Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Joshua Marshall:

All politicians stretch the truth, massage it into the best fit with their message. But, let's face it, John McCain is running a campaign almost entirely based on straight up lies. Not just exaggerations or half truths but the sort of straight up, up-is-down mind-blowers we've become so accustomed to from the current occupants of the White House. And today McCain comes out with this rancid, race-baiting ad based on another lie. Willie Horton looks mild by comparison. (And remember, President George H.W. Bush never ran the Willie Horton ad himself. It was an outside group. He wasn't willing to degrade himself that far.)... This is ugly stuff. And this is an ugly person. There's clearly no level of sleaze this guy won't stoop to to win this election.

And let's be frank. He might win it. This is clearly a testing time for Obama supporters. But I want to return to a point I made a few years ago during the Social Security battle with President Bush. Winning and losing is never fully in one's control -- not in politics or in life. What is always within our control is how we fight and bear up under pressure. It's easy to get twisted up in your head about strategy and message and optics. But what is already apparent is that John McCain is running the sleaziest, most dishonest and race-baiting campaign of our lifetimes. So let's stopped being shocked and awed by every new example of it. It is undignified. What can we do? We've got a dangerously reckless contender for the presidency and a vice presidential candidate who distinguished her self by abuse of office even on the comparatively small political stage of Alaska. They've both embraced a level of dishonesty that disqualifies them for high office. Democrats owe it to the country to make clear who these people are. No apologies or excuses. If Democrats can say at the end of this campaign that they made clear exactly how and why these two are unfit for high office they can be satisfied they served their country.

Andrew Sullivan (former McCain fan):
...McCain made a decision that revealed many appalling things about him. In the end, his final concern is not national security. No one who cares about national security would pick as vice-president someone who knows nothing about it as his replacement. No one who cares about this country's safety would gamble the security of the world on a total unknown because she polled well with the Christianist base. No person who truly believed that the surge was integral to this country's national security would pick as his veep candidate a woman who, so far as we can tell anything, opposed it at the time.

McCain has demonstrated in the last two months that he does not have the character to be president of the United States. And that is why it is more important than ever to ensure that Barack Obama is the next president. The alternative is now unthinkable. And McCain - no one else - has proved it.

I'll have more on this later. Gotta run to my ethics seminar right now....


Anonymous said...

Disgusted, yes, but no need to get discouraged. The election is won on the day of the election. The organized side--- the side that gets registered voters to turn out and actually vote--- will win. My bet is, that is the side for Obama. The Palin story caught hold of the nation because well, how could it not? Outside of Alaska, almost no one had even heard of her! That said, people can be truly kooky and, when it appeals to their baser emotions, believe--- and vote for--- all sorts of nonsense. So, Obama supporters, those of you who can see that the emperor has no clothes, get to work! Make phone calls. Canvas. Put out signs on your lawn, on your car, hand them out at the stoplights. Put the shoe leather to the ground. And, especially, PLAN TO WORK FOR THE CAMPAIGN ON THE WEEKEND BEFORE ANS THE DAY OF THE ELECTION. That's:
Saturday Nov 1
Sunday Nov 2
Monday Nov 3
and the election is Tues Nov 4th.

To volunteer, just go to

And if you're in DC, gear up to take a hike over the Potomac and help Virginia come to its senses. Check out

Anonymous said...


From: Adam L. Barr
Subject: [DC for Obama] Upset About What's Happening?

***Please Forward***

This election is getting tighter and tighter, and time is running out. I am sure we all have our opinions about what has caused our latest slide in the polls. I am sure many of you are feeling helpless to prevent the disaster that you see over the horizon. However, the reality is that there is much that each of us can and must do to win this election.

We have a simple formula for winning in November; expanding the electorate, identifying our supporters, and making sure they vote on election day. We cannot control what the media says about Sarah Palin, but we can control our own actions. It will be our actions that decide this election.

Virginia is going to play a critical role in deciding whether Barack Obama will be our next President, and it is going to be a close race there. The extent to which we mobilize will be the X factor in this election. If we all join a DC to VA Victory Team, spend as much time as we can spare with our neighbors to the South, and bring our friends with us, we will be that much closer to changing the course of history. Nearly 300 of you have signed up so far, but that is not enough. More than 1400 of you volunteered with us during the primary. Well, the stakes are higher now and the election is less than two months away.

What is a DC to VA Victory Team and why join one?

Each of the seven DC to VA Victory Teams is comprised of volunteers that chose to work in a specific city, based on the demographics of the area. Per the campaign's direct request, all of these seven cities are in Northern Virginia. Team members will meet up at a central location on weekends, carpool together down to their Virginia field office, walk door-to-door registering new voters, identifying Obama supporters, and ensuring that they come out and vote for us. Joining a DC to VA Victory Team is the most important thing you can do for this campaign. It is the most important thing you can do for our country. This personal contact with voters is proven to be the most effective means of generating votes. It is a winning strategy, but we cannot win without you. It is true that you could simply go to a field office alone and volunteer. However, if this campaign has shown us anything, it has shown us that we are far more effective when we work together towards a common goal. Joining a team will provide you the opportunity to help other supporters be of greater benefit to the campaign. If you have a car, joining a team ensures that your car is always full when you make the ride to your local Virginia field office. If you are a natural leader, joining a team will give you the opportunity to keep your team motivated. The list could go on...

For more information on this initiative, and to sign up, visit EndUser.aspx?9BBFD3CB9CDDCCCC

Are you unable to spend your weekends knocking on doors for Obama? You can still help. The success of this program will depend on two things; enthusiastic volunteers, and money to fund the program. If you would like to make phone calls to supporters in DC asking them to join a DC to VA Victory Team, please send an email to If you would like to help fund this program, please contact Adam Barr at All contributions to this effort are considered campaign contributions to the Virginia Campaign for Change, a joint committee of Obama for America and the Virginia Democratic Party.

"We cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done... At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future." - Senator Barack Obama, August 28, 2008

Adam L. Barr
Founder, DC for Obama
DC to VA Victory Teams Co-Coordinator

kalsang said...

As I see it, the problem is the one so well described by George Lakoff in his DON'T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT. I see Obama, just like Kerry four years ago, on the defensive, arguing within the skewed frames set up by McCain. The only thing that would work is to start an equally scurrilous smear campaign, raising equally damaging spectres such as, "McCain is too old to run; he has dementia", or "Palin wants child rape victims to suffer". Loathsome, but defensive speeches explaining that Obama really didn't want to teach kids about sex, or that community organising is a good thing, are not going to cut it against the GOP's now well established practise of repeating lies until miraculously the populace believes them unquestioningly.

helmut said...

Anonymous - thanks for the info.

Kalsang - I think Obama has a knack for transcending the "frame." The idea tossed around elsewhere that he has a rope-a-dope style (allowing opponents to work themselves into a state of fatigue (for everyone involved) and then popping them) is right. The McCain campaign, given the VP pick, and given some signs from the mass media that they're going to now pursue the reality of the campaign, can implode all on its own.

So, I guess I don't concur with your take. One of the big advantages Obama has is that he's not willing to get nasty. He's presidential. McCain and Palin are showing themselves to be tinpots.

But I also understand the lack of patience and the sense of discouragement from seeing these obscene attacks from the McCain camp over and over while the Obama campaign seems to do little about them. My own first impulse is to punch back. But I'm not so sure that's the wisest way for Obama to run his campaign. In fact, by sitting back and taking the blows, he's shown just how far superior he is to McCain (who, over the past month, has managed all by himself to destroy any claim to integrity - and leadership - he's ever had).

C.M. Mayo said...

Right on, Helmut.