Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Big O

He did it.

He laid out who he was and why he should be President. It was specific, it was powerful, it was masterful.

And God help me but I believe what he had to say and I believe we can get it done.

Text is here.

More tomorrow.

You Get The Feeling People Don't Respect America Anymore?

I wonder why that is.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accused the United States of orchestrating the conflict in Georgia to benefit one of its presidential election candidates.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Matthew Chance in the Black Sea city of Sochi Thursday, Putin said the U.S. had encouraged Georgia to attack the autonomous region of South Ossetia.

Putin told CNN his defense officials had told him it was done to benefit a presidential candidate -- Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama are competing to succeed George W. Bush -- although he presented no evidence to back it up.

"U.S. citizens were indeed in the area in conflict," Putin said. "They were acting in implementing those orders doing as they were ordered, and the only one who can give such orders is their leader."
The White House is pissed.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino blasted Putin's statements, saying they were "patently false."

"To suggest that the United States orchestrated this on behalf of a political candidate just sounds not rational," she said.

U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood concurred, and labeled Putin's statements as "ludicrous."

Now, here's the wacky part: Putin said this specifically because there are people out there across the world that will completely buy into this, even if it's complete bullshit. Why? Because if you honestly look at what this White House HAS done in the name of purely political gain, this accusation is just crazy enough to be true.

I mean if you told me in 2001 that the Bush White House would out a CIA agent's cover just to get back at the operative's husband politically, I would have said "You're crazy, nobody would do that."

I mean hell, we invaded Iraq for completely crazy ass made up political reasons and then lied about it and covered it up, and killed several hundred thousand people in the process. What's so hard about starting a war between Georgia and Russia by giving Mikhail Saakashvili the secret green light signal and then going "What, WE never told you to attack South Ossetia. You're hearing stuff!" so that John McSame gets to be all war hero and stuff and then we get four more years of no accountability. Plausible deniability for the muthafuggin win.

I mean hell, even if it's crap, given what these douchebags have done that we KNOW ABOUT, this seems totally believeable.

Ten rubles that the wingnuts go batshit and accuse Putin of trying to elect Barack Obama so that the Russians can invade America and take over. WOLVEREEEEEEEENS!

Ignore The Obamessiah, For McSame Is Leaking!

And because McSame is a vindictive, petty shithead, the wires are buzzing this afternoon with his latest desperate attempt to take the spotlight away from Barry.(h/t Atrios)
If security sweeps are the giveaway, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may be on the brink of being selected as Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) vice presidential running mate.

According to sources with strong Michigan ties, the Secret Service has conducted a security sweep of the home of Romney’s sister. Romney was raised in Michigan, where his father served as governor.

Mitt is actually even better than Joe F'ckin Lieberman for our side. The base will HATE HIM, because when your entire campaign is built around prejudice, Mitt Romney is a nice man with lots of money but secretly they are thinking MORMON WEIRDO BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA STEAL YOUR KIDS' SOULS WITH HIS LATTER DAY LASER RAYS DOESN'T DRINK BEER OR SOMETHING WITH HIS FAKE JESUS AND HE SECRETLY HATES AMERICA!!one!!11!!1

What goes around, comes around. The karma, it is delicious and has a piquant but oaky flavor and goes well with this big glass of LOL.

Dick Morris Is Still An Idiot

Dick Morris says that comparing McSame to Bush is stupid because McSame's not Bush, and all McSame has to do to win is go "lalalalala I can't hear you".
The truth is, of course, that McCain is the most unlike Bush of any of the Republican senators. (When Obama's people claim that Bush and McCain voted the same 94 percent of the time, they forget that most of the votes in the Senate are unanimous.) The fact that McCain backs commending a basketball team on its victory doesn't mean that he is in lockstep ideologically with the president.

The issues on which McCain and Bush differ are legion:

• McCain fought for campaign finance reform — McCain-Feingold — that Bush fought and ultimately signed because he had no choice.

• McCain led the battle to restrict interrogation techniques of terror suspects and to ban torture.

• McCain went with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on a tough measure to curb climate change, something Bush denies is going on.

• McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts when they passed.

• McCain urged the Iraq surge, a posture Bush rejected for years before conceding its wisdom.

• McCain favors FDA regulation of tobacco and sponsored legislation to that effect, a position all but a handful of Republican Senators oppose.

• McCain's energy bill, also with Lieberman, is a virtual blueprint for energy independence and development of alternate sources.

