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August 01, 2008

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It's been mentioned that the McCain campaign was hoping this video would "go viral." I think we're being played, unfortunately. :(

At any rate, it's clear by now that, for whatever reasons, they're not really worried about going "too" negative at the moment -- that bridge was crossed a while ago. My feeling is that we should try to stop giving them free airtime, since that's the obvious benefit of all this mudflinging.

Wow that is one breathtakingly stupid ad

"Wow that is one breathtakingly stupid ad"

Well, it's targeting the demographic long ago identified by Huck Finn, a big enough majority in any town.

The video is really clumsy. The funniest thing in it is Obama mocking himself. And the tag line "He may be The One, but is he ready to lead?" is just awful. Amateur hour.

Did I miss something or is the legally required tag line ("I'm John McCain, and I approved this message.") entirely absent?

Did I miss something or is the legally required tag line ("I'm John McCain, and I approved this message.") entirely absent?

I didn't see it either, but the version I put up over at my place is from the John McCain YouTube page.

It's an Evel Knievel worthy shark jumping exhibition, that's for sure.

Probably someone will be able to teach an entire college level class on all the elements of McCain's week of ads.

But I think that Obama is taking the wrong tack here.

The whole point of playing a "card" is succeeding in manipulating the original meaning of some expression.

Example: mentioning that someone is black is linguistically a statement of fact. But by mentioning a fact, you explicitly create a point of variation.

We do this all the time in polling. Pollsters ask your age, your sex, your race, etc.

When we read polls it is easy to identify with statistics which would apply to you. I'm white, over-educated, non-poor, married.

The point of identity politics is to place the opponent into as many minority categories as possible, and place yourself into as many majority categories as possible.

With Obama and McCain, the most obvious difference is race. If your campaign is focusing on demographic differences, race benefits McCain by a wide margin.

Unfortunately for McCain, race is only a negative in certain states/districts where blacks have historically been politically significant. These states/districts already trend Republican.

Anyway, the "race card" has limited national effect, so the non-overreaction from the Obama camp is good. But they are missing a chance to play another card which would trump the "weak" race card that McCain is playing.

McCain must rely on outrage from Obama to help define the meaning of the "race card", they didn't get it, so they had to mention "race" on their own.

But the opportunity for Obama is to come up with another meaning for the associations that are being put out by McCain.

These associations don't have to be "correct" or "smart" or even "plausible", they only need to re-frame the association to neutralize the intended meaning and to create an interesting secondary meaning. In other words, skip over the obvious implications and create your own.

Examples:

The Britney/Paris ad was the easiest for Obama to take the high road, but everyone missed it. Obama should have shoved his own ego aside and defended these girls. It wouldn't have been easy, but it is indisputable that they are not part of the political campaign. And the defense is based on completely non-political grounds.

Accepting the exploitation of Britney and Paris is like accepting the caricature of the welfare queen. In one step the republicans create an outcast group and associate their existence with the democrats.

But the outrage here is not McCain's association of B&P with Obama, but McCain's dragging B&P into his xenophobic world-view.

There was an SNL skit which premised that normal citizens would produce and televise ads building up their own persona while attacking another private citizen.

Would it be possible for Obama to skip the original intended symbolism and defend Britney, Paris and Moses?

Playing a "card" requires that the victim "gets" the intended meaning. But you are only victimized if you play along and accept this meaning. You can neutralize the card by inventing your own meaning, and you can turn the tables by inventing some alternative outrage.

The thing that really strikes me about this is-- they don't want hope. These ads aren't telling us to avoid the Obama "cult of personality," or not to invest him with our hopes and dreams-- they're telling us not to have those hopes and dreams at all.

They find Obama's talk of "a nation healed, a world repaired" laughable. They pretend to be mocking Obama, but what they really seem to be mocking is the entire possibility that things will get better.

That seems like a pretty explicit "Obama is the Anti-Christ" dog whistle to me.

That seems like a pretty explicit "Obama is the Anti-Christ" dog whistle to me.

I don't really think so. It's just a straight-up attempt to portray Obama as the center of a cult of personality. McCain MUST make that idea stick, because it's the only way he can spin the excitement around Obama's campaign, and the conspicuous lack of it around his campaign, as GOOD news.

Of course, many have noted the irony of folks who lauded Bush as 'one of the most brilliant and underrated statesmen of the 20th century calling Obama's backers starry-eyed...

That's the thing about dog whistles, Jeff. Not everyone hears them. The people McCain wants to convince--the fundamentalists who haven't gotten excited about him yet--are the ones who will pick up on the antiChrist part of the message, while it'll pass unnoticed by most people. I don't think it's particularly effective--I mean, what the hell is that with Heston as Moses at the end? But the people he's trying to communicate with most will get the message he's sending.

I'm disappointed that there were no Matrix references in that ad.

I agree with Incertus that it is a good dog whistle, which means that most viewers will miss that it is casting Obama as the antiChrist.

Jeff, look at the imagery used. The cult of personality imagery is specifically religious and even (with the ham handed Moses bit) explicitly Biblical Prophet imagery. The ad doesn't cast Obama as a dictator or a celebrity, it casts him as a false prophet of God. I think for most evangelicals, the false prophet who becomes a world leader in the current day is the antiChrist.

There is a good post on this interpretation of the ad at DailyKos.

Charles,

McCain is probably going more for the South Park/Gen X republican types who think things like the Barack Obama presidential seal is funny...which it is. But if he's appealing to people who think Obama is the anti-christ, Xenu, or whatever demonic incantation, then McCain's camp will get a twofer.

To me, the ad seems to be saying "Yeah, Obama's a better orator with more charisma than our candidate, but vote for our candidate anyway."

It's been mentioned that the McCain campaign was hoping this video would "go viral."

Last week on YouTube:
Celeb: 1,368,845 views.
Troops: 420,394 views.
The One: 417,417 views.

Credit where it’s due – McCain has a lot less money. These ads are cheap, and they are going viral. The free media attention on top of that is worth millions.

Death by a thousand cuts.

Yes it just seems like a weak line of attack. You have to already be predisposed to dislike Obama to buy the notion that Obama actually, seriously, thinks he's the second coming of Jesus Christ. It's a much easier leap to the notion that McCain is a cranky old man whining about his opponent's popularity and hopeful message.

Preaching to the converted doesn't win elections.

If this is the best of what McCain will come up with, we're in good shape.

I think McCain has scored with this. I think Atrios is correct, the nation's IQ seemed to drop by a collective 10 points this week. I think McCain was right to APPEAR to come around to Obama's position on Iraq. It diminished that issue somewhat, an issue that I thought was hugely in favor of Obama.

Now the narrative has been formed, idiotic as it may be. I thought getting on Kerry because he wind surfed, and because his THIRD wound was only a 'minor wound!!!!' was idiotic and could not possibly have a chance of having legs. It worked beyond anyone's expectations.

And then, to end this disastrous week, what does Obama do? He caves on off shore drilling. Not good...not good at all.

The ad:
" I have bvecome a symbol of america returning to her best traditions"

What Barack actually said:

"It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It’s about America. I have just become a symbol of America returning to our best traditions"

Dana Milbank changed the quote and now others are quoting Milbank. It gives McCain to opportunity to lie without having direct responsbility for it. It seems we can elect people who have the best policies or we can elect the best liars. Barack has the best policies so that only leaves McCain with being the best liar.

OK, I'm old and out of touch, kind of like McCain, but are Youtube views really effective in a Presidential campaign? More effective than television?

Pure projection. The McCain camp is just jealous because their guy, with his funny little arms, can't part the Red Sea.

I think McCain has scored with this.

I agree. IMO it's a very clever ad.

He attacks Obama at one of his weaker points -- the "cult of personality" thing -- by making fun of him.

Had the ad been a more serious, or direct, attack at Obama's charisma, McCain would have come off (again) as cranky, envious, desparate, and borderline unhinged. Because it's funny (and it is funny) he comes off as clever, and like he still has some game.

Plus, because it's funny, lots and lots of people will watch it, and send it to their friends.

Plus, the whole "the One" thing resonates in a number of directions. He's poking fun of Obama's ego (and Obama does have an ego), while slipping in a snarky Matrix reference for the kids, while slipping in an anti-christ dogwhistle (which IMO is definitely there) for the religious base.

And he didn't even have to lie.

Well played.

what does Obama do? He caves on off shore drilling.

I missed that. Between that and FISA I have to say I'm liking this guy less and less.

I'll certainly vote for him, and I certainly prefer him to McCain, but I'm not looking for visionary leadership from this guy. I think we'll see competence and effectiveness, which will be a very very welcome change, but it's likely going to look something like a second Eisenhower presidency.

In context, a perfectly fine thing, but not really a progressive agenda.

I'm with Mr. Baugh, it's time to look for leadership in other places. Congress maybe, and the states. But the President has to be too many things to too many people, the office doesn't really allow for making dramatic changes in national direction.

At least not in a progressive direction.

Thanks -

I just had a co-worker (yeah, I work Saturdays) tell me to cheer up, that I'm being too pessimistic about McCain's re-Surgence.

First I told him to watch The One. His first reaction, like that of Charles, was that the ad is portraying Obama as the anti-Christ.

My reaction when I saw it on "Hardball" last night was that of fill-in host Mike Barnicle's: eye-catching but way, way over the top. Jumped the shark indeed.

But it doesn't seem to matter.

The McCain campaign -- as signified by Gallup's 44-44 tie (how is that fricking possible?) -- is scoring with all kinds of bullshit.

Paris Hilton. Charlton Heston. Obama playing the race card? Obama's answer to the energy crisis: more foreign oil (the tag line of the Britney Spears ad). Obama not visiting the wounded troops in Germany.

Bullshit.

But it seems to be sticking, perhaps with the same folks who put George Bush in office for a second term.

I was proud to be an America when I witnessed Obama's overseas trip. Still am. But as to its campaign effectivenees, it may wind up as being a negative: the Obama is Arrogant and an Elitist attack by the Republicans seems to have legs.

When a liberal journalist like Dana Milbank writes that Barack Obama has gone from being the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party to the "presumptuous" nominee, perhaps Obama has given off the wrong vibe.

If so, the Republicans are taking that ball and fncking running with it.

McCain has Sold His Soul to be our next president.

Can't the Obama campaing, with all of its money and so-called brilliance, convey that in way to put the heat where it belongs -- on John McShame, George Bush, Big Oil, the "Wall Street Got Drunk" Economy and the Mortgage Crisis?


I just had a co-worker (yeah, I work Saturdays) tell me to cheer up, that I'm being too pessimistic about McCain's re-Surgence.

First I told him to watch The One. His first reaction, like that of Charles, was that the ad is portraying Obama as the anti-Christ.

My reaction when I saw it on "Hardball" last night was that of fill-in host Mike Barnicle's: eye-catching but way, way over the top. Jumped the shark indeed.

But it doesn't seem to matter.

The McCain campaign -- as signified by Gallup's 44-44 tie (how is that frickin' possible?) -- is scoring with all kinds of bullshit.

Paris Hilton. Charlton Heston. Obama playing the race card? Obama's answer to the energy crisis: more foreign oil (the tag line of the Britney Spears ad). Obama not visiting the wounded troops in Germany.

Bullshit.

But it seems to be sticking, perhaps with the same folks who put George Bush in office for a second term.

I was proud to be an American when I witnessed Obama's overseas trip. Still am. But as to its campaign effectivenees, it may wind up as being a negative: the Obama is Arrogant and an Elitist attack by the Republicans seems to have legs.

When a liberal journalist like Dana Milbank writes that Barack Obama has gone from being the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party to the "presumptuous" nominee, perhaps Obama has given off the wrong vibe.

If so, the Republicans are taking that ball and fncking running with it.

McCain has Sold His Soul to be our next president.

Can't the Obama campaign, with all of its money and so-called brilliance, convey that in way to put the heat where it belongs -- on John McShame, George Bush, Big Oil, the "Wall Street Got Drunk" Economy and the Mortgage Crisis?

P.S. The assholes on the right haven't even unveiled their Rev. Wright stuff -- and you just know that is coming.


this kind of thing tells people who don't already like Obama that the kind of people who do like Obama worship him; and if you're not ready to worship a politician, John McCain's your man.

nevermind that the entire "cult" thing is a figment of Obama's opponents' imaginations.

My podunk little rural OH county has it's Obama office open. The staffers around here are polite, earnest and enthusiastic (and if they all look like these guys Obama's going to have the teenage girl vote locked in). That office is costing about as much as a single TV commercial and probably going to bring in 50 times the votes.

Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglasias and countless others all thought Obama was losing it against HRC because he stayed focused on his game plan. If McCain, King of the Twisted Panties, insists on losing his dignity all over the floor that's his decision. I'm going to cheerfully finish up my call list this afternoon.

Like a movie genre slipping into self-parody, this likely signals the end of this particular cycle of attack ads. But a few weeks in politics is like a few years in pop culture, so after the convention, look for the re-make, at which time the pundits and msm will again be transfixed.

These ads are cheap, and they are going viral. The free media attention on top of that is worth millions.

Death by a thousand cuts.

I'm not sure this tape is a cut, though. as other's have said, Barack's self-effacing humor undermines the impact. at the very least, viewers can see the hyperbole in Barack.

And 'jumping the shark' signifies that the show is over, which is not the case.

But 'death by a thousand cuts' does seem to be McSame's strategy.

Either it will succeed or Americans will turn on him for being too negative.

"What does Obama do? He caves on off shore drilling."

Russell: "I missed that."

Me, too.

Except: When I was getting for work in the morning -- and I am NOT a morning person, so I may have misheard things -- I had MSNBC in the background and heard something to that effect.

Personally, while I am against drilling in Anwar, I support well-regulated off-shore drilling, which we're already doing to some extent -- I support it unless somebody with authority on the subject tells me we will be off our dependence on foreign oil in 10 years.

I know this isn't the liberal Democratic point of view but, I find, the older I get the less and less "liberal" I get.

My chief concern these days, frankly, is focusing on how the f--- I am going to pay the mortgage, then the car payment, then the electric bill, then the cable bill, the cell-phone bill, the water bill, the trash bill, Danny's karate, the gas bill, vet bills, and, last but not least, those ever-loving credit cards that pay the bills when I'm not making enough on my sales job to make ends meet (the wife takes care of the groceries cutting hair three days a week).

Yeah, Phil Gramm, this is all in my head, so forgive the whining.

Call me petty or shortsighted but, like most Americans who will vote in November, these are my concerns, concerns that keep me up at night.

So if McCain is scoring points on off-shore drilling -- and forcing Obama to cave in -- good for him.

Frankly, I don't think Obama is doing enough to address these pocket-book concerns -- and if he is, he isn't coming across forcefully enough.

It's the economy, stupid -- and I'm not sure he's figured that out.

