Re: Republicans Heading For A Brokered Convention?

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Heh, it worked out great the last time the Republican Party hand-picked someone to run against Obama because the guy who was supposed to run against him got killed by a sex-scandal.

I can't wait to see those Alan Keyes campaign signs go back up in my neighborhood!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:49 AM
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Keyes is already running, actually.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:52 AM
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No one likes McCain on domestic issues. That's exaggerated, but to Democrats, he's a Republican, without anything particularly attractive about any of his domestic positions, and to Republicans he's a campaign-finance-reform-pushing immigrant-loving loser.

That accounts for people who already know which party they are going to vote for. Then in the middle you have the swing voters, who vote on the basis of the candidate's personality, because they are stupid or have been told by the press that that is the most logical thing to do.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:53 AM
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but I can't imagine anyone who might possibly ever vote for a Democrat voting for him over Obama this year

I could probably make one phone call and get you half a dozen names and addresses, and I'm not even American.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:53 AM
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3: Yeah, for the real low-information swing voters, McCain has to overcome the 'sad old puffy-looking man" versus "tall handsome compelling speaker" contrast, which is a hell of a problem for him if race doesn't settle it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:55 AM
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Yeah, I suspect LB's impression of McCain is a bit skewed by her location and social circles. He's quite popular in much of the country, even among nominal Democrats.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:55 AM
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Seriously, the fact that McCain disagrees with the majority of the country on every issue will not have an impact on his chances. Every Republican disagrees with the majority of the country on every issue.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:57 AM
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Then in the middle you have the swing voters, who vote on the basis of the candidate's personality, because they are stupid or have been told by the press that that is the most logical thing to do.

This number is, IIRC, seven percent of population or less, which is why Rove thought it made more sense to overwhelm it with turnout. If any Dem can do that, Obama can. (This year, I think HRC can do it.)


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:58 AM
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Ditto to OFE. Not that it matters in Massachusetts, but I know of one Obama supporter who will vote for McCain if Clinton is the nominee. She's originally from Missisippi, and I don't know how good the Democrats chances of taking Missisippi ever were.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:58 AM
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4: Are you sure they fit into "might possibly ever vote for a Democrat"? By which I meant, but didn't quite successfully say, might possibly vote for a Democrat in this election, not ever did in the past and hasn't completely ruled it out for the future.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 11:58 AM
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I am certain I predicted in this very forum that McCain would not be on the ticket in November. Should have taken bets or gone to Intrade or something.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:01 PM
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I had a horrible sinking feeling last night when a long-time friend, a mostly-apolitical republican-leaning independant, told me that he didn't think he could vote for a Muslim, meaning Obama.

I corrected his mistaken belief, but it's clear that the right-wing whisper campaign is working.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:03 PM
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11: I'm sure you could get great odds for that bet now.

And you would lose your money.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:07 PM
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Eh, I have the Pauline Kael problem if anyone does, so this sort of prognostication isn't going to be my strong point. But doesn't he have a real problem with movement conservatives? Not because he's liberal or anything but because they just don't see him as on their team? And he is a sad old man, which can't be a plus.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:09 PM
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LB, McCain's actual self is far less important than his self- and media-created persona. Plenty of people believe that John McCain is one of the most liberal Republicans on the national scene. They're wrong, but it's a common perception. Also, I have very little doubt that McCain would absolutely crush Hillary Clinton in a general election, by a much wider margin than either of the last two elections.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:09 PM
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I think 6 seems right.

If forced to vote, I would vote for Clinton over McCain, but would vote for McCain over Obama because for me, and I suspect a lot of moderates of both parties, I am concerned both by his lack of experience and his some of his policies, which are too left for me.

So, I am a person who might possibly ever vote for a Democrat who would not vote for Obama no matter how appealing he otherwise is. I think I am not alone.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:10 PM
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16: Huh. Pwned by someone I actually know. There goes that attempt to psychoanalyze Republicans.

But I could still be right about the sex scandal -- you'd just need someone in the right spot to push the story who agreed with my analysis.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:12 PM
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But doesn't he have a real problem with movement conservatives? Not because he's liberal or anything but because they just don't see him as on their team?

Yes, but in a general election they'll fall in line. He's very popular among independents, largely because of his media-created persona. Obama is also popular among independents, of course, so he could give McCain a real run for his money.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:13 PM
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Is it true that Michelle Obama said she wouldn't vote for Hillary (expressesd as "a Democrat") is Obama doesn't get the nomination? Someone just told me that, but I've no idea how reliable she is.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:15 PM
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I thought it was more like might not campaign for Hillary, not wouldn't vote for her, but I haven't checked it. But there is some such quote.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:16 PM
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Has Keating 5 been totally forgotten?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:17 PM
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16:Has anyone linked to the analysis at Kleiman's about McCain? Basically he is not a team player, so all the factions that have sacrificed hate him. But to Republicans who do not consider themselves part of the "team" he is very solid on policy.

13:But I stand by my prediction, too bad I don't have money. Consider it ex recto, or intuition, or precog, with the only absurd confirmation being that I have very few other similar intuitions. Obama will move right after getting the nomination locked up, seeking the landslide. Not much of a prediction, that.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:17 PM
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Has Keating 5 been totally forgotten?

Yes, but if it ever comes up the Official McCain Story account of it is that it was a youthful indiscretion that shamed him into devoting his life to the pursuit of clean politics and Straight Talk™.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:18 PM
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"I may be overestimating how hopeless McCain's chances are, but I can't imagine anyone who might possibly ever vote for a Democrat voting for him over Obama this year. ..."

I actually did vote for a Democrat last time and might vote for McCain over Obama (or Clinton for that matter). It will depend on which of the two I can't stand the most come election day. Of course this means I might not vote for either one.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:20 PM
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A lot of my stuffwhitepeoplelike friends like McCain because his straight-shooting persona media lovefest convinces them that he's a good guy who just happens to be a Republican and he isn't a religious crazy. They're right on the latter point, which says more about American politics than anything else. Wanting to invade Iran because it's fun instead of because God told you to makes you a sane one.

