Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Raw Story is reporting on strong buzz tonight that Obama has settled on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine for his running mate.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is set to announce his running mate within the next few days and now The Palmetto Scoop has learned that he may have already settled on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

A source inside the beltway informed me that high ranking officials throughout Virginia were recently summoned to the governor’s office for an emergency meeting which reportedly involved discussions on the line of succession if and when Kaine steps down to become Obama’s running mate.

The officials were mandated to leave an out-of-state conference and return to the state capitol in Richmond immediately.

Due to the confidential nature of the meeting, details are scarce but the source said that either Obama will choose Kaine, or Kaine was given the impression that he would be chosen.

That seems like something difficult/impractical/pointless to head fake at this point in the game, y'know?

Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah

The McSame as lovable scrappy energetic underdog against inevitable establishment media darling Obama meme is getting old.

The Veep Chessboard, Seven Moves Ahead

Operating under the assumption (and it is an assumption only at this point) that Obama will select Joe Biden, the BooMan takes a look at what moves open up on the board by moving the Delaware Senator to the Veep slot:
It starts with moving Biden into the Naval Observatory, opening up the chairmanship of the Foreign Relations committee. As Al points out, the chair would naturally fall to Chris Dodd. But, by appointing Dodd (who is retiring in 2011 anyway) to head the State Department, the Foreign Relations chair would fall to John Kerry. In this situation, the three top members of the committee would be dispersed to where Obama could use them to maximum advantage. Biden would be VP and have a seat on the National Security Council with Secretary of State Dodd. Kerry would head up the international relations effort in the Senate.
It's a pretty fascinating read, but the short version is Biden to Veep, Dodd to SecState, Kerry to Foreign Relations as BooMan says, and from there, Tim Johnson (or if his health fails) Jack Reed to Banking, Housing and Human Affairs, Tom Daschle to WH Chief of Staff, Mary Landrieu gets Kerry's slot on Small Business, and Joe's son Beau Biden gets appointed to Joe Biden's seat. (whew!)

Now while all that is fine and dandy, Biden has this terrible habit of making things worse when he opens his mouth. Getting him OFF Foreign Relations might not be a bad idea, considering that's going to be a crucial part of the next four years, and letting Dodd be Good Cop to Biden's Bad Cop isn't a terrible idea...then again, that kinda smacks of Bush and Condi and Nameless One.

I personally think Bill Richardson would make a better Sec State than Dodd, but that's just me. Hillary would naturally stay in the Senate in order to make a run later on -- she wouldn't take a seat in the Obama Administration to save her life -- and become the "maverick" criticizing Obama to prepare the way for down the road.

Could Obama tap Gore for a spot? UN Ambassador maybe? Climate Czar? Wes Clark as SecDef maybe? Who knows. But the Biden Shuffle does open up a lot of possibilities.

Oh My Stars And Garters...

...you have got to be kidding me.

Because Exxon is really making a killing with their air refineries.

Let's See What...

The Odious Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10, Scumbag) is up to this week.
It was a mostly friendly and like-minded crowd that turned out for U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry's town hall meeting on Thursday night.

McHenry, R-N.C.-10th, held the meeting to lay out his views on the energy crisis in the U.S.

During his presentation, McHenry touted alternative energy solutions such as hydroelectric, wind, solar, nuclear and hydrogen power.

McHenry also plugged a push for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and off the country's coasts.

He told the crowd that some in Congress, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have blocked votes on the drilling

And how do we motivate Nancy to do my bidding?
Steve Feimster told McHenry that those in Congress who aren't cooperating to find ways to bring down the price of oil need to have their names published.

"What we need to do is get this out in the public and get rid of those who aren't cooperating," Feimster said.

Feimster said people need to flood Pelosi with e-mails. McHenry then gave out Pelosi's e-mail and office phone number.

I'd love to see this knucklehead actually debate somebody on real solutions to the energy problem in this country instead of having town hall meetings where he hands out GOP propaganda, and then the local paper repeats said propaganda. But that's life in NC-10 for you.

VP Joe Is There!

Remember, knowing is half the battle, And I know Joe is a prick.

Michael Moore Is Helpful!

He has advice for Obama, he's so helpful.
Yes, it will seem like smart politics at first. Shore up Obama's lack of military experience with a hawk. Be true to Obama's message that he'll be a president for everybody by having him run with a Republican. Make a pitch to the purple states of Virginia and Indiana by putting one of their own on the ticket. Or make the red state of Ohio happy by handing the vice presidential slot to its governor. Just so long as Obama's running mate screams "same old, same old," making it harder for him to attract the new voters he needs to win.

