Quote of the Day

“During a Senate hearing yesterday, Senator John McCain said it was too hard to always have to update apps on his iPhone. No one has the heart to tell him the device he was holding was a garage door opener.” –Conan O’Brien

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Person of the Year: Barack Obama

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This was a rather obvious choice in an election year. As Time points out, Obama is “the first Democrat in more than 75 years to get a majority of the popular vote twice. Only five other Presidents have done that in all of U.S. history.” Time‘s explanation:

There are many reasons for this, but the biggest by far are the nation’s changing demographics and Obama’s unique ability to capitalize on them. When his name is on the ballot, the next America — a younger, more diverse America — turns out at the polls. In 2008, blacks voted at the same rate as whites for the first time in history, and Latinos broke turnout records. The early numbers suggest that both groups did it again in 2012, even in nonbattleground states, where the Obama forces were far less organized. When minorities vote, that means young people do too, because the next America is far more diverse than the last. And when all that happens, Obama wins. He got 71% of Latinos, 93% of blacks, 73% of Asians and 60% of those under 30.

They left out the more important fact that Obama ran against a Republican Party which has moved to the extreme right and very well might never again be able to win a national election until the party changes. (Some Republican apologists might counter by claims that John McCain and Mitt Romney are moderates but in reality both ran on platforms which were bat-shit crazy, even if the Republicans do have even worse lunatics among their ranks.)
Time’s interview with Obama gives indications we are living in a world which the authoritarian right just cannot handle. Obama took time to announce his support for gay marriage, but we may have reached a tipping point where any candidate who does not support marriage equality would be seen in the same light as someone who didn’t support interracial marriage. Obama is more conservative than many of his supporters on drugs, and it is a disappointment that he is not ending the drug war, but at least does not intend to use government resources for prosecution of marijuana users:

I have a couple of policy questions growing out of that shift. Do you expect your administration will join the gay marriage cases at the Supreme Court?

We are looking at the cases right now. I’ve already been very clear about DOMA, so there is no doubt that we would continue the position we’re on, that DOMA is unconstitutional and should be struck down. And I think the Prop-8 case, because the briefs are still being written, I should probably be careful about making any specific comments on it.

One of the other big things that happened in the election was in Washington State and Colorado, marijuana for recreational use was legalized. And, again, the same base — the younger people, more progressive people are in favor of that. Is a recreational marijuana user who is following state law someone who should be a federal law enforcement priority?

No. And I think what the Justice Department has consistently asserted is that it’s got finite resources. Our focus has to be on threats to safety, threats to property. When it comes to drug enforcement, big-time drug dealers, folks who are preying on our kids, those who are engaging in violence — that has to be our focus.

Now, obviously, you’ve got a challenge, which is federal laws that are still on the books making marijuana a Class I drug that is subject to significant penalties, and you’ve got state laws now that say it’s legal. We’re going to have to have a conversation about how to reconcile that, because it puts the Department of Justice and the U.S. attorneys in a pretty tough position; they don’t want to look like they’re nullifying laws that are on the books; their job is to carry out the laws of the federal government. On the other hand, I think not only have these states indicated that they’ve got a different view, but what’s also true isthat the public as a whole — even those who don’t necessarily agree with decriminalization of marijuana — don’t think that this should be a top priority for law enforcement.

So this will be something that we navigate over the next several months and next several years. I think that the broader lesson to draw here is that substance abuse is a big problem in oursociety, and we should be doing everything we can to prevent our kids from being trapped by substance abuse. I think a law enforcement model alone, or an emphasis on a law enforcement strategy and not enough emphasis on the public health approach and treatment has not yielded the kind of results that I think we would like. And we’re going to have to have a serious discussion about that.

There are many pictures worth viewing accompanying the articles:
Obama Clinton
Obama Spiderman
Obama from Behind
Obama Chicago
obama white house
Obama Families 911 Victims
Obama Bo
Obama 3D Glasses
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John McCain Was Not The Only Recent Candidate Who Had Bad Experiences With Running Mate

Lacking the desire to actually look in detail at the issues, many journalists are concentrating on stories about Romney’s potential running mates. Reports often stress the importance of not repeating John McCain’s mistake in choosing Sarah Palin, but McCain was not the only recent presidential candidate who made a mistake in running mate The New York Times reports that John Kerry’s staff also has advice for Romney:

Ms. Myers has sought advice from previous presidential campaigns, including aides to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry’s 2004 race, who warned against picking a candidate with unchecked ambitions.

