Dayum! That McCain is one clever guy!

Remember last night how I wrote about how the leftosphere was trying to paint McCain’s “Celeb” ad as “racist” simply because it had two promiscuous white female celebrities in the begininng of it?  Well, it turns out that’s not ALL the ad was trying to imply … it’s actually much much more sinister than that, as Ross Douthat explains:

It’s remarkable what those fiendish GOP operatives can squeeze into thirty seconds: Not only does McCain’s “celeb” ad have “Barack Obama will rape yo daughters overtones,” says Rick Perlstein (who’s apparently under the impression that most Americans think of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears as stand-ins for their daughters), but it was edited to blatantly evoke Triumph of the Will as well – the better to freak out elderly Jews in South Florida, perhaps. Comparing the “Celeb” ad to stills from Leni Riefenstahl’s work, Perlstein writes: “I actually wonder if the Republicans had a crew on the scene to capture just the right angles; for instance, the identical camera placement shooting the speaker over the shoulder at stage right.” If he actually wonders that, I fear for his sanity.

That assumes he had any sanity to begin with.

Speaking of the ad, I received an mass email today from the Obama campaign about it, and check out the breathless, dramatic way it’s described:

Less than 24 hours ago, the McCain campaign launched the latest and lowest in a series of misleading attack ads.

This Karl Rove-style ploy misleads people about Barack’s energy plan and even mocks his ability to inspire voters and bring Americans back into the political process.

Watchdogs in the media are calling McCain’s accusations “bogus,” “desperate,” “wrong,” “misleading,” “ugly,” “offensive,” “reckless,” and “a nasty turn into the gutter.”

Some of McCain’s own supporters agree. One senior Republican strategist quoted by the Washington Post called the latest ad a “wild swing at Obama” that reflects his campaign’s “increasing bitterness” and the lack of “any coherent strategy to elect McCain.”

Even John Weaver, a strategist who worked for McCain’s presidential campaign in 2000 and on his current campaign last year, called the ad “childish,” adding that this negative strategy “diminishes John McCain” and “needs to stop.”

Sometimes I think Glenn Greenwald or Andrew Sullivan must write some of this junk.  Implying that a candidate is more of a celebrity than a serious contender for president is, “bogus,” “desperate,” “wrong,” “misleading,” “ugly,” “offensive,” “reckless,” and “a nasty turn into the gutter”? Seriously?   Yeah, I know part of it they are quoting from “media watchdogs” and others, but clearly this email was designed to say that the Obama campaign was in full agreement.

Make sure to watch the ad again.  Then after that, think about how Obama has repeatedly injected race not into just the general election campaign, but the primary season as well against Hillary Clinton, and then tell me who is “nasty” and “low” and “ugly” and “offensive” and “in the gutter.”

Oops, he’s doing it again

**(Bumped to the top – newer posts appear below)**

Well, Obama unjustly played the race card (more here) against the Clintons during the primary season and succeeded in painting them as closet racists, and now he’s unjustly doing it against McCain (via Memeo):

“John McCain right now, he’s spending an awful lot of time talking about me,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said today in Rolla, Mo. “You notice that? I haven’t seen an ad yet where he talks about what he’s gonna do. And the reason is because those folks know they don’t have any good answers, they know they’ve had their turn over the last eight years and made a mess of things. They know that you’re not real happy with them.”

Obama continued: “And so the only way they figure they’re going to win this election is if they make you scared of me. So what they’re saying is, ‘Well, we know we’re not very good but you can’t risk electing Obama. You know, he’s new, he’s… doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency, you know, he’s got a, he’s got a funny name.’

“I mean, that’s basically the argument — he’s too risky,” Obama said, per ABC News’ Sunlen Miller. “But think about it, what’s the bigger risk? Us deciding that we’re going to come together to bring about real change in America or continuing to do same things with the same folks in the same ways that we know have not worked? I mean, are we really going to do the same stuff that we’ve been doing over the last eight years? … That’s a risk we cannot afford. The stakes are too high.”

Obama made similar comments earlier in the day in Springfield, Mo.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but does it not seem as if Obama just said McCain and his campaign — presumably the “they” in this construct — are saying that Obama shouldn’t be elected because he’s a risk because he’s black and has a foreign-sounding name?

The Obama campaign says no, no, no, certainly not, he was talking about his “opponents” in general, writ large, the talk radio hosts and smear artists and such.

Then in Union, Mo., this evening, Obama seemed to specifically accuse McCain and the GOP of peddling racism and xenophobia.

Obama said that “John McCain and the Republicans, they don’t have any new ideas, that’s why they’re spending all their time talking about me. I mean, you haven’t heard a positive thing out of that campaign in … in a month. All they do is try to run me down and you know, you know this in your own life. If somebody doesn’t have anything nice to say about anybody, that means they’ve got some problems of their own. So they know they’ve got no new ideas, they know they’re dredging up all the stale old stuff they’ve been peddling for the last eight, 10 years.

“But, since they don’t have any new ideas the only strategy they’ve got in this election is to try to scare you about me. They’re going to try to say that I’m a risky guy, they’re going to try to say, ‘Well, you know, he’s got a funny name and he doesn’t look like all the presidents on the dollar bills and the five dollar bills and, and they’re going to send out nasty emails.

Lemme see.  Who was the last guy reminding people that “he doesn’t look like” past presidents? Well that would be Barack Obama, during his performance in Berlin last week:

“I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city.”

Tapper continues:

There’s a lot of racist xenophobic crap out there. But not only has McCain not peddled any of it, he’s condemned it.

Back in February, McCain apologized for some questionable comments made by a local radio host. In April, he condemned the North Carolina Republican Party’s ad featuring images of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

With one possible exception, I’ve never seen McCain or those under his control playing the race card or making fun of Obama’s name — or even mentioning Obama’s full name, for that matter!

(The one exception was in March when McCain suspended a low-level campaign staffer for sending out to a small group of friends a link to a video that attempts to tie Obama not only to Wright but to the black power movement, rappers Public Enemy and Malcolm X.)


What I have not seen is it come from McCain or his campaign in such a way to merit the language Obama used today. Pretty inflammatory.

Not to mention all the “he’s old” implications coming directly from Obama, some of his supporters, and his surrogates like John Kerry saying that McCain is “confused” on various statements he’s made.

Bbbbut he’s supposed to be above the politics of the past, against the “same ol’ Washington game-playing,” right?   I think of all the complaints coming from the left about how McCain is supposedly no longer running a “civil” campaign against Obama, and then I see this stuff and wonder, “Is ANYONE on the left paying attention to what their own candidate says and does under the guise of ‘change'”?

Ed Morrissey nails it:

I agree that the Celeb commercial is pretty weak, but if it’s racist, then Obama has defined the term so far downward as to have no meaning at all.  Obama is the one playing on fear; he wants people to be afraid to criticize him at all.  He wants to stifle dissent by forcing people to defend themselves against a smear of racism in any and all contexts of criticism, which will have the effect of shutting people up.

That’s not exactly a commendable quality for a President.  If we can’t criticize him now without being called racists, what would it be like when he runs the government?

Tapper gets this exactly right.  Too bad the rest of the media hasn’t realized the potential danger in this Obama impulse.

Yeah, they’re too busy salivating.

Update 1 – 12:08 PM: The McCain camp responds to Obama’s comments:

U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today issued the following statement from McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis in response to Barack Obama’s comments in Springfield, Rolla and Union, Missouri, yesterday: 

“Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

Good.  I’m glad to see them not letting Obama get away with this.

Update 2 – 12:30 PM: Check out this laughable response from the Obama campaign to the criticism about his “he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills” remark:

Asked Thursday if Obama was referring to race, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said, “No.”

“What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington,” Gibbs said.


Update 3 – 4:11 PM: Hot Air is following the latest developments and has the Obama campaign’s latest lame spin.  I can’t wait to hear the words come out of Obama’s own mouth denying he’s played the race card.

Oh wait – he’ll probably make another damn speech.


Eight watchdog groups find McCain more transparent about campaign donations than Obama

AllHeadlines reports:

Washington, D.C. (AHN) – A coalition of eight watchdog groups have found that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is more transparent in his disclosures about campaign contributions than Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), who has made his refusal to accept donations from Washington lobbyists a pillar of his campaign.

The Center for Responsive Politics said in a report on Wednesday that both the McCain and Obama campaigns did not provide the exact amounts raised by bundlers, or people who gather contributions from as many individuals in a group or community as they can in order to sidestep the $2,300 federal limit on personal contributions.

