Tuesday, September 30

Fair and Balanced watch III

"A little heavier"...

Ok that's too funny...maybe there were a couple McCain hands off camera?

Still pretty ridiculous.

So it really is true

Anything looks better in slow motion.

But can't say I saw 1:06 coming...

Handbasket express

Rob vents some frustration:
As a black man this infuriates me. There is no way that an African-American who sounded like Palin would ever be taken seriously. No way. Obama almost had to be a Harvard Law magna cum laude grad just to be plausible, taken seriously. But that very fact makes him an elitist. This country is a complete joke. Please tell me why I shouldn't damn it to hell
Because a few hundred years ago, your ancestors came here in chains. It may take awhile, but this too shall pass. Obama has created the strongest hope yet. Let's hope he can live up to it. But even if he fails to change things for the better, life goes on. Or so we must continue to hope.

They cannot take away your hope. Or if they can, what will there be left, and will it even have mattered?

Deep thoughts today.

More Hewitt fun

Sullivan comments that the questions are actually funnier than the answers, but there was one answer I liked:
Palin: there’s a lot of mocking of my personal faith, and my personal faith is very, very simple. I don’t belong to any church. I do have a strong belief in God, and I believe that I’m a heck of a lot better off putting my life in God’s hands, and saying hey, you know, guide me. What else do we have but guidance that we would seek from a Creator? That’s about as simple as it gets with my faith, and I think that there is a lot of mocking of that. And you know, so bet it, though I do have respect for those who have differing views than I do on faith, on religion. I’m not going to mock them, and I would hope that they would kind of I guess give me the same courtesy through this of not mocking a person’s faith, but maybe perhaps even trying to understand a little bit of it.
If that's truly the extent of Palin's faith, I have no problem with it. Like Coates, I surely want to understand what's going on here. That's part of why I began writing on them here 'Internets'.
Hewitt: Have you followed the attacks on you, say, via Drudge or the blogs? Some of them are just made up and out of left field, others are just mocking. Do you follow those?
Gasp! She's not looking at me, is she? Make it stop! ... I would like to take this moment to apologize to Sarah Palin for mocking her.

It has now been divinely revealed to me that Sarah is a Very Serious Candidate for the Vice Presidency and that I must endeavor to "show deference". Oh I'm sorry, not divinely revealed. That was actually McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis on Fox News Sunday. I get the two mixed-up sometimes.

All the magazines and all the king's newspapers

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this — to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I’ve read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media —

Couric: But what ones specifically? I’m curious.

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.

Couric: Can you name any of them?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.
So Palin has "great appreciation for the press, for the media" but she won't mention any one by name?

I suppose she wouldn't want to freak voters out about her subscription to the End Times.

But seriously, this response is ridiculous, and reading a Hannite try to stay ahead with more spin is also funny:
suppose for instance she had tossed out a couple national newspapers or magazines. Let's say she'd said, 'Oh, I pick up the NY Times occasionally, or the Washington Post, or Time or Newsweek. Well, then Katie would have pounced with the 'follow-up' gotcha... 'Oh, you read the NY Times? Who's your favorite columnist?' or 'So you read Newsweek? What do you think of their cover story on the crisis in Georgia?'

She was very smart to say nothing. Don't even play the game...

Gotcha journalism at it's worst...
Yes, it's gotcha journalism to ask whether a presidential-level candidate stays well-informed via the press. We couldn't possibly have a legitimate reason to be skeptical of Palin's credentials on this point. Your man Hannity's "interview" was much fair and balanced-ier:

Obviously Katie Couric is incapable of working up to the exacting ethical standards of Sean Hannity and requires journalism lessons, as Palin explains:
Hewitt: Now Governor, the Gibson and the Couric interview struck many as sort of pop quizzes designed to embarrass you as opposed to interviews. Do you share that opinion?

Palin: Well, I have a degree in journalism also, so it surprises me that so much has changed since I received my education in journalistic ethics all those years ago. But I’m not going to pick a fight with those who buy ink by the barrelful. I’m going to take those shots and those pop quizzes and just say that’s okay, those are good testing grounds. And they can continue on in that mode. That’s good. That makes somebody work even harder. It makes somebody be even clearer and more articulate in their positions. So really I don’t fight it. I invite it.
Ah yes, Palin's education. So complete, it took five colleges. One college just wasn't enough to satiate Sarah's vast appetite for knowledge & understanding.

Oh but she doesn't fight the press, she invites it? This parallel universe in which she's held regular press conferences must be fascinating. Is that also the one that's only 6,000 years old?

Quote of the day II

"You don't try to understand people because you expect something in return--the understanding is the return."   --Ta-Nehisi Coates

Feisty as ever

From Yes, Andrew, Sarah Palin is a disaster:
Andrew may not have heard, but there have been a few interesting developments in the financial markets over the last few weeks. As an economics blogger, I was regretfully forced to forgo full time devotion to the vice presidential race and turn to more trivial matters.
Touché...go read the whole post.

Sing for Supreme Leader Obama

Question of the day: Which of these videos is more disturbing, and why?

(UPDATE 4 hours later) Some friendly commentary:
you're a complete fucking idiot if you dont see the difference.

The people in those videos are praying to God. Not singing praise to political candidate who is just a mere mortal human being.
Nice try but not even close to the same thing. The two videos you post are wacky, yes. But they are both praying to God. Not in a way that I would, but whatever. The Obama video is sick because they are singing to him as if HE were God. So basically I agree about the contents of your skull.
Okay people, try to think about it this way:

Some of us are part of a religious group that prays to a God, some of us aren't.
Some of us are inspired by a particular presidential candidate, some of us aren't.
Some of us are part of a personality cult, some of us aren't.

I could go on of course. We could argue about what's worse:

A) "praising" an inspirational leader with song
B) praying over the cardboard cut-out of a head of government who "is here" and basically praising him and his advisers for being "spirit-filled"
C) any of those weirder Jesus Camp things....

Of those things, some may be more disturbing to some of us than others, depending on our worldviews and backgrounds (I went to a Jesus Camp as a kid, so I have my own perspective on that)

But the overarching issue with these 3 clips is how the kids are being taught, not the particulars of what they're being taught. And this is what I'm pondering with my question...

Too often, people on one side of an issue point to faults in others without realizing that they may be guilty of the same generic fault.

Obviously there are people who support Jesus camp-like stuff and obviously there are people who support having their kids sing songs about political leaders.

My view is that while people can reasonably disagree on the content of what's being taught, it may be more interesting to look at the method. It's a matter of informed critical thinking.

How much did those "Sing for Change" kids actually know about Barack Obama or the U.S. presidency? And how much did those Jesus campers know about different beliefs or the concept of belief vs. certainty?

