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I Told You So

By Stephen Noriega

I posted the blog on September 15th, 2008. It was right after the GOP convention, when everyone loved her. I said this was the worst pick for the John McCain campaign. Now I get to say, “I told you so” with pride, annoying volume and belligerent indignation.

sarahpalin21

Photo by The National Inquirer, distributed 2008

It came to pass quickly, Senator McCain, that your only path to winning an election was doing things that may damage you further than this campaign. Governor Palin took John McCain places that he will regret. In the heat of this contest, with veneers of anger shrouding the obvious, McCain fell into the Palin trap of off-message rants and poisonous speeches designed to illicit fear and xenophobia, not optimism or hope©.

Governor Palin made it quite clear that she wished to be an active, policy-making Vice President. This is simply a continuation of a modern trend. Starting with Richard Nixon and his ambassadorial skills, the Vice President has slowly become more important. Al Gore was often criticized for taking an excessive role in helping Clinton with policy issues. Dick Cheney took the office to a whole new level, holding secret meetings, being in charge of entire policy realms and showing a true disdain for Congress and even the voters.

Did McCain really want a powerful vice president with whom he could barely get along? Sarah Palin did not answer the third grader’s question incorrectly. She meant that she wanted to have power and influence over the Senate. Perhaps Sarah Palin is not ignorant about constitutional issues, at least compared to most other people. Sarah Palin has been an executive of larger and larger offices and she saw this as a path to even more political clout. She will certainly not be another Thomas R. Marshall (considered the laziest Vice President under Woodrow Wilson). She wanted to be another Dick Cheney. Perhaps she knows painfully little about the Constitution. This is even more frightening than a politician’s ambition. With the clothing scandal, she may end up being another Spiro Agnew, constantly messing with McCain’s authority like Agnew did with Nixon until being pulled asunder by a petty transgression. (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-edwards-lichtman5-2008sep05,0,5935217.story)

It is not just Palin’s eye on power that had McCain in a bad way because of her. Palin is a politician, and politicians seek power. That is what they do. But Palin couldn’t even follow the talking points of the campaign. McCain must have developed serious reservations about how she will follow policy talking points once comfortably in Washington, D.C. When the issue of Palin’s clothes emerged as a thorn in the campaign, everyone tried to stifle the nano-scandal and move on. Not Governor Palin. She continued to defend the $150,000.00+ makeover.

Even people in the McCain campaign revolted. Anonymous rats, stinging with bitterness of being in the wrong campaign, started to take shots at the candidate with the anxious ears of the press wide open.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone… She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.” (CNN – 10/2008)

Palin has shown sides of this in the media view. Instead acting humble, especially after some disastrous interviews with infamous soft-ball-throwers like Katie Couric, Palin went on the offense. She spewed venom at rallies that incited the lunatic fringe of her party with never a speck of clarification or apology. When McCain saw the potential destructive nature of this, he voiced his disapproval of the personal hatred campaign, something an honorable person does. Palin apparently never got the memo.

With each bumble, misunderstanding of history, petty scandal and word of aggression, Governor Sarah Palin demonstrated how she was the worst pick the McCain campaign could have made. This is not about gender. This is not about politics or political agendas. This is about a person who did not deserve, because of a lack of competence, any consideration of such an importance office.

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Filed under American Electorate, McCain, Palin, Republican, Vice-President

Let’s cut the bull crap and get down to business!

November 1, 2008

By: Melissa Keller

Coloradans have turned in their TV remotes for more useful forms of information since their local television has been taken over by negative political ads. For those watching local news, it’s difficult to decide on who their congressional representative shall be this year when all there is to see are scandals and lies displayed by both parties.

Marilyn Musgrave has been the current congressional representative for District 4 since 2002; so when first time runner Betsy Markey challenged her return to congress it was inevitable that a cat fight wasn’t too far from the picture.

It began when Musgrave noticed her district moving more and more left with each year of being in office, and now that almost 90% of newly registered voters are democrat she’ll do just about anything to keep her seat. Musgrave began this cat fight when she argued that Markey was unfit for office by releasing an ad about her firm wrongly receiving federal contracts while Markey worked for Ken Salazar. In the ad, it blatantly showed Betsy behind jail bars hinting to the idea that she’s a criminal heading straight for prison.

It was obvious that this ad in return upset many loyal democrats who weren’t afraid to fight back. In an interview with Markey, she explained that the GOP statements were “outright lies” and that she would get to the bottom of this. Markey eventually filed a complaint with the Larimer County District Attorney’s office in mid September for airing false statements about her. It is illegal for a politician to knowingly display false statements about their opponent in a political campaign.

In their first local debate on October 9th, Musgrave continued to bring up allegations of Markey’s misuse of power with her company; but when her statements didn’t have much evidence to back them up, she quickly changed her tactics towards Markey’s inconsistent responses about her ownership with the company versus when she ended it.

But trust me, it didn’t stop there.

Musgrave was soon the next to file a complaint against Markey for allegedly telling falsehoods in a recent local commercial. This particular ad misled voters to believe that Musgrave allowed lobbyists to “wine and dine” her and that the Republican candidate sponsored a bill that would have benefited her family by lowering taxes on capital gains from investments in coins and precious metals.

“Musgrave’s personal financial disclosure said her husband in 2007 had between $15,001 and $50,000 in gains from his precious metal investments. The bill Musgrave co-sponsored would have lowered their family tax liability between $2,000 and $6,500.”

Markey’s campaign spokesman, Ben Marter, reacted to the complaint by saying, “Why is Musgrave spending her time disputing an ad that has been documented and proven to be true?”

This wasn’t the first time Musgrave reacted strongly to Markey’s actions. Back in August, things got pretty chaotic when Musgrave responded to Markey’s rejection to a radio debate by making her intern dress as a duck in reference to Markey “ducking” out of the debate.

Although this campaign has been a tiring one with its misled statements about scandals and corrupt politics, it’s always nice to know that our local candidates would rather go out of their way to back stab each other instead of focusing on the real issues that America faces today. I don’t blame Coloradans for being sick of the current negative ads circulating through the news that it wouldn’t surprise me if many of them vowed to refrain from watching television altogether until the election is over, I know I have.

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Filed under Colorado, Democratic Party, Media, Negative Campaigning, Republican

The true race of ’08

Melissa Keller

August 22, 2008

As the 2008 election heats up and we are heading into what is sure to be remembered as one of the most historical presidential races in recent history, we now ask ourselves whether our nation is voting for a man that will make change for America, or a black man that will change the face of America.

It is no secret that the US has not been held in high regard for many years by other countries. Many have cited American policies a demonstration of political arrogance that all Americans have the same ideas and beliefs as George Bush. This is what has attracted many foreigners, like the French, to Barack Obama and his new vision for change. The French, as well as many new voters in America, see Obama bridging together ethnic differences and putting away minority policies that have divided this country for so many years. His new ideas for an equal America have attracted the majority of our youth as well as minorities. This is why many have predicted that his vote will sweep the US and will count for the largest demographic in history. Never have so many minorities and voters under the age of 24 been so involved with the presidential elections until now. Not to be blunt or anything, but wouldn’t you think that many of these views are associated with the fact that Obama is indeed black and that people see this as taking one step closer to eliminating racism?

So I ask you this, is our country trying to seek change in our nation with Barack’s policies and opinions or are we really trying to resolve our “hush hush” racism issue in turning into a colorblind nation by electing our first black president?

This has been one of the most popular underlying themes throughout this election with both parties accusing each other using racial undertones. But if you were to ask each party about the issue, they would try to deny that race has been a factor in their battle towards presidency. Yet, even though this sensitive issue remains under the breath of our nation, Obama had no problem bringing it to the table in one of his most talked about speeches:

In consideration to all of this, a recent poll asked Americans how comfortable they feel electing an African American president and these statistics show that the US is leaning towards a colorblind nation. But this doesn’t mean that America will lose racism altogether; in fact some believe that by electing an African American president will not only keep racism alive but will enhance a domino effect of diminished programs meant for preserving minorities. Jason Parham believes that by electing a black president it will only bring forth more issues on race rather than solve them.

Is this true? I for one don’t agree. I feel that there is time for dramatic change in one’s nation and that this is our way of making that change. The US has not forgotten its bloody history with slaves and its civil rights movement; and by appointing Obama the highest position in America we will not only change the face of America, but we also might get one step closer to putting an end on racism.

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama

The “Straight Talk” Spin

September 16, 2008

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

It should be obvious by now that Senator John McCain’s version of “straight talk” is simply a frame for politics as usual. He has reversed course on so many issues that he often cannot remember just what his position is, or has been. Not only does this result in a plethora of conflicting statements from this would-be leader of the free world, but it highlights the serious detriment his age has on clear thinking, as is evident in the following clips:

Unintentional misstatements are certainly forgivable in a senior citizen, but is this someone we want running our nation? And several of the clips show an obvious intent to portray the situation in Iraq as much safer than it actually is by making blatant lies about the facts, then attempting to cover his tracks about as effectively as a toddler. How will he be able to communicate our foreign policy positions to the representatives of other nations if he can’t even keep his own personal policy commitments and the facts that surround them straight?

