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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Crass political thought in the face of a hurricane

I think it's unlikely, but if McCain were to postpone the convention (because of Gustav,) it would also shift the deadlines on campaign spending. He spends his own raised "primary" money until he officially accepts the nomination, at which time he will be limited to the $84 million in public money.

With the Palin pick suddenly drawing in money from the fundies, moving that deadline back might not be a bad thing for him.

(And, it's so nice of the Sunday shows to book almost exclusively McCain surrogates so we can have a nice, balanced discussion.)

Picture of the Day - 2

(People line up to be evacuated from the train station parking lot in New Orleans Saturday, Aug. 30, 2008, as Hurricane Gustav approaches the Gulf Coast. (AP/Bill Haber))

(Residents evacuate along Interstate 10 heading west in preparation for Hurricane Gustav in New Orleans.(AFP/Getty/Stephen Morton))

Completely tasteless, but it made me laugh

This video is just awful, but funny.

And, a partial list of Republican women more qualified than Palin. (Why Palin???)

Does the Palin pick mean McCain can't win in the middle?

Forget all the BS about Palin poaching Clinton supporters, this pick more and more appears to be a sop to the Republican base. If that's true, what does it mean?

Does that mean that the McCain camp came to the conclusion that they can't win enough voters in the center and build a coalition to win, so they're going to try and energize the right to make up the independent/enthusiasm/new voter/turnout gap?

Any way I read this pick, it seems to say the McCain campaign sees itself irretrievably losing in the current state.

(Sorry if I'm blogging too much on Palin, but I really can't get my head around the sense of this pick, and blogging is how I work that out.... It's also why your comments are so appreciated.)

More Palin snowflakes.....

This is continued from a much more comprehensive post below.

This Politico piece nails most of the important points about the McCain/Palin pick. Give it a read. (I still think the first one is the important one.)

Joe Klein at Time frames this as a measure of McCain's judgment and broader character and asks what it would mean for a McCain foreign policy.

And, this is a brief, comprehensive "Troopergate" summary starting in the fourth excerpted paragraph.

Picture of the Day

(Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain reacts as a supporter grasps his hand a bit aggressively at the end of a campaign rally, in Dayton, Ohio., Friday, afternoon Aug. 29, 2008.(AP /Stephan Savoia))

The meta-narrative on the Palin choice

Everyone's still in shock, so I don't think it's sunk in yet that John McCain told us yesterday that he doesn't think he can win without this massive game changing decision.

I think that's important because now, if the polls bump and slide, or maybe even at any wobbles, the media narrative will be that McCain gambled and lost.

However, it could also work.

The timing on this is very interesting. They announced her right after the Dem convention, possibly Obama's high water polling mark for the month, and right before the Republican convention where you would think they would get some kind of bounce, likely creating the impression of a polling surge.

Part of this play is that it's a "narrative pick" trying to use the likely environmental polling to try and create some saleable narrative of a McCain polling surge. (It also has the effect of energizing a Republican convention by firing up the fundies, a convention that was looking likely to be a pretty dead affair from the floor.)

The more I think about it, the more I think this is the gamble. They're trying to create this energized Republican/McCain surging narrative off the convention bounce, but, if the polling doesn't bear that out, they could be punished and relegated to already loser status months before the election.

66 days.

(PS. Wasn't there a meme going around just last week that VP choices don't win elections, but bad VP choices lose an election?)

Friday, August 29, 2008

More Palin snowflakes

The WaPo board editorial tomorrow,
But the most important question Mr. McCain should have asked himself about Ms. Palin was not whether she could help him win the presidency. It was whether she is qualified and prepared to serve as president should anything prevent him from doing so......

The WaPo also gets a brief interview with the Public Safety Commissioner whose firing has launched several ethics investigations into Palin.

TPM points out that the legislative investigation into this is due to "release its findings just days before the November election." And their version of some of the story conflicts here. (I don't know enough about Alaska politics to say if this will be stalled and squashed or forced out.)

Also: Her husband, who had no public standing to approach the Public Safety Commissioner, appears to have been very active on this.

Now we've got a local news report on "discrepancies" in Palin's version of the story, and it gives a good sense of the smell of the thing. (30 seconds in.)

Also, Questions over her stance on the "Bridge to Nowhere." (For it before she was against it.)

(WaPo) Someone was fervently rewriting her Wikipedia page.

An interesting video here of Palin commenting on the Vice Presidency many, many months back. 2:20 in. (Not the video getting all the play.)

(CNN) Bush's convention speech was supposed to be about McCain's "experience" making him uniquely qualified for the Presidency. Now...?

(MSNBC) Pat Buchanan says she (and her husband) was big campaigner and held a fundraiser for him in 1996. Later: There's no record of her donating to Buchanan. (Big deal with pro-Israel voters.)

And, I don't know why, but I can't seem to shake this feeling that today may have been her best day, or alternately with the GOP convention next week, this week will be her best week. She holds some pretty stringent viewpoints, and as they come out, it's going to stress her image.

Also, the McCain campaign pumped out all the good things they could say today, so you figure all the definitional bits that will be coming out over the next week will likely be all bad. Things the McCain camp didn't want to mention. (Just have to wait and see.)

And, I don't want to cite them all, but there are many conservatives questioning the choice on experience. Frum, Halperin...

Later: Top McCain adviser Charlie Black admits she's not ready to be President.

Later Still: (ABC) Palin may face a deposition (along with her chief of staff) in the firing probe. (I'm still not sure about Alaska politics. Does the investigation hurry up or get delayed with her VP pick. I can't imagine national reporters asking questions will make the situation better for Palin.)

And, Nothing too shocking in it, but here's the Alaska Daily News site for local reaction.

Picture of the Day - 4

They picked who....?

(Sen. Barack Obama and his vice presidential running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., laugh as they order ice cream at the Windmill Ice Cream Shop in Aliquippa, Pa., on Friday, Aug. 29, 2008.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon))

Dangerous judgment

It's become clear that the Palin selection was purely political, based on demographics and trying to win the election, but take just a minute to appreciate this,
John McCain today announced a running mate whom he met only six months ago and whom he spoke with just once on the phone about the position before offering it in person earlier this week.

That one meeting was grazing meeting at a governor's conference. He met her face to face once at a conference, talked to her on the phone once, and made her his vice president.

John McCain has just put her "one heartbeat away" from being President in a crisis.... when he barely knows her and she has no foreign policy record at all.

Palin Snowflakes

Has Sarah Palin ever uttered or written (or even read) a single word on foreign policy? (In the era of Google, I'd think that if she'd ever said anything we'd have heard of it by now.)

This is supposed to win over Clinton voters? "Palin opposes abortion even in the cases of rape and incest...."

The presentation is clearly that McCain picked her because he thought he couldn't win without "shaking things up."

But, they did completely stomp out Obama's convention speech.


Rush Limbaugh helps the McCain campaign reach for women,
“We’re the ones with the babe on the ticket.”

38 million

38 million people watched Obama's speech according to Nielson (not including CSpan, PBS, or any internet viewing.)
.....more viewers than the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year.....

Furthermore, the four-night Democratic convention ranks as the most-watched convention of either party, Democratic or Republican, since Nielsen began measuring conventions in 1960.

Picture of the Day - 3

(Senator John McCain speaks with his vice presidential running mate, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin at a campaign event in Dayton, Ohio August 29, 2008.(Matt Sullivan/Reuters))

The Palin equation

The more I think about this the weirder this is. They traded "experience," their primary, and most effective attack thus far, to defend against "economic out of touch," and to reach for women. (Defend Republican women?) They added a little bit of youth, and some version of Republican "change."

Does that equation work for you?

Also, is it good to have your "first presidential decision" called a gamble?


They're framing the Palin announcement in economic terms. She "was a union member," in touch with mortgage and gas prices.

This tells me that the "7 houses," out of touch with the common man attacks on McCain are viewed seriously enough to impact their VP pick.

(And I'll say again, you don't gamble if you think you're on a track to win.)

Also, It should tell you something that the media folks know nothing about Sarah Palin except what was in the McCain press brief.....

McCain's rollout.

How does McCain's VP rollout compare?

The idea was to take the narrative and bounce away from the Obama campaign, but, thinking about the comparison to last night, I gotta wonder if this was a good idea.

He will steal time on the nightly news from Obama's speech, but he's also spending his biggest chit to do so.

Gotta wait and see.

(Pawlenty ruled himself out this morning. There's a rumor running about Alaska Gov Sarah Palin. All the participants are saying they won't be there, but Palin's came through a spokesman, as did Romney's. Wait and see.)

Hardly the same fervid speculation that Obama received.

(Please let it be Lieberman... Please let it be Lieberman....)

