Monday, September 29, 2008

Biden vs. Palin

Joe Biden's spokesman raises expectations (with tounge firmly in cheek) for Sarah Palin:

“He's going in here to debate a leviathan of forensics, who has debated five times and she's undefeated.”
— Biden spokesman David Wade

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate: View from the Far Right

OK, I still do not see the debate as a "decisive Obama win". Heck, I don't even see it as a narrow Obama win---at best my view is the night was a draw.

Josh Trevino--founder of the conservative website RedState--disagrees. Big time.
Some excerpts (h/t dKos):
Most shocking is the Democracy Corps survey which, though a Democratic outfit, stacked its focus group 2-1 with ‘04 George W. Bush voters — and yielded a plurality for an Obama win.

The bottom line is that John McCain did not accomplish what he needed to: discredit Barack Obama as a responsible steward of America’s fortunes abroad. A major theme of his campaign is Obama’s callowness and consequent unfitness to lead in wartime. The failure to expose this posited shallow grasp of the wider world — a remarkable proposition about a half-Kenyan raised in Indonesia anyway — is a serious erosion of credibility for McCain. To find a foundational proposition of one’s candidacy rendered ineffectual is a tremendous blow

Ouch. But wait, there's more:
In one swoop, the superiority of John McCain on foreign affairs was laid waste. An effective debater would have responded with a series of his foe’s own grievous errors in the same sphere — and despite his thin public record, Barack Obama has several. Instead, McCain lamely replied, "I’m afraid Senator Obama doesn’t understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy," and segued into a non sequitur about General Petraeus. To paraphrase Tallyrand, this was worse than a crime — it was a mistake. Assaulted on the very pillar of his candiacy, John McCain yielded.

Pause here and consider the source: Hardly a leftist-leaning lickspittle of the Main Stream Media. The freakin' founder of RedState..

It gets worse:
The larger story here is not the debate. Rather, it is the story of which the debate is merely the culminating chapter: the three-week-long implosion of the McCain campaign itself. At the end of the first week of September, that campaign boasted its first lead in the national polls, a surprisingly successful convention, and an energizing vice-presidential nominee. At the end of the last week of September, the lead is gone, the convention is forgotten, and Sarah Palin is more disaster than delight

I guess he just joined the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Palin: Reversal of fortune

Old leftosphere reaction: McCain has pulled off a game-changer! Why-Ohwhy didn't Obama pick Hillary?

New leftosphere reaction: Oh, won't you staaaaay...just-a-little-bit-long-er?

Tide turning against Palin

Summarized in an article on Fox News, which then scrubbed it from the website.

"Fair and balanced".

However, you can't fool The Google--a copy was cached on a server---in China.

Very Orwellian mind-set over at Fox.

UPDATED: The righty chatteratti are piling on.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Strategy vs. Tactics

...good analysis here.


...well, the polls show an Obama win.

I disagree.

I thought we had a chance to deliver a knockout blow to a tottering McCrankypants and failed to do so. Disappointed.

McCain had a specific theme he went out to stress and did a good job sticking with it: "Obama doesn't understand, I'm experienced, I've been there, I know the leaders." He said it over and over--which was the idea.

In terms of tone, edge to Obama: McCain (as always) sounded like a jerk--Obama very calm and specific. Again, another missed chance for Obama: McCain clearly has a temper (famously so, in fact) and I think he could easily be pushed to snap.

To be fair to Obama his performances have improved by an order of magnitude--you should have seen his early debates in the primaries. But he tends to be somewhat passionless...too much the scholar.

Watched at the local Democratic HQ: We chose to play the non-alcoholic version of the debate drinking game--take a drink every time McCain said "Reagan", "my friends", "surge", or "Petraeus". Total score: 4 Reagans, 5 my friends, 3 surges, and 4 Petraeuses.

UPDATE: I left out at least two "mavericks". My God, I can't believe they actually say that: Worth a double shot.

Oh, bottom line: I don't think anybody's mind was changed last night.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oh what a tangled web...

Reality continues to outpace satire.

