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Politicians often say one thing and believe or do another. It comes with the territory. But John McCain’s hypocrisy in his desperation to become president is breathtaking, even for a politician. And his running mate is no better.

“My friends,” he keeps saying, without giving many of us any reason to want to be his friend. Consider this fun video “My Friends, the Musical” and enjoy it while watching one example after another of the Republican hypocrisy we’re being asked to swallow this time around. Thanks, but no thanks, Senator.

CROSSPOSTED FROM FOODPLUSPOLITICS.COM Ed Rollins, who led Republican Ronald Reagan to a 49-state re-election win in 1984, says the race is over for John McCain and predicts Barack Obama will win in a landslide.

On CNN, Rollins told Anderson Cooper the GOP’s fear and smear campaign against Obama isn’t working and that it’s too late for McCain to make up lost ground on the economy, the issue most people except the rabid Republican base want to hear about. Obama “has met the threshhold,” of leadership he said, recalling 1980 when Americans wanted to get rid of Jimmy Carter and did, once Reagan met that threshhold.

Rollins also sees the potential for enormous Republican losses in Congress, especially in the Senate, predicting the possibility of losing enough seats to give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority. He said McCain has to give his party something to run on, needs to think about his legacy.

Kathleen Parker, the conservative columnist who wrote last week that Sarah Palin is out of her league and that if BS were currency, Palin could rescue Wall Street by herself, has gotten “vicious, threatening” mail because of her view.

Writing in today’s Washington Post about the reactions to that column, Parker says,

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a traitor and an idiot. Also, my mother should have aborted me and left me in a dumpster, but since she didn’t, I should “off” myself.

To those who accused her of not being a “true” conservative, she replies,

But what is a true conservative? One who doesn’t think or question and who marches in lock step with The Party? The emotional pitch of many comments suggests an overinvestment in Palin as “one of us.”

Pointing out, correctly, that both sides are partisan and we have become a partisan nation, Parker offers this observation:

Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn’t sound American to me, but Stalin would approve.Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different from one’s own, we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk.

Everyone, she says, is to blame. I agree.

Compared with most European nations, ours is still an adolescent but that does not mean we need to remain mired in our national adolescence. It’s past time to move beyond political puberty but unfortunately for us — and the rest of the world — it won’t happen this election cycle. And we are all the losers for that.

First you wince. Or cringe. Maybe you’re embarrassed for her. Then you shake your head and wonder for the umpteeenth time WTH was John McCain thinking when he picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Finally, you snicker.

All that brought about by a brief exchange during Palin’s latest major interview — her third, if you count the infomerical masquerading as an interview with Murdoch’s Sean Hannity — this one, with Katie Couric. The topic was that slippery slope: foreign policy experience.  Here’s the transcript:

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–

COURIC: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

If you’d like to watch it in all its stammering, deer moose-in-the-headlights glory,  the video was is here at CBS. Now, a “content unavailable” message comes up and will probably remain until after the segment airs on tonight’s Evening News.

When the McCain handlers announced the Couric interview, my first thought was puffball questions. Then I remembered Couric’s mastery on the Today show, her skill at interviewing celebrities and the instantly-famous. And that’s all Palin has shown herself to be. She’s demonstrated no depth,  no knowledge of anything beyond her fundamentalist, faith-healing church, her brazen ability to play fast and loose with the truth and her eager willingness to take handouts in the form of federal earmarks. She has also displayed her own talent for mocking, with her smarmy acceptance speech and dismissive comment about community organizers.

She is as shallow as a puddle in the Sahara.

Every state in the northern tier of the US, including mine, borders Canada. Some in the south border Mexico. Yep, our neighbors are foreign countries. She’s right about that.  So that gives millions of us foreign policy experience and frankly, by that ludicrous standard, I have more than she does.

Alaska’s Precious Snowflake might be able to see Russia, but I’ve been there. She refueled in Ireland. I lived there. My much-renewed passport is not newly-minted like hers.

Come to think of it, I can see Vermont from my favorite pick-your-own apple orchard. I can be a governor!

