Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Saturday Night Live--George W. Bush gives his endorsement to John McCain and Sarah Palin

Let us have some fun with this Saturday Night Live sketch of Will Ferrell's President George W. Bush giving an endorsement to Tina Fey's Sarah Palin.

I am still amazed at how Tina Fey has got the look, and the act, down for Governor Sarah Palin.

Palin, alone on the bus and snubbed by McCain

I found some even more interesting details of the bickering taking place between the McCain / Palin camps. GQ correspondent Robert Draper will be blogging on the campaign trail with this GQ Blog, with this fascinating post on just how bad the bickering has gotten between the McCain / Palin camps. From GQ Blog:

Almost from the very beginning, the Palin pick created tension.

An armada of handlers descended on McCain’s running mate like the flying monkeys in The Wizard Of Oz. The day after the ticket made its debut, it was August 30 and the campaign staged a rally outside of Pittsburgh, on the field of a minor league baseball team called the Washington Wild Things. I remember seeing Tucker Eskew—an old Bush hand out of South Carolina who had never spent a day in McCain World until Nicolle Wallace recruited him to be Palin’s counselor—wandering around the premises, looking somewhat lost. He and Wallace took charge of schooling the Alaska governor on message discipline. Two days later at the GOP convention, an adviser watched them coach Palin on how to answer routine press questions and warned Steve Schmidt that she was being overly managed. Three weeks later, Wallace arranged for the interview with her former CBS colleague Katie Couric, which proved to be a disaster. Meanwhile, Palin’s debate prep was going miserably, to the point where Schmidt had to peel off from McCain (who was having his own challenges responding to the financial crisis) and join Nicolle’s husband Mark Wallace in simplifying Palin’s prep so as to avert catastrophe. The latter efforts resulted in what one senior adviser would describe to me with palpable relief as “a campaign-saving performance.”

I’m sympathetic to Eskew and Wallace, and not just because they’re decent people. They’ve held their tongue from leaking what a couple of McCain higher-ups have told me—namely, that Palin simply knew nothing about national and international issues. Which meant, as one such adviser said to me: “Letting Sarah be Sarah may not be such a good thing.” It’s a grim binary choice, but apparently it came down to whether to make Palin look like a scripted robot or an unscripted ignoramus. I was told that Palin chafed at being defined by her discomfiting performances in the Couric, Charlie Gibson, and Sean Hannity interviews. She wanted to get back out there and do more. Well, if you’re Eskew and Wallace, what do you say to that? Your responsibility isn’t the care and feeding of Sarah Palin’s ego; it’s the furtherance of John McCain’s quest for the presidency.

On the other hand, it had to be hard for Sarah Palin—who has achieved all she’s achieved with a highly personal touch—to take all this ridicule under an enforced gag order. After being introduced to the world as one of the “Team of Mavericks,” she’s admonished not to be one. She’s being called out by some McCainites for not cleaving to all of the senator’s positions. The Republicans who fawned over her superstar looks are now shocked—shocked!—to learn that her much-admired wardrobe has been purchased with RNC funds. I’ve heard from one well-placed source that McCain has snubbed her on one long bus ride aboard the Straight Talk Express, to the embarrassment of those sitting nearby. It has surely been implied to the governor that she should be eternally grateful to have been plucked from obscurity. And yet the high water mark of John McCain’s campaign for the presidency unquestionably began on September 3, when Palin gave her nomination speech—and ended precisely twelve days later, when McCain went off-script—I have that on the authority of the person who participated in the writing of said script—and told an audience that he still believed the fundamentals of the economy were strong.

Even John McCain snubbed Sarah Palin on the Straight Talk Express! There is a fascinating love/hate relationship taking place between the McCain and Palin camps, and possibly even between John McCain and Sarah Palin. John McCain chose Sarah Palin as an obscure Alaska governor, for who the McCain campaign could mold into their own "Maverickess." The problem for the McCain campaign is that they never realized just how ambitious Sarah Palin really was--they never took the time to properly vet Sarah Palin. And as the McCain campaign attempted to over-manage Sarah Palin, Palin started fighting back. Hence, we're seeing the stories that are coming out of Sarah Palin "going rogue," talking off-script, and campaigning her own way. Of course, there was still the big problem in that Sarah Palin was completely out of her league in understanding what the vice president actually does, or even understanding the complex domestic, economic, and foreign policy issues that is the basic qualifications for the office. As it became quickly known at how unqualified Sarah Palin was for the office, especially in the aftermath of her disastrous interviews with both Gibson and Couric, Palin still demanded that she should have the right to go out in more interviews, even as the McCain campaign realizes what a disaster Palin was on these interviews. Do you feed Sarah Palin's ego, or do you limit her exposure for the good of John McCain's electoral chances?

The real kicker in this posting was how John McCain snubbed Sarah Palin on the Straight Talk Express. It is like these two met in Las Vegas, got married at the Elvis Presley Drive-Thru Wedding Chapel, and then woke up the next morning with both a hangover, and a sharp disliking of each other--warts, no make-up, and all. They really were not a "right" match for this race--both John McCain and Sarah Palin are extremely ambitious in their quest for political power. Both have shown the American public the serious character flaws they have. For John McCain, there is the question of his judgment in choosing Palin for his vice presidential nominee. If he made the first bad choice in his presidential career by selecting such and unqualified vice presidential pick, then how can we continue to trust McCain's judgment if he is into the White House? For Sarah Palin, it is the simple fact that she was so unqualified for the vice president's office, was shown to be so unqualified before the American people for the vice president's office, and yet her own ego demanded that the McCain campaign should let "Sarah be Sarah." They have become the two most mismatched presidential and vice presidential candidates that I've certainly seen--The Odd Couple for the Oval Office? It is a wonder that both John McCain and Sarah Palin have survived this long, even as the entire McCain/Palin campaign self-destructs before them.

Ooooooh, barracuda!

ABC New's Jack Tapper has got some juicy details on the McCain / Palin bickering over Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe:

Allies of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are now trying to throw McCain aide Nicolle Wallace under the proverbial bus, and as they do so those in McCain’s circle are wary of the impact on Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., himself.

Since becoming McCain's running mate, there have been a host of issues where Palin publicly challenged decisions made by McCain – withdrawing from competition in Michigan, for instance, or for not attacking Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for his longtime relationship with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright. (See "McCannibals," from earlier this week.)

But nothing has seemed so resonant as $150,000 in clothes purchased for Palin and her family by the Republican National Committee.

Palin has taken to blaming the entire incident – as well as her introduction to the nation – on her “handlers,” presumably meaning Wallace, who was a key part of the team that handled Palin's successful announcement speech, her successful convention speech, and her interviews with Charlie Gibson, Sean Hannity and Katie Couric.

McCain allies say that Palin allies talked to Fox News commentator Fred Barnes to further throw Wallace under the bus. Barnes yesterday said, “the person who went and bought the clothes and, as I understand it put the clothes on her credit card, went to Saks and Neiman Marcus...the staffer who did that has been a coward” for not coming forward and accepting the blame for the $150,000 shopping spree. Barnes clarified that he was talking about Wallace.

But Wallace didn’t buy the clothes, put the clothes on her credit card, or go to Saks and Neiman Marcus, sources on the McCain campaign say.

And plenty of people on the McCain campaign are mystified as to how the $150,000 charges were racked up.

Read the entire piece. What is especially interesting is that this is just one in a long Tapper list of examples of how Sarah Palin "has a reputation for making friends who can help her and then screwing them over." The list includes:

* Former Wasilla Mayor John Stein says he mentored Palin during her 1994 run for City Council. Then she decided to challenge him and run for Mayor. “Things got very ugly,’ Naomi Tigner, a friend of the Steins, told Salon.com. “Sarah became very mean-spirited.” Palin allies suggested she would he “Wasilla's first Christian mayor,” even though Stein is Protestant. Palin allies also whispered that Stein and his wife – who hadn’t taken his name - were not legally wed. “We actually had to produce our marriage certificate,’ Stein said. His wife died in 2005 without ever reconciling with Palin. “I had a hand in creating Sarah, but in the end she blew me out of the water,” Stein told Salon. “Sarah's on a mission, she's an opportunist.”