Picture of the Day - 2

(Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Thoughts on the speech

I'm somewhat at a loss for commentary, because to me, the message was far bigger than the speech that was given. The event, the tone, the crowd, the staging, the coverage, all passed a wordless metamessage that I think is the real significance of this event. Seriousness. Heft. Capability. I don't really know how to describe it.

It's not going to convert those set against him, but I think Obama and "lean Obama" got that message, probably best summed up as "He can be president," and frankly, that's all he needs to win.

Now, does that image hold?


According to Juan Cole, this (in Arabic) says that Maliki has changed the team negotiating the SoFA from FM Zebari to Iraq security adviser Muwaffaq al-Rubaie. (This would be a huge change because Rubaie has been ridicuolusly pro-Bush administration.)

(NYTimes) Iraq Signs Oil Deal With China Worth Up to $3 Billion

(NYTimes) Putin suggests that the events in Georgia were orchestrated by the Bush administration to help John McCain.

And, in Pakistan, PPP presidential candidate Zardari has been placed under government protection out of fear of an attack. There was another potential US drone/missile attack in Waziristan, and the violence and chaos in the country continues.

In praise of the Obama campaign

Thinking about last night's speech, you've got to credit the Obama campaign staff again. You could certainly argue that they're not the best at soundbite back and forth, having been bested at that by Hillary Clinton in the primary and losing alot of the early soundbite rounds to McCain, but they do other things so well.

They are lightyears ahead of anything we've ever seen in branding and imaging (they own "hope," they own "change," they own most of the iconic images thus far,) and the evidence seems to be that their technology infused groundgame will likely be revolutionary.

In many regards they're running an entirely different kind of campaign than we've ever seen before, and I don't think that gets enough credit.

(If you want an idea of what kind of president Obama will be, his campaign is probably your best guide. He's modern, willing to integrate new ideas, very results oriented, demands discipline, and works tightly with a small group of trusted people. He's smart with an edge that's not, at first apparent. He surrounds himself with very smart people. He's willing to smile and shake hands with his enemies if it will get what he wants done. And most of all he's deliberate. He doesn't tend to react to anything off the cuff. He sets his plan and sticks to it, sometimes maddeningly so.)

Last, in talking about the campaign, I also think I need to reinclude the strategy that won the primary. They looked at the "metric" (the elected delegate count,) and locked in on that as the sole focus. The efficiency in the allocation of money to delegates is how they won. They figured out how to lose states but win delegates. They got down into the details of the game, district by district, and allocated their effort at that micro level with a level of assessment that was remarkable. They figured out a way to build a win around Hillary Clinton's established demographics. Primary after primary, the best estimates of the delegate allocation came not from the media or from neutrals, but, instead, came out of the Obama campaign.

When people keep talking about battleground states and the ground game, I keep remembering that.

(Sorry for all the "soft" blogging this morning. I usually try to be brief and link heavy, but I'm kinda trying to get my head around last night, and writing it out tends to help me.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Picture of the Day

(AP/Jeff Chiu)

GOP Considers Delaying Convention

The GOP is trying to figure out what to do relative to hurricane Gustav.

Worth a read.

Picture of the Day - 3

(AP/Ron Edmonds)

McCain has never drawn more than 3,000?

Update to the post below about McCain having trouble filling his Dayton event (likely VP announcement.)
The McCain campaign is hoping to have 15,000 people at the Ohio rally — roughly five times the size of his largest crowd to date.

So, McCain has never drawn more than 3,000? Not once?

Picture of the Day - 2

(The lines were long early in the day to get into Invesco Field (Mathieu Young/CNN))

McCain can't fill his Ohio VP announcement crowd?

About a week ago, I commented that it was surprising that the McCain campaign had to "build a crowd" of 10,000 for his likely VP announcement event in Ohio on Saturday. (You would think that would be an easy fill.)

Well, check this out from yesterday,
Tickets are still available for Sen. John McCain's Friday, Aug. 29, rally at Wright State University's Nutter Center in Fairborn.

One of the bigger events they're going to have, and they're having trouble filling out a crowd of 10,000?

Later: According to CNN, it's 15,000. I got the 10,000 number from the first round of reporting a week ago.

Desperate for attention

The McCain camp is clearly trying to steal some spotlight. They're airing a "direct response" ad to Obama's speech from McCain right before and after Obama's speech in some battleground states.

