Saturday, October 18, 2008

NOT the law of the land?

Wait, you missed the Supreme Court's election ruling?
No, not the divided decision that handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush.
The high court ruled unanimously Friday that Ohio's secretary of state -- its top elections official -- was right in refusing to disenfranchise tens of thousands of Ohioans because of typos, computer glitches or other minor problems tied to their voter registrations.
Republicans were outraged -- or, in the words of one GOP loyalist seen widely on TV and the Internet in recently weeks, MAD, REALLY MAD!!! -- about the Supreme Court ruling.
"Do your job!" a miffed -- REALLY MIFFED!!! -- Kevin DeWine, Ohio Republican Party deputy chairman, huffed at Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.
So, let's step back for a moment:
When a divided Supreme Court directs Republican Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to end county election board recounts allowed by state law, the GOP faithful declares, "It's the law of the land!" and smears Democratic protesters as whiners.
But when a unanimous high court directs Democratic Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner to allow registered voters from both parties to cast their ballots, the Ohio Republican Party "believes there are still avenues in the state courts" to skirt the high court ruling.
I get it:
When the U.S. Supreme Court rules in your favor, it's game over, check mate, topple the king.
But when the Supreme Court rules against you, it's a matter of "states' rights."
Is this a case study in hypocrisy?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joe the Plumber

So it's a little too neat for my tastes that this big, bald guy with a goatee shows up on an Obama rope line talking about "the American dream" and getting in Obama's face about taxes.
After hearing John McCain mention Joe the Plumber a million or so times in the debate tonight, I was sure that Joe was a plant.
A die-hard Republican the McCain campaign recruited to go to the Obama rally and see if he could ruffle the unflappable senator from Illinois.
And having suffered for years, as a political reporter in Washington, the Republicans' love of talking points, I was sure as I heard him speak that Joe the Plumber was faithfully reciting his talking points.
But all the conservative bloggers who are linking to the video of the Obama-Joe the Plumber exchange -- and hailing Joe as a new American hero -- might hope that folks don't watch -- and listen to -- the whole exchange.
Watch it yourself.
Notice how Obama's unrushed and relaxed manner gradually changes Joe's tone and manner.
How Obama's concrete questions and very specific follow-ups soften Joe the Plumber.
See if you don't wonder, by the end, whether Obama, just about the time he grins and extends his hand, might not have won a convert.
Here's the link from the paper I read every morning: