Above, an early teaser for Oliver Stone's W- a biopic of our Commander-in-Chief. It's complete with some of the hilarious (or, pathetic) Bushisms that defined the "Improbable President."
In case you can't see them, here are a few of my favorites:
- I'm honored to shake the hand of the brave Iraqi citizen who had his hand cut-off by the brutal Sadaam Hussein.
- I can press when there needs to be pressed; I can hold hands when there needs to be... hold hands.
- And so, General, I want to thank you for your service. And I appreciate the fact that you really snatched defeat out of the jaws of those who would defeat us in Iraq.
- There's been a lot of rumors on the Internets that we're going to have a draft.
And, of course...
Monday, June 30, 2008
Check this out, Newt is honest and smart. The speculators need to be stopped, the strategic oil reserves is a good way to do it, and drilling should be increased (though perhaps not on the level he's talking about).
We've already noted Gingirich's disdain for his party's current message and trepidation about its chances in November. If they started talking more like him, and reclaimed innovative solutions to problems of average Americans, they'd be far better off. But, the Republican Party is light years away from the Reagan-era pragmatism that Gingrich now channels, rather, it's stuck in the combative partisanship he championed while in power.
I wonder whether he can see the irony.
Yesterday, the NY Times ran an article detailing the fractured relationship between the Bush Administration and Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf. As al Qaeda has slowly and surely rebuilt in the snowy mountains of the country's warlord region, the US has yet to force action on Musharraf's part.
That's not to say there is no plan-- the Pentagon drafted a way for Special Ops to infiltrate the region believed to harbor most of al Qaeda's leaders more than six months ago, but President Bush has not implemented it. This has caused much consternation and in-fighting as the administration winds up.
From the article:
In order to keep pressure on the Pakistanis about the tribal areas, officials decided to have Mr. Bush raise the issue in personal phone calls with Mr. Musharraf.
The conversations backfired. Two former United States government officials say they were surprised and frustrated when instead of demanding action from Mr. Musharraf, Mr. Bush instead repeatedly thanked him for his contributions to the war on terrorism. “He never pounded his fist on the table and said, ‘Pervez you have to do this,’ ” said a former senior intelligence official who saw transcripts of the phone conversations. But another senior administration official defended the president, saying that Mr. Bush had not gone easy on the Pakistani leader.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
10. "How much experience do you have doing nothing?"
9. "Do you have any crazy clergymen we should know about?"
8. "Will you help your oil company buddies achieve record profits by screwing consumers?"
7. "How many friends do you have on Facebook?"
6. "Can your charisma and vitality match the high standard set by Dick Cheney?"
5. "Do you see yourself as more of an Al Gore blowhard or a Dan Quayle boob?"
4. "Do you think the Yankees should move Joba back to bullpen?"
3. "Any idea what happened on the season finale of 'Lost'?"
2. "Ever slept with Barbara Walters?"
1. "By any chance do you know where Osama bin Laden is?"
10. "It's Eliot Spitzer - let's get some girls and celebrate!"
9. "John McCain here, I...crap, I forgot why I called"
8. "This is Al Gore, don't make the same mistake I did and win the popular vote"
7. "It's John McCain again. What is this some kind of machine that answers the phone?"
6. "This is John Kerry; are you interested in a subscription to 'Sports Illustrated'?"
5. "You've just made a powerful enemy of The Pantsuit Manufacturers of America"
4. "It's Randy Jackson. Your last speech? Little pitchy, dawg"
3. "Mitt Romney here. Have you thought about switching conditioners?"
2. "Hillary calling; I'm still prepared to offer you the Vice President position"
1. "Oprah here; I helped you get the nomination now will you help me get rid of Dr. Phil"
Someone sent me this today, but it's a few months old.
The president flexes muscles on the economy, the most important issue to Americans, and assuages fear that spending trillions in Iraq set us back at home:
The fact is the war is great for jobs, just ask Exxon/Mobil, Blackwater and Sunni insurgents.
John McCain's name was once synonymous with independent thinking and a maverick style. But when the Pew research center asked people to use a word to describe McCain, "maverick" was not among the top 10 answers.
That was unthinkable just a few years ago. But McCain sacrificed his well earned reputation to cozy up to the Republican establishment in an effort to grab his party's nomination.
After eight years of morphing into Bush- light, McCain is now trying to reclaim his maverick label-- witnessed by his recent statement that "real change will come no matter who is elected" president.
The words voters closely associate with McCain? In order they are:
"Old," "honest," "experienced," "patriot," "conservative" and a dozen more. The words "independent," "change" or "reformer" weren't among them.
(I'm studying for the NY State Bar, so I tend to think in multiple choice questions these days)
Since Barack Obama officially locked up his party's nomination, John McCain has been challenging him to a series of joint appearances at town halls, where the two can debate in a more informal setting.
John McCain is doing this because:
(a) The difference between this and this.
(b) Alone, he can barely fill a high school gym.
(c) McCain has loved this style of forum since watching the Lincoln/ Douglass Debates as a young boy.
(d) The Rule Against Perpetuities.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Friday the political world lost a giant when Tim Russert tragically passed at 58.
Everything that can be said about Russert, the top political journalist of the last 15 years, has or will be said by his family and friends.
In addition a couple of meetings when I worked in DC a few years back, I'll remember Russert fondly for the education he provided every week on Meet the Press, when I was still forming my political identity, and his status as favorite adopted son of my alma mater, Boston College.
NBC News will never be the same. But now, the search for a successor (though not a replacement) begins.
Personally, I would like to see David Gregory fill that void on Meet the Press. I've wondered about the next step for Gregory, who covered the Bush Administration for NBC, what with Brian Williams firmly entrenched in the anchor-chair. His intelligence, experience and sense of humor would make him an asset on Sunday morning. However, there is a legitimate question of whether Gregory has the necessary gravitas and uncompromising attention to detail that led to Russert's unparalleled success.
If not Gregory then perhaps someone with experience similar to Russert's before taking the reigns: a behind the scenes producer and former political hand. Then again, that might not be accepteable in this uber partisan era. Because of all the current squabbling, we might miss out on an immense talent like Russert's. So there probably won't ever be another like him. But you didn't need me to tell you that.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
John McCain built a political career on going his own way for nearly 20 years. That maverick style and reputation brought him to the precipice of the Republican nomination in 2000 against a better funded establishment candidate.
McCain's ambition led him to shift many of his stances on issues like tax cuts and the religious right. Also, as his candidacy became increasingly tied to the war in Iraq, he contradicted himself on the progress and challenges there.
Below is a YouTube compilation of some startling double talk from the Republican:
YouTube is stocked with embarrassing footage of the AZ Senator.
Although Hillary Clinton made a recent push for Vice President, it seems doubtful that she'll get the nod. Obama's "Change" message would ring hollow with a Clinton on the ticket. Her upside is that she would bring along her supporters, specifically the white working class.
Obama did poorly with that group, the traditional Democratic base, instead building a coalition of blacks, cultural liberals and the young. Meanwhile, blue collar whites flocked to Hillary Clinton, long a symbol of liberal elitism. So, in theory a Clinton on the ticket would guarantee a Democratic win.
But if working class whites are so turned off by Obama, I doubt that the Hillary- voters will vote for him over McCain anyway, even with her on the ticket. There are better options to appeal to that group, including some that have a real following in important states.
Ted Strickland- the governor of Ohio. He's former Clinton supporter, very popular in the large swing state that decided the 2004 election. Obama's ahead in polls there now, and if he wins Ohio, he should be fine.
Tim Kaine- governor of Virginia. The devout Catholic is pro-life, but he's proven able to win in a red state. With Virginia's shifting demographics, the state is in play for the first time in a generation. After Mark Warner's win in November the 3 state wide offices will be in the hands of Democrats-- that is if Tim Kaine isn't moving into Dick Cheney's old office.
There's also Jim Webb, Virginia's first term Senator. He's a war veteran, with a son serving in Iraq, and the author of the new Bill. But he's been in the Senate even less time than Obama has, and Obama should probably go with a governor-- someone with executive credentials.
The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (finally) released their highly anticipated Phase II of its report on prewar intelligence. Sen. Jay Rockafeller (D-WV) detailed the findings:
"Unfortunately, our Committee has concluded that the Administration made significant claims that were not supported by the intelligence. In making the case for war, the Administration repeatedly presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted, or even non-existent. As a result, the American people were led to believe that the threat from Iraq was much greater than actually existed.
It is my belief that the Bush Administration was fixated on Iraq, and used the 9/11 attacks by al Qa’ida as justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein. To accomplish this, top Administration officials made repeated statements that falsely linked Iraq and al Qa’ida as a single threat and insinuated that Iraq played a role in 9/11. Sadly, the Bush Administration led the nation into war under false pretenses.
“There is no question we all relied on flawed intelligence. But, there is a fundamental difference between relying on incorrect intelligence and deliberately painting a picture to the American people that you know is not fully accurate..."
If you're looking to waste time this summer (and who isn't, really?) Electoral-vote.com is the website to keep you up to the second with all the 2008 races.
Updated daily, it gives a state-by-state breakdown of the latest poll in every state, and classifies them as Strong Democratic/ Republican, Weak D/R, Barely D/R, and tied. It also gives a tracking poll of each state, and polls the Senate and House races.
As of June 9, Electoral-vote has Obama with 287, McCain with 227 and 24 electoral votes (IN and VA) as even. And the Senate projects to go 58- 42, Dems.
Another website, Presidentelect.org does something similar, but not quite as well. They have Obama ahead 284- 254. They're a great resource because they detail the electoral college outcome of every presidential election ever.
Check 'em out...
Sunday, June 8, 2008
For the first time in US history, gas prices hit an average of $4/ gallon today. And with the recent spike in oil prices, it will probably climb higher tomorrow.
