Saturday, April 19, 2008

John McCain is the soul of magnanimity.

A.J. Rossmiller on meritocracy in education.

Either I'm missing something, or this doesn't make a lick o' sense:

In Erie, Pa., Mr. Obama criticizing a comment Mr. McCain made Thursday on Bloomberg Television. In the interview, Mr. McCain conceded that people were facing "very challenging times" but went on to say that "there’s been great progress economically" during the Bush administration.

"John McCain went on television and said that there has been great progress economically over the last seven and a half years," Mr. Obama told the audience. "John McCain thinks our economy has made great progress under George W. Bush."

Tucker Bounds, a spokesman for Mr. McCain, called Mr. Obama’s remarks "recklessly dishonest."

Update: Josh Marshall wondered the same thing.

The New York Times half-realizes that ["critics say"] John McCain is a big, big liar.

The Washington Independent's Mike Lillis:

OK -- so the price of gas is at an all-time high, and everyone agrees that much of the reason is that demand for gas is at an all-time high. So what's the solution to this dilemma?

Well, if you're Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) it's easy: You propose legislation, as he did yesterday, to scrap the federal gas tax for the entire summer. (The idea did well on cable news.) That would encourage greater consumption, leading to even greater demand, leading to higher pri -- Wait a minute! Wouldn't that have precisely the opposite effect to that we want?
In McCain's defense, the economy is not really his strong point.

Hillary Clinton, on "activists":

" endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."
Seriously: if this keeps up, she's going to end up endorsing McCain in the general, and that's just going to be embarrassing for everyone.

(Via AMERICAblog, Daily Kos.)

Friday, April 18, 2008

John Edwards on the Colbert Report:

(Clinton and Obama both put in an appearance, too, but weren't as funny.)

I was going to pseudo-liveblog* last night's debate, but the reviews are so abysmal that I'm honestly not sure I have the stomach to even watch it. To wit:

  • AMERICAblog: "the worst debate ever." (John Aravosis also posts a list very similar to this one.)
  • Kos: Gibson and Stephanopoulos are "idiots." (Kos also links to Editor & Publisher's Greg Mitchell, who calls the debate "perhaps the most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate this year.")
  • Hunter: "After the first forty minutes of last night's Democratic debate, it was clear we were watching something historic. Not historic in a good way, mind you, but historic in the sense of being something so deeply embarrassing to the nation that it will be pointed to, in future books and documentary works, as a prime example of the collapse of the American media into utter and complete substanceless, into self-celebrated vapidity, and into a now-complete inability or unwillingness to cover the most important affairs of the nation to any but the most shallow of depths."
  • MyDD's Todd Beeton: "tabloid hour."
  • TAPPED's Sam Boyd: "You know who lost? America."
  • Josh Marshall: "genuinely awful." (Marshall also wondered, "What happened to the League of Women Voters? Can we give the debates back to them?")
  • Attytood: a "televised train wreck" that "disgraced [the] profession of journalism."
  • Jon Stewart: "The first hour of last night's debate was a sixty-minute master class in questions that elevate out-of-context remarks and trivial insipid miscues into subjects of national discourse... which is my job."
  • Oh, and some guy named "Barack Obama" or something: "It took us 45 minutes before we even started talking about a single issue that matters to the American people."
  • Also, the people behind that great video from a couple of months ago made an ABC News parody that's worth watching (via AMERICAblog).
There are plenty more where those came from, but I think you get the idea. (Apparently the only person with access to a keyboard who actually liked the thing was David Brooks.)

So, point is: no way I'm watching that. Sorry, loyal readers (ha!); you'll just have to stick with Wonkette [Part I, Part II].

* - Tape-delay-blog, if you will.

Other Deep Thought (in the manner of that last Deep Thought)

When you sit back and think about it, our energy system -- cars that burn oil; electricity generation that burns coal -- is pretty laughably obsolete.

Deep Thought (in the manner of Atrios)

James Spader and the writers of Boston Legal should take a sabbatical from television and hire themselves out to members of the plaintiff's bar.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Official Village Voice Election-Season Guide to the Right-Wing Blogosphere.

(Thank you, TAPPED.)

Finally got around to watching this behemoth of a Frontline last night, and I'd very highly recommend it. (You can even watch it online, if you're willing to sit in front of your computer for four hours.) It runs from just after September 11th until just before the surge (or what Condoleezza Rice called the "Clear, Hold, Build" strategy, when she proposed it in 2005), and it's fascinating. In case you don't have time to sit through it, though, I've assembled a Cliff's Notes version below:

These people......came off as...
Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, Jay Garnerreasonably competent, but out of the loop
Condi Rice, George Tenet, Tommy Frankssemi-willing pawns
Philip Zelikowhaving a comically deep voice
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitzscary; crazy (like a fox?)
Cofer Black, Ahmed Chalabicrazy (like a crazy person)
L. Paul Bremerborderline developmentally disabled
George W. Busha terrible, terrible speaker; not a very good president*

Good times.

* - Had to get his own box, because he is the president. Do not assume that means he didn't fit into any of the other categories.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


(Odds more people care about this than about the fact that McCain hasn't bothered to learn the difference between Shia and Sunni Islam: middling-to-high.)

DNC fundraising email:

A recent report by the Associated Press has revealed that the Republican National Committee is pulling together a joint fund with John McCain called the "Victory Committee." Its goal is to raise $120 million -- which they're sure to spend trying to destroy our candidates.

