Tag Archives: mccain

Mrs. Palin, Go Back To Alaska and Stay There

Like many of our fellow Americans, I was caught completely off guard by Senator John McCain’s (Arizona-R) choice of Governor Sarah Palin (Alaska-R) for his running mate in the upcoming presidential election.  After reviewing her policies, and McCain’s alternatives, it has become painfully and frightfully clear why she was chosen.  I use the words painfully and frightfully with the utmost deliberateness, because if the Republican ticket wins this election, it means three things: (1) a George Lucas-esque “Return of the Oil Companies”, (2) an assault on the idea of social progress, and (3) the continuation of dishonest, manipulative, and coercive federal politics.  In other words, if McCain-Palin wins, buy a hat and hold the fuck onto it.

McCain needed a boost prior to his nomination of Sarah Palin.  His other choices, with the exception of Joe Lieberman (Connecticut-Indep.), would not have given him anything to work with.  Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, and other wealthy, old, white men would not fit the bill, because they did not add anything but an increased tax bracket to the McCain ticket.  So, the critical question is: why Palin and not Lieberman?

For a moment, imagine the clamor among aides at the McCain headquarters on the “Straight Talk Express”.  You have two sides intensely arguing with Senator McCain in the middle, much like his experience in Washington.  One says, “Lieberman: he brings the experience and liberal mindedness to capture those elusive swing voters and independents, as well as his previous supporters from prior presidential bids.  He could steal votes from right under the Democrats’ noses!”  The other group says, “What if we got a woman? What if we stole all those uppity Hilary Clinton supporters who care more about gender than issues? And, most importantly, WE NEED SOMEONE WHO WILL GALVANIZE THE BASE! WE’VE GOT IT…PALIN!”

For all of you who are wondering what it means when pundits spout this phrase, let me play the role of political translator.  It means, “We simply cannot have every social reactionary in the Midwest and the South sit at home rather than vote for McCain, who unfortunately does not hold views from the eighteenth century.” It means, “Our VP choice needs to be someone that mega-churchgoers can stand up (or kneel) for, and the only way to do that is to find someone who thinks the only trinity better than Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost is Guns, Oil, and War.”  It means, “Fuck any attempt at fixing any problems in this country, because winning this election is more important to our friends in large corporations who stand to get fucked straight in their smelly pocketbooks if the Democrats win (at least for a little while).”

Surely, the Republicans among you, if there still are any, are seething.  This won’t help. Sarah Palin is either a moron or in extremely intense denial. There, I said it.  At this day and age, anyone who truly believes after a period of intense thought that: (1) the solution to our energy crisis is more oil drilling, (2) gay people are bad, (3) there is no such thing as global warming,  (4) the protection of the 2nd Amendment is necessary, (5) “hockey mom” is a legitimate qualification for the second highest office in the country, and (6) the war in Iraq is “directed by God” does not have a fully functioning brain or is so tied up in identity politics that they are incapable of rational thought.  If you don’t think that these are her policies, please read The Weekly Standard – I assure you, they are.  If you think that I am a moron for saying this, please continue reading.  Assuming this article, of course, is not being dictated to you because you’re illiterate.

All jokes aside, Palin’s stance on the issues is…well, scary.

Talking Point #1: The Return of Big Oil

Governor Palin has repeatedly supported drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).  Bypassing the whole ‘endangering the caribou’ problem, anyone who thinks that ‘more oil’ is a solution hasn’t really come to terms with the nature of energy policy.  The only way that humanity can survive its ‘Green Challenge’ is to once again become a part of nature by taking out what it puts back in.  Finding oil is not the issue and neither is driving down gas prices.  McCain may pretend he likes wind turbines, but, as Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has aptly pointed out in a couple of recent Op-Ed articles, McCain has missed or voted against the last six renewable energy bills.  Why?  That would severely hurt his campaign finances from the conservative business lobbies, who would eat shit if people didn’t use oil anymore.  It’s as simple as that.  Palin is just another example of how the McCain ticket has no regard for the environment or energy policy.  The last time we gave Big Oil the reigns, it didn’t work out so well (See: 2000-2008).  Moreover, Palin’s husband is employed by British Petroleum.  Although I’m sure that won’t effect her decision making at all.

Talking Point #2: The Assault on the Idea of Social Progress

It doesn’t matter what your stance on abortion is.  Blasphemy for a liberal, I know.  But, what is more important is the idea that ideas can evolve.  Not surprising that someone who discounts evolution, would deny it in other contexts, but then again, it should be.  Palin campaigned hard in Alaska to introduce a “Creationist” curriculum in public schools.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  What do scientists have to do, short of inventing an animal that evolves every twenty minutes, to demonstrate that they are not making this up and that the Jews didn’t put them up to it?  Palin also is firmly against gay marriage, something that conservatives like to call a “pro-family” stance.  There is nothing “pro-family” about it.  Palin takes what biblical scripture is interpreted to mean by questionably-in-the-closet pastors and that is the end of the debate.  That is anti-logical and we can no longer support that kind of thinking.  Use your rational faculties to come to decisions based on evidence and we’ll talk.  What does it take to convince people, nearly two thousand years after Aristotle, that logic is actually a legitimate knowledge production device?  It makes me want to pull out my hair.

Talking Point #3: Coercive, Manipulative, and Dishonest Electioneering

McCain’s choice of Palin over Lieberman says one thing most explicitly – I don’t care about representing anyone but me.  Like Lieberman, whose turncoat and extremely eerie speech at the Republican National Convention made even Republicans cringe, McCain has made it clear that he is in it for himself.  He just wants to win.  I get it John, it’s a lot of power.  But maybe for just a moment you can see this as not another righteous battle between you (virtue) and bad (bad).  This is about more than you.  Palin has no function in this election except to get people who you clearly don’t regard very highly – reactionaries.  If you did like them, and if they liked you, you would not need Palin.  You appeal to them because their votes count as much as my vote and that makes them powerful.  As Walther pointed out, President Bush still has a 30% approval rating.  WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? People that John McCain is desperately trying to befriend.  David Brooks of the New York Times claims that McCain saw in Palin a “maverick” nature like his own, accepted it, and looked no further.  They only met once for crying out loud – I don’t think that was it.  Brooks is right, however, that Palin’s space should have been for someone with experience and strategy.  Instead McCain opted for hockey sticks and guns.  I’m holding my breath until after the election.

Questionable Hiring Practices at the McCain Camp

A tanker of ink will be spilled over the qualifications of Sarah Palin to be President of the United States of America.  People will analyze everything she’s said while in office and everything she will say throughout the campaign.  Many different authors will write many different life narratives for Sarah, ranging from the glowing to the ghastly.  Her relatives and friends will be contacted by the press and they’ll tell stories that reveal her character traits beyond the “Sarah Baracuda” that’s already been widely reported.  Reports will continue to surface about ‘troopergate‘, her pregnant 17 year old daughter and the father of the child.  (“I live to play hockey. I like to go camping and hang out with the boys, do some fishing, shoot some s- – – and just f – – -in’ chillin’ I guess.”)  This wealth of media-worthy material will likely obscure the most important aspect of the Palin story. John McCain is a fool for picking a stranger to be his VP.

We all get wrapped up in the political circus as it unfolds before us, but every now and then we need to remember that the President is the most powerful person in the world.  John McCain was willing to give that power to someone he met only twice, and only once in person.  Only a fool would believe that a single, one on one interview is enough to determine whether or not someone could be President of this country.  John McCain proved to be that fool.

It isn’t as if McCain had no one else to chose from.  It was widely reported how McCain wanted to run with Joe Liberman or Tom Ridge.  Both were people with whom McCain was exceedingly familiar and both are at least superficially qualified. Unfortunately, neither was a friend of the Evangelicals.  Instead of opting to do the ‘maverick’ thing and picking someone he trusted, McCain opted for the quick political fix.  After an amazingly brief vetting process, he chose an attractive woman who is  highly regarded among Evangelicals.  He disregarded the fact that he is placing a stranger (someone he does not know) one martin olive away from the Presidency.  I know it sounds glib, but seriously: how could John McCain be so callous about America’s insurance policy against his death?  You may love McCain, but I don’t think it’s logically possible to argue that he picked someone he was confident could lead America if something happened to him.  Unless he looked into Palin’s soul like Bush looked into Putin’s, I think he’s going to have an extremely difficult time explaining to Americans that Sarah Palin was chosen for anything other than the most desperate political reasons.  I hope people will remember that even in today’s cynical poltical environment, the VP is more than a political shoehorn for a presidential candidate: she is an insurance policy.  I, for one, am not comfortable with Sarah Palin being the McCain Presidency’s insurance policy and as more information about her is revealed to the public, I think it’ll be clear that McCain was never comfortable with his selection either.

8 Reasons McCain Needs a Miracle to Win

John McCainIf you’ve been watching the news for the last month, it seems like John McCain might actually pull out a victory in November.  After months of the press fawning over the unlikely candidacy of Obama (remember, he’s a mixed race junior senator with no executive experience) the press has rediscovered that John McCain actually has the credentials, the political persona and the charisma of a fantastic presidential candidate.  Unfortunately for Senator McCain, he simply doesn’t have the support.  Despite popular polls numbers (this isn’t a popular election after all, it is a state by state winner take all contest) and a receptive media, eight national trends would make a John McCain victory miraculous.

