iNPLACENEWS Blog Has MOVED

September 14, 2008

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John McCain’s Adviser Quits After Insulting America

July 19, 2008

Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm resigned Friday from his role as GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign co-chairman, hoping to quiet the uproar that followed his comments that the United States had become a “nation of whiners” whose constant complaints about the U.S. economy show they are in a “mental recession.”

Gramm, a past presidential candidate, made the remarks more than a week ago. McCain immediately distanced himself from the comments, but they brought a steady stream of criticism just as McCain is trying to show he can help steer the country past its current financial troubles.

Gramm said in a statement late Friday that he is stepping down to “end this distraction.”

“It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country,” Gramm said. “That kind of distraction hurts not only Senator McCain’s ability to present concrete programs to deal with the country’s problems, it hurts the country. To end this distraction and get on with the real debate, I hereby step down as co-chair of the McCain campaign and join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters.”

Gramm made the comment to The Washington Times and later explained that he was talking about the nation’s leaders not the American people. Democrats claimed at the time that the Gramm comments showed that McCain is out of touch with voters’ concerns over high gas prices, the struggling housing industry and the shaky economy in general.

The campaign of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Gramm’s departure will make little difference to McCain’s economic policies.

“The question for John McCain isn’t whether Phil Gramm will continue as chairman of his campaign, but whether he will continue to keep the economic plan that Gramm authored and that represents a continuation of the polices that have failed American families for the last eight years,” said Obama campaign spokesman Hari Sevugan.

Article by Devlin Barrett
iNPLACENEWS

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Getting Your Plane Shot Down Does Not Make You Qualified

June 29, 2008

Gen. Wesley Clark, acting as a surrogate for Barack Obama’s campaign, invoked John McCain’s military service against him in one of the more personal attacks on the Republican presidential nominee this election cycle.

Clark said that McCain lacked the executive experience necessary to be president, calling him “untested and untried” on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” And in saying so, he took a few swipes at McCain’s military service.

“He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee. And he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded — that wasn’t a wartime squadron,” Clark said.

“I don’t think getting in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to become president.”

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), also on CBS, was equally uncharitable towards Obama’s record on foreign policy as he continued to distance himself from his former party.

“Sen. Obama, unfortunately, like a lot of the Democratic leadership, continues to take a position that we ought to withdraw … even though the new policy is working,” said Lieberman. “If we had done what Sen. Obama asked us to do for the last couple of years, today Iran and Al Qaeda would be in control of Iraq. It would be a terrible defeat for us and our allies in the Middle East and throughout the world.”

Meanwhile, the opposition narratives for the fall election campaign appeared to be in full force on ABC’s “This Week,” with Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) calling McCain a flip-flopper, while Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty accused Obama of not working in a bipartisan fashion.

Emanuel attacked McCain for changing his position on offshore oil drilling, President Bush’s tax cuts and his relationship with the evangelical community.

Quipped Emanuel: “If flip-flop was an Olympic sport, John McCain would be the first to win a gold medal.”

But Pawlenty cited McCain’s record on immigration and his support of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq as ample evidence that he bucks his party on account of principle — and then challenged Emanuel to name one piece of legislation where Obama has worked across party lines.

“The question really remains, when has Barack Obama stood up and taken on his party
on anything of national significance?” Pawlenty asked. “It’s not leadership to jump in front of a parade. And I think Barack Obama’s book ‘The Audacity of Hope’ perhaps should be retitled ‘The Audacity of Hypocrisy.’”

VP watch

A pair of prospective running mates for Obama and McCain downplayed their interest in serving on the presidential tickets on “Fox News Sunday” — and one even said he wasn’t interested in an immediate Cabinet appointment.

Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.), said he was committed to finishing out his four-year term as governor before accepting any Cabinet position within a potential Obama administration.

“In 2011, it’s my intention to walk out the door of the [Pennsylvania] capitol … in January of 2011. I know that disappoints some people in the capitol, but that’s my intention,” Rendell said. “And if there was a position open that I was interested in, like energy or transportation, I’d be honored to serve in an Obama administration, but not at the beginning, not until my time is finished.”

Rendell, one of Sen. Clinton’s leading surrogates during the Democratic primaries, said that President Clinton was “disappointed” that his wife came up short in the Democratic primary, but “is going to do every single thing that Barack Obama asks him to do … and make a great case for Sen. Obama as our next president.”

Meanwhile, former Ohio Rep. Rob Portman also disavowed interest in serving as McCain’s running mate, saying he preferred to remain with his family in Ohio instead of returning to Washington, where he most recently served as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

“I don’t expect to be asked, honestly,” said Portman. “I’m also, as you know, Chris, home after 15 years of commuting when I was in Congress and in the administration, and I’ve got three teenagers. It’s time to be home. I love being home.”

Portman, for his part, reiterated McCain’s unequivocal support for NAFTA despite the fact that the free trade agreement is viewed skeptically in the Rust Belt, including the electorally critical states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“It’s created an enormous number of jobs, including to Canada, which is our biggest trading partner,” said Portman. “And when that message gets out there, it makes it look a little silly that you have someone going around the state of Pennsylvania and Ohio blaming NAFTA for anything from high energy prices to the common cold. “

Third party

Both third-party presidential candidates appeared on the Sunday talk show circuit, with each offering an ample helping of criticism towards the major-party nominees.

Ralph Nader, who said Obama was “talking white” to appeal to voters earlier in the week, continued to attack the Democratic nominee on ABC’s “This Week,” accusing him of being too cozy with an assortment of corporate interests.

“Look at the positions he’s taken on that corporate America is very congenial to. If you want to cover everybody on health insurance … go to single payer. He’s opposed to single payer,” said Nader.

Meanwhile, former Republican Georgia Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, had harsh words for both McCain and his former party.

“What’s wrong with John McCain is symptomatic of what’s wrong with the Republican party in these first years of the 21st century. They talk one thing but do something different and that’s become very obvious to the American people,” Barr said on Fox.

Barr said he is the only candidate offering the combination of a crackdown on excessive government spending along with concern for civil liberties.

But he had to distance himself from past congressional votes in support of the Patriot Act and for legislation authorizing the war in Iraq — positions anathema to much of the Libertarian Party base.

“I certainly was wrong, along with a lot of others in Congress, and now realize that the vote in support of military operations in Iraq was not what the administration intended. They intended to occupy the country even though they didn’t tell us or the American people that at the time,” said Barr.

The governator

And a Sunday show wrapup wouldn’t be complete without mention of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance on “Meet the Press,” where he advocated for McCain’s candidacy but acknowledged their difference on offshore drilling, a proposal that Schwarzenegger opposes.

“I’m 100 percent behind him. That we don’t agree on everything, that’s clear; nor do I with my wife. I mean, it doesn’t mean that we should split, it just means that we don’t agree on certain things.”
He also announced his opposition to a statewide referendum that would amend the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage, while not sounding too opposed to the California Supreme Court’s recent controversial ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in the state.

“I think it’s good that California is leading in this way,” said Schwarzenegger. “I personally believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. But at the same time I think that my belief, I don’t want to force on anyone else, so I think we should stay with the decision of the Supreme Court and move forward.”

Originally found @ Politico.com

iNPLACENEWS


Polls Show Republican Support and Enthusiasm Dying

June 13, 2008


The Republican party may face tough times at the polls come November, according to results of a new national survey.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Survey out Friday indicates that 2008 may not be a good year for Republicans up and down the ticket, even though most national surveys indicate the race for the White House between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama is quite close right now.

Sixty-three percent of Democrats questioned say they are either extremely or very enthusiastic about voting this year. Only 37 percent of Republicans feel the same way, and 36 percent of Republicans say they are not enthusiastic about voting.

“Republicans are far less enthusiastic about voting than Democrats are, and enthusiasm has plummeted among GOPers since the start of the year,” said Keating Holland, CNN polling director. “There was already an ‘enthusiasm gap’ in January, when Democrats were 11 points higher than GOPers on this measure. Now, that gap has grown to 26 points.”

