Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 10, 2008
POLITICS: Gasoline on the Fire

Good grief.

I was more than happy to leave Obama's "lipstick" comment be after yesterday - it was an amusing little example of Obama putting his foot in his mouth - other than to note that by calling it "swift boat politics" this morning he basically confirmed what I have been saying for years: "swift boating" means "accurately quoting a Democratic politician." Frankly, it was foolish for Obama to even respond this morning unless he was going to offer some sort of apology - anything else just prolongs the agony. To say nothing of the fact that any time the story is Obama vs. McCain's running mate, McCain wins.

But whether out of stubborn insistence on being right or a desire to keep those $5 donations pouring in from his activist base, Obama is not content to let the matter drop - he's on David Letterman tonight digging himself in deeper:

"What I like about this scenario is because they - the Republicans - demanded an apology," Letterman says, "so that means there had been a meeting at some point somewhere along the line (of) they got together and said, 'You know what? He called our vice presidential candidate a pig.' Well, that seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it?"

"It does," agrees Obama. "Keep in mind that, technically had I meant it this way - she would be the lipstick!"

The audience laughs, but Letterman is confused.

"You are way ahead of me," says the late night host.

"The failed policies of John McCain would be the pig," Obama says.

Now, as one of Vodkapundit's commenters points out, this is really considerably more insulting than calling Palin a pig. The latter is nasty and juvenile, but the former is dismissive, and really puts Obama back where he was when he was calling her the "Mayor of Wasilly" and refusing to acknowledge that she is a Governor.

This is why you do not put a rookie on the top of the national ticket. All Republicans have to do now is sit back and laugh.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:11 PM | Politics 2008 | Comments (35) | TrackBack (0)

He's the gift that keeps on giving. Doesn't he have anyone on his team with the sense to tell him to shut up?

He seems to be the type that just absolutely insists on having the last word and demanding that everyone agree he was right. [Of course, Hillary's that way, too.]

Posted by: stan at September 10, 2008 9:10 PM

You people are completely and utterly insane. Palin lies and steals (per diems for nights at home?), her husband bullies state employees, and the once honorable McCain forfeits all honor he once had. These people are despicable and they have no busines polluting the White House.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 10, 2008 10:32 PM

When Guiliani mocks, it is a great speech. When Obama mocks, it is demeaning. Goddamm, you people are stupid. I can't take it anymore.

Posted by: Magrooder at September 10, 2008 10:49 PM

The more I hear reactions like Magrooder, the more I like Palin!

Posted by: Greg Schreiber at September 10, 2008 11:09 PM

Hey Magrooder can we just find out which one of your masters is giving you the new talking points-that way we don't need to hear from you, we can just go to the source.

You would think that a normal logical human being after seeing all the Palin smears debunked would at some point go " Gee maybe I shouldn't be so gullible and easily manipulated".

Posted by: dch at September 11, 2008 12:49 AM

Meanwhile Joe Biden concedes that Hilary Clinton is as good or better choice for VP than he is. This the day after he ask a man in wheelchair to stand up.

Notice no conservative want to remove Biden the way Liberals went after Palin? We know it's only a matter of time before Joe self-destruct on the campaign trail. And like Joker said to Batman, he does not disappoint.

Posted by: BigFire at September 11, 2008 2:38 AM

Crank, this is one of your weakest posts yet. C'mon, do you really believe what you write sometimes?

Obama's riffing on Letterman about the metaphorical meaning of lipstick reveals some inherent inability to serve as chief executive???

As Dave said, "you're way ahead of me."

And, while Magrooder overstates his positions at times, I have to say he's on to a good one here. Last week you said you loved Rudy's sneering & sarcasm-filling rant. But Obama's comment on Letterman is "nasty & juvenile"? What does that make Rudy's speech? Lincoln-esque? Periclean? Please.

Posted by: Mike at September 11, 2008 7:05 AM

Dearest liberal wackos,

I'll go slow so that you can move your lips while reading. It's really simple. Obama has said that his executive abilities should be judged by the competence of his campaign. The scripted remark about lipstick on a pig was really stupid. The anger at the media the next morning was really stupid. His explanation on Letterman was beyond stupid.

No competent candidate for president would keep hitting this tar baby. He should be ignoring Palin. Instead, he keeps digging and digging himself into deeper holes. He (and his surrogates) keep making incredibly stupid gaffes in their efforts to slime Palin. The whole effort isn't worthy of even a minor leaguer. More like junior varsity in high school.

He keeps demonstrating that he is incompetent -- at the one thing he cited on his incredibly thin resume.

Posted by: stan at September 11, 2008 7:25 AM

Not to mention that Obama's entire candidacy was based on his supposed "ability" to be above the fray, to be above the rhetoric of Washington, to overcome the "politics of usual", to unite people from both sides of the aisle, etc., etc. These were the things that caused people to flock to him, not his policies. And now we are seeing that it was all crap. His own actions and words are stripping away the only justification for his candidacy.

Posted by: per14 at September 11, 2008 7:42 AM

No competent candidate for president would keep hitting this tar baby

Well, I guess Stan has demonstrated that he's unfit for office, if "inability to refrain from making stupid comments" is a deal-breaker.

Posted by: Mike at September 11, 2008 8:16 AM

"politics as usual," used to mean, you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. And, there's plenty of scratch for everyone.

It is corrupt, but stuff gets done.

Somewhere along the way, and everyone who has an ax to grind will point to a different starting point, the mantra became, "to the victor goes the spoils."

Corrupt, and stuff does not always get done.

Now, "politics as usual," means taking crap out of context, screaming about piffle and playing victim.

Perhaps Sen. Graham was right. We are a nation of whiners.

Posted by: Zufall at September 11, 2008 8:20 AM

Magrooder, you may wish to read up on the per diem story. Facts do come in handy at times.

Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 9:20 AM

God, this is so ridiculous. Such trivia. Who the hell cares? The country is falling apart in so many ways thanks to the corrupt Bush administration and we are wasting valuable time on this garbage.

Posted by: Steve at September 11, 2008 9:27 AM

I learned quickly in my teens that when you offend a woman a joke, you don't try to later explain it. That's just using a backhoe instead of a shovel for digging.

This feels like that moment in Anchorman where they have to calm Champ down because he's rambling about missing Ron Burgundy.

Posted by: Chef Derp at September 11, 2008 9:40 AM

Well, I guess Stan has demonstrated that he's unfit for office, if "inability to refrain from making stupid comments" is a deal-breaker.

Posted by Mike

Ahh, Mike. That rapier-sharp wit has cut me to the quick. Such an impressive command of logic and language. I fear I must retire from the field. ;)

Posted by: stan at September 11, 2008 10:20 AM

Where's the defense of Obama on the basis that he is actually runiing a smart candidacy? To repeat, we were told--by Obama himself--that running a campaign was great experience for office. He's making a hash of his campaign, he's pandering to the lowest common denominator in his party and he's hemorraging money. He's tied up in a stupid fight with Mayor Palin and she's cleaning his clock!

What hopey and changey about that? When's he going to rise above this? Where's his stratergery? We're supposed to trust the nation with this buffoon? Are you guys kidding with this guy?

You've done it yet again, nominated a doofus. Will you learn? No, and that's as it should be if I'm going to wring any laughs out of this messy process.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 11, 2008 11:37 AM

While I agree with a good deal of what spongeworthy says in that last comment, I would offer some limited praise for how Obama has run his campaign.

First of all, of course, he still stands - by anybody's estimation - close to a 50/50 chance of winning, and probably better than that. Victory forgives many sins.

Second, his primary campaign strategy was brilliant and enabled him to exploit the rules to overcome his weaknesses and maximize his strengths.

Third, he has an amazing fundraising machine. Obama did learn some things from his organizing days, i.e., how to get people to buy in to being involved in his cause.

Fourth, his campaign has done wonders in making Obama a consumer brand - the logos, the consistent messaging about hopechange, etc. Ruffini has repeatedly written about how Obama is the first candidate who is really like Apple or Nike in that regard. He's the iCandidate.

Fifth, while there is a fair argument (see Podhoretz here) that Obama's key campaign strategists share his weakness of having really no clue how to handle a general election where there's a Republican opponent with a pulse and a non-deep-blue electorate, I credit the fact that unlike past D campaigns he hasn't repeatedly panicked and reshuffled his campaign staff (his policy advisors are another story). He's stuck with Axelrod and Plouffe come hell or high water, as Bush did with Rove and Hughes and the rest.

The critique of Obama as a manager is that his record shows that he's better at leading a movement than an organization. He's good at getting people to feel involved and invested, donate their time and money. He's not so good at managing the spending of that money, or at figuring out how to lay out a sensible strategy outside the narrow comfortable confines of intra-Democratic politics.

Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 11:54 AM

"masters giving you talking points"

"easily manipulated"

"liberal wackos"


Yeah, it's clear the GOP - and their supporters on this thread in particular - have found precisely the least offensive, most factually-based, humble and service-oriented approach to running a campaign. When pigs wearing lipstick can fly, that is.

Also - Crank, don't think that supporting your argument over Palin's per diem problem with the dreck they serve up at Redstate is going to hold up in anyone's court but your own.

I hope you guys really believe that all you gotta do is sit back and laugh. Keep thinking that, genius.

Posted by: macsonix at September 11, 2008 1:03 PM

Also - Crank, don't think that supporting your argument over Palin's per diem problem with the dreck they serve up at Redstate is going to hold up in anyone's court but your own.

Translated from cultspeak: "I don't want to know the facts."

You guys are incapable of learning. Because you believe verything you're told no matter how shaky the source, you're going to inoculate Palin against any real issues that might pop up. Nobody's going to listen. In fact, I'm pretty sure she's immune already and you've nobody to thank but yourselves.

Which is why I'll take the "sit back and laugh" advice. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings me to watch you people do this to yourselves. What makes it even sweeter is that we can warn you off it when common sense would be to let you keep digging. But it doesn't matter anymore if we warn you or not--you'll just do this dumb counter-productive stuff anyway.

I'm not going to laugh at that?

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 11, 2008 2:00 PM

macsonix, which point in that post do you dispute?

*Her expenses were legal
*Her expenses were less than she was permitted by law to claim
*Her expenses were 80% less than her predecessor's
*The trip from Wasilla to Juneau is 18 hours including a ferry ride

Look, Palin is not Ghandi. But when you go through story after story you get the same bottom line: she reduced her own pay and perks, cut expenses for the state, cut expenses for the federal government, reduced earmark requests, vetoed unprecedented numbers of spending projects, pulled the plug on the Bridge to Nowhere project, and was in every way on spending a vast improvement over her predecessors. And she took on powerful people and entrenched interests in her own party, and won.

Your guys never even tried to do any of these things.

Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 2:12 PM

"don't think that supporting your argument over Palin's per diem problem with the dreck they serve up at Redstate is going to hold up in anyone's court but your own."


Are you saying that the facts in the RedState post were wrong or misinterpreted? Why not read it and respond? It looked like a fairly strong argument to me. I've seen a lot of chaff on RedState, but I don't decide that until I've read it.

So far, I haven't seen anything too objectionable about Palin's administration unless something more comes out of that trooper issue. Her early support for the bridge to nowhere seems to be the only real basis for criticism. The rest seems to be all smoke and no fire. I have to agree with sponge, the dems seem to be jumping all over her before they have all facts.

Posted by: MVH at September 11, 2008 2:41 PM

"Palin is not Ghandi."

Do you even want her to be? Ghandi was a community organizer. :)

Posted by: MVH at September 11, 2008 2:57 PM

But it doesn't matter anymore if we warn you or not--you'll just do this dumb counter-productive stuff anyway.

Some journalists seem to have cottoned on to how out of control they let things get last week.

Posted by: lauraw at September 11, 2008 3:00 PM

Explain how/ why Palin pulled the plug on the Bridge to Nowhere project.
Last week, when she flat-out lied about telling "Congress to shove it", she was applauded. It was am lie applauded (how mavericky).

Odds that Charlie Gibson will ask her when did she “tell the Congress” that “if our state wanted a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves?”
Zero. Charlie Gibson isn't smart or brave enough to ask tough questions or call the interview subject a liar.

Posted by: Berto at September 11, 2008 3:05 PM

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac losses are getting socialized by the taxpayer and the Corporate Media is talking incessantly about lipstick on pigs...they should be talking about lipstick on pork, like the Bridge to Nowhere.

Posted by: AstrosFan at September 11, 2008 3:20 PM

I'm pulling stuff together for what may be a longer post on the Bridge. Palin had received federal money that could go to the bridge or other projects, and in Sept. 2007, 8 months into her tenure in office she unilaterally announced that she was killing the bridge project, which cut her Congressional delegation's advocacy of it off at the legs and freed the money for other projects. Over the long haul, that will save federal taxpayers money - the other projects are now covered and there won't be repeated requests for more funding as the bridge progresses, a la the Big Dig. This is part of a broader initiative on her part to reduce Alaska's massive dependence on federal pork.

See here or here or here or here or here for examples.

Was Palin the hero of the Bridge fight? No. Tom Coburn was, just as Coburn was the hero of the fight for earmark transparency, though in that case I do give Obama credit for being Coburn's cosponsor. Both fights were led by a coalition of conservative politicians, conservative think tanks and conservative bloggers, with McCain on the right side. Obama and Biden, by contrast, voted against Coburn's proposal to send the bridge funding to help Katrina victims.

Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 3:22 PM

While I think it's not a huge issue, to say that Palin "pulled the plug on the Bridge to Nowhere" project is wildly disingenuous since she was a) for it originally and b) kept the money dedicated for it and used it for other projects. It's not like she turned this down. Come on. This whole thing has gotten ridiculous even by this site's ever decreasing standards.

Posted by: jim at September 11, 2008 3:25 PM

Unfortunately for work reasons I can't write on the Fannie/Freddie story. But I think you might not find that that issue is one the Democrats, of all people, should be talking about.


Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 3:31 PM

I did read the post on Redstate. My point is that it's written by someone with about as much legitimacy as any of us. Anybody backing up their arguments via CNN, MSNBC, Salon, Harper's, New Republic or similar sources is instantly dismissed on these pages, as somehow our polarized identity as a society has placed each and every media source on either side of some imaginary line. So if the point can stick on the left, then it damned sure better stick when we're talking about a right-wing blog.

I don't dispute that her actions might have been legal - I'm simply saying that if it were somehow legal to charge my employers sixty bucks for each day I worked from home, taking advantage of it wouldn't necessarily be something to take pride in...
especially were my employers the people of the state that I live in.

and who gives a pig's backside about whether she collected more or less than her predecessor? Using this level of logic, you should all be huge Bill Clinton fans, since his successor has fleeced every last one of us, to the tune of hundreds of billions, following the largest US budget surplus in history.

I'd love to chat it up a bit more with you guys but since I live in Houston - I've got a date with some plywood and tape to prep for this storm. Hope y'all have a good weekend.

Posted by: macsonix at September 11, 2008 3:41 PM

macsonix - good luck this weekend.

Posted by: MVH at September 11, 2008 3:55 PM

macsonix - Keep safe.

Posted by: Crank at September 11, 2008 4:02 PM


Good luck and I hope all of you down there get through the weekend safely.

Posted by: Chris Graham at September 11, 2008 4:47 PM

Dude, you were the one who brought up the per diems. I don't think she's ever said she "took pride" in her renumeration. I doubt she's ever even mentioned it.

The point is that your attack upthread was yet another debunked POS and you breathlessly repeated it as if it were this touche' moment. I only suggest you research on your own first so you don't look foolish.

Posted by: spongeworthy at September 11, 2008 4:48 PM

Well, thanks for the kind words from a few of you. My brother and I are finally done prepping my house, his house, our parent's house and our aunt's house, where we're going to hunker down and hopefully enjoy the storm, since we have everything we need (lots of beer and beef jerky)and I feel like I could actually sleep through it after all this work.

Sponge - I didn't bring up the per diem issue, our host Mr. Crank did. But I do realize you are enjoying yourself on here, especially when you have an opportunity to call someone else foolish or whatever pathetic junior league insult you care to toss around. You remind me of guys who sat close to me in Yankee Stadium when I lived up there - they weren't bad guys, they just paid little attention to the gripping saga of the game and instead spent all their time talking sh*t, whether the Yanks were winning or playing like the Bad News Bears. Looking back, I'm convinced that the game itself mattered little to these chest-beaters. To them, it was all about competition - not the competition on the diamond, the competition with one another to be crowned crudest, loudest, most piggish, perhaps.

Posted by: macsonix at September 12, 2008 4:47 PM

Sponge and Macsonix -

First for Macsonix: How are all of you? It looked pretty bad from the newscasts I saw. CNN, TWC, and Houston Ch. 11.

As for the per diems, it was Magrooder, second comment, who first noted the per diems in this thread. Crank merely referenced a listing of facts as a retort. And that listing of facts isn't just "dreck" from another website - it's his own work that he posted on redstate.

Posted by: Chris Graham at September 13, 2008 9:08 PM
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