Frankly, that seems like a gamble to me. They don't know the Obama speech and if they hit the wrong tone it could backfire.

Maybe even more desperate, Drudge is rumoring that McCain might "leak" his VP at 6PM tonight. An effort to take focus, but doesn't it also diminish the attention on his announcement.

(If they do leak tonight, wouldn't this mean a surprise is more likely than a boring. And, we're calling it a "leak" and it's scheduled 6 o'clock?)

Also, I do think it's notable for the McCain camp's perception on the state of the race that they do appear to be gambling.

You don't resort to guerilla tactics if you think you're on the path to winning.

Picture of the Day

(Tammy Duckworth is much more than her injuries, but I found this picture from her time at the podium striking.)

(Iraq war veteran and former congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth is pictured on the podium at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 27, 2008. (REUTERS/Larry Downing))

Biden's value after the election

Little noticed in all the Biden selection coverage is the fact that Joe Biden is one of the those Senators who can get bills through in Washington. As a counter example, Hillary Clinton has many supporters, but also many less supportive on the Hill.

So, when I read things like this,
Eager to avoid the missteps that plagued the first months of the Clinton administration, aides to Barack Obama have begun working in concert with top Democrats in Congress to craft a preliminary legislative agenda that would guide the senator from Illinois should he capture the White House in November.

You gotta wonder exactly how Pelosi and Reid weighed in on the VP selection. Pelosi's issues with Clinton aren't exactly a secret.

Khalilzad's plans to take over Afghanistan

A little bit more on Zalmay Khalilzad's "unauthorized contacts" with the Pakistanis, but I found this just as interesting.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials in Kabul learned that Khalilzad had put together an informal fundraising and advisory network of wealthy, educated Afghans who had returned home from the United States, Australia, Britain and elsewhere. They met for lunch every Thursday at the Serena Hotel in Kabul to discuss their disdain for Karzai and to plan the nascent Khalilzad presidential campaign.

That would be more than "a rumor" he wants the job, no?

China supports Russia on Georgia

It's pretty big news that China has signed onto a statement through the summit of Central Asian nations to support Russia in its operations in Georgia.

But pay attention, Russia is obliquely threatening oil politics.
Russia has lashed out at the West for ratcheting up tensions in the Black Sea and warned that attempts to isolate Moscow could lead to an economic backlash....

"Any attempts to jeopardise this atmosphere of cooperation... would not only (have) a negative impact for Russia but will definitely harm the economic interests of those states," Peskov said.

Also: (PKDailyTimes) "Russia, at odds with the United States over Georgia, tried unsuccessfully to push the UN Security Council on Tuesday to condemn US-led air strikes in Afghanistan that killed dozens of civilians."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Karl Rove is behind Romney and Novak's Lieberman lie?

Karl Rove was behind the Novak story saying Lieberman begged not to be the VP which has been proved to be a lie?
“Rove is pushing Romney so aggressively some folks are beginning to wonder what's going on,” grumbled one veteran Republican strategist.

Definitely worth a read.

The other upshot of all this is that Lieberman clearly wants to be the Republican VP. (and, if you believe the WaPo, McCain wants Lieberman.)
"You keep hearing that he really wants Lieberman," said a Republican source who talks frequently with McCain's advisers. The source added that McCain "can be stubborn."

But I don't see it happening. God isn't that kind to me.

And, after Rove, Novak, Plame, Libby, tell me this isn't funny.
The sources spoke about Rove’s involvement after Robert Novak, writing his first column since being diagnosed with brain cancer, reported Wednesday......

Reached by phone, Novak would only say: "I don't talk about my sources."

A McCain VP announcement is expected Friday.

Picture of the Day - 4

This is the Dem ad to go up around the Twin Cities next week on billboards, buses, everywhere.

(Bigger if you click it.)

Wait a minute.....

Did somebody just nominate a black man for President?

Worth a read

Marc Ambinder has some bits from Obama campaign manager David Plouffe and some of his thinking. If you're watching the strategy and state by state demographics, it's a must read.

Later: A bit more of the Atlantic briefing here.

It's just so rare the Obama camp gives any look inside.

Vomiting up David Gergen.....

There is so much crap opinion being spun as "reporting" or "news."

Biden or Clinton - The "shame attack" may finally emerge against McCain

Frankly, I'm looking more towards Biden's speech tonight than Bill Clinton's. Bill Clinton's job (a key one) is to assure America that Obama's up to the job.

