Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain and Palin: the original wusses.

I'm not a big fan of David Letterman, but I gotta give him props here. So now our intrepid war hero, who doesn't even flinch in the face of extended periods of torture, is doing the right thing for America, putting aside his own selfish political interests and canceling Friday's debate in order to tend to the needs of his beloved nation. Yeah, right. First of all, as has been amply pointed out, John McCain, throughout his long Washington career, has been one of the loudest voices for deregulation. So it's more than a tad disingenuous for him suddenly to declare that he needs to come back to Washington, roll up his sleeves and fix this mess for us. Secondly, what does he think he's gonna do in any case? Saddle up one of the elks Sarah would ordinarily shoot, ride in like some hybrid of Sir Galahad and Jesus, lay his hands upon the Lazarus that our economy has become, and make it all better?

And as Letterman also suggested,
even if McCain were going to beg off, why not have Palin act as a surrogate? Wouldn't this be the perfect opportunity for her to prove her mettle, taking on not Joe Biden but the Dem's presidential candidate? OK, I'll give you a moment to stop laughing as you mull that prospect. This, after all, is a woman whose handlers clearly have told her to just keep repeating the same four or five pat lines ("mavericks," "good ol' boys," "hockey mom," "I told 'em they could keep their bridge to nowhere," etc.), no matter what anyone asks. (Per chance, did you hear her performance under questioning from Katie Couric, who, by the way, is hardly the world's edgiest interviewer? OMG!, as your teenage son or daughter might put it.)

John McCain is afraid to face a skilled debater like Barack Obama at a time when he's on the defensive...and he's on the defensive because his party's approach to governance has brought the nation to the brink of disaster. I mean, think about it: Mortgage money and other lines of credit have dried up. Not a few of your neighbors have lost their homes. Some 493,000 of us filed for unemployment last week alone. Our energy woes are such that we rejoice, now, when gas falls to $3.50 a gallon. Wall Street is in chaos; some of its biggest firms, regarded as blue-chips just a year or so ago, have tanked and need a bailout, which will cost America (you and me) $700 billion. Seven-hundred-billion dollars. And not far in the background, lest we forget, is That War, which has: killed substantially more Americans than died on 9/11; failed to accomplish the mission it allegedly set out to accomplish (remember those WMDs?); further damaged our image throughout the world; and, the ultimate kicker, will
be revealed as utterly pointless in an almost tragicomic way if we ever actually do pull out and Iraq devolves into chaos and sectarian slaughter.

I can hardly believe that the GOP has the audacity to run a candidate at all. And I'm dead-serious in saying that. If John McCain and the Republicans had a shred of integrity left, they wouldn't just "suspend" the campaign. They'd do what's done at political conventions when there's a clear front-runner: cancel all the politicking, throw their support behind Obama and allow him to become president by acclamation.


Elizabeth said...

Saddle up one of the elks Sarah would ordinarily shoot, ride in like some hybrid of Sir Galahad and Jesus, lay his hands upon the Lazarus that our economy has become, and make it all better?

LOL! All that while having his photos taken -- and doing a press announcement, in front of cameras, right afterwards. Pretending to look presidential. Or at least as if he had a clue.

BTW, spot on, Steve.

Elizabeth said...

Steve, OMG!, or rather, O.M.G.... is my response to most news coming out of the Palin-whatshisname headquarters lately.

It is un-freakin'-believable, that level of crass and brazen disregard for honesty and integrity, not to mention for our intelligence, that these folks represent in their behavior.

Indeed, it reminds one of putting lipstick on pigs (and expensive, er, lipstick at that -- turns out McCain's makeup for TV appearances costs over $5000 -- I'm not kidding:

And I thought Edwards' $400 haircuts were outrageous... But I digress. These are minor irritants, after all.)

Elizabeth said...

You could have also mentioned that it's kinda ironic (to put it mildly) for McCain to suspend democr... I mean, campaigning (read: ditch the debate) to rush to Washington now to offer his, er, advice and vote on the bailout, since he, of all senators, skipped the most votes this year. (I'll post the cite when I find it.)

RevRon's Rants said...

To be fair (if such a thing is even possible), Palin and Biden should fill in and hold their debate tomorrow. Then, McCain and Obama could hold their debate in the VP candidates' original time slot. The debates would still be bloodbaths for the Republicans, but at least we'd be looking at apples vs. apples, rather than sentient being vs. carrot! In all honesty, can anyone really blame the McPalin ticket for wanting to hide, rather than actually show their mettle?

Elizabeth said...

McCain skipped over 64% of votes during current Congress:
(Obama missed over 45%.)

The below is one of them (shows his priorities as well as how disingenuous his sudden rush to Washington to "save the economy" is; he's trying to save somethin', alright, but it ain't the economy):

From The Utah Amicus, Feb. 13, 2008:

Last week Republican frontrunner John McCain - who recently told reporters he "doesn't really understand economics" - was too busy campaigning and too afraid to alienate the right wing of his Party to vote on a key element of the stimulus package. Despite being in Washington, and despite the fact that fellow Senators who traveled with him made it to the Senate in time to vote, McCain was the only senator to miss a vote on whether to improve the economic stimulus package by adding assistance for 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans to the package. Because of McCain's absence, the measure fell one vote short.

Full text:

P.S. I'd take the idea of Palin-Biden debate instead, though much prefer the original plan. (And why the heck not? There is no legitimate reason not to go ahead with it.)

BTW, if McCain really wants to "help the economy," he should show up, otherwise the debate organizers at the Uni. of Miss. face devastating financial losses:

Steve Salerno said...

Well now--in fairness--I hear lots of folks talk about Obama skipping a large number of votes as well, or merely voting "present."

Also, I should mention that Rev has written a typically elegant and persuasive "position paper" on the subject of the debate, which, I understand, is now under consideration at several major newspapers. He has graciously given me the right to excerpt it, which I may very well do, but I thought it would be good to wait and see if it gets "legitimately" published first.

