And yet another political roundup...

Under the fold....

Alaska is right next to Russia:

She was referring to the Diomede Islands which straddle the International Date Line in the Bering Straits. Big Diomede is on the Russian side of the line and Little Domede is on the Alaskan side. There is a village of about 150 Eskimos on Little Diomede who live mostly by fishing and walrus hunting. The islands are only two and a half miles apart, so it's easy to see one from the other on a clear day. In the winter when the ice is frozen you can walk across in about an hour.

Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch, #82:

That, Shakers, is a dog whistle of mythic proportions. Buried in that image is a shout-out to the lizard brains and dark hearts of every white racist who has called a black man "boy," talked to our about black people knowing "their place," clucked their tongues at a person of color doing something they don't think a person of color should be doing (like running for president), or used any one of a number of euphemisms, including "disrespectful," to convey that a person of color was getting just a little too big for her or his britches, generally for having the temerity to assert their equality.

Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch, #79:

How low will McCain go? At least as low as to imply that Obama is a fucking wolf hunting down Sarah Palin, just because he's doing basic opposition research on her.

Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke Welcome You to the USSRA (United Socialist State Republic of America):

So now Comrades Bush, Paulson and Bernanke (as originally nicknamed by Willem Buiter) have now turned the USA into the USSRA (the United Socialist State Republic of America). Socialism is indeed alive and well in America; but this is socialism for the rich, the well connected and Wall Street. A socialism where profits are privatized and losses are socialized with the US tax-payer being charged the bill of $300 billion.

AP's Tom Raum confuses his fantasies for fact:

Ever since the McCain campaign announced Sarah Palin as its choice for Vice President, they have been attempting to attribute to "liberals" generally and the Obama campaign specifically the plainly offensive and sexist objection that Palin's duties as Vice President would irreconcilably conflict with her obligations to her children (Rudy Giuliani's convention speech: "And how -- how dare they question whether Sarah Palin has enough time to spend with her children and be vice president. How dare they do that. When do they ever ask a man that question? When?"). On September 2, Associated Press reporter Tom Raum substantially boosted the McCain campaign's efforts by writing an entire article based on the premise that "liberals" are voicing that objection:

Salon Radio: Matthew Yglesias:

And I've come to see that the people, the really big time reporters, aren't like that. I think that people who get into the campaign coverage business, and are well-intentioned, quickly find out that it's a rotten to the core enterprise, and wind up leaving, and the only people who make it to the top are, they're sociopaths of some kind. And I'm trying to understand what it is we can do as effective pressure points.

In a nutshell:

Conservatives are trying to rescue the reputation of their battered ideology by claiming that Bush was either incompetent, or not a good enough conservative. It may be laughable, but they've got to somehow explain away why conservatism has failed this country so disastrously. Their ideology is sacrosanct, infallible. Conservatism can't fail, only people can fail conservatism. Yet as Cole notes, the very qualities that made Bush such a failure are perfectly encapsulated in Palin (with a healthy dose of Cheney-style abuse of power for added spice).

Dan Drezner Cuts To The Chase:

The funny thing about all this is that the new savior of the GOP, Sarah Palin, is the one who is finally waking everyone up to what the Republican party really is all about. They are not serious about foreign policy (Fallows is just brutal). They are not serious (or honest) about scientific policy. They are not serious about economic policy (other than cutting taxes). They are not serious about an energy policy (just drill, baby, drill).

The Palin interview:

What Sarah Palin revealed is that she has not been interested enough in world affairs to become minimally conversant with the issues. Many people in our great land might have difficulty defining the "Bush Doctrine" exactly. But not to recognize the name, as obviously was the case for Palin, indicates not a failure of last-minute cramming but a lack of attention to any foreign-policy discussion whatsoever in the last seven years.

Obama mocks McCain as computer illiterate:

Obama has already been showing a newly aggressive tone on the campaign trail in the past week, fighting back against the notion that McCain and Palin will bring change to Washington. Some Democrats have privately groused that Obama is attacking Palin and arguing that job should fall to Biden.

Out of bounds! Palin confuses Iraq with al Qaida:

On the 7th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Palin linked Iraq to those attacks.

Get a Grip: Palin's Candidacy Has Changed Nothing:

We would never have gotten these people. We lost them 40 years ago when LBJ signed the civil rights bills. We lost them when we marched against Vietnam, when women became feminists, and when gays started showing up on their television screens.

They are not going to vote Democratic because they think (and they are right) that it is Democrats who are responsible for the social changes that have taken "their America" away from them.


Now for a morning bonus, my favorite wingnut reaction to Charlie Gibson: "Gibson is a tool. This will only help the GOP ticket. It never ceases to amaze me just how dumb these intellectuals are." In the eyes of the Base, the Devils who run The Media, along with anyone who knows anything, are (gasp) Intellectuals, and enough said about them.