I noticed the lack of an "I'm John McCain and I approved this message", but I think those tags are only required for broadcast ads, not web-only ads. That said, this ad is completely beneath the dignity of an official Presidential campaign. If it had been independently put out there maybe its going viral could help him, but as an official product it has downsides for McCain as big as its upsides. The funny thing is, Lee Stranahan and the Jedreport made parody ads just as professional-looking targeting Hillary and McCain, and much more effective because they were genuinely independent. How can the party that brought us the Swiftboaters be releasing this video with McCain's fingerprints on it?

It's the economy, stupid -- and I'm not sure he's figured that out.

No one has. Obama offers band-aids, but McCain says there's no wound at all, when what's needed is major surgery.

Like in the case of Roosevelt in 1931, I don't expect the candidate to propose to do what actually needs to be done. Hell, FDR ran as the candidate of retrenchment.

I expect the candidate to show the temperament and intellect required to not slam the door when people come to tell him what needs to be done.

(The latter don't have to run for office -- and therefore can afford to be right.)

"How can the party that brought us the Swiftboaters be releasing this video with McCain's fingerprints on it?"

Simple.

They have no shame. They have no honor. They employ a win-at-all-costs strategy and, clearly, feel nothing is "beneath the dignity of an official Presidential campaign."

I think it's worth remembering that the Republicans Swiftboated John Kerry in August -- we are in August right now.

They are trying to do the same thing to Sen. Obama.

Mr. Machina:

Exactly.

I truly hope Sen. Obama's VP selection brings a new voice and a renewed focus on an Economy that seems to be at one of its most vital crossroads since the Great Depression.

As a member of the storied Middle Class, what does it mean when I am a couple bad months away from not being able to pay my mortgage (and have no "emergency fund" -- my emergency fund is next week's paycheck).

So that's middle class?

I really don't think there is any such thing anymore.

Mr. Machina:

Exactly.

I truly hope Sen. Obama's VP selection brings a new voice and a renewed focus on an Economy that seems to be at one of its most vital crossroads since the Great Depression.

As a member of the storied Middle Class, what does it mean when I am a couple bad months away from not being able to pay my mortgage (and have no "emergency fund" -- my emergency fund is next week's paycheck)?

So that's middle class?

I really don't think there is any such thing anymore.

"McCain advisors . . .sarcastically call Obama 'The One.'"
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-na-mccain23-2008jul23,0,4463372.story

I support well-regulated off-shore drilling

What problem will it solve?

If I have the numbers correct, the estimate is that there's about 18 billion barrels offshore.

Per the CIA Factbook, the US consumes 20.8 million barrels a day.

That's 7,592 million barrels a year. AKA 7.592 billion barrels. Let's call it 7.6 billion.

If the offshore reserves are as large as the estimate, and if we can find a way to extract all of that oil and bring it to market, we will get about 2.3+ years worth of our current rate of consumption out of it.

It will cost a lot to get that oil, and we will likely incur some amount of environmental damage to get it. Perhaps significant. And it won't be available for a while.

It doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't solve anything. It just kicks the can down the road for, optimistically, about 2 and half years.

We need to find a different basis for our economy, because sooner or later there won't be enough oil to keep doing things the way we do them now, at a price that is remotely economic.

It will take some time to find good alternatives and develop the infrastructure. In the meantime we have to continue with what we have.

I'm going to go way out on a limb and say that the US squanders, through simple, preventable inefficiencies, more oil than we would ever realize by drilling offshore or in ANWR.

The cheapest oil is the oil you don't burn. In terms of public policy, it probably makes more sense to give folks a tax writeoff for car tuneups than it does to drill offshore.

Why we have had exactly zero political leadership in simple, workaday conservation at the federal level is a question I will leave for the reader.

Not picking on you, bed. I feel your pain. I'm just pointing out that a simple, back of the envelope analysis of the actual facts makes offshore drilling look like a not-so-great idea.

Thanks -

Russell..this is a hit and run because I haven't been paying attention and now I'm leaving my screen, but...

...if we don't drill offshore or in the ANWR, then someone, somewhere, misses out on vast profits...

...sometimes I too forget and think that these things have something to do with the general welfare of us and our descendants and our home planet.

Nah.

JanieM has answered the question left for the reader.

Thanks -

Russell: It doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't solve anything.

I don’t know about anyone else, but my local gas dropped from 4.05 to 3.85 just since this conversation started. If nothing else it’s had some psychological impact on the market IMO.

As an election year issue you can’t do much better. Obama had to come to terms with that I think. But Nancy “I’m trying to save the planet” Pelosi isn’t getting that. That was a bit of silly theatre in the House yesterday. But – I never thought anything could make House Republicans look good again. She’s managing it however. She’s going to just kill your down ticket prospects.

As an election year issue you can’t do much better

That's probably true.

But as reality, its kind of [email protected] Line up enough [email protected] choices and you end up with a [email protected] country.

Eventually, a [email protected] world, but I think somebody somewhere will stop us before it gets to that point.

Thanks -

I think this very much portrays Obama as an 'anti-Christ' figure. It is undoubtable from my way of thinking. McCain is still trying to solidify his base at this point. He has to get the evangelicals to the polls or he can't win.

Russell: But as reality, its kind of [email protected] Line up enough [email protected] choices and you end up with a [email protected] country.

Yeah but 70% of the country seems to want that right now. People are ready to nuke the whales and feed baby seals to the drowning polar bears… Forget gas – my sister is getting frantic because she’s getting quotes for $6+ a gallon fuel oil and she has no idea how she will be able to heat her house this winter.

That’s just a political reality - and the reality that counts in the next 3 months…

I'm w/OCSteve on this one.

On my drive to work today, in Newark, Delaware -- we're part of the Philadelphia market -- the BP I usually use had regular unleaded down to 3.67.

I just had a customer on the lot (yes, pity me -- I sell cars for a living, a thankless job) and we were joking how Big Oil has us right where they want us, when consumers view "3.67" as a "bargain."

And I hate to agree with George Bush on anything -- his AIDS initiative is about the only truly great thing he has done in 8 years -- but, to some extent, he has talked down the price of gas just with the discussion of off-shore drilling.

It's a simple matter of supply and demand, so for the Obama campaign to deny that makes them look foolish and certainly not a friend of the working man.

Taking the long view, Russell is right: conservation and alternative sources of energy will lessen our dependence on foreign oil and save our planet.

But while I know my customers are driving -- and buying -- less, I know most of them, like me, cannot afford a Prius. (I ain't driving a 1992 F-150 for the comfort; I'm driving it because, three years ago, it cost me $5,000 -- and I only have a 3 mile drive to work.)

And even if they did, unlike me, with just than one child -- some families still have three and four kids even in this day and age and a Prius, if they could afford it, won't work.

The Big Three has made ALL kinds of mistakes, most of which anyone who frequents this site would know about, but one simple mistake they made is saying good-bye to the tried-and-true station wagon.

Sure, SUVs -- which you can't give away these days, save the odd customer with his third kid on the way who just HAD to replace his 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with an '08 Tahoe -- seduced America. But I'm sure there still his a niche for more fuel-friendly station wagons (I had a customer wanting one the other day and had nothing to show him).

(Sorry for the caps, I'll get the hang of how to do italics one of these days.)


"Forget gas -- my sister is getting frantic because she's getting quotes for $6+ a gallon fuel oil and she has no idea how she will be able to heat her house this winter."

Indeed -- the next Big Consumer Worry.

Basically, that was the headline in The Philadelphia Inquirer the other day.

