Sunday, October 19, 2008

October Surprise: Powell Eviscerates GOP. McCain Meltsdown in Final Debate

In a resounding rejection of Republican policies and campaign tactics, universally respected General Colin Powell delivered the most devastating attack on McCain since Obama silenced him with his three unanswered "you were wrong!" statements in the first debate. On "Meet the Press" Powell not only offered a sincere endorsement for a man he called a "transformational figure," but more importantly provided an unexpectedly ferocious attack on the people McCain himself once called the "agents of intolerance" but are now the ones McCain sold his soul to in this misguided attempt at a presidential campaign, namely the right wing racists who, sadly, have taken over the party and in doing so have reduced it to a party of the very rich and the very ignorant(the choice of the laughable Palin--which Powell cited as disturbing--was to appease this intolerant crowd), with a few lost and misguided good souls thrown in, although they are flocking to Obama everyday, as their goodness prevents them from turning the other cheek to people calling Obama a "terrorist" and shouting "kill him!" Intelligent Republicans cannot--and indeed are not going to--support a potential president who is too insecure to sit down on "Meet the Press" or even conduct a basic press conference. She has brought shame to true GOP intellectuals because of her complete lack or intellectual curiosity or even a cursory interest in the issues that will affect the lives of all Americans, and she is going to negotiate with Putin? Someone who is scared to death of Tom Brokaw...Nor can they endure idiots such as the Congresswoman Bachmann from Minnesota who called Obama "un-American" and called for a new round of McCarthyistic investigations of which members of Congress are un-American. Is this what the GOP has really been reduced to?(Powell singled her out as symbolic of this new, horrible GOP that he is repudiating.) I certainly do not think McCain is un-American in any way. Indeed, I respect him much more than cowards such as Bush who ran from military service during Vietnam and fools such as Romney, who claimed his five sons were serving their country by trying to help him get elected: That's about as un-American a statement I have heard from a politician. Perhaps that is what she was talking about--who the draft dodgers are, who refuses to send their kids to Iraq while they talk tough themselves. However, I doubt that's what she has in mind...Now Obama is a "socialist" according to another delusional old woman in a nursing home who was screaming that one word at him over and over, thanks to one of her heroes McCain or Palin, who evidently taught her that word; Obama should have asked her if she cashed her "SOCIAL" Security check this month, that most beloved of our "socialist" programs, but if Obama is a socialist what does that make the man who supported a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street AND introduced a $300 billion socialist bailout for banks who made bad loans?

Indeed, McCain is as socialist as they come(in his own words he supports "regulation " of "greed and corruption on Wall Street"), and they have the nerve to say shame on Obama for trying to "redistribute wealth" by asking the rich to pay what they were paying during the Clinton years--remember that was when we PAID for our tax breaks with cuts in welfare benefits, closing military bases etc., balanced the budget, AND had a booming economy! It's absurd to suggest that restoring the tax bracket from the 1990s for people who make over $250K is going to somehow destroy the economy, when the economy is pretty much destroyed already. The GOP, starting with the fraud Reagan, is the party of cutting taxes AND increasing spending, thus leaving future generations with the bills to pay. Take a minute to research budget deficits, including those when the GOP controlled both houses of Congress. Try cutting your family's income while increasing your spending. Where will that lead your family? Sleeping on the streets or in your car? That's where our country is headed thanks to the irresponsible combination of tax breaks for the very wealthy and unrestrained spending, especially on the bloated military budget and obscene tax breaks for Bush's oil buddies.

Is this race for president over? Of course not! I know people who are highly educated and think it's over and that Obama will win 40 states etc., yet they are oblivious to the reality that a black man named Barack Hussein Obama is not going to be a landslide victor in this country in these times, not even against John "Sidney" McCain III, champion of the common man, despite never holding a private sector job in his life, except when given one by his wife's daddy, and not even in the worst economic times since the 1930s, a direct result of the complete and utter disaster that is George W Bush, a president who offered no leadership in a time when the country desperately needed it and now is so despised that McCain takes it as an insult to be compared to the man whose GOP jersey he wears. The GOP is setting up a brilliant plan to try to suppress the vote and steal this election as they did in 2000 and 2004 if they can get it close enough to put it in the hands of states with Republican governors and secretaries of state. These are the people who delivered in the last two elections, so if anyone thinks Obama will coast to an easy victory he or she has a very short memory. This will be a brutal fight up to and including election day and perhaps weeks and days afterward, when the GOP lawyers will go after the irrelevant Acorn, who are supposedly trying to steal the election because a few crooks are filling out phony registration forms to get paid more. Anyone who has ever been part of a voter registration drive knows that stuff like that happens and that's why we have someone called a REGISTRAR, who confirms eligibility. This is all much ado about nothing except for GOP plans to intimidate people so that they will not vote. If they can bring out the dogs and cops to the polling places they certainly will.

Anyway, Obama, ironically, has W. to thank for his good fortunes, for the Republicans are humiliated to a degree that many are running for office with ads that do not even state their party, such is the shame they feel to be associated with a man who bears the type of universal ill will that no president has endured since Hoover. No, Nixon, was not despised nearly to the degree that Bush is. As the song goes, "Watergate does not bother me..." but down in sweet home Alabama these days it's hard to find too many people whose conscience does not bother them as we are bogged down in the Iraq fiasco and our moral standing in the world has been destroyed because of Bush's arrogance and ignorance, a truly frightening combination that is older than Greek tragedy and likely to end just as badly, as Bush wallows in hubris in the waning days of his presidency, isolated and alone, no one calling to ask him to campaign. A figure of pure pathos.
It was truly gratifying to hear Powell basically reiterate everything I wrote in my last blog entry, simply in more politically correct terms: While I termed these "people" "toothless inbreds," Powell, being the gentleman he is, called them "narrow" several times. So what do you think he meant? They are certainly not physically "narrow," as our country is the only country on earth where even the poor people are obese, so he certainly meant what we all call "narrow-minded," which is a precise and devastating analysis of the state of the GOP, as seen through the eyes of one of its own most respected statesmen!

McCain's final debate performance was indicative of his entire campaign: moments of clarity obscured by petulance and anger. On a night when Obama was flat and content to play defense and avoid any gaffes, McCain had an opportunity to make his last best case that he isn't Bush's third term. Instead, McCain walked into a brilliant trap Obama laid by claiming "I am not George Bush." While McCain's staff claimed it was some great moment, Obama's staff already had the ad ready to go, the one that featured that line, along with an array of McCain's awkward, antagonistic angry old man faces, finishing up with McCain's own boastful claim that he supported the greatest failure in U.S. history "over 90% of the time." He should not have even mentioned Bush's name, as it backfired by making people think, "actually, this guy IS a lot like Bush," which explains the overwhelming response of viewers who felt Obama won the debate, even with his B game.

McCain did a good job in the first 30 minutes of the debate but he simply couldn't restrain himself from himself, as he continually displayed his odious personality, limited insights on the economic crisis, and pathetic lack of credibility on such important issues as health care, women's health(which he mocked with his arrogant "air quotations") and abortion. Obama basically destroyed McCain when the discussion turned to these topics, as Americans generally feel that health care should be a right and that abortion should be legal but with sensible regulations such as exceptions for the "health" of the mother, incest, rape etc. Many Republicans have this misguided notion that human life begins at conception, when all advanced societies understand that POTENTIAL human life begins at conception but that a tiny clump of cells is nowhere near the same as a fully developed 30 week fetus that is viable outside the womb. To claim that these are the same is to disregard actual human life and display an astounding level of ignorance. This is common sense and that's why we have laws that treat the two as completely different. For instance, if a woman causes a miscarriage because she drank, exercised etc. early in her pregnancy, perhaps before she even knew she was pregnant, she will not be prosecuted and perhaps even jailed, but if she were to cause the unintended death of a 30 week fetus she may very well be subjected to prosecution, just as if someone murdered a woman who is 8 months pregnant the charge would be double murder, but if the woman is 8 days pregnant that would never be the charge. Why you ask? Because at 8 days it is a POTENTIAL human life...Anyway, this argument was the end of McCain's opportunity to impress independent women, who were horrified by his lack of concern for women's health and women's issues in general. This became painfully clear after the debate when independents favored Obama by over 25% in the the CNN and CBS polls. Now, it's all over but the shouting, as the campaign moves into the final stages and McCain clings to the hope that Bush and his criminal friends can deliver him an October surprise or help coordinate the "narrow victory" they now claim they will win. I would never claim that Barack Obama is absolutely the most qualified person in America to be president, as there are many Democrats and even a few Republicans that share his intellectual capacity and ability to inspire and listen to what others have to offer, but Obama is clearly more qualified than McCain, and as Powell made painfully clear, is what America needs here and now, in a time when a continuation of the Bush tragedy is a risk this nation simply cannot afford.
Vote Obama on November 4th

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The face of the GOP: A pathetic old lady who calls Obama an "Arab"

"How did it come to this?" someone asked me yesterday in reference to the Republican party's rallies this week that have featured crowd members shouting out and even telling news crews the following comments about Obama: "He's a terrorist!" "Bomb him!" "Kill him!" "Off with his head!" I think you get the point: These "people" are filled with the type of ignorant hatred that is a threat to American values, even as they wear their flag pins while cheering and calling for the DEATH of the first potential African-American president. Indeed, that is what this country has come to precisely because of the calculated "culture war" the Republicans began in the Reagan years and perfected in the 2000 campaign. The Republican party has sadly been reduced to, ironically, the very rich and the very ignorant. My friends who grew up Republican because they favored limited government and low taxes have nothing in common with this new party that uses billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out Wall St. criminals, nor do they relate to people who are so controlled by evangelical religious superstitions that they endorse the government telling us whom we can sleep with, what women do with their bodies, whom we can marry, what drugs people take, what scientists can do, what basic truths are taught in schools etc.

This new GOP is nothing like the Goldwater party of the 60s and 70s, and the current Republicans have literally destroyed this country because of their overt embrace of ignorance as something to celebrate(Bush is their poster boy). Case in point: I was talking with someone the other day about the overwhelming support Obama has in places like Berkeley and Boston, locations of some of the top universities in the world. My friend said, "What do you expect, it's Berkeley?" My response was, "Exactly." Think about what it says about our country when the most educated scholars and future leaders are overwhelmingly Democratic, while Billy Bob's Bible College is where you find the McCain supporters, and not coincidentally, where many of the Bush crowd came from. Monica Goodling and her mail order law degree from Pat Robertson's college is just one example. What does it say when the educated class is Democratic and Joe Sixpack and his racist buddies are the ones who knock down a few brews and show up to the McCain rally to shout "Kill him!"? Is this the America you want for your kids? Is the uneducated class the role model for your children? One glance at the electoral map will confirm everything I have noted here, as the McCain "safe" states speak for themselves(Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, Utah...), while the West Coast and East Coast and sites of every celebrated university in the country are solidly Obama. What does this say about the ideas these parties represent? Even Karl Rove couldn't spin the reality that the GOP has become the party of rich greedy individuals and poor, uneducated whites who claim Obama is an "Arab" or "scares them" simply because they don't want to come right out and say that they hate black people. That's the bottom line that the media is afraid to confront because they want the money that comes from these ignorant, toothless inbreds who sit around and watch TV all day, ranting about how their plight is somehow the fault of blacks and immigrants.

Let's be brutally honest about what is going on: McCain found himself so down and out last week after getting whipped in another debate that he had his campaign brazenly tell the media that the campaign was going to "go negative," and it was very clear what that meant: Their last, best hope was to turn the country against Obama because of his race, so they began their guilt by association nonsense, calling a Chicago professor a "domestic terrorist, " even though the man has never been convicted any kind of domestic terrorism, with the intention of creating a white lynch mob that would put McCain and Palin on their shoulders and carry them across the finish line and into the White House. However, someone forgot to remind McCain just how successful these tactics would be when it comes to motivating all the racists to crawl out from under their rocks to "get the black man"("Kill him" "Bomb him"). The hapless Palin began firing up the lynch mob last week, claiming that Obama "pals around with domestic terrorists" and she and McCain continued attacking all week, even as the stock market dropped over 20% in seven days. Instead of pushing a plan to save the country's financial system, they wallowed in race baiting until it reached its logical conclusion on Friday with the overt comments about being "scared" of the "Arab." Of course, the GOP talking heads tried to defend their voters, even while McCain himself attempted to save a shred of his dignity by telling the truth for a few minutes. I have nothing but disdain for McCain, Palin, and this new Republican party, but let me be very clear: I certainly don't want any of them to be killed, bombed, or have their heads cut off, nor do I think McCain or Palin are terrorists. No, I simply recognize that they are bad people who deserve to be rejected by the American people on November 4th so that they can fade from our memory and Obama can begin the ominous--and perhaps impossible--task of rebuilding this country's economic system before all of us suffer the consequences of the worst financial collapse in the nation's history. Make no mistake about it, that is what is at stake here; this is no time for ignorant observations about "terrorists" and "Arabs." This country needs a COMPETENT leader to step up with a viable plan or all of us will endure a catastrophic future that will result in the complete and utter disintegration of our society. That's what is at stake when you vote, not whom you would rather have a beer with. We saw how well that guy did...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debate Analysis: Sept 26 and Oct 2

Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief--and perhaps send Gwen Ifill a stipend for allowing Palin to dodge questions all night--as Palin certainly avoided the type of meltdown that seemed increasingly plausible as the campaign has unfolded over the past two weeks. She has shown herself to be so monumentally ignorant that the bar was set so low that her literal survival in the debate was a moral victory for the "ignorance is bliss" crowd, otherwise known as the Republican base. Her insouciance and "aw shucks" demeanor consisted of the mindless regurgitation of a phrase--"corruption and greed on Wall Street"--and a relentless determination to avoid any substantive "debate" but rather engage in a faithful repetition of the McCain talking points, which Obama basically destroyed in the first presidential debate, namely the inability to acknowledge the colossal failure that is the Iraq War and the lucid reality of the failure of the Bush economic policies that have led the country to the precipice of another Great Depression.
Palin, while having no grasp of any relevant facts or statistics, nonetheless did a good job of endorsing a candidate(McCain) whose career has been one of supporting the economic policies that have destroyed the middle class and decimated the nation's financial system. So while she floundered talking about "Joe Six-Pack" and tried to make the case that the $100 million dollar man McCain somehow cares about the concerns of the Main Street workers he has trampled for years in his rush to worship his CEO buddies and lavish them with obscene tax breaks, Palin essentially did what they prayed she would do in the sense that there were no "I'll get back to ya" moments. Moderator Gwen Ifill, whom racist Republicans attacked as being essentially in Obama's camp because of a book that has been advertised since the summer, actually was much too deferential to Palin, as she let her off the hook again and again, even when she evidently didn't understand the term "Achilles Heel," as she made no attempt to even acknowledge the question, let alone respond. Ifill was obviously intimidated into discarding follow-up questions and allowed Palin to retreat to her favorite McCain talking point: "Greed and corruption on Wall Street..." Perhaps she could have been asked to provide a single salient example of Wall Street issues and how to address them...
Biden, on the other hand, was professional, polite and serious, presenting a thorough and analytical perspective of both the current state of the economy and the challenges that face the country in the aftermath of the president McCain bragged about "supporting over 90% of the time." That's not a good record when the president is the least popular in U.S. history. While Palin showed a hapless inability to address the mortgage crisis, let alone speak intelligently about solutions, Biden discussed practical ideas and implications of the Bankruptcy Bill while acknowledging the depth of the crisis. On health care, Palin fled to the same old "tax credit" argument that seems to be the Republican answer for everything, despite the reality that the current economic crash that has led banks to the brink of collapse and a panic that would bring down the entire system has taken place in the context of Bush's unprecedented tax breaks for the wealthy. A layman can see how well this failed policy of trickle down economics works in a system--capitalism-- whose life blood is human greed, pure and simple. That is why we have to regulate the economy, just as we regulate human behavior with those pesky things called LAWS.
Unchecked capitalism leads to rampant greed, and the Bush legacy, in addition to unilaterally attacking countries, will be the complete and utter disregard for even a basic level of oversight of our financial system. Bush and McCain are figures of genuine pathos, and their names will be mentioned with disdain for decades to come, as all Americans literally pay the cost of their criminal activities and those of their trusted friends and advisers.

The final analysis of the VP debate was that Palin exceeded expectations that were so low that one would think she were a 5th grader, but in terms of specific issues she was in way over her head and basically didn't get the better of a single question. She did a good job of memorizing a dozen or so policy positions she was fed but offered no solutions other than the trite tax breaks for the wealthy. That accounts for the perception of viewers who overwhelmingly declared Biden the winner and will certainly be more inclined to support Obama and Biden after witnessing the debate, but it was indeed a moral victory that someone with her limited intellectual capacity could endure 90 minute debate, so hats off to her, heckuva job, Palie!

In last Friday's debate, Obama accomplished his main objective--to convince undecided voters that he is a viable president rather than a neophyte. His clear articulation of his vision and profound insights on all substantive issues reassured undecided voters and resulted in a rush of support that has increased his lead in every battleground state and left a staggered McCain looking like the grumpy old man he is. It's not highly effective to say Obama "doesn't understand" when he is standing next to you essentially kicking your ass on foreign policy issues that are supposed to be your area of expertise, yet that is exactly what happened, as the climactic moment of the debate was the three punch left-right-left combination where Obama looked at the terrified McCain and told him three times: "You were wrong!" about all the major Iraq lies Bush sold the American public. McCain offered no response, as he knows he was indeed wrong about Iraq, as well as every other major policy issue("Fundamentals of the economy are strong...?") McCain should be playing a violin on the Titanic, not running for president, such is his stunning lack of vision and insight in a time of unprecedented economic uncertainty. His campaign is laughably incompetent, and he personifies the GOP dilemma of being an old and out of touch party that is of, by and for an increasingly small minority of rich old men and ladies, with the obligatory white racists thrown in. The times are indeed changing, "my friends..."