I’ve been critical of Sarah Palin and her shortcomings, as I perceive them, so perhaps it’s time to show what a good vice presidential candidate does on the campaign trail. Unlike Palin, Barack Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden, is allowed to appear alone and he did earlier this week in St. Louis.

After her dismal display of readiness for the vice presidency during her interviews with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Sarah Palin has decided to sit down for what amounts to a do-over with a certified friendly questioner, the conservative and wildly partisan Sean Hannity of Murdoch’s Fox News Channel.

The New York Times says Hannity, a talk show host and not a journalist by any stretch of the imagination, will interview Palin next week.

Palin has been roundly criticized today in the print media and online for her  performance with Gibson,  especially her lack of knowledge about the Bush Doctrine. She seemed never to have heard of it, prompting NPR to call it “squirm-inducing” and I called it “painful” and “embarrassing.”

You can watch that excerpt on this blog at She’s Ready to be VP?

I don’t know who should be more insulted: we the voters for being treated with the dismissive disdain that marked so much of Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech or Palin herself for being treated like a stereotyped beauty pageant queen, a vacuous airhead who can’t answer a question. She’s being kept away from the press, presumably until she can answer questions to the satisfaction of the McCain campaign handlers.

What, she won elective office without ever holding a news conference? If she needs to study up on her party’s issues, what business does she have being a heartbeat away, especially when that heart is 72 years old?

Frank Rich puts it so well in today’s New York Times:

“We still don’t know a lot about Palin except that she’s better at delivering a speech than McCain and that she defends her own pregnant daughter’s right to privacy even as she would have the government intrude to police the reproductive choices of all other women. Most of the rest of the biography supplied by her and the McCain camp is fiction.”

Since nobody can ask her anything, bloggers might as well. I agree with these questions Michael Seitzman listed at the Huffington Post, in a piece called If you really “work for me”, then interview for the job.

1 – Did you really ban books from that library up there? Did you fire a librarian over it? Can you tell us your feelings about censorship in a democracy?

2 – Did you really tell the secessionist group in Alaska that they were doing great work? This same group whose leader said in an interview that, “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government?”

3 – Did you abuse the governor’s office by trying to get your brother-in-law fired from the state police?

4 – Exactly what is it about Alaska’s “proximity to Russia” that qualifies as “foreign policy experience?”

5 – When Campbell Brown on CNN asked McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds to name one decision that you made concerning the Alaska National Guard that qualifies you for the office you seek, why is that considered “over the line?” Do the People no longer have the right to know the candidates’ qualifications before electing them to office?

6 – When you say that the Iraq war is a mission from God, what exactly do you mean? And which God are we talking about? Exactly how far does that God want us to go? When does God think we should withdraw? What does God think about the war in Afghanistan? Russia? China? Does God have any thoughts on the housing crisis?

7 – When you said in your acceptance speech that, “Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America … he’s [Obama’s] worried that someone won’t read them their rights,” are you suggesting that we should suspend the use of Miranda Rights for anyone deemed by the government to be a terrorist? What legal process would deem an arrested individual a “terrorist?” What other basic rights do you feel should be abolished in the “War on Terror?”

8 – What are your thoughts about the separation of church and state? When you say you want to teach “creationism” in schools, what other elements of Christianity should be taught in schools? In order to design that curriculum, would priests have to be put on our school boards? Should any other religions be taught in school? Judaism? Islam? Buddhism? Or do the children growing up in those households not have the same rights as the ones growing up in yours? Should Christianity also be incorporated into the offices of government?

And I’ll add my own question – Why did you sit quietly in your church August 17, not even a month ago, as anti-Semitic rants spewed from the pulpit? When terrorist attacks on Israelis were described as God’s “judgment of unbelief” of Jews who haven’t embraced Christianity? What you listened to was this:

“Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It’s very real. When [the speaker’s son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment — you can’t miss it.” 

Why haven’t you denounced that, Ms. Palin?

Update: McCain campaign chief Rick Davis told Fox today (9/7) that Palin won’t do interviews until they know she’ll be treated with “respect and deference.”

Sarah Palin supported the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it.

Click to enlarge. Sarah Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention was her opportunity to introduce herself and let us learn more about her. To let us hear from her own lips, even if someone else wrote the words, what she might do as vice president, how a GOP victory could help this country at a troubled time and why she is quaified to be vice president.