I guess I'm lucky because our rancher is small and uses gas heat -- but that seemed to be expensive enough last winter. Just keeps going up and up.

As a lifelong Dem, I know my party must take the lead on so-called liberal issues.

But to be able to address them, you have to win the damn election first, and we will only win if we address kitchen-table issues and win the hearts and minds of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck.

No coincidence our last nominee to win was Bill "It's the Economy, Stupid" Clinton -- nobody ever called Bubba an elitist.

Somehow, I became "b" on the last post.

So I just clicked the "Remember personal info?" button.

I am such a computer neophyte.

Yeah but 70% of the country seems to want that right now.

I think what people want is some kind of assurance that they'll be able to keep living their lives at a reasonable level of quality.

They want to go where they need to go, heat their homes, etc.

I doubt anyone really cares all that much how that happens.

I fully expect that Republicans will ride this pony for everything it's worth. It's still a pile of horsecrap. Drilling offshore is not going to make a noticeable difference in the average joe's bottom line, and by the time it makes a non-noticeable difference, everyone will forget what the question was in the first place.

It's political theater. That's all well and good, but it doesn't solve the problem. And it's a real problem.

I don't think we will see useful political leadership on this at the federal level.

Thanks -

On oil drilling:
If you knew there was a crate full of diamonds under your front lawn, you could
1) Buy the services of an excavating firm to dig it up for you. Sell or use the diamonds yourself.
2) Sell digging rights to a diamond dealer. Buy the diamonds from him.
If you and your family decide you really need the diamonds more than you value your front lawn, well, that's democracy. But talking as if the only way to get the diamonds is to afford the diamond dealers an opportunity for enormous profit, well, that's just stupidity.

On Paris and Britney:
The most offensive thing about pairing those with Obama was not that they are both vaccuous blonde bimbettes, but that they are both vaccuous blonde REPUBLICAN bimbettes.

Somebody with better skills and equipment than me ought to just go ahead and make a video of Grandpa McCain actually jumping a shark already.

-- TP

That's the thing about dog whistles, Jeff. Not everyone hears them. The people McCain wants to convince--the fundamentalists who haven't gotten excited about him yet--are the ones who will pick up on the antiChrist part of the message...
Just to put a stake in the ground here, I came of age in a charismatic/fundamentalist household, where I went door to door campaigning for Bush, participated in a prayer vigil for the future of the nation when Clinton got into office, and eventually co-hosted an episode of the 700 club. I know dog-whistles. ;-) And I don't think this one works.

If you want to trigger evangelical/charismatic Antichrist reflexes, you need to go back to the crypto-islamist stuff, you need to talk about how Obama wants to be "a peacemaker", and you need to play up the stuff about religious unity. This ad fails -- it talks about cults of personality, it talks about personality, and so on. For all its zaniness, rapture-theology has pretty specific bullet points, and simply harping on someone's popularity or playing up ther supposed ego isn't enough to ring the bells. IMO, at least.

The crypto-islamist and religious unity stuff blows the whistle because it's all about dilluting Christianity's brand influence, of 'posing' as one of the faithful and fooling everyone while really planning something diabolical. The 'he wants to be a peacemaker' stuff is all about the belief that the Antichrist will promise peace but will really bring war; Slacktivist has written extensively about how this has morphed from "don't trust liars" to "don't trust people who try to achieve peace" in the fundamentalist mind.

In the fundamentalist/rapture world, that's the kind of stuff that causes ears to perk up and antichrist checklists to come out. Simply saying that someone thinks they're special, and they have lots of fans, isn't enough.

Again, I could be wrong -- it's been a few years sinceI got out of that world. But I'm still on the email forwarding chains, and I saw the "Is Obama the antichrist" stuff when it was first making the rounds...

Another note: I think the big message the McCain campaign was trying to push was, "Obama is arrogant and proud." In Evangelical/fundamentalist circles, that's a more serious issue than the Antichrist stuff, because it can actually stick. A "prideful" person is in direct opposition to God, see, and you can justify the idea that someone is prideful way easier than you can justify the belief that they're Actually Possessed By Satan, And Determined To Being The Apocalypse.

On the flip side, the level of enthusiasm for McCain among evangelicals is pretty rock-bottom. My mother in law explained to my wife that she would NEVER vote for Obama. My wife casually mentioend that McCain had once called his wife a c*nt; my mother in law's response was to sight, and say that perhaps then she wouldn't vote at all.

Ouch.

Acknowledging the truth behind everything you wrote, Russell (2:22), it's still a whole lot less painless to fill up at the pump when that big sign reads: "3.67" and not the "4.22" of a month ago.

As an election year issue you can’t do much better. Obama had to come to terms with that I think. But Nancy “I’m trying to save the planet” Pelosi isn’t getting that. That was a bit of silly theatre in the House yesterday. But – I never thought anything could make House Republicans look good again. She’s managing it however. She’s going to just kill your down ticket prospects.

Get back to me on October 1st when the ban has expired after quietly never being re-authorized.

I like the idea of defending Britney- although it should be done by surrogates, not Obama himself. One thing that I'm surprised that no one has pointed out- Britney Spears has been hospitalized (I believe more than once, but I don't follow these things) for the treatment of mental illness. For the McCain campaign to take a person struggling with mental illness- even a celebrity- and hold her up to ridicule as a symbol of a worthless person, is, in my book, despicable.

My evil fantasy is that Britney herself will notice this and announce that she'd been planning to vote for McCain, but given the way he's tried to exploit her, she's now voting for Bob Barr!

I don't think that putting your most contemptuous, peevish impulses out there for all the world to see is a winning strategy, myself.

This video is probably quite effective, actually. Like McCain's entire campaign these days, it's a piece of crap in every sense, but that doesn't make it ineffective. McCain just needs to produce a doubt - an unreasonable reasonable doubt, if you will - at the margins, and he can win this. He's still going uphill, but this was a great week for him. Get real, people.

Why would anyone vote for this peevish Alzheimer's patient anyway?

another thing about Britney's "celebrity" is that, unlike Paris Hilton, Britney actually deserves hers: she's a hugely successful entertainer. you might not like her music - i don't - but millions of people do. and, she's a genuine rags-to-riches success story. Paris Hilton is simply an old-money socialite.

McCain is vapid.

He's still going uphill, but this was a great week for him.

every week is a great week for McCain. every fncking week.

Pretty stupid but within the bounds (of stupidity).

Of course, the only ones it'll appeal to are the smirk-faced GOPers.

Dear Hilzoy: I trust you are well.

Except I agree with the McCain camp, I have only contempt for Obama. He is totally UNQUALIFIED to be President. There are so many reasons why he should not be President.

Sincerely, Sean

Why would anyone vote for this peevish Alzheimer's patient anyway?

The serious answer to this question is: lots of voters have Alzheimer's too. Politically speaking, they don't remember what happened last week, much less last election.

A lot of voters are deeply DEEPLY annoyed at the very idea that they be expected to take attention away from their precious 'lifestyle' - or, to be fair, their onerous work/family schedule - to even think about this stuff. These people are treated by our leaders like relatively well-off peasants, and they behave as such. That's not to say they are stupid; they are just oblivious. And there are lots of them.

it's still a whole lot less painless to fill up at the pump when that big sign reads: "3.67" and not the "4.22" of a month ago.

I agree.

It's unclear to me, however, how talking about maybe drilling offshore makes prices drop more than half a buck.

If that's all it takes, somebody's gaming us.

But in any case, actually drilling is not what's helping, because noone's doing that yet.

