Thursday, September 11, 2008

And now a roundup for the other election

So, what's going on south of the border today?

1. Well, Palin is still lying about the Bridge to Nowhere.

2. McCain released yet another despicable ad, this time accusing Obama of referring to Palin with his "lipstick on a pig" remark, and meanwhile, this continues to be one of the stupidest examples of faux outrage in all of political history.

3. The GOP is trying to suppress voter turnout in Michigan.

4. The WaPo is fed up with McCain:

IT'S HARD to think of a presidential campaign with a wider chasm between the seriousness of the issues confronting the country and the triviality, so far anyway, of the political discourse. On a day when the Congressional Budget Office warned of looming deficits and a grim economic outlook, when the stock market faltered even in the wake of the government's rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, when President Bush discussed the road ahead in Iraq and Afghanistan, on what did the campaign of Sen. John McCain spend its energy? A conference call to denounce Sen. Barack Obama for using the phrase "lipstick on a pig" and a new television ad accusing the Democrat of wanting to teach kindergartners about sex before they learn to read.
5. While Palin was mayor of Wasilla, rape victims would be charged for their own medical exams. Seriously.

6. Joe Klein, who has really turned on McCain with a vengeance these past few days, is actually tackling some policy instead of pigs with lipstick. And he discovered that John McCain's health care plan would actually increase taxes on employer-provided health care benefits:

John McCain wants to tax your employer-provided health care benefits. He wants to replace those benefits with an insufficient tax credit -- $2500 for individuals and $5000 for families (the average cost per family for health insurance is $12000).

There is a positive, progressive tax aspect to this: wealthier people should have to pay for health insurance themselves, without tax breaks from the federal government.

But make no mistake: this plan will do little or nothing for those who do not have insurance now -- unless they are young and healthy -- and it may well hurt a fair number of workers, especially unionized workers, who get gold-plated benefits from their employers.

It will certainly do nothing for families with members who have pre-existing conditions or children with special needs -- because it makes no provision to regulate the insurers, forcing them to cover all comers at "community" rates that don't discriminate against the people who need health insurance most.

7. Okay, let's get back to the important stuff: Palin.

Today she had her interview with Charlie Gibson (to his credit, not all the questions were softballs). I'll quote this one excerpt:

GIBSON: Would you favor putting Georgia and Ukraine in NATO?

PALIN: Ukraine, definitely, yes. Yes, and Georgia.

GIBSON: Because Putin has said he would not tolerate NATO incursion into the Caucasus.

PALIN: Well, you know, the Rose Revolution, the Orange Revolution, those actions have showed us that those democratic nations, I believe, deserve to be in NATO.

Putin thinks otherwise. Obviously, he thinks otherwise, but...

GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn't we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

PALIN: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.

Okay, first of all, I guess it's half-way reassuring that she at least seems to understand what NATO membership implies. But it's downright chilling that she seems so cavalier about letting two countries with VERY rocky relations with Russia into NATO, and even acknowledges the possibility of getting drawn into a war with Russia. Why should these two countries be allowed into NATO? Because they "deserve" it. What the fuck does that even mean?

Look, I'm certainly no fan of Putin. I think Russia's recent actions in Georgia were criminal, and I'm certainly in favor of the West punishing Russia in various ways. But not by letting their biggest enemies into a fucking military alliance!

I have no idea how this interview will play with the public, but the above passage alone chills me to the bone. Think about it. She could be the leader of the free world in as little as three or four months. If that doesn't scare you, it damn well should.

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