And yet another political roundup...

Under the fold....

What Makes People Vote Republican?:

Not everyone who votes Republican has been 'duped'. Conservative ideals appeal to some because they reflect heartfelt visions of a 'good society.

The Religious Right's Religious Right:

One of the fascinating things about the Palin story to me is how it has demonstrated the split between the mainstream religious right and the far, far religious right. I'm talking about the serious whackos like reconstructionists, the ones even the wingnuts think are wingnuts. While most religious righters have embraced Sarah Palin's candidacy as one of their own, the really hardcore nuts are saying that women should never be in a position of authority over men under any circumstances.

Nervous Dems Give Obama Stupid and Redundant Advice:

Finally, some Democrats gesture towards a supposedly constructive iteration of the September blues, airing their advice in public. For prominent politicos, this is still an absurd tack. Why tell The Washington Post that Democrats "should" attack McCain harder when you could just go ahead and do it? Right there, in your interview with The Post! Parceling out tips through the paper, an indulgent exercise in metapolitics, is not only ineffective, it's redundant.

what would JoePa do...:

the other conversation, was between two army enlisted reporting for training before deployment, and other than speculation on whether they'd get bumped to first class ("nah, only on the way back") and "girl" issues the line that caught in my brain was, and I paraphrase closely: "I can't wait to get down there, you can do all this shit you can't do in civilian life, like just go out and kill someone"

Is She Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?:

When Palin was announced as McCombOver's running mate, I admit it, I gloated. What a gigantic miscalculation by the Republicans, I thought. Giant mistake by McCain. But now I worried. Why? Because the Dummies are even considering her seriously. And at 73, Gramps has one foot in it, statistically speaking.


But the American public wants their leaders molded in their own image - someone they can have a beer with while their trailer is being fumigated, and I'm no different. I want a president just like me. I want a Blackberry president. I want a president who gets it techno-wise. Anybody who isn't as connected as me, who can't settle an argument by Googling the facts using his cell phone, ISN'T qualified to lead, IMHO. When you need your young pretty wife to fetch you your Email - you just might be a too old guy. If you can't figure out how to get your photos off your camera to your computer - sorry but you're just NOT getting my vote, Gramps! You're not smart enough. You're not up to speed. Computing makes everybody sharper and more informed. We don't need another dimwit who calls it "The Internets," Enough electing folksy guys who don't WANT to clutter their cowboy hats with details about "downloading," and which ones are the Sunnis again and where exactly their towel head - freaking borders are.

Cognitive Dissonance and Politics:

In other words, those members of the alien cult were just like conservatives learning that Iraq didn't have WMD. They were so committed to their beliefs - they had so much invested in the idea that the world would end, or that Saddam had chemical weapons - that dissonant facts made them double-down. It would be too painful to be wrong, and so they convinced themselves that they were right.

Oprah To Be Boycotted By Republican Right Wing Women:

As predicted...

Palin and the Teleprompter:

At a fundraiser in Canton, Ohio, this evening, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had an interesting description of her speech to the Republican convention. "There Ohio was right out in front, right in front of me," Palin said. "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn't follow it, and I just decided I'd just talk to the people in front of me. It was Ohio." This struck many of us -- who, as she spoke, followed along with her prepared remarks, and noted how closely she stuck to the script -- as an unusual claim.

Palin-spastic: Left Behind:

Given the ambiguity surrounding the Board of Education, it is impossible to state with certainty that she has not pushed creation science. She may, in fact, have left landmines in key positions, individuals who will retain power over science education until 2011, at which point she may no longer even be Governor (either because of an undeserved promotion, or because of the investigations which she is currently dodging). Until these board members state their views on evolution clearly, or until they vote on evolution education, we can't know whether her creationist views have tainted her governance.

NCDP web rollout:

"This is part of our ground campaign," says NCDP communications director Kerra Bolton. "It will let us reach out to tens of thousands of voters across the state." Part of its value, she says, is to show that the party's message "comes not from ads, but from people." Along the same lines, the NCDP is one of two state parties that I know of (CA is the other) with a text-messaging strategy. Meek says technology will be "very important" to this election. Among the many variables that can influence a race, "it's one of the things we can control." New ways of reaching voters are critical as older techniques may no longer work. For example, 1/3 of voters don't have landlines, he says, with even higher percentages among key Democratic constituencies such as young people, Hispanics, and African-Americans. At a time when many people use digital video recorders to skip commercials and listen to iPods or satellite radio, alternative messaging is an imperative, says Meek.

Even direct mail seems less effective as more people pay bills and communicate online. "Targeting people through their neighbors is a way of getting around these new obstacles," he says. Voter turnout efforts are especially important to down-ballot candidates, such as those running for the Council of State, he said. "If you've got $300,000 to spend on a statewide race, you really depend on get-out-the-vote efforts." Speaking on a rainy day in Raleigh and Greensboro, Meek said that bad weather was no longer the inhibitor to voting that it once was, as early voting could account for 40% of votes cast in this cycle.

Finger pointing:

Our elite media tries to blame the financial crisis on poor people and Democrats: "[I]t was a thorough, massive, systemic mispricing of the risk attendant on lending to people with bad credit. (These are, mind you, the same people that five years ago the Democrats wanted to help enjoy the many booms of homeownership.)" Well, no. For Megan McArdle to say this is about people with bad credit is ignorant or willfully dishonest.

Dilbert Survey of Economists:

Democratic Economists Favor Obama. Republican Economists Favor McCain. Independents Lean Toward Obama.

Black Comic Introduces McCain:

Look at this place. I can't believe this shit! Y'all couldn't find one single brother?


There is? Where?


Yo, what up, brother! Looks like you the only chocolate chip in the cookie.


GOP delegate's hotel tryst goes bad when he wakes up with $120,000 missing:

He met her in the bar of the swank hotel and invited her to his room. Once there, the woman fixed the drinks and told him to get undressed.

And that, the delegate to the Republican National Convention told police, was the last thing he remembered.

When he awoke, the woman was gone, as was more than $120,000 in money, jewelry and other belongings.

The thief's take stunned cops.


My Gal:

How does the moose feel about it? Who knows? Probably not great. But do you know what the difference is between a dead moose with lipstick on and a dead moose without lipstick?


Think about it.

Moose are, truth be told, Ãlites. They are big and fast and sort of rule the forest. Sarah took that one down a notch. Who's Ãlite now, Bullwinkle?

Not Sarah.

She's just Regular as heck.

McCain's Radical Agenda :

In a refrain we've heard many times in recent years, Mr. McCain said he is committed to ridding the market of these "needless and costly" insurance regulations.

This entire McCain health insurance transformation is right out of the right-wing Republicans' ideological playbook: fewer regulations; let the market decide; and send unsophisticated consumers into the crucible alone.

You would think that with some of the most venerable houses on Wall Street crumbling like sand castles right before our eyes, we'd be a little wary about spreading this toxic formula even further into the health care system.

But we're not even paying much attention.

The Ugly New McCain:

McCain has turned ugly. His dishonesty would be unacceptable in any politician, but McCain has always set his own bar higher than most. He has contempt for most of his colleagues for that very reason: They lie. He tells the truth. He internalizes the code of the McCains -- his grandfather, his father: both admirals of the shining sea. He serves his country differently, that's all -- but just as honorably. No more, though.

National Organization For Women Endorses Obama:

Rarely does the National Organization For Women endorse a presidential candidate. On Tuesday, the group announced it is endorsing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. Kim Gandy, president of NOW, talks with Renee Montagne about why the organization is endorsing Obama.

They've declared war on the media -- so it's time to fight back!:

The next 49 days will be critical...for John McCain, Barack Obama, and for America, to be sure.

But it's also going to be do-or-die for an integral part of what once made America special -- a free and independent news media that can make a difference in a functioning democracy.

Because there is a war for the soul of this nation going right now, and we the media are involved -- not as some would like to think, as some kind of passive UN peacekeeping force -- but as a party that is in the acrid smoke of combat, under attack in a manner that's little different from the way that parts of Georgia were overrun by the Russian Army a few weeks ago. And frankly, American newsrooms face a situation that could be described in similar terms to that former Soviet Republic -- nearly defeated, and demoralized, with few if any allies that are willing to come to our aid. And despite the dire situation, most journalists are cruising along toward Nov. 4 as if it's business as usual, and that is what I personally find most alarming.

