An Embarrassing Endorsement for John McCain

In the previous post I noted that John McCain has far more extremist associations in his past than Barack Obama does. The difference is that the McCain campaign has been practicing McCarthyism while Obama has avoided this line of attack. There was an endorsement for McCain today which is so extreme and so potentially damaging to McCain that the Obama campaign has been spreading it around. The endorsement by Dick Cheney can be seen in this video:


Obama also commented on this endorsement while campaigning in Colorado:

President Bush is sitting out the last few days before the election. But earlier today, Dick Cheney came out of his undisclosed location and hit the campaign trail. He said that he is, and I quote, “delighted to support John McCain.”

I’d like to congratulate Senator McCain on this endorsement because he really earned it. That endorsement didn’t come easy. Senator McCain had to vote 90 percent of the time with George Bush and Dick Cheney to get it. He served as Washington’s biggest cheerleader for going to war in Iraq, and supports economic policies that are no different from the last eight years. So Senator McCain worked hard to get Dick Cheney’s support.

But here’s my question for you, Colorado: do you think Dick Cheney is delighted to support John McCain because he thinks John McCain’s going to bring change? Do you think John McCain and Dick Cheney have been talking about how to shake things up, and get rid of the lobbyists and the old boys club in Washington?

Colorado, we know better. After all, it was just a few days ago that Senator McCain said that he and President Bush share a “common philosophy.” And we know that when it comes to foreign policy, John McCain and Dick Cheney share a common philosophy that thinks that empty bluster from Washington will fix all of our problems, and a war without end in Iraq is the way to defeat Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorists who are in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

So George Bush may be in an undisclosed location, but Dick Cheney’s out there on the campaign trail because he’d be delighted to pass the baton to John McCain. He knows that with John McCain you get a twofer: George Bush’s economic policy and Dick Cheney’s foreign policy – but that’s a risk we cannot afford to take.

Saturday Night Live recently satirized the effects of George Bush endorsing Cheney in a video posted here. I wonder if they will revisit this issue with Cheney’s endorsement when McCain appears on the show tonight.

Another Desperation Move From the Republicans

With only a few days to go until the election,the Republicans have failed to learn the lessons of Hillary Clinton’s defeat to Barack Obama. Instead of presenting positive arguments to vote for John McCain they have concentrated on a succession of smears which have only backfired against them. After the 2004 election, when John Kerry was defeated by the false claims of the Swift Boat Liars and other dishonest smears, Mark Halperin and John Harris predicted in The Way to Win that the winner of the 2008 election would be the candidate who could best take advantage of what they described as the freak show. This year McCain has tried to take advantage of the freak show to smear Obama, and in each case Obama was able to take the narrative beyond such attacks and come out ahead.

Like Clinton, Republicans tried to demonize Obama by distorting his associations with others. The result was to reduce their own support by resorting to such McCarthyist tactics as most realized that these attacks represent a direct assault on a free society. An objective look at the associations of McCain and Obama would show far more examples of McCain associating with extremists (such as here, here, here,and here). Obama wisely avoided this line of attack and stuck with more meaningful issues.

Republicans distorted Obama’s comments on wealth to falsely claim he supported redistribution of wealth, but most Americans backed Obama’s desire to reduce income disparity and Republican policies which unfairly benefit the ultra-wealthy. Obama also reduced the effect of this attack by heavily advertising on this issue, allowing most voters to hear that Obama would spread the wealth around by reducing taxes on the middle class and small business, and by growing the economy for all, as opposed to any socialistic ideas.

Today there is yet another weak line of attack coming from the right wing noise machine regarding Barack Obama’s aunt who is living in the country illegally. Zachary Roth tracked the story noting, “First the Murdoch-owned Times of London reported Thursday that Obama’s aunt, Zeituni Onyango, is living in a Boston public-housing complex. It’s unclear how the paper learned of the woman’s presence in the U.S.” From there he described how it was picked up by other portions of the media and blogosphere in the right wing echo chamber.

Once the right wing noise machine spread this sufficiently it was picked up by the mainstream media, beginning with AP, along with an interesting note regarding how the information was obtained:

Information about the deportation case was disclosed and confirmed by two separate sources, one of them a federal law enforcement official. The information they made available is known to officials in the federal government, but the AP could not establish whether anyone at a political level in the Bush administration or in the McCain campaign had been involved in its release.

Josh Marshall adds:

That’s about as transparent a red flag as an outfit like the AP is usually willing to give. And there you have it. Quite likely working in concert with the McCain campaign, a Bush administration official is leaking details on an immigration case to try to help McCain three days before the election. It’s shades of Bush I’s riffling through Bill Clinton’s passport files just before the 1992 election in a desperate last minute gambit as they were swirling down the drain.

It is tactics such as this, along with the McCarthyist attacks on Obama’s past associations and claims of supporting socialism, which provide the primary reason why I would vote for Obama regardless of disagreements on some issues. Unlike the majority of plumbers and others the Republicans are trying to scare, I’m in the small minority who will wind up paying more in taxes under Obama’s tax plan than McCain’s. Paying even an extra $1000 a year, which what the difference would amount to under their current plans except for the ultra-wealthy, is worth paying if this means removing people from government who behave as if they running a banana republic, and who openly disparage freedom of speech and association.

Current Republican tactics are not only unethical (and in this case possibly illegal) but are not even very likely to help them. Marc Ambinder points out:

Barack Obama’s long-lost aunt, who is living in poverty, might be deported for being in the country illegally…and this is supposed to make people not want to vote for Barack Obama?

Republicans think anti-immigrant forces are going to be rallied by attacking a middle aged woman in her fifties?  This is what’s going to swing independents back to McCain?  Reminding people (a) of an actual human face on the receiving end of anti-immigration policies and (b) that the Democratic candidate is personally affected by a complicated issue facing many American families?

And assuming voters _are_ motivated by the connection, they’re going to turn to McCain as their anti-immigrant savior?

Liberal Values Breaks 100,000 Page Views for October

If only interest in blogs such as this was as high every month as it is during a hot political race. Thanks to interest in the general election campaign, Liberal Values reached a new high in October with over 106,000 page loads. This doesn’t include the approximately 7000 people who read the blog in RSS readers and from email subscriptions, or those who read posts on the web pages of many news organizations as distributed by BlogBurst.

Prior to this month, our busiest month was in February as the primary battle heated up, with January through May all being very busy. Traffic dropped back by mid May as Obama mathematically appeared to have wrapped up the nomination, along with the usual drop which occurs towards summer, and then picked up again with the conventions in late August.

Hopefully many of the new readers will stick around after the election. There is bound to be plenty to blog about as, assuming the polls are accurate, a new administration is formed. I’ll also be able to return to the wider variety of topics which were common here prior to the campaign heating up and dominating discussion in the news and blogosphere.

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