Posts Tagged ‘maverick

Poor Ol’ Joe the Plumber: McCain’s New Poster Child

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At long last, John McCain has found a star upon which to hitch his wagon: Joe the plumber — poster child for the downtrodden wealthy. Joe couldn’t have arrived at a more opportune time. With McCain’s campaign wagon reduced to a wheel-less junkyard contraption, drawing little more than scorn and pity from the masses, the old maverick was in sore need of a lift. Through Joe the plumber, McCain hopes to scare us so bad, that we’ll forget, once and for all, that his campaign is little more than a shoddily repackaged version of the Bush Administration. 

To do this, McCain will need to simultaneously inspire and scare the bejeebers out of us, in a Berlin Wall-esque fashion, to help us realize that we — each and every one of us — are  Joe the plumber. It is our noble and heroic struggle for the American dream that is being squashed by the evil, socialist/commie terrorist Obama, who is secretly scheming to funnel the wealth of hard-working Americans straight into the pocketbooks of cadillac welfare queens. It’s a tall order, to be sure, but if ignorant greed prevails, McCain could soon see a bump in the polls.

The whole thing started when Joe the plumber ostensibly** approached Obama in Ohio and posed the question that has been plaguing so many middle-class Americans during these troubled times: “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Obama acknowledged to Joe that, yes, that may very well be the case. Before the two men parted, Joe the plumber voiced his support for a flat tax. It is only natural that Joe the plumber would be in favor of a tax that — according to, benefits the wealthiest people in the country, while penalizing lower and middle income wage earners. According to Treasury Department figures (see table, left), Joe the plumber would see a 7.6% decrease in taxes, while those earning between $15, 000 and $200, 000 per year would see a .02% to 4.3% increase in their taxes.  

Alternately, under Obama’s tax plan, Joe the plumber would see a relatively modest tax increase. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC, punched the numbers and found that — assuming that Joe’s entire taxable income comes from his plumbing business — Joe would see an increase from 33% to 36%, for a tax rise between $0-$900 per year. This amount could hardly be blamed for thwarting Joe the plumber’s aspirations to buy a company that makes between $250,000 to $280,000 per year. But, if John McCain plays his cards right, he may be able to use Joe’s plight to “grow” his campaign’s numbers in the polls. 

In the coming weeks, we can expect to hear less about Ayers and terrorism, and more about Marxism. After all, it was Obama and his socialist lending practices that led to the Wall Street crisis. Heaven knows, it was not the reckless policies of the past 8 years, nor the Bush-McCain deregulation orgy.  So get used to words like: socialism, communism, spread the wealth, tax and spend liberals, hard-working Americans, class wars (huh?) and maybe even a welfare buck or two thrown in for good measure. McCain is depending on the fumes from these words to drive his defunct campaign to the finish line, come election day. 

Will the tear-jerking tale of Joe-the-plumber inspire very many of the 95% of Americans who make less than a quarter-million dollars per year (and who would receive some sorely needed fairness and relief under Obama’s tax plan) to vote against their own best interests? It’s entirely possible, if the past 8 years are any indication. But if the past two months are any indication, it’s also possible that Americans have wised up. Regardless, McCain is banking on the stupidity of the American people. From the looks of his campaign and his support base, it appears that’s all he has left to him.       


For more reading:

**Washington Post: Joe the Plumber: Not a Licensed Plumber — Joe the Plumber is not exactly a plumber, he’s “not even close” to making the kind of money that would result in higher taxes from Democrat Barack Obama’s proposals and has such an aversion to taxes that a lien was filed against him by the state of Ohio.

Wall Street Journal: Fair Tax, Flawed Tax: Does adding 30% to the price of every house sold sound like a good idea to you? by Bruce Bartlett, deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy from 1988 to 1993.


Meanwhile, back on the, uh, suspended campaign trail…. Sarah Palin walks (and talks!) in an interview with Katie Couric

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Good news, John! While you’ve been huddling with your buddy, George and orchestrating the dog & pony show photo-ops, Sarah Palin has taken the reins to your, uh, suspended campaign. You’d be amazed to see how well she can talk once the gag is removed. As you can see in the videos, below, she’s proven to be a fast study in passing the buck, both literally and figuratively. The only problem is that, while she seems to have more or less memorized the talking points, she’s yet to figure out how to coherently place them in their proper context and syntax. Not to worry, tho, I’m confident she’ll get better at this with practice.

BELOW: Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, in which Sarah praises McCain’s magnanimous heroics to single-handedly save the economy against the evil deregulators (while berating Obama in that very special, suspended-campaign-kind-of-way), only to find herself bereft of any actual examples of anything McCain has ever done during his past 26 years in Congress to push for more regulation of the banking industry. 

