February 24, 2008

Planting the Seed

A lot has been written dissecting, criticizing and debunking the New York Times' clumsy heavy-handed innuendo based smear job on John McCain. I don't think I need to go into that any further.

A lot has also been written about why they ran the story in the first place. I think a lot of that writing misses something.

I don't think the editors of the Times are stupid people. Shameless partisan hacks, maybe; but not stupid. They had to know that this story wouldn't stand on its own. They had to know they were going to take a bigger hit than McCain for running it. But they did it anyway.

We're a long way from the GOP convention, though it is clear that McCain will be the Republican nominee for President. This story cannot change that fact. The general election is a long way off - too far off for this to have any real impact. So why run it now?

Fuzzy Memories

The answer is that eight or nine months from now, in the heat of the the general election campaign, no one (outside of a few bloggers and their readers) is going to remember the details of this story or it's refutation. There will only be the vague fuzzy memory of some tawdry scandal involving McCain and a lobbyist. Every time McCain and lobbyists are mentioned in the same sentence, that taint will be there. You can be sure that McCain and lobbyists will be mentioned often in the coming months.

Will it be enough on its own to change voters minds - probably not. It will add a bit of tarnish to the candidate who already has trouble with the conservatives he needs to win.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 12:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 21, 2008

"Great Shot Kid. That Was One In a Million"

That's no moon, that's a satellite with a decaying orbit and a tank full of highly toxic fuel.

The target a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should destroy the satellite.

Star Wars indeed.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 02:53 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 20, 2008

Primary Poetry

The inspiration started at Instapundit, who linked to this brilliant adaptation of one of my favorite poems.


I met a pollster from an antique land,
Who said--"Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand, one in Texas...., one near Canton,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose brow, and wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
The rest is worth reading and it inspired me to try the same with another of my favorites. (The unedited version of each is in the extended entry for your edification)

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The candidate cannot stand the voter;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The Barack-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of victory is drowned;
The best lack all experience, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Chappaqua
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with woman body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant pundits.
The polls drop again but now I know
That eight years of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a smiling Bush,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Washington to be sworn?

Actually, it would have been pretty accurate unedited as well.


Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:45 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

February 16, 2008

Electing a Vice President

We don't really elect a Vice President in this country. We basically elect a president and live with whoever was picked to go along for the ride. Sure we let the Vice Presidents have their own debates, but they are really a lot like the everyone wins in little league rules. We let them do it so they feel good about themselves. It's not like we really care.

This time it may be different. This time the choice of Vice Presidential candidates could determine the election.

The Democrat's Dilemma

It's not going to be pretty on the left this year. The number of possible scenarios as they begin their convention is narrowing - and none of them look good for them.

Consider: They arrive at the convention and Obama has a lead in pledged delegates - the delegates awarded in primaries and caucuses. Hillary has enough Super Delegates in her pocket to take the nomination. The "popular vote" is overridden by the party insiders. The already clear divide along both gender and racial lines becomes a chasm that will swallow Mrs. Clinton's chances for the White House. Her only hope at keeping the black vote that she needs to win is to pick Obama as her running mate. A Clinton/Obama ticket has a real chance of winning.

Or, they arrive at the convention and including Super Delegates Obama has enough support to win the nomination - but not if the delegates from Michigan and Florida are counted. It will be a bitter and nasty fight in which Obama finds himself arguing against counting the votes of two large states that the Democrats probably need to carry to win. If Mrs. Clinton wins that fight, we're right back to the scenario above. If Obama wins, and Michigan and Florida don't count, he has angered two important states, and probably hurt his standing with women as well.

He could fix this by putting Hillary on the ticket, but I don't see her accepting. Nor do I see her losing all that gracefully either. Particularly if she is thinking about 2012.

If either candidate wins the nomination outright they still will have to work hard to over come the gender/racial divide they have built up within the party during the primary. Each would need the other on the ticket. But while I see Obama accepting the spot - he still has a political future - I don't see Hillary accepting second chair.

The Republican's Riddle

Likewise a strong VP choice by McCain could go a long way toward defeating the Democrat's nominee. If McCain does the stupid "Maverick" thing and reaches across the aisle for a VP, he will lose conservative support and lose the election.

If he does the smart thing and picks a VP that will help bridge the gap between him and traditional conservatives, he has a better than even chance of winning.

One name I have heard discussed is Condi Rice. A tough, brilliant, conservative, black woman as running mate for McCain would be a nightmare for a Clinton/Obama coalition. I just doubt McCain is going to pick a VP who is going to overshadow him quite so much.

I believe the Democrats can only win this if Mrs. Clinton is the nominee and Obama her VP. Beyond that I think the election is McCain's to lose which he will do if picks a VP that offends conservatives as much or more than he does himself.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

February 13, 2008

Hillary Clinton Lies

I enjoy getting emails from Hillary's campaign they brighten my day the way only derisive laughter can.

Yesterday, I received one with the subject line "You have touched my heart." I guess that would explain the frostbitten fingers.

Today's email is such a steaming pile of Bullshit spin that I have to wonder if even they were able to send it out with a straight face. For example this line:

Every time they start to count us out, we prove them wrong. And we're going to keep proving them wrong as many times as we need to until we win the White House.
Hillary has been the front runner and presumptive until precisely yesterday. The number of people who have counted her out before today (who don't work for the Obama campaign) is probably very small. The number of people who are willing to pretend the super delegates don't exist and that many of them aren't indebted to the Clintons is is probably pretty small too.

I don't know how Hillary can claim to have come back from adversity - when she has lead the primary season. But then I never expect to hear anything approaching honesty from Mrs. Clinton.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:29 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

February 11, 2008

BlackBerry Humor: UPDATED

Sometimes the best humor is unintentional. At least I think the punch line to this news story is accidental. I quote it in full with emphasis added.

BlackBerry Service Out in North America; AT&T Says All Carriers Affected

NEW YORK — An outage has disconnected BlackBerry smart phones across North America.

AT&T Inc. says the disruption Monday is affecting all wireless carriers. AT&T first learned about the problem at about 3:30 p.m. EST.

There's no word on the cause or when the problem might be fixed.

BlackBerry maker Research in Motion did not immediately return a phone call.

FOX news has an updated version of the story - and have edited the punch line:
RIM officials did not return phone calls.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 05:52 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

February 10, 2008

Why The Election Matters

Congressman John Campbell has a post up that is a must read for all "conservatives" so bent out of shape over the GOP nominating John McCain that they are planning to sit out th for the other side out of spite.

Here's the opening with emphasis added:

In light of the debate over the economic stimulus package, many people have forgotten about the impending danger of major tax increases. Below are someof the tax increases you will get if Congress does nothing. These increases will be automatic unless Congress does something to stop them.

This is yet another reason why I opposed the stimulus package. Making the current tax rates permanent is more important than any one time wealth redistribution that is disguised as a rebate.
Congressman Campbell makes it very clear how costly this election could be.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:42 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

February 03, 2008

Superbowl Survey

Congratulations to the New York Giants for a great win in an uncharacteristically exciting Super Bowl game.

Now for the survey question:

Who will be the most insufferable to listen to in the office tomorrow, Giants fans or Patriots fans?

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 10:29 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment

An Undecided Voter Decides (Updated)

The day after Fred Thompson dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination my good friend Jack emailed to ask who I was going to support. For the first time that I can remember, the only answer I had to give was "undecided."

At the time the choices were McCain, Romney, Rudy, Huckabee, and Paul. The recent primary results that  forced Rudy out, and marginalized Huckabee did nothing to clarify the choice.

I knew that Ron Paul was not going to be my choice. While I support some of what he stands for, a good deal of of what he says is borderline silly and in the area of foreign policy downright dangerous.

Mike Huckabee has always reminded me a little too much of Bill Clinton for comfort. And it's not just the resume, it's the feel of the man and his approach to the campaign. Charm and wit over substance. And even as a non-smoker the fact that even considered the idea of national smoking ban is offensive to my sense of liberty.

This left a choice between John McCain and Mitt Romney.

The conservative side of the blog and punditry world has been boiling with ever increasing hyperbole over who is or isn't the real conservative. The insanity may have reached its pinnacle with the queen of conservative hyperbole, Anne Coulter, declaring that if John McCain were to become the GOP nominee she would campaign for Hillary Clinton. Because in her opinion, Hillary would be the more "conservative" candidate.

I am reasonably sure that if you ask 100 pundits and political experts what "conservative" means you would get 100 different answers. I am also reasonably certain that none of them would encompass Mrs. Clinton. I know with absolute certainty that I don't care.

I am not a "movement" person. I'm not a "movement conservative" I'm not part of any Libertarian movement, and certainly not signing on to the "Ron Paul Revolution." And I do not look at a candidate or an issue and make decisions based on where they stand according to any movement.

I make an individual decision based on the individual. I'd rather do the work.

Since I still owed Jack an answer, I got busy. I took a long hard look at at the two remaining choices in the Republican Party. I also looked at the offerings from the other side of the aisle. But another movement I am most certainly not signing on to is  the "more socialism in America" movement so that ruled them out very quickly.

What I found is that I really want neither McCain or Romney to be president.

The McCain/Fiengold trampling of the First Amenedment was probably more of black mark than McCain could ever overcome, so I didn't need to consider his connection to the Keating Five S&L scandal, the McCain/Kennedy Comprehensive amnesty bill, or the McCain/Lieberman eco-socialism bill.

There are number of stated policy positions from Mitt Romney with which I am in agreement. However so much of what he says he stands for is based on Presidential Primary Conversion that I can't be sure what is real. The Massachusetts universal health care law is also a concern. The apologists for Romney point out that he was faced with  an overwhelming wave of Democrats in the legislature and that it was go along or they would have done it without him. So he went along to get along. Principle be damned. What will he do in the oval office when faced with a Democrat majority congress?

It comes down to a choice between a wolf, and potential wolf in sheep's clothing.

So with the Connecticut primary approaching as part of Super-Duper Tuesday what do I tell my friend Jack?

I have decided to abstain.

I cannot support any candidate currently running for the Republican nomination.

I will support whoever the GOP decides to run against the Democrats. Even if it's John McCain.

There is saying in politics of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. I don't think either McCain or Romney rise to the level of good, but they certainly rise well above either candidate from the other party.

UPDATE: If you or Jack are looking for more detailed information on why not to vote for McCain, start here.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 11:44 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

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