Thursday, October 30, 2008

HERE'S 2012

Say It Ain't So, Joe by Gwynedd.

Goodbye, John

Goodbye, John by bobster1985.
Obama on his way toward election win

By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama has pulled ahead in enough states to win the 270 electoral votes he needs to gain the White House — and with states to spare — according to an Associated Press analysis that shows he is now moving beyond typical Democratic territory to challenge John McCain on historically GOP turf.

Even if McCain sweeps the six states that are too close to call, he still seemingly won't have enough votes to prevail, according to the analysis, which is based on polls, the candidates' TV spending patterns and interviews with Democratic and Republican strategists. McCain does have a path to victory but it's a steep climb: He needs a sudden shift in voter sentiment that gives him all six toss-up states plus one or two others that now lean toward Obama.

Obama has 23 states and the District of Columbia, offering 286 votes, in his column or leaning his way, while Republican McCain has 21 states with 163 votes. A half dozen offering 89 votes — Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio — remain up for grabs. President Bush won all six in 2004, and they are where the race is primarily being contested in the homestretch.

Though sounding confident, Obama is still campaigning hard. "Don't believe for a second this election is over," he tells backers. "We have to work like our future depends on it in this last week, because it does."

The underdog McCain is pressing supporters to fight on: "Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. And we never quit."

Less than a week before Election Day, the AP analysis isn't meant to be predictive but rather provides a late snapshot of a race that's been volatile all year.

It's still possible McCain can pull off an upset. Some public and private polling shows the race tightening nationally. And, roughly one fourth of voters in a recent AP-GfK poll were undecided or said they still could change their minds. It's also still unclear how racial feelings will affect the results in voting that could give the country its first black president.

Last month, in a similar analysis, Obama had an edge over McCain but hadn't laid claim to enough states to cross the 270-vote threshold.

Since then, the economic crisis has reshaped the race, and the public's call for change has grown louder. Obama has strengthened his grip in the contest by using his significant financial advantage to lock up most states that Democrat John Kerry won four years ago, even as he makes inroads into traditionally GOP turf that McCain cannot afford to lose.

Obama now has several possible routes to victory, while McCain is scrambling to defend states where he shouldn't even have to campaign in the final days.

In new AP-GfK battleground polling, Obama has a solid lead in typically Republican Colorado, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. He and McCain are even in two other usually GOP states: Florida and North Carolina. Obama also is comfortably ahead in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. The series of polls showed Obama is winning among early voters, is favored on most issues, benefits from the country's sour mood and is widely viewed as the likely victor by voters in these states.

McCain's senior advisers acknowledge his steep hurdles and no-room-for-error strategy. However, they insist that internal polling shows the race getting closer. They hope the gains trickle down to competitive Bush-won states in the coming days and help the Arizona senator eke out a victory in Kerry-won Pennsylvania. McCain is keeping up his attacks against Obama as a tax-and-spend liberal; his strategists contend that's moving poll numbers.

"This campaign is functionally tied across the battleground states with our numbers improving sharply," said Bill McInturff, McCain's lead pollster in a strategy memo. "All signs say we are headed to an election that may easily be too close to call by next Tuesday."

Democrats privately acknowledge the race is narrowing, though they say they aren't concerned. Obama's top aides hope not just for a win but a sweeping victory that would reshapes the political landscape.

"Strategically we tried to have as wide of a map as possible," to have many routes to reaching the magic number of 270 on Election Day, David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, told reporters this week. "We think we've been able to create that dynamic and have a lot of competitive states in play."

Indeed, Obama has used his financial heft and organizational prowess, a remnant of the long Democratic primary that was fought out in every corner of the nation, to compete in states the party has ignored in previous elections because of their histories of voting Republican. McCain has lagged in both money and manpower.

As a result, the GOP's hold on states usually considered safe has shrunk, and the election's final week is being played out largely in states that Bush won and that are toss-ups in a political climate that greatly favors Democrats.

They include the traditional GOP bastions of Indiana and North Carolina, as well as perennial battlegrounds of Missouri and Nevada. Also on the list are the crown jewels of Florida and Ohio, which were crucial in deciding the last two presidential elections. McCain could sweep all six and still lose the White House.

Obama has every state that Kerry won four years ago seemingly in the bag or leaning his way, including Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and New Hampshire — four states with 41 votes that McCain and his allies aggressively fought for before pulling back this month when they became out of reach. McCain still hopes to win one of Maine's electoral votes, which are allotted by congressional district.

Among Kerry's states from 2004, only Pennsylvania, which hasn't voted for a Republican since 1988, remains realistically in McCain's sights. Public polls show Obama leading by double-digits, though McCain aides say it's much closer. McCain hopes that working-class white voters who haven't fully warmed to Obama will vote Republican. Some aides say a Pennsylvania victory, with 21 votes, could be what allows McCain to win the White House, provided he can thwart Obama in Bush-held states.

Over the past month, Obama has strengthened his standing in four of those offering a combined 34 votes.

He has comfortable leads in Iowa and New Mexico polls. Long considered toss-ups, Colorado and Virginia have started tilting more toward Obama. McCain is still advertising heavily in the four and has visited all in recent days. His advisers say their polling shows the race tighter than it seems.

