Saturday, August 30, 2008

McCain's Palin pick is the epitome of tokenism
Suddenly all anyone needs to qualify as a potential commander in chief is to be a religious ideologue with female gender characteristics?
By Joe Conason

John McCain plays the female card from the bottom of the deck
By choosing an X-chromosome cipher, McCain is trying to beat Obama at the identity politics game. But it's dangerous to fight on your opponent's turf.
By Gary Kamiya

WATCH: Steny Hoyer: Palin "Worse Than Dan Quayle"

John McCain Does Not Have The Judgment To Be President
by DemFromCT

Sarah Palin: Maverick or Just a Neophyte?
By John Cheney-Lippold
Palin’s policy work and history as a “maverick”—however drained that word is in recent political discourse—are those of a line-toeing conservative who vehemently supports the war, loves guns, is anti-abortion and wants to kill polar bears. No, seriously. As governor she recently sued the federal government, claiming that the 1973 Endangered Species Act, which protects polar bears, is unjust because it prohibits Alaska from fully exploring oil and natural gas sites. She wants to be able to kill polar bears to drill for oil. How Republican is that?

McCain's Baked Alaska
by Gail Collins

McCain's Sexist VP Pick
by Ann Friedman
The GOP seems to think women will eagerly vote for any ticket that includes a member of their gender. That's Republican tokenism and pandering at its worst.

The Palin Gamble
by Tim Fernholz
John McCain may have taken a bigger risk than he thinks.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Hail Mary Pass
by William Greider:

McCain's choice of an inexperienced governor reveals a campaign so weak that it resorts to a desperation play.

Palin: You're no Hillary Clinton
by Van Jones

None of my pro-Hillary female friends are falling for this obvious GOP pander. To the contrary, McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his VP is drawing hoots of derision.

Once they learn that Sarah Palin opposes rape and incest exceptions for women seeking abortion, they completely write her off.

One female friend said: "Sarah Palin is to the movement for women's equality what Clarence Thomas is to civil rights. She's an extremist and an enemy to the cause that has been fought on her behalf.... Someone should stand up and say: 'I know Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton is a friend of mine. And Sarah Palin is no Hillary Rodham Clinton.'"

One female friend did some quick internet research and said, "Sarah Palin has a great deal of surface appeal, at first. But once America's women look behind that cheerleader smile and see at her extreme social agenda, they will run the other direction."

Another said, "McCain picked a fan, not an equal partner. She has no international experience. She was just fawning all over him. No independence. Given McCain's temper, Sarah Palin probably won't challenge John McCain on any substantive issues."

Then she added, with a laugh, "The only thing he is going to let her do in the White House is teach him how to use the internet."

Another said, "It just seems desperate and calculated."

She added, "Palin makes McCain look ancient, out-of-touch and totally yesterday. McCain makes her look like a perky kid. Each one dramatically and perfectly underscores the other's weakness. At least, nobody can criticize Obama's alleged youth and inexperience now. But this is not the best team America could produce, by any stretch."

John McCain has gone from maverick to "me too" -- trying to out-Democrat the Democrats and pick up some Hillary voters.

But it ain't working.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

JOHN KERRY: Dems Will Not Be Swiftboated this Time
Questions for Hillary's Zealots
By Joe Conason —
As the Democrats convened in Denver to celebrate Hillary Clinton and nominate Barack Obama, a tiny minority of her supporters continued to behave petulantly. They whined, they blustered, they agitated themselves and each other. But what was it about Sen. Clinton’s repeated endorsements of her former opponent that they could not understand?

by John Nichols:

Overcoming internal divisions--and a century of tortured political history--Democrats chose Barack Obama as their nominee.
Joe Biden Convention Speech

Also: Ezra Klein on the plain-spoken genius of Joe Biden.
Bill Clinton Speech at Democratic Convention

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"No way, no how, no McCain"
In a speech fraught with expectations, Hillary Clinton attacked the Republican candidate with humor and ferocity, and made a clear case for sending Barack Obama to the White House
By Joan Walsh

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TED KENNEDY: Historic Speech @ Denver Convention

Isn't she lovely?

