does the truth matter in presidential politics?

If John McCain were to come out and suggest in a television ad that Barack Obama was likely a pedophile, would something happen to him? How about if he said Obama, “looked like a witch”? Would he be held accountable by someone? I’m serious. Short of suing someone for defamation of character, is there any recourse? Is there any kind of oversight board that can demand accountability from our leaders who purposely disseminate what they know to be lies? Is there a line somewhere that our candidates won’t cross? Or, is everything fair game in this post-reality world in which we live? I’m watching this new ad from the Mccain camp, and I have to think, if there is still a line, we’ve crossed it.

It’s one thing to stretch the truth about whether or not you sought federal earmarks to build a ridiculous “bridge to nowhere”. It’s another thing altogether to suggest, when you know for certain that it is not the case, that your opponent sought to pass legislation that would teach young children how to perform sex acts. And, if you haven’t watched the ad, that’s exactly what McCain does… Here’s the ad:

And, not that it really matters here on the other side of the looking glass, but here are the facts according to the McClatchy papers:

…As a state senator in Illinois, Obama did vote for but was not a sponsor of legislation dealing with sex ed for grades K-12. But the legislation allowed local school boards to teach ‘age-appropriate’ sex education, not comprehensive lessons to kindergartners, and it gave schools the ability to warn young children about inappropriate touching and sexual predators.”…

But, the reality is, most folks won’t do the research. They’ll hear the announcer in the McCain ad, which is now in heavy rotation in swing states, say, “Learning about sex before learning to read? Barack Obama. Wrong on education. Wrong for your family.” and that will be it. They won’t do the research and learn that Obama wasn’t teaching preschoolers how to fellate one another, but simply giving educators the ability to talk about “inappropriate touching” when kids were an appropriate age, so that they might be able to better thwart sexual predators. But, facts don’t matter. All that matters is winning. And, as we know, there are no consequences for lying.

McCain says, at the end of the ad, “I’m John McCain, and I approve this message,” and he should absolutely be made to answer for it. Every interviewer who he sits down with for the following week should begin with, “Do you really think that Barack Obama wanted to teach children how to perform sex acts, and, if not, how do you in good conscience stand behind your most recent ad?”

But, there’s no accountability for lying. There’s only the corporate media in search of juicy stories that sell advertising.

Obama can make a passing comment about “lipstick on a pig” and get pilloried for it, whereas McCain can tell outright lies, and somehow get a pass. It’s absolutely mind boggling, and it makes me pessimistic about the ability of our country to turn itself around.

The following clip comes from “The Washington Post“:

…This is not false naivete: I am genuinely surprised that John McCain and his campaign keep throwing out false charges and making false claims without any qualms. They keep talking about Sarah Palin’s opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere without any embarrassment over the fact that she once supported it. They keep saying that Barack Obama will raise taxes, suggesting he’d raise them on everybody, when Obama’s plan, according to the Tax Policy Institute, would cut taxes for “about 80 percent of households” while “only about 10 percent would owe more.” And as Sebastian Mallaby pointed out in his recent column, Obama would cut taxes for middle-income taxpayers “more aggressively” than McCain would.

And now comes a truly vile McCain ad accusing Obama of supporting legislation to offer “‘comprehensive sex education’ to kindergartners.”…

And this is from Paul Begala on the Huffington Post:

…Most of political debate is subjective: who’s more qualified, who’s more compassionate, whose experience is more relevant, who has better ideas on health care or energy or global warming or the economy? There is no Objective Truth on those matters, and debate — even when voices are sometimes raised — can help voters decide who they agree with. On those matters of subjective judgment it’s perfectly appropriate for the media to hold the coats of the candidates and let them fight it out.

But facts ought not be debatable. The media have an obligation to point out when a politician is lying about a matter of fact, but the right-wing attack machine has so cowed some of them you can almost hear them moo. Steve Schmidt, McCain’s top dog, is a brilliant and audacious strategist. His candidate has had the most favorable press coverage of any politician of the last century — fawning, adoring, sycophantic press coverage. And yet he is brutalizing the press, waterboarding them into pretending that whether Gov. Palin supported the “Bridge to Nowhere,” or hired an Abramoff-connected lobbyist to secure massive earmarks are somehow debatable…

I’m pissed off that no one seems to care. And I’m tired of being on the right, but losing side.

