Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘flip-flops

Monday Afternoon Links

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More for Wednesday

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* The Catholic Church cancels all spousal health benefits within Washington, D.C., in order to avoid giving gay married people benefits. This is the same organization that already threatened to stop all charity in the city if marriage equality became law and which really did shut down its orphanages rather than let gay people adopt. This is what loving your neighbor is all about. Via MeFi.

* I’ve said many times before that health care passes in a vote or dies in silence. If Democrats didn’t think they had the numbers, they wouldn’t bring the bill to the floor. Instead, they’d swear their fealty to the project but turn their attention to other priorities and schedule their speeches on other subjects. But that’s not happening. Democrats are setting up their process, giving speeches and interviews, adding Republican ideas, and setting new deadlines. They’re bringing this to a vote. And that means they’re confident that they’ll win the vote. My inclination is to say not even the Democrats can screw this up, but of course they’ll just take that as a challenge. Here’s more from Jonathan Chait.

* Whales, it turns out, are carbon sinks.

* Mitt Romney is an all-time gold-medalist flip-flopper. Or, more directly, a liar.

* Bottled water sales fall for the first time in five years. Great!

* Judge Confirmed 99-0 After 124 Day Delay. Ladies and gentlemen, your U.S. Senate.

* And Sarah Palin makes another run at making my brain explode. Keep at it, Madame Governor, you’re almost there…

Obligatory McCain/Palin Posting: It’s the Lying, Stupid

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Obligatory McCain/Palin posting: Team Maverick™ has lost even the AP, whose Washington Bureau is famously staffed by a man MoveOn has been trying to get fired for bias and conflict of interest. It’s the lying, stupid:

The “Straight Talk Express” has detoured into doublespeak.

Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a self-proclaimed tell-it-like-it-is maverick, keeps saying his running mate, Sarah Palin, killed the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere when, in fact, she pulled her support only after the project became a political embarrassment. He accuses Democrat Barack Obama of calling Palin a pig, which did not happen. He says Obama would raise nearly everyone’s taxes, when independent groups say 80 percent of families would get tax cuts instead.

Even in a political culture accustomed to truth-stretching, McCain’s skirting of facts has stood out this week. It has infuriated and flustered Obama’s campaign, and campaign pros are watching to see how much voters disregard news reports noting factual holes in the claims.

Krugman, too, is outraged, and Josh Marshall (to his credit) has basically been having a week-long freakout. Here’s Krugman:

But I can’t think of any precedent, at least in America, for the blizzard of lies since the Republican convention. The Bush campaign’s lies in 2000 were artful — you needed some grasp of arithmetic to realize that you were being conned. This year, however, the McCain campaign keeps making assertions that anyone with an Internet connection can disprove in a minute, and repeating these assertions over and over again.

They’re not the only ones. ThinkProgress has a growing list of McCain’s ever-shifting positions. (Steve Benen has another one.) Basically every post on the respected and independent factcheck.org from the last week has about McCain’s lies. And on The View, just today, he falsely claimed that Sarah Palin had never requested an earmark as governor—a flagrant, wild lie.

It’s a farcical situation that turns tragic with the media’s refusal to properly report any of it. The cost for lying must be public approbation—otherwise politicians will lie constantly. The failure of the news media since the Republican convention to substantively report on basic, easily provable distortions is as great a betrayal of the public trust as any other over the last ten years. And as we all know well, all too well, that is saying a lot.

Obama, too, hasn’t yet done enough. But that may soon change: a spokesperson today claimed that McCain “would rather lose his integrity than lose an election,” presumably the first salvo in their new aggressive approach. I’ve got a lot of faith in Obama and his team; as I’ve mentioned before, whenever I’ve disagreed with their decisions they’ve turned out to be (more or less) right. Obama is cautious, perhaps too cautious, when it comes to hitting back—but it’s gotten him this far.

I agree, that is to say, with Noam Scheiber: I really think Obama’s been playing rope-a-dope, letting McCain embarrass himself with nonsense 50-days-and-change out from November 4—and now that McCain has completely overreached, Obama’s free to hit back as hard as he wants. Let’s hope the gloves really are coming off, finally and at last.

