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Monday, October 27, 2008


posted by on October 27 at 1:30 PM

Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, for making false statements on financial disclosure forms.

The verdict throws the upcoming election into disarray. Stevens is fighting off a challenge from Democrat Mark Begich and must now either drop out or continue campaigning as a convicted felon.

The Senate race in Alaska has been tight despite the cloud hanging over Stevens. But this conviction can't help but boost Democratic efforts to grab the seat as they push toward their dream of a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Republican Family Values

posted by on October 27 at 12:43 PM

This weird robocall tries to use phone sex to promote California representative candidate Zane Starkewolf. Here's HuffPo's transcription of the call:

"Mike Thompson has been a baaaaaad boy. We all said no to the bailout, but Thompson backed Bush. Just like he did with the Patriot act, uhhhhhh, vote YESSSSSSSSS! for Zane."

"God-Damn, America!"

posted by on October 27 at 12:40 PM

Here it comes, reportedly with $2.5 million behind it to get it on the air in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida:

Courtesy of the National Republican Trust PAC, and via Ben Smith.

The Source

posted by on October 27 at 12:35 PM

From where comes Wall Street Journal's big idea, "The Europeanization of America"?

So where is the new Obama administration likely to take us? Seven things seem certain:

* The U.S. military will withdraw from Iraq quickly and substantially, regardless of conditions on the ground or the obvious consequence of emboldening terrorists there and around the globe.
* Protectionism will become our national trade policy; free trade agreements with other nations will be reduced and limited.
* Income taxes will rise on middle- and upper-income people and businesses, and individuals will pay much higher Social Security taxes, all to carry out the new president's goals of "spreading the wealth around."
* Federal government spending will substantially increase. The new Obama proposals come to more than $300 billion annually, for education, health care, energy, environmental and many other programs, in addition to whatever is needed to meet our economic challenges. Mr. Obama proposes more than a 10% annual spending growth increase, considerably higher than under the first President Bush (6.7%), Bill Clinton (3.3%) or George W. Bush (6.4%).
* Federal regulation of the economy will expand, on everything from financial management companies to electricity generation and personal energy use.
* The power of labor unions will substantially increase, beginning with repeal of secret ballot voting to decide on union representation.
* Free speech will be curtailed through the reimposition of the Fairness Doctrine to limit the conservative talk radio that so irritates the liberal establishment.

These policy changes will be the beginning of the Europeanization of America.

From where? Maybe from here...

...Obama is being attacked not because he is black, but because he represents the Europeanization of the American democracy.

And here...

The real rupture in American politics is in the area of the Republican party. The exact location of this break is between its working-class base and the top layer of its professional/business elites. The break is not an isolated event but a part of the larger transformation of American politics—its current Europeanization. Obama’s rise to power is also a consequence of this process. The result of Obama’s presidency will be an increase of the government’s role in the management of civil society; as for the break in the GOP, the result will be an American political system that has three parts: the Dems, the Republicans, and the far right. Or put another way: Obama, McCain, and Palin.

It's possible.

The Pre-Post-Mortem

posted by on October 27 at 12:25 PM

This is one of my favorite journalistic genres of the moment, and it comes about because of facts such as this:


The general themes of the genre: Obama has run a strategically and tactically brilliant campaign, McCain's failures could fill a book (and surely will), and woah, check out the Republican circular firing squad. If you, like me, can't get enough of this type of story, here are a couple of pre-post-mortems (and, related, a couple of pre-post-election-predictions) that are worth checking out:

• Robert Draper in the New York Times on "The Making (and Remaking) of McCain."

• Adam Nagourney on how Florida began to slip away.

• Ben Smith on how the Palin pick has led to "rogue" behavior and Republican recriminations.

• Ben Smith on David Axelrod's post-election role.

• And John Heilemann in New York Magazine on "The Next new Deal."

"And....One Other."

posted by on October 27 at 12:09 PM

Another maverick moment for McCain.

Further thanks to Towleroad.

This is What a Vice President Looks Like

posted by on October 27 at 11:59 AM

Orlando newswoman Barbara West peppers Sen. Joe Biden with "tough questions," Biden sasses back admirably (and with a forcefulness Obama's had to sacrifice for the most part, lest he come off as an Angry Black Man(TM)):

Thanks for the link, Towleroad.