McCain uses tiers of $50,000-$100,000, $100,00-$200,00, $250,000-$500,000, and 500,000 and more to identify bundlers. The Republican’s campaign added the lowest and highest tiers after the watchdog made its request for fund-raising information.

Obama similarly uses tiers: $50,000-$100,000, $100,00-$200,000, and $200,000 and more.

The McCain campaign included in its bundler totals contributions made to joint fund raising committees. Obama only disclosed contributions to the campaign and does not include donations to committees, the report found.

Both campaigns have not required their political parties to disclose bundlers and the amounts these have raised. McCain, however, has disclosed all information requested about bundlers, such as name, city, state, employer and occupation, while Obama has “only recently began disclosing” names, city and state of bundlers.

When it comes to small donors, a group that Obama has said is the backbone of his fund raising prowess, McCain provides a list by ZIP code and foreign country together with amounts given. The report cites Obama officials saying that 90 percent of the campaigns 1.5 million donors “haven’t given enough to require disclosure of their names” to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Donations of less than $200 do not need to be reported to the FEC.

Obama’s claim to be a propenent of transparency on campaign donations: Just words?

A trend?

A week ago, I posted about new polling numbers that were analyzed by the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza, which indicated that McCain was narrowing the gap in the polls in 4 battleground states: Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  CNN reports today that McCain has narrowed the gap in three more key states:

But in what could be a warning sign for Obama as voters begin to turn their attention to the general election race, Obama’s lead appears to have dwindled, or barely remained steady, in all three states, even as the Democratic presidential candidate has enjoyed a wave of intense media coverage surrounding his trip abroad.

In Florida, Obama now holds a statistically insignificant 2-point lead over McCain, 46-44 percent. In a similar poll taken one month ago, Obama held a wider, and statistically significant, 47-43 percent advantage over the Arizona senator there. The difference appears to be a shift among independent voters, who now support McCain in Florida by a 5-point margin. In the June poll, Obama held the advantage among the same group of voters by a 10-percent advantage.

In Ohio, the battleground state where a weak economy should give Democrats an advantage, Obama is ahead by a 2-point margin, 46-44 percent. That lead, also statistically insignificant, is down from the 6-point advantage the Illinois senator held there one month ago.

Obama’s lead has also narrowed in Pennsylvania, though he still enjoys a clear edge there. Obama now leads McCain by a 7-point advantage, 49-42 percent, down from the 11 point advantage he had in June.

The poll was conducted from July 23-29, in the midst of Obama’s trip abroad, and carries a margin of error of just under 3 points in each state.

Polls being what they are, it’s always good to view them with a grain of salt, because anything can happen.  But it appears that at this stage of the game Obama’s World Tour – and the glowing press coverage he received from it - didn’t do him as many favors as he’d hoped it would.  In fact, it might have actually hurt him.

Update/Related:  The LA TImes Top of the Ticket blog asks, “Where did Barack Obama’s mojo go?

New McCain ad portrays Obama as a celebrity

I rarely post campaign ads, but this one is creating waves, so it’s worth posting:

Note the brief images of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears at the beginning as the ad tries to portray Obama as a more a celebrity than presidential candidate.   I think the ad’s pretty on point, but apparently I’m just not “getting it” because, according to liberal Josh Marshall, this ad has racist undertones in it because it …  features white promiscuous women:

I note with interest today, John McCain’s new tactic of associating Barack Obama with oversexed and/or promiscuous young white women. (See today’s new ad and this from yesterday.) Presumably, a la Harold Ford 2006, this will be one of those strategies that will be a matter of deep dispute during the campaign and later treated as transparent and obvious once the campaign is concluded.

Psssst! Hey, you! Yeah, you.  Come over here! (Whispers in ear): Is that a racist Republican boogeyman in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?    >:)

Update: This is hysterical: SF Chron columnist: Obama’s the first “Asian-American” president.

Obama quote of the day (MORE: QUOTE DISPUTED)

Via Dana Milbank (emphasis added on the quote):

Barack Obama has long been his party’s presumptive nominee. Now he’s becoming its presumptuous nominee.

Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president’s) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.