Biden's job will be to breathe fire.

If you believe Walter Shapiro at Salon, he's actually going to go down the "shame road" on McCain that I was talking about a three weeks ago.
All signs, including guidance from the Obama and Biden camps, suggest that the six-term Delaware senator will not back away from combat in the erroneous zone, portraying McCain as a good man who has fallen into bad company with conservative Republicans.

That's what I've been waiting for. Delivered properly, this is the most effective attack the Dems have.

It attacks McCain's Achilles heel, because it undermines the entire premise of "straight talker," "maverick," and "honorable man." It attacks his strength and frames McCain of 2000 against the "ambitious" McCain of today highlighting all the flips of positions, the abandonment of his pledge to campaign honorably, and how sold his soul to lobbyists and a Rove protege.

(Plus, it's going to get under McCain's skin like nothing else.)

Ladies and Gentlemen..... Let me introduce Joe Biden......

Picture of the Day - 3

Last night the heads were all over themselves saying that Hillary Clinton didn't make the case for Obama's qualifications.

Patience, media bitches.

Monday was about introduction. Michelle Obama got raves.

Tuesday was about party unity. (There's a reason they attacked John McCain.) Hillary Clinton got raves.

Wednesday is about experience and judgment.

For Wednesday, look at the speaker's list for tonight, Reed, Clinton, Daschle, Kerry, Richardson, Edwards, Duckworth, Joe Biden.

Look. Like everything else in the Obama campaign, this is a very deliberate thing. Patience. They don't dance to the news media.

Iraq is now making its own messes

An LATimes opinion piece about Maliki's newfound confidence and his efforts to destroy the US backed Sunni militias. It makes the point that disbanding these militias is like disbanding the Iraqi army all over again.
During our trip, a common theme among U.S. military commanders, intelligence officers, diplomats and Iraqi political leaders we spoke with was the growing hubris of Maliki and his closest advisors....

Interesting, but it's a little long.

McCain's efforts to steal spotlight

McCain is scheduling "large scale" rallies to announce his VP selection on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri.) They may be as big as 10,000. (Wow. 10,000.)

And, it looks like Romney.

Later: (FirstRead) The Obama/Biden bus is going to start Saturday in Pennsylvania, and then head to Ohio and Michigan.

Picture of the Day - 2

Did anyone else notice the signs? Carefully different from the campaign signs, but still with the website for that last minute fundraising.

(Reuters/Brian Snyder)

Later: (FirstRead) "Immediately after her speech, her folks sent out an email to contribute money."

A dream is a wish your heart makes........

Remember when this was the Bush priority for his last year? Remember Annapolis?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday there is hope for a Mideast peace deal but she offered no reason for optimism beyond the fact that the two sides are speaking.

Army opens prep school for dropouts to fill ranks

The Army has opened a monthlong GED "prep school" to get possible recruits the high school equivalency diploma they need to sign up. (And I'm sure all the stories are as "hard luck" as the one in the intro.)

Iraq says U.S. sought troop presence to 2015

The Iraqis seem more than willing to leak details of negotiations for effect. This one is one the record from Iraqi President (and top power broker) Jalal Talabani.

Picture of the Day

(Senator Barack Obama watches former President Bill Clinton at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Billings, Montana, August 26, 2008.
(Jim Young/Reuters))

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Even with the networks there, and the 24 hour cable news folks, they're not really covering the convention. They're at the convention. They're talking about the convention, but they're not really covering the convention.

(This concludes our nightly "Thank you, CSpan.")

Biden is carrying the "PUMA's are stupid" message?

Biden is tasked with carrying this message?

(I don't think he crashes "female governors for a roundtable discussion of women’s issues," just on his own.)

Question: Do you think their pre-VP selection polling showed Biden scoring well among women?

Picture of the Day - 3

(Sen. Joe Biden, accompanied by Michelle Obama, and others, takes part in an economic roundtable, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008.(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey))


Has all the talk of dissension, stirred dutifully by surrogates and anonymous complaints, substantially "lowered the bar" for the Clinton speech to something she can not only get over, but leap over?

A hurricane disrupts the Republican convention?

Well, not really, but the early projections (somewhat worthless) are that Hurricane Gustav may well be threatening the Gulf Coast just as John McCain gives his acceptance speech.

I'm sure a Katrina reminder is exactly the message reinforcer the Republicans are looking for.

(I guess they shouldn't have prayed for rain on Obama's speech.)

