You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 6, 2008.

Anything that makes Fox News – blow off steam – is well worth checking out !!

At the moment they are the official Palin police force – driving up and cautioning and or attacking any would be Palin critic. As Palin would call them – “haters.”

Heather Mallick, an opinion columnist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Web site, is known for her use of humorous exaggeration. But last week after removing a column by Ms. Mallick, which said that Gov. Sarah Palin has “a toned-down version of the porn actress look” and suggested that Republican men were sexually inadequate, the government-owned CBC ruled that its opinion writers had to stick to the facts even when they were joking around.

Although the broadcaster’s Web site, http://www.cbcnews.ca, has relatively few readers in the United States, Ms. Mallick’s comments became an issue last month on the Fox News Channel, which, because of Canadian cable TV rules that limit its distribution, has relatively few viewers in Canada. Greta Van Susteren, the host of “On the Record,” condemned the column as “beyond vicious” and repeatedly referred to Ms. Mallick as “a pig.” A right-of-center columnist for The National Post, of Toronto, also criticized the column.

The CBC ombudsman, Vince Carlin, said in a report that his office had received more than 300 complaints about the column.

In an e-mail message, Ms. Mallick said she believed that the complaints had been “orchestrated” by Fox News and came largely from Americans.

“My problem is that I have to write with a certain kind of reader in mind, and that person is always going to be my vision of an intelligent Canadian,” Ms. Mallick said. “I don’t write for Fox viewers.”

Fox viewers are all morons or the manipulators of morons.

In his report, Mr. Carlin said that after the column had been mentioned in at least three Fox News broadcasts, his office and Ms. Mallick had “received an alarming number of truly vicious and vituperative messages.”

“vituperative messages” oh..those are the Christian Evangelical Right – they get like that around election time – they would kill for pro-life.

Mr. Carlin said that parts of the column broke internal CBC News guidelines requiring that “even in a work of opinion, facts should be respected and arguments should reasonably flow from these facts.”

Ms. Mallick, Mr. Carlin wrote, was unable to present evidence to support her suggestion that that Republican men were deficient sexually or that Ms. Palin’s supporters were “white trash.”

After receiving Mr. Carlin’s report, John Cruickshank, the publisher of CBC News, removed Ms. Mallick’s column from the network’s Web site (it is still available at http://www.heathermallick.ca) and promised in an online posting to improve the editing of opinion items.

Both Mr. Cruickshank and Mr. Carlin said that the column would have worked if it had been labeled as satire, but Ms. Mallick disagreed.

“It wasn’t satire though; it was straightforward political commentary, admittedly with jokes,” she said by e-mail. “I had no idea anyone would take the remark about sexually inadequate Republican men literally!” IAN AUSTEN

Have the Republicans all of a sudden become a race – of course they all have problems in this respect !!

Source: NYT

When the McCain campaign announced this weekend that it would start attacking Sen. Barack Obama via guilt by association, peddling smears about people he barely knows, I thought the tack would lead to the Keating Five. But I didn’t know it would happen this quickly.

Obama’s campaign has never pushed the Keating button before, so this attack carries an original punch-and is clearly salient given the current financial crisis. Because the scandal involved McCain’s actions in public service, it is more likely to arise during the remaining two debates.

McCain’s dredging up of Bill Ayers, in contrast, is not only old news but has no link to anything Obama has done in public life. Patrick Ruffini, a Republican operative who worked on Bush’s reelection campaign, said today that McCain’s Ayers attacks are so old that airing them now “appears desperate.”

Source: HP

‘TURN THE PAGE’: Obama in Asheville. His poll ratings have risen recently, even in red states such as North Carolina.

John McCain wants to ‘distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance,’ the Democrat says in Asheville, N.C., a day after Sarah Palin claims Obama would ‘pal around with terrorists.’

