Close Encounters of the Republican Kind

Ted Haggard, the mega-evangelist outed as a closet drug abusing queen, today said that his demons are the result of childhood sexual abuse by disgraced former Congressman Mark Foley. Haggard said “Some of the things that were buried in the depths of the sea from when I was in the second grade started to rage in my mind and in my heart.” It was not clear how the alleged second grade encounter converted Haggard into a homosexual with a taste for meth and buff gay prostitutes.

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A Study of Contrasts: Bush vs Obama Eras

Bush Era

Obama Era

Saudi journalist Samir Saadi said that Obama’s election means “the U.S. has won the war on terror.”

“Given Obama’s name, his background, the doubts about his religion, Americans still voted for him and this proved that America is a democracy,” he said. “People here are starting to believe in the U.S. again.”

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Why Does God Hate Democracy?

Sarah Palin believes that God will intervene in the upcoming election in order to ensure her victory, regardless of prevailing voter opinion. In an interview with James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Palin said:

“I know at the end of the day putting this in God’s hands, the right thing for America will be done, at the end of the day on Nov. 4.”

It is that intercession that is so needed. And so greatly appreciated. And I can feel it too, Dr. Dobson. I can feel the power of prayer, and that strength that is provided through our prayer warriors across this nation. And I so appreciate it.”

She also described herself as “hardcore pro-life” and said that “John McCain is solidly there on those solid planks in our platform that build the right agenda for America.”

Read more.

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Preparing for the Smear-pocalypse: A Primer

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Despite John McCain’s best and most melodramatic efforts, the presidential prize has been slipping further and further from his grasp. It is now clear that his Hail Mary pass to Sarah Palin is not helping him to close the gap. Obama’s lead in the national polls is now three times larger than it was in the days preceding the national conventions. With now only one month to go, and with his Hail Mary arsenal depleted, it seems all but certain that the only thing left in the bag is a concerted negative swift-boat smear campaign. It’s a trick that has worked well for the Republicans going back to the elder Bush, and surely it will be tried again.

More often than not, Democrats lose the Presidential prize by failing to effectively and aggressively counter Republican smear campaigns. In order to avoid that fate, it’s important to be prepared to counter the smears everywhere, from the top of the ticket down to the grass roots.

Here, I offer a primer on what are some of the likely smear topics that will be pushed during McCain’s hour of desperation. All of these have been trial-ballooning for months, and many will probably find themselves combined together into relentless campaigns both in mainstream media and viral media. The purpose of this list is to provide a handy one-stop reference.

UPDATE: As predicted, McCain is taking the gloves off. Read below about how McCain would try to paint Obama as a black Al Capone, and compare that to McCain’s prepared remarks where he says “I don’t need lessons about telling the truth to American people. And were I ever to need any improvement in that regard, I probably wouldn’t seek advice from a Chicago politician.”

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A Maverick’s Lament

H/T Crystal Gayle, “Don’t it make my brown eyes blue”

Don’t You Turn My Red States Blue

I don’t know when I’ve been so blue
Ever since I joined with you
You think you’re so new
But don’t you turn my red states blue

You were too dumb to go on
Made me cringe all night long
Now I’m really screwed
And now you’ve turned my red states blue

Told Joe “you betcha”, told lotsa lies
Gave them no reasons, just gave alibis
Said I’m a mav’rick but can’t tell them why
So incoherent, oh just say goodbye

The press was “mean” to treat you bad
I Didn’t know how little you had
But honey now I do
And don’t it make my red states
Don’t it make my red states
Don’t it make my red states blue

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John McCain, Deregulation Hawk, Criminal

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John McCain’s affinity for supporting the deregulation of major industries puts him in league with the worlds most notorious corporate criminals. Deregulation is the tool of the super rich corporate criminal class, and John McCain is their poster child.

Suddenly, John McCain is fashioning himself as the great protector of the common folk who will march upon the good ol’ boys in Washington whose feckless deregulation has allowed Wall Street to veer out of control. The only problem with this little fantasy is that the first good ol’ boy he’d need to whack is himself. As the above article from Politicor pointed out six weeks before the Wall Street meltdown, we should not be fooled.

