Thursday, February 28, 2008
©1996-2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Everyone’s all a titter about Sen. John McCain’s “inappropriate relationship” with lobbyist Vicki Iseman. I personally could care less whether or not the self-confessed Senior Adulterer from Arizona and Iseman are romantically entangled (other than the mere thought of McCain entangling anything with anyone completely creeps me out).
As the Amazing Digby points out It’s Not About The Sex…it’s about the favors. McCain’s unswerving support of Iseman’s telecom clients included championing bills to end big time evangelical Bud Paxson’s (Ion Television formerly Paxson Communications) and others’ fight to force cable to run his broadcast stations or to provide minority ownership tax breaks for Cunningham Broadcasting (née Glencairn, LTD — the shell corp. owned and operated by the evil John Kerry-swiftboating Sinclair empire to avoid FCC ownership regs). McCain not so coincidentally spearheaded a ton of broadcast industry deregulation that led to the MSM mess we now endure.
However, this goes deeper than McCain’s favoritism and reciprocal of use of their corporate jets and other stuff. The aforementioned NY Times piece points out just how far Johnny Boy’s super-cozyness with lobbyists goes:
Like other presidential candidates, he has relied on lobbyists to run his campaigns. Since a cash crunch last summer, several of them — including his campaign manager, Rick Davis, who represented companies before Mr. McCain’s Senate panel — have been working without pay, a gift that could be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
In recent weeks, Mr. McCain has hired another lobbyist, Mark Buse, to run his Senate office. In his case, it was a round trip through the revolving door: Mr. Buse had directed Mr. McCain’s committee staff for seven years before leaving in 2001 to lobby for telecommunications companies.
Shee-it! As HuffPo noted last year McCain’s team is fucking riddled with lobbyists! Forget about any rumored romance with Iseman, even at work Johnny beds lobbyists! Mark Buse is notorious as one of the two lobbyists secretly hired by former CPB Chair/Karl Rove amigo/Republican tool Ken Tomlinson to quash attempts to seat more actual broadcasters on the PBS board. ...
( more )Blog at WordPress.com.
McCain's alleged affair with a lobbyist isn't a big deal. What matter more are his ties to special interests, like her clients in the cruise ship industry.Joe Conason
While no one was looking, the economy nosedived, gas prices have soared, the war in Iraq is as unpopular as ever and Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. And so while none of us were paying attention, our 43rd president just hit a major milestone.
Worse than Richard Nixon in the days before he resigned in disgrace during Watergate, worse than Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis, much worse than Bill Clinton when he was impeached. Just as Roger Bannister raced through what once seemed the unreachable 4-minute mile, Bush has burst through a barrier once also thought impossible, below the 20-percent mark.
Check this out:
George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has dropped to a new low in American Research Group polling as 78% of Americans say that the national economy is getting worse according to the latest survey from the American Research Group.
Among all Americans, 19% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 77% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 14% approve and 79% disapprove.
Among Americans registered to vote, 18% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 78% disapprove.
That is just mind-blowing. How does it compare to other presidents? There's no comparison.
Nixon, as he was hounded out of office in August 1974, never dipped below the mid-20s.
... ( more )
Lenny and Squiggy were nowhere in sight.
But Hillary was doing her best to come across as a “Laverne & Shirley” factory girl as she headed away from not-a-chance Wisconsin and on to gotta-have Ohio.
She was drinking red wine and talking up the virtues of imported Blue Moon beer with a slice of citrus on her plane and putting up an ad in Ohio about how she works the night shift, too, just like the waitresses, hairdressers, hospital workers and other blue-collar constituents that she’s hoping to attract.
And she doesn’t mean that being married to Bill Clinton is what keeps her up all hours. She’s talking about burning the midnight oil in her Senate office.
At any minute, she might break out into the “schlemiel, schlemazel” “Laverne & Shirley” theme:
“Give us any chance, we’ll take it.
Give us any rule, we’ll break it.
