Friday, November 28, 2008

APF on vacation: favourite posts of the year compilation

obama, palin, mccain articles on pundit fight
A compilation of APF's favorite posts
Hello readers,
I will be away on vacation so expect sporadic posts till Christmas winds down. In the meanwhile, contributing author Pete Vere will keep the lights on (and feed the cat) in my absence.

I encourage you to peruse the site. The blog is designed and written to be relevant and accessible without foreknowledge of American Politics, the news of the day or Wrestling.

Below is a listing of some of my favourite posts over the past year. Enjoy!
a) Read all posts regarding John McCain and Barack Obama
b) The rise and rise of republican outsider Mike Huckabee
c) Believe it or not, Politics has a lot in common with Pro Wrestling and Hollywood
d) The making of a villain: Jill Greenberg and John McCain
e) Battle of the Vice Presidents: Sarah Palin and Joe Biden
f) Fred Thompson: When hype meets reality
g) The War Hero and the Populist: an appealing template to voters
h) Sarah Palin - Change we can believe in
i) The Republican and Democratic primaries
j) Al Franken: Wrestler, SNL Alum, Radio Talker and Senator?
k) PalinMania causes reality to collapse on itself
l) The Election in Pictures (Wallpaper)
m) Joe Biden Wallpaper
n) No She Didn't! Sarah Palin upstages Hillary
o) The 3rd Presidential Debate: William Ayers and Wall Street
p) The APF's favourite "heel" (Villain) - Ann Coulter
q) King of the West Wing: The road to the Presidency
r) Hillary and Obama: Why the epic duel should be resolved wrestling-style
s) The Election: Tag teams McCain/Palin VS Obama/Biden
t) Sarah Palin Wallpapers
u) Sarah Palin and Joe Biden: Welcoming the VP debate
v) How Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live defined the 2008 election
w) Who is your favourite APF pundit? Is it Bill O'Reilly, Sam Seder, maybe Pete Dominick?
x) What Barack Obama and Sarah Palin have in common
y) What's left and What's right - Existential wallpapers

z) Bonus: Conservative pundit Hugh Hewitt endorses the blog

The confidence of Barack Obama (part 2 of 2)

<< Continued from Part 1 of 2

Barack Obama's confidence has gone through 3 different arcs:
1) Announcing his Presidential bid with only 2 years national experience.
Whilst detractors might be galled that Barack would run for President on such a thin resume, the bid was a perfect storm of good fortune, timing and a sense of history than a product of youthful conceit.

Good fortune as he was given passage after delivering a show-stealing speech at the DNC Convention in 2004.
Barack Obama Isn't Not Running for President by Joe Klein
The effortlessly charismatic Obama has been besieged by people urging him onward and upward ever since his terrific keynote address at the Democratic Convention in 2004... some high-powered money people (Democrats), have surveyed the potential 2008 field and found it wanting...
Timing in that Obama correctly identified a window where voters would not only forgive a candidate for having little Washington experience but might actually value it. Voters were signaling a desire for a change in Washington, an end to the partisan gridlock, "inside the beltway" thinking and corruption. They were looking for "outsiders". Perhaps an end to the Bush/Clinton merry-go-round. They also wanted a change from the type of thinking that led to the Iraq occupation. Enter Obama.

Lastly a sense of history. Obama has frequently evoked Abraham Lincoln, almost to the point of imitation. The Lincoln template is a fruitful one for Obama, he opposed an "unnecessary" war, was a one-term Chicago Senator, a Republican (Obama, a democrat paints himself as post-partisan). He presided over a "house divided" etc... It has been a useful shield.

2) By challenging Democratic favourite Hillary Clinton, Obama didn't "wait his turn"
A Democratic candidate was always better positioned to win the 08' Presidency after the disapproval and disenchantment of Bush/Republican reign. This meant that his biggest challenger for the Presidency was always Hillary Clinton. A formidable albeit polarizing contender, someone with established, monied support and an extremely high national profile. It would take a confident outsider like Obama but more importantly the confidence of those within Democratic circles to topple a renowned name rooted in the party. Handily the rationale Barack had to run for President was perfectly pitched to usurp Hillary
Obama starts to punch his weight, leaving Hillary on the defensive - The Independent (UK)
"I don't want to spend the next year or the next four years refighting the same fights that we had in the 1990s," he said. "I don't want to pit red America against blue America..."

on the opportunism he says was behind Mrs Clinton's support for the war in Iraq, he said: "When I am your nominee, my opponent won't be able to say I supported this war in Iraq..."
3) The "Annointed One" "Measuring the drapes" in the General
Obama's undeniable popularity and overwhelming favouritism to win the Presidency was turned into a negative during the general election. It was strategically necessary for Obama's republican opponents, in the interests of a media that needed a "tight race" to justify attention and largely helped by Obama's own ostentatiousness - The Berlin rally and the cringeworthy Presidential seal. The forwarded memes included "Obama to good for Applebees", "presumptuously meeting with world leaders", and "measuring the drapes" and...

VIDEO: The Annointed One bringing light to the world (Gerard Baker)
Whilst this appeared as cockiness to some, it was in keeping with Obama's selling point of preparedness and court vision that had served him well during the campaign and hopefully converts into steady leadership in office.

Ultimately, like Bush, Obama's "confidence" will only be tested and judged once it hits the wall of reality.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The confidence of Barack Obama (part 1 of 2)

Whether it's self assuredness or cockiness, a lot has been made of Barack Obama's confidence. It's only natural, any person who seeks to become the "leader of the free world", especially at this moment faced with consequential world challenges (facing 2 wars and global economic collapse) needs to have a measure of confidence.

The odd thing about confidence is that for some it's perceived as a positive whilst for others a fatal flaw. Many of the outgoing President's detractors believe it has been George W Bush' hubris and stubborn confidence that has led to the turmoil that the new President now faces. Ironically it is Obama's confidence that is expected to lead the world out of these crises.

George W Bush' confidence has already been likened to the Obamas':
White House transition: Barack Obama exudes confidence as George Bush swaggers
...the next First Lady was leaning forward, looking excited, even ambitious. Like her husband, she brims with self-assurance.
Famed journalist Bob Woodward, who has covered George W Bush intimately speaks of his "lack of self doubt" in a revealing interview with Der Spiegel:
"They Believed There Was a Risk," Interview with Bob Woodward (July 2004)
Of course. Doubt isn't a bad thing. You can learn from it, and your resolve can even grow once a decision has been made. But that's not Bush' style. I couldn't find anyone who could tell me that they had experienced the president having a moment of doubt.
Whilst Obama will not be tested as Commander-in-Chief till his inauguration (Jan09), he has been projecting confidence through his Cabinet selections during the transition period. As columnist David Brooks noted on PBS' Newshour:
David Brooks and Ruth Marcus Discuss Obama's Cabinet Picks, Economy's Woes
... Obama is a confident guy, because he's surrounding himself with a lot of very smart other people... it's a continuation of the Obama pattern over the last week of naming very, very smart, independent people, not cronies... he's just stockpiling brains here. And I don't know how it's all going to work...there's a lot of very smart people, and it's a testament to Obama's confidence.
It's worth noting Brooks has also been impressed by Bush' confidence

Whilst Bush and Obama share a confidence, it has produced two different styles of leadership. For Bush it makes him more insular and more steadfast, placing trust in his gut instinct and faith. For Obama, he invites being challenged allowing for a broader perspective, valuing homework and intellect to arrive at his conclusions.

Barack's confidence is more nuanced and has gone through at least three different arcs.
1) Running for President after only 2 years experience
2) "Not waiting his turn" by challenging Democratic presumptive candidate Hillary Clinton
3) Obama "already measuring the drapes" during the General Election against McCain

This arc will be highlighted in part 2 of 2

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hannity and Colmes no longer. Who will Hannity face next?

Alan Colmes replacement with Hannity
Is Sean Hannity going to be a singles wrestler?
Via RadioEqualizer, the Hannity and Colmes sparring team is no longer:
Alan's Adios
After a remarkable twelve year run, Alan Colmes is set to leave FOX News Channel's top-rated Hannity & Colmes at the end of the year, according to key sources...

In fact, while several sites are currently running polls on who should replace Colmes, the smart money is betting on a Hannity solo effort...

Brian Stelter reported that Hannity is likely to host the show on his own after Alan's departure...
Alan Colmes is universally regarded for his affability, however this is seen as a liability by many of his liberal peers as he makes for a meek spokesperson. Particularly against the outspoken Hannity and representing the most prominent liberal on the conservative-leaning Fox Network.

APF Pundit Al Franken in a 2003 interview with Newshour Media said of Colmes's relationship with Hannity:
-- and I said, The format of your relationship? Yeah, I get it.

So, this is Fox. That's fair and balanced, which is put on this right-wing thug and this milquetoast moderate, and don't let the moderate, who doesn't lie -- I mean, Alan tries to make good arguments, but to me, it's laying down, it's being used. He's their -- I don't know, I've never heard this word on The NewsHour -- but he is their bitch.
Alan has also been likened to a "punching bag" and the "Washington Generals" of Punditry - the nightly fall guys for the dominant Harlem Globetrotters. A "jobber" in wrestling parlance.

Whilst all there is some validity to this charge, it is also a function of being contrasted with the belligerent Sean Hannity. It will be interesting to see what format Hannity's new program will take, be it a solo effort or with a new counterpart. Below are a sample of opinions from conservative blog
Alan Colmes leaving “Hannity & Colmes”
I love Hannity’s politics but his personality is over the top and kinna grates on me. I love Colmes’ manners but I can’t stand his politics...
by Sweetness0726

...Colmes was not a great debater, but he is civil and that goes a long way in my book...
by Red State State of Mind

In some ways I admire Hannity for the stands he’s taken when all around him have lost their spines…but let’s face it, his intellect and debate skills run far short of the levels we really need in a conservative media figurehead...
by Sharke
- Read Steve Rendall's critique of the "false balance of Hannity & Colmes"
- Read Alan Colmes' bio
- Read Sean Hannity's bio

Monday, November 24, 2008

Will Rush Limbaugh remain conservatism's leader 2009 onwards? (part 2 of 2)

>> Continued from Part 1 of 2

Below are three arguments made in recent weeks as to why some feel Rush Limbaugh is no longer the preferred figurehead for the GOP and conservative values.

David Frum, who served as President Bush' speechwriter, makes an argument that what might have worked for Rush Limbaugh and conservatism in the past may not work (and proven so) for the future.

The Wonder Years: David Frum & Brink Lindsey
...on our side now we have a big problem, we have a party that is not serious about government, we have a party that is trying to squeeze more and more out of an ever declining sector of those non-poor, non-college white voters, and who's leaders refuse to see the need for change. Rush Limbaugh - who I think represents a lot of people obviously - he's on "the air everyday, he's saying "we did it in 1994, we gotta do it again!". I call it 'Say-it-louder' conservatism. If the public is not accepting your message, it's clearly because you haven't said it loudly enough so you have to say it again but louder more forcefully then they'll agree with you.

Mort Kondracke of FoxNews suggests that the GOP should marginalise Right Wing talkers headed by Rush if it is to remain viable.
First Steps to GOP Recovery
How can the Republican Party rebound? The first step would be to quit letting Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham set its agenda...

fire Rush Limbaugh and his ilk as the intellectual bosses of the GOP. They shouldn't be muzzled, as some liberals want to do by reviving the "fairness doctrine" in broadcasting, just ignored more frequently.

In recent years, Republicans have let right-wing talk show hosts whip the GOP base into frenzies -- over immigration, brain-damage victim Terry Schiavo and same-sex marriage -- that have branded the party as troglodyte.

Karen Harper of The Examiner offers a different take, That voices like Rush, the ideological and loud but also more entertaining will drown out the centrist republicans who maybe more palatable to the wider electorate
Is Rush Limbaugh hurting the GOP?
Given the choice between interviewing Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich and some of the more centrist Republicans we can hardly remember the names of, the news and infotainment networks are going to give more time to the Palins and Gingriches of the party. They sell more advertising. They are entertaining.

... moderates must contend with Rush Limbaugh and others like him. Limbaugh, the Jerry Springer of radio, continues to encourage his listeners to support the right wing conservative wing of the Republican party as he trashes anyone who disagrees with him and that includes moderate centrist Republicans.

Ed Morrissey of HotAir offers a rebuttal and an appeal:
Rush Limbaugh did not lose the election
The GOP will go nowhere if it engages in scapegoating talk radio for the next couple of years...

Note to Kondracke and Harper: Rush doesn’t work for the Republican Party. The Republican Party doesn’t follow Rush’s policy agenda, and hasn’t since George Bush came to office. The notion that the main problem with the GOP is Rush Limbaugh is profoundly foolish, so much so that only Beltway insiders could possibly reach that conclusion.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Marc Maron on the appeal of Talk Radio

Liberal talker Marc Maron made a poignant observation on the appeal Talk Radio has for it's consumers - "It makes you feel like you're thinking".

Marc made this point in reference to Nate Silver's heated interview with John Ziegler.
MARC MARON: he made an interesting point about Radio [talkers] and whether or not they know what they're talking about... his point is that "it usually doesn't f*cking matter to most people" because they're barely listening. They're doing other things and ultimately what it is, is that it enables these people (radio talkers) just to put their ego out into the world and if they have an engaging tone and an engaging, lyrical way of putting things it feels like thinking to most people (talk radio listeners)... they don't care where the information comes from or whether it's true or not. It just feels like they're thinking it and it gives them something to say.
Listen to the excerpted Marc Maron audio here

Marc recounted similar observations from his time as a 'pundit' during my interview with him. He explained the temptations of ego and partisanship a pundit must negotiate with:
The one element of being a pundit I didn't like was that you're sort of in a position to be partisan and righteous in ways that I may have not thought through completely or in ways that I didn't find completely authentic just because I had such resentment towards the other side
- Listen to the original Marc Maron, Sam Seder conversation on John Ziegler
- Find my interview with Marc Maron here

Will Rush Limbaugh remain conservatism's leader 2009 onwards? (part 1 of 2)

After the GOP's elections defeats in 2008, considerable losses in the House and Senate as well as an unpopular outgoing President in George W Bush, the GOP are widely considered to be "in the wilderness" and in search of a new figurehead.

The most logical leader was GOP Vice Presidential nominee, Sarah Palin after her heavy exposure and undeniable connection and popularity with the base during the election. She was subsequently diminished by some negative press post-election, this "burial" is largely traced to back to the GOP powerbase signaling an unease with the anointment of her as Conservative savior.

Another logical leader is Conservative pundit Rush Limbaugh. With his 20 million+ listeners, he has always been a consistent force in conservatism - instrumental in bringing the GOP back to power in 94' (as "National Precinct Captain" with his "dittohead caucus") and the unofficial ringmaster of the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" that dogged the Clinton presidency.

As Howard Fineman of Newsweek puts it thusly
Fineman: 'Chief jeerleader' will be Limbaugh, not Palin (video)
MATTHEWS: There's a role open right now. It's the Chief Jeerleader...
HOWARD FINEMAN: It won't be out of the Hill at all. It's going to be Rush Limbaugh, and what's left of the conservative commentariat. They are going to be in charge of this party until the Republicans begin to get their act together.

Being a pundit Rush doesn't directly rise and fall with the fortunes of Republicans in Washington. Like all talkers Rush' main weapon is his rhetoric. Talkers however aren't expected to deliver or held accountable to their promises the same way a campaigning politician is. Which means pundits, as long as they have a voice can remain relevant and arguably stronger when they are in the minority.
But Rush to is also being marginalised by the GOP powerbase.

Watch Rush Limbaugh being hailed after sweeping 94' GOP victory

In Part 2, I will list how the GOP has tried to distance themselves from Rush Limbaugh after their defeats in 2008. An astounding reversal from the Republican glory and lauding of Rush in 94'.

Friday, November 21, 2008

How Obama got Elected: John Ziegler vs. Nate Silver

VIDEO: John Ziegler on Hannity and Colmes
Conservative talker John Ziegler has created quite a buzz for his Documentary "How Obama got Elected", described thusly:
On Election day twelve Obama voters were interviewed extensively right after they voted to learn how the news media impacted their knowledge of what occurred during the campaign. These voters were chosen for their apparent intelligence/verbal abilities and willingness to express their opinions to a large audience. The rather shocking video below seeks to provide some insight into which information broke through the news media clutter and which did not.
John Ziegler was interviewed by Nate Silver of Analytical site
An Interview with John Ziegler on the Zogby "Push Poll"
NS: Do you think that certain types of voters are less well informed?
JZ: I think anyone that looks rationally at these poll results would have to conclude that Obama voters are incredibly poorly informed about major issues that occurred during the campaign -- my guess is because McCain voters got their information from different types of media than Obama voters did.

NS: What types of media would you consider credible?
JZ: I think you need a variety of sources, but I do not accept the notion that if it's not in the New York Times it's not true and if it is in the New York Times it is. Just because Sean Hannity says something doesn't mean it’s not true.
Liberal Talkers Marc Maron and Sam Seder took John Ziegler to task on their online Political show. They spoke of Ziegler's combustible personality and the questionable process that informed the documentary.
- Listen to the episode in mp3 format here
- View the episode in video format here
Included in their critique, Sam and Marc made their very own "scientific" documentary mocking John Ziegler.

VIDEO: Who is John Ziegler?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pete Dominick moderates a debate between two callers

One of the APF's favourite radio Talkers is Pete Dominick. Pete's program is unique because its largely defined by the recurring callers and characters that contribute to the show. It's "independent" salon discussion format coupled with Pete's inclusive and happy-go-lucky personality ensure that a plurality of views are represented.

One of the more memorable segments was when Pete sanctioned and moderated a spontaneous debate between two popular regular callers - Eric and Steve.
PETE DOMINICK: You know what would be good radio Steve is if you and Eric go at it... Let's put Eric on the line with Steve. Eric from Rhode Island, you're on with Steve from Boston. You're both New Englanders - The Battle of New England.
They argued passionately about the fairness of tax policy, "Socialism" and the free market.
Listen to the Pete Dominick audio here ( There is a lengthy prologue, you may skip directly to the battle at 2m 40s)

The segmented Audio came from Pete's old show, Pete's Big Mouth on Sirius' IndieTalk channel. Fans will be aware that the show has since changed it's name, moving to a new channel as a result of the Sirius/XM merger.
pete dominick, sirius, potus, stand up, comedian
Stand Up! with Pete Dominick
Pete's new show is called Stand Up! with Pete Dominick and can be found on Sirius' new P.O.T.U.S. 110 channel.

Visit Pete Dominick's official website
Go to the official page for Sirius' P.O.T.U.S channel
Read my interview with Pete Dominick (audio will be up shortly)
Read previous Pete Dominick posts here

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sarah Palin invited to appear on TNA Wrestling

sarah palin, tna, beautiful people, wrestling
Some Political Wrestling news for levity:
Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling has announced that it is formally inviting Alaska governor and former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin to become an honorary member of “The Beautiful People,” the elite group of TNA Knockouts led by Angelina Love and Velvet Sky...

TNA will present Gov. Palin with a $50,000 check at “Final Resolution” made out to the charity of her choice, or will make the donation to the youth hockey association in her native Wasilla, Alaska.

Whilst it may seem unlikely that Palin would appear, the wrestling community has been a credible avenue for Politics. John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all appeared on wrestling programming during their Presidential campaigns. Wrestlers played a big part in "Get Out the Vote" campaigns and have been actively patriotic in supporting the Troops.

With the continued burial by the GOP's elite, Sarah Palin could further shore up her base by appealing to the populist wrestling crowd. The wrestling audience is not too dissimilar to the red-meat audience John McCain effectively captured at the Sturgis Bike Rally during his Presidential Campaign.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Australian PM snubbed by George W Bush at G20

This blog traditionally doesn't do World news, but seeing as Pete Vere paved the way with some Canada-centric news. I have some parochial news of my own from my native Australia.

The blog is ostensibly about the parallels between Political and Wrestling theatre focusing on the American system largely as it's more fertile in it's spectacle, wealth of characters and coverage. That's not to say the World can't match the superpower with wrestling-style drama of their own.

The new Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has had to negotiate through awkward relations with outgoing US President George W Bush. It stems from a reported leak that has undermined President Bush and has both parties red-faced:
The original story concerned a speakerphone call that came as Mr Rudd was entertaining at Kirribilli (Prime Minister's Residence) the editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell.

Mr Rudd slipped into the adjacent study to take the call, of which a blow-by-blow account contends Mr Rudd was "stunned" when Mr Bush asked: "What's the G20?"
The G20 - is an informal economic forum between the 20 world leaders, its particular significant this time around due to the unfolding Global financial crisis. It is at this event where the two leaders would meet for the first time since the brouhaha.

You can judge for yourself how it went.

VIDEO: The usually jocular Bush gives Kevin Rudd a "perfunctory" greeting

This is what Shadow (opposition)Treasurer Julie Bishop had to say:
Bush warms to PM after the frosty reception
...Friday's frosty reception showed the case was not closed and again alleged that Mr Rudd fed the paper a fallacious account of the phone call to big note himself and make Mr Bush look dumb.
PM Kevin Rudd was in a similarly ridiculous controversy when he was seen saluting the US President.

VIDEO: Watch Wrestlers dealing with their own frosty handshakes

Introducing APF's newest author - Pete Vere

For all the Pete Vere fans in Canada and around the world, I present to you the APF's newest author in glorious animation.

Like all good authors he is a 'tweener' and an independent. Like all good Canadians his special move is none other than the 'Sharpshooter'.

Play with the new APF animation below. Toggle the button on the corner left to see the "Avengers Assembled":

- Read Pete's bio and featured editorials for Canadian online paper SooToday.
- Find more about 'The Tyranny of Nice', a book Pete co-wrote with Kathy Shaidle featuring a lengthy introduction from APF Pundit Mark Steyn.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The rise and fall (and rise) of Sarah Palin (Part 2 of 2)

>> Read The rise and fall of Sarah Palin (Part 1 of 2)

I had been holding off on this follow-up as reports on the Fall (burial) and subsequent Rise (push) of Sarah Palin kept piling up. As AllahPundit of Hotair exasperatedly wondered - Exit question: Time to stop blogging this soap opera? We’re never going to get closure so we might as well stop watching. After reaching the same conclusion, below is a brief compilation of the unfolding drama:

Bill Kristol on "Palinophobia"

Rush Limbaugh on the Palin "burial"

The Palin knives come out by Jonathan Martin
...this new reporting, clearly embargoed until after Election Day, underscores, it was if anything understated.
Conservatives are deeply angry about this finger-pointing and are seizing on it to renew ancient gripes about McCain and his inner circle.
Rush Limbaugh has used much of the top of show to rail against his old nemesis
"This is our own party leaking to the drive-by media to destroy Sarah Palin," he lamented, arguing it was being done to destroy her future political prospects.
Rush Limbaugh began his Thursday show with a comprehensive recount of the McCain camp infighting and the alleged difficulties with running mate Sarah Palin. It's an odd piece as Rush rails against the disloyal McCain staffers who are undermining Palin, an affront to a figure for strong conservatism. On the other hand Rush seems unnecessarily exhaustive in detailing the charges of Palin's foibles. Talkers generally filter news that may be damaging to their party because it can be seized upon by their opponents. When it's absolutely necessary to include the news to provide a context for a rant, it's usually kept to a minimum.

Read a transcript of Limbaugh's introduction
Unconscionable: McCain Staffers Attempting to Destroy Sarah Palin
So what's going on here is two things: an effort to blame her for the loss, all this talk about she dragged the ticket down, which is an absolute laugher, it is an absolute joke and an effort to damage her for the future. It's unconscionable what is happening and what they're doing to Sarah Palin in our own party. Let me ask you this, folks. Will smearing a classy and upbeat conservative star make her more or less popular with the Republican base?
CNN's Campbell Brown defends Palin
Commentary: After Palin hard-sell fails, McCain aides attack her
to those McCain aides who say she is the reason they lost this election: Can I please remind you of one thing? You picked her.

You are the ones who supposedly vetted her, and then told the American people she was qualified for the job. You are the ones who, after meeting her a couple of times, told us she was ready to be just one heartbeat away from the presidency
Burying Sarah Palin:
- GOP governors unhappy with Palin press conference (CNN)
- McCain Campaign Retrospective (NRO)
- Hackers and Spending Sprees

Pushing Sarah Palin:
- Bushies Come to Palin's Aid (NewsWeek)
- McCain staffers starting to rally to Palin’s defense (HotAir)
- Why isn’t McCain defending Palin from the leakers? (HotAir)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Martin Eisenstadt and the "reality based community"

All this talk about Martin Eisenstadt has many people chattering and wondering if he was the source who spoke of "Reality based communities" as famously quoted by Ron Suskind.
Faith, Certainty and the Presidency of George W. Bush
In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn't like about Bush's former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House's displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn't fully comprehend -- but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sarah Palin not knowing Africa was a continent - HOAX! or is it?

An audacious hoaxster has duped the News Media and has played a key role in the burying of Palin's credibility:
A Senior Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence
It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.
Whilst some might see this as the next "Rathergate" and proof of liberal bias. I would look at it from the prism of the "Surrealism of politics" - Politics as a conceptual art piece.

It's astonishing to think that Palin's credibility has been sunk by 3 (Count them: THREE) Constructs. Parodies. Art pieces.
1) The Tina Fey caricature
2) Canadian radio hosts prank-calling Sarah Palin
3) This manufactured McCain leaker, Martin Eisenstadt

The pranksters explain the thesis behind their latest stunt:
They say the blame lies not with them but with shoddiness in the traditional news media and especially the blogosphere.

"With the 24-hour news cycle they rush into anything they can find," said Mr. Mirvish, 40.

But most of Eisenstadt’s victims have been bloggers, a reflection of the sloppy speed at which any tidbit, no matter how specious, can bounce around the Internet. And they fell for the fake material despite ample warnings online about Eisenstadt
To make things even more confusing, reality eating itself once more. Who's to say that these pranksters aren't pranking us by claiming this is all just a prank:
A Senior Fellow at the Institute of Nonexistence
...there is William K. Wolfrum, a blogger who has played Javert to Eisenstadt’s Valjean, tracking the hoaxster across cyberspace and repeatedly debunking his claims...

"As if there isn’t enough misinformation on this election, it was shocking to see so much time wasted on things that didn’t exist," Mr. Wolfrum said in an interview.

And how can we know that Mr. Wolfrum is real and not part of the hoax?

Long pause. "Yeah, that’s a tough one."
- Go to Martin Eisenstadt, the "("Hoaxer's")" blog

Colbert hosting the pundits: Maddow, Scarborough, Hewitt and Papa Bear

Of all the pundits in the APF, Stephen Colbert arguably has the most universal appeal. Being comedic and having assumed a faux pundit persona, Stephen benefits from not being entirely culpable for his outrageous actions.

Stephen has a unique crossover appeal, voicing a caricature of a right wing pundit whilst personally being left-leaning. Interestingly Bill O'Reilly, the pundit template Colbert is fashioned after describes himself as an 'Independent'. With the shield of comedy, Colbert is caustic yet innocuous. It's the best of both worlds and an enviable license.

Below are a selection of Stephen Colbert interviews of the APF pundits:

Hugh Hewitt April 2006
Hugh Hewitt thinks the Republicans are aiming at an electoral iceberg and they need to turn the ship around quickly
Hugh Hewitt
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Joe Scarborough October 2008
Joe Scarborough gives reasons why John McCain won't win this election.

Keith Olbermann March 2006
Stephen thinks being a bully is just another way of getting your points across passionately.

Bill O'Reilly January 2007
Stephen finally gets to sit at the foot of the master, Papa Bear Bill O'Reilly.

Rachel Maddow November 2008
Rachel Maddow says the Bush administration has been like hiring a vegan to be your butcher.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Go back to basics; tell a story

A buddy of mine and I happened to be watching old wrestling videos from the early 80's. A match came on pitting Ric Flair against Harley Race. It was a great, more exciting that what we often see today. And yet the moves were tame given today's hardcore style.

We were gripping the edge of our seat. Our hearts pounded as Race struggled to keep Flair in a headlock. And Flair was selling it. His face was red, wide-eyed, and shaking like a Richard Simmons's latest workout video. We thought his head would explode from a simple headlock.

"It's about selling moves," said my buddy, who also happens to be a university professor. "Wrestlers today can't sell moves."

Today, wrestlers take chair shot after chair shot to the head. Ten seconds later they act as if nothing happened, they've fully recovered. Which is why today's wrestlers have a lower shelf-life, and which is why today's matches seem boring in comparison. There is little internal cohesion to maintain suspension of disbelief. In short, these young wrestlers have taken high spots to a new level, but at the expense of other basic mat skills with which every old school wrestler was familiar. Attention spans wane among fans who find themselves over-saturated with high spots to cover other inadequacies. Yesterday's wrestlers told stories, whereas today's wrestlers are stunt men.

So eventually everything crashes when fans reach their 'high spot' saturation point. And the old guys like Flair are brought back, even though they cannot give or take high spots, to teach the young up-and-comers how to tell a good story. For example, check out this video from the 80's of Ric Flair initiating a feud to elevate (then) up-and-comer Ricky Morton:

This is exactly what happened with Republicans during the last election. The neocons mastered the high spot - that is, they knew how to attack. But they had lost the art of political story-telling and, once told, selling the story to the average viewer/voter. Additionally, the Republicans had lost the internal coherence that made their story compelling.

Here's some examples off the top of my head:

- Was Obama a Muslim or a member of Rev. Wright's radical Christian sect?
- How can Republicans accuse Obama of socialism and increasing government spending when they helped put through the financial bailout, a major act of corporate socialism and government spending?
- And what about the foreign threat? Which party failed to secure the border?
- Were McCain and Palin mavericks with a strong independent streak, or neo-cons?

The former, actually, but they were never allowed to tell their story during the campaign. Rather they were thrust into carrying out highly-partisan high spots that did not suit their political personality. It worked for Palin's acceptance speech in Minnesota, which was carefully scripted. Beyond that, when she was required to ad-lib for the media, she went over like Steve Austin's 'Ringmaster' when he first came to the WWE.

Lost was the opportunity to re-tell the story of a Vietnam war hero who often took issue with his own party. Likewise of a small-town mayor who took down a sitting governor of her own party when questions arose about nepotism. These are compelling narratives.

Which is why Obama won. He told a compelling story which happened to be a variation of the "every child can grow up to be President" archtype. This allowed voters to suspend their disbelief that an African-American without any clear policies (or hometown) could dismantle the Clinton machine within the Democrat Party, survive the neocon attack machine within the Republican Party, and win the White House. Of course Obama slipped in his own high spots, first against the Clintons (like branding Bill a racist) and then against McCain (linking him to Bush among independents). But he used them sparingly to accentuate his political narrative, rather than rely on them exclusively to put him over.

This is what the Republicans must once again learn if they want to rebuild for the 2010 mid-terms. How to sell a story rather than present a series of high spots with little coherent narrative in between.

To do this, Republicans must also return to basics: lower spending, smaller government, and representing the average voter on cultural issues.

Laura Ingraham on how to fix the GOP : Charisma, fundraising and the internet

Filling in for O'Reilly, APF pundit Laura Ingraham offered her prescription for mending the GOP and addressing the deficiencies the Democrats lapped them on.

Ed Morrisey of HotAir summarises Ingraham's prescription:
Charisma - Regardless of... Barack Obama’s (lack of) experience, he became a leader that people wanted to follow... The Republicans have to find leadership that inspires.
Fundraising/grassroots/Internet use - These are the infrastructural changes that the Democrats made under Howard Dean and the GOP have neglected...
Staff unity - ...Ronald Reagan called it the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not speak ill of your fellow Republicans. Criticize policy, but no personal attacks...
Read the full post here - Ingraham on how to fix the GOP

Interestingly Laura didn't highlight any faults in the implementation of conservative philosophy during the past 8yrs of Republican Presidential reign. As is the the thesis of this blog, often times the priorities of the political parties are on
a) Presentation
b) Winning

Below are some relevant comments to Ingraham's prescription from Conservative blog
D0WNT0WN on November 11
The election of Barack Hussein Obama was not political. It was cultural. This is the end result of years and years of dumbing down American education... and putting a tremendous focus on entertainment and distractions above all else. We have gotten soft. We value style over substance. Our Presidential election is now American Idol: White House Edition.
Romeo13 on November 11
Notice what she said is structural, not philosophical...

I mean, can anyone tell me what the Bed Rock beliefs of the Republican Party are TODAY?
Small Government? Not over the last 8 years...
Free Enterprise? Not with the REPUBLICAN sponsored bailout...
Higher Ethical Standards? Alaska’s Senator rules that out...
Stev0 on November 11
Hmm, I think ways to “fix” what ails the Republican party that come out so soon after a drubbing are not necessarily the way to go...

1) It’s more than just leadership that inspires, it is ideas.
2) It is more than just using technology - it is understanding how your base uses it.
3) ... as an aside, Sarah Palin kneecapped herself plenty good, no help required...
It will be interesting to see what the Obama administration delivers. To measure their achievements after one (possibly two) terms relative to their promises. George W Bush won the Presidency on the promise of "Compassionate conservatism" and the "Adults being in charge". In 2001, George W enjoyed an approval of nearly 90%, receiving a "mandate" after being reelected in 2004. It took 6 years into the Bush' Presidency for the GOP to be punished for the disconnect between rhetoric and reality. Surrendering the House and Senate in the 06' midterms and finally the Presidency in 08'.

The most impressive and lasting legacy of the Bush Years was the effectiveness of the Karl rove strategy in winning elections. Obama with David Axelrod and team have presided over arguably the best Election campaign operation in American history. It will be interesting to see if the Obama Administration delivers more than just "Winning and Presentation". It will need to for America to overcome its monumental challenges.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Freedom Alliance: Andrew Wilkow, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity

(Note: click on the toggle on the bottom left corner for a surprise)

Introducing the latest stable in the APF. I'm aware that it makes this the second consecutive conservative trio but never fear there is a liberal triumvirate in the works.

This trio dubbed 'The Freedom Alliance' features conservative talkers and friends: Andrew Wilkow, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity. It's worth noting that Mark has previously said "he doesn't do anything in threes" when asked by a caller to form a trio with another combination of conservative hosts.

The three talkers all got their start in radio through WABC programming under the guidance of program director Phil Boyce. They currently make up a formidable 8 hour bloc on Sirius' Conservative channel, Sirius Patriot. Beginning with Wilkow at noon, then Levin and closing with Hannity. The three have appeared on each other's programs and occasionally fill in for one another.

Read previous posts for Andrew Wilkow
Read previous posts for Mark Levin
Read previous posts for Sean Hannity

Monday, November 10, 2008

Franken, Coulter, Stephanie and Dennis: Pundit debates

In previous posts I've stated that pundits rarely venture outside their fiefdoms and challenge other pundits face to face. Often times they will call each other out on their own TV shows (like Olbermann) or on the radio (like Levin). Every so often they will challenge each other directly but usually with someone holding court (like O'Reilly hosting Maher).

The best debates however are the long form debates, traditionally held in University settings. Independent moderators moving the proceedings, wrestling-style live crowd feedback, body language and extemporaneous thought.

Here are a collection of some of the best:

A Conversation Between Al Franken & Ann Coulter
Friday, May 14, 2004. Hosted by The Connecticut Forum
From the Left...Al Franken Bestselling author of LIES and The Lying LIars Who Tell Them and From the Right...Ann Coulter Author of the bestseller TREASON-Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism. Political fireworks!
Moderated by Steve Roberts

Talk Radio's "The Great Debate" Stephanie Miller(L) VS Dennis Prager(R)
October 7, 2008. Hosted by Democracy Broadcasting
Talk-radio's Left meets the Right in Los Angeles following the Obama - McCain televised debate. 1-hour of spirited debate between Prager and Miller taped before a live audience of their fans in Glendale, California.

Book Panel including Al Franken and Bill O'Reilly (audio only)
May 31, 2003. Hosted by C-SPAN and BookTV
Read BuzzFlash' reader account:
The story of how Franken tracked down and debunked this claim ran on for 10 or 15 minutes, in excruciating detail. O'Reilly, still silent through most of it, was beside himself and looked to be ready to jump out of his chair and tackle the speaker.

Read a BuzzFlash interview of the incident

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The rise and fall of Sarah Palin (Part 1 of 2)

In wrestling, a "Push" is when a wrestler gets elevated to superstardom by the 'powers that be'. Although manufactured at first the wrestler is expected to "run with the ball", where their popularity should continue to grow organically.

Wrestlers can be "pushed" in many ways: By scheduling matches against easier competition, the use of flattering color commentary and positive video packages. The now defunct WCW were known to have planted fake "homemade" signs for the crowd to create the impression of a grassroots following for their manufactured star 'Bill Goldberg'.

barack obama, basketball, sarah palin, crowd, rally
Barack Obama and Sarah Palin mirror each other
Since her introduction to the world prior to the GOP convention, Sarah Palin has become an overnight sensation. She rejuvenated the conservative base who were originally lukewarm towards the McCain candidacy. Sarah filled the coffers, made Politics cool and attracted crowds and ratings to rival the original superstar Barack Obama. This level of popularity was inconceivable prior to her arrival, the once-in-a-lifetime magnetism and media frenzy Barack received was derided as being "celebrity" politics and a "cult of personality". With Sarah Palin, the GOP effectively replicated it.

One drawback of enjoying a meteoric rise is disintegrating upon entry into earth, collapsing under the weight of expectation. Fred Thompson suffered such a fate in the early Primary season. Sarah Palin under enormous scrutiny convincingly surpassed every marker, starting with an impressive introduction, a show stealing convention speech and most notably a solid Debate performance against the vastly more experienced Joe Biden.

Sarah's incredible 10-week push was not without turbulence. She memorably floundered in some high profile interviews (exarcerbated by how few were granted) and she was effectively defined by a bumbling Tina Fey caricature. But on the whole she cut an imposing national profile and was poised to become a conservative figurehead and frontrunning GOP Presidential contender for 2012 regardless of the 2008 election outcome. That was until November 5th, the aftermath of a resounding GOP defeat.

In wrestling, to "bury" is to diminish a popular wrestler's status in the eyes of the fans as designed by the 'powers that be'. This is achieved by placing them in unflattering storylines and losing matchups. It can be a result of real-life backstage disagreements or feuds with the powerbrokers. It's a falling out of favor with the company, the stripping of credibility by those that bestowed them.

This is what has befallen Sarah Palin since the election loss.

In Part 2 of 2 I will be highlighting the growing deluge of stories attempting to "bury" Sarah Palin. Those in conservative media, the McCain camp and inside the GOP who have turned there back on Sarah, blamed her and ultimately want to diminish any future prospects.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Is this a squash match?

Thanks for the warm welcome to Pundit Fight!

I feel a squash match in the making. I live in Sault Ste. Marie, a city split by the U.S.-Canadian border running down the middle of the St. Marys' River. Two-thirds of our city is in Northern Ontario, and the remaining third is in the Michigan Upper Peninsula.

In the Canadian corner stands Tony Martin, our local Member of Parliament (Canada's equivalent to Congressional Representative), who this morning called out Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the local media. Tony is a backbencher with the fourth-place New Democratic Party (NDP) - which describes itself as Canada's socialist party. In contrast, Harper was recently re-elected as leader of a strong Conservative minority. So already we're seeing an imbalance of power pitting a jobber in the loserweight category against the franchise player among the heavyweights.

Because the NDP is more-or-less powerless within Canada's new Parliament - after all, they're the lucha libre stable of Canadian politics, Canadians find they're high-flying tactics and colorful masks entertaining, but nobody expects them to compete for the big prize - Tony's generally seen as all mic and no matt skill (which seldom bodes well in the Lucha Libre, but every weight class needs jobbers.) This means Tony must find another gimmick to put himself over. Following an old wrestling angle, Tony is now threatening an invasion from the franchise in the neighboring promotion. That's right, he's calling on Obama to put the progressive power-bomb on Harper (click here).

Interestingly enough, Tony's counterpart in the Michigan Sault is Representative Bart Stupak - a pro-life, pro-gun, pro-veteran and pro-law-enforcement Democrat. That makes him a 'Tweener in Washington, where he is nevertheless respected for his legendary skill at booking legislation. But here in the U.P., he's the hometown hero who gets the biggest political pop. So I doubt local Democrats will indulge Tony mic fantansies.

Still, it would be fun to watch Obama come up here and squash the Canadian jobber trying to book matches in his name. It would probably look something like this:

Al Franken, Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry on Pundits Fighting

In a post pre-dating this blog by 3 years, Conservative pundit Jonah Goldberg contemplates "Pundits Fighting". When the APF blog relates American politics and punditry to pro-wrestling, it deals with the parallels in the theatrical presentation, archetypes, charisma and psychology. It was not intended to be about real life fisticuffs as Jonah contemplates.
Fight Al Franken? I Guess Not...
As many of you have probably heard, Al Franken, the comedian liberals take seriously, challenged my friend and paycheck provider Rich Lowry to a fist fight this week... Franken was responding to Rich's argument that the Left is on a campaign against manliness. As one might expect, Franken thought he was making a brilliant and funny point about conservative hypocrisy...
Jonah Goldberg considers how he matches up with Franken and how Conservative fare against liberals as a whole
Anyway, at first, I thought I might pick up the gauntlet Rich decided to ignore. There are only a couple of problems. First, while not too long ago I think I could have opened a huge can of whup-ass on Franken, these days I'm so out of shape I have the upper body strength of a twelve-year-old girl — albeit a pretty tough one.

But this whole episode has initiated a vast amount of beer talk among my friends. In short, we keep trying to figure out which conservative pundit-types could beat up which liberal pundit-types in a fight. So far, I hate to say, the conservatives don't look as good as I would have thought.
Jonah Goldberg sanctions some hypothetical Pundit matches. Interestingly there are only a few that have become official Pundit Fighters in the APF:
Tucker Carlson and Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard would certainly be good picks but, I'll tell ya, the list for a good conservative goon squad dries up pretty quickly... I know most of my readers don't like Joe Conason, but you'd bet on him if he were in a gladiator ring up against Ramesh Ponnuru or Michael Medved... who would win in a fight: Bill O'Reilly or Geraldo?
View the existing Fighting Pundit roster.

As Jonah Goldberg reminds, there is a further case to make Al Franken the poster child for the American Pundit Fighting. As previously stated, Franken is unique in that he is a wrestler, Saturday Night Live alum and pundit. Possibly a future senator and arguably the first to challenge other Pundits to a fight.

More on Rich Lowry VS Al Franken
- Spinsanity debate: Al Franken vs. Rich Lowry
- The Battle of the Books: Lowry vs. Franken
- Fisking Franken, Rich Lowry setting the record straight
- Read another Pundit, Pete Dominick challenging Bill O'Reilly to a fight

Signing up APF's newest author - Pete Vere

Negotiations are taking place to bring in a new commissioner to the APF (read: another Author) - Pete Vere. Pete is a Canadian who writes extensively about local Canadian and American Politics. Like many Canadians he also knows a thing or two about wrestling.

Pete has co-written a book with Kathy Shaidle, The Tyranny of Nice, featuring a lengthy introduction from APF Pundit Mark Steyn. You can find some of his writing at where Pete has featured editorials.

Pete leans conservative (correction: He is more of an Independent). The blog is intentionally designed to be non-partisan so it will be interesting to see how Pete approaches things. Maybe we can bring in a liberal leaning author to counter Pete. Maybe I can be a heel APF Chairman.

If that's the case Pete's contract signing might look like this

Expect a 'Pete Vere' character animation soon once he signs on the dotted line.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fox News turns on Sarah Palin who turns on McCain

A classic story arc in wrestling is the blame game and dissolution between two tag partners. When a combination acrimoniously part after a loss due to one side blaming the other.

There are 2 standard reasons:
Incompetence or Miscommunication - a misplaced move connects with their partner accidentally setting up a win for the opponent.
Ambition - a wrestler driven by ambition turns on his partner to gain power.

There are blame games surfacing surrounding Vice President Sarah Palin and her standing in the McCain camp and how it may have played a role in the Election defeat. Breaking the requisite for Vice Presidents, "Do no harm".

First the charge of incompetence:
Anti-Palin McCain Staffers Begin Full-Scale Kneecapping of Sarah Palin
Uncritically, Carl Cameron and Shep Smith are reporting that some anonymous McCain aides say that Palin didn't know that Africa was a continent; she thought, allegedly, it was a country.

It does not occur to either man to question these anonymous, and quite absurd, claims.
Find more at HotAir - It begins: Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent, claims Fox News

Second, the charge of ambition:
11 Days Out, And The Whispering Begins
This faction has come to believe that Palin, perhaps unwittingly subconsciously or otherwise, has begun to play Sen. McCain off of the base, consistently and deliberately departed from the campaign's message of the day in ways that damage McCain. ("palling around with terrorists" was a line that escaped HQ's vetting... Palin's criticism of the campaign for pulling out of Michigan was greeted by anger internally... Palin's expressed opinion that Rev. Wright is a legitimate issue -- which subtly knocks McCain for not raising it -- was perceived as an attempt to preemptively blame McCain's wobbliness for his loss, which would theoretically enhance Palin's standing with the base.)...
Read Ace's rebuttal of the charge - Scheunemann Takes on the "Anti-Palin Faction" Within the McCain Camp
Read Politico's in depth report
Palin allies report rising camp tension
Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain's camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain's decline.

"She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,"... He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Minnesota double count out: Al Franken and Norm Coleman too close to call

Some drama in the slugfest between Al Franken and Norm Coleman for Minnesota's Senate seat.

First - Minn. Senate race called by AP
The AP called the race for Coleman Wednesday morning, with the incumbent leading Franken by 762 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast. Coleman and Franken each have 42 percent of the vote; independent candidate Dean Barkley finished with 15 percent.

Then - The AP uncalled the race. It’s not over.
The Associated Press called the race for Coleman Wednesday morning, then retracted that call in a rare reversal. Coleman leads Franken by 725 votes out of more than 2.9 million cast. Coleman and Franken each have 42 percent of the vote; independent candidate Dean Barkley finished with 15 percent. A recount could last into December, according to the Minnesota Secretary of State office.
Read Al Franken's statement on "the excitement":
... Let me be clear: This race is too close to call, and we do not yet know who won. We are lucky enough to live in a state with built-in protections to ensure that in close elections like these, the will of the people is accurately reflected in the outcome.

This has been a long campaign, and it’s going to be a little longer before we have a winner. Senator Coleman, Senator Barkley, and I have done a lot of talking. Minnesotans have waited a long time to have THEIR say. And thanks to our state’s laws, we will eventually understand precisely what they have said.
HotAir does a great job explaining the complicated and convoluted recount process in Minnesota - How does a Minnesota recount work?

Full video: Barack Obama's acceptance and John McCain's concession speech

VIDEO: President Elect Barack Obama's Acceptance speech
Tonight, we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America — that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
Read the full transcript of Obama's speech

VIDEO: John McCain's concession speech
I would not be an American worthy of the name, should I regret a fate that has allowed me the extraordinary privilege of serving this country for a half a century. Today, I was a candidate for the highest office in the country I love so much. And tonight, I remain her servant. That is blessing enough for anyone and I thank the people of Arizona for it.
Read the full transcript of McCain's speech

Barack Obama President Elect: What the pundits have said

Michelle Malkin on Obama as President elect
The One ascends; McCain concedes
Well, it’s official. Barack Obama has been elected President of the United States. Fox and NBC have called the race.
It’s a historic moment.
Here’s my promise to you: As long as I can still publish a blog and speak my mind openly about the next denizen of the White House, I will.
Mark Levin on Obama as President elect
Obama's Night
On FOX, they're giddy about the Barack Obama election. On MSNBC, they're crying. This country faces serious challenges with an Obama election and such a large Democrat majority. I can't get caught up in Obamamania — I couldn't before and I can't now. This is a historic election, but I am more concerned today than yesterday about the nation's future because of the policies Obama himself said he would pursue. And we conservatives have much work before us...
Hugh Hewitt on Obama as President elect
Congratulations To President-Elect Barack Obama
It is an extraordinary thing, an achievement that will be recognized a hundred years hence, that Barack Obama has won the White House. Even those of us who opposed him, and who will no doubt be opposed to many of his policy objectives over the next four years, must pause and say congratulations on an improbable, amazing rise.
Sam Seder on election night

More pundit APF pundit roundups as they come to hand.

In other news...
Coleman vs. Franken: Recount looms
One of the most bitter U.S. Senate races in Minnesota history remains deadlocked more than 10 hours after polls closed across the state.

With all but a small handful of precincts reporting in, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and DFL challenger Al Franken remain in a virtual tie and the contest appears headed for a certain recount.