Friday, October 24, 2008

 

Open Thread

What's on your mind?

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1-800-Blame-A-Barack

Kudos to Michelle Malkin as her BS detector went off pretty early yesterday.

She sensed right away that the story of a McCain worker allegedly assaulted by a black supporter of Obama --who supposedly carved a "B" in her face after seeing a campaign sticker on her car -- didn't sound quite right. Sure enough, Ashley Todd confessed Friday afternoon to making the story up.

It's pretty clear that this was a fairly deranged girl acting on her own. The McCain campaign hardly needs the blame for it.

Interestingly, this hoax occurs almost 19 years to the day of the infamous Carol Stuart murder up in Boston. Her husband, Charles, claimed that a black man car-jacked them before shooting the both of them. Anyway, it turned out Stuart killed his wife, then shot himself. When the truth came to light (Stuart's brother turned on him) several months later, Stuart jumped off a bridge, killing himself.

It was this case and the awful Susan Smith kid-drowning case a few years later that inspired the always controversial Paul Mooney to record a track on one of his "Race" comedy album. It was called "1-800-Blame-A-[N-word]." Pretty offensive -- but damn funny!

UPDATE: Sorry, but Andrew Sullivan's wrong here: "McCain also called the hoax-merchant. Is this the kind of judgment you want in a president?" McCain called the day he heard about the incident. Without any other information (like a picture of the woman with the backwards-"B" on her face), why would he assume that this was a hoax? What's wrong with showing some compassion to someone he thought was a legitimate victim of violence?

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

 

White Racism's "Upside"...

I think Ta-Neheisi Coates is joking in this post.

But, I'm not sure.

I laughed out loud -- but then realized there was something to it.

Decide for yourself.

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Dressed To Kill

Republicans, here is how your contributions to your party are being spent:
The Republican National Committee has 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.

Four thousand bucks on hair and make-up!!! Who the hell does the campaign think this woman is -- John Edwards?!?!?

Most amusing was the reaction of the campaign to this story's development:

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.

“The campaign does not comment on strategic decisions regarding how financial resources available to the campaign are spent," she said.

But hours after the story was posted on Politico's website and legal issues were raised, the campaign issued a new statement:
"With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign," said McCain-Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt


So, trips to Saks and "NeedlessMark-up" (as we used to call it back in the day) are "strategic decisions" now! Excellent.

And the shock that "we're spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses..." Who the hell does the campaign think this woman is -- Hillary Clinton?!!?!?

And this is a campaign that, in the closing days, is desperately trying to figure out where to run ads given its limited resources.

Given that the thesis of Ross Douthat and Riehan Salam's Grand New Party is rebuilding the Republican brand with social conservatives and "Sam's Club" members as its foundation, I'm curious what such potential voters might think of Sarah Palin as an, ahem, "Sak's Club" member. Over to you, Ross!

Yeah, this is very funny. But in another, it is profoundly sad: John McCain, who focused so much on the use and abuses of money in politics is now overseeing an operation that is spending $150K on his VP candidate's wardrobe. No wonder Palin has emerged as McCain's biggest obstacle to voters.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

 

Feasting At The Spread

Ross Douthat has a couple of posts up on the intricacies and efficacy of the "spread the wealth" argument -- against Obama and in general.

Joe the Plumber's insta-celebrity aside, I think there's a very simple reason why the "socialism" label isn't sticking to Obama right now. It's not his seeming teflon hide: It has to do with the economic mess the country is in. My hunch is that, yes, a certain portion of the electorate feels that there needs to be greater role of the government in this age of instability.

But there's another sentiment as well: It's not envy of the wealthy right now, but just plain resentment. While it is true that subprime loans -- and the failure to pay them -- is one reason for the near credit meltdown. But, it is the uber-trading of derivatives and Texas Hold 'Em-type financial gambling that the average person can't even pretend to understand ("credit-default swaps"? $63 trillion liability?) that put the entire system in danger.

In this sort of atmosphere, is it any wonder that the average person might think --"Look what these corporate a-holes have done with this obscene wealth!?!? Damn right it should be spread around!!"

Again, that's not an endorsement of socialism, but it is a human reaction to a sense of plutocracy run amok.

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Musings from Bickerstaff

I truly commend Colin Powell for the words that he spoke on Sunday's Meet The Press.
I am troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America.

Is there something wrong with some seven year old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be President? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion.' He's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists". This is not the way we should be going in in America.
Those were powerful words to hear especially when one works in a Muslim country part of the time.

Here is where I begin a personal story. The country I work in is 99.9% Muslim. It was this past spring during the beginning of Christian Holy Week when I was working at our law office in the capital. Nearing the end of the day, my hosts asked if I would need to be picked up for the service the next morning at 9 am at the British Embassy. They had thoughtfully called ahead to let the Embassy know my name, that I was an American, and Protestant. They also scheduled the meetings later to allow for my time there.