‘ Why Republicans Are Better At Conventions ‘

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Why Republicans are better at conventions.

But, to extend a point I raised last night, I don’t think the definition of McCain has been sharp enough. Each speaker seemed to approach the task his/her own separate way (and sometimes not at all), leaving viewers with a kind of mish-mash of objections: too many houses, too unilateralist, too long in Washington, too close to right-wingers, too resistant to energy reform. The one person who distilled the objections into a single, pithy critique was Kerry, with his inspired “Senator McCain” versus “candidate McCain” riff. But I worry it’ll get lost in the whirlwind.

Which brings me to my point: Had the Republicans stumbled onto such a worthy frame, their convention would have played it on a permanent loop. (I’m sure they’ll do that anyway, with less inspired material.) Every no-name speaker would have repeated it, so that, even if you’d barely been paying attention, you’d be mouthing it unconsciously by the end of the week.

I’m becoming very curious about just what form that “less inspired material” will actually take. What are the smears that the Republicans are going to run with at their convention?

They seem to really like the whole “The One” meme a lot, but that’s not going to take them very far, especially after a sizable chunk of Obama’s highly publicized speech is devoted to praising the hard work of his disciples volunteers and laying the groundwork for the biggest voter registration drive in history.

After Paris Hilton and Housegate, the celebrity line of attack seems pretty stalled, too, and doesn’t make a lick of sense at a shrine to Ronald Reagan attended by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. (UPDATE: Whoops. Looks like Arnold’s afraid he’ll get his skirt dirty.)

The Muslim thing seems pretty far past its sell-by date. Same with Rezko, despite the heroic efforts of my cousin to flog that dead horse.

So is it just going to be the infanticide smear? Is that the last bomb left to throw? Will they call him gay? Back again to Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers? The nation can’t be this stupid, can it?

Written by gerrycanavan

August 28, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Convention Thoughts, Night #3

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Tonight was the first night of the Democratic National Convention that was better in its entirety on C-SPAN than abbreviated on the networks. (Too bad I had to miss most of it.) Aside from the big, primetime speeches, the first two nights were fairly disappointing affairs—too much light, not enough heat—but tonight things at last began to come together. Clinton, Biden, and Kerry each in their own ways took the fight to McCain, and all three were extremely effective, and for the first time we finally look like a political party and not a Hatsfield/McCoy reunion.

After two weak nights, I’m feeling better.

Here’s Clinton’s speech. I’ll try and put Biden and Kerry up as they appear on the blogs…

UPDATE: John Kerry—almost certainly the least-watched, but I loved the Senator McCain vs. Candidate McCain stuff. (He had definitely some fun with the “Talk about being for it before you were against it” line.)

It’s almost cliché to ask of Kerry, “Where was this guy four years ago?” but seriously, where was he?

Written by gerrycanavan

August 28, 2008 at 3:01 am

Flip-Flop

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The L.A. Times goes after Obama’s big energy speech for alleged flip-flopping on the Strategic Oil Reserve. Worse than any flip-flopping, though, is the central problem: bringing down gas prices isn’t the goal of a sensible energy policy. Via Kevin Drum, who gets this right:

…we can’t blame this one on the media, folks: Obama really is flopping around on energy policy, and he’s doing it in the most craven possible way, switching from correct but politically risky stands to dumb panders. In fact, between the two of them, McCain and Obama have now pretty much written the handbook on idiotic energy pimping: a gas tax holiday, offshore drilling, opening up the SPR, a windfall profits tax, and nukes for all. I don’t think either one has come out for a massive coal liquification program yet, but since that’s about the only thing left that’s worse than what they’ve offered so far, I assume it can’t be more than a few days away.

And yes, I know that underneath the BS Obama has a pretty good energy policy and McCain doesn’t. Big deal. That energy policy isn’t going to see the light of day unless Obama starts building public support for it. So far he isn’t even trying.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 5, 2008 at 2:39 am