Tag Archives: Politics

Political Rant: Ayers Is a Phony Issue.

It’s been difficult to concentrate on anything this week, with both the presidential campaign and the global economy teetering on the edge of the abyss.  I had been pretty successful until a few weeks ago in keeping some distance from political and financial news, with the exception of watching the conventions and debates.  In the last couple of weeks, though, McCain and Palin — Palin especially — and their surrogates have been whipping up their supporters into a strange frenzy.  I was glad to see McCain back away from it on Friday, telling his audience that Obama is a decent man with whom McCain has many fundamental disagreements.

McCain and Palin continue to bang away at the “Obama pals around with domestic terrorists” meme, however, arguing that Obama’s associations with University of Illinois professor and former leader of the Weather Underground William Ayers demonstrate something important about Obama’s patriotism or judgment.  Obama denies any meaningful connection with Ayers, and The New York Times ran a long piece recently, concluding that there isn’t, and never was, much of a relationship between Obama and Ayers, but McCain and Palin keep coming back to it.

There isn’t any more support for the allegations now than there was when the Times wrote its story, but it’s still out there.  The Daily Beast, former Vanity Fair editor Tina Brown’s latest project and my new favorite news and commentary aggregator, has unfortunately had it as its lead story the entire weekend, giving the claims far more credibility than they’re worth, with blurbs that are mostly skeptical of the Obama’s explanations and the Times story.  The pundits quoted don’t actually have any facts to share, they just try to poke holes in Obama’s version as backed up by the Times.

The Daily Beast would do well to add a link to today’s Chicago Sun-Times.  There’s a good story, based on work done by FactCheck.org, showing that the alleged relationship between Obama and Ayers consists of a couple of common board memberships, a small fund raiser in 1995, and a $200 donation in 2001.  Ayers was never convicted of anything, and doesn’t appear to have ever actually hurt anyone.  Sure, he could have hurt someone, and I’m not condoning what he admits to having done, but let’s be serious about this:  compare Obama’s tenuous association with a guy who is now generally considered non-toxic (he’s a state employee, for Pete’s sake) with Palin’s support of a group that advocates Alaska’s secession from the Union:

Safety, Prosperity, Peace, and Drill, Baby, Drill: The GOP Convention Is Finally Over.

I’m starting this as McCain is giving his speech — a protester just threw off his opening.

Another protester.

And another one.

Who’s the dumbass who gave these people credentials?  The Republicans can’t even run their own convention, how are we supposed to trust them to run the country?

Strangely, I was not roused by McCain’s speech.  I expected to be typing a vituperative rant during the entire thing, but honestly, he hasn’t said anything that makes me really angry.  A little misrepresentation of Obama’s positions here, a few gratuitous slaps at unions there, but … whatever.  So far, the most annoying thing he’s said is to repeat his party’s ridiculous insistence that we can drill our way to energy independence, leading to another round of “Drill, Baby, Drill” chants from the delegates.

There was some good stuff about how, as a former navy officer from a navy family, he hates war and wants most of all to work for peace.  More about his very impressive personal story, of course, but the rest of the speech was reheated, leftover GOP talking points, not delivered terribly well.

The speech is probably most remarkable for being so incredibly at odds with every other speech at this convention.  The previous speakers have been angry and sarcastic, for the most part, without any realization that their words would be heard by anyone outside their echo chamber in St. Paul.  McCain had a few snarky moments, but was mostly very earnest in cataloging the failures of his own party.

I would like to point out John McCain has been in Congress for 28 years, and his party has been in the White House for eight years — would someone please explain to me how he’s the outsider?  He may have been a maverick eight years ago, and he’s had some skirmishes with President Bush, but let’s not forget about his voting record in the Senate:  90% of votes with the Bush administration.  He’s not an outsider, and when Republicans run against Washington in 2008, they’re running against themselves.

The conventions are finally over — just like Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy say the McCain-Palin campaign is.  Thank goodness.

One final note:  worst of all, Mrs. Unfocused points out that the music in McCain’s video (and Palin’s, too) was ripped off from the theme for Dallas.

Oh, Wow.

I don’t have anything particularly intelligent to say about Barack Obama’s speech. Just, wow.

All Full of Votery Goodness

It has taken 20 years, but I have finally voted in a presidential primary that matters.  This is the first time that the candidate I have been supporting has still been on the ballot and actively campaigning by the date of the Illinois primary.   That candidate, as I have said before, is Obama.

I encourage you, if your state’s primary is today, to get out there and vote for Barack, as many times as they’ll let you.  Pull the lever, punch the chad, touch the screen, or, as we do here in Cook County, take the little felt tip pen and the giant piece of floppy cardboard and carefully fill in the missing segment of the black arrow pointing to your preferred candidate.

Who comes up with these voting systems?

Today’s Tribune had a letter with the weirdest criticism of Obama’s candidacy that I have seen so far:  a letter writer from Norfolk, Virginia, wrote the Chicago Tribune to complain that Obama should serve out his full Senate term — “One would think that he would serve at least one term as senator representing the people of Illinois; I suspect they expected him to be their senator for six years.”

I don’t pretend to speak for the entire state, but most of the people I know here who voted for Barack  in 2006, myself included, hoped then that he would run for president in 2008, and are voting for him today.  Don’t worry about our feelings being hurt by his attempt to leap onto a larger stage.  We’re right there with him.

Gotta run to court.  More rejection slips tonight while I’m watching the election coverage.

Go, Barack, go.

Unbelievable. He really pulled it off. And it looks like Hillary will come in third. Will she do the Dean scream?

I keep thinking that I am old enough and cynical enough not to get enthusiastic about politicians. Yet every four years there’s one candidate who convinces me that he’s the right guy for the job.

And that candidate never, never, NEVER wins the nomination. That candidate almost never even makes it to the Illinois primary. That candidate usually runs out of money, or energy, or gets caught with a girlfriend (yes, I’m a Gary Hart supporter from way back) long before I would ever have the chance to vote for him.

I’m ready to be disappointed — he could lose, or I could be wrong about the guy, but this time maybe my guy has a shot.