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Tilting at Windmills

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August 22, 2008

STUCK IN THE DOG HOUSE(S).... The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza suggested yesterday that the Obama campaign may delay its running-mate announcement, just a bit, because aides believe "the story about McCain's many houses is political gold and they won't want to step on it with a veep announcement that would immediately change the day's storyline."

Of course, it's equally likely the Obama campaign planned to hold the news until Saturday anyway, and the fact that the house flap is manna from heaven for Democrats is just a happy coincidence. Either way, I'm probably not the only one who wasn't too surprised this morning not to get a nice little note from David Plouffe ending the suspense.

Regardless, while there's not a whole lot to add to yesterday's flap du jour, I couldn't help but enjoy the evolution of the McCain campaign's response. Seeing Team Obama go on the offensive seemed to catch McCain staffers off guard, and their furious responses seemed oddly in line with McCain's foreign policy worldview -- act first, think second.

Notice the iterations of the campaign's statements. First, the McCain gang said the story didn't matter because Barack Obama likes arugula. When that was a dud, they said the story didn't matter because McCain had been a prisoner of war. By late yesterday, McCain aides were trying to bring the candidates' spouses into this.

Though McCain is widely perceived to drawn first blood by attacking Obama's character, the official said that the difference between Obama's mocking McCain for his wealth and his shaky answer on the number of homes he owns was that McCain's charge "reflects an existential reality," where Obama's charges "attack Cindy. She owns the homes. I thought he said the wives were off-limits."

Does that make any sense at all? Mocking McCain for not knowing how many homes he owns, and tying this together with McCain's bizarre economic agenda, is necessarily an "attack" on the senator's wife? How very odd, even by McCain standards.

Just to add a brief coda to this, Fox News' reaction to the story was especially entertaining: "Martha MacCallum justified McCain's comments, saying the reason he couldn't answer was simply because the McCains 'have real estate investments and he wanted to make sure he got that right.'"

Yes, of course. I'm sure that's exactly why McCain has lost count of his homes. Riiiiiight.

Steve Benen 9:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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Comments

the response is more or less to keep throwing crap at the wall and see what sticks. it's funny to watch, though.

Posted by: mike on August 22, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Steve and fellow Baggers:

Just wanted to let you all know, Barack called last night and said I wasn't selected. I will throw my entire support behind whomever is.

Posted by: MsMuddled on August 22, 2008 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

any one else from cbr feel like they've just moved into their neighbor's house? weird.

Posted by: angry young man on August 22, 2008 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

Welcome Steve*

I'm still hoping for a text message. Still only 6am on the West Coast. Funny, liberal elite that I am, I'll probably received the news on Saturday while resting in a hammock at my wife's family's one and only beach house in Brazil. I'll be sure to ask them if they ever misplaced any of their other properties over the years.


*The comments window still has Drum's name on it, FYI.

Posted by: enozinho on August 22, 2008 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know which is worse: McCain being clueless, his sponging off of his wife (and THREE government incomes), or sponging off of his wife (and US) *and* being clueless.

No matter how you slice it, it aint good for him.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 22, 2008 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with you on that one AYM -- its like the furniture is familiar but somehow just a little bit weird. I guess we'll get used to it. I just hope Kevin didn't leave any McCain/GOP buttons in the back of the closet or in that drawer over in the corner. Ha.

Posted by: BullCity on August 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

I don't know which is worse: McCain being clueless, his sponging off of his wife (and THREE government incomes), or sponging off of his wife (and US) *and* being clueless.

No matter how you slice it, it aint good for him.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 22, 2008 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

No, aym---it's more like building a bridge between my house and my neighbor's house.

(Now if we can just get the tabs function brought over from the old site!)

Back on topic, though---I'm surprised the McGigolo (anything for a buck) campaign hasn't rolled out the "but-they-all-belong-to-Cindy" line on this one. That'll probably come out later today---then someone can ask if, as president, ol' John-john will put the Oval Office in her name, too....

