The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Palin takes lying to a whole new level

Palin tells her "Bridge to Nowhere" lie over 30 times, then gets called on it during Charlie Gibson's interview and has no choice but to backtrack a bit. As I blogged about yesterday, she left it out of the speech she gave yesterday in Alaska.

Today she returned to the campaign trail in the Lower 48, in Carson City, Nevada... and she brought the lie right back!
CARSON CITY, Nev. -- In her first solo campaign rally outside of Alaska, Gov. Sarah Palin drew an enthusiastic crowd at the Pony Express Pavilion Saturday and returned to a familiar refrain about the “Bridge to Nowhere.”

Palin has come under fire in recent days for misleadingly saying she told Congress “thanks but no thanks,” refusing an earmark for a bridge to a sparsely inhabited island in her home state. Independent groups and media fact-checkers have said Palin advocated for the federal earmark before opposing it, only ended after Congress had essentially killed it, and kept the $223 million for the appropriation after the project was killed.

Palin had cut the refrain from her speech during her three-day visit to Alaska. But she came back to it today, citing it as an example of earmark reform she and McCain would push for in the White House.

“I told Congress thanks but no thanks to that Bridge to Nowhere -- that if our state wanted to build that bridge, we would build it ourselves," she said.
Unbelievable. What does this say about her character?

UPDATE: Ooh, extra super bonus lie from Nevada's Lt Governor, who was at the rally:
Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki said on stage that 10,000 people were in the crowd, but parks officials said the pavilion held only 3,500 people.
This is not an isolated incident for the McCain types.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I'll believe it in the Lower 48

From the NY Times:
In speech after speech to crowds in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia in recent days, Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican candidate for vice president, has made sure to mention the so-called Bridge to Nowhere, the Alaska project that has become the symbol of earmarks, and what she portrays as her “thanks but no thanks” position on it.

When she landed in Fairbanks in her home state on Wednesday night, though, the bridge was notably absent from an (otherwise mostly similar) speech she made inside an airplane hangar before her homestate crowd.


On Thursday, a campaign aide said Governor Palin’s decision not to mention the so-called Bridge to Nowhere as she was welcomed home inside the hangar here had no broader significance. Governor Palin had changed other elements of her speech here too, the aide said, in the interest of time. Whether she returns to the theme outside Alaska remains to be seen.
Let's make this simple: Palin wouldn't say her "thanks but no thanks" line in Alaska because they already know it's bullshit, since her support for the Bridge To Nowhere was a major plank of her 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

Her incessant lying about the Bridge was (and will continue to be?) aimed at all of us here in the Continental USA. The test is when she comes back here and does her rallies with McCain. And frankly, I wouldn't put it past her.

(Speaking of rallies, have you noticed that ever since McCain tapped Palin to be his running mate, suddenly being a popular celebrity is a good thing again? Oy)

Planned Parenthood gives McCain a spanking

I'd like to see the phrase "say anything to get elected" worked into the ads of the Democratic ticket itself in the near future.

Stop worrying, Obama supporters!

Democrats can be such drama queens sometimes!

What have we seen these last couple months?

Obama wins series of primaries in late Winter, early Spring, polls go up.

Democrats: Cool!

Obama plays defense as media goes on and on about Reverend Wright, etc.

Democrats: What's wrong with this guy, why doesn't he assert himself?

Obama wins primary campaign, gets lots of coverage, polls go up.

Democrats: Yay! He's going to win! I can finally relax for once in a campaign.

McCain campaign throws a bunch of trivial crap at Obama, Obama plays defense, polls go down.

Democrats: Omigod he's gonna looz! This is Kerry/Gore/Dukakis all over again!

Obama delivers DNC acceptance speech, polls go up.

Democrats: Wow! That was inspiring and surprisingly full of policy details too! I can finally relax for once in a campaign.

McCain campaign, now armed with an unqualified governor from Alaska, throws a bunch more trivial crap at Obama, Obama plays defense, polls go down.

Democrats: Omigod he's really gonna looz! This is Kerry/Gore/Dukakis all over again! Hell, Mondale too!


Guys. Relax. Have some dip.

Fast forward a few weeks...

Obama debates McCain, shifts discussion to issues, polls go up.

Democrats: He's going to win! I can finally, finally, finally relax for once in a campaign.


Look, it's simple. When the American people hear Obama talk, without a filter, they support him. When the American people are talking about the issues that matter to people, rather than stupid sideshow drivel, they support Obama.

Those two elements will converge in the upcoming slate of Presidential debates.

In 2004, John Kerry's support grew substantially after the debates, and the only reason he didn't win then was because he was starting from a lower level of support before those debates. The worst it will be for Obama is behind by 1-2 percent.

Now do you see why McCain is throwing not only the kitchen sink, but a kitchen sink backed up with sewage, at team Obama?

McCain knows that he's going to start losing ground in a hurry once the debate season kicks in. And if the best he can do right now is pull to a tie, or maybe the slightest of leads, then he is going to find himself making a call of congratulations to the Senator from Illinois on November 4th.

So stop worrying, Obama supporters!

Palin & the "Bush Doctrine" (UPDATED)

Look, it's not as much that Sarah Palin clearly didn't know what the Bush Doctrine was when asked a simple, straightforward question about it per se. It's deeper than that.

The point is that Sarah Palin lacks a greater personal context in terms of understanding the world, and this makes her unqualified to be vice president, or president god forbid.

Go to any university and ask any senior in its political science department about the Bush Doctrine, and they will A) know what you're talking about and B) have a stance on it. They have a basic level of background knowledge about the general foreign policy narrative of the last decade. They know that the run-up to the Iraq War included a discussion of preemptive war (striking a nation when there's an imminent threat) and preventive war (striking a nation before they could become an imminent threat). The former has been part of our foreign policy framework for a long time, but the latter is what Bush promoted in those heady days of 2002-3. This is interesting because Charlie Gibson got it a little wrong himself, thinking the doctrine was more preemptive than preventive.

But that's beside the point, which is that Palin had zero idea of the nature of this discussion at all until Gibson spelled it out for her. And that's unacceptable.

It's not enough to have a week's worth of cram sessions with McCain's neocon advisers, Joe Lieberman, etc. There has to be something beneath that, an informed worldview. It's not that Palin has a view I disagree with, it's that she has no view. She's basically a slogan-machine, and not even a very good one. Serious conservatives in the foreign policy establishment understand this.

Obama picked Biden because he thought Joe would be a good Vice President. McCain picked Palin because he thought Sarah would get a few more votes.

UPDATE: No, no, no, Washington Post. While it's true that there is legitimate disagreement about the Bush Doctrine and the legacy of his foreign policy, etc, the fact is that Sarah Palin simply had no idea what the heck it was, and had probably never heard of it before. On WaPo's part, this is the equivalent of crediting a broken clock for being right about the time twice a day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin: War with Russia!

Via Marshall, I see that ABC has posted the initial transcripts of Charlie Gibson's interview with Sarah Palin. These are partial, of course. Not that I'm holding out hope that he'll ask Sarah about forcing women to pay for their own rape-kits while mayor of Blaine Wasilla.

Anyway, from the interview excerpts provided by ABC, we find that Palin and McCain are two peas of the same bellicose pod:
GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

PALIN: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.

But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to -- especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.

We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.

GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.

PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.

And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to.

It doesn't have to lead to war and it doesn't have to lead, as I said, to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, again, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries.

His mission, if it is to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that's a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.
This is certainly in line with the McCain platform of More Wars. Just what this country needs!

Says Marshall, "[This] sort of shows the consequences of taking a freshman governor with no experience in foreign policy and giving her a ten day crash course with Randy Scheunemann and the rest of John McCain's neocon brain trust that got booted from the Bush inner circle for being too nutty."

In this way, Palin is something of a political blank slate, a Manchurian Candidate meets Chance Gardener: a dress-up doll for rabid neoconservatives. Obviously the campaign thinks McCain's bellicose bravado in the aftermath of Russia's recent incursion ("We are all Georgians now") is a political winner, and they're doubling down on that with Palin, whom they hilariously argue is some sort of expert on Russia because Alaska is near Siberia.

Obviously I'll have much more to say about Palin, and the man at the top of the ticket (you know, the guy who can't get people to come to his rallies without her) in the coming days.

Why is this old blog back?

If you watch enough cable news, you get a pressure-cooker phenomenon in your brain, and the following 54 days are the evacuation of said head.

I'll be blogging primarily about the 2008 campaign, including the Presidential election, statewide elections around the country (Senate, etc), and California (my home-state) and local issues, including the slate of ballot initiatives up for a vote in November. An added focus here will be on the media's coverage of the various races, notably television and print media.

I'm an Obama partisan, but I will do my best to be an objective voice in the middle of all this madness.

Aaaaaand we're back!

The Facts Machine returns for the duration of the 2008 Election campaign!

All posts below this one date back to 2006 and earlier, so disregard all that.

More to come soon!