I bet you all thought you were rid of me.

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m baaaaa-aaack!

Since I last made an appearance on PD, Barack Obama convincingly won the election, the economy has gotten worse, the Patriots became one of the best teams in NFL history to not make the playoffs, and the right wing rhetoric on here has sunk to new levels.

But enough of the side news, the interesting news is that one of the very first orders that newly sworn-in President Barack Obama will give is to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

While its likely that the logistics of closing the camp make take months to happen (not to mention the likely legal challenges from those who endorse things like waterboarding), this announcement is a signal to the rest of the world that this administration will not be “business as usual”.

Obama has a serious task ahead of himself in trying to repair the United States’ tattered image around the world, but closing Gitmo is a positive first step in that direction.

So… did you miss me?

It is amazing how quickly elections can turn, which is why next week, we could easily be talking about John McCain making yet another Lazarus-like return to the top.

Just a month ago, the McCain campaign was basking the glory of a rousing, bring-the-party-together Convention that featured the coronation the pixie-like heiress to the Reagan legacy with frameless glasses, a winning smile, and a wink with every ‘gosh shucks’ line she lobbed to conservatives like a big, fat casaba melon. Their ticket had the lead in the national polls for virtually the first time, and an energized GOP base for a *John McCain* ticket. Never thought you’d hear that one, now did you?

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Since her splash at the GOP convention, there have been precious few opportunities for the press to get a chance to question Sarah Palin.

A blogger from Newsweek wondered aloud what kind of access the press would have to Palin after the Convention. Just a week later, this article chronicles just what Newsweek wondered about – the fact that the Palin was being shielded from the press.

The lack of access has started to make some wonder when she would be available for interview.

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And of course just hours later he declared that our economy is in crisis.

Just which one is it Senator McCain?

The man who once basically declared himself rather ignorant on economic issues, now has flip-flopped in a matter of hours on the state of our economy. Combine that with Governor Princess, who ran Alaska on earmarks, and we’ll have ourselves a heck of a team trying to solve this nation’s economic woes.

Here’s a challenge to the right-wingers on here who do nothing but pontificate about their hatred for Obama: show me how McCain/Palin are going to be any different than the fiscial irresponsiblity of the current administration.

Post something substantive and positive about John McCain and his proposals instead of doing what a lot of Republicans seem to do well – attack the other side instead of defending their own.

I hate to interrupt the right-wing love fest that has sprouted, but a bit of Keegan cold water is due.

The best part of this skit, I don’t need to type another word

Karl Rove has apparently tried to head off any chance that presumptive GOP nominee John McCain would select good buddy Joe Lieberman as his running mate.

According the Politico story, Rove contacted Lieberman and asked him to withdraw his name from consideration for the post.

The response?

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Time grows short for Barack Obama to pick his running mate, and who that person may be is about as clear as Dubbya’s exit strategy for the Iraq War.

Despite some hype that it could be a “shock” pick, most out there have the field narrowed to the same few horses we’ve been breezing around the track over the last few weeks. Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine are the top tier, with Jack Reed and Kathleen Sebelius one notch down.

So let’s make a prediction. Give me the day and the candidate.

Just a couple days ago, Jason featured the fact that the McCain campaign lampooned Barack Obama’s suggestion that inflating your tires can save you on gas mileage.

At least one of them flipped on that last night. And it wasn’t Jason.

John McCain said last night in a tele-town hall meeting:

“And could I mention that Senator Obama a couple of days ago said that we ought to all inflate our tires, and I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it.”

And I think this quote sums all of this up quite nicely:

In spite of his newfound agreement with Senator Obama, John McCain continues to solicit donations on his website by offering “Obama Tire Pressure Gauges” for $25.00. I don’t know if charging $25.00 for a tire gauge is the best way for McCain to illustrate, for voters, his grasp of the economy.

Brilliant!

The Sarah Palin buzz may be in danger of fizzling out, after the Alaskan State Senate approved the hiring of an independent investigator over the firing of the state Public Safety Commissioner.

The controversy is over whether Palin, or someone close to her, pressured Monegan to fire a state trooper who got a divorce from Palin’s sister.

Team Palin, of course, denied the accusation.

The end of the article does make the point that the investigation could be the death blow to any Palin-for-VP move, even if the story doesn’t hold water:

One reason it might is that with the investigation just beginning, there isn’t enough time to clear Palin’s name before McCain has to make a decision. Going into the fall with a running mate under investigation isn’t the best move.

Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, long a powerful and influential figure in the Senate, is facing political extinction after his indictment on charges of making false statements involving his acceptance of inappropriate gifts. The National Review Online has gone so far as to call for his immediate resignation.

Stevens’ dilemma only worsens a potential disaster in the 2008 election in the Senate, where at the moment, the Republicans are in danger of losing a lot of ground. Currently, GOP seats are in serious danger in Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia and New Hampshire.

Here’s one rather interesting point the NRO made about Stevens:

One of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens’s most memorable moments of the last few years came during the Senate fight over the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” In 2005, when Sen. Tom Coburn introduced a measure that would have redirected the money Stevens had earmarked for the bridge to hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, Stevens gave an apoplectic speech on the Senate floor in which he threatened to resign if the Senate passed the measure. It was the nation’s loss that the Senate voted the measure down, simultaneously missing two opportunities.

Classy Ted. Real classy. Why don’t you take some poor kid’s lollipop while you’re at it?

Can you say “reeks of desperation”?

Wow that’s bad.

May 24, 2007, President George W. Bush said the following, when asked what the U.S. would do if the Iraqi government were to ask for American troops to be withdrawn:

We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It’s their government’s choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.

Mister President, please refer to the comments of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has endorsed the proposed plan of Barack Obama to withdraw American troops within two years.

As Ben Franklin once said “guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days.”

My guess is, it’s pretty ripe by now. It’s a shame John McCain can’t seem to smell it.

As the Iraqi government wants us to set “timetables and milestones” to use a McCain phrase, it is becoming more and more clear that this election will once again become “It’s the economy, stupid!”

And if that is the case, John McCain has already stacked the deck against himself quite nicely.

I can start with the obvious, which is the various times that Johnny Mac has bumbled, waffled and plain old looked silly when questioned about the economy.

But there is one specific quote in that old Romney ad I linked above that merits closer examination. It’s McCain’s response to Ron Paul’s question regarding the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets that exposes how really clueless he is when it comes to fiscal matters:

But I as president, as every other president, rely primarily on my secretary of the Treasury, on my Council of Economic Advisers, on the head of that. I would rely on the circle that I have developed over many years of people like Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm, Warren Rudman, Pete Peterson and the Concord group. I have a process of leadership, Ron, that is sort of an inclusive one that I have developed, a circle of acquaintances and people that are supporters and friends of mine who I have worked with for many, many years.

As Andrew Ferguson pointed out when this quote was first made in February, the only thing that many of the folks in McCain’s “circle” have in common is that they know John McCain:

Notice that phrase “people like.” What makes it odd is that those people aren’t like each other at all, at least when it comes to their economic views. A couple of them, if you put them in the same room, would set off an intergalactic explosion like the collision of matter and antimatter.

Well, the bad(?) news is that after last week, McCain won’t be trotting Phil Gramm out much anymore, so that’s one less ego in the circle for him to check. The best line had to be when asked about Gramm’s potential role in a McCain administration, he responded – “I think Senator Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I’m not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that.”

Ouch.

So now McCain has jettisoned his top economic advisor, let’s take a look at his recently released “Jobs for America” economic plan, shall we?

Diane Lim Rogers aka Economistmom has some great analysis of the plan, and what makes it even better, is that Rogers works for the Concord Coalition, which McCain lists as part of his “circle” of economic advisers.

Maybe it’s time to talk to your circle a wee bit more ofter Senator!

I loathe the man, but his impact is undeniable.

Rush Limbaugh has apparently inked himself a deal that could be worth an excess of $400 million over the next eight years, according to a Drudge flash this morning.

That should be enough loot to widen the doors of his home, so he can fit his engorged ego through.

The Wall Street Journal makes a compelling case for two men that would likely give Barack Obama his best chance at beating John McCain in the general election – Senator Joe Biden and former Vice President Al Gore.

Gore is obviously the reach candidate here. Why would someone who served eight years in the position and lost one of the closest, most controversial elections ever, want to become Vice President again? Well, mainly because he’d be given free reign by an Obama administration to work on his passion – the environment. Besides Gore’s personal benefits, Obama gets someone who was arguably a Supreme Court decision away from being President. He’s respected abroad and even if many American’s don’t agree with his politics, they’d have to begrudgingly agree that he’s qualified to step in to the big chair, if it were required.