BELOW: More of Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, wherein she offers an explanation on how she gained her foreign policy experience, via osmosis, with Russia. 

The Rise & Fall of McCain-Palin: A Shakespearean Tale of Junked Mavericks and Junkyard Dogs

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The mavericks have surely seen better days. It’s difficult to say which candidate is more guilty of wrecking the ticket’s facade of competence:  Her oily highness, whose primary role on the ticket, thus far, has been to smile, pose for pictures and recite bumper sticker slogans while simultaneously thumbing her nose at media questions, ethics investigations and subpoenas? Or the main maverick, who simply can’t help himself, as — in times of both crisis and calm, either of which offers golden opportunities to ‘act’ presidential — he instead shows his true colors, behaving, in the words of George Will, “like a flustered rookie, playing in a league too high”?

Grinning from ear-to-ear, the cats who swallowed the canary

One thing is for sure, the McCain-Palin ticket is a walking, talking wreck, and it’s only a matter of time before enough people say, “Enough!” It can’t happen soon enough for me. I, for one, will not miss their jubilant smiles from the campaign stump — those cat-who-swallowed-the-canary grins as they secretly gloat at their daily success of pawning a counterfeit platform full of lies onto another credulous crowd. Nor will I miss the cheers, jeers, hisses and chants of their lie-guzzling fans — their appetites perpetually whetted for cheap, dirty campaign slogans and smears, yet devoid of a hunger for truth and substance.  


This is what junkyard dogs do: they curl their lips into a vicious snarl, teeth bared, ready to sink their teeth into someone’s flesh. Friend or foe, it doesn’t much matter. Junkyard dogs will as easily lick the hand that feeds them one day, as they will bite it the next. And sometimes it’s hard to tell a grin from a snarl. To be sure, between McCain and Palin, there’s enough slobber and lies to foul the national dialogue for another 41 days. 

The history books may one day accurately record the demise of the McCain-Palin ticket as the logical conclusion of fiery rhetoric colliding with an even fierier reality. Facts are facts: reality always (eventually) trumps illusion, and truth always (eventually) trumps lies. But I’m hoping for a more timely arrival of the truth this election season. The good news for Americans is that, this year, we see some promise that truth may actually arrive on time, in its own time, instead of post-election, when it’s far too late to be of any use.

At the same time, I’ve become too wise to hope too much, too soon. I’ve seen enough over the past 8 years to know that anything (anything) is possible. “Enough” has yet to be enough. For the next 41 days, there still remains the possibility/likelihood of a September surprise or an October event of such magnitude that Americans would again be blinded by fear and panic (I’ve seen it happen) into doing something reckless (I’ve seen it happen) like appointing another fox to guard the henhouse — or, in this case, electing a pair of junkyard dogs to restore the finer points of truth, law, order, justice, humanity and scruples to our American government. 

No doubt about it: the mavericks have seen better days. And today — for all their strutting and fretting, their sound and fury — the two of them are poised mid-air in the jaws of the forlift. All that remains is for the American people to push the “HELL NO” lever on the McCain-Palin ticket and send their mangled platform to the polical junkyard where it belongs. Below is some tangible evidence for those who, like me, are in sore need of hope that, this time around, things will be different: truth will indeed trump lies, before it’s too late to matter. My perusal of the past week’s headlines, alone, has given much fodder for hope.


Ever hear of an American political candidate barring the press outright? Well, to be fair, the McCain team didn’t completely block the press. The rules were: cameras yes, journalists no. This was, after all, a photo-op. Sarah’s whirlwind diplomatic tour this week — designed to dispel ugly rumors that she’s not ready to handle world affairs — is instead confirming what we already know: the McCain campaign doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of convincing any but the dumbest and most gullible of Americans that Sarah Palin is qualified to even act as mayor of Wasilla or the governor of Alaska, much less as vice-president or (gulp) president of the United States. Still, the McCain team perisists in erecting a facade, of sorts. Hence, the gag order on Sarah Palin’s mouth, juxtaposed with pics galore from carefully staged photo-ops. This manipulation of the press, by barring reporters access to a candidate, is unprecedented — not just in presidential politics, but in the entire history of American politics. Even Fox News was at a loss to pretty this one up: 

There’s not once chance that Governor Palin would have to answer a question. … They’re eliminating even the chance of any kind of interaction with the candidate — it’s just unprecedented.

To be fair, the media were officially allowed 29 seconds in the presence of her oily highness, in which they were able to glean a glimpse of Sarah’s foreign policy finesse during her meeting with Afghanistan president, Hamid Karzai, with their dialogue — from beginning to end — duly reported by the New York Times

“What is his name?” Ms. Palin was heard to ask, referring to the birth of Karzai’s first child least year. 

“Mirwais,” Mr. Karzai replied. “Mirwais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.'”

“Oh nice,” Palin responded.

“He is the only one we have,” Mr. Karzai said.




McCain was his own worst enemy last week as, in desperation, he impulsively mis-fired one sure-fire gaffe after another. George Will commented on this Sunday, then again yesterday, in the Washington Post

Under the pressure of the financial crisis, one presidential candidate is behaving like a flustered rookie playing in a league too high. It is not Barack Obama…. For McCain, politics is always operatic, pitting people who agree with him against those who are “corrupt” or “betray the public’s trust,” two categories that seem to be exhaustive — there are no other people…. 

Conservatives who insist that electing McCain is crucial usually start, and increasingly end, by saying he would make excellent judicial selections. But the more one sees of his impulsive, intensely personal reactions to people and events, the less confidence one has that he would select judges by calm reflection and clear principles, having neither patience nor aptitude for either….. It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?


Sam Donaldson , equally unimpressed with John McCain’s “presidential” presence and economic finesse, commented on McCain’s two-decade-long support for deregulation (which McCain quickly flipped into a newfound criticism of deregulation last week):   

The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and unflustered? It wasn’t John McCain….His talking points have gotten all mixed up and I think the question of age is back on the table. 

We deregulated in the beginning of ’99 and 2000 the banking industry, Phil Gramm and others, I think that Obama ad is correct. He was one of the prime movers. Now we’re going to have to clean that up at great expense. So I mean, I think for John McCain, though, who has the heaviest burden here, since he voted for all the deregulation, for him to now say he would be the toughest re-regulator is kind of a hard thing to swallow.”

(PHOTO, LEFT) McCain at an appearance this summer with Phil Gramm, his long-time financial adviser and campaign co-chair (until this past July). As one of the architects of the deregulation and decapitated laws that have so crippled Wall Street, Phil’s name has become a household word, as well as a favorite four-letter word.  


Shooting himself in both feet, Sen. John “I’m-always-for-less-regulation” McCain penned an article for the September-October issue of Contingency, wherein, he makes a case for maverick-style health care reform. Paul Krugman brought this article to public attention yesterday, drawing our focus to one particularly disturbing passage, in which McCain presses for a “freer market” for health coverage, making the argument that health insurance would benefit from the same sort of innovation enjoyed by the deregulated banking industry. In McCain’s own words:

Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.

Oh, if only McCain could eat his own words, erase them from the annals of history…. Then maybe his campaign’s recent deathbed conversion to anti-regulation would be believable, and his recent attacks, blaming Obama (instead of deregulation) for the Wall Street crisis wouldn’t be so laughable. 



In a recent NYT op-ed piece titled, “Blizzard of Lies,” Krugman sees the McCain-Palin campaign’s smears and lies as bellwethers of what they’d bring to the presidency. 

How a politician campaigns tells you a lot about how he or she would govern….The Obama campaign is wrong to suggest that a McCain-Palin administration would just be a continuation of Bush-Cheney. If the way John McCain and Sarah Palin are campaigning is any indication, it would be much, much worse.


Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
Signifying nothing.



by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers


Monkeys with Molotovs: The gutter politics of McCain, Palin, Rove & Co.

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The monkeys are at it again. Lacking substantive issues on which to wage a presidential campaign, they’ve resorted to lobbing cheap incendiary devices at their opponent, in the hope that one will hit the mark and bring Obama’s candidacy down in flames. Fact is, on the issues, the McCain ticket had already self-destructed before Sarah Palin arrived on the scene. Bereft of anything to offer, other than a shoddily re-packaged version of the fatally flawed Bush Administration, the McCain team has long since lost credibility as an agent of change, maverick or otherwise.

Palin’s addition to the ticket adds nothing, beyond the squallorous baggage of her lie and scandal-ridden Alaska politics, which have perversely served to polarize this country even further from discussing solutions to the calamitous problems we face. Here, the McCain-Palin political team is proving to be a perfect match, uniquely-suited to make a seamless transition from the Bush-Cheney years. Neither McCain nor Palin has enough respect for the merit of their own credentials to run on them, so they’ve instead reinvented and embellished their records, weaving a myth, of sorts, that they are all-American mavericks, set to shake-up Washington politics, even as their campaign — run by Bush-league lobbyists and Karl Rove minions — is exactly what has so infected Washington politics over the past 8 years. Neither candidate has enough respect for their self-described maverick credentials, because neither can prove that they are any different from the same-old, same-old reckless cowboys, not mavericks, that have been running this country for the past 8 years.

