Saturday, August 09, 2008 

Another Republican Weighs In

Republican blogger and activist Andy Aplikowski has called his party's presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, "a low life," "a low life scumwad," not a "real man," held that he has "a character flaw and weakness" and perhaps most damning, says he has "no business running the country."

Aplikowski lumps Sen. McCain in with former Sen. John Edwards, whose affair was revealed this week, in applying the above terms to "any man who cheats." Aplikowski perhaps forgets that Sen. McCain is an admitted adulterer, having cheated on his first wife, Carol McCain, with his second wife, Cindy McCain, in 1979 and 1980.

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Monday, May 26, 2008 

3 AM

It doesn't matter whether the courts allow it - the mere fact that your government believes it has the right to drag you out of your home in the middle of the night, with no due process, is deeply terrifying.

This is why electing a Democratic president in November is so important.

Friday, May 23, 2008 

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Is Barack Obama Muslim?

No.

 

Attracting Attention

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers argues:

I think the Obama campaign has chosen wisely the past week or so, to let Senator Clinton "implode" on her own. And it's obviously beginning to happen. Senator Obama and his campaign have been very hands-off lately with the Clinton campaign, instead focusing their energy on McCain and not letting him or his campaign get away with baseless attacks. So far, he has responded with force, dignity, intelligence, and calmness, and turned from defense to offense admirably and fairly. He is looking more and more presidential every day, and Senator Clinton is looking less so each day. I think the Obama campaign statement today was perfect: it didn't use Wolfson-like venom, but simply used the words "unfortunate" and "has no place in this campaign". Laser-like precision!

What seems more likely to me is that, with the nomination all but sewn up, Sen. Obama doesn't need to battle with Sen. Clinton on a daily basis. Instead, he can (at least appear to) look to the general election with Sen. McCain, and Clinton is forced to make her own headlines. Practically everything that can be said has been said (how many times can she "ramp up" her case that Florida and Michigan should be seated?) and so she's left having to make incendiary statements to make it into the headlines. We think this is massively backfiring, and it would surprise us if a significant number of superdelegates came over to the Obama side in the next day or two.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008 

One Heck of an Assumption

According to an AP article running in the Star Tribune, Sen. John McCain is making a rather significant assumption in the presidential race.
Republican John McCain's game plan for beating Democrat Barack Obama rests on one huge assumption: Despite an unpopular war, an uncertain economy and the GOP's beleaguered status, the country still leans more to the right than to the left.
This kind of strategy lies at the core of why McCain is doomed to fail. It comes down to McCain just not getting it. After eight disastrous years of President Bush and his Republican congressional cronies, Americans have seen quite enough of what qualifies as "conservatism" these days.

This is exactly the kind of thing that Karl Rove believed, up until the very moment that the House and Senate went to the Democrats in 2006. Remember, Rove was so confident that "after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists--to study just how wrong the polls were."

Rove believing that, even in the face of piles of predictors to the contrary, was defensible - nothing is for sure in elections until all the votes have been counted. But today, McCain's strategy ignores the actual results of the 2006 elections. Even more incredibly, Republicans have lost three House seats in special elections since March 8th of this year, all in solidly red areas (IL-14, LA-06, MS-01). Republican organizations are struggling to raise money, often lagging far behind their Democratic counterparts. Democratic registration has been surging, thanks to the presidential nomination battle. Social wedge issues critical to Republican success - gay rights, reproductive rights, immigration - have fallen by the wayside as the war and the economy dominate the national debate. There is no evidence to suggest that the country currently leans to the right, or has ever leaned to the right, but John McCain persists.

All this isn't only the reason John McCain will not be elected president, it's also the reason he should not be elected president. A man who can't hear the electorate screaming for change is much too out of touch to hold the nation's highest office.


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Saturday, May 17, 2008 

Kennedy Rushed to Hospital

News outlets are reporting that Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy has been rushed to a hospital with symptoms of a stroke. We are praying for Sen. Kennedy's health and wish him a full and speedy recovery.