Now his tactics are becoming increasingly belligerent; attacking Obama with false and misleading claims that have even some republicans critical of such tactics. A recent article includes criticism from the likes of Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Don Sipple, a Republican advertising strategist, Matthew Dowd, chief strategist of Bush’s 2004 campaign, and factcheck.org, a non-partisan group. Among the many misrepresentations uncovered by factcheck.org “A McCain-Palin TV ad accuses Obama of being “disrespectful” of Palin, but it distorts quotes to make the case.”  Even Karl Rove thinks McCain has “gone too far” in stretching the truth in his attacks of Obama.

When combined with Governor Palin’s misleading statements, especially regarding the Alaskan “bridge to nowhere”, and misunderstandings, such as the share of US oil that is produced in the State of Alaska, voters must wonder who they think they are fooling (other than themselves, of course). More importantly, it seems evident that McCain and Palin have no qualms about misrepresenting and misleading voters. One fact is clear; they are not even in the same league with Bush, Cheney, and Rove in such endeavours.

Now Obama is not entirely clean in this respect, but his misrepresentations regarding McCain and Palin are significantly less intense in both nature and frequency, such that they at least could appear to be inadvertent misunderstandings, though they may not be. In the news article previously mentioned, Don Sipple says, “Any campaign that is taking liberty with the truth and does it in a serial manner will end up paying for it in the end,” he said. “But it’s very unbecoming to a political figure like John McCain whose flag was planted long ago in ground that was about ‘straight talk’ and integrity.”

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Filed under McCain, Negative Campaigning

Why Democracy is Bad

By Steven Dell

Walking through the Tivoli Student Union on Campus yesterday I saw a group handing out stickers and postcards. They were campaigning against Amendment 48 to the Colorado Constitution. This Amendment is on the ballot for this November election.

The Amendment is written

“Define the term ‘person’ to include any human being from the moment of fertilization and apply this definitions of person to the section of the Colorado Constitution that protect the natural and essential rights of persons, allow open access to courts for every person, and ensure that no person has his or her life, liberty, or property taken away without due process of law.”

Actual text can be viewed here.

How could such an encompassing amendment even make it to the general election? The Daily Camera reported on May 30th

“Secretary of State Mike Coffman said backers of the proposed state constitutional amendment turned in an estimated 103,000 valid signatures, far more than the 76,000 required.”

The answer is that proposed amendment that gains enough signatures can be voted on by the people of Colorado to amend the constitution. Once it is amended it is law. Special interest groups can then take their ideas to streets to collect signatures so that it can be voted on in the general election. A good video of how it is done can be viewed here.

This is where I have a problem with our legislative process. People think too much with their emotions. If you get someone riled enough they will vote to pass anything no matter how ridiculous. People would argue this is true Democracy and is the way it should be. Are average people (including me) at all qualified enough to write laws? Isn’t this why we have a representative government in the first place? Why can’t my representatives do the job I’m paying them for?

I don’t pretend to know any thing about Doctoring either. So how in the world would I decide on any particularly health oriented amendment such as 48? Do Doctors think at the moment of fertilization an egg is a person?

Is this definition even valid legally? Think of a pregnant woman who has cancer, should a doctor have to call a third party lawyer (who has nothing at all to do with the doctor patient relationship) before administering any kind of chemo-therapy because it could endanger the “person” in the womb? I think all are relevant questions and I know I am not the person that should be answering them.

Referendum O would limit this process, I don’t think it goes far enough but it is a start. In that ref O link it does talk about how the Colorado Constitution is one of the easiest constitutions to amend. It is too easy for my taste, especially when you look at the US constitution as a model.

One last video by the late George Carlin, if you know him you know his language can be colorful at best so watch knowing you have been warned. It is relevant to the post. All of his fans will miss his witty cynicism.

Let me make clear where I stand on this.  People should collect signatures and contact their representatives if they feel their government needs to change, they should not be able to change it directly.  I do not agree with abortion, and I know that I personally could never make the decision to terminate. I do not feel it is my decision to make when it comes to other people. The decision should be between the doctor and the patient, and maybe the patient’s family but even that is a streach.

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Poor Thing

NBC has apparently shown some sort of bias towards the Obama campaign. An article in the Guardian which is UK online Newspaper tells of the sad story of John McCain’s campaign being abused by NBC and their “Irresponsible Journalism”.

I wonder if NBC will embrace this in the same way that FOX news corp has embraced their position as a biased news organization for the GOP. The Problem is that FOX has embraced their position with programming but they have done nothing in regards to the somewhat amusing claim of being fair and balanced.

Businesses do not for the most part want to be associated with news outlets that are dogmatic or possible purveyors of propaganda. The main reason is to increase sales. If a advertiser becomes to cozy with one side of an issue their is a very real and well founded fear that people will associate the products of an advertiser with the slanted news outlet that they advertised on.

