Archive for the ‘McCain Hall of Shame’ Category

Somebody Check That Man for Rabies

December 19th, 2010 Comments off

Either John McCain really hates gay people, or maybe he’s just going senile. First, the guy abandoned virtually every principle he had when running for president, including pulling a flip-flop on almost every major issue where he did not already take a hard-right stance.

However, the man’s inability to stand by his word came to a pinnacle with DADT, with him first saying that he would respect whatever the generals said, then that he needed a study, then that the study wasn’t the one he wanted, and then we better study this some more. The definitive epitome of moving goal posts. This despite DADT being pretty much inevitable, something long overdue in the military; I mean, really, it’s degrading to the soldiers to assume that they would be decimated by something that virtually every other profession deals with so easily that no one even notices anymore.

And today:

If John McCain gets any more hostile toward his Senate colleagues, they might consider having him go through the metal detector before he enters the Capitol.

Saturday’s debate on the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was only half an hour old when the Arizona Republican burst onto the floor from the cloakroom, hiked up his pants and stalked over to his friend Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Ignoring Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who had the floor, McCain hectored the men noisily for a few moments, waving his arms for emphasis.

When McCain finally stormed off, Durbin shook his head in exasperation and Lieberman smiled. A minute later, McCain returned – he had apparently remembered another element of his grievance – and resumed his harangue.

It’s not like the man has been quiet otherwise. He’s become one of the most smugly partisan politicians out there. Either he’s found his niche for staying popular in his party–abandon all principles and reason to get what you want–or maybe he’s taken the mantle of Sore Loser to before un-reached heights and just wants to destroy anything Obama might sign which might make it look like he’s getting stuff done. Which, of course, would just bring him in line with most of the rest of his party.

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McCain: “I Never Considered Myself a Maverick”

April 8th, 2010 Comments off

That’s what John McCain told a reporter for Newsweek Magazine:

Many of the GOP’s most faithful, the kind who vote in primaries despite 115-degree heat, tired long ago of McCain the Maverick, the man who had crossed the aisle to work with Democrats on issues like immigration reform, global warming, and restricting campaign contributions. “Maverick” is a mantle McCain no longer claims; in fact, he now denies he ever was one. “I never considered myself a maverick,” he told me. “I consider myself a person who serves the people of Arizona to the best of his abilities.” Yet here was Palin, urging her fans four times in 15 minutes to send McCain the Maverick back to Washington.

It’s hard to tell if McCain is lying or not here. In his 2008 campaign, he flip-flopped and told his base what they wanted to hear so often, you could not tell what he really believed and what was simply the party line he had resigned himself to follow, do or die. One thing for certain, he did not shy away from the “Maverick” handle then–it was, in fact, the primary persona that he ran on.

To hear him now claim that he never considered himself a maverick is not surprising, it’s just a question of whether he let his guard down and told the truth, or if he simply flip-flopped yet again. Maybe he believed himself both times when he said both things. Hard to say.

The only thing that is clear is that the man is essentially made up of a tissue of lies, spoken solely to get himself elected.

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March 23rd, 2010 3 comments

Jeez. The Republican crybabies are out in full force. For the past year, Obama and the Democrats have given the GOP far, far, far more say in matter than the GOP ever gave Dems during the years Bush and the Republicans controlled Congress. But after using the filibuster as an ultimate cudgel an unprecedented number of times, after following a scorched-earth policy where they would rather destroy the legislative landscape rather than let it function well under Obama, after vehemently attacking Obama as a “socialist,” “communist,” “fascist,” and every other epithet imaginable… they say that after Health Care Reform passed, that NOW they are taking off the gloves.

These people are batshit insane.

John McCain:

“There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,” McCain said during an interview Monday on an Arizona radio affiliate. “They have poisoned the well in what they’ve done and how they’ve done it.”

“No cooperation for the rest of the year”? As if they have been cooperating in any significant way up until now? Talk about your meaningless threats. Does this sound to anyone else like a five-year-old picking up the ball and taking it home so no one else can play? And they don’t even own the ball.

Mitt Romney:

America has just witnessed an unconscionable abuse of power. President Obama has betrayed his oath to the nation — rather than bringing us together, ushering in a new kind of politics, and rising above raw partisanship, he has succumbed to the lowest denominator of incumbent power: justifying the means by extolling the ends. He promised better; we deserved better.

He calls his accomplishment “historic” — in this he is correct, although not for the reason he intends. Rather, it is an historic usurpation of the legislative process — he unleashed the nuclear option, enlisted not a single Republican vote in either chamber, bribed reluctant members of his own party, paid-off his union backers, scapegoated insurers, and justified his act with patently fraudulent accounting. What Barack Obama has ushered into the American political landscape is not good for our country; in the words of an ancient maxim, “what starts twisted, ends twisted.”

Boy. The vast hypocrisy of that statement is breathtaking. Ignore for the moment that Obama has, relative to GOP actions under Bush, bent over backwards to accommodate Republicans in attempts to be bipartisan while the Republicans have been excessively vicious in their extreme partisan zeal. Let’s instead begin by examining what Romney (and many other right-wingers) have been calling “the nuclear option.” That term was first used by Republicans (Trent Lott coined it) to describe the plan to scrap the filibuster as a Senate procedure because Democrats were using it to block the most extreme of Bush’s far-right judicial nominees. But when public reaction showed that people thought the term “nuclear option” sounded unattractive, Republicans accused Democrats of creating the term (a lie), and insisted it be called the “constitutional option.” Their claim was that it was undemocratic and unconstitutional to not allow an up-or-down vote where a 50%+ majority could decide on a bill–something they have monolithically blocked since they lost the majority in the Senate.

