Feb 292008

Never let it be said that Hillary Clinton’s folks didn’t learn a lesson or two from Karl Rove and the Republicans…

Clinton Ad Stirs Waters

HOUSTON (AP) – A stark new Hillary Rodham Clinton ad portrays her as the leader voters want on the phone when crisis occurs in the middle of the night, “while your children are safely asleep.” Barack Obama retorted that his Democratic rival already had her “red phone moment” and it helped draw the U.S. into a misbegotten war.

The ad, with its visuals of sleeping children, prompted an immediate denunciation Friday from Obama, who said it’s meant to scare people. The Obama campaign rolled out testimonials from national security supporters that the Illinois senator has the temperament and judgment for perilous times.

Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson contended the ad “speaks to what people really know in their hearts” about his candidate’s experience and, by inference, her opponent’s lack of it. “This is a legitimate matter for a presidential campaign,” he said. “We would be derelict if we didn’t raise it.”

The commercial stirred waters heading into the final weekend of the campaign for Ohio and Texas presidential primaries Tuesday that could make or break Clinton’s campaign.[..]

Obama responded that he called it right on the war, “the most important foreign policy decision of our generation, and that’s the kind of judgment I’ll show when I answer that phone in the White House as president of the United States.”

“We’ve had a red phone moment,” he added. “It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer.”

P.S. The “telephone in the White House” depicted in the ad rang six times before anyone picked it up. If there ever is an emergency that requires calling the President at 3 a.m., I hope someone is paying better attention.

UPDATE: Obama response ad…

Wow. That was quick.

UPDATE #2: Some are comparing the Clinton ad to Lyndon Johnson’s “Daisy” ad in 1964. Johnson’s ad aired on the networks (there were only three back then) once before it was pulled by the campaign, but it was viewed by many due to the publicity it generated…

I think a nuclear bomb exploding is just a bit more powerful an image than a telephone ringing at three o’clock in the morning.

Update #3: Video of Senator Obama’s response to the Clinton ad here.

Feb 292008

Are you enjoying your extra day this year?

It’s Friday, and you know what that means. Friday Night Cartoons! This week, we make up for the quantity that was lacking last week. Or, it could be that John Sidney McCain III is such an easy target. Whatever. Click and enjoy…

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As always, our thanks to the talented cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.

Feb 292008

It wasn’t so much the candidate herself as it was her questionable campaign tactics that ultimately drove me to the other side. If any part of this story turns out to be true, it really will be the last straw…

Clinton aides threatened lawsuit over Texas caucuses, officials say

AUSTIN — The Texas Democratic Party warned Thursday that election night caucuses scheduled for next Tuesday could be delayed or disrupted after aides to Hillary Clinton threatened to sue over the party’s complicated delegate selection process.

In a letter sent out late Thursday to both the Clinton and Barack Obama campaigns, Texas Democratic Party lawyer Chad Dunn warned a lawsuit could ruin the Democrats’ effort to re-energize voters just as they are turning out in record numbers.

Spokesmen for both campaigns said there were no plans to sue ahead of the March 4 election.

“It has been brought to my attention that one or both of your campaigns may already be planning or intending to pursue litigation against the Texas Democratic Party,” Dunn wrote in the letter, obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Such action could prove to be a tragedy for a reinvigorated Democratic process.”

Democratic sources said both campaigns have made it clear that they might consider legal options over the complicated delegate selection process, which includes both a popular vote and evening caucuses. But the sources made it clear that the Clinton campaign in particular had warned of an impending lawsuit.

“Both campaigns have made it clear that they would go there if they had to, but I think the imminent threat is coming from one campaign,” said one top Democratic official, referring to the Clinton campaign. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

Another Democratic official who was privvy to the discussions confirmed that Clinton representatives made veiled threats in a telephone call this week.

Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain seem to believe that the rules were written for everybody except them. May be why they both remind me so much of George W. Bush and his cronies… and why I’ll never be able to cast my vote for either of them. (Unless, of course, Hillary Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee, because I am definitely voting for the Democratic nominee in November, whoever that may be.)

Also see: “Clinton May Challenge Texas Vote Rules.”

Feb 282008

There is no way that I could pass this one up. Via John Cole’s Balloon Juice, here is a video of MSNBC’s Dan Abrams talking to Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia). Remember, as you watch this, that Rep. Kingston is one of the rising stars in the right wing of the Republican Party…

That was amazing, wasn’t it? Think about it; that’s really the best they have to offer.

By the way, I debated whether to give that video a blue or a red border. I leaned toward blue for a while since it is so favorable toward the Democrats, but I settled on red since it does feature a winger.

Feb 272008

I will admit that I have not paid much attention to The Wall Street Journal since it was taken over by the FOX News folks, however…

An opinion piece they published yesterday merits our attention…

Obama and the Power of Words

Barack Obama
Barack Obama

These are words that move and uplift, that give hope to the hopeless. These words inspired millions of voters nationwide to join the grand experiment called democracy, casting votes for their candidate, their country, their destiny:

“More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values . . . For those who have abandoned hope, we’ll restore hope and we’ll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!”

So Ronald Reagan proclaimed on July 17, 1980, as he accepted his party’s nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Mich.

Bedtime for Bonzo
Bedtime for Bonzo

Earlier that day, the New York Times ran a long profile of Reagan on its front page. The author, Howell Raines, lamented that the news media had been unsuccessful in getting Reagan to speak in anything other than “sweeping generalities about economic and military policy.” Mr. Raines further noted: “political critics who characterize him as banal and shallow, a mouther of right-wing platitudes, delight in recalling that he co-starred with a chimpanzee in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo.'”

Throughout his campaign, Reagan fought off charges that his candidacy was built more on optimism than policies. The charges came from reporters and opponents. John Anderson, a rival in the Republican primary who ran as an independent in the general election, complained that Reagan offered little more than “old platitudes and old generalities.”

Conservatives understood that this Reagan-as-a-simpleton view was a caricature (something made even clearer in several recent books, particularly Reagan’s own diaries). That his opponents never got this is what led to their undoing. Those critics who giggled about his turn alongside a chimp were considerably less delighted when Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes in November.

One Reagan adviser had predicted such a win shortly after Reagan had become the de facto nominee the previous spring. In a memo about the coming general election contest with Jimmy Carter, Richard Whalen wrote Reagan’s “secret weapon” was that “Democrats fail to take him very seriously.”

Are Republicans making the same mistake with Barack Obama?

Click here to continue reading. And please do so before you start spouting that whole “Barack Obama is nothing but words” thing. Thank you.

(Let’s quell the rumor before it even gets started. No, that is not a picture of Ronald Reagan and the young George W. Bush.)

Feb 272008

Someone needs to remind John Sidney McCain III which political party he belongs to. Dirty campaigning is the only kind of campaigning Republicans know how to do.

McCain Srambles to Control Backers

Though John McCain vowed that attacks on Barack Obama at his campaign events “will never happen again,” the Republican presidential candidate says he’s concerned he may be unable to control all of his supporters – especially third party groups.[..]

But speaking to reporters aboard his campaign tour bus late Tuesday, McCain acknowledged that conservative independent groups pursuing a similar line to Cunningham’s could be impossible to control.

“I think you have to worry about that, particularly the 527s,” McCain said, referring to the independent advocacy groups that are not subject to contributor limits.

“We’re aware of many of the things that 527s have done … where unlimited amounts of money can pour into negative campaigns such as we saw against John Kerry and his combat record, as we saw against (former Georgia Sen.) Max Cleland … they’re really very not accountable to anyone. At least I have to say ‘I’m John McCain and I approve this message.’”[..]

McCain said he would do his best to prevent dirty politicking by his campaign and surrogates.

And the bottom line?

Meanwhile, as McCain preaches civility, his own campaign put out a call to Obama’s camp to call off Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who has been attacking McCain for choosing to forgo public campaign financing.

“Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee leadership have launched a personal and negative assault on Senator McCain’s character. Howard Dean himself questioned Senator McCain’s integrity, and a DNC official called McCain a liar,” said Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker.

“We agree with the Obama campaign’s statement today that this debate should be respectful and focused on issues, and it would be encouraging to see Senator Obama denounce the character attacks coming from the leadership of his party.”

Senator McCain feels that pointing out that he is breaking the campaign finance laws that he helped write constitutes a personal attack. He thinks that if he promises to play nice, the Democrats will just let it pass.

Somehow, I don’t think it works that way. If Mr. McCain is breaking the law (and all indications are that he is), then the Democrats are well within their rights to bring it to everyone’s attention. In fact, one might say it is their patriotic duty to do so.

P.S. Why would McCain’s campaign “put out a call to Obama’s camp to call off Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean?” Senator Obama is not yet the nominee of the Democratic party and has no control over the actions of the Democratic National Committee or it’s chairman, Howard Dean. A strange action on their part to say the least.

Feb 272008

If this is a preview of what we have to look forward to in the general election debates, then I say “Bring it on!”

McCain, Obama Tilt Over al-Qaida in Iraq

McCain / Obama
McCain / Obama

TYLER, Texas (AP) – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain mocked Barack Obama’s view of al-Qaida in Iraq, and the Democratic contender responded that GOP policies brought the terrorist group there.

The rapid-fire, long-distance exchange Wednesday underscored that the two consider each other likely general election rivals, even though the Democratic contest remains unresolved.

McCain criticized Obama for saying in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate that, after U.S. troops were withdrawn, as president he would act “if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq.”

“I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq,'” McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas, drawing laughter at Obama’s expense. He said Obama’s statement was “pretty remarkable.”

Obama quickly answered back while campaigning in Ohio. “I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that’s why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets,” he told a rally at Ohio State University in Columbus.

“But I have some news for John McCain,” Obama added. “There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq. … They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11 and that would be al-Qaida in Afghanistan, that is stronger now than at any time since 2001.”

Obama said he intended to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq “so we actually start going after al-Qaida in Afghanistan and in the hills of Pakistan like we should have been doing in the first place.”

While he praised McCain as a war hero and saluted his service to the country, Obama said the Arizona Republican was “tied to the politics of the past. We are about policies of the future.”

Noting that McCain likes to tell audiences that he’d follow Osama bin Laden to the “gates of hell” to catch him, Obama taunted: “All he (McCain) has done is to follow George Bush into a misguided war in Iraq.”

I love the fourth paragraph… “drawing laughter at Obama’s expense.” Were they laughing with him or at him? Or is this just proof that Republicans will laugh at anything, no matter how inane? (Considering that a lot of them think Chris Muir’s cartoons are funny, my guess would be the latter.)

More here.

John McCain:

(Why is it that Republicans have such a hard time understanding that Democrat is a noun and Democratic is an adjective? It’s “I was not interested enough in this election to watch the Democratic debate last night” not “I am unembarrassed [unembarrassed?] to tell you [though I should be] that I did not watch the Democrat debate last night.”)

Barack Obama:

Feb 272008

Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past twenty-four hours, you have already heard about the mentally unbalanced rabid right-wing radio talking head who “fired up” the crowd at a John McCain rally yesterday morning.

Here are Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow discussing this rather well-planned “accident” on the part of the McCain campaign…

Raw Story has this report that the nut is now denouncing John McCain…

McCain rally ranter cuts ties to campaign, will support Clinton

A radio talk show host who took potshots at Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama before a Tuesday rally for Republican John McCain–words that were later disavowed by the GOP senator–says that he’s severing ties with McCain’s camp.

Appearing on CNN’s ‘Election Center’ program, WCET host Bob Cunningham said he was asked by the McCain campaign to appear before the GOP candidate’s supporters “to throw them some read meat to get them fired up, to get them active.”

Cunningham, disappointed that the campaign he claims had invited him to speak has now distanced itself from him, also blasted McCain himself, saying, “I, for one, regret that John McCain is the nominee of the conservative party, because John McCain is not a conservative.”

After saying that he’d met McCain twice, Cunningham insisted “I’m not gonna meet him again. I’ve had it up to here with John McCain, he’s off the list. I’m joining Ann Coulter in supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

At the rally, Cunningham had continuously referred to the Illinois senator as “Barack Hussein Obama” and called him a “hack, Chicago-style Daley politician” among other remarks.

After McCain finished his own speech at the rally, the GOP candidate denounced what Cunningham had said earlier, telling reporters, “I apologize for it. I did not know about these remarks, but I take responsibility for them. I repudiate them.”

The above story is accompanied by a video in which it is clearly apparent that this dude is deranged and unhinged (to say the least).

Cunningham appeared on FOX News’ Hannity and Colmes this morning. Video here. It’s fun to watch Sean Hannity kissing up to the idiot.

Feb 262008

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are debating right now in Ohio. I have it streaming live on MSNBC.com.

Senator Clinton did not do herself any favors right out of the gate…

The first 16 minutes were spent on health care. We’ve moved on to NAFTA.

So far, I think I’d have to give the advantage to Senator Obama. He’s playing the role of front-runner and it suits him well. Senator Clinton appears to know that this is likely her last chance. Her desperation is showing. She’s definitely showing her argumentative side. This is not the “nice” Hillary Clinton we saw in Austin last Thursday evening.

Tim Russert is boring.

Commercial break. We’ve been debating Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan (Pahkeestahn?) for the past several minutes. I still don’t understand why Mrs. Clinton just cannot admit that she made a mistake when she voted to give George W. Bush the authority to use military force in Iraq. If she sincerely believes that it was not a mistake, then I agree with Mr. Obama that she does not have the judgment needed to be president.

Obama is now talking about public financing. He will, if he is the nominee, sit down with Senator McCain and be sure that we have a system that is fair for both sides. Why? An equal playing field has never been a priority of the Republican party. I fail to understand how the failure of the Republican party to adequately fund their nominee should be a problem for the Democrats. They have never voluntarily forfeited an advantage. Nor should we.

Please, Senator Obama, the response is “Tim, we are not having this election to select a Pastor in Chief. We are looking for a President and a Commander in Chief.”

Another commercial. Please, somebody, find some way to get religion out of politics and politics out of religion. They do not belong in the same bed.

It’s over. I don’t think Hillary Clinton delivered the knock-out blow that she needed to deliver tonight. She definitely calmed herself down during the second half, but for the first half of this debate she came off too much as the (please pardon the expression) Wicked Witch of the West. Senator Obama was able to effectively parry every punch she threw. In his summation, he stated that he believes he is the better candidate to unite the country. I don’t think there is much argument on that point.

As for the debate itself, the questions were stupid and the moderators (particularly Tim Russert) boring and ineffective.

I hope this was it. I hope it’s over. We’ve had twenty debates now. That’s enough.