The Herald-Dispatch |

I Have Issues (A Political Blog)
Coverage and opinion of political and social issues, as well as commentary on local, state and world news and coverage of the ongoing 2008 political campaign.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

James Garner should sue John McCain

for this ad.

Following McCain's negative barrage last week, Obama hit back with an ad tying McCain to Bush and his policies.

Whether it successfully counters the GOP blitz is uncertain, but Obama does have McCain on defense, at least for now.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Going down that low road

So the GOP tried the "Obama thinks he's God" ad with Moses.

And they tried the "Obama is Britney" approach.

And the easily discredited "Obama won't see wounded troops" ad.

Now it's time for the "Obama wants to kill newborn babies" campaign.

Sadly, that's not a joke.

Or even a bit of Jonathan Swift-style cleverness.

They really want voters to think Barack Obama is in favor of allowing parents to kill their kids after they're born.

From FOX News' "Hannity's America"

CORSI: Exactly, even extensively looking back at his record when he was in the state legislature in Illinois. His completely pro-abortion position, his --

HANNITY: Even if a child was born.

CORSI: Even if a child was born, he said the woman still had the right to kill the child in an abortion.

HANNITY: Unbelievable.
Q: How you can tell when you shouldn't believe something on Hannity's show?

A: Whenever he does his canned, going-to-get-the-vapors bit and says something is "unbelievable."

Media Matters gives you the the real story:
In making the false assertion about Obama's position -- Obama has of course never supported giving people the right to kill their children -- Corsi was also misrepresenting the legislation to which he was referring, a bill amending the Illinois Abortion Law of 1975. Opponents of the bill said the legislation was unnecessary as the Illinois criminal code unequivocally prohibits killing children, and said that it posed a threat to abortion rights.
So who is this Mr. Corsi?

Jerome Corsi is a longtime GOP operative, brought up under the dirty tricks of Charles Colson from the Nixon era. He's the guy who wrote the anti-Kerry smear book "Unfit for Command," in 2004, which was loaded with factual errors. He's got a new one out, called "The Obama Nation," which seeks to do the same to this year's Democratic candidate. No surprise that's it's also loaded with falsehoods.

In addition he's a member of controversial conservative Web site Free Republic, where he posts under the name "jrlc." As Media Matters reports, his posts there are filled with racist and sexist rants.

So, obviously, he's another one of Hannity's many friends of character.

McCain promised us a "respectful" campaign about the issues. Will he address this segment and Hannity's tactics when he inevitably shows up on the show to again court the rightwing vote?

Don't hold your breath.

How about frequent Hannity guest and McSurrogate Joe Lieberman?

He did, after all, hint that he was going to address the Republican National Convention for McCain and denounce "partisan mudslinging." Surely, this qualifies as such in Joe's eyes.

And, if any Democratic voters think this kind of strategy is so over-the-top that voters won't take it seriously, they should look at the latest polls.

Obama's lead in the Gallup survey has all-but-evaporated and McCain is now leading by one point in Rasmussen's latest.

All thanks to McCain's kitchen sink campaign of the last week.

Sandy Goodman, a retired producer for NBC News, writes about the negative turn in the campaign at HuffPo:
Obama has his work cut out for him. He must find a way to combat McCain's so far successful campaign of character assassination or risk losing the election. This is a year the Democrats should win everything, after eight years of the disasters Republicans have foisted on this country and the world.


In politics as elsewhere in life, truth, justice and virtue too often don't triumph. Neither will Obama if he doesn't figure out how to combat McCain's gutter campaign.
Voters say they oppose negative campaigns, but the reason politicians keep running them is because, quite simply, they work.

Portrait of Hannity by me

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Sunday, August 3, 2008


- Gloria Steinem, one of Hillary Clinton's biggest supporters gets on record supporting the Democratic candidate:
Steinem is supporting Obama in the general race. “Women are more than smart enough to see that McCain’s policies are a disaster ... He is anti every reproductive issue we’ve ever fought for.”

She believes women will vote for Obama even if Clinton doesn’t get the much-mooted consolation prize of the vice-president’s spot on the Democratic ticket – a job Steinem doesn’t think is good enough for her anyway. Why? “It’s not an independent position, to put it mildly. I would rather see her as the president of the Senate.”
- John McCain is vetting Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor as a possible V-P.

- At WVaBlue: Anne Barth goes mud bogging.

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Did McCain play the race card? Gergen thinks so

Political veteran David Gergen, who served in the White House with Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton, says McCain's new attack ad uses racial codewords.
"I think the McCain campaign has been scrupulous about not directly saying it, but it's the subtext of this campaign. Everybody knows that. There are certain kinds of signals. As a native of the south, I can tell you, when you see this Charlton Heston ad, 'The One,' that's code for, 'he's uppity, he ought to stay in his place.' Everybody gets that who is from a southern background. We all understand that. When McCain comes out and starts talking about affirmative action, 'I'm against quotas,' we get what that's about."


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Recommended reading: John Helleman

Josh Marshall of TPM picked this one as a must-read and I'm passing it on.

John Helleman of New York magazine (not to be confused with The New Yorker of Barack and Michelle cartoon cover fame) analyzes the McCain attack strategy, the rationale behind it and its chances:
...the motor behind his operation now is Steve Schmidt, the shaven-headed strategist who earned his bones running Karl Rove’s war room in 2004, Frenchifying and de-war-heroizing John Kerry. What Schmidt and his associates have apparen tly concluded is that McCain’s weaknesses—on the election’s most salient issues and as a candidate—are so pronounced and Obama’s vulnerabilities so glaring that the low road is their guy’s best, and maybe only, route to the White House.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Double standards: The "Arrogant and Cocky" edition

Following some cropped quotes and bad reporting by Dana Milbank of The Washington Post and a blatantly dishonest ad from Sen. John McCain, the punditocracy has been endlessly echoing the charge that Obama is presumptuous and getting too full of himself.

This is the same beltway media that had no problem with ego and couldn't stop fawning over George W. Bush's most over-the-top moment — the carrier landing stunt five years ago.

Never mind that a large segment of the country found it tasteless:

MSNBC's Chris Matthews:
And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star
Ann Coulter (to Matthews):
It's tremendous. It's hard to imagine any Democrat being able to do that. And it doesn't matter if Democrats try to ridicule it. It's stunning, and it speaks for itself.
NBC's Brian Williams:
He's a youthful guy. He looked terrific and full of energy in a flight suit.
The New York Times, sounding like a bad dime store novel:
He hopped out of the plane with a helmet tucked under his arm and walked across the flight deck with a swagger that seemed to suggest he had seen Top Gun. Clearly in his element, he was swarmed by cheering members of the Lincoln's crew.
CBS' Bob Schieffer:
As far as I'm concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.
Margaret Carlson:
It was so well done, and even though we knew that everything was choreographed down to, you know, catching that fourth hook on the ship, it was still a pretty stirring tableau. Cecil B. DeMille couldn't have been done better. And even though you know there's no Santa Claus, Christmas is still great, as it was with that particular moment.
I don't think I need to mention that the charges against Obama are baseless and just the latest in the attempt by the GOP to turn the race away from issues and to personality-based voting.

