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Two Faces and No Brains

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I wonder if the Village Gasbags will be able to figure out who is demeaning whose service?

“I can't speak for them, but we all know that General Clark, as high-ranking as he is, his record in his last command I think was somewhat less than stellar."
-- Orson Swindle, John McCain Campaign

Just in case there’s still some question what actually demeaning a war veteran’s service looks like:

Louis Letson: "I know John Kerry is lying about his first Purple Heart because I treated him for that injury."

Van O'Dell: "John Kerry lied to get his bronze star...I know, I was there, I saw what happened."

Jack Chenoweth: "His account of what happened and what actually happened are the difference between night and day."

Admiral Roy Hoffman: "John Kerry has not been honest."

Adrian Lonsdale: "And he lacks the capacity to lead."

Larry Thurlow: "When he chips were down, you could not count on John Kerry."

Bob Elder: "John Kerry is no war hero."

Grant Hibbard: "He betrayed all his shipmates...he lied before the Senate."

Joe Ponder: "He dishonored his country...he most certainly did."

Bob Hildreth: "I served with John Kerry...John Kerry cannot be trusted."

The plain fact is, the Gasbags have no moral or rational authority to judge the matter, they relinquished their credibility and responsibility to do so four years ago.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

I like Chuck Todd (and his posse of deputies Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro) but I think they're off in the tall grass on this:

[...[D]oes this entire episode remind anyone else of John Kerry’s botched joke before the 2006 midterms -- when Kerry’s mangled swipe at President Bush got twisted into a slap at US troops?
That's a misreading of what's happening here because Clark's point was made with far more intelligence and articulation than Kerry's (despite Obama calling it "inartful" but that's another story).

Here's how I see it:

McCain, trailing badly by most meaningful metrics, wants the Obama camp to hit him hard. Why? Three reasons:

  1. So that he can get as much free media as possible, but more importantly...
  2. So he can play the aggrieved victim, which leads to...
  3. Drawing the Republican base closer to him (McCain) in his defense.

That's it. So how's he doing? Not so good.

Obama is not the candidate that will lash out at his opponents. McCain should know this by now -- Obama is preternaturally cool (for a national politician) -- it is McCain who is the hothead. Instead of lashing out, Obama has repeatedly stated how much he honors McCain's sacrifice, but...that isn't enough to qualify McCain to be president. The longer McCain strikes back, the weaker and more petty he looks.

I think I know what McCain is trying to do: he (consciously or otherwise) is trying to take a page out of Richard Nixon's campaign playbook circa 1967. Back then, Nixon was perceived as a has-been, a loser that no one in their right mind would listen to. But Nixon figured out that if he could goad LBJ into lashing out at him personally, he could elevate his stature to that of the sitting president. And (more importantly) he could paint himself as a victim/outsider being picked on by the bully/insider. Nixon understood the simmering resentment against Johnson and knew that as soon as Johnson struck back it would draw the Republican base closer to him. It worked for Nixon back then.

But it won't work for McCain today because Obama isn't a bully and McCain isn't an outsider. Oh, he'll draw the Republican base closer to him because these are the same people that give Bush a 60% approval rating and they'll believe just about anything. But as far as getting the independents and disaffected Democrats...not so much.

Furthermore, the free media thing isn't working out so well either. For one thing, Wesley Clark has made his point with clarity ... and humility: Clark honors McCain's sacrifice, but will not concede that it automatically makes McCain the superior candidate for president. In my book, this makes him a decent candidate for Secretary of Defense or Chariman of the Armed Services Committee ... but not Chief Executive of the United States. Of course, McCain's camp simply won't accept that and continues to play the "sacrifice card" and the "military experience" card. But that misses the point and gives Clark yet another chance to repeat his point.

And you know what? Every day that this story stays alive cuts against McCain by allowing Clark's argument to be discussed in greater detail. It gives Sen. Webb a chance to weigh in. It gives McCain another opportunity to screw up by bringing in the bad actors from the Swiftboats for Slime -- the guys who trashed Kerry by trashing his military career.

