Blogs

McCain Would Consider a Draft. Every Parent In America Should Know This

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 4:28 PM EDT

There is a new video out in which a questioner at a McCain town hall event speaks at length about veterans and then ends with a sentence or two about the need to reinstate the draft if we are going to catch Osama bin Laden. McCain responds, "I don't disagree with anything you said."

The video is making the rounds of the interwebs. McCain's response is a poor choice of words, but not necessarily an endorsement of the draft.

This video, however, is pretty unambiguous. It's from several months back.

McCain does not have an unequivocal, philosophical opposition to using the draft in the war on terror. Do you know an undecided voter who is the parent of a child between 12 and 22? Make sure they've memorized this quote before election day, so they know exactly what they're getting if they vote for McCain:

"I might consider it, I don't think it's necessary, but I might consider it if you could design a draft where everybody equally could serve."

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Obama's Historical Comparisons

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 3:42 PM EDT

In a PressThink post, Jay Rosen takes issue with our recently published forum on Barack Obama. We asked two dozen thinkers and writers, "Is Barack Obama exaggerating when he compares his campaign to the great progressive moments in US history?"

Writes Rosen, "Obama really said something like that? His campaign is a 'movement' comparable to, say, the civil rights movement, or to second wave feminism, or to the labor movement after the industrial revolution? If so, I had missed it."

Rosen is really insistent on this point. He also writes, "any statement from the candidate himself that compared Obama '08 to the great movements for freedom and justice in our history would have been quite the controversy, what with the McCain camp already mocking his messiah complex and calling him "The One." Why would Mother Jones, a progressive magazine, accuse Obama of the same thing McCain is attacking him for?"

To answer the question that ends that passage, we may be a progressive magazine, but we're still journalists who believe in refereeing and commenting on the campaign as fairly as we can. Nothing we write is in service of the Obama campaign and its goals. Occasionally, we'll write posts and articles that hurt Obama; the New Republic, the Nation, and the American Prospect all do the same.

But to Rosen's larger point — Obama does indeed put himself in a historical context alongside the great progressive movements of the last century. Here are four examples, one of which Rosen has already seen. They get long. Feel free to skim. Also feel free to visit the links to get a better sense of context.

In Politics, Cheating on Your Wife Is Relative

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 2:03 PM EDT

John Edwards cheated on his wife. The media found out about it. John Edwards will not be attending the Democratic convention.

Rudy Giuliani used public funds to cheat on his wife and used city agencies to cover his tracks. The media found out about it. Rudy Giuliani will be delivering the keynote at the Republican convention.

Dear Lord, Glenn McCoy. That Is One Nasty Cartoon

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 1:22 PM EDT

Take a look at this.

2778212328_292507b008.jpg

If there is some point here relevant to the headlines — beyond the fact that Obama is pro-choice — I don't know what it is. I'm not sure it matters. This is so foul is goes beyond any standard of good taste and common decency. I tend to give satire a pretty wide berth; this is beyond the pale.

Barack Obama beating fetuses with a bloody baseball bat in a dumpster? I can't even look at it for more than a few seconds.

Here's the thing. A few years back I had a coworker who wrote a feminist blog on the side. We used to joke about the way hardcore pro-lifers saw her, as an activist for abortion rights. "They probably think you eat fetuses in a bowl for breakfast," I would say. "With chopsticks!" she would respond.

We knew it was over the top. It was ridiculous. It was parody. And apparently, stunningly, it had elements of truth.

Update: Here's what this is about. As you would guess, it in no way justifies this cartoon. And EF makes a great point in the comments — if Democrats produced something equally disgusting about John McCain, there would be a backlash with serious consequences. It would start, of course, with Fox News, the in-house network of the Republican Party.

Messaging Opportunity for the Left on Immigration

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 12:46 PM EDT

American gold medalist Henry Cejudo, the son of an illegal immigrant, is a perfect example of why the DREAM Act is a worthy piece of legislation.

Wealth, or the Lack Thereof: One More Note About Biden

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 11:45 AM EDT

Joe Biden, a leading contender for VP if you believe the buzz, was the least wealthy member of the last Senate and is likely near the bottom in this Senate.

Now, there is nothing inherently ennobling about being poor (I'd be a better man if there were), and there is nothing inherently corrupting about being rich. But the fact that Biden has been in the Senate for 35 years and hasn't seen his personal fortune blossom means that he hasn't used his position, and all the connections and insider knowledge that come with it, as a cash register. It's an easy thing to do without ever overstepping legal boundaries.