• After the Enron scandal, McCain introduced sweeping reforms in corporate governance and legislation to guarantee pensions and prohibit golden parachutes for executives. Bush opposed McCain's changes and the watered-down Sarbanes-Oxley bill eventuated.

• McCain has been harshly critical of congressional overspending, particularly of budgetary earmarks, a position Bush only lately adopted (after the Democrats took over Congress).

Remember that McCain ran against Bush in 2000. McCain's Republican advisers need to realize that they won the primary and that they do not need to cotton to the delegates at their convention or to appease the Bush White House. The more they respond to Obama's and Biden's attacks on Bush by saying "It ain't me, babe," the more he will moot the entire purpose of the Democratic convention. It is a rare opportunity to nullify the entire Democratic line of attack and McCain should seize on it.

You want me to handle this? "Why sure, Zandar."

John McCain has reversed his current position on nearly every single one of those issues to cynically appeal to Republican primary voters and continues to maintain those new, reversed positions. Each one of the attempts to reverse to change these positions was made specifically to bring him in ideological lockstep with Bush.

Thanks for playing, Dick.

PS, thanks for nullifying the signifigance of Senate voting records for both candidates with that 94% of Bush is not the same as Bush crap.

Vigorously Interrogated Logic

Michael Medved at Townhall argues that the American dream can't be in trouble because a black guy has been nominated as President and a woman very nearly became that nominee, so the Democrats are pretty much lying when they say America might be on the wrong track.

On the one hand, they want Americans to believe that we live in a dark, destitute moment in our history, with no chance for prosperity or progress unless a Democrat captures the White House.

On the other hand, they celebrate dozens of inspiring rags-to-riches stories (like those of the party’s sweethearts, Barack and Michelle Obama) proving that traditional American values still bring spectacular and gratifying results.

First, they suggest that ordinary Americans can’t possibly achieve their dreams without government help.

But then, sometimes in the very same speeches, they brag about their own classic American stories in which family and faith conquer every obstacle.

Consider the way the convention celebrated Michelle Obama’s story on its opening night. Her brother, Craig Robinson, emphasized the way their parents’ values brought about their success, saying “I can see how the person she is today, was formed in the experiences we shared growing up: working hard, studying hard, having parents who wanted more for us than what they had. And always being reminded that in this country of all countries—those things are possible.”

Somebody from the Right always drags this idiotic argument out whenever a minority, woman, or gay/lesbian politician makes it in America: they are the proof that the rest of America's minorities, women, or gays/lesbians harping about equal treatment under the law are just too lazy and that the Democrats' silly insistence that the government should help people is just holding them back, making them lazier and dragging the people who work hard down.

After all, the GOP went out of its way to assure they didn't help anyone like that over the last eight years, ostensibly to forge Persons Of Character in the crucible of history and let the cream rise to the top. Compassionate Conservatism in action.

The billions in corporate tax breaks, weakening of goverment regulation and oversight to the point of neglect, and rampant cronyism in the Bush executive are in fact simply there to make it harder on the rest of us out of tough love.

Sarcasm aside, the basic difference between Liberals and Conservatives in 2008 is that Liberals believe everyone else is basically good and will probably end up better if you help them, and that government should be in the business of helping people, and Conservatives believe everyone else is basically flawed and will probably end up worse, so government should be in the business of punishing people.

You feel like the government should be helping people or punishing people?

Cartoon Of The Moment

From Bob Englehart of the Hartford Courant. More 'toons at Daryl Cagle's Political Cartoon site.

Why Don't You Go Be Helpful Over There, George

Because apparently, Hurricane Gustav is a good excuse for President Dipstick Q. Destroywhateverhetouches to NOT be in St. Paul on Labor Day.
The president is, of course, scheduled to speak on Monday (Labor Day) at the convention, right around the time Tropical Storm Gustav, which is expected to become a hurricane, hits the Gulf Coast. Fox News' Bret Baier reported this morning, "We're told, by the White House, there are conversations underway about [the] schedule, and whether [Bush] will, in fact, speak on Monday. They are meeting behind closed doors about the response, first of all -- they have FEMA Director David Paulison already active down there -- and the administration obviously very sensitive to this. But if this hurricane rolls in, and the timing is the same, you could see the president possibly not speak on Monday night. It's something that both the White House and the RNC are working on right now."
What's going though Karl Rove's mind right now is "Hell yeah, a hurricane will give us an opportunity to totally show America that Republicans can help people on the Gulf Coast we've been mostly ignoring for the last three years! Send in Dubya!"

Once again, pray that nobody gets hurt. But the path of the storm seems to be going right for Texas/Louisiana.

And it'll be yet another chance to remind America how, when faced with people who have been flooded out of their homes, neglected by the government, lost everything they had a SECOND TIME and have no way to get out of the path of the storm that the lesson you'll need to be drawing in 2008 is "angry black people are scary!"

Count on it.

Epic Solution To Health Care For The Uninsured Fail

This one's been making the rounds of Left Blogistan this morning, so I thought I'd play along. First, the problem: Uninsured Americans...

Texas once again led the nation with the highest percentage of residents without health insurance, a U.S. Census Bureau report showed Tuesday, although the same study also reports a slight dip last year in the percentage without coverage across the nation.

Almost one of every four Texas residents – 24.8 percent – were uninsured in 2006 and 2007, based on an average of the rates for those two years. That's up from 23.9 percent for 2004 and 2005.

The national number also increased a bit for the two-year period to 15.5 percent. However, looking at 2007 by itself, the percentage of uninsured in the country fell from 15.8 percent in 2006 to 15.3 percent in 2007. (State percentages were given only for two-year periods.)

California still has the highest number – not percentage – of uninsured residents at 6.7 million, compared with 5.7 million Texans. The Texas number is up from 5.5 million in 2006.

...Now, the solution, courtesy of McSame's main health care policy adviser, John Goodman.

But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain's health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

"So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime," Mr. Goodman said. "The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

"So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved."

Yes, he was serious when he said this. That is his solution to the health care crisis, recategorize the problem and it vanishes. This is the man giving John McSame health care advice. This is what John McSame has planned for your family should you lose health care. The one out of six of us who are uninsured are "categorized according to likely source of payment."

Just like Iraq became "mission accomplished", just like Afghanistan became "a success in the War On Terror", just like Katrina became "a growth opportunity for the Gulf Coast", just like Gitmo became "the first line of protection for America from terrorists", just like torture became "vigorous, robust, and effective interrogation methods", just like the police state became "guarding the homeland while respecting your rights", just like John McSame is "a maverick".

Just like four more years of this is "a good idea for all Americans".

I do believe this one deserves an EPIC FAIL.

While They're In St. Paul...

...the GOP might want to keep one eye on the Weather Channel or something.

Nearly three years to the day after hurricane Katrina plowed into the Louisiana coast on August 29, 2005, Port Fourchon is still a glaring Achilles heel in the vulnerable U.S. energy supply chain.

Now Port Fourchon and coastal cities like New Orleans are staring down the barrel of Tropical Storm Gustav, which could come ashore next week as the worst hurricane since 2005.

The 1,600-acre (647-hectare) complex is the support nerve center for over half of all offshore drilling operations, and serves 90 percent of the Gulf's deepwater oil installations.

Hundreds of large workboats chug between Port Fourchon and the rigs every day, carrying workers, heavy equipment and necessities that range from pipe, drilling mud and diesel fuel to groceries and drinking water.

All those supplies come to Port Fourchon by truck or barge via Louisiana Highway 1 and a waterway called Bayou Lafourche.

Nobody should ever have to go through Katrina again. But you know what? Hurricanes happen. The government needs to be there when there's a disaster. Oh, and PS:
"We play a critical role in 15 to 18 percent of the entire nation's oil supply," Falgout said. "If the Lafourche corridor takes a severe hit, everyone in this country will feel the impact."
Yeah, think about that for a second with gas prices about $3.70 and oil having risen about 8 bucks a barrel to $120 in the last couple days. Gustav gets anywhere near Louisiana and it'll be $4.99 a gallon overnight.

Hurricane in the Gulf was going to happen eventually. During the RNC? Well maybe somebody up there is trying to tell us something.

Novakula: Thou Shalt Not Take VP Joe

Robert Novak once again reminds the universe that he's still in charge of the GOP dammit, and the GOP will not tolerate Joe F'ckin Lieberman.

At the heart of the desire for Lieberman as running mate is a basic strategic disagreement between the Bush and McCain high commands.

McCain's top strategists argue that the Bush coalition that won the last two presidential elections is dead and must be replaced by a new one that extends to the left, as Lieberman would. Bush strategists disagree, asserting that McCain is getting around 90 percent of the old Bush vote and can win the election with a few moderates added in.

The Republican operative who urged Lieberman to dissuade McCain from picking him believes that there is still a very useful role for the maverick Democrat in this campaign: as McCain's secretary of state. While an announcement in St. Paul of Lieberman as vice president would bring groans from the assembled Republicans, placing him at the State Department would evoke a standing ovation.

