SITE NOTE: (Nicole) This Saturday, at 12:00 noon Pacific/3:00 pm Eastern, we will host a live chat with filmmaker Stefan Forbes about his documentary, Boogie Man, chronicling the life of Lee Atwater. And if you don't think Atwater-esque ghosts are not haunting this campaign, you don't know Lee Atwater.
Halloween is the greatest holiday ever and as such it has an anthem. A horrible, horrible anthem by a band Frank Zappa referred to as "...better than the Beatles--even today" and named the album from whence this song came -- Philosophy of the World -- as his third favorite album of all time.
Briebart today ran an AFP article with the misleading headline "US election: If Iraqis could vote it would be for McCain". I say misleading because it mentions in its first few paras exactly three Iraqis who prefer McCain - and in its last paras mentions two who prefer Obama.That's hardly all or even a representative sample of all Iraqis. That hasn't stopped a couple of rightwingbloggers grasping at straws - including Ed Morrissey, who continues his downward spiral of judgement at Hot Air and who I don't think would ever have linked such thin gruel at Captain's Quarters. Ed can count, but he chose not to mention the small sample size to his click-shy readers.
FWIW, back in July, Reuters did much the same thing in reverse. They interviewed two dozen Iraqis and came to the conclusion that Iraqis liked Obama better than McCain because "a black man would understand their plight." (Something only one of the seven quotes they printed even mentioned.) Back then, an Obama story was the one the media wanted to tell, coming off his close-run and exhaustingly covered primary contest with Clinton they needed to make it seem like Obama vs McCain was a real step up, not down, in tension and expectations. Now, they need to do build McCain again to make for an interesting nailbiter of a finish.
What it comes down to is that the media want a close horse-race because that sells better than a romp-home landslide victory. The news networks have been worrying what they're going to do election night if it's all over by teatime so they've been very relieved that McCain has been telling them that there'll be an upset in a close race and everyone's going to be up late watching election coverage.
There'll be more of this kind of nonsense as the last few days tick by, and the media frantically tries to spin the story as one they think they can sell more of. Remember, because of the collapse of Voter News Service, the networks will be relying solely on AP exit poll data for Elections 2008. That's Ron Fournier in charge of what the networks will report, in other words. So even after the voting is over, we're likely to see a last run of hype about a close-run race.
MSNBC's Chuck Todd had on Amy Walter of Hotline to talk about the nation's racial demographics and the internal dynamic affecting the outcome of Election 2008, and Walter had this to say:
Todd: Amy, on Election Day and we look at these returns coming in on the South, and if it is no longer a solid Republican South, then isn't the story: Race benefited Barack Obama? Race is the reason why he won a state in the South, be it North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana -- it's popped into single digits, South Carolina has popped into single digits. Georgia. There's only one reason --
Walter: We always assumed that race was going to be a negative. That that was the issue coming into this. Well, you say, well, race is a negative as in the "Bradley effect," as in turning off white voters. But -- and I think you've pointed this out too -- I think there are two issues: One is, yes, in a place like -- let's not say Georgia or Mississippi, I still think those states are tough calls for Barack Obama, but certainly can be helpful to the Senate candidates -- but a place like North Carolina, certainly, are very important.
But it's Latino vote too. When all is said and done, and we've spent a lot of time talking about white working class voters, we've spent a lot of time talking about the African American vote, what we haven't spent a lot of time talking about is how dramatically Latino voters are breaking against John McCain and breaking for Barack Obama in the states that could decide this election: Colorado, Virginia (another one of those), Nevada, New Mexico.
Chuck, I think the McCain folks spent so much time focusing on the trends in the Democratic primary [when Latino voters trended heavily toward Hillary Clinton] and taking lessons from that contest, but it seems like that wasn't necessarily a smart thing to do. I think they picked their running mate based in large part on this primary, and talking about these demographic factors. It was based on the primary.
Chuck, the thought was, Jewish Americans, Latinos, blue collar [whites] wouldn't go for Obama based on the trends in the Democratic primary. A funny thing happened. McCain is cleaning up among Latinos.
