Worst Campaign Ever

Serious question- is Steve Schmidt running the worst campaign ever:

David Axelrod was surrounded by a pack of camera-toting, mike-wielding, pushing-and-shoving media types, one of whom asked whether his man Barack Obama had been “too nice” in the just-completed debate with John McCain.

“I don’t think he was too nice. . . . There were clear differences. . . . He made a very strong case, absolutely,” the onetime newspaperman said in his meandering style.

Twenty feet away, McCain operative Steve Schmidt was robotically hammering home a single number.

“Senator Obama was right tonight when he said John McCain was right 11 times. . . . It was a home run for Senator McCain. . . . The person who is losing the debate, the person who is on defense, is the person who says his opponent is right 11 times,” the shaved-head strategist declared.

I don’t know how much of the fail from the McCain campaign the last few months is is a clash between John McCain’s erratic urges and lack of impulse control (remember the aide who responded that the reason they were in Colombia during an election cycle was because McCain wanted to be in Colombia, andwhat McCain wants, McCain gets) and Schmidt’s style, but this is terrible. Let me explain some more- by every account, Schmidt is an on message kind of guy, and just likes to find one thing and drill it until it is dead. The problem is that when you have a campaign that operates like that, you can not have John McCain running out and shifting the message every few days.

For example, it was taunts of “celebrity, celebrity, celebrity,” then McCain goes on the View and SNL and pictures of him boating in the Mediterranean with Anne Hathaway appear and so on. Then the most important thing ever was “experience experience experience,” and McCain picks Palin. He continuously asserts the economy is strong, then the next day this is the worst crisis ever.

Today is just the latest installment. Spend weeks talking about bi-partisanship, spend weeks saying how McCain can work across party lines, jab Obama during the debates because he is so liberal he can not work with Republicans, spend the week saying the financial crisis needs a bi-partisan solution, and then your idiot campaign manager and ad team want to pretend that agreeing with the opposing candidate is bad.

And so on. They drive their point home as if it is the most important thing ever, make sure everyone knows what their point is (Schmidt is not subtle), then the next day they pull the rug out and something else is the new most important thing ever. The cumulative effect of all of this is to create a staggering level of incoherence, and it is rational to think these guys are insane or full of shit or unstable, or maybe all three. Add to it the foolish jihad against the media, and you have the current disaster.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

118 replies
  1. 1
    Tom65 says:

    Schmidt is all about winning the news cycle, facts be damned. Kinda makes it hard to articulate a coherent strategy or policy objective.

  2. 2

    its true the fact he is so on message kills when they switch messages every couple days. it is an amplifying effect.

  3. 3

    Did Steve count how many times Senator Obama said McCain was wrong?

  4. 4
    bedlam UK says:

    I think the poor man is working like those incredibly patient people that work in Care homes for the elderly.

    McCain is doing the Political version of the 80yo man who loses sense of what is real, hurls abuse at the orderlies, and walks around in his pants.

    Each time his team set up a message he wanders out into the world and sods it up.
    They desperately cover it up, or act as if walking around with your pants on your head is normal, and hope they can use all their experience and years of double dealing/lies/bribes to keep McCain looking normal.
    Lucky for them on debate day he had reverted to the mumbling old grumpy, which can be dealt with.

    I really feel sorry for McCains team. Next week they’ve got to deal with Palin.
    I hope they get paid well !!!

  5. 5
    Comrade Tbonevitch says:

    I don’t think Stevie understands the difference between tactics and strategies.

  6. 6
    Comrade The Moar You Know says:

    Schmidt is all about winning the news cycle, facts be damned. Kinda makes it hard to articulate a coherent strategy or policy objective.

    And now he’s another victim of the internet and a new version of the news cycle. There are forces acting on it that tradtional media guys don’t get. Put in terms that us interweb users understand, forced memes no longer work.

    Obama’s team gets this. McCain’s team won’t, perhaps ever.

  7. 7
    Billy K says:

    I suspect Schmidt would run a pretty good campaign for a typical winger. But McCain is not. Which leads me to ask, “why would John McCain hire a Manager whose approach clashes with the candidate’s personality?”

    I think it shows short-sightedness, and dare I say, lack of judgment?

  8. 8
    TheFountainHead says:

    Schmidt’s dangerous at close range, but he doesn’t have the patience/brains to coordinate a campaign over a period of months or develop a theme.

  9. 9
    Zach says:

    Best example of this so far: Tire gauges.

    One minute, you have the GOP order tens of thousands of “Obama Energy Plan” tire gauges to hand out at the RNC (btw, what storage locker are those in today?); you’ve got Rick Davis gleefully handing them to the campaign press; the mockery is in full swing. It’s a mind-bogglingly stupid attack, but at least there’s some humor to it and it’ll probably help rile the base before the convention. Any guesses as to how much money and manpower went into planning and purchasing tire gauges, drafting up ad concepts around the idea that’d say how out-of-touch Obama was on energy, etc?

    A minute later, McCain has an August 5th telephone town hall in which he says, “Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it.” This was, by the way, one of the last time McCain opened himself up for public questions.

