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June 04, 2008


After watching the 2000 election decided in no small part on Gore's sighs and the 2004 election--where it should have been amply clear how f*d things were-- in no small part on Kerry's windsurfing and the like; I fear that McCain's utter ineptitude may not make it onto the radar screen in the MSM. On the other hand, I'm cautiously optimistic that Obama's ability to energize voters can overcome the weary cynicism of the media.

He also stated in his speech last night that, "In just a few years in office, Senator Obama has accumulated the most liberal voting record in the Senate." Even ignoring complaints about the methodology of the National Journal rankings (and I'm not sure why one would), this is a complete misstatement of what those rankings said, which declared him to be the most liberal member of the Senate last year, not for the total of his time in the Senate. And McCain has to be referring to those rankings, since nothing else vaguely supports his statement.


Both cites to legislation McCain voted against appear to be amendments to appropriations bills. McCain notes in his comments that the pork was too much for him to vote in favor. He also says he was in favor of investigations, apparently not by congress. BTW, I'm not sure that congressional investigations EVER constitute a true investigation.

As to the global warming fiasco, maybe he was in favor of it when it looked like this but fell off the bandwagon when Boxer's amendment made it look like this. Just a thought.

As for the "cap and trade" issue, isn't he saying there would be a "cap" like the NBA salary cap where you pay a penalty if you're over, but in this case the penalty is having to buy credits from someone else? And the cap moves downward over time? It's not clear to me from the debate that McCain doesn't understand his own proposal or what cap and trade means. The question was whether he supported mandatory caps, which he apparently took to mean caps without any relief valve (i.e. the ability to purchase credits). It isn't clear to me that he thought his proposal didn't set a "salary cap" level over which you needed to buy credits. Otherwise, how would you determine credits? I must be missing something here . . .

bc: that's what we call a 'mandatory cap'.

And: he said he had voted for every investigation. He could have voted for these amendments -- doing so wouldn't commit him to voting for the underlying bill. But he didn't.

I mean: I don't see how we know that he meant something other than the usual thing. Normally, what makes, say, a salary cap mandatory, whether it includes a 'relief valve' or not, is that you are bound to abide by it. The alternative would be a voluntary cap, which would have no requirement that you abide by it, or penalties if you didn't.

Maybe he had in mind that the collectors of the credits could collect them and redeem them for nifty prizes? (I mean, what else do you do with them if there's no cap?)

I'm not one to defend McCain, but it is possible that the "cap-and-trade not cap" was some sort of framing issue, where a reasonable person might think that talking about "caps" without clarifying it's "caps with trading" dooms the issue; sort of like how the estate tax gets emotively renamed the death tax, some late-term abortions "partial birth", etcetera.

But given McCain's track record and his frequent reversals on issues he doesn't care about (that is to say, pretty much the whole civilian world), it's at least as likely he just didn't understand what he was talking about.

I was originally thinking there might be a really good joke in this context that could be generated out of the phrase "cap in your ass" -- something like "It's sure good to see McCain speaking up about this: Finally, someone's managed to put an ass in the cap. [Pause.] You know -- as in 'cap-and-trade.' Seecuznormally, you know, it's 'put a cap in your ass.'"

After running the permutations, though, I've concluded my original thinking was probably in error.

Still, how 'bout this general election thing, huh?

Hilzoy, I come to ObiWi mostly for your careful analysis and was disappointed by this piece. I have no love for McCain, but in all three of these instances I think you are misrepresenting his likely meaning.

In the first case, I transcribed the linked clip as:

Journalist: Senator, Maya Rodriguez of the CBS station out of New Orleans. My understanding is you have voted twice against the creation of a commission to investigate the levee failures around New Orleans, and my question is why *have* you voted against that- creation of that commission-

I've supported every investigation and ways of finding out what caused the tragedy. I've been here to New Orleans, I've met with people on the ground, I've met with the governor. I'm not familiar with exactly what you said, but I've been as active as anybody in efforts to restore the city.

I also voted against one of the bills that came down which was loaded with pork barrel projects that had nothing to do with New Orleans, too. It had billions for projects and programs that had nothing to do with the recovery of the city of New Orleans. So, I don't know exactly what you are describing at this moment-

He claims to have supported, not voted for, every investigation, and then immediately notes that there were some bills which are relevant and which he voted against because of the additional baggage.

Regarding the Lieberman/Warner bill I read both linked articles and it seemed clear to me that in the first one the bill was still being written and that McCain and Lieberman were both expressing optimism that they could hash out enough subsidies for nuclear power that McCain would support the bill in the end. In the second article it appeared as if that did not happen, and McCain was stating that he opposed it for that reason.

In the last case a reasonable reading is that McCain doesn't want anyone to think he's saying "You, business X, will have a mandatory cap of Y tons of carbon per year." So he goes out of his way to emphasize the *trade* part of cap-and-trade (Y tons of carbon per year for everyone, buy the right to emit more than your initial slice, or sell some of your slice).

Thanks for all the time you spend on Obsidian Wings.

Heh, slightly OT, but Reuters is saying Hamas unendorsed Obama :) -- so much for that line. That's pretty funny to me.

He claims to have supported, not voted for, every investigation

Yeah, just like he "supported" the anti-torture bill. Saying you're for (or against) something, then acting to make the opposite come to pass is an odd way to "support" something, but it seems to be how McCain is using it.

I do not think that word means what you think it means. [/Ob Princess Bride]

How could you miss this gem?
McCain leaving Fox nonplussed with his mastery of the rhetorical arts. Via TPM.
Good clean fun for the whole family.

I agree with emile. I'm no great fan of McCain, and it is disingenuous to say you "support" a bill you won't vote for, but it's not an outright lie. And while using "mandatory" in place of "absolute" is slovenly English, it was understandable in context.

Hmm: I think that when you are specifically asked why you voted against X twice, and you reply 'I supported every X', that's a lie. It would be different, I guess, if he just hadn't shown up. But I don't see how you can "support" something when you vote against it.

once again, great work, hilzoy.

we Obama volunteers needs this sort of substance.


"President Bush's approval rating is at its lowest level to date. Just 25 percent of Americans approve of the overall job Mr. Bush is doing as President, an all-time low for him and among the lowest approval ratings ever recorded for a President.

Sixty-seven percent disapprove of the job Bush is doing - the highest such figure in CBS News polls since he assumed office."

25%. Wow.

McCain's YouTube problem just became a nightmare.

Just run it. As is.

And of course there's always this.

Could perhaps people give at least a five or six word summary of what their videos are, if not two or three whole sentences? It takes an instant to read a few sentences, and a hundred times that to sit through a video. Life is short. Could perhaps we have some clues, please, given that it turns out that we're not always all as fascinated with everyone's choice of a video, and prefer to not be irritated by sitting around twiddling fingers while the seconds pass, waiting, waiting, waiting, to see what the point is?

If you think it's worth our time to sit through, isn't it worth your time to spend ten seconds telling us why and what it is, in the first place? And if it's not worth it to you to spend all of ten to twenty seconds on a whole sentence or two, why exactly should we assume it's worth our longer time?

Not to mention that plenty of people are still on dialup, and effectively can't view video at all.

Thanks for any consideration in this; thanks muchly!

Okay, I've now spent over three minutes on the first video. I'm only up to 2:12, but I accidentally clicked on another link while watching the first minute, and had to wait for that to stop, then back up, reload, and then start it again, and then get it up to where I was.

It's a video of various instances of John McCain contradicting himself, with clips from various interviews and speeches.

There, was that so hard and time consuming to write? Now anyone reading this has a clue as to what it is is you want us to spend at least three minutes and fourteen seconds, and then some, on.

Yes, it's effective. But not everyone is going to click on a YouTube link out of pure faith and trust, and tens of millions of Americans have no access to broadband, so the effect is still limited, and will be most limited amongst low-information voters, who are the ones most in need of knowing this sort of thing, and also the least able to grasp the implications of McCain's stumbles on some of these issues.

There, that's my comment. Now back to watching the rest, and then I'll take another noticeable few minutes to view the other video.

God I prefer reading.

Okay, xanax's second link is to a video of more of the same, more examples of John McCain contradicting himself on various issues, such as the Iraq War, the economy, Katrina, and so forth. In this one he particularly is caught saying the Iraq war would be "easy," and that's repeated a lot, and then clips of him saying we all knew it would be hard, and anyone who thought it would be easy wasn't being straight, etc. Then onto the Confederate flag, his views of Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, etc.


What emile said (better stated than my first post).

Hmm: I think that when you are specifically asked why you voted against X twice, and you reply 'I supported every X', that's a lie. It would be different, I guess, if he just hadn't shown up. But I don't see how you can "support" something when you vote against it.

But Hilzoy, he said right after that that he voted against a particular bill (apparently it was actually two) due to pork. I actually respect that. And saying he supported investigations is at worst disingenuous and at best accurate. Look at the bills you linked to and you will see a hundred reasons not to vote in favor of the ultimate bill when you actually support investigations into Katrina. I don't think in a system of omnibus bills and no line item vetoes it's that hard to understand. Put it another way, do you really think McCain doesn't want to know how the levees failed?

Listen, I'm no McCain fan from the get go and do not stand as one now. It's this sort of parsing that's going to go nowhere.

Re: GF @ 8:45 & 8:50

"Do not ask what is it.
Let us go and make our visit."

Or not.

My preference is that people have an authentic experience of the video or article I'm linking to absent the influence of my summary. Which is why I rarely, if ever provide more than just a teaser in the link. Much as I appreciate both the potential for time wasted watching an uninteresting clip and your personal preference for reading, if, after following several of my (or anyone else's) links, they prove not worth the time, I'd suggest just avoiding them downstream.

Bush may have given up golf, but McCain is standing up for the importance of the game.

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