My guess is not very much, and to me this is more disturbing than the particulars of what's being taught. (Maybe Barack Obama will be a great leader, or maybe he won't. Maybe Jesus Christ is Lord, or maybe he isn't)

Point is, I don't think kids should be taught false confidence of any kind. Religions with a supernatural component like belief in God are not more laudable _per se_ than the glorification of the accomplishments of a non-supernatural person. I don't think we should force either thing on children who are incapable of knowing better.

I could be wrong of course, but it seems to me people who excuse the one but not the other -- because it better fits their worldview/background -- are being inconsistent.

Quotes of the day

"You spout off facts, figures and policies and I'm amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, 'Does any of this really matter?'" --Sarah Palin, 18 April 2006

"Reality has a well-known liberal bias." --Stephen Colbert, 29 April 2006

Banks matter

One of Sullivan's readers explains why you shouldn't be dismissive of the current financial crisis.

For more detail, Princeton economists give an hour's worth.

No distractions

Politico previews Biden’s likely strategy when he faces Palin at the debate:

If Sarah Palin goofs, flounders, stumbles or blunders during her debate against Joe Biden on Thursday night, Biden is going to let it slide.

“If she makes a gaffe, he underplays it,” one of the people prepping Biden for his vice presidential debate told me. “At most, he says, ‘I am not sure what Gov. Palin meant there.’”


“Joe Biden’s No. 1 job during the vice presidential debate is to keep the focus on the top of the ticket,” the Biden debate prepper told me. “He is going to keep the focus on John McCain.”

I now think the veep debate is going to matter squat given the economic climate we find ourselves in and what Palin, McCain, and Republicans have done to discredit themselves elsewhere.

But naturally there's no cause to take things for granted. And as I was saying earlier, attacking McCain while courteously ignoring Palin is the proper thing to do.

Losing everything

Despite the campaign's sharp break in Obama's direction in the last week of September, we need only remember the sharp break in McCain's favor in the first two weeks of the month to know that elections can change quickly. That said, I've been thinking over the last few days that if John McCain loses this election he will have lost much more than the presidency. His reputation as an honest and honorable politician will be wrecked, I suspect, for good -- particularly among centrist and independent voters and the centrist commentator class in New York and Washington.

In his current guise, McCain would likely say that what the folks along the Northeast corridor think of him doesn't matter. But I don't think anyone who knows him believes that for a second. The man has spent the last fifteen years of his life assiduously cultivating these people. This after all is what people mean when they used to say that the press was McCain's 'base'. It's a big thing for his political viability and his ego.


My verdict may be a severe one but I think a lot of people -- a lot of former admirers -- are coming around to agreeing with the general outlines. McCain has revealed himself as a liar well outside the permissive standards applied to politicians. He's shown himself to be reckless to the point of instability, repeatedly putting the country at risk (exploiting the Georgia crisis, picking Palin, storming the bailout negotiations) for transparently self-serving reasons. And in too many ways to count, he's conducted his campaign in disgraceful and dishonorable ways.

Perhaps the most telling thing is that McCain was willing flush that reputation down the drain, betray everything he pretended to stand for, all to be president. If he wins, it will all have been worth it. He was happy to sacrifice one for the other. And now he may end up with neither.
That's exactly it...stated more eloquent and mildly than I can manage at this point.

UPDATE: Sullivan chimes in

Monday, September 29

This is your legacy

...well, one of them.

You know who you are.

On the plus side, I rather doubt Wall Street will be skiddish about seeing the Democrats come to power, and we can all look forward to Obama's rediscovery of Clintonomics.

Cheer up, there are much brighter days ahead!

Deep thought of the day

Who needs the most promising, hopeful and inspirational candidate in modern American history when you're running against the last eight years of Bush plus all the shenanigans we've witnessed since the Republican convention?

At this point the Democratic Party could replace Obama with Osama and they'd still take the White House.

What a country we've become . . . I didn't know it was possible to feel proud and appalled at the same time.

Self-parody watch

Neocons have to argue about whether they should be honest with each other.

I must say, NRO's corner has been fascinating reading today. I'm running out of popcorn.

Pleasant surprise

For all the severity of the financial situation, today is turning out to be a very amusing day.

Politico: Palin Knows Of No Other Court Cases Except Roe
The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions. After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.
Sullivan comments: "Just let it sink in."

I can't! I'm too busy laughing. Come ON...

Marbury v. Madison?

Plessy v. Ferguson?

Brown v. Board of Education?

Miranda v. Arizona?

Bush v. Gore?

Lawrence v. Texas?

Nothing besides Roe?!?

And she wants to be the Vice President of these United States?

Mudflats: McCain Camp Figures Out Sarah Palin’s Problem!

You cannot make this stuff up.

TPM: McCain Says Now Is Not Time To Assign Blame -- Only Two Hours After His Campaign Blamed Obama

Ambers: What we have here is a FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE!

That last one is a MUST-read analysis. He ends:
BTW: A helluva week for Sarah Palin to debate, huh?
Omigosh! Not just Sarah, but Biden! This debate and its aftermath will be comedy gold.

All the funnier since the political effect will be basically nil. The McCain campaign has not only lost its wheels, it's found itself without a transmission, drive train, or steering wheel. Oh, and the engine is choking! Dieu merci.

If this isn't satire, it should be

Yglesias posts:

Rachel Maddow’s show turns out to be quite the success for MSNBC.

I wonder how an Obama White House will deal with MSNBC’s flirtations with establishing itself as the progressive-friendly cable network. An incumbent administration has a lot of ability to reward particular reporters, hosts, and networks with access, scoops, and choice interviews. In principles, a White House inclined to think and act strategically about the media could do a lot to push MSNBC to transform in that direction while simultaneously bolstering the news credibility of Maddow and Keith Olbermann.

My comment:
Eeek, I wanted to vomit. The last thing we need is another Fox.

I almost went off about Matt’s being ideologically aligned with this idea not making such a thing justified.

Then I realized that whole last paragraph could be very low-key satire.

I honestly cannot tell. Congratulations, you magnificent bastard.

Why not nationalize?

Three days ago when I read Yglesias' "Nationalize Everything", I emailed Megan essentially asking:
New Deal 2.0 ? I'm sure there are problems with the idea... could you explain?
I'm sure many people had the same type of question, and here is her answer.

Gambler in chief II

Of the different forms of legalized gambling permitted in the United States the most common is also the least-justifiable — the state-sponsored lottery. That industry, meanwhile, is dominated by a firm called GTech. A firm that, as Ken Silverstein details, has extensive ties to the McCain team
But -- if not the lottery -- how else are we supposed to tax people who are bad at math?

Interviewing Palin

Now anyone can do it.

Quotes of the day

"The (now modified) Paulson proposal is the worst possible course of action, other than any available alternative." --Jim Manzi

"It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all those other forms that have been tried." --Winston Churchill, House of Commons, 11 November 1947

Bailout flailing...

(this post updated as the day progressed...)

Watch: stock indexes

More than 131 House Republucans and 95 House Democrats vote against it.

A rush to cash-in on T-bills...

Dow down nearly 600...

Will Pelosi hold the vote open to get 12 more votes?.
Yeesh, everyone wants political cover....
Where Were You When The World Economy Collapsed?

Where's Tom Delay when you need 'em?

Who gets blamed for the House Republicans? McCain? Obama? No one?

What's the contingency plan?

What can the government do by itself?
Legislation to bail out the U.S. financial system appears near defeat on the floor of the House. More than enough members of the House had cast votes to defeat the bill, and the vote was being held open, apparently as efforts were under way to persuade people to change their vote. The Dow reacted sharply, plummeting more than 700 points.developing story
I've been watching the debate on CSPAN, and as of now, HR 3997 looks like it's just failed, unless this is some weird procedural vote I don't understand. Nays won 228 to 205, with 1 vote still uncounted. The markets just plunged, with the NASDAQ and the S&P both down more than 6%.

Democrats voted for it pretty narrowly -- 140 to 95. The Republicans shot it down 65 to 133. I find it hard to believe that they're voting their conscience; they're voting their electoral interest in November. I hope their constituencies enjoy the bank panic.

Actually, what I hope is that I'm wrong, we don't need a bailout, and after a period of liquidation, everything will settle down. If so, I will happily confess my error. But I'm very much afraid that I am not wrong, and things are about to get pretty grim.

Among 38 incumbent congressmen in races rated as "toss-up" or "lean" by Swing State Project, just 8 voted for the bailout as opposed to 30 against: a batting average of .211.

By comparison, the vote among congressmen who don't have as much to worry about was essentially even: 197 for, 198 against.

Sullivan: "In the end, they were worried about re-election."

NYT has a great vote chart. If my Rep. had voted no I'd be on the phone right now.

NRO's corner is an interesting read today if you want to understand WTH the neocons are thinking. Politically, two points stand out so far:
  1. The failure of Republicans to deliver the votes they promised is bad for McCain, who bragged about his supposed success in getting them to vote for it

  2. Democrats are now likely to say: "Well, we tried to come together" and proceed to pass a leftist version of the bailout on a party line vote
Ross Douthat ponders:
The best case: This is an example of America's democratic institutions reasserting themselves in the face of the attempt by a panicked technocratic elite to prop up reckless institutions that richly deserve to fail.

The worst case: You know what.

The most likely scenario, as of 3 PM this afternoon: The stock market continues to drop. Some version of the bailout passes in the next week. The American economy staggers into a recession, but passes through the storm without 1930s-style suffering; the Republican Party is not so fortunate. Even though most Americans claim to oppose the bailout [update: not anymore], the House GOP's obstructionism is widely viewed as having worsened the economic situation; the fact that these are contradictory positions does not faze an electorate that wraps all of the country's current troubles up, ties them with a bow, and lays them at the feet of the Bush-led GOP. John McCain loses by a landslide in November. The Democratic Party regains years or even decades worth of ground among the white working class, consolidates the Hispanic vote, and locks up a large chunk of highly-educated voters who might otherwise lean conservative. The much-discussed liberal realignment happens. And a politician running on a Ron Paul-style economic platform does very, very well in the GOP primaries of 2012.
That last line is the first sign of good news for the future that I've come across. Could it be so?

The bailout in plain english

Bloget translates. Whew, I think I get it now.

Woah Virginia

Earlier I saw a headline and joked about Obama's lucky weather streak coming to an end. I called it "disappointing news". But this was actually a great rally in the rain: 26,000 people in VA!

Here's a HuffPost story.

The first half is "meh"...a populist message tailored to get him elected. I especially recoiled when he suggested being "on your own" is a bad thing.

But for the second half of this video...he's on fire. Yeah, in the rain. It's a great speech for that second half.

Interesting to me was how sinister his appearance seemed throughout. The repeated close up of a black man's face, on a black sky...my emotional response was like: "danger!". But rationally I was listening to what he had to say, of course, and quite liking what I heard -- at least for the last half.

I'm glad he's improving race relations this way. I do not want to feel a sense of "danger!" when seeing a close-up, dark-skinned face. He's really helping all of us out of that unfortunate prejudice, and I love this aspect of his candidacy.

He's already a great role model for young black men, as I mentioned earlier when I linked to this post:

Reality, Painful or Not [Jay Nordlinger]

Since it happened three times, I thought I’d tell you about it — it happened three times when I was in Denver, Friday and Saturday. In restaurants and other public places, young black men asked me whether I had attended the Democratic convention. I said yes. They said, “What did you think of the speech?” (meaning Obama’s). And I said I thought it was fabulous.

In each case, the young man beamed and beamed.

This sort of thing can’t be discounted this year. And if Obama loses, there will be pain: perhaps more pain than usually occurs in an election, in which there is always a winner and a loser.

I still get teary-eyed when I read about them beaming. I've seen it first-hand with my own black friends. Their eyes light up, even... it's a beautiful thing.

Can you think of a better way to finally put America's original sin behind us than to watch Obama swear that oath on 20 January? To "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", which once valued him at 3/5ths of a "free person" ? I don't think I can.

Three cheers for BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA!! That America has already come this far from the travesty of the Bush years still amazes me. We can lead in world opinion again...just you wait. Remember what they were saying back in December 2007? "something like a Copernican revolution" ? Well, go read more international news. It's already happening...when they're not busy gawking at the financial crisis and Palin fiasco.

Sunday, September 28

Eagleton scenario examined

The consensus? Good for the country, not so good for McCain's chances.

Country first, anyone? *raises own hand* Moreover, planet Earth first. For those of us interested in stable and productive international relations, the fact that the rest of the world is clamoring for Obama counts for quite a bit.

Perhaps Huckabee would work as a replacement for Palin? Terrible fiscal policies, but at least he can give good interviews! I think it's either him or Romney, if it happens, which it won't...not unless she completely bombs 2 October, I suppose.

Seems we're stuck with her along with Bush and Rove as the mock-face of U.S. "conservatism" for the foreseeable future : (

I'm deeply sad, but that is for the long-term...

Near and medium-term (next 8 years) Obama is a highly unifying figure and just what the doctor ordered. Biden is also just what the doctor ordered to destroy Cheney's abhorrent "Fuck You"-ism.

I don't know how much happier I could be with the Democratic ticket (remember, it was supposed to be the cynical Clintons again!)... but it's the Republican contenders who badly suck. Let's review the possible standard bearers:

John "Gambling, hysterical, overreacting" McCain
Mitt "Fake, plastic, will-say-anything" Romney
Mike "Irresponsible populist" Huckabee
Fred "Uncaring, empty shell" Thompson
Rudy "Noun, verb, 9/11" Giuliani

Ron "Libertarian-to-a-fault" Paul was the only guy I could support, and I soon realized he's too extreme for mainstream America. To head in that direction, we need a more gradual David Cameron-style shift. But who have we got? Maybe Eric Cantor? If so, not yet...there's really nobody, and this Sarah "Mrs. Nonsense" Palin is only helping to profoundly asphyxiate the future of sane U.S. conservatism.

