Friday, October 31, 2008

From New York Times: Obama Is Up, and Fans Fear That Jinxes It

November 1, 2008
Obama Is Up, and Fans Fear That Jinxes It

In the den of his home in New Hope, Pa., a liberal Democrat sits tap-tapping at his computer.

Jon Downs, 53, works the electoral vote maps on Yahoo like a spiritualist shaking his Ouija board. He calibrates and recalibrates: Give Senator John McCain Ohio, Missouri, even Florida. But Virginia and Pennsylvania, those go to Senator Barack Obama. And Vermont, Democrats can count on Vermont, right?


Almost always, Mr. Downs ends with Mr. Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, ahead, which should please this confirmed liberal and profound Obama fan. But just as often he feels worried.

“Look, I have this sense of impending doom; we’ve had a couple of elections stolen already,” Mr. Downs said. “The only thing worse than losing is to think that you’re going to win and then lose.”

He considers that prospect and mutters, almost involuntarily, “Oh, God.”

To talk with left-leaning Democrats in New Hope, San Francisco or Miami Beach, to drill deep into their id, is to stand at the intersection of Liberal and High Anxiety.

Right now, more than a few are having a these-polls-are-too-good-to-be-true, we-still-could-lose-this-election moment. Their consuming and possibly over-caffeinated worry is that their prayers and nightly phone calls to undecided voters in Toledo, Ohio, notwithstanding, Mr. Obama might fall short on Election Day.

continue reading

Washington Post: Me Thinks George Will is Totally Done with John McCain

Call Him John the Careless

By George F. Will
Thursday, October 30, 2008; A23

From the invasion of Iraq to the selection of Sarah Palin, carelessness has characterized recent episodes of faux conservatism. Tuesday's probable repudiation of the Republican Party will punish characteristics displayed in the campaign's closing days.

Some polls show that Palin has become an even heavier weight in John McCain's saddle than his association with George W. Bush. Did McCain, who seems to think that Palin's never having attended a "Georgetown cocktail party" is sufficient qualification for the vice presidency, lift an eyebrow when she said that vice presidents "are in charge of the United States Senate"?

She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes. But does she know that when Lyndon Johnson, transformed by the 1960 election from Senate majority leader into vice president, ventured to the Capitol to attend the Democratic senators' weekly policy luncheon, the new majority leader, Montana's Mike Mansfield, supported by his caucus, barred him because his presence would be a derogation of the Senate's autonomy?

Continue reading

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From Washington Post: Return to Grant Park

Return to Grant Park - Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, October 29, 2008; A17

The Democratic Party will return next Tuesday night to the place where, 40 years ago, its last governing coalition ingloriously died -- in all likelihood, to proclaim its rebirth.

Barack Obama's presidential campaign has announced that it will hold its election night celebration (or, in the unlikely event that he loses, its stunned wake) in Chicago's Grant Park. It's a sensible venue, since a huge crowd is anticipated. But the choice of Grant Park is also historically -- even poetically -- resonant. For it was in Grant Park on a hot summer night during the tumultuous 1968 Democratic convention that the New Deal era in American politics was dispatched to oblivion through the efforts of antiwar demonstrators and the Chicago police, whose conduct that evening a subsequent government report termed "a police riot." Continue reading...

From NPR: Analyzing Barack Obama's World View

Analyzing Barack Obama's World View

Morning Edition, October 29, 2008 · Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama have had memoirs published. Newsweek editor Jon Meacham talks with Steve Inskeep about how the two candidates' experiences abroad have shaped their world views, and whether those views offer clues as to how they would govern. The first of two conversations begins with Obama's childhood experience in Indonesia as expressed in Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

Listen to the full program here. [7 min 45 sec]