Thanks -

johnnybutter:

How true -- "an unreasonable reasonable doubt."

And how sad.

But as you say, it's working. How else do you explain Gallup's 44-44 tie?

I just find it disheartening the campaign has taken such a quick and harsh tone after Obama's overseas tour -- as if that totally backfired somehow.

Russell,

On the one hand, I agree with you: I don't think just talking about drilling off shore accounts for prices dropping more than half a buck a gallon in a month or so.

More likely, while I do think such talk contributed to lowering the price in some form or fashion, I think the price for a barrel of oil simply peaked when it neared $150 a barrel.

Also, folks are driving at record lows and consumption is way, way down -- a step in the right direction that is hopefully not temporary now that prices are going down a bit.

I wish I had a better memory -- and I don't have time to Google it because we are closing up shop -- but I was reading Time before going to bed last night and read some astounding statistic about how many fewer miles drivers are driving this summer as opposed to last.

Again, I hope this country -- "addicted to oil," as the President of Big Oil said in his State of the Union Address -- won't go back to its old gas-guzzling ways.

Cheers.

"Another note: I think the big message the McCain campaign was trying to push was, "Obama is arrogant and proud." In Evangelical/fundamentalist circles, that's a more serious issue than the Antichrist stuff, because it can actually stick."

I just have to thank almighty God, then, that we haven't had a president who was arrogant or proud for the past seven and a half years.

Pshew. Dodged a bullet, there.

"He is totally UNQUALIFIED to be President."

What are the qualifications to be President?

"There are so many reasons why he should not be President."

Perhaps you might bother to give one or two.

Sean, what's the point of communicating a thought with zero informational content? Do you find that persuasive?

If I wrote "there are so many reasons why you should vote for Obama, and he is qualified," and didn't bother to give any, do you think I should feel I've persuaded you? Would you feel informed by my content? Would you find that an interesting conversational gambit?

If not, why on earth do you think it works when you do it?

How about stating some of the reasons, making a logical argument, and supporting it with reliable cites?

When I start to get triumphalistic about how devoid of ideas McCain's campaign looks, I remind myself that 538's very scientifically-based projection only has McCain as a 2:1 underdog. (Texas hold'em players may recognize that as similar to the odds of your flush draw coming in with two cards to come; everyone else can just think of it as not the most likely scenario, but not an outlandish one at all.)

I want to believe that they're wrong, that there really aren't 47.0% of the population ready to vote for a cipher like McCain. But I don't believe they are. We're a country with a large enough stupid contingent to really screw us over.

What are the qualifications to be President?

1. Republican
2. Republican
3. Republican

so, you can see: TOTALLY UNQUALIFIED

We're a country with a large enough stupid contingent to really screw us over.

of course we are. we elected W, twice.

Obama is betting people will understand and respect his good ideas and fresh approach. but, we elected W, twice. we are not that smart. we don't pay attention. negativity works.

we elected W, twice.

Obama, are you listening ?

?

Sh!t -- y'all elected Nixon twice. You damn right negativity in response to fear and ignorance works.

Like mom and apple pie.

All I got from it was that Obama is the anti-Christ message - it brings offensive to a whole new level.

It's unclear to me, however, how talking about maybe drilling offshore makes prices drop more than half a buck.

If that's all it takes, somebody's gaming us.

Dingdingding! We have a winner!

For more on this, see Hunter's post From Enron to Exxon at the Great Orange Satan.

The problem for McCain is twofold: how much will these ads turn off the Republicans who now loathe Bush, i.e. the old-style centrist fiscal conservative/libertarians? I don't think they will play well there at all. Second, how does McCain follow this up? This may well be a case of him firing off both barrels - and then having nothing more to offer when the fight really begins.
Can he raise the stakes from here?

I'd also point out that Obama attracted a lot of new donors from these ads, so he made money - while McCain didn't. Furthermore, McCain may well have put a dent in his reputation, which would damage him more than we know. Yes, the polls tightened a bit - well, that doesn't mean the game is anywhere near done. Overall, I doubt these ads helped McCain much. Obama still has more money, hasn't taken the negative road, and is in better shape for the long haul.

Environmental concerns aside for just one moment, one thing I don't get about the anti-offshore drilling side is this:

If we all agree -- that at least for today, tomorrow and go ahead and stipulate how long, five years, 10 years, 20 years -- that this country will require oil, why, then, is it OK we import oil from the Middle East, Russia, Canada, Venezuela, wherever, but not extract it from our own backyard?

Again, putting environmental concerns aside for a moment -- and stipulating that we are talking about offshore drilling and not Anwar, why don't we use our own natural resources?

Yet we find it OK to import it, when, I'd have to think, if the drilling for oil is not good for our environment, it cannot be good for that of the Middle East or Russia or Canada or Venezuela.

I may be missing something and, please, let me know if I am.

But it just seems like another instance where America tells other countries: "Do as I say, not as I do."

Or something like that.

(and if they all look like these guys Obama's going to have the teenage girl vote locked in)

femdem- I'll take that as a compliment, since I'm a door to door person in IN. Thanks. ^.^
I should add, though, that with the girls volunteering here, we should have the teenage boy vote locked up too.

Jeff [email protected]:50- While Mormons aren't really big on the Antichrist thing, after running the ad by a (Mormon) friend, she said that she has some relatives in Utah that would be freaking out if they saw it. However I did get the impression that she thought these relatives weren't really knowledgable on LDS theology, so take that with a grain of salt.

re jaswant: "Second, how does McCain follow this up? This may well be a case of him firing off both barrels - and then having nothing more to offer when the fight really begins. Can he raise the stakes from here?"

As I see it, far from jumping the shark, these ads ("The One" and "Celeb") are effective body punches. They're intended to soften Obama's midsection but they're not intended as knockout blows. Those will come later when the Red Team's Slime Machine feels this "He's a ROCK STAR but is he ready to lead?" direction has been fully exploited and has had the intended effect. As I've said on this blog before, BHO better have a powerful, compelling, well-crafted response to the "Look Who His Spiritual Advisors Are" ads that are surely coming.

But feeling as optimistic about him and his candidacy as I do, I'm sure the Blue Team has some impressive razzle-dazzle up their collective sleeves (Xanax crosses fingers, toes, etc.).

I'm hoping this can and will be a substantive, issues-driven campaign where the best candidate wins. If that were to be the case, I believe BHO wins convincingly. But the reality is that in the street brawl that is Presidential Politics, you must be prepared to absorb and deflect some heavy blows, and when your opponent lands a punch you better counter-punch with equal or greater force and aggression.

Also, if as has been stated here, the target demo for this message really is fundamentalists who've not yet gotten excited about McCain, I think Obama benefits from the fact that this ad - at 1:14 - cannot fit within the :30/:60 time-constraints of normal TV advertising (hence the absence of the requisite "I'm John McCain and I approve this message" tag). I suppose Fox News might sell the McCain camp the odd 1:15 commercial break but, for this to be widely seen, it'll have to be primarily on-line and I don't see that as the ideal broadcast venue for this older, infinitely more conservative demo. I just don't see them as avid YouTubers.

But I could be wrong.

In the world of political ads there is no good publicity, bad publicity, only publicity. These ads, as sophomoric as they are, work because they get free media attention, go viral on YouTube, and have talking heads/pundits/bloggers commenting about them.

But they work.

Think about this: in 2006 does anyone remeber any other TV ad besides the "Call Me Harold" ad. From the primaries how many ads do you remember besides the "3am" ad.

The biggest lie in politics is that negative ads don't work. Oh really, then why do they keep reappearing. Of course they work. Remember if you're not on offense, you're losing.

People expect politicians to say good things about themselves and so they don't put much weight on it. Whatever legislative accomplishments McCain or Obama highlight in an ad won't impressed uniformed voters. But a negative comparison or reference to Paris/Britney will remember them.

Obama has two routes -- he can either act surprised or disappointed in McCain (i.e. Kerry '04) or he can try and win.

I thought part of the video was funny. Obama's "presidential seal" is something that begs to be ridiculed. So as satire it doesn't totally miss the mark, though they must think their audience is pretty stupid when they try to use Obama's self-deprecating humor against him. But probably the intended target audience is pretty stupid.

What makes the video hard for me to take is the fact that it comes from Republicans. Republicans criticizing an alleged cult of personality around a political figure. Lord, what's next? Stalinists criticizing authoritarian tendencies in government?

"The biggest lie in politics is that negative ads don't work."

Who has ever claimed that negative ads don't work, specifically? If it's the biggest lie, it must be extremely common: can you a couple of cites, please?

It's possible to overdo the fear and trembling before the negative ads of this world. Not all of them work - only the ones that really latch onto a significant flaw which provides some sort of evidence to back them up. Kerry's double-speak about voting did that for him, as did his past gesture of discarding his medals. There was enough there to gain traction with the ad.

I am not sure the Obama ads do that - the charge of being a celebrity ignores the fact that by and large the US likes celebrities, unless they eat small children. What McCain can't show is that the charge has much merit. Equally, Messiah might produce the odd smile at Obama's rhetoric, but there isn't much to work with in the megalomaniac department.

I suspect that these ads have helped Obama by providing money and rallying indignant supporters to his side. Have they done much for McCain? Probably not - the people who took them seriously were never likely to go for Obama, and might not find this sort of attack enough reason to swallow their distrust of McCain. After all, the man has 11 homes, married a beauty queen and has been grandstanding for years on a pretty wretched record.

What's more, being a celebrity hardly amounts to a crime or betrayal of country or principle. A lot of people like the rags to riches idea - and might well find Obama somewhat admirable because of it. As for Messiah (and Celeb), it's noticeable that the McCain campaign is not quite sure how far to push this, thus the denials of serious intent, and the claims that they are having fun. I think they ran the flag up, found a limited and sometimes quite hostile response, and will probably not try this line too seriously in future.

I would argue that what has hurt Obama has been some backtracking on previous positions, as well as McCain getting a lot of love from the MSM on his various idiocies. That assumes that Obama has lost ground for real, rather than in a minor shift in the polls that might well come back up in a week or so. Either way, I don't see that the ads by McCain had or will have much negative impact on him. If anything, I suspect they will come back to haunt McCain.

Not sure about this but was McCain ever that religious anyway? Or is this something he's backing into in these his twilight years?

From what Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone, he did not take up church-going before it proved necessary to appeal to the GOP base and he is still not a good pretender on that (which to Matt actually makes him more appealing to sane people as opposed to mad puritans).

Question for the environmentalists – what if new drilling actually reduces pollution?

Oil is still so plentiful in the region that it often bubbles uncontrollably to the surface, and shows up in the form of tar globules on some of the area's beaches. Tourists and new residents often curse the offshore platforms as they scrub their blackened feet, but long-time residents know the phenomenon has occurred naturally for thousands of years.

A sea of petroleum lurks underneath the city and off the Santa Barbara shore but is not covered over by what is known as "cap rock." Under normal drilling methods, explorers puncture cap rock, and then pressure from underneath squirts oil through the opening. The seeping oil is not covered over by cap rock and thus meanders throughout the area.

Korb, an Obama supporter who was at the McCain meeting earlier in the week, wonders whether it could be tapped.

"Maybe we should spend some money on capping the areas of main seepage," Korb said. "They could be capturing methane gas and the oil, rather than just letting it disseminate."

Bruce Allen says it can be done - by doing more drilling. Allen is the president of a group called Stop Oil Seeps, which argues that additional offshore drilling could be used to prevent oil from bubbling up on to beaches. And the region could produce nearly 2 billion barrels over a period of 25 years, he says.

Natural seepage alone over a four-year period amounts to roughly the same amount of oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska in 1989. He points out that a University of California, Santa Barbara study conducted in the mid-1990s shows that seepage around one of the nearby oil rigs known as Platform Holly dropped by more than 50% over 22 years as a result of production.

"If you expanded oil production, it's believed that you would have that same effect of reducing the seepage and reducing the pollution impact," Allen said. "That runs counter to a lot of people who do not want offshore oil production in other parts of the world as well as here, and they view it as a larger issue. But for central California residents, we view it as a local issue where we could see a reduction in the pollution and it's important to us."

Worth repeating: Natural seepage alone over a four-year period amounts to roughly the same amount of oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska in 1989.

So we’ve got the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez spill occurring naturally roughly every four years off the west coast - massive pollution and of course a total waste of the oil. New wells might actually reduce the pollution. What’s the main opposition to pursuing that?

"Their science is a little sketchy," said John Abraham Powell, president of Get Oil Out, a group formed days after the 1969 spill. "It's not clear it would work."

People remember one of our very first significant spills – almost 40 years ago. Does anyone here want to make the argument that the oil companies have not learned anything or improved technology in those four decades? Best not to even try though, because “It's not clear it would work”.

Other reasons?

In a private meeting last week, according to some in attendance, Pelosi told members of her leadership team that a decision to relent on the coastal ban would amount to capitulation to Republicans and the White House.

Oh noes! I’d just hate to think that the Congress controlled by Democrats might roll over for the Bush administration. I mean, I just can’t even picture that happening!

"Allen is the president of a group called Stop Oil Seeps, which argues that additional offshore drilling could be used to prevent oil from bubbling up on to beaches. And the region could produce nearly 2 billion barrels over a period of 25 years, he says."

Gee, I wonder where they get their funding from.

"Best not to even try though, because 'It's not clear it would work'."

What would be the problem with getting a good idea as to whether or not it would work? Can you give any cites to any neutral scientific studies, not funded by an oil company, about this? Wanna lay any bets on "Stop Oil Seeps" getting funding from oil companies, and having personnel with oil company connections, Steve? Are you really that naive? Do you seriously believe this isn't a front group?

Let's look, kids!

JIM NELSON
Vice President / Treasurer
Jim retired from Cal Dive International, Inc., a marine contractor and operator of offshore oil and gas properties and production facilities, where he was, Chief Financial Officer, Vice Chairman and a Director. Mr. Nelson currently serves on the Boards of Directors of four publicly traded companies: W&T Offshore, Inc., an independent oil and natural gas company focused in the Gulf of Mexico; Oil States International, Inc., a diversified oilfield services company; Input/Output, a seismic services provider; and Quintana Maritime Ltd., an international provider of dry bulk cargo marine transportation services based in Athens, Greece.
What an unpredictable coincidence. Who could have seen that coming?!?

Next up on the Exxon shill list/formerly on their payroll, and perhaps still:

PEGGY EWING
Secretary
During her years as an undergraduate at the University of California, Peggy worked as a commercial abalone diver at the Channel Islands. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marine Biology, she was employed as a research diver for the University, participating in the Exxon population studies to determine the effects of the 1969 oil spill on the abalone beds around the Channel Islands.
Here we find:
Links
Primary Sources of Information

[...]

Western States Petroleum Association: www.wspa.org

Gosh, who could believe it?

