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October 2, 2008

Moose-1, Biden-0

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin engaged in a spirited if ultimately inconsequential debate with Delaware Senator Joe Biden Thursday in St. Louis with a polished, pristinely prepped Palin clearing the hurdles cleanly while laying on the folksy Soccer Mom shtick. Biden, for his part, reined in his gregariousness to a kindly, fatherly college professor, effortlessly negotiating the debates’ turns while thwupping Senator John McCain every chance he got. Kudos to McCain’s prep machine for slowing Sarah Palin’s freefall toward a national joke, though I found her at times robotic and perhaps a little *too* obviously coached. She seemed to know what to say while not having the best grasp on what those words meant. I wish Biden could have challenged her, in several places, to expand on her talking points to find the water’s edge of her ability.

For his part, Biden seemed to all but ignore Palin, who was of little consequence to Biden other than that the debate gave Biden another opportunity to pound on John McCain. Palin’s attempt to spin Biden from Bush-McCain toward “the future” didn’t work, as we are all in fact evaluating the Bush administration and John McCain’s complicity in many of that administration’s failures. But she wasn’t awful. She stood up straight. She smiled. She had a few really well-prepared responses.

While the news media seems ready to award the debate to Biden, I actually think it’s a net win for Palin. After all, John McCain’s *entire campaign* rested on this debate. Had Plain frozen up, moose-in-headlights, what remained of the GOP faithful’s faith in her would surely have collapsed. But moderator Gwen Ifill never seemed to ask any questions that might have stumped Palin—such as asking her to name *any* Supreme Court decision other than Roe v. Wade or, perhaps, what newspapers she reads. To that end, I was a little disappointed with the moderator, whom I found quite dull. I didn’t find the questions terribly probing or demanding, just open opportunities for rehearsed stump speeches. I doubt the debate moved the needle for either candidate: if you liked McCain, you probably still do, if you liked Obama, you probably still do. The big disappointment: so far as I can tell, at no point did the moderator ask the most obvious question: “Why should the American people feel comfortable with you being a heartbeat away from the presidency?” A glaring omission for a veep debate. An even bigger disappointment: no major comedy from Palin, whose generic, grade-C performance fell far short of the cringe-inducing mindless rambling of her recent network interviews. She walked across the stage. She didn’t fall down. Net win: Palin.


October 5, 2008




Winky And The Bean

"The heels are on, the gloves are off!" Sarah "Winky" Palin said to rousing cheers Saturday in her patented annoying eighth-grade science teacher whine. What does that mean? What does *anything* this woman says actually mean? All of which, of course, beggars the question, at what point was the McCain campaign anything *but* divisive, racist and negative?

MCCain's campaign is now a national embarrassment. HIs solution to every issue: Blame Obama For It. And who, exactly, is falling for this?


October 12, 2008

Mea Culpa

Meanwhile, if McCain really wants to change the conversation and halt Obama’s momentum, there’s a really easy way to do it: apologize. Fire his campaign advisors and apologize for having been such a turd. Rise form his coma and be the good guy again. We saw how effective that strategy might be when he defended Obama from the “He’s An Arab” woman. If I were McCain’s advisors, that’d be my move: mea culpa. Take the hit. “If I lose, at least let me lose with my honor intact.” And watch the uncommitted hockey moms scamper back across toward him. It would be unprecedented. It would be cynically disingenuous. It would be brilliant.



It’s important to note that, were Senator Barack Obama running the kind of divisive, hateful campaign Senator John McCain is running, I’d be beating up on him, too. It really annoys me when people assume I am “in the tank” for Obama because I criticize McCain’s tactics. I’m really not. He’s got good ideas, but his positions on the issues are hardly revolutionary: they seem Democratic chic, in line with Hillary’s or Edwards’ or whomever. They don’t stray very far from the Democratic esthete. I like Obama for the reasons many voters are liking him these days: because he’s not John McCain. McCain has really burned me out with the negative attacks. I mean, it’s just overkill. The guy—the nice old guy talking gently about how he hates war—that was a guy to be feared. His argument was so reasonable, his approach so rational, that I thought he’d be a tough guy for Obama to beat. The new Jerry Springer McCain is all brass, over the top. He’s winding up the fringe brigade and, trust me, someone *will* take a pop at Obama before this is over, likely riled up by a McCain ad marathon on YouTube. In tone and rhetoric, McCain rallies do not, at my distance from them, differ measurably from rallies the Klan might throw or, say, the American Nazi party. The frenzy, the alarm and hatred from those rallies—middle-class God-fearing whites talking about how Obama doesn’t see America the way they do, that they are afraid of a an Obama presidency—well, good, pal. Now you know how *I* felt when Dubya got sworn in.

But here’s the thing, the thing that really frightens me about America: if Obama was smearing McCain (well, okay, I mean on the level McCain is playing at), if Obama was stirring up hate and even violence toward McCain and using hateful, deceptive and divisive tactics—I could never support the guy. Black? So what. Democrat? Who cares. If the situation was reversed, I’d be just as vocal about Obama’s sleazy tactics as I am about McCain’s. My ire is not politically or racially motivated. I’m angry because McCain and Palin are *weasels.* And their campaign is a hateful, steaming turd.

It annoys me that white folk tend to assume I’m in the tank for Obama because of some shared ancestry. I’m sure a great many nlacks are, in fact, Obama supporters for no other reason. I mean, *I* can’t discuss Obama’s health care plan intelligently, and most black folk I know couldn’t tell you even a single policy issue the man holds. But I was a huge John McCain fan back in 2000. I mean it, I was thinking of volunteering for the guy. While I am indeed immeasurably pleased by the historic nature of Obama’s success, my vote was hardly automatic. And it wasn’t even so much that Obama earned my vote as it was that McCain lost it. That his nasty, divisive campaign just turned me off. His selection of Winky Palin and her subsequent hateful, empty-headed skullduggery were just nails in the coffin. I question McCain’s judgment. He seems off his game, indecisive, snippy. He has no message other than Don’t Vote For The Black Kid. That’s it. It’s his only message: makes us afraid of the black guy. His entire campaign seems largely improvisational, and he has so many Republicans lying for him, supporting Winky, that he’s doing inestimable damage not only to his own brand name but to these Republicans’ credibility as well. These people know Palin is an onion. They do. Yet they go out there like soldiers, lying and in obvious agony about having to do so. The West Wing’s “Bingo Bob” Russell is a brain trust compared to Palin.

Continue reading "Tanked" »


Good Fences

Can anybody tell me what the purpose of yard signs is? I mean, what purpose would an Obama or McCain yard sign serve other than to irritate your neighbors? I see some yard signs around here—every last one of them is a McCain sign. I’ve seen absolutely no Obama yard signs, which doesn’t mean Obama has no supporters, we just don’t put a sign in our yards. I, personally, don’t see the point. Neighbors who support McCain will be irritated, though I doubt they’d say anything. The signs won’t be changing anyone’s mind, just inducing a quiet polarization on the block. Same thing with bumper stickers and buttons and so forth: by now, most people know which way they are leaning. By now, many if not most of us are, frankly, sick of hearing about politics or the campaign. Other than, I suppose, making you feel good about you, all this stuff does is annoy people. And I have more than enough people annoyed at me already.


October 15, 2008

7 AM

Reasons Priest won’t ever live in New York again: Morning in Colorado.

View image


October 20, 2008

Moose Pot Pie

John McCain is now appearing in a soft-sell ad that is virtually ripped off of the “fireside chat” ads Barack Obama has been running. Gone are the Matrix-style dark, scary graphics and ominous music, replaced by McCa sitting in a comfy chair in an earth-tone living room reminiscent of the room Obama sits in in his own commercials. However, instead of just telling us his ideas, McCain, who occasionally goes wide-eyed, looking like Grampa Goober moreso than the leader of the free world, takes a few pokes at Obama. He just can’t go sixty seconds without being mean. I give him credit for the tone shift—that can only help him. But the pokes remind us the mean uncle is still in there, and his overall discomfort with the setting (or, perhaps, the brazen lift from the Obama idea) undermines the entire effort.

