Happy Halloween Discurso


Samhain eve’s opining on the public discourse.

There are probably scarier things to be for Halloween than a Republicon, but I’m hard-pressed to think of any just now.

Let’s start off with a display of Sarah Palin’s ghoulish ignorance. In today’s episode, she fails to understand the First Amendment:

Sarah Palin sees her free-speech rights under fire from journalists who’ve highlighted her personal attacks against Barack Obama.

Palin told WMAL-AM that her criticism of Obama’s associations, like those with 1960s radical Bill Ayers and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, should not be considered negative attacks. Rather, for reporters or columnists to suggest that it is going negative may constitute an attack that threatens a candidate’s free speech rights under the Constitution, Palin said.

“If [the media] convince enough voters that that is negative campaigning, for me to call Barack Obama out on his associations,” Palin told host Chris Plante, “then I don’t know what the future of our country would be in terms of First Amendment rights and our ability to ask questions without fear of attacks by the mainstream media.”

Let’s unpack this a bit.

If I understand her correctly — and with Palin, it’s sometimes tough to understand her general incoherence — the governor believes she should make scurrilous, dishonest, and personal attacks against Democrats. She’s afraid, however, that reporters might tell voters she’s making scurrilous, dishonest, and personal attacks, and worse, that voters might recoil from her vicious style of campaigning.

And if that happens, politicians in the future might hesitate before launching scurrilous, dishonest, and personal attacks of their own. What a brutal “chilling effect” that would be.

The entire point of the First Amendment is to allow ideas to either flourish or perish in the open air, on their own merits. If your speech has no merit, it dies an entirely natural and well-deserved death. The First Amendment allows Sarah Palin to spew poison. It also allows news outlets, other politicians, and informed citizens to bash her enthusiastically over spewing said poison.

Nothing in the First Amendment claims that you’re to be free from people rejecting the things you say. It’s so simple a simpleton can understand it, but it’s beyond Sarah Palin’s grasp. This says all we need to know about her.

The fact that this freakishly stupid woman is McCain’s running mate could have something to do with this interesting shift:

CNN downgrades McCain’s home state from “safe McCain” to “leans McCain.”

The network also moves North Dakota from “leans McCain” into the “toss-up” category. The Obama camp announced today that he’s going on the air in both states, plus Georgia.

McCain is fighting a losing battle to hold states that should have been his to pick like a ripe plum. If there’s been a more incompetent presidential nominee in my lifetime, I’ll be shocked.

What happens when McCain gets desperate? He vomits forth lies, distortions and insults:

Still more signs that John McCain is in a panic over Arizona. He now has a second slime call running in his home state, this one attacking Obama for his “present” votes in the state senate and hitting him as a “follower” and not a “leader.”

For good measure, the call also calls Obama “America’s most liberal Senator.”

[snip]

The claim that Obama has the “title” of “America’s most liberal Senator” is, laughably, based on the National Journal‘s ranking of him as the most liberal in one year — 2007. Recycling this one, along with the state senate stuff, is really scraping the bottom of the barrel.

McCain has now been reduced to harassing his own constitutents with this kind of nonsense.

And then he snivels and plays the POW card:

John McCain’s new 30-second spot, set to air in key states, presents a closing argument based on his POW biography, and the implication that he’s the real candidate of substance:

“I’ve served my country since I was 17 years old — and spent five years longing for her shores,” McCain says, as footage of him in his Vietnam hospital bed is played. “I came home dedicated to a cause greater than my own.”

Cry all you like, Johnny. You poisoned the water in that well a long time ago. Nobody outside of your rabid fanbase is drinking it anymore.

So McPalin’s dead. All we’ve got left of that campaign is a few lonely volunteers rattling around in empty offices, and rapidly-sinking poll numbers. What other ghosts are haunting the Republicon party, howling endlessly into the wasteland left by their culture wars? So glad you asked.

First, we hear the once-powerful Sen. Stevens rattling his chains:

Maybe there’s something about scandal-plagued Alaskan Republicans that leads to denial. When Sarah Palin was found to have violated state ethics laws, she announced that she’d been cleared her of “any hint of any kind of unethical activity.” This was the opposite of reality.

Similarly, when Ted Stevens was found guilty of felony corruption charges, he said he hasn’t been convicted.

“I’ve not been convicted yet,” Stevens said Thursday in a meeting with the editorial board of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “There’s not a black mark by my name yet, until the appeal is over and I am finally convicted, if that happens. If that happens, of course I’ll do what’s right for Alaska and for the Senate…. I don’t anticipate it happening, and until it happens I do not have a black mark.”

Stevens reiterated that position during a televised debate late Thursday night, declaring early in the give-and-take wit
h Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, “I have not been convicted of anything.”

Now, I’m not an attorney, but if an accused criminal goes to trial, and a jury founds the accused guilty, I think it’s called a “conviction.” The defendant can appeal his conviction, of course, but therein lies the point — he’s appealing his conviction.

Then we glimpse a sunken Sali glaring balefully from beneath the waves:

When last I wrote about Bill Sali (R-ID 01), he was making bunny ears at his opponent’s staff while they were being interviewed. The time before that, he was claiming that “Forty percent of the mass of every tree in the forest is crude oil.” In devastating news for humorists everywhere, it looks like he might finally be getting into electoral trouble:

“CQ Politics, which takes past voting behavior and demographics into account in handicapping elections, has held the Idaho 1 race at a very tenuous Leans Republican rating, meaning Sali had an edge but an upset by Minnick was a plausible scenario. But the growing financial disparity between the parties in this contest — and the fact that Minnick had a 51 percent to 45 percent lead in an Oct. 18-19 poll by SurveyUSA, the only published independent poll to date in the race — has prompted a rating change to No Clear Favorite.”

But just to make up for this news, the article I just cited notes one Sali gem that I wasn’t aware of:

“He also introduced a bill proposing to weaken Earth’s gravity that was intended to lampoon Democratic-led efforts to raise the minimum wage, calling the two proposals equally absurd.”

Much to my chagrin, I find that Sali did not actually introduce the bill, though he did draft it (pdf). Still, it’s the thought that counts.

And we hear the banshee wails of Michele “Libruls is anti-Amurkin!” Bachmann and Liddy “ZOMG My Opponent Hangs Out with Atheists!!111!1!” Dole shrieking from outside:

Yesterday in a Minnesota Public Radio debate, Bachmann dismissed the significance of her remarks, saying that no one in the state even cares…

[snip]

Unfortunately for Bachmann, Minnesotans were paying close attention to her comments and strongly disapproved. According to a recent MPR poll, nearly four in 10 voters said that were less likely to support Bachmann after her comments on Hardball; just 8 percent said they were more likely. Additionally, letters to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune were overwhelmingly against Bachmann:

The newspaper received more than 150 letters on Bachmann’s statement, only two of which took the congresswoman’s side. John M. Huberty of Elk River asked, “I, for one, would like to know exactly how one qualifies as anti-American in her eyes.” St. Louis Park Mayor Jeff Jacobs wrote, “Democracy depends on people who have the courage to stand up [and be critical]; for it is only from the crucible of disagreement among Americans that the best decisions are made.” “The only thing that needs to be investigated is Ms. Bachmann’s sanity,” according to Mike Gibson of Seattle. And Norman Korn of Eden Prairie wrote, “The ghost of Joe McCarthy is back and representing the Sixth District of Minnesota. Have you no sense of decency, ma’am?”

So much for that denial of reality. Let’s turn now to Dole, who’s doubling-down on the “my opponent loves godless heathens” attack in hopes of rescuing herself from her own stupidity:

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) has released a second “Godless Americans” ad attacking Democrat Kay Hagan in what increasingly looks like the nastiest battle of the cycle.

The new ad appears to take a step back from Dole’s earlier controversial ad this week that suggested Hagan, who is ahead in polls, is an atheist.

Senator Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), who’s trailing in the polls, is up with another nasty TV spot attacking her Dem opponent as a tool of “Godless Americans” and the atheist agenda — in fact, Hagan is criticized for even going to a party with atheists…

[snip]

Here’s the basis of the Dole camp’s claim that Hagan has sold out to the atheist agenda: Hagan attended a fundraiser up in Boston hosted by literally dozens of donors, two of whom happen to head up a little-known atheist group on the side called the Godless Americans PAC. The PAC itself never even donated to Hagan, who for her part is a regular church-goer and Sunday school teacher.

“I just think Elizabeth Dole is trying to top out her desperation day by day,” Hagan spokesperson Colleen Flanagan told Election Central.

And has topping out her desperation helped her prospects?

[NC] Senate

Dole (R) 45 (45)
Hagan (D) 50 (49)

Yeouch. Apparently not.

My darlings. Celebrate this Halloween knowing that soon, only Zombie Reagan could possibly save the Republicon party from a thorough thrashing in just a few short days.

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