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz: Forgive me. I missed the line about Obama's record in my first (nine) readings of your comment. ;)

ellen said...

'If John McCain and the Republicans had a shred of integrity left, they wouldn't just "suspend" the campaign.'

I think they have just amply demonstrated that they didn't have a shred to start with. Just watched the highlights of the Bush speech, trowelling on the apocalyptic nightmares. Is this the plan? To pull McCain and Palin out of range to prevent further shootings in the foot while Bush comes on heavy with the politics of fear to try to terrify the voters back into the fold?
What a shameful position to come to.

Elizabeth said...

Is this the plan? To pull McCain and Palin out of range to prevent further shootings in the foot while Bush comes on heavy with the politics of fear to try to terrify the voters back into the fold?

I think you've nailed it, Ellen. The very same tactic has worked in the past, so why shouldn't it now?

Now if we could only manufacture a handy international crisis, say, somewhere in a former Soviet republic, which would -- hypothetically, of course -- provoke Russia to respond militarily -- and give McCain a chance to show his (dubious) foreign policy chops and act presidential. And then even Palin could chirp in, being the expert on Russia 'n all.

So I guess we should not be surprised if such a crisis happens while the first debate is being postponed. (That is, if Randy Scheunemann, McPalin's foreign policy adviser, can manage the same (or a similar) trick twice.)

Mike Cane said...

I've been absent (as if anyone noticed!) because I can't do political yelling each and every day. (I can, however, do String The Bastards Up *economic* yelling every day!)

I saw Obama live yesterday, standing in front of two flags, taking extemporaneous questions from reporters.

I thought: He acts like a President. He had no hesitation, his answers were intelligent, and weren't -- to use Peggy Noona's term -- at all "not normal."

I think others had the same reaction.

I still think it will be a landslide for him.

ellen said...

'Now if we could only manufacture a handy international crisis, say, somewhere in a former Soviet republic, which would -- hypothetically, of course -- provoke Russia to respond militarily -- '

I think Putin has rather more nous than to fall for that one. That man is a d*mn good strategic thinker. No, this is directed at fooling the US public. Theres a Bush quote I read somewhere about fooling the people part of the time that gives away his contempt for the elctorate. I'll look for it.
I hope you're not right. The US is stretched already in Iraq/Afghanistan-- with these wee money troubles on top, if I were Putin or Ahmedinejad I would be praying to the gods for just such a move.
Imagine McPalin in such a crisis--it doesn't bear thinking about.

Anonymous said...

I thought: He acts like a President. He had no hesitation, his answers were intelligent, and weren't -- to use Peggy Noona's term -- at all 'not normal.'"

Yeah, Obama does not have that fearful look in his eyes that McCain has. McCain looks plain scared.

ellen said...

Was this a joke?

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on."

- George W. Bush,
(joking) at a Gridiron Club dinner,
Washington, D.C., March 2001.

Steve Salerno said...

Re McCain looking "scared."

I'll tell you what I think happened to John McCain, whom I used to like and respect enormously. (Once again, the fact that I've changed in my perception does not mean that the man isn't worthy of being liked or respected; I'm just speculating on what I think happened that causes me to see him in a different light.)

I think that for the first time in his life, McCain is so close that he can taste it. He also has to know that it's his last chance; in his case, it really is like the old Elvis song: "now or never." And so instead of just being John McCain--which is what I think he's (basically) done for almost 30 years in public life--he suddenly finds himself worrying about how he "plays" to a national audience. (It's different when you only have to please the people of Arizona, which essentially consists of 2.5 major cities, counting Flagstaff.) Suddenly he finds himself in the hands of, well, handlers, and strategists, and all sorts of other DNC-type people who are determined to make a "presidential character" out of him, instead of just who he is. Suddenly he finds himself doing and saying all sorts of things for public consumption (i.e. not necessarily because he believes them). That's why I think he so often seems to have that deer-in-the-headlights look. And that's why, when he's left to his own devices, he says so many puzzling or downright stupid things. He can't just be himself. Or if he is himself in an unguarded moment, he realizes (only too late) that he's saying things that don't gibe with his carefully managed stage persona. The whole thing is uncomfortable for him.

And let me tell you, it's sad to watch.

roger o'keefe said...

Is it possible I am the only one who thinks the things being said on this blog about John McCain are uncalled for and terribly unfair? He has given his life to public service. Before that he came close to literally giving his life for his country. In fact if he'd actually died in 'Nam, McCain would've had to endure a lot less pain and anguish than he did. And now people make him out to be a fool and a scoundrel besides. Politics is politics, but let's not go overboard in attacking a fine man who has given much to America.

Elizabeth said...

I dunno, Steve, I think you are being too kind to Mr. McNasty. Though I agree with you that being so close to his "prize" has played a role here -- it finally stripped away the (not too)carefully cultivated public persona, what with its honor, duty and "country first" sloganeering.

When you look into his past (not his hagiography, but more balanced accounts of his life) and listen to people who have worked with him (and who do not have stakes now in brown-nosing or cultivating his war hero myth), you can see that the same unpleasant themes were already present way back when: his spitefulness, quick anger, impulsivity, egocentrism, and lack of regard for others.

In one of the links I included for CMC in that infamous discussion of ours, there is an opinion of a psychiatrist who evaluated McCain after he was released from his Viet prison. I thought that assessment (very disturbing, btw) was right on target.

But then I've never liked the guy, so it is true that I look for facts and opinions that support my dislike of him.

Below is part of that psych evaluation performed in either late 1969 or in 1970 by

"Dr. Fernando Barral, a Spanish psychiatrist living in Cuba. The interview took place at the Committee for Foreign Cultural Relations in Hanoi. Barral describes the setting, which included a spread of oranges, cakes, coffee and cigarettes. An account of Barral's interview with McCain was published in the Cuban periodical Granma on January 24, 1970.

Barral and McCain talked about a variety of subjects, according to Granma. McCain praised his treatment by the North Vietnamese, spoke of his wife and of his family: "One of my forebears was a colonel in Washington's independent forces. Another was a general in the war of secession. Thus it was natural for me to follow a military career. Of course my father was not always an admiral; during World War II he was commander of a submarine. He has been in the navy since 1927 and has been an admiral since 1965. He holds the highest rank in the navy. If I had not been downed, I would have become an admiral at an earlier age than my father."

Barral also reported that McCain talked of his education and military training, and that he had once dreamed of becoming an astronaut.

Barral's psychiatric analysis of "the personality of the prisoner who is responsible for many criminal bombings of the people":

'He showed himself to be intellectually alert during the interview. From a morale point of view he is not in traumatic shock. He is neither dejected nor depressed. He was able to be sarcastic, and even humorous, indicative of psychic equilibrium. From the moral and ideological point of view he showed us he is an insensitive individual without human depth, who does not show the slightest concern, who does not appear to have thought about the criminal acts he committed against a population from the absolute impunity of his airplane, and that nevertheless those people saved his life, fed him, and looked after his health, and he is now healthy and strong. I believe that he has bombed densely populated places for sport. I noted that he was hardened, that he spoke of banal things as if he were at a cocktail party.'

Elizabeth said...

Roger, I'd say is not "people" who "make him out to be a fool and a scoundrel," it's his own actions that speak of his character.

He has given his life to politics, not so much "public service," the way I see it (and these two are not synonymous).

As to his status of a war hero and POW, even apart from his truthfulness about his experiences during that time, how does being a POW put one above criticisms for his (mis)behaviors in his civil life or make one somewhat qualified for the highest office in the nation?

Please note that I'm not dissing all POWs or diminishing the sacrifice of those who indeed served honorably -- and McCain may have been one of them, but too many unanswered questions remain, IMO, about that time in his life. I just do not see the need to create myths that would obscure reality and/or elevate people to the uber-human status for less than noble purposes (as it is usually the case -- and as it is always the case in politics).

Note also that it is not only partisan sniping that's behind the (well-deserved) criticisms of McCain. Many of his fellow GOP politicians as well as conservative pundits raise questions about his fitness to be the preznit, given the way he's been running his campaign (including his first executive decision to choose Palin for his running mate -- a decision that clearly defines his priorities and puts them, equally clearly, at odds with his image as an honorable, 'country-first' candidate).

RevRon's Rants said...

I'll be the last one to ever second-guess McCain's activities in combat, but neither do \i think his previous service gives him a pass on his behavior these last 8 years, and certainly not during the campaign. What he once stood for, he has abandoned. Nobody with any sense and an objective mind could honestly say that his choice of Palin was anything but a politically-motivated stunt. Any number of individuals would be better qualified to fill the position, but she had a certain shock value that he chose over intelligent leadership.

Shielding her from spontaneous questioning shows that he knows that allowing the public to actually get to know her will hurt his chances. His own grandstand ploy in canceling the debate so he could "work on the economy" showed his true character. Obama called *him*, asking that they issue a joint statement. McCaion agreed, then rushed to beat Obama to the media, presenting himself as the initiator of the courageous act. Quite Bush-like in its smarminess.

So my answer, Roger, is that too much is at stake for us top overlook one's character in deference to his past service. We can't afford nice anymore; we need truth.

ellen said...

C,mon Steve,
Liked and respected counts for nothing, we are talking about the potential leader of the western world. If the man was competent and capable and had integrity and did a fine job he could be Satan in a suit, no-one would care.
Liked and respected is for a friend, a good leader has to produce more than that. Rabbit-in-the-headlights is not a good look for a leader, the point of a leader is to inspire confidence in the led.
Liked and respected doesn't make the grade.

roger o'keefe said...

I have held my tongue for weeks now. The John McCain being described on this blog day after day would've been unrecognizable to anyone, even to most of you who attack him now, a year ago. He was almost universally thought of as an honorable man, even a true patriot. Even those who disagreed with him respected John McCain. And he was respected for being, laugh if you will, a maverick. He bucked his party on any number of key issues and in ways that hurt him grievously as a party man. Say what you will of him now, for 25 years he did not act like "a politician", but a man who did what he believed in. Without a doubt he was less of a politician than most others in D.C. of both parties. The big Dem line now is "four more years of Bush," but everybody knows there was no love lost between Bush and McCain until it was clear McCain was going to get the nod. McCain usually backed his party when it counted in recent years, yes, but to say he was in Bush's pocket is absurd.

What's happening on this blog however is very much political, and partisan. You are doing to McCain exactly what Hannity and Rush do to Obama, or what you accuse them of anyway: Finding things to dislike or poke fun at. You see no good in McCain, only evil. How is that possible in a man with his record, that you can find nothing to admire?

Meanwhile, what do we know about Obama? When you get past the charm, charisma, the easy manner, even the "smarts" what do we really *know?* They say you know a man by his friends. Look at who some of Obama's friends have been. What was Bill Ayers doing while a young John McCain was being tortured in a hut in 'Nam?

Steve Salerno said...

And a word from your sponsor:

Folks, I have no objection to going down this road again. I'm sure it won't be the last time between now and Nov. 4. But can we please avoid a repeat of what happened last time? There is no need for that. Thank you.

RevRon's Rants said...

Roger, I respected McCain, up until the point where Bush swift-boated him in the primaries. After that, he relinquished the "maverick" moniker in exchange for a place at the table, even to the extent of reversing himself on any number of things upon which he had previously stood firm. As a veteran, it was the last straw for me when he refused to support bills that would have ensured proper medical care for vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, sidling up to Bush's stance, and abandoning a long-standing (and often proclaimed) commitment to veterans. Sorry, but as I said, his actions these last few years have laid waste to the man i respected. And I'm being a hell of a lot nicer to him than he's been to our troops.

