October 16th, 2008

Nothing Fails Like Failure: McCain Pursues Exact Same “Me Vesuvius” Strategy in Third Debate, Loses By Widest Margin Yet

by Philip Baruth

Every once in a while you’ll be watching Judge Judy, and you’ll see that one of the two parties involved in the case just doesn’t get it: the point of Judge Judy is that you listen to Judge Judy, defer to the televised Court, such as it is, and if you don’t, she’ll draw and quarter you before a couch-bound nationwide audience. But every so often a guy or girl will come along who insists on getting angry, mouthy, and who refuses to take a hint that they might best settle down.

And then it’s all over for them: Judge Judy makes them pay bigtime for the sofa they burned, or the car they keyed, and she calls them all kinds of ugly while she does so.

And in an odd way, that’s what this final debate brought to mind. John McCain has lost each of the last two debates by wide margins; each time the audience response has shown clearly that he’s too hot, too angry, too aggressive, not focused nearly enough on the problems of working people.

For all of his talk about reaching across the aisle, McCain has consistently projected contempt and disrespect. Swing voters have made it amply clear they don’t appreciate it.

And so here we come to the last debate, and if anything McCain is angrier, tetchier. Half the time he looked as though he was going to burst out during Obama’s responses.

The man simply Does Not Get It, or Can Not Help It.

And CBS News has the snap poll, again, which by this time must sting a hell of a lot more than a tongue lashing from Judge Judy: Obama by 31% (53%/22%).

Good night, Johnny Mac.

October 14th, 2008

Shocking Washington Post Chin-Puller: Apparently Barack Obama Needs to Turn Out the Young Voters He’s Registering

by Philip Baruth

The Washington Post had a long article yesterday, detailing the explosion in voter registration nationwide. While admitting that the boom heavily favors Obama, the greybeards at the Post weren’t going to let the issue go without a harumph or two. So they turned to one Thomas Baldino, who apparently has a degree in Political Science.

“Thomas Baldino, a political science professor at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, PA, said many of the registrants recruited by the Obama campaign are college students and other young people. He cautioned that such people are less likely to vote than older, established voters for whom heading out on Election Day is a habit.

“(Obama) needs to mobilize those people,” Baldino said. “He needs to turn those numbers into votes.”

Certainly glad we went to the expert for those insights.

Who’d have thought that, among other groups, Obama was registering “college students and other young people?” And, equally stunning, who’d have suspected that turning out those voters was the key to the whole deal?

The Obama campaign, of course.

That’s why ads for early voting are showing up, even as we speak, on virtual billboards in popular video games favored by the demographic in question.

And people wonder why they call him That One.

October 14th, 2008

Savvy Scots Report Trouble in Plooktown

by Philip Baruth

Yes, we’re obsessed with the Presidential election. No, that doesn’t mean we bring you every microscopic flap or imbroglio. One that we gave a miss was the manufactured Fox News flap over Sarah Palin’s second Newsweek cover, the photo that showed an unairbrushed Alaska Governor, sporting a small, makeup-mounded zit. Seemed more or less human to us, rather than proof that Newsweek was in the tank for The One. Or even in the tank for That One.

sarah, failin

But in Scotland, a zit is a plook, apparently, and with apologies to die-hard Palinites, a plook is newsworthy.

From the Sunday Mail:


A SQUABBLE has blown up in the US election campaign — over a plook on Sarah Palin’s face.

Her Republican team are furious that the embarrassing spot was shown in a close-up photo on the front of Newsweek magazine.

The picture also shows a chipped tooth, wrinkles — and even the beginnings of a wispy moustache.

Her team say the picture should have been airbrushed to block out the blemishes — just as Newsweek did to a previous cover picture of Barack Obama.

The right-wing Fox TV news station called the close-up “ridiculously unfair.”

But a source in the Democrat team said: “Sarah’s guys are making a mountain out of a molehill.”

Ouch. Those fun-loving Scots.

You’ve got to love a line like “even the beginnings of a wispy moustache.” Maybe it’s the accent, but everything those guys touch turns to comedy gold.

October 10th, 2008

Symington Campaign Really In For It Now, For George Kuusela Has Written A Letter

by Philip Baruth

Gaye Symington has soldiered on this campaign season, through some tough attacks and hard knocks. But in spite of all her pluck, Gaye’s days are clearly numbered now. For George Kuusela has written a darned feisty letter to the Rutland Herald, defending Jim Douglas’s latest negative ad.

And that’s ball-game, of course.

be afraid — be very afraidIf you don’t recall this guy’s name, VDB will bet you can’t forget his sweet carefree apple-cheeked face. Kuusela, of Bellows Falls, made his last appearance in the 2006 Rich Tarrant attack ads.

It was a series of ads now infamous not merely as outrageously expensive and ineffective, but for the parade of tight-lipped sourpusses they paraded in front of Vermont voters.

The pricey ads actually lowered Tarrant’s numbers, and that’s saying something. And you can bet your life we had our fun with Kuusela when he was trying so desperately to stick the knife into Bernie. A few phrases from our review of his 2006 work:

George Cuusella’s is a face that will haunt the dreams of a whole new generation of Vermonters, for the rest of their natural-born lives.

Every spokesperson in every Tarrant ad looks like your high school gym coach after a three-day bender; the old woman who lives in the deserted house at the end of the block who chases kids away with a tarnished Civil War saber; or the evil old fart who monitors your apartment from his dank porch in the shade of a diseased elm down the street.

And now, not content to have sent Rich Tarrant’s 2006 campaign careening down in flames, George Kuusela is back, back to help his good friend Jim Douglas secure another term in Montpelier.

Back in the negative ad business.

Beautiful. Help away, George. Not every day the Symington campaign gets a gimme like that.

October 9th, 2008

McCain’s Metaphorical Fall From the Stage

by Philip Baruth

If you’re anything like VDB, you’ve been asking yourself one simple question for months now: if John McCain truly is the New Bob Dole, when will he, you know, fall off the stage? That is, when will he provide the media with the metaphorical moment they’ll need to mark the point where it all slipped away from the old boy? Ask no longer.