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And yet another political roundup

As usual, under the fold….

Quote of The Day:

“Do you think what is appealing here? I’ll be careful here. This is not about sexual relations… Everybody watching this. This is not what I am talking about. When you see the picture together of John McCain, who is an older man, but he is a kind of Audie Murphy hero image and this obviously attractive woman much younger than him, it’s like they are offering themselves up as a kind of a political couple, almost like Clinton and Mrs. Clinton, Senator… President and Senator Clin… They are offering themselves, it’s a fascinating tableaux. They’re hugging and even Elizabeth Bumiller on the front page of the Times today. When have we ever had running mates hug? I mean obviously they are different genders. But what I find here, is that, it is a fascinating… are they offering themselves up to run as an alternative to Barack and Michelle Obama to go to the White House? I am telling you. Politically speaking. This picture is appealing to traditional Americans. They go, yeah that’s a nice traditional formal, we’ve seen that picture before.”– Chris Matthews on Hardball this afternoon.

A Previous Message Repeated, Slightly More Forcefully:

I know it’s a lot to ask at the moment, but could you possibly please stop publicly losing your shit all over the goddamn place? Honestly, it’s embarrassing. Did you really not know that coming out of the GOP convention, the GOP candidate might have a poll bounce? Likewise, were you somehow surprised that the GOP might try very hard to make this campaign about something other than actual issues? Did you expect them to try to run on the last eight years, or even pretend that they own them? What the fuck is wrong with you?

5 Myths About Those Civic-Minded, Deeply Informed Voters:

One thing both Democrats and Republicans agreed about in their vastly different conventions: The American voter will not only decide but decide wisely. But does the electorate really know what it’s talking about? Plenty of things are hurting American democracy — gridlock, negative campaigning, special interests — but one factor lies at the root of all the others, and nobody dares to discuss it. American voters, who are hiring the people who’ll run a superpower democracy, are grossly ignorant. Here are a few particularly bogus claims about their supposed savvy.

McCain Campaign Quietly Starts Buying Ad Time On The National Networks:

In an unusual move, the McCain campaign has quietly started buying ad time on the national networks, a strategy that for the most part hasn’t really been pursued on a large scale in presidential campaigns for at least two decades, a close follower of national ad buying tells me.

Palin: Obama’s Not So Scary After All:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin whacked Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama upside the head with the political equivalent of a two-by-four when she accepted her party’s nomination for vice president last week. Tossing barbs with abandon, many of them dripping with sarcasm, the self-described lipsticked pitbull dismissed the Democrat as an empty suit who was long on rhetoric but short of substance.

It seemed like she really despised Obama.

But that’s not how Palin sounded a few days before she was plucked from obscurity and added to the GOP ticket by presidential nominee John McCain.

Media Embrace McCain’s ‘Maverick’ Re-Branding Effort:

On Fox News yesterday, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes observed that this re-branding effort is something that “the media has bought.” Barnes is right. Since the convention last week, the media appear to be more than happy to comply with McCain’s effort to put the “maverick” brand back into his campaign — hook, line and sinker. Watch a compilation:

Why Democrats shouldn’t panic about McCain’s poll bounce — yet:

While there are some worrying long-term trends for Barack Obama, there are also some caveats about the size of McCain’s post-convention, post-Palin surge.

What’s the difference between Palin and Muslim fundamentalists? Lipstick:

A theocrat is a theocrat, whether Muslim or Christian.

Friedman on ‘drill, drill, drill’: It’s like someone chanting ‘IBM Selectric typewriters’ during the IT revolution:

On NBC’s Meet The Press this morning, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman criticized the chanting of “drill, drill, drill” and “drill, baby, drill” at the Republican National Convention last week, saying that’s just what Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Nigeria want to hear Americans focusing on. “They’d be up there leading the chant. They would be saying, ‘this is great, America isn’t sitting there saying, invent, invent, invent new renewable energy,’” said Friedman. Friedman added that he isn’t opposed to offshore drilling, but we shouldn’t be “making that the center focus”:

Does Sarah Palin Not Read the Newspaper?:

Over the last couple days, every newspaper and network in America has disproven Sarah Palin’s claim that she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere. Yet just moments ago at a campaign rally in Lebanon, Ohio, she repeated her familiar refrain on the bridge, claiming she told the federal government, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

Confessions of an RNC security guard:

From sushi-scarfing Secret Servicemen to drunken Sarah-Palin lust, witness the underside of the Republican shindig.

