Saturday, August 30, 2008

WIld Card, to say the least.

In the wake of her improbable selection to be John McCain's running mate, just about everyone now knows the name Sarah Palin. Yes, she’s inexperienced (under two years as governor of a state that literally has a smaller population than Columbus, Ohio). Yes, she has a relatively modest educational background for a VP candidate (BA in journalism from University of Idaho). And oh yea, she earned the nickname “Barracuda” for her tenacious play on the high school basketball court (Thanks Fox News for that tidbit). Is she one of the most qualified people in the Republican party to be VP? Absolutely not. By all accounts, this a straight political move on McCain's part in an attempt to win over some former Hillary supporters.

Why would McCain pick Palin in particular? For starters she's young, energetic, reform-minded, and has an approval rating of 80% in Alaska. As a mother of five who is married to her high school sweetheart, she very much embodies classic Middle American values that should play well in many key swing states. Ideologically, she will help sheer up McCain’s conservative base. She supports teaching creationism in schools, gun rights, staunchly favors domestic oil and gas exploration, and is pro-life.

Though this pick might be a hit with conservatives, it’s not a choice that's going to go over real well with the independents that McCain has been courting. McCain has criticized Obama for putting his own political interest over the interest of the country by asserting “Obama would rather lose a war in order to win an election campaign”. Now McCain has picked Palin, for reasons of political expediency, over several other potential running mates significantly more qualified to take the helm as President if necessary. Also, McCain's argument that Obama is unelectable because of his lack of experience now loses practically all its effectiveness.

The real question is whether Palin can reach across party lines and draw enough women into the McCain camp. If she can do so while also satisfying the conservative base, then obviously this could go down as shrewd political move. I have my doubts, but the Republicans have demonstrated a tremendous sense of political instinct over the last two presidential elections. Time will tell.

Is this some sort of hilarious joke?

I wanted to ignore John McCain's nomination of Sarah Palin for Vice President out of reverence for last night's speech. But the move deserves at least 10 quick observations:

  1. There are 3 types of vice president, and before Al Gore there was only 1. Gore was a trusted adviser, in the room when many key decisions were made. His opinion mattered. Dick Cheney ran the country. Before 1992, vice presidents had two functions: don't embarrass the administration and don't get in the way. Joe Biden is a pick in the Gore mold, Sarah Palin is a pick in the Charles Curtis mold.

  2. For those of you familiar with sports and gambling: The over/ under on the number of words John McCain ever says to Sarah Palin in his entire life: 95

  3. It was a political move, and that's OK, we understand that. But what is inexcusable, is that yesterday John McCain chose a woman whose experience outside of 2 years as governor was as mayor of an Alaskan village of 9,000. Yesterday also happened to be Sen. McCain's 72nd birthday.

  4. Say what you will-- Sarah Palin is not a bad looking lady.

  5. The idea that women will vote for John McCain because he put a woman on the ballot is deeply offensive.

  6. The notion that Sarah Palin can be compared to Hillary Clinton is insulting.

  7. I guarantee those glasses are fake.

  8. The GOP wanted a woman, but they also wanted someone who would satisfy the right-wing (pro-life, "unsure" about global warming). So, it's no wonder they had to search so far, wide and weird to find someone to fit the bill.

  9. Barack Obama has shown faith in Americans' ability to see beyond ploys, and willingness to choose optimism in the face of doubt. Meanwhile, John McCain has made the exact opposite wager.

  10. The number one criterion in choosing a VP, by definition, is whether or not the individual can be an effective president if necessary. Barack Obama's case for superior judgment was made a whole lot easier yesterday.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Best. Speech. Ever.

Apologies in advance: I generally hate when writers write in the first person, and inject themselves into their observations. But tonight I can't help it. I'm pretty fired up. See if you can tell...

Night before last, I was pissed. So angry, that I stayed up until about 5AM (I don't start work for another few days, so I can afford that on a Wednesday night) and wrote the diatribe that you will find below the very eloquent post written by my venerable former roommate, CP Coleta.

The first three nights of the convention convinced me that the Democrats would blow this election. I watched in horror as Republican talking points dominated their speeches, and their punches were pulled back. Slowly but surely, I felt, the election was slipping through our fingers.

But I was wrong.

