We've been posting a lot of campaign ads recently, and a friend suggested that we give you, the reader, a chance to play. So, post your own (funny or serious) script for a positive or negative campaign ad for either Obama or McCain in the comments, and the best few will get posted on the main page on Thursday. Try to keep it in the funny zone, and not delve too far into the range of offensive. I'll post one of my own as well, though all I'm working with right now is this for the end of the ad:
"I'm John McCain, and I approved this ad, because I'm willing to sacrifice all of my integrity to win this campaign."
By now we all know a bit about V.P. candidate Sarah Palin of Wasilla, Alaska, filled with small-town-values goodness and ready to rule the world - which may happen, in the not-totally-implausible event that Presidential candidate John McMaverick wins that office, then proceeds to expire while there.
Well there's a brand new political superstar on the scene and she's tough as nails and the media won't leave her alone and she's a rough-and-tumble Alaskan hockey mom and why are they asking all these questions and she is the pure reincarnation of the invincible Anglo-Saxon frontier earth mother and stop picking on her!
So maybe Sarah Palin doesn't have all that much "experience." Maybe she doesn't pay much attention to your fancy-pants "foreign policy" or "domestic policy" or "policy." Maybe she's "crazy" and "corrupt" and was picked by a "vetting process" that consisted of "tossing darts at a phone book in the middle of an all-night Ambien-and-Ketamine binge." But maybe that's just because Sarah Palin's just too busy being a real American to hang around with your namby-pamby liberal candidates with their arugula lattes and their east coast Ivy League universities and their "qualifications" while they tax the Jesus Fetus to pay for gay Muslim healthcare! Well Sarah Palin understands that being vice-president takes more than just book-smarts or regular-smarts or knowing what a vice president does!* It takes gumption and spunk and other made-up words that hearken back to another time - a realer time - a whiter time - back when men were men and women were men and great big hairy-chested frontiersmen of the plains wrestled oxen and caribou and the savage Injun Man in their mighty conquest of the West before succumbing to explosive amoebic dysentery! And with the help of God and millions of dollars in energy industry donations, Sarah Palin will give us that dysentery again!
As a Jesus-fearing moose-hunting hockey-mom mother of five, Sarah Palin understands real American values, because she is a real American just like you, only with much more money and power and a tiny invisible fairy that lives in her brain and tells her to ban books and blow up Muslims. Sarah Palin understands that the key to America's success is personal responsibility, and the key to personal responsibility is getting lots of money from oil companies and the federal government while you enforce other people's personal responsibility! Oh, you wanted state funding to help with your out-of-wedlock Sin Child? Shoulda thoughta that before you decided to not be born to Sarah Palin!
Sarah Palin will also ban abortion, 'cause in the hardscrabble up-by-the-bootstraps wilderness of the Alaskan suburbs, they don't have abortion. They also do not have adequate access to health care, birth control, or equal pay for equal work, as it turns out.
As a moose-hunting Jesus-fearing hockey-mom mother of five who hunts moose, Sarah Palin isn't some petty Washington bureaucrat. She's a petty Alaskan bureaucrat, and she's gonna shake things up in Washington! For her first reform she will pose for photographs with a gun and a stuffed moose head! For her second reform she will say something bold and brassy. For her third reform she will give birth at a live press conference to six eagle scouts, three peregrine falcons and an American mastodon, rear them in the Christian faith and release them into the wild before hunting them down, shooting them and mounting their heads in the Roosevelt Room!
Now some of you are saying "oh Giblets these aren't actual reforms" because you are boring and stupid and I hate you. But if you think about it, Sarah Palin would be reforming Washington just by being elected and finally giving a voice to marginalized white Christian evangelicals everywhere. She will also re-ban abortion, in case abortion got away the first time.
As a Jesus-fearing moose-hunting hockey-mom mother of five who hunts moose for Jesus, Sarah Palin is kin to the wild outdoors and appreciates its bountiful splendor as she is gunning it down from her airplane. Sarah Palin understands that America is dangerously addicted to oil, and that the only cure is more oil. She also understands that nature is our natural enemy, created by a malevolent Satan to come between us and our God-given oil deposits with its hateful, clean water and its foul, pristine air. But Sarah Palin also also knows that we've got to leave this earth behind for our children, at least until we can find a way to drill for oil in our children. Sarah Palin is committed to exploring Baby Trig's vast and abundant petroleum reserves.
Sarah Palin may not know if global warming is man-made. She may not know if global warming is real. She may not know what global warming is. But if global warming is caused by abortions, Sarah Palin will fight it - by banning abortion, just in case the first couple times didn't take.
