Archive for October 3rd, 2008

October 3, 2008

Bailout passes, 263-171

The House approves the foot-long double-decker crap sandwich. In a related development, Obama moves to +7 in the Gallup daily tracking poll.

Time to call in the dogs, piss on the fire and go home, boys. This one’s over.

Team Maverick has given us a textbook lesson in political incompetence: Take ownership of the unpopular side of a big issue, then hurl accusations of bad faith at all who disagree. Pay attention kids, this will be on your final exam Nov. 4.

UPDATE: For some reason, the Prince of Pessimism doesn’t link me in his roundup, although I beat those big shot pundits to the punch. When I was hanging with Michelle at Denver, I asked her why Allahpundit hates me so much. She said I’m just imagining things, but it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

10/3: Campaign Pre-Mortem, Part I
10/2: Team Maverick hoists the white flag

October 3, 2008

‘An American Carol’ tonight!

Today is the opening of “An American Carol”:

Some very clever casting here: Kelsey Grammar as Gen. George S. Patton — who would have thought of that? And introducing country singer Trace Adkins as the Angel of Death — that’s edgy, and I could see Adkins getting more work after this auspicious film debut.

Tonight, I’ll be attending a showing of “An American Carol” in Arlington, Va., as part of the DC American Film Renaissance festival.

UPDATE: Anita Crane has an interview with “An American Carol” executive producer Myrna Sokoloff in today’s American Spectator.

UPDATE II: Smitty, if you’ll bring an extra $25, I’ll bring an extra copy of the book. I could use the gas money.

UPDATE III: Jeremy, je suis une journaliste. Mai oui.

October 3, 2008


Just asking. I was thinking of how convincing Joe was with the class-warfare rhetoric Thursday night, and something clicked: “Two Americas!”

The National Enquirer should start staking out Biden immediately, because he’s just too good a class warrior not to have a flaky astrology-loving bimbo girlfriend stashed somewhere.

Joe “Silky Hairplugs” Biden!

October 3, 2008

Campaign Pre-Mortem, Part I

Yesterday, when the news hit that Team Maverick was pulling out of Michigan, I did not hesitate to state the only possible meaning of this news: Game over. Obama wins on Nov. 4.

If you’ve got any InTrade futures on McCain (now trading at 34%), sell them immediately for whatever you can get, because they’re not worth a nickel.

As drastic and premature as that conclusion may seem, it is defensible, if you have carefully followed the course of this campaign. This is not “panic” or “quaking in your panties,” as the commenter Nermous said and, contrary to what one Kossack commenter suggested — yes, I got cited at DKos — this is not: “When things get tough, they begin to eat their own.”

However colorfully vituperative my language might be, I am trying to report an objective fact. When it becomes clearly obvious to me that a candidate has lost an election, and I see the possibility of being the first to report this fact — a scoop! an exclusive! — I’m not going to keep my mouth shut just because the guy has an “R” beside his name. (Which, through a fantastic genealogical coincidence, just happens to be my name, too.)

Now, let me run down the basic reasoning:
  • This year’s map always favored the Democrats — Whoever got the nomination for the Democrats had a built-in advantage over whoever got the GOP nomination. “Brand damage” for Republican Party since 2004 is very real, and by late 2007 “brand damage” had put into play several states that Bush carried against Kerry. Count the Electoral College votes. If the Democrats could hold all of Kerry’s states and add Iowa (7), Colorado (9), Nevada (5) and New Mexico (5), that’s 276-262 in the Electoral College. Obama’s overwhelming popularity in Iowa gave the GOP even less room for error. Even if you ignored every other possible Dem pickup this year (e.g., Ohio, Florida, Virginia), it was imperative that the GOP go on offense and try to “flip” some of the Kerry states from 2004 — New Hampshire (4), Maine (4), Minnesota (10), Wisconsin (10), Pennsylvania (21) and Michigan (17) being the best prospects.
  • Michigan was McCain’s best “flip” prospect — Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm pushed through an unpopular tax increase last year, and the high-profile corruption case of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (an Obama ally) created a potential “perfect storm” scenario in Michigan. Yet less than a month after Kilpatrick pleaded guilty — and just three weeks after a one poll showing McCain +1 in Michigan, and two weeks after another poll showed him +3 there — the McCain campaign’s pulling out. Hello? This signals a huge, sudden momentum shift, and it won’t be limited to Michigan. You can confidently paint Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Wisconsin blue, too.
  • Timing of the shift — The poll swings before Labor Day were relatively inconsequential. Independent voters seldom pay attention to politics before September. This was why the McCain poll surge after the Palin VP pick created such a panic among Democrats. But the subsequent GOP poll collapse (which, in retrospect, began Sept. 12) was more significant. As I wrote Sept. 22, the momentum might shift back to McCain if Obama bombed Sept. 26 in the first debate. But let’s face it: McCain sucked in that debate. So now, with barely a month to go in the campaign, the independents have shifted to Obama. Let Sean Hannity spin a fantasy of how McCain is going to reverse that shift this late in the game. I can’t see it happening.
  • Media bashing — I didn’t comment on it at the time, but I was shocked when Steve Schmidt lashed out at the New York Times on Sept. 22. Every word Schmidt said about the NYT being in the tank for Obama was true. But you don’t do that. Ever. Not in a campaign you have any hope of winning. It is one thing to criticize specific errors by specific reporters, but for a presidential campaign manager to call into question the fundamental integrity of a newspaper that more or less dictates news coverage at the three major broadcast networks? Uh uh. No way. Leave that work to surrogates. Then Wednesday, in an interview with the Associated Press, McCain himself got all hostile with the reporter. That is tantamount to an admission of defeat.
  • The bailout stunt — John McCain might as well have changed his slogan last week to “Got Desperation?” Suspending his campaign and attempting to cancel the first debate so he could fly to Washington and grandstand in support of a measure that polls showed a majority of voters opposed? That’s just crazy.
Look, I consider the bailout to be a travesty, but even if you believe the bailout is The Right Thing To Do, it’s just bad politics to jump in on the unpopular side of a controversial issue six weeks before an election, especially in such a flamboyant manner as McCain did last week.