GOP Congressman Lies On The Air About Palin And The Bridge -- And Is Called On It:

A fun pattern has emerged that we don't see too often in politics -- the lies from the McCain-Palin campaign are now being called out as they are told live on the air. Just check out the reception that Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) received today on MSNBC:

Obama Campaign: McCain "Would Rather Lose His Integrity Than Lose An Election":

The Obama camp has just unleashed one of its toughest hits on McCain's character yet, signaling a newly aggressive effort to hammer McCain's supposed honor and integrity over the lies and adver-sleazements that have come to dominate his campaign.

Using Palin's Bush Doctrine Gaffe To Frighten Voters:

We tend to shy away from posting Web vids. But this one's worth a look, because it's a pretty powerful effort to use Sarah Palin's Bush Doctrine gaffe to frame her experience deficit in starkly emotional terms.

The message is that we should be afraid, very, very afraid, of the specter of Palin as commander-in-chief...

Lying McCain:

It's become pathological. John McCain just claimed on TV that Sarah Palin has never requested an earmark for her state -- when actually her state gets more earmarks than any other state in the country. And this year she asked for $197 million worth of them herself.

Obama, Listen to Lakoff: McCain = Bush is Not Enough:

I wanted to believe that the GOP had fucked up so royally that its populist fear-machine couldn't save it this time. But conservative populism has been the country's dominant political force (along with its partner: the corporate plutocracy) since Nixon invented "the silent majority" some forty years ago--in combo with race-baiting it's proved especially potent--and with the injection of Sarah Palin, it's proving to be still formidable.

For all McCain's talk about reforming the party, he's a thoroughly conventional Republican running a typical Republican campaign. His effort to turn community organizers into something embarrassingly effete is of a piece with his trying to stigmatize arugula and Bush's seizing on the images of Kerry windsurfing. Actually, given the racial overtones of the community-organizer smear, its real forerunner is Reagan's attack on welfare queens, or Newt Gingrich's mockery of the midnight basketball programs in Clinton's crime bill or, of course, Willie Horton.

Miles to Go:

This race is not over. Everyone I know thinks it is, but I don't buy it. Mr. Obama just suffered a catastrophe, his first. Mr. McCain just enjoyed a triumph, maybe not his last. GOP strategists are experiencing premature triumphalism; they're puffing up like blowfish, emitting great bubbles of self-regard. Democrats, be encouraged by this! They make mistakes when they're winning. They always start to think they're the reason.

The William Hung Candidacy:

The weird thing about the continued McCain insistence on lying his happy ass off is that he's actually being called on it, albeit in that frustrating way where you're trying to get someone to say the word that sums it all up (in this case, "liar"), and they instead use every other imaginable phrase and concept to describe the phenomenon except for the one that's actually the most useful.

This is the end result of three decades of working the refs into oblivion. The interesting thing, though, is that McCain/Palin is working less on a Rove/Atwater model and more on a model gleaned from prime-time TV.


It's a sad commentary on the state of our news media that the toughest, most substantive, most unyielding interview John McCain has endured happened on The View. The first clip -- which I can't seem to embed -- is particularly powerful. I could imagine McCain defending the lipstick ad by calling it a joke, or saying politics is a rough business, but to defend it as a perfectly truthful interpretation of Barack Obama's statements is astonishing. McCain has truly given up every last shred of his honor, every last whisper of his dignity, to win this election. He's reached a point where he could win the office he's been seeking for a decade, but have lost everything he once recognized and admired in himself.

Campaign Realpolitik:

Republicans have always -- or at least for as long as the Fix memory lasts -- adopted a realpolitik approach to political campaigns.

That is, they use tactics that work -- whether or not they are "fair". Republicans are, typically, far less concerned about the approval of newspaper editorial boards and the so called "eastern media elite" than their Democratic counterparts, a fact that allows them almost total freedom when it comes to how they conduct their campaigns.

Democrats, on the other hand, always promise to play as down and dirty as Republicans but when the rubber hits the road tend to back off somewhat.

The one Democratic politician in recent memory who didn't follow that blueprint was Bill Clinton; it's no accident he is the last Democrat to win elected office.

In the frame of campaign politics, "fair" doesn't really matter. Effective and persuasive do.

I don't condone this but state it merely as fact.

Watch Very Closely...:

I take the rather quaint view that normal, competent adults are responsible for their actions. When someone picks you up and hurls you through a window, you are not responsible for the damage: you didn't do it of your own free will. When you act out of purely innocent, non-negligent ignorance -- say, by triggering a bomb that someone has rigged up without your knowledge, and that you have no reason to suspect might exist -- you are not responsible either. But when you realize that you have a choice between ambition and principle, no one forces you to sacrifice your principles. That's a choice. You are responsible for how you make it. If, like Senator McCain, you claim to care about honor, this is one of the moments that reveals whether honor, for you, is more than an empty word.

If you choose to sacrifice your principles for the sake of personal ambition, you can absolutely be blamed. I'm doing it right now.