Voter Registration

The Republicans are losing more and more registered voters to the Democrats and independents while the Democrats are registering unprecedented numbers of young, black and formerly disenfranchised voters.
Real Clear Politics states: “The number of registered Democrats in party registration states has grown by nearly 700,000 since President George W. Bush was reelected in November 2004, while the total of registered Republicans has declined by almost 1 million.”
The changes are most notable in Iowa and Nevada, two states that were majority Republican in 2004 (and voted for Bush) and now have more registered Democrats.  The other 5 states with growing democratic advantages are Oregon (10pts), New Jersey (14pts), New Hampshire (-.6pts), Connecticut (15pts) and Pennsylvania (12pts).
By most accounts, the Obama campaign machine has been impeccably organized, and it isn’t hard to understand why the Republican machine is failing.  Quite simply,  being a Republican is no longer as cool as it used to be.  As the Economist so aptly noted a year ago, no matter how clever the Republicans are at politics, at the end of the day when they were given the chance to lead, they failed.


Obama has 336 open offices while McCain has just 101. While field offices, like voter registration, doesn’t directly correlate to voters, one has to wonder where the McCain campaign will base their get-out the vote operations when the election arrives.  More specifically interestingly, McCain has 1 office in Colorado and 1 in Pennsylvania while Obama has 10 and 18 respectfully.


The 1.7m net loss net of Republicans since 2004 means independents are more important for McCain.  Historically he has garnered much support from independents but Obama is denying him an advantage as polls show them neck and neck.

Millennial Generation

One day, the Millenials, which are Americans under the age of 26 and are the largest generation in American history, (over 100m) will dominate American politics.  Obama has a massive advantage amount youth and his campaign has vigorously registered and engaged this demographic.  Whether or not this is the election that will permanently shift America politics from the Boomers to the Millennials, it’s clear that Obama has the age demographic advantage as there are nearly twice as many 18-30 year olds than there are people over 65.  For more go try USA Today and Wikipedia.


While Hispanics gave Bush an advantage in 2004 by giving him 40% of their vote, McCain will be disadvantaged by the fastest growing demographic in America.   Obama has a massive lead of 3:1 (63% to 23%) among Hispanics.


McCain is polling at 61% support among Evangelicals while Bush won 69%.  They aren’t going to Obama, who has the same 25% Kerry had in 2004, they’re simply deciding to sit this one out.  Why?  Many of their leaders want to disengage from American politics while others are under the influence of a right wing media that has historically despised Senator McCain.

Rush Limbaugh

America’s second most listened to talk show host (all hail Howard) thinks McCain sucks and hasn’t and will not motivate his listeners to vote for him.  In fact, he often threatens to work against McCain if McCain doesn’t veer more towards the right.

Read this transcript from his show:
RUSH: Because [the Republican Party] thinks that they own us, in the most crucial of earlier decisions, McCain is misjudging us. He feels he can pick whoever he wants, pro-choice Democrat running mate, and that everybody’s just going to march with him. But he figures wrong.  This is going to be a close election, and it’s not going to take a lot of people sitting on their hands to lose an important state or two.

CALLER: Mmm-hmm.

RUSH:  Now, Obama is out there firing up his base.  McCain is trying to deflate people like you.

CALLER:  He’s angering us, and I wasn’t going to vote for him. I was just not going to mark anything, but then when he pulled this — and I think, Rush, I really think — and I know you’ve done so much to get the word out. I really think that if he puts on a good, strong conservative, he has a pretty good chance of getting elected. But if he doesn’t, then the Republicans are going to say, “What’s the difference between him and B. Hussein Obama?”  And they either won’t vote or I don’t know, and it’s really scary and I’m worried about it.  I don’t like McCain; I never have liked him.

Bush’s victory was consistent with years of right wing media narration.  Those same people have been skewering McCain for a decade.  Now if they wanted to do an about face and support McCain, they would risk alienating their own audiences.


Ron Paul’s revolution is continuing via Bob Barr, a former popular Republican who turned to the Libertarian party and was polling at 6%. Unlike Nader who was a simply protest vote in 2000 and 2004, Barr and Paul, while not officially linked, are both aiming to realign the Republican party around an authentic small government platform.  Paul and his followers are vigorously organizing the “Campaign for Liberty” which will create a constituency that could support a real libertarian third party or could begin to realign the Republican party.   Paul has frequently stated he won’t support McCain unless McCain fundamentally changes his platform.  There will be no better way for the libertarians to flex their political muscle than resisting a McCain’s presidency.

Real Clear Politics Electoral Projections

As I see it, McCain is disadvantaged by national political trends, he lacks a competitive ground organization, he isn’t dominating the independent vote, he has an age demographic problem, he has a latino problem, an African American problem, an Evangelical problem and isn’t garnering support from right wing media celebrities.  Finally, there is a large and growing consistency within his party that would prefer to lose this election and return the Republican party to a small government platform than continue with business as usual.

Least we forget, the media is a business and they would prefer to have a ‘horse race’ political campaign going than inform Americans of the massive demographic hurtles McCain faces.  They would also prefer to report on national poll numbers that represent the insignificant popular vote than look at state by state numbers that clearly show an Obama advantage.  Take a moment to go through Real Clear Politics electoral college and see for yourself.