West Virginia and Montana both emerged as GOP trouble spots after Obama started advertising in them; the Republican National Committee was forced to go on the air this week to defend them.

Earlier in the year, Obama had put millions of dollars into Georgia and North Dakota only to pull out when McCain ended up maintaining an edge. But, as the race closes, there are indications Obama could win them, too. Obama also could pick up a single vote in Nebraska, which awards votes based on congressional districts.

There are even signs that the race in McCain's home state of Arizona — which would be a battleground if he didn't live there — is narrowing. Public polls show McCain with a single-digit lead, even though Obama hasn't targeted the state.



What are John McCain's chances in Pennsylvania? Well, in the plus column: Barack Obama lost Pennsylvania to Hillary Clinton in April, and the state's Democratic governor Ed Rendell has worried about cultural conservatives not voting for a black man. The minus column? McCain trails between seven and 14 points according to the polls; Pennsylvania has gone Democratic in the past four presidential elections; and the state has one million more registered Democrats than Republicans, McCain has decided to put his eggs in the Keystone State's basket, and Rendell is sufficiently worried to have recruited Bill Clinton to stump for Obama in the state's western, rural parts. The McCain campaign insists that its internal polls have him within striking distance of victory.


Obama's commercial is a thirty minute slice of an American story that was crying out to be told... and that Barack Obama heard.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


An unnamed conservative was quoted this morning in a Politico article saying, “There's a sense that the Republican Party is broken, but the conservative movement is not." This reflects an trend in recent days, of reported tensions among Republicans over party ideology.

A majorityof the Online100 however disagreed with Politico’s source, as 63% of panelists disagreed with that statement. 30% of respondents agreed with the statement however.

In today's Politico, an unnamed conservative is quoted saying: "There's a sense that the Republican Party is broken, but the conservative movement is not." Do you:

Most telling however, is the divisions according to political leanings. 58% of right leaning respondents agreed with the statement, while 75% of left leaning voters disagreed. 89% of center aligned panelists agreed with left leaning panelists.

Obama Infomercial, a Closing Argument to the Everyman

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Senator Barack Obama at a rally at Widener University in Chester, Pa., Tuesday. A preview of his 30-minute-long infomercial was heavy on Americana

Published: October 28, 2008

WASHINGTON — Senator Barack Obama will use his prime-time half-hour infomercial on Wednesday night to make what is effectively a closing argument to a national audience of millions. At times he will speak directly into the camera about his 20-month campaign, at others he will highlight everyday voters, their everyday troubles, and his plans to address them.

Mr. Obama’s campaign agreed to provide The New York Times with a minute-long trailer for the 30-minute program, which is to run on four broadcast networks at 8 p.m. It will be the first time in 16 years that a presidential candidate has bought network time, in prime time, for a prolonged campaign commercial.

GOP Senate Campaign May Feel Fallout of Stevens Verdict

by: Sean Cockerham, Anchorage Daily News

Ted Stevens' conviction further threatens the GOP. (Artwork: Oregon Live)

A defiant Sen. Ted Stevens is returning to Alaska on Wednesday to resume his re-election campaign, despite being convicted of felonies that carry the potential of years in prison.

Stevens, 84, faces a challenge of historic proportions with just one week before the election. He'd be the first convicted U.S. senator ever elected, on appeal or not.

Alaska pollsters and political consultants were skeptical of Stevens' chances Monday but not prepared to count out the longest serving Republican in Senate history. Several pointed out that, contrary to most predictions, Stevens surged in the polls after his indictment in late July, coming from far behind to what's essentially a tie with Democratic opponent Mark Begich in most recent polls.

"That had to be people rallying to Ted against these Outside influences attacking their senator. It's possible, extremely unlikely, that with the conviction we'll get another backlash against this Outside influence," said Anchorage pollster Marc Hellenthal.

The mood at Stevens' Anchorage campaign headquarters was one of stunned horror immediately after the conviction came down mid-day Monday. People milled inside while two young volunteers stood in the cold guarding the door. One of them looked close to tears.

Hours later, the news had settled in. The guards were gone, the campaign ordered Moose's Tooth pizza for its workers and Stevens' backers started talking about what's next.

"I think it will be a battle but we're going to throw every ounce of effort into doing so," said political consultant Art Hackney, who is working on the Stevens campaign.

Hackney said it's going to be a "nonstop campaigning, very aggressive," once Stevens gets back to Alaska. He said the campaign has to ask people to withhold their judgment.

"And basically what I think most people understand, it's really three words - prosecutorial misconduct and appeal," he said. "And other than that it's campaigning on the record of what he's done and what he can do."

Sharp Divide

Larry Sabato, who publishes the nationally watched Crystal Ball forecasts of congressional races, said he can't imagine Alaskans would re-elect a U.S. senator just convicted of seven felonies.

"It would make Alaska a national laughingstock," said Sabato, who directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

The National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee appears to have given up on Stevens.

"Ted Stevens served his constituents for over 40 years and I am disappointed to see his career end in disgrace," said NRSC Chairman John Ensign, a senator from Nevada.

Carl Shepro, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, said that kind of talk might be premature. Shepro said he believes Stevens still has a real chance to win re-election next week despite the conviction.

"Right now I'm in Fairbanks. It's pretty amazing the advertisements for him and the testimonials and stuff," Shepro said. "It's certainly difficult to think they are just going to turn around because of the conviction, and with appeals this could drag out for years."

Stevens' Democratic opponent, Anchorage Mayor Begich, was playing it safe on Monday. Begich read a 14-second statement that said it's been a tough year but time to move on. He then refused to answer any questions from reporters.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who recruited Begich to run, wasn't feeling so shy. He called on Stevens to "now respect the outcome of the judicial process and the dignity of the United States Senate." The Alaska Democratic party said Stevens should resign.

U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Stevens must face the consequences of the verdict and will be held accountable so public trust can be restored.

But Alaska's other U.S. senator, Republican Lisa Murkowski, said the prosecution committed several gaffes during the trial and she'll stand with Stevens as he pursues his appeal.

Rural Support

There's nothing in the U.S. Constitution or Senate rules to keep a convicted felon from being a senator.

Stevens' colleagues could expel him with a two-thirds vote if he's re-elected, or even before his current term ends in January.

If Stevens resigned or was expelled, the seat would stay empty until a special election within 90 days.

Todd Larkin of North Pole, who has been active in the state Republican Party, said Stevens could win, and then resign, allowing the Republicans to put up a candidate in the special election. That's a potential scenario state party officials are talking about to keep the seat out of Democratic hands.

Stevens isn't talking about resigning yet. His campaign sent a message to supporters Monday saying "overzealous prosecutors" deprived Stevens of his rights and that 12 jurors who have never been to Alaska shouldn't decide the race.

Stevens is particularly strong in rural Alaska. Matthew Nicolai, president of the Calista Corp., one of 13 regional Native corporations, estimated Stevens represents about $1 billion a year in federal projects to rural Alaska. He said the 40-year senator has visited nearly all of the 56 villages in the Calista region at one time or another. Nicolai said he thinks Stevens can still be re-elected.

Rep. Reggie Joule, who represents Kotzebue in the state Legislature, heard news of the verdict while preparing for a caribou hunt. Joule is a Democrat but has stumped for Stevens during the campaign.

During the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, some rural voters walked to the nearby Anchorage City Hall to cast early ballots last week - before the verdict, he said. "Sen. Stevens has a lot of loyal backers, and a lot of people have voted already."

Asked if he still plans to vote for Stevens, Joule hadn't decided.

"There's a piece of me that's really torn. So, I guess when I get inside the polling booth, I'll cast my vote," he said.

Alaska Republican Congressman Don Young, who is under federal investigation and facing his own tough re-election battle, said he thinks Stevens can still win next week.

"He's the best thing for that, for the Senate. Alaskans know this. This is a trumped up charge.... I can remember Richard Nixon, you know, his years of service, what he's done. And everybody were ridiculing him and he ended up being the greatest president in the history of our century," Young said.

Young, who has not been charged, said the Stevens conviction doesn't make him more concerned about what federal prosecutors might be planning for him.

"I have no problem with anything. I know where I'm going, where I've been and what I've done," he said.

Pollsters Get Busy

Pollsters said a Stevens acquittal could have given Young a needed boost, helping to give voters doubt about the federal investigation of Young. Clem Tillion, a Republican former president of the state Senate, seemed to agree.

"I think it's going to be harder on Don Young than it is on Ted Stevens," Tillion said.

Alaska pollsters will be scrambling in the coming days to test the effect of Monday's conviction on both Young's U.S. House race and Stevens' Senate bid.

Most recent polls have showed Begich and Stevens being statistically tied. But a Craciun Research Group Inc. poll over the weekend put Begich in the lead by 12 percentage points, after the closing arguments but before the jury came in with a verdict.

Pollster Anne Hays said it's been a close race, according to her numbers, but she expects "the dam to open up," following the conviction. Ivan Moore, another Anchorage pollster, said there's no way to know for sure what the conviction will bring.

"This is one of those situations where nothing like this ever happened before," Moore said. "But I think it's pretty clear Ted's going to have a hard time winning next week."


Quinnipiac University
Mode: Live Telephone Interviews

Florida 1,435 LV, 2.6%
Obama 47, McCain 45

Ohio 1,425 LV, 2.6%
Obama 51, McCain 42

Pennsylvania 1,364 LV, 2.7%
Obama 53, McCain 41

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



Michelle Obama

Remember when, in the wake of the "proud of my country" kerfuffle, it seemed as though Michelle Obama might be her husband's campaign's greatest liability? Count that now as another unrealized rightwing fantasy. The New York Times runs an article today about Michelle Obama's evolution into a "disciplined and effective advocate for her husband." She has been deployed, recently, in key battleground states, a "sign of the campaign's confidence in her," although her focus is often soft—on motherhood and humanizing Barack. This is reflected too in her choice of interview venues, like The View, Ellen, and The Daily Show. Said one aide: "There is not one vote she will get from doing Wolf Blitzer."


Video: Obama's Closing Argument

by: Barack Obama

Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania.
Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania. (Photo: Reuters)

"I know these are difficult times for America. But I also know that we have faced difficult times before. The American story has never been about things coming easy - it's been about rising to the moment when the moment was hard. It's about seeing the highest mountaintop from the deepest of valleys. It's about rejecting fear and division for unity of purpose. That's how we've overcome war and depression. That's how we've won great struggles for civil rights and women's rights and worker's rights. »

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Senior Republicans believe that John McCain is doomed to a landslide defeat which will hand Barack Obama more political power than any president in a generation.

By Tim Shipman in Durango, Colorado

Aides to George W.Bush, former Reagan White House staff and friends of John McCain have all told The Sunday Telegraph that they not only expect to lose on November 4, but also believe that Mr Obama is poised to win a crushing mandate.
They believe he will be powerful enough to remake the American political landscape with even more ease than Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
The prospect of an electoral rout has unleashed a bitter bout of recriminations both within the McCain campaign and the wider conservative movement, over who is to blame and what should be done to salvage the party's future.
Mr McCain is now facing calls for him to sacrifice his own dwindling White House hopes and focus on saving vulnerable Republican Senate seats which are up for grabs on the same day.
Their fear is that Democrat candidates riding on Mr Obama's popularity may win the nine extra seats they need in the Senate to give them unfettered power in Congress.
If the Democrat majority in the Senate is big enough - at least 60 seats to 40 - the Republicans will be unable to block legislation by use of a traditional filibuster - talking until legislation runs out of time. No president has had the support of such a majority since Jimmy Carter won the 1976 election. President Reagan achieved his political transformation partly through the power of his personality.
David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter, told The Sunday Telegraph that Republicans should now concentrate all their fire on "the need for balanced government".
"It's hard to see a turnaround in the White House race," he said. "This could look like an ideological as well as a party victory if we're not careful. It could be 1980 in reverse.
"With this huge new role for federal government in the economy, the possibility for mischief making is very, very great. One man should not have a monopoly of political and financial power. That's very dangerous."
In North Carolina, where Senator Elizabeth Dole seems set to loose, Republicans are running adverts that appear to take an Obama victory for granted, warning that the Democrat will have a "blank cheque" if her rival Kay Hagen wins. "These liberals want complete control of government in a time of crisis," the narrator says. "All branches of Government. No checks and balances."
Democrats lead in eight of the 12 competitive Senate races and need just nine gains to reach their target of 60. Even Mitch McConnell, the leader of Senate Republicans, is at risk in Kentucky, normally a rock solid red state.
A private memo on the likely result of the congressional elections, leaked to Politico, has the Republicans losing 37 seats.
Ed Rollins, who masterminded Ronald Reagan's second victory in 1984, said the election is already over and predicted: "This is going to turn into a landslide."
A former White House official who still advises President Bush told The Sunday Telegraph: "McCain hasn't won independents, nor has he inspired the base. It's the worst of all worlds. He is dragging everyone else down with him. He needs to deploy people and money to salvage what we can in Congress."
The prospect of defeat has unleashed what insiders describe as an "every man for himself" culture within the McCain campaign, with aides in a "circular firing squad" as blame is assigned.
More profoundly, it sparked the first salvoes in a Republican civil war with echoes of Tory infighting during their years in the political wilderness.
One wing believes the party has to emulate David Cameron, by adapting the issues to fight on and the positions they hold, while the other believes that a back to basics approach will reconnect with heartland voters and ensure success. Modernisers fear that would leave Republicans marginalised, like the Tories were during the Iain Duncan Smith years, condemning them to opposition for a decade.
Mr Frum argues that just as America is changing, so the Republican Party must adapt its economic message and find more to say about healthcare and the environment if it is to survive.
He said: "I don't know that there's a lot of realism in the Republican Party. We have an economic message that is largely irrelevant to most people.
"Cutting personal tax rates is not the answer to everything. The Bush years were largely prosperous but while national income was up the numbers for most individuals were not. Republicans find that a hard fact to process."
Other Republicans have jumped ship completely. Ken Adelman, a Pentagon adviser on the Iraq war, Matthew Dowd, who was Mr Bush's chief re-election strategist, and Scott McClellan, Mr Bush's former press secretary, have all endorsed Mr Obama.
But the real bile has been saved for those conservatives who have balked at the selection of Sarah Palin.
In addition to Mr Frum, who thinks her not ready to be president, Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan's greatest speechwriter and a columnist with the Wall Street Journal, condemned Mr McCain's running mate as a "symptom and expression of a new vulgarisation of American politics." Conservative columnist David Brooks called her a "fatal cancer to the Republican Party".
The backlash that ensued last week revealed the fault lines of the coming civil war.
Rush Limbaugh, the doyen of right wing talk radio hosts, denounced Noonan, Brooks and Frum. Neconservative writer Charles Krauthammer condemned "the rush of wet-fingered conservatives leaping to Barack Obama", while fellow columnist Tony Blankley said that instead of collaborating in heralding Mr Obama's arrival they should be fighting "in a struggle to the political death for the soul of the country".
During the primaries the Democratic Party was bitterly divided between Barack Obama's "latte liberals" and Hillary Clinton's heartland supporters, but now the same cultural division threatens to tear the Republican Party apart.
Jim Nuzzo, a White House aide to the first President Bush, dismissed Mrs Palin's critics as "cocktail party conservatives" who "give aid and comfort to the enemy".
He told The Sunday Telegraph: "There's going to be a bloodbath. A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party. The litmus test will be: where did you stand on Palin?"
Mr Frum thinks that Mrs Palin's brand of cultural conservatism appeals only to a dwindling number of voters.
He said: "She emerges from this election as the probable frontrunner for the 2012 nomination. Her supporters vastly outnumber her critics. But it will be extremely difficult for her to win the presidency."
Mr Nuzzo, who believes this election is not a re-run of the 1980 Reagan revolution but of 1976, when an ageing Gerald Ford lost a close contest and then ceded the leadership of the Republican Party to Mr Reagan.
He said: "Win or lose, there is a ready made conservative candidate waiting in the wings. Sarah Palin is not the new Iain Duncan Smith, she is the new Ronald Reagan." On the accuracy of that judgment, perhaps, rests the future of the Republican Party.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008




Posted from

Senator John McCain at the Aspen Institute.

by: Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian UK

Washington - John McCain's path to the presidency narrowed further today with reports that the Republican was giving up on Colorado, a day after a campaign swing through the battleground state by his running mate, Sarah Palin.

The signs of retrenchment for McCain came as a new poll showed Barack Obama steadily increasing his lead since mid-September. read full post here»


Republicans Play Dress-up with Sarah by Mike Licht,
Mike Licht,


Blogger Al Giordano has theories on why John McCain has apparently pulled up stakes in Colorado and other states and staked his campaign on winning Pennsylvania. One, McCain got sick of news blaring that he was “defending red states” rather than trying to pick off blue ones. Two, McCain “will try to relive the April 22 Democratic Primary in Pennsylvania: a reappearance by Rev. Wright and Obama's ‘bitter’ comments in paid TV ads combined with a tightening of poll numbers.” It’s unclear how Rev. Wright will reappear, but it’s an interesting theory. Moreover, McCain’s gambit might convince the national media to converge on Pennsylvania, making it the round-the-clock cable-news set that Florida was in 2000 and Ohio was in 2004.


After September 11, President Bush encouraged Americans to go shopping. If that advice applies to our current recession, then Sarah Palin is every bit as patriotic as she claims. Politico reports that the Republican National Committee has spent over $150,000 on its vice presidential nominee's wardrobe since she was picked for the ticket in August. Nearly half of that money was spent on a single shopping spree at a Minneapolis Neiman Marcus in September. Other line items: $5,000 at Bloomingdale’s; $700 at Barney’s; $4,900 at Atelier, a “high-class shopping destination for men” beloved by First Dudes everywhere; and nearly $300 at the baby store Pacifier. The campaign says the clothes will go to charity after the election.




Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Sent to Chill Baby, Chill by Dan Suffoletta

Dear Red States...

We've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.

In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii , Oregon , Washington , Minnesota , Wisconsin , Michigan , Illinois and all the Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas , Oklahoma and all the slave states.

We get stem cell research and the best beaches.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom...or what's left

We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.

We get 85 percent of America 's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama .

We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms.

Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home. We do wish you success in Iraq , and hope that the WMDs turn up, but we're not willing to spend our resources in Bush's Quagmire.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners) 90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clems on and the University of Georgia.

We get Hollywood and Yosemite , thank you. Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy b*****ds believe you are people with higher morals then we lefties.

Peace out,

Blue States


After Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama Sunday, it looked like things couldn't get any worse for John McCain on the endorsement score. Well, they just did. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke has endorsed the economic stimulus plan supported by Obama and the Democrats. Having the Fed chairman say that Obama and the Democrats have the right ideas on the economy will surely be helpful to Obama even if he wasn't named explicitly. President Bush and the Republicans generally oppose the Democratic plan.


CNN is reporting that McCain is making those tough decisions that politicians love to talk about. According to CNN, McCain is abandoning Colorado (9 EVs), Iowa (7 EVs) and New Mexico (5 Evs). If Obama wins these three he gets 21 EVs. Add these to the 252 EVs Kerry won and he has 273 and becomes President. McCain's strategy at this point is to win Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Missouri, Nevada, and--get this--Pennsylvania. The first six are arguably swing states, but our three-poll average puts Obama 12 points ahead in Pennsylvania. McCain is effectively betting the farm on a state which looks like an Obama landslide. It is a strange choice. Colorado looks a lot easier than Pennsylvania. James Carville once famously said that Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama sandwiched in between. Maybe McCain is going to go all out to win the white working class men in the Alabama section of Pennsylvania. McCain can't possibly do it on the economy. What's left? Maybe run against the Wright/Ayers ticket? Any way you look at it, this has to be a desperation move.


by Tucker Carlson

Posted from Daily Beast

Republicans know the race is over. Only Democrats, so accustomed to failure, still believe Obama could lose.

Wondering if you're really a Democrat? Here's a quick way to find out: Given everything the Democratic party has going for it this yearthe overwhelming financial advantage, the legions of new voters, George W. Bushdo you believe the Obama campaign could still somehow, in the final moments, find a way to blow it and lose this election?

If you answered yes, you're a Democrat.

Two weeks out, only the Democrats in Washington think Obama might not win. That's not the result of a scientific study, but instead the conclusion I've reached after many lunches, dinners and elevator rides with DC Democrats. Against all evidence, a good number of them have convinced themselves that John McCain is going to be the next president.

Republicans have no master plan for victory, no October Surprise. You'll never convince most Democrats of that.

Partly this is superstition, like throwing salt over your shoulder when you spill the shaker: predictions are bad luck. But it's also the voice of experience.

"We're the Cincinnati Bengals," says Jay Rouse, a longtime Democratic political consultant. "Democrats are used to losing, not winning." That's especially true at the national level, where in the past 64 years only a single Democrat has been reelected president. The last two presidential elections raised doubts about whether Democrats were capable of wining at all. "People are still traumatized by '04," says James Carville.

They shouldn't be. A mediocre candidate running against an incumbent in a time of war isn't likely to win under any circumstances; if anything, Democratic insiders were too quick to blame John Kerry for his loss. Circumstances all but doomed him from the beginning. The problem was, up until about dinner time on election night, few of Kerry's supporters realized that.

The shock stings four years later. "Democrats are losers," says one former Democratic campaign operative with sadness. "Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Obama himself told supporters last week. "Don't underestimate our ability to screw things up."

Give them a few drinks and many Democrats make remarkably self-loathing noises: we're disorganized, our interest groups are out of control, the rest of the country hates us. To these Democrats, Obama isn't really winning; the Republicans are losing. They fear fate could intervene at the last minute to change the course of the election.

It's the nightmare scenario, says Jay Rouse. "They're worried that Osama bin Laden is going to say, 'I want to have sex with Barack Obama.'"

If that happens, Karl Rove will get all the credit, at least in Democratic circles. Rove’s too busy giving speeches and doing TV to pick up his dry cleaning, yet Democrats imagine he's having breakfast with Satan every Thursday at the Four Seasons to chart strategy.

No one's more confident in Republican efficiency than Democrats. It's almost touching, and totally unwarranted. In real life, there are no WMD: Republicans have no master plan for victory, no October Surprise. The operation is as disjointed as it looks. You'll never convince most Democrats of that.

Even those Democrats who understand the true, greatly weakened state of the Republican Party have grave doubts about ordinary voters. If you've been out to dinner in a blue state in the last six weeks, you've heard the argument: This is still a racist country. Once they get in the booth, they'll never vote for a black man. It's the Bradley Effect, etc...In other words, it only looks like 2008. Actually, it's 1956.

Except that it's not. If anything, Obama’s race has been a net political asset so far. We'll find out for sure on Election Day, but in the meantime I'd be willing to bet that Obama wins a larger proportion of white men than John Kerry did four years ago. It's a different country than it used to be.

The question is whether, even in victory, Democrats will come to understand that. In order to govern successfully, they'll need to.


Sarah Palin will be the hero of the Republican base should Obama win the presidential election

If Obama takes the White House on November 4th, Sarah Palin's next act will be "hero of the GOP base."

Exactly one half (50%) of our Online100 panel agree that the Alaskan governor will play a larger role in the national Republican party, even if the McCain-Palin ticket loses this year. However, only 16% believe she'll have a very powerful voice within the party and become a presidential nominee herself one day.

32% of the panel believe that her political status would turn negative since she would be part-blamed for the loss.

Across the political spectrum, the panel sees Palin's future as hero of the base, with 50% of the left, right, and center predicting this as her future role. However, the remainder of the left (44%) and center (42%) largely saw her political status turning sour in the event of a loss, while the remainder of the right (36%) saw her being very powerful in the future.

Should Barack Obama win the presidential election on November 4th, what would be Governor Sarah Palin's political status within the GOP going forward?

Some of our panelists qualified their answer by commenting, for example, that she will be "She'll be blamed for the loss (by some) and be a hero of (others) in the base." Another says, "Oddly enough she WILL be a cause for McCain's loss (if he loses) AND a hero of the base."

One of the left-leaning panelists believes "She'll be in play as a possible future nominee, and I can see her winning a Senate seat down the road, but many in the party establishment clearly don't think much of her."

A right-leaning panelist says that "Palin can go as far as she wants to. The 2012 nomination is hers for the taking."


Gallup Poll - World News Special Report

World Citizens Prefer Obama to McCain by Nearly 4-to-1

October 21, 2008
Gallup Polls conducted in 70 countries representing more than 2 billion of the world's adult citizens reveal a nearly 4-to-1 preference for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. John McCain among those who say they know enough to have an opinion. Citizens in Europe are the most likely to state a preference for the next president of the United States, while citizens in Asia are the least likely. Only Georgia and the Philippines prefer McCain to Obama.


October 19, 2008
He is the competent, confident leader who represents the aspirations of the nation.

It is inherent in the American character to aspire to greatness, so it can be disorienting when the nation stumbles or loses confidence in bedrock principles or institutions. That's where the United States is as it prepares to select a new president: We have seen the government take a stake in venerable private financial houses; we have witnessed eight years of executive branch power grabs and erosion of civil liberties; we are still recovering from a murderous attack by terrorists on our own soil and still struggling with how best to prevent a recurrence.