As a hockey-playing moose-hunting Jesus-fearing hockey-mom mother of five who plays hockey, Sarah Palin lives in Alaska, which is just a couple thousand miles away from Russia and the Red Chinese, giving her valuable insight into their inscrutable foreign ways. Every day for forty-four years Sarah Palin has gotten up and thought to herself, "Hmmm, the weather is cold today - and I bet the weather is similarly cold in Russia at this latitude." Isn't it about time we had a vice-president who understands the climatological grievances of our most deadliest frenemies? Think about it! But not for very long!
Alaska is also close to the International Date Line, giving Sarah Palin the power to traverse the distance between Today and Yesterday at will and making her the Wizard of Speed and Time. She's sassy and white and ready to lead, people! And to ban abortion. Just look at that blastocyst! How can you say no!
*[original link pulled by source's site admin. - I replaced it with comparable (maybe even better) link/MG]
Sadly, I'm afraid this won't stop all the negativity out there. Take the following exchange, involving an impudent commenter over at the site of former Bush supporter and betrayed conservative John Cole (edited by me for suitable presentation on a family blog):
Pressed about what insights into recent Russian actions she gained by living in Alaska, Palin answered: "They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
Our very own Krista, in the comments, responds:
And when I look out my window I can see the moon. Doesn't make me a f***ing astronaut now, does it?
So sad, such negativity. Fortunately, I learned that Krista is Canadian, so her lack of faith is both understandable and forgivable.
There has been a lot of interesting chatter around the blogs that has come up due to the popularity of the topic of "small town values" among politicians and the national commentariat. I posted a bit on this earlier here. Since there is general consensus among thoughtful folks - at least those not in the biz of political propagandizing - that there ain't such a thing, it would be more accurate to say that the interesting discussion centers more on small town life rather than the alleged unique values of these places.
With things apparently heating up between the U.S. and Russia, we need to be on our guard everywhere, including in the Arctic region, where we are separated from Russia only by the Bering Strait. Our own state of Alaska sits astride that strait, due east of the Big Red Bear. Do we have the kind of leadership in Alaska we need to face down the supposedly reformed Commies, if the situation goes critical? If that red phone rings at 3am, do we have the right people in place to answer the call?
Sadly, the answer to that is, 'apparently not'. Governor Sarah Palin is hiding from the U.S. media. If she is too cowardly to face our lapdog corporate national media, how can we expect her to face Putin and his forces of world domination? For the safety of the nation, not only should she not be a heartbeat from the Presidency, she should be impeached by the legislature of Alaska for failure to show adequate courage in the face of the threat to Alaska, and our nation.
Please, Senator McCain, do the right thing, and find someone brave enough to take that position of being "one heartbeat from the Presidency", who won't whine about her treatment by our docile media puppies (what, is Gov. Palin afraid of being licked to death?).
You have proudly noted your past record of working with Democrats, and rightly so. Replacing Sarah Palin with the braver and tougher Hillary Clinton would demonstrate both bipartisanship and resolve, and serve as yet another supreme act of patriotism in your long career as a public servant. The applause Senator Clinton received during mention of her name at the Republican National Convention tell me that this would be a winner, and would bring us together as a nation.
Senator McCain, I ask this as a concerned American citizen. Be the patriot you have always been. Remember, Country First!
UPDATE: Hah, Gov. Palin has decided to let a media puppy dog lick her face after all! Charlie Gibson of ABC News gets to do the honors. Personally, I still think exchanging her for Senator Clinton would send a better message of bipartisanship and Country First!-ism.
UPDATE #2: More on the upcoming interview of Governor Sarah Palin by ABC's Charlie Gibson - this from Josh Marshall:
...it's pretty clear this farce is going to be close to unwatchable. Set aside that this comes just on the heels of McCain campaign manager Rick Davis saying Palin would not sit for any interviews "until the point in time when she'll be treated with respect and deference." The tell comes high up in the AP story by David Bauder. The second graf reads ...
Palin will sit down for multiple interviews with Gibson in Alaska over two days, most likely Thursday and Friday, said McCain adviser Mark Salter.
Political interviews are never done like this. Because it makes the questioning entirely at the discretion of the person being interviewed and their handlers. The interviewer has to be on their best behavior, at least until the last of the 'multiple interviews' because otherwise the subsequent sittings just won't happen. For a political journalist to agree to such terms amounts to a form of self-gelding. The only interviews that are done this way are lifestyle and celebrity interviews. And it's pretty clear that that is what this will be.
My guess is that ol' Charlie may stop wagging his tail and licking Gov. Palin's face long enough to ask whether a McCain-Palin Administration will cut his capital gains taxes. Once he gets the answer he wants, he'll resume tail-wagging and face-licking.
Fortunately for Sarah Palin, she's not a Democrat.
