And P.T Barnum.
For several weeks the McCain campaign has been running this ad pretty much non-stop in Colorado.
Today we got this:
COLORADO SPRINGS — The banners, buttons and signs say McCain-Palin, but the crowds say something else.”Sa-rah! Pa-lin!” came the chant at a Colorado Springs rally on Saturday moments before Republican nominee John McCain took the stage with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a woman who was virtually unknown to the
nation just a week earlier. The day before, thousands screamed “Sa-rah! Sa-rah! Sa-rah!” at an amphitheater outside Detroit.”Real change with a real woman,” read one sign at a Wisconsin rally. “Hurricane Sarah leaves liberals spinning,” cried another.In the short time since McCain spirited the 44-year-old first-term governor out of Alaska and onto a national stage as his running mate, Palin has become an instant celebrity. And since her speech at the Republican National Convention, watched by more than 40 million Americans, she is emerging as the main attraction for many voters at their campaign appearances.”She’s the draw for a lot of people,” said Marilyn Ryman, who came to see her at the Colorado rally inside an airport hangar. “The fact that she’s someone new, not the old everything we’ve seen before.”
McCain’s hopes of winning Colorado rest on getting a big turnout in El Paso County (home of James Dobson and Focus on the Family). Paris Hilton, apparently, is worth a Mass.
Guess that no one tells him anything. Tim Cavanaugh:
In an unguarded moment last night, McCain Report blogger Michael Goldfarb replied to my question of whether there’s any truth to the rumor that Sarah Palin’s Down Syndrome child is actually her daughter’s with the following less-than-confidence-inspiring comment: “Well, I don’t…think so.” He added that the whole thing, like Hurricane Gustav, will have played out, one way or another, within the next 24 hours.
That wasn’t enough for the pretty pro-McCain crowd he was talking to, and when one interlocutor (not me) accused McCain of not having properly vetted his nominee, Goldfarb dropped the M bomb. “He’s a maverick,” he said. “That’s the way mavericks do things!”
This is just hilarious. We now know that the rumor can’t possibly be true, but it turns out that McCain’s own people gave it enough credence to try to obfuscate the issue. The McCain campaign sure is one hell of a well oiled machine…
Press release this morning from the McCain campaign:
For Immediate Release
Contact: Press Office
Monday, July 28, 2008
ARLINGTON, VA — Today, Chief Warrant Officer (4th class) Michael J. Durant (Ret.) issued the following statement on Barack Obama’s canceled visit to Ramstein and Landstuhl:
“Over the last week, Barack Obama made time in his busy schedule to hold a rally with 200,000 Germans in Berlin, hold a press conference with French President Nicholas Sarkozy in Paris, and hold a solo press conference in front of 10 Downing Street in London. The Obama campaign had also scheduled a visit with wounded U.S. troops at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, but this stop was canceled after it became clear that campaign staff, and the traveling press corps, would not be allowed to accompany Senator Obama.
“I’ve spent time at Ramstein recovering from wounds received in the service of my country, and I’m sure that Senator Obama could have made no better use of his time than to meet with our men and women in uniform there. That Barack Obama believes otherwise casts serious doubt on his judgment and calls into question his priorities.”
Michael Durant, CW4 (Retired), US Army; born July 23, 1961 in Berlin, NH. He entered the United States Army in August 1979. Following basic training he attended the Defense Language Institute, and was then assigned to the 470th Military Intelligence Group, Fort Clayton, Panama as a Spanish voice intercept operator. He then completed helicopter flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Upon appointment to Warrant Officer 1 in November 1983, he completed the UH60 Black Hawk Qualification Course and was assigned to the 377th Medical Evacuation Company, Seoul Korea. His next assignment was with the 101st Aviation Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where he performed duties as an instructor pilot.
Michael joined the 160th Special Operations Group on August 1, 1988. Assigned to D company, he performed duties as Flight Lead and Standardization Instructor Pilot. He participated in combat operations Prime Chance (Persian Gulf in 1989), Just Cause (Panama invasion in 1989), Desert Storm (Liberation of Kuwait in 1991), and Gothic Serpent (Somalia in 1993).
On October 3, 1993, while piloting an MH60 Black Hawk in Mogadishu, Somalia, he was shot down and held captive by hostile forces. He was released eleven days later.
Of course like everybody over 12 and an IQ above 89 I realize politics is a dirty business, but even by the low standards of the profession this kind of thing is pretty egregious. I doubt McCain would dare try it if the media weren’t so historically in the tank for him.
Now we’ll get a cycle of stories about the “controversy,” with the controversy being whether Barack Obama really cares about the troops.