 McCain’s voting record, particularly over the past 4 years, has been lockstep with Bush-Cheney. His spell as a maverick with the Bush Administration happened only briefly, after the 2000 election, when a bruised McCain was so angry at Bush, he considered switching parties as payback. Despite that his maverick record doesn’t even exist, he runs on the claim, bolstering it with self-serving reminders of his military service, which he delivers in the countless wrenching retellings of his POW experiences — stories which, in the minds of many fellow vets, play more like shameless pandering, as John McCain’s own voting record on veteran issues is no less than deplorable. Palin, for her part, brings to the ticket a thin career in Alaska politics, riddled with lies, cronyism and scandal.

Neither Palin nor McCain have shown that they own the scruples or vision to think outside of their narrow worldviews long enough to consider that they are running for high office in a country that has been left bleeding, in shambles, from the collateral damage of the past 8 years under the Bush-Cheney Administration. Neither candidate has bothered to take notice that the last thing this bleeding country needs is more blood. Yet, the two candidates are nothing, if not shrewd. They both know that — when it comes to influencing people — if you scare the hell out of them, you can bring them, lockstep, into your camp, so long as you promise to protect them. Bush, Cheney, Rove & Co. were masters at this tactic.


Sad thing is — and despite that this tactic is cheap, ugly and transparent to many Americans — this tactic really, truly works on a large number of voters. And the beauty of it is that, the dirtier the tactics, the better the trap they lay for their opponent. We’ve seen this over the past 12 days, as the McCain camp’s dirty bombs have escalated, leaving Obama but two choices: respond in kind, or take the high road, adhering to the strength of his issues and the authenticity of his campaign. Translated, in Rovesque terms, this means that Obama has a choice between appearing either weak or tough on terror. And, make no mistake, the McCain-Palin tactics more closely resemble terrorist tactics than the strategy of respectable, statured politicians trying to win an election. (To see an example of the latter, you’d have to study the example of the Obama campaign over the past 18 months). The only hope for the McCain-Palin team is that they can lure Obama into an even bigger trap, in which dirty does battle with dirty. And, as anyone in Washington can tell you, there’s no one can trump Rove when it comes to dirty politics.

Excerpt from an interview with McCain on Karl Rove tactics:
QUESTION: His tactics don’t, you don’t disapprove of them? They don’t make you nervous?

MCCAIN: It’s not so much whether I approve of his tactics or not. It’s that he has a very good, great political mind. Any information or advice and council he can give us, I’d be glad to have. I don’t think anybody denies his talents. So I’d be glad to get any advice and council. We would obviously decide whether to accept it or not.


McCain and Palin have shown their adeptness at playing gutter politics, with no lie, no slander, no blow too low or too outrageous, so long it serves to discredit their opponent or scare the American people. After all, their team includes Karl Roves brightest protege, a man named Steve Schmidt, a master of gutter politics. McCain and Palin have also shown that they are adept at waging a petty, senseless, pre-emptive gutter war — a war waged for the sole benefit of their campaign agenda, at the expense of everyday Americans who are facing calamitous changes in their lives.  Will these same Americans take the bait, as they’ve done for the past 8 years? Are Americans still so blinded by swaggering bravado, that they see strength in a leader throwing gasoline on a fire? Will they again choose the monkeys with Molotovs, or will they choose the candidate who’s fighting like hell to wage a campaign that offers tangible solutions to the very real and tangible problems we face as Americans? Only time will tell.



by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers


For more reading:

New York Magazine: The Low Road Warrior – Many of McCain’s advisers from 2000, such as John Weaver and Mike Murphy, express qualms about the campaign’s newly nasty tone. (One can only imagine the sigh of relief emanating from Mark McKinnon, the heralded adman who helped McCain win the nomination but whose aversion to taking a cleaver to Obama caused him to sit out the general.)

Huffington Post: While Rome Burned… They Talked About Lipstick

Huffington Post: Bob Cesca: Fooled Again

Sarah Palin’s Running Mate: “He will make Cheney look like Gandhi”

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Lost during this 11-day white trash paparazzi glitz since Sarah Palin’s arrival on the world stage, has been leading man, John McCain. Where is he? (Yeah, we’ve seen the sheepish-grinning sidesick — that guy who resembles John McCain, standing next to Sarah during her scripted appeareances). Lest we forget, he’s still alive and kicking, and running for president. For a man about whom we know so much, we really know very little about him, aside from the larger-than-life myth he’s created for himself as a former POW with a reputation for being a maverick senator. For what it’s worth (did I mention he’s a POW?) I’ve never in my life seen a war vet — abled, disabled, PTSD, POW, or not — who exploited his service record the way that John McCain has. Without exception, every war veteran I’ve ever known has spoken with humble veneration on their experiences with war (or, alternately, an outrage and determination to protest against future wars).  I cannot imagine any one of these individuals milking the horror of war for personal favor, to elicit — what…. votes? while simultaneously voting, time and time again, against legislation that benefits veterans and active-duty solidiers.