Reid criticizes McCain's temper :

Our dangerous world calls for leaders with sound judgment, not those with a temperament prone to recklessness," Reid said. "Our country deserves more than token shifts and lip service to change. We need to take decisive action to reverse eight years of foreign policy mistakes. That's exactly what Sen. Obama and Senate Democrats offer."


"The Republicans talk a lot about experience. When you're the author, architect and enabler of eight years of devastating foreign policy mistakes, that's not experience. It's very bad judgment," Reid said.

Guest Post: VP Choices, Foreign Policy, and Leadership:

On the other side, it is easy to see how Palin will help the McCain campaign, but I'm not sure what she would do for a McCain administration. She's a choice to help him get elected. Social conservatives may love Palin, but if Hizballah baits Israel into another war in Lebanon, or Russia rolls into Georgia again, do you think McCain would ask her what she thinks we should do? In the same way that Palin has next-door neighbor appeal, she has next-door neighbor expertise. With the selection of Palin, McCain is sending a clear message: I don't need help, I have the answers; just put me into the White House.

On Talk of the Nation earlier this week, Ted Koppel asked Randy Scheunemann, McCain's main foreign policy guy to explain how McCain's foreign policy staff was set up. Koppel prefaced the question by explaining that Obama has a core team of five or six advisors and then a couple hundred other experts who can be called upon as needed. Scheunemann answered that McCain, doesn't have the same needs as Obama because he has 40 years in the military and Senate and is already "intimately familiar" with foreign policy issues. He actually said that "John McCain needs foreign policy advisors like Tiger Woods needs a golf coach."

Sarah Palin's lies are John McCain's lies:

His Maverickyness has made his maverickyness the one and only reason for his campaign for President. Vote for Me because I'm Me! He has no serious or practical policy positions. He is promising to reform everything and save the world while he's at it through the simple solution of his being him. Things will get better if he's elected President because he's the better man. The best man and his maverickittyness and his time as a POW prove it and everybody should just shut up and listen to him.

But he has a problem. In a snap decision, he chose as his running mate a very typical Republican hack politician---entitlements for me but not for thee, taxes for thee but not for me, earmarks are what you call money that should have gone to my state but wound up going to yours. Now he's stuck with her and her record and her hypocrisies. There's nothing he can do about it now except lie.

Palin championed aerial hunting of wolves:

As governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin teamed up with lobbyist for the hunting industry to champion the aerial hunting of wolves an bears. In 2007, she spent $400,000 of taxpayer's money to propagandize the public about the benefits of shooting wildlife with air supremacy:


Now an environmental group is taking Palin to task for her record on aerial hunting. Be warned, the ad is graphic, disturbing, and factual:

Palin-esque earmarks you can love:

As someone who has written and edited reports for the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium, and the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, I can tell you these projects aren't exactly candidates for "golden fleece" awards. Invasive species are a serious problem everywhere; some species of rockfish on the west coast are in bad shape; the importance of the Alaska halibut fishery is anything but inconsequential; crab fisheries could use better management research; and despite years of research into the mystery of declining populations of Steller sea lions on the Aleutian Islands, it's hard to argue with another $3 million dollars worth of science on the subject.

I have no objection to drawing attention to Palin's flip flops. Smith is no doubt correct when he writes that the rockfish research is "one of several requests for federal help studying marine wildlife, which, coming from another candidate, might have drawn McCain's mockery." And I will admit that my favorite line on that subject so far comes from Katha Pollit, writing in The Nation: "If there were an Olympics for hypocrisy, the Republican Party would have more gold medals than Michael Phelps."

Palin-spastic: Climate change denial:

And she could've taken it back, saying "I did question that, but I've spoken with more experts since then, and I've changed my mind." That's how things are supposed to work, and it's a transition many people have made in the last year. But instead, she lied on national television about a simple and verifiable fact. She has denied anthropogenic climate change, and wants to hide that. But it won't work.

I've taken to calling these Palin posts "Palin-spastic" because that is the term geologists use to describe the reconstruction of a fault in its old position. And increasingly because Palin's flailing around to hide her past positions is looking pretty spastic.


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McCain dissapoints me more than anything in his willingess to cave into Rove like tactics to get elected including picking Palin as his running mate.

Palin terrifies me - not just her views and utter bereft of even the rudiments of thought particulary on foreign policy matters - but the veritable army of theocrats willing to uncritically savor and follow every syllable dripping out of her mouth.

To paraphrase Joyce - lets hope this is a nightmare we will eventually wake up from. Lets hope the whole phenomena turns out to be a sick joke were playing on ourselves to keep our minds away from falling mortgages, rising energy costs with no end in sight, and jobs shipping over seas.

I read all of these and I am more scared than ever that we are just idly waiting for this to turn out ok. The article about the USSRA really scared me. My hubs mentioned it in passing but I was setting up for a class and it didn't sink in. I, too, hope this is a sick sick joke. Again, I am grateful that I have to find the information myself instead of trusting what is on TV. Thanks for keeping me up to date.