The 5:20 TBA turned out to be his adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, as if for the State of the Union. Capitol Police cleared the halls — just as they do for the actual president. The Secret Service hustled him in through a side door — just as they do for the actual president.

Inside, according to a witness, he told the House members, “This is the moment . . . that the world is waiting for,” adding: “I have become a symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions.”

Just another day in the life of the Pretender in Chief.

Heck – why even worry about silly little things like “elections”?

(Read more via Memeo)

Update: Jake Tapper writes that another Democrat source is disputing the quote, claiming it was taken out of context:

Republicans and others are jumping on the quote as evidence of Obama’s more egoistic impulses, but other Democrats in the room today suggest that the quote is out of context and twists Obama’s meaning to mean the complete opposite of what he was saying.

“His entire point of that riff was that the campaign is NOT about him,” says a House Democratic staffer. The Post “left out the important first half of the sentence which was something along the lines of ‘it has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. Its about America. I have just become a symbol.'”

Other staffers with whom I spoke back that up, and a Democratic Congressman who isn’t a particular fan of Obama agrees, saying that Obama preceded that quote with something along the lines of, ‘Those people in Germany weren’t excited about me.  They were excited by the prospect of America getting back to being all it could be.'”

Even if that quote is the “actual” quote, it still doesn’t change the arrogance of his statement.   Obama has acted all along as if it were his “destiny” to be president, and the religious undertones  he’s used in many speeches he’s made over the course of his campaign lend additional credence of how he views himself as one who can “heal” this country – and the world, for that matter.  With or without this particular quote, those facts still stand.

Alaska Governor Sarah “Barracuda” Palin

There’s been a lot of talk about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin over the last several weeks as people are weighing in on who they think McCain should pick as his VP running mate.  While I think she is short on experience at this stage in her political career, I believe she has a bright future in politics, and perhaps we may one day see her on the national stage. 

Last July, while the primary campaign season was just warming up and way before any talk of VP selections, the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes wrote a good piece on who Palin is, where she comes from, and some of the things she’s done over her short career in politics.  It’s a good starting point for anyone truly interested in learning more about her.  Here’s a little bit of what Barnes wrote:

Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle–especially to transparency and accountability in government–can produce political success. And by the way, Palin is a conservative who only last month vetoed 13 percent of the state’s proposed budget for capital projects. The cuts, the Anchorage Daily News said, “may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history.”

As recently as last year, Palin (pronounced pale-in) was a political outcast. She resigned in January 2004 as head of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission after complaining to the office of Governor Frank Murkowski and to state Attorney General Gregg Renkes about ethical violations by another commissioner, Randy Ruedrich, who was also Republican state chairman.

State law barred Palin from speaking out publicly about ethical violations and corruption. But she was vindicated later in 2004 when Ruedrich, who’d been reconfirmed as state chairman, agreed to pay a $12,000 fine for breaking state ethics laws. She became a hero in the eyes of the public and the press, and the bane of Republican leaders.


Her first major achievement as governor was lopsided passage by the legislature of the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act, which is designed to attract pipeline proposals this summer. The state is offering $500 million in incentives, but the developer must meet strict requirements. The oil companies have said they won’t join the competition.

Palin’s tough spending cuts drew criticism from Republican legislators whose pet projects were vetoed. But her popularity doesn’t appear threatened. “It’s not just that she’s pretty and young,” says Dittman. “She’s really smart. And there’s no guile. She says her favorite meal is moose stew or mooseburgers. It wouldn’t shock people if that were true.”

Things clearly look bleak for the GOP now but Palin, along with LA Gov. Jindal and former MD Lt Gov. Michael Steele are examples of the fresh faces the GOP desperately needs in the near future as it tries to get back on its feet, not only to re-invigorate frustrated conservatives as well as bring new ones into the fold, but also to try to win back the trust of those middle of the road voters on both sides of the aisle who have lost faith in the GOP’s ability to govern effectively.

Oh, and as to where I got “Barracuda” from:

Gov. Palin grew up in Wasilla, where as star of her high school basketball team she got the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for her fierce competitiveness. She led her underdog team to the state basketball championship. Palin also won the Miss Wasilla beauty contest, in which she was named Miss Congeniality, and went on to compete in the Miss Alaska pageant.

Make sure to read the whole thing.