Kerry’s office also blasted Romney for claiming that Kerry only released two years of tax returns when he actually released returns for five years when running for president, with earlier returns released when running for the Senate:

“As Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan once said, people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts,” said David Wade, Kerry’s chief of staff and the Democrat’s national spokesman during the presidential race eight years ago.

“The Romney campaign needs to stop getting their facts wrong about John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry,” Wade added, saying Kerry had put a total of 20 years of tax returns into the public domain by the time he ran for president.

John McCain denies recent speculation that he picked Sarah Palin over Mitt Romney after seeing Mitt Romney’s tax returns. Steve Schmidt says that Romney’s wealth but not tax returns were a factor in the decision:

“Sen. McCain got caught flat-footed answering a question about how many houses he owned. In fact, they were Cindy McCain’s properties but that distinction was lost in the political optics and we knew it would be a big liability that the presidential and the vice presidential candidates together owned more than a dozen homes. It was like something out of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit. I mean, come on.”

 

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Romney Retired Retroactively From Bain

The biggest problem for Mitt Romney is that every time he or his surrogates open their mouths it only digs the hole a little deeper. An “explanation” of the discrepancy in date in which Romney left Bain Capital based upon a claim that he “retired retroactively” his did not help Romney:

“There may have been a thought at the time that it could be part time, but it was not part time,” Gillespie said.

“He took a leave of absence and in fact he ended up not going back at all, and retired retroactively to 1999 as a result,” he added. “He left a life he loved to go to Salt Lake City and help a country he loves more, and somehow Chicago… is trying to make it something sinister.”

I believe that retiring retroactively is something like shaking away his position at Bain on an Etch-A-Sketch. Retiring retroactively probably does make sense to someone like Romney who has practiced baptizing the dead.

George Bush is kicking himself for never thinking to say he quit the Air National Guard retroactively.

In other bad news for Romney, numerous conservative politicians and pundits (including Bill Kristol, George Will and Matthew Dowd) are calling on him to release his income tax returns. There is speculation that John McCain might have chosen Sarah Palin after seeing what is in Romney’s tax returns. We don’t know if there is anything criminal in those old returns. My bet is that, at very least, they will show a pattern of tax avoidance which resulted in a tax rate far closer to zero than the 15 percent he has admitted to.

Barack Obama continues to refuse to a apologize to Mitt Romney for telling the truth about him.

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Pete Hoekstra Now Pandering To Birthers

My lunatic former Congressman is at it again. Pete Hoekstra, who has already been pandering to the Tea Party, is now going after the support of the Birthers. The Detroit Free Press reports:

At a tea party gathering in Lapeer earlier this month, U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra said he’d like to create a federal office in Washington that would verify that presidential candidates meet the minimum requirements to hold the office.

“This is not brain surgery. It should be an FBI person, maybe a CIA person,” said Hoekstra, a former Republican congressman from Holland, during the meeting in response to a question from the audience about Obama’s citizenship. “If you want to run for president, you’ve got to go with the proper documentation and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be the President of the United States.”

Hoekstra also said that the issue became moot when U.S. Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican candidate for president, declined to make it an issue during the campaign.

“I’d love to give you an answer and say I’m going to fight it and beat it and win it. But it wasn’t fought in 2008 and we lost,” he said.

Democrats jumped on the comments as being out of touch and out of the mainstream.

“You can’t get much further outside the mainstream than calling for the creation of a birther office staffed by the CIA and FBI,” said state Democratic Party chairman Mark Brewer. “Our leaders should be focused on creating jobs, not on creating a new federal bureaucracy to comb through birth certificates.”

The Hoekstra campaign said this afternoon that Hoekstra believes that President Obama is a U.S. citizen.

In the past Hoekstra has done things such as claiming (along with Rick Santorum) that WMD was found in Iraq long after even the Bush administration conceded it did not exist, divulge military secrets on Twitter, use scare tactics when there was talk of moving prisoners from Guantanamo, play politics with the attempted terrorist attack on a flight coming into Detroit in 2009, and running a blatantly racist ad during the Superbowl.

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Attacking Obama As A Celebrity

Do Republicans really think this ad will help them and hurt Obama? It is a retread of the old McCain attacks on Obama as a celebrity. This is sure a strange attack line from Republicans who bring up Ronald Reagan’s name every chance the get  (despite the fact that their party has moved so far to the right that Ronald Reagan would no longer be welcome)

The bulk of the ad will help as opposed to hurt Obama in our celebrity-obsessed culture. There are a few moments in which negatives are brought up. These should not hurt Obama as the ad raised problems caused by Republican policies which Obama has been working to solve (with Republicans continuing to try to block him).