Bad move Senator McCain: now YOU look like the bully. Can't you see? No one is trashing your military career. Not Clark, not Webb, not Obama. They are simply making a simple case: Being a hero yesterday does not punch your ticket to the Presidency...tomorrow.

Everyday that this issue is discussed AGAIN is another day where we get to consider whether we elect a president based on his judgment instead of his sacrifice. Hillary tried to frame her fight with Obama in a similar way -- experience versus judgment. She lost. If McCain wants to fight that battle again, he's going to lose just like Hillary did.

Elections are about the future, not the past. If McCain doesn't know that by now, he's doomed.

Playing by the Rules

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I’ve always thought that one of the main reasons the Village Press hated the Clintons and Al Gore was because it was so obvious that Bill, Hillary and Al were much smarter people than them all. With egos at least as ginormous as any politician, that cleverness gap had to stick in their craws in a way that it never would, for obvious reasons, concerning any Republican. But, smart as they may have been, the Clintons and Vice President Gore never understood the new rules that were being invented just for them. They were playing a fool’s game – and the Clintons still managed to beat the Village at it – because they were playing as though there were still liberals in the corporate press and that reason and truth would prevail.

Which brings us to today’s campaign. Am I the only one who thinks that the Obama campaign is winning big here and that the media is being played badly? The conversation has begun – “it’s out there” as they say – does McCain’s record as a (not-very-good) fighter jock and POW more than thirty years ago in some way qualify him to be Commander-in-Chief? At the same time, Obama “rejects the statement” and “honors and respects Senator McCain’s service.” How is Obama hurt by this? How is McCain?

And now we can let the bloviators compare this honest question to what was done to John Kerry. Remember how Kerry’s record was fair game because he brought it up and Bush and Rove pretended like they had nothing to do with the SBVT? Democrats didn’t make them up but Obama seems to have learned the new rules. As Ara likes to say, if I were having any more fun, I’d have to be twins.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

  • McCain playing defense: I saw the headline, McCain campaign launches new 'Truth Squad', and thought to myself he could go one of two ways: he'd be on offense if he was supplying "truth" about Obama; or he'd be on defense if he was offering "truth" about his own record. Too bad for the hapless McCain campaign: they're offering the latter which means he's been dragged off message.
  • Speaking of McCain and the "truth": What's the harm in Gen. Clark giving his opinion on McCain's readiness to be president? Just because you were a hero 40 years ago doesn't guarantee your good judgment today...or tomorrow. If you agree with Gen. Clark, sign this petition and thank him for speaking up.
  • God's way of telling you you're too rich: you forgot to pay the taxes on one of your seven homes. Hey, didn't Republicans spank Al Franken for exactly the same thing?
  • Vote Obama & die: Lieberman predicts terrorist attack in 2009.
  • Speaking of Lieberman: Kos goes to the DLC annual meeting, calls Lieberman an "asshole" ... and is cheered! Go figure.

It takes a wingnut to take someone else’s words, say they mean something completely different from what they are saying and then castigate the person for that twisted, unstated meaning. John McCain, having nothing to offer in public policy (he's a Republican) – other than perpetual war in the Middle East (and who knows where else) and short term, ineffective gimmicks – has been running his campaign on just those sort of distortions about what Barack Obama “is saying” when he is saying nothing of the kind.

But it takes a special kind of evangelical whackjob of a wingnut to attack someone by saying essentially the same thing they are.

Evangelical whackjob James Dobson says that, “[Barack] Obama should not be referencing antiquated dietary codes and passages from the Old Testament that are no longer relevant to the teachings of the New Testament,” in response to Obama saying exactly that:

"Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy?" Obama asked in the speech. "Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount?"

Dobson’s Focus on the Family spokesman, Tom Minnery, gets it exactly backward when he claims, "Many people have called [Sharpton] a black racist, and [Obama] is somehow equating [Dobson] with that and racial bigotry." Actually, Obama had contrasted not equated Sharpton and Dobson:

"Even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's or Al Sharpton's?"

