John McCain should know better

by lestro

When the basis for the closing weeks of your campaign comes down to emphasizing the differences between the “pro-America” sections of the country as compared to the cities (a concept the Philadelphia Inquirer recently ripped to shreds) you should really make sure you are on the up and up yourself.

Because for the record, this:

image via The New York Times

violates the flag code.

Section 176 (”respect for flag”), subsection (g) of the US Flag Code states:

(g) The flag should never have placed upon it, nor on any part of it, nor attached to it any mark, insignia, letter, word, figure, design, picture, or drawing of any nature.

Johnny Mac should know better.

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McCain used to be so much more than a punchline

by lestro

One of the few agreements I have with Sen. McCain is his opposition to ethanol subsidies and tariffs. Ethanol is a boondoogle, a mistake and total bullshit. It takes more energy to make ethanol than the fuel actually  produces and the production of ethanol creates more greenhouse gases than are saved by using ethanol as a fuel.

It is stupid and our investment money can better be spent on other renewable technologies.

Since half the country grows corn, it made sense to look at it as a possible fuel source. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work very well.

However, with Iowa being one of the opening rounds in the upcoming presidential contest, intelligent policy can take a back seat to the need to pander to farmers by promising them continued ethanol subsidies, even though these subsidies not only continue the farce of corn-based fuel but also ratchet up our food costs by diverting stuff we can eat – something corn is quite good it – in favor of something we can put in our cars – something at which corn is middling at best.

Obama, meanwhile, is from Illinois, which grows a pantload of corn (Iowa ranks No. 1, Illinois comes in at No. 2) so he’s totally in the tank for ethanol.

Nobody’s perfect.

Recognizing the folly of ethanol (or at least taking a stand against stupid giveaways), John McCain is opposed to ethanol. It was one of the reasons he lost the Iowa Caucus to Mike Huckabee.

Or at least, McCain used to be opposed to ethanol subsidies. Back in 1999 he was opposed, although in this election season, McCain has said with the price of oil being so high, ethanol might make sense.

However, with Iowa polls showing a double digit Obama lead in a state with the “real America” profile Sarah Palin gets her panties in a bunch about, Johnny Mac is flip-flopping again:

But at a rally here Sunday afternoon, Mr. McCain seemed to suggest that government has a role in promoting corn ethanol.

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Liberal media, my ass

by lestro

This time it hits home because it is coming from one of my very favorite newspapers, The Philadelphia Inquirer (as reported in the NY Times):

Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer joined the many newspapers that have endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president rather than Senator John McCain, contributing to the 3-to-1 advantage that Mr. Obama already has in newspaper support, according to Editor & Publisher.

Yet the Philadelphia Inquirer also endorsed Senator McCain. That’s not a typo.

On the same page that the newspaper published a 901-word editorial supporting Mr. Obama, it ran just beneath it a 391-word dissent in support of Mr. McCain.

Seriously. They actually did that. What the fuck? Officially, of course, nothing happened:

Brian Tierney, chief executive of the company that owns The Inquirer, Philadelphia Media Holdings, and who sits on the newspaper’s editorial board, would not say. In an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Tierney would only say, “We don’t talk about what goes on on the editorial page.”

But the Times has its ways:

But another member of the Editorial Board, who asked not to be identified because of possible repercussions, said that it was Mr. Tierney who pressed the case for Mr. McCain. After arriving at the meeting, the board member said, “we went around the room” and Mr. Obama was the “overwhelming winner.”

At that point, the person said, “Tierney weighed in and made the case for McCain.”

Mr. Tierney, an advertising executive who in the past had been involved in Republican politics, was among a number of business executives who bought the Inquirer and its sister paper, the Philadelphia Daily News, from the McClatchy Company in 2006 for $562 million.

So let me get this straight: It was actually the REPUBLICAN forcing his view on the newsroom and using his power and influence to try and sway an election?

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Attack the tactic? Bad strategy, John.

by lestro

I think I just got to the heart of the problem in the George W. Bush Administration, as well as the would-be sequel of the McCampaign.

It is a delicate, but incredible important distinction between strategies and tactics.

Friday in the debate, during a discussion about the 2003 troop surge in Iraq, Barack Obama said:

They have done a brilliant job, and General Petraeus has done a brilliant job. But understand, that was a tactic designed to contain the damage of the previous four years of mismanagement of this war.

And so John likes — John, you like to pretend like the war started in 2007. You talk about the surge. The war started in 2003, and at the time when the war started, you said it was going to be quick and easy. You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong.