We’re gonna make our dreams come true.
Doin’ it our way.”
Doin’ it her way, Hillary huffed to reporters on her plane: “If your whole candidacy is about words, they should be your own words.” ( more )Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Last week, when Hillary Clinton began contrasting her “solutions” to Barack Obama’s “word’s, Obama came back with a crushing rebuttal. “’I have a dream.’ Just words? ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident.’ Just words? ‘All men are created equal.’ Just words? ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself.’ Just words?”
The problem with the charge is that plagiarism is not just using someone else’s words. If that’s what plagiarism was, we would all be plagiarists, all the time.
Plagiarism has three elements. First, the words are stolen, without permission, from the original user. Second, the words are used without acknowledgement. And third: the user has an intent to deceive, to pass the words of another as his (or her) own, so as to appear more eloquent.
In Obama’s case, the words were not stolen: they were given. Obama had explicit permission from Patrick to use them, a fact immediately confirmed by Patrick yesterday. As in theft of property, permission from the owner is a complete defense. End of argument.
And there is no indication that Obama had any intent to deceive. On another occasion, he had acknowledged the source of the rhetorical riff. On this case, he says he forgot to do so. There is no pattern of action pointing to deception.
In any event, beware of alleging faults in others. Critics were quick to point out that Clinton is herself a liberal “borrower” of words, having borrowed Obama’s “fired up” line, as well as Edwards’ comparison of immigration enforcement to tracking movies from Blockbuster. Clinton has yet to suggest that she had permission for these borrowings. ... ( more )
Senator Obama’s televised victory oration celebrating his Chesapeake primary trifecta on Tuesday night was a mechanical rehash. No matter. When the networks cut from the 17,000-plus Obama fans cheering at a Wisconsin arena to John McCain’s victory tableau before a few hundred spectators in the Old Town district of Alexandria, Va., it was a rerun of what happened to Hillary Clinton the night she lost Iowa. Senator McCain, backed by a collection of sallow-faced old Beltway pols, played the past to Mr. Obama’s here and now. Mr. McCain looked like a loser even though he, unlike Senator Clinton, had actually won.
But he has it even worse than Mrs. Clinton. What distinguished his posse from Mr. Obama’s throng was not just its age but its demographic monotony: all white and nearly all male. Such has been the inescapable Republican brand throughout this campaign, ever since David Letterman memorably pegged its lineup of presidential contenders last spring as “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club.”
For Mr. McCain, this albatross may be harder to shake than George W. Bush and Iraq, particularly in a faceoff with Mr. Obama. When Mr. McCain jokingly invoked the Obama slogan “I am fired up and ready to go” in his speech Tuesday night, it was as cringe-inducing as the white covers of R & B songs in the 1950s — or Mitt Romney’s stab at communing with his inner hip-hop on Martin Luther King’s birthday. Trapped in an archaic black-and-white newsreel, the G.O.P. looks more like a nostalgic relic than a national political party in contemporary America. A cultural sea change has passed it by.
The 2008 primary campaign has been so fast and furious that we haven’t paused to register just how spectacular that change is. All the fretful debate about whether voters would turn out for a candidate who is a black or a woman seems a century ago. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama vanquished the Democratic field, including a presidential-looking Southern white man with an enthusiastic following, John Edwards. What was only months ago an exotic political experiment is now almost ho-hum. ... ( more )Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Maybe we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Or maybe we are not.
Perhaps when Barack Obama uses that trippy line, he is just giving false Hopi, since the saying, which he picked up from Maria Shriver’s New Age-y L.A. endorsement speech, is credited to Hopi Indians.
The passionate palaver about Hillary versus Barry rages on, with each side certain it is right about our fate if we end up with a President Obama or another President Clinton.
Hillary says Obama is “all hat and no cattle.” You’d think she’d want to avoid cattle metaphors, so as not to rile up those with a past beef about her sketchy windfall on cattle futures. She could simply say he’s all cage and no bird.