In her prime-time speech Monday, Michelle Obama foiled her harshest detractors and perhaps even won over Middle America

By Rebecca Traister


MICHELLE OBAMA: Addresses Denver Convention

Monday, August 25, 2008

Republicans and the press love revisiting Joe Biden's past, but everybody -- including the possible GOP vice-presidential candidates -- has one.

By Joe Conason

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama has picked Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, CNN reports and the AP confirms

By Mike Madden

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

McCain's Mansions

McCain's Warped Worldview
by Robert Scheer:

His irrational mix of patriotic swagger and blindness to reality is proving disturbingly successful with millions of uninformed voters.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The fall of Bush's man in Pakistan

Despite Pervez Musharraf's despotism and double-dealing with U.S. enemies, George W. Bush, John McCain and the GOP embraced him to the bitter end.

By Juan Cole

A World of Difference
by Bob Herbert

Senator John McCain will tell you outright: “I am a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.” That’s about as elastic as the facts can get.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Now Greenspan doesn't like bailouts?

The former Fed chief's criticism of the rescues of Bear Stearns, Freddie and Fannie is infuriating because he created the mess that led to them, says MSN Money's Bill Fleckenstein.Full story
President Musharraf of Pakistan Resigns
In TV Address, He Rejects Charges

Facing impeachment, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan said that by resigning, he was putting national interest above “personal bravado.”

Busting the myths about cheap and unlimited oil being broadcast by Rush Limbaugh, Jerome Corsi and other ignoramuses.

By Peter Dizikes

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Candidate We Still Don’t Know
by Frank Rich

With the exception of John McCain’s imprisonment in Vietnam, every aspect of his profile in courage is inaccurate or defunct.
Is John Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?
IT’S been more than eight years since “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” made its first foray into presidential politics with the presciently named Indecision 2000, and the difference in the show’s approach to its coverage then and now provides a tongue-in-cheek measure of the show’s striking evolution.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

By Bill Boyarsky —

Forget the moderate image, promoted by an admiring media. Forget the so-called straight talk and independence. With the Russian-Georgian war winding down, McCain has firmly established himself as an old-fashioned Cold Warrior and a supporter of the huge oil companies that have a big stake in Georgia and the rest of the Caucasus.
Make a Point at

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Putin's war enablers: Bush and Cheney

Russia's escalating war on Georgia reveals the consequences of the Bush administration's long assault on the international rule of law

By Juan Cole
Thom Hartmann interviews Ron Suskind on his new book - The Way of the World - Is this the “Gulf on Tonkin” on Steroids?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Georgia War a Neocon Election Ploy?
By Robert Scheer —
Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Overhyping Georgia
byMatthew Yglesias
The war between Russia and Georgia which appears -- mercifully -- to have ended is, of course, a searing experience for the small republic that provoked, and then badly lost, it.
But the majority of rhetoric about the conflict has been overheated. And having frittered away the past seven years on a foreign policy driven by hubris, the United States can ill-afford to misplace its priorities.

Monday, August 11, 2008

by Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier

Over the past year, the Bush administration has moved left on foreign policy -- negotiating with governments it previously shunned and abandoning its long-standing preference for unilateral action.

This shift represents nothing less than the collapse of the conservative national-security establishment that has dominated American foreign policy since the Cold War

We have this weird notion in America now that if a politician is caught in an affair that his career is done. We seem to be saying that what he did in his private life effects his policies or how he governs.
Is Obama Foreign??? He's Visiting Hawaii!!!
by Hunter

Oh for the love of God. Cokie Roberts, opining on Obama's trip to Hawaii, which...

"... does not make any sense whatsoever. I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be in Myrtle Beach, and, you know, if he's going to take a vacation at this time."