At this writing, nobody knows McCain's choice. He is keeping the selection process secret, and his closest aides are in the dark. Could he still name Lieberman after being told by Lieberman himself that it is not a good idea? Nobody absolutely rules it out.

Selecting a vice presidential nominee from the opposite party has not fared well, partly because the two most prominent such selections quickly succeeded to a vacant presidency.

We do want to thank you for stopping us from winning with Joe F'ckin Lieberman as Gore's VP, because now, eight years later, we'd be nominating the asshole and be about 35 seconds from declaring war on the universe.

UPDATE: It seems there's now a concerted effort to end this Joe F'ckin Lieberman nonsense once and for all, and the man behind it is Karl Rove.

Republican strategist Karl Rove called Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) late last week and urged him to contact John McCain to withdraw his name from vice presidential consideration, according to three sources familiar with the conversation.

Lieberman dismissed the request, these sources agreed.

Lieberman “laughed at the suggestion and certainly did not call [McCain] on it,” said one source familiar with the details.

“Rove called Lieberman,” recounted a second source. “Lieberman told him he would not make that call.”

Rove did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rove, President Bush’s former top campaign adviser and arguably the most prominent political operative of the past generation, has no formal role in McCain’s campaign. But he knows much of the Arizona senator’s high command and has been offering informal advice, both over the phone and in his position as a Fox News analyst, since McCain wrapped up the GOP nomination.

His decision to wade into the vice presidential selection process could provide Democrats fresh ammunition to tie McCain to the polarizing Bush.It is also chafing some Lieberman allies and others wary of the selection of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

“Rove is pushing Romney so aggressively some folks are beginning to wonder what's going on,” grumbled one veteran Republican strategist.
Oh man, this gets better and better. The Rove Chamber of Commerce wants to give McSame Mitt Romney as his wingman, but McSame wants Lieberman. Either one of those two picks will sink that ticket like a stone. The others on his list, Kay Baliey Hutchinson (killed from the short list even faster than Lieberman) and Tim Pawlenty (out pushing the uppity negro meme) are no match for Joe Biden. None of them are.

The only option they have is to try to tear Obama down. They have nothing.

John Judis Is Helpful

His brilliant advice: Obama's black, liberal and he didn't take Hillary, so he'd better give one hell of a speech tonight or he's toast.
I want to say one final thing; it's about Obama's oratorical style. In response to the criticisms of his Berlin speech, some Democrats suggested that Obama should tone down his high style and seek a more direct conversational approach, even at the risk of being dull. That would be a tragic error. Obama's mistake was giving an uplifting speech to a huge crowd in Berlin; not giving an uplifting speech. High-flown oratory has always played a very large role in American politics--going back to Daniel Webster and Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson--and Obama's ability to perform in that manner is one of his greatest strengths. Obama's presentation isn't the problem; it is his message. And his first and best opportunity to fix it will come tonight.

Now, maybe I'm being unfair, but this goes back to the argument that a lot of folks on the netroots side of the fence seem to be convinced that the combination of the Bradley Effect and good old' GOP cheating means that the 2-5 point lead Obama seems to have is in reality McSame up by 15-20.

I don't buy it. Oh yes, the racism is there, but I explained my thoughts on that theory earlier, which basically boils down to "The Bradley Effect's already been factored in because the GOP has already given out so many other bullshit lies about Obama that people are glad to use them instead of lying about supporting a guy they're not going to vote for, a.k.a. "But Ain't He A Muslim?"

Apparently it's a more proper show of ignorance to not vote for the guy because of a lie that he's a Muslim (despite the whole REVEREND PASTOR JEREMIAH WRIGHT flap) then to lie to pollsters and secretly vote against the guy for being black. The GOP likes to give folks all sorts of excuses to be ignorantly bigoted overtly against Muslims than secretly racist against blacks, and so people can be proudly prejudicial against Barack Obama because he's a Muslim, explaining why he's dead even with McSame rather than 15 points up on the guy.

And you thought the GOP served no actual purpose.

So, I think Obama's just fine. Basically the people who aren't going to vote for him anyhow don't have to lie about it because they think he's a Muslim so the polls are pretty accurate where they are. Should the Muslim myth be dispelled, they'll simply find another ignorantly stupid lie to justify why they won't vote for a black man, and won't lie to pollsters about wanting to do so.

Relax, guys.

Gentlemen! Behold! Unleash John Kerry!

