Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Big Lie

Sarah Palin is a shiny metal object.

Shiny metal objects are meant to distract you.

Fall for the trap at your own peril.

Joe Klein has taken a beating from the left over the past few years. His momentary support for the Iraq War--which he has since apologized for made him a poster child for being part of the clueless media elite that helped enable this administration's disastrous policies.

Recently however, Klein has been very clear-eyed about what's going on, and the changes in the character of his once friend, John McCain.

In his latest post, Klein explicitly calls out Steve Schmidt for practicing the kind of dangerous Orwellian game that I wrote about a couple of days ago, and Jon Taplin summarized yesterday.

Specifically, Klein asserts:
The tabloid media are treating her precisely as the tabloid media treat everybody. Steve Schmidt has done a brilliant--fabulously dishonest--job of setting up straw men, but it's a smokescreen to hide the fact that McCain rushed into this choice and didn't vet her properly.

But to what end? To distract from the real issue of this election: the economy, and more specifically the dreadful record of the past eight years of Republican rule.


They practice Orwellian politics of the crudest sort. They are trying to sell a big lie--that the election is about the social issues of the 1960s, or Barack Obama's patriotism or his eloquence, or the "angry left," when it's really about turning toward a more moderate path after the ideological radicalism and malfeasance of the past eight years.

The McCain campaign has gone on a carpetbombing attack, flooding the airwaves with advertising that spreads blatant falsehoods about Obama's economic policies.

In his post "Swift Boat Economics," Dean Baker notes: (h/t Paul Rosenberg)
Senator McCain is filling the airwaves with commercials telling the public that Obama's tax increases will slow growth and cost the economy jobs. It's pretty scary stuff to anyone who takes it seriously.

Of course, there's no truth to Senator McCain's Swift boat economics.

So what's really going on? While enmeshing the media in the Palin sideshow and non-stories like attacking Oprah over her political biases, the McCain campaign is able to propagandize at will, unchecked by a distracted media whose credentials are being attacked daily.

This is exactly what McCain's campaign manager Rick Davis means when he said that this election is not about issues.

And this is exactly the kind of politics that needs to be defeated in this election, once and for all.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Forgot About Dre--err--Joe

Bring it.

POW Flashback

George Packer on the tattered remains of McCain's candidacy:
This time, though, McCain is collaborating with his captors. By picking Palin he knowingly guided his campaign well over hostile territory and then aimed its nose straight down. Once taken hostage, he refused to speak his captors’ propaganda, but he allowed everyone else to shout it to the rafters
For the record, Packer's New Yorker article on the Death of the Conservative Movement is a must read as well.

Problem Solved

If Sarah Palin won't answer the media's questions, there is a simple solution. The press should simply hammer John McCain about her problems exclusively every time he has one of his (increasingly rarer) press availabilities.

McCain will become increasingly enraged and will finally explode--demanding to answer no further questions that are not POW related.

The fireworks will be legendary, and the lucky press outlet that captures it will have ratings gold.

Isn't that what all of this horserace coverage is about, anyway?

The Bizzaro Obama

It has been well reported that John McCain has a tremendous amount of disdain for Barack Obama. For months, he’s been a walking example of Jon Lovitz-as-Mike Dukakis from 1988: “How am I losing to this guy?”

Time and again, he’s let the American public see him sweat. Whether it’s his constant derision of Obama on the stump. His repeated accusations of treason. His condescending advertising campaign. All of his campaign tactics have had a single unifying theme. “I hate Barack Obama.”

John McCain is coming across as a third rate Gargamel.

Last week, he and his advisors clearly decided that they wouldn’t be able to beat Barack Obama and the phenomenon of his campaign. So instead, in a rash last minute deicsion, they decided to make a mockery of it.

Enter Sarah Palin. The Bizarro Obama.

In almost every conceivable way, Palin is a grotesque response to the Obama phenomenon.

Where Obama is attacked for becoming more popular than McCain in 48 months, McCain creates a political Bride of Frankenstein that reaches that apogee in 48 hours.

Where Obama is attacked for being a doctrinaire liberal, McCain selects a member of the radical religious right wing.

Where Obama is attacked for not having traveled to Iraq, McCain selects someone whose greatest claim to foreign policy is living across the Bering Strait from Russia.

Where Obama is attacked for spending his post-college years as a community organizer, McCain selects a corrupt, small-town mayor.

Where Obama is attacked for being from the "foreign" state of Hawaii, McCain selects a quasi-secessionist from the Petro-state of Alaska—and then praises her for being in touch with “real American values.”

Where Obama is attacked for having an exemplary record at the nation's top universities, McCain selects someone who went to five colleges in six years.

Where Obama is attacked for being young and inexperienced, McCain selects someone younger and less experienced.

Where Obama is attacked for somehow injecting the race card in to the campaign, McCain plays the gender card, loud, often and without shame.

Where Obama and his family are paragons of traditional values—and yet Michelle is attacked for being Obama’s “Baby Mama,” the McCain declares that the decidedly untraditional family life of his running mate is off-limits.

But there is one even more important contrast between the two--and it’s one that the American people will remember come election day.

Obama believes this campaign is about you.

McCain believes you are pretty stupid.


Jon Taplin has the most succinct and apt description of the Republicans' Orwellian message I've seen here.

Who are the Ad Wizards?

After watching this puzzling concoction that Microsoft somehow thinks will help them...

...the difference in worldview between Microsoft and Apple has never been clearer. Microsoft hired Jerry Seinfeld.

Apple would have hired Larry David.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Stay Angry. Stay Focused.

But don't forget why we're doing this:

Hurricane Hillary

Hits Florida Monday.

Palin is firing up the base...the Democratic base

Less than 24 hours after her coming out screed in St. Paul, Sarah Palin has managed to unite the Democratic party almost as well as the Clintons did last week, and fire it up, almost as much as Obama.


Gloria Steinem, stalwart HRC supporter, writes a scathing editorial in the Los Angeles Times:
Palin: wrong woman, wrong message

Sarah Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Hillary Clinton. She is Phyllis Schlafly, only younger.

Froma Harrop, to date no Barack fan she, follows suit:
Don't They Have Birth Control up in Alaska?


One tries to untangle McCain's political calculations. The Schiavo case, creationism and similar excesses appeal to a passionate but small slice of the electorate. They are one reason voters are booting Republicans out of power. So while some religious conservatives may be "energized" by the Palin pick, most everyone else is revolted.
Across the country, independents and undecideds of all stripes were negative towards Palin's speech.

But now, in the most concrete example of how the Democratic base has gotten fired up. The Obama campaign has raised over $8 million since Palin delivered her polemic.

So thanks for that Sarah, and keep up the good work!

The SuperSystem Speaks -- Week 1

The SuperSystem -- with no knowledge of anything about football other than last year's records and a painstaking mathematical study of the NFL since 1988 -- makes the following predictions for Week 1:

NY GIANTS over Washington
BALTIMORE over Cincinnati
TENNESSEE over Jacksonville
MIAMI over NY Jets
NEW ENGLAND over Kansas City
NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay
PITTSBURGH over Houston
ATLANTA over Detroit
SEATTLE over Buffalo
SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona
CLEVELAND over Dallas
SAN DIEGO over Carolina
GREEN BAY over Minnesota
OAKLAND over Denver

This week's suicide pick: Indianapolis
Biggest remaining mismatch: St. Louis at New England, week 8

Shame on You, Big Bad Media!

Roger Simon apologizes:

We have asked questions this week that we should never have asked.

We have asked pathetic questions like: Who is Sarah Palin? What is her record? Where does she stand on the issues? And is she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

We have asked mean questions like: How well did John McCain know her before he selected her? How well did his campaign vet her? And was she his first choice?

Bad questions. Bad media. Bad.

Why Palin Laid An Egg

Forget for a moment that the whole evening's outcome was preordained.

Andrew Sullivan predicted Bill Kristol's column three hours before he filed it...and it turns out he was pretty much right.

(For the record, I was wrong. Yesterday, I predicted that Chris Matthews would call her speech a "grand slam." It turned out to be Wolf Blitzer instead.)

And forget even the comedic cognitive dissonance of her delivery: An Amy Poehler SNL character delivered by Tina Fey.

But the real problem with the speech is that she failed to convince anyone out there who McCain wasn't going to appeal to anyway.

This has been the central problem with choosing her to begin with. The gimmick didn't work: it started turning off undecided voters immediately.

Last night, Sarah Palin had a chance to introduce herself to America, and appeal to someone--anyone--other than social conservatives.

She failed

James Fallows: She brought no one new to the table:
To return to the main theme: both Reagan in 1964 and Obama in 2004 were effective because, apart from their personal skills, they added something to their party's constituency that had not been there before. Reagan began recruiting the "Reagan Democrats," starting with white Southerners. Obama tried to recruit people tired of divisive partisanship.

Sarah Palin, at least tonight, did not seem interested in bringing anyone new into the fold.

Nate Silver: She overreached.
I think some of you are underestimating the percentage of voters for whom Sarah Palin lacks the standing to make this critique of Barack Obama. To many voters, she is either entirely unknown, or is known as an US Weekly caricature of a woman who eats mooseburgers and has a pregnant daughter. To change someone's opinion, you have to do one of two things. Either, you have to be a trusted voice of authority, or you have to persuade them. Palin is not a trusted voice of authority -- she's much too new. But neither was this a persuasive speech. It was staccato, insistent, a little corny. It preached to the proverbial choir.

Even the Associated Press(!?) points out that she fibbed. A lot.

By going on the attack, she did not define herself as someone expanding the tent for the Republicans in an era where their party is shrinking. Instead, she's a fresh new face fighting the angry old culture war from a teleprompter.

That's not going to give anyone undecided about the McCain-Palin ticket much to rally around--but it should give her the inside track to be a defective, right-wing Rachel Maddow to O'Reilly's Olbermann on Fox.

Laura Ingraham, watch out!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Is America Really Ready...

...for its first Canadian vice-President?

Baked Alaska

Who would have thought six months ago that the least controversial and sanest Alaskan candidate would have been Mike Gravel?

Old Republican Tricks

Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign chief, is a disciple of none other than Karl Rove.

He's a scary mother--and he's a quick study.

Jake Tapper writes:

Did you read the National Enquirer this week?

I didn't.

Why am I bringing it up?

Because I just got an e-mail about it from the McCain-Palin campaign.

He goes on to quote Schmidt:

"The smearing of the Palin family must end... The efforts of the media and tabloids to destroy this fine and accomplished public servant are a disgrace...
"Members of this campaign went to off-the-record lunches with reporters today...and they were asked if she would do paternity tests to prove paternity for her last child. Smear after smear after smear, and it's disgraceful and it's wrong. And the American people are going to reject it overwhelmingly when they see her."

Tapper concludes that the McCain Camp is just uneccessarily fanning the flames of these rumors.

But actually what Schmidt is doing is far more insidious and Rovian.

By lumping all of these sources together: the traditional media, the tabloids, the blogosphere, Schmidt is trying to create this amorphous blob of a media strawman--one that is spending every single moment trying to crush his candidate.

But this is a complete fallacy. In fact, this is little more than the promise of a "Global War of Terror"-style Orwellian perpetual war that can never end, but delivers McCain a conceptual opponent that, unlike Barack Obama, he may actually be able to defeat.

(Steve Schmidt, artist rendition)

By the way, with respect to the National Enquirer story-- which before the ABC piece I had only seen referenced on the right-wing National Review blog section here.

Well, all I can say is: Wow. If that one turns out to be true--and pursued by the media--then John Edwards ended up doing the Democrats a serious solid this year.


It seems like the McCain people are turning the National Enquirer pushback up to an Edwardsian 11.

Me thinks the lady doth protest too much?

Chuck Todd Unwittingly Gets the Scoop of the Day!

