Romney, Iran, Libya and political theater no one watches.

Perhaps Mitt Romney should suspend his campaign to help address the growing geopolitical crisis(es) in the Middle East?

While the Netanyahu government plays a dangerous game of chicken with the Obama Administration over Iran and as protesters in Libya give way to rockets and bombs that take out one of our Ambassadors and three staffers, the Republican Party and the Romney Campaign have decided that it is time to foreign policy the center of the campaign through bluster. This after Mitt Romney’s utter lack of foreign policy gravitas was already laid bare by his failure to even mention the war we’re fighting in his RNC acceptance speech.

Setting aside the lack of patriotism displayed in choosing any other side but the American President in a time of geopolitical crisis (whoa. Who sounds Republican, now?), there is also the matter of what exactly this crass political stunt will accomplish. Certainly, the idea is to lower a national crisis to a political advert or two. Certainly, the idea is to take Barack Obama’s foreign policy chops away from him. But is that really what is going to happen?

As I alluded to at the beginning, so much of this Republican campaign reminds me of shades of light and dark of the McCain Campaign of 2008, this latest political stunt being only the most recent. A weak candidate picks a running mate that is stronger among his base than he is, but which proves to be a fact-checking and general election nightmare. Just wait: I promise that will get worse. Then in a time of crisis – the economic meltdown for McCain, Israel/Libya for Romney – the candidate declares the stage his only to find….

John McCain twiddling his thumbs among the people whose job has been made infinitely harder by his presence. John McCain may be a bellicose asshat, but many people listen to the old War Veteran™ on issues of national security and foreign relations. He does not, however, come to mind when I think of fiscal policy. Nor should he: John McCain is in no position to offer anything in the way of experience with banking, finance, or economics, macro or otherwise. He was the last person who should have been in those meetings and it showed. His next step was to have to restart his campaign with nothing solved.

Now we find that the merry-go-round has been stopped by yet another weak candidate and once again, he chose to stop it at the moment when it becomes clear to everyone that he has no policy experience or business “helping” the president with the current set of crises.

Even our overly pliant national media cannot help but ask Mitt Romney what he would do in Barack Obama’s situation? Would he accept an Israeli attack on Iran? Would he join in? Back them up? Whistle and walk in the other direction?

Would he drop bombs on newly liberated Libya? Would he declare the revolution an Evil Empire™?

And when does he get back to running the campaign he wants? The one where he ignores foreign policy outright and sticks to cranking about our shitty economy?


Allow Me to Field This One…

Holy crap.

Senator John McCain is on my television box on Meet the Press, and he actually just said, “oh, I don’t know if it’s a promise,” when asked if Sarah Palin quitting the Alaska Governorship was a breach of the promise she made to Alaska voters.

Yes, it is. If I vote for someone, I don’t expect them to quit unless they’re dying or mired in scandal. It’s also telling of just what a bullshit artist John McCain is that he won’t endorse her.

Late Update: Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake provides the video:


Delusional Conservatives in the Words of England

Yeah, I know: Conservatives think other nation’s opinions are for pussies.  Still, the last I knew, the bipedal creatures this world is largely populated by are for the most part humans.  Knowing what they think and seeing how they interpret the election and the response of the loonies in the McCain concession speech audience is probably not entirely without merit.

And I say it again: none of the people so disaffected by McCain’s loss were people who voted for McCain in the primaries.  In fact, they will soon be spitting vitrol about McCain’s pussy-ass bipartisanship as often as they spit vitrol about Obama’s family.  Good for them.


Ok, One More: More Palin Stuff Coming Out

Well, the campaign is over and the back biting will begin in the Republican Party and the McCain/Palin Campaign specifically.  Newsweek has a story, summarized nicely by the Huff Po, about what the real cost of the Neiman Marcus shopping spree was.  And her coming out to speak with McCain advisers in a towel.  People, everybody knows no woman does that sort of thing accidentally.  She was attempting to use sex to get something over on McCain advisors, and I think we all know now why the media in Alaska loved her. . . .


