Please do not get me wrong. I truly admire the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. She has a lot of class and a lot of character. In the world of politics she is by far my favorite person. I know she’s not a politician so people can spare me any attempt at trying to correct my perspective. She helped sell her husband to the world as being the best choice to be our new President and did an admirable job of being the wing beneath his wings. That firmly qualifies her as a participant in politics without being a politician. She appeared to be down to earth and a people person and a lot of people accepted her as such.
When the conservatives attacked Barack Obama by attacking his wife, I was livid. I remember seeing conservative pundits referring to Ms. Obama as Obama’s Baby’s Mama and labeling her as nothing more than an angry black woman for saying that for the first time in her life she’s proud to be an American. Even Cindy McCain, the wife of Mr. Obama’s conservative opponent John McCain, didn’t waste an opportunity to jump all over Ms. Obama with the not even remotely subtle announcement that the McCain’s have always been proud to be Americans, that little quip from Mr. McCain who said that he didn’t love America until he was imprisoned in the Hanoi Hilton not withstanding. And I detested all the Photoshopped images of Ms. Obama designed to make her look physically ugly and unappealing.
Now that the Obamas can claim 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as their home address, Ms. Obama is falling into her support role new role as the First Lady. She remains a reflection of her husband and dutifully maintains her role as the first mother of Sasha and Malia. I’m sure the Obamas, like most people who win the White House and go there to live with their children in tow, walk a fine line to make sure their children remain grounded and not assume some highfalutin attitude thinking they’re some kind of royalty entitled to special treatment. At least, that’s what I used to think.
Just when most Americans were preparing to take advantage of our annual tax free holiday weekend to save a little money when buying back to school supplies and clothing for our children, Ms. Obama and her two girls was being treated like royalty in Paris, France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy himself made a few calls in order to open a branch of one of the Bonpoint stores, a high class children’s boutique usually closed by French law on Sundays, so that Ms. Obama and her two daughters could peruse racks of two hundred dollar summer dresses and one hundred dollar sweaters. French clothing stores don’t even open on Sundays for the French people. It really pays to be in high places with friends who are just as highly placed.
For their soiree through France’s capital city, America’s first family had a thirty car motorcade that included their brand new one of a kind Cadillac super tank. And where ever their entourage went, parts of the city were closed down for their exclusive use. Even Oprah Winfrey’s renowned celebrity couldn’t buy her such recognition. Ms. Winfrey came back from France suspecting that she had been treated like a commoner and kept out of stores after closing hours because she was black. And that was on a regular weekday. Poor Ms. Winfrey would not have had any chance to do any real shopping on a Sunday. What’s a billionaire to do?
Before his presidential inauguration, Mr. Obama published an article directed to his daughters describing what he wanted for them and for every child growing up in America. He wanted his children to grow up in a world without limits on dreams and no achievements beyond their reach. Mr. Obama said that he wanted his daughters to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. But treating those girls like they’re young versions of Paris Hilton entitled to privilege will do little to help build such character. Being treated like royalty will no doubt lead them to believe that they can achieve their own hopes and dreams, but the compassion to help assure that others do the same might not be so nurtured.
No doubt while living in their home back in Chicago, the Obama girls kept busy schedules of sports, dance, drama, music, and gymnastics. They used to do the kind of things that a lot of kids in America did. But life in the White House will change these two in ways very few people can imagine. I would think that someone of Ms. Obama’s character would be sensitive to such things. She’s still my most favorite person in the world of politics. Her star simply doesn’t shine as bright in my eyes as it once did. But with friends like Mr. Sarkozy who can open high end stores with just a few phone calls, I doubt if she’d care a flying flip what I thought.
My morning workday rituals include catching up on all the news overnight. At some time around four in the morning I will start my day with the television on in the background. I will start with the CBS national news. I then will switch to the ABC national news to get their version of whatever somebody says is the top news for the day. I then switch back to the CBS affiliate to get the local news. And I wrap it all up with CNN, the most trusted name in news. MSNBC with Joe Scarborough is not an option. And FOX News is anything but news. While the others get about thirty minutes apiece, CNN can benefit from as much as ninety minutes of my time.
For the past couple of months or so, with just about every break for commercials, CNN, the most trusted name in news, has been peppering their broadcasts with advertisements for their head coon as farce, D. L. Hughley. CNN wants to capitalize on the trend for young people to get their news through comedy shows like the Daily Show with Jon Steward and the Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert. In order to exploit this development, CNN has put its effort for comedy news behind Mr. Hughley. And what a choice it is. It ranks right up there with Arizona Senator John McCain choosing the infamous Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. One of the advertisements for the program shows Mr. Hughley with his hand up as if trying to slow one of his guests down during one of his sure to be far from in depth interviews and saying something like, “Come on, man. I barely know how to read. I’ve got a G.E.D.”
Mr. Hughley is first to admit that he has no love of news, politics, current events. He is quick to complain about the rigor of reading newspapers and web sites, listening to the radio talk shows, and watching his own network’s number one product, the anchored news broadcast. And this is the man CNN wants to represent their foray into satirical news. Mr. Hughley is about as qualified to be a network news anchor as Rush Limbaugh is qualified to be an advocate of affirmative action.
And speaking of affirmative action, it should be obvious to anyone with or without working vision balls that Mr. Hughley is a classic example of an unqualified black man benefitting from seriously unfair favorable treatment. The last time I had anything to say about this man who will do anything to ingratiate himself to anyone willing to pay good money to see him lick boots, he was doing his best to bring attention to himself by telling black people to get over themselves and leave Don Imus alone. Mr. Hughley was quick to add his less than helpful opinion and say, “There were some nappy headed women on the team and those are some of the ugliest women I have ever seen in my life.” As a reward for being the epitome of the news media’s cheesing lawn jockey, Mr. Hughley is now given his own television show.
I must confess that I was tempted to tune into this show once. During my morning ritual, an advertisement for the program showed an officious looking man calling Mr. Hughley a liar. That piqued my curiosity for about a minute. Early one Sunday morning, probably after the second or third airing of Mr. Hughley’s show, I found out that the officious guy calling the head coon as farce a liar was actually Josh Levs who appears regularly as part of CNN’s Truth Squad segment. It turns out that Mr. Levs was planted on the scripted show and the liar accusation was nothing more than a gimmick. The Sunday morning anchors were giving Mr. Levs a bit of teasing for being the victim of some colorful threats from Mr. Hughley. I was glad that I never followed through on my curiosity. I was disappointed in myself for being so easily duped into almost thinking of tuning into this travesty of comedy or of news.
Watching any other CNN program, no anchor, reporter, contributor, producer, cameraman, assistant, or anyone else affiliated with the news network would even think of promoting the fact that they didn’t have a degree, never mind never graduated from high school. But there is no shame to Mr. Hughley’s lack of an education or lack of anything to credibly support him getting his own television show on CNN. Stephen Colbert studied at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Jon Stewart attended the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. It took some searching but according to his linkedin.com web page Josh Levs attended Yale University. But Mr. Hughley gets a pass with nothing more than a successful score on his general educational development test.
The Colbert Report is a 2008 winner of the George Foster Peabody Award which recognizes excellence in news and entertainment. In 2008, the program also won an Emmy Award for outstanding writing for a variety, music, or comedy. While I’d like to think that my opinion of anything is not influenced solely by the number of awards won or the caliber of such awards, for a comedy show to garner such recognition indicates a certain amount of sophistication and intelligent delivery in its development.
However, it would be no surprise to see Mr. Hughley’s show stoop to the sophomoric humor as fart jokes and put downs that are the staple of Mr. Hughley’s comedic talent. What more can you expect from a man whose two cents to racially charged issues like a white man calling an organization of predominantly black women “There were some nappy headed women on the team and those are some of the ugliest women I have ever seen in my life.” CNN might as well let Wolf Blitzer tell fart jokes in his opening monologue before he gives his “news” reports.
I really, really tried last night. But no matter how hard I tried to stay awake, the sandman would not be denied. I fell asleep about nine Central Standard Time, about ninety minutes before Senator John McCain gave his concession speech. I had fallen asleep on the couch and woke up to go to bed when I heard Mr. McCain’s voice. I don’t remember exactly what he was saying, but I heard enough, he was conceding. It registered on my sleepy brain that Mr. McCain, but I don’t think it registered that Mr. Obama won.
Ms. Peacemaker and I started tracking the polls about six thirty in the evening. Mr. McCain was first on the board with eight votes to Senator Barack Obama’s three. I think that was the last time Mr. McCain was in the lead. At one point, the polls had Mr. Obama with about one hundred electoral votes to Mr. McCain’s thirty eight. Mr. Obama pretty much was enjoying a two to one lead.
Now, I don’t know what officially makes a political landslide, but the 2008 election should be considered a prime example on the national scale. But all night long the people monitoring the election claimed that the race was close and that Mr. Obama failed to flip some crucially needed traditionally Republican voting states. When there were two hundred electoral votes for Mr. Obama and ninety for Mr. McCain, a few minutes before I lost consciousness, I figured all Mr. Obama needed was to win two more states, Florida with twenty seven votes and California with fifty five. With awareness quickly fleeing away I knew it was pretty much in the bag. It was virtually impossible for Mr. McCain to overcome his more than a hundred vote deficit and pull off an upset.
Regardless, I woke up to an expected surprise! The forty fourth President of the United States will be the first President who is not known as a hundred percent Caucasoid male. President Barack Obama will be the first visible minority President. More than two hundred and thirty years after the birth of our nation we finally have a little racial variety in our highest executive office. The historic nature of the occasion is monumental.
But then again, the challenges ahead of him and the rest of America are truly monumental. No President has ever come into this office facing the variety of problems that await Mr. Obama. Yes we may have had a President that had to face a great depression early in the twentieth century. Yes we may have had Presidents that had to guide the country through wars. But now we have an economic crisis of its own monumental proportions, a war fueled by differences in ideologies in two countries, a healthcare crisis with so many Americans losing everything including their lives, global competition as well as global animosity for the previous administration’s unilateral global policies, and so much more. We voted for the black man to lead the country after the last white man screwed it up so royally.
Voting for Mr. Obama is only the first step. He is not a dictator of a nation but a leader. His predecessor, President George Bush, was at one time fond of saying that he is the decider who controls the fate of this country. But if this election has done anything it has drilled home the fact that it is the collective people of America that are the deciders of this country. The President might feel like he, or surely one day she, can operate with personal impunity, but he leaves the rest of his or her party to face retribution. It wasn’t Mr. Obama who was the greatest contributor to the defeat of Mr. McCain but Mr. McCain’s association with an immensely unpopular President who explicitly and implicitly said that he didn’t give a shit about what the American public thought.
Mr. Obama goes into the presidency with the momentum of the world behind his back. This great victory was achieved with a great deal of effort and coordination of people around the nation. Mr. Obama cannot do it all alone. He needs the help of the American people and he needs to stay accountable to the American people. A lot of people supported Mr. Obama because they felt he was truly the best man for the job. But on the other hand, there are a lot of other people who voted for Mr. Obama simply because we felt he was the lesser of evils.
If anything can be learned from the story of George Bush it is that the support Mr. Obama may enjoy today can evaporate quicker than a snowball in the hottest pit of hell. He needs to remain focused and he needs to remember who he serves. It was the people who donated the most to his political effort. A lot of people wanted to see change. Business as usual is not an option. Two years from now there will be another national election and the Democratic Party that is firmly in charge of the legislature and the executive branch will be held accountable. I strongly suggest that he, nor anyone else in politics, doesn’t continue the tradition of taking the people for granted.
The Saint Louis Rams are off to a dismal start. They lost their first four games usually by wide margins, on average twenty six points. It doesn’t matter if they’re playing at home or if they’re playing away. It doesn’t matter if key players are injured or if key players are healthy. If the Rams are playing then the Rams are losing. Just this past Monday head coach Scott Linehan, has been dumped after the hapless football team lost seventeen of its last twenty games. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has been given the unenviable task of trying to revive the franchise. Considering how well the other teams have been able to score against the Rams I really don’t see much of an improvement. Just this past week the Buffalo Bills were able to outscore the Rams by twenty five unanswered points in the first half alone on the way to their 31-14 victory on Ram’s home turf.
With all that said if the Rams lose their next game only by five points, they will still be winless losers. The fact that they made an improvement in their performance is notable. But the fact of the matter is that the other team will still be their superior with a better record. Nobody in the National Football League wins games by losing by less than what’s expected. That only happens in gambling and, unfortunately, in politics.
The world waits with baited breath as Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin prepares to debate her Democratic opponent Delaware Senator Joe Biden. Mr. Biden is a seasoned veteran of the United States Senate with a long history of accomplishments. Ms. Palin is the spunky first time Governor of one of the most beautiful and remote states in the country. And the debate is expected to be one of the most anticipated television events is broadcast history.
Ms. Palin doesn’t have much experience in national politics. In fact, prior to being selected to be Arizona Senator John McCain’s as the best candidate as his running mate, Ms. Palin has never operated at the national level. Ms. Palin has been protected from reporters with levels of security that could protect an Israeli prime minister walking though the toughest Palestinian neighborhood on a moonless night. Her first interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News exposed her limited understanding of global politics. Her interviews with Katie Couric of CBS News exposed her inability to form comprehensive sentences under pressure and admit that she doesn’t know everything. The fact that Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live can do a hilarious skit based on Ms. Palin’s answers practically word for word is testament to the fact that Ms. Palin is somewhat lacking.
The lack of public exposure combined with her somewhat unintelligent answers to Ms. Couric’s and Mr. Gibson’s questions is enough for some people to see that Ms. Palin is not ready for prime time on a national level. Her approval rating has dropped significantly in the past few weeks where all she did with respect to political campaigning is reread her acceptance speech. Thank god she’s stopped with that thanks but no thanks line. In response to one of her interviews with Ms. Couric, Mr. McCain decided to sit in on the next interview in order to do damage control. Not a very strong move for building confidence in the decision to pick Ms. Palin as the vice presidential nominee.