The Closer

posted by on October 27 at 11:30 AM

Right now, in Canton, Ohio, Barack Obama is delivering his "closing argument." It begins:

One week.

After decades of broken politics in Washington, eight years of failed policies from George Bush, and twenty-one months of a campaign that has taken us from the rocky coast of Maine to the sunshine of California, we are one week away from change in America.

You can read the full speech here or in the jump.

Continue reading "The Closer" »

Against the Great Man Theory

posted by on October 27 at 11:00 AM

When friends and I talk about politics these days, the discussions often end at an expression of simple awe at what Barack Obama been able to accomplish over the course of this presidential race.

They end there, in part, because of a lack of words to describe what has happened. Because, when you step back and look at Obama's achievements, and consider them in the context of not just the last eight years but also in the context of more than 230 years of American history, it can be hard to describe how big what's occured, and what's probably coming, feels.

The other day, during one of these awe-stopped conversations, I found myself wondering, when we ran out of words, whether this was simply because we were seeing the emergence of something none of us had experienced in our lifetimes, but had heard a lot about: the arrival of a Great Man.

All of us in the conversation were under 32. We belong to a generation that not only hasn't experienced leadership by any Great Men (or Women), but is somewhat predisposed not to believe in the Great Man Theory of history anyway. We're taught that the world is complicated, post-modern, maybe even sub-altern. That the locus of power is hard to find, and probably not singular. That the heroic journey of the individual and the master narrative are a bit old-fashioned.

But Obama is making all of that old stuff feel new, or at least newly relevant. Which is leading me these days to fall back on Great Man Theory in conversation, because how else to describe him, what he's accomplished, and what he seems poised to do for the Democratic party and this country?

If all of this sounds a bit starry-eyed, perhaps even "in the tank" or straight up wrong-headed, here's an alternate take. Over at the American Prospect, Ezra Klein gets out in front of me and my friends and our conversations, and attempts to shoot down the idea that Great Men, even if they do exist, matter all that much when it comes to Big Change:

The "great man" theory of the presidency is not convenient when it comes to actually creating change. Again and again, presidents disappoint. They fail to pass health-care reform or Social Security privatization. They don't ease partisanship or break through gridlock. They prove impotent in the face of immediate crises and leave long-term challenges to fester. And so we tire of them, resolving to replace them with more presidents. Better presidents. Presidents of the other party, or of the same party, or of no party at all. Businessmen like Mike Bloomberg, insurgents like Ralph Nader, charismatic leaders like Barack Obama, self-professed mavericks like John McCain.

Executive leadership is important, of course, but the continual failure of our presidents should be lesson enough that it is not sufficient. The executive is but one actor in a sprawling drama.

Read the whole, theory-puncturing piece here.

Policing Tehran

posted by on October 27 at 10:01 AM

The day this turning world of ours ceases to surprise me is the day two pennies are placed on my eyes:

In 2003 the first group of female cadets graduated from Iran’s police academy. Tehran’s police chief Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf—now the mayor of Tehran—had obtained permission from the country’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, to create the all-female police units, and these policewomen were the products of a three-year training program. Abbas Kowsari was allowed to photograph the academy’s graduation ceremony in 2005, a dramatic pageant, and a historical anomaly. “During Qalibaf’s time as police chief,” the photographer said, “policewomen performed many martial arts and chase routines, including climbing walls and jumping out of the windows of moving cars. But after he stepped down, that training was eliminated. Last year’s ceremony was limited to a parade, speeches, target practice, and the loading of revolvers by blindfolded policewomen graduates. No photographers were allowed.”

Wanna Be Starting Something

posted by on October 27 at 7:39 AM


US military helicopters have carried out a raid inside Syria along the Iraqi border, killing eight people including four children, Syrian officials say.

The official Syrian news agency Sana said the attack took place in the Abu Kamal border area, in eastern Syria.

Damascus has condemned the strike as a "serious violation" of its territory.

The US has neither confirmed nor denied the incident. It has previously accused Syria of allowing foreign militants into Iraq.

Syria has summoned the US and Iraqi envoys in Damascus to protest at the raid.

