Posts Tagged ‘McCain’
It has been over a year and a half since I began UP@NIGHT and my career as a pundit, for lack of a more refined label. I suppose part of the challenge was to see how a philosopher by trade might do in the prediction business. How I would stack up against the pundits in the media. You know, mano a mano.
I thought that it would be fitting and fair to readers, and myself, to look at blogs in which I predicted the outcome of events in the political world to see if my track record was any good. Low and behold, I discovered that if I had been a betting man, I could have made some good money. So, without further ado, and no false modesty, here are the predictions. Roll Over Nostradamus.
The titles are linked to the original blogs.
Semi-correct, although not a exactly a prediction:
Obama, Spock, and the New Star Trek Nation, June 6, 2008. (UP@NIGHT was one of the first blogs, if not the first, to make the connection between Obama and Spock on the Web. It has now become a commonplace.)
The Twelfth Cylon Revealed, May 30, 2008 (I claimed that McCain is the 12th and missing Cylon on the TV show Battlestar Gallactica. I still hold to the proposition that he may prove to be a Cylon. The new series should reveal the truth.)
It’s Going to be Webb for VP, Probably, May 16, 2008
Still up in the air:
Obama’s Pragmatism (or Move over Culture Wars, Hello Political Philosophy), December 14, 2008; reposted April 7, 2009 (Argues that Obama is a philosophical pragmatist, not merely a political one, and that his approach will have an impact on the culture wars. See also, Obama: Conservative, Liberal, or Ruthless Pragmatist?, May 7, 2009; Bronx on the Court, Empathy, and Obama’s Pragmatism, May 27, 2009.)
GOP, Inc. to be Permanently Downsized, January 30, 2009
Leaving aside the Cylon revelation, looks like UP@NIGHT was right about 90% of the time. So I ask you, can you afford not to read UP@NIGHT?
[First posted December 26, 2009. Reposted January 3rd, 2010 to start off the new year and add "Obama's Pragmatism." ]
UPDATE, January 22, 2010.
With the unexpected victory of Brown in Massachusetts I am going to have to amend what I claimed above, namley, that health care will not be stopped by a filibuster in the Senate. It wasn’t stopped, but now it would be. Nevertheless, I am not pulling the original prediction about health care (yet). The Democrats can’t afford not to pass it, which was the thrust of the original blog. No one knows what form it will take at this juncture, or when it is going to happen, but the Democrats will get something they can crow about.
AP Photo/Ron Edmonds
Just in case you haven’t heard, Rush Limbaugh is now calling the shots in the Republican Party. It seems that you can’t criticize Rush if you are a Republican, especially if you are in the House of Representatives. Here is an excerpt from Congressman Phil Gingrey’s “apology” to Rush, on Rush’s radio show, for having dared to criticize him. (Select the link to view a video of Rush speaking with Gingrey.)
Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity, of course this is not exactly the way to I wanted to come on. … Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. … I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments. … I regret those stupid comments. Huffington Post, January 28, 2009.
And who does Rush want to see as the Republican standard bearer? Sarah Palin, of course. And he is not alone.
Coming off a shellacking at the polls in November, the plurality of GOP voters (43%) say their party has been too moderate over the past eight years, and 55% think it should become more like Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in the future, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Just 24% think failed presidential candidate John McCain is the best future model for the party, and 10% are undecided. Rasumssen Reports, January, 29, 2009.
Now there are many sound arguments for not taking Palin seriously. But let’s not bother with arguments here. Let’s just follow the video
Let me show you something…
A thanks to the (anonymous) person who did this video.
UPDATE 3/2/2009 Rush has really got them on a leash. A GOP senator can’t even say the words, Rush is wrong.
McCain: A Blast from the Past….He might have seen an Alien (and this is just one more thing that Sullivan doesn’t know)
[Here's a scoop that you won't find on Andrew Sullivan's site. He isn't sufficiently in tune with this stuff. Too much Oakeshott.]
Sometimes the familiar reveals itself in strange and wonderful ways when viewed in hindsight. Here is John McCain’s (in)famous anti-Obama ad “Celeb.” Not only does the line of attack seem even more ludicrous after the election, but take a good look at McCain’s picture as it “morphs” at the end. (Freeze framing the image is helpful here.) Tell me if you don’t think that he has just had a close encounter of the third kind, that he has come face to face with a “benevolent” alien? (His present claims about the stimulus package certainly suggest that he is out of touch, in a serious way. “What we need are more tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest aliens.”) Of course, it could simply be that Obama strikes him as an alien. I mean, he did refer to him as “that one.”
