Election 2008

Jonathan Said

Gang-- I live in Michigan. Peoplehere aren't worried about a depression, they're convinced we're in the midst of one. And they're right. GM and Ford are losing so much money, people are realistically thinking that they may go out of business. Obama is all over the airwaves--with positive ads (and some negative ones, to be sure)-- but the really good ones, where he loks into the camera and talks. McCai's ads (they're still up, and of course on cable) are all about scaring people to death. But people are already scared to death--they want hope. And help. I don't think the pullout is that big a deal, except insofar as it demoralizes republicans and totally screws at least two vulnerable representatives. I think McCain just scares the bejeezus out of an already terrified population; who wants that? Obama in short is--surprise surprise--here with the right message at the right time. Calm is good.

Truth, Fairness, Balance

As we send our young men and women overseas in a war zone to fight for democracy and freedoms, including freedom of the press, we've really got to have a mutually beneficial relationship here with those fighting the freedom of the press, and then the press, though not taking advantage and exploiting a situation, perhaps they would want to capture and abuse the privilege. We just want truth, we want fairness, we want balance.

Culture War Armageddon

Kevin Drum on what John McCain is doing to American politics:

John McCain has obviously decided that he can't win a straight-up fight, so he's decided instead to wage a battle of character assassination, relentless lies, and culture war armageddon. So what happens on November 5th?

If McCain wins, he'll face a Democratic congress that's beyond furious. Losing is one thing, but after eight years of George Bush and Karl Rove, losing a vicious campaign like this one will cause Dems to go berserk. They won't even return McCain's phone calls, let alone work with him on legislation. It'll be four years of all-out war.

And what if Obama wins? The last time a Democrat won after a resurgence of the culture war right, we got eight years of madness, climaxing in an impeachment spectacle unlike anything we'd seen in a century. If it happens again, with the lunatic brigade newly empowered and shrieking for blood, Obama will be another Clinton and we'll be in for another eight years of near psychotic dementia.

Am I exaggerating? Sure. Am I exaggerating a lot? I don't think so. McCain, in his overwhelming desire for office, is unloosing forces that are likely to make the country only barely governable no matter who wins. This would be very bad juju at any time, but George Bush has so seriously weakened the country over the course of his administration that we don't have a lot of room for error left if we want to avoid losing the war on terror for good and turning America into a banana republic while we're at it. We need to start turning the ship around now.

McCain doesn't seem to care much about this anymore, but the rest of us ought to. Unfortunately, no one asked us. I'm afraid we have some rocky times ahead.

Sarah Palin’s Speech

Fred Hiatt on Sarah Palin's speech:

There was a flutter of attention when McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told a group of Post reporters and editors yesterday that his team was having to rework the vice presidential acceptance speech because the original draft, prepared before Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen, was too "masculine." While we all wondered to ourselves what might make a speech masculine or feminine, no one batted an eye at the underlying revelation: that the campaign was writing the nominee's speech before knowing who the nominee would be.

Never mind the prehistoric days when a politician might be expected to write his or her own words; speechwriters have been around since long before television. But traditionally their job was to channel their bosses' thoughts and ideas into poetry, or at least comprehensible English. Nowadays, apparently it's naive to expect a speech even to reveal something of the essential views or character of the speaker. Instead, campaigns -- not just the McCain campaign -- draft their speeches with an eye to which demographic groups need to receive which messages, and then we in the media rate the speeches based on how well we think they hit those targets.

So when you watch Sarah Palin tonight, expect to learn something about how well she handles a Teleprompter. Expect to learn something about the McCain campaign's assessment of its political standing with women, or working families, or social conservatives. Whether you're learning what Sarah Palin really thinks or feels is anybody's guess.