Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Tip of the hat: Stephen Colbert, motivating the GOP through hunger
He serves a Republican state representative who wants to withhold food from needy children ... by recommending that she stop being served. Enjoy:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Cynthia Davis & Fox News
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorJeff Goldblum


Crunch!

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posted by JReid @ 12:00 PM  
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
On second thought ... Joe Lowry's not for gay marriage either
Don't call it a flip-flop, apparently the MSM got this one wrong. I also erred, reporting in this post, that unlike Pastor Rick Warren, the Rev. Joe Lowry, who will give the benediction at Barack Obama's swearing in, is a supporter of gay marriage. Well color me corrected. On MSNBC's "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue," Rev. Lowry went to great pains to disabuse David Shuster of the notion that he supports gay marriage. "I'm for civil unions," said Lowry, but he said his religious convictions would cause him to eschew the "marriage" thing. Watch:




So, was Lowry's supposed support for gay marriage a case of wishful thinking (or editorial bookmarking) on the part of liberals and members of the media, an urban legend that got out of hand, or did Lowry commit a "flip flop," as some gay marriage supporters claim? Or does it even matter at this point? (An interesting sidebar: Lowry's selection hasn't gotten nearly enough ink, particularly since he's also the guy who condemned the Iraq war at Coretta Scott King's funeral, with George W. Bush sitting on the dais...)

Lowry's supposed support for gay marriage apparently rests on a speech he gave to fellow Methodists some years ago, and the following statement he made in 2004 to ABC News:
When you talk about the law discriminating, the law granting a privilege here, and a right here and denying it there, that's a civil rights issue. And I can't take that away from anybody.

That statement is interesting, in that nowhere in it, does Lowry state that he favors gay marriage. I think perhaps the media, in this case USA Today's Faith and Reason blog, and ABC, were looking for ideological bookends where none existed. I fault myself for not being more skeptical. As someone who grew up Methodist myself, and knowing the religion to posess the mildest of manners, and a long tradition of tolerance, I can tell you that despite that, Methodists read Leviticus in exactly the same manner as other Christians...

By the way, did Rachel Maddow jump the shark tonight with her big build-up to a supposed "gotcha" on Rick Warren over this 20-minute self-defense video on the Saddleback Church website? Maddow portrayed the extemporaneous video as damning, in the Jeremiah Wright at the National Press Club sense, but the clips she played were, charitably, run of the mill. No bombshells. Nothing incendiary. And if the clips she played represented the "worst" of Warren's "screed," as Maddow called it, then it's a sleepy screed indeed. I'm starting to remember why I didn't enjoy Rachel's radio show when it was on down here. Sometimes, activist journalism can be interesting. Other times, not so much.

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posted by JReid @ 11:31 PM  
Monday, December 22, 2008
Rick Warren and the Elianization of Everything
As the niche controversy over President-Elect Barack Obama's choice of megachurch pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his swearing in continues to fester, it strikes me that we may have another Elian Gonzales-style saga in the making.

Elian, you may recall, was the adorable 6-year-old boy who washed ashore in Miami during the Thanksgiving of 1999, after losing his mother in a deadly attempt to "float to freedom" from Cuba. Elian quickly became the center of an international custody battle between his father, who wanted to return him to the island nation, and his Miami relatives -- people he had never met before finding himself in their care -- who wanted him to remain in the United States, with them. In the course of several months, Miami's Cuban-American community erupted, surrounding the Miami relatives' house with protests and "human chains," their leaders daring the Clinton Justice Department to come and get him, making a spectacle of the bewildered little boy as he played with new toys and politician-issued puppies in full view of the crowds and cameras, causing a weary nation to scratch its collective head and ask, who are these people, and why won't they just let the boy go home?

Of course, at the heart of the Elian drama were real and deeply felt issues of communism versus freedom, the wrenching pain many Cuban-Americans continue to feel regarding their homeland, and international politics that most Americans find either too compliated, or too tedious, to contemplate. But those issues were subsumed by the high drama, and a seeming obsessiveness among a single, niche constituent group that most other Americans simply could not relate to.