There is nothing wrong with picking someone who can help him win a swing state or someone who has more experience than he does in certain areas. But when I hear pundits say things like, "He has to pick a Catholic," well, John Kerry was a total Catholic, and the Catholic vote went to Mr. W. I mean, here's one of the largest groups in the country — 66 million Catholics — and they/we have only allowed one Catholic to be president in 219 years. You would think they would have been flocking to Kerry in 2004. THAT IS NOT THE WAY PEOPLE THINK. IT IS THE WAY PUNDITS THINK. Keep listening to them and you can help elect John McCain the next President of the United States.

I guess that's helpful. I'd like to get paid to be helpful too. Hell I coulda written this. Maybe Mom is right.

The Village And You

The always dependable Digby goes over the Pew Research Center study on where and how America gets its news:
A sizable minority of Americans find themselves at the intersection of these two long-standing trends in news consumption. Integrators, who get the news from both traditional sources and the internet, are a more engaged, sophisticated and demographically sought-after audience segment than those who mostly rely on traditional news sources. Integrators share some characteristics with a smaller, younger, more internet savvy audience segment - Net-Newsers - who principally turn to the web for news, and largely eschew traditional sources.
More Americans are getting their news from the web, but...
The 2008 biennial news consumption survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press was conducted by telephone - including both landline phones and cell phones - from April 30 to June 1 among 3,612 adults nationwide. It finds four distinct segments in today's news audience: Integrators, who comprise 23% of the public; the less populous Net-Newsers (13%); Traditionalists - the oldest (median age: 52) and largest news segment (46% of the public); and the Disengaged (14%) who stand out for their low levels of interest in the news and news consumption.
...not enough of them. As Digby points out, it's that 46% of Americans who are older and get their news mostly from TV, the Traditionalists, that are the largest group, along with the 23% of Integrators who get a large percentage from the boob tube...almost 70% of us get news from the TV talking heads and newspaper Village Idiots.

The reason I started this blog is the fact that most of these TV and newspaper types are full of bullshit. Digby takes it home:
Sadly, there are as many Disengaged as there are Net-Newsers, so they pretty much cancel each other out. That leaves the other two, the largest of which is the "traditionalists" who not only get their news from television, they mostly get it from the images not the words.

I know that most of you are far to busy and too well informed about the issues and the real news to waste time watching the crap the Entertainment Industrial Complex churns out for the rest of the folks, which is why both dday and I spend a lot of time dissecting the television gasbags. It's partially to understand what they are all saying to each other in their tight little feedback loop, but it's also to try to see what the TV news watchers are seeing. Keep in mind that these aren't necessarily stupid people (although some are --- they exist in all groups of humans) but that they simply choose to use television as their primary source of news, which, considering how much of it is available, isn't all that surprising. People who don't have jobs that feature computers or have the time to spend online, naturally put the TV on in the background or sit down to decompress for a bit when they can, and consume their news passively.

And that's where the Village media really has an impact. Their willingness to allow themselves to be conduits --- in words as well as pictures --- for these phony GOP images and manufactured story lines makes them defacto tools of the right wing, who spend many millions developing campaigns for the consumption of fellow villagers --- to disseminate to that 46%.
And it's true...how many people do you know watch the news without sound, at the local watering hole, at work, at home? It's designed for propaganda, not news. The GOP has been owning this format since the 80's now.
Cheney famously said "Reagan proved deficits don't matter. This is our due" I think he actually meant Reagan proved the facts don't matter, do what ever you want...

And they use the same willing tools to smear their opponents and these days the television types even dutifully run a chyron at the bottom of the screen to help those who aren't paying attention know how to interpret the pictures they are seeing. Over the week-end, CNN had numerous segments featuring the Corsi book, all of them accompanied by little factoids on the bottom of the screen featuring the name of the book and some of the charges contained within it. It mattered not at all what the talking heads were blathering about to those who just saw the screen shot while they were passing by a television screen. They got the name of the book and the author and that it says Obama is a phony and a liar. That's all the Republicans ever wanted.

Thank goodness for Media Matters and FAIR and others for doing the daily drudgery of tracking and compiling all this stuff -- no pun intended. Their great columnists also like to discuss and analyze the effect TV news has on politics and what we might do about it, as do I. I'm not sure we are entirely successful, but I do think it's necessary. There are still many more people who are informed by Brian Williams and Meredith Viera than by Josh Marshall or Glenn Greenwald. We need to understand what they're being told.

