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McCain and Obama at the Al Smith Dinner
October 16, 2008 9:10 PM   Subscribe

Events are moving fast in my campaign. And, yes, it is true that this morning I dismissed my entire team of senior advisors. All of their positions will now be held by a man named 'Joe The Plumber.' No, not Saturday Night Live, but the real John McCain at this year's Al Smith dinner, where he and Obama poked fun at each other as well as themselves. McCain's funny and graciously touching speech: McCain Part 1. McCain Part2. Obama's speech is here: Obama Part 1. Obama Part 2.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner (164 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
For the record, I liked yours more.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 9:13 PM on October 16, 2008


TWO POSTS ENTER, ONE POST LEAVES
posted by heathkit at 9:14 PM on October 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Ha! Either way people, there some seriously laugh-out-loud funny stuff here.

Thanks Homeskillet... this is one diddle that can't be undid. Or maybe it can!
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:16 PM on October 16, 2008


Did you know that Presidentialsnaps.com is not already taken? Get on it, people.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 9:18 PM on October 16, 2008


Did anyone else find it really tasteless when McCain was trying to compliment Obama, to be polite after a string of jokes at Obama's expense, and noted with gravitas that Obama is a black man running for president? Apparently this is a greater accomplishment than anything Obama's actually accomplished.
posted by LogicalDash at 9:21 PM on October 16, 2008


Oh god, which one do I read? Crap!
posted by Drainage! at 9:21 PM on October 16, 2008


You will now see the other side of the sidebar. This thing that you posted...is from the ottha side. There's no postin what can't be read. No linkin what can't be clicked. This is dread man. Truly Dread.
posted by cashman at 9:23 PM on October 16, 2008


What what a a hoot hoot!!
posted by vrakatar at 9:25 PM on October 16, 2008


refresh.
posted by sleepy pete at 9:26 PM on October 16, 2008


F5
posted by sleepy pete at 9:27 PM on October 16, 2008


Well I emailed the admins since I don't have the humility to flag mine or the heart to flag the other. All we can do is wait.

It's too quiet. Too, too quiet.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:31 PM on October 16, 2008


refresh?
posted by sleepy pete at 9:32 PM on October 16, 2008


I vote to keep this one.

(Who's Joe the Plumber? Sorry, I've been out of the loop for a day or two.)
posted by evilcolonel at 9:33 PM on October 16, 2008


Was there a concession?

Who is speaking at this year's Alfred E. Neumann dinner?
posted by mwhybark at 9:33 PM on October 16, 2008


Oh good, you people saw this too. I thought the pills kicked in.


OMG A JACKAL-
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, evilcolonel, much has changed... Remember when Nixon sent a plumber to do an evilcolonel's job?

Well, it's nothing like that.
posted by mwhybark at 9:35 PM on October 16, 2008


Who is speaking at this year's Alfred E. Neumann dinner

SPOILER: Obama makes an Alfred E. Neuman reference in his speech.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:36 PM on October 16, 2008


It seemed almost as though they both primarily roasted Obama.
posted by Picklegnome at 9:47 PM on October 16, 2008


McCain's going to feel so relieved when he loses.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama: My greatest weakness? It's possible I am a little too awesome.

After all this time it is impossible to be too awesome, good sir. Godspeed!
posted by Meatbomb at 9:51 PM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


McCain's going to feel so relieved when he loses.

Yeah, because then he can finally take a nap.
posted by piratebowling at 9:52 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


This is a much harder job for Obama than McCain. As the underdog, McCain can go all out and not look bad; Obama not so much.
posted by pitseleh at 9:53 PM on October 16, 2008


That was awesome.

I've just seen a whole new side to McCain.
posted by Mephisto at 9:55 PM on October 16, 2008


Keeper. For posterity.
posted by cortex at 9:55 PM on October 16, 2008


The kinda awkward way Obama handled the "too awesome," facebook, and soy latte jokes was heartening. I'd be uncomfortable with a president who was too comfortable with that image.
posted by boy detective at 9:57 PM on October 16, 2008


OH SNAP!!!!!

I just want to thank all the little people I had to step on to get here.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:03 PM on October 16, 2008


You know, I haven't watched it yet, but I really don't think there's anything McCain can do to make up for the horrible lie-filled campaign he's been running. Just because a shithead can be gracious on occasion, it doesn't suddenly make him not a shithead.
posted by Caduceus at 10:04 PM on October 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


This is a much harder job for Obama than McCain. As the underdog, McCain can go all out and not look bad; Obama not so much.

Which is what made McCain's "introduction" of Obama all the more funny.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 10:04 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is surreal.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 10:10 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Great to see them without feeling like it's a class assignment. McCain's routine was definitely more bitter, and the jokes about ACORN did go on a bit. He can't help coming across as a pissed-off garden troll. But nice to see him unwind a bit while he read the script written by someone who actually uses words like "apostolic." Loved the part in Obama's schtick where he talks about his father Jor-El.
posted by digaman at 10:10 PM on October 16, 2008


I thought McCain's routine was far superior to Obama's. And I'm an Obama supporter.
posted by Mephisto at 10:14 PM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love that this exists.

Out of curiosity- someone in the other thread mentioned that the '04 dinner was cancelled because Kerry's pro-choice position meant the Catholic community refused to invite him. So... what's the deal with Obama? Didn't he just point out last night that he's pro-choice, if anyone hadn't known before?
posted by twirlypen at 10:15 PM on October 16, 2008


Okay, I did like the crack McCain made about his seven houses, but, to rephrase my earlier post in a way that makes more sense, a shithead with a sense of humor is still a shithead.
posted by Caduceus at 10:16 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


It'll be good to have the elections done, so McCain can drop the constant pandering he seems to feel he has to do. Go back to the Senate and return to the pre-Bush McCain who might actually get some things done.

See, I think this is why Obama complements McCain from time to time. He sees the future (lord willing) when, as president (!), he'll need to work with McCain and doesn't want to burn all the bridges
posted by edgeways at 10:16 PM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


twirlypen, was/is Kerry Catholic? That might have been too much for them all in one go.
posted by edgeways at 10:18 PM on October 16, 2008


I think McCain's "my friends" casual style of speaking lent itself much better to comedy than Obama's oratory style. Or maybe it was just McCain's material was funnier. Certainly the "I'm delighted to see you here tonight Hillary" line was hilarious. Either way I enjoyed his more and thought Obama seemed like he was trying too hard. When they got to the semi-serious bits I thought McCain's acknowledgements of Obama's achievements was more, perhaps not gracious, but, more befitting the spirit of the circumstances than Obama's comments about the economy. I say this as someone with both my fingers and toes crossed hoping for a Obama victory next month.
posted by adamt at 10:19 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wish Obama had found some space for a third "palling around" joke about McCain's role in the Keating 5
posted by blasdelf at 10:19 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Your excellency"? I guess it explains the white tie, but who was the dignitary?
posted by boo_radley at 10:21 PM on October 16, 2008


Also, did Bush and Kerry do this? I can't find anything.
posted by boo_radley at 10:22 PM on October 16, 2008


"Your excellency"? I guess it explains the white tie, but who was the dignitary?

