Sunday, October 12, 2008


Jim: We've got a number of topics from e-mails and great deal have to do with the John McCain and Sarah Palin campaign. We'll try to get to as many topics as possible in this roundtable. This is a rush transcript and participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and me, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. Illustration is by Betty's oldest son. Ty?


Ty: Morey Ford e-mails that "the McCain campaign is toast. Sarah's scandal did it in."

Rebecca: No. That is wishful thinking on the part of a left that's not been known this year for their thought process. I know public relations scandals -- I worked in public relations -- and this isn't one.

Betty: You're talking about a brother-in-law who tasered his own son. Clearly he's got some abuse issues.

Rebecca: Just zoom in on Betty's phrase: "brother-in-law." That's why it doesn't matter. It's a family matter and all it does is raise Governor Palin's profile for a significant number of people. He is alleged to have been highly abusive and alleged to have had work problems. The report, for any who didn't bother to read it, offered no defense of him. So what you're left with is someone who does not appear fit for the job and Palin sticking up for her family. The man she did fire she was in her right to do so. That's the other reason the spinning of the report's failing. It's kind of hard for the losers of The Nation magazine, for example, to open with that aspect. The report says there's nothing here. Palin's not being punished and will not be for her actions. The man she fired, she was within her rights to fire him. It's a non-story. If it were Barack Obama, it would still be a non-story. And for those Barack cultists who can't get what went down, imagine it was Barack. You'll see it's a non-story.

Wally: But they shouldn't back off from it. In fact, they should stay on it because it's not registering and it will just waste their time to continue harping on it. So keep the focus on the fact that Governor Palin is big on family.

Betty: Exactly. So much of the 'voices' of the 'left' are a bunch that sneer at family, sneer at religion, sneer at things that many Americans value. And when they keep piling on Sarah Palin with this nonsense, it just reminds America what a bunch of out-of-touch egg heads have taken to speaking for the left.

Jim: Okay, the next one's going to C.I. and it's one of the main reasons we're doing the roundtable. When I read Dan's e-mail, I knew it had to be included. Dan writes that, "McCain has gone negative and it is going to hurt him because people care about issues." C.I.?

C.I.: What issues? The economic crisis? Neither McCain or Obama can brag about their Senate vote on that. For those who can't grasp that -- and that's they can't brag on it to the right or left because the bail-out has something to oppose by everyone -- we're talking about a complex issue that sails over a lot of heads. The economy can't be addressed, or hasn't so far, by Barack. He offers sloganeering -- what he's resorted to all along. As for John McCain having 'gone negative,' sounds like Dan has his talking points down too bad that he, like those repeating it, don't know the first thing about political campaigns. Shall I continue?

Jim: Yes. This was one of your poli sci fields.

C.I.: Correct. Negative doesn't hurt. That's a lie. It's based on the fact that a lot of people will not admit that they like it when a campaign goes negative. But the studies show that 'going negative' does move the voters. Let's drop back to 2000 where we always hear about the press and how they attacked Al Gore. That criticism, offered by a lot of idiots, acts as though it happened in isolation, as if the only players on the stage were Al Gore and the press. The press went after Gore, no question, but don't forget that so did the Republican campaign. Karen Hughes and Karl Rover were going negative constantly and so was their candidate. If going negative 'hurt' then it wouldn't have been a close race and Al Gore would have won overwhelmingly and Florida would have been a non-issue.

Jim: Could you talk about it from the McCain point of view?

C.I.: Sure. Barack's run on his biography -- real or imagined. Which is why any criticims is met with such whining from his camp. He has no record to run on, he only has his biography. Hillary could have done what McCain's doing right now during the Democratic Party primary and finished him off. What the McCain-Palin team is doing is questioning the biography. It is successful. It chips away at the image. They're not raising an issue for one day, they're raising it repeatedly. That forces the press to cover it. Two Saturdays ago, The New York Times actually launched this with Scott Shane's article. Governor Palin referenced it on Saturday and the campaign has pursued the issue of Bill Ayers ever since. The paper, two Saturdays ago, was insisting that there wasn't anything there. That's not correct and it doesn't reflect the public record but let's pretend that the paper was correct for just a moment. Two Saturdays it said this was a dead issue. And then what happened? Just focus on that paper for a moment. They've had to repeatedly cover it, columnists -- such as Gail Collins -- have devoted entire columns to the Ayers issue. So if you want to pretend that there's nothing there, you have to admit that McCain-Palin campaign's move is a smart one. They can dump it for a day and it will stay in the news cycle. It wouldn't be smart to dump it for too long. First of all, if they dump it for a day or two, when they return it, the topic's back in the news cycle. It's raising issues and concerns in the same way that his relationship with Jeremiah Wright did. Even though, if you'll remember, the press kept insisting that was a non-issue -- despite polls that said differently.

