Rick Davis – War against the media.

340x "He left the Reagan White House to work with longtime lobbyist Paul Manafort, in founding the lobbying firm Davis, Manafort. In their political work, Davis served as Manafort’s deputy in orchestrating the 1996 Republican National Convention; both would later join Dole’s presidential team. While working for Dole, Davis told a reporter that he was "blown away" by McCain’s unconventional politics, and joined McCain’s first election bid in 1999.

When McCain started the Reform Institute in 2001 to promote campaign finance reform, he turned to Davis. Davis would earn $395,000 in salary and consulting fees from the Institute, which he headed from 2003 to 2005.

In 2006, Davis helped plan McCain’s next White House run, envisioning a corporate-style campaign modeled after President Bush’s 2004 bid."  Wiki


According to this Wiki, Rick Davis lives here in Alexandria.  He looks vaguely familiar, but, I don’t believe I have had the pleasure…

I hadn’t paid a lot of attention to Davis until I saw his reaction to rather tame questioning from Joe Scarborough and Mika (Zbig’s daughter) in St. Paul.  Wow!  He told the two of them and all others present that the GOP has accepted the idea that the media are deeply unfair to their candidates and that the McCain campaign would make Palin available for interview when AND IF it chooses to do so.  He was quite hostile in the way he said this, bristling and interrupting constantly, speaking louder and louder to drown out voices he did not want to acknowledge.  It was quite a performance.  It was basically a declaration of war against the 4th Estate in all its manifestations.

This morning I listened to him on Fox News Sunday.  To my surprise he was just as hostile and aggressive with the host (Chris Wallace) as he had been with the poor schmucks from MSNBC.   When a right wing party apparatchik like this man has become tries to shout down the host of a right wing Sunday network news show like FNS, then something interesting is happening.  A great many citizens who will vote for McCain/Palin were watching this attack on Fox News.  What must they have thought?  Fox News is the source of "news" for McCain’s base.  Wallace had just finished administering a thorough verbal "thrashing" to Axelrod, Davis’ opposite number in the Obama camp.  In spite of this, Davis’ habitual scowl was the first thing one saw when Wallace began his interview.  It went downhill from the scowl.

The Republicans are running against the press, including the Murdoch Press?  If so, this something new to American politics.

Are they going to succeed in putting McCain in the White House as a kind of interim figure using this approach?  pl


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43 Responses to Rick Davis – War against the media.

  1. JohnH says:

    This is part of an effort to shield Palin and avoid discussion of the issues facing the country. Any questioning will be portrayed as liberal media bias.
    They need to do attack the messenger because Palin has no understanding of domestic or international politics and McCain does not want to talk about them. Until she has a solid familiarity with the issues and McCain can portray Bush’s policies as “change,” they have to cow the media or make them the issue.

  2. J says:

    there is turmoil in the republican base, with mccain and now with palin. while the rnc tries to put lipstick on the pig (so-to-speak) and paint the picture that all is roses within the republican camp, reality speaks otherwise.

  3. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    I for one am not at all surprised by this. It is just the logical extension of the Republican refusal to permit ANY inquiry into the deeds of the Decider, the Dick, or any of their minions. Years of stonewalling of such inquiry when control of committee chairs was held by the Republicans followed by further years of refusals to comply with Congressional subpoenas when the control of the legislative committees had passed to the Democrats should have made it abundantly clear that the caudillo feels himself to be above questioning. When the legislature was Republican-controlled, this belief was easier to disguise. When the control of the legislature shifted to the Democrats, the veil began to be drawn aside. With this attack on the right (and indeed, duty, long neglected as it might be…) of the press to act as our proxies to ferret out answers to vital questions concerning governance and public policy, the truth stands naked for all to view: the Unitary Executive theory culminates in the coronation of a King, unanswerable to his subjects. And this even applies to the heir apparent, so long as he is the REPUBLICAN pretender to the throne.
    Will it work? The groundwork has been laid for years with the constant yammering about the persistent “liberal bias” of the press. The press , for its part, compliantly consented to become an echo chamber for the party of the screamers, uncritically parroting the talking points and ritualistically mocking the opposition. And with the consolidation of the media further and further into the hands of large corporations, deeply vested in the perpetuation of the right wing vision of the nation, the independence of journalists has been progressively undermined; who wants to be the one to go against the interests of Jack Welch, eh? And what about self-identified right wing owners such as Murdoch and their “news” organizations? No, they have been whipped into line to a substantial degree. No wonder the Republicans are acting with such venom to the possibility of real journalists exercising their responsibilities. These people were bought and paid for, and now they won’t stay bought? Who dares to question the Mighty Oz? So of course they fall back to their default position, deeply woven into the country’s subconscious, that the media are tantamount to a bunch of communist subversives, out to kneecap the right-thinking patriots of the only red-blooded political party.
    There’s an opportunity for the Democrats to connect the dots and establish for all to see that what the Republicans want is an unquestioned monarchy. Do they have the stones to do it? Well?

  4. David J says:

    John McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis:
    “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

  5. dcgaffer says:

    Davis et al, are simultaneously lowering the bar, and setting up a huge media event whereby she’ll come out triumphant – or a martyr.
    Will it work? Not sure but I think Biden has figured it out. Jab with a faux compliment, “she’s a gifted politician”, right cross with, “its the economy, stupid.”
    If the Dems are playing defense, they are losing.
    See also:

  6. Charles I says:

    What else is new.
    The right, righteously religious, responds to anything questioning its legitimacy with loud and shrill wails of shocked indignation that any one would impugn so much as a finger nail clipping of one of its cognoscenti, so that issues and the ludicrous positions of the candidates themselves, similarly armored against debate by indignant claims of personal attack, can be positioned as sacrosanct manifestations of the common moral good, whom only the most churlish, nearly blasphemous cretin would question. How dare you, sir, blah, blah, blah.
    It works. Wreck the debate, and then squeal indignantly, and you use up airtime, and generate a nice sound bite of shocked rectitude. This is how you got here – bankrupt and at war, with your ruling party now firing up a culture war at home, framed as the good old salt-of-the-earth hoi polloi against the Uppities, to install another judgmental religious whacko in the White House.
    The same tactics, by the same kind of shrivelled political souls, are attempting the same right now in Canada.
    It is sickening too watch, and scary too.

  7. Are they going to succeed in putting McCain in the White House as a kind of interim figure using this approach?
    There’s a very good chance as far as I’m concerned. She has energized the base and now her liabilities are being minimized. And she won’t be draining campaign resources to shore her up. I should have seen this coming.
    The Dems could use this as an opening to define her as weak and scared. But they don’t know how to play that game, so they’ll punt.
    McCain will lose if external forces beyond either campaign’s control render his tactics useless.

  8. lina says:

    Another way of putting it would be:
    Gov. Palin can dish it out – but she can’t take it.

  9. ked says:

    no big deal, really… part of the McCain Change is to add “cranky!” to the personality module of the GOP’s right wing… not much of a stretch.

  10. Homer says:

    This is palpably absurd ….
    Palin has no right to say what she wants: She has to read from Davis’ script in order to talk about her own life?
    Davis makes Palin’s so called personal life the reason why Americans should vote for her, but then excoriates the left-wing media (Faux News??) for wanting to ask questions in real time about her personal life and about her political views?
    Perfect example of the Noonian “political bullshit about narratives” and the absolute necessity of absolute control!!!

  11. condfusedponderer says:

    I see that hostility as a consequence of Palin being a hasty choice.
    Point is, she isn’t prepared, and I agree with JohnH, they want to shield her, until her handlers put her through their GOP VP candidate boot camp, which predictably will include neo-cons lecturing her about ‘foreign policy’. That means the lesson will be short. Samantha Power puts it well:

    One cannot coexist with evil-doers, who are irreparably “fallen,” and thus rollback is required. Negotiation is not merely pointless, it is costly “appeasement.” And the United States should participate in only those international institutions that are servants of American power; those that constrain American power are enemies of the national interest.

