Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Killer Question from Conservative David Frum

David Frum is a conservative and was one of George W. Bush's speechwriters. He writes for conservative publications and conservative websites. Here's a question he raised in his National Review Online diary:

But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?

He also states the following in his diary:

But maybe (and at least as likely) it will reinforce a theme that I'd be pounding home if I were the Obama campaign: that it's John McCain for all his white hair who represents the risky choice, while it is Barack Obama who offers cautious, steady, predictable governance.

The way to respond to the Palin selection as VP is not to focus on her inexperience, but to focus on how her selection doesn't square with what McCain said that he wanted from a VP. He said that he wanted a VP who was ready to become president. Obviously, given his attacks on Obama's supposed lack of experience, he can't say that Palin is ready to be president. So, why select her?

Well, he decided to change his mind on the necessity for experience in his VP pick for the same reason he has changed his mind about reversing Roe v. Wade, or on supporting Bush's tax cuts, or on his own immigration bill: He wants to be President and he will do virtually anything to reach that goal.

As David Frum asks: Are these the acts of a man who puts country first?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Does McCain Make Reckless Decisions?

McCain has made it a point to argue that he has the better judgment and therefore we should elect him president. So, let's see if the facts bear that out.

This is from an article on Think Progess about McCain:

The New York Times runs a lengthy article today on how the 9/11 attacks contributed to Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) foreign policy, particulary his aggression towards Iraq. “A terrorist resides in Baghdad,” he said in Feb. 2002, adding, “A day of reckoning is approaching”:

Within a month he made clear his priority. “Very obviously Iraq is the first country,” he declared on CNN. By Jan. 2, Mr. McCain was on the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt in the Arabian Sea, yelling to a crowd of sailors and airmen: “Next up, Baghdad!” […]

“These networks are well-embedded in some of these countries,” Mr. McCain said on Sept. 12, listing Iraq, Iran and Syria as potential targets of United States pressure.

In written answers to the Times, McCain blamed “Iraq’s opacity under Saddam” for any misleading remarks he made about the threat. Weeks after 9/11, McCain told Larry King that he would have named Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell to a McCain cabinet. “Oh, yes, and Cheney,” McCain added, saying he would have offered Dick Cheney the vice presidency.

Does wanting to start a war in Iraq, appoint Rumsfeld, and make Cheney Vice-President show sound judgment? Or are they examples of emotional, implusive decision-making?

Now, we have the choice of Gov. Sarah Palin for Vice-President. A woman who, to quote the Associated Press, has "spent more hours fishing than dealing with issues of national security." A woman who. two years ago, was the Mayor of a city of less than 7,000. A woman with two years of gubernatorial experience.

Given this kind of decision making, how can anyone think that McCain has sound judgment?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack Obama Stands and Delivers in Denver

Now, that was one hell of a speech. If you missed it last night, please take the time to view it now. You will not be disappointed.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Plays the POW Card Time and Time Again

Okay, so if Obama and the Democrats can be accused of playing the so-called "race card" every time we point out that the Obama campaign is subject to a lot of racial prejudice, why can't Democrats point out that McCain plays the POW card? Every time someone brings up a point that McCain doesn't want to answer, he says, in effect, "hey, that doesn't matter, because I was a POW."

Questions about the economy, his answe is that "I was a POW."
Questions about his fidelity to his first wife, his answer is that "I was a POW."
Questions about his support of Bush in the Senate, his answer is that "I was a POW."
Questions about his owning 7, or 8, or 11, or whatever number and how that reflects on his ability to understand the problems of ordinary Americans, his answer is that "I was a POW."

An example of this was seen in an interview with a Pittsburgh radio station on whether he is out of touch with the economic problems of working families:

McCain: Well you know I have town hall meetings all the time, everywhere across this country, and I hear from people....
And in all due respect my friends, I know what it's like to not have a house, I know what it's like not to have a kitchen table. I know what it's like not to have a table or a chair. For five and a half years, I sat in a cell with nothing but concrete floor and three boards to sleep on.

The question is not why McCain does it, that answer is obvious. He does it because as Talking Points Memo points out, he doesn't want this election to be about policies, he wants it to be about character. Not just character, but character as defined by McCain.

The real question is why the media lets him get away with this stuff. When is some journalist going to stand up and ask him just what in the hell being a POW has to do with the economy and his policies?

Senator Joe Biden Accepts the 2008 Democratic Vice-Presidential Nomination

Here is Senator Joe Biden's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention given on August 27, 2008 at Denver, Colorado:

The Big Dog Lays It Down at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Take a look at President Bill Clinton's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He made the case for Senator Barack Obama and framed the issues in a very constructive way. Take a look at it:

A Wadsworth Dem's Reflection on Obama's Nomination

Wadsworth Democrat Joe Arpad sent us this reaction to the historic nomination of Senator Barack Obama. He gave us permission to share it with you. Please take the time to read it.

I just watched an historical moment that I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.

In 1960. I first became involved in the Civil Rights Movement when my friend, Rafer Johnson, who at the time was President of the Student Body at UCLA, was attacked by a new group, called the Black Muslims, because he was not acting as a Black Muslim but as an All-American athlete and an intellectual student at UCLA. Rafer was a Christian, and didn't need to change his name to become accepted by the community.

My experience with Rafer and the Black Muslims caused me to seek work in the Civil Rights movement. The reason I chose Duke as the place to seek my Ph.D. was that it was in the South and I could work on the voter registration in North Carolina.

At the time, Jessie Helms was the manager of WRAL TV in Durham, a dedicated Dixiecrat, who would announce the KKK meetings on the evening news so everyone could attend. Few people remember it now, but the only persons in the Republican Party in the South at the time were the blacks, because it was the Party of Lincoln. The Democrats controlled everything, and whoever won the Democratic primary was a shoo-in for the general election.

