Blogs

Schadenfreude for the Lieberman Haters

| Fri May 23, 2008 2:53 PM EDT

Guess who his step-son is voting for?

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Florida Congressman's Car Dealership Accused of Sleaze

| Fri May 23, 2008 2:28 PM EDT

There are few professionals that Americans consider sleazier than politicians. Among them might be car dealers. Vernon Buchanan happens to be both. The first-term Republican congressman from Sarasota, Florida owns one of the state's biggest auto dealership chains. Yesterday, the former finance director for one of the company's outlets, Sarasota Ford, sued Buchanan and the other managers from the Buchanan Auto Group for firing him for refusing to go along with allegedly sleazy and illegal business practices.

According to Automotive News, the dealership fired Joe Kezer in November after he protested that managers were, among other things, illegally altering people's credit reports and sales contracts, common scams in the auto industry. A spokesman for Buchanan told Automotive News that as chairman of the auto group, the congressman isn't involved in the day to day operations of the dealership. Still, if the allegations in the lawsuit are true, the case ought to provide an interesting window into business practices that have made Buchanan a wealthy man. It's possible that the car business could make Congress look squeaky clean by comparison.

Hillary: Too Old For High Court

| Fri May 23, 2008 11:15 AM EDT

There's been lots of chatter lately suggesting that Barack Obama should promise Hillary Clinton a seat on the Supreme Court as a sort of runner-up prize and inducement for her to finally get out of the presidential race. Bloggers have debated her fitness for the job, whether she'd want it, or whether it would even be a good idea. But all of this is much ado about nothing. There is no way Hillary, or her husband for that matter, will ever warm a seat on the high court, for one major reason: She is simply too old.

Like the rest of the federal judiciary, Supreme Court justices serve for life. That's why Republicans over the past 15 or 20 years have made a very active and conscious effort to fill those seats with the youngest possible candidates as a way of preserving their influence for generations. The average age of GOP nominees for Supreme Court justice since 1981, including O'Connor, is 50, a full decade younger than Hillary. (Indeed, there's not a person on the court today who was older than 60 when nominated.)

Democrats haven't had a chance to pick as many candidates, but they clearly haven't made age as much of a priority. No doubt that will change should they retake the White House in the fall because, as Republicans have shown, the math is simply too compelling. Consider that when George H.W. Bush nominated Clarence Thomas in 1991, Thomas was only 43 years old. If he hangs on as long as the court's current veteran John Paul Stevens, 88, the country will be stuck with nearly a half-century of Thomas jurisprudence.

McCain Throws Himself Into the Briar Patch...Some More

| Fri May 23, 2008 10:55 AM EDT

What is McCain up to?

Even with pundits opining that McCain hurt himself with his "Man, am I old!" turn on SNL last weekend, he's continuing to go kamikaze on us. On a soon-to-air Ellen show, the affable talk show host dogs him about her upcoming marriage to long time girlfriend Portia DeRossi, which he opposes. He tried to segue with talk of civil unions, etc. but both held fast, however nicely. Homey didn't budge but he was clearly dodging bullets.

Then, as if he hadn't suffered enough, he sat down with Essence "Sister Grrl" magazine, even as MoJo's catalogued the dearth of black GOP candidates. Then, his mega-rich and pretty f'ing hot wife vogued barefoot and all natural in Vogue.

WTFO, with McCain? Desperation or penance?

One Problem With Hillary as VP

| Fri May 23, 2008 10:52 AM EDT

As Joe Sudbay at AMERICAblog points out, there's a serious problem with the idea of Hillary Clinton as Obama's VP. She, but much more likely Bill, might not pass the vetting process.

Bush Plans to Be Active Presence on Campaign Trail

| Fri May 23, 2008 10:36 AM EDT

mccain_bush_hug.jpg From AFP:

Bush and McCain plan to appear side by side at a May 27 fundraiser, their first public embrace since March 5, making the most of one of the president's most potent remaining political weapons.
Bush has done 19 political fundraisers in 2008, scooping up 37,142,500 dollars, according to records carefully kept by CBS news. His totals since 2001, including his 2004 reelection, are 310 events and 766,782,500 dollars.
The White House says the president plans to campaign vigorously for fellow Republicans, including McCain... "I think you'll see the president out on the campaign trail quite a bit. We'll keep you posted on their events that they may have together," spokesman Scott Stanzel said Monday.

This is helpful for McCain in that Bush can open the wallets of members of the conservative base that have not yet and probably will not warm to McCain. But if Bush does rallies and TV spots instead of just closed-door fundraisers, well... that's Christmas come early for the Democrats.

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Obama and Clinton in Withdrawal Talks

| Fri May 23, 2008 10:08 AM EDT

CNN is reporting that the Clinton and Obama camps are holding "formal meetings" about Hillary Clinton's withdrawal from the Democratic primary. The report is sourced almost entirely to Clinton insiders — the Obama folks are denying unequivocally that talks are occurring — and they appear to see three scenarios:

(1) Obama chooses someone other than Clinton as vice president. The Clinton people consider this "totally unacceptable" and akin to "open civil war within the party." If it were to happen, Clinton's campaigning for Obama in the general would be "quite aloof."
(2) Obama publicly offers the VP spot to Clinton, which she would then reject.
(3) The candidates talk personally and hammer out a solution. Clinton gets her debt covered or gets Obama's support in a later run for Senate Majority Leader.

Video:

Finally, McCain Repudiates Rev. Parsley, His Anti-Islam "Moral Compass"

| Thu May 22, 2008 10:36 PM EDT

Finally.

Once John McCain had resolved on Thursday to repudiate fundamentalist preacher John Hagee (who had called the Catholic Church "the great whore" and who had said Hitler was doing God's work during the Holocaust), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee went on a roll, and in the same news cycle he also rejected the endorsement of Reverend Rod Parsley, the megachurch pastor who had said it was the United States' historic mission to see the "false religion" of Islam "destroyed."

After issuing a statement dumping Hagee, McCain told the Associated Press that he also was now refusing Parsley's support: "I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I reject his endorsement." McCain and Parsley had campaigned together in February in Ohio, and at a rally McCain had hailed Parsley as "one of the truly great leaders in America, a moral compass, a spiritual guide."

Two weeks after that rally, on March 12, Mother Jones first reported that Parsley in a 2005 book, Silent No More, had essentially called upon Christians to wage a "war" against Islam with the aim of eradicating it. For that article and subsequent pieces, I called the McCain campaign for comment multiple times to ask if the Arizona senator would repudiate Parsley, who is a powerful political player in the critical state of Ohio. McCain's press office ducked each call.

Pity the Lobbyists

| Thu May 22, 2008 6:31 PM EDT

The Onion asks, "Are Politicians Failing Our Lobbyists?" H/T Sunlight.



McCain Finally Renounces Hagee; What About Parsley?

| Thu May 22, 2008 4:09 PM EDT

John McCain today finally denounced and rejected the endorsement of fundamentalist Pastor John Hagee. It wasn't Hagee's comments on the Catholic Church "the great whore") or gays (God sent Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans as punishment for a gay pride parade) that went too far for McCain. It was Hagee's claim on a 1990s television show that Hitler was doing "God's work" during the Holocaust by setting in motion events that forced Jews to return to Israel.

Now what about Rod Parsley? This political ally of McCain has decried Islam as a "false religion" and says it's the historic mission of the United States to eradicate Islam. McCain has yet to reject the endorsement from Parsley, with whom he campaigned in February. It's tough to figure out McCain's moral universe. Attributing Hitler's mass-murder of Jews to God--that's a no-no. Calling for the destruction of an entire religion? So far, that's no reason for McCain to reject an endorsement.

UPDATE: After McCain rejected Hagee's endorsement, Hagee withdrew his endorsement of McCain. In other words, you can't fire me, I quit.

BTW, McCain is also finally releasing his medical records--after postponing doing so for a year. But he's making these records available for only three hours on a Friday before a holiday weekend--to guarantee less media coverage--and his campaign has sort of banned New York Times reporter Lawrence Altman, one of the leading medical reporters in journalism, from reviewing the records. Only a handful of media outfits selected by the campaign will be permitted to send reporters to a conference room in Phoenix to examine the records. And the Times was not chosen. None of the reporters will be allowed to make any copies of the records.