Believe it or not, Sarah Palin has helped long-term Democratic party hegemony more than anything else. People just don't realize it yet. Or if they do, they're coy about saying it. I'm not. Shout it from the rooftops, Palin is exacerbating Bush and the Rovian neocons' destruction of the conservative brand! Alarm, alarm!

Damn you, McCain. You were supposed to gracefully lose this election yet help rescue your party from Bush and Rove by appealing to independents with you maverickness. Instead, you went way off target and dug us further into the hole with Palin and this farce of a campaign. Shame, shame!

Again, the next eight years will be a very welcome correction from the Bush fiasco, as was always going to be the case. But Palin has caused the long-term future of sane conservatism in the U.S. to be bleaker than any time since before Ronald Reagan.

If for whatever reason you cannot bring yourself to support Obama, you basically have only two sane choices: protest with Bob Barr, or sit this one out.

But really, you should support Obama. He's the brightest, most unifying figure...the "Reagan of the Left", and definitely the best the Democrats have to offer. We're very lucky. Well, not just luck: I gifted his books and voted and donated to his campaign in the primaries along with millions of others. So you may in part thank me for saving us from eight years of listening to Nixon-in-a-pantsuit. We did what we could, and it worked. Yes we can, know hope, and all that feel-good stuff.

Hey, I don't care where you fall: any kind of hope is better than cynicism, as politics is chock-full of the later.

The real new best hope for conservatism

Hint: not from the U.S.

The slogan: "Change You Can Trust".

The Republican party used to be that way. No longer :(

The party of Goldwater is my party, and the closest thing to the Ron Paul phenom, just more pragmatic. No one wants our party back more than people like me and Andrew Sullivan, but as we'll be saying ad nauseum the neocons, evangelical fundamentalists, George W. Bush, John McCain, and Sarah Palin have killed it in the U.S. for a generation.

At the risk of beating a dead horse

Coming Around

My view on the first weekend was that Palin was the most reckless pick in modern American history. That's becoming pretty much the consensus three weeks later. Here's Carl Bernstein, echoing Fareed:

No presidential nominee of either party in the last century has seemed so willing to endanger the country's security as McCain in his reckless choice of a running mate.

The key thing about Palin is what it tells us about McCain: unfit to be president.

We're just going to keep saying it until people get it, regardless of how well they program her with more dynamic talking points for 2 October. Or any time before 4 November, for that matter.

Voting for change

Obama for America offers a step by step. Do it! Do it now!

If you keep following this blag we may end up in agreement by 4 November, but the decision on who you pull that lever for is private and personal. Follow the instructions on that site and you could vote for McCain, Bob Barr, or write in Fred Flintstone! : )

But if you want statistics, the Obama campaign's actuaries have calculated that 80% of the people they get signed up with GOTV efforts will vote Obama, and this percentage includes no-shows on election day.

On a lighter note, dontvote.org has a test which is amusing in its semi-seriousness. Heh:
You scored 350 out of 350 possible points, or 100.00%


Not only should you vote, you should consider a career in politics.
Maybe the IT department.

What would Sarah Palin score now? A month ago? I suppose higher than most...she's a state governor after all. I'm just making the point that she's expressed little interest in anything at the international or national levels except securing funds for Alaska.

The next debate II

Fallows sees a looming problem for Biden. I have a prescription.

Fair and Balanced watch II

Sean Hannity: book knowledge is bad. Four more years!

And arguing with Morris about who won? Pfft. He's wrong:
Forget the top-line numbers -- note that the poll "indicated that the younger, less-experienced Obama has made strides since last week in convincing Americans that he can handle the toughest challenges facing the country, including the economy and international affairs. Obama was seen as more "presidential" by 46% of the debate watchers, compared with 33% for McCain. The difference is even more pronounced among debate watchers who were not firmly committed to a candidate: 44% said they believed Obama looked more presidential, whereas 16% gave McCain the advantage."

Not a single post-debate poll gave the advantage to Sen. McCain.
Even the Fox News poll and Fox News focus group gave it to Obama by a good margin. My take was here and here.

Fair and Balanced watch

Fox's News Site Pulls A Story

Guess which one? Conservatives questioning Palin's heft. The reason of Kathleen Parker is too much for Fox readers to handle, apparently.

I mentioned Parker's article earlier.

Ah, Carolina

Brunswick school board to consider creationism teaching

"The law says we can't have Bibles in schools, but we can have evolution, of the atheists."

Wait, evolution is of the atheists? No. Evolution is of every living being on planet Earth, and it's provably billions of years old. No amount of belief or lack of belief in invisible friends will change these facts.

Empirical facts are what we teach in science classes. You can teach kids whatever you want on your own time or in other classes. For instance, the Bible is an influential compendium of books and letters which should be taught in literature classes. In particular the book of Genesis is nothing if not allegorical, and has always belonged alongside Aesop's fables and Greek mythology.

What you do with it in churches, synagogues, mosques, Bible and Torah studies, or Sunday and Sabbath school is something else entirely, and none of my business.

Gringo surcharge: $30

jajaja, pobres gringos imbéciles...

Reminds me of this sign in southern Buenos Aires:

Why McCain makes no sense

Copied wholecloth from Andrew Sullivan, because it's so important for anyone who cares about sound energy and fiscal policy:

Blake Hounshell passes along this chart. This is how John McCain believes we are going to get back to fiscal sanity. Kinda similar to his unhinged notion that we can get to energy independence by drilling at home. There's nothing wrong with cutting pork and off-shore drilling, done responsibly. But if you think these are actual solutions to America's real fiscal crisis, you really need to find another line of work:


..or retire at the end of this term in 2010, Senator. 75 is a good age, and you've served your country well in the past. Why not quit while you're ahead?

Go enjoy those double condos and that rich heiress you worked so hard for. It's the "American Dream", baby!

Your moment of xkcd

Artificial life
Scientific fields

Why can't I have a dinosaur?

According to Palin, I missed them by less than 6,000 years:
ANCHORAGE -- Soon after Sarah Palin was elected mayor of the foothill town of Wasilla, Alaska, she startled a local music teacher by insisting in casual conversation that men and dinosaurs coexisted on an Earth created 6,000 years ago -- about 65 million years after scientists say most dinosaurs became extinct
Reminds me of the old xkcd:

Matt Damon is concerned by the prospect of such an uninformed nutjob having nuclear codes:

Join the club. I gather we're about 5 billion strong.

