Strategy ’08

Obama vs. the other guy, 2008

Here’s to the State of Alaska

Given Alaskan voters’ willingness to send a convicted felon and his pork-filled buddy back to Congress, I’m thinking maybe we should give Todd Palin and his AIP buddies their wish and say, “Good riddance.”


November 5, 2008 Posted by | Veepstakes | , , | Leave a comment

Sarah Palin Pranked by Montreal Radio Hosts


Uh-oh. The Canada Press (the Canadian version of AP) reports:

MONTREAL — A Quebec comedy duo notorious for prank calls to celebrities and heads of state has reached Sarah Palin, convincing the Republican vice-presidential nominee she was speaking with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

In the interview, which lasts about six minutes, Palin and the pranksters discuss politics, pundits, and the dangers of hunting with current vice-president Dick Cheney.

The Masked Avengers, who have a regular show on Montreal radio station CKOI, intend to air the full interview on the eve of the U.S. elections.

McCain won’t be happy with this.

November 1, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy, Veepstakes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lawrence Eagleburger Blasts Palin: ‘Of Course’ She’s Not Ready

This is NOT how you stay on message. Lawrence Eagleburger, a McCain advisor and one of the fave five Secretaries of State he remembered has gone on the record absolutely BLISTERING Sarah Palin. This is unbelievable. Below the jump for the details.

HuffPo with the story:

A former Republican Secretary of State and one of John McCain’s most prominent supporters offered a stunningly frank and remarkably bleak assessment of Sarah Palin’s capacity to handle the presidency should such a scenario arise.

Lawrence Eagleburger, who served as Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush and whose endorsement is often trumpeted by McCain, said on Thursday that the Alaska governor is not only unprepared to take over the job on a moment’s notice but, even after some time in office, would only amount to an “adequate” commander in chief.

“And I devoutly hope that [she] would never be tested,” he added for good measure — referring both to Palin’s policy dexterity and the idea of McCain not making it through his time in office.

The interview was with NPR which was apparently supposed to show off how qualified Sarah Palin is. Of course, we know that’s not the case:

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October 31, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy, talking points, Veepstakes | , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Take On VP Debate: Biden Was Trained at Obama School

I generally agree with Turner’s excellent take here, but wanted to add a few thoughts.

The CW is generally true: Palin improved her own standing as not seeming like a complete, dribbling idiot and as a whole the debate wasn’t a game-changer. But, if you’re John McCain and you’re behind in the polls as you are now, isn’t a game-changer exactly what you need? When the VP debate analysis focuses on whether or not your VP choice seemed less like an idiot than she did in interviews, then you’re not in a position of strength.

As for Biden, I actually thought he was generally excellent. And more than that, it was clear he was trained at Obama School. Here’s what I mean:

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October 3, 2008 Posted by | Veepstakes | , , , , | 28 Comments

Debate Prep

Perhaps in a bid to make the debate prep seem as little as possible as the actual debate, the McCain team took Sarah Palin out by a stream and put up some podiums:

The NYTimes reports:

Advisers said she was a diligent worker and was frequently up until the small hours of the morning in her hotel room trying to cram as much information as possible before the debate.

Many caution against underestimating her. When she was on the stage debating to be Alaska’s governor, she sounded much more free-flowing and less programmed with her words. But perhaps that’s because she was discussing issues she knew about. This amusing talk on the right about “letting Palin be Palin” would be less amusing if she had a base of knowledge on national and international affairs. Then, yes, she could be herself and express her own opinions. But she doesn’t have that knowledge. Hence the all-night study sessions.

Look, I expect her to be passable on Thursday night. But as Roland Martin keeps repeating on CNN, the expectations game is ridiculous and the bar should not be low. It should be extremely high given the position Palin is seeking, and it should be the same height for both her and Joe Biden.

October 1, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized, Veepstakes | , , | 4 Comments

The Cynicism of ‘VP Replacement’ Rumors

It seems like every four years we get rumors that a VP candidate will be replaced on the ticket: Quayle, Cheney, and now, simultaneously, Biden and Palin. Obviously, the first two never happened, and it’s extremely unlikely that the latter two will. But I have a pet peeve about these rumors, and it goes precisely to the reason they will never come true.

In her column urging Palin’s replacement, Kathleen Parker says:

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Meanwhile, here’s a summary of Biden’s rumored exit:

So in the days after the vice presidential candidates debate in Missouri, Biden will bow out, citing “health problems” (Biden underwent surgery in 1988 to repair two brain aneurysms).

The problem with these rumors is that they assume the candidate will cite some transparently ridiculous fig leaf, which those “in the know” will recognize as BS, but which those gullible, uninformed rubes out there will accept without question.

But that’s not how it would happen at all. If a VP candidate dropped out, everyone would know exactly why it happened. Parker’s hairsplitting between McCain kicking Palin off the ticket and Palin volunteering to do it herself is meaningless. Nor would anyone buy that Biden’s health problems from 20 years ago, which were well known before he was picked, would suddenly become relevant.

The fact that these rumors miss this key detail demonstrates that they’re really nothing more than a Beltway parlor game. And it also explains why they won’t happen. If a VP candidate were dropped, and everyone recognized it as an admission of failure, it would be politically disastrous. And the assumption would be that the only reason the nominee was willing to make such a disastrous move was because sticking with their original choice would be even more disastrous.

McCain may be a crazy drama queen, but he’s not suicidal.

September 27, 2008 Posted by | Veepstakes | , , | 3 Comments

This Is Really Happening

Sarah Palin tells Katie Couric that this bailout is actually about…health care reform (note: she glances at her notes and switches to job creation quickly – although I still don’t know what she’s talking about).

For some reason the sound is off-cue by a second, but you’ll get the gist:

Abridged transcript:
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September 25, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized, Veepstakes | , , , | 4 Comments

Self-Defeating Conservative Newspeak


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.

September 24, 2008 Posted by | Media Strategy, talking points, Veepstakes | , , , | 1 Comment

Biden Today: Slams McCain Hard on Foreign Policy

Joe Biden sets the stage nicely for the debate Friday night with a blistering talk on foreign policy in Cincinnati, Ohio today. The great thing about our ticket is that our VP candidate can give a speech like this with credibility and gravitas and actually knows whereof he speaks. Contrast that with Sarah Palin being set up in photo ops with foreign leaders (the first time she’s ever met a foreign head-of-state, by the way).

Not Biden, who lets McCain have it on foreign policy and national security:

“… the policies he would pursue as president would be wrong for America – nowhere more so than with our security and standing in the world.”


John is more than wrong — he is dangerously wrong. On a question so basic, so fundamental, so critical to our nation’s security, we can’t afford a Commander-in Chief so divorced from reality and from America’s most basic national interests.”

Ouch. Much more below:

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September 24, 2008 Posted by | Battleground States, foreign policy, Uncategorized, Veepstakes | , , , | Leave a comment

The Anti-Palin

Jason Zengerle lays out all of the reasons why Joe Biden may turn out to be a good pick after all, but he only briefly touches on the biggest one. In almost every sense — geographically, stylistically, experientially, gynecologically — Biden is the polar opposite of Palin. In fact, I would go so far as to say they are more different than any opposing VPs in recent memory. As such, it makes sense that their fortunes would rise and fall in inverse proportion to each other.

The reason for this effect is that one’s feelings about Palin can be perfectly mirrored in Biden. Do you feel like Palin is an exciting new force on the scene, a breath of fresh air who has come in to shake up the race? In that case, Biden will appear to be a tired, uninspired pick (as has been the conventional wisdom over the past two weeks). On the other hand, if Palin continues to lie and gaffe her way through the campaign, driving her favorables down and raising questions about her preparedness, Biden is perfectly positioned to benefit from those second thoughts. Does the thought of Palin in the Oval Office unnerve you? Biden is suddenly a steadying presence. Do you view Palin as a risky, cynical choice by McCain? Obama’s caution in picking an experienced pol like Biden becomes far more reassuring.

Of course, we’re still just talking about the VPs here, so just because Biden’s stock improves doesn’t automatically mean it will redound to Obama’s benefit (just ask Vice President Bentsen). Still, to the extent that it fits into the larger narrative (concern about the economy, McCain’s temperament and decision-making process) it certainly can help.

Regardless, I’ve been saying to Dan for the past few weeks that this race still has a few twists and turns left in it. Don’t be surprised if the resurrection of Biden is one of those.

September 18, 2008 Posted by | Veepstakes | , | 4 Comments