The Ostroy Report

The Ostroy Report is a fresh, aggressive voice for Democrats and a watchdog of the GOP/Tea Party. We support President Obama and the Democratic agenda and seek to preserve the Senate majority while taking back the House. But we're also not afraid to criticize the left when necessary.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Debate #1: The Knockout that Wasn't. What Obama Needs to Do Next Time


There was that moment in last Friday night's presidential debate when Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, said "I've got a bracelet too." I cringed. He was responding to Sen. John McCain's grandstanding in describing the soldier's bracelet he was wearing. It was an insincere, awkward moment of political posturing for Obama, who appeared to have difficulty even remembering the soldier's name.

I've spent much of the last several months listening to fellow democrats--many of them friends--predict a big debate win for Obama. More fantasy than reality, they expected several defining moments that would clearly demonstrate to voters that Obama was better suited to be President of the United States. "McCain will have an embarrassing 'senior' moment," they said. "McCain will lose his cool and snap at some point," they assured me. "On economic issues Obama will destroy him," they bragged. "It'll be just like Kennedy-Nixon," they confidently predicted, "with the cool, handsome charming young guy versus the stiff, sweaty old guy." And lastly, "Obama's gonna knock him out!"

To be sure, there was no knockout. And a knockout was what Obama needed. As the comedian Chris Rock said, "You can't beat white people...you can only knock them out!...Was McCain standing? He probably won then." At best, it was a tie. And as the underdog in many ways, Obama needed to do much more than simply hold his own. The meltdown on Wall Street gave him a huge opportunity, which he blew, to demonstrate solid leadership in times of crisis, and to make his much-needed visceral connection with voters in that same Bill Clinton "I feel your pain" way. Instead, what we essentially got was more of the same dispassionate, professorial lecturer whose measured, stilted delivery unfortunately lacked the electricity of his stadium speeches. He literally put me to sleep at one point. He was the wonkish Harvard debate-team guy to McCain's sound byte-driven street fighter.

Neither candidate came even close to capitalizing on the Wall Street crisis, but no one expected McCain to. This was supposed to be Obama's strength. He could've and should've hit a grand slam on this one. The nation is struggling with a financial disaster which billionaire investor Warren Buffett calls an "economic Pearl Harbor." Americans are fearing for their jobs, their homes and their savings, and where it mattered, Obama was impotent. Worse, on the economy, it was McCain who surprisingly held his own. It's astounding to me how, in the middle of the worst financial meltdown since the Great Depression, the focus was on earmarks and wasteful spending. Could they have been any more out of touch? Moderator Jim Lehrer had to ask four times for specifics on what each candidate would do in handling the current economic crisis if they became president, and how the proposed $700-billion bailout measure might hamstring them budget-wise once in office. And still they did not answer.

One of the biggest blown opportunities for Obama was in not addressing McCain directly, despite several pleas from Lehrer to go mano-a-mano. It was actually quite bizarre how both candidates ignored Lehrer's repeated suggestions and simply kept talking at him instead of each other. Here's where Obama could've scored big points by directly challenging his opponent on the economy, the Wall Street mess and his judgements on Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe had he done this, and done so successfully, he might've pushed McCain into one of those senior moments, or perhaps caused him to snap, as so many Democrats had hoped. But rather than challenge his opponent and put him on the spot, he seemed to "absolutely agree" with him way too many times. This provided lots of fodder not only for the conservative talk shows, but for the McCain campaign itself, which immediately rolled out a new ad featuring all of Obama's "I absolutely agree with John" softballs.

When it came to foreign policy, Obama missed several opportunities as well. He allowed McCain to claim "we're winning in Iraq" while also embarrassing him on his past statements about holding direct talks with Iran and other enemies of the U.S. He was on the defensive, letting the more aggressive McCain portray himself as more experienced and knowledgeable on foreign and military issues while defining him as the typical naive, weak Lib whose kumbaya-like approach would be harmful to America.

Suffice it to say, the first debate was not one of Obama's strongest showings, and was quite disappointing on many critical levels. Though some polls indicate that many viewers say he won, the more prominent national and daily tracking polls from Rasmussen and Gallup have moved no more than a point in Obama's favor, indicating that his performance Friday night had little if any real impact on voters. Unless, of course, you're one of those optimistic Dems who believe that success simply means the absence of failure.

So what should Obama do in the second debate, scheduled for October 7th? In no special order, here's what I'd be telling the candidate if I were advising him:

1. If the moderator invites you to challenge McCain directly, do it for Pete's sake! Be respectful and maintain a presidential air, but be forceful and aggressive in asking him pointed questions about his record and his policies. Put him on the spot, and push some buttons. Draw out the angry McCain.

2. Speak in a language that the little guy understands. Remind them that whether in times of financial prosperity or crisis, it is Democrats who've historically fought for them. That it's Democrats who fight for social services, job creation, health care, education and social security while Republicans fight to cut funding for same. Look into the camera, and then look at McCain, and ask incredulously, "are you really gonna try to convince voters watching tonight that it is the Republican Party that fights for America's poor and middle-class?"

3. Talk in a more folksy manner. Stop being so damned professorial. Don't lecture. Speak from the heart. Talk to voters through that camera. Tell them you understand their anxiety and feel their pain. Assure them that you will fight for them, and fight against the cronyism, corruption and special interests of the Republicans who've been in control for the past 15 years.

4. Hold McCain accountable for his failures and that of Bush and the GOP. Do not allow him the message of "change." Look straight into that camera and challenge Americans not to be fooled by a change message from the candidate who's been in Washington for 26 years and whose party's failed policies he's consistently and unconditionally supported.

5. Mention the term "poor and middle class" as often as possible. McCain did not mention them even once during the first debate.

6. Wherever/whenever possible, define McCain and the GOP as the candidate and party of the rich. The party that wants to continue giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy while taking away essential services for the poor and middle class.

7. Remind voters that you are one of them. Look straight into the camera, and then look at McCain and say, "I don't have 9 homes like my opponent, I have only one. I don't have 13 cars like my opponent, I only have one. Just like you. And I worry, just like you, as I don't have incredible wealth like Sen. McCain to fall back on. This economic crisis affects me just as it does you."

8. Give voters your concrete plan for dealing with the current financial meltdown. Provide specifics; five or six short, concise, sound byte-y examples of what you'd do as president to avoid future crises like this one, and very specifically how the bailout bill when it likely passes will impact your ability to govern fiscally.

9. Remind voters that it is McCain, Bush and the Republicans who've been in power for the last 15 years that have allowed the Wall Street financial collapse to occur by deregulating the banking and mortgage industries so that their rich corporate pals can get even richer instead of protecting the middle class.

10. Remind voters how strong your vice presidential pick, Sen. Joe Biden, is as compared to Gov. Sarah Palin. Look at McCain and then look into the camera and say "I have chosen the individual who is without question the best possible candidate in terms of knowledge and experience to to be my running mate...to be a heartbeat from the Oval Office. Sen. McCain, can you tell voters at home that you truly believe Gov. Palin is the best possible choice you could've made for America? That she's among the top 5, or even the top 10?"

11. When McCain speaks of "victory" or "success" in Iraq, challenge him and challenge hard. Ask him to define success. Ask him to clearly state when such success will allow us to leave. Ask him if he's certain that Iraq's fragile Democratic government will be strong enough to sustain itself in our absence. Ask if there's been real, measurable, lasting political change there.

12. On the surge, challenge hard that the original goal of sending 30,000 more troops was to help achieve political change in Iraq not merely to stem the tide of violence. Remind McCain that we still have more US troops there than when the invasion began in 2003. Challenge him to claim that cutting previously horrific levels of violence and death in half truly translates to "success."

