Saturday, September 13, 2008

McCain +5 in Pennsylvania?

Zogby says McCain 49.1%, Obama 44.3% in Pennsylvania:
"This is a classic case of polling as a snapshot in time. We're turning Pennsylvania purple today, as McCain takes a small edge. But as in Ohio, we are watching this closely and things could change in this classically blue state."
Which suggests that Zogby doesn't really believe McCain will win Pennsylvania on Nov. 4. But Ed Morrissey understates the impact:
[I]f McCain takes Pennsylvania and holds Ohio and Florida, it will be difficult for Obama to prevail in a national election.
No, actually, if McCain takes either Pennsylvania or Michigan, it's lights out for Obama. (Zogby has Obama +5.7 in Michigan.) If the Republican wins Pennsylvania, it will be due to an overall strength that puts states like Virginia off-limits for Obama.

Zogby's Electoral College map closely resembles the 2004 Kerry-Bush map, which isn't good news for Obama. Zogby is correct to caution that these latest results reflect McCain at or near a post-convention peak, and the polls are likely to zigzag back and forth a few times yet. But for the Republican candidate to be in this position seven weeks before Election Day is surprising.

9/13: Obama: Good-bye, Florida?
9/12: Poll Watch Update

Randi Rhodes goes there

Remember when Air America host Randi Rhodes got so drunk that she fell down on her face, and then the Left started claiming she'd been "mugged" by a right-winger?

Well, Miss Can't Hold Her Liquor now has some choice words for Sarah Palin:
She’s the woman who shows up at the kid’s birthday party and starts opining about everything from politics to lawn care. This is the woman that knows it all. Will shout you down, will get revenge on you. That’s who she is.
She’s friends with all the teenage boys. You have to say no when your kids say, ‘can we sleep over at the Palin’s? No! NO!’
It's creepy, isn't it? With not even the hint of any factual basis for this smear, Randi chugs down her 14th Bloody Mary and calls Sarah Palin a child molester. The folks at Air American need to start giving Randi a Breathalyzer test before she goes on the air.

Dad chases boyfriend

Old-fashioned fatherhood:
DELTONA, Fla. — An angry Deltona father whacked his teenage daughter's boyfriend with a metal pipe after finding the boy naked in his daughter's room.
Authorities say the father, 45, didn't even know his daughter had a boyfriend or that the youngster had been sneaking into the home for more than a year.
When he heard noises coming from his daughter's bedroom Thursday morning and saw a stranger standing naked on the girl's bed, he swung a metal pipe. He then chased the teen out the front door and called police.
The boy was taken to the hospital where doctors closed a head wound with staples.
The father was charged with aggravated battery on a child and bonded out on $10,000.
The father was charged? What about the boyfriend? Trespassing, at least? But no worry: Assuming there is at least one parent of a teenage girl on the jury, this dad will never be convicted.

Poll Watch Update

UPDATED & BUMPED 9/13: McCain's Gallup lead shrinks to 2 points, a statistical tie, while he remains up by 3 in the Rasmussen poll.

PREVIOUSLY: Today's Gallup shows McCain continuing to lead by 3 points among registered voters, which translates to a much larger lead among likely voters. Obama hasn't led the Gallup daily poll since Sept. 5.

UPDATE II: A new Associated Press poll shows McCain ahead 48-45 among likely voters. I'd say this is a Democrat-leaning result because (a) it was conducted over a weekend, Friday through Monday, Sept. 5-8, and weekend results favor Democrats, and (b) the internals show that the number of under-30s surveyed was nearly equal to the 65-and-olders. The results aren't cross-tabbed, but you know that McCain has a heavy advantage among geezers, and senior citizens are far more likely to turn out than 20-somethings.

PREVIOUSLY: The latest Rasmussen daily tracking poll shows McCain ahead by 3 points, a 9-point swing since Sept. 2, when Obama led by 6 points. Thursday's Gallup tracking report had McCain +4 (the fifth consecutive day with the Republican ahead by at least 3 points). Of the nine most recent national polls, the only ones not showing McCain ahead are NBC/WSJ (Obama +1) and CNN (tied).

What about the battleground states? The most important news is that several of the "red" states targeted by the Obama campaign (see the 18 states David Plouffe named in June) are trending toward safe Republican status:
Although RCP provides no poll data on North Dakota or Alaska, it's also safe to scratch from the list those states named by Plouffe as "battlegrounds." So, if McCain maintains his current leads, that would leave Team Obama with seven chances to pick off "red" states from 2004:
  • Iowa --Obama +15 (CNN); Obama's strong ground organization from the primary campaign makes this the most likely red-to-blue conversion. Iowa, however, has only 7 electoral votes (EVs).
  • New Mexico -- McCain +2 (Rasmussen), Obama +13 (CNN), McCain +4 (Mason-Dixon). A growing Hispanic population has this state trending toward the Democrats, but Maverick's pro-amnesty stance may blunt that impact. New Mexico has only 5 EVs, so even if McCain lost it and Iowa, he'd still finish with 274 EVs to Obama's 264.
  • Colorado -- Obama +3 (Fox). OK, here's a state where McCain's got potentially serious trouble. Simply adding Iowa (7 EVs), New Mexico (5 EVs) and Colorado (9 EVs) to Kerry's 2004 total wins the election for Obama, 273-265.
  • Nevada -- McCain +1 (Insider Advantage), Obama +5 (CNN), McCain +7 (Mason-Dixon). Another state out West where McCain has trouble, but only 5 EVs here. If McCain can't hold Colorado and/or New Mexico, Nevada won't really matter. If the election is close, expect to be up until the wee hours of N0v. 5 waiting on the results in these three western states.
  • Indiana -- No September polling here yet, but McCain was leading by significant margins before the Palin pick, and it is thus unlikely that he's fallen behind since then. Indiana went narrowly for Hillary in the Democratic primaries, and it's increasingly looking like a long shot for Obama this fall.
  • Virginia -- McCain +4 (CNN), McCain +2 (Fox), McCain +2 (Survey USA). The Old Dominion might be the new Ohio -- or maybe not. The Palin pick has really boosted McCain's support among traditionally Republican voters here. With 13 EVs, Virginia is more important to the GOP than Nevada and New Mexico combined.
  • Ohio -- McCain +1 (Insider Advantage), McCain +4 (U. of Cincinnati), Obama +5 (Quinnipiac), McCain +7 (Fox). Once again, the Buckeye State appears set to be the crucial swing state. If only Obama can hold the Kerry states from '04 and flip Ohio's 20 EVs,
    he wins 272-266. Having visited Ohio this week, I've seen how the choice of Palin as VP fired up the GOP base, and so it looks like Team Obama has got an uphill fight here.
That leaves two key swing states -- Pennsylvania and Michigan -- that were "blue" in 2004, but where McCain has mounted strong challenges. The Palin bump has made both states more competitive, and one recent poll even shows McCain with a 1-point lead in Michigan, a state with lots of hockey moms, an unpopular Democratic governor, and a recent Democratic scandal involving Detroit's Kwame Kilpatrick.

