Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Obama Infomercial

When I heard that the Obama campaign was buying up half hour spots on the network I thought it would come off presumptous and have the possibility of turning people off.

After watching it, I think the tone was dead on and once again the Obama took advantage of the opportunity they had.

If you missed it you can watch it on the video above.

It was an entirely positive ad that barely mentioned John McCain or Sarah Palin and reinforced his key economic messages to insulate against the attacks of socialist, communist, and redistributionist.

And as we have seen in the debates, positive wins, and focus on the middle class, is where the votes are.

As Sarah Palin often says at her events, its a chance to talk to people 'without the filter of the media.'

This campaign has become the model campaign of our time and this ad and bold move,,, adds to the lore of the campaign that they have run.

17People Voted

One hour and fifty five minutes.

Approximately 150 people in line as the day ended.

The two people who worked the polls said it was non stop all day, with possibly 2000+ people having voted at that location.

And they told me that the two other locations nearest them were sending people over to them.

And this was early voting.

It was an amazing experience and judging by the political pins on bags and the conversations I heard,, I'd say 80%+ were voting for Obama.

Now I live in Illinois, but I talked to an 85 year old African American woman after she voted whom I walked to her daughters car who had tears in her eyes. Who sat for nearly two hours.

ME: You ok ma'am
HER: I never thought I'd live to vote for an African American for President

It was a pretty amazing experience to hear. This woman had lived through times when what she did today,,, seemed like an impossibility. We didn't talk a lot, but there are few moments I will never forget in my life and that will be one of them.

I live in Illinois and many may say that 'our votes don't count' because Barack is going to win Illinois by 20+ points. Let me say this,,, from everyone I have talked to about early voting, this state is not acting like our votes don't count.

Above all, I was proud to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden to be our President and Vice President. Also very proud to vote for our wonderful Senator Dick Durbin for another term.

Now I can use my free time between now and the election to do what I can to help deliver a win.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Something Doesn't Add Up...

So in case you haven't been following....

Their has been unprecedented finger pointing, blame, and name calling going on in the McCain campaign.

This is surprising to me as Republicans are usually the disciplined party. Yet in this campaign,, they have been tearing each other apart in the past week.

Sarah Palin has been taking a beating lately,, and not from Democrats. Instead from 'Senior McCain Aides.'

In the past 4 days they have leaked to the media...

While I think there are serious schisms between the McCain and Palin camps something doesn't add up. Even with hard feelings about the direction of the campaign, this is beyond unprofessional, it is bizarre.

There are many reasons for this but I think it is one of two things.

One, this infighting could mean that their internal numbers are worse than the public poll numbers and they know the race is over and want to get the first shots of blame off.

But I'm not sure I buy that. I know a lot of campaign people, and giving up is not most campaign staffers makeup. You don't dedicate yourself for months and in some cases years, to spend the last week torpedoing your own campaign.

So here is where my paranoia kicks in.....

Are all these leaks the last tactic or 'hail mary' that the McCain team is trying?

Could it be possible they are trying to use the media to exploit these stories and hope that the coverage will be viewed as sexist or unfair towards Sarah Palin.

To attempt to turn Sarah Palin into a sympathetic figure or a victim?

To try and use that perception that to swing women voters back in their direction?

While this sounds and probably is crazy, its one of the ways that Hillary made a big comeback against Obama.

Remember the New Hampshire debate in the primaries. Obama was up 15points over Hillary Clinton when he uttered the ill-timed and delivered 'your likeable enough' line. It cost him New Hampshire and a lot of women turned on him through the rest of the primaries.

The difference is this Obama is different.

He learned his lesson running against Hillary Clinton though and despite Sarah Palin presenting opportunity after opportunity to attack her... he hasn't taken the bait.

Either way, whether it's true dislike between the two or a conspiracy theory contrived by me,, this is the oddest conclusion to a campaign.

Imagine if they win,,, how do you work together when your staffs have been destroying each other?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get Involved in Minnesota's 6th Congressional District?

One of the hardest things for me in the writing of this blog is getting to everything that I want to write.

There are many issues, people, and campaigns I wish I had the time to write about and get statements on the record. But since no group or company has bought ads for me through Google Sense I am confined to writing in my free time and many articles get left half completed or never even started.

In the year or so of 17people, there is one article that I began writing a couple months ago that had I finished I would have looked prophetic. The article was about a one term Congresswoman from Minnesota named Michelle Bachman.

A fellow blogger and individual I am so fortunate has become a dear friend of mine over the last year wrote me over two months ago about Bachman and said I should research and write about her.

If only I had, because I would have been way ahead of the political shit storm that Bachman engulfed herself in last week.

It was last week when Bachman went on Hardball and invoked Joe McCarthy-like statements that created a feverish national stir. Bachman’s statements were cited by Colin Powell the weekend he endorsed Barack Obama and were echoed by former Republican Governor of Minnesota Arne Carlson who said her statement helped push him to endorse Obama as well.

For the past couple months I have been occasionally looking into history of Bachman but the Presidential campaign and financial crisis kept pushing the 17people expose on her back. After last week many sites have done in depth expose’s on her which are far more in-depth than I could write.

The biggest problem for me in writing about Bachman involved deciding which of her ignorant statements over the years was actually worth writing here. This is the person who said a pipeline in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge would ‘warm the ground’ for the Caribou. That ‘warm the ground’ statement while exposing her ignorance is better than the many statements she has made which I view as divisive and hateful.

Instead of finishing this piece with a string of Bachman statements that irritate me and mocking and demeaning her as many would expect from me I will take a different path., the path I like to call the Obama path. Instead of getting in the dirt an nastiness and making myself feel good by beating up on Bachman, I will instead keep my temper and worse instincts in check.

Instead 17people will hit Bachman where it hurts, by encouraging readers of this blog to take a role in defeating her at the ballot box. The great thing about the US House of Representatives is we can vote out any of them, every two years.

Last week’s McCarthy statements have done more damage than the endorsements of Powell and Carlson for Obama, they have put her job in jeopardy.

In fact her statements so outraged the public that her opponent, Elwyn Tinklenberg,,, that’s right Elwyn Tinklenberg has raised over $1million AND the National Republican Congressional Committee has pulled their support for her campaign.

I strongly encourage you, as I have to give what you can, $5, $10, or more if you can to help defeat Michelle Bachman. Even if you are not from Minnesota, you can make a difference and if you are from Minnesota,,, GET INVOLVED FOR ELWYN!!!!

To contribute to Elwyn Tinklenberg click on this link.

Alaskan Obama Endorsement?

And the hits just keep on coming.

The latest surprise endorsement for Barack Obama to go along with the avalanche of Conservatives from Colin Powell, William Weld, Arne Coleman, Christopher Buckley, Larry Pressler, Ken Adelman, Scott McClellan, Christopher Hitchens comes the the Anchorage Daily News.

Now I am not sure whether the Anchorage Daily News is a 'liberal' newspaper, but it is the Anchorage Daily News from Alaska.

I just learned that this newspaper, which is the biggest in Alaska endorsed Senator Barack Obama despite the fact that their own Governor was chosen as Vice President for John McCain.

Read the Obama endorsement here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

17People Scolding Democrats

I received a scathing email the other day from a conservative who said I am hypocritical for not having commented on recent gaffes made by Democrats when I have been subliminally skewering Republicans like Michelle Bachman, Robin Hayes, and Sarah Palin. In all honesty the email was phrased much nastier but this is family blog so I will avoid a direct transcription.

While I am a fierce partisan I think this blog has a pretty stellar track record of criticizing Democrats and to show my independence will address the statements of Joe Biden, John Murtha, and John Kerry.


So Joe Biden said that they world will 'test' Obama in the first six months of his Presidency. My love for Joe Biden is pretty well stated on this blog and I know he will be a great VP.

Yet my man Joe has a propensity to say some things in ways I wish he wouldn't. He tends to make certain statements more dramatic than they need to be and this one falls in that category.

It's pretty clear to all voters that whomever the next President is will have serious tests already. The state the country is in right now is going to be a serious test and as we learned with the financial crisis,,, a 'test' can come at anytime.


Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha made a stupid comment about being Western Pennsylvania voters not voting for Obama because the area is racist.

There is something wrong with John Murtha, he is a bigger gaffe machine than Joe Biden is and quite honestly have gotten tired of him for quite some time. A couple years back I respected him for being a strong Democratic anti-war voice when it wasn't popular.

But since that point every time Murtha has been on TV I have held my breath hoping that he wouldn't screw up and 50% of the time it seems like he does. Murtha is now in trouble in his district which was a very safe seat up only 5 points in the last poll.

If Murtha loses he brought it on himself and I wouldn't miss him and his bloviating.

I won't make any excuses for Murtha, but the difference between his statement and that of Bachman and Hayes is that he at least was talking about his own area, his own home. He didn't say the whole country was racist, or that conservatives hated all people who work hard and believe in God.

Sometimes not painting with a broad brush is better than labeling groups of people.


Even Republican readers of this blog know that I have been consistent in my blasting of 2004 Democratic Nominee John Kerry and as a result I am not shocked that he has rendered himself an embarrassment once again.

Kerry made an off color joke about the famous 'boxers of briefs' question that was first asked to Bill Clinton I believe on MTV in 1992. Kerry's initial answer was actually kind of funny when he said he considered answering the question 'commando'.

But then as John Kerry is prone to do,,, he just dug himself a hole and that McCain said 'depends'. Kerry's response as to why he said what he did was pretty painful. Jon Stewart had a much funnier take on it last night in part of what he called 'Gaffe-In' . The Kerry part starts around the 3:28 part of the video.

With any luck John Kerry can go help Barack by doing what he did after his infamous busted 'stuck in Iraq' joke before the 2006 mid-term election. What he did that helped after miserably failing to deliver that joke was go back to Massachusetts and not talk anymore.

The Iraq joke was something the Republicans tried to use against the Democrats, the Result was that the Dems took control of the Senate and the House. So maybe a bad John Kerry joke in 2008 followed by his hiding from public life,,, will lead to massive Democratic victory's in 2008.

So please Senator Kerry, just go away.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poll Of The Day

Multiple times I have written that I do not care about national polls and care most about state polls. So this morning I was reviewing the polls of the day at my favorite site for non-partisan information,

I like to look at the daily polls which come from the various states which I view as a better view of how things work than national polls.

While I rarely see a number that I feel deserves its own blog,,, this one does.

The latest poll in Alaska shows Obama down 11 points. Now double digits and being over 50% is a big lead and a solid state for the Republicans.

However,, this is the home state of the 'most popular Governor in the country' who just happens to be,,,, on the Republican ticket and the worse news for Governor Palin is that the numbers which you can see below show that there is a trend towards Obama in Alaska. A gain for Obama-Biden of six points in the last two weeks.

McCain Palin 54
Obama-Biden 35
McCain Palin 55
Obama-Biden 38
McCain Palin 53
Obama-Biden 42
Check the numbers for yourself in this Anchorage Press Article.

Additionally, the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll said that "now, Palin’s qualifications to be president rank as voters’ top concern about McCain’s candidacy".

So Palin is a major concern of the voters nationally, has higher negatives than positives with a W-like 47-38 against, and is seeing her own state's polls tighten.

Is the Palin pick starting to look like a bit of a liability?

In the words of Sarah Palin...

You Betcha!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Urbanathlon and 'My America'

This post has been in the hopper since Saturday, but needless to say it has grown in meaning to me as some in this country have said some things that have stirred some feelings within me.

The picture above is of an eight foot wall I had to climb over at the 10.5 mile mark of Men's Health Urbanathlon this past Saturday. It was the latest goal that I set for myself in a year of a commitment to taking care of myself and getting into shape.

I wrote earlier this year about the 'Biggest Loser' competition I was in with some friends of mine. Since that time I have embarked on a mission that in many cases is harder than losing weight and getting in shape,, which is maintaining that condition and weight.

So about two months ago I decided to run in and start training for Urbanathlon, a unique race that requires both endurance and strength. The race was 10.5 miles and had multiple tough obstacles at various points throughout the course.

Running the bleachers at Soldiers Field, monkey bars, and the 8 foot wall were just a couple of the obstacles that were involved. (Click on this link to see the course)

I trained hard for this race and it payed off. I ran around 8minute miles, never had to walk, and navigated many of the obstacles with ease due to smart and tireless training. I set a time goal to finish the race and the obstacles (which didn't count in the 10.5miles) in under 100minutes which I am proud to say I did.

I was ready for what was in front of me but when I got to the Marine Hurdles I hit a snag.

These 5 foot tall wooden hurdles proved to be tougher than I expected and even though I had increased my strength and fitness I just couldn't jump high enough to get my body in position to get over the hurdle. The hurdles were on the 31st Street Beach and the sand further limited my already unimpressive vertical jump.

10, 11, 15 times I tried to jump and hold myself on the hurdle (my arms have the bruises to show it) and I was wondering how I would get over those damn things.

"Hey buddy, I'll give you a boost," a voice shouted out.

I had watched many people get a boost over the hurdles as many people could not get over on their own, but the 'boosters' were usually people that couldn't get over the hurdles themselves. It was a bit of a quid pro quo.

The cuts and bruises on my arms caused me to accept this guys offer of help and I got over the 1st of the three hurdles. He then helped three other people with boost's over that 1st hurdle.

I went to the second hurdle and thought I'd be able to get over this one to and as I threw myself up and held onto the top of the hurdle with all my strength,,,, I yet again fell to the sand in failure.

"Wait, I'll help you!" the same guy said as he flung himself over the 1st hurdle with no help.

At this point, I checked my pride at the door and helped the other struggling people over the hurdles as the random guy helped me and accepted his offer of help for the 2nd and 3rd hurdles as well.

I never caught the guys name or saw him again, but I remember thinking it was really nice of him to help me and the others.

It was especially selfless since he obviously didn't need any help getting over the hurdles himself, but he took the time to help others instead of being self absorbed with his 'personal time' for the race.

Up until that point in the race I couldn't say the same thing about myself.

After the hurdles there was about 4 miles and two tough obstacles left in the race including the 8 foot wall in the picture above at the very end of the race.

So as I picked up my pace and hurdled myself over the Taxi Hurdle (yes, an actual taxi hurdle) I only had the wall left to negotiate. This was where all the pull-ups from the last two months would pay off. But before I made my leap toward the wall I saw someone on the wall struggling to hold onto the wall. I ran up and gave the lady bit of a push,, she got herself over the wall and over her shoulder shouted a quick 'thanks'.

I never saw her after that but I can say that I still had to get myself over the wall.

So I jumped into the wall grabbed the rope and got one hand on top of the wall. I started to pull myself up and then all of a sudden I had someone give me a boost. I didn't ask for it, but as I got myself over the wall a bit quicker and easier, I wasn't upset by it.

So twice during this race which I had trained so hard for,, a good Samaritan gave me a 'hand up' and helped me accomplish my goal.

So what has 'grown in meaning to me' as I mentioned in the opening line of this blog?

This race was in "Chicago", the home of the maligned "Chicago Political Machine" by the RNC, my guess is Chicago falls outside the 'Real America' based on the comments of Sarah Palin, is probably 'Un-American' as Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann said, and may be even worse if it is considered 'liberal' like Congressman Robin Hayes of North Carolina said in introducing Palin the other day.

I strongly urge you to click the links in this paragraph if you haven't already.

First off, I love my 'big' city of Chicago so are they trying to make me ashamed of where I live?

It's a beautiful place that has many good people. The help that the two people gave me during the race confirmed that to me yet again. Chicago has amazing culture, architecture, history, and I know there are many hard working loyal people here.

According to the statements and views by the Republicans above * should I assume the people that were 'Good Samaritans' that helped me in my race were from 'small towns' because Chicagoans are incapable of charity?

The statements of Palin, Bachmann, and Hayes are heinous and divisive statements that are the worst of what our country stands for. They go to the comments made by Colin Powell who called out Bachmann and the Republicans for going 'beyond political fighting back and forth' and dividing us.

The ultra divisive language that has been used against 'big city's' seems to have taken the place of usual 'radical right' targets like gays and people that are against guns.

What are those that are pushing this agenda trying to achieve?

I know that some people will criticize me for turning a story about a race into a sermon that is clearly partisan politics.

Yet the run reminded me how great a city I live in and I won't let my city be discarded as 'Un-American' because of our size.

I hope people have the same pride in their city's that I do, whether it is big or small.

The most often used line by Presidents after they are elected is 'there is more that unites us than divides us.' I believe this line is true and that above our personal localities, we are all proud Americans.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Colin Powell: 17People Reader?

If you missed the strong and eloquent endorsement of that Colin Powell gave on Meet The Press this weekend in favor of Barack Obama you will see yet another example of an intellectual and thoughtful Republican who has tired of the tone, tactics, and rhetoric of the McCain-Palin ticket.

The video of the endorsement part of his speech is below and I hope that my Republican friends who have been angered by what I have written about my disappointment in the path the McCain campaign has taken.

The fact of the matter is that Powell, while not seething partisanship, as I have a tendency to do, took apart piece by piece the McCain campaign. It was a measured, yet if you listen to it, a devastating attack on every aspect of the McCain campaign for the past couple months.

I often wrote during the debates,,, 'it's not just what you say, but how you say it, and equally as important,, how you look when you say it.'

Powell, like Obama in the debates never got angry or heated, but in his endorsement he hammered away harder than anything Obama said during any of the debates.

  • He blasted as hard as anyone on the qualifications on Sarah Palin to assume the Presidency and more importantly said what her selection says about John McCain's judgement.
  • He spelled out clearly the fact the the leadership that Obama has shown during the campaign is the kind of cool and steady leadership that we need as opposed to the not so steady reactions of John McCain.
  • Better than most he tackled the Bill Ayers attacks as what they are,,, 'narrow'

This endorsement has been labeled by some as not a surprise. Rush Limbaugh has even tried to invoke race into it by implying that Powell endorsed Obama because of race.

I urge you to listen to Powell in the video below.

He has been friends with McCain for 25 years and even contributed to him in the primary. What gets me the most though is not that he endorsed Obama, but the strength with which he did so. He didn't jut endorse Obama, he destroyed McCain and the path of the Republican party.

But I have to wonder if Colin Powell reads this blog. Many of his attacks on Republicans and disappointment with McCain were taken straight from these pages and one in particular hit me.

On Tuesday October 14 I wrote that I wish Obama handled the 'are you a Muslim question' stronger. And in fact gave him a line to use.

"I'm not Arab. But so what if I was?"

Go to the 4:30 mark of the video below and listen to what Powell says after he says 'The really right answer is..."

And then listen to what he says after about a soldier that he read an article about. It's moving and it's powerful,, period.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Road Back to Likeability?

There is no question that I have been very hard on John McCain in the past couple months.

The rhetoric and tactics of the McCain campaign have pissed more than most Republicans of recent vintage,, like George Bush.

I expected dirty politics from Rove, Cheney, and Bush.

Why McCain's campaign tactics bother me so much is that for years I admired John McCain. Not just for his distinguished service in defending our country, but also for the way he has carried himself as a Senator.

He ran a great campaign for President in 2000, and above all he has been a likeable person. Whether on shows like Letterman, Chris Matthews, or Meet The Press with Tim Russert, I always felt like I believed what he was saying. For much of the past eight years he was a rarity amongst politicians.

The John McCain of this campaign abandoned that mentality in this general election.

He has allowed himself to be 'handled'. There's an old line in campaigns that was most famously used by the Reagan campaigns. "Let Reagan be Reagan" they would say when Reagan had problems.

This strategy was not used by Team McCain in the past 5 months. McCain has been micro-managed and the result has been a candidate who has not been true to his own personality and it has showed throughout the campaign.

But just maybe things are changing after the debate the other night. I think the polls and reactions to all three debates may have finally shown John McCain that he has to be himself the last three weeks of this campaign. That he can't listen to the same people that were puppeteers to President Bush in his two victories.

I also have to say that not taking the bait and invoking Jeremiah Wright after he said he wouldn't has been something admirable. The uncomfortableness of the way he handled the Ayers thing showed me he wasn't buying into what the Hannity's of the world were pushing him to do.

McCain has to get back to being himself. It probably will not just to give him a chance to win, it could very well be too late for that, but more importantly he can find a way to lose with some dignity and respect.

By changing course he can finish the campaign and remind people, even like me, why we liked him in the first place.

Last night was a move in that direction.

I watched McCain on David Letterman and thought he was really good. Letterman asked him tough questions and drilled him good, but McCain was funny and likeable. He didn't dodge questions and while I don't agree with his policies or believe that Sarah Palin was his first choice,, think he did well.

Even better, instead of coming in defensive, McCain did what he should have done and admitted that he 'screwed up' by skipping out on his last appearance.

Then came the Al Smith Dinner in New York City last night.

I have to give both candidates credit,, they were hilarious. Of course depending on who you are rooting for you will say that your candidate was funnier, but in this case I can say I think they both did a great job.

Click here for McCain's speech.

Click here for Obama's speech.

As someone who has been tough on John McCain, I think he had a great day yesterday. Not a momentum changing day, but a day unlike the debates and recent rallies, made him look both likeable, real, and like he was not letting advisors 'handle him'.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Obama Kentucky Home?

The picture above is of one of my favorite places in the country. That would be Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, KY. I went to the University of Kentucky and despite being a loyal and proud Chicagoan,, have always considered the state of Kentucky a second home. today and saw the headline "Battleground Kentucky??" my interest was piqued.

It turns out that the Obama campaign is considering an expansion of their targets to include my beloved Kentucky. I have to presume that they have some polling that shows them making some inroads in the Bluegrass State.

Now unless a bigger than expected Democratic wave hits the country I can't see Obama winning Kentucky in three weeks.

Yet I can see him forcing the Republicans to defend it a bit. An Obama or Biden visit to Louisville, or sending the Clintons in a couple times could really send the GOP into a big time defensive mode.

Plus ad buys in Kentucky are pretty cheap compared to markets like Philadelphia or Washington DC (which targets Northern Virginia). The Obama camp could go up with their positive ads and appeal to independents and increase turnout among Democratic voters.

The benefit is that they will be able to do so with little to no counter ads from the McCain campaign. I just can't imagine the McCain team will have the dollars to go on TV in this red state and be able to poach any blue states.

