Sunday, August 31, 2008
Ralph Reed says the Leaders of the Evangelical "Christian" Movement were literally hugging themselves with joy over the pick of Governor Sarah Palin to be Senator John McCain's running mate. One assumes all this took place nowhere near that airport bathroom in Minneapolis as they flew in for the convention.
Anyway - so Miss Whatever Moosejaw, 2002 - Governor of a state with a population less than that of the city of Fort Worth - arrived in Pennsylvania, yesterday with the McCain campaign, and promptly piped up in that tragic voice of hers:
"It's great to see another part of the country!"
The McCain campaign did pick up about 4.9 million in online donations after Palin was announced. So, this is serious - and dangerous for Team Obama. The perils are many on both sides. One hopes they are running episodes of Schoolhouse Rock for her in the Straight Talk Express between stops.
Now, I'll turn your attention to a simply blissful HuffPost by sublime author Jane Smiley, who postulates that, since Sarah Barracuda accused Hillary Clinton of "whining," perhaps she should be held to the same standard flames by which the Evangelical "Christian" (and there's an oxymoron) Right has held Mrs. C's feet all these years.
The full post, which simply must be read, is here - but I quote:
"Did she really accuse Hillary Clinton of "whining?" Then she's already told us that she won't mind any challenge -- that she can rise to any question. I want to see her do it. The personal is political, after all. Here are some issues she has to explain: What is her religion and who is her pastor? Is she a Christian Dominionist and how does she feel about the separation of church and state? How does she square her roles as mother and politician? Who is taking care of the kids while she is away, including the baby? If it's the husband, I'm glad. If it's a nanny and always has been, then I want to know how a wealthy woman with a nanny helps women in general -- wealthy women with nannies are nothing new. If she's into "family values," I want to know what they are, and how the nanny views Palin's "family values." If she produced a child at 44, I want to know if she believes in birth control, because birth control is a political issue. I also want to know her views on the government's obligations to the disabled. Do the disabled children of rich people get special treatments that their parents can afford, while the disabled children of poor people get nothing? Who is the boss in her family? If it's her, then I want to know how that squares with Christian notions of patriarchy. If it's the husband, then I want to know his values and beliefs about all the issues that face the nation, and I want to know who will actually be the vice president. I want to see her tax returns. I want to see his tax returns."
My own small additions to this abomination in general are:
What kind of animal do you have to be to take a 5-month-old infant with Down Syndrome out on a 24/7 national campaign trail?
Also - if I were any kind of parent, whatsoever, and my oldest son was getting ready to be shipped out to Iraq, why would I agree to take this position - if I had no knowledge whatsoever of foreign affairs or national security? Wouldn't I, if I had half a grain of judgment, already, look at what little I've experienced so far in this regard, and say, "You know what? My son's shipping out, and I feel we need much more capable people running the show. Maybe later."
Because last I heard, friends, we were in the midst of two land wars - and if the current Administration and Senator John McCain has their way, perhaps a couple more before the next President even has a chance to take the oath. So, is this V.P choice an example of the high regard with which the Republican candidate holds the safety of our men and women in service? That he would put their destiny in the hands of someone with the level of experience of Sarah Palin?
That she would accept it - 5-month-old Down's infant in hand - tells me everything I need to know about her.
For 19 months, now, the Obama campaign - in order to ready themselves for the extraordinary foreign challenges they might have to face in the name of this country - has built a collection of policy focus groups whose members now total over 200 strong: Senators, Congressmen, scholars, military leaders. I think that's the right kind of effort to take up the slack of his practical knowledge, don't you? Not to mention the pick of Senator Biden as his running mate.
Bottom line? Don't ram the concept of experience down our throats, anymore, John - because my experience tells me you're insane - unhinged. You're simply crazy and reckless, with a hair-trigger temper, a gambling addiction, and a blasphemous disregard for the general welfare of this nation's good people.
I, for one, don't want you anywhere near a decision that involves our Armed Forces.
Friday, August 29, 2008
"Wait a minute," they said. "We can't nominate her! She's a terrible choice." And before you knew it, she was gone.
Of course, if McCain were to die, heaven forbid, a week into his presidency, well...that wouldn't be very good. Our 44-year-old former beauty pageant contestent would then be running the country. And that could be...problematic.
Kevin, I can't recall a time when I've been so inspired by the possibilities of government to affect people's lives in a positive, helpful way. Let's celebrate by taking Spiro Agnew's bust out of the Senate rotunda again.
In other news around: Peggy Noonan figured out the meaning of the columns on the Mile-High set in the Post, and declared the night "a muted affair. But not one without power." Uh - not from where I was sittin', baby - and, check it out: unlike Your Boys, Obama writes those himself.
Yesterday, she was saying it would be like Nueremberg. Really, Peg? Are you equating all those thousands of free Americans exercising their Constitutional right to Free Speech in that stadium to the crowds under the thumb of Nazis? As I recall, Nueremberg was a right-wing conservative event, yes? Sorry - didn't mean to throw some Actual History your way. Must be confusing.
Speaking of which, there's a great rundown of LBJ's working of the Voting Rights Act through Congress in this morning's Times by primo Johnson biographer, Robert Caro, here. I was very disappointed during the primary campaign when Hillary got nailed from crediting Johnson for his part in the Civil Rights movement.
And the London Times had a particularly interesting op-ed from yesterday, here, but I'm still mystified by the Americans in the Comment section talking about Democrats "spending us into oblivion," after 28 years of Republican financial misbehavior. Sounds like Putin blaming Georgia on us, yesterday. Extraordinary. I'm sure they can't wait for Bush and the Penquin to straighten out the record Monday night.
I, myself, look at the record like this: last three GOP Presidents, last three record budget deficits. All above 200 billion - each one larger than the ones before. That's simple, right?
Maybe I need to write it out in crayon.
UPDATE - Ol' Peg, herself, is on Morning Joe declaring that the speech was a "big Flopolina", "not a sissy speech, I guess" - and, at the end of the day, would not be "memorable or remembered." Peg misses The Revolution, I guess.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
I have known and been friends with John McCain for almost 22 years. But every day now I learn something new about candidate McCain. To those who still believe in the myth of a maverick instead of the reality of a politician, I say, let's compare Senator McCain to candidate McCain.Youch. And they're friends. More:
Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain's own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you're against it.
Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what's more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same "Rove" tactics and the same "Rove" staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008.
You said it, Johnny. Atta boy.
So who can we trust to keep America safe? When Barack Obama promised to honor the best traditions of both parties and talk to our enemies, John McCain scoffed. George Bush called it "the soft comfort of appeasement." But today, Bush's diplomats are doing exactly what Obama said: talking with Iran.
So who can we trust to keep America safe? When democracy rolled out of Russia, and the tanks rolled into Georgia, we saw John McCain respond immediately with the outdated thinking of the Cold War. Barack Obama responded like a statesman of the 21st century.
So who can we trust to keep America safe? When we called for a timetable to make Iraqis stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, John McCain called it "cut and run." But today, even President Bush has seen the light. He and Prime Minister Maliki agree on guess what? a timetable.
So who can we trust to keep America safe? The McCain-Bush Republicans have been wrong again and again and again. And they know they will lose on the issues. So, the candidate who once promised a "contest of ideas," now has nothing left but personal attacks.
How insulting to suggest that those who question the mission, question the troops. How pathetic to suggest that those who question a failed policy doubt America itself. How desperate to tell the son of a single mother who chose community service over money and privilege that he doesn't put America first.
No one can question Barack Obama's patriotism.
Hey, say hello to Bruce for me tonight, willya?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
I almost feel sorry for Barack. I really do. Because I'm here to tell you, there are speakers, there are great speakers...and then there's Bill Clinton.
Oh, I'm not saying Barack isn't as good. He may be the only human who is as good. But boy, oh, boy. Can Bill bring the red meat and serve it up on a big, fat, lovely platter.
Tonight, Bill Clinton followed Hillary in pledging his unwavering support of Barack Obama. Forget the Maureen Dowd columns, the rumors of backstage backbiting, the PUMA bullshit. Who, in the end, cares about the empty punditry? All that matters is, when the spotlight hits you at the convention, are you giving it up for the nominee or not?
Guess what? Bill did. As with Hillary, the best part of his speech was when he threw his ego aside and embraced the new candidate by pointing out that, 16 years ago- back when Bill stood on a similar stage and ran for the Big Chair- the right wing offered the same criticism of him. "Clinton? He's not ready, he's inexperienced, he's too young."
The hell he was.
Clinton offered a full-throated endorsement of the new Democratic candidate and vowed that he would work- actually work- to elect Obama this November. Good for him. About damn time, too.
And now that he's done so, all I can say is: those PUMA's can go to hell if they don't climb aboard the Obama campaign now. Cause the Big Dog and his lovely wife have sent forth the word:
Climb aboard. The time, ladies and gentlemen, is now.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
And please- don't get me wrong. As long as there was a chance, she had every right to keep on fighting. But once it became mathematically impossible for her to take the golden ring, it was time to go. And she didn't. She pressed on and, in her long (and prohibitively expensive) fight, trashed Barack in ways that I found more than a little upsetting.
So...tonight was the night to make amends. To step up to the plate and finally, for once and for all, throw her full support behind the nominee. And the question was, for me: "Will she bring the love?"
Boy, did she. Heck, she practically stole my script.
Shoot, that's not giving her nearly as much credit as she is due. Her script was a hell of a lot better than mine by a long shot. The money quote will be the "Twin Cities" jab at Bush and McCain, but for me, the best line was where she asked, tossing her ego aside: Was your vote really for me, or for the people I am fighting for? And with that, she sealed the deal.
Over and over again tonight, she urged her supporters to work for and enthusiastically support Barack Obama. And I can imagine few of her millions of acolytes ignoring that call. She framed it pitch-perfectly- a vote for McCain is a vote for the same policies of the past eight years. What true-blue Hillary supporter could wish for that?
So my apologies for assuming the worst. For anticipating that Hillary would put ego before party. That she wouldn't make a earnest attempt to unify the Democrats. She did all that, and more.
She brought the love.
What I’d like to hear Hillary say:
“Thank you! Thank you so much for that warm welcome, Denver!
“I have spent most of the past two years criss-crossing this great nation of ours, meeting with countless voters and listening very carefully to their concerns in my own quest for the White House. Tonight I stand before you certain in the knowledge that this is a country with grave challenges.
“We have, thanks to the economic and foreign policies of the Bush Administration, an economy in crisis, an image tarnished around the world, a military that has been stretched to the limits of its capacity and a weakened government that is unworthy of this magnificent country of ours.
“Never in our history has an Administration brought such havoc to its own people. Never before have we suffered through such a perfect storm of political incompetence, economic mismanagement and foreign policy arrogance as we have in the past seven and a half years since George W. Bush and Dick Cheney took the reins and steered us into the ditch where we now find ourselves.
“But, my fellow Americans, I come to you tonight not merely to heap scorn upon the current Administration, though they richly deserve our scorn. I am here, instead, with a message of hope. And that message is this: Though the challenges we face are formidable and the road before us seems almost impossible to weather, we can and will turn this nation around and once again restore America to its rightful place as the beacon of democracy, justice and goodwill around the planet.
“There are many things we need to do in order to achieve this worthy goal. But the first of our tasks is clear. We must, and will, elect Barack Obama as President of the United States.
“Many of my supporters have yet to climb aboard Senator Obama’s bandwagon. I’ve even heard, as I’m sure you have as well, that some of those who worked so tirelessly on my campaign are considering rejecting this party and crossing the aisle to vote for Senator McCain.
“So let me be clear: If you have ever believed in my message, if you have ever supported the causes I have worked to hard to bring to the forefront of my campaign, if you believe, as I do, that this nation must change and change for the better in order to survive our current crises, you must work as tirelessly as you worked for me to see that Barack Obama, next year, is sworn in as the 44th President of these United States.
“A vote for John McCain is a vote against everything I stand for. It is a vote to continue the bloodshed in Iraq, to continue the disastrous economic choices of the Bush Administration, to continue to ignore the climate crisis, our environmental challenges and the desire to once and for all make this nation independent of foreign oil. Any one of my supporters who casts a vote for John McCain has betrayed my trust and the trust of those you have served by working on and supporting my campaign.
“My work will continue. I will never rest in my service to this country. And the first order of business is to work ceaselessly, diligently and with all of our hearts to elect Barack Obama. Please join me in this new quest.
“Your country needs you. And the time for change is now.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to hear that?
“One of the best, most moving, intimate, rousing, humble, and beautiful speeches I've heard from a convention platform. Maybe she should be running for president. You don't need any commentary from me. This was a home-run. And sincere. Thank God that in the end, the truth struggles out there. Just look at her mother's face.”- Andrew SullivanAmen, Andrew. Say, where'd you get that "home run" language?
“The Democratic Party has just blown almost one-quarter of its convention on some of the most tepid personal-trivia testimonials and no-really-they-watched-Brady-Bunch crapola I have heard since my last Amway convention. Only with much less spirit. Wait, your mother loved you? IZ VOAT DIMOKRAT!True, we need more red meat in the coming days. But be patient, my pet.
The Republicans kicked the stuffing out of the Dems in the last year's convention season, in part due to an uproarious and combative opening night. Can Democrats even hit a ball off a tee without irritating the hell out of everybody?”- Matt Welch, Reason Online
“Michelle's speech was a home run. Emotional, heartfelt, and very authentic. On a night where Ted Kennedy passed the Democratic Party's moral baton, Michelle picked it up and ran with it -- evoking RFK's famous evocation of George Bernard Shaw ("Some men see things as they are...") by talking about the world as it is vs the world as it should be.” -Arianna Huffington, Huffington Post
Again with the "home run" talk? Stop cribbing off me, Arianna!
"Her voice is quavering, as if she's on the verge of tears the whole time, yet still pretty genuine. Lots of good images of military families, night-shift workers and parents with children. This is Hallmark TV at its best. (Which, to be clear, is still not as good as HBO at its worst.) It's possible that the calculation was that they had to present her with a soft image, and so they couldn't have any red meat on her night -- that it was worth sacrificing a night to have a knockout Michelle Obama speech. Who knows? Maybe it's worth it." --Jonathan Chait, The New Republic Online
It was worth it.
“I guess the consensus is that Michelle Obama did well last night. The word “homerun” is getting bandied about in many quarters. I didn’t see it that way. True, on some levels she did well. She managed to speak for 22 whole minutes without once channeling William Ayers. She also came across as an undeniably impressive, likable figure.
"But unless Team Barry’s pollsters showed Michelle having a toxic reputation and costing the ticket votes, the whole exercise seems purposeless. Yes, she bumped up her Q Rating, but to what end? Does anyone actually cast their vote based on which potential first lady they prefer? (Well, maybe that happened during the Clinton years, but those days are fortunately behind us.)- Dean Barnett, The Weekly Standard Blog
That's the Weekly Standard talking, mind you. From them, that's a rave.
“Unlike so many speeches, Michelle Obama's was understated and elegent. She has been attacked by Republicans for failing to display sufficient patriotism. She knew she had to express her love for her country. But she did so with a measure of grace and dignity that few political speakers muster these days.”- John Nichols, The Nation Blog
She's still going to be attacked, of course. But now we know those attacks are groundless.
“Humanising is how I would describe Michelle Obama's speech on Monday night. And that seemed to be the goal. She was not the fighter, the feminist (the elitist?) that many expected. Her tone was different, much softer, less assertive. No doubt, this was the strategy (let others go on the attack). She was the caring mother, the loving wife, the concerned American...a mainstream American. As is her husband, she made clear.”- The Economist Blog
As previously stated, Michelle's speech was a... Um...it was a... Geez, I'm looking for a sports metaphor that indicates that she did really, really well. Can anyone help me out here?
Monday, August 25, 2008
Okay, now wait a minute. I knew that the Obamas are supposed to be great speaker and all that, with the soaring rhetoric and the inpiration and everything, but I mean....
Holy, sweet tap dancing Moses! Michelle can bring it!
I know, I know. "Oooh, the left-wing nutcase is crazy about the candidate's wife's speech. What a shocker!"
But tell you what. Let's play a game and simply try to view the speech as an outsider. Unbiased. Not as an Obamaniac, but as a lowly, undecided viewer. Okay, so here we go. Totally as if I were a newcomer to this whole game:She. Was. Brilliant.
She hit all the right notes. She played the audience like a harp. She was passionate. Moving. Beautiful. She talked about her parents, her history, her deep connection to her husband. Her faith in him. Her faith in God, in country, in the American Dream. And, of course, her hopes for Barack's Presidency.
Hell, she was better than I thought HE would be.
Look, I know a thing or two about public speaking. I've seen great speeches and marveled at stirring oratory on countless occasions (see Clinton, Bill, among others). By contrast, I've often cringed at the awfulness of some speeches that could have been great, but weren't (see Kerry, John). And Michelle Obama- and I'm serious now- delivered one of the greatest public speeches I've ever seen.
Tough act to follow, Barack. Good luck with that whole thing.
According to the Huffington Post, it appears that Madonna has a little thing for Obama. During her current "Sticky & Sweet" tour (golly, she's good at naming stuff), she apparently takes a swipe and McCain and then shows off how much she digs the O-man. From the article:
Amid a four-act show at Cardiff's packed Millennium Stadium, a video interlude carried images of destruction, global warming, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe's authoritarian President Robert Mugabe…and U.S. Senator John McCain. Another sequence, shown later, pictured slain Beatle John Lennon, followed by climate activist Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi and finally McCain's Democratic rival Barack Obama.
Now I'm not necessarily saying that I would feel comfortable comparing McCain to Hitler or Mugabe (frankly, I think it's more than a little out of line). And I love Barack and all but...Gandhi? Really?
Still, at the end of the day, anytime a hot lookin' 50 year old megastar gives you a plug- you take it.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
I've had my doubts. Freely admitted. But after reflection, I have to admit: Joe's the guy.
The biggest beef about Joe, and I've brought it up myself, is that he's got a big mouth. He has a tendency to fall in love with the sound of his own voice and will...ramble. And when he rambles, the occasional inappropriate remark will pop out. Maybe that's what I like about him. I'm like that myself.
His other negatives are.... Ummm. You see, he's..... Uhhh.
I'm sorry. That's his only negative. And in the annals of V.P. candidates, that's pretty damned good. Check out the past few elections and the candidates for the #2 job, shall we?
1988: Dan Quayle and Lloyd Benston. You can say the quote with me, can't you? "I knew John Kennedy...." But, great debate and all, poor Lloyd hitched his wagon to poor Mickey D. from Massachusetts, so...so much for him. Good man, though. But Biden is a far, far better candidate than either.
1992: Dan Quayle and Al Gore. Dazzling personalities? Not exactly. A dimwit and a policy wonk. Comparable to Joe? No chance.
1996: Al Gore and Jack Kemp. Jack Kemp? Are you kidding me? Joe in a walk.
2000: Joe Lieberman and Dick Cheney. Name me two bigger assholes in politics and I'll give you a cookie.
2004: John Edwards and Dick Cheney. Edwards: Great guy, lady on the side nothwithstanding. And Dr. Evil had yet to show his true colors, of course. Again, it all goes to Joe.
So. Is Joe Biden a great choice for #2? Especially when your great weaknesses are known to be lack of experience, foreign policy and Washingtonian depth?
Pretty clear, folks: Joe's the man.
Friday, August 22, 2008
A woman has been accused of killing a two year old child. This is not funny, of course. It is a terrible tragedy. Now, moving on from that: The trouble investigators are having with bringing this woman to justice is....she is a 900-pound, bedridden behemoth. They would have enormous difficulty just getting her out of her house, much less actually keeping her safely in a state facility.