* Former City Councilman Nick Carney also helped mentor Palin in her first city council run. They later had a falling out when Palin accused him of corruptly advocating that the city use his trash hauling business. “The episode might serve as a compelling, if small-bore, example of Palin's reformer instincts,” the New Republic reported. :Except that, according to those who were present, Carney wasn't quite the crooked trash magnate Palin makes him out to be. For one thing, Carney couldn't have proposed the ordinance because he'd recused himself from the matter. The council, in fact, had asked him to appear as a kind of expert witness on the relevant rules and regulations.” Carney endorsed Stein in the 1996 mayoral race against Palin, and news reports say she subsequently as mayor refused to call on him. Carney told Salon that Palin – without council authorization -- spent more than $50,000 in city funds to redecorate her office. “I braced her about it,” he said. “I told her it was against the law to make such a large expenditure without the council taking a vote. She said, 'I'm the mayor, I can do whatever I want until the courts tell me I can't.”

* State Senate President Lyda Green from Wasilla, is a fellow conservative and was an ally of Palin’s throughout the 1990s. “If you had looked at our résumés, as far as being pro-life, pro-N.R.A., pro-family, pro-parental control, saving taxpayer dollars, keeping government out of our lives, we would have been identical,” Green told the New Yorker. “She traces the chill in their relationship to her decision not to endorse Palin in her 2006 gubernatorial primary. (She stayed neutral.)…

“The animosity became public last January, when Palin turned up on an Anchorage shock-jock radio program, ‘The Bob and Mark Show.’ Bob Lester said that he knew Palin believed Green was ‘a bitch’ and ‘a cancer.’ Palin laughed at the comments. ‘Sarah can be heard in the background tittering, hee-heeing,’ Green said, ‘never saying, ‘That’s not appropriate, let’s not talk like that, let’s change the subject,’ or anything.’ Green was devastated. ‘I worked through it,’ she said. ‘The difficult thing about it was when my children read about it online. They were dumbfounded, because they had known Sarah. I had breast cancer in ’97 and had a radical mastectomy. Sarah certainly knew I had breast cancer, because she sent me flowers when I was ill.’”

* Former Gov. Frank Murkowski made Palin the chair of a state commission overseeing oil and gas drilling. Four years later she challenged him – and beat him – for governor.

* Prominent Alaska conservative talk radio host Dan Fagan was a longtime friend. But he found himself on the outs after he criticized her for raising taxes on oil companies. “He found himself branded a ‘hater,’” the New York Times reported. “It is part of a pattern, Mr. Fagan said, in which Ms. Palin characterizes critics as ‘bad people who are anti-Alaska.’”

You have to wonder just how far Sarah Palin will go in throwing John McCain under the bus for her own crass, presidential ambition. I find it rather ironic in how McCain selected such an extremely crass, grifter, considering his own extreme presidential ambitions. If Sarah Palin is successful in throwing John McCain under the Straight Talk Express bus, there is a chance that she could be in a position where she could become a Republican front-runner for the 2012 presidential election.

The problem for Sarah Palin is that this information is coming out on how she will use people for her own personal ambitions, before throwing them away. If this Tapper list is accurate, then we can speculate that Sarah Palin will have made a number of enemies during her time on the McCain campaign--enemies that will not forgive her for "going rogue" in these waning days of the McCain campaign. And we're only getting some of the details coming out before the election. We have yet to hear from the McCain staffers that are holding their tongues until after the election, and the post-election analysis will then begin. Will Sarah Palin be able to survive a potentially devastating McCain loss, and the blame that will be heaped on her for this loss?

We've got seven days left before the election.

RNC and McCain campaign bicker over who paid for Palin's $150,000 wardrobe

I found this story through Americablog. It appears the bickering has now started between the Republican National Committee and the McCain campaign. Only this time it is about who paid for Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe:

RNC Chairman Mike Duncan throws back the blame for Sarah Palin's wardrobe by telling MSNBC that the McCain campaign asked for the RNC to pay for the clothes, and it came as part of the coordinated campaign.

This comes after a McCain advisor had said that it was entirely the RNC's call to purchase the clothes (at around the 2:45 mark), and Palin blamed it on party bureaucracy.

Neither wants to be seen as responsible for the clothing blunder.

I also found this story, via Americablog, about the head of the GOP Senate blaming John McCain for "making it a lot more difficult" to win Senate races for the Republican Party:

Nevada Sen. John Ensign, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Monday said John McCain’s presidential run is making Senate races “more difficult” for the GOP.

Ensign said there is a “fair possibility” that Democrats could gain 60 seats in the Senate.

“There's no question the top of the ticket is affecting our Senate races and it’s making it a lot more difficult,” Ensign said on MSNBC. “It’s a fairly toxic atmosphere out there with the financial crisis for Republicans.”

So what is happening here? It seems that the blame and bickering game is erupting between the McCain campaign and the Republican Party of the expected GOP rout by Barack Obama and the Democrats. Neither side wants to take the fall.

The Republicans still do not get it. It wasn't Sarah Palin's $150,000 wardrobe "malfunction," or even the McCain campaign's self-destruction that may just hand over a majority-proof Congress and White House over to Barack Obama and the Democrats. It was 28 years of divisive Republican politics, starting with the Reagan revolution, of slashing the government's social safety net, increasing the inequality between the poor and the uber-rich, shifting huge government resources into the military, expanding government deregulation which allowed for unbridled capitalism, charging almost $10 trillion on the government charge card, and promoting a neocon foreign policy of pre-emptive war and alienating the U.S. as the world's bully. This march of divisive, GOP politics expanded greatly under the administration of George W. Bush, ultimately collapsing like a house of cards under the weight of huge economic problems, housing problems, debt problems, and two losing U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Republicans have no one to blame, except themselves, for marching within their own, extreme rightousness of a failed policy platform. No, it was Sarah Palin's wardrobe.

The bickering continues.

McCain adviser calls Palin "a whack job"

This is just "Oh My WOW!" From the Politico's Mike Allen:

Good Tuesday morning. The Republican National Committee buys TV time in deep-red MONTANA and WEST VIRGINIA, a sign the party is scrambling to stave off a historic landslide a week from today. “Tough environment,” one Republican official says sardonically. The McCain campaign has not officially given up on VIRGINIA but a top official concedes it is LOST, while maintaining that a PENNSYLVANIA miracle can still get Sen. McCain to 270. He and Gov. Palin will be there repeatedly before Election Day. But should they also be shoring up Nevada, now a must-win?


Gov. Palin, to Fox's SEAN HANNITY on "Hannity & Colmes": "I think it's very close, and I think there is a lot of enthusiasm. ... John and I have both been in that underdog position over and over again. And you know what? I, in my career, happen to take on the good old boy network more than once. Having the scars to prove it. Being in the underdog position, it motivates us. Makes us work harder. And I believe that yes, the wisdom of the people will prevail on Nov. 4.”

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, on a “demoralized” McCain campaign: “Palin is going to be the most vivid chapter of the McCain campaign's post-mortem. … Those loyal to McCain believe they have been unfairly blamed for over-handling Palin. They say they did the best they could with what they got.”

***In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless “diva” description, calling her “a whack job.”

We're a week away from the election, and we've got McCain aids calling Sarah Palin names well beyond the "diva" stage and heading into the "whack job" stage. If this trend continues, what are the McCain aids going to call Sarah Palin on the day after the election? Certain....female anatomical body parts?

