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Posts Tagged ‘McCain’

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Win

Win

Exit, pursued by a bear

Exit, pursued by a bear

Full recap of the evening to come later…

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Stand up, America

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The McCainiacs use “maverick” as a comma.  They use it the way 50 uses the n-word.

The term, which originates in cattle branding, has broad currency in the American pysche — witness its usage for bikes, boats, Java tools, restaurants, firearms, family counseling, good tv shows, bad movies, helicoptors, poetry magazines, kitchen timers, personal jets, and Oklahoma gay bars.

Considering this fantastic array of misappropriation, it’s little wonder that a United States Senator would latch onto the word as mantra.  Now here’s its origin, as per the New York Times:

“In the 1800s, Samuel Augustus Maverick went to Texas and became known for not branding his cattle. He was more interested in keeping track of the land he owned than the livestock on it… unbranded cattle, then, were called “Maverick’s.” The name came to mean anyone who didn’t bear another’s brand.”

This is where we get the powerful, iconoclastic American image so helpful for selling Oklahoma gay bars.  Problem is, the Maverick family is 180 degrees opposite of Senator McCain on everything:

“Sam Maverick’s grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation…”

It gets better:

“This Maverick’s son, Maury Jr., was a firebrand civil libertarian and lawyer who defended draft resisters, atheists and others scorned by society. He served in the Texas Legislature during the McCarthy era and wrote fiery columns for The San Antonio Express-News. His final column, published on Feb. 2, 2003, just after he died at 82, was an attack on the coming war in Iraq.”

And there’s more!

“Terrellita Maverick, sister of Maury Jr., is a member emeritus of the board of the San Antonio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. “

Now 82, Terrellita drops the hammer:

“It’s just incredible — the nerve! — to suggest that he’s not part of that Republican herd. Every time we hear it, all my children and I and all my family shrink a little and say, ‘Oh, my God, he said it again.’  He’s a Republican,” she said. “He’s branded.”

You can get the family’s papers at the UT-Austin.  Good on them.  And please take a moment (and a buck or two) for good Texas Democrats running against troglodytes.  Because at least one of my exes are from Texas.

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Quacks like a racist

Today’s contestant: Bobby Lee May.

In addition to sharing his name with a famous juggler, Monsieur May served as treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party as well as county representative to Senator McCain’s Virginia leadership team. The 97% white county, named for this racist fool, gave Senator Obama only 9% in the Democratic primary; in a state he dominated with 64%. (Though, to be fair to the locals, Douglas Wilder did carry the county in his 1989 run for Governor.)

So here’s May, chillin’, counting out the Buchanan County GOP cash box and generally minding his own shit. But then, he decides to write a column in a local newspaper. I hope you’re sitting down as I present some excerpts from “The (clarified) platform of Barack Hussein Obama:”

“DRUG CRISIS: Raise taxes to pay for free drugs for Obama’s inner-city political base….”

“FOREIGN RELATIONS: Appoint Rev. Al Sharpton as Secretary of State, Jesse Jackson as UN Representative, and let Bill Clinton handle all other “foreign relations” … As long as Hillary doesn’t find out…!”

“THE WHITE HOUSE: Hire rapper Ludacris to “paint it black.” Taxes to be increased to buy enough paint for the job plus spray-paint for graffiti….”

“US CURRENCY: Update photos to reflect US diversity; include pictures of “great Americans” such as Oprah Winfrey, Ludacris, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Paris Hilton, and Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson (Obama’s new Secretary of the Treasury – 50 Cent refused position after learning that he would lose his crazy check if he accepted the nomination)….”

“US FLAG: Replace 50 stars with a star and crescent logo; red stripes changed to green to represent Obama’s tree-hugging radical environmentalism and his lack of experience. Flag lapel pins, having become a substitute for “real patriotism,” will henceforth be banned….”

