Dear Newsweek Magazine

by matttbastard

Plz to be not spreading teh Obama = Antichrist meme:

Mat Staver, dean of Liberty University’s law school, says he does not believe Obama is the Antichrist, but he can see how others might. Obama’s own use of religious rhetoric belies his liberal positions on abortion and traditional marriage, Staver says, positions that “religious conservatives believe will threaten their freedom.” The people who believe Obama is the Antichrist are perhaps jumping to conclusions, but they’re not nuts: “They are expressing a concern and a fear that is widely shared,” Staver says.

[…]

[Todd Strandberg, editor and founder of RaptureReady.com] says Obama probably isn’t the Antichrist, but he’s watching the president-elect carefully.

Deeky’s OFFS FTW:

[U]sing phrases like “Obama probably isn’t the Antichrist” (emphasis mine) in your articles, even if it’s attributed to an interviewee, is pretty fuckin’ dicey, especially when the whole tone of the article doesn’t seem too concerned with countering that idea.

Signed. On.

Kthnxbai.

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From the Desk of John Sidney McCain, R-POW

by matttbastard

NBC Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell transcribes reports from the Straight Talk Express:

Advisors say if Obama gets “nastier” on [the ‘how many houses’] issue that opens the door for them. Advisors say the “Rezko deal stinks to the high heavens.” They will be prepared to show McCain’s “home” in Hanoi by using images of his cell. They claim they have not overused the POW element and insist they have “underused it.”

Since O’Donnell is apparently angling for a lucrative new position as McCain campaign stenographer, I’ll happily do her current job for her and challenge the notion that McCain has ever been reluctant to play the POW card:

  • McCain aired a December 2007 television ad in which Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said: “McCain has been tested like no other politician in America. As a prisoner of war, he turned down an offer for early release because he refused preferential treatment.”
  • In a January 1 Washington Post article, reporter Alec MacGillis wrote that “[a]t many of his [McCain’s] events, his campaign sets up a screen and plays for the crowd a three-minute film called ‘Service With Honor,’ telling the story of McCain’s more than five years of captivity in a North Vietnamese prison after his Navy plane was shot down in 1967. ‘He was offered early release, and he told ’em to shove it,’ says one fellow prisoner of war, Paul Galanti.”
  • At a June 26 campaign event in Cincinnati, McCain said: “When I was allowed the opportunity, given the opportunity to return home early from prison camp. I decided against that because I knew the effect that it would have on my fellow prisoners.”
  • In a June 28 speech to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a July 8 speech to the League of United Latin American Citizens, and a July 14 speech to National Council of La Raza Convention, McCain repeated this statement: “When I was in prison in Vietnam, I like other of my fellow POWs, was offered early release by my captors. Most of us refused because we were bound to our code of conduct, which said those who had been captured the earliest had to be released the soonest.”
  • In a July 8 McCain campaign television ad, an announcer states of McCain: “John McCain: Shot down. Bayoneted. Tortured. Offered early release, he said, ‘No.’ He’d sworn an oath.”
  • At a July 17 campaign event in Kansas City, Missouri, McCain said: “[T]he Vietnamese came to me and said, we’ll allow you to go home early because my father happened to be a high ranking admiral. Our code of conduct said that only those go home early in order of capture. It was a brave young Mexican-American by the name of Everett Alvarez who had been in prison a couple years longer than I had. So I knew I had to refuse.” Similarly, at a July 18 campaign event in Warren, Michigan, McCain said (retrieved from Nexis): “One time when I was in prison in North Vietnam and the North Vietnamese came and said, ‘You can go home early,’ because my father was a high-ranking admiral, I chose not to do that.”

A noun, a verb and POW.  That really is all they’ve got. And–surprise, surprise–instead of calling out the McCain campaign’s rank bullshit, his base is once again eagerly swallowing it without even bothering to ask for ketchup.

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What Sully Said

by matttbastard

"Oh yes, with sprinkles!"
"Oh yes, with sprinkles!"

New Political Animal head honcho Steve Benen has penned the ultimate smackdown of Ron “keep up the fight” Fournier’s bullshit op-ed-masquerading-as-analysis re: the newly announced Obama/Biden ticket (sample dingleberry of wisdom: Biden “talks too much”–yep, that’s why they pay Ron the big bucks, folks), both of which y’all should check out (assuming you haven’t yet done so). But I want to highlight something that Andrew Sullivan also noticed regarding Fournier and his blatant (if inconsistent) use of “aggressive Republican spin”:

Last spring…Fournier was lambasting Obama for arrogance [link added–mb]. Now, apparently, it’s a lack of confidence. Whatever works, I guess. But please, get a blog.

From “ooz[ing] entitlement” to lacking confidence–apparently even the DC bureau chief of the Associated Press has trouble keeping GOP talking points straight. Forget blogging — methinks Fournier should just get out of the beltway entirely, maybe score himself a nice quiet job behind the counter of Dunkin’ Donuts.

Whatever works, natch.

