Posts Tagged ‘classic political stunts’
Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way.
* Here comes the second act: Progressives Target GOP State Senators In WI With Recall Threat.
* February 21, 2009: My working assumption has been that the GOP’s biggest names—Bobby Jindal, Mitt Romney, god-help-us Sarah Palin—would sit out 2012 to take on the winner of the open Democratic field in 2016. (I’ve actually thought for a while that 2012′s Bob Dole would be Newt Gingrich; someone who’ll lose handily but won’t get creamed.) Ladies and gentlemen, we’re halfway there: Newt Gingrich is running for president.
* Julianna Baggott on answering the illegal question in academic job interviews.
* Ron Rosenbaum on asking the forbidden question in nuclear silo training. (Thanks, Sam!)
* The study found that of those fellowship winners with white male dissertation advisers, 37 percent landed faculty jobs at research universities — jobs that many Ph.D.s want and that are very difficult these days for most to get. Of those who had all other dissertation advisers (white women, minority men or minority women), only 7 percent landed such jobs.
Every whole person has ambitions, objectives, initiatives, goals. This one particular boy’s goal was to be able to press his lips to every square inch of his own body.
* The headline reads, “Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change?” But Grist offers some good reasons to be skeptical about the Berkeley Earth project.
* PhysOrg has an article detailing dozens of unethical medical experiments on nonconsenting human subjects in the U.S.
* That’ll fix everything: the Gates Foundation wants to raise class size to “spread around [the] effectiveness.” Sounds foolproof! (Thanks, Ben!)
* Obama’s State of the Union is here. I didn’t watch, but I saw enough on Twitter to see that Obama didn’t learn his lesson the first time he announced a spending freeze. So stupid.
* Planned Parenthood tries to head off another moronic right-wing hoax—by calling the FBI.
* Why Johnny can’t learn: “Sexy News Anchors Distract Male Viewers.”
Q. Why did the blonde drive into the ditch?
A. She was overtaken with despair. No one was awaiting her arrival.
* Speaking of arguments, don’t miss the epic Wikileaks thread. Nothing will ever be the same.
* Incorrect: President Barack Obama told GOP leaders behind closed doors Tuesday that he had failed to reach across party lines enough during his first two years in office, a senior administration official told CNN.
* This week in great newspaper corrections (Davis Simon edition.)
* And I’ve already promised this image from the ruins of Detroit to Lisa for the cover of her first book. Sorry, everybody else.
Earlier today, Reid appeared to reverse course, saying climate/energy would be the next logical issue to address, followed only afterward by immigration reform. So everything’s groovy, right?
Far from it. Tonight, Graham told me that he will filibuster his own climate change bill, unless Reid drops all plans to turn to immigration this Congress.
I hope all the people who’ve been so eager to defend Lindsey Graham’s reasonableness these last few days take the time to weigh in on this. Can’t we all agree this is obviously a transparent attempt to take a losing issue off the table for the GOP? Now, that’s fine—I wish the Democrats would play this sort of hardball more often—but his tantrum is not some noble gesture, and we don’t have to give the guy cover while he throws it.
And this doesn’t even get into the near certainty that in the end he’ll find some reason to vote against his own bill anyway. How many times have we already seen this exact scenario play out?
But we’ve been here before: Earlier this spring, Graham issued the same threat, saying that if Dem leaders moved forward on health reform it would kill the chance of compromise on immigration.
“The first casualty of the Democratic health care bill will be immigration reform,” Graham said in March, adding that movement on health reform would “kill any chance of immigration reform passing the Senate this year.” Time to wise up to Graham’s game?
* The study that launched 1,000 Internet arguments: The February issue of Personality and Social Psychology Review has published a meta-analysis of 55 independent studies conducted in the United States which considers surveys of over 20,000 mostly Christian participants. Religious congregations generally express more prejudiced views towards other races. Furthermore, the more devout the community, the greater the racism. From the abstract: “Only religious agnostics were racially tolerant.” And… fight!
* And Murray Hill, Inc., is running for Congress.
