Thursday, January 31, 2008

Time's Michael Scherer Quotes David Foster Wallace

Today Michael Scherer quotes David Foster Wallace.

And uses the quote to bang Johnny Mac a little bit on the timetable dust-up between McCain and Romney.

The ironic thing is that the quote comes from a Wallace piece in Rolling Stone that was written about John McCain. Back in 2000. And it is the reason that we fell in love with the Senator from Arizona in the first place.

In fact, we liked the piece so much that we cited it last March. And today might be a good opportunity to re-run some of the passages that Scherer left out.

The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub, from Rolling Stone Issue #838 (April 13, 2000):

But there’s something underneath politics in the way you have to hear McCain, something riveting and unSpinnable and true. It has to do with McCain’s military background and Vietnam combat and the five-plus years he spent in a North Vietnamese prison, mostly in solitary, in a box, getting tortured and starved. And the unbelievable honor and balls he showed there,

It’s very easy to gloss over the POW thing, partly because we’ve heard so much about it and partly because its so off the charts dramatic, like something in a movie instead of a man’s life. But it’s worth considering for a moment, because it’s what makes McCain’s “causes greater than self-interest” line easier to hear.

You probably already know what happened. In October of ’67 McCain was himself still a Young Voter and flying his 23rd Vietnam combat mission and his A-4 Skyhawk plane got shot down over Hanoi and he had to eject, which basically means setting off an explosive charge that blows your seat out of the plane, which ejection broke both of McCain’s arms and one leg and gave him a concussion and he started falling out of the skies over Hanoi.

Try to imagine how much this would hurt and how scared you’d be, three limbs broken and falling towards the enemy capital you just tried to bomb. His chute opened late and he landed hard in a little lake in a park right in the middle of downtown Hanoi…

A (Vietnamese) crowd pulled him out and just about killed him…

McCain got bayoneted in the groin; a soldier broke his shoulder apart with a rifle butt. Plus by this time his right knee was bent 90 degrees to the side with the bone sticking out. Try to imagine this.

He finally got tossed in a jeep and taken to the infamous Hoa Lo Prison where they made him beg for a week for a doctor and finally set a couple of the fractures without anesthetic and let two other fractures and the groin wound (imagine: groin wound) stay like they were.

Then they threw him in a cell. Try for a moment to feel this…

Think about how diametrically opposed to your own self-interest getting knifed in the balls and having fractures set without pain killers would be, and then about getting thrown in a cell to just lie there and hurt, which is what happened.

He was delirious with pain for weeks, and his weight dropped to 100 pounds, and the other POWs were sure he would die; and then after a few months like that after his bones mostly knitted and he could sort of stand up they brought him in to the prison commandant’s office and offered to let him go.

This is true. They said he could just leave. They had found out that McCain’s father was one of the top-ranking naval officers in the U.S. Armed Forces, and the North Vietnamese wanted the PR coup of mercifully releasing his son, the baby-killer. McCain, 100 pounds and barely able to stand, refused.

The U.S. military’s Code of Conduct for Prisoner’s of War apparently said that POWs had to be released in the order that they were captured, and there were others who’d been in Hoa Lo a long time, and McCain refused to violate the Code.

The commandant, not please, right there in the office had guards break his ribs, rebreak his arm, knock his teeth out. McCain still refused to leave without the other POWs.

And so then he spent four more years in Hoa Lo like this, much of the time in solitary, in the dark, in a closet-sized box called a “punishment-cell”.

Try to imagine the moment that moment between getting offered early release and turning it down. Try to imagine it was you. Imagine how loudly your most basic, primal self-interest would have cried out to you in that moment, and all the ways you could rationalize accepting the offer. Can you hear it? You simply can’t know for sure. None of us can. It’s hard to even imagine the pain and fear in that moment, much less know how you’d react.

But, see, we do know how this man reacted. That he chose to spend four more years there, in a dark box, alone, tapping code on the walls to the others, rather than violate a Code. Maybe he was nuts.

But the point is that with McCain we know, for a proven fact, that he’s capable of devotion to something other, more than his own self-interest. So that when he says the line in speeches you can feel like maybe it isn’t just more candidate bullshit, that with this guy it’s maybe the truth. Or maybe both the truth and bullshit; the guy does want your vote after all.

But that moment in the Hoa Lo office in ’68 – right before he refused, with all his basic normal human self-interest howling at him – that moment is hard to blow off.

The fact is that John McCain is a genuine hero of the only kind that Vietnam now has to offer, a hero not because of what he did but because of what he suffered – voluntarily, for a Code. This gives him the moral authority both to utter lines about causes beyond self-interest and to expect us, even in this age of Spin and lawyerly cunning, to believe he means them.