Dobson himself claimed that it is "lowest common denominator of morality," and that it is a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution," for Obama to say:

"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal rather than religion-specific values. It requires their proposals be subject to argument and amenable to reason."

Dobson can claim that reason, argument and universal values are immoral and pretend that the Establishment Clause of the Constitution doesn’t exist but that makes it pretty hard to argue that the other guy is the one who is nuts.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

And yes, I mean you and you, and anyone else who tries the Chicago Mobster, MuslamoNazi, Terrorist-Jab, linking Obama to someone who knew-a-guy who knows-a-guy whose aunt's babysitter's cousin once dated a lesbian abortion doctor that donated $50 bucks to a charity run by someone who was mentioned in someone else's grand jury testimony -- or so they say -- who didn't wear a lapel pin . . .

There's only one presidential candidate who has broken the campaign finance laws and continues to run his campaign in violation of the law -- and that "crook" bears the same name as the law he's breaking. (In fact, if convicted, the Straight Talker could go straight to jail for five years.)

John Cole lays it out...

I want to return to this subject though because this is not hyperbole or some throw away line. He’s really doing it. McCain opting into public financing, accepted the spending limits and then profited from that opt-in by securing a campaign saving loan. And then he used some clever, but not clever enough lawyering, to opt back out. And the person charged with saying what flies and what doesn’t—the Republican head of the FEC —said he’s not allowed to do that. He can’t opt out unilaterally unless the FEC says he can.
Oh, and as for all those so-called "fiscal conservatives" who deplore unnecessary government spending calling Barack some kind of hypocrite (that's rich) for reneging on a promise he never made (since he only promised to try and reach an agreement with McCain over rules McCain won't honor to this day -- but there was no actual agreement to break contrary to what McCain or the bastards at AP, ABC News and USA Today say) -- bite me.

In other news, Chris Matthews, still a wanker, but no more so than Jake Tapper at ABC who's ridiculous headline that Obama broke a promise he never made started this whole thing. What really is fun is to take a Reichwinger's own words, and interpret them in, you know ... plain English as a means of proving they're wrong. Take Newsbuster's own graphic here.


Even a third grader recognizes a conditional sentence when they see one, even if they don't know what it's called. McCain has clearly not lived up to the conditions Obama laid out in this statement. McCain is NOT abiding by the public financing laws. McCain is in clear violation of McCain Feingold as I write this, and has been for months. Obama is under no obligation to play a fools game, and for not calling McCain a crook who took illegal loans in violation of the law to fund his floundering excuse for a national campaign, Obama also shows what a gentleman he can be ... and keeps his powder dry for the next round of bullcrap.

And one more piece of friendly advice to our friends in Wingnuttistan. If you write for Redstate, and you start out a piece by saying, "If I were a supporter of Barack Obama . . ." just stop. You're not, never will be. You just don't get it, and are mentally incapable of empathy of that sort due to the inundation of authoritarian psychopathology you've been brainwashed with all these years.

Unless you were in the Friday Funnies competition today, in that case, well done. You certainly had me fooled.

"I don't like obscene profits being made anywhere. I'd be glad to look not just at the windfall profits tax -- that's not what bothers me -- but we should look at any incentives that we are giving to people, or industries or corporations, that are distorting the markets."

---- McCain speaking on May 5 in North Carolina.

"[Obama] wants a windfall profits tax on oil, to go along with the new taxes he also plans for coal and natural gas. If the plan sounds familiar, it's because that was President Jimmy Carter's big idea, too. And a lot of good it did us."

---- McCain, speaking on June 17 in (oil-rich) Texas.

Even CNN is beginning to notice McCain's flip-flops.

How much longer before McCain's reputation as a straight-talker is shot to hell?

September 10th Thinking

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On September 10th, 2001, John McCain was a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, (his buddy Joe Leiberman was on, get this, the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats [emphasis mine] and Capabilities) where he failed to understand who our enemies were, how they threatened us and how and where to fight them. What's new?

