Saturday, October 18, 2008

Short-takes on the news

I was busier this week than I thought I would be, which meant I didn’t have time to comment on some recent events in the news, even though I had things to say. So I thought I’d add short takes on a few of those issues.

Sarah Palin’s alternate universe

A week ago, the official enquiry into “Troopergate” found Sarah Palin guilty of abuse of power for personal gain. It said that she had violated state ethics rules, which could lead to her being censured and fined. Incredibly, Palin started saying she’d been “cleared” and wasn’t guilty of violating ethics rules. Late this week she said that she wasn’t campaigning negatively, despite being roundly criticised for exactly that by both the mainstream media and even fellow Republicans. Now she implied that only people in small towns are patriotic and “pro-America”. I’ve long wondered what planet she’s on, but now I’m wondering what universe she’s from.

The final debate

Like most Americans, I think Obama won all three debates, including the final one. In all three debates, McCain was angry, grumpy, surly and snarky. Obama was cool and collected. I know I’d certainly prefer Obama’s temperament in a president.

But speaking of alternate universes (see above), the one inhabited by the wingnuts is now in even more superheated overdrive. “Joe the Plumber”, who was used as a PR stunt in the final debate by McCain, faces loss of his livelihood because it turns out he’s not a licensed plumber and his city may move to shut him down. Chances are good that he wouldn’t have come to the attention of his city’s officials if the McCain campaign hadn’t used him in their stunt and unleashed a media circus around him. So, McCain did all this to “Joe”. Except not to the wingnuts who have used some sort of weird, convoluted and twisted logic to blame “that one” instead. Clearly the wingnuts live in a logic-free universe.

The Washington Post endorsement

Earlier today I blogged about the Chicago Tribune endorsing Barack Obama for president. Yesterday the Washington Post posted its endorsement of Barack Obama. The Tribune’s editorial pages have long backed conservative positions and Republican presidential candidates. The Post has become increasingly conservative, and their editorial reflects their current ideology.

Nevertheless, even the Washington Post declared “it is without ambivalence that we endorse Sen. Barack Obama for president.” More telling, perhaps, was this paragraph:

The choice is made easy in part by Mr. McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president. It is made easy in larger part, though, because of our admiration for Mr. Obama and the impressive qualities he has shown during this long race. Yes, we have reservations and concerns, almost inevitably, given Mr. Obama's relatively brief experience in national politics. But we also have enormous hopes.

These conservative papers are merely reflecting what much of mainstream America is thinking. So, it’s not really surprising to see them endorsing Barack Obama. In a short time, all of America will be able to join them.


d said...

Did you see the picture where McCain looks like a lizard trying to attack Obama?


Seems he was reacting to going the wrong way off the stage. Still, hilarious!!

Mark from Slap said...

The Post, The Tribune, The LA Times...

I think it's time. I, Mark, have decided to officially announce my endorsement of Barack Obama for your president.

Now, I know what you're thinking---but, please, wait for the polls to settle before determining the extent of the effect this has had on the election.

Roger Owen Green said...

"Damn liberal press." I wonder what, if anything, one gets from endorsements anymore.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

D: Yes, I did see that photo on some blog somewhere. Apparently, one McCain campaign staffer was in tears when she saw the photo published because the campaign is convinced that the news media is out to "get" them.

Mark: Welcome to the fold! I know I'm glad you've provided that little bit extra we need to push some of the battleground states into the Obama column. Too bad I didn't think of doing the same on your behalf. I feel mightily ashamed that my lack of endorsement led to another Harper government. My profound apologies to Canadians (except those on the right, who probably don't even recognise my joking).

Roger: It's become a truism among the pundits that the endorsements don't matter much, that with declining readership, newspapers just don't have much influence anymore. However, there's precious little current research to determine that either way.

My own guess—and it's just that—is that newspaper endorsements don't matter all that much, however, they do provide momentum and an aura of winning, which helps fence-sitters move to support, in this case, Obama. I also think that endorsements from otherwise conservative papers may make people take notice, and that, too, could push a few fence-sitters. But I think that most people aren't affected one way or the other.

But the best part for me, anyway, is that these are conservative papers endorsing Obama. The Republicans moan endlessly about the "liberal media", and then some of their own buck their own tradition to back Obama. Right now, somewhere in America, there are wingnuts writhing in agony.