That's how you address a bishop. This dinner is a fund raiser for Catholic Charities.
posted by pracowity at 10:38 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Woah! McCain killed! Where the hell has that guy been?

More to the point, who wrote that speech? That was some funny shit, yessir!
posted by mwhybark at 10:46 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Apparently this is a greater accomplishment than anything Obama's actually accomplished.

Accomplishments such as...?

But back on topic: I'm torn about events such as these. It's good - very good - that in a healthy free nation, political rivals can meet and be civil and even enjoy some light humor and banter.

OTOH, it sometimes seems that this type of event is just too damn "chummy" -- in a way it seems to solidify the "Washington insider" image that so many candidates (and voters) claim to hate. And it also serves to somehow mitigate the legitimate criticisms and attacks each man (and their respective campaigns) make against each other.

But on balance, a good thing. With only slight reservations.
posted by davidmsc at 10:49 PM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


... and may I note I now project a reshuffling of the McCain campaign in which Bruce Vilanch and Dennis Miller replace current top aides in a last-ditch comedy assault.
posted by mwhybark at 10:51 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Boo: I learned this from a Colbert interview, so I could be wrong, but the governor of New York is traditionally referred to as "his excellency". He's also blind and awesome, but usually not addressed that way.
posted by ztdavis at 10:57 PM on October 16, 2008


This McCain could have actually been president. Don't know why he didn't show more of this side before.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:57 PM on October 16, 2008


digaman: "Loved the part in Obama's schtick where he talks about his father Jor-El."

Meatbomb: "Obama: My greatest weakness? It's possible I am a little too awesome."

It's funny 'cause it's true.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:58 PM on October 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Although I doubt he's referring to Paterson twice, so pracowity is right and he's referring to the bishop there.
posted by ztdavis at 10:59 PM on October 16, 2008


"Your excellency" was for the cardinal that sat between Obama and McCain; Al Smith was, of course, Catholic.
posted by Casuistry at 11:03 PM on October 16, 2008


Okay, McCain's delivery was, indeed, much better, but I thought his jokes were a lot nastier. I think Obama had the better routine on paper. Of course, self-deprecating humor is one of my favorite types of humor, which is why I loved McCain's house crack and the other early jokes, but wasn't a huge fan of his routine past the first mention of Hilary.

Obama's little nervous laughs in between jokes definitely threw off his overall game. He certainly didn't seem as comfortable with the joke speech as he is in the normal course of things.
posted by Caduceus at 11:10 PM on October 16, 2008


Someone in the debate thread commented that McCain must have rehearsed his lines more than Obama. Yeah, McCain spent way more time looking out at the audience while delivering his lines, whereas Obama read most of his, looking down at his notes. This is the first time I really understand the Toastmasters critiques I used to get for ill-rehearsed speeches vs well-rehearsed ones. The freedom to look away from the paper makes a huge difference in your ability to connect with your audience. Not to mention that that line about a smear re his fathering two Afr-American children really needed a beat or two before the punchline..."in wedlock!"

Ah well. I can totally see him deciding he needed a bit of a break, having gotten last night over with at last.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:12 PM on October 16, 2008


McCain's always been funny. He's been a regular on The Daily Show and Letterman. Why he hasn't used it at all in this campaign is beyond me.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:27 PM on October 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Incredibly strange to watch McCain do something better than Obama.
posted by cior at 11:34 PM on October 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Obama needs to take some Rogen Si training... Why, if Hollywood loves this candidate, did he not have better material? Why, being as connected as he is, does he deliver this presentation so poorly?
posted by cior at 11:44 PM on October 16, 2008


Like most here, I thought McCain did a better job, with a smoother and more appealing delivery, and all in all seemed better prepared than Obama, who seemed to be reading half of those words for the first time.

Which makes me wonder... what kind of priorities does McCain's management team have when it comes to preparation?
posted by rokusan at 11:46 PM on October 16, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also, like davidmsc above, I find the whole thing sort of incestuously uncomfortable, and the timing very awkward.

Don't these guys have important things to do? Can't they take a night off to have fun together next month?
posted by rokusan at 11:47 PM on October 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I learned this from a Colbert interview, so I could be wrong... -- ztdavis

Clearly, then, you have not learned anything from Colbert.
posted by rokusan at 11:48 PM on October 16, 2008 [8 favorites]


Behold the great miracle! McCain's smile doesn't come off as creepy! Lo, the end is upon us!
posted by Pope Gustafson I at 12:00 AM on October 17, 2008


Well, that's it: I'm gonna vote for the funnier President. I like to be amused while Rome burns to the ground.

Unless the swimsuit competition changes my mind. I think Obama will look dreamy in a swimsuit. McCain, not so much.

Every Presidency ages the man a good couple decades: just look at the before and after photos. Were McCain to survive his stint (unlikely), he'd look like Yoda by the end of it, aged 800 years. Is this guy not gonna sit back and have a rest and just enjoy some of life before he drops dead? He wants to die as a politician? Ugh!
posted by five fresh fish at 12:31 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heck, Obama's line about beating a cross-dressing New Yorker for the GOP primary was snortworthy and his little chuckle at the pause sold it just fine.
posted by qinn at 12:53 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Woah! McCain killed! Where the hell has that guy been?

Isn't that the guy who tried to run for president in 2000? It's a bit heartening to see he hasn't completely gone away.

This gives me hope that his post-retirement appearances on the Daily Show will be honest and funny again. It's a bit sad watching a distinguished senator and veteran get schooled by someone who was in Half Baked.
posted by Gary at 1:58 AM on October 17, 2008


Color me impressed. McCain displayed a humanity in that speech that has been sorely lacking in his campaign, as well as a very fluid delivery. As rokusan said, "what kind of priorities does McCain's management team have when it comes to preparation?" It's thankfully too late for his handlers to note it, but his barbs were much sharper when delivered with a smile instead of a snarl. That was one of the things that people (well, other people) lurved about Reagan, and if McCain had managed to adopt and keep that sort of tone post-RNC convention, the polls would be much closer at this point.

That didn't happen, obviously, which says an awful lot about McCain and the team he assembled.
posted by mosk at 2:31 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain is free to be funny. Obama needs to keep acting Presidential with a capital P right up till polling day. And I thought he was pretty funny anyway.
posted by tiny crocodile at 2:37 AM on October 17, 2008


One other thing: wasn't it nice to see Hilary Clinton laughing? It felt like a relief, somehow. She's ok!
posted by tiny crocodile at 2:38 AM on October 17, 2008 [16 favorites]


Who's Joe the plumber?

