John McCain

John McCain must hate video

He's no Kip Dynamite, because if there's one thing John McCain must find inconvenient it is modern technology. Now I first thought Rudy would be the candidate that would grow to dislike YouTube and video in general, but it seems that the torch has now been passed to Senator McCain. From CBS News:

Standing with two of his Senate colleagues at the Citadel, a set of ancient ruins in downtown Amman, McCain told reporters that he is concerned about Iran's influence in Iraq and cited a recently discovered cache of weapons that he said could be particularly lethal in being used to target Americans in the country. 

"We continue to be concerned about Iranian [operatives] taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back," he said in comments after meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Tuesday afternoon.

Pressed to elaborate, McCain said it is "common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran; that's well known. And it's unfortunate."

A few moments later, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), standing just behind McCain, stepped forward and whispered in his ear. McCain then said, "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not al-Qaeda."

The United States has long asserted that elements of Iran's security forces have been training and supplying weapons to Iraq's Shiite militias. Iran is an overwhelmingly Shiite country whose government has applauded the emergence of a Shiite-led government in Iraq but has denied supporting Shiite militias inside Iraq.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a predominantly Sunni militant group that has been blamed for deadly mass killings of Shiites and attacks on U.S. forces. Some Sunni extremists consider Shiites to be heretics and therefore legitimate targets of attack. The schism between Islam's Sunni and Shiite sects grw out of a dispute over the leadership of the faithful after the death of the prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632. 

Now in fairness, John McCain deserves respect. I'm sure he's worn out from the rigors of the campaign, but he's handing out fodder for anyone who wants to discredit him. And given his tendency to revert back to the foreign policy/national security narrative (since he doesn't know much about the economy), mix-ups like these don't give him much ground on which to stand. They will also make it difficult for him to separate himself from the President, which he has tried to do by emphasizing his criticism over the mismanagement of the War.

The DNC's spokeswoman, Karen Finney, immediately saw the opening in McCain's misstep, saying:

After eight years of the Bush Administration's incompetence in Iraq, McCain's comments don't give the American people a reason to believe that he can be trusted to offer a clear way forward...

Or a different path. Later in the CBS article, McCain meets with Israeli President Shimon Peres, who told McCain that "Israel needs a partner in achieving peace with the Palestinians." He went further:

"The situation among the Palestinians, they are divided, alas, which makes
them weak," Peres said. "And their weakness is our weakness because we [need a] partner."

As Simon has stated, the Bush legacy in the Middle East is not one we want to continue. If McCain continues to mix up, particularly on video where it is available for all to see and on topics on which he prides himself, I'd be interested to see how he responds to the claim that he really wouldn't be offering anything different from the current administration with regard to foreign policy.

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Looking at the electoral college, 2008

Markos does an excellent write up of a new 50 state SUSA poll that looks at how the electoral college would fall, today. Both Clinton and Obama grind out narrow wins over McCain, but what is most interesting is the different paths each might use to win.

Update: Markos has more.

The speeches

Here are the victory speeches from last night's primaries courtesy of Veracifier. First, Senator Hillary Clinton's speech from Ohio:

And here's John McCain in Dallas after clinching the Republican nomination:

Millennials Makeover the Four Ms of Politics

With the showdown primaries on March 4 over and the outcome of at least the Democratic contest still to be finally decided, it is a good time to point out what the 2008 primary campaigns have already made clear about the future of American politics. After this year, the four basic elements of any campaign-Messenger, Message, Media and Money-will never be the same. Those candidates who have adjusted all four of these dials and tuned them to Millennial Generation sensibilities and behaviors have been the most successful candidates in both party's primaries.

Millennials, those Americans born between 1982 and 2003, are the most diverse generation in American history. Forty percent of them are African-American, Hispanic, Asian-American or of some other mix of races and ethnicities. And twenty percent come from an immigrant family. A candidate like Barack Obama, whose bi-racial family and generational roots extend from slave owners in America to Kenyan goat herders and social workers in Indonesia, is not an oddity in their minds but has the model background for an American leader.