Regarding McCain’s maverickhood…. Fact is, he’s not such a maverick — not according to his voting record (unless you count the 4 years immediately after the bitter 2000 election against Bush, when McCain began voting against anything-Bush, out of vindictiveness, and also considered changing parties, out of anger for Bush’s treatment of him during the 2000 election; but his voting record easily corrected itself by 2004, when he stepped back in line with his pre-2000 voting record which, with very few exceptions, ran true to the Republican party line) and he’s not such a maverick for his choice of a running mate, either  (else, why didn’t he buck the good-old-boy Republicans, who insisted on Palin, and instead select his own maverick choice for a running mate — Joe Lieberman?) 

I could argue his voting record, cite articles, numbers and statistics. I could (and may, yet) roll out his deplorable voting record on veterans’ benefits, services & medical care, plus his vote against safety equipment for Iraq soldiers. I could make a solid case that he’s a hot-headed warmonger. I could dig up his Sept. 13, 2001 quote, when he was already chomping at the bit for a  pre-emptive war against Iraq.  I could go on and on. Readers could then write back and dispute me. I could dispute them back. We could keep this up for another 8 weeks. Perhaps it’s best to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. In that spirit, here’s a scattering of videos that serves to flesh out this man named John McCain, about whom we know so much, yet so little:



BELOW: Pat Buchanan, on President McCain “He will make Cheney look like Gandhi”

BELOW: The Straight-talk Express: Here, McCain keeps his finger smack-dab on the pulse of foreign and domestic policy, economics and the American middle class:

BELOW: McCain on the economy: McCain is at a loss for words when, during this 2008 presidential debate, Ron Paul queries McCain economic positions on the President’s Working Council on Financial Markets. The silence is deafening for a few beats, following McCains recitation — by name — of every economist he could think of, their names strung together with blather. as McCain’s answer made it patently clear he hadn’t the slightest idea what Ron Paul was talking about. 

BELOW: Vietnam Veterans for Peace and others demonstrate against fellow vet, John McCain, in St. Paul during the 2008 RNC Convention earlier this month.


We’ll add more stuff if we feel like it, tho probably not. We’re not terribly inclined to spend much time on McCain, because we’d either be preaching to the choir or stoking fiery arguments with McCain supporters, which we’re also not inclined to do.

A VIDEO COMPENDIUM: Sarah Palin — Maverick executive or just another cowboy?

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McCain and the rest of the Republican Party have been talking feverishly — in tongues, at times — to convince America and the rest of the free world that Sarah Palin was the best possible choice for the McCain ticket. “Her record as a maverick executive speaks for itself!” they say. And we couldn’t agree more. Honestly.

ABOVE: (audio) Sarah Palin giggles as shock jock, Bob Lester, insults Alaska State Senate President, Lydia Green, calling her a “jealous woman,” a “bitch” and “a cancer” (even as it was well-known that Sen. Green is a cancer survivor). Then Lester ridicules the Senator’s weight, in a reference to the size of her chair. Ms. Palin’s only response during this clip (besides the giggles) was to tell Lester, “We’d be honored to have you guys,” when he asked about coming to visit Palin. An Anchorage Daily News op-ed called Palin’s behavior, “plain and simple one of the most unprofessional, childish and inexcusable performances I’ve ever seen from a politician.”

ABOVE: On a lighter note, here’s the classic, Sarah Palin question: “What is it, exactly, that the VP does every day?”

ABOVE: A video on aerial shooting of wolves in Alaska, along with a call to Governor Palin (who supports this brutal program) to stop supporting this program.

ABOVE: Ah, Troopergate… Abuse of power or maverick, executive decision? You decide.

ABOVE: We suspect that Joe Lieberman is the scarf man with the scary voice in this Palin expose.

ABOVE: Would win 1st Prize in our Sarah Palin Maverick Impersonator pageant.

ABOVE: Okay, so this isn’t Sarah, either. Or is it?  (Compare Miss SC Teen USA’s discourse with Sarah Palin’s ruminations on oil and the Iraq War: “When I talk about, umm, the plan for the war, you know, let’s make sure we have a plan here, and respecting McCain’s position on that.”)



