When Facts Don’t Matter, What Do You Do?

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fact free twn.jpg
Thank you, Dan Froomkin. Froomkin writes at the Washington Post‘s “White House Watch” and also at Nieman Watchdog.
Froomkin captured something I have been feeling but haven’t quite articulated in a post he sent me last night.
He suggests we have entered a period politically when facts just don’t matter anymore, at least to a large enough part of the public that the reality-based community seems like a shrinking minority.
But I like the alternative framing that Froomkin suggests as a way to measure a candidate’s views and positions. This is all very Scowcroftian, with a twist of Hagel, and I like it:

~ Call this the Bush Memorial Question: How reality-based is the candidate? Does he acknowledge unpleasant realities? Does he think he makes his own reality, and that asserting something that isn’t true will sort of make it true? Does he hold many beliefs – say, about Iraq or the economy – that most objective observers would say are not realistic?
~Does the candidate say things that the people covering him know he doesn’t believe? For instance, is it obvious to everyone in the traveling press corps that he is repeating a line his speechwriters or pollsters have written for him, even though he knows full well it’s not true.
~Is the candidate exposed to dissenting views – either in public or within his campaign? Does he encourage dissenting views? How hard does the campaign work to keep dissenters out of his way?
~Is the candidate ever willing to try to make his case in front of people who don’t already agree with him? Is he willing to engage them? Does he tailor his speeches to specific audiences in order so that they will like what they hear? Or so that they will open their minds to views they may not initially share?
~How does he respond to people who don’t share his views? Does he dismiss them? Does he try to persuade them? Does he listen?

— Steve Clemons

Comments

43 comments on “When Facts Don’t Matter, What Do You Do?

  1. WigWag says:

    From the New York Daily News
    “Siena Poll: 5 Points Separate Obama And McCain In NY
    September 15, 2008
    The latest poll from the Siena Research Institute finds Barack Obama leading John McCain 46-41 among likely New York voters with just 50 days remaining in the presidential campaign.
    Obama’s lead in the Democrat-dominated state has dropped steadily – from eight points in August, 13 points in July and 18 points in June when he led 51-33.
    Voters said they thought Obama would do a better job on the economy, the Iraq War, health care and education, while McCain leads when it comes to protecting the US from terrorism and enhacing America’s strength in the world.
    Overall, McCain was perceived as more qualified than Obama (79-67), while Joe Biden easily trumps Sarah Palin in this department (70-47).”
    Don’t worry, Obama won’t lose New York even if his poll numbers in the State are dropping. But if Obama only wins New York by five points, it is hard to see how he can be elected. New York is one of the most Democratic leaning States in the nation. A five point lead in New York spells serious trouble elsewhere.
    To make matter worse, the Siena Poll shows that McCain has a double digit lead among white women in New York. If white women in New York are going for McCain in large numbers, what do you think white women in West Virginia, Ohio or Western Pennsylvania are doing?
    By the way, for those who are intersted; as of today, Obama is trailing where Kerry was four years ago.
    By the way, I take no pleasure in saying it.

    Reply

  2. WigWag says:

    “How about substituting Hillel for Burke?”
    That’s good, but people who have supported Obama from the beginning might want to contemplate this one from Oscar Wilde:
    “There are but two tragedies in a man’s life. One is not getting what he wants; and the other is getting it.”

    Reply

  3. Linda says:

    Don S,
    Thanks for the link to Atrios–I thought I can’t possibly go through 232 comments–but considering most of them are one or two lines–I looked at quite a few–makes TWNers look good since the blog was on doing stuff or something. So people were saying, “I’m doing laundry today.” Not sure what folks over there are ingesting or smoking–and very cynical.
    Assume if you are near WVA that you are considering going directly north. Toronto is a terrific city, but too cold. Vancouver probably is the best place. My sister is talking Costa Rica. But I don’t want to leave my family here.
    And the sad thing is that one can take one’s self out of this country, but can’t really take the country out of one’s self. It’s a sad, not a bad, option because you’re going to still be listening to news, reading, blogging, i.e., you care.
    Wigwag,
    One of my concerns is that unions always have been the source of most volunteers for Democrats and with union membership down and so many union jobs lost, that’s bad for the Democrats. And those numbers are off-set by increase in the fundamentalist religious right who are energized by Palin.
    I really was trying to appeal to the many people who never have worked in a campaign.
    How about substituting Hillel for Burke?
    “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
    If I am only for myself, what am I?
    And if not now, when?”

    Reply

  4. WigWag says:

    From the Wall Street Journal
    Crisis on Wall Street as Lehman Totters,
    Merrill Is Sold, AIG Seeks to Raise Cash
    Fed Will Expand Its Lending Arsenal in a Bid to Calm Markets;
    Moves Cap a Momentous Weekend for American Finance
    By CARRICK MOLLENKAMP, SUSANNE CRAIG and SERENA NG
    September 15, 2008
    The American financial system was shaken to its core on Sunday. Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. faced the prospect of liquidation, and Merrill Lynch & Co. was close to a deal to sell itself to Bank of America Corp.
    The U.S. government, which bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a week ago and orchestrated the sale of Bear Stearns Cos. to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in March, played much tougher with Lehman. It refused to provide a financial backstop to potential buyers…
    A sense of foreboding gripped Wall Street as top executives feared collateral damage from a Lehman liquidation. Attention turned to Merrill Lynch, which boasts the largest force of retail brokers, and to American International Group Inc., the insurance giant. Both firms have seen their stocks get hammered, and their managements spent the weekend trying to come up with plans to reassure the markets.
    “Monday will be a day of reckoning for the financial markets,” said Carlos Mendez, senior managing director of ICP Capital, a boutique investment firm in New York. On Sunday, he said, “it was like a fire alarm went off and people ran in all directions.”
    AIG executives spent the weekend trying to raise cash, either from asset sales or a capital infusion from private-equity firms, or both. AIG executives were meeting with regulators to see if they could transfer capital from some of its subsidiaries to the holding company.
    As worries spread across Wall Street that Lehman wouldn’t survive, brokerage firms, hedge funds and other traders moved to disentangle themselves from trades with Lehman. When hopes of a potential sale dimmed, a quiet Sunday on Wall Street turned into a mad rush. Executives and traders hurried to their offices or worked their phones to unwind outstanding contracts with Lehman and to gauge their overall exposure…
    We are in uncharted waters here,” said a top executive of a big bank. “If Merrill can pull off a deal this weekend, that would certainly help…”
    The U.S. dollar, which had strengthened in the past few weeks, fell against all four of its major rivals on Sunday — the euro, the Swiss franc, the U.K. pound and the Japanese yen…
    “We have never seen anything like this,” said analyst Glenn Schorr, who covers the investment banks for UBS AG. “There have been tough situations like Long-Term Capital Management and the crash of 1987, but the problem here is there is leverage in the securities under the microscope and in the banks that own them. And to try and unwind it all at once creates a one-way market where there are only sellers, and no buyers.”
    The convulsions could lead to even tighter credit, higher borrowing costs and moribund capital markets, as securities firms and commercial banks try to further limit risk and preserve capital. Those moves could cause the U.S. economy to slow further.
    The future of about 25,000 employees at Lehman and an additional 60,000 at Merrill is up in the air. Lehman’s work force already has shrunk by about 3,000 in the past year. If the firm essentially goes out of business, most of the remaining employees are likely to lose their jobs. That would deal another blow to New York City’s economy, resulting in lower tax revenues on personal income, real-estate transactions and corporate income.
    The damage on Wall Street is the latest consequence of a storm that began last year with the sharp decline in American housing prices and losses on loans and other assets tied to home values. Massive capital infusions have failed to stem write-offs and losses, and financial firms are running out of options to escape the damage.
    Regulators and others were preparing for a hectic Monday. The New York Stock Exchange prepared contingency plans over the weekend to reassign the approximately 200 blue-chip stocks that Lehman’s specialist unit trades, according to people familiar with the matter. If Lehman is forced into liquidation, the exchange will likely transfer the stocks to one or more of the remaining specialist firms, most likely using the same technology and staff that currently trade the stocks…”

