Why is McCain still in Iowa?

Why is John McCain still campaigning and advertising here? Pollster shows him behind by over 10 points, he's never polled ahead of Obama here, and his stance against ethanol subsidies (which I personally agree with) certainly makes it an uphill battle. While this is a purple state that went narrowly for Gore in 2000, then narrowly for Bush in 2004, but this year, the independents I know are voting Obama, as are many moderate Republicans I know. So, again, why does McCain continue to spend time & money here? Perhaps if he starts to give up on the states in which he's polling so far behind, eventually it becomes mathematically impossible for him to hit 270 votes...

His interview with the Des Moines Register last week certainly didn't win him any friends while he was here either:

Update: Turns out, the LA Times is asking the same question as me...

Do they realize they're being recorded?

Last night's episode of the Daily Show featured a great segment of video-taped hypocrisy. Don't these guys realize that when they're talking on TV, they might want to consider the possibility that their words don't instantly evaporate? That they might be used later to point out, shall we say, glaring inconsistencies in their arguments? Welcome to the age of DVRs, voice recognition, Google, and YouTube:

Tucker Carlson on Ron Paul

Great article here from Tucker Carlson, talking about Ron Paul:

One thing you can say for certain: The crowds at Ron Paul rallies aren't coming to be entertained. Stylistically, a Paul speech is about as colorful as a tax return. He is the only politician I've ever seen who doesn't draw energy from the audience; his tone is as flat at the conclusion as it was at the beginning. There are no jokes. There's no warm-up, no shout-out to local luminaries in the room, no inspiring vignettes about ordinary Americans doing their best in the face of this or that bad thing. In fact, there are virtually none of the usual political clichés in a Paul speech. Children may be our future, but Ron Paul isn't admitting it in public.

Paul is no demagogue, and probably couldn't be if he tried. He's too libertarian. He can't stand to tell other people what to do, even people who've shown up looking for instructions. On board the campaign's tiny chartered jet one night (the plane was so small my legs were intertwined with the candidate's for the entire flight), Paul and his staff engaged in an unintentionally hilarious exchange about the cabin lights. The staff wanted to know whether Paul preferred the lights on or off. Not wanting to be bossy, Paul wouldn't say. Ultimately, the staff had to guess. It was a long three minutes.

Merry Christmas from Hillary

Wow, Rudy's commercial was cringe-inducing, but Hillary's is just... well... it makes me want to puke.  She needs to do a follow up ad that shows her having to pay off the credit card bill for those gifts in January...


By comparison, Ron Paul's Christmas video seems genuine, and he wears the requisite red shirt:


Mike Huckabee's commercial also plays as genuine, to me, though the "floating cross" is a bit disturbing.  That said, I find it hard to believe that they actually came up with that ahead of time, it was probably a happy accident for them.


I think Huckabee and Paul have good Christmas ads, won't win them many new voters, but they don't turn people off.  Rudy's ad is just plain creepy and weird, and Hillary's reinforces her image as calculating and her humor always just seems so forced...

GodTube on Mormonism

While this frankly doesn't strike me as any more implausible than most other major religions, seeing this, um, summary of Mormon doctrine (much of which is out-of-date, I'm sure) is rather hilarious, in a scary Christian propaganda sort of way. I found it via Wonkette, who has some good commentary of her own on the situation:

Perhaps the Mormons were onto something with the long-disavowed polygamy of the 19th Century. Having multiple wives turns out to be good for the environment.

John McCain - Without Honor

I used to really like John McCain.  Even though he was a Republican and I'm a Democrat, I felt he had honor and integrity, and he was usually above taking cheap political shots and toeing the party line.  He was also a Republican candidate that I could envision voting for.  Had the 2004 election been between McCain and Kerry, I'd have voted for McCain.  However, McCain's appearance on The Daily Show last night pretty much ended him as a viable candidate in 2008 to me. 

When McCain started courting the base of the Republican party, people who he'd previously (and rightly) criticized for their intolerance, I got a little concerned, but figured he was just leaning enough their way to get enough necessary support to be a viable candidate.

Last night, in the second segment of his debate/interview, Stewart gave McCain a chance to show that he still had honor, but McCain failed.  When Stewart asked McCain to agree that wanting a timetable or criticizing the president doesn't mean "you don't support the troops" and McCain started spouting more talking points about surrender and defeat, it was clear that the Straight Talk Express has turned into the Talking Point Freight Train.  Does McCain think that the only way to gain the Republican nomination is to become George Bush's surrogate Press Secretary?  Has he seen Bush's approval numbers?  Now is the time for realism, not surrealistic idealism.

Dear Senator McCain, here is the proper response to that question, that does not attempt to turn people with a legitimate political disagreement with you into unpatriotic monsters:

"I understand that there are many good and patriotic Americans who love their country, who have friends and family serving in the armed forces that they're concerned about, and they want to bring them home to safety.  Expressing that concern doesn't mean they don't support the troops, it just means we need to do a better job of convincing the nation that the consequences of failure in Iraq are dire. The brave men and women of our armed forces have served our country valiantly in a difficult situation in Iraq, and unfortunately, their country has to ask them to continue to serve."

That, Senator McCain, is an honorable answer that shows that you're someone who is reasonable.  Someone who doesn't attempt to paint his opponents as unpatriotic, and who is sure enough of his positions that he can fully explore the ideas of someone who disagrees with him without resorting to a ridiculous pissing contest of who has the most yellow ribbons tied on to "support the troops".

Morning in Iowa

For the first time in 42 years, the Governor's job and both houses of the Iowa state legislature will be in the hands of Democrats.  David Yepsen, of the Des Moines Register, has a look at what this should yield.  Of particular interest to us is the bullet point about spending more money on the state universities, so that we can attempt to slow the rate of tuition increases we've inflicted on the students.  Here in the IT department, our budgets have not kept pace with the technologies we've implemented, we have several programs that we initially started small (and cheap) that have turned out to be quite popular, which turns out to not be such a good thing, when you don't have the money to grow the programs that rapidly.  Here's to hoping the Democrats make good on that, and we can get our house in order.