Saturday, October 04, 2008
The final day of the National Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship at Lewisville Lake saw four Texas teams make the final five. But it was the lone outsider, the University of Arkansas, that went home with the title. The four other finalists were Baylor, Texas Tech, A&M Kingsville and defending champion Texas A&M.
The Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. appears to be off limits after McCain condemned the North Carolina Republican Party in April for an ad that linked Obama to his former pastor, saying, "Unfortunately, all I can do is, in as visible a way as possible, disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning." "
Note to the Washington Post: Its "Ayers" not "Ayres."
UPDATE: Well. You'll read it yourself but I'm not encouraged when this is in the second paragraph: "Their paths have crossed sporadically since [their first meeting]..."
Friday, October 03, 2008
Sophisticates would rather listen to the six-term Senator Biden suavely and masterfully mislead (on every thing from the legislative responsibilities of the Vice President and confusion about Article I of the Constitution to Hezbollah in Lebanon) than an honest and sincere Palin speak directly to the people. Everyone else would not.
So yes, Biden sounded the more impressive in terms of recall and facts, but it was the transitory experience of a mint that melts almost instantaneously—once you realize that almost all of the sweeping sweet assertions you just heard were, on reflection, simply untrue and so now gone and forgotten. The story today is an embarrassing fact-checking of Biden’s bombast to a far greater degree than is true of Palin’s assertions.
So the debate had the character of one of those 1940s “champ” fight movies, in which the deft, cocky and more refined puncher beats up—at the beginning—the nervous sweaty challenger with the far greater heart. A man with three decades in the Senate, who reminds us ad nauseam of where he was and what he has done almost every second, in theory should have easily won; but this simply did not happen, in part to Palin’s charisma and Biden’s pontifications and distortions.…
As the rounds wore on, Palin lost much of her nervousness, smiled, and came into her own as the voice of an outsider who was not impressed by the same old, same old DC smugness. And as she did punch back, Biden began losing his composure, sighing with occasional break-ins and interruptions.
The more data he cited (much of it, again, less than factual [e.g., Biden really did, as Palin noted, rule out coal-generated power; he really did once deprecate Obama’s Iraq suggestions as ill-founded and dangerous; and he really does wish to create a trillion dollars in new spending entitlements; and senior commanders really do think the tactics in Iraq, mutatis mutandis, are of enormous advantage in Afghanistan]), the less effective he became. He’s a good debater, but he ended up out-pointing Palin and still clearly losing.
I cannot think of any presidential or vice presidential candidate who talked—manner, accent, gesture—in an authentically Middle Class fashion, and did so unapologetically. Bill Clinton could do it, but it was a performance to be turned on and off as needed. She sounds like voices in America (I’m in rural Michigan as I write this); but compared to life in the DC/NY nexus, she sounds like she’s from Mars as well. Biden often looked like an anthropological grad student on a South Pacific island doing his field work, both intrigued and taken back by the quaint habits of the otherwise inferior natives. I almost thought in the fashion of John Kerry he would sigh “I can’t believe I’m losing to this…..”
Watching my old classmate Jeff Toobin and my old boss David Gergen, both of whom share with me a surpassing ignorance of the gut reactions of a fairly traditionalist swing voter in Western Pennsylvania in the midst of the economic crisis of 2008, attempt to gauge the effectiveness of Palin in speaking to and convincing that voter has an inadvertently comic aspect.
I would trust both of them with my life if I needed an extensive analysis of the offerings at Zabar’s, the relative merits of the executive lounges of different airlines, or the disposition of Harvard’s endowment. But on the matter of Sarah Palin’s appeal, and her ability to help bring that dot pattern to resolve itself in McCain’s favor? That would be like asking me to diagnose the condition of your carburetor. I’ll do it if you pay me, but if you actually listen, the joke will be on you.
Brooks is of course the Times' resident conservative; Krugman is their mad lefty economist. What's going on?
Having said that, I'm not at all dissappointed with Gov. Palin. No "Poland is free" or "You're no Jack Kennedy" moments and she's on the bottom half of the ticket. Her job was to not crash and burn. She didn't.