Counterpoint:

[...] In the meantime, SOS experienced many of the problems typical of a new group publicly engaging in rhetorical combat for the first time. The $300 million a year it claims the county could get from new oil drilling, it turns out, is based on generous revenue-sharing agreements — between feds and the state and between the state and the county — that do not currently exist outside of its members’ own imaginations. And yes, oil seeps do contribute to air pollution, but they are nowhere near the Number One source that SOS director Judy Rossiter claims. That distinction belongs to all the tankers in the channel, followed by all the cars and trucks on the road. As to whether increased drilling alleviates natural seepage, that all depends. Throughout much of the channel, the offshore oil deposits are located far below the natural seep deposits. By drilling for oil, you do little to affect many seeps.

At Venoco’s Platform Holly — located off the coast of UCSB — however, the seep formation is directly above the oil reservoir. In addition, there are cracks and channels connecting the Holly reserves to the seeps. UCSB scientists have found that drilling at Holly does, in fact, reduce the volume of seepage. Many geologists suspect this is a temporary phenomenon. But even if it’s not, what happens at Holly does not necessarily happen elsewhere throughout the channel. Scientists studying seeps say it’s nearly impossible to track down the source of many of the tar balls that wash up onshore. So even if drilling helps, it’s not clear where you should drill. Venoco, Inc., it turns out, is currently trying to expand operations at Platform Holly. Venoco has also made a big deal about natural seepage and what it’s been doing to curb its emissions. And finally, Venoco also gave SOS $40,000 to help get the new group off the ground. Might there be a connection between the money and the message? You tell me.

SOS also points out how substantially offshore drilling technology has advanced since 1969 and that we need not wet our pants quite so profusely when offshore oil is mentioned. And it’s true that the technology is better. But it’s also true that the technology to prevent the 1969 oil spill existed all the way back in 1969. But human error, being infallible and irresistible, prevailed over technology. Human error overrode the safety technology again in 1997 when there was a much smaller spill at Platform Irene. And I’m not sure what technology exists to keep a drunk from captaining an oil tanker, as happened with the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

Bottom line is that accidents aren't preventable when you have oil tankers coming and going, but more to the point, any additional amount of oil would be a trivial increase of a rapidly depleting resource; why not invest the money in something (wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, tidal, etc.) that won't be inevitably running out in a few years, no matter what we do? What kind of sense does instead throwing our money down a rathole with little in it make?

Unless you own oil company stock, that is.

If we all agree -- that at least for today, tomorrow and go ahead and stipulate how long, five years, 10 years, 20 years -- that this country will require oil, why, then, is it OK we import oil from the Middle East, Russia, Canada, Venezuela, wherever, but not extract it from our own backyard?

Yet we find it OK to import it, when, I'd have to think, if the drilling for oil is not good for our environment, it cannot be good for that of the Middle East or Russia or Canada or Venezuela.

I may be missing something and, please, let me know if I am.

But it just seems like another instance where America tells other countries: "Do as I say, not as I do."

We can't force those other countries to drill for oil -- we simply purchase it because they do. Nor can we stop them from drilling just because of environmental concerns. Yes, we're being a free rider on other countries' willingness to prioritize drilling, pumping and shipping over the environment and other causes. If they decided to prioritize differently, then we'd have to deal with that. But they have to make those decisions themselves -- it has nothing to do with "Do as I say, not as I do."

I may be missing something and, please, let me know if I am.

I'm not sure if it's something you're missing, but it's something that never seems to show up in the discussion.

The problem is not that we're buying oil from other people, rather than drilling our own.

The problem is that we use much, much more oil than we produce, or could produce in any likely scenario. The further problem is that all of the low-hanging fruit oil supplies are beginning to approach peak production, and so even if we wanted to buy rather than extract our own, there's not enough. The further, further problem is that China, India, and some other emerging economies are just starting to ramp up their demand.

In other words, we can drill, and drill, and drill, from now until doomsday, and it won't be enough. What we will buy by drilling, and drilling, and drilling, is a couple of years worth of continuing to not address the actual problem.

The *actual problem* is that oil will increasingly, and irreversibly, be uneconomic as a basis for our industrial economy.

Drill offshore or not, as you wish, and you won't solve that problem.

The word I'm searching for here is "folly".

Natural seepage alone over a four-year period amounts to roughly the same amount of oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska in 1989.

Yes, OC, but complete the sentence.

Natural seepage alone over a four-year period amounts to roughly the same amount of oil that spilled from the Exxon Valdez incident in Alaska in 1989 in one day.

If oil seepage has been going on for thousands of years, the ecology in the area has adapted to it.

If you run across pictures of thousands of local birds, fish, and sea mammals covered in oil and dead on the beach from natural seeps, let me know.

Thanks -

Gary: Gee, I wonder where they get their funding from.
...
Can you give any cites to any neutral scientific studies, not funded by an oil company, about this?

Gary - it was in my original comment, but here you go:

Cite:

The studies were not funded by oil companies, but rather by the University of California Energy Institute and the U.S. Minerals Management Service, states Luyendyk, responding to the fact that the results favor off-shore oil production and are opposed by some environmentalists.

"We've done a good piece of science," said Luyendyk. "We've developed a good understanding of a natural process. It's all public data; it's all straightforward. If I thought the study was compromised I wouldn't be involved in it."


Are you really that naive? Do you seriously believe this isn't a front group?

Every group advocating something that takes money from someone else is a front group for someone. So what?

Do you seriously believe that haven of Republicans and oil barons UCSB is a front group for big oil? Are you really that naive?


…any additional amount of oil would be a trivial increase of a rapidly depleting resource; why not invest the money in something (wind, solar, geothermal, nuclear, tidal, etc.) that won't be inevitably running out in a few years, no matter what we do?

Why not do something about oil that is currently being vented into the sea, not only being wasted but causing the equivalent of an Exxon Valdez spill occurring naturally roughly every four years off the west coast?

Don't you care about the environment Gary?
;)

OCSteve: Every group advocating something that takes money from someone else is a front group for someone. So what?

Are you really that naive?

Russell: If you run across pictures of thousands of local birds, fish, and sea mammals covered in oil and dead on the beach from natural seeps, let me know.

Nothing that dramatic I’m afraid. Still, it’s enough to close beaches and require environmental cleanup.

It just seems like a twofer to me.

"Every group advocating something that takes money from someone else is a front group for someone."

That's just not true. A group specifically set up by an interest to conceal their hand at generating favorable views that appear to be from a neutral party is entirely different from a genuine organization. Just as a group set up by a major industry is entirely different from an actual grass-roots organization.

Hmmm, I think the price of oil is taking a rest for two reasons:

The economy is slowing and thus the speculative demand premium has been at least temporarily taken out of the price of oil and natural gas.

Developing economies like China and India are trying to reign in growth as well. China is growing so quickly that they can't keep up with electricity demand and they are experiencing a coal shortage.

As a result of economic pressures, the rhetoric against hign energy costs is being ratcheted up too: for example, U.S. airline executives (who run the most dysfunctional industry in America: nationalize it) are signing proclamations all over the place begging the government to do something about oil speculation. Pilots of one airline just last week protested that management was endangering passengers by not letting planes carry sufficient excess fuel.

Also, two words and an initial: T. Boone Pickens. Not to be confused with Slim Pickens. T. Boone (who maybe should change his name; T. Jimmy Carter Gore has a nice ring) has been all over the place recently putting his money into wildcatting windfarms and alternative energy sources, saying he can't handle looking at oil supply curves any more.

There's no future in it.

American automobile companies can't close SUV plants fast enough and are developing really long extension cords for electric cars.

Environmentally, those hoping for more off-shore drilling should look what's happening in Wyoming and Colorado to formerly rock-solid Republican ranchers, all named T. Boone Pickens in previous elections: their water supplies and their western vistas are being ruined by unlimited drilling underneath their own land and now the wilderness areas and such abutting their lands are under constant assault by the Bush Administration's land-use policies.

They're making common cause with environmental groups and are thinking about voting for Democrats.

Go ahead, drill off of Florida and California.

Those whiners Phil Gramm talks about, who have been firmly ensconced in his Party all these years, will be whining for Gramm's head.

Jes and Gary: Fine, I stretched the meaning too far.

But look – A group advocating offshore drilling (for whatever reason) isn’t likely to get funding from Greenpeace. Of course they’re likely to find funding from organizations with aligned interests.

I’m just tired of the tendency to outright dismiss anything coming from a source that can have funding tracked back to somewhere you don’t like and then say “Ah-ha! I don’t even have to consider this.” I mean it seems at times that some people’s first instinct is to attempt to discredit an argument by looking for the boogie-man behind the curtain – before ever considering the argument. Saves time I guess.

I mean you can find George Soros in the shadows behind all kinds of D advocacy groups. But that doesn’t mean I get to dismiss any good arguments/proposals they may make out of hand.

A group advocating offshore drilling (for whatever reason) isn’t likely to get funding from Greenpeace. Of course they’re likely to find funding from organizations with aligned interests.

Alternatively, the group was set up with funding from those "organizations with aligned interests".

And Steve, if the group really has a scientific basis for its claim that offshore drilling in that area would be good for the sea creatures living in that area, doesn't it strike you as a little suspicious that it can't get any support from environmentalist organizations?

I mean it seems at times that some people’s first instinct is to attempt to discredit an argument by looking for the boogie-man behind the curtain

Uh huh. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.


And using your definition:
A group specifically set up by an interest to conceal their hand at generating favorable views that appear to be from a neutral party is entirely different from a genuine organization.

That was awfully sneaky of them to conceal that information on the “About” page of their main website. ;)

And I guess Exxon is paying the rest of these folks just to act as camouflage:

BRUCE ALLEN: In 1981 he founded a space research and solar energy company and is currently writing a book on solar energy and national energy policy. He lives in Santa Barbara, California and serves on the Board of the Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control District Community Advisory Council.

LAD HANDELMAN: Since losing the use of his body from the chest down as a result of a 1985 skiing accident, Lad has continued to sponsor and support projects and organizations that improve the quality of the ocean and its resources.

JUDY ROSSITER: After moving to California in 1997, her career has been focused on organizations committed to environmental and social change.

One thing's for sure, every last one of these recent ads is pure Rove: take your opponent's strength, and attack it as if it were a weakness. It requires stooping to complete and total fabrication and relentless dishonesty, but it works on stupid people.

"And I guess Exxon is paying the rest of these folks just to act as camouflage"

Duh.

Look, maybe it's a grand idea. If a bunch of neutral scientists, and environmental organizations, think so, kewl. When that happens, get back to me.

But meanwhile it's still nothing about nothing: oil has or is about to peak, it's all downhill from here, and money going into further oil exploration is good money after bad. Put it into every other kind of energy development. Talking about oil exploration in this day and age is talking about how much fuel oil the Titantic has. The details really aren't worth focusing on, or spending any time on.

Meanwhile, people who want to live in suburbs, and drive everywhere, should rethink their lifestyle; gas is going to $10/gallon soon enough, and more; deal.

Move somewhere urban, with mass transit, unless you're just willfully blind. Oil isn't going to unpeak.

And get everyone you know to be as green as they can, and work on every bit of energy conservation they can, and also have government focus on that. If you want to focus on something useful.

I'm interested in what might be done with solar power satellites down the road, but if that's too many ifs, there are lots of other technologies to focus investment on. And, hey, also get rich and have America be part of the cutting edge of a technology everyone will need to buy into. Even someone as simpleminded these days as Thomas Friedman has been banging this drum for more than a decade.

I can only do one more link this comment, but wave farms seem promising.

(Some of us noticed back in the Sixties that oil would run out around this time, so it's hardly a surprise now.)

"And I guess Exxon is paying the rest of these folks just to act as camouflage"

Duh.

Look, maybe it's a grand idea. If a bunch of neutral scientists, and environmental organizations, think so, kewl. When that happens, get back to me.

But meanwhile it's still nothing about nothing: oil has or is about to peak, it's all downhill from here, and money going into further oil exploration is good money after bad. Put it into every other kind of energy development. Talking about oil exploration in this day and age is talking about how much fuel oil the Titantic has. The details really aren't worth focusing on, or spending any time on.

Meanwhile, people who want to live in suburbs, and drive everywhere, should rethink their lifestyle; gas is going to $10/gallon soon enough, and more; deal.

Move somewhere urban, with mass transit, unless you're just willfully blind. Oil isn't going to unpeak.

And get everyone you know to be as green as they can, and work on every bit of energy conservation they can, and also have government focus on that. If you want to focus on something useful.

I'm interested in what might be done with solar power satellites down the road, but if that's too many ifs, there are lots of other technologies to focus investment on. And, hey, also get rich and have America be part of the cutting edge of a technology everyone will need to buy into. Even someone as simpleminded these days as Thomas Friedman has been banging this drum for more than a decade.

(Some of us noticed back in the Sixties that oil would run out around this time, so it's hardly a surprise now.)

Wave farms seem promising. So does, in some places, geothermal.

I'm also for lots more nuclear development; this is an area I agree with John McCain about. Let's follow... the French.

Meanwhile there's an awful lot of places available for solar panels.

It just seems like a twofer to me.

Look, OC, here is where it is at.

Tar balls on beaches from naturally occuring seeps is just not a problem for anyone other than folks who want to play in the sand that particular day. They'll get over it.

Your guy from SOS has a male appendage that is getting extraordinarily stiff at the thought of getting his hands on the offshore oil fields. He does not give one single, tiny, flying f*%k about the environment. He wants the money.

Nobody that wants to drill into that oil bed has a credible interest in doing so to save the beaches of California from the ravages of oil seeps. No one. Not one person.

No one.

They want the money. Dig?

If we drill offshore, what we will accomplish for whatever cost we incur, in dollars and every other form of coin, is to kick the can of dealing with the actual energy problem we face down the road for, at most, a couple of years.

We will not use the that time wisely. We will simply continue to piss the oil away for another couple of years. Trust me.

It's folly. You're a smart guy. Just because you're conservative by instinct doesn't mean you have to swallow every rhetorical turd they throw in your path.

Just say no, dude.

The folks at SOS don't give a flying f*#k about you, about the environment, about the beaches in California, about the long or short term well being of the USA, or about any damned thing except the money.

They want the money. That is all.

Call a spade a spade, man.

Thanks -

The folks at SOS don't give a flying f*#k about you, about the environment, about the beaches in California, about the long or short term well being of the USA, or about any damned thing except the money.

They want the money. That is all.

Perhaps we should make this offer to OCSteve: nationalize the oil under public territory. It's "our" oil; why should the profit go to private companies?

I suspect OCSteve is sincere in his belief that drilling off Santa Barbara will help the nation's energy problem, and possibly even mitigate some local water-pollution problem. I would be sure of his sincerity if he were advocating some form of non-profit drilling arrangement.

-- TP

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