We got none of that. I didn’t expect her to explain her own Troopergate or why she wanted to ban books at her local library or how she reconciles being glad her pregnant teenager made “the choice” to marry the father while opposing choice for American women as a whole. In this respect, she did not disappoint.

But the speech was flash, not substance. Red meat for a bloodthirsty base looking to be fed. She achieved that with a smug, divisive, sarcastic and often-belittling speech that was reminiscent of Spiro Agnew, the combative vice president who resigned in disgrace a few years before his boss, Richard Nixon, resigned in even greater disgrace.

And it was a speech of half-truths and distortions. I did some fact checking with the help of Politifact and the Associated Press.

The pork-barrel money for the now-infamous bridge to nowhere
She said
– “I told the Congress ‘thanks, but no thanks,’ on that Bridge to Nowhere.”
In fact – She supported it as a candidate and opposed it only as governor and the project was nearly dead. For more on her earmarks in general and this one in particular, see Flip-flop Award – McCain Again.

Taxes
She said – Barack Obama supports plans to raise “income taxes … payroll taxes.”
In fact – He supports higher taxes only for those making more than a quarter-million dollars a year.

That state jet
She said – “That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.”
In fact – Yes, she did. But it got no bids at all. It was sold offline.

Experience
She said – “There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate.”
In fact – I will quote the AP here: “Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.”

A real whopper
This was on her behalf when former Arkansas governor and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Palin “got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States.”
In fact – Palin ran for mayor twice. She got 616 votes in 1996 and, up for re-election, 909 votes in 1999. That’s a total of 1,525. Even though Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses in January, he remained on the primary ballots in 23 states and the District of Columbia. He got 76,165 votes.

What I took away from this speech is that Sarah Palin showed she can be a good vice-presidential candidate in the long tradition of VP candidates serving as pit bulls. She did not show she can be a good vice president.

With or without lipstick.

There were so many distasteful and divisive elements in Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech last night — to say nothing of half-truths and distortions (reality check to follow is here)  — but one of her least classy moments was her mocking of community organizers: “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Take on Obama or Biden by name, fine. That’s politics. But the cultural warfare the Republicans have returned to does no one any good.

It was refreshing, then, to hear and see the honest reaction of CNN analyst Roland Martin, whose parents were community organizers.

So she’s giving her speech in New York — Obama has already clinched the nomination — and she thanks voters in South Dakota, which went for her, and said, “You had the last say.”

Wrong, Hillary. Montana is still voting. You’re going to lose there. Deal with it.

Then she finally gets around to congratulating Obama and his supporters…for their campaign. Period.

And then she repeated the fallacy of winning more votes, blah blah blah. People in every state chose who’s most ready, chose her. More blah blah.

Bitch. What a bitch!

And she just mentioned November and now it’s global warming and health care and blah blah campaign speech and now environment as if maybe she thinks Al Gore might back her when he never liked her? Denial. Bitch in denial.

Now she’s promising to keep working for me — no thanks, Hill — and if she ever, ever admits Obama won, I’ll come back and update this.

OH!!! She just said she wants to end the war in Iraq! The war she voted to authorize!

Hill, please get off my TV screen, k?

9:49PM: “I will be making no decisions tonight.” Delusional. And never admitted she lost.

 

If you’ve ever wondered what could possibly put right wing gasbag Rush Limbaugh and an equally gasbaggy Hillary Clinton supporter on the same page, it’s that purported-to-exist tape of Michelle Obama using the word whitey. They’re both beside themselves about it.

I don’t think it exists.

Sunday, the Clinton supporter, Larry Johnson, promised on his staunchly anti-Obama blog that by 9 AM Monday he would post a bombshell. The appointed hour came and went, all of Monday came and went, and nothing. He is convinced the tape exists, though, writing (and I refuse to give his blog a link) this tooth fairy explanation:  “I have not seen it but I have heard from five separate sources who have spoken directly with people who have seen the tape. ”

Third-hand sourcing like that reminds me of a song from about 100 years ago, about the then-Prince of Wales who went on to become Edward VIII who abdicated in 1936. The song goes like this: I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales.

Johnson, Limbaugh and to a lesser degree, Fox News, and their devoted sheeple are going on and on about the tape and how it could give Hillary the nomination justlikethat. Like people predicting the end of the world and changing the date when the earth keeps turning on its axis, we are now told to expect the bombshell after Barack Obama wraps up the nomination.

And if it does exist? Whitey is hardly a slur. It’s not like honky. Whitey doesn’t offend me, and I am one, although when I was a girl I was a Brownie and looked terminally dorky in that little beanie.

Whitey is just a word although there are plenty of noteworthy Whiteys. From left to right – click to enlarge – we have baseball great Whitey Ford, Whitey’s Ice Cream of Rock Island, Illinois — order online at whiteysicecream.com — and Whitey Bulger, a mobster who’s been missing for 13 years, but maybe you have to be a Bostonian or an FBI guy to care about him. There’s also Whitey Herzog, but one athlete is enough.

Rounding out the gallery is my favorite Whitey, the one who hung out with the Beav on TV.

Stanley Fafara was a child actor who played Beaver’s friend Hubert ‘Whitey’ Whitney on Leave It to Beaver, which is still shown on TV Land. He died in September 2003 in Portland, Oregon of liver and kidney failure after surgery for a constricted intestine. He was 54.

Whitey. Say it. Whitey, whitey, whitey, whitey. Whitey!

There now. That didn’t hurt a bit, did it?

Scott McClellan’s upcoming book, What Happened, is in the top spot at Amazon.com, four days before its official release. Early leaks and excerpts have had the White House in overdrive, trying to discredit McClellan’s harsh claims and the former news secretary himself. His critics have called him disgruntled, a turncoat and a sellout.

McClellan will be online tomorrow at noon at washingtonpost.com to discuss the book.

Republicans weren’t the only ones caught off-guard by the book. MSNBC reports, “Even some Democratic bureaucrats expressed surprise, saying that it is highly unusual for a former high-ranking staffer to turn on a president as McClellan has.”

An excerpt can be found here at NBC/MSNBC and Jonathan Yardley’s review of the book in The Washington Post is here.

 Related post: McClellan: Iraq was a propaganda campaign

From January 2008. Iowa hearts Barack ObamaSenator Barack Obama will be in Iowa Tuesday night, not in Kentucky or Oregon, which hold primaries that day. Iowa gave him his first victory with its caucuses in January and would be a fitting location to declare a victory for the nomination.

He is only 17 elected delgates shy of a majority. Kentucky is expected to go strongly for Hillary Clinton and he’s not spent much time there, but Democratic party rules divide delegates proportionally. Oregon is more likely to be Obama territory and he is making a strong effort. It’s possible Oregon could give him the nomination.

If so, the symbolism of the Oregon-Iowa connection could be a powerful challenge to Clinton’s playing of the race card.

His win in largely-white Iowa catapulted him to front-runner status. Oregon is similarly white; people living in Portland, its largest city, describe it as the whitest major city in America. Polls show Obama doing well there.

The read of the day is a Washington Post story, Racist Incidents Give Some Obama Campaigners Pause. Finally, the mainstream media is taking a serious, long look at the undercurrents in some places.

Reporter Kevin Merida writes about racism in Kokomo and Muncie IN, from vandalism at an Obama office to unabashed bigotry. He spoke with a 20-year old white Obama supporter who was campaigning in a Wal-Mart parking lot:

“The first person I encountered was like, ‘I’ll never vote for a black person,…People just weren’t receptive.”

He also tells the story of retiree Victoria Switzer, who was working the phone bank one night:

One caller, Switzer remembers, said he couldn’t possibly vote for Obama and concluded: “Hang that darky from a tree!”

Vile, vile stuff and inexcusable in the 21st Century. When will America grow up and move on?

In another town, in West Virginia, an AP reporter spoke to voters who, after hearing it in their own words, leave me shaking my head.

An old Paul Simon song begins, Why don’t we stop fooling ourselves? The game is over, over, over.

How many times, in how many ways, will Hillary Clinton have to hear that before she believes it?

This report from CBS News sums up the situation.

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