Some conservative political pundits say that Ms. Palin could serve her country, her party, and Mr. McCain if she would just step aside and remove her self from the political race. But in typical political fashion Ms. Palin promises to finish what she started. She has campaigned against Democratic presidential hopeful Illinois Senator Barack Obama in his bid for the White House and she has come out swinging against her VP opponent with references about being in the second grade when Mr. Biden made his first appearance at the national level in a not so subtle jab at Mr. Biden’s age. The fact that her own running mate Mr. McCain is six years Mr. Biden’s senior was overlooked. Ms. Palin has a knack for leaving herself open by overlooking exactly what she’s saying like when she slams community organizers. There was a serious backfire.
But nevertheless a lot of people say that if Ms. Palin can do a little more than just show up and not say anything stupid she’ll win the debate. Some people say that if Mr. Biden makes the woman look too incompetent it can actually backfire and she’ll win the sympathy of many voters. Are American’s supposed to pick the next leader of the free world based on sympathy? It appears so.
I don’t expect much from Ms. Palin. I don’t think she’ll do all that well. But even if she does a decent job and avoid embarrassing herself and her party she still doesn’t have much to stand on to prove that she can handle the job of being a moment away from being President of the United States. It is a job best left to people with clear demonstration of national level politics and global understandings. As Mr. McCain likes to say, this is not a congeniality contest.
For days, weeks even, Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been given a free pass by getting complete and intensely favorable coverage of her coronation into the upper echelons of national politics without much of the scrutiny that would cover such ascension. Since Republican nominee Senator John McCain’s public announcement of his running mate pick on Friday, August 29, a move scheduled to minimize the impact of the favorable ratings bounce in the opinion polls immediately following the Democratic National Convention held in Denver that climaxed just the night before.
While the Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama has been derided by his opponents as grossly inexperienced for the job as chief executive officer of the country, Mr. McCain, who himself has never operated as an executive in any government capacity but somehow suffers not from any label that he has limited experience, picked a woman who, at the time of her selection, had less than twenty months of governorship experience of the least populated state in the nation. The only other executive experience Ms. Palin had was her two term stint as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska with a population considerably less than seven thousand.
In order to minimize the fallout from the Hail Mary selection of Ms. Palin, the Republican presidential campaign organizers have been limiting Ms. Palin’s exposure to scrutiny. While reporters are allowed to ask her questions, she’s never placed in a situation where she has to answer. In the past nearly four weeks, I have only seen two reporters who have been blessed with access to Ms. Palin. There was the much ballyhooed interview with Charles Gibson of ABC News who was careful to handle Ms. Palin with the softest of kid gloves even though he still managed to expose her as having limited understanding of international issues with a question about the Bush Doctrine and its interpretation that America has the right to preemptively attack other nations perceived as threatening. The other interview was the romper room rebound with Sean Hanity of FOX News with his infuriatingly sympathetic questions and mannerisms in a one on one interview with Ms. Palin that would make tell us where the bad man touched you look like an Abu Ghraib style interrogation.
But something wonderful happened yesterday. In New York, New York to develop some understanding of foreign affairs and to gain some credible international exposure, Ms. Palin was to do a photo shoot with her sitting down with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Columbian President Alvaro Uribe. At the last minute before a photo op, campaign aides tried to ban reporters from the meetings. The McCain-Palin team only wanted photographers at the meetings with a few world leaders. But the news organizations finally said no. If reporters weren’t allowed then there would be no cameras. Suddenly realizing that their gravy train might jump the track there was some negotiation and a single producer was allowed thirty seconds to accompany photographers. The McCain-Palin campaign downplayed the altercation calling it nothing more than another one of their misunderstandings.
I’ll admit that one producer for thirty seconds is rather trivial. But the simple fact that the news organizations didn’t simply roll over like they have been accustomed to doing with Ms. Palin is a huge step in the right direction. If I was running a news agency I would have pulled my cameras and my reporters off of the McCain-Palin campaign as soon as they made it obvious that they want coverage only on their terms. News agencies are only to be used for propaganda purposes and not for any in depth reporting. Such manipulation of the press as tools of propaganda has become the norm over the past seven plus years with the Bush administration. And without press coverage it would be difficult for anyone to get the exposure necessary to win the White House. If any presidential candidate wants only favorable exposure from a network then they can buy it.
The idea that such political candidates seeking the White House can completely dictate terms of news coverage is alarming. The methodology a political campaign uses to win an office is the same methodology they will use to run it. A political campaign that wants to hide its candidates from public scrutiny can hardly be considered transparent and open for examination. We have been sold the idea that Ms. Palin is ready on day one and that she has a world of executive experience and that she will be a game changing reformer in Washington’s political circles. But if the past nearly four weeks are any indication we should be able to see that Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin are nothing but warmed over manipulators looking to take every advantage while offering little in return unless it is on their terms.