Biden is a more realistic pick. He acquitted himself quite nicely in the early parts of the Democratic nomination process, even though it didn’t translate into votes. He’s got a ton of service time in the Senate when it comes to foreign policy, and he appears to be a “bulldog” that many VP candidates need to be in a general election.

Gore is the dream candidate. Biden is the safe pick. Both would go a long way to help Barack Obama in the general.

The Obama campaign made a very cagey decision today when he decided against accepting public campaign financing, despite a previous statement stating that he would accept the funds.

While Obama will take a short-term political hit from this decision, the long term benefits are likely to outweigh the negatives.

His campaign is hoping to raise nearly $500 million, which would give him a huge advantage in the general election when it comes to the critical battle for television advertising.

It is a facinating first salvo, and it will be interesting to see how McCain responds. This should be a major plus for Obama.

One of the pieces of John McCain’s proposal to cut taxes for the middle class includes his desire to repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax or AMT.

Here’s a blurb from his plan about the proposed cut:

John McCain Will Cut Taxes For Middle Class Families. John McCain will permanently repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – a tax that will be paid nearly exclusively by 25 million middle class families. Repealing this onerous tax will save middle class families nearly $60 billion in a single year. Under McCain’s plan, a middle class family with children set to pay the AMT will save an average of over $2,700 – a real tax cut for working families.

Now I will grant that this particular part of the arcane set of edicts that is the United States tax code is flawed and needs to be fixed. The AMT is not tied to inflation, and therefore over time, it could reach into upper-middle and even some middle classes if not adjusted slightly.

But the way that the McCain flaunts this as a “middle” class tax cut is troubling.

a tax that will be paid nearly exclusively by 25 million middle class families

Great statement, except that more than half the AMT is by those with incomes in excess of $200,000 and nearly 90% of it is paid for by those with household incomes of $100,000 or more.

Middle class at $200,000 a year?

Median U.S. income in 2005 was a bit over $44,000. Let’s ask the folks making that if they would call $100,000 a year “middle class”.

Ladies and gentlemen, the McCain “middle class” tax cut.

Enjoy!

This just in from Republican nominee John McCain on the “Today” show early this morning – it’s “not too important” to know when American troops will come back from Iraq.

Brilliant Senator, then tell us what is important?

And sure, I expect the typical “we can’t set timelines” argument from the right. Hey, if that is the truth, I’m game, and say we don’t set timelines or deadlines to get the troops out. But don’t be so idiotic to say it’s not freaking important. By the way, there’s a poll that states that 59% of Americans want the troops home within a year.

Hrmm. Not that important?

A few of the readers on here commented that my posts were not based on “issues”.

I’d call this an issue.

Make no bones about it, the Rove playbook will be in full display in the coming months, and the GOP has apparently already found them a target-rich environment in one Michelle Obama. She will be swift-boated, ripped, shredded and pounded in an attempt to score cheap points – the hallmark of the Karl Rove-style campaigning that has taken over the (not so)Grand Old Party.

The old “fist-pump-is-a-terrorist-fist-jab” was merely the first salvo (which by the way, the Fox anchor who said it apologized) of what is sure to be an avalanche of mud as November 4th approaches, and there is no doubt that the mud will flow both ways.

I hold no illusion that the Democrats will stay above the fray. I fully expect them to return mud with mud; it’s the way of life in politics today. It would be interesting to see Obama and McCain run on issues and positions, and not bashing “he said, she said.”

But heck, that’s what they have Clintons for.

Barack Obama gives a “fist bump” to his wife on the night he clinched the Democratic nomination and suddenly he’s a terrorist.

A terrorist, according to that bastion of un-biased reporting, Fox News.

Wow, neither candidate has picked a Vice President, gone to their convention or even vetted the guy that makes the coffee, and the far right is so desperate, they are calling a fist bump a secret terrorist handshake.

Next thing you know, we’ll find out Nancy Pelosi’s hairstyle is really a secret communication device where her and Harry Reid swap baklava recipes with Osama Bin Laden.

The GOP slime machine is already starting to rev its engines, taking dead aim at Obama. Remember Willie Horton and Swift Boat? You can bet your precious automatic weapons there will be that level of crap thrown out, and probably even worse this coming election cycle.

All this for a third Bush term. How did the first two work out for ya kiddies?

Thought so.

And for the record, Barack Obama is not Muslim, he never said the American flag is a symbol of war and oppression, and the tooth fairy does not exist.