Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘WTFMcCain?

Campaign Postmortems

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Newsweek has the first of the great campaign postmortems, including new tidbits on the even-worse-than-previously-thought Sarah Palin shopping spree and even an F-bomb from BHO. A few highlights from the highlights:

* Palin launched her attack on Obama’s association with William Ayers, the former Weather Underground bomber, before the campaign had finalized a plan to raise the issue. McCain’s advisers were working on a strategy that they hoped to unveil the following week, but McCain had not signed off on it, and top adviser Mark Salter was resisting.

Palin goin’ rogue goes a long way towards explaining why the McCain camp never seemed to know what it was trying to do with Ayers.

* McCain also was reluctant to use Obama’s incendiary pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, as a campaign issue. The Republican had set firm boundaries: no Jeremiah Wright; no attacking Michelle Obama; no attacking Obama for not serving in the military. McCain balked at an ad using images of children that suggested that Obama might not protect them from terrorism. Schmidt vetoed ads suggesting that Obama was soft on crime (no Willie Hortons). And before word even got to McCain, Schmidt and Salter scuttled a “celebrity” ad of Obama dancing with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres (the sight of a black man dancing with a lesbian was deemed too provocative).

WTF?

* The debates unnerved both candidates. When he was preparing for them during the Democratic primaries, Obama was recorded saying, “I don’t consider this to be a good format for me, which makes me more cautious. I often find myself trapped by the questions and thinking to myself, ‘You know, this is a stupid question, but let me … answer it.’ So when Brian Williams is asking me about what’s a personal thing that you’ve done [that’s green], and I say, you know, ‘Well, I planted a bunch of trees.’ And he says, ‘I’m talking about personal.’ What I’m thinking in my head is, ‘Well, the truth is, Brian, we can’t solve global warming because I f—ing changed light bulbs in my house. It’s because of something collective’.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States.

UPDATE: Part I of the article is now up.

Written by gerrycanavan

November 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm

This Cannot Be True

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Breaking radio silence on the incredible news of the Sarah Palin prank call.

A Quebec comedy duo notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state has reached Sarah Palin, convincing the Republican vice-presidential nominee she was speaking with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Impossibly, it’s true. Here’s the audio.

How could the McCain campaign have ever allowed this to happen? Is anyone minding the store over there?

Written by gerrycanavan

November 1, 2008 at 11:45 pm

Douchenozzle

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The McCain campaign directive that ‘The Ayers smears we’ve been enjoying from the McCain campaign since the weekend are apparently no longer operative’ (issued, you may recall, just yesterday) is apparently no longer operative.

I guess this was the “major announcement.” (UPDATE: Martin confirms it was.)

Well done, sir.

UPDATE: Somebody owes Alex $20.

Calling Bullshit, and Explaining the Need for a Bailout

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Jeffrey Toobin calls bullshit on the “suspension” of John McCain’s campaign.

TPM also has word that McCain’s ads will begin airing again on Saturday, deal or no deal—proving once and for all that this has been nothing more than a silly stunt, the only likely consequence of which is to scuttle a sorely-needed compromise on some sort of bailout.

Bloggers, who tend to consider themselves experts on everything, have by and large talked themselves into a completely incorrect position on this. I’m by no means an expert on the economy, either, but at least I understand the basic principle: the economy is an engine and the credit market is the oil. Run your engine without any oil and the thing will seize up.

This is not a joke, a scam, or a Bush Administration lie. What we’re seeing in the markets is the real consequence of an environment in which banks are afraid to loan anyone, including each other, any money. Washington Mutual failed tonight—by far the largest bank failure in American history. This is a serious crisis. It may not require $700B+, and it certainly won’t require the no-rules giveaway that Paulson favors, but it’s going to take massive government intervention to keep the credit market afloat, and time genuinely is running out.

