Monday, September 29, 2008

Stacking the Deck? 

Via Josh Marshall, the McCain campaign is complaining that debate moderator will have stacked the deck against Sarah Palin if it asks more, or even an equal number of, questions concerning foreign policy, as that area is perceived as Joe Biden's strength and (one of) Sarah Palin's weaknesses.

Frankly, I would be shocked if -- in the current environment, when a third of the first Presidential debate was converted from foreign to domestic policy -- Ifill asks more than half of her questions about foreign policy. She will probably ask less. But if she does ask half, McCain has no reason to complain. Both campaigns agreed to Ifill, knowing full well that when she moderated the last (Cheney-Edwards) VP debate she split her questions almost exactly equally between foreign and domestic issues. Based on word count, excluding Ifill's opening remarks and the candidates' closing statements, the debate was 51.2% on domestic matters and 48.8% on foreign policy.

That said, if the McCain campaign is hoping for a focus on domestic issues, you have to assume they are not looking forward to Thursday night.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

I'm Fred Vincy and I Approved This Message 

Much attention to James Carville's completely unwarranted defense of John McCain as not knowing about the dishonest ads his campaign is running and he is on record as approving:
But I refuse to believe that John McCain agreed to airing this spot. I know he says I'm John McCain, I paid for it but they have that in the can and they do it. It I don't think he knew about it. I really don't.
Less attention to why John McCain appears in the ads saying he approves them. It's because of a provision in his signature legislative accomplishment, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act (although I believe Ron Wyden was the author of this particular provision). In other words, no one is less entitled to the benefit of the doubt accorded by Carville than is John McCain.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Obama's Earmarks 

With the McCain campaign trying to make a big deal out of Obama's earmarks -- and to pretend that Palin hasn't been an even bigger advocate of earmarks -- it's worth taking a look at what Obama was requesting those earmarks for. He has a list on his Senate website for the most recent year (requested in 2007). I'm sure reasonable people could differ on the worthiness of these various projects, but for the most part they seem to be directed at entirely reasonable needs of Obama's state -- upgrading and maintaining dams, roads, hospitals, and museums, education, AIDS, national security/emergency preparedness, etc.

For a sample, here's the biggest one:
Army Corps of Engineers in Illinois, to support project UMR-IWW System Navigation Study, IL, IA, MN, MO, & WI, $24,000,000

Pre-Construction Engineering & Design (PED) of seven new 1,200-foot lock chambers and ecosystem restoration. Timely PED work for navigation is consistent with a recent study indicating that without new 1,200-foot lock chambers at the identified seven locations, American farmers stand to lose over $562 million annually in lost exports and domestic demand by 2020. Manufacturers and consumers also stand to lose from deteriorating infrastructure on our " Third Coast" in addition to the 400,000 jobs sustained by this transportation corridor. Construction of these new lock chambers will create at least 48 million man-hours, or up to 6,000 construction jobs each year, providing immediate economic benefits through high-skilled labor, and spurring much-needed economic growth that has historically occurred through investing in our lock and dam infrastructure.


Monday, September 08, 2008


Gallup says we're ten points down.

The media is giving up on having a serious interview of Sarah Palin.

The Obama Campaign has to stop acting like it's ahead and hit McCain hard. This is the moment, as when the Swift Boat ads came out in 2004, when the tone and structure of the campaign are likely to be set.

The ads that McCain represents the same policies as Bush are fine, but they are not enough. McCain says it's not true. To win that fight, you have to attack his character, his integrity. There's plenty to work with, from the Keating Five to his serial flip-flops over the last eight years.

But it has to be hard, and it has to be memorable.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Rather Redux 

What is Alaska State Senator Hollis French thinking?
ABC News has exclusively learned that Alaska Senator Hollis French will announce today that he is moving up the release date of his investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her office to get the Alaska public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, fired. The results of the investigation were originally scheduled for release Oct. 31 but will now come almost three weeks earlier, according to sources....

The Alaska state senator running an investigation of Gov. Palin had accused the McCain campaign of using stall tactics to prevent him from releasing his final report by Oct. 31, four days before the November election.

"It's likely to be damaging to the Governor's administration," said Senator Hollis French, a Democrat, appointed the project manager for a bi-partisan State Senate Legislative Counsel Committee investigation.
Maybe it's legitimate to move up the date -- Palin's now refusing to testify, so there will be less evidence to weigh -- but the change comes across as an effort to embarrass Palin before the election (rather than simply to finish a legislatively-approved investigation). (Of course, it may actually help McCain-Palin to get damaging information out there in early October, rather than days before the election, but that's besides the point.)

And why did French feel compelled to opine on what the investigation would show before it's completed. Of course, in the real world, good investigators know where an investigation is leading, but publicly stating those views is at best unprofessional and at worst evidence of bias.

Remember how, in 2004, real questions about George Bush's National Guard service were quickly dropped when Dan Rather relied on a forged document? I have a strong feeling that we may see a replay of that with Troopergate.


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