1) I found it strange that she asked if she could call him Joe, but never did. What was the point of that?
2) I thought her winking at the camera was a bit much.
3) I hate when lawmakers get into Congress-speak, which Joe did, and when they mention other lawmakers by name and add the "my good friend", "my dear friend:, etc.
I also hate how they all talk about all the bills they have written. It's amazing how they all write all these bills, but none of them ever seem to get passed into law. They always forget to mention that part. Whenever they get into this, I just tune out.
4) I was surprised that none of the pundits, experts, hosts that I watched mentioned that Joe almost broke down talking about his dead/injured children. It was very obvious. I was watching CNN and they had these reaction meters with men and women voters in Ohio and during that portion, the women reaction was off the chart.
5) Perhaps it was my bias, but Joe was better at obviously not answering questions than she was. Perhaps that is just an experience thing. I was interested to see how each would answer what I thought was just a stupid question, about what their achilles heal was. Joe at least, through humor, acknowledged what Ifill mentioned about him, but only with a sentence or 2. Palin, as I had expected, didn't even come close to answering it.
6) The after debate talk was the usual - not sure what the point of watching it is. I guess on the very rare chance that someone will break ranks. Thankfully C and I will be on the road today to Arkansas, so I won't be able he hear the rightie radio hacks go overboard in their reviews. They'll paint Palin's performance as just below Lincoln or Reagan and paint Joe as the next coming of that loser Ross Perot had as his VP. And I predict that Rush will almost be giddy over her comment about not answering a question and her using the term "main-stream media". If you actually read the transcript of her not answering the question remark, she mangles the sentence, but you get the idea of what she was trying to say.
Bottom line: much more entertaining than McCain-Obama I, no gaffes, lots of statements to fact-check.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
10:30: Debate done. I'll write a bit more when I've had time to digest, but for now, Palin turned in a genuinely competent performance, and Biden turned in a superlative one. His performance tonight was the best I've seen from any candidate in this election, including the primaries. Just a superb job. I'm a bad barometer for middle America, but tonight seemed a clear win for him and his ticket.
Also, someone at kos confirms with word clouds that "also" was a huge word for Sarah.
I suppose there's a lot of work to be done to dig through all that was said. Man, they spoke fast and included a ton of references to records that'll be examined in coming days revealing "errors" or "lies", depending on your viewpoint. I'll be incommunicado, though, so you gentlemen will have to do it.
My gut reaction to Sarah was that she came off as painfully scripted. There were sparks of un-scriptedness, but then I came to think even those were scripted.
I know that I lose sight of what the average voter (let alone the average citizen) is aware of politically. We (the four of us (when LJ is not fed up and is paying attention)) and the people like us are a tiny tiny percentage of the electorate. What's important or significant to us from day to day never registers with the masses (and yes I'll use that term as a shorthand for what I'm talking about).
My problem is that while I'm sure Joe did well (at least until the ads come out), I haven't the slightest idea how Sarah played to the masses. I'm hoping against hope that she didn't seem wooden and scripted, but I really don't know. Which is what has me confused at the moment. How do I know that Joe did well but don't know how Sarah did? And I realized as I watched and didn't know how she was doing that NRO, Townhall, Hewitt, Rush, Weekly Standard, et al. don't know either. Hewitt, for example, thinks he's in touch bc he talks to people but he's talking to a very small self-selected group. We (on the right) often laugh at the echo chamber on the left but we have one as well, and I can't hear past the echo.
Why'd she step into the unitarian executive thing???
Biden's wife died?
Biden's proud of his hit job on Bork. Disgusting.
Final observation (and not original): "Bipartisanship" is a means to an end, sometimes. Never an end in itself.
I never really bought into that sentiment being the elitist that I am...until the last 10 days and all the nonsense with the bailout.
I'm starting to think that is what tonight's debate is about.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
My thought is that Sen. Biden will do very well with the impromptu button turned off. I've always liked him and thought him very sincere but, oh, those gaffes and his writers' plagiarism.
Gov. Palin could possibly make a Fordian gaffe.
If both were off the leash, I'd go with Gov. Lipstick.
Still, I'm going with the guvnah. Wishful hoping? Maybe.
As a 48-year-old male, I won’t address the hair. Yes, yes I will. Jim, get a real haircut and Mark, embrace the dome.
Sarah Palin has been at her most effective delivering scripted attack lines, and the debate won't be an interview. She won't be answering tough questions as much as she will be re-heating the slams against Obama she's spent time memorizing all week. All indications are that Palin is actually very good at "the nonanswer." Whether she comes across as knowledgable doesn't matter if she manages to reopen doubts about Obama's ability to be president. Expect her to turn questions about her qualifications into questions about Obama's, and inquiries about her religion into arguments about Rev. Jeremiah Wright. All she has to do to reignite that conversation is frame herself as a victim of a double-standard -- and that's the other thing she seems to be great at. The media will do the rest.
If you're looking for a drinking game while counting gaffes, try this: drink every time Palin emphasizes a preposition, (e.g. "...IN the United State..." , "...TO blah blah blah").
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Beyond my Alinsky connection, I also used to play cards with Paul Begala and worked with both Paul and James Carville in Lloyd Doggett's US Senate primary race against Kent Hance in the early eighties.
I was Rep. Doggett's (D) recount supervisor in the Texas Panhandle counties. Hance was from West Texas so I was viewed as a pariah but Rep. Doggett won the primary and picked up votes in the recount.
On the way to the panhandle counties I had a rental car get washed away in the middle of the night in a flood between Wichita Falls and Amarillo and then had to hitchhike to get to Amarillo. The guy who picked me up...the backseat of the car was full (I mean full) of empty beer cans. Oh for the days of the open container but I digress.
Rep. Doggett lost the race to...
wait for it...
Sen. Phil Gramm [yes, I originally misspelled].
Doggett went on the Texas Supreme Court for a while and now is in DC as the rep. for a truly gerrymandered district that runs from Austin to the Valley. I even flew down to the Valley on an eighties version of a whistle stop tour with the candidate in a tiny little plane. The pilot had to buzz the airfields first...to get the cattle out of the way.
Nope, I wasn't a Dem but I was clerking for Rep. Doggett's law firm at the time.
Two decades of crapulence by the political class has been prologue to the era of coprophagy that is now upon us.
I had to look it up on Dictionary.com:
cop·roph·a·gous (adjective): feeding on dung, as certain beetles.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I don't recall where I read or heard it but someone posed the question: Why does the House have to vote so far ahead [and I do think two days is a lot given the stakes] of the Senate on such a touchy issue [giving the Senate time to assess voter/poll/market reaction after the House vote]?
For those on the hot seat in an election year, the timing seems really unfair to the members of the House. I still think the "bailout" plan is big flyer so I'm not displeased with today's result but from a political standpoint I understand the House Dems' reluctance.
We know what to expect of gen-CR. Unless they have grown up in regions or families with an unusually strong grasp of tradition, patriotism, and reality, gen-CR'ers tend to have a fuzzy view of history, an unconditional belief in tolerance and diplomacy, and contempt for the military and war-making. Their patriotism (such as it is) tends to focus on the "global community" or "the planet" or some other large, meaningless object. ...
Last July he listed crises America has faced, including "the bomb that fell on Pearl Harbor." He spoke of "constantly evolving danger," not of "enemies"; he said that we had "adapted to the threats posed by an ever-changing world," not beaten our enemies. Gen-CR recoils from the idea of enemies. As for "the bomb," Obama was presumably conflating Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. However that may be, the statement is a prime specimen of gen-CR thinking.
Update: (Moving the quote from the subtitle to here) "I didn't decide
to run for President to start a national crusade for the political reforms I
believed in or to run a campaign as if it were some grand act of patriotism. In
truth, I wanted to be President because it had become my ambition to be
Anyone else have any opinion on the bill as voted on?