Failin Palin: The Legacy Of John McCain

October 31, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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THE “POPULIST” BOOKENDS IN OHIO.




From Sarah, Small Town Homemaker To Sarah, Candidate Fashionista. Image And Message Lost.



A recent NYT/CBS poll indicated that 59% of voters surveyed thought Sarah Palin was not prepared to be Vice President. A third of the voters polled thought that John McCain’s choice of her as a running mate showed poor judgment and would be a factor in voting for him.



Palin was a wild card played by McCain to revive his campaign and to identify his candidacy with the conservative Republican base and middle class mothers with young families. However many Republican loyalists were infuriated to learn that Palin had spent $150,000 on high end clothing. The backlash was such she immediately reverted to her personal wardrobe and the campaign said that the clothes would be donated to charity and some of the campaign funds would be returned to those who had donated and complained.

Her addition to the campaign was also for her to identify with middleclass mothers in blue collar swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That identification was lost with the revelation of her shopping spree at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue using RNC campaign funds, perhaps illegally.



McCain has long been grasping at straws to save his failing candidacy. First it was the unqualified Palin who makes up for lack of experience and political sophistication with her telegenic presence, charisma and her unabashed ambition and moxie. She seems to be reveling in the give and take of campaigning. She recently appeared with Joe the Plumber at a rally in Ohio. Two lower middle class people with the value systems of the wealthy and conservative. Strange bedfellows indeed.



Joe as we all know neither has a plumbing license, or is enrolled in a journeyman program to get a license. He will see not any change in his taxes under the plans for either candidate. He is an employee of a small plumbing company that is also under the tax threshold of $250000 proposed by Obama. Joe is allegedly concerned about an increase in taxes that would only affect persons in a much higher bracket then he is in.

Thus Palin and Joe turn out to be straw persons easily knocked down and debunked by the media.



This is a fundamental flaw in the McCain candidacy. McCain is allegedly for change and a maverick that will follow his own vision. However he supported the Bush Administration and the Republican

Majority’s policies 95% of the time on taxation and the War on Terror for the last eight years . Thus he has turned to these straw persons to try and identify himself with the average family whose interest he has decimated in his adherence to the Bush Administrations policies




McCain’s legacy arising out of this campaign is that he brought wrong headed Sarah Palin into the public conscientiousness’ and with her telegenic image, charisma and populist appeal she liable to be a conservative candidate in the future if not elected on November 4th, 2008.



The other side effect is that Joe the Plumber now has an a management company called Pathfinder, hired to keep him in the public eye and hopefully find a career for him as a advertising spokesperson. This will apparently be for companies like Home Depot?



Sweet dreams for the McCain Candidacy and for McCain and Joe, the new Tiny Tim (an odd creature created by a late night talk show who rose to notoriety and then ruin when he lost his spot in the public limelight. Howard Stern does the same thing with some of the misfits he has on his show.) Joe will soon fade into history. McCain, if not elected will go back to the Senate. I’m not so sure about Sarah Palin, McCain may have openned Pandora’s Box and allowed her to jump out when he named her as a candidate for a national office.


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SARAH PALIN:THE SHAPE SHIFTER ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL.

October 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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Palin Reverses Herself. Now She Wears A Pink Jacket From A Consignment Shop In Alaska And Tells Us She Is Still Just A Plain Old Hockey Mom. She Let The Press Rattle Her On Her New Wardrobe, Something No Woman Should Do.

Sarah Palin appeared at a rally today in Florida wearing a pink Jacket From “Out Of The Closet” a consignment shop in Anchorage Alaska. She waived her $35.00 marriage ring and said “I’m
going to wear my own clothes for the rest of the week.”


THE SHAPE SHIFTER. REVEALS HERSELF FOR A MOMENT. Maverick, No! Independent Minded, No!

After that it will be safe to get out the Nieman Marcus and Saks clothes which ever way the election turns out.

How dumb does she think the electorate is? All she had to say is that my co- candidate and his wife are wearing expensive clothes because they are in the media’s eye and our media consultant told me to do the same or else I would look like Little Orphan Annie. It was only appropriate that I dress as well as John McCain and his wife Cindy McCain. Mrs. McCain has always been a fashion statement standing in her impeccable St John couture next to her husband in his two thousand dollar suits and five hundred and fifty dollar Ferragamo loafers, like a good Republican millionaire who believes the poverty line starts below five million a year for U.S families.

Michelle Obama and Joe Biden’s wife, Jill, seem to dress like average women who are not of the country club set. They make a point of being well dressed but not lavishly attired. Mrs. Obama said she was wearing J. Crew on a television talk show recently.

Palin’s refusal to stand her ground is an indication that she being manipulated by the McCain campaign consultants like the Barbie Doll that she has been labeled and not the “tough maverick” she would like us to believe.

Obliviously Palin is window dressing like, McCain’s wife, for the McCain Campaign which each day tries to disseminate more misinformation about his policies.

First he had the same exact policies as Bush. However, now he says he is not Bush. Well, we all know that. However he espouses the same trickle down tax policies of Bush and was for the same limited government with no meaning full regulation of Wall Street and the banks as Bush. If elected he would install the same cadre of lobbyists in the bureaucracy that Bush has or their identical surrogates from K Street. On Iraq, he has the same policy as Bush, talk tough and muddle through and above all else disregard the advice of experts and Allies. Don’t even put some who might disagree with you on your staff. They’re probably not from K Street anyway.

Lincoln said it: “You can fool some of the people all the time. All the people some of the time. But you can’t fool all the people all the time.”

pinklips.jpg picture by edsopinion

Sarah Palin is living up to her image as lipstick for McCain’s failing campaign.

If she was a maverick and independent minded she would have defended her new wardrobe as necessary in a media age where image is everything. She chose the image of Cindy McCain or the campaign consultants did and she should have stuck with it. The sad thing is she thinks she has to make excuses for herself in such a trite manner. Tough minded, independent maverick. No. Simplistic Barbie Doll for window dressing in a failing campaign. Yes.

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SARAH PALIN’S NEW LOOK

October 22, 2008 by · 1 Comment
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Sarah Palin, Hockey Mom, Purchased $150,000 in Clothes at Neiman Marcus. No wonder no one wants to donate to McCain or the RNC except fat cats.



THE McCAIN SARAH PALIN AND THE ALASKA SARAH PALIN, GUESS WHICH ONE.

Politico.com and the AP have published stories that after Sarah Palin’s selection as a running mate by John McCain the Republican National Committee (RNC) purchased $150,000 clothing and other accessories including hair styling and make up for Sarah Palin at Neiman Marcus other expensive stores.

The expenses include $75,062 spent at Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis and $41,850 at Saks in St. Louis in early September. The committee also reported spending $4,100 for makeup and hair consulting. The expenses were first reported by Politico.com

The RNC says the clothes belong to the party committee while the McCain campaign says the clothing will go to a “charitable purpose” after the campaign. McCain can’t accept private donations since he elected public funding for his campaign one of the reasons the purchase came through the RNC. Further it may not be a legal campaign expenditure either by the candidate or the RNC. McCain could not raise enough money from individual donors to equal or better the public funding. This is unheard in the case of a Republican nominee. It tells us that the public doesn’t believe in McCain’s “Straight Talk” or in his candidacy.

Palin has always sought to identify herself with middle class “hockey moms” of the battle ground states. McCain has even branded Obama as elitist. Now his advisors dress Palin in very expensive clothes from the elite Neiman Marcus and Saks. This will not play well with the women of moderate means in Pennsylvania or other battleground states like Ohio and Missouri. It’s along way from “Pat Nixon’s respectable Republican cloth coat” a reference made in Nixon’s Checkers speech.

At the last debate McCain was telling us that he was concerned with the problems of “Joe the Plumber” having to pay taxes under Obama. Joe makes about $40,000 a year so it is a pipe dream that his taxes would increase under the Obama plan which has a 250,000 threshold. This would hold true even if he got a plumber’s license and purchased the small residential plumbing business he now works for according the Plumbers Council in Ohio.

At the same time the RNC was spending almost four times what Joe makes in a year on Palin’s clothes, hair and makeup.

McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” is a long way from being what McCain describes himself to be. Under him it will be four more years of the Bush Administration’s policies which have put us where we are today, i.e. shoring up banks with middleclass taxpayer dollars, allowing the disgraced management of financial institutions to resign from the mess they have created with multi million dollar severance packages while the lower level employees are losing their jobs. One wonders if the give away to the banks and other financial institutions will ever “trickle down” to Joe mortgage payer in time to save his home from foreclosure.

Sarah Palin’s clothes are emblematic of the fact that McCain would continue the Bush “trickle down’ tax policies that favor the very high income tax payers over the average person. If she was really a middle class hockey mom she would have shopped at Macy’s or some other place that offers clothes off the rack at a reasonable price affordable to those women whose votes she seeks

If she was really a thrifty, middle class, hockey mom she would wear the clothes she already has so we would have an insight as to what kind of person she really is.



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MOVIE REVIEW: W. : Rated A.

October 20, 2008 by · 1 Comment
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“THE BEST LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AND MEN OFTEN GO ASTRAY”- “FOR ALL THAT A MAN IS STILL A MAN” Robert Burns. 1759-1796


Director Oliver Stone, Staring Josh Brolin as George Bush and Richard Dreyfus as
Dick Cheney. James Cromwell plays Bush Senior.
Other actors play the usual suspects:

Laura BushElizabeth Banks
Barbara BushEllen Burstyn
Donald RumsfeldScott Glenn
Karl RoveToby Jones
Earle Hudd – Stacy Keach
George Tenet – Bruce McGill
Condi Rice – Thandie Newton
Colin PowellJeffrey Wright
Tony Blair – Ioan Gruffudd
Screenplay by Stanley Weiser.

Josh Brolin has caught the essence of George W. Bush and he will probability be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. The film, its director and other supporting persons may well be also.

The focus of the drama is the relationship between father and son. Bush Sr. was always unimpressed by George Jr.’s abilities and accomplishments and with held his approval. This was with good measure since the young Bush spent his youth chasing wine, women and song. His accomplishments had been things his father had been able to procure for him such as entrance to prestigious schools and jobs that never worked out.

BUSH RUNNING FOR CONGRESS.

Ever the cocky young man full of
himself he runs for Congress and meets Laura Welch, a young librarian, romances and marries her.

While devoted to her husband she is not afraid to tell him like it is. However the movie is not focused on their marriage or her influence on him. (She reputedly told him the marriage was over if he didn’t stop drinking. This not mentioned in the film, if true.) The motivating force of W.’s life is to win his fathers approval, although in the early years he seems to be trying exorcise this compulsion by doing everything he could to alienate him.

The turning point or points in the movie are when Bush decides to give up drinking and embrace the Fundamentalist Christian Church. Later this is his voter base. George Sr. refuses to court the Fundamentalists by seeding his speeches with religious code words signifying he accepts the tenets of Fundamentalist Christianity even it means votes in his first Presidential race as urged by W.

Another major turning point in George Jr.’s life is his “engagement” with Karl Rove who engineers his election as Governor of Texas and then President of the United States.

Bush has the common touch and through out the movie we see evidence of this beginning at Yale when he can recite all his fraternity brother’s names and nick names during an initiation ritual. Bush sees himself as a good old boy from Texas and that’s how he conducts himself as an individual and a politician. This gives him the ability to bond with many average voters.

George Sr. is played as a patrician Easterner who became a Texas Oilman and politician.

In office Bush is the “decider” and the film tells us that Bush is his own man who makes his own decisions after hearing the facts and arguments from his staff. Even in the case of Cheney he admonishes him not to talk in cabinet meetings without being asked for his view and that he is reminded that W. makes the decisions. Thus dispensing with the view that Cheney is the dark power in control of the younger Bush.

The hard fact there were no WMD in Iraq is brought home to Bush after the invasion. No one on his immediate staff is willing to take the responsibility for not making it clear to him before the invasion that the war was based on belief and guess work as to the existence of WMD in Iraq.


OLIVER STONE DIRECTING THE WAR ROOM SCENE.

Finally a lower level bureaucrat is pushed forward to tell him the truth that it was believed Saddam had WMD because he never denied that he didn’t have them. Further Condoleezza Rice’s office was notified of the fact that there was no hard evidence and the bureaucrat thought it had been conveyed to the President. Rice, played by Thandie Newton in a lukewarm fashion, denies she was aware of the fact there was no solid evidence of WMD before the invasion and if her office received a report on this fact then it was one of thousands and it was overlooked. (This is the same reason she gave for ignoring warninigs about the imminence of 9/11. This is not in the film.)

The lower level bureaucrat resigns. However Condi, National Security Adviser, and George Tenet, head of the CIA, remain in government. Thus there is no accountability at a senior level and Bush lets his personal loyalty to his staff, at this crucial juncture, prevent him from making needed cabinet and personal changes. This good old boy, blind loyalty maybe his Achilles heel. Another is his failure to learn from the mistake of relying on the advice of persons with their own agendas which may be different from his. The same deception was played on Kennedy in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. But he had Bobby to see that heads rolled.

The acting by Brolin, Dreyfus and Cromwell is excellent but some of the supporting actors are not as convincing in their roles. However this does not detract substantially from the credibility of the film.

George Bush is seen as an undisciplined, good time seeking, young man of privilege who is carried forth by his own ambitions, family connections and drive to better George Sr.’s accomplishments and gain his approval first as Governor of Texas. However he remains an immature, naive and unsophisticated man even as President. He surrounds himself with advisers and supporters who are at best second rate people for the job at hand or as in the case of Colin Powell not listened to and thus have little effect on the decisions of state; particularly the major one: the decision to go to war in Iraq.

However Bush is not demonized in the film but portrayed as man in over his head, relying on advisers lacking in moral turpitude and political sophistication. Because of his relationship with his father he is unable and unwilling to go to him for advice and counseling. George Sr. could have been the Bobby Kennedy of his son’s administration, at least as an impartial outsider, and as a result George Jr. lost his way not just on Iraq but in many other ways also. The film infers that George Sr. had Brent Scowcroft, his National Security Advisor, write an op-ed article against the invasion of Iraq. This was ignored by W. and his neo-con advisors who went to war anyway.

Oliver Stone states all the events shown in the film actually took place and are documented by reliable sources. However much of the dialogue was created by script writer Stanley Weiser and Stone from what is known or must have been said.

This film was a fascinating depiction of George W. Bush and his coterie. However this film must be seen as an elegant argument as to what happened and posits a theory as to why. Thus whether you believe the father /son relationship is the motivatig force in W.s life or not this film should be viewed as a serious history along with the daily news and concurrent books on the subject.

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MOVIE REVIEW: BODY OF LIES. Rating B.

October 14, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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CROWE AND DICAPRIO

BODY OF LIES:
LIFE AND DEATH IN THE MIDDLE EAST

DIRECTOR: RIDLEY SCOTT. STARRING LEONARDO DICAPRIO, RUSSELL CROWE AND MARK STRONG. SCREENPLAY BY WILLIAM MONAHAN.

SCOTT,CROWE AND DICAPRIO

This film is similar in technique to many other thriller/ espionage type films like the recent Eagle Eye, which is similar to the Jason Bourne films. The movie relies heavily on all seeing electronic surveillance with fast and severe cuts in time and place.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Roger Ferris a “self described man on the ground” CIA agent stationed in Amman Jordan. Russell Crowe (Ed Hoffman) is his boss living in Washington and directing his every move by cell phone, computer, drone video and maybe a third eye.

Mark Strong is Hami Salaam the very “intelligent” Director of Jordanian Intelligence who allows no one to deceive him not even Ferris. Ferris is tasked with finding the elusive and clever Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul), an Islamic terrorist masterminding suicide bombings in Europe that are gnawing at the fabric of the Western alliance against Islamic Fundamentalism.

The Al-Saleem character is portrayed as an ego manic demon bent on destroying Western Civilization. The film might have been more potent if we heard him expound what motivates him and the suicide bombers. And we don’t want to hear it is some corrupt interpretation of the Koran or seventy six virgins. The mullahs and the young kids who sacrifice themselves may believe this, but the older, well educated, politically sophisticated operatives driving terrorism are seeking something else. Maybe power in their own countries and possible beyond. Spielberg made an effort to present the Palestinian point of view in Munich and if Scott had done the same here it would have made this a stronger film.

Suicide bombing, Islamic fundamentalism and Western incompetence, mainly by the higher ups in Washington seems to be a common theme running through thrillers these days. Syriana comes to mind. About the only pictures that seem to deal with Washington in a positive way were Iron Man a comic book movie and Charlie Wilson’s War, but that was a comedy about how one Congress man saved Afghanistan from the Russians. However then there was the blowback after the success of Wilson’s war when the bureaucrats pulled out and left the country to the Taliban. So the bureaucracy was dissed once again by a flick looking for an audience.

Ferris is forced to lie, cheat and sacrifice others in his quest for the wily Al Saleem. Along the way he falls in love with a beautiful Iranian born nurse (Golshifteh Farahani) who is taken hostage byAl-Saleem and for whom Ferris is willing to give up his life in exchange. This is a girl he just met. If all our CIA agents were so chivalrous there would be a lot of job openings. We must suspend our disbelief here, for a moment, that this hard bitten CIA agent who just ended a marriage badly will sacrifice his own life for an Iranian woman who gave him a few rabies shots.


Golshifteh Farahani

Russell Crowe plays Ed Hoffman the cynical, duplicitous CIA handler, the way he plays this character reminds me of his role in the Insider, who juggles the responsibilities of married life and multiple children in Washington with the job of calling the shots on Ferris’ quest. Ferris does Crowe’s bidding reluctantly most of the time and sometimes not at all as he is his own man too. He is also weary of risking his life, ruining his marriage and jeopardizing his new love life for what he wonders? Is Western Civilization appreciative of his sacrifices. The answer is yes he believes, for now anyway.

The movie is superbly directed. What else from Ridley Scott? He is the man who set the standard for Sci-Fi films with Aliens and then Blade Runner with its dystopian view of the future and a new form of slavery. William Monahan’s script is good but it could have been stronger, Mark Strong gives a strong performance and DiCaprio and Crowe are among the finest actors working today.

The film is great entertainment and there is never a dull moment. Therefore it is well worth seeing however it doesn’t deliver that punch to the gut or that shock to the psyche which would make it a must see movie that your mind will return to again and again as time passes. With all the fire power and money brought to bear on this film that could have been the case. But as Ridley once said “it is always the story Goddamn it.” However when you stock your film with clichés and don’t develop the characters and motivations of the evil ones then it is not the story but the director. Scott by now probably is a cynic or maybe a realist about the nature of the audience. Blade Runner was not a success when first released, but neither was Citizen Kane. Now both are considered classics. That is the reason to see a Ridley Scott movie or an Orson Welles movie when he was alive. You never know what is coming.

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