The First Law of Politics is, You Can’t Govern, If You Don’t Win. Winning elections may not be the only thing that matters in politics, but it’s the most important thing in politics — and it’s sure a lot more important than whatever the second most important thing is.

This is why those who’ve accused me of panic or cannibalism are wrong. I’m watching political incompetence in action, and incompetence infuriates me. Good policy is good politics, and vice-versa. Yet here we see the once-mighty Republican Party en route to its second consecutive electoral embarrassment, with an incumbent GOP president and his would-be GOP successor both on the wrong side (i.e., the losing side) of major issues.

Just as with the shamnesty, so also with the bailout: Republican leaders trying to ram through measures that are opposed by an absolute majority of the voters, and more opposed by Republican voters than by Democrats. And the same rationale to explain failure in both cases: “You benighted know-nothing voters are being misled by demagogues. We know what’s best for you, so shut up.”

“Leadership,” according to the 21st-century Beltway GOP elite, requires the negation of representative government. They believe in a government above the people, against the people, in spite of the people. And then they wonder why they’re losing elections!

For me to be silent about the impending disaster and its causes would be an act of bad faith. On Nov. 5, somebody’s going to have to explain this botched campaign, and if we leave that job to the liberal media or the Republicans who were personally in charge of the disaster, you can be sure we’ll get the wrong explanation.

So I’m now on record with the first installment of what I believe to be the first pre-mortem of the McCain campaign. If my prognosis is mistaken, and somehow Maverick pulls the greatest comeback in modern political history, well, OK. But if I were you, I’d dump those InTrade shares for whatever any fool is willing to pay for them, because they’re going to be worthless pretty soon.
October 3, 2008

Obligatory VP debate thread

UPDATED & BUMPED: After that debate, I think there can be no doubt which candidate America most wants to see in a bikini.

Yeah, you’re darn right I changed the subject! Because America needs some straight talk from a maverick blogger about who’s the sexiest candidate for vice president.

Gettin’ things done! Main Street! Wasilla! Bikini pictures!

SERIOUS ANALYSIS: Joe Biden did not lose the election tonight. That’s the most important thing. He might have lied through his teeth, but he’s got very nice teeth, doesn’t he?

Sarah Palin did better in her debate than John McCain did in his. She obviously dodged some questions, talking taxes when Biden raised the issue of regulation, and talking energy policy — darn right! — whenever she felt like it.

Biden was very sharp and very confident, and very repetitive. If you wanted to hear class-warfare talk about how the middle class is getting screwed over by the super-wealthy, tonight must have been heaven for you, since Palin also jumped onto the let’s-bash-greedy-corrupt-Big-Business bandwagon.

Palin would be a much better candidate, I think, if she wasn’t chained to Maverick. It was in defending McCain, and repeating the slogans and soundbites McCain’s advisors had fed her, that she was least convincing.

Palin’s best line was, “How long have I been at this? Like, five weeks?” That was good. I don’t know if that was spontaneous, or something she’d practiced, but it was very good.

Biden’s worst line was when he talked about a plan to “adjust the principle you owe” on your mortgage. Holy freaking crap! Good-bye, rule of law! Adjusting the principle? You paid $300,000 for a house in 2005, took out a loan for $270,000 and now, because it’s not worth what you paid for it, the government is going to force the lender to mark down the principle to $200,000? That’s not reform, that’s larceny.

Jimmie at Sundries Shack links with a debate roundup — thanks. In comments, Smitty just said he thought Gwen Ifill did an excellent job as moderator and I agree. Before the debate, there were accusations of bias, since Ifill’s written (or is writing) a supposedly pro-Obama book. But in terms of her performance as moderator, Ifill seemed to me to be quite fair.

UPDATE: Team Maverick claims victory. Well, not “victory,” perhaps, but she’s “ready to lead,” blahblahblah. I’m telling you, they’re just going through the motions over at Maverick HQ these days. Working on their resumes and updating their LinkedIn pages, trying to look busy while watching the clock (is it lunch yet?) and thinking about playing golf Sunday.

UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin is ecstatic:

Sarah Palin is the real deal. Five weeks on the campaign trail, thrust onto the national stage, she rocked tonight’s debate.
She was warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless, and on message. . . .
McCain has not done many things right. But Sarah Palin proved tonight that the VP risk he took was worth it. . . .
She matched — and trumped several times — a man who has spent his entire adult life on the political stage, run for president twice, and as he mentioned several times, chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

And a man who, in fact, is the next vice president, since Maverick’s poll numbers are heading south faster than that midnight train to Georgia. (Cue the Pips!) I think Michelle’s enthusiastic response to tonight’s debate isn’t about Nov. 4, it’s about . . .

PALIN 2012!

PREVIOUSLY: Not that it matters anymore, but tonight Sarah Palin squares off against Joe Biden and I just watched Karl Rove trying to spin the possibility that this might somehow avert the now-inevitable Obama administration.

While I henceforth refuse to believe that Maverick can win on Nov. 4, if Biden blurts out a confession to computer porn addiction tonight, it might prevent a 47-state sweep for the Democrats, so I’m obligated to pretend I care.

Hot Air has a live debate chat thread. Allah has a separate comment thread. Or you may want to play Biden Bingo.

UPDATE: Ace tries to put the jinx on, suggests that a Biden blurt might yet doom the Democrats, and will have an open debate thread where you can say the f-word as often as you’d like.