Obama Is Going To Need A Lot Of Hope To Overcome This

Team Obama can spin and dance all they want, but this will be a liability in the general election battleground states (if Obama beats Hillary in the Primary and we still don't think that he does).

We knew that Barack Obama was a good Democrat, but to be ranked to the left of Senator Bernie Sanders?!?!!??


h/t Vermont Daily Briefing for the photo.

Mitt Romney Going Back To The Future With Self Funded Feb 5th TV Buys

Jon Martin has the details of Romney's decision.

Hmmm, we have to wonder if Karl Rove's piece in today's WSJ made it into Willard's clips this morning.

Furthermore, doesn't anyone remember how Team Romney's ad strategy played out in New Hampshire, Iowa and Florida?

Probably not.

Anyway, we're sympathetic.

What else can Romney do?

And at least his media guys are getting filthy rich.

Take it away boys!

ZZZzzz... Huh... What... ZZZzzz...

Who are the ad wizards who came up with this one?

Running on Fox News.

David Bossie... Deep in the DC Death Star... Going down with the ship...

The AP's Phil Elliott Wants His MTV

And he will get it!

When Elliott co-moderates "Closing Arguments: A Presidential Super Dialogue" this Saturday on MTV.

From the release:

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK – January 31, 2008 – MySpace, the world’s most popular social network, and MTV, the leading global youth brand, along with the Associated Press, today announced that Dr. Ron Paul ( will join Senator Hillary Clinton ( and Governor Mike Huckabee ( for “Closing Arguments: A Presidential Super Dialogue.” The event will offer candidates a final opportunity to actively engage the highly-coveted youth voting bloc just before Super Tuesday, when more than 20 states will hold their primaries and caucuses. “Closing Arguments” is the next installment of MySpace and MTV’s ground-breaking Presidential Dialogue Series ( and will take place live Saturday, February 2, 2008 at 6 PM ET and offer audiences an unprecedented number of options, including on-air, online, radio and mobile, to tune-in and put their candid, unfiltered questions forth to front running candidates. The Associated Press will distribute a live feed and on-demand highlights of the Dialogue to the 1,800 media sites in its Online Video Network; nearly 600 of which are local TV, newspaper or radio sites in states with Super Tuesday primaries. political reporter Chris Cillizza and MTV News Correspondents Gideon Yago and Sway Calloway will be joined by Associated Press Writer Philip Elliott as moderators.
It looks to us like our friend from New Hampshire is a rising star in the Gang of 500.

So all you budding political operatives should get to know him (but just remember that he "hates everybody", which keeps him fair).

And please don't hold his friendship with us against him.

Because that's not fair.

Congratulations my friend!

One Reason Why Governor Schwarzenegger Chose McCain over Romney

About 3 weeks ago, Team Romney brought Governor Schwarzenegger to their campaign headquarters for an up-close look at the Romney campaign brand.

Arnold, so turned off by what he say, was forced to fight his way out of Romney HQ.

We have some security camera footage of that meeting:

So very snarky!

What?!?!??!! We've Always Had The DEEPEST Respect For America's Mayor!

Welcome aboard. Sir.

Oh You Poor, Fat, Sad Little Baby

A fool's name and a fool's face are often seen in a public place.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Debate Wrap: McCain's Victory Lap

We have video:

Wait! That's not McCain!

That's Mr. Live Strong. In Paris. Doing what he does.

Oh well. Same thing.

January 30th, 2008: The Greatest Day The Republican Party Has Had In A Loooong Time

Things happen real fast around here.

And maybe we're crazier than a sh*thouse rat in August.


We think that today's events could be seen as the start of a perfect storm against the Democrats that allows the Republicans to hold onto the White House in 2008 (control of the House and Senate are out of reach for the Republicans no matter what).

Our Three reasons:

1. After his Florida win last night, John McCain is, finally (and again), the likely Republican nominee. And, as everyone knows, Johnny Mac is the only Republican who consistently beats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in general election polls.

2. John Edwards dropped out today. And we think that Edwards was the strongest general election candidate that the Democrats had. Some polling even backs us up on this.

3. Hello Ralph Nader!

ICYMI: John McCain's Current Path To The Nomination, Hollywood Style

Last night John McCain fired several Sunshine State missiles into the Death Star's power regulator on the north tower (meaning that he is currently at 1:35 on the YouTube counter).

Now all Mac has to do is outrun the exploding anti-McCain coalition on February 5th.

But the DC Death Star is over and done with no matter what.

Abandon ship!

The Giuliani Campaign Autopsy (UPDATED)

Why Rudy Giuliani blew apart in the 2008 Republican Primary:

1. Giuliani '08 was always a book tour. Never a presidential campaign. You have to play to stay.

2. 9/11 does not a message make. Especially in 2008.

