Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Friday, September 12th, 2008.


Bush Administration

Word is that Ike is a terrible storm.

Where is all the sincere Republican concern that was displayed over Gustav? Two weeks ago, as the Republican National Convention was about to begin, President Bush flew to Texas so he could be filmed strutting around in an emergency control center, pretending to be doing something.

Today, Bush stuck to his fundraising schedule.

Hardly anyone cares about what Bush does or doesn’t do any more. Even so, we may wake up tomorrow to a new landscape, geographically and politically.

May all beings in danger find sanctuary.

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Please America, Pay Attention


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Palin’s First Interview


I didn’t watch Sarah Palin’s interview last night because, frankly, I wasn’t in the mood. I watched “House” reruns instead. Hugh Laurie is a hoot.

So what’d I miss? I’m catching up with the reviews now. The consensus on the Right is that Charles Gibson asked unfair trick questions, like “What is your favorite color?” The consensus on the Left is that Palin was unaware there were such things as “foreign countries” until last week.

Seriously, Jack Shafer found this exchange, um, unworthy of a serious candidate for national office:

Gibson: Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?

Palin: In what respect, Charlie?

Gibson (refusing to give her a hint): What do you interpret it to be?

Palin: His worldview?

Gibson: No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated in September 2002, before the Iraq War.

Palin attempts to fake it for 25 seconds with a swirl of generalities before Gibson, showing all the gentleness of a remedial social studies teacher, interjects.

Gibson: The Bush Doctrine as I understand it is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense. That we have the right of a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

Of course Palin agrees with the Bush Doctrine, but she can’t come out and say so, having just admitted that she doesn’t know it by name. At every point in the Q&A, Gibson had the right follow-up questions to elicit more from Palin, including after he asked the Bush Doctrine cringe-maker. He asks her to give thumbs up or down to the U.S. military’s recent forays into Pakistan from Afghanistan. He asks her several ways. But she can’t answer the question, and she won’t dismiss it. Instead she slows the interview to a crawl again, dribbling and dribbling the ball but refusing to take the shot.

James Fallows rightfully points out that Gibson should have used the word preventive rather than preemptive. But he also said that anyone who understood the doctrinal underpinnings of the invasion of Iraq would have known this and would have asked Gibson to clarify.

I don’t know that this interview would have changed anyone’s minds. Non-Palin supporters were underwhelmed, but Palin’s fans think she shouldn’t be expected to bother her pretty little head with boring foreign policy issues, and Gibson was a meanie to ask such hard questions. After all — Palin has never had an abortion!

If elected, maybe Palin could send just her righteous and holy uterus to Washington, and the rest of her can stay in Alaska.

Elsewhere, in another context, I got into a discussion of whether Palin or Palin supporters can be called “feminists.” I say it’s absurd; Palin is to feminism what the invasion of Iraq was to spreading peace and democracy.

See also Steve Benen, John Cole, and Greg Sargent.

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They Must Really Be Mad

McCain-Palin, News Media, Obama-Biden

Howard Kurtz did something remarkable in his column today. Here are the first few paragraphs; see if you can spot what it is.

The media are getting mad.

Whether it’s the latest back-and-forth over attack ads, the silly lipstick flap or the continuing debate over Sarah and sexism, you can just feel the tension level rising several notches.

Maybe it’s a sense that this is crunch time, that the election is on the line, that the press is being manipulated (not that there’s anything new about that).

News outlets are increasingly challenging false or questionable claims by the McCain campaign, whether it’s the ad accusing Obama of supporting sex-ed for kindergartners (the Illinois legislation clearly describes “age-appropriate” programs) or Palin’s repeated boast that she stopped the Bridge to Nowhere (after she had supported it, and after Congress had effectively killed the specific earmark).

The McCain camp has already accused the MSM of trying to “destroy” the governor of Alaska. So any challenge to her record or her veracity can now be cast as the product of an oh-so-unfair press. Which, needless to say, doesn’t exactly please reporters, and makes the whole hanging-with-McCain-on-the-Straight-Talk era seem 100 years ago.

It goes on like that. I kept scanning the paragraphs for the “balance” section — You know, the part that says “The Obama campaign likewise accused Governor Palin of [some trivial thing taken out of context and blown up into a controversy], so it’s just as bad, blah blah blah.”

It turned up, finally, in the 14th paragraph, and even there Kurtz was quoting someone else. The point is that the first 13 paragraphs are about the lies coming from the McCain campaign, and only the McCain campaign. This is extremely unusual behavior coming from Kurtz, long a reliable tool for the Right. Usually, when the Republicans do something outrageously bad, the first 13 paragraphs of his column are about why it’s the Democrats’ fault.

The media must really be mad.

The wingnuts are calling Kurtz’s column a “descent into madness” and an example of “rabid partisanship for Obama.” That Kurtz, for once, is just plain telling the straight-up truth is not considered, nor have I found any rightie blogger who could refute the facts damning McCain in Kurtz’s column. Some things don’t change.

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