Now, however, Republicans are saying that Democrats are exercising the “nuclear option” because they used reconciliation to pass health care reform. So, somehow the “nuclear option” is now reconciliation and not scrapping the filibuster. Never mind that Republicans used reconciliation 10 to 14 times (depending on who you listen to) over the past 30 years, including non-budget issues like student aid and welfare reform. Democrats used it also, including passage of the two most deficit-reducing acts over that period, while at least three Republican uses were for their massive tax cuts for the wealthy which included the biggest deficit increases in recent memory.

Republicans claim that this is different because it’s not fundamentally a budget issue, though as I mentioned above they have used it that way before as well, for significant social legislation. They say it’s different because it’s an end-run around a filibuster, but Republicans have used it for controversial bills which did not have a super-majority and might have been blocked had they tried it the usual route.

Top it all off with the fact that the Republicans, who called filibusters undemocratic and unconstitutional and threatened to kill it with the real “nuclear option,” have been using that same procedure constantly over the past 3 years, more than ever before in all of American history.

Just when you though that the sheer hypocrisy of Republicans could not be outdone, here they come and break all-new records.

Great Moments in Hypocrisy

February 6th, 2010 1 comment

Senator John McCain on October 18, 2006:

My opinion is shaped by the view of the leaders of the military. … We have the most qualified, the bravest and most capable military we‘ve ever had in our history, and so I think that the policy is working.  And I understand the opposition to it, and I‘ve had these debates and discussions, but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, Senator, we ought to change the policy, then I think we ought to consider seriously changing it because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to.

Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on February 2, 2010:

Mr. Chairman, speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at the issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.“

Robert M. Gates, Secretary of Defense, on February 2, 2010:

Last week, during the State of the Union address, the President announced that he will work with Congress this year to repeal the law known as ”Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.“ He subsequently directed the Department of Defense to begin the preparations necessary for a repeal of the current law and policy.

I fully support the President’s decision. The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it. We have received our orders from the Commander in Chief and we are moving out accordingly. However, we also can only take this process so far as the ultimate decision rests with you, the Congress.

Senator John McCain, Ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, upon hearing Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen say that we ought to change the policy:

I’m deeply disappointed in your statement, Secretary Gates. … your statement obvious as one that is clearly biased, without the view of Congress being taken into consideration…Again you are embarking on saying it’s not whether the military prepares to make the change but how we best prepare for it, without ever hearing from members of Congress, without hearing from the members of the Joint Chiefs and, of course, without taking into considerations all the ramifications of this law. Well, I’m happy to say we still have a Congress of the United States that would have to pass a law to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, despite your efforts to repeal it, in many respects, by fiat.

This lame-ass excuse–that the military is moving without permission of Congress–after Gates expressly said that ”the ultimate decision rests with you, the Congress.“

To Mullen, McCain had words just as weasely:

We owe our lives to our fighting men and women, and we should be exceedingly cautious, humble, and sympathetic when attempting to regulate their affairs.  Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been an imperfect but effective policy.  And at this moment, when we are asking more of our military than at any time in recent memory, we should not repeal this law.

In the same statement, McCain accused Admiral Mullen of playing politics, after Mullen had specifically said that it was his personal opinion and had nothing to do with presidential decree.

I guess McCain only respects the leaders of the military when they agree with him.

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John McCain Still Trying Desperately to Kill Off the Internets

October 31st, 2009 Comments off

Frustrated that the FCC won’t respond to his threats, the Telecom-bought senator from Arizona introduced a bill that would make it so that the FCC could never “propose, promulgate, or issue any regulations regarding the Internet or IP-enabled services.” A bill introduced by a colleague in the House says the same thing. As is usual for politicians, they named the bills to sound like panacea: the Senate bill is the “Internet Freedom Act of 2009,” and the House’s is the “Real Stimulus Act of 2009” (snark!).

So, the best way to stimulate the economy is… deregulation! Because that has worked so well in the financial sector. In short, McCain wants to prevent the FCC from protecting consumers so that the Telecoms can charge anything they want, restrict anything they want, do anything they want, and create any cartels or monopolies they want, without any competition or accountability whatsoever.

Swell idea! The best part about the bill is that it is almost sure to die quickly.

Imagine if this guy were president.

Bipartisanship, Bischmartisanship

January 28th, 2009 1 comment

That, at least, is how Republicans are approaching this. I just watched John McCain making a statement about the stimulus bill.

Now, first consider the fact that for the six years they had more or less complete control, Republicans ran up literally trillions of dollars in debt, with at the very least tens of billions of that literally disappearing, unaccounted for. Consider that one of the last acts of the Republican administration was to fork over $700 billion, a figure they literally pulled out of their asses, with no accounting nor accountability, no strings attached, to wasteful, untrustworthy money merchants.

Here comes a Democratic Congress and president with a plan rich with middle-class tax cuts and infrastructure building, not to mention strict accountability, a plan far superior by any measure to the “let’s fork money into the pockets of rich people” plans the Republicans steamrolled through Congress several times during their tenure as a supposed means of “stimulating” economic growth.

Keep in mind that Republicans, during their time in full power, had no problems shoving their plans through Congress with coercive tactics, abused their power to keep votes open until they could twist arms, and screamed bloody murder when Democrats even hinted at a filibuster. Forget that Obama has bent over backwards to accommodate Republicans, adding their proposals to his plan, inviting them in and consulting them at every turn, showing them every ounce of respect that Bush and the Republicans utterly refused to show to Democrats when the roles were reversed. Obama went to the Capitol, and spent two hours in closed session with Republicans, answering their questions in person. Can you even imagine Bush having done that? Republicans’ heads would have exploded at the very idea of such a gesture.