McCain and Obama compete for the same set of self-identified independent voters, and which way they break depends on their left or right-leaning biases. The game is to convince them that Obama's vision is more compelling than McCain's. With Clinton, it seems that she and McCain try to stake out the same vision, but that she's better at that vision than he is. (This says nothing about their actual positions, but McCain is a conservative people think is a moderate, and Clinton is a moderate who people think is a radical leftist.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:20 PM
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Folks, it is not just the media image. McCain will not raise your taxes, will appoint the right judges, will try to privatize SS, and will bomb everybody he can. He is a solid conservative, many people know it, and will vote on the basis of policy preference.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:21 PM
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Does anybody remember how sure everyone here was that Giuliani was going to be the Republican nominee?

I think the Unfoggetariat is even worse at predicting politics than Yglesias -- and that's saying a lot.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:21 PM
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I hope SCMT has it right in #8. I don't see any way the Republicans can fail to make 80% of the idiotic "swing voters" believe Obama is a Muslim by November. The unprecedented base-getting-out ability that Obama has so far shown will be our only hope.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:21 PM
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19: no. She said she wasn't sure she'd work for her.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:21 PM
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It is just the media image when the people who are voting for McCain think that he won't bomb people, won't privatize SS, and will appoint pro-choice judges. I have no problem conceptually with conservatives voting for McCain. When liberals doing it thinking he's a liberal I want to bash them with the reality stick.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:25 PM
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27: Does anybody remember how sure everyone here was that Giuliani was going to be the Republican nominee?

I've been saying he didn't have a hope in hell since forever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:27 PM
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Re: Yeah, for the real low-information swing voters, McCain has to overcome the 'sad old puffy-looking man" versus "tall handsome compelling speaker" contrast, which is a hell of a problem for him if race doesn't settle it.

Maybe that's why the sex scandal broke: ie:"oh, look, he's not so old and puffy, he actually got laid recently!" Unfortunately, it will backfire because Americans are more tolerant of murderousness, lying, war-making, and below-average IQs in their leaders, but extra-marital sex is a defect that is absolutely unpardonable.


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:28 PM
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29 is correct. She said she'd have to think about campaigning for Clinton. I don't really see why candidates' spouses are obligated to campaign for other candidates.

To some extent McCain has a Giuliani thing going on: what a lot of people knew about Giuliani was "America's mayor"; as they got to know him, the glow faded fast. What a lot of people know about McCain is "maverick straight talker", but that's not really who he's been lately. So hopefully as voters get to know Crazy Uncle Bomb-Iran, his popularity declines. But he will be running a general election campaign so he may be able to move away from his primary persona to some extent.



Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:29 PM
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I have no problem conceptually with conservatives voting for McCain. When liberals doing it thinking he's a liberal I want to bash them with the reality stick.

Those are the "swing voters". If you don't know what the difference is between putting one party in power vs. putting the other party in power, and you vote based on personality because you figure all else is equal, you are behaving like an idiot. I actually think that "Philosoraptor" blogger has become one of these.

If you realize the difference between the two parties, but your priorities are actually things that they don't seem to differ on (the Drug War being the best example of this, or people who vote on which candidate is better for the people of Cambodia), then I can respect you, depending on what your priorities are. That's not a "swing voter".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:29 PM
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"He's likely to bomb Tehran if his bowels act up" is my new conversational description of McCain.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:34 PM
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There is also a lot more to this story than sex, there is the favors for lobbyist friends stuff. The worse part is how sloppy it was, and with the legal contract for campaign contribution story, just reinforces the idea that McCain is loose and sloppy, not slick & professional. To beg forgiveness as in Keating will look weak, not counting possible legal ramifications.

With the perpetual temper stories, I think that there is an image of McCain as sloppy and out of control, and even excluding an incident where he takes a riding crop to the press pool, I think he is too much of a loose cannon to make it to election day.

In a Repub fight among the money Repubs and other factions, money wins, so I expect Romney or Bloomberg or Jeb.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:35 PM
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Those are the "swing voters".

And I can't stress enough that most of the swing voters don't know jackshit about politics and any attempt to engage them on issues is a fool's game. I'll link again to the sad tale of my sister-in-law.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:38 PM
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31: I looked back at the "Angry Ape" thread and I realized that I was misremembering. Ogged was the only one that really bought the idea.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:39 PM
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Has Keating 5 been totally forgotten?

It is mentioned in the NYT story. Our local paper ran it along with a Keating-5-era picture of McCain, with the combover and the black-rimmed glasses. Hott.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:41 PM
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37: Apo is right. My dear father in 2000 wanted to vote for either Bradley or McCain out of some notion that both men were "different" and super special snowflakes. I tried to explain to my pop that I didn't really find this especially coherent since the views of the two men were not at all alike. I got a raised eyebrow and a dismissive headshake. Not because he didn't believe me, but rather because that wasn't what it was about. In the general he voted for Nader -- which made even less sense.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:44 PM
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If power is handed back over to another republican government in the next election, (after all the horrendous foibles of the bush regime) I will lose all faith in the American population. I have no idea what the political climate is like right now, in terms of the real as opposed to perceived or lip-serviced political possibilities in the upcoming election, but if the nay-sayers are right (those who claim that the American public is neither ready for a (white) woman nor a black man as president,) then we will know two things: 1) not only are large populations unable to learn from their mistakes, but 2) that the cornerstones upon which the American dream, constitution and culture were built are now irreparably eroded. This is a scary prospect indeed.


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:44 PM
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35: I love you, Cala. Can I use that line, too?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:44 PM
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I think this is a "no one I know is voting for Reagan" moment. I think either democratic candidate would be the favorite in the general, and likely to win (given the economy, the war, and Bush's 'popularity'). But the outcome is far from foreordained. I like Obama, and he's a phenomenon for sure, but he is a) left, b) inexperienced, c) black. 25% of presidential voters in 2004 were above 65.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:45 PM
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I would vote for Clinton over McCain, but would vote for McCain over Obama because for me, and I suspect a lot of moderates of both parties, I am concerned both by his lack of experience and his some of his policies, which are too left for me.

Idealist meet Bob. Bob, this is Idealist.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:48 PM
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Yeah, I wasn't so much meaning to argue that Obama was an unstoppable steamroller, but that McCain was a weak candidate among Republicans -- that he doesn't have much a constitutency in the core of the party. But my knowledge of Republicans, as I've said above, is right up there with Pauline Kael's.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:48 PM
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How come in every conversation we have about elections, at least half the participants take the time to remark that no one here appreciates how irrational most voters are?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:50 PM
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31: I looked back at the "Angry Ape" thread and I realized that I was misremembering. Ogged was the only one that really bought the idea.

The implication here is that I said in that thread that Giuliani would win: false!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:51 PM
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Also, has anyone noticed that this book, which argues that Americans don't appreciate rational argument anymore, is based entirely on anecdotal evidence?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:52 PM
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McCain was a weak candidate among Republicans

This is true, but he got the luck of facing the most hapless GOP field I've ever seen. He's a decent candidate in the general, though, because where else are conservatives going to go?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:53 PM
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On the original subject of the post, I haven't seen any claims that it's "kingmakers" behind this, but I have seen plenty of suggestions that Huckabee was, at the very least, remarkably well-prepared for the situation.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:53 PM
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My dear father in 2000 wanted to vote for either Bradley or McCain

See, that's how people vote. Issue voters are few and far between.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:53 PM
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48: What's your point?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:53 PM
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42: It might be PLAGIARISM, helpy-chalk. Other good variations are more subtle '... if the White House forgets to serve prune juice.'

45: I think McCain's popularity with non-megachurch Republicans and independents makes up in part for the megachurches not liking him. Except that Huckabee winning with no money shows that the megachurches appear to do a lot of the local organizing, so he might have a turnout problem. (That is, I think Tim is right in 8. It's important to grab some of the middle, but not nearly as important as getting people already in your camp to show up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:54 PM
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"See, that's how people vote. Issue voters are few and far between."

Everyone knows this, but the Democratic party doesn't tend to act on it. Among other things, this is a license to vote as liberal as you want when most voters aren't paying attention.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:55 PM
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Only sort of on-topic, but: the more I think about this, the more convinced I get that a major part of what makes this story news is that the lobbyist was widely perceived as using a sexual relationship with McCain as a marketing tool, which violates the Rules of the Tribe. Politicians accepting favors from lobbyists isn't really news (although the fact that Senator Straight Talk's ethics are no better than average ought to be), and politicians fucking around isn't supposed to be news, but tackiness demands a response (see Clinton, Bill). That's kind of yuck. Fucking your way to the top isn't the kind of behavior that ought to be encouraged, and a strong norm against it is helpful to lobbyists who want to succeed without putting out, but I have mixed feelings as to whether sex really is different in kind from other sorts of sleazy-but-legal stuff that lobbyists do for politicians all the time.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:57 PM
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McCain is the strongest general election candidate the GOP has had since Reagan. He's personable. Also, you know that magic whereby Obama can be essentially a man of the left while convincing people on the right that he's reasonable and bi-partisan? McCain can do that in mirror image. Also, he's articulate (way better on the stump than either Bush or Dole) and has a compelling (at least to many) biography.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:58 PM
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40: oudemia, I am ashamed to admit that I did that too. I went with Bradley, because I liked his healthcare plan, and Gore pissed me off when he said that we couldn't afford UHC and generally lied about Bradley's proposal.

The War on Drugs was one of my most important issues, so I was not disposed to like Gore given the Clinton White House's record on civil liberties and the crime bill which increased the number of drug crimes eligible for mandatory minimum sentences (I think).


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 12:59 PM
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Also, it's possible that only really elite Republicans have a problem with McCain, but his recent results against Huckabee should cause him some concern. He's had problems in caucuses--which favor party activists, esp. when turnout is low, but it's not like it's just Rush Limbaugh & the religious right leaders & the National Reivew & no actual voters. No one seems to have remarked on the fact that if you look at actual results since Super Tuesday, you might not realize that McCain's the one who's locked up the nomination & Obama is the one in the really close race.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:00 PM
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the Democratic party doesn't tend to act on it

I've said it before, but the Democrats have been losing elections based on attitude, not issues. The endless cringing and apologizing on perpetual display since the 80s have cemented a justified perception that it's the Wuss Party. You can be a liberal in this government as long as you're willing to stand up and publicly tell the other side to go fuck itself (e.g., Tom Harkin's long career in Iowa).


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:00 PM
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I have no problem conceptually with conservatives voting for McCain. When liberals doing it thinking he's a liberal I want to bash them with the reality stick.

Yes, I'm having this problem (wanting to bash people with a reality stick, preferably a shitty one) with one good friend--a liberal, New England, no-nonsense lesbian. She says McCain is a moderate, and no amount of talking to her has changed that perception. I think it really stems from the conservatives, like Limbaugh, who've been attacking McCain: it's a "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" idea. It's pervasive, and stronger than we might realize. (She doesn't like Obama, btw, because he's too nebulous with his "change" rhetoric, so she thinks he can't really know what he's talking about. He keeps saying nothing at all.)

And this reminds me of the last conversation I had with my mother, a former hippy, now mouth-foaming Republican:
Mom: [about Obama] He's a Muslim!
Me: No he's not. He goes to a Christian church.
Mom: He only switched over so he could get elected.
Me: Mom, he's not a Muslim, but even if he was, I wouldn't care. That's why we have this whole "separation of church and state" idea.
Mom: You wouldn't care?????
Me: He's not auditioning to be my preacher, mom.
Mom: [stunned silence]
Mom: You know his middle name's Hussein, dont' you?

and on, infinitum.... until my little brother (who's 22) got on the phone, an equally rabid conservative, who says: "You'd vote for a guy whose middle name's Mohammed!??!" I wanted to correct him, but I didn't think it'd do any good.


