Saturday, June 07, 2008

Hillary Clinton Ends Campaign, Endorses Obama

I have nothing further to say, or add, about the campaign of Hillary Clinton now that we are at the end. I will let my archives over the past year(s) speak for itself. Today was about moving on, and I intend to do just that.

The speech itself was impressive. What a shame she only seemed truly at ease in defeat. I've seen a few complaints already that it was too self-congratulatory, but I didn't see that as a big deal. This was her last speech as a presidential candidate and she wanted to start out by reflecting on that. Her endorsement of Obama was solid and her use of some of his campaign's rhetoric and themes helped sell it. Yes, I could hear a smattering of 'boos' from the crowd when she praised him, but that seemed to be the minority and by the Fall hopefully all of these tensions will be worked out. On the key issue this speech needed to accomplish-- uniting Democrats behind Barack Obama to win this election and put America back on the right path-- I think she nailed it.

Sen. Obama, I believe, is taking the weekend off. When he returns, the real fights begins.

[Clinton suspends historic campaign, endorses Obama (AP)]

The Right Priorities

If you need any more proof that the Republican Party is a) out of touch, and b) ran out of good/new ideas a long time ago, look no further than this National Review post by editor Rich Lowry-
"Speaking of energy prices, this would be an excellent time for Republicans to emphasize reducing the cost of living and of raising a family across the board: on energy, drilling and opposition to more energy taxes; on health care, a reduction of insurance regulation to make it easier to buy low-cost plans; on taxes, the Ponnuru tax reform with its massive child credit for families; on prices, free trade to keep the prices at Wal-Mart and elsewhere as low as possible, an end to ethanol subsidies, and opposition to inflationary Fed rate cuts. (Granted, curtailing illegal immigration doesn't fit with this theme, but there are other reasons to do it.)"

Except for an end to ethanol mandates, I can't think of a single thing on here that doesn't sound like a pander. And if that's the goal here (scoring political points), then yes they may have luck with such an approach. But if he actually means this to be taken seriously as substantive policy, it's quite embarrassing.

I don't know which is more offensive... the idea that all that pesky regulation (after years of endless deregulation) is all that is keeping insurance companies from treating their customers as human beings rather than obstacles to profit, or the idea that the primary function of our trade policies should be to keep the shit at Walmart as cheap as possible.

The saddest part is that I am picturing him writing stuff like this in his fancy office, leaning back in his chair, and thinking 'I am a genius'. I am convinced that getting a job at the National Review is not that difficult.

Iraq: The Past, The Present, and Future

With the Scott McClellan book bringing the 'how we got here' part of the Iraq debate back into the spotlight, a number of less-reported stories this week should remind Americans again what is at stake in this election. I've divided them into three categories.

The Past

Reuters: Bush misused Iraq intelligence: Senate report-
President George W. Bush and his top policymakers misstated Saddam Hussein's links to terrorism and ignored doubts among intelligence agencies about Iraq's arms programs [BLUEDUCK'S NOTE: This is a polite way of saying they lied] as they made a case for war, the Senate intelligence committee reported on Thursday...

...The committee studied major speeches by Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other officials in advance of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and compared key assertions with intelligence available at the time.

Statements that Iraq had a partnership with al Qaeda were wrong and unsupported by intelligence, the report said.

It said that Bush's and Cheney's assertions that Saddam was prepared to arm terrorist groups with weapons of mass destruction for attacks on the United States contradicted available intelligence.

A new report from McClatchy has more on how the Pentagon allowed itself to be used.

The Present

Reuters: Iraq lawmakers want U.S. forces out as part of deal-
A majority of the Iraqi parliament has written to Congress rejecting a long-term security deal with Washington if it is not linked to a requirement that U.S. forces leave, a U.S. lawmaker said on Wednesday...

..."The majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq," the letter to the leaders of Congress said.

Well tough shit, Iraqis, because...

The Future

The Independent (UK): Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control-
A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq's position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated. But by perpetuating the US presence in Iraq, the long-term settlement would undercut pledges by the Democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama, to withdraw US troops if he is elected president in November.

The timing of the agreement would also boost the Republican candidate, John McCain, who has claimed the United States is on the verge of victory in Iraq – a victory that he says Mr Obama would throw away by a premature military withdrawal.

America currently has 151,000 troops in Iraq and, even after projected withdrawals next month, troop levels will stand at more than 142,000 – 10 000 more than when the military "surge" began in January 2007. Under the terms of the new treaty, the Americans would retain the long-term use of more than 50 bases in Iraq. American negotiators are also demanding immunity from Iraqi law for US troops and contractors, and a free hand to carry out arrests and conduct military activities in Iraq without consulting the Baghdad government.

In summation: They lied, Iraq is a mess, and we are never leaving. Same as it ever was.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Weekend Odds and Ends

I see my readership went down a bit. Disgruntled Hillary supporters? Anyway, here's news...

This week was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

Reason #363,748 why we will never take climate change seriously: "Senate Republicans on Friday blocked a global warming bill that would have required major reductions in greenhouse gases, pushing debate over the world's biggest environmental concern to next year for a new Congress and president... The Senate debate focused on bitter disagreement over the expected economic costs of putting a price on carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas that comes from burning fossil fuels. Opponents said it would lead to higher energy costs."

This as oil costs rise to new highs. And SUVs appear in their last throes.

Meanwhile, in California (that state that Bush's EPA refuses to let tackle carbon emissions on their own): "Its reservoir levels receding and its grounds parched, California has fallen officially into drought, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday, warning that the state might be forced to ration water to cities and regions if conservation efforts did not improve." Good times.

But here's some good news from California: "California's Supreme Court gave the final green light on Wednesday for gay marriages to begin later this month, turning down requests for a delay."

The GOP quest to bully Democrats into legitimizing warrantless wiretapping's far from over.

Great economic news!! "The foreclosure hammer is hitting ever harder. People lost their homes at the highest rate on record in the first three months of the year, and late payments soared to a new high, too — an alarming sign that the housing crisis and its damage to the national economy may only get worse."

This while the jobless numbers rise significantly.

Finally, the Guantanamo trials begin and they are not short so far on drama.

Campaign News

With the general election officially underway, I thought I'd take a look at some miscellaneous campaign stories.

One of the more underreported stories of the week, in my opinion, is the fact that Sen. Obama becoming the nominee makes him the de-facto leader of the DNC. Howard Dean will remain chairman, of course, as there's no need to replace him and both he and Obama share the same 50-state strategy vision, but Obama staffers are moving into key DNC positions. The biggest change Obama made right away is a very welcome sign-
Barack Obama's consolidation of the levers of Democratic party power continue: the Democratic National Committee says it will no longer accept donations from lobbyists or members of political action committees. "We are trying to be seamless with the Obama campaign," a party official said. The official said the decision was jointly made. Previous contributions from PACs and lobbyists won't be returned; future ones will...

...Obama aides say that they expect fundraising at the DNC to pick up dramatically as Obama and the campaign begin to raise money into the joint fundraising accounts.

Obama's fundraising powers, of course, make taking lobbying $$$ unnecessary.

Meanwhile, in a sign of good faith, Sen. McCain has decided to join Obama in his work on a bill "opening federal government contracts to public scrutiny".

And that's not the only area where McCain is looking to ride Obama's coattails. He's also co-opting Obama's campaign slogans and logo designs on his website. Now that's imitation you can believe in!

Sen. McCain also has a new TV ad. It turns out... he totally doesn't love war at all!

Finally, Fox News is just really running on fumes at this point.

The Very Serious Election

Tim Russert was on MSNBC late Tuesday night talking about what an awesome election this is going to be (wheeee!). He was stating that we have two candidates who were less likely than other candidates to engage in petty personality attacks, and that maybe we are finally going to have an election that will be debated on the issues. Your lips to Karl Rove's ears!

What Russert ignores is that he and his colleagues in the media are largely responsible for the substance-free personality politics that have dominated presidential politics for years and years (Media Matters does a great job every day cataloging the worst offenders). If Russert wants to have that fantasy election in which we actually have honest, robust debates on the economy, the war, energy/climate, and other topics, he needs to look in the mirror and acknowledge that change begins at home.

Here are some reminders of how seriously the media took their jobs in 2000. I am not holding my breath for much of an improvement this year. oMg flag pinz!

Recommended Listening

KCRW's 'To The Point': Is There a 'Green' Lining in the Cloud of This Oil Crisis?

[UPDATE: This new Tom Tomorrow cartoon fucking nails it.]

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Barack Obama's Road To The White House

It's been no secret that I'm an Obama supporter, and so obviously this is an exciting week.

Many critics pointed out in 2004 that many Democrats were not voting for John Kerry, per se, but more voting against President Bush. And that was largely true and no one really denied that (Kerry would've made a great President, but was a lousy campaigner). So it's refreshing to be able to say unambiguously that I am voting FOR Barack Obama and that I genuinely believe that he is the best candidate we have to become our next President.

The GOP will-- besides their standard personality-based attacks-- go after him with the narrative that he's too inexperienced and unaccomplished to lead this country. On the former point, Obama has pointed out, "Being experienced is not enough. The question is, what lessons do you learn from your experience? Nobody had a better track record in experience than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, but they had bad judgment... The people who have been criticizing me over the past two weeks are the people who engineered what is the biggest foreign policy fiasco in a generation." Sen. Obama has shown superior judgment in his work in the Senate, and has shown a level of class and diplomacy that will serve him well in both foreign and domestic matters. He has also shown that he does not back down from a fight either.

As for his accomplishments... they are far more numerous than he has been given credit for. From ethics reform to nuclear non-proliferation work to other top issues, he has a far more meat-y legislative record than most freshman Senators can boast. He's also shown-- by running a more successful, and more restrained, campaign than the Clinton dynasty-- that he has strong executive skills. He's ready to be President.

He's also running on a larger, more detailed set of policy proposals than his opponent.

Does any of this mean, though, that the election is a shoe-in or that we should take anything for granted? NO. This will be a hard-fought campaign. Winning will not only mean out-campaigning Maverick McCain, it will also mean winning over Clinton's die-hard supporters, and working hard to solidify the Democrats' gains in the new swings states out West, like Colorado and Nevada and New Mexico and Montana. I believe that Sen. Obama can do that, but he's really going to have to fight for it. Don't let us down, Barry.


[UPDATE: Another reason to love Obama? He, like, beat up Joe Lieberman, or something.]

The End Is Near.

Sen. Clinton is expected to concede on Saturday, and will endorse Sen. Obama. Kudos.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

John McCain's Very Defensive Speech

Sen. McCain's speech last night-- which even most conservatives couldn't convince themselves was any good-- reeked of desperation. McCain attempted less to explain why you should vote for John McCain, and more on why he wants you to vote against Barack Obama. Oh, and also stop saying that he's very similar to President Bush!

The pundits I watched last night made a big deal of how McCain was officially embracing the idea of this as a 'change' election. He had said "This is, indeed, a change election. No matter who wins this election, the direction of this country is going to change dramatically." He went to cite areas where Americans want and expect that aforementioned change: "health care, energy, the environment, the tax code, our public schools, our transportation system, disaster relief, government spending and regulation, diplomacy, the military and intelligence services.... [and] job loss, failing schools, prohibitively expensive health care, pensions at risk, entitlement programs approaching bankruptcy, rising gas and food prices, to name a few." Indeed.

The problem here is that McCain now has to acknowledge all of these problems... despite not being politically able to acknowledge the reason(s) for them, that is namely that the Republican president and his congressional allies ran this country into the ground these past eight years, and people are pretty pissed about that. He must also-- and on this note I think he will do fairly well, unless the media decides to fact-check him-- get the American people to buy into his proposed solutions despite them being just repackaged versions of the same GOP policies that got us into these messes to begin with. Malibu Stacy has a new hat!

And here was the part of the speech where he was most defensive-
"You will hear from my opponent's campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I'm running for President Bush's third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it's so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it's very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false."

6-7 years ago, this would've been true. But around 2003, McCain made a hard turn to the right, in hopes that conservatives who had seen him as a traitor would embrace him. But years of basically embracing the Bush/GOP Base position on every issue-- war, the economy and taxes, energy policy, torture, jobs, etc (he now embraces the Bush position on dictatorial executive power)-- haven't helped solidify conservative support, they only opened up new problems... primarily that he must now convince swing voters that none of that is true.

He went on to specifically emphasize that "I disagreed strongly with the Bush administration's mismanagement of the war in Iraq." This may be one of the biggest lies of McCain's entire campaign. McCain was one of the biggest defenders of the Bush/Rumsfeld strategy, and then in late 2006 he cast himself as the Senate's main spokesman for the impending escalation surge (it's working, ya know!) and also retroactively as a longtime critic of Bush. I hope that Sen. Obama will work to refute all of this quickly.

In the following video, you can see McCain 'disagreeing strongly' with Bush on the war-

Finally, it took real gall for McCain, in seeking to distance himself from President Bush, to deliver this speech in New Orleans. McCain only briefly does address the elephant in that room, noting (correctly) that "We must also prepare, far better than we have, to respond quickly and effectively to a natural calamity... Our disgraceful failure to do so here in New Orleans exposed the incompetence of government at all levels to meet even its most basic responsibilities." He then goes on, naturally, in the next paragraph to explain the old conservative trope that government is a problem, rather than a solution.

And where was McCain when that tragedy was burying New Orleans? Sharing birthday cake with his good friend, President Bush. We deserve better leadership than this.

Vice President Who?

Obviously now the big question everyone wants to obsess over is who will the vice presidential candidates be. People seem less interested in on the McCain side (Romney? the governor of Florida? Reagan's ghost?), though.

Here is my random brainstorming on the subject of Obama's hypothetical Vice President.

I'll leave out Sen. Clinton for the purposes of this discussion, as a) I am trying to ignore her, as she continues fundraising for a campaign that technically already ended, and b) I am hoping hard that Sen. Obama will not give into her blackmail by putting her on the ticket.

If you subscribe to the theory that Obama needs a diehard Clinton supporter on the ticket to help ease her voters into his campaign (which I get), the best options are Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell and former Gen. Wesley Clark. Both would add a lot to the ticket.

Obviously, John Edwards seems an obvious choice, but it seems unclear how much he actually would want that job at this point. He's been rumored for Attorney General or some other high-profile administration post.

Other good options are Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), who is not only a strong progressive voice for the party, but also would be Obama's link to those Appalachian voters who were reluctant to vote for him for that reason which we'll ignore for now. The downside would be that the Senate would lose a good fighter, but he'd be replaced by a Democrat so it wouldn't affect the majority. Also mentioned a lot is Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius, mostly as a female option, but also because of her good reputation as governor. Other governor options include Bill Richardson from New Mexico (remember him?) and Brian Schweitzer from Montana. I think picking someone from the Senate should avoided, if possible. Though Sen. Dodd is also an excellent, though rarely mentioned, option.


The Right Gets To Work

The important work of properly smearing Barack Obama is the key task now for the American right-wing and they are happy to jump in (and are quite grateful to Sen. Clinton, who has spent months laying groundwork for them) and get their hands dirty.

Just this week so far we have (the totally not-racist) Rush Limbaugh calling Obama an "affirmative action candidate" and insisting that he's sooo "lucky" to be running for President as a black guy. Yes, running for President as a black man named Barack Hussein Obama in our racism-free America is the greatest advantage any candidate ever had. Remember that guy who ran for President 8 years ago and who shared the same name with his father who was a former President? He had nothing on this lucky Obama fellow.

Then there's the BS rumors of a Michelle Obama 'whitey' rant. The rant by Bill Bennett and others that Obama is "far left". And anything on this page. Etc.

It's going to be a fun year. The right is so full of helpful ideas about the country's future.

The Speeches

For those interested, video of: Sen. Obama's victory speech, Sen. Clinton's non-concession speech, and Sen. McCain's 'fuck you, Barack, I am not like George Bush!' speech.

Montana/South Dakota Decide... And It's Over?

Well, yes and no. The day's events have now officially made Barack Obama the (presumptive) nominee of the Democratic Party. "Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States," Obama said, adding "Let us unite in common effort to chart a new course for America."

However, Sen. Clinton gave a speech, indicating she has made no decision on what's next.

I'm really exhausted tonight, and I will have more thoughts on all of this tomorrow-- the historic nature of this, VP choices, etc-- as well as some thoughts on McCain's speech. Until then, I will let the ramblings of Chris Matthews lull me to sleep.