ABOVE: Jack Cafferty (Tell us what you really think, Jack!)

ABOVE: Bill Maher

Karl Rove disses Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine’s credentials (a Harvard law school grad, who has been governor for 3 years) as being inadequte for the VP slot. Wonder if Karl Rove has any thoughts on Sarah Palin’s credentials?

ABOVE: James Carville & McCain campaign adviser, Nancy Pfotenhauer (feverishly making a case for Palin) weigh in on Larry King. Unlike Obama, seen on this clip, Pfotenhauer can’t seem to bring herself to show even a mote of graciousness. The lady doth protest too much.


ABOVE: Keith Olbermann & Rachel Maddow talk about Palin’s record

ABOVE: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (Daily Show/Colbert Report) Talk Palin


ABOVE: Comedy Central/Daily Show — Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Nancy Pfotenhauer and Sarah Palin, herself, play the old double standard, pitting Sarah Palin vs. Tim Kaine, Jamie Lynn Spears and Hillary Clinton   

ABOVE: From MSNBC, conservative commentators, Noonan and Murphy, after they’re’re off the air (and not aware their mikes are still live), say what they really think about the veep choice.

ABOVE: CNN’s Roland Martin rips Palin’s ridicule of community organizers.


What’s up with this? Early in her tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin was nearly recalled for firing the police chief and the town librarian. Not because they were doing a bad job, nor (heaven forbid) because both had supported Palin’s opponent in the mayoral election (and, according to other sources, because the librarian resisted Palin’s “rhetorical question” about censorship/removing *certain books from the library and because the police chief changed a local bar’s closing hour from 5 a.m. to earlier, due to rowdiness). According to Palin, however, she didn’t feel she had their full support. ”You know in your heart when someone is supportive of you,” she said. Perhaps this was also a factor in her firing of Alaska’s public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, after his refusal to fire Palin’s ex-brother-in-law.

Politico: Why the Media Should Apologize – On behalf of the media, I would like to say we are sorry. On behalf of the elite media, I would like to say we are very sorry. We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked. We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice….

McClatchy: Official: Palin’s never issued an order to Alaska Guard Palin vs. Reality: Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

TIME: Swampland/Angry Amateurs: The story of the day out here in Minneapolis is the McCain campaign’s war against the press. This has been building for some time. Those of us who have criticized the candidate–and especially those of us who enjoyed good relations with McCain in the past–have been subject to off-the-record browbeating and attempted bullying all year. But things have gotten much worse in recent days: there was McCain’s rude, bizarre interview with Time Magazine last week. Yesterday, McCain refused to an interview with Larry King, for God’s sake, because Campbell Brown had been caught in the commission of journalism on CNN the night before….

Careful, you angry elitist democrats out there…. according to the latest Rasmussen Reports poll, if the media criticizes Sarah Palin, it makes people want to vote for her even more: Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.

CBS News: Fake Soldiers Used In RNC Video: It was a video that was supposed to elicit soaring patriotism and real emotions about the Pledge of Allegiance. But to do that, it used fake soldiers and a staged military funeral instead of the real thing. (good news is, no soldiers were harmed during the filming of this video, eh?)

LosAngelesTimes: Palin: wrong woman, wrong message – Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

ABC News: Fired Alaskan Official Says Palin Hasn’t Been Truthful – The fired Alaskan official, whose dismissal has become the subject of a state senate committee’s investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin, has told ABC News that she has not been entirely truthful on the matter.

fivethirtyeight: Cognitive Dissonance – Virtually all of the conservative commentariat, and a greater-than-would-care-to-admit-it share of the liberal commentariat think that Sarah Palin hit a home run tonight. I guess I’m just going to have to stick my neck out (along with Josh Marshall) and disagree. (p.s. this website, which bills its goods as “electoral projections done right,” is a great site for tracking and comparison)

WashingtonMonthly: Factchecking Palin – I thought Palin’s speech was quite good: well-written, well delivered. And, as I said earlier, I think she’s a genuinely engaging person, and comes across very well. There were just a couple of problems. One, which I have seen people notice, but which I suspect won’t be a big deal for a lot of voters, is that it had very little substance. The other, which the commenters I saw on TV for some reason neglected to mention, was that she told a lot of lies. (Note: the lies are listed, with reponsible updates given, where applicable).

AnchorageDailyNews: Some of Palin’s remarks stretch the truth – SPEECH: Gas pipeline, earmark issues have more subtlety than described. Gov. Sarah Palin’s remarks to the Republican National Convention about her record in state government stretched the truth.