Posted by: wrenae | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:01 PM
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47: You implied it.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:02 PM
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I think McCain's popularity with non-megachurch Republicans and independents makes up in part for the megachurches not liking him. Except that Huckabee winning with no money shows that the megachurches appear to do a lot of the local organizing, so he might have a turnout problem.

A lot of megachurch leaders are corporate scumbags who do whatever Newt Gingrich would do. Dobson, for example. And of course Ralph Reed.

The smaller the church, the less likely it is that the people in charge will have any enthusiasm about a non-Christian candidate like McCain, I think.

Unless, of course, he was running against a Muslim.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:04 PM
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Here is the most important issue for most voters.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:06 PM
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56: McCain is the strongest general election candidate the GOP has had since Reagan. He's personable.

He is kind of personable; like, as much as I disagree with him about everything, he comes off as human, rather than as some weird android politician/product, like so many of them. But likeable seems like a long way from compelling -- he doesn't seem to me to have the kind of likeability that will help him against another likeable candidate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:09 PM
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60 is so right. I've run into the same thing. The perception that McCain is a "maverick" and distanced from Bush is a big strength. The Obama campaign is going to have to work to hang Bush around his neck.

Also, I had a weirdly similar conversation with my Mom. But I did manage to convince her Obama was not in fact Muslim.


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:09 PM
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The Obama campaign is going to have to work to hang Bush around his neck.

Yeah, a whole lot of posters of that hug are probably a good idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:09 PM
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[about Obama] He's a Muslim!

I think we're all going to be surprised just how wide this misperception has spread.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:12 PM
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McCain is the strongest general election candidate the GOP has had since Reagan. He's personable.

baa, Have you seen McCain on the stump lately? He's like a dessicated robot, substituting "my friends" everywhere Giuliani would have said "9/11". It seems like he's generally excellent on his bus and on Meet the Press, but he doesn't seem to be a great campaigner, as such.


Posted by: Chris Conway | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:12 PM
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68: One must consider the opposition: GHWB, Bob Dole, GWB.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:15 PM
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64: But isn't most of his image as a personable guy based on his willingness to talk to reporters in a recognizably human fashion? He's reputed to have a temper problem and be a bit of an asshole, and a lot of that straight talk with reporters could be characterized as publicly trashing the process that he's supposed to be using to get stuff done.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:15 PM
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I don't know, I think we tend to overestimate McCain's electoral strength. The media loves him, definitely, unfortunately. Yes, they love him now. But he's never run in a general election, has he? Has he ever run against someone who would attack him from the left?

In the 2000 election, he was the not-Bush who went to great lengths to look like a maverick, in an extremely frivolous election. And then McCain-Feingold actually was sort of kind of maverickish. But in this coming fall, all the journalists and editorial writers who were more interested in Clinton vs. Obama will have to focus on [one of them] vs. McCain. He won't be able to shrug off all the left-wing and center view of his chosen policies. He won't always have a friendly crowd. He'll lose his veneer of principles if he runs a negative ad against the media's other golden boy, Obama, and (not to get off-topic, but) as New Hampshire showed, Clinton does best against low blows.

I don't want to say "he'll go down in flames in a general election" because a lot of the media will still love him, and just because I'm too cautious to make a prediction like that in general, but...


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:15 PM
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19: no. She said she wasn't sure she'd work for her.

Thanks. Why bother with Google-fu when I've got Sifu-fu?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:16 PM
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The first thing I said to Rah when we saw this reported last night was that it made me wonder if Huckabee had just been informed that he was not on the short list for Veep and maybe felt the need to kick some shins under the table.

McCain's biography is compelling to a certain set of the population, yes, and he is articulate in that he can be clearly understood, yes, but he is not exciting. Everything he does is a snooze-fest. My father remains extremely excited about Obama. My father voted for motherfuckin' Dole.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:18 PM
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I think McCain really is the strongest general election candidate the Republicans have had since Reagan. (The knock against him was he seemed unlikely to make it past the primaries. Here he lucked out, in that Huckabee hurt Romney just enough that he could squeak through.) There's just enough to his political biography (campaign finance reform, worked with John Kerry to investigate POWs, criticized Bush here and there) that it makes the idea that he's a political moderate irrefutable. (Honestly, when someone tells me this, I don't even try to argue the point, since I know the only conclusion they'll draw from it is that I'm a partisan hack.)

(As a complete aside, the only possible argument to "Obama is a Muslim" is "What are you, a moron? Where did you read that? The Internet. Oh, then it must be true. You know what else I read the Internet? The government is controlled by lizards from another planet. That must be true too. Strategically deployed contempt is an effective arguing tool. That's why you always lose arguments with your parents -- they know this already.)


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:28 PM
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This is my impression of the story behind the story: the New York Times had this story in December, but they got scared off by legal threats from the McCain camp. Since then, other newspapers got ahold of the story, so the Times was about to be scooped. They ran the weasel-word version of the story because it minimized their legal liability.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:31 PM
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74 - You're high, Walt. Watch him any time he attempts to feign an interest in the economy, then consider that we're probably in a recession right now. A dour 72-year-old who is wrong on the war and can't even pretend to give a shit about your house getting foreclosed on is simply not that strong, whereas circa-2000 McCain would have been a juggernaut.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:34 PM
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44:Did you mean this "Bob?" Don't worry about me. I kid around too much, but "Never voted for a Republican" is going on my gravestone. Obama could sport a little moustache and use a hand salute and he has me in November. Yeller dog, y'all.

I was gonna say somethin about pushing everyone to the left being my purpose, but I should be pulling, and I am not doing it well. Have to think about gettin pretty.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:35 PM
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Have you seen McCain on the stump lately?
I've seen him in person, actually, and he seems to come off just fine in that context. Likewise, his last two victory speeches have been fine. He looked awful in the CA debate against Romney, however...