Eighty percent of Millennials have done some sort of community service in high school. . Eighty-five percent believe that directly contributing something to the community is an important way to improve it. When Senator Obama traces his experience to his days as a community organizer in Chicago, older generations tend to dismiss it as posturing and beside the point in gaining the experience required to government work. Millennials, by contrast, consider community service just the kind of experience they would like to to put on their resume when they apply for a job. Discounting its importance sounds to them like a dismissal of their own accomplishments. Indeed an examination of the biographies of many of the winning Democratic challengers in the 2006 Congressional elections shows this same penchant on the part of new voters to value a career of service over one spent learning the inner workings of the legislative process. It's also a reason why Senator McCain's service to his country in Vietnam and his stay in the Hanoi Hilton attracts rather than repels this new generation of voters, in spite of the attempts of a feminist icon of the 1960s to minimize the importance of that service.

Millennials have been taught since their parents first sat them down to watch Barney that the best way to approach problems is to find a solution that works for everyone in the group---since everyone is just as good and important as everyone else. The confrontational style of Baby Boomer candidates like Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney strikes them as rude, enough to earn them a time out until they learn how to play nice. By contrast, the unifying message of Barack Obama who suggests, somewhat naively to the ears of older voters, that his solution to the problems of America will be to get everyone around the table to work things out for the good of the country is exactly in tune with the way Millennials have been taught to solve problems. When John McCain distanced himself from Bill Cunningham's typical talk radio ideological rant, he earned the enmity of many of Cunningham's colleagues. But he spoke directly to Millennials who are looking for candidates who refuse to engage in that kind of name-calling.

But McCain, like all of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates (with the possible exception of Fred Thompson) , remained unable to embrace the social networking technologies that are the lifeblood of Millennials' daily lives. Having their children text friends sitting in the same car or "friending" people they barely know on MySpace are common Millennial behaviors that drive parents crazy. But the two most important possessions of any Millennial are their cell phone and their laptop, devices that allow them to stay connected to the Net 24/7. That type of peer-to-peer communication is the center of Barack Obama's media strategy. It has been the key to the organizational strength that Obama has demonstrated in caucuses across the country. Political pundits who still follow the news on the television news shows or in the newspapers don't see the enormous volume of personal communication being generated on MyBarackObama.com, built on the same operating system as FaceBook, until the electoral results once again seem to stun them on any given Tuesday night. Having ceded the lead in peer-to peer-media to the Democrats, especially Obama, rather than almost totally relying on older technologies, like talk radio and slick television commercials, the Republicans risk losing as badly in 2008 as they did to an earlier master of a new communication media, FDR, with his soothing radio voice, in 1932.

The same online engine that is generating all of the offline , grass roots enthusiasm for Obama is also raising money for his campaign in unprecedented ways and in unimaginable amounts. With one million of his friends on his website, Obama has now raised more money from more people than any candidate in American political history. Obama's use of this new media with appeals for small donations almost drove the Clinton campaign into bankruptcy and is likely to create a similar untenable disadvantage for John McCain in the general election. Ironically, it was McCain who first demonstrated the power of the Net to raise a lot of money fast in his aborted 2000 campaign. But that was long before broadband and social networks being accessed continuously all day long became the way of life for so many young voters. Now McCain and his party are forced to attempt to shame Obama into using public financing in the general election. That may be the only way they can avoid the kind of monetary deficits that Democrats and the federal government have experienced in the past.

The outcome of the Democratic contest, let alone the general election campaign is not pre-ordained. Events over the next eight months can cause public opinion to change direction. But the relative ease with which Barack Obama has woven a tightly knit strategy based on a new approach to what the profile of a Presidential candidate should look like; the fundamental appeal the candidate should make to the voters; the way that appeal should be communicated to all voters, but especially young ones; and the resources such an approach can bring to a campaign, makes his candidacy the most likely to succeed, with one possible exception. Hillary Clinton's success in most large states so far suggests that this new alignment of the four Ms of American politics has yet to be fully tested in campaigns requiring more complex organizational efforts over a longer period of time. In Silicon Valley terminology, it is not yet certain that this new configuration of the four Ms can "scale" to the size required to win a national campaign. Both the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania and the general election fight to come should provide the final test of this new approach to political campaigning and definitively establish a new formula for victory in the coming decades.

Morley Winograd and Michael Hais are the co-authors of a brand new book, Millennial Makeover: MySpace, YouTube, and the Future of American Politics. Come see them at NDN's event on March 12th, "A Moment of Transformation?"

Neither rejecting nor denouncing Hagee

Josh Marshall has an excellent update on McCain's deepening embrace of a world class bigot.

On Thursday, I offered some initial thoughts on McCain's horrendous week and George Will's remarkable take down of his candidacy.

George Will takes a big shot at McCain

I don't think the national media has come to terms with what may be the most interesting aspect of the McCain campaign - the incredible distain that many conservatives have for him, and the overall difficulty he is going to have in bringing his party together. Check out this passage from a George Will column today:

In 2001, McCain, a situational ethicist regarding "big money" in politics, founded the Reform Institute to lobby for his agenda of campaign restrictions. It accepted large contributions, some of six figures, from corporations with business before the Commerce Committee (e.g., Echosphere, DISH Network, Cablevision Systems Corp., a charity funded by the head of Univision). The Reform Institute's leadership included Potter and two others who are senior advisers in McCain's campaign, Rick Davis and Carla Eudy.

Although his campaign is run by lobbyists; and although his dealings with lobbyists have generated what he, when judging the behavior of others, calls corrupt appearances; and although he has profited from his manipulation of the taxpayer-funding system that is celebrated by reformers -- still, he probably is innocent of insincerity. Such is his towering moral vanity, he seems sincerely to consider it theoretically impossible for him to commit the offenses of appearances that he incessantly ascribes to others.

Such certitude is, however, not merely an unattractive trait. It is disturbing righteousness in someone grasping for presidential powers.

I'm not really sure we've seen anything like this ongoing repudiation of McCain by his own Party in any other Presidential race in the last two generations of politics.

Update: McCain has had a very bad week, and his campaign has looked awfully wobbly. Women. Lobbyists coming out of his ear. Possible evidence of corruption. What looks like a very real breaking of federal election law. Romney floating that he might get back in. Wild mistatements to the media that mean he is either, let us say, losing a step, or lying. Not sure which is worse. As I wrote a few days ago, McCain may be the worst candidate the GOP could have fielded.

Watch that crazy old McCain stumble over saying that he, is, oh wait I am having a moment - a conservative!

And now he manages to completely piss off Catholics.

The president of the Catholic League today blasted Sen. John McCain for accepting the endorsement of Texas evangelicalist John Hagee, calling the controversial pastor a bigot who has "waged an unrelenting war against the Catholic Church."

Hagee, who is known for his crusading support of Israel, backed McCain's presidential bid Wednesday, standing next to the senator at a hotel in San Antonio and calling McCain "a man of principle."

But Catholic League President Bill Donohue said in a statement today that Hagee has written extensively in negative ways about the Catholic Church, "calling it 'The Great Whore,' an 'apostate church,' the 'anti-Christ,' and a 'false cult system.'"

"Senator Obama has repudiated the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan, another bigot. McCain should follow suit and retract his embrace of Hagee," Donohue said.

Catholics United, a national online group, also blasted McCain over the endorsement. "By receiving the endorsement of an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church, McCain once again demonstrates that he is willing to sell out his principles for a chance to win the Presidency," said Chris Korzen, Executive Director of Catholics United in a statement. "We hope Senator McCain will take the principled position of publicly and unequivocally distancing himself from Pastor Hagee's anti-Catholic comments. Intolerance and bigotry do not belong in American politics."

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Paxson contradicts McCain

Oops:

Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson yesterday contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his
lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf.

Paxson said he talked with McCain in his Washington office several weeks before the Arizona Republican wrote the letters in 1999 to the FCC urging a rapid decision on Paxson's quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station.

Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, likely attended the meeting in McCain's office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. "Was Vicki there? Probably," Paxson said in an interview with The Washington Post yesterday. "The woman was a professional. She was good. She could get us meetings."

Read the whole article from tomorrow's Washington Post. For more on McCain, read this recent post, Senator McCain, be careful for what you wish for. And as they say about politics, it is isn't the deed itself, it is the lying about it that gets one in trouble.

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