Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wake Me Up When October Ends

Latest Newspaper Column:
Barack Obama continues to lead in the polls. Honorable John McCain's angry, fear-based style of campaigning is failing to gain traction. Things are looking very promising for the Democratic nominee.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many Democrats are feeling a sense of impending doom.

The fear that's being discussed in hushed whispers around the Democratic campfire is that of the "October Surprise," the last-minute game-changing shocker that swings the pendulum abruptly. The term originally came to prominence after the 1980 election, when charges surfaced that the Reagan campaign had met with the Iranian government in October to delay the release of American hostages until after the election. (No actual evidence has ever surfaced for this charge.)

The last October Surprise came in 2004, when Osama bin Laden released a taunting videotape a few days before the vote. John Kerry has blamed this appearance by our post-millennial bogeyman for a last-minute surge of fear that put George Dubbya Bush over the top. Personally, I blame John Kerry for letting the vote get close enough for that to make a difference, but that's all water under the bridge now.

Nevertheless, some Democratic commentators have fretted that another OBL video might swing frightened voters back towards John McCain. Because, after all there's nothing that will turn more voters Republican than a reminder that after seven years of Republican rule, this murdering scumbag is still running free.

Other worried Democrats were waiting for the other shoe to drop in last week's debate. Would there be some huge bombshell by McCain or some glaring gaffe by Obama?

They needn't have worried. I confess, I've apparently misread public opinion on the last two debates. I regarded them as narrow wins for Obama, but polls have shown an overwhelming positive response to his debate performances. So take it with a grain of salt when I say that I thought Honorable John got his head handed to him Wednesday night. He may have, in the public's eyes, actually done much worse.

McCain invoked "Joe the Plumber," a fellow whose actual name, according to McCain, is Joe Wurzelberger. Joe had come up to Obama at an event and expressed concerns that his taxes would go up because he was about to buy a business for $250,000. Honorable John professed to have great concern for Joe the Plumber, mentioning him no less than 15 times. "Hey Joe, you're rich! Congratulations!" McCain sneered at one point.

Of course, this is from a guy who doesn't think you're rich until you're making $5 million a year. But if John McCain cares so much about Joe the Plumber, one would think he would have bothered to get his name right. Turns out his real name is Joe Wurzelbacher, not Wurzelberger. I guess when one has seven houses, one gets used to referring to the help by their occupation:

"Honey, the third-floor toilet in the guest cottage is backed up. Call Joe the Plumber."

"OK, what's his last name?"

"Who cares?"

And, as it turned out the next day, JTP admitted that since $250,000 was what he was going to spend for the business, not what he was going to be taking out of it, at least immediately, he would actually be helped by Obama's proposed tax cut. Good move there, Senator McCain. Hope the foot that you just shot yourself in gets better real soon.

From Joe the Plumber, McCain lurched into a discussion of former Weather Underground bomber Bill Ayers, now a college professor in Chicago. The McCain campaign, like the Clintons before them, is trying desperately to hang this sad old '60s relic around Obama's neck.

Problem is, when it comes to Ayers, there really is no there there. One living room meeting years ago, and belonging to the same board, do not make Ayers and Obama co- conspirators in some right-winger's fever dream of a plot to destroy America. Plus, no one really cares about the '60s anymore. Everyone seems to know this except John McCain who, when Obama suggested they talk about the issues, stubbornly veered straight back to Ayers.

CNN, as is its custom, had a focus group using those little twisty knobs to indicate approval or disapproval, with the graph of the results at the bottom of the screen. When McCain pulled his "No, let's talk some more about Bill Ayers," McCain's approval took a nosedive.

In the end, the post-debate "snap polls" had Obama as, once again, the clear winner. McCain needed a knockout; instead, he swung wildly and missed. So, if there is going to be an "October Surprise," it didn't come on Oct. 14.

This is not to say that something isn't going to happen in the remaining weeks that costs Barack Obama the election. This is the Democratic Party, after all. Its members have shown themselves to be absolute geniuses at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. But their time for doing that, and Honorable John's time to pull off an
October surprise, is running out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Proud to Be Ignorant

Media Matters :
On the October 15 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Bob Grant said: "[W]hat is that flag that Obama's been standing in front of that looks like an American flag, but instead of having the field of 50 stars representing the 50 states, there's a circle?" He then said: "Is the circle the 'O' for Obama? Is that what it is?" Grant later said: "[D]id you notice Obama is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars? He has the 'O' flag. And that's what that 'O' is. That's what that 'O' is. Just like he did with the plane he was using. He had the flag painted over, and the 'O' for Obama. Now, these are symptom -- these things are symptomatic of a person who would like to be a potentate -- a dictator." '

The flag in question is the State flag of Ohio.

The ineptitude of these wingnuts is really getting comical.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Picture of the Week


News Flash: Joe the Plumber Would Not See His Taxes Go Up

ABC News:
Wurzelbacher conceded today that he is not in danger of being hit with the higher tax rate. He acknowledged that he wants to buy a plumbing company for $250,000 to $280,000. That wouldn't be how much profit he would make from the firm.

He would make much less, he said.

That would seem to indicate that Wurzelbacher would not be subject to Obama's proposed tax increase from 36 percent to 39 percent for those making more than $250,000 per family. Instead, he would be eligible for a tax cut that Obama is proposing.

And while we're at it, if John McCain cares so much about Joe the Plumber Wurzelbacher, shouldn't he have at least bothered to get his name right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No, Toni Darling, It's Not a Quiz, It's a Contest

Got a little contest going on over at Murderati. Drop by and see if you can score a copy of BREAKING COVER.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Radical Ties

Latest Newspaper Column:

(Sorry for the delay, I'm still digging out from under the work that piled up while I was at Bouchercon)

Folks, I've found out something very serious about Barack Obama.

I have discovered that Obama has close ties to a dangerous radical.

Obama has called this radical a "close personal friend." He has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from this man. Obama has made numerous public appearances with this man and called him a "great American."

Who is this dangerous man with whom Barack Obama has these ties? He is a convicted felon who has served time in federal prison. He admits, in print, to plotting the firebombing of the Brookings Institution in order to create a diversion so that he could break in and steal documents.

He has admitted, again in print, to plotting the assassination of journalists and others he saw as enemies. And not once since the 1970's when he plotted all these things has he exhibited an ounce of remorse. In fact, this man has gone on the radio and instructed listeners in the best method of killing law-enforcement officers: "Head shots, head shots. ... Kill the sons of bitches!"

I have also, my good friends, found out some very disturbing things about Jill Biden, the wife of vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden. Mrs. Biden, it seems, belonged for seven years to a radical
organization founded by a man who had expressed in clear and unambiguous terms his hatred for the United States.

This man has stated: "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. I won't be buried under their damn flag, I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." Moreover, get this: Senator Biden actually appeared on tape to address this group's convention, told them they were an "important part of the political process" and urged them to "keep up the good work."

Outrageous, you say? By golly, you're right! People with associations like that should never be allowed anywhere near the reins of government. They're radicals who don't see America the way we do.

Oh, wait. I seem to have made a mistake. Not about the people with whom the candidates and their spouses were associated. I seem, however, to have slipped up and gotten the candidates wrong. Sorry. Just go back and for "Barack Obama," substitute "John McCain," and for "Jill Biden" substitute "Todd Palin," husband of V.P candidate Sarah "Winky" Palin (or, as he's called in Alaska, "the First Dude.")

I feel really foolish for making a mistake like that. See, McCain has closer ties to convicted Watergate felon G. Gordon Liddy than Obama ever had to former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers -- who, let's remember, committed most of his outrages when Obama was 8 years old.

Liddy was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison on conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping charges. After his sentence was commuted to five years (by, of all people, Jimmy Carter), Liddy spent years biting the hand that freed him, reinventing himself as the one of the Far Right's favorite raging lunatics. (Seriously. I've heard the man speak and even asked a question of him during the Q&A portion of his presentation. He is charming, witty, articulate, and as crazy as a rat in a coffee can).

He has also, as noted above, donated thousands of dollars to McCain as well as holding fundraisers for McCain at his home, according to The Chicago Tribune. He's hosted the senator on his radio show, where McCain said, "I'm proud of you." It is not clear whether McCain was proudest of the felony record, the conspiracy to commit arson and burglary, or the advocacy of murdering federal law-enforcement officers.

As for the First Dude, he's was a member for seven years of the Alaska Independence Party. The AIP was founded by a fellow named Joseph Vogler, whose damnation of the United States of America makes the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's out-of-context soundbites sound like Lee Greenwood singing "God Bless the U.S.A." The AIP, as its name implies, was originally founded to advocate Alaska's secession from the Union.

It is not true, by the way, that Gov. Winky was herself a card-carrying member of a secessionist party. It is, true, however, that she went on videotape to address their convention, telling them to "keep up the good work."

OK, now that we've established that both candidates and their running mates have associations that make some people cringe, let's get away from party-specific indignation and hope the candidates start talking about issues that really mean something, like the economy.

I know that's tough for you McCainiacs; after all, one of your own senior campaign staffers told The New York Daily News, "if we talk about the economy, we're going to lose."

But that is the real issue the American people think is important.

Isn't it?