But is she right, that he’d be a callow leader, too trusting of Republicans, dictators and terrorists? Is Bill right, that voters should not be swayed by eloquence and excitement? (Unless he’s running.)
Or is Obama right, that Hillary would ensure that the acrid mood of the last 15 years would continue to paralyze Washington, appall Americans and shrink our standing in the world?
Who knows? As a Henry James character said about art: “We work in the dark. We do what we can. We give what we have.” ... ( more )Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
No matter who wins the Democratic presidential nomination, back-room deals seem likely to make the difference and hand Republicans a rhetorical opportunity to portray Democrats as undemocratic.
Right now, neither side in this race sees a clear path to a nominating majority without relying on so-called superdelegates -- and some of those 796 party insiders are determined to wait as long as possible to make a fateful choice between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Worried party elders are already meeting behind closed doors to work something out.
Both contenders have long known it might come to this. That’s why they gave a combined total of nearly $1 million in campaign contributions to elected officials who are superdelegates, according to a study done by the Center for Responsive Politics. Obama led the way with $698, 200 doled out to unpledged convention delegates who could decide the outcome. Clinton trails at $205,500 in superdelegate giving.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday that superdelegates should not “overturn the verdict, the decision of the American people.” But a razor-thin margin of difference in delegate totals would mean no overwhelmingly clear verdict from Democratic primary voters. ... ( more )CQ © 2007 All Rights Reserved | Congressional Quarterly Inc.
Russell Berman, a young reporter for The New York Sun, trailed Bill Clinton around Maryland all day Sunday. The former president was on his best behavior, irritating the smattering of press.
After Bill’s last speech at Leisure World retirement community in Silver Spring, Berman interviewed two women in the audience.
Elaine Sirkis, 77, an Obama supporter, confided that she just isn’t sure she’s ready for a woman president. Betty Conway, 83, a Hillary supporter, confided that she just isn’t sure she’s ready for a black president.
As Conway walked away, Sirkis smiled sheepishly. “I’m sorry,” she told Berman sweetly about her friend. “She’s a bigot.”
We’re not just in the most vertiginous election of our lives. We’re in another national seminar on gender and race that is teaching us about who we are as we figure out what we want America to be.
It’s not yet clear which prejudice will infect the presidential contest more — misogyny or racism.... ( more )
After half a dozen years of waterboarding, genital zapping, sleep deprivation and brainwashing, the Pentagon has finally found six patsies who will readily welcome their 72 virgins and take the fall for 9/11, providing debunkers with ample ammunition to dismiss questions about the gaping holes in the official story of the terror attacks.
“Among those held at Guantanamo is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the attack six years ago in which hijacked planes were flown into buildings in New York and Washington. Five others are expected to be named in sworn charges,” reports the Associated Press.
The fact that KSM’s confession included a plan to target the Plaza Bank building in Washington state, which was not founded until 2006, four years after the alleged Al-Qaeda mastermind’s arrest, should provide a clue as to the reliability of the “terror mastermind’s” culpability for 9/11.
Keep reading →
Three weeks ago, in the wake of Chris Matthews' quasi-apology for one of his countless objectionable comments about women in general and Hillary Clinton specifically, I argued that Matthews' apology was not enough. Neither Matthews nor MSNBC had acknowledged that the problem ran far deeper than one comment by Matthews -- and their failure to make such an acknowledgement was an ominous sign that the apology would not be accompanied by a change in behavior, no matter how forcefully Matthews insisted: "I get it."
So what has happened in those three weeks?
MSNBC has turned Matthews' purported apology into a promotional campaign, using clips of his statement to advertise MSNBC programming. Not the parts of the statement in which he acknowledged having been "callous," "nasty," and "dismissive" toward Hillary Clinton, of course -- the parts in which he spoke of his love for politics.
Turning a forced apology into a promotional campaign seems like a pretty good sign that MSNBC and Matthews don't "get it" at all.