Sunday, October 26, 2008

From New York Times: In Defense of White Americans

In Defense of White Americans - Frank Rich
The New York Times
October 26, 2008

There are at least two larger national lessons to be learned from what is likely to be the last gasp of Allen-McCain-Palin politics in 2008. The first, and easy one, is that Republican leaders have no idea what “real America” is. In the eight years since the first Bush-Cheney convention pledged inclusiveness and showcased Colin Powell as its opening-night speaker, the G.O.P. has terminally alienated black Americans (Powell himself now included), immigrant Americans (including the Hispanics who once gave Bush-Cheney as much as 44 percent of their votes) and the extended families of gay Americans (Palin has now revived a constitutional crusade against same-sex marriage). Subtract all those players from the actual America, and you don’t have enough of a bench to field a junior varsity volleyball team, let alone a serious campaign for the Electoral College.

But the other, less noticed lesson of the year has to do with the white people the McCain campaign has been pandering to. As we saw first in the Democratic primary results and see now in the widespread revulsion at the McCain-Palin tactics, white Americans are not remotely the bigots the G.O.P. would have us believe. Just because a campaign trades in racism doesn’t mean that the country is racist. It’s past time to come to the unfairly maligned white America’s defense. Continue reading...

Youtube Flashback to March 5, 2008: George W Bush endorses McCain, McCain looks nervous

Saturday, October 25, 2008

New York Times Endorsements Through the Ages

The New York Times recently endorsed Barack Obama for president. Not much surprise there, but they have an amazing archive featuring all the paper's presidential endorsements dating back to Abe Lincoln in 1860.

Check it out here!
New York Times Endorsements Through the Ages

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Last Best Reason to Elect John McCain?

No matter what your politcal leanings are, we can all agree on one thing. There has not been a consistent theme to the question, "Why should we elect John McCain to be president of the United State?" Each day seems to bring a different answer depending on the polls. One day McCain is always for less regulation, the next day McCain wants to regulate the heck out of Wall Street. One day he is against Bush tax cuts for the rich, the next day he is for it. One day he is against bailing out AIG and other Wall Street firms, the next day he complains the bail out is not big enough, we should buy out all outstanding mortgages. You get the point by now, I could go on but it would be awaste of time. To parse things down, the only reason you should vote for McCain, according to his direct and indirect campaign is this - You really don't know who Obama is. He pals around with a washed up terrorist, he does not see America the way you and I see it and for other reasons the campaign does not say explicitly but people are supposed to infer, we should be very afraid of an Obama administration.

Unfortunately for the McCain campaign, none of this has worked so far. Each day Obama gets attacked, he pulls away in the polls. So what is the McCain camp to do? Argue on checks and balances!

For the past six of the eight years, Republicans have been in charge of the White House, Senate, House and Supreme Court. At the time most Republicans did not see the need to champion checks and balances. The only good point from the current McCain supporters is that the Republicans did an awful job in Washington. Now with that knowledge, they are trying to save America from the awful event of a Democratic White House and Congress.

So far, I am disappointed the Obama people have not addressed this more forcefully. First, of all Republicans have been mocking Democrats for quote "measuring the drapes before the win." So isn't saying Democrats will win both houses of congress the same thing? We won't really know till election day who wins or not. Secondly and more importantly, Republicans seem to forget one thing - our founding fathers were way smarter than Bush and Cheney. Yes, that is why we have congressional elections EVERY two years in which all the House members and 1/3 of the Senate is up for reelection. If it happens that Democrats win the executive and legislative branches, in less than two years Americans will have a chance to vote again. That is why midterm elections are considered a referendum on the sitting president. Remember what happened in 2006? The cocky Republicans lost their majority overnight! The same could have happened in 2002, but in the immediate aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush and the Republicans were able to ride the patriotic mood of the day to reelection. (Also, scheduling the Iraq War resolution that October a month before election wasn't merely a coincidence).

I am sure there are other reasons why we should elect John McCain, If you ask me, his campaign has so far failed to articulate any. But with our economy facing a possible recession or depression, a broken healthcare system, two wars abroad, our power and influence waning, an image to be repaired, impending supreme court appointments, it is too important to elect a president just because he will guarantee a check on power. The next president, if it is Barack Obama, is going to have so much to fix already thanks to the Bush years. With McCain, it will just be a continuation of the last eight years. By any indication, the risks of having an all Democratic Washington for two years far outweighs the risks of continuing the Bush policies and politics for another four years. Supporters of McCain need to have more faith in our founding fathers and American democracy -our system has a way of self-correction. If Democrats get too cocky, they too will be out of office faster than the Newt Gingrich and Republican takeover in 1996 after Bill Clinton took office.

The End of Conservatism? Republicans Are Starting the Blame Game Much Earlier This Time Around

Ok, I hate to be one of those people that measures the drapes before you move into the house, but no matter who wins this election, it is clear that the conservative movement is either
1) Falling apart
2) Realigning itself, or 
3) About to enter long period in the wilderness of trying to figure out what happened to what Karl Rove had hoped would be the "Republican Majority."

Either way, most Republicans are not waiting till November 5th to start playing the blame game. In today's accelerated society, the finger pointing starts even before Joe the plumber has cast a vote.

Here are some reports:

Civil War on the Right - By E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post

For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against "liberal elitists" and "leftist intellectuals." Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement. The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces. And then there is George W. Bush. Conservatives once hailed him as creating an enduring majority on behalf of their cause. Now, they cast him as the goat in their story of decline. The conservative critique of Bush is a familiar rant against ...continue reading..

Blame game: GOP forms circular firing squad - Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen,

“If you really want to see what ‘going negative’ is in politics, just watch the back-stabbing and blame game that we’re starting to see,” said Mark McKinnon, the ad man who left the campaign after McCain wrapped up the GOP primary. “And there’s one common theme: Everyone who wasn’t part of the campaign could have done better.” “The cake is baked,” agreed a former McCain strategist. “We’re entering the finger-pointing and positioning-for-history part of the campaign. It’s every man for himself now.” A circular firing squad is among the most familiar political rituals of a campaign when things aren’t going well. But it is rare for campaign aides to be so openly participating in it well before Election Day. Continue reading..

From Democrats' gloom deepens

Democrats' gloom deepens
By: Roger Simon
October 22, 2008 03:12 PM EST

The Democrats are poised on the brink of victory. And they cannot stand it. The news is too good. Something has to go wrong.

On Saturday, Charlie Cook, an independent analyst and author of the Cook Report, wrote: “This election isn’t over, but it is looking very bad for Republicans — and seems to be getting worse.”

This plunged the Democrats into a deep gloom. Good news is always bad news for them.

On Monday, CNN’s John King announced: “Most top [people] in the McCain campaign now believe New Mexico and Iowa are gone, that Barack Obama will win New Mexico and Iowa. They are now off the dream list of the McCain campaign. More interestingly, most top people inside the McCain campaign think Colorado is gone.”

Democratic pessimism deepened when, that same day, Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray wrote in The Washington Post: “In the 13 battleground states that require voters to register by party, there are nearly 1.5 million more Democrats than at this time in 2004. The comparable Republican numbers, by contrast, have fallen by 61,000 during that time. Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 3.3 million in these same 13 battleground states, roughly double the edge — 1.8 million — they enjoyed over the GOP four years ago.”

Can it get worse for the Democrats? Yes! On Tuesday, The Associated Press wrote: “Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent $87.5 million last month and began October with nearly $134 million in the bank. The numbers illustrate his vast financial advantage over John McCain, his Republican rival, in the final stretch of the contest. McCain ended September with $47 million in the bank.”

The story went on to note that Obama “spent $65 million in advertising in September to McCain’s $22 million. In October, he has outspent McCain 4-to-1 in advertising.”

Awful news. Obama has a money problem. And you know what it is? He might run out of time to spend all the money he has! Election Day might come and go before Obama can spend the $5 million a day he is now raising. (If this does happen, I suggest he borrow a page from Oprah and buy everyone in America a Pontiac. Just as a gesture.)