Viva Chuck Todd!

What Republican pundits really believe behind closed doors (but with their microphones on):

Some highlights:

Peggy Noonan: "It's over.", "The most qualified? No!," "I think they went for this political bullshit about narratives."

Mike Murphy: "The worst thing about it? The greatest thing about McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical."

Just to be clear. Here is what Peggy Noonan wrote about Sarah Palin this morning in the Wall Street Journal...

(You know, when she thought the unwashed masses were actually listening):

More immediately and seriously on Palin:

Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing -- who is really one of them and who is not -- and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.

She could become a transformative political presence.

So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick.

Meg Whitman Didn't Get The Memo

She's a Republican woman, so she's supposed to be outraged about media sexism today, right?

Sorry John, no such luck:

"I actually think it's completely fair for the media to vet Sarah Palin."

Hmm, maybe she is on the list?

Fool me once

Wouldn't it be really damaging for someone like David Kuo to go on the talk shows and explain clearly how evangelicals are getting cynically played again by the Republicans--and this time from someone they never trusted and isn't even a true believer--unlike Bush?

Always Bet On Barack

British bookies don't like Sarah's chances:
Before the Republican senator's presidential campaign disclosed the pregnancy of Palin's 17-year-old daughter, bookmakers in Britain and Ireland were offering 20-1 odds or higher on a bet that she would be forced off the ticket, meaning a 1 pound ($1.78) bet would pay 20 pounds. Now that same bet will pay no more than 8 pounds.

And it's not helping McCain either:
"Ever since he appointed her, people have stopped betting on McCain," said David Williams of Ladbrokes in London. "He went down like a sack of potatoes as far as the punters are concerned."

The Race So Far

One of the best analyses (and I don't agree with all of the conclusions) I've seen so far.


1. Obama and his team made a tactical error by vacationing in early August. Our sense is that he lost a lot of momentum that his campaign had built up in the Spring and early Summer.

4. The Obama team won the expectations game regarding the Clinton speeches. For days the media wondered aloud how strong the Clinton(s) endorsement of Obama would be and acted stunned by the strength of their vocal support.

6. The image of Obama's convention speech will stick with voters. Simply put, the production was a show-stopper. Getting 84,000 people in a stadium to see a political speech was impressive enough, but combining that with the Greek columns, the fireworks, confetti shot from a cannon and grand orchestral music made this seem like a Hollywood blockbuster.

2. McCain's advertising has been vastly better than Obama's. As we pointed out in mid-August the McCain attacks on Obama in July and August kept this thing close.

4. With Labor Day in our rear-view mirror, the fundamentals of this campaign (a bad economy, very negative impressions of the incumbent and his party, a dissatisfied electorate) are locked in and they overwhelmingly favor Obama.

What the future holds:
If the Palin narrative becomes a "process" story. This would be devastating for McCain. The focus on Palin needs to be about her...and not how she was selected or vetted.

Why Sarah Palin Will Survive

As much fun as it is -- at least for us Democrats (and maybe certain Republicans) to watch the slow motion car wreck that is Sarah Palin, the truth of the matter is she is probably going to be fine.

John McCain knows that if he withdraw her from the ticket, his chances of winning go down even further than they are today. So he, and his coterie of advisors are going to double-down, triple-down and quadruple-down on her, even if it causes them to take on increasingly bizarre and tortured defenses of Palin's qualifications. ("She is a whiz at foreign policy because Alaska is our closest border to Russia," "Managing a small town is harder than a big city!" "Sexism, sexism, sexism, sexism!")

At the same time there are four factors right now--three from that mean ol' media--that are helping Palin's case, and are creating a perfect storm for Palin's reintroduction to America.