McCain will keep pushing in both Pennsylvania and Michigan, but I expect more emphasis on the latter in the final stages of the campaign. Pennsylvania would have been the likelier target if McCain had picked Tom Ridge as his running mate, and if Obama hadn't picked Scranton native Joe Biden. As it stands now, though, Michigan is the better prospect.

Trying to look at the situation objectively, there's really no reason for the panic reaction among Democrats that Charles Krauthammer discusses in his latest column. If McCain is merely enjoying a temporary post-convention bounce, then the polls will trend back toward Obama over the next couple of weeks, and there would be every reason for Democratic optimism that they could flip enough "red" states to carry the election.

Ah, but this wasn't the scenario Team Obama had promised. The triumphant march to victory wasn't supposed to boil down to the kind of 50-50 nail-biter that Democrats endured in 2000 and 2004. As evidence increasingly points to a close contest decided by a familiar handful of swing states, Democrats are beginning to regret Team Obama's wasted efforts -- e.g., TV ads in Georgia and North Carolina, that vainglorious Berlin speech -- and beginning to question the genius reputation of the Axelrod-Plouffe brain trust.

Should the current poll trend continue -- if McCain's bounce should grow into an undeniable advantage -- expect the Democratic panic to worsen. Such a reaction would be utterly irrational, but hey, they're Democrats.

Obama: Good-bye, Florida!

Read 'em and weep, Democrats:
Obama allies say he has about 350 paid staffers in the state and about 50 field offices, including in places not known as fertile ground for Democrats, such as Sun City Center, Lake City and Sebring.
But for all the attention to Florida from the Obama campaign, there's little tangible evidence it's paying off.
He is farther behind in the state than John Kerry was at this point in 2004, even though McCain began buying Florida TV ads only last week. By this time in 2004, the Bush-Cheney campaign had spent $13-million on Florida TV. In the rolling average of Florida polls compiled by the Web site, Obama has never taken the lead over McCain in Florida, and the latest average shows him behind by 5 percentage points. They were tied in early August.
Four Florida polls came out this week, with one showing a tied race, the others showing McCain leading by 5 to 8 percentage points.
Three obvious reasons for this:
  • The military vote -- Lots of military personnel (especially Navy personnel) and retired veterans in Florida, and they like McCain.
  • The Cuban-American vote -- Traditionally Republican, the Cuban vote is rallying to its GOP loyalties after a down cycle in 2006 due to the Mark Foley scandal. Whatever pundits say about Obama's problems with Hispanic voters, it goes double (or triple) for the Cubans.
  • The geezer vote -- Geezers love John McCain. The over-70 vote is his trump card in this election. And you gotta imagine some of the geezers look at Sarah Palin and see either (a) a super-successful woman who exemplifies their ideals, or (b) that hot nurse on the second shift.
Isn't it amazing that, just eight years after the Gore-Bush deadlock in Florida, Democrats have fallen so low that they can't even compete there? Hillary, maybe. Obama, no.
You can see the RCP Florida numbers here.

UPDATE: Over at AmSpecBlog, I discuss how the Palin pick has disoriented the Democrats.

UPDATE II: Jim Wooten of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sees signs of Democratic panic; Commentary's Jennifer Rubin warns against GOP overconfidence.

Sarah Palin, fashion icon

Wearing red knock-me-downs:
Jay Randhawa, a brand director at House of Brands Inc. in San Diego, says he was surprised to learn that Gov. Palin was introduced as Mr. McCain's vice-presidential choice wearing a red pair of peep-toe pumps with 3½-inch heels. The shoes, marketed by his company's Naughty Monkey line, generally are geared to women in their early to mid-20s who go clubbing, he says.
"The age bracket we target is a little younger. It's a very edgy, very hip, very street brand," adds Mr. Randhawa.
Celebrities like Paris Hilton had been photographed in the brand's shoes, but seldom, if ever, a 40-something politician.
Mr. Randhawa says he realized that Gov. Palin's footwear choice offered the chance to pitch the Naughty Monkey line to a new demographic. The company quickly sent out emails to its retailers with a photo of the Alaska governor wearing the shoes and the slogan "I vote for Naughty Monkey!"
At Inc.'s shoe unit, sales of the red Naughty Monkey shoes shot up 50%, to thousands of pairs, says Mr. Randhawa.
As long as she keeps up her "naughty librarian" look, who cares whether she can explain the Bush Doctrine? She's already boosting economic growth in the apparel industry.
Coldest state. Hottest governor.

Ike watch

UPDATED & BUMPED AGAIN: As of 4:10 a.m. -- two hours after landfall -- Dr. Melissa still had power in the Houston area, which suggests a less-than-catastrophic impact. The Houston Chronicle reports:
As dawn broke, emergency officials were fielding pleas for help from residents along the coast who remained behind and were trapped in their homes. . . .
Wilson Shaffer, chief of the National Weather Service's evaluation division, said the storm surge was smaller than predicted. . . . The highest surge Saturday morning was about 13.5 feet at Sabine Pass in Texas, according to tidal gauges. The surge at Galveston was 11 feet, about half of what was predicted.
So, there will be wind damage and flooding from rain, but the devastating 20-foot storm surge that was predicted didn't happen. Let's face it: TV news hypes these storms to generate ratings. The more scary they can make the storm appear, the more people watch. TV news actually wants a repeat of Hurricane Katrina, especially before the election.

Yes, it's come to this: Biased weather reports.

UPDATED & RE-BUMPED: Galveston radar loop shows a direct hit on Galveston/Houston, with the eye probably coming ashore about 3 a.m. ET.

UPDATED & BUMPED: Linked in Insty's roundup and called a "smartass" by Dr. Melissa, who's gallantly blogging away in suburban Houston. She's angry that 24,000 people stayed in Galveston. It's a free country. If they want to try for a Darwin Award, why should we deny them the opportunity? Besides, judging from recent cable news coverage, at least 1,000 of those people are camera-hogging TV reporters, leaning into the wind.

PREVIOUSLY: Since the TV news is all Ike, all the time, I guess I might as well blog the impending catastrophe. If you believe the TV news people, by noon Saturday, half of Texas will be under water. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff did his best to stoke the apocalyptic fears:
I think this certainly falls in the category of pretty much a worst case scenario for having a hurricane impact in the Gulf area.
The greatest natural disaster in human history. The end of the world as we know it. Total disasterville.

Firedoglake predicts Ike will be worse than Katrina. This is good news for Texas, because Firedoglake is always wrong about everything.

Joe Cheapskate

Tax Prof Blog:
[T]he returns show that the Bidens have been amazingly tight-fisted when it comes to their charitable giving. Despite income ranging from $210,432 - $321,379 over the ten-year period, the Bidens have given only $120 - $995 per year to charity, which amounts to 0.06% - 0.31% of their income.
Jennifer Rubin:
I’m sure this isn’t what the Obama camp had in mind when they refashioned the man who spent three decades in Washington riding to and from home on taxpayer subsidized Amtrak into A Man of The People.
Man of the Cheaple!

Friday, September 12, 2008

School sex gangs in Australia

Six-year-old perverts:
Three boys aged six ran a sex club at a Brisbane state school demanding and receiving sexual favours from Year 2 classmates, a father has claimed. . . .
His revelations came as uproar was sparked by yesterday's Courier-Mail story, which told how the sexual assault of a seven-year-old girl by a young classmate was dismissed as a "childhood experiment" by a country school principal.
The Courier-Mail revealed how the young victim was forced to perform oral sex on the boy, who had threatened her with violence.
Where does a seven-year-old even get any idea of what oral sex is? Who are these kids? And where are their parents?

Snob? Moi?

Sarah Palin "said nucular. Twice." Liberal blogger runs screaming from the room.

Really, you people need to get a grip.

'I can't stand her. She can suck it.'

Pamela Anderson doesn't like Sarah Palin.

But what is the antecedent of that pronoun, Pam?

UPDATE: More Palin Derangement Syndrome from pop singer Pink: "The woman terrifies me."

Obama in the bunker

"A vixen huntress in a skirt"!

From Copious Dissent.

By Monday ...

... monthly traffic for September will pass 171,062 visitors, thereby exceeding the combined total for the previous four months (May-August). Wow.

'Forces of evil'?

Andrew Sullivan:
We have a chance now to defeat the forces of evil that Obama has smoked out of their cubicles.
"Forces of evil"? He's not talking about al-Qaeda, he's talking about Republicans. That evil 51% of voters in 2004. Those thousands of evil people who show up for rallies in small-town Ohio.

My wife? Yup. She's "forces of evil," too.

Clever ad, bad judgment

You've seen that Obama ad about John McCain not being able to use a computer? Do you know why John McCain can't use a computer?
McCain's severe war injuries prevent him from combing his hair, typing on a keyboard, or tying his shoes . . . he can't raise his arm above his shoulder to throw a baseball.
(Boston Globe, 3/4/00, via Ace of Spades.) So I guess it was a real smart move for Team Obama to make fun of the disabled old war hero, huh?

UPDATE: More from Jimmie at Sundries Shack and Jonah Goldberg.

UPDATE II: Ed Morrissey:
If this is what happens when they takes the gloves off, maybe they should just keep them on in the future.
Palin panic's got 'em running in circles in Chicago.

News flash: Liberals lack empathy

For conservatives, that is:
Liberals feel contempt for the conservative moral view, and that is very, very angering. Republicans are good at exploiting that anger.
(Via Ace and Hot Air Headlines.) From this, of course, the liberal writer draws the conclusion that "liberals need to work harder." She doesn't dare do the most obvious thing: QUESTION LIBERALISM.

If she ever did that, she might ask herself why contempt for others is so intrinsic to liberalism. I might suggest she read Thomas Sowell's The Vision of the Anointed, which explains that phenomenon in great detail.

The liberal worldview, Sowell explains, is all about moral narcissism. "Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy," as the subtitle says. Even if one grants that liberal goals are noble, liberal policies consistently fail to achieve those goals. Yet liberals defend their policies on the basis of their good intentions. In other words, what counts is not whether policies work, but whether they are well-intended.

Because of this bogus moral posturing inherent in the liberal worldview, the liberal automatically attributes bad faith to opponents of his policies: "I support this policy because I care about poor people. Everyone who cares about the poor is on my side. Therefore, opposition can only come from those who don't care about the poor."

A good example of this is the liberal approach to public education. Over and over, liberals insist that more money is the answer to the problems of public education. Yet it is impossible to demonstrate a causal relationship between school spending and school quality. Public schools in Washington, D.C., are among the worst in America, even though the system is near the top in per-pupil expenditure.

Mere facts, however, don't prevent liberals from attributing bad faith to conservatives who oppose more federal funding for K-12 education. And the feeling of superiority to others is, as Sowell documents, one of the basic incentives of the liberal worldview.

Team Obama: Back to Square One

Apparently realizing that they've been thrown off their game plan by Palin Derangement Syndrome, Team Obama hits the reset button:
"Today is the first day of the rest of the campaign," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe says in a campaign strategy memo. "We will respond with speed and ferocity to John McCain's attacks and we will take the fight to him, but we will do it on the big issues that matter to the American people."
Part of this "fight" is this new ad:

Ed Morrissey rolls his eyes at the "take the gloves off" talk from Democrats, which is also echoed in the New York Times:
Mr. McCain's choice of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate and the resulting jolt of energy among Republican voters appear to have caught Mr. Obama and his advisers by surprise and added to concern among some Democrats that the Obama campaign was not pushing back hard enough against Republican attacks in a critical phase of the race.
As I noted earlier this week, Team Obama clearly did not anticipate the Palin pick, since her name wasn't included in their pre-set attack on "The Next Cheney." One of the reasons the anti-Palin attacks were so wildly off-target was that the Obama campaign hadn't prepared an oppo-research file on her.

There is nothing more predictable than Democrats reacting to political setbacks by urging that their candidates need to "take the gloves off." This refrain has been endlessly repeated as the all-purpose excuse by Democrats going back to the 2000 Gore campaign. No matter how often they are embarrassed by the attack tactics of ("General Betray Us"), liberals continue to believe that Democrats could win if only they'd get rougher with the Republicans. "Take the gloves off" is to losing Democrats what "media bias" is to losing Republicans, an all-powerful explanation for their own political ineptitude.