So here we have Republicans calling the current plan “wasteful,” and objecting otherwise purely because, according to McCain:

Well, the plan was written by the majority in — a Democrat majority in the House, primarily. And so, yeah, I think there has to be major rewrites if we want to stimulate the economy.

Now, consider this: McCain is claiming here that he’s trying to be bipartisan. And yet, one of his major beefs here is not what is in the bill, but rather who wrote the bill. As if there was nothing wrong with Republicans writing every bill when they had power and cramming it down the Democrats’ throats, but now the Democrats, how dare they, now that they’re in power, even think about writing legislation themselves! What bastards!

But here’s the real telling point in McCain’s speech: note his use of the term, “Democrat majority.” That’s a term which he knows full well is a slick, sly political epithet. And yet, here he is, claiming to be the voice of bipartisanship, and he can’t even use the non-insulting term to describe the other party.

That one expression speaks volumes: this is not about responsible legislation, this is not about wasteful spending, and this is certainly not about Republicans trying to be bipartisan. This is about one thing, and one thing only: the beginning of a 4- to 8-year campaign on the part of Republicans to damn every advance to help the American people in the name of playing a smear game that will lead to Republicans reclaiming power.

Pure and simple.

And the Saga Continues

January 20th, 2009 Comments off

This is a bit too tawdry to have on the front page, frankly. But also, I believe, important to note at this time, especially in terms of the bullet-we-dodged sense. Read on below the fold.

Read more…

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An Endorsement for John McCain

December 10th, 2008 1 comment

Joe the Plumber is turning on John McCain:

Recalling a conversation he had with McCain about the $700 billion financial industry bailout in September, Wurzelbacher said: “When I was on the bus with him, I asked him a lot of questions about the bailout because most Americans did not want that to happen.”

“I asked him some pretty direct questions,” he continued. “Some of the answers you guys are gonna receive — they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry. In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him.”

Even worse, in fact:

“I honestly felt even more dirty after I had been on the campaign trail and seen some things that take place,” said Wurzelbacher, “It was scary, man.”

Right off the bat, that sounds credible–a regular American citizen getting an inside look to a politician, the politician forgetting he’s not talking to an insider, and the citizen being outraged at the answers.

But then you remember that we’re talking about Joe the Plumber, a guy who came to fame via an intentional lie designed to act as a “gotcha” moment for Barack Obama; the guy who then rode that opportunistic horse into town, acquiring an agent, a book deal, and all the accoutrements of sudden fame as experienced by someone immediately ready to cash in, as political as they come and as ready to milk the system as anyone.

So, keeping in mind that he’s selling something and controversy will help his bottom line, that makes one less inclined to take his report of the foulness of the Real McCain seriously. And believe me, I would like to take it seriously, as it fits perfectly my expectations of how it was in McCain’s camp.

But then Joe kills off his own credibility:

Asked why he didn’t leave McCain’s campaign if he was “appalled” by the candidate, Wurzelbacher said, “honestly, because the thought of Barack Obama as president scares me even more.”

While Wurzelbacher was critical of McCain during the interview, he had nothing but praise for his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. “Sarah Palin is absolutely the real deal,” he said.

So much for Joe the Plumber. But hey, with all his cashing in, he might actually get enough money to buy that plumbing business after all. And it never would have happened if Obama hadn’t walked down his street. I think you owe Barack at least a warm thanks there, Joe. You betcha.

Categories: Election 2008, McCain Hall of Shame Tags:

In the Tank… for Whom?

November 26th, 2008 2 comments

The liberal bloggers are buzzing about a rather sensationalist claim being made by TIME Magazine’s Mark Halperin about the election:

“It’s the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war. It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage.”

When asked for examples of this bias, he pointed to two pieces on the wives of the candidates, citing one piece blasting Cindy McCain and another piece admiring Michelle Obama. (Just a note as a writer–if you make a charge, best to back it up with direct evidence–stories about wives is about as weak as you can get in this case.) When asked why the media was so biased, he replied that they wanted to see Obama simultaneously “etched in glass” and “on Mount Rushmore.” Uh huh.

Now, E&P did a pretty good job pointing out multiple pieces of direct evidence that Halperin has been pretty right-wing this election, and normally I would simply let this kind of thing pass. But that’s what I thought about the whole “center-right” thing, and yet it seems that the media–er, the “Liberal Media™”–is picking up the meme and running with it. It’s certainly a natural theme for right-wingers to try to inflate for the next four to eight years; it has worked very well for them for the past fifteen or so years, they might as well pump it up even more, now that the Democrats will be in charge.

The basic idea, of course, is to “work the refs.” If you complain that the media is too leftist, this benefits you in at least two ways. First, the media, wishing to avoid the appearance of favoring the left, will create false equivalencies–in effect, creating positive news for the right if the news is good for the left, or negative news for the left if the news for the right is bad. They do not do this in reverse, as they do not fear being labeled a ‘conservative media.’ As a result, in general, media coverage favors the right, even with news organizations that are not overtly right-wing.

The second benefit is to create the impression among the public that whatever they see in the media is tilted to the left. Combined with the first benefit, this creates an enhanced effect: the public gets news that leans to the right, but believes that it leans too far to the left, and so has the impression that the truth is even farther to the right.

But what about the basic charge? Is it possible, in fact, that Obama got better coverage? Halperin is not alone; Deborah Howell wrote such a story in the WaPo a few weeks back claiming bias in favor of Obama; the right-wing blogs jumped all over that one. E&P again, however, competently debunks the claims Howell made.