Artificial rainbow

Strategy v. tactics

I posted a clip of Biden spinning Friday night and commented on Palin's absence.

One of the things Biden hit McCain on is his lack of understanding that the surge was not a strategy, and his misguided lecture to Obama.

Fallows posts an email from a career Army colonel who explains the issue.

Blue and

getting bluer

Now that Obama has coattails, the Senate races are looking more interesting. At this time, the Dems have a 16% chance of controlling a filibuster-proof 60 seats, and that number is growing.

I'm of two minds on this. On the one hand, I desperately want Republicans to lose, and lose bad. I'd like to beat them into the ground with a stick. Neocons deserve it for what they've done to this country and the future of libertarian and non-fundamental conservatism. Demographically the country is moving democratic (younger, larger minorities, and more educated). Instead of embracing this and moving toward the center, Republicans are stubbornly insisting on remaining the party that embraces evangelical fundamentalism and white male supremacy. They were already well on their way to becoming the permanent minority party for a generation, and their cynical and identity-embrace of Palin has exacerbated this. Informed women feel insulted at being expected to vote for her with no regard for Palin's actual capabilities, just because she's a woman!

On the other hand, absolute power corrupts absolutely. As annoying as filibuster showdowns can be, they are a very useful check on majority rule, which can be a problem in any democracy but especially those that do not use a parliamentary system.

I suppose my ideal scenario would be for Democrats to barely reach 60 this election cycle and lose it in 2010, but I'm guessing the odds of that are pretty long.

It's more likely they'll fall just shy of 60 this time around and have a good chance of attaining it in 2010, assuming an Obama presidency goes well.

Live from New York

It's nice to see Tina Fey back at this...seems the Palin nomination has a silver lining after all.

And here's the debate:

NYT blog comments: "so funny it's true"

Mid-sunday roundup

FactCheck.org: Facts muddled in Mississippi McCain-Obama meeting

CNN: McCain vs. Palin on Pakistan

CBS: Obama on Palin

Fareed Zakaria: Please put Palin out of her agony

I too want Palin to go "spend more time with her family". Or indeed do anything besides frightening us with the possibility of being president.

In other news, on Kos' net favorability trend Obama reaches another new high of +27 (!!) and Palin is at a new low of -10.

Schleppin' to Florida

"He's probably our last hope of ending this country's reputation as the assholes of the universe."

Funny stuff.

Fantastic wedding

Times of London:
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one -- the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain's campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. "It would be fantastic," said a McCain insider. "You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week."
Are Americans stupid enough for such a thing to affect their vote? I'm going to assume yes.

Saturday, September 27

Exhuberant and scripted

Just what is Palin up to these days? NYT's blog explains

Palin would make a great TV Vice President. In fact, I heard they're doing a Disney film.

What went on with that deal?

Via TPM, WaPo has a riveting account of McCain's return to Washington.

Question from the bubble

Can Someone Please Explain This To Me? [Mark Hemingway]

A new Obama ad actually imagines a McCain victory and doesn't at all explain why that would be bad. Am I crazy or does it just make McCain look like a winner?

UPDATE: The headline is a tad sarcastic. Yes, obviously I understand it's to motivate his base but I was baffled by how the Obama camp doesn't seem to see the unintended meaning could easily overwhelm the intended meaning.

Ok I'll bite, the ad says:
"it doesn't have to be that way, vote for change"
It takes a far-right apparatchik like this Mark Hemingway to not understand why such a message helps Obama, particularly since it urges people to vote, and new voters favor Obama by wide margins...

Especially if that ad runs in a state that is more blue than red it will affect Obama's turnout for the better, which can make that state safer or give him more of a popular vote mandate.

Disappointing news

Apparently "The One" cannot control the weather.

The whole debate

I see a bluebath

Bear in mind these polls reflect the pre-debate state of the race, as the overwhelming majority of the interviews for the these tracking polls took place before last night's debate was completed. A variety of reactions to the debate seem possible to me, including (in rough order of probability): i) a small gain for Obama; ii) no effective change; iii) a larger gain for Obama; (iv) a small gain for McCain. The reaction in the horse race polls in the days following the debate do not always match the overnight flash polls, as opinions about the debate may change once filtered through the lens of the media. However, since Obama won or tied essentially all objective evaluations of public opinion about the debate, material gains for McCain appear unlikely.
Nate concludes:
Obama ticked upward a couple of points in our win percentage estimate, and is now given a 78.5 percent chance of winning the election. Our more eagle-eyed observers may notice that this improvement occurred even as our popular vote projection barely changed. There are two reasons to explain the discrepancy: (1) Obama got a comparatively "bad" polling result in California (+10 from SurveyUSA), and California has a fairly substantial effect on the popular vote but almost none on the electoral college, and (2) We are now close enough to the election where every day that goes by without McCain making gains in the polls makes him marginally less likely to win. So Obama's win percentage will be ticking up by perhaps half a point a day based on inertia alone.

What's this "tell-leaf-own" you speak of?

Yglesias observes:

After last night’s debate, John McCain went to his condo in Northern Virginia (one of eight or so houses he owns) and he’s been around there ever since. Why not head to the Hill to help with bailout negotiations? Well:

Asked why Mr. McCain did not go to Capitol Hill after coming back to Washington to help with negotiations, Mr. Salter replied that “he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone.’’

Which of course raises the question of why he had to pretend to suspend his campaign in order to rush physically to Washington last week.

Raises the question? Show me someone who says it was not a political stunt and I will show you a partisan hack.

It's either that or someone only just taught McCain how to use a phone.

Kids these days

Dadelus has a story:
When I was in the Air Force we took a group of High School kids from the city on a tour of Scott AFB in late June. For those who have never seen Scott, AFB much of the base is surrounded by cornfields.

One of the kids asked "Why don't they mow down all those weeds?"

I told him. "Those aren't weeds, thats corn.

He responded. "Yeah right, you can't fool me! Corn is yellow!"

I wish he was kidding but I actually had to stop the car and grab an ear off the stalk to show him what it was.

Kos' Research 2000 trend

Palin -8 is a new low after the Couric interview sinks in...

Obama has a new high of +25 (!!)

Can we call the election yet?

Quote of the day

"Once again it is demonstrated that cosmopolitan libertarian metrosexual econophilosopher bloggers may not be the most reliable barometers of the popular mood." --Will Wilkinson

More debate axing

Wilkinson and IOZ are scared of both:
Obama terrifies me: an intelligent, thoughtful, well-prepared, capably extemporaneous man ascribing a future holocaust to some sort of non-existent, fantastical, steroidal Iran; talking about unsanctioned cross-border incursions into Pakistan because we found bin Laden, or some such, and must "take him out"; warbling around about "main street" while, in a lawerly, circumlocutory way signaling that he’s ultimately going to get behind hundred-billion-dollar cash bailouts to institutions that ought to be dismantled, destroyed, scattered to the wind. He wants GM to make electric cars. He wants the American people to know that he will appear before them to make extravagant xenophobic declarations in order to assuage their insecurity about the rise of other competing economies. He does this all in a calm, perfectly reasonable manner, with a convincing boardroom demeanor, and judging by the reactions of my liberal friends, with whom I listened, this was basically pleasing to them.

McCain is of course out of his mind: forgetful, vicious, reactionary. And his ideas are even crazier than BO’s, but there’s a certain comfort in the fact that their insanity is laid so plainly and mercilessly bare by the grinning psychopath’s delivery. He provides no quarter for those who want to convince themselves that by Killing People for Their Own Good we are not actually killing them, or that by suborning corporate malfeasance we are combating it, or that by desperately seeking to maintain the geography of radial sprawl and the automobile we are seeking "energy independence."
Shorter version:

Barack Obama: warmonger and xenophobe who pleased liberals with such talk (!!)

John McCain: psychopathic, vicious, reactionary.

If you analyze the debate literally, you can come to some of those conclusions, but they are not very telling.

To the degree to which Obama may be characterized as a xeonophobic hawk, liberals are pleased because that's what you have to do to get elected in this country. Kerry was more hawkish than Obama, but he tried to hide it. He dissembled. People didn't feel safe voting for him. They didn't feel like he would "protect" them enough from those evil terrorists, and it cost Kerry the election even though he was obviously much more intelligent than Bush and "won" their debates handily on the substance.

McCain I'm not so sure what to say about because we can no longer be sure who the real McCain is. He does strike me as a hysterical reactionary, but psychopathic? Nah. He's just very sure he's right, even when he's wrong, just like George W. Bush and all the neocons.

Remember in this debate McCain jested about Obama that it is "hard to reach across the aisle when you're so far to the left". Obama is said to have one of the most "liberal" voting records in the Senate. If you read NRO's corner, neocons are desperately trying to paint him as an extreme liberal in order to scare centrists away from voting for him.

So Obama is an extreme leftist warmonger? Come on. That doesn't make any sense in U.S. politics.

Here's what's really going on: Obama is a student of Kerry and Gore's defeats and has learned from them. He realizes the American people need a touch of xenophobia and hawkishness in order to feel safe. So he's talking the talk in these debates, and doing an excellent job if flash polls are any indicator.

About the voting record: Obama is the junior democratic Senator from Illinois. He did not come to the Senate to make legislative waves in his first term. Not yet. If he loses this election and gets some seniority, he'll make a few waves. But as the newcomer that he was, it was not his place to vote against the rest of the democratic party. Had he done so, HRC would have destroyed him in the primaries.

If you put this together, you'll see that the "real" Obama lies somewhere in between. Combine that with his intelligence and pragmatism, and you can be reasonably confident that he's not going to blow up Pakistan, bog us down in a new Afghanistan quagmire, or create vast new socialist programs. Give the man some credit, he's obviously way smarter then that.

McCain I don't know what to say about other than he is hysterical, unpredictable, and capable of going off in many different directions except for a few core issues that define him. This is the essence of being a maverick. With the way he has conducted his campaign -- back to and including the selection of Mrs. Nonsense -- I would not feel at all comfortable with him in the White House, but we'll see what voters think...

The highlights

Great race humor

From Real Time last night, it starts at 2:00

The next debate

The VP debate is worrisome as expectations are so low for Palin and there is an assumption after the Couric interview that Biden will wipe the floor with her. Anything other than Biden being really nice while annihilating her will be seen as a Palin "win" or holding the line.
Watching Biden tonight it dawned on me that this is what we are going to see in the VP debate: Biden hammering McCain. But in that instance, Palin is going to have no choice but to do something in response. Should be interesting.
I think DTM is right, that's exactly what Biden should do. He should be courteous to Palin but hammer home all the problems with McCain.

Palin can say whatever the hell she wants. Maybe she'll look a fool, or maybe she'll say some coherent things, or maybe not, but it really doesn't matter what she says.

It's beneath Biden to address her. He's a statesman who should focus on McCain, as that's the proper role of a veep in these debates. Palin's role in this campaign is to be a distraction. Sean Quinn had a great post back on 6 September.

Sarah can dis Obama by disparaging community organizing and so on, as during the republican convention. But it won't matter at this point, people have seen Obama and are past those shenanigans.

And remember, he has 2 debates with McCain to go. Palin is no threat to him, nothing she says can possibly stick unless Biden screws something up.

New Republican strategy

Sterilize the poor!

From the Department of Absolutism

McCain attacks his opponent for agreeing about points during a debate:

This defies understanding. What was Obama supposed to do, disagree with every single point McCain made?

McCain never said Obama was right about anything, even though he surely thought so at times. Apparently in order to be "Ready To Lead" you must never, ever admit your opponent is ever right about anything. This is the neocon philosophy of conflict...be it in campaigns, debates, or international diplomacy.

UPDATE, Sullivan chimes in:
This ad, released during the debate, gets razzed by Ezra Klein, Hilzoy, and Jonathan Cohn. Its premise is one of the saddest aspects of our current politics. According to McCain, a man able to concede in an argument where the other guy has a point is thereby proving he cannot lead. Do we really need more politicians unable to be graceful to their opponents at times? Is that really what leadership is? Haven't we already had eight years of that?

To infinity

...and beyond!

My friends

Advantages of having an experienced running mate

Right after the first debate:

Where is Sarah Palin, and does she have a coherent thought on any of what was discussed? Anything? I guess we'll find out October 2.

But why should we have to wait? More and more her candidacy is looking like some kind of sick joke. America deserves better.

Well okay, maybe not deserve, but certainly needs. And the rest of the world does deserve...


And here's another note from TPM Reader TB. I guess I'm really not sure quite how to characterize it ...
I think people really are missing the point about McCain's failure to look at Obama. McCain was afraid of Obama. It was really clear--look at how much McCain blinked in the first half hour. I study monkey behavior--low ranking monkeys don't look at high ranking monkeys. In a physical, instinctive sense, Obama owned McCain tonight and I think the instant polling reflects that.
So McCain may have given away his status as a low-ranking monkey. I'd never even considered monkey rank.

Late Monkey Science Update
: In case anyone's wondering, I looked up TPM Reader TB's page at the University he teaches at. And no doubt about it, he appears to be a genuine monkey scientist, or to be more specific a researcher on social cognition and behavior in primates. I'd link to his page. But readers remain anonymous, save for their initials, until they tell us otherwise.