Eventually, Elian went home. But the Cuban-American community had lost more than the boy. In fighting so loudly and so lavishly for him to remain, they lost credibility with the wider public.

The gay and lesbian community is facing its Elian moment. By screaming so loudly about Warren's inclusion in the inauguration, and making gay marriage a kind of litmus test for true progressiveness and humanity, they have embraced a fight that only a small sliver of the population can relate to, and put their credibility on the line by painting Barack Obama as an enemy, at a time when most Americans consider him their only hope.

The "Elianization" of the gay marriage issue is made worse by the fact that some of the arguments being made against Warren simply don't hold up. Examples:

Rick Warren is a fringe preacher not fit to occupy a place of such high honor on January 20th. Really? Warren's breakthough book, "The Purpose Driven Life," which TIME Magazine in 2005 called the best-selling paperback in history, has sold something like 56 million copies since its release in 2002. That's just 10 million fewer readers than Barack Obama had voters, and roughly 2 million fewer people than voted for John McCain. Far from a fringe player, Warren might be the most widely known and best-liked religious figure in the U.S. since Billy Graham. His 22,000 member church boasts a global network of 40,000 other churches, united in advancing an agenda focused not on opposing gay rights, but rather on fighting global poverty, AIDS and climate change. Warren may be a lot of things, but "fringe" is not one of them.

Warren's views on gays are out of the mainstream. Perhaps Rachel Maddow, the inimitable Barney Frank and those at the left-most end of the poitical spectrum wish it were so, but it is not (actually, Frank recognized as much when he criticized San Franciso Mayor Gavin Newsome for pushing the envelope on gay marriage in 2004.) Warren does not support the idea of gay marriage. Neither do a majority of Americans. Neither, by the way, does Barack Obama. Or Hillary Clinton. Or Joe Biden. Or any Democrat who ran for president this year with the exception of Dennis Kucinich. But most Americans do support equal access to such things as healthcare benefits through civil unions or domestic partnerships, a view with which Warren, despite the hype over his "incest" comments, concurs, as he stated during his recent, but rarely fully quoted, interivew with Beliefnet:

Q: Which do you think is a greater threat to the American family - divorce or gay marriage?
A: [laughs] That's a no brainer. Divorce. There's no doubt about it.
Q: So why do we hear so much more - especially from religious conservatives - about gay marriage than about divorce?
A: Oh we always love to talk about other sins more than ours. Why do we hear more about drug use than about being overweight? [Note: Warren is quite overweight.]
Q: Just to clarify, do you support civil unions or domestic partnerships?
A: I don't know if I'd use the term there but I support full equal rights for everybody in America. I don't believe we should have unequal rights depending on particular lifestyles so I fully support equal rights.
Q: What about partnership benefits in terms of insurance or hospital visitation?
A: You know, not a
problem with me.

(Hat tip to Bob Ostertag.) By painting Warren's views as out of touch with those of most, or worse, of the "good" Americans, the gay movement risks marginalizing itself, not Warren, since most people agree with him. In fact, it would be difficult to find a mainline preacher in this country who didn't concur with his reading of the Bible's stance toward homosexuality or marriage, but Warren is unique among evangelical leaders in being openly supportive of equality via civil unions. Moreover, had Obama reached for a "fringier" minister, one who openly supported gay marriage, to give his invocation, he would have touched off yet another round of the tiresome culture war, and given himself needless hurdles to getting crucial things done. In fact, there are only two reasons Obama has NOT been attacked for having a preacher who supports gay marriage on the dais on January 20. One is that Rev. Joe Lowry is no ordinary preacher -- he is a dean of the Civil Rights Movement, and is expected to speak from the perspective of Dr. Martin Luther King. The other is that the hew and cry over Rich Warren has sucked up all the oxygen.

And then there is the final meme, which might be the most marginalizing of all:

Barack Obama has betrayed his base. Barack Obama was elected by 66,882,230 Americans, a figure that includes a majority of the roughly 6 million Americans who are either gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual. But it also includes strong majorities of the much larger cohorts of African-Amerians, Latinos, Catholics, women, and young voters, some of whom support gay marriage, most of whom do not. Obama's "base" this year included 9 percent of registered Republicans, and 20 percent of self-described conservatives. Anyone want to place a bet on whether they feel betrayed by Warren's inclusion? As Obama has said repeatedly, his base is the American people. Attempting to pigeon hole him into a base that consists entirely of those on the left, is suspiciously like the right's expectation (which unfortunately was met) that George W. Bush would govern only on behalf of evangelical Christians, wealthy individuals and multinational corporations.