I will admit that I do not like Sarah Palin. I think she is arrogant, conniving, and vindictive--in a sense, "a whack job." I believe that she is completely unqualified for the vice president's office, and I believe that she would be a disaster for this country if she became president via that "heartbeat away." But I am a small blogger that can criticize Sarah Palin's qualifications, her opinions, her political career, and possibly her judgement. But now watching the Straight Talk Express become consumed in an inferno of hate and blame within itself, I'll admit that I do feel a little sorry for Sarah Palin. She is not the complete blame for this McCain campaign's self-destruction. True, Sarah Palin does deserve a chunk of the blame for accepting the vice presidential nomination when she obviously was not qualified, and clearly showed the American people just how unqualified she was. But there is also plenty of blame to go around to these McCain aids that are calling Sarah Palin names. There is blame on McCain advisers Rick Davis and Steve Schmitd, for attempting to make the McCain campaign a campaign of "personality," rather than issues, and to fit a square McCain campaign into a Rovian playbook hole. There is blame on John McCain himself, for rebooting his campaign a half dozen times, for sucking up to just about every conservative interest group, for going on the "kitchen sink" negative attacks against Democratic challenger Barack Obama, and for choosing an obviously unqualified Sarah Palin as his running mate. This was a campaign that utilized the Rovian playbook a third time, one that divided the electorate, energized the base, and used fear to peel off enough moderate and independent votes from the Democratic side in order to place another Republican into the White House. This playbook worked for George W. Bush twice. But by the end of September, there was already too much fear within the American public--fear of the slowing economy, a declining stock market and slumping 401K statements. Fear of unemployment, foreclosures, and falling housing prices. The American people didn't need fear--they needed hope, and a vision of change to send the country back to the right track. Barack Obama presented that vision of hope and change. John McCain presented the vision of fear. And now with seven days left until the election, the American people have just about made up their minds in embracing Barack Obama's vision, over that of John McCain's.

The McCain staffers realize it, and they are scrambling to escape by blaming each other, and by blaming Sarah Palin for this sinking McCain campaign.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The McCain / Palin bickering continues

There is not much to comment on this CNN.com story, except that the bickering is growing between the McCain camp and the Palin camp. This is from CNN.com:

(CNN) -- Some aides to Sen. John McCain say they weren't happy that running mate Sarah Palin went off script Sunday and turned attention back to the controversy over her wardrobe.

The Alaska governor on Sunday brought up the recent reports regarding the Republican National Committee's $150,000 spending spree on clothing and accessories for the Palin family.

Palin denounced talks of her wardrobe as "ridiculous" and declared emphatically: "Those clothes, they are not my property."

"Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I'm not taking them with me," she said at a rally in Tampa, Florida.

A senior McCain adviser told CNN that those comments "were not the remarks we sent to her plane." Palin did not discuss the wardrobe story at her rally in Kissimmee, Florida, later in the day.

A Palin aide, however, told CNN that the governor clearly felt like she had to say something to defend herself, because "that's really not who she is."

Over the weekend, sources told CNN that long-brewing tensions between Palin and key aides to McCain were on the rise.

Several McCain advisers suggested that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."

A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to "bust free" of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out.

What is important to note here is that the McCain campaign's message of why Americans should vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin, is being drowned out by these recent news stories of McCain staffers blaming each other for the eventual McCain loss to an energized Obama campaign, or today's bickering between the McCain and Palin camps. Americans are seeing this self-destruction of John McCain's campaign, and may end up wondering if they really want this man in the Oval Office--especially with the serious problems this country has. No amount of message or spin can deflect the total chaos that is taking place within the McCain campaign.

Of course, the McCain / Palin bickering has taken a new turn. From The American Spectator (via Americablog):

Former Mitt Romney presidential campaign staffers, some of whom are currently working for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin's bid for the White House, have been involved in spreading anti-Palin spin to reporters, seeking to diminish her standing after the election. "Sarah Palin is a lightweight, she won't be the first, not even the third, person people will think of when it comes to 2012," says one former Romney aide, now working for McCain-Palin. "The only serious candidate ready to challenge to lead the Republican Party is Mitt Romney. He's in charge on November 5th."

Romney has kept a low profile nationally since being denied the vice presidential nomination. He is currently traveling for the National Republican Congressional Committee in support of some House members, and has attended events for a handful of other House members who have sought his support, but he has traveled little for the McCain-Palin ticket. "He said the only time he'd travel for us is if we assured him that national cameras would be there," says a McCain campaign communications aide. "He's traveled to Nevada and a couple other states for us. That's about it."

Should McCain-Palin not win next week, Romney is expected to mount another presidential run, though it isn't clear that he has handled himself particularly well since losing the nomination. He failed to support or espouse conservative positions on the economic bailout bill in an effective or meaningful way, and he has turned down opportunities to endorse and work for conservative candidates in House or Senate seats unless they were assured of winning.

The most glaring oversight was Romney's refusal to do a phone recording for Massachusetts Republican Jeff Beatty, who is challenging Sen. John Kerry. "Mitt supposedly cares about Massachusetts, but won't even return phone calls asking for help," says a conservative working for Beatty in Boston. "It's a tough race, but the least he could do is help. He's showing his true colors."

Some former Romney aides were behind the recent leaks to media, including CNN, that Governor Sarah Palin was a "diva" and was going off message intentionally. The former and current Romney supporters further are pushing Romney supporters for key Republican jobs, including head of the Republican National Committee.

Now this is just fascinating. It appears that the McCain aids that are talking trash about Sarah Palin were former Mitt Romney aids, who are trying to both destroy Palin's standing in the GOP, while also improving Mitt Romney's standing in a potential 2012 presidential run. The 2008 presidential election is only nine days away, and both Palin and Romney are maneuvering for the next presidential election. Sarah Palin is "going rogue" in order to assert her own independent self, and a potential national GOP leader, while Mitt Romney is trashing Palin so he could become the national GOP leader. And both are already looking at 2012 for the White House.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens found guilty in corruption case

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. From the Washington Post:

Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens was convicted today of lying on financial disclosure forms to hide tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and renovations to his Alaska home that were financed mostly by a powerful business executive and his oil services company.

The verdict was announced just after 4 p.m. in a packed courtroom in U.S. District Court in Washington. Stevens (R) sat quietly as the jury foreman said the panel had reached a unanimous decision and found Stevens guilty on all seven counts of filing false financial disclosure forms.

Jurors, who re-started their deliberations at 9:30 a.m. today when a juror was replaced by an alternate, were somber as they walked into the courtroom to deliver the verdict and did not look at Stevens. No sentencing date has been set, and Stevens's attorneys are expected to file motions seeking to have the verdict set aside.

Despite the guilty verdict, Stevens remains on the ballot in Alaska, where he is locked in a tight race with Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.

If he can pull off an upset victory, Stevens could remain in the Senate for months, if not longer, if he chose to appeal the verdict. Tradition allows him to exhaust his appeals before the ethics committee begins expulsion hearings, according to the Historical Office of the Senate.

And let us also not forget Ted Stevens' biggest fan, who has "great respect for him." From YouTube:

Of course, Stevens endorsed Palin for the Alaskan governorship.

ATF foiled plot by skinheads to kill Obama

This is especially disturbing. From MSNBC News:

WASHINGTON - Law enforcement agents have broken up a plot by two neo-Nazi skinheads to assassinate Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and shoot or decapitate 88 black people, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Monday.

In court records unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court in Jackson, Tenn., federal agents said they disrupted plans to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school in a murder spree that was to begin in Tennessee. Agents said the skinheads did not identify the school by name.

Jim Cavanaugh, special agent in charge of ATF's Nashville field office, said the two men planned to kill 88 African Americans, including 14 by beheading. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

The men also sought to go on a national killing spree after the Tennessee murders, with Obama as its final target, Cavanaugh told The Associated Press.

"They said that would be their last, final act — that they would attempt to kill Sen. Obama," Cavanaugh said. "They didn't believe they would be able to do it, but that they would get killed trying."

The MSNBC story reported that the two men, Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., were planning to fund their killing spree "in a robbery or home invasion," of which both Cowart and Schlesselman had purchased nylon rope and ski masks. ATF agents seized a rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, and three pistols from the men when they were arrested.

