Friday, October 17, 2008

LOL Cats... Errr, Candidates

Last night in NYC was the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. Both Sens. McCain and Obama were the guests of honor, and delivered comedy bits. Some people may find it odd/offensive that our presidential candidates are joking around with each other one day after going at each other in a debate, while everything goes to hell around us. Maybe even me to an extent. But I did find the event both funny and refreshing at many points.

Of course, I noticed a big difference between the two approachs... while Obama's jokes were mostly self-deprecating, McCain's were more mean-spirited and basically just joke-y versions of Republican talking points. Because McCain is just in that deep at this point.

However, I do wish that McCain's increasingly insane and deranged supporters had seen their candidate "palling around" with his opponent, and even paying some very graceful compliments about him toward the end. Maybe-- maybe!-- then they'd realize how all the ridiculous things being directed at him on the campaign trail (terrorist! socialist! risky!) are BS. Maybe they did. It was shown on Fox, after all.

Sen. McCain-

Sen. Obama-

TGIF Odds and Ends

I'm too tired today for a lengthy entry, but here's a collection of interesting or important news worth posting. Let me ask readers... any topic(s) you want me to write about?

Once again, McCain aides confirm obvious... their strategy isn't about building up McCain himself, but rather tearing down Obama. In particular, McCain plans to use his new BFF, Plumber Joe, to try and out-populist Obama (middle class tax cuts = elitist!!). Too bad even "Joe" himself knows what a bunch of BS this is.

And things on the McCain/Palin campaign trail continue to stay nasty, despite McCain's pretend regret for all this... Examples: Palin fans the flames of the GOP's beloved culture war. McCain/RNC robo-calls continue to push the Obama/terrorist connection. CA GOP mailers go super racist on Obama (food stamps! fried chicken! watermelon!). A reporter in NC is assaulted by a Palin supporter. Rush Limbaugh laments that Fox News is insufficiently biased toward McCain. And on and on.

But Obama said some mean things about McCain's health-care plans, so it's all equal!

The GOP's been pushing their ACORN/voter fraud BS for weeks, with now many Republicans rolling their eyes. The latest smackdown? From George W. Bush's Supreme Court.

Barack Obama warns Democrats... don't count our chickens before they hatch.

Gen. Petraeus on where we stand in our 'long war'... dude, we are so fucked in Afghanistan.

And is the recession the ultimate exit strategy for us in Iraq?

This blog has a good comparison on how Obama/McCain differ on science and government.

And here's another blog post that hits on a pet concern of mine... considering we used to be able to complete massive infrastructure projects in short time, why does everything take so long now?

Rumors say Colin Powell will endorse Obama this weekend. Matt Drudge responds w/ racism.

Finally, Rolling Stone has a really solid interview with Nick Jonas Barack Obama.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Plumber Joe, 'Class Warfare', and Debate Thoughts

As an addendum to my last post, I recommend this blog post in full, the definitive word on the economic BS that McCain and the right are attempting to peddle. More on Joe.

Happy Anniversary

My friend Kieran reminds me that today is the 3rd anniversary of this blog (it had been on LiveJournal previously longer). Yay? I thank my reader(s) for their support.

So... the debate. I'm too tired to add much, and I assume my opinion is similar to the masses (McCain angry, Obama calm, some substantive policy differences overshadowed by the expected sideshow arguments, etc). I do want to note that I had linked to-- twice!-- Obama's talk with the now-infamous Plumber Joe yesterday before the debate. I know what is relevant, apparently. Finally, Huffington Post has a good wrap-up page with summary.

[UPDATE: Once again, here are fact-checks of the debate. Is it time to vote yet?]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

General Thoughts

So something very strange has occurred in America in recent weeks. No, I'm not talking about the slow-moving avalanche that is the economic crisis-- people with brains saw that coming over 3 years ago-- I'm referring to Democrats actually being optimistic going into a presidential election. In 2004, the general attitude among Democrats was that John Kerry was a douchebag, but we'll vote for him anyway. This year, Democrats are actually excited about their candidate (yes we can!), and actually believe... wait for this... that he will win!

