Wednesday, November 5, 2008

PRESIDENT OBAMA: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?


Last night, watching the results roll in, I spoke with a friend who commented that it feels like we are living within history. Record numbers of Americans have chosen to stand up, make their voices heard, and shape the destiny of this country. Enough with waiting for our luck to change. Enough with excuses, cynicism, and conspiracy theories. Millions of individuals are ready and willing to unite, to take a higher path, and to steer this country toward its ideals.

Now the challenge is getting to work. Where do we go from here?

As jubilant as I am, my one fear is that Americans will be content to celebrate this victory, and to wait for change to come to them. But we cannot rest. A cornerstone of this campaign is responsibility for our country. As Barack Obama has routinely stated, government cannot fix our problems for us:

"Because loving your country shouldn't just mean watching fireworks on the 4th of July; loving your country must mean accepting your responsibility to do your part to change it. And if you do stand up, I promise you that your life will be richer, and our country will be stronger.

We need your service, right now, in this moment - our moment - in history. I'm not going to tell you what your role should be; that's for you to discover. But I am going to ask you to play your part; ask you to stand up; ask you to put your foot firmly into the current of history. I am asking you to change history's course."

Many Americans have already answered this call. If you actively serve in your community, now is the time to redouble your efforts. Find a friend or family member, and encourage them to do the volunteer with you. If you have never served, here are three easy, concrete ways to help:

Meals on Wheels

The Boys and Girls Club

The Wounded Warrior Project

If you are interested in volunteering in another capacity, Volunteer Match specializes in lining you up with thousands of community service projects across the country.

Ask yourself: Are you really too busy? Could you find even one hour each week? Could you involve your family and friends?

Who else is going to do it?

My favorite Barack Obama quote: "We are the people we've been waiting for."

Looking forward to this new era of promise, what steps will you take to make this country better?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

ELECTION DAY: RISE AND SHINE!


I thought maybe we could beat the rush.

To our surprise, at 5:55 a.m., there was a wait just to park at our local polling station, the Klondike Library here in West Lafayette, Indiana. More than 150 people had formed a line that wrapped around the building. According to public radio, similar lines were forming all across Tippecanoe County, before the polls had even opened.

I didn't early vote because I enjoy the communal process of election day, and today was no disappointment. How many times have you heard this election described as historic? Over the last 20 months, that term seems to have been blunted. But on a morning like this, the sense of history was palpable. I had never seen anything like it--enthusiastic voters, young and old, walking out of the library with a look of pride on their faces.

Polls will be at maximum capacity across the country today. These crowds can only mean good things for Obama. Let's face it, people don't wait in line for hours to put incumbent parties back in office. You could say that the voter turnout represents a thirst for change, but it's more than that--only anger would truly motivate voters to come out in such force. Americans want their country back.

Regardless of who wins, this election has breathed new life into American democracy. This election will bring millions of people into local, state and federal politics for decades to come. The American electorate in 2008 is a broader, more fully realized cross-section of American values and identities, and for that, we should all be thankful.

Many former red states will turn blue today. Here in West Lafayette, lines moved along smoothly. Voting took around 55 minutes. On the way out, the sun was rising on a beautiful Indiana morning.





How was your experience at the polls? Where did you vote? How long did you have to wait? Any predictions from your state?




Monday, November 3, 2008

TOMORROW WE FINALLY TURN THE PAGE




Last night, I got to thinking how I've spent my entire adult life, from age 18 to present day, under the Bush administration. It's difficult to wrap my head around how these past eight years have influenced my perspective on liberty and country. In 1999, when I graduated from high school, I entered college with an almost limitless sense of possibility. Since then, I've seen:

  • A rigged and stolen election.
  • A terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
  • A failed response to that terrorist attack.
  • Two mismanaged wars that have cost thousands of American and civilian lives.
  • Revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.
  • World perception of the U.S. fall to historic lows.
  • A shameful government response to Hurricane Katrina.
  • A presidential administration that has repeatedly violated civil liberties under the guise of the Patriot Act.
  • A president who circumvented the very foundations of our justice system by hiring and firing judges based on party favoritism.
  • A Republican led economy that soared to new peaks on unprecedented corporate tax breaks and lack of regulation, only to crash to a generational low that will require more than a trillion dollars to fix.
I could go on. These are just the first things that come to mind as I sip my coffee this morning. The surreal thing about the Bush administration is that they failed us in so many ways that it's difficult to see the trees through the forest. But as you head to the polls tomorrow, please don't forget that the failures of the GOP are not simply vaguely angering or disappointing, but rather a laundry list of specific, malicious, and unlawful acts that have put the Constitution and the country in jeopardy.

Throughout the past eight years--somehow--I've managed to commit myself to optimism, and to the future. For three years, I taught high school English in a community on the U.S.-Mexico border. Presently, I continue to teach at a large University in the swing state of Indiana. It wasn't until Barack Obama ran for president that I found a canditate who shared my belief that if we can work together, we can affect profound change, tackling our most profound social challenges.

Since February of 2007, I've blogged diligently on behalf of Obama. I can't imagine how many times over the last two years I've heard people tell me, and I'm talking Democrats here, "You really think Obama is going to be elected president?"

Well, yes.

Thankfully, millions of Americans now embrace this possibility. What was once unbridled optimism, even naivete, is now a distinct possibility. But we need your help.

Please, call your friends and family, even those who are ardent Obama supporters, and make sure they vote! If they have already, please ask them to call their friends and family.

Please, call your other friends and family, the red ones, even if those who are die-hard, lifelong Republicans, and give them your most impassioned argument in favor of a new era of American politics.

I know that it's been an exhausting race, especially for those of us who have been doing this for going on two years, now. But please, make these last 24-hours count. Right now, the candidates are working harder than they ever have in their lives. The candidate whose supporters do the same will win this election.

See you at the polls.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

ELECTION NIGHT SURPRISES?

These election night predictions are courtesy of the Washington Post's "Topic A".

DICK MORRIS AND EILEEN MCGANN

Dick Morris advised Bill Clinton's 1996 reelection campaign and is a contributor to Fox News; Eileen McGann, a lawyer, is co-author with Morris of "Fleeced"

"It does not matter how wide or narrow the gap is between the two candidates. What matters is how far above or below 49 percent Obama is in the final polls (49 percent assumes that Ralph Nader gets 1 to 2 points as he did in 2004). Right now, Obama is straddling the 49 percent mark; about half the polls put him over it and half under it. If the final polling numbers indicate that Obama is not convincingly north of 49 percent, we are in for a long night."

JAMES CARVILLE

Manager of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign; CNN political contributor

Extraordinary youth turnout will surprise many, but it shouldn't. Young voters will vote overwhelmingly Democratic up and down the ballot in record numbers. As for a surprise on Tuesday, the combination of Ralph Nader and Bob Barr's votes will affect the outcome of the presidential election in one or more states.

HEATHER WILSON

Republican representative from New Mexico

Usually, the "undecideds" who show up in polling break pretty evenly when both candidates are well known. This year's "undecideds" are generally older, more rural, voted for Bush over Kerry, and they are concerned about Obama's inexperience and liberal views. The undecideds will break toward John McCain.

ED ROGERS

White House staffer to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush; group chairman of BGR Holding

By all accounts McCain is behind but closing in on Obama, who appears to be stronger in the electoral college than in the popular vote. It's not pretty for McCain, but it's not over. Three ingredients could be mixing to create an explosive comeback for McCain. No. 1: buyer's remorse and resentment of the media forecast. Voters are being lectured that the election is over. This might cause them to have regrets about Obama and resent being told what they had already decided. No. 2: presumptuousness by the Obama camp. More than once they have shown a tendency to act like they have won, to assume that the Oval Office is already theirs. Voters resent this and may be itching to show their independence. No. 3: Obama fatigue and classic American support for the underdog. Voters notice the number of ads, phone calls and gushing accounts of the giant Obama machine. Maybe the good old US of A instinct to support the underdog is working to McCain's benefit.

MARY BETH CAHILL

Manager of Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign and former chief of staff to Sen. Edward Kennedy

Smart incumbents are campaigning as though their lives depend on it. Tuesday night may well bring the defeat of long-serving politicians from heretofore safe districts and states. And it may be very late before we know the leadership and chairmen of the House and Senate.

ROBERT SHRUM

Senior adviser to the Gore and Kerry presidential campaigns; fellow at NYU's Wagner School of Public Service

Obama's decision to forego public funding has enabled his Internet-fueled campaign to compete in states where he has potential but otherwise would have been forced to write off. We know what they are; look at the advertising buys. McCain has to carry a whole string of states where he is behind or effectively tied; Obama has to win in just a few. He has many routes to victory, McCain just one. Don't be surprised if some place we never thought would go Democratic does. The Obama campaign has signaled that several could -- and in the process left the other side constantly on the defensive.

Do you have any election night predictions?


Rearview Mirror

Friday, October 31, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

OBAMA'S CLOSING ARGUMENT

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

OBAMA VANQUISHES MCCAIN IN FINAL DEBATE


John McCain needed both a monumental performance and an Obama catastrophe to ignite a comeback. Instead, he appeared tired and agitated, while Obama delivered his strongest performance of the three debates.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

OBAMA'S PLAN FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

THE BUSH LEGACY: HYPERINFLATION?


Here is a look at the Federal Reserve balance sheet, essentially a measure of how much money is being printed, since 1996. See that huge vertical line at the end? That's the last two weeks.

In the words of Lance Lewis, one of the terrific market commentators over at Minyanville, "If that's not what hyperinflation looks like, then I'm a leprechaun."

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN': SCHWARZENEGGER TELLS PAULSON HE NEEDS $7 BILLION!

The LA Times obtained a letter from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, requesting $7 billion in emergency funds from the federal treasury to sustain day to day operations in California.

MAVERICK HE IS NOT!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

REGISTER SOMEONE!

Monday, September 29, 2008

BAILOUT: HOUSE SAYS NO!



I never thought I would write these words: Thank you, Republicans.

The House defeated the proposed economic rescue package today, a bill that would have authorized unprecedented government intervention in the marketplace. While I agree that the U.S. needs a comprehensive plan to avert an economic disaster, common sense tells us that attempting to redesign U.S. capitalism in a little over a week--during an election season, no less--is absolute lunacy.

While the Democrats delivered their promised votes in favor of the bill, stalwart Republicans from across the country actually listened to their constituents, and defeated the bill. We are in uncharted territory in the financial markets, but rest assured, Democracy, at least, is still breathing.

The following choice statements from the House debate are courtesy of WWJ News Radio, Detroit.

Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., said, "I wish we had a president that had enough communication skills and enough credibility with the American people to convince them there is a real problem. Unfortunately that burden hasn’t been carried sufficiently by the administration. But I'm convinced that the odds are bad enough that if we don’t do something today we will regret it for a long, long time."

Standing in opposition to the bill, Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Mich., said the government intrusion into the free market marked would, like the Bolshevik slogan of "Peace, Land, and Bread," promise short-term prosperity at the sacrifice of liberty. "The people on Main Street have said they prefer their freedom, and I stand with them," McCotter said.

Likewise, Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., said the bill failed to address the root causes of the financial crisis by neglecting to provide, among other factors, foreclosure relief. "Stability should come from the bottom up," she said.

"Why isn’t Wall Street paying for the mess they created?" Woolsey asked, suggesting a surcharge on stock trades. "We can raise $150 billion a year from those who caused this mess and profited from it."

She also questioned the wisdom of giving discretion over the use of hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to the outgoing administration.

"Why are we willing to even make available $700 billion to this administration? Bush and Paulson have been wrong from the start on just about everything. If you think they will be responsible with this money, think again."

"Like the Iraq War and the Patriot Act, this bill is fueled by fear and hinges on haste," said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Tex., who noted the bill does not require Wall Street to pay even a dime in recompense. "All of us want to avoid further economic deterioration, but action or inaction today is a false choice.

"The vultures have now come home to roost," Doggett said.

Meanwhile, his fellow Texan, Republican John Culberson, blasted the legal protections impinging oversight of the Treasury Secretary's discretionary use of the funds. He suggested other means (including reducing the capital gains tax to zero) would work better.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., who is opposed, said, "Just because this bill is unpopular doesn’t mean we have to pass it immediately."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who called the current crisis "the financial equivalent of a heart attack," said the bill is not popular but is necessary.

"I know we're tempted to see this as just another train wreck of the Bush administration," said Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Penn., who said the crisis actually threatens constituents' 401(k)s, pension funds, the ability to borrow and establish businesses, and the security of community banks.

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Tex., decried the bailout of "Wall Street moneygrabbers," and wondered why it is that, the bigger the business, the more government feels it should "swoop in and save them," whereas mom-and-pop business that make bad financial decisions just fail.

"They expect Joe Six-Pack to buck it up and reward this nonsense," he said. "It's sad time to be an American taxpayer.

"Wall Street should pay for Wall Street's mistakes," said Rep. Judy Biggert, R-Ill., who said she was reluctantly opposed to the bill.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore. denounced the "trickle-down" economics behind the bill, and called the mammoth funds involved "sort of like the financial surge strategy, and just like the surge going into Iraq we know it's not sustainable."

He also said the golden parachutes for executives were merely switched for "camouflaged parachutes."

"If we vote for this bill it is the end of the Reagan era," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Rep. Paul Broun, R-Ga., who called the bill a gift to Secretary Paulson's "friends," said it was merely a stop-gap measure that did nothing to prevent further economic catastrophe.

"This is a huge cow patty with a piece of marshmallow stuck in the middle of it and I'm not going to eat that cow patty."

"I have no matching metaphor," Rep. Barney Frank responded.

Rep. Maxine Waters D-Calif. said she was voting for the bill, but called for the prosecution of financial titans who violate the law and ignore their fiduciary responsibility. "We will tighten the screws on Wall Street."

Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn. said, "This is no longer about bailing out anyone; it is about trying to put together a plan that will do less harm than we would do otherwise by our inaction to every American's financial security."

Rep, Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. said, "We cannot continue to bail out with borrowed money."

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tex. was angered that management of the assets purchased from failing banks would be outsourced "to the people who caused this problem.

"Let’s save America from Congress."

Many complained of the speed of the process, and the fact that hearings and committee deliberations were not held on the legislation. "We need to take out time on this," said Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, D-Mich., who noted that the Senate will not be taking up the bill until later this week. "There is a better process. I hope that we can slow down this train. I urge a 'no' vote."

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said he was offended when Paulson offered a three-page proposal asking for a bank account with $700 billion in it for him. "So what happened since then, we added 107 pages of taxpayer protection to this bill.

"This bill offends my principles but I'm going to vote for it in order to preserve my principles, to preserve our financial system." He urged others to vote for it, even though, "We're one month away from an election &30151; we're all worried about losing out jobs."

"The White House brought this to a crescendo, to a crisis, so that all eyes of the world are on Congress. It’s a heavy load to bear. We have to deal with this panic, we need to deal with this fear … and if we fail to do the right thing, heaven help us. If we fail to pass this, I fear the worst is yet to come."

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., said taxpayers had a gun pointed to their heads. "This isn’t legislation, this is extortion.

"Do you like ten trillion dollars of debt? With one stroke of the pen Congress will have extended that an additional trillion.

"Make no mistake: a vote for this bailout is a vote to ratify business as usual in Washington."

Like many speaking today, Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, praised Rep. Frank (the key House member in demanding alterations to the administration proposal) for his "noble work in being handed a pile of garbage and making it better."

But LaTourette said the taxpayer should pay for it. He also called for the repatriation of offshore funds.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the "staggering" cost of the $700 billion package was "only a part of the cost of the failed Bush economic policies to our country.

"They claim to be free market advocates when it is an 'anything goes' mentality," she said, saying the administration's budget recklessness turned around the budget surpluses of the Clinton administration, and if a crisis got so bad, "you will have a golden parachute and the taxpayer will bail you out.

"Those days are over. The party is over in that respect."

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, said $700 billion spent trying to save home could really stimulate the economy, "but that's not what this bill is about," as the Treasury secretary would not have power to stop foreclosures and keep people in their homes.

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., called the legislation "the biggest corporate welfare bill in history," and said fear was driving members away from reason.

Rep. Joseph Crowley, R-N.Y., confessed, "Everyone is angry," but said companies and families will suffer from a lack of credit - and said financial executives should be given metal ankle bracelets and not golden parachutes.

Marilyn Musgrave, R-Colo., said she "simply cannot stomach" transferring wealth from Colorado families to the benefit of Wall Street figures "whose avarice and greed put us in this situation in the first place."

She also castigated Congress for failing to take seriously the crisis of gas prices this past summer, "and yet when Wall Street faced the consequences of its actions we worked around the clock" to bail them out.

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., said he was confident that the protections put in during negotiations would mean that taxpayers stand to get their money back.

Bachus said he was not willing to take no action. "I'm not willing to put that bullet in the revolver and spin it. I'm not willing to take that gamble. I'm not willing to pull that trigger because I'm not willing to subject the American people to the worst-case scenario.

"I will take the political risk but I will not take the risk on the American people and their future and their prosperity and their children and grandchildren."

Rep. Rose DeLauro, D-Conn. said, with the prospect of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, "I have a responsibility to avert it."

Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said, "If anything we may have overdone the oversight, but none of us want to have underdone the oversight."

"When the markets go up, Wall Street cleans up; when the markets go down, Main Street gets cleaned out," said Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass. "We must protect Main Street across this country: Vote 'yes.'"

In confronting the opposition to the bill, particularly from the left, and the compromise needed to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said, "Meeting a national crisis does not give us the luxury of doing everything we want.

"You have got to accept reality. I wish this was a bill that more reflected my priorities. I wish I could eat more and not gain weight.

"The poor people will get nothing if we don’t compromise," he said. "This bill can put in the president's hands the power to do good; please don’t throw it out."

Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio., admitted the unpopularity of the bill: "No one wants to be anywhere around it. I don’t want to be around it.

"These are the votes that we have to look into our soul and understand and ask, 'What is in the best interest of our country?'

"While imperfect, while not having everything everybody wants, I believe we have to vote for this bill and keep ourselves from the brink of an economic disaster that would harm all of our constituents."

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D- Md., called it "a day of consequence for the American people. This is a day of consequence to our country. This is a day when the Democratic leader, myself, rises to follow the Republican leader and they speak with one voice as America faces crisis. That’s what Americans want us to do.

"Why should taxpayers loan out their own money to solve a crisis brought on by someone else's greed? Because when it comes to our economy, none of us is an island; we're all bound together, in boom or bust."

"Inaction will result in greater pain for our people and our country," he said.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

BETTER BAILOUT? A SUMMARY OF DRAFT PROPOSAL

What follows is the draft of the rescue agreement reached after hours of bipartisan negotiation this weekend. While it's certainly an improvement over the initial proposal, the devil, you could say, is still in the details.

All emphasis in the following document is from the Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- Sept. 28, 2008

REINVEST, REIMBURSE, REFORM

IMPROVING THE FINANCIAL RESCUE LEGISLATION

Significant bipartisan work has built consensus around dramatic improvements to the original Bush-Paulson plan to stabilize American financial markets -- including cutting in half the Administration's initial request for $700 billion and requiring Congressional review for any future commitment of taxpayers' funds. If the government loses money, the financial industry will pay back the taxpayers.

3 Phases of a Financial Rescue with Strong Taxpayer Protections

  • Reinvest in the troubled financial markets … to stabilize our economy and insulate Main Street from Wall Street
  • Reimburse the taxpayer … through ownership of shares and appreciation in the value of purchased assets
  • Reform business-as-usual on Wall Street … strong Congressional oversight and no golden parachutes

CRITICAL IMPROVEMENTS TO THE RESCUE PLAN

Democrats have insisted from day one on substantial changes to make the Bush-Paulson plan acceptable -- protecting American taxpayers and Main Street -- and these elements will be included in the legislation

Protection for taxpayers, ensuring THEY share IN ANY profits

  • Cuts the payment of $700 billion in half and conditions future payments on Congressional review
  • Gives taxpayers an ownership stake and profit-making opportunities with participating companies
  • Puts taxpayers first in line to recover assets if participating company fails
  • Guarantees taxpayers are repaid in full -- if other protections have not actually produced a profit
  • Allows the government to purchase troubled assets from pension plans, local governments, and small banks that serve low- and middle-income families

Limits on excessive compensation for CEOs and executives

New restrictions on CEO and executive compensation for participating companies:

  • No multi-million dollar golden parachutes
  • Limits CEO compensation that encourages unnecessary risk-taking
  • Recovers bonuses paid based on promised gains that later turn out to be false or inaccurate

Strong independent oversight and transparency

Four separate independent oversight entities or processes to protect the taxpayer

  • A strong oversight board appointed by bipartisan leaders of Congress
  • A GAO presence at Treasury to oversee the program and conduct audits to ensure strong internal controls, and to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse
  • An independent Inspector General to monitor the Treasury Secretary's decisions
  • Transparency -- requiring posting of transactions online -- to help jumpstart private sector demand

Meaningful judicial review of the Treasury Secretary's actions

Help to prevent home foreclosures crippling the American economy

  • The government can use its power as the owner of mortgages and mortgage backed securities to facilitate loan modifications (such as, reduced principal or interest rate, lengthened time to pay back the mortgage) to help reduce the 2 million projected foreclosures in the next year
  • Extends provision (passed earlier in this Congress) to stop tax liability on mortgage foreclosures
  • Helps save small businesses that need credit by aiding small community banks hurt by the mortgage crisis—allowing these banks to deduct losses from investments in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac stocks

Saturday, September 27, 2008

DARK DAYS: LEADERSHIP VACUUM AT FIRST DEBATE



It was a simple question: What do you think of this bailout plan?

Although the official subject of this first presidential debate was foreign policy and national security, let's not kid ourselves--Americans tuned in to hear at least one of the presidential candidates deliver a straight answer about how they intend lead this country--both Wall Street and Main Street--through the economic crisis.

It could have been a defining moment for either candidate--a chance to demonstrate that they are indeed an Agent of Change, a Maverick, or whatever else they might claim to be. McCain could have proven that he does have mastery over basic economics. Barack Obama could have proven that he is indeed a Washington outsider committed to reform.

Instead, both McCain and Obama acted like dime-a-dozen, poll chasing politicians, afraid of making enemies or losing votes. They resorted to sacharine rhetoric and empty promises. Vote for me! I can lower taxes, improve and expand government programs, and save the economy!

So what's next: All of the drinking fountains will pour chocolate milk?

Safe to say I am not the only Obama supporter who was sorely disappointed tonight. This was the moment he had been waiting for, a moment when his leadership was sorely needed, but instead, he took the safe bet. He leads in the polls--in particular on economic issues, and so he chose to take a soft stance on the bailout plan and hope for McCain to make a critical mistake.

Well, here's a news flash--McCain didn't make a mistake. He may not have scored a touchdown, but he didn't fumble the ball, either. In a race this close, a draw is a win for McCain, and Barack Obama may have squandered one of his opportunities to break away in this race.

As for the remainder of the debate, did either candidate say anything they haven't said a dozen times already?

Tonight, the burden of proof was on John McCain. Millions of Americans tuned in expecting him to implode, expecting Barack Obama to demonstrate that he can indeed be the leader America needs. The contrast between the two candidates should have been crystal clear. Instead, what we saw was a stubborn but experienced old man, and a young, overly confident upstart content to ride the polls. As different as they may be, both were a disappointment.

The real loser tonight was the American voter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

HAS HE DONE HIS HOMEWORK? 4 QUESTIONS FOR JOHN MCCAIN


Finished with his political theater, John McCain is now ready to resume his campaign. He will travel to Oxford, Mississippi to debate Barack Obama tonight at 9 p.m. EST.

McCain's decision earlier this week to "suspend" his campaign to address the financial crisis may prove to the largest misstep of his campaign thus far. I understand his intentions--and perhaps he was actually acting in good faith--but the notion that he had to be present to contribute to the talks in Washington is absurd, and only seemed to complicate matters.

In trying to seem above politics, McCain ended up looking desperate and unprepared. If he suffers in tonight's debate, look for his campaign to justify his performance by claiming that he was "focused on what matters--the economy," or other such nonsense.

If McCain was so integral to these talks, I'd like to see him answer these four questions tonight:

  1. What is the number one risk of the proposed bailout plan?
  2. What is the number one risk of not passing the proposed bailout plan?
  3. What specific types of assets should the treasury purchase and why?
  4. What is your plan for protecting the long term strength of the U.S. dollar?
If John McCain can speak specifically to these sorts of questions, then we will know that he was actually doing his homework this week. If not, then we know that the "suspension" of his campaign was a total sham.

Barack Obama will be ready with the answers, guaranteed.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

NOW IS THE TIME: OBAMA MUST PROVE ECONOMIC LEADERSHIP




Barack Obama's economic game plan is sound, but in the coming days he faces the most important vote of his Senate career--choosing whether to support or to oppose the Bush administration's $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street banks.

Obama has widened his lead in the polls recently, as voters have increasingly placed their trust with him on economic issues. Understandably so. The GOP is profoundly out of touch with the Main Street economy. Even in recent days, as the U.S. economy teetered on the brink, the White House announced its opposition to "The Credit Cardholder's Bill of Rights," a house bill that would limit the ability of credit card companies to raise interest rates on consumers.

But the danger here is that Senator Obama will take advantage of his lead to take a soft stance on the massive, unprecedented bailout plan that not only adds a trillion dollars to the national deficit, but also undermines the very principles of free market capitalism.

Contact the Obama campaign, toll-free, at
(866) 675-2008. Demand that these three common sense provisions be added to the bailout plan.

  • Executives of companies who seek government assistance should forfeit performance bonuses and "golden parachute" severance packages until the companies are stable enough to repurchase the "toxic" assets.
  • Asset purchases by the U.S. Treasury must absolutely be subject to review by the courts.
  • Government assistance should be limited only to those companies headquartered in the U.S.
Forward this to any other supporters you know. Obama may have a comfortable lead over McCain on economic issues, but this is an opportunity for him to demonstrate true economic stewardship. The stakes could not be higher. Every one of Obama's ambitious policy plans, from tax relief to health care to public education, is contingent on a healthy federal budget. A $700 billion bailout for Wall Street would be the sort of budget buster that could cripple the Obama administration well into his second term.

Click below for Barack Obama's blueprint for changing the economy. It's a good start, but now is the time for more than tough rhetoric.

Friday, September 19, 2008

VOTERS TURN TO OBAMA DURING ECONOMIC STORM


Barack Obama has surged to a 5 point lead over John McCain in the latest Gallup Daily poll. Following one of the most volatile weeks in Wall Street history, voters clearly doubt McCain's ability to steer the U.S. economy toward a recovery.

Legislators will meet next week to push through a multi-pronged government rescue effort aimed at calming markets and restoring investor confidence.

In the meantime, the Republican administration has essentially put free-market capitalism on a time out, bringing billions of dollars of private enterprise onto the U.S. balance sheet, and outlawing short sales of financial companies.

We'll see next week if this last-gasp effort on behalf of regulators helps soothe the markets.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

OBAMA ON THE ECONOMIC CRISIS



Listen to Barack Obama speak at length on the U.S. economy.

Meanwhile, McCain flip-flops on bedrock Republican economic principals.

Do you feel better of now than you did eight years ago?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

David Foster Wallace on the Trail


Tributes are cheesy--and it's easy to imagine David Foster Wallace rolling his eyes at the slew of tributes being rolled out online and off today, but I just want to share some of the man's thoughts on the political process. If you make time for anything today, please read his 2000 Rolling Stone article, "The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys, and the Shrub: Seven Days in the Life of the Late, Great John McCain."

For those of you unfamiliar with DFW's prose, it may be a tedious read, but give it a chance, and I assure you that you will have a more empathetic, clear-eyed view of the 21st century political process.

DWF, a sworn enemy of the sound bite, would certainly not appreciate his writing being taken out of its original structure, but it's been happening all day, so if you're pressed for time, here are some brief excerpts:

...If you are demographically a Young Voter, it is again worth a moment of your valuable time to consider the implications of the techs' point. If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who are not dumb and are keenly aware that it's in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible psychological reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV Spring Break on Primary Day. By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote...

...Obviously, a real leader isn't just somebody who has ideas you agree with, nor is it just somebody you happen to think is a good guy. A real leader is somebody who, because of his own particular power and charisma and example, is able to inspire people, with "inspire" being used here in a serious and non-cliché way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think are good and want to be able to do but usually can't get ourselves to do on our own. It's a mysterious quality, hard to define, but we always know it when we see it, even as kids. You can probably remember seeing it in certain really great coaches, or teachers, or some extremely cool older kid you "looked up to" (interesting phrase) and wanted to be just like. Some of us remember seeing the quality as kids in a minister or rabbi, or a Scoutmaster, or a parent, or a friend's parent, or a supervisor in a summer job. And yes, all these are "authority figures," but it's a special kind of authority. If you've ever spent time in the military, you know how incredibly easy it is to tell which of your superiors are real leaders and which aren't, and how little rank has to do with it. A leader's real "authority" is a power you voluntarily give him, and you grant him this authority not with resentment or resignation but happily; it feels right. Deep down, you almost always like how a real leader makes you feel, the way you find yourself working harder and pushing yourself and thinking in ways you couldn't ever get to on your own...

...Now you have to pay close attention to something that's going to seem real obvious. There is a difference between a great leader and a great salesman. Because a salesman's ultimate, overriding motivation is his own self-interest. If you buy what he's selling, the salesman profits. So even though the salesman may have a very powerful, charismatic, admirable personality, and might even persuade you that buying really is in your interest (and it really might be) — still, a little part of you always knows that what the salesman's ultimately after is something for himself. And this awareness is painful ? although admittedly it's a tiny pain, more like a twinge, and often unconscious. But if you're subjected to enough great salesmen and salespitches and marketing concepts for long enough — like from your earliest Saturday-morning cartoons, let's say — it is only a matter of time before you start believing deep down that everything is sales and marketing, and that whenever somebody seems like they care about you or about some noble idea or cause, that person is a salesman and really ultimately doesn't give a shit about you or some cause but really just wants something for himself...

D.F.W. 1962-2008

R.I.P.D.F.W.





















A great American writer has passed.

A tribute here.

And here, David Foster Wallace's famous coverage of John McCain's 2000 presidential bid.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

OBAMA TO MEDIA: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

OBAMA: WHAT NEXT?


It's not often that I agree with Thomas Friedman, but today I do.

I confess, I watch politics from afar, but here’s what I’ve been feeling for a while: Whoever slipped that Valium into Barack Obama’s coffee needs to be found and arrested by the Democrats because Obama has gone from cool to cold.

I never agree with Jack Shafer, but these 10-questions for Sarah Palin are worth reading.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

SUNDAY MORNING READING




A GUIDED TOUR OF SARAH PALIN'S HOMETOWN

Friday, September 5, 2008

CINDY MCCAIN AND THE AMAZING $300,000 DREAMCOAT!


Cindy McCain's RNC outfit? $300,000!

Is she out of her f-ing mind?

The median price of a U.S. home sold in June, 2008 was $230,900.

And they want folks to believe that it's Obama who's an elitist?

What sort of ass-backwards dreamworld are the Republican talking heads living in?

Details here.

DIVIDED WE FAIL?


The madness of the RNC has left me reeling. Watching the fervor of the Republican crowd responding to such ruthless, cynical, and hateful rhetoric, I had to wonder whether the differences between Republicans and Democrats can ever be reconciled.

These conventions have been so polarizing. (Part of their purpose, no?)

I have to keep reminding myself that while I mock the RNC and consider about 99.6% of what was said there to be utter elephant dung, there are millions of Americans who watched the DNC last week thinking the same thing about my candidate and my issues.

Please excuse this morning's dopey prose. The coffee is still brewing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

BRIEFLY NOTED: DRILL, BABY, DRILL!

At one point during Rudy G's RNC address, the entire crowd was feverishly cheering "Drill, baby, drill!"

Oh. My. God.

PALIN: PIT BULL


What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lip stick.

-Sarah Palin


I imagine Sarah Palin's RNC address surprised a lot of people. She and her entire family have suffered a week of relentless media attacks, yet tonight, she spoke confidently, assertively, and passionately in a major speech that accomplished four vital tasks:

  1. She defended herself, her family, her state, and her values.
  2. She aligned herself with small town, working class America. From this point forward, as far as the GOP will have voters believe, an attack on Sarah Palin is an attack on rural, working class American values.
  3. She vigorously attacked Barack Obama, rehashing his infamous "bitter" comment in San Francisco, mocking him as a celebrity, and furthering the claim that he is an elitist.
  4. She evoked admiration for John McCain, breathing fresh life into his P.O.W. mythology.
The bar for Sarah Palin was not set that high, and she took advantage of that fact tonight with a speech that most certainly defied almost all expectations.

The Democrats are in a pickle--Sarah Palin has circumvented their early attacks. She can level harsh criticisms against the Democratic ticket, and at this point, they can't do much to refute her without seeming to alienate an entire, vital demographic.

Sarah Palin created a persona tonight that will be a huge boon for the Republicans. This could spell danger for the Democrats if they don't find a way to neutralize her rhetoric.

GALLUP: OBAMA HITS 50%, UP BY EIGHT

The latest Gallup Daily Poll tracking the three day average from August 30th to September 1st shows Barack Obama leading John McCain by eight points, with 50% of registered voters favoring the Obama/Biden ticket.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

STEWART AND COLBERT ON SARAH PALIN

TUESDAY MORNING READING: THE PALIN PICK

The New York times reports today that John McCain may have been a little careless about vetting Sarah Palin before appointing her to be his running mate:

"Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice."

A little hasty? You be the judge.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Palin: Dynamite, or Dud?


At several weekend gatherings, I had the chance to discuss Sarah Palin with a wide variety of progressive voters. The opinions I heard were all some variation of, Worst possible pick for McCain.

At the same time, I have to think that there has to be some method to this seemingly mad decision. I have to believe that the people in charge of such decisions must have more information than I do. So allow me to speculate on what I feel are the three major advantages of having Palin on the ticket.

First of all, Palin can mobilize disaffected voters and register new ones. The GOP can only count on a tiny handful of angry HRC supporters to defect to the Republican ticket. But there are thousands of Republican women who were probably going to sit on the sidelines for this election. Now perhaps they have a reason to vote. Ditto with evangelicals. Likewise, while the Democrats have seen surging voter registration, the Palin pick at least allows the GOP to try and recruit some young Republicans from college campuses around the country. This may be hard for some of you to believe, especially if you are reading this blog from one of the coasts, but I teach at a large, Midwestern university, crawling with thousands and thousands of young conservatives with energy to spare.

Secondly, Palin can make people pay attention. Before this pick, how many people were really going to tune into the Republican convention? How many were going to watch the Vice-Presidential debate? Palin is a strange, possibly foolish choice. But an exciting one for a lot of voters. This election just got a lot weirder (read: more historic) and millions of people will tune in to watch. Right now, the McCain camp needs every minute of face time that they can get with the American people, and Palin brings a lot of attention to the campaign--certainly more than Tom Pawlenty would have.

Lastly, Palin brings two secret ingredients to the ticket: Biography and Change. Presidential campaigns--particularly this one--are all about biography. Which candidate can we root for? Which candidate can we identify with? You might think that Palin might not fit either of these criteria--but let's face it, you are reading an Obama blog right now. Wrap your mind around the idea that there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who are thrilled with Palin, excited by the prospect of having someone in the White House who shares their values.

This election has been boiled down to one issue: Change. Until last Friday, if you wanted Change, you needed to vote Obama/Biden. Now, at least it appears, Republican voters can get that change without defecting from their party.

It may not be the sort of Change with a capital C that Barack Obama has been talking about for years now, but it's change nonetheless, even if only superficial change. For plenty of GOP voters, it might be enough to convince them that it's worth coming out to vote in this election. That alone could be dangerous.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

GALLUP: OBAMA BY EIGHT

Today's Gallup poll, a three day average of interviews conducted Tuesday through Thursday, arguably the most important nights of the DNC, show Obama extending his lead over McCain to eight points.

"Obama's largest advantage at any point in the campaign was a 9-point lead recorded July 24-26, so as his party's convention concludes, he is about as strongly positioned as he has been at any point this year."

Friday, August 29, 2008

GALLUP: OBAMA BY SIX

The latest Gallup poll, interviewing Monday through Wednesday, shows Obama leading McCain by six points--and that's before Thursday's Mile High address.

Sarah Palin, Game Changer?


You have to hand it to the Republicans--they wasted no time stealing the show. John McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Will the 44-year-old Republican rising star be a game changer?

  • She is the first female candidate on a GOP presidential ticket, possibly appealing to disgruntled Hillary supporters who prioritize putting a female in a higher office over individual issues.
  • She is strongly in favor of opening up Alaska to drilling and pipeline construction, placing priority on balancing environmental sustainability with economic development, which earn the GOP points on energy, if not the environment.
  • Most importantly, she is a relative unknown, and just about as far from Washington as you can get, which could help convince dissatisfied Republicans that change--the mantra of this election--could actually stem from the GOP.

At very least, this is going to draw a wide audience to the GOP convention next week, an event that would have been widely ignored by most Americans. Palin has actually been a personal favorite of right-wing numbnut Rush Limbaugh, who as early as February called for Palin to join the ticket.

Here's a choice Rush Limbaugh exchange from that February 28th show:

RUSH: Sarah Palin. Okay.

CALLER: Yep. She's been heralded throughout the state as being personable, likable, intelligent, strong, and conservative. And she crosses over from conservative to liberalism not in thought, but because she stands by what she believes in. And, surprisingly enough, she has been at the forefront of ethics reform in our great state --

RUSH: Yeah, plus she's a housewife, before that, she's a babe. I saw a picture.

CALLER: (laughing)

RUSH: Well, it's undeniable.

CALLER: Well, it is undeniable, and that's why the paradox is there for me. I think that because she's intelligent, number one, conservative maybe number one also, but she is photogenic, she is likable, she is engaging. When you meet her, she is interested in you, she speaks well.

RUSH: By the way, wait a second. I'm not diminishing any of those things by pointing out that she's a babe.

CALLER: Oh, no, no, no.

RUSH: The babe is the icing on the cake aspect, something the Democrats can't claim on their side.

CALLER: Exactly, especially when the highest Democrat that you can speak of is Mrs. Bill Clinton.

RUSH: You said it, not I. I just advanced the theory.

CALLER: Well, I can tell you that Governor Palin doesn't have to lift her chin up to 12 o'clock to get a good photo of her.

RUSH: I just love you. I love you, Julie. I love listening to women talk about other women like this.

CALLER: I am not berating Mrs. Bill Clinton, I am just --

RUSH: No, of course not. You are elevating Madam Palin.

CALLER: (laughing) Exactly.

RUSH: Absolutely.

CALLER: She can't take a bad picture not even from the back end.

RUSH: (laughing) She can't take a bad picture even from the back end. All of which you say is true.


Yeesh. To think that Rush Limbaugh has been the shepherd of the right in this nation for more than two decades. Wow. I think I need another cup of coffee and an aspirin.

Stay tuned...just when you thought this election could not get more historic...it did.

THE AMERICAN PROMISE


Safe to say that we have witnessed history tonight--a cliche thrown around a lot this election season, but nonetheless, it's rare indeed to witness history in the making.

I would love to hear your thoughts. The most rewarding part of hosting this blog is reading your comments. Although at times we might disagree, it's a privilege to provide a space for you to share your opinions.

What aspect of Obama's speech resonated most deeply with you tonight.

Was it his economic message?

His criticism of John McCain?

His national security agenda?

His health care plan?

His call for national service?

His determination to create a cultural change?

Something else?

Remember, comments are anonymous, and posting doesn't require a Blogger account, but it would be great if you could name the state or country that you are writing from.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

HISTORY AT MILE HIGH!

10:03 p.m. EST -- RADIO SILENCE

I've blogged steadily since February, 2007, writing, emailing, and knocking on doors to spread Barack Obama's message. I'm going to give it a rest for the remainder of the evening to soak in the magnitude of this historic moment, and enjoy what will prove to be the speech of a lifetime.

I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has ever read this blog, and my gratitude to my fellow Obama supporters who have all worked tirelessly to make this night possible.

"We are the change we've been waiting for." --Barack Obama

9: 44 p.m. EST -- BARNEY, BARNEY, BARNEY!

While CNN and MSNBC were too busy having their pundits have their ten thousandth arguments of this convention, PBS and CSPAN were actually broadcasting the convention, including a fantastic speech by Barney Smith of Marion, Indiana. In a plea on behalf of the heartland, Barney delivered this gem: "We need a president who puts Barney Smith ahead of Smith Barney!"

The crowd immediately chanted his name--a former factory worker became the hero of this convention, in my humble, honest opinion.

9:33 p.m. EST -- WHY CABLE NEWS IS SHAMELESS

Joe Biden introduced a series of everyday Americans who are going to take the stage to describe their experiences. These are people that Barack Obama has met as he campaigned across the country. Joe Biden told the audience that he wants America to hear these voices and that when he and Barack are in the Oval Office, "they will always be heard."

But are these "everyday voices" important enough for the cable networks? Apparently not. Meanwhile, here's Wolf and Anderson!

9:30 p.m. EST -- ECHOES, ECHOES, ECHOES

Here's a general criticism of the logistics of this venue. The speakers--Biden and Gore included--need to slow down their delivery.

In such an enormous, outdoor venue, the sound takes a while to travel to the crowd, and so the applause and audience reaction is a bit delayed. Meanwhile, at home, the TV audience hears audio from the sound board--by the time the audience reacts to one remark, the speaker is already halfway through his or her next statement.


9:22 p.m. EST -- MORE JOE BIDEN

Joe Biden just took the stage in an unscheduled appearance. He's basically restating excerpts from last night's rhetoric, but this is a very smart move nonetheless. This large crowd has been standing all day--with thousands more still lined up outside--and it's important to put someone up on the stage to rile up the crowd a bit in anticipation of Obama's big speech.

9:22 p.m. EST -- SPOILER ALERT

The Obama campaign recently released excerpts from tonight's speech, "The American Promise." Here are some highlights.

Excerpts of the Remarks of Senator Barack Obama, “The American Promise," Democratic National Convention, August 28, 2008, Denver, Colorado (As prepared for delivery)
“Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay and tuition that is beyond your reach

“These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed presidency of George W. Bush.

“America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this.”

***

“This moment – this election – is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight. On November 4th, we must stand up and say: “Eight is enough.”

“Now let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and respect. And next week, we’ll also hear about those occasions when he’s broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need.

“But the record’s clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush ninety percent of the time. Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush was right more than ninety percent of the time? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to take a ten percent chance on change.”

***

“You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

“We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage; whether you can put away a little extra money at the end of each month so that you can someday watch your child receive her diploma. We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was President – when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of down $2,000 like it has under George Bush.

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off to look after a sick kid without losing her job – an economy that honors the dignity of work.

“The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.”

***

“That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now. So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am President.

“Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

“Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.

“I will eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and the start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

“I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. Because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle-class.

“And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as President: in ten years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.

“Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last thirty years, and John McCain has been there for twenty-six of them. In that time, he’s said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil as the day that Senator McCain took office.

“Now is the time to end this addiction, and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution. Not even close.

“As President, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy – wind power and solar power and the next generation of biofuels; an investment that will lead to new industries and five million new jobs that pay well and can’t ever be outsourced.”

***

“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts. But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation; poverty and genocide; climate change and disease. And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once more the last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.”

9:08 p.m. EST -- GORE'S INCONVENIENT TRUTHS

Al Gore just delivered a rousing speech skewering what he described as "Bush-Cheney-McCain" politics, continuing to link John McCain ever more closely with the present administration.

It's almost painful to consider where this country would be if this man would have been elected in 2000.

The crowd at Mile High is phenomenal--I can't imagine what the atmosphere is like in the stadium. I tried to call a friend of mine in attendance, but it's no use--

Safe to say, though, that the atmosphere is probably electric.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

BIDEN DELIVERS!


Joe Biden put to rest any doubts. Delivering the most scathing attacks on John McCain so far, Biden led cheers that McCain would only be "more of the same." He warned that four more years of Bush/McCain politics could set American back a decade, and repeated emphatically that on every major national security issue of the past six years, John McCain was wrong, and Barack Obama has been proven right.

During one light moment of the speech, Biden warned the audience about "voting for Bush--McCain--," and calling the error a "Freudian slip," much to the amusement of the DNC audience.

Obama joined Biden and his wife on stage at the end of the speech, gearing up the audience for what should prove to be an historic climax at Mile High Stadium tomorrow night. It took three days to pass the torch, but now that he has it, the White House is within reach.

BARACK OBAMA IS THE MAN FOR THIS JOB...

Bill Clinton's ego is monolithic, and he managed to put it aside for fifteen minutes and to speak the truth that the party--and the nation--needed to hear.

It would have been great if he could have done this, oh, I don't know, two months ago?

IT'S OFFICIAL!

Bubba, Set Aside Your Ego


So let's just read the writing on the wall--the Clintons have hijacked the convention.

For all the talk about how great Hillary's speech was, about how she was willing to put the differences aside, we have to face the fact that the first two--and now three--days of this convention belong to the Clintons, and the rampant speculation about what they and their supporters are going to say.

There have been some great moments--Ted Kennedy's speech, Michelle's speech, and so forth, but the Clintons and their supporters have had a lot of camera time, resulting in a convention so far that has been one long, emotional, weepy discourse about the importance of unifying against the Republicans, although with very little concrete action about the Republicans or John McCain.

In short, the DNC 2008 has basically been everything the Republicans could have hoped for.

Tonight, Joe Biden takes the stage, but if the last two days have been any indication, all eyes will be on old Bubba. What will he say? Will he come right on out and say that Obama is ready for the Oval Office? Is he really going to skip Obama's speech tomorrow?

Meanwhile, folks will talk about Biden, folks will talk about Obama, but I guarantee you--tune into any major network tonight during prime time, and you'll be hearing Clinton, Clinton, Clinton--three times as much as you'll be hearing Obama's name.

Is this Bill and Hillary's fault? Well--no--it's the media's. Always striving for that blockbuster narrative, the mainstream media is licking its chops over the battle of "The Three Clans." The Kennedys, The Clintons, and now The Obamas.

News flash: The Obamas are not a clan. That's why Barack was chosen. He is not an long-time political insider.

But the media is so hungry for a feud that we have heard very little about the actual democratic platform--certainly not much more than the same old broad, sweeping strokes that the party has been painting for months now.

So with Bill sure to take the spotlight tonight, there is precisely one day left for Obama to deliver the platform. It puts him in an awfully tight spot. He is going to have to accomplish a lot of things in that one speech to make up for three days of this nonsense.

Did Bill and Hillary anticipate that this was how the convention would go down? I don't know, but if any two people know how the media machine works in this country, it's those two.

So Bubba, on the off chance that you're sulking in your hotel room right now, reading this blog--set that ego aside tonight. Talk about Barack. Let people know you're with him. This party has business to attend to. Then, tomorrow, attend his address, stand up, and cheer like the rest of us.

Michelle's Speech: Fox vs. MSNBC

The cable news networks have completely embraced the partisan press model. This quick clip of side by side MSNBC and Fox coverage of Michelle Obama's speech is an interesting illustration of how completely viewers' political realities are mitigated by the network(s) they watch.