Tag Archives: cnn

Teabagging With the Republican Party

MSNBC’s David Shuster on Republicans “going nuts”

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on teabagging John McCain

CNN’s Anderson Cooper on talking while teabagging

Ironically, all this talk about American teabagging may be overshadowed by…who else? the Brits.  This clip of Susan Boyle from Britain’s Got Talent has become a viral YouTube hit.  Suffice to say, the 47-year old unmarried woman (who lives with her cat, Pebbles) has never tea-bagged before.

Britain’s Response to Teabagging Americans


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Thoughts on the Final Presidential Debate

Some thoughts on last night’s debate:

On Taxes: John McCain definitely had a clear mandate for this debate: make Barack Obama seem like a tax-crazy, big-government socialist.  Invoking Joe Six Pack’s cousin, Joe the Plumber, McCain tried to portray an Obama administration as one that would force “Joe the plumber and millions more like him is have their taxes increased and not be able to realize the American dream of owning their own business.”  In the following exchange, Obama admitted that he disliked paying taxes.  McCain’s response?

Senator Obama: Look, nobody likes taxes. I would prefer that none of us had to pay taxes, including myself. But ultimately, we’ve got to pay for the core investments that make this economy strong and somebody’s got to do it.

Senator McCain: Nobody likes taxes. Let’s not raise anybody’s taxes, OK?

Instead of offering that cheeky response, McCain could have said, “True, nobody likes taxes, and true, some taxes are necessary for the infrastructure of America.  BUT, the fundamental difference is that you believe the government can best grow the economy, and you have to pay for your big government through raising taxes.  On the other hand, I believe that the American people and the free market can best make those core investments and rebuild our economy.  By taking money away from the people, and putting it into the hands of the government, you’re sacrificing efficiency and growth, and that is not what we need.”  That would’ve been a better response for a conservative Republican than, “Well, no one likes taxes, so I don’t want to raise them.”

On Negative Ads: McCain started out strong, even with his frequent references to Joe the Plumber.  But he really got sidetracked with Bob Schieffer’s question about negative ads: it was pretty clear that this question favored Obama.  After all, Obama’s references to McCain (“erratic,” “out of touch,” “lie,” “angry,” “losing his bearings”) were softballs compared to the extremely negative stuff that the McCain campagin was hurling at Obama: “disrespectful,” “dangerous,” “dishonorable,” “he lied,” “palled around with terrorists.”  McCain did himself no favors by bringing up the subject of his highly-publicized rallies, where crowds were calling Obama a terrorist, yelling “kill him”, and shouting racial slurs.  Obama, to his credit, mostly deflected attention off the negative: 

Senator Obama: The important point here is, though, the American people have become so cynical about our politics, because all they see is a tit- for-tat and back-and-forth. And what they want is the ability to just focus on some really big challenges that we face right now, and that’s what I have been trying to focus on this entire campaign.  We can have serious differences about our health care policy, for example, John, because we do have a difference on health care policy, but we… (gets interrupted)  But when people suggest that I pal around with terrorists, then we’re not talking about issues.

…So, naturally McCain brings up Bill Ayers. 

If you were watching on CNN, viewer reaction from the focus group in Ohio was immediately negative.  McCain would have done better had he delivered this criticism via rap with Flo Rida: “Oh hot damn / This is my jam / Keep my campaign going til the AM / Y’all don’t understand / Make me think all day / About Bill Ayers, Ay-Ay-Ayers.”

On Their Behaviors: Much was said about Gore’s performance in the debates in 2004–sometimes the way people look leave more of an impression than what they say.  During last night’s debate, Obama appeared calm and respectful.  Even though he had the chance to blast Palin, he exercised full restraint and just praised her skills as a “politician”.  John McCain, on the other hand, could not stop blinking, released a couple of audible sighs (perhaps remorse over missing bingo night), gave some awkwardly smug smiles, and looked almost like he was going to throw in a wink á la his running mate.  Some of the split screen shots showed McCain’s evident distaste for what Obama was saying.   


In  the end?  McCain did better than he did before, but we saw the biggest margin of victory for Barack Obama in a sampling of national polls.  In CNN’s poll, 58% said Obama won, versus 31% for McCain, the largest margin of victory in the CNN poll for any debate (it was 51% Obama/38% in the first debate, and 54% Obama/30% in the second).  Similarly, in the CBS poll of uncommitted viewers, 53% said Obama won, while only 22% said McCain won. 

This was McCain’s last stand to either make himself stand out, or goad Obama into doing something stupid.  Neither happened.   And so in the words of “Lolli Lolli” by Three 6 Mafia: “Like Barack Obama said / Yeah it’s time for a change.”

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Random Thoughts on… Irony

In Politics

  • Exxon Mobil sponsoring CNN’s broadcast of the VP debate last night, especially given that both candidates embraced the populist approach of bashing “big oil”. (1)
  • Sarah Palin’s performance in the debate being considered a success because she was able to (mostly) complete coherent sentences. (2)
  • When being smart and knowledgeable is actually a handicap to winning an election… Who knew?
  • So, conservatives are conservative when it comes to the economy (favoring less government intervention), but not when it comes to social issues (favoring more intervention in the areas of women’s rights, stem cell research, gay marriage, censorship, etc.)  Liberals are exactly the opposite, favoring more government oversight on policy, but less intervention when it comes to social issues.  Thus, neither party can claim consistency in a truly conservative or liberal approach.

In the Economy

  • In Rihanna’s hit song “Umbrella”, Jay-Z raps: ” No clouds in my storms / Let it rain / I hydroplane in the bank / Coming down like the Dow Jones…” Prophetic.(3)
  • Wall Street bigwigs pushing for more government intervention in the market through the bailout. Yes, it’s necessary, but still, weren’t these the same guys who argued that Adam Smith’s invisible hand would solve all worries? Well, the invisible hand has struck.
  • Even though the Republicans are supposed to be the pro-business party, the two wealthiest men in the U.S., Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, are Democrats. So is billionaire George Soros, Lloyd Blankfein (CEO of Goldman), Steve Jobs (Apple), and several other money-making businessmen too.  So the argument that Democrats (and their policies) are totally anti-business may fall flat…
  • While on the topic of the financial crisis, President Bush is the only president in history to have received an MBA… and from Harvard Business School no less. Bush most likely will fall into the same chute as Jeff Skilling (convicted CEO of Enron) when it comes to disreputable HBS alums.

In Everyday Life

  • Non-drowsy Mucinex commercials making mucus seem cute. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig.
  • The Jonas Brothers succeeding. How come Hanson flamed out ten years ago? Hmm…bop.
  • The Tampa Bay Rays are in the MLB playoffs while the Yankees are sitting at home.(4) And the Rays made the playoffs a year after they got rid of the “Devil” in their name. Coincidence? I think not.
  • Britney making headlines for a song, of all things. Where did all the K-Fed, hair-shaving, alcohol abusin’, baby mama drama go? I think I prefer that to her singing.

(1) If you were wondering, the Exxon Mobil PAC has contributed 87% to Republicans this year, vs. 13% to Democrats.

(2) Sidenote: When did we start celebrating mediocrity and requiring down-home folksiness as a path to the Presidency? Shoot, I haven’t prepared for this question… help! Maybe I can just wink my way out of this one. Or divert the question to something about energy… Think it’ll work? You betcha!

(3) “Umbrella” was released on March 29, 2007. Since then, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 2,195 points, or about 17%.

(4) Yankee payroll: $207m (#1 in Major League Baseball)… Tampa Bay payroll: $43m (second to last). In fact, the 3 other AL playoff teams are #4 (Red Sox), #5 (White Sox), and #6 (Angels) in payroll.

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