“Bottom line: After eight years of the Bush presidency, Republicans are demoralized,” said Bill Schneider, CNN senior political analyst.

Fifty-three percent of registered voters questioned in the poll say they think that Obama, D-Illinois, will win the election, with 43 percent saying that McCain, R-Arizona, will win.

“In recent elections, the public has a good track record at predicting the outcome of presidential elections. Most polls which asked this same question in 2000 and 2004 showed more Americans predicting a victory by George W. Bush over John Kerry or Al Gore. The public also correctly forecast that Bill Clinton would beat Bob Dole in 1996,” Holland said.

In the battle for Congress, 54 percent of those questioned say they would vote for the Democrat in their congressional district, with 44 percent saying they’d vote for the Republican candidate.

“Democrats lead Republicans by 10 points in the congressional vote. At this point in 2006, the Democratic lead was seven points. Democrats went on to win a landslide in 2006,” Schneider said.

Another question hovering over this year’s campaign: Race. Forty-two percent say Obama’s race will make it more difficult for him to get elected, with 57 percent disagreeing.

“That concern is higher among Democrats, at 48 percent, than Republicans, at 36 percent,” Schneider said.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted by telephone on June 4 and 5, with 1,035 adult Americans questioned. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample and 5 percentage points for the answers of just Democrats or Republicans.

This story was originally found on CNN.COM

iNPLACENEWS


Neo-Con Limbaugh Hates McCain

June 9, 2008

One of the best indicators of John McCain’s weakness in the general election is the questioning of his manhood by right-wing pundits.

Rush Limbaugh — who likes to dress up as a general and command his listener’s to foment political violence — took time out this week to besmirch McCain’s maleness, wondering on air if the Republican candidate could really count as “a man” in the wake of his speech in New Orleans (link).

What prompted Limbaugh to make a negative ruling on McCain’s manhood was not that McCain bashed Bush, but that McCain dared to criticize ‘government’ in his New Orleans speech earlier this week. What did McCain actually say in New Orleans that made Limbaugh slap down his dress-up-general riding crop beyond his normal paroxysms? This paragraph gives the main thrust of the McCain speech (emphasis mine):

“The right change recognizes that many of the policies and institutions of our government have failed. They have failed to keep up with the challenges of our time because many of these policies were designed for the problems and opportunities of the mid to late 20th Century, before the end of the Cold War; before the revolution in information technology and rise of the global economy. The right kind of change will initiate widespread and innovative reforms in almost every area of government policy — health care, energy, the environment, the tax code, our public schools, our transportation system, disaster relief, government spending and regulation, diplomacy, the military and intelligence services. Serious and far-reaching reforms are needed in so many areas of government to meet our own challenges in our own time.”

For playground-soldier Rush Limbaugh, when a Republican gives a speech that questions the effectiveness of government, that forfeits said Republican’s status as “a man.” What would have earned McCain his “I’m a man” badge? Blaming the destruction of New Orleans on liberals, of course (as if you had to ask).

But after reading that New Orleans speech by McCain — the one that has been widely ridiculed in the media since he delivered it on Tuesday — I noticed that McCain was actually trying to do something astounding. He was trying to use that speech (1) to bring Reagan-esque themes into the election and (2) to reframe this election as a referendum on “government,” not a referendum on “Bush” (e.g., to undercut the Obama campaign’s framing strategy).

11 times in his New Orleans speech John McCain used the word “government.” 11 times! It was a sure-fire sign that he was trying to set a frame — and that nobody in the media actually noticed he was doing it, nor did they bother to ask why he was doing it.

The reason is simple: McCain is afraid to bash Bush; so he is trying to make this election a referendum on “government.”

If, for example, I swap the words”‘George W. Bush” for the phrase “of our government” in the above paragraph from McCain’s speech, this is what we get:

“The right change recognizes that many of the policies and institutions of George W. Bush have failed. They have failed to keep up with the challenges of our time because many of these policies were designed for the problems and opportunities of the mid to late 20th Century, before the end of the Cold War; before the revolution in information technology and rise of the global economy. The right kind of change will initiate widespread and innovative reforms in almost every area of government policy — health care, energy, the environment, the tax code, our public schools, our transportation system, disaster relief, government spending and regulation, diplomacy, the military and intelligence services. Serious and far-reaching reforms are needed in so many areas of government to meet our own challenges in our own time.”

Yep. That is really what this election is about, but McCain is just too scared to say it. Instead, he will try to reframe debate in terms of “government.”

More importantly, perhaps, by critiquing “government” instead of ‘George W. Bush,’ McCain is going back to the old hobby horse of Ronald Reagan — patron saint of conservative framing and archetypal Republican manly man’s man.

The model for McCain’s speech must have been Reagan’s oft-cited “Time for Choosing” speech (1964) in which Reagan railed against government, against the liberal “elite” who supposedly ran government, and in so doing set a conservative framing strategy that held the debate up to this very year.

In that 1964 election between Barry Goldwater and the incumbent Lyndon Johnson, Reagan set the frame with phrases like this one:

“This is the issue of this election: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”

Yep — that is the idea that McCain is trying to dig up and toss into this election almost 45 years later. Interestingly, it is the idea that gets his manhood castigated by the likes of Limbaugh, who no doubt thinks he embodies the true manliness of Reagan.

In reality, the Reaganism that McCain is trying to reclaim is no longer the core idea the guides the voice of American conservatism. Steered by right-wing pundits and fueled by hateful, violent rhetoric, contemporary conservatives no longer say that government is wasteful and inefficient. Instead, they say that liberalism kills, liberalism supports terrorism, liberalism will lead to the destruction of America.

No wonder McCain gets called a sissy by Limbaugh when he tries to channel Reagan rather than bash Bush — because Limbaugh has long since left the Reagan legacy behind in favor of the new violent rhetoric of the right.

And the irony does not stop there, because in all likelihood, Limbaugh’s bashing of McCain will bully him into conformity — will goad him into retooling his campaign into some kind of “liberals will kill you” message. The paradox, of course, is that this will mean that an actual war veteran – -who survived torture and still bears the scars of that experience on his body — will likely allow his manhood to be questioned by a drug addict who cross-dresses as a general and equates salivating on cigars with public service.

Rush Limbaugh, the quintessential military-dodging conservative coward, in other words, will humiliate the war veteran in this election.

This was originally blogged @ The Huffington Post

iNPLACENEWS


Bush Dealt Proof His Influence Is Almost Gone

May 23, 2008

In a stunning vote that illustrated President Bush’s diminished standing, the Senate on Thursday ignored his veto threat and added tens of billions of dollars for veterans and the unemployed to his Iraq war spending bill.

A majority of Republicans broke ranks with Bush on a veto-proof 75-22 vote while adding more than $10 billion for various other domestic programs, including heating subsidies for the poor, wildfire fighting, road and bridge repair, and health research.

Democrats crowed about their victory. But the developments meant more confusion about when the must-pass measure might actually become law and what the final version will contain.

Senators voted 70-26 to approve $165 billion to fulfill Bush’s request for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan into next spring, when Bush’s successor will set war policy.

Overall, the measure contains $212 billion over the coming two years — $28 billion more than the administration sought — plus about $50 billion more through 2017 for veterans’ education benefits.

Bush has promised to veto the Iraq spending if it exceeds his request. He has enough GOP support in the House to sustain a veto.

But the spectacle of 25 Senate Republicans abandoning the White House and voting to extend jobless benefits by 13 weeks and boost the GI Bill to provide veterans enough money to pay for a four-year education at a public institution made it plain that Bush’s influence is waning.

This rest of this story can be found: CNN.com

iNPLACENEWS


What if the Presidential Election Were Today?

April 29, 2008

A new poll from The Associated Press and Ipsos suggest that….

If the U.S. presidential were held today, Hillary Clinton would beat John McCain by a 9-point gap, 50% to 41%.

Barack Obama would be statistically tied with McCain. Obama would hold a two point edge over McCain, within the poll’s margin of error.

iNPLACENEWS