Posted by: mutantpoodle | October 19, 2008

Sunday Buffet

Good Afternoon. Did anything happen today?

Just kidding.

First, Colin Powell, in one of worst surprises ever, endorsed Barack Obama this morning. No one will ever know how much this helps Obama or hurts John McCain. My guess is it does less to bring people over to Obama than keep those who are already with him, if tenuously. That, and suck the air out of a news cycle or two. No matter what, if you’re John McCain, you know it’s not a good thing for you.

Powell’s endorsement – above – was a very low key, diplomatic shiv into John McCain’s ribs. While he was careful to note his regard for and friendship with John McCain, his devastating critique of the McCain slime was a thing of beauty:

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration. I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.

More on Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan here.

After he appeared on Meet the Press, Powell answered questions outside…

…and spoke more about the McCain campaign’s negativity (~3:45 in):

You know, we have two wars. We have economic problems. We have health problems. We have education problems. We have infrastructure problems. We have problems around the world with our allies. And so those are the problems the American people wanted to hear about, not about Mr. Ayers, not about who is a Muslim and who’s not a Muslim. Those kinds of images going out on al Jazeera are killing us around the world. And we have got to say to the world it doesn’t make any difference who you are or what you are. If you’re an American you’re an American.

Amen.

Second, Barack Obama raised $150 million in September. also very helpful to Obama, and hurtful to the capped campaign of John McCain. That’s $5 million a day, or, put another way, a lot of very motivated Obamanauts.

Keep it up.

Third, Sarah Palin goes on Saturday Night Live. The open is here (my site explodes, apparently, when I embed NBC video). I’d note that Tina Fey has now done more press conferences in this campaign than Sarah Palin.

The second Palin appearance on the show involved her mostly sitting still while Amy Poehler does the Palin rap.

Meanwhile, Andrew Sullivan has replaced his rabid anti-Clintonism with just as rabid (and, I think, slightly more grounded in reality) anti-Palinism. This weekend, he’s been repeating his 19 part series on the “Odd Lies of Sarah Palin.”

That’s right – 19. (Note: either he counted wrong, or he hasn’t posted #19 yet.)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

As Sullivan says in re-posting #1,

This weekend, I’ll be re-posting all the factual untruths that Sarah Palin insists are still actually truths.I’ve updated each item to keep up with the new information that has come out since the original posting.

I’m doing this because Sarah Palin’s contribution is to introduce a new level of detachment from reality to our politics. After Bush-Cheney, this would be hard for anyone. But youbetcha she can.

This has been the pattern from the start of her career: a denial of reality combined with an almost unhinged and unlimited ambition. Since the press is barred from questioning her thoroughly, since we will never know how she responds to the long list of untruths she has told – from the smallest biographical detail to the biggest policy – all I can do is remind my readers of the record one more time before November.

Next, a word on polls. There’s tightening, but mostly it seems to be wayward Republicans coming home to McCain – Obama’s still in the 49-51% range. Besides, as Tina Fey-Palin says, “I don’t worry about the polls. Polls are just a fancy way of systematically predictin’ what’s gonna happen.”

Finally, I was going to say something about Jon Meacham’s lazy piece on whether Barack Obama can govern a “center-right” country. First, I reject the premise, and then I’d note that George Bush couldn’t govern it, either. Either you can govern or you can’t, and even if this country was center right, I doubt it is any more.

Anyway, David Sirota got there first.

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