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — One day after John McCain’s running mate escalated the vitriol of the presidential campaign by invoking a 1960s radical, Barack Obama accused Republicans of trying to distract voters from the sagging economy with “smears”

Speaking to thousands of voters Sunday afternoon at Asheville High School, the Democratic nominee argued that McCain shares President Bush’s economic philosophy.

“Sen. McCain and his operatives are gambling that they can distract you with smears rather than talk to you about substance,” Obama said. “They’d rather try to tear our campaign down than lift this country up. That’s what you do when you’re out of touch, out of ideas and running out of time.”

The dust-up comes as Obama’s poll numbers have risen in recent weeks, even in some traditionally Republican states, as Wall Street’s woes dominate the news. According to several polls, more voters see Obama as better able to handle the economy than McCain.

Source: latimes

Sarah Palin has now attacked Barack Obama over his association with Reverend Wright — even though John McCain himself explicitly said this spring that Wright was off limits and that attacking Obama over his former minister was “not the message of my campaign.”

Palin made her comments about Wright in a new interview with New York Times columnist Bill Kristol, after he asked her whether Wright was a legit issue.

“I don’t know why that association isn’t discussed more,” Palin said, “because those were appalling things that that pastor had said about our great country, and to have sat in the pews for 20 years and listened to that — with, I don’t know, a sense of condoning it, I guess, because he didn’t get up and leave — to me, that does say something about character.”

“I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring that up,” Palin added.

But in April, when the North Carolina GOP released a TV ad on behalf of two local GOP candidates hitting Obama over Wright in terms virtually identical to those used by Palin here, McCain expressly condemned the attack and said his campaign wanted no part of it.

The ad attacked Obama as “too extreme,” asserting that “for 20 years Barack Obama sat in his pew listening to his pastor.” That’s precisely the same point Palin made.

At the time, McCain his campaign called the North Carolina GOP and asked them to take down the ad.

“It’s not the message of the Republican Party,” McCain said then. “It’s not the message of my campaign. I’ve pledged to conduct a respectful campaign.”

When told that the N.C. party would continue to air the ad, McCain rejoined: “Unfortunately all I can do is, in as visible way as possible, is disassociate myself from that kind of campaigning.”

So will McCain now disassociate himself from what Palin said? Or has McCain changed his mind and decided that the gutter attack on Wright he previously condemned in such high-minded terms is now a legit tactic for his campaign?

And if it’s the latter, what’s changed since then aside from the fact that his campaign is in trouble?

Source: TPM

McCain’s course correction reflects a growing case of nerves within his high command as the electoral map has shifted significantly in Obama’s favor in the past two weeks.

“It’s a dangerous road, but we have no choice,” a top McCain strategist told the Daily News. “If we keep talking about the economic crisis, we’re going to lose.”

Source: HP

Three crashes early in his career led Navy officials to question or fault his judgment.

John McCain was training in his AD-6 Skyraider on an overcast Texas morning in 1960 when he slammed into Corpus Christi Bay and sheared the skin off his plane’s wings.

McCain recounted the accident decades later in his autobiography. “The engine quit while I was practicing landings,” he wrote. But an investigation board at the Naval Aviation Safety Center found no evidence of engine failure.

The 23-year-old junior lieutenant wasn’t paying attention and erred in using “a power setting too low to maintain level flight in a turn,” investigators concluded.

The crash was one of three early in McCain’s aviation career in which his flying skills and judgment were faulted or questioned by Navy officials.

In his most serious lapse, McCain was “clowning” around in a Skyraider over southern Spain about December 1961 and flew into electrical wires, causing a blackout, according to McCain’s own account as well as those of naval officers and enlistees aboard the carrier Intrepid. In another incident, in 1965, McCain crashed a T-2 trainer jet in Virginia.

Corpus Christi, Texas, March 12, 1960
Southern Spain, around December 1961
Cape Charles, Va., Nov. 28, 1965

After McCain was sent to Vietnam, his plane was destroyed in an explosion on the deck of an aircraft carrier in 1967. Three months later, he was shot down during a bombing mission over Hanoi and taken prisoner. He was not faulted in either of those cases and was later lauded for his heroism as a prisoner of war.

As a presidential candidate, McCain has cited his military service — particularly his 5 1/2 years as a POW. But he has been less forthcoming about his mistakes in the cockpit.

The Times interviewed men who served with McCain and located once-confidential 1960s-era accident reports and formerly classified evaluations of his squadrons during the Vietnam War. This examination of his record revealed a pilot who early in his career was cocky, occasionally cavalier and prone to testing limits.

In today’s military, a lapse in judgment that causes a crash can end a pilot’s career. Though standards were looser and crashes more frequent in the 1960s, McCain’s record stands out.

“Three mishaps are unusual,” said Michael L. Barr, a former Air Force pilot with 137 combat missions in Vietnam and an internationally known aviation safety expert who teaches in USC’s Aviation Safety and Security Program. “After the third accident, you would say: Is there a trend here in terms of his flying skills and his judgment?”

Jeremiah Pearson, a Navy officer who flew 400 missions over Vietnam without a mishap and later became the head of human spaceflight at NASA, said: “That’s a lot. You don’t want any. Maybe he was just unlucky.”

Naval aviation experts say the three accidents before McCain’s deployment to Vietnam probably triggered a review to determine whether he should be allowed to continue flying. The results of the review would have been confidential.

The Times asked McCain’s campaign to release any military personnel records in the candidate’s possession showing how the Navy handled the three incidents. The campaign said it would have no comment.

Navy veterans who flew with McCain called him a good pilot.

“John was what you called a push-the-envelope guy,” said Sam H. Hawkins, who flew with McCain’s VA-44 squadron in the 1960s and now teaches political science at Florida Atlantic University. “There are some naval aviators who are on the cautious side. They don’t get out on the edges, but the edges are where you get the maximum out of yourself and out of your plane. That’s where John operated. And when you are out there, you take risks.”

The young McCain has often been described as undisciplined and fearless — a characterization McCain himself fostered in his autobiography.

“In his military career, he was a risk-taker and a daredevil,” said John Karaagac, a lecturer at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies and the author of a book on McCain. “What was interesting was that he got into accidents, and it didn’t rattle his nerves. He takes hits and still stands.”

McCain, the son and grandson of admirals, had a privileged status in the Navy. He was invited to the captain’s cabin for dinner on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise in 1962, a perk other aviators and sailors attributed to his famous name, recalled Gene Furr, an enlisted man who shared an office and went on carrier deployments with McCain over three years. [...]

In Vietnam

… McCain was on his 23rd bombing mission over North Vietnam when a surface-to-air missile struck his A-4 attack jet. He was flying 3,000 feet above Hanoi.

A then-secret report issued in 1967 by McCain’s squadron said the aviators had learned to stay at an altitude of 4,000 to 10,000 feet in heavy surface-to-air missile environments and look for approaching missiles.

“Once the SAM was visually acquired, it was relatively easy to outmaneuver it by a diving maneuver followed by a high-G pull-up. The critical problem comes during multiple SA-II attacks (6-12 missiles), when it is not possible to see or maneuver with each missile.”

The American aircraft had instruments that warned pilots with a certain tone when North Vietnamese radar tracked them and another tone when a missile locked on them.

In his autobiography, McCain said 22 missiles were fired at his squadron that day. “I knew I should roll out and fly evasive maneuvers, ‘jinking,’ in fliers’ parlance, when I heard the tone,” he wrote. But, he said, he continued on and released his bombs. Then a missile blew off his right wing.

Vietnam veterans said McCain did exactly what they did on almost every mission.

Frank Tullo, an Air Force pilot who flew 100 missions over North Vietnam, said his missile warning receiverconstantly sounded in his cockpit.

“Nobody broke off on a bombing run,” said Tullo, later a commercial pilot and now an accident investigation instructor at USC. “It was a matter of manhood.”