Luckily for me, I’ve never had a real job, so my non-existent 401(k) will be just fine. But if the economy seizes and the stock market tanks, and the country slides into the sort of severe economic downturn that the experts are warning us about, a lot of people will be broke and a lot more will be out of work—and you’ll know exactly who’s to blame for it.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 26, 2008 at 2:25 am

Evening Links

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Evening links.

* McCain is still hinting that he won’t show up at the debate tomorrow. (This campaign has become so insane, I can hardly stand it. What the hell is this? Are they really serious?) What we’re seeing now is exactly the consequence of Obama’s warning not to inject presidential politics into delicate legislative negotiations—McCain’s fake campaign suspension has done nothing but derail the process.

* He’s not too busy to be on the teevee, of course.

* And of course this is all Obama’s fault for not agreeing to the town halls. John, I’m begging you, just shut up.

* Barbara Boxer doesn’t hold back in her anger over what’s happening.

* Sarah Silverman makes her bid to save America with the Great Schelp.

* Al Gore blows my mind with a call for civil disobedience against the building of additional coal plants.

“If you’re a young person looking at the future of this planet and looking at what is being done right now, and not done, I believe we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to prevent the construction of new coal plants that do not have carbon capture and sequestration,” he said at the third annual meeting of former President Bill Clinton’s initiative, which arranges partnerships between the very rich and the very needy.

* And here’s why: Global carbon emissions jumped 3% in 2007.

* On a more optimistic note, Obama supports NASA.

* Obama and Biden will be coming to Greensboro on the *only day for the next month I’ll be out of North Carolina*. Damn you, Obama! There’s a reason for this visit: North Carolina looks to be right on the brink of flipping. More at Facing South in two parts.

Couric & Palin

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The fringe theory that John McCain’s campaign suspension gimmick was designed purely to distract attention from Palin’s interview with Katie Couric gains some credibility with the previews CBS is putting out: Palin on Russia and Palin on the bailout. This is just ridiculous—for one, you can see her look at her notes in the bailout clip, and two, what she’s saying doesn’t make any damn sense at all.

That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in. Where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Um, helping, oh, it’s got to be about job creation, too. Shoring up our economy, and getting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions, and tax relief for Americans, and trade — we have got to see trade as opportunity, not as, uh, competitive, um, scary thing, but one in five jobs created in the trade sector today. We’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All of those things under the umbrella of job creation.

Ready on Day 1.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 25, 2008 at 6:19 pm

Midday Links

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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:

* Sarah Palin fielded questions at a press conference!

“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 polls don’t seem to like people playing games with the debates. By the way, it looks like McCain will actually show up.

* 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?

After the Flood

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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?

Whatever it is, it’s worth noting that McCain has pulled this very stunt at least twice before.

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.

More on G.C.S.G. ’08

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More on G.C.S.G. ’08.

* It’s being widely reported now that McCain is threatening to not show up to the debate if a deal hasn’t been reached by Friday. Just who is this supposed to threaten?

* By the way, contrary to reports, Friday’s debate will not focus exclusively on foreign affairs—Jim Lehrer informed the campaigns last week that there would be economic questions too.

* From the Dept. of You’ve Got To Be Shitting Me: Ben Smith reports that the McCain campaign has generously offered to move Friday’s presidential debate to next week’s VP debate, with the VP debate rescheduled to some unknown date in the future.

* Edge of the American West has an exclusive copy of the email McCain sent to Ole Miss asking for an extension.

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008 at 12:00pm, John McCain wrote:

sorry to bother you and i know this request is late but i have been really busy and i want to call an emergency meeting with the president and understanding all the material is taking up a lot of my time so i find myself woefully underprepared and i am throwing myself on your mercy. can i get an extension over the weekend on the debate so i can present my best work to you? or should i get a dean’s excuse?

thanks,

john

* And slightly lost in the midst of all this is the fact that McCain gave Letterman the finger to do it. Letterman’s not happy.

David Letterman tells audience that McCain called him today to tell him he had to rush back to DC to deal with the economy.

Then in the middle of the taping Dave got word that McCain was, in fact just down the street being interviewed by Katie Couric. Dave even cut over to the live video of the interview, and said, “Hey Senator, can I give you a ride home?”

Earlier in the show, Dave kept saying, “You don’t suspend your campaign. This doesn’t smell right. This isn’t the way a tested hero behaves.” And he joked: “I think someone’s putting something in his Metamucil.”

“He can’t run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second-string quarterback, Sarah Palin. Where is she?”

“What are you going to do if you’re elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We’ve got a guy like that now!”

Written by gerrycanavan

September 25, 2008 at 12:17 am

Reactions to the Great Campaign Suspension Gambit of ’08

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Reactions to the great campaign suspension gambit of ’08.

“If you were wondering how bad McCain’s pollster was telling him things are, there’s your confirmation.”
—A Democratic strategist Michael Crowley knows

“It’s the longest Hail Mary pass in the history of either football or Marys.”
Barney Frank

“I understand that the candidates are putting together a joint statement at Senator Obama’s suggestion. But it would not be helpful at this time to have them come back during these negotiations and risk injecting presidential politics into this process or distract important talks about the future of our nation’s economy. If that changes, we will call upon them. We need leadership; not a campaign photo op.”
Harry Reid

Shorter Ben Burton: We’re already working on a joint statement, and it was Obama’s idea.

“Both candidates have been marginal players; McCain, though, seems to have the potential to make himself a major one, and his move is a mark, most of all, that he doesn’t like the way this campaign is going. But in terms of the timing of this move: The only thing that’s changed in the last 48 hours is the public polling.”
Ben Smith

“Isn’t this the campaign equivalent of faking an injury when you’re down late in the 4th quarter?”
John Marshall

Uh, no.
—Barack Obama

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 8:40 pm

McCain Wants to Cancel the Debate?

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McCain wants to cancel the debate? What?

Republican John McCain said Wednesday he was suspending his White House campaign and asked to put off Friday’s presidential debate over the nation’s financial crisis.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 7:02 pm

¡Zapatero!

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“¿Deaf, senile, or insane?” is the subtext of a huge number of posts in Left Blogopolis today after John McCain inscrutably declared that he wouldn’t meet with Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as president during an interview yesterday. Credit is due to Josh Marshall for forcing the American media to pay attention to this: it’s since appeared all over, even making Drudge.

For its part, the McCain camp has chosen to go with “insane” as its official explanation for the gaffe:

McCain foreign policy adviser Randy Sheunemann said McCain’s answer was intentional.

“The questioner asked several times about Senator McCain’s willingness to meet Zapatero (and id’d him in the question so there is no doubt Senator McCain knew exactly to whom the question referred). Senator McCain refused to commit to a White House meeting with President Zapatero in this interview,” he said in an e-mail.

Spain, of course, is a long-time American ally, a fellow member of NATO, and a charter alumnae of the Coalition of the Willing™ (2002-2004).

It’s clear to see why they went with “insane” over anything that might signify “old,” but this is genuinely nuts. Benen and Hilzoy each have good posts explaining why. Here’s Benen:

Let’s also not lose sight of the broader pattern. McCain thinks the recent conflict between Russia and Georgia was “the first probably serious crisis internationally since the end of the Cold War.” He thinks Iraq and Pakistan share a border. He believes Czechoslovakia is still a country. He’s been confused about the difference between Sudan and Somalia. He’s been confused about whether he wants more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, more NATO troops in Afghanistan, or both. He’s been confused about how many U.S. troops are in Iraq. He’s been confused about whether the U.S. can maintain a long-term presence in Iraq. He’s been confused about Iran’s relationship with al Qaeda. He’s been confused about the difference between Sunni and Shi’ia. McCain, following a recent trip to Germany, even referred to “President Putin of Germany.” All of this incoherence on his signature issue.

McCain’s actually lucky if people will stick to talking about his cluelessness on economics today.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 18, 2008 at 5:51 pm