Jim: In a snapshot last week you noted that you weren't 'even in the mood to write about' that -- paraphrase. And I want to deal with that but what is the McCain campaign doing? Explain it to Dan.

C.I.: Barack's run on his biography. That was the primary campaign, that was the DNC convention with all of its testimonials and that is today. What the McCain campaign is doing is raising the issues around his biography. That's why it upsets the Obama campaign. The reality is that most people don't know about Barack. They know he's supposed to be 'awesome' and a large number -- for good reasons and bad reasons -- do not trust the media. So when McCain or Palin or the campaign raises issues it plays to a number of issues. They're not going to pull Barack's core away from him. That support doesn't give a damn. But there are outer layers that this does work on as well as undecided and independent voters. There has been no poll where the majority of Americans have ever stated -- true in the primary and true in the general -- that the press was being too tough on Barack. By contrast, there were many polls -- in the primary and in the general -- where people expressed the view that they media was being hard on one of Barack's opponents -- whether that was Hillary or John McCain or Sarah Palin. Those polls go to the fact that the public sees the media as bending over backwards for Barack --

Dona: Which they have.

C.I.: Agreed, but I'm focusing on perceptions, or trying to. So when you've got such a large pool of the American public that repeatedly finds that the press leans towards Barack, when an opponent raises issues, it does resonate. The McCain-Palin's campaign is raising issues to a public, that in poll after poll has stated the media leans to Barack, and there is an audience for that. It's a smart move on the campaign's part. Every day that Barack and Bill Ayers are mentioned, it forces a number of people to ask how well they know about Barack and it feeds into the perception that he's gotten a free ride throughout his campaigns. That's the perception and that's what the McCain-Palin campaign plays to. It's a smart move and they should continue to hit on it.

Jess: The Keating scandal?

C.I.: No one cares. McCain's run for president before, in 2000, and the public knows him. It's years ago and was public at the time. The feeling is, "Yeah, we know that already." That is not the case with Barack. And the press coverage has been so lousy that it demonstrates that. Every time the press wrongly refers to Bill Ayers as "60s radical" or offers the lame lie that "Barack was just eight-years-old," it goes to the fact that Barack is not vetted. Barack obviously wasn't eight-years-old in 1975. And that's why it's registering. Bad press coverage helps McCain and so do the editorials and columns calling him out. The public does not trust the press and -- remember those polls where it was never expressed that the press was being tough with Barack -- when the press defends Barack it only helps McCain.

Jim: Okay now let's get to not wanting to write about last week.

C.I.: I'll toss to Elaine.

Elaine: Okay. Well C.I. and I know Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. We're really tired of writing about them but the press doesn't do their job and we have to call it out. With C.I. especially, there's an issue of fairness so C.I. doesn't have the option I do of finding something else to write about. If a charge is made, because C.I. likes Bill and Bernardine, C.I.'s going to cover it so that there's no perception that punches are being pulled or C.I.'s playing favorites.

Jim: This is for either of you -- none of the rest of us know Ayers or Dohrn -- but, like the Obama campaign -- Dan says none of this matters. Meaning Barack's connectiong to Ayers. How would you reply to that?

Elaine: I'm going back to what C.I.'s said for two years now: Barack needs to get honest. His refusal to do so makes this matter and that's why the McCain-Palin campaign argues it goes to honesty. Barack's never been honest. Could someone run for the president who was friends with Bill and Bernardine? I think they could. But they'd have to be honest about it. They could make a case for both of them. But Barack's not done that. Every time the issue is raised, he or his campaign has offered a different excuse. That's what McCain and Palin are pointing to.

Cedric: Well we've had the lie that their kids went to school together, we've had the lie that he's just a guy in Barack's neighborhood. We've had the lie that they worked on one board together. It's been non-stop lies. So it is a good point to raise.

Ruth: Well the campaign forcing the issue has forced the press to cover it. I think a few have actually attempted to do so with more than Obama campaign talking points. I would include Jake Tapper of ABC News in that. And Drew Griffin and Kathleen Jonston (CNN) reported last week on how "the relationship between Obama and Ayers went deeper, ran longer and was more political than Obama -- and his surrogates -- have revealed, documents and interviews show."

Betty: And think about how many times the McCain-Palin campaign had to raise the issue for that to happen? They had to raise it repeatedly, over and over. If they had followed Hillary's lead and dropped it, none of that reporting would have happened. I think they should stay on it and enlarge it and I agree that it's a winning strategy. Every day that Bill Ayers is in the news, more people are exposed to it and more people begin asking questions. The press is in the tank for Barack. The McCain campaign has to know that. They shouldn't try to play to the press by dropping the issue the press doesn't want to pursue because the press has made their choice.

Cedric: Which goes back to the point that C.I. was raising where, all year, polls have consistently found that the people saw whomever Barack's opponent was the time was getting the raw deal. It's really Governor Palin's point that she's going over the heads of the media and speaking directly to the people because that point plays well.

Jim: Okay, good point. So the argument C.I., Elaine, Betty and Cedric are making are established. We're going to turn to the ads McCain-Palin '08 is running. We're starting with the advertisement "Ayers. We're not posting the video because we've had complaints about pages loading here. But you can click here for video, here for text and announcement with the documentation the campaign provides. Here is the text of the narration that viewers here:

ANNCR: Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers. Friends. They've worked together for years.
But Obama tries to hide it. Why?
Obama launched his political career in Ayers' living room.
Ayers and Obama ran a radical "education" foundation, together.
They wrote the foundation's by-laws, together.
Obama was the foundation's first chairman.
Reports say they, "distributed more than $100 million to ideological allies with no discernible improvement in education."
When their relationship became an issue, Obama just responded, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood."
That's it?
We know Bill Ayers ran the "violent left wing activist group" called Weather Underground.
We know Ayers' wife was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
We know they bombed the Capitol. The Pentagon. A judge's home.
We know Ayers said, "I don't regret setting bombs. .... I feel we didn't do enough."
But Obama's friendship with terrorist Ayers isn't the issue.
The issue is Barack Obama's judgment and candor.
When Obama just says, "This is a guy who lives in my neighborhood."
Americans say, "Where's the truth, Barack?"
Barack Obama. Too risky for America.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Jim (Con't): Comments?

Mike: Well it really goes to what's being raised and you can also toss in the Cult's response which only makes the Cult look ridiculous. But the issue is Barack's lied to the American people. He stood up in a debate and lied. It goes to the issue of truth and the commercial underscores that.

Jim: I have a question specifically for Marcia and she may be waiting for that but anyone can jump in on this.

Marcia: I think it's an effective ad. The narration, for those who hear it, is very effective. It's done by a woman. As is the other ad that I think we're going to discuss. I think it's very effective. As Mike points out, Barack's lied and the commercial conveys that.

Cedric: Exactly. And remember what McCain said to Charlie Gibson last week on ABC's World News Tonight: "And I don't care about two washed-up old terrorists that are unrepentant about trying to destroy America. But I do care, and Americans should care, about his relationship with him and whether he's being truthful and candid about it." That really is the point and it's not surprising to any of us because C.I.'s said, for two years now, that Barack Obama needs to get honest. No trap has been sprung on Barack, he created it himself as a result of his refusal to get honest.

Jim: Okay, let's move to the second ad and Kat's not spoken. The second ad is entitled "Ambition" click here to read more about it in terms of the citations and click here for the video. This is the transcript:

ANNCR: Obama's blind ambition.
When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers.
When discovered, he lied.
Obama. Blind ambition. Bad judgment.
Congressional liberals fought for risky sub-prime loans.
Congressional liberals fought against more regulation.
Then, the housing market collapsed costing you billions.
In crisis, we need leadership, not bad judgment.
JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Kat: Let me start. I won't talk much in this because I know Elaine and C.I. have a topic for a feature here and it needs to be written. It goes to this issue. To avoid raising that, I'm biting my tongue in this roundtable. "Bad judgment," "blind ambition." It goes to the persona Barack's created. Rebecca and I were talking about and about how, outside of a sex scandal, a celebrity is always done in by his or her persona. The Barack persona always had an undercurrent, a soft underbelly, and that's what's being addressed in this ad.

Ruth: I agree with Kat. The Cult of Barack has controlled the press coverage and it has always been, "Oh, look at all the Germans turning out for Barack!" But to many people, including Jews like myself, a mega rally in Germany is not all that reassuring. I think it raises the issue of judgments in such a way that it not only questions Barack Obama's but may force some undecideds to question the judgment the press has passed on Barack Obama.

Wally: Okay, we've got the news on at C.I.'s and C.I. just slipped me a piece of paper with a quote from McCain speaking in Davenport today. McCain says, to loud cheers, "I don't need lessons about telling the truth to the American people." That is the point that's being raised about Barack in the ads and in all the remarks since two Saturdays ago. What it's saying is, "I'm John McCain. You know me." Cedric and I were talking Thursday or Wednesday about the ads and how they are tapping into buyer's remorse.

Cedric: Exactly. And the Cult doesn't help here because they never know when to pipe down. McCain's raising character issues such as judgment and trust and honesty and the Cult is already a turn-off to America so when they go into overdrive, it really helps establish this buyer's remorse feeling that is lurking already.

Ty: An e-mail from a non-reader named Phyllis came in on that ad in particular and insisted it was "a low blow and this is totally not relevant to the issues of electing a president."

Jess: Bulls**t. Barack made it an issue. His personality includes his supposed 'superior judgment.' He's caught lying and he continues to lie. That is an issue about whether or not someone's fit to sit in the Oval Office. He's obviously felt he has to hide his relationship with Bill Ayers and the fact that he felt he had to hide it goes to the fact that he feels there's something potentially embarrassing about it. Less than a month before the election, he's still not able to deal with it.

Ty: Phyllis also wrote that "Barack has repeatedly addressed the topic."

Ava: Never honestly. That's why C.I. and I have to tackle it in TV commentaries here. Repeatedly. Ruth mentioned Jake Tapper earlier, so let me note this by him: "In February, I asked Obama about four items Republicans would use to attack him on the theme of patriotism. Obama answered three of them, but skipped the one about Ayers." That has been the pattern. If asked, Barack avoids it. If he can't avoid it, he lies. And as C.I. pointed out last week, in the debate that had the Cult calling for the head of ABC News, George Stephanopoulos actually got the basics right in a way that the press repeatedly plays dumb on today, "A gentleman named William Ayers. He was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He's never apologized for that." The 1970s. That's the reality.

Ruth: And what Ava's saying and Jess and Cedric can all be woven together to explain why it is an issue. In fact, I think Govenor Palin took it to the next step last week, to where people will take it, when she stated, "And since he got called out on his plans to meet unconditionally with terror state leaders like [Iran's President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, will he now claim he was unaware of his radical backround? Ladies and gentlemen, this election is about the truthfulness and judgment needed in our next president. John McCain has it and Barack Obama doesn't."

Jim: Some Cultists took to the press last week to insist that raising the issue of Ayers was "racism."

Kat: I'm jumping in here. This is a topic we can explore but I would argue to set Ayers aside on this because I know what Elaine and C.I. are going to propose for a feature. Dona, it's a short feature.

Dona: Then by all means, Jim, move on to a different topic or aspect. I'm laughing, but I'm dead serious.

Jim: Okay -- and she is serious. Staying on the topic of racism, we had the nonsense that anyone mentioning Barack's middle name was racist. In "Iraq snapshot," C.I. took that nonsense on, and in "it is his middle name," Rebecca did last week. Comments?

Betty: First it needs to be noted that Michelle Obama, months ago, told the press that mentioning Barack's middle name was "racism." It's not and it's one more sign of how quick to lie Michelle Obama is and has been.

Rebecca: Can I jump in?

Betty: Sure.

Rebecca: I've got a side issue with Michelle Obama. I find it interesting that no one ever writes about their joint 'rise.' How many employers are in Chicago? It's apparently a very small pool. Barack ends up at the University of Chicago and so does Michelle? And when one of them doesn't end up in the same place, the other's helping them out -- such as Barack's handing out of grants.

Betty: That's a good point and I think their 'rise' should be examined in something more than the nonsense Gwen Ifill offered in Essence. But Michelle raised the issue of 'racism' with regards to Barack's middle name. He's named after his wayward father and if he has a problem with that, not only should he have changed his name, he shouldn't have written his first book. It's your name, get over it. A grown man who could legally change his name and is a lawyer has no excuse for whining when his middle name it mentioned and, no, it's not racism, it's your middle name. Grow up. If someone saying your middle name is just too upsetting for you, you're not mature enough to be president.

