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McCain's NEW Biggest Liability: Palin

| Wed Oct. 22, 2008 11:05 AM EDT

Heading into the summer, it was clear that George W. Bush was John McCain's biggest liability. Of all the negative characteristics polled about the candidates at that time, the one that drew the most concern from voters was McCain's similarities to Bush. It was more problematic than Obama's connections to Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, even.

Today, that's changed. Sarah Palin is now the heaviest anchor around the neck of John McCain's sinking campaign. From First Read:

...her numbers have plummeted in our poll. For the first time, she has a net-negative fav/unfav rating (38%-47%), the only principal to carry that distinction. What's more, 55% think she's unqualified to serve as president if the need arises, which is a troublesome number given McCain's age. (Have worries about McCain's age risen because of Palin? Seems to be the case). In fact, her qualifications to be president rank as voters' top concern about a McCain presidency -- ahead of continuing Bush's policies. (Who would have ever thought that Palin would be a bigger problem for McCain than Bush would?)

The distinction to make, of course, is that McCain couldn't really do anything about his similarities, real or perceived, with Bush. He brought Sarah Palin on himself.

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Rat, Meet Sinking Ship

| Wed Oct. 22, 2008 2:13 AM EDT

RAT, MEET SINKING SHIP....The New York Times reports that the McCain campaign has stopped making "hybrids," ads that are jointly sponsored by both McCain and the Republican Party. The official reason is that the law requires hybrids to promote both the presidential candidate and the rest of the party, which muddies the McCain campaign's famously laserlike messaging machine. Henry Farrell isn't buying:

While mixed messages are a significant problem, I (as an admitted naif on these issues) would have thought that getting completely swamped by your opponent's advertising is a rather bigger one. Isn't a more plausible interpretation of this decision that the RNC are finally pulling the plug on their subsidization of the McCain campaign, and the McCain folks are trying to put the best face that they can on it?

That sounds like a pretty plausible interpretation to me. After all, the RNC can read poll averages as well as the rest of us. The latest from RealClear Politics is below.

Slush Fund?

| Wed Oct. 22, 2008 12:53 AM EDT

SLUSH FUND?....Politico reports that the Republican National Committee has apparently spent $150,000 (so far!) to outfit Sarah Palin for the rigors of vice presidential campaigning. Her expenses included $5,000 on hair and makeup, $5,000 at Atelier for men's clothing (for Todd? Track? Levi?), and $140,000 on a series of shopping trips to Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Barney's, Bloomingdale's, and Macy's. Matt Yglesias comments:

I'm a little bit surprised to learn that expenditures of that sort are legal. They appear on the disclosure forms, so apparently they are, but this seems to open the door to candidates using party committee money as a personal slush fund.

This just goes to show how cynical our younger generation has become. I'm sure that after the campaign is over the RNC plans to donate the clothing to homeless shelters in small towns around the country where they don't have stores like Saks or Barney's. That's no slush fund. It's just people helping people.

MoJo Audio: Sophie Uliano Is Gorgeously Green

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 9:25 PM EDT

If you've sheepishly avoided going green for fear of having to give up nail polish and other ecosins, Sophie Uliano wrote Gorgeously Green with you in mind. Her eight-step program doesn't ask readers to sacrifice lattes or pedicures to save the environment. Instead, the Julia Roberts pal offers practical grocery store tips like how to shop for veggies (look at the produce sticker: numbers beginning with an eight mean it's genetically modified; numbers beginning with a nine mean it's organic) and recipes for homemade, all-purpose vinegar cleaner.

Read more of her tips—or listen to her interview with MoJohere.
—Brittney Andres

Damn Kids

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 8:25 PM EDT

DAMN KIDS....From the Wall Street Journal today, Ron Alsop writes about the upcoming generation of "millennials" who are starting to enter the workplace:

If there is one overriding perception of the millennial generation, it's that these young people have great — and sometimes outlandish — expectations. Employers realize the millennials are their future work force, but they are concerned about this generation's desire to shape their jobs to fit their lives rather than adapt their lives to the workplace.

...."They really do seem to want everything, and I can't decide if it's an inability or an unwillingness to make trade-offs," says Derrick Bolton, assistant dean and M.B.A. admissions director at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. "They want to be CEO, for example, but they say they don't want to give up time with their families."

Damn coddled kids these days. Who do they think they are? For comparison, here's how kids viewed corporate work half a century ago. It's from The Organization Man, published in 1956:

On the matter of overwork they are particularly stern. They want to work hard, but not too hard; the good, equable life is paramount and they see no conflict between enjoying it and getting ahead. The usual top executive, they believe, works much too hard, and there are few subjects upon which they will discourse more emphatically than the folly of elders who have a single-minded devotion to work. Is it, they ask, really necessary any more? Or, for that matter, moral?