13. Look directly into the camera and say, "America, can you really trust what Sen. McCain and his party say about our supposed victory in Iraq when they're the same people who told you there was WMD over there...that we'd be greeted as liberators...and who declared 'mission accomplished' 5 1/2 years, 4000 soldier deaths and half a trillion dollars ago?" Then turn to McCain and say, "Sen. McCain, tell the voters at home why they should give you any credibility on the status of Iraq right now when you've been 100% wrong about Iraq from the start? Tell them why your claims of victory in Iraq now should ring any more truthful than the ones you and Bush made prematurely about Afghanistan. Is this 'mission accomplished' all over again? You were wrong then, and you're wrong again now."

14. On Iran, look back into the camera and say, "Sen McCain is the same guy who along with President Bush warned you about the threat of Iraq's 'mushroom clouds' six years ago, and now he's trying to scare you once again about the "second Holocaust" threat from Iran. Stop scaring Americans, Sen. McCain. I say, one war based on wrong information and fear-mongering is enough. It's time we start talking with our enemies to prevent war, rather than act like reckless tough-talking cowboys who start them. Don't let Sen. McCain tell you that diplomacy doesn't work." Then turn to McCain and say, "Sen McCain, I'm sure you've heard of the Cold War. A strong U.S. military combined with aggressive diplomacy kept us from bloodshed with Russia for over 40 years. And it can work again. The war in Iraq which you continue to wholeheartedly support, and which Americans do not, has been the worst military blunder in our nation's history. The American people are fed up with unnecessary war.

15. Keep repeating where possible the "You were wrong" mantra. Constantly remind voters of McCain's horrible judgement on Iraq and why his judgements elsewhere should be of grave concern as a result.

16. When McCain accuses you of putting America at risk through direct negotiation with our enemies, remind him that Bush opened up direct talks with Libya's Moammar Qaddafi, an admitted terrorist and supporter of terrorist organizations, to positive results.

17. Repeatedly remind voters how McCain and Bush took their eye off of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda by prematurely declaring "victory" in Afghanistan while allowing those terrorists to regroup and rebuild in that country while we recklessly invaded Iraq over WMD that did not exist.

18. When McCain mocks you for requesting that cooler heads prevail after the Russian invasion into Georgia, hammer home that if cooler heads had prevailed back in 2003 perhaps we would not have had the last 5 1/2 years of bloodshed in Iraq.

19. Hammer home how McCain being wrong about Iraq demonstrates how he'll be just as reckless when it comes to Iran, Pakistan, N. Korea and our other enemies in the future.

20. Stay away from cheap ploys like your tit-for-tat bracelet moment.

21. Close strong. Make a defining statement about why John McCain has been on the wrong side of the war and the economy, and that America's pain and suffering will only continue should McCain become president. Attack him on the knowledge and experience issue. Accuse him of being out of touch with America; with what America wants and needs right now. Look into the camera and tell voters that McCain represents the failed policies of the past, and that you will fight for their best interests if they elect you their president. That you will create jobs for them and protect their savings. That you'll provide health care and education for them and their children. That you'll bring respect and honor back to America. How you'll return America back to the great diplomatic power it once was so that we don't send our sons and daughters to die in war ever again unless it is absolutely necessary to defend our nation. That the days of the Bush and McCain Doctrine of preemptive war based on faulty intelligence are over. Ask them for their vote so that you can help them live the American dream once again.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sen. John McMighty-Mouse: "Here I Come to Save the Day!" When He's Done Rescuing Wall Street, What Else Can He Save?



Greatest American Hero", 2008
original painting by Dana Ellyn
www.danaellyn.com
email: dana@danaellyn.com

Thank God Sen. John McCain is back in Washington "focusing on the economy." I was beginning to worry there for a minute that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Barney Frank, the Senate Banking Committee and the House Financial Services Committee would never be able to collectively reach a compromise on President Bush's $700-billion Wall Street bailout bill. I mean, seriously, this thing's huge. As Bush so astutely warned in his address to the nation Wednesday night, the "entire economy is in danger!" So now that McCain, our dogged little economic Mighty Mouse, is back in town, we can rest assured everything will be fixed in no time. In fact, just the mere specter of him headed back to D.C. caused lawmakers late Wednesday to essentially come to acceptable bi-partisan terms on the measure. Damn, he's good. The guy doesn't even have to be physically in town to make shit happen. Now that's the kind of leadership we need.

So why stop with Wall Street? There's plenty of other crises for which McMighty could come to the rescue. Take the New York Mets, for example. The Flushing Meltdown threatens to occur yet again. Last year, with a 7-game lead on September 12, the Mets gave new meaning to the term "choke" by losing 12 of their last 17 games, ending the season in one of the worst collapses in Major League Baseball history. In their stunning 9-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs Wednesday night, the Mets found themselves once again flirting with disaster, dropping to a tie for the National League's wildcard spot. A couple more losses and '08's over as well. I strongly urge McMighty, when he's done saving Wall Street from our nation's second worst financial disaster, to hop the No. 7 train out to Willets Point, suit up in the Shea Stadium locker room, and help the Mets avoid another heartbreaking baseball catastrophe. If anyone can do it, he can.

And thank heavens we have "country first" politicians like Sen. McMighty. Brave legislators who know how critical it is to put aside their own political aspirations so they can sit around with Bush in the White House going, "yup, yup, we're fucked. This shit's huge!' Because that's important. So much more important than debating. We need McMighty in D.C. this week doing whatever it is he is going to do to lead Congress and Wall Street out of this mess. Who cares what his specific economic plans are if elected? Why bore voters with such trivial nonsense.

Also, we're grateful to McMighty for so unselfishly "suspending his campaign" while he whips Washington into shape. And for anyone who doesn't believe him, just listen to all his top campaign strategists and surrogates who've been on the TV news shows non-stop since Wednesday's announcement bashing Obama over it.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Postpone the Debate? Obama Should Not Fall for this Cheap Political Ploy by a Desperate McCain


Facing the prospect of a political bludgeoning Friday night in the first televised debate with Democrat Sen. Barack Obama, Republican Sen. John McCain has announced that he's "suspending" his campaign to work on the economy, and is requesting that the debate be delayed because of the current financial crisis. Seems like the real crisis lies within the McCain campaign.

Senators this week have been debating the $700-billion bailout bill proposed by President Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. But I'm not exactly sure what work McCain would be doing specifically, as he is not on the Banking Committee nor seems personally involved in solving the crisis.

Sorry if I'm skeptical of McCain's altruism, but his motivation seems extremely self-serving. Hardly seems like a "Country First" maneuver. A new Washington Post/ABC News national poll released Wednesday shows Obama breaking away with a 9 point lead, 52%-43%, among likely voters. McCain led 49%-47% just two weeks ago. And with an eye on the current meltdown on Wall Street, the poll found that voters trust Obama by a 14-point margin to better handle the economy. I can't blame McCain. Given how voters view him and his party, I'm not sure I'd want to go before a national TV audience and discuss the economy either.

In a prepared statement, McCain said: "It has become clear that no consensus has developed to support the administration's proposal. I do not believe that the plan on the table will pass as it currently stands, and we are running out of time. Tomorrow morning, I will suspend my campaign and return to Washington."

Just exactly what "work" McCain would be doing in Washington this week that would preclude him from debating Obama Friday night is a mystery. The media should be demanding specifics as to his involvement. He should not be allowed this sanctimonious side-step that's designed to give him a presidential air while putting Obama on the spot. It simply seems like more of the same GOP framing, as in, "if you don't agree to postpone the debate you're against the American economy."

Just wait. Should Obama refuse to postpone, we'll get a non-stop barrage of: "My friends, I'm sorry Sen. Obama has chosen to put his own personal political gain before the needs of the country and the American people."

Obama must stand his ground, not fall prey to this phony posturing, and insist on holding the debate as planned.

We don't need McCain in Washington. His Commerce Committee's years of deregulation is a major reason why we're in this mess in the first place. What we need is both candidates on that stage Friday night telling the American people how they're going to address the nation's mounting economic and foreign policy challenges.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wall Street Crisis Gives Preview of 'President McCain' Under Pressure. Not a Pretty Picture


Last week was not a good week for Sen. John McCain. It began on Monday, amid a 500+ point stock market drop and news of Lehman Brothers' and Merrill Lynch's bankruptcies, when the curmudgeonly 72-year-old Republican presidential nominee incredibly declared that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." "

Exactly one week later, on NBC's "Today" show, McCain said, "We are in the most serious crisis since World War II."

