Posts Tagged ‘hardball


Can I Get a Decent Democrat Senator?

I don’t give a shit what anyone says about MSNBC; yesterday’s programming was priceless to a political junkie like myself.

First off, Chris Matthews unleashed the freaking 4th degree on Senator (gag) Roland Burris – who tried to convince an incredulous Hardball host that he was “placating,” or lying, to Blagojevich’s brother when he said he would try to raise money for the governor. The transcript of the phone conversation between the governor’s bro and the political big boy wannabee is priceless and you can read it here. It’s a hoot of pathetic proportions.

Let me paraphrase it for you:

Rod Blasumovabitch’s brother: I’m not a bullshitter, give us money.

Roland Blatant Weasel Burris: Hey, hey, I been meanin’ to talk to you because I want to raise money for ya, but I really want that senate seat. So, ya know, pony up, bitch. Senate seat, senate seat, senate seat.

Rod Blasumovabitch’s brother: Yer a loser, but whatever, just right us a check and yeah, whatever.

Burris is a retard. His defense is that he was bullshitting Blago’s brother. The only problem is that that implies Burris was reactionary during the discussion, which is false. Blago’s brother called to ask if Burris could fundraise and the entire rest of the conversation is led by Burris trying to figure out how to pay for the senate seat without getting caught. It’d be funny if that unsneaky bastard weren’t sitting in one of the highest offices in the land.

Can’t wait til 2010 for Burris to be out on his arse.

Then, then, on the Ed Show, which I hardly ever watch (and which has a terrible title), Joe Sestak (aka, Admiral Sestak, aka the highest ranking former military officer to serve in the U.S. Congress Sestak) announced that he would challenge newly Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter in the primary for his seat in 2010 (pending a Sestak family discussion and agreement, blah, blah, blah).

Joe said he didn’t necessarily think that Washington’s decision to anoint Spector the next Democratic nominee in the Pennsylvania senate seat might not fly with citizens of the state. I agree. Kick Spector out – he ain’t no Democrat. He’s just a desperate politician tryingfinagle a couple more years onto his career. Have you seen him? He’s like 102 years-old. It’s time of the bag of bones to go.

So, good luck, Sestak! This Texan with absolutely no influence in the outcome of your ambitions wishes you all the best! (Unless, that is, it emerges that you fathered some illegitimate child with an underage prosititute. But, I’m sure that won’t happen.)

We need some better Democrats in the Senate – I won’t even get into Reid, Dodd and Feinstein. We have some good apples, but really, most of them are simply politicians with their hands in the corporate cookie jar.

So, in the name of worthless, irrelevant, ineffective Dems, TERM LIMITS!!!


Gay Marriage Update

What a freaking awesome time for progress! The Vermont Legislature overrode their dipshit governor’s veto of their bill to legalize gay marriage (and, Vermont, what’s the dealyo with electing such an ignoramus in the first place? I mean, I know I’m from Texas and haven’t a positive thing to say about our governor – but you’re VERMONT). And the Iowa State Supreme Court found that legislation defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional:

A statute inconsistent with the Iowa Constitution must be declared void, even though it may be supported by strong and deep-seated traditional beliefs and popular opinion.

Civil libertarians around the country are as giddy as little girls  over these momentous occasions and what a bright spot they are after the resounding show of bigotry last November in California.

So, it was quite galling to watch a Mike Barnacle-hosted Hardball today on which Maggie Gallagher, of the National Organization for Marriage, issued the most ridiculous claims regarding the effects of gay marriage. First, allow me to post an ad NOM recently spent a cool 1.5 million bones to air in hopes that it would turn the tide of public sentiment against gay marriage:

Hello, McFly! Are you serious? Are you trying to dumb down the American people with this drivel?

One woman says she’s “afraid” of gay marriage. A man claims the gay marriagers want to bring the issue into their life. And another chick says her freedoms will be taken away.