One basis for the general claims of a tilt toward Obama is the fact that there were more headlines about Obama than there were about McCain. A few problems there. First, many of these tallies start long before Obama’s protracted fight with Hillary Clinton ended, so of course there was more coverage of Obama. Second, more news is not necessarily good news: a lot of those stories about Obama were on topics like Jeremiah Wright or William Ayers; the press did not similarly focus as much on McCain’s negative associations. In fact, studies found that the media ran more negative stories about Obama in terms of percentages–which means that more coverage about Obama meant even more media coverage showing him in a bad light. Finally, there was the source of the focus itself. A study found that while the most common word used on Obama’s web site was “Obama,” it also found that the most common word used on McCain’s site was… “Obama.” The media covered Obama more in part because McCain directed them to; while Obama was focusing more on the issues, McCain was focusing far more on Obama. You can’t call the media biased for Obama if they are following McCain’s lead and focusing more on Obama’s negatives.

Then we get to the fact that there was a lot more negative material about McCain out there than there was about Obama–and yet the media covered most of Obama’s and very little of McCain’s. A few examples: first, campaign financing. Early in the year, McCain clearly violated campaign finance law by using public financing as collateral on a loan, using the loaned money, then claiming they were no longer participating in public financing, exceeding legal limits on spending. Even the Republican FEC chief balked at that–and was rewarded with a pink slip, as a more pliant FEC head was appointed by Bush before the FEC could take any action. This was one of the big under-reported stories of the year: a candidate who touted himself as a campaign finance champion committing a federal felony with campaign finance evasions. And there was virtually zero coverage in the news. In contrast, when Obama, who had promised only to discuss public financing, decided to take the wholly legal route of private financing, there was an avalanche of bad press about him for a while.

Another example was religious connections. While Obama’s relation to Jeremiah Wright was front-and-center for months, McCain’s association with right-wing religious figures, people he pursued for their endorsements, were not covered except briefly when they made similarly outrageous comments. There was even video of Sarah Palin herself being blessed by a priest who talked of witchcraft, and had persecuted innocent women in Africa as witches. That got almost no coverage as well.

Yet another example is flip-flops; McCain had significantly altered or even reversed his stands on almost every single issue of importance, and yet not only did the media ignore this, it often claimed that he did not flip-flop on the issues. Even though McCain changed from “more drilling won’t help” to “drilling is absolutely vital” within just a few months, with video to mark both the flip and the flop–the media virtually ignored it. Contrast that with Obama reiterating his Iraq policy–with no changes or reversals–leading to a week of media coverage on how he was flip-flopping.

And one more example was McCain’s being neck-deep in lobbyists. Whenever some big story broke, it had links to lobbyists on McCain’s campaign staff, usually people high up. When the whole Georgia crisis erupted, it was learned that McCain’s foreign policy advisor was still being paid to lobby for Georgia. When the Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae scandal broke, it was learned that McCain’s campaign manager was still receiving lobbyist paychecks from both firms. And yet somehow, the media never picked up on this story–they instead created false equivalencies, saying that “both” campaigns had lobbyist ties, as if that meant both were equally corrupt.

So the media was often absent when McCain had bad news surrounding him, but almost never passed up a chance to report on bad news about Obama. In fact, there was that one time when CNN had video of McCain making a rather notable gaffe–and they re-edited the video to cover up the gaffe. They later claimed it was a “mistake,” as if it were accidental–I mean, what, did they trip over something?

Similarly, the media took very seriously the idea that one could not criticize McCain on a variety of issues because he was a veteran and a former POW. Bob Schieffer, on more than one occasion, became visibly angry when people suggested that McCain might not be presidential material; Tom Brokaw had similar man-crush moments regarding McCain.

Then there is the fact that all too often, there simply was no equivalent news to be covered. Take the day when Obama was delivering a stirring speech to 200,000 Germans in Europe, while McCain was giving a lame photo op outside the “Fudge Haus.” The media cannot be blamed for covering grand events as grand events and lame ones as lame ones. If Obama drew crowds of tens of thousands and McCain couldn’t fill a medium-sized room, if Obama gave brilliant oratory and McCain laughed with hideous awkwardness in front of an appalling green screen… there is no media bias if they simply cover what happened.

And finally, there were McCain’s atrocious decisions and performance. It was bad enough early on, but Sarah Palin was the turning point. Choosing someone who was so clearly unqualified and even disastrously unprepared after having gone on for months about Obama not being “experienced” enough, choosing such a blatantly political running mate who only jeopardized the nation’s future leadership while running under a “country first” banner, going before reporters and claiming himself that living near the outer reaches of Russia’s tundra really did qualify Palin in terms of foreign affairs and national security… these were not just gaffes, these were intended actions which demonstrated catastrophically bad judgment.

Add to that the fact that McCain refused to allow media access to Palin, held back medical records and other documents considered necessary for public review, and kept pulling badly managed and even bizarre publicity stunts, and you begin to realize that, if anything, the media’s coverage of McCain in the final month of the election was actually far better than McCain deserved from an objective standpoint.

Not only was there not a media bias for Obama, there was a demonstrable and sharply noticeable media bias in favor of McCain. And if you hear anyone say differently, shut them down. There’s a wealth of examples, only a few of which I have outlined above, to prove the case beyond any doubt. Let’s not let this meme go unchallenged.