Elite rage against Palin

Cintra Wilson, a San Francisco playwright relocated to New York, perfectly expresses in the incoherent rage of the bicoastal elite:
Sarah Palin is a bit comical, like one of those cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms. What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right. The throat she's so hot to cut is that of all American women. . . .
As a woman who does not believe what Palin believes, the thought of such an opportunistic anti-female in the White House -- in the Cheney chair, no less -- is akin to ideological brain rape. What this Republican blowup doll does with her own insides in accord with her own faith is her business. But, like the worst and most terrifying of religious extremists, she seems very comfortable with the idea of imposing her own views on everyone else.
The Sarah Palin of Wilson's imagination, of course, bears no resemblance to the actual Sarah Palin. What is fascinating is Wilson's radical feminist conception of true womanhood -- "I abort, therefore I am" -- that necessarily renders Palin as an unwoman, a "Republican blowup doll" or, as Wilson also calls her, "a Christian Stepford wife."

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Video: Sarah Palin in a bikini

Well, actually, it's Gina Gershon portraying Sarah Palin in a bikini, but who cares? Also, the video (via Hot Air) repeats a nutroots smear about Palin banning books, but again, who cares?

See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die

What's up with that?

One of Michelle Malkin's readers noticed that, in this video of the 9/11 ceremonies in New York, Barack Obama avoids shaking hands with a firefighter and a construction worker at the site:

UPDATE: Clark Stooksbury accuses Malkin of ginning up "bogus outrage." But Obama's actions are kind of . . . odd. For about 10 seconds, he's talking to the woman at the end of the line, then as the rest of the group begins to move away, Obama glances (:15) at the firefighter -- but rather than offering a handshake, Obama kind of nods at him, then moves off to his left, making sort of a semi-circle to the left of Mayor Bloomb erg, as if to avoid the construction worker. It's just odd for a politician to miss an opportunity to shake hands with another voter like that.

FactCheck: Obama ad 'misleads'

"A new Obama-Biden ad includes misleading claims about McCain and education spending," says "The Obama ad says that McCain 'voted to cut education funding' and lists five Senate votes. But only one of the five meets that description, and even then, the vote requires further explanation."

The accusation that McCain has a plan that would cut school funding is based on a teachers-union analysis which says that McCain's proposed freeze on domestic discretionary spending is a "cut." Is it a "cut" to freeze spending at current levels? More to the point, is the problem with public schools a shortage of money?

Here's the Obama ad:

New McCain-Palin ad

I'm not quite sure what this ad is supposed to accomplish, except perhaps to establish in the viewers' mind the idea that negative information about Palin they hear in the media is the result of Democratic attacks.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey doesn't like it:

The McCain campaign has called Barack Obama "the world's biggest celebrity" for two months now, and not for bad reasons, either. However, after doing that, I don't think they have much room to complain about a lack of respect from their opponent.

Yeah, lay off the Sara-is-a-victim angle.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin: Good on TV

She's obviously a natural. Charlie Gibson's trying to make her look stupid, but doesn't succeed.

Via Hot Air, where Allah says Palin "can’t answer the Pakistan question in anything but platitudes about stopping Islamic extremism." Yes, but at least she said Islamic extremism -- she named the enemy, rather than giving the impression that we're under siege by radical Methodists or something.

Here's the full transcript, and it's clear that Gibson's all about the "gotcha," which will make liberals happy. But you know what? It doesn't matter. American like Palin, and if they get the idea she's being attacked, they'll rally to her side. At some point, the MSM and Democrats will figure this out. Maybe after she's been vice president a couple of years.

UPDATE: Politico says Palin "appears to have held her own" with Gibson. True, but it misses the point: She's very good on TV. She looks good and speaks well, and appears very sincere. She doesn't come across as "just another politician." The more time that Sarah Palin is talking on TV, the better for the GOP. Just put her on and let her talk. Let the reporters play "gotcha" as much as they want, and it doesn't matter. When Americans like somebody the way they like Palin, it's magic that way.

Question his patriotism

Being a conservative means many things, but it begins with believing that liberals are wrong. Always. About everything. Therefore, if a liberal says something, the opposite is likely true. Case in point, Obama says:
"I don't care what they say about me but I love this country too much to let them take over another election with lies and phony outrage and swift boat politics."
Michelle Malkin notes the implicit message:
[A]ll who dare mock him or challenge his Absolute Moral Authority suffer from patriotism deficiency.
In other words, according to Obama, if you vote Republican, you don't love this country. In fact, according to Obama, if you didn't vote for John Kerry, you don't love this country. Because no one loves this country as much as Obama (especially not that old dude who spent six years in the Hanoi Hilton).

So there's only one thing to do now: Question his patriotism. Routinely. Openly. To his face. If Obama says he is more patriotic than his opponents, then what Team Maverick should do is to portray him as unpatriotic.

She's a hit

Huge crowds for McCain-Palin:
Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska may have hijacked Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, but Mr. McCain is acting more and more like the happy captive. And why not? Probably the biggest crowd of his 2008 campaign turned out this morning at Van Dyke Park in northern Virginia, chanting "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah!"
The Fairfax City fire marshal this afternoon estimated the crowd at 15,000, their numbers clearly evident as they covered the grassy hillsides and spilled down to a large outdoor stage.
Byron York says:
After the rally, McCain officials told me 23,000 people had been there. Even if that estimate was a little high, it was still McCain's biggest rally ever -- and that, at mid-morning, on a weekday.
And MSNBC says:
The McCain campaign is "very seriously considering" having McCain and Palin campaign together more often than not in the next two months, a senior campaign aide said, adding it could be the most a presidential and vice presidential candidate campaign in tandem in recent history.
The big crowd in Fairfax is good news, since Obama has put on a major effort to turn Virginia into a swing state.

UPDATE: Philip Klein's report from Fairfax:
All election season I've been saying if you want to find parking, go to a Republican campaign event. That's because ever since Iowa, the crowd sizes at Republican candidate rallies have paled in comparison to what the Democrats draw. But that was in the pre-Palin era. Now everything has changed, and suddenly Obama-like crowds are following Republicans. . . .
It's amazing how much Palin has become the focus of these McCain events. The most popular chant was "SA-RAH!" "SAR-AH!" "SAR-AH!" I saw one man with a "Sarah! Will you marry me?" sign, another that read "Read my lipstick: Baseball and Soccer Mom for McCain-Palin" and another that read "She's Our Girl."
We can now separate Republican politics into two eras: B.P. (Before Palin) and A.P. (After Palin).