It seems to me that many on the left actually bought, lock, stock and barrel, into the cartoon caricature of Barack Obama peddled by the likes of Fox News and right wing talk radio throughout the campaign, when he was painted as some wild-eyed leftie. Well surprise! He is not, nor has he ever been. The left will be very happy with the Obama agenda, which, since its aim is to save this country from the three-fold blight of economic ruin, needless war and a loss of global credibility, should make the center and the right happy, too.

The reality is that Barack Obama is coming into office with a tremendous weight on his shoulders, and gay marriage simply cannot be at the top of his agenda (the aforementioned economy and wars come first.) And he has decided to govern as he ran: as a man determined to bring Americans together, exclude no one from the conversation, and to declare no group to be "untouchable" -- not even evangelical Christians, of whom he, you wil recall, is one.

Obama is being true to that promise by inviting Warren, and the millions of people he reaches, to be a part of the inaugural. By bringing them into the tent, he is not saying that he subscribes to all of the Christian right's beliefs. But he is signaling that there is room for believers in the tent. Does the LGBT community really want to be the ones standing at the door saying they may not come in? If they do, they will find that it's a lot more crowded outside.

Originally posted at TPM Cafe.

UPDATE: Melissa Etheridge appeals for calm (and defends Rick Warren.)


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posted by JReid @ 9:57 PM  
Monday, October 20, 2008
The woodwork
Toward the end of campaigns, the weirdos start to leak out of the woodwork. Case in point: this 300x300 banner ad running on the homepage of the Miami Herald online:

When you click on the ad, you're taken to FellowPatrioticAmericans.com, a one-page site that leads with the following dramatic headline:

Now is the Time for All Good Men and Women to Come to the Aid of Their Country.

But wait! There's more...
In a world that‘s rushing toward the end times prophecy, God will bless the true Christian leader, if we choose wisely. The Prince of Darkness’ blood runs through the veins of the evil doers.

We have been given the blessing of free will to choose our own path for good or evil. This Presidential election is unlike any we have ever had before. Choose wisely!

Pray for this country and that God gives you the will and wisdom to vote for a leader who has the experience, knowledge and intestinal fortitude to lift these United States up and set it back on the true course of Godliness that it has slipped away from in our homes, schools, churches and, most of all, our government!
The site then quotes a passage from the Book of Luke, and Rev. Samuel Doak, a Presbytarian minister who founded Washington College in Tennessee in the late 1700s. And if you scroll way, way down to the bottom? You finally get the proverbial "reveal"...

You guessed it! This feller's supporting John McCain. You had doubts?

Now, you may be tempted to write this off as just the ravings of yet another kook who's attended one too many Sarah Palin rallies. But I think it's worth looking into who spent good money, in a recession, to buy ads that rave about the end-times, associating Barack Obama with the dark forces of evil, and relating voting for John McCain to scripture. The site's final word:
Consider your children and grandchildren! Their future is in your voting hands. I urge you to vote your heart and conscience.

Vote for Experience and Leadership.
And then it warns ominously:

GOD WILL HAVE THE LAST WORD!

Jeez, I'm scared already. So who is this harbinger of doom? Someone called Wayne Litz, whose address for his electioneering message is in Morristown, Tennessee.

A quick search of campaign contributions finds a scrap metal dealer named Wayne Litz listed as an RNC donor in 2006:
Mr. Wayne Litz (Morristown Shredder Inc./President), (Zip code: 37815) $200 to NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE on 07/20/06
Litz doesn't appear to have a duly registered PAC in Tennessee, so he's apparently spending his own money... and more than $200 of it at that! Anyone who knows anything more about the man, please do share...








Certifications like Check Point Security Administration NGX II Rev 1.1 (156-315), HP2-E13 and 1z0-043 Oracle Database 10g Database has became the standard of skill measurement. IT certifications are now so common that everyone with little knowledge can start preparing certificate course. However, some high level 650-180 SMBE SMB, E20-322 and MCSA/MCSE 70-284 require technical knowledge and skill about the product.

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posted by JReid @ 10:45 PM  
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Is the new McCain ad suggesting Obama is the Antichrist?
It sounds absurd, but consider this:

Some evangelical leaders are hinting at exactly that, as the HuffPo points out:
... several blogs have noted a growing number of conservative evangelicals alleging that Obama is the anti-Christ, or at least a precursor to that end-of-days figure. For example, Hal Lindsay, a prominent evangelical writer, charged in a recent WorldNetDaily article:
Obama's world tour provided a foretaste of the reception he can expect to receive.

He will probably also stand in some European capital, addressing the people of the world and telling them that he is the one that they have been waiting for. And he can expect as wildly enthusiastic a greeting as Obama got in Berlin.

The Bible calls that leader the Antichrist. And it seems apparent that the world is now ready to make his acquaintance.
Much of the fear mongering about Barack has been directed at Jews: prominent neocons and assorted right wingers, including Charles Krauthammer and Ben Stein, openly compared Obama's Berlin speech and proposed Denver acceptance speech to the rantings of Adolph Hitler, implying that he is, if not the Antichrist himself, and evil prophet of doom for the Jewish people. But the push to scare evangelical Christians about Barack has been well under way for some time. It appears the McCain squad simply picked up on it.

Winger blogs routinely refer to Obama as the "Obamessiah," a derision designed to imply that his supporters (and the media) are being mesmerized by a kind of modern day political cult (which should sound familiar to Bush II loyalists, who literally worshipped the current president after 9/11...) but one which some evangelical extremists might take very seriously. Take this sample of letters to The American Spectator, for example, entitled "The Good News According to Barack":
... As for these evangelicals who're falling for Obama, they need to reexamine whether they really have a genuine relationship with Jesus the Christ. Maybe they, like Obama, are not what they say they are?

For them to even entertain supporting him, they have to turn their backs on Jesus. That means, among other things, joining Obama's lies to then support things such as infanticide, homosexual marriage and, generally, his character flaw of lying as he does.
As for Rick Warren's actions?

Someday he'll have to answer to the Highest Power as to why, given the visibility and influence he has been granted, he will have given his apparent imprimatur to one of such character as Obama -- and, thus, influenced others to do the same.

Also, he'll have to answer for how, whether intentional or not, he has given Obama and his devotees reasons to condemn and ridicule Christians who have the discernment, courage and love of Christ Jesus and what He represents to see the falsity of what Obama and Warren are doing -- and to say so.

For Warren and Obama, I pray that they realize, sooner than later, that there are consequences far graver and eternally life-changing than losing an election or having your face on television and in the news.

I pray that they -- and those Christians, Catholic or Protestant, who now allow themselves to be deceived by Obama -- come to their senses and realign their lives with the real Messiah in whom they all profess to believe.
-- C. Kenna Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
(The reference to Warren was about his invitation to Obama to speak at his church. He has also invited John McCain)

Again, this from a cadre of evangelicals who literally worshipped President Bush, and taught their children to do the same:



This as we come to the end of the presidency of a man who said out loud that God chose him to be president, and that God told him to invade Iraq. This from evangelical nuts who believe that Bush's wars in the Middle East will bring on the Armageddon. Now they've turned that argument completely on its head, begging the question: if the idolatrous worship of George W. Bush was proper, than mustn't the supposed worship of Barack Obama be the worship of the Antichrist?

From Beliefnet's Mara Vanderslice, co-founder of the Matthew 25 Network, a Christian group that supports Obama:

I don't know about you- but I found this McCain campaign ad "The One" to be one of the most offensive ads we have seen in American politics to date.

At best, this ad implies that those who plan to support Senator Obama are looking for a new savior or a replacement Messiah. But many are reading it even more darkly as an attempt to portray Obama as an anti-Christ figure.

A vote for Senator Obama is a vote for the man we think will make the best President, not for a new Messiah. As Christians, we have one Lord And Savior. Jesus Christ. It is blasphemous to suggest otherwise.

