You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

If this ABC report is to be believed, McCain’s choice may have been a bit impulsive. Apparently he really wanted Lieberman, but his campaign decided last Sunday that it wasn’t feasible.

The next day, McCain studied the three men at the top of his shortlist: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. All had different strengths and negatives, but McCain was not satisfied. None of them had what McCain believed he needed to do — and would have done — with Lieberman. McCain wanted to shake up the ticket.

Pawlenty was too safe. Ridge was pro-choice without the novelty Lieberman would have offered. Romney was too much of an asshole. So he met with Palin once.


I don’t want to sound too cliche, but it becomes an issue of temperment and judgment. This woman could end up the leader of the free world in a heartbeat, or lack thereof. And he met with her once.

More than the opening ceremony for the Olympics. That’s 12 million more than the previous record for a convention speech set two nights earlier by Hillary Clinton. Obama was in the living rooms of a quarter of the nation’s households.

Now the question is whether Palin’s speech will outdo McCain’s next week.

Addendum: Obama’s Gallup Tracking Poll bounce – does not factor in last night. He should break 50 in tomorrow’s numbers. The question is whether Palin’s selection will pull it back down on Sunday.

The text of Obama’s speech.

Second addendum: Paul Begala asks “Is McCain out of his mind?

Third addendum:Sarah Palin was my mayor.

Fourth addendum: Apparently Palin altered her Wikipedia entry with haste.

Photo comes from this Kos post.

Fifth addendum: Well, she’s getting her vetting. Apparently she was against McCain before she was for him.

And like her running mate, she’s fibbing about her earmarks spending stand.

Certainly “out of the box” if true. CNN is reporting that it won’t be Pawlenty. Romney appears to be out as well, which shouldn’t be a surprise as he basically called McCain a liar during the campaign.

Wonkette had written Palin off earlier in the year due to the governor’s pregnancy. The photo comes from Wonkette.

I should also say that none of the other networks is reporting anything other than speculation due to the plain from Alaska to Dayton. But it seems a good bet.

Addendum: Well, it’s confirmed. And I have to say that she’s McCain’s best choice. It’s a double play for both the Republican base and PUMA types. It does kind of take the experience thing off the table, but Obama’s probably going to beat that rap anyway. Plus, she’s in an organization called “Feminists for Life,” which means you have a conservative woman who’s not afraid of the “F” word who can possibly reframe the whole debate on abortion – especially since she recently gave birth to a down syndrome child, a condition which has been cited as a rationale for abortion. The risk is that it brings abortion to the forefront and could galvanize some of the female Clinton voters for Obama.

She’s younger than Obama and the immediate effect is to boot Obama’s speech out of the news coverage and bring some excitement to the convention. If Pawlenty had been chosen the press would have been yawning. If Romney had been chosen the press would have focused on the animosity.

The concern is that Biden will blow her out of the water in foreign policy in the debates, but already that works in her favor. All she has to do is hold her own and she wins the push due to the “expectations game.” And since the debates are tightly controlled in format, all she has to do is prepare well with canned answers and she’s “beaten expectations.”

A smart move. Could win it for McCain. Maybe.

Second Addendum: Apparently she does have a little baggage. About two dozen telephone calls were made from her office attempting to get her ex-brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. She claims she knew nothing about them. There is an investigation as to whether she fired Alaska’s Public Safety Commissioner because he wouldn’t fire the trooper. Her sister and the ex are in a serious custody fight.

I would assume the McCain people feel that one can be wrapped up tight.

Third addendum: I should mention that I think the selection is a positive moment for women in politics. The Republicans just broke a barrier. And it’s a gutsy move by McCain (although he had to do something) which moves the Republican Party a few inches into the 20th Century. It could create a minor backlash as there are still some conservatives who believe a woman should not be working, certainly not as VP, while she has five children. I’m glad McCain bucked that element.

Fourth addendum: Not all conservatives are happy. From the National Review:

Can anyone say with a straight face that Palin would have gotten picked if she were a man?

They asked it. Not me.

Fifth addendum: Romney and Pawlenty aren’t happy.

Sixth addendum: Somebody just pointed out that come November someone from either Hawaii or Alaska will be elected to the White House. That’s another first.

And expect the following clip to get a lot of play, as well as McCain’s joke about why Chelsea Clinton is so ugly (the answer being that Janet Reno is the father).

Obama’s response to the pick:

“We send our congratulations to Governor Sarah Palin and her family on her designation as the republican nominee for Vice President. It is yet another encouraging sign that old barriers are falling in our politics. While we obviously have differences over how best to lead this country forward Governor Palin is an admirable person and will add a compelling new voice to this campaign.”