Ill manners

This is just rude:
Republican presidential candidate John McCain cut short his first public appearance without running-mate Sarah Palin after chanting supporters of Democratic rival Barack Obama interrupted his speech.
After lunching with a roundtable of women at Philadelphia's Down Home Diner, McCain shook hands with supporters and strode up to a podium to deliver a statement. But as he spoke, chants of "Obama, Obama, Obama” filled the room.
When have Republicans ever done this?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Crowd estimate spin

Notice that the Washington Post sticks to the vague "thousands" in estimating attendance at today's McCain rally in Fairfax. So that's a minimum of 2,001, we assume.

Also notice that almost half their coverage is devoted to the actions of a small group of disruptive Obama activists at the event. So even when McCain lures a big crowd, the MSM still makes sure that Obama's message is the Big Story.

BTW, for the third consecutive day, McCain holds a statistically significant 5-point lead over Obama in the Gallup daily tracking poll, which measures registered voters.

Programming note: About to depart my sister-in-law's house near Columbus, Ohio, and take the kids to go see Grandpa Bittner, who lives near Mansfield, Ohio. From there, it's a 7-hour drive back home, so I'll be offline until about midnight. Browse the blogroll.

Buckeye Republicans

I'm blogging from the dining room of my sister-in-law's house near Columbus, Ohio, and she just got a phone call from the local GOP, asking her to participate in a campaign phone bank on Friday and a canvass on Saturday. If Team Obama thinks Ohio Republicans aren't going to compete in the ground game, they've got another think coming.

Putting lipstick on a Swift Boat?

The candidate himself feels the need to weigh in:
Barack Obama responded Wednesday to the John McCain campaign's call for an apology concerning his "lipstick on a pig" remarks, by calling the controversy "phony and foolish" and defending it as an "innocent remark" that was taken out of context.
Obama said his comment was meant to compare the policies of McCain to those of President Bush, and was in no way a reference to Republican vice presidential Sarah Palin.
Obama accused the McCain campaign of "lies and phony outrage” and "Swift-boat politics." He said the "made-up controversy" was "cat nip for the news media."
Innocent remarks taken out of contest. Yeah. Been there. Done that.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

Lipstick on a fool

While I was in Lebanon, Ohio, covering Sarah Palin, it seems Obama was in Lebanon, Va., making a fool of himself. And while I was writing up my coverage, Team Maverick was producing this ad.

UPDATE: Via the Politico, an Obama spokeswoman issues this apology defense attack:

The McCain campaign’s attack tonight is a pathetic attempt to play the gender card about the use of a common analogy -- the same analogy that Senator McCain himself used about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care plan just last year. This phony lecture on gender sensitivity is the height of cynicism and lays bare the increasingly dishonorable campaign John McCain has chosen to run.

A "phony lecture on gender sensitivity"? Look, if Team Obama doesn't think this could hurt them, why not ignore it?

UPDATE II: Glenn Greenwald accuses Team Maverick of reaching "new heights of stupidity." Hey, Glenn's an expert on stupidity.

Sweetheart of the Heartland

Reporting for the American Spectator:
LEBANON, Ohio -- Janet Stefanopoulos drove 30 miles from Cincinnati to attend yesterday's presidential campaign rally here, but it wasn't the man at the top of the ticket that brought her out on a rainy Tuesday morning.
"I want to see Sarah Palin," said Stefanopoulos, a retired nurse and staunch Republican who had favored Fred Thompson in the primaries. "I was a lukewarm McCain [supporter] until he picked her. I mean, I would have voted for him, but now I'm fired up.... She is what I would like my children to be."
Similar sentiments were seen and heard all along Broadway Street, where a crowd of more than 5,000 filled the block between Mulberry and Main streets in front of the Golden Lamb Hotel, which boasts of having hosted 12 presidents, from John Quincy Adams to George W. Bush.
Please read the whole thing. Thanks to all the nice folks in Lebananon, including Warren County GOP Chairman Don Prince. Here's a selection of photos from the rally.

You might also want to read "Shaking their confidence daily," about the impact of the Palin pick on Democrats' morale.

UPDATE: Notice that this Associated Press story is datelined "Lebanon, Ohio," without managing to give readers any idea of what went on at Tuesday's rally. It's as if the reporter had been sent out to cover a football game and failed to include the final score or describe any of the plays.

UPDATE II: Daniel Ruwe attended the rally and notes:
Judging from the comments of the people in line, all ten thousand people were there to see Sarah Palin. . . . A stall selling t-shirts sold McCain-Palin shirts for twenty dollars -- but shirts with just McCain went for only fifteen.
Which is to say, the free-market shows that adding Palin to the ticket produced a 25% increase in the value of T-shirts.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

'Sarah Palin U R My Role Model'

That's Meghan Ellis, 17, of Maineville, Ohio, at the McCain-Palin rally I covered today in Lebanon, Ohio.

Huge crowd on a rainy morning. If you squint hard, you can spot Meghan's poster in this photo:

Here's my favorite picture from today:

That's John Kauffman, 83, of Franklin, Ohio. He's a Navy veteran of World War II (1943-46) who then joined the Army and served in Korea (1950-54). He said of John McCain: "He's my buddy. I don't know him personally, but I like what he stands for -- country first. . . . I know all the veterans are standing for him."

Here's another shot to give you an idea of how big the crowd was:

And here are three Jaynes sisters -- Andrea, Sydney and Felicia -- and their friend Chloe Garland sporting homemade T-shirts.

They say the Palin pick has got them "pumped." And if Obama's mad about Maverick stealing "change," wait until he finds out Republicans are also stealing "hope":

Here's a lady who has bred her own caucus:

She said there are three more family members who are still undecided "but we're working on them."

Here's another hugeness-of-crowd shot:

Finally, an Ohio girl who's happy to be 18:

Monday, September 8, 2008

Overnight roundup

Since I'm about to be out on the road (en route to a McCain-Palin event in Ohio) here are some questions to ponder until I get back online:
Those are the questions. The answers are somewhere out there, in the heartland, and I'm going to go find them.

How to talk to Anna Quindlen, if you must

Anna Quindlen, famous author, Newsweek columnist.
Little Miss Atilla, owner of a laptop.

The topic? Feminism and Sarah Palin. Go read the whole thing.

Of course, feminism has always been the prized possession of the most overprivileged women in the world (like Quindlen) and they hate to see it mussed up in the grubby hands of the kind of women who hunt moose and have five babies.

Feminism is one of those status symbols where if you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it.

Ohio bound

John McCain and Sarah Palin will visit Lebanon, Ohio, Tuesday. I'll be there. This means driving all night to make a 9:30 a.m. media access cutoff. Obviously, blogging will be light for a while.

