Bring It

Prior to the 2008 election, I was understandably nervous about the possible outcome. The potential of President John McCain and Vice President Sarah Palin shook me to my core and I followed the political scene very closely. I blogged about politics quite a bit, every chance I got actually and set out to do my part to try and help get Barack Obama elected. The thought of another four years of republican policies and control combined with Palin being just one step away from the Oval Office often kept me up at night. I was anxious, nervous and worried.

Looking back now, I probably shouldn’t have been so stressed. In hindsight, the country longed for a new direction, a vision to lead us away from the war in Iraq, away from torture as an official U.S. policy, and away from the leadership disasters of Katrina and a tailspinning economy. Obama stepped in at the right moment, won the nomination and then the Presidency and made history in the process. I remember wondering the night before the first presidential debate if Barack really had what it took to lead the nation. He was young and full of hope an enthusiasm, but would it be enough? Would the elder, more experienced statesman win the debate and the presidency? No, he would not.

Now, four years later my thoughts return to that election and how I felt leading up to it. Hate for this President has run deep, deeper than even I have thought possible. Almost since the day he took office, republicans have been blocking, obstructing and denigrating him and his position in the hopes of getting the upper hand this November 4th. Questions about his birth certificate still circulate in right-wing circles. Cries of socialism and a “government takeover” of healthcare have rallied the conservative base. Billionaires, backed by the Supreme Court’s mis-guided Citizen’s United decision have poured gobs of money into Karl Rove’s coffers and flooded the airwaves with negative ads all designed to convince the country that Obama hasn’t done enough to turn the economy and the country around fast enough. These last few months I’ve started to wonder, could Romney actually win this thing? I mean, Mr. Bland, Mr. RomneyCare, Mr. Also-ran Mitt Romney?

No, I don’t think so. In fact, the closer we get to election day, the more I think Barack will prove his worth with voters and handily win re-election. He now has a laundry list of accomplishments that he will be able to wield like Batman wields his utility belt. Want to talk about terrorism? He’s ended the war in Afghanistan, killed dozens of Al Qaida operatives and oh, Osama Bin Laden has shuffled off that mortal coil. Obama’s fought for the rights of gays and lesbians repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and signed laws designed to help give women equal pay for equal work. Obama’s administration saved the auto industry. Mitt didn’t even want to touch the problem with a ten-foot pole, preferring instead to let the industry go belly up, and thousands upon thousands of Michigan jobs with it.

And then there’s health care. The right sees it as their war cry. “We’ll repeal Obamacare! Socialism! Socialism!” but more and more Americans’ agree that the fundamental principals that the Affordable Care Act provides (insurance for pre-existing conditions, more of your dollars paying for care instead of overhead, etc) are good ones. Just this week Romney, in a bid for independent voters said that there are parts of Obamacare he wants to keep. This flies directly in the face of his fellow hard-line conservatives who have said they want the entire act repealed. Nothing less will do. That’s the problem with extremism, it doesn’t win elections. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, politics is rarely a black and white endeavor. It takes compromise and a willingness to walk in the other guy’s shoes in order to get things done. This simple principal has been Washington’s way since its inception, but it’s also seemingly been abandoned by the right in their bid to regain control of the White House. Indeed, no other congress has stymied the lawmaking process as much as this one has. In order to get anything done, the President has had to take some unusual measures which, predictably, has only increased right-wing cries that he’s “power hungry” and refuses to work with republicans.

I have no delusions that Barack Obama has fulfilled all his promises as President. Obama’s White House isn’t nearly as transparent as he had promised it would be. We still hold prisoners without hope of ever getting a fair trial before their peers. He was naive to pretend he could make bipartisanship a household word. Perhaps most distressingly he’s been unable to communicate effectively to the American people just why he’s done some of the things he’s done. Then I look at the other side of the coin, all that he’s accomplished despite the massive pile of dung he was handed by his predecessor, and I look forward with hope. The country is indeed in a better place today than it was when he took office. I absolutely cannot WAIT for the political debates which being October 2nd. I believe Barack will wipe the proverbial floor with Mitt and seal the deal in the process. I also think deep down inside, conservatives won’t mind because like McCain, most of them don’t like Romney anyway. I’m starting to get excited about this election, and while there is still a huge level of uncertainty, (much can happen in two months) I look across the aisle to my conservative counterparts and think – “Bring it.”

