McCain’s Campaign is Hardly “something greater”

Obama isn’t one of us

John McCain’s latest attempt to link Barack Obama to extremism – Rashid Khalidi

WITH THE presidential campaign clock ticking down, Sen. John McCain has suddenly discovered a new boogeyman to link to Sen. Barack Obama: a sometimes controversial but widely respected Middle East scholar named Rashid Khalidi. In the past couple of days, Mr. McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, have likened Mr. Khalidi, the director of a Middle East institute at Columbia University, to neo-Nazis; called him “a PLO spokesman”; and suggested that the Los Angeles Times is hiding something sinister by refusing to release a videotape of a 2003 dinner in honor of Mr. Khalidi at which Mr. Obama spoke. Mr. McCain even threw former Weatherman Bill Ayers into the mix, suggesting that the tape might reveal that Mr. Ayers — a terrorist-turned-professor who also has been an Obama acquaintance — was at the dinner.

For the record, Mr. Khalidi is an American born in New York who graduated from Yale a couple of years after George W. Bush. For much of his long academic career, he taught at the University of Chicago, where he and his wife became friends with Barack and Michelle Obama. In the early 1990s, he worked as an adviser to the Palestinian delegation at peace talks in Madrid and Washington sponsored by the first Bush administration. We don’t agree with a lot of what Mr. Khalidi has had to say about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the years, and Mr. Obama has made clear that he doesn’t, either. But to compare the professor to neo-Nazis — or even to Mr. Ayers — is a vile smear.

Perhaps unsurprising for a member of academia, Mr. Khalidi holds complex views. In an article published this year in the Nation magazine, he scathingly denounced Israeli practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and U.S. Middle East policy but also condemned Palestinians for failing to embrace a nonviolent strategy. He said that the two-state solution favored by the Bush administration (and Mr. Obama) was “deeply flawed” but conceded there were also “flaws in the alternatives.” Listening to Mr. Khalidi can be challenging — as Mr. Obama put it in the dinner toast recorded on the 2003 tape and reported by the Times in a detailed account of the event last April, he “offers constant reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases.”

It’s fair to question why Mr. Obama felt as comfortable as he apparently did during his Chicago days in the company of men whose views diverge sharply from what the presidential candidate espouses. Our sense is that Mr. Obama is a man of considerable intellectual curiosity who can hear out a smart, if militant, advocate for the Palestinians without compromising his own position.

All partisans have a tendency to underplay their candidates flaws, but since it is a well known fact that McBush financed Rashid Khalidi’s Middle-East studies, McCain supporters and McCain himself are disparately hoping for the purest of partisan blindness. For Obama, Khalidi was a fellow academic with a point of view. Since when has listening to various opinions been evidence of unqualified endorsement of those opinions. I read Conservative opinion pieces that covers the spectrum of the Right’s takes on polices and issues, that doesn’t make me a Conservative. McCain has claimed that Khalidi represented the PLO. That is an absolute falsehood and McCain knows it, Khalidi was in a delegation sent by the Bush Sr administration to peace talks in Madrid. No wonder McCain is struggling in his home state, Arizonans ae getting a good long look at the real McCain – a shameless modern McCarthyite.

Local GOP Chairman distributes racist e-mail

The head of the Hillsborough GOP, David Storck, distributed an email from a Republican Party volunteer saying the voters are a threat.

That’s because, as the volunteer says in the email, he sees “car loads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama.”

It goes on to say, “This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little the he is at minimum a socialist and probably Marxist in his core beliefs.” The Republican volunteer says that is because, “After all he is black- no experience or accomplishments but he is black.”

So the head of the Tampa NAACP chapter, a black Republican finds himself embarrassed and asking for Storck to resign. This another McCain campaign legacy, by casting Senator Obama as the radical other, they’ve set back any gains other, less reckless Republicans made in reaching out to the African American community.

WaPo-ABC Tracking: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Half of likely voters in the poll said McCain would mainly lead the country in the same direction as Bush, a figure that has held at about that level for nearly the entire campaign; 47 percent said he would lead in a new direction. It’s an association that cuts straight to the vote: Barack Obama’s support reaches 90 percent among those who believe McCain would continue in Bush’s direction, and more than three-quarters of such voters see McCain as a risky choice.

McCain-Palin toast 2008

McBush is making zero progress in convincing moderate voters that he is not another Bush term. The Economist speels out part of the reason, The Moral of the Maverick Story

That, however, was Senator McCain; the Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday. It has not all disappeared: his support for free trade has never wavered. Yet rather than heading towards the centre after he won the nomination, Mr McCain moved to the right.

