Posts Tagged ‘mccain’

Carry Me Back

November 1, 2008

About to head to Virginia for voter protection stuff on election day.  Democrats will be there to make sure every eligible voter is permitted to vote a regular ballot.  Should be fun.

The Party of No Ideas

October 27, 2008

The real reason the National Review types are upset, of course, is that the media is reporting on Biden’s comment, Rev. Wright, lipstick on pigs, etc., and nobody gives a shit.

Times are too serious, and Republican policy (to the extent that any such thing exists) and talking points so discredited, that the outrage and umbrage assault can’t make a dent in public opinion anymore.

Who Do YOU Trust?

October 17, 2008

As awful as the Washington Post editorial page is, I don’t want to lose my elitist cred by siding with Joe on this one.

Despite their agreement on Social Security, Joe the Plumber and the Washington Post find themselves on opposite sides this campaign.

Despite their agreement on Social Security, Joe the Plumber and the Washington Post find themselves on opposite sides this campaign.

Study: Media Focus Steadily on Trivialities

August 5, 2008

Stop the presses, this is a scoop:

Fully 78% of campaign stories from January 1 through May 4, 2008 examined by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism focused on political tactics, strategy or the state of the horserace, as opposed to policy, background or personal issues. Policy topics made up 7% of the stories, personal matters, 7%, and public record, 2%.

It occurs to me that media coverage of John McCain is rather like the treatment of Keanu Reeves’ character in the 2000 football movie The ReplacementsIn that film, “Reeves has ‘heart,’ a detail conveyed by having other characters speak of him as a great guy every five minutes.”

We constantly hear that McCain is a great guy with integrity, but there never seems to be any supporting evidence from the past 3 decades.  And God forbid we ever hear a word about what he intends to do as president.

Lessons from History, Personal and Political

June 15, 2008

The Times has a lengthy article on John McCain’s 1974 thesis on lessons of Vietnam.

Adm. Jim Stockdale wrote that the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was based on completely false impressions (not deliberately so, but false nonetheless).  He also thought that the US should have bombed the dickens out of Hanoi, and, like McCain in his thesis, argued that congressmen who opposed the war were rooting for failure and surrender.

Lord knows that they earned all manner of admiration for their toughness and defiance in the Hanoi Hilton.  That doesn’t mean that they drew the right lessons for US policy, though. Strategy has to involve some awareness of costs and benefits, and you just don’t get it from McCain, not on Vietnam, and not on Iraq.

He did have some concept of it on Somalia, though.  Was it that he connected the Vietnam war to the threat from communism, and the Iraq occupation to the threat from terrorism?  That conservative Republicans tended to support both of them, but not Somalia?  Who knows.

In the Main in Spain, They Really Hate McCain

June 14, 2008

The entire world, except Jordan, has more confidence in Obama than McCain.  I would guess that about 3 percent of Americans know that the world has strong views on this, and that maybe a quarter of them care.

Kosovo: Another Vietnam, Demonstrating the Truth of the Powell Doctrine

May 28, 2008

So said John McCain in 1999:

Nearly two weeks of NATO bombing has failed to stop the Yugoslav Army’s brutal removal of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo, and starkly revealed the limitations of an air-only campaign in trying to break President Slobodan Milosevic’s will to wage war. The capture of three American soldiers along the Macedonia border only made matters worse.

Suddenly, General Powell’s principles are looking a lot more attractive. ”This only affirms the Powell Doctrine,” said Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, who joined the growing chorus of those clamoring to send ground troops into Kosovo. ”This is more reminiscent of the gradual escalation and bombing pauses that characterized the Vietnam War.”

Even General Powell broke his usually self-imposed silence on continuing military operations last week, offering remarks that carried a distinctly I-told-you-so ring. ”The challenge of just using air power is that you leave it in the hands of your adversary to decide when he’s been punished enough,” General Powell told reporters before a speech in Blacksburg, Va. ”So the initiative will remain with President Milosevic.”

Thanks for sticking to your guns in the Bush era, guys.  Real profiles in courage, the both of you.

Fair Game

May 25, 2008

Here’s an effort by a Republican columnist to provide some sort of intellectual justification for the usual GOP savagery, charmingly entitled “Michelle Obama is fair game.”  (Hmm, “fair game,” when have we heard a woman targeted in those terms before?)  We’ve already seen the GOP run an ad attacking Mrs. Obama in Tennessee.

You’d think that they might think better of this.

Cindy McCain, after all, had an affair with John McCain when he was still married to his first wife, stole drugs from the charity she ran in order to feed her habit, and, despite bankrolling his early political career with her inherited wealth, refuses to release anything more than a brief summary of her tax returns.

Do they really want to do this?

These are Republicans we’re talking about here, so obviously no moral argument will convince them to refrain from targeting a candidate’s spouse.  Maybe, though, they can realize that these rules they’re setting up are not in their self interest.

Innovations in Press Relations

March 4, 2008

John McCain had a whole bunch of reporters to his house in Sedona for a barbeque yesterday.

Hillary Clinton stationed the press corps in a men’s room for five hours tonight.

Of course this sort of stuff wouldn’t affect coverage in an ideal world.  But it’s hard for me to see what purpose is served by antagonizing the press like this.

The Character Issue

March 3, 2008

Apparently, John McCain says things that are demonstrably false, in this case about a link between thimerosal and autism. He certainly doesn’t appear to know very much about anything, but this seems to me to be a relatively minor gaffe, as long as he comes clean about it.

This report, that an Obama trade adviser has been reassuring Canada that the candidate isn’t actually as interested in revisiting NAFTA as he is implying on the campaign trail, is more of a concern. The Obama adviser denies the Canadian memo’s implication that the rhetoric is fixed without regard to policy. The next step is to compare Obama’s speeches to his policy positions. It’s also darn strange that folks in the Canadian government would think it a good idea to characterize the conversation that way, and distribute that memo widely— maybe Canada is in the tank for Hillary!

Daniel Larison has written that the Obama and McCain campaigns are “defined so completely by biography.” I don’t think that’s true; Obama has policy plans, while McCain does not. McCain’s ignorance won’t be stressed by the media, and doesn’t really affect his appeal. If Obama is shown to be talking out of both sides of his mouth, it will be covered more extensively, and could affect his reputation for setting out clear, sound policies.

UPDATE:  The initial story about the Obama memo came from the AP’s oft-criticized Nedra Pickler.  The plot thickens…