06 October, 2008

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Well, I'm back. After two days of only being able to glance at the political blogs (in between marathon Palin-bashing sessions with my stepmother and watching Tina Fey's outstanding SNL performance), I've returned home, plunged deep into the blogosphere, and discovered that the fuckery's been kicked up a notch.

The McCain campaign is on a straight trajectory from merely ridiculous to completely fucking pathetic with a side order of pathological. "Outrageous" is a word that doesn't come within megaparsecs of describing their behavior. "Insanely stupid" is the merest atom of description. We shall have to come up with new words to describe the totality of their fuckery.

After getting only seven hours of sleep in a 72-hour period, however, I am not the person capable of inventing those words. Instead, I'll just have to present you all with some relevant tidbits and see if inspiration strikes you.

In McBizarroLand, it's best to keep your veep candidate protected like a hothouse flower:

It was more than a little troubling when the McCain campaign decided it didn't trust Sarah Palin enough to let her answer questions from the media. But it seems worse for the McCain campaign not to trust Sarah Palin's supporters, either.

Constantly under the watchful eyes of security, the media wasn't permitted to wander around inside Coachman Park to talk to Sarah Palin supporters. When reporters tried to leave the designated press area and head toward the bleachers where the crowd was seated, an escort would dart out of nowhere and confront him or her and say, "can I help you?'' and turn the person around.

When one reporter asked an escort, who would not give her name, why the press wasn't allowed to mingle, she said that in the past, negative things had been written. The campaign wanted to avoid that possibility on Monday.

Think about this -- it was a public event in which a public official, seeking public office, spoke at a public park. Journalists, bolstered by the First Amendment, were told they weren't allowed to talk to voters.

They seem to think that quarantining the politicians and the public from the press will help their image. I just want you to take a moment to savor that in all of its fucktarded glory. McCain is acting like a proper little dictator, only he sucks at it. The attempt to manipulate the media and public opinion is so incredibly blatant, so fucking amateur, that it'll be a shock if it doesn't explode back in his face. I can't imagine the media appreciates being told who they can and cannot talk to.

That potential for disaster isn't stopping little Johnny "Dictator-Wanna-Be" McCain's surrogates from trying yet more ham-handed reality manipulation:

With close friends like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) acknowledging that a focus on the economy has been bad for Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) presidential campaign, his adviser have announced a strategy for “turning a page on this financial crisis” in order to stop “talking” about the economy. But on the defensive about trying to avoid the most important issue of the day, senior McCain adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer argued on Fox News today that McCain “has made the economy, and his economic policies, just really, the fulcrum of his whole campaign”:

PFOTENHAUER: Now, obviously, Senator McCain has made the economy, and his economic policies, just really, the fulcrum of his whole campaign. I mean, we spend about 80 percent of our time talking about it, unless Russia invades Georgia, and then there’s a little bit of a sidebar. But we spend most of our time focusing on those things because Senator McCain cares so much about it. And he’s been very clear, if I can be biased, he has a very comprehensive plan to get the economy back on track and we spend almost all of our time advocating it.


In reality, McCain has made every effort he can to talk about anything but the economy. In June, Fortune magazine asked McCain what he saw as “the gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy.” Instead of mentioning an actual economic issue, McCain paused for 11 seconds before saying “radical Islamic extremism“:

He’s looking not at us but into the void. His eyes are narrowed. Nine seconds of silence, ten seconds, 11. Finally he says, “Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we’re in against radical Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences.”

McCain’s pivot in his interview with Fortune is similar to the pivot he made during a primary debate earlier this year. Asked about why he was “qualified” to “manage our economy,” McCain said that his military background gave him “the vision and the knowledge and the background to take on the transcendent issue of the 21st century, which is radical Islamic extremism.”

Is it too much to ask that when a politician lies to us, they at least do it in such as way that they can't be debunked by a kindergartner? Please? And can they please, please tell their surrogates to get on the same page, or at least within the same county, as the message o' the day? Having a bunch of them running around yammering about how talking about the economy is going to sink the campaign doesn't really bolster the above claim that McCain's all about the economy.

Someone might also want to inform the campaign that it's not just the economy that could leave this presidential bid broken and weeping on the side of the road. There's this little thing about, you know, not threatening to cut old people's health care benefits:

Under John McCain's healthcare plan, Americans would move away from an employer-based system, and instead get tax credits they'd take to the free market to buy insurance. We've talked several times of late about the overwhelming flaws in this approach.

But today, a different question comes to the fore. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that the McCain plan's tax credits would cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years -- and the McCain campaign insists it can account for every penny, and that the plan would be budget-neutral. Where would that money come from?

The Wall Street Journal's Laura Meckler has an important article this morning that explains exactly how McCain would pay for it -- he'd cut Medicare and Medicaid by $1.3 trillion.

...Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Sen. McCain's senior policy adviser, said Sunday that the campaign has always planned to fund the tax credits, in part, with savings from Medicare and Medicaid. Those government health-care programs serve seniors, poor families and the disabled. Medicare spending for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 is estimated at $457.5 billion.

Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the Medicare and Medicaid changes would improve the programs and eliminate fraud, but he didn't detail where the cuts would come from.... Mr. Holtz-Eakin said the plan is accurately described as budget neutral because it assumes enough savings in Medicare and Medicaid spending to make up the difference. He said the savings would come from eliminating Medicare fraud and by reforming payment policies to lower the overall cost of care.

And if you think a McCain administration is going to find $1.3 trillion in Medicare by eliminating "fraud" and improving the payment system -- without reducing benefits -- I've got a bridge in Alaska I'd like to sell you.

Buh-bye, Florida vote. Buh-bye, AARP. Every senior in this country needs to hear about this little gem. I somehow don't think they're going to appreciate it.

There's plenty more where this comes from, and we're talking many items of supreme idiocy arising from McCain's campaign in just one day. It's very nearly awe-inspiring.

So is this brilliant little fuck-up:

New audio uncovered by the Wisconsin news site Wispolitics.com, reveals that during a speech at the Republican National Convention, Wisconsin's attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen promised action on voter fraud.

At the time of the statement, Van Hollen hadn't filed suit against the Government Accountability Board -- which oversees state elections -- demanding that they verify all of the voter registrations filed since January 2006. As a result, his statement at the RNC stands in sharp contrast to his claims that the suit is not politically motivated.

"There was no discussion with anybody involved in leadership with the Republican Party (or the McCain campaign) about this lawsuit before it was brought," Van Hollen said earlier last month.


Joe Wineke, chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin was distressed at the audio of Van Hollen's statements.

"If JB Van Hollen is claiming this lawsuit isn't political, then why did he discuss it with the RPW Chair at a partisan political convention and then send signals to fellow Republicans that he was mobilizing the Department of Justice to take action?," said Wineke in a press release.

And, if I can just ask a little question of my own, here: why the fuck did he say this shit in the presence of recording equipment, and then make idiotic, all-too-easily-debunked claims about not having done it? He must be taking a page from the McCain campaign.

The stupid. It's contagious.

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