I want Obama to hit back, and hit back hard. I want him to smack McCain back so hard that his pointy, flesh colored teeth rattle. Conventional wisdom is that Obama should let this go – that fighting back would just draw more attention to it – but I want him to call McCain out. I want to see him show backbone and stand up to McCain. I want to hear him say, “You know this was a lie, John. And I know you think you can win this way. But you can’t, John. The American people are smarter than you give them credit for. They know what Bush has cost our country. And they know that we can turn it around. We’re a strong people. We’re a smart people. And we’re tired of lies and deceptions. I helped to pass a law that would ‘protect’ kids from pedophiles. You twisted that, and perverted it, in order to gain political ground. That may have worked eight years ago, or four years ago, but it won’t work now. We’ve seen to much – been through too much. You can’t steal this election, or manipulate your way into the White House by preying on people’s fears and insecurities. Your kind of politics is dead, John.”

OK, maybe that’s overstating it a bit, but you get the drift. The main thing is, Obama has to stop looking at these attacks as strictly negative, and start looking at them as possible opportunities. Every lie McCain tells, it gives him another excuse to swing back hard. And that, if done well, could be a net positive. Americans want a President who knows how to stand up to bullies, and who can kick ass when asses need to be kicked.

Update: Obama’s not committed to really fighting back yet. He’s still a bit tentative. But he’s starting to loosen up and throw a few jabs. And that’s a good thing.

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  1. Posted September 11, 2008 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    People like my dad watch nothing but Fox News. He was convinced that Obama is a “closet Muslim.”

    It took a lot of work (weeks of phone conversations), but now Dad says he’s voting for Obama.

    Here’s a joke that I found in my inbox today that may make you feel better:

    John McCain and Barack Obama are backstage getting haircuts and shaves before the first presidential debate.

    As they sit there, each being worked on by a different barber, not a word is spoken.

    As the barbers finish their shaves, the one who has McCain in his chair reaches for the after shave. McCain is quick to stop him saying, “No thanks, my wife Cindy will smell that and think I’ve been in a whorehouse.”

    The second barber turns to Obama and asks, “How about you?”

    Obama replies, “Go ahead, Michelle doesn’t know what the inside of a whorehouse smells like.”

  2. Posted September 11, 2008 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    you know, the irony of all of this is that through McCain’s absurd smear campaign I am learning more and more about what Obama’s platform is and am finding it more and more appealing. I was on the fence a few weeks ago and was even considering sitting this election out but now I will most certainly NOT vote for McCain (assholes shouldn’t win and Palin is the new Hitler) and Obama’s politics could be the most refreshing that we’ve had in decades.

    McCain made an Obama supporter out of me.

  3. Chelsea
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Heh, heh.


    You know this is nothing new. I remember hearing Pat Robertson, I think, on NPR saying that John Kerry supported abortion–even in the woman’s eighth month. NO ONE supports abortion in the 8th month, but no one challenged the statement and I couldn’t get through by phone.

    Plus ca change, plus ca la meme chose.

  4. Oliva
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Surely these efforts to get Obama to “fight back” are intentional. Once he does, they’ll craft a way to show it as weakness. Rove is at work for McCain, so you know something very dastardly’s being hatched.

    Palin is the late-August surprise–we still have months for other surprises. But I’m not despairing. I do think Obama is very smart in unusual ways and has some remarkable people working with him, and I think they can outmaneuver this tremendously creepy stuff.

  5. rodneyn
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    dude – “ know, the irony of all of this is that through McCain’s absurd smear campaign I am learning more and more about what Obama’s platform is and am finding it more and more appealing. I was on the fence a few weeks ago and was even considering sitting this election out but now…”


    What I enjoy most about your site is reading the political ‘conversion’ stories. No matter what the issue, whether local or national, I get to read the same ‘I once believed in (or was on the fence about) McCain/Murdock/SCIT/(Your Ultimately Successful Candidate’s name here), but now after much soul searching and deliberation I have seen the light and now believe in Obama/MoreNewTaxes/Johnson/(YUUCnh).

    Whether it’s a political discussion on Ypsilanti’s mayoral or city council candidates, new taxes, or the President of the United States, the story remains the same: Once I Walked in Darkness and Confusion, but Now I Have Seen the Error of My Ways…I Have Seen the Light!

    Nice try, folks.

  6. Posted September 11, 2008 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    My decision to support one candidate had little to do with Mark. Please give me more credit than that. While I consider Mark a friend, the only thing he could probably convert me on, would be this burrito place vs. another.

    I like to think of myself as non-partisan, carrying opinions which may be a mix of conservative and liberal, like most people, I believe. Therefore, a bad Democratic candidate is just as bad as a bad Republican candidate and it is only through education and remaining informed that we can come to meaningful conclusion as to where to place our votes.

    I have concluded that the McCain campaign is about the silliest that I’ve seen so far and feel that it is a cancer on American politics at this point. We might as well have SNL running things.

    Bluto for President!

  7. Meta
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Obama addresses it on Letterman:

  8. MSU girl
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I have to disagree with you on this one, Mark. I find it quite refreshing that Barack Obama is not willing to give in to McCain’s smear campaign and “fight back”. I don’t agree that it would be “a good thing” for him to do so. In my opinion, most of McCain’s tv ads just make him look more and more like an idiot. They don’t address the issues with the country, just his issues with Barack Obama. I highly respect Barack Obama for not giving in to this and choosing to take the high road.

  9. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Does the truth matter in buying cars? No, people still buy tons of low-quality expensive vehicles because they think they’re cool.

    Does the truth matter in entertainment? No, people love to listen to the eletronified voices of folks who can’t sing.

    Does the truth matter in clothing? Nope, major labels are all the rage for no reason whatsoever. All that stuff is made in same sweatshops as the cheap stuff at the discounters.

    Does the truth matter in history? No, the victors write the books. Teach the fable, man.

    Does the truth matter in medicine? No, drug companies fund supportive studies for profit and lots of other folks go the complete opposite direction and are just so damn sure that grandma’s mustard pack with moose droppings and nettles cures everything.

    This is marketing at its finest. The pros own the whole process. Every time you give money to a campaign, you do nothing more than funnel it to a bunch of marketers who will find any way under the sun to spend it. Spin. Influence. Cajol. Aw hell, let’s just lie.

    Don’t any of you work at medium to large companies? Please tell me you’ve noticed the crap that marketing comes up with. The same type of asshole who markets a politician every big company out there and they come up with the same sort of uncreative bullshit lies in both cases.

    The truth does not matter in elections. Emotions do. How many folks, when asked about George Bush simply said, “I don’t know, I just like the guy.” I have heard that so many times, I could puke. THAT is the truth.

  10. Capt'n
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Not responding didn’t work so well for Gore or Kerry.

    And fighting back doesn’t necessarily mean not taking the ‘high road’. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. Obama doesn’t have to lie to respond. He only needs to be forceful and direct. People need to see him acting presidential and this is an opportunity to do so.

  11. EoS
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 10:50 am | Permalink


    John Kerry supported partial birth abortion, which is an abortion after 9 months of pregnancy or during the actual delivery.

    Dr. Johnson, Chair of Ob/Gyn at U of M hospitals, testified in court that he advocates abortion at the time of birth for any woman who feels her mental health would be impacted by motherhood.

    There is an internationally famous medical ethicist at Princeton University, Peter Singer, who not only supports abortion in the 8th month of pregnancy, but who also argues that a mother should be allowed up to six months after birth to choose whether or not to allow her baby to survive. He doesn’t feel an infant younger than six months is “human” yet.

    There are thousands of individuals who support abortion after 8 months of pregnancy. They call themselves “Progressives”, “Pro-Choice”, or “Feminists”.

  12. not one of the cool kids
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Does this topic have anything to do with abortion?
    Trolling troll. What will you do when it is Outlawed?? What is your next big important important issue? Burning Harry Potter books? It angers me to no end freakin idiots that only talk abortion. Where are the funerals for miscarriages if life begins at conception?

    You may outlaw them one day, but the next day, trained women and men across this country will continue to do the right thing and perform SAFE abortions for anyone who wants one.

    WWJD? He would spend his time feeding the poor…whomever they are..abortionist, Jews, and even people filled with hate like you.

  13. Posted September 11, 2008 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Obama should run an ad that says “If McCain is lying to you like this now, imagine what he’s going to do when he’s in office.”

    And just for the record I was born a clone of Hitler in a secret lab, but reading Mark’s blog converted me…

  14. Robert
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I know this is an almost impossible task for you, EoS, but would you mind providing one small bit of evidence for what you say about Kerry.

    P.S. I’m also assuming you actually didn’t mean “after 9 months of pregnancy” in your comment.

    And rodneyn, though I agree with most of what you said here, “nice try” might also be what someone would say to you after seeing your complete avoidance of the thread topic. Instead of responding to the very real and serious question Mark put out there, “does the truth matter in presidential politics?” you decided to avoid it by picking up on some unrelated, though somewhat valid, point. As an asshole myself, I appreciate the comedy of your side topic, but I’d be more interested in hearing a direct response to the important points Mark made. That also goes for the rest of you resident Bushies and McCain supporters, including EoS who used a similar side step tactic, though this time using a much more serious issue, abortion. I’m just curious to see what your real views are on this.

  15. rodneyn
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Perception of what is true matters most in politics. Democrat operatives understand this innately, but the McCain campaign FINALLY figured it out sometime this summer. All of these McCain ads currently serving to redefine Senator Obama from “The One” to little more than an inexperienced but elitist, liberal but out-of-touch-with-the-mainstream, Chicago machine pol are working so well because they are the same Clinton-Democrat playbook tactics that have been used on republican candidates for years.

    The Obama campaign is off-balance right now for two reasons: (1) Their version of the truth about McCain and Palin (see their Playbook) is not resonating with Americans like the Playbook says it should. Why?… …because Sarah Palin rings true for most Americans – she is the genuine article; and because McCain’s innate sense of honor coupled with his history give him a type of political Teflon not seen since Reagan; and

    (2) because Senator Obama doesn’t have any idea what to do when the teleprompters are off and he has to speak off-the-cuff. The best indicator of a truthful politician is one that can speak extemporaneously with power and persuasive ability about their plans and what they believe, without needing George Stephanopoulos to feed him his lines/corrections.

    Senators Biden and McCain are truthful politicians under this definition, and so is Governor Palin. McCain actually prefers the extemporaneous “town hall” format, while Obama is still trying to wean himself from an over-dependence on teleprompters.

    A word of advice to Obama’s campaign handlers: If you want to regain your momentum, stop attacking Palin and McCain. Ignore them as irrelevant. Have Obama refer to them only as “my opponents” (and then only when absolutely necessary) and ensure that he NEVER AGAIN says or implies anything even remotely disparaging about Sarah Palin (i.e. no lipstick/pig remarks!). This is from the old Democrat Playbook (Roosevelt/Truman/Kennedy), and it worked well. Obama became “The One” by lofting himself above the political fray – the only hope he has to regain his “One” status is to start reciting the same lofty speeches he was giving before Hillary Clinton became such a nuisance to him.

  16. E o S
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    U of M hospitals has a memorial service every year for miscarriages, stillborns, and aborted fetuses. They usually have a picture and story accompanying it in the Ann Arbor News. Many families bury their children at personal grave sites as well. Why do you think it is hateful to support the rights of the unborn and to treat all human life with the respect it deserves? I think I post too much on too many topics, but I just couldn’t let Chelsea’s comment go by without correction.

    Kerry staunchly resisted restrictions on abortions, including a ban on the ‘partial birth abortions
    Source: Complete Biography By The Boston Globe, p.293 Apr 27, 2004

    I did mean after 9 months (40 weeks/280 days), when a woman goes into labor, the baby’s feet and torso are outside the woman’s body, the baby is killed and the skull is crushed before the head pushes through the cervix.

    I don’t support Bush, McCain, or Obama. The country is screwed whichever of the three sits in the Oval Office. Both parties are equally guilty in lying about the other side.

    The curriculum for comprehensive sex education introduces homosexual sex to kindergartners – definitely age inappropriate material. “Heather has Two Mommies” and “King and King” are used in early elementary classrooms.

  17. Robert
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    EoS, yes Kerry voted against a bill which included the full ban on any and all partial birth abortions, regardless of specific circumstances. It may be just semantics to you but that doesn’t translate to “John Kerry supported partial birth abortion” as you put it. If you were to say that a legislator “supported” everything which any given bill proposed to be outlawed, you could say some pretty outlandish things. You could say there are legislators who support flag burning, and terrorism, and poisoning, and leaving the poor to die, and so on…but not because they actually did, but just because they voted against a bill that included a ban or action against those things. I don’t mean to harp on you about this, because I do agree with almost everything you say about abortion. I just don’t like false characterizations.

    Personally, I do believe abortion is the destruction of a full human life. However, I don’t think in America, we can legislate what a person can and can’t do within the confines of their own body. I would hope we can find a way to reduce the number of abortions (to zero if possible) without overriding the rights of the individual over their own body. Humiliating, disgusting, frightening, or forcing women is destructive and wrong. I am certain that none of this would even be an issue if we were talking about men’s bodies. So, where as I agree with you in terms of defining the nature of the problem, I strongly disagree with you on tactics and solutions.

    I do understand your deep concern about this issue though. It’s very understandable. I am sorry if I sounded like I was trivializing that when I suggested you used the abortion issue as a dodge. I can see why you felt compelled to respond to Chelsea’s reference to the abortion issue. That being said, I feel I also have to point out that Pat Robertson is a nut, and he misrepresented Kerry’s position, and he has to really, I mean if he wants to keep his 700 Club racket going. His audience isn’t smart enough to understand the facts. Voting against a bill doesn’t equate to supporting everything that bill attempts to limit or ban.

  18. Edward
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    “I did mean after 9 months (40 weeks/280 days), when a woman goes into labor, the baby’s feet and torso are outside the woman’s body, the baby is killed and the skull is crushed before the head pushes through the cervix.”

    Please give me one instance of this having happened. Just one. I want to know when the last time was that a baby was delivered, except for the head, which was then crushed inside the mother’s birth canal.

    It’s like the stories of the inheritance tax costing families their farms. The Republicans would talk and talk about these family farms, but they could never point to one that was lost because of the tax on inherited profits. Not one. It makes a hell of a story though.

  19. Posted September 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Kerry opposed the partial birth ban because it was too far reaching and would restrict doctors from providing them in the case of a serious medical event. if banned, doctors who performed them would be subject to criminal charges. Partial birth abortions are very rare and usually only implemented when there is a real need.

  20. E o S
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    During the Supreme Court hearings on this issue, the justices asked Dr. Johnson a similar question. They asked him to give them the names of any woman who had a partial birth abortion to save the life of the mother. Dr. Johnson refused to provide the specific name of anyone, but assured the justices, while under oath, that several had been performed during his tenure at Michigan.

  21. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    How can we claim to have a democracy when so many voters are misled and misinformed, by most politicians from most political parties? There is oversight on election funding, advertising and other aspects of elections–why not one to ensure candidates stay truthful. Misinformation should be treated like a disease that threatens us all. Our government should be all about curing it.

    The minute you play the game, smear the other side, deliberately spread misinformation, you become one of them–even though you think you’re on the right side. Participating thusly further corrupts the political process.

    We too often become enamored of politicians. They are political constructs. What we are really enamored of is their acting skills, as we do not see the “real” person they are–and the real people behind them. Elections should be about platforms, policies, plans (yah, and those three questions Egpenet asked during our recent local election: vision, plan, where do we go from here?). I’d like to say past records of politicians should be a part of it, but the political process has become so corrupted, it seems that all politicians have suspicious votes and practices in their pasts. Or maybe we could quantify candidates’ voting records?

    Sorry for getting preachy and reiterating some ideas already posted here. I just had to say it.

  22. Posted September 11, 2008 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Then it’s not being performed. Why go through the bother of banning something that isn’t being performed?

    Let’s ban bloodletting with leeches.

  23. Posted September 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    OK, I looked it up. Kerry (and others) had problems with the wording of the Act, claiming that it was too vague and that doctors could be unnecessarily punished for performing other procedures that might be, under the wording of the act, construed to be the same. Although the method may not be medically necessary, there are cases where the fetus has died and must be extracted or when the fetus is so malformed that it will die upon birth, where the fetus must be extracted through similar methods.

