Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf resigned today in order to avoid impeachment charges for illegally seizing power and mishandling the economy. AFP reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) ?welcomed? the decision in a statement:
The resignation of President Pervez Musharraf is a step toward moving Pakistan onto a more stable political footing. Pakistan is a critical theater in countering the threat of al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism, and I look forward to the government increasing its future cooperation.
While McCain praises the resignation today, the developments also highlight McCain?s poor judgment on the matter. In Dec. 2007, after Musharraf imposed emergency rule and after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, McCain resisted calling for Musharraf?s to step down, calling the Bush ally a ?key element?:
COOPER: Is there any other option but Musharraf?
MCCAIN: I think that the new chief of staff of the army is a person who’s clearly going to be a player, because the army will play a role in whatever and however any unrest is addressed. But I think Musharraf, as the president of the country, is probably — and he has stepped down from his military position, as you know — is probably also a key element.
Throughout Musharraf’s reign, Pakistan?s woes grew, including an abysmal economy and a growing al Qaeda, to name a few. McCain, however, stood by Pakistan’s dictator:
– Called Musharraf a “personally scrupulously honest” man who deserved ?the benefit of the doubt? on uniting Pakistan. [12/29/07]
– “I continue to believe Musharraf has done a pretty good job, done a lot of the things that we wanted him to do … I would like to give Musharraf some credit for taking the measures that we asked him to do.? [12/28/07]
– “Prior to Musharraf, Pakistan was a failed state. … They had corrupt governments and they would rotate back and forth and there was corruption, and Musharraf basically restored order. [12/28/07]
Caroline Wadhams and Brian Katulis have more on Musharraf’s resignation.
This is the utility of blogs: I read this weekend's New York Times Magazine profile of the preternaturally accurate economic doomsayer Nouriel Rubini with interest. Ten years ago, Paul Krugman would have understood that the article didn't really do a[...]
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Check out our video for the proof. John McCain had a chance to say on TV that he wasn’t in the “cone of silence” when he came out and started his interview with Rick Warren.Warren says he’s going to ask identical questions and has placed McCain in a cone of silence. McCain’s response was:McCain: [...]
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The fact that Barack Obama would show up at an Evangelical Church and take the tough questions is a credit to him. I mean he knew he was the visiting team so to speak yet he handled these questions like he has in the past: with relative ease [...]
Overall the night was a success for Obama. He didn’t get put on the spot too much with the abortion questions. He handled the "Jesus" question about his faith with ease and maybe most important he looked comfortable up there.
This wasn't a night for Obama to "win", but to remind people that he's not a Muslim Manchurian candidate, and in that regards, he had great success.
Kristol's latest column in the dead tree NY Times:
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on "Meet the Press" that "the Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context. ... What they’re putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama."
That’s pretty astonishing, since there seems to be absolutely no basis for the charge. But the fact that Obama’s people made this suggestion means they know McCain outperformed him.
Now the online version of that column:
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on "Meet the Press" that "the Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context. ... What they’re putting out privately is that McCain ... may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama."
There’s no evidence that McCain had any such advantage. But the fact that Obama’s people made this suggestion means they know McCain outperformed him.
So he essentially went from, "no way did McCain overhear" to "McCain didn't get any advantages from overhearing". Nice. The online version doesn't even catalog the changes from the print version, and the NY Times abets this dishonesty since in the era of Google, it's the online version that will endure.
"If the convention wasn't in St. Paul, I wouldn't be at the convention."
It's a point I made often at the time when people claimed Clinton was doing better against McCain than Obama -- it was easy for Clinton to look better when no one was dragging her name through the mud while Obama was getting the full Wright treatment.
I have come around on Clinton. I think she would at least be a decent VP choice for Obama, and possibly an excellent choice.
But let's not get into revisionist history. She remains a candidate with significant negatives and, when those negatives were being leaned upon, her electoral position was vulnerable.
Personally, I still think those "significant negatives" would make her a terrible pick. Unfortunately, I'm resigned to Obama making a terrible pick with someone else anyway (Biden? Bayh? Kaine?), so if it's between one of those three terrible picks or Clinton, I throw my hands up in the air.
Regardless of the exact timing, the voter is going to get two vice presidential nominations, and two sequences of four nights of party conventions -- all within the time period from now through Sept. 4.
A few days after that, say about the weekend of Sept. 5-7, we'll know where things stand as a baseline and starting point for the sure-to-be-hyperactive fall campaign. Meanwhile, our Gallup Poll Daily tracking will monitor the ups and downs of the candidates as each day's new events unfold.
And not until then will we know where we are starting from. (DemFromCT)
While Mr. Obama could prove beneficial to House candidates by increasing turnout in urban communities and raising enthusiasm among young voters in college towns, party officials believe an association with known Democratic candidates down the ticket could pay off for Mr. Obama among people who frequent Wal-Mart and passed up college to work.
"It is a two-way street," said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. "There are going to be many districts where the Obama campaign helps our candidates, but our candidates are going to bring out people and we want to be sure they vote for Obama as well."
After success with the program in special Congressional elections this year, the party is putting more money into what strategists call early voter persuasion, getting a jump on previous years in their push to identify Democratic voters and nail down their allegiance by providing background information and other material. It is distinct from voter turnout drives that will begin closer to the election.
Planning began last November, and the committee has already spent $9 million, as much as was invested in the entire previous campaign season. Seven staff members oversee the national operation, compared with one in the 2006 cycle. The Democrats hope to record at least 13 million personal contacts with voters in 50 House districts before they are through.
In an August 15 post on The NewYork Times blog The Caucus, headlined "Obama pulls back onSocial Security Plan," reporter Larry Rohter falselyasserted that in a September 21, 2007, op-ed in Iowa's Quad City Times on tax reform for seniors, Sen. Barack Obama laid out a proposal to remove the cap on income subjectto payroll tax. Rohter reported thataides to Obama have recently made statements that have "made moremodest" Obama's payroll and Social Security tax plans and thatObama's plan "[i]n its[...]
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This is a picture of the six acres of field turned into what Papa Johns is calling their "crop circle". It's about a mile away from the runway when you land at DIA.
In case you're hungry: the pepperoni is made of red mulch, the olives are black mulch, the green peppers are corn stalks, and the cheese is harvested wheat.
It cost almost $50,000, and took 600 hours to make. Since no aliens were available, Stan Herd did it all on his own.
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John McCain again today basically accused Obama of treason. Within that attack is the usual Republican blood lie about Democrats - that they hate America, hate the troops, etc. - with a bit of subtle racism thrown in (playing on Obama's African heritage, and on the fact that some of his ancestor's were Muslim, all adding up to someone "less than American").
Today, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo indicated his growing exasperation with the Obama campaign's response, or lack thereof, to these ongoing attacks:
With so many instances of corruption and influence-peddling around him and whatever problems with the candidate that are keeping the campaign from letting reporters interview him anymore, John McCain is now again charging Obama with what amounts to soft treason -- wanting to lose the war in Iraq in order to make himself president. The lack of any consistent lines of attack against McCain is becoming palpable.When Josh exhibits this kind of frustration publicly, we take notice. Josh is one of the cooler heads in the blogosphere. He's not as prone to fits of temper as, well, I might be. And he has a solid background in journalism that gives him a certain gravitas that the corporate media respects. So when Josh starts to blow a gasket, even in his typically subdued way, it means something.
Sally Quinn would like to live in a simple, binary world where the choices between good and evil or right and wrong are easy to make. That's John McCain's world. Unfortunately, she lives in the real world, where nuance matters. That's also Barack Obama's world.
That kind of nuance is hard to understand sometimes -- it's unclear, complicated. Obama's world can be scarier. It's multicultural. It's realistic (yes, there is evil on the streets of this country as well as in other places, and a lot of evil has been perpetrated in the name of good). It's honest.
McCain's message is easier to convey. Binary messages always are. Is there a lesson in that for Obama? [more ...]
If so, it's important that Obama not learn the wrong lesson.
Afterward, the commentators talked abut how Obama needs to have better stories, to be more accessible and less aloof, and to have sharper, shorter, simpler answers rather than be so cerebral. But Obama is authentic. He is who he is. To try to change would be a mistake. Al Gore's handlers decided he was too stiff and tried to loosen him up. What they did was rob him of his authenticity instead.
Maybe Obama could work on eliminating verbalized pauses, could memorize a few snappy sound bites, but trying to become John McCain, trying to convince voters that there are simplistic, pain-free solutions to the nation's problems, is the worst choice Obama could make. A president who understands nuance would be a welcome change after eight years of George Bush, and not one we'll see if McCain is elected.
Rick Warren quizzed both Barack Obama and John McCain on Saturday at his Saddleback Church. I’ve read the transcripts, and they seem thoughtful on the Obama side, and his supporters like that thoughtfulness. McCain responded with such straightforward and sure answers that he also satisfied his followers, who want a man who does not waver. But, but, McCain flip flopped when Warren asked about Supreme Court nominations. Naturally, the wing nuts focussed on Barack Obama’s answer where he said he would not have nominated Clarence Thomas, a man who, like McCain, is predictable and sure, if often a follower and wrong.
Here’s what Obama had to say about Thomas, from the FoxNews article featuring Thomas’ supporters:
During the symposium, Obama said he would not have nominated Thomas to the bench because ?I don?t think that he was a strong enough jurist or legal thinker at the time for that elevation. Setting aside the fact that I profoundly disagree with his interpretation of a lot of the Constitution.?
Seems strightforward. The facts are in Thomas’ biography. He wasn’t a jurist at all when he was nominated. Legal thinker? Thomas had represented the United States during the Reagan and Bush Administrations, but we’re not talking about a body of legal opinion or anything. I suspect Barack Obama, himself a former law professor, ought to be given a little credit in judging such skill, eh? That doesn’t stop the whiners, though. How do they respond? Well, they don’t respond to Barack Obama’s statements at all. Not one little bit. They try to link Obama to others who have critiqued Thomas, and don’t challenge Obama’s words one little bit. In short, they evidently aren’t good readers or listeners.
Here’s Clarence Thomas’ former law clerk Helgi Walker, herself not exactly an unbiased observer:
?Reasonable Supreme Court observers of all political stripes, who do not necessarily agree with Justice Thomas? jurisprudence, consider his work to be scholarly and of top quality. And yet Senator Obama is, sadly, unable to acknowledge even that much about an intelligent, wonderful and kind man who broke racial barriers to rise to the very top of the legal profession,? said Helgi Walker, a former associate counsel to President Bush and former law clerk for Thomas.
Long and others said Thomas has repeatedly proven critics wrong about his intellectual capacity and repeated previous defenses that much of the criticism of Thomas is because he is a black conservative.
?Apparently, Obama can do no better than to recycle discredited statements of Harry Reid when it comes to Justice Thomas. Like other liberal elites, Obama cannot stand it when a black man strays from the ideological plantation and refuses to implement liberal policies through the courts. But Obama will never point out any intellectual deficiencies in Justice Thomas?s work, because he can?t. Justice Thomas?s opinions consistently reveal faithfulness to the Constitution, judicial modesty and deference to the will of the people in our representative democracy. That is opposed to everything that Obama and the liberals are trying to do in grabbing power from the people and giving it to the courts,? she said.
Nope, that wasn’t what Barack Obama was basing his opinion on. And these folks in the FoxNews article are adult enough to address Obama’s opinion if they wanted to. They are dishonest and whiney in not doing so. They are also dishonest in failing to note John McCain’s answer to the same question.
In answer to Rick Warren’s question, McCain said he would not have nominated Souter, Ginzberg or Breyer. Well, he’s entitled to argue after the fact that he doesn’t agree with the judicial philosophies of Souter, Ginzberg and Breyer, but this is a flip flop without a doubt on the part of McCain. You see, McCain VOTED for Souter, Ginzberg and Breyer, the very jurists he complains about now. He already approved of them with his Senate vote. Nope, you won’t see the wingersw excoriating John McCain for voting for Supreme Court Justices they don’t like. They’ve got all the opportunity in the world to take McCain to task for filling the Supreme Court with those liberals. They will not do so, however, because their whininess is confined to protecting larence Thomas, even though he wasn’t attacked by Barack Obama on anything other than the factual issue that he had no experience as a jurist.
The whiney Clarence Thomas defenders ignore altogether that, as Politico notes, John McCain was for Souter, Ginzberg and Breyer before he was against them. This calls into question, of course, McCain’s straightforward and sure answers to Rick Warren, designed as they were to let Republicans know that John McCain has values that are sure and steadfast. No, they wobble like a bobblehead.
During the Saddleback Church presidential forum on Saturday, when Pastor Rick Warren asked both Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to define where “you move from middle class to rich,” McCain reflexively joked, “How about $5 million?” He then added that “it doesn?t matter really what my definition of rich is.” Noting that “McCain’s answer is just profoundly out-of-touch,” Ezra Klein put together a graph showing just how off-base McCain’s definition is compared to actual income distribution: