New Orleans is being evacuated as Hurricane Gustav approaches. Three years after the governmental debacle of Katrina, the Republican convention is turning into a sideshow.
** BUSH AND CHENEY OUT OF REPUBLICAN CONVENTION, MCCAIN MAY GIVE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH FROM DISASTER ZONE. Hurricane Gustav is expected to make landfall on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico on Monday. So President Bush and Vice President Cheney, whose administration spectacularly bungled Hurricane Katrina three years ago this week, a gross failure shared by local and state government in Louisiana, will not be in St. Paul, Minnesota for the Republican national convention. In addition, John McCain is strongly considering delivering his acceptance speech to the convention from somewhere within the disaster zone.
Now, here’s a question. Is the collapse of the Republican national convention into a political sideshow a bad thing for McCain, or a good thing? One thing is for sure. It means that years of planning for a powerful week for the Republican nominee are reduced to improvisational moves, much of it, ironically, dictated by extreme weather.
** SUNDAY — WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden are in Toledo, Ohio and Battle Creek, Michigan.
John McCain and Sarah Palin are in Jackson, Mississippi and O’Fallon, Missouri.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE: SUNDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will hold private meetings and discussions in and around the Capitol with a focus on the chronic California budget crisis. Unless there is a budget by Monday, which doesn’t appear likely, he will not open the Republican national convention in prime time, as he has been scheduled to do. A sad moment for him, to be sure.
Meanwhile, the Legislature is going through a series of complicated maneuvers this Labor Day weekend, as it has now achieved the distinction of the latest budget in California history. I could run through the various legislative permutations of the weekend, or I could explain it all as the usual Capitol wheel-spinning.
** PALIN SEEN BY VOTERS AS UNQUALIFIED. A new USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that Sarah Palin is seen as unqualified to be vice president. Only 39% say Palin’s qualified, a number that is below the baseline Republican vote in a national election and is by far the lowest since the selection of Dan Quayle in 1988. Democrat Joe Biden is seen as qualified by 57%.
There’s more to say about Palin, who has major contradictions in her sparse record, but it’s a holiday weekend and perhaps not that big a deal.
It’s opening weekend of the college football season. This is the video shown at the Friday team meeting of the USC Trojans. Best-in-the-West SC is on the road Saturday afternoon against Virginia. (USC won, 52-7).
** WELCOME TO WASILLA. POPULATION 6,715. Here is the web site for the City of Wasilla, Alaska. Designated Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin served as mayor of Wasilla until a year-and-a-half ago. As you see, her post as mayor consisted of presiding over city council meetings — she didn’t have a vote unless there was a tie — and presiding over various civic events.
The Wasilla City Council meets twice a month.
According to the city, Wasilla has a population of 6,715. Which is less than the 8000 I reported yesterday. And far less than Karl Rove implied early yesterday morning on Fox News, when he erroneously claimed that Wasilla is the second largest city in Alaska.
** LIEBERMAN WAS MCCAIN’S REAL FIRST CHOICE FOR VEEP. As I suspected. But he was vetoed by the far right wing of the Republican Party.
** SATURDAY — WHERE THEY ARE TODAY.
Barack Obama and Joe Biden are in Youngstown, Cleveland, and Dublin, Ohio.
John McCain and Sarah Palin are in Washington, Pennsylvania.
** 13 REASONS WHY IT’S, AH, PALIN. Sarah who?
John McCain, after a lengthy tease of multiple candidates, including word early this morning on Fox and other cable news nets that Mitt Romney was the pick, selected Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his pick for vice president of the United States. McCain is a gambler, literally, and this is a big roll of the dice.
This is a bold gambit, intended in large measure to take the focus off Barack Obama’s spectacular speech last night. Is Sarah Palin, who would be a heartbeat away from the presidency as vice president to John McCain, qualified to serve as replacement POTUS for the oldest president in American history, tortured for five-and-a-half years as POW?
Palin has served for a year-and-a-half as governor of Alaska, a state of less than 700,000. For perspective, that is a smaller population than contained in any of the 40 state senate districts in California.
Prior to that, she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, which Karl Rove early this morning on Fox News erroneously stated is the second largest city in Alaska.
Actually, it’s not anywhere near that — perhaps the Wizard of Oz should stay behind the curtain — and is in fact a town of only about 8000 people. Palin, 44, is a favorite of the anti-abortion right-wing base, Rush Limbaugh’s favorite, an alum of the University of Idaho who earned the Miss Congeniality title while competing for Miss Alaska. She is an advocate of drilling for oil everywhere, including in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.
Today is the Vietnam War hero’s — that would be McCain, Palin has no national security background — 72nd birthday. So Sarah Palin would be a heartbeat away from the presidency. …
So in the end, ironically, given his status as America’s most anti-Russian politician, McCain is presenting a potential vice president from the only American state with a Russian name. Alyaska was part of Russia. But America bought it from the Russian Empire for $7 million in 1867. We’ll see if America buys this new product from the farthest Northwest. … From yesterday’s column.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE: SATURDAY. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has meetings and discussions in and around the Capitol Saturday, with a focus on the chronic California budget crisis.
There is a “98% chance” that he will not be going to St. Paul, Minnesota, as scheduled to opening the Republican National Convention in prime time.
** OBAMA NEEDS BILL CLINTON. No big-time Democrat got more sideways with the rise of Barack Obama than the big dog himself, Bill Clinton. Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turned out that the former president needs to play a very crucial role in Obama’s elevation to the office he once held?
I think that, if Obama is to win, Clinton does need to play that very crucial role, and he can play that very crucial role. From what I know of Clinton’s schedule, he will be available, assuming that he and the Obama campaign can continue bridging what has been a very large gap. And from what I know of John McCain’s strategy, Bill Clinton can be an absolute difference maker in this election. He certainly gave a rousing speech for Obama last night in Denver.
Now, I am not historically a big Bill Clinton fan. While I’ve found him likable and smart for a couple of decades, I worked against him when he ran for president in 1992. After he became president, I wrote a number of critical columns and articles about him and his administration. I did come to admire the many innovative global good works of his post-presidency. But after seeing in early 2007 that Obama was the emerging figure in the presidential race, Clintonian tactics began to grate.
I think Bill Clinton played the key role in saving Hillary Clinton’s campaign after her big loss in Iowa. He gave her good advice, raised big doubts about Obama, and played the key role in reversing Obama’s lead amongst blue collar voters in New Hampshire. Obama skidded to a stunning loss. … From my recent Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND U.S. ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. After crashing over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil closed at $115.46 per barrel on Friday. Energy markets are closed on the weekend.
The drop of over $32 per barrel comes on acknowledgement that the weak US economy will cut future demand and the easing of geopolitical tensions in the Middle East. The Russian war with Georgia, confounding much speculation and reporting to the contrary, actually decreased the geopolitical risk premium. Though the repercussions may not.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum.