which lobbies on municipal, local and capital budget matters, documents show…

On forms disclosing the gifts, Palin, who is the Republican vice presidential nominee, routinely checked “no” when asked whether she was in a position to “take official action that may affect the person who gave me the gift,” and a spokeswoman for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign said the gifts had no undue influence on her.

huh?

but wait, there’s more.

Read more of this post

McCain must not understand what “change” means

by lestro

Once again, Johnny Mac is flip-flopping. This time it is on one of his own ads.

Following the backlash to McCain’s over-the-top criticism of Barack Obama for using a phrase that McCain himself used when talking about Hillary, McCain has perhaps realized that his sanctimony is showing.

Could this be the gateway meme? Is this his admission that, like Karl Rove recently said, he’s gone too far?

Did Barack Obama really call Sarah Palin a pig, as a John McCain ad leads people to believe? “No,” McCain said Monday. The Republican presidential nominee defended the ad anyway, saying Obama “chooses his words very carefully.”

But that’s not what the ad said, Johnny. You remember the ad, the one you “approved” and was put out by your campaign the next day. The ad which has been pulled from YouTube because one of the quotes it used was taken so far out of context CBS threatened to sue.

The fact is that Johnny Mac and his campaign are full of crap and they were terrified that this lipstick slander aimed at Obama was such an obvious pile of bullshit that it may become the gateway meme and people may soon realize that damn near everything they say is doublespeak and hypocrisy.

For example, the whole reformer image they have given veep nom Sarah Palin, whose blatant lies about her position on the ‘bridge to nowhere’ and anti-earmark position are also a favorite in the ‘gateway meme’ odds. Especially since having a lie exposed doesn’t stop Johnny Mac from telling it again:

He was asked about nearly $200 million in congressional pet projects Palin requested for 2009 for her state, despite her boasts that she opposes such projects and his claim that she didn’t ask for any. McCain responded by criticizing Obama for seeking more than $900 million in these earmarks, by one count.

“That’s nearly a million every day, every working day he’s been in Congress,” McCain said. “And when you look at some of the planetariums and other foolishness that he asked for, he shouldn’t be saying anything about Governor Palin.”

Read more of this post