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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Uncommon Sense: "John McCain - Presidential Hopeless"

Image of the year - thanks US Army!

Thanks to Uncommon Sense for this great crosspost!

There is more evidence that "presidential hopeful" John McCain's campaign is over even before it has formally begun.

McClatchy reports that in New Hampshire, where McCain gave George W. Bush the fright of his life during the 2000 primaries, Republicans consider him old, sad news.

``Compared to a year ago, he’s not doing so well,’’ said Dick Bennett, a New Hampshire-based pollster. ``He’s lost support. It isn’t like it was eight years ago. He’s holding his own, but it isn’t anything like it was.’’

The most recent survey by Bennett’s firm, the American Research Group, found McCain still holding an edge over the field, but by a much narrower margin. He lost 6 percentage points in the first three months of this year - as did Giuliani - while Romney gained 8.

A common complaint among Republicans here is that McCain lost the rebel quality that they liked so much in 2000.

``He’s trying too hard to appeal to all parts of the Republican Party. Appealing to all parts of the party is a death knell,’’ said Carlisle. ``He looks old and tired. He is old and tired.’’

``His time is past,’’ said John Tinios, a caterer and restaurateur from Portsmouth.
I find ironic the New Hampshire pollster's opinion that McCain is not doing as well as he was "a year ago." It was exactly one year ago that I observed a serious structural problem with McCain's candidacy. The problem was McCain. He did not seem to have any idea what he was doing. His craven currying for favor with the extreme right was accompanied by a political tone deafness that was surprising in someone the media took so seriously as a presidential aspirant.

In April, 2006, McCain was attempting to find a coherent, politically viable position on the immigration debate that was raging at the time.

He challenged an audience of AFL-CIO tradesmen on the question of whether Americans were willing or able to work the kinds of jobs that illegal immigrants are performing increasingly. As the Associated Press reported at the time:

    McCain responded by saying immigrants were taking jobs nobody else wanted. He offered anybody in the crowd $50 an hour to pick lettuce in Arizona.

    Shouts of protest rose from the crowd, with some accepting McCain's job offer.

    "I'll take it!" one man shouted.

    McCain insisted none of them would do such menial labor for a complete season. "You can't do it, my friends."

    Some in the crowd said they didn't appreciate McCain questioning their work ethic.
A few things about this account were astonishing. First, the idea that McCain did not seem to know how much money is 50 dollars per hour. At 40 hours a week, that's an annual income of $104,000. Is there anybody reading this who would not pick lettuce for $104,000 a year? Show of hands. That's what I thought. For a hundred grand a year, I would pick lettuce with a hypertensive rhesus monkey tied to my back. It was an incredibly stupid way to illustrate whatever point McCain was trying to make.

But aside from that, I could not understand why a candidate for the presidency of the United States thought nothing of walking into a union hall and insulting the work ethic of unionized tradesmen. While you're at it, why not go to the Vatican and call Jesus' mother a whore? More or less the same thing.

A year ago, McCain was desperate, flailing and clueless about immigration. Today, he is desperate, flailing and clueless about Iraq. The only difference between McCain's hopelessness then and his hopelessness now is that the news media have begun to recognize it for what it is.

- posted by Uncommon Sense

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