Archive for September 4th, 2008

Wait… What?

Sarah Palin, 9/3/08:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.

John McCain, 9/4/08:

If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself.

Alrighty then.  I’m completely confused now.

1 comment September 4th, 2008 at 11:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Ya Know, I Kinda Wondered About This…

Those “Hockey Moms 4 Palin” signs looked awfully… uniform.

“Hockey Moms” were out in force for Sarah Palin last night…at least that’s the impression the Republicans wanted you to have.

Last night, I went to the Republican National Convention mainly to see how it differed from festivities in Denver, and boy was it different. Probably one of the most notable things was the Republican use of “handmade” signs. You couldn’t enter the Xcel Center with a handmade sign, but that’s ok…when you got inside and got to a seat, there were handmade signs waiting for you. Interestingly, on either side of the arena, the signs were identical. As festivities began, I noticed the presence of “Hockey Moms for Palin” signs scattered in two strategic spots in the convention hall. They were placed only in the line of sight of television cameras. I’m sure it was only a coincidence that when Sarah Palin mentioned she was a hockey mom, those with the signs “went crazy,” thereby opening the opportunity for Palin to make a little joke:


Do they really need to do this? Do the Republicans really lack the grassroots support that makes such political theater necessary? Perhaps they do…one of the most striking distinctions between St. Paul and Denver is how much the Republican Convention looks nothing like America. It’s white. It’s male. In Denver, the big tent of the Democratic Party was out in force. It looked and felt diverse.


Being someone who didn’t understand what apparently is a typical republican trick of placing handmade signs at rallies, I thought the one sitting in my seat meant someone else was sitting there. The woman sitting next to me said that wasn’t the case. I moved the sign, and when the gentleman next to me started waving around the “Moms for Cindy” sign in front of him, I asked him if he knew where it came from. He shrugged. He didn’t care. He most certainly wasn’t a mom, but that wasn’t really important. What’s more important is to give the impression that women all over America are supporting this ticket. It was absolutely frightening to see so many people accept the reality of these signs the way my seatmate did. It showed me that the individual choice and identity the Republicans preach is actually secondary to the need to master political theater. It showed me that individual investment in the political process is meaningless in the Republican party. Image matters, policy doesn’t.

Do the Republicans do anything that’s authentic or honest?

Apparently not.

For its “Pledge of Allegiance video” on Tuesday night, the Republican National Convention used stock footage of a staged military funeral, along with actors dressed as soldiers and sailors.  CBS has the story:

It was a video that was supposed to elicit soaring patriotism and real emotions about the Pledge of Allegiance. But to do that, it used fake soldiers and a staged military funeral instead of the real thing.

CBS News found that the footage of the ‘funeral’ and soldiers is what is called ‘stock’ footage. The soldiers were actors and the funeral scene was from a one-day film shoot, produced in June. No real soldiers were used during production.The footage, sold by stock-film house Getty Images was produced by a commercial filmmaker in Chicago. Both Getty and the production company, Mr. Big Films, confirmed that the footage was shot on spec and sold to the Republican National Committee.

One of the actors, Perry Denton of Chicago, IL also confirmed that he was hired on a day-rate as an actor for the shoot and told CBS News he was surprised to learn the footage was shown at the convention.


September 4th, 2008 at 10:51pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Palin,Politics,Republicans

Republicans Hate The Little People

In case you didn’t already know.

I used to be a community organizer and my old profession came in for some open derision and scorn tonight from both Rudy Guiliani and Sarah Palin. That’s okay. I don’t mind. I actually kind of welcome being singled out for special abuse. It validates everything I do, and have done, in politics and in poor urban communities. These people hate me and they hate the poor people I helped. I understand. I already knew that. I’ve spent a good part of my life trying to argue that case to people that were not convinced. “They hate you”, I said. Many couldn’t quite believe it. During the primaries I looked at Team Clinton and I told the denizens of the blogosphere, “They hate you.” Many were not so certain.

Guiliani and Palin did me a favor tonight. They came right out and told us that they hate community organizers and the people that they serve. Good. Now I’ll have a much easier time making my arguments about that point in the future.


The Republicans hate a lot of things. They hate niggers and spics and faggots and Muslims and European ideas (according to Mitt Romney). They tell us these things everyday in large and small ways. It is uncomfortable to watch but it is going to be very satisfying to see all those community organizers elect one of their own in two short months. And, you know what? You’ll all find out that community organizers aren’t out to screw anybody over. An Obama administration isn’t going to return the hate. They will look to use the government to help all the people that were previously dependent on lowly community organizers for what little help they got.

Hate.  It’s pretty much what they do.  It’s pretty much all they’ve got.

September 4th, 2008 at 10:06pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Sarah Palin’s Real Qualifications

Orange Clouds is correct, but doesn’t go far enough:

When WE think of someone as being qualified for president or VP, we imagine that they must be capable of governing. They need to have relevant experience. They should have proven over time that they understand the issues and the Constitution. They must be capable of diplomacy. But you need to think like a Republican for a moment.

Republicans don’t need to be able to think. They just need to be capable parrots. Can Palin follow in lockstep with the Republican line? Sure. It’s easy. I could even do it if I wanted to, although I’m not old enough to legally be VP so Sarah’s more qualified than me for that reason. Abortion is bad, death penalty is good, war is good, taxes are bad… it’s easy to figure out where you stand on the issues if you’re a Republican.

If Palin ever wonders what her opinion should be on an issue, she can ask Big Business. As a Democrat, you might assume that she would need to research it and think for herself about it, but that’s just a silly liberal idea. Big Business and lobbyists will tell Sarah everything she needs to know. And if they can’t answer a question, she can ask James Dobson or Pat Robertson or something and they’ll tell her.

What about her ability to do the job? Think about Brownie and FEMA. Think about Thomas Frank’s new book The Wrecking Crew. The idea isn’t to do a good job governing. The idea is to destroy government. Again, even I could do that if it were my goal. It can’t be too hard. Start wars, appoint your friends, outsource and privatize everything, take a lot of vacations, and make speeches about loving god and country. And if, as VP, Palin ever accidentally shoots someone in the face on a hunting trip, it’s OK.

Of course Palin isn’t qualified if you imagine that she should be able to govern well – especially if, for some reason, a 72-year-old John McCain doesn’t last 4 more years. Governing well is for Democrats. It’s a crazy, liberal idea. Republican qualifications are totally different, and Sarah Palin is perfectly qualified as a Republican.

Yes, this is all true, but it does Palin a disservice by overlooking her ability to abuse executive power, or to stonewall legislative investigations of said abuse by invoking dubious claims of executive privilege, or by simply saying, “Don’t wanna.  Make me!”  It also overlooks Palin’s much-valued ability to spew ridicule and hate at her political opponents; it would be simply unthinkable to have a Republican president or vice president who doesn’t know how to sneer.

In other words, it’s not enough simply to hold right-wing views; you must be committed enough to repeatedly break the law in service of those views, and brazen enough to accuse your opponents of hating America when they call you on it.

So yes, Sarah Palin is eminently qualified to be a Republican president or vice president, but that’s pretty much the opposite of being qualified to be a good one.

September 4th, 2008 at 11:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Bush,Cheney,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Elections,Palin,Republicans,Weirdness

Jason Linkins Beats Me To It

This is what I get for not blogging stuff the instant it occurs to me:

Tonight at the RNC, the McCain campaign made their feelings about community organizers abundantly clear. Defeated primary opponents spit on their name. Conventioneers loudly mocked their existence. Sarah Palin told not one, but two jokes about them, which is certainly a comedy foul, because everyone knows you are supposed to use the Rule Of Three.

Tonight, community organizers were made to feel the brunt of the Republicans’ smarmy derision. And for what? You know, one overworked conservative trope from tonight was that the American people should not expect the government to solve all of their problems. You know who would agree with that? Community organizers. These men and women serve a public duty, taking care of those who do fall through the cracks of government largesse, motivating citizens to give their time and sweat to serve society’s needs without making an unnecessary dip in the taxpayer till.

Yep, that was my thought exactly.  If your ideology supposedly favors shrinking the government so that the initiative of private citizens must pick up the slack, then community organizers are exactly the people you should be praising.

I suppose one could argue that our government and safety net are soooo huge now after years of Democratic rule (yeah, I know, but Romney just blamed everything that went wrong over the last eight years on the Democrats, as did a McCain commercial holding Obama and the Democrats responsible for “years of deficits”) that community organizers right now are totally superfluous.  Just as one could argue that because abortion is still legal, that’s why Bristol really had a “choice” to keep her baby.  But I just don’t really buy it.  If community organizers are the substitute for government intervention, then they should deserve praise and respect, not sneers and contempt.

Perhaps someone should ask George Bush Sr. what he thinks about his son’s GOP mocking his thousand points of light as ineffectual losers.

The old solution, the old way, was to think that public money alone could end these problems. But we have learned that is not so. And in any case, our funds are low. We have a deficit to bring down. We have more will than wallet; but will is what we need. We will make the hard choices, looking at what we have and perhaps allocating it differently, making our decisions based on honest need and prudent safety. And then we will do the wisest thing of all: We will turn to the only resource we have that in times of need always grows–the goodness and the courage of the American people.


I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.

And here’s one more juicy little tidbit from Mr. Linkins:

Here’s a little bit of delicious irony. It’s been pointed out to me tonight that on September 11, Senators McCain and Obama will appear in New York City, participating in a forum for Service Nation. The topic? Community service and volunteerism. I imagine that many of you might have come out of tonight’s RNC festivities with great concerns about the future welfare of our nations’ community organizers. You might share your concerns with the event’s organizers, by contacting them here. With any luck, this forum could get quite awkward for one of these candidates!

Beautiful.  I would love to see McCain try to explain his campaign’s hatred of community organizers.

(h/t Ron Turiello for the Bush Sr. reference)

1 comment September 4th, 2008 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Elections,McCain,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Rudy,Wankers

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