And it is beyond offensive to suggest that Senator Obama is a false Messiah or the anti-Christ himself. How low can we go? It shows the McCain campaign is willing to make a mockery of our faith to feed people's fears. Christians need to reject this out of hand....
Beliefnet is starting an email campaign calling on McCain to pull the ad.

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posted by JReid @ 12:43 PM  
Friday, August 01, 2008
Six degrees of stupid: A half dozen reasons why the new McCain ad is dumb (in addition to it just being dumb)
Maybe it's because it's summer. Or maybe John McCain's communication team is using a lot of college sophomores, but first the Paris Hilton ad, and now the new iteration of the Mac attack, run the risk of coming off as silly, petty, and just plain weird to a public that's trying to do something quite serious: pick a president. First, take a look at the new McCain attack ad, called "The One" (hint, they used Charlton Heston's Moses this time, instead of Paris and Britney... and thanks to Dana Milbank, it also uses the cropped misquote of Obama's statement to House lawmakers this week.)



The ad may be the McCain camp's lame attempt to have some fun, as the candidate insisted today, but there are at least six pretty significant problems with it for McCain.

1. It looks frivolous. McCain has been looking desperate for quite some time, so this is probably the least of his problems. But now, with these new ads, he's starting to look like a man who's wasting the public's time and money, because he doesn't seem to really know what he wants to say. The campaign literally changing the attack message on a daily basis is so jarring, and so confusing and incoherent, that it's hard to take any of the attacks seriously, let alone find any substance in them. Over time, the idea could become ingrained in the public mind that McCain is little more than a desperate old man frittering away millions of dollars on silly, desperate ads. Not exactly the steady and heroic war veteran stamping out pork barrel spending and reforming Washington that McCain wants us to buy into.

2. The relentless attacks could turn off independent voters. By being so relentlessly negative, literally every day, without putting forward a positive agenda of his own (apparently, his only agenda is drill, drill, DRILL!!!! (and rake in the Big Oil campaign cash...) McCain risks looking like a man who will literally say anything to become president. Many analysts say that's not a good idea in a year when voters want a change in the way Washington business is done.

3. It's not presidential. As they begin to pile up, the sophomoric, random and erratic nature of the relentless McCain attacks are making him looking more and more un-presidential. Far from mounting a coherent, relentless attack on his opponent, McCain seems to be careening wildly from angry swipe to juvenile taunt. He seems unclear which tack to take, so he basically takes them all. Whether or not his campaign is simply trying to have some fun, as the candidate insisted today in Florida, the truth is that picking a president is serious business, and man of John McCain's age and supposed gravitas shouldn't be associating himself with ads that look like something that was produced in a college dorm. It's beneath the dignity of a U.S. Senator, let alone a 72-year-old man. The ad is so juvenile, one blogger at the Dallas Morning News actually thought it was a fake.

4. The ads highlight Obama's strengths/span> (without highlighting any of McCain's.) Both of the latest McCain ads do something you're really never supposed to do in advertising: they highlight the positives and appeal of the competition. In the Paris Hilton ad, Obama is shown being adored by hundreds of thousands of people. In the latest, he is shown making inspirational speeches, and then compared directly to Charlton Heston as Moses (two people most Americans probably don't not like.) Wouldn't it be smarter to show Barack falling down, or looking silly (or for you Republicans out there, "scaaaaaary?") I know Barack doesn't do silly looking things, but if you can't find video of him looking bad, here's an idea: don't use video of him at all. Next, these clods will put out a Youtube spot showing Obama sinking that 3-point shot in Kuwait with the troops, with a mean sounding voiceover. Earth to McCain: Americans LIKE celebrities. Case in point: ask your new campaign chief strategist about his former client, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I hear he's got a great new job in Caleefornia.

