Please note that we've moved to a new blog at www.LibraryGrape.com.

Monday, June 30, 2008

New Obama Ad - Dignity

Here's Obama's latest general election video. The thirty second ad, entitled "Dignity," will begin airing in eighteen states across the country today underscoring Senator Obama's commitment to being an advocate for workers and children.

Friday, June 27, 2008

McCain Continues to Take Credit for GI Bill He Opposed

As I noted earlier in the week, John McCain is a bald-faced liar when it comes to his recent attempts to take credit for the recent Jim Webb-sponsored (and Obama-supported) revisions to the GI Bill that included improved educational benefits for military personnel. McCain and Bush were vocal opponents of the legislation, falsely claiming that it would hurt overall recruitment and retention efforts. See my earlier comments here.

Here is McCain at a recent rally in Ohio "telling lies like they was truth":

Marriage Amendment - More Republican Comedy

Republicans are up to their old tricks again. A group of Republicans introduced the anti-gay marriage Federal Marriage Amendment in the Senate this week.

You know what the funniest part is?

Most of the [sponsors] are predictable — Brownback and Inhofe, for example — but there are two others whose names stand out: Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho).

Yes, two of the principal sponsors of a constitutional amendment to “protect” marriage include one far-right Republican who hired prostitutes and another far-right Republican who was arrested for soliciting gay sex an airport men’s room.

We really need to turn the page on this kind of buffoonery.

Obama on the Death Penalty

I know some people are upset by Obama's statement today on the death penalty for child rapists but I agree with him and his position is not recent:

Obama's support for the execution of child rapists wasn't invented for the presidential election; it dates back to The Audacity of Hope, where he wrote:

"While the evidence tells me that the death penalty does little to deter crime, I believe there are some crimes--mass murder, the rape and murder of a child--so heinous, so beyond the pale, that the community is justified in expressing the full measure of its outrage by meting out the ultimate punishment."

His longstanding opinion on the death penalty is a particularly nuanced one. He has opposed expanding the death penalty to include gang activity, for example, on the grounds that it would disproportionately punish men of color, but he supports the execution of especially egregious murderers who are clearly guilty.

Obama Trounces McCain in Party Support

This is remarkable. Here are voters' opinions of their own candidate from 538. Obama is more liked by his own party by a factor of 22%!


Daily Show on Dobson vs. Obama

I love Jon Stewart. Oh, the poor Christianists.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Obama Beats McCain in 4 More Key States

McCain is really in for a spanking. Here are the results from new polls in 4 key battleground states:

COLORADO: Obama 49 - McCain 44
MICHIGAN: Obama 48 - McCain 42
MINNESOTA: Obama 54 - McCain 37
WISCONSIN: Obama 52 - McCain 39

Also, Obama leads by a whopping 9-21% with independent voters:

COLORADO: 51 – 39 percent among independent voters;
MICHIGAN: 46 – 38 percent among independents;
MINNESOTA: 54 – 33 percent with independents;
WISCONSIN: 50 – 37 percent with independents.

Ambinder says:
[T]he make-up and mood of the 2008 presidential electorate is right now perfectly trimmed to embrace Barack Obama. As Quinnipiac puts it, "[a]n emerging Democratic coalition of women, minorities and younger voters is propelling Illinois Sen. Barack Obama to leads."

Quote of the Day - Governator on McCain

Here's the California Governator on McCain's offshore drilling silliness. Delicious, simply delicious.

Politicians have been throwing around all kinds of ideas in response to the skyrocketing energy prices, from the rethinking of nuclear power to pushing biofuels and more renewables and ending the ban on offshore drilling, it goes on and on the list. But, anyone who tells you this will lower our gas prices anytime soon is blowing smoke.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nader Comments "Reprehensible and Delusional"

Obama communication director Robert Gibbs laid the smackdown on Ralph Nader's recent suggestions that, among other things, Obama is trying to "talk white" and play to "white guilt".

Obama Leads McCain By Average of 6.5-6.9%

Check out this newish Pollster.com graph, which shows Obama leading McCain by an average of 6.5%. The lead just widens and widens...

Real Clear Politics has Obama leading McCain by an average of 6.9%!

More 'Psychological Benefits' from McCain on Energy

On the heels of McCain's admission yesterday that his support of President Bush's proposal to open up the US coastline to offshore drilling would have ZERO short term effect on gas prices and would only give Americans a "psychological benefit" (read: voters think it sounds nice), here's another doozy.

Today, McCain pledged that America would have "strategic independence" from foreign oil by 2025.

Doesn't that sound nice? Do you have any idea what that means? Neither do I.

It sounds an awful lot like McCain a couple months ago:

My friends, I will have an energy policy that we will be talking about, which will eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East that will — that will then prevent us — that will prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.

If "strategic independence by 2025" is the same as "eliminat[ing] our dependence on foreign oil", here's the big problem with that (via the Carpetbagger Report):
[T]here isn’t an energy expert in the world — not one — who thinks we can “eliminate our dependence on oil from the Middle East.” It’s a child’s fantasy, but McCain spouts this stuff as if solving our problems really were just that easy. It reminds me of his solution to the fighting in Iraq: “One of the things I would do if I were President would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, ‘Stop the bullshit.’”

Obama Seen as Caring More About Americans

Interesting read from The New Republic. More bad news for McCain:

In gauging a candidate’s appeal, I always look at the “cares more about people like you” question. It is what George W. Bush did well on even when people disagreed with his policies, and what the past two Democrat nominees did relatively poorly on. What about Barack Obama against John McCain? You’d think that Obama would be hampered on this question by racial differences, as he appeared to be during the Democratic primaries, but when the poll asked, “Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think cares more about people like you?” Obama bested McCain by 50 to 23 percent — among males by 42 to 27 percent and females by 56 to 20 percent. That says a lot to me about John McCain’s difficulties as a presidential candidate and does say something about Obama’s prospects in the fall, in spite of the fact it is only June.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poisoning the Well

I'm pretty significantly depressed this evening.

I went to a going-away function some friends at work threw me and I chatted with a friend of mine who I haven't talked to in months. As it turns out, she was a huge Clinton supporter and launched into a tirade about how Obama was terribly sexist throughout his campaign and that she planned on not voting in the general election as a result.

I have read a bunch of pontificating about how Clinton supporters are wounded and hurt that their candidate didn't win. I have read a bunch of commentary arguing that the benefits of Clinton's gender (in terms of her strong female following in the primary) were far outweighed by the rampant negative sexism employed to tear her down. I have bought into the general notion that most of this anger and grief over Clinton's fall was centralized among so-called "low-information" voters.

Well, I got a dose of reality tonight. My work friend is a highly informed, highly intelligent corporate litigator. She is the first truly engaged friend of mine I've come across to hold the views I noted above.

My conversation with her makes me depressed because a lot of the anger and vitriol that my friend (and thousands of other Clinton supporters out there) holds in her heart could have been mitigated somewhat by Clinton bowing out more gracefully without launching a months-long umbrage campaign about how all the horrible sexism in this country was the main thing holding her back.

Look, there was sexism in this campaign and there was racism. All true. But, let's be honest. Clinton didn't win the nomination for much more enormous reasons than her gender.

She ran an antiquated 1990s campaign in the 21st century.

She failed to attempt to leverage online donors until it was too late.

She relied on the profoundly flawed advice of Mark Penn, who will likely go down as one of the worst campaign strategists in modern memory.

She failed to contest the caucus states.

She ran an "experience" campaign in a "change" election season.

And the list goes on and on.

It really galls me to think that a strong progressive women like my friend will be turned off enough to either not vote (like my friend) or vote for McCain due in large part to Clinton choosing to pour gasoline on the simmering flames of sexism among her supporters.

I won't sleep well tonight.

Nader Siphons From McCain Because of Clinton Supporters?

I was digging through the new Bloomberg/LA Times poll today and had an interesting thought based on the following observation in the story:

On a four-man ballot including independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr, voters chose Obama over McCain ... 48% to 33%.

Nader ... and Barr ... both appear to siphon more votes from McCain than they do from Obama. When Nader and Barr are added to the ballot, they draw most of their support from voters who said they would otherwise vote for the Republican.

Now, factor this in to the following with respect to the head-to-head match-up between McCain and Obama:
The great majority of Clinton voters have transferred their allegiance to Obama, the poll found. Only 11% of Clinton voters have defected to McCain.

Based on these numbers, I wonder if the addition of Nader to the mix is siphoning off a large chunk of the 11% of angry Clinton voters that might otherwise choose to support McCain as a second choice in a protest vote resulting from Clinton not getting the nomination.

After all, you'd hope that those 11% would be rational enough to realize that McCain would be disastrous for most of the policy positions that Hillary Clinton supports and that Nader would be much closer to Clinton that McCain would be (at least on most issues).

Could it be possible that in this kind of calculus, Nader could actually be worse for McCain than for Obama?


Bush/McCain Offshore Proposal Saves 8 Cents/Gallon 10-20 Years Out

I really can't figure out which thing to be more angry at.

Should I be more angry at John McCain for proposing to open up offshore drilling, which even he admits would have ZERO short term effect?


Should I be more angry at much of the mainstream news media for not doing the math and reporting the g.d. truth about the b.s. that McCain is peddling.

Well, here's the math, from Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C.:

According to the NYT, the Energy Information Agency estimates that the total amount of oil in the offshore zone in question is about 16 billion barrels. If we assume that it would take about ten years from the day of authorization to get to peak production and that most of the oil is pumped out over 30 years, this would translate into a bit over 1 million barrels of oil a day.

That would be equal to about 1 percent of world production in a decade. If we assume a long-run demand elasticity of 0.3, this would imply a drop in world prices of approximately 3 percent. In today's prices, we would be looking at a drop in the price of a barrel of oil from around $135 to $131. If this were passed on one to one in gas prices (this is long-run story), we might expect to see a drop in the price of a gallon of gas from around $4.00 to around $3.92 a gallon.

That's a savings of only 8 cents per gallon after full drilling production started up and refining capacity kicked in 10-20 years down the road!

Obama Up 12-15% in New Poll

More great news for Obama from a new Bloomberg/LA Times poll:

Head-to-head: Obama 49, McCain 37

Four-man ballot with Ralph Nader and Bob Barr: Obama 48, McCain 33

It looks like Bob Barr's drag on McCain is going to be an interesting issue to follow.

Other interesting numbers from the poll:
81% of Obama voters are enthusiastic about voting for him, versus 45% of McCain voters who feel the same.

Bush's approval is down to 23%.

Democrats viewed favorably by 51%, Republicans by 29%.

McCain Admits Offshore Drilling is BS

Here's a nice quote for you. Faced with a nearly unanimous consensus of energy experts and economists who say that McCain's 180-degree flip-flop on opening up offshore drilling would produce ZERO short-term impact on gas prices (not to mention that fact that it would at most drop gas prices about $0.15 in 10 years), McCain basically admitted today that his proposal is just so much feel-good bulls**t:

"I don't see an immediate relief... [but] exploiting those reserves would have psychological impact that I think is beneficial."

Hmm, to what psychological impact are you referring, Senator McCain? Perhaps to the nice feelings it would engender in the "low-information" electorate who, through ignorance, won't realize that you're peddling a substantially useless and environmentally reckless proposal?

Feh. Here's what The Carpetbagger Report had to say:

McCain believes we have to focus on “practical ideas,” which in this case aren’t actually practical, and won’t have a pragmatic effect. At the same time, we have to worry less about practicality, and consider what might have a “psychological impact” on the country, whether the policy makes sense or not.



The incoherence here is breathtaking. McCain believes drilling is part of a short-term solution. He also believes drilling offers no real short-term solutions. McCain believes a gas-tax holiday will produce big savings for consumers. And no savings for consumers. McCain believes we need pragmatic policies that work. He also believes we need psychic policies that make people happy whether they work or not.

I have no idea what John McCain is talking about. The real question, though, is whether John McCain knows what John McCain is talking about.

Reagan Was an Appeaser Too

Funny how the world changes but the feckless Republican leadership stays the same...

When Reagan went to Moscow in the 80s to discuss arms reductions with Mikhail Gorbachev (which ultimately paved the way for the dissolution of the USSR), the Conservative Caucus (with cheerleader Newt Gingrich) called Reagan an appeaser and likened his summit to Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis in the 1930s.

Sounds just like recent events, doesn't it, with Bush, McCain and the conservatives calling Obama an appeaser for pledging to meet with hostile leaders?

Hat Tip: Andrew Sullivan

Monday, June 23, 2008

Quote of the Day: McCain - Offshore Drilling

This is a gem from an article at the Huffington Post that tries to find a single energy analyst or economist that supports McCain's claim that his flip-flop on offshore drilling will have any short-term effect:

Obviously McCain's people know this is kind of a joke. But they have the media frame that they want. They have Obama sitting there whining about the environment and he is there doing something about five-dollar gas, when in essence there is nothing his plan does for short term relief. -- Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

McCain's About-Face on Public Financing

McCain certainly seems to have changed his view of the power of millions of online donors to change the campaign finance process. The below is from Mother Jones (good work!).

Here [McCain] is on the Fox News show "On the Record," in January 2004:

"I think it's wonderful that Howard Dean was able to use the Internet, $50, $75, $100 contributions. That's what we want it to be all about. We want average citizens to contribute small amounts of money, and that's a commitment to a campaign. So I'm for that. I think it's a great thing. I think the Internet is going to change American politics for the better."

And here he is on MSNBC's "Hardball," in June 2004:

"The Internet is generating more and more people involved in the political process with relatively small campaign contributions, $50, $75. That's wonderful. No longer can an office holder call up a CEO or a trial lawyer or a union leader and say, I need $1 million. And, by the way, your legislation is up before my committee again."

McCain/Bush Try to Claim Credit for GI Bill

This is really beyond the pale. Over the last few months we kept hearing statements like the following from Bush and McCain opposing the recently passed bipartisan enhancements to the GI Bill:

McCain: “I want to make sure that we have incentives for people to remain in the military as well as for people to join the military.”

Bush administration: “The last thing we want to do is provide a benefit — or the last thing we want to do is create a situation in which we are losing our men and women who we have worked so hard to train.”

We're all too familiar with Bush's strategy of opposing popular legislation only to do a 180 when it passes and claim credit for it (think of the creation of the 9/11 commission).

Now McCain shows himself to be just as craven as Bush:

McCain: That has always been my primary concern with respect to the Webb bill. … With the addition of the transferability provisions sought by Senators Graham, Burr, myself and others to give service members the right to transfer earned G.I. Bill benefits to spouses and children, we will have achieved in offering vastly improved educational benefit.

Bush: Throughout the past five months, President Bush and members of his Administration have worked hard to ensure that an expansion of GI benefits includes transferability. … The President is pleased that Congress answered his call.

As noted on Think Progress:
Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — the two most vocal opponents of Webb’s bill — are trying to take credit for it. They are claiming that they always supported the generous benefits — their main concern was just ensuring the benefits’ transferability.

We need to call them out on the BS that this really is.

McCain Supporters Lack Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm for the candidacies of Obama and McCain, from the recent WaPo/ABC News poll:

  • Obama: 55% enthusiastic, including 28% very enthusiastic (44% unenthusiastic)
  • McCain: 42% enthusiastic, including 9% very enthusiastic (57% unenthusiastic)
Hat Tip: Jed Report

George Carlin - Rest in Peace

Wow, I just heard that George Carlin passed away. He played a large part in developing my acerbic wit during my formative years. Rest in peace, George.

Here's a gem from him on why we get garbage politicians:

And something lighter:

Obama Pledges to Close Enron Loophole; McCain Opposed

Obama pledged Sunday to close the so-called Enron Loophole. As a bit of background, the Enron Loophole is a provision that was slipped into the Commodities Futures Modernization Act that exempted energy trading on electronic platforms from regulation and oversight.

Guess who slipped the loophole into the law? That's right, McCain's chief economic advisor Phil Gramm, who was at the time a powerful Texas senator.

Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday that "as president he would strengthen government oversight of energy traders he blames in large part for the skyrocketing price of oil." Obama "singled out the so-called 'Enron loophole' for allowing speculators to run up the cost of fuel by operating outside federal regulation."

The Obama campaign "blamed the loophole on former Sen. Phil Gramm," who serves as Sen. John McCain's campaign "co-chairman and economic adviser."

The reason why the loophole got dubbed the "Enron Loophole" is because soon after its passage, the lack of regulation/oversight over Enron's electronic energy trading market led to Enron (on whose board Phil Gramm's wife sat) bilking California out of $40 billion and causing a summer full of rolling blackouts.

Guess what McCain's position on the Enron Loophole is? Yep, he's all for keeping it, on the advice of Phil Gramm.
[A McCain] aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee also opposes the farm bill because Gramm advised McCain that he should resist its regulatory language on the energy futures market.

Someone tell me again why most of the MSM refuses to give McCain a fraction of the scrutiny devoted to Barack Obama's flag pins and Michelle Obama's patriotism?

Here we have the chief architect of a horrific loophole in a regulatory scheme specifically advising John McCain to keep it and McCain then dutifully going along with it.

Think we'll get 24x7 coverage on CNN on this?

Read More: Obama Vows To Close "Enron Loophole" For Oil Speculators; McCain Defends 'Enron Loophole'

Sunday, June 22, 2008

McCain Likeliest to Attack Iran

Former interim UN Ambassador (never confirmed) John Bolton says that he's backing John McCain because "he would handle the Iranian nuclear program in a “stronger” way than the Bush administration."

In light of some comments that Bolton made earlier in the interview, I am really scared that we're about to open up another war. Well, scared at least of the prospect of a McCain presidency, which ultimately isn't all that likely. Still enough to give you heartburn though:

Adopting Bill Kristol’s argument, Bolton suggested that an attack on Iran depends on who Americans elect as the next President: "I think if they [Israel] are to do anything, the most likely period is after our elections and before the inauguration of the next President. I don’t think they will do anything before our election because they don’t want to affect it. And they’d have to make a judgment whether to go during the remainder of President Bush’s term in office or wait for his successor."

Friday, June 20, 2008

Newsweek Poll: Obama Leads McCain by 15%

A new Newsweek poll shows that Barack Obama has a whopping 15% lead (51% to 36%) over John McCain among registered voters nationwide.

So, how exactly is McCain supposed to improve in the polls?

Quote of the Day: Obama on Coastal Drilling

I am proud of Obama for standing up against McCain's latest ineffectual pander.

Just like McCain's absurd "gas tax holiday" proposal (which all economists agree would save Americans either nothing or $28 on average), McCain's recent proposal to open up America's coastal waters to offshore oil drilling operations (which is, to boot, a 180-degree flip-flop from his earlier position) is a shameless, useless sop to voters that assumes that Americans are too stupid or ill-informed to realize what crap it is (according to recent polls, Americans may indeed be just that stupid ill-informed).

Here is Obama on the latest McCain silliness:

Believe me — if I thought that there was any evidence at all that drilling could save people money who are struggling to fill up their tanks by this summer or this year or even the next few years, I would consider it. But it won’t. And John McCain knows that.

New Obama Ad - 'Country I Love'

Here's Obama's new ad for the general election. I think its straightforward, to the point and will likely be very effective.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quote of the Day

Publius on McCain's opposition to any right for a prisoner detained at Guantanamo to claim that their detention is wrongful:

Rights don’t exist if you eliminate all procedures to vindicate those rights. Otherwise, the rights become only words on paper, rather than living breathing liberties that must necessarily be enforced.

In short, actions speak louder than words. And in the world of action, McCain has been a consistent opponent of habeas.

Read More

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Work for Me

Sorry again for the absence of posts. I'm out of town on business today and tomorrow. Back on Friday!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Panoramic View of Last Night's Michigan Rally

Thanks to a reader for highlighting this for me.

Go here to see a full panoramic view of last night's Obama rally in Michigan.

As my reader and Andrew Sullivan noted:

Who else could draw in a crowd like this?

Americans See McCain as More of the Same

From a new Washington Post/ABC News poll:

In general, 57 percent said McCain would continue to lead the country as Bush has and 38 percent said he would chart a new course.

Regardless of the Obama/McCain head-to-head matchups you see over the next few months, pay attention to the number above.

Bush Calls People Concerned About Gas Prices Squawkers

This President really needs to go.

Asked about bringing down high oil and gas prices, Bush responded with a pitch for more domestic drilling. Boulton replied: "There's a lot of people who say that's short-sighted. You know, it's going to run out one day."

Bush: "Well, in the meantime you've got a bunch of people squawking about the price of gasoline. And because we didn't try to find more oil and gas, we're in a pinch in America."

Video of Al Gore's Obama Endorsement Speech

Here's the video of Al Gore's endorsement speech at an Obama rally in Michigan. Some talking heads out there are questioning Al's timing (so late after the nomination clinch). My opinion is that Obama had a very strategic reason for the timing, location, etc. I thought the speech was really good:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Al Gore Endorses Obama

Perhaps a smidge overdue but welcome nevertheless, Al Gore today endorsed Barack Obama for President:

"Over the past 18 months, Barack Obama has united a movement. He knows change does not come from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Capitol Hill. It begins when people stand up and take action," Gore wrote. "With the help of millions of supporters like you, Barack Obama will bring the change we so desperately need in order to solve our country's most pressing problems."