And then Gallagher posited on Hardball that the bad thing about gay marriage is that our children will be taught they are wrong to hold on to their beliefs that gay marriage is wrong. And churches participating in legal adoptions will be unable to discriminate against same-sex couples. And churches in New Jersey that participate in the commercial real estate market by renting out space for marriages will have to rent them out for gay weddings.

If you are a regular reader, and even if you aren’t, you can imagine I have a few (more than, actually) choice words to answer these babblings of those…say it with me…on the WRONG side of history. It’s called progress. Look into it.

First of all, like most religioners, NOM is attacking gay marriage from the viewpoint that it will injure them somehow. They give little consideration to the feelings and rights of gay marriage. I have one question for them: WWJD, biotch? Their storied Jesus would have never allowed his opinions to dictate the lives of others. The Bible preaches FREE WILL. These people have a bastardized view of that which they hold up as their guide. Be kind. Think of others first. That’s what your Christ would do.

Secondly, NOM is trying to stir up fear and playing to the most base of human emotions to illicit a reactionary response rather than debate the issue on its merits. The Constitutions grants all Americans inalienable rights – including marriage. Negate that. Trying to scare people into a frenzy is no means to change society for the better or for the long term. It’s juvenile and, as we saw with the Bush administration, destined for failure.

Like the cute dude debating Gallagher said, if the churches want to participate in government-controlled activities, such as adoption and real estate, they should not complain when their religion-induced bigotry is called onto the mat and squashed like a fat mosquito. Gallagher kept complaining that those opposed to gay marriage are simply labeled as bigots and intimates their religious beliefs should not be labeled discriminatory.

Au contraire, ma soeur, religion has long served as the catalyst for bigoted, evil, discriminatory acts. It is the job – the duty – of those driving progress and propelling humanity forward to thwart those who would victimize others and then defend their actions with “religious ideology.” We no longer have room for such behavior in this society of free speech, widely available education and information.

I would encourage religioners to stop trying to keep everything the same. Change is inevitable. Progress will always tap you on the shoulder and show you the exit. Maybe not the nearest exit. But the eventual one.

And good riddance.


Dick Armey – Suck It

I’m sure most of you heard the asinine comments of Dick Armey toward Joan Walsh on Chris Matthew’s Hardballs last week:

But then Think Progress posted a little back-and-forth between Chris Wallace and Mike Gallagher discussing how funny they thought Dick’s comments were.

So, allow me to offer a few points in response to the comments of these debased characters:

  • I will discontinue viewership of Hardballs if Chris Matthews continues to allow blowhard douchebags like Armey to abuse his other guests. He railed against a guest describing rumors cirulating on the blogs about Kennedy having an affair, but offers no recourse against Armey for his misogynistic attack against Joan Walsh. Matthews, grow a pair!
  • During this pathetic excuse for relevant political commentary, Dick Armey repeated the phrase “redistributionist tax policy” and “income redistributionists” and then later tells Joan Walsh she sounds like a political hack. Either Dick Armey has the intellect of a termite or the ego of the God of Abraham because he failed, amidst all his glorious narcissism, to notice that using flunky right-wing verbiage like “redistributionist” is the epitome of political hackery.
  • Dick Armey, Chris Wallace and Mike Gallagher are old, wrinkly, entirely unattractive boneheads who likely can’t even get it up without a pill or five. If any of them think that a competent female would desire interaction with their teensy, nasty weeners, they are sorely mistaken. I’d much rather do Joan Walsh. And, no, I’m not a labesian.
  • Dick Armey and those of his ilk are – as I like to copy from Obama – on the wrong side of history. Their policies were tried and failed and America saw and felt the damage wrought by these antiquated policies of ideology. Their time has passed and the rest of us are moving on without them. We’re using data and evidence to make decisions, not unprovable, unrealistic theories. No amount of insults or mindless rhetoric will keep Armey and his types relevant. They are starving ghosts of the past. And I say good riddance.
  • Last, but not least, Armey’s attempt to win an argument with condescending insults is a common tactic among fools who do not have a competent defense for their viewpoints. Personal attacks and comments such as, “You need to go back to school”, are routinely used by these olympic imbeciles – Armey just being the most recent example of one. As a relatively young (31??) female, I’ve been on the receiving end of many such comments and have found the best way to deal with them is to exclaim my refusal to waste any more time discussing policy with someone so clearly out of their depth, they must resort to “yo mamma” jokes to make a point. These people have the morality of an enema and are a waste of good oxygen.
  • Joan – I disagree with you betimes, but kudos for maintaining your composure in light of your interaction with this antediluvian gasbag.