What happened in-between was the McCain camp's realization that, in a time of great national crisis, their candidate demonstrated a glaring and embarrassing lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation, and an inexcusable disconnect with the financial pain and suffering of Mr. and Mrs. Average American (an interesting side note is the Newsweek report issued Monday that the McCains own a total of 13 cars--two of which are foreign--while "the elitist" Sen. Barack Obama owns just one...a Ford hybrid).

The meltdown on Wall Street last week was not the only one. We got a glimpse of "President McCain" under fire, and man, it wasn't pretty. What came into question was McCain's temperament, judgement and resolve, and what effect he could or would have on the American people in times of crisis. In his first real test, he failed miserably. In various press conferences and campaign speeches, he came off testy, agitated and confused. He was quick to point fingers and assign blame, first calling for the baseless firing of SEC Chairman Chris Cox, and then in another angry, befuddled moment saying the head if the "FEC" (Federal Election Commission) should be canned. Hey Gramps, why stop there? Let's also dump the head of the EEC (European Economic Community), the CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) and the OEC (Oregon Environmental Council). I hate to say it, but are we starting to see what it means to be a 72-year-old politician in the line of fire? Is this a scary foreshadowing of things to come should McCain win in November and become the oldest president in U.S. history? I'm sorry, but I want my president lucid.

The last thing a U.S. president should do when tragedy or crisis strikes is to play the blame game. It does nothing to solve the problem, it heightens the tension and fans the flames, fails to reassure and calm a worried public, and is anything but presidential. And that's exactly what we got from "President McCain."

Additionally, there was the endless barrage of lies and deception coming from the GOP hopeful. His repeated attempts to attribute Wall Street's mess to Obama was counter-productive and disingenuous. Mind you, this is the same Obama who's been accused by McCain of being unfit for office because he's got little Washington experience, yet who's apparently been around D.C. long enough to be responsible for single-handedly causing the financial crisis.

Poor McCain. When he's not putting his own foot in his mouth he's forced to ingest the smelly appendages of others...like his former disgraced economic surrogates Phil Gramm and Carly Fiorina. Gramm came under fire months ago for accusing Americans of "whining" about the "mental recession" they've been imagining in their overreacting heads. Then last week Fiorina, the former embattled Hewlett-Packard CEO, informed the media that her boss wasn't qualified to run a major U.S. corporation like HP. His choice of teammates certainly doesn't demonstrate the kind of sound judgement we'd expect from someone who could be assembling a presidential cabinet in just a few short months.

McCain's words and actions last week were those of a panicked, desperate warrior who's recklessly spraying his last rounds of ammo in every direction hoping he'll take out a bunch of enemy fighters and somehow find himself the victor. It was, and continues to be, painful to watch. His body tenses stiffly, his neck drops into his shoulders like a turtle, he snarls and completely loses his humor. He becomes the temperamental John McCain that, to many, is legendary in Washington, even among his Republican peers.

John McCain is an angry man, and we got to see that last week. It was also evident the prior week during what was his toughest interview to-date, which came from the fiery ladies of ABC's The View. The tag-team of Barbara Walters and Joy Behar had the crusty candidate on the ropes several times, and he appeared literally seconds away from snapping.

Now in this same week, Obama appeared very presidential. He was a calming, assuring presence in a sea of economic madness. He was poised, confident and never lost his cool. And while McCain's been getting his advice from controversial buffoon's like Gramm and Fiorina, Obama's surrounded himself with highly-respected financial gurus like former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers. He's a brilliant strategist who thinks the issues through and has an appreciation for the details and nuances of each.

To be sure, America needs a president who provides leadership, inspiration and a steady hand under pressure. America does not need another cocky, arrogant, petulant, impulsive, derisive, insecure, shoot-first-ask-questions-later president with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Bush's Wall Street Patriot Act


President Bush's $700-billion bailout plan to avoid economic catastrophe in the banking and financial industries is nothing more than the same type of emergency legislation the administration has rushed through Congress in the past in order to seize monarchistic powers in times of crisis. If anyone needs a little history lesson on what happens after the Busheviks obtain broad, sweeping, unfettered powers just see the 2002 Iraq War Resolution and the Patriot Act. At this critical juncture once again, Democrats must hold firm in amending this bill before approving it. It cannot merely serve as a rubber-stamp.

Here's what's most problematic in the simply-worded three-page document:

Sec. 8. Review.
Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.


On other words, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is king. More powerful even than the president. He would have sole discretion to do whatever he pleases, whenever he pleases, and would answer to no one. The only accountability would be largely symbolic periodic updates to Congress about those unilateral decisions.

Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic nominee for president, said: "We cannot give a blank check to Washington with no oversight and accountability when no oversight and accountability is what got us into this mess in the first place."

Even the Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain, objected to the bill as put forth by Bush: "Never before in the history of our nation has so much power and money been concentrated in the hands of one person. This arrangement makes me deeply uncomfortable. We will not solve a problem caused by poor oversight with a plan that has no oversight."

But, just as with the Iraq War Resolution and The Patriot Act (which essentially gave the Bushies a blank check to spy on and torture whoever the hell it wanted post 9/11), the administration is using the mess on Wall Street as an excuse to obtain absolute power once again. Not true, say the Bushies. If not, then what's the rush to pressure Congress to enact legislation when logic dictates that a bill with such monumental repercussions should be debated on the House and Senate floors, with a few necessary amendments added, before its passage? The answer is obvious: this is just another reckless, irresponsible land-grab by the same administration with a penchant for pissing on the Constitution. And now it wants to spend almost a trillion dollars of taxpayers' money to bail out its fat-cat friends on Wall Street.

Congress should not pass this legislation unless (a) there's proper oversight and accountability; (b) the government receives an ownership stake in the companies it rescues; (c) the little guy on Main Street gets commensurate relief; (d) CEO/chairperson compensation at bailed-out companies is regulated by the government; (e) no outgoing CEO/Chairperson of a bankrupt/bailed-out company receives multi-million dollar golden parachutes; and (f) there's a short-term provision requiring subequent review and renewal every three months.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Mushroom Clouds" Part II: Grandma Sarah Warns "It's the WMD's Again, Stupid!"


While the stock markets miraculously ended flat to last week in a spine-chilling roller-coaster ride--down 1000 points in 2 1/2 days, up 1000 points in 2 1/2 days--it's still abundantly clear that the economy is in a state of absolute crisis. Financial experts are calling the banking and mortage disaster the most grave situation since the Great Depression. Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee for president, knows "it's the economy stupid" in terms of where voters' priorities are right now. And he also knows that, as an economic neophyte, if it stays this way, he will lose in November. So, in a pathetic act of desperation, McCain and his mindless Stepford-Wife of a vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, ratcheted up the war-mongering rhetoric Friday.

To make a long story short, there's a "Rally to Stop Iran Now" to be held next Monday at the United Nations which was originally scheduled to be attended by Sen. Hillary Clinton and Palin. When Clinton found out Plain was on the bill, she backed out, not wanting to be a part of anything partisan (Palin is running for office, not Hillary). Not wanting to have its event be turned into a campaign circus, the organizers themselves uninvited Palin. Cut to Friday, when Palin's irresponsible and reprehensible attempt at fear-mongering did nothing but remind voters of all the lies and deception about Iraq perpetrated by President Bush, McCain and the rest of the sabre rattling Republican mob.

"John McCain and I are committed to drawing attention to the danger posed by Iran's nuclear program and we will not waver in our commitment," Palin said on the campaign trail. "I will continue to call for sustained action to prevent Iranian President Ahmadinejad from getting these weapons that he wants for a second holocaust."

Last week she warned in the now infamously embarrassing interview with ABC New's Charles Gibson of the need to ensure "that these weapons of mass destruction, that nuclear weapons are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them."

"Second Holocaust?" WMD in the "hands of terrorists?" Sound familiar? Can you say, "Mushroom Clouds?" Threats of "nukular build-up" by a rogue Middle East nation whose name starts with the letters Ira? The only thing missing here is the damned "Q." I mean, seriously, are these reckless bastards for real? Have they ever read The Boy Who Cried Wolf? Why on Earth would they expect anyone to give them so much as an ounce of national security credibility after engaging America in the worst military blunder in our nation's history...one built on manufactured evidence and fear-mongering incendiary rhetoric of the sort Palin was peddling Friday. There ought to be a law against incessantly bullshitting the American public about non-existent WMD threats...especially weeks before a major election.

Of her cancelled appearance at the protest, a smug and disingenuous Palin said: "Unfortunately though, some Democrat partisans put politics first and now no elected official will be able to appear at that "Stop Iran" rally. Iran's pursuit of these weapons should concern all Americans; this should not be a matter for partisan politics." Yes, Grandma Sarah, it is so partisan of those protest organizers not to allow any politicians there. God, can this woman get any more embarrassing?

And a sanctimonious McCain issued the following statement criticizing the Obama campaign for not attending the protest: "We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad's goal of a nuclear armed Iran. Senator Obama's campaign had the opportunity to join us. Senator Obama chose politics rather than the national interest."

Sorry, Grandpa Johnny, Obama's not gonna get caught up in your pathetic, feeble bait-and-switch game to distract voters' attention away from their #1 issue right now, especially when he knows you have no fucking clue what the hell you're talking about when it comes to the economy. Advantage Obama.

On a side-note, over on Republican radio, that slimy weasel Sean Hannity, McPalin's faithful spin-monkey, accused Democrats of "cheerleading this crisis" on Wall Street this week just as they are "emboldening our enemies in Iraq." It needs to be said: Sean Hannity is a despicable human being who ought to be ashamed of himself. If anyone puts party before country, politics before national interest, fiction before facts, it is he.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Sean Hannity is Obsessed with Me


I'm flattered. And ecstatic. I seem to be getting under the very sensitive Republican skin of Sean Hannity, the right-wing talking-head who's so shamelessly partisan he's actually starting to look like the GOP elephant. On multiple occasions he's read my blog to his audience like Dylan Thomas at a poetry reading. The latest rant occurred this past Monday. Same old Sean. He mocks my writing, asks "who is this Andy Ostroy?" and then, preferring to talk behind my back, refuses my repeated challenges to put me on the air for a debate so I could expose him for the knowledge-less bloviating buffoon fraud that he is.

Hannity often boasts that Sen. Barack Obama's always talking negatively about him but refuses to come on the air and face him mano-a-mano. But when the shoe's on the other foot, Hannity hides like a rat in a snakepit. C'mon Sean, man-up. You have nothing to fear but the truth. I'll be waiting.....

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wall Street Hands Massive Gift to Obama. The Question is, What Will He Do With It?


There's been a bloodbath on Wall Street this week, with the Dow Jones dropping 7% to a new three-year low, erasing over $1-trillion in U.S. stock value, amid the financial crises that befell Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and AIG. Washington Mutual could be another casualty soon. People are scared to death, and fear that there's much more carnage to come. The economy is in the worst shape in modern history. And in this year's presidential election campaign, it's "It's the economy stupid" all over again. Americans are suffering. They're angry, frustrated and very worried about their homes, their jobs and their savings. They're primed for change. If Sen. Barack Obama cannot successfully mine this pot of gold by inextricably linking this financial disaster to his opponent Sen. John McCain and the Republican Party, where it belongs , then he doesn't deserve to win. He's being handed the election on a silver platter now, and the key question is, can he capitalize on this incredible political gift.

No matter how much Republicans try to change their uniform, the truth is, George Bush has been president for eight years, and the GOP has controlled both houses of Congress since 1994, with the exception of the last two years, where Democrats have held a paper-thin, non-filibuster-proof majority. The "swamp" in Washington that McCain and his veep Gov. Sarah Palin repeatedly refer to on the campaign trail is their party's mess. The crisis on Wall Street and in the mortgage industry is a result of years of Republican-led deregulation and greed. Let's be clear: the economic stench gagging America right now is attributable to Republicans. This election is now a referendum on what Bush, the GOP and McCain have done to destroy the economy since 2000, and Obama must slam this point home. If he can do so effectively, he will be our next president.

It's a new day. The political winds have changed thanks to the pain emanating from Wall Street, and voters, the media and the candidates themselves are finally talking about the issue most important to Americans, rather than wasting our time and insulting our intelligence yapping about Paris Hilton, lipstick and abortion. The economy is where Obama and Democrats have the upper hand. Obama's new mantra should be "Bush, McCain, Republicans, the horrible economy: it's time to say goodbye to them all." Drive this point home, over, and over, and over again...right up until Americans head into the voting booth.

This election is now Obama's to lose.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

The Fiorina Follies: With Surrogates Like This, Who Needs Enemies?


Say goodbye to Carly Fiorina on the campaign trail. The former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and John McCain mouthpiece will likely be exiled to political Siberia after suffering one of the campaign's worst cases of foot-in-mouth disease Tuesday. Asked by NBC's Andrea Mitchell to explain a comment she made last week in a St. Louis radio station interview that Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain's vice-presidential running mate, is not capable of running a major U.S. corporation like HP, she committed surrogate Hari-kari:

"Well, I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation, I don't think Barack Obama could run a major corporation, I don't think Joe Biden could run a major corporation. It is a fallacy to suggest that the country is like a company. So, of course, to run a business, you have to have a lifetime of experience in business, but that's not what Sarah Palin, John McCain, Joe Biden or Barack Obama are doing."

So, the woman who herself in 2006 was booted out of HP--a company about to cut 26,000 jobs (7.5% of its workforce)--says neither presidential or vice presidential candidate could run it either. Apparently, HP must be one helluva difficult company to run.

Sen. Obama was quick to pounce on Fiorina's gigantic gaffe: "If John McCain's top economic adviser doesn't think he can run a corporation, how on Earth can he run the largest economy in the world in the midst of a financial crisis? Apparently, even the people who run his campaign agree that the economy is an issue John McCain doesn't understand as well as he should."

Has Fiorina lost her mind? Her implication that it's harder to run a major corporation like HP than it is the United States government is absurd and delusional and, quite frankly, a tad narcissistic. She arrogantly claims that to run HP you need "a lifetime of experience" but cavalierly suggests that to be president all you really need is 1 1/2 years as Governor of Alaska and a few more in local Wasilla politics. Kooky-Carly believes it's harder to run a company with 150,000 employees than it is a freakin' country with 2.8-million on the payroll. And forget those pesky little decisions involving international diplomacy, the military, the national economy, health care, education and immigration. Who needs experience with that nonsense? Yes Carly, this, unlike the HP CEO role, is an office for which on-the-job-training is ok.

McCain, the self-proclaimed "I'm fucking clueless when it comes to the economy" guy, sure knows how to pick his economic advisors, huh? Just a few months after the immensely entertaining Phil "Mental Recession/Nation of Whiners" Gramm show, along comes Kooky-Carly and the Fiorina Follies to remind us just how clueless McCain really is. Is this really the sort of judgement that would make for a good president?

This week started off with Black Monday, where the stock market dropped over 500 points and investors lost $500-billion in equity. And this just wasn't one isolated day here. The market's been tanking for a while now, and economist after economist says we're either in recession or about to enter one...and a major one at that. But that didn't stop McCain from repeating his duplicitous and/or delusional mantra that "The fundamentals of the economy are strong." It's a phrase Grandpa John apparently loves, as he's said it about 22 times this year including:

11/27/07: "I think the fundamentals are strong"

1/10: "I think the fundamentals of this economy are strong"

1/17: "Our economic fundamentals are strong"

3/11: "The fundamentals of our economy are strong"

5/5: "The fundamentals of our economy are strong"

6/5: "The fundamentals of our economy are very strong"

McCain's insistence that the economy is strong should be the nail in his political coffin for anyone still doubting just how out-of-touch he is with the financial anxieties of average Americans, let alone his grasp of the dire straits the nation is in.

Since George Bush took office in 2000, the "fundamentals of the economy" are horrendous:

-Unemployment 6.1% vs 4.2%
-Budget deficit of $357-billion vs $281-billion budget surplus
-National debt at $9.7-trillion vs $5.8-trillion
-Gas $4/gallon vs $1.27
-Inflation at 5.37% from 2.74%
-Real Wages down 2%
-Consumer Confidence Index .57 vs historical high of 145

Add to this grim picture the crisis over 400,000 U.S. home foreclosures, a mortgage meltdown, and multiple Wall Street bankruptcies. Seriously, I'd like a bowl of some of that crack McCain's been smoking if he truly thinks the "fundamentals are strong."

It didn't take long for McCrusty to realize what a colossal mistake he made and, in a back-peddle that would make a circus-clown proud, he did his disingenuous best to spin a great tale, like this one to an incredulous Matt Lauer of NBC, who challenged him on his overly optimistic mantra:

"Well it's obviously true that the workers of America are the fundamentals of our economy, and our strength and our future, and I believe in the American worker and someone who disagrees with that is fine. We are in crisis...we all know that."

No, we don't all know that. McCain clearly doesn't, or he wouldn't be incessantly regurgitating his "strong fundamentals" nonsense.

By late afternoon all the snake-oil McCain surrogates were shamelessly spinning this new "American worker" defense. On MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, Mitt Romney, the once "CEO presidential candidate," who clearly knows better, tried his best--albeit with his patented smirk--to clarify McCain's econogibberish:

"What he's referring to of course is the underlying productivity of the American workforce...the innovative spirit of America..those things, of course, things that are they envy of the world...but right now our economy is in real trouble and a lot people are really suffering...the economy is really suffering, and that's what John McCain indicated." Nice try, Mittsy, but no one's buyin' it.

In fact, with the economic shitstorm we're facing right now, and McCain's crystal-clear lack of understanding of the severity of this crisis and how to deal with it effectively (sorry Grandpa, simply throwing more tax breaks at the wealthy ain't gonna do it this time), anyone who votes for him must be smokin' some of that McCrack.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Why Replacing Biden With Hillary Makes Perfect Sense for Obama


Sen. Joe Biden's a perfectly appropriate vice presidential running-mate for Sen. Barack Obama. He's got 36 years of Senate experience, is a true intellect, a foreign policy expert, and a genuinely nice guy. But ever since Sen. John McCain added plucky Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to his ticket, the old adage nice guys finish last is beginning to take on new meaning in this year's presidential contest. It's time to dump Biden and replace him with Sen. Hillary Clinton. I don't care how it's done. Campaign chief David Axelrod can figure that out. And the sooner the better. Because I'm starting to think that if Team-Obama doesn't do something dramatic fast, it's gonna lose this election. There's a worrisome shift in momentum and in the polls. The Palin phenomenon, while truly unfathomable to Democrats, has energized McCain's campaign and allowed him like Houdini to snatch Obama's "change" theme right out from under him. It's time to snatch it back.

Conventional wisdom says replacing Biden with Clinton can't be done. That it's too late. That it'll make Obama appear indecisive, impulsive and lacking good judgement. Many Democrats believe this would cause irreparable harm to the campaign, ringing Obama's death knell. But this couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, it'd be a freakin' coup for Obama, and would instantly melt Palin's undeserving outsize political ice cap.

To be sure, a Biden-Clinton switch would cause quite a stir in the media. They'd accuse him of all sorts of things, from being politically expedient and flip-flopping to being irrational and ill-equipped to be president. The talking heads on CNN, Fox and MSNBC would be locked in a non-stop frenzied orgy of derisive rhetoric. But we also know that it would make about 18-million Hillary voters ecstatic at the same time. So, honestly, who really cares what Joe Scarborough, Keith Olbermann, Wolf Blitzer or Brit Hume thinks? These pundits don't constitute an appreciable voting block. What they think and feel would be utterly dwarfed by the euphoria from Clinton's faithful supporters. It's a pretty safe bet that an Obama/Clinton ticket would capture virtually all of these loyal Clintonistas. It's also a safe bet that many of those highly coveted 18-49-year-old women who polls show migrated to McPalin this past week would drop the spunky little hockey mom in a heartbeat for Hillary. Lastly, it's an even safer bet that Obama's current voters would stick with him as well. So, where's the downside? Show me a Democrat, today, who'd dump Obama for McCain if Biden was replaced with Clinton? They don't exist.

Obama should do what the Republicans would do in this situation. In fact, he should do exactly what his opponent did. Shake things up. Be unconventional. Roll the dice. Out-McCain McCain. Who cares how it looks. Who cares what the media thinks. One thing's certain: there's an 18-million deep pot of gold out there waiting to be mined. An Obama/Clinton ticket would slam the door shut on this election.

Friday, September 12, 2008

You Want Real Change, America? Choose the Black Democrat, Not the Old White Republican and his Lying Huckabee-in-Drag!


Here we are less than two months away from the presidential election and, as expected, the campaign trail has become a Republican freak-show. The once-maverick Sen. John McCain, who promised to run a clean, honorable campaign, has descended so low into the bowels of dirty politics it's downright despicable, while his grossly inexperienced vice-presidential running-mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, desperately tries to lie herself into the Executive Mansion. With the GOP's Darth Vader, Karl Rove, as their Shaman and strategic guru, McPalin is trying to convince voters that it is they, not the Democrats, who are the real agents of change. This claim would be comical if it wasn't so absurd and infuriating. Yes! Fed up with the last eight years of ruinous Republican rule? Why not vote for change and give Republicans four more years!? But America does have a real choice this year. A real opportunity to bring about real change. And his name is Barack Obama. But a strange phenomenon's occurring: incredibly, McPalin's co-opted Obama's central campaign message.

Tell me something please: How does a party with a rich old white nominee appear to have successfully claimed the mantle of change over the party whose ticket is topped by a black man? This one's even more mystifying than the two draft-dodgers, George Bush and Dick Cheney, successfully convincing voters in 2004 that they were the tough guys who could protect America while the decorated war hero John Kerry could not. Ya gotta give these guys credit. They've mastered the art of propaganda. If you say it, and say it often enough, it must be true.

There's more. How does the party that's controlled Washington for virtually all of the last fourteen years have the audacity to run on change? How does a party that's been rocked by scandal and corruption boast that they're headed to Washington "to clean up that swamp." And while we're at it, how does the party that holds as its #1 priority prohibiting women from making choices about their own bodies get away with attacking Democrats as being sexist while presenting themselves as pro-women? How does the party of rich white people label Obama an elitist? How does the party that gives big tax breaks to the wealthy and to corporations paint themselves as champions of the little guy? How does a candidate like Palin, who's cut Special Olympics funding by 50% get to "promise" voters that a McPalin administration would be a "friend and advocate" of special needs children? How does a party which has allowed corporate America to pollute our air and water get to run as environmentalists? How is this all happening? Where is the public outrage? Where is the media scrutiny?

And the campaign continues to get dirtier each day. Earlier this week the McNasty ticket accused Obama of making a derogatory remark about Palin when he said his now infamous line "You can put lipstick on a pig and guess what, it's still a pig" in mocking McCain and Palin's change theme. Perhaps the sanctimonious McCain has forgotten, but he used the same phrase last year to describe Hillary Clinton's health care plan. I guess it wasn't sexist then. Or maybe it's just more of the same old Republican "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy in action. Lie #1

Then later in the week came McNasty's disgusting, shameful attack ad accusing Obama of authoring a bill while in the Illinois State Senate that would require kindergarten children to be taught comprehensive sex education. The ad was immediately denounced as patently false and intentionally deceptive not only by the Obama camp, but by almost every major mainstream media journalist. The truth is, the measure advocated teaching children how to defend themselves against sexual predators. More complicated subject matter such as homosexuality, intercourse and contraception was not a part of the curriculum. And, the bill received support from a broad coalition of public health and education organizations including the Illinois Parent Teacher Association, the Illinois State Medical Society, the Illinois Public Health Association and the Illinois Education Association. Lie #2.