So what do you do? I mean it. What do you do? If I were the prosecutor, I'd be baffled. For example, they set bail for this woman. Okay, that's fine. But what if she refuses to post bail? You gonna send over four or five squad cars to pick her up? Build a new, jumbo-sized cell down at the jail for her? Heck, why even ask for bail? I can't imagine someone who is less of a flight risk. Or someone more incapable of "hiding out." And suppose she's convicted. Do you put her in prison? Some maxi-maximum security facility? I can imagine her going in: "This joint ain't big enough to hold me." And she'd likely be right.
Yeah, I know I'm making fun of fat people again (in this case, an obese accused murderess), but the question remains: What would you do with her?
The trouble with trying to paint a guy who was raised by a single mother and climbed his way to the top all by himself as an "elistist" is...it really helps if you're not a multi-millionaire scion of a well-to-do military dynasty who can't even remember how many houses you own. I mean, really. Not to know how many houses you own? Shoot, I can imagine, say, not knowing how many pairs of socks you own (around 15?) or how many bikes your family has (four? five, maybe?). But how many HOUSES?
Let's look at this pragmatically. Say I asked you...how many phones you have in your house. You could easily get that wrong. One in the living room, one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom. Three. "But honey, what about the wireless by the bed?" "Oh, right! Five! Sorry- missed one" "And our cell phones?" "Jeez! Forgot about all of them! Eight! How embarassing!" That's for telephones. Some people have LOTS of 'em. But say I asked you how many televisions you have. You probably know. We, for example, own one. Some families have two. Some many more. But you likely know, after a moment's thought, how many you own. How about computers? Well, your kids might have one apiece, your spouse one, you might have a laptop of your own. But, again, this isn't all that hard to figure out. You simply think "Okay, Beth has one, and Jimmy and Frieda...plus me. That's four!"
But let's get bigger. If I asked you how many lawn mowers, how many snowmobiles, how many cars you had...that wouldn't take you long, would it? I mean, who has more than one or two of those, tops? But actual residences? Exactly how phenomenally wealthy do you have to be to lose track of how many buildings- that you LIVE in- you own? Am I supposed to believe that a guy who mislays a house or two is really in touch with the state of the current housing crisis? This is a guy who rails against those who were "irresponsible" enought to borrow too much from unscrupulous lenders and he can't tell you if he has one or two mutli-million dollar homes in friggin' Phoenix?
Obama is all over this. As he should be. Yet we're the elitists.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
It makes me wonder, does John McCain edit his campaign speeches on an old Olivetti typewriter, diligently banging out press releases until the ribbon runs out? Or maybe his campaign headquarters has one o' them new telegraph dealies, so he can reach supporters dozens of miles away in the blink of an eye.
Frankly, I wouldn't rule out semaphore.
I will be among the first to know if it's Webb, Bayh, Kaine or Biden (or a player to be named later).
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My, my, my. So much to talk about. And, for the record, you may consider this a "Phelps-free" zone. If I see or hear anything more about young Michael, I may heave. I mean, I like him and all but....enough already.
Things are gearing up for the Dem convention in Denver next week and I can only imagine how excited the Denverites must be. And in the next couple of days, we will learn who Barack has chosen to be his pit bull....er...running mate. My hope is for Webb but it doesn't seem likely. The current leaders are Bayh, Kaine and Biden and, of the three, I like Biden the best. Still, he's something of a lightning rod, so I wouldn't be all that upset if it wasn't Joe. I'm torn, as you can see.
McCain, meanwhile, is all Georgia, all the time. He thinks he got it right in his bellicose response to the Russian invasion but I hardly think so. The idea of anyone who supported the Iraq war chiding Russia for invading a sovreign nation is, by definition, a hypocrite. (See Bush, George W.) And now that he's basically cut himself off from the press on the Straight Talk Express (mainly because he keeps getting his facts muddled), I don't think we're going to be seeing much of the Real McCain over the next couple of months. He's got to stay on message and he simply can't do that when you get him chattin'.