On Tuesday, September 9th, I caught the tail end of a discussion monitored by John Roberts between Paul Begala, former political aid to President Bill Clinton, and Alex Castellanos, a former consultant to Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency. Mr. Roberts was standing in front of the two men who were appearing together, side by side on a giant floor to ceiling television monitor.
Mr. Roberts asked Mr. Begala how come Senator Barack Obama cannot make it more clear to people that Governor Sarah Palin is actually misleading the public over the significance of her involvement in stopping the bridge to nowhere. Mr. Begala charges that it is because the press refuses to do its job. Mr. Begala said, “It is the media’s job, when a politician flat out lies on this bridge to nowhere, to call her on it. Or this matter of earmarks where she’s attacking Barack Obama for having earmarks when she was the Mayor of little Wasilla, Alaska, six thousand people, she hired a lobbyist who was connected to Jack Abramoff, who is a criminal, and they brought home twenty seven million dollars in earmarks. She carried home so much pork home she got triganosis. But we in the media are letting her tell lies about her record.”
When Mr. Begala finished Mr. Roberts pointed to Mr. Castellanos, “Okay, we’re going to let Alex respond to that. Flat out lies Alex?”
Mr. Castellanos replied, “Let’s be a little gentle. Look. Every elected official in this country works under the system we have which is we try to get a little bit of your tax money back. You just don’t want to leave it all in Washington. The amazing thing about Sarah Palin is that when she became Governor she actually stood up and said no. And she made changes and she took a strong stand. That is rare and that never happens.”
There was more back and forth between Mr. Begala and Mr. Castellanos when Mr. Roberts broke in with, “We still have fifty six days to talk about this back and forth…”
Mr. Begala interrupted, “You see this is the problem. We have this false debate when we ought to have the agreed upon facts.”
The camera switched over to Kiran Chetry at the anchor desk who told people if they wanted to check the accuracy of the candidates’ statements they could go to a couple of websites. In other words, don’t expect any fact checking from the people at CNN. The network is doing its best to keep the political race close and as competitive as possible despite facts like a vice presidential candidate is lying about her record and is blatantly hypocritical about earmarks. As her supporter Mr. Castellanos himself said, this is the political environment we find ourselves operating in these days. A little gentleness would be appreciated. When it comes to earmarks, Ms. Palin should not be throwing rocks in her glass house.
On Friday morning, the former Mayor of New York, New York, Ed Koch made an appearance on CNN and he was asked his opinion on Sarah Palin. The Mayor said that the woman bothered him because, among other things, she used her political office to try and have books banned from the library in Wasilla. When the librarian refused, Ms. Palin tried to have the librarian fired. Right after he said that, Ms. Chetry challenged him and said that CNN found proof that it never happened. Mr. Koch argued that he didn’t know where they got their proof but there is evidence to show that Ms. Palin tried to have books banned and people fired. Ms. Chetry repeated that CNN is on record and have proven beyond a doubt that Ms. Palin never did that. The two went back and forth until the network had to cut for commercial. Mr. Koch was thanked for his appearance.
When they program continued, Ms. Chetry wanted to make the network’s position clear. The network had proof that books were never banned from the library and no librarian was ever fired for not removing books from the library. Ms. Palin did try to use her position to remove books and fire librarians, but since she was unsuccessful the actual events never happened. Ms. Chetry apologized for any misunderstanding. If this is news reporting then it must be its darkest hour.
CNN was once billing itself as the most trusted name in news. CNN is probably still using that tag line. However, now the network appears to be doing its best to blur the lines between facts and reality. Whether someone in politics tried to do something or not is not important. If they weren’t successful then it didn’t happen. No one who is concerned about their reputation for honesty would claim such a narrow and rather asinine interpretation of actual events. Yet CNN appears to be ready to stoke controversy for the next fifty odd days or so in order to keep people tuned in. But if you want to know actual facts, you have to go elsewhere.
It should not be a political candidate’s job to prove that his or her opponent is lying. It is the responsibility of the press to assure that the candidates stay truthful. When a political candidate lies about his or her record it isn’t the job of the other candidate to root the untruths out. The more our trusted news sources do to generate controversy the more the public is misled. The majority of the people won’t check other sources.
If the news programs don’t report the facts then many people will go without factual reports. When news anchors defend deviant behaviors then they increase public support for deviants. Phony debates and the blurring of facts are good for increasing the number of viewers but do nothing to educate people who need education in order to vote for what many people consider the most important job in the world. In that respect, no one should be so quick to blur the lines of reality in order to increase ratings and therefore the value of the network.
We might have fifty odd or X number of days to figure out who is the best to run the country. But the misinformation being supported now will be the foundation for people’s decision making in the voting booth in November. With the stakes so high, a series of global crises that could lead to world wide catastrophes, we need to be doing everything we can to assure that all the facts are laid out as soon as possible so that people can better exercise their judgment.
I caught a little of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and even less of the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul. I saw the Democratic nominee for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama, give his acceptance speech in a standing room only stadium of eighty five thousand plus seats. I saw the Republican nominee for the presidency, Senator John McCain, give his acceptance speech in a stadium of about fifteen thousand seats. The crowd at the Democratic National Convention was a racially diverse bunch with something like thirty some odd percent of the delegates of African American heritage. On the other hand, the Republican National Convention looked like a 1950’s Happy Days meets Lavern & Shirley reunion with a black people participation running along the lines of one point five percent. Thirty six black delegates out of more than twenty three hundred.
Now with just about one sixth the attendance at its national convention and only one race of people represented with audience participation about ninety eight percent white, I wake up this morning to hear that John McCain has a slight lead over Barack Obama. If that’s not enough, John McCain has a record of voting with his Republican Party and President George Bush ninety percent of the time. People say they want to change this political environment that has our economy, military, education system, our reputation, our housing market, and just about everything else you can think of on a national level in the toilet and getting shit on constantly. But now I’m supposed to believe that more than half the people polled these days think that our best bet for changing course is Mr. McCain.
After two terms with George Bush I can’t believe the American public would be so stuck on stupid. To make the same mistake again for a third time, and to expect different results, is truly madness. People at the high end of the income spectrum don’t need another tax cut. They have all the funds they need to fill up their Bentleys and their super class luxury yachts. What in the world they need another tax cut for? Exxon-Mobile made tens of billions of dollars last year. Why do they need another tax cut? Warren Buffet and Donald Trump did well. Bill Gates did well. Cindy McCain made out like a bandit. Why do they need another capital gains tax cut? Is it to help her go buy another house or two because nine just isn’t enough?
Mr. McCain promises to open up our coastlines to more petroleum drilling. He’ll open the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to more petroleum drilling. He’ll open your backyard to more petroleum drilling if that’s what the oil companies wanted. But drilling for more oil and keeping the price of gasoline cheap doesn’t do anything to give people an incentive to develop new energy alternatives or to conserve energy or curb wasteful energy expenditures. After eight years of having two former oil men in the White House, who allowed oil executives to develop America’s energy policy, I’m supposed to believe that over half of America is ready to reward the oil companies for their service to the American public by giving them access to even more potential inventory? I refuse to believe that our national collective short term memory is that short.
After eight years of having a President of the United States who was a strong, mediocre student with his average grades, over half of America is ready to now ready to vote for Mr. McCain, a man who wasn’t exactly a Rhodes Scholar when he graduated from the Navy academy. In fact, Mr. McCain wasn’t even a mediocre student. Out of eight hundred ninety nine students who graduated in his class, Mr. McCain came in sixth from the bottom. Mr. McCain graduated with a rank of eight hundred ninety four. Mr. McCain actually managed to avoid graduating in the upper ninety nine percentile. The man didn’t have enough moxie to graduate above the bottom one percent of his class. Am I supposed to believe that the majority of America wants another half-ass in the presidency?
I don’t have a problem believing that there are a lot of people out there who are hoping with all their heart that John McCain gets into the White House. These are the same people who’d be willing to vote George Bush back into the White House for a third term if they could. These are the same people who would be willing to give the Captain Edward J. Smith, the arrogant and complacent captain of the tragically doomed RMS Titanic, one of the United States Navy’s new high technology Ticonderoga-class Aegis guided missile cruisers. These are the same people that would let Michael “Brownie” Brown stay the chief of FEMA while black bodies are floated through the streets of New Orleans. These people have a lot to gain with a third Bush term even while the rest of the country is heading to hell in a rocket powered hand basket.
But I’m supposed to believe that the people of America are ready to put Mr. McCain, Mr. Bush junior, into the White House to change the political course of this country after eight years of Republican executive leadership, with six of those eight years with a complacent Republican legislature. In order to change the track of the current Republican leadership, America wants to put another Republican in the White House. I’m supposed to believe the news when they tell me that John McCain has not only tied Barack Obama but has taken the lead because of the bounce of his selection of Sarah Palin as his presidential running mate?
I refuse to believe that the people in America would be so foolish. This race isn’t even hardly this close. The majority of the American public are not that narrow minded. I believe that the news agencies and networks are trying to make a horse race of this political routing to sell some kind of political melodrama to keep people tuning in. At best, maybe one sixth of the public would vote for the McCain and Palin combo over the Obama and Biden duo. I would hope that the American public isn’t so gullible to think that Mr. McCain is going to change this country. Mr. McCain is another train wreck waiting to join the pile up that’s already happened. He promises more tax cuts that benefit the rich more than they benefit anyone else, more war with more of our soldiers dying, more disparity, and more of all the things that have us in the mess we’re in now. I seriously hope that the vast majority of America is smarter than the polls say we are.
The following is a transcript from part of the August 31, 2008 broadcast of This Week with George Stephanopoulos with guest, the less than honorable Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
George Stephanopoulos: I want to show everybody what you said about Senator McCain’s criteria for Vice President back in May. Take a look.
Lindsey Graham (on tape): He’ll pick a vice presidential nominee that he thinks will help the country if something happened to him, someone who will lead the country if something happened to him…
George Stephanopoulos: Is that the criteria Senator McCain used, someone who could lead the country if something happened to him?
Lindsey Graham: I think what he was looking for is a partner to tell a story about what he wants to do in Washington. The idea of Washington being broken is accepted by most Americans. The Congress is at 12% approval rating. Who are the 12% and what do they like? John has a reputation of being a guy pushing the institution called Congress. And Senator…excuse me…Governor Palin, what she’s done in Alaska is what we would hope to do in Washington. That’s why he picked her.
George Stephanopoulos: But is she ready to serve on day one? It sounds like you’re shifting the criteria.
Lindsey Graham: I think so. I think so. Compared to Barak Obama absolutely. She has done things that Barack Obama would never dream of. To go in her state and say I’m not going to build a bridge to nowhere. A 400 million dollar appropriation that was passed by brute force in the Congress between two senior members of the congressional delegation, very powerful figures in Washington and for her to say to the citizens of Alaska, we’re not going to do this cause this is not necessary it’s wasteful. Take on your own Republican…
George Stephanopoulos: But Senator, she turned against that only she campaigned for it in her 2006 race and turned against it in 2007 only after it became a national joke.
Lindsey Graham: Well, the point is that she had the courage to say we’re not going to do it ’cause it’s not the right signal we want to send to everybody else in Alaska. She took on the Republican Party chairman and called him unethical. She took on the attorney general who eventually resigned because he was doing things that were inappropriate. I’m in politics. I voted against the bridge to nowhere. I was one of 14. Scared the heck out of me because I knew what was going to come my way. I can’t imagine being the Governor of this state and telling the people who were able to secure the bridge we’re not going to do it.
George Stephanopoulos: But what national security experience does she have?
Lindsey Graham: She’s been a Governor. She’s been in charge of the National Guard. More than Obama. What has he done? What has he done? What has Senator Obama done in terms of managing a war? The only time he’s been involved in war is was when he voted in Iraq. He voted to cut off funding to people in the war. He opposed the surge. Said it wouldn’t work. That it would make things worse. His judgment when it comes to matters of war have been terrible. She’s tough. She’s talented. She’s ready to lead.
George Stephanopoulos: But Senator, Karl Rove and other Republicans when Governor Tim Cain was being considered said that the National Guard experience is irrelevant. That’s what President Bush said about Governor Clinton back in 1992. What do you say to this Republican delegate from Mobile, Alabama, Todd Burkhalter? He says this, “We’re in a global war. We’re in a global economy. So it is less than honest if someone says that this woman is qualified to lead America right now.”
Lindsey Graham: I would say that compared to Senator Obama she is qualified beyond belief to change the culture in Washington that is…
George Stephanopoulos: But that’s the argument that you’ve been using against Senator Obama.
Lindsey Graham: The argument I’ve been using…
George Stephanopoulos: So how does she meet the standard that John McCain is setting?
Lindsey Graham: When you look at her resume of being a Governor versus his resume of being a Senator, he’s been gone more than he’s been there. She’s been in office since 2006. She’s vetoed budgets that were excessive. She has given money back to the people of Alaska by tax cuts. She’s reformed institutions that have been incredibly broken. She’s been bold. She’s been a leader. She’s put her own political career at risk. And Senator Obama’s been gone more than he’s been here. And he’s never challenged his own party to do anything different. So John McCain is trying to tell the American people, ‘I got it. You think your government is broken? So do I. I picked somebody that knows how to fix broken governments. I picked somebody that will stand up to powerful people in her own backyard and together we’re going to change this place.’ Joe Biden is a wonderful man but there’s not a change bone in his body when it comes to budgets and spending.
George Stephanopoulos: But he does have more national security experience.
Lindsey Graham: He has more national security experience but experience and judgment need to come together. He voted against the first gulf war. He opposed the surge. He wanted to petition Iraq. I think Governor Palin has the characteristics of a leader that can take over on a moments notice. But the most qualified person to be commander in chief of all four is John McCain.
George Stephanopoulos: So Senator McCain wins and, god forbid, tragedy strikes, you’d feel confident safe and assure, a year from now.
Lindsey Graham: I would dread the day Senator Obama takes the oath to become commander-in-chief.
George Stephanopoulos: That’s not what I asked.
Lindsey Graham: Well, let me tell you, here’s my choices. My choice is to elect him, Barack Obama, who got it incredibly wrong in Iraq, who would sit down with Ahmadinejad and change the whole dynamic of the Middle East by empowering a nut and sending every wrong signal to extremists and moderates. His judgment has been terrible. Proven to be terrible. I would be proud to call her my President. I think she can step in and fill the agenda domestically and internationally that John McCain wants to set for the country. Compared to Barack Obama I think she’d make one hell of a commander-in-chief.
George Stephanopoulos: Our next guess is Senator John Kerry. I want to show you a bit of what he said at the Democratic National Convention. Take a look.
John Kerry (on tape): Senator McCain who once railed against the smears of Karl Rove when he was the target has morphed into candidate McCain who has used the same Rove tactics, the same Rove staff, the same old politics of fear and smear…
George Stephanopoulos: Your response?
Lindsey Graham: I don’t know what he’s talking about. Who have we feared or smeared? We’ve run ads questioning whether or not Barack Obama is a celebrity or a leader. We’re putting questions out there about Senator Obama. What has he actually done? He’s been in the Senate since 2006, he’s been gone more than he’s been there, he’s never reached across the aisle to do one hard thing, and when it came to Iraq he went 2 and a 1/2 years without visiting the country, never sat down and talked to General Petraeus about how the surge is going, declared the surge a failure, never got engaged at all, went to Iraq because we made him go, shamed him into going, comes back and says the surge still hasn’t worked and I wouldn’t have changed my vote. So what we’ve tried to do is expose the guy for the calculating politician that he is. And Governor Palin, whether you think she’s a good choice or not, I can tell you she’s got a resume of taking on hard issues and standing up to tough people. If you could take on Ted Stevens and that crowd in Alaska then you can take on the Russians.
George Stephanopoulos: Senator Graham than you very much.
Lindsey Graham: Thank you.
I really could not believe what I was hearing. I know the good Senator from South Carolina is only doing his best to support his friend and colleague Senator John McCain with his decision to select Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate. But goddamn! If someone can’t see that Mr. Graham’s responses in this interview was thick with bias and utter contempt, they must truly be pretty thick themselves.
Mr. Graham asked who did he fear and who did he smear. Well, for starters, off the top of my head, I would have to say Senator Obama. Mr. Graham talks about how much he will dread the day Mr. Obama takes the oath for President. That smells a lot like the stench of the fear of a coward. And when it comes to smear, all the comments about Mr. Obama being gone more than he’s been present in the Senate would qualify. Without supplying any facts or any numbers Mr. Graham will call to question Mr. Obama’s attendance. The man is running for the presidency after all. How does it compare to Mr. McCain’s attendance since he started his campaign for the presidency?
According to the Washington Post dot COM website, Mr. Obama does have one of the worst voting records in the United States Senate for the 110th Congress. Mr. Obama missed two hundred ninety votes with an absentee record of forty five point five percent. He has in fact been present more times than he has been absent. But if absenteeism was an Olympic event, Mr. Obama would only get the bronze medal. Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who suffered a brain hemorrhage on December 13, 2006, and spent several months in recovery, has a worse record. It should be understandable considering what he went through. Mr. Johnson missed three hundred eleven votes with an absentee rate of forty eight point seven percent. But that only entitles Mr. Johnson for second place. The top honors for most votes missed goes to Mr. Graham’s good friend absentee king Mr. McCain who has missed four hundred seven votes making his absentee rate a substantial sixty three point eight percent. Mr. McCain’s has missed nearly two out of every three votes in the Senate. Mr. Graham is a politician so it is pointless to say that he should get his facts straight. Surely this must fall in the smear category. Please click here to verify these numbers for yourself.
The idea that the twenty month old Governor of Alaska has more experience that a four year old United States Congressional Senator (Mr. Obama has been a U.S. Senator since 2004 and not since 2006 as Mr. Graham contends) is bold faced ridiculousness at its very worst. Ms. Palin vetoed a budget that is fiscally the size of a city like Birmingham, Alabama and that gives her presidential experience? Please! The next thing we know Mr. Graham will say that because she tried to fire her sister’s Alaskan state trooper husband she has experience going after terrorist. Mr. Graham would have more credibility selling the public on the notion that Mr. Obama is indeed a Muslim hate monger.
Mr. Graham obviously doesn’t think much of his job as Senator. Mr. Graham believes that Senators don’t run the National Guard so they are incapable of obtaining military experience. Mr. Graham also believes that Senators don’t veto budgets so they can’t have any national fiscal experience. With the criteria that Mr. Graham list in his diatribe against Mr. Obama the leader of Boy Scout troop number whatever would have more experience. Maybe the people of South Carolina should rethink who they send to represent them in the United States Senate. Obviously Mr. Graham thinks any yahoo from Wasilla, Alaska could do a better job.