Obama Poster Parodies Proliferate

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 3:45 PM EDT

mojo-photo-obamaposters.jpgIt's poster parody pandemonium! We've already remarked here on the Riff about the cool design both coming from and being produced for the Obama campaign; one of the most iconic images so far is Shepard Fairey's red-and-blue "Hope" poster, whose graphic simplicity references classic propaganda just enough to be cool. The poster's design has become enough of a touchstone that parodies have been popping up, but I didn't realize quite how many: via BoingBoing comes this link to a page featuring a whole slew (89, in fact) of takes on the red-on-one-side-blue-on-the-other design. Some of these are obviously made by angry Republicans, who did nothing but change the "Hope" to a "Nope" and call it good. But my favorites are so nonsensical, they're oddly inspired: The Soup Nazi, over "Soup," of course; Amy Winehouse over "Dope"; the Pope over, uh, "Pope." However, this page did seem to miss a version that appeared during San Francisco's recent leather-themed Folsom Street Fair, whose cheeky reference to the "Obey" posters that made Fairey famous was suddenly appropriate in a whole new way. Yes, Mr. President, I've been very naughty. See that one after the jump.

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Language Watch

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 3:28 PM EDT

LANGUAGE WATCH....Yesterday a regular reader emailed me about that famous quote from a McCain advisor calling Sarah Palin a "diva":

It's sad how the Republicans struggle with sexism and it shows (brutally) in the slamming she is starting to take. Sadly, though, if the internal warfare goes unchecked, Palin will be a stereotype — the single-mindedly, narcissistic, aggressive woman who is striving for self-aggrandizement at all costs, who lacks any intellectual depth and is ultimately shallow — a true Diva. And while part of me would be very happy if Palin's capitol exposure is forever limited to tours, another part of me sees the risks of more roadblocks for women.

I've been watching the growing grumblings and have been wondering how long it would be before we saw the reference to Diva, a great put-down of powerful women. Why can't she just be another self-interested but charismatic politician who is woefully out of her element and not appropriate for this position. And leave it at that. No, I bet you'll see more sexist-based disparagement from the right before this is done.

As a father of two strong-willed girls, the whole spectacle is frustrating.

Today, Mike Allen reports the latest:

In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless "diva" description, calling her "a whack job."

"Whack job" isn't sexist, is it? How about that instead?

Mccain's Newest Ad: Reprising a (Debunked) Lie

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 3:04 PM EDT

John McCain doesn't seem to care about how he finishes the race—with integrity or without. In recent days, he keeps claiming that Barack Obama is an untrustworthy pol who will say anything to get elected. But let's look at the newest McCain ad, Here's the narration:

Iran. Radical Islamic government. Known sponsors of terrorism. Developing nuclear capabilities to generate power, but threatening to eliminate Israel. Obama says Iran is a "tiny" country, "doesn't pose a serious threat." Terrorism, destroying Israel, those aren't "serious threats?" Obama—dangerously unprepared to be President.

This is about as dishonest an ad as the McCain campaign has produced. In fact, it's a repeat of an ad the campaign tried in August. When that earlier ad was released, explained why it was fraudulent. Obama, it noted, had in May said this:

Strong countries and strong presidents talk to their adversaries. That's what Kennedy did with Khrushchev. That's what Reagan did with Gorbachev. That's what Nixon did with Mao. I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela—these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us.

A Tiny Violin

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 2:42 PM EDT

A TINY VIOLIN....Yesterday I read that Porsche had increased its ownership stake in VW to 74% and was seeking a "dominance" agreement that would give it control over the company. Today, via Tyler Cowen, the Financial Times reports that hedge funds are pretty unhappy about this:

VW shares rose 147 per cent after Porsche unexpectedly disclosed that through the use of derivatives it had increased its stake in VW from 35 to 74.1 per cent, sparking outcry among investors, analysts and corporate governance experts.

....The sudden disclosure meant there was a free float of only 5.8 per cent — the state of Lower Saxony owns 20.1 per cent — sparking panic among hedge funds. Many had bet on VW's share price falling and the rise on Monday led to estimated losses among them of €10bn-€15bn ($12.5bn-$18.8bn).

"This was supposed to be a very low-risk trade and it's a nuclear bomb which has gone off in people's faces," said one hedge fund manager.

Technically, the complaint is that Porsche has been less than transparent about its maneuverings, and it might well be that current German regulation is too lax in this regard. That aside, though, can I just say that my heart is not exactly breaking for the hedge funds who got burned here? The whole point of most hedge funds is to invest vast sums of money with the least possible transparency possible, and now they're complaining because somebody else has executed a slick maneuver that made what was "supposed" to be a very low-risk trade into a money loser.

Well, guess what? There's are no tablets from Mt. Sinai that guarantee hedge funds access to low-risk-high-return investments. Their bet turned out to be a bad one, and now they're unhappy about it. Boo hoo.

For more, check out the first commenter to Tyler's post. He explains pretty well what happened here and how the hedge funds got burned.

Plan vs. "Plan"

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 1:58 PM EDT

PLAN vs. "PLAN"....Ezra Klein catches McCain advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin accidentally telling the truth about McCain's healthcare plan:

John McCain's health care plan aims to do something very simple: Raise taxes on the employer health insurance market so individuals move to the individual health insurance market. What Doug Holtz-Eakin just said is that even McCain's top advisers realize that this will mean much worse health care coverage for everyone involved. As he put it, "what they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the [tax] credit."

Poor Douglas Holtz-Eakin. He's stuck having to defend a healthcare plan that's really a healthcare "plan." It doesn't work in theory, it doesn't work in practice, and it's not something that would appeal to most Americans in any case. But McCain needed a plan to compete with Obama's plan, and Republicans like tax credits, so that became the basis of his plan. The fact that it doesn't make sense isn't something that McCain really cares much about.

