| Thursday, November 06, 2008
| The biggest losers
|Wink if you didn't win the election
Politico runs down the losers, and leaves two major losers out. First, their list:
President Bush. Not to pile on, but his unpopularity probably doomed John McCain and has thrown the GOP into its worst identity crisis since 1964.But wait, there are a few more lowers that Politico left out. Let's review:
Steve Schmidt. McCain’s main strategist was brought in after a shake-up to hammer Obama hard every day, and he did that with gusto, hatching the highly effective “Celebrity” ad equating Obama with Paris Hilton. But McCain never seemed comfortable being an attack dog, and Schmidt’s mid-campaign testosterone boost turned off independents, young voters and women. Meanwhile, the base never believed the Arizona senator was one of their own — even when Schmidt succeeded in persuading McCain to choose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Schmidt is also largely responsible for cloistering McCain from the media, forcing the candidate to give up the straight talk give-and-take that defined him in his previous presidential run.
Rudy Giuliani. America’s mayor began the year as the Republican front-runner by making the case for the big-tent GOP approach. He ended it as a caustic Republican attack dog at a time when GOP partisanship has turned off the very independents Giuliani initially attracted. There are rumors he’s mulling a gubernatorial run, but his national reputation has taken a major hit, and his once-thriving consulting business is said to be in trouble. [Sidebar: Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Rudy.]
ACORN. A huge national voter registration effort gave the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now a chance to shine on the national stage. Instead, ACORN’s sloppy oversight of voter registration efforts created a major embarrassment for Obama and other Democrats who had admired the group’s work on behalf of low-income tenants and blue-collar workers.
Sen. John Ensign. The National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman was dealt a lousy hand, but the former casino executive didn’t play it particularly well, according to his fellow Republicans. He struggled to raise cash and sparked a last-minute firestorm by suggesting Palin wasn’t ready to govern.
Bill Kristol. The former Republican White House aide-turned-New York Times columnist was one of the loudest voices in favor of invading Iraq. And he was among the first to suggest Palin could be McCain’s savior. It proved to be a brilliant move. For about two weeks.
James Dobson. As pollster Peter Brown says, “Even evangelicals have 401(k)s.” Dobson, head of the powerful group Focus on the Family, was a dominant force in 2004 when Bush and Karl Rove fired up the conservative base by organizing around culture-war issues. Dobson’s opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage still resonate with many GOP voters, but he had far less impact in a year when Americans were more focused on the tanking economy.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman. Loser, with a big caveat. Reid and other Senate Democrats were willing to tolerate Lieberman’s support of McCain — but Reid couldn’t abide the Connecticut independent’s appearance at the Republican convention, where he questioned Obama’s fitness to command. Reid has already called Lieberman to task, and insiders predict he’ll strip him of the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. But Democrats can’t go too far in their payback — they still need him on key issues, and his centrist philosophy still means he’s a factor in cloture votes.
Ronald Reagan. John McCain invoked the Great Communicator as his idol — and many in the GOP believe a return to Reagan-era conservative populism provides a path back to relevancy. (His visage still adorns the National Republican Congressional Committee’s home page.) But Democrats claim the economic crisis has called into question central tenets of The Gipper’s fiscal philosophy, including wide-ranging tax cuts, supply-side economics and deregulation. [Sidebar: Replacement winner: FDR...]
Alaska. Once a place held gauzy for its snow-shoed adventurers, hearty native population and oil wrangling individualists, thanks to the Palins, Alaska is now viewed by the lower 48 as a land of dumb hillbillies charging through Bloomingdales with their newfangled credit cards, staring at Russia from their bedroom windows and not reading much. From Newsweek:
Palin’s shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill.Oops. More losers:
Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent “tens of thousands” more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
John McCain's reputation. He used to have a good one. Allowing Steve Schmidt to turn him into a raving Dittohead shattered it. His concession speech was a first step toward self-repair (okay, a second. His SNL turn was the first) but he will have to become the most magnanamous, helpful "maverick" Senator in United States history in order to repair the damage he has done with the press, with moderates, Independents, and Democrats.
Sarah Palin. See "Alaska" above. Her political future might not be completely black (she could even be appointed Senator in Ted Stevens' place should he manage to squeak out a win and then go to prison...) but the caricature of her will live forever. I mean, she didn't know what countries were in NAFTA (think "North America" dear...) and didn't know that Africa is a continent, not a country. I know this, because Fox's Carl Cameron told me... On the up-side, she got a whole buncha nice clothes for her and the First Dude out of the deal! [Corollary loser: stupid people. They can't run the country ever, ever again...]
Rush Limbaugh. His tactics of choice (the Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, race-baiting, trailer-rattling flotsam he spews every day from his mansion in Palm Beach) were injected into the bloodstream of the McCain campaign, including in the person of Gov. Palin, and the injection promptly killed the patient. Oops. And where were his gazillion listeners who were going to put this thing away for McCain? Hm? Boy, $400 million sure doesn't buy you what it used to ...
Sean Hannity. See "Rush Limbaugh" above. And he clotheslined himself by giving an avowed anti-semite a one-hour platform on his Fox Noise show.
Fox News. See "Sean Hannity" above. How's that destroying Barack Obama's candidacy thing working out Rupe? And that serious ratings slide versus CNN and especially versus MSNBC in primetime? Not pretty.
The Congressional Black Caucus. More than half of members didn't support Obama in the primary, opting for Hillary instead (including all three black Florida Congresspeople: Kendrick Meek, Alcee Hastings and Corinne Brown) plus Maxine Waters, John Lewis (until he switched sides after getting an opponent,) Charlie Rangel (who shouldn't be faulted because he and the New York delegation had to go with HRC) Sheila Jackson Lee and on and on.) Some did more than others to help Obama in the general, but in the end, the only one who really counted was Obama's pal Jesse Jackson Jr. (who was phenomenal this past Sunday in Miami Gardens.) Now, there'll be no more of that whingeing about Obama not picking a black chief of staff (Rahm Emanuel is Josh Lyman, guys. This one's a no brainer.) He owes you guys only one thing: nothing.
The right wing blathersphere. RedState.com, Michelle Malkin and many other blogs trafficked in the worst sludge available during the campaign, calling Barack Obama everything but a child of God. They failed to stop the train.
Matt Drudge. See "the right wing blathersphere." Even his desperate, eleventh hour headline pushes about Obama's aunt and other crap didn't work. And Politico has replaced him as the unofficial assignment editor in America's newsrooms, not to mention the rising stock of the HuffPo.
Joe the Plumber. More like "Joe the loser." Now that his stealth, then not-stealth, McCain campaign has failed, he can forget running for Congress or cutting a country music album and devote his full attention to getting that plumbing license.
Elizabeth Hasselback. She tried her hand at being Karl Rove, and ended up being Steve Schmidt. Now kindly pipe down and let Joy Behar talk.
Meanwhile, Politico also left off a few key winners from its list. They are:
MSNBC. They out-foxed Rupert and confounded Bill O'Reilly as the election season wore on, and Fox's propaganda victims became down-hearted over the prospects of their guy. And despite the best efforts of Fox and Friends, Hannity and O'Reilly to derail Barack Obama, he won anyway. Meanwhile, MSNBC let Chris Matthews be Chris Matthews, supported Keith Olbermann, and hired Rachel Maddow, and the ratings heavens opened.
Katie Couric. She went from fluffy (overpaid) bunny to Walter freaking Cronkite in one Sarah Palin interview, doled out cruelly over an entire week by CBS. In many ways, she single-handedly dismantled the Palin monster (and accidentally bitch slapped her former colleague Nicolle Walace in the process.) Good show.
Smart people. They're back in fashion in politics. And it's about time.
Tina Fey and "SNL". See "Sarah Palin" above. You betcha!
Labels: 2008 election, winners and losers
|posted by JReid @ 7:59 AM