Master of Unseemliness

November 22nd, 2008 Comments off

You wouldn’t think that Sarah Palin could get much worse than repeatedly crowing about saying “thanks but no thanks to Congress for the Bridge to Nowhere” after it was so painfully demonstrated that she lobbied for it and then kept the money after it was killed. You’d think that she’d have a hard time topping the $150,000-plus shopping spree followed by her denial that she was involved in an inventory as she went home to do an inventory. You’d think that she could hardly be more tone-deaf than to claim that she was cleared and vindicated when a bipartisan committee found that she had abused her power, then crowed about how her own hand-picked team of cronies exonerated her. One would think it very difficult indeed to get be more politically inappropriate than to claim that proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy credentials worthy of a president, or not to be able to name a single newspaper or magazine that she read. And so on and so forth, you get the idea.

But Palin, it seems, is the gift that just keeps on giving. The Rising Star of the Republican Party had a PR event in Wasilla today as she used her powers as governor to grant full amnesty and pardon to a Turkey:

Now, this is usually an event to show how soft-hearted a political executive is, how merciful and loving they are. You know, the turkeys get to retire to a petting zoo, and the kids get to go “ooh!” and “ahh!” at the sweetness of it all.

So it probably doesn’t speak too greatly of her political acumen when she decides to treat the kiddies to her follow-up interview… in front of a pen full of turkeys with a guy slaughtering the birds over a blood-soaked killing trough. I kid you not:

Yep. That’s Sarah, just after the turkey in the background stops struggling in the slaughtering funnel, as the guy with the blood-stained trousers looks back at Palin and the camera–she says, “Certainly we’ll even invite criticism for doing this too, but at least this was fun!”

You can’t buy publicity like that. Chiefly because no one would want it.

Oh, Sarah, please run for president in 2012!

Last-Minute Lies

November 3rd, 2008 Comments off

We know that McCain and Palin have been prone to spread bald-faced lies over the past few months, even in the face of outstanding evidence proving their statements to be lies. But now, as we enter the home stretch, we are encountering a new–and at the same time, a very traditional–kind of political lie: lies aimed to enrage key voters, lies which are demonstrably false–but ones which the liars hope will stick because there isn’t enough time for the truth to be as widely spread as the lies:

”Barack Obama explained his plan to the San Francisco Chronicle this year,” [Sarah Palin] told a rally in Ohio Sunday. ”He said that sure, if the industry wants to build coal-fired power plants, then they can go ahead and try, he says, but they can do it only in a way that will bankrupt the coal industry.”

She added, ”And you’ve got to listen to the tape.”

”Why is the audiotape just now surfacing?” Palin asked the crowd, according to a report from CBS News. Someone in the crowd shouted, ”Liberal media!’

Several right-wing web sites are jumping on the “hidden interview” bandwagon, as are a few small but legit news sources which are obviously just being lazy in passing on prepackaged news. Of course, there is no “hidden” audiotape; Obama held an interview with the Chronicle in January, and it has been online since. Far from being hidden, it was widely advertised. The audio (mp3) is here, and the video is here (I am currently unable to get the video to play, but the audio comes across perfectly). They have been up consistently over the past ten months, out there for anyone to listen to or watch.

Obama goes into the coal issue just a little more than halfway through, describing his policies. Summed up, he says that a “no coal” policy is an illusion, as we use a lot of coal and China is building more and more coal plants; the emphasis should be on figuring out ways to use coal cleanly, using a cap-and-trade system which would penalize pollution as a means of spurring clean-coal technologies as well as alternative forms of energy.

Palin has two charges here: that Obama wants to bankrupt the industry, and that the interview was hidden. On the first charge, Obama said that it was an “illusion” that we could get rid of coal, and mentioned “bankruptcy” only in the context of building new coal plants without trying to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gases. Either Palin is saying that clean coal is impossible, or she’s just lying.

Second, Palin charged that there was a liberal-media conspiracy to hide the interview; also false, as the whole interview, as stated above, has been plainly available in both audio and video forms since the interview was held in January. Here, she’s plainly just lying.

No coincidence that Palin is spreading these lies in Pennsylvania–coal country, which McCain and Palin have to win if they want any chance of being elected–just a day before the election.

Categories: Election 2008, McCain Hall of Shame Tags:

Amateur Hour: Heckling from the Cheap Seats

October 31st, 2008 Comments off

Here’s the latest from Palin:

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Thursday said Democratic nominee Barack Obama would be incapable of meeting U.S. national security challenges.

There is more to this than just the plainly obvious fact that Palin has zero credibility in this area and has no place whatsoever judging Obama’s abilities. One could claim that Palin is not at the head of the ticket, and is simply selling McCain’s experience as being far better than Obama’s.

Except that Bush and McCain are both now pitching and following Middle East policies first proposed by Barack Obama, policies they both initially mocked and scorned. Bush called Obama an appeaser for wanting to open discussion with foreign leaders that Bush is now opening dialogs with. McCain is now pitching Obama’s Afghanistan policy. Bush is now following up on a time line for withdrawing troops from Iraq by 2010. Neither McCain nor Bush seem to think Obama is a guy who is incapable of meeting foreign policy challenges–not if you judge by their actions.

Palin herself is a pale shadow of even Bush & McCain’s dependence on Obama for foreign policy leadership, and the American people know it:

A New York Times/CBS poll published on Thursday, in which Obama led McCain by 11 percentage points, also found that 59 percent of respondents believed Palin was not prepared for the job of vice president, up 9 percentage points since the beginning of the month.

But you can bet that when Palin made that attack against Obama, she got a great reaction from her audience–you know, the standard Republican-event crowd where you have to prove party loyalty before getting in. For someone who herself is incapable of simply answering a reporter’s questions without getting them fed to her in advance, for a politician who is incapable of holding a solo press conference without training wheels and daddy’s steady hand on her back, she sure has a lot of gall claiming that Obama is the one who is incapable. Obama not only holds up to normal interview conditions, he held up very well even against an unabashedly hostile Bill O’Reilly. Imagine Palin being interviewed by Keith Olbermann–she would be a reduced to a mound of jello quivering on the floor within the first thirty seconds.

