McCain


On ABC This Week, George Will just predicted Obama would win 378 electoral votes. Mark Helperin said he will win by over 7%. Also, Will said that as many as 140 million Americans will vote Tuesday. Me, the idiot, thinks these numbers insane. I doubt Obama will win nationally by more than 4%. Nor do I think much more than 120 million Americans will vote.

By Ray LeMoine

I love the McCain campaign’s attempts to call Obama a socialist. Wait, didn’t Bush just nationalize the mortgage, banking, and insurance industries? But who cares what socialism actually means—or the fact that your party is practicing it—when you can just revisit the 50s! Joe McCarthy would be proud:

When reporters arrived at the rally, one speaker – it was unclear who it was, and he was already midway through his speech — was describing the upcoming presidential election as “a referendum on socialism,’’ echoing a charge that some Republicans have made in recent days suggesting that Mr. Obama’s tax cut plan was quasi-socialist.

Meanwhile, John Updike fears America’s returned to the 50s socially (not socialism) in his latest novel, The Widows of Eastwick, a sequel to the Cher movie The Witches of Eastwick:

And the younger people, the age we were when we were here — ssso tiresome, just from the look of them, toned-up young mothers driving their overweight boys in overweight S.U.V.’s to hockey practice 20 miles away, the young fathers castrated namby-pambies helping itty-bitty wifey with the housekeeping, spending all Saturday fussing around the lovely home. It’s the ’50s all over again, without the Russians as an excuse.

The burbs sure are boring, yes. But fear not, change is on the way. If the iBanker is dead, as NYmag reports today, then the Burb Dude is next. The last class of McMansion bros are already signed up, mortgage arms fixed. Sadly that model—big house, big car, all paid on credit—is over for the moment. Maybe someday we’ll return to our $500k house with nothing down ways. The economic crisis and subsequent nationalization spasm were GOP policy—though admittedly deregulation was Bill Clinton’s policy as well. Nonetheless, Obama is hardly a socialist. His health care plan was to the right of Hillary Clinton, so don’t buy into the GOP Red Scare. To ammend Updike’s quote, It’s the 50s all over again, but with McCain impersonating McCarthy.

But if this is the 50s, it’s good to remember that JFK and the 60s—America’s most revolutionary postwar decade–were next. Still, unlike the 50s we’re in a major economic downturn. Would the hippies have been able to flourish without riches earned by their 50s raised parents?

By Ray LeMoine
The Final Debate: McCain, Obama Dodge Questions and Point/Wag Fingers on Economy and War

Londonderry, NH: women look on at an Obama rally today.

24. That’s how many mentions “Joe the Plumber” got last night. Joe’s a real guy, from Ohio, who would be among the 1% of Americans affected by Obama’s tax increase among those who make over $250k per year.

Yup, that’s about the least important thing ever to be discussed in a political debate during times of economic collapse and war. Disgusting: Worrying about the top one percent of Americans when unemployment is expected to hit 9 or 10% by year’s end. Even if all 100% of the top 1% lost their jobs, that’s still 8-9% of the nation (who aren’t rich) out of work. Why didn’t John McCain address them last night? He could have mentioned how wages have decreased, when adjusted for inflation, over the past 5 years. Instead, McCain feigned like he didn’t care about “washed up terrorist” Bill Ayers even though his campaign has spent millions on ads linking said “terrorist” to Obama. 

Obama, for his part, was pure class. He was a tad boring, but he outplayed McCain on every level save tax-raise fear mongering. In his answers, Obama was aloof and nuanced and charming—a cynical presidential mix for a cynical time. I’m sure the clip of Obama setting the facts straight on his relationship to ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers is being watched by a lot of people today. Unfortunately, Obama used a lot of the same language manipulation tactics (avoiding answering questions with facts and policy proposals, changing topics at random) as McCain. A few Brits I was watching with commented on how sad American politics is. It’s true: the lack of substance last was stunning.

After two dozen plus debates this election season, and almost two years of campaigning, Obama’s proving to be the greatest political talent of my lifetime. He’s caught some lucky breaks, yes, but O’s more of a natural than Bill Clinton. After all, Obama’s overcome not just his race but the Clintons themselves! 

Sitting on a double digit poll lead with three weeks to go, Obama is so close to the White House. But I’m not sure it’s over. Both convetional wisdom and polling—the two most prominent tools used to guage a political race—have been ineffective this years. Polls were off all primary season. And since this year us unprecedented, with a black nominee, “conventional” thinking is unreliable. Nonetheless, Obama has a big cash advantage over McCain. The most visible effect of which will be Obama’s 30-minute prime time special to air on all networks on October 29th. If done correctly, the ad could propel Obama to victory…

By Ray LeMoine
Last month I worked production on a film about Sarah Palin in Alaska. It aired in the UK last week and was later placed on YouTube, receiving 8000 hits in a few days. Today the film was mysteriously taken off YouTube. I was told that if there was a copyright violation (there wasn’t—and all characters signed release forms), YouTube would contact us. They didn’t. So I tried to call them from the Contact Us page at the number below.

Our Address
You can contact YouTube at the address below.

YouTube, LLC
901 Cherry Ave.
San Bruno, CA 94066
USA
Phone: +1 650-253-0000
Fax: +1 650-253-0001

But the Google/YouTube service recording said they “do not at this time provide customer service representatives.” I then made a formal press inquiry (see below) but have yet to hear back.

RE: Removal of Sarah Palin film‏
From: Ray LeMoine (Editor’s note: personal email address removed)
Sent: Sat 10/11/08 1:34 AM
To: press@youtube.com
Cc: (Editor’s note: again, personal email adress removed)

Hello,

I am a journalist who worked production on a film about Sarah Palin in Alaska. The film aired in the UK. We placed it on YouTube and received some 8000 hits in a few days. Then today the film was yanked off YouTube. The film did not violate copyright and its characters all signed release forms. I was wondering who I can speak to for a comment on what happened. I also cced both the correspondent and director who worked on the film.

Here’s the link to the removed film:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1126074661319289940&ei=N9LrSJjqHYHCjgL1kJCcBg&q=journeyman+palin&vt=lf

Thanks,
Ray LeMoine

Oddly enough, the Palin film in question is about censorship. Specifically: Palin’s alleged attempts as mayor of Wasilla, AL, to remove the book “Pastor, I’m Gay” (really) from a public library in the mid-90s. If anyone knows about YouTube and this kind of hacker censorship, please contact me. I’m wondering if our First Amendment rights have been violated by a Palin pirate—and if this is a widespread campaign. If so, the layers of irony are endless. And would YouTube prosecute these hackers like kid who guessed Palin’s email password?

Anyway, the film is back on YouTube here.

By Ray LeMoine

Record audiences tuned in to last night’s VP debate, which Joe Biden so clearly won it’s sickening to hear the media giving Sarah Palin any credit. Sure, Palin’s not a moron. Despite all her flubs with Couric this week, it’s obvious that anyone who rises so fast is no dimwit. But as a politician—not a personality—Palin so lost the debate.

A democratically elected politician’s job is to take the will of the polity and create policy. Last night Sarah Palin showed so little policy understanding it was scary. In fact, she dodged one of the most important policy questions. When asked what was worse, a destabilized Pakistan or nuclear Iran, Palin answered about Iraq. Yet the media’s been calling the debate a tie, and some are even giving her high marks.

Here’s a great example of what’s wrong with American politics: On ABC.com, George Stephanopolous wrote a post-VP debate wrap-up where he judged Sarah Palin’s and Joe Biden’s “strategy,” “style,” and “accuracy.” What’s missing? Oh, how about “command of subject” or “answers of substance”? Debate is the art of “logical argument, which only examine the consistency from axiom, and factual argument,” not a strategic, style show down. On every question, save energy policy, Joe Biden had a far better command of facts. (Biden was no slouch on energy policy, rather it’s Palin’s bread and butter issue—state oil dividends literally provided every Alaskan with $3500 cash this year—and she knows her stuff.)

When “style” and “strategy” are more important than policy, is it even politics? That’s more like a talent/game show—ie America’s Most Stylish, Accurate Debater! Whatever, this country sucks.

But Joe Biden, wow, what a night. The guy’s been waiting three decades for his chance to be in the national spotlight. And it showed. He came out like a man who’d just drank eight Red Bulls and taken four Ritalins. His rapid-fire responses backed by fact-filled policy examples and recommendations were not only impressive they were often dead-on. I always questioned Obama’s choice of Biden over Hillary. But seeing Joe in Full Biden last night changed my opinion. His cordial, expert performance was a walk-off.

John McCain will not see a poll bump from the VP debate. Unless America really is dumb enough to put “style” over substance.

By Ray LeMoine

Sarah Palin backed a despicable policy as mayor of Wasilla, AK: making rape victims pay for their own post-crime exams. The story hits the Boston Globe editorial page today. Of all Palin’s mid-90s shadiness—from book banning to dinosaur denying—this is the sketchiest. Many in Wasilla told me it was the inclusion of a morning after pill that made Palin’s administration cut funding for rape victims. Alaska leads the nation in a rape, by a factor of two, and it’s appalling that a woman would make victims pay for treatment.

Wasilla made rape victims pay
October 1, 2008
ONE QUESTION that Sarah Palin should answer during tomorrow’s debate is why, during her tenure as mayor of Wasilla, the town started charging rape victims or their insurers for hospital emergency-room rape kits and examinations.

The policy so outraged the Alaska Legislature that in 2000 it passed unanimously a bill forbidding such fees. But Palin has never explained why, under her leadership, the town stopped picking up the cost of the swabs, specimen containers, and tests.

A spokeswoman for Palin wrote to USA Today that Palin “does not believe, nor has she ever believed, that rape victims should have to pay for an evidence-gathering test.” But that was the practice in Wasilla while she was mayor.

If Palin were like most vice-presidential nominees of the past, reporters would have long since had a chance to quiz her on this subject, and many others. So far, though, the McCain campaign team has treated her as though she were in the witness protection program, permitting just three interviews with television personalities and no open-ended press conferences.

After the Alaska Legislature banned the fees, Palin’s handpicked police chief, Charlie Fannon, complained that the state’s action would force the town to spend $5,000 to $14,000 a year to cover the costs. “I just don’t want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer,” Fannon said.

But the policy on rape kits may have had less to do with easing the burden on taxpayers and more to do with Palin’s position on abortion. She has said she opposes it even in cases of rape or incest.

Generally, victims of sexual assault have the option of an emergency contraception pill, which some opponents of abortion consider tantamount to abortion itself. Does Palin support the decision two years ago of the US Food and Drug Administration to allow over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception pills?

Whether the fee-for-kits policy reflected Palin’s budgetary zeal or her extreme view on abortion, voters deserve to know. As Alaska’s governor in 2000, Tony Knowles, put it: “We would never bill the victim of a burglary for finger-printing and photographing the crime scene, or for the cost of gathering other evidence.”

But in Wasilla they would, if the crime was rape.

By Ray LeMoine
Ye Ole Miss, Oxford, MS.


Networks predict audiences of 100 million for tomorrow’s debate–if McCain doesn’t cancel.

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