Rumor: McCain to Flip Flop Again on Drilling

John McCain is bludgeoning Barack Obama on energy issues that are surely false, but the theme of drilling off our coastlines is gaining steam. Alas, the reason McCain picked up this theme was the extreme high prices at the pump. Now that the prices are lowering, look for another John McCain flip flop.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

Much has been made of John McCain’s panicked reactions to high gas prices over the last several months. Remember when he called for the gimmicky gas tax holiday? You never hear anything about that nowadays, because it was an imprudent gimmick. That McCain idea was slammed hard on all fronts, even by Dick Cheney. Well, rumor has it that McCain’s recent panicky calls for drilling off every coast of the United States, calls also made in response to higher gas prices, may fade from the McCain campaign as well. It’s a combination of forces that are at work to take this McCain talking point off the table, both the incompetencies in the McCain campaign, and the lowering of gas prices nationwide.

First, McCain planned an event where he would give a major speech on drilling as much as possible off our coasts. He planned the photo op for an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana. Then a couple hurricanes got in the way, so McCain was only able to get out there Tuesday of this week. Yeah, his campaign could have picked a different rig and gotten this done sooner, but they come from the Bush school of incompetency, so this is what we should expect from them, a photo op come so late it is about to step on McCain’s next flip flop, which is surely coming. Note that the message of McCain at his photo op on the oil rig sounds so last month, when prices of gas were through the roof. From the Washington Post:

Standing on the Chevron-operated oil rig, which produces more than 10,000 barrels of oil per day, the presumptive Republican nominee declared that, as president, he would open the nation’s coasts to expanded drilling in a effort to lower gas prices and reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

“When I’m president, there will be a whole lot more like this, not only here in the Gulf but also off of our East and West coasts,” McCain said in brief remarks to the media. “We need to drill offshore; we need to do it now.”

Yeah, that message was the same as it was weeks ago when the folks at the McCain campaign first planned the trip. But facts on the ground are changing. The reason McCain first became a tiger on the issue of oil rigs off ever seashore was because gas prices at the pump were out of control, rising well over $4 per gallon, and over $5 in Califonia. Those prices are now down. Gas prices are lower in Philly by significant margins, and they are lower in California, too. Indeed, there’s a spike in US oil supply. Time for a change in strategy for McCain?

Yeah, I started the rumor right here. Expect a McCain flip flop once again. His actions are already showing it. You see, John McCain is already opposed to bipartisan efforts to increase oil drilling off our coasts. Also from the Washington Post:

Democrats on Tuesday were quick to point out McCain’s opposition to a bipartisan effort in Congress that would include increased offshore drilling. In a conference call, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack accused McCain of being in the pocket of “big oil” companies.

“The reality is that Senator McCain can visit oil rigs and do photo ops all he wants, but it is pretty clear from the policies he’s advocating that he’s literally over the barrel when it comes to the oil industry,” Vilsack said. But McCain is not backing off his support of new drilling, and his visit here was the most striking declaration of that position.

The tour was brief, as officials spent half an hour explaining to him how oil and natural gas are extracted and produced at the rig. He spent more time traveling to the rig than he spent on it, and read his remarks from a sheet of paper an aide had prepared in what was essentially a photo-op at sea.

The reality here is that John McCain’s real energy policy is vague enough, as seen in his energy policy speech of April 23rd, 2007, that it can fit almost anything the guy wants to say, no matter the facts on the ground. That’s not leadership. No, it is not leadership to flip flop all over the map. McCain voted against drilling in ANWR just at the beginning of this year, and now he’s being pressured to flip flop on that. With gas prices going down, I expect him to moderate, at least after he gets as much oil company contributions as he can.

I filled up the rtank at $3.59 yesterday, and the Jersey prices may be down to $3.40 by this weekend when we head to the shore. Oh, the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration, supported by McCain all along the way, are what caused those high prices. Still, if they go down much further McCain won’t be able to use drilling as a campaign theme effectively. Look for him to flip flop once again.

Thursday, August 21st, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

Compare & Contrast: Family Values & The 2008 Election

Reducing elections to comparisons on two or three moral conundrums is an oversimplification. It keeps us from having to look more closely at our candidates, our country, ourselves, and our collective actions. Family values must go beyond the cardboard caricatures we construct.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

The GOP has, for years, claimed to be the party of family values. Unfortunately, that title is more like a badge worn on one’s lapel than an innate commitment to morality. Even worse, this carefully chosen description is primarily tailored to encompass those issues the GOP feels will garner votes. This seeming manipulation is no accident. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the GOP practices selective morality…the kind that makes a revelation of hypocrisy all the more significant.

Consider the facts. John McCain wants us to believe he shares the values of the evangelical voters he seeks to court. Unfortunately, his own history suggests something else…yet that hasn’t stopped McCain from moving to claim he’s always been aligned with Christian values. Well, if one believes that Ralph Reed represents family values, perhaps John McCain is entitled to wear his new badge.

In the first of the two following videos, Dems Rapid Response sheds some much needed light on the kind of values the GOP has actually come to represent under the leadership of men like George Bush. Yes, they consistently rail against abortion and same-sex marriage…while condoning deceit, deception, and dishonesty…the kind that robs hard-working Americans of opportunities and insures that the political elite will maintain their hold upon wealth and power.

The truth of the matter is that Ralph Reed, once a burgeoning star in the GOP (who diligently mouthed the party’s moral mumbo jumbo), was exposed as the corrupt cash chasing charlatan he’s always been. In fact, his rapid ascendency was formulaic…and his speedy demise deservedly mimicked that of many of his crooked Christian cohorts.

The fact that John McCain is happy to attach his fundraising efforts to Reed is a testament to the priorities he and his party share. The hypocrisy is revealed in their simultaneous attempts to connect Barack Obama’s secular sensibilities with all things un-American…and therefore paint them as lacking moral justification.

In the second video, Matthew 25, a Christian political action committee, offers some much needed contrast…and begins the difficult work of dislodging the faithful from many of the fraudulent fabrications about Barack Obama that are being fostered by legions of GOP loyalists.

Sadly, we’ve become a nation that finds much of its worth in the denigration of others…and the blinding bravado of dogmatic intransigence. If it isn’t the gays or those who favor a woman’s right to choose or the hotel chain that offers adult movies to patrons or the network that allows Janet Jackson to expose her breast, it’s the French and those other nations that have chosen secularism and the full separation of church and state.


Friday, August 15th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

Veterans For Obama Over McCain

Barack Obama is fundraising among active servicemen overseas by a 6 to 1 margin over John McCain. I cannot recall a population of servicemen so overwhelmingly supporting a Democrat. And check out the reception McCain got at the Disabled Veterans of America shindig in Vegas. He can be thankful he wasn’t openly heckled by the vets.

Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

So it seems, so it seems. Reports yesterday indicate that that Barack Obama has gotten more contributions from military members serving overseas, by a 6 to 1 margin. Yeah, the soldiers are supporting the candidate who wants to bring the troops home. From Open Secrets:

During World War II, soldiers crouching in foxholes penned letters assuring their sweethearts that they’d be home soon. Now, between firefights in the Iraqi desert, some infantrymen have been sending a different kind of mail stateside: two or three hundred dollars – or whatever they can spare – towards a presidential election that could very well determine just how soon they come home.

According to an analysis of campaign contributions by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Democrat Barack Obama has received nearly six times as much money from troops deployed overseas at the time of their contributions than has Republican John McCain, and the fiercely anti-war Ron Paul, though he suspended his campaign for the Republican nomination months ago, has received more than four times McCain’s haul.

Despite McCain’s status as a decorated veteran and a historically Republican bent among the military, members of the armed services overall – whether stationed overseas or at home – are also favoring Obama with their campaign contributions in 2008, by a $55,000 margin. Although 59 percent of federal contributions by military personnel has gone to Republicans this cycle, of money from the military to the presumed presidential nominees, 57 percent has gone to Obama.

Obama ourraising McCain among servicemen serving overseas? By a 6 to 1 margin? Holy Cow! Perhaps more astonishing, is that Ron Paul is also outraising McCain among the same group, though only by a 4 to 1 margin. TPM Election Central is also on this story, and Crooks and Liars has an article about McCain’s tepid reception in Vegas at a gathering of Disabled Veterans of America. Here’s a snippet:

The Las Vegas Sun interviewed 14 veterans after McCain’s speech, only one identified himself as a certain McCain voter. Devoting most of his remarks to attacking Obama apparently didn’t help.

Retired Marine Duke Hendershot, a double amputee who served in Vietnam, supported McCain’s 2000 campaign, but is undecided now. “John just isn’t the same as he used to be. He’s not his own man,” Hendershot said. “A lot of that has to do with how he’s wanted this job so bad for so long that he’s tied himself to President Bush.” Hendershot added, “[McCain]should have been talking about veterans issues, not his opponent.”

Obama, in contrast, appeared via video, did not attack McCain, and focused exclusively on veterans’ issues.

Verterans are perhaps John McCain’s most natural constituency. He is one, after all. Disabled veterans should also be an easy group for McCain to win over. He’s suffered infjuries in service of country, after all. That McCain is doing so miserably with these groups has to be accounted for somehow. What an odd thing it is. But there are explanations, I’m sure. The military is strongly Republican most of the time, but the Bush Administration has shown disregard towards the military. McCain has supported the Bush Administration at every turn. Those disabled vets may be finding someone to blame for their injuries, and after the Walter Reed scandals a couple years ago, anyone connected to Bush might have some tough going. We might also note that McCain did not support the new GI Bill. I’m thinking a whole bunch of those soldiers have good memories about that sort of thing. I suppose the composition of the military serving overseas, with so many Guardsmen on active duty, might also account for this phenomenon, but still, it is hard to account for Obama outraising McCain among active soldiers serving overseas.

In other news, McCain may not be male. Or so it says in this spoof on internet hoaxes.

Friday, August 15th, 2008 by Steven Reynolds |

Edwards V. McCain: Sean Hannity Spins Bunkum Out Of B.S.

Sean Hannity’s attempt to differentiate John McCain’s adultery from John Edwards’ is laughable. Men like Hannity actually do little more than muddy the waters of the morality they seek to claim as the unique domain of their party and their candidate.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

I realize that partisan politics is apt to skew our views of the politicians we support or oppose. At the same time, reality should lead us to see them as they actually are. In the aftermath of the John Edwards affair, party pundits have done their best to spin the situation for maximum benefit. Unfortunately, the following video of Sean Hannity demonstrates the degree to which denial can transform strategic spinning into little more than hysterical hyperbole.

In discussing the Edwards affair with a guest panel, Hannity proceeds to excoriate John Edwards while defending the same behavior from John McCain. It seems that Hannity thinks that McCain’s time in captivity in Vietnam is sufficient to grant McCain a waiver with regards to cheating on his wife. Never mind that his wife, who had been the unfortunate victim of a horrific car accident, remained faithful to her husband despite her stressful circumstances. Apparently Hannity believes adversity can only be used to the advantage of husbands when explaining their dalliances.

The problem with Hannity’s tortured defense of John McCain is found in numerous biographical accounts of his candidate. Truth be told, while McCain’s time in Vietnam deservedly garners him high praise for exemplary service, it simply interrupted his well-documented and self-admitted womanizing. I’ve included two video excerpts from A & E’s biographical account of John McCain. Suffice it to say that the piece includes the following paraphrased descriptors when referencing the Arizona senator.

He spent his time cruising for girls.

He was a rebel who broke the rules.

He was the class delinquent, a partier, a bad student…always on the edge of expulsion.

His was the life of a free-wheeling jet jockey…drinking, chasing women, and living the life of a playboy.

Within a year and a half of his return from Vietnam, he resumed his old ways as a playboy…drinking, carousing, and having affairs.

The 42 year old ladies man decided to run for office a year after moving to Arizona with his new wife and former mistress.

Let me be clear…I don’t believe a candidates sex life necessarily negates their capabilities to be an effective elected official. Yes, the deceit and dishonesty is troubling, but I challenge anyone to take a moment and consider their own co-workers who have engaged in extramarital activities. I doubt many of us can conclude that their infidelity directly impacted their ability to fulfill the duties of their employment. While it’s reasonable to revile the cheating, its relevance to one’s occupational acumen is rarely substantiated.

I suspect the same is true with regards to John Edwards and John McCain…just as it was with Bill Clinton. The fact that campaign surrogates seek to capitalize upon our disdain for such behavior is to be expected. In Hannity’s case, I suspect he’s a victim of his own pompous pabulum. Fortunately, our own emotional maturity ought to instruct us to proceed with caution. If Hannity wants to drive the bias bus off the cliff, so be it.


Wednesday, August 13th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

Obama: Never Gonna Give You Up

Unfortunately, we’re not talking about FISA.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Still, you’ll enjoy this video. Promise.

Sunday, August 10th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

On The John Edwards Affair – The Stop & Stare Society

The fact that John Edwards engaged in an extramarital affair rightfully leads us to question his honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, our fascination with these examples of human frailty is also evidence of our own proclivity to engage in denial and double standards.

Commentary By: Daniel DiRito

It’s common knowledge that car accidents cause traffic jams…even after the vehicles involved have been moved to the shoulder of the road. I’ve often wondered what causes us to slow down and gaze out our windows as we pass by. Is it out of concern for the passengers or is it some morbid curiosity as to the carnage?

As I’ve pondered the possibilities, the first image that comes to mind is a herd of zebras, standing and staring with ears perked, as the lion they’ve just eluded puts the finishing clench upon the zebra that didn’t get away. What makes a herd of animals suddenly stop to watch, as their comrade becomes an unwilling victim of the food chain, moments after running frantically for their lives?

If you’re wondering where I’m going with this rather morbid musing, I’ve been looking for a way to make sense of our fascination with John Edwards’ admission that he engaged in an extramarital affair. Let me be clear…I’m troubled by the deceit that preceded the revelation…but I’m more troubled by our seeming inability to focus upon the underlying issues.

You see, John Edwards may be unique in having had the opportunity to run for president of the United States, but his affair puts him on a par with the majority of the American public. The fact that we stop to gawk at him underscores our similarity to a herd of zebras, while our holier-than-thou looks of disdain uncover our propensity for self-forgiving double standards.

As we approach the November election, we’re being confronted by the all too familiar rhetoric that same-sex marriage is threatening to destroy the family. Frankly, this is a manufactured issue that serves the purposes of politicians and preachers and serves as a distraction from what actually ails the family. Truth be told, the preoccupation with same-sex marriage and the affairs of others is the equivalent of watching the zebra in the grasp of the lion. It gives us something to look at while counting our blessings that we avoided capture…not by the lion…but by the discovery of our own undisclosed indiscretions.

Yes, I’ve long argued that gays should be entitled to the same marriage rights afforded to heterosexuals…but I’ve also argued that the institution is at best broken. In fact, I suspect that it is, in its current form, contrary to human nature. In saying as much, I’m not suggesting that we eliminate marriage. At the same time, I’m in favor of beginning the process of an honest assessment of the expectations we attach to our marriages and, therefore, the manner in which they’re created…and dismantled.

Yes, I’m embarking upon an unpopular task that mimics the myth of Sisyphus…but then again…so are most of the individuals who choose to marry. If we admit that pushing the rock over the pinnacle is the equivalent of perfection, we should quickly understand the reason for Sisyphus’ perpetual failure…as well as our own with regard to marriage.

Look, the human heart is fragile…it can fall as fast as it can harden…and in that dichotomy is revealed the precarious nature of love…as well as the inability to predict its path. While the mind can promise the heart, the heart cannot always be expected to abide. That’s a reality we prefer to ignore…until someone’s heart is broken.