Obama himself has reacted to the dismal drumbeat of good news. At a fundraising concert in Manhattan last Thursday featuring Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, Obama got up and said: “Don’t underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.”

Which is the prevailing mood in the top echelons of the Democratic Party right now. The McCain campaign cannot possibly be as hapless as it looks, party leaders feel. It is lulling the Democrats into complacency. The Republicans have to have an October surprise, because the Republicans always have an October surprise.

Besides, the robocalls could work. Never underestimate the power of the robocalls. Because people really like getting robocalls, right?

You are at home, it is dinnertime (which is when they call you because they figure you are at home then), and you are either trying to relax or get the kids fed, and the phone rings and it is this recorded voice saying: “I’m calling for John McCain and the RNC because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.”

And does that make you feel more or less positive about John McCain? Does it persuade you that McCain has a plan to save the economy? Or to help you pay your mortgage? Or that he has a steady hand on the tiller?

For the robocalls to be effective, the Republicans would need Bill Ayers to plant bombs today and not when Barack Obama was 8 years old. They need Ayers to plant bombs in key states right now with stickers on them that say: “I am Barack Obama, and I endorse this bomb.”

But McCain may have found his October surprise after all. In Bensalem, Pa., on Tuesday, McCain said: “Now, I’m not dumb enough to get mixed up in a World Series between swing states. But I think I may have detected a little pattern with Sen. Obama. It’s pretty simple, really. When he’s campaigning in Philadelphia, he roots for the Phillies, and when he’s campaigning in Tampa Bay, he ‘shows love’ to the Rays.”

And rumors are now flying that McCain has proof that when Obama was in the second grade he once ate paste.

The Democrats are fearful of all this. The Democrats are always fearful.

“We have been on the precipice of victory before,” Dan Pfeiffer, an Obama spokesman, told me. “You have never seen a more superstitious campaign than ours. We do not talk about victory.”

Talk about it, no. Plan for it, yes.

© 2008 Capitol News Company, LLC

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hypocrisy and Politics: Why Sarah Palin's $150,000 Shopping Spree Matters

Something about being a politician or celebrity must make people fail to see the hypocrisy in their words or actions. How else can you explain the news that the Republican National Party has paid more than $150,000 in clothes and accessories for Sarah Palin and her family since September. That is like $18,000 a week! Now, I doubt there is anything illegal about that or not. What surprises me is that no one in the McCain campaign or the Republican party thought this might be a problem if people found out. I mean your candidate is there everyday claiming to be part of the real hardworking America who love the country and not arugula eating latte sipping liberals. Then we find out she has been shopping at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth. Last time I checked, the Joe Six Packs and Plumbers don't shop at these boutiques. If you want to attack your opponents as being elitist, you may want to not do things that make you look more elitist than them. Do the expensive clothes look good? You bet, but then you become the greatest argument against your own case...unless your supporters are incapable of seeing hypocrisy.

RNC shells out $150K for Palin fashion -

$150,000 Wardrobe for Palin May Alter Tailor-Made Image - New York Times

After a $150,000 Makeover, Sarah Palin Has an Image Problem - Washington Post

Re: The Bling - Time Magazine

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

From The New Yorker: Who Are The Undecideds?

by David Sedaris

I don’t know that it was always this way, but, for as long as I can remember, just as we move into the final weeks of the Presidential campaign the focus shifts to the undecided voters. “Who are they?” the news anchors ask. “And how might they determine the outcome of this election?”

