Yellow onions, because that’s all we had in those days.
Steven Warshawsky — proprietor of a “boutique law firm” that defends employers in discrimination suits — has written an epically funny brief on behalf of teh power of teh PUMA. Apparently, he’s met some! And they have websites. There was an old lady at a McCain event, for example, who used to work as a phone volunteer for Hillary Clinton. And some other dude. But that’s nothing, he explains, compared with the dearth of Obama buttons in his neighborhood:
Some more anecdotal evidence of a lack of support for Obama among Democrats: I live in the Upper West Side neighborhood of New York City. You cannot find too many places in the country that are more liberal than that. Walking around my neighborhood during the 2004 presidential campaign, I felt “assaulted” on all sides by Kerry-Edwards buttons, bumper stickers, and posters. This year, there clearly is not the same level of outward support for Obama. It is remarkable (and welcome). Will most of the people in my neighborhood vote for Obama on election day? Of course. Will Obama win New York? Almost certainly. But the lack of enthusiasm for Obama among these Democrats, who I’m sure would be going gaga for Hillary, speaks volumes about Obama’s true prospects for victory this year.
And given the total lack of McCain-Palin signs in my neighborhood, I’d warn Oklahoma Republicans against being too confident about the eventual disposition of their seven electoral votes. After all, Warshawsky was on the money about Giuliani and Mark McGuire, so who knows?
In the end, all roads lead back to John Paul Stevens. He wrote the plurality opinion in last term’s Crawford v. Marion County, which upheld Indiana’s restrictive voter-ID law. Stevens understood that there is no such thing as polling-place vote fraud, conceding that “[t]he record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history.” But, continued Stevens, in the manner of someone rationally discussing the likelihood of UFO sightings, “flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this nation’s history.” Like, um, an 1868 mayoral election in New York City, he notes, and a single 2004 incident from Washington. Stevens was more worried about shaky “voter confidence” in elections than actual voting. The message that went out from on high was clear: undermine voter confidence. Even if it’s irrational and hysterical and tinged with the worst kinds of racism, keep telling the voters the system is busted.
Each time they spread the word that Democrats (especially poor and minority Democrats) are poised to steal an election, John McCain and his overheated friends deliberately undermine voter confidence.
It’s a great scam; use apocryphal stories of “voter fraud” to create a pretext for further vote suppression, and the Supreme Court will actually cite the completely unfounded fears you’ve created as a justification! Even granting that Stevens was trying to keep the possibility that some vote suppression method might be held unconstitutional in the future, once you’ve accepted “voter confidence” as a valid reason it’s not clear what will ever fail the test…
In response to a variety of nuclear mishaps (B-52s flying while armed with nukes, nuclear triggers delivered to Taiwan, personnel falling asleep on nuclear weapons duty), the Air Force has created Global Strike Command, which is intended to concentrate on the management of nuclear weapons. Careless handling of nukes was the proximate cause of the firing of Air Force brass last year, although it’s fair to say that other considerations also affected the decision. As Jeffrey Lewis points out:
I should add that the Air Force is considering some organizational remedies. But the real question is “above the paygrade” the Air Force and, even, the Secretary of Defense. The “lack of focus” that SECDEF described reflects the reality that these weapons are largely irrelevant to the day-to-day mission of the Air Force. That we have nuclear weapons we do not need is evident in the day-to-day neglect by those who handle them.
The primary purpose for the creation of the USAF in 1947 was the conduct of nuclear strategic combat with the Soviet Union. This is no longer a pressing mission, and focusing on it no longer pays the USAF bills. Consequently, attention and diligence falter. This problem can’t be entirely remedied by changing the USAF’s organizational structure (although I think it may well help). The larger problem is that the USAF is a branch that doesn’t have a compelling reason to exist; the nuclear issues (and the F-22 problems, and the airstrike problems, etc.) flow from this.
I remember when Andy McCarthy was just a garden-variety hack, making sudden conversions to farcical constitutional arguments that happen to favor Republican interests (note: his analysis of the unconstitutionality of filibustering judicial appointments expires in January 2009.) But impending electoral oblivion has apparently removed any remaining mental faculties, causing him to become a crackpot Obama birth certificate truther (hey, if you don’t spend most of your resources defending against ludicrously frivolous lawsuits filed by people who are to 9/11 what you are to Obama, their claims must be true!), claim that Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s biography, and to unthinkingly endorse claims about black Obama supporters assaulting McCain supporters so implausible even Michelle Malkin won’t touch them. What a shame it is to lose one’s mind, such as it was.
This representation of New York Times Presidential endorsements is absolutely fascinating. Some tidbits:
- Grover Cleveland was the first Democrat to be endorsed by the NYT. He shares with Franklin Roosevelt the honor of being endorsed three times.
- Eisenhower received the endorsement in both 1952 and 1956, and is the last Republican to do so.
- The NYT endorsed Wendell Wilkie for some reason in 1940.
- The only third party endorsement came for John Palmer, who garnered 1.3% of the vote in New York and .96% of the vote nationwide in 1896. Not big William Jennings Bryan fans, it’s fair to say.
- The longest NYT losing streaks are 3; Harding-Coolidge-Hoover, and Reagan-Reagan-Bush.
Commenter “Njorl” on McCain social policy:
There are plenty of options for children with no special needs. They can:
-Marry a beer heiress.
-Get elected to Congress and get comprehensive medical care.
-Start a small business and earn over $250,000 per year.
Six year olds who are not doing these things are expressing a preference for not having quality medical care.
At this point, it also seems worth noting that the McCain/Hensley family fortune was based on
risk-taking job-creating entrepreneurship a government-established rent-extracting racket that restricts consumer choice while adding no discernible value. Now that’s the kind of state intervention we can support, my friends!
I think there’s only one solution to the crisis in the McCain campaign…another bold initiative to send us to Mars!