Thursday, October 30, 2008

Joe the Unlicensed Contractor, Sarah Palin, and McCain's Hypocrisy: A Trifecta of Scare Tactics

While the main headline grabber yesterday was Obama's 30 minute informercial (which was done surprisingly well and not as schticky as I thought it would be), the McCain campaign yesterday still managed to make waves in the news world. The newly minted McCain campaign's Sabbatai Zevi (read: Joe the Unlicensed Contractor) dropped a bombshell yesterday at a McCain campaign supported bus tour in which he agreed with a member of the audience asking questions who stated that a vote for Barack Obama would mean the death of Israel. The scare tactics continue.

Later when Joe the Unlicensed Contractor was on Fox News with Shepard Smith (of Jenny from the Block Blowjob fame) he was pressed to explain why he felt that a vote for Barack Obama was a vote for the death of Israel. He could not explain why he felt that way beyond saying that Obama has stated that he would sit down with the President of Iran without preconditions (something "Joe" mistakenly labeled as an action and not just words when, in reality, saying you will do something manifests itself in the form of words):

Joe said an interesting thing in the phone conversation. When asked what Obama's stance on Israel was, he avoided the question and stated, "Let people go out and find it...Find out why they would think that I would say that...You don't want my opinion on foreign policy; I know just enough probably to be dangerous." I think I know why Sam would say something like that. It's probably because he has no idea what he's talking about and cannot state Obama's stances on Israel. And Joe/Sam is right, we don't want his opinions on foreign policy.

All of this continues with the scare tactics of the McCain campaign (who, after Joe/Sam's recent fear mongering put out a statement essentially backing Joe's comments). But rule number one when trying to smear a distinguished professor in order to get a barb or two in about your political opponent: know how to pronounce the guy's name (skip to 2:25 if you don't want to watch the whole thing).

If Sarah Palin knows so little about Rashid Khalidi that she cannot even pronounce his name correctly, why are we supposed to listen to her assertions that Khalidi was a former PLO spokesman? Additionally, as the Olbermann tape above mentioned, in 1998 the International Republican Institute (IRI) gave $448,873 in a grant to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies (CPRS) (page 14 of the PDF, grant # 5180). The interesting thing about 1998 is that John McCain was the chairman of the board of the IRI and Rashid Khalidi was one of the founders of CPRS. In a statement yesterday the IRI stated that, "We understand that Rashid Khalidi was one of the many founders of CPRS, and we understand that he was for some (unclear) amount of time a board member. IRI did not in the 1990s conduct background checks of grantees’ founders or board members. IRI did on a number of occasions vet CPRS as an organization, including, as was our custom, with the Israeli government, and we were given no cause for concern." No concern, of course, until John McCain can try to use it as a smear against Obama.

So while Joe/Sam the Unlicensed Contractor seems to be Sarah Palin's male counterpart (not vetted properly, entirely unready for national attention, saying stupid things in front of the media, and embraced by the McCain campaign), a bigger McCain issue is his own hypocrisy. I understand that McCain could not have possibly remembered giving money (albeit half a million dollars) to Khalidi's organization, but don't the speechwriters at the McCain campaign factcheck or make sure there are no conflicts of interest or overt hypocrisy? If this is the competency level of the campaign with less than a week to go until Election Day, it makes you wonder how ready any member of that camp, nevermind the higher-ups, would be to run one of the most powerful countries in the world. Peace.

Photo - Joe the Unlicensed Contractor (who apparently may be in line for a country music deal) (

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