3. Bernard Kerik.

4. National polls mean next to nothing in a Presidential Primary fight. Even if you want them to.

5. Candidate arrogance (with no real good reason).

6. Family/Spouse issues.

7. John McCain never went away.

8. Staff arrogance (with absolutely no good reason)

9. Giuliani Partners.

10. (past) Stances on Life/Immigration/Gun/Homosexual issues

11. Any moderate Republicans attracted to Giuliani's stances on social issues were turned off by Rudy's stances on torture and Guantanamo Bay.

12. Headaches, (not credible and unconfirmed) bomb threats and taking phone calls during speeches.

13. Did we mention that you have to play to stay?


(Updated) The very savvy Mark Halperin has his own take here.

The Democrat Most Likely To Win A General Election Contest Just Dropped Out

John Edwards is out.

And we know that (most) folks will disagree with us that John Edwards was the best '08 general election candidate that the Democrats had, but...

2008 was, is and will be all about 10 - 12 battleground states. Period.

But that's the Democratic Party's problem. Not ours.

God speed Senator!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

McCain Wins Florida & Is The Most Likely Next Republican Nominee For President By Far. No Shit.

Florida goes for McCain!!!

Congratulations Senator!!!

Congratulations Team McCain!!!

What a night!!!

Let's Party!!!

Fox Calls Florida For McCain & The DC Death Star Is, Officially, Mission Critical

Mission. Critical.

Lots of long faces in DC tonight.

It's good for them. They earned it.

Florida Pretending, Who Is & Who Ain't

We'll know very shortly.

But the high turnout in Florida should make one GOP camp feel cautiously optimistic. And one camp not so much.

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! NPR's Carl Kasell Channels Clacker!?!?!!

We got some calls on this over the weekend but couldn't track it down (NPR is 24/7 programming after all).

But a friend just sent us the link.

Of NPR legend Carl Kasell enjoying a Fred Thompson post that we wrote.

Glad you enjoyed it Carl.

We listen to you every morning.

No snark.

Max Baucus Wants His Turn At The Tree Too

Whoa, whoa, whoa, slooooow down there Nancy and George.

We're the saucer that cools the tea, remember?

And we'd like to take our (constitutionally guaranteed) shot to hang all sorts of new crap on this fiscal tree.

Granted, the country can ill afford any of these sparkly trinkets right now. But who's counting (other than that stick-in-the-mud David Walker)?


David Simon's The Wire

Mark Bowden has a good read in the Atlantic to help pass the time until the Florida polls close.

Cooper Says (Part 2)...

The Florida polls don't close for 10 hours. So turn off the idiot box.

And pay attention to the game because you're in serious trouble.

It's your move, punk.

Barack Obama Gets Mortimer And Ruth Caplin!?!?!!??

Time's Karen Tumulty has the details of a brief Kennedy/Caplin/Obama run-in at American University yesterday.

And dammit, this puts us in a little bit of a bind. Because it looks like Mr. Caplin supports Barack Obama. And if Mr. Caplin supports Barack Obama, it's a good chance (but by no means certain) that his wife, Ruth, supports Barack Obama.

And there is no "good Democrat" in this world who we respect more than Ruth Caplin. We adore her. She spent many an hour, patiently, mentoring us. And we could not be more grateful.

So forget Ted Kennedy.

If Ruth feels good about Senator Obama, we might have to take a second look at the Democratic Primary.

Monday, January 28, 2008

That's A Wrap People!

Well, almost.

A broad & modest speech.

With a lot left to do for the next President.

Clinton Does Cruise, Cruise Does Clinton

h/t Andrew Sullivan

Florida Primary Snapshot On The Day Before

Everything that you need to know about the Sunshine State battle tomorrow (we could have written this last spring):

Tighter than a tick between Romney and McCain. Rudy is out. Huckabee is focused on February 5th states. The good Lord only knows what Ron Paul is up to.

Any questions? No?

Good. Let's rock.

We got nothing but time.

Choate Rosemary Hall Students Force Karl Rove To Do Something The Democrats Never Could - Respond & Change Course

Absolutely hilarious.

From the Choate Rosemary Hall alumni office today:

Headmaster Edward Shanahan announced today that Karl Rove will be visiting the Choate campus to speak with students at a school meeting on Monday, February 11, 2008. Mr. Rove initially accepted Choate's invitation to speak at the school's commencement in June, however, he graciously adjusted his schedule based on student interest in a visit during which they might engage him in conversation about his experiences in public life.

Looking Beyond 2008 For The Republican Party

We have always assumed that John McCain is the only Republican candidate who can win a general election match-up against the Democrats in 2008.

But let's assume for the moment that John McCain is not the Republican nominee. Let's assume that Mitt Romney is instead. Still a possibility if, and only if, Romney wins Florida tomorrow.