  10. 10
    Billy K(hrushchev) says:

    I really feel sorry for McCains team.

    Don’t.

  11. 11
    Jon H says:

    bedlamUK wrote:”and walks around in his pants.”

    Translation for the Americans: “and walks around in his underpants”.

  12. 12

    Dude,

    They’re even talking about having a shotgun wedding for Bristol and her “I don’t want kids” boyfriend as a possible campaign move. Talk about “Spearing” (as in Britney) the girl. But they think it would be fantastic to have all those cameras there.

  13. 13
    TheFountainHead says:

    Then again, with message control like this, you gotta wonder if Schmidt wasn’t hired to throw the game.

  14. 14
    bedlam UK says:

    Ha, True i forgot over there pants is trousers, which is somewhat normal.

    I did indeed mean Underpants.

    Thanks for actually making my waffle make sense Jon H.

  15. 15
    TheFountainHead says:

    And it looks like we’ll get to see the rest of the Palin-Couric interview, flame-outs and all.

  16. 16
    gbear says:

    I really feel sorry for McCains team. Next week they’ve got to deal with Palin.
    I hope they get paid well

    I find it as hard to feel sympathy for the McCain team as I do for the MN Vikings. And I wouldn’t worry that McCain’s team isn’t getting paid enough; it appears that they’ve all kept their day jobs as lobbyists.

  17. 17
    Brian J says:

    I think you’re confusing the idea of an intelligent, responsible, adult campaign with the notion of a successful campaign. The McCain campaign is certainly not the former, but for a while, it was being the latter. Remember the sort of dread that some, myself included, felt a week or two ago? One Saturday morning, I woke up in such a crappy mood, and I couldn’t figure out why, but then I realized it’s because I thought Obama would lose. That’s because, while McCain didn’t nail anything down, he certainly had gained some ground. It looked like he had an actual shot.

    I don’t know if you can say the same right now. He’s in a much harder position, because there aren’t that many days left before the election and only so much time left for something that could change the momentum to happen. But he still could win. Whether this is mostly because Obama’s a black guy whose middle name is Hussein or because McCain really does have a good place in the hearts of the American public is debatable, but if McCain and Schmidt were running a really, really bad campaign, it wouldn’t even be close.

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    You’ve got two different schools of political theater. One dictates that you claim “the sky is blue” even in the dead of night during a lunar eclipse followed by a fireworks display on Mars. The other has you constantly jumping from point to point in an attempt to keep your opponent guessing – today the sky is always blue, tomorrow when you’ve got your opponent agreeing you point out how he’s totally forgotten about night time, and the day after that when your opponent has changed his position you claim only an idiot would count night time when checking sky colors and besides who even asks that kind of question anyway?

    And both strategies can work. The first is great when you’ve got people hammering away on “controversial issues” like gay rights or global warming, where one side can claim “evil, lies, bad!” and all the facts be damned, enough people will believe you to make your position viable. The second works great when your opponent insists on following along in your wake, picking up your slack.

    On the economy, McCain would have been better of doggedly insisting that everything is fine. He’d win the support of the goons in the House who are more than happy to fiddle while Rome burns, then toss out a tax cut as the only solution they’ll vote on.

    On foreign policy, Obama insists on deferring to the neo-con “Let’s attack everyone” mentality, so long as someone buffers the issue with a suitably 24-esque situation modifier – what happens if Osama Bin Laden has a thousand Natalie Holliways strapped to a nuclear device, NOW will you invade Iran?! So McCain’s constant twisting of strategy works, because it constantly makes Obama look naive while McCain commands a clever military genius.

    But together, its an absolute super fail. They don’t coordinate on anything. It’s clear that McCain has adopted the Rovian playbook purely out of necessity and he hates being told what to do. So he’s constantly bucking his own political team. If this is how he runs a Presidential Campaign, just imagine how he’d run the country. :-p

  19. 19
    Comrade Rick Massimo says:

    Spend weeks talking about bi-partisanship, spend weeks saying how McCain can work across party lines, jab Obama during the debates because he is so liberal he can not work with Republicans, spend the week saying the financial crisis needs a bi-partisan solution, and then your idiot campaign manager and ad team want to pretend that agreeing with the opposing candidate is bad.

    C’mon, John. Surely you’ve learned by now that bipartisanism is when Democrats go along with Republicans. When Republicans go along with Democrats, it’s weakness.

  20. 20
    Not My Fault says:

    I think I finally understand how folks could see McCain as the winner of the debate.

    During the debate, my young son kept asking “are they going to start yelling?” and I kept trying to explain the difference between a debate and an argument. He never quite got it.

    Republicans seem stuck with the childish notion that the debate was essentially WWF in suits. Looked at that way, well yes, the grumpy old man had more digs, was less gracious, and totally walked over Obama.

    They don’t see the “Obama doesn’t understand” chant as an inability to process disagreement, but rather as a body slam. Similarly, they see “McCain is right about X but not about Y” as Obama body slamming himself. They don’t even see that he made his points and highlighted real differences while allowing everyone to save face because all that they were counting was the body slams.

    I Think McCain showed himself in the debate to be vastly superior … If we were electing the president of the WWF. As POTUS, not so much.

    But it is just this the distinction between the roll of professional wrestler and POTUS that the republicans seem to be missing.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Stuck in the Fun House says:

    Just goes to show, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Mccain has been a pot stirrer his whole life. Sometimes with actual principles behind the stirring, and sometimes just for the hell of it. Air drop in a pack of PavRovian message drivers and you have political combustion, on an almost daily basis. Mccain’s persona and political strength has been the opposite of the way these message grifters operate, so one day we have Mccain doing his Bush like subservient repetition of the daily talking points, the next you have “I’ll go it alone just like I did on Iraq”. A sad comedy is what you end up with. And a guy like Schmidt who is venting his rage on the press for not going along so much this time with the equivalence shit, largely due to the Palin disaster that even the most dutiful Mccain news lackeys can’t abide being a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

  23. 23
    Comrade The Moar You Know says:

    Then again, with message control like this, you gotta wonder if Schmidt wasn’t hired to throw the game.

    Countdown to “nigger”. 5…4…3…2…

    I’m amazed they’ve gone this long without somebody saying it, that’s gotta take some superhuman self-control that I’m pretty sure the party of wetsuits and dildos doesn’t have.

  24. 24

    I suspect Schmidt would run a pretty good campaign for a typical winger. But McCain is not. Which leads me to ask, “why would John McCain hire a Manager whose approach clashes with the candidate’s personality?”

    Because when McCain ran as an outsider in the primaries in 2000, he lost, and he wants this so bad he’s willing to whatever is necessary to win. It got him through the primaries this time thanks to a division between the money people who wanted RudyMittFred and the broke evangelicals who wanted Huckabee.

  25. 25
    reid says:

    MSNBC is currently showing a Palin/McCain campaign stop. I’m throwing up a little. Sounds like a bunch of cattle moo-ing on script to the talking points.

  26. 26
    Товарищ НеинтереснаяСобака says:

    “A vote for senator Obama will leave this country at risk, during one of the deepest economic crises since the great depression. When it comes to the economy, Barack Obama just doesn’t get it.”

    Huh? Well, there you go, I guess–attack your opponent on his strengths. I can’t imagine that it works when you don’t give any reasons other than “Obama will raise your taxes,” which is a transparent lie as of this point. And he just accused Obama of ignoring the tax plight of the retired (Obama has proposed an elimination of most taxes on retirees, a proposal not shared by McCain).

    I know he’s going for low-info voters, but this is just silly.

  27. 27
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    I would love to see someone, anyone, make more of the unseemly McCain & Ratpack quality of Johnny Drama and his advisors. If I could, I would insert a pic of the sneery (good)fellas together so you can get that dull-sick visceral reaction.

    I think this weekend’s NYT article on McCain’s gambling and questionable casino dealings, conflict of interest with his duties of oversight, and connections to well-known murky LV figures like Sig Rogich is a start. But I don’t think people know what to do with it yet.

  28. 28
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Schmidt and company are probably still frantically looking for the Michelle Obama “Whitey” tape. That and trying to round up a brace of matching snowmobiles for the guard of honor at Bristol’s wedding.

  29. 29
    jrg says:

    I don’t know if you can say the same right now. He’s in a much harder position, because there aren’t that many days left before the election and only so much time left for something that could change the momentum to happen. But he still could win.

    Yep, which is why I think they will replace Palin during the 11th hour (after the debates), with another fundie. The hope will be that they see a bounce like the one they saw after the convention. That’s why Biden needs to spend Thursday parrying Palin’s gibberish and going after McCain instead.

    Obama and Biden need to focus on McCain, because there is an increasingly large possibility that Palin might not be around come election day.

    McCain has got to replace Palin, or the downticket damage will be historic. Even the dimwitted conservatives that troll Politico are whining about her.

  30. 30

    Countdown to “n”

    Nope. The only way to get McCain to hurl a socially unacceptable verbal insult at you is to marry him.

  31. 31
    zmulls says:

    Waiting until after the debates to replace Palin is the best solution. That way, Romney (or whomever) doesn’t have to debate Biden.

    All this incompetence and they will still get at the very least 40% of the vote.

  32. 32
    Comrade Tbonevitch says:

    if we’re electing president of the WWF

    President Comacho for life, bitches!

  33. 33
    Comrade Jake says:

    How quickly you guys all forget how much of a Maverick Johnny Drama is.

    Strategy? Mavericks don’t need strategy!

  34. 34
    zuzu's petals says:

    Billy K Says:
    September 29th, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I suspect Schmidt would run a pretty good campaign for a typical winger. But McCain is not. Which leads me to ask, “why would John McCain hire a Manager whose approach clashes with the candidate’s personality?”

    Well he did run Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign, and Arnold is hardly a “typical winger.” On the other hand, he’s used to following a script, so there’s that.

  35. 35
    jibeaux says:

    That campaign is staffed by ferrets. Occam’s Razor.

  36. 36
    Comrade Throwing the Stones says:

    OT:

    I missed this over the weekend.

    Wonder if it has to do with this DVD, which we received two copies of in the mail last week?

  37. 37
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Well you’re absolutely right John, but if I had the chance to go boating with Anne Hathaway, I’d go off message too.

    Just sayin’.

  38. 38
    Comrade Jake says:

    Courtesy of Marc Ambinder, here’s the strategy du jour from Johnny Drama & Co:

    Instead of unsheathing Palin, the strategy this week is to attack Joe Biden and try to drive a wedge between him and Obama, another McCain aide said.

    In other words, they’ll seek to put Biden on the defensive in advance of the debate. Ostensibly this will force Gwen Ifil to ask him about one of the issues.

    Of course, I suspect that nobody’s informed these bozos that Ifil’s not exactly George Snuffaluffagus.

  39. 39
    Not My Fault says:

    Yep, which is why I think they will replace Palin during the 11th hour (after the debates)

    I don’t get this talk at all. Forgetting that ditching Palin is politically impossible, that it undermines all McCain has in terms of experience and judgment, that it pisses off the ONLY people who are excited about the ticket. Forget all that.

    Ditching Palin at this point is still impossible. State deadlines are long past. Ballots are being printed. Folks are voting already. There is no way the republicans could get McCain/MysteryGuest on the ballot in 50 states at this point.

    Think of the hilarity that will ensue at the electoral college when they try to sum up electors who were elected for McCain/Palin and those elected for McCain/MysteryGuest. It would make the 2000 election look like a triumph of democracy.

    Not. Gonna. Happen.

  40. 40
    Comrade Jake says:

    My bad, it’s Ifill with two Ls. Wait until iFILL takes it to iEMPTY (Palin).

  41. 41
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Not My Fault, a minor quibble. IIRC, the ballot here in Cali simply read “For President of the United States,” no mention of the VP.

  42. 42
    Comrade Roonieroo says:

    I’m just getting to the point that the whole McCain/Palin campaign is too surreal for me to watch. I go back and forth on wondering if they really are trying to throw this thing.

  43. 43
    Deborah says:

    I think they’re envisioning something like this:

    Interviewer: Senator McCain, what color is the sky at the moment?
    McCain: It’s night: the sky is black.
    Interviewer: Senator Obama, your thoughts?
    Obama: I agree with John; the sky is black right now.

    Schmidt: Oh ho ho! So Obama just agrees with McCain. Typical. Why vote for Obama when you can have McCain? This is devastating….
    Normal voters: So does McCain not agree with Obama? If Obama says the sky is black, McCain now thinks it’s orange? What are you talking about? If he agrees with your position on this issue, how can you not agree with his position?

  44. 44
    Not My Fault says:

    Did half of this thread just disappear?

  45. 45
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    I predict that McCain will suffer a bout of ill health and drop out. Palin will drop out for family reasons. They will be replaced on the ticket with a picture of Ronald Reagan and a Bible. The new ticket will poll 40% nationwide and 80% in the South.

  46. 46
    Comrade Roonieroo says:

    Dennis – That made me laugh loud enough to scare the cat!

  47. 47
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Ditching Palin at this point is still impossible. State deadlines are long past. Ballots are being printed. Folks are voting already. There is no way the republicans could get McCain/MysteryGuest on the ballot in 50 states at this point.

    Well, Palin could ditch herself, ala Eagleton. And since we’re voting for EC electors and not directly for the candidates, it’s not immediately clear whether the Party couldn’t change it’s mind. That would be politically disastrous, of course.

  48. 48
    Punchy says:

    Interviewer: Senator McCain, what color is the sky at the moment?
    McCain: It’s night: the sky is black.
    Interviewer: Senator Obama, your thoughts?
    Obama: I agree with John; the sky is black right now.

    Good start, but then it actually ends this way:

    Chris Matthews: OH MY GOD. OBAMA PLAYS THE RACE CARD! We knew he’d mention “black”, but now he’s calling the sky as himself. How elist. Since God is thought to be up in the clouds, is Obama calling himself GOD? I think so. Let’s go to Cathy (Cindy?) Crawley from CNN for an update on the debate as well as the cheeseburgers, shakes, and doughnuts.

  49. 49
    TheFountainHead says:

    Has anyone read anything anywhere about MoDo getting tossed off the McCain plane? I saw a Twit about it but there was no linky.

  50. 50
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    I would be willing to take my new Sharpie (sadly, not a trusty old pen, like JMac’s) to all of the McCain/Palin signs I see and cross her name out.

    Just wanna help.

  51. 51
    Comrade Jake says:

    Anyone else notice that the PUMA meme appears to be gone?

    Not surprisingly, commenting frequency also appears to be down over at TalkLeft. It looks like BTD is mostly talking to himself, and the occasional loose nutjob.

  52. 52
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Well, Palin could ditch herself, ala Eagleton.