    Reply

  5. WigWag says:

    Can anyone say financial collapse? Could this be the game changer Obama needs?
    From the Wall Street Journal tonight.
    Crisis on Wall Street as Lehman Brothers Totters
    Lehman faces the possibility of liquidation and Merrill Lynch sold itself to Bank of America on a day in which the U.S. financial system was shaken to its core. The federal government’s refusal to provide support to potential Lehman buyers prompted Barclays and Bank of America to walk away from talks. AIG sought to raise cash and craft a survival plan amid investor pressure.
    Fed Plans Expanded Lending Facilities
    The Federal Reserve is expected to expand its lending facilities, taking a wider array of securities, including equities, as collateral for its loans. (Fed statement)
    • Banks Roll Out $70 Billion Loan Program
    • Financial-Sector Distress Likely to Hold Back Stocks
    • Goldman, Morgan Grasp at Bitter Prize| U.S. Must Own Up to Its Bank Crisis
    • Heard on the Street: Wake-Up Call | Even the Strongest Will Have to Adjust | More
    • Sydney Retreats on Financial Tumult | Central Bankers Debate U.S. Actions
    • MarketBeat: Mother of All Mondays | Deal Journal: How Wall Street Can Save Itself
    • Mean Street: Wall Street Gets Set to Make a Killing | Complete Coverage

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    Like I said, too much pleasure. “I told you so” is tastier than, say, whipped cream in coffee, topped with caramel…not from Starbucks. And you are into the “I told you so” thing.
    A couple of thoughts. First, as I’ve said over and over, the election isn’t done yet. Many tracking polls are showing tightening/Obama barely up/ Obama barely down. Lots of movement. Second, the 50 state strategy got people moving across the country and may end up helping downticket. School boards and zoning boards and county clerks DO a lot of stuff in this country. They are the ones who ban books, approve creationism teaching, zone away multi-unit dwellings and make life unliveable for workers. So if the Obama excitement and the 50 state strategy move a some 20-somethings to stand for election in Texas and Georgia and the like, it’s a good thing, even if Obama loses the regular southern states.
    Third, Obama isn’t out of it, Palin and McCain look iffier to many people. The Obama campaign may be as good at reading the electoral map as they were counting caucus votes. Better to wait than to crow too early.
    I’m sure you don’t want McCain to win, but part of you will still enjoy having called it — but remember that you have no evidence that HRC would have won. The repubs can do culture war on anyone and HRC has high high negatives.

    Reply

  7. WigWag says:

    “Please. Too much pleasure in these postings WigWag. Too much pleasure.”
    You’re wrong, Questions. I take no pleasure in the content of what I am saying at all, although I do think its fun commenting or I wouldn’t do it.
    I want Obama to win more than I ever have, not because I no longer think that he’s a superficial phony, but because the McCain/Palin ticket grows scarier by the day.
    I take no pleasure in the fact that Obama is in the process of blowing the most winnable election for Democrats in a generation.
    Whether he wins or loses one thing is now obvious. Obama is an extraordinarily weak candidate. The environment favors the Democrats so profoundly that fact that he is struggling so severely proves what a mistake it was to nominate him in the first place. Not only would Hillary Clinton have been far stronger, the other Democrats vying for the nomination would have been stronger. I even think that Biden who has been moderately effective as a VEEP candidate would have been a stronger Presidential candidate than Obama. I think you could make an argument (only half facetiously) that Dennis Kucinich would have been a stronger Presidential candidate.
    If Obama wins, the country will be better off; that will make me happy. But the Democratic Party will be worse off. Democratic elites will get the wrong message. They will think Obama won because he was a good candidate, not because he was running in a uniquely good year for Democrats after eight years of a uniquely failed presidency.
    If Obama wins, Democrats won’t learn what they need to learn if they want to start winning again on a regular basis. That they don’t need candidates who are wildly popular in Berkeley CA and barely acceptable in Morgantown WV. They need candidates who are wildly popular in Morgantown WV and barely acceptable in Berkeley, CA.
    So Questions, you see I don’t take any pleasure in this election at all. I view it as a lose-lose proposition.
    By the way, while we are on the topic; do you remember how just a few short months ago, Obama supporters and the fauxgressive blogoshphere were explaining to us that Obama was stronger than Clinton because he could compete in places like Texas, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota? That his candidacy presaged a new era for the Democratic Party and that his Campaign would be the embodiment of the 50 state strategy championed by Howard Dean.
    How did that work out?
    Kind of ironic, don’t you think that what really stands between Obama and victory are not those states that he told us he could win, but the states that Democrats always need if they are to be victorious? Of course it’s Hillary Clinton who won all of those states.
    It looks like Bill Clinton gets the last laugh after all. He was right and Obama was wrong. South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia may have helped Obama win the nomination, but in the general election he will get clobbered in all of them.
    So much for Obama the political genius. And so much for the naivety of his supporters.

    Reply

  8. WigWag says:

    “So what do you do in Obama’s shoes?”
    Well I suggest that Senator Obama repeat to himself a couple of times. “If I don’t win West Virgnina, I lose.” “If I don’t win West Virginia I lose.” After that focuses his attention, he might start with these items:
    The first thing he should do is stop wasting money on a state like Georgia that he can’t win and doesn’t even need to win; and instead spend his money on West Virginia.
    The second thing he should do is focus like a laser beam on the economy which is what Bill Clinton did when he won West Virginia twice.
    The third thing he should do is ask his supporters to stop ridiculing Sarah Palin because she had a child in her 40s and because her teenage daughter is pregnant. Lot’s of people in West Virginia have kids when they are in their 40s and lots of people in West Virginia have teen aged kids who get pregnant.
    The fourth thing he should do is campaign in West Virginia with surrogates who are popular there like the Clintons.
    The fifth thing he should do is start planning now for all of the ads McCain is going to run right before the election mentioning how he called voters in West Virginia bitter. He’s going to need to counter those ads.
    How’s that for a start?

    Reply

  9. DonS says:

    Well, I live right next door to West Virginia. You can almost throw a stong over the border from where I work.
    What you do about West Virginia is tap into the very deep democratic roots and follow their lead and advice as to how to gain entree into their world. Not as a brother identifiying with their plight perhaps, mind you, but as as straight up, honest person, willing to stand amongst the folks. And maybe not much more than that.
    There is a very strong progressive tradition in West Virginia, amidst all the hard scrabble reality, that has been open to a message of “for the little man” since Kennedy, since the Appalachian Regional Comission, since the latest boom or bust coal cycle.
    And yes, there is prejudice. Big deal. Its everywhere. What’s he got to lose?

    Reply

  10. VIK says:

    I can’t blame Obama much for being frustrated by West Virginians. Some of the polls taken there were just plain frightening. A majority in W. Virginia still thtought Obama was Muslim, and some staggeringly high percentage admitted (admitted) that race played a role in how they voted.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/5/14/85241/3477/284/515353
    SO what do you do in Obama’s shoes?

    Reply

  11. questions says:

    “Silver doesn’t say it, but I think Obama is not devoting sufficient effort to West Virginia because he just doesn’t like West Virginians. He’s far more comfortable with Father Pfliger or Reverend Wright than he is with your average union member. The problem is, he needs those UMWA members to turn out big for him if he is going to win West Virginia. So far, he’s not getting them in big enough numbers. Or maybe Obama doesn’t care about West Virginia. Maybe he thinks he can be elected without it. Maybe he thinks he can do what no Democrat has done for 92 years.”
    AAARGHHHHH
    Obama has been FINE with downstate Illinois farmers. He talks their issues and listens in their kitchens. No problems there.
    Pfleger was invited to guest speak at TUCC AFTER Obama stopped going regularly….. Average union members are what Chicago used to have before massive deindustrialization. Precisely the people he was doing organizing for.
    Please. Too much pleasure in these postings WigWag. Too much pleasure.
    The election isn’t over yet. The press seems to be pushing back as is the Obama campaign. There’s a world of time between now and Nov 4. Work must be done, for sure. McC hasn’t won yet, though.

    Reply

  12. DonS says:

    Some Clintonites forget the negatives. It’s easy to think that her assertive/aggressive nature would be just the ticket to counter McCain (although she did a lot of loving on him). However, those same characteristics, if tapped and let loose, would have enhanced the negative stereotype of Clinton and the Clintons that have necessitated her walking a fine line. It would have been “big bad Hillary picking on poor sweet Sarah, boo hoo”, doncha know. Or we can fantasize that a perspicacious public would wake up and note the significant difference in experience, knowledge and [some would say] character that differentiates two and say, whoa, I gotta run right out and register Dem. I doubt it would work that way.
    If they hate Obama because he’s black and he’s got a “Muslim” name, they hate Hillary because she’s an aggressive woman and got a Clinton name.
    Really it has less to do with the individual than the image of that individual that can be successfully projected, and protected. And the repub are light years ahead because that’s ALL they care about and work on, image, not substance.
    McCain still reaps the benefits of the [perhaps] decade old reputation of being a maverick and a “straight talker” although he hasn’t been either. Public perceptions are hard to change, especially when they reinforce some deep-seated wish in the psyches of the abused electorate. Invoke the scapegoat. Usually works.

    Reply

  13. WigWag says:

    Interesting post this morning (Sunday, September 14th) over at Five Thirty Eight.
    The title of the post is “Was Obama’s 50 or 22-State Strategy a Mistake?”
    The conclusion Nate Silver arrives at is that it was. He concludes that the McCain team is outsmarting the Obama team. He excoriates Obama for focusing on states like Georgia while devoting insufficient resources to states like West Virginia.
    Silver doesn’t say it, but I think Obama is not devoting sufficient effort to West Virginia because he just doesn’t like West Virginians. He’s far more comfortable with Father Pfliger or Reverend Wright than he is with your average union member. The problem is, he needs those UMWA members to turn out big for him if he is going to win West Virginia. So far, he’s not getting them in big enough numbers. Or maybe Obama doesn’t care about West Virginia. Maybe he thinks he can be elected without it. Maybe he thinks he can do what no Democrat has done for 92 years.
    To make matters worse, Obama’s mistakes are emblematic of the mistakes being made by the Democratic Party under the leadership of the Dean/Pelosi crowd.
    The Democrats should be winning in a cake walk. Winning the presidency should be a snap. A fillibuster proof Senate should be within reach. More Democratic governors should be a slam dunk. Bigger Democratic majorities in the House of Representatives and State Legislatures should be a lock.
    But if we win at all, we’re going to have scratch out a small victory. We’ll win by the skin of our teeth.
    All because a group of selfish, elite knowledge workers thought they were more important than the tens of millions of people that the Democratic Party should be fighting for.
    The Democrat Party used to be the party of Franklin Roosevelt. Now it’s the party of Howard Dean and Markos Moulitsas.
    Talk about pathetic!

    Reply

  14. VIK says:

    …sorry about the typos (Mr. Chafee, etc.), I was in a rush.

    Reply

  15. viktor_vaughn says:

    WIgWag:
    I appreciate your perspective(s). But please don’t make assumptions about me and the “types of people I talk to”. I’ve lived in/taught inside some of America’s really bad neighborhoods, and keep in contact with all the lovely people there (I live in London now). Most of these people are poor and frustrated. They’re not priveledged college students (to be blunt). And the variety of people I’m fortunate enough to speak with is fairly large. I’m not a typical “Obama supporter”, and your generalizations only serve to undercut some nicely observed (substantive) comments.
    I stand by the fact that 90% of the people i talk to think Clinton’s campaign was “dirty”, and they wouldn’t trust her to be in the White House (I won’t even mention the people that thought Hillary was an actual danger to Barrack, clearly that’s paraniod nonsense).
    There are a few points you made re: the primaries, where the numbers tell a diferent story. The only states where Clinton won big are Kentucky, W. Virginia , and Arkansas (which is the only state where she achieved 70%, for obvious reasons). Obama did this (70% mark) in 5 Statees and won DC by a landslide. I’m not sure your looking at the same numbers. And I think, had Obama actualy campaigned in Florida, the result would have been a lot closer than you think. To say that Clinton would have attracted more republican votes is a tall tale of ever there was one. Ask someone like Lincoln Cafree (Repubs for Obama) about that one.
    But we’re BEYOND the primaries now (a hard thing for Clinonites to accept). Obama thumped Clinton, and it was her lack of grace in defeat that saw her passed over for VP.
    I’m also not sure you can say with any certainty that a Clinton VP pick would not a Palin pick make. I see the logic in that. There is also a logic, however, that says McC still would have pulled a rabbit (out of the hat) to steal the thunder of Obama’s (magnificent) acceptance speech.
    So , tell us, what exactly do you mean when you say “everything that’s wrong with Obama supporters?” That assertion smacks of..well…ignorance (among other things).
    (btw, I like Hillry, and would love to see her as Maj. Leader.)

    Reply

  16. Philippe says:

    Seen from afar, this disregard from facts seems to be on the shoulders of both parties.
    Did Bush/Cheney broke the constitutions they swore to uphold ?
    If yes, why didn’t the democrats began impeachment proceedings ?
    What better fact checking/exposure of lies than testimonials under oath ?
    On the other hand one can conclude :
    They did not because there wasn’t anything to prosecute, or they agreed with it,so it’s ok to vote for McCain/Palin and 4 more years of the same .

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    Linda, thanks for your long response. . . . I did not make it through SNL (and usually don’t watch it), but my wife is still away, coming home this week. That’s part of my answer. We are creating an emigration possibility in Canada, at least a good part of the year. And I am investigating a Hungarian passport to gain some EU rights.
    I thought the 2000 election was the most important of my life. It was.
    I’ve marched and worked for causes for years, starting in the 60’s though I am no dyed in the wool activist. I’ve spent my entire working life in public service — soon to be retired – mostly at the local level. Politically we work locally but not very actively, and are not enthralled with the politicos; in fact see as much corruption on that scale, so maybe its just politics. I’ve never had much respect for 99% of politicians — I like to say I trace it to that wonderful choice between Goldwater and Johnson, during which campaign Johnson famously said, “I will not send American boys to fight an Asian war”. The rest is . . . pretty much what we have today; lies, deception and bullying on a worldwide scale as the country crumbles around our feet and the rich get richer, as Jesus and Karl Marx ordained.
    So I’m pretty jaded, but I recognize the massive evil our government can do, and therefore choose to minimize that. What is it about “. . . good people doing nothing”. Well, I’m not particularly good, but I am positively stunned by just how “bad” our political leaders can be. I am embarrassed to call myself an American, so ignorant and nefarious has our footprint become. I say let the current crop of bright eyed idealists — if you can trust them (hah) – go for it. I’m optimistic enough in my later years to wish for good to incrementally prevail rather that for the whole edifice to be crushed and scrubbed from the earth; though there is no guarantee about that either. I’ll vote the ”right” way, but I’d be lying to say there’s much happiness in it.
    (as an aside, since you mentioned Habitat for Humanity [and I am a “hobbyist” carpenter], the Habitat people have done a real number on my neighborhood — yes I have written to complain, and got a snooty answer — and I would no more again contribute to them if Jimmy and Rosalyn came to my door in person).

    Reply

  18. WigWag says:

    To Viktor_Vaughn:
    Hillary Clinton would have clobbered McCain. She would be ahead in every state that Obama is leading in now except Iowa and she would be ahead in several states that Obama is now losing (e.g. Arkansas, Ohio, Florida, West Virginia, perhaps, Missouri, etc.) In addition states that are weakly pro-Obama like Pennsylvania would be stronger for Clinton. On another thread, I gave a state by state analysis. If you think I’m wrong, that’s fine. Do your own analysis and tell me what states Obama is winning or will win that Hillary wouldn’t. If you can’t do it or won’t, your comment is just so much talk.
    “Many I’ve talked to feel Clinton is a far more polarizing figure in American politics than Obama. (But hey, I gave money to Nader way back ’cause I didn’t trust Bill).”
    That’s your problem, Viktor, you suffer from Clinton Derangement Syndrome. The overwhelming majority of Americans don’t. That’s why in states where so called family value issues matter, like West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. Clinton beat Obama badly in the primaries. The only exception to this was Southern states like South Carolina and Georgia where an extremely high percentage of Democrats are African Americans who voted for Obama out of racial solidarity.
    You’re simply talking to the wrong people Viktor. You’re talking to people like you. It used to be the virulent right wing that suffered from Clinton Derangement Syndrome. But even they got over it. Richard Mellon Scaife’s newspaper actually endorsed Hillary. It’s only left wing Obama supporters who suffer from this disease now. Kind of ironic don’t you think, that it’s the left wing of the Democratic Party who has become the ideological kooks? And remember this; Bill Clinton left office with a 65 percent approval rating after being impeached. Hillary Clinton won more primary and caucus votes than Obama. Your premise just doesn’t cut it.
    “Your rhetoric sounds impressive but you contradict yourself relentlessly. Are you saying that Americans would rather “have a beer” with McPalin than OBAMA?”
    I get it, Viktor, I know that you and your friends would rather have a sit down with Obama than McCain. But you don’t matter, you’re voting for Obama anyway. Would West Virginians or Floridians or Ohioans rather have a beer with McCain or Obama? I guess we will find out. Four years ago the answer was clear. They preferred to have that beer with Bush than Kerry.
    “Obama can win Pennsylvania, if people in the cities aren’t prevented from voting and Biden can continue working his “just people talking” charm with the white working class Scranton types.”
    Obama can win Pennsylvania with a huge turn out in the Philadelphia area and if he keeps his losses modest in Western Pennsylvania. This is a state that Obama should win and I think he will. Most polls show him ahead, but Five Thirty Eight listed a poll yesterday that shows Obama behind in Pennsylvania.
    “Your speculation (aka your favorite pastime) about Biden being “replaced” by Clinton is also garbage.”
    I have commented exactly once on the rumor that Clinton will replace Biden. If it happened it would show real desperation on Obama’s part.
    “Joe Biden was a better pick than Hillary Clinton, as much as Clinton supporters would love to believe otherwise. I’ve talked with a lot of people that feel that , given Clinton’s less than savory campaign in the primaries, Obama’s picking her would have come across as mere pandering (not to mention making Clinton look bad in a number of ways).”
    Given the fact that Obama is tanking in the polls, I’m not sure too many people would agree with you. Had Obama selected Clinton, there probably would have been no Palin. Palin has energized McCain’s Campaign in a major way and his poll numbers have been climbing ever since he selected her. Even if McCain had picked Palin anyway, the Democrats would have had one of the most qualified female candidates in America running for VEEP against one of the least qualified female candidates in America. And again Viktor, all those people you talked to don’t matter. That is unless they live in places like West Virginia.
    “CONTEXT here is sorely lacking. We’re talking about 2 dems against each other vs. Obama against the GOP, no? I think this stat holds very little weight. And Hillary won in Florida? Can someone else explain this to Wiggy Waggity? Did Obama actually campaign there? Didn’t Michigan and Florida play out rather ‘uniquely’?”
    It stands to reason that states that Hillary defeated Obama in, especially where she won by large numbers, would be stronger for her in the general election than for Obama. That is unless you conclude that Obama can win substantially more of the Republicans in those states than Hillary could have. The polling shows that Obama is doing a very poor job of attracting Republican votes. And to make matters worse, Obama is behind with Independent voters. Therefore Hillary clearly would have been stronger. She would have all the Democratic voters who selected her in the primaries and she would be getting more Republican and Independent votes than Obama is getting.
    And as for Florida, neither Hillary nor Barack campaigned there. Anyone who thinks there is anyway that Obama would have been stronger in Florida than Clinton doesn’t know anything about politics.
    “Clinton supporters will vote for Obama, clearly. Their alternative is unthinkable.”
    Most will, I will. PUMAs won’t but despite what they think, there aren’t enough of them to matter. But there are enough Reagan Democrats to matter. These voters are happy to vote for either candidate. They like McCain better. They know Obama’s economic policies are better. How they vote will decide the election.
    Viktor, your comment is perfectly illustrative of everything wrong with Obama supporters. The only difference between you and most Obama supporters is that you are more polite.
    I will give you credit for that.
    To Linda:
    “I would guess that WigWag, who I believe has been in a union, probably has done more actual volunteering in political campaigns than the large majority of us and would be out working for Clinton if she were the nominee–doing a lot more than I am going to do for Obama.”
    I have volunteered on many of the campaigns that my union supported. The last one I worked on was Bill Clinton’s second campaign. Alas, even if Hillary had been nominated, health problems would have precluded me from being too active. These days I am reduced to getting my political kicks by posting silly comments at the Washington Note. My volunteer work is limited to making sandwiches for homeless people who come to the Catholic Worker coffee line. But at least it is something that I can do sitting down.
    “Indeed I think we need more people like Paul Wellstone who was a community organizer and much more civic involvement at the grassroots level.”
    I couldn’t agree more. Paul Wellstone represented exactly the type of politician we need today. He could appeal to all types of Democrats because he respected all types of Democrats.
    “Well, Edmund Burke said it better, but it’s important in a democracy for good people to be involved and do something.”
    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to choose to do nothing.”
    But of course, Edmund Burke was a conservative’s conservative.

    Reply

  19. varanassi says:

    you go, viktor vaughn.
    testify!

    Reply

  20. Linda says:

    Don S,
    You deserve an answer, and I can assure you that I share, with very personal experience, your opinion of how broken our political system and government are. We all love and care about this country, and we all are registered and vote regularly. We just no longer believe that our votes matter.
    So what will any of us do if McCain-Palin are elected?
    Riot in the streets and overthrow the government violently. I doubt it. Some very few actually may emigrate, but a lot more will “talk that talk” than will walk it. And for all the words here, it isn’t the early 1930s in Germany. And there isn’t going to be, nor is there now, a viable third party.
    So the only choice option I see is to support the party that is the lesser of two evils (if one wants to think of it that way)or the one that offers the better possibility for change. And that is Democrats and Obama who has been speaking of that kind of change for four years. I am not in awe of him, but he figured that out and made it his message. Also on all the issues, I’d feel a lot better with Democrats in power than McCain-Palin.
    I would guess that WigWag, who I believe has been in a union, probably has done more actual volunteering in political campaigns than the large majority of us and would be out working for Clinton if she were the nominee–doing a lot more than I am going to do for Obama. (Only difference is that if Clinton had been the nominee, I’d be supporting Clinton and not still talking about Obama.)
    My friends for 30 years in LA were largely upper middle class highly educated (and lots in academia) people–all Democrats. And when I think about it, only about 5% ever worked in any election in any way. I didn’t as much as I might have, but I did several times including going door-to-door in my block that was 27 duplexes–so 54 households and have gone around to check precincts on election day and report back to campaign headquarters, etc. and stuffed envelopes, but not that often.
    Indeed I think we need more people like Paul Wellstone who was a community organizer and much more civic involvement at the grassroots level. It’s more than voting–like going on jury duty and not trying to get out of it or complaining about it.
    My friend, Cheryll, in LA always works in elections, and she and 400 people from LA either this weekend or next are getting on buses to Nevada and going door-to-door there. And that means hard work because the yield for getting a donation or changing a vote is about 3-5%. But they need help in NV and not in CA.
    My sister who happens to have decided (don’t ask me why) ten years ago that she wanted to work at her precinct polling place has been running it now for about the past five years for ever single election and taking unpaid time or vacation day off work to do that.
    She happens to live in Pensacola–so her stories during election problems in FL in 2000 were very interesting. She’s very good at being sure that everyone with any question of eligibility gets a provisional ballot, etc. I know that voting is very fair in her precinct.
    She and a friend of hers went to Obama headquarters this afternoon and volunteered to go out to register people at a supermarket where hundreds were registered a few weeks ago and to a few other places. They encountered a lot of people who already were registered and registered 4 Democrats and 1 Republican–didn’t think that was very good, but the Obama office was very appreciative of their efforts.
    She also encountered a nice guy who was a convicted felon but qualified to be able to vote, and she knew about this because of her poll experience and has a good friend who is executive director of the local ACLU that apparently knows how to help someone file the forms to do that. This man was very excited that he could vote again and that she could direct him to the right place for help with that. I’m proud of her.
    I surely meant no insult to anyone here and am just extrapolating from my personal life experience that only a small very small percent of people here actually get involved at all at the grassroots level.
    You might work on a Habitat for Humanity home for a day even if you don’t like carpentry or whatever or serve at a homeless shelter on a holiday though you don’t like being a cafeteria worker. So all I am suggesting is that it might be fun to take your spouse, some friends, your teenage kids and just for one day or whatever work on a campaign. I’ve lived in DC, and you just might get a nice busride out into VA and see the lovely autumn leaves.
    I never marched for or against anything in my life until February 2003 when a friend and I joined 10,000 people, perhaps more, in marching against the war in Iraq. There still was a war that I’ve hated every single day since. We didn’t stop it, but I get a lot of mileage out of that one afternoon at parties, etc.–because at least I did something.
    Well, Edmund Burke said it better, but it’s important in a democracy for good people to be involved and do something. And I do think this is the most important election in my lifetime.
    I don’t think I’m going to persuade anybody here by posting this same message over and over again. Think about it and make your own decisions.
    I’m going to watch SNL.

    Reply

  21. viktor_vaughn says:

    WIGWAG,
    (I’m not even sure which thread it was in), but your claim previously that that Hilary Clinton would have “clobbered McCain” is utter speculative rubbish. You truly do have your bitter Hillary supporter goggles permanently affixed to your head. Many I’ve talked to feel Clinton is a far more polarizing figure in American politics than Obama. (But hey, I gave money to Nader way back ’cause I didn’t trust Bill).
    Your rhetoric sounds impressive but you contradict yourself relentlessly. Are you saying that Americans would rather “have a beer” with McPalin than OBAMA? Ridiculous. If you’re talking about the VFW, Pat Robertson, or Sean Hannity, than yeah, maybe.
    Obama can win Pennsylvania, if people in the cities aren’t prevented from voting and Biden can continue working his “just people talking” charm with the white working class Scranton types.
    Your speculation (aka your favorite pastime) about Biden being “replaced” by Clinton is also garbage. This paints Obama as being victim to the same sort of desperation as McCain, which he clearly is not. Joe Biden was a better pick than Hillary Clinton, as much as Clinton supporters would love to believe otherwise. I’ve talked with a lot of people that feel that , given Clinton’s less than savory campaign in the primaries, Obama’s picking her would have come across as mere pandering (not to mention making Clinton look bad in a number of ways).
    You said:
    “In fact, every state that Obama needs to win but is now losing was won by Hillary Clinton during the primaries. And most of those states (Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida) she won big”.
    CONTEXT here is sorely lacking. We’re talking about 2 dems against each other vs. Obama against the GOP, no? I think this stat holds very little weight. And Hillary won in Florida? Can someone else explain this to Wiggy Waggity? Did Obama actually campaign there? Didn’t Michigan and Florida play out rather ‘uniquely’?
    Clinton supporters will vote for Obama, clearly. Their alternative is unthinkable.
    The notion of elitism IS preposterous. With that I agree. This is neocon/conservative/rich person code for “don’t trouble yourself with history, books, or facts… life is grand”.
    But what are you trying to say, exactly? What are you offering as a reason for your theory that people simply vote for “who they like better”? Are they less informed? Lazy? Brainwashed by the media? I fail to see coherence in your argument(s).
    People hate to hear this, but it IS racism. Unfortunately, the more Dems say it, the more people secretly vote GOP. America is in deep trouble until it’s environment sucking, gun-toting, special interest worshipping, high-on-the-hog living, bible thumping, six figure salaried, greedy-a$$ citizens (baby boomers?) kick the proverbial bucket. Sorry to say.
    That’s the word on the streets anyway.

    Reply

  22. Bil says:

    Yes Karl, not even “moles”, more prominent warts.
    I have said for some time that McCain will be replaced by a younger
    adulterer at the convention, somebody like Guiliani or Ginrich.
    So wrong again, but I still think it is possible he could be replaced
    b4 the election for a host of medical ailments he already has…

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    http://thinkprogress.org/2008/09/13/palin-alaska-energy/
    So-Called Energy Expert Sarah Palin Doesn’t Know How Much Energy Her State Produces»
    On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) defended Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s “experience does she have in the field of national security” by asserting that “she knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America.” McCain’s claim to Palin’s expertise was undercut the next day, however, when Palin severely overstated Alaska’s energy production in an interview with ABC News’s Charlie Gibson.
    Challenged by Gibson on her “national security credentials,” Palin cited her experience as the governor of a “state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy” as a credential that she “brings to the table“:
    PALIN: Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that’s with the energy independence that I’ve been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, that I worked on as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States.
    Watch it:
    But, as the non-partisan FactCheck.org points out, Palin’s claim about Alaska producing 20 percent of America’s domestic energy supply is “not true. Not even close.” In fact, “Alaska’s share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent.”
    Palin would have been closer to reality, but still incorrect if she made the claim specifically about oil production rather than energy supply:
    Palin would have been correct to say that Alaska produces just over 14 percent of all the oil produced in the U.S., leaving out imports and leaving out other forms of power. According to the federal government’s Energy Information Administration, Alaskan wells produced 263.6 million barrels of oil in 2007, or 14.3 percent of the total U.S. production of 1.8 billion barrels.
    But Alaskan production accounts for only 4.8 percent of all the crude oil and petroleum products supplied to the U.S. in 2007, counting both domestic production and imports from other nations. According to EIA, the total supply was just over 5.5 billion barrels in 2007.
    Furthermore, Palin said “energy,” not “oil,” so she was actually much further off the mark. According to EIA, Alaska actually produced 2,417.1 trillion BTUs [British Thermal Units] of energy in 2005, the last year for which full state numbers are available. That’s equal to just 3.5 percent of the country’s domestic energy production.
    Palin’s incorrect facts appear to be rubbing off on McCain. As FactCheck.org notes, McCain made the same claim in a separate interview with Gibson on Sept. 3. “She’s been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply,” McCain told Gibson.

    Reply

  24. karl says:

    How can you people take seriously the speculation that Biden will (even may) be replaced? Are you all McCain moles?

    Reply

  25. Kathleen says:

    There is nothing new in fact-free politics… it’s pro forma……JohnH,Dons, Bill R…I agree completely….I’ve said on other threads that most Americans don’t bother to vote at all and the majority of those who do, are not well informed….they make their decisions based on other considerations, formed mainly by oft repeaeted Talking Points… elections have rarely been based on facts…they’re based on market tested Talking Points…this election will be decided by the viewers of American Idol, not C-Span.. BO has to figure out how to connect with these voters,…he needs to hone his message and develope one liners that will become headlines, which in turn will be remembered…I’m not suggesting he should stoop to promising a “chicken in every pot” or the “house on the shining hill” kind of false advertising, but rather that he find a short clear way to state his positions that will touch people….
    WigWag… being the nominee does not entitle BO to fire Reid, Pelosi or Dean… Those positions are won by vote of their colleagues in the Senate, House and Dem Committees….as much as I wanted Hillary to be chosen as Veep, I think it would be a mistake to dump Biden now…and I think it would be irksome to Hillary to be asked at this point…..besides, it’s closing the barn door…..
    No, BO needs to sharpen up his act…get some originality going …like Kerry, he’s too obtuse….and his snark has to go….

    Reply

  26. Kathleen says:

    There is nothing new in fact-free politics… it’s pro forma……JohnH,Dons, Bill R…I agree completely….I’ve said on other threads that most Americans don’t bother to vote at all and the majority of those who do, are not well informed….they make their decisions based on other considerations, formed mainly by oft repeaeted Talking Points… elections have rarely been based on facts…they’re based on market tested Talking Points…this election will be decided by the viewers of American Idol, not C-Span.. BO has to figure out how to connect with these voters,…he needs to hone his message and develope one liners that will become headlines, which in turn will be remembered…I’m not suggesting he should stoop to promising a “chicken in every pot” or the “house on the shining hill” kind of false advertising, but rather that he find a short clear way to state his positions that will touch people….
    WigWag… being the nominee does not entitle BO to fire Reid, Pelosi or Dean… Those positions are won by vote of their colleagues in the Senate, House and Dem Committees….as much as I wanted Hillary to be chosen as Veep, I think it would be a mistake to dump Biden now…and I think it would be irksome to Hillary to be asked at this point…..besides, it’s closing the barn door…..
    No, BO needs to sharpen up his act…get some originality going …like Kerry, he’s too obtuse….and his snark has to go….