There was also Palin's revising history on her "Bridge to Nowhere" support, essentially saying I was for it before I was against it. Not only was she for it, she hired a lobbying firm to snag the $200-million earmark. When the bridge deal lost support, she ended up with the dough anyway. Lie #3.

And then came the moment we've all been waiting for, when the anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-stem-cell research, gun-toting, carcass-skinning, book-banning, evangelical creationist Palin faced ABC's Charles Gibson in her maiden interview. Her performance was an embarrassing display of ignorance on the major domestic and global issues of the day, clearly demonstrating to any sane, rational person that the plucky little hockey mom is woefully unprepared to serve this nation as vice president, let alone be ready to step in as president in the event of a crisis.

When Gibson asked if she had met any foreign heads of state, Palin winced and said no, then claimed that if the question was put to most other modern vice presidential candidates the answer would be the same as well. Well, not quite Sarah. You'd be the first veep in 32 years not to have met any foreign heads of state. Lie #4.

Gibson then moved on to global warming, reminding Palin of her position that it's not caused by human activity. In a flip-flop, she stated that some of it is indeed man-made, yet denied her previous position: "Show me where I have ever said that there's absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any effect or no effect on climate change. I have not said that." Well, in an interview last year with a Fairbanks newspaper she said: "I'm not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity." Lie #5.

And when Gibson asked her whether she agrees with "The Bush Doctrine" she was utterly clueless, and it was painfully obvious. Rather than take the honest path and say she wasn't all that familiar with its tenets, she opted instead to take the high school bluff route, answering the question with a question ("In what respect, Charlie?"). Jeff Spicoli would've been proud.

Throughout the interview I felt embarrassed for the little arctic spitfire. With every question, she appeared either like a frightened deer in the headlights, or, as the teacher's pet looking for praise when providing what she thinks is the correct answer. Worse, some of her answers pertaining to foreign affairs were so vague and stilted that they sounded like the kind of "bring peace on earth" vacuous gems offered up by a beauty queen (not a stretch for the former Miss Wasilla and Miss Alaska runner-up).

Though I never though it possible, Palin makes 1988's GOP vice presidential embarrassment, Dan Quayle, finally appear highly credentialed and experienced by comparison when you consider his two terms each in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. Perspective is a beautiful thing.

Of course, the McPalin campaign once again shed its crocodile tears, accusing ABC and Gibson of being too harsh on their wondrous gal. Of being too professorial, too condescending. That he was out to get her.

So was Gibson guilty of journalistic high-sticking? Give us a break. What was he supposed to do, toss her softballs? Let's get something straight: McCain appoints a total political neophyte to be vice-president and a heartbeat away from the Oval Office, vehemently insists she's qualified, sequesters her from the press for two weeks, and then when he finally wheels her out of the GOP safehouse he whines that Gibson asked the tough and completely fair and reasonable questions?

Hey Sarah, there's no free pass here just because you're cute and perky. If that's all we wanted we'd elect Katie Couric. If you want to shed the snow shoes and play in the big leagues you're gonna have to pass the smell test with the American voter. You're gonna have to face the media many times between now and November, and you better know what the hell you're talking about. You're asking us all to take you seriously as a potential president, commander in chief of the greatest military, and leader of the free world. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Oh, I'm sorry, was that sexist?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Who's Running for President, McCain or Palin?


My one-week love affair with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP's vice presidential nominee, is officially over. She's no longer charming. Her relentless sarcasm is derogatory and mean-spirited. And, she's dangerous. The smart girl glasses are, like her, a sham, and that Fargo voice now sounds like nails on a chalkboard. To be honest, most of my previous adoration centered around my expectation that the appointment of this political lightweight would be a cancer to the ticket. Instead, I now believe she's Sen. John McCain's meal ticket. Incredibly, this election has become all about her, not him, and if Sen. Barack Obama and the Dems don't get their shit together fast and strip away the layers of this vacuous onion, Palin just might be the reason McCain wins in November.

Once again, Republicans are distracting voters away from the real issues--the war, Afghanistan, the economy, health care--and framing the entire campaign around the fact that Palin's a small town, socially conservative, diaper-juggling Walmart mom who doesn't scare them. Someone voters can feel comfortable and safe with, wink-wink. As MSNBC's Chris Matthews said Monday, "This is to me the cleverest move they've ever pulled....which is the switch from what do you want to who do you want." Matthews also believes that this tactic is rooted more in racial motivations than anything else. And he's right. The McCain camp would just love to reassure voters that their white ticket is the safer bet.

It's safe to say that Republicans are downright giddy over their Everymom. In fact, since her rousing speech last week at the RNC convention in Minneapolis, conservatives have been acting as if it's she, not McCain, who's running for president. The convention was The Sarah Palin Show. Not good for the top guy to be so embarrassingly upstaged by the former Mayor of Wasilla. It's unprecedented in modern American politics for a presidential candidiate to literally rest his campaign hopes on the shoulders of his vice presidential running mate, and to change his entire message to fit her narrow positions.

But nevertheless, Republicans have been smart to elevate Palin in stature knowing just how weak McCain's prospects would be without the charismatic hockey mom on the ticket. This little arctic spitfire has taken his anemic campaign and given it new life. Her convention performance outdrew both McCain and Obama, and she's been on fire since. As proof, a new USA/Gallup Poll released Monday showed a huge bounce for the ticket, putting Grandpa John and Grandma Sarah ten points ahead of Obama and Sen. Joe Biden among likely voters. But before Republicans could really get excited, other new polls, including CNN and ABC, still showed the race as a dead heat.

Just wait. Wait until the currently sequestered Palin has to go before the national news media to answer questions pertaining to a host of domestic and global issues. Despite the intense coaching from Sen. Joe Lieberman and others, Palin's gaping knowledge-abyss will be evident. Gone will be the American flags backdrop, the cheering throngs of kool-aid drunken right-wingers, and the writing skills of Karl Rove and Steve Schmidt. It won't be a Wasilla press conference. She may be able to memorize some sound bytes, but she cannot and will not become miraculously adept with and acutely aware of the nuances of our various national security and economic challenges. There's a reason the campaign has so far kept her from the press: she has no idea what to say.

Back to the polls. Bounce shmounce, I say. Remember, Obama also had a ten-point bounce after the DNC convention. Now it's McCain's turn. And a week from now it'll be different yet again. Voters typically do not focus on elections until after Labor Day. The real campaign is just starting. Not only will Palin have to face the media many times over--shows like "Meet the Press" and "Face the Nation" are a must--she will also go head-to-head with Biden on Oct 2nd in the televised vice presidential debate. Can you imagine how woefully unprepared and inexperienced she's gonna look like against Biden and his 37 years of solid foreign policy and domestic legislating?

Additionally, the Obama/Biden ticket will be greatly aided by the Clintons. Hillary's been out stumping quite effectively already in places like Florida, and Obama and Bill Clinton will be lunching Thursday to map out the strategy for getting Bubba fully engaged. The right can mock Bill Clinton all it wants, but he's a master campaigner and still wildly popular among Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents. His presence on the campaign trail these next seven weeks will prove invaluable.

Stumping in the swing state of Missouri Monday, we got a glimpse of the McCain/Palin strategy in action for the anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-stem-cell research, gun-toting, carcass-skinning, evangelical creationist book-banning Palin. The Repubs know they're weak on the economy, so they had their spunky cheerleader tackle taxes, jobs, government spending, etc. But the speech was short on substance and chock full of catchy sound bytes. Just the sort of knowledge-gap that the media and Biden will shoot Dick Cheney-sized bullet holes through very soon...that is, once she's let out of the GOP safehouse.

"Our opponent, he still can't acknowledge the coming victory in Iraq," Grandma Sarah incredulously declared at the Missouri charade. Did she say victory? The coming victory? I can't wait until the press gets to ask her to (a) specifically define victory and (b) tell us just when that will occur...since she's so damned sure it's coming. Palin also engaged in revising history over her supposed "Bridge to Nowhere" opposition, which we now know was actually aggressive lobbying for the $400-million pork-barrel project. Thankfully, Obama hit back Monday, and hit hard: "I mean ya can't just make stuff up. Ya can't just recreate yourself. You can't just reinvent yourself. The American people aren't stupid."

Oh Barack, how we do hope you're right. But judging from the outcome of both the 2000 and 2004 elections, I'm not so sure.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

It's Not Because Palin is a Woman, It's Because She's the Wrong Woman


Enough already with the sexism charge. Not only is it patently false, but it's hypocritical. What happened to the right-wing's chorus of "Why can't we criticize Sen. Barack Obama without being called racists?" Now that the shoe's on the other foot our whiney friends on the right are crying foul over the left's outrage over Sen. John McCain's appointment of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. Yes, Democrats are upset. They're scared shitless at the thought of this incredibly inexperienced woman one day having to assume the role of president while the nation fights two wars and terrorists abroad and an economic recession here at home. With McCain being 72 and a 3-time cancer survivor, the fear is well-founded. Palin would be but a heartbeat from the Oval Office which, for any sane, rational person, is a little too close for comfort.

On MSNBC Saturday Republican strategist Brad Blakeman repeated the party-line about Palin's readiness to be president: "Should something happen to McCain, she has the 'executive experience' and will be capable of stepping in to lead the country." I often wonder if these spinheads really believe this garbage or if they're so scared and desperate in the face of Palin's gross deficiencies that they simply have to regurgitate this offensive drivel non-stop in order to feel like they're keeping McCain in the game. But Blakeman and the rest of the GOP spinners wo are singing Palin's "readiness" praises ultimately wince at the thought of her taking direct questions from reporters, which is why the campaign has made the calculated decision to keep her away from the media. Obviously, her knowledge of the broader national and international issues is so weak that she's not even "ready" to stand at the podium, let alone sit in the Oval Office.

The campaign's relentless spin is that Palin, unlike Obama, has "executive experience" (for the record, McCain has none either). McCain, Palin and their surrogates are quite disingenuous when they refer to him as a "community organizer," conveniently leaving out his eight years in the Illinois State Senate and four in the U.S Senate. They also forget the fact that Obama's been running for over a year, has been vetted every which way, has appeared in 23 debates, answered question after question about his experience and positions, and ultimately convinced 20-million people to vote for him. Excuse me, but there are no comparisons to be made here.

In the Los Angeles Times last week renowned feminist, author and publisher Gloria Steinem was dead-on when she criticized Palin's sudden and dubious ascension into national politics: "This isn't the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need....Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton"...belongs to a party with a "platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton's candidacy stood for, and that Barack Obama's still does"...and "To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs."

The GOP's defense of Palin centers on the same framing tactics used with Iraq: that if you're against the war you're against the troops. Hence, not supporting Palin is an attack on women. Of course, this is a ridiculous assertion, as the opposition has nothing to do with her gender but rather the glaring fact that she is a political lightweight and is grossly underqualified to be in her position. Ironically, the very same people Republicans accuse of being sexist are the same people who passionately supported Hillary Clinton. That's hardly sexism.

It's also a sad commentary on John McCain that his campaign has become all about Sarah Palin and not the candidate himself. The passion, excitement and renewed optimism among Republicans about their ticket can be attributed to Palin's one week in the national spotlight, not because of the man at the top or what he stands for. What does that say about conservatives and their misguided expectations? About how low they're willing to place the bar? About how they want to maintain power so badly that they'll pander using the lowest common denominators?

My favorite ReDrunkLican delusionist, Sirius Radio's Andrew Wilkow, railed last week about the hypocrisy of Democrats in their harsh criticism of Palin: "These people are pathetic. They claim to to be the champion of women and minorities." That his party's ticket is headed by a rich old white guy while the Democrats nominated a black man and also had 18-million people vote for Sen. Hillary Clinton seems lost on Wilkow, as are most facts. This from a guy who who refers to the Democrats' lack of support for Palin as "ovarian fascism." Wilkow and his radio/tv cohorts on the right spend an awful lot of time trying to convince voters (and themselves, I think) that over the years the Republican Party, more than the Democrats, has been the true champion of the poor, the middle-class, blacks, Hispanics, women and the elderly. We're talking levels of delusion here that would make Freud's head spin. Either that or these clowns are lying through their teeth.

The Republican hypocrisy in this campaign is embarrassing. How long have they been bashing Obama on the 'experience' issue, claiming he's nothing more than a charismatic orator who gives great speeches? Yet they're so quick to fall in love with a political neophyte who's given voters nothing more than one electrifying speech, albeit one with filled with lies, deception, anger and sarcasm.

Let's be clear: Democrats' opposition to Palin has nothing to do with her being a woman and has everything to do with her being woefully unprepared and unfit for the job. McCain could've chosen any one of a number of highly qualified women as his running-mate, chief among them Sen. Elizabeth Dole, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Sen. Olympia Snowe, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and former NJ Governor and EPA head Christie Todd Whitman. He also could've gone a bit out of the box with former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina or former EBAY CEO Meg Whitman, both brilliant women, well-versed in economic matters and who already play strong surrogate roles in the campaign. You would not have heard a peep from the left, just as Sen. Joe Biden's nomination has caused virtually no stir from the right. Biden's unassailable, as would be these women. You may disagree with their positions, but you could not question their experience.

To be sure, conservatives have gotten themselves whipped into a euphoric lather over their gal Palin, and rushed to send the campaign $1-million the day after her speech. The only problem for them is, Obama's supporters sent in a whopping $10-million the same day. Palin's inspiring allright, but not how Republicans had planned.

Friday, September 05, 2008

John McCain: The 25-Year Washington Insider Comically Running as the Washington Outsider


The Republican convention is finally over. Thankfully, my large-screen TV's still in-tact despite three nights of me throwing my enraged liberal Birkenstocks at it. The whole event was a freak-show of deception, scripted by the duplicitous campaign chief Steve Schmidt and GOP operative Karl Rove and executed by a shameless parade of disingenuous conservative liars.

The biggest liar of all is the party's nominee, Sen. John McCain, who is desperately trying to portray himself as the Washington "outsider" and the candidate of change. In fact, listening to the Republicans this week would lead one to believe that it's been the Democrats, not them, who's been running Washington these past eight years. The NY Times wrote Friday that:

"The nominee’s friend described him as a "restless reformer who will clean up Washington." His defeated rival described him going to the capital to "drain that swamp." His running mate described their mission as "change, the goal we share." And that was at the incumbent party’s convention."

"Drain that swamp?" If in fact Washington's been a swamp since George Bush took office in 2000, then McCain's been wading in it with his thigh-high muck-boots along with Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of the Bushevik swamp-dwelling, Constitution-defiling cronies.

All week long we heard about McCain and his anti-woman woman running-mate Sarah Palin talk about heading to Washington to shake things up. Watch out DC, McCain/Palin's comin' to town to whip all you corrupt, amoral, wasteful-spending insiders into shape. And the central character in this line of bullshit is Palin herself. That somehow McCain's six terms as a U.S. Senator is negated by his decision to appoint some no-name arctic oil-whore as his running mate.

It's astounding how McCain can attempt to credibly run as a Washington outsider when over the course of his 25 Senate inside years he was a disgraced member of the corrupt Keating Five; enthusiastically supported every one of Bush/Cheney's reckless war blunders; voted with Bush 90% of the time; and has had more lobbyists on his payroll than your average K Street lobbying firm.

But credibility has never been the Republicans' strong suit. They're the guys who dodged the Vietnam draft yet paint war heroes like John Kerry, Jack Murtha and Max Cleland as weak and unable to protect America. They're the guys with the highest wealth and privilege yet paint Barack Obama and Joe Biden as elitists. They're the guys who've controlled power for the last eight years under Bush, and for virtually all of the past 14 years in the House and Senate, yet portray Washington as a Democratic cesspool. And now we have McCain and his 25-year swamp-stained D.C. muck-boots calling Obama the Washington insider.

Let's hope that over the next 60 days McCain and Palin are exposed for the frauds that they are.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why I Love Sarah Palin


Alaska's Gov. Sarah Palin hit the RNC convention stage Wednesday night with the fiery intensity that Hurricane Gustav threatened but failed to wage on the Gulf Coast earlier in the week. Let's face it, she's beautiful, sexy, smart, funny, sarcastic, tough, oozes charisma and can deliver a rousing speech the same if not better than Sen. Barack Obama. She's the real deal. A true rock star. Pat Benatar with smart-girl glasses. That she's sounds like Frances McDormand in "Fargo" is a special little bonus. It's quite easy to see why Republicans are like high school boys with a mad crush. But fortunately for Democrats, she also has more skeletons in her closet than an osteologist, making her the juiciest target to come along in years. For the left, she could be the election on a silver platter.

As an example, the National Enquirer is dispatching an army of reporters to continue investigating Palin, and explosively alleges in its print edition this week that she had an affair with one of her husband's business partners. And where there's infidelity smoke, there could be fire, especially since the Enquirer recently earned its stripes with its accurate reporting of John Edwards' affair. It also broke the Bill Clinton/Paula Jones scandal back in the early 90's. For any politician these days, having the National Enquirer hot on your trail is definitely not a good thing, especially in the middle of a heated presidential race.

Additionally, an article in The Washington Post Thursday highlights several intense emails Palin sent to former Alaskan public safety commissioner, Walter Monegan, who was fired by Palin in July allegedly for failing to heed Palin's calls to fire her brother-in-law, State Trooper Mike Wooten, who at the time was embroiled in a messy divorce with Palin's sister. As a result, she's currently under investigation by a bipartisan legislative body for alleged abuse-of-power. To be sure, this story has legs and, long after Palin's much-heralded convention speech, it will continue to haunt her and the McCain campaign all the way to November.

The media has not been too kind on Palin either. During the televised convention coverage on MSNBC, conservative columnist and former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan was inadvertently overheard answering a question about Palin’s experience: "Most qualified?, no," adding that McCain had chosen her not based on ideology, but for the personal narrative. "Every time Republicans do that they blow it." I suspect this sort of off-the-cuff honesty from the press, as well as more hard-hitting reporting, will continue, in part incited by the campaign itself.

The McCain camp has been harshly criticizing the media for its coverage of Palin, signaling that the curmudgeonly nominee's lovefest with the press has finally ended, as it should. As the NY Times reports Thursday, the campaign has distributed news releases criticizing individual reporters for their unfair coverage, including CNN's Campbell Brown, over which they cancelled McCain's scheduled Larry King interview; dismissed a NY Times article about Palin's vetting process as "fiction;" and the campaign's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, accused journalists of pursuing a "mission to destroy" Palin with "a new level of viciousness."

Overall, Palin's checkered past is quite troubling for the ticket. Toss in her supposed involvement in the Alaska Independence Party, which advocates the state's secession from the Union; her 17-year-old daughter Bristol's
unwed pregnancy; and her husband's DWI 22 years ago and the picture painted is hardly the desired one of conservative family values. Yeah, she's pretty and gives a darned good speech, but there's plenty of there there, just not the kind that McCain bargained for.

What's more, it's laughable to think she'll attract the disaffected female supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton. There's not a liberal chick alive who voted for Clinton that will throw her support to the anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-stem cell research, gun-toting, carcass-skinning, evangelical, creationist, abstinence-only Republican. I mean, are you kidding?!

Regarding the convention itself, it's so far been a well-orchestrated charade consisting of American flags, cowboys, veterans and the black guy. Twenty thousand fanatic supporters filling the arena and it seemed that all they could find was one lone black dude who kept appearing on camera repeatedly. There sure was a helluva lot of red, white and blue, but hardly any black. If it wasn't so embarassing, it'd be comical.

While Tuesday night's opening mentioned not one single word about the economy, proving yet again how out-of-touch Republicans are with the mounting financial anxieties of the average American, Wednesday's circus contained not one word about Bush and Cheney, proving that Republicans are quite adept when it comes to burying their ugly embarrassments.

In Wednesday night's exercise in revisionist history, speaker after deceptive speaker--including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani and Grandma Sarah herself--were tricked out to distort the truth and lie about the candidates, the war, the economy, taxes and the role of government. These people have no shame. No scruples. They never let facts get in the way of their spinning. And watching their flag-draped BullshitFest was/is enough to make you sick. But what they do have is an insatiable hunger for power, and are doing and saying whatever necessary to win the White House. Obama and the Democrats indeed have a gift in Palin, and with McBush. Let's just hope they know what to do with it before November 4th.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Republican Hypocrisy is Enough to Make You Sick


Given the amount of posts to our message board from Republicans yapping about everything from Barack Obama's "bastard childhood" to Bill Clinton's blowjobs, and that Democrats themselves have controversial situations in their lives, I'd like to try one last time to get our conservative friends to understand why those of us on the left pounce on scandals like Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol's pregnancy.

Let me make it simple: hypocrisy. No Democrat would be foolish enough to state that liberals are perfect. That we're scandal-free. Sinners come in both blue and red. The difference is, Democrats don't sanctimoniously lecture everyone else from the bully pulpit about ethics. About what's moral. About what constitutes "acceptable" family values. About how to live your life. About right and wrong. Good vs. evil. That's what Republicans do. It's conservatives who want to tell us all how to live, who to marry, who to sleep with, what to do with our bodies, when to let a sick loved one die. But time and time again, they are proven to be living a lie. Creating a double-standard. They're all about do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. They often live in the biggest glass house, yet throw the largest stones. So when they fall, when they sin, when they are exposed as the hypocrites they are, we rejoice. Because that's what they deserve.

Bill Clinton may have hugely sinned, but he never preached morality to anyone else. Barack Obama may be the child of a broken home, but he at least had the class this week to encourage voters, both Democrats and Republicans--as he reminded them that his own mother was just 18 when she gave birth to him--to let the Palin family's private matter remain just that: private. That's a helluva lot more than what he or vice presidential nominee Sen. Joe Biden would be getting from the right if the situation were reversed.

And while we're on the subject of hypocrisy, ya gotta love how McCain, Palin, the GOP and all the Conservative spinners out there are whining about how Bristol's pregnancy is a Palin family personal matter, and that the Democrats and the press should leave her and her boyfriend, Levi Johnston, out of the debate and allow them their privacy. Yet, guess who the McCain/Palin campaign trumps out onto the tarmac Wednesday, in some twisted family-values photo-op, to greet McCain's plane as he lands in Minneapolis for the RNC convention? Bristol and Levi. So please, don't lecture us anymore about their privacy. The fact that McCain is surprisingly exploiting this Sin City mess as if it's something to be proud of, and Palin's gleefully going along for the ride, means it's open season on them and the whole affair. Grandpa John and Grandma Sarah can't have it both ways.


HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: It's time now to help Obama fight the bigger fight and win the November election. He's gonna need money. Lots of money. Will you join me in making as large a contribution as you can to the campaign? I am personally commited to raising $25,000 for Sen. Obama and you can help me reach this goal. Click here to make a contribution. The White House is well within reach. Let's not let it slip away this time.

HELP ELECT BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENT: John McCain and the GOP are going to spend tends of millions on vicious attack ads and aggressive ground teams. There are many swing states this year--Colorado, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri among them. With a sizable war chest, Sen. Obama can successfully combat the GOP's attack and win these states. Click here to make a contribution. It's time to change America.