Can any smart man or woman tell us what a successful Romney message (which becomes the GOP down ticket message) would be in the 2008 general election?

Change? Washington "outsider"? "Successful" businessman? "Successful" Governor? The struggling economy's Mr. Fix-It? My opponent is a raging liberal!


But can any smart man or woman see any of those cookie-cutter, 20th century GOP messages resonating well enough in the dozen or so battleground states to put Romney over the top with Clinton/Obama/Edwards? Especially after almost 8 years of (pretty crappy) one party Republican rule in Washington? Especially after the Mitt-Flop narrative has been baked in during the primary?

No. Romney will get crushed. And he'll take a chunk of incumbent Republicans with him.

But we think that a Republican drubbing in November would be the 2nd best possible outcome for the GOP long-term (the best possible outcome, and far less painful, would be to elect John McCain President to transition the GOP into the 21st century).

Because on November 5th the Republicans would wake-up without control of the House, the Senate or the White House. And they would have to ask themselves seriously, for the first time in a very long time, what the f*ck happened?!?!

And there will be no place to hide for the defenders (profiteers) of the GOP's business as usual crowd.

Which will, we think, force the Republican Party to break their addiction to the Amtrak corridor between DC and New York and begin building a 21st century message that will attract younger voters and independents to grow and re-build the party on a national scale.

Or the GOP will do nothing, hunker down in some steak house on K Street and prepare themselves for the ash bin of history (but boy we hope not).

But now for two pieces of good news.

First, a "new 21st century message" is not much different from the GOP's 20th century message - national security, limited government and life.

National security/limited government/life is still a good macro message.

The Republicans simply have to update the innards of their original message to bring it up to date with what voters are talking about and care about in 2008. And the Republicans should be able to do that under the national security/limited government/life umbrella.

For example - global warming. Independent voters and the young love the issue of global warming.

Maybe independents and the young have genuine concerns about the zillions of automobile tailpipes spewing exhaust into the atmosphere. Or maybe they care about global warming because they are looking to score with the pot smoking hippie chick that lives next door to them at the University of Vermont. But who cares?

The "why" is not important. And for the GOP to get caught up in "why" is distracting. Voters care about global warming, that ship has sailed.

What the Republican Party should care about is bringing the global warming voters into the GOP without alienating their base. But how to do that?

Two words - National Security.

A Republican Party wrapped snugly and safely in the mantle of (true) national security can run to the left of the Democrats on the issue of global warming. Which immediately draws independents and the young to the GOP at the expense of the Democrats.

Yes, the Republicans lose a good chunk of oil company revenue, yes the Saudis go bananas, but remember, it's November 5th and the Republicans are out in the cold.

And we are fairly certain that there is a whole bunch of clean-tech money out in California (and other places) just waiting to flood into the slot that Exxon Mobile once occupied (and doesn't everyone think it's time to move away from fossil fuels anyhow?).

Global warming is just one example.

With proper messaging the Republicans should be able to pick-up independent and young voters while holding onto their base with true immigration reform (national security), combating global poverty and disease (national security, life/moral), true ethics reform (limited government) and real fiscal reform (national security, life/moral, limited government).

The post November 4th world is the GOP's oyster if they want it to be. That's the first piece of good news.

The second piece of good news for the GOP is that when Democrats control the House, Senate and White House the Democratic Party will be forced to actually govern.

Which the Democratic Party is about as ready and able to do as they are ready and able to sprout wings and fly around the Smithsonian.

As out of touch and as screwed up as we think the Republican Party currently is, we feel the same way about the Democrats. The only difference is that the Democrats have been able to skate on the "we're not George Bush" message for the last 7 years.

That message fades away when the Democrats get their hands on all the levers of power in 2009, which should set the Republicans up for a good mid-term in 2010.

If the GOP can get their act together.

We're just saying.

Rock & Roll Monday (Florida Style)

Drinking. Screwing. And cheeseburgers.

Rock and roll.

Noted: A big Buffett shout-out to a certain someone in Brattleboro. You know who you are.

Florida Hardball

This morning Team McCain dropped a lengthy research memo on Mitt-Flop's flip-flops on the issues of climate change and the gas tax.

You have to give the skeletal (but still very effective) McCain communications shop credit, they have owned the last 48 hours of the news cycle and it now looks like, with the release of the memo, that they might very well own the last 36 hours going into tomorrow's Florida primary.

Saturday night into Sunday it was all about the Crist endorsement.

Sunday into Monday it was all about Mitt Romney and timelines for Iraq.

Monday into Tuesday(?) it looks like it might be all about Romney being a flip-flopper.

Budding political/comm operatives take note, that's getting it done.

But Governor Romney so badly wants to talk about the economy!?!??!!

