Friday, October 31, 2008

Where's Joe? 

Brian Schaffner is not surprised that the McCain's use of "Joe the Plumber" is not gaining traction:
First, critiques of income redistribution and higher taxes for those in the top income brackets appear to mostly resonate with Republicans (who are already supporting McCain) and they have far less appeal for independents. Second, the argument also fails because the symbol doesn't fit the argument very well. Working class whites are just as likely to strongly favor the government's role in income redistribution as they are to oppose it and most among this group feel as though high income Americans aren't paying their fair share in taxes. Thus, "Joe the Plumber's" views on taxes are not really representative of the views of the demographic he is supposed to symbolize.
Now that Joe has hired a publicist, he seems a bit less like the "everyman" the McCain campaign expected.

But at least he hired a Nashville publicist.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Watch out for that Weakling 

James Wolcott:
It's one of the richer ironies of this election season that the conservative bloggers disparage Obama as a phony lightweight, a glib opportunist, a suave vessel of empty eloquence, yet endow him with the sinister strength to bend America to his socialist will and fog men's minds.


Shorter David Broder: It's not McCain's fault.

Eight Reasons for Hope 

I'll be worried until the final results are in, but the Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn makes a convincing case for an Obama victory.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Not Good 

Bob Norman discovers problems in the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office.

Lesson: If you have registered, don't take anyone's word that you are not eligible to vote.

Miami Being Miami 

John McCain came to Miami today to charge up his supporters:
After the rally, we witnessed a near-street riot involving the exiting McCain crowd and two Cuban-American Obama supporters. Tony Garcia, 63, and Raul Sorando, 31, were suddenly surrounded by an angry mob. There is a moment in a crowd when something goes from mere yelling to a feeling of danger, and that's what we witnessed. As photographers and police raced to the scene, the crowd elevated from stable to fast-moving scrum, and the two men were surrounded on all sides as we raced to the circle.
"People were screaming 'Terrorist!' 'Communist!' 'Socialist!'" Sorando said when we caught up with him. "I had a guy tell me he was gonna kill me."



Whoever gave them that idea?

Finish the Game 

As a Florida Gator football fan for the past, oh, forty-five years, I know a little bit about false confidence. I remember the 2003 game against the Miami Hurricanes, where the Gators were up by 23 points at half-time, only to lose the game 38-33.

So there are no safe leads, in football or in politics.

That's why I'm volunteering to make phone calls to help make sure that we get the voters to the polls.

Heart of the Matter 

Anyone who has read the comments on right-wing blogs can see the truth of the following analysis:
Part of what has been wrong with the GOP is that its rank-and-file members take their political advice and insights from radio entertainers who seem to understand little about political reality and even less about policy, and who substitute bluster for understanding. When they are confronted with an administration that does much the same, they have seemed only too willing to buy into the bluster. They remain steadfastly loyal to a failed President and his indefensible decisions, and they break with him only when he supports measures that are absolutely intolerable and even then they do this only when the President is profoundly unpopular and no longer very influential. This audience may have the right views about many things, but in practice that translates into reliable loyalty to a party that virtually never serves their interests, which enables the politicians who support all of the intolerable policies that they themselves reject.
From the radicals at the American Conservative magazine.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Proof Positive 

Perhaps the most telling indication of an Obama victory:
Simple rule: if you're a 72 year-old Presidential nominee, and MATLOCK ENDORSES THE OTHER GUY, it's time to pack it in.
Commenter responding to a Volokh Conspiracy post on Ron Howard and Andy Griffith endorsing Barak Obama.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

If We Can't Get Him on the Issues . . . 

Taking the high road, Jonah Goldberg expresses his admiration for one of his reader's ideas:
If the donations list is published we could always do a bunch of donations as William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright etc. and then publicize that Obama's taking donations from these indidividuals [sic].

The only way to avoid the connection is to admit that they allow anonymous donation which, if I understand correctly, is a violation of federal law.

