Expertise By Osmosis

The McCain campaign has engaged in some creative logic over the last couple of months. But none has been more creative than it’s stubborn insistence on claiming that being Governor of Alaska constitutes meaningful foreign policy…because Alaska is close to Russia.

In the second segment of CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric’s interview of Governor Sarah Palin, which is airing tonight, Palin continue to makes her most bizarre argument:

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?


PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–

COURIC: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

OK, the first time I heard the McCain campaign argue this expertise by osmosis point, I thought it was a one-day tee-hee slip-up that would never be repeated again once the McCain campaign developed better proof points for the inevitable “where is the foreign policy experience” question.

But I assume the McCain campaign staff extensively grilled Palin to prepare for this interview. Yet it is still selling this loopy argument. Moreover, Governor Palin seems sincerely dumbfounded that anyone would not understand her reasoning.

For the record: No, you should not trust me to overhaul your transmission because I live very near an auto repair shop. No proximity to Canada and Mexico doesn’t make 15 other Governors foreign policy experts either. And no, we should not trust someone to keep us out of war with Russia based on the fact that they live relatively near Russia.

I gotta say, I feel ridiculous even making such a self-evident rebuttal. So how come the McCain campaign doesn’t feel ridiculous making the assertion?

– Loveland

small business start up fine

Another Vote Lost…

I’m guessing McCain is down at least one vote in New Jersey judging by David Letterman’s rips on John McCain last night.

Bill Carter at the New York Times points out this is not just an “oops” issue as Letterman used the snub as the basis for a pretty blistering attack on McCain, his temperment, his age, his running mate and more:

Letterman: McCain’s Cancellation Not Funny

By Bill Carter
Senator John McCain may have disappointed many expectant voters and debate viewers with the decision to suspend his campaign, but none more so than a late-night talk show host on CBS.

David Letterman was so unhappy that Mr. McCain canceled his scheduled appearance on his show Wednesday night that he spent much of the first segment assailing the senator’s decision and suggesting “something doesn’t smell right” about the Senator’s plan to go to Washington to work on the financial crisis.

Mr. Letterman told his audience that Senator McCain had called him directly on short notice Wednesday, to tell him he had to cancel his appearance. After expressing his admiration for Mr. McCain and his sacrifice as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Mr. Letterman said, “When you all up at the last minute and cancel, that’s not the John McCain I know.” He repeated that “something smells right now” and he suggested “somebody must have put something in his Metamucil.”

Mr. Letterman said Mr. McCain had said the economy was “about to crater” which necessitated that he get to Washington right away. Mr. Letterman then suggested that McCain should not be suspending his campaign at all and that he could have “sent in the second-string quarterback,” his vice presidential running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, to fill in for him. “You don’t quit,” Mr. Letterman said.

After suggesting that Ms. Palin should be prepared to step up and “be ready,” because “the poor guy is getting a little older,” Mr. Letterman reconsidered and said of Ms. Palin’s readiness, “Don’t get me started.”

Even after Mr. Letterman brought out Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC host and vituperative Republican critic as the substitute guest for Mr. McCain, he continued to assail Mr. McCain for the decision to cancel the appearance. His critique reached a high point when he learned that at the very moment Mr. McCain was supposed to be on the couch next to him being interviewed, the senator was at the CBS News center three blocks away in Manhattan, getting ready to be interviewed by the CBS News anchor, Katie Couric.

Mr. Letterman ordered his director to put on a live feed from that location, which showed Mr. McCain getting made up to go on with Ms. Couric. “He doesn’t seem to be racing to the airport,” Mr. Letterman observed.

After listening to some questions from Ms. Couric, Mr. Letterman said, “Hey, John, I’ve got a question: You need a lift to the airport?”

He then asked Mr. Olbermann if he thought this was all Mr. McCain’s fault, or whether other factors had come into play.

“He ditched you,” Mr. Olbermann said.

– Austin grant writers fine

…And Falls Incomplete Short of the Endzone

That’s the problem with the Hail Mary play; it doesn’t work very often.

Turns out John McCain’s personal laying on of hands was not necessary for Congressional negotiators to reach a deal on the Wall Street bailout plan (which flacks on both sides are trying to reposition as a “financial rescue” package).  According to the Associated Press,

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said, “We are very confident that we can act expeditiously.”

“I now expect that we will indeed have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate (and) be signed by the president,” said Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah.

The bipartisan consensus on the general direction of the legislation was reported just hours before President Bush was to host presidential contenders Barack Obama and John McCain and congressional leaders at the White House for discussions on how to clear obstacles to the unpopular rescue plan.

Key lawmakers said at midday that few difficulties actually remained.

Well, let’s see how Team McCain spins their way out of this one.  There’s not a lot of cover left on not debating so I’ll predict they’ll backtrack on that one.  I also expect the McCain spokesters to use some truly convoluted logic to try to position this incomplete pass as proof that McCain puts country first.  Something like, “John McCain is the only candidate worthy of support because he’s the only one who was willing to put his political prospects at risk to try to get something done on this.  He knew his decision would be criticized but he went ahead and did it anyway.”

Good luck with that.

And, as a final point of political humor today, let’s watch the body language in the photo op before and the press avail after the White House meeting.  Will it be possible for McCain to avoid any contact with President Bush?  Will McCain stand with the Congressional leaders and/or the administration leaders he not 24 hours earlier pronounced as failures?

– Austin how to make an invoice fine

What Would Wellstone Do?

Those of us in the Cities can’t hardly turn on the TV without bumping into an anti-Franken commercial from either Norm or the Republican Senatorial committee.  I’m assuming these are both running outstate as well:

Team Coleman has followed this up with a “kinder, gentler” attack ad of the “more in sorrow than anger” genre:

What, if anything, should Al be doing to counter the charge that he’s an out-of-control wacko (which is what the ads are going for)?

Brother Loveland has already authored a couple of recommendations for Franken ads and strategies better than anything I’ve actually seen from Team Franken; while I don’t think I can play at his level, here’s the ad I think Al should be running in the very near future:

“Hi, I’m Al Franken.  Like my political heroes, Paul Wellstone and Hubert Humphrey, I’m passionate about fighting for working men and women and for changing the way Washington works.  As Senator Wellstone said, “Politics is about the improvement of people’s lives. It’s about advancing the cause of peace and justice in our country and the world. Politics is about doing well for the people.”  Those are principles worth getting excited about and I ask for your vote this election day so I can work every day on behalf of Minnesota to make them a reality.  Thank you.”

– Austin freedom tax fine

Irrelevant But Still Funny…

Governor Palin is no longer anywhere near the top of voters’ minds but in the interest of completeness, here’s Day 4 of the Sarah Palin Action Figure arc…

Of course, if she keeps warning of a “depression” (the only political figure I’ve seen willing to go there) as she did in Part I of the Couric interview, she might get herself back to the top of the news.  Her interview was yet another example of why “Reckless and Inexperienced” ought to be their slogan.

– Austin social media marketing fine

John McCain was part of the Keating Five, remember?

Does anybody remember that John McCain was investigated by the U.S. Senate ethics panel for his involvement in the funny money business we now call the Keating Five? And he now claims he’s going to gallop to Washington and reform our financial house of cards?

He and his cronies are part of what caused this mess. (Does anyone dare say the word “depression”?)

Here’s a nice primer for you all. epayroll fine