Biden has chosen not to. I think that speaks to his priorities and why, fundamentally, he is in Washington.

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"Celebrity" Attack on the Airwaves in Yet Another Form

| Wed Aug. 20, 2008 10:54 AM EDT

McCain has a new radio ad out that says, "Celebrities like to spend their millions. Barack Obama is no different. Only it's your money he wants to spend."

I think it's safe to say that the Obama campaign hasn't hammered any message as hard as McCain has hammered this "celebrity" attack. Which is funny, because you'd think "McCain is four more years of Bush" would be easier to make stick, and more effective to boot.

And, for what it's worth, it looks like I was wrong about the "celebrity" attack. I thought it was too transparently silly to be usable. These new poll numbers, which show McCain leading by five, indicate otherwise.

Obama Explains What He Wants in a VP

| Tue Aug. 19, 2008 11:09 PM EDT

Via Ambinder:

Let me tell you first what I won't do. I won't hand over my energy policy to my vice president, without knowing necessarily what he's doing. I wont have my vice president engineering my foreign policy for me. The buck will stop with me, because I will be the president. My vice president, also by the way my vice president also will be a member of the executive branch, he won't be one of these 4th branches of government where he thinks he's above the law. But here's what I do want from my vice president, I want somebody who has integrity, who's in politics for the right reasons, I want somebody who is independent. Somebody who is able to say to me, 'you know what, Mr. President, I think you're wrong on this and here's why' and will give me (applause) who will help me think through major issues and consult with me, would be a key advisor. I want somebody who is capable of being president and who I would trust to be president. That's the first criteria for vice president. And the final thing is I want a [vice] president who shares with me a passion to make the lives of the American people better than they are right now. I want someone who is not in it just because they want to have their name up in lights or end up being president. I want somebody who is mad right now, that people are losing their jobs. And is mad right now that people have seen their incomes decline, and want to rebuild the middle class in this country. That's the kind of person that I want; somebody who in their gut knows where they came from and believes that we have to grow this country from the bottom up.

Begin speculating... NOW!

Hooray: Rachel Maddow Gets Her Own MSNBC Show

| Tue Aug. 19, 2008 7:37 PM EDT

mojo-photo-maddow.jpgNothing against Dan Abrams. Air America host Rachel Maddow will be taking over Abrams' 9 p.m. slot on MSNBC effective, like, right away: Abrams will sign off Thursday and Maddow will kick off her show September 8. The move has long been rumored since everybody thought she was awesome, and Abrams will stick around in a general manager role. Everybody's happy!

After the jump: More praise for Maddow, and watch her take down Pat Buchanan.

Welcome Inkblot, Domino, and Kevin Drum

| Tue Aug. 19, 2008 3:42 PM EDT

Remember 2002? There was no war, house prices could never go down, and the Olsen twins had a kids' show. That's when a recovering marketing executive in Orange County opened a Blogspot account, dubbed himself Calpundit, and began posting daily political commentary, often interspersed with his own data-crunching and graphs. He soon drew a following, and within a couple of years was widely known as one of the pioneers of the political blogosphere (and also the inventor of Friday catblogging). That guy, of course, was Kevin Drum, and this Friday, August 22, marks both his sixth anniversary as a blogger and his first day at motherjones.com. For almost as long as he's been blogging, Clara and I have been fans of Kevin's; since we took the helm of Mother Jones, we've been fortunate to have him contribute to the magazine fairly regularly, and we always thought that he'd be a great complement to our growing investigative reporting team. So we're thrilled to welcome him.

Kevin's coming over from Washington Monthly, where he'll be replaced by Steve Benen of the Carpetbagger Report and Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings. He'll have his own blog at motherjones.com while MoJoBlog will remain a group effort powered by the entire MoJo team, including Washington bureau chief David Corn and the prolific Jonathan Stein.

Kevin comes on board as our web team is busy completely overhauling the site. Before the election, you'll see a whole new motherjones.com—a new look, a much improved community commenting system. Kevin's gotten a sneak peek at the design-in-progress and says it "should look great"—which, coming from a guy not known for hyperbole, is pretty close to unbridled enthusiasm.

Click below to hear Kevin talk about his cats, blog trends, and why he's not going to the conventions: