Politics postsSunday September 07, 2008
McCain: Rash and Not Bright. Sound Familiar?
As always, Frank Rich is worth reading and today he focuses on the haste with which John McCain makes his decisions and declarations. Here’s the money graph in easy-to-read list form:
- In October 2001, he speculated that Saddam Hussein might have been behind the anthrax attacks in America.
- That same month he out-Cheneyed Cheney in his repeated public insistence that Iraq had a role in 9/11 — even after both American and foreign intelligence services found that unlikely.
- He was similarly rash in his reading of the supposed evidence of Saddam’s W.M.D. and in his estimate of the number of troops needed to occupy Iraq. (McCain told MSNBC in late 2001 that we could do with fewer than 100,000.) It wasn’t until months after “Mission Accomplished” that he called for more American forces to be tossed into the bloodbath. The whole fiasco might have been prevented had he listened to those like Gen. Eric Shinseki who faulted the Rumsfeld war plan from the start.
“Often my haste is a mistake,” McCain conceded in his 2002 memoir, “but I live with the consequences without complaint.”
Rich then asks, as if it needed asking, “Well, maybe it’s fine if he wants to live with the consequences, but what about his country? Should the unexamined Palin prove unfit to serve at the pinnacle of American power, it will be too late for the rest of us to complain.”
How Palin was for Obama before she was against him
Interesting piece by Philip Gourevitch on an interview Sarah Palin gave two weeks ago...back when her name had dropped off the list of potential veep candidates and she was freer to speak her mind.
Overall, her talk is less doctrinaire and more bipartisan than the speech (written by former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully) she gave Thursday. She talks about how she's fine with the fact that Barack Obama was doing so well in Alaska, how his campaign themes echoed hers, and how she “always looked at Senator McCain just as a Joe Blow public member, looking from the outside in.” She's still a hard-right Republican — pro-life even in the case of rape or incest — but she's somewhat open-minded on other issues.
Now a lot of people are saying that it doesn't matter that Gov. Palin didn't write her own acceptance speech — that that's how politics works, and has worked, for decades. But here's the difference. Professional speechwriters tend to tailor speeches to the tastes and beliefs of the politician they work for. The politician usually has a hand, sometimes a firm hand, in what's being said. One gets the feeling that didn't happen with Palin. All you have to do is compare her open-mindedness two weeks ago with the Rove-like nastiness in her acceptance speech to realize that, with the exception of her personal story, she was basically a broadcaster, broadcasting someone else's words, on Thursday night. It wasn't her.
It's almost a cliche now, particularly in political circles, but you gotta ask: Which is the real Sarah Palin?
Drill Now! Drill Now! Drill Now!
Here's a link to Andrew Sullivan's live-blogging of McCain's speech last night. It's good stuff. These entries in particular:
10.39 pm. His speech makes me feel a lot better as a depressed old-fashioned conservative. But it's striking how all the things that make me feel good seems to go down flat with this crowd.
10.46 pm. Drilling for oil gets the biggest applause. This is why I can't feel at home in this party. I mean: I'm actually open to this policy and agree with McCain on the all-of-the-above approach, including nuclear — but this obsession with more domestic oil just seems weird to me. I guess I'm a cosmopolitan.
I'm also reminded of their flat reaction to McCain's comment near the end about how, knowing war, he hated war. They seemed disappointed. For all their supposed hatred of Hollywood (huglely misplaced), they wanted the Hollywood ending. Good guy triumphing amid blood and guts. Instead he handed the audience a flower. What a downer.
The Shakers (Hopefully Not the Movers)
Sen. McBush/Gov. Earmark
First, R.J. Eskow has a good piece on “The 15 Counterpunches” to the various lies and hypocrisy of the RNC. The key elements:
2. She's Pork Barrel Palin. She's always been an expert in draining earmark money off the hardworking taxpayer. She submitted $197 million in earmarks — more per person than any other state — in her current budget. And the citizens of her little town got fifty times as much federal pork as the average American! How'd she do it? She hired a DC lobbyist. That's right: A K Street shark to fill her Main Street coffers — and advance her career in the bargain. ... If you don't like the way Washington does business, you don't like her. What's the difference between Sarah Palin and an old-style GOP crony? Lipstick.
5. McCain's economy will be more of the same. If you like the economy we've got, vote McCain. Every time a Republican runs for office he pretends he'll do things differently. Bush said the same things in 2000. Look at McCain's voting record. Wonder what McCainonomics would look like? In the words of the old ad, you're soaking in it right now.
I also like John Seery's piece, same site, about Sarah Palin's speech. The key thought:
What I saw on that stage was the personification of small-minded smugness, an utter lack of humility, a kind of self-righteous entitlement based on little more than puffed-up narrowness. She struck me not as plucky but, rather, as stunningly immodest — to the point of arrogance...
Finally, from Oliver Willis' excellent site, there's this reader comment regarding Barack's response (see below) to the various right-wing attacks on his “community organizer” background. It really hits the nail on the effin' head:
All smart responses to dumb attacks. And we need to return Smart to the White House.