    That said, the GOP protecting Palin is my conservative reading. If there is indeed a falling apart of the relationship between the McCain campaign and the conservative media that would be an intriguing development.

  12. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    1. This relates to the campaign strategy of painting an “us” versus “them” situation. Evil “liberals” versus good “conservatives.”
    This is based on the tried and true Lee Atwater strategy of creating what he termed a “populist” approach pitting mystical-nationalists against “liberals.” Deeper code for liberals in Fundamentalist circles is “secular humanists.” This takes one into the “culture wars” thing.
    The Fundamentalist subculture is already into this and it resonates. It resonates with those (Fundamentalist or more secular) who listen to the right wing shock jock radio guys and watch FOX and etc.
    2. “McCain quickly installed Rick Davis, the campaign’s chief executive, as the new manager and vowed to press forward despite months of disappointing news. Davis long had sparred with Nelson, Weaver and Mark Salter, one of McCain’s closest confidants, over operations. Salter will continue in his role as an unpaid senior adviser.”
    3. The background is to the 1980s and the political consulting firm of Black, Manafort, Stone and Kelley. Atwater was a senior partner. Rove was Atwater’s protege.
    4. The political trick with the Fundamentalist subculture issue is to signal to them you want their support and will do what is needed; but signal in such a way as to not alarm the slumbering public. Thus Palin “hockey mom” image rather than the hardline Fundamentalist she in fact is. But the cat is getting out of the bag as the NPR show on Palin Friday evening indicates.
    5. For some basics on the theocratic dimension note the Wiki entry for “Dominionism.”
    For more detail and context in American national politics see, for example, Kevin Phillips’ book “American Theocracy.”
    Someone made a curt comment in one of these threads in the last couple of days to the effect that some SST readers needed to look up “theocratic” in the dictionary. I would suggest to him to do a little background reading himself.

  13. shepherd says:

    From a purely tactical standpoint, I don’t think this is a bad idea for the McCain people. I’m not sure Ms. Palin is ready to go one on one with the press.
    Today, she commented on the Fannie and Freddie takeover by saying,
    “They’ve gotten too big and too expensive to taxpayers. The McCain-Palin administration will make them smaller and smarter and more effective for homeowners who need help.”
    This is a minor point, but she seems to think that Fannie and Freddie are big government bureaucracies, supported by taxpayer dollars. According to her philosophy, the answer is to make them smaller and better. The problem is that they’re not government agencies (they’re publicly traded corporations) and until the collapse, they didn’t cost American taxpayers anything.
    This is not a big deal, but it does point to the danger of putting her on the hot seat. For now.

  14. Duncan Kinder says:

    News flash! In a sudden flip flop, now Palin will offer an interview with ABC’s Charles Gibson.
    I will remind everyone of Gibson and Stephanopolus’ aggressive interview of Obama before the Pennsylvanioa primary.
    Everyone should contact Gibson to inform him that he is expected to be no less aggressive with Palin.

  15. What Palin said about the Fannie/Freddie takeover made my mouth drop. But, this isn’t surprising!
    Culture war for sure, but the Republicans have been melding the southern strategy with running against the hippy sixties since before it was ‘morning in America.’ Now it’s taken the cast of small town gunners vs. cosmopolitan sippers.
    Most voters have decided. Because there is such a huge difference between policy positions, I doubt many of the undecideds are hung up on parsing policies. X factor is new voters.
    It makes sense to run against all media and keep Mrs. Palin sheltered away until the programming is complete and tested. The Republicans lose on issues, but isn’t Palin turning out to be a real ‘mayberry machiavelle?’

  16. Bobo says:

    Looks like the suspense is over as Palin will do an interview with ABC this week. The same station as Obama’s interview today where he made his biggest Freudian slip. Fortunately George S. assisted in allowing Obama to move through it with ease.
    As to the objective views of our media, we as nation should take them to the woodshed, and get them to give us honest analysis versus the partisan crap they spew out today.

  17. Lynne says:

    I am beginning to believe that many Americans want an unquestioned monarchy for their government. This election is starting to look like a repeat of 2004. Who cares about the war, the economy, health care, education, abuse of power, proper care of veterans, etc. Mr. Davis stated that this election is not about issues. The Democrats should hit hard but I fear the party will still be labeled elitist and too intellectual. Tucker Eskew destroyed McCain in 2000 and is in a position to win round two.
    “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and will never be.” – Thomas Jefferson

  18. harper says:

    One person who is playing the current presidential race for a win-win is the mega-speculator George Soros, who was a big financier of all the rainbow revolutions in the East, including his prize Mikhael Saakashvili of recent Georgia infamy. Soros seems to be running his own blue-red revolution in the U.S.A., having been the biggest and earliest financial backer of Barack Obama’s rise to fame, having literally bought the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee for Howard Dean, and using his clandestine Democracy Alliance group of billionaire investors to assure that the money keeps flowing into Obama’s purse for November. Soros money was crucial in the defeat of Hillary Clinton, along with the unconscionable errors by her own campaign team early on.
    But Soros has also been a major financier of Team McCain. Soros put at least $18 million into the Reform Institute, cited above by Col. Lang in his remarks on Rick Davis. Those big bucks salaries that Davis hauled in at the Reform Institute came largely from Soros’ Open Society Institute. Soros was the biggest financier of McCain-Feingold–through donations to Reform Institute, and his tax exempt dollars have continued to flow into Davis’ pocket. Just to make the point that this was not just a single-issue merger of interests, the other key McCain advisor, and leading neocon, Randy Scheunemann, has also been a big beneficiary of Soros largess. He was on the payroll of Soros’ Open Society Institute of Georgia for at least three years, leading up the Saakashvili election, when Scheunemann was just hired outright to lobby for the Geogian government. So, there are some top McCain aides who will be grateful to Soros if their guy wins in November. Either way, Soros won’t have trouble accessing the Lincoln Bedroom–if he decides to slum it.
    And by the way, the whole notion that Soros and the neocons are at war is further dispelled by the fact that, once Bush and Cheney won reelection in 2004, Soros sicked his MoveOn.org crew on Halliburton–just enough to drive share prices down from $40 a share to $26. Then Soros bought $40 million worth of Halliburton stock, ordered MoveOn to move on to other dastardly targets, and made a killing when Halliburton stock soared back up to $50 a share.

  19. John Howley says:

    Not a bad strategy if they want to win. It is an update on Nixon’s strategy. Remember the “nattering nabobs of negativity?”
    So the Republicans have come out swinging. What amazes me is that so many Democrats are still surprised that the R’s don’t abide by the Marquis of Queensbury.
    And the media say: “Why is everybody picking on me?”
    The mainstream media has destroyed its own credibility in at least two ways:
    (1) Without the ACTIVE collaboration of the WaPo, NYT, et al, the disaster in Iraq would not have been possible.
    (2) As editors and news anchors move up the economic ladder, they devote less and less time to issues that concern the majority of Americans whose real incomes have been declining since 1973.
    Indeed, I have detected not a little skepticism if not hostility towards the “MSM” right here at SST in recent years.
    I don’t have a problem with media-bashing. I do have a problem with claiming that the media is biased AGAINST Republicans when they have done nothing but cover Bush’s criminal a** for the past eight years.

  20. Grumpy says:

    Col., as I look at this, I hear two words, “Trust” and “Change”. Funny, isn’t it, if you look at both parties are using the same themes. Ronald Reagan had an interesting concept, “Trust, BUT VERIFY.” Change, does this mean change is always for the better? Could it even mean exponentially worse? If you look at all of them, they are all trying to be “mavericks.” How would you like to lead a group of “mavericks” on your mission? On your mission, you set the goals and objectives, where is his/her heart? All good leaders come from good followers, FIRST.

