Archive for November 6th, 2008

November 6, 2008

Child abuse in public school

A Finnish documentary crew catches a teacher in Asheville, N.C., propagandizing children — including the daughter of a U.S. soldier who says she supports John McCain — for Barack Obama:

(Via Michelle Malkin.) Another good argument for homeschooling.

November 6, 2008

Palin on the leakers

“A small, bitter type of person”:

(Via Hot Air.) Byron York has some thoughts on these pathetic losers.

November 6, 2008

Congratulations, Melissa Clouthier!

She’s been branded a racist by Huffington Post! Attagirl, Melissa — I knew you had it in you!

November 6, 2008

How’d that work out, guys?

McCain aide Rick Davis gets fingered as the author of the don’t-let-candidates-talk-to-reporters “strategery”:

McCain would want to head back to the reporters’ section of the plane, and Davis would pull him back. “No, no, no, I want them around me,” McCain would say, referring to the reporters. “No, no, no, they’re screwing you,” Davis would retort. At McCain’s insistence, his new campaign plane this past summer had been fitted with a large bench-style couch, to re-create the space on the Straight Talk Express bus, where the candidate had spent hours jawing on the record with reporters, half a dozen or so at a time. But reporters were never asked to sit there. McCain did not look happy about being kept on a tight leash, as least as far as reporters could tell from a distance.

The idiocy of these campaign aides! We’re supposed to trust this guy to be President of the United States, and you don’t trust him to spend a few minutes on the record with the press? Nice “message discipline,” douchebags!

November 6, 2008

My crazy cousin

A reader at the American Spectator wondered if I was actually kin to the loser:

For many years, I had assumed I was no relation to the Arizona senator until, while doing research in 2000, I read his brief genealogical summary in Faith of My Fathers and realized that he and I have a mutual ancestor who lived in South Carolina circa 1790. One branch of the family went to Mississippi and became wealthy plantation owners, while another settled in East Alabama as red-dirt farmers. I’m a proud scion of the Red Dirt McCains, and have frequently referred to the Arizon senator as “Crazy Cousin John.” There is a wide streak of crazy in the family, as anyone who knows me would attest, but Cousin John takes the cake.

Just for the record.

November 6, 2008

Ann, bluntly

Did you hear the McCain campaign assigned Sarah Palin to a former CBS employee who called Ann Coulter “crazy”? Payback is hell, they say:

After showing nearly superhuman restraint throughout this campaign, which was lost the night McCain won the California primary, I am now liberated to announce that all I care about is hunting down and punishing every Republican who voted for McCain in the primaries. I have a list and am prepared to produce the names of every person who told me he was voting for McCain to the proper authorities.

Don’t blame me, I voted for Bob Barr!

November 6, 2008

The Washington Times, neutered

Jamie Kirchick of The New Republic is a nice guy, but of course he has to recycle the obligatory “Moonie Paper” smear on The Washington Times, by way of praising new editor John Solomon’s “modernization agenda,” which gives the paper “newfound, mainstream credibility.”

Look, I spent most of my last three years at the paper trying to get our coverage integrated into the blogosphere, so don’t tell me about “modernization.” The ownership dropped a reported $2 million to bring in consultants and we were four months from the planned launch of a new Web re-design when it was announced that they’d hired Solomon from the Post, and that Wes Pruden and Fran Coombs were leaving. I had a book research assignment that required travel, and so it struck me as a good time to leave, too. (National editor Ken Hanner hung around a few months longer and took a buyout.)

The Washington Times was originally conceived during Ronald Reagan’s first term as an alternative to the “mainstream” Washington Post, and as an institution, the Times was quite consciously part of the conservative movement — anti-communist, pro-family, pro-freedom, pro-faith. The credibility of the news operation was built during a quarter-century of breaking exclusive stories, most often with a “hit ’em where they ain’t” approach: Looking for stories and angles that the “mainstream” media ignored.

One of the things I did as editor of the paper’s “Culture, Etc.” page — which ran on A2 Monday through Friday — was to produce feature profiles about conservative authors and activists, giving them the kind of coverage no conservative ever got from the “Style” page of the Post. I did features about Michelle Malkin, R. Emmett Tyrrell, Brent Bozell, Ann Coulter, Angela McGlowan, Wendy Shalit, David Horowitz, Ward Connerly, Bill Bennett, etc., etc. Well, since I left the paper, “Culture, Etc.” has been banished to the back pages and now it’s just wire copy.

Some of the other changes in the paper are arguably improvements, but the fact is, there is no longer a conservative newspaper in the nation’s capital. That is a real loss and, as I told Kirchick, the change brings into question the raison d’etre of the paper:

“It’s a question of what the Washington Times is about,” Robert Stacy McCain says. “The whole concept of 1982 was that Washington was too important a town to have one newspaper delivering the news from one perspective only. So the Washington Times was conceived as an alternative to the Washington Post. If there’s no difference in the news coverage, how then is it an alternative?”

I’m very proud of my 10 years at the Times, and wish the paper well. But surrendering the paper’s alternative identity strikes me as an enormous blunder — and I know that I’m not the only person who thinks so.

November 6, 2008

Worthless GOP campaign hacks

Michelle Malkin and Ace of Spades are both enraged by what Ace calls the “kneecapping” of Sarah Palin by Team Maverick staffers. I’ve said from the get-go that her PR was mishandled, and just offered this example at AmSpecBlog:

Michelle Malkin has been a huge advocate and defender of Sarah Palin. Between Michelle’s own site and her Hot Air video blog, Malkin Inc. gets 1.5 million online visitors daily, to say nothing of Malkin’s Fox News connection. Michelle and her Hot Air crew were in St. Paul for the Republican convention. Did anybody at Team Maverick think, “Hey, why don’t we hook up Malkin with an exclusive one-on-one with Palin? That would be buzzworthy — an innovative use of New Media!” No, apparently that blindingly obvious idea never crossed their feeble little minds.