Posted by: Steve on August 22, 2008 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

A McCain aide thought "candidates wives were off limits"? Really? Howsabout Michelle Obama as a black extremist? Hosabout the 'terrorist fist-bump'? Howsabout the 'proud to be American for the first time' kerfuffle?

Puhlease. If anyone "opened the door to this" (not that Obama's remarks could, in any way be construed as a slam against Cindy McCain), it's the McCain campaign & their surrogates.

God, what a deplorable bunch.

PS,

Welcome to PA Steve. I've been regular reader of yours (& Hilzoy) for quite a while, so I'll look forward to your usual quality work at your new 'home'. (btw, how many 'homes' does this make for you now?)

Posted by: raff on August 22, 2008 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama has any sense he'll build off of the housing flap and turn it into HOW McCain got his money, pointing out that McCain didn't work for a single penny of it, but got it all by being a golddigger..., er, I mean, marrying for it (and maybe contrasting that against Obama working his way up from the bottom and actually earning his money)

I can see the add now talking about how rich McCain is, and talking about where all of that money came from, starting w/ the Keating 5 and ending w/ Cindy McCain and somewhere along the way going "When John McCain hasn't actually worked for his riches, is it any wonder that he thinks the economy has been wonderful under Bush?" or something along those lines.

Posted by: Rickenharp on August 22, 2008 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Only thing that feels weird to me is coming to Political Animal in the morning instead of afternoon/evening like usual. Since I used to read both blogs anyway this one feels plenty homey to me.

In fairness to team McCain, there's no non-lame response to this. They got pwned. And if the rumors are true and Mitt (also rich, also multiple house-owner) is their VP choice, they are doubly screwed.

Posted by: jimBOB on August 22, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

You might be a political junkie when...

your housemate wakes you up in the morning by yelling "Obama announced!!!" and you sit straight up, alert, and check your blackberry while turning on CNN.

I think I need an intervention.

Posted by: zoe kentucky from pittsburgh on August 22, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

'm sure that's exactly why McCain has lost count of his homes. Riiiiiight.

Well, as they say "A House is not a Home."

Posted by: Martin on August 22, 2008 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

John doesn't know how many homes he owns becuase they belong to his wife & according to McCain "that c*nt don't tell me nothin'."
Cindy doesn't know how many homes they own because of all the brain cells she destroyed with the drugs she stole from her charity.

But he's a war hero & she's done her probation, so don't you dare judge anyone...except, of course, that secret-Muslim half-Negro out-of-touch elitist arugula-loving exotic-vacation-taking most-liberal-liberal-in-the-senate Barry HUSSEIN Obama.

Seriously, why can't you stupid liberals understand the rules of political debate in the 21st. century? No charge you make is fair, and every charge the GOP makes is fair. AND charming and manly and strong and faithful to its wife (du jour).

Once you accept those rules, the GOP will allow you to sit at the grown-ups' table. But don't interrupt when the grownups are talking, even when they're talking about how much you suck. You hae no say in this matter.

Posted by: slappy magoo on August 22, 2008 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

They also need to resurrect the story about the McCain's failing to pay the property taxes on one of their homes. It's easy to be negligent about those things when you can't even remember how many properties you own.

Posted by: Jersey Tomato on August 22, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

I apologize for the extraneous apostrophe in my previous post. Not enough coffee to fire up the old brain cells yet.

Posted by: Jersey Tomato on August 22, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

somebody suggested that from now on obama should start off every speech by saying to the audience:

everybody who doesn't know how many houses they
own raise their hands

Posted by: wschneid25 on August 22, 2008 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Steve, I thought PA was a paid gig, what's with the donate button? So nice to see you writing again, what has it been, an evening? I should be so unfortunate to forget how many houses I don't own.

Posted by: William on August 22, 2008 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

David Byrne or John McCain?

"And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
Wife
And you may ask yourself-well...how did I get here? "

"And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!"

Posted by: lampwick on August 22, 2008 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

Just wanted to let you all know, Barack called last night and said I wasn't selected. I will throw my entire support behind whomever is.

At least you got a personal call from The Man! I got a recorded message from Solis Doyle. Tacky.

Posted by: shortstop on August 22, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

I recall the right having hissy fits over the fact that Teresa Heinz Kerry was a very wealthy woman. you know, an east coast elitist, out of touch with your average Joe. Well, what about Cindy McCain? Off limits now? Double standard?

Please. The right has absolutely no leg to stand on here. If their excuse is that it is Cindy McCain who owns the houses, therefore Johnny wouldn't necessarily know how many houses she owns, then that paints him as some sort of hen-pecked freeloader, riding his wife's wealthy coat tails. I'd like to see that line thrown into the mix.

Posted by: citizen_pain on August 22, 2008 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

*

[For the new folks coming over from CB, let me explain mhr. We haven't banned him because the regulars like to mock him, so instead, when he posts, we replace the content of his comment with either one, two or three *s - we think of it as rating the wingnuttery. He has been pretty lame lately, tho. He hasn't managed more than one * in quite some time. -Mod]

Posted by: mhr on August 22, 2008 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

ah, i see there are trolls at pa as well.

Posted by: just bill on August 22, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

McCain must be immune from criticism because he is married to Cindy and wives are off-limits. And he was a POW.

John McCain revealed his colors in another way. So he didn't know the number off the top of his head. No big deal. So he didn't want to take the time to count them up in his head. Silly not to, even if wrong. But he took the question far too seriously, too earnestly. He referred it to his staff. He was incapable of finding his way out of the "trap" with humor, much less grace, or even an awareness of the political folly.

He is clueless. At all levels. That scares me.


Posted by: Mudge on August 22, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I recall the right having hissy fits over the fact that Teresa Heinz Kerry was a very wealthy woman. you know, an east coast elitist, out of touch with your average Joe. Well, what about Cindy McCain? Off limits now? Double standard?

It's not even an equivalence. Republicans would love to make this only about two wealthy wives (and have been giving it a halfhearted try), but unlike Kerry, McCain has made his opponent's supposed elitism the centerpiece of his campaign while simultaneously pretending that everything's groovy in Economyville.

To announce that you don't know how many houses you own while millions are losing theirs (meanwhile, your campaign's response is to tell them to suck it up and stop whining)...well, this was a deeply significant moment that resonated with even the least attentive voters. And they know it. They are freaking terrified.

Posted by: shortstop on August 22, 2008 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

Does that make any sense at all?

You've been in politics for how long and you're still asking this question? Of course it doesn't make sense. It works because it's a rallying cry for the faithful, it's superficially convincing and easy to repeat. If you repeat it often enough it becomes true.

Tire gauge! Tire gauge! Tire gauge!

Posted by: ogmb on August 22, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

"They go Rezko, we go Keating."
An Obama strategist in today's Washington Post.
"If they want to escalate, bring it on."

Posted by: RollaMO on August 22, 2008 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

No. The judge, a Whitewater prosecution alum, has granted Resko an extension. Will not be sentenced until very late October.

Posted by: impartial on August 22, 2008 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

I can see the "stop attacking Cindy" version of McCain's house question:

"How the hell should I know how many houses I have. That's the trollop's job. The stupid c**t never tells me anything.

That ought to bring over the Clinton voters.

Posted by: What Line on August 22, 2008 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

mhr:

It's really too bad that Rezko is an Arab Christian, otherwise you might have something there. I mean, he is brown. Keep looking though... Here's a hint, Warith Deen Muhammad. The Islamo-black-nationalist connection is there, my friends, if you're willing to dig in shit to help elect a guy you righties don't even like.

Posted by: enozinho on August 22, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

I hate the fact that I have to go to separate window every time I need to post a comment. Can the administrator please sort this out?

Personally I'm tired of waiting for Obama to announce that he's chosen one of the front runners. The decision now is almost guaranteed to have no impact of his poll numbers. Maybe that was his plan all along. The only way he could rekindle interest is if he chose an outsider like Clark or Gore - both every unlikely scenarios. Other than that none of us will still be fascinated by his pick.

I have to say I still like the idea of two intelligent individuals running the country like Clinton-Gore did. I would prefer Obama-Clark, but we all know Barry does not particularly like the general. Heaven only knows why.

Posted by: zie on August 22, 2008 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

The failure here wasn't John "Zinger" McC*nt not coming up with the number of houses and condos he and Cindy own in his head, the failure was letting his campaign complain about the Obama response to McC*nt not coming up with the number.

If they had said from the start "Hey, we wanted to get the number right because it's more than one", that would have been fine. Instead they tried (poorly) to make a counter-attack on Obama when he mocked John "Zinger".

Faux says: "Martha MacCallum justified McCain's comments, saying the reason he couldn't answer was simply because the McCains 'have real estate investments and he wanted to make sure he got that right.'"

If they had actually just done that, they'd be okay today. Instead they tried to make this about (one) million dollar house and arugula. In doing so, they make themselves look like fools.

Which is okay by me.

And yes, the Conservatives and the McC*nt campaign started the war on wives. They can't complain now, and the mockery wasn't about Cindy anyway (it is for me though).

Orange

Posted by: Lance on August 22, 2008 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Let me remember...in 2004 wasn't John Kerry vilified in part for his rich wife?

John McCain knows exactly howmany homes they own. That was clear from his (non) answer. He was avoiding it like the plague. He just made matters worse. The reaction from the McCain campaign and the Republicans seems completely hysterical. This is obviously seen as a major catastrophe for them or they wouldn't behave so severely. Obama can't let up on this.

As for the vp announcement. I'm starting to suspect it will be Hillary Clinton. I can't see this deliberate build up if its not blockbuster news. I still think Biden would be the great choice, but I have a feeling it will be Obama/Clinton.

Posted by: Saint Zak on August 22, 2008 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

The Cindy excuse actually makes the initial gaffe even worse. If she owns all of the houses, then McCain could have just said "well, I personally don't own any." Zero is not such a hard quantity to remember. Unless you're too addled to be President. Just sayin.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 22, 2008 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I hope they realize that Rezko was a big GOP contributor as well. More republican'ts are tied to him than Dems. Both parties in Illinois have tried to keep mentions of him to a minimum.

I find it interesting that the right wingers who attacked Kerry on marrying into money and being a flip flopper rush to the McMav-rickety's defense with such ease. Cognitive dissonance at its best.

Posted by: Gridlock on August 22, 2008 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

(apologies to Monty Python)

Sen. McCain: I have one house in Sedona...and Coronado...TWO houses - Sedona, Coronado - and Camelback - our THREE houses, Sedona, Coronado, Camelback, Crystal City...damn - our FOUR houses...let me start again.

Posted by: Speed on August 22, 2008 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Cindy McCain can't be an elitist because she is a rich rodeo queen from the west. And rodeo queens wear cowboy boots and cowboy hats. And everybody knows that if you wear cowboy boots and/or cowboy hats, you cannot be an elitist, no matter how rich you are. You are automatically authentically Amuurcan and charming and someone we would all drink beer and eat barbecue with.

This rule is only a rule until the Democrats nominate someone from the west who wears cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, and then it is automatically backwards day with no takebacks, ever. On that day, only east coast Republicans with degrees from Ivies will be intellectually able to grasp the complexity that is the changing face of Amurrca, and therefore fit to be preznit.

Posted by: bluewave on August 22, 2008 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

I could care less about how many houses McCain has. What I do care about is Obama pretending to be poor and black.

Posted by: TruthPolitik on August 22, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

SaintZak

Think bigger. Obama/Gore'08!

Posted by: bluewave on August 22, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

ah, i see there are trolls at pa as well.

You have no idea.....

