Yesterday we asked whether South Park could make Obama jokes that were actually amusing. As we suspected, the most cutting jokes in last night's episode focused on the crazed supporters of the candidate, while the politicians were parodied in a heist to steal the Hope Diamond from the Smithsonian, a dated reference to Ocean's 11. Still, the show had its fun with Obama as smooth movie star, imagining McCain and Obama as secret-handshake best buds and Barack as just a glitzy jewel thief in Michelle's eyes. All the clips come after the jump.
When maverick John McCain picked moose-hunting maverick Sarah "Pit Bull" Palin as his running mate, everybody said that it was the typical sort of impulsive McCain gamble that would make him such a terrible leader—and cost him votes. Here's Palin admitting as much.
Has Rupert Murdoch made a terrible miscalculation? Michael Wolff thinks so! Wolff, Murdoch's newest biographer, says that the New York Post's uncharacteristically fawning Obama-centric cover today is Murdoch's way of apologizing to the future president (Obama) for the Post's endorsement of McCain. In fact, it's been widely rumored for months that Murdoch wanted the Post to endorse Obama. So what's going on here? Rupert Murdoch has always been canny about getting in good with those in power, even if they're from the party he opposes. He made nice with Tony Blair in the UK. And the Post did in fact endorse Obama over Hillary Clinton, once it was clear Obama would win. Besides that, Murdoch's pet paper the Sun in the UK pretty much deified Obama. And even Fox News managed to work out an Obama interview with Bill O'Reilly, when they weren't calling him "Osama" and such. So why didn't Rupert just get the Post to go ahead and endorse Obama in the general election? Two reason. One of those reasons is named "Sarah Palin." Murdoch flirted with her coyly, and ended up tentatively supporting her convoluted policy proposals in public. It may be that he fell in love with her personality (the same mistake McCain made), or just came to the conclusion that, dumb as she is, at least she wasn't likely to push for any more regulation of his business if she came into office when McCain keeled over. The second reason is more basic: a Post endorsement of Obama just wasn't practical. It would defeat the paper's very reason for existence, which is to be a rabid conservative voice in the midst of the liberal NYC media. So Rupert Murdoch just allowed them to endorse McCain, then set about sending every possible signal that he's willing to be friendly with Obama after he wins. Not that dumb after all.
On this election day, the cold-blooded monsters like us whose business is our nation's flow of public information are thinking not about political hope, but about hope for continued high ratings; not about political change, but about people changing the channels. (Speechwriter-ly!). What it comes down to is this: once this election's over, will the public still care about all these media outlets who've been living it up thanks to public interest in politics? Let's round up the media's nervous take on the media's future!
Resident Democratic strategist Peter Feld has been telling Obama supporters not to get too cocky all during the campaign (a former Dukakis adviser, he knows a thing or two about how Democrats can blow elections). Tonight, he takes a look at the final round of polls and the voting schedule and concludes... well, we don't want to jinx anything, but if you're an Obama supporter, you might just want to be near a TV at 11 p.m. tomorrow night. 7 p.m.
PRWeek got predictions about the election from 30 flacks around the country. One (1) of them predicted a McCain victory. So be sure to hire Nick Kalm of Chicago's Reputation Partners for strategic counsel on how to horribly embarrass yourself in any large, public group! "Regardless of who wins, however, the level of partisan rancor will be so high, it will make people long for the 'good old days' of Bush's second term," he says. Okay, just for that we will print his entire god damn answer below:
Last week we had a very clear piece of advice for human campaign prop Joe "Wurzelbacher" The Plumber: get to plumbing! All this hype he's getting as a McCain hack isn't worth shit except free advertising for his core business of Roto-Rooting. But Joe has failed to heed our warning, surprisingly. He's broke, and he's not afraid to complain about it on national television shows such as the respected Inside Edition! Thank god those mysterious checks that appear in his mailbox regularly are at least temporarily offsetting the freeloading Obama supporters trying to take food off his family:
Now is the time when campaign reporters file their last, wistful dispatches of this hellbound two-year horse race. There is an absolute mess of these things! They all serve to fill space on the final, news-free days of the campaign, and also to remind readers of the invaluable role that the true heroes—political reporters—play in our democracy. We've slogged through the morass of remembrances today in order to answer the meta-question that really matters: what did this campaign mean to the media? You have to remember that for a lot of reporters, today is the last gasp of glory. By the end of this week the campaign will be over, and there will be far fewer opportunities to go on TV and be "experts." There may also be far fewer opportunities to be, you know, reporters; some percentage of these people are bound to be laid off in the coming year. We already know that the LA Times will be laying off the bulk of its Washington bureau. And most ofl those plucky young embedded reporters from TV networks are preparing to be fired when this thing wraps up. Everybody wants to make sure that you know that they were on the inside. Just because you, the consumer, didn't get all the colorful anecdotes in your morning paper doesn't mean that they didn't happen. Reporters have all types of fun memories from the campaign that they would like to share with you now that the campaign is over! Most of these fall into two categories: the "God these candidates are more morally bankrupt than I could ever say outright in the pages of my tepid publication," and the (more popular) "I made friends with important people!" Some key examples of each: God these candidates are more morally bankrupt than I could ever say outright in the pages of my tepid publication Michael Scherer from Time went to some Republican retreat in Michigan where politicians "came there to speak to state party activists, serving up stump pomp while waiters in white-tie tuxedos served drunk diners with pecan-coated ice cream balls." Then he finds a regular lady who says everyone in town is not like that. He rejoices. HuffPo's Sam Stein was set upon by a gang of disgruntled Hillary supporters in a Washington bar. "And soon the denizens were letting me have a piece of their mind. 'HuffPost sucks! HuffPost sucks!' they chanted, as I bit into my now-arrived Reuben. 'Fox News, fair and balanced! Fox News, fair and balanced!'" Although he does not say so, he hates them. Marc Ambinder from the Atlantic recalls watching Obama's little daughter Sasha talking to her daddy on stage at the Democratic convention; it "was very cute, but it also revealed how staged even Obama’s campaign had become." The thought of a little girl talking to her dad now makes him want to absolutely vomit. Politics has ruined him. I made friends with important people! Wacky old Dana Milbank from the Washington Post remembers Mike Huckabee "taking reporters hunting, taking them jogging, taking them to the barber for a face massage and shave." Dana Milbank would not object to being asked to appear on Mike Huckabee's teevee show, if Mike Huckabee so chose. Ana Marie Cox from Time had fun singing karaoke with McCain campaign hacks Mark Salter and Steve Schmidt. Salter even sung Dylan tunes! Later they went back to figuring out how to oppress black people. Adam Nagourney from the Times liked nothing better than sharing his Christmas dinner with failed Hillary flack Howard Wolfson: "We were quick to discover that there aren't a lot of restaurants open in Des Moines on Christmas night (or bars, but that's another story). But what was open was sure to warm the heart of two displaced Jews from New York: A Chinese restaurant." Aw! Then they made passionate love. You see, just about everyone on the campaign trail goes a little crazy. It's classic Stockholm syndrome; trapped on buses and planes for months on end, reporters come to regard their captors as friends. Just to get a fact-free look back at the election season to fill a hole in its Week in Review section yesterday, the NYT had to turn to Frank Bruni, who's spent the entire campaign eating brains at Manhattan's finest restaurant. But they needed an outsider who could say about this godforsaken campaign, presumably with a straight face, "that we have, if anything, undervalued and even lost sight of its significance at times." Had they put Adam Nagourney on that story, the editors would have had to spend hours rewriting his knowing asides about Howard Wolfson's bewitching cologne. For the media, the campaign means life. It means purpose, and employment, and attention, and a sense of self-importance. It's an unparalleled opportunity to cast oneself as an expert with no qualifications whatsoever, and to profess to speak for millions of "real Americans" without any factual basis. In reality, campaign reporters have a far less objective view of the Presidential race than a fat, laid-off auto worker sitting on his ass playing XBox in the ugly part of Toledo. It takes a rare breed to remain sane during the ordeal. And we should salute those who do. So Joshua Green of the Atlantic, we salute you; you alone have found a moment that appropriately embodies American democracy:
McCain is expected to lose the election tomorrow, and the NYT's penultimate campaign article makes it sounds as if he's suffering a serious case of senioritis. He passes the time on his campaign bus with his young friends Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, telling his favorite Henny Youngman "Take my wife, please" jokes. Who but our grandpa LOLs at borscht-belt comedians? And then there's his current regimen: "During the day he gets almost no exercise, eats the candy and junk food strewn all over his bus, and naps slumped in his seat in the curtained-off front section of his plane." Sounds exactly like Gramps—but don't be fooled by appearances. McCain is only executing the last-ditch secret "Sad Grandpa" plan he was supposedly joking about on SNL this weekend. After the jump, see the sketch.
