Thursday, September 04, 2008

One more post this morning!

[I got this in my email and I think it sums up my feelings about that mean-spirited, deceptive, utterly repulsive Republican convention. It was amazing to me that they seemed not to have a single idea, not a single policy matter, not a single thing of near-substance. All they could do was ridicule Obama for having been a "community organizer". Rudy laughed about it at the podium. I couldn't believe it; what repulsive behavior. Though another thing I should say is that the Republican mantra of "left-wing media" seems to be working. After that totally inept speech by Palin, which didn't include a single thing except mean, low-down attack on Obama, Wolf Blitzer called it a "grand-slam." Time for media to develop some spine and some critical faculties. We already have one Fox News, don't need any more of them.]

[Ok, here's the letter I got from the Obama camp]

Johannes --

I wasn't planning on sending you something tonight. But if you saw what I saw from the Republican convention, you know that it demands a response.

I saw John McCain's attack squad of negative, cynical politicians. They lied about Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and they attacked you for being a part of this campaign.

But worst of all -- and this deserves to be noted -- they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.

You know that despite what John McCain and his attack squad say, everyday people have the power to build something extraordinary when we come together. Make a donation of $5 or more right now to remind them.

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack's experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let's clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

And it's no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America's promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it's happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.

Meanwhile, we still haven't gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies.

It's now clear that John McCain's campaign has decided that desperate lies and personal attacks -- on Barack Obama and on you -- are the only way they can earn a third term for the Bush policies that McCain has supported more than 90 percent of the time.

But you can send a crystal clear message.

Enough is enough. Make your voice heard loud and clear by making a $5 donation right now:

Thank you for joining more than 2 million ordinary Americans who refuse to be silenced.


David Plouffe
Campaign Manager
Obama for America


Blogger Max said...

Even powerful right-wing pundits know that McCain's VP pick is bullshit (see off record audio by Peggy Noonan for evidence).

Also, the media keeps talking about how McCain is closing the gap on the nationwide polls, but the funny thing is that these polls aren't even an indicator for how the election will go. I believe the latest state-by-state polls show Obama with 190 clinched electoral votes, and something like 70 likely electoral votes. McCain, on the other hand, has like 80 clinched electoral votes and 80 likely. Obama is sitting pretty in all the polls which actually indicate the outcome of the election on a state-by-state basis.

So, knowing this, I don't really give a shit what Palin or McCain say about Obama. They've got the same information as I've got, which means they know they're losing in November. Which, honestly, is probably the very reason why they're being so hostile and mean-spirited. I have the distinct feeling that the real reason Palin was selected for VP is because she has the least to lose when the democrats win. If somebody like Mitt Romney had been on the ticket with McCain, losing would pretty much make him a lame duck during the next election cycle. My guess is that they're sacrificing Palin so more established, "presidential" candidates can run against Obama in 2012. There honestly is no other reason to pick Palin, in my opinion.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I wouldn't underestimate the lying bully thing -- it will carry at least 200 electoral votes. I do think Obama will stand up to the lying and bullying, and I also think Biden will do well in the veep debate. But like I say, millions of people will *somehow* feel more comfortable with a lying bully than with a friendly stranger -- we have too great an anxiety surplus not to.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...


That's really what makes me so sick - the fact that Americans want their leader to be a mindless, lying bully.

I just couldn't believe the way they straight up lied, straight up ridiculed Obama. Have some decency and debate the ideas.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Amish Trivedi said...

I nearly broke my TV.

Johannes, if dweedle-dum and dweedle-dee win this election (which seems scarily possible), I'm out dude. I'm sooo gone. Like, far away land gone.

Of course, that's what they want.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Honestly, people. The outcome of the 2000 election was due to a voting card glitch. And in 2004, we ran a lame duck. To extrapolate from this that the people want a lying bully to run the country is at best unfair, and at worst obnoxiously cynical.