As for the Obama assassination plot, legal documents show that Cowart and Schlesselman "planned to drive their vehicle as fast as they could toward Obama shooting at him from the windows." In other words, they were planning a drive-by shooting. "Both individuals stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt," the court complaint states. "Both individuals further stated they knew they would and were willing to die during this attempt."

These guys are complete nutzoid insane. The MSNBC story reported that Helena-West Helena, on the Mississippi River in east Arkansas' Delta, is one of the nation's poorest regions, even trailing parts of the Appalachia, in its standard of living. The town has a population of 12,200, of which 66 percent is black. Thinking about the hate talk that has been spewing from the McCain campaign, and even the right-wing talk radio, these guys probably believe that they are doing their country a service in attempting to kill Barack Obama. And it is not just Obama here--I would guess that they would even believe it was the black population that probably took away whatever jobs there were in Helena-West Helena, whatever education, or economic prospects there could have been. Cowart and Schlesselman were found and arrested before they could put their plan into action. But I wonder how many other racist, neo-Nazi, KKK-supporting, crazies that are still out there, perhaps even quietly creating their own plans? And if Barack Obama does get elected, how many of these individuals, or even groups, will go out of their way to incite their own violence? I can't say, but I think this country may be in for a very rough four to eight years.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

PA GOP: A vote for Obama is a vote for the Holocaust

I cannot believe that the Pennsylvania Republicans actually went there:

Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust.

"Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008," the e-mail reads. "Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let's not make a similar one this year!"

A copy of the e-mail, provided by Democratic officials, says it was "Paid for by the Republican Federal Committee of PA - Victory 2008."

It warns "Fellow Jewish Voters" of the danger of a second Holocaust due to the threats to Israel from its neighbors and touts Republican presidential candidate John McCain's qualifications over those of Obama.

State GOP officials disavowed the e-mail and said the strategist who helped draft it had been fired.

"The Republican Party of Pennsylvania did not authorize that e-mail," Michael Barley, communications director for the state party, told The Associated Press on Saturday evening.

Barley said a "correction" would be sent out to everyone who received it.

The e-mail was sent Thursday morning to 75,000 Jewish voters.

The McCain campaign also repudiated the e-mail. Spokesman Peter Feldman said Saturday night that McCain "rejects politics that degrade our civics."

Political consultant Bryan Rudnick was identified as the person responsible for it. Rudnick, reached Saturday night, confirmed that he no longer works for the party, which employed him a few weeks ago as a consultant to do outreach to Jewish voters.

"I had authorization from party officials" to send the e-mail, Rudnick said, but he declined to say who had signed off on it. "I'm not looking to drag anyone else through the mud, so I'm not naming names right now," he said.

Does any sense of morality exist within the Pennsylvania Republicans? This isn't the first story to come out of the Pennsylvania Republican Party over ethics. On Friday, October 24, a story came out in the media of a female McCain staffer, Ashley Todd, who was attacked at an ATM machine by a large, black man, who then carved a "B" on her face for "Barack Obama," after he found out that she worked for the McCain campaign. It turns out that the entire story was a hoax. What is interesting about the Ashley Todd story is not that Todd made up the entire story, even to the point of carving the "B" backwards as if looking through a mirror. That is one crazy, brainwashed lady who will go to the point of lying, and committing a crime, just so she can link Barack Obama with African-American criminals who will not just rob white women at the ATM machine, but also express a political statement of carving "B's" on their faces? What I now find interesting about the Ashley Todd case is that the hoax took place in Pennsylvania, and that the McCain campaign's Pennsylvania communications director attempted to push an incendiary version of the hoax story to the media. According to Talking Points Memo:

John McCain's Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established -- and even told reporters outright that the "B" carved into the victim's cheek stood for "Barack," according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain's Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson."

Verrilli also told TPM that the McCain spokesperson had claimed that the "B" stood for Barack. According to Verrilli, the spokesperson also told KDKA that Sarah Palin had called the victim of the alleged attack, who has since admitted the story was a hoax.

The KDKA reporter had called McCain's campaign office for details after seeing the story -- sans details -- teased on Drudge.

The McCain spokesperson's claims -- which came in the midst of extraordinary and heated conversations late yesterday between the McCain campaign, local TV stations, and the Obama camp, as the early version of the story rocketed around the political world -- is significant because it reveals a McCain official pushing a version of the story that was far more explosive than the available or confirmed facts permitted at the time.

The claims to KDKA from the McCain campaign were included in an early story that ran late yesterday on KDKA's Web site. The paragraphs containing these assertions were quickly removed from the story after the Obama campaign privately complained that KDKA was letting the McCain campaign spin a racially-charged version of the story before the facts had been established, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

The story with the removed grafs is still right here. We preserved the three missing grafs from yesterday:

A source familiar with what happened yesterday confirmed that the unnamed spokesperson was communications director Peter Feldman. Feldman was also quoted yesterday making virtually identical assertions on the Web site of another local TV station, WPXI. But those quotes, which we also preserved here, are also no longer available on WPXI's site, for reasons that are unclear.

This is problematic because the McCain campaign doesn't want to have been perceived as pushing an incendiary story that not only turned out to be a hoax but which police officials said today risked blowing up into a "national incident" and has local police preparing to file charges against the hoaxster.

In a time period of less than five days, we have Pennsylvania Republicans sending out incendiary versions of this hoax story linking the "B" carved into Ashley Todd's face for Barack Obama, signifying that this was a political attack by a supposed Obama supporter and that Obama was responsible for this event. And now we have these same Pennsylvania Republicans sending out email letters to Jewish voters, linking a vote for Obama with the events leading up to the Holocaust. The Pennsylvania GOP denied that they were responsible for these emails, instead blaming the strategist who drafted the email and has been fired for it. The GOP strategist, Bryan Rudnick, claims that he had "authorization from party officials," but declined to state names. At this point, I don't know who was responsible for the anti-Semitic emails--it has descended into a they said / he said argument. The McCain campaign has identified Pennsylvania as a must-win state, even as the Muhlenberg College Pennsylvania poll for 10/21-25/08, shows Obama leading McCain 53 percent to 41 percent. A snapshot of the latest Pennsylvania presidential polls, and the polling data, can be found here. Bottom line here is that Barack Obama has a clear lead in Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Republicans are going crazy? Has it gotten so bad in the McCain campaign's Pennsylvania state offices, which these Pennsylvania state Republican officials have decided to incite the fear of the Holocaust on Jewish voters if they vote for Barack Obama? Does that mean that the Pennsylvanian Republican officials are calling Barack Obama a Nazi? The mind just reels here.

Of course, on 10/23/08, Americablog reports that an Indiana election official called Barack Obama a "young, black, Hitler." The source story is from IndyStar.com:

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) -- A Republican county election clerk said Friday she has apologized to two employees for distributing copies of Internet blog posting referring to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama as a "young, black Adolf Hitler."

The employees, who had voted for Obama in Indiana's Democratic primary, discovered the printouts at their desks after returning from Labor Day weekend, sheriff's Deputy Doug Cox said in a police report made public this week. One of the workers complained, and surveillance video showed Johnson County Clerk Jill Jackson placing an item on one worker's desk at 5:27 p.m. on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, Cox said.

"She admitted to being responsible for the letter, but only did it as a joke," Cox said. Jackson told Cox she had intended to speak with the workers upon returning to work but forgot.

However, she told The Associated Press on Friday that she did not intend it as a joke but was merely passing along to the workers an item that already was circulating around in the office, much like a fundraising order form or an interesting newspaper article.

"It was no more than an Internet blog that was circulating around the office. There was no motive, no intent," Jackson said, adding that she has apologized to both employees. "I never intended to offend anyone."

The Daily Journal of Franklin first reported the item's contents on its Web site Thursday.