I thought Palin on SNL was hilarious, but I’m not sure it helped her, certainly not with her base. I think, at best, it may have stopped or slowed the bleeding, Palin demonstrating she can take a joke. NOT going on the show was certainly hurting her. But, net-net, I think the libs are still not feeling Palin, and support for her among moderates in her own party seems to be in freefall. OTOH, anything that doesn’t patently harm Palin is a net win for her. Having some fun, albeit at her own expense, was likely thought to be a no-lose proposition for her. I really enjoyed the dancing moose—seriously, it was hilarious. Lorne Michaels has GOT to be voting Republican.

Dave Letterman ate John McCain up Thursday. Ate him up. Dave has been phoning it in for years, now. But his evisceration of McCain proved what I’ve believed all along: Dave is usually at his best when you piss him off. Dave revealed a real depth of skill in interviewing I’ve not seen from him in quite some time as, these days, he kind of sleep walks through it. But he was sharp and relentless, and better than any network interview with McCain I’ve seen. Amazing.


2000 Days

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraq's parliament Saturday to reject a U.S.-Iraqi security pact as tens of thousands of his followers rallied in Baghdad against the deal. The mass public show of opposition came as U.S. and Iraqi leaders face a Dec. 31 deadline to reach agreement on the deal, which would replace an expiring U.N. mandate authorizing the U.S.-led forces in Iraq. (AP) The conflict with al-Sadr is especially troubling considering the cleric is principally responsible for the success of the U.S. troop surge which has substantially reduced violence and increased stability in Iraq. The surge—which is the main Republican reference point to the Iraqi war—is generally considered a success and that success is generally attributed to General David Petraeus and, more reluctantly, to President Bush. But the success of the troop surge is not merely or entirely a military success, but a political and strategic one. Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward states in his book, The War Within: A Secret White House History, that a ceasefire by the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi army militias, the Anbar Awakening in which Sunni fighters allied themselves with US forces to fight against al-Qaida, and a US assassination campaign against extremist leaders played the largest role in the drop of violence. Should al-Sadr withdraw his cooperation, it would undermine the political claim that the Iraqi war, now virtually banished from the headlines, is, essentially, behind us. A claim made 2000 days ago tomorrow by President George W. Bush, who, standing beneath a “Mission Accomplished” banner, declared that major combat operations in Iraq had been competed.

Much as conservative politicians like to crow about the success of the surge, the Iraq war dates back much farther than January of 2007. Four years before, in fact, to March 20, 2003 and President George W. Bush’s inexplicable rush to war, despite Iraqi dictator Sadaam Hussein’s all but turning himself in—agreeing to virtually all U.S. demands for disclosure and monitoring of Iraq’s weapons programs. Four thousand U.S. casualties, thirty thousand U.S. wounded, a half-trillion dollars and counting, and two thousand days since the president’s aircraft carrier grandstanding later, there remains no coherent exit strategy, no game plan, and the hasty negotiations for U.S. forces to remain in Iraq threaten to unravel the “surge” the GOP have been crowing about for months; a strategy Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has acknowledged only cautiously and at some distance, heeding the words of the strategy’s architect Petraeus, who described the situation in Iraq as “tenuous” and “reversible.” He later said in September that, “I don't use terms like ‘victory’ or ‘defeat’... I’m a realist, not an optimist or a pessimist. And the reality is that there has been significant progress but there are still serious challenges.”

Isalute our brave men and women who have sacrificed so much in the name of freedom, hoping fervently for the day when war will become obsolete, and our sons and daughters may be welcomed home.


October 22, 2008

Obama Night Live

The new rumor is Obama may go on SNL Nov. 1. If they have any sense of humor at all, they'd have Obama come on and administer CPR to the moose.



About October 2008

This page contains all entries posted to According To Me in October 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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