President McCain

Eric Boehlert documents and deconstructs John McCain’s mind-boggling 13 Sunday news show appearances so far this year. Boehlert and Steve Benen both not that McCain chairs no committees, is not involved in the health care reform debate, and he isn’t currently pushing any major bills on his own nor is he a key swing vote in any legislation under consideration. The Beltway press corps just has an illogical love of John McCain.

It’s great to be reminded that as far as the media is concerned, elections do not have consequences.

McCain Campaign: Not Getting Women or Palin

Today’s Washington Post piece by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson on the McCain campaigns machinations regarding their vice presidential pick really confirms what many Democrats and political observers thought: the McCain campaign had zero understanding or respect for how women make their decisions of who to vote for. Balz and Johnson report that the McCain campaign believed Palin would help McCain win the vote of former Hillary Clinton supporters and women more broadly because Palin was a woman.

As McCain approached his convention, his advisers saw the challenges as overwhelming — and contradictory. First, he needed to distance himself decisively from the president. Second, he needed to cut into Obama’s advantage among female voters. Despite the bitterness of the primaries and some of the mutinous talk among Hillary Rodham Clinton’s most vocal holdouts, the polls showed Obama consolidating most of the Clinton vote. By midsummer, this had become an acute problem for McCain.

Is it any shock that picking an unqualified governor from a tiny state with less than a term of service failed to draw women to support McCain for president? Picking Palin was a cynical ploy, bread out of a fundamental lack of respect for America’s women. I mean, seriously…did these same McCain staff also worry that Obama’s pick of Biden would cost McCain male votes because, hell, men vote for men?

The arrogance and stupidity of the McCain campaign is only born out further by the fact that they only gave themselves “12 hours to compelte the vetting process, take a face-to-face measure of their leading candidate, decide whether McCain and Palin had the chemistry to coexist as a ticket, and make a judgment about whether she was ready for the rigors of a national campaign.” I wouldn’t buy a car or a house or pick a school for my kids with such little research, but the McCain campaign thought that sufficient to pick the person who would be second in line to the presidency.

The story goes on to report that while Palin was deemed legally suitable for candidacy (something which I or most any other Alaskan political blogger could have told you was untrue), she never received adequate evaluation of the political risks she carried. They really only looked at her incorrectly perceived upside. It’s not new information, but McCain himself made the decision to pick Palin after only an hour long meeting with her.  In the end, this fact and the clear lack of detailed vetting that emerged during the course of the campaign, likely sorely cost him. That it was driven by an underlying desperation to shake things up and reclaim women voters seems to have produced an even less strategic, more risk-prone John McCain than we knew throughout the campaign. It’s no wonder that the end result was a crushing defeat, as Americans rejected both McCain and Palin.

Balz and Johnson reveal other intriguing insights in the McCain vice presidential selection process, notably how seriously Joe Lieberman was considered for the spot. I wonder what sort of “stunned” Holy Joe was when McCain told his pal that he’d picked a no-name from Alaska over him. If there’s anyone more self-righteous and egotistical than Sarah Palin, it’s Joe Lieberman and I can’t imagine he swallowed this bitter pill easily. Not that I feel bad for the man or anything…

Election Day Twitter Comparisons

This is as good a microcosm of the campaigns run by Barack Obama and John McCain. On election day, the Obama twitter account asks people to vote and the McCain twitter account links to a week old blog post attacking Chris Matthews for being critical of Sarah Palin.


Asking you to vote Nov. 4th. Visit, call 877-874-6226 or text VOTE to 62262 to find your polling locations. 


Chris Matthews, Not A Constitutional Scholar: Earlier this week Chris Matthews exhibited such a stunni..

‘Nuff said.

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What D-Day Said

D-Day, posting at Hullabaloo, writes about John McCain’s flailing answer in the debate on Ayers, ACORN, and hate speech at his campaign rallies:

John McCain is a terrible candidate and that is the perfect example. But even if he was a stellar, superior candidate, I just don’t think it would matter. People have rendered their verdict on conservatism.

“Health of the Mother”

I don’t have a lot to say about the final presidential debate, other than I’m glad we don’t have to sit through any more. Obama was great in all of his debates and while not every answer was what I wanted to hear as a progressive movementarian, he undoubtedly connected to voters by a far greater margin than did McCain.

What really stood out for me last night was the discussion of abortion. Both men and women were through the roof while Obama was speaking about abortion in CNN’s Ohio debate dial poll. It was remarkable. They ate it up. Then McCain rewound the tape 8-16 years and tried to culture war up some votes:

“Health of the mother” in air quotes? I hope that no woman in America will be able to look at John McCain today with anything other than the same disdain that he shows for you.

McCain was a disaster. His ideas are wrong. His policies are unpopular. He is a brash, angry, codger with an entitlement problem. And he’s about to suffer the biggest loss in Republican Party presidential history in nearly 50 years.

Listen to Kristol

John McCain really should take Bill Kristol’s advice in his NYT column today and fire his entire campaign. You know, for the good of the country.

It’s time for John McCain to fire his campaign.

He has nothing to lose. His campaign is totally overmatched by Obama’s. The Obama team is well organized, flush with resources, and the candidate and the campaign are in sync. The McCain campaign, once merely problematic, is now close to being out-and-out dysfunctional. Its combination of strategic incoherence and operational incompetence has become toxic. If the race continues over the next three weeks to be a conventional one, McCain is doomed.

He may be anyway. Bush is unpopular. The media is hostile. The financial meltdown has made things tougher. Maybe the situation is hopeless — and if it is, then nothing McCain or his campaign does matters.

Kristol really strikes me as of the same ilk as all those Tom Friedman and Nick Kristof columns, proclaiming the path the Bush administration should take in Iraq. At no point did the Bush administration ever listen to these columnists, but endorsements of particular plans by ostensibly liberal columnists gave the patina of approval to a failed war. Moreover, the columnists who penned articles that decision makers would never, ever listen to would be able to deploy the incompetence dodge when analyzing the war’s failure in hindsight (“We would have won in Iraq if Bush and Rumsfeld had listened to my column,” bemoans the columnist spurned).

That, to me, seems to be the main point of Kristol’s column today. He’s laying down a marker that might look great in hindsight and distance himself from the outcome of McCain’s campaign. But any analysis of whether Kristol was right in his column today from the vantage point of November 5th will be based around a counterfactual. It won’t be available for actually legitimizing Kristol in the ashes of the McCain campaign.

It’s also worth mentioning that one reason Kristol would be wanting to innoculate himself from the downfall of John McCain and the Republican Party is that he played a critical role in the formation of this ticket. According to Scott Horton, Kristol was the key advocate for Sarah Palin’s vice presidential pick and in so doing, he defeated Karl Rove’s push for Mitt Romney. Given that Palin has been a complete flop outside the Republican base, Kristol will be well served to place distance from the terminal McCain campaign.

I say McCain should take Kristol’s advice. It will succeed in doing two things: electing Barack Obama president and putting the nail in the coffin of Bill Kristol’s reputation. It would be impossible for McCain to operate, let alone win, with complete staff turnover today. It would be impossible for them to buy tv time and plan town halls, as Kristol suggests McCain do, with the termination of the entire campaign. But by all means, John McCain should take Kristol’s advice. The country will be far better off if he does.