"Only a lunatic would do this kind of work."
-- Hunter S. Thompson
Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72

Shaking their confidence daily

"Oh, Cecilia, you're breaking my heart.
You're shaking my confidence daily ..."

-- Simon & Garfunkel, 1970
If the choice of Sarah Palin as GOP running mate has done nothing else, it's shaken the confidence of Democrats, and that's important.

An example I cited today at AmSpecBlog is Nate Silver's sudden realization that perhaps Obama was counting too much on the "enthusiasm gap":
It seems plausible to me that some segment of conservative Republican voters had effectively been in hiding from the pollsters, either embarrassed by the performance of George W. Bush (and therefore disengaged from politics), or embarrassed to disclose to pollsters that they support him. Suddenly, with the selection of Palin, there has been a jolt of energy within this group, a release of pent-up frustrations, and they are coming out of the woodwork. If this is the case, then perhaps the partisan composition of the electorate had never shifted as much from 2004 as it has appeared to; rather, the conservatives were either reluctant to identify themselves as Republican, or reluctant to take a pollster's calls in the first place. (Emphasis added.)
Silver's observation is crucial for several reasons, but what I wish to emphasis here is that one of the most obvious of political facts -- the general long-term stability of partisan identification -- seems never to have previously crossed Silver's mind.

Silver, like a great many other progressive Democrats, seems to have bought whole-hog into the marketing hype about Obama. He's a "map-changer" who will finally vindicate David Sirota's "50-state strategy," etc.

This hype was easier to believe because Obama defeated the once-inevitable Hillary. Yet as the Clinton campaign repeatedly tried to point out:
  • Obama's advantage in the delegate count was wholly a function of his superior performance in caucuses;
  • Hillary performed better in big swing-state primaries like Ohio and Pennsylvania; and
  • In the end, Obama still failed to win a nominating majority among pledged delegates and only clinched the nomination because of a super-delegate shift in his favor.
And something the Clinton campaign didn't point out, for obvious reasons, was their own stunning incompetence.

Obama's triumphant march to the nomination, in other words, was less impressive than it seemed to his enthusiastic supporters. It was this triumphant narrative -- the idea of Obama's inevitability created by his defeat of Hillary -- that David Plouffe so carefully exploited with his June presentation to the Washington press corps. "Surgical precision!" exclaimed Eleanor Clift (no fool like an old fool).

Obama's inevitability narrative was closely intertwined with the (carefully cultivated) reputation of Plouffe and David Axelrod as political geniuses who had somehow discovered a magic formula for Democratic victory that other strategists overlooked.

How overrated was the Plouffe-Axelrod genius factor? A few weeks ago, Team Obama posted a page with the title, "The Next Cheney," featuring oppo-research material on nine potential running-mate choices for McCain. In addition to the short-list names everyone knew -- Pawlenty, Ridge, Jindal, Romney -- Team Obama's roster also included such long shots as Carly Fiorina and FedEx CEO Fred Smith.

Guess who wasn't on that list? Sarah Palin.

In other words, the putative political geniuses Plouffe and Axelrod utterly failed to anticipate McCain's pick of Palin, and thus failed to prepare their supporters to challenge the GOP running mate. This might explain why Democrats had to resort to spreading scurrilous rumors, eh?

Maverick completely outsmarted the Team Obama brain trust, miraculously ignited the GOP base, and now -- with just eight weeks until Election Day -- Nate Silver is beginning to realize that, despite the 2006 meltdown and "Bush fatigue," the underlying partisan alignment has changed very little since 2004.

The Democrats' desperate quest for a gaffe or a scandal that will destroy Palin shows the attendant risk of the Plouffe-Axelrod technique of stoking expectations -- hyping Hope, as it were -- to fuel a campaign built chiefly on enthusiasm. Once that bubble was pierced, the deflation was sure to be swift, and the sudden poll swing toward the GOP ticket was predictable.

What next? Unless there is some big scandalous revelation, or Palin flops in her ABC interview this week, the McCain-Palin momentum should result in a growing poll advantage over the next several days.

How will Democrats react as they see the GOP ticket move even further ahead, with no immediate prospects of a reversal? Check out this HuffPo lunatic's panic and rage, and expect to see a lot more of it in coming days. In the short term, most of this fear and loathing will be directed toward the usual bogeymen -- Fox News, Republicans, etc. But if the current poll trend continues into next week, the rage will be turned toward Plouffe and Axelrod, as the smarter Democrats start to realize they've been conned into believing a narrative that was always more about perception than reality.

UPDATE: Just in case some of y'all are too young to remember, here's the song, "Cecilia":

My older brother had this album when I was about 10, and I always loved the combination of syncopated percussion and soaring harmonies on this song, a classic example of Paul Simon's pop songcraft.

Palin: Worse than Cheney

The way liberals demonized Dick Cheney in recent years has amused me, because if you actually know anything about Cheney, you know he's not at all the wild-eyed right-wing ideologue he's made out to be. Conservative, yes, but he's really a pragmatic public-servant type -- an administrator -- and nothing like the Machiavellian manipulator that the Left depicts. That they would single out the vice-president for especial scorn is the classic example of their unhingedness.

And now Sarah Palin.

Britney trashed by mom

Of course, she was trash to begin with:
TROUBLED BRITNEY SPEARS began boozing aged 13, lost her virginity at 14, then started taking drugs at 15, according to a shocking tell-all book by her mum.
Wild child Britney allegedly first hit the bottle after joining Disney’s squeaky-clean Mickey Mouse Club.
Mum LYNNE claims 14-year-old Britney then had sex with an 18-year-old high school footballer soon after she quit the TV show.
And she had her first taste of drugs at 15 when she went to Los Angeles to record her debut album Baby One More Time. ...
Lynne’s book reportedly tells of her horror when Britney, still just 16, was caught with cocaine and cannabis on a private jet.
(Via Conservative Grapevine.) Wow, Britney's teenage years were almost as wild as my teenage years. And the nastiest revelation of all? (Via I Don't Like You In That Way.) Britney lipsyncs her live performances:

Keith Olbermann = Moe Green?

That was Jimmie's suggestion, but I don't know. Don't you think KO's more ... Fredo-ish?