So why do this if he can't win?

There's a second benefit to upping Obama's positives in Kentucky.

The Senate race in Kentucky has gotten unexpectedly close and this isn't any other Senate race.

This race has the Senate Minority Leader, and ironically arch nemesis of John McCain, Mitch McConnell, in his closest election probably since his 1st campaign in 1984. He is facing multiple time Democratic losing candidate, successful businessman Bruce Lunsford.

When you can take out an iconic Senator,,, you gotta do it, because if not, they'll probably die in office. McConnell certainly fits that bill. Knocking him off would be an incredible body blow to the Republicans in the Senate and set off an internal battle amongst Senate Republicans to try and replace him as the top Republican in the Senate.

This race looked to be a sure thing for the Republicans two of the last three public polls have Lunsford trailing but inside the margin of error and both campaigns internal polls, which they released, have McConnell under 50%.

Obama coming into the state in anyway could really rally the base of the Democratic Party which has seen success in recent years winning Congressional seats, almost defeating Senator Jim Bunning with a no-name candidate, and winning the Governorship a few years back.

All I can say is this,, as much as I care about Kentucky and hope that Lunsford wins,,, I'd just assume that the Obama team put their resources into states that they can really win. Then again, this campaign has the resources to play offense and as long as they don't skimp on a buy to win Colorado, Ohio, or Virginia,,, then I hope they can get Kentucky too!

The Final Debate of the Season

The end of the Presidential Debate Season could not come soon enough.

For me these nights are all consuming. I usually go to the gym before the debate and watch the pre-game on the treadmill. Then I get home and watch the debate in it's entirety, taking copious notes for the next days blog. At the end of the debate my phone starts to ring like crazy with people looking for someone to vent with. After going through a load of text messages from the people I couldn't talk to I then get to watch furiously swithc between networks to get as much of the pundits feedback that I can get.

For this debate I have to say that what I saw did not match what I heard after the debate.

I thought McCain won the debate pretty clearly and would easily be declared the winner by the post debate pundits, polls, and the articles the next morning.

He was more aggressive than Obama and as an old political operative who has been angered by the attacks of the McCain campaign I wanted to see Obama go after him. I wanted to see Obama really take the fight to McCain and deliver a knockout blow.

I didn't think playing the 'cool guy' was going to get him another win as it did the first two debates.

It appears that once again I wanted to hear something different than many people out there.

The polls on all the networks gave Obama overwhelming victories in polls of uncommitted voters.

Even Fox News' poll gave Obama the win.

These results just go to show that the 'independant' and 'fed up with politics' voter are not looking for the bloodsport that people like me sometimes want.

In flipping through the channels I heard uber-conservative commentator Charles Krauthamer of Fox News said that Obama's temperament gave him the win for the night. Krauthammer made a pretty profound statement when he said.

He's a man of remarkable self containment... It's that discipline and self containment which I think is his greatest asset and he deployed it remarkably.

This years electorate is just different than 2000 and 2004 and I think that is why we are seeing the state polls .

I have to say that up to this point Barack Obama has really tapped into what the electorate wants and is looking for in its next President. The lessons of 2008 are to exude the three C's, cool, calm, and confidence and Barack Obama has done this at every turn of this campaign.

During the 270 minutes of debates between the two Barack Obama never let the attacks of John McCain get to him. He didn't cut off McCain, roll his eyes, even his raise his voice.

He stayed on his message and effectively counter jabbed. That's right, his comebacks weren't really punches, they were more jabs which seemed to stun McCain through every debate.

The problem with McCains attacks last night and throughout the debates and the campaign was that they have had little to no focus. He has tried the 'kitchen sink' strategy of throwing everything at Obama.

Obama's cool, measured responses to the slew of attacks has made each of the attacks look smaller than they already were and in the end it is exactly why he is winning this race right now.


Have to give a big thumbs up to CBS's Bob Schieffer. After utterly lackluster jobs of moderating these debates by Jim Lehrer, Gwen Ifill, and Tom Brokaw Schieffer asked questions that made the candidates have to think.

There weren't softball questions for either and I think that his questions and moderating made this debate far more interesting than the previous two.


Can't wait to see what Saturday Night Live does with this gem.

Also, I would encourage everyone to be patient on this 'heartwarming' story that McCain decided to base the entire debate on.

Much like the McCain camp did with the selection of Sarah Palin, the vetting on Joe Wurzelbacher (aka Joe the Plumber) was not very good.

I am interested to see the real story on Joe the Plumber come to light. There are many entertaining rumors about old Joe that are out there.

As we've seen with Governor Palin,, sometimes it's better to do your homework on a person, before basing your campaign on it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Surprise Endorsement For Obama

When it comes to conservatism there is one man who can be called the architect of true 'small government' conservatism. That man passed away earlier this year, and his name was William F. Buckley.

One of my regrets on this blog was that I didn't finish a quick article that commemorated his death. While Buckley and I fundamentally disagreed on government I always thought him an exceptional mind. In 1955 Buckley founded the National Review Magazine, which has been the handbook for American Conservatism for years.

So when I read an endorsement for Barack Obama this weekend penned by William F. Buckley's son, Christopher Buckley,, I was pretty surprised. Christopher Buckley, an accomplished writer in his own write, the movie Thank You For Smoking, was based on a Buckley book. Christopher Buckley is also a well credentialed conservative who was writing the article on the back page of the National Review.

As I said, William F. Buckley founded the magazine, so when I saw Christopher Buckley on Hardball last night saying that he had to resign from the magazine he's a part owner of because of conservative backlash and people who threatened and did cancel their subscription.

As you can see in the interview below, Buckley was a bit surprised that they accepted his resignation, but they willingly did.

Here's what gets me, and Chris Buckley made the point below. William F Buckley was the kind of guy that argued with civil discourse. He let his opponents make their cases. Read the link to his sons view of Obama above.

You can disagree with them, but you can't say they aren't thoughtful.

Buckley, along with fellow National Review author Kathleen Parker have received thousands of hateful emails and letters calling them traitors. Parker has been very critical of Sarah Palin, which has caused conservatives to hate her apparently. Yet Parker has not resigned apparently, because while critical of Palin, she has not yet endorsed Obama.

One last thought.

I just wonder if any of the conservatives that criticize Democrats anger at Joe Lieberman for backing McCain are any of the same people that demanded Christopher Buckley resign or be fired for voicing his opinion?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

17People Smorgasboard

There is so much to write about over the past couple days I have not been able to focus on any one thing. Here is my attempt to blurb about what has been going on...


Civil Rights Icon, Georgia Congressman, and true American Hero, John Lewis (who shares a birthday with me), said the following over the weekend...

"What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

"George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama."

The McCain campaign expressed outrage at these comments and demanded that Obama repudiate them.

Something which he hasn't done yet and I hope he does not do.

The rhetoric of the McCain campaign, Governor Palin in particular, has been disheartening and dirty. Their rhetoric that has taken rowdy crowds and made them even uglier. I noted in the "What's in My Name?" blog some of the awful things that have been shouted by crowds and showed a video of some of the tragically ignorant people that have been there and incited by Palin in particular.

The truth is this... Lewis never called either Palin or McCain racist, he just stated from an expert opinion, that the energy of the campaign and it's followers has worried him. If anyone can talk about what happens when the fires of passion are ignited by the words of politicians, it's John Lewis.

This is what happens when people in your campaign go out and say things like:

"Palling around with terrorists."

This is an awful and disgraceful attack that McCain has not been able to shut down, despite the fact that it is becoming clear that he is not happy with the recent line of attacks.

While McCain has been trying to tone down the rhetoric over the weekend Palin has been has continued spewing vitriol and lies at every turn.

As Politico's Roger Simon writes today it appears that Palin is running her own campaign.


Sure that you have seen this but as a point of reference.

I applaud John McCain for taking the microphone from the disturbed woman who made this statement, and was pleased to hear him call Barack Obama a 'decent man', he again missed an opportunity to tamper the down the real bigotry of the question.

The bigotry was the assertion the woman made that Obama was bad because he was Arab.

McCain's response was that Obama wasn't Arab. The words of people matter and the words of a President can cause financial markets to crash and countries to increase the size of their military.

My problem with McCain's reply is that it sounded like Obama was 'decent' because he wasn't Arab.

The United States has many wonderful Arab American citizens and I think it's time that someone has courage to defend them. The McCain statement in this answer had to hurt to Arab Americans who have to want to hear more people in both parties stand up and squash the Arab bias that permeates our country right now.

While I don't think McCain is anti-Arab in any way the fact that he failed to recognize and condemn the anti-Arab sentiment of the statement by the woman in the video was disappointing.

As a country we are too quick to downgrade and show bias against groups in this country. From American Indians, to immigrants, to African Americans, to the Japanese Internment camps, and many more, our fear of those different from us is one the darkest parts of the history of our country.

The Arab's in our country are just the latest group which we feel free to crap on, because of hatred and fear.

For the record I think Obama should handle this stronger as well. If I were him I would answer the "Arab" Question the following way.

"I'm not Arab. But so what if I was?"


I really can't understand Sarah Palin.

The "TrooperGate" investigation, which was authorized by Alaskan Republicans found some irregularities with her behavior.

By no means am I calling this report a version of Watergate or a 'smoking gun' of any kind. Yet the report continues to chip away at her credibility as a reformer.

The report COULD NOT BE CLEARER that she did something wrong, yet Palin was out there yesterday saying she was cleared of any wrongdoing. See the video below from Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Palin really likes to try and show herself as a humble, down to earth, regular person.

Instead she is coming off as delusional and out of touch with reality.

I would have respected her if she blasted the report as partisan politics or a sham. But to say that a report which not only says you broke the code of ethics, but cites the specific code... and you say it clears you of any improprieties?

Like I said, I just do not understand Sarah Palin.


Republicans have an incredible love and admiration for Ronald Reagan. While I have always found this over the top I have really begun to admire the kind of politician that Reagan was after observing the past three elections.

In a wonderful article over the weekend in the Economist the Nixon way is shown pretty clearly. I really recommend this article for Republican readers.

Remember, Sarah Palin said she reads The Economist after saying she read 'all of them' when asked which publications she reads.

But my new admiration for Reagan is that in studying his campaigns, he was tough, but rarely dragged himself into the real dirt of politics.

I think Reagan would have been upset with ads like Willie Horton in 1988, the slanderous attacks against John McCain by George W. Bush, the Swiftboat ads against John Kerry, and the 'palling around with terrorists' rhetoric of this election.

The Atwater-Rove politics of the Republican party have two principles of past Republican Presidents. 1st they attempt to divide and destroy like Nixon,, 2nd they like to say Reagan as much as possible without using the grace and dignity he did.

Reagan may have been a leader I disagreed with the direction he took us, but he seems to have been a respectable person both as a leader and a candidate. I have to say that he ran campaigns with a level of class and dignity that his party has abandoned for 20 years now.


Loyal readers know that I don't talk a lot about national polls, but I do take stock in state polls, because that is how the campaigns decide how and where to put their resources. The news a couple weeks ago that McCain was pulling out of Michigan really surprised me as that looked all year like a fierce battleground. Today we see a new poll that has Obama up 16 points in Michigan.

State polls are where the real interesting and encouraging numbers are for supporters for Obama and why I think there has been such anger and frustration from Republicans.

In the last week alone Obama has expanded his own electoral opportunities and put McCain in a much more defensive position than I ever expected.


- Wisconsin which John Kerry won with just 5000 or so votes has had three polls in the last week. Two had Obama up 10 points and new poll today had him up 17!
- Minnesota which is always pretty close though reliably Democrat was supposed to be closer with the Republicans hosting their Convention in St Paul has broken hard for Obama. This is one of two states where McCain has outspent Obama. Today's poll had Obama up 11 and while one recent poll had a 1pt lead that seemed to be the outlier of two other polls that had 7 and 14pt Obama leads.
- Pennsylvania. This seems to be where McCain is making his stand but its hard to see why. In the last 8 days there have been 7 polls in Pennsylvania where Palin and McCain have been campaigning almost every day. The leads for Obama in those 7 polls; 15, 13, 14, 14, 12, 13, 15.


I thought the 50 state strategy was nuts and going to cost Obama but what we are seeing is that coupled with the financial crisis, Bush blowout states are increasingly looking to be in play.

- Indiana, very Red State has had three of its last four polls have the race within the margin of error and Sarah Palin will be making a trip there in the next couple days. One poll has a 7pt McCain lead, another has it a dead tie.
- North Dakota! Thats right North Dakota which gave Bush a 24point win four years ago and had McCain up in the polls by 15 three weeks ago had a poll come out that gave Obama a 2pt lead. Yes in the margin of error, but unreal that this state may be in play.
- Virginia and Colorado. The last four polls in Virginia have all gone to Obama though the trend is that the race is getting tighter. The last three polls in Colorado have all showed Obama with a lead outside the margin of error and the lead may be expanding from +6, +6, to +9.
- Georgia. This looks to be a solid McCain state, but the trend is looking to close in favor of Obama. In Mid September McCain was up between 13 and 18 points. Recent polls show that Obama is down from 3-8 points.
- North Carolina. A big Obama target for months may well be the closest of all states this year. The last 4 polls have two leads for McCain inside the margin of error (+2, +3), one lead for Obama oustide the margin of error (+5), and one dead tie.

21 days until the election but if half of these polls are accurate then Obama has a real margin for error and ability to play real offense while McCain has to defend his own states.

Florida and Ohio, where the last two elections were decided you may be asking?

The polls are pretty close, but in Ohio since October 1st there have been 11 polls. 9 of 11 have been in Obama's favor. Five of those 9 have been leads of 4 pts or more oustide the margin of error.

In Florida there have been 6 polls since October 1st. ALL 6 polls have been in Obama's favor, 4 of the 6 have been outside the margin of error. Even more encouraging for Democrats is that two of the three biggest leads in those poll are Fox News Polls.

******* All polling data gathered from Real Clear Politics, Battle Ground State Polls.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What's in My Name?

My friends, I have kept a deep, dark, and embarrassing secret from you.

This admission is so damaging that it will surely crush my future political ambitions.

My revelation to you all is this,,, my middle name,,,, is George.

I can hear the attacks from my future opponents now.

  • Can we really trust a man whose middle name is the same as George W. Bush’s first name?!
  • How can you talk about change and reform,,, when your name is George?
  • George? How can we be sure that’s not a Muslim name?
  • George? My George Foreman Grill never worked!! Did yours?!
  • George!?!?! I’d rather his middle name was Hoover,,,, or Hussein!

The root of my middle name comes from within my family, but surely I can’t trust the people to understand that.

My middle name will inspire such anger that mobs of people go to political rally’s of my future opponents and shout awful, hate filled things when they are told my middle name.

Face it… the last eight years have ruined it for those people with the name George.

When it comes to all things George, Americans are saying,,,

“Never Again”


OK, my little satire aside.

Are we as a nation really so stupid that we will judge people based on their middle name? Or for that matter their first or last name?

Apparently some Republicans think that we are this ignorant?

Twice in the past couple days Republicans that have introduced John McCain and Sarah Palin have drawn loud cheers by emphasizing the middle name of Barack Obama, which in case you were unaware, is Hussein.

Barack Obama was named after his father who was Barack Hussein Obama Sr. How many people do you know named after their father or mother?

By the logic of some people out there we should think that sharing a name with a bad person means that you are also be a bad person.

The worst part about this is the implications and inferences being made by the McCain and Palin team. Saying that Obama ‘pals around with terrorists’ is the kind of thing that incites people. If you think I am overreacting see the video of the crowd leaving a recent rally of theirs at the bottom of this post.

In 26 days though we are going to turn the page with a new voice, a new vision, and hopefully provide, as he says, "Change We Can Believe In".

I hope the people in the video below will even come around.

Beware, if your a fan of Obama, this video is only going to depress you. But hopefully it motivates you to take a role and help get Obama elected.

Not Fit For TV?

Just received a campaign from the "We" Campaign which focuses on alerting the public and pushing for action on climate change.

You've probably seen their ads on TV in the past few months.

The ad above was recently rejected by ABC TV. When I received the email and opened the link I thought, maybe they really did or said something offensive or risky in this ad.

Think by watching the ad you'll agree its effective, but in no way innappropriate.

Click on the link below and you can send a message to ABC telling them to put this ad on the air.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Debate Recap: 'That One',,, Won

You know every election year people get all excited for the debates, and almost every year, they let us down. We keep expecting and hoping for a singular moment or exchange that we will remember for years.

Yet that never seems to happen and last night was no exception.

Though in the history of debates, last night was one of the more odd debates I have ever watched.

The oddities in this debate all came from one man,, John McCain. As has been his problem throughout this campaign his message last evening had no focus or direction.

And more than that McCain once again looked totally out of sorts and uncomfortable.

Here are just some of the McCain oddities:

  1. I was surprised that the disdain John McCain was skewered for in the first debate,,, he carried over to last night. It wasn't just the dismissive 'that one' line, but in watching these debates McCain can't even fake respect for Obama.
  2. His 'home loans' plan was a 'new idea', but one that appeals to liberals. There is also some who say this is already in the bailout bill. Plus, if he really believes this,, why didn't he push for it when he 'suspended his campaign' to lead the bailout negotiations?
  3. Where was Bill Ayers? You and your VP slam Obama on the stump for four days based on his association with Bill Ayers, and you never bring it up? You don't go after him to his face. Why did they bring Ayers up this weekend if they weren't going to use it in the debate?
  4. You still don't say 'middle class' once or hardly say your opponents name at all? Even Sarah Palin had the wherewithal to talk to the concerns of the middle class and ask if she could call him Joe.
  5. In an answer to who his Treasury Secretary would be, the first name that McCain mentioned was Warren Buffet. Yes, Buffet would be a great Treasury Secretary but has slammed McCain's tax and economic proposals. Buffet thinks the rich should be taxed higher.
  6. We have heard how 'Town Halls' are John McCain's best format. Yet McCain looked very uncomfortable throughout the debate. He had uncomfortable in exchanges with Obama, even with moderator Tom Brokaw, and at one point calling a questioner by the wrong name in the middle of an answer. Not to mention McCain's aimlessly wandering around the stage was just plain bizarre.
  7. While he attacked Obama, he never really tried to knock him off balance with any real zingers. There wasn't a set plan of attack that had any kind of traction.

McCain's odd behavior goes back to a point I have been making on this blog for the last month, that John McCain hasn't been able to become one with the McCain campaign to clearly define himself.

It all goes back to that quote I used from the West Wing about three weeks ago from a Presidential Candidate.

"Years I've been looking forward to this campaign. I never imagined it would look like this."

McCain has to be crushed by what his campaign has become and the fact is that he let it happen. He lost control of his own campaign when he abandoned people like former aide Mike Murphy on NBC and threw in his lot with Karl Rove disciples like Steve Schmidt and Tucker Eskew.

This is what happens when you become the candidate who will say anything, do anything, or take any position that is politically convenient for you at the time. Democrats saw how this works when John Kerry was the candidate four years ago.

When you aren't consistent,,, over the long run, you get burned and his message coupled with the economic crisis is drowning the McCain campaign.

As for Obama, he once again was rock solid throughout the debate. He had a grasp of the issues and unlike the first debate he didn't get stuck on defense. Obama was the more aggressive of the two candidates in going after his opponent. On health care, on diplomacy, on spending, on Pakistan, on Iraq, Obama scored points time and again.

But the story of the debate wasn't Obama, or how Presidential he looked and sounded, though he did. The story was how John McCain went into a debate he had to win, and came to the debate with nothing.

While most debates are easily spun by the pundits of both sides, it was nearly unanimous across the board with few exceptions that the clear winner of last night was Barack Obama.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Follow the Example of Barack Obama

Heading into the second Presidential Debate this evening there are many pundits out there who are saying the strategy of the McCain campaign is to raise doubt on the character of Senator Barack Obama by bringing up William Ayers, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and demanding an investigation into his donor list.

I think this is just part of the strategy but not the McCain camps ultimate objective.

Let's be totally honest here,, William Ayers and Jeremiah Wright are old news. They have been brought up before and they're not exactly game changers. Want proof,, just ask the Clinton campaign.

This is a time as I noted yesterday with the economic situation dominating the landscape.

By the way the market fell 508 points today, so the politics of destruction would seem like a rather tone deaf move for this evenings town hall debate?

The McCain camp isn't stupid so changing the subject with re-tread stories can not be their real strategy hear to get a game changing event to go their way.

So what is their goal with the current mudslinging?

Personally, I think it's to cause Barack Obama and Democrats to lose their temper and trip into a reprehensible statement. To have a prominent Democratic figure saying something really off color would dominate the news cycle for 24-48 hours .

Maybe they're trying to get Joe Biden or Michelle Obama to lose their tempers and cause the Obama campaign to have to pivot onto defense for a couple of days and disavow a principles remarks.

The first and biggest problem with this strategy is that Barack Obama is too smart, smooth, and disciplined to fall into this trap personally. As long as he doesn't say something really stupid the blow to the campaign would be minimized. Barack Obama looks pretty unflappable thus far.

Joe Biden and Michelle Obama are certainly passionate people with a tendency to let their emotions get the best of them. Yet they are surely being coached on what pitfalls to avoid. It's possible one of them slips up, but still find it unlikely.

So if the Michelle doesn't say something about 'baking cookies' and Joe Biden doesn't call Sarah Palin a 'floozy' then what Democrats have the profile that Obama would not be able to brush it off?

Here's the second problem with the McCain strategy. The only other Democrats that are high enough profile to swing a Presidential news cycle by saying something offensive are the Clintons. Yet, the Clintons have shown no willingness to get their hands dirty in this race and aren't going to impugn their reputation to defend Obama.

The third problem is that while they are throwing these accusations out there, Obama is winning undecided voters by focusing on the economy. He's focusing on the issue that voters overwhelmingly rate as number one right now.

So why am I bringing this up?

The past couple days have had some very tough and nasty attacks from John McCain and Sarah Palin. These attacks are making Democrat, myself included, rather angry.

It's important though for us not to lose focus as supporters.

What I vow to do is to follow the lead of the man I hope will be the next President,, Barack Obama.

I was not a early supporter of Obama's Presidential Campaign. There have been times I have been thrilled with him, times I have been irritated with him, and times I wanted him to get in the face of the Republicans.

But his read of the electorate and his own temperament has been spot on much better than me. I have been so impressed and proud and dignity he has shown during the campaign, in particular the past couple week.

He has been a leader and an example for both Democrats and the country.

There are four weeks to elect him and we need to get it done. Here's how we do it.

Just as Barack Obama and Joe Biden have showed in the debates and for the past couple weeks, we all need to raise the level of civility, common sense, and intelligence in our actions.

Obama and Biden have shown Democrats can act like adults, instead of a spoiled bully on the playground.

Obama and Biden have shown in tough times they can act and govern with a calm hand in tough times as opposed to an erratic, spastic way.

Obama and Biden have showed people they are the ticket that wants to bring the country together with a message of hope and ideas instead of a message of divisiveness, attacks, and ideology.

The high road is the hard road and many ask how can we take this route and still win?

The answer is simple,,, by outworking the other side.

As supporters we need to be positive and pro-active and hit the pavement to ensure victory.

Volunteer for Obama or a local campaign.

Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers to make sure they are informed and make sure that they vote. Check and see if there is early voting in your area, and get it out of the way.

Put a yard sign up, put a bumper sticker on your car because every little bit helps and in a democracy,,, change is pushed through by us.

The way that we lose is to assume victory. As an old political worker we hate polls that show big leads. They make our job harder.


Big leads, lead to complacency and in elections, complacency kills. If everyone votes,, Obama will win. If Democrats think they have this in the bag, it will be far to close.

Let us be the party of ideals and values in this election, and not rise to the bait of hatred, bigotry, and zealotry. The kind of zealotry that we have seen in just the past couple days by supporters of McCain and Palin.

At McCain and Palin events over the past couple of days supporters of the candidates have been heard shouting "terrorist" and "kill him" when they are talking about Obama.

It's understandable why Democrats, Independents, even Republicans would hear this and want to react with vitriolic anger and disgust. I have talked to moderate Republicans are cringing with embarrassment.

Instead of acting on anger,, lets put that energy into winning and because reacting to score political points,,, will not take us where we want to go, either as a people, or as a country.

Come November 4th, we need to get more votes and that is something we can effect and something I have decided to participate in,, not just comment on.

More on the plans for 17people to help Obama and Biden turn out the vote,,, in articles to come.

Cubs/Sox,,,,, Ugh

For my entire life Chicago baseball pundits and fans have always longed for a year when both Chicago teams would make the playoffs.

In 2008 after 102 years both teams made the playoffs. Excitement was high on both ends of town.

The Cubs looked as though they were a team that couldn't be stopped after amassing the best record in the National League with 97 wins.

The Sox had a season which they exceeded expectations and made the playoffs in exciting fashion having to win a playoff game 1-0 to even make the playoffs.

As we all have learned in Disney movies,,, be careful what you wish for.

The Cubs and Sox both sucked.

If I can thank my team for anything is that the way they lost at least was quick as possible.

Instead of a pain like 2003 was where the Cubs were 5 outs away from the World Series. A Series which still gives me nightmares this loss was different.

This loss was like ripping off a band-aid. It hurts at the time, but is better in the long run.

If nothing else, it gives me more time to focus on politics!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Its the Economy Stupid(s)

Despite many attempts at misdirection, outlandish statements, and negative politics,,, there is only one issue that controls this election,,, the economy.

Today the economy is once again the story of the day, and it will remain so for the next 29 days of the election and probably the next 18-24months.

A strong finish on Wall Street couldn't keep the Dow Jones from finishing under 10,000 points for the first time in over four years.

Yet the day on the campaign trail started with reaction to Sarah Palin's 'palling around with terrorists' comment about Barack Obama.

Instead of taking the high road the Obama camp went after the McCain's history of palling around with felons,,, namely the Keating 5 with a new website,,

While I don't think hitting on the Keating 5 is the tactic I would've taken,,, yet,, the saving grace for Obama is that the story of the Keating 5 has many similarities to the problems we have today with the economy.

The economic nervousness out there is why people don't care as much about the frivolous attacks that so dominated our recent elections. Democrats, myself included, have used the term, "Rove-Style Politics" a lot this year.

Here's the thing,,, Rove-Style Politics aren't working this year.

Because issues and not personalities are front and center.

That's right,,,, I said issues.

I had some personal confidantes tell me when I started this blog that 'people don't care about issues' the way that I do. That pointing out, issues, was 'out of touch'. That voters care about which candidate they best 'relate to' and not about their positions.

Well guess what?!

In this election,, it appears that the issues matter.

Bill Ayers, Thomas Muthee, Jeremiah Wright, and Charles Keating are not going to determine this election in the end,,, Barack Obama and John McCain's vision for America will.

The American people expect these campaigns to be prepared to talk about the economy for the next 29 days.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Biden-Palin Do Their Job

At the conclusion of the much anticipated debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin my cell phone erupted with calls and texts. The responses I got from my focus group of friends and family was all across the board.

The overall consensus was that both Biden and Palin did better than expected.

For those that were hoping Sarah Palin would crash and burn,,, they didn't get their wish, as she represented herself awfully well.

For those hoping Joe Biden would provide a gaffe along the lines of 'FDR speaking on television' or would bully Palin,,, they also didn't get their wish.

In the end the VP Debate can be summed up like this...
If you had a candidate you probably think they won.

Here is why I think Joe Biden won.
First off, while he got a little to wonkish on policy here and there, he did so in a way that isn't elitist. Biden comes from a blue collar background and I think that comes out in his delivery. He also was incredibly effective at linking John McCain to George W Bush.

I do feel he was too cautious early in the debate and allowed Palin's charm and her well delivered jabs to rule the beginning of the debate.

However, he closed the debate strong and feel the tide turned when Sarah Palin bragged on her history of taking on the oil companies in Alaska. This is where 'Sedated Joe' became as Bill Maher calls him, 'Joey the Shark.'
He didn't attack her, yet instead cleverly showed how the Obama ticket wants to do what she did in Alaska with regards to oil companies. Then he showed how Palin's accomplishment is diametrically opposed to the McCain tax plan.

From this point on Biden just pounded away at John McCain and tied him directly to not just George Bush, but Dick Cheney as well. While she kept saying it was 'looking back', she wasn't able to distinguish a difference from Bush other than saying "Maverick" over and over again.
Biden's precision attacks came with very little defense coming from Palin. I think Palin was solid on her talking points, but was not very effective at responding to the stream of specific attacks on John McCain's record and this was the biggest difference in the debate for me.
Biden adapted to what was being said, while Palin stuck to a pretty set script.

The post debate polls showed that Biden won pretty clearly which surprised me. I felt the 'perception' would be a tie. Early this morning, it hit me why both Biden and Obama have had such strong poll numbers in the two debate.
This election is so different than the past two.

Democrats in the past two elections have had the same positions they do now on issues like taxes and the war. But in 2000 and 2004,, those were not pretty unpopular positions in the country.

In 2004 a phrase like 'waving the white flag of surrender' would have resonated through an overly macho country. In 2008, this kind of statement falls flat on over 60%+ of the people.

As early as 6 months ago arguing that raising taxes on people that make over $250,000 was always a tough sell. In light of the financial crisis we are in,,, this sounds much more reasonable and necessary.

At long last the Democrats are not just on the right side of issues philosophiacally,, they have the popular support on issues they have typically have gotten beat up with.

Yesterday I wrote that both candidates a tightrope to walk,, and the winner would be the one that kept their balance.

To my surprise, they both kept their balance and did their job.


Readers of this blog know that I love Joe Biden and have been a major advocate for him for quite some time.

While he was not the flashiest selection as VP,,, he is exactly the kind of experienced voice we need in the White House.

Communicated with four people in the last 15 hours who are all Republicans. Three of whom are the 'undecided' voters that the campaigns are talking to, and another of them is definitely voting for McCain.

Each of them made very strong statements about how impressed they were with Biden. A couple of them felt Palin won the debate, but even they said that Biden did not lose the debate.

One said, "I didn't really care that much for Biden much heading into tonight. I like him a lot more now."

Another texted me, "Now I know why you like him so much."

A third instant messaged me this morning who is voting for McCain said, "I thought Biden was smooth and Palin was all over the place."

This debate unlike the first one had that signature moment and it was from Joe Biden. A moment that I think it touched a lot people.

This is when he got choked up talking about the tragedy that beset his family over 30 years ago when his wife and daughter were killed in a car crash and his two sons were seriously injured.

A friend of mine who is a father called and said about the moment in the link above that Biden 'won him over.'

"I didn't know about what happened to his family, that made me look at him different."

Biden had a fine line to walk last night and had to be careful to not come off as a bully, while still showing a firm grasp of the issues. He had to keep his temperament in control when Palin came after him time after time.

He accomplished this with flying colors.

The only person who could have stayed in with her any better would have been Hillary Clinton, but ask yourself this. Had Obama taken Tim Kaine or Evan Bayh, would they have been able to be as smooth and professional as Biden was against Sarah Palin?

It's debatable, but I don't think they could have.

The fact that Joe Biden is the 4th biggest draw in the 2008 Presidential Election illustrates the distorted way we look at elections.

True, he may not be a heroic POW, a history making hockey mom, or the 1st ever African American nominee for President. However, Joe Biden is an exceptional man who has served his country with dignity in the Senate for over 30 years. A guy who doesn't appear to have forgotten where he comes from.

I'm proud of Joe Biden's performance last evening. More than ever I respect that Barack Obama felt comfortable enough to put him on the ticket considering his experience far outweighs his own.

32 days to go.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Too Low of Expect-Palins/Leo/Cubs

VP Debate

Count me as one of those (maybe few) who is concerned about a strong Sarah Palin performance in the debate this evening.

Yes, you read that right, I fear that Sarah Palin may have a very good debate this evening.

On this blog I have done what I have wanted Democrats to do, to essentially dismiss Palin and instead take on the new and unimproved John McCain.

I have viewed Palin as a distraction and if you go through 17people, despite wanting to many times, have not blasted away at Sarah Palin. While I have mentioned her, Palin has not been the focus of any article since her convention speech.

About a month ago, soon after the Palin selection I had dinner with some family. At the time, Palin’s star was high and Democrats were getting nervous. Deep down, I was getting nervous too.

Despite that nervousness I made the statement to ‘just be patient’ about Palin. I had read everything about her I could get my hands on and felt there was enough in her past to take the shine off of both her selection and the phenomenally successful roll out of her candidacy by the McCain campaign.

It turns out her checkered past has taken a backseat to her own words and prescence. The Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric interviews have been gifts that keep giving to the prospects of Barack Obama and the writers of Saturday Night Live.

Yet, in politics we love comebacks,,, and after imploding with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin,, desperately needs a comeback.

Whether that road to a comeback begins or blows up tonight, depends on her walking a tight rope.

I expect her to attack Biden and Obama with a couple of well delivered, prepared zingers. She has proven to be a great deliverer of prepared lines. This isn’t a put down to her, any speech writer or comedian knows,, delivery is the key to any attack.

She attacks in direct ways, that rarely come off as shrill, shrewd, or mean. This is different than many women who have run for office and criticized for this over the years.

The ‘tightrope’ I mentioned is that she has to avoid a ‘you can see Russia from Alaska’ kind of answer, or a replay of the ‘Supreme Court’ debacle. Any Alaskan-sized gaffe,,, and she will lose what little credibility she has left.

The Couric and Gibson interviews cause us all to expect a major gaffe?

So why am I nervous about Palin having a strong debate?

Well, there are two reasons.

First, she’s a good debater. I’ve watched the YouTubes of her past debate performances and she handled herself well and was very composed.

Yes, she starts at a significant experience and knowledge disadvantage to Biden, but no one expects her to have mastery of issues like he will. So this means she has a wider margin of error on the answers she will give, as long as she doesn’t step all over herself.

The second reason for my nervousness is that unlike Gibson or Couric, her counterparts in this debate have been neutered heading into the evening.

Biden cannot be as aggressive as he was in the Democratic Primary Debates where he showed top notch debate abilities. He is a quick witted and aggressive debater who has to be mindful of being too in her face.

Plus he is going to be bated by her. He can’t be so laid back that he shows no spine, but he also can’t be the attack dog that he has been for the campaign or else he will be accused of beating up on her.

Additionally, the moderator of this debate, the eminently qualified and professional Gwen Ifill has become a target of Republican fire.

Ifill, long respected as one of the best in the media business is writing a book about African American politicians which is titled, "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama."

This book was announced in July, yet Ifill is labeled as the latest of the press who is being labeled as ‘in the tank for Obama.’

If Palin gets a tough question and bombs, the spin-meisters will say Ifill was unfair. If she asks Biden a question he hits out of the park the Right-Wing spin will say he ‘knew what was coming.’

As for me I think Ifill will do fine and I hope she asks them both very tough questions. That is what her job is and what we as a nation need her to do. But if she was going to write a book with the name 'Obama' in the title,,, she probably should have recused herself from the debate.

But then we would have lost the best interviewer we have left without the great Tim Russert.

This was always going to be a difficult debate for Joe Biden, but with expectations so low for Palin and the new controversy around Gwen Ifill it has become even more difficult. The pressure is on him to stay in control, no matter what she comes at him with.

The fact is that both of these candidates are walking a tightrope in this debate and which ever one keeps their balance,,, wins.


Once again the 2008 Presidential Campaign is mirroring the fictional election depicted in the sixth and seventh seasons of The West Wing. In a 7th season episode appropriately titled “Running Mates” the Vice Presidential Debate was the focus of the show.

In the West Wing scenario it was the Democrats who had real concerns about the performance of VP nominee, Leo McGarry (RIP John Spencer). McGarry had been performing abysmally in debate preps and the campaign started to panic.

The Santos campaign talked about some tactics as to how to deal with a possible McGarry implosion. The tactics ranged from, cancelling the debate to what they settled on,, lowering expectations.

Both have already been floated around tonight's debate. Some have said Palin shouldn’t show because of a ‘family emergency’, others said she should drop off the ticket, and above all expectations have been lowered.

In the West Wing, Leo himself sent an anonymous email to Republican blogger's saying he was tanking in the debate prep.

What did the Wall Street Journal report this week?

That Palin ‘bombed’ in two mock debates.

Think McCain was trying to lower expectations?

So here’s my third reason for being worried about Palin doing well tonight…

In the West Wing,,, Leo won the debate.


I'm obviously not a happy camper today.

Feel bad for Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster who has been so great all season long. Last night he didn’t have it. The team owes it to Demp to give him another opportunity to pitch this postseason.

As for how I reacted…

No, I didn’t drink myself into a stupor, punch a wall, or act a fool.

Instead I dragged my very upset self to the gym, got on a treadmill and ran 6.5miles.

Maybe Cubs losses will help my fitness?