Friday, May 16, 2008 

Republicans Brag About Coleman Playing Politics

In a post on MDE this morning, Republican operative Michael Brodkorb highlighted a passage from a Washington Post blog stating that Norm Coleman was "a terrific politician."

Nothing more clearly highlights the difference between Democrats and Republicans in our state. Republican brag about being good at politics. Democrats stand on their accomplishments.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008 

Elitist Tim Pawlenty Vetoes Minimum Wage

No surprise here: Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed today a wage increase for the state's lowest-earning workers.

At a time of rising energy, materials, and food costs, at a time when health care and other necessities are out of reach for many, our esteemed governor has refused to help those who work for a living. Only the good governor would back a presidential candidate who wants to suspend the gas tax (little or no help to working families) while rejecting a measure to help working families afford gas! (And food, and rent, and health care...)

Pawlenty, of course, makes over $120,000 a year. His would-be running mate, along with his wife, is worth tens of millions of dollars.



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Franken Hires New Campaign Manager

As you've no doubt read in the past 10 hours, Al Franken's campaign replaced its campaign manager today. Conservatives, including MDE, take this to mean that Franken's campaign is somehow struggling, that this is a "staff shake-up". You can decide for yourself how Franken's campaign is doing, but as current reported, this seems to be a routine and evolutionary development for a campaign.

Campaign staff, from a campaign manager/campaign chair on down, play much more of a role in what you see and hear from a candidate than most people would realize. Candidates for statewide or federal offices usually have their words written for them, their appearances scheduled by others, their policy packages developed by staff, and so on. All this happens under the direction and leadership of the candidate, of course, but the name on the ballot is rarely intimately involved with the everyday details of the campaign - these are farmed out to staff. There is a fairly small circle of people in the political world who are qualified to hold high-level positions on a major campaign (experience, managerial skill, and political acumen being crucial) and these people are sought after, going from campaign job to campaign job, sometimes moving between elections work and government positions. As with everyone else, these people have their respective strengths and weaknesses, ability and skill sets, and specialties - among which can be getting their candidates through primary seasons.

Now, I don't know anything about Andy Barr, who seems to have been Franken's campaign manager until now, but the fact is that he has cleared the field for Franken (which used to be more competitive, especially with Ciresi having run). This means that the first half of the campaign is complete - Franken has raised piles of money, gotten onto voters' radar screens, and most importantly all but sewn up the nomination, with no primary challenge likely. That's an unqualified victory at this point. If Barr (for whom I can't find much about online) is either inexperienced or a specialist in primaries, he probably isn't the best choice for the next six months. As the Franken campaign pivots to focusing on the general election, it makes sense to bring in new blood, starting at the top.

The campaign's new head, Stephanie Shriock, seems to be the kind of staffer who couldn't be more perfect (at least on paper) if she'd been custom-ordered. She is a Minnesota native (familiarity with the terrain is invaluable), came up in Minnesota campaigns, and is coming off a campaign season in which she pulled off a major upset, having managed Sen. Jon Tester's victory in Montana. That's an awfully good resume.

While the campaign has gone through a rough patch lately, it's hard to make the case that it's anyone's fault but Franken's. The tax debacle is past, and the blame can't be laid on anyone in the campaign except Franken himself. In fact, the campaign's response neutralized the issue much more effectively than could have been. Other aspects of the campaign seem to be running smoothly - fundraising has been steady, and Franken seems to be in good shape for his contest with Sen. Coleman.

While the Republicans would like us to think that Franken is on the ropes, it's just not true. Having to face a well-known and -funded opponent to their slippery, flip-flopping, Bush-loving incumbent, they're getting nervous. It's hard to blame them. But today's news seems to be routine in the life of a campaign, and certainly no need to worry. Especially given that Barr and his co-manager David Benson are both staying with the campaign, I'd tend to believe their assertion that this was always in the cards for the campaign.

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