Read More

Classic Quote of the Day

I hadn't seen this Jon Stewart quote before but it definitely rings true today as John McCain reminds us that he "stood fifth from the bottom of [his] class at the naval academy":

Doesn't elite mean 'good?' Is that not something we're looking for in a president anymore? ... I know elite is a bad word in politics. You want to go bowling and throw back a few beers. But the job you're applying for---if you get it and it goes well---they might carve your head into a mountain. If you don't actually think you're better than us, then what the fuck are you doing? ... Not only do I want an elite president, I want someone who is embarrassingly superior to me. -- Jon Stewart

McCain Has a Strange Way of Wooing Clinton Supporters

John McCain has a really strange approach to wooing Clinton supporters.

In his recent "townhall" organized to do just that, he pretty much highlighted all of the reasons why his positions are anathema to many women (and Democrats in general).

Here is the HuffPo article with McCain's own words below:

McCain on Roe v. Wade:

"Roe v. Wade, we obviously will have a disagreement. I think it was a bad decision."

McCain on abortion rights:

"[W]e have to change the culture of America. We have to convince people of our view that the rights of the unborn are as important as the rights of the born."

McCain on medically necessary late-term abortions:

"I am unalterably opposed to partial birth abortion."

McCain on the two or more Supreme Court appointments the next president is likely to make:

"I would find people along the lines of Justice Roberts."
"I wouldn't have selected Justice Ginsberg or Justice Breyer."
"I believe that interpretation of the Constitution, and only that, should be the criteria for Supreme Court justices."

McCain on gay rights and "don't ask, don't tell":

"Don't ask, don't tell: I want to rely on the advice and counsel of our military leaders. As president ... I will ask the Joint Chiefs of Staff to go back and review that and other policies to see whether those policies are appropriate, and I do rely on them to a large degree because they're the ones we entrust the leadership of the lives of our young men and women in our military. And I'm sure you may have a disagreement with that policy."

McCain on his own intelligence:

"You don't have to be real smart. I stood fifth from the bottom of my class at the naval academy, which shows in America anything is possible."

McCain's on what makes America great:

"We're the only country in the world that has over time sent our young Americans to shed our most precious asset -- American blood -- in defense of someone else's freedom."

Why would a Clinton supporter want to vote for this guy again?

McCain Doing Violence to His Brand

New polls out this week show that McCain is doing much violence to his once-shiny brand as a result of his recent full-throated endorsements of any and all things Bush.

Voters have notoriously short memories, but it could be argued that McCain cheapened his own brand.

He embraced President Bush and attempted to become, like Bush, the choice of the Republican establishment. In the process, he helped obliterate recollections of his first run for president, when he became the first Republican in a long time with strong crossover appeal to independents and Democrats.

Losing his reputation for independence could prove particularly costly this year.

Last week, McCain's negatives among registered voters hit an all-time high of 34 percent in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey. Voters who don't like McCain are, by an overwhelming margin, rejecting his political beliefs, not the kind of person he is, a recent Pew poll found.

Think about this. What is driving up his negatives?

Who knew that a wholesale embrace of George W. Bush and his disastrous policies of the last 7 years would be a bad thing?

Oh, almost everyone with an IQ over 5? I even think my new month-old niece has an inkling that McCain doing a volte-face on his alleged "maverickness" was probably ill-advised.

Read More: McCain has diluted his rare reputation

Interesting Twist on the Veepstakes

From Nevada:

Among undecided voters, 25 percent said Clinton's presence would make them more inclined to vote for the Democratic ticket, but 38 percent said she would make them less likely to vote Democratic.

Old McCain vs. New McCain

Here is another mashup from the Jed Report contrasting McCain in his more principled years versus the political sellout he's become.

My favorite quote (right off of McCain's lips):

The fact is that I have agreed with President Bush far more than than I have disagreed. And on the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day, I have been totally in agreement and support President Bush... I strongly disagree with the assertion that I have been more at odds with the President than in agreement.

Hearing him say this, why does McCain have a problem with Obama saying that electing McCain would be ushering in George Bush's "third term"?

If McCain has "been totally in agreement" with Bush on the "transcendent", "most important issues of our day", how would his election NOT be a third Bush term?

Must-Read: Obama the Listener

Here are some excerpts from one of the most cogent, compelling articles I've found that discusses Barack Obama's ability to listen to opposing viewpoints and synthesize them into a principled approach to policy positions. We really need a man with this level of discernment in the White House.

Not so long ago, the phone rang in my office. It was Barack Obama. For more than a decade, Obama was my colleague at the University of Chicago Law School... On this occasion, he had an important topic to discuss: the controversy over President George W. Bush's warrantless surveillance of international telephone calls between Americans and suspected terrorists. I had written a short essay suggesting that the surveillance might be lawful. Before taking a public position, Obama wanted to talk the problem through.

In the space of about 20 minutes, he and I investigated the legal details. He asked me to explore all sorts of issues: the President's power as commander-in-chief, the Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the Authorization for Use of Military Force and more.

Obama wanted to consider the best possible defense of what Bush had done. To every argument I made, he listened carefully and offered a specific counter-argument. After the issue had been exhausted, Obama said that he thought the program was illegal, but now had a better understanding of both sides. He thanked me for my time.

This was a pretty amazing conversation, not only because of Obama's mastery of the legal details, but also because many prominent Democratic leaders had already blasted the Bush initiative as blatantly illegal. He did not want to take a public position until he had listened to, and explored, what might be said on the other side.

This is the Barack Obama I have known for nearly 15 years--a careful and even-handed analyst of law and policy, unusually attentive to multiple points of view. The University of Chicago Law School is by far the most conservative of the great American law schools. It helped to provide the academic foundations for many positions of the Reagan administration. But at the University of Chicago, Obama is liked and admired by Republicans and Democrats alike. Some of the local Reagan enthusiasts are Obama supporters. Why? It doesn't hurt that he's a great guy, with a personal touch and a lot of warmth. It certainly helps that he is exceptionally able. But niceness and ability are only a small part of the story. Obama also has a genuinely independent mind, he's a terrific listener and he goes wherever reason takes him.

And here's one of my favorite quotes:

In his book The Audacity of Hope, he asks for a politics that accepts "the possibility that the other side might sometimes have a point." Remarking that ordinary Americans "don't always understand the arguments between right and left, conservative and liberal," Obama wants politicians "to catch up with them."

Read More:
Obama: The University of Chicago Democrat

Most Americans Think Obama Will Win

Gallup says this morning that when voters are asked about which candidate will win in November, Obama comes out well ahead of Republican McCain.

According to Gallup, 52% of the 822 adults surveyed last week said they think Obama will win the race for the White House. McCain was the choice of 41%.


Bush-Backing Biographer Pens Book on Obama's Faith

This is yet another remarkable example of the divisions Obama is able to bridge:

The conservative Evangelical biographer of George W. Bush and Tom DeLay has moved on to a new subject: Barack Obama. And his new book, due out this summer, may lend credibility to Senator Obama's bid to win Evangelical Christian voters away from the Republican Party.

The forthcoming volume from Stephen Mansfield, whose sympathetic "The Faith of George W. Bush" spent 15 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in 2004, is titled "The Faith of Barack Obama." Its tone ranges from gently critical to gushing, and the author defends Obama-and even his controversial former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright-from conservative critics, and portrays him as a compelling figure for Christian voters.