Do journalists have any obligations beyond their self-interest?:

Yesterday, The Atlantic’s campaign reporter Marc Ambinder and Matt Yglesias had a somewhat disagreeable exchange about the role journalists play in constructing campaign narratives, and specifically how journalists have been enabling the McCain campaign to tell one demonstrable lie after the next with no repercussions. Though I was off peacefully minding my own business at the time, my good name was brutally dragged into their confrontation in a way that raises several important points worth examining.

‘Flat Out Lies, Alex?’: Here We Go Again:

A friend in the publishing world sent me this CNN excerpt today, subject line: “It’s like beating your own head with a rock.” The conversation, between Democratic CNN consultant Paul Begala, GOP strategist Alex Castellanos and CNN host John Roberts, concerns what it means that Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin continues to cheerfully repeat in speeches around the country the lie that she told Congress “thanks but no thanks” to the “Bridge to Nowhere” when in fact she originally campaigned for it, and then kept the money (some $442 million) after Congress canceled the project.

Barack Obama’s Penis Legislates It All:

Apparently, John McCain is now going after the sexual predator vote, which, hey, Mark Foley joke! But no, really, to have to admire the chutzpah which lets you think it’s a good idea to attack someone who wants to prevent sexual abuse? That’s what a maverick does…from his throne of child porn and old packages of Underoos. Which, at this point, I feel it is utterly responsible to say with 100% certainty John McCain owns and uses frequently.

One also has to wonder about the inherently perverted mindset the viewer’s supposed to have in watching this – my immediate assumption was that the legislation was about good touch/bad touch education. What sick fuck is fantasizing about five year olds being taught how to have sex? And why did John McCain hire them?

Meme Taking Hold?:

We’ve now had a week of blaring headlines and one-liners about Sarah Palin as the mavericky, pork-busting reformer from Alaska. But we seem to be witnessing the first stirrings of a backlash and a dawning realization that the ‘Sarah Palin’ we’ve heard so much about over the last few days is a fraud of truly comical dimensions.

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Think about that. On the stump, not a single word that comes out of her mouth — or not a single word that the McCain folks put in her mouth — is anything but a lie. I know that sounds like hyperbole. But just go down the list. None of them bear out.

Getting All Whiny:

McCain tries to whip up outrage about Obama using a common phrase McCain used last year.

I mean, can’t he at least be happy that now he has someone who can go toe to toe with Obama for him?

At first it seemed like they didn’t want to let Palin out on her own for fear she’d stumble into some kind of trouble. But now it’s pretty clear McCain’s afraid to let go of her or go out alone without her.

New McCain Ad Falsely Suggests Obama Wants Kids To Learn ‘About Sex Before Learning To Read’:

“It is shameful and downright perverse for the McCain campaign to use a bill that was written to protect young children from sexual predators as a recycled and discredited political attack against a father of two young girls – a position that his friend Mitt Romney also holds. Last week, John McCain told Time magazine he couldn’t define what honor was. Now we know why.”

Flashback: McCain Favored Abolishing Department Of Education:

We’re working to determine if McCain has ever retracted this. Either way, it’s an extreme position that some moderate Republicans would be reluctant to embrace these days. Even McCain probably wouldn’t be willing to embrace it now, and it’s probably something Obama or the Dems will use to hit McCain on education going forward, partly because it could alienate female voters.

Interestingly, the GOP’s rapid response push-back on the Obama ad, which fought back against some of the spot’s other charges, didn’t even try to debunk the Department of Ed charge, even though it’s among the more explosive ones.

Bobo Brooks’ Weird Political Science:

Well, David Brooks has pooped out yet another bizarre and inexplicable column. This time, he’s claiming that victory in November will go to whichever presidential candidate is the weirdest. No, seriously, I’m not making this up:

Hold Your Heads Up :

Liberals have been so cowed by the pummeling they’ve taken from the right that they’ve tried to shed their own identity, calling themselves everything but liberal and hoping to pass conservative muster by presenting themselves as hyper-religious and lifelong lovers of rifles, handguns, whatever.

Tell Me How To Herd Cats:

I’ve heard that trying to get liberals/progressives organized behind one large concept is like trying to herd cats. But we need some way of doing that, because we have no message discipline on the left side of the aisle, no way of making sure that the day’s talking points are actually talked about.

The conservatives do that all the time, and naturally the way they do it is jack-booted and unpleasant to watch. But it works, just as repetition and focusing on only a few items at a time works at school. We, my dear friends, are all over the place and this makes us less efficient.