From Larry King Live Oct. 30, 2008. Michael Medved has a bit of trouble getting his Joe Lieberman talking points past Arianna Huffington and Paul Begala.
KING: Michael Medved, could he turn some votes?
MEDVED: Sure, Bill Clinton still. However, most people already know that Hillary has endorsed Barack Obama. Bill Clinton has endorsed Barack Obama. I was with Joe Lieberman last night in Ohio, and Joe Lieberman made a terrific point which is that right now there is this simmering controversy about a tape involving Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi. Rashid Khalidi, who was a PLO of the United States who apparently Obama, the "L.A. Times" is reporting, was toasting and praising just a couple of years ago.
Why won't they release the tape? Joe Lieberman made the point last night in Cleveland, Ohio, that if Barack Obama wants to put this to rest he should come forward and ask the "Los Angeles Times", please, make that tape public, put this issue to bed.
BEGALA: Come on.
KING: One thing before Paul responds, Michael, I believe that Khalidi denies ever being in the PLO and also has stated he and Obama disagree on almost everything about the situation with regard to the Palestinians.
MEDVED: So why not release the tape of an evening in which a number of people expressed determination to wipe out the state of Israel? Why not release it?
BEGALA: Michael, you're terribly troubled that six months ago the "L.A. Times" reported this, by the way. So it's an ancient news story in terms of political press cycles in a presidential campaign.
So six months ago it was reported that many years ago Barack Obama might have been at a banquet that included this guy Khalidi who is a professor who has views completely antithetical to Senator Obama's on Israel.
Are you equally troubled that Mr. Khalidi's group was funded to the tune of $450,000 by a group John McCain chairs, the International Republican Institute? John McCain was sending hundreds of thousand of dollars to Khalidi and Barack Obama apparently was eating a rubber chicken with him at a banquet one night and you're all up in arms and you and Joe Lieberman has his panties in a wad.
MEDVED: Why not release the tape? Why should the tape be held secret?
BEGALA: Michael, it is so beneath Senator McCain.
HUFFINGTON: Michael isn't even responding to what Paul is saying.
MEDVED: I will respond very gladly, Arianna.
MEDVED: First of all, the charges are not that they were at the banquet together. The charge is that Barack Obama offered a toast to Mr. Khalidi and said we're going to miss you and talked about how much he admired him.
MEDVED: This is an individual who is committed to the destruction of the state of Israel.
HUFFINGTON: Michael, I do wish that that tape would be released.
HUFFINGTON: Because I'm tired of tapes being presented as fearmongering. We had the tapes, supposedly Michelle Obama who said something about whitey and for the entire primary, we're waiting for the whitey tape. And now we're going to be waiting for the Khalidi tape. The real fact that you are not answering is that $450,000 has gone to Khalidi's group by an organization chaired by John McCain. Just stop, Michael, it's frankly beneath you.
MEDVED: Frankly, Arianna, I know nothing about that organization. I will look into it.
BEGALA: Oh so, Joe Lieberman didn't mention that to you, Michael?
MEDVED: The point is that Joe Lieberman who you campaigned for, Paul Begala, rear enthusiastically as I recall.
Somehow, in Sarah Palin's brain, it's a threat to the First Amendment when newspapers criticize her negative attacks on Barack Obama. This is actually so dumb that it hurts:
In a conservative radio interview that aired in Washington, D.C. Friday morning, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin said she fears her First Amendment rights may be threatened by "attacks" from reporters who suggest she is engaging in a negative campaign against Barack Obama. Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama's associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate's free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.
She's kidding me, right? Glenn explains what the 1st Amendment is and does for Sarah, since nobody in the McCain camp has.
The First Amendment is actually not that complicated. It can be read from start to finish in about 10 seconds. It bars the Government from abridging free speech rights. It doesn't have anything to do with whether you're free to say things without being criticized, or whether you can comment on blogs without being edited, or whether people can bar you from their private planes because they don't like what you've said. If anything, Palin has this exactly backwards, since one thing that the First Amendment does actually guarantee is a free press.