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Republicans Can’t Handle The Truth: Bin Laden is Dead and General Motors is Alive

The Republican Party has been playing politics with terrorism since the 9/11 attack, in a manner similar to how they played politics with anti-Communism in past decades. Republicans are now upset and in denial about two things: the Democrats have been far more successful on national security and, even worse, they dare to promote their success for political gain. The web ad by Bill Clinton which points out that Barack Obama made the decision to kill bin Laden, while Mitt Romney would not have done the same, has the right wing especially upset.

Right wing blogs are full of utterly senseless arguments to deny credit to Barack Obama for his accomplishment. Many come from a rather irrational post at Breitbart.com–a site which specializes in distorting the facts to support right wing narratives. Their argument comes down to attacking Obama for wanting information on the risks involved before proceeding. This sounds quite prudent and provides no evidence of their claim this was to avoid taking the blame if the operation did not succeed. If only George Bush had not ignored warnings about the risks involved in occupying Iraq before rushing to war.

John McCain, the war-mongering jingoist who has never shown reluctance to use war for political gain, actually had the chutzpah to attack Obama for promoting his success against bin Laden. There are endless examples of McCain and the Republican Party using national security for political gain, even managing to capitalize on Bush’s massive failure on 9/11, and claiming “Mission Accomplished” as their policies failed in Iraq. Digby has provided a handful of videos demonstrating how Republicans have used national security. Far more could be added.

Just as the Republicans, who wrecked the economy and have been doing everything possible to slow down recovery, are trying to claim can do more for the economy,  Republican who have gravely harmed our national security are trying to turn this into a political plus for them. It was the Republicans who tried to block Bill Clinton’s actions against al Qaeda, but despite this Clinton showed successes, such as stopping the planned Millennium terrorist plot. George Bush ignored both recommendations passed down from the Clinton administration for handling al Qaeda and ignored CIA warnings before the 9/11 attack. After ignoring numerous warnings before 9/11, Bush made matters even worse by going to war against the wrong country. Even when he had an excellent chance to kill or capture bin Laded at Tora Bora, Bush managed to mess it up.

Republicans object to Obama taking credit for his success because they do not want the facts to intrude upon the false narratives they create to run on. They want to claim to be stronger on national security despite their disastrous record. They want to run on fiscal responsibility despite their policies which are responsible for the deficit as they try to place the blame for their actions on Obama. They want to run as the party of small government and freedom despite a record of increasing the size of government and increasing government intrusion in the private lives of individuals.

Looking at the facts, there is really no question as to which party has been more successful in recent years, as the Republicans have increasingly ignored reality. Democrats have been successful in protecting the country against terrorism, while Republican policies led to a preventable terrorist attack succeeding and to a war which we never should have engaged in. Republican economic polices have been similarly disastrous for the country. Republicans will continue to whine and try to distort the facts, but this does not change the reality that bin Laden is Dead and General Motors is alive.

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Quote of the Day

“One of the agents involved in the scandal was on Sarah Palin’s detail in 2008 when he was running for vice president. And he posted a picture on his Facebook – apparently he had a little crush on her – of him standing behind her kind of smirking and saying, ‘I’m checking her out.’ Which is more than you can say for the McCain campaign.” –Bill Maher

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Meghan McCain on Porn and Big Boobs In Playboy

Meghan McCain on porn in a red state: ” Not to bring any particular politician into this discussion, but I always find it fascinating that the number one state per capita for downloading porn is Utah. All those pious Mormons and they’re drooling at their laptops all day.”

There’s more from McCain as she answered twenty questions for Playboy:

Q1

PLAYBOY: You’re a blogger and political columnist, as well as a conservative pundit in the liberal wilds on MSNBC. But aside from being John McCain’s daughter, why should we listen to you?

MCCAIN: Hey, I get it. People love me or hate me and there’s nothing in between. But I’ve been in politics literally my entire life. My mom was pregnant with me at the 1984 Republican convention. I was on my father’s campaign when I was 13. I’ve earned the right to be here and talk about it, and I’m not scared to get down and dirty. If people are mean, so be it.

Q2

PLAYBOY: Conservatives are as hard on you as liberals. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl sniped that “this self-indulgent set of mega-breasts doesn’t belong anywhere near a TV studio commenting on anything.”

MCCAIN: Who says stuff like that? Some guys out there just can’t handle a woman with a strong opinion. And the quickest way to cut down a woman is to talk about her appearance. Do I care? No. Every guy I’ve ever dated and every boyfriend I’ve ever had—nobody ever complained about my body. And there are way more important things for me to do than obsess about my weight. We have an election going on, people!