And while we are at it, let’s not forget how closely the Republicans, and John’s soul mate, George, have been to the aliens. When Obama gets through cleaning out the Justice Department, he should really have his people check this out.
“SPACE ALIEN BACKS BUSH FOR PRESIDENT”
Through careful investigative reporting, I now have an exclusive for readers of UP@NIGHT. Here are eleven facts that the MSM is simply not reporting (yet):
1. Sarah Palin returned to Alaska from the lower forty-eight by clicking her new red Pradas together three times and repeating, “There is no place like Nome.”
2. Osama bin Laden’s code name among his compatriots is, “Joe the Plumber.” And in one of the most bizarre twists in the election, it turns out that McCain’s “Joe the Plumber” is a hairless Osama look alike.
3. John McCain will be playing Saul Tigh in the last episodes of Battlestar Gallactica, if and only if he is willing to call himself a Cylon and not a Ceylonese.
4. The software program that the Obama campaign used so effectively on its web site is called Hawaii 5.0.
5. The name of Bill O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” actually refers to the role that Bill (as a double agent) hoped to play in an Obama victory; namely, Bill hoped to become the major factor in turning voters away from four more years of Republican rule.
6. George Bush was just joshing us when he kept mispronouncing the word, “nuclear.” It turns out that George has a wicked sense of humor. The last (almost) eight years have actually been a prank that he has been playing on the country. It seems that he was never The Decider, aka, the president. (The guys up in Canada who “pranked” Palin will tell you that they learned everything they know from George.)
7. John McCain secretly divorced Cindy just before he selected Sarah Palin for his VP. As part of the settlement, she agreed to stand 20 paces behind him at every campaign rally for the next six weeks and smile. In return Cindy got to keep all of their homes. John now has no where to live. (Hence, a good reason for him to stop confusing Cylon and Ceylon, see Fact #3, because he needs the extra money that an equity acting job will bring him.)
8. Dick Cheney’s identical (and evil) twin, Clyde Cheney, has actually been VP. Dick was removed from office two weeks after the inauguration when it became clear that he simply couldn’t tolerate Rovean tactics, sweet man that he is. The real Dick Cheney has been living as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago and is known in the neighborhood as My Man DC. (That’s the real Dick below.)
9. Obama’s first name is not Barack, and it’s not even Barry. It’s “Arthur.” But ever since he decided to become president in kindergarten, he has worried that having the name Arthur might lead envious opponents to refer to him as “King Arthur.” Bad news for a black dude. Thinking ahead, as he is wont to do, he asked his school teachers to call him Barry. And then at just the right strategic moment to make his run for president, he settled on the name Barack in college.
10. Idaho, the birthplace of Sarah Palin, was never admitted to the Union. We pretended to admit Idaho because we felt sorry for it due to its name and shape, and we wanted its potatoes. So Sarah Palin couldn’t have become VP even if McCain had won. You Betcha! (If you don’t believe this fact, look it up. There’s going to be a new Wikipedia entry explaining the whole scam.)
11. Joe Lieberman’s middle name is “Loyalty,” Joe Loyalty Lieberman; and he is actually a Klingon, albeit a confused one, confusing John McCain with the Klingon Empire.
Stay tuned for more facts as they become available…..
A window in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, November 4th, 2008, near where my wife and I had the privilege to vote:
Speaking of hope and America, in words not pictures, from the other side of the Gulf Stream, sentiments shared by many around the world:
They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world….Mr Obama will take office in January amid massive unrealisable expectations and facing a daunting list of problems….These, though, are issues for another day. Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America’s hope and, in no small way, ours too. The Guradian, November 5th, 2008. President Obama, guardian.co.uk
We remember Paul Newman today as a distinguished actor, philanthropist, committed progressive, and a truly decent soul. And on this day of his passing, his unique career does us an additional service. It helps us to understand why Obama won the debate and why he is going to win the election. As everyone knows, Paul Newman had a one in million smile, and he would certainly be flashing one now if he knew that he had made this contribution.
All we need is one film to make the case. While Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid may not be a great movie, it is a very good one, and perhaps more importantly, it was a timely one. It was a zeitgeist film. It connected with an audience that understood that time was out of joint in America, that we were adrift, that we were losing our collective soul, and that we needed to set things right. When the “bad guys” become the good guys, and “the law” is viewed as The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, you know that the world has been turned topsy-turvy. And when an audience feels so undermined that it can immediately connect with the line, “Who are those guys?” that is, those guys who can’t be stopped from chasing us (think here of the Vietnam War and a nation in turmoil back in 1969), you know that things have run amok.
Paul Newman’s films were often successful not only because of their success as works of art, but because they understood the importance of speaking to an audience, something which many of our pundits and commentators still do not seem to appreciate. How so? Last night I spent hours, UP@NIGHT, in true political junkie fashion, listening to commentators on the first debate between Obama and McCain. I would listen to the first round of comments, and then since I couldn’t be in two virtual places at once, turn to reruns of earlier broadcasts. I have also looked at many of the editorials in print today.
Time and time again, commentators insisted on using sports metaphors to describe the debate, primarily from boxing (points, knockouts) and baseball (home runs, strikes). There were exceptions, but just turn to the print media today. What’s the big headline? “No Knockout.” We hear about jabs that were thrown, and counter punches, etc. We hear criticisms that Obama didn’t throw enough punches, and that he could have brought McCain down by going more on the offense I am sure that you have heard this stuff. I won’t belabor the point.
But Obama understands, like Newman did, that acting is about audience. And presidential debates have more in common with acting than they do with sports contests. Or let me put this another way. Presidential debates are like auditions, and if you are going to be successful in an audition, you’ve got to be able to have a sense of what the director is looking for and the possibilities of a role. In this case, the director is the American people and the role is president. And the goal of the debater is not merely to score points, but to give a performance that resonates with the desires and hopes of the people. The debate is not an end. It is a means, and it is not a means to merely “winning” the debate in terms of points, but of winning the election.
I am not surprised that polls and focus groups show that more people thought Obama won. (Two examples, a USA Today/Gallop Poll, a CBS poll.) Nor am I surprised by the internal numbers in the polls showing that Obama went a long way toward crossing the biggest hurdle that he needed to cross, making voters feel comfortable with whether he is ready to be president. If you think about the debate in terms of an audition, then Obama was wildly successful. Obama appears to have convinced a significant number of people that he is ready to lead, cool under fire, knowledgeable, not easily flustered (by a cranky old guy telling you that “you don’t understand”), and energetic. Further, he reinforced his message that he understands “people like you and me,” which was already one of his strong suits. It was actually a beautifully orchestrated event, right down to the ads Obama has started to run.
Obama won this debate in the only terms that he needed to win it. He connected with a larger number of people in the audience than did McCain, and made them feel comfortable with his “playing the role” of president, while discussing a topic that was supposed to be McCain’s strong suit. Obama is going to win the election. And unlike Butch and Sundance, this story is going to have a happy ending.
Okay, here is my take about what has been going on in terms of Palin and McCain. The writers for the Daily Show are actually trained undercover agents. They have infiltrated the McCain/Palin campaign and have been writing speeches, talking points, and press releases. How else can one account for Palin’s statements? Seeing Russia from Alaska counts as evidence of foreign policy expertise. Who can deny that this is a beautiful piece of writing? And now there are the cows.
From The NY Times:
WASILLA, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.
So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.
Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages. The New York Times, Sunday, August 13th. Link
Does it get better than this? VP candidate appoints classmate, real estate agent and cow fancier, Franci Havemeister (is this a real name?), as head of State Division of Agriculture. (Did I miss something here? Agriculture=Cows.) I mean, let’s suppose this was President Palin: For Secretary of Defense: Bobby Have A’meister, friend, used car salesman, lover of Colt 45′s, and Moose hunter. Why not?
Palin and her good friend Bobby Have A’meister:
Well, there is the, “but seriously folks,” to all of this. The problem with Palin is not just that she places friendship over expertise, but that she also appears to be Nixon-like (remember his Enemies List) and Bush-like in the way in which she goes after perceived enemies. The Times article goes on to make the following point, which we have seen made in other venues.
But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.
Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.
Wow….Opponents are haters! Unfortunately this is not a corny reference to a group of aliens in a bad sci fi flick. It is Palin unfiltered. They are Haters because they are perceived to be her enemies.