It is almost like the Republicans are just going batshit mad-crazy-insane. There is such fear that the GOP will lose complete control of Congress, where the Democrats could gain a two-thirds majority in both houses to end the GOP filibuster, and the White House. And it is possible, looking at how the American public is overwhelmingly rejecting the GOP's fear-mongering attacks of a Democratic control of both Congress and the presidency. it is getting so bad for the GOP, that they are starting to lash out against Obama and the Democrats with racial attacks, even to the point of linking Obama to Adolf Hitler (but that was just a joke). We are only nine days away from the election. How far deeper into the slime-filled ooze will the Republican Party, and their insane-wingnut supporters, will go in their crazed attacks?

GOP hopes to rebuild in wake of potential election day loss

This is from Boston.com:

Conservative Republicans, for their part, say the party has lost sight of its mission under Bush and needs to get back to its ideological roots of small government and fiscal discipline.

While congressional Republicans will not publicly concede that the presidential race is lost for the GOP, they speak frankly about the real possibility of an Obama presidency. They are discussing ways to reenergize the Republican party at a time when Democrats will probably be in charge of the White House and hold larger majorities in the House and Senate.

"It's time for a fresh start. We need new faces and new people to communicate what our party stands for," said Representative Zach Wamp, Republican of Tennessee. After the elections, Republicans need to develop a simple, five-point plan that gets back to the principles espoused by GOP icon Ronald Reagan, he said - smaller government, no deficit spending, and a strong national defense that does not entail making the United States the "world's policeman."

Capitol Hill Republicans say they lost their way and are now being punished for it.

"I don't think it's any surprise that we're being turned out. I don't think it was a surprise in 2006. We haven't done anything in the last year to show that we've learned anything," said Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican.

Bush "destroyed us," said Ed Rollins, who served as an aide to Reagan. "He was supposed to be a conservative, and he wasn't. We're spending money we don't have."

Wamp and other House Republicans said they expected a change in GOP congressional leadership after the elections, especially if Republicans lose many seats.

Excuse me, but I don't buy this GOP crap of rebuilding the party. The Republican Party screwed itself, when the elephant got into bed with George W. Bush, and then found out that Bush stole the GOP elephant's wallet, car keys, and the national credit card. The congressional Republicans had a chance to save themselves in conducting strong, congressional oversight investigations into a myriad of Bush administration scandals--from the non-existent Iraqi WMDs, to the Valerie Plame outing, to the Cheney energy task force, to the Bush administration's domestic spying agenda, Gitmo and the administration's use of torture, and even the political firings of the U.S. attorneys. Each of these scandals led back to the Bush White House, and the congressional Republicans decided it was better to do nothing, than to investigate the "high crimes and misdemeanors" that this Bush presidency had engaged in. President Bush "destroyed" the Republican Party? Excuse me, but that is only half the story.

The Republican Party destroyed itself.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stirrings of Palin insurgency complicating McCain campaign

The circular firing squad is heading up into the senior levels of the McCain campaign. From the Politico.com:

Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign's already-tense internal dynamics.

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain's camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain's decline.

"She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

"I think she'd like to go more rogue," he said.

The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.

"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign. Palin's partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin's avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News' Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.

It is now no longer about the election in the McCain campaign. Baring some unforseen, or unexpected event within the next ten days, Republican senator John McCain will more than likely lose the presidential election to Democratic senator Barack Obama. The latest Yahoo electoral map shows Obama ahead in states with a projected 355 electoral votes over McCain's 156. And now, the McCain staffers are starting to blame each other for the potential McCain loss here. And what is even more interesting is that the circular firing squad is moving up to the senior levels of the McCain campaign. We've got Sarah Palin blaming her McCain handlers for botching her VP rollout, while Rovian McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt is preparing to blame Palin for what may have been his own mistakes in conducting the campaign. It is fascinating to watch.

As for Sarah Palin, I think that she may realize that the gig is just about up, and she is positioning herself for the post-election. The Politico.com story reports that some McCain aids "dismissed the notion that Palin was mishandled," while saying that the Alaska governor was simply "green." According to the Politico.com:

Some McCain aides say they had little choice with a candidate who simply wasn't ready for the national stage, and that Palin didn't forcefully object. Moments that Palin's allies see as triumphs of instinct and authenticity — the Wright suggestion, her objection to the campaign's pulling out of Michigan — they dismiss as Palin's "slips and miscommunications," that is, her own incompetence and evidence of the need for tight scripting.

But Palin partisans say she chafed at the handling.

"The campaign as a whole bought completely into what the Washington media said — that she's completely inexperienced," said a close Palin ally outside the campaign who speaks regularly to the candidate.

"Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised," the person said. "Recently, she's gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts."

So far, Palin's "instincts" have her opening up to the media, which include interviews on talk radio, cable and broadcast outlets. She has also been chatting with her traveling press and local reporters. The McCain campaign went nuts last Sunday, as Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs:

Reporters really began to notice the change last Sunday, when Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs.

"Get Tracey," a staffer called out, according to The New York Times, summoning spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who reportedly "tried several times to cut it off with a terse 'Thank you!' in between questions, to no avail." The moment may have caused ulcers in some precincts of the McCain campaign, but it was an account Palin's admirers in Washington cheered.

The only way for Sarah Palin to break out of the McCain campaign's overprotecting security blanket is to start talking to reporters, rather than giving the same stump speeches she's been doing for the past two months. She has already requested to give "meatier policy speeches," especially on energy policy and children with disabilities. This positions herself from becoming the scapegoat for the McCain campaign's possible loss, towards a potential GOP national leader, and a possible 2012 presidential run. But at the same time, Sarah Palin will be facing a serious blame game from senior McCain staffers attempting to place their own failures on the "green" Alaskan governor. The truth here is that there will be plenty of blame on everyone in the McCain campaign to go around.

Update: CNN.com has some more interesting details regarding Palin's "going rogue." From CNN.com:

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) -- With 10 days until Election Day, long-brewing tensions between GOP vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin and key aides to Sen. John McCain have become so intense, they are spilling out in public, sources say.

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue."

A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to "bust free" of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out.

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls -- recorded messages often used to attack a candidate's opponent -- "irritating" even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."

It is interesting that a McCain adviser has started calling Sarah Palin a "diva" who is taking "no advice from anyone." And, of course, all this may be true. The McCain campaign has completely self-destructed, with McCain and Rovian advisers blaming everyone else, except themselves, as a potential Obama president-elect steamrolls them in this last week of campaigning. I'm not surprise that, this late in the game, Sarah Palin would be starting to look out for her own political future, even as she continues going through the motions of campaigning in these final days of the election. And why shouldn't she look out for herself, when Sarah Palin also blames the McCain staffers, and the Rovians, for mishandling her own vice presidential rollout, even as she herself was so completely unqualified for the office anyways?

The circular firing squad continues on.

Friday, October 24, 2008

GOP forms circular firing squad

I found this story through the Politico:

With despair rising even among many of John McCain’s own advisers, influential Republicans inside and outside his campaign are engaged in an intense round of blame-casting and rear-covering — much of it virtually conceding that an Election Day rout is likely.

A McCain interview published Thursday in The Washington Times sparked the latest and most nasty round of finger-pointing, with senior GOP hands close to President Bush and top congressional aides denouncing the candidate for what they said was an unfocused message and poorly executed campaign.

McCain told the Times that the administration “let things get completely out of hand” through eight years of bad decisions about Iraq, global warming, and big spending.

The candidate’s strategists in recent days have become increasingly vocal in interviews and conference calls about what they call unfair news media coverage and Barack Obama’s wide financial advantage — both complaints laying down a post-election storyline for why their own efforts proved ineffectual.

These public comments offer a whiff of an increasingly acrid behind-the-scenes GOP meltdown — a blame game played out through not-for-attribution comments to reporters that operatives know will find their way into circulation.

Top Republican officials have let it be known they are distressed about McCain’s organization. Coordination between the McCain campaign and Republican National Committee, always uneven, is now nearly dysfunctional, with little high-level contact and intelligence-sharing between the two.