Sarah Palin welcomes us all to the Alaskan Independece Party convention, which promotes the secession of Alaska from the United States. Which makes sense, since about half of America thinks Alaska's a Canadian province anyway...
Jon Stewart on the Palin choice, and her suitability for participation in a 'Northern Exposure' reunion tour...
And I have to add this one in, which has a hilarious premise, but becomes VERY grating VERY quickly. It's a spoof of McCain/Palin singing "I Picked a Girl" to the tune of "I Kissed a Girl".
Finally, I can't get the embed to work, but it's worth going here to see Jon Stewart in one of the funniest bits I've ever seen him do...
Not terribly impressive, as even conservatives like Michael Gerson have acknowledged. (What was up with the random mansion -- complete with green background behind McCain -- for part of it?) McCain's descriptions of his military service were, of course, moving, but his attempts to articulate a specific agenda for the country suffered under the burden that has weighed down his whole campaign: How can you bring about change in Washington if you're promising to continue, if not double down on, the failed policies of the Bush administration? Thus he shied away from policy specifics, save for the usual Republican nostrums like cutting taxes for the rich and more offshore oil drilling.
All in all, I'd say that if it hadn't been for McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as a running mate, who gave a far livelier speech last night, this convention would have been largely a dud. When you start aping the opposition party's slogans (e.g., The signs reading "Change we can trust" at the convention), you know you're running behind.
UPDATE: Josh Marshall seems to have solved the mystery of the mansion and green screen behind McCain, and it could well be a screw-up worthy of a Christopher Guest mockumentary.
So I see there's been some spirited discussion about Sarah Palin. Thus far, what has amazed me is not so much Palin's record -- though the fact that she appears to share George W. Bush's style of governing and has been lying outright about her ongoing abuse of power scandal and her support for the "Bridge to Nowhere" don't instill confidence in me for her. What amazes me is how John McCain came to select her: he seems to have put almost no thought into the decision at all. I know some people are good judges of character, but I would hardly think that a few brief encounters over the last few years is sufficient basis for anyone to select someone to be Vice President of the United States. It seems like this was a pick more suited to winning the news cycle (Extra: McCain picks someone we never heard of!) than it was to finding someone who could seriously be President at a moment's notice. In that, I think it reflects very poorly on John McCain's judgment: All else being equal, a gambling mentality, one always in pursuit of short-term gain at the expense of a broader strategy, in not a good trait in a Commander-in-Chief. We've seen this mentality in the White House for the last eight years, and needless to say, it hasn't served this country well.
It's an out of left field pick, to be sure. Until this morning, it looked like it was coming down to ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The McCain campaign probably was wise to not go with Romney, who seems to be universally loathed, but I find it odd that they didn't go with Pawlenty. With his social conservative credentials and reputation for appealing to downscale voters (He is famous for saying that the Republican Party should be the Party of Sam's Club rather than the Party of the Country Club), a Pawlenty pick could have signaled that the GOP would, at least in the future, move away from the destructive ideology of the Bush years. If nothing else, it would have been vindication for reformist conservatives like Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam who have taken Pawlenty as a kind of exemplar of where they think the Republicans ought to go.
As for the merits of Palin herself, color me unimpressed. She has strong social conservative credentials -- especially on abortion -- and a decent record of reformism. (Though in a state like Alaska, home of Don "Bridge to Nowhere" Young and the recently-indicted Ted Stevens, that's probably not hard to do.) Of course, Palin is under investigation herself for firing the state Public Safety Commissioner after not firing a state trooper in a messy divorce with Palin's sister, so presenting Palin as a reformer may not work so well.
I think we can also discard the question of whether the candidates have enough experience, since Palin has even less political experience than Barack Obama. It'll be interesting to see just what Palin's opinions are, particularly on foreign policy. But with this pick, McCain blunts his own greatest strength as an old Washington hand. It might pay off, say, if evangelicals and conservatives are assuaged enough by the pick to support McCain, but right now, it's a definite gamble.
Richard Vatz has posted two comments on Red Maryland that warrant a response. I will repond to him here rather than on the Red Maryland site because I respect the rights of the RedMaryland website users to have their own forum for expressing their views without being disturbed by those who disagree with them. Fortunately, people with opinions similar to my own can express their views here.
Professor Vatz states that Joe Biden's past is an indication of his character deficiencies. I could easily counter that by describing John McCain's past in detail, including why he left his first wife. I could logically conclude that he is a political opportunist rather than the upstanding person of character that the media has presented him as. I will not do that. Senators McCain and Biden have both admitted they have made mistakes in their past and have apologized for them. Besides, my opposition to John McCain is because he supports policies that are wrong for the United States. I would rather that be the main point because that is what this whole election is about.