All this changed in 1968, when the faculty at Duke, UNC, and NC State formed the first ACLU chapter in the South, mobilized students to work for taking the control of the Democratic Party out of the hands of the segregationists and into the hands of union workers and black people. The 1968 result was the ouster of Jessie from the Democratic Party (he left on his own accord) and the transformation of the 5 counties in the piedmont of NC into non-segregationist Democratic districts.

In the fall of that year, we elected the first black Congressman since Reconstruction. I say all of this because I never thought I would see the day when a black would be nominated to be the President of the United States, and further, would actually have a chance of winning.

In 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke at Duke, two weeks before he was assassinated. That day, when he was assassintated, April 4, 1968, at 5:04 p.m. EST, was a turning point, a crushing heart-wrenching moment that ended the black struggle to become part of the middle class America. The moment has returned, thanks to Obama.

In this context, it was infuriating to change channels from CSPAN to Fox News and the other news networks to hear the commentators trashing the nomination that had just taken place. I still had tears in my eyes. These guys had only venom to spew.

Please join with me in rejoicing for this historic moment, for this historic opportunity, to transform years and years of blind prejudice and racism in the U.S. and elect Barack Obama as our next President. I never even dreamed this could happen in my lifetime. Forty years after all that work, it's now a possibility. Miracles do happen. And can happen.

Thanks for listening, Joe

John Kerry Kicks Butt at Dem Convention

Although it wasn't picked up by the networks in their coverage of the Democratic National Convention, Senator John Kerry gave an excellent speech last night, (8/27/2008). If you haven't seen it, take about 13 minutes and watch it. You will be glad you did.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Stupidity from Maureen Dowd

This is just incredible, even by MODO's standards. She writes a column today and quotes a person she describes as a former McCain staffer on the supposed mood of the Democratic National Convention. Not surprisingly, this guy has decided that the mood of the Democratic convention is "submerged hate", meaning hatred of Obama supposedly coming from Clinton supporters. Here is a quote from the article:

But this Democratic convention has a vibe so weird and jittery, so at odds with the early thrilling, fairy dust feel of the Obama revolution, that I had to consult Mike Murphy, the peppery Republican strategist and former McCain guru.

“What is that feeling in the air?” I asked him.

“Submerged hate,” he promptly replied.

Look, it has been clear for some time that Dowd doesn't like most Democrats. In fact, it is almost impossible to find a Democrat she has liked since the death of John and Robert Kennedys. She doesn't like either of the Clintons, she doesn't seem to like Obama, and she doesn't seem to like any other Democrat either. Since she is an opinion columnist for the Times, she is apparently allowed to say any stupid thing she wants.

It would seem, however, pretty obvious even to someone as anti-Democrat as Dowd that quoting a Republican about the mood of the Democratic national convention to support your position doesn't make a lot of sense. What in the hell does she expect him to say, the Dems are having a great convention?

Even by MODO's standards, this is just incredible hackery.

Hillary Clinton: "No Way. No How. No McCain"

Hillary Clinton made a great speech last night. Here's Senator Clinton's speech in its entirety.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sherrod Brown: "Looking out for your family trumps race."

The American Prospect has a short article up on its website that is questions to Senator Sherrod Brown, (D-OH), about what Obama has to do to carry Ohio. In his answers, Senator Brown states the following: Looking out for your family trumps race. Looking out for your family trumps guns, or abortion, or gay marriage.

Senator Brown states in the interview that Obama will win or lose Ohio in cities like Mansfield, Marion, and Lima. Cities that trend Republican, but can be reached by a Democrat who stresses a economically populist message. Senator Brown points out that in 2004, John Kerry lost those cities and the counties they were in, but that in the 2006 election, he carried them.

Click on the link above and check out the interview. It is well worth your time.

Are You Satisfied with the Obama/Biden Ticket?

We are interested in knowing whether you are satisfied with the Democratic ticket of Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Click here to take our survey:

Friday, August 22, 2008

Great Connie Schultz Column on Represenative Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Earlier this week Connie Schultz, Pulitizer prize winning columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, wrote a memorial column about the late Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones. It is a great column. Ms. Schultz captured Representative Tubbs Jones' spirit, warmth, and enthusiam for life. Please take the time to read it.

Obama Ad on McSame's Seven Homes

You may have already seen this, but here is the ad that the Obama is putting up on national cable systems about McCain not knowing how many houses he owns.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NYT Article About Obama Negative Ads

On Friday, August 15, 2008, we posted an entry about the timing of negative ads that the Obama campaign is running. Our perception was that the Obama campaign was going quietly negative and that it had waited until McCain went negative first before running negative ads.

On August 19, 2008, the New York Times ran an article on Obama's negative ads. The article had the headline of "Obama’s Ads in Key States Go on Attack". This is a quote from the article:

Mr. Obama has begun the drive with little fanfare, often eschewing the modern campaign technique of unveiling new spots for the news media before they run in an effort to win added (free) attention. Mr. Obama, whose candidacy has been built in part on a promise to transcend traditional politics, is running the negative commercials on local stations even as he runs generally positive spots nationally, during prime-time coverage of the Olympics.

Last night on Fox 8 News out of Cleveland there were two such negative spots during the six PM newscast and one negative spot for McCain. According to the NYT article this practice of quietly going negative is happening in many battleground states. This is a quote from the Times article:

In Des Moines; Tampa, Fla.; Paducah, Ky., and at least 10 other cities, Mr. Obama is running a spot for a mock book, “Economics” by John McCain: “Support George Bush 95 percent of the time; keep spending $10 billion a month for the war in Iraq.”

On Sunday alone, Mr. Obama’s campaign spent nearly $400,000 to run those two spots more than 600 times, accounting for roughly two thirds of the commercials he ran that day, according to the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

Nearly 85 percent of Mr. McCain’s 650 spots that day featured attacks against Mr. Obama, according to the service, which reports that Mr. Obama has spent $48 million on advertisements in the last two months and that Mr. McCain has spent $34 million, with the Republican National Committee spending another $3 million.

The bottom line for Obama supporters who want Obama to go negative is that he is, but you just aren't hearing about it from most of the national news media. This is, of course, exactly the point.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hillary Clinton's Rich Supporter Willing to Throw Working Americans Under the Bus

There is an interesting article in the London Times about Lynn Forester, Lady de Rothschild, who, despite her British title and her 22 years older husband, is supposedly a Democratic Party activist. She and her husband have deep ties to the Clintons. As the article notes, they spent their wedding night in the White House's Lincoln Bedroom. She is also very bitter about Obama winning the nomination over Clinton.

This is what Rothschild thinks about Senator Barack Obama's chances of winning the presidency: "
My loyalty is to the Democrats winning. Barack Obama is going to have a serious problem getting elected, for good reason. “The party needs to face the fact that without Hillary Clinton on the ticket, the Democrats will probably lose.”

This is why she says she is against Barack Obama:
“We’re not going to win by pretending problems with Barack Obama don’t exist. He has a huge problem connecting with ordinary Americans, who think, ‘He doesn’t understand me.’ He is not modest; he is arrogant. He radiates elitism.”

Now, of course, the idea of a woman who apparently is the trophy wife of a titled Brit telling us that Obama is an elitist would be laughable if it wasn't for the fact that it represents a bigger problem. That problem is what Leon Panetta, former Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton, calls a "a sense of entitlement that almost seems to be inbred."

Obviously, of course, the Lady de Rothschild doesn't really need the Democratic Party and its commitment to working class Americans. She doesn't need universal health care; she doesn't need Social Security; she doesn't need Medicare; or any of the other social programs on which millions of Americans depend. She can afford to throw her hissy fit because Obama defeated Hillary Clinton by running a smarter, better, and more focused campaign. She, and other rich HRC supporters, are willing to throw the people that Hillary Clinton was supposedly fighting for under the bus to satisfy their sense of frustrated entitlement.

Lady de Rothschild's attitude illustrates why a lot of people had problems supporting Hillary Clinton. Too often it seemed like her campaign was all about her, about her wanting to be the first woman to be elected president. Now that she didn't win, her supporters want to take their ball and go home. Talk about an elitist attitude!

Monday, August 18, 2008

New PPP Poll has Ohio Tied

So the new Public Policy Polling has Ohio tied at 45% to 45% with 10% undecided. This poll also has McCain winning 18% of the African-American vote and winning 17% of the Democratic vote. Last month's Public Policy Polling, however, had McCain winning only 6% of the African-American vote and had McCain winning the white vote by a margin of 4%. This latest poll shows McCain winning the white vote by 11%. So, here's the question: how did McCain effectively triple his African-American vote and more than double his lead among white Ohioans?

Well, the answer may have less to do with McCain ads and more to do with the people being polled. This is from the PPP media release on the poll:

PPP surveyed 950 likely voters from August 12th to 14th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.2%. Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce additional error that is more difficult to quantify.

Obviously the people being polled this time are not the same as the people being polled last time. So the question is which poll is off? Was it the July poll, which had McCain getting only 6% of the African-American vote and Obama getting 42% of the white vote? Or was it the August poll, which has McCain getting 18% of the African-American vote and Obama only getting 39% of the white vote? Well, if we knew the answer to that question, we would be in the polling business.

Of course, the best answer may be not to worry about polls at all. In David Broder's column on Sunday in the Washington Post, an Obama staffer said that right now he doesn't worry about polls, he worries about increasing the number of registered voters. He said that increasing the number of registered voters is how they are going to win this election in places like Ohio, Florida, and other battleground states.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

McCain, Rape, and When Life Begins

Let's suppose that you have a daughter, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a cousin, or any other close female friend or relative. Let's suppose that she is raped. She wants to go to a medical clinic and take the "morning after" pill to avoid conceiving a child. Should the goverment let her, or should it oppose her having that option?

If you are John McCain, and if you are consistent with your answer to Rich Warren during his appearance at Warren's church, you want the government to oppose her getting that pill. That's because, according to McCain, life begins at conception and "human rights" attach to a fertilized egg.

Now, if McCain was being consistent, he would also oppose embryonic stem cell research using embryoes created, but not implanted, during ex utero procedures. Instead, however, he told Warren that he has suppported such research and voted to fund such research.

So, here's the problem for women who are concerned about access to the morning after pill in case of sexual assault, or in case a condom breaks during intercourse, which McCain is going to be president? The McCain that believes that life begins at conception, or the McCain that apparently has exceptions to that belief?

It's not just rape victims, either, who have cause to be concerned. There have been attempts by the Bush Administration to equate common forms of birth control with abortion. Here is a quote from the article linked to above:

The proposal could potentially redefine birth control as abortion. The proposal classifies abortion as "any of the various procedures -- including the prescription, dispensing and administration of any drug or the performance of any procedure or any other action -- that results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation." That last part is critical because some argue that hormonal birth control and emergency contraception can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

So, while McCain earned points with those in the so-called religious right that are convinced that legally protected life begins at conception, it is open to question how much help his answer gives him with those woman who both support him and are pro-choice.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

McCain Weaknesses: Social Security and Roe v. Wade

Yesterday we posted an entry dealing with the negative ads that the Obama campaign is running against McCain in several states, including Ohio. These ads are focused on the economy, which is the single biggest issue on voters' minds. There are two other issues, though, on which McCain is vulnerable and which could hurt him with two distinct groups of voters.

The first is Social Security. McCain has referred to Social Security as a "disgrace". This could be a big problem for McCain down the road. One of the turning points in the political fortunes of the Bush Administration was when it tried to "privatize" Social Security. The backlash against that move took a lot of the wind out of The Decider's sails. Indeed, his Social Security plans combined with the utter incompetence displayed by his response to Hurrican Katrina helped set up the Dems' victories in 2006.

An ad featuring McCain's comments about Social Security being a disgrace would be very powerful. It would also help move the over 65 group of voters in Obama's direction. If Obama was pulling the same percentage of over 65 voters than Kerry got, he would probably have about a 10 point lead in the polls, and this race wouldn't be seen as close at all.

The second issue is Roe v. Wade. In 2000 and 2004 Rove was careful to have Bush speak in coded language about the Roe decision and the right to an abortion. Indeed, when asked directly if he wanted Roe reversed, he avoided giving a direct answers. (As an aside, I always thought that Kerry's failure to call him out on the fact that he didn't answer that question directly was a big mistake.)

Recent polls show that white women who lean toward McCain are much less likely to vote for him once they realize his position on Roe. A lot of women who are personally pro-life don't want the right to an abortion taken away for other women. Getting the word out about McCain's position on this issue will important for the Obama campaign.

Incidentally, there is more than one way to take the attack to McCain. Direct mail will be a very big weapon for both political parties in the November election. Already the AFL-CIO has dropped one mailer, and possibly two, against McCain in Ohio. Direct mail tends to fly below the radar of the media. Don't think that just because you aren't seeing negative television ads that an anti-McCain message isn't being delivered.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Obama Campaign and the Timing of Negative Ads

Over the last several days there have been reports of more and more negative ads coming out from the Obama campaign. There are two negative radio ads playing in Wisconsin and Ohio; a negative television ad in Ohio aimed at the potential DHL job cuts; a negative television ad in Indiana on the economy; a negative television ad in Nevada on the proposed Yucca mountain nuclear waste disposal facility; and the ad titled "Embrace" which depict as a Washington inside celebrity.

Now, of course, none of these ads are getting the attention of the Beltway pundits, at least not to the extent of McCain's ads attacking Obama as a celebrity. They are flying below the radar, seemingly aimed at key states where Obama is either slightly ahead (Ohio); slightly behind (Nevada); or states which Obama is attempting to put into play (Indiana).

This lack of relative attention may be the point. On the one hand all the publicity about the Paris Hilton/Britney Spears ad helped McCain. On the other hand, according to polls like one from Pew Research, the public perceives McCain as running more negative ads than Obama. By waiting until McCain went negative first, the Obama campaign looks like it is only responding to McCain's own negativity.

The reason why that is important is that there has been a lot of chatter from the talking heads that if Obama goes negative he runs the risk of looking as something "different". According to the talking heads this appearance of "different" is what attracts relatively younger voters to his cause. (Such an analysis, by the way, is rather insulting to younger voters. Here's a thought: maybe, just maybe, they are fed up with a government that gets us tied down in a needless war in Iraq; transfers billions of dollars from the poor and middle class to the wealthy; and can't even competently run the goverment.)

So, this way, Obama has the best of both worlds. His campaign gets to run negative ads, but doesn't take the heat for being the ones to initially go negative. So, the question is, was this intentional or was it just luck?

We will probably never know, or if ever do know, it will be long after the campaign when people are writing their memoirs. Given the intelligent way, however, the Obama campaign has conducted itself so far, it probably was very intentional.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alan Colmes Kicks Sean Hannity's Butt on Right-Wing Hypocrisy on McCain's Affairs

So check out this clip from Sean Hannity's show where Alan Colmes renders right-wingers speechless about McCain's affair. After two right-wingers declare that Edwards was unfit to run for president because of his affair, Colmes brings up McCain's affair. All Hannity can keep yelling is that he spent five and a half years in a prisoner of war camp. The male winger tries to mount a defense, but really can't. The female winger decides to do the smart thing and not respond. It is a great thing to behold.

Senator Sherrod Brown Writes Washington Post Column About Baseball

Senator Sherrod Brown is a great fan of the Cleveland Indians and a great baseball fan. In the August 13, 2008 issue of the Washington Post he has an article about how Bowie Kuhn, the former Commissioner of Major League Baseball, is in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, but Marvin Miller, who greatly increased the power of the major league baseball players' union isn't. The article can be read here. It is well written, and interesting even if you are not a baseball fanatic. Check it out.

Needed on Sunday Morning Talk Shows: Dems With Guts and Brains

It is a common refrain on the progressive and Democratic blogs that the media is dominated by conservatives and that is why only one side is heard on television. There is some truth to this claim, but another reason why the Dems don't get their message out is that they don't take the opportunity to frame the issues when they get the chance.

An example recently was the John Edwards affair. If a prominent Democrat on one of the talk shows had told the host that he or she wanted to comment on John Edwards, then they would have been asked about Edwards.

At that point, he or she could have said something like, "Who's the bigger cad, Edwards or McCain? Well, let's look at the record. John McCain had an affair with a younger woman, so did Edwards. John McCain had an affair while his wife was recovering from a serious medical condition, so did Edwards. John McCain leaves his wife after she is disfigured in a car accident, Edwards stays with his wife. Now, how are they different? Well, John McCain left his wife, John Edwards didn't. John McCain used the inherited money of a much younger trophy wife to run for office, John Edwards didn't. John McCain offers up his wife as a contestant in a beauty contest at a bikers' rally, John Edwards didn't. John McCain reportedly uses a foul epithat to describe his wife, John Edwards doesn't. So who's the bigger cad?"

Or how about this? What if a prominent Democrat had compared Edwards, McCain, and Obama? McCain has an affair, Edwards has an affair, Obama doesn't. McCain violates his marriage vows, Edwards violates his marriage vows, Obama doesn't.

If a prominent Democrat had gone on a television talk show and laid some of that stuff down, the news reports would have been talking about it for the next 24-48 hours along with the Edwards stuff.

The same is true on the "hot white chicks" ad. Some white Dem should do for Obama what Gergen did when he talked about the coded langauge in the McCain ads. He or she should accuse McCain of playing the "race card" by appealing to the fears of whites, and in particular white males. Again, it would make news.