“There is no communication,” lamented one top Republican. “It drives you crazy.”

At his Northern Virginia headquarters, some McCain aides are already speaking of the campaign in the past tense. Morale, even among some of the heartiest and most loyal staffers, has plummeted. And many past and current McCain advisers are warring with each other over who led the candidate astray.

One well-connected Republican in the private sector was shocked to get calls and resumes in the past few days from what he said were senior McCain aides — a breach of custom for even the worst-off campaigns.

“It’s not an extraordinarily happy place to be right now,” said one senior McCain aide. “I’m not gonna lie. It’s just unfortunate.”

“If you really want to see what ‘going negative’ is in politics, just watch the back-stabbing and blame game that we’re starting to see,” said Mark McKinnon, the ad man who left the campaign after McCain wrapped up the GOP primary. “And there’s one common theme: Everyone who wasn’t part of the campaign could have done better.”

“The cake is baked,” agreed a former McCain strategist. “We’re entering the finger-pointing and positioning-for-history part of the campaign. It’s every man for himself now.”

A circular firing squad is among the most familiar political rituals of a campaign when things aren’t going well. But it is rare for campaign aides to be so openly participating in it well before Election Day.

The McCain campaign has gone beyond its self-destructive phase. Not only are the rats jumping off the re-arranged deck chairs of the sinking U.S.S. John McCain, but they are now pointing fingers at each other even before the campaign finishes sinking. We even have John McCain now blaming George Bush for his loss, saying that the administration “let things get completely out of hand,” even though John McCain has completely agreed with the Bush administration's domestic and foreign policies. It is just that incredible.

Looking back on the McCain campaign, I think the self-destruction really started when John McCain performed his control-alt-delete rebooting of his campaign by demoting campaign manager Rick Davis and handing control of his campaign over to the Rovians. John McCain ran a pretty decent primary, if only because the Republican base was fractured by the differing candidates appealing to differing interest groups--the Religious conservatives loved Mike Huckabee, the business and corporate interests were interested in Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani was a "Noun, a Verb, and a 9/11." The competing interests preferred their man, while criticizing the other candidates--the Religious Right didn't like Romney's Mormonism, the corporate interests didn't like Huckabee's extremism, and Giuliani could only talk about 9/11. Even the once media-speculating, white knight, Fred Thompson seemed like he only wanted to play an actor running for president, rather than becoming a real candidate running for president. And where was John McCain in all this? John McCain was pandering to everybody, trying to be everybody's friend. That made all the conservative and corporate interests initially suspicious of McCain. I think John McCain won the GOP nomination because he was the only one left standing, as Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, and Mitt Romney, all ended up dropping out of the race. John McCain was literally the last man standing not because the GOP nominated him due to McCain's vision and political views, but because competing interests squabbled over the other candidates during the primary season, dropping them out and leaving McCain as the eventual nominee.

The trouble began when the McCain campaign shifted from a primary campaign to a general election campaign. McCain mainly ran a primary stressing strong, conservative, support for the U.S. war in Iraq. The subprime mortgage crisis was becoming an issue, however the financial crisis did not hit the U.S. John McCain continued running his experience message over that of Democratic candidate Barack Obama's message of change. The obvious question that the McCain staff should have asked then is why should McCain continue his message of experience over change, when Hillary Clinton lost to Obama on the very same message? McCain ran a strong, conservative primary, supporting strong, conservative policies--strong, conservative policies that he would have to backpedal on if he wanted to garner the moderates and independents. So the McCain message for the general election campaign was completely screwed up. In addition, the McCain campaign emphasized McCain's strong foreign policy credentials, and his strong support for the U.S. war in Iraq. This was fine during the primary season, when the war was occupying America's attention. But by August / September, the attention had shifted from the war to the economy, something McCain professed that he didn't know much about. Toss in some of the gaffes McCain made during the primary season (Bomb bomb bomb Iran? America's problems are psychological?), and I even wondered if John McCain was losing it. John McCain had already rebooted his campaign once in early April, 2007, where McCain went from being a critic of the Bush war in Iraq, to being a staunch supporter. But then in early July of this year, McCain rebooted his campaign again, elevating Rovian Steve Schmidt to giving full control of the McCain campaign.

The Rovians decided that, in order for McCain to win control of the White House, they would use the same 2004 playbook of fear-mongering, negative campaigning, and limiting access of the candidate to the press, for the McCain campaign that once worked for George Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. The Rovians decided to bring out the base for McCain, just like they did for George W. Bush in both of his elections. Looking back, I could see some of the Rovians' handiwork during the general election. They first limited the mainstream press exposure of John McCain. This certainly limited some of the McCain gaffes, but it also angered the mainstream press that was use to their bull sessions with McCain on the Straight Talk Express. These bull sessions that McCain would give to the press, the stories that McCain would tell to the reporters, is what gave the McCain campaign a very good relationship with the press, even to the point where the press would play down some of the McCain gaffes, or happily regurgitate the McCain talking points without much criticism. That all changed from around August to September, when the press started calling out McCain for his campaign's lobbying ties, the vetting of Sarah Palin and her inexperience, McCain's denials that the U.S. economy was in a recession, and even McCain's negative attack ads against Obama. The Rovians decided to focus their general election campaign as one of complete smear and mudslinging against Barack Obama--Obama will surrender to the terrorist, Obama is connected to terrorists (Bill Ayers), Obama snorted coke, Obama will raise your taxes, negative ad after negative ad after negative ad. John McCain does not present much of a campaign based on a vision for this country's future, or even one on hope for this country. It is all about attacking Barack Obama. Even more surprising was that the Rovians realized that the experience message of McCain was not working, and decided to co-opt the Obama message of change--Barack Obama was not a president of change, John McCain is really a president of change.

Of course, the biggest change that the Rovians made in the McCain campaign was in the selection of Sarah Palin for McCain's vice presidential running mate. Sarah Palin was not John McCain's first choice for the vice presidential candidate--McCain was considering Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman for the VP slot. This Lieberman VP speculation prompted Karl Rove to directly step into the campaign and call Lieberman, asking him to withdrawal his name from the VP short list. Rove's choice for McCain's VP pick was Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. So there was some machinations going on in the McCain camp over who the VP pick would be. The Huffington Post's Sidney Blumenthal reported, on August 31, 2008, that McCain made "an impulsive decision to prove his independence in reaction to pressure from Karl Rove, who was lobbying for Mitt Romney." Blumenthal reported that Karl Rove wanted Romney, and pushed him. McCain pushed back in wanting Lieberman. The Palin nomination was "McCain establishing himself apart from the Bush/Rove political operation." Sarah Palin became a political compromise between Karl Rove and John McCain. Palin could be acceptable choice for the Rovians, since she completely energized the conservative base when she stepped out on the Republican National Convention to give her acceptance speech. The problem with Sarah Palin was that after her RNC acceptance speech performance, Palin had shown herself to be completely unqualified for the vice president's office. There was no proper vetting by the McCain campaign of Sarah Palin. Even worst, it was the media that vetted Sarah Palin, revealing the Troopergate scandal, Palin's contradiction with the Bridge to Nowhere, and even Palin's excessive charging the state of Alaska for travel expenses. Sarah Palin had no clue of either foreign policy or domestic policy experience--remember Palin's puzzled look of ABC's Charlie Gibson on the question of defining the Bush Doctrine? Palin showed herself to be completely unqualified, completely unable to answer questions from the press, completely unable to even define what a vice president's role is. It is no wonder that Sarah Palin's negative ratings are now higher than her positive ratings.

Finally, the political landscape is far different from 2004, where Americans were concerned and afraid of where the country was heading in the war in Iraq. In 2004, Bush could present the question of changing a horses' rider in midstream. However this September, the nation's worries were not focused on the Iraq war, but rather the financial meltdown that occurred as a result of the subprime housing woes. The fear changed from the war to the economy, and with the Republicans still in control of the White House, no amount of fear-mongering could sway Americans from supporting Obama as to handling economic issues better than McCain. The Rovians' 2004 election playbook is not working for the 2008 election because the country has changed so much over these past eight Bush administration years. And yet, they do not get it.

