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16 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
03:06 pm


Turns out that the YouTube of Mitt Romney was from the primary season.  Thanks to reader KMD for pointing out the mistake.

I will say, however, that it goes to show that charges that McCain lies are not new.  That said, I apologize for the misleading info.

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16 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
07:45 am

Et Tu, Mitt Romney? (UPDATED)

UPDATE:   Turns out that this is from the primary season.  Thanks to reader KMD for pointing out the mistake.  I will say, however, that it goes to show that charges that McCain lies are not new.  That said, I apologize for the misleading information.

Okay, this is getting craaaaazy.  Mitt Romney — Mitt Romney! — is calling out John McCain for lying.  Mitt Romney?

Et tu, Mitte?

My guess is that Romney recognizes that a McCain victory in 2008 effectively kills his chance to be President — Sarah Palin will become the heir apparent.  Romney needs to create an environment where McCain and Palin both go down in flames as dishonest lying liars who lie.

This also may be a bit of sour grapes:  Romney swallowed his pride and sucked up to McCain in the hope/expectation that he would get the VP nod.  And instead, McCain picks that woman.  It must have really frosted him.  And now it’s payback time.

Romney is no paragon of virtue in my book.  Anyone who wants to triple the size of Guantanamo is not a person I want to see anywhere near the White House.  In war, however, you don’t choose your allies.  And if Romney wants to go on the attack, more power to him.

Hat tip:  Matthew Yglesias

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3 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:16 pm

Mittens Redux Redux

Wait a second.  Who freaking caused the mortgage meltdown?  The unions?

Oh, and now we have the fear card.

Oh and we’re negotiating with two of the members of the Axis of Evil.

You know, Thompson and Lieberman didn’t make me nuts, but Mittens is freaking driving me nuts.

The only consolation I have is that most people don’t buy their nonsense anymore.

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3 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:12 pm

Mittens Redux

Is a government that tortures people liberal or conservative?

Is a government that waterboards people liberal or conservative?

Is a government that renders people to countries that torture liberal or conservative?

Is a government that pursues aggressive war liberal or conservative?

Is a government that spits on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights liberal or conservative?

Is a government that spits on the Convention on Torture and the Geneva Conventions liberal or conservative?

Neither.  It’s twisted sick slime.  And we’re Big Brother?

But for Mittens, it’s all about victimization.

And stop with the Hayek lesson please.

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3 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:08 pm


He got a bigger ovation than W.  But he’s not worth live blogging.  I think I’d have to gouge my eyes out with a spoon if I had to stare at that hair for 15 minutes.

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3 September 2008 Charles J. Brown
03:31 pm

The True Experience Test

Pundits and bloggers have spilled a lot of ink (and bits) this week over whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be a “heartbeat away from the Presidency.”  I’m not sure that’s the right question.

Let’s pose a different hypothetical.  What if John McCain were to die tomorrow?  Would the Republican National Committee name Sarah Palin to be their candidate?  Probably, in fact almost definitely not.  They would turn to someone else — Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, maybe even Fred Thompson.  But you can bet the bank they would not choose her.

To be fair, were we to pose the same hypothetical about the Democrats, there’s a very real possibility that DNC members would not name Joe Biden — they would almost definitely name Hillary Clinton.  But Biden would be a clear second choice, passed over not because he was qualified but rather because Hillary got almost as many votes as Barack.

In contrast, Palin probably wouldn’t even make the top five.  Senior Republican leaders don’t believe she’s qualified.  That’s why so many party regulars are leaking to the press.  They’re stunned and angry, and worry that she will drag down the ticket.  They don’t believe she has the foreign policy chops.  They also don’t believe she knows how to manage a large and complex economy.

The key question isn’t whether Palin is qualified to be President “someday.”  The key question is whether Republicans believe that she is qualified to be President right now.

| posted in foreign policy, politics, pop culture | 0 Comments

30 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
05:30 am

Palin: Best Joke So Far

John McCain left both his first wife and Mitt Romney for beauty queens.


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29 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
10:30 am

Light Labor Day

Okay people, I’m supposed to be on vacation.  Every damn time I go on vacation there’s major news.  Tonight, I didn’t mind — it was something I’ve been working to make happen for nearly a year.  But damnit, John McCain, you couldn’t give me a freaking day off?

So I’m going to live blog the vice-coronation of Mittens or Pawlenty or — my pick — Wilford Brimley:

Then I’ll probably take a good part of the rest of the day off to remember what my wife and daughter look like.

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26 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:02 pm

McCain: He Works Hard for the Money. . . .

. . . .So hard for it honey.