The problem of objectivity has since been codified in the “Journalism Code of Conduct”. This code of conduct leaves out any directives to be objective. What it does include in the preamble is a sentence which urges; “Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty.” (Society Of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics)

The result is a world in which news organizations strive for objectivity and disregard their natural bias that will come out in he news they report and the way they report it.

“We are extremely disappointed to see that the level of objectivity at NBC news has fallen so low that reporters are now giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain,” Davis wrote in his letter to Capus, sent late yesterday. (guardian.co.uk)

The Letter from the McCain camp claimed that there was unsubstantiated claims is a little amusing. McCain wasn’t in the so called “Cone of Silence” during part of the question and answer session with Obama. Instead he was on his way in a secret service limo to the event. It could be assumed that McCain would have access to the radio in the limo in addition to his ever present cell phone and that if he had wanted to listen to Obama’s answers he could have, or he could very easily have had his aides call him to prep him on the questions and answers.

The New York Times wrote an article describing the McCain absence from the cone of silence. And presumably the McCain campaign had access to this article prior to the letter being written. Even in that article the whereabouts of Mr. McCain were noted and questioned. For Andrea Mitchell to not comment on this would have been irresponsible Journalism according to the Journalism Code of Ethics.

One of the things that the Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes special note of is that it is unethical to relate only the parts of a story that agrees to the Journalists political viewpoint. It also makes pains to point out that it is the Journalists job to report everything they learn even if it may be unpopular (in the McCain camp). In this case She clearly states that this was something the Obama camp was privately talking about.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5531691715199840083&ei=0OSpSLm-IozM4AKG7K3TDQ&q=andrea+mitchell&vt=lf&hl=en

What seems irresponsible is for the McCain campaign to cry foul when there was no foul made. The McCain camp is using this to further reinforce the image that the GOP has perpetrated over the past 20 years, that the media has a ” liberal bias”. While this may or may not have some accuracy, the media seems to respond to this pressure on their advertising by increasing positive coverage of the GOP and decreasing positive coverage of the DNC.

The Letter:

August 17, 2008
Mr. Steve Capus
President, NBC News
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112

Steve:

We are extremely disappointed to see that the level of objectivity at NBC News has fallen so low that reporters are now giving voice to unsubstantiated, partisan claims in order to undercut John McCain.

Nowhere was this more evident than with NBC chief correspondent Andrea Mitchell’s comments on “Meet the Press” this morning. In analyzing last night’s presidential forum at Saddleback Church, Mitchell expressed the Obama campaign spin that John McCain could only have done so well last night because he “may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.” Here are Andrea Mitchell’s comments in full:

Mitchell: “The Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because what they are putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama. He seemed so well-prepared.” (NBC’s “Meet The Press,” August 17, 2008.

Make no mistake: This is a serious charge. Andrea Mitchell is repeating, uncritically, a completely unsubstantiated Obama campaign claim that John McCain somehow cheated in last night’s forum at Saddleback Church. Instead of trying to substantiate this blatant falsehood in any way, Andrea Mitchell felt that she needed to repeat it on air to millions of “Meet the Press” viewers with no indication that 1.) There’s not one shred of evidence that it’s true; 2.) In his official correspondence to both campaigns, Pastor Rick Warren provided both candidates with information regarding the topic areas to be covered, which Barack Obama acknowledged during the forum when asked about Pastor Warren’s idea of an emergency plan for orphans and Obama said, “I cheated a little bit. I actually looked at this idea ahead of time, and I think it is a great idea;” 3.) John McCain actually requested that he and Barack Obama do the forum together on stage at the same time, making these kinds of after-the-fact complaints moot.

Indeed, instead of taking a critical journalistic approach to this spin, Andrea Mitchell did what has become a pattern for her of simply repeating Obama campaign talking points.

This is irresponsible journalism and sadly, indicative of the level of objectivity we have witnessed at NBC News this election cycle. Instead of examining the Obama campaign’s spin for truth before reporting it to more than 3 million NBC News viewers, Andrea Mitchell simply passed along Obama campaign conspiracy theories. The fact is that during Senator Obama’s segment at Saddleback last night, Senator McCain was in a motorcade to the event and then held in a green room with no broadcast feed. In the forum, John McCain clearly demonstrated to the American people that he is prepared to be our next President…..

We are concerned that your News Division is following MSNBC’s lead in abandoning non-partisan coverage of the Presidential race. We would like to request a meeting with you as soon as possible to discuss our deep concerns about the news standards and level of objectivity at NBC.

Sincerely,

Rick Davis
Campaign Manager
John McCain 2008

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Filed under McCain, Media, Republican