The above would be headline news on the 24 hour news programs. It wouldn't be because they want to help Dems or Obama, but because they need the product. The producers of the 24 hour cable news shows need product, they need something to talk about for 24 hours a day. Republicans understand this and give them product, but Democrats don't seem to get it. The problem isn't all the media, the problem is not enough Dems have the guts and brains needed to play the media's game

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Obama's Problem with Older, White Voters

The Washington Post has a good article up about Obama's problems with white voters over 65. The article points out that while he is doing better with white younger voters than either Kerry or Gore, he trails both of them among white voters over 65. The graphic that accompanies this entry is from that article.

The Post article points out that if McCain was not doing so well among white voters over 65, this race would be polling as a blow-out. This is a quote from the article:

With polls showing Obama dominating among those under 40 and running even among middle-aged voters, Republican John McCain's lead among those 65 and older is the main reason he remains close overall. His margin is largest among older white voters without a college education, accounting for much of Obama's problem with the white working class.

These were the same voters that gave Hillary Clinton much of her support in the last 13 primaries when she won eight of them. In Ohio, for example, Clinton took white voers over 65 by a margin of 72% to 24%, while she ran 64% to 34% among whites in general. Among those without a college education, she won by a margin of 58% to 48%.

While much of Obama's problem with this group could be race-related, it's not all about race. As the Post article points out, voters over 65, especially those born between 1930 and 1944, have been more conservative than other Americans. The natural inclination towards conservatism of this group, combined with the fact that Barack Obama is one-half white and one-half black, and some 17 years younger than them, means that they are identifying more with McCain than Obama.

If Obama can cut into McCain's lead among this group, he will win going away. If he can't, then this election will be close right up until November 4th.

Is 2008 like 1960 or 1928?

There is an excellent article on the New York magazine website called "The Color-Coded Campaign". The article apparently is also in New York's print version. In the article the author argues that the reason why Obama is not getting over 50% in the polling against John McCain could be the fact that he is African-American. This is a quote from the article:

Or perhaps just one big thing. Obama, after all, isn’t having trouble with African-American voters or Hispanic voters or young voters. Where he’s lagging is among white voters, and with older ones in particular. Call me crazy, but isn’t it possible, just possible, that Obama’s lead is being inhibited by the fact that he is, you know, black? “Of course it is,” says another prominent Republican operative. “It’s the thing that nobody wants to talk about, but it’s obviously a huge factor.”

The desire to ignore the elephant in the room is easy to understand, but Obama will not have that luxury. With the Jeremiah Wright fiasco, Obama was stripped of his post-racial image, transformed in the eyes of many whites from a candidate who happened to be black into a black candidate. And now he faces a Republican machine intent on blackening him further still. Add to that his exotic background (Kenyan father, Indonesian upbringing), his middle name, his urbanity and intellectualism, and the scale of the challenge ahead for him comes into sharp relief. Whereas Reagan was an otherwise familiar archetype who needed to convince America that he was neither senile nor crazy, Obama has to make the country comfortable with the most unusual profile of any person ever to come within spitting distance of occupying the White House—while at the same time preventing the election from becoming a race consumed by race.

The author goes on to argue that there is statistical evidence to back up his argument. He points out that in the Democratic primary in Ohio, using exit polls, the percentage of Democratic voters who voted for Clinton and told exit pollsters that the race of the candidate was important to them was over 11%. In New Jersey the figure was over 9%. That's in the Democratic primary, which is presumably more "liberal" than the national electorate.

In 2000 and 2004, Al Gore and John Kerry got 42% and 42% of the national white vote. the question is can Obama get 40% of the white vote in 2008? If he does, then he wins the election, but if he doesn't, then it could be a very tough election.

Which is why the title of this article alludes to both the 1928 and the 1960 elections. In 1928 Al Smith became the first Roman Catholic to win the nomination of a major American political party. He lost the election by a substantial margin. In 1960, John F. Kennedy becomes the second Roman Catholic to be nominated by a major political party, he wins the popular vote by around 100,000 votes, although he ran up a substantial margin in the electoral college.

So how does Obama avoid being Smith and become Kennedy? The author of the New York magazine article, John Heilemann, writes that there are two responses that Democratic political operatives talk about. One is to shift the debate to issues like the economy, issues that could override the reluctance of whites to vote for Obama by reminding them that there are other issues that may be more important to their futures. The other is to go after McCain, drive up his negatives, link him to the highly unpopular Bush, and make this election a national referendum on Bush and the effect of his policies.

Heilemann argues that there is a third option, and that is to confront the issue of race head on. Although Heilemann doesn't mention it in his article, a parallel example from the 1960 campaign is JFK's speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, In that speech he took on directly the fears that a lot of Protestants had about electing a Catholic for President: that the Pope and official Church doctrine would control his decisions as president.

Looking back with what we know now, such fears seem to be overblown. JFK was not a very strict Catholic. In 1960, however, that was not known to a lot of Protestants. They were worried that Kennedy's election would lead to the Pope having influence in the Oval Office.

Kennedy met that fear head-on by arguing that he believed in a strict separation of Church and State. This is a quote from his speech:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute – where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote – where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference – and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish – where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source – where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials – and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Of course, an argument could be made that the fears that some white Americans have about African-Americans are both deeper rooted and harder to articulate. If a voter fears the election of an African-American because he or she believes that African-Americans are inherently inferior, it is hard to imagine a speech that Obama could give that would sway such a voter. If, however, the fear is simply a fear of the unknown, then a speech by Obama could address and overcome such fears.

So there are, as Heilemann argues, three possible Obama responses. One is to try and over white racism with a transcendent issue. Another is to link McCain to Bush. Still another is to directly address the concerns that some white Americans are having about electing an African-American president. Perhaps the correct response is all three. How the Obama campaign responds to this challenge could determine whether we have a Democratic or Republican president in 2009.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Strange Comments on Obama's Ohio Chances by Ex Director of Franklin County Dem Party

The McClatchy Washington Bureau had a story on its website dated Monday, August 11, 2008, about the difficulties that both McCain and Obama have in carrying Ohio. What attracted our attention is this quote at the end of the article:

"McCain's made some moves. Their commercials have been pretty good. They've dug into the Obama advantage," said Zach Manifold, the executive director of the Democratic Party in Franklin County, where Columbus is.

In Ohio's Democratic primary March 4, Obama did well in the Columbus area, with its highly educated, upper-income voters. He even did well in once solidly Republican suburbs such as Upper Arlington, which appear to be trending toward the Democrats. But he lost the state to Hillary Clinton by 10 points.

What's Obama's outlook statewide in November?

"Statewide it's going to be a tough race," Manifold said. "There are other swing states where he has a better shot than Ohio. I don't know how well he fits. . . . So far, he's been outspent heavily on TV. I'm waiting to see how it turns after the conventions."

Now, we don't know Mr. Manifold, but here's our suggestion: When a national news bureau reporter calls you up for some comments about Obama carrying Ohio, you either give positive comments or you don't say anything. To say the least, the above comments are not helpful in recruiting volunteers for Obama's Ohio campaign.

Now, to be charitable to Mr. Manifold, he may be trying to get the attention of the Obama campaign to what he sees as a problem in Ohio in general, and in Franklin County in particular. Notice that he mentions the fact that Obama is being outspent heavily in Ohio on television ads.

Still, though, there are better ways to get that message to the Obama campaign than disparaging Obama's chances of carrying Ohio. To carry Ohio, we have to think and act as if we can carry Ohio. As any good coach will tell you, a team that thinks it can be beaten greatly increases its chances of being beaten. Conversely, a team that thinks and acts as if it can win greatly increases its chances of winning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Akron Beacon Journal Calls Conservative Group Out Over Lying, Anti-Boccieri Ad

Freedom's Watch, a right-wing organization out of D.C., is pouring money into a radio ad accusing State Senator John Boccieri of doing nothing to lower gasoline prices. The ad accuses Boccieri of being "all talk and no action" regarding high gasoline prices. As an editorial in yesterday's Beacon Journal makes clear, however, this ad is a bunch of typical conservative lies.

Here is the editorial:

Freedom's Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative lobbying group, is blasting John Boccieri on gas prices. In radio ads across the 16th U.S. House District, the group accuses the Democratic congressional candidate and state senator from Alliance of being ''all talk and no action'' when it comes to alleviating pain at the pump.

The ad is outrageous, a stunning misrepresentation of political reality even by the increasingly loose standards of political advertising. Boccieri was elected to the Ohio House in 2000. Republicans were in the majority. They still are. Boccieri was elected to the Ohio Senate in 2006. Republicans were and remain the majority party, leaving legislative Democrats little opportunity to advance proposals.

Kirk Schuring, the Republican candidate in the race, has called for outside groups to stay out of the campaign. No wonder. Schuring, a state senator from Jackson Township, has been in the legislature the past 15 years. Since 1995, he has been in the majority, his party holding the governor's office for most his time at the Statehouse.

The ad also makes an issue of the state's gas tax, suggesting that ''lawmakers like John Boccieri could save our families 28 cents a gallon this summer by repealing the Ohio gas tax.'' Ludicrous, again. A 2003 gas tax increase (under the Republicans, with Schuring's vote) enjoyed widespread bipartisan support because it financed much-needed road construction and repair. Boccieri, unwisely, voted no.

So the charges levied by Freedom's Watch against Boccieri more aptly apply to Schuring, if they apply at all to state government. Kirk Schuring needs to say more loudly: Freedom's Watch, take a hike!

So here we have a group attacking a Democrat for not doing something, lowering the gasoline tax, when, in actuality he voted against the tax in the first place. Meanwhile, the group lays off Schuring, who, in reality, supported the gas tax that the group wants repealed. Yep, typical conservative lies.

One Woman's Reaction to McCain Pimping His Wife Out at Strugis Biker Rally

Dear Joyce...the following is a letter I wrote to John McCain. (you may post this if you want to) I had to tell him what I truly thought of him. After Hillary losing I was uncertain where I stood and honestly didn't believe we were ready for a Barack Obama. I began actually paying attention to John McCain with an open mind and this is basically what I gathered in a very short time. I wrote him this letter. I surely hope I am not going to get into any kind of trouble. It is written from the heart and is very sincere.

Dear Senator John McCain,

How can you lead this country if you had to offer up your own wife at the Sturgis Rally to a T&A Contest called: "Buffalo Chips"? You were clearly trying so hard to please the inebriated crowd that you actually offered up your "trophy" wife to "fit in"? You are too old and should be ashamed of yourself to be entertaining the idea of running this country when just a group of bikers intimidates you? Who would use a Sturgis Rally for a campaign site anyway? What will you offer to terrorists that intimidate you should you make the election? A few of our states perhaps? I can see it now: " Here's some ocean front property over here you can is called CA. or better are several places you may like, they are somewhat private islands and they are called the "Hawaiian Islands."

Please... get out of the race and concede before you tumble or fall and break a hip or something and end up spending the remaining golden years in a wheel chair. You should be enjoying these golden years, you have led a good and honorable life, I was for "YOU" until I spotted your weakness at the Sturgis Rally on You Tube and then it broke my heart, not being there myself of course because HONORABLE people don't typically go to such drunken type of functions but only a desparate man would do this at all to get votes let alone USE his own wife as a should not be over exerting yourself to please your "trophy" wife. Why are you running John McCain? Why?

Is the Celebrity Ad Concept Really Working for McCain?

The conventional wisdom among pundits and political reporters is that it is working. Certainly the McCain campaign believes it is working since they have put out three ads using this concept. Yet, as the poll results set forth in the graph above point out, it may not be doing McCain that much good.

Gallup runs a poll every day of registered voters. As can be seen above, over the last two weeks, McCain's numbers went up, then went back down. The poll for July 25, 2008 was before the first celebrity ad using Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The second poll, on August 1, was right after those ads, and the third poll was about a week after the first ad appeared. Based on these three snapshots over a two week period, the McCain ads produced some initial movement for McCain, but then the race settled back down to about where it had been before the first celebrity ad.

Now, of course, there are some caveats here. The first is that the Gallup daily tracking poll is a poll of registered voters, not "likely" voters. The second is that it is a national poll, not a state by state poll, while the U.S. presidential election, because of the electoral college, is really 50 separate state elections, not one big national election.

Still, even keeping in mind those caveats, it is interesting that the "convential wisdom" of pundits and political journalits is not necessarily supported by the evidence.

You can view the whole Gallup daily tracking poll here.

If Republicans Want to Talk About John Edwards Affair , Then Let's Bring it On

If Republicans want to talk about the John Edwards affair with Rielle Hunter, then we should tell them, "Bring it on!" It would be a great way to get information about how John McCain treated his first wife into the public domain. Let's go over the comparisons:

1. Both McCain and Edwards were married.
2. Both of their wives had serious illnesses or injuries. McCain's ex-wife was recovering from a bad car accident and was permanently disfigured when he took up with Cindy McCain. Elizabeth Edwards had been treated for breast cancer.
3. Both of them took up with much younger women.
4. Both of them had children by the wives against whom they committed adultery.

Now, of course, there are some differences:

1. Rielle Hunter was not a wealthy heirness, Cindy McCain was wealthy.
2. Edwards was wealthy when he got involved with Hunter, John McCain was not weathy when he got involved with Cindy McCain.
3. Edwards didn't leave his wife for Rielle Hunter, John McCain did leave his ex-wife for Cindy McCain.
4. Edwards never used Hunter's money to run for public office, while McCain did use Cindy McCain's money to run for public office.

Now, of course, Republicans may want to argue that John McCain did not father any children with Cindy McCain until after they were married. Well, so far at least, there is no direct evidence that John Edwards fathered any children with Rielle Hunter. No father is listed on the birth certificate; another man claims to be the father; Hunter has never said who she believes the father to be; and there is no DNA evidence, ie, no "blue dress", that would prove Edwards is the father.

Now, are we advocating that Democrats start such conversations? No, because we aren't crazy about this whole idea that the private lives of politicians should be the subject of public discussion. What we are saying, though, is that if Republicans want to start such conversations, then we should finish them by pointing out the similarities and the differences between John McCain and John Edwards. Our guess is that astute Republicans aren't going to want to have that conversation.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Interesting Gallup Poll on Public's Perception on Racism

The results from a Gallup/USA Today poll on how the public sees racism is very interesting. While both Democrats and independents see racism against African-Americans as more wide spread than racism against whites in the United States, Republicans are the opposite. The poll found that while only 39% of Republicans feel that racism is wide-spread against blacks, 46% believe that racism is widespread against whites. The fact that Republicans feel that way goes a long way toward explaining why Barack Obama is going to have trouble getting white Republicans to vote for him.

Further, the fact that 38% of Democrats and 43% of independents feel that racism against whites is widespread shows the problems that Obama will have countering any racist campaign tactics of the GOP. Whites who feel that racism against whites is widespread will accept McCain's argument that Obama is playing the so-called "race card" if he complains about such tactics.

The existence of such beliefs might explain why McCain's complaints about Obama's use of the "race card" seemed to result in some poll movement in McCain's favor. Whites who believe that racism against whites is widespread will be angered by what they may perceive as Obama's campaign use of such tactics.

In this campaign, white Americans belief about the effects of racism against blacks and whites will have a large impact on Obama's chances. Obama can, and most likely will win, but it won't be easy and it will be close in the sense that in many states Obama will have a narrow margin of victory.

UPDATE: As Pho pointed out in his comment, we forgot to put a link to the actual poll results. Here is the link to a article from the Gallup organization about the poll.

Friday, August 08, 2008

CBS Poll Shows that Uncommitted Voters Aren't Paying Much Attention

CBS and the New York Times released a poll recently that showed that both Obama's foreign trip in July and McCain's high-profile ads weren't having much impact on the presidential race. The poll showed the same results as one taken before both of those events. In the latest poll, 45% backed Obama, 39% backed McCain and 13% were undecided. Those July poll results were the same as the June results.

One explanation might be found in the following paragraph from the CBS News article on the poll:

Uncommitted Voters:

CBS News re-interviewed voters who said they were uncommitted, including those who had a candidate but said their minds could change, when we first spoke with them in a CBS News/New York Times poll in mid-July. In the July poll, that was about 36 percent of all registered voters.

The most recent round of interviews suggest that these uncommitted voters remain largely up for grabs.

Seven in ten remain uncommitted. And while a quarter of this group now say they have made a commitment to a candidate that they don’t think will change before the election, about as many as a month ago don’t have a candidate choice at all yet.

This group seems to have become less interested in the campaign since last month. When asked in mid-July how much attention they’d been paying to the 2008 campaign generally, 45 percent said they’d paid a lot. When asked in this poll how much attention they’d been paying in the last few weeks, only 18 percent reported paying a lot of attention.

What a lot of political junkies forget is that most Americans aren't political junkies. They don't really follow politics all that closely. They don't get up and read the latest poll results on websites like; they don't read political blogs; and they don't follow the presidential campaign like sports fans do their favorite team.

There used to be a belief that Americans didn't start paying attention to political campaigns until after Labor Day. The CBS poll seems to bear that out. It is a human trait not to make decisions until you have to make them. For a lot of Americans, that means making the decision on who to vote for much closer to the election.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Iraq Runs 79 Billion Dollar Surplus While USA Runs Record Deficit

Are we the only ones who find this rather bizarre? While the USA under Bush is running a record-setting deficit this year, the Iraqi government is set to run a 79 billion dollar surplus. Of course one reason why they are running this surplus is that we are paying for a significant amount of their reconstruction.

At the start of the run-up to the Iraq War, Colin Powell was reported to have told Bush that "Pottery Barn rules will apply. If you break it, you pay for it." So, on the one hand, if you invade a country under false premises, remove its government, and, in the process destroy a lot of its infrastructure, then maybe you should pay for its reconstruction. On the other hand, its their country, so shouldn't the Iraqis use some of their oil money to pay for part of their own country's reconstruction? Just one more example of how hard-working Americans are having their tax money hi-jacked by this Republican administration.

If This Is How McCain Treats His Donors, How Will He Treat the Rest of Us?

Okay, so maybe you think that her daughter is a poster child of irresponability, but give Kathy Hilton credit for knowing bs when she sees it. This is her assessment of what she refers to as the "infamous" ad from the McCain campaign featuring her daughter and Britney Spears:

I've been asked again and again for my response to the now infamous McCain celebrity ad. I actually have three responses. It is a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next President of the United States.

By the way, the Hilton family were donors to the McCain presidential campaign. According to media reports, Paris Hilton's parents donated $4600.00 to his campaign. This would be a donation of $2300.00 from each of them, which we believe is the maximum donation that they can make since McCain is accepting public financing for the post-primary campaign. Which brings up this question: if this is how McCain treats people who have made maximum donations to his presidential campaign, how will he treat the rest of us?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Capitalism That Preys on the Weak, the Un-informed

There was a great article in the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer by a man who grew up in Cleveland. His name is Tom Palaima and he is the Dickson Centennial professor of classics at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a also a 1969 graduate of St. Ignatius High School. His article dealt with the effect of the de-regulation of the financial services industry. Here is a quote from the article:

In December 2006, I heard a Federal Reserve Bank official explain that the role of the United States in the world economy was to buy things. He said we should keep on buying things, despite the weakness of the dollar and our record levels of household and government debt. I was dumbfounded until I understood that there is a powerful segment of our society that profits from such policies.

Debt comes due. Many Americans are effectively debt slaves right now, and there are people or institutions taking advantage of that indebtedness.

A June 2 Newsweek story described how an entrepreneurial broker made a small fortune selling 71 houses in a depressed but stable Slavic neighborhood of Cleveland by manipulating the appraisals of these properties as much as 600 percent upward and then selling them via subprime mortgages. The neighborhood is now in ruins.

You can read the rest of the article here.

NYT Charts States Going Blue

The chart above was prepared from figures contained in a New York Times article. The article was about the changes in party registeration since the 2004 election. During that time, according to the NYT, more than half of the 29 states that allow registration by party had an increase in the number of Democrats. The top seven are shown in the chart.

This is a quote from the article:

In several states, including the traditional battlegrounds of Nevada and Iowa, Democrats have surprised their own party officials with significant gains in registration. In both of those states, there are now more registered Democrats than Republicans, a flip from 2004. No states have switched to the Republicans over the same period, according to data from 26 of the 29 states in which voters register by party. (Three of the states did not have complete data.)

In six states, including Iowa, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, the Democratic piece of the registration pie grew more than three percentage points, while the Republican share declined. In only three states — Kentucky, Louisiana and Oklahoma — did Republican registration rise while Democratic registration fell, but the Republican increase was less than a percentage point in Kentucky and Oklahoma. Louisiana was the only state to register a gain of more than one percentage point for Republicans as Democratic numbers declined.

You can read the Times article here.

Mainstreet Poses A Question for Joe Lieberman

One of our readers sent us the following article:

To get an accurate fix on just how unacceptable Joe Lieberman's response was to McCain's ad attacking Obama, let us conduct a thought experiment. Suppose all of the following were true:

Joe Lieberman had captured the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and was just now commencing his summer campaign. His opponent was Mike Huckabee. Al Gore, Lieberman's running mate in 2000, had since then become cozy with Huckabee.

In beginning his campaign, Lieberman was sensitive to the fact that he was the first Jewish major party presidential candidate and also sensitive to the fact that there is still an undercurrent of anti-Semitism in some part of the American population. Trying to anticipate and protect himself against possible attacks against him based upon the fact that he is Jewish, Lieberman pointed out to several audiences that he was indeed the first Jew who had ever been a serious contender for president and that there might be some attempts made by his opponent to play on lingering anti-Semitic stereotypes.

Knowing that he was behind Lieberman in the polls, Huckabee immediately seized on Lieberman's statement and put up a television ad attacking Lieberman. In a way similar to the way in which the McCain ad played on a false stereotype by using two sexually available young white women in his ad attacking Obama, Huckabee's ad made veiled but creative use of various photographs to play on a false anti-Semitic stereotype– by suggesting that Jews are avaricious, for example. As part of his attack, Huckabee also launched a preemptive strike against any claim that his ad was anti-Semitic by having a spokesman insist that it was Lieberman who had played “the religion card” and that he had dealt it from the bottom of the deck.

As Lieberman was attempting to respond to this attack, Gore went on television to tell everybody to relax and enjoy Huckabee's ad.

If all of this had been done to Lieberman, would he believe that Huckabee and Gore had acted properly?


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Pics From Mike Todd Aeros' Fundraiser on 8/1/2008

Supporters of Mike Todd for Medina County Treasurer attended the Akron Aeros versus the Harrisburg Senators on Friday, August 1, 2008. Prior to going to the ballgame several supporters attended a tailgate party at the Laborers' Hall on Wolf Ledges. Here are some pics from the tailgate party:

Look at Jobs Lost in 2008 and You See Why McCain Wants to Talk About Britney & Paris

The graph above shows the monthly job loss for 2008. The figures are from the Federal Government's Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job loss for June and July, which the graph shows at 51,000 for both months, is a projection.