Aug 312008
 

Showing once again that he is the serious candidate in this election…

Obama to ask his donors to help storm victims

LIMA, Ohio (AP) – Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama said Sunday he will tap his huge political network of donors and volunteers to help U.S. victims of Hurricane Gustav after it comes inland.

“I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there, if it becomes necessary,” Obama told reporters after attending St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Lima, Ohio.

“I think we can activate an e-mail list of a couple of million people who want to give back,” he said. Donations could include cash, goods and individual labor, he said.

Obama said he first would ask officials in the affected areas what is most needed, which may not be known for a few days.

“We don’t want to solicit a bunch of canned goods that can’t get there, or, you know, bottles of water where they already have water,” he said.

Obama said he might visit storm-damaged areas once “things have settled down.”

“The thing that I am always concerned about in the middle of a storm is whether we are drawing resources away from folks on the ground,” he said, referring to the security demands his traveling entourage makes on local police and other officials.[..]

Obama later conducted phone interviews with several Gulf Coast radio and TV stations, urging listeners to follow local officials’ instructions about evacuations, his campaign said.

Meanwhile, Johnny McCain adheres to the Republican rule of “never miss an opportunity for a photo op.” (The security demands his traveling entourage makes on local police and other officials are obviously of no concern to Mr. McCain.)

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See also: “Analysis: Message is don’t be like Bush on Katrina.”

Aug 312008
 

“I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary throughout our convention, we will act as Americans, not as Republicans.” — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Johnny McCain speaking to reporters about Hurricane Gustav and the effect it may have on his party’s national convention, August 31, 2008.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they could act as Americans every day?

Update: “McCain orders convention curtailed for Gustav.”

Aug 302008
 

Of course, it’s all the Democrats’ fault…

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Hurricane Politics Threaten the G.O.P. Convention

ST. PAUL — Two big events are on a potential collision course in the next few days _ the Republican National Convention here and Hurricane Gustav, which is gathering strength and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico.

With an eye on the storm, Senator John McCain says he may have to alter the convention schedule, largely to avoid the jarring split-screen image of Republicans celebrating while a possible repeat of the Katrina disaster plays out simultaneously.

“It just wouldn’t be appropriate to have a festive occasion while a near tragedy or a terrible challenge is presented in the form of a natural disaster,” Mr. McCain told Fox News Sunday in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow morning.

The convention is supposed to open Monday, when President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are scheduled to speak, and to close Thursday night after Mr. McCain accepts the nomination.

It just wouldn’t do to have the Republicans competing with a hurricane for time on the evening news. Why don’t they just save everybody the time and money and cancel the whole affair? Nobody will be paying attention anyway. We all saw what we needed (wanted) to see last week.

P.S. This storm is nothing to mess with. If you’re in its path, get out now!

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Update: “New Orleans Residents Are Ordered to Flee Hurricane.”

Update #2: “Gustav prompts talk of altering RNC agenda.”

Update #3: Via Politico… “Storm scrambles GOP convention.”

Aug 302008
 

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I’ve had another day to think about it, and I’m still overjoyed and bewildered. Many on the right are saying that we Liberals are “pissed” at Johnny McCain’s choice of a running mate. In my case, that could not be further from the truth. I’m actually quite pleased with it. If anything could have guaranteed an Obama victory on November 4th, this would have been it.

Yet, at the same time, I have to confess to being just a little bewildered. Why would Johnny McCain throw away his shot at the presidency (something he has lusted after for so long) like this? My initial thought was that it was a gimmick to get Hillary Clinton’s die-hard supporters more firmly in his column. However, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton could not be further apart… both politically and philosophically. There is nothing in Sarah Palin that would make a Clinton supporter want to vote for her other than possibly her gender. That may win over a few, but I don’t think it will be nearly enough to hand Sen. McCain the presidency.

Was it a play for the evangelicals? Possibly. It’s no secret that the “religious” right wing of the Republican party has little use for Johnny McCain. This may have been his attempt at bringing them into his fold. Ms. Palin is reportedly quite religious, she loves guns, hates gays, and is anti-choice.

I’m going to step aside now for a moment and turn things over to Paul Begala, a staunch supporter of the Clintons…

Commentary: Is McCain out of his mind?

(CNN) — John McCain needs what Kinky Friedman calls “a checkup from the neck up.”

In choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate, he is not thinking “outside the box,” as some have said. More like out of his mind.

Palin a first-term governor of a state with more reindeer than people, will have to put on a few pounds just to be a lightweight. Her personal story is impressive: former fisherman, mother of five. But that hardly qualifies her to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

For a man who is 72 years old and has had four bouts with cancer to have chosen someone so completely unqualified to become president is shockingly irresponsible. Suddenly, McCain’s age and health become central issues in the campaign, as does his judgment.

In choosing this featherweight, McCain passed over Tom Ridge, a decorated combat hero, a Cabinet secretary and the former two-term governor of the large, complex state of Pennsylvania.

He passed over Mitt Romney, who ran a big state, Massachusetts; a big company, Bain Capital; and a big event, the Olympics.

He passed over Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Texas senator who is knowledgeable about the military, good on television and — obviously — a woman.

He passed over Joe Lieberman, his best friend in the Senate and fellow Iraq Kool-Aid drinker.

He passed over former congressman, trade negotiator and budget director Rob Portman.

And he also passed over Mike Huckabee, the governor of Arkansas.

For months, the McCainiacs have said they will run on his judgment and experience. In his first presidential decision, John McCain has shown that he is willing to endanger his country, potentially leaving it in the hands of someone who simply has no business being a heartbeat away from the most powerful, complicated, difficult job in human history.

Nothing could possibly have brought more into question Johnny McCain’s judgment that his choice of a running mate. In making the choice he did, he clearly demonstrated that he places politics before country. This man, of advanced age and questionable health, has chosen to place a woman with no qualifications whatsoever to be president within a 72-year-old heartbeat of the presidency. This is not the kind of judgment we need in a president. Not now. Definitely not now.

No, I’m not upset at Johnny McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin. I’m quite pleased with it, because it goes a long way toward ensuring that our next president will be the president we need: Barack Obama.

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See also: “McCain’s Baked Alaska.”

Aug 292008
 

Americans are ready, nay hungry, for change and it shows…

Obama’s speech seen by 38 million-plus viewers

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NEW YORK (AP) – Barack Obama’s audience for his acceptance speech likely topped 40 million people, and the Democratic gathering that nominated him was a more popular television event than any other political convention in history.

More people watched Obama speak from a packed stadium in Denver on Thursday than watched the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year, Nielsen Media Research said Friday. (Four playoff football games, including the Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots, were seen by more than 40 million people.)

His TV audience nearly doubled the amount of people who watched John Kerry accept the Democratic nomination to run against President Bush four years ago. Kerry’s speech was seen by a little more than 20 million people; Bush’s acceptance speech to GOP delegates had 27.6 million viewers.

Through four days, the Democratic convention was seen in an average of 22.5 million households. No other convention – Republican or Democratic – had been seen in as many homes since Nielsen began keeping these records for the Kennedy-Nixon campaign in 1960. There weren’t enough television sets in American homes to have possibly beaten this record in years before that.

The convention that comes closest in interest was the 1976 Republican gathering, which averaged 21.9 million homes. That was the year President Gerald Ford fought off a challenge for the nomination from future President Ronald Reagan. For Democrats, the closest came during the 1980 convention where Sen. Edward Kennedy challenged President Jimmy Carter for the nomination.[..]

Nielsen said that 38.4 million people watched Obama’s speech as it was carried live by 10 commercial networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, BET, TV One, Univision and Telemundo.

PBS also televised the speech, but didn’t pay Nielsen for a count of its national viewership. Based on a sample of several large cities, PBS estimated that an additional 4 million people saw the speech on its network. C-SPAN, which also televised the speech, has no estimate of its audience.

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Anyone care to venture a guess as to how many people will tune in to the Republican Slumber Party next week?

Aug 292008
 

It has been quite a week. The Democratic National Convention was off the hook. Our next president is now officially the nominee of his party, so we have that little formality taken care of. And Johnny McCain chose a girl to be on the Republican ticket with him. So it must be time for Friday night cartoons. Remember, your mileage may vary. Click and enjoy…

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

Weekend updates:

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Aug 292008
 

It seems that Johnny McCain has picked his running mate. He went with youth. And sex. He chose the first-term female governor of tiny Alaska, just one and half years into her first term as governor. Talk about experience! But, she does have youth going for her. Johnny is 72 years old; Ms. Palin is only 44. And, did I mention she’s a girl? (A rather obvious reach for the so-called Hillary vote, don’t you think? Johnny McCain thinks so little of Hillary’s supporters that he thinks they are all going to flock to him just because he’s putting a woman on his ticket, regardless of whether she’s qualified or not.)

McCain picks Palin as running mate

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, making her the first woman ever to serve on a Republican presidential ticket.

McCain’s decision was revealed just hours before he was set to appear with his newly-minted running mate at a rally in swing-state Ohio.

Palin, the first Alaskan to appear on a national ticket, was elected Alaska’s first woman governor in 2006. The state’s voters had grown weary of career politician Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she defeated in the GOP primary.[..]

Palin’s selection was a stunning surprise, as McCain passed over many other better-known prospects, some of whom had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks or months.

At 44, she is a generation younger than Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, who is Barack Obama’s running mate on the Democratic ticket.

She is three years Obama’s junior, as well, and McCain has made much in recent weeks of Obama’s relative lack of experience in foreign policy and defense matters.[..]

Born in Idaho, Palin moved to Alaska with her parents in 1964, when they went there to teach school.

She received a degree in communications and journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987.

I don’t know what to say. I really am at a loss for words. I had my suspicions that Johnny McCain was not serious about this election, that he was just going through the motions. Now I’m sure of it.

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Considering Johnny McCain’s advanced age and questionable health, it was of vital importance that he select a running mate who is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Sarah Palin definitely is not ready. No way, no how.

Johnny’s first “presidential” decision, and he blew it. Big time.

Update: Via Borowitz Report

“The Presidency of the United States of America is the toughest job on the planet,” Sen. McCain said. “And my friends, the best testing ground for that job is being the mayor of a 5,000-person town in Alaska.”

Update #2: From the editorial board of The Washington Post

But the most important question Mr. McCain should have asked himself about Ms. Palin was not whether she could help him win the presidency. It was whether she is qualified and prepared to serve as president should anything prevent him from doing so. This would have been true for any presidential nominee, and it was especially crucial that Mr. McCain — who turns 72 today — get this choice right. If he is elected, he will be the oldest man ever to serve a first term in the White House.

In this regard, count us among the puzzled and the skeptical. Not long ago, no less a Republican strategist than Karl Rove belittled Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine as a potential running mate for Barack Obama, noting that picking him would appear “intensely political” because Mr. Kaine’s experience consisted of only three years as governor preceded by the mayoralty of Richmond, which Mr. Rove called “not a big town.”

Using Mr. Rove’s criteria, Ms. Palin would not fare well. Her executive experience consists of less than two years as governor of her sparsely populated state, plus six years as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (pop. 8,471). Absorbed in Alaska’s unique energy and natural resource issues, she has barely been heard from in the broader national debates over economic policy and health care. Above all, she has no record on foreign policy and national security — including terrorism, which Mr. McCain posits as the top challenge facing America and the world. Once the buzz over Ms. Palin’s nomination dies down, the hard questions about her will begin. The answers will reflect on her qualifications — and on Mr. McCain’s judgment as well.

Your humble host could not agree more. Johnny McCain proved today that he is not ready to be President of the United States. His vice presidential running mate definitely is not either.

Update #3: NBC’s Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Todd report that Johnny did not even know Sarah Palin before selecting her as his running mate. This choice is a political gimmick through and through…

The speech

 Posted by at 01:48  Democrats, Election 2008, Politics
Aug 292008
 

If it were possible to win the election in August, Barack Obama would have won it last evening. In the event that you missed his history making speech, or would just like to experience it again, here it is:

We finally have a future to which to look forward.

Text of the speech after the jump…

Continue reading »

Aug 292008
 

Let us be among the first to wish Johnny McCain a happy birthday. He’s 72 years old today. 72. Wow.

John Sidney McCain III
John Sidney McCain III

He’s supposed to appear in Dayton, Ohio later today with his newly announced vice presidential running made. My money is still on 61-year-old flip-flopper Mitt Romney because he’s rich, even though he is a little short in the experience department. We shall see.

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(The picture above shows John McCain and his BFF George W. Bush on Johnny’s birthday three years ago. That is what they were doing while New Orleans drowned.)