If you’d like to contact Hardballs and express your opinion of the interview, click this link to do so. You know I did.

And Bob Herbert is my new fave for calling Armey out on his comments:


Notes on Obama’s Speech on Iraq and McCain’s Rebuttal

Notes taken live during Obama’s speech this morning:

  • I cringe every time Obama flubs a line – unlike giggling with glee when McCain trips up.
  • Steady the camera, MSNBC.
  • The repetition of points of interest is annoying.
  • As he looks from teleprompter to teleprompter, you’d think he was watching a match at Wimbledon. I’m getting motion sickness.
  • Is it (phonetically) Tal-e-ban or Tal-ee-ban? Obama says Tal-ee-ban.
  • I’ve said this before, Obama needs to meet with a public speaking coach who can teach him not to clip the ends of his words.
  • I feel very content that this speech will overshadow Bush’s ridiculous speech this morning.
  • “Securing nuclear weapons from rogue states.” Will that include Pakistan once Musharraf is removed from power?
  • “Senator McCain was one of the biggest supporters of the war.” That statement should be clarified to indicate he was a supporter of GOING to war. To indicate he supported the failed strategy afterward is a stretch and I hate when the Democrats take a page out of the Republicans’ play book.
  • He just said Tal-ee-ban again.
  • We need ribbons for our cars that say “Remember Afghanistan” and “Our Troops are Over-Taxed and Over-Burdened.”
  • “Iraq is not going to be a perfect place and we do not have unlimited resources to try and make it one.” Excellent point.
  • Residual forces left in Iraq to go after remnants of Al Qaeda. I find this acceptable. I think this force should be multi-national and under the authority of the U.N., however.
  • With all the talk of getting our forces out, Obama needs to address the defense contractor’s presence as well as our government’s involvement in their oil production and war profiteering.
  • Tal-ee-ban again. Is this going to be his nuke-u-lar? I just looked it up on and it indicates pronunciation as [taluh-ban].
  • Tripling aid to Pakistan? Would this be in return for our ability to go in and get Bin Laden?
  • Steady the cam, MSNBC or I might switch to CNN…
  • Goal of 80 percent of global emissions by 2050. Preach it!
  • America is strongest when we act alongside strong partners. Excellent point. W, are you listening? Oh, I forgot. You only listen to people who agree with you. Or Cheney.
  • Chris Matthews’ Hardball Number today should be how many times Obama used the word “moment” in his speech. (UPDATE: the Hardball number was how many times Obama mentioned the word “Afghanistan” in a speech that was meant to be about Iraq.
  • Obama should being referring to the Iraq War as a “war of choice” more. That will help raise voter ire toward Bush and McCain.
  • Great speech, give that speech writer a promotion! But it doesn’t distract me from his FISA vote.

**McCain plans to criticize Obama for never having visited Afghanistan and not having visited Iraq recently, yet establishing a strategy for ending the Iraq War. Does this mean that McCain believes the Americans who have not visited Iraq should have no opinion on the Iraq War? If my tax dollars are being used to perpetuate an unnecessary war, do I still have an obligation to keep my mouth shut regarding the prosecution and strategy of said war? Of course not. How ’bout this? How ’bout I use a portion of my taxes to visit Iraq so that I may be empowered to formulate a credible opinion of the war. We could set up programs akin to those European tour groups old people join so that Americans everywhere can have a say in the decisions of our government.