However, the American voters are getting it. They don't want another Bush third term under John McCain and Sarah Palin. It is why you are seeing the state polls going towards an Obama blue. I'm not saying that Barack Obama has won the election over John McCain, but rather that John McCain will find it much more difficult to win over the states that even George Bush had won in 2000 and 2004--states like Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico (2004), Colorado, and Virginia. All of these states show Obama having a lead over McCain. And McCain still has to defend such toss-up states as Nevada, Montana, Florida, Missouri, Indiana, and North Carolina. I'm not sure if there is a strategy that McCain can enact, to win, in less than 11 days before the election. John McCain could still win the election. But if the political events continue trending the way they are, until November 4th, then John McCain's chances of gaining the keys to the Oval Office will continue to slip away. And now that things are so bad at the McCain campaign, the McCain staffers and Rovians are starting to form their own circular firing squad in blaming each other for the McCain campaign's self-destruction. While I may blame the Rovians for the destruction of McCain's general election campaign, if McCain loses the election, everyone in the McCain campaign had a hand in this potentially total loss--even John McCain himself.

Eleven days to go until the election.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

RNC shelled out $150K for Sarah Palin's wardrobe

And you can bet that Sarah Palin gets to keep her wardrobe, regardless of who wins or loses. From The Politico:

The Republican National Committee appears to have spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August.

According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74.

The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September.

The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August.

Republican vice-presidential candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin gestures during a rally in Lancaster, Pa., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2008.
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Politico asked the McCain campaign for comment, explicitly noting the $150,000 in expenses for department store shopping and makeup consultation that were incurred immediately after Palin’s announcement. Pre-September reports do not include similar costs.

Spokeswoman Maria Comella declined to answer specific questions about the expenditures, including whether it was necessary to spend that much and whether it amounted to one early investment in Palin or if shopping for the vice presidential nominee was ongoing.

CNN: McCain strategists say Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado are "gone"

This is from CNN.com:

The McCain campaign is looking at an Electoral College strategy heading into the final two weeks that has virtually no room for error and depends heavily on a dramatic comeback in Pennsylvania, which hasn't backed a Republican for president in 20 years.

While Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado are still officially listed as McCain target states, two top strategists and advisers tell CNN that the situation in those states looks increasingly bleak. Iowa and New Mexico always have been viewed as difficult races, but the similar assessment of Colorado reflects a dramatic shift for a campaign that had long counted on the state.

"Gone," was the word one top McCain insider used to describe those three states.

This source said while the polls in Colorado remain close, he and most others in the operation were of the opinion that the Obama campaign and its allies have a far superior ground/turnout operation and "most of us have a hard time counting on Colorado."

Campaign manager Rick Davis is among the dissenters, believing the state remains within reach, several sources in and close to the McCain campaign say.

I looked at the 2004 presidential election between Republican George W. Bush and Democrat John Kerry, and all three states went to Bush. During the 2000 presidential election, Colorado went to Republican George W. Bush, while Iowa and New Mexico went to Democrat Al Gore. And now it appears that McCain campaign strategists are conceding all three states to Barack Obama. If this is true, then I seriously wonder if there is any electoral strategy that will allow John McCain to win this election, when he is having a difficult time defending such GOP red states that are turning blue-to-purple for Obama.

Wall Street Journal: "The Republican Party is fractured"

I found this Wall Street Journal story through Americablog, and it is interesting into seeing that even the WSJ recognizes just how fractured the Republican Party is. From the WSJ:

Republican former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama is the latest sign that the Republican Party's coalition is fracturing amid the stresses of the campaign.

Appearing on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday, Gen. Powell lamented his party's tilt to the right and a campaign by Sen. John McCain that he said had dwelled too much on inconsequential issues and attacks.

Colin Powell said on "Meet the Press" that he is endorsing Barack Obama.

Gen. Powell, a secretary of state under George W. Bush, echoed many conservative intellectuals in his criticism of Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, saying: "I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States....That raised some questions as to the judgment that Sen. McCain made."

Some Republicans, including Sen. McCain, dismissed the significance of the endorsement. "It doesn't come as a surprise," the senator from Arizona said in an appearance on Fox News Sunday. "I'm very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state, well over 200 retired generals and admirals. I've admired and continue to respect Secretary Powell."

The endorsement comes after a series of events that have pointed to the fraying of a Republican umbrella that has relied in the past on both moderates and conservatives to bulk up its governing majority.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell talks about what factors led to his decision to endorse Barack Obama for president. (Oct. 19)

Late last week, conservative radio talk-show host Michael Smerconish endorsed Sen. Obama, as did conservative columnist Christopher Buckley, the son of National Review founder William F. Buckley. The Chicago Tribune endorsed Sen. Obama last week, the first time the paper has endorsed a Democrat in its 161-year history.

Two Republican senators in the middle of tough re-election fights -- Susan Collins of Maine and Norm Coleman of Minnesota -- have denounced Sen. McCain's automated phone calls attacking Sen. Obama. "These kind of tactics have no place in Maine politics," said Sen. Collins's spokesman, Kevin Kelley. "Sen. Collins urges the McCain campaign to stop these calls immediately."

Since Ronald Reagan's victory in 1980, Republicans have built their coalition on small-government conservatives, social conservatives moved by issues such as opposition to abortion rights and gay rights, and pro-military voters -- with some support from older, more moderate Republicans.

In the past weeks, strains have developed on all fronts. Fiscal conservatives, already angered by the growth in government spending and deficits under Mr. Bush, have been incensed by what they see as government intrusion in the markets with the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan. Sen. McCain voted for the plan, then angered his party's fiscal-conservative wing further by proposing that the government buy $300 billion in mortgages on homes facing foreclosure.

The Palin pick was intended in part to assuage social conservatives who have long been leery of Sen. McCain. While it seems to have succeeded on that score, it may also have driven off moderate Republicans.

"Whether John wins or loses, the party is going to have to go through a period of introspection, and we're going to have to regenerate ourselves," said John Weaver, a former top aide to Sen. McCain.

"The Republican Party is fractured. It is completely, utterly fractured," said Mark Corallo, a conservative Republican political strategist.

The key point in this WSJ story is how the GOP built their party on a coalition of both small-government conservatives and the social conservatives, during Reagan's victory in 1980. However, the GOP was never for small government, as Reagan went off on a huge spending spree in a military build-up, purchased on the government's credit card. And even as they built this huge, military-police state, the Republican Party played up the social fears of abortion, gay marriage, sex education, creationism, liberal activist judges, in order to keep the social conservatives voting with the GOP, even as the social conservative wing of the GOP was taking control of the Party. In a sense, the GOP built a house of cards on the basis of fear, the huge debt that the GOP incurred on the country, and an over-sized military that this country could not afford--especially as the U.S. went on to fight two wars in two countries, without having either the means to pay for the war, or demanding higher taxes in order to finance this war. Again, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were charged to the government's credit card. And we are now seeing this GOP house of cards completely collapsing.

Some weekend headliners

I've been busy for this past weekend, helping out two friends. For one friend, I've been helping her digitize her advertising portfolio--taking digital pictures of some ads she worked on as a creative director in New York some years past. It has been a fun, and interesting, project. And a learning project as well, in which I'll be looking at digitizing some of my West Valley College Norseman photojournalism stuff in the next couple of months.

For my second project, I've helped design a simple blog for another friend, who we will call da' divinely beautiful butterfly--she likes e.e. cummings. She is going to be working at FEMA, signing the government contracts for disaster aid that will be sent throughout the disaster areas in the U.S. And since she will be traveling a lot, she wanted a communications platform to keep in touch with everyone about what is going in her life. In short, beautiful butterfly needed a blog. And since I've been writing this blog for almost three years, maybe I know something about creating a simple blog for butterfly? And so Monday was a day for setting up a simple blogspot template, and showing butterfly some of the tricks she can use for her blog. The blog is called Fastidious Facts from a FEMA Flygurl, and you can find her at www.femaflygurl.blogspot.com.

And so while I've been doing some personal stuff here, there have been some serious political news taking place over the weekend. So I thought I would write a headliner post to talk about the weekend political news.

Colin Powell endorses Obama: This has got to be the biggest political news story that took place over the weekend. Former Bush Secretary of State Colin Powell broke the GOP party line and endorsed Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain. Powell gave his endorsement on NBC's Meet The Press:

I think Powell just gave the moderate and independent vote to Obama. While Powell's reputation, as a politician, may have been destroyed in his selling the Bush administration's war in Iraq to the American people, Powell still remains both a respected military leader, and a statesman, for both political parties. John McCain has given plenty of praise for Powell, both during his career in the military, and during his time as Secretary of State for George W. Bush. However, Powell expressed disappointment in the McCain campaign's use of excessive negative attack ads against Barack Obama, and John McCain's vice presidential selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. That is what sent Powell over to the Obama camp. Powell's endorsement of Obama is huge. He provides a sense of security to the moderates and independents who may be reluctant to vote for Obama, but also do not like the direction the McCain campaign has been heading. If a man like Colin Powell, who was the former chairman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff for George H.W. Bush, during the First Gulf War, could vote for Obama, then perhaps it is okay for the undecided moderates and independents to also reconsider Obama.

Rush Limbaugh calls Powell's endorsement of Obama "Totally about race:" I found this through ThinkProgress, where conservative wacko radio host Rush Limbaugh accuses Colin Powell of using race in his endorsement of Barack Obama. From YouTube:

has Rush taking too many of his painkillers? It is like he's getting way too wackoed out in thinking the brothers Obama and Colin will be taking over the house. And so what does Rush do? He uses his radio show to incite a subtle racism within his listeners against both Obama and Powell. I don't know how effective Limbaugh will be, with the exception of inciting the base conservatives, but it is interesting to note just how fractured and self-destructing the conservative wing of the Republican Party has gone.

McCain's robocalls: I've seen several stories on the McCain campaign's use of robocalls in GOP and swing states over this past weekend. Keith Olbermann has a great roundup on the McCain robocall story here:

So what is going on? Again, the McCain campaign is flailing. All they have left is to go negative in attacking, trying to drag the election deep into the mud in divisive politics. The goal here is to incite fear into the American voters, where Barack Obama is the evil bogyman, and that you should vote for McCain instead--even as the entire country is going to heck, and McCain is just another Bush term. And with McCain being forced to defend once Bush-friendly states in 2000 and 2004, the only way McCain can do this negative mudslinging is through robocalls, even when McCain once denounced such robocall attacks against him by George W. Bush in 2000. Only now, the McCain campaign is using the same Republican company, FLS Connect, that once generated the robocall attacks against McCain in 2000, to conduct robocall attacks against Barack Obama today. This just shows the depth that John McCain will go in his slimed attacks against Obama.

Obama raised a record $150 million in September:
This is just WOW! CNN is reporting that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has raised "$150 million in donations in September, setting a new high-water mark in campaign fundraising." This record haul came from "632,000 new donors gave to the campaign, with the average contribution under $100. More than 3 million donors have given so far." The McCain campaign has been attacking the Obama haul, where McCain campaign manager Rick Davis is calling such donations "secret," speculating that "they're being kept secret by the Obama campaign, for no good reason." Again from Countdown:

Barack Obama has perfected a new means of campaign fundraising, by tapping into an extremely large donor database, for small campaign contributions of $200 or less--certainly less than what the Obama campaign will have to list to the FEC. And this has given Obama both a huge fundraising advantage over McCain, and has unencumbered Obama from the political, and special interest, groups that will demand something from the Obama administration in return for their contributions. In a sense, we're looking at a means of public financing through regular, small donations by everyday Americans. And this is completely alien to the Republican Party, which probably gets even more in donations by businesses, corporations, and the ubber-rich. This type of small-time, big-payoff, Obama fundraising scares the McCain campaign, and the GOP, since the McCain campaign can't even compete against such a huge haul. So the McCain campaign is trying to produce a "secret" scandal of the Obama campaign legally gathering a large amount of small campaign contributions.

GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann calls for a McCarthyite investigation of "un-American" liberals: Minnesota GOP Representative Michele Bachmann was on MSNBC's Hardball, where Bachmann told Chis Matthews that liberals should be investigated for activities that are "un-American." From MSNBC:

I really don't know what else to say, except that Michele Bachmann is completely batshit crazy, and hopefully the Minnesotans in her district will kick this loon out of office. Of course, right after Bachmann made her "un-American" comment on Hardball, her Democratic challenger, Elwyn Tinklenberg, raised $640,000 in campaign contributions. Bachmann then lied, telling WCCO News that she never meant to say that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's views were "un-American."

Olbermann's Special Comment on divisive politics: Michele Bachmann's declaration that liberals should be investigated for un-American activities prompted Keith Olbermann to give a Special Comment on Monday:

You can read the transcript here.

Sarah Palin in Saturday Night Live: And finally, it was only a matter of time before Republican vice presidential candidate, Governor Sarah Palin, would appear on Saturday Night Live--certainly as former SNL member Tina Fey has been wickedly playing Palin over the past three weeks. Palin put in two appearances on SNL, one walking past Tina Fey, both wearing the same outfit, to step before a press podium to announce the trademark opening line, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night!" The second SNL Palin appearance was a Weekend Update appearance, saying she would not do the segment "because it would be "bad for the campaign." This prompted SNL cast member Amy Poehler to launch into an extended rap piece, complete with Eskimos, Todd Palin and a moose that gets shot onstage. Palin rocked back and forth, pumping her arms to the music. Palin's SNL debut drew in around 14 million viewers, with 17 million in the first half hour. It is all in good political fun. The political pundits are speculating whether Palin's appearance in Saturday Night Live will hurt the McCain campaign. Personally, I think that is a bunch of bull crap--I suspect that the American public knows that when a political candidate is going on Saturday Night Live, they are doing so for the joke and the humor. I doubt that their appearance on SNL will help, nor hinder, their political campaign. However, their SNL appearance will generate more exposure to their campaign, and the buzz surrounding the SNL skit. And that is fine. Sarah Palin was a good sport in appearing on Saturday Night Live. I hope she comes back next week to do some side-by-side skit with Tina Fey--or have Sarah Palin impersonate Tina Fey as Tina Fey is impersonating Sarah Palin.

Here is Sarah Palin's opening SNL act:

And here is Sarah Palin's SNL Weekend Update act:

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday Morning Cartoons--Bewitched Bunny

Since we're coming up on Halloween, it is only appropriate to post some wonderful Halloween cartoons. And what is more fun than to have one of my favorite cartoon characters, Bugs Bunny, take on the wickedly funny Witch Hazel in Bewitched Bunny. In Bewitched Bunny, Bugs disguises himself as a truant officer to save Hansel (Hansel? *Blink Blink* Hansel??) and Gretel from being eaten by Witch Hazel. Bugs then becomes the main course for Witch Hazel's rabbit stew. And the fun then begins. Pay attention to Warner's rubbing of Disney where, after Bugs eats a poisoned carrot and falls asleep, Prince Charming dramatically rides in to kiss Bugs' hand to awaken him--Well, thanks a lot Mac for bringing me out of that. But you're looking for Snow White. This here's the story of Hansel and Gretel (Hansel? *Blink Blink* Hansel??). From YouTube:

Ahhh, your mother rides a vacuum cleaner!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Real Debate--Batman vs Penguin

From YouTube:

So who won this debate?

Hat tip to Mark Ambinder, and Liberal Values for finding this nostalgic gem.