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:36 PM
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has a compelling (at least to many) biography

True, but when you see a picture of him, that's not what you think. You think, "That's going to be a compelling obituary." For gawd's sake, is he taller than HRC anymore?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:40 PM
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I was had a student tell me that GW Bush was Catholic. When I pressed him on why he thought that, he said he saw a picture of Bush standing next to the Pope, once.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:43 PM
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McCain doesn't really come across as doddering to anyone, does he? Anyway, I'm inclined to think that the election will be decided by events: if there are no terrorist attacks and Iraq remains on a low boil, Obama wins, but if there's an attack or something dramatic is happening in Iraq, McCain can take it.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:47 PM
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McCain looks the same to me as he has for the past decade or so. I'd like to think that his age will doom his campaign, but I kinda doubt it will play much role.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:49 PM
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McCain doesn't really come across as doddering to anyone, does he?

Yes, he does. I don't think the E-trade commercials he did for the Super Bowl helped, though the clown line was funny.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:50 PM
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He doesn't come across as doddering now, but after a full length presidential campaign and everyone I know talking about prune juice?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:51 PM
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McCain doesn't really come across as doddering to anyone, does he?

Yeah, kind of. Eight years ago he looked healthy middle-aged. Now he looks like a tired old man. I don't watch a whole lot of TV, so I may be generalizing from a couple of bad appearances.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:51 PM
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I was saying to a friend that I thought the two best candidates the Republicans had got taken out. George Allen got knocked out by a fluke and his own racist past, and Jeb Bush's political career outside Florida has been destroyed by his idiot older brother. Either one of them seems to me like they would have been much stronger in this environment (and Allen, I think, would have been the establishment choice that Romney never quite was).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:51 PM
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86: Jeb, sure, but I'm not so sure about Allen. Even aside from the whole racist angle he ran a terrible campaign in 2006. I don't think he made even a token effort to give Virginia voters a reason to vote for him, as opposed to attacking Webb. Completely incompetent.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:55 PM
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George Allen got knocked out by a fluke and his own racist past present.

Fixed that for you.

How did a guy like him get to be the establishment choice?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:56 PM
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88, see last sentence of 87.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:57 PM
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McCain doesn't really come across as doddering to anyone, does he?

No, but he looks as though someone's been coaching him before every appearance to smile, which only makes him look like a maniac.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 1:58 PM
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McCain doesn't really come across as doddering to anyone, does he?

Yes, he does. In 2000 he seemed energetic. Now he seems fragile.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:00 PM
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As long as LB agrees with me, I need nothing else. McCain has to have his food pre-mashed before he can eat it!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:01 PM
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And RMP!


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:01 PM
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The hug picture is perfect for an attack add:

http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/R/e/1/mccain_bush_hug.jpg

Just talk about how close bush and McCain are.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:02 PM
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The US is obviously losing its economic and military hegemony. If a Republican gets elected again it'll show that we have no hope of realizing this soon enough to do anything about it, or doing anything but lashing out when it becomes obvious, becoming a true pariah state for decades. Any Republican is interchangeable for this purpose. I can't stand hearing people talk who don't realize that Republicans are interchangeable once in office.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:03 PM
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88 - Inside the Beltway, people really love the Redskins.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:03 PM
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The hug picture is perfect for an attack add:

I agree. I think the way to go after McCain is "he wants it too badly," which lets you bring up his abject forgiveness of Bush, despite being so rudely smeared, and which undercuts his "man of principle, man of character" thing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:05 PM
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97: His character is his strong card. He wants to run on his character. That's really all he has. Attack his age. That's one of those things that is at least arguably a legitimate subject, clearly true (he just is old), and not your fault.

There should be widescale discussions about whether or not Reagan was afflicted by Alzheimer's in his second term. And someone should ask if he can still eat a steak.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:09 PM
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Just make posters of that photo, with Obama/Whoever 08 across the bottom. People will get the message just fine.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:09 PM
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And someone should ask if he can still eat a steak.

oo, can we have other tests of manliness? Maybe all the candidates should go out and shoot waterfowl.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:11 PM
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"shoot waterfowl" s/b "fuck lobbyists"


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:13 PM
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His character is his strong card. He wants to run on his character.

How can this be?

Forget Whitewater. Keating was McCain's buddy. Their financial ties were strong. His intervention for Keating, etc.

Just because he says character is his strong card doesnt make it his strong card.

The guy has tremendous lobbyist connections, just like every other politician. For him to tout himself as the last honest man is ridiculous.

Character? How did he treat his first wife? Character? His second wife stole from a charity and had a drug addiction.

I am not inclined to make those issues except for him holding himself out as the last honest man.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:16 PM
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"fuck lobbyists"

I dont really care if he is fucking lobbyists. But don't say "When I fuck lobbyists, I fuck them with honesty."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:17 PM
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Ogged, in his infinite wisdom and cosmopolitan experience, has it at 81

Not really. I was very worried about Edwards and a "Security Event" but not so much Obama. Obama has a more than adequate "tough" carriage and personality. It is just Obama's Democratic base that will be mildly disappointed when Obama harmonizes in the barbershop quartet with McCain, Bush, and Lieberman in:"Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:18 PM
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Tim, do you want to lose Florida?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:18 PM
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How can this be?

He answers the questions of reporters, thoroughly and entertainingly.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:19 PM
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Character? How did he treat his first wife? Character? His second wife stole from a charity and had a drug addiction.

All of which he has owned up to, as Obama owned up to taking drugs.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:20 PM
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All of which he has owned up to, as Obama owned up to taking drugs.

On the other hand, there's that parody of the dumb will.i.am video with McCain singing his "bomb Iran" song and offering people $50 to go pick lettuce, which seems more likely to stick than attacking McCain's heiress wife.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:23 PM
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I don't think it's been going around much, but here's the blog of a buddy of Ja/ck McCain with a picture of the prodigal son on the front page. Pretty bracing stuff. And this post appears to actually contain a comment from the Ja/ckster or at least an unsavory quote attributed to him.

It's not scandal material but it's interesting.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:25 PM
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Tim, do you want to lose Florida?

I'd love to know the number of people over 72 (and 75-76; we don't even have to allege problems today!) that actually vote, and how large a share it is of likely voters. And no one's more freaked out by and aware of the problems associated with aging than the aged.