Let's review. Obama grew up in Hawaii, as we have been reminded countless times. His grandmother lives there. He's going on vacation and visiting his grandmother. In the process, he's visiting his 48th state of this campaign season, and rumors abound he's going to try to visit all 50, the first candidate to try to do so since Nixon.

According to Cokie Roberts, though, it conjures images of the foreign and exotic. He'll, he's pretty damn presumptuous. Hawaii!! Why doesn't he vacation in some God-fearing, non-foreign place? We have beaches near Washington! And grandmothers!

I've long ago realized that the entire reason for having elections in this country is so news pundits can have their every-four-years, "let's try to make everyone in America commit suicide rather than listening to us talk" competition. But what the hell, sometimes you've just got to cherish a quote. To hell with making it a signature line -- I'm going to needlepoint it and hang it on my wall.

"I know Hawaii is a state."
-- Cokie Roberts, 2008

Thank you, Cokie. Well freakin' done.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

John McCain’s Greatest Campaign Hits
By: SilentPatriot

TPM put together this hilarious montage of John McCain’s blunders and awkward moments from the 2008 campaign trail. Do we really need four more years of this?

Can you spot any they may have missed? I can think of two: First, his creepy smirk after proclaiming at one of the GOP debates that he would follow bin Laden to the gates of hell (but presumably not into Pakistan. Go figure.); Second, his uncomfortable deer-in-the-headlights moment when he was asked about his contradictory Viagra position. Feel free to add your own via the comments.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

Tackling climate change will require the U.S. and China to move beyond their historic impasse on reducing emissions, explain Hachigian and Sussman.
His Drilling Plan is Full of Holes
by Joe Conason

Touring America's oilrigs and nuclear plants, John McCain sometimes sounds as if he'll produce enough wind to power the nation all by himself. So strongly does his current rhetoric smell of methane — the gas emanating from manure — that he might even qualify for an alternative energy tax incentive.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The author of "What's the Matter With Kansas?" discusses the corrosive relationship between conservatives and business, liberal bias and his new book about Republican misrule.

By Rick Perlstein

Understanding Bushonomics
Scott Lilly details the Bush administration's unsustainable and unbalanced economic policies that have led to the current weak state of the U.S. economy.

After all the stupidity and charade surrounding the GOP’s attack on Obama –including this lampooning by Stephen Colbert — for proposing a common sense approach to increasing fuel efficiency, McCain is forced to admit that it’s a pretty good idea.


The surprise came during a telephone town hall meeting McCain held on Tuesday with voters in Pennsylvania. “Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it,” McCain said.
But he kept up his broad criticism of Obama on energy: “I … don’t think that that (inflating tires) is a way to become energy independent.”

Would that be another flip-flop, McSame? Contrary to the Team McCain attacks, Obama never suggested that properly inflating your tires and keeping your engine tuned alone will make us energy independent. But as is always true with the Republican distortion machine, facts and context never get in the way of a good smear… even when the attacker admits that the target of the smear was right all along
The lunatics are running the RNC’s asylum
By: Steve Benen

In any party or political movement, there’s bound to be a mainstream and a fringe. As a rule, the fringe looks to the mainstream for validation, and the mainstream looks at the fringe as kind of icky.

Things get interesting, of course, when the line between the mainstream and the fringe blurs. Take the Republican National Committee, for example.

The RNC is a fairly predictable, far-right animal. It’s run by lobbyists and business interests who divide their time between raising money and lying about Democrats. The RNC likes to exploit the ignorance of its base, and stoke the culture-war fires from time to time, but generally steer clear of the kind of insanity one might find in, say, a thread at the Free Republic. It’s the whole mainstream/fringe dynamic in practice.

At least, that’s usually the case. Yesterday morning, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan sent out this email to Republican donors.