They do kinda know what they're doing......

From Ambinder:
A senior Obama official says that, "to a high degree of confidence," the campaign knows that Michelle Obama's speech went over well in the 18 battleground states that Barack Obama is focusing on.

That means, yes, that the campaign ran several focus groups last night in those states.

The Great Myth of the "Undecided..."

Just wanted to make the quick point that people who respond to polls as "undecided" aren't necessarily so.

Almost all of them have a strong "lean" tendency, whether consciously or unconsciously, towards one candidate or another, and come voting day, they will be significantly more than likely cast their vote towards that "lean."

There aren't 10% out there who are truly "undecided" and up for grabs. There's a spectrum of "leans" who, for whatever reasons or reservations, don't want to commit their position to a stranger on the phone.

The thing I'm trying to say is that not all undecideds are practically "available" to both candidates.

Polling is a blunt instrument.

Picture of the Day - 2

I think Joe Biden is going to have more fun running for Vice President than anybody, ever.

(Photos: (REUTERS/Chris Wattie), (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) and (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds))

Karzai making unauthorized contacts, shaping Pakistan's politics.

Now THIS is interesting (and it sounds BIG.)
Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador to the United Nations, is facing angry questions from other senior Bush administration officials over what they describe as unauthorized contacts with Asif Ali Zardari, a contender to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan.

Mr. Khalilzad had spoken by telephone with Mr. Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, several times a week for the past month until he was confronted about the unauthorized contacts, a senior United States official said. Other officials said Mr. Khalilzad had planned to meet with Mr. Zardari privately next Tuesday while on vacation in Dubai, in a session that was canceled only after Richard A. Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, learned from Mr. Zardari himself that the ambassador was providing “advice and help.”

Include in this the persistent rumors that Khalilzad is angling to replace Karzai as the Afghani President.

And, check out this euphemism, and tell me it doesn't sound like he was passing unauthorized information and "advice."
A senior American official said that Mr. Khalilzad had been advised to “stop speaking freely” to Mr. Zardari....

Or maybe these reaction statements,
The Pakistani official said the consultations between the men were an open exchange of information, with each one giving insight into the political landscape in his capital.....

Sean I. McCormack, the State Department spokesman, said, “Our very clear policy is that the Pakistanis have to work out any domestic political questions for themselves.” Gordon D. Johndroe, a White House spokesman, said, “The Pakistani elections are an internal matter for the Pakistani people.”

Reading through the diplomat speak, doesn't that sound like he was doing more than shooting the breeze?

An independent, possibly self-interested effort by Khalilzad to affect the outcome of governments in the region.

This is big.

Noun ,Verb, POW

McCain goes on the Tonight Show,
Leno: "For a million dollars, how many houses do you have?"

McCain: "Could I just mention to you, Jay, that, at a moment of seriousness. I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell. I didn't have a house. I didn't have a kitchen table. I didn't have a table. I didn't have a chair. And I didn't spent those five-and-a-half years because, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out....."

The attacks in Iraq are back, and the Shia are angling at domination.

With the growing news that the Shia government is increasing efforts to crackdown, arrest, and disarm the US backed Sunni militia groups rather than taking them into the government as promised (LATimes, NYTimes, McClatchy,) we should probably start paying attention to the sudden increase in attacks targeting the Iraqi security forces.

With this direction by the Shia government, we're beginning to see the reemergence of the faultlines of serious sectarian violence.
(Reuters) "A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest struck a crowd of Iraqi police recruits at a recruitment station in a volatile northern province on Tuesday, killing 28 people and wounding 45..."

(AFP) "A car bomb in Tikrit, the central Iraq hometown of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, injured 13 people including four policemen on Tuesday..."

And, definitely understand, that the Iraqi requirement in the SoFA negotiations that "all foreign soldiers" must leave the country is the end point of the Shia plan. They want to cripple the Sunni militias while the US is still patrolling the streets, and then they want the US completely out so they can dominate without interference.

Now the Afghanis want a SoFA

I guess after watching how much the Iraqis extracted out of the US in their SoFA negotiations, the Afghanis figure they ought to try to get one, too.

Picture of the Day

(Gov. Bill Richardson poses for a photograph with unidentified delegate at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Monday, Aug. 25, 2008.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall))

Monday, August 25, 2008

Jim Leach

Jim Leach gave a great speech, and CNN cut away.

(Thank you, CSpan.)

Picture of the Day - 2

(Delegate Ruth C. Rudy, of Centre Hall, Pa., puts her hat on before the start of the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Monday, Aug. 25, 2008.(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))

A special kind of stupid...... (Because somebody has to say it.)

We're not there yet, and I would guess most of those Clinton deadenders will end up voting for Obama, but I still feel like somebody needs to say this.

If you claim to support the Clinton positions, casting a petulant vote against Obama and for John McCain would definitely qualify as a special kind of stupid.... an "I don't care if my kids die in the fire because I had an argument with the fireman" kinda stupid.

You're willing to give up Supreme Court Justices, Roe v. Wade, gun issues, campaign finance issues, torture, wars, wiretapping, economic policy, minimum wage, education, tax policy, job exports, environmental policy, healthcare, and everything else because you feel your candidate was slighted?

Get a grip.

Springsteen/Bon Jovi Thursday night.

Acoustic(?) Bon Jovi before the Obama speech, Springsteen after.

(Personally, I'd rather have the big hair Bon Jovi than the new country/rock Bon Jovi, because Raise Your Hands! would be a great entrance.)

And, Where's John Cougar?

Picture of the Day - 2

(Nawaz Sharif leaves Pakistan's governing coalition at a press conference. (AP/Emilio Morenatti))

A new Obama ad

This new Obama ad is sure to get alot of press.

Smart to drop this one on the first day of the convention.


Frequently, CSPAN's feed, raw, live, and unburdened by "analysis," offers the best coverage of the conventions.

Picture of the Day

(Protesters and police clash during a protest as the city prepares for Democratic National Convention in Denver, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2008. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke))

Dog bites man

The CNN poll showing the race tied will get immensely more coverage than the same day USAToday poll (which conforms with almost every other poll for the last two weeks,) because that's the story the media wants to tell.

Polling is used by the media, not reported by the media.


Here's hoping the Obama campaign doesn't listen to any of the "experts" on my TV.

Pakistan wobbles

(BBC) Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower, and head of the ruling PPP party, says "the world" is losing the war on terror and the Taleban now has "the upper hand."

(BBC) Pakistani government bans the Taleban's political party.

(BBC) The Indians have imposed a curfew in Kashmir that is being challenged.

And, (Reuters) Nawaz Sharif has a press conference scheduled at 6PM where he may withdraw his party from the government.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Picture of the Day - Biden file photo

(In this Jan. 3, 2008, file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Joe Biden, rests his head on the shoulder of his wife, Jill, as they stand in a hallway awaiting his introductions for a rally at the UAW Hall in Dubuque, Iowa on the day of the Iowa caucus. (AP File/Mark Hirsch))

The remaining Clinton supporters will come around to Obama

Marc Ambinder discussing the McCain's Clinton ad.
The thinking in Obamaland is that once many of the recalcitrant Clinton voters know about McCain's record on abortion and other women's issues, they'll come back into fold. The Obama campaign has polled this...

And this is important. If you believe the recent round of polling on reluctant Clinton supporters and Obama, there are somewhere between 4 and 8 points nationally for him to pick up among these Clinton supporters. If true, that's some low hanging fruit that moves the polls from Obama +4 to Obama +10.

(PS. That's one of the reasons they keep mentioning Biden's work on the "Violence Against Women Act".)

(PPS. Shouldn't it really be called the "Stopping Violence Against Women Act"?)

Stray thought

As this mantra of McCain's POW overuse grows, the McCain folks seem to be using it more still. It seems like an effort to bait the Obama campaign (or some somebody they can claim is with the Obama campaign) into going too far.


The difference between Romney's wealth and McCain's wealth is that Romney made the money himself.

This is interesting.

The McCain campaign has released an ad called "Passed over" which features Hillary Clinton and asks why she was passed over for VP.

The intention is clear, but have we EVER seen a political ad where one campaign pleads the case of another party's VP candidate?

(And if this doesn't clearly show those few remaining Clinton supporters they are doing McCain's work.....)

Picture of the Day - Score!!!!!

A billboard for the Republican convention on the way in from the airport in Minneapolis/St.Paul.

POW and a verb

When Maureen Dowd is taking McCain to task for overusing his POW history, it's become conventional wisdom.

(My favorite still has to be McCain invoking his time in the Hanoi Hilton to defend his affection for Abba music.)

Pay attention

(AP) Pakistan's ruling coalition on verge of collapse