Sunday, October 5, 2008


Obama/Lincoln by augfw.
Art By Ron English

A Country in Shambles, Under GOP Rule

Posted from

by Glenn Greenwald

There are few things that make political coverage more unbearable -- and more distorting -- than The David Brooks Syndrome: the extremely patronizing and ill-informed pretense, shared by media and right-wing elites alike, that they can study the Little Common Person like a zoo animal, and then translate and give voice to their simple-minded, good-hearted, salt-of-the-earth perspectives. Rarely has this mentality been so transparent as in the wake of the Biden-Palin debate, as pundits and right-wing polemicists like Brooks, Peggy Noonan and Rich "Starbursts" Lowry rushed forward to proclaim giddily that Regular Americans would love Sarah Palin and this love could even help McCain win, despite -- or, really, because of -- her vapid, content-free telegenic presence.

Actual empirical evidence -- called "polling data" -- has almost uniformly demonstrated how false these condescending pats on the head are, as every single poll conducted thus far (at least that I'm aware of) found that Americans believed that Biden won and is the far more serious candidate for office, and huge numbers continue to have profound doubts about Palin's fitness for office. And the first tracking poll to report a full post-debate day of polling -- the Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos -- finds Obama with a 13-point lead, his largest ever. This joint right-wing/pundit claim that Americans would swoon in the face of Palin's empty chatter, self-conscious folksiness and chronic, seizure-like winking says much more about those making the claim than it does about their Regular People subjects.

As polling data conclusively demonstrates, the mindset of the voting public is infinitely more rational and substance-based than the pundits and the Right fantasize when they lyrically praise the Regular American -- at least it is in this time of perceived (and actual crisis). What's happening in this country, and in this election, is rather simple and easy to see: (1) the country is in total shambles -- possibly far worse than what people even realize; (2) we have lived for the last eight years under virtually absolute GOP rule; (3) the public knows this; (4) the Republican President and his party are therefore intensely -- historically -- unpopular; and (5) the voting public doesn't want to continue living under the rule of the same faction and same political party that has driven the country into the ground. Having Sarah Palin drop her gerund endings and desperately trotting out the standard, tired GOP attack ads to depict Obama as a radical, fist-pumping, America-hating, unhinged socialist -- when everyone can see with their own eyes that he isn't -- won't change any of that.

That the Right believes in the fundamental stupidity of the American voter while simultaneously pretending to revere and speak for them them is reflected in their belief that they can successfully blame the financial crisis and the country's woes generally on Democrats, who -- while hardly covering themselves with glory -- haven't had any meaningful power in this country for as long as one can remember. Ponder how stupid you must think Americans are to believe that you can blame the financial crisis on the 2004 statements of House Democrats about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac when that was a time when the GOP controlled all branches of the Government and nothing could have been more inconsequential than what Barney Frank or Maxine Waters, languishing in the minority in Tom DeLay's tyrannical House, said or did about anything.

In sum, Americans hate the way the country has been ruled, the economic crisis is making them hate that more by the minute, and the country has been dominated by Republican rule for the last eight years -- at least. It's just this simple:
And the reality is even more imbalanced than that graph illustrates: between (1) the tiny margins the Democrats have had when controlling the Senate, (2) the true functional majority of "GOP + Blue Dogs" in the House, and (3) Democratic complicity and fear, it is GOP policy which ends up prevailing in virtually every instance of alleged "bipartisanship" even during those tiny slivers of ostensible Democratic control.

The overarching reality of the country is that we've lived under unchallenged Republican rule and the country has virtually collapsed on every level. No matter how dumb Rich Lowry and David Brooks fantasize The Regular People to be, those facts are far too glaring to suppress.

Make-Believe Maverick

by: Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone

"McCain has also allowed the media to believe that his torture lasted for the entire time he was in Hanoi. At the Republican convention, Fred Thompson said of McCain's torture, "For five and a half years this went on." In fact, McCain's torture ended after two years, when the death of Ho Chi Minh in September 1969 caused the Vietnamese to change the way they treated POWs. "They decided it would be better to treat us better and keep us alive so they could trade us in for real estate," Butler recalls."