As they say down in Florida, "Tough Titties".

And with the Florida race locked in a virtual tie with about 36 hours to go, tough titties is not where Team Romney wants to be.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A $73.5 Billion Dollar Bet Makes This Guy The Biggest Whale Of All Time

$73.5 BILLION.

With a "B".

The. Biggest. Whale. Of. All. Time.

Ah free market economics. What a ride.

Our Love Affair With The McCain Blogettes Continues (Part 2)

This takes a lot of guts to do.

And it's really well done.

Don't look now everyone, but that young lady (and her team) is a campaign asset.

A campaign asset who really loves her dad.

Driving The Day In New England

The Patriots are on their way out of town, flying to Arizona to play in something called a "Super Bowl".

To cap a (so far) undefeated season.

Rip It.

Team Romney Florida Asks, What The Hell Happened?

We'll let one of our betters in the Gang of 500 write the backstory on McCain and Crist.

But what we will say to Team Romney is, can you really be all that surprised?

HRC On SC: That Was So Like Yesterday

Hillary Clinton is in Memphis, Tennessee this morning.

To borrow a ESPN phrase, "She is a (political) hockey player. She would return."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Lot Of Folks Are Trying To Bury Bill Clinton Right Now...

as the South Carolina results trickle in (9% in).

And, it looks like Bill was unsuccessful in helping Hillary (and might have even hurt) in the Palmetto State.

But Hillary ain't running for Governor of South Carolina, she's running to have the most number of delegates at the Democratic convention.

And now, with SC out of the way, she's going to be running a truly national campaign.

And how effective Bill Clinton is (and will be) in helping his wife harvest delegates - on a national scale - that jury is still waaaaaaay out.

Besides, it's the Clintons.

The. Clintons.

MSNBC Reports That The AP Reports That Florida Governor Crist Will Endorse McCain


McCain Light

The former Mayor's close in the Sunshine State.

But with Johnny Mac in the race, what's Rudy's justification?


Sorting Out November 5th. With A Little Help From The Travel Channel

Mark Halperin points out, cruelly, that the Iowa caucuses were only 23 days ago.

Meaning that there are about 44 trillion news cycles left between today and the general election on November 4th.


But for all those political operatives (and clackers) who actually make it to November 4th there is a reward - November 5th.

And being able to plan how one is going to get away from it all after the last election has been called (or the election lawyers have taken over).

Which is why we've been watching the Travel Channel closely of late. Specifically, No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

We're making our travel plans and we certainly hope all of you are doing the same.

Only 283 days to go.

Today In South Carolina We See How Effective This (And Everything Else Bill) Is

Today we think that the world will find out (again) what Bill Clinton already knows - how effective he is at competing in Democratic Primaries (and general elections).

Winning at all costs is still winning. And Bill Clinton has been winning at all costs longer than most.

Which is why Team Clinton has absolutely no intention of trying to rein in the former President. And they never did.

Ted Kennedy is on the line? Take a message.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bill Clinton: John And Hillary Friends? No, They're VERY Good Friends!

If Karl Rove can screw around in a Democratic Primary with memos to Team Obama in the WSJ, why can't Bill Clinton screw around in a Republican Primary with comments to the NYT?

Bill Clinton is many things to many people, but one thing he is to everybody is a brilliant political strategist (even if you think his tactics are despicable).

And Bill Clinton is absolutely terrified that Johnny Mac is going to be successful in the Republican Primary.

Which is why John and Hillary are such good friends. According to Bill Clinton.

Karl Rove v. Choate Rosemary Hall

This brings back memories.

We have to give the senior class credit, they're "sorting out their differences" with Ed Shanahan on the AP wire.

The arrogance of youth.

We had (have?) it in spades.

Bringing The Friday Funny (again)

500 years of Western Civilization is spinning in its grave.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mrs. Momma McCain Is 100% Correct

Mrs. Roberta McCain in a C-Span Interview said:

"Now I’m really popping off, but he (McCain) worked like a dog to get Bush re-elected. …He’s backed Bush in everything except Rumsfeld. Have you heard other senators and congressmen backing Bush over eight years? Find me it–give me a name. I’ve not seen any public recognition of the work that he’s done for the Republican party."
She's 95 years young.

And absolutely correct.

Dennis Kucinich Has Beamed Himself Up

Dennis Kucinich is ending his long-shot bid to be President.

Though the Ohio Congressman's politics weren't our politics, Representative Kucinich brought a level of honesty and passion to the Democratic side of the debate that will be missed.

And we will never, ever forget sitting in a Kucinich campaign "Peace Circle" for the better part of 2 hours in a Manchester, New Hampshire restaurant one night about a year ago.


God speed Congressman!

Waiting On Boca Raton To Start

So Boca ain't South Beach.

