Thursday, October 30, 2008

Deconstructing O-TV

Like 21.7 percent of American households, I watched Obama's 30 minute infomercial (in 1996, Perot's prime time commercial was seen by 16.8% of households). Unlike others though, I was not that jazzed.

There were moments, like when he talked about his mother's battle with cancer AND the insurance companies, where I was moved. But the rest was a bit over produced for my taste. We got 3 families from three swing states of three ethnicities (white, black and Hispanic) all talking about the economy, health care, and education. We got a live shot of the last 4 minutes of a rally in Florida featuring "That One" and the Big Dog himself. Some commenters said his office scenes reminded them of the oval office or tried not to be too oval office-y. I thought they looked like faux-Camp David, not faux-Oval.

I was hoping the 30 minutes would be more exciting, more risky. I miss those old Perot charts and call-in shows. Obama is also lucky that there was no 2008 version of Perot to worry about.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

repackaging Romney for a third time

From 1994 until 2003, Mitt Romney portrayed himself as a moderate Republican. From 2003 until now, he has portrayed himself as a conservative Republican. What's next?
"Republicans will be looking for people who are not Palin, who are not McCain in the next election cycle, and I think [Romney] can be repackaged in effective ways as a different kind of Republican: one who is good with the economy, one who has executive experience, one who doesn't play to the most extreme elements of the party."
Romney told reporters at a breakfast for Utah Republicans during their party's national convention that he wasn't interested in a 2012 run.
But since dropping out of the 2008 race in February, Romney has stayed visible in the media spotlight and has crisscrossed the nation to help boost McCain and down-ticket Republicans running for Congress or local races. He launched a political-action committee, the Free and Strong America PAC, to raise money and distribute it to GOP contenders in tough races.
Utahns are pouring money into that PAC right now. Romney is already using his ex-staffers inside McCain-Palin to take down Palin, a likely 2012 primary foe.

But will the economy still be in bad shape and people still be hungry for a GOP daddy to fix it for them in 2012 when Romney 3.0 is unveiled? It is always an error to fight the last political battle and not look towards the future.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hatch not a good judge of character

Next time Orin Hatch lectures us on morals or endorses someone, people should recall this:
The man Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch recently called a "legend" of the Senate now is a felon.
A jury convicted Alaska Republican Sen. Ted Stevens on Monday of seven counts of lying on financial disclosure forms to conceal $250,000 in gifts from an Alaskan oil-services contractor.
Hatch was one of Stevens' character witnesses during the trial in a Washington, D.C., federal court.
During his brief testimony Oct. 14, Hatch called Stevens a hero, and "a very, very solid, fine, decent, honorable man."
After Monday's conviction, Hatch released this statement: "It is very disappointing to see this verdict today. In my dealings with Sen. Ted Stevens, I have always found him to be very honest and straightforward. My prayers are with the senator and his wife and family at this difficult time."
"I know Ted Stevens about as well as anyone in the United States Senate," Hatch told the jury. "I love the guy."
S=Uncle Ted is just the fifth sitting Senator since the 19th Century to be convicted of a crime. Stevens had an oil company add a floor to his house as well as furniture, which he attempted to conceal. That same company did more direct birbery on Ted's son Ben along with other AK legislators who named themselves the Corrupt Bastards Club. What did this company get in exchange? Some of the Stevens pork stream

Sen. Hatch has been in Washington so long that can't distinguish corrupt politicians from pubic servants.

operation fake candor

Like Sen. Obama, Sen. Bennett released his earmark requests today. And good for him. Obama did it last year because he was planning on running for president as a "change/reform" candidate, whereas Bennett got confused:
But what instigated the public disclosure had much more to do with a miscommunication than any change of heart.
A member of the powerful appropriations committee that oversees earmarks, Bennett declined repeated requests for an interview, deciding instead to speak through his spokeswoman Tara Hendershott.
She said Bennett released the names because he was told by defense subcommittee staffers that they also were going to make the information public.
"Sen. Bennett's office policy has always been to follow the practices of the subcommittee," Hendershott said.
But then the subcommittee staff didn't follow through, reverting to the standard practice of leaving the decision up to each senator.
About half the senators release the intended recipients of earmarks and half do not. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch does name names in his releases, as does Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
House members don't have a choice. By rule, they must disclose the company names.
Why Senators get to hide who they are giving our tax dollars to, I don't know. Maybe I should ask former Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Ted Stevens, but he is a bit busy awaiting the jury verdict on his criminal trial.

This, and the rule that only Senators can disclose their campaign contributions in paper form so that they are not searchable until weeks after the filing deadline are rules that need to change to clean up the Senate next year.