  21. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Jay Carney, Time’s Washington bureau chief, in his Swampland post – Why It Matters 9-5-08 – cites David Frum as also objecting to Rick Davis isolating Governor Palin from the press. Frum posts regularly at National Review Online. Carney’s interaction with Nicole Wallace while on Morning Joe helped trigger her onslaught against the media’s right to question Governor Palin. .
    Carney writes:
    “David Frum, conservative author and former Bush speechwriter, weighs in over at NRO on the question of why we should care whether or not Sarah Palin should be subjected to taking questions from the press. His answer: it was the same contempt for elites, both in the media and more broadly, that caused the Bush communications effort to fail after the president’s post-9/11 popularity began to erode. Political operatives love to talk about circumventing the media and other co-called “elites” — i.e., independent specialists, observers and thinkers. The operatives convince themselves they can take their candidate’s message directly to the people — on their terms, without all that poking and prodding and skepticism. That’s propaganda. In a democratic society, it rarely works for long.”
    Certainly, over the last seven years, Bush has tried to belittle, browbeat and co-opt the media by using national security as the rationale. Some would say that he has been successful. Moreover, Bush and his cohorts have created and fostered an atmosphere of disdain for opposing points of view by ensuring, for example, that only members of the public who agree with the president are permitted to attend his public appearances, by creating ‘free speech zones’ and the like. Karl Rove really did intend to create a single party which could rule over the country for one hundred years.
    The Republicans have every reason to believe that their prior political success can be laid at the doorstep of their ability to intimidate others and most certainly the press. Why else would they think now that they would not be successful if they again blamed the media elite for trying to deny the American people access to the truth? After all, as we have heard recently from Schlafly, Viguerie, Dobson, et al, their version of truth hasn’t changed that much. Their truth is a religious ideology that too many Americans, despite our pluralistic society and our constitution, have come to believe should be forced on all of us.
    Can they win by doing this? You bet they can. Can they do it? Absolutely.

  22. Grumpy says:

    One last point, it could be very reasonable for us to find a REAL leader. He/she must be transparent. Leader, Tell us the HOW do you plan to accomplish your goals. If each of your staff’s or surrogates’ views and past laid absolutely naked before the American Electorate,would you or your policies have a problem? We may need to be getting back to the needs of the American people, FIRST.

  23. VietnamVet says:

    Corporate media and the Democrats sure don’t like to talk about religion. Ranging from “kill the bastards” to never making an error, the Decider is the elitist version of the late in life born again true believer. Sarah Palin is the real thing. She believes in the Rapture. She believes that science and evolution are bunch of hooey.
    Do we really want evangelist who believes she will be chosen at the End of Time to have her finger on the red button?
    I sure don’t. The Republicans will do anything to assure that electorate does not comprehend that the fate of the USA is dependent on this election.

  24. Cieran says:

    Great opening for the democrats, if they care to take it…
    If the GOP wants to hide its candidates from the press, then since nature abhors an (information) vacuum, all the Dems have to do is fill it, with their framing of the issues.
    Palin’s religion is a great starting point — she belongs to a sect that is itching to start WWIII based on little more than a collective misreading of margin notes in Cyrus Scofield’s study bible. Her utter cluelessness on finance (she left her mayorship after creating a huge deficit in city finances) is another. While she’s hiding from the press, the Dems should be telling these stories, early and often. Duh!
    McCain is getting increasingly testy in the press, so he’s fair game, too. If the GOP candidates don’t want to come out and play, then let the political games begin without them. Let’s see how long they prefer to forfeit their chance to define the messages for this election.
    The big question is this: will the Dems choose to exploit this vacuum? They keep insisting on using the Marquis of Queensbury rules even tho they’re in a knife fight in a dark alley. What does it take to revive their killer instincts? Do they even have any?

  25. wisedup says:

    there is absolutely no downside to the Repugs trashing Fox– what is Fox going to do? Turn liberal?
    This is how all Facist movements start — a race for the bottom. Clinton BTW, did absolutely nothing to counter the damage done to body politic by Regan’s administration. Obama would have to win big (>60%) to have any chance of turning things around. Look for massive voting fraud this time, more scenes of the Gucchi lawyers in Miami halting the recount.

  26. Grimgrin says:

    Cieran: The Dems can’t fight dirty. Remember the media reaction to General Clark saying that McCain being a POW didn’t qualify him to be president?
    Now imagine what would have happened if they went full swift boat on McCain. Or if they started trotting out high profile names to make snide jokes about Palin being a hockey mom with a pregnant daughter.
    It sucks, but the Republican network of talking heads, PR flacks, think tanks and true believers still has too much of a presence in the media for the Democratic party to fight dirty and not have it boomerang on them.

  27. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Davis sets up a straw man.
    He knows very well the “liberal media” is going to support McCain’s pro-Israelism, new Cold War with Russia, wars against “rogue states”, GWOT and all the rest — should he win on Palin’s skirt-tails — just as it has for Bush.
    Come to think about it, just as most Democrats in Congress have …

  28. McGee says:

    We might want to catch Saturday Night Live this week. Sarah Palin is a DEAD ringer for Tina Fey. The SNL writers are going to have a merry time with our End of Days Hockey Mom between now and the election, methinks. With lots of segments showing up on TIVO and making their way into more mainstream media.

  29. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    I commend to you good people Glenn Greenwald’s latest blog post in which he lays out his all-to-likely scenario for how this will all play out.
    Thank you, Colonel Lang, for providing us with this space. It performs an analogous function to that of the Committees of Correspondence in colonial America. We have a chance to put our heads together, pool information and share our interpretations of its significance. I send out my gratitude to all of the posters who give so freely of their time and wisdom in this blog. My respect and admiration to you all.

  30. Duncan Kinder says:

    For as long as I can remember, the press has been the propoganda arm of the Democrats.
    Oh please, explain the following:
    1) Intense media scruitiny of “Whitewater” and other so-called Clinton “scandals” as compared to relatively slight media coverage of – for example – George Bush’s ties to Kenny Boy Lay.
    2) Pre-Iraq War Coverage
    3) Failure of media to cover such McCain gaffes as referring to “Czechoslovakia” or confusing Shi’ites with Sunnis.
    4) Most incredibly is the following video made by McCain’s own daughter of a cookout McCain gave earlier this year for members of the press corps.
    Given circumstances such as these, reasonable people, in the exercise of ordinary care either know or should know that the press is no propaganda outlet for Democrats.

  31. Paul says:

    Chalk one up for McCain and Davis. NBC just announced that Matthews and Olbermann will not hold down the election night central desk. That privilege will go to “Warm Spit” David Gregory.
    We eagerly await Jack Welch who will no doubt point out the superior management techniques found in Ms. Palin’s administration.

  32. jonst says:

    Cieran wrote:
    >>>The big question is this: will the Dems choose to exploit this vacuum? They keep insisting on using the Marquis of Queensbury rules even tho they’re in a knife fight in a dark alley. What does it take to revive their killer instincts? Do they even have any?<<<<< How many ways does this question have to be answered before people will stop asking it? I was at a big neighborhood gathering this week. Independently, 6 people, admittedly, Democrats, from the old Democratic Wing of the Democratic party, commented on the same thing to me....they were 'sick' of hearing Dems praise McCain. How much of hero he is. A friend he is. And a maverick he was. McCain, Palin, Davis? Perfect metaphors for what is happening in America right now. Oh, and they got Olberman kicked of co-hosting the campaign coverage at MSNBC. The browbeating works.

  33. Looks to me like the media has lost another election in the following sense: (1) posturing rather than describing and analyzing; (2) taking sides; (3) no discussion of potential impacts of either set of candidates winning; (4) almost no regard for foreign coverage or foreign efforts to impact campaign; (5) in essence throwing up their collective hands on the basis that it really does NOT matter who wins because policy will not change even though Americans in general are being turned off not on by the political system. Democracy is messy but as some wit stated better system than any of the others. Well we have a republican form of government so no one man vote, one woman vote on every issue. Impossibility really. But now we see why Congress cannot priortize. The voting public and the media cannot priortize. Notice how external and internal events get overdramatized with the significance for today or tomorrow never described. At least we dropped below the 60 day mark until Election 2008.