This was at at a time when American rhetoric from a few Congressmen was at a particular low point. It is with confusion my business partners over there ask why we hate them? Oddly, this was a country that stood with the US when the Shah was deposed. This is also a country that is friends with Israel. I know many members of their parliament and regularly meet with their Ministers of State. Many find it absolutely incredulous that America could elect a black man. They say this with awe and ask me if it is really possible? Equally astounding is that a woman also might be elected. The volumes that this speaks to the world.

The words we use to divide have an effect far reaching. To the extent that the Internet has broken barriers it also can transfer our words and thoughts to be interpreted by all. The tone of how we address each other is as important as the respect we show the diversity that creates our nation. No man or woman should be judged unfit based upon their gender, race, creed, color or sexual orientation. They should stand judged for the ideas they espouse, the life choices they have made, and the plans they have for this nation.

When our elected officials use jingoism to decry an area or people for not being Real America, or some types hate America, or are anti American; I am reminded to show them the most powerful words ever published in America on the subject.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Let us always be able to disagree without being disagreeable. Let us always respect all citizens.

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The Crack-Up

Why bother waiting until the end of the McCain campaign? The conservative civil war starts now! John Heileman examines one part of it. Robert Stacy McCain, Ross Douthat, and Daniel Larison engage in three-way crossfire.

And Rod Dreher chimes in.

Ah, if it's this good now, how wonderful will it be on November 5th? Grab the Courvoissier and pass the popcorn, I say!

Oh, yeah, and cue the Carpenters! And R.EM. too, but in a different way...

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Monday, October 20, 2008

 

Why John McCain Still Drives Conservatives Nuts...

On Fox News Sunday, McCain had this to say about Barack Obama's amazing fundraising haul:
Senator Obama raised $150 million in — I understand, during the month of September, completely breaking whatever idea we had after Watergate to keep the costs and spending on campaigns under control — first time, first time since the Watergate scandal.

And I can tell you this, that has unleashed now in presidential campaigns a new flood of spending that will then cause a scandal, and then we will fix it again.

So, the man who brought us McCain-Feingold is at it again!

Obama, following the rules, has raised this huge amount of money partly through methods pioneered by McCain himself. Don't forget, McCain was the original Internet-fundraising candidate back in 2000. Amazingly, at a moment when the the US has racked up record debt, Obama declines to take $84 million dollars from the taxpayers, preferring to take money from individuals voluntarily giving it.

But, that very idea is anathema to McCain. He sees a problem in need of "fixing." Funny, the constraints his own law created caused him to start playing fast and loose the rules when he came perilously close to the pre-convention spending limits.

Consider the implications of McCain's statement. A record amount of Americans choosing to give a record amount of money to a candidate they support (much of it in small donations) is ipso facto evidence of a likely scandal. But, of course, at the heart of McCain-Feingold is a belief that money -- in the political process -- is an inherently bad thing.

Remember once again, McCain became such a crusader when he, personally, was corrupted by Charles Keating. Because McCain showed weakness in the face of temptation, everyone else -- including innocent Americans who happen only to be "guilty" of being inspired by a candidate -- must be considered "suspect" in a likely future "scandal," the only evidence of which is that Obama raised a heckuva lof of money. Yet, this is a "problem" that needs to be "fixed." So, for those watching, this again sends the message : Politicians screw up, the public pays the price.

UPDATE: Patrick Ruffini piles on -- he also predicts that Obama is on track for a $190 million-plus haul in October. On "This Week" yesterday, my old boss also Newt had fun at the irony of McCain being laid low by McCain-Feingold.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

 

$150 Million-Plus (KAPOW-ELL!)

Wow. Wow.

Well, this is undoubtedly helping Sen. Obama make his closing arguments in the presidential race.

UPDATE: A darn good day for the senator from Illinois. In addition to the big money announcement, he gets a "big-money" endorsement with Colin Powell coming on board. Beyond the foreign-policy heft and reassurance he brings to middle-of-the-road voters
(despite the hit that his reputation took over the WMDs in Iraq), the timing of this declaration inevitably forces the McCain campaign to deal with this when he wants to focus more on the tax issue. Though many will draw the conclusion that Powell decided to cross parties just because of race. However, the former secretary of state gave broad, nuanced, reasons for his choice. As he pointed out, if it was just solely (soul-ly?) a "black thing," he could have done it weeks ago. Ironically, considering Powell's foreign policy portfolio, he sounded as if it was more the McCain campaign's herky-jerky response to the economic crisis that ended up being the deciding factor in his endorsement.

UPDATE II: For those who want the video without having to link through to the MSNBC page:



UPDATE III: Very smart measured response from McCain:
"Well, I've always admired and respected Gen. Powell. We're longtime friends," McCain stated. "This doesn't come as a surprise. But I'm also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state, Secretaries Kissinger, Baker, Eagleburger and Haig. And I'm proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired Army generals and admirals. But I respect and continue to respect and admire Secretary Powell."

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