(So, I'm finally getting around to the politics stuff here.)
I had no idea that Gephardt was actually a serious contender. But the NY Post seemed to think he was. (Archived on Atrios.) I am no political strategist, but that seems like such a bad move. Edwards has the personality, the populism, the SOUTHERNNESS that Kerry so desperately needs. Gephardt delivers what...unions. Um, last time I checked, we already had the unions. So I'm glad they made a choice that really rounds out Kerry's weaknesses, and creates a strong team.
So the Bush campaign is claiming McCain was Kerry's first choice--that's their feeble attempt to grab the news cycle (listen to me talking all big--I've been watching The West Wing first season DVDs so now I'm a Washington insider, LOL). Here's a news release with the text (supposedly video soon to come) of Bush's ad using McCain. I have to wonder what they threatened him with to get him to do this. Here's some apparently freely spoken stuff from McCain collected by the DNC. Source: Atrios
Another interesting piece of information on the Bush-McCain relationship was quoted on Salon's War Room page. McCain's 2000 campaign manager described a push-poll used to discredit McCain in the Boston Globe.
To quote the Boston Globe article:
Having run Senator John McCain's campaign for president, I can recount a textbook example of a smear made against McCain in South Carolina during the 2000 presidential primary. We had just swept into the state from New Hampshire, where we had racked up a shocking, 19-point win over the heavily favored George W. Bush. What followed was a primary campaign that would make history for its negativity.
In South Carolina, Bush Republicans were facing an opponent who was popular for his straight talk and Vietnam war record. They knew that if McCain won in South Carolina, he would likely win the nomination. With few substantive differences between Bush and McCain, the campaign was bound to turn personal. The situation was ripe for a smear.
It didn't take much research to turn up a seemingly innocuous fact about the McCains: John and his wife, Cindy, have an adopted daughter named Bridget. Cindy found Bridget at Mother Theresa's orphanage in Bangladesh, brought her to the United States for medical treatment, and the family ultimately adopted her. Bridget has dark skin.
Anonymous opponents used "push polling" to suggest that McCain's Bangladeshi born daughter was his own, illegitimate black child. In push polling, a voter gets a call, ostensibly from a polling company, asking which candidate the voter supports. In this case, if the "pollster" determined that the person was a McCain supporter, he made statements designed to create doubt about the senator.
Thus, the "pollsters" asked McCain supporters if they would be more or less likely to vote for McCain if they knew he had fathered an illegitimate child who was black. In the conservative, race-conscious South, that's not a minor charge. We had no idea who made the phone calls, who paid for them, or how many calls were made. Effective and anonymous: the perfect smear campaign.
Some aspects of this smear were hardly so subtle. Bob Jones University professor Richard Hand sent an e-mail to "fellow South Carolinians" stating that McCain had "chosen to sire children without marriage." It didn't take long for mainstream media to carry the charge. CNN interviewed Hand and put him on the spot: "Professor, you say that this man had children out of wedlock. He did not have children out of wedlock." Hand replied, "Wait a minute, that's a universal negative. Can you prove that there aren't any?"
Ugh. Lovely. Well, the way things are going, it's looking really good that W's re-election bid is going to be a miserable failure.
In an outing to my third theater-movie since the kids were born, I did the patriotic thing and saw Fahrenheit 9/11 on the Fourth of July. Good, good stuff. I have always been a Michael Moore fan, but this is a much more powerful and urgent story, and he handles it with more sensitivity than he did in say, Pets or Meat.
If you haven't already, go see it. Worth a babysitter.
Oh, and Mike has a blog.
Really, I promise to post about pieces of fluff soon. Lots of good stuff going on. But must write about flyers in bathroom stalls. Very....difficult...to...resist...taking...Sara's....suggestion....