But tonight's GOP debate is going to be a lot of fun anyway.

Until then, this will help you shake your caboose...


Read Jay Carney' excellent piece from this week's deadwood Time here.

Noted: "A love of actual risk."

John Edwards, Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama All Have Their Eye On McCain

Team McCain's smart new web ad running this morning.

What a difference 6 months makes.

Fox Host John Gibson Is A Piece Of Trash


Cue Gibson's self-serving apology with a hearty dose of liberal (media, Hollywood, voter) bashing.

Is Charlie Crist Going To Endorse Before The Florida Primary?

Time's Halperin asks the The People's Governor the endorsement question and, from what he tells Mark, it sounds like Crist just might.

Just might. Maybe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Quick Sunshine State Question After The Latest Poll Numbers...

If the Florida media spends the next 6 days pounding the "Rudy is cooked" drum (and it looks like they already have already started in St. Petersburg), does Rudy's support erode further because Florida voters want to vote for someone that they perceive could actually win?

We think that the answer is yes.

So then the question is, where does Rudy's support go?

Into the waiting arms of John McCain?

Maybe so.

Maaaaaaaaaaaybe so.

Latest Florida Poll Numbers: Rudy Getting Ready To Cue Some Sugar Ray

When It's Over.

It's over.

"Proud Conservative"

McCain's latest web ad just went live.

Noted: "I will match my record with anybody who is running."

Far From A Macaca Moment

We know we're about 37 zillion news cycles behind on this one, but the press is still talking about Mitt Romney jive talking with some real live African American voters at a MLK Day parade on Monday.

Specifically, Mitt's use of the term "Who let the dogs out, woof, woof" and "bling bling".

Watch the full clip here:

And then compare it to this:

Mitt's comments don't have the same racist and nasty and bullying undertone that George Allen's Macaca comment does.

In other words, just because Mitt is ignorant doesn't make him a racist.

It just makes him ignorant.

We're just saying.

Rise The Concord Coalition: McCain Gets Pete Peterson

Today everyone will be talking about McCain's Schwarzkopf endorsement.

But we think that folks should be talking about McCain's Pete Peterson endorsement first.

Because Peterson is as smart a financial operator as they come. And he's just the type of man that the next President of the United States should have by his (or her) side as he sorts out America's current economic mess.

And did we mention that Peterson and GAO David Walker seem to see eye to eye on most economic issues? Be still our pitter-pattering little heart.

Nice pick-up Senator.

No snark.

The February 5th (and beyond) Plan: Delegates, Dollars & Media!

The race is about to (really) go national. Never to return to anything less.

There are 6 days between the Florida Primary and Super Tuesday.

Which means that it's go time for campaign strategists and schedulers.

Some Super Tuesday questions that the campaigns are wrestling with:

1. What February 5th states can my candidate most effectively compete in for delegates? What about non-binding contests, do they matter or can we worry about those delegates at the convention when we have momentum? Do winner take all contests help or hurt my candidate?

2. Where can the candidate raise money? Is a successful high dollar event in a February 5th state that my candidate probably won't win worth it?

3. Local media hits. Local media hits. Local media hits.

4. Good Christ LA is an expensive media market!

5. How does the campaign keep the traveling press pack fed, watered and online?

6. If Mitt Romney wins Florida or comes in a close second does Ann let him open up his checkbook and write himself a $30 million dollar check? Does Romney's ability to self-fund make him the GOP frontrunner right up until he gives his concession speech?

7. Are we flying by the seat of our pants or do we actually know what we're doing?

8. Does it really matter if we're flying by the seat of our pants or if we know what we're actually doing?

9. Are there really no atheists in foxholes?

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Paging David Walker, Medicine Man

The global markets are spooked about the long term health of the U.S. economy. With good reason.

Washington/New York/Main Street are spooked about the short and long term health of the U.S. economy. With good reason.

Washington only has one real short term option: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. No new tax cuts and no new stimulus packages unless you can figure out a way to (really) pay for them.

And then there is only one real long term solution: Bring in David Walker. He knows the score.

If Walker gets the political cover he needs to operate on the patient now (real easy, especially in an election year), he should be able to cut out the cancer with only a minimum amount of pain.

But if we put the economic operation off again, it's going to hurt a lot worse the next time. And even worse the time after that.

Then who's going to buy all our debt?

And then the barbarians will really be at our gate.

Wake Me Up When It's Over! Oh, It's Over?!?!??!!

Fred Thompson has dropped out.

Zzzzzzzz. Huh? What? What's that you say?


Initial thought: This helps Mike Huckabee and hurts everybody else.

Mitt/Rudy/McCain still fight over (pretty much) the same pool of voters. Huckabee no longer splits "everybody else" with Fred.