    Personally, I agree, but I think that many pro-choicers had a problem with it because GWB and his cronies had some glorious circle jerk when they signed it. You can check out the pictures.

    I don’t get how people can be pro-gun and pro-war and be anti-abortion. I know it’s there but I’ll never get it. If they like killing so much, why not start early?

  24. czvm
    Posted September 11, 2008 at 11:01 pm | Permalink


    Babies are cute and innocent. Grownups are ugly and do icky things. Don’t you throw fruit away when it gets all stinky moldy and covered flies?

    Same thing. Picture a world of puppies and kittens without any bites or scratches. Starting to get the appeal?

  25. Chelsea
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    *I* brought up abortion, and used it only as an example. Sorry if I caused a major drift.

    In any case, Mark, et al, you probably remember, too, that, not long ago, McCain was the *victim* of a (successful) smear campaign.

    …Laying the groundwork for Stephen Colbert’s best-ever joke: That he heard Obama had fathered a black child.

  26. not one of the cool kids
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I feel like Bill the Cat again….bleeeeeeeak!

  27. Posted September 12, 2008 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Babies puke everywhere and shit their pants.

  28. Meta
    Posted September 12, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Paul Krugman’s column today is on this:

  29. Dirtgrain
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    I saw a McCain/Palin bumper sticker today. I read: “Guns, Babies, Jesus.”

  30. mark
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Not that it proves anything, but Arianna Huffington agrees with me about Obama needing to go on the offensive. Here’s a quote:

    …Obama has to be willing to show us that kind of righteous anger. I don’t know about you, but when I think about what George Bush has done to this country — and what John McCain wants to keep doing — I consider outrage the only rational and legitimate response. The last seven-plus years demand more than a beaming smile. They demand indignation. Outrage. Fury..

  31. designated republican
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    ….oh, please do. Obama showing anger, outrage, and indignation…it would be the icing on the cake and the cherry on top too! For every moment of Obamanger and Outrage, the McCain/Palin numbers will rise another percentage point.

    If Obama wants to win this thing, the only way he will pull it off is to rise back above the fray to be The One once more.

    Please have ABC, MSNBC, et. al. keep up their ‘objective’ and ‘balanced’ reporting about Palin as well. It’s working So Well for the Democrats…..

  32. mark
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m the first to admit that, when it comes to Presidential politics, the Republicans have a better handle on what the electorate wants. They’ve consistently proven that marketing and fear trump reason and even self-interest. Bush, even with his baggage, would probably win if he ran again. I’m confident, however, that a change is coming. It happened in the 60’s and it will happen again. People can only be so stupid for so long. Sooner or later they’ve got to figure out what’s being done to them. My hope is that it comes this November. The transition to the rule of law and reason would be cleaner that way. If, however, it doesn’t happen that way, it will happen. A President Palin would (maybe will) have riots on her hands.

    And, yes, I think that Obama should speak out with force. I think the American people want to see that he has a spine. I’m not suggesting that he, frothing at the mouth, begin shouting like a mental patient. I just want him to talk directly and with force. I’m tired of seeing him make light of it on the Letterman show, and calling the dirty tricks “nonsense.”

  33. designated republican
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Mark – I just want him to talk directly and with force. I’m tired of seeing him make light of it on the Letterman show, and calling the dirty tricks “nonsense.”

    But that’s all Obama knows how to do! When he has chosen to get tough and get angry, he makes foolish gaffes.

    As for the 60’s and Presidential politics, I don’t see the change you’re speaking of, unless you’re referring to Kennedy’s election in 1960. That was a triumph of idealism and old money. However, Johnson’s election in 1964 was just old school politics combined with the political muscle of the military-industrial complex (remember Vietnam?).

    Maybe you’re referring to ’68? The year the supposedly radicalized U.S. elected a moderate republican from California? The same guy that was re-elected in a landslide in ’72. I won’t and cannot defend Nixon’s political sins, but I will say that the ’68 and ’72 elections were as open and fair as Kennedy’s in 1960.

    If we stretch the ’60s to 1976, then perhaps the radical change influenced Carter’s victory? Maybe, but as I recall there was this Watergate business for which the public was still pissed off – especially at President Ford for pardoning Nixon. Maybe that had a bit more to do with it………..

  34. Posted September 13, 2008 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Palin is the next Adolf Hitler.

  35. mark
    Posted September 13, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    designated republican, yeah, you’re right. I wasn’t thinking about it in terms of Presidential outcomes. With that said, however, clearly Carter’s election was in response to the Nixon administration. But, all I really meant was that sooner or later people would take to the streets, as they did in the 60’s over civil rights. I just meant that sooner or later people would wake up to the situation and take to the streets.

  36. Dick Griffin
    Posted September 14, 2008 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    And another thing that challenges my ability to understand the TV media, Carl Rove is a ‘paid political commentator on FOX news, while he is known to be an adviser to the McCain campaign. What’s wrong with this picture?

    Am I the only person in America that wonders if FOX is actually promoting McCain’s campaign with ‘illegal’ campaign contributions? If this is not illegal, it at least un-ethical, and the McCain campaign is claims to be about ‘straight talk’ and breaking away form letting lobbyists run America.

    Give me a break, already! The logic in McCain’s campaign is so curvy it looks like a mass of earthworms squirming in a can. And that isn’t even thinking about a beauty pageant queen for vice-president. But that really makes for a mental image, Sarah under a crown of squirming worms taking the oath of office for President? Wow! Now that’s ugly!

  37. Robert
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m just stunned that designated republican uttered the words “military-industrial complex.” It’s incredible.

  38. designated republican
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Robert [Visitor] – I’m just stunned that designated republican uttered the words “military-industrial complex.” It’s incredible.

    You’re right. I goofed. It should’ve been in quotes. After all, I was just quoting from the phrase used by President Eisenhower (a republican, for those that graduated from public school after 1988 or so) in his farewell address:

    “Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea. Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now (because of the Cold War) we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions.”

    “This (Cold War) conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”

    The election of Johnson in 1964 and disastrous experience of Vietnam were two of the most significant results of the “rise of misplaced power” that developed as a (more or less unintended) consequence of the U.S. Cold War efforts to contain Communism and the U.S.S.R.

  39. Oliva
    Posted September 15, 2008 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Lucky me was in Flatrock to hear Joe Biden this afternoon. Great crowd, great speech. He deftly touched on the “Obama should fight back” idea by saying succinctly, after noting that they’d heard all the urging to be tougher: “It’s not time we start taking the gloves off. It’s just time we tell the truth.” That may seem too wimpy, but he gave ’em hell with great points, passionate oratory, intelligent observations, and . . . integrity–nothing wimpy going on there at all. (FYI, he shouted it loudly when he said he and Obama would end the war. Shouted with passion a few other times–about right-wing attacks, about Americans losing jobs–but it was noteworthy when he mentioned the war because a man near the stage kept yelling, “War,” up to that point re. the long list of Bush/McCain ills, and when it was time for Biden to make this point, he turned to the man and shouted the line. Afterward he shook the man’s hand and thanked him for his vocal contributions.) I think this time it really is the way to go–to remain truthful, with integrity and broad, beaming intelligence, and let the phony out-of-touch duo he and Obama are running against orchestrate their own failure.

    I know it sounds passive, but it only makes it awful and a turnoff when everybody’s attacking. Brings us all down and has us distracted, as some of them want us–caught up in the sports fan mentality. Intelligence and focus fall away, trashing us all. At last the media is finally calling McCain-Palin (or Ailin’-Palin, as I learned at the rally) on their dishonesty.

  40. mark
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 12:12 am | Permalink

    Thank you for going and reporting back, Oliva. I wish I could have been there.

  41. Oliva
    Posted September 16, 2008 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Alternet has a piece about Biden’s Michigan rallies yesterday, including a link to his prepared remarks (worth reading). In Flatrock yesterday he spent about ten minutes at the start of the speech talking about Barack and Michelle Obama and what fine and down-to-earth people they are. That part doesn’t appear in the prepared remarks.

    At Alternet the writer ends the piece with this: “I have no idea if the networks carried any of this, but it’s awfully strong. The more Biden travels delivering this exact same speech, the better off the Democratic campaign will be.”

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