Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Let’s start with the simple, unspinnable facts. Two thirds of the Republicans in Congress voted against their own President’s bailout proposal (while two thirds of the Democrats voted for it). After the vote went down, the stock market lost its biggest point value in history. Now, how do the Republicans blame somebody else for THAT?

Well, first, it was Nancy Pelosi’s fault

[Silent Patriot] The House GOP “Leadership” addressed the media just now after the bailout bill failed and pointed their fingers at Nancy Pelosi for giving a speech that upset them. The speech hurt them so much that it forced them to sink the bill and now the market is down more than 600 points. Why are you so mean, Nancy?

What mean old Nancy said: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220712.php

Barney Frank shows how ridiculous this excuse is: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220689.php

More: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014943.php
[Steve Benen] On its face, this is comically stupid. House Republicans wanted to vote to prevent a financial collapse, the pitch goes, but the Big Bad House Speaker made them mad with a speech. You can read Pelosi's remarks yourself -- if it strikes you as the kind of speech that's worth risking the economy over, let me know.

But more important that than is the truly ridiculous frame Republicans are establishing for themselves by using Pelosi's speech as an excuse for their own failure. The House GOP, for reasons that defy comprehension, has decided to characterize itself as a caucus of cry babies. Worse, they're irresponsible cry babies who, according to their own argument, are more concerned with their precious hurt feelings than the nation's economic stability. . . .

Make no mistake -- this is a failure of the Republican Party of historic proportions. When push came to shove, the Democratic leadership delivered the votes on the rescue plan, while Republicans voted, 2-to-1, against it.

Then it was the fault of the Jews

Now Rep. Blunt is blaming the Jewish Holidays. Are there enough Republican Jews in the House to make that credible?

Look: the Republicans said last week they wouldn’t mind causing a major stock market crash rather than vote for this bill – and so they did. This quote should wash away any questions about who is to blame for all this. Rightly or wrongly, they opposed the bill. They said they would vote against it, and they did. They didn’t care if it made the markets tank. End of story

[Politico] According to one GOP lawmaker, some House Republicans are saying privately that they’d rather “let the markets crash” than sign on to a massive bailout. . . .

Of course, the McCain campaign tried to tell us that it was all Obama’s fault . . .


. . . . then told us that we shouldn’t be assigning blame (especially not if McCain is the one getting blamed)

McCain Says Now Is Not Time To Assign Blame -- Only Two Hours After His Campaign Blamed Obama . . .

Watch: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220726.php

Obama responds

"This is a moment of national crisis, and today's inaction in Congress as well as the angry and hyper-partisan statement released by the McCain campaign are exactly why the American people are disgusted with Washington. Now is the time for Democrats and Republicans to join together and act in a way that prevents an economic catastrophe. Every American should be outraged that an era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and Washington has led us to this point, but now that we are here, the stability of our entire economy depends on us taking immediate action to ease this crisis."

Let’s be serious, folks: McCain interjected himself into this process in a major campaign stunt. He claimed credit for forging a bipartisan compromise that he actually had very little to do with. But if he was the lynchpin in putting it together, then who is responsible when it falls apart? The nasty old Democrats, of course – who undermined McCain’s efforts . . . by voting 2-to-1 FOR the bill

Watch! http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220700.php

McCain’s failure

"What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this."

-- McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, on Meet the Press yesterday, taking early credit for getting House Republicans to support the bailout bill.

[Greg Sargent] In political terms, John McCain needed this bailout bill to pass. Now that it's failed in the House, it's clear that this could pose a serious blow to his campaign -- and that his big campaign suspension gambit could backfire badly.

McCain pushed way too many political chips onto the bailout deal with his supposed decision to put his campaign on ice and his subsequent high-profile swooping into D.C. His campaign got way too far out front appearing to take credit for the bailout in advance.

"What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this," McCain senior Steve Schmidt said on Meet the Press yesterday.

"We're optimistic that Senator McCain will bring House Republicans on board . . .”

[DemFromCT] The fact is that John McCain rode into town on a campaign stunt promising to shepherd the economic crisis bill through, and garner bipartisan resolution. . . .

The next piece of spin was that McCain, and only McCain, could bring the House along.

The next piece of spin was that McCain was working the phones while Obama was "laissez-faire".

John McCain, in a campaign rally this morning, took credit for the resolution and claimed Obama "was on the sidelines". McCain said he, McCain, was pivotal. . . .

John McCain is all about gimmicks and campaign stunts, not results.

The fact is that Democrats voted for this bill and Republicans did not. The job of the leader is to deliver the votes. And whether you think it should or should not have passed, John McCain failed miserably as a bipartisan "leader", though he had no hesitation to prematurely take credit for it.

That is a hard fact.

Politico – it’s McCain’s fault: http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=AF9F10EC-18FE-70B2-A82949C5A24271A8

CNN – it’s McCain’s fault: http://www.americablog.com/2008/09/cnns-ed-henry-john-mccain-failed.html

MSNBC – it’s McCain’s fault: http://www.americablog.com/2008/09/chris-matthews-its-mccains-fault.html

AP – it’s McCain’s fault: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080929/ap_on_el_pr/candidates_bailout;_ylt=AsxhCKFphU6n.F3.MKuhutyyFz4D
[T]he U.S. House made John McCain pay Monday for his politically risky, high-profile involvement in a financial rescue plan that came crashing down, mainly at the hands of his fellow Republicans. . .

By McCain’s own logic, now, isn’t it time to “suspend” his campaign again? If anything, the situation is even more dire than it was last week


Maybe the real blame should go to the Bush administration in the first place


So, what will happen next?


Good one

[Glenn Greenwald] Bailout follows the 10 normal principles for how our government functions . . . [read on]

Well, the Palin/McCain gang has found a new way to approach the Troopergate investigation: they think Walt Monegan (the faultless public safety commissioner she fired) should just shut up and take it


Sarah Palin goes back on with Katie Couric, but this time with McCain alongside to speak for her, cut off her answers, and dominate the conversation


More: http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/mccain_blames_pakistan_flub_wi.php

Reports are that CBS has additional footage from Palin’s original interview that is even worse than what was televised. Will we see it?

[Howard Kurtz] It may have been a turning point for Couric, who was persistent without being overbearing, in shedding early doubts about her ability to be a commanding presence in the CBS anchor chair. And the worst may be yet to come for Palin; sources say CBS has two more responses on tape that will likely prove embarrassing.

[S]ome journalists say privately they are censoring their comments about Palin to avoid looking like they're piling on . .