Still, it's interesting how the talking heads are suddenly big fans of the humble approach to politics.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"McPathetic" or "A Respectful Run"

Earlier this year, John McCain promised his campaign would be different and would engage the American people on issues.

Well, that promise of "a respectful run" + Karl Rove as an advisor = This:

Ladies and gentlemen, the single stupidest political ad of all time!


McCain's ad, titled "Celeb" and set to air in 11 battleground states, intercuts
images of Obama on his trip to Europe last week with video of twenty-something
pop stars Spears and Hilton — both better known for their childish off-screen
"He's the biggest celebrity in the world, but is he ready to lead?"
the voiceover asks, noting the Illinois senator's opposition to offshore oil
drilling and suggesting he would raise taxes if elected.

Basically, the argument is "Britney Spears is popular with the young 'uns. Paris Hilton is popular with the young 'uns. Barack Obama is popular with the young 'uns. Therefore, electing Obama would be like having Britney Spears as president."

Nevermind that Britney and Paris are yesterday's news as far as being taken seriously by the youth and that McCain is once again showing how out-of-touch he is with anyone under 65.

Just stop and ask yourself, "Is this really the way the world's most influential democracy should be picking its leaders?"

The spot, titled "The Low Road," witnesses the Illinois Democrat playing his
trump card: tying McCain to George W. Bush, both in politics and in
"He's practicing the politics of the past: John McCain," reads
the ad. "His attacks on Barack Obama: not true, false, baloney, the low road,
baseless. John McCain same old politics same failed policies."
A picture of
the presumptive Republican nominee shaking hands with the soon-to-be-departed
president fills the screen.

Photo: AP


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

McNasty claim is false (no surprise)

The nonpartisan takes a look at McCain's latest commercial, which claims Obama neglected wounded troops while in Germany.

The group finds the spot "falsely insinuates that Obama canceled his visit because "the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras."


Monday, July 28, 2008


Now we're seeing why he was given that nickname in high school.

This last few week, he's getting increasingly desperate - from thinly-veiled attacks on Obama's patriotism to nonsensical accusations of neglecting the troops (nevermind the fact that McMaverick was the one who opposed the recent GI Bill).

Senator Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska has had enough.
"John is treading on some very thin ground here when he impugns motives and when we start to get into, 'You're less patriotic than me. I'm more patriotic ... "it's just not responsible to be saying things like that."
Hagel used to be considered one of McCain's strongest allies. He backed McCain in his 2000 run and was, at one point, someone many thought would be on a McCain short list for V-P.

But in the last year, he's spoken out more and more against the war in Iraq and McCain and Bush's positions. Hagel's wife's has donated to Obama and he's even said he'd consider a V-P position on an Obama ticket, if offered. Probably won't happen - but he's made it known to the Obama campaign.

By the way, isn't it a strange coincidence that this sudden, ugly turn in McCain seems to happen around the same time Karl Rove took a more active role in his campaign?

Expect lots more of this kind of MaverickyStraightTalkTM as we enter the final 100 days of the race.

Photo AP


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Checking in on Hagee

It's been a while since we heard from nutjob televangelist John Hagee. The controversial pastor was courted by McCain for months. When he finally got his endorsement, McStraighttalk stood by his man for months as controversial statements (praising Hurricane Katrina for wiping out New Orleans, for instance) from the ministry's history became publicized.

Eventually, McMaverick couldn't take the heat and decided to reject him, along with the man he called his "spiritual guide," televangelist and faith healer Rod Parsley.

Hagee has been quiet for a bit, but this week he's kicking off his long-promised gathering of followers at a D.C. conference (McSurrogate Joe Lieberman will be there).

Even though Hagee has hired a p.r. firm to try to put a pretty face on his conference, you don't have to dig too deep to see what kind of fanatical people McCain was seeking to win the approval of.

The American News Project has video and a report on this. Check it out here.

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CBS covers for McCain's error

Can we bury that tired "lib'rul media bias" myth once and for all?

CBS News, which is under fire for its editing of Katie Couric's interview with Senator John McCain last night, defended the editing in a statement to Politico.

In the version of the interview that aired, an apparent McCain error reversing of the surge and the Sunni awakening was edited out, and a different answer was shown in response to the same question, drawing criticism from Huffington Post and from MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, among others.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


- Public health hazard number one: Bob Novak.

- Bush on the economic crisis:
"There's no question about it. Wall Street got drunk ... it got drunk and now it's got a hangover. The question is how long will it sober up and not try to do all these fancy financial instruments."
Write your own joke here.

- Rasmussen has Obama leading in Florida. 49-47%.

- Lina Newhouser, co-founder of has died at age 56.

- Rasmussen also has McCain up by 10 in Ohio, which is the opposite of PPP's latest poll, which has Obama up by 8.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

The Real McCain 2

The follow-up video from Robert Greenwald of Brave New Films.


Well, that was quick

McCain has decided to kiss and make up with top advisor and complete jerk Phil Gramm.

Robert Scheer explains how Gramm's lobbyist-driven policies led to Enron and the current banking crisis here.

UPDATE: Looks like Novak's source spoke too soon. Gramm has resigned. To use the most overused GOP cliche, "Look how many people are under the bus in that campaign."

In this Feb. 3, 2008 file photo, former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm looks on at right as Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. addresses a rally at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn. The Associated Press


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


- McCain is still living like it's 1993.

- Sam Seder's "A Bad Situationist" is released.

-Elizabeth Dole feels the GOP's celebrated bigot isn't celebrated enough.
Republican Senator Dole introduced an amendment to name an HIV/AIDS relief bill after the recently deceased Jesse Helms. Helms, of course, was a strident foe of HIV/AIDS prevention, research and treatment.
- Obama maintains a lead over McCain in the latest polls.

- Mike Meehan is the dumbest man alive.

- Another McFlip-flop from John McCain: This time on gay adoptions. The straight-talker changed his position on this one in just two days.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Also a week of McGaffes

AP recaps McCain's horrible week. They mention the Gramm stuff, but here's a few more I haven't mentioned:
_Monday: At an otherwise well-received town hall event in Denver, McCain described the Social Security system as it currently operates as "an absolute disgrace" and said "it's got to be fixed." Liberal groups seized on the comment. McCain later said the disgrace is that young workers will not benefit from the program if long-term financing problems are not addressed. He vowed to work with Democrats and Republicans to do so.

