Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A nice greeting for GOP convention goers

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Joe Biden Knows How to Attack

(via JedReport)

McCain's Playing the POW Card So Fast No One Can Keep Up

The New York Times' Maureen Dowd has a column today getting at McCain for referencing his captivity in Vietnam to fend off unrelated criticism all too often. As Josh Marshall remarks, "When Dowd devotes a column to it, the meme has arrived".

Here's Dowd:
So it’s hard to believe that John McCain is now in danger of exceeding his credit limit on the equivalent of an American Express black card. His campaign is cheapening his greatest strength — and making a mockery of his already dubious claim that he’s reticent to talk about his P.O.W. experience — by flashing the P.O.W. card to rebut any criticism, no matter how unrelated. The captivity is already amply displayed in posters and TV advertisements.
And she cites the times he's used to counter criticism of:

-offering up his wife for the topless (and sometimes bottomless) bikini contest at a biker rally.

-breaking the rules for the Warren debate and being able to hear or be briefed on the questions he would be asked

-not knowing how many houses he owns

And then she mentions McCain bringing the POW subject up by falsely weaving it into some unrelated item to make him look good:
As Sam Stein notes in The Huffington Post: “The senator has even brought his military record into discussion of his music tastes. Explaining that his favorite song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by Abba, he offered that his knowledge of music ‘stopped evolving when his plane intercepted a surface-to-air missile.’ ‘Dancing Queen,’ however, was produced in 1975, eight years after McCain’s plane was shot down.”
Remember, that's not the first time he's made something up out of thin air just to remind people of his POW experience. To get in the good graces of Pennsylvanians, he did a cut-and-paste on an important detail of one of his more moving POW stories.

But what does McCain do now that 'playing the POW card' has gotten so obvious that even Dowd weighs in on it?

He doubles down! He just used the POW Card again to counter Biden's 7-kitchen table jab from yesterday, and his campaign says that it's going to keep on doing it:
Advisors say if Obama gets "nastier" on that issue that opens the door for them. Advisors say the "Rezko deal stinks to the high heavens." They will be prepared to show McCain's "home" in Hanoi by using images of his cell. They claim they have not overused the POW element and insist they have "underused it." They say Americans think most people in presidential politics are wealthy and will point out that Obama "made himself a multi-millionaire after he entered public life."
Apparently, they have nothing else to counter the charge that McCain is out of touch except to go back nearly forty years to dredge up his POW status. Pretty bad news for them, I'd say.

So anyways, keep getting used to seeing these:

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Two Highlights from Keith Olbermann's Show

First is Keith's table-turning description of McCain:

McCain is so determined to convince working Americans that he's not a rich, out-of-touch, couscous-eating, cappuchino-sipping elitist that he woke up early at his 15-acre Arizona ranch, took a 9-car motorcade to Starbucks, and then, sipping his cappuchino, got to work. A large cappuchino.

I'm not making any of that up.
I think it's hilarious that Keith needed to point out that he wasn't exaggerating.


Then, there's the bit from Eugene Robinson, which is a great bon mot about John McCain's house confusion, but also explains why I hardly ever listen to the pundits on the show and just fastforward right through them.

Here's Robinson:
The impression that has been created over the last 24 hours is that John and Cindy McCain buy houses the way you and I would buy an umbrella. You know, you kind of buy it on the spur of the moment and you forget where you left it.
OK, he's engaging in the DC punditry game of what matters, which is a lot different than what matters to everybody else. They care about the impressions that are impacting the campaign. Everybody else wants to know what's true and what's not.

Eugene Robinson didn't wade into figuring out whether this impression was true or not, apparently, he is just pointing out that it's been created. That sounds like it just as easily could be a false meme that's not supported by facts but has taken root. It's too bad all too often this crucial difference between BS claims and well supported claims is not one that the pundit class sees fit to look into.

If he had looked into it a little bit, he would have quickly realized there's support that this is in fact the way the McCain's buy and forget about their houses.

Taken part by part. First:
You know, you kind of buy it on the spur of the moment

Fair enough - is there any instance when the McCains bought a property on the spur of the moment, in a fashion much more like an umbrella purchase than a home purchase? The answer is Yes.
Cindy McCain discussed the timing of the second condo purchase in a June interview with Vogue magazine (not online) that's newly relevant in light of the explosive controversy over John McCain's inability to recall how many homes the McCains own.

And in another fun fact that could pour fuel on this controversy, Cindy told her interviewer that the reason they needed a second beach condo in the Coronado building was that the first was too crowded because her kids were staying there and as a result she "couldn't get in the place."

Cindy continued: "So I bought another one."

Here's the relevant passage, from the start of the Vogue piece:

It is a late Sunday afternoon in April, and I am sitting in a condominium in Coronado, California, taking in the view of the gorgeous San Diego Bay with Cindy McCain. She closed on the place just two weeks earlier, and the only things unpacked so far are the family photos that dot almost every surface. It's her family's second condo in the building. "I like the ocean, and the kids love it here, and I love that," she tells me, curled up on a nondescript couch that looks like it might have come with the apartment. "When I bought the first one, my husband, who is not a beach person, said, 'Oh, this is such a waste of money; the kids will never go.' Then it got to the point where they used it so much I couldn't get in the place. So I bought another one."