He's a guy who lives in Ohio who says he's working as a plumber and planning to buy a plumbing business. His middle name is Joseph. He was concerned that the business' $250k income would put him in a higher tax bracket, and that Obama's plan would raise his taxes.

However:
*He does not have a plumbing license, which Ohio says he's required to have to do any plumbing work at ll.
*He is the son of a conservative Republican who was convicted and jailed in the Keating bank scandal, and who is Charles Keating's son-in-law.
*Obama says his plan exempts income from small businesses such as the one described from tax increases.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:02 AM on October 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Chwarae teg, McCain was hilarious.

It reminds me of what happens after pretty much every election, where the loser chills out a bit and everyone says "wow, they're much more appealing now. I would've voted for that candidate". Interesting tactic to do this before you've lost.
posted by fullerine at 3:09 AM on October 17, 2008


I thought both of their speeches were very funny. Thanks for posting this!
posted by Nattie at 3:16 AM on October 17, 2008


The reason McCain is funnier is that McCain's campaign has been a joke. Seeing that he himself gets that (or at least can present himself as appearing to get that) is disorienting and therefore funny.
posted by DU at 4:26 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I didn't think McCain's was all that funny. Better-delivered sure, but not actually-laugh-out-loud funny. I preferred Obama's slightly but I think they should both stick to their day jobs.
posted by whuuuu at 4:53 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, if McCain had been this genteel and approachable from the start, I might have been in the "undecided" category. That is, until the moment he picked Palin.
posted by desjardins at 5:26 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain's always been funny. He's been a regular on The Daily Show and Letterman. Why he hasn't used it at all in this campaign is beyond me.

Yeah, a year ago, after McCain had been on The Daily Show a dozen or so times, he struck me as that rarest of things: a politician with some wit and intelligence, appealing even to those who didn't necessarily support his policies. Somewhere during primary season, he was replaced with the McCain Executroid 3000. It is refreshing to see he is still alive.

I look forward to his 2010 memoir. The three or four chapters before the final one are going to be an interesting read.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:39 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'll re-ask what someone asked up thread: Who actually wrote these speeches? Someone's trying to tell me Chris Rock had a hand in Obama's and I'm not buying that.
posted by Jofus at 5:41 AM on October 17, 2008


Who actually wrote these speeches?

People who have been waiting for some kind of outlet after a year of serious speech writing.
posted by splatta at 5:48 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I've read a number of articles that reveal Jon Favreau and Obama himself collaborate on most of Obama's speeches with Obama being the primary creative force.
posted by lyam at 5:51 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain had the better delivery (!) but Obama definitely had better lines. Judge a candidate by the quality of the people (including jokewriters) he surrounds himself with. The Krypton bit was a hoot.
posted by jetsetsc at 5:52 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I meant to add: So I would be surprised if they didn't write this speech as well.
posted by lyam at 5:52 AM on October 17, 2008


This Jon Favreau: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/20/fashion/20speechwriter.html
posted by lyam at 5:53 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


That Russian Tearooms gag. That was a beaut.
posted by Jofus at 5:55 AM on October 17, 2008


Dude is funny. Who knew?
posted by sveskemus at 6:13 AM on October 17, 2008


I just can't get over how weird this is. Those men must hate each other at this point. That this event can even happen is bizarre.

Also, I feel bad for Hillary.
posted by lunit at 6:26 AM on October 17, 2008


As others have said, McCain is usually funny whenever he shows up on SNL or the late night talk shows. I liked this weekend update bit he did when the democrats were trying to pick between Hilary and Obama.
posted by chunking express at 6:33 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a revelation during Wednesday's debate. While McCain is a Cylon, Obama is a Vulcan.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:35 AM on October 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Those men must hate each other at this point.

I think that's projection. Supporters hate the other supporters and it makes them feel justified to think their dear leader must hate their dear leader as well.
posted by smackfu at 6:35 AM on October 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


I thought both speeches were pretty funny, and both candidates had their up and down moments of delivery, but yeah, McCain was more relaxed (blah blah blah Obamasupportercakes).

twirlypen: Kerry is Catholic, and pro-choice. The American High-Catholic Church will not support that. Non-Catholics are fine. (Bizarre, but dude, when is the Church not bizarre?)

ztdavis: No, the governor of New York is not addressed as "His Excellency". I... yeah.

Pope Gustafson: McCain's smile while he was giving his speech was warm and friendly. McCain's smile while Obama was giving his speech made my skin crawl. It's the perfect metaphor for what has happened to this guy.

Remember when Bob Dole was hilariously funny and warm after he lost? These guys should learn to let their senses of humor work for them during campaigns. You can look sincere, smart, "Presidential", and still have a good sense of humor. It might help their stress levels during the campaign, too.
posted by tzikeh at 6:43 AM on October 17, 2008


fff: He wants to die as a politician?

I think it must be like cocaine. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) likes to say that they're going to have to wheel her out of the House in a body bag.
posted by lodurr at 6:49 AM on October 17, 2008


Many of Obama's supporters hate Republicans because of what they've done over the last 8 years and how they wage campaigns. McCain supporters hate Obama because of McCain's campaign, and the ranting of right-wing nutjobs against liberals and moderates as traitors. McCain and particularly Palin have run their campaign on hatred, racial and all the rest. But you'd be hard pressed to find statements from Obama about McCain that were less than respectful, other than pointing out the inconvenient fact that McCain is working for the same people who have wrecked the world. But I doubt Obama hates McCain.
posted by digaman at 6:50 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm with those who find the chumminess uncomfortable. What, is this all a game to them?
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:50 AM on October 17, 2008


Okay, I guess I'm behind the curve on this one. Obama as a Vulcan has even been commented on by Leonard Nimoy.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:06 AM on October 17, 2008


I'm with those who find the chumminess uncomfortable. What, is this all a game to them?

Oh please. Are they supposed to be at one another's throats? If you watch McCain's ads, you might think that, but outside the Crazyworld of calling Obama a terrorist and portraying him on foodstamps with KFC and watermelon, they're both senators, and they'll both be major figures who have to deal with one another during Obama's first term. They can't afford to piss one another off any more than necessary.
posted by digaman at 7:10 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


God bless you USA. That restored just a little bit of my faith in you. Wonderful stuff.

And how drunk was Hillary? She was laughing like my Mum at a wedding.
posted by theCroft at 7:15 AM on October 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


Obama is a Vulcan.