_Tuesday: After ordering a cheesesteak sandwich at a popular Pittsburgh hangout, McCain invited reporters' questions. Asked about surprisingly large shipments of cigarettes to Iran, where U.S. exports are discouraged, McCain quipped: "Maybe that's a way of killing them." The joke seemed less funny a day later, when he somberly criticized Iran's test-firing of missiles. Bloggers, cable news shows and others replayed the sound bite repeatedly.

_Friday: The calmest day of McCain's week nonetheless included one of those odd moments that cause some supporters to wonder about his political dexterity. A woman at the Hudson forum denounced the Democratic Party and asked McCain if he would "hammer away at their socialist, Marxist philosophy." His "yes" response drew wild applause.

And then there was this bit of odd forgetfulness.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Week of McDodges

There was the question on Viagra vs. contraceptives while he was in Portsmouth:
When asked Wednesday if he had voted in the Senate against a proposal to require insurance companies to cover contraceptive products, McCain replied, "I don't know enough about it to give you an informed answer because I don't recall the vote... I don't usually duck an issue, but I'll try to get back to you."
Was he feigning forgetfulness? Who knows, but then there the question about his votes on veterans issues:
In a Denver town hall meeting yesterday, a Vietnam veteran challenged Sen. John McCain on his Senate voting record regarding veterans issues, remarking he had voted against increasing vets health funding four years in a row. Ignoring the veteran ’s point, McCain insisted that he had received every award from every major veteran’s organization.
Not only did he dodge the question, but he forgot that he received a "D" from Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a rating of only 20 percent from Disabled American Veterans and that he opposed Sen. Jim Webb's G.I. Bill, which was backed by The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars - two groups he claims he gets a "perfect" rating from.

Photo: AP


Recommended reading: Bill Scher

The proprietor of Campaign for America's Future nails it on McCain's economic brain:

Phil Gramm is Conservatism
Phil Gramm thinks that the economy is wonderful and those that feel otherwise are mistaken. This is does not make Gramm uniquely callous. It just makes him a conservative.

For several years, conservatives have been mightily trying to insist the economy tastes great, so shut up and eat it.

AP file photo


TPM has some fun with this in their latest video:


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Phil Gramm is still a jerk and McCain McFlippity-flops

Remember Phil Gramm, the obnoxious and mean-spirited GOP senator from Texas?

He was best-known for this kind of stuff:

When an elderly widow in Corsicana told him that cutting Medicare would make it
more difficult for her to remain independent, Gramm said, "You haven't thought
about a new husband, have you?"

He was also a world class hypocrite: posing as a faux populist and railing against government waste while sending pork barrel money back to his Texas campaign backers; courting the religious right and blovating about morality while trying to finance a soft-core adult movie (not a joke - See the N.Y.Times).

Gramm also never met an industry he didn't want to deregulate for Corporate America. Among his key works in the Senate was deregulating the banking industry to pave the way for the foreclosure crisis.

Yes Phil Gramm was probably one of the worst politicians of the '90s. He ran for president and failed miserably in 1996. Then he served out his Senate term and retired to work as a lobbyist (for subprime company UBS among others) and spend more time with his wife (who was on the board of directors at Enron.)

Well, he's back!

McMaverick has picked him as an economic advisor.

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners," he said. "You just hear this
constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in
decline" despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth
continues in the economy, he said.
McCain initially stood by Gramm's ugly comments. But now, in the millionth example of McCain trying to say that one of the career lobbyists he constantly surrounds himself is not really representative of his campaign, McStraighttalk says:

"Phil Gramm's comments are not representative of John McCain's views. John
McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting,
feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they'll pay their mortgage.
That's why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas
pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work."
McCain, however, is keeping the patron saint of lobbyists on the campaign and Gramm, in his typically insensitve, nasty manner, is standing by his statement.

"I'm not going to retract any of it. Every word I said was true," Gramm

Though he did try to weasel out of it and claim that he wasn't referring to the American people , but leaders in Washington (classic Gramm phony populism), but the idea that the economic problems are imaginary stays.


For more info on what a wonderful guy Gramm is, check out Mother Jones' article on his retirement from the senate. That's where you can find stuff on McCain's economic mastermind like this statement:

"Most people don't have the luxury of living to be 80 years old," Gramm
scoffed, "so it's hard for me to feel sorry for them." (responding to
another senator who pointed out that a social security proposal would hurt

Photo: Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm introduces Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to speak at a town hall meeting, Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007, in Des Moines, Iowa.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Doubletalk Express coming to Portsmouth

So McCain is holding a town hall meeting in Portsmouth tomorrow.

Just don't think it's some kind of open event, especially if you're a 61-year-old librarian:

DENVER, Colo.-On orders from Senator John McCain's security detail, Denver police escorted a 61-year-old woman away who was waiting in line to attend a so-called town hall meeting with McCain that was billed as open to the public.

Carol Kreck, who works as a librarian in Denver, held a homemade sign reading "McCain = Bush." On orders from McCain's security detail, police cited her for trespassing and escorted her to the sidewalk. She was told if she returned she would be arrested.

Lipstick is wiped from the face of Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by his wife Cindy McCain after she kissed him during a town hall-style meeting at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in Denver, Monday, July 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)


Monday, July 7, 2008

Is it just me...

or is John McCain slowly morphing into annoying 60 Minutes curmudgeon Andy Rooney?


Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Republican presidential hopeful John McCain hasn’t voted in the Senate since April 8.

That’s when McCain and presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama joined 90 other senators in voting to limit debate on a proposal aimed at stemming the tide of home foreclosures. Two and a half months later, the Senate voted again Tuesday to limit debate on housing legislation, a new version this time (HR 3221). Neither McCain, R-Ariz., nor Obama, D-Ill., showed up for the 83-9 vote.


Build McCain's Magic Battery and win fabulous prizes!

McMaverick has announced his plans for solving the energy crisis with an exciting new contest!

Sen. John McCain on Monday called for a $300 million prize to whoever can develop a battery that will "leapfrog" the abilities of current hybrid and electric cars.
Sen. John McCain wants someone to develop a battery that can "leapfrog" those available in current electric cars.
Citing high oil prices, the Republican presidential candidate said he wants his offer to "deliver a power source at 30 percent of the current costs."
Why invest in a national effort following the model of the Apollo Program and focus government research and development on solutions when you can give a massive jackpot to some guy working in his shed?

Obama responds (via Detroit News):
"When John F. Kennedy decided that we were going to put a man on the moon, he didn't put a bounty out for some rocket scientist to win -- he put the full resources of the United States government behind the project and called on the ingenuity and innovation of the American people," the Illinois senator said in a speech in Las Vegas. "That's the kind of effort we need to achieve energy independence in this country, and nothing less will do."
Apaprently Obama didn't pick up on the gaming spirit while he was in Vegas.

Why should McCain stop with the energy crisis?

- Why not give away a Hawaiian vacation to the person that comes up with a way out the housing crisis?

- Find a way to achieve stability in Iraq and this washer/dryer combo can be yours!

- And finally, erase our staggering national debt by offering $500 million and a lifetime supply of Cool Whip to the first American to create a working time machine!*

*Don't worry about how such a prize would add to the debt. Once we go back in time and give officials the winning Powerball numbers, happy days will be here again! (or maybe they already are - because technically if you go into the past from the future, said changes would already be in effect in the present ... I think. Time travel confuses me)

-Photo: AP, Art: Metro

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Sunday, June 22, 2008


-Tom Brokaw will serve as moderator of Meet The Press through the November election.

- Ariana Huffington has a great slogan for McCain: "It's Doleja Vu all over again."

- The Washington Post says hate groups are using Obama's candidacy for recruting.

- Spoiler fears: Republicans are increasingly worried that Libertarian candidate Bob Barr will draw votes from McCain.

- While the oil companies are pushing for more drilling, the Petroleum Marketers Association of America, which represents the distribution end of the business, has launched a site, offering a different solution to the gas crisis.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

More double standards

Jamison Foster looks at the way the media covers campaign finance for Obama and McCain. Read it here.
I have seen no indication that a single reporter has asked McCain to reconcile his criticism of Obama with his own on-again, off-again relationship with the public financing system. And precious few news reports made any mention of the matter.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

McCain on coastal drilling


(from three weeks ago)
On a campaign stop in Greensdale, Wisconsin, the Senator suggested that turning to the nation's coast for energy needs would be something of a waste in time and effort and do little to resolve America's broader energy needs.

(from yesterday)
"I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use," he said on Tuesday, "as a matter of fairness to the American people, and a matter of duty for our government, we must deal with the here and now, and assure affordable fuel for America by increasing domestic production."
Sounds like someone is pandering to the rightwing radio guys.

Above inconsistencies courtesy of Sam Stein at HuffPo.

Photo: AP

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

With a little help from his McSexist friends...

As McJoan at DailyKos reports, John McCain had to cancel a fundraiser with a contributor set for Monday in Texas. The contributor, a Mr. Clayton Williams, has already raised $300,000 for the Mavericky StraighttalkerTM.

McCain had to cancel when people began to focus on Williams' past.

Williams ran for governor of Texas in 1990 against the late, great Ann Richards (and lost). Williams, a bazillioniare businessman ran a joke of a campaign that focused on his fake cowboy image.

During the campaign Williams exhibited his lovely sense of humor:
Clayton Williams stirred controversy during his 1990 campaign for governor of Texas with a botched attempt at humor in which he compared rape to weather. Within earshot of a reporter, Williams said: “As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.
Here's a Richards campaign commercial on the subject:

To me, the real issue is McCain's explanation:

McStraighttalk's campaign claims they were unaware of the comments:
"These were obviously incredibly offensive remarks that the campaign was unaware of at the time this event was scheduled," Rogers said. He added that Williams apologized for the comments back in 1990, but he said that does not excuse them.
Which isn't believable. It was national news at the time. Here it is in the New York Times, for instance.

I was only in 8th grade then and I remember Williams being fodder for many late nite comedians. Shows like 20/20 did segments highlighting the close race between Williams and Richards. His comments were well-known at the time. This isn't something new coming to light.

McCain wanted the money so bad, he hoped he could hold the event and keep his ties to Williams low-key. He got caught and now he's playing dumb.

Of course, McCain could claim he was too busy at the time with his involvement in the Keating 5 scandal to notice what was going on in Williams' race.

The DNC is calling on McCain to return Williams' money:

Statement from DNC communications director Karen Finney:

"Mr. Williams' comments are not only outrageous and disgusting, they degrade our values as Americans. John McCain should make it clear that he understands just how offensive these comments are by not only canceling a fund-raising event but also returning the money Wlliams raised for his campaign. Senator McCain should know that you cannot expect the American people to trust you if you say one thing when you stand on the stump and turn a blind eye to this kind of language when you think no one will notice."
Oh, and if you're not convinced that Williams is slime, here's a piece from Lubbockonline detailing his authorized biography:
The biography also recounts Williams' admission that he visited such brothels as "Boys Town" in Mexico as a young man to get "serviced."
Looks like McCain has some explaining to do - that is if the media doesn't give him another "Get out of scandal free" card for this one.

Photo: This October 1990 file photo, shows then Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Ann Richards, offering her hand to Republican candidate Clayton Williams, in Dallas, He refused the offer, calling Richards a "liar." Questions from the media prompted Republican John McCain to cancel a fundraiser at the home of a Texas oilman who once joked that women should give in while being raped. The Texan Republican made the joke during his failed 1990 campaign for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it."


Thursday, June 12, 2008


Yesterday, the rightwing media was eating up the story of a lone "Democratic" senator from Oklahoma refusing to endorse Obama.

Guess what?

From The Hill:
At least 14 Republican members of Congress have refused to endorse or publicly support Sen. John McCain for president, and more than a dozen others declined to answer whether they back the Arizona senator.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My friends, this speech sucks

And the bad reviews for McCain's abysmal performance last night keep pouring in - from his own side:

FOX News and National Review's Fred Barnes:
“It’s kind of painful, at least tonight, to listen to McCain.”
Michelle Malkin:
McCain still talking and plodding along. Fox is the only one of the networks still carrying the speech. It’s pedestrian–and even McCain seems to have lost interest in his text.
Television psychic Bill Kristol:
“I’ve got to say, however, watching that speech, I don’t think it was successful speech.”
FOX News' Mort Kondracke:
MORT KONDRACKE: Well, John McCain had better start working on his speechmaking and learn how to use a teleprompter. I mean, the gap, the rhetorical gap between this speech and...Oratorical gap between this speech and John McCain’s was vast. John McCain sounded old. This sounded fresh and new and exciting and visionary. And he was enlisting the country to join him in a great cause. This is our moment, all of that.
National Reviews Amy Holmes:
McCain's speech was creaky, ungracious, and unnecessary. I never understand why politicians don't take the opportunity, when so easily presented, to simply be gracious and hold their fire. Watching McCain, I couldn't help but think of the astonishing contrast Barack's triumphant speech to a massive and adoring crowd will be. It was not a comparison McCain should have invited.
Wingnut radio's Mark Levin:
Not to offend those who might be offended, but this speech is a mash and tough to digest.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I see where McCain is going to make an effort to win over Clinton's voters.

John McCain's courtship of Sen. Hillary Clinton disaffected supporters accelerated on Tuesday night, as the Arizona Republican continued his charm offensive to the supporters of the likely vanquished Democratic nominee.

Speaking this evening in Louisiana, McCain praised Clinton for both the campaign she's run and her personal and political character.
I wonder what Hillary's supporters will think of this old chestnut:
"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?
Because her father is Janet Reno."
--- John McCain, 1998
Yeah, that's a guy feminists will take naturally to.

Photo: AP


Monday, June 2, 2008

The Doubletalk Express rolls into the AIPAC conference

Speaking today before AIPAC, McCain again trotted out his tired "Obama wants to talk to the terrorists" bit, focusing on Obama's willingness to use diplomacy and negotiations in dealing with Iran.

McCain said Obama's approach has been tried before and it failed.

The Chicago Tribune:

McCain called Obama's openness toward meeting with the Iranian leadership "as if it were some sudden inspiration, a bold new idea that somehow nobody has ever thought of before."

McCain then outlined his bold, new idea to put pressure on Iran by encouraging divestment by companies that deal with the nation.

"As a further measure to contain and deter Iran, the United States should impose financial sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran, which aids in Iran's terrorism and weapons proliferation," he said. "We must apply the full force of law to prevent business dealings with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps."

Funny -- where have we heard that one before?

Oh, yeah.

From CNN (May 18, 2007):

They are vying for the presidency from opposite sides of the political spectrum, but Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, are teaming up to sponsor legislation that seeks to encourage divestment from companies that support Iran.

Why, it's like somehow nobody has ever thought of that before!

And the best part?

McCain opposed Obama and Brownback's effort at the time, according to Rachel Maddow.

Photo: AP


More fun with Hagee

Nutjob televangelist John Hagee, who John McCain courted for months for an endorsement, stood by for a few more months, then finally decided to reject, and then left for McSurrogate Joe Lieberman to court is in the news again.

HuffPo's Max Blumenthal has uncovered another Hagee gem:

In his sermon, "The Final Dictator," Hagee described the Antichrist as a seductive figure with "fierce features." He will be "a blasphemer and a homosexual," the pastor announced. Then, Hagee boomed, "There's a phrase in Scripture used solely to identify the Jewish people. It suggests that this man [the Antichrist] is at least going to be partially Jewish, as was Adolph Hitler, as was Karl Marx."

A few days ago, Holy Joe said he would still speak at Hagee's upcoming Crazyfest. Wonder if this little revelation will change his mind?


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now McSurrogate Lieberman courts Hagee

McCain may have finally cut ties to Rev.Hagee, but the Smithers to McMaverick's Monty Burns, Joe Lieberman, has decided to rush out and pander to the crazy televangelist.


WASHINGTON - Sen. Joe Lieberman said Wednesday he will address a conference hosted by the Rev. John Hagee, who was spurned by Republican John McCain for his claim that God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land.

Holy Joe can't use McCain's lame "Gee, I had no idea he was like that when I spent months courting him" excuse. It's all on record now.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., wave before McCain spoke to members of the National Restaurant Association on Monday, May 19, 2008, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

aMcNother McFlip-flop!

Now McCain has, also months after the fact, decided to backtrack and reject another endorsement. This time it's one from Ohio televangelist and faith healer Rod Parsley.

Then in an interview with The Associated Press, McCain said he rejected Parsley's support, too.

"I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement," McCain told the AP.

McCain claims he didn't endorse Parsley, but he conveniently leaves out the part where he once called the pastor his "spiritual guide."

Sounds like a little more than an endorsement.

Parsley is the kind of guy who thinks it's the duty of the United States to use its foreign policy to wage holy war.

From his book:

I cannot tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam, that we see it for what it really is. In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.

McCain and the Rev in happier times:

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Three months and a string of statements offensive to Catholics, gays and and Jews later, nutjob televangelist John Hagee is FINALLY too controversial for John McCain.

Hagee had tried to protect McCain by apologizing to some Catholics, but the finding of an audiotape of his late 90s sermon in which he said God sent Adolph Hitler to help the Jews get to Israel was the final straw.

"Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them. I did not know of them before Reverend Hagee's endorsement, and I feel I must reject his endorsement as well," the presidential candidate said in a statement issued Thursday.

And, as always, don't forget that McCain actively sought Hagee's endorsement for months and that many of his controversial views were well-documented at the time.

Josh Marshall gets the quote of the day on this one:
Given that McCain has now clearly rejected Hagee's endorsement, perhaps it's time that he, a la Obama, give a speech on the topic of Republican presidential candidates pandering to lunatic fringe right-wing preachers at election time. It could start a whole national conversation.
Photo of Hagee: AP

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McNeglect the troops

Today the Senate passed the 21st Century GI Bill in a landslide 75-22 vote.


A majority of Republicans broke ranks with Bush on a veto-proof 75-22 vote while adding more than $10 billion for various other domestic programs, including heating subsidies for the poor, wildfire fighting, roads and bridge repair, and health research.

John McCain, who tries to sell himself as a supporter of the military has been taking heat for his opposition to the bill.

His way out?

Skip the vote so he's not on record voting against it. He decided to do a fundraising event for his campaign instead.

Obama on McCain:
I respect Sen. John McCain's service to our country. He is one of those heroes of which I speak. But I can't understand why he would line up behind the President in his opposition to this GI bill.

I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the President more on this issue. There are many issues that lend themselves to partisan posturing but giving our veterans the chance to go to college should not be one of them.
Reuters has McCain's reply:

"It is typical, but no less offensive, that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of," said McCain, who was not present for the Senate vote because he was campaigning in California.
By the way, McCain has an ally in President Bush, who has threatened to veto the bill.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., gives a thumbs up as he drinks a coffee at Cafe Versailles on Tuesday, May 20, 2008, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

He's so sorry

John Hagee, the nutjob televangelist whose endorsement was aggressively sought out by McCain, has released an apology to Catholics for his past remarks.

These weren't some mere slip of the tongue by Hagee. His views on Catholicism were a major focus of his "ministry." Look him up on YouTube. There's plenty of footage from his bizarre lectures - the one calling the Catholic Church "the great whore" is a classic.

But he's sorry now.

Translation: McCain desperately needs Catholic voters.

Will there be an apology from Hagee to homosexuals or to the city of New Orleans for the numerous times he's claimed God sent Hurricane Katrina to punish the city for a planned gay pride event?

Don't hold your breath.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008


John McCain has chosen a real class act to run the GOP convention in St. Paul.

Meet Doug Goodyear, the CEO of consulting firm DCI Group. Last year, the firm earned $3 million lobbying for clients including General Motors and everyone's favorite company as we approach 4 bucks a gallon, ExxonMobil.

But it gets better.

Six years ago, DCI was paid $348,000 to represent the totalitarian miltary junta ruling Burma/Myanmar.

As Newsweek puts it:

Justice Department lobbying records show DCI pushed to "begin a dialogue of political reconciliation" with the regime. It also led a PR campaign to burnish the junta's image, drafting releases praising Burma's efforts to curb the drug trade and denouncing "falsehoods" by the Bush administration that the regime engaged in rape and other abuses.

And as usual, we have to wonder if McCain will get questioned on this one or will he get his bazillionth pass from his beltway fan club.

I know this isn't quite as important as whether or not a candidate attaches flag-themed costume jewelry to their lapels, but you'd think the media might want to look into the fact that McCain has hired a known opponent of democracy to run the show when he gets nominated.

UPDATE: Looks like Goodyear has now resigned. Now we can all praise the maverickish departure and not question the judgment of the man who hired him in the first place.


Meanwhile, the junta has went on with its fake election. The rigged referendum is designed to solidify military rule. Despite the fact that the nation is reeling from a cyclone that has killed 100,000, the vote was not called off.

From AP:

Human rights organizations and anti-government groups have bitterly accused the government of neglecting cyclone victims to advance its political agenda, and have criticized its proposed constitution as designed to perpetuate military rule.

Local journalists said they saw cases of intimidation of voters at various polling stations around the country.
Photos by AP: Top: Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., laughs during a campaign stop at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. on Friday. Bottom: A Myanmar protester holds a placard showing a caricature, during a demonstration outside the Myanmar Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday. Some 500 activists demanded that Yangon call off its constitutional referendum even as voting began in the military-ruled nation despite a devastating cyclone.

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McMaverick's mavericky maverickness questioned

From his home state, The Arizona Republic finds that when his vote is key, McCain most always falls in line for the GOP.

The presumptive Republican nominee arguably cast the decisive vote 14 times since 1999 to ensure Republicans got their way, and he had five other close cases where his vote may have made a difference, Senate records show. By comparison, McCain effectively handed Democrats a win on roll-call votes four times in the same period. On one of those occasions, Republicans could still have won if Vice President Dick Cheney had cast a tie-breaking vote.



Saturday, May 3, 2008

More straight talk

Ol' Maverick said this week that the Mission Accomplished banner accompanying the Flight Suit Landing wasn't Bush's fault.

He also said of the banner:

"I thought it was wrong at the time."

And, as we often have to do following a remark by McCain, let's cut to reality.

Here he is on FOX News defending the banner on June 11, 2003:

NEIL CAVUTO (host): Senator -- after a conflict means after the conflict, and many argue the conflict isn't over.

McCAIN: Well, then why was there a banner that said mission accomplished on the aircraft carrier?

Will the media call Saint McCain out on this one or will he be given yet another pass?

Photo: AP


Friday, April 25, 2008


OK, some reporters actually did their jobs in New Orleans and asked John McCain about nutty televangelist John Hagee's claim that the city was struck down by god via Katrina due to a planned "homosexual rally."

Q: What is your reaction (to Hagee Katrina comments)?

McCain: It’s nonsense.

Q: Would you withdraw accepting his endorsement?

McCain: It’s nonsense, it’s nonsense, it’s nonsense. It’s nonsense. I don’t have anything additional to say about that. It’s nonsense.

Q: Do you regret accepting his endorsement?

A: It’s nonsense. I don’t have anything more to say about that. Of course–I apologize for that. It’s nonsense. I reject that categorically and I would point out there’s a lot of people who have endorsed me. They support my views. That does not mean that I support–would I consider repudiating his endorsement? I certainly condemn those parts of his remarks. I continue to appreciate his support for the state of Israel and for many of the good things that he and his church has done. But I repudiate as strongly as possible those remarks and those of the Catholic church as well.

So basically, he wants it both ways. Condemn the comments, but keep the nut.

Contrast this to Obama, who completely rejected an unwanted endorsement from Louis Farrakhan. Even then, the media still wouldn't let the matter drop.

Will they keep on McCain? Will he be grilled on whether he agrees with Hagee that the Catholic Church is a "great whore?"

But McCain has an excuse for it all:

I didn’t attend Pastor Hagee’s church for 20 years. There’s a great deal of difference in my view between someone who endorses you and other circumstances.
See! All is forgiven!

Oh, and bear in mind that Hagee didn't come to McCain unsolicited. The Straight-talkin' MaverickTM aggressively courted the TV preacher for months to get his backing.

Photo of Hagee from AP


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tough question coming for McCain or another pass?

According to John McCain backer, nutty televangelist John Hagee, New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina because “there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came.”

That's one of the many bizarre and offensive statements by a man whose endorsement was vigorously sought and proudly accepted by Senator McCain.

McCain is scheduled to visit New Orleans on Thursday.

Think Progress asks

Will reporters ask whether he agrees with Hagee belief that the devastated city was cursed because of a gay pride parade? We’ll be watching.

And in case you think this was a one-time, out-of-context statement by a key figure of the religious right, this is a repeat offense on this claim by Hagee.

He was asked in 2006 by NPR's Terry Gross

"You said after Hurricane Katrina that it was an act of God, and you said 'when you violate God's will long enough, the judgment of God comes to you. Katrina is an act of God for a society that is becoming Sodom and Gomorrah reborn.' " She then asked, "Do you still think that Katrina is punishment from God for a society that's becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah?"

To which he replied:

All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are -- were recipients of the judgment of God for that.

He was asked about it Tuesday on conservative radio's The Dennis Prager Show. Prager repeated the statement and Hagee replied:

HAGEE: Yes. The topic of that day was cursing and blessing. Moses taught in the book of Deuteronomy that everything in life is either a blessing or a curse. There are days that things happen that at the time look like a curse. In the passing of time, they may become what appears to be a blessing. An illustration is Joseph, when he was sold into slavery it looked like a curse, it looked like the worse day of his life. When his brothers came into Egypt looking for food, what looked like a bad day 13 years before turned out to be a blessed day. What happened in New Orleans looked like the curse of God, in time if New Orleans recovers and becomes the pristine city it can become it may in time be called a blessing. But at this time it's called a curse.

Now how is this guy any better than Rev. Wright and why does Saint McCain get a pass from the media for eagerly seeking him out for support?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Double standards to come

The always astute Joe Conason says Charlie Gibson and Geoege Snuffleupagus' performance Wednesday is just the start.

Playing gotcha with Democrats and patty-cake with Republicans will remain basic operating procedure for the mainstream media this year, no different from the past half-dozen presidential campaigns -- except that the additional bias in favor of John McCain may make a bad situation worse

And as Barack Obama should have learned during the debate’s first 45 minutes, if not before, the same fuzzy but obsessive focus on "character" that plagues Bill and Hillary Clinton will be turned on him with equal or greater ferocity by those who once claimed to admire him. He is now subject to the "Clinton rules," which have long permitted pundits, editorialists and reporters to indict the former president and first lady for sins that other politicians, mostly Republican, may commit with impunity (see Gingrich, Newt, first, second and especially third marriage).

The rest is here:

There you have it. That's why Saint McCain will never face hard questions over his association with radical televangelists like John Hagee and Rod Parsley or be grilled over his gaming the system regarding public financing rules ... while retaining his image as a Maverick ReformerTM.

And forget about a little scandal called the Keating Five. That's down the memory hole.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

McCain messes up YET AGAIN

And shows his inability to grasp the difference between Sunni and Shiite. This time he doesn't have his perpetual sidekick Joe Lieberman to correct him and that duty went to Gen. Petraeus.

JOHN MCCAIN: "There are numerous threats to security in Iraq and the future of Iraq. Do you still view al-Qaeda in Iraq as a major threat?"

GEN. DAVID PETRAEUS: "It is a major threat. Though it is certainly as not as major a threat as it was say, 15 months ago."

MCCAIN: "Certainly not an obscure sect of the Shias overall?

PETRAEUS: "No, sir."

MCCAIN: "Or Sunnis or anybody else then?

This is now at least three times that he's done this that I can remember.

Here's one. Here's another.

And we're supposed to trust this guy to bring VictoryTM to Iraq. It's obvious that he's completely clueless on the situation.

But don't worry. The media will make a new batch of excuses for their Golden Boy. Kos has more on the love affair here.

Photo AP


Friday, March 21, 2008


Looks like John McCain aggressively sought that endorsement from nutjob televangelist John Hagee. At least that's how Hagee tells the story.

McCain has attempted to distance himself from some of Hagee's views, much as Barack Obama is doing in relation to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. But unlike McCain, Obama has not stood on stage with Wright and accepted his accolades this year.

Interviewed by Deborah Solomon, Hagee refused to discuss his statement that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for a gay rights parade in New Orleans, calling it "so far off-base." He claims, "Our church is not hard against the gay people. Our church teaches what the bible teaches, that it is not a righteous lifestyle. But of course we must love even sinners."

Count on a majority of those in the media tokeep giving the ol' "maverick" a pass.

And the man McCain hails as his spiritual adviser, nutty televangelist and faith healer Rod Parsley, has some interesting views.

Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a press conference with Rev. John Hagee, a televangelist from Cornerstone Church, and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in San Antonio, Texas, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

McCain reaches the nomination mark

Huckabee says he's out.

Bush set to endorse McCain tomorrow.


Friday, February 29, 2008

The McCompany you keep

John McCain says he's standing by the endorsement of controversial televangelist John Hagee.
As usual, the "maverick" wants to have it both ways. He courts the pastor's supporters for votes, but doesn't want his alignment with such a fringe bigot to soil his appeal to moderate, reasonable people.

McCain's statement:

Well I think it's important to note that pastor John Hagee who has supported and endorsed my candidacy supports what I stand for and believe in. When he endorses me, it does not mean that I embrace everything that he stands for and believes. And I am very proud of the Pastor John Hagee's spiritual leadership to thousands of people and I am proud of his commitment to the independence and the freedom of the state of Israel. That does not mean that I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor John Hagee might have said or positions that he may have taken on other issues. I don't have to agree with everyone who endorses my candidacy. They are supporting my candidacy. I am not endorsing some of their positions."
And who is Hagee?

Here are some of his greatest hits:

Hagee on Hurricane Katrina

"All hurricanes are acts of God because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that." From NPR's Fresh Air, Sept. 18, 2006
Conservatives Catholics have a problem with Hagee — From The Washington Post.

But Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement Thursday that Hagee has written extensively in negative ways about the Catholic Church, "calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.' "

So do liberal Catholics:
On Wednesday, Senator John McCain was “honored” to receive the endorsement of the Evangelical pastor John Hagee. Pastor Hagee is well known for his anti-Catholic rhetoric such as past suggestions that the Catholic Church gave Adolf Hitler inspiration and support for the Holocaust. In a letter to John McCain’s campaign, Catholics United is asking the Senator to distance himself from Pastor Hagee’s anti-Catholic comments and reject the endorsement.
Hagee on the Holocaust:
In "Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To war" Hagee has stated that Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves by rebelling against God and that the Holocaust was God's way of forcing Jews to move to Israel where, Hagee predicts according to his interpretation of Biblical scripture, they will be mostly killed in the apocalyptic Mideast conflict Hagee's new lobbying group seems to be working to provoke.
The media has covered Louis Farrakhan's support of Barrack Obama quite extensively. Unlike, McCain, Obama rejected the support outright.

McCain wants to accept Hagee's on the one hand and disagree a bit on the other (without mentioning any specifics as to where he disagrees - just a vague "some of the things that Pastor John Hagee might have said...")

Seeing as how McCain is the beltway media's golden boy and appears on Tim Russert's show practically every Sunday, it will be interesting to see if Russert will spend anywhere near the amount of time pressing McCain as he did with Obama in the Democratic debate.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hint of the future

AP says that Obama will face attacks from the GOP regarding his patriotism.

At issue is the infamous pledge photo.

Paragraph four of the story quotes "Republican consultant" Roger Stone.

"The reason it hasn't been an issue so far is that we're still in the microcosm of the Democratic primary," said Republican consultant Roger Stone. "Many Americans will find the three things offensive. Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd."
Who is Roger Stone? Probably one of the lowliest lifeforms in politics.

Josh Marshall has the answers and they're not pretty. To put it simply, Stone likes to pick on the elderly and form offensively-named groups to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

It was only inevitable that this kind of campaign would start up as soon as one candidate closed in on the nomination.

McCain did hire another of the dirtiest operatives in the business, Terry Nelson, to work for his campaign, after all.

Who is Nelson?

Media Matters has that:

Nelson was responsible for a television advertisement attacking Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr. that many criticized as racist. Last year, the indictments of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) on campaign finance-related charges alleged that Nelson was the conduit for money transferred through the Republican National Committee (RNC) between DeLay's political action committee and Republican Texas House of Representatives candidates. Questions have also been raised regarding his knowledge of the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming scandal. Moreover, Nelson's consulting firm employs a former adviser to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose 2004 campaign tactics McCain himself called "dishonest and dishonorable."
Joe Conason says they're just getting started.
False accusations about Mr. Obama’s religious affiliation have surfaced in anonymous we-mail campaigns, with little impact so far. But easily denied charges about his supposed Muslim upbringing are gradually giving way to more concrete allegations. The latest round involves his political intervention in Kenya, the home of his late father, where violence between ethnic and partisan factions has erupted in the wake of a disputed presidential election.
As usual, the right-wing narrative melds half-truths and lies with facts to create a seamless indictment.
It's going to be a long, ugly year.


Monday, February 11, 2008

This is funny

Great stuff from comedy group Election08.

LA-based comics and actors on politics. Featuring veterans of MTV, ABC, NBC, The Daily Show, Second City Chicago, Reno 911, Current TV, and Showbiz Show With David Spade.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Time: McCain ties Clinton, loses to Obama

Obama captured 48% of the vote in the theoretical match-up against McCain's 41%, the TIME poll reported, while Clinton and McCain would deadlock at 46% of the vote each. Put another way, McCain looks at the moment to have a narrowly better chance of beating the New York Senator than he does the relative newcomer from Illinois.

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"Mitt quits" or "The Great Conservative Implosion of 2008?"

After losing badly in Super Tuesday's primaries, Mitt Romney announced on Thursday that he was suspending his campaign.

Although Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in the race, John McCain has more or less won the nomination.

Given the events of the day, McCain's appearance at the Conservative Political Action Conference could not have had more interesting timing.

CPAC, the annual gathering of conservative leaders in D.C. is sort of the Lollapalooza of the rightwing.

To give you an idea of the atmosphere, last year's conference, attended by most of the political candidates was best known for Ann Coulter's use of a homophobic slur to refer to John Edwards (to which she received loud applause and laughs). Fearing a repeat media frenzy, Coulter was disinvited by the event's organizers this year.

Following several early speeches from commentators like Laura Ingraham attacking McCain and advocating for Romney, Mitt stunned the gathering Thursday by announcing he was dropping out.

McCain, already scheduled to speak to a group he was largely unpopular with, was no longer addressing the convention as a mere candidate, but the de facto nominee.

CPAC organizers, fearing a public relations disaster for the party, actually had to ask the audience in advance not to boo McCain.

During registration last night at the Omni Shoreham a registrant was asking to upgrade his CPAC package and then proceeded to ask what time GOP front-runner John McCain was going to speak today. “Oh good,” he said to the response — answer: 3 p.m. today — “I hope they boo him out of the room.”

“No, no no no no” came the reply from the person registering him. “We’ve been instructed to tell participants not to boo McCain.”

McCain's success in spite of conservative opposition is due, in large part, to the failure of the movement's leaders to solidify behind a single candidate.

It really began in 2006.

Sen. George Allen of Virginia was widely considered by the right to be the heir apparent to Bush. Yet after slipping on a "Macaca," his presidential aspirations were gone along with his Senate career.

The same election brought an end to the aspirations of another conservative leader, Pennsylvania's Sen. Rick Santorum, who was beaten in a wide margin by his Democratic opponent.

Left without their two leading lights, conservatives looked elsewhere for a candidate. They considered Newt Gingrich, but he decided against a run. Fred Thompson, touted as the Great Conservative Hope, seemed to forget the part about campaigning after announcing his run and fizzled.

Rudy Giuliani and Romney were always odd fits for the movement, given their former positions as social liberals. Mitt tried to run away from his stances and became anti-choice overnight, while Rudy tried to deflect criticism with a promise of conservative judges.

Giuliani flopped after his personal scandals came to life. By this point, McCain had momentum with wins in New Hampshire and Florida.

The right tired to make a stand by "putting it all on Mitt," but by then it was too late. The all-out assault on McCain by talk radio bombed. The last minute surge for Romney didn't happen and now Limbaugh, Hannity and company are left with the two candidates they wanted least: McCain and Huckabee.

But before you get the wrong idea, the rise of McCain and the defeat of Romney isn't the transformative moment in the party one would think.

While McCain isn't a member of the segment of the rightwing coalition that came to power with the Gingrich Congress, was championed by talk radio and reached its peak under the first 6 years of the Bush administration, media attempts to refer to him as a reformer or moderate are not entirely accurate.

In fact, McCain has always been far more conservative than either his supporters or detractors acknowledge. In 2004 he earned a perfect 100 percent rating from Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum and a 0 percent from NARAL. Citizens Against Government Waste dubs him a "taxpayer hero." He has opposed extension of the assault-weapons ban, federal hate crimes legislation and the International Criminal Court. He has supported school vouchers, a missile defense shield and private accounts for Social Security. Well before 9/11 McCain advocated a new Reagan Doctrine of "rogue-state rollback."
Incidentally, CPAC's organizers weren't able to stop the crowd. McCain got booed anyway.

(Photo: Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, gets a hug from author Laura Ingraham prior to a speech before the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008. The Associated Press)


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Super Duper Tuesday

On the Democratic side, Obama wins the state-by-state count (including a last minute flip of Missouri) and exceeds expectations, but Clinton takes the big prizes of New York and California.

The race is basically right where it stood before today: a dead heat.

Rough estimates give Obama a slight delegate advantage, but as DHinMI at Kos points out, it's best to ignore these estimates, as delegates are alloted according to vote counts in individual congressional ditricts and it's too soon to tell.

"Democrat, on the other hand, award delegates on a proportional basis. Until the votes are completely tallied, we won't know the proportion of the votes won in a given state by Hillary Clinton and the proportion won in that state by Barack Obama. Furthermore, about 75% of the pledged delegates awarded based on tonight's results will be parceled out by Congressional District, with the other 25% awarded proportionally based on the statewide totals.

Are any states completely done tallying the statewide totals and the congressional district by congressional district breakdowns? No. Therefore, it's impossible to know what the delegate count is."

On the GOP side, it looks like McCain has it nearly locked up, with Huckabee showing a few surprise wins. With the GOP's winner take-all delegate allotment, McCain is miles ahead of his competition.

The most interesting news from this contest is the weakening link between the GOP media establishment and the Republican base. With nearly every high-profile conservative commentator (Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Levin, etc) advocating for Romney and denouncing McCain and Huckabee, the trouncing of Romney shows these voices to be increasingly out-of-touch with their party. Limbaugh was trying preemptive damage control on Tuesday afternoon.

(Photos from AP)

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Huckabee wins in W.Va.

From AP:

"CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee won 18 delegates here Tuesday as backers of rival John McCain threw him their support to prevent Mitt Romney from capturing the winner-take-all GOP state convention vote.

In first contest decided on Super Tuesday, Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, bested Romney on the second ballot with 51.5 percent of the 1,133 delegates attending the state GOP's first-ever presidential nominating convention. Romney was backed by 47.4 percent."


The Hill reports that Romney accuses McCain and Huckabee of cutting a backroom deal:

“Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain’s inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change,” Beth Myers, Romney’s campaign manager, said in a statement."


While Romney's spokesman (and a great deal of conservative commentators) accuses McCain of a shady act, this is simply what is to be expected in a caucus-type selection process as opposed to a primary. While Romney may have had more people on hand, the rules allowed McCain's voters to back Huckabee on the second ballot, denying Romney an early Super Tuesday win.

Huckabee's campaign responds:

“Once again, conservatives have rejected Romney’s conviction-less campaign,” said Chip Saltsman, National Campaign Manager for Mike Huckabee. “No amount of Mitt’s money is going to overcome what a growing number of Americans - and the Wall Street Journal - are seeing first hand: Mitt has no convictions at all.”
In suggesting Mike Huckabee’s win was a back room deal, Romney continued his weather-vane candidacy by breaking his own “rules of politics:” “one, no whining; two, you get them to vote for you.”
“Whining about his loss is Romney’s latest flip-flop,” said Saltsman. “Add this to his record of supporting abortion and gay marriage, supporting gun control, raising over $700 million in taxes - he called fees - and leaving his state with a billion dollar deficit.” SOURCE Huckabee for President, Inc.