Sarah Palin ordering lunch

I happened to be in a Cracker Barrel in Witchita, KS the other day, when Sarah Palin and John McCain walked in to order lunch.  Like the rest of the Universe, I can't take my eyes off of Sarah Palin for two seconds, so I listened as hard as I could to the two of them ordering lunch.  The conversation struck me as a little bizarre.  Here's a rough transcript:

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"Bring your kid to work" day at U.N. next week

Classic.  Just classic.  I'm picturing some potato chips and two-liter soda bottles on a white table in the mail room.  

Republican candidate John McCain plans to introduce the Alaska governor to heads of state at the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, although specific names weren't yet firmed up. "The meetings will give her some exposure and experience with foreign leaders," the strategist said. "It's a great idea." palin-to-meet-foreign-leaders-at-un?mo d=blog

Now, if we could just get some shots of her carrying McCain's golf clubs.

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This is attack politics

It's been so long since any of us have been on the side of an attack machine, that it's forgivable that we're all a little uncomfortable doing it.  But let's stipulate two things up front.  First, the people who design messaging for political campaigns are professionals.  Picture a group of coffee-addled cool kids in thick glasses and trucker hats sitting around a round white table with laptops at 2am.  These are the people designing these ads.

Second, let's stipulate that the attacks orchestrated by Mark Penn in the primaries really were designed to be racial in nature.  This was disclosed in the "Clinton Memos" earlier this summer.  So all those times the Clinton team just magically stumbled upon a combination of words that seemed to conjure racial images.  Those weren't accidents.  That was the plan.  Furthermore, the ambiguity of the attacks gave Clinton plausible deniability in the whole thing.

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Lipstick on TWO Pigs !!

Without any further ado: Ns

If this doesn't become a central part of Obama's campaign, I will never, ever vote again.  Ever.

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What we all learned from McCain's house gaffe

So the Democrats appear to be on the offensive once again.  Clearly this is because Russia is retreating from Georgia, and apparently honoring it's pledge not to stay there permanently.  And also because the Bush administration has just adopted Obama's "timetable" for withdrawing American troops from Iraq.  Combine these two stories with Ben Bernanke's statements today that the current financial crisis is probably the worst he can remember, and we have all the makings of a Democratic comeback after Obama appeared to be faltering.

What's that you say?  These aren't the main stories people are talking about?  What, then, could possibly change the momentum in a race like this?

Oh yeah, images of Brittany Spears, Paris Hilton, and now McCain forgetting how many houses his wealthy wife owns.  These are the kinds of silly things upon which the future of our country pivots.  Obama was supposed to usher in an era of new politics.  And yet, we find, probably to no one's surprise, that foreign policy, economics, and nuance just don't cut it.  It takes good old-fashioned zingers and gotcha moments which obviously "define" a candidate much more then, say, their thirst for more wars.

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Obama's map as it is now and ever shall be

Aside from the to and fro of Obama's VP pick.  And aside from simmering questions about cones and crosses.  There is a palpable sense of discord in the left-wing blathersphere because Obama's polling numbers seem to be tanking a bit from their stratospheric heights of yestermonth.

I look at quite regularly and even understand some of what is said there.  That site has become, I believe, the gold standard of election forecasting.  Their model has Obama maintaining a slim, although eroding, lead in the polls with overall a 56 % shot at winning.  Beyond that particular site, others have recently noted the erosion in Obama's lead.  Particularly TPM and several bloggers on this site.  However, I believe that the numbers as they look now are not only realistic, but demonstrate the best way for Obama to win in November and offer the Democrats the building blocks for long-term political ascendancy.

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A new perspective on Mr. 25%

The latest CBS poll has George Walker Bush at 25 % approval rating.  These polls sometimes come back with a bogus answer or two, but in the CBS poll, Bush appears to be consistently under 30 % these days.  To state the obvious, that is remarkably bad.

Living in these times, it is easy to forget just what an awful eight years this has been.  In the interest of being honest, I never liked Bush, even when 90 % of the country did, but when he ran against Gore, I didn't see the real harm in electing this guy.  His 2000 campaign was predicated on being a centrist Republican.  This was back when I was naive enough to think that there was such a thing.  It seemed to me like it would be good for the Republican party to be pulled toward the center by this young, vibrant sleazeball.  I figured - "Give him his four years.  It'll look a lot like Clinton's third term plus a few extra bungles."

As it turned out, he was quite possibly the worst person to put in that position (other than me, of course) for what followed.  For what had to follow.

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On nutjob talk radio, it's all Obama all the time

I had to travel for work today and so found myself in the car for several hours.  On the way to the work site this morning, I tuned into Rush (yes, that Rush) for a few minutes.  Not long, but long enough to hear him indirectly call teachers, nurses, and social workers "losers and nobodys".  I wonder if he interacted with any nurses while in drug rehab?  I also heard about 7-year-old girl Obama trashed America to.  And then I heard about Michelle Obama.  And then more Obama, and then more Obama, and then more Obama.

On the way back from work I tuned into Sean Hannity for a few minutes (yes, that Sean Hannity).  Just long enough to hear about a twelve year-old girl Obama trashed America to (maybe these were two separate incidents?).  And then I heard about Michelle Obama, and then more about Obama, and then more about Obama.

Interestingly, I heard almost nothing about McCain.

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At least he didn't say "grave and gathering"

Obama visited Israel today and made the logical and politically necessary speech of calling a nuclear-armed Iran a "grave threat".  He's right, of course, in the sense that any nuclear-armed country (including Israel and India) are a grave threat.  But still, this sounds a little too reminiscent of Bush's "grave and gathering" alliterative characterization of pre-shitstorm Iraq.

Obama, contrary to the shouting Fox commentators, has always been a centrist.  That's ok with me.  In part, because I think he's the good kind of centrist and not the Joe Lieberman, Tom Friedman neo-liberal kind of centrist.  But I was hoping for a steadier hand in Middle Eastern affairs.  Bush set a very high bar for non-involvement (read: complete capitulation) in Middle Eastern affairs.  So even if Obama manages to eat a falafal or two he'll have greater involvement than Bush.  Nevertheless, we can't have another four years of axis-of-evil nonsense.

We know that a nuclear-armed Iran is a dangerous thing.  But an Iran with nuclear power done in cooperation with French and Russian envoys is not scary at all.  The only logical goal is to bring Iran into the fold.  Help them grow their economy and show them the benefits of living in the 21st century.  The venue for Obama's speech today probably prevented him from saying anything concilliatory about Iran.  But, frankly, I would take silence over another parsed sentence which inevitably leads to more dead civilians.

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What will be the biggest surprise when Bush leaves?

Talking Points Memo is running a story describing how the Department of Justice is currently running a 10-year backlog on whistleblower cases.  They link this to the fraud and graft going on in Iraq. m/2008/07/todays_must_readof.php

Just think of the goodies tied up in that backlog.  You don't think any of this is intentional, do you?  Do you?  Imagine being a young staffer with the incoming administration and looking through those files.  Shock and awe.

This got me thinking:  What other surprises will await us in 2009 when Bush leaves office?

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