Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 29, 2008

MCCAIN WAGES WAR ON THE TIMES (THE OTHER ONE).... I'm trying to imagine how the McCain/Palin campaign could become more ridiculous. Nothing is coming to mind.

The campaign's style of "pinata politics" has now led McCain and Palin to swing their bat at the Los Angeles Times, taking a break from its usual complaints about the New York Times, which is what the campaign does when it's not whining about MSNBC, which it finds time to do when it's not describing Obama as a terrorist-sympathizing socialistic pervert. (It's quite a classy operation the Republicans are running.)

Here's the story in a nutshell. In April, the Times ran a report about Obama attending a going-away party for Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian American (whose group received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a McCain-led Republican organization). The Times has a video from the party, which it used as the basis of its report six months ago.

McCain, Palin, and right-wing activists want the Times to release the video.

"The Los Angeles Times refuses to make that videotape public. I'm not in the business of talking about media bias but what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet?

"I think the treatment of the issue would be slightly different," [McCain] said.

For her part, Sarah Palin said the Times is Obama's "pet newspaper," which deserves a Pulitzer prize "in kowtowing."

I know the pressure of the campaign is getting intense, but I'm afraid the Republican ticket is starting to crack and say crazy things.

First, instead of condemning the Times, the McCain campaign should be thanking it. The Times is the one who broke the story about the going-away party in the first place -- it didn't hide the revelation, it exposed the revelation. There'd be no right-wing cries about the party if it weren't for the Times' article in the first place. If the paper were trying to help Obama, it wouldn't have published the piece.

Second, the Times hasn't released the video because its confidential source gave the paper the tape "on the condition that we not release it." The paper received the video, and described its contents for readers. There's no conspiracy here.

And third, for McCain to compare a going-away party for a college professor as analogous to associating with "a neo-Nazi outfit" suggests McCain's moral compass is so irreparably broken, he probably shouldn't seek national office.

Steve Benen 3:10 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (44)

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Comments

Imagine the election being more than six days away.

You have to be thankful there is an end date, because there is no bottom, no ridiculous rock that will be left unturned.

All for what.


Obama picks his nose - not ready to lead, yet!

Posted by: ThatGuy on October 29, 2008 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Man, these guys sound more like Dole in '96 every day. "Where's the outrage!?"

Posted by: TW Andrews on October 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

neo Nazi outfit? No one would believe that. McCain can't raise his hand above his shoulder.

Posted by: lou on October 29, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

I note that the MSM is bending over backwards to report every smear against O that McCain tosses out there -- and ignore the counters (McCain's ties) / kill other stories (clothes).

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on October 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

As Al Davis used to say, "just win, baby".

McCain's "moral compass" is a confabulation of his tire-swinging courtiers. The actual moral content for right-wingers since early Nixon has been below-the-belt smears. McCain was "different" only insofar as he complained when it was done to him.

When character rehabilitation for John McCain begins next week, let's remember the real man and the helpful mythology that enabled his presidential candidacy.

Posted by: walt on October 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Do you get the impression no one ever shared their PB&J with little Johnny? He had to pull himself up by the bootstraps. OK, he had a little help from his father and the Baroness de Hensley.

Posted by: Danp on October 29, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

"...McCain's moral compass is so irreparably broken..."
----

Au contraire Mon Frair, this is exactly the moral compass of an admitted man of ambition, a man whose slapped and pushed old ladies, cursed at colleagues and damned entire races of people.

This isn't the man of fiction in Salter's books I agree, but what did you really know of his outside of what has been published?

His might not be the greatest fall from grace.

Posted by: TBone on October 29, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Senator McCain and Governor Palin are publicly stating things Republicans commonly say to one another around the office water cooler. Only it sounds ridiculous coming from two people who are supposed to be national leaders addressing issues that matter most to voters.

Because they believe their policy ideas could never be wrong they have to reach for increasingly far-fetched explanations as to why they are so far behind. The only explanations they have left are conspiracies, which for Republicans always involve liberal media bias. They're the ones who are hiding the "real evidence" of Obama's "true socialist leanings" and his "terrorist ties." Voter registration fraud is their other absurd explanation.

Stick a fork in McCain -- he's done. He knows it. Time to head to the polls and wrap this thing up.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on October 29, 2008 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK


Obviously the point of this is to link Obama and some guy named "Khalidi", and imply that he may be somehow sinister and swarthy. It's fodder for those undecided, extremely low-information voters who decide upon seeing a few minutes of Fox News in a diner or bar that they just aren't comfortable voting for Obama, and will go with the safe bet of McCain.

There are millions of people out there like that. Not enough, fortunately.

Posted by: winner on October 29, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen quoted McCain: "... what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet?"

Yeah, imagine what would happen if there were a tax filing that showed McCain gave a $448,873 grant to the very same research group that McCain now compares to "a neo-Nazi outfit"?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 29, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Is it me or is John's voice actually going up a pitch?

When I hear recent clips of his voice I can't help but imagine him talking faster, more shrill, more gibberishly, juveniley, with his pitch going higher and higher until...

...POP goes a blood vessel or two in his noggin.

But then, he already suffers from vascular dementia.

You betcha!

Yup, deez is interestin' "Times." Be they yada New Yoik or de EL LAY ones

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on October 29, 2008 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

The AFP article linked says McCain is claiming Ayers was at the Khalidi event! Either he is making things up out of whole cloth, or he's gotten really, really confused about the people who he is accusing Obama of associating with.

That's really off the wall.

Posted by: Vicki Linton on October 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I would only add that, for the neo-Nazi McCain supporter analogy to hold, it would have to be one for whose research group Obama had voted for hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding.

Posted by: kth on October 29, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

gee, did sarah silly really study journalism at idaho? if she did, she'd know that it isn't a newspaper's job to provide fodder for a political campaign; it's to report the news. which the times did. maybe she and her running mate are trying to win some kind of award for twisted logic.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on October 29, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm trying to imagine how the McCain/Palin campaign could become more ridiculous. Nothing is coming to mind."

No need to worry. When it comes to being ridiculous, John McCain's campaign is the most creative in history. They'll come up with something even if you can't. John's campaign long ago gave up being a tragedy. It's just pure farce now.

Posted by: fostert on October 29, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

Who the hell is in charge at the McAce/Palinaroundwithterrorists circus tent? man oh man, there truly are bozos on this bus...

Posted by: stevio on October 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

This rabid paranoia about the media among the right and the racists is hardly new:

"In 1964, many thought it shocking that, at the Republican Convention, delegates turned to the press booths and shook their fists in anger afer Eisenhower's criticism of reporters. But by the 1968, cops beat newsmen and broke their cameras. ... Meanwhile, newsmen who followed [George] Wallace said they felt like patsies, straight men for the candidate's act, so much did he use them to elicit boos and jeers from his crowds. Spiro Agnew got a similar response when he held up a copy of the New York Times and mocked it."

Garry Wills, Nixon Agonistes

Posted by: David in NY on October 29, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Its very peculiar to juxtapose the gutteral uber-wingnuttiness that McCain has lowered himself to versus the Alfred E. Smith dinner that both McCain and Obama attended. McCain's been not-so-subtlely been calling Obama a 'possible terrorist' on the trail and yet McCain can summon the intestinal fortitude to be in the same room with a possible terrorist and trade some lighthearted barbs with the evildoer. How a pro-American can sit idly without pulling a Jack Bauer is beyond me.

Posted by: Foobar on October 29, 2008 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Next up: the McCain/Palin campaign produces badly Photoshopped pictures of Obama giving foot rubs to Fidel Castro and Chairman Mao.

Posted by: Dennis - SGMM on October 29, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK
what if there was a tape with John McCain with a neo-Nazi outfit being held by some media outlet?

Is there such a tape? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Posted by: tAwO 4 That 1 on October 29, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Listen: If the LA Times doesn't release the tape, McCain's people can't turn it into a video hit job. Therefore, the LA Times is intefering with the McCain campaign Just Doing Its Job.

