Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Another Palin Interview

Did you know Sarah Palin has done her fourth interview of the campaign? This one with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. It's looking like a pattern is starting to emerge with Palin: 1) do a legitimate interview with Charlie Gibson and come off looking like a clueless rube, 2) rush to Fox News and do a damage control infomercial with right wing pundit Sean Hannity, 3) do a legitimate, albeit disastrous, interview with CBS's Katie Couric, 4) rush off to Hugh Hewitt's radio show for another face saving infomercial.

Hewitt's interview included such hard hitting questions as:

HH: Now Governor, the Gibson and the Couric interview struck many as sort of pop quizzes designed to embarrass you as opposed to interviews. Do you share that opinion?

HH: Governor, you mentioned the people who are struggling right now. Have you and your husband, Todd, ever faced tough economic times where you had to sit around a kitchen table and make tough choices?

HH: Do you think the mainstream media and the left understands your religious faith, Governor Palin?
The sad truth is that greater insight into our nation's challenges was expected of Miss Teen South Carolina than what conservative supporters of Ms. Palin demand from their candidate. Miss Teen South Carolina was asked to offer her views on the root causes of widespred geographical illiteracy in this country. Right-wing interviewers of Sarah Palin seem content to ask if she's ever sat around the kitchen table with her husband and hammered out a family budget. Talk about the soft bigotry of lowered expectations.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Final Verdict: Eight Years of Economic Mismanagement

As congress fails to pass the economic rescue package, and the rest of us sit around biting our nails, wondering just how bad things are about to get, it's worth comparing the last eight years of Republican economic stewardship to the eight years of Democratic stewardship that preceded them. We'll let the Dow Jones index do the talking:

(Updated at 8:45 pm to reflect today's 777 point drop)

Playing the expectations game

The way the game is played is thus: you paint your opponent as a master debater and insist that your guys is tremendously out-skilled, heading into the debate as the clear underdog. That way, when the debate plays out, your candidate inevitably performs better than the lowered expectations you set for him. Nonetheless, it's hard to imagine David Wade, one of Joe Biden's spokespeople, describing Sarah Palin as:

"...a leviathan of forensics, who has debated five times and she's undefeated.”

If Wade managed to say that with a straight face, my hat's off to him.

The race issue

Andrew Sullivan has it half-right:

The whole point of the Muslim rumor is to provide racist voters with something non-racist to hang their hat on.
And I say "half-right" because I'm wondering: why is it any less bigoted for someone to vote against a Muslim than it is against a black man? I suppose you could argue in a very narrow sense that being Muslim is not the same as belonging to a racial minority, but rather, a religious one (though I would tend to disagree that most bigots make such fine distinctions). But even of you do make this argument, it is troubling that anti-Muslim bigotry is implicitly viewed as being an acceptable practice in our society.

Friday, September 26, 2008


John McCain suspends (but not really) his campaign.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why 700?

BREAKING: apparently, the U.S. Treasury arrived at the $700 billion sum for it's bailout the same way I settled on what I thought my allowance should be back when I was 12.

Unfit to command

David Letterman probably did the best job last night so far of demonstrating how much of a trainwreck the McCain campaign has become over the last couple of weeks, and the extent to which the Sarah Palin nomination is a contributing factor. It's as simple as asking the question: if McCain had to suspend his campaign and cancel his appearance on Letterman's show to fly to Washington and deal with the economy, then why couldn't the campaign simply have sent Sarah Palin as a substitute?

Now, I realize that this segment is unfair in some ways. Why do we assume, for instance, that Palin did not have other commitments and couldn't be freed up to do Letterman's show? But the simple fact is that John McCain brought this upon himself by choosing a running mate who is grossly unqualified. It doesn't help that Palin is completely out of her league when doing interviews with anyone other than a partisan hack like Sean Hannity. It doesn't help that the campaign has been cearfully shielding Palin from the press, ensuring that she gets as little unscripted TV time as possible. It doesn't help that three weeks after the GOP convention, Palin has still not given a press conference. And it certainly doesn't help that McCain's campaign spokesmen spent the first few days after the convention telling reporters that they had no intention of making Sarah Palin available to the press for interviews.

When you do all that, it is perfectly legitimate for the host of one of the most widely viewed evening TV interview programs, the heir to Johnny Carson's office, to wonder why it was that the vice presidential nominee, who is supposed to step in and take over for the 72 year old McCain should he die or become incapacitated, could not be offered up as a substitute in time of crisis.

More on McCain

The Washington Post's Harold Meyerson has a devastating Op Ed piece today on the McCain camp's decision to suspend it's campaign and postpone Friday's debate. The article, entitled McCain's Ploy, reaches a blistering conclusion about what John McCain's actions tell us about his take on the credit crisis and the needed rescue: it's all about him.

A must read.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

McCain in trouble...

With the latest polls showing Barack Obama leading John McCain by nine points, the McCain camp is clearly scrambling to pull itself back together after enduring a week of stunning mishaps and misstatements. Now, it appears, John McCain is moving to suspend his campaign and postpone the first presidential debate scheduled for this Friday. Ostensibly the reason is that McCain wants to get back to Washington to try and help steer the U.S. through this crisis and ensure the passage of the Wall Street bailout package that is suffering a whithering battering from all sides, and which the Fed insists is vital to avert a wide scale economic catastrophe. More likely, I'd say, the McCain camp doesn't want to go into a debate that is meant to focus on National Security, McCain's strong suit, with the rest of the nation pulling its hair out over the economy. There's no surer way for McCain to appear out of touch than for him to go up on stage and badger Barack Obama about his skepticism over the Iraq surge while the rest of the country is stocking up on canned goods, bottled water, ammunition and stuffing its mattresses full of Euros. Furthermore, all Obama has to do to respond to McCain's charges is to note that we could easily have covered the Wall Street bailout if we'd done the sensible thing and stayed out of Iraq. Now we're essentially paying for it twice. Indeed, if this administration hadn't been so sidetracked by Iraq, perhaps it might have paid more attention to the markets and averted this disaster before it became inevitable. Case closed. Obama wins the debate and McCain's most potent weapon fizzles like a dud.

These are surely tough times for the McCain camp.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You learn something every day

If there's one thing I've learned today it's that Andrew Sullivan has really bad taste in Television.

The Politics of Petty Vindictiveness

The blogosphere is buzzing in the aftermath of an interview that John McCain recently conducted with a hispanic market radio station in Florida. In the interview McCain is asked a number of rather open-ended questions about U.S. relations with our Latin American neighbors, questions that McCain answers with a specificity that demonstrates that he has more than a passing familiarity with the region, its leadership, and its politics. But when the interviewer turns her questioning to the issue of U.S. - Spanish relations, McCain suddenly clams up, appearing hesitant to answer the question, and even, at times confused. Most troubling was McCain's refusal to say whether he'd be willing to entertain a face to face meeting with Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

David Kurtz, at Talking Points Memo opines:

At first it sounds like McCain is taking a hard neocon line against Prime Minister Zapatero, but as the interviewer continues to press the point, it becomes pretty obvious that McCain has no idea who she's talking about.
John Marshall comments similarly:
Well, we've heard the interview now. And John McCain either doesn't know who the Prime Minister of Spain is, thinks Spain is a country in Latin America, or possibly both.
And even Andrew Sullivan chimes in with a similar thought:
It now seems indisputable: John McCain doesn't know who the prime minister of Spain is and thinks he's some anti-American leftist in South America. Now imagine if Obama made that kind of gaffe.
And there are undoubtedly a couple of seconds in that interview where John McCain seems a bit confused about the question. But are we really to believe that McCain doesn't know who the prime minister of Spain is after having just rattled off the names of three or four leaders of much smaller Latin American nations? Sarah Palin maybe --no, scratch that: Sarah Palin probably, but John McCain?

In fact, there is another possibility to consider, one that is no less troubling: John McCain may very well have intentionally lumped Zapatero in with other world leaders such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejadwith with whom McCain has publicly and loudly signalled a refusal to negotiate face to face. Should this prove to be this the case, however, it would be a stunning posture to take with respect to a Western European, liberal democracy, a member of NATO and a country whose troops are actively supporting the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

It would also be in keeping with the Bush adminsitration's current policy towards Spain. The Washington Post notes that:
President Bush has never forgiven Zapatero for pulling troops out of Iraq shortly after his victory in 2004, even though the Spanish prime minister has tried repeatedly rebuild relations and win an invitation to visit Washington. Bush has yet to hold a formal bilateral meeting with Zapatero, though in March he called him to congratulate him on reelection, and in April they met briefly at the NATO summit in Bucharest.
Readers may recall that Zapatero came to power in the immediate aftermath of a terrible terrorist incident involving bombs planted on commuter trains in Madrid. The explosions resulted in the deaths of nearly 200 people, and the current government's hasty blaming of home-grown separatist group ETA resulted in a loss of confidence in the government and its subsequent defeat at the hands of Zapatero in the impending elections. The bombs in question had been planted by Islamic radicals protesting Spain's involvement in the occupation of Iraq, and the Spanish electorate, which had never been on board with the Aznar government's decicion to support Bush's Iraq policy in the first place, handed the government over to Zapatero, who promptly withdrew the Spanish troop contingent from Iraq.

George Bush is a well known practitioner of the politics of petty vindictivenes, and his party has been eager to play along. Who can forget the abolishing of the word "french fries" in favor of Freedom Fries in the House Cafeteria as a response to Gallic skepticism in the lead up to the Iraq invasion? Who can forget legislative proposals that would have barred the French and other skeptics from participating in the lucrative and noble enterprise that would be the reconstruction of Iraq in the aftermath of regime change? Who can forget "old Europe" or the way that George W. Bush rewarded and punished world leaders with invitations to vacation at his Crawford ranch and very public declarations of who was not invited? America came across as unbelievably chidish in those heady days of premature triumphalism, and the sting of that petty schoolyard vindictivenes has not completely healed.

Both Barack Obama and John McCain have promised to work hard to mend America's frayed relations with her allies and the rest of the world. It is a desperately needed task at this moment in history, when the American brand is at one of its lowest points and skepticism about our purposes and intentions, our values and our judgment abounds. Yet if John McCain was not confused by the question he was asked in the Union Radio interview, and did in fact say what he meant to say (as his staff now insists), then clearly he is not the man to lead this nation forward. His governing style would only harm our image abroad even further.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PatriotsQuill has a store...

Did you know that PatriotsQuill has a store? We do! And here's our latest product (click the picture to order!)

False Symmetry

Back in the bad old days of Apartheid South Africa, anti-Apartheid activists in this nation sought to promote change in that country through the judicious application of economic pressure. Thus the South African Divestment movement was born, and ordinary Americans were urged to stop using products by companies that did business in South Africa. But movement organizers realized that for the true economic effects of such a boycott to be measured, a general boycott would not be effective. Instead, what was needed was a targeted boycott. The theory ran that, if, for instance, you boycotted Coke and Pepsi, then both soft-drink manufacturers would see their earnings dip by an equal amount, and it would be difficult to measure what impact the Divestment Movement was actually having, vs. normal market fluctuations. However, if you targeted just one of those two companies, then it would be reasonably simple to measure the effect of your boycott by comparing one company's change in earnings against the other.

The lesson of this strategy has, alas, all to often been missed by mainstream media journalists who cover political campaigns. For while there is no end of complaining about the falsehoods and dishonesty that permeate the political sphere come campaign season, Journalists who report on the matter all to often sacrifice "truth" to the false and misleading idol of "balance" and in so doing, undermine any chance of effecting actual reform of the system. For reasons that are not worth going into at this time, these journalists feel compelled, every time they write about the mortal sins of one political candidate, to dredge up and give prominence to a venial sin of his opponent. Even in cases where one candidate is clearly guilty of far more dishonesty than the other, journalists feel compelled to impose this misleading "balance" on their reporting, and in so doing, leave the false impression that both politicians are just as guilty of the crimes described. There simply is no incentive for the devils to reform their act, if the media is going to leave the impression that the angels are just as dirty. The irony, then, is that by succombing to this false temptation of "balance," reporters help propagate the very behavior that they pretend to abhor.

