Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
September 12, 2008
POLITICS: Quick Links 9/12/08
Ah, what the heck: more campaign stuff, as well as a few random links:
*From the Colorado Senate race, which has tightened considerably from what had looked like a sure Udall win, an ad knocking Udall's support for Dennis Kucinich's "Department of Peace":
As Moe Lane points out, this was a fun ad but probably not an especially damaging one until the Democrat flipped his lid over it, responding - I kid you not - by complaining that "there is nothing in the Department of Peace legislation that authorizes the purchase of a van or that says one of the activities of the Department will be smoking marijuana in a smoke filled van."
Um, yeah. You run with that.
*Jake Tapper rips McCain over the education ad that accuses Obama of, among other things, supporting a bill in Illinois that would have required teaching explicit sex education to kindergardeners. Jim Geraghty defends the accuracy of the McCain ad here and here...typically the critics aren't dealing with Geraghty's points, but it's not an ad I would have run; even if Geraghty is right that the bill was dropped in large part precisely because its literal language would have extended anti-HIV education down to the kindergarden level, there's enough ambiguity in how that language interacts with the pre-existing statutory requirement of "age appropriate" instruction that it's not really a clean shot at Obama, and probably more trouble than it's worth once you get done walking through the language. My guess is that Obama, as is often true in these cases, was only working off a bill summary anyway and never bothered to read what the bill actually said, which is why he's so indignant about it.
*The NYT notices that Joe Biden is a "human verbal wrecking crew," collecting a number of Biden's more notorious gaffes since Obama picked him as his running mate (there have been every bit as many as expected - Biden's the most gaffe-prone politician I have ever seen, and that's considering some extremely stiff competition). I'd feel bad for how Biden's been the forgotten man in this campaign, but really, the guy's ego could survive a nuclear explosion. Watch the video of him asking the guy in the wheelchair to stand up:
His saving grace is that he doesn't stop talking after he pulls one of these - he reminds me of the old Bill James riff about Lonnie Smith, how other outfielders get flustered when they fall down in the outfield, whereas Lonnie does it so often he has a pop-up slide perfected for the occasion.
*Second poll in a week showing Republicans with an advantage on the "generic ballot" question (i.e., which party people prefer in the abstract). I honestly have trouble believing this - Republicans never lead in the generic ballot, at least not this far from Election Day, even in years when we are rolling to victory. The main thing is, we're not getting killed on this anymore. Relatedly, Capitol Hill Democrats are now worried and sharing a "sense of doom" that Obama may drag down Democrats across the ballot.
*Revisiting a tactic that didn't come off too well the first time when George Soros tried it, Obama is taking a shot at McCain as being too old to use email. Of course, unlike Obama, if you want to judge McCain's views on technology, you can look at his record. McCain spent seven years as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, during which he was continuously involved in debates, legislation and hearings on internet issues. In 1996, he blasted the Telecommunications Act as "nothing less than an elaborate influence-peddling scheme." In the 2000 campaign, he touted his work on the Y2K Product Liability Reform Act and the Internet Tax Moratorium Act; he has continued to fight against taxation of internet commerce. Obama may think he invented internet fundraising, but in 2000 McCain's primary campaign raised millions of dollars over the web, a fundraising surge that was essential to keeping his campaign afloat; at the time, he was on the cutting edge of such tactics. In 2002, McCain introduced the broad-ranging "Consumer Broadband Deregulation Act of 2002", a comprehensive bill that "would prevent localities from doing anything to interfere with the provision of any consumer broadband service by limiting local governments- rights-of-way compensation to 'direct and actual costs reasonably allocable to the administration of access to, or use of, public rights-of-way.'" McCain has continued to press for broadband access at high-tech forums during his presidential run, and chosen as chief economic advisers a pair of high-tech executives, Meg Whitman of eBay and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard.
You can certainly raise issue with the substance of McCain's views on high-tech, but to suggest that the man is unfamiliar with the tech lanscape is...well, like so many of Obama's efforts to attack McCain, it depends on a certain suspension of disbelief.
*Tom Maguire: "Everything Barack Obama knows about public education he learned by working with an unrepentant terrorist and sending his kids to private school; Sarah Palin started in politics as a PTA mom." Of course, I agree that private schools are probably the right choice for Obama's kids. That just makes it all the harder for him to explain why they are not the right choice for other people's.
*Armando, of all people, tries to talk sense into hyperventilating lefty bloggers. It's truly a bizarro world when Republicans read the words of guys like him and Jerome (Vis Numar) Armstrong and nod along, but I guess the primary left these guys a little too clear-eyed about Obama.
*Andrew McCarthy goes to Wikipedia to establish the one thing Wikipedia is actually probative of - what the average person thinks - on the term "Bush Doctrine." Of course, I noted last night in the comments this 2003 post in which I distinguished the three different Bush Doctrines.
*"Do you read the New York Times?" This is hilarious - Taranto says the the NYT dispatch on this event was filed by...wait for it...Elisabeth Bumiller. The Times people's fixation on Bill O'Reilly is positively comical.
*Unlikely defenses for Gov. Palin from Mike Gravel and Rod Blagojevich. You gotta listen to the Gravel one, in which he doggedly bats back every effort by left-wing radio hosts to get traction against her. And memo to Blago: Cornelius from Planet of the Apes called, he wants his hairdo back.
*Not politics: a proposal for 2-year law school that's long overdue. And really, words cannot do justice to this video.