ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons coined the phrase “The Tyson Zone,” which he defines thusly: “If a friend said, ‘Did you hear that (fill in celebrity’s name) just (fill in the insane behavior: urinated on a police officer, began breeding unicorns, etc.)?’, I would have no problem believing it was true.” As yesterday’s desperate gamble made clear, John McCain has entered the political equivalent of the Tyson Zone. Think about what McCain has done since August 1:
So apparently, the Conservative Ministry of Truth (aka, the people who brought you “personal accounts” and the “constitutional option”) has now decided that the investigation into Sarah Palin’s firing of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan should be referred to not as “Troopergate”, but rather as “Tasergate”, on the grounds that Palin’s former brother-in-law, who is alleged to have been the catalyst for Monegan’s firing, once tasered his stepson.
Now, I see no need to defend Wooten (although it’s worth pointing out that Wikipedia’s account of the tasering incident, while hardly exonerating Wooten, makes it sound a lot less indefensible than you might have imagined.) What I find strange about this Orwellian attempt at redefinition is that it actually strengthens the abuse-of-power allegations against Palin by assigning motive.
Remember, Palin’s official position is that Monegan was fired for reasons unrelated to Wooten. Why, then, should there be any need to focus on Wooten’s behavior? It’s the equivalent of a man on trial for killing his wife claiming that he had nothing to do with her murder, but by the way she was a dirty slut who was sleeping with his best friend. (Come to think of it, wasn’t that O.J.’s defense?)
Philip Gourevitch’s recent profile of Palin in The New Yorker (back when she was still willing to speak to the press) makes a similar point:
She wanted to persuade me that firing Walt Monegan had nothing to do with Trooper Wooten; that it was in no way a conflict of interest or an abuse of power. But, as she spoke, she seemed to be saying something else—that her vendetta against Wooten was wholly justified.
I honestly don’t know whether I find this combination of incompetence and corruption reassuring or downright scary.
Channeling his inner Queen of Hearts, John McCain furiously, and apparently without even looking around at facts, said Chris Cox, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, should be decapitated. This childish reflex provoked the Wall Street Journal to editorialize that “McCain untethered” — disconnected from knowledge and principle — had made a “false and deeply unfair” attack on Cox that was “unpresidential” and demonstrated that McCain “doesn’t understand what’s happening on Wall Street any better than Barack Obama does.”
To read the Journal’s details about the depths of McCain’s shallowness on the subject of Cox’s chairmanship, see “McCain’s Scapegoat” (Sept. 19, Page A22). Then consider McCain’s characteristic accusation that Cox “has betrayed the public’s trust.”
A prominent conservative like Will using terms such as “childish” and “shallowness” to describe John McCain should be a wake-up call to his campaign. But I suspect their campaign is too busy conducting their media jihad to notice. Or care.
And Carly Fiorina goes under the bus:
“Carly will now disappear,” this source said. “Senator McCain was furious.” Asked to define “disappear,” this source said, adding that she would be off TV for a while – but remain at the Republican National Committee and keep her role as head of the party’s joint fundraising committee with the McCain campaign.
Fiorina was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled.
A third source said “it was another bad day for her, and important people are mad because the timing is horrible… But I would not necessarily buy the Siberia storyline.”
Fiorina has forced the campaign off message before. In July, she told reporters women often express frustration over the fact many health insurance plans cover Viagra but not birth control medication.
Not shocking, but what about that cryptic “disappear” comment?
The Obama campaign will seize on comments John McCain made at an event in Florida this morning to portray the Republican ticket as fundamentally out of touch with American voters.
McCain, speaking before a town hall meeting, said that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong” before adding the caution that “these are very, very difficult times and I promise you we will never put America in this position again.”
An Obama aide calls the first part of McCain’s sentence “an enormous mistake,” and said that the campaign will seek to amplify the comment through surrogates, principles and maybe even television ads.
This should be part of a multi-pronged attack on McCain.
1) Attack him personally for his outrageous lies, which the below ad does quite well:
2) Go after him on his economic ignorance. Comments from McCain like the above should be easy pickings. Attack him relentlessly, and it’s heartening to see that they plan to do just that.
Alan Greenspan takes John McCain to school:
Alan Greenspan says the country can’t afford tax cuts of the magnitude proposed by Republican presidential contender John McCain — at least not without a corresponding reduction in government spending.
“Unless we cut spending, no,” the former Federal Reserve chairman said Friday when asked McCain’s proposed tax cuts, pegged in some estimates at $3.3 trillion.
“I’m not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money,” Greenspan said during an interview with Bloomberg Television. “I always have tied tax cuts to spending.”
This is a major boon to the Obama campaign. McCain has taken quite a bit of heat for his admission that he doesn’t know much about the economy, and the Obama campaign has hit him on this quite a bit:
In Stephen King’s 1979 novel The Dead Zone, a man named Johnny Smith awakens from a five-year coma with psychic abilities. After shaking the hand of Congressional candidate Greg Stillson, Smith has a vision that Stillson will one day become president and start a nuclear war. Determined to prevent this outcome, Smith decides to assassinate Stillson, and although his attempt fails, the Congressman’s immediate reaction upon being shot at is to grab a baby from a woman standing nearby and use it as a shield. This act of cowardice destroys Stillson’s political career and changes the future.
It’s been a long time since I read the book, but I was reminded of it while watching John McCain’s latest ad. This ad — and their entire Palin roll-out strategy — is the figurative equilvalent of Stilson holding up the baby.