“STATEHOOD: Extend statehood to the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Kenya, Cuba, Palestine, Freedonia, Bugtussle and the ‘Free state of McDowell’ and raise taxes…”

“THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES: Raise taxes to send $845 billion, send most to Africa so that the Obama family there can skim off enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream…”

Sadly for Monsieur May, this story escaped the confines of small-town print journalism. No less than the Los Angeles Times provides a pdf of the entire article today. May initially denied that this was racist, before reality coerced him into one of those I’m sorry if anyone was offended non-apologies. The McCain people promptly removed May from his campaign position

But here’s the thing: On the one hand, the mid-Atlantic spokeswoman for the McCain campaign called the remarks “offensive” and “insulting,” adding that they “have no place in our political discourse.” On the other, VP harpie Sarah Palin has spit out the following dreck over the past 48 hours:

“…This is not a man who sees America as you and I do…”

“…This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists…”

True, the campaign tries to stop short of formally endorsing teh racisms. However, they’re awfully loaded up with the He’s not like us stuff. The McCain campaign has literally pulled its only positive ad, settling on a home-stretch strategy of character attacks. (In contrast, over half of Obama’s TV money is going to the “Real Change” ad in which the Senator speaks policy directly to the camera.) Expect a steady diet of Ayers, Rezko, and possibly Wright for the next four weeks. And when it gets too uncomfortable, there’s always the porcine surrogates willing to spread the feces.

Interestingly enough, the McCain camp is also preparing to run on crime. They’re digging in Obama’s Illinois record for signs of weakness. This is an odd topic to attack on considering nobody gives a shit, with crime parked somewhere below the economy, Iraq, national security, gas prices, health care, immigration, and social issues on the to-do list. But then, if you’re listening for racist dog-whistles, crime is top-shelf. And if there were any doubt, they’ve dredged up the designer of the Willie Horton ad.

Even McCain’s attacks on housing have been racially-tinted. The campaign has tried to link Obama with the black former CEO of Fannie Mae Franklin Raines; an association the Washington Post called “a stretch” and “clearly exaggerating wildly.” They interspersed Raines and Obama’s faces with an elderly white woman in a negative television ad citing “financial fraud,” even while the fastest expansion of subprime lending occurred under Raines’ (white) successor Daniel Mudd. I guess we shouldn’t act all surprised, considering that the house organ of conservatism blamed the failure of Washington Mutual on affirmative action, while the Reich Women’s Auxiliary blamed the subprime crisis on lending to minorities. (Dismissed here by a liberal and there by a conservative.)

There’s patterns here. For people who swear they aren’t racist, Republicans sure do a lot of racist shit. And so, as previously cited, the wisdom of Bond villain Auric Goldfinger:

“Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action.”

In a roundabout way, the good news is that Americans might be too poor to buy it this time. Firebrand AFL-CIO official Richard Trumka recalled a conversation with a voter in Pennsylvania. The voter, a “die-hard Democrat,” openly told Trumka that she would not vote for Senator Obama because of his race:

“Trumka said he told the woman: “Look around this town. Nemacolin is a dying town. There’s no jobs here. Our kids are moving away because there’s no future here. And here’s a man, Barack Obama, who’s gonna fight for people like us. And you wanna tell me that you won’t vote for him because of the color of his skin? Are you out of your ever-lovin’ mind, lady?'”

Hopefully, the current state of the economy, two wars, gas prices, and health care will diminish the salience of race-baiting attacks. The financial crisis, unlike crime or welfare, is difficult to fit into racial frames.

The outcome of the 2008 election isn’t just critical for policy but for future narratives as well. Imagine if McCain storms back from being down anywhere from 6 to 12 points to win going away on slander, xenophobia, and dirty tricks. Why, after this and the Swift Boats, would anyone try anything else for the next three election cycles? On the other hand, a decisive win for Obama (300+ electoral votes) would force all those campaign strategists to rethink the playbook they’ve been using since Nixon. It’s worth considering this story from Larry Bartels:

“I was very struck when I learned — many of you probably have seen, after each recent election, immediately after the election, Newsweek comes out with a big cover package on why, fill in the blank, won the election. And in 2004, they actually came out with a book that included a lot of analysis of why it was that Bush won the election.