What we have here is one of the oldest ethical failings in the book, and conservatives, as well as moderates and liberals, should be very concerned. In the first book of Plato’s Republic various definitions of justice are offered. All prove inadequate. One of the earliest ones to be shot down is the following:
Justice is helping friends and injuring enemies.
While this definition is pretty common in gangster-land, it reflects a poor and limited understanding of justice. Here are a few of the issues: 1) our friends may prove to be bad people; 2) there may be good individuals amongst our enemies; 3) we need intelligence and knowledge to determine who are our real friends and who our real enemies; and 4) we can injure (or do an injustice to) our friends if we don’t understand what we are doing (for example, the incompetent physician who gives his friend the wrong medicine).
It’s simpleminded in the extreme to think that we can be just by merely helping those we take to be our friends and injuring our enemies. Those who call themselves our friends may not worthy of our support. Or to take this closer to home: they may not be competent to hold the positions to which we appoint them. (From Real Estate to Agriculture Honcho via a love of cows….a friend is a friend is a friend.) It appears that Palin never considered that it might be unjust (as well as unwise) to appoint friends instead of those who have genuine expertise. After all she was climbing a ladder to break her own personal glass ceiling. She is much like Bush. And this is indeed no laughing matter. So maybe the Daily Show people are not actually behind her words.
(Yes, there are times when we may have to hurt good people, for example, when we are in a war. But we must not slip into the mentality that we are always at war or at war against our fellow Americans because they disagree with us or don’t share our values.)
One last point, the sort of mentality that I have been describing–let’s call it: loyalty fanaticism–is not confined to the head honcho. It pervades the culture of the administrations of such people. I leave you with one small example from Palin’s current administration in Alaska, which should make bloggers of all political stripes take to the barricades. (It’s from the NY Times article quoted above.)
And four months ago, a Wasilla blogger, Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles the governor’s career with an astringent eye, answered her phone to hear an assistant to the governor on the line, she said.
“You should be ashamed!” Ivy Frye, the assistant, told her. “Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!”
If you thought that the country might have a problem with McCain being too much like Bush, think again, and again….
Much of the attention regarding Palin has focused on her inexperience and duplicitous statements, e.g., about the Bridge to Nowhere. But as it turns out, Palin is not just your everyday inexperienced politician who happens to be a conservative. She is an ideologue and appears to be very Bush-like in her commitment to a loyalty culture. I can’t think of a worse combination for a president: ideologue and loyalty enforcer. And Palin is just a heartbeat away from the Oval Office if McCain becomes president. Obama and Biden, on the other hand, are moderately liberal pragmatists and their MO is compromise. I plan to write more about the contrast in the future, but I want to share here four striking “windows into Sarah” (directly quoted) from today’s (September 2nd) New York Times article, “Palin’s Start in Alaska: Not Politics as Usual.” Link to article
“Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” said Mr. Stein [the previous mayor of Wassila-M.A.], who lost the election. “But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I’m not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: ‘We will have our first Christian mayor.’ ”
Ms. Palin also upended the town’s traditional ways with a surprise edict: No employee was to talk to the news media without her permission.
Ann Kilkenny, a Democrat who said she attended every City Council meeting in Ms. Palin’s first year in office, said Ms. Palin brought up the idea of banning some books at one meeting. “They were somehow morally or socially objectionable to her,” Ms. Kilkenny said. The librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, pledged to “resist all efforts at censorship,” Ms. Kilkenny recalled. Ms. Palin fired Ms. Emmons shortly after taking office but changed course after residents made a strong show of support. Ms. Emmons, who left her job and Wasilla a couple of years later, declined to comment for this article.
“Just as Ms. Palin terminated employees on her way into office, she also let some go on the way out, including Mr. Cramer. When Ms. Palin completed her second and final term, in 2002, her stepmother-in-law, Faye Palin, was running to succeed her. It seemed like a good idea, except that Faye Palin supported abortion rights and was registered as unaffiliated, not Republican, people who remember the race said. Sarah Palin sided instead with Dianne M. Keller, a religious conservative and an ally on the City Council. Ms. Keller won.”
August 29, Immediate reaction to Palin: McCain has officially lost it, in more ways than one. He is now taking the phrase, “Hail Mary,” to mean “Hail Any Woman.”
According to the much used Wikipedia, “A Hail Mary pass or Hail Mary play in American football is a forward pass made in desperation, with only a small chance of success. The typical Hail Mary is a very long forward pass thrown near the end of a half or end of a game where there is no possibility for any other play to score points. This play is unlikely to be successful, because of the general inaccuracy of the pass and the defensive team’s preparedness for the play makes it likely that it can intercept or knock down the ball” (italics added). “Hail Mary” article from Wikipedia here
The choice of Palin reveals McCain’s historic tin ear. He is seeking to put an inexperienced politician a heartbeat away from the presidency because he believes that it will help him with the women’s vote and his base. This is after he has made experience the mantra of his campaign, and we are all aware of his age and health history. He had promised to be extraordinarily careful in his selection of a VP due to these factors. (I mean she really is inexperienced, both in domestic and foreign affairs: 21 months as a governor of a state that has a population 1/3 that of the Borough of Manhattan, and service as a small town major.) Country First, John? Not this time.
Palin’s choice is insulting to women, and especially to Clinton’s women supporters, because it assumes that they would vote for any old (or young) woman. Hell, it’s insulting to men. To think that anyone who really supported Hillary would take (oh my, I just forgot her name) Palin as a substitute is astounding. Is it possible that McCain is so desperate and befuddled that he believes being a runner up in a beauty pageant is somehow going to compensate for political stands inimical to women’s welfare? (Okay, Palin might be strong among Evangelicals and right wingers–Palin’s position, no abortions even in cases of rape and incest–but is McCain really worried about the Evangelicals? Looks like he might be. And if he is indeed still worried about his base, given the incredible shrinking Republican Party, this is not so good for John.)
For a picture of beautiful Wasilla, the town Palin was mayor of, and the scoop on the ethics violations for which Palin is under investigation, see Mudflats. It’s quite a read.
Another reason must now be added to the list of:
#14. Palin will prove to be an unbelievably bad choice for VP, especially after McCain promised to be very careful in his selection due to his age. Given the sheer political nature of this choice, he will have to give up his slogan, Country First. Can you imagine Palin eyeball to eyeball with Putin? How about eyeball to eyeball with any senator, except for Ted Stevens, in the Senate? ( Just think for a moment about how the debate with Biden is going to go.) Hey, John, your answer to every problem is not to pick a pretty woman. Just because Cindy helped put expensive shoes on your feet….
UPDATE: Breaking News. According to Steve Doocy of Fox News, “She does know about international relations because she’s right up there in Alaska right next door to Russia.” YouTube Link.
UPDATE, 8.30.2008 Wow. This is going to be some ride. It seems that Palin is immature and quite willing to laugh while a radio host calls another woman, Alaska Senate President Lydia Green (who is a cancer survivor), a cancer and a bitch. See article here. A tape of the broadcast appears to exist. I am sure we will hear it soon. (According to the article, Palin laughed several times at tasteless comments about Green.)
UPDATE, 8.30.2008 Okay, here is a Link to the interview. Btw, the crack about the seat refers to Green’s weight.
UPDATE: After Republican convention, September 5, 2008. In spite of the initial positive reaction to Palin because: 1) she gave a reasonably well delivered speech (written by professional speech writers) at the convention; 2) sympathy for what many in the public perceive as a piling on by the Press; 3) hunger for reform and change (which her positions do not actually represent); and 4) the apparent progress for women in a woman VP pick (in spite of the fact that her policies and convictions are inimical to women’s welfare), I am holding to my initial reaction in this blog. It is clear that the McCain people will try to keep her away from the Press for as long as they can. But there will be a debate with Biden and at some point there will be questions about her unavailability for questions. Also, most people simply don’t know about her stands on the issues, for example, no abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and that she has lied about her record, for example, regarding the Bridge to Nowhere. Let’s see how all of this looks six weeks from now as McCain/Palin tries to push themselves as the change team in an economy still on the ropes and for which they are only offering traditional Bush/Republican bromides. (The flip from the experience team to the change team at this stage in the game is a Hail Mary. The Dems are just waiting for them. Wait till you see all of the ads with McCain saying just what Bush has said about the economy.) And let’s see how people feel about Palin being a heartbeat away from the presidency after they see how little knowledge she has of the world.