Q3

PLAYBOY: You’ve dubbed the 2012 election cycle “the shitty sequel” to 2008.

MCCAIN: Can you argue with that? It’s just been so lame—so many debates, so much blather, so much oversaturation. Granted, my father is not running, so I’m biased, and we have an incumbent president, which changes things. But where’s the electricity? You’d think someone would rise up and tap the frustration and energy of the Occupy movement or the Tea Party, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

Q4

PLAYBOY: How can the GOP win in November?

MCCAIN: The Republicans need someone to excite younger people, independents, Hispanic voters and the disenfranchised. I think if Chris Christie is the vice presidential nominee we can change the weather and have a very good chance of beating Obama. I love that he’s no bullshit.

Q5

PLAYBOY: Visualize for a moment how America would be different had your dad won.

MCCAIN: Oh, Lord. You would have the craziest first daughter ever, who’d be making ridiculous headlines and hurting the administration every step of the way. That aside, I think Dad would have made an incredible president. The recession wouldn’t have been as bad as it is now. We wouldn’t be pulling troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. I think morale in the military and in the country at large would be higher and we’d be much further on the road to recovery.

Q6

PLAYBOY: Do you have any tips for the offspring of campaigners on the election trail?

MCCAIN: Get sleep, be nice and shut up. I wasn’t always a peach to be around. I could have been nicer to the Secret Service and some staffers, and I voiced my opinion way too much. It’s really stressful, though. The day before Election Day, I almost overdosed on Xanax. I had gained a lot of weight. I went up four sizes thanks to Starbucks and Snickers. Obamamania was at its height. I ended up going to Sedona with my girlfriends. All we did was play Rock Band for days and days and eat and sleep and hang out in bed watching TV. I was done.

Q7

PLAYBOY: Say a little more about the hanging-out-in-bed-with-girlfriends part.

MCCAIN: Watch it, mister. My friends from home came over to support me, and we got in my parents’ big bed. They have this huge California king and we just stayed up eating ice cream. I’m not a lesbian, if that’s what you’re asking. I’d be the first person to tell the world I was gay. I’m not private about anything. I think you should live how you should live. But I’m strictly dickly. I can’t help it. I love sex and I love men.

Q8

PLAYBOY: So we shouldn’t read anything into your vocal support of same-sex marriage and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” or how much you love Rachel Maddow and hang out with Tila Tequila?

MCCAIN: Honey, you’re nobody unless you have a gay rumor about you. I’ve been hit on by women from time to time, and it might simplify my life if I were gay, but no. Rachel and Tila are just great people. For me, it’s an issue of civil rights. Who people want to sleep with and who they want to love should not have anything to do with government politics at all. And if you see me in a gay bar, it’s only because they play the best music and my gay friends like to dance. Gay guys love me. It’s the big boobs and blonde hair.

Q9

PLAYBOY: Do you ever think twice about partying in public for fear it will show up on Gawker the next morning?

MCCAIN: Oh, I can’t live like that. I do get paranoid when I’m wearing low-cut dresses that somebody’s going to take a picture and put it on the internet and be like, “Meghan was showing off her breasts again.” But you know, showing a little cleavage can make a girl feel sexy too. Like Jessica Simpson says, if you got it, you should flaunt it once in a while. I’ve been pretty open about the fact that I like to go out and have a good time with friends. I’ve never done drugs, and I never would. So there’s that. But what am I supposed to do, stay in and read a book? I come from a family of whiskey drinkers. My brothers like to drink and have a good time. It’s America, man. There’s nothing wrong with going out and listening to music and having a little Jack and Coke.

Q10

PLAYBOY: Your mom’s family controls one of the largest beer distributors in the country. You must have had some blowout keg parties in high school.

MCCAIN: I didn’t, actually. I was very uncool in high school. When I interviewed Michele Bachmann, we bonded over the fact that we didn’t go to our senior proms. I went to this all-girls Catholic school. It was very strict. I was always challenging authority. I didn’t play sports in a world where sports meant everything. But the second I hit college, I started dating up a storm.

Q11

PLAYBOY: You once wrote, “Nothing kills my libido quite like discussing politics.”

MCCAIN: Oh my gosh. It’s so true. I went on a date, like, a week ago, and the guy just wanted to talk policy and strategy the entire time. Talk about a mood killer. I’m obsessed with this stuff, but it doesn’t put me in the mood. When I’m dating, I want to hear what music a guy likes, what he does for fun, and I want him to make me laugh. If he can make me laugh, I don’t care if he looks like Zach Galifianakis; it’s an instant turn-on.

