Breaking from our recent mode of one full piece a day, we return to a more “bloggy” format this week for brief and varied items on the DNC and the media.
UPDATE: OBAMABALL? There's been a lot of buzz since it was revealed that Michael Lewis was granted wide access to President Obama and would be writing about it right in the middle of the current campaign, with no holds barred, for Vanity Fair. Now they've started putting some of it out and cherry picking excerpts and quotes (plus see photo of the two taking a break during a b-ball game). And here's a separate extract surrounding his decisions relating to attacking Libya.
One excerpt, Obama on faking emotion: "I feel it is an insult to the people I’m dealing with. For me to feign outrage, for example, feels to me like I’m not taking the American people seriously. I’m absolutely positive that I’m serving the American people better if I’m maintaining my authenticity. And that’s an overused word. And these days people practice being authentic. But I’m at my best when I believe what I am saying.”
UPDATE: THE NEW FACTS MACHINES Our Nation friend Ari Melber with a new piece at MediaShift on why all of those fact-check sites have really caught on. More lies to check? “As this year’s presidential campaign enters the homestretch after Labor Day, a new, aggressive model of fact-checking appears to be taking root. It is fast, aggressive and sometimes even outraged about falsehoods on the campaign trail.”
UPDATE: THE ANNOTATED MICHELLE OBAMA Quite a package at NYT right now: video of Michelle Obama’s speech last night, transcript and full annotation by its reporter—also author of bestselling book on the subject—Jodi Kantor. At one point: “Many classic Michelle Obama beliefs in this speech — wealthy people aren’t better, they often just have more luck, opportunity and access.” In conclusion: “In contrast to the speech that Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, gave at the Republican convention last week, Mrs. Obama avoids any kind of political confrontation: No talk of Republicans or Romney or even the other side.”
FACT-CHECKiNG THE DEMS Since we’ve hailed them for putting the screws to Mitt ‘n Paul lately, we can’t complain about various news sites aggressively fact-checking Dem speakers last night and finding faults. But as I’ve noted, what’s often lost is the prominence and source of sketchy claims. There’s a big difference between a largely unknown governor speaking to a smallish audience and a party’s nominee. Also: there is nothing comparable on the Dem side to the GOP’s setting their entire convention theme around an untruth: “You didn’t build that.” For an equivalent, the Dems would have to erect posters around the hall, screen entire videos and invoke in speeches every five minutes: “I like to fire people.”
THE BARACK-BIG DOG DEAL? When Maureen Dowd savaged the GOPers last week, I warned that she’d piss off some Dems this week, and it’s probably begun with her Wednesday column on “Barry” needing to recruit Bill Clinton to, more or less, save his ass, with Bill getting Hillary in 2016 as part of the deal. But Maureen be a little late: the first lady may have done all the hard work needed last night. Excerpt:
“And what does the Big Dog get? Resurrection, redemption, relevance, a reflected patina of Obama integrity and fidelity; the chance to outshine the upstart who outmaneuvered his wife and, by extension, him in 2008. And a possible ticket back to the Oval, this time as the first First Man, a vegan gnawing on Michelle’s vegetable garden.
“It’s not a bromance, like Romney and Paul Ryan. It’s a transaction. Obama needs his Democratic predecessor to reassure jittery voters that the future can look like the past, with a lower deficit, plenty of jobs and the two parties actually talking. In return, Bill will have the capital to try to ensure that the past can look like the future, with Hillary as Obama’s successor.
“What a wild twist. Instead of ushering in the post-Clinton era, as intended, Obama has ushered in the pre-Clinton era.”
FOUR YEARS FROM O-HI-O? That’s the title of major Matt Bai piece coming up this Sunday in the NYT Magazine, but the subtitle should be, “And Save a Second Term?” Conclusion:
“What Obama’s economy will look like in 20 years is impossible to know. But the lesson here is that economic data often lag behind the political reality, and it can be hard to claim credit in the short term for progress that can be put in perspective only years after the fact. There’s no reasonable way to look at the state and not agree that Obama took steps that stabilized Ohio and made it possible for the state to find its footing, even if the expansion hasn’t been robust or pervasive. But if the candidate himself can’t make that argument effectively (or if he won’t even assume the risk of trying), then his vindication may come not at the ballot box this November but in some reconsideration of the data years into his retirement.”
MITT LOSES DEBATE TO DEAD MAN It’s not even October and he’s already down 1-0 after badly losing debate last night—to Democratic icon Teddy Kennedy in excerpts from their 1994 debate aired as part of Teddy tribute at DNC. GOP boss what’s-his-name already calling Dems “classless” for showing Mitt losing to a dead man. Of course, he had no prob with Clint having invisible Obama last week twice say “Fuck you.”
Here’s a bit more from what was not aired in last night’s “debate”—and below that, also from the debate, Romney saying he does NOT want to “return to Reagan” years.
DOUTHAT RIGHT THING? We know you usually need a good morning laugh, so here’s Ross Douthat’s blog post at the NYT on last night’s DNC. You’d think Chris Christie was FDR and Reagan rolled into one: Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, “was perfectly charming and perfectly forgettable: A minor league talent with some major league potential rather than a Democratic version of Chris Christie. Indeed, it’s hard to find many Democratic versions of Christie in the lineup of speakers for this week. The Republican convention seemed drawn up to highlight the party’s deep bench and many rising stars.”
More: “The convention’s primetime lineup seems designed to leave the impression that the Democratic Party has a past and a present, but not much of a future. In Tampa, there was a palpable sense among the delegates that though Mitt Romney might not be all they could hope for in a nominee, their party’s future was looking unexpectedly bright.
“Among Democrats, it’s the opposite: They’re all-in for President Obama in part because they’re afraid of waking up the morning after a November defeat with no real idea of where to turn for leadership, or where their party goes from there.”