Source: latimes

Perpetually fretting Democrats will not want to accept it. The campaigns themselves can’t afford to believe it. Many journalists know it but can’t say it. And there will certainly be some twists and turns along the way. But take it to a well capitalized bank: Bill Ayers isn’t going to save John McCain. The race is over.

John McCain’s candidacy is as much a casualty of Wall Street as Lehman or Merrill. Like those once vibrant institutions, McCain’s collapse was stunning and quick. One minute you are a well-respected brand. The next you are yelling at the messengers of your demise as all around you the numbers start blinking red and stop adding up.

McCain’s road was difficult to begin with: the President of his party has had record-low approval ratings for two years and the number of Americans who say the country is heading in the wrong direction is stratospheric. He also had the misfortune to be pitted against an exceptional candidate running an extremely well-executed campaign.

Still, before Wall Street’s collapse Senator McCain was ahead. His approval ratings remained high, his VP pick had generated excitement and interest, and his campaign operatives were capable, on any given day, of winning news cycles and giving their opponents fits. And then the underpinnings of American capitalism begin to sink — and with them sunk McCain.

An election dominated at its inception by the war in Iraq is now overwhelmingly focused on the economy. More than half of voters in polls say that the economy is their top concern and Senator Obama enjoys double digit leads among voters asked who can better fix our economic mess. Put simply, there is no way Senator McCain can win if he continues to trail Senator Obama by double digits on the top concern of more than half of voters.

State polls are beginning to reflect this. If the election were tomorrow, Obama would win all of the states John Kerry carried and add Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, Nevada, Ohio and Florida. Barack Obama is campaigning in Indiana, which last went for a Democrat in 1964 and North Carolina, which has gone for a Democrat only once in thirty-four years. At the same time John McCain has pulled out of Michigan and Sarah Palin has been forced to visit Nebraska.

This dynamic is very unlikely to change. John McCain’s goal in the first debate was to discredit Senator Obama as a credible Commander in Chief and elevate the issue of foreign policy and national security. He didn’t come close. Absent a domestic terror attack the economy will remain the number one issue in the race, and there is little Senator McCain can do to make up his gap with Senator Obama on it. Oh, Senator McCain will try to make issues of Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko and Rev. Wright, and that might hurt Senator Obama around the margins — but it will not prevent him from winning. The economy is simply bigger than the rogues gallery that John McCain is conjuring up.

Why is this? Why won’t the swiftboat tactics work this year?

Its easy to lose sight of it in the day to day coverage, but the collapse of Wall Street in the last weeks was a seminal event in the history of our nation and our politics. To put the crisis in perspective, Americans have lost a combined 1 trillion dollars in net worth in just the last four weeks alone. Just as President Bush’s failures in Iraq undermined his party’s historic advantage on national security issues, the financial calamity has shown the ruinous implications of the Republican mania for deregulation and slavish devotion to totally unfettered markets.

Republicans and Democrats have been arguing over the proper role of government for a century. In 1980 voters sided with Ronald Reagan and Republicans that government had become too big and intrusive. Then the economy worked in the Republicans’ favor. Today the pendulum has swung in our direction. Republican philosophies have been discredited by events. Voters understand this. This is a big election about big issues. McCain’s smallball will not work. This race will not be decided by lipsticked pigs. And John McCain can not escape that reality. The only unknowns are the size of the margin and the breadth of the Democratic advantage in the next Congress.

Source: The New Republic

Good article – one of the main points is Palin’s coldness or detachment from emotion. You can see an example of this in her answer here – when she was asked on abortion and what if her teenage daughter was raped and become pregnant – it is interesting to see the difference between her answer and the answer given by the others – responding to the same question.

This article makes reference to Palin’s answer in the VP debate – to what if the worst happened – to your respective – presidential running mates – when it was Palin’s turn – through the next two statements she was smiling – glee she seemed hard pressed to control – the writer calls it weird – I’m glad I’m not the only one who found it more than strange.

More when she was asked the question in the debate on what would be an acceptable trigger for use of a nuclear weapon – Palin was way to flippant for me — nervousness about Palin – might be the least of out problems.

See OFKR take on the VP Debate here.

SARAH PALIN’S post-Couric/Fey comeback at last week’s vice presidential debate was a turning point in the campaign. But if she “won,” as her indulgent partisans and press claque would have it, the loser was not Joe Biden. It was her running mate. With a month to go, the 2008 election is now an Obama-Palin race — about “the future,” as Palin kept saying Thursday night — and the only person who doesn’t seem to know it is Mr. Past, poor old John McCain.

To understand the meaning of Palin’s “victory,” it must be seen in the context of two ominous developments that directly preceded it. Just hours before the debate began, the McCain campaign pulled out of Michigan. That state is ground zero for the collapsed Main Street economy and for so-called Reagan Democrats, those white working-class voters who keep being told by the right that Barack Obama is a Muslim who hung with bomb-throwing radicals during his childhood in the late 1960s.

McCain surrendered Michigan despite having outspent his opponent on television advertising and despite Obama’s twin local handicaps, an unpopular Democratic governor and a felonious, now former, black Democratic Detroit mayor. If McCain can’t make it there, can he make it anywhere in the Rust Belt?

Not without an economic message. McCain’s most persistent attempt, his self-righteous crusade against earmarks, collapsed with his poll numbers. Next to a $700 billion bailout package, his incessant promise to eliminate all Washington pork — by comparison, a puny grand total of $16.5 billion in the 2008 federal budget — doesn’t bring home the bacon. Nor can McCain reconcile his I-will-veto-government-waste mantra with his support, however tardy, of the bailout bill. That bill’s $150 billion in fresh pork includes a boondoggle inserted by the Congressman Don Young, an Alaskan Republican no less.

The second bit of predebate news, percolating under the radar, involved the still-unanswered questions about McCain’s health. Back in May, you will recall, the McCain campaign allowed a select group of 20 reporters to spend a mere three hours examining (but not photocopying) 1,173 pages of the candidate’s health records on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Conspicuously uninvited was Lawrence Altman, a doctor who covers medicine for The New York Times. Altman instead canvassed melanoma experts to evaluate the sketchy data that did emerge. They found the information too “unclear” to determine McCain’s cancer prognosis.

There was, however, at least one doctor-journalist among those 20 reporters in May, the CNN correspondent Sanjay Gupta. At the time, Gupta told Katie Couric on CBS that the medical records were “pretty comprehensive” and wrote on his CNN blog that he was “pretty convinced there was no ‘smoking gun’ about the senator’s health.” (Physical health, that is; Gupta wrote there was hardly any information on McCain’s mental health.)

That was then. Now McCain is looking increasingly shaky, whether he’s repeating his “Miss Congeniality” joke twice in the same debate or speaking from notecards even when reciting a line for (literally) the 17th time (“The fundamentals of our economy are strong”) or repeatedly confusing proper nouns that begin with S (Sunni, Shia, Sudan, Somalia, Spain). McCain’s “dismaying temperament,” as George Will labeled it, only thickens the concerns. His kamikaze mission into Washington during the bailout crisis seemed crazed. His seething, hostile debate countenance — a replay of Al Gore’s sarcastic sighing in 2000 — didn’t make the deferential Obama look weak (as many Democrats feared) but elevated him into looking like the sole presidential grown-up.

Though CNN and MSNBC wouldn’t run a political ad with doctors questioning McCain’s medical status, Gupta revisited the issue in an interview published last Tuesday by The Huffington Post. While maintaining a pretty upbeat take on the candidate’s health, the doctor-journalist told the reporter Sam Stein that he couldn’t vouch “by any means” for the completeness of the records the campaign showed him four months ago. “The pages weren’t numbered,” Gupta said, “so I had no way of knowing what was missing.” At least in Watergate we knew that the gap on Rose Mary Woods’s tape ran 18 and a half minutes.

