Political notes on a Sunday morning: McCain, Hillary, faux conservatives, Rove…

1: Welcome to the Bob Dolization of John McCain. For years, Dole was a respected, effective, centrist dealmaker, a source of grease for the wheels of Congress. But that wasn’t getting him any closer to the White House in a GOP where “Moderate” was functionally the same as “Satanic.” So he sold his soul to the Freak Right in hopes that it would get him the presidency. Instead, all it did was destroy his legacy in the minds of a lot of thoughtful observers.

Yesterday, John McCain did the commencement address at Assault on Liberty “University,” Jerry Falwell’s overesteemed little Bible college in Lynchburg. An analysis in the Chicago Tribune put it this way (my editorial notes are in italics):

The scene unfolding here this weekend might have been difficult to imagine six years ago, when the Arizona Republican denounced the conservative religious leader as a symbol of intolerance and evil. (An accusation that fell somewhere between “fair” and “charitable.”) Those words came during a heated moment in the 2000 presidential race, when McCain blamed Falwell and others for engineering a smear campaign against him. (An accusation that should have been about as controversial as “the sun rises in the east.”)

But as he weighs a second run for the White House, McCain knows that a successful path to winning his party’s nomination rests with earning the respect of — or at least a second look from — conservative Republicans who have not supported him. (Notice how adeptly the writer avoids resort to terms like “selling his soul to the Devil” and “abused woman syndrome”? That’s the mark of an accomplished objective journalist.)

“Rev. Falwell and I have put our differences behind us,” McCain said last week. He dismissed those who questioned his motives and brushed aside the analysis over his appearance at Liberty University as “part of political life.” (Wait – which is part of political life – the criticism or the imminent flushing of your integrity in hopes of attaining power?)

A side note – the Liberty seal features a burning book and their motto is “knowledge aflame.” I consider myself a pretty good branding guy, and I couldn’t have hit the mark more accurately if my life had depended on it.

2. The lie of the day. On This Week with George George Stephanopoulos the NY Times David Brooks said something to the effect that “John McCain isn’t courting the Religious Right. They’re courting him.” Even if I believed that the term “courting” could be fairly applied to what goes on at 2 in the afternoon in a grungy hotel between a desperate man with only a few months to live and the cheapest, most wore-out hooker in Oakland, you’d still have to show me how McCain somehow vaulted ahead of all the True Believers in the GOP.

Then again, the taste of duplicity is not new on the tongue of David Brooks.

3. Hillary Clinton is endorsed by FAUX News owner. I’ve been saying since the early 1990s that the Clintons are simply not the Great Liberal Satans that the GOP makes them out to be. Those of you who appreciate irony are going to love this latest sign of the impending apocalypse:

The man often described as the world’s most powerful media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, has voiced his support for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Mr Murdoch, whose Fox news is usually seen as a strongly pro-Republican outlet, has decided to hold a fund-raiser for Senator Clinton, and declared that the New York Senator is doing a good job.

It’s a move that could have far-reaching implications for the 2008 presidential elections. And if the Murdoch papers and TV stations are true to form, the endorsement could prove to be political gold for the former first lady.

So let’s take a moment to recap: GOP “moderate” hopeful locked in cheap Oakland hotel with Religious Right. “Liberal” Dem frontrunner supported by evil genius behind most partisan conservative news service on globe. George Stephanopoulos shuffling and grinning like he’s auditioning for the biggest minstrel show on Earth. Let’s continue.

4. If, as we were told, the World Trade Center attacks were carried out by people who hate freedom, then this week’s revelations that the NSA has been covertly gathering data on the phone habits of normal Americans must surely have those people dancing as joyously as they were on September 12, 2001. George Will and David Brooks find nothing wrong with NSA spying program on normal American citizens.They’re just gathering data. Looking for patterns. No instrusion into personal conversations – that only occurs if there’s a pattern.

So let’s apply this logic a bit. If I buy this argument, then there should be nothing wrong with the Secret Police following you around just watching. They’re not in your house (that you can prove), and certainly this kind of activity would never lead to any further intrusions, because that’s just not how security operations and governments work, right? So the SP has been following you for years. Watching. Noting who you talk to (and never mind that freedom of assembly silliness, by the way), where you go. Where you shop. Watching. Waiting. Looking for “patterns.” No problem, right? Two prominent sock puppets assure us all is well. So we’re good with that. Aren’t we?

Brooks has never struck me anything but a very articulate apparatchik, but once upon a time you could count on George Will to be, you know, conservative. Once upon a time American conservatives would have howled like wolves in heat over such a bald, brazen, full Monty assault on civil liberties. And by “once upon a time,” of course, I mean “any time prior to the election of George Walker Bush,” who has conducted the most egregious, systematic, and unrelenting campaign against American freedom in recent political history.

Many of my conservative friends squealed like stuck pigs when Janet Reno and her Merry Band of Jackbooted Thugs went after a nutjob in Waco, and now those same people are doing a lot of incoherent mumbling in defense of the man who has done more to make them less free from government intrusion than an army of Bill Clintons and Janet Renos could have in a hundred years.