RevRon's Rants said...

"When you get past the charm, charisma, the easy manner, even the "smarts" what do we really *know?* "

I, for one, would like to see a person with charm, charisma, and smarts in the White House again. Such qualities just might help us regain our former allies, and even avoid going into another fruitless, unjustified war. McCain, by his own statements, would not.

Elizabeth said...

Rev says,
Obama called *him*, asking that they issue a joint statement. McCain agreed, then rushed to beat Obama to the media, presenting himself as the initiator of the courageous act.

Yes, wasn't that stunning? In a really ugly way.

Ellen, I agree with you the grandstanding is all directed at the American public. And I don't think at all Bush was joking there -- this is politics as we know it.

I was referring to the recent very curious, and seemingly absurd, war between Georgia and Russia. When I first heard of it, I thought that none of it made any sense. So Georgia provoked Russia knowing damn well what the Russia's response would be? Now, Georgia is aspiring to NATO and trying, supposedly, to be on its best behavior to earn that privilege. Why tempt the angry Russian giant then? But Georgian preznit, Saaskavili, is BFF (best friends forever) with Randy Scheunemann, McCain's foreign policy right hand, and good friends with McCain himself. Furthermore, Saaskavili is essentially a US puppet -- he is a US educated lawyer with extensive (and never severed) ties to the US State Department. He was elected by an ungodly (and unreal) majority of his fellow Georgians (some 90%, if I'm not mistaken), which means just one thing: that his election was fixed.

Anyway, at the end of July, Obama returned from his triumphant trip to Europe and Middle East, where he was greeted like a head of state and treated with respect and admiration. When Obama was giving his speech in Berlin, McCain was giving a talk in an almost empty German restaurant in Ohio. Looking rather pathetic. Needless to say, his handlers panicked. There was talk in the media about how useful an international crisis would be for McCain at that time to focus people's attention back on him and his purported foreign policy experience.

The pundits' mouths had barely closed, when -- presto pronto! -- we heard about Russia invading Georgia (which is how this conflict was portrayed in the US media) and McCain stepped in front of cameras, telling Americans that now "we are all Georgians" (hint at JFK's Berlin speech and not so subtle jealous jab at Obama) and condemning Russia for its brutal attack on this lovely and innocent democracy (run, almost dictatorially, by a "our" man, Saaskavili).

The war coincided with the beginning of the Olympics (read: people, especially Americans, would be too preoccupied with sports to pay attention to political details -- such as that the Georgian provocation made absolutely no political sense for Georgia or Russia; the only political player, as far as we can tell, who benefited from it was, yes, our John McCain).

I know it may sound far-fetched, but, you know, I was raised under communism where we learned early on not to trust any official statements about reality made by politicians. You can bet that nothing in politics happens by accident. And to find out who's behind political events, we need to look for those who benefit most from them.

BTW, I was not the only one who suspected that the McCain's campaign had something to do with the events in Georgia. There were several commentators in the US and Europe who came out with the same hypothesis, and, well, Putin himself (well, yeah) said the very same thing when the war dust settled a bit. The guy has no soul (contrary to W's pronouncements), but he is not stupid, as you've observed. According to Russian and European reports from the war, there is actually material evidence of the US military involvement in the conflict.

Speaking of no soul, Saaskavili was on Charlie Rose last night. I watched the guy, thinking that he lies with an ease with which other people breathe.

So, to make a long conspiracy theory short, I would not be surprised if a similar "coincidence" took place again, now that McCain is losing the electoral ground. I doubt, though, Saaskavili would be game for it again, so soon after his first close encounter with Putin's, er, I mean Medvedev's fury. However, it does not have to be Georgia this time.

I too sincerely hope I'm wrong, but, hey, stranger things have happened in American politics.

Elizabeth said...

Roger, you almost make it sound as if SHAMblog was the only place where critical opinions of McCain are exchanged.

Well, here is George Will (hardly a liberal) calling McCain "unpresidential" and unfit for office:

Here is David Brooks (hardly a librul), criticizing his VP choice:

Then you have Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy (no libruls, they) disparaging McCain and his choice of VP as a cheap political move -- and then backpedaling, fast, when caught on tape:

Here is a piece from Carl Bernstein, who has extensively covered McCain's career and apparently was a fan, where he now describes "the devolution" of the man:

The list of conservatives who are sick of McCain's underhanded political tactics goes on. It's not just us SHAMbloggers who are critical.

ellen said...

'I was referring to the recent very curious, and seemingly absurd, war between Georgia and Russia.'

Elizabeth, I was too but from a European perspective. I have not been following the McCain campaign that closely so accept your reading.
From where I sit this recent spat was more about deployment of US defence systems in Poland. Russia feels vulnerable without her old buffer zone of soviet satellites. Putin will not allow too much encroachment there. Undoubtedly Sakashvilli is a US pawn who played right into Putins hands with his absurd move. If he came up with that on his own he is certifiable--I am sure the US promised him help with the inevitable Russian smackdown (USA has a history of this, all over South America, in Iraq during the latter Saddam years, with the Taliban before the current war kickoff.) Putin got his excuse to reoccupy Georgia. Lithuania is next, Putin is looking to regain control of his buffer zone. He can probably do it without too much military action as almost all Europe is dependent to some extent on Russian gas and oil supplies that come through the satellites.

Interesting that you lived under communism, I wasn't aware. I lived in Bulgaria for a year in 1978-fabulous people--got caught as an illegal and given the choice of a spell in the gulag or immediate deportation, fun stuff--guess what I chose. Barred from all former soviet territories until I was allowed into Russia two years ago. We should not tangle with Russia. We think we defeated Hitler but it was the Eastern Front, the Russian winter and the 29 million Russians who died that finished him off. And they would do it again in a eyeblink. The Great Patriotic War happened yesterday to them. My all time hero is Field Marshall Zhukov-- what a guy-- the only one who ever stood up to Stalin and survived. Do I have some Red Army stories about him!

Elizabeth said...

Ellen, I was born and raised in Poland, so you can understand that I do pay attention to what happens "on the Eastern Front."

Yes, you are absolutely right that Russia's response to Georgia's provocation had to do with, among other things, the planned (at that time) US missile shield in Poland. Among other things. :)

An aside: Boy, Ellen, (or girl, rather) you have stories to tell! I, for one, am all ears.

And, on a unrelated(?) note, Jimmy Kimmel's take on McCain "suspending" his campaign:

It is not surprising that a man his age has trouble maintaining an election.

Jen said...

I just have a couple of questions today. (Oh, if only!)

1) Elizabeth quoted Rev saying, "Obama called *him*, asking that they issue a joint statement. McCain agreed, then rushed to beat Obama to the media, presenting himself as the initiator of the courageous act."

She then responded: "Yes, wasn't that stunning? In a really ugly way."

Could you (or someone) please point to a source for this information? Thank you.

2) Elizabeth, I tried to view your blog but wasn't able to because I have not been invited there. What does one have to do to get an invitation? I would love to read it.

Elizabeth said...

Jen, this was reported on the major network news on Wednesday; now it appears McCain's campaign is denying that the Obama call happened and/or if it did happen, that it influenced McCain's decision to get in front of the cameras and "suspend" his campaign (read: move it to the White House for a photo op -- but then I'm cynical, LOL).

Here are two links:


My computer is slow today, and I cannot seem to get it to respond faster, but you can do a search with "obama called mccain morning" or whatever phrases you'll think appropriate here and you'll get much more.

As to my blog, I closed it because it became too personal. If you send me your e-mail address off-SHAMblog, I'll put you on the "secret list" :).

My email is

Elizabeth said...

Ellen ('n' all), see the incomparable Jon Stewart's take on the White House and the economy crisis:

Anonymous said...

Roger, I am a registered Independent. I liked Senator McCain, but do not like the running for president McCain. He has flip flopped and lied to my face for what? Is being the president worth his integrity? He has lost it in my eyes. He has conducted a disgusting campaign and his pick of vice-president lost my vote. I have qualms with Obama. I do not like his presentation of being a “black” man when he in fact is mixed race. Overall though, Obama has shown more class and grace than McCain. Obama also did not vote for the war in Iraq, which I firmly agreed with. Iraq was STUPID.

I am tired of my country (the U.S.) trying to clean up the world’s messes, but leaving its house dirty. I hate hypocrisy yet by just being a U.S. citizen I am one. When did we become the world’s morality police? Our morals and ethics are in the gutter and the economic/banking meltdown shows this. Who are we to tell the world how to live, when we cannot even do it?

I teach at a community college and I am troubled by the lack of education. These kids cannot even write essays and read at third grade levels. How is that helping our society? Democracy can only work with EDUCATED citizens. Our education system has been continuously breaking down. What are we going to do about it?

By the way, McCain’s comments about China in GQ did not endear him to me either. China is the one of the world’s worse human rights violators and McCain, a POW no less, said, “They are doing their best.” What was he smoking when he said that?

Roger, I am sure my reasons for not voting for McCain are not good enough for you, but so what?

Jen said...

"Jen, this was reported on the major network news on Wednesday...."

Thank you, Elizabeth! Sounds like maybe a phone tag thing where nothing can really be proven one way or another, and denials can be easily made? I was listening to related news last night and nothing was mentioned about that phone call; yet the presentation was such that it looked like the idea was clearly McCain's and not Obama's. Nothing was mentioned about any kind of joint statment, in other words.

Ah, I would love to be on your secret list. Just as long as there's no prosperity gimmick or scam, count me in. ;)

ellen said...

Great Jon Stewart video, and he is so right about the history. What is so sickening is how well these emotional manipulation tactics work, even when you know about them. Jen posted a good article on them.

Anon 5.45
Not a fan of McCain but he has no choice but to give China a pass on everything as China now holds so much US paper backing the bailout cash. Obama can do nothing else either--who's going to annoy the holder of your mortgage?

mikecane2008 said...

Jack Cafferty: Sarah Palin

Video worth seeing (with link to a second vid worth seeing).

Scared yet?

ellen said...

Oh dear, MikeCane2008, good guys and bad guys in the powder keg of Israel/Iran/Syria?
That sure scares me.
I think Sarah has an eye on advancing the timing of the Rapture just a little bit so that she can secure her dream of meeting Jesus in her lifetime.
I, however, have no wish to meet Jesus just yet, if at all. I doubt many Israelis, Iranians or Syrians are looking forward to meeting their various makers precipitously.
Perhaps if Sarah had gotten herself a passport and actually met some of these pesky non-saved types she might be able to manage a foreign policy viewpoint that has a bit more to do with reality and lot less to do with her kids video games or those strange Christian end-time books that have sold 65 million copies in the US.

Elizabeth said...

Perhaps if Sarah had gotten herself a passport and actually met some of these pesky non-saved types she might be able to manage a foreign policy viewpoint that has a bit more to do with reality

Yes, Ellen, we could only wish, LOL.

See, this is a major problem with Palin -- she does not think she is lacking anything or needs to learn anything, at least judging from what we know about her so far. She is perfectly content with her limited view of the world and champions it (not to mention wants to impose it on others). She can ever so charmingly state that she saw fossils with footprints of dinosaurs and people (next to each other) and it does not even occur to her that this statement is patently absurd.