It’s against this backdrop that Palin’s public pronouncements, culminating with her debate performance, have been so striking. The standard take has it that she’s either speaking utter ignorant gibberish (as to Couric) or reciting highly polished, campaign-written sound bites that she’s memorized (as at the convention and the debate). But there’s a steady unnerving undertone to Palin’s utterances, a consistent message of hubristic self-confidence and hyper-ambition. She wants to be president, she thinks she can be president, she thinks she will be president. And perhaps soon. She often sounds like someone who sees herself as half-a-heartbeat away from the presidency. Or who is seen that way by her own camp, the hard-right G.O.P. base that never liked McCain anyway and views him as, at best, a White House place holder.

This was first apparent when Palin extolled a “small town” vice president as a hero in her convention speech — and cited not one of the many Republican vice presidents who fit that bill but, bizarrely, Harry Truman, a Democrat who succeeded a president who died in office. A few weeks later came Charlie Gibson’s question about whether she thought she was “experienced enough” and “ready” when McCain invited her to join his ticket. Palin replied that she didn’t “hesitate” and didn’t “even blink” — a response that seemed jarring for its lack of any human modesty, even false modesty.

In the last of her Couric interview installments on Thursday, Palin was asked which vice president had most impressed her, and after paying tribute to Geraldine Ferraro, she chose “George Bush Sr.” Her criterion: she most admires vice presidents “who have gone on to the presidency.” Hours later, at the debate, she offered a discordant contrast to Biden when asked by Gwen Ifill how they would each govern “if the worst happened” and the president died in office. After Biden spoke of somber continuity, Palin was weirdly flip and chipper, eager to say that as a “maverick” she’d go her own way.

But the debate’s most telling passage arrived when Biden welled up in recounting his days as a single father after his first wife and one of his children were killed in a car crash. Palin’s perky response — she immediately started selling McCain as a “consummate maverick” again — was as emotionally disconnected as Michael Dukakis’s notoriously cerebral answer to the hypothetical 1988 debate question about his wife being “raped and murdered.” If, as some feel, Obama is cool, Palin is ice cold. She didn’t even acknowledge Biden’s devastating personal history.

After the debate, Republicans who had been bailing on Palin rushed back to the fold. They know her relentless ambition is the only hope for saving a ticket headed by a warrior who is out of juice and out of ideas. So what if she is preposterously unprepared to run the country in the midst of its greatest economic crisis in 70 years? She looks and sounds like a winner.

You can understand why they believe that. She has more testosterone than anyone else at the top of her party. McCain and his surrogates are forever blaming their travails on others, wailing about supposed sexist and journalistic biases around the clock. McCain even canceled an interview with Larry King, for heaven’s sake, in a fit of pique at a CNN anchor, Campbell Brown.

We are not a nation of whiners, as Phil Gramm would have it, but the G.O.P. is now the party of whiners. That rebranding became official when Republican House leaders moaned that a routine partisan speech by Nancy Pelosi had turned their members against the bailout bill. As the stock market fell nearly 778 points, Barney Frank taunted his G.O.P. peers with pitch-perfect mockery: “Somebody hurt my feelings, so I will punish the country!”

Talk about the world coming full circle. This is the same Democrat who had been slurred as “Barney Fag” in the mid-1990s by Dick Armey, a House leader of the government-bashing Gingrich revolution that helped lower us into this debacle. Now Frank was ridiculing the House G.O.P. as a bunch of sulking teenage girls. His wisecrack stung — and stuck.

Palin is an antidote to the whiny Republican image that Frank nailed. Alaska’s self-styled embodiment of Joe Sixpack is not a sulker, but a pistol-packing fighter. That’s why she draws the crowds and (as she puts it) “energy” that otherwise elude the angry McCain. But she is still the candidate for vice president, not president. Americans do not vote for vice president.

So how can a desperate G.O.P. save itself? As McCain continues to fade into incoherence and irrelevance, the last hope is that he’ll come up with some new game-changing stunt to match his initial pick of Palin or his ill-fated campaign “suspension.” Until Thursday night, more than a few Republicans were fantasizing that his final Hail Mary pass would be to ditch Palin so she can “spend more time” with her ever-growing family. But the debate reminded Republicans once again that it’s Palin, not McCain, who is their last hope for victory.

You have to wonder how long it will be before they plead with him to think of his health, get out of the way and pull the ultimate stunt of flipping the ticket. Palin, we can be certain, wouldn’t even blink.

One could mention – that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones – but I don’t think Sarah Palin would listen.

While Palin digs into – Barack Obama’s “palling” around with Vietnam protesting terrorists – others look at her relationship and seeming support for an Alaska secessionist group and her patriotism.

Palin’s Attack On Obama’s Patriotism Legitimizes Questions About The Palins’ Association With Group Founded By America-Hating Secessionist

Sarah Palin attacked Obama’s patriotism today over his association with former Weatherman Bill Ayers — a move that makes it perfectly legitimate to raise questions about the Palins’ associations with a group founded by an Alaska secessionist who once professed his “hatred for the American government” and cursed our “damn flag.”

In Colorado today, Palin seized on the big front-page New York Times story about Ayers and Obama, which concludes that the two men “do not appear to have been close,” to launch her most vicious attack yet on the Illinois Senator — a harbinger of what’s to come.

“This is not a man who sees America as you and I do — as the greatest force for good in the world,” Palin said. “This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”

If Palin is going to say this, it is now perfectly legitimate to point out that she repeatedly courted a secessionist group founded by someone who openly professed hatred of the American government, cursed our flag, and wanted to secede from the Union. Sarah’s husband, Todd Palin, was a member of this group, which continues to venerate that founder to this day, for years.

As you already know, the group is the Alaska Independence Party, which sees as its ultimate goal seceding from the union. Todd was a member, with a brief exception, from 1995 until 2002, according to the Division of Elections in Alaska.

And though Sarah Palin herself was apparently not a member of this group, there’s no doubt that she repeatedly courted this secessionist organization over the years. In 1994, Palin attended the group’s annual convention, according to witnesses who spoke to ABC News’ Jake Tapper. The McCain campaign has confirmed she visited the group’s 2000 convention, and she addressed its convention this year, as an incumbent governor whose oath of office includes upholding the Constitution of the United States.

Sarah Palin addresses the Alaska Independence Party (AIP) convention.

The founder of the AIP was a man named Joe Vogler. Here’s what he had to say in a 1991 interview, only a few years before Palin attended its convention: “The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government.”

He also said this: “And I won’t be buried under their damn flag. I’ll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home.”

Vogler has also said: “I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I’ve got no use for America or her damned institutions.”

McCain apologists will argue that Sarah Palin was not a member of this group. But Obama wasn’t a member of any Ayers anti-American group, either. And again, Palin repeatedly courted the AIP, and her husband was a member for years.

The main takeaway from today’s Times story is that Obama’s ties to Ayers are, if anything, less substantial than commonly alleged. So if the Ayers association means Obama “palled around” with “terrorists,” as Palin put it today, surely Palin can be said to have “palled around” with a secessionist party whose founder openly professed hatred of America.

If Palin is going to directly question Obama’s patriotism over his association Ayers, surely all these facts are now fair game and freshly relevant

Source: TPM

The McCain campaign has now shifted virtually 100 percent of his national ad spending into negative ads attacking Obama, a detailed breakdown of his ad buys reveals.

By contrast, the Obama campaign is devoting less than half of its overall ad spending to ads attacking McCain. More than half of its spending is going to a spot that doesn’t once mention his foe.

More at TPM

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