I was wrong because I severely underestimated Barack Obama. Watching him deliver that speech last night was like watching the end of Usual Suspects. You're sitting there thinking you know what's happening, that the movie is drawing to a safe conclusion. But then that coffee cup shatters and a rug is pulled out from under you, and soon you're blown away.

Well, last night blew me away.

It's like he was toying with us, making this convention look like the last two, knowing it would make his mark all the more dramatic.

It's like he was toying with them, lulling Republicans into a false sense of security that his candidacy and campaign was just John Kerry 2.0.

When I was at my most desperate, two nights ago, I considered that he may have been leaving the heavy lifting for himself, and that he'd form a thematic, disciplined offensive in his speech. But I quickly brushed the thought aside. Not his style, I thought, that's what Biden was for.

I was dead wrong.

Last night, Barack Obama proved himself what believers have long claimed him to be: A post- partisan leader with unmatched skill, passion and eloquence, ready and able to move this country into a new century. To move us forward philosophically, culturally and, yes, racially.

Every four years, Americans lament a major failing of our two party system: "Is this the best we can do?" "It's always a choice between the lesser of two evils." "I wish we had a third option."

Not this year-- the indecisive and dissatisfied no longer have that crutch.

America: This is the best we can do.

A bi-racial son of the middle class, who has proven his mettle over a near- 2 year campaign, and his judgment and character over decades in public service. He's earned the support of millions of ordinary Americans, and financed his historic campaign with their meager donations.

A week ago, I somewhat longed for a candidate Clinton, who would hit back harder against McCain's aggression. (It's documented in my "Time to get Tough" post of 8/22). But I couldn't imagine Hillary in last night's spot. It's no slight, but she's not packing Mile High Stadium with 84,000+ and that kind of energy. No, her convention would have been an aggressive, slash and burn battle against the Republicans, the likes of which we've come to expect, and for which Democrats have thirsted since 2000.

The genius of Obama and his campaign avoids that. It's aggressive but not destructive; it takes the bluster and hypocrisy of his opponent (be it Clinton or McCain) and turns it against itself. He uses the petty and divisive attacks to prove his point and discredit the messenger. In so doing, Obama ends the vicious cycle of the politics of personal destruction, and makes an election about actual issues.

And that's ground on which Democrats can actually win.

Perhaps the most moving and profound part of it all is that in the end, Senator Obama has displayed unmatched faith in the American people. He believes that if given the opportunity they will see through the tricks and won't follow the BS. His campaign is the fairer and more principled alternative for which Americans have always claimed to long.

Now, it is up to the American people to reward his good faith. This November, we will get the president we deserve. It will either be the dawning of an era full of amazing potential, or we will elect a man who has sold himself out at every turn to chase the Oval Office.

We will entrust a candidate who won on the strength of his message, policies and record, or one who, to curry favor, now opposes legislation he drafted, and stands alongside men he once denounced to please the very people who slandered him.

John McCain has been a good senator, and given a lot to our country. I admire that. But in the last few years, he's proven to stand for very little, even capitulating to President Bush on what was once his most deeply important issue. He'll do or say anything.

We've had presidents like John McCain before. We'll have them again. But right now, we have a chance at something new.

Something better.

I need to say more about the speech itself.

First let me quote libertarian, former Nixon adviser and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan:

"The best convention speech I've ever heard [in 48 years]."

Also, let me just list some of the specifics of what an Obama presidency will look like:

  1. End dependence on Middle East Oil in 10 years by tapping gas reserves, investing in coal, nuclear and alternative fuels; increase fuel efficiency standards in domestic autos
  2. Tax cuts for 95% of working families
  3. Tax breaks to corporations that keep jobs in US, not those that out-source
  4. Recruit new teachers with higher salaries, but mandate higher standards and accountability
  5. Award students who serve for a year with college tuition aid
  6. Universal health care
  7. Change bankruptcy laws to protect employee pensions before CEO bonuses
There was much more, but I just want to touch one last thing:

Obama did an excellent job of articulating what it means to be a Democrat. Make no mistake, this was not a bleeding heart speech. Buchanan himself called it a "deeply centrist speech" (that right there should placate independents and short- circuit the Republican machine-- but it won't).

So here are some of my personal favorite lines:
"We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don't tell me that Democrats won't defend this country. Don't tell me that Democrats won't keep us safe. The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans -- Democrats and Republicans - have built, and we are here to restore that legacy."

"Washington's been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he's said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close."

"Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.

Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

That's the promise of America - the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation; the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper."

"For over two decades, [McCain's] subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy - give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else. In Washington, they call this the Ownership Society, but what it really means is - you're on your own. Out of work? Tough luck. No health care? The market will fix it. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps - even if you don't have boots. You're on your own.

Well it's time for them to own their failure. It's time for us to change America.

You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President - when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job - an economy that honors the dignity of work."

I could copy and paste until the sun comes up. In fact, I practically have. But I'll end by writing that I'm no longer nervous.

In my last post, I wrote that Democrats had asked for a verdict without supplying evidence. Last night, the evidence was laid out and the case has been made fully, forcefully and fairly.

Now, the only question is whether or not the system works.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Godfather

In the historic presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama, the issue of race has been downplayed with a strong purpose, and rightfully so. The Obama campaign has gone to great lengths to assure all Americans that his is a campign of historic proportion because of the change he wants to bring and the style with which he delivers his message. It's not about his race, for folks shouldn't vote on such a superficial basis. It's not about class, for the American project is one of endless possibilities, not a caste system. And it shouldn't be about gender, or military experience, or familial lineage, or...

Yet, on the 45th anniversary of probably the most American speech, race can't escape us, no matter how much Mr. Obama tries, and that shouldn't be such a bad thing. But what strikes this moment as so special for me is not that today is the 45th anniversary of Revereand Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, but that it falls on the 45th anniversary-plus one day of the death of W.E.B. DuBois.

Dr. DuBois is perhaps my favorite intellectual of any era, because of his keen ability to take in the society he lived in, analyze all that it offered (and systematically neglected), and synthesize that information to come to a conclusion no honest man or woman can refute outright with full intellect. His was the fight that laid the groundwork for the likes of Thurgood Marshall and Rev. King, the former taking the legal route to bring America to its rightful place, while the latter would lead a moral revolution that would cost him his life, a price he was more than willing to pay.

Dr. DuBois wrote: "If the great battle of human right against poverty, against disease, against color prejudice is to be won, it must be won, not in our day, but in the day of our children's children. Ours is the blood and dust of battle". Barack Obama is experiencing the fruits of that fight. He, like myself, has been fortunate to view systematic discrimination only through the memories of past soldiers, those who bared the insult of the back door, the figurative emaciation through the use of "boy" towards men, and the many other humiliating experiences Jim Crow wrought. It's the fight that DuBois, Wells, Malcolm, Woodson, Dunbar, Baldwin, and the many other warriors had to endure, so that I could be privileged enough to not be bothered with the back of the bus.

Of course, Dr. DuBois didn't die in America. In fact, he didn't even die an American. He gave up his fight, assured that the White structure that maintained the "racial caste system" would never yield to the suffering minorities. He moved to Ghana, became a citizen of his host nation, and died peacefully at the age of ninety-five. So while Mr. Obama strategically downplays race, Dr. DuBois, and the like, should never be downplayed, for the freedom of their sons' sons and daughters' daughters is as true a victor as one could be on this night - superdelegates, notwithstanding.

Getting Nervous

In the interest of full disclosure, I did not watch all of last night's convention coverage. With the Mets in the fight of their lives, I had to flip back and forth. But I doubt that made any difference on my opinion, and I've since gone back and read or watched the speeches...

I am officially worried.

This entire summer, I predicted a blow-out. I guaranteed Barack Obama would shatter 300 electoral votes, sweep an impressive majority into Congress, and wield the "political capital" President Bush so pompously claimed in 2004.

But now, I'm worried about my party's November chances.

This week, Democrats haven't driven the final nail into the Bush Administration's coffin, or fortified their position as the stronger party for the next generation. They've only taken us half way.

All week in Denver, primetime speakers have stated the obvious: We cannot afford four more years of Bush policies. The American dream now seems out of reach. Barack Obama can change the direction of the country.

So while the speeches were good, and each major speaker accomplished the goal handed down by the 24- hour news media, there was very little overall connection to the overarching theme of why our country is so desperate for change. Instead they answered GOP talking points: what is Barack's story? does Michelle love her country? will Dems unite?

The speakers offered up worn phrases mixed with the most tired of political devices-- the encounter story. You know what I'm talking about:

"Once I met a woman with one leg, no house and the Clap..."