    Reply

  27. DonS says:

    Wigwag,
    Two variables: McCain campaign. Obamma campaign. Interpreter: the media.
    Obama may not need a game changer to rise, if the McCain team falters.
    True the McCain/Rove axis has created quite a flurry. And there are, what, 50 some odd days to election.
    I see no end to possible “game changers” team McCain may invent since they appear willing to do most anything, lie about everything, and generally act irresponsibly.
    So it may not even be possible for team Obama to track and respond to every McCain flurry. Which is not to say Obama should not counter every direct attack and let his surrogates engage in some swift boating.
    At this point it seems the left blogs are feeding the media all the Obama-centric ammunition that is needed. The media may regurgitate this on its own. Need Obama join that fray, in the sense that the imformation is already out there? Better, I think, to pick and choose large themes, bundle them, including strong contrasts with McCain-Palin, and promote the themes hard.
    Honesty/lying to the American people would be a “theme”. The eveidence is out there all over the place. Even on Fox.

    Reply

  28. WigWag says:

    DonS, I think it’s over the top too. But the rumors are out there and they are flying fast and furious. I think you will admit that Obama does need to do something big to change the momentum. Short of replacing Biden, Reid, Pelosi or Dean, I’m not sure what he could do that would be a game changer.
    Even Steve Clemons thinks Obama needs a game changer. Why else would he have posted the Hillary as Majority Leader post?

    Reply

  29. DonS says:

    Thanks for sharing Wigwag. I can see why you like Ms Li. She seems to have had her dissapointed Hillary backer lens replaced by permanent implants, at least based on what you reprinted. Sorry to be so snarky, but I vernture this is over the top. But I guess we’ll see.

    Reply

  30. America's finished says:

    There are profound reasons for this malaise; chief among them being that for too long we have listened to Muppets like Zbigniew Brzezinski and his idiotic ideas such as “titty-tainment” for the masses which have led to a moronic mass public which for a while suited those in power, now it’s endangering them and the rest of the planet. Oh well…you made your bed America…I hope you like life under a Christian theocracy.

    Reply

  31. WigWag says:

    This may be somewhat off topic, but if we are talking about the election, I guess nothing pertinent to Obama/Biden or McCain/Palin is really off topic. The internet is buzzing with rumors that Obama will be replacing Biden as his VEEP pick next week. This might be just dumb speculation or there could be a grain of truth in it. Who knows. But it is being talked about everywhere.
    Here is a post that comes from Heidi Li’s Potpourri. Heidi is a Professor of Law at Georgetown and is leading the effort to get Hillary Clinton named as Senate Majority Leader. (Steve posted on this earlier in the week).
    Heidi’s obviously reads the Washington Note because she commented on that thread. Her site is staunchly Pro-Clinton. But even if you’re not, it is very smart, well written and provocative. Here’s what she has to say about the rumors.
    Hypothetical thinking about personnel shifts in the 2008 Democratic Presidential ticket
    “Hypothetical thinking about personnel shifts in the 2008 Democratic Presidential ticket
    Several people have asked me my opinion of the rumors that Senator Obama is looking to find a way to remove Senator Biden from the vice-presidential slot and have Senator Clinton step in to fill it. Some people want to know if I think there’s any truth to the rumor. Others want to know whether I think such a personnel shift would be a good thing.
    As to whether this rumor could possibly be true: Ordinarily I would dismiss it out of hand, because it would show just how desperate the Obama campaign has become, and showing desperation is not something that comes naturally to any politician, let alone Senator Obama. But, Senator Obama has shown that when it comes to becoming President he will do anything, discard anybody, take any measure that he thinks will get him where he wants to go. So it would not be entirely out of character for Senator Obama to dump Senator Biden. Nor do I think Senator Obama would feel any shame in turning to a colleague who he repeatedly treated with disrespect and contempt throughout the primary season and on into the Democratic National Party Convention and ask her to bail him out of the hash he is making of running against Senator McCain.
    More significant is the question of whether bringing Senator Clinton onto the Democratic ticket at this stage is a good idea. Attempting to answer to that question raises another one: good for who?
    It might be good for Senator Obama, because it probably is his best option with regard to winning the Oval Office this year. It might be good for downticket Democrats because those rank and file Democrats who are now considering staying home from the polls entirely might be more likely to show up and cast votes for the entire Party roster (although people should remember that even if they do not vote for Senator Obama for President, they still should and can show up and vote for those downticket Democrats who they regard as worthy of election).
    At a very general level, It might be good for the Democratic Party because as a general rule it is better for a Party for its candidate to win the White House. At a more finely-grained level, I do not it is good for the Democratic Party to win the White House through a show of desperation from candidate who achieved nomination via a series of corrupt and dishonest measures taken on his behalf by the DNC and some taken by his own campaign.
    Would it be good for Senator Clinton? I hesitate to answer this question. Senator Clinton is the hardest working and most astute progressive active politician in the country right now, and so I would rather leave the answer entirely to Senator Clinton. Senator Clinton is devoted to the Democratic Party, as evidenced by her conduct over many years, and this year particularly by her graciousness in how she responded to the farce of the nomination process that was Denver. That devotion might make her willing to affiliate herself with a candidate who is not in her league by any measure if she thought doing so would be good for the Democratic Party.
    That said, there is indeed a personnel shift that Senator Obama could bring about that would clearly be best for the Democratic Party and the entire country. This personel shift is not rumored and will never happen, Senator Obama could step down as nominee and the DNC would then have the option of asking Senator Clinton to step in. Surely she would, not only because she clearly desired the presidency this year (as did Senator Biden, Senator Dodd, former Senator Edwards, Governor Richardson and, of course, Senator Obama). She would step in because of her devotion to the Democratic Party and her belief that Democrat in the White House would be best for the country. So Senator Clinton would risk being called a usurper and all manner of other nasty things including – what horror! – ambitious if she thought that the best way she could serve her Party and her country would be by stepping in even now to run for President as the Democratic candidate.”

    Reply

  32. Bartolo says:

    Froomkin “suggests we have entered a period politically when facts just don’t matter anymore”
    Welcome to the world of Josef Göbbels!

    Reply

  33. Bil says:

    Here’s what I use on people who won’t commit to supporting a
    change with Obama.
    “Admit then that you are voting for four more years of Republican
    Failed Leadership on jobs, energy, illegal immigration, health care
    and foreign policy?”
    Since McCain has resorted to the level of smear that he is using on
    the SHAMEFUL attack on Obama’s support for legislation to help
    prevent sexual predators, I think it is time that the DNC dusts off
    the 2000 Bush2/Rove smear on McCain that he is mentally unstable
    (they used his 5 years in the POW camp back then).
    I think that based on the John McCain we are now seeing we have a
    DUTY to question his fitness and mental health right now. And I
    think it is a very good question.

    Reply

  34. DonS says:

    The Times editorial does frame the dilemma quite well. For us fact-based eiltists, anyway, hahahahaha!
    Too bad that, coming from the gray lady, arguably not all it once was, but still a pretty sensible newparer, it will be immediately discounted by the faith and mission based gut checkers. Indeed, it will become immediate evidence for many that every thing Sarah Palin and John McCain says is true. Or not. And it doesn’t matter, we’re going with it anyway because the alternative is commislamofacism, higher taxes, forced abortions,expensive gas, big government, big deficits. Sarah and John are gonna fix all that pronto, doncha know. Dat’s the mission.