UPDATE: As if almost on cue, conservatives have started to publicly decry Romney’s anemic campaign. Like I said in the post, things are still early but it’s obvious that Romney is an also-ran for the GOP. He was really the only viable choice to contend with Obama, but he’s failed to bring the “right-wing goods” as it were and therefore the knives are showing. I have a feeling things are about to get very ugly for the republican party as they face some unpleasant truths.

It’s Sarah Palin’s World. John McCain is Just Living In It.

The cracks started to show several weeks ago when Palin disagreed with the McCain’s idea to pull out of Michigan. The cracks grew into fractures when it was reported that the campaign spent some $150,000 of GOP donor money on clothes and makeup treatments for Palin and her family so they could “look good” during the run up to the election. Accusations flew, and some within the McCain camp started leaking nasty things about Sarah to the press. “She’s gone rogue” said one advisor. Then this week came the infamous “whack job” comment. Now from ABC news comes the icing on the chilly cake that is the Palin/McCain campaign. Sarah’s ready for 2012!

“Gov. Sarah Palin suggested that if the Republican ticket is defeated on Tuesday she expects to be a player in the next election four years from now, saying “I’m not doing this for naught.”

In an interview with ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas, the Republican vice-presidential nominee was asked about 2012, whether she was discouraged by the daily attacks on the campaign trail, and would instead pack it in and return to her home state of Alaska.

“I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that would bring this whole & I’m not doing this for naught,” Palin said.”

It seems that someone has a taste for their new found, conservative popularity. It would be a shame for all that stumping to go to waste if and when McCain loses. So Sarah seems to be hedging her bets for the next go around four years from now. The fact that she’s talking about 2012 six days before the 2008 election is nothing less than stunning. If I was John McCain, I’d be positively livid, but all things being equal it serves him right. This is what McCain gets when he listens to the likes of mr-thinks-he-knows-everything-but-really-knows-nothing Bill Kristol. Palin is turning out to be the single best thing Kristol’s ever done for the left in his long and illustrious career of being completely and utterly wrong. You betcha!

Stage 3: Bargaining

Before last night’s debate, I had a vibrant discussion about the Presidential race with a close friend. I love talking politics, especially with people on the other side of the aisle. We were both enjoying the verbal sparring when my friend said something very telling. He said that he was starting to come to the realization that Obama would most likely win the election, and unless he somehow managed to screw up, Barack was riding a wave that would easily carry him into office. Then he said something which I think you’re going to be hearing a lot more over the next three weeks – “It’s okay though, I never liked McCain any how.”

This is the unspoken truth behind GOP supporters this year. From the very beginning, conservatives have had to put up or shut up with John McCain. I’ve said before that he’s never been a true hero of theirs. In the past, he would disagree with his party at the most inopportune times and throw a political monkey wrench into the works, seemingly just to spite the Malkins and Hannitys of the world. As a friend of mine on Twitter recently said, this year conservatives are not voting for McCain so much as they are voting against Obama.

So if the current polling keeps up, and Obama manages to pull away with this race, expect to hear much more of the “we never liked McCain” meme from the right. They will use it to console themselves and deflect criticism until a “real” conservative can run in 2012. You know, someone like another Bush.

UPDATE: Dave points to a handy post that highlights the five stages of loss conservatives are feeling over at FreeRepublic.com. This is political gold folks.

Why Palin Lost

The much anticipated Vice Presidential debate is now past us and I have to say I’m relieved. Relieved because quite frankly Sarah Palin has been an unknown quantity up to this point, but no longer. Last night she proved to me, and millions of Americans, that she really isn’t ready to be VP.

I give her major props for actually putting in a credible performance in last night’s debate. Stylistically she was friendly, approachable and down to earth. Unlike McCain with Obama, Palin looked Biden in the eye, and gave him credit for his positions on several occasions. But as the debate wore on, it was clear Palin was speaking from wrote. She didn’t answer the questions put to her, she mispronounced critical names and couldn’t keep up with Biden on important topics like nuclear proliferation and the economy.

The people this morning that are telling you Sarah won the debate are the same ones who went into the event white knuckled. They were scared beyond belief that the “Katie Couric” Palin would show up. You know, the one that couldn’t form complete thoughts, couldn’t name one periodical she’s read and didn’t know any Supreme Court decisions beyond Roe v Wade. So expectations were sufficiently lowered that supporters now feel confident saying Palin “mopped the floor” with Biden. It simply isn’t so, and in fact, just the opposite happened.

Here are just some reasons why Palin lost last night’s debate:

• Calling Afghanistan’s commander McKiernan “General McClellan” repeatedly and then lying about what he said on how an Iraqi surge “won’t work” in Afghanistan.

• Wanting to give the Vice President even “more power” in the US Senate. Biden killed her on this particular question. Palin’s surrogates disagreed with her take. The answer Biden gave was frank and reassuring. Palin’s reinforced the Bush policy of the Unitary Executive.

Misunderstanding and then glossing over questions about a nuclear Iran to get to prepared answers to her own questions on a completely different subject.

• Over-use of “maverick”. She said it like 5 times in the last 15 minutes, until Biden had simply enough.

• Her rambling, incoherent answer on climate change. She clearly doesn’t understand or won’t admit the problem.

• It’s “blunders” Sarah, not “blenders”.

• “I’ve only been at this what, five weeks?” That admission was a huge mistake. It will be played in TV and radio ads just like Obama’s multiple “McCain was right” lines. Yes, she has only been at this five weeks and it shows.

• She decries the media “filter” and wants to answer more of American’s questions directly but won’t agree to a general press conference. What’s up with that?

If the first and only Vice Presidential debate had been purely about style over substance then yes, Palin might have won. Americans however, were looking for cues to reassure them that Palin deserves the position that John McCain awarded her. They were not simply watching to see Wasilla Sarah’s folksy mannerism, “gosh darn-its” and winks to the camera. They came to learn if Palin had the stuff to take over as leader of the free world should something happen to a 72 year old man with a history of health problems. They didn’t get what they wanted.

Let’s Play Palin VP Bingo!

With the eagerly anticipated Vice Presidential debate between Alaska Govenor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden, I thought now would be a good time for Sarah Palin Bingo. Although Sarah came on like gangbusters, lately her star has been falling. From the get-go she has lied about her record on the “bridge to nowhere”, Alaska’s energy contribution to the United States, her position on climate change and a whole host of other subjects. And although she’s conducted only a handful of interviews, her answers have made conservatives increasingly cringe.

Given all this and the fact that a growing number of right-wing strategists have said she should resign from McCain’s campaign, I thought it would be fun to keep track of the items sure to pop up during the debate on October 2nd. You can download and print out the PDF version of Palin VP Bingo so you can play along at home, or just check the Palin Bingo Page following the debate to see how we did.

NOTE: If for some strange reason the VP debate gets cancelled, it’s an instant Bingo. Now go download and have fun!

UPDATE: Well the debate is now one for the history books (thank goodness). I’m sorry to say we didn’t manage to call a Bingo! but it was fun none-the-less. If every space on the board had been filled with “maverick” then we all would have easily won. Sarah seemed to mention it ALOT in the last half of the event, especially in the closing minutes. And while she held her ground and didn’t provide the train wreck that I think so many on the left were hoping for, I think it’s pretty clear she doesn’t have the stuff to be one heart beat away from the Presidency. She didn’t answer questions, kept falling back on talking points, repeatedly mispronounced names and relied too heavily on “folksy” sayings.

Biden for his part seemed off-stride for the first half, but picked up steam in the end. He didn’t put his foot in his mouth as I expected he would (which was great) and gave more solid answers to a number of questions than Palin did. In the end, I don’t think this debate changed much, and after the right’s relief that Sarah didn’t screw up wears off, I think people will realize how little she actually said.

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.

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: