Dumb & Dumber

What a week it’s been. Threats of America turning back to the economic equivalent of the stone age. A main course of showboating with a side of grandstanding from McCain and an interview so embarrassing from Palin that even conservative columnists are afraid to turn their TV’s sound on. All this, and it’s only Friday. First, this lovely bit from the New York Times about McCain’s last minute stunt to push election momentum in his favor:

“Instead he [McCain] found himself in the midst of a remarkable partisan showdown, lacking a clear public message for how to bring it to an end.

At the bipartisan White House meeting that Mr. McCain had called for a day earlier, he sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood, said people in the meeting.

Still, by nightfall, the day provided the younger and less experienced Mr. Obama an opportunity to, in effect, shift roles with Mr. McCain. For a moment, at least, it was Mr. Obama presenting himself as the old hand at consensus building, and as the real face of bipartisan politics.”

Let’s be clear about this. McCain didn’t “suspend” his so-called campaign so that he could “get things done”. He grandstanded and used the crisis this week to inject himself directly into a situation for the sole purpose of taking wind out of Obama’s sails. His last minute break-up of the about-to-be-signed bill is proof of that. He says he puts country first, but his actions at the White House yesterday prove this to be a lie of the highest order. He’s quite literally risking all our livelihoods on a grab for power and it disgusts me.

Then there is his sad excuse for a running mate, Sarah Palin. First she didn’t know what the Bush Doctrine was, then she sat down for a glass of warm milk and cookies interview with Sean Hannity, and now she makes a fool of herself with Katie Couric. Republican columnist Kathleen Parker tells the truth that dare not speak its name:

“Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.”

Ouch. Something tells me things are going to get a hell of a lot worse for McCain / Palin before they get better.

Twitter Takes McCain to the Woodshed

Not long after John McCain announced that he was “suspending” his campaign so he could give Palin more time to get her shit together devote his full attention to the financial bailout crisis, the Twitterverse started having their say on the matter. About the same time McCain told Obama and David Letterman he was “racing” back to Washington, users all around the globe were calling him out left and right. I’ve gathered some of the more memorable tweets from today’s musings. Enjoy.

“I wonder if John McCain’s publicity is done by the same firm that handles Microsoft.” – danielpunkass

“Suspending X until the end of the Y crisis” is the new “In what respect, Charlie?” – toldorknown

“Maybe Obama should just take over tomorrow.” – Coudal

“Multi-tasking is a horrible ability for a president to have. Horrible.Things just happen one at a time in the White House. Nice & slow like.” – phillygirl

“I thought McCain already suspended his campaign. You know, back when he handed it over to Sarah Palin and Karl Rove?” – mat

“JOHN MCCAIN CAN’T DO TWO THINGS AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE OF THE FUCKING VC, YOU INSENSITIVE ASSHOLES.” – Moltz

“McCain’t” – SeoulBrother

“This is surreal. McCain is not only off his rocker, he’s on the floor pressing the MedicAlert button.” – lefauxfrog

“I can understand why McCain wants to postpone – it’s not like his staff can prepare for a debate *and* lobby for this bailout all at once.” – jimray

“Did I call a time out after my stupid son blew up the Death Star? Hell no! I took the boys to Hoth and laid the smack down. Feh.” – DarthVader

Seeing Red

I love North Carolina, but sometimes living here can be frustrating. Today, on my three mile round trip to grab lunch at Wendy’s, I saw no less than 6 yard signs for McCain / Palin and not one for Barack Obama. This isn’t surprising considering I live in what my wife and I affectionately call, “the boonies”. McCain / Palin and even Bush support runs as high here as ever, which is remarkable considering around 80% of Americans think the country is on the wrong track. To make matters worse, the homes that displayed these signs were, shall we say, not well off. One appeared to be a single bedroom home no larger than 1,000 square feet, and another was straight out of The Grapes of Wrath.

Logically, these McCain supporters would benefit more from an Obama presidency than from a McCain administration. Obama’s tax cuts on middle class Americans would seem to be right down rural North Carolina’s alley. Obama wants to stop shipping jobs overseas and give consideration to small businesses that strengthen our local economies, not weaken them. But it seems that folks around these parts vote more on their so-called “values” instead of the issues and policies that should concern them most. Strange when you consider that lately, even John McCain’s values have been anything but honorable. I’ve been driving around town with my Obama ’08 bumper magnet for weeks, but it may be time to finally upgrade to an Obama yard sign. I can’t let my neighbors have all the fun.

UPDATE: Maybe I just need to move to Charlotte. Check out the huge crowd that came to see Obama speak today. Somehow I just don’t see McCain / Palin drawing that kind of crowd, even in crimson North Carolina.

Where There’s A Will, There’s a Way

I was watching Fox Sunday when Chris Wallace brought up Obama’s “McCain doesn’t know how to use a computer” campaign spot to strategist Karl Rove. Rove, who regularly advises the McCain camp, took the position that the critique was offensive and “over the line”. The argument goes that McCain is incapable of using a computer due to his injuries suffered as a prisoner of war – he can’t raise his hands above his chest and his fingers lack the dexterity to type on a standard keyboard. Rove felt Obama owed McCain an apology for such an out of bounds attack.

I’ve got news for Mr. Rove. There are millions of people in this country who do not have the use of their arms, hands or even their body and who use a computer every single day. One such man is Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking is the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, England. Hawking suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease and does not have use of the majority of his neural functions. He communicates via a computer system attached to his wheelchair which is operated via an infra-red ‘blink switch’ clipped onto Hawking’s glasses. By scrunching his right cheek up, he is able to talk, compose speeches and research papers, browse the World Wide Web, and write e-mails.

So when Karl Rove and says John McCain “can’t” use a computer because of his war injuries, what he really mean is that John McCain “won’t” use a computer. There are plenty of ways to do so besides standard input devices, as is evidenced by Professor Hawking. No, this isn’t about physical limitations, this is about mind set. John McCain doesn’t see the need to surf the web, organize thoughts and send emails. He has staff that does all that for him. He lacks the will to do these basic tasks for himself. Why does this matter? For me it makes all the difference.

All during George Bush’s Presidency we kept hearing about how American’s wanted a President they can relate to, a man they could “sit down and have a beer with”. I don’t drink, but I sure as hell use a computer, and so do millions of Americans every single day. I want a President who is curious enough about the world to use the World Wide Web on his own. I want a President who has an intricate understanding of technology, where it’s heading and what challenges we are likely to face. I want a President that computer users can finally relate to.

How can I expect John McCain to really understand the threat of anti-Net Neutrality legislation when he doesn’t deal with his own Internet providers? How can McCain fathom the threat of anti-spam laws getting struck down if he doesn’t send and receive his own email? Now more than ever, we need a President that is in tune with the world we live in, not one that makes excuses about why he can’t click a mouse.

Heckuva Job, Sarah

Blogger Andrew Sullivan has been on a roll lately with his insightful coverage of the Sarah Palin / John McCain journey into dishonor and distortion. In a recent post he highlights bits from a recent NYT article that states Palin’s tendency to hire long-time friends instead of qualified individuals for important positions. Sound like a certain President from Texas you know? From the NYT:

“So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, [Palin] appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as one of her qualifications for running the roughly $2 million agency. Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.”

I cannot overstate this position: We simply cannot afford 4 more years of Bush style government that Palin and McCain represent. Sullivan’s summary of the situation sums it up perfectly: “Does that not seem eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush’s appointment of Michael Brown to FEMA? Cronyism, debt, lies, religious fanaticism, and utter ignorance about foreign policy. You want another four years of Bush? McCain-Palin is the ticket.”

Support Barack Obama for President.

Sarah Palin: Not Ready for Prime Time

John McCain’s so-called running mate shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office. It’s now painfully clear she doesn’t have the first clue about the United States’ role on the world stage. Not only that, but she doesn’t even have a firm grasp on her own party’s foreign policies or how they’ve be applied around the globe. Witness her utter unfamiliarity with the “Bush Doctrine”:



And forgive me if I, and the rest of the free world think that going to war with Russia over Georgia or another one of its former states is the worst idea in the history of the Republic. To saber rattle in this fashion is not only arrogant presumption, but plain dangerous. Especially since she and McCain haven’t even been elected, as least not yet. McCain and Palin represent a bleak future for this country. I pray to God the rest of the country realizes this in the weeks ahead.

Oh, and by the way, the revelation that Bush went into Pakistan this week without the country’s permission to root out Al Qaeda was exactly the same policy that Obama put forth last year. You know, back when such action was labeled by right-wingers as dangerous and naive. Obama had it right all along.

UPDATE: Any conservative who tries to tell you “there is no Bush Doctrine” is pushing bullshit. The Bush Doctrine was clearly outlined after September 11th, 2001 and has been referenced over and over in the main stream media and even by the GOP itself. John McCain himself knows what the Bush Doctrine is as is evident in this second video. Any attempt to defend Sarah Palin’s ignorance of the subject, and of the larger context of her lack of foreign policy is a farce. She has no excuse:

Elephant In The Room

Lately I’ve been trying to figure out why I chose the road of becoming a liberal Democrat, especially when my entire family are die hard Republicans. I remember when I first registered to vote I remained cautiously neutral as an Independent for fear of disappointing my parents. In many ways I am my father and mother’s son. I share their strong work ethic, their morals and their love of God and family. My mother taught me at an early age to see things with the eyes of an artist and how translate those things to canvas be it physical or digital. From my father, I learned the importance of our family heritage and to always strive for the very best in everything I do, from work to relationships. Like so many others, my parents molded me in important ways in their image. I’m proud to be their son and love them beyond words.

And so when I spoke with my mother recently and she told me how John McCain’s acceptance speech at the RNC brought her to tears with pride, and how she was really looking forward to McCain and Palin being our next President and Vice President, I had to fight back the wave of sadness that swept over me. I’ve long given up trying to persuade my folks that Republican’s don’t always do what’s in the best interests of our country. Mom & Dad are set in their ways, just as I am in mine and arguing about it only brings strife between us. But at the same time there is a big part of me that wonders where the “compassionate” part of my conservative parents went.

Being raised a Catholic, I was taught that Jesus loves us unconditionally, but ask conservatives if gays deserve God’s love or even equal treatment under the law and you’re apt to get an earful of “one man to one woman”. Some conservative churches, like Sarah Palin’s, actively promote the conversion of gay people to heterosexuality. Jesus taught us to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and yet conservatives see nothing wrong with waging endless war based on lies, while killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of innocents. And what ever happened to Jesus’ mission of helping the poor, and tending to those among us that are sick or affirmed? Raising people from the depths of poverty and providing healthcare for all Americans are Christ-like endeavors that have somehow become tenants of the evil “socialist left” considered by Republicans to be despised and opposed at all cost.

We are the sum of our experiences. Events in our life, and the people we surround ourselves with, shape us and hone our world view. My family was always the first to lend a helping hand to those in need. We never looked down on others less fortunate or different from ourselves. Without realizing it, my parents nudged me out the door and down the path to becoming the progressive, liberal individual I am today. I only wish they had decided to come along with me for the ride.

They’ve Got Palin Covered

It took me over 2 months of research to put together my list of 100 reasons why I didn’t think McCain would be President post. It’s taken Kos only a few hours to come up with 49 (so far) reasons why Sarah Palin was a poor choice for McCain’s running mate. It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Palin was not vetted properly by McCain’s team prior to him selecting her. He only met her once before he made his choice and the cracks are starting to show. Some of my personal favorites from this new list are:

2. – She advocated AGAINST mine safety / pollution control

29. – She was a bad mayor who left her town’s economy in tatters.

30. – She originally supported Obama’s energy plan.

42. – She supports the outlawed aerial hunting of wolves.

48. – There have been discussion of witness tampering and possible impeachment hearings related to charges of her abuse of power.

We’re hearing a great deal about how Palin has re-energized the Republican base. McCain has generated a lot of cash since the announcement, but this really is to be expected. It happens every time there is a major milestone in a campaign. I suspect the further along we go, the more unpleasant things we’ll learn about her. And even if that doesn’t happen, her conservative stance on the issues will simply serve to magnify the “four more years” argument for voters. There’s other stuff on the horizon as well, but it’s too early to tell about that. Yet.

UPDATE: Turns out undecided, independent voters are picking up on her downsides pretty darned quickly. Check out this video of GOP pollster Frank Luntz’s attempt to see how well Palin will bolster McCain’s popularity. That is, until the majority of the people in the room tell him just the opposite. You can almost see him literally start to squirm half way through. Obviously this poor focus group performance will somehow be good news for McCain. Somehow.

100 Reasons Why McCain Won’t Be President of the United States

For years I greatly admired Senator John McCain. He had a reputation for being a political maverick and seemed to vote with his conscience instead of with his party. When it came down to choosing between what was right and what the GOP wanted, John McCain more-often-than-not chose what was right.

Then he set his sights on the White House.

During the past year I’ve watched McCain’s positions on things like tax breaks for the rich, a woman’s right to choose and keeping social security strong, morph and change. He went from calling Jerry Falwell an “agent of intolerance” to speaking at his university’s graduation address. Most disturbingly he created a moral exception in his own mind that it was okay for the CIA to torture U.S. detainees, even after years of working tirelessly to end all forms of U.S. held torture.

As a way to vocalize the ways John McCain has lost much of the respect progressives like myself paid him, I’ve compiled a list of 100 reason why I don’t think he’ll ever become President. The most ironic part about compiling it was that so many of the items were first mentioned on conservative websites. McCain was never a friend of Republicans, that is until he became their nominee. I sincerely hope McCain makes an effort to rediscover himself, his values and his voice once the election is complete. If this list is any indication, his influence will still be felt for years to come, just not from Pennsylvania Avenue.

• • •

100. He has trouble selling fundraiser tickets in his own state.

99. One month after 9/11, McCain made unfounded claims that the anthrax used in the deadly attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, might have come from Iraq. McCain’s assertions, based soley on his personal beliefs, not the government findings, helped bolster the case for the invasion of Iraq.

98. He voted with Bush 95% of the time in 2007 & 100% in 2008.

97. John McCain has flip-flopped on a number of important issues including windfall profits for big oil, social security privatization, the estate tax and many others.

96. Has a lifetime rating of only 24% from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV). By contrast, Barack Obama, has a rating of 86%.

95. He mistakenly has said that “Iran is training Al-Qaida”.

94. Giving prepared remarks is not one of his strong suits.

93. McCain used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he reversed course in February of 2008.

92. By mid 2007, he had missed 10 of the past 14 votes on Iraq.

91. Rather than support Jim Webb’s 21st Century G.I. Bill to greatly expand educational benefits to vets, McCain skipped the vote. Both Hillary & Obama voted for the measure.

90. Later, when Webb’s G.I. Bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate 92-6, McCain had the audacity to suggest that he both supported the bill all along AND that he voted for it, when in fact, he did not.

89. The GOP Congressional Group refuses to back him.

88. His campaign is tied to dozens of lobbyists, particularly from telecom companies, an industry he helps oversee in the Senate.

87. When asked, he didn’t know what kind of car he drives.

86. Angered the Catholic League after accepting the endorsement of evangelicalist John Hagee who called the Catholic Church “apostate”, the “anti-Christ” and a “false cult system”.

85. McCain has said that he would consider Dick Cheney for a post in his administration.

84. Has said that Vladimir Putin is the president of Germany.

83. Early polls show Bob Barr taking away enough votes from John McCain to give Democrats a chance to win states that should be safely Republican.

82. In 2007, McCain worked with the Bush Administration on the so-called “amnesty” bill for illegal immigrants, angering the conservative base in the process.

81. McCain wants to give the majority of tax breaks to the richest Americans instead of the working class. The majority of Americans (those who earn $38K-$66K) would save only $319 under the McCain plan. That number jumps to $1,042 under Obama.

80. McCain has stacked town hall meetings with only those people who supported his own viewpoints then has denied it to media outlets.

79. McCain is trying to float the privatization of social security once again, only this time he’s calling it “personal accounts”.

78. While the victims of Katrina were drowning, McCain ate cake.

77. McCain helped propose the “Gas Tax Holiday” that would save drivers an average of only $2.35 every time they fill their tank.

76. His campaign used music without the artist’s permission.

75. According to a June CCN poll, 63% of Democrats are either extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year. Only 37 percent of Republicans feel the same way and 36 percent of Republicans say they are not enthusiastic about voting.

74. When it comes to energy policy, he has a tendency to contradict himself.

73. McCain opposes comprehensive sex education.

72. McCain was the only senator to skip voting on Amdt. No. 3035, a Hate Crimes Amendment that would have expanded the definition of hate crimes and the government’s ability to investigate and prosecute them.

71. McCain voted on numerous occasions from 2003-2007 against additional funding for Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

70. McCain favors teaching the Christian religious doctrine of the Ten Commandments in public school systems.

69. McCain’s tax returns reveal that he annually collects over $58,000 in tax exempt funds as part of a “disability pension”. A spokesman for McCain said this is because of his “limited body movements due to injuries as a POW”.

68. McCain now sides with the Bush Administration to help end the off-shore oil drilling ban of 1981, a reversal of the position he took in his 2000 presidential campaign.

67. McCain wrongly claimed that 401ks are taxed by the capital gains tax and used this to further his point that “[Obama] obviously doesn’t understand the economy.”

66. McCain voted against Amdt. No. 2634 which was to provide additional funds for the mental health of veterans.

65. He skipped voting on the Lieberman-Warner climate change legislation that would have have included tax breaks for solar power. McCain said he skipped the vote because it didn’t finance the nuclear industry enough and he was busy running for President.

64. McCain is overly superstitious.

63. Thinks a $300 million prize to develop a better car battery is a sufficient amount of money compared to the $720 million dollars the United States spends in Iraq every day to wage war.

62. McCain has seven times fewer online followers on the leading social networks than Barack Obama.

61. McCain voted against Reed Amendment 2737 which would have repealed a capital gains tax that would have funded American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

60. John and Cindy McCain have failed to pay taxes on a California property they own for the past four years. Only after a reporter inquired about the bill with the McCain campaign did they send San Diego County a check.

59. McCain was for talking with Hamas before he was against it.

58. John McCain’s understanding of eminent domain is flawed. In May, 2008 he said: “There is a very clear standard in the Constitution requiring not only just compensation in the use of eminent domain, but also that private property may NOT be taken for public use.” In fact, the rule of eminent domain, as outlined in Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, states that private property can indeed be taken for public use if proper compensation is issued.

57. McCain doesn’t know if condoms help stop the spread of HIV.

56. McCain praised President Bush in 2001 when he said he could trust Putin because Bush had “looked the man in the eye” and got “a sense of his soul.” Asked by Chris Matthews how Bush did in his Russia trip, McCain replied, “I–I give him an A. I’d give him an A.”

55. McCain received only a 20% approval rating from the Disabled Veterans of America.

54. He scolded the U.S. Congress for taking the 4th of July holiday weekend off, but has seen fit to miss more votes than any other Senator in the 110th Congress.

53. When the incident between Russian and Georgia irrupted, McCain said that it was the ‘first serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War.’

52. On at least three separate occasions, McCain made references to Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn’t existed since 1993.

51. Polling data suggests that John McCain may not be able to carry his home state of Arizona in the upcoming election.

50. Rolling Stone magazine reports that McCain’s campaign schedule is “relaxed” to say the least. Unlike traditional candidates who usually put in multiple appearances each day, McCain limits himself to one event per day.

49. John McCain supports huge tax breaks for the oil industry, but not for wind power.

48. In an interview with CBS News, McCain said that Iraq (and not Afghanistan) was the “first major conflict since 9/11″ for the United States.

47. Days after McCain’s reversal on the subject of off-shore oil drilling, Multiple oil company executives gave huge contributions to electing him. The total collected from the Hess family alone was $285,000. Total contributions from the oil industry to McCain’s campaign jumped from $208,000 in May to $1.1 mil. dollars in June.

46. At the Saddleback Church, McCain famously said that a child’s right to life begins at the “moment of conception”. Yet despite this firm position, McCain supports forms of embryonic stem cell research.

45. McCain campaigns on a promise of fiscal responsibility, and yet he and his wife carry more than $100,000 in credit card liabilities as of 6.13.08.

44. McCain compares the conflict in Iraq with the historical conflicts of South Korea, Japan and Germany and has said that America might be in Iraq for “100 years” and that it would be “fine with me.”

43. Thinks Iraq and Pakistan share a border. They do not.

42. McCain’s foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, has been linked to controversial businessman Stephen Payne who was caught trading money for access to President Bush in the construction of his Presidential library.

41. McCain graduated fifth from the bottom from his Naval Academy class.

40. In recent weeks both President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have moved away from McCain’s stated position of not setting any kind of deadlines for withdrawal from Iraq. Indeed, as reported by USA Today, the U.S. & Iraqi governments are close to completing a security agreement that tentatively calls for U.S. combat troops to be withdrawn from Baghdad and other cities by summer of 2009.

39. McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, has attended zero of his committee’s six hearings on Afghanistan over the last two years.

38. McCain received a grade of “D” from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

37. He can’t decide if he’s a Baptist or an Episcopalian.

36. McCain now says that gay and lesbian couples “should be able to enter into legal agreements” but not be able to marry. But last year McCain campaigned in his home state of Arizona for Proposition 107, an expansive amendment so broad it would have overturned local decisions by school districts, cities and counties to give benefits to unmarried couples – straight or gay.

35. McCain has said $5 million is the line between being considered middle class and “rich”.

34. McCain regularly turns to ex Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina for advice on economic matters. Fiorina was forced out of her position at HP under charges of mismanagement.

33. When asked by a reporter how many homes he and his wife Cindy own, he could not give a number and said he would have to have his staff get back with the answer. Politico later reported that the McCain’s own at least 8 properties, but that it could be as high as 12.

32. Despite a smear campaign that George Bush and Karl Rove launched against McCain in the 2000 South Carolina primary, years later McCain would forgive the lies that were spread in his name and give Bush “the hug”.

31. McCain consistently calls Obama an “elitist”, but admits that he “doesn’t know the price of gas“, and can’t remember the last time he bought any himself.

30. McCain voted against Florida Everglades restoration.

29. At the start of the US invasion of Iraq, McCain told NBC that “the Iraqi people will greet us as liberators.”

28. McCain has admitted that he didn’t really love his country until he was 31 years old.

27. Over a seven month period, John McCain used a corporate jet owned by a company headed by his wife instead of paying full cost for normal airfare, effectively giving his campaign a “discount” on air travel. This use of Cindy McCain’s corporate jet violates the spirit of campaign finance laws that McCain himself helped pass.

26. McCain can’t seem to connect with young voters.

25. While on the campaign trail in 2000, McCain said “I hated the gooks. I will hate them as long as I live.” The term “gooks” is a racial epithet that has historically been used to demean all Asians.

24. McCain consistently has a problem remembering the difference between Shia and Sunni.

23. During his 1986 run for Senate, John McCain used an assumed name to make over $225,000 in renovations to a house owned by his father-in-law James Hensley, presumably to avoid perceptions that he was carpetbagger.

22. McCain used an unauthorized image of General Petraeus to help promote his fundrasing material which was done without Petraeus’ knowledge or approval.

21. Has admitted he “needs to be educated” about economics.

• • •

The Top Twenty

20. John McCain opposes net neutrality. Barack Obama supports it.

19. He doesn’t understand the legal term “habeas corpus”.

18. John McCain leads every politician in the amount of funds accepted from “Big Oil”, to the tune of $724,000 through 5/08.

17. He voted against the Martin Luther King holiday in 1983.

16. McCain claims he “supported every investigation” into the government’s role regarding Katrina, when in fact he twice voted against an independent commission.

15. He favors warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

14. He professed that Baghdad was “safe enough” to stroll through a market as any normal person would, but neglected to mention his trip was accompanied by 100 soldiers, 3 Blackhawk helicopters and 2 Apache Gunships.

13. He has a long, problematic history with fits of anger.

12. McCain admitted in his memoir “Faith of My Fathers” that he was unfaithful to his first wife Carol, who had been disfigured in a near-fatal car accident on Christmas Eve, 1969. McCain recounts the events leading up to his divorce and says it was “my own selfishness and immaturity. … I cannot escape blame by pointing a finger at the [stress of] war. The blame was entirely mine.” In return for giving him a divorce, McCain agreed to pay for his ex-wife’s medical care for the rest of her life.

11. McCain has implied that the Iraq war was fought over oil.

10. In 2002, McCain criticized preacher Jerry Falwell as “an agent of intolerance” but later changed his mind, giving the graduation address at Falwell’s Liberty University in May of 2006.

9. He doesn’t know how to use a computer.

8. In May of 2008 John McCain said: “I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’ But the fact of the matter is that Reagan did negotiate with Iran, albeit unknowingly, through Oliver North. Acting under the Reagan administration, North traded arms for hostages as Reagan later admitted. McCain is either lying or he is ignorant of the historical facts of the Iranian hostage incident.

7. Believes in appointing judges that would help to over turn Roe v. Wade and take away a woman’s right to choose.

6. McCain voted against the Webb amendment calling for adequate troop rest between deployments.

• • •

The Top Five

5. Corruption: John McCain was part of the Keating Five scandal accused of corruption in 1989 in conjunction with the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 1980′s and early 1990′s.

4. Age: Although age shouldn’t be a factor for determining the next President of the United States, in the eyes of voters, it is. If he were to win the Presidency, McCain would be inaugurated at the age of 72, making him the oldest person ever elected. POTUS is the most stressful, demanding job on the planet and McCain has a history of health problems including multiple treatments for skin cancer. McCain has already outlived both his father, who died at the age of 70, and his grandfather, who died at 61.

In addition, McCain has made numerous gaffes while on the campaign trail, more than can be explained as mere accidents. He’s had trouble with geography (Somalia for Sudan, Iraq’s borders, etc), he’s re-written history, and made several of these mistakes on several separate occasions. Critics are starting to notice the mistakes are piling up.

Finally, while he claims to be fit enough to “hike the Grand Canyon”, he also sees nothing wrong with collecting tax payer funds in the form of a POW “disability pension” (see #70). Despite claims to the contrary, McCain’s age has become a legitimate campaign issue.

3. Torture: Himself being a former POW, he believes that prisoners of the United States shouldn’t be subjected to various forms of torture including water boarding. That is unless they are being held by the CIA, in which case, they can be. His decision to flip-flop on this key issue, one with which he has fought long and hard against, has cost him dearly with independents, moderate Democrats and even some Republicans who see the shift as hypocritical.

2. Money: McCain has had an extraordinarily hard time raising funds for his campaign. In March, McCain raised a mere $15 million dollars to Obama’s $40 million. For every dollar McCain raises, Obama raises 3. Such a massive financial advantage will allow Obama to compete in more states than McCain and force him to defend states that should rightfully be Republican wins.

Although the Republican National Committee helps make up for McCain’s fundraising shortfalls, it none-the-less can’t keep pace with the Democrats and Obama. Diverting cash from the GOP coffers to McCain’s fight for the White House will have detrimental effects on other, smaller GOP races. Obama has more than 1.5 million donors while McCain has just a few hundred thousand.

1. Bush: By any metric chosen, clues point to voters favoring Democrats in the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House this fall. President Bush’s approval records are at an all-time low, hovering around 28%. Democratic voter registration is 2-3 times higher across the country than their GOP counterparts. And for the first time in 3 election cycles, Democrats are raising more money than their right-leaning counterparts. In addition, wedge issues which were so effective against John Kerry in 2004 such as gay marriage have taken a back seat to topics like Iraq, the economy and energy.

John McCain has attempted to distance himself from the Bush administration, while at the same time aligning himself with the majority of his critical policies. From Iraq and his tax proposals, to his flip-flop on women’s choice and the types of judges McCain would appoint, there is virtually no difference between the candidate and Bush. Obama easily fills entire stadiums with voters hungry for change, but McCain must be content with relatively small gatherings of loyal, core followers. McCain may make a go of the election through the use of fear, misinformation and doubt, but in the end, signs point to an Obama victory, due in part by Bush weary voters.

Fear & Loathing Illustrated

In an effort to underscore just how much the right fears Barack Obama, I’ve put together this helpful info graphic. Inspired by something Britt Whitmire said this morning on his radio show, I decided to check out the total number of entries for both Obama and McCain at Snopes.com, a non-partisan website that tracks urban legends and scam emails. They say animals that are cornered tend to go on the attack, so judging from what’s happening at Snopes, one could theorize conservatives are feeling “trapped” this election cycle.

Emails, rumors and media reports filled to the brim with misinformation about Obama have been circulating for months in an effort to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about the Senator from Illinois. This might have worked in 2004 against John Kerry, but Obama is being proactive with sites like Fight The Smears and surrogates that counter media lies at every possible opportunity. It’s about time too because, like millions of progressives in this country, I’m tired of the Democrats running defense these last eight years. The recent flap over McCain’s multiple homes is just the sort of thing Karl Rove would unleash on Obama if he had the chance. Don’t believe me? The data at Snopes doesn’t lie.