[Jonathan Martin] Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.

[Greg Sargent] A CBS source confirms to me that more footage of Sarah Palin being interviewed by Katie Couric will indeed air this week, in advance of the debate. . . . Couric's interviews with both Veep contenders will air on Wednesday and Thursday. . .

The McCain gang reportedly shifts Palin’s debate prep strategy, four days before the event. They can’t cram enough info into her head, they can’t make her smarter, but they can give her better attack lines

“Debate camp” http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/09/29/palin-heads-to-%E2%80%98debate-camp%E2%80%99-in-arizona/

Ms. Palin has traveled with a briefing team since Sept. 10. Two people close to the campaign, addressing her difficulties, said she had been stuffed with facts as if preparing for an oral exam and had become nervous and unnatural in the few interviews.

[William Kristol] "I'm told McCain recently expressed unhappiness with his staff's handling of Palin. On Sunday he dispatched his top aides Steve Schmidt and Rick Davis to join Palin in Philadelphia. They're supposed to liberate Palin to go on the offensive as a combative conservative in the vice-presidential debate on Thursday."

Here’s the other part of their strategy: try to intimidate the moderator, Gwen Ifill, before the event even starts. She shouldn’t ask too many questions about foreign policy, you see, because that would be “unfair”

Watch: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220563.php

[Marcy Wheeler] Not only is this another pathetic example of McPalin trying to play the ref [they’re] forgetting that Palin has been no whiz on domestic policy issues either. . .

Secret’s out

"Palin Is Tanking Everywhere"

What McCain has lost

[Josh Marshall] I've been thinking over the last few days that if John McCain loses this election he will have lost much more than the presidency. His reputation as an honest and honorable politician will be wrecked, I suspect, for good -- particularly among centrist and independent voters and the centrist commentator class in New York and Washington. . . .

I think a lot of people -- a lot of former admirers -- are coming around to agreeing with the general outlines. McCain has revealed himself as a liar well outside the permissive standards applied to politicians. He's shown himself to be reckless to the point of instability, repeatedly putting the country at risk (exploiting the Georgia crisis, picking Palin, storming the bailout negotiations) for transparently self-serving reasons. And in too many ways to count, he's conducted his campaign in disgraceful and dishonorable ways. . . . [read on]

The Dept of Justice IG report is out, calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor, with subpoena power. They’re looking at possible obstruction and perjury

“[T]here are gaps in our investigation because of the refusal of certain key witnesses to be interviewed by us, including former White House officials Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and William Kelley, former Department of Justice White House Liaison Monica Goodling, Senator Pete Domenici, and his Chief of Staff. In addition, the White House would not provide us internal documents related to the removals of the U.S. Attorneys.”

Here she is, Nora Dannehy: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/prosecutor_named_in_us_attorne.php


The Dems respond

Judiciary chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) said in a statement: "This report might have told us even more if the investigation had not been impeded by the Bush administration's refusal to cooperate and provide documents and witnesses. . .

Leahy also said he intended to look into former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' testimony to Congress about the firings, for evidence of possible perjury. And he warned that if President Bush chose to pardon anyone ultimately convicted of a crime in connection with the firings, such a move would be seen by the nation as an admission of wrongdoing.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the ranking minority member on the committee told reporters that there's no indication that the White House is planning such pardons, but said he'd be quick to push back if it did.

At a press conference, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), a former U.S. attorney himself, questioned the effectiveness of the investigation to be led by federal prosecutor Nora Dannehy. He said that it's unclear whether Dannehy will have the power to subpoena White House officials, and whether her probe would focus narrowly on the question of whether a crime was committed by Gonzales and his deputies, rather than being able to look at a possible cover-up by the administration. Whitehouse asserted: "There is a cover-up, and it continues."

Whitehouse also singled out Mukasey for blame, noting that the DOJ's own Office of Legal Counsel has not cooperated with the report. "If he's willing to accept a White House cover-up, if he's willing to accept the inspector general being hindered, then we, I think, should have further questions of the attorney general," Whitehouse said.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) , who received an anonymous tip in January 2007 that led to the investigation, wrote in a press release: "The Inspector General report released today confirms our worst fears, and makes it clear that this was a scandal that went to the highest levels of the Department of the Justice, and that the role of the White House was in fact prominent."

David Iglesias, one of the more outspoken fired attorneys

David Iglesias, the former US attorney whose dismissal was deemed the "most troubling" in today's IG report, says he still wants to see the full range of evidence about the White House's possible role in the firing. That includes all relevant emails and notes from meetings -- information the White House held back from the IG's investigators.

"That's the critical bit of information that we don't have right now," Iglesias told TPMmuckraker. He added: "I suspect that the information is going to have to be forced out of the administration." . . .

According to the DOJ IG's report released this morning, Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM) told Karl Rove at a November 16, 2006 meeting: "Mr. Rove, for what it's worth, the U.S. Attorney in New Mexico is a waste of breath."

Rove's response: "That decision has already been made. He's gone."

But [the report] states that IG investigators were unable to determine how Rove knew this (Iglesias wasn't notifed until December 7), and what his possible role in the decision was, because Rove and White House counsel Harriet Miers refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Similarly, it notes that Kyle Sampson, who as chief of staff to Alberto Gonzales took the lead in bringing about the firings, gave "misleading after-the-fact explanations for why Iglesias was placed on the list." The report concludes: "[W]e question whether Sampson provided us the full story about Iglesias's placement on the list, as well as the reasons for other U.S. Attorney removals."

And: "Our investigation was also hindered by the refusal of Senator Domenici and his Chief of Staff to agree to an interview by us." (In April, Domenici, who is retiring this year, received a "qualified admonition" from the Senate ethics committee for his role in the firing.)

Mr. Rove, call your lawyer

Karl Rove's involvement in the U.S. attorney firings has always been questioned, but additional information on a March 2007 meeting mentioned in the Inspector General's report today suggests that at the very least, Rove and other White House officials played an active role in crafting the release of information on the firings to the public.

Shortly after the U.S. attorney removals, when the DOJ was grappling to explain the justification behind the firings, communications between Alberto Gonzales' former chief-of-staff, Kyle Sampson and White House officials increased. . . .

[Dan Froomkin] Astonishingly enough, the results of an internal White House investigation -- which were provided to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and to then-attorney general Gonzales early last year -- were nevertheless denied to the DOJ's internal investigators. The report states that associate White House counsel Michael Scudder interviewed Justice and White House personnel in early 2007 at the request of White House Counsel Fred Fielding. "[W]e requested that OLC produce a complete copy of the final Scudder memorandum and all drafts of the memorandum. OLC declined to produce the document, stating that the White House Counsel's Office directed it not to do so. . . .

