Friday, August 29, 2008

Karl Rove Is A Douchebag

Karl Rove, three weeks ago on Obama considering picking Tim Kaine: (h/t C&L)
With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?
Screw you Karl, you just wrote McSame's political obituary.

You lose, sir. Good day.


The response to Palin has been...not good. The pro-McSame contingent at HuffPo is f'ckin depressed. Here's some highlights:

In the end, the only case she herself made for being on the ticket was praising Hillary Clinton! That's it, period. Now, it might be enough to attract some women -- but it doesn't make a case for the ticket. Why? Hint: some women did vote for Hillary Clinton solely because she was a woman. But most women voted for Hillary Clinton because she was a Democrat, as well as a woman, who stood for important Democratic values they seriously believed in. If Sarah Palin wants to praise Hillary Clinton, go for it. But at least understand what you're praising. Because it will likely come back and bite you.

It was a thin, nothing, empty speech. It was a speech to be head of the Chamber of Commerce. Compare that to the speech by Joe Biden when Barack Obama introduced him. Eloquent, soaring and explaining in blunt detail why John McCain should not be president. Joe Biden must have been watching Sarah Palin's speech, in order to take notes in preparation for his debate with Sarah Palin and thought, "This isn't fair."

And all that's not even the reason the decision is so terrible.

We're talking "truly despondent" here, folks.
When Republicans and independents go into the voting booth, will they have the confidence to vote for a McCain-Palin ticket, knowing that John McCain has had several recurrences of his skin cancer, and will be the oldest President ever? Can they imagine Sarah Palin stepping into the Oval Office and dealing with all the problems we face right now? The Russians and the terrorists must be quaking in their boots.

It's a slap in the face of other Republican women like Kay Bailey Hutchison, bless her heart, who was forced to stumble through an interview on TV trying to make the case for Palin whom she has never met. There are certainly women in the Republican party who were "in line" for this before Palin. Did the Rovian type advisors to McCain just cynically think that throwing a young attractive inexperienced woman into the mix would satisfy women who long to see a woman president? Women, and Republican women, are not so stupid as to fall for that! It is reminiscent of the Republicans putting up Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama for the Illinois Senate just because he was black. Voters saw through that pretty quickly.

Over at National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru is warning anyone who'll listen that she's a bad, bad idea.

Inexperience. Palin has been governor for about two minutes. Thanks to McCain’s decision, Palin could be commander-in-chief next year. That may strike people as a reckless choice; it strikes me that way. And McCain's age raised the stakes on this issue.

As a political matter, it undercuts the case against Obama. Conservatives are pointing out that it is tricky for the Obama campaign to raise the issue of her inexperience given his own, and note that the presidency matters more than the vice-presidency. But that gets things backward. To the extent the experience, qualifications, and national-security arguments are taken off the table, Obama wins.

And it’s not just foreign policy. Palin has no experience dealing with national domestic issues, either. (On the other hand, as Kate O’Beirne just told me, we know that Palin will be ready for that 3 a.m. phone call: She’ll already be up with her baby.)

Tokenism. Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?

Compatibility. It doesn’t seem as though McCain knows Palin well. Do we have much reason to think they would work well together?

Debates. Maybe, as Jonah said the other day, Biden will look like a bully going up against her—and maybe she’ll shine. But I can think of a lot of other picks who would have been lower-risk.

I am not even sure that the pick will have quite the galvanizing effect on conservatives that it seems to be having now as it sinks in. The concerns I’ve mentioned here—about her readiness and her credentials—are the kind of thing that many conservative voters take seriously.

Mike Allen at the Politico:
Larry Kudlow of CNBC’s “Kudlow & Co.” asked her about the possibility of becoming McCain's ticket mate.

Palin replied: “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day? I’m used to being very productive and working real hard in an administration. We want to make sure that that VP slot would be a fruitful type of position, especially for Alaskans and for the things that we’re trying to accomplish up here for the rest of the U.S., before I can even start addressing that question.”