The McCain campaign, weary of being called out by the press on being...factually challenged...held a conference call with selected media types to make their case and suggest that there some things about the Obama/Biden ticket which were worthy of more scrutiny.

They provided a list to reporters which turned out to be....youuuuu guessed it! Lies! Oh, sorry..."errors". Incredibly, they chose to advance an...embellished...version of the truth when they probably didn't need to. They lie instinctively.

But wait, there's more: Asked about the "errors" Team McCain was unable to substantiate any of their claims.

But wait, there's more: Unable to make their case, they concluded that the media were "in the tank" for Obama.

But wait, there's more: The Obama campaign responds:

Number of probing stories the NY Times has written over the course of the campaign about Barack Obama, his life, his religion, his childhood, his politics, his time in the state senate, his time in the U.S. Senate, his family, his religion, his friends, his fundraising and all other manner of associations: more than 40

Number of stories the NY Times has written over the course of the campaign about the last major financial regulatory crisis, resulting in a huge bailout, and which John McCain was centrally involved in with his political godfather Charles Keating: 0

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No blank check

Thus spake Madame Speaker.

Well...we shall see.

I think it unlikely that all of the reforms proposed by Robert Reich would be included in any deal--but Congressional Democrats should be able to extract significant concessions.

It remains to be seen if these concessions will include the pound of flesh from...somebody...anybody...who can be held responsible.


What they really do.

The candidates' solutions... the economic crises summed up by Noah Millman (via Megan McArdle):

Obama: We're in this mess because the fundamentals are bad, and the fundamentals are bad because the Republicans have been ignoring ordinary working people and their needs. Most of what I think we should do is not particularly germane, and what is germane I don't want to explain in too much detail because I'm worried I might get it wrong. I'm sticking to my platform.

McCain: We're in this mess because a bunch of Wall Street hot shots got us into it, but they won't dare to pull that stuff when I'm in the White House, because I survived five years in a POW camp. Do I look like the kind of guy who hangs around with a bunch of Wall Street sissies who buy their shirts at Thomas Pink? Not on your tintype girlie-girl.

News flash from the city!

Some Americans are racists.

What will the Obama campaign DO?

I'm thinking that Team Obama was fully aware going in that there is a hard core of voters who will not vote for the black guy, not no way, not no how. Many of these voters are democrats who might have voted for Hillary (or another Democrat).

I think the strategy is twofold: Yeah, they will not vote for the black guy, but some of them will sit home in disgust. Some of them will vote for Bob Barr. Only some would vote for McCain. So that tends to cut the losses somewhat. Part duex is to counterbalance those losses with increases in registration and participation in the black community. I think we can take it as a given that the Obama campaign will register many thousands of new voters by election day, and will get a much higher percentage of those voters to the polls than either Kerry or Gore did.

Will it be enough to counterbalance the 2.5 percent mentioned in the AP/Yahoo poll? November 4th will tell.

McCranky is providing unlooked-for help of late with his complete inability to utter a coherent paragraph about the economy. Despite his attempts to tie it to Obama, he owns this crises and the Obama campaign is fairly hammering him on it. They are also quite cleverly reminding voters of McCain's support of privatizing social security: Not looking like such a good idea given the recent news. McCain will still win in the older voter demographic. But not by as much.

One thing is for certain: This is NOT the same campaign team which ran the show for either Kerry or Gore. They haven't been perfect, but they've been WAY more aggressive. Except for a brief bounce during the GOP convention, the McCranky/Barbie team has been playing full-time defense.

Again, will it be enough? I dunno. IIRC I said going in that I was skeptical about the chances of any black candidate winning the White House--even more so about one whose middle name was "Hussein" and whose last name rhymed with "Osama".

Actually I thought the first black president (not counting Bill Clinton) would be a Republican. A few years back I thought maybe Gen. Powell or maybe JC Watts. Now, no credible black GOP candidates on the horizon.

I expect the long knives to come out next. On both sides--you know they've been saving the Good Stuff for the stretch run.

Friday, September 19, 2008

How much money?

How much did it cost to bail us out of the current crises?

One trillion dollars.

How much is that? A million dollars in crisp new $100 bills would be a stack 39 inches high.

A trillion dollars in $100 bills would be a stack 615 miles high.

What would a trillion bucks buy?

The entire War on Terror (so far).


Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Bernard Chazelle's series on Charlie Parker continues.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

For my conservative friends

Time for me to have a John McEnroe moment with y'all.

We have often had engaging conversations about matters political, and I have always felt that people of good conscience can engage in spirited but civil discussions about the future. In truth there are often times when we find plenty of common ground: I have no quarrel with people who think our nation is best served by a commitment to freedom, opportunity, and growth.

To be sure the devil is in the details, but despite the fact we think of different paths we want the same America.

Will John McCain and Sarah Palin take us there? Really?

And Sarah Palin?

You can not be serious.

Good Lord, how much more will it take?

Perhaps this reference from her speech will shed 'smore light on her "character". (And please carefully consider the implications of a statement which implies she is not responsible 'cause the speech was written for her by the McCain staff...)

The Battle of Kelly's Ford....

...and the politics of personal destruction.

In the spring of 1863 Confederate General Fitzhugh Lee had been sending messages through the lines to his Union rivals, taunting them about their horsemanship, inquiring when the blue-clad cavalry was going to amount to anything, and reminding them that his legendary troopers had quite literally ridden circles around the entire Union army. In one message, he taunted his old West Point classmate General William Averell to return his visit, and bring some coffee.

Fed up, Averell crossed the river with 3000 men and caught the Southerners off-guard-- inflicting over 100 casualties and causing the Rebel riders to retreat for over a mile. On the wrong side of the river and outnumbered, Averell retired in good order. He left two wounded Confederate officers with a sack of coffee and a note for Lee which read: "Dear Fitz: Here's your coffee. Here's your visit. How do you like it?"

Fast forward to the current campaign: Republicans are shocked!-shocked! that they could be attacked by Democrats based on things have have said and done! Beyond belief that the GOP could actually be held accountable for their deeds!

This, of course, from the same people who brought you the politics of G. Gordon Liddy, Don Segretti, Lee Atwater, and Karl Rove. They have broken laws, betrayed trusts, manipulated the media, gamed the system, and used any tactic they could in pursuit of one single goal: To acquire and maintain power. The end justified any means, and collateral damage--to people, to American institutions, to the rule of law-- is viewed as irrelevant. In the past two decades they have added the power of talk radio and their very own news network to their list of tools. They were able to control the narrative in the last two elections and had the White House occupied by a useful idiot--kept under tight reins by Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and a gang of thugs.

This year things are different. The GOP "brand" is beyond tarnished--it is broken. Conservatism is so wildly dysfunctional that they are poised to follow up a 2006 mid-term drubbing by losing the White House to a black man whose middle name is "Hussein" and whose last name rhymes with "Osama". Who'd-a-thunk it?

Worse, they are now being called out on their tactics. Their choice of a woefully unprepared and unqualified VP candidate is being revealed for the political stunt that it is. Their embrace of bald-faced lies as campaign talking points is openly discussed even by some of their old complicit friends. The campaign of personal sleaze attacks which is being mounted against the Obama/Biden ticket is facing brighter lights than they expected.

In short, they are on the receiving end. Defense is not their game. The half-truth, the distortion, the rumor, the dog-whistle--these are the GOP stock tools. Being asked to justify their actions and prove their allegations leaves them completely out of their depth. Caught red-handed in a series of fabrications, GOP surrogates accuse the Obama camapign of taking the low road.

Full marks for hypocrisy. If a Democrat on the ticket had a teenage daughter who was pregnant out-of-wedlock, what kind of converstaion would we be having? If a Democrat's wife had stolen prescription painkillers from a charitable organization what types of things would the GOP be saying? If a Democrat's spouse had belonged to a political party which advocated secession from the United States would that topic be off-limits?

When confronted, it seems the GOP hate machine goes to pieces. The Democrats should keep up the pressure, and maybe send a message through a backchannel to their GOP rivals: "How do you like it?"

Maybe they could attach a sack of coffee to the note.

A Jazz interlude

We interrupt our usual program to direct your attention to Bernard Chazelle's wonderful piece on Charlie Parker. Read, then watch (and listen).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Drill here. Drill now.