That we're in a war -- and we're barely fighting back.

What is truly frightening about Sarah Palin :

It was in the taxicab this morning that it finally struck me about Sarah Palin.

I get it. I get that millions of Americans have a crying need for someone to stand up and say the things that Sarah Palin has been telling them.

I get that many, many Americans are fed up with big government and shame in patriotism and energy dependence and media condescension. I recognize that there are many on the right who are galvanized by a woman addressing the nation in condemnation of gun control and abortions. It's clear that many in the heartland and even on the Blue State coasts have been waiting years to hear someone take a take-no-prisoners verbal lash to Beltway waste and liberal political correctness and, by implication, to cultural pluralism and tree hugging and the very mention of the word Washington.

But it wasn't until I got into the taxicab this morning, that I realized what the American voter truly faces this November.

The Most Secretive Administration Ever?:

The administration of President George W. Bush continues to expand government secrecy across a broad array of agencies and actions - and at greatly increased cost to taxpayers, according to a coalition of groups that promote greater transparency.

CNN's Candy Crowley: Not My Role To Judge Who The Bigger Liar Is:

If McCain gets away with his strategic gamble that he can tell non-stop lies without paying any kind of price for it, it will be because of people like CNN's Candy Crowley.

Crowley's performance last night was astonishing. Asked whether McCain's lies have been worse than Obama's, Crowley says she isn't going to make that call, adds that it's up to voters to sort it out, and -- best of all -- launches into a discussion of Obama's supposed falsehoods in order to argue that both sides do it...:


Sarah Palin's Shocking Animal Cruelty:

GOP conventioneers were officially introduced to their vice presidential candidate who is, as Fred Thompson said, "the only nominee in the history of either party who knows how to properly field dress a moose."

But it's not Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's personal love of hunting or appetite for moose venison that should strike fear in the heart of every animal advocate in the nation--it's her retrograde policies on animal welfare and conservation that have led to an all-out war on the state's wolves and other creatures.

Why Experience Matters :

Philosophical debates arise at the oddest times, and in the heat of this election season, one is now rising in Republican ranks. The narrow question is this: Is Sarah Palin qualified to be vice president? Most conservatives say yes, on the grounds that something that feels so good could not possibly be wrong. But a few commentators, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer, David Frum and Ross Douthat demur, suggesting in different ways that she is unready.

Palin to Meet Foreign Leaders at U.N.:

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin will meet with foreign leaders next week at the United Nations, a move to boost her foreign-policy credentials, a Republican strategist said.

Republican candidate John McCain plans to introduce the Alaska governor to heads of state at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, although specific names weren't yet firmed up. "The meetings will give her some exposure and experience with foreign leaders," the strategist said. "It's a great idea."

Fiorina: Palin Doesn't Have Experience to Run Major Company:

John McCain adviser Carly Fiorina said Tuesday that if Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) was called upon to run Hewlett Packard, as Fiorina did, the Alaska Republican wouldn't be ready.

Why Obama's Health Plan Is Better:

The big threat to growth in the next decade is not oil or food prices, but the rising cost of health care. The doubling of health insurance premiums since 2000 makes employers choose between cutting benefits and hiring fewer workers.

Rising health costs push total employment costs up and wages and benefits down. The result is lost profits and lost wages, in addition to pointless risk, insecurity and a flood of personal bankruptcies.

Sustained growth thus requires successful health-care reform. Barack Obama and John McCain propose to lead us in opposite directions -- and the Obama direction is far superior.

Palin's Favorability Ratings Begin to Falter :

But then a funny thing happened: Palin seems to have lost some of her luster. Since Sept. 13, Palin's unfavorables have climbed from 30 percent to 36 percent. Meanwhile, her favorables have slipped from 52 percent to 48 percent. That's a three-day net swing of -10 points, and it leaves her in the Sept. 15 Diageo/Hotline tracking poll tied for the smallest favorability split (+12)** of any of the Final Four. Over the course of a single weekend, in other words, Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least.