But that’s not going to happen, just like a regular press conference with Palin is not going to happen. Even McCain doesn’t have a fraction of the guts Obama has–he’s not going on Olbermann, and for the same reason. Obama has been consistent and reasoned, McCain and Palin have not. That’s why Obama stood up to O’Reilly and came through unscathed; neither McCain nor Palin could do the same under similar circumstances, for precisely the reason that neither has been consistent nor reasoned.

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Wither the Hero?

October 29th, 2008 Comments off

Kevin Drum brings up an article written by David Gelernter where he gushes about McCain’s character:

More than any candidate in recent decades, perhaps more than anyone since Dwight D. Eisenhower, McCain asks to be judged not as a talking white paper but as a man. Of course no candidate can advertise his own moral stature; he can use weak words like “maverick” and “I have been tested,” but can’t quite say “I stand before you as a hero of proven nobility.” On the all-important question of moral stature, McCain’s friends must speak for him. They have tried, but have come up short. …

Granting the importance of the topic, the difference in moral stature between presidential candidates has rarely been as enormous as it is today–not (or not only) because Obama’s is so small but because McCain’s is so large. There is no single English word for McCain the hero, the moral entity. But in Hebrew he would be called a tsaddik–a man of such nobility and moral substance that he approaches holiness. If this assertion sounds crazy, that only shows how little we have thought about the issue.

Why does Gelernter believe McCain is a noble hero one hair’s breadth short of being a holy man? On page two, he explains that it is because McCain volunteered for military service, was shot down and became a POW for five years, survived the pain of his ordeal, and “chose to suffer for their principles and for love of country.”

Um, did anyone ever tell him that McCain repeatedly admitted that he never loved America until he was “deprived of her company”? Meaning that his choice to join the military and suffer what followed could not have been made for the love of his country. Nor, likely, for principles–McCain came from a family of military men, and most likely joined the military because it was expected of him; his near-bottom-of-the-class grades were likely evidence of his lack of enthusiasm for his service.

Nor has Gelernter apparently been clued into the fact that McCain’s campaign was founded upon the whole “honor” and “hero” thing, that despite McCain never having used the word “hero” about himself, he used everything short of it, constantly reminded everyone about his POW years at the drop of any and every hat, and had his campaign and surrogates play up the “hero” and “POW” angles to the hilt, and beyond.

And I think that the “beyond” part is one factor that caused the state Gelernter is now lamenting: McCain used up the “hero” bit way too early in his campaign. They over-used it as a way to defend McCain from criticism over his gaffes, missteps, and scandals, until people started talking about “a noun, a verb, and John McCain was a POW.”

After that, McCain and his campaign had to leave it alone before it became more of a joke than it was already becoming. But at that point, his “hero” creds were damaged, his shining armor worn away, and thus McCain was no longer as immune to doubt and criticism as he had been previously. So when McCain started lying incessantly, when he started making absurdly ridiculous choices and statements, and when his campaign devolved into a morass of smears, attacks, and badly-managed stunts, McCain could no longer count on the “I was a POW” refrain to shore up Americans’ doubts about him. That credit card got maxed out.

The fact is, people don’t see McCain as an honorable man so much because of the way McCain has been acting. Calling his opponent a traitor and a terrorist sympathizer without having the guts to say it in so many words. Making bald-faced lies about things that had already been proven as lies. Inciting his base to the point where they are calling for violence. The thing is, honorable men don’t do these things. That creates a conflict: you either have to believe that John McCain is not honorable, or that he is such a weak-kneed dupe that he can be forced to say and do these things against his will, which is hardly better, if it is different at all.

Right now, people simply shake their heads and wonder how a “hero” could have sunk so low. But the truth is, McCain wasn’t the hero everyone thought he was. There are a number of facts about his life, military service, imprisonment, and subsequent political career that even to this day haven’t been discussed widely, mostly because nobody wants to be called out on “smearing” such an honorable man. But they’re not smears if they’re the truth. His personal life is filled with unpleasant episodes and examples of poor judgment. His military service was very poor, and he would never have been called a “hero” had he not been captured and tortured.

But even in his being a POW, McCain has a weakness: the story has been played up and exaggerated, with McCain cast as John Sterling Steele, a hero who stood out among heroes. And that’s just not right. McCain was a human being like most of the rest in imprisonment. Many believe that McCain never broke under torture–not true, he broke after four days. Many believe that he never denounced his country or did propaganda for the enemy–again, not true–he did those things. Many, including Gelernter, play up the fact that McCain refused early release–but they gloss over the fact that such a refusal was not an act of solidarity in support of his cellmates, but was simply because in order to gain his freedom, McCain would have had to make statements that would have violated military law and set him up for a court-martial. None of this is vilifying; it is simply the way things were, and you or I likely would have done no better.

None of this is to say that McCain didn’t serve, wasn’t a POW, didn’t suffer, or that he was a horrible person during his time in captivity in some way. It is simply that McCain was a POW no better than any of the others. And that’s the tragedy of his own publicity: had he not exaggerated his past or allowed it to be exaggerated, had he simply told a more modest truth, he would have been lauded as even more of a hero. Had he actually maintained silence about his own military record and asked his surrogates to not play it up so much, he would be far more respected for it.

Instead, he played it up and maxed out the credit card–another thing real heroes don’t do.