William Klein, a “hired gun” who has been enlisted as Murray Hill’s campaign manager, said the firm appears to be the first “corporate person” to run for office and is promising a spirited campaign that “puts people second, or even third.”
“There is absolutely no truth to those rumors that we’re investigating her or getting ready to indict [Sarah Palin],” Special Agent Eric Gonzalez said in a phone interview Saturday. “It’s just not true.” He added that there was “no wiggle room” in his comments for any kind of inquiry. Via Pam’s House Blend. Scratch one theory off the list.
A few links, and yes even more Palin.
* Great moments in disappointed Google searchers: I hope the person who was looking for “megan fox with her ass up in the air” someday finds what they need.
* World’s most obscure video game easter egg, revealed.
* Editing Infinite Jest. I think I’ve linked to a version of this essay before, but I can’t find it if I have.
* And Sarah Palin is giving every indication that she somehow intends to run for office again. Assuming that’s really what’s going on, and it’s not something else, as I understand it the plan goes something like this:
* Quit the only relevant elected experience she’s ever had halfway through her first term. (After planning to quit “for months” and having run for vice president after just a year on the job.)
* Raise a lot of money for GOP 2010 candidates and give a lot of speeches. Hope those candidates win and become important establishment allies for her. Hope too that while she’s doing this no one remembers how she flamed out halfway through the only real elected experience she’s ever had.
* Run for president in 2012. Hope Romney and Huckabee never mention the fact that that she flamed out halfway through the only real elected experience she’s ever had. Hope that Obama and the media never mention it either.
To a degree it goes without saying. But it’s worth reviewing just how deeply preposterous Palin’s argument yesterday really was when she claimed that she refused to exploit the people of Alaska by serving out her full term.
When you run for governor, as for president, you run for a four year term. You commit, at least implicitly, to serving four years, though many people end up not doing that for various reasons. There’s nothing in the implied contract about running for reelection. Indeed it’s arguable that the public would be better served by a governor focusing for four years on running the state rather than laying the groundwork for their reelection.
In any case, Gov. Palin, who’s served only a little more than half her first term (remember, she was elected in 2006), announces she won’t run for reelection. And having decided that she won’t run for a second term, she concludes that it would be exploiting the people of Alaska to agree to serve out the remainder of the term they elected her to serve back in 2006. This is apparently because she’ll be a lame duck. And, she claims, lame ducks never get anything done and just spend a lot of money going on taxpayer funded junkets. So better to walk away from her job and pass it off to the Lt. Governor who no one hired to do the job at all.
We actually have states, like Virginia, in which governors are term-limited to just one (consecutive) term. Applying Palin’s logic to Virginia, anyone elected to the governorship in Virginia should immediately resign because they can’t be reelected. Applying this theory to the presidency, second-term presidents should resign in favor of their vice-presidents, again immediately upon their reelection. It makes absolutely no sense and bears no relation whatsoever to the world in which we actually live. And yet I am somehow certain that for the next three-and-a-half years we will be told over and over again how suddenly and inexplicably resigning your high office without warning because you’ve decided you don’t plan to run for reelection is simply the most natural thing in the world. It’s mavericky! You betcha.
* Okay, one more Palin one-liner, this one via William Gibson.
That crucial GOP demographic: “Despite the misstep, Palin enjoys an ability to connect with voters that cannot be taught.” –AP
* Paul Begala analyzes the speech itself.
Let’s stipulate that if there is some heretofore unknown personal, medical or family crisis, this was the right move. But Gov. Palin didn’t say anything like that. Her statement was incoherent, bizarre and juvenile. The text, as posted on Gov. Palin’s official website (here), uses 2,549 words and 18 exclamation points. Lincoln freed the slaves with 719 words and nary an exclamation; Mr. Jefferson declared our independence in 1,322 words and, again, no exclamation points. Nixon resigned the presidency in 1,796 words — still no exclamation points. Gov. Palin capitalized words at random – whole words, like “TO,” “HELP,” and “AND,” and the first letter of “Troops.”
Gov. Palin’s official announcement that she is resigning as chief executive of the great state of Alaska had all the depth and gravitas of a 13-year-old’s review of the Jonas Brothers’ album on Facebook. She even quoted her parents’ refrigerator magnet. (Note to self: if one of my kids becomes governor, throw away the refrigerator magnet that says: “Murray’s Oyster Bar: We Shuck Em, You Suck Em!”) She put her son’s name in quotations marks. Why? Who knows. She writes, “I promised efficiencies and effectiveness!?” Was she exclaiming or questioning? I get it: both! And I don’t even know what to make of a sentence that reads:
*((Gotta put First Things First))*
Ponder the fact that Rupert Murdoch’s Harper Collins publishing house is paying this, umm, writer $11 million for a book. Ponder that and say a prayer for Ms. Palin’s editor.
* Steve Benen struggles to figure out the game plan, as well as looks to the historical record for evidence of whether “quitting your day job” has ever helped anyone run for president, much less someone three years out who is midway through her first term as governor.
* But it’s Steve’s co-blogger Hilzoy who gets in the best line I’ve seen on this.
Sarah Palin resigned as Governor so that she could help people who share her “ideas and ideals” get elected to political office. Maybe if she works really hard at it, she could even get one of them elected governor.
* Runner-up: the indispensable Al Giordano.
A quick observation: “Being an ex-governor is sort of like being a community organizer… except you have no actual responsibilities!”
* Ed Kilgore on the people I just can’t understand, Palin’s supporters.
In all the hype and buzz about Palin when she first joined the ticket, and all the silly talk about her potential appeal to Hillary Clinton supporters, the ecstatic reaction to her choice on the Cultural Right didn’t get much attention. She wasn’t an “unknown” or a “fresh face” to those folks. They knew her not only as a truly hard-line anti-abortionist, but as a politician who had uniquely “walked the walk” by carrying a pregnancy to term despite knowing the child would have a severe disability. And all the personality traits she later exhibited–the folksiness, the abrasive partisanship, the hostility towards the “media” and “elites,” the resentment of the establishment Republicans who tried to “manage” her, and the constant complaints of persecution–almost perfectly embodied the world-view, and the hopes and fears, of the grassroots Cultural Right. (This was particularly and understandably true of women, who have always played an outsized role in grassroots conservative activism.) Sarah Palin was the projection of these activists onto the national political scene, and exhibited the defiant pride and ill-disguised vulnerability that they would have felt in the same place.
* Edge of the American West does that thing it does and explains how badly Palin mangled her “General McArthur” reference.
Sarah Palin’s sudden resignation (full speech here) seems to be a sort of rorschach for politics watchers—an act that absolutely screams “huge incoming scandal” to me apparently says “unbelievably brilliant strategy for 2012″ to others. (Behold! Marginally sourced rumors support my baseline biases and assumptions!) The DNC is not treading lightly on this, putting out this statement:
Either Sarah Palin is leaving the people of Alaska high and dry to pursue her long shot national political ambitions or she simply can’t handle the job now that her popularity has dimmed and oil revenues are down. Either way – her decision to abandon her post and the people of Alaska who elected her continues a pattern of bizarre behavior that more than anything else may explain the decision she made today.
I have to agree with Steve Benen in not seeing any possible way to leverage this stunt into a successful 2012 primary bid. Even if she really thinks she’s running, wouldn’t this just become the Great Campaign Suspension Gambit of 2008 to the nth degree? How would she ever regain credibility? Why would she do it now, three years out? And why would she drop the news late on Friday afternoon before a huge holiday weekend if she weren’t hoping to bury it?
I suppose in this respect I’m with Josh Marshall:
As with her speech itself, the tell is that the decision was apparently so rushed and sudden that there was not enough time to come up with a plausible cover story or to get out the word about what it was.
It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Either Palin is resigning ahead of some titanic scandal (which should emerge in short order if it exists) or her resignation was triggered by an even more extreme mental instability than we’d previously suspected.
Or, I suppose, she’s decided she’ll never be president and she might as well cash out instead. She’s still very popular among certain demographics and she could write her own ticket on the lecture circuit. Is Fox News hiring?
Stranger and stranger. Keep an eye on this.