If it is the surprise, it's not the ideal surprise. Killing civilians adds more bad news to McCain's already tight situation.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

9 Days...

posted by on October 26 at 2:00 PM


Ice for the Governor

posted by on October 26 at 10:24 AM

The election, after all is said and done, is not about Sarah Palin, and our sober view is that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, is the wrong choice for president at this critical time for our nation.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, brings far more promise to the office. In a time of grave economic crisis, he displays thoughtful analysis, enlists wise counsel and operates with a cool, steady hand. The same cannot be said of Sen. McCain.

And who made this endorsement?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

"I don't know who's writing these questions."

posted by on October 25 at 7:29 PM

Courtesy of Slog tipper Matt...

10 Days...

posted by on October 25 at 5:00 PM


The Vet Who Did Not Vet

posted by on October 25 at 3:19 PM

Pretty brilliant...

Shrug, Atlas, Shrug!

posted by on October 25 at 2:18 PM

From The National Review, we have the Republican version of "I'm moving to Canada if their side wins":

Canada or Galt's Gulch? [Lisa Schiffren]

So, what happens if McCain really does pull it out and win? After the urban riots, might this be the year that all those libs with Bush derangement syndrome actually make good on their threat to leave the country? What if Canada had a special policy to lure them in? (Win-win-win situation —them/us/Canada )


Of course conservatives don't threaten to leave the U.S. as a rule. However, on more or less the same subject, I haven't heard so much about John Galt since ...well, ever. (And objectivists were thick on the ground in D.C. during the Reagan administration.) I suppose, with all the projections of the Obama administration and its confiscatory tax rates on people and businesses, subordination of the productive to the dependent, public schools turned into training camps for radicals and legions of speech/thought police — i.e. — the end of liberty as we knew it — it might be time to start thinking about the mechanics of Galt's Gulch. Actually, this is probably a great time to buy property in the Rockies. Love to see the video for that...

10/24 08:27 PM

For those of you who are unaware, Galt's Gulch is where all the world's libertarian intellectuals flee to in the novel Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand. In the novel, the resulting lack of intellectuals and competent businessmen causes the rest of the world to nearly die in an apocalypse of mediocrity. I'm willing to take the gamble that it's not going to work out that way in the real world, and I implore the conservatives to move to the Rockies and start working on their conservatopia. I'll even donate to a fund in their honor.

Broadcast Yourself

posted by on October 25 at 2:16 PM

"I was at Gregoire's fundraiser [with Al Gore] yesterday and they played a sweet video about her accomplishments," writes Slog tipper Pam. "It's online now at YouTube. They should put that shit on TV."

Slog ain't TV, but it'll have to do...

Sarah Palin "sees herself as the next leader of the party."

posted by on October 25 at 12:27 PM

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin “going rogue” recently.... McCain sources point to several incidents where Palin has gone off message, and privately wonder if they were deliberate. For example: labeling robo calls “irritating,” even as the campaign was defending the use of them and telling reporters she disagreed with the campaigns controversial decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source tells CNN she appears to now be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser, “she does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party."

Seconding John Aravosis: Oh please, GOP, anoint this woman—this comically corrupt politician, this blithering idiot, this pro-life extremist—the leader of your party. Pretty please with Bristol Palin's cherry on top?

The Transition

posted by on October 25 at 11:11 AM

After reading this passage in the NY Times...

Presidential nominees typically start preparing for transitions before the election, but Mr. Obama’s plans appear more extensive than in the past and more advanced than those of Senator John McCain, his Republican opponent. Mr. McCain has also assigned confidants to prepare for a transition but instructed them to limit their activities as he tries to rescue his foundering campaign, Republicans said.

...we must not think that Obama's extensive preparations are the mark of his overconfidence but, instead, that McCain's lack of proper preparation means that, if elected, he will not be able to quickly manage America's most pressing problems.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Our Secret Weapon

posted by on October 24 at 9:23 PM

Our families...

What Accounts for This?

posted by on October 24 at 4:30 PM

If this report is true, then how did McCain's Pennsylvania communications director know all the "facts" of the Ashley Todd story before they were out?

John McCain's Pennsylvania communications director told reporters in the state an incendiary version of the hoax story about the attack on a McCain volunteer well before the facts of the case were known or established -- and even told reporters outright that the "B" carved into the victim's cheek stood for "Barack," according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions.

John Verrilli, the news director for KDKA in Pittsburgh, told TPM Election Central that McCain's Pennsylvania campaign communications director gave one of his reporters a detailed version of the attack that included a claim that the alleged attacker said, "You're with the McCain campaign? I'm going to teach you a lesson."

The Universal Negative

posted by on October 24 at 3:23 PM

Obama is Osama!
Obama is Stalin!
Obama is Hitler!

Runner-Up Photo of the Day

posted by on October 24 at 3:14 PM


From HuffPo's also-excellent slideshow of post-debate PDA moments.

(And even gay old me must salute the awesomeness that is Michelle Obama's butt in the second shot.)

Photo of the Day

posted by on October 24 at 2:35 PM


Thank you, Slog tipper Dirty Danny.

UPDATE: Dirty Danny reports the above photo comes from this Huffington Post slideshow. Notice the various injuries of delicate Cindy. (You're not fooling anyone, junkie bitch. Or maybe you just keep walking into doors...)


posted by on October 24 at 2:26 PM

In the comments to Paul's post about the girl who beat herself up for McCain, Slog tipper cochise. brings up a wonderful point:

Filing a false police report = Class D Felony

Class D Felony = No Vote.


Oh I hope this is true.

Your Daily Dose of Racist McCain Supporters

posted by on October 24 at 2:26 PM

From a McCain rally today in Denver.

Thank you, Slog Tipper Rainbird.

For Jen Graves

posted by on October 24 at 2:12 PM


It's Funny 'Cause It's True

posted by on October 24 at 1:42 PM

Shorter National Review

posted by on October 24 at 1:34 PM

Women who don't like Palin are just jealous because they want severely disabled babies of their own.

The Latest Obama Republican...

posted by on October 24 at 12:00 PM Charles Fried, one of John McCain's advisers, who has already voted for Obama. He claims the Palin choice was the biggest factor in his defection. This man is a major conservative thinker and he used to be a rabid McCain supporter.

Burner: Let's Go to the Congressional Record

posted by on October 24 at 11:30 AM

Here's what I was alluding to earlier: in day three of what some are calling "Resume-gate," the campaign of Darcy Burner has turned up a transcript from a Congressional hearing that shows Republican Congressman Dave Reichert failing to correct a fellow congressman who introduced Reichert, on April 10 of this year, at a meeting of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrrorism, and Homeland Security, as a man with "a bachelor's degree from Concordia Lutheran College." (In fact, Reichert only has an A.A.)

Our second witness will be the gentleman from Washington, Congressman David Reichert, who currently is in his second term in Congress. In addition to his notable work on the Green River task force, he has over 35 years of public service to the people of Washington. He has a bachelor's degree from Concordia Lutheran College...

Part of this somewhat comical (and completely exhaustive) hunt for proof of resume-inflating is about each candidate being seen by his or her base a bare-knuckled brawler. And, you know, Burner's base is definitely going to be pleased by the unearthing of this statement from a long-forgotten committee meeting that otherwise would never have been heard about again. It shows Burner can take an oppo-research hit, and give an oppo-research hit right back.

Headline of the Day

posted by on October 24 at 11:17 AM

Did someone mention "your inner Beavis" a couple posts ago? Huh-huh-huh.


"Krumping You Can Believe In"

posted by on October 24 at 11:04 AM

The presidential dance-battle I didn't know I'd been waiting for until I saw it.

Thank you, World of Wonder, which is also hosting an exhibition of political art in its storefront gallery. Two samples: Sarah Fawcett Majors and Condoleeza Rice.

It Just Keeps Getting Classier

posted by on October 24 at 11:03 AM

This McCain volunteer lady, who says she was beaten up and had a (backwards) "B" carved into her face by an angry black Obama supporter:


Admits she made the whole thing up:

Ashley Todd, 20, of Texas, initially told police that she was robbed at an ATM in Bloomfield and that the suspect became enraged and started beating her after seeing her GOP sticker on her car.

Police investigating the alleged attack, however, began to notice some inconsistencies in her story and administered a polygraph test.

Authorities, however, declined to release the results of that test.

Investigators did say that they received photos from the ATM machine and "the photographs were verified as not being the victim making the transaction."

This afternoon, a Pittsburgh police commander told KDKA Investigator Marty Griffin that Todd confessed to making up the story.