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

KO's Special Comments are not, often, easy to watch. He dials it up to 11 every time and then, after that, there's nowhere else left for him to go.

But you know what? In the end, he's the only guy who says what needs to be said. In the context of cable and network news, only one person -- Keith Olbermann -- delivers the unvarnished truth.

And speaking of context, KO thrashes McCain for complaining that his "not that important" comment was taken out of context:

You have attested to: a fairly easy success; an overwhelming victory in a very short period of time; in which we would be welcomed as liberators; which you assured us would not require our troops stay for decades but merely for years; from which we could bring them all home, since you noted many Iraqis resent American military presence; in which all those troops coming home will also stay there, not being injured, for a hundred years; but most will be back by 2013; and the timing of their return, is "not that important."

That, Sen. McCain, is context.

And that, Sen. McCain, is madness.

The Government Accountability Office just released a study Tuesday that concludes that one out of every ten soldiers sent to Iraq, takes with them medical problems "severe enough to significantly limit their ability to fight."

In five years, we have now sent 43-thousand of them to war even though, they were already wounded.

And when they come home, is "not that important."

Jalal al Din al Sagir, a member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and Ali al Adeeb, of the rival Dawa Political Party, gave a series of interviews last week about the particulars of this country’s demand for a "Status of Forces," agreement with Iraq, a treaty which Mr. Bush does not intend to show Congress before he signs it.

The Iraqi politicians say the treaty demands Iraq’s consent to the establishment of nearly double the number of U.S. military bases in Iraq, from about 30, to 58, and from temporary, to permanent.

Those will be American men and women who must, of necessity, staff these bases - staff them, in Mr. McCain’s M.C. Escher dream-world in which our people can all come home while they stay there for a hundred years but they’ll be back by 2013.

And when they come home, is "not that important."

Make you a deal: if watching Keith Olbermann is too exhausting for you, read the transcript. But if you want the full multi-media experience -- something at which KO and MSNBC excel -- let's go to the tape:

(Cross posted on Daily Kos)

Plenty of articles today, and earlier, about Obama's pushback on the Internet whispering campaign targeting him and Michelle.

So, today, when I received an email from a friend that contained some of the most vile, bizarre and heinous stuff I've ever read about John McCain...well, you tell me what you think:

John McCain's infamous temper has been wildly underreported in the media. For instance: The beautiful young woman who is presented to the media as his daughter is really an actress - McCain beat his real daughter to death when she was two and crying with hunger (the McCains do not believe in pampering the young by feeding them).

...and so forth and so on. Like I said, crazy stuff, totally unbelievable and bordering on the hilariously insane.

Now, this friend (who thinks we can defeat islamofascism by nuking Mecca) wasn't the sort of guy to spread this sort of stuff around.

Or was he?

I emailed him back and asked him where he found this. While I was waiting for his response (which never came, natch) I googled the email and found ... well, here's what I found:

Unhinged Obamaton: McCain Receives Payments from Ayatollahs and the Mob, Beat His Daughter to Death and Killed Vince Foster

Yes. Well. Obamatons. Of course!

Let's cut to the chase: this guy claims that the personal pages at are overrun with whackjobs spreading vicious crap about St. John, proving that Obama followers are insane. This blogger links to additional crap (now gone from the Obama site) to prove his point ... and then links to (wait for it) Little Green Snotballs which is apparently in a pearl-clutching frenzy and looking for their fainting couch over this affair.

Now, after thinking about it for about 12 nanoseconds, it occured to me that whoever posted this crap about McCain is most likely carrying water for the Republicans.

For example, remember this story?

[In the] 1986 Texas gubernatorial race...[Karl] Rove's candidate Bill Clements was taking on Democratic Governor Mark White. Just before a debate between the two candidates, Rove spun the story that his office had been bugged. No proof. But the insinuation that White's people had carried out the bugging was reported by the media. In the election, Clements defeated White.

So get ready for a slew of stories about vicious Internet rumors sliming St. John McCain -- coming from the Obama campaign, no less -- and be ready to push back hard against it.



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