Palin's Stonewalling Of Troopergate Previews A Third Cheney Term Of Secrecy And Loyalty:

Last night, the McCain campaign made it clear that Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) would not cooperate with the Alaska legislature's investigation into "Troopergate," which centers on a charge that Palin improperly fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan. The campaign complained that the investigation had become "tainted" and politicized -- despite the fact that the investigation was approved by unanimous vote by the eight Republicans and four Democrats on the Legislative Council.

McCain says Obama is 'making up facts':

Sen. John McCain says his rival is "making up facts" and 'hurling insults" to try to get the upper hand in the campaign now that voters are worried about the nation's financial meltdown.

McCain has been under fire for taking liberties with the charges in his TV commercials, but now he says Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is the one trying to mislead voters.


In Search of Rational Voters:

Do such creatures exist? How can we mint more of them?

McCain and the BlackBerry Phenom:

One of Senator John McCain's top economic advisers seemed to credit Mr. McCain with helping "create" the BlackBerry in a briefing with reporters here Tuesday - a remark that the McCain campaign quickly stepped back from.

The adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, was briefing reporters on Mr. McCain's prescriptions for the meltdown on Wall Street, and citing his experience as the chairman of the commerce committee, when he was asked what Mr. McCain had done on the commerce committee that would show Americans that he understands financial markets.

"He didn't have jurisdiction over financial markets, first and foremost,'' Mr. Holtz-Eakin said, before wandering into more politically perilous ground.

"But he did this,'' he said, holding up what looked like a BlackBerry. "The telecommunications of the United States, the premier innovation of the past 15 years, comes right through the commerce committee. So you're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create. And that's what he did.''

A senior aide to Mr. McCain, Matt McDonald later said that Mr. McCain "laughed" when he heard the comment, according to a pool report. "He would not claim to be the inventor of anything, much less the BlackBerry,'' he said. "This was obviously a boneheaded joke by a staffer."

The original BlackBerrys were made by a Canadian company, Research in Motion.


Adviser calls BlackBerry 'miracle' McCain 'helped create':

The adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, discussing the nation's economic woes with reporters, said that McCain -- who has struggled to stress his economic credentials -- did have experience dealing with the economy, pointing to his time on the Senate Commerce Committee.

Pressed to provide an example of what McCain had accomplished on that committee, Holtz-Eakin said the senator did not have jurisdiction over financial markets, then he held up his Blackberry, telling reporters: "He did this."

"Telecommunications of the United States, the premiere innovation in the past 15 years, comes right through the Commerce Committee. So you're looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create," Holtz-Eakin said. "And that's what he did. He both regulated and deregulated the industry."

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Vice President Al Gore drew controversy when he said that during his time in Congress, he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" -- based on his work promoting funding and early research in that area.

The Obama campaign responded to the McCain adviser's comments Tuesday shortly after they were reported.

"If John McCain hadn't said that 'the fundamentals of our economy are strong' on the day of one of our nation's worst financial crises, the claim that he invented the BlackBerry would have been the most preposterous thing said all week," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton.

Palin to Sit Down With Hannity:

The Alaska Governor will sit down for her second major TV interview since being named McCain's veep candidate. The first segment will air at 9 pm ET Wednesday

McCain Makes Sharp Right Turn on Stem Cells:

Republican presidential nominee John McCain would criminalize a promising branch of stem cell research, according to a statement issued by the candidate's campaign. Though such legislation would probably not survive Congress, he might extend President Bush's much-criticized limitation of embryonic stem cell research.

Candidates Pitch Wall Street Regulation Plans Amid Crisis:

The shockwaves hitting Wall Street have also refocused the presidential campaigns as Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama Tuesday sought to outline their plans for financial regulation on the campaign trail.

Speaking at a rally in Tampa, Fla., McCain pledged to "put an end to the reckless conduct, corruption, and unbridled greed that have caused a crisis on Wall Street." He called for greater Wall Street transparency and accountability.

Meltdown on Wall Street; Keeping the Candidates Honest:

CROWLEY: And they -- they do that on both sides.

COOPER: Mark, do you think it is equal?

HALPERIN: No, I don't think it is. I appreciate why Candy wants to be cautious about it, because she can cite examples, we can all cite examples on both sides.

The lies of the McCain campaigns, the untruth, the distortions, the attempts to paint Senator Obama are more central to the arguments of the McCain campaign right now than they are to the Obama campaign on the other side.

COOPER: How so?

HALPERIN: Well, all their advertising, most of their rhetoric, the messages they drove at the convention, I think, are more fundamentally false and more central to their campaign message right now.

But I think Candy pointed out one thing that I think is hurting the Obama campaign. They're taking themselves off the high road and they're trivializing the prospect of being president in just a few months.


He goes on to explain why, which you can read, but which I'm sort of bored by. But the admission that he's been in the tank for McCain is what needed to happen. Now that he's gone over the waterfall, everyone else will hopefully feel freer to do it. And frankly, all the media types who have kissed McCain's ass all these years should be furious. He betrayed you. He played you for suckers. He's always been popular with the press because he's nice and accessible and seems to respect them. This insane lying streak shows that it was all an act. McCain is that guy who takes you out to dinner, puts on a great show of respect and admiration, and after he gets you in bed, makes fun of you to all his friends because you were so easy.

Meanwhile, I'm growing more confident in the belief that Sarah Palin's main selling point as running mate is her ability to lie without blinking. But as the link shows, she has poor judgment and appears to lie just for the fun of it. I doubt anyone would really care if she read her speech off a teleprompter (she did, and it functioned fine), but she's so enamored of the sexier story that she is sticking with it even though it outs her as someone who radiates contempt for the truth. Or, considering her religious leanings, someone who prefers the fantasy over reality every time.

Cousin John, where did you go? :

John and I are related through our grandmothers. Katherine Vaulx McCain and Huetta Vaulx Boles, both of Fayetteville, Ark., were sisters. My side of the Vaulx family represents a long line of Democrats, but it is with no small amount of pride that we've followed the life and career of now-Sen. John McCain.


A part of me is made very sad to write this article. As I've said, my family has followed John's life and career with no absence of pride. If there ever were a Republican we might consider voting for, it would have been my cousin John.

But, as he continually demonstrates in this campaign, my cousin John is long gone. "Straight talk" has been replaced with "flip-flop." Saddest all, this is the same man who, when campaigning in 2000, told a crowd of supporters, "I don't think Bill Gates needs a tax cut. I think your parents do."

My parents, John, need some help after the economic destruction Bush has wrought in the last eight years, but it's clear you're not the one who'll give it to us. America's working families no longer recognize you, nor does your own.

McCain to put Country First - and that country will be Colombia:

While the Bush Administration has done it's best to alienate all U.S. allies over the past eight years, at least one country stands tall and proud alongside the neocon brigade that masquerades as the Republican party - Colombia.

Of course, their loyalty doesn't come cheap. Huffington Post's "Off the Bus" series talks to Colombian Foreign Minister Fernando Araujo Perdomo about how he views the upcoming U.S. election and what his nation wants from the U.S. to continue its support:


Why This Feminist Hates Sarah Palin:

Anyway, yeah. So that's why this feminist bitch hates Palin. Because her presence on the ticket is being used to make bullshit arguments like that one. Because she's a token. Because she, and her handlers, refuse to acknowledge that she's a token. Because the party for which she is running, and the policies she supports, and the presidential ticket she's on, actively promote a political agenda that's inimical to feminism. Because feminism isn't, and never has been, about supporting every single thing every woman everywhere does. Because there is a difference between women as a class and women as individuals.

Because I, with my very own personal brain, think that Palin is underqualified; that she's more likely than most v.p. candidates to actually end up running the country, given McCain's age and state of health; because I viscerally dislike being condescended to; because I viscerally dislike being told what to think; because I viscerally dislike it when people try to do an end-run around my principles and throw in a ringer and tell me that a spade's a freaking laureal wreath.

And you know what? Maybe, just a little bit, because being told that the amateurish, untaught beauty queen is the feminine, feminist ideal, the best women can aspire to be--YET AGAIN--is seriously fucking irritating.


Ouch. It's important to note that an aversion to regulation is one of the rare things that's actually older than John McCain. For all his posturing as a sui generis politician, he, like most everyone involved in politics, cannot know about all subjects from all angles and so has fitted himself into an intellectual tradition whose values he likes and whose solutions he broadly agrees with. That tradition is economic conservatism. At times, that may be the right tradition for a president facing the particular array of ills facing the country. It's extremely hard to argue, however, that it's the right tradition for this moment in the economy, when even George W. Bush's Federal Reserve Chairman and Treasury Secretary are having to engineer interventions of unprecedented scale.


When the Right wants the media to cover something, they make the story "conservative outrage over X." When the Left wants the media to cover something, they make the story "liberals outraged over the media not covering X." As such, the media covers the conservative claim because they can't be biased and ignore right wing arguments that they think are stupid. They don't cover the left wing claim because doing so would admit a bias, and a sensitivity to organized criticism, that they don't think they have. Political conflict is a story they'll cover. Media criticism is not.

When Not Inventing the BlackBerry, What Did John McCain Do As Commerce Chairman?:

Conclusion: Not only did McCain not invent the BlackBerry, he was one of only five Senators who voted against a BlackBerry-creating bill.

How Transparent Will Palin Be?:

Using a personal email account to conduct official business is what officials of the Bush administration -- perhaps most notoriously Karl Rove -- in an apparent attempt to circumvent any subpoenas.

Is following that model "transparent"?


Karma Sucks:

The St. Paul Pioneer Press can't help but chortle about the young outspoken GOP lawyer who thought he was gettin' lucky at the GOP convention but ended up gettin' robbed.

Late Update: I initially missed the video interview with the alleged victim that accompanied the story, which in and of itself is a commentary on the state of the modern GOP:

McCain Adviser: Neither McCain Nor Obama Could Run Major Corporation:

On MSNBC moments ago, senior McCain economics adviser Carly Fiorina just sought to clarify her remarks earlier today that Sarah Palin isn't qualified to run a major corporation -- but she may have inadvertently given the Obama campaign more ammo to keep hitting him on the economy.


McCain: Bomb. Bomb. Bomb.:

While we've been preoccupied with Wasilla, Trig, Track, Todd, Bristol and Levi, the Bridge and the Road to Nowhere, the deep critique of celebrity politics, the bucolic life of small-town Alaska and its proximity to Russia, the virtues of drilling, and lately, the meltdown of global financial markets, Jeffrey Goldberg has published an important piece on "The Wars of John McCain," referring not only to the actual war John S. McCain III fought but to his mentality--and also the wars of his father, the Vietnam admiral, and tangentially, his admiral grandfather, and by implication, the whole chain of American wars to which he is evidently devoted, wars that McCains have fought in, as the current McCain is proud to repeat.

Brother Can You Paradigm?:

You may have noticed the Capitalism, it doesn't work too good. This should not be good news for John McCain. But it isn't very good news for Barack Obama either, since the secret watchword for his economic policy is "nudge," whereas what capitalism needs is more like an ass-whippin. Obama has good and smart economists, but they are so square you could jab yourself on one of their sharp corners.

McClueless is entertaining. By the way, did you hear he was a P.O.W.? He is going to clean up Wall Street, and he wants to free the economy of burdensome regulation. At least, that is the ideology to which he apparently adheres. Free enterprise, individualism, small government, "laissez-faire."

Except the model towards which the U.S. system and its politicians incline, like flesh-eating zombies to a ripe Rotarian, is not laissez-faire at all. It is the unified machinations of big corporations, high finance, and big, bad government, also known as corporativismo. (Sounds better in the original Italian.)

Noted Bamboozler Behind Latest Obama Smear:

But there are a couple reasons why the bloviation looks to be uncalled for. The Obama camp yesterday put out a statement of its own asserting that the story "bears as much resemblance to the truth as a McCain campaign commercial," and charging that Taheri has confused a long-term Status of Forces agreement with negotations over a shorter-term drawdown.


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