Where we miscalculate is in our expectations of ourselves and others…antecedent to our marriages as well as the moment at which we recognize the one we’re in is broken. In each of these moments, rather than acknowledge our human nature, we demand that another defy their own in order to protect the fragility of ours…and visa versa. Yes, this works well on the front end…but it fails miserably at the other.

In many ways, we humans are victims of our own success. In that it provided us with more choices and greater flexibility, it has also diminished our dependence on each other as well as the affiliations we believe we’ll need to form in order to survive (make a living, raise a family, etc). Hence, marriage is no longer the essential sociological glue it used to be. While necessity may be the mother of invention, the lack of necessity has allowed us to reinvent our understandings of the roles we play as mothers…and fathers. As such, we’ve reached the point at which one can choose to be either without the requirement of the other.

On the other hand, this freedom may also provide us with the opportunity to choose our partners absent many of the historical calculations and contrivances. Unfortunately, our actions with regards to relationships seem to lack the full awareness of the evolving terrain. At the same time, there are those who experience this changing dynamic as anxiety which leads them to recoil and call for a return to conventionalism. Unfortunately, rolling back progress is akin to rolling our mythical rocks over the pinnacle. Sadly, the time spent doing so simply detracts from the time we can spend adapting and adjusting our relationships (and the expectations we bring to them) to the current paradigm.

It’s time to admit that the idyllic image of marriage, invoked by those who claim to be its protectors, is no longer the nature of the institution. That which no longer exists cannot be preserved. Notwithstanding, the painfully natural, though imperfect, human emotions that facilitated the creation of marriage will remain…and they warrant our awareness and our embrace. Were we to refocus our efforts upon understanding the essence of these emotions, and establishing our expectations accordingly, perhaps the next announcement of an indiscretion could be met with introspective analysis rather than preoccupied projections.

When the voyeurs are enthralled in watching the lion lay waste to the zebra, the bonds that connect them with those they love are left unattended…hanging perilously exposed…ever ready to attach themselves to the first heart that has taken the time to acknowledge, accept, and allow its innate humanity to flourish. When this happens, the heart of the voyeur is apt to be crushed…not by the lion…but by the weight of its own untenable judgments.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 by Daniel DiRito |

Caption the Photo: Geo. Bush at Olympics

Commander Bunnypants is creating some controversy at the 2008 summer games – and we’re not just talking about his hypocritical human rights remarks…

Commentary By: Richard Blair

George Bush at Olympics

(This was just a bit too good to pass up. Take your best shot.)

Gratuitous cheesecake link exchange: here’s another fun volleyball pic from Watertiger.

Saturday, August 9th, 2008 by Richard Blair |

John Edwards Admits Affair

Hero worship is a very tricky thing, because when heroes tumble off the pedestal due to their own weaknesses, those who engage in the worship end up feeling betrayed, befuddled, sad, and angry.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Details here.

Well, there goes this news cycle. The Republic of Georgia and Russia are at each other’s throats, and both have nukes. al-Sadr says he’ll disarm his militias if an Iraq withdrawal timeline is in place for the U.S. Serial adulterer John McCain said something today. Fannie Mae’s losses on bad mortgages are triple original estimates.

Yet this evening, the lead news story will be that former Dem presidential candidate John Edwards, after months and weeks of hounding by a celebrity obsessed media, has admitted to an extra-marital affair. He flatly denied the rumors that he fathered a child during the affair, but still.

A couple of emotions come to mind.

I’m sad about this, because I was and am a very firm believer in the issues on which John and Elizabeth Edwards have led, especially since his first run for the presidency in 2004. I’m further saddened because no doubt their voices will now become silent. They have more important things to attend to.

I’m disappointed – no, hopping damn mad – about this, because I’ve been a supporter since 2004. He’s received my very vocal support, as well as financial contributions. I don’t know how, in this day and age of Enquirization of every high profile person’s private life, that Edwards could expect his affair would remain private and secret. Let’s think for a moment. What if he had actually succeeded in his presidential run this year? Was this high octane trial lawyer so naive that he didn’t think that the bottom dwellers in the GOP would not have dug this up at some point, either before or after the Democratic convention? Jeebus. The collateral damage to Democratic Party candidates up and down the ticket would have been horrendous.

Most of all, I mourn for the causes that he so passionately supports, because those causes have now lost a significant voice (at least in the short term).

John Edwards and his family will survive this personal crisis, but we’re all poorer for the very public airing that his indiscretion will receive.

On the positive side, the other John (McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee) should probably be concerned about the increased scrutiny which his own personal past might now receive.

Update: A comment on Eschaton:

Am I to understand that Russia invaded a small neighbor today and yet the big story is that a democratic politician not currently holding office had an affair? Do I have it right that a book was released this week in which a Pulitzer prize winning author made the claim that the white house forged a document to help push us into war in Iraq and the big story is john edwards?

I’ll be over here banging my head against the wall. Don’t mind me.
Neponset | 08.08.08 – 6:42 pm | #


Friday, August 8th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
Category: John Edwards

8/8/08: Accountability Now / Strange Bedfellows Money Bomb

On August 8th, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the presidency of the United States over issues that carry much less weight than the current political climate in America. How is it that Nixon could be run out of power by his own party, yet the current Democratic Party-controlled congress has failed to act against the Bush administration’s abuses of power?


Become a StrangeBedfellow!Today’s the day.

A few weeks back, the Democratic Party leadership, in both the House and the Senate, capitulated to the petulant demands of George W. Bush, and passed the revised FISA bill. The bill not only codified warrentless wiretapping, but retroactively provided telecommunications companies with immunity from civil lawsuits on the behalf of U.S. citizens who have had their privacy violated at the behest of the Bush administration.

Accountability Now was formed by online activists from across the political spectrum in order to create public education campaigns (TV, print, and internet advertising), and to hold politicians accountable for their actions that run counter to constitutional principles. More information on the organization is available here.

Progressives, conservatives, and libertarians are being asked to contribute today to the effort. Whether it’s $5, $10, $20, $5000, or simply a show of support by whatever means available, today’s “money bomb” (similar to the fundraising efforts that drove Ron Paul’s presidential campaign earlier this year) is key to the success in holding our political leaders accountable to we, the people.

It sounds trite. It’s not. Now more than ever before, it’s clear that corporate interests are driving the political agenda in America. That’s not what the founders intended. Accountability Now can serve as the start of a truly well funded, people-power movement, but only if we support it. Listen, I’m not a rich guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m kicking in a few bucks. If you believe in the constitutional principles upon which this country was born, I encourage – no, urge – you to take a few minutes and consider the potential power of thousands like us taking a stake in our collective future.

Conservative, progressive, libertarian, green – it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, we’re all in this boat together, and none of us are happy with the way things are being run right now. Though the initial focus of the campaign is to hold the Democratic Party leaders (and blue dog Democrats) accountable for their FISA votes, the scope going forward is quite ambitious. But it can only happen if each of us individually seizes this moment of empowerment.

Glenn Greenwald has an extensive kick-off post on Salon today, which I’ve take the liberty of copying in full below the jump…


Friday, August 8th, 2008 by Richard Blair |


On August 6, 2001, George W. Bush received the infamous PDB that he ignored, titled “bin-Laden Determined to Strike the U.S.”. Seven years later, the implications of ignoring the memo are larger than ever.

Commentary By: Richard Blair

Seven years ago today, at the outset of a four week vacation in Crawford, George Bush received a Presidential Daily Briefing memo titled “bin-Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.“. He then proceeded to shoot a 7 on the first hole at his local golf course. The legacy media was dutifully impressed. (“Watch this drive.”)

During the first seven months of 2001, George Tenet was running around Washington, DC with his “hair on fire”, trying to get George Bush (or anyone in his administration) to listen to the intelligence chatter about a pending al-Qaeda strike. Richard Clarke documented Tenet’s head blaze, as did Andy Borowitz (a must-read if there ever was one).

On Sept. 11th, 2001, after George W. Bush was informed of the attacks on the World Trade Center, he sat reading a children’s book for another seven minutes.

Coincidence? You decide.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008 by Richard Blair |
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