Jim: Okay, unless someone has something to add to that, we'll move on to another e-mail that came in. Marcia's "Thoughts on McCain-Palin" went up Thursday night and resulted in a blistering e-mail Friday morning from someone who didn't sign his or her name. Marcia, you've always been supporting John McCain. Or that's what the e-mail insists.

Marcia: That is such nonsense and, for the record, everyone who posts during the week and is participating in this roundtable wrote something similar last week. Let me quote from C.I.'s Friday "Iraq snapshot," "Mike did a press roundup on Barack's Ayers stories last night, Kat called out AP's Philip Elliott who does not seem to grasp the number of '40,' Ruth contemplated the press mistakes, Rebecca noted the lack of standards and Marcia congratulates Oklahoma community members (as have Kat, as did Elaine and Mike). Oklahoma community members are supporting the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin." Kat, Elaine and Mike were the first ones to weigh in. The following night I weighed in. The next night, Rebecca did so with "nader." I'm supporting Ralph Nader. Before I supported Nader, I supported Hillary Clinton. I would never support Barack Obama. I am a lesbian and I do not vote for candidates who put homophobes on stage to scare up voters. He's crossed many other lines with me but that is the most threatening because he's provided 'respectability' for homophobes by putting them on stage and that is a direct threat to my well being. I would never vote for Barack Obama. If I lived in Oklahoma, I would be voting for John McCain.

Jim: Last week, Oklahoma Common Ills community members endorsed the McCain-Palin ticket. In Oklahoma, the only candidates on the ballot for president are McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden. And you cannot write in alternative. A lot of e-mails came in from angry Cult of Barack members.

Mike: These aren't TCI community members?

Jim: No.

Mike: Then it's none of their damn business. What a bunch of babies, "Oh, some people are endorsing John McCain and Sarah Palin! I'm so mad I must dash off an e-mail to lodge my complaint!" Get a f**king life.

Ty: Or an education. There were 31 e-mails complaining about that decision. And 28 of them asserted that they could vote for Nader which, as Jim just pointed out, they are not able to do. So try getting an education that teaches you how to read.

Mike: I think it's great. I think, if you strip away every other issue which apparently the e-mailers were unaware of because reading is hard for them, and if you're left with only that one state's community members endorsed the Republican ticket, I think it's great. It shows we are a diverse community and we are.

Ava: I'm going to jump in on this. It's really no one's business what the Oklahoma members do. They made a decision and they're happy with it. If you're not, vote another way. If the Oklahoma members had their own site, it might make some sense for someone who disagrees with them to e-mail that site. But this idea that anyone voting for McCain is such a shock that you must voice your outrage, grow up. I'm a Latina, there are many people in the Latino community that will be voting for McCain-Palin. I have friends who will be doing so. That's their business. If you're not a Common Ills community member, it's really not your business. What it means for C.I. is that John McCain has to be covered in the same way that Ralph Nader is because those are the two candidates the community is supporting. McCain may even get a slight boost in coverage because C.I. is being very clear that there is nothing 'wrong' or 'objectionable' in the Oklahoma community members' decisions. That's why two videos that were e-mailed in went up Friday when C.I. usually will not post videos because they make the page load more slowly. At this site, we have always been clear that all are welcome. Usually, it comes down to C.I. and myself because we've not endorsed a candidate, but it has been repeatedly stated at this site that you can vote for whomever you want and we just hope you're happy with your choice.

Ty: On that issue, Manuel e-mailed and he is voting for McCain. He was among our longterm readers who was worried this was going to become an echo chamber site the way The Nation, The Progressive, et al are now. He singled out the pieces in recent weeks that Ava and C.I. have written and wanted to express that he didn't believe us when we said even McCain voters were welcome here but he's been "happily surprised."