Of course, polls/swing voters are fickle beasts, and this cynic right here has no plans on jinxing the election by any premature celebration. It's still a long and unpredictable road to November 4th. The hypothetical 'October Surprise' hangs over our heads, and-- after years of having the football pulled away from us at the last second, like Charlie Brown-- many liberals are staring at Obama's huge poll leads, and thinking "okay, what's the catch?".

But there is room for hope, of course. Sen. Obama is winning by running a solid campaign-- one (gasp!) based on ideas-- and has been looking more and more presidential as our nation's woes grow more apparent. He has also done a great job of explaining to the average American how an Obama presidency will affect them (see his promotion of the tax calculator, his calm way of talking to voters). It certainly doesn't hurt that he-- and Democrats at large-- are on the right side of the issues Americans are concerned about... the economy, energy/climate change, the war(s), healthcare, etc. The Republican party has spent over a year trying to tear him down, get him to blink, or make him lose his cool. It hasn't worked now, and that is why they are going into overdrive in the final lap.

This lead to John McCain and Sarah Palin stating officially that they'd be foregoing discussion of the issues on the campaign trail in lieu of debating/attacking Obama's character. So-- taking their cues from talk radio, Fox News, and conservative blogland-- they took a big whack at the hornet's nest that is their party's basiest base, and were shocked (!) to find a bunch of angry, racist lunatics swarming out. Those remaining sane, decent Republicans (yes, let's be fair, there are many among us) are seeing that years of alienating anyone who refused to fall in line with their great hero George W. Bush has left them with the backwash, as Stephen Colbert put it in his infamous White House Correspondent's Dinner performance two years ago.

Now their poll numbers are both tanking-- not helped by Sarah Barracuda the attack dog turning himself into a national punchline with her idiocy-- and they're attempting to try another in a series of relaunchs. But-- like the fake 'suspension' of his campaign last month-- it's total bullshit. Not only is McCain still recycling his speeches, his party as a whole is still ignoring the issues that Americans are really concerned about. Go watch Fox News, read the National Review blog, or conservative newspapers... all they're still ranting about is Bill Ayers and ACORN conspiracy theories and rants about how an Obama presidency will lead to death and socialism, as if their glorious President hasn't spent the last months of his disastrous eight-year presidency nationalizing every failed economic institution he can get his hands on. It's the sad last gasps of a party that ran out of ideas years ago, and I think this time, people are starting to grasp that.

Again, this doesn't guarantee an Obama victory, but polls are trending one way for a reason.

In the end, though, an Obama victory would be short-lived, as the next President will be inheriting a gigantic mess, and a bitter and defeated Republican minority. Navigating that minefield will not be easy. I have faith in Obama to do it better than others could (I wouldn't have voted for him if I didn't believe that), but there's one helluva thankless job waiting for him in Washington next year.

News You Can Use

Here's some important and/or depressing news to read today...

Reuters: Iraq says pact to allow U.S. troops until 2011

AP: Stocks plunge anew as data points to recession

U.S. News & World Report: How Treasury's Plan Will Affect Consumers

Video Smörgåsbord

I'll have some detailed thoughts later (on over-hyped polls, the issues, etc). First, videos!!

Keith Olbermann has a must-watch report on ACORN and the GOP's recurring 'voter fraud' scam (TPM discusses its connection with the U.S. Attorney scandal here). Barack Obama preps for the debate by discussing his tax policy with a concerned voter while campaigning. Rachel Maddows chats with John Kerry, who knows about failing campaigns, about the erratic McCain strategy. Maddow also spotlights some underreported stories this week. Finally, The Young Turks look at the comparison between the McCain/Obama debates and the classic Penguin/Batman election of the 1960s.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Yes We Can... Have A Sane Economic Policy

Sen. Obama spoke in greater detail today about his economic proposals (video here)-

The Guardian (UK): US election: Obama lays out details of $60bn economic plan
• Toledo, Ohio speech focuses on job creation
• Federal funding to go toward infrastructure projects

It's encouraging. Of course, McCain is attempting to create another 'comeback' narrative today as well, especially with the final debate on Wednesday, so the fun isn't over yet.

[UPDATE: Pres. Bush, taking cues from Europe, revises his rescue/bailout plan yet again.]