But before the election, they actually sent out an advertisement that had two books side by side; one was why Bush won the election and the other was why Kerry won the election. And given the times of producing these things, they actually had to produce most of the package, explaining to the readers of Newsweek the following week why it was that Kerry won the election.”

The morning after an election, pundits begin to sell either (Explanatory Narrative A) or (Explanatory Narrative B) depending on the outcome. It doesn’t matter if a thousand Jews for Buchanan were the only reason we didn’t inaugurate President Gore in 2000; once the election ends, the story is about how Bush got out enough evangelicals and Gore dressed wrong and looked elitist. Subtract either voter fraud or the Workers’ World Party, and the entire political discourse between 2000 and 2004 is about how Bush was too inexperienced and poorly spoken and how the Democrats will never lose hold of the White House again. (It also might’ve spared us the twin indignities of John Kerry duck hunting and Karl Rove as rock star.) Campaigns are not just about winning this one; they’re about building frames to win the next two. With this in mind, it’s double important that the good guys win this one.

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Happy Monday, with four back-to-back posts from Political Wire:

Democracy Corps: Obama Up By Six in Ohio

A new Democracy Corps poll in Ohio finds Sen. Barack Obama now leading Sen. John McCain, 49% to 43%.

Obama’s lead is built “on an impressive 48% to 35% edge among independent voters. McCain’s attempt to seize the mantle of change is falling on deaf ears in Ohio as by 24%, voters in the Buckeye state believe Obama, not McCain, is the reformer and by 18%, Ohioans believe Obama will bring the right kind of change. And in a state where the economy is king, Obama’s aggressive positioning of the economic contrast with McCain has produced an 11-point Obama lead on which candidate will do a better job on the economy.”
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| October 06, 2008

Suffolk Poll: Obama Crushing McCain in Virginia

A new Suffolk University poll in Virginia shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by a stunning 12 points, 51% to 39%.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “Barack Obama has built a coalition of suburban DC area progressives from the north, African-American voters from the south, and young voters statewide. That broad-based support suggests a 44-year Republican run in the Old Dominion State, dating back to Lyndon Johnson’s victory in 1964, is in jeopardy.”

Key finding: “The poll shows last Thursday’s vice presidential debate was a net plus for the Democratic ticket. Exactly three-quarters (75%) of likely voters watched and scored Joe Biden (46%) the clear winner over Sarah Palin (26%), while 20% said neither won the debate. When asked if the debate affected their presidential selection, 32% said it made them more likely to vote Obama, while 18% said the debate moved them to McCain, and 47% said the debate didn’t affect their decision.”

0 Comments | Share | October 06, 2008

SurveyUSA: Obama Way Ahead in New Hampshire

A new SurveyUSA poll in New Hampshire finds Sen. Barack Obama leading by an astonishing 13 points, 53% to 40%.

A little history: “New Hampshire voted Republican in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2000. New Hampshire voted Democrat in 1992, 1996 and 2004, but no Democrat running for President in New Hampshire has received more than 50% of the vote in the past 44 years.”

Key findings: Obama holds a 22-point advantage among women, 29-point advantage among young voters, 21-point advantage among Moderates, 18-point advantage among those who consider themselves an intellectual, 24-point advantage among lower-income voters, and 23-point advantage among college graduates.

10 Comments | Share | October 06, 2008

SurveyUSA: Obama Pulls Away in Virginia

A new SurveyUSA poll in Virginia shows Sen. Barack Obama leading Sen. John McCain by ten points, 53% to 43%.

Since a similar poll conducted just after the Republican convention, McCain has gone from up by 2 to down by 10.

Key finding: McCain no longer leads in any region of the state.

36 Comments | Share | October 06, 2008

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Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post reports:

Although the fate of tonight’s presidential debate in Mississippi remains very much up in the air, John McCain has apparently already won it — if you believe an Internet ad an astute reader spotted next to this piece in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal this morning.

“McCain Wins Debate!” declares the ad which features a headshot of a smiling McCain with an American flag background. Another ad spotted by our eagle-eyed observer featured a quote from McCain campaign manager Rick Davis declaring: “McCain won the debate– hands down.”