I will simply judge McCain on what is plain to see: he is a man who sold out his honor and dignity for a shot at power. He has lied, cheated, taken bribes, prostrated himself before those who humiliated him, and done all the things a hero never does.

And that’s why more and more people judge him in a poor light: because his deeds do not live up to his reputation. Simple as that.

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All That Can Happen in a Week, And Yet

October 27th, 2008 1 comment

Wow. While Obama is off seeing his sick grandmother, a Republican strategist criticizes him for flying his jet to see “grandma.” Meanwhile, McCain-Palin, basing their campaign (that is, the small part of it not dedicated to attacking Obama) on cutting wasteful spending, reveal that the campaign spent $150,000 on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe and make-up, and her beautician is the highest-paid staffer on the campaign. Plain claims that anyone who attacks her on that is sexist. Then the “diva” Palin starts to “go rogue”–according to McCain-Palin loyalists and campaign staffers.

Meanwhile, McCain makes some flubs, some simply amusing, at least one obscene (it’s happened before), while his brother calls 911 to complain about traffic and then cusses at the operator.

A psychologically troubled McCain supporter fakes a story about a black Obama supporter who viciously attacks her, and the McCain campaign starts pushing a sensational version of the woman’s story to the news services.

And now we hear that staffers for the McCain campaign are starting to put their names out in the job market, calling businesses for jobs as campaign leaders begin forming a “circular firing squad,” positioning themselves to avoid the blame for the expected loss.

But hey, the GOP is making up for it–by emailing 75,000 Jewish Pennsylvania residents and warning that voting for Obama will lead to a second Holocaust.

With all this happening and with Obama ahead by 7-10 points in the polls just ten days before the election, you’d think that we Obama supporters would be pretty confident–even giddy–about Obama’s chances. But then, if you’ve been a Democrat for the past eight years, you know why we’re not. After one election that was definitely stolen and another that may have been, after eight years of dirty tricks, smear campaigns, fake terror alerts, and electronic voting machines made by Republican party chairs that have no paper trails and mysteriously malfunction almost exclusively in favor of the Republican candidates… well, let’s just say that we’ll celebrate when the deed is done. I have some friends who are deeply suspicious that we’re heading for yet another stolen election, and they are not completely without cause in worrying over such “conspiracy theories.”

Me, I think that GOP leaders may welcome at least four years of Obama–now that we’re headed into a desperate spiral of economic doom–if for no other reason than that they need to be able to blame someone else for their blunders and wait a few years for the public to forget what criminals they are.

I foresee an Obama win–followed by four years of non-stop smear campaigns that’ll make the McCain campaign seem like a session with Stuart Smalley. I hope I’m wrong, but I too have seen too much to be complacent.

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Playing the Terrorist Constituency

October 23rd, 2008 Comments off

The news came out recently that commentators with ties to al Qaeda writing that McCain has the terror group’s support, as his policies would further their goals.

Now, it’s no secret that I believe this to be true; I have posted at least a few times in the past that the Bush administration’s policies have benefitted al Qaeda greatly, and that in fact, the two have fed off each other since 9/11. Since McCain’s policies are essentially an extension of Bush’s, it naturally follows that the the terrorist organizations would want McCain to win. An Obama victory, on the other hand, would just by its presence win a great deal of sympathy toward America from al Qaeda recruiting grounds, diminishing their strength and effectiveness. Obama’s policy of going straight for al Qaeda to defeat them, rather than feeding and using them as a tool to gain more power, would just as certainly not be welcome with the terrorists.

So forth and so on–you get the idea, but that’s not the central thrust of this post. The reason I did not jump on the news when it came out was because any statement from al Qaeda or its supporters must be suspected as self-serving; while I believe that the statement made was true in a factual sense, it could be interpreted in the opposite sense as well, in that such a statement is bound to hurt McCain and that might have been its intent. So the end valuation of the remark is self-cancelling, and therefore can not be interpreted as having any real meaning or impact.

However, as I reasoned thus, I immediately reflected on the fact that had the al Qaeda statement been in support of Obama instead of McCain, conservatives–the McCain campaign and John McCain himself at their vanguard–would have exploded into an orgasmic state of exuberant mega-attack against Obama that would have made a shark feeding frenzy look like a Jenny Craig seminar. That the terror group’s support was reported to be with McCain made things different: Democrats know that riding such pronouncements is dishonest and thus we have the resultant relative silence on the issue.

On the conservative side, however, the perception is very different. Maybe intellectually they know that Democrats are too straight-arrow to jump on this, but their conservative smear-campaign instincts just won’t allow them to believe that in their truthiness-imbued guts. They obviously felt that someone on the left would make a big deal about it, so they held what a reporter called a clearly “panicked” conference call intended to defuse the issue. Which, of course, was self-defeating, as the Democrats were not going to play this news like the Republicans would have.

In the conference call, the McCain spokespeople just reinforced their own reputation for opportunistic dishonesty, the same reputation they were trying to foist on the Obama campaign. They not only claimed that the al Qaeda-affiliated endorsement for McCain was actually an attempt to undermine McCain, but they also brought up the litany of unsavory people (Hamas, Ahmadinejad, Gaddafi) making statements that appeared to support Obama–in effect, attempting to turn the anticipated attack against Obama and thus voiding or reversing it.

Sometimes, just the simple state of being a bottom-dwelling, scum-sucking rat bastard can be its own worst curse. But you knew that already.

New tactic for McCain’s Legions: Protest the Vote

October 21st, 2008 Comments off

The right-wingers have really started to outdo themselves. McCain followers are rally getting scary, and I mean scary. It’s bad enough that you have people attending McCain and Palin rallies shouting, “Terrorist!” and “Kill him!” Bad enough that McCain supporters have demonstrated outright racism, like hanging Obama in effigy on front lawns or putting Obama tags on monkey dolls.