Her evident distaste for the office would be part of her appeal: It would show McCain is running an anti-Washington, reformist campaign.

But it also points to a huge negative for her: It robs Republicans of their most effective argument against Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) — that he lacks experience.

And on, and on, and on.

All I can say is the Republicans have these crazy fantasies where women abandon the Democrats forever because of Palin and then the African-Americans turn on the Dems after Obama's historic defeat and leave the Democrats as the New England Regional Party, giving the GOP control of the country for another generation.

Zandar's Thought Of the Day

Sarah Palin makes no sense.

This is the conclusion the Zandardad (active in Democratic politics back home in NC for a couple decades now, ask him about his picture with Jimmy Carter in Bermuda sometime) and I have come to after talking to him today on the phone. No sense whatsoever. We cannot between the two of us come up with why John McSame chose Sarah Palin over Joe F'ckin Lieberman, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Olympia Snowe, Christie Todd Whitman, Jodi Rell, Bobby Jindal, or even Elizabeth Dole and Mike Huckabee.

Even Rick Santorum would have been a better choice. I mean that. Rick Santorum makes sense compared to Sarah Palin.

There are better choices to excite the base. There are better choices to attract moderate female voters. There are better choices in experience and record that would fit one or both of the preceding criteria.

I can honestly say that if both I'm stumped and my father is stumped by the political calculus here with close to four decades between us as political junkies, there's a problem. Neither one of us can determine the process here for taking Sarah Palin.

She's an extremist fundie garbage-spouting, ANWR-drilling, polar-bear shooing, gay-bashing, nookular-loving, climate-change denying, former Miss Alaska runner-up, that's a creationism-teaching, neo-feminist from a small population state that was never in play, on the campaign trail with a 3-month old baby, zero foreign policy experience, zero legislative experience, and she will be President if anything happens to the 72-year old guy with the explosive temper and the skin cancer.

I mean honestly, four years from now you're seeing what, a Palin-Jindal "bamboozle the women and minorities" ticket?

What. The Hell. Was McSame Thinking.

Oh, and here's Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) kicking Sarah Palin's ass.

The Pick

So, if you're McSame, let's weigh the pros and cons of Sarah Palin from a cynical GOP operative POV:

  • Young (44) and female.
  • Hard-line conservative: pro-life, pro-gun, pro-intelligent design.
  • Has 5 kids, including one on his war to Iraq.
  • Has about 2 years executive experience.
  • Some decent reformer and fiscal conservative cred.

  • Young (44) and female.
  • Under ethics investigation ALREADY.
  • Has 5 kids, including a 3 month old baby.
  • Has only about 2 years executive experience.
  • Has even less foreign policy cred than Obama.
  • Would be one McCain health problem away from the Presidency.
I'm thinking that short-term it's a terrible idea. Once she's IN however, she would be the pretty face to sell the GOP's craziest policies: ending women's choice, ending gay rights, intelligent design being taught in public schools, selling the next war with Russia/China/Iran, selling the police state and the end of Posse Comitatus, etc.

The wingnuts are ecstatic about Sarah Palin...isn't that enough to suspect she's the ultimate Trojan Horse? (I mean, you know, besides Clarence Thomas?)

She's there to help McSame sell the end. BooMan points out eight other GOP women who are more qualified with Christie Todd Whitman at the top of his list.

It was a pick based on selling a woman to his base and to low information voters, a cynical, insulting pick who believes firmly in finishing the GOP social engineering job the Bushies started in 2001, which is putting women, gays, and minorities back in their "rightful place" as second-class citizens and keeping the rest of the population ignorant and compliant enough to agree with the measures necessary to enforce that.

And yes, those are strong words. But I cannot see the choice of Palin taken any other way. She is the pretty face used to sell feminism the rope to hang itself with.

And if you think I'm cynical now, allow me to toss in the thought that Palin was selected because John McSame and his crew already believe themselves to have won, and that Palin is just there as the new face of the police state after the vote-stealing is done.

Now that's quality cynicism.

Oh Hell Yes

Dee Dee Myers just kicked Sarah Palin's ass.

But is she ready to be commander-in-chief?

Unlike Barack Obama, whom McCain has so emphatically condemned as not-ready, Palin hasn’t run for or served in the Senate. Nor has she run for president, which would have required her to think through and take positions on critical issues from the war in Iraq to the war on terror, from Iran’s nuclear ambitions to the Russian incursion into Georgia, from the emerging power of China to the march of globalization. She hasn’t debated tough opponents a dozen or so times or faced aggressive, often downright hostile reporters on a daily basis. Talk about untested. Her slim record undermines one of McCain’s most effective arguments against Obama.

Clearly, McCain thinks Palin will help him among women, particularly those disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters who are having so much trouble “getting over it.” It just shows how clueless the McCain camp actually is. Unlike Clinton and Ferraro, Palin hasn’t been a strong national voice on women’s issues. She hasn’t been at the barricades, fighting for women’s health, equal pay, economic security. And she certainly hasn’t had anything to say about the national-security issues that are also important to women across the political spectrum. Does the McCain camp really expect pro-choice Democratic and independent women to be swayed by a sleight-of-gender?

It’s such a transparently political decision, a double-X Dan Quayle. McCain made the decision to double down on his credentials as a take-no-prisoners reformer. But he did so at the expense of the more important qualifications for a running mate.

It’s not political to say that John McCain turns 72 today. That he’s a cancer survivor. That he spent six years being tortured and abused in a Vietnamese prison camp. Those are the physical realities of his life, and pure and simple, they demanded that he chose a running mate who is ready, really ready. That he put country first. Today, he failed that test.

Worse, when Sarah Palin falls short—and I hope I’m wrong but I think in important ways, such as her debate with Joe Biden, she will—some people will conclude that women can’t cut it. That’s unfair to Sarah Palin—and it’s certainly unfair to the rest of us.

Nobody's buying this, folks. Not on either side.

Keep In The Back Of Your Mind

...that the GOP's codified policies towards women and minorities are so atrocious that the worst attacks on Sarah Palin are going to probably come from her own party.

The base won't take her. They will go nuts. McSame is bad enough for them to swallow but a woman with less experience than Obama? Nope. They'll sit at home. McSame's experience argument just died.

50-50 she's asked to withdraw during the convention.

And I Said To Myself, Self...

...what do Amanda Marcotte and Melissa McEwan think about Sarah Palin?

The pick of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate tells me that reproductive rights are a massive issue for him. I’ve been saying from the get-go that McCain has been screwed insofar as he has to appear strongly anti-woman for the base, but pro-woman for the low information swing voters. Lieberman, I think, could have pulled that off. But this is simpler---a female anti-choicer, a straight-up sexist colluder. The base will be appeased that she shares their anti-woman sympathies, but the swing voter will simply see that she’s a woman and assume that she can’t be anti-woman. Sadly, as we feminists know all too well dealing with those women who collude with sexism, it isn’t at all true or inevitable that a woman will be a feminist.

This is also a sign that the Republicans are taking all their cues from the Democrats this election. The Democratic convention is a non-stop discussion of women’s rights to reproductive health care, equal pay, and freedom from violence. Republicans grab their asses and pick a female V.P., hoping that they can get in on some of that action.

And Melissa?
Well, that took—what?—an hour? Petulant just emailed me to say he heard someone on the Stephanie Miller Show calling Palin a "bimbo." (Presumably because she's a former beauty queen.) And I'm already reading indictments of "her" that include information like "her husband works for an oil company."


Says Pet: "The slaughter of your gender begins anew!" Sob.

For the record, there is plenty about which to criticize Palin that has absolutely fuck-all to do with her sex. She's anti-choice, against marriage equality, pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and loves Big Business. (In other words, she's a Republican.) There's no goddamned reason to criticize her for anything but her policies.