Edit: James in the comments points to this MSNBC story (via TPM) indicating even McCain’s strictly factual claims about the cancelled visit are false.
While engaging in quasi-fascist workout regimen on foreign soil.
Via the Straight Talk Express.
It’s perfectly clear that claims that Wes Clark attacked John McCain’s war record or “Swift-Boated” him are entirely bogus. Unlike the attacks on Kerry, Clark did not question the veracity of his war record; he attacked its relevance. Clark’s argument that getting shot down in a plane doesn’t constitute executive experience is simply true, and his claim that a history of sound foreign policy judgment is more important than having been a POW is at the very least fair argument (and I think also correct.)
Obviously, the key here is that Obama and other Democrats cannot surrender an inch to this ridiculous narrative. It’s entirely without merit, and backing off from the comments or undermining Clark would be to cede considerable ground to McCain. Hopefully, having already been involved in an election with a candidate claiming that dubiously relevant “experience” was more important than making good judgments,Obama will understand the need to stand his ground and not pretend that McCain being captured in Vietnam somehow makes him more qualified to be president irrespective of his substantive positions.
UPDATE: I see Obama has done the wrong thing. It’s not only unfair to Clark but just bad, bad politics. It won’t put out there fire; rather, it just plays into anti-Democratic media narratives.
Wolcott, reflecting on the advice of Hannity/K-Lo that McCain “find his voice” by modeling his public demeanor after Bernie and Mittens, who delivered, I dunno, the awesomest concession speeches ever(?), or something:
So let me see if I have this right. The way for John McCain to inspire conservatives is to echo the concession speeches of two guys he beat, charging into battle to the faint distant trumpets of a valedictory address? He should meet the historical moment by acting as if he’s halfway out the door, ready to leave? I don’t know, conducting your presidential campaign as a Victor Borge farewell tour doesn’t seem to me to be the smartest way to go, but then I don’t have the keen stereoscopic mind of Sean Hannity, whose blatant partisanship did so much for Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy.
Not having television, I read McCain’s speech last night and found it to be a fairly clever, if completely disingenuous, effort to restate the case that he’s Teh Maverick. His smarmy pitch for Hillary supporters, for example, really needs to be mashed up with his unashamed chuckling upon being asked how to “beat the bitch” by that 234-year-old New Hampshire voter. In any case, for once I agreed with McCain’s apologists, who’ve been reduced to insisting that the speech “read well.”
Then I remembered that the words on the page had most likely come by way of the kazoo that resides in John McCain’s throat, and I felt much better about the whole thing. Now having watched the video, of course, I agree that it amounts to one of the great horror shows in recent political history. It might very well recede into oblivion, or it might eventually proved to be a synecdochical moment in the campaign, condensing his essential weirdness into a few lime green minutes. Either way, I’m looking forward to the debates in the same way I look forward to throwing old pumpkins off the roof of my house a few weeks after Halloween.
Another McHistory lesson:
“I believe that it’s not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn’t sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.’’
Asked if he thought that former President Jimmy Carter, who struggled with the hostage crisis, was an appeaser, Mr. McCain replied: “I don’t know if he was an appeaser or not, but he terribly mishandled the Iranian hostage crisis.’’
The historical error in that first paragraph should speak for itself, but I’ll simply note that (a) the hostage release had been negotiated prior to Reagan’s inauguration; (b) the hostages were released literally minutes into his Presidency; and (c) if nothing else, the Reagan campaign was deeply concerned that the hostages not actually come home before the election in November. As for appeasing the religious extremists in Iran, I’ll leave it to John McCain’s memory to recall which of his favorite chief executives presided over a batch of illegal arms sales to the very people calling for “Death to America” throughout the early 1980s.
I understand that John McCain is going to continue to get away with saying flat-out-wrong shit about the contemporary Middle East, so I won’t expect the press to ask any serious questions about his understanding of America’s history in the region. But Christ….
McCain, again trying to shore up his conservative credentials, is heaping criticism on Barack Obama for voting against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts (Hillary Clinton also voted against Roberts). I’ve gotta say, for anyone even remotely concerned about the integrity of the Supreme Court, this is not a smart criticism. Roberts has been among the least forthcoming nominees ever — a reality that became too clear over the last two terms, in which the Court has disingenuously gutted precedent without admitting to it and has had more 5-4 decisions than ever before (despite Chief Justice Roberts’ promise to unify the Court). Obviously, though, McCain is preaching not to the sane here, but to the wingnut right.
McCain also noted that his model justice would be Alito — hates women’s rights and (unlike Scalia) hates criminal defendants’ rights too, even though those are explicit in the Constitution! He’s a home run!