It's just so unfair.

Posted by: CT on October 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

McCain Funded Work Of Palestinian His Campaign Hopes To Tie To Obama

...During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank....

The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes." ...

Posted by: Steve M. on October 29, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

Did McCain really just prove Godwin's law?

Posted by: doubtful on October 29, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

Um...no one else has mentioned this, but - Palestinian? Really?? Have we now labeled the whole of the Palestinian people terrorists?

This seems like a very, VERY blatant attempt to scare American Jews into being fearful of Obama. It reeks of desperation.

Either that or McCain is getting Palestine and Pakistan mixed up... And, really, I wouldn't be surprised.

Posted by: Limbaugh's Diabetes on October 29, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

This seems like a very, VERY blatant attempt to scare American Jews into being fearful of Obama. It reeks of desperation. -Limbaugh's Diabetes

I would have to agree, especially given his invocation of Nazism.

Posted by: doubtful on October 29, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Palin/McCain campaign is sounding more and more like the drunk ex-girlfriend that won't leave the civilized party. All her friends are standing around her, chiding her on. Her mascara is running, her hair's a mess and she's got vomit on her shoe.

But she's just standing there, spilling someone else's margarita, pointing a chipped fingernail at Obama and slurring, "You know what you [hic] did, misser so called Omamba! You lied to me in fron' of my frenz... You said you would call me... You are so stupid... Everyone hates you because you are so stupid..." And her two friends are shouting, "You betcha! Right?"

And everyone else at the party is just hoping she'll get home safely.

Then, on November 5th, she's going to wake up with one hell of a headache and not remember how she wound up in bed with the snowmobiler from Sigma Chi.

[Not autobiographical]

Posted by: chrenson on October 29, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

thank you, steve m.

as soon as i read this, i started looking for the info you posted.

Posted by: karen marie on October 29, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

So McCain has just admitted that he dressed up in a neo-Nazi outfit and there may be a videotape being held by the media?

Posted by: Nothing But the Ruth on October 29, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

thank you, steve m.

as soon as i read this post, i started looking for the information -- you saved me the small effort.

mccain is stinking of desperation.

Posted by: karen marie on October 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is that neo-nazi outfit to which McCain referred the same neo-nazi outfit that was going to try to assassinate Obama? It's hard for me to decide because all neo-nazi outfits look alike to me.

Posted by: slag on October 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

What do you mean "starting to crack and say crazy things"? I thought their entire campaign was based on saying crazy things over and over and over and over.... ;^)

Posted by: Luke the Drifter on October 29, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I happen to have a copy of the video.

In it, Obama is surrounded by professors and swarthy-looking Fedayeen types. You can see them eating French dressing, French fries, French bread, and to drink, Peru! Then Obama taps his glass to call everyone to attention and gives a toast:

"Soon, my brothers, we will win the election and my first act in office will be to destroy Israel! This will begin a new era, as my pastor Reverend Wright has foretold, where we can all bask in the redistributionary glow of Islamic fundamentalist Marxism!"

At that, the crowd ululates and celebrates by giving each other terrorist fist jabs.

If only the Times would release this video, Americans could know just what kind of Militant Black Islamic Academic Secularist Marxism we're getting ourselves into.

Posted by: Royko on October 29, 2008 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

I think the only question these weird and ridiculous accusations raise anymore is how much a role they will play in the aftermath of Nov 4th, when the GOP pokes through the electoral wreckage of their party and tries to figure out what went wrong. That is, to what extent will the degree of belief or disbelief in any of the shit Palin/McCain have been peddling be a factor in the oncoming Republican Civil War?

Man, the Reeps have a lot of psychodynamic shit to work through in order to salvage what's left of their party. Meanwhile, for the next few years at least the Dems can get on to the serious business of running the country and fixing all the problems Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld left for us.

Posted by: Bob Loblaw on October 29, 2008 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

"And third, for McCain to compare a going-away party for a college professor as analogous to associating with "a neo-Nazi outfit" suggests McCain's moral compass is so irreparably broken, he probably shouldn't seek national office."

Come on, can't we just come out and state the obvious?

John McCain is just not at all bright.

Posted by: Chris Brown on October 29, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Projection

All this really means is that somewhere out there is a tape of McCain in a Nazi outfit yelling, "sig heil!", and proclaiming his desire to deport all niggers and spics.

Posted by: Winkandanod on October 29, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Projection

All this really means is that somewhere out there is a tape of McCain in a Nazi outfit yelling, "sig heil!", and proclaiming his desire to deport all niggers and spics.

Posted by: Winkandanod on October 29, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, what? Is there any evidence that this Rashid Khalidi is a person of suspicion for some reason? Are they really SO desperate that even attending a party for someone with a Palestinian background is a reason for questioning Obama's character? When are these people going to learn that guilt by association -- and especially such a tenuous association -- means nothing?

Good God. I don't know why I'm still so amazed every time they do something stupid, but I really am.

Posted by: Gina on October 29, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

This sort of going away party is invariably covered by the College newspaper. Might I suggest that someone check the files of the Columbia Spectator and get a guest list, and coverage of the party. Since this attracts all sorts of professors who know their colleague -- and a few who like a free meal -- I bet the list would show how innocuous this was and how wide a range of people attended.


Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on October 29, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Nov 4th can't come soon enough. McCain's just flat out embarassing America and Americans.

Posted by: grinning cat on October 29, 2008 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

I just had a discussion today with a conservative who was telling me how the media is liberal bias.

I am like, look up who owns what and get back to me.

Then check the political leanings of all the hundreds of "media" outlets available to US citizens, the cable channels, the newspapers, the online reading, the magazines, the blogs. Media is just too large to cater to one specific group.

You can't convince them though. The more rational you try to be, the harder they hang onto their beliefs, beliefs like forcing themselves to BELIEVE that the world is 6000 years old in the face of FACTS like dinosaurs.

They are believing what the Republican Party tells them, no matter how cracked, because the GOP is backed by GOD!

We are truly fighting against fanaticism at this point, irrational and dangerous fanaticism that gets to roam free of fact or evidence because those things belie belief.

What is really scary is the fact that their fanaticism doesn't even remotely resemble any of the biblical principles they use to prosecute liberals with.

How can one conduct a rational dialogue with irrational people?

Posted by: Zli on October 29, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

I live in Tucson, and until today, have been spared robocalls. This is because McCain had assumed he had Arizona locked up.

I am so thrilled! Today I just got my first robocall. Obama is unqualified; he has no experience. He would raise my taxes. He associates with terrorists. I don't remember all of the claims, but everyone has been extensively debunked. The robocall is a lie from start to finish.

Latest polls show Obama just 2 points under McCain. He's obviously worried.

Unfortunately, Arizona will still go for him, IMHO, but I can at least console myself that it will be a squeaker instead of a blowout. I also predict that the Democrats will take a number of current Republican seats in our Lege, which back when it was decisively controlled by Repubs (until 2 years ago) was one of the country's most backward leges.

I'm voting early on Friday. At least I'll add to the good side in the popular vote.

Obama/Biden/08/12!!!

Posted by: Wolfdaughter on October 29, 2008 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian American, is a gentleman and a very distinguished scholar and by no stretch of the imagination affiliated with disreputable behavior. He left a professorship at the University of Chicago (where he knew Obama -- and where Obama also knew real radicals such as Richard Epstein http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/epstein) because, he said, he'd have more influence through the media in New York City. Didn't quite turn out the way he imagined, I suspect.

Posted by: bob on October 29, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

The reason the Obama campaign is consumed with panic at the prospect of anyone seeing video of that party is that it shows Obama presenting Khalidi with a pair of going-away presents: a fancy overhead projector, and a bottle of fruit-flies. The bastard.

Posted by: cynic on October 30, 2008 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

I think that the correct equivalent would be if McCain had been to the leaving party of professor of German origin.
Come to think of it, doesn't his wife's family have connections with Anheuser-Busch? Hmmm....

Posted by: zorro on October 30, 2008 at 5:50 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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