We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.

  • The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.

Our nation has never before had a candidate like Obama, a man born in the 1960s, of black African and white heritage, raised and educated abroad as well as in the United States, and bringing with him a personal narrative that encompasses much of the American story but that, until now, has been reflected in little of its elected leadership. The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness. But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity.

These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade. The Constitution, more than two centuries old, now offers the world one of its more mature and certainly most stable governments, but our political culture is still struggling to shake off a brash and unseemly adolescence. In George W. Bush, the executive branch turned its back on an adult role in the nation and the world and retreated into self-absorbed unilateralism.

John McCain distinguished himself through much of the Bush presidency by speaking out against reckless and self-defeating policies. He earned The Times' respect, and our endorsement in the California Republican primary, for his denunciation of torture, his readiness to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and his willingness to buck his party on issues such as immigration reform. But the man known for his sense of honor and consistency has since announced that he wouldn't vote for his own immigration bill, and he redefined "torture" in such a disingenuous way as to nearly embrace what he once abhorred.

Indeed, the presidential campaign has rendered McCain nearly unrecognizable. His selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate was, as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory. The decision calls into question just what kind of thinking -- if that's the appropriate word -- would drive the White House in a McCain presidency. Fortunately, the public has shown more discernment, and the early enthusiasm for Palin has given way to national ridicule of her candidacy and McCain's judgment.

Obama's selection also was telling. He might have scored a steeper bump in the polls by making a more dramatic choice than the capable and experienced Joe Biden. But for all the excitement of his own candidacy, Obama has offered more competence than drama.

He is no lone rider. He is a consensus-builder, a leader. As a constitutional scholar, he has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive that make him the best hope of restoring balance and process to the Justice Department. He is a Democrat, leaning further left than right, and that should be reflected in his nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is a good thing; the court operates best when it is ideologically balanced. With its present alignment at seven justices named by Republicans and two by Democrats, it is due for a tug from the left.

We are not sanguine about Obama's economic policies. He speaks with populist sweep about taxing oil companies to give middle-class families rebates that of course they would welcome, but would be far too small to stimulate the economy. His ideas on taxation do not stray far from those put forward by Democrats over the last several decades. His response to the most recent, and drastic, fallout of the sub- prime mortgage meltdown has been appropriately cautious; this is uncharted territory, and Obama is not a master of economic theory or practice.

And that's fine. Obama inspires confidence not so much in his grasp of Wall Street finance but in his acknowledgment of and comfort with his lack of expertise. He will not be one to forge far-reaching economic policy without sounding out the best thinkers and practitioners, and he has many at his disposal. He has won the backing of some on Wall Street not because he's one of them but because they recognize his talent for extracting from a broad range of proposals a coherent and workable program.

On paper, McCain presents the type of economic program The Times has repeatedly backed: One that would ease the tax burden on business and other high earners most likely to invest in the economy and hire new workers. But he has been disturbingly unfocused in his response to the current financial situation, rushing to "suspend" his campaign and take action (although just what action never became clear). Having little to contribute, he instead chose to exploit the crisis.

We may one day look back on this presidential campaign in wonder. We may marvel that Obama's critics called him an elitist, as if an Ivy League education were a source of embarrassment, and belittled his eloquence, as if a gift with words were suddenly a defect. In fact, Obama is educated and eloquent, sober and exciting, steady and mature. He represents the nation as it is, and as it aspires to be.


One Cool Customer

One Cool Customer

October 21, 2008 | web only
Amid all the talk about John McCain's character, the press has missed the most important personal story in this election: Obama's steady, mature, and thoughtful approach to politics appeals to voters.

While McCain shows how far he'll stoop, voters are discovering that whatever else you think about Barack Obama, the man is calm.

Posted from

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)


Nathan Sproul has a history of voter fraud.

by: Sam Stein, The Huffington Post

John McCain's campaign has directed $175,000 to the firm of a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states.

According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of "registering voters." The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even, once, spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots so as to hinder the Democratic ticket. Read Full Story Here»


Posted from The Nation

"There is always a charge that socialism does not fit human nature. We've encountered that for a long time. Maybe that's true. But can't people be educated? Can't people learn to cooperate with each other? Surely that must be our goal, because the alternative is redolent with war and poverty and all the ills of the world." -- Frank Zeidler

John McCain hopes to revive his campaign by suggesting that Barack Obama is some kind of socialist.

The Republican nominee for president says that his Democratic rival's plan for stimulating the economy sounds "a lot like socialism."

"At least in Europe, the socialist leaders who so admire my opponent are up front about their objectives. They use real numbers and honest language. And we should demand equal candor from Senator Obama," the Arizona senator claimed over the weekend.

Asked if he thinks Obama is a socialist, McCain offers an insinuating raised eyebrow and a shrug non-response: "I don't know."

McCain is not really concerned about socialism. He is trying to suggest that Obama is somehow un-American.

Obama's no socialist.