Sarah Palin for Vice President: Credentials, schmedentials

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Pay no mind, Ms. Palin, to those who would question your credentials. As  John McCain and the entire Republican party would say: Credentials, schmediantials. Who need credentials when you’re a maverick?  And if the past eight years are any indication, they’re probably right.

See, Americans have a short attention span for detail and a large appetite for fluff. So there are many in this country who will never hear the the criticims being made against your record, beginning with your current involvement in the State of Alaska’s investigation for governatorial abuse of power, an impeachable offense. (Read here for the take, according to a fellow Alaskan). There’s good guys, and there’s bad guys in this world–you’re either with us, or you’re ag’in’ us. The GOP assures us you’re a good guy, Ms. Palin, which is a stamp of approval on your executive decision to break the law and pressure the State Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan, into firing your ex-brother-in-law, trooper Mike Wooten (on charges waged by you and your sister, which have yet to be substantiated) and to then retalitate and fire Walt Monegan, on bogus charges, for not firing your ex-brother-in-law. All the while, of course, you lied about all the phone calls you and your surrogates made to Walt Monegan, during the course of pressuring him into firing your ex-brother-in-law. You lied. That is, until you found out some of the calls had been taped. I admit, it looks bad. Not to worry. As your potential-predecessor, Dick Cheney (a maverick in his own right) could tell you, when it comes to breaking the law, the ends sometimes do justify the means. And even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter, because Americans aren’t really paying attention, anyway, and even if they are, it doesn’t matter because, if the people complain, all you have to do is stare them in the eye and say, “So?”  Besides, unless the media tell us to think otherwise, the investigation into your abuse of power will have been forgotten by next week.

Americans have an even shorter attention span for elitist, ethical debates — particularly if that debate is between people, like yourself, who are simply trying to get the job done, and short-sighted tree-hugging liberals, always yelling about their global warming fairy tales, or about saving the latest animal-of-the week. It should come as no surprise, then, you’ll get no argument from most Americans over the slaughering of habituated Katmai National Park grizzly bears in Katmai Reserve, or the aerial shooting of wolves and bears in Alaska , a brutal program designed to increase moose and caribou populations for hunters — both programs which you, as governor, support. 

Nor will most Americans debate the ethics of the oil and gas drilling you’ve proposed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and throughout the sensitive lands and waterways of Alaska, no matter how much the ‘science’ says this will ruin America’s wilderness treasures and will threaten highly endangered populations of polar bears and beluga whales. Fact is, most Americans will probably cheer your refusal to release the scientific papers held in your office, sourced from both state and federal scientific analyses that concluded “two-thirds of the world’s polar bears would likely be extirpated by mid-century, due to loss of sea ice, including all those off Alaska.” After all, these darned scientific papers (see Anchorage Daily News, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance ) were threatening your drilling and pipelines. To heck with the science on threatened polar bears and beluga whales! (But, just to be safe, Ms. Palin, it’d be a good idea to keep wearing that polar bear lapel pin).


from TIME magazine: Leaving Polar Bears Out in the Cold

In January, Sarah Palin wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece, “[polar bears] are worthy of our utmost efforts to protect them and their Arctic habitat. But adding polar bears to the nation’s list of endangered species, as some are now proposing, should not be part of those efforts.” In May, the Alaskan governor opposed the Interior Department’s listing the polar bear as threatened, and prompted the ire of environmentalists and animal rights activists. In August, Palin, who has long advocated opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, rallied her fellow Alaskan officials to sue Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, arguing that extending protection to the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act is unwarranted and will hinder Alaska’s gas industry and offshore drilling development.


Honestly, Ms. Palin, if I didn’t know better (and I’m not so sure that I do) I’d think you’d been formally schooled in Dick Cheney’s take-the-oil-lands-by-subterfuge-from-their-cold-dead-hands strategy, along with a course in public speaking from George Bush. As your recent statements on oil, foreign policy and energy independence indicate, you are at least as well-versed as George W. Bush on topics of import: 

When I look every day, the big oil company’s building is right out there next to me, and it’s quite a reminder that we should have mutually beneficial relationships with the oil industry.

I thought when we hit $100 a barrel for oil it would have been a psychological barrier that would have caused Congress to reconsider, but they didn’t.

I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem…

I am encouraged with [John McCain’s] evolved thinking on offshore drilling, and I think he might come along on ANWR if he sees our 2,000 acres for himself.