There’s some chatter on CNN that this was a last minute decision. Apparently Palin’s staff wasn’t even notified until late last night. Pawlenty may have been the pick until Obama’s exceptional speech of last night which might have stolen the narrative going into the convention. Basically, McCain chose to roll the dice. Pawlenty was apparently expecting the nomination.

Here’s a local news story on Troopergate. It looks like the buzz-cut aide was caught in a lie.

Well, it appears Obama did what he had to do.

Pat Buchanan on the speech: “This is the finest convention speech, I’ve ever heard!….. It wasn’t a liberal speech, it was a unifying speech.”

More later.

By the way, thank you to anyone who called it to my show. Some great calls tonight.

Addendum: Remarkable comments from Pat Buchanan, which blow me away as much as the speech itself. One thing about Buchanan, who has great grudging respect for his political opponents (I almost thought he was rooting for Hillary Clinton this season), he acknowledges their moments with grace. His militancy has tempered over the years.

From David Gergen:

If Obama becomes president, I think we will look back and say that this was one of the turning points. As a political speech it was a masterpiece.

Second addendum: Dissecting that “bounce” in the Gallup Tracking Poll, which is based on a three day average, these are the daily figures. So despite what the media was reporting yesterday, the bounce began from the first moment of the convention.

August 20: O 45 M 43
August 21: O 45 M 44
August 22: O 45 M 45
August 23: O 45 M 46
August 24: O 45 M 44
August 25: O 42 M 48
August 26: O 48 M 40 (post-Michelle)
August 27: O 54 M 38 (post-Hillary)

This doesn’t include the impact of tonight, nor even last night. I suspect the dip over the weekend reflects the disappointment of Clinton supporters with the Biden choice. But if you googled the question as late as this morning, you would have found a slew of stories about the failure of Obama to bounce from the convention. Is the MSM biased, or just stupid?

Third addendum: Alleged liberal Fox News commentator Juan Williams, who has been riding the Democrats all week, rips Obama’s speech. Then in a twist, conservative Bill Kristol praises it. Ironies abound.

Fourth addendum: Obama’s ground game is in high gear.

Barack Obama’s campaign hasn’t advertised this a great deal this week, but the campaign’s “Action Wire” has been waging large-scale campaigns against critics. That includes tens of thousands of e-mails to television stations running Harold Simmons’ Bill Ayers ad, and to their advertisers — including a list of major automobile and telecommunications companies.

And tonight, the campaign launched a more specific campaign: an effort to disrupt the appearance by a writer for National Review, Stanley Kurtz, on a Chicago radio program. Kurtz has been writing about Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers, and has suggested that papers housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago would reveal new details of that relationship.

The campaign e-mailed Chicago supporters who had signed up for the Obama Action Wire with detailed instructions including the station’s telephone number and the show’s extension, as well as a research file on Kurtz, which seems to prove that he’s a conservative, which isn’t in dispute. The file cites a couple of his more controversial pieces, notably his much-maligned claim that same-sex unions have undermined marriage in Scandinavia.

“Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse,” says the email, which picks up a form of pressure on the press pioneered by conservative talk radio hosts and activists in the 1990s, and since adopted by Media Matters and other liberal groups.

I don’t know what the hell Obama’s been doing for the past month, but it appears he’s found a way to rumble and play lofty at the same time – a groove of brilliance reflected in tonight’s speech despite the centrist overtures I found annoying.

Today’s Time Standard has the story.

Two companies filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of Measure T, a county ordinance banning corporate election donations, an attorney said.

The lawsuit argues the ballot measure, passed by voters in 2006, violates the political free speech rights of corporations by banning their donations in local elections.

”The county’s donation restriction runs the First Amendment through a shredder,” said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Damien Schiff. “The Constitution guarantees open and vibrant political debate, with all sides and all points of view allowed into the fray. The county’s ordinance is an outrageous assault on these free speech rights, because it targets a class of employers to be shut out of the political process.”

Under Measure T, if a corporation has any employees or shareholders living outside of the county, the business is banned from donating to campaigns relating to local ballot measures or candidates for local office, attorneys said.

The lawsuit was filed by Pacific Legal Foundation attorneys on behalf of Mercer-Fraser Co., an asphalt paving and heavy construction business based in Eureka, and O & M Industries, an Arcata-based manufacturer focused on steel fabrication and heat, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

I broke with my fellow local progressives on this issue when it was up for vote, but the proponents claim that this measure was specifically crafted to withstand Constitutional challenge based upon the reasoning of past cases, and speaking strictly in legal terms, the plaintiffs may have a uphill climb. I may have some more to say about this later.

I will be on KMUD tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. to comment on the convention in between tonight’s important speeches. Obama is slated to talk at 8:00 p.m. We’ll discuss it and maybe take some phone calls if there’s time afterwards.

I will also be on for McCain’s acceptance speech next Thursday.

Show: MCC presents 2nd annual Pipe Jam
Date: 09-06-2008
Where: Southern Humboldt Community Park
Price: $22 members/teens, $25 general

Details: Music by Fishbone, End of June, and more TBA. Pro Skate Demos by Frank Hirratta, Ryan Johnson, Gershon Mosely and more. Music, Food, Beer/Wine after dark. Gates open at noon, music till 11:00pm. $22 members/teens, $25 general, $10 children 5-12, children under 5 free. Proceeds benefit the So Hum Skate Ramp and MCC.

Obama officially nominated. I don’t know what the final tally was, but I’ll dig everything up later. It sounds like the Clinton delegates went quietly.

Bill Clinton just finished and they’re playing the old Fleetwood Mac song which was the theme of his 92 campaign. On Fox Rove is already whining about the “exaggerations.” From the beginning of the week he hasn’t been able to conjure up even grudging compliments for anyone who has spoken. He doesn’t even smile.

On CNN Carville is of course ready to canonize Clinton. Haven’t been over to MSNBC yet.

More later.

Oh! KMUD has asked me to comment on air as they play the convention live from seven to nine tomorrow night. I’ll be doing the same for McCain’s acceptance next week. More as it evolves.


Addendum: I’ve got the kids tonight as my wife went to a much needed movie, so I haven’t really been able to play close attention. But McCain dropped a bit of news tonight. Apparently he has chosen his VP candidate and will announce it tomorrow night after Obama’s speech.

Lots of speculation, but this blogger found this ad on Youtube.

Biden’s son Beau is introducing him now.

Second addendum: Biden spoke to me tonight. He said “Eric, I am not a weenie.” Lots of “John McCain’s my friend but…” talk tonight from Biden, Kerry, and others. He didn’t just attack McCain, but he attacked McCain’s judgment, which may be a turning point in Obama’s strategy. That’s not just attacking him on policy, but attacking his qualification to be president. Obama hasn’t done that yet. The only one who has done this since the campaigns began is Mitt Romney.

Funny thing is, Rachel Maddow thinks Biden went easy on McCain. I think they were setting up a framework.

The PUMA moment fizzled. The media really overplayed the disgruntled Hillary supporter story.

Meanwhile, if you remember, religious right icon James Dobson and his followers have been praying for rain on Obama’s outdoor speech tomorrow night. Well, the forecast is for good weather for Obama. But the prayers may have backfired as the Republicans may be splitting the television screen next week with Hurricane Gustav.

By the way, the “praying for rain” link above takes you to a blog which seriously suggests that Obama may be the anti-Christ.

Barack Obama may be the Antichrist, he has risen up out of no where, he mesmerizes crowds, people are gathering in huge numbers, he is likely becoming the next President of the United States. Do not look only to what I say, but look to your Bibles, to passages in John, Daniel, and Revelations.

You read it here first. The Beast of Revelations is on its way. Is Hillary therefor the Whore of Babylon?

The Beast comes from Photobucket.

Third addendum: According to this McCain campaign rep, there are no uninsured Americans. You have to read this to believe it.

But the numbers are misleading, said John Goodman, president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, a right-leaning Dallas-based think tank. Mr. Goodman, who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy, said anyone with access to an emergency room effectively has insurance, albeit the government acts as the payer of last resort. (Hospital emergency rooms by law cannot turn away a patient in need of immediate care.)

“So I have a solution. And it will cost not one thin dime,” Mr. Goodman said. “The next president of the United States should sign an executive order requiring the Census Bureau to cease and desist from describing any American – even illegal aliens – as uninsured. Instead, the bureau should categorize people according to the likely source of payment should they need care.

“So, there you have it. Voila! Problem solved.”

Reminds me of the old proposal to declare those receiving unemployment as employed for purposes of unemployment statistics, therefor eliminating unemployment.

Fourth addendum: The woman at the top is Tammy Duckworth who lost her legs in Iraq. The photo is from USA Today.

Only a few posts so far, focusing on ATT’s new contract imposing a waiver of court actions from its customers. You would have to rely on arbitration, and thus a pool of arbitrators conscious of the fact that they won’t be chosen by ATT should they rule too often against the business – one of my objections to arbitration clauses.

Should be an interesting read as it develops. I’ll put it up in my links later.

Well, I’ve been playing board games with the kids while trying to listen to the speeches and talking head babble. Let me try to catch up.


Give CNN credit. After Warner gave his somewhat intellectual and lackluster speech probably calculated to win him the Senate seat in Virginia all three cable news networks broke off into babble. None of them expected much news from a talk on energy policy from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, but somebody was paying attention at CNN and they broke from the babble and celeb watching to cover what was a very articulate, charismatic and lively speech from a pol I’d never heard of until tonight. In a very midwestern wry manner he used some wit to explain the facts of life about oil, that we consume 25 percent of the world’s oil and hold 3 percent of the reserves, and couldn’t even come close to covering our needs with offshore and onshore drilling “even in every backyard of McCain’s that he doesn’t know about.”

It was the first speech I saw that got into detailed specifics of policy, which is probably why the networks weren’t covering it. But he brought up the bills McCain voted against for alternative energy source promotion, and made it very clear to anyone listening that drilling is no panacea, and that “the most important barrel is the one we don’t use.”

In conjunction with the Warner speech, boring as most of it was, where Warner criticized Bush for failing to make any requests of the American people post-911 (playing into Obama’s Kennedy “yes we can” theme). The message, made in primetime – a conscious effort at conservation must be part of any comprehensive energy plan.

Eventually, Fox caught on (probably had somebody monitoring CNN), but MSNBC completely missed the boat. It had some of that “raw meat” Carville had been looking for (he got some from Casey as well). And as Fox broke off from the speech, Brit Hume felt compelled to counter with the argument that we don’t have alternative energy technology sufficiently developed to make it part of an energy plan – kind of hypocritical given the arguments for offshore drilling increases are based on increased supplies years down the road.

Okay, Hillary’s up. Be back later.


Well, it was a good speech. Probably the most important part was where she attempted to shame as selfish her PUMA supporters, asking them whether they were working just for her, or for the Iraq war veteran who needed help, etc. CNN went to one PUMA delegate afterwards, who was in tears and pledged that she won’t vote for McCain, but isn’t sure she’s going to vote at all in November.

Upon completion of the speech I immediately switched from CNN to Fox. They aren’t making any pretenses tonight. They had a panel of five right wingers. Kondracke and Krystal immediately criticized the speech for not specifically stating that Obama would make a good commander in chief. Lo and behold, two minutes later McCain released a press statement saying the very same thing. (Carville is laughing it off on CNN as I type). The blond woman on the panel from Fortune Magazine said something about the speech being great for Clinton’s political future. Then Fred Barnes criticized it for being too feminist (this date being the 88th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment).

Oh, and by the way, the McCain ad with Hillary Clinton’s quotes played on the first commercial break following her speech. It’s hard for me to imagine that voters will be impressed with that, but then again, it’s been hard for me to imagine a lot of tactics which have worked in the past. McCain’s campaign, as expressed through their press statement, the timing of the ad, and their panel on Fox, seems petty to me. Again, like the negativity coming immediately following the Biden announcement, I’ve never seen anything like it. Not even in 1988.

Another kudos point for CNN. She mentioned the Democratic Party leader in Arkansas being killed and the death of the Congresswoman, and CNN immediately shot the camera up at Bill Clinton with whom the surviving family members in the seats by him. Neither MSNBC nor Fox apparently had the background info to know to do that.

More a little bit later.


Back to Schweizer for a minute. I think I may have been watching a future president. He may have been to this convention what Obama was four years ago.


Gergen and Carl Bernstein just agreed that whatever the Republicans say she didn’t say and needed to be said will be said tomorrow, or the next day. Clinton will attend the acceptance speech Thursday night.


Addendum: Just to add my two cents, I did think the Democrats missed an opportunity tonight. They should have had Bill and Michelle sitting next to each other.

Found the clip I was looking for:

I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Maybe I’m reading into it, but doesn’t it seem like she’s scolding the PUMA’s like they were irresponsible kids?


Second addendum: I think Sebelius, while maybe a little more quiet, was a little more witty.

John McCain’s version: There’s no place like home…or a home…or a home…or a home…or a home…


Third addendum: ABC’s tribute to Clinton’s hairdos of the past. Kind of underscores a few points.


Fourth addendum: Kennedy’s speech last night was given while he was in pain from kidney stones.


August 2008