Q12

PLAYBOY: Why do so many politicians get caught up in sex scandals?

MCCAIN: I always say repression breeds obsession. Politicians have to be goody-goodies. They put on this face of perfection and pretend they’re completely above indiscretion. But the more you deny your sexual side, the more it builds up and comes out in inappropriate ways. Not to bring any particular politician into this discussion, but I always find it fascinating that the number one state per capita for downloading porn is Utah. All those pious Mormons and they’re drooling at their laptops all day.

Q13

PLAYBOY: What’s the standout memory from your stint as an intern on Saturday Night Live?

MCCAIN: Ashlee Simpson kicking her dressing room door after getting caught lip-synching. That was interesting to watch. Mostly I remember being a sort of office slave, which was fine. I was an assistant to Lorne Michaels’s assistant, so I spent most of the day getting coffee and filling up the popcorn bucket. I think everybody should have a crappy internship so they realize what a bitch it is getting other people’s shit work done.

Q14

PLAYBOY: What’s cool about being famous?

MCCAIN: People don’t recognize me that much unless I’m with my dad. I look different without makeup on, and usually I wear beanies and big sweaters and look like I’m drunk all the time. I got good seats at the Republican convention last time and got to meet all the Palins.

Q15

PLAYBOY: Bristol Palin took shots at you and your mom in her memoir, saying, “I’ve never seen people with so much Louis Vuitton luggage, so many cell phones, and so many constant helpers to do hair and makeup.” What would you say if you bumped into her?

MCCAIN: I did bump into her at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, actually. I saw her across the room. That girl biffed it fast, totally took off. All that stuff she wrote was a total lie. I have, like, one Louis Vuitton purse. She’s just young and confused and was thrust into all this. The media aren’t kind to her. But once someone signs up for Dancing With the Stars, it’s hard to sympathize.

Q16

PLAYBOY: When can we expect Keeping Up With the McCains to air?

MCCAIN: Never! Hell would freeze over before I would do a reality show. I’ve been offered everything you could possibly imagine, and it just doesn’t interest me. You certainly won’t see me dancing on TV. I’m the worst. I have, like, two moves—the hair flip and the shoulder move and that’s it, baby.

Q17

PLAYBOY: And you’re still single?

MCCAIN: Oh my God, I love being single. I can do whatever the hell I want all the time. I have no one to check in with. When you’re in a serious relationship, you kind of have to check in before you go out with your friends or do whatever. I think I’m a bit of a commitment-phobe. Or maybe it’s just that I haven’t met the right guy. Dating’s okay, but guys can be weird. They think if they Google you and talk about stuff you’ve said, they get to make out with you at the end of the first date.

Q18

PLAYBOY: What’s up with your Hunter S. Thompson obsession? Wouldn’t he have hated your conservative views?

MCCAIN: I love, love, love Hunter. I read Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail in high school and loved his take on politics. I love the way he wrote with such disregard for authority and the status quo. I’ve been considering getting his quote “Buy the ticket, take the ride” tattooed on my body, but I haven’t decided. I told my friend, and she said it sounds really sexual, so we’ll see. But trust me, Hunter and I would have been fast friends. He was on Late Night With Conan O’Brien once and he was drinking whiskey and shooting guns. I appreciate both those things. We would have understood each other.

Q19

PLAYBOY: What’s your firearm of choice?

MCCAIN: I’m a big fan of Remington shotguns. They’re accurate and powerful and great for skeet shooting, which I love. My brother’s trying to convince me to get a revolver. A single girl can never be too careful, he says.

Q20

PLAYBOY: How often do you talk to your parents?

MCCAIN: Oh, every day. My mom calls me in the morning and wants to gossip about something. My dad watches every single thing I do on TV and will call either to talk about why some supercommittee failed or to say, “Oh, Meghan, why’d you say that?”

I’ll just attribute her comment on the recession not lasting as long as being a result of having an unrealistic view of the abilities of her father. I do have a question regarding her answer to question 8.  “Gay guys love me. It’s the big boobs and blonde hair.” Is that really what attracts gays? That sounds no different from straight guys.

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Quote of the Day

“There is an HBO movie coming out about the 2008 presidential election. Apparently John McCain is very unhappy with the way he was portrayed. He said he came across as a clueless and angry man. No one had the heart to tell him he was watching the toaster.” –Craig Ferguson

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