But, as a Wisconsinite, I can't buy the basic premise of McCain's argument.

I grew up in a state where socialism was as American as my friend Frank Zeidler.

Zeidler, an old-school American socialist who served three terms as the mayor of Milwaukee from 1948 to 1960, died two year ago at age 93. His passing was mourned by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, who recognized the gentle radical as one of the most honorable men ever to cross the American political landscape.

Zeidler actually ran for president in 1976 as the nominee of the American Socialist Party. In fairness, it was more an educational campaign than a serious bid for an office that the former mayor never really coveted. Like so many of the great civic gestures he engaged in over eight decades of activism, Zeidler's 1976 campaign promoted the notion that: "There's nothing un-American about socialism."

Campaigning on a platform that promised a shift of national priorities from bloated defense spending to fighting poverty, rebuilding cities and creating a national health care program, Zeidler won only a portion of the respect that was due this kind and decent man and the values to which he has devoted a lifetime.

Had Zeidler been born in another land -- perhaps Germany, where the roots of his family tree were firmly planted -- his Socialist Party run would have been a much bigger deal. Indeed, he might well have been elected.

In most of the world, the social-democratic values that Zeidler advanced throughout his long life hold great sway. Latin America has been experiencing a revival of socialist fervor in recent years. And virtually every European country has elected a socialist government in the past decade. Indeed, the current leaders of Britain and Spain head political parties that are associated with the Socialist International, of which Zeidler's Socialist Party was a U.S. affiliate. In the recent Canadian elections, the socialist New Democratic Party experienced a substantial boost in its parliamentary delegation.

In Zeidler's youth, America's Socialist Party was a contender. During the 1920s, there were more Socialists in the Wisconsin legislature than Democrats, and a Wisconsin Socialist, Victor Berger, represented Milwaukee in the US House. When Norman Thomas sought the presidency as a Socialist in 1932, he received almost a million votes, and well into the 1950s Socialists ran municipal governments in Reading, Pennsylvania; Bridgeport, Connecticut and other quintessentially American cities – including Zeidler's Milwaukee.

For millions of American voters in the past century, socialism was never so frightening as John McCain would have us believe. Rather, it was a politics of principle that added ideas and nuance to a stilted economic and political discourse.

For the most part, Zeidler and his compatriots campaigned along the periphery of presidential politics, especially as the Cold War took hold.

But they earned respect in communities such as Milwaukee, where voters kept casting ballots for Socialist candidates even as Joe McCarthy was promoting his "red-scare" witch hunt.

Years after he left the mayor's office, Zeidler's contribution -- a humane, duty-driven, fiscally responsible version of socialism that is reflective of the man as much as the philosophy –- was always recognized by Wisconsinites as a very American expression of a legitimate and honorable international ideal.

Zeidler was the repository of a Milwaukee Socialist tradition with a remarkable record of accomplishment -- grand parks along that city's lakefront, nationally recognized public health programs, pioneering open housing initiatives, and an unrivaled reputation for clean government -- that to his death filled the circumspect former mayor with an uncharacteristic measure of pride.

Because of its emphasis on providing quality services, the politics that Zeidler practiced was sometimes referred to as "sewer socialism." But, to the mayor, it was much more than that. The Milwaukee Socialists, who governed the city for much of the 20th century, led a remarkably successful experiment in human nature rooted in their faith that cooperation could deliver more than competition.

"Socialism as we attempted to practice it here believes that people working together for a common good can produce a greater benefit both for society and for the individual than can a society in which everyone is shrewdly seeking their own self-interest," Zeidler told me in an interview several years ago. "And I think our record remains one of many more successes than failures."

Would that John McCain – and, frankly, Barack Obama -- had the intellectual honesty to assess those successes, and the ideals that underpinned them. The candidates would not, necessarily embrace socialism. But they would recognize the absurdity of tossing the "S" word around as an epithet.


Thank your for this, Dan Suffoletta

Monday, October 20, 2008


Kinship Circle - 2008-10-15 - Aug-Oct Updates - 08 (Sarah Palin) by smiteme.


Sent to Chill Baby, Chill by Dan Suffoletta

Tribune Endorsement: Barack Obama for President
2:33 PM CDT, October 17, 2008

However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president.
In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven't experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It's a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn't forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust.
On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.


On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.
Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.
We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.
We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.


This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.
The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause - the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.
With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.
The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.
We see parallels today.
The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office -- and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.
We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.
It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.
McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate - but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate - he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country.


McCain calls Obama a typical liberal politician. Granted, it's disappointing that Obama's mix of tax cuts for most people and increases for the wealthy would create an estimated $2.9 trillion in federal debt. He has made more promises on spending than McCain has. We wish one of these candidates had given good, hard specific information on how he would bring the federal budget into line. Neither one has.
We do, though, think Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect.
We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform.
He worked to expand the number of charter schools in Illinois - not popular with some Democratic constituencies.
He took up ethics reform in the U.S. Senate - not popular with Washington politicians.

His economic policy team is peppered with advisers who support free trade. He has been called a "University of Chicago Democrat" - a reference to the famed free-market Chicago school of economics, which puts faith in markets.


Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.
He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.
When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did.

It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.