I'd think an amusing ad could be put together from the already published donor list. The tag line is that if Obama would let his contributors lie to give him money who else is lying to him? That plays off the trust, experience and judgement angles all at the same time.
Why am I not surprised that Jonah is impressed by this 9th-grade scheme?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jolly Old St. Nick 

The Onion could not have written a better parody of the right-wing desperation that's setting in about now: the National Review's Jim Geraghty touts the Nickelodeon Kids' Poll as a sign that things just might not be as bad as they seem for McCain.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Flablog has the count on Florida newspapers' presidential endorsements: 6 for Obama, one for McCain.

Fair and Balanced 

I don't agree with Bob Norman very often, but in this case he is on the mark:
You hear mainstream media sources constantly talking about how, yes, McCain/GOP has been negative, but so has Obama. Well, what they don't say is that Obama's campaign has been negative on important issues like health care, taxes, voting records, etc. Not a scurrilous and underhanded attempt to associate his opponent with terrorism.

Another Reason to Vote for Obama? 

In Florida, Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga has announced his plans to pack up his toys and go home if Obama wins the election, saying that he'll sell the team because of Obama's tax policies. After 15 years of plodding mediocrity under Huizenga (no Super Bowl wins, AFC Championships, or even AFC Championship Game appearances, compared to 2 Super Bowl wins, 5 AFC Championships, and 7 AFC Championship Game appearances in the 27 years prior to Huizenga), Dolphin fans are probably ready to thank Obama for ridding them of their pathetic owner. And baseball fans will remember Huizenga as the guy who dismantled two separate Florida Marlin World Series championship teams to pad his wallet. Bottom line? If an Obama presidency can get Wayne Huizenga out of the sports biz, that's change Miami sports fans can believe in.
Daily Kos

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Ross Douthat:
This is what a lot of conservatives are going to be telling themselves after election day: That Obama cheated, that the media cheated, that McCain wasn't a conservative anyway, and that the only reason Sarah Palin wasn't a hit with swing voters is that the press - with an assist from conservative quislings like Frum and Brooks and Parker and Noonan - poisoned the well. And in such thinking lies the seeds of years or even decades of defeat.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


John Heilemann's article about the devaluation of the McCain brand in New York Magazine validates a thought I've had -- that the kindergarten sex-education ad was where the McCain campaign really jumped the shark.

It was so obviously contrived and cynical that henceforth McCain would have a hard time getting the benefit of the doubt.
The selection of Palin. The lipstick-pig imbroglio. The ad accusing Obama of supporting the teaching of sex education to kindergartners, along with a slew of other spots rife with distortions and fabrications. Perhaps it was the sheer number of such incidents, perhaps the depth of their mendacity. But the meme began to take hold in the press that the “old McCain” was dead. Or perhaps that he had never existed in the first place. “There was a mismatch between the way he was behaving and the narrative the press had bought into,” observes [Marion] Just. “It made reporters wonder, ‘Have we been had?’ And when that question starts being asked, it’s a very bad place for a candidate to be.”

So Long, Farewell, auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye 

James Wolcott:
Even as I wave a farewell hankie at my investment holdings as they sink into the briny deep, I draw spiritual comfort from seeing the McCain-McWinky campaign unceremoniously drown with them. McCain could still win, but the advance signs of rapid decay are everywhere in his campaign . . .

The Heart of the Matter 

James Fallows:
If John McCain has a better set of plans to deal with the immediate crisis, and the medium-term real-economy fallout, and the real global problems of the era -- fine, let him win on those. But it is beneath the dignity he had as a Naval officer to wallow in this mindless BS. I will say nothing about the dignity of a candidate who repeatedly winks at the public, Hooters-waitress style. A great country acts great when it matters. This is a time when it matters -- for politicians in the points they raise, for journalists in the subjects they write about and the questions they ask of candidates. And, yes, for voters.

Stay in Your Seat, Doggone It! 

The Palin campaign was taking no chances when the VP candidate spoke in Clearwater, Florida:
Constantly under the watchful eyes of security, the media wasn't permitted to wander around inside Coachman Park to talk to Sarah Palin supporters. When reporters tried to leave the designated press area and head toward the bleachers where the crowd was seated, an escort would dart out of nowhere and confront him or her and say, "Can I help you?'' and turn the person around.

When one reporter asked an escort, who would not give her name, why the press wasn't allowed to mingle, she said that in the past, negative things had been written.
(via The Daily Dish)

UPDATE: Perhaps the media were kept in their seats as a safety precaution:
In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media." At that, Palin supporters turned on reporters in the press area, waving thunder sticks and shouting abuse. Others hurled obscenities at a camera crew. One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Off in Right Field 

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein is upset with the AP for its biased reporting of Sarah Palin charge that Obama was palling around with terrorists.

His evidence:
Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Saturday accused Democrat Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" because of his association with a former 1960s radical, stepping up the campaign's effort to portray Obama as unacceptable to American voters. Palin's reference was to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. Its members took credit for bombings, including nonfatal explosions at the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, during the tumultuous Vietnam War era four decades ago. Obama, who was a child when the group was active, served on a charity board with Ayers several years ago and has denounced his radical views and activities.
Bernstein claims that the passage is "about as one-sided a presentation of the controversy as one could imagine."


So this is how the McCain-Palin crowd define biased reporting -- stating the facts.


James Fallows takes David Broder to task for being an calling the VP a draw:
Such an assessment can be true only if you have decided to assess debate performance on one factor alone, perky self-assurance, and to assign no weight whatsoever to such items as logic, responsiveness to questions, clarity in explaining views, factual knowledge, sentence by sentence coherence, and so on.

That Statement is No Longer Operative 

Remember during the VP debate when Sarah Palin spoke about how she got the Alaskan state government to divest any investments it might have in Sudan?

Apparently it's not true.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Which Side Are You On, Boys? 

Apparently the unions are alive and well in West Virginia.

The mine owners allowed the National Rifle Association to bring cameras onto mine property to try and capture miners attacking Obama's position on guns.

In response, the miners staged a one-day work stoppage.

Said one union member: ". . . a lot of the miners felt this was a direct slap in the face of the union because they were trying to coerce our people into saying things against Barack Obama."

(via Daily Kos)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Advice for Reporters 

A proposal to catch "Gotcha" journalism.

The Wrong Storyline 

Alex Epstein looks at the McCain campaign and sees a problem in the script:
The McCain people have never really nailed down what his story is. Partly I think they've been distracted by his personal story of being a prisoner for 5 years. It's a compelling personal story but they've never tied it convincingly to what McCain would actually do. Obama would change things. Hillary would fight for you. McCain... what? Would be honorable? Would be brave? Do voters even want a brave President? I'm not sure they do. Presidents tend to be brave with your kids.

Moreover, it's hard to run a campaign on how honorable your candidate is when your campaign manager is a Karl Rove protege and your staff are lobbyists. McCain could have run an all-out insurgent campaign, rejecting the lobbyists and the Rovians, to make the "honorable" story the through line of his campaign. But he didn't.

So the McCain campaign has been flailing.
And, of course, picking Sarah Palin didn't help McCain with the experience argument.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


This just doesn't make any sense:
Senate leaders have scheduled a vote for Wednesday on the $700 billion Wall Street rescue plan rejected by the House.
Majority Leader Harry Reid and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell say, however, that they're going to add a tax cut package already rejected by the House on Monday.
The bipartisan move caps a day of behind-the-scenes maneuvering on Capitol Hill over what sweeteners to add to the bill to attract votes from House Republicans.
Reid and McConnell's move may prove popular with Republicans, but it risks a showdown with House leaders insisting that a popular measure extending certain business tax breaks be financed by tax increases elsewhere in the code.
Are the Democrats that stupid?

Here's how it will play out: Enough Republicans will switch their vote and support the revised bill, but it will fail because some Democrats will (rightly in my opinion) oppose the corporate tax cut on top of the $700 billion bailout. The GOP will then claim that they were willing to compromise for the good of the nation, but the Democrats were the bad guys, favoring higher taxes over the well being of "Main Street."


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