Has McCain had to surrender his drivers license yet?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:25 PM
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103: Having said my piece on the squickiness of the sex angle in 55, I am now free to point and laugh, since it's not my ox being gored.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:25 PM
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And really, I think McCain isn't doing great in his first-day response to the Times story -- saying that you never had relations with that woman is one thing, but he's making demonstrably untrue claims ("I am the candidate who takes no money from special interests", mischaracterizing his letter to the FCC) which is going to let the Times tear into him for another day. His Maverick McStraightTalk schtick falls apart when you look at it too closely, which is why feeding the reporters good sandwiches (white people love them!) and cracking jokes on his bus was a good strategy, and getting into a pissing fight with the Times over matters of fact rather than a questionably-sourced story about an affair isn't.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:28 PM
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McCain doesn't really come across as doddering to anyone, does he?

To me, in still photos he looks about the same as ever. On video, though, yeah.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:29 PM
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109 was a horror. What has happened to this country that all the kids now look like jocks and soshes? Where did my generation go so wrong?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:29 PM
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I haven't read the comments yet, but I really can't see as how the Republicans can replace McCain without triggering deeper panic than a spurious sex scandal*. So they'll take this one squarely on the chin.

Also, McCain has known this was going to come up since before Iowa.

*I believe the rumors to be true, but they're still only spurious at this point in the game.


Posted by: sam k | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:29 PM
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A teenager smoking pot and doing a few lines seems a far cry from the socialite heiress who steals percodan and vicodin from her medical relief nonprofit. But I bet a lot of folks think what Cindy M. did was less problematic, however, since her drugs weren't schedule one narcotics.

But I don't think McCain comes off all that well in the story. One of her employees ratted her out because her behavior had become incredibly erratic and McCain wasn't doing anything about it. McCain then tried to have that fellow investigated by local law enforcement.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:31 PM
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114: Soshes? Ponyboy? Is that you?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:32 PM
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mcmanus, those kids are all Marine trainees, I think, so they're not quiiiiite representative of the average millenial.


Posted by: mano negra | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:34 PM
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since her drugs weren't schedule one narcotics

And she isn't running for president. Also, Betty Ford really paved the way for political wives to get pie-eyed, as long as they have the MomentOfRedemption™. Rehab is now as American as mom and apple pie.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:35 PM
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right: those are jocks. I'm not sure what a sosh is--female equivalent?


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:36 PM
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snarkout - I didn't say he was going to win. When have the Republicans nominated someone who could feign interest in people suffering in a recession? No one will care that he's wrong on the war (fuck if I know why -- I bring it up to every moderate McCain lover, and they just shrug their shoulders). If we're in a recession, he's fucked, but so would any Republican. If there's a bad recession (which seems pretty likely to me, but who knows), the Democrats could be running Eldridge Cleaver and still win.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:36 PM
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Given his obvious dependence on Cialis and the like, how can we be sure that a President McCain would not corrupt the FDA?

'm not sure what a sosh is--female equivalent?

I think it was "soc" as in "Society types," IIRC.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:37 PM
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Following on #122, I think I misread Katherine. Never mind.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:38 PM
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120: Sosh is short for Social. SE Hinton calls all the jocks and cheerleaders in The Outsiders soshes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:39 PM
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Stay gold, oudemia.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:44 PM
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When have the Republicans nominated someone who could feign interest in people suffering in a recession?

Reagan and GWB both strike me as significantly higher up on the pretending-to-care scale. Romney, for all his weird Ken doll stylings, clearly knows about and cares about economics. Huckabee.

I mean, the thing about McCain is that he doesn't strike me as having any real interest whatsoever in domestic policy -- not the mechanics of politics, but actual policy -- beyond thinking that serving the state as part of the greater good is a positive thing that everyone should do and an interest in immigration reform. He's pro-life (which nobody in the Obama's-a-Muslim demographic seems to believe), but I think the Dobsons of the world are absolutely correct that he doesn't genuinely give a shit and can't be bothered to learn how to fake it. His economic policy is incoherent, as is the case for many Republicans, but it's also internally deeply inconsistant. He just doesn't care about the domestic sphere, not even on issues important to the crucial Evil-American demographic, and I think that he could have coasted on maverickitude in 2000, a period of general disgust with the political process that gave us the impeachment mess and a real boomlet in National Greatness hoo-ha among the center-right press.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:47 PM
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snarkout--Does Romney know anything about economics? Krugman actually wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review titled "A Country is not a Company," and I think that the point is sound. Romney knows a lot about business. What evidence is there that he knows anything at all about economics?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:53 PM
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That's a fair point -- I should say that Romney clearly knows about and cares about the economy; like McMegan or GWB, possessing an MBA is not actually a sign of any actual expertise with the discipline of economics.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 2:58 PM
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I think SE Hinton should be the standing poet Laureate of the Democratic party.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:03 PM
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Stay golden, Ponyboy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:11 PM
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Damn, pwned at 125, but isn't it "golden"?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:12 PM
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131: It's gold. It's from that "nothing gold can stay" poem. Ponyboy and the sosh girl get moony about it, I think.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:16 PM
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The interwebs agree it's "gold." Just forget I said anything.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:16 PM
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the Democrats could be running Eldridge Cleaver and still win.

I dunno, a decade-old corpse might make McCain look young again.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:16 PM
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Cherry! Cherry the Sosh Girl! (Maybe.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:16 PM
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possessing an MBA is not actually a sign of any actual expertise with the discipline of economics anything at all


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:17 PM
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It's a sign of actual expertise at getting through business school.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:18 PM
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Sometimes, I guess.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:20 PM
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It's a sign of actual expertise at getting through business school.

I don't know about expertise, there. Competence, I suppose.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:22 PM
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Experience, yes. Expertise or competence assume facts most definitely not in (GWBGWBGWB) evidence.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:24 PM
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From what I hear, even "competence" is a bit strong. "Ability to make tuition payment in a timely fashion" perhaps.