    Reply

  35. Bill R. says:

    Facts and reason have been replaced by ideology and marketing. In an increasingly illiterate culture where “reality” and sports are the predominate preoccupation, reason, facts, and discerning judgment are the domain of “elites.” Science is replaced by religious mythology,and the book of Genesis is placed on an equal par or superior to scientific empiricism in explaining the origins of the universe. In the age of narcissism political leaders simply create their own reality and mass market it. In the end reality will come crashing down and explode ideology. In the end we must all be accountable to facts. The longer we put it off, the greater the crash. Exhibit A- the Guilded Age.
    Exhibit B- Sarah Palin, where resumes and knowledge, judgment and preparation must give way to bluster and contempt. See today’s NY Times Editorial:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/13/opinion/13sat1.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
    Exhibit C: Ron Suskind’s “The Faith Based Presidency”

    Reply

  36. DonS says:

    Linda, I understand the communications gap. I understand the elites naval gazing. And the elites manipulating. And I encounter people on a daily basis who don’t know even relative fact from relative fiction (many of whom couldn’t care to know).
    Your suggestions to get involved are of course important, and may be the best thing we can do.
    Here, however, we also get to reflect on why “participating” in the system may be a useless exercise and why there are reasons to believe the system is broken beyond repair in terms meaningful for an equitable democracy.
    Steve has his own gig, and is accountable for his own choices.
    IMO, being a good soldier in the partisan armies does not necessarily make me a good citizen except in the formatory sense. Please allow me that degree of elitism.

    Reply

  37. Linda says:

    Here’s one place where I think people should go and read a number of the long recent comments by WigWag who absolutely nails it. (My main complaint with her is that she does it over and over and over.)
    But all this framing and analyzing and intellecualizing is only elitist chatter among the elite and highly educated who already are Obama supporters.
    If everybody is so worried about this election, the donate money or time to register voters or go out door-to-door in a neighborhood not like your own. “Frame” the differences in simple terms and “manipulate the masses”–one-on-one.
    If everybody who reads TWN did that for just one morning or afternoon for one weekend, it might make a difference or at least y’all would meet the masses directly and understand the communications gap.

    Reply

  38. JohnH says:

    I find this post most curious, coming as it does from someone in the foreign policy establishment, which regularly plays fast and loose with the facts. America’s goals are accepted unquestioningly as being about democracy building, human rights, freedom and democracy, all of which is objectively contrary to US behavior. Yet the lies about US ambitions are allowed to persist without objection. In consequence, lies rule the foreign policy debate. And so, the liars grow ever more bold. And finally you end up with a George Bush or John McCain, who use lies as their preferred mode of communication.
    When McCain lies about Obama, it’s bad. But when the Bush lies about Iran or Venezuela, it’s good? Give me a break! And what gives a foreign policy expert the right to criticize McCain, when he condones US lies?
    Lies and code words have been the staple of American communications regarding foreign relations for years. Just look at the history of the Iraq Occupation and then the framing of Iran. When did the truth ever matter? When did anyone in the foreign policy mafia ever rise to tell us what the US’ real ambitions in Iraq and Iran are?
    Instead, the neocons were allowed to trumpet their distortions. When they were debunked–it was years before Alan Greenspan let the cat out of the bag, saying the Iraq Occupation was about oil–the lies were so deeply engrained that even today Sarah Palin gets away with talking about the Iraq-Al Qaeda.
    Meanwhile, the realists engage in their “war of fog,” speaking code about America’s “vital strategic interests” and other such baloney. The code words allow them to avoid telling lies explicitly, to obfuscate the truth, and to avoid having to challenge the neocons’ lies.
    It seems to me that people engaged in the foreign policy debate ought to try and clean up their own act before they criticize John MCain.

    Reply

  39. Steven Raab says:

    When is your friend Chuck Hagel going to call a press conference,
    reference the profound foreign policy dangers McCain/Palin
    represent, and the certainty of more wars, and ask Republicans and
    Independents to vote for Obama? I am waiting for him to step to
    the plate publicly.

    Reply

  40. Bob Reid says:

    Forgive the double posting,
    My comment is meant for this post, not the following.
    I would strongly encourage you, Steve, and everyone else to view “The Century of the Self” by BBC director Adam Curtis.
    It may be viewed at Google video http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8953172273825999151
    It is a powerful look at what is at play in our electoral, economic and social interactions, based upon the manipulation of the masses by ppealing to their subconscious desires.
    Rick Davis said it when he said, “This campaign is not about issues, it is about what people take away!”

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Listen to Hannity, Limbaugh, Levin, Coulter, Ingraham, Barks, etc. Facts mean NOTHING to them. They are successful liars, that make a living distorting, dissembling, lying, and propagandizing, as an integral part of the GOP agenda and campaign strategy. And because of their feigned separation from the party, asw “media pundits”, lies and propaganda written by the campaign strategists can be denied as having originated from within the camnpaign.
    And they have a HUGE audience, reaching a large segment of the population that is purposely uninformed, misinformed, and votes religiously.

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Facts? What the hell are facts?
    Steve says McCain is an “honorable man”. Fact?
    Tahoe says “Wooten was a wife beater”. Facts? No evidence of Wooten being a wife beater.
    Mr.Murder says that all Palin did was “fire a cop that shouldn’t be a cop”. Facts? Well, Palin didn’t fire the cop. She fired his superior.
    Palin says the 9/11 terrorists “attacked us because of our ideals”. Fact?
    Palin says that Russia “invaded Georgia, unprovoked”. Fact?
    Now this…
    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/52363.html
    Out of bounds! McCain-Palin misdirect blame for immigration flop
    By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers
    Throw the flag against: The McCain-Palin campaign.
    Call: Illegal shift.
    What happened: The campaign Friday launched a 30-second Spanish-language television ad charging that Democrat Barack Obama and his Senate colleagues torpedoed meaningful changes in immigration laws.
    “The press reports that their efforts were ‘poison pills’ that made immigration reform fail,” the ad charges. “The result: No guest worker program. No path to citizenship. No secure borders. No reform. Is that being on our side? Obama and his congressional allies ready to block immigration reform, but not ready to lead.”
    What that’s wrong: Media accounts cited two votes as effectively killing immigration reform last year — and Obama was on the same side as McCain in both.
    On June 7, supporters failed by 15 votes to cut off a filibuster. McCain and Obama voted to limit debate. The Politico headline the next day: “Senate immigration compromise collapses.”
    On June 28, another effort to limit debate failed by 14 votes; CNN called it a “crushing defeat.” Obama and McCain again voted to cut off debate, but it was largely Republican senators who led the filibuster.
    In its review of the 2007 Congress, Congressional Quarterly cited both votes as crucial to killing the immigration measure.
    Penalty: Set the McCain-Palin campaign’s credibility back five yards.

    Reply

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