February 7, 2008

Captain Queeg has all the marbles

Willard Mitt Romney announced this morning that he was "suspending" his campaign, employing a term of art that is a little strange. How, or better yet, why, would someone "suspend" a campaign rather than just come out and say it's over?

At any rate, Romney dumped about $40 million into his own campaign but walks away with hundreds of millions more left in the bank. Maybe he'll take another shot at it 4 years hence?

As to what role Mike Huckabee will play, it's anyone's guess. He seems to believe that he still has a ahot, though that seems even more dubious than Romney's initital declaration that he was going on to the convention.

But after Tuesday, it really sank in that Romney could continue, spending yet more millions, but the question increasingly became, why? To what end? Any decent businessman knows when to cut their losses and stop throwing good money after bad, and apparently Mitt finally saw the writing on the wall.

I like McCain as the Democrat's likely opponent. The guy is really wrapped too tight, seething with barely disguised anger despite his phoney "my friends" rhetorical device and quiet tone of voice that appears to require a great effort on his part. When he laughs, there's a maniacal edge to it that's pretty bizarre.

So we have a wizzened old guy who more than anything resembles the kind of commander that would keep ordering his troops to attack in the face of overwhelming enemy fire even though they were getting slaughtered in droves and maniacally refuse to stop the advance until every single one of them were shot dead.

Put Obama next to McCain on stage and the sight alone would speak volumes. Gee, what a tough choice. A guy who represents the failed policies of Bush, a war monger, an entrenched representitive of the conservative past, and Obama.

I'll take that match up any day.

McCain-Hillary? That's a different matter. That would hand McCain and the Republicans a great motivating factor and they could crank up the myth-making machinery that they have already used against her to again get dupes and morons to believe that she's evil incarnate.

And of course, a Hillary candidacy would serve to unite and solidify the fractured Republican party and the threat of a Hillary victory would bring in tons of cash from Republicans who've bought into the Hillary as the devil herself characature. It's amazing how many people actually have a deep dislike ofher based overwhelmingly on flat out lies about her past and made up stories circulated by the right.

Hillary likes to suggest that the fact she's been subjected to an unprecidented, massive, and relentless attack campaign for over a decade is somehow a reason to vote for her. I'm not so sure that's something to be desired.

The no-scruples right wing will doubtless try to villify and spread false stories about Obama if he emerges the nominee. (They already have) And they'll crank up all their resources to turn him into some cartoon, rather than a real leader.

But they've already done that to Clinton for about 14 years now, they have a head start on her. They only need take up where they left off. They've already spent hundreds of millions of dollars in creating various myths about her and increasing her negatives to a very high level. So in essense, half their job is already done.

Despite Hillary's being hawkish on defense and having spent years building up her reputation as being tough on defense. Polling shows that she wins by a wide margin when people are asked who they feel would be a better commander in chief over Obama.

Obama is more vulnerable to Republican fear and smear campaigns that would suggest that he wouldn't keep the country safe and isn't qualified to be commander in chief.

But despite that edge for Hillary, I still like Obama's chances against McCain better than Clinton's.

The other news of the day that may be a factor in the race is the report that Hillary wrote a check for $10 million to her own campaign last month in response to Obama outraising and outspending her campaign in the run up to Super Tuesday.

With the armies of pundits are looking for a chink in either candidate's armor, this point was pounced on as evidence that Clinton may not be as well situatuated financialy to continue the brutally expensive fight for the nomination as Obama, whose campaign has been attracting massive infusions of donations in the past several weeks.

Could this prove to be the edge that allows Obama to gain a lead on Clinton? We shall see.


At 2/07/2008 3:21 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

One 'suspends' a campaign rather than terminates so that one can hold open the possibility of recouping some of the money loaned to the campaign.

The Dem's should be quite worried on a couple of fronts,

1. Financial. Now that the Republican race is over, for the most part, McCain can still raise 'Primary' money - with having to spend very little.

2. The Republicans can spend the next 2-3 months bringing the Party together while the Dem's spend the next 2-3 months battling and very likely hurting the Party overall.

3. The Dem's will have to spend a ton of money trying to win the nomination.

Whoever comes out of the Dem Primary will very likely be in a tough position - having spent a ton of money and with a divided Party...

At 2/07/2008 4:17 PM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

McCain is what constitutional law teachers like to refer to as "The Least Onerous Alternative" of the Republican Party. What does that say about the talent pool?

We can talk about the matchups later but I believe we've gotten a real wellness check on our "friends" from the right side of the aisle.

Continued Success

At 2/07/2008 5:20 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I think you should read McCain's book "Faith of My Fathers" and then you would have more respect for McCain and his service to our country. If you only knew what he endured as a POW being beaten on a daily basis, you would think twice before you made fun of him and called him names. I read this book in 1999 when it was first published and as a result, I proudly supported McCain the first time he ran.

McCain admits he was no saint. But he has earned his stripes and he will make a great commander in chief. Yes, a debate would speak volumes. Compare McCain to your empty suit Obama and there simply is no comparison. I won't even go there.

Of course McCain has taken a few unpopular stands which has earned him the wrath of conservatives. But that is the point: Obama talks about "unity" and working across the aisle. McCain has actually DONE it.

At 2/07/2008 9:20 PM, Blogger tiz said...

This could do a couple things in my opinion.. The moderate Republicans and independents who have helped McCain out in places like New Hampshire could now feel "freed up" to come over and help Obama. The dyed-red Republicans could also be realizing that McCain has a much better chance of beating Hillary and come over to help her in the primaries. I mean, if Ann Coulter is saying she'll vote for Hillary anything can happen.

I am loving the dissent on the right about McCain getting the nod. Anything that pisses Rush Limbaugh off makes me happy. I don't think we can bank on it staying that way though. McCain will buy back some of that when he picks some right wing blowhard for VP.

At 2/07/2008 10:48 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


All of the factors your point out are correct and do amount to a disadvantage to the Dems.

They don't exist in a vacuum however, and the fact that there are many conservatives who apparently demand such purity from their candidates that they'd rather willfully lose an election rather than help elect someone they view as too liberal goes a long way to counter the points you mention.

The Republican party is in utter disarray and open revolt at the moment. The more time they have to try to patch that up, the better of course. But will they be able to do it?

In their favor is the conservative's willingness to worship authority and in that respect they're much more easy to order around. They're more likely to do as their told and fall into lockstep with their leaders and that's always been a plus for the Republicans.

But which leaders will they listen to? The Limbaughs, Coulters, and Hannity's? The loons who will gladly lead the party off the cliff into oblivion by insisting on extremism? Or other more pragmatic Republicans who, like McCain, have long realized that the fundementalists and extreme conservative ideologues were dooming the party?

It's not going to be resolved easily or quickly.

Just how far will the anti-McCain forces go? They seem extremely proud of their willingness to lose rather than give up their pricinples, which I admit, is a trait that I firmly believe led them to power. I'm also convinced that if the Dems had exhibited that sort of committment to pricipal, rather than blindly and cowardly running to the right, they'd have occupied the White House since 2000.

At 2/07/2008 11:11 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


Your points are well taken. However, I could never quite understand why one is obligated to admire someone for the fact that they suffered greatly. I of course feel empathy for them, but not admiration.

I admire the fact that he survived the ordeal and not only carried on, but became a great success. That sort of tenacity I have no problem admiring.

But at the same time, I see that these things you hold up as somehow making him a great man have made him a deeply flawed and not too stable man. (not that I'd blame him.)

I think it's hard to avoid recognizing that this man carries a LOT of psychological baggage. Again, not that I blame him for it, but when he's put forward as a potential president, then yeah, I'm going to take the issue of temperment seriously.

As I said, I have no problem seeing McCain as the kind of guy who would snap and send hundreds of troops to certain death because of his nearly maniacal belief in winning at all costs.

His stance on Iraq seems so irrational and extreme that I can't help but think so. It's as if he's more than willing to ignore reality and beyond that, inflate and exagerate the situation beyond anything near reality in order to justify continuing what is regarded nearly universally as a failed and unproductive, not to mention enormously draining and deadly effort in Iraq.

Sorry, but that doesn't seem like the position of a truly rational person. Sure, you could argue for continuing the effort there and at least deal with facts, but McCain never has. He's spun and bobbed and weaved just like Bush, and that's deeply troubling.

I don't want that sort of deception and disrespect for the American people anymore, and I don't think a majority of the country does either.

McCain, like Bush and the rest, appear to be living on a different planet in a different universe as they continue to try to portray the situation with terror in terms that would seem exagerated even if it were in a comic book.

And finally, I firmly believe that just because someone served in the military (he almost had to, in light of his families history, and graduated nearly last in his class at the Naval Accademy), had the terrible misfortune of being shot down and captured and treated brutally for 5 years by the enemy, that those facts somehow make him immune from criticism or even mockery.

Your preferred party, the Republicans, gleefully took a person who had enlisted and served honorably in combat in Vietnam and spent millions of dollars in an attempt to portray him as a big coward. Didn't hear a peep from you then, I don't believe.

No one is attempting to diminish or disparage McCain's military service, the Dems aren't as slimy as the right, but it's entirely fair and legitimate to question his demeanor, temperment, and views, (even mock them), in my view.

I respect his service. I feel for him for suffering brutal treatment while a POW and admire him for emerging in one piece and somehow being able to psychologically recover.

But I'm not sure I "admire" the son and grandson, of Admirals for the fact he enlisted and got captured, an event I'm sure that was beyond his control.

I also think the assumption that McCain, by virtue of his experience, would somehow be a great military leader is remotely true either.

You can be a great soldier, a great sailor or airmen, a great platoon leader or any other military job. But that does NOT automatically qualify you as a great, or even competent, leader of the entire armed forces of the United States.

McCain, as evidenced by his barely making it through the academy, might very well not have a damn clue what he's doing as commander in chief. (though he couldn't possibly be more clueless than Bush)

It takes entirely different characteristics and talents to be such a leader than it does to be a fighter pilot and POW. That fact simply can't be denied.

He may be a great commander-in-chief, who knows? (I don't think so) But the point is that he's no more or less qualified than anyone else simply by virtue of his flying some missions and getting shot down and captured.

Ya know?

At 2/07/2008 11:19 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Tiz... it's a guilty pleasure to see the right wing loons and their death wish, isn't it?

But that aside, I'd also note that McCain is in a bad spot for this reason...

Once candidates are picked or get the nomination locked up, they're free to begin their general election campaign.

As Andrew noted, McCain has the luxury of having far more time to do this than the Dems.

But normally, Dem candidates must tack sharply to the right when they begin the general campaign, and Republicans have to tack to the left. They both have to do the little dance to move back to the center.

But the frothing fanatics on the right won't let McCain do this.

Instead of moving towards the center, McCain is now forced to continue kissing asses that you just KNOW he absolutely can't STAND to kiss, namely the very extremist conservatives that he's realized are destroying the party, while repeatedly trying to demonstrate that he shares their extreme right wing views.

In effect, McCain is being held in check, unable to move to the center and actually be himself, and instead forced to continue to try to lie to the conservatives convincingly enough and long enough to make himself palatable enough for them to hold their noses and support.

At 2/08/2008 7:16 AM, Anonymous Josh Curren said...


I would suggest that anyone who handles years of imprisonment deserves both our empathy and admiration/ If you are not going to admire the courage and fortitude that it takes to handle years of imprisonment for our Country, who do you admire?

Conservative Republicans will not stay home in November. (1) They are the group that historically most often votes, (2) when given the choice between the rather lioberal Republican McCain, or the 2nd-most liberal Senator - Obama, or the liberal and very-hated Clinton, all Republicans, whether they like it or not, will vote for McCain, (3) (smart) Republicans are now freed up to pull Democrat ballots and vote for the very beat-able Clinton.

At 2/08/2008 4:46 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I don't admire John McCain for the simple fact he was captured. Sorry.
I sympathize with his suffering, but admire? I admire his determination and drive to succeed and put the past behind him (although he never gives a speech without reminding us of his past) but I don't admire him for his past. I've already explained that I respect him for his ordeal, but I don't admire him for it in quite some detail above and stand by it.

You can admire McCain if you choose. But I've always had a problem with the suggestion that anyone who gets into trouble or suffers while they're in the armed forces gets an automatic "hero" pass to be somehow not fitting.

They're doing their jobs and things happen. If a guy gets his foot crushed when a pallet falls on it while at their job at a factory, is he automatically a hero to be universally admired by all as well?

If one is, so should the other. McCain isn't some special kind of hero for having managed to survive imprisonment by the North Vietnamese. (It didn't hurt that they were fully aware that his dad was a top Admiral in the Navy)

If you or I found ourselves in the same situation, we could be expected to survive as well. What's the alternative? Giving up? Committing suicide? I supppose some would choose that, but I'm not sure one is a hero for simply choosing to try to live.

That's all I'm saying.

At 2/08/2008 5:59 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

The fact that McCain's father was an Admiral made him MORE valuable in the hands of the North Vietnamese.

It is hard to dispute the fact that McCain has a very thorough understanding of the US military.

You say that McCain's being a military man and a POW does not necessarily make him a commander-in-chief. Well, let me ask you this:

Just because somebody is part Negro and makes good speeches, does THAT make him a commander-in-chief???

At 2/08/2008 6:10 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


"part NEGRO" ????!!!!

Um... this is the 21st century. People haven't used that term since the '50s. I guess at least you didn't say he was park darkie. (just kidding)

At any rate, being in the military gives you an understanding of how the military works, or at least the tiny fraction of it that you're exposed to.

But there's also the fact that it's been about 4 decades since McCain served. I think both the world and the military have changed enough to be unrecognizable from the service of McCain's era.

You really seem childish in trying to bring Obama into this when he was not at issue whatsoever. It reminds me of the grade-school taunt, "I know you are, but what am I?".

My point was never that Obama was somehow supremely qualified to be commander in chief. But I would suggest that McCain isn't appreciably any more qualified than Obama.

Leadership demands more skills and character traits than can be imparted simply by serving in uniform.

Look at the guy you voted for to be commander in chief. For God's sake, you likely even voted for him a second time even after he'd drug us into a war that had nothing to do with 9-11 or terror threats.

I guess you thought Bush would be a better CIC because he spent a summer getting trained to fly obsolete fighter jets and then skipped out of duty after that?

Yeesh. I'm not sure you want to go down that road.

At 2/08/2008 7:49 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Any fool can do a Wikipedia Search on John McCain and see his military credentials until he retired as a Captain in 1981. Since then, as a Senator, he served on the Armed Services Committee so I think McCain knows something about foreign policy and defense policy, in the post-Vietnam era. He has spoken out on defense issues and foreign policy with much more depth than Barack Obama.

I bring up Obama because you are the one who made the comparison. Previous posts refer glowingly about Barack Obama as if Christ himself had returned.

Funny how liberal Dems have no problem with a civilian/non-military commander in chief when it fits THEIR agenda, if it is Barack or either one of the Clintons. Then it is okay that they never served. After all that is not a requirement for POTUS. Otherwise, they love to rave about the chickenhawk Republicans and Bush's being in the Air Guard.

Leadership means taking unpopular positions for what you think is right. McCain has certainly done that. The surge was not popular, nor was the immigration bill. When has Barack ever stuck his neck out in a public way or made enemies?

At 2/09/2008 10:12 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


Do you call speaking out and saying that the invasion of Iraq was foolhardy and a mistake back when anyone who dared even think such a thing was branded as a traitor and worse to be voicing an unpopular opinion?

And when Obama called for tougher milage standards, he didn't do it in front of some environmental group, but in a speech to automakers in Detroit. It was definitely NOT what that crowd wanted to hear.

Those are but two examples of Obama not always doing what's popular at the time and blows your argument to bits.

And sometimes, things are unpopular for a reason... such as they're reckless, ineffective, far too costly and produces little or no results. Such as the "surge" idea.

The surge is about to end because we never had enough troops to sustain it to begin with. In the meantime, absolutely NOTHING has been achieved politically in Iraq, which, if you recall, was the entire rational for the surge.

So I'm not sure if standing up for fool-hardy ideas and then simply pretending they worked can exactly be characterized as political courage.

The only political courage I give McCain credit for is when he's pointed out the obvious, that the power-hungry fundy's like Robertson and Falwell are "agents of intolerance", and that Bush's tax cuts were reckless due to the fact they were nearly entirely targetted to very wealthy citizens.

But those are off-set by other McCain positions where he dives head first into Bush territory, such as promoting the surge and then refusing to acknowledge that it's been a failure for the most part and accomplished very little.

Despite this fact, McCain just continually asserts that it worked. No... it didn't accomplish a thing.

I have no idea where you come up with the idea that I brought up Obama as commander in chief. Mainly because I didn't.

And please point to anything I've written that makes him seem God-like. Again, you have to make shit up.

Serving in the military obviously is not a requirement for being a good commander in chief. I think we can all agree on that.

McCains experience is a plus, but I believe his positions are what matter. And his positions are in direct opposition to the desires and positions of a great majority of this country and the world.

You may say this is somehow courageous that he supports really bad ideas about how to defend the country, but I think most people realize that it's an extreme position, based on absolutely blind faith that if we continue to squander trillions of dollars and throw one body after another at the problem, that somehow we'll "win", whatever the hell that is. Never mind that "winning" by purely military means is absolutely impossible and every rational person knows it.

So, bring on McCain.

Your jobs are gone and won't come back, we can't really do much about illegal immigrants, and the promise of an endless continuation of a tragic mistake in Iraq should be really popular.

Just what the country wants, Bush's third term.

At 2/10/2008 9:36 AM, Blogger tiz said...

Part "negro"? Are you freaking kidding me?

I think McCain would do fine as a commander-in-chief. Not because he was a POW but because he's had the hands-on experience with the military both in service and in the Senate (that has already been mentioned). Although I'm sure he'd never accept it he would make a good SecDef in any administration.

But really, you lost me at "negro". I bet you get extra points at the klan meeting for having written that in public.

At 2/10/2008 10:25 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


I would doubt that Nico is racist. Perhaps it's more a generational thing... hopefully.

And at the risk of trying to further clarify my feelings about McCain... as I've said, I just dont' think he has the temperment to be making decisions about whether to send troops to their doom, much less have his finger on the proverbial button.

He's famously quick to anger and it's plain by watching him that he's seething with it, bubbling just under the surface.

I just don't trust him to use rational judgement and feel he may be far too quick to use the military as if it were his personal tool (much like Bush) and if something or someone pisses him off, he'll go ahead and launch the military rather than try every possible solution before that last resort.

He's qualified for Sec. Defense, but I'd only hope that were he in that position, he'd use his famous willingness to buck the system and crack down hard on the defense budget as the primary means for corporations to loot the treasury to the tune of mulitiple billions without conscience or consequence.

At 2/10/2008 2:41 PM, Blogger tiz said...

I don't think nico a racist. I was half-joking about the klan comment but either way my comment was out of line. The choice of adjective was meant to inflame and I took the bait.

Regarding his temper, a vision of an angry President McCain using the army to get those damn kids off of the white house lawn comes to mind. ;)

I do hope though that having to actually serve in a war decades ago would give him pause to send others off to war today. Who knows though. I think we're getting an upgrade no matter what happens this November.

At 2/10/2008 5:52 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Ain't that the truth. A ficus plant would be an enormous improvement. Hell, for that matter, having no president at all would be a vast improvement. At least Bush and his zealots couldn't be actively working to mess things up as badly as they can.

And I share your hope that McCain's service would cause him to be a bit more cautious about the use of force.

Traditionally, those who have served and seen the horrors of war are the most reluctant to resort to war and don't advocate it unless all other avenues have been exhausted.

An example might be the Powell docterine that holds that we should never engage an enemy with military force unless we're able to go in with an overwhelmingly superior force.

Wise military leaders realize that war or military action should be the very last resort, and certainly not the first, as in the case of the gang of criminals that devised the invasion of Iraq.

Will this truism of combat vets as leaders being less likely to engage in military adventures hold true with McCain?

Perhaps. But he certainly doesn't demonstrate any reluctance to rely on military actions. As a matter of fact, he's entirely too gung-ho, and appearently wants to keep throwing cannon fodder at an enemy that can barely be accurately defined, let alone identified, in the hopes of achieving a victory that can never be realized.

Being positively anxious to throw more and more money and lives at a supposed war against a tactic rather than a defined enemy verges on the insane, in my view, and requires one to suspend reality and ignore facts, while imagining that there are this defined group out there who you can attribute a never-ending list of evil intentions and motivations.

It's simply not reality, and McCain is far too willing to continue this fantasy begun by Bush.

At 2/10/2008 8:19 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Well this is sort of off-topic but I don't think Negro is a derogatory term; however, it does seem like we just don't hear the word as much anymore so I'll admit that perhaps it is outdated. After all, there is still the United Negro College Fund. Also the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Some People of color do use the phrase "people of color", but it is mostly the older folks.

The great Fannie Lou Hamer facetiously referred to it as the National Association for the Advancement of "Certain" People because their goals and methods were more lofty than the SCLC which did more direct action in the Civil Rights battle and more of the hard "grass roots" work among the more downtrodden.

I always thought the word "Black" was sort of misleading, and carried a subtly negative connotation. "African-American" is also sort of misleading and seems contrived. So I use the term Negro because that is the word that was used when I was a kid. I think of George Washington Carver, etc.

And you know another word which people don't use anymore? The word "mulatto". I have used that a few times in reference to Obama and people have no clue what I am talking about. Maybe it is a generational thing.

And I'm not a racist because I have always said that if Condie Rice had run for President, she would have been my first choice.


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