Luckily, the other segments of the new consumers are growing and perhaps we will soon be in a world where more people get informed from the internet than TV. It's certainly an improvement over the passive TV consumer model, even in the partisan echo chambers, especially since the TV gasbags have become parodies of themselves in ways that even Paddy Chayefsky couldn't have imagined.
It's getting better. Maybe I'm insane for thinking my shouting at the darkness is doing anything, but I try anyhow. The worst part of this is how the Democrats keep falling for the same stupidity every time from the GOP, and they know it's coming...the netroots tell them "Hey this is coming, stick to your guns!" and they do it anyhow. Know thy enemy...and it is the Village.

Where Were You When The War Began?

No, not Russia and Georgia, Sadly, No! and Amy Alkon. The wingnuts are bringing reinforcements, and it's time to take up arms!

Her schtick has been that since Gavin, D. Aristophanes, and I have posted silly photoshops and ridiculed her for thinking that it’s not racist to talk about groups of black siblings as “litters” we are trying to “silence” her. Silly blogger. The last thing we want to do is silence her — she’s unalloyed comedy gold and we’ve had more fun documenting her meltdown than when we blogged on Bob Owens’s chah-cole greeyuhl fundraiser.

And since our posts brought her more traffic over the weekend than she’s probably had in the past two years, we are, she claims, trying to “ruin” her comments section and unfairly run up her payments from advertisers. Oh dear, she’s fallen on the couch again and is clasping her head in pain as if she were auditioning for another “Head On” commercial.

Now, of course, her writhing screams of agony have found two new marks in the ever-gullible InstaHick and the Missus, “Dr.” Helen, both of whom are now wagging their vile crusty fingers in our direction. Perfesser Reynolds, the InstaHick himself, repeats the charge that we’re trying to silence Amy. And “Dr.” Helen kicks it up a notch by repeating Amy’s claim that we’re “tiny little thugs” that are trying to foil her free speech rights.

Okay, Amy, we’re going to say it once more. The last thing we want to do is to silence you. We want you to post more, to post often — the more posts per day the better. We particularly want more pictures! We could probably take up a collection here to send you an incentive fee and a year’s supply of Red Bull just to keep you blogging away at your typical breakneck pace. Judging from this weekend’s torrent of words flying out of your laptop, I don’t think anybody’s written more in a weekend since Barbara Cartland wrote Drena and the Duke.

Remember kids, MY TANK IS FIGHT!

The Bradley Effect, Obama...and Hillary?!?

First a little history lesson: The Bradley Effect is the theory that an African-American candidate for political office can't win because in the end, while opinion polls can show the candidate ahead, when it comes to the actual vote, the candidate gets 10-15% less at the ballot box. In other words, there's a whole lot of white voters who say in opinion polls they will vote for the African-American candidate, but in the secrecy of the voting booth they pick the white guy.

It's named for Tom Bradley, the black mayor of Los Angeles who ran for Governor of California against Republican Robert Deukmejian back in 1982. The exit polls on election day showed Bradley had a comfortable lead in the polls...but the election showed Bradley lost by 2 points. Last minute undecided voters in particular chose Deukmejian in huge numbers.

Deukmejian's campaign manager, Bill Roberts, said a month before the election that Bradley's numbers were at least five points too high because he believed a large number of whites polled were lying about preferring Bradley for governor so as "not to appear racist". Roberts was forced to resign for his comments...but his predictions came true.

The Bradley Effect has been bugging me for months now that Obama has been the presumptive nominee, and I've often wondered about just how bad it will be in November for Obama.

Over at HuffPo this morning, Rebecca Curtis argues not only that the Bradley Effect will cost Barack Obama the election in November, but that there's only one possible way he can win: his Veep must be Hillary Clinton. Curtis argues history backs her up not just on Bradley but other African-American candidates.
In 1989, Douglas Wilder, the Democratic black Lieutenant-Governor of Virginia, ran for Governor, and stayed nine points ahead of white Republican Marshall Coleman all through the race. Yet on election-day, Wilder won by just half a point.

Also in 1989, African-American Democrat David Dinkins kept an eighteen-point lead over his rival for mayor of New York, white Republican Rudy Giuliani; until final tally. Dinkins squeaked by with two points.

In 1990, African-American Democrat Harvey Gantt ran against white Republican Jesse Helms for a North Carolina Senate seat. Throughout the contest, Gantt (like Obama) was predicted to win by 4-6 points. He lost to Helms by six.

Why the reversals? Some white voters lie about whom they support, so as not to seem racist. But most probably intend to vote for the black candidate, and simply, on the day of election, freak out. They feel suddenly nervous about the black candidate's "competence," or "experience," and pick the "known quantity,"--the white guy.