Professor Vatz then states that Senator Obama committed a grave mistake by not selecting Senator Clinton as his running mate. He is entitled to his opinion, but he has a lot of holes in his assertions. First and foremost, how does he know that Senators Obama and Clinton did not discuss this and that Senator Clinton stated that she did not want to be his VP choice? Senator Clinton has an excellent chance of being Senate Majority Leader. Many people feel Senator Clinton can serve the country much better in that post. The two Senators may have discussed this and agreed that Senator Clinton would neither seek nor be offerred the VP slot. Secondly, Senator Clinton stated that if her supporters supported her because of the needs of GIs, single mothers and other persons who have no voice, then they need to vote for Senator Obama so that those individuals can be helped by a Democratic President working with a Democratic Congress. Third, if Senator Obama is President for 8 years, Senator Clinton will only be 68 years old. She can succeed him, serve her two terms and leave office at the young age of 76.
Professor Vatz then states that John McCain should select Mitt Rommney as his running mate. I hope McCain follows his advice. Rommney has flip-flopped on issues perhaps more than McCain. He is more elitist than McCain. He feels his sons served America better by working for his campaign than by going to Iraq. This somewhat reminds me of the Andy Harris-Chris Meekins position-Iraq is a great war as long as other people fight it. So, Professor, let McCain select the Mittster. He has already been vetted by conservative talk radio. Senator McCain could make a bold choice and select Kay Bailey Hutchinson, but I don't think he will. I don't want him to. I want him to listen to Professor Vatz.
A side note on the recent discussion of McCain's many, many mansions has been this question: Given that McCain pretends to express some concern about climate change, what is the carbon footprint of all of those homes? Well, Treehugger has one answer...
Given a total estimated value of McCain’s homes of $14 million, one can make a very rough estimate that McCain has 10 times the carbon footprint of the average American home, which is about 15 tons of CO2.
And that doesn't count the energy used commuting among them all, especially in the wife's private jet.
Looks like he's earned a new nickname, John "Climate Change" McCain.
And, YouTube contributors are havivng a field day with John McCain's inability to recall how many palacesmansions houses he owns. These two are dedicated to P. Kenneth Burns:
And for when Kenneth starts whining again about attacks on Senator McCain, this is from the latest ABC/WaPo poll (via Kos):
As for the general tenor of the campaign, about two-thirds, 64 percent, said Obama is primarily focused on addressing the issues; 45 percent said so of McCain. On McCain's campaign, about as many, 48 percent, said he was instead mainly focused on attacking Obama.
In our News interview, he was asked what kind of car he drove. As with Politico’s question about home ownership, he didn’t know and had to ask a nearby aide. “A Cadillac CTS,” she told him.
Now I can't decide whether McCain's just forgotten... well... everything, or if he's just blissfully unaware of his massive wealth. It matters, to me at least, because I'd love to have a President that understood what middle class means, and didn't think anyone making under $5 million fit the bill. But, as Raising Kaine points out, the man didn't know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites either, so maybe it really is just incompetence rather than blissful ignorance.
By the way, starting price for a Cadillac CTS is $34,420. I'll be thinking about that the next time my Honda Civic putters past the one McCain sign I've seen so far this year.
"I guess if you think that being rich means you've got to make $5 million and if you don't know how many houses you have, then it's not surprising that you might think the economy was fundamentally strong," said Barack Obamaduring a rally this morning in Chester, Virginia. "But if you're like me, and you've got one house, or you are like the millions of people who are struggling right now to keep up with their mortgage so they don't lose their home, you might have a different perspective."
From The Fix, Via Kos and MyDD. The Fix posting finishes up by saying the Obama veep announcement may be delayed to allow the media to focus on McCain the McMillionaire.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Senator McCain I truly hope you get the opportunity to chase Bin Laden right to the gates of hell and push him in as you stated on your forum. I do have a question though. Disabled veterans, especially in this state, have horrible conditions [...] My son is an officer in the Air Force, and I am a vet and I was raised in a military family. I think it is a sad state of affairs when we have illegal aliens having a Medicaid card that can access specialist top physicians, the best of medical and our vets can't even get to a doctor. These are the people that we tied yellow ribbons for and Bush patted on the back. If we don't reenact the draft I don't think we will have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.
JOHN MCCAIN: Ma'am let me say that I don't disagree with anything you said and thank you and I am grateful for your support of all of our veterans.
Michael Steele's making an appearance at the Republican Convention. Let's hope some of his candidate karma rubs off on McCain. Maybe he'll bring the puppy on stage with him. Republicans may be on the wrong side of every issue that matters, but at least they can keep up their pro-puppy stance.
Oh, and in a fit of unintended irony that would make Jonathan Swift's head explode, the theme that has been chosen for the Republican Conventions is: "Peace, Prosperity, and Reform."