Jo Becker and Don van Natta Jr from The New York Times delivered a very interesting paper on John McCain and his relationship to gambling and the gambling industry*.
The man is a gambler, and members of his team as well as major sponsors of his campaign have close ties with the industry.
This doesn't come as a surprise and explains a lot about the man, and his behavior... particularily after a week during which the wheel kept turning in the wrong direction for him.
I want to raise the issue of timing. Why raise this issue right now ?
It sounds like more and more people, including in the GOP, are not feeling so comfortable with the McCain-Palin ticket.
Palin is a magnet for theocons, but a scarecrow for voters who want a reliable vice-president instead of a theocon puppet. McCain and Bush will have to invent a major diversion to cancel her "debate" with Joe Biden (even if the format of the meeting protects her : no direct confrontation, this impostor can safely recitate Schmidt's mantras)
McCain was relatively spared, but the media will be more focusing on his character in the days to come : a gambler, often bad tempered, a womanizer who dumped his first wife because she didn't look as nice after a dramatic car incident... not exactly a poster child for the religious right.
True Republicans will feel relieved if this ticket fails. It's the only way of reforming the GOP, of getting rid of the Bush-Cheney theocon-neocon clique who disgraced the party and the country over the past 8 years.
Expect more circumstantiated character destruction about John McCain and Sarah Palin in the days to come.
This character destruction will prevent the character assassination of the US of A**.
* see "McCain and Team Have Many Ties to Gambling Industry" (NYT 20080928)
** see "Change is coming" and Mac "will fight", but for whom and for what ?"
Abusing of Rove / Schmidt tactics (ie repeating "Senator Obama doesn't understand" / "doesn't get it", when McCain actually is the one who's to blame), John made the best of the little he had, stuck at the tactical level (surge) when Barack was trying to lift the debate at the strategical level (going to war).
Obama missed several opportunities. He was great on foreign issues, but not incisive enough on economics. He didn't attack McCain on his key contradictions, and to the surprise and relief of his rival, he didn't even mention his ties with lobbyists (if the GOP candidate wants to change Wall Street, the first guys to fire are his own campaign team, whom HE appointed, and not the SEC chairman, whom HE cannot fire).
At times, it felt like Bush-Kerry redux : a populist, sneaky, bent but humorous reptile dancing in front of a tall presidential figure with a clear vision, clear values. I don't know if independent voters will be fooled by McCain's dance, but fundamentalists must have enjoyed the Bushish vocabulary ("greed", "evil", "Holocaust"...).
McCain has no choice but playing the emotional, "compassionate not so conservative" tune, and Obama needs Americans to sober up, but without sounding like a party crasher.
Meet the Washington Dodgers : Bush-McCain-Palin
Rookie Sarah Palin proved a perfect match for the "franchise" : she refuses all kind of accountability and expects voters to trust her in a few weeks.
George W. Bush was the first to join the roster, during the Vietnam war. Ever since, he kept breaking all Sluggish Average records, smacking budgets well over the fence. His trademark home run ? Crawling back to Crawford, TX, and from there signing the orders for thousands of coffins to be sent to Iraq.
While Bush avoided Vietnam, John McCain was stuck there, playing for a very different team. But this All Star favorite faded into an opportunist, ready to sell himself to his former enemies. He is now a proud Dodger and refuses to face the press, the facts, his rival Obama, and ultimately History.
Now John McCain wants to skip the debate, a "time out" in the middle of the financial crisis. What kind of leader cries Uncle so clumsily ? Why not say "sorry, my staff can get back to you but as far as I'm concerned, I can't handle several problems at the same time" while you're at it ?
This is no time for cowardice and denial : it's time to face the problems, the nation and History.
The only truly presidential leader remains available on every front : Obama keeps his cool and authority, and he firmly reminds his opponent that this is the very best moment for voters to know exactly where the candidates stand on key issues.
I guess the campaigns should modify the debate agenda : domestic and economic issues should be coped with this friday instead of foreign issues.
Ultranationalists have become so influent in Japan that they easily crowned Taro Aso as the "new" Prime Minister. He succeeds Yasuo Fukuda, whose fate was sealed last summer : after understanding that he couldn't run the country without the old Imperialist clique, Fukuda ignited a new controversy with former colony Korea, and he almost won the day when revisionist lobbyists had the Library of Congress change "Dokdo" for "Takeshima" or "Sea of Japan islands" in their labelling systems. But then George W. Bush and Lee Myung-bak went down on their knees, prayed, and put Dokdo back on the US maps*. With Taro Aso, both China and Korea know exactly what to expect from day one : more of the same.
The Israeli, Palestinian, and Japanese people didn't chose their "new" leaders : Kadima and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) decided for them.
Ditto in South Africa : the African National Congress (ANC) picked Kgalema Motlanthe as the interim "leader" between "found guilty of corruption" Thabo Mbeki (who also resigned) and "not found guilty of corruption" Jacob Zuma. When the 2010 World Cup starts, many South Africans may be wishing they'd had more of the same instead of Zuma.
George W. Bush won't resign. But if Americans let the GOP chose his successor, they should know what they will get...
* see "Korea on the Rocks Part II" (Seoul Village, following "Save Dokdo = save Japan! "), or "Le Japon décide de recoloniser Dokdo" (blogules VF)
His glorious plan can be summed up in two sentences :
1- "less Government but more oversight and less regulation in order to fix a fundamentally sound economy in crisis"
2- "Obama did it : this un-American Muslim terrorist married a witch who couldn't even offer him 7 houses and 13 cars, and he is friends with people who actually understand economics"
Well. According to today's New York Times (20080922) : "Senator John McCain’s campaign manager was paid more than $30,000 a month for five years as president of an advocacy group set up by the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to defend them against stricter regulations, current and former officials say".
Ouch. Do you cash Straight Talk Express ?
Movin'on to Sarah Palin : how did the Cheney with lipstick try to recover from a week where she lost 8 positive points and gained 4 negative points ? She visited a conservative spot in Florida, drew a crowd of tens of thousands (even better than in Colorado Springs, CO, a fundamentalist's heaven). Recited lines from The Bullet for 20 minutes, took or answered no questions.
No direct debate with Biden (where were the Dems on that one ?*)
How on Earth can millions of decent human beings still consider voting for this ticket ?
* FYI, the full (vice-) presidential debate(s) schedule :
. Prez debate #1 (Foreign policy) : 20080926 at Ole Miss in Oxford, MS - Jim Lehrer (PBS)
. Veep debate (all issues except Troopergate, Pentecostal doomsday scenarios, Bridges to Nowhere...) : 20081002 at Washington University in Saint Louis, MO - Gwen Ifill (PBS)
. Prez debate #2 (Town hall style questions from the public and the web) : 20081007 at Belmont University in Nashville, TN - Tom Brokaw (NBC)
. Prez debate #3 (Domestic policy) : 20081015 - Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY - Bob Scheiffer (CBS)
PS / bonus : for the road, Fey / Palin's premiere at SNL with Poehler / Hillary :
I dubbed McCain's campaign manager Steve Schmidt "The Infratect" because he truly is Karl Rove's Mini-me and because McCain won't build anything good if he keeps working with such designers*, but everybody knows his nickname "The Bullet" and his prowess in Weapons of Mass Disinformation.
Schmidt's nasty jabs often strike below the belt, and even when the referee (independent media) cry foul, he keeps on trying new ugly tricks.
No, Obama is not a Muslim. But boy, does he have the Muhammad Ali mojo and punch on that one* :
This man won't let someone who spat on him dictate him what to say and what to do.
This man won't let "some member of his staff get back to you" when you ask him a tricky question.
And yes, this man can take any 3 AM phone call. We now the truly phony ones won't work.
Between 2001 and 2003, with bold lies, they managed to forge a case for a war that costs billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands casualties.
Between 2003 and 2004, with bold lies, they managed to get George W. Bush and Dick Cheney elected in spite of all the evidences likely to get the both of them impeached.
Between 2005 and 2007, with bold lies, they managed to make you believe their strategy was working, but all they did was to build walls of hatred all over the Middle East and even at home.
And now, with bold lies, they are painting Obama as un-American and McCain as un-Bush in order to get an extra 4 years and finish their work of destruction.
As the latest polls show, their bold lies seem to be working once again, but once again the loser will be America.
* Rove and Schmidt are better at destruction, as McCain himself could testify eight years ago. Now this guy is reshaping a Maverick into a carpet.
** CNN footage about the so-called "lipstickgate"
A "Maverick" ?
McCain sold his soul to Bush and other theocons in order to clinch the nomination, and even accepted the humiliation of a Karl Rove sidekick leading his own campaign, 8 years after being thrashed by the same team.
What do you think McCain had to pledge to these madhatters in order to get their nods ? Over the last few years, he has repeatedly pleaded allegiance to theocons, Intelligent Design advocates and extremists who expect only one thing from him : to put one more ultraconservative justice in the Supreme Court.
George seems to trust John, to be sure he won't take any maverick initiative. And he told it clearly to his fellow fundamentalists at the RNC : "John is a leader who knows that human life is fragile … that human life is precious … that human life must be defended". The message is clear : this guy will destroy Roe vs Wade. And John knows something : his new friends have put a born again ayatollah one heartbeat away from his job... so he'd better enjoy his eighth house quietly, and paint it black without asking too many questions. Sarah Palin is not only a pitbull with lipsync (see her stand-alone gig reading o'reillishly partisan jokes from a prompter), but some kind of "pro-life insurance" for hardcore fundamentalists.
How dare John McCain claim at the same time his independent heritage, the Bush heritage, and the theocon leadership ?
"Change is coming" all right : voting for McCain means voting against America and for Amerika, against democracy and for theocracy. I saw McCain change over the years and I wouldn't like all his fellow Americans to follow the same path.
Will America be fooled once more, or will America wake up on time and declare its independence from theocons ?