Here, you see, an ad agency employee named Tor Myhren has designed a poster that asks the question: What if Barack Obama was a white dude named Chet who probably calls his girlfriend "Lovie," and John McCain was an elderly black man? I'll tell you what: McCain rallies would be much more interesting. It's a neat poster, but don't let it fall into the wrong hands (the hands of South Carolina). Larger version after the jump? Okay:
Presidential elections aren't just about the candidates; they're about all the random crazy people only tangentially related to the candidates and their campaigns, the ones who are hyped into momentary superstardom by political reporters desperate for storylines. Or by the candidates themselves, desperate to deflect attention. The question for these random people is, how to capitalize on this brief and undeserved moment of fame? Joe the Plumber is determined to become a country music star! And he's just one of multitudes. We're here to help, fame whores! After the jump, we tell the incidental stars of this godforsaken election cycle what they should do with their lives after November 4, so that they may not be forgotten:
You may have heard that the Commie LA Times has in its possession a video of Barack Hussein Obama giving a speech in 2003 in which he declares his friendship with Rashid Khalidi, a Columbia professor and Palestinian activist who, clearly, probably knows some terrorists from the Middle East. The LAT says they won't release the video because they promised their confidential source they wouldn't, which is pretty ironclad reasoning. But the truth about these two Muslims and their plotting must come out—and be available on YouTube!—according to the McCain campaign. Luckily there's a way for the layoff-plagued newspaper to appear heroic and score some much-needed cash at the same time: A guy allegedly actually named Aston Grimaldi II, of Dune Capital, is offering $150,000 for a copy of the tape. So why doesn't the LA Times just sell theirs to him? They're a Tribune paper. The company's strongest asset is a parking lot, for god's sake, and that's up for sale. They need every last penny they can get. Plus you would bring a smile to the twisted visage of John McCain, American hero! The only losers would be Hussein Obama and the paper's secret "source," a terrorist. U no U want 2 sell it LAT, LOL!
Former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Colin Powell, endorsed Barack Obama for President on Meet the Press this morning. Powell, a Republican and longtime friend of John McCain, said, "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama... He's thinking that all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values." As for McCain and his supporters' straw-grasping, "terrorist" and "Muslim" talk, "I have been disappointed frankly in some of the approaches Senator McCain has taken recently... The party has moved even further to the right and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration." Click through to watch the full endorsement. Click to view
So, how have our friends at the GOP been behaving themselves this week? Oh, it's not good. First, they tricked Democrats in California into becoming Republicans by telling them they were signing petitions for stiffer punishments for child molesters. Then, in DC, Boston, Seattle, and elsewhere, they sent racially charged death threats to ACORN staffers and vandalized their offices. And how were things in Ohio? Watch the most racist Sarah Palin rally so far caught on tape after the jump.
Negative ads usually work, despite the fact that everybody whines about them. Not this year! Political scientists (A real job title? Not sure) say that this year's campaign is—as old Bob Schieffer grouchily pointed out last night—the most negative in the history of history. But they also say that this time, that negativity is actually backfiring, for once. Apparently "imaginary bullshit" ranks lower on voters' priority lists than ever before:
A roadside billboard sprung up in West Plains, Missouri, recently, featuring a caricature of Barack Obama wearing a turban along with the message "Barack 'Hussein' Obama equals more abortions, same sex marriages, taxes, gun regulations." While some members of that community are shocked and disgusted-the Obama campaign dismissed it as "a distraction"-other locals are of the opinion that if you don't like that sign you can drop dead. The billboard is after the jump. So is a video of McCain/Palin supporters at yet another rally in PA-one of them telling a really funny joke about sex assault victims who are forced to pay for their own rape kits. Starts at about 2:08.
Hundreds of absentee voters from Rensselaer County, NY, were sent ballots offering them the exciting opportunity to cast their vote for Democratic candidate "Barack Osama." Election officials are saying it's an honest mistake. Except that the ballots in question were supposed to be proofread by at least six people. So, in other words, election fraud!
Can anyone on McCain's side speak for more than a minute without royally screwing up? There's "my fellow prisoners," everything Sarah Palin says, and the generally increasing ugliness of the whole campaign. It's infectious. Yesterday American Spectator managing editor J.P. Freire went on MSNBC to explain away the "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" chanters, and to accuse the Obama camp of pulling "the hate card." He then went on to admit that, "If McCain and the Republicans really did believe that it would help them to be raving racists, we'd be seeing a lot more of this." Then the bigger stumble: "Unfortunately, though, no one wants to be a racist." Yes, yes, we know he meant to say "Fortunately." Clip after the jump. Starts at about 2:01.