Notice, it's not that she decided to sell the original place to come up with the cash to buy the new one. It was just decide to buy another one. 99% of people can't just decide to buy a new house (and I'm guessing without a mortgage) without selling the new one. But for the McCain's, getting another condo was the simple answer. Sounds very much like the purchase of another umbrella to me.

Then there's the second part of Robinson's comparison:
you kind of buy it on the spur of the moment and you forget where you left it
Is their any truth behind this impression - yes, in fact, there is. The McCains had their condo in La Jolla go into default because they didn't pay their property taxes in 4 years - and the only reason they started to is because they were notified of the default by the media. If that's not losing track, I don't know what is.
Too bad Robinson couldn't have figured that out.

Prime Time Convention Speech Uses McCain's Keys!

I can't divulge how I got my hands on this, but what follows is a portion of one of the prime time convention speeches that picks up on joeyess' fantastic idea of the jingling McCain keys.

I think you'll be thrilled how *unbelievably* quickly this was picked up full force by the party and how much they're running with it. Joe Biden's McCain house jab on Saturday is just the beginning.

Speech below the fold (supporting links have been edited in by me):

Before I finish, I want to send out a message of compassion to Republican John McCain. Please hear me out. I know most of you out there in the convention hall and watching at home have concerns about balancing your family budget, dealing with unanticipated medical bills you have no coverage for, and keeping current on your mortgage payment or rent, and you blame John McCain for not lifting a finger to do anything about it and suggesting this bad news is just all in our heads.

But rather than blaming him, I think we should rather show him our compassion for his hardships. We ought to put ourselves in his expensive shoes and see what it's like before we criticize him.

To do this, I'd like everyone to pull out their keys right now and just hold them up. You probably have around 6 or 7 keys on there, one for your house or apartment, one for your car, your office, your bike lock, and so forth. But for a moment, I'd like you to imagine that every key on there is to a separate house that you own. I know that will take a really good imagination to do, but I'd like you to try anyways; we need to do this to understand the world John McCain lives in.

Everybody give your keys a good shake so we can hear all those house keys. [PAUSE FOR JINGLES]

That's a lot to keep track of. You know, people criticized John McCain for not paying property taxes on one of his houses for four years and only doing so when a media outlet asked him about it - but he wasn't trying to cheat on his his taxes - he just forgot about that house. Like him, I'm sure you would have trouble keeping track of all those houses too. We need to sympathize with his situation. Let's give those keys another jingle in sypathy for John McCain. [PAUSE FOR JINGLES]

Also, consider John McCain's burden in taking care of his multiple houses. Unlike you, John McCain has full-time servants who take care of his houses, and that is monumentally expensive. In 2007, he paid $273,000 for house servants to look after his 7 houses - that's a lot of money! Once again, let's jingle in sympathy for the hardships of John McCain. [PAUSE]

Finally, Americans have attacked John McCain for being out of touch on economic issues - they mention the time he told American workers that none of them would ever consider a wage of only $50/hour to work the fields picking produce - they say no sane person would ever suggest that Americans would decide to pass up $100,000 a year jobs.

His critics also bring up that he claims the fundamentals of the American economy are strong despite all the layoffs and home foreclosures. But, again, we must consider John McCain's situation.

If your concerns were figuring out how many houses you own, or what fancy car you drive - don't you think you would have a hard time relating to the lives of everyday Americans too?

One last time - let's jingle those keys in sympathy for John McCain's situation. [PAUSE]

I don't know which of one of his houses he's at right now, but whereever he is, I trust he appreciates the compassion we're feeling for him tonight.

Thank you.

[editor's note: some updating was done to add in links and with some wording from the original posting.]

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Friday, August 22, 2008

These Cards are Being Played a Lot

Contrast in Life Experiences

It's too bad USA Today put it at the very end of the article, but it's a good thing they pointed these facts out:
McCain, who has portrayed Obama as an elitist, is the son and grandson of admirals. The Associated Press estimates his wife, a beer heiress, is worth $100 million. Obama was raised by a single mother who relied at times on food stamps, and went to top schools on scholarships and loans. His income has increased from book sales since he spoke at the 2004 Democratic convention.
Seems like the "he's rich too" charge is just going to cause the media to get into Obama's life history and contrast it with McCain's life of privilege.

How long will it be until McCain plays the POW card to fend off the criticism of his elite out of touch-ness?


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pricking the POW Defense bubble

Great video

McCain's history of cheating on his wife

CNN documents, unchallenged by McCain, so many of the things that are getting thrown around about him, which I'd never known had such solid sourcing. This is not the treatment he's getting now, obviously.
UPDATE: I stand corrected. Via the Jed Report, this is actually from today. I'm as in disbelief as Jed is that they "went there". It's about time he be held to account for the truth of his past.