It seems the Democrats’ would-be president of the United States of America really believes that the rest of the world’s problems, and approval, trump the interests of Americans when it comes to how we live our lives and where our money is spent. […]

A bill he has sponsored in the U.S. Senate, the so-called Global Poverty Act(S. 2433), would raise the amount of American tax dollars allocated to United Nations’ redistribution efforts to $845 billion.

That’s $2,500 from every American taxpayer, when many in our country already are struggling to make ends meet.

And with that, the line between the unhinged fringe and the Republican National Committee has disappeared. The lunatics, it appears, are running the asylum.You can check Google and find literally thousands of right-wing activists who are just livid about Obama’s “plan” to give the United Nations $845 billion of our money. And they can’t imagine why the media refuses to tell the public about this nefarious scheme, but they’re pretty sure news outlets are in on some kind of conspiracy to keep this dastardly plan under wraps.

The problem, of course, is that there is no such plan. It’s a right-wing myth that has been making the rounds for months, and to which the Republican National Committee has finally given its imprimatur.

At issue here is a U.N. initiative to implement its Millennium Goals on global poverty, which would, in fact, total $845 billion over 13 years — from industrialized nations across the globe.
The Congressional Budget Office did a cost-estimate analysis of Obama’s legislation, co-sponsored by Joe Biden, and found that U.S. responsibilities “would cost less than $1 million per year.”

I know Republicans can struggle with math, so I’ll make this one simple: $1 million is a lot less than $845 billion.

Jonathan Cohn concluded, “[I]t certainly appears that the Republicans are telling a pretty bald-faced lie about Obama here. Of course, that wouldn’t be so new or surprising either, would it?”

No, not at all. But it is a little surprising that the RNC would jump head-first into the nutty end of the pool. This conspiracy theory isn’t just wrong, it’s plainly insane. That the RNC is talking about it, in writing, and emailing it to supporters nationwide suggests a) these guys really are desperate; and b) they’ve completely lost their mind.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Congressional Republicans claim magical powers over oil prices
By: Steve Benen

Once again, House Republicans are on Capitol Hill during the August recess, and once again, they are holding something of a sit-in, giving spirited speeches about coastal drilling for tourists and congressional staffers who happen to pass by the charade.

Yesterday, however, there was a bit of a twist in the Republican rhetoric. Far-right lawmakers actually believe they’re affecting the market by talking to each other.

House Republicans on Tuesday said their protest of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) decision not to allow a vote on expanded offshore oil drilling has helped lower gas prices.

Heading into a third day of speeches in the near-empty chamber, Republicans acknowledged that the average price of gas and oil has declined in recent weeks. But they claimed credit for part of that reduction.

“I think the market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.) at a joint press conference with other GOP lawmakers. “I think the market realizes this kind of pressure from Congress may, in fact, lead to a change in policy.”

The Republican members did not answer questions about whether they would take the blame if gas prices go up again.

Yes, House Republicans are hosting a very sad little photo-op on the Hill, and some of them are willing to argue, out loud, in public, that simply by talking to each other about drilling, they’re able to bring the price of fuel down.

If you told me that Speaker Pelosi’s office was paying these clowns money to make House Republicans look ridiculous, I’d be tempted to believe you.(Read the rest of this story…)

by Louis Bayard
In further chronicles of Bush government deceit, author Ron Suskind drops a bombshell: The White House ordered the CIA to fake a letter linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaida.
The Forged Iraqi Letter: What Just Happened?
by Ron Suskind
What just happened? Evidence. A secret that has been judiciously kept for five years just spilled out. All of what follows is new, never reported in any way...
Robert L. Borosage: The Audacity of Contempt
Exxon reports a new record in the history of corporatedom. So Barack Obama suggests that we provide every American with a $1000 tax rebate to help pay for rising prices, paid for by levying an excess profits tax on the oil companies. What does the maverick battler of big oil say? No way. McCain angrily dismisses the idea, saying that it would lead the oil companies to reduce their drilling in the US -- but this is based upon what might generously be called a big lie.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

By Eugene Robinson

I’m confident that Sen. Lindsey Graham and the rest of John McCain’s front-line surrogates know full well what messages they’re sending about Barack Obama and race. On the off chance that they—or, more likely, some of the white voters they’re trying to reach—don’t know text from subtext from context, here’s a deconstruction.

by Bruce Fein

Alexander the Great had his self-deification. Napoleon had his self-coronation.

