The Morning Joe folks thought it was a hoot. Chuck Todd even said, “I think this is what people like about John McCain.” Yeah, people love that he wants to kill Iranians, a majority of whom love Western values and are not murderous fanatics, with lung cancer. Hearts. Minds. Whatever. That logic has served us well for the last seven years or so.
The guy who is “always reluctant” to talk about his Vietnam experience just released yet another campaign ad focusing on his Vietnam experience:
The core message? McCain is a war hero, unlike that nancy-pants hopey-changey hippie Barack Obama. Of course, the ad doesn’t mention that Obama was 6 years old during the “Summer of Love.” Now get off my lawn, you meddling kids!
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who has primary jurisdiction over the executive branch, is considering legislation to eliminate Karl Rove-type advisers in future administrations.
The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hints broadly that such a bill could ban the use of federal funds to finance such a politically partisan office.
“Why should we be using taxpayer dollars to have a person solely in charge of politics in the White House?” Waxman said in an interview. “Can you imagine the reaction if each member of Congress had a campaign person paid for with taxpayer dollars?”
But I won’t get too excited about this after reading poputonian’s post from yesterday. Someone distract Pelosi with a shiny object for a month or two so Waxman can get this done.
Rachel filled in for Keith Olbermann last night and dismantled the “flip flop” narrative, with the help of Richard Wolffe (“There’s been a lot of sloppy reporting going on”), adhered to Obama over the past few days. Bravo.
The most important thing for all of us right now is spreading the word by any media or means necessary. You can do your part in any creative way you can think of. I suggested that PUMAs “mark their territory” in some organic way using natural elements such as sand, grass, shrubbery, or flowers to spell out PUMA. Print it and let nature take its course.
Got home late last night from a four-day vacation on Block Island (elitist!) and I’m trying to work my way back into blogging mode. Unplugging from politics for an extended period of time is certainly rejuvenating, but looking around the liberalsphere this afternoon put me in a deep funk. I mean, jeebus, if some of the allegedly earnest and principled online lefties wanted a hardcore, unwavering progressive as the Democratic presidential candidate who was totally unconcerned about public perception or media framing or, ya know, winning, why weren’t they all backing Dennis Kucinich this primary?
Oh, that’s right. Because he looks like an elf.
Politics: Everyone plays it, Democrats just hardly ever use the same field.
MORE: I’ll start pumping ‘em out in a bit, but wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to Betty Cracker and poputonian for keeping this joint rocking while I was ingesting ungodly amounts of fried food and then slow-broiling my liquor-soaked hide under the unforgiving sun.
Two promising developments on the McCain campaign via the Political Wire; first:
“In one of his first moves to centralize control of McCain’s political organization, Steve Schmidt has tapped Rudy Giuliani’s former campaign manager, Mike DuHaime, to be McCain’s new political director,” a top campaign adviser tells CNN.
“Until last week, McCain had no political director at headquarters—highly unusual for a general election campaign. Mccain’s campaign instead relied on 11 regional campaign managers—a structure many Republicans in and outside of the McCain campaign, including Schmidt, considered unworkable.”
So Team McCain is imposing a basic campaign structure…in July. I guess those folks who were wringing their hands about the long slog of the Democratic primary giving McCain a huge headstart were right, huh? Oh, and picking Giuliani’s former campaign manager is such genius—I mean, Giuliani’s campaign was so darn successful. Schmidt should dispatch emissaries to all Tennessee Picadilly Buffet locations to round up former Fred Thompson staffers and press them into service. Second bit of news:
Bloomberg says the prerequisites for Sen. John McCain’s running mate are clear: “a Washington outsider with solid economic credentials who isn’t associated with President George W. Bush, can fill the vice-presidential attack-dog role, help win Western and Midwestern states and cut into Democrat Barack Obama’s fundraising advantage.”
“One candidate fits the bill: former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.”
Yes, by all means, please put Mittens on the ticket. Having a representative of a religion many evangelicals perceive to be a satanic perversion of True Christianity on the ballot will surely galvanize a base that is already iffy on McCain. Teaming up with a dude who once strapped his dog to the roof of his station wagon for a family trip will certainly inspire animal lovers nationwide to metaphorically strap themselves to the roof of the Straight Talk Express. The Five Brothers blog would inevitably be revived, inspiring comedy gold with fresh rounds of mockery. And most importantly, the Mittmentum would secure Utah’s coveted 5 electoral votes for Team McCain. Let’s get this done!
I’m generally not a fan of dancing on newly dug graves, but I’ll make an exception for Jesse Helms. It seems fitting since his former allies aren’t content with uttering a bromide or two over his carcass but are instead building a myth:
GEORGE W. BUSH: “Throughout his long public career, Sen. Jesse Helms was a tireless advocate for the people of North Carolina, a stalwart defender of limited government and free enterprise, a fearless defender of a culture of life, and an unwavering champion of those struggling for liberty.
“Under his leadership, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was a powerful force for freedom. And today, from Central America to Central Europe and beyond, people remember—in the dark days when the forces of tyranny seemed on the rise, Jesse Helms took their side.”
What a pack of offensive, bald-faced lies. Helms was no “unwavering champion of those struggling for liberty”—he was an avid bigot who sought to oppress minorities and gay people at every turn. He didn’t advocate freedom—he funded death squads and helped prop up fascist regimes.
ELIZABETH DOLE: “In succeeding Jesse to represent North Carolina in the United States Senate, I knew I could never replace him, but I continue to strive each day to provide the dedicated constituent service he provided the people of our state for 30 years. As my father would say, Jesse was indeed a watchdog — for North Carolina and for the nation.”
A mangy, rabid pit bull is more like it. That Dole could utter such falsehoods about a racist, homophobic creep like Helms with a straight face is all the more reason to hope she gets kicked out on her ass in the next election (and all the more reason to throw some bucks to the campaign of Dole’s Dem opponent, Kay Hagan).
BILLY GRAHAM: “In the tradition of Presidents Jefferson, Adams and Monroe — who also passed on July Fourth — it is fitting that such a patriot who fought for free markets and free people would die on Independence Day. As we celebrate the birth of our nation, I thank God for the blessings we enjoy, which Senator Helms worked so hard to preserve.”
Christ on a Triscuit. That anti-Semitic old fraud is another dinosaur lumbering toward the pit, but he’ll leave a whelp behind to carry on God’s work, so we can look forward to more stupefying nonsense from the Graham clan well into the future.
The truth is Helms was a vicious racist, homophobe, despot-enabler and tool of the tobacco companies. I’m sure his death is a sad event for his family, but its sole meaning for US politics should be as an occasion to mark how far we’ve come since he was a leading figure in it. The collective mewling over Helms’ carcass from people like Bush, Dole and Graham shows that they don’t get that and never will.
The most fitting way I can think of to mark the occasion is for Barack Obama to carry Helms’ home state of North Carolina in the upcoming general election. That the race is even close in that state is a welcome signal that the Helms era is over.
On the June evening in St. Paul when he captured the Democratic nomination, in between shout-outs to his daughters and his grandmother, Barack Obama paid tribute to a political operative most Americans have never heard of. “Thank you to our campaign manager, David Plouffe,” Obama said, “who never gets any credit but has built the best political organization in the country.”
Obama’s top advisers outmaneuvered Hillary Clinton’s organization with no leaks, no nasty infighting and virtually no public credit for their efforts. By all rights, Plouffe and the other chief architects of Obama’s machine should be household names on par with James Carville and Karl Rove. And yet, with the exception of chief strategist David Axelrod, who has emerged as an affably low-key spokesman for the campaign, Obama’s brain trust works in near anonymity from the campaign’s headquarters on the 11th floor of a smoked-glass skyscraper two blocks south of the Chicago River.
That obscurity is by design ... As senior adviser Valerie Jarrett puts it, “We aim for you to not know about the inner workings of the campaign because there’s not much to know other than: It works.”
The drama-free approach proved to be in sharp contrast to the Clinton campaign, which was beset by leaks and infighting among factions of overbearing strategists (Mark Penn), know-it-all advisers (Harold Ickes), egotistical flacks (Howard Wolfson) and self-important campaign managers (Patti Solis Doyle) who battled noisily — and publicly — over message, budget, access to the candidate and prestige.
The article describes how the numbers man Plouffe crafted a successful turning point after the set back in New Hampshire and reveals how Obama’s leadership style allowed Plouffe’s engineering to work. Quite a contrast to what was going on in the opponent’s camp.
A totally crazy Saturday-morning thought: Wouldn’t George W. Bush make an awesome high-school government teacher? Wouldn’t it be something if his post-presidential life would up being that kind of post-service service? How’s that for a model? Who needs Harvard visiting chairs and high-end lectures? How about Crawford High? (Or wherever?) Reach out and touch the young before they are jaded, or break them of the cynicism pop culture and possibly their parents have passed down to them. Whatever you think of President Bush, he’s a likable guy in love with his country with some history and experience to share.
Like I said, crazy. Saturday. Have a good one.
Here are a few other zany thoughts on classroom topics and instructors for Crawford High (or wherever):
Running a Day Care Operation—Michael Jackson
Piloting Oil Tankers through Prince William Sound—Capt. J. Hazelwood
Preventing Domestic Violence—O.J. Simpson
The Bush advance team must be losing its edge. They used to be pretty good at vetting crowds. The occasional protester might sneak in; however, thanks to Bush’s crack team of screeners, most are corralled in Orwellian “free speech zones” far away from the event. But yesterday at Monticello, Bush was interrupted by several individuals who called for his impeachment, accused him of war crimes and observed that he has brought fascism to our shores. As security dragged one of them away, Bush remarked—apparently without irony—that we believe in free speech here in America.
Underscoring his complete lack of self-awareness, Bush used the setting to pimp his own supposed contributions to the spread of democracy:
“We honor Jefferson’s legacy by aiding the rise of liberty in lands that do not know the blessings of freedom.”
The opposite is true, of course. Bush defiled the legacy of the man who built Monticello and drafted the Declaration of Independence. He lied us into a pointless war. He used the cudgel of terrorism to squash dissent and undermine the very foundations of freedom Jefferson laid. Bush sullied the nation’s prestige and depleted its moral authority, convincing the rest of the world that the US is as arrogant, incompetent and feckless as he himself is.
January 20, 2009 should be a day of worldwide rejoicing, with the biggest party taking place right here in the US. But even if Bush’s exit from the world stage were celebrated on a global scale, would he feel the smallest pang of shame? I honestly don’t think so. He appears to lack the necessary self-awareness. He’ll go back to Crawford—and eventually to his grave—without the smallest chink in the armor of his self-righteousness. But at least he’ll go. And that’s worth celebrating.