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:24 PM
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94: Exactly. Which makes me wonder, is there any way to Google-bomb image searches? The hug doesn't come up until the bottom of the third page of results in a search for john mccain. Clearly, it deserves more recognition.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:34 PM
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His character is his strong card. He wants to run on his character. That's really all he has.

Have you learned nothing from Karl Rove? Hammer him on his "strong points". Turn the straight-arrow policy wonk into a filthy liar; turn the decorated combat veteran into a fraudulent coward -- with what we've got on McCain, we can attack his character without even having to lie like Rove.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:34 PM
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Hammer him on his "strong points". Turn the straight-arrow policy wonk into a filthy liar; turn the decorated combat veteran into a fraudulent coward -- with what we've got on McCain, we can attack his character without even having to lie like Rove.

Can this be done without making Obama (if he gets the nomination) look like a hypocrite?


Posted by: Gabriel | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:47 PM
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Interesting underreported story: When Karen Hughes took over as Undersecretary of Public Diplomacy, she brought with her all of the tactics she learned from Rove and the Bush White House, and tried to use them to improve public perception of America in the Arab and Muslim worlds. For instance, she set up "rapid response teams" in order to spin Arabic-language media.

The whole thing was catastrophic. For some reason, the tactics that worked so well in controlling the American media failed overseas. It would be easy enough to chalk this up to "foreign reporters actually doing their job" or "A situation so bad that even Rove-level tactics can't make it look good." But I think something is deeper here. There is something very limited about the effectiveness of Rove-tactics. They worked here, in the US, in the first few years of the 21st century. But they are not an all purpose guide for how to lie.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 3:54 PM
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I actually did vote for a Democrat last time and might vote for McCain over Obama (or Clinton for that matter). It will depend on which of the two I can't stand the most come election day. Of course this means I might not vote for either one.

"We have our own low-information voter right here. And he's not what you think! More at 5:00".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:00 PM
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144: (a) Obama doesn't say anything mean himself, and (b) what's hypocritical about pointing out that Mr. Straighttalking Maverick Man is voting for waterboarding and canoodling (even if non-sexually) with lobbyists, as well as snuggling Bush?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:01 PM
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145 - I dunno, there are confounding factors. Mark Lynch's ongoing dissection of Al-Hurra made a pretty good case that nobody who was involved at the higher levels of those efforts had made any real effort to understand the Arab-language media ecology.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:08 PM
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Dead thread, maybe, but no one so far has mentioned two things about McCain's appeal. One, he doesn't speak entirely in focus-group soundbites. Two, before he became a politician he actually did some interesting real-world things. Military things.

20 years ago neither trait would stand out much, but the Republican party, especially, is full of zombie slaves.

(And no, DeLay's bug-zapping doesn't count as "an interesting real-world thing".)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:18 PM
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It's probably worth distinguishing between McCain's appeal and the appeal of the media construct. Any candidate who had the press favor McCain does would be that popular - we'd be talking about the image of Kucinich as clever, wise, and a sort of nerd folk hero, or of Clinton as a Rosie the Riveter for the office age, a tough takes-no-shit woman who makes her critics seem like freaks and cretins, or whatever. Anyone can come across as appealing in those circumstances. The operative questions then are, is the media effort on McCain's behalf likely to end between now and November, what might make that happen, and what is likely to remain once/if it does?

I don't have anything like good answers, of course.


Posted by: Bruce Baugh | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:26 PM
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146

Actually I am not a low information voter. I am uncommittted because none of the candidates represent my views very well.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:49 PM
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I think SE Hinton should be the standing poet Laureate of the Democratic party.

Bastard. That's a pretty good line.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 4:52 PM
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I can understand not voting, and I can understand going third-party, but I can't understand someone who prefers one Democrat to McCain, but McCain to the other Democrat. I can't say low-information or low-understanding either, but there seem to be major blind spots and obsessions skewing the choice.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:37 PM
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Are you asking Idealist to explain himself? I'm with you, if so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:40 PM
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It's not so strange. Hilary is hawkish, experienced, and conservative enough for Idealist, but Obama isn't. If he can't have Hilary no one can!, McCain is closer to what he's looking for in terms of hawkishness, experience and conservatism.

That's my guess, anyway.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:49 PM
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153

"... but I can't understand someone who prefers one Democrat to McCain, but McCain to the other Democrat. ..."

A chauvinistic white woman with preference order Clinton, McCain, Obama? A chauvinistic black man with the reverse? Seems understandable enough.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:51 PM
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God I'm enjoying the Republicans who voted for Bush try to sound serious when they claim they can't vote for Obama because he's a lightweight/doesn't have enough experience.

Look wingers, perhaps it's not the dumbest thing you can say in a political conversation, but it's up there.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:52 PM
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Another of my winger favorites. " I can't vote for a Democrat because they'll run up the deficit."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:56 PM
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There seem to be quite a few folk over at TalkLeft who claim that Obama is so very out of the question that they will vote for McCain. And that is a (nominally) lefty blog.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:57 PM
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The people at TalkLeft need a kick to the baby maker.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:59 PM
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Are you asking Idealist to explain himself?

155 does it pretty well, actually. Again, my comment was based on the premise that I was forced to vote. I have not decided what I will do when the election comes. Not voting is always an answer. Of course being a Republican in New York, my voting or not voting in most national elections has only symbolic value either way.


Posted by: Idealist | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 5:59 PM
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A chauvinistic white woman with preference order Clinton, McCain, Obama?

No one buys that as explaining Ideal's order of preference, though. I think ogged's right.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:00 PM
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Here:

ll

Those are for 152.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:00 PM
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Pwnd by the man himself.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:03 PM
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I'm not sure I realized Idealist was a Republican. Hokay!

Isn't he sort of the opposite of baa, Republican-wise? Fascinating!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:06 PM
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But I think something is deeper here. There is something very limited about the effectiveness of Rove-tactics.

You can fool all of the people some of the time...


Posted by: PerfectlyGoddamnDelightful | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 6:06 PM
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S/B "I can't simultaneously understand and respect".

I don't believe that either Obama or Clinton is very dovish, but they're far closer to each other than either is to McCain. That can't be the decider. Neither is very conservative, either, or both are about equally far from McCain. That leaves experience, which strikes me as a weak reason too. It's not like McCain has any administrative or foreign policy experience.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 7:26 PM
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but he's making demonstrably untrue claims ("I am the candidate who takes no money from special interests", mischaracterizing his letter to the FCC)

It wasn't just one letter.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 10:18 PM
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The people at Talk Left who're annoucing they're voting for McCain are just venting. People say stupid shit like that when their candidate loses every Presidential year.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-21-08 10:30 PM
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I doubt Idealist and I are that far apart. I agree, e.g., that Hilary is more hawkish than Obama, and generally less likely to be dangerously naive in foreign affairs. That's not quite enough to tip the scale to Clinton for me. If I thought they would be massively different on Iraq, then it would.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 5:20 AM
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170: to be dangerously naive in foreign affairs

Is it really dangerous naivete that we should be worrying about after the last 8 years of Presidential foreign policy, or is it rather the prospect of dangerous hubris that ought to keep us up at night?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 5:33 AM
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And 'hawkish' is a bad thing, no?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 5:39 AM
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¦¦
"Dangerous hubris" reminds me that this, via Slacktivist, might be thought mildly amusing:

"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."
John Hinderaker
¦>


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 5:43 AM
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i sometimes thought that Bush can't be that evil man when women around him are so nice sympathetic people Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Condoleeza Rice


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 6:44 AM
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Is it really dangerous naivete that we should be worrying about after the last 8 years of Presidential foreign policy, or is it rather the prospect of dangerous hubris that ought to keep us up at night?

Not mutually exclusive! I know there's this idea out there that McCain is crazy and will bomb Iran at the drop of a hat. This doesn't seem to me like a fact-based assessment. He supported Clinton in Bosnia (one of few Republicans to do so). He tried to get shift from the Rumsfeld policy in Iraq very early. I understand why people would disagree with his policies, of course. But the shoot-from-the-hip doesn't seem substantiated. (and please, don't respond with a clip of McCain singing to "barbara-ann").


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:00 AM
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nice sympathetic people Barbara Bush

On visiting Katrina refugees living in a stadium after their homes were destroyed and their lives turned upside down: "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."

For some definition of sympathetic, I suppose.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:08 AM
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I've been disappointed in talkleft recently. I expected more from them.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:11 AM
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Yes, Barbara Bush in particular is also famously horrid and cruel to the people who work for her.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:14 AM
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Just so we're totally clear, the rules about mocking McArdle because she's really nice in person also apply to confessed Republicans, right?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:15 AM
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Not mutually exclusive! I know there's this idea out there that McCain is crazy and will bomb Iran at the drop of a hat. This doesn't seem to me like a fact-based assessment.

Some of it is reasonable inference, like "the tongue bathed idol of my enemies is my enemy." (I think that's from the Bible.) Neocon John is beloved by all the wrong people.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:16 AM
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Barbara Bush in particular is also famously horrid and cruel to the people who work for her

But the media tells me that she is sweet, nice, and so unlike that shrew Hillary!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:18 AM
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My very favorite conspiracy theory I've encountered in the last few years is that Barbara Bush is secretly - perhaps unknowingly - the illegitimate daughter of Aleister Crowley. I can't help but crack up every time I think about it. GWB, WPE and grandson of The Beast! Spooky woooOOOoooOOO noises!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:24 AM
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173: and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

When this came out it instantly reminded of the part of Al Franken's Why Not Me (a book he is probably not emphasizing much in is campaign) where he has a bowel movement in the shape of question mark, but can't interest anyone in admiring it with him. In the end:

Tried to save shit but question mark shape started to deteriorate by lunchtime.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:28 AM
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and please, don't respond with a clip of McCain singing to "barbara-ann"

After all, it would be unfair to say that's a policy statement; think of it more as "setting the tone." Besides, the rest of the world understands perfectly that these sorts of campaign promises are never fulfilled.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:28 AM
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He tried to get shift from the Rumsfeld policy in Iraq very early.

My understanding is that his objection to Rumsfeld was largely second-guessing based on the idea that if McCain ran a war, it would naturally be victorious. What was his objection to Rumsfeld, aside from the idea that Rumsfeld was insufficiently war-like?

But the shoot-from-the-hip doesn't seem substantiated. (and please, don't respond with a clip of McCain singing to "barbara-ann").

There was a time when you could describe a Republican as being "shoot-from-the-hip" and be talking about exactly this sort of thing: A guy willing to sing "bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" in public.

Nowadays, though, the Republicans have defined deviance even further down. To call a Republican a shoot-from-the-hip guy, we actually need to provide evidence that he's packing a rifle and plans to use it so hastily that he won't even bother to lift it past his waist.

If McCain doesn't qualify yet, it's only a matter of time.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 7:32 AM
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If McCain doesn't qualify yet, it's only a matter of time.

*Somebody* is getting shot in the face Cheney-style, I'll tell you that much. Also, McCain can't lift his arms too much past his waist due to his POW injuries, right? So he'll be a natural at this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 8:07 AM
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176
oh she said so, i did not know, how unsympathetic
my image of her was that of a just matriarch


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-22-08 8:22 AM
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"After they've twisted McCain's arm into withdrawing"

All things considered, this was probably not the best choice of words.

For all those out in tv land who like to call various politicians idiots or bigots because they say something offensive:

If I was a right wing radio host and you were a democratic candidate -- I would hang a comment like that around your neck like an albatross.


Posted by: Adam | Link to this comment | 02-24-08 10:50 AM
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If I was a right wing radio host and you were a democratic candidate

Do I look fat in alt.world.Adam?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-24-08 10:54 AM
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I don't think it's even legal to kill an albatross.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-08 10:56 AM
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190: Naderite.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-24-08 10:59 AM
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Yes, and the punishment is a cruel one, as Coleridge has shown.

Was that meant a straight line, Sifu? Thanks, anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-24-08 11:00 AM
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You want a straight line ask a straight guy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-08 11:01 AM
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