Legal analysis

[Dahlia Lithwick] The report finds that Gonzales approved the removals of a group of U.S. attorneys "without inquiring about the process Sampson used to select them for removal, or why each name was on Sampson's removal list. Gonzales also did not know who Sampson had consulted with or what these individuals had said about each of the U.S. Attorneys identified for removal." Investigators also found that "Sampson's repeated assertion that 'underperformance' was the decisive factor in the removal process was misleading." Investigators learned that some of the fired U.S. attorneys (like Nevada's Dan Bogden) were placed on Sampson's list based on Monica Goodling's unsupported suggestion. John McKay, from Washington, similarly appears to have been put on the list by some specter.

The evidence indicates that in at least three of the firings, "the White House was more involved than merely approving the removal of presidential appointees as Department officials initially stated."

The report faults Gonzales et al. for failing "to provide accurate and truthful statements about the removals and their role in the process" (i.e., they lied). Among other things, the IG found that Gonzales "claimed to us and to Congress an extraordinary lack of recollection about the entire removal process. In his most remarkable claim, he testified that he did not remember the meeting in his conference room on November 27, 2006, when the plan was finalized and he approved the removals of the U.S. Attorneys, even though this important meeting occurred only a few months prior to his testimony."

The report also concludes that Kyle Sampson's system for determining who was fired was "casual, ad hoc, and anecdotal, and he did not develop any consensus from Department officials about which U.S. Attorneys should be removed."

More: http://firedoglake.com/2008/09/29/can-you-spell-obstruction/



Maliki: Why the US needs a troop agreement as much as we do


Posse Comitatus (thanks to Dale M. for the link)


Shut UP, Bill!



Bonus item: Oh, how the mighty have fallen

[WP] Yesterday, Bush called nearly every member of Texas's Republican delegation, GOP aides said. He reached four of the 19.

[Jonathan Zasloff] Four out of 19? Fifteen either didn't take the call or refused to call back? Wow. . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Monday, September 29, 2008


Of course

McCain claims bailout credit . . . [read on]

Does ANYONE believe that?

[Frank Rich] When John McCain gratuitously parachuted into Washington on Thursday, he didn’t care if his grandstanding might precipitate an even deeper economic collapse. All he cared about was whether he might save his campaign. . . .

By the time he arrived, there already was a bipartisan agreement in principle. It collapsed hours later at the meeting convened by the president in the Cabinet Room. Rather than help try to resuscitate Wall Street’s bloodied bulls, McCain was determined to be the bull in Washington’s legislative china shop, running around town and playing both sides of his divided party against Congress’s middle. Once others eventually forged a path out of the wreckage, he’d inflate, if not outright fictionalize, his own role in cleaning up the mess his mischief helped make. Or so he hoped, until his ignominious retreat.

The question is why would a man who forever advertises his own honor toy so selfishly with our national interest at a time of crisis. I’ll leave any physiological explanations to gerontologists — if they can get hold of his complete medical records — and any armchair psychoanalysis to the sundry McCain press acolytes who have sorrowfully tried to rationalize his erratic behavior this year. The other answers, all putting politics first, can be found by examining the 24 hours before he decided to “suspend” campaigning and swoop down on the Capitol to save America . . .

To put these 24 hours in context, you must remember that McCain not only knows little about the economy but that he has not previously expressed any urgency about its meltdown. It was on Sept. 15 — the day after his former idol Alan Greenspan pronounced the current crisis a “once-in-a-century” catastrophe — that McCain reaffirmed for the umpteenth time that the “fundamentals of our economy are strong.” As recently as Tuesday he had not yet even read the two-and-a-half-page bailout proposal first circulated by Hank Paulson last weekend. “I have not had a chance to see it in writing,” he explained. . . . [read on]

John McCain, call your office

[Mike Madden] John McCain, to ABC News's George Stephanopoulos, on why he left the campaign trail as Congress worked on a Wall Street bailout deal: "I came back because I wasn't going to phone it in."

McCain senior advisor Mark Salter, to the New York Times's Elizabeth Bumiller, on what McCain was doing in Washington to help reach a deal: "He's calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can... he can effectively do what he needs to do by phone."

More: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014927.php

What McCain REALLY did with his time back in D.C.

McCain never bothered showing up for the bailout talks Saturday, but he did have a very swanky dinner with Joe Lieberman . . . [read on]

Mark Kleiman picked up on my suggestion yesterday that the reason McCain wouldn’t look at Obama during the debate was because he had to do it to avoid losing his temper. Watching some of the replays yesterday, it certainly looked to me as if he were TRYING NOT to look at Obama. Kleiman adds a good observation

Nick Burbules at PBD suggests that McCain was mostly trying to keep his temper in check, and feared that he couldn't do so if he looked at Obama. That could well be right. Of course, a man so lacking in self-command is not to be trusted as Commander-in-Chief.

More on McCain’s anger management: http://www.americablog.com/2008/09/monday-morning-open-thread_29.html
[Joe Sudbay] I'm still struck by how angry McCain was on Friday night. Refusing to look at Obama. Sneering. And, muttering under his breath. He was acting like a fifth grader. McCain should have been on best behavior, but he couldn't control himself. He can't control himself and is increasingly erratic. And, as I've been saying, "erratic" is the best word to describe John McCain, but "erratic" is the one of the worst words to describe a president.

[Chris in Paris] If McCain hasn't addressed his raging temper by the time he is 72 years old, it's not going to happen. It hardly looks presidential as McCain loses his composure during a simple debate. How will he guide America in dangerous situations if he's unable to control his temper in such a friendly and important setting?

What next? The McCain campaign and their supporters see that a straight-line extension of current trends will lead to defeat. Thursday’s debate with Palin is going to be. . . . well . . . bring the popcorn. So what will their next ploy be to try to change the momentum?

In the two weeks that the Wall Street financial crisis has dominated the political debate, the presidential race has shifted from what had been essentially a dead heat to one in which Sen. Barack Obama has opened up a narrow but perceptible advantage nationally, as well as in a number of battleground states.

The burden now falls on Sen. John McCain to reverse the effects of the focus on the economy, and to keep the contest close enough so that a dominant debate performance, a gaffe by Obama or some outside event can shift the momentum back to him. . . .

Schmidt said the campaign will press two arguments as forcefully as possible in the coming days. One is that Obama is not ready to be commander in chief and that, in a time of two wars, "his policies will make the world more dangerous and America less secure." Second, he said, McCain will argue that, in a time of economic crisis, Obama will raise taxes and spending and "will make our economy worse." . . .

[NB: Bold, creative. Keep banging that drum, boys. It's all you've got.]

More: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220506.php


McCain’s health-care plan: it costs you more by taxing your benefits than it gives you back – that is a TAX INCREASE. Repeat


Attacking the New York Times – very smart


One of Obama’s best lines was after McCain gave yet another accounting of the dead soldier’s bracelet he’s wearing – and why that was a reason for continuing the war. Obama replied, “I have a bracelet too” – and explained why that was a reason for ending it. So, of course the wingnutsphere has to take him down for that – and of course they get the facts wrong


Yesterday we had a piece about Sarah Palin saying, in response to a question about carrying out raids into Pakistan, “"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should." This is exactly the view that McCain criticized Obama for in the debate, calling it “naïve.” Now his own running mate has said the same thing. How will they handle it?

McCain retracts Palin's Pakistan comments
[McCain] “In all due respect, people going around and… sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that's—that's a person's position… This is a free country, but I don't think most Americans think that that's a definitive policy statement made by Governor Palin."

More: http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2008/09/quote_of_the_day_92808.html
[Kevin Drum] Got that? It's unfair for someone to "stick a microphone" in the face of a vice presidential candidate during a campaign appearance and then take her words seriously. This is no longer even low farce. It's more like we're all in the middle of a bad vaudeville skit.

[Steve Benen] I see. So, just because Sarah Palin says something in public doesn't mean Palin actually believes what she's saying. And for goodness sakes, no one should think that Palin's comments are a reflection of the campaign's position on an issue.

This is getting pretty silly. . .


Ethical pit bull, eh?

Some of her first actions after being elected mayor in 1996 raised possible ethical red flags: She cast the tie-breaking vote to propose a tax exemption on aircraft when her father-in-law owned one, and backed the city's repeal of all taxes a year later on planes, snow machines and other personal property. She also asked the council to consider looser rules for snow machine races. Palin and her husband, Todd, a champion racer, co-owned a snow machine store at the time.

Palin often told the City Council of her personal involvement in such issues, but that didn't stop her from pressing them, according to minutes of council meetings.

She sometimes followed a cautious path in the face of real or potential conflicts — for example, stepping away from the table in 1997 when the council considered a grant for the Iron Dog snow machine race in which her husband competes.

But mostly, like other Wasilla elected officials at the time, she took an active role on issues that directly affected and sometimes benefited her. . . . [read on]

Palin, sinking fast . . .

While John McCain and his aides have railed against the "liberal mainstream media" in recent weeks, some of the most searing attacks against the Republican presidential nominee have come from conservative intellectuals.

McCain's surprise vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and his sharp reactions to the continuing economic storm have led several prominent columnists on the right to slam the Arizona senator as more reckless than bold, more strident than forceful. . . . [read on]

A devastating takedown: http://www.newsweek.com/id/161204
[Fareed Zakaria] Will someone please put Sarah Palin out of her agony? Is it too much to ask that she come to realize that she wants, in that wonderful phrase in American politics, "to spend more time with her family"? Having stayed in purdah for weeks, she finally agreed to a third interview. CBS's Katie Couric questioned her in her trademark sympathetic style. It didn't help. . . . [read on!]

Don’t get too caught up in the daily tracking numbers (though Obama’s advantage is widening) – look at the trends. Aside from a little spike after the Republican convention and the (initially) popular choice of Palin, McCain has been losing for months. What could McCain possibly do that would change those trends?

Now: http://politicalwire.com/archives/2008/09/28/obamas_national_lead_grows.html


Trends: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/us/general_election_mccain_vs_obama-225.html

When this election is over, if McCain loses, two things will be cited as his downfall. One is the selection of Palin – which I still maintain was a disaster that will cost him net votes. The other is the events of this past week, especially his campaign-suspension that wasn’t a suspension, his trip back to DC, his rudderless conduct there, and then his last-second reversal and decision to debate after all. Imagine McCain as President in a real crisis


What (NOT) to expect from the Dept of Justice IG report later today

[Marcy Wheeler] Well over a year after the Department of Justice's Inspector General started an investigation into the US Attorney firings, they're set to punt tomorrow. They won't refer Gonzales--or anyone else--for prosecution, but they will recommend that someone--someone with subpoena power--continue the investigation . . .

Bonus item: More on the Tina Fey parody

[Steve Benen] Here's the truly hysterical part: the bit used actual quotes from Palin's interview this week with Sarah Palin [NB: Katie Couric] As the Huffington Post noted, "no parody was required."

When a comedy show can make you look ridiculous by actually quoting you, verbatim, that's a problem. . . .

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, September 28, 2008


On further review: second thoughts across the board about why viewers reacted so negatively to McCain during the debate. The consensus is, his grumpiness, rudeness, lack of eye contact, and dismissive attitude toward Obama rubbed people the wrong way – even people not previously predisposed toward Obama. Nicely done, John

LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-debate27-2008sep27,0,4778370.story
Time and again, McCain, who is 72 and would be the oldest man ever elected to a first term, condescended to Obama, who is 47 and one of the youngest ever to win his party's nomination. "He doesn't understand," McCain said repeatedly. Discussing Obama's willingness to engage in talks with Iran without preconditions, McCain said: "It isn't just naive. It's dangerous."

Obama declined to be belittled. Although McCain refused to address him directly -- despite encouragement from moderator Jim Lehrer -- Obama looked at and spoke to McCain. Obama often credited McCain on issues -- a grace that was not reciprocated -- but he did not accept the role of junior candidate. . . .

Hilzoy: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014917.php
[T]he McCain campaign seems to think that pointing out the occasions when Obama said that McCain was right is a winning strategy. I think this is wrong, not only for the reasons I mentioned, but because it undercuts one of McCain's main lines of argument: that he is willing to reach across the aisle and work for bipartisan solutions, whereas Obama is not.

Think about it: McCain couldn't even bring himself to look at Obama. He was consistently contemptuous and dismissive. And now he has released an ad that takes Obama's willingness to acknowledge that his opponents are right to be the sort of thing that's worth attacking him for.

McCain claims that he can truly reach out to his opponents and work with them, while Obama cannot. It's hard for me to think that his performance in this debate didn't seriously undermine that claim. . .

Marshall: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220315.php
Whether it was contempt or condescension or some sort of fear or inability to -- in the most literal sense -- face Obama, it made McCain look small and angry. . . .

Fallows: http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/on_strategy_and_tactics.php
The least self-aware moment for John McCain in last night's debate came at the half-way point, when he said, "I'm afraid Senator Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy."

In a sense McCain was sticking to his battle plan in saying this -- the plan being on-message hammering-home of the "Obama doesn't understand" theme. In another sense, he lost his way, since he immediately segued not into a discussion of strategic matters in Iraq and Afghanistan but into an anecdote. But that kind of literal parsing of his answer -- tactical analysis, you might call it -- really misses the point.

There has been no greater contrast between the Obama and McCain campaigns than the tactical-vs-strategic difference, with McCain demonstrating the primacy of short-term tactics and Obama sticking to a more coherent long-term strategy. And McCain's dismissive comment suggests that he still does not realize this. . . .

Cole: http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=11439
Look for the appearance of the following words in days to come: cranky, grumpy, crotchety, angry, mean, rude, sneering, snarling, contemptuous, off-putting, snide, boorish, and worst of all, not Presidential. SNL will probably drive the point home in a skit that will become the dominant narrative tonight, and McCain will become boxed in regarding his behavior in the second debate, much as Gore was unable to be as aggressive as he wanted in the second debate (I remember the running joke was that Gore had been medicated for the second debate). And if McCain does not tone down the contempt, it will simply feed the narrative. Or, if we are really lucky, as someone suggested in another thread, McCain will overcompensate and spend the entire time comically and creepily attempting to make eye contact with Obama . . .

More: http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/roundup_of_opinion_on_the_deba.php

Yesterday I mentioned the CNN feature, tracking Democratic, Republican, and Independent voter responses. As the debate went on, the Independent line dropped into the negative as soon as McCain started talking, before he even gave his answer. This tells you, I think, that it was a reaction to his affect and manner more than to his positions. Here’s more:

[Time] McCain was seen as the more negative of the two—by 7 points before the debate and by 26 points after. The audience did not like it when he went after Obama for being "naïve" or used his oft-repeated "what Senator Obama doesn't understand" line. When the two clashed directly in the second half of the debate, with Obama repeatedly protesting McCain's characterization of his statements or positions, the voter dials went down. Voters appear to have judged McCain too negative in those encounters and Obama more favorably. . . .

On McCain’s lack of eye-contact. It was certainly striking that McCain never looked at Obama. Too striking to be an accident. David Broder says, ridiculously, that this was some kind of “alpha male” moment for McCain. Mark Kleiman, and others, have suggested that McCain was actually AFRAID to look at him.

Let me give you my take, and I think it’s pretty obvious. We all knew that McCain HAD to keep his temper in check. I think he was coached and constantly reminded not to look at Obama, because I believe he CAN’T look at Obama, standing there as his equal, calling him out, without getting furious. It’s just that simple. It’s a very human thing

Broder: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/27/AR2008092701357_pf.html

Kleiman: http://www.samefacts.com/archives/campaign_2008_/2008/09/note_to_david_broder.php

More McCain bungles on foreign policy facts (it’s his area of “expertise,” you know)




Palin too: http://www.americablog.com/2008/09/you-cant-even-trust-her-to-buy.html

McCain says Obama opposed funding for the troops. Well then, so did McCain

[Obama] "Senator McCain opposed funding for troops in legislation that had a timetable, because he didn't believe in a timetable. I opposed funding a mission that had no timetable, and was open-ended, giving a blank check to George Bush. We had a difference on the timetable. We didn't have a difference on whether or not we were going to be funding troops. We had a legitimate difference." . . . [read on]

Vets for Obama: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/27/1541/22658/668/612601

Smart analysis: you want proof that the debate didn’t work for McCain? Look at the post-debate ads – Obama’s have debate footage of the candidate, McCain’s don’t


More: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014916.php

Clever: The Washington Post Debate Decoder


More highlights: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220288.php

The next debate: McCain versus McCain



John McCain, oh-so-desperately needed back in D.C. to help with the bailout bill, spends the day at his election headquarters and condo. No, he isn’t part of the negotiations, and yes, he does plan to try to take credit for whatever they come up with

Senior adviser Mark Salter said the Arizona senator spent the morning at his campaign headquarters placing calls . . . "He can effectively do what he needs to do by phone," Salter said Saturday. "He's calling members on both sides, talking to people in the administration, helping out as he can." . . .

[NB: Begging the question, then, Why did he have to hurry back to D.C.?]

McCain couldn’t care less about the Congressional Republicans or their plan. If you look at this video, he didn’t even understand what their plan is. But he is VERY interested in seeming to be the person who brought them to the negotiating table

Video: http://www.samefacts.com/archives/john_mccain_/2008/09/well_matched.php

"McCain has been trying to help the House guys, trying to get their ideas into the broader bill," said a senior Republican Senate aide. "If McCain can do that, he can bring 50 to 100 House Republicans to the bill. That would be a big damn deal." . . .

The breakdown was serious enough that word reached Paulson. Just 25 minutes before the scheduled meeting at the White House, Paulson phoned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to alert her to trouble, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide. When congressional leaders converged on the White House, the Democrats peeled off into the Roosevelt Room to discuss the revolt over the insurance plan. President Bush was kept waiting, something he has always hated.

After the cameras left the Cabinet room, Bush thanked everybody for their spirit of cooperation and said he knew it was not an easy vote. He knew elements still needed to be worked out and said he wanted to go around the table to hear people's views.

Pelosi said Obama would speak for the Democrats. Though later he would pepper Paulson with questions, according to a Republican in the room, his initial point was brief: "We've got to get something done."

Bush turned to McCain, who joked, "The longer I am around here, the more I respect seniority." McCain then turned to Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to speak first.

Boehner was blunt. The plan Paulson laid out would not win the support of the vast majority of House Republicans. It had been improved on the edges, with an oversight board and caps on the compensation of participating executives. But it had to be changed at the core. He did not mention the insurance alternative, but Democrats did. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pressed Boehner hard, asking him if he really intended to scrap the deal and start again.

No, Boehner replied, he just wanted his members to have a voice. Obama then jumped in to turn the question on his rival: "What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?" he asked repeatedly. McCain did not answer.

One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a "game plan" aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans. "They had taken McCain's request for a meeting and trumped it," said this source.

Congressional aides from both parties were standing in the lobby of the West Wing, unaware of the discord inside the Cabinet room, when McCain emerged alone, shook the hands of the Marines at the door and left. . . .

[NYT] Mr. McCain did not explicitly side with the House Republicans who derailed the deal on Thursday. But neither did he discourage them, nor put forth his own bailout plan, nor endorse the White House proposal to have the government buy up distressed mortgage assets from faltering Wall Street firms. But by keeping his views to himself, Mr. McCain kept the House revolt alive, a move that infuriated the White House and Congressional Democrats, but one that did bring him accolades from House Republicans, who say Mr. McCain at least helped get their voices heard . . . [read on]

More: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014920.php

Oxymoron alert!

[SEC chairman Christopher Cox] "The last six months have made it abundantly clear that voluntary regulation does not work."

A very bad week for McCain and Palin – and possibly the turning point in the campaign

The collapse of McCain's Hail Mary intervention capped a tumultuous week which saw the Arizona Democrat's [sic] lead over Obama evaporate and his running mate deliver a ragged and at times impenetrable TV interview. With economic jitters playing to traditional Democratic dogma, McCain's Big Mo suddenly reverted to his challenger.

"This is the attention-deficit-disorder campaign," said a bewildered senior Republican operative. "They've had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week."

In the process, McCain invited questions about his judgment and ability to work his will in Washington if elected.

"This raises the fundamental issue of how a guy who is hated by his own party can govern," fretted a GOP mandarin who worked for several Presidents. "If he can't control the Republicans, how can he run a country?" . . .

Post-debate tracking polls: Is Obama’s lead settling in?


Now will attention turn back to the lies the McCain campaign has been dishing about campaign manager Rick Davis?



That’s some web development!

[Josh Marshall] Mike Isikoff reveals that in addition to paying Davis's salary directly to Davis Manafort, the McCain campaign has paid almost a million dollars to 3eDC, a web development company, part owned by Davis.

That's a decent chunk of change for web development. So TPM Reader UB looked up 3eDC's website. And as you can see, for a firm in the business of billing $1 million for high-end design work, their own website appears to be one of those off-the-rack professional firm template sites you can by for $19.99.

I'm not saying it's Jukt Micronics exactly. But 3eDC's existence as an actual company seems rather thin.

Now, digging around a little, I notice that 3eDC is pretty closely tied to Davis Manafort. Not only, as Newsweek notes, does the company share an address with Davis Manafort. Last year, US News got Davis to admit that the company has two owners -- Rick Davis and Paul Manafort.

And there's a bit more. According to a July 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal, 3eDC was a "start-up ... with one customer -- the [McCain] campaign." The Journal further reported that within the campaign it was understood that 3eDC was essentially a pass-through, that it had a series of other 'partner firms' that did the actual work.

Perhaps not surprisingly, in June, the Post's Matthew Mosk reported that shortly after McCain took over the Republican National Committee in his role as de facto nominee, 3eDC resurfaced with its second client to date -- the Republican National Committee -- with a contract potentially worth as much as $3 million.

So to cycle back, how we got into all this was trying to figure out whether Rick Davis had really cut his ties with Davis Manafort. The question most people have been asking is whether Davis was still drawing a salary. What it seems like now, however, is that Davis has born poring tons of McCain campaign money back into Davis Manafort -- either by having his campaign salary paid to the firm or by having huge consulting accounts set up for paper companies owned by Davis and Manafort. In either case, the question seems no longer to be whether Davis still draws a salary from Davis Manafort but whether McCain-Palin 2008 and Davis Manafort are even distinct organizations.

McCain’s ties to Big Gambling

A lifelong gambler, Mr. McCain takes risks, both on and off the craps table. He was throwing dice that night not long after his failed 2000 presidential bid, in which he was skewered by the Republican Party’s evangelical base, opponents of gambling. Mr. McCain was betting at a casino he oversaw as a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and he was doing so with the lobbyist who represents that casino, according to three associates of Mr. McCain.

The visit had been arranged by the lobbyist, Scott Reed, who works for the Mashantucket Pequot, a tribe that has contributed heavily to Mr. McCain’s campaigns and built Foxwoods into the world’s second-largest casino. Joining them was Rick Davis, Mr. McCain’s current campaign manager. Their night of good fortune epitomized not just Mr. McCain’s affection for gambling, but also the close relationship he has built with the gambling industry and its lobbyists during his 25-year career in Congress. . . . [read on]

Who were the Keating Five?


Cheneyism at work in Anchorage

[ADN] With state officials again defying legislative subpoenas in the investigation of whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power, the war between state lawmakers and Alaska's attorney general is escalating.The governor's chief of staff, Mike Nizich, and six other Palin aides didn't show up Friday to honor subpoenas ordering them to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee chairman, Anchorage Democratic Sen. Hollis French, said they could be found in contempt when the full Legislature convenes in January . . . [NB: Yeah, right, JANUARY]

Don’t tell me that the McCain/Palin campaign is going to orchestrate a WEDDING for Palin’s pregnant daughter just before the election!

[Times of London] "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."

Further analysis of Murray Waas’s blockbuster on Gonzales’ hospital visit to Ashcroft


Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in trouble. . . . IN KENTUCKY. You know something has shifted


Expect more and more of this in the weeks to come, frantic articles and ads meant to whip up panic that Obama might actually become President!

[NRO] What’s depressing, to a person like me, is that Obama has mastered the trick of coming off as perfectly moderate — even when your career and thought have been very different. Listening to Obama last night, you would have taken him to be a Sam Nunn, David Boren type. No ACORN, no Ayers, no Wright, no community-organizin’ radicalism, no nothing. He certainly knows what it takes to appeal to people in a general election. Then, once he’s in — if he gets in — he will govern as far to the left as possible. . . .

Sunday talk show line-ups

NBC Meet the Press: Bill Clinton. Tom Brokaw will moderate a debate between Colorado Senate candidates Mark Udall (D) and Bob Schaffer (R).

CBS Face the Nation: Barack Obama.

ABC This Week: John McCain, and a roundtable with former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, The Washington Post's Steve Pearlstein, The American Prospect's Robert Reich, and ABC News' George Will.

CNN Late Edition: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, New York Times' Thomas Friedman, CNN's Gloria Borger, CNN's John King, CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, GOP strategist Alex Castellanos, Dem strategist Hilary Rosen, GOP strategist Leslie Sanchez and Dem strategist Donna Brazile.

Bonus item: “It doesn’t have to be that way”


Double extra special bonus item: Tina Fey as Sarah Palin (again)


***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Silly me. I actually believed that McCain meant it when he said he was suspending his campaign and postponing the debate so he could hurry back to Washington, where he would work tirelessly until a bailout deal was done, as he promised.

Of course, the instant he saw that this stunt was hurting him in the polls (only 10% thought postponing the debate was a good idea; Obama’s overnight tracking poll lead doubled), he suddenly reversed course, declared victory, and rushed back to do the debate after all – even though an agreement, largely thanks to his meddling, is actually farther away than ever. He still refuses to say whether he will even support the outcome of the process of bipartisan negotiation he wants to claim credit for putting in place. And, as documented here and elsewhere, he never did “suspend his campaign.”

But you know what? I thought McCain won the debate overall (though the polls don’t agree with me – see below). He continually framed issues in a way that put Obama in a reactive position – especially on the economy. Obama clearly had made a decision that he wasn’t going to be overly confrontational, and backed off several opportunities (as I yelled at the television) to come back hard at McCain. His one gain – and I suppose this was the main purpose – was to look calm, knowledgeable, and Presidential. He certainly was more respectful. He stood as McCain’s equal in foreign policy insight, despite McCain’s frequent labeling of him as “naïve.” And that’s a victory in itself, for Obama.

The most interesting thing, watching the debate on CNN, was their “instant response” chart running along the bottom – tracking the positive and negative reactions of selected Democratic, Republican, and Independent viewers. I wasn’t making a systematic study of this, but the Independent line seemed to favor Obama sharply over McCain. That’s huge, if it’s true

Debate recaps and assessments

Marshall: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220201.php

Sargent: http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/09/mccain_seems_to_have_upper_han.php

Digby: http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/reflexive-recoil-by-digby-its-very-hard.html

Hamsher: http://campaignsilo.firedoglake.com/2008/09/26/debate-wrap-up-obama-didnt-hurt-himself/

Benen (2): http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014910.php


Ambinder: http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/the_rumble_in_oxford_first_tho.php

Dickerson: http://www.slate.com/id/2200924

Lots more: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/26/221952/675/311/611925







I wouldn’t make too much of it, but the post-debate polls seem to think Obama won

CNN: http://www.eschatonblog.com/2008_09_21_archive.html#4515984453314773703


CBS: http://www.eschatonblog.com/2008_09_21_archive.html#7322430381225428975

Much more: http://blogs.tnr.com/tnr/blogs/the_plank/archive/2008/09/27/why-voters-thought-obama-won-and-why-the-pundits-didn-t-get-it.aspx
[Nate Silver] Why Voters Thought Obama Won (And Why the Pundits Didn't Get It) . . . [read on!]



McCain’s palpable contempt




[Todd Beeton] Much has been made of John McCain's refusal to look Barack Obama in the eye during the debate, and I do think it's a really important point, but Obama wasn't the only one whose gaze Senator McCain averted.

Several times during the debate, particularly in the opening section on the economy, Barack Obama looked directly into the camera and literally addressed the people watching at home, saying, essentially, in his own Barack way, "I feel your pain." I don't recall one time when John McCain did the same. . . . [read on]

Orwellian: McCain’s campaign posts an ad claiming “McCain Wins Debate” – HOURS BEFORE THE DEBATE EVEN HAPPENED


Watch McCain and his surrogates try to explain how there was sufficient “progress” in the budget talks to allow him to go back for the debate




Joe Klein: Bailout Kabuki

The New York Times has an excellent account of the impact of John McCain's bailout freakout on the actual work of negotiating a compromise. There are several stunning revelations here. First, House Minority Leader John Boehner's top aide pretty much conceded that among the motivations for the House Republicans' refusal to go along with the plan was to save face for McCain . . . [read on]

House Republican Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) was just interviewed by Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC, and he told Mitchell that McCain killed the deal yesterday at the White House . . .

[Think Progress] Boehner and McCain discussed the bailout plan, but Republican leadership aides described the conversation as somewhat surreal. Neither man was familiar with the details of the proposal being pressed by House conservatives . . .

Today’s must-read: John Judis nails McCain’s opportunism and hypocrisy.

“Putting Country Last”

More McCain-bashing from across the political spectrum: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/09/26/ex-adviser-mccain-blinked_n_129611.html
After days of saying that John McCain would not attend Friday's presidential debate unless an agreement on a bailout package for the markets was "locked-down," the McCain campaign has gone back on its word.

On Friday, it announced that the Senator would head down to Mississippi even though, as they readily admit, much work remained needed on the bailout agreement.

The whole episode left even conservatives admitting that the McCain campaign looked erratic and a bit foolish with no apparent direction or guiding principle.

"It just proves his campaign is governed by tactics and not ideology," said Republican consultant Craig Shirley, who advised McCain earlier in this cycle. "In the end, he blinked and Obama did not. The 'steady hand in a storm' argument looks now to more favor Obama, not McCain."

[Fox] Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Thursday that Sen. John McCain made a “huge mistake” by even discussing canceling the presidential debate with Sen. Barack Obama. . . .

More: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-welch26-2008sep26,0,5641824.story



John McCain, thrill junkie


More (and more and more) evidence of lobbyist influence over McCain’s campaign


The lack of investigation into McCain’s health issues – and his continued refusal to make his medical reports fully available


Obama’s polling lead doubles overnight, thanks to McCain’s stunt


[Whoa!] Key finding: On the economy, Obama has a 48% to 34% advantage over McCain.

How the rest of the world votes on McCain/Obama (thanks to Robert M. for the link)

[Jonathan Freedland] Obama has stirred an excitement around the globe unmatched by any American politician in living memory. Polling in Germany, France, Britain and Russia shows that Obama would win by whopping majorities, with the pattern repeated in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. If November 4 were a global ballot, Obama would win it handsomely. If the free world could choose its leader, it would be Barack Obama. . . .

VP surrogates

[Steve Benen] After a debate, campaigns generally want high-profile figures telling the media how great their candidate did. And as a rule, it's hard to top the running mates as high-profile figures.

It was pretty interesting, then, that the Obama campaign was anxious to get Joe Biden in front of the cameras -- while Sarah Palin was nowhere to be found.

Indeed, as this CNN clip shows, Biden was not only out there, he was excellent . . .

Now, on the other side of the GOP ticket. The disastrous Gibson and Couric interviews, the impending debate disaster with Biden, has conservatives really worried about Sarah Palin. As predicted here, once the novelty and instant celebrity of Palin wore off, once she had to step down from reading clever quips from the teleprompter (which she does really, really well) and actually talk about what she knows and believes, the shallowness of this woman has become apparent to everyone. You’re actually hearing calls from the RIGHT that she should step down. That’s amazing. Even more amazing is to see a ninny like Kathleen Parker say that Palin isn’t smart enough for the job

[Parker] It was fun while it lasted.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted . . . [read on!]

Parker's comments follow those by prominent conservatives David Brooks, George Will, and David Frum who have all publicly questioned Palin's readiness to be vice president.

"Sarah Palin has many virtues," Brooks wrote in a recent column. "If you wanted someone to destroy a corrupt establishment, she'd be your woman. But the constructive act of governance is another matter. She has not been engaged in national issues, does not have a repertoire of historic patterns and, like President Bush, she seems to compensate for her lack of experience with brashness and excessive decisiveness."

[CNN’s Jack] Cafferty: Palin's a Friggin' Laughingstock

Much more! http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0908/13991.html


Palin’s lies

On Israel: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/26/82920/5951/156/611079

On Kissinger: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/9/26/174427/828/428/610807

On passports: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014908.php


McCain’s thugs and Palin’s lackeys have pretty much shut down the investigation process in Alaska – the national press has moved on, but the locals are furious

[Zachary Roth] The national press may have mostly left Alaska, but the legal maneuvering over Trooper-Gate continues. Yesterday, Attorney General Talis Colberg filed suit to throw out the subpoenas issued to witnesses in the legislature's investigation. . . .

Lawmakers investigating Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner accused the McCain-Palin campaign on Thursday of stonewalling the probe by helping witnesses refuse to comply with subpoenas. . . .

Theocracy warning

[Sam Harris] The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth's surface (she didn't have a passport until last year), or that she's never met a foreign head of state. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her. There is nothing to suggest that she even sees a role for careful analysis or a deep understanding of world events when it comes to deciding the fate of a nation. In her interview with Gibson, Palin managed to turn a joke about seeing Russia from her window into a straight-faced claim that Alaska's geographical proximity to Russia gave her some essential foreign-policy experience. Palin may be a perfectly wonderful person, a loving mother and a great American success story—but she is a beauty queen/sports reporter who stumbled into small-town politics, and who is now on the verge of stumbling into, or upon, world history.

The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin's lack of intellectual qualifications. . . .

I care even more about the many things Palin thinks she knows but doesn't: like her conviction that the Biblical God consciously directs world events. Needless to say, she shares this belief with mil-lions of Americans—but we shouldn't be eager to give these people our nuclear codes, either. There is no question that if President McCain chokes on a spare rib and Palin becomes the first woman president, she and her supporters will believe that God, in all his majesty and wisdom, has brought it to pass. Why would God give Sarah Palin a job she isn't ready for? He wouldn't. Everything happens for a reason. Palin seems perfectly willing to stake the welfare of our country—even the welfare of our species—as collateral in her own personal journey of faith . . . [read on]

FINALLY, the rape kit story being pushed by us, by AmericaBlog, and a couple of others, breaks into the mainstream: WHY did Palin refuse to pay for victims’ examinations – and did it have to do with her extremist views on contraception?


Just for fun: Palin’s beauty contest video


The number of red states that Obama has turned into battleground states keeps growing – and with that, the number of places where McCain and the GOP have to spend time and money: Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and New Hampshire




I keep harping on this, but keep an eye on voter registration and GOTV operations – that’s where Obama has a huge advantage, come election day

[Greg Sargent] In a development that could have a significant impact on the presidential race, the rise in registered Democrats has far outpaced Republican registration in many key swing states, giving Dems a clear registration advantage in a lot of them, while wiping away one-time GOP registration advantages in a couple others. . . .

60 Senate seats, back within reach thanks to the financial meltdown


Losing Pakistan

[AP] Pakistan warned U.S. troops not to intrude on its territory Friday . . . [read on]

Report on Alberto Gonzales’s politicized firing of US Attorneys to be released on Monday. Here are some teasers

[Former US Attorney David Iglesias] “I expect them to conclude that there is sufficient evidence to show that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty committed perjury in their statements before Congressional committees and investigators.”

Alberto could be in BIG trouble

[Murray Waas] The Justice Department is investigating whether former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales created a set of fictitious notes so that President Bush would have a rationale for reauthorizing his warrantless eavesdropping program . . . [read on]

BUSH sent Gonzales and his henchmen on that ill-fated trip to Ashcroft’s hospital bed

[Murray Waas] In March 2004, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a now-famous late-night visit to the hospital room of Attorney General John Ashcroft, seeking to get Ashcroft to sign a certification stating that the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program was legal. According to people familiar with statements recently made by Gonzales to federal investigators, Gonzales is now saying that George Bush personally directed him to make that hospital visit. . . . [read on]

More: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/220019.php


The kind of people they are

[Glenn Greenwald] National Review's Mark Krikorian notes that (1) Washington Mutual became the largest bank to fail in American history yesterday and (2) its last press release touted the fact that it was named one of America's most diverse employers, having been "honored specifically for its efforts to recruit Hispanic employees, reach out to Hispanic consumers and support Hispanic communities and organizations"; for being "named [one of] the top 60 companies for Hispanics"; for "attaining equal rights for GLBT employees and consumers"; for having "earned points for competitive diversity policies and programs, including the recently established Latino, African American and GLBT employee network groups"; and for being "named one of 25 Noteworthy Companies by Diversity Inc magazine and one of the Top 50 Corporations for Supplier Diversity by Hispanic Enterprise magazine."

While juxtaposing these two facts -- (1) WaMu has a racially and ethnically diverse workforce and (2) WaMu collapsed yesterday -- the National Review writer headlined his post: "Cause and Effect?" . . .

Bonus item: McCain’s next ten campaign stunts

1. Returns to Vietnam and jails himself.
2. Offers the post of "vice vice president" to Warren Buffett.
3. Challenges Obama to suspend campaign so they both can go and personally drill for oil offshore.
4. Learns to use computer.
5. Does bombing run over Taliban-controlled tribal areas of Pakistan.
6. Offers to forgo salary, sell one house.
7. Sex-change operation.
8. Suspends campaign until Nov. 4, offers to start being president right now.
9. Sells Alaska to Russia for $700 billion.
10. Pledges to serve only one term. OK, half a term.

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL (http://pbd.blogspot.com).

I don't get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don't run ads, etc). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a "mission," it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***