Sunday, October 05, 2008

Reality-Based Politics

I have come up with a new name for the Republicans: "The Reality-Challenged."

Three things I have read or seen the last couple of days have drawn me to come up with this new name for them.

First and foremost was the recent Sarah Palin speech in which she talks about Barack Obama "palling around with a domestic terrorist." She cites an article in the New York Times about Barack Obama's relationship with former radical Bill Ayers.

It's funny, because I get the New York Times delivered to my house every day, and I read that very same article. I somehow read something completely different. Here is the article:

Here is a direct quote from the article:

"...the two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called “somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”

Non-Chicagoans may need an introduction to Bill Ayers. He was a student radical who was originally part of the Students for a Democratic Society, a non-violent group in the sixties that did a lot of good work. Ayers, who is the son of Tom Ayers, who was for many years the Chairman of the Board of Commonwealth Edison, the main electrical utility in Northern Illinois, was one of a group of mostly rich kids who split off from the SDS and formed first the Weathermen, who were violent, and the Weather Underground, which was even more violent. They were dangerous, but mostly to themselves; in March of 1970, a Greenwich Village townhouse that was used as a "safe house"-- and a bombmaking facility-- by the Weather Underground blew up, killing three members of the group.

After the explosion, Ayers went "underground" with girlfriend Bernadine Dohrn, who was also in the Weather Underground. Charges had been filed against both of them. In 1980, they turned themselves in.

However, federal charges had been dropped because of prosecutorial misconduct and because any evidence allegedly gathered against them was through the notorious COINTELPRO program.

Since then, Ayers has become a respected authority on education, whom Chicago Mayor Daley frequently consults with. He is a professor at The University of Illinois at Chicago-- the same school I plan on getting my pharmacy degree at. He has, as the New York Times article pointed out, become "reahabilitated" in Chicago, to the point where our own very conservative Mayor Daley said:

“He’s done a lot of good in this city and nationally..This is 2008. People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life.”

So I guess Mayor Daley is "palling around with terrorists" as well.

But to repeat what Barack Obama actually said, if Palin had actually read the article ("Oh, you know there's so many big words in dat dem big city paper, ya know!"?

He called Ayers "“somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.”

And what the fuck is "exceptionalism?" My god, is she stupid.

Today's New York Times has an article calling Palin out on her gross distortion.

And CNN did the same. Thank god the media is not laying down for McCain like it did in 2004 with the "Swiftboating" of John Kerry.

I smell desperation. In fact, CNN, in covering the story, quoted an unnamed McCain aide who said that the McCain campaign is desperately trying to get public attention off of the economy. Gallup now has Obama leading 50% to 42% and rising. According to Real Clear Politics, he is ahead in Colorado, Ohio, Florida, Virgina and Nevada, all states he was behind in a few weeks ago. And of course, the McCain campaign has written off Michigan, a state that pundits also thought Obama might not be able to win just a few weeks ago.

Next in our list of the "Reality-Challenged" (formerly known as Republicans) is the New York Times' conservative columnist William Kristol (who was himself a left-wing student radical at one time-- who did he "pal around with?"), in his column "How McCain Wins."

(You can only access the editorial pages if you have a New York Times subscription, but I'll quote some of the column).

First, he defends McCain's blatant, pathetic grandstanding during the financial meltdown:

"McCain’s impetuous decision to return to Washington was right. The agreement announced early Sunday morning is better than Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s original proposal, and better than the deal the Democrats claimed was close on Thursday. Assuming the legislation passes soon, and assuming it reassures financial markets, McCain will be able to take some credit."

McCain, of course, had nothing to do with the deal finally going through. We in the "Reality-Based Politics" world know that.

Then yesterday, in The Weekly Standard, Kristol further demonstrates his qualification for membership in the "Reality-Challenged" world in a column about how McCain can still win:

He points out that the Gore-Lieberman ticket gained 6 points in the final 2 weeks of the 2000 campaign and that the Ford-Dole ticket gained 20 points in the final two months of the 1976 race. Here's the thing, Bill: in both cases, they lost the election (well, not really in the 2000 race).

He then states:

So while there's reason for McCain-Palin supporters to worry, there's no reason to despair.

Despair is what the Obama campaign is hoping and working for. If a campaign can convince supporters of the other candidate that the race is effectively over, the enthusiasm and volunteer efforts drop off--as does, ultimately, their turnout on Election Day.

Um, no, Bill, actually the consensus seems to be that the Obama campaign is energizing a lot of people who were disengaged from the political process. I'd hardly call that despair. And looking at the numbers from Gallup and others, it's obvious the "undecideds" are not choosing not to vote. They're actually choosing to vote-- for Obama.

He then mentions that "Sarah Palin more than held her own in the vice-presidential debate against Joe Biden" and "She may well have stopped the McCain campaign's slide and, with her assaults on Obama's tax-and-spend liberalism and his willingness to lose in Iraq, set up McCain for a strong performance in Tuesday night's debate."

Where do I start? The fact that Sarah Palin didn't look like a complete idiot-- just a pretty big idiot-- during the debate was hardly a victory. Funny thing is that everybody noticed that she didn't answer the questions given to her; she just recited one of the canned answers her trainers had desperately programmed her with in the weeks leading up to the debate without bothering to consider whether the answer had anything to do with the question that had actually been asked.

And "tax and spend liberalism?" As my father points out, as opposed to what-- "borrow and spend conservatism?"

And referring to Obama's "willingness to lose in Iraq?" Lose what? More American troops? That's the Republicans' job. Kristol apparently hasn't been keeping abreast of things; there were never any "weapons of mass destruction," there was no Al Queda in Iraq (until after we invaded). What is a "victory" in Iraq? Getting out of there with the least loss of American lives, while not leaving behind a "failed state" that would actually become a safe haven for enemies of the United States.

I read a great analogy of McCain and the Republicans on Iraq: they are like arsonists who set fires, and then rescue people from the building and claim credit as heroes. Bill Kristol and Sarah Palin are their cheerleaders.


Some Guy said...

Amen, JY. The McCain campaign is clearly getting desperate and will no doubt return to Rove-style tactics for the remainder.

Anonymous said...

I find it difficult to not write about Palin. She has this ability to make people want to talk about how much they hate her.

Bubs said...

As a side note, Real Clear Politics tilts slightly to the right, and they STILL have Obama leading.

Erik Donald France said...

Right on. Luckily, this sideshow having been vetted during the primaries, it too, shall pass.

Obama is not only riposting effectively, he's also on the offensive where it counts. Keep talking about the economy.

He's also a lot more animated than Kerry, who even so only lost by one state. We can flip several this time. Don't want to jinx it, but McCain-Palin are toast. Perhaps she can get Liebermann to run with her in 2012. That turncoat certainly hasn't a snowball's chance in hell of being reelected to the Senate. He DOES believe in country first -- if that country is Israel.

deadspot said...

I'm rather fond of "The Party of Hoover" right now. Why do people keep putting them in charge of our money? I wouldn't trust these clowns with the change in my desk drawer.

Mnmom said...

1. She calls it politics, I call it lying like a rug.
2. Can anyone tell me exactly WHY we are in Iraq?? I'd really like someone from the Party Challenged By Reality to explain this.
3. How can any party back a candidate who's only claim to success in a debate is that she wasn't a complete train wreck?

I hope she just fades away, loses reelection in Alaska, and becomes a humorous side note in political history.

Jess Wundrun said...

Palin said that Obama wants more troops to die in Iraq because he wants to ... get them out of Iraq?

She really is geographically challenged.

Leonesse said...

I am so scared they will win. I know people who think she is the bee's knees.

Scared, I tell ya.

The odd thing? I know people who are afraid of the opposite.

MacGuffin said...

At least David Brooks is finally willing to admit (begrudgingly) what a joke the Palin pick really is. A joke of the cancerous variety.