Archive for July 2008

I Wonder How Much McCain’s Soul Set The Devil Back

July 31, 2008

Imagine McCain approaching his current campaign advisers, two acolytes of Karl Rove (George Bush’s campaign strategist in 2000 and 2004): “Hey, remember when Rove used my daughter’s heritage to race-bait South Carolina voters to vote for Bush? Yeah, give me some of that.”

A little piece of history from the 2000 election when McCain was running against Bush in the primaries:

Bush’s campaign strategists, including Karl Rove, devised a push poll against John McCain. South Carolina voters were asked “Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?”. They had no interest in the actual percentages in the poll, the goal was to suggest that [McCain had a black child]. This was particularly vicious since McCain was campaining with his adopted [dark skinned] Bangladeshi daughter.

I ignored Rove’s dishonest tactics back in 2004 because I thought people could see them for what they were. They couldn’t. John Kerry didn’t fight back fast enough or hard enough.

The media was asleep back then, too. It seems they are a little more aware this time around. Thanks to MSNBC correspondent, Andrea Mitchell, McCain’s campaign gets called out for spreading the lie that Obama refused to visit sick troops because he couldn’t take cameras with him (video below). She was there. Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (Nebraska) who also traveled with Obama to the Middle East agreed with her.

And Barack Obama has a Clinton-like (that would be Bill Clinton) ability to fight smear. This inspirational ad answering McCain’s recent attacks actually using the media AND providing substance (something you never hear in McCain’s ads) came off the blocks in no time.

Rovian tactics (just one more way McCain is McBush) are designed to throw chaff into the eyes of voters who are on the fence about who to vote for with the hope that some of it gets in there and sticks. Lie after lie after lie are floated out until the fears of the insecure are fanned high, and they end up voting for losers whom they regret electing a year later.

Even his former campaign adviser, John Weaver, says ads like this are “childish” and diminish McCain the person:

“There is legitimate mockery of a political campaign now, and it isn’t at Obama’s. For McCain’s sake, this tomfoolery needs to stop.”

I’ll try to keep on top of the lies as they come down the pike, but it can be hard to keep up.

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Call It What It Is

July 29, 2008

Californians will vote on an amendment to ban gay marriage in November. Since the California Supreme Court ruled earlier this summer that it is unconstitutional to deny gay people marriage rights, thousands of same-sex couples have gotten married. SO, according to the LA Times, the wording on the ballot will be:

Proposition 8 seeks to “eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

The anti-gay religious right is wringing their hands because they wanted the ballot to say that the amendment would:

“provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

Jennifer Kerns, head of the Protect Marriage coalition said the current wording could “prejudice voters against the initiative.”

Yes, by all means, let’s not prejudice the voters with the truth. Sorry Jennifer, time to stand by your position. The current wording is much clearer than yours. Eliminating rights is what your ballot initiative will do if it passes. And if a California voter wants to pull that lever, I’m sure they can do it without sugar coating their bigotry.

But Kerns is taking the state attorney general to court to try to get the wording changed to what she feels is the more palatable phrasing. Good luck with that.

McCain: Isn’t Canada Part of the U.S.?

July 25, 2008

So Obama drew about 200,000 enthusiastic Germans into the streets of Berlin to hear his speech yesterday. Here’s what McCain had to say to Kelly O’Donnell about it:

“I would rather speak at a rally or a political gathering any place outside of the country after I am president of the United States,” McCain told O’Donnell. “But that’s a judgment that Sen. Obama and the American people will make.”

Seems strange that McCain would rather give political speeches outside of the country AFTER he’s president, since he gave one just last month in Canada. As MSNBC’s Mark Murray notes:

However, on June 20, McCain himself gave a speech in Canada — to the Economic Club of Canada — in which he applauded NAFTA’s successes. An implicit message behind that speech was that Obama had been critical of the trade accord. Also, McCain’s trip to Canada was paid for by the campaign.

While it is true that no one really cares what McCain had to say to the Canadians, he should at least have enough faith in his own message to assume that someone would remember that he spoke there.

Maybe McCain forgot. I mean, it was a little over a month ago.

Some Days It Is So Easy

July 20, 2008

So Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki told the German newspaper, Der Spiegal that he thinks Obama’s U.S. exit strategy from Iraq, with a few tweaks, is a good one. Score another one for Obama. Malaki made no mention of McCain’s plan to be there for 100 years.

I guess we’ll see how the Republicans will spin this. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bush’s policies and McCain’s proposed strategies start to look more and more like Obama’s.

Oh, and file this under “hilarious” (from ABC via Daily Kos).

The White House this afternoon accidentally sent to its extensive distribution list a Reuters story headlined “Iraqi PM backs Obama troop exit plan – magazine.”

The story relayed how Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told the German magazine Der Spiegel that “he supported prospective U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s proposal that U.S. troops should leave Iraq within 16 months … ‘U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes,'” the prime minister said.