It's that kind of self-assured ignorance that's probably the most dangerous. You don't know what you don't know, that's fair -- but if you have no inkling that there are indeed things you do not know and/or understand, that's trouble.

RevRon's Rants said...

Actually, I feel very sorry for Palin. She may well be a fine and caring person, whom I would genuinely like, if not agree with (much like many of my friends). But she has been chosen - quite cynically, in my view - to bolster the flailing political ambitions of a man whose ambitions have superseded what were once his values.

She seems like the kid who made the football team, yet lacked the talent to actually be given much time on the field, and is called upon by the coach to go into the big game as quarterback. The kid is so flattered by the "opportunity" that he'd never consider turning it down. It never occurs to him that he might end up losing the game, or that the coach might have reasons for sending him in that the kid doesn't suspect. The kid just shows up and gives it his all, his confidence bolstered beyond reason by the very fact that he'd been chosen.

McCain is that coach. He obviously figures he'll gain some advantage by bringing an attractive - yet unqualified - player into the game, and doesn't particularly care that the player will be hurt when she inevitably hits the wall of her own limitations en route to a goal she was never expected to achieve.

Even if McCain/Palin win, it would be difficult for anyone to foresee a happy ending for Sarah. At the best, she would go down in history as the target of mean-spirited jokes, rather than as a good wife and mother, and a reasonably effective fish in a very small pond. Her narrow-minded beliefs notwithstanding, I honestly believe she deserves better.

Anonymous said...

Revron, many feel sympathy and pity for Mrs. Palin, but it should not obscure the fact that she is a grown woman, not a disabled kid chosen out of pity for a team. She is smart, even if of limited intelligence, and savvy. She knows exactly what she is doing. There are reports saying that she's always dreamed about being president. This is her opportunity and she'd be damned if she did not pursue it. She should not be pitied as much as feared, for she is exactly the kind of politician who gets far based on that special combination of arrogant ambition, limited intelligence and populist appeal. George W. Bush comes to mind. Somehow I don't think she feels sorry for herself, or will ever.

ellen said...


I liked that observation of yours regarding McCain bringing--
'an unqualified player into the game and doesn't care that the player will be hurt when she inevitably hits the wall of her own limitations en route to a goal she was never expected to achieve.'

It resonated with me in a way that I can't quite put my finger on but feels very, very familiar.

My first thought is that politics is a high stakes game, she has no business being in it if she is unaware of that fact.
She is a big girl now, in her 40's with kids and grandkids on the way, her ignorance cannot be laid at daddy's or McCains feet forever.
It doesn't do any of us any harm to hit our limitations once in a while, that is how we learn best, the humility that comes with it is an added bonus.
What is going to be hurt in Sarah, her public image? She has done a very good job trashing that all on her own.
Her pride? A christian vice I thought, one of the seven deadlies.
Her femininity/womanhood?
She chose the arena, she must know what goes with the territory.
Her mythical goal? If it is unreachable for her, was forever out of her reach, perhaps she is better setting her sights on something she can obtain and enjoy in this lifetime, (her family perhaps, her old job?) rather than the promises of the next lifetime--which none of us can ever be sure of seeing.
Is this woman, who blithely talks of her keeness for war in the middle east as a means of preventing a second holocaust, going to sustain any real physical injury? Not unless she happens to take a tumble off her moose or trips over her AK47 while playing supermom for the cameras.
Revron, we women are equal now, if you respect us as equals then it is a sign of contempt to worry about the damage to this woman's image and family life. That is her concern. Sarah has not yet asked for your sympathy, yet.
What bothers me about Sarah is that she seems so deluded by her beliefs that no amount of hitting her limitations will shake her delusions or cause her one moments pause for reflection to perhaps review those beliefs in the light of her hopefully new-found knowledge.
Isn't that how we progress as humans, how we grow up? Let's give Sarah a chance to grow up, but preferably not within range of that red button--I don't have that much faith in human nature and its limited ability to change.
I have no problem with the charge of cynicism either.

RevRon's Rants said...

I am very much concerned about what a Palin vice presidency - or especially presidency - would portend for this country. Thus my vehement resistance to it. I am also aware that she is an adult, and a politician, to boot, albeit on a rather minuscule scale. And while it's easy to say that she knows what she's getting into, I think the situation she faces is probably beyond the imaginings of anyone not facing it themselves. Think of it... a weather-girl turned mayor turned governor is handed the keys to the kingdom of her wildest dreams. How many of us would pragmatically refuse, or even fully consider the ramifications?

While she may not be physically harmed by the wall, she would be damaged, nonetheless. And for that reason, I do feel for the woman... enough to vote against her and McCain, even of there were not a long list of other compelling reasons to do so.

I'm certainly not trying to canonize her, but I honestly think she is, to an extent, a victim of the cynicism that drives the McCain machine. And for that reason, I do think she deserves our compassion. Not our vote, mind you, but an honest attempt at understanding - sans vilification - nonetheless. And it is something that I regret not doing earlier. It just took awhile to really sink in, and to get some notion of what she is facing nowadays.

RevRon's Rants said...

Ellen, for the record, I don't think compassion has a gender, nor should it be denied someone because of their gender. I would feel the same for anyone whom is being pushed/manipulated beyond their depth, especially for such cynical reasons.

Having been raised by a strong southern woman, I realize that I am inclined to defend a female whom I see being treated poorly, as I think Palin is. I have no doubt that she is confident, unqualified, and even dangerous, and I resent her brash arrogance. But she is also a human being, caught up in something that I don't think she has a clue about. I just think it's something we might consider.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 5.45
Not a fan of McCain but he has no choice but to give China a pass on everything as China now holds so much US paper backing the bailout cash. Obama can do nothing else either--who's going to annoy the holder of your mortgage?"

That is why I am ashamed Ellen. No one wants to deal with China. China is the big elephant in the US.

ellen said...