We've seen this before -- we know they're already launching attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And while they're tearing them down, they'll try to spin John McCain to the American people.

It's a $120 million makeover fund, designed to make everyone forget about the last eight years of John McCain, George Bush, the war, the economy, Katrina, and a stunning lack of competency.

"So please join us in decrying this admittedly-legal exploitation of the campaign finance laws"?

"We, on the other hand, will be taking the high road and simply pursuing that lawsuit that we filed the other day"?

"Just wanted to let you know"?
That's why I'm making an urgent request for you to help us with a contribution today -- we have to keep up. They've got a head start, but we can stay competitive if you make a contribution right now.
Ah. Right.

As I've said before: at the end of the day, I don't really have a problem with this kind of thing. But it sure feels slimy.

Robert Reich goes green-mode:

Are Americans who have been left behind frustrated? Of course. And their frustrations, their anger and, yes, sometimes their bitterness, have been used since then -- by demagogues, by nationalists and xenophobes, by radical conservatives, by political nuts and fanatical fruitcakes – to blame immigrants and foreign traders, to blame blacks and the poor, to blame "liberal elites," to blame anyone and anything.

Rather than counter all this, the American media have wallowed in it. Some, like Fox News and talk radio, have given the haters and blamers their very own megaphones. The rest have merely "reported on" it. Instead of focusing on how to get Americans good jobs again; instead of admitting too many of our schools are failing and our kids are falling behind their contemporaries in Europe, Japan, and even China; instead of showing why we need a more progressive tax system to finance better schools and access to health care, and green technologies that might create new manufacturing jobs, our national discussion has been mired in the old politics.

Jon Stewart, on Barack Obama the flaming elitist:

You know... I hear what you're all saying, but doesn't "elite" mean good? Is that not something we're looking for in a president anymore? You know what, candidates? Come with me [to Camera 3].

I know "elite" is a bad word in politics, and you want to go bowling and throw back a few beers. But the job you're applying for? If you get it, and it goes well... they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing?
Update: Hunter:
Where did we get this notion that the President of the United States should be a drinking buddy? Where did we get the notion that the strongest nation on earth should be led by a folksy, easy-to-like drunk? I don't mean where did the country get this notion, I mean when did the media decide that this was a valid measure of a leader, something worth endlessly discussing, and analyzing, and tittering over? When facing down the leader of a rogue nation in a series of intense negotiations, I don't want the guy shooting pool at the corner bar, I want someone with a head for the job, for God's sake, and I don't give a rats ass if he likes buffalo wings, or bowling, or can smash an empty beer can on his head. ...

Yes, there are uninformed, dull-witted voters in the world, people who will decide who to vote for based on choice of beer. But why -- why, in the name of all that is holy, and several things that are not -- would the political media itself, presumably the group of people most informed about the actual issues of governance riding on each election, choose to celebrate that lack of substantive information and instead wallow in the meaningless?

By my count, that's seven Nepals in under two minutes. No wonder Stephen Hadley doesn't think the president should boycott the Opening Ceremony; he's not even aware there's a country called Tibet.

Monday, April 14, 2008

"Dear Hillary,

I'm takin' it to the next level.


Barack Obama"

(Via On Call, Wonkette, AMERICAblog, etc.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The McCain campaign finance imbroglio (that's right, "imbroglio") is about to enter Round Two. (Though, as Jonathan Singer puts it, "Will this suit finally shame reporters into covering this issue correctly? It should, but to tell you the truth, I'm not holding my breath...")

Remember that one time, how John Kerry pretended to be a hunter and a gun-lover, and then he won the election? That time was awesome.

Also: Hillary Clinton loves America. Barack Obama probably doesn't even know how to pronounce America.

AMERICAblog's A.J. Rossmiller makes a great point on McCain:

His lack of knowledge of the political dynamics of a war we're now five years (and 4,000 lives) into is embarrassing, especially considering he's running on that as his main strength. I mean, even if he didn't know it before, shouldn't he, y'know, take the time to learn it now?? And if not, shouldn't the press occasionally mention the fact that he appears to have no idea what he's talking about?
No. The press should not. Partly because, to quote Hunter, "the media just doesn't expect [McCain] not to say false things, especially on his self-declared strong point, foreign policy." And partly because... well, you know, it's, like, really hard, and stuff. Sunnis... Shiites... they all look the same to me.

So, really, does this make any sense to anyone?

Flash-forward several months and Webb and Hagel's vision (after months of consideration) is on the cusp of codification. The 21st Century G.I. Bill may be included in the language of the next Iraq war supplemental. And while, if considered separately, it could require 60 votes for passage, more than 50 Senators -- including many Republicans -- have already signed on as co-sponsors.

And yet, surprisingly, one of those Senators who has not yet offered his support is John McCain. How could a veteran of Vietnam and someone widely touted as Congress' foremost champions of veterans' affairs not sign on to a largely bipartisan, uncontroversial measure? (Both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are co-sponsors).
Seriously, with what constituency is that going to win points? 53 cosponsors, this bill has. How is McCain not one of them? (Wesley Clark and Jon Solz wonder the same thing.)

(Via The Carpetbagger Report, via TAPPED.)

This would be pretty great:

Comedian John Cleese has a crush on Obama - and he wants to be the White House hopeful's speechwriter.

The legendary British funnyman, known for his hilarity in the groundbreaking "Monty Python" TV series and movies, told a British newspaper that his comedic chops could help the Democrat capture the Oval Office.