Again, all the state-by-state polls (which are the only polls that replicate the election, as it will be run) favor Obama heavily at this point.

McCain may be known for his "maverick streak," but he also knows how to win an election (as evidenced by his long career in congress), and you don't win a contentious election, in which your party is at a severe disadvantage, by selecting Sarah Palin as your running mate. You select Palin if your main interest is in creating a lasting image which will help transform the party in time for 2012.

In this election cycle, we have seen a completely reversal of the kind of politics that have dominated for the last 8 years. Since 2000, the republicans have consistently controlled the foundation for debate in this country. But McCain's nomination of Palin basically demonstrates that he's given up on the "experience" argument and has completely taken on the "change" argument. He is on Obama's turf now. The democrats are controlling the debate.

I really think the democrats need to stop being so down on themselves. I also think the democrats need to stop whining every time the republicans spout lies and insults. The reason why Kerry lost in 2004 is because he spent too much time dignifying slander and too little time firing his own shots at the republicans. Obama is smart enough to parry these ridiculous attacks. I think we should all be smart enough to do that as well.

2:29 PM  
Blogger Fran├žois said...

@Max: Just because they are probably going to lose does not mean we should sit idly while this type of discourse is going on. Not doing anything about it means it's okay.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Francois --

What you do about it is you hit back. You don't dwell on or whine about their attacks, because doing so only dignifies them. This is why Kerry lost in 2004, because the republicans just kept pounding away with their usual bullshit and his campaign was too busy flailing around defending itself to hit back.

I mean, what do we remember right now: the fact that McCain has 8 or more houses or the fact that Obama was supposedly involved in a shady real estate deal? We remember the former because, when the republicans hit back with the shady deal accusation, Obama didn't dignify it. He merely parried the attack and kept slamming McCain on his personal distance from the middle class. This is a winning strategy. Kerry would have wasted a week trying to defend himself, at which point everybody would have come to believe the republican attacks anyway.

We need a strategy that doesn't include allowing the republicans to model our candidate's image. Obama is doing a great job of controlling his own image, but he's also done a great job of controlling McCain's, as evidenced by McCain's scared-silly VP pick.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

@Max: Ah, the c-word. It isn't cynical at all to say that millions of voters will perceive McCain/Palin's outright lies and bullying as truth, strength, courage. The Republican party doesn't play long term at the expense of short term. They play divide and conquer, persist in slander, and make it look like the other guy did it. They play to anxiety, and they count on exhausted submission. Every. Time. With. Out. Fail.

2000 and 2004 mean nothing now, except as lessons on identifying how to game the electoral system and the actual voting process. One word came up over and over Wednesday night -- Ohio.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Incidentally, Krugman thinks it's resentment not anxiety. I love where he paints McCain with the Nixon brush.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Max said...

Jordan --

But McCain is on the run in this election, and he knows it. Of course he's spewing slander and lies. That just proves the desperation of his position. He just threw the entire platform of his campaign thus far ("experience") out the window and adopted Obama's terms ("change"). He is running scared, and honestly, I don't think even he thinks he's going to win. I think he chose Palin expressly because of her inexperience, so the republicans would have a fresh stable of candidates to run in 2012 (Romney, Huckabee, Giuliani, etc), candidates who wouldn't be previously tarnished by a loss on the presidential ticket.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Also, Obama is handling all the lies and slander perfectly ... by not going out of his way to defend against them. McCain is trying to pull the Rove tactic of "make your opponent waste time defending against ridiculous claims" but Obama seems to be very good at parrying these claims such that they receive a minimum of his attention.

Honestly, this is the only way to fight the tactics Rove made so popular for the right. I think that, when it comes to lies and slander affecting the voting public, people are more likely to believe there's substance the more it's covered on the news, or the more it becomes a valid focal point (i.e. is acknowledged by the candidates). The best way to avoid controversy is to duck it, and you only ever acknowledge it if the feeding frenzy is so intense that it can't possibly be avoided any longer.

