Angry Amateurs

The Time blog on McCain’s anger directed towards the media:

The story of the day out here in Minneapolis is the McCain campaign’s war against the press. This has been building for some time. Those of us who have criticized the candidate–and especially those of us who enjoyed good relations with McCain in the past–have been subject to off-the-record browbeating and attempted bullying all year. But things have gotten much worse in recent days: there was McCain’s rude, bizarre interview with Time Magazine last week. Yesterday, McCain refused to an interview with Larry King, for God’s sake, because Campbell Brown had been caught in the commission of journalism on CNN the night before, asking McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds what decisions Sarah Palin had made as commander-in-chief of the Alaska national guard. (There was an answer that the unprepared Bounds didn’t have: she had deployed them to fight fires.)

So what’s going on here? Two things. McCain is just plain angry at us. By the evidence presented in the utterly revealing Time interview, he’s ballistic. This is a politician who needs to see himself as the man on the white horse, boldly traversing a muddy field…any intimations that he’s gotten muddied in the process, or has decided to throw mud, are intolerable.

The second thing is more insidious: Steve Schmidt has decided, for tactical reasons, to slime the press. He wants the public to believe that there is an unfair–sexist (you gotta love it)–personal assault going on against Palin and her family. This is a smokescreen, intended to divert attention from the very real and responsible vetting that is taking place in the media–about the substance of Palin’s record as mayor and governor.

An Analysis of Palin’s Speech

I still haven’t come across it on YouTube (busy going through feeds so I haven’t really looked for it yet) but here is James Fallows’ analysis of it.

– Fact checking. The speech took the “press is the enemy” theme to an extreme in dropping in a bunch of claims and factlets that the McCain team knows will be immediately picked apart by the press. For instance, her claimed opposition to earmarks and “bridge to nowhere.” I guess they figure, they’ll stick with their side of the story and say “there you go again!” when the press points out errors and holes.

– Abqaiq. The foreign policy grace notes in the speech, including pronouncing the phrase “Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia,” struck me like George W. Bush’s dropping in the names of foreign leaders during his 2000 campaign — as a way of showing that he knew them. This doesn’t remove the peril of what the first actual press conference on international issues, or the first debate with Joe Biden, might hold.

– Nothing off limits. Barack Obama has used his family as a prop from time to time — most recently, bringing the charming girls onto the stage at the end of his convention speech. That’s life in politics; everybody does it to some degree.Very few politicians do it as all-out as Sarah Palin just did, from citing the disabilities of her youngest child as part of her resume to including the shotgun groom of her elder daughter. I can’t recall any spectacle comparable to Baby Trig being passed from Cindy McCain, to Trig’s 7-year-old sister, to Palin herself when she ended the speech. Her husband looks charming, I have to say. From this point on it will be hard for her to declare anything about her personal or family life out-of-bounds.

Official: Palin’s never issued an order to Alaska Guard

Another Republican talking point breached.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — When presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain introduced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate last Friday, the Arizona senator emphasized her role as the commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard.

Later, when questions were raised about Palin’s lack of experience in national and international affairs, the McCain campaign pointed again to her military command experience as governor. Some reporters have tried to follow up.

“Can you tell me one decision that she made as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard?” CNN journalist Campbell Brown asked Monday while interviewing McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds. “Just one?”

Bounds couldn’t, because Palin has never personally ordered the state guard to do anything.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll


Praying has become a business, a profession, a trade. A
minister is never happier than when praying in public. Most of them
are exceedingly familiar with their God. Knowing that he knows
everything, they tell him the needs of the nation and the desires
of the people, they advise him what to do and when to do it. They
appeal to his pride, asking him to do certain things for his own
glory. They often pray for the impossible. In the House of
Representatives in Washington I once heard a chaplain pray for what
he must have known was impossible. Without a change of countenance,
without a smile, with a face solemn as a sepulchre, he said: “I
pray thee, O God, to give Congress wisdom.” It may be that
ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be
that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Which Way” (1884)