Leonard Nimoy was on the radio show Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" recently, and he mentioned that he had run into one of the presidential candidates. It was Obama, and he was flashing the Vulcan hand sign at Nimoy.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:17 AM on October 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


I enjoyed the hell out of both of their speeches. McCain was genuinely funny, and I loved to see Obama laughing so hard at McCain's speech. Obama looked tired and slightly awkward, but some of his lines were comedy gold. As for the chumminess, I don't have a problem with it. I'm a rabid Obama supporter, but I don't hate John McCain, and I don't think he's a bad man. I don't think he would make a good president and I think his campaign has been trash. One of the things I love about Obama is his genuine respect for his opponents and members of all political parties. McCain has historically had that as well. It is a little strange to see McCain suddenly looking good-natured in Obama's presence, instead of looking like he has utter contempt for him. Although, as I said, I'm not convinced that McCain's contempt is actually caused by Obama. It feels to me more like frustration and dissatisfaction with himself and his campaign which he vents towards Obama. McCain is an unhappy man right now.
posted by threeturtles at 7:21 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jon Favreau and Obama himself collaborate on most of Obama's speeches

So you're saying Obama is money and he doesn't even know it?

sorry
posted by fullerine at 7:25 AM on October 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


While I agree that McCain's material was generally better, it also felt a little more like he was trying to get even; re-asserting alpha dog status by peeing all over.

Obama's "krypton" jokes might have been funnier if they hadn't already been done better by The Onion.

What surprised me the most was the crowd reaction to Obama's AIG joke, that some how pointing out the reality of the well-to-do being clueless was somehow out of bounds.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 7:31 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't get all the "omg McCain humanity!" comments -- I thought McCain's shtick was meaner and smaller than Obama's (though McCain clearly relishes himself as a jokester and his comfort level showed), and his "gracious" bit at the end had a bit too much "don't forget he's a black guy!" in it for my taste. Perhaps it wouldn't have seemed that way if he hadn't spent much of his campaign attempting to otherize Obama, but at this point it seemed that, even in an attempt at graciousness, McCain was still trying to get in his talking points.
posted by mothershock at 7:33 AM on October 17, 2008


I'm with those who find the chumminess uncomfortable. What, is this all a game to them?

I think after 19 months of beating the shit out of each other and trying to motivate millions of people on both sides of the political divide, they can crack a few jokes without it being some kind of betrayal of their respective causes. I'd love a bit more humility and willingness to speak honestly in everyday politics, not just once every four years at a fundraiser. Many a true word spoken in jest after all.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:34 AM on October 17, 2008


Just because Obama is respectful to McCain doesn't mean he doesn't also hate him. Given all the racist shit that campaign has dug up and encouraged in the last few weeks, I'd be very surprised if Obama didn't, in fact, hate him. Just a little.

It may have been light-heartedly joked about last night, but there have definitely been a lot of low blows in this race. That stuff is painful, regardless of whether or not they let it show. The extent to which they're able to hang out and crack jokes about all of it strikes me as incredible. Not bad, mind you, just incredible.

After talking to so many people every day who are all sorts of emotional about this race, they must feel it, too. I just don't buy that you can believe that someone will take the country in the wrong direction and still consider them a "friend".
posted by lunit at 7:50 AM on October 17, 2008


Could someone explain the Russian Tea Room reference? It was the one bit I couldn't connect to anything.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:53 AM on October 17, 2008


I enjoyed both of them, and I was surprised they were as funny as they were. I thought Obama was a little funnier, but I think that has more to do with delivery than with material.

I also really enjoyed the reaction shots of Hillary Clinton. She really seemed to be enjoying herself, which is something we didn't get to see during the primary. It's one of the few times I've been able to look at her without feeling something tickling against my fight-or-flight reflex.

Obama seemed to like McCain's bit more than McCain liked his. McCain just looked constipated during Obama's routine.

It does make everyone involved seem a little more human, and it's good to see that both candidates are capable of not taking themselves too seriously, at least for a little while.
posted by greenie2600 at 8:04 AM on October 17, 2008


kittyprecious: A play on Palin's comment that she had foreign policy experience because one can see Russia from an island in Alaska.
posted by absalom at 8:06 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


kittyprecious: the Russian Tea Room is a famous restaurant in New York. Obama was just jibing against Palin's "I can see Russia from my house" remark.
posted by greenie2600 at 8:06 AM on October 17, 2008


Could someone explain the Russian Tea Room reference? It was the one bit I couldn't connect to anything.

A play on Sarah "I can see Russia from my house" Palin.
posted by spaltavian at 8:07 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Could someone explain the Russian Tea Room reference? It was the one bit I couldn't connect to anything.

This pretty much covers the "Russia is near X" meme. The Russian Tea Room is a famous restaurant in Manhattan.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:09 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain's always been funny. He's been a regular on The Daily Show and Letterman.
Why he hasn't used it at all in this campaign is beyond me.


Because being too funny can be bad, too. And when your campaign is running "grass roots" attack ads, while the candidate himself is joking it up, could send mixed messages, moving beyond personable and into parody. War hero AND class clown? It's a tough image to tie together.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:11 AM on October 17, 2008


Many a true word spoken in jest after all.

I agree - from the jester being the only one who can point out the king's flaws, to kidding on the square, and The Daily Show being considered by some/many the most honest news show on US TV, you can get away with more when you're seen as just joking rather than asking a question with a straight face.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:21 AM on October 17, 2008


I can't help but notice the elderly gentleman seated over McCain's left shoulder on the dais eating away with his hands, licking his fingers and totally oblivious to what McCain is saying!
posted by ericb at 8:27 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain has better joke writers and much better comic timing than Obama. I say we give him the nuclear launch codes a late night talk show. Maybe Letterman wants out?
posted by The Bellman at 8:31 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain's smile while he was giving his speech was warm and friendly. McCain's smile while Obama was giving his speech made my skin crawl. It's the perfect metaphor for what has happened to this guy.

I thought it was a good indicator of Obama's speech, actually. When Obama delivered a truly funny line, McCain's laugh was genuine. When it was a corny joke or the timing was off, McCain thought he had to look polite on camera and showed the creepy smile again.
posted by Gary at 8:37 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain's re-appearance on Letterman. Again, it shows his ability to joke around and have a sense of humour. He has a wonderful congeniality that has been missing in this campaign for a long time.

I understand Letterman also skewered him over his Ayers comments, using McCain's association with Liddy as the counter-point. I can't seem to find video of that exchange, though.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:41 AM on October 17, 2008


I don't think that McCain looked as though he was enjoying himself at all when Obama was speaking. Obama sincerely looked as though he thought that McCain was hilarious. Maybe McCain's last surgery went badly and he had that creepy look surgically implanted but in a situation like this, he should learn to lighten the fuck up.

Also, I think that Obama's comment on his real middle name of "Steve" was really funny.

Overall, though, (and it truly pains me to have to say this) I enjoyed McCain's routine more than Obama's. The old coot really is funny.
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:45 AM on October 17, 2008


I don't think that McCain looked as though he was enjoying himself at all when Obama was speaking.

