Friday, October 31, 2008

Credit where credit's due

Fred Hiatt:
To suggest, as Mr. McCain has, that there is something reprehensible about associating with Mr. Khalidi is itself condemnable -- especially during a campaign in which Arab ancestry has been the subject of insults. To further argue that the Times, which obtained the tape from a source in exchange for a promise not to publicly release it, is trying to hide something is simply ludicrous, as Mr. McCain surely knows.

Which reminds us: We did ask Mr. Khalidi whether he wanted to respond to the campaign charges against him. He answered, via e-mail, that "I will stick to my policy of letting this idiot wind blow over." That's good advice for anyone still listening to the McCain campaign's increasingly reckless ad hominem attacks. Sadly, that wind is likely to keep blowing for four more days.

via Attaturk

As Beutler points out, when even Marty Peretz cries foul...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Phillies win the World Series

That was a good Phillies team. I thought it was pretty obvious before the season started, which helped in the end because it made the Mets post-ASB division lead seem like a flukish occurence rather than reversion to the mean.

I'm not at all happy about it, but Chase Utley is a freakishly valuable player. Ryan Howard didn't even have as good a year as he easily could have, despite all the RBIs. The pitching staff wasn't exactly deep, even after the acquisition of Blanton, but Hamels and Myers had great seasons, and Lidge was wild but still pretty dominant all year.

I think the Mets could pass them this offseason but they can't do something stupid like spending the whole wad on an Elite Closer with a Nickname. Forget that. If you're going to dig deep for a pitcher it should be Sabathia. I don't even want Sheets or Burnett for injury reasons, with the latter being on parole for his 2008 but the former still always hurt.

Whatever big name(s) get acquired, I hope Minaya takes care to avoid a repeat of some of this season's uglier scenarios like starting Damion Easley at first or bringing Scott Schoeneweis into a regular season game.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be a beatdown

There it is. I'm on record. While I see the obvious utility of not expecting a huge victory, I just can't bring myself to seriously believe otherwise. What I should do is bet on McCain via Intrade, getting approximately 7:1 odds, so that if the unthinkable happens there will at least be some financial compensation for it.

But I'm going to save my money because I don't think there's even a 15% chance McCain's going to win. The only states in which McCain has a double digit lead are extremely red: Wyoming, Tennessee, South Carolina etc.. Obama has a double digit lead in swing states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon. And the battlegrounds include such decadent liberal enclaves as Indiana and North Carolina. The cake is baked.

It doesn't look like the Dems are going to get to 60 in the Senate. Al Franken has a tiny lead, if any. Ronnie Musgrove is in big trouble in Mississippi, which is understandable considering it's Mississippi, and Jim Martin is losing in Georgia, which is understandable considering he looks like a Fraggle.

Jeanne Cummings has, on occasion, shown a weakness for stupidity

It burns.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"He barbecued for us at his Arizona cabin..."

Josh Marshall still leads the league in both sensitivity to and hatred for fawning McCain press coverage. So with the phenomenon of "tire swinging" (TPM's official term for McCain-flattering) winding down, it has to be kind of a bittersweet moment for Marshall. On the one hand, a big reason why it's winding down is because it looks like McCain's going to lose, which is a good thing. But at the same time, being the world's foremost scholar of John McCain knob-polishing was a pretty good gig.  

Fortunately Maeve Reston of the Los Angeles Times decided to give JMM one last bravura performance, a fittingly wistful retrospective on the early days of the Straight Talk Express, "as if she were Streisand to McCain's Redford."

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ted Stevens: Oh yeah he did that

The road to 60 senate seats gets a little less steep as Uncle Ted Stevens is found guilty on all counts:

The jury found Stevens guilty of "knowingly and willfully" scheming to conceal on Senate disclosure forms more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from an Alaska-based oil industry contractor... The 84-year-old senator from Alaska had asked for a speedy trial in the hopes of clearing his name and improving his chances for re-election to a seventh term. He is in a tight race against his Democratic challenger, Mark Begich.

No word on jail time. People get incarcerated every day for less, but he's an old and powerful white person so I'm sure they'll come to some accommodation.

Short post

Howard Fineman is a moron.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Bachmann taped an apology ad

Excellent. Apparently Michele Bachmann knows that the Hardball rant was extremely damaging, and she's made an ad in which she apologizes for it.

This is like that Tom Feeney thing, but even better because he was just involved in a far-reaching scandal, whose stain was old but hard to get out. She, on the other hand, either forgot or didn't know that most Americans, even the ones in her heavily Bush-supporting district, aren't raving lunatics who want Democrats investigated for disloyalty.

It hasn't been released yet. Looking forward to seeing it.

"This is cleared by HQ."

High-ranking McCain campaign spokesman (and Ahmed Chalabi's lobbyist) Randy Scheunemann, in an email to Marc Ambinder:

Just read your post. This is on the record. This is cleared by HQ. It is a fact that Barack Obama was palling around with terrorists. It was a fact before Governor Palin said it in a fully vetted speech and it is fact today. It is bullshit to claim or write anything else.


"Tokyo Rose of Al Qaeda"

That's what the totally hopeless Republican challenger to incumbent Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) decided to call him at a "debate" of sorts arranged by Iowa Public Television. Aiding and abetting terrorists, etc.

After the cameras were turned off, Harkin calmly told Reed: "you're a nice young man and I thought you had a political future ahead of you but that just ended your political career right there" and walked away. Reed said nothing.

This is of apiece with my new favorite down-ballot story of the 2008 campaign: the self-immolation of Michelle Bachmann, whose seat went from being a comfortable Republican hold to a tossup at best.

I mean this Reed clown was doomed already, but Bachmann is an incumbent who was doing fine until her crazy rant on Hardball. Then all of a sudden she's in a dead heat (she's actually polling slightly behind now) against an opponent who's now a national cause celebre. It doesn't matter that his name is Elwyn Tinkelberg. It just matters that he's not Michelle Bachmann. The system works!

h/t TPM

Not bad, Joe. Not bad.

There's a new McCain ad (web or "real" I'm not sure but what difference does it make at this point?) that's focused entirely on Joe Biden's "tested" gaffe.

Given his track record, I think it's a tremendous credit to Biden that it's October 24 and this is the first McCain ad he's starred in.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not an especially shiny silver lining

McCain's silver lining certainly lies in Florida where the race is more competitive, especially among seniors. Among Floridians 55 years old and above, Obama leads by only two percentage points, a number that's statistically insignificant.

If the good news for McCain is that Florida seniors only favor Obama slightly, the bad news must be very, very bad.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Hitting harder now

Back when things weren't looking quite so good on the polling front, there was a lot of speculation that the Obama campaign was just too reluctant to really go after McCain aggressively. Well I'm no expert, but to me this ad appears to be filmed from the viewpoint of an old man staggering around the Oval Office with his vision going dark at the edges:

Strong stuff.

Straight Talk Air bans Joe Klein

When there was a "debate" (I still can't believe it) about whether or not it was okay for the federal government to intercept the electronic communications of Americans without obtaining a warrant, Joe Klein was on the wrong side of it. Moreover, he took the wrong side without even first familiarizing himself with the laws involved, and only admitted as much in a fit of pissy self-justification ("I have neither the time nor inclination…" etc.) after taking heaps of well-deserved abuse.

But since then, he's done a lot to endear. My rough estimate is that, since maybe June or July, 80% of Joe Klein's posts that have included the words "John McCain" have also included one or more of the following: "shameful," "shameless," "dishonorable" and "despicable." It's not a love-fest anymore. Not even a little bit.

For his trouble, he's now been banned from McCain's campaign plane. Keep up the good work, Joe.

Band of Horses - Our Swords

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Claire McCaskill has pretty serious game

Just watched Claire McCaskill on "Late Edition" with Wolf Blitzer, appearing opposite fellow Missourian Roy Blunt, the Republican minority whip. (The Blunts and the McCaskills, it turns out, have something of a political blood feud going on. Blunt's son Matt beat McCaskill for governor in 2004 and his father Leroy unseated McCaskill's mother Betty Anne in a 1978 statewide race. Wikipedia is awesome.)

She's not my favorite Democrat by a long shot. In fact, she's one of my least favorite. I could look up specific quotes or votes to defend my antipathy to her, but it's basically that she's further to the right than I would like. Entirely predictable, given that she was elected to the Senate from a reddish state.

But for what she offers up: a center-left domestic agenda served with heaping helpings of respect and admiration for cultural conservatives, she does it with a great deal of skill. Her pitch seems a little bit corny to my effete sophisticate taste, but not that corny. I can get over my innate distrust of someone so wide-eyed and cheerful because she's also capable of being sharp and convincing.

She was one of the first senators aboard the Obama bandwagon, officially announcing in mid-January, just after his loss in New Hampshire. This reflects both sound political instincts and the the simple fact that Obama's political style really is incredibly similar to her own.

With Obama still (and I hate the recent downtick in the national trackers) looking likely to beat John McCain on November 4, that's probably a good style to have. I can't say that I'm enthusiastic about the prospect, but if I had to put money right now on who the first female president will be, I'd bet on her.

Colin Powell's endorsement is worthless

Colin Powell was wrong about Bush, wrong about Iraq, and is still not abjectly apologetic about either. When Tom Brokaw played the clip of Powell saying "Dick Cheney will be a great vice president" etc. at the 2000 RNC, his question was whether Powell regretted making that speech. The real question to ask after that clip is why anyone should assign any value to his endorsement of any subsequent presidential ticket. As digby said, only the Villagers will care, and they will care deeply because Colin Powell is very serious.

Joe Scarborough made the point in the roundtable that the effect on the news cycle itself will help Obama because McCain needs as much positive attention as possible, but I still resent being asked to care what Colin Powell thinks about anything until he owns up to what he did.

Friday, October 17, 2008

What if they really, really deserve it?

Charlie Cook:
Devastating back-to-back election cycles are truly rare: They have happened only twice in the past 80 years (40 elections) -- to Republicans in 1932 and 1934 and to Democrats in 1950 and 1952. Usually, when voters kick the heck out of one party, their anger is satisfied and they move on. Voters rarely come back the very next time and kick the same party hard again.

via Sam Boyd

He's just so damnably folksy!

Buffett takes to the pages of the NYT (note: not the WSJ) to tell America to get long:

Let me be clear on one point: I can't predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven't the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month — or a year — from now. What is likely, however, is that the market will move higher, perhaps substantially so, well before either sentiment or the economy turns up. So if you wait for the robins, spring will be over.

Think about it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sherrod Brown: More like this

As I've written before, I understand that Obama can't really do things like, say, encourage his supporters to watch Fox News on election night so they can breathe in the sobs and wails of Hannity and O'Reilly like so much expensive perfume. But thank God not every Democrat in national politics is so constrained.

You'd think the junior senator from what is still notionally a swing state might have to be a little more circumspect about getting his culture war on, but he was widely considered the most populist member of the '06 Democratic class and he beat the incumbent Republican DeWine handily.

Anyway it's good to see. The post itself (on one of Fox's own blogs) is also worth checking out for the comments. A sampler:

FOX News is the ONLY fair, unbiased network out there. It's the only channel I watch to get BOTH sides of the stories. All the other channels bash McCain and give Obama a "pass" on the very legitimate concerns we should all have about Obama's judgement!

Take the Kool Aid away from Sarrod and let's prove the polls ABSOLUTELY WRONG!!!
The numbers are skewed - the the LEFT is gonna be SHOCKED!!
The stock market is UP- Bad news for Barry.
And at the McCain-Palin rally today, when the crowd said "The Pledge of Allegiance"- you should have heard them ROAR "One Nation UNDER GOD!!!"


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Overheard on "Hardball"

"If they're unable to convict him, I think he's got a real shot, yeah."

- Unknown pundit on Ted Stevens' (R-AK) prospects, should he beat what sounds like a pretty solid corruption case.

Don't forget to turn in your secret decoder ring

Christopher Buckley's career as an Obama-supporting National Review contributor lasted four days, which has to be considered a pretty good run.

I'm kind of sympathetic to the NR readers who inundated him with hate mail though. Sensible centrist David Broder types love nothing more than wringing their hands about ideological rigidity, but backing the other party's nominee for president is not small potatoes.

Buckley whines:
So, I have been effectively fatwahed (is that how you spell it?) by the conservative movement, and the magazine that my father founded must now distance itself from me. But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.

First of all, the problem with "fatwahed" isn't that it's spelled wrong it's that it's not even the right part of speech. I thought conservative intellectuals were supposed to know that sort of thing.

Regarding "the concept of diversity," for the purposes of the Republican base it means not using the n-word. It doesn't involve sending hard earned dollars to the National Review for the opinions of an Obama supporter, no matter who his daddy was.

I'm sympathetic to the angry emailers because nothing pissed me off about Joe Lieberman quite so much as being told by ostensibly disinterested parties that it's a shame the Democratic party wasn't a "big enough tent" for poor Joe. As if parties are supposed to include members who are prone to suggesting that it (i.e. the party) is rife with terrorist-sympathizing traitors. (Incidentally, he's now not only campaigning with McCain, he's writing op-eds for the endangered Norm Coleman. What an other-team player!)

Granted, Buckley hasn't as far as I know gone that far in his criticism of Republicans, but as litmus tests go supporting the right presidential candidate doesn't seem too unreasonable. Why would someone who's even considering voting for Obama want their work for Rich "Starbursts" Lowry anyway?

You're better off without'em, Chris. Suck it up and take the hate mail like a man.

And another thing: If you offered to resign, especially in an email entitled "A Sincere Offer" as Lowry claims then you resigned and you shouldn't title your ensuing post "Sorry Dad, I Was Fired."

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shane Victorino

As role players go, that guy is pretty damn good.

I don't much care who goes to the World Series from the junior circuit. I was thinking that Manny vs. the Red Sox would be entertaining, but now it's not at all clear that the Sox will hold up their end of the bargain.

Breaking - Matt Stairs, professional hitter. 7-5 Phillies


It's painfully clear that people just do not give a rat's ass who Sarah Palin fired or why when she was governor of Alaska. It was a one day story that won't have any influence on who the next president is or how much Obama may or may not win by. It's nice that the investigation wasn't suppressed, but you can only lead a horse to water.

She is predictably arguing that the report doesn't say what it says. Conservatives(!), to the extent they engage the issue at all, argue that a government official with firing power can fire whomever they want for whatever reason, including political affiliation (U.S. Attorneys) or personal vendetta (Monegan). But there's not even a debate about the investigation really going on.

On the positive side, the indifference may owe something to the fact that her public image as a ditz is, with Tina Fey's help, already so deeply ingrained. That's a bad image for a potential vice president to have, but it makes it harder for people to register stories in which she's also a ruthless tyrant.

Plus there's the possibility that it's just getting lost in the overarching, McCain is in dire, dire straits narrative.

What is the deal with the McCain campaign?

Not many people I know are Republican operatives, and it would be kinda rude to ask the one who is, but what the hell is the McCain campaign doing?

Lindsey Graham, a guy in the inner circle if ever there was one, comes out and promises strong new language on taxes, but none is forthcoming. The candidate gets his first jolt of positive press in ages by scolding the crazy-cat lady who called Obama "an Arab," and then today turns around and declines to distance himself from a comparison of Obama to Osama bin Laden. And this is all while fighting a rearguard action against Bill Kristol, who was, deliciously, human anchor Sarah Palin's biggest champion. (The only bad thing about a Pfotenhauer-Kristol Smackdown is that it's never bloody enough. Oh and there's Kristol flying off the top turnbuckle with a devastating Knee-o-con on an unsuspecting but richly deserving Tucker Bounds! This is the kind of carnage they should make Pay-Per-View.)

I have to believe that the people running the McCain campaign are at least a little bit good at what they do. I'm not just going to settle on "Because they're total hacks that can't do anything right" as an explanation. But any secret strategy in an encrypted file on Steve Schmidt's laptop must involve doing a lot of stuff that doesn't make immediate sense.

Ambinder is harsh: "It's never good to overpromise to Mike Allen on Saturday, back track a little on Sunday, fail to give Lindsey Graham the message, whet everyone's appetites, offer new rhetoric Monday, throw your own campaign under the bus, facilitate your burned surrogates' leaking to the New York Times, and have nothing to put up against your opponents' four new policy proposals."

Michael Scherer on Levi Johnston

Michael Scherer is one weird dude. It's usually the totally undiminished McCain love, and maybe that's why this jumped out at me, but I don't think so. Here's the opening of his post entitled "Levi Johnston Was Nervous at First, But Then He Was Like, 'Whatever'":

Easily one of the best, non-political stories of this election cycle has been the tale of Levi Johnston, an 18-year-old kid from Alaska, who was living his life, going to high school, watching his friends tend to his MySpace page, playing hockey, and hanging out with his girlfriend, Bristol, until everything suddenly changed.

Wanting to give this as charitable a reading as possible, I assumed that by "best" he meant "ickiest," but the rest of the post suggests he was genuinely enthusiastic about it.

Bob Wright was talking about the Bristol-Levi story and said it was Bad For America because should they form a loving, cohesive family it would be a positive example of out of wedlock pregnancy. I don't even care about that angle, but there's still something kind of embarrassing about it for everyone involved. Not least of whom being the VP candidate mother who's such a big believer in abstinence-only education.

By sheer coincidence, Josh Marshall wrote a post within an hour of Scherer just to muse about how bizarre the thing was:

I was taking a few moments to think over the most surreal moments of the campaign so far. And this was certainly high on the list: John McCain's tarmac embrace of Levi Johnston, Wasilla's high school hockey star who impregnated Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol ...

Totally unprovoked "Man wasn't that f'ed up?" reminisence. Now whether or not you might personally use something more euphemistic than "impregnated" when describing the situation, Scherer's unalloyed, and by all appearances unironic glee can't be that common a response.

Week off to a good start

The G7 meeting seems to have done the trick (at least on the equity markets), Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize for economics (can't wait to read the wingnuts' bleating about that one), and the ABC/WaPo poll has the presidential race at 53-43 ("Even McCain's supporters are now less enthusiastic about his candidacy, returning to levels not seen since before the Republican National Convention.").


Friday, October 10, 2008

Bill Ayers for Secretary of Education

Some good news

Gay hedge funders across Connecticut can take some solace in the fact that, while they may be down 37% YTD, they are now allowed to get married.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

GWB Unit

Commenting on the McCain campaign's receipt of multiple cease and desist requests from popular musicians, Yglesias points out that one problem may be that it's looking in all the wrong genres:

It’s somewhat counterintuitive, but I think conservative politicians would actually do better to turn to the world of commercial hip-hop, where key conservative values like greed and violence are frequently lauded.

Indeed, was there ever a more thugged out president than George W. Bush? Were it not for the lack of demographic overlap between hip hop fans and even potentially Republican voters, I think Trick Daddy would have had the ideal theme song for his 2004 reelection campaign:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Middle Class

Rachel Maddow is going after McCain for never using the term "middle class" during last night's debate. He didn't say it in the first debate either, and Obama hit him for it.

I don't object to this being a Democratic message but on the merits it's very stupid. One of Rudy Giuliani's most annoying lines, and he used it constantly, was that Democrats never used the words "Islamic terrorists." Well Democrats aren't inclined to use "Islamic terrorists" out of a desire to be clear that it's the terrorism that is the problem rather than the Islam, and out of respect for people who might consider it a contradiction in terms. It's a semantic dispute not a national security dispute.

Republicans, for their part, don't talk about the "middle class" very much because Republicans like to stress that we're all one big American family, baby. This whole navel-gazing exercise of looking at a three-tiered distribution of wealth where some are "rich" and others "middle class" (and let's not even get into the poor), especially for taxation purposes, is irredeemably flawed. You logically can't do it because any definition of rich is too low.


Larry Kudlow cannot be a happy man these days. The guy had literally branded his macroeconomic outlook on every episode of his show in 2006 and 2007: Goldilocks. That was where the economy would slow slightly from the unsustainable recent growth (not too hot) but it wouldn't decline either (not too cold).

