Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ayers attacks in tonight's debate will not help McCain

Today, pundits and the mainstream media have nearly unanimously agreed that Sen. John McCain must give a knock-out performance in tonight's debate to have any chance of closing the gap with Obama in the presidential race.

McCain hinted earlier this week that he will bring up William Ayers tonight, and vowed to "whip," Sen. Barack Obama's, "you-know-what," but the lead New York Times story today suggested that negative attacks are actually hurting his campaign.

The Online100 agrees.
62% of the panel suggested that it is not a smart strategy for John McCain to bring up William Ayers in tonight's debate. But the majority of the panelists admitted that McCain probably will bring it up anyway.

One panelist suggested that the Ayers issue was, "a stupid sideshow that only hurts his ability to attract independent voters," and another respondent warned, "It will look cheap, desperate, and nasty and I'm sure Obama has a good reply waiting."

Is it a smart strategy for John McCain to bring up William Ayers in tonight's debate?

34% of the panel however, including 70% of right leaning panelists agreed that bringing up Ayers during the debate would be a smart move for McCain. As one panelist commented, "Obama's long working relationship with Bill Ayers, his political godfather, goes to the heart of his character and judgment." Another respondent noted, "There is a way to use it effectively, but i doubt he will."

One panelist thought that McCain should use the attack, "but only in passing, perhaps mentioning that one is judged by the company they keep."

70% percent of the panel predict that McCain will bring up Ayers tonight regardless, and several respondents suggested that McCain is "running out of time."

Do you believe John McCain will actually bring up William Ayers tonight?

Only 17% of respondents thought that McCain would shy away from using the Ayers attacks, although a few that commented, noted that Bob Schieffer, would bring up the issue tonight, as one wrote, "The debate moderator will make sure McCain is asked about it after talking about it so much on the campaign trail."


Posted from
by Jon Meacham

Bill Kristol's comparison of the Alaskan governor to Old Hickory doesn't fly.

First, a stipulation: I like and respect Bill Kristol. There is, as you might expect, a “but” coming.

This morning in Maureen Dowd’s column in The New York Times, Bill compared Sarah Palin to Andrew Jackson. I have just finished five years of work on a Jackson biography, and am therefore particularly sensitive on this topic, and I have written about my reservations about Governor Palin in Newsweek. So Bill’s remark resonated with me on several levels.

The chief problem with the Palin-Jackson analogy is that Jackson was, by the time he came to the White House in 1829, a senior figure in American life. He had defeated the British at New Orleans and added millions upon millions of acres of land to the United States through his Indian campaigns. He served as a judge, a senator, a general, and, in 1824, won a plurality of the votes for president, only to lose the election to John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives. He was much more than a mayor and a governor of two years’ standing.

For Palin admirers, there is much to like in a Jackson analogy. He was largely unlettered, ran as a champion of the people versus elites, and consistently surprised political observers and prognosticators with success upon success. But Jackson was an experienced hand at public affairs, and his populism, while genuinely felt, was not unthinking or unreflective. Perhaps Palin’s vision of the world is more complex than we know. If it is, she has 19 days to prove it.

Jon Meacham, the editor of Newsweek, is the author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

Olbermann: McCain, Latest Pander Plan

by: Keith Olbermann, MSNBC Countdown

intense mccain

The GOP ticket is inciting supporters to violence against Barack Obama. Transcript 1:25 PM Eastern Time, today, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. During the warm-up act by a Red Meat Congressional Candidate aptly named Chris Hackett, Hackett mentions Obama and a Palin audience member shouts "Kill Him." And Gov. Palin, as usual, does nothing about it says nothing to these thugs and psychos. She may not have heard this one. It is impossible to believe that by now she has not heard about the other ones. Her silence is deafening. Read full post/see video here»

Cindy Rodriguez: "Wish It To The Cornfield" - Painting Acrylic, 2008

Description: While cringing about the upcoming presidential race between Barack Obama and Joe Biden vs. McCain and Palin, a three headed jack-in-the-box - Bush, Palin, and McCain formed into this piece that's been wished to the cornfield. Political satire inspired by an old Twilight Zone episode circa 1960, where a young boy would wish away people that he didn't particularly care for. Look out! Will be on Ebay for auction soon! Check back for updates.

Welcome to the Revolution

Posted from
by: Steve Weissman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

A painting of Barack Obama by artist David Choe.
A painting of Barack Obama by artist David Choe. (Photo: Getty Images)

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States proclaimed itself the world's only super-power and hawked American-style capitalism as the only economic system worth considering. How the mighty have fallen. A needless war in Iraq now calls into question whether the American military can control the oil and natural gas of the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, while the current financial chaos has driven the faith-based Bush administration to pray for government ownership in banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions. Full Story Here»

Obama Dominating Among Early Voters in Five Swing States

SurveyUSA has a lot of good habits as a pollster, and one of them is breaking out the results of early and absentee voting in states where such things are allowed. So far, SurveyUSA has conducted polling in five states where some form of early voting was underway. In each one, Barack Obama is doing profoundly better among early voters than among the state's electorate as a whole:

...    Poll    % Voted                  Non-Early
State Date Early Early Voters Likely Voters
NM 10/13 10% Obama +23% Obama +6%
OH 10/13 12% Obama +18% Obama +4%
GA 10/12 18% Obama +6% McCain +11%
IA 10/9 14% Obama +34% Obama +10%
NC 10/6 5% Obama +34% McCain +5%
We should caveat that these are not hard-and-fast numbers. Estimates of early voting results are subject to the same statistical vagaries as any other sort of subgroup analysis, such as response bias and small sample sizes.

Nevertheless, Obama is leading by an average of 23 points among early voters in these five states, states which went to George W. Bush by an average of 6.5 points in 2004.

Is this a typical pattern for a Democrat? Actually, it's not. According to a study by Kate Kenski at the University of Arizona, early voters leaned Republican in both 2000 and 2004; with Bush earning 62.2 percent of their votes against Al Gore, and 60.4 percent against John Kerry. In the past, early voters have also tended to be older than the voting population as a whole and more male than the population as a whole, factors which would seem to cut against Obama or most other Democrats.

Now certainly, early voters tend to be your stauncher partisans rather than your uncommitted voters -- just 1-2 percent of early voters in 2000 and 2004 reported that they would have voted differently if they'd waited until election day. So it's unlikely that John McCain is actually losing all that many persuadable voters to the early voter tallies.

What these results would seem to suggest, however, is that there are fairly massive advantages for the Democrats in enthusiasm and/or turnout operations. They imply that Obama is quite likely to turn out his base in large numbers; the question is whether the Republicans will be able to do the same.

Keep in mind that there are veteran pollsters like Ann Selzer who think that most of her colleagues are vastly understating the degree to which youth and minority turnout is liable to improve in this election; Selzer's polls have been 5-6 points more favorable to Obama than the averages in the states that she's surveyed. So while these early voting numbers could turn out to be something of a curiosity, they could alternatively represent a canary in the coal mine for a coming Democratic turnout wave.