Monday, January 21, 2008

John McCain's Current Path To The Republican Nomination In 2 Minutes & 22 Seconds

A McCain win in the upcoming Florida Primary would put him at about 1:35 on the YouTube counter - the (DC) Death Star has been destroyed but Johnny Mac still has to outrun the explosion on February 5th.

Of course, McCain is in the Millennium Falcon. And she's got it where it counts.


You Have To Play To Stay (Part 2)

Ugly poll numbers for Rudy Giuliani out of New York State.

Not that it's surprising.

The U.S. Economy? Shoot, I've Got That To Go.

The U.S. markets are closed today due to the Martin Luther King holiday.

Most of the rest of the global markets are open however. And bleeding.

Maybe there is no such thing as a free lunch?


Maybe it's time to start listening to David Walker and "stop digging"?


So Congress/Presidential candidates - "stop digging" means no new tax cuts and no Christmas Tree fiscal stimulus packages.

Just. Cut. Government. Spending (and all that waste).

And. Fix. The. Entitlement. Programs.

Yeah it hurts. And it will for awhile. But we brought this on ourselves.

And our kids will thank us.

And nobody sent you all to Washington to make the easy calls.

Time to man (woman) up.

We're just saying.

FPOTUS Tearing Obama Down: Appropriate? Absolutely Not. Effective? You Bet Your Life.

It's a good campaign strategy for the Clintons.

But Bill Clinton is absolutely cheapening the the Office of The Presidency with his actions.


Rock & Roll Monday

Rolling and tumbling. Down to Florida.

Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

See You In Arizona!

Bravo Library Of Congress! Bravo!

Somewhere in the great beyond Daniel Boorstin is smiling.

The Library of Congress has begun moving portions of their massive photograph database onto Flickr, the online picture sharing program.

It's pretty fricking cool.

And well worth your time.

Noted: Hat tip to the young ladies (and one little man) at the 1941 Rutland, Vermont state fair.

Noted: Hat tip to Rob Bluey for bringing this to our attention.

Go On Matt Lewis, Say "I Told You So"

Townhall's Matt Lewis was right on the continued viability of Senator McCain's candidacy.

Noted: Not that this means that he's endorsing the Senator. Or that the GOP race is even close to over.

But Matt seems to have some difficulty saying, "I told you so" to all the folks who buried Johnny Mac last summer.

To which we say to Matt, go on and say it. It's a hell of a lot of fun.

We know because we've been saying "we told you so!" since 8:12pm on January 8th.

When the Associated Press called New Hampshire for John McCain.

The End Of Dogma

Steven Thomma writes:

The house that Ronald Reagan built is in danger of collapsing. The coalition of fiscal conservatives, national security conservatives, anti-tax activists and social conservatives that rallied behind Reagan in 1980 and has defined the Republican Party ever since is coming apart at the seams heading into the 2008 election.
We agree. And thank goodness!

And we're speaking as someone who thought Ronald Reagan was a perfectly fine President.

But it's not 1980 (or '84, '88, '92, '96, '00 or '04) anymore. Not even close.

The Republican Party needs to stop looking back to try to see forward.

Instead, they just need to look forward.

And put one foot in front of the other.

Welcome to a brave new world.

Where the only constant is change. As always.

And the Republican Party needs to get back in the game.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Goodbye Ghosts. Goodbye Goblins. Hello Victory!

John McCain wins the South Carolina Primary.

We'll have our extended thoughts tomorrow.

But tonight the most important thing that we can say is - Well Done Senator!

And this one is for you:

Hillary Wins The Nevada Caucus

And so does Mitt.

Wait, the GOP had a non-binding caucus in Nevada today?

We guess that they did. Who knew?

Still waiting on South Carolina.

Meanwhile, for Team Obama:

Cooper Says...

Food dish? Check!

Water bowl? Check!

Litter Box clean and ready? Check!

Saturday afternoon sunbeam for my nap? Check!

My crazy ass blogger owner walking around muttering about SC exit polls and disturbing my afternoon nap? Check!

Oh to be a cat.

If only for a day.

Carolina In My Mind

Happy South Carolina Primary Day.

Nevada (for the GOP)? Never heard of it.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Is John McCain The GOP Front-Runner?

Who the hell knows!

Talk to us after South Carolina.

Then we'll hedge until the day after Florida.

Maybe longer.

But this race sure is fun.

McCain v. Huckabee: San Diego Is Still Classy

The two campaigns are shadowboxing with mittens on.

We love it.

Why The Immigration Debate Is So Irrational

The Republican Party needs to have a little more self-respect.

Seriously, it's 2008. Not 1908.

h/t Mark Ambinder for highlighting the clip.

Bringing The Friday Funny (again)

You have to watch a lot of Norm to catch the Tip O'Neill cameo.