UPDATE: More here from Time's Karen Tumulty: "If Doug Holtz-Eakin doesn't believe that young, healthy people would leave the system, he might want to talk to Mitt Romney, who actually studied the situation in the real world when he was reforming the health care system in Massachusetts. It's not — as Holtz-Eakin suggests — that these healthier citizens would choose between staying with their employer-provided benefits or buying them on the open market. It's that they would decide to go uninsured entirely — leaving older and sicker people in the employer-provided system. That would make it even more expensive for employers to continue to provide coverage for their workers, accelerating a trend that we are already seeing, in which fewer and fewer companies are providing coverage."

Stimulate Me!

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 1:22 PM EDT

STIMULATE ME!....We have a long, hard recession ahead of us, and monetary policy has already done about as much for us as it can. That means we need fiscal stimulus and plenty of it. But what kind? Mark Zandi from Moody's provides the answer and EPI makes it into a chart for your consideration. Basically, they suggest that the money is best spent (a) on low and middle income workers who will actually buy things with it, (b) infrastructure, because the recession is likely to be long and infrastructure projects take a while to get up and running, and (c) aid to states, who would otherwise have to cut back spending and thus blunt the effect of the stimulus package. Works for me.

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Civil War Watch

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 12:48 PM EDT

CIVIL WAR WATCH....From the LA Times:

The social conservatives and moderates who together boosted the Republican Party to dominance have begun a tense battle over the future of the GOP, with social conservatives already moving to seize control of the party's machinery and some vowing to limit John McCain's influence, even if he wins the presidency.

In skirmishes around the country in recent months, evangelicals and others who believe Republicans have been too timid in fighting abortion, gay marriage and illegal immigration have won election to the party's national committee, in preparation for a fight over the direction and leadership of the party.

Obviously this sounds crazy to liberal ears, but I guess I can't blame them. After all, the job of a true believer is to believe. And turning elections into culture war battlefields certainly seems to have worked in the past for them.

But times change. Among vast swathes of the young, the culture war has lost its salience. Worse, it's become an albatross, a sign of intolerance and hatred that young voters despise. The results are crystal clear in party ID polling: twenty-somethings have fled the Republican Party in numbers not seen since the Great Depression, and if social conservatives manage to wrest control of the GOP and start shrieking 24/7 about banning abortion and hating gay people, they'll be guaranteeing Democratic dominance among an entire cohort of voters for decades to come.

Which is fine with me, of course. But the adults in the Republican Party better plan on knocking heads very hard and very fast if they don't share my attitude. Sarah Palin isn't the future of their party, she's the future of mine.

What's Missing from

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 12:37 PM EDT

Any mention of, information about, or support for John McCain, outside of a link to McCain's campaign store and an outdated opportunity to volunteer for McCain on "Super Saturday," October 25th. A Fred Thompson video, in which John McCain gets four sentences and is mentioned by name only once, gets top billing.


Compare to

Literally, Get Off of My Lawn

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 11:00 AM EDT

From the AP:

A teenager was wounded in the arm by a man who said he wanted to stop the boy and another from taking his John McCain yard sign.
Warren Township police Lt. Don Bishop said 50-year-old Kenneth Rowles told officers he got out a .22-caliber rifle Saturday afternoon to fire warning shots, not hurt anyone. The two shots hit the van the teens were in.
Rowles pleaded not guilty Monday to felonious assault. A preliminary hearing was set for Nov. 4, Election Day.
Kyree Flowers, the 17-year-old passenger in the van, was wounded in the arm and was treated at a hospital, Bishop said.

Is this a one-act play staged at an experimental theater? The old man with the gun is John McCain. Kyree Flowers is Barack Obama. The yard is America. The gun is accusations about Bill Ayers. Or maybe its Joe the Plumber. The cops who let the kid off without charges are American voters.

Or, you know, something like that. All I know for sure is that the inevitable Daily Show bit about this will be hilarious.

Finger-Pointing on the Right

| Tue Oct. 28, 2008 9:57 AM EDT

A quick tour through some morning headlines and columns that offer a glimpse into the right tearing into each other over who's to blame over everything from Palin's wardrobe expense to the Palin pick.

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen ridicules the conservative magazine writers who cruised up to Alaska and championed Sarah Palin. "Especially in the Weekly Standard, Palin was acclaimed as a tribune of the people. As for her critics, they were dismissed as 'liberal media' types who were not, like conservative editors and TV commentators, one with the people. [Weekly Standard editor Bill] Kristol hit this theme hard, having somehow absorbed Wal-Mart sensitivities while living most of his life in either New York or Washington where, as I can personally attest, real Americans are encountered only when summoned to carry out home repairs. ... It is the height of chutzpah, you betcha, for a coterie of ideologues to accuse Palin's critics of political snobbery. It is also somewhat sad for a movement once built on the power of ideas -- I am speaking now of neoconservatism -- to simply swoon for a pretty face and pheromone-powered charisma. But it is, I confess, just plain fun to see all these expense-account six-packers be so wrong."

From Politico's Mike Allen: "In convo with Playbook, a top McCain adviser one-ups the priceless 'diva' description, calling [Palin] 'a whack job.'"

Meantime, the Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes and Kristol are reportedly blaming Palin's extravagant wardrobe expense on Nicole Wallace, the McCain staffer and former Bush White House official whose spouse heads a new anti Iran group. Is Standard blogger turned McCain campaign blogger Michael Goldfarb the Standard's campaign mole? whispering the secret skinny that Wallace is only a "real American" poseur who is responsible for defiling Palin's Joe Six-Pack image and Wal-Mart cred?

A shame to see these expense-account six-packers as Cohen calls them turn their wrath and whispered smear campaigns on each other with their usual humility.