McCain speaking immediately after Obama’s speech.

  • He called again on Obama to participate in the town hall meetings. It’s an empty entreaty similar to his pander strategies.
  • McCain gives Obama quotations that indicate he didn’t think the surge would have any effect and then later claimed he always knew the surge would reduce violence. “Flip-floppers all over the world are enraged?” So, you’re enraged, McCain?
  • “The surge in Iraq shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan.” This seems naive. The situations on the ground in Iraq are extremely different than the situations on the ground in Afghanistan (and I’m not just talking topography). But what am I talking about, I’ve never been there. Those countries in the Middle East are all the same!
  • “Iraq and Afghanistan are not disconnected. Success breeds success. Failure breeds failure.” What? What did our “failure” in Vietnam breed?
  • “I know how to win wars.” Um…which wars have you won? I forget.
  • Ooooh. McCain just said Tal-ee-ban as well.
  • “The drug issue in Afghanistan is the world’s problem and the world should share its cost.” True. Alternative crops is a good idea, though it hasn’t worked in Colombia and hasn’t worked in Afghanistan previously. The whole supply and demand thing…
  • McCain says that we must strengthen Pakistani tribes that are willing to fight terrorists in their region and this is what has worked in Iraq. This is true. But the U.S. has paid billions to Iraqi tribes to do this and they’ve also shelled out billions to the violent tribes, “bribing” them to stop their assaults. What will happen when we stop paying? And how long can we continue to pay when McCain and Bush won’t even increase college tuition for soldiers.
  • “Defeat radical Islam.” What breeds radical Islam? Poverty. Just FYI.
  • “When I am Commander in Chief, there will be no where the terrorists can run and no where they can hide.” Mkay, we’ll see. Does this mean you’re going to continue the “You’re either with us or against us” line.
  • “I will bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. I will do that.” (Audience gives standing ovation.) And if Osama’s in Pakistan?
  • The “galvanizing” factor of McCain’s speech cannot compare to that of Obama’s.

** While speaking with Andrea Mitchell, Trent Lott reiterated the claim that McCain “cornered” Obama into going to Iraq. These Republicans know fully well that, as the most probable presidential candidate, of course Obama would have visited before the election. He probably would have gone sooner had the Democratic primary not been so protracted.

Republicans are so comfortable in their cesspool of lies – whether it’s the China drilling off the U.S. Coast, Chuck Hagel going to Israel with Obama, Obama being Muslim and Racist, and many others. The Democrats are certainly not without their own political rhetoric, but an infestation of lies has not permeated Democrat strategies they way one has Republican strategies. Have they no honor, dignity or respect for the truth? They’re probably making Baby Jesus really, really angry.


Tim Russert’s Replacement

The news of Tim Russert’s death hit this household pretty hard as he was a regular fixture on the television. His sudden heart attack probably wouldn’t be so painful for the rest of us had it not struck in the middle of this – the most important political campaign season in over half a century. We kept asking each other who could possibly replace him at the Meet the Press? Who could bring the unflinching – yet, not unfriendly – inquisition, the stringent lack of bias, the leave-no-stone-unturned preparation and the unparalleled passion? The easy answer: no one.

Still, the show must go on and Tim would likely want it that way.

While his wake has not yet begun, I’m sure the authorities at NBC are scrambling to find a suitable replacement that will honor the memory of Tim Russert while asserting the individual talents the next host. I offer my opinions as an outsider and really have the utmost curiosity as to the strategies employed by those who will choose Tim’s successor.

I would bet that they are only looking inside the NBC family, perhaps one of Tim’s protégés, for a good candidate. So, I’ll evaluate those I think are first in line – and, obviously, I could be way off.

Chris Matthews

chris matthews

I seriously doubt Chris is really in contention. First of all, he’s too old. The new moderator of Meet the Press needs to be more youthful – around 40, I’d say – and ready to carry the mantle for a decade or more. Furthermore, Chris is really making his mark on his own show, Hardball, that was designed for him and suits him so well. I rarely miss it. Plus, Chris can be inclined to put that old foot in his mouth, which I generally appreciate being prone to the disease myself, but it just doesn’t seem Meet the Press style.

David Gregory

david gregory

David Gregory, perhaps the next in line for such a promotion, is another ballsy, no-holds-barred questioner whether he was insisting on an answer from the president or one of his subordinates. He is tenacious and another one of those seemingly-encyclopedic minds regarding the machine that is Washington. His problem: he doesn’t have the X factor (I hate that saying). While you can sense his fever for politics, there is nothing that truly draws the viewer to him. Perhaps he needs more camera time as a moderator on Race for the White House to hit his stride.

Norah O’Donnell

norah o'donnell

Norah would be one of my top picks. She’s smart, sassy, from Texas and would be the first woman host of Meet the Press. She’s either just had her third kid in a year or is about to have it, which would likely be a major factor in her decision should she be offered the position. She’s only 34 and could take a few years to really reach the same level of respect Tim had with those whom he sparred. I think she’d be a wonderful replacement, though. She is, however, and Irish Catholic – which wouldn’t do well in the area of ethnic diversity for the show, but – in my expert opinion – gender diversity makes up for it.

Chuck Todd

chuck todd

Chuck would the shot in the dark – completely inexperienced in both on-air hosting duties and hardcore questioning of politicos. I think he would be great, however. Chuck has the gleam in the eye that was so magnetic in Tim. He understands the numbers and the culture and has the work ethic of an appropriate successor. Already, he’s a fast-rising star with his own cultish fan base of newsies. His responses are measured and well thought out. He stays calm and collected and humble whenever the camera light finds him. He’s a relative unknown, but with a few years’ marination in the interviewer’s seat, he’d be awesome.

I’m leaving out David Shuster, Kelly O’Donnell – even Rachel Maddow would be a good candidate if she didn’t wear her bias (or, as I like to think, common sense) on her sleeve (I really dig her commentary and analysis, though). The new host, I think, should be a hardworking youngblood. Tim was a little over 40 when he took the reigns and a replacement of that age would be given time to mature without too much viewer judgment.

Hopefully, they’ll rotate hosts in the next weeks using members of the NBC family, as well as outsiders and political insiders. That will provide time for the best decision to be made while keeping viewer interest to see how each guest host performs. The prerequisite should only be their preparation, passion and camera readiness.

I’ll be watching and supportive regardless of who they pick to rebuild the legacy. No one can replace Tim, but at least his memory can be honored by the choice of an excellent successor.

UPDATE: L.A. Times reporting Brian Williams to host Meet the Press this weekend. I’ll be watching.


Let’s Talk Scott McClellan

I waited to comment on the whole Benedict McClellan issue until I seen a few of his interviews and how the media reacted and, I have to say, I’m disappointed in our journalistic brethren – but when am I not, really? He’ll be on Hardball later today and I’ll watch that without expectation that Chris Matthews will somehow cunningly extract new revelations from our little Texas pudge muffin.

scott mcclellan

One of the most important, yet eentzy facts when addressing What Happened? has only reached my ears once amid the media and political brouhaha the book has stirred. He repeatedly says he’s from a political family and, as a Texas resident, allow me to offer you a little history. His mother is Carol Keeton Strayhorn, a well-known politician in our state having served as first female mayor of state capital Austin, state comptroller of public accounts, as well as the first woman on the Texas Railroad Commission (which largely regulates the oil and gas industry) and, lastly, having run for governor in our last election. She started out as a Democrat (most rural Oklahomans and Texans are old-school Democrats from the times before the parties swapped demographics decades ago), but caught up with the times and became Republican in the 80’s. Recently, she opted to break from the state Republican party, who currently suckles at the teat of Gov. Rick Perry (Bush’s Lt. Governor and arguably one of the worst governors in TX history) and register her gubernatorial campaign under the Independent banner. She claimed she wanted to set partisan politics aside. Now we’ve been hearing that theme from her son as one of the main reasons he served Bush and continued to serve Bush while disagreeing with him on weighted issues such as the war of choice that has developed into the quagmire of Iraq.