But it isn't the best sign. Consider what else has happened during MSNBC broadcasts since Matthews' apology.
First, Matthews' MSNBC colleagues leapt to his defense. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough and reporter David Shuster lashed out; Scarborough declaring it "offensive" and "outrageous" that Matthews had to apologize, and Shuster adding "this is absolutely infuriating, to see the way these groups used him for pure political gain is absolutely infuriating." As I noted at the time, Scarborough and Shuster have their own history of questionable comments about women:... ( more )
HILLARY CLINTON isn't the only one crying on the campaign trail. So is Bob Schieffer.
The veteran CBS news anchor recently told radio host Don Imus he got all choked up watching the inspirational "Yes We Can" video, which boosts Barack Obama's candidacy.
Over at MSNBC, Chris Matthews has already admitted to tearing up over Obama's speechifying. Recently, the host of "Hardball" also compared the candidate to "the New Testament."
Some big media names are getting goosebumps thinking about the next Camelot. They're not shy about yearning to turn the clock back to JFK and the 1960s, rather than to the Clintons and the 1990s. Meanwhile, former ABC news anchor Carole Simpson - a journalism professor, no longer a practicing journalist - was lambasted when she gave Clinton an impromptu endorsement at a rally last fall.
The Illinois senator is in good shape as he continues his run at winning the Democratic presidential nomination. He has money, momentum, and plenty of media support.
Analysis of votes cast on Super Tuesday shows that Obama is attracting higher-income citizens, blacks, and young people. He has synergy and the ability to inspire videos like the one produced by rapper-producer Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas (yeswecansong.com). It features clips of the presidential candidate in New Hampshire delivering his Jan. 8 concession speech, with actors and athletes who sing, mouth, and recite Obama's message. It's fine for Scarlett Johansson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but should media personalities get in on the act?
It should be scrutiny time for Obama, even if only as a helpful exercise in vetting him, if he is the Democrat to face John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. ... ( more )© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company..
The untold story in the run-up to Super Tuesday was Hillary Clinton’s elaborate live prime-time special the night before the vote. Presiding from a studio in New York, the candidate took questions from audiences in 21 other cities. She had plugged the event four days earlier in the last gasp of her debate with Barack Obama and paid a small fortune for it: an hour of time on the Hallmark Channel plus satellite TV hookups for the assemblies of supporters stretching from coast to coast.
The same news media that constantly revisited the Oprah-Caroline-Maria rally in California ignored “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall.” The Clinton campaign would no doubt attribute this to press bias, but it scrupulously designed the event to avoid making news. Like the scripted “Ask President Bush” sessions during the 2004 campaign, this town hall seemed to unfold in Stepford. The anodyne questions (“What else would you do to help take care of our veterans?”) merely cued up laundry lists of talking points. Some in attendance appeared to trance out.
But I’m glad I watched every minute, right up until Mrs. Clinton was abruptly cut off in midsentence so Hallmark could resume its previously scheduled programming (a movie promising “A Season for Miracles,” aptly enough). However boring, this show was a dramatic encapsulation of how a once-invincible candidate ended up in a dead heat, crippled by poll-tested corporate packaging that markets her as a synthetic product leeched of most human qualities. What’s more, it offered a naked preview of how nastily the Clintons will fight, whatever the collateral damage to the Democratic Party, in the endgame to come.
For a campaign that began with tightly monitored Web “chats” and then planted questions at its earlier town-hall meetings, a Bush-style pseudo-event like the Hallmark special is nothing new, of course. What’s remarkable is that instead of learning from these mistakes, Mrs. Clinton’s handlers keep doubling down.
Less than two weeks ago she was airlifted into her own, less effective version of “Mission Accomplished.” Instead of declaring faux victory in Iraq, she starred in a made-for-television rally declaring faux victory in a Florida primary that was held in defiance of party rules, involved no campaigning and awarded no delegates. As Andrea Mitchell of NBC News said, it was “the Potemkin village of victory celebrations.” ... ( more )Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
BocaGuy: I promised no more Rudy, but I couldn’t help myself.
As dismally as he performed in all six caucuses and primaries, he still might have been the GOP's strongest general-election candidate, doing for them in the Northeast what Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton did for the Democrats in the South: drawing voters from the other party's base. If Giuliani could have won in January and February, transcending the rigid social orthodoxies of his party, he might then have soared to the White House in November—a prospect made all the more chilling by the war drums he so cavalierly pounded. Asked how he'd take on terrorism, he told the Tampa Tribune recently that he'd "get rid of the nation-states that support it," which alarmed the paper's conservative editorial-board members so much that they endorsed John McCain. Should Iran continue to pursue its fantasy nuclear-weapons program, Rudy vowed to "set them back" five to 10 years. Waterboarding? His reaffirming metaphor for it was his own mob interrogations as a federal prosecutor. Even children came in for his warlike bombast: When a 36-year-old mother attending a New Hampshire event with her child dared to ask why Rudy's son and daughter weren't supporting him, the former mayor replied, "Leave my family alone, just like I'll leave your family alone"—and it came off as a threat. ... ( more )Copyright © 2008 Village Voice LLC
My friends at MSNBC were getting ready for a big party Tuesday night when the first results came in, showing Barack Obama winning handily in Georgia. There was genuine news, and very good news, in the results: Obama carried more than 40 percent of white Georgia voters, showing he can break out of the "black candidate" box some observers (perhaps some in the Hillary Clinton camp) want to lock him in, and in the South, no less. No matter which candidate or which party you support, Obama's growing appeal with white voters is good news for America.
But it was really good news at MSNBC. You could see the expectations grow that finally they would be able to finish the dance on Clinton's grave they'd begun on Jan. 8, when she denied them the fun by winning New Hampshire. "Barack Obama is putting a smile on America's face," declared Mike Barnicle. The last time I talked to Barnicle was the morning of Jan. 8, when he was predicting Clinton would not only lose New Hampshire, she'd have to pull out of the presidential race before Feb. 5 to avoid a humiliating loss in her home state of New York. But being wrong doesn't get you kicked off television, as long as you're consistently wrong on behalf of the right candidate.
Barack Obama had a Super Tuesday. But how super it was depends on where you measure it from. If you look back at Clinton's huge lead in most Super Tuesday states at the end of 2007, you'd have to call it a disappointing night for the New York senator. But if you look at the way the race had tightened over the last two weeks -- the surge of momentum Obama got after winning South Carolina, the endorsements of Caroline, Ted and later Ethel Kennedy, SEIU and MoveOn.org, the predictions that he'd take away Massachusetts and he might even win California -- then it looks like a pretty good night for Hillary Clinton. ... ( more )Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.
As the 2008 campaign heats up, conservative talk radio is ratcheting up its radical right-wing rhetoric. Last year, hate radio successfully convinced conservative lawmakers to vote against comprehensive immigration reform. Indeed, these right-wing hosts have been welcome figures in the White House for the past seven years, invited to exclusive gatherings with President Bush and granted coveted interviews with high-ranking officials. But all that good fortune might be changing. In recent weeks, these talkers have launched a campaign against Republican presidential candidates and any position perceived to be too progressive. But as yesterday's Super Tuesday results showed, hate radio has begun to lose its effectiveness. The American public voted against the wishes of the radical right wing and rejected a third term of the Bush administration.
ON IMMIGRATION: Keeping undocumented -- and sometimes even legal -- immigrants out of the United States is the top issue for hate radio. Last June, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that "hate radio" had hijacked the political discourse on immigration with "xenophobic, anti-immigrant" rhetoric. That same month, then-Republican senator Trent Lott charged, "Talk radio is ruining America." An adviser to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee piled on late last year, stating, "Rush [Limbaugh] doesn't think for himself." Limbaugh, in particular, has aggressively gone after comprehensive immigration reform, blasting the failed bipartisan McCain-Kennedy bill. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) "has stabbed his own party in the back I can't tell you how many times," said Limbaugh. Yet as conservative pundit Bill Kristol noted last night on Fox News, right-wing radio has been unable to convince the public that immigration is the paramount issue. Voters are instead more concerned about an economy teetering on recession. "Can we please stop pretending that immigration is a good issue for Republicans?" wrote New York Times columnist David Brooks last week. "The restrictionist side can't even produce a victory for their man in a Republican primary." Similarly, in last month's Florida primary, 58 percent of Republican voters said they preferred either a path to citizenship or a temporary worker program.
ON GLOBAL WARMING: Hate radio is still resisting the scientific consensus that manmade global warming is a real and urgent danger. CNN's right-wing pundit Glenn Beck continues to attack former vice president Al Gore, airing a documentary last year entitled, Exposed: The Climate of Fear. "Al Gore's version of climate change has no longer become science," he said. "It's dogma. And if you question it, you are a heretic." He has repeatedly hosted discredited climate change skeptics to pretend that there are still questions about the cause of global warming. In recent days, Limbaugh has gone after the McCain-Lieberman bill, a modest proposal that sought to limit greenhouse gas emissions. But again, hate radio is on the losing side of this issue. According to a Jan. 2007 Environmental Defense poll, "81 percent of South Carolina's Republican voters believe the United States should reduce carbon dioxide emissions." GOP pollster Frank Luntz has called climate change "the single biggest vulnerability" for conservatives.
ON THE ECONOMY: The number one issue for Republicans yesterday was the economy, with four in 10 ranking it first. Although 52 percent of Republicans "say the economy is doing well," that number is down from 66 percent last month and 82 percent last June. Hate radio, however, continues to cling to Bush's failed economic policies. "Frankly, folks, I don't find it very conservative -- I don't even find it Republican -- to start talking about wealthy people or hardworking entrepreneurs as somehow the problem, as the enemy that need to be punished," Limbaugh said earlier this week. In particular, he has taken aim at McCain, who voted against Bush's tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 because he said they overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy. (McCain now supports making them permanent.) But as NPR correspondent Juan Williams noted this morning, GOP voters appeared dissatisfied with the Bush administration's policies yesterday, and overwhelmingly voted against the wishes of hate radio.
RIGHT-WING S.O.S.: Some members of right-wing radio recognize that they need to change their tactics in order to stay relevant. Michael Medved, who started out by hosting Limbaugh's show, recently wrote, "The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight." The Washington Post wrote this morning that the more moderate positions of some of the GOP candidates will hopefully be able to "save the party from some of its worst and most self-destructive instincts." Harold Meyerson, a Washington Post columnist, called the success of many of the GOP candidates a "direct affront to the Republican strategy devised by Karl Rove."
© Center for American Progress Action Fund
The American people are looking for a change this year, and so am I.Garrison Keillor
It is a wonderful system indeed that can take a long look at America's Mayor and hand him his hat. The man thought he could get by on symbolism, but the more people saw of him, the less they liked him. The more he spent on marketing, the better John McCain looked. And there, in a nutshell, is why you and I have sensibly stayed out of the race. Delusional grandiose self-absorption is not a qualification for high office. Goodbye, Rudy and Judy. Have a nice day somewhere.
Goodbye, John Edwards, whom friends of mine liked and who ran against the Current Occupant, which is a forlorn and fruitless endeavor, like yelling at a horse. If the Democrats run on anger and the urge to pay back the God, Guns & Capital Gains Party, they're likely to lose. Move on. That's my problem with Sen. Clinton: If she becomes president, must we relive Renaissance Weekends and New Age narcissism, and then do we also get the return of Kenneth Starr and the Mellon man? ... ( more )Copyright ©2008 Salon Media Group, Inc.