And remember kids: Not quitting is what quitters do. Real winners quit.
‘Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?’ Look for stories with that headline over the next few years—with polling like this Sarah Palin will likely never be a serious candidate for national office ever again. And that’s good news for all of us, in Real and Fake America alike.
The New Yorker has an interesting first-crack in the “Whatever happened to Sarah Palin?” genre this week, actually, with a post-mortem on how McCain ever came to make such a damaging choice.
With just days to go before the Convention, the choices were slim. Karl Rove favored McCain’s former rival Mitt Romney, but enough animus lingered from the primaries that McCain rejected the pairing. “I told Romney not to wait by the phone, because ‘he doesn’t like you,’ ” Keene, who favored the choice, said. “With John McCain, all politics is personal.” Other possible choices—such as former Representative Rob Portman, of Ohio, or Governor Tim Pawlenty, of Minnesota—seemed too conventional. They did not transmit McCain’s core message that he was a “maverick.” Finally, McCain’s top aides, including Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis, converged on Palin. Ed Rogers, the chairman of B.G.R., a well-connected, largely Republican lobbying firm, said, “Her criteria kept popping out. She was a governor—that’s good. The shorter the Washington résumé the better. A female is better still. And then there was her story.” He admitted, “There was concern that she was a novice.” In addition to Schmidt and Davis, Charles R. Black, Jr., the lobbyist and political operative who is McCain’s chief campaign adviser, reportedly favored Palin. Keene said, “I’m told that Charlie Black told McCain, ‘If you pick anyone else, you’re going to lose. But if you pick Palin you may win.’ ” (Black did not return calls for comment.) Meanwhile, McCain’s longtime friend said, “Kristol was out there shaking the pom-poms.”
McCain had met Palin once, but their conversation—at a reception during a meeting of the National Governors Association, six months earlier—had lasted only fifteen minutes. “It wasn’t a real conversation,” said the longtime friend, who called the choice of Palin “the fucking most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Aides arranged a phone call between McCain and Palin, and scrutinized her answers to some seventy items on a questionnaire that she had filled out. But McCain didn’t talk with Palin in person again until the morning of Thursday, August 28th. Palin was flown down to his retreat in Sedona, Arizona, and they spoke for an hour or two. By the time he announced her as his choice, the next day, he had spent less than three hours in her company.
Meanwhile, Palin is back in the news today with a revealing flub demonstrating that she either (still) has no idea what the vice president does or has a vision of expanded powers for the VP that rivals even Cheney’s.
Joe the Plumber Watch: Kos recounts what we know, including an update on his voter registration:
‘Joe’ appears to be a registered Republican under the name of Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher. Also, earlier today at a press conference, Wurzelbacher said he originally registered with the Natural Law Party.)
There’s a lot of excitement in the netroots over the fact that Joe is an obvious plant, but that obviousness doesn’t seem to have trickled up to the mainstream media just yet.
One way or another, look for this stunt to blow up in McCain’s face by the middle of next week.
A tenatative deal has been reached on the bailout, with House Republicans still making noise that they may scuttle it. Krugman, for his part, says it’s “good enough”—hardly a ringing endorsement, but perhaps as good as we’re likely to get in the middle of an election season with Bush still president. McCain, for his part, suggests he might not bother to show up to vote, driving home once again the absurdity of last week’s campaign-suspension spectacle.
(For which Saturday Night Live mocked him without mercy this weekend, I should add.)
The chaos in the markets, the transparent campaign-suspension nonsense, and a strong showing from Obama in the debate seem to have conspired to put the election even farther out of McCain’s reach with just 36 days to go until Election Day (and early voting already open in many locations around the country). The tracking polls all have him up by five or more, with three of them showing Obama cracking 50%, and the state polls look very strong. The Senate races are going well too, though as Nate Silver projects it’s probably still unlikely that the Democrats will get 60 in the Senate.
In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.
Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”
Boggles the mind. I don’t even think the odds are especially good that a Palin-Johnston wedding would help their campaign—putting aside questions of Palin’s rapidly diminishing credibility as a candidate, this is a 17-year-old girl who has already been nationally humiliated once. I look at this situation and what I see is a shotgun wedding whose timetable is being set less by love or lasting commitment than by the mother’s electoral calculus. Let me be clear: I’m not speaking about the merits of the wedding itself, on which I have no perspective and no comment, but rather about the drive to make a spectacle out of his girl’s life, which strikes me as deeply tragic on the one hand and as an ugly circus on the other. I really don’t think I’m alone in this.
I (honestly) hate to even blog about this, and I’m pretty damn cutthroat when it comes to Republicans and electoral politics. These two kids should just be left alone.
So, to cut this discussion blessedly short, I think the odds are a wedding stunt would backfire badly. But then again I suppose bad odds never stopped a gambler.
Sorry I’ve been AWOL today—as I’ve said a few times the last few weeks, I’ve
been busy suspended my blogging pending a resolution of the Wall Street crisis. Here’s some links w/ commentary for the afternoon:
“Notice I wrote ‘fielded’ since she didn’t exactly answer them,” the reporter, Ken Vogel of Politico, wrote in his notes sent out to other reporters following the campaign.
There’s a transcript at CNN.
* The Keating Five Scandal in 97 Seconds. Expect to see references to this more and more as we head into October.
* Obama is reaping the benefits of his quiet decision to unshackle the 527s; these ads from MoveOn (on Phil Gramm, Rick Davis, and the economic crisis) and Brave New Pac/Democracy for America (on McCain’s health) are both deadly effective.
* Voter registration efforts in Florida are overwhelming the state’s ability to process them—a very good sign for those who still think we can take the state.
* It’s a good thing John McCain is in DC solving the financial crisis, as his understanding of basic economics is unparalleled.
BARTIROMO: Sen. McCain, has Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke cut interest rates aggressively enough?
Has Ben Bernanke cut interests rates aggressively enough?
McCAIN: I’m not…I’m not…I don’t have that kind of expertise to know exactly whether he has cut interest rates suffiently or not. I’m glad that whenever they cut interest rates. I wish interest rates were zero.
At least the plane trip will give him time to read the three-page Paulson plan. As of Tuesday, he hadn’t yet. Really. (Three pages.)
* And Bill Clinton is still sort of a dick.
I’d just add that McCain voted — twice — to remove Clinton from office during the impeachment fiasco; McCain has publicly mocked Clinton’s daughter for cheap laughs; and McCain repeatedly trashed Clinton’s wife when he thought she would be the Democratic nominee.
But never mind all of that. This morning, McCain wanted to score a few points, grab a few headlines, and bolster his bipartisan bona fides, and Bill Clinton was anxious to give the Republican nominee a hand.
The former president is gracious to a fault, isn’t he?
Trying to puzzle out John McCain’s motive for the campaign suspension stunt is proving rather difficult. A lot of people are looking to Palin, both her disastrous Katie Couric interview and the repeated suggestion that hey, you know, we could just cancel the VP debate. (On the margins, Palin’s so-called “preacher problem” is also showing up in these discussions; she definitely loses the secular progressive swing vote with this one.) Or maybe, others venture, he’s trying to cover up his own lack of debate preparation. Still other people think he may be trying to keep the Rick Davis story out of the papers, as there’s now word that Rick Davis didn’t sever his relationship with his lobbying firm and is in fact still listed as one of its only two officers. And a lot of people just point to the polls—witness as just one example a Rasmussen poll that now puts Obama ahead right here in North Carolina (!). Or maybe we should just bring it all back, as Steve Benen does, to the fundamental question that recurs about so much of John McCain’s gambles: cynicism, or risk addiction?
Reactions have been legion, almost all of them negative, but Noam Scheiber in particular is on fire with posts that suggest just how badly this may backfire on McCain, comparing it first to a form of political hari-kari and then pointing out elsewhere the way in which the gambit automatically defeats itself:
“Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington after speaking at the Clinton Global Initiative.”
Clinton Global Intiative > financial crisis > longstanding-to-the-point-of-sacred tradition of nationally televised presidential debate? This will not stand.