Not all that long ago (February 28) our president had this reaction to a reporter who had the audacity to suggest that gas might rise to its current level:
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Almost tough to watch... but she gave him a full throated endorsement.
Any other sports fans out there feel like the Democratic primary was the equivalent of some recent ALCS or Western Conference Finals (before this year)? I mean it seems like the main event is a forgone conclusion. Like John McCain spent his season playing against some very inferior competition.
Forty years ago, the Democratic party was split between Hubert Humphrey and Bobby Kennedy, as they tried to find a presidential challenger to Richard Nixon. The parallels between 1968 and 2008 are well- documented and genuine. However, the '68 nominating contest was unlike 2008's in a most important respect. Back then, will of the Democratic masses mattered less in choosing a candidate than did the judgment and alliances of a few well-positioned elites within the party, who presided over smoke- filled rooms and convention floor fights before tabbing a winner.
One such man was Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who was fiercly anti- Kennedy, and hosted the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Of course, Kennedy never made it to that convention, but many of his followers did, protesting the war, and the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations outside until Daley used harsh, violent means to suppress them.
It was under that shadow that the McGovern Commission was born, charged to redo the nominating process, and put the power in the people's hands. That commission created the caucus process we know today. The organizers knew not as many people would participate in a caucus as pull a lever in a primary, but they wanted to return to a time of more active democracy. It was about the kind of participation.
One of the organizers of the '72 commission was a young man named Harold Ickes, who fought for the changes as a way to enfranchise blacks, Hispanics, women and regular folks in general. Ickes would go on to become a party bigwig and run Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign. The Huffington Post's Tom Edsall has a great article on how Obama would come to benefit immensely from these changes, and how Clinton would be undone by, as much as anything, a lack of appreciation for the system Ickes helped devise so long ago.
Edsall points out some crazy numbers that make one question the wisdom the current system, which is split between caucuses and primaries and always apportions votes according to percentage received:
"As of June 2, according to RealClearPolitics, Obama had a 157 delegate vote lead over Clinton, 2072 to 1915.
In the 14 states that picked some or all of their delegates through caucus systems this year, Obama won 400 delegates to Clinton's 193, a 207 delegate advantage that more than accounts for his overall delegate lead.
An analysis (pdf) published on TalkLeft found that total Democratic voter participation in the caucus states amounted to 1.1 million people, compared to the 32.4 million voters in Democratic primaries, a ratio of 30 to one. Caucus participants made up 3.2 percent of the total of 33.5 million primary voters and caucus goers combined.
In contrast to the relatively close results in most primary states, Obama won many of the caucus states by huge margins, often substantially exceeding 60 percent. As a consequence, he piled up large numbers of delegates in the relatively low turnout contests.
The TalkLeft analysis noted that Clinton won 11 more delegates than Obama in the New Jersey primary, which she won by 112,128 votes, while Obama won 12 more delegates than Clinton in the Idaho caucuses which he won by 13,225 votes. Similarly, Clinton netted 12 delegates by winning the Pennsylvania primary by 214,115 votes, while Obama came out ahead by 14 delegates by winning the Kansas caucuses by 17,710 votes."
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
With Barack Obama's victory in Montana and newfound support among dozens of superdelegates, he has clinched the Democratic Party's nomination for president in 2008.
His victory speech from last night:
CNN and MSNBC call the race, and officially acknowledge Sen. Obama as his party's presumptive nominee:
Check back in the near future for full analysis on the upcoming election between John McCain and Barack Obama.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
The June issue of Vanity Fair has an excerpt from an upcoming book about Robert F. Kennedy's campaign for president, which ended with his assassination 40 years ago Thursday. It's a must-read (you can find it here) that details RFK's depression after his brother's death, trepidation about challenging a sitting president (he feared people would view it as a mere extension of the Kennedy/ Johnson feud), and ultimate peace in himself and his decision to run.
The sense of unabashed possibility brought by RFK's candidacy walked alongside looming tragedy during his 82- day campaign; it was a palpable unease that Bobby could meet the same fate as his brother. When Kennedy announced in March, the country was simmering. By year's end, after his assassination and that of Martin Luther King, the Tet Offensive and massive race riots, it was at full boil.
Ultimately, Bobby was enveloped and destroyed by the madness of the times. It was an outcome some saw coming:
"Before returning to the Kansas City airport, the Kennedy press corps stopped for a quick restaurant meal. Jimmy Breslin [of the NY Post] asked a table of reporters, 'Do you think this guy has the stuff to go all the way?'
'Yes, of course he has the stuff to go all the way,' John L. Lindsay replied. 'But he's not going to go all the way, and the reason is that someone is going to shoot him. I know it and you know it, just as sure as we're sitting here somebody is going to shoot him. He's out there now, waiting for him... And, please God, I don't know if we'll have a country after it.'
There was a stunned silence. Then, one by one, the other reporters agreed, but none asked the most heartbreaking question: Did Kennedy himself know it?"