5. Bad timing. The McCain camp released their bad SNL knock-off on the same day the new jobless numbers came out, showing the U.S. economy shed another 51,000 jobs last month, making it seven straight months of payroll declines, something the Obama camp didn't waste time pointing out:
"It's downright sad that on a day when we learned that 51,000 Americans lost their jobs, a candidate for the presidency is spending all of his time and the powerful platform he has on these sorts of juvenile antics," said spokesman Hari Sevugan. "Senator McCain can keep telling everyone how 'proud' he is of these political stunts which even his Republican friends and advisors have called 'childish', but Barack Obama will continue talking about his plan to jumpstart our economy by giving working families $1,000 of immediate relief."


Last, but certainly not least:


6. The ad highlights McCain's problem with evangelical voters.
This may be the biggest problem of all, though it might not make sense to the more casually religious. Even among those who support McCain, some Christians are going to find this ad offensive. Yes, yes, we all know that Charlton Heston isn't really Moses, but he was playing him in "The Ten Commandments," the film that was shown. Comparing Barack Obama to Moses, and doing so mockingly, at that, is probably the stupidest thing you can do if you're John McCain, and evangelical voters already don't trust you. McCain launched his national political stardom in 2000 in part by attacking two pillars of the evangelical movement, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, as "agents of intolerance." He has wavered about being and Episcopalian, and then a Baptist. He took on two new evangelical friends this election cycle, only to toss them under the bus when they said some ... um ... inconvenient things. And then today, responding to criticism of the mocking use of a revered religious figure in his silly, sophomoric ad, McCain, today, said this:
“This is a very respectful campaign. I’ve repeated my admiration and respect for Sen. Obama. That clip is of Charlton Heston. It’s a movie…I really appreciated the movie and I appreciated Charlton Heston’s magnificent acting skills as I saw it, but it’s a movie.”

Yeah? Really? Well here's a sampling of comments on the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog thread about the ad. Keep in mind that most of the readers of the Murdoch-owned Journal, are Republicans:
As a Christian, I find this ad OFFENSIVE! It is NEVER HUMOUROUS to compare ANYONE to the Lord.

McCain has lost my vote, THIS has gone TOO far!
Comment by carol - August 1, 2008 at 4:40 pm

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Dishonorable.
Desperate.
Not to mention blasphemous.

I am in disbelief. This ad makes me want to throw up.

McCain better start praying for forgiveness.
Comment by Jennie - August 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

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especially, another Christian!

I am speechless.
Comment by carol - August 1, 2008 at 4:41 pm

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As a believer of God, I must say that this is not funny at all for the Christian community. The Lord is not a game!!!
Comment by Carl29 - August 1, 2008 at 4:48 pm

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Absolutely disgraceful.

McCain should apologize immediately, not only to Obama, but to the millions of Christians who have seen their sacred beliefs mocked for political purposes.
Comment by Andrew - August 1, 2008 at 4:49 pm

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As a Christian I am horrified that even McCain and his disciples of dirt would stoop this low.

Whose religion, will he mock next? Do you want to give him the power to inflame a possible world crisis with his frat-boy Humor?
Comment by Mary Mc - August 1, 2008 at 5:23 pm

Now, of course, there were lots of positive comments about the spot as well, but I wouldn't be surprised if McCain winds up pulling this ad, not because of media criticism or criticism from the Obama campaign, but because it winds up hurting him with the Christian base.

Meanwhile, over at the Observer, writer Steve Kornacki has a different view:
In short, the McCain of 2000 no longer exists, and thanks to issues like Iraq, couldn't exist even if his campaign made a conscious effort to resurrect him. Running a 2000-like campaign would preserve McCain's reputation and win him plenty of favorable post-election write-ups from his old media friends -- but it can't win him the election.

What can win him the election, as sad as it is to say, is the kind of campaign he is now resorting to. McCain's aides have privately told the press that they see the fall race as a referendum on Obama. They are right. This campaign is not about hordes of undecided voters weighing the pros and cons of McCain and Obama; it is about hordes of undecided voters who are inclined -- both because of his party label and his personality -- to vote for Obama, but who still have trouble imagining him as America's commander in chief. If Obama can remove their doubts, he will win going away -- just as Ronald Reagan did in 1980, when he won the masses over in a debate a week before Election Day. If he can't, then those voters will default to McCain, the "safe" old warrior. And it will have little to do with whether they approved of the tone of his advertising.

McCain has clearly figured that if he emerges victorious in an election that is Obama's to lose, he will have his entire presidency to repair whatever damage is done to his reputation. He has also determined that his current strategy is his only chance of winning. He's probably right on both counts.

For the record, I agree that running negative is McCain's only option. But there's negative, and then there's negative... The kind of campaign McCain is running is nasty, without being coherent, focused, presidential, or smart. If he wins the election, it won't be because of silly ads like these. It will be because a majority of Americans simply can't bring themselves to vote for Barack Obama, and that, I think, sadly, will come down to the two things the candidates both claim they don't want to talk about in this campaign: age, and race.


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posted by JReid @ 6:49 PM  
Saturday, March 10, 2007
What excatly are 'Christian values?'
Is it just about abortion, gay marriage, and conservative economics (and membership in the GOP)? Or would Jesus have commanded true Christians to care for the poor, for the environmetn, and for the victims of war? The debate is on.

Meanwhile, other Christian conservatives are asking whether the lionization of men who not only leave their wives, but who also humiliate them, is a bridge too far.

''He's probably the most famous, least known candidate for president we've had in a long time,'' said Warfield. ''This exposes a side of Giuliani most voters would have no idea about.''

Southern Baptist Convention leader Richard Land, for example, described Giuliani's breakup with Hanover as ''divorce on steroids.'' Hanover learned her husband was seeking a divorce from television after he announced the decision at a press conference.

''To publicly humiliate your wife in that way, and your children -- that's rough,'' said Land. ''I think that's going to be an awfully hard sell, even if he weren't pro-choice and pro-gun control.'' Marital history and family values have been bubbling just below the surface of the Republican campaign for months.

At a GOP dinner in Missouri last month, Ann Romney said the biggest difference between her husband, Mitt, and his rivals was that ''he's had only one wife.''

As I've said numerous times before, once these people get to know Rudy Giuliani, I predict his popularity won't last.

But let's not give Romney a free pass yet. Evangelicals may also have to ask themselves whether they feel comfortable with a new convert to conservatism who for the last few years has been buying his way into respectability in their circles.

And that's not even to mention that cheating, lying, rank hypocrite, Newt Gingrich.

With all of that, and the corruption and scandals of both the administration and the formerly GOP-led congress, it's baffling to me why evangelicals can still credibly argue that being a Republican is a basic requirement for being a good Christian.

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posted by JReid @ 7:38 PM  
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Quick take headlines, insomniac edition
Christian leaders begin to doubt their party of choice's presidential contenders...

Fidel's innermost thoughts from nearly fifty years ago revealed.

Hillary throws down the gauntlet on the subject of her husband's impeachment. Mention Monica in public at your own risk...

A new study finds that poverty has reached record numbers in the U.S. over the last six years:
The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.

A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures, the latest available, found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 -- half the federal poverty line -- was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year.

The McClatchy analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. McClatchy's review also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas.
A bit more, if you can take it:
The Census Bureau's Survey of Income and Program Participation shows that, in a given month, only 10 percent of severely poor Americans received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in 2003 -- the latest year available -- and that only 36 percent received food stamps.

One in three Americans will experience a full year of extreme poverty at some point in his or her adult life, according to research by Mark Rank, a professor of social welfare at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

An estimated 58 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 75 will spend at least a year in poverty, Rank said. Two of three will use a public assistance program between ages 20 and 65, and 40 percent will do so for five years or more.

Lastly: is allowing your child to become fat a form of child abuse? That question is being asked in Britain in the case of the 14 stone boy:
AN eight-year-old boy who weighs 14 stone, more than three times the average for his age, may be taken into care if his mother fails to improve his diet.

Connor McCreaddie, from Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, has broken four beds and five bicycles. The family claims to have a history of intolerance to fruit or vegetables.

On Tuesday his mother and grandmother will attend a formal child protection conference to decide his future, which could lead to proceedings to take him into care.

Connor could be placed on the child protection register, along with victims of physical and sexual abuse, or on the less serious children in need register.

And speaking of abuse, that's what I'm doing to my brain right now. It's way past time to go to bed.

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posted by JReid @ 3:44 AM  
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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