Another thing they should have done — and I repeat it again, just in case anybody missed it the first 50 times I said it — was to put Palin into an impromptu press conference Aug. 29, the day she was announced in Columbus, Ohio. With the surprise factor, the reporters would not have had time to prepare their “gotcha” questions.

If they’d just done that one press conference at the outset, the campaign wouldn’t have been hammered for three weeks with accusations that they were “hiding” Palin. And if there had been a few little opportunities for GOP-friendly media — like the Hot Air interview suggestion — it would have helped tamp down the “what’s she hiding?” factor that drove so much of the negativity. Once Palin actually started talking to reporters, a lot of that negativity faded. It was that three-week “cone of silence” phase that was the root of the problem.

Why Republican campaign operatives think they’re helping candidates by secluding them from contact with the media is a mystery I’ll never fathom.

UPDATE: Greg Ransom:

Will the McCain people please just go away, and stop doing their damndest to damage the Republican party and the conservative movement?

They’re dishing dirt to the NY Times, naturally. And Allah says:

I assume this is a sign that Maverick’s headed back to the center, because if he thinks the base is sore at him now, wait until his cronies’ attempts to scapegoat their idol start percolating.

If you want to know why Republicans are getting their asses kicked, consider that they’re hiring spokesmen like the snotty douchebag Tucker Bounds:

Granted, Campbell Brown is an Obamaphiliac bitch, but do you think the douchebag spokesman did anything to help the candidate with his snotty non-responsiveness? Do you think that Sarah Palin could have possibly done worse in a live interview than this douchebag? Imagine you’re Sarah Palin — somebody who started her career in TV news — and you turn on the TV to see that the McCain campaign has sent out this douchebag to represent you. Wouldn’t you start to suspect that somebody inside the campaign was trying to sabotage you?

The only way I figure Tucker Bounds got that job was that his daddy must be a major GOP donor or something. At least a dozen of my Facebook friends are more qualified to be campaign spokespeople.

UPDATE II: Operation Leper — The campaign aides slagging Palin (hello, douchebags!) are going to be radioactive.

UPDATE III: Back in February, when she worked for CBS News, McCain operative Nicole Wallace:

“The more that we see kind of the crazies like Ann Coulter out attacking John McCain, the better Republicans feel about their chances in the general election.”

Leprosy. Radioactive leprosy.

UPDATE IV: Hmmm. Nicolle always seems to criticize attractive, popular Republican women. Jealous much?

November 6, 2008

Infighting over Palin

Interesting revelation:

Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to John McCain, was fired from the Arizona senator’s campaign last week for what one aide called “trashing” the campaign staff, three senior McCain advisers tell CNN.
One of the aides tells CNN that campaign manager Rick Davis fired Scheunemann after determining that he had been in direct contact with journalists spreading “disinformation” about campaign aides, including Nicolle Wallace and other officials.
“He was positioning himself with Palin at the expense of John McCain’s campaign message,” said one of the aides.
Senior campaign officials blame Schuenemann specifically for stories about the way Wallace and chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt mishandled Palin’s rollout — stories that the campaign says threw them off message in the critical final weeks of the campaign.

I don’t know Scheunemann, but if he said the Palin rollout was botched, he was absolutely right. And one of my sources last week said that the campaign was spending more time defending Wallace than defending Palin. My complaints about the mishandling of Palin’s P.R. have been numerous and extensive, but boil down to the fact that the campaign shouldn’t have hidden her away from the media.

It’s a basic common-sense argument: If she can’t handle a press conference, how is she qualified to be vice president? And I always thought Palin was her own best advocate — certainly she defended herself better than that idiot Tucker Bounds, who has no aptitude for media relations, period.

UPDATE: Video via Allah, who sees the campaign operatives feeding “diehard Cuda-haters”:

I am pretty sure that Palin understands that Team Maverick’s midhandling of the media helped cause the hostility against her, but I’m not sure that she understands the full extent of it. I swear, Hillary Clinton’s press people were more cooperative and friendy.

November 6, 2008

The battle for the GOP future

A Wall Street Journal report:

Key pieces of the longstanding Republican coalition of economic and social conservatives, culture-war soldiers and national-security hawks showed severe stress fractures during the long election, and leaders from different wings are now vying for party leadership.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin carries the mantle of economic populism and blue-collar voters, many of whom are committed social conservatives. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has emerged as a spokesman for economic conservatives focused on small government and low taxes. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal remain popular as rising stars.
Complicating the coming fight is a widening gap between the party’s grass-roots activists and its intellectual elite. Gov. Palin sits squarely in the center of the debate. Embraced by many social conservatives in the party’s base, she was dismissed by some party leaders, including some former government officials who endorsed Democrat Barack Obama. Activists see her as the party’s future, others as a novice whose at-times shaky performance has doomed her prospects — a split reflected in polls that showed her popularity dropping during the general election, but her supporters’ enthusiasm high.

I’m with the hockey mom. We need more grass-roots activists and fewer intellectual elites. Were I consulted, I’d advise Palin to stick to a basic free-enterprise/limited-government message. Her Christian conservative credentials are impeccable, and she’s got a son serving in Iraq, so nobody can say she’s not invested in national security.

By sticking to the basic Republican economic freedom message, and not allowing herself to get drawn into discussions of peripheral issues, Palin will avoid making enemies. She’s got plenty of friends, but if she goes wandering off into the tall grass of debating, e.g., stem cell research, she risks cutting herself off from potential supporters over policy matters that aren’t central to the political difficulties now facing the conservative movement.