A few points, all of which I am aware will be treading-on-toes stuff, however I am not taking personal aim at you, I am taking personal aim at your thinking on this.

Compassion at a distance is no compassion at all. At a distance, it is a lot more to do with making oneself feel better than with helping the object of one's compassion.
None of us ever knows what we are getting into, ever, in any situation. It is always a learning process, and one with a patch over one eye if we are lucky, that is if we have used our god-given nous and reconnoitered the situation to our best endeavour beforehand. In business this is called due diligence and the lack of it is a sure sign of a fool just begging to be taken to the cleaners. Sarah has gone into this with a full blindfold, her ears plugged and her mouth working overtime, no noticeable cognitive activity in the brain, however.
I agree Sarah is probably a victim of manipulation but she is primarily her own victim. She is a supposedly responsible adult and therefore responsible for herself. If she will not do the work to educate herself in the ways of the world, particularly as she has been active in the political sphere for some time and cannot be deemed an innocent, who will do that work for her?
Sarah presumes to know best for all of us, based on what? the delusions of some apocalyptic end-time nutters? She would visit war on the middle east to prevent a second holocaust? That statement tells me she has no idea, not even the remotest inkling, of what the first holocaust was, of the true scale and horror of that notion. Is she aware that Ahmedinejad has a nuclear capability and is just itching to use it? He and she seem to be two peas in the pod from where I am sitting, both slavering for the jihad/endtime that will rid the world of all and any 'other' who dares to question the religious video games playing in their two fevered brains. Sarah will then forever be relieved of the human obligation of putting her brain to work, which is in my humble opinion her main motivation in this ludicrous grab at the golden ring. If, god forbid, either of them get their wish, the survivor will be able to live in a world where no-one will ever dare question their crackpot ideas. Think Mugabe, Stalin, PolPot any of the hundreds of such whackjobs who have previously gained ascendancy in the world.
A victim? Like Hitler was a victim because he had a rough deal when he first attempted to gain power in legitimate politics and failed- so went on to get power by any means?
A victim? Like Mugabe who suffered under British colonial rule and then made his own people--not us Brits, notice--pay the price?

When Sarah begins to show some sign of being a thinking human being then perhaps I will feel some pity for the difficulties she finds herself in. I will never demean another thinking human being by feeling pity for them, for their troubles maybe, self-inflicted or not, for to have difficulties in life in a given, an inescapable given. But for her as a person--never.
In my book she is not yet a person and on this showing has precious little chance of ever attaining that state.

ellen said...

Anon 11.04

I think China might surprise us all anon, so I wouldn't give yourself too much of a hard time with the shame. The regime is deplorable, true, but the people are pragmatic and apart from being the same as people everywhere, wanting the same things as you and me etc, they are rapidly educating themselves on the outside world. The regime will not be able to put that genie back in the bottle. I had a good trek all round China some years ago and I am very hopeful for change, slow but sure, the chinese way. From such a determined pessimist that has to count for something.

RevRon's Rants said...

"In my book she is not yet a person and on this showing has precious little chance of ever attaining that state."

Ellen, In my opinion, this is the very kind of armchair judgmentalness that prevents progress toward the elimination of the "us vs. them" mentality permeating politics today. Until we can look beyond our own fixed viewpoint and consider that another's experiential base might differ from our own, we'll continue creating enemies where they might not exist.

Comparing Palin to Mugabe or Hitler is, I think, disingenuous and patently unfair. While I have no doubt that her aspirations are not particularly colored by intelligence, I have a tough time perceiving her as being similar to the malevolent dictators you describe. I'll grant that she could well evolve into such a being if placed in a position so far beyond her capabilities, and imbued with a level of power infinitely above her ability to appropriately wield, but at this point, I see her as a marginally intelligent being, driven by the prejudices of ignorance... Not unlike a significant number of "normal" citizens. The big difference is that she has been thrust - albeit willingly - into an arena for which she has little or no intellectual preparation or moral guidance.

Left to her own devices, she would likely remain an average politician on a small scale, and a mother whose parenting decisions would be the topic of minor debate among friends and acquaintances, nothing more.

I think it short-sighted to pass ultimate judgment upon her actions in the days since she was selected. Each of us can proclaim how we would act in her circumstances, but in reality, we have no frame of reference. This whole scenario is just so far beyond the experiential base of most people as to render judgments no more valid than would be our projections as to our actions, should we suddenly be given God-like powers. The judgments are ultimately nothing more than mind games we play when we don't know all the rules.

We obviously disagree as to whether Palin is deserving of our compassion or attempts at understanding. To me, compassion and understanding are either priorities or they aren't, and are best offered at least until our subject's actions render such virtues ill-advised. I might see Palin as unintelligent; I might see her as ambitious beyond even her own reasonable expectations; and I might even see her as being fundamentally unlikable. But I just can't see her as evil. She is a pawn in a larger game who thinks she knows the playing field, but is sorely deluded. Her persona as presented is sufficiently delineated to guide me not to vote for her, but not sufficiently to label her as being evil. But that's just me...

RevRon's Rants said...

"Compassion at a distance is no compassion at all. At a distance, it is a lot more to do with making oneself feel better than with helping the object of one's compassion."

OMT - I *do* feel better about myself since coming to the point where I see Palin as being a flawed human being (haven't found anyone yet who wasn't - myself included), rather than as some evil entity. And I never deluded myself into thinking that my compassion (or lack thereof) would affect her in any way. It's more about feeling clean myself, and not feeling the need to make another person "evil," especially when they have done nothing that fits the description.

Compassion isn't a gift we bequeath upon another; it's a part of our nature that either is there inside us or not. I personally believe that its existence - even in cases where it is marginally justified - makes us better people.

Elizabeth said...

Ellen, this is an excellent comment on Palin (and compassion).

Compassion at a distance is no compassion at all. At a distance, it is a lot more to do with making oneself feel better than with helping the object of one's compassion.