The GOP agenda to ramp up domestic supplies of energy is the only way that we’re going to become energy independent, the only way that we are going to become a more secure nation — and I say this, of course, looking at the situation we are in right now, at war, not knowing what the plan is to ever end the war that we’re engaged in, understanding that Americans are seeking solutions, and they are seeking resolution in this war effort, so energy supplies, being able to produce and supply domestically, is going to be a big part of that.

[And so] kind of on a personal level, when I talk about, umm, the plan for the war, you know, let’s make sure we have a plan here, and respecting McCain’s position on that.

Does this embarrass you at all? Not to worry. Running on the GOP ticket, you needn’t worry about mangling the English language and talking gibberish. It’s become a bit of a tradition over the past 8 years. Fact is, by running as a woman on the GOP ticket, you needn’t worry about much of anything at all. As a woman on the GOP ticket, you are entitled to claim that you are every bit as capable as any man, while simultaneously crying “Fowl!” if a man talks over your head. (Hillary Clinton, you’re not!) As the Republicans and the media have already made clear, Joe Biden will risk looking like a bully or an elitist if he hammers you or talks over your head on foreign policy, so he has little choice but to dummy-down the national dialogue, another thing that has become tradition over the past 8 years. 

Truth is, you needn’t worry about anything you’ve ever done, or anything you ever will do, because you, Sarah Palin, are a friend to big oil. In a country addicted to oil, you are what’s called, in AA rooms across American, a drunkard’s dream. So long as you keep us supplied, we’ll keep your dirty little secrets. We won’t dwell overlong on your original support for Ted Stevens infamous $398 million “bridge to nowhere” behemoth of a pork-barrel project. Instead, we’ll focus on your later opposition to the bridge. And we won’t argue the GOP’s orwellian claim that you fight big oil, even as it takes only two words “Palin + oil” to google the truth that you are in bed with big oil. And to make sure the folks in Alaska don’t mind, you’re giving them $1200 bonuses, not unlike the recent Bush bonus plan, designed to shut us up. After all, you’re a maverick. Anything goes. As a maverick, you are entitled to say one thing, then do another. You are entitled to do the exact opposite of what you say you are doing, then turn around the next day and do what said you’d never do. Anything goes. That’s the beauty of being a maverick.

And just because you’re unqualified to the job, doesn’t mean you can’t be a maverick. Some of our most famous mavericks were also the most profoundly unqualified to the job. Just look at George Bush. Besides, John McCain can bring you up to snuff in no time, tutoring you in the finer points, according to John McCain’s world view, of constitutional law and political science, U.S. and foreign policy, international diplomacy, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere (including knowing the difference between a Sunni and a Shia), along with the basics of how to manage a $2.9 trillion budget, which should be a snap to an ex-beauty queen with a degree in journalism, who’s spent the past 20 months governing a state with a population the size of Charlotte, NC. — qualifications which, according to the GOP and the media, exceed those of a four-year U.S. Senator with a Harvard law degree, who served as President for the Harvard Law Review, and who taught constitutional law for 12 years, and served 6-years in the Illinois State Senate. 

Fact is, Ms. Palin — if the past 8 years are any indication — your lack of qualifications may actually be your greatest asset. See, we live in a time when Americans tend to look down their noses at politicians elitists who engage in intelligent, thoughtful discourse. We don’t cotton to folks who tout ideals like like careful deliberation and diplomacy appeasement. What Americans want is something easy to grasp — and the more entertaining, the better. Substance matters little and, here, you have a real edge over Obama-Biden. Tell us how there’s nothing wrong with America that couldn’t be fixed with prayer in schools. Tell American women they don’t need Roe v. Wade. Tell us it’s part of god’s plan for a 16-year old victim of incest to carry her father’s child to term. Tell us how a mother of five can have it all: juggle a 12-hour work day, while simultaneously carrying a platform for family values, without sacrificing the special needs of a 4-month old infant. Show us your beauty pageant photos juxtaposed next to the footage of you firing off an assault rifle. Keep wearing that polar bear lapel pin. Tell us, Ms. Palin, how you shoot the moose and grind its flesh into mooseburgers, and you’ll have us eating out of your pretty little hands.

Will John McCain’s latest trophy be America’s VP Darling Sweetheart?
(1) Ex-beauty queen, Sarah Palin, Miss Wasilla 1984!  (2) Trophy candidate, Sarah Palin, poses beside her own trophy, the carcass of a slaughtered grizzly bear; (3) Proud caribou hunter, Sarah Palin, encourages her freshly slaughtered trophy to smile for the camera. 











“Sarah Palin for Vice-President: Credentials, Schmedentials” — by Mantis Katz, for

See also: Here it is, Sarah Palin: A Job Description for Vice President