McCain's running mate? Look for the safe choice, not the daring one. Many people thought he'd reach out to Lieberman but that would be suicide. Ridge is an interesting pick but he's pro-choice so...I wouldn't bet on that either. Romney seems safe and that's where my money is. We'll see.
Nice to be back. What's on YOUR mind?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Anyway, ol' Paris gets a look at the ad and, instead of whining about it, does something entirely unexpected- she makes an ad of her own and shows John McCain the back of her hand.
This was obviously created by some very smart people. The opening shots, comparing McCain to various old people (Larry King, the Golden Girls, Yoda and the Cryptkeeper) is smackdown enough. But the narrative that Hilton delivers is truly hilarious. And who knew she had a better energy policy than McCain?
Well done, Paris. We never knew you had it in you.
I mean, he's a two-term V.P. and, arguably, the most powerful person ever to hold the post. Turning the "bucket of warm spit" adage on its head, Cheney is the man behind most, if not all, of the major "accomplishments" of the Bush Administration. You want to thank, or blame, anyone for the past eight years, you look to Dick.
So why won't McCain ask him to the big dance? Well, it could be that his popularity hovers somewhere between Michael Vick and O.J. Simpson. Or it could be that the McCain camp is desperate to distance itself from the disastrous Bushies. Or, maybe they've actually seen Cheney speak. "Electrifying" is not a word you'd use to describe his elocution. The AFLAC duck is more riveting.
In any case, Dick is out and his long, shuffling walk to the exit door has begun. History, I'm afraid, will not be kind to Richard Cheney.
Lord knows John McCain is well aware of that.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Short version: These guys basically agree with Barack Obama’s plan for withdrawal, but they go out of their way to try and prove that he’s wrong. Head spinning yet? Stay tuned.
They start off with this gem:
“Almost everyone now agrees there has been great progress in Iraq. The question is what to do about it.”Okay, fellas. So your basic premise is “The surge worked.” I could quibble, but I won’t. Let’s say, for the time being, that you’re right. What to do?
“Democrats led by Barack Obama want to take a peace dividend and withdraw all combat brigades by May 2010. Republicans like John McCain want to keep troops in Iraq until conditions on the ground signal the time is ripe. And now the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, has endorsed a timetable for withdrawal, though he seems to favor a somewhat slower pace than the Democrats propose.”Hold it. Maliki’s comments mirror Obama’s almost exactly. But this is the first inkling that these guys are doing a hatchet job on Barack. But remember, no matter what they say from here on in, the basic premise is still this one: the Prime Minister of Iraq wants a withdrawal timetable that ends in 2010 and so does Obama. Keep that in mind. And hold on to your hat.
“If the Iraqi government tells us to leave, we should go. But this would be a bad deal for both Iraqis and Americans.”And we’re off! Despite the fact that there (a) has been progress and (b) the Iraqi government is poised to ask the U.S. to politely leave, this would be a “bad deal.” And why is that? The writers back this up by telling us that the decrease in violence is due to either the defeat of the insurgents, cease-fires with some of them or both. The cease-fires are described as unstable and easily reversible and they give a number of examples of cease-fire participants who would happily go back to fighting when the time suits them.
But then the self-contradictory train really gets chugging. They say:
“In part this is because [the Iraqi government is] still not trusted by all cease-fire participants. To many Sunnis in particular, a government military commanded by a Shiite regime is not yet trustworthy enough to be tolerated without an American presence to keep it honest.”Gee, that’s kinda bad. Wouldn’t it be nice if that could change? Their next sentence:
“To some extent, this is changing: for example, the National Police have replaced three-fourths of its leaders over the last year or so and now have more than a proportionate share of Sunnis in command positions.”Oh, so that’s good, right? Not exactly:
“But full reconciliation will take time.”Jeez, guys, make up your minds! Is the country stable or not? And how much time? Like, two years maybe? Then:
“The Iraqi security forces are simply not yet able to operate effectively without United States air support, combat advisers and help with logistics and intelligence.”Who said they are? We’re not withdrawing troops now and nobody is suggesting we do. But in time we could begin a large-scale withdrawal if the government remains stable. So stop contradicting yourselves you a-holes!
“When Iraqi units with no American embeds tried to take the port city of Basra last spring, they were turned back in mass confusion, and it required United States combat help to save the day.”Last spring? You mean pre-surge? I’m sorry, but didn’t you start off your piece by saying that there has been “great progress” since then?
The rest of the piece is much the same. They say one thing, then they contradict it. They agree that troop withdrawals will be possible, but just not right now. (This despite the fact that absolutely no one who has a chance of becoming president is suggesting that we leave “right now.”)
Some examples of this convoluted crap include these quotes:
“American combat troops are also critical for political progress in Iraq.”Translation: We should stay.
“There has been real political change in Iraq...Over the past year the Iraqis have passed critical amnesty, de-Baathification and provincial-powers laws, as well as a federal budget — all of which had been previously seen as hopelessly deadlocked.”Translation: We’re good to go.
“[For next year’s elections in Iraq],. American combat troops are needed to protect polling places from terrorism, and even more important, from voter intimidation, fraud and the perception that the results were rigged.”We should stick around.
“Over time, the need for United States contributions will diminish.”But we can go eventually.
“[Other challenges are:] the resettlement of four million people now displaced by violence, the equitable sharing of Iraq’s future oil revenues, and a resolution of disputed internal borders in places like the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.”Stay and finish the job.
“If current trends continue, major reductions in American troop levels will be possible.”But not for long.
“[B]ut to begin large-scale drawdowns, much less to complete them, before mid-2010 is to run serious risks.”Just not in two years. That’s risky.
It goes on and on like this. Progress has been made, but not enough. We can go, but not too soon. Stability is key, but it can quickly grow unstable. Blah, blah, de-blah. Have you learned anything new based on this little offering of circular logic? If you have, let me know.
They end with:
“It would be tragic, however, to allow American haste and Iraqi political opportunism to undermine a real chance for long-term stability in Iraq. Perhaps an early withdrawal would succeed, and today’s system of cease-fires would survive a rapid United States drawdown. But much important work remains to be done in Iraq. And to believe that it can be done without the longer presence of a significant number of American combat troops requires a degree of optimism that could well end up making “Mission Accomplished” look as premature today as it was in 2003.”Catch that? Withdrawing troops in two years is “early,” but it perhaps “would succeed.” But there is”much important work” to be done. And then we can bring home the troops.
But not too soon! Which is what Obama wants! Danger! Danger!
Unadulterated bullshit. Yet there it is, in all it’s glory, courtesy of the New York Freakin’ Times.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Not that he's so young, mind you. I have no problem with the idea of a 47 year old man running the country. Especially that 47 year old man.
No, what blows me away is: I'm dangerously close to being older than the President. And that, I'm afraid, makes me officially old.
The long, slow, inexorable slide into old age begins earlier than you think. I believe it begins the day you realize you are older than the girls you admired in Playboy magazine. (Yes, my female readers, I looked at Playboy magazine when I was an impressionable youth.) One day, you're flipping through the pages and you notice, "Gee, that centerfold is two years younger than me. Hmmm."
Then it gets worse.
Down the road a bit, you realize that the starting pitcher for your favorite baseball team is younger than you. And that's....interesting. Then: you're older than your parents were when they had you. And that raises an eyebrow, too. Then you're older than Jimmy Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison ever got to be. Pretty soon, you're older than your high school principal was back when you knew him. Then you're older than any player on your favorite baseball team.
Up and up and up you go and before you know it, you're as old as Martin Luther King was when he died. These are the moments when you think "What have I done with my life?" But you suppress such feelings.
And then, finally, you look up and realize that the man who could be President is four years older than you. And it scares the crap out of you.
So happy birthday, Barack. Many happy returns.
You old bastard, you.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Could a major American news network have been the enablers of the Bush Administration in the lead-up to the war in Iraq? If what Greenwald says is true (and it sure as hell looks that way), it is a completely shocking revelation.
It's a long piece, but totally worth it. Sure scared the crap outta me.