Is it too much to ask people to at least be consistent? Is it asking too much for you to parcel out your support of political candidates in accordance with your principles, instead of adjusting your principles in a pathological attempt to rationalize past mistakes? You know, I’ve voted for people and later come to realize I fucked up. When that happens, I try to make sure I’m the first guy to grab a torch and pitchfork and head up the hill toward the mansion.

There’s no glory in fighting to cover your ass.

5: Is America too stupid to deserve freedom? Or, you can’t rape the willing.

Poll: Most Americans Support NSA’s Efforts

By Richard Morin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 12, 2006; 7:00 AM

A majority of Americans initially support a controversial National Security Agency program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it. (Story.)

I hope this is merely an indication that people were polled before they had a chance to fully grok what was going on, and that in the coming days we’ll begin to see broad, bi-partisan outrage emerging. (Note – this is a hope and not a prediction.)

Otherwise, get ready for the political reality depicted in Minority Report, where America has accepted, and actively participates in, its own subjugation. As the Department of Pre-Crime ad makes clear, “That which keeps us safe will also keep us free.”

And as George Clinton (no relation to Bill and Hill) pointed out: “Think – it ain’t illegal yet.”

6: Finally – has Rove been indicted? Jason Leopold of TruthOut reports that Karl Rove has already been indicted for his role in Plamegate.

Karl Rove Indicted on Charges of Perjury, Lying to Investigators

Saturday 13 May 2006

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than half a day Friday at the offices of Patton Boggs, the law firm representing Karl Rove.

During the course of that meeting, Fitzgerald served attorneys for former Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove with an indictment charging the embattled White House official with perjury and lying to investigators related to his role in the CIA leak case, and instructed one of the attorneys to tell Rove that he has 24 hours to get his affairs in order, high level sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said Saturday morning.

Robert Luskin, Rove’s attorney, did not return a call for comment. Sources said Fitzgerald was in Washington, DC, Friday and met with Luskin for about 15 hours to go over the charges against Rove, which include perjury and lying to investigators about how and when Rove discovered that Valerie Plame Wilson was a covert CIA operative and whether he shared that information with reporters, sources with direct knowledge of the meeting said.

It was still unknown Saturday whether Fitzgerald charged Rove with a more serious obstruction of justice charge. Sources close to the case said Friday that it appeared very likely that an obstruction charge against Rove would be included with charges of perjury and lying to investigators.

An announcement by Fitzgerald is expected to come this week, sources close to the case said. However, the day and time is unknown. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the special prosecutor was unavailable for comment. In the past, Samborn said he could not comment on the case. (Story.)

It should be noted that while this story is being reported by several agencies, Leopold is the source for each. So far, then, we don’t have much in the way of confirmation.

If the story is true, though, how come a guy from TruthOut is the only one who has it? Where are CNN, ABC, CBS, BBC, NBC, and FOX? (Okay, I threw FOX in there just to be funny.) If it’s not true, then props to those agencies for holding fire until they have substantive reason to report it.

I guess we’ll find out this week if Leopold is right. If so, may justice be done.

:xpost:

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3 thoughts on “Political notes on a Sunday morning: McCain, Hillary, faux conservatives, Rove…

  1. #1 poor McCain. After the Bush administration hangs, moderate will look pretty good.
    #3 If I’m Murdoch, I’d get behind Hilary too. If Rove can stay out of prison, he’ll have an easy job convincing half of America that a woman should never be elected president. If Hilary wins the democractic nomination, it’s the end of the party as we know it. I’m not saying that to be sexist. I would be for Hilary in the White House (at least above most of the other candidates I’ve seen so far). It’s just that I’ve traveled across enough of this country to know how unelectable a woman still is. I hope I’m wrong.
    #6 Burn baby, burn!
    p.s. I received the CD yesterday. Danke schoen!

  2. 4. If, as we were told, the World Trade Center attacks were carried out by people who hate freedom, then this week’s revelations that the NSA has been covertly gathering data on the phone habits of normal Americans must surely have those people dancing as joyously as they were on September 12, 2001.
    Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that Osama has won? And in fact, if you got Osama to run as a Republican, he’d get elected? He’s holier than thou, favors preemptive attacks, likes guns, and wants everyone to toe his moral line. He’d have to lose the beard, though (hasn’t worked for a US candidate since the 19th Century).
    After September 11, we were told to live our lives normally–shop, travel, don’t give in to the terrorists. So what are we supposed to do? Give in to our own government? Be complicit? What is this? Weimar?
    We joked to the bank teller a couple of months ago about being tracked through our transactions and got a lecture about surveillance not being a problem for people who are doing nothing wrong and how he doesn’t mind the government listening to his calls. We now refer to him as the Bank Nazi. He’ll look really good in that brown shirt. The question is, how many people will join him in the march? And will we have to sing “Deutschland über Alles” in English to keep the nativists happy, or do we use the original German?
    Angry? Me? Oh, yeah.

  3. We joked to the bank teller a couple of months ago about being tracked through our transactions and got a lecture about surveillance not being a problem for people who are doing nothing wrong and how he doesn’t mind the government listening to his calls.
    I’d have summoned the bank manager and closed all my accounts on the spot. I walked out of Wells Fargo a few years back for similar reasons. They wanted me to give them a fingerprint in order to open an account. I asked if this was a requirement. They said yes.
    Out I went.

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