Related: Jack and Jill Politics rounds up a cross-section of responses to the veep announcement from POC commentators; Jimmy Orr Peter Grier provides a more, um, traditional (read: analytical) analysis; Cara is underwhelmed, skdadl is optimistic, publius is “psyched” and Hilzoy is thankful Obama didn’t pick Bayh (aren’t we all); Delaware native Shawn Mullen paints an informative (if at times fawning) portrait of Biden; various reactions from NARAL, Hillary Clinton, and Howard Wolfson, who notes that Obama’s pragmatic, traditional veep choice “gives an opening to the McCain campaign to pick a woman or make an out-of-the-box selection.”

Update: This is interesting:

The Washington Bureau Chief of the Associated Press, Ron Fournier, may command speaker’s fees of up to $10,000 per appearance.

As of this writing, Fournier appears to be available for booking through the All American Talent & Celebrity Network‘s website. I called to confirm that he was still listed with the agency, but I haven’t heard back yet.

According to his speaker bio, Fournier co-wrote a book called Applebee’s America with Bush’s former chief strategist Matthew Dowd and former high-level Clinton adviser, Doug Sosnik. Appropriately enough, the 2006 book is a treatise on political marketing for politicians, captains of industry, and mega-church pastors.

AP’s ethics policy on outside appearances:

OUTSIDE APPEARANCES:
Employees frequently appear on radio and TV news programs as panelists asking questions of newsmakers; such appearances are encouraged.

However, there is potential for conflict if staffers are asked to give their opinions on issues or personalities of the day. Advance discussion and clearance from a staffer’s supervisor are required.

Employees must inform a news manager before accepting honoraria and/or reimbursement of expenses for giving speeches or participating in seminars at colleges and universities or at other educational events if such appearance makes use of AP’s name or the employee represents himself or herself as an AP employee. No fees should be accepted from governmental bodies; trade, lobbying or special interest groups; businesses, or labor groups; or any group that would pose a conflict of interest. All appearances must receive prior approval from a staffer’s supervisor.

h/t Steve Clemons

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The Big Reveal

by matttbastard

LA Times TV critic Mary McNamara on the lazy Hollywood sensationalism that has been peddled as ‘journalism’ during this year’s presidential campaign:

SO MUCH has been said about the media’s handling of this campaign that it’s almost embarrassing to address the topic. But after watching hours, days, weeks of it on television, the cry of anguish cannot be suppressed: For the love of all that is holy, how did one of the most important presidential races in history, between two men who embody such disparate political possibilities, wind up looking like a montage sequence in a Will Ferrell movie?

“Bias” has been the watchword, but watching the nightly news loops, it seems less like bias than just plain old fear. Fear of missing the moment, of boring the viewers, of relying on the old-model thinking — who, what, when, why, where — while everyone yawns and returns their collective attention to their new iPhones.

“No, no, wait,” news outlets seem to shout like desperate screenwriters in a rapidly deteriorating pitch meeting. Nevermind those boring old proposed policies or the contradictory voting records or any of that stuff, look at this, you’re going to love it, it’s The Big Reveal.

McCain stutters and stumbles — is he experiencing age-related dementia? John Edwards flames out in scandal and Obama faces reporters in Hawaii wearing a polo shirt — has he grown too smug? Which is more significant — McCain’s negative, truth-twisting ads or Obama’s seemingly snooty refusal to address them?

For screenwriters, it’s the oldest trick in the book — the moment when the nice guy reveals his hideous temper or latent bigotry, when the silent distant hero gives way to a geyser of emotion. In one second, everything is made clear, events and intentions fall neatly into place and the viewer experiences the catharsis of discovered truth.

For journalists, it’s a bit trickier, since real villains rarely monologue and revelation usually requires time, patience and many lawyers.

But that doesn’t keep us from wishin’ and hopin’.

As they say, read the whole damn thing.

h/t dday

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David Gergen Hears The McCain Campaign Dog Whistle Loud and Clear

by matttbastard

Via TPM:

Liss has more instructions for Jake Tapper on “how dog whistles work” (hope you’re taking notes, Taps).

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Quote of the Day: Projection is Illuminating

by matttbastard

It looks as if the concerns that some people have about Mrs. Obama tell us less about her and more about them. Once again, we seem to have an abundance of paranoid white folks who see a black separatist lurking around every corner.

Even in elite corners. How did a corporate lawyer with degrees from Princeton and Harvard and a record of bringing together whites and blacks in her position as a hospital administrator get transformed, in the minds of some, into a black militant with a chip on her shoulder and a score to settle with white America?

[…]

What did the 44-year-old mother of two girls do to deserve the accusation, or at least the insinuation, that she’s anti-white? In the words of one of her friends and classmates at Harvard Law School, what she did was shatter the assumptions of many people about “what it means to be an African-American woman.” Here you have an accomplished, intelligent and outspoken black woman, and many Americans are at a loss about how to handle that combination. They’d rather try to destroy her than have to deal with her.

– Ruben Navarette, Michelle Obama’s Bad Rap

Related: Rupert Cornwall does his goddamndest to wrest the WOTD title from Justin Gimelstob with this straight-to-the-bottom-of-the-birdcage column from today’s Independent on how Michelle Obama is oh-so “prickly and resentful.” Well, I’m pretty sure she resents bogus racist/sexist ‘analysis’ from asshat pundits like Cornwall. Kate Harding and Michelle Obama Watch (h/t) have more on Cornwall’s crass idiocy.

Also see this Comment is free post from MOW founder Gina McCauley on the inevitable Stepford rebranding of Michelle Obama.

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