That is the subject of an excellent Washington Post column today by Ruth Marcus, titled "True Whoppers." Marcus examines distortions by both the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign and concludes that, while one can certainly quibble with the manner in which the Obama campaign has characterized certain statements by John McCain and his surrogates, these unfair characterizations pale in comparison to the outright lies that the McCain campaign is repeating to rile up their supporters and fuel their speeches. You can debate whether it is fair for the Obama campaign to insist that McCain wants us to stay in Iraq for 100 years, for instance, given that McCain's comment to that effect was an offhand reamark that was accompanied by the qualifier that this would only be the case if things calmed down in that country. But by contrast, there is almost no shred of truth to the McCain campaign's insistence that Sara Palin opposed the notorious "bridge to nowhere" and there is absolutely no truth to the false contention that she opposed Federal earmark funding for Alaska. The imbalance of truth is quite evident, Marcus insists, and reporters and the media should stop writing as if it is not.

Again, it's a decent article, and worth a read.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The U.S. Government is cake!

McCain advisor (and one time Hewlett Packard CEO) Carly Fiorina thinks that running a company like Hewlett Packard is waaay more difficult than an easy as pie, color-by-numbers, cushy desk job like that of the President of the United States of America. That's why Sarah palin is qualified for the later, if not the former.

Mark Your Calendars

Mark your calendars, folks. Next week is "Bring Your VP Candidate to the UN Day,"a great opportunity for your naive and inexperienced young running mate to meet with real world leaders and see how professional diplomats and other adults engage in international diplomacy first hand!

John McCain explains (does not apologize for) his lies

Here's John McCain explaining why he's running such a sleazy campaign of lies against Barack Obama. Apparently he's sore that Obama didn't take him up on his offer to spend the campaign conducting town hall meetings together. The sleaze that's emanating from the McCain camp, therefore, are merely a show of petty vindictiveness on "Maverick" McCain's part:

"If you would urge him to come and do town hall meetings with me... the whole tenor of the campaign would change..."

McCain's Shame

I was watching "Morning Joe" this morning on MSNBC, and they had John McCain on for a brief interview. He was largely treated with kid gloves (Joe Scarborough joked about defining the Truman Doctrine), but Mika Brzezinski did ask about some of the more dishonest campaign commercials that the McCain camp is running and has been widely criticized for in recent days. McCain defended the ads, saying that they were all factually based, even when pressed about the advertisement currently running in which McCain accuses Obama of voting for a bill that would teach kindegarteners about sex. "The bill is on my website" McCain responded, insisting that readers look it up for themselves.

Well, that's what I've done. I'll admit that I wasn't able to find the bill through McCain's campaign website; It's not clear where one should look. There's no link to a "document dump" or "truth page" or anything of the sort that might serve to verify the campaign's claims about Barack Obama. Instead I ran a google search and found a link to the bill itself. I also found an article by Byron York, of the National Review, which attempts a defense of the McCain campaign's claims. They are both worth examining. Let us begin with the bill itself. It can be found here.

I'll cite a few passages from this horrible bill that set about, so inexcusably, to corrupt our youth:

 8 (a) No pupil shall be required to take or participate  in
9 any class or course in comprehensive sex education if the
10 pupil's his parent or guardian submits written objection
11 thereto, and refusal to take or participate in such course or
12 program shall not be reason for suspension or expulsion of
13 such pupil.

19 (b) All public elementary, junior high, and senior high
20 school classes that teach sex education and discuss sexual
21 activity or behavior intercourse shall emphasize that
22 abstinence is an effective method of preventing unintended is
23 the expected norm in that abstinence from sexual intercourse
24 is the only protection that is 100% effective against
25 unwanted teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases,
26 and HIV acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) when
27 transmitted sexually.


33 (11) (8) Course material and instruction shall
34 teach pupils to not make unwanted physical and verbal

-4- LRB093 05269 NHT 05359 b
1 sexual advances and how to say no to unwanted sexual
2 advances and shall include information about verbal,
3 physical, and visual sexual harassment, including without
4 limitation nonconsensual sexual advances, nonconsensual
5 physical sexual contact, and rape by an acquaintance. The
6 course material and instruction shall contain methods of
7 preventing sexual assault by an acquaintance, including
8 exercising good judgment and avoiding behavior that
9 impairs one's judgment.