And President George W. Bush envies those examples.

Where have you gone John?
by Jonathan Alter
His zesty attacks on corporate greed and inspiring plans for national service are no more.
GOP won’t let go of its new tire-gauge toy
By: Steve Benen

Atrios asked yesterday, “Does anyone understand why Obama suggesting that people keep their tires properly inflated is some sort of hilarious gaffe?”

I’ve been trying to figure out the same thing for days. As the Obama campaign kicked off “energy week” with a new contrast ad and a policy speech in Michigan, Time’s Mark Halperin reports, “McCain supporters in Michigan will distribute tire gauges at Obama’s energy speech in Lansing. The RNC will also deliver gauges reading ‘Obama’s energy plan’ to Washington newsrooms.”

It looks like far-right blogs have received their copies of the Republican script, too.’s Erick Erickson is on message: “Inflating your tires and getting a regular tune-up sounds more like Obama’s plan for ego maintenance than it does for helping American families.” Ed Morrissey added, “…Obama refers to ‘big oil’ and the need to reduce our use of oil by 35% over the next twenty years. How do we get there? Keep inflating those tires, folks.”

We are, quite obviously, in the midst of a very aggressive roll-out here. John McCain criticized the notion of well-inflated tires on Friday, and Newt Gingrich described Obama’s remarks as “loony toons” during a Fox News interview. Over the weekend, McCain said, “It seems to me the only thing [Obama] wants us to do is inflate tires” to improve gas mileage.

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, still auditioning for the role of VP, even took to using a tire gauge as a prop.

“Barack Obama stood up at a speech recently and said that one of the things that is really important from energy policy from his standpoint is to check the pressure in our tires, so here’s a tire gauge and you can go out in the parking lot here and check your tires. Now, that’s an interesting thing — we want you to have good pressure in your tires, you know, it will very mildly add to your fuel efficiency — but checking the air pressure in your tires is not an energy policy for the United States of America,” Pawlenty said.

ABC News’ The Note added that tire gauges may get the Republican Party’s message “back on the road.”

There’s something deeply wrong with these people.
Scott Bateman: McCain and the Race Card

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Running While Black
by Bob Herbert
Gee, I wonder why, if you have a black man running for high public office — say, Barack Obama or Harold Ford — the opposition feels compelled to run low-life political ads featuring tacky, sexually provocative white women who have no connection whatsoever to the black male candidates.

By Eugene Robinson

It’s awfully early for John McCain to be running such a desperate, ugly campaign against Barack Obama. But I guess it’s useful for Democrats to get a reminder that the Republican Party plays presidential politics by the same moral code that guided the bad-boy Oakland Raiders in their heyday: “Just win, baby.”
McCain - Race? Not me!
by Joe Trippi

It appears to me that the McCain campaign may be executing a classic “Race? Not me!” campaign.
The past 24 hours reflect exactly how to pull it off with nary a fingerprint that matters.

First you help inject race into the campaign and raise its focus as an issue (as the McCain campaign did yesterday with a little door opening from Obama himself).

Second – this unleashes energy and anger in the African American community (energy that often the African American candidate, Obama, can not control). Leaders like James Clyburn take to the airwaves – and cable channels have two African Americans debate who is or isn’t raising race. In any case black faces dominate the cable airwaves and some of those faces are angry.

Third – McCain then appears to speak in front of an all black audience. White swing voters think “see, he isn’t racist”. And if the crowd applauds so much the better, if it boos him for tactics real or imagined white swing voters see a white guy “who is at least trying” and angry blacks who are not being duly appreciative of his effort– either way it isn’t good for Obama. McCain speaks today before the largely African American National Urban League.


Ever since McCain’s NAACP speech that seemed to me to be directed at white swing voters and not at African Americans I have believed that the McCain campaign is adept at understanding how to raise race as an issue and use it to its advantage.

Is a pattern emerging?

Note: In 1982 I served as Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s Deputy Campaign Manager for Governor of California. A lot has been made of the so called “Bradely Effect” — I may have been only in my 20’s at the time — but I saw, first hand, a campaign that used the “Race? Not me” tactic with success.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Wanting the White House in the Worst Way
The pundits who adore John McCain wonder why he has adopted campaign tactics he once despised, but his compromise with the smear merchants began a long time ago.
By Joe Conason
Wal-Mart warning employees off Democrats

Wal-Mart -- the country's largest private employer -- is holding mandatory meetings for its store managers and department supervisors, who are being warned about the potential dangers of a Democratic win this fall, the Wall Street Journal's Ann Zimmerman and Kris Maher report.

"The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don't specifically tell attendees how to vote in November's election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in,"

Zimmerman and Maher write. They quote one anonymous Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor as saying:

The meeting leader said, "I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won't have a vote on whether you want a union." I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote.

A Wal-Mart spokesman responded, "If anyone representing Wal-Mart gave the impression we were telling associates how to vote, they were wrong and acting without approval."

The law in question is the Employee Free Choice Act, which is supported by Democrats and would replace secret balloting when workers choose a union with a "card check" system, something likely to result in increased union membership.

The meetings appear to be legal, though the company may be treading on thin ice by bringing in the department supervisors. The WSJ notes, "Federal election rules permit companies to advocate for specific political candidates to its executives, stockholders and salaried managers, but not to hourly employees. While store managers are on salary, department supervisors are hourly workers." Companies are allowed to inform their workers about candidates' records and positions, however.

Wal-Mart is notorious for working to keep unions out of its stores; the WSJ recounts, "The United Food and Commercial Workers was successful in organizing only one group of Wal-Mart workers -- a small number of butchers in East Texas in early 2000. Several weeks later, the company phased out butchers in all of its stores... When a store in Canada voted to unionize... the company closed the store, saying it had been unprofitable for years."

― Alex Koppelman

Judge says Bush aides must comply with subpoenas

In a strongly worded ruling released Thursday, a U.S. District Judge rejected the Bush administration's argument that its senior officials are immune from subpoenas issued by Congress.

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the House of Representatives. The suit seeks to force former White House counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten to comply with subpoenas issued to them during the course of the Congressional investigation into the administration's controversial firing of a number of U.S. Attorneys.

"The Executive's current claim of absolute immunity from compelled congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law," U.S. District Judge John Bates wrote in his opinion. Bates went on to cite United States v. Nixon, a landmark Supreme Court ruling in which the court said, "neither the doctrine of separation of powers, nor the need for confidentiality of high-level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified Presidential privilege of immunity from judicial [or congressional] process under all circumstances."

Bates did say in his ruling, however, that Miers and Bolten could assert executive privilege regarding specific questions or documents; he only barred a blanket assertion of immunity.

It's not yet certain that Miers and Bolten will comply with the subpoenas against them. The White House can appeal Bates' ruling, and as Bates himself noted, it probably will. One reason to pursue an appeal is that it could drag on for quite some time, and meanwhile the game clock is running out quickly -- the subpoenas expire with the inauguration of a new House in January, though they could be re-issued.

And it's worth noting, by the way, some interesting parts of Bates' resume: he worked for Ken Starr as a deputy independent counsel and was appointed to the bench by President Bush.
We've made both Bates' opinion and the resulting order he issued available for download in PDF form. The opinion is here, and the order is here.

― Alex Koppelman

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