Saturday, January 26, 2008

Two against one

I'll address the design change in an upcoming post, but something is immediately on my mind, so that will have to wait. I'm watching SC election returns and Clinton is speaking -- not Hillary, but Bill. So the Clintons -- he's referring to the campaign as "we" -- get two speeches on national television tonight. "We are going on to February 5," he says. "We congratulated Obama on his victory tonight," he says.

I don't necessarily feel here or there about this, but it is jarring. The signs say "Hillary," and yet it's "we" who move on to February 5. Forget the argument about whether or not it is fair for Obama to be up against two people. Forget all the domestic squabbling we've witnessed over the last two weeks. This really does feel like a swan song for BC. It looks a lot like he is reminiscing on what it was like in 1992, and what he wishes he could have done in 2000 on behalf of his vice president.

On a side note, MSNBC cut into Clinton's ego -- er, speech -- after just a couple minutes into it, which is interesting.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Keep on trucking!

This image is from Fox News. What a joke.

McCain hearts Limbaugh

We've seen this movie before. As McCain starts to drop in a few polls, he begins to embrace the loud and large right, right wing of the Republican Party. We saw him kiss up to Jerry Falwell in 2006 after calling him an "agent of intolerance" in 2000. We saw him hug Bush in 2004 (see above) after a nasty fight with him in the campaign in 2000. Now, as the Republican Party seems to be ready to finally hand over the reins to "100 years" McCain, he is embracing the crazies again.

This time, he put his arms around Rush Limbaugh. Apparently Limbaugh has been attacking McCain left and right, so McCain responded this way:

"I respect Rush Limbaugh."


"He is a voice that is respected by a lot of people who are in our party."

I doubt McCain really feels this way. It sounds like a pander to me. Where's the straight talk?

Press and Thompson

As usual, Jon Stewart took it to the press better than anyone else. This time re: Fred Thompson.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Give me my money!

Or maybe it's, "Give me their money." Or better yet, "Give them my money!" I'm no economist, but it seems like the "economic stimulus" plan just agreed to in Washington is a way to give people who have enough money even more money. According to CNN, this is how the "stimulus" breaks down:

Sources on Capitol Hill and at the Treasury Department said the plan would send checks of $600 to individuals and $1,200 to couples who paid income tax and who filed jointly.

People who did not pay federal income taxes but who had earned income of more than $3,000 would get checks of $300 per individual or $600 per couple.

A Democratic aide and Republican aide said there will be an additional amount per child, which could be in the neighborhood of $300.

Those who earn up to $75,000 individually or up to $150,000 as a couple will be eligible for the payments, said Republican and Democratic sources familiar with the tentative deal.

Maybe I'm wrong about this, but that sounds to me like people who are doing just fine are about to be doing even better. The only people who get this much-needed relief are the ones who don't need the relief. Again, I'll be the first to admit I don't know anything about how the economy works, but this seems like another Washington handout to people who are doing just fine.

Update: A commenter called me out on misreading the article, and the commenter is exactly correct. The checks will go to every individual earning "up to" $75,000," not those earning "at least" that much as I thought. This is why I shouldn't write about the economy.

Of course, as my commenter pointed out, this is a stimulus plan because it puts money in the pockets of those who will spend it.

I regret the misreading, which has made the entire post incorrect.

Gore on gay marriage

Wouldn't it be nice to hear every presidential candidate speak as frankly on this issue as Gore did?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Still backwards

Think Progress pointed out that on his program last night, Chris Matthews said: "Some people think [the Republican presidential race] has come down to McCain, Romney and -- just because Giuliani hasn't been beaten yet -- Giuliani." He hasn't been beaten yet? Excuse me. Let's go over some numbers. Let's see how Mr. 9/11 has fared so far.
  • In Iowa, he finished sixth of seven candidates with 4 percent of the vote.
  • In New Hampshire, he finished fourth of seven with 9 percent.
  • In Michigan, he finished sixth of eight with 3 percent.
  • In Nevada, he finished sixth of eight with 4 percent.
  • In South Carolina, he finished sixth of seven with just 2 percent.
The guys on the Democratic side who have done this poorly have long bowed out.

I wonder if Matthews still thinks Giuliani "hasn't been beaten yet." I understand his point, which is that Giuliani hasn't lost in a state he was competing in yet, but why the free ride? To claim that Giuliani "hasn't been beaten yet" is as idiotic as saying that Clinton lost two-thirds of the vote in Iowa. Guess what talking head came to that brilliant conclusion.

"Screw it!"

I'm light on political news today, so I'll stick to political humor. I just found an article in The Onion, with the headline, "Bill Clinton: 'Screw It, I'm Running for President.'" Here's the beginning:

After spending two months accompanying his wife, Hillary, on the campaign trail, former president Bill Clinton announced Monday that he is joining the 2008 presidential race, saying he "could no longer resist the urge."

"My fellow Americans, I am sick and tired of not being president," said Clinton, introducing his wife at a "Hillary '08" rally. "For seven agonizing years, I have sat idly by as others experienced the joys of campaigning, debating, and interacting with the people of this great nation, and I simply cannot take it anymore. I have to be president again. I have to."

He continued, "It is with a great sense of relief that I say to all of you today, 'Screw it. I'm in.'"

Slow and steady

Marc Ambinder drew attention to this already, but I wanted to share.

Steve and Emmylou

I'll have something to say soon. For now, enjoy Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Family feud

The media is drooling over the debate. "It was fight night." "The Democratic front runners tried to land a knockout!" "They held no punches!"

But I thought it was hard to watch. It was like seeing your parents fight. It was awkward. Obama and Clinton took the kind of shots that are usually reserved for their henchmen. It made me uncomfortable.

The pundits are trying to figure out who benefited (the early consensus seams to be that Obama locked up SC, Clinton has gone national and Edwards won the debate), but as someone who thinks all three candidates would be a great nominee, the only thing I'm sure of is that the Democratic Party lost last night.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Baha Men

Hair Gel has a question for everyone. Go here and watch the video. Trust me on this one; you only need to watch 30 seconds to get the point. Wikipedia says the song Hair Gel referenced was released 10 years ago. To make matters worse, it was recorded for "Rugrats in Paris: The Movie." I'm just saying.

Third place

I have been meaning to address the topic of Edwards getting out of the race, but Josh Marshall has beat me to it. I agree with him on this issue, so I'll let him say it:

And in the case of Edwards specifically, I would say two things. First, as others have noted, his campaign has had an effect on this race out of proportion to his poll support in as much as he's forced the two other leading candidates to grapple with issues they would not have otherwise. And in this race specifically, there is at least a chance we could come into the convention with neither candidate having a majority of the delegates, in which case he might play the kingmaker. Not likely, but not impossible.

Just to be clear, I don't have any brief for Edwards campaign. I think it's clear his support is falling off now as the race becomes more and more a Clinton/Obama race. The result in Nevada must have been a sobering wake-up call. But I don't see where insider know-it-alls get off saying he's under some sort of obligation to 'do the right thing' and pack it in.

I couldn't have said it better. As far as I can tell, the people who want Edwards to drop out are hard-core Clinton or Obama fans, or pundits who want a two-person horse race. And to encourage him to drop out does a tremendous disservice to the democratic process.

Edwards has contributed an enormous amount to this election. (He may have even laid the groundwork for Obama's entire campaign with his whole two Americas speech from 2004.) People look at Edwards and either see a phony or a truth teller, a rich guy or the first in his family to go to college, an opportunist or one who speaks for the ordinary American. But wherever you come down on Edwards as a person, you have to acknowledge the impact he has had on the election (in my opinion, it's been an extremely positive one). So why should he not finish what he started?

Mr. 9/11's strategy

First step: sit and watch everyone divide the early states. Second step: win Florida. Third step: win big states like New York on Super Tuesday and ride the wave to the convention.

On paper, it might work. And things have gone according to plan so far. But now Giuliani's in a four-way tie in Florida, with the most recent poll showing hair gel with a 5-point lead.

OK, so maybe he can get a strong sceond, and still succeed in his third step. But that's not looking too hot either. First he started tanking in national polls, and now he's behind double digits in two polls in his HOME STATE!

"The surge is working"

At least that's what "100 years" McCain thinks. I wonder what the Iraqis think. Here's a clue.

MLK day