"Young Evangelicals are saying, 'Look, I'm pro-life but I'm looking at a guy who's first of all black-and they love that; two, who's a Christian; and three who believes faith should bear on public policy," Mansfield, who described himself as a conservative Republican, said in a telephone interview. "They disagree with him on abortion, but they agree with him on poverty, on the war."

Read More:
Bush backer pens pro-Obama book

Obama on Fatherhood

Thank goodness we have a man like this at this time in our country's history:

Here's the video.

Here's a reaction from The Daily Dish:

It was the directive to action, the appeal to personal responsibility, and the eminently conservative call to lift up one's own children. Great leaders ask for sacrifice.

Here's the transcript.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Obama Fills Up Sandbags

Although this kind of photo op is standard politics, compare this to George Bush's handling of Katrina.

Quote of the Day

From the libertarian online mag Reason:

Back in 1980, everyone knew Ronald Reagan was too conservative to win. But when non-conservatives were presented with a conservative who was likable, temperate, and occasionally eloquent, many of them found they could vote for him. What Obama has going for him, more than anything, is a quality of calm and thoughtful gravity, which offers a refreshing contrast to President Bush's inarticulate defensiveness and McCain's stubborn pugnacity.

I disagree with Obama's positions more often than not, but reducing a political leader to the sum of his positions is like judging the value of an artwork by adding up the cost of the canvas and paint. Obama didn't get where he is by being a liberal like any other. He got there by being a liberal like no other.

McCain Lies to Clinton Supporters

It is one thing to outline your positions and highlight where you disagree with your opponent but to shoot out a couple of demonstrably false lies like this really shows you something about:

McCain assured Clinton supporters that “he supported Bill Clinton with both Ginsberg and Breyer.”

Similarly, when asked about marriage equality for gay couples, one attendee McCain explained that his position is “the same as [John] Kerry’s position.”

Saturday, June 14, 2008

McCain Quote of the Day

Wow, this isn't quite Alaska-douchebag-Ted-Stevens-bad (i.e. the internet is "a series of tubes") but, well, this isn't a great way to mollify questions about your age.

“We’re going through a process where you get a whole bunch of names, and ya — well, basically, it’s a Google. You just, you know, what you can find out now on the Internet. It’s remarkable, you know.”

- John McCain on his campaign vetting process.

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of The Daily Dish:

"Past error is no excuse for its own perpetuation. Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom.....Now, as ever, we do ourselves best justice when we measure ourselves against ancient tests, as in the Antigone of Sophocles: 'All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only sin is pride.'" - Robert F Kennedy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Olbermann Blasts McCain on Troop Withdrawal Comments

Keith Olbermann last night blasted John McCain in a Special Comment for McCain's recent remark to the effect that however long it takes to remove US troops from Iraq is "not too important":

Here's McCain's "not too important" comment, plus video:

MATT LAUER: Do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?

JOHN MCCAIN: No, but that's not too important.

Dems Love Obama; Reps Ambivalent About McCain

Numbers like this have to send serious shivers down the collective spine of John McCain's staffers:

A new number from the latest Hotline/Diageo poll goes a long way toward dispelling the idea that Barack Obama is leading a seriously divided party. On the contrary, the poll suggests that it's John McCain who has a problem in this regard.

The poll, conducted in the wake of Obama's clinching the nomination and including sampling dates from before Hillary Clinton's final concession, found that 68% of Democratic primary voters were satisfied with Obama as the nominee, with 30% preferring someone else.

By contrast, only 52% of Republican primary voters were satisfied with John McCain as their nominee, with 45% preferring someone else. And this is despite the fact that McCain sewed up his nomination months ago, while Democratic emotions were still raw when this poll was conducted.

McCain Versus Economists (and Common Sense)

McCain is continuing to dig himself deeper into a hole over this whole "gas tax holiday" stupidity.

Here's the latest from The Carpetbagger Report:

At an event in New Hampshire, asked about his gas-tax holiday proposal, McCain lashed out, angrily saying, “If you want to call it a gimmick, fine. You know the economists? They’re the same ones that didn’t predict this housing crisis we’re in.”

First, I don’t know what McCain has against economists. He’s hired a whole team of them to try to rationalize his ridiculous economic policy.

Second, it’s not just economists who realize McCain’s gas-tax idea is absurd, it’s common sense. We have a fixed supply of gas, so even a little critical thinking shows that “the tax cut really goes to the oil companies.”

And third, blaming economists for failing to predict the housing crisis is especially inane, since the opposite is true.

Read More

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Lots of Work

Sorry for the dearth of posts. I've been offsite working on a few projects and haven't had much in the way of free time.

Monday, June 9, 2008

McCain To Resurrect Absurd Gas Tax Holiday

McCain is at it again. He is planning to resurrect the absurd "gas tax holiday" that he proposed back in March, which was so completely and unequivocally excoriated by every notable economist and commentator who could be reached for comment those many weeks ago.

As a refresher, here are my earlier posts on how ineffectual, wrong-headed and intellectually dishonest the whole proposition is. Barack Obama has routinely spoken out and called this idea out for the shameless pandering that it is.

Here's the word out on McCain today:

John McCain is planning to resurrect his call for a national gas tax holiday, which became a staple of his stump speech in late April and early May. A McCain aide told CNN's Dana Bash on Monday that the Arizona senator planned to plug the gas tax holiday in public statements throughout the day.

Along with Barack Obama, many economists largely dismissed the notion of a gas tax holiday as a political ruse that would do little to lower prices, but McCain has repeatedly said he does not believe the proposal would be a panacea for America’s energy woes.

Instead, McCain argued, low-income families could save some extra cash to pay for their children’s school supplies this fall, or perhaps treat themselves to a nice dinner.

Here's the Carpetbagger Report's take:

McCain believes “low-income families could save some extra cash to pay for their children’s school supplies this fall, or perhaps treat themselves to a nice dinner.”

This is just too ridiculous for words. McCain wants to eliminate the 18.4-cent a gallon federal gas tax over the summer. This would cost the Highway Trust Fund between $9 billion and $11 billion. McCain hasn’t said whether he’d just increase the deficit to make up the difference, or just let the transportation money disappear, costing thousands of jobs.

And what would consumers get in return? Nothing. Putting aside the volatility in oil prices, and the fact that the cost of a glass of gas will probably go up over the summer regardless of federal taxes, Americans won’t actually be in a position to save any money if the gas tax is temporarily repealed. McCain may not be the sharpest crayon in the box, but he almost certainly realizes this.

Most economists have estimated that a gas tax holiday would save Americans nothing at the pump, because retailers would simply raise their prices to compensate. Even if we took McCain at his word that it would save some money, it would only save the average consumer $25-30!

Great, by that logic, how about a $25 gift card to Office Depot (you know, for the school supplies) or McDonald's (for the "nice dinner" that $25 can buy a family of four)?

At least that way we could waste the same amount of money giving out worthless freebies to people without depleting the state infrastructure renewal funds that are funded by the federal gas tax.

Laura Bush Defends Michelle Obama's Patriotism

One of the sillier memes floating around out there is that Michelle Obama is somehow unpatriotic and not proud of America (due to a quote a while back that was misconstrued).

So, guess what rabid, left-wing crackpot jumped to Michelle Obama's defense today?

That's right, First Lady Laura Bush:

Michelle Obama has a new defender from those who say she isn’t patriotic enough — First Lady Laura Bush. In an interview with ABC News, Bush said that Obama’s February remark that she was proud of the United States “for the first time in my adult life” was misconstrued.

“I think she probably meant ‘I’m more proud.’ That’s what she really meant,” Bush said from Afghanistan.

“You have to be really careful in what you say because everything you say is looked at and in many cases misconstrued,” she said.

Thank you, Mrs. Bush. Your sanity on this issue is greatly appreciated.

Read More

Obama's Appeal in Europe

Here's some striking data from abroad. If Europeans had their say, Obama would win in a landslide against John McCain:

A poll in late May of five major countries -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia -- showed Sen. Obama getting 52% support, compared with 15% for Sen. McCain. In France, 65% favor Sen. Obama, compared with 8% for Sen. McCain, according to the poll for the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph newspaper. Another poll published online Saturday in Belgium's Le Soir newspaper showed Belgians prefer Sen. Obama over Sen. McCain 74% to 12%.

Hat Tip: Daily Dish

Obama Continues to Lead McCain in Polls

In the wake of his locking up of the Democratic Party nomination, Barack Obama has opened his biggest lead ever against John McCain in Gallup's general election head-to-head matchup:

In other news, Rasmussen's tracking poll shows that Obama garners the preference of 50% of likely voters to McCain's 44%.

Conservatives Ambivalent About McCain

Conservative commentator Bay Buchanan has an interesting piece up today on a site that I refuse to link to, due to the fact that it includes some really distorted articles on Obama and a promotes a misleading Obama "Google Bomb".

Anyway, she is the sister of Republican stalwart Pat Buchanan and a leading conservative voice. Here is what she had to say about McCain and Obama in an article from last week:

John McCain is relevant only in so far as he is not Barack Obama. The Senator from Arizona is incapable of energizing his party, brings no new people to the polls, and has a personality that is best kept under wraps. And while his strong suite [sic] is experience, especially on military matters, it was gained almost entirely in Washington, a city that 80% of Americans now believe has miserably misled and mismanaged the nation.


As a candidate Obama is bigger than life. Die-hard liberals are euphoric over his nomination. He is seen as the real thing -- a man who believes what he says and says what he believes. His candidacy has mobilized millions of new voters, held massive rallies, and raised money faster than Federal Reserve can print it. Obama is a gifted candidate who has that intangible quality most candidates only dream about -- he moves voters -- which gives his campaign enormous energy and excitement.

90s McCain: Withdraw Immediately from Somalia, Haiti

It was not too long ago when McCain was strongly advocating for the immediate withdrawal of American troops from America's interventions in Somalia and Haiti. Compared to his rhetoric about Democrats wanting to "wave the white flag of surrender" in Iraq, think on this McCain quote from 1994 when advocating the immediate withdrawal from Haiti:

['As soon as possible'] does not mean 'As soon as order is restored to Haiti'.

It doesn't mean 'As soon as democracy is flourishing in Haiti'.

It doesn't mean 'As soon as we have established a viable nation in Haiti'. '

As soon as possible' means 'As soon as we can get out of Haiti without losing any American lives'.

Pretty stark difference, eh? I guess his stance on "waving the white flag of surrender" depends on which constituency he is trying to appease at the time, i.e., the Republican Senate in the 90s and the Republican Base now.

See the video and judge for yourself:

Hat tip: Daily Dish

Obama's Bipartisan Legislative Record

This is a great run-down to forward to anyone who questions whether Obama actually has a history of working across the aisle to pass bipartisan legislation. The simple fact is that Obama has in fact worked to pass such legislation and this blog post by Hilzoy goes into abundant detail on the subject. A taste:

I have been surprised by how often Senator Obama turns up, sponsoring or co-sponsoring really good legislation on some topic that isn't wildly sexy, but does matter. His bills tend to have the following features: they are good and thoughtful bills that try to solve real problems; they are in general not terribly flashy; and they tend to focus on achieving solutions acceptable to all concerned, not by compromising on principle, but by genuinely trying to craft a solution that everyone can get behind.

His legislation is often proposed with Republican co-sponsorship, which brings me to another point: he is bipartisan in a good way. According to me, bad bipartisanship is the kind practiced by Joe Lieberman. Bad bipartisans are so eager to establish credentials for moderation and reasonableness that they go out of their way to criticize their (supposed) ideological allies and praise their (supposed) opponents. They also compromise on principle, and when their opponents don't reciprocate, they compromise some more, until over time their positions become indistinguishable from those on the other side.

This isn't what Obama does. Obama tries to find people, both Democrats and Republicans, who actually care about a particular issue enough to try to get the policy right, and then he works with them. This does not involve compromising on principle. It does, however, involve preferring getting legislation passed to having a spectacular battle. (This is especially true when one is in the minority party, especially in this Senate: the chances that Obama's bills will actually become law increase dramatically when he has Republican co-sponsors.)

Read More

Obama's Appeal to Conservatives

There is a fascinating article up on The New Republic that is a must-read for anyone interested in Obama's appeal to right-of-center independents, libertarians (like me), conservatives and republicans:

The largest group of Obamacons hail from the libertarian wing of the movement. And it's not just Andrew Sullivan. Milton and Rose Friedman's son, David, is signed up with the cause on the grounds that he sees Obama as the better vessel for his father's cause. Friedman is convinced of Obama's sympathy for school vouchers--a tendency that the Democratic primaries temporarily suppressed. Scott Flanders, the CEO of Freedom Communications--the company that owns The Orange County Register--told a company meeting that he believes Obama will accomplish the paramount libertarian goals of withdrawing from Iraq and scaling back the Patriot Act.

Libertarians (and other varieties of Obamacons, for that matter) frequently find themselves attracted to Obama on stylistic grounds. That is, they believe that he has surrounded himself with pragmatists, some of whom (significantly) come from the University of Chicago. As the blogger Megan McArdle has written, "His goal is not more government so that we can all be caught up in some giant, expressive exercise of collectively enforcing our collective will on all the other people standing around us in the collective; his goal is improving transparency and minimizing government intrusion while rectifying specific outcomes."

In nearly every quarter of the movement, you can find conservatives irate over the Iraq war--a war they believe transgresses core principles. And it's this frustration with the war--and McCain's pronouncements about victory at any cost--that has led many conservatives into Obama's arms. Francis Fukuyama, the neoconservative theorist, recently told an Australian journalist that he would reluctantly vote for Obama to hold the Republican Party accountable "for a big policy failure" in Iraq. And he seems to view Obama as the best means for preserving American power, since Obama "symbolizes the ability of the United States to renew itself in a very unexpected way."

Read More: Mr. Right?: The Rise of the Obamacons

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Bill Moyers Pwns O'Reilly's "Producer"

This is just absolutely amazing. Bill O'Reilly sent out one of his "producers" to corner Bill Moyers at the National Conference for Media Reform. Boy howdy, did Bill Moyers give him a down-home dressing-down.

Time for Everyone to Stop the "Popular Vote" Argument

Senator Dianne Feinstein, one of Sen. Clinton's closest supporters, kept pushing the false "Clinton won the popular vote" meme today on This Week with George Stephanopoulus:

"Hillary Clinton is well known, certainly she had the popular vote in this election."

Politico reports:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein reiterated that Clinton had won the popular vote — an assertion that is not accepted by Illinois Democrat Sen. Barack Obama’s camp and one that, if repeated often, could harm Democratic attempts to unify behind him.

If this meme keeps getting repeated, it will metastasize the (largely justified) disappointment and hurt that Clinton supporters are feeling right now and will solidify for them the notion that Hillary was somehow robbed of the nomination.

Unlike in the general election where every state has their citizens cast a ballot for President, the democratic primaries involve both primaries (where each person casts their vote) and caucuses, where people gather in a room, express their support for their candidate and, from such internal voting, delegates for each caucus are apportioned to the state convention. As a result, the popular vote numbers that you see are not apples-to-apples comparisons.

Now add to the mix that Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan (from which state Clinton supporters continue to insist that Obama got zero votes, even though the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee reached a compromise and apportioned all of "uncommitted" delegates to Obama). In addition, none of the candidates were allowed to campaign for votes in Florida. Further stir into the Michigan and Florida equation the fact that hundreds of thousands of people did not vote because they were told that their vote would not count at the Convention (as reflected in the fact that both states' voter turnout was much lower than expectations) and you get a highly polluted set of data from which to draw "certain" or "unquestionable" conclusions.

Final data point. In Washington, Iowa, Maine and Nevada, these states did not release an official estimate of voter turnout. However, Clinton supporters like Sen. Feinstein are content to completely disregard any tabulation or estimate of the turnout in such states in order to make the damaging argument that Sen. Clinton somehow "won" the popular vote. Are voters' voices in Washington, Iowa, Maine and Nevada not supposed to be heard?

From the above analysis, I hope most of you will agree that the fairest assessment of the popular vote is to give the "uncommitted" Michigan votes to Obama and give both candidates the estimates of voter turnout in Washington, Iowa, Maine and Nevada.

There are only two conclusions to draw:
  1. If you tally up the popular vote in the fairest and even-handed way described above, you'll see from RealClearPolitics that Obama is ahead of Clinton by 61,703 votes.

  2. If you decide to tally up the popular vote in some other skewed and selective manner, the vote tally you come up with is too questionable to be asserted by our nation's respected leaders as unquestionable fact.
Here is where we stand:

Obama is now the presumptive nominee.

Hillary Clinton has suspended her campaign and endorsed Obama with a ringing call for party unity.

In the interest of party unity, as so eloquently expressed by Senator Clinton yesterday, we all need let the whole popular vote argument go. It can only serve to make people angry, prolong the grieving process and hurt the Democrat's chances in the fall against John McCain.

Let's All Calm Down and Reflect

I appreciated the bulk of Clinton's speech yesterday but let's not all go overboard here:

It needs to be said that Hillary struck an extraordinarily difficult balancing act with real grace and eloquence. On the one hand, she needed to signal that she has built a movement of her own and to reinforce the idea that she is the undisputed leader of American women -- both as a genuine point of pride and as proof of her undiminishing influence. Hence the repeated references to the 18 million votes she earned.

This is buying into a dangerous meme, as The Jed Report highlights. Sure, she did well among women in many of the primary contests but Obama ran a strong second in the vast majority of states in which Hillary carried the women vote. He also won the female vote in 14 states. "The undisputed leader of American women" is a mantle both deceptive and dangerous. Let's not calcify the us-vs-them wound that needs to heal in the Party.

The vast bulk of Hillary's supporters, 90% or so according to most estimations based on current polling and historical precedent, will come to support Obama after a short time of unity-building. We need to get over the "you got your votes and I got mine" mentality.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Clinton's Concession Speech

Color me impressed. I generally thought that Clinton's concession speech today hit many of the right notes. Three relatively minor criticisms:

  • She spoke at length about fighting for women's issues. However, she did not follow up her point by saying: "Having said all that, I can assure everyone here today that you will find no better champion for women's issues remaining in this campaign than Senator Barack Obama."

  • She failed to mention John McCain and make the explicit point that her supporters should not vote for the Republican just because they might feel slighted after the nomination contest.

  • She made a passing reference to her intellectually dishonest "18 million" votes, without a forceful climb-down statement that Obama won this contest fair-and-square, with more votes and more delegates. As summarized by RCP, she only validly gets past the 18 million vote threshold if she gives MI "uncommitted" votes to Obama and factors in the caucus voting estimates from IA, NV, WA and ME -- at which point Obama has 18,107,710 votes and she has 18,046,007 (a net plus for Obama of 61,703)

Friday, June 6, 2008

McCain Lies About 100% Support for Katrina Investigations

From FactCheck.org:

A New Orleans television reporter asked John McCain at a June 4 town hall meeting in Louisiana why he had voted twice against the creation of a commission to investigate preparedness for Hurricane Katrina. McCain responded that he "supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy." That's not true.

McCain did, as the reporter said, twice vote against legislation that would have created an independent commission, much like the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the government's role in preparedness for and response to the hurricane. Here's the exchange:

Reporter: Senator, Maya Rodriguez at the CBS station out of New Orleans. My understanding is you have voted twice against the creation of a commission to investigate the levee failures in New Orleans. And my question is, why have you voted against that?

McCain: I’ve supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy. I’ve been here to New Orleans. I’ve met with people on the ground. I’ve met with the governor. I’m not familiar with exactly what you said, but I’ve been as active as anybody in efforts to restore the city.

Face of the Day

From Andrew Sullivan:

A young girl cries while listening to a speech by US Democratic presidential candidate, Illinois Senator Barack Obama during a rally to officially kick off the general election campaign on June 05, 2008 at the Nissan Pavillion in Bristow, Virginia.

New Site Layout

In preparation for the general election campaign, I have gone through and restructured the site and added a new layout. I'd love to know what you think!

How Obama Is Reshaping Our Image Abroad

One key reason why I support Obama is his potential to reshape America's "soft power" around the world. I don't think it has really sunk in yet for most people (and I suspect most people in this country really don't care) but an Obama presidency, on Day One, will go a long way toward regaining the international respect for America that Bush has squandered over the last 8 years.

A reader on the Daily Dish writes:

I am an American who is a graduate student in the UK, and I have been congratulated by people from around the world over the past couple of days for the Obama nomination. Strangers hear my accent, and want to talk about Obama. One British person said, "America didn't become the nation it did with guns and tanks; it became the nation it did with ideas. An Obama presidency represents everything that America has told the world about itself in the past century--and what the rest of the world wanted to expect out of America. The idea that you talk before acting, the idea that you make friends, not enemies, and the idea that anything is possible."

Another Italian told me, "Obama will cause my country to fall in love with America again."

Soft power?

Andrew Sullivan responds:

Most Americans have not quite absorbed the enormous blow to America's image abroad delivered by the Bush administration. Obama has helped erase it already.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This Guy is Going to Get Profoundly Beaten

This is an honest-to-God campaign video from John McCain. He and his campaign manager can't even FAKE being energetic and enthused.

With a monotone delivery like this, how exactly do you "inspire Americans to serve a cause greater than their self interest"? Inspiration generally requires that one, well, become inspired by something.

Obama Trounces McCain Among Hispanics

Hopefully helping to put to rest another stupid canard spawned by the interminable democratic primary fight, take a look at these numbers from a recent Gallup poll.

Obama trounces McCain among Hispanic voters by 33%:

Obama Says No Lobbyist Money for DNC

Yet another reason to support this deeply principled man.

ABC News reports:

It's been less than two days since he crossed the delegate threshold to become the Democratic presidential nominee and Sen. Barack Obama's mark on the party is already being felt.

On Good Morning America Thursday, ABC News' Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos reported "the Democratic National Committee will no longer accept contributions from federal lobbyists, will no longer take contributions from PACs" in keeping with Obama's well-publicized policy.

Hillary Clinton Going Forward

A reader writes:

I think we all need to lighten up on Clinton. There's a high chance at this point that she'll be fitting the VP position, despite all that is wrong with her - the Rev. Wright egging on, non-committal answers about Barack's religion, political exploitation of Florida and Michigan, and ad hominem attacks. We've gotten what we've wanted, Barack on the ballot - now we have to help the Democratic party as a whole.

This is a really weird and tough email to write. I'm the biggest Obama supporter in my small town and have rallied a coalition of fellow high school students around the cause (I will be eligible to vote in November). I've never been able to stand Hillary as a person, but I still believe that at this point in history, we can't afford to keep making negative comments about her.

First of all, thanks very much for your advice and feedback -- and thanks for reading! To address your points, I largely agree with you.

Now that Hillary Clinton will be endorsing Obama on Saturday and suspending her campaign, I agree that further commentary on her machinations would largely not be fruitful. This, of course, comes with a caveat. I will take her at her word that once she suspends her campaign and endorses, she will campaign strongly for Obama and do nothing to undermine him. If this comes to pass, I will hold my tongue fingers.

However, as to the VP question, I must respectfully disagree. As I've noted here before, I think that she would be a terrible choice for VP, for a variety of reasons. For full disclosure, I have come to dislike her as a person and a candidate. I don't trust her and believe she has little capacity for honesty or integrity. However, there are a host of less emotional reasons not to want her as VP:
  • As recently reported, the big "deal-breaker" would likely be Bill's refusal to fully disclose and open for vetting his questionable business activities after leaving the White House and the donors to his presidential library. Any VP and their family must be vetted and if this can't happen, it's a non-starter.

  • One important quality of a VP is the need for them not to overshadow their boss. Take your pick of what Hillary brings to the table that has the huge potential to overshadow Obama.

  • As a philosophical matter, Hillary represents (rightly or wrongly) the precise kind of sleazy, do-anything, say-anything Washington insiderism that Obama is running against. Bringing her onto the ticket would tarnish his image as a reformer.

  • There are many other posts that Obama could offer and be seen as magnanimous to Clinton supporters, especially if Hillary subsequently discusses how she never wanted the VP job in the first place and that Obama offered and she declined.

  • Hillary Clinton on the ticket, whether in the primary or subordinate role, would do for John McCain what he is unable to do himself -- galvanize the Republican base and bring out a better voter turnout.

  • There are SO many other good VP picks out there that do not have Hillary's high negatives. Obama can pick a running-mate with solid bona fides without getting tarnished by the 51+% of the country that does not trust Hillary.
Dear reader (and everyone else), I pledge to stop painting Hillary Clinton in an unfavorable light on this site, subject to the proviso above. We have a lot of work to do to expose John McCain for the outdated Republican shill that he is and I will devote my time to extolling the virtues of Obama and failings of McCain.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hillary to Drop Out and Endorse Obama on Friday

Again, please God, let this be true. Reports out this evening say that Hillary Clinton will drop out of the race on Friday and endorse Obama.

Last Night's Other Bad Speech - McCain

This is hillarious. When McCain's own senior staffer and Fox Noise admits that your speech was abysmal -- you know you're in trouble.

More Clinton Speech Reactions

I can't stress how much anger I feel at having Clinton manipulate her way into (and piss all over) Obama's grand moment last night.

Here's more reactions to her speech (hat tip Andrew Sullivan)

Jonathan Chait:

I don't know what the fallout will be, but at minimum, I'd say that anybody on her staff who cares about their party has a moral obligation to publicly quit and endorse Obama.

Isaac Chotiner:

If Clinton wants people to believe that she cares more about the Democratic Party than her own career, she is failing badly.

Brendan Loy:

Hillary Clinton had one last chance, tonight, to exit the stage with dignity. She missed it.


You don’t get psychodrama like this very often. It’s like political reality TV.

Last Night's Clinton Speech

I woke up this morning still fuming and found an article that sums up much of my feelings about Clinton's graceless, classless non-concession speech last night. Here it is in its entirety:

That Outrageous, Delusional Clinton Speech by Michael Crowley

I'm sure plenty of people had strong reactions to that speech Hillary just gave. For my money, the two most outragerous sentiments expressed were (and this is from my rough contemporaneous notes):

1.) "What does Hillary want? ... I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, no longer to be invisible." Then, a little later, "...Opportunity--that's what I want for every single American… It is a fight I will continue until every single American has health care, no exceptions, no excuses."

When Hillary says she wants her 18 million voters to be respected and heard, but opportunity and health care for every single American, she seems to be saying, pretty unambiguously, that not giving her the nomination--not privileging the will of her voters--would be an illegitimate outcome. (Otherwise, why not say you want every single American "respected and heard"?) That's a pretty inflammatory comment.

2.) "To the 18 million people who voted for me, and many other people out there… I want to hear from you… I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders, to determine how to move forward, with the best interests of our party and our country in mind."

So she's going to leave it to her voters to decide whether she should accept defeat after having, you know, lost? What if every losing candidate left it to their supporters to decide whether or not to accept the outcome of a race? Who would ever accept defeat?

What good could possibly come of this? With Hillary proclaiming herself the legitimate winner, they're clearly going to say "keep going." If she actually does keep going, that's a disaster for the Democratic Party. And if she doesn't, you've just drawn a ton of attention to the fact that a large chunk of the party doesn't accept Obama as the legimiate nominee. No, worse: you've encouraged them to think that, then drawn attention to it.

What a disaster.

Update: Here's the precise version of the first quote:

You know, I understand that a lot of people are asking, what does Hillary want? What does she want? Well, I want what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential, and I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard and no longer to be invisible. ...

This nation has given me every opportunity, and that's what I want for every single American. ... And it is a fight I will continue until every single American has health insurance. No exceptions and no excuses.

A commenter expressed confusion about my point here, so let me put it slightly differently: Taken by itself, it's a little unclear what Hillary means when she says she wants the 18 million Americans who voted for her to be respected, heard, not invisible. Wanting people to be respected, heard, etc. is a legitimate desire, just like wanting them to have health care and to live up to their God-given potential. It's when Hillary says she wants the latter for everyone, but the former only for her supporters, that things start to get weird. That's how you know she's essentially saying, "Those 18 million votes should make me the nominee."

And here's the second quote:

But this has always been your campaign, so to the 18 million people who voted for me and to our many other supporters out there of all ages, I want to hear from you. I hope you'll go to my website at HillaryClinton.com and share your thoughts with me and help in any way that you can.

In the coming days, I’ll be consulting with supporters and party leaders to determine how to move forward with the best interests of our party and our country guiding my way.