  34. Dana Jones says:

    “Remember the media reaction to General Clark saying that McCain being a POW didn’t qualify him to be president? ”
    Um, can anyone explain to me just how being a POW makes McCain qualified to be POTUS? I mean, isn’t the point NOT to get caught/shot down? I understand that McCain was considered rash back then, and that he engaged in risky behavior, which is what got him a missile up the tail pipe. Where are the Obama people bringing up this record, with the reprimands and all? Did the files get “lost” like GWB’s Guard file? Come on, someone has to know about this and wants to tell about McCain endangering himself and others with his rash and reckless behavior. The Dems can’t do a little Swift Bucks for Truthiness?

  35. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Republican strategists sit back and laugh…
    At least so far. If the last week is any indication, they certainly know how to flip cultural issues to their advantage.
    Maybe it will change, but right now, the difference b/t Republican and Democratic strategists is much like that between a neoconservative professor and some sophomores at Berkeley. Think of Leo Strauss teaching a class at Berkeley and then pressing the buttons of sophomores on certain cultural issues, laughing all the way.
    Take Palin for example. Palin emerges on the scene and then suddenly people like Campbell Brown and Andrew Sullivan start saying, “This is all about me.” An ad hominem attack is launched.
    And, then the issue is “flipped”, as suddenly the Palin candidacy is defined as a cultural battle between those who shop at St. Johns and those who read the gospel of St. John.
    It’s amazing to watch because certainly there are Republicans who shop at St. Johns. And odds are reasonably high that Republican strategists do not start the day with a little devotional time dedicated to St. John (understatement).
    But, if the last week is any indication, certainly the Republican strategists are looking forward to bringing up other cultural issues and then flipping them on the Democrats. You can see it coming down the tracks like a train. Democrats, beware. Republicans would just love to see you start demonstrating on other social issues.
    And honestly, with a Democratically controlled Congress, it is highly unlikely that Palin can change the legislative landscape.
    To harken back to Professor Kiracofe’s idea of a straw man, this campaign, in my opinion, has nothing to do with the cultural issues that the Straussian strategists intentionally raise. None at all. It is all about war where we sacrifice the youth of our nation and in violation of the findings of the 2007 NIE. Yet, all the while, certain Democrat operatives keep saying, “This is all about me.”

  36. Comment says:

    Obama supporters must concede that the Palin pick was good politics for McCain – We have been reduced to quoting Frum et al in defense.
    It’s all quite sad .

  37. jedermann says:

    The McCain campaign has gone all-in on a bet that it can sell its ticket as the avatars of reform. It has at the very least successfully redefined “The Audacity of Hope”. The hubris and sheer, unmitigated gall of the Republican claim to be reformers will make the scam all the sweeter if they can pull it off. These guys are first and last confidence men and they have plenty of confidence they can sell anything to anyone, the more absurd and unlikely, the greater the glory.
    Choosing Sarah Palin is just one more instance of wanting to have it both ways and knowing just how to get it. The base has deciphered the code and no one at Fox is going to have his nose too much out of joint by Davis’s attacks on the media. Fox is, after all, the exception to Liberal dominance of the media and it will soldier bravely on in spite of having to suffer limited access because of the sins of others. The national punditry was astonished and delighted at the form the campaign’s highly anticipated trick actually took when at last it was revealed. Rove’s shop never fails to please. The pundits have their horse race and a shiny new product to ooh and aw over, Hockey Mom. The campaign mad men have re-branded a wingnut wet dream into a spunky, suburban icon. Nice job and it just might work.

  38. Fred says:

    McCain has gone from the Hanoi Hilton to the Halliburton Hilton.