John McCain.
Illustration: Paul Giambarba / t r u t h o u t)

A closer look at the life and career of John McCain reveals a disturbing record of recklessness and dishonesty. At Fort McNair, an army base located along the Potomac River in the nation's capital, a chance reunion takes place one day between two former POWs. It's the spring of 1974, and Navy commander John Sidney McCain III has returned home from the experience in Hanoi that, according to legend, transformed him from a callow and reckless youth into a serious man of patriotism and purpose. Full story here»

Springsteen Rocks Obama Rally in Philly

by: The Associated Press

Bruce Springsteen performs to a large crowd at a free outdoor concert supporting Barack Obama, in downtown Philadelphia Saturday. (Photo: Jacqueline Larma / AP)

Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen called the Bush presidency "a disaster" and said many Americans have "justifiably lost faith" in the American dream.

The legendary rocker interrupted a seven-song acoustic set at a voter-registration rally in Philadelphia on Saturday to praise Democrat Barack Obama and bemoan the crises facing the next president. Springsteen said that America remains a house of dreams for some, but that too many people have given up on the promise of fairness and equality.

"I've spent 35 years writing about America and its people and the meaning of the American promise - a promise handed down right here in this city," said the New Jersey rocker, whose songs often depict down-on-their-luck, working-class dreamers. "Our everyday citizens ... have justifiably lost faith in its meaning."

The rally, planned by the Obama campaign a week ago, drew tens of thousands of people to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Springsteen approached the campaign and asked to help out, an Obama aide said. The Philadelphia event came just days before Monday's voter registration deadline in Pennsylvania.

"The Boss" also plans to perform at Obama gatherings in Ohio on Sunday and Michigan on Monday. On Oct. 16, he will join Billy Joel at an Obama fundraiser in New York City.

Springsteen cited the Iraq war, the recent economic turmoil and Hurricane Katrina as examples of the Bush administration's failures. He bookended the set with his rock classic "Promised Land" and Woody Guthrie's folk anthem, "This Land is My Land."

The Obama camp says its registration efforts have helped give Democrats a 1.2 million-voter advantage over Republicans in Pennsylvania, up from a 580,000-voter lead in 2004. The most recent Quinnipiac University poll, conducted late last month, showed Obama with a 54 percent to 39 percent lead over Republican John McCain among likely state voters.

Artist Colleen Dougherty-Bronstein, 55, of Yardley, was perhaps one of the few undecided voters on hand.

"I have concerns about both candidates," she said. "Are either of them strong enough to take on the mess that they'll be going on to?"


NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd estimated on “Meet the Press” that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is just one state away from solidifying the 270 electoral votes he needs to win the White House.
Colorado, Virginia or Florida would put it away for Obama if the election were held today, Todd said.

High five,
The latest NBC News estimate gives Obama 264 votes and McCain about 175.

“Right now, Obama, one state away,” Todd said. “Even if it’s Nevada [making the total] 269, it sends it to the House, where Democrats have an advantage. Any other state , one state. As it stands today, John McCain would have to run the table. Now, good news for him: They’re all states that voted Republican four years ago.

“However, he’s behind right now a little bit in Ohio. There’s a dispute of who’s ahead or who’s behind in Florida but it feel as if Obama’s a little bit ahead in Florida. Obama’s a little bit ahead in Colorado. And it’s a dead even race in Virginia. Dead even in Nevada. And even Missouri, which we almost put in tossup this week, is getting very close, where McCain just has a very narrow lead.”

Todd said a landslide could be 364 electoral votes – “the high-water mark.” In 1980, Ronald Reagan got 489. In 1988, George H.W. Bush got 426.

The McCain folks now have to hold everything … to keep this thing competitive.”

Todd’s mastery of math and his incessant appearances on NBC and MSNBC have made him the unofficial scorekeeper of Campaign ’08.

Mike Murphy, a Republican strategist who was the architect of McCain’s 2000 campaign said: “It’s McCain’s barn that’s on fire. … Thirty days out, I think McCain can win. But the fact is, [if the] election were held today, he’d lose. And I think he’s on a losing path.

“I think the McCain campaign has to look in the mirror now and decide, do we need to change up the strategy? They’ve been running the grinding campaign on Obama. There’s a lot of good things to attack Obama about – people have a lot of doubts about Obama. But they’ve got to fix McCain. McCain has to connect with voters on the economy. He’s got to get ticket-splitters. Get out of base Republican issues and get people who are worried about the economy and health care over. Or in this anti-Republican environment, this trend line is very, very bad.”

Democratic consultant Paul Begala, who helped mastermind Bill Clinton’s 1992 win, said he had talked to the Obama high command. “They’re flooding the zone,” Begala said. “They’re going into places where Democrats used to never dare go. Indiana! I cannot believe we’re sitting here 30 days before an election, talking about Indiana, a potential tossup state. Or North Carolina and Virginia.

“Barack Obama would be the first non-Southerner from my party to carry a Southern state since JFK – before I was born, before Barack was born. This is an incredible map.”



"This Year"


DFL U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken has moved into his first solid lead over incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, according to a new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll.

The survey, conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among 1,084 likely Minnesota voters, shows Franken leading Coleman 43 to 34 percent. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is supported by 18 percent of respondents.

Franken’s lead is outside the poll’s margin of sampling error, plus or minus 3.7 points.

For Coleman, there is little good news in the poll. The number of voters who view him unfavorably continues to grow, the number who see him favorably is falling, and his job-approval rating has slipped to 38 percent — his lowest ever in the Minnesota Poll.

Coleman led Franken by four points in last month’s Minnesota Poll.



ST. LOUIS -- The best question asked of a vice presidential candidate in a broadcast television setting on Thursday night did not come from debate moderator Gwen Ifill.

It came from CBS News anchor Katie Couric, who continues to release bits and pieces from her interviews with Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

In a segment aired Thursday night -- a few hours before Palin would debate Democrat Joe Biden -- Couric asked the Republican contender to name the vice president she admired most.

Palin's response? "My goodness, I think those who have gone on to the presidency," said the governor, without blinking.

Palin expressed particular regard for former President George H.W. Bush.

Why? Because of Bush's "having kind of learned the ropes in his position as vice president and then moving on up."

More than any Q&A during the debate, this question and its answer actually revealed something about Palin.

The governor may be running for vice president this year.

But she is, as well, running for president.

If McCain wins, she'll have to wait awhile.

If McCain loses, watch for Palin to announce her candidacy for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination right around the time that her esteemed running-mate concedes.

There is much about ambition that is admirable.

But Palin's ambition, like her secretiveness and frequent abuses of the elected positions she has held, brings to mind another former vice president who became president: Richard Nixon.


Posted from today's

The Economy is Scaring Children

A new poll of 500 teenagers released Friday has some scary findings. Almost 70% expect the economic crisis to have an immediate negative impact on their families. Some don't plan to have kids when they grow up because they don't think they will have a job. Others are worried that their babysitting money will vanish when their bank goes belly up. One offered to sell his iPod so the family could eat. While adults might think these fears are absurd, they are there and can have serious implications for the children's welfare--and possibly also on how the parents vote. Even if you have you have a Ph.D. in history, with a specialization in the business cycle from 1790 to 2000, if your son thinks he has no future, you are going to be very, very focused on which candidate is better equipped to fix the economy.


From Frank Rich's column in today's New York Times.

"But there’s a steady unnerving undertone to Palin’s utterances, a consistent message of hubristic self-confidence and hyper-ambition. She wants to be president, she thinks she can be president, she thinks she will be president. And perhaps soon. She often sounds like someone who sees herself as half-a-heartbeat away from the presidency. Or who is seen that way by her own camp, the hard-right G.O.P. base that never liked McCain anyway and views him as, at best, a White House place holder."