The commander added that Todd will face charges; but police have not commented on what those charges will be.

Wonkette did a fine job of keeping tabs on the story, from her degenerating truthiness to her Twittering of the assault. This is the most fucked presidential campaign in the long history of totally fucked presidential campaigns.

UPDATE: As people in the comments keep pointing out, the VP of Fox News said, before this whole story unraveled:

"If the incident turns out to be a hoax, Senator McCain’s quest for the presidency is over, forever linked to race-baiting."

I eagerly await the McCain/Palin concession speech, later this afternoon.

11 Days...

posted by on October 24 at 11:00 AM


When Will the Seattle Times Stop Protecting Dave Reichert?

posted by on October 24 at 9:55 AM

A story in this morning's Seattle Times includes new information about Republican Rep. Dave Reichert's own exaggerations about his college degree. Seven different web sites, including Reichert's own Congressional web page, claim Reichert graduated college with a B.A.; in fact, he graduated from a small religious junior college in Portland with a two-year associate's degree.

So it looks like the Times is finally taking a look, however brief, at Reichert's resume exaggerations. That's nice of them. But it doesn't erase the fact that the reporter, Emily Heffter, seriously fucked up in her initial story, in which she reported, erroneously, that Reichert's opponent Darcy Burner had falsely claimed to have an economics degree from Harvard. In fact, she has a computer science degree with a concentration in economics. That's a double major; another way to describe it would be a "computer science and economics degree." The Times splashed the story, to which it dedicated a lavish 700 words, on its front page, under the headline "Burner Falsely Claims Economics Degree."

Contrast that to the 400-word, web-only follow-up about Reichert, initially headlined, "Burner's Campaign Says Web Sites Misrepresent Reichert's Resume" but later changed to "Web Sites Misrepresent Reichert's Resume." In it, Heffter takes every step possible to exonerate Reichert, noting almost apologetically, "None of the Web sites with the wrong information are affiliated with Reichert's campaign. His congressional office was taking steps to correct the errors this afternoon."

On the Politics NW blog--the Times' lackluster replacement for David Postman's Postman on Politics--Heffter was even more explicitly defensive, writing, "I did find one Web site that misstates his degree. This congressional directory lists that he has a B.A. He doesn't." She added, "The Congressional Directory is a government site managed by the Office of History and Preservation ... None of the [other five] web sites [with false claims about Reichert's degree] are affiliated with the Reichert campaign."

So does Heffter really believe that Reichert has no power to change his own Congressional web page (on which the other five web unaffiliated web sites based their information)? Or is she just unwilling to admit she made a huge mistake?

Beyond the Point of No Return

posted by on October 24 at 9:52 AM

For those who still think this race is wide open...

(CNN) -- A new Republican ad appears to suggest that Barack Obama has all but won the presidential race, an argument several vulnerable Senate Republicans may have to reluctantly embrace with only days until Election Day, an expert in campaign advertising said.
Some Republicans are already planning on a Barack Obama presidency.

Some Republicans are already planning on a Barack Obama presidency.

Aimed at Kay Hagan, Sen. Elizabeth Dole's surprisingly strong Democratic challenger in North Carolina, the 30-second spot from the National Republican Senatorial Committee warns voters against Democrats holding the White House and Congress, and flatly states that if Hagan wins, the party will "get a blank check."

"These liberals want complete control of government in a time of crisis, all branches of government," the ad's narrator states. "No check and balances, no debate, no independence. That's the truth behind Kay Hagan. If she wins, they get a blank check."

The "blank check" (or "black check") argument is all that's left for the right. Even Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, can smell the coffee. He, like Powell and McClellan, endorsed Obama.

Don't Be Like Me

posted by on October 24 at 9:47 AM

Remember When $400 Haircuts Were Hopelessly Elitist?

posted by on October 24 at 9:40 AM

How about the $22,800 makeup job? When you add that to the $150,000 shopping spree, the $21,012 worth of travel expenses Palin illegally billed to the state of Alaska, and the $17,059 Palin collected from the state of Alaska in "per diem" charges for 300 nights she actually spent in her home, Sarah Palin starts looking like one really expensive—and really corrupt—date.

But, hey, she's opposed to socialism and welfare, according to the McCain camp's latest attacks. Contrast that with Obama—that dude thinks the government should pay for everything.