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BOW Award Time

About midway through this week I received a nomination for this week's BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award from a friend of mine.  The nomination was for Democratic Vice Presidential nominee Joe Biden, who was at a rally (I'm not sure where) and he introduced a state senator by the name of Chuck Grahm and told the guy to stand up so that he could be acknowledged by the crowd.  Problem was, Chuck Grahm is in a wheelchair.  Clearly Biden didn't know this and when he realized it he was suitably embarrassed (Google Joe Biden and Chuck Grahm and you can see video of the whole thing, and also read a bunch of comments from wingnutters calling Biden awful things).  Clearly Biden's advance staff screwed up, and clearly Biden should have done his homework on the guy.  but he recovers well in the video and pokes fun at himself.  Yes it was stupid, which is why it's a nominee.  But it doesn't come close to winning.  Why?  Because as this week's BOW Award will show, it's more than just stupidity that I'm trying to get at with these awards.  It's stupidity combined with malice or prejudice.  It's out-and-out lies.  It's all the stuff that makes politics in America these days so infuriating.  Maybe buffoon isn't quite the right word.  Yeah, Biden's a bit of a buffoon in this instance.  Maybe the right word is shithead.  But this is a family blog, and I really don't want to be giving away SOW Awards every week....

So this week I'm giving the BOW Award to John McCain and Sarah Palin.  Yep.  Just gave away the punch line didn't I?  Well, not entirely.  Because I really don't know what to give it to them for.  They did so much this week that was worthy of the award.  It seemed like everything they did and said was so egregious, I just don't know which act of buffoonery to recognize.

Do I give it to Palin for lying again and again and again about the Bridge To Nowhere project in Alaska, which she supported before she decided that it would be politically expedient to oppose it?  She keeps giving us that same line:  "I told Congress 'Thanks but no thanks on that Bridge to Nowhere.'"  McCain keeps on repeating it too.  And of course, it's just not true.

Do I give it to her for lying again and again and again about being some kind of fiscal reformer who rejects federal pork in the form of earmarks?   She's going to shake things up when she gets to Washington.  That's what she tells us.  She doesn't play those old games.  That's why it's so cool that she's against those earmarks.  Except that this isn't true either.

Do I give it to her for lying about the one foreign travel experience she has on her wafer-thin foreign relations resume?  See, aside from claiming that Alaska's proximity to Russia gives her knowledge of foreign affairs, she has also claimed that her trip abroad in 2007 to visit Alaskan National Guard troops stationed overseas was an important experience for her.  She claimed to have gone to Ireland, Germany, Kuwait, and Iraq.  But Palin's staff has now had to clarify this claim twice, and it now turns out that she never went to Iraq as she originally claimed.

Do I give it to John McCain for stating with a straight face that Barack Obama is to blame for the attacks that Republican speakers at last week's party convention leveled at the Democratic nominee's experience as a community organizer?  Yes, he did say that.  It was Thursday night during the CNN forum on service.  McCain, who had been touting the importance of service to community and country, was asked about the derogatory remarks made by, among others, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin about that chapter in Obama's life.  And McCain said, "I think the tone of this whole campaign would have been very different if Senator Obama had accepted my request for us to appear in town hall meetings all across America, the same way Jack Kennedy and  Barry Goldwater had agreed to do so. I know that because I”ve been in enough campaigns.”  Watch the clip here.  Talk about blaming the victim!  He goes on to excuse Palin's remarks and then distance himself from them.  He's a pretty good contortionist for a guy his age.

Do I give it to the McCain-Palin Campaign for its disgusting and dishonest campaign ads which tried to suggest that Barack Obama had once supported comprehensive sex education for kindergarten age children?  The ad is false on so many points that it's hard to know where to begin in refuting it.  The bill would not have given "comprehensive sex education" to kindergartners, but would have offered "age appropriate instruction" in large part to help young children know how to recognize and avoid predatory sexual behavior in adults.  The ad also claims that this bill was Obama's only legislative achievement in the Illinois Senate, which is patently false.  For more information on the bill and this misleading ad, go here.

Do I give it to the McCain-Palin campaign for lying again and again and again about Barack Obama's tax proposals?  Contrary to what they're saying, Barack Obama's tax proposals will benefit far more lower income workers than would the McCain-Palin tax plan, and it would lower taxes on the vast majority of Americans.  Only those with an income above $227,000 would see a tax increase under Obama's plan.  This isn't just me saying this.  Check this out.  But of course, facts don't seem to get in the way of the McCain-Palin lie machine.

And that's pretty much the point of this week's BOW Award. John McCain promised us a different kind of politics.  Bull. McCain and Palin are lying all the time right now.  It's really quite remarkable.  And to my surprise and satisfaction, news outlets are finally starting to call them on it.  So this week's BOW Award goes to John McCain and Sarah Palin, for their apparent inability to tell the truth.  Take a BOW there guys; you've earned it.  And by all means keep on telling those whoppers.



( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 13th, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
I hate to say it, but at some point you may have to give the BOW award to that percentage of the voting public which keeps enabling McCain/Palin in their lying because they don't call them on it.
Sep. 13th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
You may be right. I'm hoping I don't have to give that award the first week in November....
Sep. 13th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Me too.
Sep. 14th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
No disrespect intended, but I don't think it's fair to imply that voters who support McCain are acting with "stupidity combined with malice or prejudice." Yes, there may be some who *are* prejudiced. But I don't think ANY voters in this country choose a candidate out of sheer malice. I think voters can be mistaken and misinformed, but EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion, even if it differs from yours.

The thing I find most disturbing about this entire campaign - on BOTH sides - is this tendency to turn political differences into personal character attacks.

I know a lot of good, honest, honorable people voting for McCain only because they're afraid that Obama's dismal lack of understanding of ag policy will cripple the farming industry. I may not agree with them, but that doesn't make their opinions less valid.
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
First, Jen, Let me apologize to you and to anyone else who read my comments above or my post and thought I was saying that I thought anyone voting for McCain was guilty of malice or was stupid. That was not what I meant, though reading the exchange of comments I can easily see how I gave that impression. What I thought Sam was saying was that voters who fall for the lies I've outlined in this week's BOW Award, are being foolish and careless with their vote. Read his comment again, and I think you'll agree that this is what he was getting at. And that I DO agree with. There are lots of informed people out there who disagree with me on the issues. I respect that. As you've noticed, I'm pretty open about where I stand. I hear from lots of folks who feel differently about the issues, who believe that Obama is not the right person to be President because of where he stands on all sorts of issues ranging from abortion to Iraq to agriculture to taxes. I'm fine with that; that's democracy.

But when I hear voters saying they support McCain-Palin because the two of them are "reformers," because she ended the Bridge to Nowhere project and opposed earmarks, because Obama is going to raise taxes on the middle class, because McCain is some sort of political maverick, or because Obama is "a Muslim," THAT'S when I get ticked off. Because they're taking the McCain-Palin lies at face value without taking the time to check the facts. Every link that I put in this week's BOW Award post comes from a reputable, non-partisan source. These aren't Huffington Post talking points; they're from CNNMoney, or Factcheck.org, or one of the many news outlets. The information is readily available; people just have to care enough to find the truth. And, in my opinion, those who don't are being fools. That's what my comment was meant to convey.

Again, my apologies for giving offense to you or anyone else. Do I think McCain voters are stupid and/or malicious? No. Do I think that the McCain campaign this week was spreading lies in a way that was stupid and malicious? Absolutely. Stupid because the truth is so easy to find, and malicious because they're willing to say anything about Obama regardless of the truth in the hope that people will not bother to check the facts for themselves.
Sep. 14th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Sorry I gave you such a knee-jerk reaction. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to respond and explain, so thank you. :) I guess I've become...overly sensitive...because many of the political discussions I've read/heard/participated in seem to turn...rather personal. I'm not comfortable with conflict and I get so aggravated when people turn what should be an open debate into a game of trading insults about each side's relative intelligence, you know?

But yes - I *totally* agree that it's foolish to believe the ads and sound bytes without looking into the facts, and I definitely think that voters are irresponsible if they base their choice on superficialities and propaganda.

Sorry to dump my frustrations on your journal, and thanks for your reply. :)
Sep. 14th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
No problem. This is a frustrating process because it seems that people talk past each other all the time. I actually hoped that McCain and Obama really would provide us with a different kind of election this year, one in which people could express their opinions and actually debate the issues. We face HUGE challenges as a people and as a nation, and I feel like those challenges get short shrift. Who's to blame? There's plenty of blame to go around. It's just sad.
Sep. 14th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
I believe the Palin bubble has burst. More and more people (including not a few Republicans) are taking a second (and a third look) at her and they often don't like what they see or perceive about both her character and style of governance.
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
I agree, Mark. The more we learn about her the less appealing she seems. Not that I ever found her appealing at all, but I think that even those who were inclined to like her are finding that she isn't all she was made out to be at first.
Sep. 14th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
I'll note that I know at several Republicans (including some in swing states) who decided not to vote for McCain because of his pick for VEEP.

However, in Biden's defense before he loses the BOW (yeah, I know, he already lost), there is his statement that Hillary Clinton is more qualified than he is to be VEEP and that Obama maybe should have picked her.

Of course, Palin claimed that Obama (who she has never met) is suffering buyer's remorse for not having picked H. Clinton.
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
I really wasn't sure why Joe said that about Hillary. Self-deprecation is a good quality for a politician, but it can be taken too far.
Sep. 14th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
"town hall meetings"

I saw that as well and wondered what is wrong with this guy? So, he is claiming that he HAS to put out disgusting ads that lie about his opponent because...Obama wouldn't give him townhall meetings? That's psycho.

In case you want to get started on next week's award...from McCain's statement today on Hurricane Ike:

"And like most Americans, I remain concerned about the impact this storm will have on gas prices across the country, but our priority now must be to help the relief effort in any way we can, and to pray for the safety of those in the s torm's path."

That's about as Cheneyesque as one can get. Talking to one constituency in one part of a snetence and completely different one in the other part of the sentence. Was amazed he didn't throw in a "Drill, Drill, Drill!" in there just to round it out.


Finally, if you go to that link at the McCain web site you'll see some text in the upper right-hand corner. Probably just me, but they have large print "Reform Prosperity Peace" under the smaller text "Country First". Probably should move away from the latter any day now...
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link and the comments. Yeah, he might have wanted to lead with the concern for safety and gone to the gas prices thing later. At times he has quite the political tin ear.

As for the "town hall meetings" comment, I was floored and amazed that the two reporters failed to call him on it.
Sep. 14th, 2008 12:47 pm (UTC)
I keep hearing how women are flocking to Ms. Palin because she represents us. Not true. To get a notion of what women are thinking of the lady from Alaska, I suggest a few minutes at this site: http://womenagainstsarahpalin.blogspot.com/

The demographics are all over the map: young and old, Democrat and Republican, liberal, indy and conservative. We know trouble when we see it, and Ms. Palin fits the bill.
Sep. 14th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
I think the Republicans got a lot more than they expected out of Palin. Her rise has been unbelievable. But there is usually a symmetry to such things. I think her fall has already begun, and it's going to be sharp.
Sep. 15th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
I think a BOW award could definitely go to the NOW gang and the other feminists out there who have stood for years for women's rights and for the advancement of women. Then when one gets ahead, they suddenly say that she isn't liberal enough. Some have even said that the choice of Governor Palin is a step backward for women. What hypocrisy! So they now show their true colors and we can see that they are only for the advancement of Liberal women. And as I recall one prominate feminist by the name of Diane Feinstein said, Sarah should stay home and raise her family rather than try for the VP. This coming from one of the most ardent of feminists who for decades have yelled, "We women can have it all - a job and a family. We don't need men!".

I say that they need to take a BOW and change their name to National Organization of Liberal Women.
Sep. 15th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
NOW is absolutely for the election of progressive women. They've never said anything to the contrary. There have been lots of professional women, Phyllis Schlafly comes to mind, who have influence and power and who are absolutely antithetical to the women's movement. The insulting thing is when conservatives put forward female candidates who have nothing to offer feminists except the very fact that they're women. Sarah Palin may be female, but her policy positions on issues like abortion and equal pay would actually set back the struggle for women's equality by thirty years. It's really not that different from George H.W. Bush putting Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court to replace Thurgood Marshall. Yes, Thomas is African American, but he has been a disaster for minorities in this country.

It's funny really. Conservatives are constantly railing against quotas and the like, but then they turn around and embrace these transparent attempts at tokenism and scream bloody murder when they get called on it.
Sep. 15th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC)
Who said Gov. Palin is a token? She is a well-marked reformer unlike anyone else on the Democratic ticket. There is just so much hypocrisy on the Democratic side that it is getting silly, and I feel the American public is beginning to see that.

And what some people view as "progressive" others view as "insanity".
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:05 pm (UTC)
A reformer? A reformer???!!! Reforms like the lies about Bridge to Nowhere, which she campaigned on and then rejected when it became politically expedient to do so? Or like earmarks which she rails against now because it's convenient, but supported as governor and hired a lobbyist to secure for Wasilla (pop. 6000)? Or like the EBay sale for the Governor's plane, which didn't end up actually selling on ebay, which went for a loss of $600,000, and which sold to a political ally? Or like her firing of the public safety commissioner who wouldn't dismiss her ex-brother-in-law? Like her stonewalling of the current investigation into that firing? Like the per diems she took for nights spent at home? (Nice gig if you can get it -- I bet lots of Americans wish their jobs worked that way.) If this woman is a reformer, then George Bush is a member of MENSA. Her entire political profile is a carefully crafted fiction. It's built on lies, and the GOP hopes that if they repeat these lies often enough people will actually start to believe them.
Sep. 15th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
1) The media labeled "Bridge to Nowhere": She was for it when the price tag as 200 million. When it skyrocketed to 400 million, she pulle dthe plug. And? ALso please note that Barack Obama and JOe Biden both VOTED FOR the Federal funding for the Bridge to Nowhere.

2) Ebay "Sale": She enver said that she sold it on Ebay, she said that she "put it on Ebay". The plane did not sell and as such, they turned it over to a broker who sold it a bargain price because no one wanted it.

3) Media labeled "Troopergate": She fired him because he tasered his 10-year old nephew and threatened Palen's family. He also would frequently be drunk on the job. You think it would be ok to leave him on the job after those things?

4) Travel expenses: In Alaska, it is legal to get per diem in that manner so she broke no law. Secondly, her total travel expense for the year was $ 43,490 . The amount of her predecessor was $ 463,000. That's a savings to the State of $ 419,510. The Palin family has also declined the per diem this year, saving the State $4,461.


5) Reforms: Here is a quick and fair assesment of her term as Governor by the Archorage Daily News as seen in this reprint. http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2008/9/4/the_anchorage_daily_news_on_governor.htm
Sep. 15th, 2008 06:37 pm (UTC)
The bridge to nowhere has been a boondoggle for years. She opposed it when people from both sides of the aisle in Congress began to rail against it. It became a political albatross, and she bailed.

The ebay sale was something she used in her speech at the RNC and yes, she only said she "put it on ebay" but she made it sound as if she had sold it that way. Which is what she does. She tells half the story so that it reflects well on her. All politicians do, but that's not a reformer or a breath of fresh air, it's more of the same.

Troopergate is apt. The stories you're repeating here are bull put forward by her family to defend themselves. If this guy was a nightmare, she wouldn't have had to fire the public safety commissioner because he refused to have the guy terminated. She wouldn't have been warned by a judge and by some of her aides that her obsession with this guy was going to get her in trouble. She's scrambling to cover her ass on this one and it's not going to work.

Yes, the travel expense thing is technically legal, though Alaskan officials on both sides of the aisle agree that her decision to take money for nights at home was pretty unusual. And comparing her to Murkowski really doesn't help your cause. He was a nightmare. Just because she's a smaller one doesn't mean she's still not a nightmare. A savings? So if you were robbed last year and lost $2,000. And this year you were robbed again but only lost $200, would you be counting that as a savings of $1,800? I don't think so.

I'll check out the link. Thanks.
Sep. 15th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
I would like to nominate Barack Obama as a canidate for next week's BOW award.

I believe that it meets the malicious and bonehead requirements.

In his latest ad, he makes fun of McCain's lack of email ability. What he appatantly doesn't know, is that McCain does email through his wife and his staffers. The reason he has to do this is because of the injuries he suffered while a POW. His shoulders were both broken by a rifle-butt and they never healed correctly. This is evidenced by the 2000 Forbes Magazine article:

In certain ways, McCain was a natural Web candidate. Chairman of the Senate Telecommunications Subcommittee and regarded as the U.S. Senate's savviest technologist, McCain is an inveterate devotee of email. His nightly ritual is to read his email together with his wife, Cindy. The injuries he incurred as a Vietnam POW make it painful for McCain to type. Instead, he dictates responses that his wife types on a laptop. "She's a whiz on the keyboard, and I'm so laborious," McCain admits.

So now Obama is using his injuries received as fodder for his political lies. That's pretty low.
Sep. 15th, 2008 09:47 pm (UTC)
Election 2008: Issues
McCain's Technology Outlook
(From NPR)

"All Things Considered, August 1, 2008 ? John McCain has said he rarely uses e-mail or the Internet. During the Republican primary, he referred to himself as computer illiterate."

That's where it comes from. He calls himself computer illiterate. It has nothing to do with his war injuries.

And now I really do need to write my book.... :)
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )


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