    Eagleton withdrew on August 1st, 1972, more than ninety days before the election. Palin could withdraw although I don’t see McCain pushing her to do so nor do I see her doing it herself. If she is pressured to drop out by McCain’s staff I imagine they’ll come away with claw marks all over them.

  53. 53
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    Dowd Gets No Love From McCain Camp…

    http://washingtonindependent.c.....ccain-camp

  54. 54
    TheFountainHead says:

    Thanks, Kali’s Little Sister.

  55. 55
    oh really says:

    Worst campaign ever?

    Hmmm. That requires some serious thought.

    There’s no doubt McCain’s is bad (so why is he still in contention?), but it has some pretty stiff competition. Plus, you have to clarify what “worst” means. Most inept? Most offensive (even if effective)? Etc. I will agree that McCain’s is in contention almost no matter what the definition.

    However, what scares me is the likelihood that should McCain somehow pull this one out, he will make us nostalgic for Bush, The Worst President Ever (So Far).

    Bush followed by McCain will be a sure sign that there is no hope left for this country.

  56. 56
    dslak says:

    Normally, I would praise any ill-treatment of MoDo, but I suspect the McCain campaign isn’t giving her the cold shoulder out of principle . . .

  57. 57
    TheFountainHead says:

    Hmmm. I wonder why Kurtz would even drop that into his piece. He had to know people would take notice. Maybe he’s trying to signal the Left that the McCain campaign has Kurtz’s family tied up in the belly of that plane?

  58. 58
    Comrade Peter J says:

    Has anyone read anything anywhere about MoDo getting tossed off the McCain plane? I saw a Twit about it but there was no linky.

    Midair. No parachute.

  59. 59
    Not My Fault says:

    I just looked up my sample ballot (San Diego, CA) and it lists Both President/Vice President as well as party.

    Yes, electors could vote for anyone they want, but unless the candidate who was on the ballot is dead (no I’m not wishing anyone ill) this would be the fast path to a Supreme Court cluster fuck.

    I know that the supremes are in the tank for the Republicans, but this might be a bridge too far even for them.

    Which leads to the humorous possibility that they might allow all votes for McCain but disallow votes for Palin being forwarded to MysteryGuest.

    And we could end up with McCain/Biden.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

  60. 60
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Has anyone read anything anywhere about MoDo getting tossed off the McCain plane? I saw a Twit about it but there was no linky.

    She had Third Degree chapped lips.

  61. 61
    jake says:

    You’ve heard of “Confuse-a-Cat,” the service that motivates sluggish cats. Schmidt offers “Confuse-a-Voter.” Leap about making “Whoop! Whoop!” noises until the voter decides to go to the polls just to make him shut up.

  62. 62
    Comrade Napoleon says:

    If McCain does not win (or maybe pull out a respectable close finish) his campaign is going to destroy several of his operatives careers (in addition to Palin’s career and McCain’s reputation) it has been that bad. Why would anyone hire Davis or Schmidt after the train wreck of a campaign they have run?

  63. 63
    NonyNony says:

    Yep, which is why I think they will replace Palin during the 11th hour (after the debates)

    On top of what Not My Fault says above …

    Once the debate is over there’s no real point to replacing Palin and asking for a “do-over”. If she performs horribly, the damage is done. McCain’s judgment becomes the overriding question, regardless of whether she leaves the ticket or not.

    The ONLY way replacing her works is if the replacement occurs before the debate. After the debate the damage is done and all they can do is keep her out of the public eye and hope that the loyal base hang on for the ride. Before the debate it’s a mavericky move that might keep Obama’s team off balance. After the debate it’s a panicky move that isn’t going to fool anyone.

    If she makes it to the debate, she’s on the ticket. We might not see her out on her own again before election day, but she’s on the ticket.

  64. 64
    Billy K(hrushchev) says:

    They will be replaced on the ticket with a picture of Ronald Reagan and a Bible.

    Funny, Dennis, but not very accurate. You forgot the assault rifle.

  65. 65
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    My greatest wish for Thursday?

    Closed captioning. Given the inevitable blizzard of words from every direction, I fear I will be susceptible to (auditory???) snowblindness.

  66. 66
    SGEW says:

    Worst Campaign Ever?

    How quickly we forget the surrealistic, quixotic campaign of Mike Gravel.

    Or does his campaign actually qualify as the best ever? Worst or best, one or the other.

  67. 67
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    The house voted it down: 228 nay 205 yay.

    Markets are plunging.

  68. 68
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    Wow. Dow down 613.

  69. 69
    TheFountainHead says:

    The Market is making that whistling noise that usually comes right before the “SPLAT” noise.

  70. 70
    Товарищ НеинтереснаяСобака says:

    That’s some great leadership by McCain, eh?

  71. 71
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    Insert pic of McCain riding the bailout rocket ala Dr. Strangelove, anyone?

  72. 72
    cleek says:

    it’s moving so fast the headlines can’t keep up. MSNBC has one that says “down by 400”, another that says “down by 600”, their ticker says -390.

    wheeeee!

  73. 73
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    But no one wants to disappoint the angry voters of America, so very few House Republicans could vote for it. No crap sandwich on the menu, I guess.

  74. 74
    dslak says:

    The house voted it down: 228 nay 205 yay.

    I hope they continue to do so, until there’s one that holds the Fed accountable and has some teeth in not rewarding those who blundered into this mess.

    Just because the banks and other institutions are holding a gun to their heads doesn’t mean they should get everything they ask for.

  75. 75
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    McCain today, speaking in Columbus, Ohio:

    Speaking at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, McCain defends his decision to suspend his campaign and fly to Washington.

    “Inaction was not an option,” McCain said. “I put my campaign on hold for a couple of days last week to fight for a rescue plan that puts you and your economic security and working families first. I fought for a plan that protected taxpayers I went to Washington last week to make sure the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill.

  76. 76
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    HOWEVER — the vote is still open. This could switch.

  77. 77
    Punchy says:

    Shorter House: Dontz spend r moneytz wiffout suxxing our dikz ferst.

    Dow cliffydivin.

  78. 78
    SGEW says:

    Those are not happy numbers on the DOW ticker.

    I’m gonna go melt my fillings down now, so I can buy lunch tomorrow.

  79. 79
    dslak says:

    Fuck the traders on Wall Street. We can’t let them hold the government hostage, God damn it!

  80. 80
    Comrade Jake says:

    Looks like fun times on Wall St. Jesus.

  81. 81
    Sucidal Zebra says:

    Heh, I’m watching BBC News24 and the Chairwoman is keeping the vote open, trying to twist some arms into voting ‘Yes’.

    Damn, this is a farce.

  82. 82
    Comrade The Moar You Know says:

    The house voted it down: 228 nay 205 yay.

    Markets are plunging.

    What do you know? I guess receiving bribes from the banking sector is less important than keeping the job that allows you to receive bribes from everyone. Democracy works!

    We’ll see if some folks switch votes, they’re holding the vote open.

  83. 83
    Comrade Mary, Would-Be Minion Of Bad Horse says:

    Your Wall Street Jesus ain’t gonna save you now.

    Excuse me, I have to go fight the cat for some kibble.

  84. 84
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    ZOMG! Some of the Wall Streeters may actually have to give uyp their private jets! Oh, the humanity!

  85. 85
    Comrade The Moar You Know says:

    from an anonoymous poster at Calculated Risk:

    “Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves.”
    -Andrew Jackson, 7th US President

  86. 86
    Stuck in the Fun House says:

    My head tells me oh noes, we’re all gonna turn into pumpkins if this doesn’t pass. My gut tells me it’s a big con and kudos for those brave (or cowardly) lawmakers who voted no. Or maybe it’s the gut telling the head. Whatever, they’re going to have to twist the arms of something like 12 members to switch their vote to get this clusterfuck passed. Me, I’m hold up in the Funhouse, thinking about dandelion pie.

    And WTF is Martial Law in the House I heard one bobblehead mention?

  87. 87
    Ryan S. says:

    Excuse me, I have to go fight the cat for some kibble.

    And I buy the cheap kibble too.

  88. 88
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    The Market is making that whistling noise that usually comes right before the “SPLAT” noise

    Not debating the merits here, but if the measure is rejected, and the House Repubs are to blame…well the consequences are unpredictable, I think. It seems like uncharted territory. It feels like one of those movies where a car is teetering on the edge. Do the passenger escape or not?

    If just one or two things shift (more) negative, I think McCain could find himself like Wile E. Coyote giving us the look of dread under the shadow of the approaching boulder.

    Splat, indeed.

  89. 89
    Polish the Guillotines (formerly FLILF Hunter) says:

    it’s moving so fast the headlines can’t keep up. MSNBC has one that says “down by 400”, another that says “down by 600”, their ticker says -390.

    wheeeee!

    Holy shit. When do they invoke the slaughter rule?

  90. 90
    Sucidal Zebra says:

    Hell, at this stage I’ll buy the cheap cat!

  91. 91
    Comrade Jake says:

    Hmmm. So will McCain need to suspend his campaign again? Or will he rather claim that he was against this bill all along?

  92. 92
    Scott H says:

    So, will they adjourn Congress and go home – or try to resubmit the bailout bill?

  93. 93
    ThymeZone says:

    I said in the spring that you all would be pleased to see that McCain would be the worst candidate ever, that he has a chance to break Goldwater’s modern-day record for low popular vote percentage (about 38%).

    But I gotta say, the old fool is exceeding even my expectations. He is working overtime to stumble over his own feet and create some kind of collossal fuckup every damned day. You can hear them checking the fuckups off on their calendars every evening. Yep, fucked up today. Check! Okay, what damn fool thing do we have for tomorrow? Steve? Where is Steve?

    I just want to win, but if it’s a landslide, so much the better. Every point on the board is another year or two that it will take the hapless GOP to find its way back from the wilderness.

  94. 94
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    Hmmm. So will McCain need to suspend his campaign again? Or will he rather claim that he was against this bill all along?

    My bet: when it hits the fan and the peasants are in the streets with torches and pitchforks, McCain hollers that this is exactly the fate he was trying to prevent. Entirely missing the part that he in fact caused it.

    Can I haz a JMac jawb now?

  95. 95
    Comrade Jake says:

    Check out CNN.com’s front page. Wall Street FacePalm.

  96. 96
    dslak says:

    if the measure is rejected, and the House Repubs are to blame

    The Democrats could have passed it without any GOP votes. Some of the Dems revolted, too.

  97. 97
    oh really says:

    If McCain does not win (or maybe pull out a respectable close finish) his campaign is going to destroy several of his operatives careers (in addition to Palin’s career and McCain’s reputation) it has been that bad.

    That would be a reasonable conclusion in a reasonable world, but this is not a reasonable world. Take a look at all the losers who never disappear. Going back a few years, Richard Nixon is a great example.

    He lost to Kennedy. Lost in a humiliating defeat for governor of California. And still managed to be elected and re-elected president. Not satisfied with his earlier failures, Dick managed to become the first and still only president to be forced to resign (for criminal behavior, yet) from the presidency and still managed to be something of an elder statesman in his old age.

    More recently, look at all the journalists and pundits who got everything wrong about Iraq and are still called on to give us guidance about what to do next to undo the disaster they aided and abetted.

    Nope, for whatever reason, membership in the political elite (whether candidate, journalist, or pundit) seems to be lifetime without possibility of revocation. (Of course, there may be exceptions, but overwhelmingly I don’t think failure means failure.)

  98. 98
    Polish the Guillotines (formerly FLILF Hunter) says:

    Check out CNN.com’s front page. Wall Street FacePalm.

    Soon to be a Wall Street Face Plant. Splat.

  99. 99
    Kali's Little Sister says:

    Seriously, where the fuck is the upside for McCain–either way???

  100. 100
    Polish the Guillotines (formerly FLILF Hunter) says:

    Well, they laid the motion to recommit on the table and moved on some commemorative coin-minting bill. I think we’re done for the day on this. Look for harried press conferences any minute now.

  101. 101
    Punchy says:

    something really fucked up is going on, according to CNN. THe CalculatedRisk.com commenters are saying thatt the HOuse is changing rules, doing crazy shit to get this to pass.

    Nobody has any clue WTF is going on.

  102. 102
    Polish the Guillotines (formerly FLILF Hunter) says:

    Nothing doing on CSPAN-2. Just McCain declaring himself a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.

    Sweet. I guess this means war with Spain after all.

  103. 103
    Comrade Jake says:

    Words of encouragement from Sully:

    Marc reports the news. When trying to gage how pissed the markets are, David Leonhardt says don’t be fooled by the Dow. He recommends looking at the S.& P. 500 Index which “roughly describes the performance of mutual funds owned by millions of people.” It’s tanking.

    Good times.

  104. 104
    Comrade Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    All this talk of dropping Palin (which isn’t going to happen anyway for all the reasons NMF listed) has me wondering; what is the procedure, under Republican party rules, for replacing a nominee for VP? Is there one?

    But yeah, they can’t drop Palin for any number of reasons, the biggest one being that it just emphasizes that McCain exercised poor judgment in picking her in the first place. They’re stuck with her for the duration.

    OT: The House just said No Yuo! to the bailout.

  105. 105
    vaux-rien says:

    I Think McCain showed himself in the debate to be vastly superior … If we were electing the president of the WWF. As POTUS, not so much.

    The “I will make them famous and you will know their names” struck me the first time as very much a pro-wrestler’s line. Now that he’s turned it into a catchphrase even more so.

    At the WWE campaign event back in the spring McCain did do a very good promo, “whatcha gonna do when John McCain and all his McCainiacs run wild on you?”, in contrast Obama failed to sell the line “if you smell what Barack is cooking”, which was a huge gimme for him.

    Of course that’s not why I supported Obama in the first place, but I have been hoping to see Dwayne Johnson out on the campaign trail; “Know your role John McCain, know your role and SHUT YOUR MOUTH!”

  106. 106

    Perhaps Mccain needs to do more astroturfing and use lawyers to bully anyone who criticizes him like Obama.
    Obama Consults His Inner Petty Tyrant

    You know, if you’re going to run as the antidote to the current administration’s abuse of power, silencing of political foes, and suppression of dissent, sending chill letters threatening to shut down TV stations that run ads critical of you isn’t exactly the way to show off your bona-fides.

  107. 107
    croatoan says:

    why is he still in contention?

    Fear of a Black President.

  108. 108
    Bob says:

    Great article John.

    I would say that this animated short echoes your views pretty closely:

    Watch it. It’s pretty funny.

  109. 109
    Bob says:

    Great article John.

    I would say that this animated short echoes your views pretty closely:

    Watch it. It’s pretty funny.

  110. 110
  111. 111
  112. 112

    Steve Schmidt is makin’ Mark Penn look like Einstein. Although, to be fair, Penn had much better material to work with.

  113. 113
    Matt says:

    Then again, with message control like this, you gotta wonder if Schmidt wasn’t hired to throw the game.

    Well, normally I’d just roll my eyes, but given that Schmidt made his bones helping to destroy McCain in 2000, I guess it’s a fair question.

    I mean, the last two versions of the McCain campaign were truly, truly, truly inept. First he practically went bankrupt while trying not to be the first candidate to drop out, and then he woke up one day to find he’d gotten the nomination by attrition but that nobody cared. Then he spent three months getting about as much attention as the Constitution Party nominee while the media earnestly debated which Democratic contender would become the next President.

    So I don’t blame McCain for wanting to bring in some talent, but did it ever occur to him that maybe his, ahem, good friends Bush and Rove were throwing him an anchor instead of a lifejacket? Honestly now, it wouldn’t even be illegal for Bush et al to torpedo McCain’s campaign, merely vindictive on a grand scale. Who, in either party, would put it past them at this point?

  114. 114
    Party Apparatchik Fulcanelli says:

    Watching Schmidt remids me of the Movie “Burglar” with Whoopi Goldberg and Bobcat Goldthwait. The “Bobcat” played a whiney, neurotic dog groomer who a one point gave some guy with a shaved head a ration of shit and screamed “you look like a dildo with ears”…
    I can’t look or listen to any of the Republican “strategists” or “surrogates” anymore without lunging for the Immodium AD and a spoon.

  115. 115

    […] Cole asks if Steve Schmidt is running the worst campaign […]

  116. 116
    Comrade Tax Analyst says:

    John Cole says:

    And so on. They drive their point home as if it is the most important thing ever, make sure everyone knows what their point is (Schmidt is not subtle), then the next day they pull the rug out and something else is the new most important thing ever. The cumulative effect of all of this is to create a staggering level of incoherence, and it is rational to think these guys are insane or full of shit or unstable, or maybe all three. Add to it the foolish jihad against the media, and you have the current disaster.

    Yes, but you have to admit, John, that it’s very “Maverick-y”.

  117. 117
    Comrade Tax Analyst says:

    ThymeZone Says:
    September 29th, 2008 at 1:14 pm
    I said in the spring that you all would be pleased to see that McCain would be the worst candidate ever, that he has a chance to break Goldwater’s modern-day record for low popular vote percentage (about 38%).

    But I gotta say, the old fool is exceeding even my expectations. He is working overtime to stumble over his own feet and create some kind of collossal fuckup every damned day. You can hear them checking the fuckups off on their calendars every evening. Yep, fucked up today. Check! Okay, what damn fool thing do we have for tomorrow? Steve? Where is Steve?

    I just want to win, but if it’s a landslide, so much the better. Every point on the board is another year or two that it will take the hapless GOP to find its way back from the wilderness.

    Yeah, you surely did, sir…ain’t it grand, TZ? Maybe it will even carry some down-ticket weight this time, too.

  118. 118
    Comrade Tax Analyst says:

    Brian J Says:
    September 29th, 2008 at 11:07 am
    I think you’re confusing the idea of an intelligent, responsible, adult campaign with the notion of a successful campaign. The McCain campaign is certainly not the former, but for a while, it was being the latter. Remember the sort of dread that some, myself included, felt a week or two ago? One Saturday morning, I woke up in such a crappy mood, and I couldn’t figure out why, but then I realized it’s because I thought Obama would lose. That’s because, while McCain didn’t nail anything down, he certainly had gained some ground. It looked like he had an actual shot.

    I don’t know if you can say the same right now. He’s in a much harder position, because there aren’t that many days left before the election and only so much time left for something that could change the momentum to happen. But he still could win. Whether this is mostly because Obama’s a black guy whose middle name is Hussein or because McCain really does have a good place in the hearts of the American public is debatable, but if McCain and Schmidt were running a really, really bad campaign, it wouldn’t even be close.

    Oh…no, Brian. This just is not so. Uh-uh, nope. He was strictly riding bs and smears and that was something that in the end could only work if Obama was tempermentally more like Johnny Drama and got goaded into mimicking McCain’s frantic tail-chasing act. As soon as the mostly non-involved public got a look and feel of Obama’s manner and style I think they were bound to start seeing all the crazy shit McCain and Co. were tossing out about him just didn’t add up. A GOOD campaign would have been designing a coherent message and a long-term strategy and then attempting to implement it carefully and methodically. Let me see if I can think of an example to give you…lessee, lemmee think here a bit…hmmm…OH, yeah…that young Barack Obama fella…he seems to have a real nifty campaign organization. Outflanked HRC and buried her “inevitable” nomination and withstood everything that they threw at him. That was by no means an easy feat.

    The most effective thing McCain’s people threw at Obama was low-road, sleazy, slimey back-door appeals to fear and racism. That’s a REAL OLD game and I’m certainly glad that it appears to have come up short this time around.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Cole asks if Steve Schmidt is running the worst campaign […]

Comments are closed.