Debate reax

Ezra Klein:

This is a pretty traditional debate performance for Obama. Strong on substance. Few mistakes. Little in the way of killer instinct or decapitating lines. McCain, by contrast, is offering an uncommonly strong performance powered, as far as I can tell, by his raging contempt for Obama. He won't look at him. He's using "what Senator Obama doesn't understand" the way Joe Biden uses "ladies and gentlemen." His constant refrain is the places he's visited, leaders he's befriended, aging advisers and presidents he's known. Obama is conveying the fact that he thinks McCain wrong. But McCain is conveying the fact that he thinks Obama an unprepared lightweight. One of these is a stronger claim than the other.
Sullivan covers a variety.

Nate Silver has hard data on voters' reactions which explain my impression better than I can.

Basically, Obama won because he did everything he had to do. The "connectedness" and "readiness" questions were answered quite satisfactorily. In simple terms, viewers "get" Obama, and understand Obama "gets" them.

How this will play out in the polls is hard to say. Guessing conservatively and based on the effect of past debates, perhaps a 1-2 point shift to Obama as low information undecided viewers begin to..."decide"...probably going to him by a 2:1 margin.

McCain certainly didn't do as bad as the campaign he has been running, which comes as a breath of fresh air to us all. He spent more time trying to attack Obama's positions than vice-versa and didn't look into the camera or towards Obama much; that was obvious. I was reminded of Hillary Clinton on a few occasions, but that was probably just in my head and a projection from past encounters.

My favorite was when he disparaged ethanol subsidies, which are a travesty, and advocated nuclear energy, which is commendable because it scares voters but something we need more of, more so than wind and solar.

Amusing was when Obama drew a contrast on renewable energies and implied that among other things McCain might not be pro-solar enough. The Senator from Arizona not pro-solar? C'mon! He just isn't for congressional subsidies on these kind of things. The energy bill that McCain criticized was bad and loaded with pork, but no one who understands this was going to have their minds changed by this debate.

On how it stacked up to years past, I leave you with Fallows:
When the details of this encounter fade, as they soon will, I think the debate as a whole will be seen as of a piece with Kennedy-Nixon in 1960, Reagan-Carter in 1980, and Clinton-Bush in 1992.

In each of those cases, a fresh, new candidate (although chronologically older in Reagan's case) had been gathering momentum at a time of general dissatisfaction with the "four more years" option of sticking with the incumbent party. The question was whether the challenger could stand as an equal with the more experienced, tested, and familiar figure. In each of those cases, the challenger passed the test -- not necessarily by "winning" the debate, either on logical points or in immediate audience or polling reactions, but by subtly reassuring doubters on the basic issue of whether he was a plausible occupant of the White House and commander in chief.

Friday, September 26

On Palin getting worse


Crowley has a theory as to why. Chris Orr offers his own thoughts. My own view is that the Hannity interview doesn't count as it was an infomercial. And Gibson was pretty easy. Couric may have rescued her career with that interview. In other words: There's no Palin decline. There was nothing to decline from. There is no there there but ambition, fundamentalism and a bizarre personal life. And the pressure of her countless lies - especially about her personal life - must be beginning to tell. My own view is that she is such a massive joke she will kill the ticket; but if McCain asked her to withdraw, it would so destroy his own record of judgment, he would also lose. So we have two scenarios: either they struggle on, keep the Schmidt fireworks to distract from reality, and hope that racism and Christianism will somehow get them to the finishing line - or we start all over with Romney. But it's getting too late to switch GOP candidates.

I don't think the Palin problem is fixable. She is who she is: an unqualified fundamentalist liar with no nowledge of or experience in national domestic or foreign policy. And McCain had absolutely no idea who she was when he picked her.

I too think this helped rescue Couric's career. I never liked her as an anchor, but this interview showed the usefulness of having one woman interview another. No one can pretend Couric was sexist/demeaning/disrespectful/professorial, as they did with Gibson.

UPDATE: Fallows delves into the pain. Read the whole thing, if you can manage it. He concludes:
Two natural reactions are: to laugh at the "Putin rears his head" part, and simply to avoid concentrating on the rest. But given her candidacy for national office, neither of those is enough.

I am not aware of any other current figure in national politics -- by which I mean any member of the Senate or House -- who would do a worse job under questioning. There could be some I don't know about. But they're not on a national ticket.
For my part I'm beginning to think the "L" in Palin is superfluous.


The Casualties [Rich Lowry]

A friend sends the list so far:

1. Fannie Mae

2. Freddie Mac

3. AIG


5. Lehman Brothers

6. Merrill Lynch

7. Countrywide

8. IndyMac

9. Bear Stearns

10. Goldman Sachs (had to become bank holding company)

11. Morgan Stanley (had to become bank holding company)

I call media bias!


New York Times:

In all, Mr. Obama has released at least five commercials that have been criticized as misleading or untruthful against Mr. McCain’s positions in the past two weeks. Mr. Obama drew complaints from many of the independent fact-checking groups and editorial writers who just two weeks ago were criticizing Mr. McCain for producing a large share of this year’s untruthful spots (“Pants on Fire,” the fact-checking Web site PolitiFact.com wrote of Mr. Obama’s advertisement invoking Mr. Limbaugh; “False!” FactCheck.org said of his commercial on Social Security.)

So much for the "pro-Obama advocacy organization".

Jokes aside, those ads are really not befitting of his campaign and Obama needs to knock it off.

The Eagleton scenario

Kathleen Parker: Palin must quit.

Ace of Spades HQ: Palin must NOT quit.

Yours truly: Palin must metamorphose into a capable national leader so I can be less terrified.

Kathryn Jean Lopez:
a lot of what I like about her could be projection. I’m not where my friend Kathleen Parker is — wanting her to step aside to spend more time with her family and Alaska — but that’s not a crazy suggestion. She's right to say that something’s gotta change.
Could be projection? You think? This is exactly what happens when you're more interested in projecting your theology into the White House than supporting a capable candidate!

Here's one idea: McCain-Palin spin the economy as being issue #1 and she graciously steps aside for Mitt Romney who is a very capable business executive. The rationale doesn't make any sense, but K-Lo would have an orgasm. It might make the best of a bad situation since McCain obviously can't admit that he did wrong, that would be crazy.

I'm not going to link to the Couric interview as it's still too painful. Instead let's see Sarah in her prime:

She placed second in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant.

Curb your enthusiasm

We're lowering expectations!

(Photo: Obama enters plane for first debate, NYT)

The beat goes on, and on...


I don't understand how Rich Lowry can write this while keeping a straight face:

Does Palin know enough to be a national candidate right now? No, but she can be mostly walled off from the press. Will attacking Obama on Fannie and Freddie open McCain to attack because one of his top aides lobbied for the organizations? Yes, but he can bulldog through it. Is going to Washington going to help much of anything? Probably not, but the symbolism matters.

Does nothing matter but this absurd and reckless partisan game?

Not in partisan minds.

Thursday, September 25

Deep thought for the day

"If Palin loses, can we all go back to admitting the Cold War is over?" --Josh Marshall, TPM

Lady got fans

Good thing corn fields won't decide this election, although I've heard they have a say in the early Iowa caucuses.

*cough* ethanol *cough* subsidies *cough* travesty

Spike Lee concedes

"He's not Jesus."

No, no he isn't. But if he was, he would not vote for McCain-Palin. He would not vote for McCain or Palin because McCain and Palin have behaved in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved.

(for if you don't get it, that's poking fun at Keyes)

Polling variables

Nate shares thoughts garnered from Ann Seltzer, his top rated pollster. This makes me wonder, could Obama get about 55% of the national popular vote and sweep most of the redder Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, and Florida tossups?

At 39 days out there are still too many variables to say it's at all likely, but combined with the cellphone effect, widespread Dem voter enthusiasm, Bush's near-future legacy, and the state of the economy, this is beginning to look like a real possibility.

Christianism watch

I like this gal more and more [Mark Steyn]

An Alaska mayor writes to a California newspaper:

“Dear Editor,” Palin wrote in 2002. “San Francisco judges forbidding our Pledge of Allegiance? They will take the phrase ‘under God’ away from me when my cold, dead lips can no longer utter those words.”

Really? Officially reciting the pledge with "under God" in public schools or other government institutions is a cause worth dying for?

It's a good thing she wasn't born before 1954. McCain must have had a rough childhood.

As if that weren't enough, from an Eagle Forum candidate questionnaire:
Q: Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

PALIN: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
Blatant pandering to the mediumship base! Didn't you know? It's true...

Sarah Palin can speak with anyone who's been dead 200 years and tell you exactly how much they agree with her. It's one of her superpowers.

Quote of the day

"I don't torture myself over decisions. I make them as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can. Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint." --John McCain, 2002

Gambler in chief

No Kidding [Byron York]

From Brian Williams' interview with John McCain:

WILLIAMS: If you were a betting man, would you bet that we'll see you in Oxford, Mississippi tomorrow night?

McCAIN: Well, I am a betting man.
09/25 07:12 PM
I wish he was kidding. This man could be the president.

Sarah the unready

Sullivan and his readership reax in what's become typically irreverent fashion.

At this point my instinctual and emotional reaction is to feel sorry for Sarah, the person. She's obviously very bad at working without a teleprompter and it pains me to see her on the national stage so out of her element. But presidents and vice presidents are not sportscasters and cannot work from teleprompters. Maybe Alaskan governors can, but the job she's applying for requires one to be able to think well on an international stage, and at this point she doesn't even seem up to cogent national-level thinking.

It's quite obvious now that McCain should not have picked her, that it was cynical, sexist, politics-first, country-last, hasty, and irresponsible.

It's also obvious that Palin should have declined the nomination when offered, and that Republicans and Christianists should not have been mindlessly eager to assume the best without data.

At this point she's been Quayle-ized, but I fear that we're headed for 39 more days of partisan republican and Christianist denial, media tiptoeing lest it risk offending those too much, and outrage from everyone else (democrats, libertarians, honest conservatives, and the rest of the free world)

I did not think this election could sink as low as Bush's years in office have, but the McCain-Palin campaign is testing that theory. Thankfully none of it is Obama's doing, and with his victory we'll at least be able to say America triumphed over incompetence and gross indecency and dishonor....which at this point is the only way I can think to describe the McCain-Palin ticket.

Meanwhile, the silence on this interview at the Corner was so deafening, K-lo had to defend it from an email.

UPDATE: Fallows chimes in, also feeling sorry, then says:
Couric deserves better ratings for the CBS news based on the steely relentlessness of her questions. Unlike Charlie Gibson, and unlike Joe Biden in a (possible!) future debate, she has no background complications of the older white man bullying the younger, attractive woman. She was a professional woman who has clearly earned her position grilling someone whose bona fides she clearly doubted.

And Couric displayed one brilliant technique I recommend to all future questioners. When Palin ducked a question about financial-bailout provisions, saying that "John McCain and I" had not yet reached a decision, Couric asked the deadly question: "So what are the pros and cons?" There is no way to fake your way around that. As Palin showed.
Nailed it.

Sarah's former support

Remember when Ross Douthat floated Palin's name for VP in May and at the end of August? And then wrote a cover story for National Review?

He just posted:
an excerpt from my inner monologue, as transcribed while watching various clips from Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric (I can't link to them; they're too painful):
"And that, Douthat, is why nobody's ever going to hire you to help pick their running mate."
But hey, maybe it's all just effing brilliant rope-a-dope for the Biden debate ....
I don't think I can offer odds on that .... I may link to the Couric interview when I'm done being at a loss for words.

Sullivan cites Rod Dreher:
Couric's questions are straightforward and responsible. Palin is mediocre, again, regurgitating talking points mechanically, not thinking. Palin's just babbling. She makes George W. Bush sound like Cicero.
He was in love with her last week.

Holy endorsement

Via K-lo, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin in Ireland:
Information technology is a true gift from God mediated through the creative genius of men and women. Not to use it, to refuse to understand it, is to reject a gift of God.
You mean the internet isn't a sign of the apocalypse?

Hedging on Carolina

[North Carolina] had been stuck on about a 3-point McCain lead for months, but with the Obama campaign having worked the state harder than McCain, it's not surprising that we finally had a poll that showed him with a [+2] lead there. Still, the model is hedging on considering the state a true toss-up because of that McCain +20 poll from SurveyUSA, and the McCain +17 from Research 2000, each of which came out a couple of weeks ago. If SurveyUSA and R2K resurvey North Carolina and give Obama a better number, he will gain ground fairly quickly. Until then, caution is warranted. One other thing to keep in mind -- North Carolina is a big retail banking center, so the candidates' positions to the bailout may get extra scrutiny here.

Pennsylvania and Michigan appear to be drifting past one another like slowly-moving tectonic plates. While Pennsylvania had appeared to be a stronger state for Obama for most of the cycle, we now have it projecting as an Obama +4.1, to Michigan's Obama +5.3. If an election were held today, Obama would almost certainly win both -- but if things tighten again, Pennsylvania rather than Michigan may be the focal point.

Big news: Palin takes press questions

Politico has the scoop. It would be easy to joke about this, but at this point I'm just glad for a small sign -- any sign -- that her candidacy might be something other than a national embarrassment. Let's hope for more.

More on Alaskan wolves

If you were intrigued by this anti-hunting advertisement, you'll want to read this exposition of the politics behind the practice.

Basically Sarah Palin supports aerial wolf hunting so there will be more prey available to big game hunters, since wolves compete for the same moose and elk.

She supported a deliberately misleading ballot measure that subverted the will of Alaskans.

In memoriam

What a real interview looks like:

R.I.P. Tim, some of us won't forget you.

Parts: two, three, four, five.

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