Not Looking Good for McCain in New Hampshire

I was about to post an article about McCain’s strategy for winning this election.  It involves winning New Hampshire.  Well, it’s not looking real good so far:

Donklephant » Blog Archive » Obama Wins 59% Of Hart’s Location, NH Vote

This is another place Bush won in 2004.

What’s more, no Democrat has ever won here. And Obama’s margin is the most since they started.


Election Day, 6am Update

A video blog. Looks crowded at the polling stations, people, get the hell out there and vote your asses off!  Plus, don’t forget about the state ballot initiative to allow veterans to get a few extra points on their civil service applications.  As it stands now, only injured vets get those added points, and only if they’re getting benefits from a specific agency.  The ballot initiative seeks to widen the program to all veterans, which seems only fair.


Keep your browser logged in here today, as I’ll be blogging from the Rochester for Obama headquarters on St. Paul St. during the morning and early afternoon hours.  Then, tonight, check out the live blogging event happening with myself, Rottenchester from the Fighting 29th and Exile on Erickson St. from The Albany Project.  It’s all happening right here on DFE, plus the other two will be on CW-16 and WHAM-13 this evening as well, live blogging the whole time.  Bitchin, eh?


Just as You Suspected

John McCain’s latest ad goes all-in on white fear of black welfare mamas.  It uses the word “welfare” in relation to Obama no less than three times and then follows up with, “Just as you suspected, Barack Obama is not truthful about taxes.”

So to recap, Barack Obama’s the lyin’, welfare-takin’ baby daddy you always knew hung out in places in the city you’ve never been.  No reason to trust that sort of thing, now, is there?



The McCain Campaign’s Greatest Irony

It occurs to me that most of the people in the audience for McCain/Palin rallies – those waving “Little Hussein” monkeys, those shouting about Arabs and Mooslums, those standing up to shout that they’re “really mad” – have got to be people that voted against John McCain in the primaries.  Why would these guys ever have supported John McCain the Campaign Finance Reformer?  John McCain the Bipartisan?  Does that even seem credible?

Meanwhile, any reasonable reading of the poll numbers to this point reflects how much of the original Maverick Fanbase has left him.  In particular, I’m thinking of all those Independents, especially those who voted for him in the primaries of states where they were able to.  I’m not sure enough has been made on this point: what got him to the Republican nomination was independents and moderate Republicans, all of whom are now either abstaining or voting for Barack Obama.

What must it be like for John McCain to be conducting his final political act before a house of hostile strangers?


The Sleaze Fest

John McCain’s sleaze festival is in full swing with two weeks to go.  How’s it working out for him?

Well, according to recent polls, not very well in terms of public opinion.  Voters fairly widely reject the William Ayers line and seem to have grown to hate Sarah Palin.  Too bad for her, because her performance on SNL was actually quite good.  Shucks.

But of course, as the media is pounding the so called Bradly Effect – that theory that says white voters will say what they think you want to hear in polls but will vote differently in the booth – the McCain Campaign’s attempt to smear Obama may just be working in that same quiet way.  There has been a marginal shift in the TPM Tracking number that puts Obama below 50% for the first time in about a week.  Could this be a subtle shift that represents a more fundamental shift just below the water line?  Its hard to know, but it’s troubling.

As I keep saying and as gets repeated year after year, it’s all going to come down to GOTV.  Whomsoever is able to muster the largest support at the polls will probably be the winner.  Irrespective of whom is in the lead and irrespective of the relative sleaziness of the campaigns, it is quite normal to see some tightening of the polls right before an election.  Once the moment becomes real, I think voters tend to pull back from their previous enthusiasm for whomever their candidate is in these last few weeks.

So, Obama supporters, make sure you’re not getting lazy.  Make sure your friends aren’t getting lazy.  College kids who sleep through Election Day could cost us this thing.


A Word About Autism

I wanted to write one last post for the evening to mention one relatively minor point brought up towards the end of the debate.  It was not something that affects me directly, but since my wife is a teacher who deals with these types of issues, it still offended me.  I’m hoping to update this post with the video.  I may have misheard.

Sarah Palin has a child with Down’s Syndrome.  John McCain said she knows what it’s like to have a kid with Autism.  Autism and Down’s Syndrome could not possibly be more different.  One is a physical developmental disabiility and one is a mental developmental disability.  They have about as much in common as a club foot has with color blindness.  Even that comparison is simply inadequate.

I find it quite offensive that John McCain chose to use this line of discourse when he clearly does not understand either issue.  It has the effect of drawing a line of false equivalence between two barely understood disorders when I’m sure those who deal with Down’s and Autism on a personal level would prefer clarity.

But again, this is not a personal issue and I don’t want to come off as too shrill.  I just think it’s important to bring up.

Update: Here’s the video.  He starts in at about 4 minutes, while swerving wildly between the lines trying to make his case for education reform.  I’m not entirely sure what he thinks Autism necessarily has to do with education reform in the first place.  It is true that Autistic kids have some extra needs in terms of their education, but it’s not because Autism is any kind of learning disability, specifically.  And it certainly isn’t Down’s Syndrome, though McCain clearly seems to think it is:



Post-Debate Wrapup

I have every single debate thought John McCain did a better job than public opinion polls later support, so I will be restrained in my remarks.  Still, I don’t think there’s any doubt that this particular McCain performance was easily his best.  What good that does him remains to be seen.  I suspect not much.  Fine punches landed along the way, but the narrative from this debate is probably going to be very unhelpful, indeed.

And I think that all future candidates to the presidency would be wise to work on their laughs, lest they come out as unendingly creepy as John McCain comes across more often than not in these debates.  It’s just weird.  More than one talking head has mentioned tone on both PBS and MSNBC (yeah, I’m a leftie).  I’m not sure if that’s what they’re talking about, or when he seemed petulant on the Ayers issue.  Also, when did Clinton ever mention Ayers by name?  I don’t remember that at all, and she pissed me off nightly.

As Michael Beshloss was just commenting on PBS, the Ayers thing did come up and it did hurt McCain.  But I don’t think I could have imagined how badly it hurt him.  This is where the narrative gets away from McCain.  And boy, did it ever.  For him to have said that he is “categorically” proud of his supporters at his rallies was just devastatingly bad form.  He’s basically saying that everybody – no matter what they say, no matter how many of them the Secret Service has to investigate – is perfectly OK by him.  That’s insane.

Moreover, for John McCain to insist that his campaign isn’t negative and that he’s not running negative ads is a problem also.  A huge plurality of Americans agree that McCain’s campaign is negative and seem to blame him for the chaos at his rallies.  I tend to agree with this assessment, but it’s interesting to see such large majorities of Americans sharing this view.  McCain denying all of this is basically telling the majority of Americans that they’re wrong.  Not only is it bald-faced lying, but it’s bald-faced lying to people who already know the truth.

So even as I type, my opinion is swinging quite widely towards a resounding Obama win.  The only caveat is the abortion discussion.  This is an issue that has been fostered as a Republican wedge issue for a reason.  There is no way to make this issue work for Democrats, even if a majority of Americans agree with their position.  It’s just an unpleasant topic for which there is overwhelming enthusiasm on the Right and very little on the Left.  It was a mistake for Barack Obama to have allowed the discussion of Supreme Court Justices to swing so far into this territory.

But once again, we shall have to see what the early voting says.  My prediction this time around is another resounding win for Obama.

And let me say again: fuck Joe.


Live Blogging Debate Thread

9:01.  Here we go!

9:04 ~ John McCain is still going after the plan to buy up bad mortgages.  That means the tax payer gets hosed for the extra cost of the mortgage we bought it at compared to what we renegotiate the mortgage at.  That’s preposterous.  Especially since home values will not stop dropping simply because you’ve bought up the loans.

9:07 ~ Obama isn’t backing down on his plans to reform health care.  Good for him.  It’s stupid to expect that the government should spend less in a recession: when the government spends, it takes your tax dollars and puts them into the economy which is currently starved for capital.  That’s precisely what we need.

9:11 ~ Ding, ding, ding!!!  “Class Warfare!”  Do I have to chug a beer, now?

9:13 ~ It’s Conservative Dog Whistle Night at the old debate.  Now we’re talking the old canard about corporations paying more taxes than in any other country.  That assumes they actually pay their taxes.  But they don’t have all those accountants for no reason at all.


9:19 ~ Hey, everybody!!  Head down to the Strassenberg Planetarium and check out their “Overhead Projector” sitting in the middle of the room.  You’ll want to leave your PowerPoint slides at home, though.  It’s not that type of overhead projector.

9:21 ~ Gotta say: McCain’s looking pretty fiesty tonight.  That’s good for him as long as he sticks to spending and earmarks.

9:24 ~ John, it’s not clear you’ve disagreed with the president at all.  And insisting that it is when the American people disagree with you borders on insulting their intelligence.

9:26 ~ Oh, man.  The town hall meeting thing again.  Obama made me call him a racist.  He made me.  Oh, and once again: Barry Goldwater and Jack Kennedy did not actually do what they agreed to do.  Jack was shot.

9:30 ~ Critcizing a health care plan is not an attack ad.  Calling someone a terrorist is.  Surprised I would have to say that.

9:32 ~ Go Obama!  Hit him.  Everyone knows McCain is full of shit and now he’s struggling to interrupt.

9:33 ~ “Catagorically!”  He “Catagorically” approves of the people at his rallies.  Jesus age, it’s fucking Mana from heaven.  I say again that he’s actually insulting the intelligence of the majority of people.  We’re not talking about the veterans wearing hats, John, and you know it.  It’s about the “kill him.”

9:38 ~ We’ll have to go to the tape, but I don’t remember Hillary Clinton questioning the Ayers thing at all.  I’m looking at you, C&L and TPM!

9:40 ~ Why is Obama not guilty of “paling around” with college professors and deans?

9:41 ~ Ooh, snap!  Obama hits McCain across the face and forced McCain to make a big deal out of the Ayers “relationship” he just said he didn’t care about.

9:45 ~ “Women and other performers?”  You mean, like strippers?  John’s mysogeny seeps through?  The American people have gotten to know Sarah Palin, it’s true John.  And they’ve roundly rejected her.

9:47 ~ Ooh, damn!  Obama points out John’s spending freeze’s effect on Autism programs.  Pretty cold, man.

9:50 ~ My wife tells me I’m wrong, but I swear John’s been getting the first shot at more questions.

9:52 ~ Considering the size of the problem, it’s unreasonable to expect a specific number on the issue of energy independence in four years.  Ten years is the only interval for which reasonable goals can be set.

9:54 ~ You’re looking a little pissy, there John.  Careful.

9:57 ~ Don’t get me wrong, I think trade policy is important. But it’s basically a wash in a debate because it’s too much stuff and too many working parts.  It’s nice, though, that Obama mentioned labor rights.

10:02 ~ A lot of John McCain’s proposals for getting Americans healthier involve costing an awful lot of money.

10:05 ~ John McCain’s health care proposals are just a loser of a position.  Period.  No one is stupid enough to think they can afford health insurance for $5000 a year.  If we could, we wouldn’t be talking about any of this in the first place.

10:08  OK, I’m just going to say this: fuck Joe.  I’m sick of Joe.  Did anyone vet Joe to find out if he’s an asshole or not?

10:12  ~ Is there any fool in the United States who thinks that nominating a Supreme Court Justice isn’t about their idiology?  What bullshit.  From both of them.

10:19 ~ Once again, I realize that the SCOTUS is important and so is abortion, but is this the issue of the hour?

10:21 ~ Education.  I hate education discussions.  Nothing good will ever come of it.

10:25 ~ Education competition is irrelevant when public schools are already behind the eight ball.  Fund the schools.  And what the fuck is this “direct to teaching without certification” bullshit?  How is that a good idea?

10:29 ~ That 9000 parents wanted their kids enrolled in charter schools does not mean it worked.  And by the way, if we’re to hold ourselves to D.C. standards, I weep for the future.

10:31 ~ For the record: Sarah Palin has a child with Down’s Syndrome.  Autism and Down’s have nothing whatsoever to do with one another. It’s not exactly flattering to equate all disabilities as though the differences don’t matter.

10:35 ~ John McCain talks about himself in his closing remarks, Barack Obama talks about you.  Whose approach do you prefer?