Then you’ll see this man or woman— someone, I always think, who looks very happy to be on TV. “Well, Charlie,” they say, “I’ve gone back and forth on the issues and whatnot, but I just can’t seem to make up my mind!” Some insist that there’s very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they’re with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention? Continue reading

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why General Colin Powell Should Be The Secretary of State Again

I know the first thing you are thinking is oh boy, why should we do this again? This is just a chance for Powell to redeem his good name. I know Colin Powell is a Republican, but he has always been an American soldier first. Few people in the public arena have the credibility and distinctions that Powell has. Like most people, I cringed in February 2003 when Powell held a vial before the UN security council and declared that is a fact that Iraq has WMDs. A lot of people note that Colin Powell was one of the only people that could have stopped this war, I am disappointed that he did not do more at the time either. But the truth is that past the revisionist history, Powell was only the Secretary of State, he was not the president and the president could have easily replaced him or went ahead anyways. My final comment on the Iraq war and Powell - in retrospect, I believe he should have resigned his post with dignity and in defiance against the war.

Now to January 20, 2009, if the new president is Senator Barack Obama, then I believe the best Secretary of State at this moment on our history is someone with the gravitas, experience and credibility to represent America in the world again in a way that restores our respect - the kind of respect we used to enjoy before George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, the Neocons and Iraq.

Watching Colin Powell on NBC's Meet The Press this morning, it is easy to see why Powell would be an excellent choice. A while back I predicted that Obama should pick Hillary Clinton to be his running mate, when I made that prediction, I was thinking of Joe Biden as a potential Sec. of State. The Obama camp has shown it makes its decisions carefully and methodically. I am sure they will make great cabinet appointments if they win, but this morning listening to Powell speak, you can forgive me for dreaming of Colin Powell as Secretary of State, again!

Powell endorses Obama as 'transformational' -

Halperin: How the Powell Endorsement Boosts Obama - Time

Powell Endorses Obama - New York Times

Colin Powell Endorses Obama - Washington Post

Colin Powell endorses Obama -

Reviewing the Third and Final Presidential Debate

Can you say late or what. But I need to get this post done so I can work on others. Here are some of the reviews I was able to get my hands on at this late time:

Candidates Clash Over Character and Policy - New York Times

McCain fails, Obama is not rattled -

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Some Power Out There Must Really Want Obama To Win

Is it just me or have you noticed that each time it seems McCain might gain a little traction, something out of his control comes by and knocks him off message and Obama gains in the poll. Remember Sarah Palin and the boost she gave McCain after the GOP convention right? What happened after that? Just as they were about to celebrate with Lipsticks and Pigs, the financial crisis descended upon us. I haven't kept a record, but it seems each debate night, the stock market plunges like 700 points taking McCain numbers with him. Today was no different, the stocks market fell like 733 points. What was on the minds of voters tonight was not petty politics of the past like Ayers and ACORN, what was on the mind of Joe Plumber and the rest of Americans were the economy, employment, education, healthcare and other important issues. The only one who seemed to "feel the pain" of the American people was a guy nobody thought had much of a chance when he announced his candidacy in February of 2007. I am one of those that believes in the destiny of America, I am not the most religious or superstitious person, but I am convinced that some force out there has looked at America in the past 8 years and decided we deserve better, the world deserves a better America. To that effect those powers are very bent on making Obama the next President of the United States.

P.S. I ll get a round up of the news and pundit reaction to Wednesday night's final debate tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

From New York Times: The Class War Before Palin

The Class War Before Palin - David Brooks

Modern conservatism began as a movement of dissident intellectuals. Richard Weaver wrote a book called, “Ideas Have Consequences.” Russell Kirk placed Edmund Burke in an American context. William F. Buckley famously said he’d rather be governed by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the faculty of Harvard. But he didn’t believe those were the only two options. His entire life was a celebration of urbane values, sophistication and the rigorous and constant application of intellect.

Driven by a need to engage elite opinion, conservatives tried to build an intellectual counterestablishment with think tanks and magazines. They disdained the ideas of the liberal professoriate, but they did not disdain the idea of a cultivated mind.

Ronald Reagan was no intellectual, but...continue reading

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hate-Fest: The Angry GOP Mob!