7  (2)  All  course material and instruction in classes
8 that teach sex education and discuss sexual activity or
9 behavior shall be age and developmentally appropriate.

So the text is quite clear. We're talking about age appropriate sexual education, that includes instruction on how to avoid being victimized by acquaintances, that is not mandatory, and that emphasizes the effectiveness of abstinence in the prevention of both pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

There is nothing in the bill to justify the McCain camp's smear that the bill "teaches kids about sex before they learn to read," certainly not in the sense that the McCain campaign is suggesting. Rather, the inclusion of the phrase "age appropriate" in describing the sorts of instruction that is to be given, makes it amply clear that just the opposite is the case. If, in fact, the bill were about teaching issues of human sexuality (contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, greatest hits of the Kama Sutra) then why include the term "age appropriate" in the bill at all?

Byron York, writing in the National Review Online attempts to defend the McCain camp's interpretation of the bill, but reading the substance of his article rather than his spin, one comes away with a very different interpretation. Some notable passages:
After the ad controversy erupted, I asked the Obama campaign to suggest who I might interview for more information. I particularly wanted some sort of contemporaneous account showing that Obama voted for the bill because of its inappropriate-touching provision. The campaign suggested I call Ken Swanson, who is head of the Illinois Education Association and a 20-year veteran of teaching sixth-graders.

“The intent of the language and inclusion of kindergarten was simply to make it possible to offer age-appropriate, not comprehensive, information for kindergartners so that those young children could be given basic information so that they would be aware of inappropriate behavior by adults,” Swanson told me. “Certainly, it was never intended to be some sort of inappropriate information that might be appropriate for junior high or high school students.” McCain’s accusation, Swanson told me, was “bogus.”
So Swanson, by York's own account, supports the Obama Camp's contention. York then goes on to interview one of the Bil's sponsors (the only one he managed to get in touch with):
That leaves Sen. Martinez, who was kind enough to speak to me by phone Monday afternoon. Martinez began by saying that the bill was indeed about inappropriate touching. “We know that young children, very, very young, have things happen to them that they don’t speak about,” Martinez told me. “It’s important that we teach our young kids very, very young to speak up.”

When I asked Martinez the rationale for changing grade six to kindergarten, she said that groups like Planned Parenthood and the Cook County Department of Health — both major contributors to the bill — “were finding that there were children younger than the sixth grade that were being inappropriately touched or molested.”
So it's pretty clear that Obama has been honest in his description of the bill, whereas the McCain camp is engaging in just the opposite behavior. Byron York, meanwhile, arrives at his defense of the McCain interpretation by conflating the various goals of the bill:
After we discussed other aspects of the bill, I told Martinez that reading the bill, I just didn’t see it as being exclusively, or even mostly, about inappropriate touching. “I didn’t see it that way, either,” Martinez said. “It’s just more information about a whole variety of things that have to go into a sex education class, the things that are outdated that you want to amend with things that are much more current.”

So, I asked, you didn’t see it specifically as being about inappropriate touching?

“Absolutely not.”
And so, York concludes, clearly this was a bill about teaching kindergarteners how to put on a condom (I exaggerate, of course, but that's the sort of thing York is implying). However, the only way to reach York's conclusion is to specifically ignore the passage calling for "age appropriate" education. This was a bill meant to reform sex aducation at the K-12 ranges so, yes, the bill does address issues of contraception, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. However to conclude, as McCain and York do, that the bill sought to teach Kindergarteners anything other than how to protect themselves against sexual predators is quite simply dishonest. In other words, McCain is a liar, and York, in defending him, makes himself a party to that lie.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fighting fire with fire

If John McCain can continue to claim, against all evidence, that Barack Obama wants to raise taxes on middle class families, then perhaps Obama should start accusing McCain of wanting to eliminate Social Security.

Friday, September 12, 2008

My masterpiece

Ok, not to brag too much, but this might well be my masterpiece:

Palin vs. Gibson: The Verdict

Well, the Palin-Gibson interview is now public. The general reaction is that it's good news for Obama:

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Robert Kuttner is the editor in chief of The American Prospect, and he recently participated in an interview on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes show. There's a great video of the interview on Crooks and Liars which is definitely worth checking out. While being interviewed by Colmes, Kuttner makes some interesting, thoughful points, and continues for some time in that vein until Sean Hannity, off camera, sensing perhaps that his show is starting to resemble a PBS interview, begins badgering Kuttner quite loudly and belligerently. Now Kuttner has the quiet demeanor and intellectual air of Paul Krugman, but unlike Krugman (who tends to clam up in the face of obnoxious confrontation of the sort that is Fox News' specialty) Kuttner fires back, uncowed, showing a belligerent streak of his own. Here's the YouTube version for your viewing pleasure:

Best Job Ever!

I think I just found the perfect job... but where do I send my resume?

Christmas in September

Guess what just arrived in the mail today from the White House?

(click to enlarge)

I love Chuck Norris

I love Chuck Norris. Did you know that he's done "two tours" in Iraq? Yeah... for true... he tells us in this video. Actually, it's kind of surprising there are any bad guys left in Iraq after one-man talking killing-machine Norris' two tours. Also, he does a great job of showing up that rich liberal elitist Arianna Huffington. Who does she think she is that she seems to have this idea that she's got a right to talk, and even finish a sentence in the Chuck's presence? And gosh is she rich!... unlike regular guy Chuck Norris who works two separate jobs at a construction site and a meat packing plant just to be able to keep making the payments on his 2002 Chevy Silverado.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

O'Reilly: Palin Supervised Daughter's Sexcapades

Bill O'Reilly claims that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin approved of, or at least supervised, her daughter Bristol's raunchy sexcapades with hockey player boyfriend:


One of the more perplexing aspects of American politics is the way conservatives, especially Southern conservatives, are somehow allowed to cast themselves as our nation's true bona-fide dyed in the wool patriots, while at the same time glorifying a war of secession that almost tore the country in two. And you needn't spend much time down South to see symbols of secession plastered on walls, t-shirts, and even hanging from the flagpoles of state capitol buildings.

It almost seems that, just as left leaning college kids all seem to have their flirtation with Trotskyism at some point in the college career, right-leaning Southern kids all go through a neo-secessionist or neo-confederate phase. But whereas the lefties eventually move on, young conservatives never fully abandon their youthful dalliance with radical right-wing politics. Instead, they grow up, run for office, and once elected pass bills recognizing and celebrating Confederate History Month.

Now, Alaska was almost 100 years from being a state when the Civil War was fought, but nonetheless, secessionist movements exist there, too. And wouldn't you know it, our friend Governor Sarah Palin is associated with one. As the L.A. Times reports:

Tonight, Sarah Palin will be nominated as the Republican Party's choice for vice president of the United States.

But back home, she has cheered the work of a tiny party that long has pushed for a statewide vote on whether Alaska should secede from those same United States. And her husband, Todd, was a member of the party for seven years.

"Keep up the good work," Sarah Palin told members of the Alaskan Independence Party in a videotaped speech to their convention six months ago in Fairbanks. She wished the party luck on what she called its "inspiring convention."

The Alaskan Independence Party, founded in 1978, initially promoted "the Alaskan independence movement." But now, according to its website, "its primary goal is merely a vote on secession."
Palin, herself claims to never have registered with the party (though her claims are disputed by the Party's Vice Chairman). Nonetheless, a videotaped address she prepared for the Independence Party Convention is a cause for some concern. In her address, Palin is quick to highlight points of agreement between herself and the goals of the Alaska Independence Party, instructs its members to "keep up the good work," and perhaps most tellingly, declares optimistically that Alaska might one day become a "self-sufficient state.":

I don't think can recall the governor of a U.S. state declaring his intention to see that state become "self-sufficient." If anything, that sounds like the sort of rhetoric you'd expect from Fidel Castro or Hugo Chavez. Was Palin being sincere? Was she merely pandering to the members of a fringe secessionist movement? Either way it's a pretty troubling tape.

In the end, I don't expect much to come of this issue, mostly due to the double standard that pervades our political discourse as well as our media. Fox News commenters will continue to harp on Michelle Obama's off the cuff declaration that her husband's nomination was the first time she felt truly proud to be an American, while completely ignoring the fact that the husband of the Republican party's Vice Presidential nominee is a member of a political party that expresses open disdain for his home state's membership in these United States of America. After all, for the past 50 years the Media has felt no need to point to the contradiction inherent in claims of patriotism that coexist alongside sentimental attachments to the one ideology that nearly destroyed our great experiment in Democracy 140 years ago.

And so, I leave you with one last thought... from someone who spent a great deal of time fighting against the very dangerous and irresponsible ideas that Palin seems to view sympathetically... a Republican, no less:

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

-Abraham Lincoln


A great column by Bob Herbert today. I think he's become my favorite New York Times columnist, since Paul Krugman turned into a mild version of the bitter Hillary Clinton supporters who can't get over their candidate's loss and thus refuse to back Obama.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Don't let him near "the google!"

This is what happens when you put guys who still speak of "the google" in charge of mounting your party nomination acceptance speech.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

They finally just went and said it.

It took a while, but a Republican U.S. Congressman from Georgia has finally gone ahead and said what everyone in the GOP has been thinking all along: Barack Obama doesn't know his place and is just plain acting uppity.

Commander in Chief Palin?

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's defenders are hailing her experience as commander in chief of the Alaska National guard, members of which are serving in Iraq. Trouble is: while in Iraq, the Alaska National guard is under the command of the President, not the governor of Alaska. So what shorts of things has the Alaska National Guard done under Palin? Major General Craig Campbell, service commander for the Alaska National Guard, provides some examples:

"We've deployed individuals in state service all over the state under Sarah Palin," he said. "We had defense men down in Seward for the (Mount) Marathon run doing security.
So basically, Palin's got about as much experience as commander in chief as the manager of your local Safeway who hires an off-duty cop to provide security for the store. That's reassuring. Except that:

Did Palin directly approve each of those activities?

No, Campbell said. The governor has granted him authority to act on his own in most cases, including life-or-death emergencies when a quick response is required, or minor day-to-day operations.

Ooops. Oh well, just cross your fingers that John McCain's melanomas don't come back if he's elected president.

(hat tip: Wonkette)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Jeremiah Wright Treatment

Let's give Sarah Palin's pastor the Jeremiah Wright treatment, shall we? I mean... fair's fair.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Palin Train Wreck

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly? Because her father is Janet Reno."

-John McCain, in 1998.

I remember back when the children of politicians were not "off limits." In case you've forgotten or are too young to remember, it was when a Democrat, his wife, and their teen-aged daughter occupied the Whitehouse. And though there were no teen pregnancies, nor pictures of a drunken first daughter falling all over one of her friends at a frat house, the Party of Family Values, nonetheless felt she needed to be belittled, mocked for her looks, and destroyed for the odious twin crimes of her Clinton parentage and poisoning America with the false suggestion that Democrats have children, and by extension familes, too. It was back when Rush Limbaugh declared Chelsea to be as ugly as a dog, when John McCain made his despicable joke about Chelsea being Janet Reno's daughter, and when John Derbyshire of the National Review wrote a piece which could best be summarized and encapsulated by quoting one line from it: "
I hate Chelsea because she is a Clinton."

And so now as we learn that John McCain's practical joke of a vice presidential running mate has a house full of skeleton filled closets, it's worth remembering that it was not always the case that certain closets were off limits to the chattering classes and opposition researchers. This is especially worth remembering, since Palin's "Bristol" closet, the one that hides a pregant 17 year-old poster child for abstinence-only sex education, is only half closed. It is closed to critics of Palin's culture warrior mentality who might like to point out that for all her self-righteous, bigoted parroting of the Religious Right's divisive invective against gay families and ignorant paeans to the self-defeating "abstinence only" sex education movement, the Governor was unable to prevent her own child from rolling around behind the bleachers with her handsome, rugged hocky player boyfriend. But the closet is fully open to explitation by members of the Religious Right who would seek to turn young Bristol into a poster child for their cause by virtue of her "courageous" pro-life decision to keep and raise the child and marry the father.

So, once again, I remember back when it was OK to use your television show to mock and belittle the 13 year-old child of a president you despised. Today it's not OK to point out that the pregnant teenaged daughter of a leader of the abstinence-only educational movement casts doubt on the efficacy of that movement's methods.

I guess you could call that progress.