carole keeton strayhorn

I’m not questioning the sincerity of their claims of detestation of the partisan politics – in fact, I’m glad to see long-established Republicans breaking from the good ‘ol boy system we have in Texas. However, those in search of an understanding of the motivations behind What Happened? as well as McClellan’s seemingly openness to an Obama vote must look to his status as mamma’s boy, rather than as former press secretary for Bush.

keeton-mclellan celebration

(that’s scott on the left – found the photo in The Austin Chronicle)

One of the assertions I have found helpful in my few efforts to understand Scott McClellan is that he was misused as press secretary and simply wasn’t a good candidate for the position. I concur. Having watched many of his press conferences, his inability to communicate effectively with the press corps and adversarial relationship with it made it painful to watch as he inartfully dodged question after question. Robert Draper, author of Dead Certain (I’ll submit a review of this book soon), characterized Scott McClellan as, “looking like nothing so much as a terrified if well-fed koala bear as he peered out from behind the press room podium and recited his message lines as if at gunpoint.”

While it is true the administration simply used the position of press secretary as merely a buffer from the intrusion of the media and not as a way to effectively reach the American people, Scott still clearly misunderstood the priority of the podium. He repeatedly, almost certainly, used plausible deniability as a justification not to push for information from the administration and clearly underestimated his responsibility as message-deliverer. While he states in his book that Bush convinces himself of whatever he needs to in order to stick to his guns, Scott obviously did so as well.

The mere fact that there is so much “pot calling the kettle black” in this book is quite unsettling. Also, upon hearing the style of speech and grammatical mistakes in McClellan’s interviews, I am almost positive he used a ghostwriter as the quotations I’ve read from the book are incredibly poignant and well-written. Many people write much better than they speak (especially with the help of an editor) and it is not a huge deal to use a ghostwriter, but it is an issue I think he should address in his media campaign. While many of these memoirs use ghostwriters, I doubt Dee Dee Myers, George Stephanopolous, Doug Feith or Ari Fleischer relied so heavily on someone else’s pen. As a writer, I feel this makes a difference in the sincerity of the book.

I do agree that Scott McClellan should have had the fortitude of character to leave the administration, or raise his voice, if he felt so out-of-step with the direction toward warfare Bush and Cheney so vehemently veered. Having not done so, the publishing of his critical memoir before the exit of Bush (and I’m no fan of the guy) is questionable. Obviously, he’s angry about the whole Plame debacle, as well he should be. But his memoir delivers no new evidence of the wrong-doings by the snakes in the White House. It’s simply a case of too little, too late, bubba. Anti-climactic and irrelevant.

The reaction out of the administration and its former members is so paltry and fake, however, it only lends credence to the memoir itself. Even those no longer in the employ of the administration stuck to the set talking points so deliberately, they should have just put Perino’s comments on replay. The reaction, no doubt planned during the month the White House had access to the memoir before its existence was leaked, only issued meager character assassinations of Scott rather than refuted a single fact in the book. Gag.

The subject is a tired one and won’t remain in the top news categories much longer, if it still is. I have no idea where Scott goes from here besides aiding his mother’s possible run for Austin mayor next year. It’s still undecided if he’d be an asset to anybody at this point.

I suppose I’m glad Scott decided to write openly about his misgivings during his tenure in the Bush administration. Better late than never. This however, shouldn’t be a celebration for us lefties, but more a sad realization that the plague of acquiescence in the government during run up to the Iraq War has cost hundreds of thousands of lives, untold collateral damages as illustrated in the rise of commodity prices, and should never, ever be duplicated by anybody in the government or military claiming to have a spine and the ability to reason.

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