  1. The expectations for Palin's speech could not be lower. Because this rollout has been the Hindenberg of VP introductions, at this point if Sarah Palin comes out and speaks English instead of Inuit, the media (and the audience) will be shocked.
  2. The importance of Palin's speech could not be higher--especially for John McCain. With McCain's raison d'etre for running having been extinguished ("Experience!"), there is a growing narrative that his entire candidacy should now be judged on the merits of his most important decision to date: selecting a running mate. His early marks have not been kind. However, if Palin acquits herself and clears the low expectations, McCain is going to start crowing "I Told You So," and the media will have to take it.
  3. The media is predisposed to liking her speech. This is a given. For all of the hits that she's taken these past few days, the bottom line is that she is coming across as something of the victim here, and it's John McCain who seems like the jerk who put her in harm's way. Having said that, the media loves a great redemption story, so you can already write the platitudes in advance. (My cliche prediction, Chris Matthews or Pat Buchanan: "Knocked it out the park. Grand slam, home run!")
  4. She's probably pretty good at giving a speech. This is her bailiwick. She was a former news anchor for crying out loud.

So let's recap: Diminished expectations, increased importance, fixed judges and in her comfort zone.

I'd take the over.

Nate Silver agrees:
But basically, she shouldn't try and do too much. If she pours the media half a glass, they'll most likely be inclined to call it full.
Maureen Dowd cautions, she's not out of the woods yet:
When you make a gimmicky pick of an unknown, without proper vetting, there’s bound to be a sticky press conference sooner or later. I watched it happen with Ferraro and Quayle, and I watched Mondale and Poppy Bush curdle with embarrassment but plow through.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Palin's Speech

Ambinder twitters:
McCain aide on Palin speech: you will see what John McCain saw in her.

I guess that means Palin's speech will be only 15 minutes long?


You nominate the VP you have, not the VP you want

Freud must be a delegate.

Sarah Pawlenty?

Shock Therapy

It's never going to come to this, but stories even speculating on how this would go down cannot be a good sign for John McCain.

Here in St. Paul, talk of Palin has dominated the Republican convention—even more so than cable news—and by Monday night discussion among Republican operatives and reporters had turned to whether Palin would survive or become the first running mate since Thomas Eagleton in 1972 to leave a major-party ticket. On Monday, the InTrade futures market opened trading on whether Palin would withdraw before the election.

The Expectations Game

Is it me, or are there unrealistically high expectations for Messers Stewart and Colbert tonight?

McCain-Bialystock '08

First the Palin meltdown--and now Phil Gramm re-emerges and brings up whining again?

Are they intentionally trying to tank this election?

Wait a second...

Oh my God.

I think they are getting their $84 million public financing check on Thursday and skipping town on Cindy's private jet!

A $25,000 Watch?

Someone who knows about this sort of thing far better than I just pointed out that Cindy "The Only Way To Get Around Arizona is via Private Plane" McCain wears a $25,000 Chanel watch on the trail.

Just to put that in perspective: With that kind of scratch, you could almost buy fifty pairs of John McCain's shoes.

For the record...

The movie version of the Alaskan Governor with an unmarried, teenaged pregnant daughter has to be called "Juneau."

The Round Mound is profound

Sir Charles speaks.

So... long until Mark Halperin declares that John McCain "won the week"?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Realists not wanted

I was thinking this morning: what do the presumably "closet" Obamacans like Chuck Hagel, Richard Lugar and Colin Powell think about John McCain's pick?

Ambinder reports.

Many Republicans were already nervous about McCain. On Friday, the Palin pick soothed one set of Republicans -- the grass roots activists. But the Palin pick unnerved another group of Republicans: the Hagels, the Lugars, the Krauthammers, the Powells -- the realist foreign policy crowd. (Think Lugar was thrilled by Charlie Black's interpretation of the vice-presidency as a four-year tutelage at the feet of the master?).

So, a handy cheat sheet of Republicans who hate this pick:

  1. Anyone who is considered a serious candidate for 2012: Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee.
  2. More experienced and qualified senior Republican women who were passed over presumably because they are (at least sort of) pro-choice: Hutchinson, Christine Whitman, Olympia Snowe.
  3. More experienced and qualified senior Republican men who were passed over presumably because they are (at least sort of) pro-choice: Ridge.
  4. Equally inexperienced Governors who got passed over for some demographic reason: Jindal.
  5. McCain's unmarried friends who curiously never seemed to get mentioned much in the veepstakes: Crist, Graham.
  6. Republicans who are not batshit crazy about foreign policy: Hagel, Lugar, Powell.
  7. Usless ex-Democratic Senators who are looking for a way out of their ineluctable political irrelevancy: Lieberman.

So, which Republicans do like this pick again? Ted Stevens?

Just Dobson, Perkins and Limbaugh? Weren't they McCain's "agents of intolerance" in 2000?

By the way...

..what kind of mother--knowing that her unmarried, teenaged daughter was pregnant--would then agree to run for Vice President, realizing full well that her daughter would be subject to national media scrutiny over her pregnancy?

Just asking.

The vanishing fundraising window

Earlier this month, I argued that Obama would have had one additional strategic benefit by waiting until just before the convention (and by extension, the end of the primary season) to pick Clinton as his running mate:

Clinton’s presence on the ticket may be able to gin up Republican fundraising…except, because they are taking public financing, the McCain campaign will have precisely one week to both collect AND spend that money.

In short, absent some increase in RNC money and possibly 527 money, for the most part McCain’s advantage here would be completely neutralized by the clock. If Hillary had been the VP nominee all summer long the Republicans would be dining out on this–but now they simply would not have enough time to do it.

Now, obviously Obama didn't choose Clinton--and at the same time, much crowing has come from the McCain camp about how much money they've raised based on picking Palin.

But their problem is: they are about to run out the same clock as I outlined above!

It is important to note, however, that after McCain makes his acceptance speech Thursday, he can no longer use any money raised previously. This is referred to as "primary" money.

Advantage Obama: less coverage after Denver

One discernible pattern this year: after every major Obama success (Iowa, running the table in February, the Philadelphia Speech, Berlin), there is a period of intense media adoration, followed predictably by a fairly severe backlash against the Media stoked by Obama's opponents.

Think about:
  • The backlash against MSNBC's coverage after Iowa.
  • The Saturday Night Live attacks at the end of February.
  • The "Obama gives a good speech, but doesn't do enough shots" attack before the Pennsylvania primary.
  • The celebrity attack after Berlin.
All four of these attacks proved to be fairly damaging in the short term, leading in some measure to Obama's defeats in New Hampshire, Ohio and Texas, Pennsylvania and the narrowing of head-to-head polls against McCain in August.

Now consider what happened last week in Denver. Obama delivered another speech that was roundly praised and lauded for clearing the extremely high expectations that had been set. As Chuck Todd said, the Republicans didn't even know how to respond.

Good lord, even Pat Buchanan was impressed.

In the past, what would have followed was a media echo chamber fueled narrative praising Obama to the high heavens. That, of course, would be followed by some sort of McCain crybabying about the media's fawning, and then an attack undescoring this theme.

Except this time it didn't happen.

By trying to be oh-so-clever and stepping on Obama's speech, the McCain campaign did succesfully turn the narrative towards themselves, but in doing so they missed out on exploiting their favorite topic: not Obama's speeches, but rather the coverage of those speeches.

Obama gains by directly appealing to a record 38 million people watching his speech--and he gains because McCain failed to mount their Rovian attack on that strength.

Now the idea of "Obama fatigue" has been debated, and largely debunked. But, by going for the shock value of the Palin pick, the McCain camp sacrificed their favorite (and possibly most succesful) attack to date.

And that attack has nothing to do with "experience."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The lost Goldie Hawn movie

People have picked up on the idea that Palin's nomination feels like some sort of lost Goldie Hawn movie from the 1980's about a housewife who wins a radio contest and becomes Vice-President of the United States.

Maureen Dowd probably does it better than anyone here.

Dowd's biggest problem is that she seems to secretly want to be Aaron Sorkin--but it works this time.

(Ironically, Aaron Sorkin's biggest problem is that he seems to secretly want to be Maureen Dowd.)

Only Wolfson Could Go To Denver

Well, he convinced at least one voter.

For many of us who were part of the Clinton campaign, Sen. Barack Obama's appeal was something we understood only in the abstract -- data in polls, faces at a televised rally.


Many of us arrived in Denver reluctantly, feeling like uninvited guests at someone else's party. What the media described as division felt more like defeat.

The setting raised the bar for Obama's speech. The task before him: Explain what change meant and how it would be accomplished while weaving his own biography into the fabric of America's and laying out an appropriate contrast with John McCain.

No one in recent history had attempted this kind of a political conversation with 75,000 people. Barack Obama pulled it off.

I'm afraid she's awakened a sleeping giantess

Yeah. She's pissed.

Mrs. Clinton’s friends said she was galled that Ms. Palin might try to capitalize on a movement that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, built among women in the primaries.

Republican Koan

If there is no convention, is there still a bounce?

Why the Palin pick is and will continue to be a disaster

(besides the obvious)

1. As we speak, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Mike Huckabee and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (among others) have to be:
  • pissed.
  • think that McCain has just thrown the election.
  • damned if they'll let some punk-nosed half-term Governor from the North Pole be the future standard bearer of the Republican party.
Already, there have been reports that Pawlenty and Romney feel like chumps.

Kay Bailey Hutchinson was, umm, less than effusive on CNN.

Mike Huckabee hasn't publicly said that he was angry he wasn't vetted...on the other hand, he hasn't exactly been John McCain's best friend either.

For all of the conspiracy talk about how the Clintons secretly want Obama to lose, any one of these four is actually more dangerous to McCain behind the scenes, for the simple reason that every single action of the Clintons is being watched, with the media assuming the worst of them. On the other hand, the spurned VP picks will be much more able to operate under the cover of night.

2. Speaking of the Clintons, on what planet is Hillary Clinton going to think it's ok for Palin to steal her "18 million cracks" and essentially draft on he groundbreaking run? I would wager that ore than anything that happened last week, the cynical selection of Palin will do more to embolden the Clintons--and their followers---to Obama's side.

3. While she may energize the fringy right of the Republican base (an area where McCain has had difficulty) she completely alienates the undecideds. Andrew Sullivan notes:
But among the critical undecideds, the Palin pick made only 6 percent more likely to vote for McCain; and it made 31 percent less likely to vote for him. 49 percent said it would have no impact, and 15 percent remained unsure. More to the point: among undecideds, 59 percent said Palin was unready to be president. Only 6 percent said she was. If the first criterion for any job is whether you're ready for it, this is a pretty major indictment of the first act of McCain's presidential leadership.
4. She is going to gaffe. And gaffe big.

James Fallows:
Let's assume that Sarah Palin is exactly as smart and disciplined as Barack Obama. But instead of the year and a half of nonstop campaigning he has behind him, and Joe Biden's even longer toughening-up process, she comes into the most intense period of the highest stakes campaign with absolutely zero warmup or preparation. If she has ever addressed an international issue, there's no evidence of it in internet-land.

The smartest person in the world could not prepare quickly enough to know the pitfalls, and to sound confident while doing so, on all the issues she will be forced to address. This is long before she gets to a debate with Biden; it's what the press is going to start out looking for.
5. And just in case you still aren't convinced, here's 51 more reasons why this pick is disaster.

Dem VP Fun Facts

After reading Gerry Ferraro's comments praising Palin, McCain and knocking Obama, I realized the following facts:

  • Of the living Democratic vice-presidential nominees (not including his own), Obama has been endorsed by 3 (Mondale, Gore, Edwards), McCain has been all but endorsed by 2 (Ferarro and Lieberman).
  • Of the failed Democratic VP nominees, McCain leads 2-1.
  • Of past Democratic VP nominees that are not national jokes and/or roundly abhorred by the Democratic party, Obama leads Gore to zero.

Bottom line: We Democrats have nominated some pretty horrible VPs over the years.

(Though the Republican score: Dole, Quayle, Cheney and now Palin is not actually better...)