And I'll go ahead and put it right in the fucking inaugural post in this series: I will defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because I like or support her, but because that's how feminism works.

Cheesus. I'm exhausted already.
Both of them have 100% completely valid points, as usual.

UPDATE: and Taylor Marsh nails it.

This is a desperation play. McCain's trying to mute his geezer quotient with Palin's babe vibe. On that, well done, John. With McCain turning 72 today, this is beyond obvious.

However, so much for the "war on terror" being the transcendent issue of our time. The thought of Palin as commander in chief is frightening.

Women voters, especially HRC voters, were pro Hillary because she was very experienced and qualified. Palin's abuse of power problems is not a plus.

As for Palin, not even Kay Bailey Hutchison knew anything about her when she appeared on CNN today. McCain and his team didn't even bother to get her a fact sheet on his veep pick. That says it all.

99% Sure It's Romney...

...but that other one percent is apparently Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Palin, 44, who's in her first term as governor, is a pioneering figure in Alaska, the first woman and the youngest person to hold the state's top political job.

She catapulted to the post with a strong reputation as a political outsider, forged during her stint in local politics. She was mayor and a council member of the small town of Wasila and was chairman of the state Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates Alaska's oil and gas resources, in 2003 and 2004.

The conservative Palin defeated two so-called political insiders to win the governor's job -- incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski in the GOP primary and former two-term Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles in the 2006 general election.

Palin made her name in part by backing tough ethical standards for politicians. During the first legislative session after her election, her administration passed a state ethics law overhaul.

Palin's term has not been without controversy. A legislative investigation is looking into allegations that Palin fired Alaska's public safety commissioner because he refused to fire the governor's former brother-in-law, a state trooper.

Palin acknowledged that a call was made by a member of her staff to a trooper in which the staffer suggested he was speaking for the governor.

That's a minor one, but Senator Series Of Toobs is gonna hurt her. It's Karl Rove going after the Hillary vote.

Damn clever of them.

Moving On

Amazingly enough, the guilt by association trap that the Village has set for Obama relating him to Weatherman Bill Ayers through their mutual work on the Annenberg Foundation has failed due to the fact it will catch far more Republicans. (h/t Sadly, No!)
The basis for this nonsense is the Obama was on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Bill Ayers was involved in a group that organized the Chicago Challenge and that provided advice and recommendations to the Challenge. So, since being on the Board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge makes you a terrorist, let’s see who some of the other terrorists on that Board were. Here’s a list of the Board members from the group’s 1998 IRS Form 990.

First we have Edward Bottum, who was head of a Chase Franklin, a venture capital firm, as well as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Underwriters Laboratories. And, probably to throw the FBI off the track of his terrorist leanings, he made all of his political contributions to Republicans.

Then there is John W. McCarter, Jr., who is President of a noted terrorist front organization, The Field Museum of Chicago.

And don’t forget the philanthropist Nancy Searle, who also has cleverly concealed her terrorist leanings by contributing to Republicans.

Best of all, another Board member is Scott C. Smith, President and Publisher of the Chicago Tribune, which still openly advocates blowing up public monuments and gives recipes for Molotov cocktails in its “Food and Drink” section. Scott gives money to Republican candidates hoping to embarrass them by his connections with Bill Ayers.

Finally, Kurtz and all the other wingnuts screaming about this seem to have forgotten who Walter Annenberg, the guy who started this whole thing, was. To call him a fervent Republican and best buddies with Tricky Dick Nixon and St. Ronnie Reagan is an understatement. Actually, the most damning thing about Obama’s connection to the Chicago Annenberg Challenge is, well, Annenberg himself, but we aren’t going to hear that from Big Gay Stanley and friends.

The smears aren't going to work this time, guys. Just not gonna work.

The Definition Of Village Stupidity:

The AP Charles Babington saying about Barack Obama's speech last night:
Even if Obama had talked for three hours, of course, he could not have detailed enough proposals to quiet all his critics.
Which is true. But it makes you look like an asshole when you put that line at the end of a story that STARTS with:
Barack Obama, whose campaign theme is "change we can believe in," promised Thursday to "spell out exactly what that change would mean."

But instead of dwelling on specifics, he laced the crowning speech of his long campaign with the type of rhetorical flourishes that Republicans mock and the attacks on John McCain that Democrats cheer. The country saw a candidate confident in his existing campaign formula: tie McCain tightly to President Bush, and remind voters why they are unhappy with the incumbent.

The AP has decided to declare war on Barack Obama's candidacy and join the ranks of the Village. The problem is with AP's "political analysis" passing as news wire releases, it's a massive smear job. The GOP is only part of the problem with the country. Some Democrats comprise a large part of it too. But the Village? The Village sucks all the way around.

Jesus, even Pat Buchanan said that speech kicked ass last night.

McSame's Veep

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the compromise choice, says he won't be in Dayton today (where McSame is making his announcement) according to NPR. With Karl Rove categorically rejecting Lieberman, I'm 99% sure it's gonna be the Mittster.

Biden will consume him like an overpriced confectionery delight.

Remember Katrina today. Remember the last eight years.

Uhhhhhh St. Paul, We Have A Problem

It seems the GOP is considering postponing their convention should Gustav threaten the Gulf Coast.
As the political spotlight shifts to the upcoming Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, GOP leaders are closely monitoring the movements of Tropical Storm Gustav, which is approaching hurricane strength as it heads toward the Gulf Coast.

Party officials are discussing the possibility of postponing convention proceedings if the threat to New Orleans and other Gulf Coast areas grows. If there is serious damage in the Gulf Coast, images of Republicans partying in Minneapolis-St. Paul could be an embarrassing reminder of the Bush administration's delayed response to Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

Forecasters predicted that the storm could come ashore Tuesday morning as a Category 3 hurricane, with winds in the 113- to 130-mph range. That would be in the middle of the Republican convention, which runs from Monday through Thursday.
If they postpone the convention, it's an admission that the GOP has dropped the ball on Katrina and failed New Orleans. If they DON'T postpone the convention, it's an admission that the behavior the GOP showed to a majority African-American city like New Orleans during Katrina is perfectly acceptable to the GOP party leaders while the rest of America goes "What the hell is your problem up there?"

Of course the reason this is a lose-lose situation is because both outcomes highlight the fact that the federal response to Katrina was totally screwed from the beginning, and it was ignored on purpose. If Gustav follows Katrina's track and goes right for NOLA, you'll see the GOP fall all over themselves trying to help.

Remember this when McSame pulls the maverick card on Gustav. When Katrina hit, he was sharing a goddamn cake three years ago with Bush...for you see, August 29, the day Katrina destroyed NOLA, is John McSame's birthday.

Happy 72nd birthday. Asshole.

As Promised, More Big O

The speech last night was wonderful. It was a glowing moment.

But even I have to admit some of the policy statements bothered me greatly. Cutting taxes on 95% of working families and our END of dependence on foreign oil in 10 years? Outstanding. Health care for all Americans? About damn time. Equal work for equal pay? Yes, a thousand times yes.

But is it America's job to pledge our troops towards "Protecting Israel" and "rebuilding our military for future conflicts"? It's that foreign policy mindset that got us into Iraq. Not so thrilled about that. When he said "more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11" it means the war shifts from Iraq to Afghanistan and possibly Pakistan for however many more years. When he says "I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power" he does not have the answer to the climate crisis or the energy crisis. More nuclear plants and coal plants are not going to do it. He doesn't differ an iota from McSame on those fronts.

There are some things we're not going to like about President Obama's policies. But having said that...he's still better than McSame. It's the stuff two paragraphs up that make me want to vote for him.

It's a start. But there's lots of work to do still.


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