You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.

John McCain, following this eloquent and succinct dressing down of his judgment, put on his most condescending face, flicked his tongue a few times and did exactly what the Karl Rove playbook says to do.

He belittled his opponent, plugged the message and changed the subject:

MCCAIN: I’m afraid Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy. But the important — I’d like to tell you, two Fourths of July ago I was in Baghdad. General Petraeus invited Senator Lindsey Graham and me to attend a ceremony where 688 brave young Americans, whose enlistment had expired, were reenlisting to stay and fight for Iraqi freedom and American freedom.

I was honored to be there. I was honored to speak to those troops. And you know, afterwards, we spent a lot of time with them. And you know what they said to us? They said, let us win. They said, let us win. We don’t want our kids coming back here.

And this strategy, and this general, they are winning. Senator Obama refuses to acknowledge that we are winning in Iraq.

With McCain’s storied military career, his dressing down his younger opponent on the difference between a strategy and a tactic carries some weight.

Unfortunately, as Joe Biden pointed out in the immediate spin (which was not countered by the other veep candidate, by the way. hmmm…), McCain was wrong and Obama was right.

A strategy is a big picture goal while a tactic is what you use to help achieve those. In the case of the surge, the strategy was “Clear, hold and build” – the tactic used to try and accomplish it was a temporary increase in troop levels.

In a broader sense, the strategy was to use the military to tamp down violence and create breathing room for the diplomatic operations to take hold and allow us to get out. The tactic that was used to allow the military to tamp down the violence was “the surge”.

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The laws of nature vs. debate body language

by lestro

Was John McCain the alpha male or the low-ranking monkey?

It is generally agreed that John McCain did not look at or address Barack Obama at all during the first presidential debate. But different folks saw it in different ways.

Conservative columnist David Broder saw it like this:

That suggests an imbalance in the deference quotient between the younger man and the veteran senator — an impression reinforced by Obama’s frequent glances in McCain’s direction and McCain’s studied indifference to his rival.

Whether viewers caught the verbal and body-language signs that Obama seemed to accept McCain as the alpha male on the stage in Mississippi, I do not know.

A primatologist writing to Talking Points Memo saw it from a different angle:

I think people really are missing the point about McCain’s failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear–look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior–low ranking monkeys don’t look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.

During the debate, I saw it as McCain’s inability to look Barack Obama in the eye.

But I figured that if I had been spreading such horrible lies about someone, I wouldn’t be able to look them in the eye either.

I suppose we’ll see it in the polls soon enough.

Rudy/Palin 2012

by lestro

Sarah Palin is making the most of her 15 minutes.

Thursday night in St. Paul, Palin arrived to a celebrity’s fawning welcome, to speak to an audience primed by a constant diet of red meat and wedge issues.

But have no doubt, a star was born at the Republican convention. Palin delivered one hell of a speech that blew the roof off the until-tonight staid and rather dull Republican convention.

She looked confident and strong and delivered a rousing indictment of her opponents, dropping memorable soundbyte after memorable soundbyte.

“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”

“In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”

“But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion – I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”

“But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed, when the roar of the crowd fades away, when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot, when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet?”

She even compared herself to Truman with a straight face.

But the money shot was this little gem:

“And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re always, quote, ‘fighting for you,’ let us face the matter squarely: There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you… And that man is John McCain.”

Ouch.

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Johnny Mac would NEVER cheat

by lestro

So some big talk in the blogosphere today has been about the questions asked of Mac and Barry at the Saddleback Church forum on Saturday. The NY Times says it’s “lighting up” the blogosphere.

Liberals (those bastards) are worried that McCain had the unfair advantage of hearing some of the questions ahead of time because he was in his motorcade on the way over.

Possible, but who cares?

The man is 145 and an idiot.

Give him ALL of the questions ahead of time and any debate will still end with Barry standing over McCain like Ali staring down at Sonny Liston.

The part that got me though was this:

The McCain campaign heatedly denied that Mr. McCain had done anything wrong.

“The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Nicolle Wallace, a spokeswoman for Mr. McCain, told The Times.

The McCain campaign also sent a statement to Saddleback, which Mr. Ross made available to The Times.

As if military service means someone can’t lie.

As if John McCain wasn’t one of the Keating Five.

As if he isn’t violating his own campaign finance reform laws.

Johnny Mac would NEVER cheat.

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