Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yet another reason to hate Hurricane Gustav

Bush, Cheney blow off GOP convention to pretend to care about Louisiana...from Texas

This sucks! Watching Bush try to follow Obama was going to be the highlight of my week (and probably my entire month). But I guess I shouldn't be surprised; does any Republican even want those clowns there? After all that's happened, this snub seems almost...convenient.

But I guess Bobby Jindal needs someone to watch him part the hurricane waters as he would have done had he been in power in 2005. We'll see how right everyone gets it this time. Palin who?

Oh, wait...

Bush added that he did not plan to visit Louisiana Monday "because I do not want my visit to impede in any way the response of our emergency personnel.

"I hope to be able to get to Louisiana as soon as conditions permit."

So to recap: Bush and Cheney will not attend the RNC because they need to attend to the victims of Hurricane Gustav. Except that they won't be there, just several hundred miles away in Austin because apparently that's the only way to know what's going on. At the same time, this prevents Bush from a prime-time address already in the Labor Day ghetto because 27 percent approval ratings aren't the stuff of main-event politics.

Is it possible to have negative respect for someone?

1/20/09 cannot come fast enough.

UPDATE! Here's a bit of fun from Focus on the Family. I'm not one to be grateful for the hurricane - as I said, I'm angry for both the people of south Louisiana and over the convenient cop-out this is for the leaders who can't protect us - but there are numerous delicious ironies about this:

Friday, August 29, 2008

McCain-Palin - The Dead Parrot ticket

Birthday boy John McCain has chosen Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate. The pick represents a solid move by the McCain camp, addressing numerous shortcomings that so far have plagued the Republicans in 2008:

-- By choosing Palin, the Panama-born McCain aims to one-up Barack Obama's cultural exotic-tude by ensuring that the entire GOP presidential ticket is Not Of This Land. Anything Obama can do, McCain can do better. No word on what southerners will think of this snub - but really, who else are they gonna vote for? Bob Barr? Bring it on!

-- Sarah Palin is a woman. Therefore, she will capture the significant percentage of women voters who are so jilted over Hillary Clinton's loss that they will set aside all principles to vote GOP in protest. Hey, they're liberals; they're fragile flip-floppers! And what better voting bloc to have on your side than the revenge vote? It worked for Bush!

Her femininity is also reminiscent of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run as vice president of a major U.S. political party in 1984. Ferraro was a Hillary loyalist who complained that Obama kicked butt in the primaries due to his race, so that's good. She ran with former vice president Walter Mondale, who got a 525-13 electoral throttling by Ronald Reagan. That's better.

-- Palin brings much-needed vitality and youth to the ticket, being considerably younger than 72. Her more-than-passing resemblance to Tina Fey will remind voters that McCain once hosted Saturday Night Live, where he mocked John Ashcroft, proving that he can be both hip and a maverick.

-- Additionally, the 44-year-old governor's rapid rise to the top mirrors that of another rising star, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, America's first Indian-American governor. Unlike Jindal, however, Palin is a safer choice for the heartland. And safety is what Republicans talk about (and/or do) best.

-- Palin is currently under investigation for the controversial firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walter Monegan, who alleges the termination was motivated by his refusal to fire an officer who was divorcing Palin's sister at the time. So, clearly, she's pro-family.

-- Finally, Palin shares a surname with Michael Palin of Monty Python, perhaps most famous for his turn as the endlessly rationalizing shopkeep in the "Dead Parrot" sketch. Similarly, Sarah Palin will make a tremendous parrot for the GOP.

-- Dana Perino just read a statement about George W. Bush's upcoming speech at the Republican National Convention. In addition to putting even the most egregious press releases to shame, the statement specifically noted that the speech "will not address the president's accomplishments in his seven-and-a-half years in office."

Duly noted. Let's get this party started!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's so satisfying to see people get what they deserve

Man, the Democrats are nailing the convention, aren't they? Bill Clinton, John Kerry and Joe Biden led the night, of course, but every speaker brought a degree of common sense and fighting spirit to the table. And Hillary's call for acclimation was just beautiful - and, from what I hear, almost unprecedented. My night job has kept me from liveblogging the convention, but I catch as much as I can on the C-SPAN repeat. And believe me, it takes a lot to have me cheering at 3 a.m., but it's happening. (I will, however, be around for George W. Bush's opening act at the Republican National Convention and all that implies.)

In short, the Democrats have got it together. It's about time!