At any rate, everybody's having conniptions that Olbermann won't be anchoring Election Night at NBC, but it's not like David Gregory on the anchor desk will be so much better. Besides, I would have relished watching Olby go psycho as the results started coming in and he realized that St. Hopey was the loser:
Missouri -- McSame 56 percent? ... Missouri has always been a bigoted Bible-thumping backwater anyway. Screw those cretinous bumpkins. Same goes for those dimwitted vermin in Indiana, where the GOP's coded appeals to psychological fears of miscegenation clearly resonated. ...
Wait! This just in from Daily Kos! -- it appears that bogus tallies on electronic voting machines in Castle Rock have enabled the McSame campaign to steal the election in Colorado ...
The dude's just too tightly wound. It's a matter of time before they find him wandering through the subway in his underwear and a raincoat, babbling to himself.

The Miracle Worker

My latest American Spectator column:
Eight weeks remain until Election Day and the final result is still anyone's guess, but in just 10 days, Sarah Palin has performed a political miracle.
The Alaska governor's selection as John McCain's running mate deprived Barack Obama of his most valuable asset -- the media limelight -- and even though coverage of her has been harshly negative, Palin produced the spark that finally ignited excitement among the disaffected conservative base of the Republican Party.
Please read the whole thing.

By the way, thanks for those who hit the tip jar recently to help defray costs of my recent trip to Denver for the DNC. Tip jar contributions are especially appreciated by my wife, who doesn't quite see blogging as "working," unless I'm getting paid.

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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Nice analysis

Political Lizard looks at the post-convention itinerary and sees evidence that Obama's in trouble:
If Obama can't close the deal in Michigan and Pennsylvania he will be unable to continue campaigning in Western States. If he pulls out of Colorado or New Mexico they will stay red. If Obama must stay in high cost areas like Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania; McCain will be able to stay on the offensive and turn States like Minnesota and Wisconsin. . . .
In a Democratic year there should be no reason for Obama to be camped out in reliable Democratic States like Michigan and Pennsylvania. . . . It looks as if the 50 State campaign promise is already history.
Correct. In fact, keep an eye on the 18 "battleground states" named by Obama strategist David Plouffe in his June Power Point presentation and watch the next couple of weeks as more state polls start stacking up. You can scratch Georgia, North Carolina and Missouri off the list -- McCain and Palin will campaign Monday in Missouri, and that will likely be the last time during the campaign. Alaska was always a Plouffe pipe dream, and it just evaporated.

McCain led in Indiana all through August, so I think you can scratch off the list. New Hampshire loves McCain, and went for Hillary in the primary, so I'm betting that will turn red soon. A CNN poll of Colorado taken during the Democratic Convention showed McCain ahead, so Obama has a hard roe to hoe there.

McCain still being close in Michigan and Pennsylvania is very good news for the GOP, and presents a possible Electoral College backstop against Obama making Virginia competitive. I said "competitive," but barring a big overall shift to Obama, I still think McCain wins Virginia by 10 points.

All of which is to say that, at this point, Team Obama's idea of a 50-state strategy that substantially revises the 2004 map has been a spectacular flop.


UPDATED & BUMPED: USA Today reports that among likely voters in the latest Gallup survey, McCain leads by 10 points, 54%-44%!


McCain's 48% share of the vote ties for his largest since Gallup tracking began in early March. He registered the same level of support in early May. This is also McCain's largest advantage over Obama since early May, when he led by as much as six percentage points. Obama has led McCain for most of the campaign, and for nearly all of the time since clinching the Democratic nomination in early June.
Will update with reaction later. Right now, my 5-year-old daughter wants to use Daddy's computer to get on (Family values!)

UPDATE: Allah struggles to keep pessimism alive. Don Surber asks, "Does anyone wish to call Republican Gov. Sarah Palin the female Dan Quayle again? Or McCain’s Tom Eagleton?" JWF: "You just know the left is freaking out over this. Obama's media and blog handmaidens' relentless and vicious attacks on Sarah Palin clearly have backfired, which will only make them more desperate."

Insty: "Oft evil will shall evil mar."

SCANDAL! $639.50 for travel!

The governor of Alaska travels from Juneau to Wasilla to speak at a graduation ceremony and bills taxpayers for over $600. A terrible scandal, you see, because the graduation was at ... a church:
Gov. Sarah Palin used state funds in June when she traveled from Juneau to Wasilla to speak to graduating evangelical students and urge them to fan out through Alaska "to make sure God's will be done here." . . .
The records show Palin flew from Juneau on Saturday, June 7. She returned to Juneau that Monday afternoon. The plane tickets cost the state $519.50, and she claimed an additional $120 for meals and other expenses.
It's a Christofascist theocracy!

It's strictly business

Ace is dreaming of a bloodbath on Nov. 4.

(He's an Italian Ewok, you know.)

Obama: 'My Muslim faith'

Game, set, match:

(Via Ace.) Translation? Allahu Akhbar!

At this point, he might as well strap himself with C4 and blow up a bus of schoolchildren or something.

Yes, I realize that is a completely irresponsible misinterpretation of what he was saying, but when the Democrats are running around spreading crazy rumors that Palin broke up her husband's business partner's marriage, what the heck?

UPDATE: Speaking of Allah:
If McCain's responsible for every smear leveled against Obama by a conservative whether he condemns it or not — as certain prominent nutroots bloggers have long asserted — then by extension isn't Sullivan's Palin smearapalooza a de facto operation of the Obama campaign?
Translation? Tu quoque.

Intrade: Obama -5 in 5 days

On Tuesday, Sept. 3, Barack Obama's stock on Intrade soared to nearly 62%, but today has dropped to 57%.

Meanwhile, John McCain's Intrade stock, which traded around 37% through most of August, and was at 39% on Sept. 3, has risen to 42%.

So Obama's advantage was 23 points (62%-39%) just five days ago, but has now slipped to 15 points (57%-42%).

Charlie's date with Megyn

Charlie Martin will be on Fox News at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday to talk about his "Sarah Palin rumors" page with Megyn Kelly and whoever the dude is on that show.

Chicks love a "hired thug" (which is what the Truthers called Charlie -- the large dude in black shirt --after he helped protect Michelle Malkin in Denver).

David Axelrod spins

Question Avoidance 101:

Via Hot Air, where Ed says:
Axelrod refers to the idea that McCain wanted to pick Joe Lieberman as his running mate, but was too afraid to do so. . . . It’s an absurd statement and shows how desperate Axelrod has become.
What I'm waiting for is somebody to ask Team Obama about their June plans to send their candidate to the "battleground" state of . . . Alaska.

Remember when . . .?

Anchorage Daily News, June 26:
Democrat Barack Obama could be coming to Alaska to campaign as part of his effort to win a state that hasn't chosen a Democrat for president since 1964.
"That is the plan -- we are pretty sure he's going to come at the end of the summer," said Kat Pustay, who was named Wednesday as Obama's Alaska director. . . .
"The campaign in Chicago is saying this is a battleground state so we're going to get resources," she said.
Anchorage Press poll, Sept. 3:
McCain-Palin 54%, Obama-Biden 35%.

Recall that Alaska was one of 18 states that David Plouffe touted as a "battleground" in his famous June Power Point presentation to the Washington press corps that caused Eleanor Clift to gush about the "surgical precision" of Team Obama's strategy.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

In a few hours . . .

. . . traffic for the month of September will pass 118,776 visitors, thereby surpassing the combined total for the previous two months. And it's only Sept. 7.

Since he put up the "Sarah Palin rumors" page, Charlie Martin's traffic is off the charts, too. And it's not just us little guys: Ace's traffic started spiking up on Aug. 29 -- the day Palin was announced -- and Hot Air's traffic hit 1 million on Sept. 4, the day of Palin's convention speech.

Never mind the polls. Ask a blogger. Sarah Palin has injected a whole new level of excitement into this election.

ZOGBY: McCain 50%, Obama 46%

Zogby says:
Clearly, Palin is helping the McCain ticket. She has high favorability numbers, and has unified the Republican Party. The striking thing here in this poll is that McCain has pulled ahead among Catholics by double-digits.
"Striking," perhaps, but not really surprising. A mother of five with a pregnant 17-year-old is sure to swing the traditional Catholics. (And Joe Biden is one of those pro-choice "Catholics" that real Catholics can't stand.)

So it looks very good now, though Ace cautions:
I would say something stupid right now like "It's over, Obama is toast."
The trouble is, there are still five or six major twists to come in this thriller.
Yeah, three presidential debates and a vice-presidential debate, to name four of those twists. Yet who can argue with the simple truth that, with this one decision, John McCain has totally electrified a conservative base that had hitherto been Laodicean at best? One thing for sure: She's no Tom Eagleton.

'Do I have to show them my stretch marks?'

Over the weekend before the convention, campaign aides made the uncomfortable decision to urge her to go public with her unmarried 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy in order to rebut salacious Internet rumors that the teen was actually the mother of Palin's own newborn child. An aide, speaking anonymously because the matter is sensitive, says that Palin and her husband grew angry about the allegations. "Do I have to show them my stretch marks?" she asked one campaign official.
(Via Hot Air.) This is probably not a question you'd want to ask a blogger who's getting thousands of hits a day from people seeking bikini photos. What's most interesting in the article, however, is that Palin was by no means a McCainiac:
When the GOP held its Alaska caucus on Feb. 5, Palin didn't bother to endorse a candidate. . . . She had never met or spoken to John McCain. But she indignantly dismissed his opposition to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the politically correct -- yet wrong -- position of "Eastern politicians."
See? I knew I liked her. Crazy Cousin John was last on my list, too. Maybe once Barracuda has straightened him out on ANWR, she can try to get him right on immigration, too.

If she's done nothing else, Palin has lifted Allah out of his habitual pessimism, as Ace notes. And since Ace won't link it, I will:

Who tipped Sully?

Dean Barnett won't even name (much less link) Andrew Sullivan, but when discussing Sully's posting of a link to a court motion filed by Scott Richter (Todd Palin's former business partner), Barnett does raise an intriguing question:
The "news" about the motion to seal the divorce papers appeared in the virtual pages of the Atlantic first, not the National Enquirer or the Daily Kos as one might expect. Obviously, Atlantic field reporters haven't trekked up to Alaska to monitor every random court filing. Therefore, someone had to tip off the Atlantic's chief rumor spreader about the motion to seal the divorce papers. It would be interesting to know at whose bidding the Atlantic staffer in question is spreading unfounded smears.
Allah has suggested that Sully is now the main agent moving Palin smears into the media mainstream. What Dean seems to be insinuating is that Sully is doing this with the assistance of unnamed operatives of the Obama campaign and/or the Democratic Party. A more interesting question, perhaps, is whether Sullivan knows that his tips are coming from such sources and, if so, whether this makes any difference.

Look, if Karl Rove e-mailed me an old photo of Obama in his cokehead days, partying down with some half-naked hotties, I wouldn't be obligated to reveal where I got the photo. If I published such a photo and it turned out to be a forgery, however, I can no longer claim that "journalism ethics" requires me to protect my source.

Now here you have an instance in which Sullivan posted the link to Richter's motion requesting that the divorce records be sealed. Did Sully explicitly suggest that this was because the records contained evidence of the Enquirer-rumored scandal involving Sarah Palin? Not that I can see.

On the other hand, Atlantic editor James Fallow is one of those highfalutin journalism snobs that get on my nerves, and unless he wishes his upscale publication to acquire the reputation of a supermarket tabloid, perhaps Fallows ought to ask Sully to be a bit more careful about gossip-mongering and conspiratorial theorizing.

Excuse me if I appear to be defending the indefensible, but having been on the receiving end of the witchhunt treatment from the Left, I don't want to endorse witchhunting by the Right. If Sully is doing wrong, he ought to mend his ways. There are, however, ways to correct an errant jourrnalist short of hounding him into the unemployment line.

Also, politics ain't beanbag. Team Maverick's likely to be putting some pretty heavy stuff on Obama in the next few weeks, and then the Democrats will be crying foul. So just be ready, at that point, to ask them where their scruples about "smears" were when their favorite bloggers were smearing Palin.

UPDATE: Ace points out that, in "retracting" this "scoop," Sully managed a clever feat:
[Sullivan] keeps his main page entirely clean of the taint of retraction. . . . In fact, as you can see, on the main page, not only does he not clearly retract the story, but the only information posted there is a reassertion of the original smear.
His "retraction" -- at least on the main page -- actually just defames Sarah Palin anew.
Yeah. I hadn't seen that. So I now look like an idiot for even attempting to defend Sully.

Say your prayers, Andrew. They may look all cuddly and everything, but there is nothing more ferocious than an enraged Ewok.

SCANDAL! Sarah Palin's church preaches ... repentance!

It's just too shocking to be believed:
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed since she was a child.
Next thing you know, those Christofascist godbags will be promoting a conference that promises to convert smokers into non-smokers through the power of prayer! And the conference will probably feature some of those holier-than-thou "ex-smokers."

This, of course, would infringe my rights as a smoker. Somehow. I think mainly by hurting my self-esteem by suggesting that maybe smoking is a bad thing, and that somehow smokers and non-smokers aren't equal.