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Forget Lipstick: Palin is Ready for War

According to an ABC News interview, Sarah Palin is fully prepared to go to war with Russia!!

When asked by Gibson if under the NATO treaty, the U.S. would have to go to war if Russia again invaded Georgia, Palin responded: “Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.

“And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable.”

Asked about Putin, she said Russia is not entitled to control the flow of energy supplies coming from or through their own country.

“His mission, if it is to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that’s a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.”

She also flip-flopped her quote suggesting the US is on a mission from God, instead attempting to make it sound as if she was quoting Abraham Lincoln. Problem is, the Lincoln quote says nothing remotely similar to what Palin said – in fact it says the opposite.

Palin defended a previous statement in which she reportedly characterized the war in Iraq as “task from God”.

Gibson quoted her as saying: “Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.”

But Palin said she was referencing a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.

“I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

President Palin. It could happen.

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(My) Friends, Loaners, Countrymen – Lend Me Your Earmarks

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In her Republican Convention acceptance speech, Sarah Palin said:

“I have protected the taxpayers … and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.

I told the Congress “thanks, but no thanks,” for that Bridge to Nowhere.”

We already know that she was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it – a classic flip-flop followed by a misleading political speech. But, what about other earmarks? As a champion for reform to end earmark abuse, as stated in her speech, surely she would set an example by not accepting earmarks.

Well, maybe not.

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A Sober Assessment of GOP Chances

I was reading a post on a blog by a right winger who was talking about how, at this time in the last election, Kerry was way ahead in the polls but ended up losing the election. I’d heard that line before, and thought it might be worth an investigation because, frequently, right wingers repeat talking points without the bother of research.

Turns out that talking point is mostly false.

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Obama Ticket Cracks 50%

For the first time, the Obama campaign has reached or exceeded the important 50% mark in two consecutive polls. In fact, the three most recent polls have Obama at that level:

Gallup: 50%, 8 point lead

Rasmussen: 51%, 6 point lead

USA Today: 50%, 7 point lead

The current polling has Obama at the highest level since March.

The 50% mark is important because, if accurate, it suggests that the McCain campaign cannot be satisfied only going after undecided voters, but must agressively attempt to convert at least some voters who are already committed to Obama.

A Boone for McCain

The McCain camp has a problem with one Boone, but they can substitute with another.

McCain’s campaign has taken the hard line position that we can drill our way out of our oil problem. In fact, VP pick Sarah Palin has said, “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem.” Oil billionaire T Boone Pickens holds the opposite view and has promoted his own ideas about our energy future, stating, “I’ve been an oil man all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.”

Well, if one Boone won’t cooperate, there’s always another. Enter Pat Boone, the American Idle of McCain’s generation. Boone is attending the GOP convention, and was interviewed by CNN, apparently starved for legitimate news. The results of the interview are amusing.

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Fiorina Confuses “Sexism” with “Facts”

(As reported on

Carly Fiorina, Senior McCain advisor and former CEO of Hewlett Packard, has accused Barack Obamaof conducting sexist attacks on Sarah Palin.

“I am appalled by the Obama campaign’s attempts to belittle Governor Sarah Palin’s experience,” said Fiorina. “The facts are that Sarah Palin has made more executive decisions as a Mayor and Governor than Barack Obama has made in his life.

Perhaps in a bid to appeal to the (perhaps apocryphal)  disaffected Hillary voters, she said:

“Because of Hillary Clinton’s historic run for the Presidency and the treatment she received, American women are more highly tuned than ever to recognize and decry sexism in all its forms. They will not tolerate sexist treatment of Governor Palin.”

Giving an example of Obama’s sexism, Fiorina specifically noted an Obama interview by Anderson Cooper. Asked to respond to Republican arguments that  Palin had more executive experience than he or Joe Biden have, Obama said:

“Well, my understanding is that Governor Palin’s town of Wasilla has I think 50 employees,” he said. “We’ve got 2,500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe $12 million a year. You know, we have a budget of about three times that just for the month. So I think that our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the last couple of years.”

It’s not immediately obvious how Obama’s comparison of his management experience with that of Palin can be considered sexist by any stretch of imagination, unless one is particularly offended that the word “manage” begins with “man”.