On the stump in Des Moines, Iowa, today, Senator Obama lamented the demise of the honorable and respectable McCain of old, the man who once said he wouldn't "take the low road to the highest office in the land." While promising to respond swiftly and forcefully to anything the Republicans throw his way, he also promised that in this election we have the opportunity to end that type of politics once and for all.
"I expect we're gonna see a lot more of that over the next four days. More of the 'slash and burn' 'say-anything, do-anything' politics; throw everything up at the refrigerator, see if anything sticks. A message that's designed to divide and distract, to tear us apart instead of bringing us together. You know a couple of elections ago there was a presidential candidate who decried this kind of attacks and condemned these kind of tactics. And I admired him for it. He said 'I will not take the low road to the highest office in the land.' Those words were spoken eight years ago by my opponent John McCain. But the high road didn't lead him to the White House then, so he's decided to take a different route. I know campaigns are tough, because we have real differences about big issues. We care passionately about this country's future. Make no mistake, we will respond swiftly and forcefully with the truth to whatever falsehoods they throw our way in these last four days. The stakes are too high to do anything less. But Iowa, at this moment, in this election, we have the chance to do more than just beat back this kind of politics short-term; we have a chance to end it once and for all. We have a chance to prove that one thing more powerful than the politics of anything goes, the one thing the cynics don't count on, is the will of the American people. We have the chance to prove that we are more than a collection of red states and blue states, we are the United States of America. The voters are in a serious mood. they want to talk about the things that make a difference in people lives. That's the type of campaign were gonna run and that's how we're gonna win on November 4th."
When Obama hits the stump, he talks about the urgent need to bring this country together, the urgent need to get beyond the divisive politics of old. John McCain and Sarah Palin, on he other hand, seek only to inflame those divisions, to divide this country into "real America" and "fake America." That alone should tell you how each man will lead.
Seems the GOP Ministry of Truth got ahold of Lawrence Eagleburger today and promptly cured him of his temporary insanity yesterday in dismissing Sarah Palin's qualifications:
Eagleburger: You are witnessing something quite unique -- a man who's about to talk to you while he has his foot in his mouth. I made a serious mistake yesterday. I was quoted correctly. I wasn't thinking when I said it -- in fact, I was discussing foreign policy, and this was in that context. And I was just plain stupid. And if I have given the flim-flam artist Barack Obama some success with this, I am deeply apologetic. I did not intend it.
In fact, if you look at this carefully, on the question of experience for example, Sarah Palin has been a governor, she has executive ability, she knows energy issues. Now you tell me what Barack Obama has ever done in the way of executive business, doing anything in the executive field. He has been in the Senate for some two years and he has been there half of the time and seldom votes on issues.
I'm sorry, I made a terrible mistake.
Wonder what technique they used. Waterboarding, perhaps?
By now most of you have seen or heard about Republican Elizabeth Dole's disgusting and desperate "Godless" commercial attacking her front-running opponent, Democrat Kay Hagan.
Not only has Hagan fired back with an ad of her own (posted above), her campaign has now filed a defamation lawsuit against Dole and fiercely punching back against what has to be the lowest of campaign smears in the 2008 campaign cycle. From The Hill:
Democratic challenger Kay Hagan has filed a defamation lawsuit against Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) for questioning Hagan's faith in what is shaping up as the nastiest campaign of this cycle.
Hagan announced the lawsuit after Dole refused to remove the ad, which suggests Hagan is an atheist and has become the subject of tough criticism from several newspaper editorials in North Carolina. Several polls show Dole trailing Hagan, a state senator.
“Elizabeth Dole would love nothing more than to distract from the issues and her record for the last five days of the campaign,” Flanagan said. “In filing this suit, we’ve made clear that these kind of despicable tactics will not be tolerated, and our campaign is moving forward with the most important task at hand: defeating Elizabeth Dole, and giving North Carolina’s families a voice in the U.S. Senate that they’ve been sorely missing.” Read on...