Matt Taibbi: Obama’s Big Sellout

“Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008. He pushed a tax plan to soak the rich, ripped NAFTA for hurting the middle class and tore into John McCain for supporting a bankruptcy bill that sided with wealthy bankers “at the expense of hardworking Americans.” Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it’s not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing. Then he got elected.”

Oh dear. Who’s my favorite political reporter? Who’s the guy I always turn to for the hard, profane truth? That’s right, Matt Taibbi. The graf above is the lead to his latest piece in Rolling Stone. And this, sums it all up:

“What we do know is that Barack Obama pulled a bait-and-switch on us. If it were any other politician, we wouldn’t be surprised. Maybe it’s our fault, for thinking he was different.”

Singing telegram? Voicemail? MP3?

Before leaving to spend Thanksgiving with her brothers and cousins in Dallas, she arranged for the nice folks at TajTunes to deliver a little singing Thanksgiving message. I just love these. And, for some reason, they haven’t taken down the Go McCain song. Worth a listen before it’s gone.

Singing Telegram


“This is not really an Obama area.”

I grew up in Kennett, Missouri, the county seat of Dunklin County. So when I heard the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had a front-page story (by Todd C. Frankel) about Bootheel politics, I headed for the paper’s website to check it out.

I wasn’t really surprised to learn than Dunklin County was Obama’s worst showing in the primary. Just 18 percent.

But then I was heartened to learn that the Obama campaign has two office in the county and that Sheryl Crow’s momma and daddy volunteer for O.

They have a Republican campaign HQ but if I read the story right it’s a first for Dunklin County.

The story quotes Ronnie Johnson who’s “voting for McCain. Or rather, against Obama.”

“He is reluctant to explain this at first — “You don’t want to know why,” he says.”

“The others on the porch goad him. And Johnson, a lanky 20-year-old white man who works as a meatcutter at a grocery store, starts to talk about an issue that has persisted throughout the campaign: race.”

“It is not just that Obama is black, Johnson says. He has heard that Obama is Muslim. (Obama is Christian.) He also has heard rumors that Obama refuses to salute the American flag, and that Obama has promised that black men will have more rights than white men. (Independent fact-checking groups say these rumors
are false.)”

“He’s white,” Johnson says.

The story concludes with a couple of demographics:

“Dunklin is one of the poorest counties in Missouri. The unemployment rate hovers near 9 percent. More than a quarter of the population lives in poverty.”

Not sure we’ll see this clipping on the Chamber of Commerce bulletin board.

Putting Ana Marie back on the plane

AmcblogAna Marie Cox was covering the McCain campaign for Radar Magazine until it shut it’s doors on Friday. AMC tweeted us to her blog for the story:

“It will cost about $1500 to cover just the last day of the campaign, and over $1000 a day for each day leading up to it. While I still blog for TIME’s “Swampland” * — and I will for as long as they let me! — I am without a source for travel funds. So, you know, anyone interested in sponsoring a foul-mouthed blogger, slightly used?”

Like a public radio fund drive, she offered premiums for different levels of giving.

“Over $100: My instant message screen name, regular personal updates via email and/or instant messages on election night.”

I kicked in$150 because I’m a fan and liked the idea of helping a blogger. Seems like I wasn’t alone.

“At the moment, donations come to about $2500 — a thousand past my goal of simply seeing the McCain campaign off into the gentle night come Nov. 4 (literally! sort of!), and just about enough to cover spending election eve out on the trail as well.”

Ana Marie is hardly the first blogger to ask her readers to support her work. But I think I would have been willing to pay $5 or $10 a month for a year to fund her efforts. Is this some kind of model for the future?

Update: 10/28/08

Crappy Hour with Megan and Annamarie

Tell me what is better than two hot geekettes talking trash early in the morning. No, I’ll tell you. Nothing!

“When the chips are down and all the prayers to God to win the election and protect you from witchcraft haven’t worked, everyone knows it’s time to call in the big guns: the forces of evil. And, if they’re too busy helping the Axis of Evil get nukes and shit, well, then you can always call in the forces of pettiness and covert racism, as they’ve been helpful in many an election here in the States. But Swampland’s Ana Marie Cox and I will insist on, at a minimum, throwing rhetorical spitballs at the hordes and making assfucking jokes as the sky is falling, so there’s that.”

Best line: “Pfister? I hardly knew her.” Read the post.

“Like watching Gidget address the Reichstag”

[Alert: McCainiacs and Palinistas can skip this post. You won’t appreciate Matt Taibbi’s biting wit or pithy rage. Go watch a Sean Hannity re-run. And I’ve had some email reminding me I had said I wasn’t going to write about politics anymore. I believe what I said was, I would no longer ‘discuss’ politics.]

My favorite political writer, Matt Taibbi has outdone himself with his column  on Sarah Palin. When interstellar archeologists dig through the rubble of what was once the U.S.A. and wonder what the fuck happened, I hope they stumble across Mr. Taibbi’s column. Every line is a gem but I’ll share just a few of my favorites:

“Four-chinned delegates from places like Arkansas and Georgia are pouring joyously out the gates (of the GOP convention) in search of bars where they can load up on Zombies and Scorpion Bowls and other “wild” drinks and extramaritally grope their turkey-necked female companions in bathroom stalls as part of the “unbelievable time” they will inevitably report to their pals back home.

Only 21st-century Americans can pass through a metal detector six times in an hour and still think they’re at a party.

Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

But Americans like politicians who hate books and see the face of Jesus in every tree stump. They like them stupid and mean and ignorant of the rules.”

And we love Sarah.

Moosehunting with Aden Nak

Aden Nak doesn’t understand why it’s taboo to say someone is too dumb to be president. He somehow managed to get his hands on the flow chart used to prep Governor Palin for last night’s debate.

“The truth is that Palin didn’t answer any questions she didn’t want to tonight, and she said she’d do exactly that at the start of the debate. She had a hand full of index cards and a brain full of buzz words, and it was her job to say them all in front of the camera. Actually, it was her job to say them while looking at Joe Biden for five seconds, then looking at the camera for five seconds, and then looking back at Biden to start over again. It was like she was on a timer. One of the many things she’d probably been coached on after the whole flap about McCain not looking Obama in the eyes.”

People of a certain age might remember old TV shows that used an “applause meter” (it was just an audio level meter) to allow the studio audience to “vote” on something or someone.

The kids at Twitter have come up with a 21st century twist for tomorrow night’s debate. From NYT’s The Caucus:

“If Senators John McCain and Barack Obama actually do debate Friday night, you will be able to watch what thousands of viewers think of their verbal sparring almost as they talk. Twitter, the service that lets techno-hipsters broadcast their thoughts in 140-character bursts, is setting up a special politics page to make it easy to tune into the chatter.

At midnight Thursday, the company is launching, the first specialized section of its site. Like Twitter’s main service, it is dominated by a big white box. But instead of typing an answer to “What are you doing?” the election site asks, “What do you think?”

Below that box is a constantly scrolling display of the thoughts (called “tweets” in Twitterspeak) of other Twitter users. These include all the tweets entered on the election page as well as those entered in any other part of the service with obvious election-related phrases, such as “Palin.”

I was going to do my snarking here but I think I’ll join the crowd. This page is not just for the debate, I assume, so I’ll have a place to vent my spleen –from now until the election– without annoying you.

I think our company should do this very thing for each of the colleges we work with. Sure, you’d get a few fans tweeting that the coach made a bad call but I suspect the majority of posts would be supportive. And what a sense of “being part of the crowd” this would create for fans listening to the radio or watching TV. Might even be something a hip, web-savvy company would want to sponsor.

President Bartlet will see you now Senator

I never got hooked on West Wing but I must have been the only one not watching this popular TV show about fictional U. S. President Jed Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen). NYT columnist Maureen Dowd asked WW creator Aaron Sorkin to imagine a meeting between President Bartlet and Senator Barack Obama.

As you know, I’m fond of such fictional conversations, so I share a nugget or two from this one:

OBAMA The problem is we can’t appear angry. Bush called us the angry left. Did you see anyone in Denver who was angry?

BARTLET Well … let me think. …We went to war against the wrong country, Osama bin Laden just celebrated his seventh anniversary of not being caught either dead or alive, my family’s less safe than it was eight years ago, we’ve lost trillions of dollars, millions of jobs, thousands of lives and we lost an entire city due to bad weather. So, you know … I’m a little angry.

OBAMA What would you do?

BARTLET GET ANGRIER! … Mock them mercilessly; they’ve earned it. McCain decried agents of intolerance, then chose a running mate who had to ask if she was allowed to ban books from a public library. It’s not bad enough she thinks the planet Earth was created in six days 6,000 years ago complete with a man, a woman and a talking snake, she wants schools to teach the rest of our kids to deny geology, anthropology, archaeology and common sense too? It’s not bad enough she’s forcing her own daughter into a loveless marriage to a teenage hood, she wants the rest of us to guide our daughters in that direction too? It’s not enough that a woman shouldn’t have the right to choose, it should be the law of the land that she has to carry and deliver her rapist’s baby too? I don’t know whether or not Governor Palin has the tenacity of a pit bull, but I know for sure she’s got the qualifications of one. And you’re worried about seeming angry? You could eat their lunch, make them cry and tell their mamas about it and God himself would call it restrained. There are times when you are simply required to be impolite. There are times when condescension is called for!


Donald Craig Mitchell, blogging (Off the Bus) from Wasilla, Alasaka, attended a Palin rally and spotted Bristol Palin and Levi in the bleachers behind mom. Not talking, not touching. After the event, Levi boogied.

"But if Levi was my kid, the deal I would have cut would, at an absolute minimum, have been: $500,000 for from now to the November election. If McCain-Palin win, a $ 1 million signing bonus to take the trip down the aisle. Then, for the duration of the McCain-Palin administration, $100,000 a month for every month Mr. and Mrs. Johnston live under the same roof, and $50,000 a month for every month that they remain married but do not."

Any guy who ever got a call from his girlfriend to tell him she was "late" (archaic, dated reference) can empathize with poor old Levi (what is the Secret Service equivalent of a shotgun wedding?).

And I feel just as bad for Bristol. It’s bad enough to have everyone in home room know about your "condition," but the entire country?