....Out of necessity, then, as well as natural desire, the wise young man is going to enjoy himself — plenty of time with the kids, some good hobbies, and later on he'll certainly go for more reading and music and stuff like that. He will, in sum, be the apotheosis of the well-rounded man: obtrusive in no particular, excessive in no zeal.

Damn coddled kids those days. Who did they think they were?

Breaking: Eminem's Endorsement in the 2008 Race Is...

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 8:09 PM EDT

mojo-photo-eminem2.jpgBob Barr! Just kidding, it's Obama. Okay, for you youngsters out there, Eminem is the name of a rapper who had some very famous songs back in, uh, a 3-year period between 1999 and 2002. Since then, he's been like the Axl Rose of hip-hop, lost in the wilderness, emerging from hibernation only to toss out an album featuring a political protest song, "Mosh," that was compelling if a little too angry, and did nothing to help out that Kerry guy back in 2004. Watch it after the jump. Apparently he's working on a new album, to be called Relapse, produced by Dr. Dre and set for an early 2009 release, but I'll believe it when I see it.

Em was over in the U.K. chatting with BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe when he mentioned he's voting for Obama; he admitted that he "can't get too political because I don't know enough," but offered that "Barack would be a breath of fresh air, to get in there and actually get what's left of the Bush administration out the door." Seriously, did anybody think he'd be all about Sarah Palin?

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Metacritic Needs to Revise their "Best Albums of 2008" Logarithm

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 7:26 PM EDT

mojo-photo-metacriticfront.jpgMetacritic is a pretty cool service, tracking down and averaging reviews of all sorts of pop culture output for our convenience. Movies, DVDs, games, TV shows, and music, Metacritic logs 'em all, grabbing reviews from all corners of the press and converting grades or ratings to a 100-point scale. For the busy culture afficionado, it allows for straightforward, easy inspection of critical reaction. For instance, Wall-E and Man on Wire currently top their movie list for 2008, and that makes sense: one's a popular hit, and one's a critical favorite. In 2007, their "Best-Reviewed Albums of the Year" served as a good jumping-off point in analyzing the year in music, but this year, their list has kind of gone off the deep end. After the jump, the Metacritic Top 20 (with score averages in parenthesis) and why it's a little weird.

A View of Bush From Across the Pond

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 5:03 PM EDT

Boris Johnson, Tory mayor of London:

Democracy and capitalism are the two great pillars of the American idea. To have rocked one of those pillars may be regarded as a misfortune. To have damaged the reputation of both, at home and abroad, is a pretty stunning achievement for an American president.

Via Andrew. The onslaught of Bush legacy articles and books that come out in 2009 are going to be positively brutal.

Bailout Watch - 10.21.2008

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 3:11 PM EDT

BAILOUT WATCH....The latest financial bailout news:

The Federal Reserve, continuing its expansive campaign to try to keep cash flowing through the financial system, unveiled a new program today that acts as a backstop to money market mutual funds....The Fed said this morning that it will lend up to $540 billion to new special entities that will stand ready to buy up that short-term debt from money market mutual funds.

Well, we're now guaranteeing money funds, the commercial paper market, interbank lending, and commercial deposits up to $250,000. There are so many term lending facilities available I can't even keep track of them. We're buying up toxic assets from banks and providing them with $250 billion of new capital (so far) whether they want it or not. What's next? Guaranteeing the pork belly market?

It's no wonder that even Ben Bernanke now favors a fiscal stimulus package that he'd normally hate. There's really not too much left to do, is there?

"Tito the Builder" Goes National

| Tue Oct. 21, 2008 2:15 PM EDT

Earlier today, Sarah Palin introduced us to Joe the Plumber's replacement. And he's a man we met over the weekend: Tito Munoz, aka "Tito the Builder".

Speaking to supporters in Grand Junction, Colorado, Palin said, "Tito is not pleased with how the Barack Obama campaign and some of the media friends there have been roughing up Joe the Plumber." "Not pleased" is putting it mildly. Our David Corn was at the center of the Tito maelstrom on Saturday, when Munoz intentionally drew a crowd after a McCain rally in order to berate the press. David posed questions to Munoz and the crowd of unhappy McCain supporters surrounding Munoz — the result was the video we posted yesterday, titled "Mad for McCain."

Today, Palin said of Munoz, "Tito wants to know, and I quote, he asked, 'Why the heck are you going after Joe the Plumber? Joe the Plumber has an idea. He has a future. He wants to be something greater. He wants to be something else. Why is that so wrong?'" (For the record, Tito's question was "Why the hell are you going after Joe the Plumber?" but we won't quibble.)

Tito the Builder isn't exactly Joe the Plumber. Joe refuses to tell the press who he is voting for. He displays no anger. Munoz is a serious step up: he's passionately anti-media and anti-Obama. (If you watch the video linked to above, you'll note that he is also passionately anti-socialism.) Perhaps his chutzpah makes him a better surrogate for the McCain campaign. Welcome to your 15 minutes of fame, Tito.