A GOP operative said Rove has had a consistent, “medium”-sized role with the McCain campaign.
Another senior Republican official said Rove has good relationships with several of McCain’s senior advisers, and it’s not unusual for him to reach out to them.
As ThinkProgress has previously noted, one reason Rove may be reluctant to admit his ties to the McCain campaign is the fact that he is also reported to be “developing outside groups” to help Republicans and John McCain in November. It is illegal for outside groups to coordinate with campaigns.
Joe Lieberman’s Legislative Director quit today just as the Senator returned to Capitol Hill for the first time after a while spent on the campaign trail. His statement sounds perfectly amicable, but it’s a bit odd to leave a job like that with no firm post-Hill plans.
This subject really deserves a treatment longer than a blog post, but let me recommend my colleague Matt Duss’s post on Bob Woodward and the perversity of that burgeoning establishment consensus that the main lesson of Iraq is that, whether or not we should have gone to war in the first place, we’ve now learned a bunch of awesome counterinsurgency techniques that will allow us to subdue future adversaries near and far.
I know he disagrees with this interpretation, but I’ve always thought it made a lot of sense to dwell on the fact that the title of COIN guru John Nagl’s excellent book on the subject is Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife. One thing you might ask yourself, of course, is why would you do that? And it’s hard to say. I mean, even a starving man with a bowl of soup and no spoon is just going to drink directly from a bowl. Of course you can devise some kind of scenario in which it might be necessary to eat soup with a knife, but your basic gameplan in life is going to be to avoid being in those kind of situations. And much the same, it seems to me, with the lessons of counterinsurgency. This is very difficult stuff. Like eating soup with a knife. Your top policy priority should be to avoid the situations in which it arises.
Earlier today, the McCain campaign released an ad pushing the debunked claim that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin “stopped the Bridge to Nowhere.” The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz called the ad’s bridge claim a “whopper,” noting that “she endorsed the remote project while running for governor in 2006.”
But Fox News political reporter Carl Cameron defended the ad’s claim. Though Cameron notes that Palin spoke “very favorably” of the project before becoming governor, he declared that “Palin can point to a number of things she did and said that made it clear that in the end she was against it.” “You can’t dispute that,” said Cameron:
CAMERON: The Obama campaign is accusing the McCainiacs of lying about this “bridge to nowhere” issue. But Sarah Palin can point to a number of things she did and said that made it clear that in the end she was against it. You can’t dispute that, she ultimately told legislators in Alaska, it’s not coming. But there was a time before she was governor, as a candidate, where she spoke favorably about it.
Cameron went on to claim that it’s “inaccurate” to say Palin “asked for earmark money and pork” because “it’s done by members of Congress.” Watch it:
David Frum had a pretty interesting article in The New York Times Magazine on inequality issues, but it’s important to read Andrew Gelman for a corrective on some of the basic facts. In particular, Frum writes “As a general rule, the more unequal a place is, the more Democratic; the more equal, the more Republican” and also says something similar in his book. Compare that to this chart:
Qualitatively, it’s hard to see what’s going on here exactly in terms of partisanship. Quantitatively, “the Democrats’ vote share by state is slightly correlated with income inequality, but much less than the correlation with income itself.” High levels of in-state inequality seem to be correlated with high levels of immigration (I assume that part of the story is immigration causing inequality and part of the story is that the immigrants are going to places where there are very rich people and, therefore, jobs to be had servicing them) which, in turn, is only pretty loosely associated with Democrats doing well.
But nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! American Enterprise Institute equate NAS with Joseph McCarthy
The federal government has announced that it will be bailing out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises that “own or guarantee almost half of the country’s $12 trillion in outstanding home mortgage debt,” making it potentially the “largest financial bailout” in U.S. history. As part of the deal, both the CEOs of Fannie and Freddie were fired.
On Feb. 27, 2000, the Austin-American Statesman noted the close relationship between McCain and Allison, saying that they “regularly” talked:
McCain is a one-man polling operation, each day soliciting the opinions of dozens of people who don’t even know they’re advising him. … McCain soaks up anecdotal advice and ideas from all walks of life. He talks regularly with publisher and analyst William Kristol; journalists Charles Krauthammer and R.W. Apple; high-tech executive Andy Grove; money man Herbert Allison; telecom executive Sol Trujillo; foreign policy luminaries such as Henry Kissinger, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brent Scowcroft; and even people such as actor Warren Beatty (who suggested that McCain’s campaign accept no money at all).
On Jan. 24, 2000, Fortune reported that if McCain won the election, the “best bet” to become his Treasury Secretary was Allison. In 1999, Allison told Crain’s New York Business [12/20/99] that he had been “tremendously impressed by McCain,” who “has courage and high integrity, and he believes in campaign finance reform.”
After California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) decided not to attend the Republican National Convention, the RNC replaced him with former senator Fred Thompson, who gave the speech originally intended for Schwarzenegger. The California governor told Der Spiegel that he was ordered to focus on McCain’s biography; that way, the campaign could prevent him from talking about “centrist policies”:
SCHWARZENEGGER: The speech I would have given is the one that Fred Thompson gave. I gave him my speech because I did not go to the convention. It was a great speech because it talked in minute detail about McCain’s torture and his being a POW, and that’s the speech that the party wanted me to give. Why? Because this way I don’t go and talk about centrist politics and maybe rub some people the wrong way. That’s another stage.
Here’s a weird story. It seems United’s stock fell 76 percent today before recovering to being down just 12 percent from its previous peak. The reason? Bogus bankruptcy rumors:
In a statement, United said the rumor occurred when the Web site of The Sun-Sentinel, a Florida newspaper, posted a six-year-old article from The Chicago Tribune archives about United’s previous bankruptcy filing. The airline operated under bankruptcy protection from 2002 through 2006.
Things then further circulated around, leading to the stock collapse. And here we see perhaps a model to maintain the financial viability of newspapers. Any organization that spends enough money to garner a reputation as a credible news source could then turn around and tank a company’s stock with a bogus story. Then you buy shares up on the cheap, and make big bucks as the stock recovers. Of course, the bulk of your stories still need to pass as credible, semi-accurate journalism — you can’t just run this trick every day — but there’s a lot of money to be made here.
And while the bill that passed reduced the extra reimbursements to private plans, it did not completely eliminate “those extra payments.” According to a new study by Commonwealth Fund, the government is still spending billions subsidizing private insurance companies:
- “Private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans will be paid an average 12.4 percent more per enrollee in 2008 compared to what the same enrollee would have cost in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program.”
- Medicare costs increased by $33 billion “in the five years since 2004 because of extra payments to MA private plans.”
- “In 2008, for each of the 8.6 million Medicare enrollees in managed care, Medicare will spend an average of $986, or 12.4 percent, more than it would for comparable beneficiaries in traditional fee-for-service Medicare, with total extra payments to MA plans exceeding $8.5 billion.”
As the report notes, “these overpayments put pressure on both Medicare and the federal budget, drain resources from other, potentially more productive, uses, and dilute the incentive for Medicare Advantage plan efficiency—which was one of the original reasons for including a private plan option in Medicare.”