"... that's when I met Joe, who works 8 jobs, sleeps a half hour a month, and makes just $12k/ year..."

"An old Army vet told me the only thing he loves more than the American flag is apple pie, and the only thing he loves more than apple pie is a bald eagle carrying the American flag in his talons, and the only thing he loves more than that is if the eagle served him a heaping slice of apple pie in the Grand Canyon..."

(Is it just me, or is that stuff is entirely ineffective? I find it forced and disingenuous. And even if those encounters really happened, Democrats need to speak to the middle class, not the guy with no legs and VD.)

What was entirely lacking was meat to back up the words. When President Clinton was in office, his speeches were littered with statistics that illustrated our country's progress. Wow, you'd think, we're doing really well. He did some of that last night, but in all there was not nearly enough.

The only hard facts or numbers that stick out from this week is the price of gas, which we already knew, and may not even be a political winner thanks to confusion over the (lack of) benefits to drilling.

Of the four major speakers (Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton and Joe Biden), President Clinton had the best appeal to average folks:

"In this decade, American workers have consistently given us rising productivity. That means, year after year, they work harder and produce more.

Now, what did they get in return? Declining wages, less than one-fourth as many new jobs as in the previous eight years, smaller health care and pension benefits, rising poverty, and the biggest increase in income inequality since the 1920s...

They took us from record surpluses to an exploding debt; from over 22 million new jobs to just 5 million; from increasing working families' incomes to nearly $7,500 a year to a decline of more than $2,000 a year; from almost 8 million Americans lifted out of poverty to more than 5.5 million driven into poverty; and millions more losing their health insurance.

Now, in spite of all this evidence, their candidate is actually promising more of the same."

That is what we needed, but we didn't get enough. In making their closing argument, Democrats asked for the verdict without presenting the evidence.

In the minds of too many Americans, that comes across as America- bashing. Democrats have the charge of any party out of power, speak to the virtue of the country and enrage the electorate that its been so badly mismanaged. It's an awkward task made easier because this administration's mismanagement has been so blatant. But Dems didn't remind the public why we're so passionate this time around. The focus was on shorting out Republican attacks instead of building our case against the other side.

Two oil men took over the government and ran up record oil profits. Along the way they tanked the economy, re-wrote the Constitution and put unqualified friends in positions of public trust. Millions have suffered because of their incompetence-- that is this president's legacy. But Democrats shied away from addressing it explicitly, favoring general language instead.

It could just be the lawyer in me, or the Carville- influence. Maybe I'm just more into the pointed style. But as I watched the speeches, I had to remind myself why I don't like this president or the Republican party; why I believe the country is on the wrong track. Those are memories and connections I shouldn't have to make, the Democrats should be walking voters slowly down memory lane of the last eight years.

Maybe Obama pulls it off tonight. Maybe it won't even matter. Maybe I'm just being paranoid. Maybe, but I'm officially worried.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention John Kerry's solid speech on John McCain and international relations:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Isn't North Korea a little ironic?

This afternoon I read this story in the NY Times and it made me scratch my head. Here is the opening paragraph to the article...

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said Tuesday that it had stopped disabling its main nuclear complex and threatened to restore facilities there that the North had used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons unless the United States removed it from a terrorist list.

So to me this begs the question, if North Korea badly wants its enemies to refrain from considering it a terrorist risk, wouldn't it behoove them not to threaten revamping their plutonium production plants? Maybe its just me, but North Korea, if you want us to remove you from the terrorism blacklist then its probably a good idea to forget about the plutonium and start producing AA batteries.

James Taylor Brings the Pain!

We at SAM implored Sen. Obama to get tough and on offense against the McCain campaign. It appears he is ready to do just that with this ad:

Is that the first time someone's referred to using a James Taylor song as "getting tough?" Probably...

SAM Scoops the NY Times

No big deal, our little blog just happened to scoop the most prestigious news organization in the world with this post detailing Sen. Obama's 2000 convention. Two days later, the New York Times ran a similar article. No big deal...

Thanks to Eric for the heads up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How Stories Get Told

I'm sorry, but did I awake in what Seinfeld once called Bizarro world? Has the space-time continuum contorted itself so badly that what's down is left, and what's up is - well - not there?

I was watching the coverage leading up to the much anticipated Senator Hillary Clinton speech Tuesday night. I wanted to hear what all the pundits had to say.