I think it's perfectly valid to look back to 2004 as an alternate model of how this election could go if we were running another lame duck like Kerry, because McCain is pulling so many of the same tricks that Bush's campaign did during that election. He's trying as hard as he can to paint Obama as this elite, snobbish, effeminate guy who can't possibly protect us from evil. The difference is that Kerry would dignify these types of attacks, which then means that they're officially on the table, which furthermore means that the media is going to cover them more, which finally means that people are going to see these attacks as substantial, merely because the media is covering them. In the minds of most people, if the media covers it, that means it's significant, and if the issue is significant enough that you have to set the record straight, then something must be amiss, even if the issue is completely bogus (as it usually is with these types of Rovian attacks).

Anyway, I think silence is golden vs. republican attacks. Complaining about whether something is true or not is kind of beside the point. When it comes to spreading lies and slander, it doesn't matter whether it's true or not. What matters is whether you dignify it and thereby allow it to enter the debate.

4:05 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Max -

You know, you may be right. The more I watch McCain reacting to Palin, the more I think it's even better than clearing the air for 2012 - I think he may be throwing the race.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

I just mean, what if he really is turning his back on the rancor.. getting revenge on the party that betrayed him in '00 at the expense of taking office -- where, by the way, he's aware he'd spend his last days cleaning up the messes made by the very people who betrayed him -- doesn't seem too too farfetched, does it.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Jordan --

I'm not sure I'd go that far.

I don't think McCain wants to lose, but I think he knows he's going to lose. He has the same polling data as everybody else.

So instead of picking Romney, for example, and tarnishing his political future with a loss in the VP slot, he's picking somebody who's so green that she couldn't possibly be hurt by such an outcome (in fact, losing the election will dignify Palin and certainly increase her fame and career longevity) This leaves room for Romney and co. to run in future presidential races, without people looking back at them as lame ducks. McCain is the Bob Dole of 2008 ... a sacrificial lamb set up to lose a race that was lost years ago. This is certainly going to be the last time McCain attempts the presidency, and I'm willing to bet he'll be retiring from public office soon enough.

I think that, at this point, McCain's newfound argument for "change" is tacitly meant for his own party. Everything he does between now and election day is going to be focused on erasing GWB from the public memory and reinventing the republican party for future presidential races. Palin does this for him because she's young, relatively attractive, and marks a distinct shift back to the unflinching, fundamental, family values schtick. And her self-invention as a "hockey mom" puts an indelible maternal seal on the deal. She is every republican boy's Oedipal fantasy.

9:51 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...


McCain thinks he can win. He picked Palin to shore up his base. Now he can whistle all about "change" and reform.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Fran├žois said...

Because obviously losing the election dignified Geraldine Ferraro, Lloyd Bentsen and Joe Liebermann.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Max said...

Francois --

Being a virtual unknown and suddenly being picked for a VP slot is something that is going to help your career, whether you win or lose, if only because it puts your name in the news and lets people know who you are, i.e. the whole "bad press is still press" thing. On the other hand, if you're somebody who's been in politics for a while, and people already have some idea of who you are, it probably wouldn't look so great to be picked and lose, especially if you were hoping to run for president in the future. For Palin, I think the reception would be something more along the lines of "she's one to look out for in 2012" whereas with Romney it would be more like "why should we pick somebody who crashed and burned in 2008?" Palin gets the benefit of the doubt because she's "new blood" in the republican party.

Johannes --

Precisely. Though I don't McCain picking Palin indicates anything other than the fact that he knows his strategy up until now was a losing strategy. Obama is obviously shaping the terms of the debate in this election which, all said, is a good thing. McCain can trumpet about "change" all he wants, but he hasn't been doing it as long as Obama has, and because he's a republican, it's a lot less convincing. All Obama has to do is convince people that 4 years of McCain is 4 more years of Bush, and there goes McCain's "change" argument.

6:01 PM  

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