John McCain has told us all that he didn't want to go negative, it's just that no one was paying attention to him when he wasn't acting like an asshole, what with the long Democratic primary season and the historic nature of the Democrats' options and whatnot. So, he had to go negative. Don't you see? Jason Linkins and I don't really see, but we're happy to blame NBC News President Steve Capus - who ran with the lipstick-on-a-pig story and removed Keith Olbermann from anchoring MSNBC's election coverage for having the audacity to suggest that the RNC's porny, eyeball raping homage to the courage of Republicans on 9/11 at the convention was a disgusting display. That, plus the End of the World (financially speaking), how drilling babies will solve all that and Sarah Palin (yes, more Sarah Palin) begin after the jump.MEGAN: So Jason, another typical day in the world except for the harbingers of the financial apocalypse and all. JASON: Oh but yes. And welcome to the party, AIG! Pull up a chair. Dig that crazy Friday. It's an unmitigated mess. MEGAN: Ah, yes, AIG, which keeps telling me over the television that I should choose them for car insurance over Geico. Hmmm, maybe next week... JASON: Not to worry, of course. Our brave politicians will save us, with platitudes:
"The challenges facing our financial system today are more evidence that too many folks in Washington and on Wall Street weren't minding the store," Obama said in a statement. "Eight years of policies that have shredded consumer protections, loosened oversight and regulation, and encouraged outsized bonuses to CEOs while ignoring middle-class Americans have brought us to the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression."
MEGAN: Oh, but, at least it's not John McCain's fault or anything.
"I certainly don't fault Sen. McCain for these problems," Obama said, "but I do fault the economic philosophy he subscribes to."
JASON: Right! And then the next graf is about "sleazy ads." Keep watching the shiny object, America. On the upside of course, is that sleazy political ads are at least an economic growth sector. MEGAN: Hilariously, actually, I was watching Murder She Wrote last night on the Hallmark Channel and every commercial break was a McCain-Palin ad. For 3 full hours, yo. Old people for McCain-Palin! JASON: But these are tremendous losses that are being socialized. And what's coming next are the auto manufacturers, looking for their bailout. Of course, THEY DIDN'T SEE ANY OF THIS COMING. MEGAN: Oh, of course they'll get bailed out — Michigan's a swing state. JASON: But don't worry about a thing, America! The commercial airline industry will TOTALLY KEEP ITSELF ALOFT on their new business model of luggage surcharges. MEGAN: Also, fuck those luggage surcharges. That shit is really a pain in the ass to expense! JASON: Word. Our reimbursement forms need a new line item, "RANDOM GOUGING." MEGAN: Anyway, did you know McCain already has an ad up about the financial crisis? Amusingly, when it says "end special interest giveaways" (except when it involved giveaways to the lobbyists that work for the campaign), it shows a picture of the Lehman Brothers sign. You know, the organization going bankrupt instead of being bailed out? I laughed. Also, by the way, drilling will fix Merrill Lynch. JASON: Yeah! That's hilarious the way they stuck it to Lehman! Meanwhile, his running mate thinks that Fannie and Freddie were, prior to their bailout, a "too big" burden on taxpayers. And really, McCain needs to stop using oil drilling as the centerpiece of a platter of economic solutions. Drill, baby, drill. I think we might need to start drilling ACTUAL babies, a la a Jonathan Swift solution to our crises. MEGAN: Well, they are a big burden on taxpayers now! Before, they were privately held! But they support the bail-out. Like George Bush, they want to cut taxes but they will definitely, definitely increase spending. Also, hilariously, I tried to write an essay for an essay contest in about 2003 that was Jonathan Swift-esque — the question was about the trade-off between freedom and security. But then every time I came up with something that seemed SO ABSURDIST that it couldn't be true, like eating babies, the Republicans went and made it policy. I finally gave up. I think they're reading my mind. JASON: I want to point out, again, that Carly Fiorina and Franklin Raines both sit on the corporate board of Revolution Health together, and I wonder what they talk about when they are in the same room together. I like to think that they sigh with relief and joke about how no one in their right minds should take either of them seriously. Fiorina was on teevee this Sunday, armed with many a platitude, and only came off looking okay because Claire McCaskill suddenly and unexpectedly veered into the territory of OMG! JOHN MCCAIN IS TEH OLDZ! MEGAN: Oh, Claire. Shhhh. Everyone knows he's old, but they only care when it's funny. Do you want, by the way, to talk about cronyism in the Palin administrations? Or is it so blindingly obvious that you wonder how there are still people in the world who don't know that every administration is cronyist? Oh, wait, whoops, cyncism is democracy's biggest enemy! Never mind, rewind... OMG JASON, Sarah Palin hired her friends when she was mayor and governor! She fired people that worked for her predecessor! I'm shocked! Horrified! Fuck, that still sounds sarcastic, I give up. JASON: We're still talking about Palin in America, but now the story is tied to the McCain-lies-all-the-time backlash. I'll tell you, the NY Times chronicles a cronyism that's going to remind many of the Bush years. Obviously, Brownie comes to mind. But for my money, Palin's cronyism smacks of another old master: Marion Shepilov Barry. MEGAN: But she trusts them, and trust is so important! JASON: Ha. Funny you should mention trust! Because the added ingredient that Palin brings to Barryism is fear. The one big takeaway from that story, for me, isn't that Palin inserted her unqualified friends in positions, hither and yon, it's that she's rooted not in a populist style of politics - which is how McCain paints her - but in a paranoid style of politics. MEGAN: See, the only thing I remember about Marion Barry is that he's a crack-smoking whoremonger. I don't fear crack-smoking whoremongers because they're usually too busy smoking crack and paying for sex to mess with me. Oh, you mean Marion Barry made people fear other things, like rampant crime and being caught by someone other than just your wife for being a crack-smoking cheat. JASON: She's Nixonland's Arctic Circle outpost. Cronies got advanced, loyalty tests were handed out, opponents trashed and fence-sitters squeezed. MEGAN: Well, I mean, I am a hater. Like terrorists, I hate her freedom. Her freedom to do whatever the hell she wants in government, like solicit and spend the Bridge to Nowhere money and claim no less than 9 times that she turned it down. JASON: In just my brief toe-dip into AK politics, I've come away with a strong impression that paranoia rules out there. Here's a true story, in fact: Some time ago, I did a short "Bridge to Nowhere" post. In the course of selecting an image to run alongside, I accidentally grabbed the wrong bridge to nowhere (yes, it seems there were many). I got an email from someone, correcting me, pointing me to the correct image. And I ran a correction, lauding the assister by name. Not fifteen minutes later, I got another email from another Alaskan, warning me to NEVER name anyone who helps out in the course of writing anything critical of Palin. He said, "Everyone knows everyone out here. You could make things very difficult for people." MEGAN: Oh, that's just sad. JASON: He went on to list a handful of helpful Alaska blogs, and closed by saying, "DO NOT THANK ME! DO NOT MENTION THAT I GAVE YOU THIS INFORMATION!" I was like: "O-kay, nutlog!" MEGAN: He then proceeded to erase every electronic mention of his very existence and drop off the grid Ted K. style to escape the clutches of Sarah Palin's minions. JASON: Exactly. Retreated back into the tundra. Gonna live Jack London-steez. MEGAN: WAIT! You know what that kind of paranoia reminds me of? Kathleen Willey, who thinks Hillary Clinton's minions killed her cats. JASON: To think I associate Willey with a more innocent time! MEGAN: Switching gears, did you know it's all our fault that John McCain is going negative? Ours and Obama's, of course. We forced him into it! It's the only way he can get press coverage without talking to the press! JASON: Yes. It's high time we all took responsibility for McCain going negative. It's everyone else's fault. The man has got to win news cycles, after all. Had Obama lent his "celebrity" to McCain's planned "Shambling Town Hall Meeting Tour 2008," everything would have been hunky-dory. But Obama wouldn't get with the program, so America needs to be taught a lesson. MEGAN: And that lesson is that Barack Obama wants to bring sexytime to your kindergarteners. JASON: Of course, this shit works, to a certain extent. If Spencer were here, and hopefully, he'll return safely, he'd probably note that ravaging the airwaves with demonstrable lies helps McCain get inside Obama's OODA Loop. "Lipstick on a Pig." I cannot believe GROWN UPS subjected us to pillar-to-post coverage of a fucking APHORISM. MEGAN: He called her a pig! He called her a pig! LALALALALA I can't hear your logic! (In other news, yes, I too hope Spencer gets back safely from Afghanistan.) JASON: It's worth pointing out that at the Pundit Forum in Denver, Stephanopoulos talked about how he and his colleagues had to become "editors" as well as "reporters" because they are besieged with campaign emails on a daily basis and needed to be selective in what they ran. America should remember that it was "Lipstick On A Pig" that everyone decided they'd run with that day. Days before a trio of financial institutions went in the shitter. It took 9/11 NOSTALGIA to end that particular stupidity. MEGAN: Wait, it's over? Has the media begun its post-mortem yet, trying to explain/apologize for going over the top and running with a fake and stupid story? Because that's the real fat lady singing. There I go again! I just insulted Snuffleupagus's weight and gender identification! JASON: Oh, no. That's not going to happen. But I cannot imagine working for a news organization, covering that story. I couldn't believe there wasn't SOMEBODY at, say, MSNBC, who couldn't have suggested, "You know? We could say no to this story. It's really simple. We could just not talk about this." MEGAN: Oh, see, there you go, doing your part to not destroy democracy with too much cynicism. I won't ruin it by pointing out that the conversation went something like "OMG, Fox News is going to cover this wall-to-wall and we can't miss out on this shit-fest. Advertisers love shit shows!" Fuck, wait, just ruined it. JASON: Well, if advertisers love shit-shows, SURELY they'd enjoy the sight of Steve Capus being chased down the street, pelted with dogshit. Honestly, if I could incite your readership to do just that, I'd be a happy man. I'd probably be a JAILED man, but fuck it. MEGAN: Ladies and gentlemen, start collecting canine fecal matter now!