From his post on the Corner from July, 2007, entitled "Triumphant Goldilocks" four months before the top:

What we are witnessing here, in virtually every corner of the globe, is the success and the spread of unbridled free market capitalism. It is a dynamic worldwide march toward lower tax rates, deregulation, and, as market strategist Don Luskin put it on last night’s show, the “interconnectedness” of global economies through free trade, the free flow of capital, and the robust free exchange of information.

Do not bother asking him if unbridled free market capitalism should now take the blame. It's good enough that a majority of voters seem to.

Anyway, getting back to Goldilocks, the worse things got, the more he started personalizing her, insisting that "she" would pull through after annotating a chart showing whatever happened to be the least-damning set of economic data he could find.

Well it's clear enough now she didn't pull through. The bears ate her, and it wasn't pretty. But Larry's still putting on a brave face, waiting until they find the body (which of course they won't) before he admits she's not coming back. He's talking about his cautious optimism, just above a CNBC-imposed Wall St. Crisis: Is Your Money Safe? logo with a radioactive orange glow.

We're #1! We're #1!

via PK

Preliminary debate impressions

Obama won handily. McCain declined to go all scorched-earth with the Ayers stuff, which I applaud but may signal he's bringing it in for a landing, and he also looked small, old and frail in the wider-angle TV lens used for the pseudo-town hall. And, of course, he doesn't really know or care that much about domestic policy and it showed. More to follow after work hours.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Running the okie dokie

“We’re not going to let John McCain distract us. We’re not going to let him hookwink you or bamboozle you. We’re not going to let him run the okie dokie on you,” Obama said, a subtle dig at Palin’s folksy language that sparked a huge applause from the Southern crowd. “The American people are too smart for that.”

Underplayed Senate race of the century

According to Nate Silver, there's about a 20% chance of the Democrats winning a 60-seat majority in the Senate. If that happens, The Leader, Comrade Reid and Fraulein Pelosi will finally have unchecked power over their piddling adversaries. But in order for it to happen, a relatively innocuous Republican incumbent is going to have to lose to Al Franken.

There are a lot of ways to think about an Al Franken Senate run that make it seem funny. One is when you think of him in the Coke-bottle glasses and the pastel sweaters of Stuart Smalley, whose "Daily Affirmations" were one of the more famous SNL schticks of all time and, weirdly, were even turned into a feature film in 1995.

Then there's his later career as an Air America radio host and author of such books as "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot" and "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right."

The premise that the United States is fundamentally a center-right country was damaged badly in the 2006 elections. If Al Franken gets elected to the U.S. Senate in a state John Kerry barely won, it's all over.

I was pessimistic that it was going to happen, especially when he was getting hammered on the back-taxes issue, and there are polls that still have him behind, but now at least one poll has him up comfortably. The CW is that Coleman's priggish attack ads focusing on Franken's naughty language have backfired, on top of the economic crisis that's helping Obama and all downticket Dems.

It just goes to show how big a story the presidential race is that the national media hasn't been following this one more closely. I haven't seen one lousy "Is he good enough? Smart enough? And do people like him?" headline yet.

Taking John Cornyn seriously: Can it be done?

In sea of silly political ads, there's something about John Cornyn's in particular that get at me in a profound way. First it was "Big Bad John", now it's John Cornyn: bipartisan change agent.

It's gratifying to see one of Bush's most stalwart henchmen realize he needs to run the hell away from him. The last rat and whatnot. But watching him standing out there alone, in black and white, in Palo Dure Canyon, TX, silently, comfortingly thrusting his chin out towards the camera, I couldn't help but wonder whether there was a Jeep commercial being shot at the same time or if the senator actually went out to the middle of nowhere with a camera crew to shoot this ad.

h/t publius

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Campbell Brown in the NYT

I don't watch much CNN, being a mouth-foaming partisan, and thinking theirs is closer to the Worst Political Team on Television, but for some reason I was watching Campbell Brown live when she pantsed Tucker Bounds and became queen for a day in the liberal blogosphere.

Well the New York Times has a profile on Brown today which is kinda interesting. She distinguishes herself from Olbermann and O'Reilly by saying "[you're] not going to see me ever be partisan. I’ll never take a position on a candidate or an issue." I have philosophical doubts about the feasibility of the second claim, but in general more-neutral-than-Olbermann is a worthy and attainable goal.

The great part, though, is this little bit, which I hope more journalists (especially on TV) take to heart:

“So when you have Candidate A saying the sky is blue, and Candidate B saying it’s a cloudy day, I look outside and I see, well, it’s a cloudy day,” she said. “I should be able to tell my viewers, ‘Candidate A is wrong, Candidate B is right.’ And not have to say, ‘Well, you decide.’ Then it would be like I’m an idiot. And I’d be treating the audience like idiots.”

Good for her.

Partial vindication

I predicted that the wingnuts would be pleased with Sarah Palin's performance, and have been kind of surprised there hasn't been even more celebration. Maybe it was the instapolls that brought them right down to earth after it concluded. We'll never know.

David Brooks turns in a spirited effort, going as far as to say that she "established debating parity with Joe Biden" and that "[b]y the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it." But it feels somehow perfunctory, as if he's just going to go back to burying the GOP ticket and/or the GOP generally in his next column.

And besides that the response to Palin on the right has been pretty subdued... except for one man. One man answered the call and lost all perspective on what he had just witnessed. Ladies and gentlemen, Rich Lowry of the National Review:

Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me."

There's much more. When even the very serious Marc Ambinder is snarking, you know you've embarrassed yourself.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Brand management

This is on Drudge. How do you say "Cease and desist" in French?

- AP

Adventures in "citizen journalism"

I don't own Apple stock anymore (which has been a good thing this past couple weeks) but if I did I can't imagine how pissed I'd be about this nonsense.

Friday catblogging

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Yeah, she's sentient, but...

For the first 10 minutes of the debate I was a little bit worried that Sarah Palin would go the whole debate without making a fool out of herself. She didn't, but she gaps between the transparent gibberish or painful silences were longer than I was hoping for. I haven't checked yet, but my guess is the wingnuts will be extremely pleased. There will be internal discipline enforced on the Palin skeptics in the party.

But remember back about three weeks ago, how central the Sarah Palin boost was to McCain's campaign. When he last held the national lead, people were joking that he was going take the White House on her coattails (Palin/McCain). That story is over as soon as the standard for success in the debate becomes not putting on a pyrotechnic display of stupidity.

After a bumbling start, Biden settled in, and even when he was having trouble speaking he was on message (fairness, middle class, kitchen table). And even though he wasn't all that aggressive in general, I really thought he landed the harder hits on McCain than she did on Obama.

The closest he came to going after Palin was on the Dick Cheney fourthbranch issue, where he let a little exasperation creep into his voice. Palin may have managed to avoid explicitly endorsing the idea that the vice president isn't a member of the executive branch, but she didn't reject it either and she kept using the word "flexibility" to describe the office.

Palin: Well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the Constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. And we will do what is best for the American people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position. Yeah, so I do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation...

Biden: Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history. The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

Update: Yes, the executive branch is Article II, but that's not the issue here dude.

Trying not to get too excited about the current polls

The Catholic Lobby

I have a question about this Al Smith Dinner thing: If it's true John Kerry was not invited because of his support for reproductive rights, then why is Obama attending?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The ultimate Sarah Palin interview clip

This one's my favorite. For one thing, it's hilarious, and it contains the ultimate Palin answer ("All of 'em."). But it also has a more troubling side to it: the way she flips it on Katie by pretending the question bespeaks anti-Alaskan snobbery. "You fancypants city folk think we Alaskans don't have newspapers!"

Well she didn't just read one newspaper...

BTW, I don't watch the evening news and if I did Katie Couric would be my third choice, but at this point I'd have to say she did a fantastic job of exposing Sarah Palin. I don't know, maybe any interview would have gone that badly, but from the clips Katie was really not as deferential as Steve Schmidt would have liked.