[AP: Analysis: McCain, Obama polar opposites]

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Scott McClellan, Jon Stewart, and The Accidental War

Reason's Radley Balko writes "The bad news is that Jon Stewart isn't all that funny anymore. The good news is, he may be the best serious interviewer on television. I don't know of anyone who has been better or more consistent than Stewart when it comes to cutting through the bullshit as these ex-Bush administration officials do the talk show circuit to promote their books."

I agree completely. Jon Stewart just isn't as funny anymore compared to the consistent laughs--or 'LOLs' as the kids call them-- I get from watching Stephen Colbert afterwards (case in point... Colbert's segment on McClellan last night), but damn does this guy not like being bullshitted. Between this and the Doug Feith interview from last month, Jon's on a roll.

The interview basically went like this... Stewart: "So Bush fucked up?" / McClellan: "Yes, but he didn't mean to." / Stewart: "Yes, he did."

Watch, and enjoy, for yourself-

Odds and Ends

Hey, you know what's awesome? Air conditioning. Anyway, here's the news...

This bill is likely to be the hot-button (pardon the pun) issue of the week on Capitol Hill: "The Senate began what is expected to be a weeklong, contentious debate Monday over legislation to combat global warming by mandatory reductions in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases." Time magazine's Jay Newton-Small has a decent blog summary of what this bill is all about.

Conservatives, meanwhile, solve climate change by ranting about 'the left'.

On a related note, more proof that the Bush administration interfered with NASA's research on climate change: "'Our investigation,' the [NASA Inspector General] report said, 'found that during the fall of 2004 through early 2006, the NASA Headquarters Office of Public Affairs managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized or mischaracterized climate change science made available to the general public.'"

The U.N. thinks we should do something about this food crisis: "UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged nations to seize an "historic opportunity to revitalise agriculture" as a way of tackling the food crisis. Mr Ban told a UN-sponsored summit in Rome that food production would have to rise by 50% by 2030 to meet demand."

A new round of polls finds that the majority of Americans do believe that the U.S. President should meet with leaders of countries which are considered our enemies. oMg, APPEAZEMINT!!1

Meanwhile, Syria will be letting U.N. nuclear inspectors take a look around.

Unlike libertarian darling Ron Paul, current Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr is not accepting the support of white supremacist organizations. And that's nice.

Finally, Stephen Colbert delivers a hilarious commencement address at Princeton.

The U.S. Election, As Seen From Across The Pond

From BBC News. If you're used to braindead U.S. news pundits, this reporting may be a shock to the system.

[AP tally: Obama clinches Democratic nomination]

The End is Near?

Is the Democratic primary finally going to end tonight? Will Sen. Clinton concede tonight, tomorrow, or later this week? How do I get Terry McAuliffe off my TV? These are the questions that news pundits have been obsessing over for days.

Despite my cynicism, I would like to believe that these next few days will see the end of the primary season and the beginning of the official, awkward transition to the general election for Democrats. Still, there's part of me that remembers that Camp Clinton has spent the last several weeks creating a narrative that she is the actual winner of the primary (the reasons are various and change on a weekly basis) and that her due was stolen from her by a conspiracy of sexism and elitism... and all that voting people did (a narrative as ingrained now to her diehard supporters as the Iraq-WMD-9/11 lies are to the diehard Bushies). And it does seem hard to believe she spent so much doing that-- and I'm ignoring all the other insane spin and weekly controversies we've been through-- if she was just going to bow out gracefully once the mathematical obvious was confirmed at the end of the primary process. A convention battle still to me seems unlikely, but it's clear she intends to (at the very least) leave that door open.

Still, all this speculating is masturbatory for now. Montana and South Dakota vote today, and we will see what their voters have to say. And then the remaining superdelegates will come out of hiding and make their arbitrary decision. And then hopefully Democrats will remember that there's a fairly popular guy named John McCain who is also running for President and that maybe we should start taking him on.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday Morning Video Theatre: Supporting The Troops

Jon Stewart looks at rhetoric v. action in terms of supporting the troops in Washington DC...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

DNC Settles Florida/Michigan Issue; Clinton Supporters Still Pissed

I'm too tired for a proper analysis of the decision that was made yesterday evening, except to say that this was more than a fair compromise and I would hope that the rumblings of sour grapes-- and threats of taking it to the convention-- from Camp Clinton are just momentary anger, and that the end truly is near. I have obviously never been a fan of Sen. Clinton, but even I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe that this primary will wrap up in the next week or two. Uhh, I hope.