But now, McCain/Palin supporters have started taking on tactics of the extreme pro-life movement: just as you see pro-lifers grouping in protest a mandatory distance away from abortion clinics and screaming at women who enter, we are now starting to see McCain’s followers protesting voting places. That’s right, they are protesting the vote. This example was in North Carolina, as voters went to a polling place after an Obama rally. The protesters were lined up to heckle and harass the voters. Some even had graphic “dead baby” signs up, again mirroring the pro-lifers. This group was shouting anti-Obama, pro-McCain rants at the voters in line. Make what you will of nthe fact that the voters standing in line to exercise their public right and duty were mostly black; the crowd shouting at, taunting, and decrying those voters were mostly white. Anyone who knows their history should be at least a bit disturbed by the imagery.

This is voter intimidation in its rawest form. If I were a McCain supporter, I would be deeply ashamed.

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Palin on Anti-American Americans

October 19th, 2008 Comments off

Not that Sarah Palin hasn’t jumped the shark about ten times already, but here’s the latest, from a rally in North Carolina:

We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hard working very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.

This, of course, clearly implies that there are parts of the United States which are not “pro-American.” Since Palin has spoken in pretty much every part of the nation by now, we should review something she stressed as a cardinal rule of politics:

I might add that, in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they’re listening and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening. No, we tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.

But hey, let’s give Sarah Palin a chance to clarify her hypocrisy with a completely inconsistent, blather-mouthy, weaselly excuse, from, appropriately, Fox News:

Every area, every area across this great country where we’re stopping and where also the other ticket is stopping and getting to speak at these rallies and speak with the good Americans, it’s all pro-America. I was just reinforcing the fact that there, where I was, there’s good patriotic people there in these rallies, so excited about positive change and reform of government that’s coming that they are so appreciative of hearing our message, hearing our plan. Not, not any one area of America is more pro-America patriotically than others.

Uh huh. I won’t comment on this further because, you know, what really can you say that’s not blindingly obvious?

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October 12th, 2008 2 comments

After McCain loses the election in November, will he revert back to his former self? Discuss amongst yourselves.

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October 12th, 2008 1 comment

With McCain and Palin whipping their crowds into frenzies, getting them so worked up that they are now regularly shouting stuff like, “traitor!” “terrorist!” and “kill him!!” one conservative commentator suggests that Obama represents a potential “thugocracy.”

A few days previous, Hans Von Spakovsky–the Bush administration’s vote-suppression pit bull whose nomination held the Federal Election Commission hostage for many months–bemoaned “how partisan and politically-biased the Justice Department and other federal agencies would be under an Obama administration.” This after years of the Bush administration blatantly saturating the bureaucracy with die-hard loyalists, going further than any administration in history to politicize what had been considered completely off-hands to partisanship–with Spakovsky himself being a poster-boy for that very movement.

Hypocrisy? Projection? Working the refs? Blindness? Uber-partisanship? All of the above, and then some?

Bein’ All Mavericky and Takin’ on Party Heads

October 11th, 2008 1 comment

In this case, Sarah Palin is the party head, and a fully bipartisan council made up of 10 Republicans and 4 Democrats judged that Sarah Palin abused her power while governor. While some of her actions were excusable, many were not. And while the council made no recommendations for action–and there may well be none forthcoming–it did state rather definitively that Palin broke ethics laws. The problem is, Republicans have been doing so rather blatantly for years, and as we have witnessed, no one ever gets sent to jail for it, and few ever even get indicted. If they do, then they just fail to respond to the indictment, and Republicans in executive authority don’t act on it.

As usual, there is a double-standard at work. Republicans have promised investigations and perse prosecutions of Democrats if they maintain power–McCain, for example, promised to take legal action against Barney Frank and Chris Dodd, and maybe even Obama as well. But if Democrats are elected into power, then they had better not even dare think of taking any legal action against any Republican, no matter how solid the evidence that they broke scores of laws–because such investigations would just be political payback. A beautiful system–we won’t prosecute our own crimes, and if anyone else does, it’s playing politics.

Perhaps this focus on the fictional Democratic “responsibility” for the banking crisis is McCain’s way of distracting attention away from the fact that his VP candidate broke the law (joining McCain in doing so, after he broke FEC laws earlier this year). Or maybe he’s just flailing about–goodness knows that there’s little else he can do at this point.

Or maybe McCain was comfortable with Palin for just this reason, that she had scandals lurking–after all, Palin is simply keeping the faith here, doing what Republicans do. It’s not as if Troopergate was unknown before McCain chose her–even with the most cursory of vetting, McCain still had to know about this. Maybe having the goods on her was considered a good point for them from the start–a handle of control, but something they felt they could get settled quietly if they needed to.

Hard to say. But like I said, Palin is simply echoing Republican tradition here. This is what they do. Which is why the GOP faithful won’t even blink at this. They don’t care if their leaders break the law; they believe in the Colbert-like fashion that the narrative is what is “real,” and the narrative says that Obama is a terrorist traitor, whereas McCain is a 100% honorable war hero and Palin is a pure-as-snow Alaskan hockey mom with impeccable morality and credentials. So the faithful won’t even notice this, except possible to dismiss it as an “attack.”

But the moderates are less bound to the narrative, and will probably notice this quite a bit more. So the margins of victory for Obama stand to be pretty big unless something rather astonishing happens. Even if the GOP does control the voting machines, they might not be able to do anything anyway–no narrative about getting the base out in numbers could make the numbers change that much.

Not that they wouldn’t try.

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