It’s also not clear why Fiorina, one of the most accomplished business executives of the past quarter century, would find it necessary to call Obama a sexist without being able to cite supporting evidence. To accuse someone of sexism without evidence is a disservice to the feminist cause.

Election Bombshell: McCain’s Melanoma Story a Cover for Daughter Bridget

McCains Melanoma

McCain's Melanoma

Sources revealed today that John McCain’s well publicized melanoma removal was a cover story designed to protect his 17 year old daughter Bridget from press scrutiny. Bridget, sources say, sprouted a non-malignant pustule on her neck when she fell into a stupor under the mid-day sun while listening to a speech by her father. At the time, she was sunning on the upper southeast deck of her family’s Estate #7 in Arizona. According to the source, Bridget was horrified to be seen at the Republican National Convention sporting the golf ball-sized zit, and insisted on a dermatological procedure.

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Polling Update

The latest polls show the following:

USA Today/Gallup 9/1 1835 RV 50 43 Obama +7
CBS News 08/29 – 08/31 781 RV 48 40 Obama +8
CNN 08/29 – 08/31 927 RV 49 48 Obama +1
Gallup Tracking 08/29 – 08/31 2733 RV 49 43 Obama +6
Rasmussen Tracking 08/29 – 08/31 3000 LV 49 46 Obama +3

This polling should reflect positive effects from the Democratic convention, but does not yet show impact of the selection of Sarah Palin for the Republican VP nod, or any impact from the pending Republican convention.

Sarah Palin Supports Teaching Creationism in Science Class

Continuing the Republican assault on science and Republican insult on intelligence, the presumptive Republican vice presidential nominee is on the record as supporting the teaching of Biblical creationism as a scientific theory.

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner: “The education section of the Republican Party of Alaska’s platform states “We support giving Creation Science equal representation with other theories of the origin of life. If evolution is taught, it should be presented as only a theory.” Do you support this position? Why?”

Sarah Palin: “I support this plank in the Republican Party’s platform. I believe society can have healthy debates on scientific theories, so equal representation of creation and evolution shouldn’t be an offense.”

Please read her second sentence carefully and note that Sarah Palin is stating that Biblical creationism is a scientific theory and deserves equal treatment in the science classroom. This is a direct attack both on science and on the First Ammendment.

This belief alone makes her a danger to the future success of the United States and therefore renders her unfit for further consideration for the position of VP. Scientific illiteracy, as well as government-imposed religious indoctrination, is a serious danger that has negative consequences for all aspects of society – social, political, and economic.

Combined with her belief that climate change is not a real danger, and her belief that all abortions should be illegal (including cases of rape and incest), Palin’s position on evangelical core issues underscores the virtual certainty that a McCain administration will complete the Bush administration’s destruction of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is already right-leaning but still maintains a delicate balance. With the likely replacement of the three moderate justices during the next presidential term, a McCain presidency purchased with the Palin-inspired evangelical vote will pay back that constituency by packing the court. This will cause severe damage to the country for decades to come.

Semi-Regular Polling Update

Now that the mainstream media has higher priority news, with headline-grabbing stories from places like Beijing, Georgia, and John Edwards’ pants, they’ve been a bit less eager to invent news about presidential polling. So, it seemed a good time for our once-in-awhile look at the current numbers.

According to the floating average of polls at, as of 8/12 Obama’s lead now stands at 4.8%. It’s interesting to look at where the polling average was a month ago, and the month before that, and so on, to get sort of a “big picture” view. There is amazing consistency.

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CNN Continues Fascination with News Creation

As reported here last week, the Most Trusted Name in News has a knack for also being the Most Created News in News. Today’s headline shouts

“Obama squeaks by McCain in polls”

and goes on to report:

“The race between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama is extremely tight, according to the latest CNN “Poll of Polls.” Just five points separate the two candidates”

But is the headline accurate? And is it news?

Although a 5 point lead may not be as comfortable as Democrats and thinking people would like, calling it “squaking by” and “extremely tight” seems oddly sensationalistic. From the perspective of the person 5 points behind, it can look like a daunting obstacle. Indeed, if Obama were behind by 5 points rather than ahead, one gets the feeling the headline would read “Obama lags far behind McCain”.

And anyway, is this news? Here are the last four results of CNN’s ongoing “poll of polls”:

8/4 – Obama + 5

8/1 – Obama + 4

7/30 – Obama +5

7/28 – Obama +5

In other words, the real trend seems to be “no change”, so why the breathless headline about Obama just squeaking by?

By the way, CNN’s own most recent poll of 914 registered voters has Obama up by 7 points. Doh!

Everything you need to know about who deserves your trust and your vote…

“I think we’re doing fine [in Afghanistan.] The second phase is Iraq. There is some indication … that some of this anthrax may have come from Iraq. If that may be the case, that’s when some tough decisions may have to be made.” – Senator John McCain, October 18, 2001.

Submitted without further comment.

(Thanks to Keith Olbermann for showing the video clip with this quote.)

Why report news when creating it is so much more fulfilling?

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RCP's Electoral Map

I was watching my favorite Bubblegum Journalism channel – CNN – yesterday, when I saw a report indicating that Barack Obama’s strong lead has been diminishing while he has focused the past week on foreign affairs. The key data point put forth as evidence was Obama tanking in the polls in Minnesota. According to the story, his 17 point lead from June had shrunk to only 2 points.

I found this a curious development, even for a state that elected Jesse Ventura to its highest post, so I thought I’d look at the polling data. A good source for polling data is (RCP), a site that does a nice job of providing daily updates of all kinds of polls. They track national polling and also state-by-state polling of the presidential race. They show individual poll results, and then also provide the “RCP Average” of a selection of recent polls, to give what hopefully is an accurate ongoing snapshot. Turns out, CNN has been conveniently cherry-picking poll results.

[UPDATES! See the bottom of this post for late-breaking updates.]

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Maybe He Meant “Strategery”…

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Based on his response to Barack Obama’s foreign policy speech, it seems John McCain may not understand the distinction between strategy and tactics.

Obama made a major speech today outlining his strategy, or overall vision, regarding foreign policy. The emphasis on the speech was to put Iraq in the context of the larger issues facing the US and the world and to make clear the thinking process behind Obama’s priorities going into his administration.

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Only Hillary Can Win the _______ Vote. NOT.

Recall those misty water-colored memories of the Democratic primary campaign season, where we were treated to a never-ending series of helpful talking points from the Clinton camp. Things like, “Only Hillary can win the key swing states dominated by hardworking blue collar white folk” or “Only Hillary can carry Florida because of her superior age, experience, and appeal to the Jewish and Cuban blocks, and because Obama wants to disenfranchise Florida voters” or “Hillary’s ardent female supporters will vote for McCain rather than Obama if the nomination is ‘stolen’ from her”. Now that Obama has the nomination, these same talking points are used as evidence that Clinton should be placed on the ticket in the second spot.

Maybe not. Yesterday’s Quinnapiac University poll seems to indicate that some hardworking white folks, old people, Cubans, Jews, and, yes, even women are capable of thinking beyond pundit sound bites.

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Fellow POW Gives Insight to the Real McCain

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Over 600 brave Americans who were caught in the quagmire of Viet Nam were captured and held as POWs. In most cases, they also received at least some torture. Regardless of our view of that war, these brave people deserve respect and admiration for what they endured.

That select group includes two remarkable men, John McCain and Philip Butler, both accomplished individuals and proud American patriots, who know each other going back to their days together at the Naval Academy. John McCain went on to a life of politics and is now the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States. Philip Butler went on to complete his PhD at the University of California, San Diego, and is now a peace and justice activist with Veterans for Peace.

Dr. Butler has written a fascinating article, published on, which explains why he will not vote for his fellow POW for the presidency. It is not an article that damns McCain. On the contrary, in contains considerable praise. However, what the article does accomplish is to present a snapshot the real McCain, seen as more than just a war hero or politician, but a human being. Dr. Butler reaches the conclusion that, despite his positive qualities, McCain exhibits certain characteristics that make him unsuitable as the best choice for president of the United States.

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