Anyway, here's the story off the wires-
Democratic Party leaders agreed Saturday to seat Michigan and Florida delegates with half-votes at this summer's convention with a compromise that left Barack Obama on the verge of the nomination but riled Hillary Rodham Clinton backers who threatened to fight to the August convention...

...The decision by the party's Rules Committee raised slightly the total delegates Obama needs to clinch the nomination. Clinton advisers conceded privately he will likely hit the magic number after the final primaries are held Tuesday night, but said the ruling threatened to dash any hopes of a unified party.

"Mrs. Clinton has told me to reserve her right to take this to the Credentials Committee" at the convention, said Ickes, who is a member of the Rules Committee that voted Saturday...

...The sticking point was Michigan, where Obama's name was not on the ballot.

Clinton's camp insisted Obama shouldn't get any pledged delegates in Michigan since he chose not to put his name on the ballot, and she should get 73 pledged delegates with 55 uncommitted. Obama's team insisted the only fair solution was to split the pledged delegates in half between the two campaigns, with 64 each.

The committee agreed on a compromise offered by the Michigan Democratic Party that would split the difference, allowing Clinton to take 69 delegates and Obama 59. Each delegate would get half a vote at the convention, according to the deal...

...Allan Katz, a Rules Committee member and Obama supporter, said the Obama campaign had enough votes on the committee to support the campaign's proposal to split the delegates 50-50 in Michigan. Ultimately, the campaign agreed instead to support the compromise negotiated by the Michigan Democratic Party as a way to resolve the matter....

...But the irate reaction from Clinton's campaign and her supporters in the sharply divided audience shows Obama will have a long way to go to bring the party together after a long and divisive primary.

"We just blew the election!" a woman in the audience shouted. The crowd was divided between cheering Obama supporters and booing Clinton supporters...

...The committee also unanimously agreed to seat the Florida delegation based on the outcome of the January primary, with 105 pledged delegates for Clinton and 67 for Obama, but with each delegate getting half a vote as a penalty...

...Obama picked up a total of 32 delegates in Michigan, including superdelegates who have already committed, and 36 in Florida. Clinton picked up 38 in Michigan, including superdelegates, and 56.5 in Florida. Obama's total increased to 2,052, and Clinton had 1,877.5.

The final remaining primaries are Puerto Rico (today) and Montana and South Dakota (Tuesday). This may be over soon. And then hopefully we all put aside this squabbling and move on to the big picture in November.

[UPDATE: Here's video of one of Clinton's hard-working white supporters staying classy.]

Sen. Obama Rejects and Denounces...

...his entire church. 2008's been the perfect case for the separation of church and state.

The Hollow Republican Party

As many conservatives have even been noting, the Republican Party is out of ideas and is mostly running (surprisingly well, though) on steam at this point. To illustrate, here is yet another of the actual campaign ads congressional Republicans are running against their opponents.

(Because these ads are working out so well for them this year already)

But Karl Rove-- master of the brand of flag pin, idiocracy politics the GOP now operates under-- told Chris Wallace in a recent Fox News interview that Republicans will finally engage voters on the issues and not these caricatures. He said, "You need to treat their [Democratic] arguments substantively and engage on the merits." Specifically, he stated-
"Strategically they'd better get their act together with an aggressive agenda of reform here at home about the things people are talking around the kitchen table.

What are the Republicans going to do about health care? What are they going to do about providing reliable and affordable energy? What are they going to do about jobs and creating -- keeping our economy innovative and competitive, encouraging exports? What are we going to do about helping people grapple with the cost of college education?"

Translation: 'They better promise to clean up all the fucking messes we made!'

I really do hope that the Republicans take Karl's advice (which they won't, of course, and he doesn't honestly intend to make them try)... I'm sure the average voter will be amazed to hear that a tax cut or credit is the solution to every single problem we face, no matter how large or complicated. Sen. Obama could only be so lucky for this election to be a substantive debate over the economy, health care, energy policy, and education. I won't hold my breath.