If someone were visiting the United States today and was totally unaware of what has been going on in the last eight years of Republicans Bush-Cheney, that person would immediately presume that Democrats would be seething with anger on the campaign trail for what even an alien would recognize has been a terrible eight years. However, that person would be wrong, it is not the Democrats who are mad as hell (although they have every reason to be just look at the stock market - and I haven't even began to look at other scandals in this administration (Hurricane Katrina, Scooter Libby, Dubai Ports, Harriet Miers, Attorney General Gonzales, Terri Schiavo, etc) - Yes, after all these it is only one party that is responsible for the situation the country finds itself - the Democrats!

You have seen the video footage of the angry mobs at the McCain-Palin rallies these days. At the mere mention of Barack Obama, the crowd seethes with rage, yells out words like "terrorist!" or "kill him!" or other racial epithets. This is what the McCain campaign has become - a hate fest. So much for the straight talk express and pledge to run a decent campaign - that was so like 11 poll points ago. As the polls shift in favor of Obama, Republicans who have ruled Washington for the last eight years are beginning to realize that the end may be near. But no, they are not going to go out easy. On the eve of what might be the end of the GOP as we know it, the Republicans are frustrated, angry and lashing out at Obama, the Media, Washington, Elites, Arugula eating cafe latte sipping Americans, Camera men who happen to be filming their hate fests, basically every one but the person most responsible for their impending demise - George W. Bush.

It is not over yet, election is still about 25 days away and anything can happen. Obama is not guaranteed a win at this time. But what the Republicans fear most is that the Conservative philosophy that reached its peak in the Reagan and early Bush II years, might finally be coming to an end. If McCain loses, the party will have an opportunity to reexamine what it means to be a conservative/Republican. Hopefully a younger generation of Republicans will stand for more progressive ideas than only being against a woman’s right to choose and gay marriage. The future of the party lies in the hands of the young ones, they must decide what being a Republican will stand for in the future. For now, the anger can be expected to continue to boil in expectation of what might be a disaster come November.

The GOP goes back to its ugly roots - Gary Kamiya,

Anger Is Crowd's Overarching Emotion at McCain Rally - Michael D. Shear and Perry Bacon Jr., Washington Post

The Terrorist Barack Hussein Obama - Frank Rich, New York Times

McCain's Risky Turn - Dan Balz, Washington Post

McCain Joins Attacks on Obama Over Radical - Elisabeth Bumiller and Patrick Healy, New York Times

Panic attacks: Voters unload at GOP rallies - Jonathan Martin,


Labor warns McCain about crowds - Foon Rhee, Boston Globe

Anger consumes John McCain support as poll gap widens - Tom Baldwin and Tim Reid, The Times

On YouTube: AC360: Angry Crowds at McCain Events

Thursday, October 9, 2008

2006 Flashback: From Rolling Stone - The Worst President in History?

The Worst President in History? - SEAN WILENTZ, April 21, 2006
Rolling Stone Magazine

George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history...Continue reading

From The GOP goes back to its ugly roots

This is probably one of the best written articles that I have come across in a while.

The GOP goes back to its ugly roots - By Gary Kamiya

There are some uncanny parallels between Goldwater's campaign and McCain's. The American right has come full circle in 44 years, with two allegedly maverick senators from Arizona playing bookend roles, one at the beginning, one perhaps at the end. Goldwater was the prophet of modern conservatism, but he came too early. For his part, McCain may have come too late. He may be remembered as the last, failed Republican candidate to use the GOP's four-decade-old strategy of attacking big government, demonizing liberals and mobilizing white resentment of blacks.

McCain is playing dirtier than Goldwater did. But the smear game still may not work. And if McCain loses, it will be for the same reasons that Goldwater lost: because conservatism itself -- which means the GOP, since it no longer has a moderate branch -- has been discredited. The Republican Party under Nixon and Reagan....continue reading

Reviewing the Second Presidential Debate

I know this is kinda late but I was too tired after the debate to write anything. Well, just like the vice presidential debate, no sparks or big gaffes by the candidate. Going into the debate Tuesday night, John McCain really needed to win or do something so dramatical as to change the direction of this election. He choose to attack Obama only on the campaign trail debate not during the debate. I though both men did ok, Obama looked presidential, young, vibrant, intelligent and kept reminding me of John F. Kennedy. On the other hand, I actually felt sorry for John McCain, he looked tired, beaten, lost and grumpy. I thought he did a better job than the first debate but he was no match for Obama's wit and crisp answers in the end, the viewers overwhlmingly voted Obama the winner.

Here are some of the reviews:

Economic Woes Set Tone for Rivals in 2nd Debate - New York Times

The worst debate ever -

A Showdown That Was More of a Letdown - Washington Post

Obama-McCain debate: jabs, but no knockout - Christian Science Monitor

McCain and Obama clash in TV debate - BBC News

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sarah Palin and the Politics of Low Expectations

A month ago John McCain at the Republican convention accepted his nomination by giving what by every account was a non impressive speech. Yet, everyone agreed that by the expectations set for him, he did quite well. Leading up to the speech, the pundits agreed giving speeches is not really McCain’s shtick. The night before, Sarah Palin, at that time still fresh and new, had given a speech also that mesmerized the Republican faithful gathered in St. Paul, MN. The expectations for her speech was high, no one knew anything about her and when she delivered a clear and concise speech with sharp jabs at the Democrats, the punditry agreed she had exceeded expectations. A week before that expectations was even higher for his acceptance speech. Obama his known to as a gifted orator and on this his most important speech, the question was can he step up to the plate and delivered? Usually in politics, you try to set the expectations low for your candidate, the Obama camp did no such thing, they let the expectations simmer. That Thursday night in Denver, CO, in front of 85,000 fans at Invesco field, Barack Obama came out and delivered a speech that met and exceeded every expectation.

Fast forward to Thursday’s debate. Sarah Palin after giving a series of interviews that makes George W. Bush look like an intellectual, the expectation is all of a sudden low. For Joe Biden all the pressure is on him. This is more like what has been happening in the past few years, each time there is a debate between a Democrat and Republican, the Republican candidate is given such a low standard of expectation that it is almost impossible not to exceed it. Remember George W. Bush and Al Gore? Yep, the punditry were shocked that Bush was even able to stand through the end of the debate without asking for a timeout. Al Gore won all the debates, but the standard was so low for Bush that he just waltzed past the debates. He could have just shown up and said my name is George W. Bush, I am a compassionate conservative!” and the media would have been chanting Hercules! Hercules!! Hercules!!! Same story with Bush four years later and John Kerry.

Life is not fair and life for the candidates is even more unfair. But campaigns do control the post and pre-spin of a debate. Republicans have been very good at lowering expectations for their candidates. Democrats need to learn. When Sarah Palin first came on the national stage, all I heard from Democrats was how Joe Biden was going to mop the floor with Palin at the vice presidential debate. Totally wrong move, you don’t do that, You are suppose to raise expectations for your opponent while lowering yours. I have been glad to see Joe Biden say that he expects Sarah Palin to be a strong and gifted debater. About time! I expect Joe Biden who has been in the Senate since Palin was in second grade to be boring. I also expect Sarah Palin to come out to the debate and skin Joe Biden like he was a salmon or moose.

We need to stop setting standards so low for the people running to lead this country. This is not a competition for Ms. Alaska, Sarah Palin cannot just come out and wave to the crowd and assume that is all. Both candidates need to be held to the same standards of expectations. One of them is going to be Vice President of the United States of America. One of them will be only a heartbeat from being leader of the free world. The stakes are high for both candidates!

Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Speech That Turned Republicans into Big Crybabies!

From The Guardian

Nancy Pelosi's speech on the financial bail-out bill
Republicans blamed the failure of the financial rescue bill partly on remarks by the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Here is the full text of her speech

Madam Speaker, when was the last time someone asked you for $700bn?

It is a number that is staggering, but tells us only the costs of the Bush administration's failed economic policies: policies built on budgetary recklessness, on an anything-goes mentality, with no regulation, no supervision, and no discipline in the system.

Democrats believe in the free market, which can and does create jobs, wealth, and capital. But left to its own devices, it has created chaos.

That chaos is the dismal picture painted by Treasury Secretary [Henry)] Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman [Ben] Bernanke a week and a half ago in the Capitol. As they pointed out, we confront a crisis of historic magnitude that has the ability to do serious injury not simply to our economy but to the American people; not just to Wall Street, but to everyday Americans on Main Street.

It is our responsibility today, to help avert that catastrophic outcome. Let us be clear: This is a crisis caused on Wall Street. But it is a crisis that reaches to Main Street in every city and town of the United States.

It is a crisis that freezes credit, causes families to lose their homes, cripples small businesses, and makes it harder to find jobs. It is a crisis that never had to happen. It is now the duty of every member of this body to recognise that the failure to act responsibly, with full protections for the American taxpayer, would compound the damage already done to the financial security of millions of American families.

Over the past several days, we have worked with our Republican colleagues to fashion an alternative to the original plan of the Bush administration.

I must recognise the outstanding leadership provided by [the chairman of the House financial services committee and Democrat of Massachusetts] Barney Frank, whose enormous intellectual and strategic abilities have never before been so urgently needed, or so widely admired.

I also want to recognise [Illinois Democratic Republican] Rahm Emanuel, who combined his deep knowledge of financial institutions with his pragmatic policy experience to resolve key disagreements.

Secretary Paulson deserves credit for working day and night to help reach an agreement, and for his flexibility in negotiating changes to his original proposal.

Democrats insisted that legislation responding to this crisis must protect the American people and Main Street from the meltdown on Wall Street.

The American people did not decide to dangerously weaken our regulatory and oversight policies. They did not make unwise and risky financial deals. They did not jeopardise the economic security of the nation. And they must not pay the cost of this emergency recovery and stabilisation bill.

So we insisted that this bill contain several key provisions. This legislation must contain independent and ongoing oversight to ensure that the recovery programme is managed with full transparency and strict accountability.

The legislation must do everything possible to allow as many people to stay in their homes rather than face foreclosure.

The corporate CEOs whose companies will benefit from the public's participation in this recovery must not benefit by exorbitant salaries and golden parachute retirement bonuses.

Our message to Wall Street is this: the party is over. The era of golden parachutes for high-flying Wall Street operators is over. No longer will the US taxpayer bail out the recklessness of Wall Street. The taxpayers who bear the risk in this recovery must share in the upside as the economy recovers.

And should this programme not pay for itself, the financial institutions that benefited, not the taxpayers, must bear responsibility for making up the difference.

These were the Democratic demands to safeguard the American taxpayer, to help the economy recover, and to impose tough accountability as a central component of this recovery effort.

This legislation is not the end of congressional activity on this crisis. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will continue to hold investigative and oversight hearings to find out how the crisis developed, where mistakes were made, and how the recovery must be managed to protect the middle class and the American taxpayer.

With passage of this legislation today, we can begin the difficult job of turning our economy around, of helping those who depend on a growing economy and stable financial institutions for a secure retirement, for the education of their children, for jobs and small business credit.

Today we must act for those Americans, for Main Street, and we must act now, with the bipartisan spirit of cooperation which allowed us to fashion this legislation.

This not enough. We are also working to restore our nation's economic strength by passing a new economic recovery stimulus package, a robust, job-creating bill that will help Americans struggling with high prices, get our economy back on track and renew the American dream.

Today we will act to avert this crisis, but informed by our experience of the past eight years, with the failed economic leadership that has left us less capable of meeting the challenges of the future.

We choose a different path. In the new year, with a new Congress and a new president, we will break free with a failed past and take America in a new direction to a better future.

* © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008