  39. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Some data on McCain advisors:
    “That doesn’t mean McCain doesn’t call on old Washington hands to help run his show. Veteran lobbyists Charles Black and Rick Davis, both wise in the ways of big money and Republican strategy, have been longtime advisers and run his current campaign along with Steve Schmidt, a Karl Rove protégé put in charge over the summer to bring discipline to a flailing effort.”….
    “Mark Salter. If many Americans see McCain as a flawed hero, chastened by an awareness of his shortcomings but still best qualified, by experience and character, to serve his country as its president and commander in chief, the man most responsible for projecting the image is a down-to-earth guy named Mark Salter.”
    Charles Black. The top strategist in McCain’s presidential run, Charles Black is a courtly southerner renowned as a tough-as-nails political operative who has played key roles in presidential campaigns for decades.”

  40. Cieran says:

    Re: Democratic killer instincts…
    I agree with the commenters who have pointed out the media’s role in underpinning legitimate Democratic critiques of the GOP, e.g., Wes Clark’s candid (and most accurate!) assessment of McCain’s credentials.
    The problem with the Democratic response is that it’s never a coherent response, so that messengers like Wes Clark get picked off by concentrated fire from the GOP voices in the media. And that’s not a fight — that’s a long series of pointless individual executions.
    What the Dems need (and they are certainly capable of providing it, if they just chose to do so) is a unified set of talking points and some basic message discipline. Then there’s no chance of individual voices being hounded by the media mavens, because there’s simply too many voices to attend to at once.
    Now that Obama is at the head of the ticket, it’s the responsibility of his campaign to provide that kind of message discipline. Will he do so? Will the various Dem factions follow his lead? If so, then the votes of the 80% of the citizenry (the proportion dissatisfied with the country’s direction) will help create a landslide, with no safe GOP seats anywhere.
    If not, then we’ll see four more years of GOP incompetence and corruption. I doubt we’ll see more than four, simply because there are too many economic chickens coming home to roost at once, so if the next president is from the GOP, then it’s the end of the GOP brand.

  41. Harper says:

    Col. Lang, I wanted to add something to my comments of yesterday on McCain and Soros (Rick Davis and Randy Schuenemann being on Soros’ payroll). I do not want to give the impression that Soros alone has his hooks into McCain. I am aware that a group of Naval officers are working non-stop to make sure that McCain is not a captive of the neocon crowd, including those on the Soros dole. There is also a group of Republican Senators, who have been historically close to McCain, who represent a kind of resurgent Eisenhower Republican grouping. This includes John Warner, Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Arlen Specter, and to a certain degree, Lindsey Graham. These are people who are traditional conservative Republicans, and they are part of McCain’s close circle of friends and political advisors. Were Warner to be offered the Secretary of Defense post, he’d take it, health permitting. So all is not neocon doom and gloom around McCain.
    However, and I emphasize however, I have another worry. McCain, according to numerous people who have known him over the years, is truly a loose cannon. He is not always mentally hinged, properly. The five years as a POW certainly establishes his credentials as a patriot, but that kind of experience has its mental toll, and I have been given numerous examples of McCain’s dark side, that I must take into account, in judging whether he has the mental balance to be President of the United States, especially under a period of grave challenges and crises. I assume I am not alone in these concerns, but I’d be interested in hearing from your regular readers and commenters. Is there concern about McCain’s mental mooring? Is it something that gets worse, or gets cured over time? I am no psychiatrist, and make no claim of any special competence to judge this. But I do have the right, as a citizen, to worry out loud, and seek counsel from those who may know more.

  42. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    In my opinion, everything a Democrat needs to know can be found in McCain’s acceptance speech. Republican strategists crafted a gem. Particularly impressive were the Republican delegates waving throughout the speech thousands of signs with the word “Peace”. Created a powerful symbolic association. Extraordinarily well done and worthy of respect.

  43. Black Friday says:

    George Washington had a vision for this country. Was it three days of uninterrupted shopping? -John Melvoin :o) Happy Holidays!

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