But it's Norm.

And it's Friday.

Happy Friday everyone.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

South Carolina: Spinning Romney's Spin

The Politico quotes Romney trying to downplay his own chances in Saturday's South Carolina Primary while at the same time raising John McCain's expectations:

“This is a state (South Carolina) I’d expect that Sen. McCain has pretty well wrapped up. It would be an enormous surprise if he were unable to win here.”
Hmm. Interesting.

Let's set aside the millions of dollars that Mitt Romney has spent in South Carolina on staff, TV, radio and mail. Spending that has gone on for well over a year.

And after all that money and all that time it looks like Mitt Romney is going to come in fourth on Saturday. Fourth! Which probably speaks to Mitt's overall appeal down south. Which is brutal.

But that's not our point.

We'd like to address Romney's casual, "This is a state I'd expect that Senator McCain has pretty well wrapped up."

How could Romney "expect" that?

John McCain got his teeth kicked in 2000 in South Carolina. Almost literally.

And, after Michigan, Team Romney argued that 2000 results matter in 2008. Which is why it was such a big deal that Romney beat McCain in the Michigan Primary after McCain had won the primary in 2000.

So if 2000 results really matter in 2008, as Team Romney argued after Michigan, how could Mitt Romney "expect" John McCain to win South Carolina in '08?

He can't. Because Willard can't have it both ways. Even though he always tries to.

If John McCain wins South Carolina on Saturday it will be a big deal. Because it will show just how far the maverick Senator has come in terms of uniting a good chunk of some very different factions within the Republican Party.

But to argue that a McCain win in 2008 in South Carolina is expected? After the results of 2000?

No way.

Sorry Romney.

McCain v. Romney: As It Was, As It Is, And As It Will Be (Probably)

Willard in Florida.

Team Romney has swung back around to what Team McCain has known all along - John McCain is Mitt Romney's biggest stumbling block in the path for the GOP nomination.

And vice-versa.

The Farce That Is Giuliani's Fortress Florida

Take a good, hard look at this.

And then ask yourself: Why do Republican voters come back to Rudy Giuliani in Florida?

He's already living there. He's already on the air there. He's already phone banking there. He's already blanketing the state with mail there.

And yet Rudy is still bleeding Sunshine State support.

Can Rudy Giuliani expect to contrast himself so well with the winner of South Carolina and Mitt Romney that Florida voters swing back to him? Let alone with whoever else is left when Florida rolls around? Probably (almost certainly) not.

Can Rudy Giuliani expect that Florida voters will wake up the day after South Carolina and say to themselves, "Wow, this race is still a muddle. I'm going with Rudy"? Probably (almost certainly) not.

Several smart folks have spend the last few days asking: Does momentum matter in 2008?

And the answer is: Yes! Of course it does.

The only winner of the first three contests who did not get a tangible bump from their win was Mitt Romney in Michigan.

And we would argue that the reason for that is because 1. Michigan ain't New Hampshire, Iowa or South Carolina and therefore nobody really cared about the Michigan Primary (besides Romney and McCain), 2. Whoever might have cared about Michigan was told by Team McCain that Romney is a "native son" who spent zillions and 3. Clinton and Obama were sucking all the oxygen out of Michigan's earned media cycles with their race debate.

Noted: But even after all that, we've still not downplaying the fact that Romney had to win Michigan and John McCain would have loved to.

In Iowa, Mike Huckabee became a GOP contender overnight when he won. And it gave him the name ID and the resources to place third in New Hampshire, third in Michigan and gives him a shot to win South Carolina.

In New Hampshire, John McCain came back from the dead and got a bounce in South Carolina, he got a bounce in Florida and he got a bounce in the national polls (which don't mean squat).

So momentum matters. Granted, to different candidates in different places it may matter more or it may matter less, but it matters.

But something else matters as well: You have to play to stay.

And through Iowa and through New Hampshire and through Michigan and (almost) through South Carolina Rudy Giuliani has been nowhere. Except fighting for position with Duncan Hunter, Ron Paul and uncommitted.

And he's watched his Florida numbers drop (drop, drop, still dropping!) because of it.

And we think that Mitt Romney (and his zillions), whoever wins South Carolina and maybe the 2nd place winner out of South Carolina are going to come roaring into Florida - muddle or not - and they are going to roll right over Rudy Giuliani's firewall.

Because why do those Florida voters come back to Rudy?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

We Knew That This Would Happen, But It Still Hurts (UPDATED)

McCain v Huckabee.

There can be only one.

And our heart is with Johnny Mac.

Good luck Governor.



Jon Martin reports that Huckabee did not end up taking any shots at Johnny Mac last night in South Carolina.

And to think that we tossed and turned all night for nothing.

Let's all stay classy San Diego.