And what happens when the Rovian Republicans suddenly find themselves on the defensive? Desperation. But not the regrettably garden-variety, "How will I pay the bills?" desperation; the kind of desperation that comes with having ruled and lied for so many years, only to realize that people aren't taking your abuse anymore. Let's switch it over to Fox News:



I'm not suggesting that Fox News is anything less than a fair, balanced and ethical journalistic outlet, determined to sniff out the truth in any given situation. I'll let the Associated Press stylebook do that for me:



Yes, I'm aware that this is a print journalism guideline and not a broadcasting one, but I don't think any of my broadcasting friends will counter with, "Of course you can use 'leftist!' It gets ratings!" Um, wait... Bad example, perhaps, but still not a word you didn't generally associate with Ed Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Peter Jennings or Dan Rather, unless perhaps they followed it up with with "Nicaraguan guerrillas." That's due to something called perspective, which Fox News is proud of not having.

Two things about this bit of street theater rub me the same wrong way as conservative blog comments often do. One, Griff Jenkins makes it a point to walk into a mob of impassioned, left-leaning protesters to ask them if they believe in free speech. Does he go to car shows and ask people if they like cars? But I'm sure the question is perfectly valid for him, considering that his conclusion is that the dang ol' hippies must hate free speech, because none of them want to answer his pointless, vaguely scolding questions in the middle of a fevered protest (except that one of them did). The protesters then chant what my words will never do justice, thus proving Jenkins both wrong about free speech and complicit in its repression.

Second, the overwhelmed Griff then tsk-tsks it over to Jamie Condescension, who tsk-tsks the crowd for blowing the chance to articulate their extensive list of nuanced grievances in a professional fashion on a forum that's more than willing to entertain such dissent (apparently forgetting what they had splashed on the screen even before the marchers didn't threaten Griff).

So was Griff OK, as Jamie asked? Of course, but his pride might be in Purple Band-Aid territory about now.

Speaking of karmic payback, Chris Matthews did common sense and journalism one good by calling someone on the pathetic Obama-is-an-evil-Muslim lie:



Note especially how swiftly this woman's lie falls apart, and how heavily the crowd boos her when she first asserts it. Once Matthews mildly presses her for details - not even going as deep as I've gone on this blog, and he's the host of Hardball - she goes from having concrete evidence in the form of a Congressional report, to one from an ex-government investigator, to something she refuses to talk about but will e-mail him later. Sure, OK. Nothing peculiar about that at all, considering SHE BROUGHT IT UP!!

Man, journalism is fun!

Monday, August 25, 2008

You want pro-family? You go it!

If the Democrats continue to nail the convention like this...



...it'll take a lot more than Swift Boats and fixed votes for John McCain to have a chance.

The All-Star lineup of Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, Michelle Obama and others Republicans Have Unfairly Ridiculed For Years was a grand slam. And this was only the first day.

I've read and heard numerous complaints about media coverage so far. Mercifully, I bypassed that altogether and watched it all on C-SPAN. That network plays it almost too straight - the complete lack of narration gave an interesting glimpse into the odd juxtaposition between the speeches and the high-energy songs played in between. "Ladies and gentlemen, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, followed by one minute of funk!" I highly recommend this experience.

Earlier that day, I heard that the party planned a tribute to Ted Kennedy, and that he possibly might appear on stage (but not likely to say more than a few words). I thought, "Wow, he must be in bad shape." But then he got up on that stage and pounded it with a lucid forcefulness that undoubtedly defied everyone's expectations. Right on!

But what was up with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter being introduced, and then just walking off stage? Tell me it's because they had houses to build.

When Michelle finished her astounding speech and brought the Obama girls on stage, Barack appeared in a live video feed and said he was in St. Louis when he was in Kansas City (which he only got wrong the second time, not the first or third). So of course, this is a big deal to some. But if that's the best critics can come up with, it will be a long road for them indeed.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama-Biden!

Yesterday at work, I was responsible for updating the front page of our Web site in case Barack Obama announced his running mate. I had a photo collage of the top four candidates at the ready, the idea being that I'd crop out the other three and fill in the right name and mug in a ready-made promo once the pick was announced. This entailed me keeping an eye on CNN while fulfilling my other duties.

Glancing at cable news in a noisy newsroom, with no sound as a benefit, is a sublime bit of frustration, like pondering a work of art that you almost get, but not quite. With so many words flying across the screen, it's easy to get the wrong impression about almost anything. Hence my near false start when I glanced over to see, "Obama has chosen his running mate," followed by, "Tim Kaine." Then, a few minutes later, "Obama has chosen his running mate," followed by, "Hillary Clinton." And again with Kathleen Sebelius and Joe Biden and a few other names that may or may not have included Natalee Holloway. As it turns out, CNN was filling time with profiles on each of the veep hopefuls, as well as others who have influenced the Democratic ticket; for each profile, the respective name popped on the screen. With the sound turned up and rapt attention paid, that probably made perfect sense. But in my circumstances, I wondered how many casual viewers left with the completely wrong impression.

I've since thought back to every time I've ever been at a mechanic's shop, restaurant or anywhere else where Fox News and networks like it silently scrolled in the background. Multiply that by millions, and it's easy to see the value of a well-placed "Obama's baby mama." In an election largely defined by a candidate's middle name and "facts" that don't hold up to two seconds of scrutiny, it's important that legit news organizations avoid splashing words on screen that can be misconstrued.

And, no, I never wound up cropping that photo. I wasn't going to call Dewey over Truman.

But now it's official. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) is already being attacked by the McCain campaign as a concession that Team Obama is inexperienced in foreign policy (Biden is chair of the Foreign Relations Committee). As if the whole point of a running mate isn't to balance out the ticket in areas in which the candidate himself admits to lacking gravitas! By his own campaign's logic, John McCain won't even pick a running mate, because that's just a sign of weakness.

Biden, like every other finalist for the secondary slot, has his strengths and faults. Here's what I wrote about him after the July 2007 YouTube debate:

Joe Biden

Why I would vote for him: Favors a complete change in structure for the tax system. "It was a mistake," Biden bluntly says about No Child Left Behind. Has well-thought-out withdrawal plan for Iraq, which has (briefly) seen light of day in Congress. Was responsible for the Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, and said of a questioner, "If that gun is his baby, he needs help."

Why I wouldn't: Said withdrawal plan cannot happen in short time, as Biden so angrily drove home. Frequently went off-topic on key questions. Very cranky, particularly when rejecting diplomacy as a choice in the Darfur situation. Said he would not be a public servant for minimum wage.

Biden, like McCain, is an establishment senator known for strong policy stances. Like Obama, he is known for his oratory. He represents an appropriate balance and thus is a solid addition to the Democratic ticket.

The only immediate pitfalls I see are potential flack from the Clinton crowd (forgetting that an Obama-Clinton ticket would have had zero balance) and that some brilliant punmeister will coin "Obama bin Biden" (let it be me, for strictly Kevorkian purposes). Hardly the worst obstacles to overcome.

If you hear a faint rumbling this morning, it's the sound of thunder being stolen from McCain. He knows it, too. So turn up your TV; the words are only beginning to fly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Topical rules

Rule #48: Apples and Agent Oranges
If you're still undecided between Barack Obama and John McCain, just tear up your voter registration card now. I understand there are voters out there who aren't satisfied with either candidate, and who are thus pondering such luminaries as Bob Barr, Ralph Nader and THE RON PAUL REVOLUTION. That's a completely understandable statement, insignificant as it is.

On the other hand, there seem to be plenty of people out there who have evidently narrowed their choices to the two major candidates, and yet still can't decide. How does this happen? Can someone really say, "Gee, McCain appeals to me...but so does Obama?" What's to decide, which candidate's ads are prettier? Aside from the superficial argument that the two are alike because they both have lots of money, there is very little in common between them. One wants to stay the course and the other wants to go in a less-horrible direction, for example. "Flip a coin" was the cool thing to say in 2000 and 2004, except that it turned out the coin had Bush's face on both sides. Then it bounced and went down the sewer, eventually draining into a polluted river where a fish choked on it and died. Get a grip. You undeniably have a choice this time. Use it!

Rule #49: Obama Nation abomination
If you're going to go out of your way to paint Obama as "Not American Enough," then at least be remotely pleasant yourself. By saying Obama is Different Than The Rest Of Us, you are asserting that you are somehow the barometer of Americana. Funny thing is, your bigoted, narrow-minded, uneducated ways are every bit as repulsive as the stereotype you choose to perpetuate about Obama. It may have been as American as apple pie in 2003 to strictly define a patriot as a more vengeful version of Toby Keith, but most people have come to their senses since then. Yes, we're all concerned about terrorism, but we've come to realize that not everyone who looks or acts different from Us (or doesn't have an American name like George or McCain or Condoleezza or Skip) has ties to killers. Not that Obama exhibits even half of the traits you so fear in a human being anyway. In any case, most of us have come to realize that the answers to our problems go beyond the simplistic solutions we've employed thus far.

You've had your eight years to play, and there's a reason no one's clamoring for eight more. It has as much to do with actions as words: "Hey! Maybe it's possible to love my country AND call out those who wave the flag while raping the treasury and invading the world! Wow!"

I don't envy you self-proclaimed arbiters of U.S. culture; you have an uphill climb this cycle. Resort to fear, bigotry and the world's most easily disprovable lies if you must; just don't be surprised if it doesn't work this time around. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it did, but I like to think that people are better than that. I have to, because imagining a country full of border vigilantes does not swell me up with pride. Sorry, I'm Not One Of You.

Rule #50: Leisl Leisl and Cult Jam
No one who supports the GOP after eight years of unprecedented religious intrusion in government has any right to call the Obama campaign a cult. So 200,000 Germans showed up in support for Obama; this makes him Hitler? In the U.S., tens of thousands show up everywhere he goes; does this make him Jim Jones? If anything, Obama's call for change and restoring America's greatness is more reminiscent of Ronald Reagan than anyone else. And considering how conservatives fought to include Reagan's visage on something in every county in America, I wonder just how close to home that popularity actually hits for Republicans. On the other hand, maybe such cult-like devotion over Reagan's stirring presence struck fear into the GOP; it certainly explains George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. and McCain. And why the Obama phenomenon is so strong to begin with.

Rule #51: No name-calling
Obama is named after his dad. How can anyone hold that against him? It's not like we hated George W. Bush because we thought he'd be just like his dad; we're mad because he spent eight years being worse.

Rule #52: Snake Oil
Editorials in favor of increased drilling would carry more resonance if they weren't written by people with a direct stake in the oil industry. It's not that I blame the writers for defending their livelihood, but weak points combined with an unspoken (yet obvious) personal desire for profit is not the strongest argument. It's like reading an op-ed favoring the legalization of marijuana because "Dude, I just packed a killer bowl, man!"

Rules archive

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hungover thoughts

--No, I haven't been drinking, but I was joking with a guy at the local Kum & Go that he never carded me the one time I bought alcohol from him. He laughed nervously, then I realized a coworker (perhaps his boss) and a cop were in the immediate vicinity. Oops. I am a bit dry with my humor. He finally said, "Yeah, but you seem like you're over 21."

I had a similar experience not too long ago, when I went the local fair with three friends. After nearly breaking my ribs on one of the rides, the carny asks me which one of them was my wife. That hurt. They used to be my girlfriends!

"What the hell? Do I look old enough to have a wife now?" I asked one of my friends.

"Well, you do look 19..."

Good point.

In an effort to combat the effects of aging that come with being a healthy 28-year-old free of your more destructive vices, I've taken to growing out my hair. I've been told I look much younger with longer hair. In fact, here's a recent picture of me:

-- Here in Missouri yesterday, I saw a guy wearing a Drew Brees jersey. A friend of mine here is also gung-ho about getting Brees on his fantasy team. That almost makes up for my sports crew changing the Saints game to the one-tenth-as-interesting Chiefs game last week. Almost.

-- If Barack Obama wins the presidential election, it won't be because so many of his supporters are bitterly paranoid about how bad he's gonna blow it. Enough with the perverse reverse psychology, guys! Yes, John Kerry lost in 2004 because we all thought he had it locked up and we were complacent; but there's only so far you need to swoop to the opposite extreme before it becomes ridiculous.

-- On two occasions this past week, I found myself out in my parking lot at 6 a.m. My car was covered in morning mist. It looked different. Dirtier.

-- My dad's birthday was this week. As a present, I made him a photo collage from pictures I had of him. It was the least I could do after he made me this:



-- What's Michael Phelps got that I haven't got? Oh, yeah, everything.

-- On Thursday, a group of hotel workers at Disneyland dressed up as beloved characters and staged a labor protest. They were all arrested, leading to the kind of pictures that make designing a newspaper almost orgasmic.

-- One of the songs on my iPod is "Along Comes A Woman" by Chicago. Why, God, why? I'm less ashamed to admit that "Too Legit to Quit" is on there.

-- My 10-year reunion is this year. I imagine a lot of people aren't going to go for a variety of reasons. Those people should get together and have an anti-reunion. I'd go.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Activity tip of the day

Fitness experts: Don't try to match Olympians on your exercise machines

Some things should go without saying. But the fact that they don't shows how little these people actually use their exercise machines. If they did, they'd understand (like I do) that exercise machines only go so far in replicating their real-life equivalent.

This is the reason I hate exercise bikes as much as I love mountain biking. When I hit the local trails, I do it with as much speed as my gears (and presence of others) allow. I'll go as far the sun allows me to go, sometimes as much as four hours at a time. Put me on a stationary bike, though, and after literally four or five cycles my knees start to ache and I'm ready to jump off. Likewise with the treadmill - I'll walk all day or jog at least through the span of my iPod playlist; on a treadmill, however, 30 minutes at half-speed gives me that face that conveys the feeling I really accomplished something. Kind of the same feeling I get from 10 minutes on a rowing machine, which I can't compare to rowing because I've never had friends into rowing.

The point, as far as I see it, is that exercise machines barely replicate hitting the road. If they present such different experiences just for me, then how can Suzy Couch Potato assume that they can set their treadmill for Olympic speed? And then keep up with it?

There are much easier (and gradual) ways to make your heart explode. If you understand this little about the nature of exercise equipment and fitness, you're probably doing them already.

However, much in the way high gas prices have most people suddenly caring about the environment, the Olympics-inspired interest in fitness is something worth harnessing. Consult with your physician...wait, scratch that, you've got no insurance...join your local YMCA or health club...no, you probably can't afford that either...uh, talk to a friend about fitness, perhaps? No, your friends probably told you to keep up with the Olympians in the first place...arrrgh....

How about this for a start? Integrate it into your daily life. Park farther away from places than usual. Drink water instead of sugary soda, and before eating any meal or snack. Drive nowhere you can walk. Work up to reasonable goals. Get a bike. Turn down that third helping. Shake up your workout so you don't get bored. Make it part of your life so that not doing it is not an option. Put less stock in weight (muscle weighs more than fat) and more in body-fat percentage. But most importantly, don't compare yourself to Michael Phelps. We're all the worse for having done that this week.

I'm not a doctor. But I've been operated on by one. Mainly because I tried to keep up with athletes in much better shape many years ago. So I sort of know what I'm talking about.

(Incidentally, I once tried on an Olympic medal, courtesy of high jumper Hollis Conway. Those things are heavy. You really have to earn those.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A very odd notion

On Monday night, Jon Stewart had a segment called "Eater's Digest." It was witty, it was clever -- it was also the name of my class cookbook in third grade. We were each allowed to write titles for and draw the covers for our individual copies, but mine won the class vote for best title. It was also the working title of a book I started working on in college, the remnants of which are on this long-stagnant blog.

And just this morning, I saw that an artist named Meiko is being featured on MySpace for her song "Boys With Girlfriends." Which I guess means a song I wrote last year, "Girls With Boyfriends," would always be compared to it. Maybe it's for the best that I have no musical talent.

Because the self-drawn cover to my cookbook is long gone, and that most of the lyrics to my song never made it to paper, I can't necessarily prove that I had these ideas first. Maybe I didn't. In any case, it's aggravating to see things I wrote long ago being played for laughs and acclaim by more high-profile artists. But, at the same time, it's also a little reassuring.

Anytime, Jon.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

1934? That's older than John McCain!

Fact: Louisiana has chosen the winner in the last 11 presidential elections.

Fact #2: If current polls are any indicator, that streak will snap with a vengeance in November.

Fact #3: This will be because Louisiana is often known for being a tad behind the times. Like, say, 74 years.

Basically: "When I was in school back in 1934, our teacher picked up an unruly student with one hand and whomped the stuffin' outta him! And we bee-haved after that!"

Actual, hotter excerpt: "Mrs. Mays stopped teaching and came down the aisle toward us. She grabbed Fred by the back of his shirt and held him out at arm's length, with his feet dangling just above the floor. With her right hand she hit him on the fat part of his buttocks and then jammed him down into his desk and went back to her desk and started teaching again."

Of course! It's so simple! Maybe if we released teachers from their bureaucratic shackles and let them spank to their hearts' content, then maybe we could end this 74-year streak of no one ever learning anything. Damn hippies.

I, for one, always pined for the 1934 educational experience. The discipline. The conformity. Only one World War to remember. The "we give up" hairstyles. The innocence.


"We're bad! Beat us with a switch!"

Such pro-beating sentiment takes a lot to top. Help me out, Advertiser commenters:

"Fear is the beginning of wisdom. If teaching by intimidation didn't work, no one would do it."

"Fear is nothing but awareness." -- Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, after living with Charles Manson long enough.

Authority should be respected, not feared. Fear may be a fantastic control tool, but it does very little to foster the sort of lasting respect that sustains positive influence. Indeed, rigid authoritarian structure might cause a kid to rebel and create lasting wounds that never fully heal. There are plenty of rebels in south Louisiana.

"It was so much easier and more fun to teach in the 80s when kids did their work, behaved in class, and never talked back to the teacher."

Couldn't have been one of my teachers from the 1980s who said that - they always said how the kids were out of control these days, what with their Nike Airs and Commodore 64s and Garbage Pail Kids cards.

(True story: my elementary-school principal decided to ban Garbage Pail Kids cards after asking my brother and I what had us and all our friends so excited as we boarded the bus. She took a look at my brother's cards and said quietly, "No. No Garbage Pail Kids" and sent us on our way. We brought them back anyway. Such an anarchic time.)

But you know, maybe one day I'll settle down in the heart of family-friendly Louisiana, have a litter of kiddies and in 2082 write a letter about how much better things were back in the good old days of 2008, when kids were too busy on their iPods to raise trouble, but then the 60s came around and destroyed the fabric of family and Facebook, and now anarchy reigns once again. You know, just like it always has. And always will.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Photoshock and Awe

Some campaign ads are brilliant. Some are vicious. And some bring a new, more malignant meaning to the word awful:



Yes, Obama wants to remake all of America's national monuments in his image and add himself to our currency! Such partisan hubris! What's next, a drive to name something in every county and parish after him? Who'd even fathom something like that?

The notion that Obama would put himself on the $100 bill is ridiculous on its face. For one thing, it's not like he could push that through himself; not even Dubya tried that, and he tries everything. Second, by 2009, experts predict the $100 bill will be worth only $62, thus negating the whole idea. Finally, "It's All About the Obamas" wouldn't trip out of Bill O'Reilly's mouth quite so harmoniously.

But why even argue the specifics of the ads? Forget that this ad was released in June, and thus predates Obama's allegedly racist dollar-bill comment by more than a month. Forget the fatuous charge that Obama's ability to draw and inspire massive crowds somehow makes him a dangerous cult figure. Forget that the line about "Change You Can Photoshop" resounds will all the tinny thud of a catchphrase that has been Xeroxed too many times. Forget too that John McCain, by his own admission, is just learning how to use the dang ol' Internets, and is most likely years away from tackling Photoshop (which I'm pretty sure the voiceover pronounces as "Photoshock").

Political implications aside, this is simply a pathetic campaign ad. Probably the worst I've ever seen that didn't arise from my 7th grade social studies binder: "George Bush has lied about taxes and made people lose their jobs. Dan Quayle can't spell potato. How can these men lead our nation? Answer: They can't."

At least mine had some truth to it. This spot's all slippery slope and no substance. It doesn't even seem real - like something the late 1/2 Hour News Hour would have broadcast to its sneering, laugh-track-augmented studio audience. At least McCain's celebrity ad had some token GOP higher-tax mantras thrown in (and reportedly pissed off supporter Kathy Hilton, which alone propels it into the pantheon of greatness).

In a way, though, I like this ad. And not because I think people aren't idiotic enough to base their vote on it; frankly, many are that idiotic. But it takes a special sort of desperation on the part of a major presidential campaign to officially endorse such useless and piss-poor rhetoric. With growing concerns over McCain's age, temper, detachment and increasingly liquid stances on the issues, ads such as these are a shockingly terrible attempt at distraction. Given the GOP's recent track record for successful diversion (see "Marriage, Gay"), this ad is a sure sign that even the party's foot soldiers are phoning it in.

If this is the best they can do, they might as well drop the pretense and get cracking on those "Romney '12" ads. They'll need the head-start.

(h/t Daily Kingfish)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I like campaign flyers that get to the point

Until yesterday, I'd never heard of Dr. Mark Stuppy. But after receiving this in the mail, I think I know everything I'll ever need to:



Nothing on this mailer outright states that Stuppy belongs to a specific political party. But the too-graphic depiction of birth, the patriotic yet staid colors and the tortured metaphors pretty much answer that question. It also refers to "wasteful spending," which is right there with "Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who killed his own people" and "Barack Obama threw his grandmother under the bus" in the pantheon of things Republicans mindlessly chant when nuance just won't do.

But just in case Stuppy's target audience still isn't convinced, they can flip over the card and affirm his commitment to the Ironic Circle of Life:



You know what I appreciate about politics? Candidates who aren't afraid to run on more than one issue. Versatility!

So, Missourians, get out and vote on August 5. It's a matter of life or death. Or both!