Screen-grab here.

Senator McCain is running for Potemkin Village Council.

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Earlier today, Elizabeth Bumiller of the evil New York Times reported:

“Senator John McCain said Wednesday that he would temporarily suspend his presidential campaign on Thursday to return to Washington to deal with the financial crisis and the $700 billion bailout package now before Congress.”

Mavericky stuff there, lookin’ all post-partisan. But wait, there’s more!

“Mr. McCain said he told Senator Barack Obama that he was asking the Commission on Presidential Debates to postpone the debate scheduled for Friday night.”

These debates are long-planned, long-prepared events. The financial crisis is here today, it’ll be here tomorrow, and if we’re lucky for the rest of our lives. McCain called this a matter of “patriotism;” by now we should know not to trust any Republican wearing a flag. Postponing the debate over the weekend is a shallow ploy to appear statesmanlike while diverting attention away from a floundering campaign. A McCain campaign source noted:

– McCain called Obama before he made the statement and told him he was going to suspend his campaign and move back to DC until the economic crisis has been figured out.
– McCain wants to create “a political free zone” until a deal is reached between now and Monday.

Given the campaign’s inability to manage Palin properly, their decreasingly coherant blame-the-media strategy, and their recent Wall Street problem…

(Pew Poll, September 23)

(Pew Poll, September 23)

…it wasn’t surprising to hear them calling for an urgent political moratorium. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell quotes the McCainiacs’ hysteria:

“[McCain advisors] deny that there is a political calculation in this and say without action the country could slide into a Depression by Monday and added “we’ll see 12 percent unemployment” if action is not completed.”

Our economy has apparently sunk so low that a 90 minute Presidential debate on Friday night could double the unemployment rate. Ben Smith over at Politico questions the urgency, noting: “The only thing that’s changed in the past 48 hours is the public polling.”

And Obama? “No dice:”

“The debate is on,” a senior Obama campaign official told ABC News.

Assuming the debate remains on, (and I’d put my $1 on it,) McCain will at least suspend his ads. What this has to do with anything is beyond me. Senator McCain isn’t writing the ads himself, nor spending any personal time planning them instead of dealing with financial policy. This too-cute-by-half gambit reaffirms McCain’s motive: A temporary stop to the campaign bleeding, rather than an actual solution to the financial crisis.

Obama could pull his ads as well, if he wants to match McCain charade for facade. (*I’m aware it don’t rhyme.) Alternately, Obama could release a statement explaining that the campaigns themselves are absolutely central to America’s financial future, while hammering on a “failure of conservatism” narrative. Friday’s debate is on foreign policy, so let’s expand it beyond war-gaming. Let’s have a talk about free trade. Let’s have a talk about the interconnectivity of international markets. Let’s have a talk about blowing American taxpayer money to save foreign banks.

Bring. It. On.

Update: The reviews are in and they’re horrible:

First poll results are trickling out.  The very good Survey-USA asked:

“The first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama is scheduled to take place in two days. Should the debate be held as scheduled? Should the debate be held, but the format changed to focus on the economy? Or, should the debate be postponed?”

And the results:

Held as scheduled:  50%

Held with focus on economy:  36%

Postponed:  10%

Not sure:  4%

Nor are Americans buying the campaign suspension gimmick.  Question:

“Is the right response to the turmoil on Wall Street to suspend the campaigns for president? To continue the campaigns as though there is no crisis? Or, to re-focus the campaigns with a unique emphasis on the turmoil on Wall Street?”

Answers:

Suspend campaigns:  14%

Continue campaign:  31%

Re-focus the campaign:  48%

Not sure:  7%

My unscientific guess is that the wording may have pushed some people both towards the “re-focus” answer and away from the “continue” response; the former because it sounds nice (“unique emphasis”) and the latter because it sounds dismissive and naive (“as though there is no crisis.”)  Consistant, though, is the fact that less than one in eight Americans are buying McCain’s used car.

(S-USA polled 1,000 people, margin of error 3.2%.  Crosstabs here.)

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