One thing that The Economist does that is wearing thin is the idea that the canidate the public is seeing is not the good old McCain. This allows those moderate Conservatives that were hoping Mccain would rescue Conservatism from the neocons a some after the election rationalizing. If only the old maverick had run. If Mccain was a man of true convictions, he would not have given them up so completely for the presidency. What the public is seeing now is McCain letting his, for lack of a better word, demons out. he’s obviously not trying to win on the issues, he’s hoping like hell he can win by destroying Obama’s reputation. If he campaigns like a hothead, he’ll govern like one. Peggy Noonan who has a fainting spell anytime someone mentions her hero Ronald Reagan almost accidently points out how shallow and fake McCain is in all his maverick glory, The case for Barack Obama, in broad strokes

His self-confessed role model for many years was Robert Jordan in Ernest Hemingway’s novel of the Spanish Civil War, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Mr. McCain, in his last memoir: “He was and remains to my mind a hero for the twentieth century . . . an idealistic freedom fighter” who had “a beautiful fatalism” and who sacrificed “for something else, something greater.” Actually Jordan fought on the side of the communists and died pointlessly, but never mind.

Everyone likes Jordan, there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that McCain adopted him as a hero like a mindless fan-boy. McCain’s notions about Hemingway’s larger then life heroes served one purpose, to cast himself as a hero in that bigger then life mold. His political life has hardly been about “something greater” from dumping the starter wife to the Keating Five Scandal to his current campaign, his heroism has been more a figment of the way he imagined himself then what he has actually delivered.

McCain and Palin Preach the Gospel of Socialism

McCain and Palin’s The Grand Old Socialist Party

Like, Socialism

During the 2000 campaign, on MSNBC’s “Hardball,” a young woman asked him why her father, a doctor, should be “penalized” by being “in a huge tax bracket.” McCain replied that “wealthy people can afford more” and that “the very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do.” The exchange continued:

YOUNG WOMAN: Are we getting closer and closer to, like, socialism and stuff?. . .
MCCAIN: Here’s what I really believe: That when you reach a certain level of comfort, there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more.

[   ]…For her part, Sarah Palin, who has lately taken to calling Obama “Barack the Wealth Spreader,” seems to be something of a suspect character herself. She is, at the very least, a fellow-traveller of what might be called socialism with an Alaskan face. ….A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that “we’re set up, unlike other states in the union, where it’s collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.” Perhaps there is some meaningful distinction between spreading the wealth and sharing it (“collectively,” no less), but finding it would require the analytic skills of Karl the Marxist. ?

When Senator Obama said “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody,” he was clearly talking about America’s traditional progressive taxation. That shrill noise that has been pouring forth from McCain-Palin and their surrogates is the deeply dishonest and dishonorable assertion that somehow Obama’s view of who should share the largest share of the tax burden is a Marxist dream come true. Our tax system in a small way is supposed to compensate the people that work the hardest from the inequalities that are part and parcel of our market based economy. If Obama is a socialist, he is less so then McCain or Palin, judging by their past statements. Let’s suppose that McCain has not flip-flopped from his tax position in 2000 then is it now his honest intent to have a regressive tax structure where the middle and lower middle income earners bear the largest share of the tax burden. We have already had a shift like that with Bush’s tax policies; Bush with the complicity of a Republican Congress is leaving the economy in a shambles. It was trickle down economics. Difficult for the blinder wearing McCain supporters to believe looking around, but the trickle didn’t make it down for many Americans who’s productivity has gone up, but their wages have stagnated. Does that really sound like the way America’s economy should work- reward those that work the least and neglect those that provide the labor that makes McCain’s wealth possible. In their TV ads and their campaign stops McCain-Palin aren’t hinting at the specter of the “red menace” they are out right accusing Senators Obama and Biden of being socialists. As recently as three days ago McCain explicitly expressed an approval of progressive taxation or Obama’s view of taxation,

Few serious policy makers — including McCain — consider progressive taxation socialist. In fact, on the Oct. 26, 2008 edition of NBC’s Meet the Press, McCain stood by a comment he made in 2000 that “there’s nothing wrong with paying somewhat more” in taxes when you “reach a certain level of comfort.”

“You put into different, different categories of wealthier people paying, paying higher taxes into different brackets,” McCain told host Tom Brokaw, as if to say progressive taxes are a no-brainer.

Indeed, progressive taxation has been a cornerstone of American tax policy since the federal government first collected an income tax in 1863. It was based on the Tax Act of 1862, which President Abraham Lincoln signed, and which imposed a “duty of three per centum” on all income over $600, and five percent on income over $10,000.

A month ago McCain and the Right took up the voter fraud-ACORN-Obama meme, which seems to have quieted down, at least from the McCain camp since someone dug up McCain’s speech praising ACORN – McCain To ACORN: You Are ‘What Makes America Special’. A little embarrassing for McBush and the usual posse of right-wing pundits, but they’re off on the next guilt by association

As Politico’s Ben Smith reported on Tuesday, the McCain campaign is demanding that the Los Angeles Times release video in its possession of a party attended by Barack Obama and Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi.

“A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi,” said McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb, citing Obama’s friendship with Khalidi, who is now a professor at Columbia University.

[   ]…A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi’s Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, “West Bank: CPRS” on page 14 of this PDF.)

The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi’s group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of “sociopolitical attitudes.”

As Seth Walls says there is nothing inherently wrong in McCain financing these studies by Khalidi’s group, but if Obama is guilty by association, then McCain needs to explain his financing of someone the Right claims is a radical.

If McCain supporters like Redstate are going to use the wealth redistributed creation called the internet the least they could do is not embarrass themselves. Their current headline The Seven Reasons McCain-Palin Are a Lock to Win. “Lock”? That’s the kool-aid talking, Today’s Polls, 10/28

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Although the national trackers look slightly stronger for John McCain than they did a couple days ago, Barack Obama once again had an exceptionally good day in the state-level numbers.

RealClearPolitics average of 10 national polls has Obama at 50.1 and Johnny at 44.1

River Valley Autumn wallpaper

McCain and Republicans Terrorized America, but That’s OK

McCain and Palin’s party terrorized America

The Right is tiresome in its predictability. They work much like a gauge in septic tank. When they get down to a certain level they automatically fill the tank with with sewage. Palin Goes After Obama-Ayers Connection.

“Our opponent, though, is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country,” Palin told supporters at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser in Englewood. “Americans need to know this.”

Thus the inspiration for the cartoon. The quote from Palin is especially ironic coming from a woman who attended the meetings of  political extremists who advocated breaking Alaska away from statehood. No Palin was not a member, but her husband, who has been called the shadow govenor of Alaska was. Th mainstream media has been so cowed by the Right, as Kathleen Parker recently found out simply for being critical of Palin, it is little wonder that we never hear words like sedition or treasonous in relation to the fear mongering and lies told by McCain and his fellow Republicans in the run up to and subsequent occupation of Iraq. What is that called when a political party uses coercion and America’s political system to get the country bogged down in a needless bloody conflict. At least one definition of treason is to conspire to bring harm to your country – Senate Report: Bush Used Iraq Intel He Knew Was False. Its politically incorrect or impolite to suggest that the frat boy draft evader with the fake ranch and the majority of the Republican party conspired to sell the United States this load of garbage, but it is OK to say that since Ayers may have committed some crime at about the time Senator Obama was eight years old, and then happen to do charitable work in Chicago as result of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge for Obama to be considered as condoning Ayers behavior. The NYT piece points out that Annenberg was Nixon’s ambassador to United Kingdom. Anneberg was also a close friend of Ronald Reagan. If the game is guilt by loose association then why isn’t Annenberg being accused of actually funding the former Weatherman, Bill Ayers. Does every American now have the moral responsibility to do a background check on everyone that works in the same building. Because Republicans have decided if you work in the same area as a child molester, or murderer or former member of some radical group you’re as dirty as they are, even if its been years since their alleged crimes and has tried to clean up their life. If you’re a Republican that has associated with treasonous groups or manipulated the country into war you have nothing to worry about because as we all know a Republican’s septic tank never stinks.

America gets mugged by Republicans

Foreclosures and the Right to Vote

The foreclosure crisis could do considerable damage to the nation’s voting system. More than a million people have lost their homes in the past two years. And because voter registration is based on people’s residences, they could face politically motivated challenges at the polls.

The problem may be especially acute in the presidential battleground states. In Ohio, more than 5 percent of home mortgages are seriously delinquent or in the foreclosure process, and there were more than 67,000 foreclosure actions in the first half of 2008. Michigan and Florida have also been hard hit.

There are a large number of advocacy groups and other programs that work to ensure that minorities, the disabled and students are able to cast ballots. Because the foreclosure crisis is so recent, not much work has been done to ensure that people who lose their homes do not also lose their chance to vote.

Many of the hardest-hit neighborhoods are low- income and minority areas, which tend to vote Democratic. That means officials have to be extra vigilant to ensure that Republicans do not use foreclosure lists to challenge voters. There was a dust-up recently in Michigan, after a progressive Web site quoted the Republican chairman of Macomb County as saying that his party planned to do just that. He and the party insist there are no such plans, but the Barack Obama campaign has filed suit to block foreclosure-based challenges.

If, as Republicans claim, they had nothing to do with the housing and Wall St crisis why are they so afraid of people going to the polls. The preemptive Republican war on voters is much like the McCain campaign’s decision to go with nothing, but attack ads. They know from the polls they cannot win by engaging voters on the issues and playing fair. Remember this recent post at Slate, First Palin, Then Campaign Suspension. What Now? Slate predicts McCain’s next 10 Hail Mary stunts. We have McCain’s next hail Mary. Throw as many smears at Obama-Biden in the next month as they can. McCain has spent what honor he had left. If he appears even more capricious and bizarre then the past two months its not like he’s changing the game as much as increasing the volume. The McCain lie counter is up to 104. Who knows maybe McCain thinks politics is like baseball and is trying for 230.