The White House employee had intended to send the article to an internal distribution list, ABC News’ Martha Raddatz reports, but hit the wrong button.

Thanks to the White House this story was pointed out to any in the worldwide media who might have missed it. Sounds like Obama has a campaign insider working on the White House staff. Or did McCain just flunk an e-mail lesson?

Why McCain’s Inability to Surf the Web Scares Me

July 16, 2008

John McCain admits he has to have his wife help him use the computer. He says any day now he’s going to learn about the Internet. So far, the reporting on all of this has been pretty jokey (here’s a video that shows ONE of his confessions).

Perhaps he is so forthcoming about his inability to use a computer because he thinks it gives him a folksy in with older voters. And maybe it does. I find the notion that a potential leader of the free world has to have his wife navigate the Internet for him frightening, however, and here’s why:

The Web is the way the world works.

We are all connected in ways we weren’t even ten years ago because of the Internet. Grassroots efforts are changing the face of politics thanks to the Web and its ability to convene thousands of people from DC to Detroit to El Dorado, AR. Information, all kinds, is shared in ever changing ways because of this connectivity.

Computers and their connections to one another are a metaphor for the way the world runs itself. I need a president who understands this and who can use it to the world’s advantage. I don’t even think Obama’s candidacy would be conceivable without the Internet. I think he gets that, and that is one of many ways he is a step ahead of McCain in terms of his readiness to be president.

Please Rev. Jackson, Not His N–ts!

July 10, 2008

Rev. Jesse Jackson hinted that he wanted to castrate Barack Obama for “talking down to black people” by asking fathers to step up to the plate and raise their children. Instead, Jackson feels Obama should put more blame on the government for the choices absent fathers make. That last part he offered as a clarification of his remarks in the form of an apology (but seriously, who needs it?) From CNN:

The remarks came Sunday as Jackson was talking to a fellow interviewee, UnitedHealth Group executive Dr. Reed V. Tuckson. An open microphone picked up Jackson whispering, “See, Barack’s been talking down to black people … I want to cut his nuts off.”

His nuts? Geez. How ironic that Jackson wants to emasculate Obama for asking fathers to act like men. I wonder if the source of the irony is Jackson’s own sensitivity to moral invectives. Rev. Jackson fathered a child out of wedlock back in 1999.

Whether or not Rev. Jackson supports Obama in private as well in public is not that important. People who vote know that Obama is right on target. Government assistance only makes sense to me when it is coupled with personal responsibility. I suspect that the same is true with a lot of other voters.

Rev. Wright, Jesse Jackson, and with a veil of thinly disguised racism, Ralph Nadar; they all represent the way political battles used to be fought. Today they seem merely combative, disinterested in any common ground.

Happily, their negative comments serve as encouragement for folks who are put off by them to support Obama. And then there are these kind of awesome images of Obama as a father (From the LA Times):

Reaching his limit, Barack Obama wriggled free of the campaign’s fetters on July 4. Caught in Montana on his daughter Malia’s 10th birthday, he improvised a party.

At the Holiday Inn Express in Butte, a city known for its copper mines and bordellos of old, Obama and family ordered a cake. They loaded an iPod with Malia’s favorite songs and danced and sang. Obama later came close to tears, recalling that Malia told him “it was the best birthday she’d ever had.”

…I don’t know whether she was just telling us what we wanted to hear, but I can tell you from my perspective it was one of the best times I’ve had in a long time,” Obama told reporters aboard his campaign plane. Then he quickly turned and went back to his seat.

Precious.

Bible Smackdown – Obama vs. Dobson

July 7, 2008

James Dobson who seems to focus on everything but the family these days, criticized a June 2006 speech by Obama, in which Barack suggests that a simple cut and paste job of scripture into the constitution would be problematic. In Obama’s words:

“Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?” Obama asked in the speech. “Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount — a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

Evidently Dobson accused Obama of distorting scripture (it isn’t easy finding a screen big enough for Dobson’s ginormous projector). Obama says Dobson is “making stuff up” (CNN). I’ll say, like a reason to still be bilking folks out of their hard-earned money in order to support his “ministry.”

Dobson may have some fight left in him, but I think Obama is articulating the zeitgeist of a new breed of evangelical who actually bothers to read the WHOLE Bible and doesn’t just pick and choose the bits that support a narrow worldview like that of the Ancien Regime.

I suppose I should be happy about this, since a speech from 2006(!) is the best Dobson could do to in terms of smear. And the smear was over differences in literal Biblical interpretation? Seriously. I have my doubts that McCain could even tell you what Levitical code is. What, you can’t? Well, most of the time I can’t either, but Obama can! And that must just scare the crewnecks right off of Dobson’s blazer covered sweaters.

The only reason Dobson is relevant at all these days, is because he represents exactly who this new generation of Christians does NOT want to be like. So thanks for piping up, Jim. We appreciate the reminder that, in fact, Obama is the most biblically aware of the two candidates.