Today, Mitt Romney said that John McCain got his seven homes as a result of hard work.


No, really.

Speaking to reporters at a lunch sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Romney said that while McCain deserved his houses because of the “hard work” of himself and his family, “Barack Obama got a special deal from a convicted felon.”

“I think it was a strange thing for Barack Obama to seize upon,” Romney said. “If homes is going to be the topic of discussion that Barack Obama is going to end up on the short end of that one.”

He said “short list.” I think that’s Mittspeak for “Oh please please please puhleeeze Mr. McCain.  I’ll be a good little veep.  I’m sooooo sorry I said all those mean things about you.”

Actually, Mittens is telling the truth.   It’s hard work to sleep around on your disabled first wife until you find a hot young heiress.  And it was before Viagra, even.  Now that’s stamina!

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23 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
09:06 am

If It’s Romney. . .

If McCain is picking Romney as his VP, then I think the McCain attack ad using Biden’s comments against Obama is a mistake.  Because the Obama campaign can, in response, use this little gem:

And then there was this May 2007 entry from the NYT Caucus blog:

It does not look much like there’s a McCain-Romney ticket is in the offing. Consider Senator John McCain’s latest riposte to Mitt Romney, who has been attacking him lately for his support of the Senate’s new accord on immigration.

“In the case of Governor Romney, you know, maybe I should wait a couple of weeks and see if it changes, because it’s changed in less than a year from his position before,’’ Mr. McCain said on a conference call for bloggers. “And maybe his solution will be to get out his small-varmint gun and drive those Guatemalans off his lawn.’’

[You can listen to audio of the exchange here]

That’s just the start based on 2 min on Google.  There are return shots from Romney too.

As the old saying goes, those in glass houses. . . .

Off to our wedding.  More later.

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22 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
01:15 pm

A Path to Victory for McCain — Maybe the Only One

I know that today is going to be taken up with Obamaveepalooza, but something just occurred to me about  McCain’s campaign.

Despite McCain’s recent gains, I remain convinced that Obama is going to win, and probably win with a significant majority in the electoral college.  McCain’s “celebrity” attacks really only put him in striking distance, and barring a major screw-up by the Obama campaign, an Obama collapse in the debates, or the capture of bin Laden, I don’t see him getting any closer — especially now that his signature issue, Iraq, is for all intents and purposes, off the table.

So his choice of vice presidents is one of his last opportunities to change the game.

By all accounts, there are four finalists:  Lieberman, Ridge, Romney, and Pawlenty.  Three of the four are anethema to right-wing evangelicals:  Lieberman and Ridge because of their pro-choice views, Romney because he’s a Mormon.  Choosing any of them will depress turnout, and choosing a pro-choice candidate may so depress the base that Obama will win in a walk  (which is why I’m hoping he’ll do it).  And Pawlenty is the Tim Kaine of Republican politics:  mild-mannered milquetoast with with a side of boring.

Given the current kerfuffle about the 206 homes McCain owns, he’s missing an opportunity here.  Speaking not as a partisan but as an analyst, the right choice is. . .none of the above.

Only one candidate would turn out base in big numbers and at the same time cut the “rich and out of touch” stories off at the knees.

Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee makes evangelicals enthusiastic, excites economic populists (some of whom remain unmoved by Obama), and takes states like North Carolina, Georgia and even Indiana off the table.

And thanks to Chuck Norris, Huckabee might even bring back the Dungeons and Dragons/World of Warcraft nerd vote.

Yes, the Club for Growth, Grover Norquist, and other economic conservatives would probably have an aneurysm.  And yes, it may drive some libertarians to support either Barr or Obama.  But no other choice would do more to change the paradigm.  And for McCain, I think Huckabee’s upsides far outweigh his downsides.

Keep in mind I’m not advocating for Huckabee.  But if I were in McCain’s shoes, that’s who I’d pick.

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21 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
08:45 am

Election 2008: Calm Down, People

For some reason, the meme on the intertubes yesterday was “OMG Obama is flailing! OMG! OMG!”  I’m not quite sure why, but several factors appear to be at play:  several new national polls show McCain within the margin of error; growing fears that McCain’s negative ads have had an impact on Obama; and several progressive bloggers — particularly Josh Marshall and friends over at TPM — hit Obama hard today for what they see as his relative passivity.

My response?  Calm down, people.

What follows is a list of the reasons I’m not worried.  This one goes to sixteen.

1,  Too much was made of the “Berlin bounce.” Too many Obama supporters got giddy over something that, a few weeks later, most people have forgotten. The same will be true about the celebrity kerfuffle (more on that in a minute).

2.  The conventions haven’t happened yet.  Despite the fact that some of us have been following this thing for 206 years, most people aren’t paying attention yet.

3.  National polls don’t matter — if they did, Al Gore would be in the last seven months of his presidency.

4.  Although there are reasons to be nervous, Obama is still doing well in a number of states.  Yes, some races are tightening, but that’s to be expected.  The only two I’m worried about at this point are Michigan (and only if Mitt Romney is McCain’s VP and the Kwame Kilpatrick saga gets worse) and Minnesota (where Al Franken is so badly hurt by Coleman’s “use his comedy to destroy him” strategy that he’s dragging Obama down).  To be clear, things aren’t wonderful; they’re not even great.  But they’re not bad, considering everything McCain has thrown in Obama’s direction over the past few weeks. (To be clear, this is all based on my gut feeling; if you want statistical models, go to Nate Silver’s brilliant site.)

5.  I do think that Obama did make one mistake recently:  the timing of his Olympic advertising.  It appears that the majority of his buy was during week two, and his focus is primarily on policy rather than biography.  McCain, meanwhile, appears to have spread out his buy, using week one to run his attack ads and week two for biography.  (If anyone has more than anecdotal evidence that I’m either right or wrong about this, please let me know.) Given the huge interest in Michael Phelps and gymnastics, that may have been a misjudgment.  But I doubt it will have a long-term impact.

6.  Things are more likely to go Obama’s way over the next few weeks, barring a major misstep.  If he picks Biden (or Gore or Clark, for that matter) he’ll get a bump.  If his acceptance speech is up to his usual standard, he’ll get a bump.  Meanwhile, McCain is unlikely to get similar bumps from his VP pick or his speech (unless expectations are so low that he manages not to look bad).  And Rudy Giuliani as the Republican keynoter?  WTF?  Talk about the stench of defeat.  Gee, I wonder if he’ll talk about 9/11?

7.  If McCain picks Ridge, Lieberman, Wittman, or Fiorina, he’ll have an evangelical revolt on his hands.  He may pick up a point or two from the PUMAs, but he’ll lose two to three times that from the Dobson brigade staying home.

8.  Ron Paul could be to 2008 what Pat Buchanan was to 1992.  Bob Barr is going to suck more votes away from McCain than Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney will from Obama.  It probably won’t matter, but that’s what we thought about Nader in 2000.

9.  McCain is starting to make mistakes.  For example, his comments on water rights in Colorado may cost him the state.  Even the mainstream media is starting to notice.

10.  McCain has had a great month, but what really did he get out of it?  That Obama is a celebrity?  If this is the 2008 equivalent of swift-boating, then Obama will be fine.  And some voters were not happy with the attacks.  Obama’s negatives may have gone up, but so did McCain’s.

11. As we get closer to the election, real issues are going to matter more than the nonsense Schmidt and company are regurgitating right now.  Obama’s people understand that, and their targeting of specific ads in specific markets reflects a canny approach to exposing McCain’s weaknesses on the economy.

12.  I live in a battleground state (Virginia).  Now I know that Obama’s people know I’m supporting Obama — after all, I co-managed the NoVa phone bank during the primary (35,000 calls  by over 300 volunteers in 5 days, baybee).  Right now, I’m getting, on average two to three  calls a week asking me to volunteer.  That’s what people mean by Obama having a superior ground game.  It will make a difference in a number of states — just as Bush’s did four years ago.

13.  The debates.  Obama may not be as effective at debating as he is at oratory (and McCain may be better), but unless McCain starts coming up with some actual positions, he’s going to find it hard to talk about Obama’s alleged character defects for two hours.

14.  Sooner or later, someone is going to ask McCain a hard question he can’t answer in a venue he can’t avoid, or someone is going to say something to set him off in a manner that will cause people to question his character.

15.  Yes racism is a factor, but so is anti-racism.  For example, both my parents are Republicans (though my father is a former Democrat).  My mother still thinks Nixon is innocent.  Yet both are voting for Obama.  Why?  In part because they want the chance to make history — and erase the legacy of their generation.

16.  McCain’s decision to work within the existing federal campaign spending limits was a fatal mistake.  Obama will be able to outspend him by huge margins in every way that matters.  Yes, the RNC has an advantage over the DNC, but not enough to even the playing field.  McCain will either have to devote resources to shore up what should have been sure things (and thus not have as much money to spend on other battlegrounds) or find himself with more states in which to compete.  Either way, he loses.

So calm down and keep your eyes on the prize, people.  But that doesn’t mean you should relax.  We have roughly 100 days left.  It’s time to work your rear ends off.

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