I agree. He had a pained look in his face. The only joke he seems to have really enjoyed was Obama's reference to his name meaning "That One" in Swahili.
posted by ericb at 8:49 AM on October 17, 2008


Say what you will about comic timing, but while both candidate's closing statements were heartfelt and thoughtful, I found Obama's to be presidential, while McCain's was just nice.

That's what I've been missing for 8 years. A president whose words and speeches leave me impressed and motivated.
posted by cavalier at 8:55 AM on October 17, 2008


I wish McCain had dropped my name on the air. I'd be swimmin with wimmen up to my neck and a reality show in the mix.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:59 AM on October 17, 2008


That's what I've been missing for 8 years. A president whose words and speeches leave me impressed and motivated.

Me, I've just been missing a president whose speeches have actual words in them.
posted by contessa at 9:00 AM on October 17, 2008 [5 favorites]


McCain's re-appearance on Letterman. Again, it shows his ability to joke around and have a sense of humour.

Did we watch the same show? Or did you not watch the entire interview? You could almost feel the tension. It was uncomfortable to watch after a while.
posted by raysmj at 9:03 AM on October 17, 2008


Clearly everyone saw what they wanted to see.
posted by smackfu at 9:11 AM on October 17, 2008


Crap. All my brilliant, funny, favorite worthy comments were in the other thread.
posted by Shutter at 9:12 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did we watch the same show? Or did you not watch the entire interview?

No, I didn't catch the whole interview. I agree there was tension in this early bit, but I thought McCain had some nice lines and genuine moments - his "only going to increase taxes on you, Dave" bit took the conversation from serious to funny very nicely and seemed to leave Letterman a little off balance. From what I've read, it sounds like Letterman tore into him a little harder after the segment posted here, and that's the bit I would like to see.
posted by never used baby shoes at 9:40 AM on October 17, 2008


McCain on Letterman.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:45 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Obama has a speech writer that is more of an editor. As I understand it, 'bama writes most of his own stuff.
posted by liza at 9:46 AM on October 17, 2008


I actually liked it when Obama laughed at his own jokes. It was as if he were seeing them for the first time as he spoke them, and then thinking, "damn, that IS pretty funny!" It was unpolished, but that was the great thing. He's so rarely unpolished, it's nice to see him being a bit dorky.

A couple of times he even got a larger laugh from everyone else as he giggled to himself.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:53 AM on October 17, 2008 [3 favorites]


Did we watch the same show? Or did you not watch the entire interview?

No, I didn't catch the whole interview.


"gordon liddy" 4th most popular search on google yesterday.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:56 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


McCain was brilliant.

No, really, I just said that. Wow.
posted by andreaazure at 10:04 AM on October 17, 2008


Obama has a very well developed sense of humor, but he has more of a deadpan delivery and dry sarcasm/facetiousness rather than the kind of simpering ninny standup comedian doing a late night talk show style of McCain.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


McCain's bit was funnier than Obama's, but Obama's chuckles were so darn endearing.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:11 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


I just can't get over how weird this is. Those men must hate each other at this point. That this event can even happen is bizarre.

To this ex-Washingtonian, it's downright refreshing. This is how politics used to work, where partisans would berate each other on the hill all day, then head to Old Ebbit and have a beer together and talk about the Orioles Nationals, and the crabcake potential of this year's Annapolis crabs. They'd stand side-by-side at kids' soccer games cracking jokes about the money that the other team's coach spent on that hooker sitting near the piano at The Prime Rib, then go back to work on Monday and argue over whether strippers performers should be given preference in the H1-B process.

These dinners and roasts and charity auctions and such were a chance to blow off some steam, build a sense of collegiality, and remind everyone that while we might have different goals and methods for running the country, we're all in it together, and we're more similar than Faux News wants to make us look (because friendly banter doesn't sell advertising). You know, back when professionalism still meant something in politics.

Of course, when those assholes decided to take over K street, it started to be politically risky to be seen with a colleague from across the aisle. I sincerely hope that those days are coming to an end... because that's not how it's supposed to work.

Now get off of my south lawn.
posted by toxic at 10:20 AM on October 17, 2008 [7 favorites]


One of my favorite moments on comedy shows like Jon Stewart's or Craig Fergeson's is when they make themselves laugh. Obama's laugh in going through the speech made me think of that.
posted by garlic at 10:23 AM on October 17, 2008 [4 favorites]


Obama was just using this event to lower expectations. That 1/2 hour primetime TV buy? Pilot episode of his new sketch comedy show.
posted by snofoam at 10:24 AM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


McCain was funny, warm, and connected. It's nice to see that Charming McCain is still alive somewhere under there.

I thought Obama was pretty awkward for a lot of this - but as a supporter, I found it really endearing. You could tell that he was feeling his way through the jokes, and that little head shake and chuckle when something fell a little flat was totally charming.

It's funny, because of all the things this man has managed to be to all kinds of different people, playful has never been one of them. And of course, now he's got to be bigger than whatever his actual personality is all the time, every time he opens his mouth in public. But watch this old Daily Show clip from way back in November 2005, when he could be more of a normal person - and he's totally funny, sharp, good-humored. LOVE.
posted by peachfuzz at 10:25 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just can't get over how weird this is. Those men must hate each other at this point. That this event can even happen is bizarre.

They are all part of the same club.

To this ex-Washingtonian, it's downright refreshing. This is how politics used to work, where partisans would berate each other on the hill all day, then head to Old Ebbit and have a beer together and talk about.... [BLAH BLAH BLAH]

It was no different back then, because there is no difference between a Democrat and a Republican on Capitol Hill.

You are simply reinforcing the fact that it's all a charade.
posted by Zambrano at 10:33 AM on October 17, 2008


Zambrano, dude, you have no sense of how to dialogue with people here.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 AM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, as a non-American I had never seen or heard of this event before and I think it's AWESOME. of course both men were very funny and seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot. But it's great to see some of the tension diffused, if only for a moment. I would love, LOVE to see the Canadian party leaders do this without it devolving into a all-out fistfight after ten minutes. It's nice to know that these guys can stop taking themselves so seriously for at least a few minutes.

Was there a Bush-Gore version of this from way, way back?
posted by GuyZero at 10:42 AM on October 17, 2008


Wow, when McCain is smiling a real smile (you can tell when he's really laughing because he claps like an old guy) it's pretty charming.
posted by notsnot at 10:46 AM on October 17, 2008


gotta admit, that bit at the end about not wanting to add to Obama's mounting pressure is hilarious.
posted by shmegegge at 10:53 AM on October 17, 2008


George W. Bush and Al Gore at 2000 Alfred E. Smith Dinner Roast
posted by kirkaracha at 11:31 AM on October 17, 2008


GuyZero, the 2000 Al Smith Dinner.
posted by prosthezis at 11:31 AM on October 17, 2008


OK, so W making jokes in 2000 about Jeb promising to win him Florida are a little bit creepy in retrospect. Also, McCain is funnier than W. Even Gore was funnier than W which is saying something.
posted by GuyZero at 11:57 AM on October 17, 2008


Hm... didn't someone actually make a t-shirt of Obama unbuttoning his shirt to reveal Superman-esque spandex underneath? Might have been a MoveOn thing, but Obama's "I was actually born on Krypton" bit made me think of that.

Nonetheless, I was very much amused at both speeches.
posted by Yoshi Ayarane at 12:07 PM on October 17, 2008


I just can't get over how weird this is. Those men must hate each other at this point. That this event can even happen is bizarre.

I think the biggest downside of our advertising-consumer based culture is that we're forced to look at everything through this emotional either/or lens. I made a jokein a previous post about how the funniest thing about this election is that (with the exception of Palin) These guys are all co-workers. It really is like the old cartoons with the wolf and the sheepdog, where after a day of trying to kill each other they'd punch out their timecards and call it quits until the next shift.

I'm reminded of how people who don't watch Boxing are always surprised at the affection of the boxers toward each other after the match. The truth of it is, at that moment the only guy who truly knows how you're feeling at that moment is the guy who's been punching you in the face for the past half hour.
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:42 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Joe The Plumber

*He is the son of a conservative Republican who was convicted and jailed in the Keating bank scandal, and who is Charles Keating's son-in-law.


Is this true? Was Joe The Plumber a Republican plant?

I googled and found this-- does anyone know for sure if Joe The Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher) is actually related to Republican donor and convicted criminal Robert Wurzelbacher?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 12:54 PM on October 17, 2008


Just need to throw my two cents into the mix and reiterate what has been stated herein ad nauseum: McCain fucking killed it. He killed that shit dead. I laughed my ass off. He is one funny motherfucker.
Obama, not so much made for comedy, bless his little presidential heart.




Still wouldn't vote for McCain, tho.
posted by msali at 1:00 PM on October 17, 2008


They are all part of the same club.

Yes, they are. There are more than 300 million people living in the US. There are 535 elected Americans who, at least on paper, represent those 300 million in the legislative branch.

That is an exclusive club -- dare I say it, an elite one. These people are coworkers in one of the most selective employers in the world.

And dare I say it... that's how it's supposed to be, because representative government mostly works, most of the time. There are certainly negatives to the exclusive nature of politics, and that level of power does have an incredible corrupting force... but most of those who are in government really are there for the right reasons, and as exclusive as the network is, new faces break into politics with every election cycle.

Politics is a life-long pursuit for most politicians. From debate camp, through internships/volunteer stints, through law school, through city and state legislature, even through community organizing, these guys have been focused on a career in politics since before they could vote. They wouldn't do this if they didn't have a passion for it, and they wouldn't get very far without the aptitude for it. For most of them, this has involved an elite (and expensive) education, connections, and living at least part of their life knowing that their paycheck relies on their winning a popularity contest.

And these 535 people... they're among the best in the country at that pursuit, or else they wouldn't be there. And they're all gathered in 3/4 of a 10 mile square on the East coast, with other people like them (well-educated, generally successful in their pursuits, probably well-heeled, more likely than most people to be corrupt or perverted or both). Of course it's going to feel like an unapproachable club to an outsider -- these 535 people share something that 99.9% of Americans will never experience -- winning an election, and gaining the ability to directly affect this country's laws. That's a big effing deal... the kind of thing that only comes to people who have spent their entire lives dedicated to public service. Don't write that off as just a charade.

The audience at the Grammys is pretty unapproachable to a music-industry outsider, too... but new, talented acts break out all the time, and tired one-hit-wonders fade into the woodwork.

I strongly prefer my government be full of smart, successful, talented people. I don't want Joe The Plumber running my country -- because I don't think he's educated enough to do a good job, and I don't think he has the set of global values that we as a country need to be following (and showing the world).

He doesn't understand the difference between taxes on his $40k salary, and the $250k profit that he hopes that someday he will earn when he buys out his boss's plumbing business (which, considering he's got no savings, will involve some creative financing). I sure as hell don't think he'd know how to maintain the tenuous balance in relations with Venezuela, or Pakistan, or why bombing Iran might have consequences for Israel, and what that might mean to the US or the foreign service workers in Kuwait City.

Hell, Joe (or one of his nearby neighbors) is not unlikely to be hung up on Obama's middle name. Or claim that he's a Muslim while fearful that he's going to take his marching orders from an insane black christian preacher. WTF?

Jeebus, and misguided wars, and the patriot act, and the state of US border and airport security, and Gitmo, and 8 MPG Hummers, and "freedom fries", and rednecks proud Americans talking about "We're best damn country in the world, except that we're too tolerant of the fags, and blacks, and baby killers. Those traitors should just move in with the terrorists, 'cause they don't belong in the land of the free", and so on have made the US the laughingstock of the rest of the world. We are reaping what we have sown.

I want that to end. Now.

Does that make me an elitist? Perhaps it does, under today's definition. We've gotten to where we are through a generation of "upperdown votes" and "with us or against us" and "only feminazis have an opinion" and litmus tests for judges. Successful governance is a matter of grey area, compromise, and thoughtful decisions affecting nuanced scenarios. As long as nuance and critical thinking skills are only valued by and taught to those who are called elite, then I guess I'm proud to say that the US is a better-run nation when those elites are in charge.

It ain't perfect, but it's a metric fucktonne better than the status quo.


[T]here is no difference between a Democrat and a Republican on Capitol Hill. // You are simply reinforcing the fact that it's all a charade.

Horseshit. On The Hill, there are huge differences. Most Democrats (and the people who (re)elected them) believe that some things are too important to leave to private industry, and that government can sometimes be the only entity big and neutral enough to step in and solve a problem. Most Republicans (and the people who (re)elected them) believe that (to quote Ronald Reagan) "Government is the problem" and that the private sector and free market will always work better when Government isn't interfering with the free-flow of dollars, goods and services.

When a factory closes in a town, taking most of the town's jobs with it, Democrats tend to favor spending Government money to retrain the displaced workers, and help them find work in other fields (or attract another employer to the area by providing a well-trained workforce).

Republicans tend to favor giving incentives to the other local businesses, with the a priori assertion that those incentives will create conditions where the other local businesses create new jobs. Recently, they've taken to shuttling money more exclusively to "faith-based" organizations as well, so those organizations can directly help those who no longer have a secular safety net... though this presents its own set of problems.

Both viewpoints on the right path to job creation have some validity, and millions of people ready to defend them (and continue to vote for people who defend them). And yes, there's a lot more nuance to it than that... not all republicans favor giving handouts to business all of the time, not all Democrats favor lengthening the time that a laid-off worked is covered by Unemployment Insurance.

But to say that they're essentially the same... well, that's either silly, misinformed, or just the parroting of a talking point designed to incite -- and that's helpful to the discourse how, exactly?