Posted by: Stefan on August 22, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Man, I miss the clean design of TCBR - the template of the Washington Monthly, well, bites. Comments in another window, crowded, small type and design. Steve, you got to tell the people at the WM to get on a new design!

Posted by: inthewoods on August 22, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

McCain is not only confused about how many homes he owns, he is also confused about foreign affairs --Supposedly his Strong Point!

John McCain, "a Republican presidential candidate who, despite the hype, doesn't seem to know much about foreign affairs. McCain recently talked at length about problems on the "Iraq/Pakistan border" - the countries are a thousand miles apart. Asked how to deal with Darfur, he mused about "bringing pressure on the government of Somalia". Uh - it's Sudan, Senator McCain. And he keeps expressing his desire to build up US relations with Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn't existed for 15 years. " Unfortunately, we are not getting this pertinent information about a candidate for the Presidency, the highest office in the land, from our Republican-owned media, which is a derelict of their duty.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/com mentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-john-m ccain-and-his-secretive-plot-to-kill-the -un-903998.html

And, also "If someone can't keep track of their personal finances -- for example, can't even say how many homes they own -- should they really be in charge of our whole nation's finances?" (Gordon Fischer)

However, this is more than McCain just being out of touch. This is about competency, because McCain has made many misstatements and gaffes which are not reported by the media, which would show and also highlight just not McCain's Confusion but also his Age!


Posted by: angellight on August 22, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

ah, i see there are trolls at pa as well.
Posted by: just bill

We got trolls like some people got cockroaches.

'There is a flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: Only nut cases want to be president'. - Kurt Vonnegut

Gonna be interesting around here for a bit while the newbies and the regulars duke it out.

Pass the buttered popcorn.

Posted by: MsNThrope on August 22, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

The Cindy excuse actually makes the initial gaffe even worse. If she owns all of the houses, then McCain could have just said "well, I personally don't own any."

And he could have followed that up with "Because I'm really just a penniless aging gigolo who leaches off my much younger wife's money. Hey, my Senate salary doesn't even cover the cost of our household staff!"

Posted by: Stefan on August 22, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"I thought he said the wives were off-limits."

What a good idea to mention "wives" and "POW" by the McCain camp--as in "loyal wives of POW's"?

Like saying "rope" in the house of the hanged man?.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on August 22, 2008 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

"I thought he said the wives were off-limits?"

Well, that's what McCain's brother officers thought and yet that didn't prevent him from going after with their wives, so.....

Posted by: Stefan on August 22, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Gonna be interesting around here for a bit while the newbies and the regulars duke it out.

Yeah, just who the hell are all these new people???

Posted by: Stefan on August 22, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Lance & inthewoods - You can click on the "Permalink" link (two to the left of the "Comments" link to get the comments loading on the same page as the post)

Posted by: Ms Carpetbagger on August 22, 2008 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

McCain wants his wives to be off-limit because of his scoundrel behavior with wife #1 and Cindy's drug theft. It sure doesn't mean they want all wives off limits. That wouldn't be prudent.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on August 22, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

The McCain camp tells us that the McCains own some "investment properties". I'd like to know how many of their "investment properties" have renters in them. When I buy a house as an investment, I keep it rented while waiting for it to appreciate in value.

Posted by: sceptic on August 22, 2008 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

MsJoanne sez: "I don't know which is worse: McCain being clueless, his sponging off of his wife (and THREE government incomes), or sponging off of his wife (and US) *and* being clueless."

Don't forget sponging off his wife, and then putting her up for a topless--and potentially bottomless--beauty contest.

Posted by: azportsider on August 22, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

How come it's still saying "by Kevin Drum?"

Posted by: hark on August 22, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Cannot compare with the Obama's sweetheart land deal with Antoin (Tony) Rezko, the convicted pol fixer.

Posted by: Luther on August 22, 2008 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

It's really too bad that old dude who married Anna Nicole died. He would have been a great veep for McCain. Everything that makes McCain so awesome, but MORE of it. Richer, older, with an even younger wife! Now, I'm just not sure who he's going to go with....Mr. Burns, maybe...

Posted by: jibeaux on August 22, 2008 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who would still vote for this confused, hot-headed geriatric fuckwad after today, just shows how mindless and sheep-like the average Republican is. I don't give a fuck if McCain spent 100 years in a Vietnamese prison, he is a confused, plutocratic out-of-touch wanker. If you don't like Obama vote for Ron Paul. At least he is intelligent and has some common human decency - unlike McCain.

Posted by: on August 22, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Cannot compare with the Obama's sweetheart land deal with Antoin (Tony) Rezko, the convicted pol fixer.

Posted by: Luther on August 22, 2008 at 10:57 AM

you're right there - there is no comparison between Obama getting an extra half-lot for his one house at market rate versus McCain's too-many-to-count houses at who knows what kind of Ted Stevens-like deals and discounts. you sure got us on that one!

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 22, 2008 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Gosh, McSame is a little testy over the house comments. Gotta have a sense of humor! (If we whisper, maybe Chad won't find us!)

Posted by: BlueLou on August 22, 2008 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Aside from the fact this as pathetic as their claims that Obama played the race card a few weeks ago, there are a number of problems with going after Mrs. Obama because "existential realities," mean you can't talk about McCain's houses without talking about Mrs. McCain Mark II.

That pre-nup f'rinstance. Many people still regard those with suspicion. That's a Frenchy thing. And the fact that she's not his first wife. And the fact that the idea of the wife holding the purse strings clashes with the Manly Man of the House image the ReThugs like to project. AND the fact that Ms. Obama never got busted for stealing drugs from a charity. I understand Mrs. McCain Mark II was kind of a bitch to her half-siblings too.

What can they say about Mrs. Obama? She's too smart? That's a bit harsh on Mrs. McCain Mark II but it might fly with the knuckledraggers. She doesn't know her place? Uh, yeah. She doesn't have her husband on an allowance.

I'm not saying they won't go after Mrs. Obama and make Das Base howl in approval. But what about those swing voters and the Clinton supporters they think are still up for grabs?

Posted by: on August 22, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I wish some enterprising, hard-hitting journalist (ha, I crack myself up) would ask old Cin if she kept all her property in her name because she'd learned from experience that McCain would feel free dumping her for a younger woman.

Posted by: shortstop on August 22, 2008 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

My friends, let me tell you that when I was a Prisoner of War (and you know I hate to mention that time of my life) the only thing that kept me going was thinking about returning to my wife, my family and my humble home. And how I could divorce my wife so I could marry a multi-millionaire heiress and live in her homes.

Posted by: SteveH on August 22, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone else noticed how closely the GOP fits the definition of a troll, as given in the recent NYT article:

"the computer scientist Jon Postel, now known as “god of the Internet” for the influence he exercised over the emerging network. In 1981, he formulated what’s known as Postel’s Law: “Be conservative in what you do; be liberal in what you accept from others.” Originally intended to foster “interoperability,” the ability of multiple computer systems to understand one another, Postel’s Law is now recognized as having wider applications. To build a robust global network with no central authority, engineers were encouraged to write code that could “speak” as clearly as possible yet “listen” to the widest possible range of other speakers, including those who do not conform perfectly to the rules of the road. The human equivalent of this robustness is a combination of eloquence and tolerance — the spirit of good conversation. Trolls embody the opposite principle. They are liberal in what they do and conservative in what they construe as acceptable behavior from others. You, the troll says, are not worthy of my understanding; I, therefore, will do everything I can to confound you."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?_r=2&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin ???

Posted by: anon on August 22, 2008 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

"If we whisper, maybe Chad won't find us!" Posted by: BlueLou

Don't jinx it damnit!

Posted by: Lance on August 22, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

Seeing Team Obama go on the offensive seemed to catch McCain staffers off guard, and their furious responses seemed oddly in line with McCain's foreign policy worldview -- act first, think second.

Actually, it's "Act first, think never".

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