(h/t atrios)

McCain blasts Bridge to Nowhere

...that would be the same one with which Sarah Palin has a "For it before she was against it*" problem.

Here McCain suggests that the money wasted in Alaska could have prevented the Minneapolis bridge collapse: Watch. (h/t abrauer-dKos)

*-by "against it" I mean she changed her position after Congress had already killed the appropriation. (Her assertion that she said "No, thanks" would best be characterized as...errr...ummm...lying, yeah that's it.) Oh, they kept the money anyway. And also kept the money for the road to the bridge...even after the project was cancelled.

That's right: They built a Road to Nowhere.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Georgia: Martin to the offensive

Underdog Senate candidate Jim Martin seems to be putting all his chips in with a huge ad buy: The campaign will feature Max Cleland, who remains popular despite losing to Saxby Chambliss in 2002.

Maybe enough Georgians will feel remorse over choosing Chambliss over Max last time (they should) and vote for Martin. Maybe Martin will benefit from the Obama voter turnout.

I wouldn't bet on it: Look for the Georgia GOP to start running some really offensive ads if the race stays close. Worked last time.

Monday, September 8, 2008

September 11th

There are a number of commemorations this year--there always are.

A number of suggestions regarding remembrance are circulating, but of all the things I have seen, heard, or read, this is by far the most powerful.

Set aside a few moments--less than 3 minutes-- and listen.

Sarah Palin and the cult of lying

Hunter at dKos hits it out of the park. Read the whole thing.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

An asterik is born...

Legions of GOP faithful pronounced Sarah Palin the rising star of conservatism after her speech at the RNC. To be sure Team McCain provided her with some of their best materiel, and she delivered it well. She displayed a stage presence and sense of timing that reveal that she will be an effective campaigner.

But now the balloons are gone and the applause has stopped and the rush of excitement has died away. How many Republicans are having "morning-after" regrets?

It is plain now that Palin was not thoroughly vetted. Perhaps McCain would have reached no different decision, but the failure to adequately screen their pick resulted in the research being done in public by the media, which is NOT the scenario the Republicans wanted.

Since then, the steady drip-drip-drip of allegations about Gov. Palin continues to erode her credibility as a potential Vice President--and calls into question the decision-making process used by McCain to make the selection. There are some accounts that McCain wanted to select Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge, but was cowed from doing so by a threatened evangelical revolt. Given the favorable media buzz following the DNC in Denver, they were desperate to do something to alter the momentum of the campaign. Unable to choose a Democrat like Lieberman or a moderate Republican like Ridge, McCain was forced to throw the hail-Mary pass with the Palin pick.

His choice has had the effect of energizing his moribund campaign and firming up his support with the "values voters" of Christian Right. They have advanced their agenda by dispatching their surrogates to blame the media for criticism of their new star while keeping her sequestered from the press--thereby avoiding unscripted moments.

Meanwhile--the doubts about Sarah Palin continue to mount:

You could no doubt assemble a similar bullet-point list about Barack Obama, but those issues have been out there for 19 months (or longer) and voters have had plenty of time to look him over. With Palin the hits-just-keep-on coming, and there are only 59 shopping days until election day.

Education matters

Barack Obama: BA, political science/international relations: Columbia University.
JD, (magna cum laude) Harvard University.

Joe Biden: BA, history/political science; University of Deleware
JD, Syracuse University

John McCain: BA, United States Naval Acadamy (894th of 899)

Sarah Palin: Hawaii Pacific University:1982
North Idaho College:1983
University of Idaho:1984-85
Matanuska-Susitna College (Palmer, AK):1985
University of Idaho:1985-87 (BA-Journalism) a potential employer, whom would you choose?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Welcome to the Island!

For those of y'all who migrated here from Full Chat, welcome.

The political, social, and economic discussions from that site have been moved here. It seemed to me that the motor racing and fitness topics should be seperated from the punditry.

Running and fitness will go live on a new site of their own (working title: Fast Twitch) coming Real Soon Now--leaving Full Chat as a motorsports-only zone.