Do you really think that the country would be in the same place today if Florida had gone to Al Gore in 2000 or 1994's "contract with America" was relegated to the dustbins of history, instead of a pre-CSS-era archived page on house.gov?

My point was that Off The Hill, politicians are, in fact, people. People who (generally) live their lives alongside both other politicians and their less-powerful neighbors. People who are more alike than different. People who know how to leave the bile-spitting rhetoric where it belongs, and can sit down and share a meal (or a beer, or even a church pew) with someone who disagrees with them.

The last 14 years of American politics has broken down all of that decorum, that shared sense of common decency. The partisan divide has extended well beyond the workplace. Part of this is completely engineered (see: K Street Project), part of it reflects an increasingly divided nation, part is a re-stoked culture war to create an ungodly connection between unforgiving evangelical Christians and opportunistic fiscal conservatives, and part of it is an effect of dueling 24x7 news outlets -- where conflict gets viewers.

This has not served the country well at all. People in red states and blue states alike are being punished for it (and yes, most of congress is not nearly as aware of this as they should be). Our schools are in shambles. Our bridges are falling down. All of our manufacturing jobs are leaving the country. Even the highly skilled knowledge workers are expatriating at higher-than-sustainable numbers -- they're finding better places to live outside of "the best damn country God made for us".

20% of the US population think they're in the top 1% of "wealthiest Americans" -- and keep voting for tax cuts for the wealthy that defund education so their kids don't learn enough to be able to correct them. We are increasingly proud of our ignorance, to the point where the rest of the world is learning how to treat us as an afterthought.


And I, for one, am tired of it... and really hoping that the tsunami of change that is headed towards The District actually makes a difference, so we can all go back to feeling hopeful about this country, our standing in the world, our shared American values, and the sort of country that we'll be giving to our kids (since we're sticking them with the bill, anyway).

I think that the way that we collectively pull the lever on 11/4 will drastically affect that, both at the top of the ticket, and in Congress. If you honestly believe that it doesn't make any difference whatsoever, then I feel sorry for you, brother.
posted by toxic at 1:02 PM on October 17, 2008 [22 favorites]


"it's like a executive sales meeting at AIG" -Obama

As CheeseDigestsAll said, surprising lack of response. I guess that was the elephant in the room no one was supposed to talk about.

Honestly, I watched the first part of each, and I still think McMaverick is crashing and burning. Just watching him flinch and clapping like a seal after some of Obama's jokes made me uneasy. There's just something about being self-consumed that doesn't lend one's self to good humor. Sorry to be the Jackass, but I thought Obama won that exchange, too. ; )

I still don't think this is BREAKING NEWS *** BREAKING NEWS ***

It might as well have been on TalkSoup!
posted by quanta and qualia at 1:16 PM on October 17, 2008


Wow, someone was bored on Friday at work.
posted by smackfu at 1:46 PM on October 17, 2008


[That was in regard to toxic's megapost.]
posted by smackfu at 1:47 PM on October 17, 2008


the Russian Tea Room is a famous restaurant in New York. Obama was just jibing against [Tina Fey as] Palin's "I can see Russia from my house" remark.

Ah, OK. I was familiar with that; I was just hoping it was something...cleverer, I guess.
posted by kittyprecious at 2:12 PM on October 17, 2008


As long as nuance and critical thinking skills are only valued by and taught to those who are called elite, then I guess I'm proud to say that the US is a better-run nation when those elites are in charge.

It ain't perfect, but it's a metric fucktonne better than the status quo.


Toxic, you really think that the people who are running this country now (the status quo) aren't the "elite"?

Your screed was both classist and very, very long. Good job.
posted by sondrialiac at 2:13 PM on October 17, 2008


I discovered an interesting juxtaposition today, in two article, both published today. This first quote is from David Brookes, here in the International Herald and Tribune, talking about how Obama's composure under fire for the last 19 months may well be his greatest weakness as President:
With that cool manner, he would see reality unfiltered. He could gather - already has gathered - some of the smartest minds in public policy, and, untroubled by intellectual insecurity, he could give them free rein. Though he is young, it is easy to imagine him at the Cabinet table, leading a subtle discussion of some long-term problem.

Of course, it's also easy to imagine a scenario in which he is not an island of rationality in a sea of tumult, but simply an island. New presidents are often amazed by how much they are disobeyed, by how often passive-aggressiveness frustrates their plans.

It could be that Obama will be an observer, not a leader. Rather than throwing himself passionately into his causes, he will stand back. Congressional leaders, put off by his supposed intellectual superiority, will just go their own way. Lost in his own nuance, he will be passive and ineffectual. Lack of passion will produce lack of courage. The Obama greatness will give way to the Obama anti-climax.

It's hard to know how the story ends. But over the past two years, Obama has clearly worn well with voters. Far from a celebrity fad, he is self-contained, self-controlled and maybe even a little dull.
My emphasis. Now, here's the closing quote from a Rolling Stone Q&A with Obama from their latest issue:
In what way will people underestimate you as president?
[Long pause] Because I tend to be a pretty courteous person and I don't lose my temper, I think people underestimate my willingness to mix it up. I don't know if they'll continue to underestimate that after this campaign, but I think you'll still get columns saying, "He's too cool, he's too soft." [Laughs] That's OK, actually.

You like being underestimated in that way.
Yeah. No point in having them see you coming.
FUCK. YEAH. Dude is going to bring it.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:15 PM on October 17, 2008 [8 favorites]


Dear Fox News,

Please advise your graphics department that, while your animated "Breaking News" logo is certainly attention getting, when it's distracting me from the very news that is breaking behind it, it isn't doing it's job, it's making me want to change the channel.

Yrs,
quin

"Obama: My greatest weakness? It's possible I am a little too awesome."

Holy shit! I have something in common with the guy who is gonna be president! Fuck yeah!

posted by quin at 2:28 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


Woah! McCain killed! Where the hell has that guy been?

Isn't that the guy who tried to run for president in 2000? It's a bit heartening to see he hasn't completely gone away.


I think it makes it all the more depressing.
posted by phearlez at 2:53 PM on October 17, 2008


I think it makes it all the more depressing.

I guess I find "cynical ploy to get the presidency" a little more encouraging than if he honestly believed everything coming out of his campaign. In the former case, there's hope he will reverse his positions upon winning and do something decent. But I'd still rather have that one win instead.
posted by Gary at 3:07 PM on October 17, 2008


Let me just say: Plumber’s crack
posted by Smedleyman at 3:08 PM on October 17, 2008


you really think that the people who are running this country now (the status quo) aren't the "elite"?

Oh, they're certainly an elite group. Anytime you promote 500 people to a level of that importance, you're inherently creating an elite group.

My words were "those who are called elite". The ones that value nuance, critical thinking, irony, science, and the effects of our country's actions outside of our borders. The ones that Sarah Palin speaks about with such disgust.

What I'm saying is that one side of our partisan system outwardly places a value on ignorance, white/black decisions, nationalism to a fault, and the sort of chest-thumping authoritarian form of Government that we're currently subjected to. Part of their messaging to their constituents is that Liberal==Elite, while the Republicans working on the hill are all normal, God-fearing, working non-elite regular Joe Sixpacks. The status quo among a significant portion of our Republican lawmakers is to go out of the way to paint yourself as a common man, while deriding your opponents as latte-sipping, arugula eating, undeservedly wealthy elites.

Yeah, it's a sham. All congresspeople are members of the elite, ruling class, virtually by definition. And since representative government is always going to create/sustain a political elite, I'd rather support those who believe that to be an asset (or at least a truth), and don't vilify it out of one side of their mouth.

Because _I_ think that this country runs better when we place a value on the collective good, which yes, means sharing the wealth and working towards a better future as a country, not as 300 million individuals. United we stand, and all. The years since the Gingrich revolution have been some of the most disgustingly divisive since WWII brought us back together, and unless we want to learn what "divided we fall" really means, it's time for that to change.

I think it's awful that if you're not screaming "America, Fuck Yeah!", every time we bomb another city full of brown people, then you run the risk of being branded a terrorist supporter. If you think high school students should have access to condoms and discrete sexual health services, then clearly you're a threat to this "great Christian nation". And if you're a $40k a year unlicensed plumber, then it's obviously the liberal elite's tax policies that are keeping you from being a millionaire business owner.

I vehemently disagree with that, and the people who are creating that message to further their own agenda. If that makes me a classist, then so be it.


And smackfu: To honor the labor movement's long fight to establish the weekend, I've taken it one step further, by working four (longer) days a week. This leaves my Fridays open for playing flash games, sipping lattes, eating arugula, and rambling on and on on the intertubez.
posted by toxic at 3:10 PM on October 17, 2008


I googled and found this-- does anyone know for sure if Joe The Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher) is actually related to Republican donor and convicted criminal Robert Wurzelbacher?

He is not.
posted by designbot at 3:33 PM on October 17, 2008


Ok, hold up: The Bush remark "Some call you the elite; I call you my base," was made at the Al Smith dinner?

Why did I not know this before?
posted by brain cloud at 4:03 PM on October 17, 2008


I googled and found this-- does anyone know for sure if Joe The Plumber (Joe Wurzelbacher) is actually related to Republican donor and convicted criminal Robert Wurzelbacher?

He is not.


It's interesting, though, to read this on the personal blog of Martin Eisenstadt, one of McCain's advisers (who was one of the first to discuss the potential Keating connection:
"John McCain did great tonight in the debate. But every time John mentioned 'Joe the Plumber,' some of us in the campaign banged our heads against the wall. If Steve Schmidt had any hair left, I hear he would have been pulling it out tonight. He reportedly screamed at John’s debate prep team tonight (out of earshot of reporters, of course). 'You idiots - he’s related to Charles Keating… of the Keating Five scandal!' They thought they had a real live Joe Six-Pack who’s spurned Barack Obama’s tax plan. But what they forgot to do was check on Joe Wurzelbacher’s background. Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio. Who’s Robert Wurzelbacher? Only Charles Keating’s son-in-law and the former senior vice president of American Continental, the parent company of the infamous Lincoln Savings and Loan. The now retired elder Wurzelbacher is also a major contributor to Republican causes giving well over $10,000 in the last few years.

...UPDATE: This story certainly got traction, and I’ve had media requests all afternoon. It’s nice to see that Michelle Malkin linked to me even as she contends that the lefties have all sorts of weird conspiracies about poor old Joe. But even Michelle misses the point a little: it doesn’t really matter how Joe is related to Keating. What matters is that here we are talking about it when we should be talking about Obama and Ayers. The campaign really should have done a better job vetting the man they planned to reference 22 times in the last and final debate."
posted by ericb at 5:18 PM on October 17, 2008


Ok, hold up: The Bush remark "Some call you the elite; I call you my base," was made at the Al Smith dinner? Why did I not know this before?

Because you likely missed Michael Moore's Farenheit/911 which highlighted the clip or these previous MeFi threads - 1, 2, 3.
posted by ericb at 5:23 PM on October 17, 2008


Oh wait, the film nor the threads explicitly stated the source was that dinner. Nonetheless, I love how McCain/Palin have been using "elite" as a charge against the Democrats when Bush et al know that the true elite are the moneyed class.
posted by ericb at 5:24 PM on October 17, 2008


designbot, thanks for that link. You too, ericb.

Robert M. Wurzelbacher, son-in-law of Keating, was 37 years old in 1991 when federal charges were filed against Keating. It appears that he has addresses in Phoenix and Coronado, CA.

The Robert M. Wurzelbacher of Milford, OH, a heavy donor to GOP candidates, is 83 years old and retired. They're not the same person.


Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher from the Toledo event is a close relative of Robert Wurzelbacher of Milford, Ohio.

So if I'm reading this right, Joe The Plumber is related to the second Robert M. Wurzelbacher (the heavy donor to the GOP). Wouldn't that still make ol' Joe a likely Republican plant?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 5:34 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


man oh man... what are the chances of such a coincidence, with a name like Wurzelbacher?
posted by desjardins at 6:09 PM on October 17, 2008


McCain/Palin have been using 'elite' as a charge against the Democrats

You mean Thurston Howell John Sidney McCain III?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:25 PM on October 17, 2008 [1 favorite]


> Oh wait, the film nor the threads explicitly stated the source was that dinner.

I gotta say I share Brain Cloud's surprise (naivety?) at this too. I've watched "Farenheit/911" and seen the quote referred to from time to time in other contexts as an indictment of Bush. But knowing the quote was from a comedy speech puts it in something a different light. Even allowing for "many a true word spoken in jest" It seems a bit disingenuous to be referring to it as if he meant it. You bastard Mr Moore. :) Next I'll find out the "now watch this drive" clip was actually a stunt set up for "Punk'd"....
posted by adamt at 6:42 PM on October 17, 2008 [2 favorites]


adamt: yeah, that's exactly what I was getting at. Outside of any context at all (which is, I believe, the only "context" I've ever seen that clip in), I thought it was just some smarmy-ass thing Bush was saying to a roomful of millionaires who were about to give him big campaign contributions.

Not that I'm going to begin re-evaluating all the assholish things Bush has ever said or done, but I feel a little duped right now.
posted by brain cloud at 6:56 PM on October 17, 2008


I feel a little duped right now.

Congratulations, you have seen a Michael Moore movie.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:15 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"gordon liddy" 4th most popular search on google yesterday.

I wish I had never been made aware of this Google facility. I might have been spared finding out that hummingbird sex position was the most popular search yesterday.
posted by lostburner at 2:56 PM on October 21, 2008


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