Despite my serious misgivings about the Big Dog last night and my decidedly mixed reaction to the selection of Joe Biden as Obama's Veep, both men came through with guns a-blazin' for the Big O. Bill's speech especially was a strong endorsement of Obama.
Bill Clinton was one of Barack Obama's fiercest critics during the primary campaign, but Wednesday night the former president delivered an enthusiastic endorsement of the Democratic presidential nominee.

"Barack Obama is ready to lead America and to restore American leadership in the world," Clinton told the crowd of cheering delegates. "Barack Obama is ready to be president."

Clinton pushed back on attacks initiated by himself and his wife during the bitter primary campaign, and later taken up by Republican John McCain, that Obama is ill prepared for the White House, especially on matters of national defense.

"With Joe Biden's experience and wisdom, supporting Barack Obama's proven understanding, insight, and good instincts, America will have the national security leadership we need," Clinton said.
He really put the issue of Hillary 2012 to bed: they are behind Obama 100% (or at least in the high 99% range.) Is it enough to forgive and forget all the nasty things they said? Hell, it's too important NOT to at this point. They've chosen live and let live, and we even saw a bit of the old Clinton magic. It's honestly more than I expected, doing the right thing at the eleventh hour is still doing the right thing.

Joe Biden also crushed one out of the park. Yeah, he made a couple of gaffes, but the guy hit McSame like a prizefighter when he connected...and he connected a lot.
Biden rattled off a list of McCain's positions on issues ranging from taxes to alternative energy, repeatedly saying, "That's not change; that's more of the same."

Sen. Barack Obama joined Biden onstage at the end of his speech, the campaign announced, marking his first appearance in person at the convention that nominated him to be the first African-American to lead a major party ticket for the White House.

Biden praised Obama as a leader who had been right on a wide range of issues, including Afghanistan.

"On the most important national security issues of our time, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama has been proven right," he said.
But in all honesty, the best speech of the night was the one you didn't see John Kerry make. You can watch it here, courtesy of Talking Points Memo.

Kerry had some of the best lines of the entire convention.

Candidate McCain now supports the wartime tax cuts that Senator McCain once denounced as immoral. Candidate McCain criticizes Senator McCain's own climate change bill. Candidate McCain says he would now vote against the immigration bill that Senator McCain wrote. Are you kidding? Talk about being for it before you're against it.

Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself. And what's more, Senator McCain, who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target, has morphed into candidate McCain who is using the same "Rove" tactics and the same "Rove" staff to repeat the same old politics of fear and smear. Well, not this year, not this time. The Rove-McCain tactics are old and outworn, and America will reject them in 2008.

So remember, when we choose a commander-in-chief this November, we are electing judgment and character, not years in the Senate or years on this earth. Time and again, Barack Obama has seen farther, thought harder, and listened better. And time and again, Barack Obama has been proven right.

When John McCain stood on the deck of an aircraft carrier just three months after 9/11 and proclaimed, "Next up, Baghdad!", Barack Obama saw, even then, "an occupation of "undetermined length, undetermined cost, undetermined consequences" that would "only fan the flames of the Middle East." Well, guess what? Mission accomplished.

So who can we trust to keep America safe? When Barack Obama promised to honor the best traditions of both parties and talk to our enemies, John McCain scoffed. George Bush called it "the soft comfort of appeasement." But today, Bush's diplomats are doing exactly what Obama said: talking with Iran.

So who can we trust to keep America safe? When democracy rolled out of Russia, and the tanks rolled into Georgia, we saw John McCain respond immediately with the outdated thinking of the Cold War. Barack Obama responded like a statesman of the 21st century.

So who can we trust to keep America safe? When we called for a timetable to make Iraqis stand up for Iraq and bring our heroes home, John McCain called it "cut and run." But today, even President Bush has seen the light. He and Prime Minister Maliki agree on guess what? a timetable.

Kerry made a beautiful case, as did Biden later in the evening, powered by the Big Dog earlier. Clinton got a three minute plus ovation from the crowd. They loved him, and he really set the table. Biden cleared that table and despite his classic "George, I mean John McCain" gaffe really showed his passion and fire, but it was John Kerry who really laid out the most powerful argument yet that Barack Obama is far more ready to be President than John McSame, on the basis of the judgement displayed just in the last several months alone.

That is the message Obama's camp has to get across. Obama has been proven right, McSame has been proven wrong. He's already shown himself to be a more capable and much wiser leader than McSame.

Last night was pretty amazing stuff. Let's see what tonight holds when Barry speaks.


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