Summer-long, white liberals proclaimed we're "beyond race." In "The Myth of a Toss Up Election," analysts Alan Abramowitz, Thomas Mann, and Larry Sabato used voting patterns from presidential elections-past to conclude that--based on a 6-point lead--Obama would tromp McCain. By using (all-white) elections as their evidence, these upbeat boy-wonders assume race matters not at all. In June, Frank Rich of the New York Times reprimanded "doubters," noting that Obama had held on to "Hillary's" constituencies: blue-collar workers, Catholics, and Hispanics. (Obama's lead with those groups has since diminished.) Rich pointed out that Obama's June lead of six points was higher than Bush's over Kerry's in 2004, and concluded Obama would win in November. Rich (who's white) acts as if ignoring race were the only gentlemanly option: his suggestion that Obama will win because his June lead this year beats Bush's in 2004 implies--with country-club-style largess--the two men are comparably electable. But George Bush was a white, dynastic, Republican whose father was President; Obama's a black newbie Democrat. And Black candidates going for historically-white top governing positions always score nine to sixteen points lower than pre-election polls say they will.

With the polls as tight as they are, Obama's doomed if his support is really 10 points lower than it actually is being reported in the polls, right? So how can he win? Obama, Curtis argues, must not make the Democratic ticket about race and himself, but gender and Hillary Clinton.

To do as Wilder and Patrick did, Obama must partner with a figure who conveys tradition, competence, familiarity. Even if they're disliked by many--and by Obama--the Clintons convey that. More than her 18 million votes, Obama needs Clinton's household name. The Clintons ushered prosperity into America. One need not like them--or Hillary--to feel she's authoritative and familiar. Her presence on the ticket--like a well-known name-brand on an unknown product--would reassure swing voters.

An August Fox/Opinion poll found that Clinton's name--(and that of no other mate)--gives Obama an 8-point boost. Obama needs the boost.

In other words, the boost Clinton gives Obama will cancel out the Bradley effect...and it is the only thing that will help him.
Obama may loathe Hillary. But he says he wants to be president. No one knows who Tim Kaine is. No one will be reassured by his presence. And with him beside Obama, Obama's still what he is now: a diffident, perplexing, cosmopolitan, slightly arrogant black man. With Hillary beside him, Obama's the new guy on the team, and a hot ticket.
So here's the question: Is the Bradley Effect in play in 2008? Is eight to ten points -- or more -- of Obama's points in the polls going to McSame? If this holds true, this would give McSame a landslide victory in November, he would win by roughly 12-15 points and take any state where he's within 8-10 right now: Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, VA and NC, and Missouri, and garner 350+ Electoral votes, handily winning the Presidency.

Do I believe Curtis? No. It's 2008 and Obama DID win the primaries. The Bradley Effect should have sunk him if it applied across the board. The surge of new voters flocking to him weren't even alive in 1982. The GOP has screwed up too badly, and McSame's campaign is too awful for even the Bradley Effect to bail him out. If the Bradley Effect was that powerful, Obama would have lost to Hillary...period. He would have never gotten this far.

I choose to see Obama's win in the primaries in states like Iowa and NC as proof that the Bradley Effect is dead. Curtis chooses instead to see it as the only thing more powerful than racism in politics is sexism...and yet there are a number of women in prominent political positions across America.

The Bradley Effect is a nasty little excuse to put Hillary on the ticket. It would be an admission that applied sexism and cynicism is the only way to beat McSame, not real hope and real change. It's an admission that America will always be racist in my lifetime and cannot change. Furthermore, it's an admission that Only Hillary Can Save Us...and she had her chance.

I don't buy it. Not at all. Even if you believe in the Bradley Effect after Obama won the primaries, I honestly believe it's already been factored in. Remember that consistantly in polls this year, generic Democrats are beating generic Republicans by 15-20 points. Obama is only ahead by 5. If you factor in the Bradley Effect, that would explain Obama's supposedly weak showing...but it would still give him a win.

Only if you believe that in a year where Democrats are winning by 20 points that racism is so bad in this country that McSame will win in a landslide does Curtis's ingenous theory hold water. it's much more likely that this is a scare tactic to get Hillary on the ticket, and it's pitting Democrat versus Democrat to try to accomplish that. By Curtis's own logic sexism cost Hillary the election, but as a subservient Veep she's a benefit?

If you believe Karl Rove is just the smartest political mind on Earth, go ahead and buy the line that Hillary is the only thing that can save Obama.


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