Yes! is about all new I can say to it. I think you are right on.

As to Palin's choices -- because she has choices in most matters of her life and even she would be willing to admit it, I'm sure -- what happened to "Just Say No!"?
This, after all, is the mantra of the abstinence movement which she advocates in matters of sex and sexual education.

So Sarah could have taken her own advice and "just said NO!" to an offer that supposedly puts her (and her family) at a harm's way. That she did not tells us that she does not see serving as a McCain's puppet as detrimental to herself or her family in any way. The woman is giddy with overflowing ambition to fulfill her destiny (no doubt a gift from God -- or gods -- given her exotic religious practices;) so much so that she does not even blink before saying yes. She knows exactly what's going on -- she ain't no dummy -- and she continues to participate in it.

(Though it's still not too late to just say no. Sarah?)

ellen said...

I am happy to disagree with you on this, you are entitled to feel sympathy for whomsoever you choose.

However, at no point did I compare Sarah to Hitler or Mugabe, I used those as examples to consider of persons who have previously felt aggrieved at their rough treatment in politics, ever a down and dirty game, (victims, if you like, who would also make a claim on your sympathy) and who subsequently used that sense of grievance to wreak personal revenge on a world that has wronged them. I do not know if Sarah will do that, I do not claim to see the future. Sarah is a victim of Sarah.
At no point have I called Sarah 'evil'. That is your choice of word not mine. Evil suggests an absolute state with no chance of redemption. I view no thinking human being in that light. I have called Sarah deluded many times, I think that is self-evident from her utterances to date, I have called her disastrous, a fool and probably several other choice words but evil? not from these typing fingers.
'Beyond the opposites,' in this case good/evil, does not mean that we place everything in an amorphous feel-good middle where if we are just compassionate and forgiving enough everything will turn out fine. 'Beyond the opposites' entails seeing that those two categories are arbitrary and entirely dependent on the time, place, culture, history, background, perspective, bias and prejudice of the observer.
Evil? Your word not mine.
Seeing beyond the opposites is a lot more work but eventually allows for greater discrimination-in the true sense of the word-- critical thinking and more realistic judgements. It does not absolve us from judgement. Try just getting dressed in the morning without using judgement, try navigating to the bathroom, try doing anything. I do not accept pious condemnation of the skill of discriminating judgement in the way that you have misread it, which is that my discriminating judgement is that term which strikes horror in the politically correct, judgementalism.
Sarah put herself out into the public arena in order that her viewers could make a critical judgement on her views and proposals and suitability for the job. You have access to exactly the same material that I have. How, exactly, does my critical judgement of the same available data we both have on Sarah become 'armchair judgementalism' while your superior view, based on nothing but your imagined values that Sarah might hypothetically possess does not qualify as armchair judgementalism?
Please don't tell me, Revron, that as a man you have a better grasp of these matters. I had you pegged as someone a litle further up the evolution ladder than that.

Steve Salerno said...

Ellen, with all due respect, I would ask that you eschew the condescension in the future. Your point was perfectly and exhaustively made (at least insofar as clarifying your arguments) without any parting shots about evolution and ladders. Can we stick to the ideas without feeling obliged to diminish the folks who voice them?

Anonymous said...

"Can we stick to the ideas without feeling obliged to diminish the folks who voice them?"

Hmm. That would apply to both sides, we should expect? Revron's responses were condescending enough, or have you not noticed? If one dishes out, one should be able to take it.

ellen said...

Point taken, I will eschew condescension.

RevRon's Rants said...

Ellen -

"In my book she is not yet a person and on this showing has precious little chance of ever attaining that state."

"At no point have I called Sarah 'evil'. That is your choice of word not mine. Evil suggests an absolute state with no chance of redemption. I view no thinking human being in that light."

It is all too easy to besmirch someone and paint them as being evil and beyond redemption, even if we choose to do so with allegory and analogy, rather than being more succinct and using the word itself.

"How, exactly, does my critical judgement of the same available data we both have on Sarah become 'armchair judgementalism' while your superior view, based on nothing but your imagined values that Sarah might hypothetically possess does not qualify as armchair judgementalism?"

Critical judgment is essential, but when we go beyond the facts and make an unsupported leap in that judgment, defining and ascribing character flaws that are based more upon our own beliefs than upon the data available, we pass from critical judgment to judgmentalism. In short, I guess I would say that using one's common sense and intellect - yet affording another the benefit of the doubt when *all* the facts are not known - is infinitely more fair, and does not reflect as badly upon the person making that judgment.

Perhaps such naivete is borne of my being lower on the intellectual (and evolutionary) ladder than yourself. Who knows? I only know my own choices, and am sufficiently comfortable with them to allow you *your* own choices without needing to diminish you.

RevRon's Rants said...

I do appreciate your efforts to keep the blog from turning into a schoolyard brawl, Steve. I recognize that I've obviously touched a nerve, which was not my intent. I merely wanted to offer a different perspective for consideration; one more in keeping with my own perspective, not attempt to make anyone else feel inferior for holding to a different one.

Steve Salerno said...

Look, Anon 4:12, there is always going to be stuff that falls into the category of what one might call "implied condescension," which is to say, characterizing the ideas of one's adversary in such a sarcastic or belittling light so as to clearly impugn the speaker as well. I can't police all of that--and if we're talking about blogging, I would think that much of that falls into the realm of "it goes with the territory." Plus, many of these situations are judgment calls; I do the best I can, and I can't possibly be fair to everyone. But when we cross over the line into "I had you pegged as someone a little further up the evolution ladder than that," we're no longer debating ideas; we've clearly crossed over into the realm of the personal.

This blog has existed for over three years now. I've seen how such situations get completely out of hand--real fast--and how they drain all the joy out of this, for everyone. And I'm simply not going to tolerate it anymore.