What must She say to help Obama?

How can She get all her supporters into the Obama camp?

However, something else was being discussed that sent me into a mini-cerebral hemorage. This "glass cieling". You know, the proverbial foot on women's necks, forever holding the ladies back from their full potential and participation in this society. Brian Williams was mentioning how that glass ceiling could only get cracked, but not quite broken because of Senator Clinton's loss.

Now, let me not seem too insensitive. Of course, women have it tough in this society. The pay scale's yet to be equalized, single mothers are practically told to go out and find a husband when considering how our government dishes out services to better their lives, and when it comes to the leadership positions in this nation, let's face it, it's a man's world.

But is Senator Clinton one to be held down by what may hold the rest of us back a bit? I told Chris Meehan a year ago that her campaign would be like a freight train, and anyone in the way should really - REALLY - consider moving out of the way. And that's what makes all this talk of glass ceiling seem rather awkward. Senator Obama didn't just beat a lady, he beat the Democratic party. He beat back an establishment that demanded he get in line and wait his turn.

Senator Clinton might've been the first "viable" woman to run for President, but her viability was evident at least since 2000, and her run for the highest office even before then. A glass ceiling would not have been broken with a Clinton win anymore than racial unity will come to full fruition with an Obama win. It's as if for the sake of the narrative, let's forget the steep mountain Senator Obama climbed and instead consider Senator Clinton as the underdog who almost made it.

Like Andrew Jackson preached, "To the Victor, Go the Spoils". The body count has yet to been seen, as reported by Matt Bai in this piece, in the wake of an Obama victory (or Clinton loss). There has been a seismic shift in Democratic politics that has opened the door for a younger generation with fresh ideas and vigor. Let's not belittle Senator Clinton by making it seem as though this loss places her in the back burner. And I won't let others forget something equally important, that Barack Obama is running for a place in not just a man's world, but The Man's establishment. And he'll probably win.

Baracky II

A while back we posted a great video take of the primary battle between Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton, themed to the classic underdog movie Rocky. Check it out:

But now, in true Rocky fashion, a sequel has debuted, "Baracky II."

This time around, Baracky is taking on an even harsher opponent in even scarier times:

Monday, August 25, 2008

8 Short Years

Much has been made, and rightly so, of Barack Obama's meteoric rise in Democratic politics. We all know where he was at the last Democratic National Convention in Boston, delivering a stirring keynote address as a Senate candidate.

But few know where he was at the convention before that, the 2000 DNC in Los Angeles. Today, I heard a reporter from the New Yorker detail Obama's 2000 convention experience on NPR. It's a time he's called a low point in his life.

Back in the summer of 2000, Barack Obama was a failed Congressional candidate. He'd run against incumbent and former Black Panther Bobby Rush, and was soundly defeated-- 62%- 31%-- in the Democratic primary.

His marriage to wife Michelle was also on the rocks. She hadn't wanted him to run in the first place, they were short on money and looking to expand their family.

After his trouncing, Obama seriously considered giving up on politics. He asked friends for advice, and they suggested he fly out to LA and try to network at the Democratic National Convention. Short on money, Obama found a cheap ticket on Southwest and headed to LA with big dreams.

But like so many others who make that trip, things didn't go as planned. When he landed he tried to rent a car, but his credit card was rejected. After hours of pleading and negotiating he was given a break-- they took a check. He showed up at the Staples Center, but couldn't gain the credentials to get in.

So he stood outside, waiting to recognize someone who would bring him inside. Meanwhile, most of the very people who will nominate him for president this week celebrated. He was 39 years old, and his political future looked uncertain at best.

But Obama didn't give up. He held onto his seat in the Illinois Senate, and won the primary to succeed retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald in 2004. Locked in a tight battle with investment banker Republican Jack Ryan, Obama was tapped to deliver the keynote address of the event he was shut out of just four years earlier. When scandal engulfed the Ryan campaign, Obama had a cakewalk in his November election, garnering 70% of the vote.

This time around, after dismantling the greatest Democratic political machine in a generation, Barack Obama won't need credentials to get into the DNC.

And I'm guessing that his rent-a-car will be long, black and paid for.

It's 3 A.M. and there's a phone ringing.......

Presidential candidate Barack Obama announced his running mate, Senator Joseph Biden, in 3 A.M. text message to supporters. Random timing? Or is he sticking it to a former opponent.... remember this ad?.........

Good Cop/ Baby Cop

On the eve of the DNC, let's take a quick break from politics to laugh at this hilarious video from Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

See more Will Ferrell videos at Funny or Die

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Who is Joe Biden?

Friday, August 22, 2008

For Obama, Time to get Tough is Now

To the surprise of many, Zogby's monthly presidential poll has John McCain +5 points, a 12 point swing since just last month.

The nerves of many Democrats are frayed because Sen. Barack Obama has stumbled even though the public's general view of Democrats remains more positive than it is of Republicans. There are many explanations for Obama's false start:

First, race probably plays a role.

Second, Obama took a long vacation, anticipating a lull in campaign coverage and interest during the Olympics. This was probably a strategic decision to prevent peaking too early, and to minimize the public fatigue before the hard campaigning of the fall.

But another contributing factor to his under-performance is Obama's reticence to attack his opponent. McCain's consistently hard hits have been met with tepid reactions. Too many of Obama's attacks are mere responses, allowing the McCain camp to control the narrative of the campaign and making it a referendum on Obama, rather than about the struggles of the last eight years. For example, when McCain hit Obama as a "celebrity," Obama debuted an ad pointing out that McCain is also a celebrity.

Unless Obama can get back in front of the curve and control the story, he's in real danger of losing under the most favorable conditions Democrats have seen since FDR.

For instance, McCain inaccurately stated multiple times that Iran trained al Qaeda insurgents in Iraq. Not only untrue, but demonstrative of a failure to understand a basic premise of Middle East relations-- the deep differences between factions of the Muslim faith-- something George W. Bush didn't understand until too late.

If Obama had made those mistakes, a barrage of "Is he ready to lead?" ads would have hit the air that week. Because it was McCain, those gaffes have been all but forgotten.

Up to this point, Obama's campaign can be readily contrasted with how Sen. Clinton would have run, which may cost him confidence in his own party. She'd have hit back, and hard.

It's no wonder that Obama hasn't gotten too dirty yet, staying above the fray was a precept of his campaign and a key to his success. But the time to engage is here. In choosing a VP, Obama would be wise to pick a pit bull, someone (like Joe Biden) who will criticize Republican policies openly, honestly and without any reservation.

Obama was probably smart to wait this long, but now he should make a move, and quickly, because his campaign may depend on it.

Quote of the Day 8/22

"I'd love to go one on one with Lieberman in the Octagon."

- Doug Flynn, who hopes that McCain chooses Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as his running mate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Formidable Opponent!

Stephen Colbert debated the number one issue in the Meehan household against the only worthy opponent he could find: himself. It's a segment called "Formidable Opponent."

And, just because I love this thing and it's getting too far down on my page I'm posting the Barack Roll video again:

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The Huffington Post reports that 100 University presidents are meeting to discuss the lowering of the drinking age from 21 to 18.

The presidents seek to combat campus binge drinking, and figure that if students are exposed before coming to school they'll be better prepared to handle alcohol.

Obama/ Biden (?)

Word on the street is Barack Obama will announce his VP pick in the next day or so (don't worry, I'm one of the millions who signed up to have the selection immediately texted to their phones). The most recent buzz favors Delaware Senator Joe Biden, whom SAM endorsed for the spot back in February.

Although I remained confident in SAM's prediction of VA Gov. Tim Kaine, I'd personally prefer Biden, and it appears giving Senate candidate Mark Warner the DNC keynote address will be Obama's nod to Virginia.

I gave my thoughts on Biden in a profile all the way back in October, not much has changed, except that his Iraq plan fell out of favor, and the Russia/ Georgia conflict put foreign affairs (Biden's forte) back on the front page.

If you don't want to sift through my write up (which includes an intellectually stimulating comparison of Biden and West Wing president Jed Bartlet), you can always check out this more recent and (some might even say) better profile in the New York Times.

In the end, it's probably still more likely we'll see a Secretary of State Biden than a VP Biden, but nothing's official yet, so keep checking your cell phone's in-box.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Amazing: Barack Gets Rick- Rolled

No explanation necessary...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

... Starting now: New Quote of the Day 8/13

I can't believe he said that...

Jesus Saves- Quote of the Day 8/13

"[Pelosi] is committed to her global warming fanaticism to the point where she has said that she's just trying to save the planet. We all know that someone did that over 2,000 years ago, they saved the planet -- we didn't need Nancy Pelosi to do that."

- Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) on why we don't need to worry about global climate change.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Cold Winter Ahead, my father said

The high price of energy has put a tight squeeze on the middle class. With rampant speculation manipulating the oil market, and banks extremely leery of such a volatile industry (thanks, mortgage crisis) many small heating oil companies in New England could go under this winter. Not only would that decimate a major part of New England's economy, but it would leave customers, quite literally, out in the cold.

My father, Jim Meehan, owns two companies, and is president of the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association (a group of oil dealers). The CBS Evening News recently talked with him and others about a possibly tough winter ahead.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Recently I reviewed my top 10 political movies, and tonight I watched a film that could give some of those a run for their money-- Warren Beatty's Bulworth.

Made at a time when center-thinking Democrats (led by Bill Clinton) reshaped (some might say rescued, others bankrupted) their party, Beatty's protagonist is a disillusioned and hollow pol on a suicide mission.

He regains his sanity and moral center only as he embarks on a journey through Black America, trying to unite the masses against the establishment through rap music, awkward dance moves and a lot of swearing.

Check it out below:

Celeb- Reality

Even back in February it was easy to spot the easiest (perhaps only) way for John McCain to beat Barack Obama. McCain needs paint his rival as part of a movement and culture very separate from "regular folks." The best way to do that is to capitalize on the celebrity- culture backlash.

That's what McCain's done, quite effectively, with his ads likening Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, and habitually referring to him as "the biggest celebrity in the world." The notion that Obama is revered based relatively few accomplishments is not new, but the parallel between him and an heiress famous for nothing is startling to many, even though it's patently unfair.

In response, the Obama campaign came up with this spot, which I think is good. It reminds voters that it is McCain, not Obama, who, for nearly a decade, has been the media's ultimate DC darling. From appearances on Letterman, Leno, SNL, the View and other programs, not to mention several Hollywood blockbusters, McCain's celebrity is substantial.

After viewing this ad, voters will likely question the validity of McCain's "my opponent's a celebrity, and I'm not" tag-line.

Edwards Webisode

The Edwards campaign hired Rielle Hunter and her documentary team to follow the candidate 24 hours a day immediately after he announced his run for president. Looking back on their affair (detailed in the post below), Edwards said he was narcissistic and felt invincible at this point.

The footage does not dispute that.

Would We Lie?- Quote of the Day 8/11

"Of course it wasn't hush money!"

- Former John Edwards Finance director, confidante, and rich guy Fred Baron on whether the $15,000/ month he's been giving to former Edwards aide Andrew Young and former Edwards mistress Rielle Hunter is in exchange for the pair's stance that Young (and not Edwards) is the father of Rielle's baby.

Baron said he's given money to both Young and Hunter to leave North Carolina and escape press, and has also covered their "overhead" costs. He denies Edwards ever knew he was funding the pair.

Edwards recently admitted to the affair with the 42 year old documentarian, but denied he's the father of her child, even though he was photographed visiting them recently.

So, to recap:

  • Oct. 10, 2007: The National Inquirer reports the affair
  • Oct. 11, 2007: Hunter issues a denial: "The innuendoes [sic] and lies that have appeared on the internet and in the National Enquirer are not true, completely unfounded and ridiculous... my conduct was completely professional. This concocted story is just dirty politics and I want no part of it."
  • Same day: Edwards denies affair
  • Dec. 19: National Inquirer reports Hunter's pregnant and Edwards is the father
  • Later that day: Through an attorney, Young issues statement that he's the father, is leaving the campaign, and Edwards had no idea about the relationship
  • July 22, 2008: National Inquirer reports that Edwards visited Hunter and baby at an LA hotel
  • July 23: Edwards denies story again- "The tabloid trash is full of lies"
  • August 8: National Inquirer publishes photos of LA hotel meeting
  • Same day: Edwards admits affair
So, after all that lying, they contend that Edwards is not the father and that he had no idea his close friend was paying the alleged father and mistress $15k/ month. Because that's something he'd be kept in the dark about...

Edwards claimed he met with Hunter at the assistance of a "mutual friend" to hear her story of struggle with the publicity.

Although Edwards claims he would take a paternity test, Hunter said she will not allow it.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Chosen One

This is a new McCain ad, although it's kind of hard to tell.