Dona: If I can comment on that. Speaking for Third, all voters are welcome. From the previous e-mails discussed, we're apparently even being read by the Cult of Barack. Last week, Jim and I begged Ava and C.I. to write "The Vagina Strikes Back! (Ava and C.I.)" -- very popular in the e-mails by the way -- and the reason was that they haven't endorsed and are not going to endorse. With the rest of us endorsing Ralph, there are certain features we can't write without alarming some readers or not being believable. I would have loved to have taken part in writing the feature article they did and I couldn't because I have endorsed. They could and were able to and that stems from not endorsing and from the fact that they've earned the reputation they have with readers. But I have no problem with the way any regular reader votes. There are pieces where a point of view is required. And obviously, everyone but Ava and C.I. are going to advocate that you vote for Ralph because we have endorsed him. But that's our choice and you can disagree. Why can't America come together? For a number of reasons and one of them is a refusal to respect the way someone decides to vote -- for example, the 31 e-mails from strangers whining that community members of one state endorsed John McCain.

Jim: As Marcia pointed out, everyone with a site that posts during the week has weighed in on this. We've heard from Third's Ava and Dona so I want to toss to Ty and Jess.

Ty: I'm with Marcia. I'm gay. Don't put ex-gays on stage preaching their hate and intolerance and ever expect to get my vote. That's disgusting and it's harmful to the LGBT community. That anyone wanting to call themselves a "Democrat" would do that is offensive. That the 'left' refuses to call Barack out for his repeated use of homophobia is offensive. As Marcia pointed out, you're screwing with our lives when you do that and there is no forgiveness on my part for it. I would never vote for Barack Obama. I am voting for Ralph Nader and am pleased with my vote. If I lived in Oklahoma, a point Marcia and Mike have made at their sites, I would be voting for John McCain. As Marcia's pointed out, when Mark Bingham died on 9-11, McCain didn't act like the press and try to disappear him. He called Bingham a hero before it was known Bingham was gay and he continued to do so after it was known. I don't think McCain gets my issues or knows what I live but I do think that he's not using sexuality as guide to judge a person. If we had a progressive Democrat for president, the ticket would be better. Hillary understood the LGBT community and we knew we could count on her. Barack's statements -- his AIDS 'joke' during a debate for example -- and his actions -- putting homophobes on stage -- demonstrate not only disrespect but intolerance. If I lived in Oklahoma, I'd be voting for McCain.

Jess: I'm going to agree with Ty, Ava and Dona here. I'm a Green and Democrats rarely make a great deal of sense to me. But more so this year as they've turned a blind eye to sexism and homophobia. It's a real shame that my party refused to call it out when Hillary's campaign was viable. If they had, they might have found a large number of new recruits. To give Rosa Clemente some credit, as Ava and C.I. did last week, she spoke very passionately about the rights for all in her debate with Matt Gonzalez and I would aruge she won it. It's a damn shame my party couldn't do that when it mattered. I'm not talking about Rosa, I'm talking about the party and it's voices. The Green Party allowed all the sexist attacks against Hillary to go on without ever speaking out and, in some cases, Greens joined in on those attacks. They thought Barack was groovy and dishy and they embarrassed themselves. And I'm voting for Nader as a result but I will note that Matt Gonzalez early on carried water for Barack and I'll assume it was some vestigal Green malingering on his part. When he appeared on Democracy Now! and dismissed Barack's cutting remarks about small town voters, he lowered in my opinion. I voted for Nader in 2004 and will gladly vote for him in 2008. But a lot of people were involved in carrying water for Barack at any costs and I think there's a lot of shame and blame to pass around. But Greens, of all people, never should have helped his campaign. It was never in our interest to do so. He is pro nuclear power, he is a War Hawk and he is a homophobe and sexist for allowing his minions to do what they did as well as for his own actions. It wasn't smart to side with him in the Democratic Party primary. The smart thing, pay attention idiot leadership in my party, is to grasp next go round that one Democrat will win their primary and that his or her supporters will stand with him or her. You need to grow your numbers and the easiest way is with those displeased with their own party. Smart people would have defended Hillary from sexism only because they knew it would have made non-Greens notice our party. By March or April, I decided to support Hillary if she won just because, as my parents pointed out, she's taking all this crap and still going. My parents are lifelong Greens and they were appalled by our party's actions. I know the primaries provided a very real split within the Democratic Party and we've covered that before. But I want to be on record calling out my party, the Green Party, for their refusal to stand up against sexism repeatedly. There need to be some serious changes made after this election within my party and there needs to be some real accountability for what went down. Otherwise, we are going to be a fringe party.

C.I.: Just to add, Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate and Rosa Clemente is her running mate. Ralph Nader's been noted in this roundtable but I don't believe Cynthia has so I'm tossing that out there so the ticket gets a link.

Jim: C.I. has obviously commented on the Oklahoma members' decision at The Common Ills. So of those of us who make up Third, that just leaves me. Here, in 2007 and as late as January, I was saying I would vote for the Democratic Party nominee whomever it was. I am a Democrat. I will not be voting for Barack Obama and am voting for Ralph Nader. What changed was seeing just how dirty Barack fought and also thinking about it. Ava and C.I. did real work -- more so than anyone else online -- charting what Barack was doing and how the press wasn't covering it. They did so in part because there was a writers' strike and their TV features covered public affairs programming. But they are the only ones who have documented what went down. Not Media Matters which probably comes closest. They have gone where others fear to tread, taking on PBS biased and deceitful coverage. Bill Moyers is a joke. And so is PBS because they allowed him to use his program as a platform for Barack. They never stepped in, they never forced him to practice the PBS guidelines. Without Ava and C.I.'s commentaries, it's very easy to think he's trust worthy but they have documented at length how he is not trust worthy or honest. One MSM journalist that e-mails this site is thinking of doing a truth-of-Bill piece and I hope he does. Seeing so many hypocrites trashing journalism added to my decision not to support Barack Obama. But in the end, as a Democrat, I can't vote for a candidate who is a Democrat in name only. I would encourage everyone to explore Ralph Nader's stands -- stands not slogans, and Cynthia McKinney's and, yes, John McCain's. I think the Oklahoma community members made a great decision and choice. Marcia, I want to toss back to you because this conversation started due to the e-mail attacking you.

Marcia: Well I think everyone's covered important points. I don't know if Ava and C.I. or C.I. who wrote about how people -- Phyllis Bennis in particular -- should be ashamed of their silence but I agree. Barack's going to escalate the war on Afghanistan, by his own public words, and for Bennis or CODEPINK to not call him out on that loudly and publicly is shameful. Anyone who has ever advocated for the Afghansistan people and the need to end that attack on them has no excuse but they will have blood on their hands. Let me echo Jim in encouraging everyone to check out the candidates and find the decision they are most comfortable with. Ideally, you'll find someone to vote for with pride. I'm very happy to be voting for Ralph Nader and all I want for others, regardless of whom they vote for, is for them to be proud of their decision as well.

Jim: We had more to cover but --

Elaine: Stop. Hold on.

Jim: I'm sorry. Elaine had told me she wanted something noted. Elaine?

Elaine: Barack could make a defense for Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. He's refused to do so, but he could. I could as well and have. Because I have, in fairness, I need to note something from the McCain campaign. John M. Murtagh was a child when his family's home was bombed by the Weather Underground. Through the McCain-Palin campaign, he issued a statement last week and I want it included in this roundtable:

"When I was 9 years-old the Weather Underground, the terrorist group founded by Barack Obama's friend William Ayers, firebombed my house. Barack Obama has dismissed concerns about his relationship with Ayers by noting that he was only a child when Ayers was planting bombs at the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol. But Ayers has never apologized for his crimes, he has reveled in them, expressing regret only for the fact that he didn't do more.
"While Barack Obama once downplayed his relationship with Ayers, today his campaign took that deceit one step further. Barack Obama now denies he was even aware of his friend's violent past when, in 1995, Ayers hosted a party launching Obama's political career. Given Ayers' celebrity status among the left, it's difficult to believe. The question remains: what did Obama know, and when did he know it? When did Obama learn the truth about his friend? Barack Obama helped Ayers promote his book in 1997, served on charitable boards with him through 2002, and regularly exchanged emails and phone calls with him through 2005. At what point did Barack Obama discover that his friend was an unrepentant terrorist? And if he is so repulsed by the acts of terror committed by William Ayers, why did the relationship continue? Any honest accounting by Barack Obama will necessarily cast further doubt on his judgment and his fitness to serve as commander in chief.
"Barack Obama may have been a child when William Ayers was plotting attacks against U.S. targets -- but I was one of those targets. Barack Obama's friend tried to kill my family."

Elaine (Con't): I was never a member of the Weather Underground and did not engage in violence. Nor do I believe in it. His family was directed effected by the violence and I think his statement needs to be included.

Jim: Agreed. Thank you. And on that note, we're concluding this roundtable.
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