Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Obama’s Lead Shrinks in Latest Washington Post/ABC Poll

In the aftermath of the first presidential debate between Obama and McCain, the Washington Post/ABC poll shows Obama’s lead has shrunk five percentage points from 52-43 on Sept. 22 to 50-46 on Sept. 29. For complete poll results go here.

Stock Market Surges; Senate Bailout Vote on Wednesday

Wow! It seems Congressional leaders are capable of pulling together and producing necessary legislation in a national – if not a world – crisis. Joseph Williams at Political Intel (Boston Globe) reports:

“US Senate leaders announced tonight that their chamber plans to vote on a Wall Street bailout package Wednesday evening.

“It is expected to include the sweetener of raising the insurance limit on individual bank deposits from $100,000 to $250,000 to help small business owners and avert runs on banks by fearful customers. Earlier today, both John McCain and Barack Obama endorsed increasing the deposit guarantee after talking separately to the president from the campaign trail.

“Obama's campaign announced tonight that he will return to Washington for the vote, and McCain is expected to follow suit.

“Several influential lawmakers -- including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, and Representative John Boehner, the top Republican -- signalled their approval of the deposit insurance proposal as well, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said today it will seek permission to temporarily raise the limit. Aides to House Republicans said the FDIC proposal might draw some conservative Republicans who voted against the package on Monday.

“Congressional leaders, alarmed by record losses in US financial markets and instability worldwide, worked publicly and behind the scenes today to resurrect President Bush's $700 billion bailout plan, pledging to set aside political differences and send a bill to the president's desk before the end of the week.

“The salvage operation seemed especially difficult since an unusual alliance of conservative Republican and liberal Democrats helped defeat the bill in the House on Monday. But the ensuing plunge on Wall Street injected a new sense of urgency to solve the biggest financial crisis in generations.

“Some lawmakers floated another proposal to persuade House opponents to reconsider -- a change to complex accounting rules that now require financial institutions to adjust the value of their assets to reflect current market prices, even if they plan to hold the assets for years. Some House Republicans say those rules undermined banks, forcing them to report huge paper losses on mortgage-backed securities and unnecessarily weakening confidence in them. (Federal regulators issued some bank-friendly clarifications to those rules today.

“The flurry of activity on Capitol Hill spurred the Dow Jones industrial average to a nearly 500-point surge today, a rally that partly offset Monday's 778-point drop -- the biggest one-day loss in years. Analysts said while bargain hunters were scooping up stocks, the rise reflected investors' confidence that Congress will come to the rescue.”

Thursday night’s Palin-Biden Debate Could Be Fun!

Excitement is building for the 90-minute face off between the garrulous Joe Biden and “hockey mom” Sarah Palin this Thursday night at 9 p.m. Eastern. PBS’ Gwen Ifill will moderate the one time only vice-presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis. I predict the Palin-Biden debate won’t be nearly as boring as the first presidential round between McCain and Obama.

The word is out across the Internet: “Underestimate Sarah Palin at your own risk.” LA Times staff writers Braun and Hamburger put it like this:

“During Palin's brief exposure to the high-stakes environment of political debates, she has unnerved both her handlers and her opponents. At times she has been handicapped by her lax approach to learning the nuances of policy and state issues, but she has also projected a Reaganesque ability to offer up pithy answers and charm on camera.”

Palin gained experience while running successfully for governor of Alaska. Braun and Hamburger describe her style in debating political opponents:

“Palin had ready answers on tough questions about social concerns such as native needs, abortion and assisted suicide. Sometimes her remarks seemed glib, but she was usually poised and sometimes kicked back at her opponents and her questioners when they took the offensive.

‘“Larry Persily, a panelist questioner in the campaign's final televised debate, said Palin flummoxed her rivals ‘like Muhammad Ali dancing around the ring.’ She avoided statements and tough questions that could have impaled her and repeatedly stung at her opponents. And Palin, a former sportscaster, was easily the most comfortable in front of the camera.

‘“She knows television,’ said Persily, who participated in other debates and has watched Palin closely for years. ‘She knows how to look at her interviewer.’

“Palin saved her most devastating riposte for the final question of the debate, when Persily asked the three candidates whether they would hire their opponents for a state job.

“Knowles and Halcro offered halting jokes. But when it was Palin's turn, she pounced.

‘“Smiling at Halcro, who recited reams of statistics by rote, Palin observed that the businessman ‘would make the most awesome statistician the state could ever look for.’

‘“As the debate audience laughed, Palin pivoted to Knowles, who had started his political career as an Anchorage restaurateur. ‘Do they need a chef down in Juneau?’ Palin asked, smiling as she turned the verbal knife. ‘I know Mr. Knowles is really good at that.’

“Two years on, Halcro and Knowles admit they are still baffled how their mastery of policy and state issues was trumped by Palin's breezy confidence and feel-good answers.

‘“When you try to prove she doesn't know anything, you lose, because audiences are enraptured by her,’ Halcro said. ‘And her biting comments give you a sense of how competitive she is. Anybody who doesn't take her seriously does so at their peril.”’

Tune in Thursday night at 9 for your one and only chance to see Palin and Biden go at it.

To read the LA Times article in its entirety, go here.

Ignore the Tabloids: This is Not a Depression!

Lately, I’ve wished I’d taken at least an introductory class in economics during my college years. After word of the House’s thumbs down on the $700 billion rescue bill yesterday, sensationalist headlines instantaneously appeared across the MSM and the blogosphere shouting, “the worst stock market plunge ever!”

Marketwatch offers a calmer voice this morning: Irwin Kellner writes: “We are nowhere near a depression, so let's stop talking ourselves into one.”

Kellner compares today’s financial situation with the depression of the 1930s:

In the crash of 1929 the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU:Dow Jones Industrial Average
$INDU 10,365.45, -777.68, -7.0%) plunged 40% in two months; this time around it has taken a year to fall 22%.

The jobless rate jumped to 25% by 1933; it is little more than 6% today.

The gross domestic product shrank by 25% during the early 1930s; it is up over 3% during the past year.

Consumer prices fell by about 30% from 1929 to 1933; and the last time I looked they were still rising.

Home prices dropped more than 30% during the Depression vs. about 16% today.

Some 40% of all mortgages were delinquent by 1934 compared with 4% today.

In the 1930s, more than 9,000 banks failed compared with fewer than 20 over the past couple of years.

Remember also it was policy errors, not the stock market crash, that caused the Great Depression:

Instead of increasing the money supply, the Federal Reserve of that era reduced it by one-third.

Instead of lowering taxes, Herbert Hoover raised them.

And to channel whatever demand was left into U.S.-made goods, the government enacted the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act to keep out foreign products; this only provoked our trading partners to do the same.

Add to this today's automatic stabilizers such as unemployment insurance and Social Security, the FDIC to insure bank deposits and circuit breakers to keep stocks from falling too quickly, and you can see why this is not a depression in any way shape or form.

While I am at it, I would like to take issue with the almost ubiquitous use of the word "bailout" to describe the government's rescue package.
Read more.

Monday, September 29, 2008

House Fails to Pass Bailout; Stocks Plunge

If you measure the importance of an event by the number of readers’ comments on message boards in the blogosphere, the House’s failure to pass the $700 billion rescue package today was a big one. The Huffington Post article on the failure and subsequent stock plunge has already garnered nearly 3000 comments. But since Huffington Post readers can get that worked up over a perceived slight to Barack Obama, I think I’ll stick with the staid New York Times on this one.

Staff reporters Hulse and Herszenhorn report:

“The vote against the measure was 228 to 205, with 133 Republicans joining 95 Democrats in opposition. The bill was backed by 140 Democrats and 65 Republicans.

“Supporters vowed to try to bring the rescue package up for consideration again as soon as possible, perhaps late Wednesday or Thursday, but there were no definite plans to do so.

“Stock markets plunged as it appeared that the measure would go down to defeat, and kept slumping into the afternoon when that appearance became a reality. By late afternoon the Dow industrials had fallen more than 5 percent, and other indexes even more sharply. Oil prices fell steeply on fears of a global recession; investors bid up prices of Treasury securities and gold in a flight to safety. House leaders pushing for the package kept the voting period open for some 40 minutes past the allotted time, trying to convert “no” votes by pointing to damage being done to the markets, but to no avail.

‘“The vote was a catastrophic political defeat for President Bush, who was described as ‘very disappointed’ by a spokesman, Tony Fratto. Mr. Bush had put the full weight of the White House behind the measure and had lobbied wavering Republicans in intensely personal telephone calls on Monday morning before the vote. Both presidential candidates also supported the plan.

“Supporters of the bill had argued that it was necessary to avoid a collapse of the economic system, a calamity that would drag down not just Wall Street investment houses but possibly the savings and portfolios of millions of Americans. Moreover, supporters argued, a lingering crisis in America could choke off business and consumer loans to a degree that could prompt bank failures in Europe and slow down the global economy.

“Opponents said the bill was cobbled together in too much haste and might amount to throwing good money from taxpayers after bad investments from Wall Street gamblers.

“Immediately after the vote, many House members appeared stunned. Some Republicans blamed Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, for a speech before the vote that disdained President Bush’s economic policies, and did so, in the opinion of the speaker’s critics, in too partisan a way. “

Read more.

VP Debate Prep: Let Sarah be Sarah

Never mind that the experienced Joe Biden has flubbed up every time he’s opened his mouth since chosen as Obama’s running mate, the media has focused its negative attention on Sarah Palin. After the Republican convention the popular Alaska governor was drawing such huge crowds the in-the-tank for-Obama media has felt compelled to go all out to destroy her.

So it’s good to learn the Republican camp is providing Palin the support, encouragement, and coaching she needs for the upcoming VP debate this Thursday.

Monica Langley at the WSJ reports:

“The McCain campaign moved its top officials inside Gov. Sarah Palin's operation Sunday to prepare for what is certain to be the most important event of her vice-presidential campaign: her debate on Thursday with Democrat Joe Biden.

“Additionally, at the urging of the Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain, Gov. Palin will leave late Monday for his Arizona ranch to prepare for the high-stakes debate.

“The moves follow several shaky performances by Gov. Palin last week and come amid concern and grumbling from Republicans, and even a few queries from her husband, Todd Palin, according to campaign operatives and Republican officials.

“McCain campaign manager Rick Davis and senior adviser Steve Schmidt are planning to coach the candidate ahead of the debate, according to senior advisers. They traveled Sunday to meet the Republican vice-presidential nominee in Philadelphia. After her appearance with Sen. McCain at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, these top officials plan to fly with her on Monday to Sen. McCain's ranch in Sedona, Ariz., which they hope she will find a comforting place to prep, these people said.

“More broadly, the McCain campaign aims to halt what it sees as a perceived decline in the crispness and precision of Gov. Palin's latest remarks as well as a fall in recent polls, according to several advisers and party officials.”

Read more.

How a Long-time Feminist Can Support the McCain-Palin Ticket

I’m not sure how I missed this post by Dr. Lynette Long at her blog on Sept. 8, but I’m pleased to link to The X Factor today in which Dr. Long, a psychologist and well-known feminist, explains why she has decided to support the McCain-Palin ticket. Following The X Factor, I’ve included a link to Dr. Long’s update a couple of days ago to her original post.

Dr. Long writes:

“I have given my loyalty to the Democratic Party for decades. My party, which is comprised primarily of women, has not put a woman on a presidential ticket for 24 years. My party refused to nominate my candidate, Hillary Clinton, for president or vice president, even though she received more votes than any other candidate in history. My party stood silently by as Hillary Clinton was eviscerated by the mainstream media. My party was mute while the main stream media repeatedly called Clinton a bitch and symbolically called me and every other woman in this country a bitch. My party was disturbingly silent when the main stream media commented on Hillary’s body or the shrillness of her voice, reminding me and every other woman the fundamental disrespect we endure on a daily basis. My party’s candidate was mute when Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Father Pfleger openly mocked Senator Clinton from the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ. My party’s candidate was silent when the rapper Ludicrous released a new song calling Hillary a bitch. My party and its candidate gave their tacit approval for the attacks on Senator Hillary Clinton and consequently women in general.

“I have a choice. I can vote for my party and it’s candidates which have demonstrated a blatant disrespect for women and a fundamental lack of integrity or I can vote for the Republican ticket which has heard our concerns and put a woman on the ticket but with whom I fundamentally don’t agree on most issues. If Democratic women wait for the perfect woman to come along, we will never elect a woman. We have to seize opportunity where it presents itself. Besides, the Democratic Party is no longer my home. I have no home, but this election I will make my bed somewhere else.”

To read The X Factor in its entirety go here.

A couple of days ago on Sept. 27, Dr. Long posted an update to The X Factor, which she reports has gone viral. In defending her original post and her decision to support the McCain-Palin ticket, Dr. Long presents her credentials as a feminist:

“I have worked an entire lifetime to further feminist causes. My first professional job was teaching remedial high school math to girls. I started a web-based business called color Math Pink to promote math achievement for girls and I was selected by the American Girl company to write Mathsmarts, a math strategy book for girls. If I am anything, I am a feminist.

“I have researched sex-role stereotyping and gender issues and published dozens of articles in trade and professional journals including Working Mother, Essence, and Ms. If I am anything, I am a feminist.

“I have fought for the rights of women rights every single day of my life. I point out the dearth of photos of women in the New York Times to the lucky person who sits next to me on an airplane, the lack of pictures of women on money to the wait staff at a diner, and I have been in a decade-long fight with the United States Post Office to put more pictures of women on postage stamps. If I am anything, I am a feminist.

‘“I coined the term ‘latchkey children’ and defended the rights of women to work on national level. I have assisted numerous projects to improve the quality of childcare so that mothers could work and not worry about the safety of their children. If I am anything, I am a feminist.

“I am passionately pro-choice but I also think that it is not always a psychologically free choice. I have written a play which deals with the psychological complexities of abortion entitled, One in Two, which has been performed in New York, New Jersey, and Washington DC. If I am anything, I am a feminist.

“I have spent decades coaching women on how to achieve more power in their personal relationships and in the workplace. If I am anything, I am a feminist.”

Read Dr. Long’s update in its entirety here.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Obama’s Thousands of Youthful, Unemployed Supporters Know How to Silence Critics

Throughout the Democratic primary and the ensuing weeks of the general election, I’ve been concerned about the tactics of Barack Obama’s mostly youthful and otherwise unemployed netroots supporters who number in the thousands. I’ve often seen them flood a message board with hundreds of hate-mongering comments the instant a writer says something that dares criticize their idol for any reason whatsoever.

And heaven help the TV pundit who challenges Obama. It was common practice during the primary for debate moderators to ask Hillary Clinton tough questions while going easy on Obama. That changed on April 16, 2008 when ABC hosted the Philadelphia face off between the two remaining Democratic candidates. Moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos asked Obama several uncomfortable questions, which quickly put him on the defensive. By Friday morning, more than 19,800 comments were posted on ABC News' Web site, the tone overwhelmingly negative.

With only a few weeks left before the election on Nov. 4, Obama’s supporters continue the vicious, high-pressure tactics they perfected during the primary. Anne Woolner at Bloomberg.com has posted an article titled Silencing Critics Using the Barack Obama Method and although I certainly deplore the likes of David Freddoso, I’m personally very glad that someone else has finally noticed the threat to free speech by Obama's supporters.

Woolner writes:

“Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Barack Obama campaigns as if only Thomas Jefferson could match his devotion to free speech and open government.

‘“He co-sponsored a 2006 law that put more government information, such as earmarks, online and now wants to expand it. He says he would ‘shine the light’ on things like how much lobbyists spend to swing which federal contract for what clients and tax breaks for special interest groups. As president, he would post online bills that reach his desk for five days before signing.

‘“And yet, when trying to squelch debate about the more troubling aspects of his candidacy, any Jeffersonian instincts evaporate.

‘“When WGN-AM Radio in Chicago scheduled a two-hour interview last week with David Freddoso, who wrote ‘The Case Against Barack Obama,’ the campaign sent out an alarm to supporters, sparking an avalanche of angry phone calls to the station.”’

Read more.

Breakthrough on Bailout While Media Debates the First Presidential Debate

Photo credits: Lauren Victoria Burke/Associated Press (NY Times)

The NY Times reports this morning that while the first presidential debate dominated news coverage this weekend, Congressional leaders and the Administration reached a breakthrough negotiating the terms of a Wall Street bailout.

Times staff writers David Herszenhorn and Carl Hulse report:

Officials said Congressional staff members would work to finalize the language of an agreement and draft a bill to be brought for a vote in the House on Monday.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What’s This? Obama Camp Calls Palin a Terrific Debater?

Mike Allen reports at Politico:

‘“Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters Saturday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, is ‘a terrific debater’ who could give Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden (D-Del.) a run for his money when they meet Thursday.

‘“We’ve looked at tapes of Gov. Palin’s debates, and she’s a terrific debater,’ Plouffe told reporters on a conference call. ‘She has performed very, very well. She’s obviously a skilled speaker. We expect she’ll give a great performance next Thursday.’

‘The single vice presidential debate will be at 9 p.m. Eastern on Thursday at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Lowering expectations is a common campaign practice before a debate. But the Obama campaign's claims will surprise the Republicans who have begun to fear the debate following Palin’s performance in network interviews. The Obama campaign says they have nothing to worry about.”

Read more.

Campaigns Seek to Shape Perceptions on Who Won the Debate

Lots of discussion going on across the Web about who won the first presidential debate last night between John McCain and Barack Obama. As reported by Jim Rutenberg at the NY Times, it’s laughable how far spinmeisters will go to convince the populace their guy won. Not so laughable is the reality that large numbers of people are actually persuaded by such tripe.

Go here to read Rutenberg’s piece titled The Next Day, a New Debate on Who Won.

Media Assaults Palin While Brushing Aside Biden’s Gaffes

Anyone who pays the least bit of attention to the campaign has to have noticed the double standard applied by the media in its coverage of the two vice presidential candidates, Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden.

Posting at RealClearPolitics, Jack Kelly brings into focus the differences in how the media treats Palin and Biden, and he also points out how the importance of experience is dismissed when speaking of Obama, but held up as a major shortcoming when speaking of Palin.

Kelly starts out with a few of Biden’s recent gaffes:

One wonders how Sen. Joe Biden can talk so much with his foot in his mouth.

‘‘‘We're not supporting clean coal,’ the Democratic vice presidential candidate said while campaigning in Ohio last week. ‘No coal plants here in America.’

“Coal mining is an important industry in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, all tightly contested states in this election, so Sen. Biden's remarks were impolitic. Especially so since Sen. Obama supports clean coal technologies.

“‘Obama's Department of Energy will enter into public-private partnerships to develop five 'first of a kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with clean carbon capture and sequestration technology,’ the Obama-Biden campaign Web site says.

“Sen. Obama's efforts Tuesday to depict Sen. John McCain as too quick to oppose a federal bailout of insurer AIG were undermined when he was reminded by NBC's Matt Lauer that Sen. Biden had said the same thing on the same day.

“‘I thought it was terrible,’ Sen. Biden told CBS news anchor Katie Couric in an interview broadcast Monday. ‘If I had anything to do with it, we never would have done it.’

“Sen. Biden was referring to an Obama ad that mocked Sen. McCain as an out of touch old fogy because he doesn't use a computer.

“The ad was terrible. (Sen. McCain doesn't use a computer because his war injuries prevent him from typing on a keyboard). And it testifies to Sen. Biden's basic decency that he thought so. But there are some opinions you just don't voice.

‘“In the same interview, Sen. Biden told Ms. Couric: ‘When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'Look, here's what happened.’

“Franklin Roosevelt didn't become president until three years after the stock market crashed in 1929. Television didn't go into widespread commercial use until years after FDR died in 1945.

‘“Sen. Biden has said something foolish or indiscreet so often the Republican National Committee has started a ‘Biden Gaffe Clock’ to chronicle them all. Can you imagine the media frenzy if it were Sarah Palin who was saying these things?

“Sen. Biden wasn't chosen to provide comic relief. Sen. Obama thought his 35 years in the Senate, most of it on the Foreign Relations Committee, of which he is now chairman, would give the ticket foreign policy credentials Sen. Obama himself lacks.

“The most hypocritical of the legion of double standards employed by the news media in this campaign is that a paucity of experience in foreign policy is considered disqualifying in the Republican candidate for vice president, but inconsequential in the Democratic candidate for president.”

Read more.

McCain Complains in the Debate: “I don’t even have a seal yet”

The Politico staff has compiled a list of zingers, stats, and sound bites from last night’s first presidential debate, and it’s worth the read:

‘“Number of times Sen. McCain referred to Sen. Obama as ‘Barack’: zero

‘“Number of times Sen. Obama referred to Sen. McCain as ‘John’: 23

‘“McCain zingers: ‘Sen. Obama has the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate. It's hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left. … I'm not going to set the White House visitors schedule before I'm president of the United States. I don't even have a seal yet.’

‘“Obama zingers: ‘Coming from you, who, you know, in the past has threatened extinction for North Korea and, you know, sung songs about bombing Iran, I don't know, you know, how credible that is. … I've got a bracelet, too, from Sergeant — from the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, given to me in Green Bay. … John mentioned me being wildly liberal — mostly that's just me opposing George Bush's policies.’

‘“Best Obama sound bite: ‘You said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were. You were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators. You were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shiite and Sunni. And you were wrong.’

‘“Best McCain sound bite: ‘We've seen this stubbornness before in this administration — [for Obama] to cling to a belief that somehow the surge has not succeeded, and failing to acknowledge that he was wrong about the surge is — shows to me that we … need more flexibility in a president of the United States than that.’

“Declared Obama the winner: ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, pollster Frank Luntz on Fox, Slate’s John Dickerson, Time magazine’s Mark Halperin, CBS News instant poll and CNN post-debate poll.

“Declared McCain the winner: Politico’s Roger Simon (‘The Mac is back’), Fortune magazine’s Nina Easton, The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol and Fred Barnes, Fox News Texting Poll and Drudge online poll.

‘“Tie: Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who said on MSNBC: ‘No game-changer, and we're going to have a rematch.’

‘“McCain’s repeated message: ‘I'm afraid Sen. Obama doesn't understand the difference between a tactic and a strategy ...What he doesn't understand … I don't think that Sen. Obama understands … What Sen. Obama doesn't seem to understand … He doesn't understand … Sen. Obama still doesn't quite understand — or doesn't get it … Sen. Obama's plan is dangerous for America … I mean, it's just dangerous. … Again, a little bit of naiveté there … It isn't just naive; it's dangerous.’

‘“Obama’s repeated message, perhaps aimed at swing voters: ‘I think Sen. McCain's absolutely right … Sen. McCain is absolutely right … He's absolutely right … Sen. McCain is absolutely right … John, I — you're absolutely right … Sen. McCain is absolutely right.”’

Read more.

Debate Payback: McCain Says Obama Doesn’t Get It

Roger Simon at Politico agreed with my conclusion posted here after the debate last night that John McCain was the winner. However, Simon apparently did not find the first presidential debate between Obama and McCain as boring as I did. (Keep in mind that I was mentally comparing the mediocre performances of Obama and McCain to previous outstanding performances by Hillary Clinton, and I’m still not convinced that either of the two men is qualified to be president.)

Simon writes:

“John McCain was very lucky that he decided to show up for the first presidential debate in Oxford, Miss., Friday night. Because he gave one of his strongest debate performances ever.

“While Barack Obama repeatedly tried to link McCain to the very unpopular George W. Bush, Bush’s name will not be on the ballot in November and McCain’s will.

“And McCain not only found a central theme but hit on it repeatedly. Obama is inexperienced, naive, and just doesn’t understand things, McCain said.

“Sure, McCain is a pretty old guy for a presidential candidate, but he showed the old guy did not mind mixing it up. He stood behind a lectern for 90 minutes without a break — you try that when you are 72 — and he not only gave as good as he got, he seemed to relish it more.

‘“At least twice after sharp attacks by McCain, Obama seemed to look to moderator Jim Lehrer for help, saying to Lehrer, ‘Let’s move on.’

“True, the majority of the debate was fought on McCain’s strongest ground: foreign affairs. And true, McCain’s feet were not held to the fire as to why he urged the postponement of the debate in order to secure a financial bailout package in Washington, but then decided to show up without any such agreement in hand.

‘“But it didn’t seem to matter much. McCain just pounded away on his central argument: Obama just didn’t ‘understan’ how to deal with Pakistan; how dangerous it is to meet with foreign leaders without preconditions; how serious the Russian invasion of Georgia was; the price of failure in Iraq.

‘“He doesn’t understand, he doesn’t get it,’ McCain said of Obama, also saying, ‘There is a little bit of naiveté here.’

‘“It was as if McCain was paying Obama back for that moment in Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention when Obama said McCain would not serve America well, ‘not because John McCain doesn’t care; it’s because John McCain doesn’t get it.’

“But McCain seemed to get it Friday night. He certainly knew enough to try to turn his age into a plus and not a minus. ‘There are some advantages to experience, knowledge and judgment,’ McCain said.

Read more.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama a Skittish Debater; McCain Keeps His Cool

I personally can’t think of a more boring way to spend an evening than listening to a debate between Barack Obama and John McCain. But I hung in there for their evasive exchanges on the economic crisis during the first 45 minutes and then heard them out for the remainder of the time on major foreign policy issues.

Afterward, commentators at CBS and CNN appeared to agree there was no clear winner. One or two observers criticized McCain for treating Obama with condescension on occasion, but no one mentioned how time and again the skittish Obama rudely interrupted McCain before he had uttered a complete sentence and continued to talk over him without intervention by moderator Jim Lehrer.

Part of my boredom was due to having to listen to Obama one more time boast of having opposed the Iraq war from the beginning without mentioning that he was not a member of the US Senate at the time. Also, whenever he had an opening, he repeatedly accused John McCain of having supported President Bush 90% of the time for the past eight years. McCain had the advantage of being able to refute Obama by pointing to his record; Obama has no record to speak of unless you consider his 100+ present votes in the Illinois State Legislature.

Overall, I’d say Obama, known for his cool, was the more aggressively defensive of the two adversaries in the debate; he seemed on edge and as I mentioned earlier, repeatedly jumped the gun. The first term senator tried several times to get under McCain’s skin, but the former fighter pilot, known for getting testy now and then, smiled patiently and remained calm and collected throughout the debate. For that reason alone, I’ll declare McCain the winner.

The Debate is on: McCain vs. Obama in Oxford, Mississippi Tonight

The McCain campaign has issued a statement today saying John McCain will attend the first presidential debate between him and Obama this evening, Sept. 26, 2008 at 9 p.m EST at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer will moderate the debate, which will focus on foreign policy and national security issues.

Here’s the complete debate schedule:

(Each debate will begin at 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 p.m. Pacific time and last for 90 minutes. They will be aired on every major broadcast network such as CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX. They will also be aired on cable outlets such as Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and many others. )

September 26, 2008: (Tickets) Presidential debate with foreign policy focus, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS

October 2, 2008: (Tickets) Vice Presidential debate, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

October 7, 2008: (Tickets) Presidential debate in a town hall format, Belmont University, Nashville, TN

October 15, 2008: (Tickets) Presidential debate with domestic policy focus, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Geraldine Ferraro’s Advice to Sarah Palin

Unlike the screaming crowd of left-wing feminists eagerly joining the good old boys in tearing Sarah Palin to shreds – in the manner of those who assaulted Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary – Geraldine Ferraro assumes a supportive mentoring role for the first female governor of Alaska and the first GOP VP candidate. Published in Glamour Magazine, Ferraro advises Palin:

Always Make Your Own Rules

"When I was running, I was deciding how things were going to go for a woman campaigning for vice president. I never wore pants, but now it's done all the time. When Hillary Clinton ran for president, she made pantsuits famous! People have compared [Palin's] clothing to Michelle Obama's and Cindy McCain's and they shouldn't. Sarah Palin dresses like a governor; that's what she should dress like. She needs to make her own choices in that area. I remember going to a rally in San Antonio, Texas. It was 120 degrees, but someone inside my campaign told me that I couldn't wear short sleeves, because all of the men were going to be in jackets. I said, 'Forget it. It's 120 degrees. I am not wearing a jacket.' And that was that."

Ignore All the Talk About Your Family

"Comments about the way that Governor Palin organizes her family are ridiculous. We'd never ask Senator Obama how he organizes his family, because we assume that his wife is taking care of it. How many of us have been working mothers all of our lives? Millions of us! When [Congresswoman] Pat Schroeder was asked by one of the more senior members of Congress how she could be a mother and run for office, she said, 'Because I have a brain and a uterus, and I use both.' I always loved that.

We should not be denied the opportunity, or the ability to participate in any field, just because we use the parts that we came with. Can Sarah Palin do both jobs? She wouldn't be here if she couldn't. Having been there, done that, I can tell you, yeah, she can."

No Matter What, Always Stick to the Party Line

"When you run for vice president, you're part of a ticket, and your views are the views of the campaign; they have to be aligned. You can't look as if you're at odds with the campaign. If you can't do that, you shouldn't have been chosen."

Don't Get Caught Up in the Hype

"When I was running, I always had bigger crowds than Walter Mondale [her running mate]. I gave speeches to the largest crowds since JFK. The sheer number of Secret Service people was incredible. These people weren't there to hear me speak; they were there because of the historic aspects of the campaign. The impact of these kinds of races goes far beyond the candidates themselves."

Not Everybody Is Going to Like You--Get Used to It

"I was a popular politician in my home state--just like Palin is. But when I ran for vice president, people would shout at me in the streets and tell me they didn't like me or the things I stood for. My husband just said, 'Gerry, not everyone's going to love you.' That was important for me to learn--you can't satisfy everybody. If you can't take up an issue where some people aren't going to like you, you're not doing your job."

Read more.

Presidential Race in a Dead Heat, and Who Would Want to Win This Year Anyway?

Despite all the upheaval in the financial sector this week that has apparently given Obama an edge on handling the economy, the latest George Washington University "Battleground Poll" puts the presidential race in a dead heat: McCain is leading Obama by only 47 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, a slight dip from his 48 percent to 44 percent lead two weeks ago.

But according to Gerard Baker at the Times Online this is the election you wouldn’t want to win anyway. Baker writes:

“Victorious Roman generals were reminded of the fickleness of their glory by a slave carefully positioned in earshot on the triumphal parade route.

‘“Memento mori, the hapless servant would whisper to the wreathed victor as his chariot rattled along Rome's jubilant streets: ‘Remember you are mortal.’

“They don't have slaves in America any more but perhaps the winner of November's presidential election should consider having one of his lower-paid deputy-assistants mutter something similar in his ear as he takes the tribute on Inauguration Day next January.

“It is highly probable that that moment, the very hour that he takes office, will be the high point of his presidency. Whoever wins on November 4 will be ascending to the job at one of the most difficult times for an American chief executive in at least half a century. When the votes are counted his people might ruefully conclude that the victor is not Barack Obama or John McCain. The real winner will be Hillary Clinton, or Mitt Romney, or Mike Huckabee, or some now happily anonymous figure whose star will rise in the next four turbulent years.

“This sobering reality was startlingly underscored this week by none other than Tom Daschle, the former leader of the Senate Democrats, the national co-chairman of Mr Obama's presidential campaign, and the likely White House chief of staff in an Obama administration. He told a Washington power breakfast that he thought the winner of the election would have a 50 per cent chance at best - at best - of winning a second term in 2012.

“Consider the challenges.

“The financial crisis and Washington's response to it have transformed the economic and fiscal environment in which the new president will take office.”

Read more.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sen. Clinton Places Homeowners on Equal Footing with Wall Street Giants

Leave it to Sen. Hillary Clinton, who saw the financial crisis coming months ago, to speak up for millions of homeowners threatened with mortgage foreclosures while the White House, presidential candidates, and other congressional leaders focus on rescuing the huge corporations whose policies have brought the nation to the brink of financial disaster.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Clinton writes:

“There is a broad consensus that Congress must act to stave off deeper turmoil on Wall Street. Irrespective of the final agreement yet to be reached, there are several principles that must be part of a broader reform effort that begins this week and continues in the coming months.

“This is not just a financial crisis; it's an economic crisis. Therefore, the solutions we pursue cannot simply stabilize the markets. We must also deal with the interconnected economic challenges that set the stage for this crisis -- and reverse the failed policies that allowed a potential crisis to become a real one.

“First, we must address the skyrocketing rates of mortgage defaults and foreclosures that have buffeted the economy and ignited the credit crisis. Two million homeowners carry mortgages worth more than their homes. They hold $3 trillion in mortgage debt. Nearly three million adjustable-rate mortgages are scheduled for a rate increase in the next two years. Another wave of foreclosures looms.

“I've proposed a new Home Owners' Loan Corporation (HOLC), to launch a national effort to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. The original HOLC, launched in 1933, bought mortgages from failed banks and modified the terms so families could make affordable payments while keeping their homes. The original HOLC returned a profit to the Treasury and saved one million homes. We can save roughly three times that many today. We should also put in place a temporary moratorium on foreclosures and freeze rate hikes in adjustable-rate mortgages. We've got to stem the tide of failing mortgages and give the markets time to recover.

“The time for ideological, partisan arguments against these actions is over. For years, the calls to provide borrowers an affordable opportunity to avoid foreclosure as a means of preventing wider turmoil were dismissed as government intrusion into the private marketplace. My proposals over the past two years were derided as too much, too soon. Now we are forced to reckon with too little, too late.”

Read more.

Obama and McCain: Same Old, Same Old Politics

Could the Politico’s John Harris and Jim Vandehei be talking about Barack Obama, the self-described harbinger of the new politics and John McCain, the Senate maverick in their post this morning titled 'Change' election turns out conventional?

Harris and Vandehei write:

“This was supposed to be the year when everything about presidential politics would change. Instead, the 2008 campaign is hurtling toward its conclusion as a year in which most things have stayed drearily the same.

“Recall the early promise of 2008: There would be two candidates who spent the past several years expressing disdain for the stale partisanship of Washington and the stupid pet tricks that characterize presidential campaigns. There was an electorate supposedly hungering not for a change of leaders but a change in the fundamental ways in which politicians compete and debate ideas and solve problems.

“For the first time in over 30 years there would be a campaign with no one named Bush or Clinton on the ticket. New personalities would drive new coalitions, as some liberals embraced John McCain’s independent-mindedness and spontaneity and some conservatives responded to Obama's earnest appeals to transcend old ideological and cultural divides.

“New personalities and new coalitions, in turn, would create a new map—as the whole nation would be in play rather than a targeted set of battleground states.

“Well, forget it: Six weeks before Election Day, a day before the first scheduled debate, the forces of innovation and authenticity are being routed by the forces of conventionality and cliché.”

Read more.

Hillary Clinton - Senate Democrats’ Star Player Back in the Game

Posting as the Sleuth (WashingtonPost), Mary Ann Akers reports a major fundraising event hosted by Hillary Clinton the other day. Akers writes:

“The Senate Democrats' star player is back in the game.

“Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) held a big fundraiser at her swank Embassy Row home, known as Whitehaven, Tuesday night to raise money for Senate Democrats, who are hoping to gain four to seven seats on Election Day. The event, hosted by the Women's Senate Network of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was Clinton's first fundraiser for the DSCC since ending her presidential campaign. And it was a big one.

‘“The suggested donation to attend the ‘Checklist for Change’ cocktail buffet dinner at the Clintons ranged from a measly $1,000 to a whopping $28,500.

‘“The DSCC wouldn't cough up how much money was raised at the event but a well-placed source familiar with the fundraiser said the total amount was in the ‘hundreds of thousands of dollars.”’

Read more.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Obama and McCain Issue Join Statement on Financial Crisis

As reported by Politico, Obama and McCain released a joint statement tonight, urging bipartisanship in a time of crisis:

“The American people are facing a moment of economic crisis. No matter how this began, we all have a responsibility to work through it and restore confidence in our economy. The jobs, savings, and prosperity of the American people are at stake.

“Now is a time to come together – Democrats and Republicans – in a spirit of cooperation for the sake of the American people. The plan that has been submitted to Congress by the Bush Administration is flawed, but the effort to protect the American economy must not fail.
"This is a time to rise above politics for the good of the country. We cannot risk an economic catastrophe. Now is our chance to come together to prove that Washington is once again capable of leading this country.”

President Bush Invites Obama and McCain to the White House

Posting at the Trail (WashingtonPost) Michael Abramowitz reports:

“White House spokesman Tony Fratto said President Bush called Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama tonight around 7:30 pm. Bush and GOP presidential nominee Sen. John McCain also spoke this afternoon, and their staffs conferred afterwards, Fratto said.

‘“The president has invited the bicameral and bipartisan leadership, and the two senators running for president, to the White House tomorrow ‘to work on driving to a bipartisan and timely solution.’

“Obama has agreed to attend the meeting.

‘“A few moments ago, President Bush called Senator Obama and asked him to attend a meeting in Washington tomorrow, which he agreed to do,’ Obama-Biden spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. ‘Senator Obama has been working all week with leaders in Congress, Secretary Paulson, and Chairman Bernanke to improve this proposal, and he has said that he will continue to work in a bipartisan spirit and do whatever is necessary to come up with a final solution. He strongly believes the debate should go forward on Friday so that the American people can hear from their next President about how he will lead America forward at this defining moment for our country.”’

McCain Suspends Campaign; Seeks to Postpone Friday’s Debate

John McCain appears to have seized the initiative from Barack Obama in providing bold leadership in the financial crisis facing Congress this week. Beth Fouhy at the Associated Press reports:

“NEW YORK (AP) — Republican presidential nominee John McCain challenged rival Barack Obama on Wednesday to suspend their heated campaign, postpone Friday's debate and work together to deal with the nation's financial troubles.

“Obama did not immediately respond to his rival's surprising political move, but campaign officials said the senator is inclined to move ahead with the debate. The dueling statements came after the two senators spoke privately, each trying to portray himself as the bipartisan leader at a time of crisis.

“But McCain beat Obama to the punch with the first public statement, saying the Bush administration's Wall Street bailout plan seemed headed for defeat and a bipartisan solution was urgently needed. If not, McCain said ominously, credit will dry up, people will no longer be able to buy homes, life savings will be at stake and businesses will not have enough money to pay workers.

“The move was an effort by the Republican to claim leadership on an issue that has been troublesome for him at a time when his rival is moving ahead in the polls.

“McCain said he would put politics aside and return to Washington Thursday to focus on the nation's financial problems after addressing former President Clinton's Global Initiative session in New York. He also canceled his planned appearance Wednesday on CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman" program.

“McCain said he had spoken to President Bush and asked him to convene a leadership meeting in Washington that would include him and Obama.”

Read more.

Bill Clinton with Jon Stewart on the Daily Show (video)

Listening to Bill Clinton’s incisive comments on the current financial crisis and other important issues you understand why Jon Stewart predicts he’d win by 20 points if he were in the presidential race today. Part 1 and Part 2 are must see videos - go here.

Midterms: Failing Grades for Obama, McCain, and the Media

It’s rare to come across a blog post that fairly and objectively grades the performance of both the Republican and Democratic candidates and goes after the media as well. Carl Jeffer’s piece titled Obama-McCain -- They Fail Midterms, Now They Cram Debate Finals accomplishes that feat. Jeffers even nails the media for its misogynist attacks on Palin.

Jeffers writes:

“As we move into this week of the first Presidential Debates, it may be helpful to review how the two candidates for President have fared in the first half of the main fall campaign. In many ways, they have not fared well. And if we are passing out failing grades for performance to date, let's not leave out the media as they certainly deserve that same report card as well.

‘“For John McCain, he came out of his convention with a surprising level of new momentum thanks to his choice of Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate. And in fact, for the first few weeks after the conventions, the McCain campaign defied the media predictions that the ‘Palin’ effect would wear off quickly and her "obvious" experience defects would doom the ticket. Indeed, from strictly the perspective of objective analysis of campaign strategy, if your campaign perceives that the media is out to ‘destroy’ your VP candidate, and if that candidate is creating even more excitement than you are, then it is absolutely good campaign strategy to pair the two of you together on the campaign trail and limit the exposure of your VP pick to a media that you perceive as "lying in wait." And on the campaign Ad front, McCain has done reasonably well in capitalizing on perceived missteps from the Obama campaign, going on the attack, and then getting response ads out quickly.

“But in the most important task the McCain campaign has had and still has, they have not performed up to what is required, and that failure not only gets a poor performance grade, it also bodes poorly for victory in November if McCain does not improve his grades. And what task is that - simply the task of continuing and emphatically making the case that not only is McCain not a third term for George Bush, but that McCain is also a change agent who can bring the American people the kind of change they really need.

‘“For a couple of weeks, the McCain campaign actually seized the momentum on ‘change’ as the Sarah Palin choice enabled them to assert that they would really bring change to Washington. But it seems as if McCain is still reluctant to openly break with George Bush and make a point of saying that he not only opposed many Bush administration policies in the past, but that he has, by choice, elected to go a very different route than President Bush and, in fact, rejects the path of the Bush administration. I simply do not believe he can skate on that issue to Election Day. He will have to make a choice, and if he doesn't, the American people will make that choice for him.

‘“For Barack Obama, it is actually easier to grade his performance. He is simply ‘off message,’ and in an environment where he should have a 10 to 15 point lead (even with the race issue), this election is still a toss-up both overall and in most of the key swing states. That is not good.

‘“I have heard many Obama supporters in the media suggest that he was going to ‘break out’ in mid September just like Ronald Reagan broke out in September of 1980 after being even or behind in the polls because the American people just weren't sure about him. Well, September is almost over, and there clearly is no sign yet of any national voter ‘break out’ to Obama taking place, although the economic bail-out crisis might provide a launch for that occurrence.”’

After several more paragraphs analyzing the campaign, Jeffers gets around to grading the media for which he deserves a round or two of applause:

‘“And finally, the last failing grade must be enthusiastically presented to the media. Frankly, the media has been so determined to destroy Sarah Palin with an ‘every one wants to be the first to succeed in ‘gotcha’ and bring her down approach that if I were the McCain strategists, I would do exactly what they are doing - keep her paired with McCain on the campaign trail and limit her press interviews. If I'm doomed and fated to walk into a Lion's Den of hungry lions and a couple of angry alligators as well, then I'm going to make you throw me in there - I'd be stupid to just waltz on in there on my own. But no surprise here as the general media is determined to help elect Barack Obama President of the United States. That's fine with me - but just be honest about it and stop any pretense that you are giving both candidates fair and equal coverage and treatment. Another ‘F’ midterm grade.

Jeffers concludes:

‘“The second half of the course Term is always the most important. As we now enter the Debate phase of the second half of the Term, let's hope the questions are not about Jeremiah Wright, Alaska Trooper Gate, and ‘how do you personally feel about your opponent.’ Both candidates and the media now need to elevate the level of discourse. If they don't, forget the midterms -- we all fail the course!”’

To read Jeffers’ post in its entirety – it’s well worth it - go here.

The Media Rips Palin While the Joe Biden Gaffe Clock Keeps Ticking Away

The press was complaining mightily yesterday about being shut out of Sarah Palin’s meetings with foreign leaders in New York. These are the same people who for days after she was introduced on the national stage ripped her to shreds, including every dimension of her family life. The media’s rabid misogynous assault on Sarah Palin nearly topped its brutal attacks on Hillary Clinton throughout the Democratic primary.

In the meantime, Joe Biden has put his foot in his mouth almost every time he’s opened it in public. But as we would expect, the media has allowed the male Democratic vice presidential nominee to get off easy. It’s been up to the GOP to launch a Biden Gaffe Clock to record and publicize his most embarrassing off-message remarks, for example:

‘“Biden Said That Barack Obama ‘Ain't Taking My Shotguns’ And That ‘If He Tries To Fool With My Beretta, He's Got A Problem.”’

‘“Biden Said That He Didn't Support Clean Coal And Said ‘No Coal Plants Here In America.”’

‘“Biden Said That His Own Campaign Ad Criticizing John McCain's Computer Use Was ‘Terrible.’”

That last comment reminds me that not only has the so-called progressive wing of the Democratic party demonstrated a powerful strain of misogyny, it’s also resorting to the bigotry of ageism in its attacks on John McCain.

Obama Takes Clear Lead in WashingtonPost/ABC Poll; National Average Shows a Tie

Posting at the Swamp (Chicago Tribune), Mark Silva reports the results of the latest WashingonPost/ABC poll:

“Fears of an economic slide have given Democrat Barack Obama a lift, with polls showing that voters trust Obama more than Republican rival John McCain to handle the economic crisis at hand.

“The newest gauge of this impact of a struggling economy on a close presidential contest is the survey reported today by ABC News and the Washington Post.

“It portrays Obama as gaining a 9-percentage-point advantage over McCain among likely voters surveyed nationally - the first time a pre-election poll by this consortium has found a Democrat drawing more than 50 percent of those surveyed. The margin: Obama 52 percent, McCain 43 percent.”

Keep in mind the latest daily tracking polls continue to show the race between Obama and McCain a dead heat with Gallup giving Obama a lead of +3 points and Rasmussen giving him a lead of +2 points. According to RealClearPolitics, Obama’s national average gives him a lead of only 3.2 points.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gov. Sarah Palin Meets Kissinger and Heads of State in the City

Gov. Palin met with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. (Photo: Stan Honda/ AFP-Getty Images, via NY Times)

It doesn’t seem that long ago since anti-war candidate Barack Obama, shamed by the Republicans into traveling to Iraq for the first time, bolstered his negligible foreign policy credentials by a trip abroad last summer. Obama’s handlers, gifted in the art of stagecraft, pulled out all the stops in the Middle East and Europe and have since resorted to such props as a fake presidential seal and Greek pillars to give their man a touch of gravitas.

This week it’s Sarah Palin’s turn to get acquainted with foreign leaders during a visit to New York that has included an extended meeting with Henry Kissinger.

The Boston Globe’s Farah Stockman writes in Political Intel:

“NEW YORK -- Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin threw herself into a crash course in diplomacy at the United Nations today, beginning her first of two days of meetings with foreign leaders.

“The meetings with Palin, who had never met a foreign head of state before and who traveled outside of North America for the first time last year, were designed to bolster her foreign policy credentials and introduce her to close US allies with whom she would work if she became vice president.

“But the carefully orchestrated visits also highlighted the degree to which John McCain's presidential campaign will go to shield the first-term Alaska governor from the press. Until CNN threatened to withdraw its pool camera crew, Palin's aides initially banned reporters, who are traditionally allowed to briefly view private diplomatic meetings that are being photographed, and are sometimes allowed to ask a question.

‘“Palin -- who was escorted by Randy Scheunemann, John McCain's top foreign policy adviser, and Steve Biegun, a former National Security Council member -- met with Afghan president Hamid Karzai today for about a half hour. He said later at the Asia Society, ‘I found her quite a capable woman. She asked the right questions on Afghanistan. She was concerned and she said how can she help, so I'm very pleased with that meeting.’

Read more.

Surprise! Hillary’s Supporters Not Falling in Line Behind Obama

Foon Rhee reports at Political Intel (Boston Globe):

“Despite Hillary Clinton's repeated entreaties, her supporters are still not falling in behind former rival Barack Obama, according to a new poll released today.

“And that reluctance is weakening Obama six weeks before Election Day, according to the poll conducted for the Associated Press and Yahoo News.

“Among Clinton voters during the Democratic primaries, 58 percent now support Obama -- the same percentage as in June, when Clinton ended her bid and threw her support to Obama -- even though 69 percent view him favorably, up 9 percentage points from June.

“Meanwhile, the share of Clinton supporters saying they'll vote for Republican John McCain grew from 21 percent to 28 percent, with the number of undecided staying constant, according to the survey, conducted by Knowledge Networks.

“And while 87 percent of Republicans are behind their party's nominee, only 74 percent of Democrats say they will vote for Obama.

“Clinton gave an impassioned speech praising Obama at the Democratic National Convention last month, then took the extra step of having delegates formally approve Obama's nomination. Over the weekend, she launched a grassroots effort to get her loyalists on board.”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Wake-up Call for Obama’s Sexist Left-Wing Supporters: McCain-Palin Ticket Makes Huge Inroads Among Likely Women Voters

The Politico’s David Paul Kuhn has a wake-up call this morning for Obama’s trash talking, left-wing supporters: ‘“Since picking Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has obliterated what had been a 34-percentage-point deficit in a poll of likely women voters on the question of which candidate has a ‘better understanding of women and what is important to them. ’”

Kuhn follows up with some shocking details:

“The two are now effectively tied, with McCain's 44 to 42 percentage lead within the margin of error of the most recent poll conducted by pollsters Kellyanne Conway and Celinda Lake for Lifetime Television. In Lifetime's July poll, women preferred Barack Obama on the same question by nearly three-to-one— 52 to 18 percent.

“In this latest poll, conducted Sept. 11-15, age remained a key determinant in response to the question about women’s concerns. Young women, ages 18-34, chose the Obama/Biden ticket as more empathetic to their needs, while women aged 35-64 went for McCain/Palin. Unlike black and Hispanic women, White women saw McCain and Palin as most understanding of their concerns.

“About one in four women who supported Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton in the primaries now said McCain and Palin have a better grasp of women’s needs than Obama and his running mate, Sen. Joe Biden.

“The Lifetime poll reveals a diversity of women’s views on several issues, with many of those differences related to a respondent’s race, party identity, marital status and generation.”

Read more.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Despite Leftwing Put Downs, Palin Continues to Draw Huge Crowds

Arianna Huffington in her Sunday Roundup gleefully reports how Sarah Palin’s favorability rating is “nosediving” according to recent polls, and Huffington continues, ‘“as amused as they were by all the new stories and new characters, the American people knew that the ‘Welcome Sarah’ party was over.”

In the meantime, Politico reports today: Palin Draws the Biggest Crowds Yet for GOP. “Sarah Palin tonight attracted the largest crowd yet to any Republican campaign event this cycle, drawing tens of thousands of Floridians out in a conservative-leaning retirement community north of Orlando for a solo rally.

“Exactly how many voters Palin, making her first campaign trek to the Sunshine State, had in The Villages is uncertain.

‘“Mike Tucker, a local fire marshal, estimated 60,000. But reporters on the ground, including AP's Brendan Farrington and my colleague Ken Vogel, would only say ‘tens of thousands,’ suggesting the marshal's estimate was on the high side. The St. Pete Times's Adam Smith had another fire official in the crowd say it was about 25,000.

“Regardless, the size of the crowd underscores just how enthused conservatives are for Palin and the sort of buzz she's still able to drive nearing a month after her introduction as John McCain's running mate.

“Republicans can always draw good crowds out at the sprawling Villages -- exactly a year ago I saw Fred Thompson thronged like a matinee idol there -- but the Florida GOP is saying tonight that Palin's crowd broke state attendance records. At the very least, it outpaced the 15,000 President Bush drew to the retirement community four years ago.

“To reiterate: An Alaska governor who was virtually unknown a month ago and is the number two on the presidential ticket may have doubled or tripled the crowd for a sitting president.”

Campaign Ads: Comparing McCain’s Lies to Obama’s Lies

I hate to bring up the Democratic primary again, but a column by the Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus comparing the egregiousness of John McCain’s lies to those of Barack Obama’s in the general election race reminded me of how Obama’s leftwing supporters scoured the archives of the 1990s for rightwing smears of Hillary Clinton. Finding all the dirt they needed, the Obamaphiles went all out in their attempts to destroy Clinton by portraying her as an untrustworthy politician who would do anything to win.

Now get this: according to Marcus, Obama’s recent ads have descended to McCain’s “scurrilous tactics on the stump and on the air,” and she concludes: “To Democrats who worry about whether their nominee is willing to do whatever it takes to win: You can calm down.”

Way to go fellas!

To read Marcus' column in its entirety, go here.

McCain and Obama Prepare for First Debate; Biden and Palin on Their Own

The first presidential debate between Obama and McCain is scheduled for this Friday night, Sept. 26, in Oxford, Miss. According to the Caucus (NY Times):

“Both campaigns know the debate could be a pivotal moment in the race for the White House. The 90-minute event, scheduled for 9 p.m. Friday at the University of Mississippi, will discuss foreign policy and national security. Given the interest in the race so far, viewership is expected to be high.”

While McCain and Obama continue their usual campaign activities in addition to preparing for the debate, the Caucus reports the VP candidates will keep to their own schedules:

“Ms. Palin is scheduled to make her first visit to New York since she became Mr. McCain’s running mate. In addition to meeting with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Tuesday, Ms. Palin plans to meet with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia.

“Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, Mr. Obama’s running mate, will be in Baltimore on Monday, Washington on Tuesday and then Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.”

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Here Come the Debates: Obama vs. McCain; Palin vs. Biden

The AP’s Charles Babington sizes up the coming debates between Obama and McCain and Palin and Biden and opines the pressure is greater on Obama. Most of the world knows by now that Obama doesn’t perform well away from his teleprompter. Hillary Clinton ran circles around him during their several debates, and it wasn’t just style: she was by far the more knowledgeable and all around better-qualified candidate.

Babington writes:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — For Democrat Barack Obama, the three presidential debates that begin Friday are a chance to halt John McCain's momentum, re-establish his image as a refreshing political force and make his case against a third straight Republican presidential term.

“For McCain, they provide an opportunity to reinforce voters' doubts about Obama's experience and readiness, and to demonstrate that he's still on top of his game at age 72.

“With polls showing the race tight, and the debates expected to draw millions of TV viewers, they could tip the balance on Nov. 4.

“The pressure probably is greater on Obama, who built his meteoric career largely on charisma and a gift for words.”

- Um, tell that to the Democratic party elite, Mr. Babington; they are the folks who selected Obama while shoving Clinton out of the race.

Babington cites political scientist Bruce Cain in pointing out the different focus in the debates for the two presidential candidates:

‘“The debates are particularly important for Obama,’ said political scientist Bruce Cain, director of the Washington program for the University of California at Berkeley. Obama's candidacy relies heavily on his promise to break from President Bush's domestic and foreign policies, he said. Such topics are conducive to a debate's thrust-and-parry format, he said, and Obama must capitalize.

‘“He needs to really identify how he's different on the economy from both the current administration and McCain,’ Cain said.

“Obama has emphasized that message for months. But a debate's intimate setting may give it more resonance than the big-stadium speeches many voters associate with Obama.

“McCain's candidacy, Cain said, rests more on his image as a corruption fighter and war hero who survived a Vietnamese prison camp. Those qualities are certain to come out during the debates, but they could lack the specificity or immediacy that voters want, he said.”

Babington speculates as well about the vice-presidential debate pitting Sarah Palin against Joe Biden:

“The Oct. 2 vice presidential debate between Palin, Alaska's governor for two years, and Biden, Delaware's senator for 36 years, may draw nearly as much attention as the three McCain-Obama forums.

“No one expects Palin to match Biden's knowledge of federal matters, particularly his specialty of foreign policy. But Biden, whose verbosity sometimes gets him in trouble, will have to avoid any hint of patronizing Palin.

‘“Biden is going to have the toughest time,’ Baker said. He sometimes ‘lays down a smoke screen of rhetoric’ sprinkled with senatorial jargon, Baker said, which could give Palin a chance to appeal to voters with a straightforward, anti-Washington message.”’

Read Babington’s article in its entirety here.

Wow! You Could’ve Had a Clinton ’08! (video)

LadyBoomerNYC has a couple of must-see videos and commentary reminding us that Hillary Clinton was way ahead of the Wall Street meltdown this week. Clinton explains in the ABC video that she called for a summit gathering some months ago as she had seen this coming for the past two years. Also, watch how deftly Clinton, always the professional, sticks to the issues and avoids getting personal in discussing the differences between the Democratic and Republican tickets. Keep in mind the media would just love for Clinton and Palin to start tearing one another to shreds – as if that’s what the United States needs at a time when we’re fighting two wars and trying to get our bearings in the midst of a global financial crisis.

Moronic Exchanges Between Obama and McCain on the Wall Street Meltdown

During the Analysis of Shields and Brooks on the PBS News Hour last night, conservative NY Times columnist David Brooks described both the Republican and Democratic campaign responses to the Wall Street meltdown as “moronic.”

Posting yesterday afternoon at Political Intel (Boston Globe) Foon Rhee captures well a few of the most moronic exchanges between Obama and McCain during a week of turmoil and growing fears about the nation’s economy.

Rhee’s post titled Full Crisis Mode begins with a video of a recent Obama ad in which “Democrats are trying to draw a contrast between what they call Barack Obama's nonpartisan, level-headed response to the Wall Street crisis and John McCain's partisan, hot-headed reaction.”

Rhee notes:

“The video, however, leaves out that Obama's speeches this week where he has aggressively gone after McCain on his record supporting deregulation, has called him out of touch for saying that the "fundamentals" of the economy are strong, and just today assailed him on Social Security.”

To see the Obama video and read more, go here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Latest Pew Research Poll: Republicans Chant, "Yes, We Can!"

David Paul Kuhn at Politico reports today that the GOP brand is making a comeback. Personally, I hate the application of the term “brand” to either individuals or political parties. I’d prefer we restrict our talk about brands to inanimate objects: products we find on the supermarket shelf or at Wal-Mart.

Reading Kuhn’s article, however, caused me to shake my head at the perpetual folly of the Democrats who blew their opportunity during the primary to win this presidential election and possibly sweep Congress. And it was all for what? The DNC and the superdelegates smelled power and money when they caught a glimpse of the cold cash the evangelical Barack Obama was raising and the crowds the “lanky” junior senator was drawing. Greed was sufficient motivation for Howard Dean, et al, to trash Hillary Clinton, the better-qualified candidate, and jump on the pied piper’s bandwagon – look at all those kids/students Obama managed to import from other states to vote in the Iowa caucus!!! You could almost hear the party bigwigs chant, “Let’s get some of that for ourselves – yes, we can!”

Yes, we can, indeed. So say the Republicans this morning in response to the latest Pew Research poll.

Mr. Kuhn reports:

“New polling suggests that the Republican Party is beginning to regain some of its luster and, perhaps as important, is experiencing a surge in excitement among its political base.

“A new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reports that independent voters have an equally favorable opinion of both parties, 50 to 49 percent, a one-point edge for the GOP. That compares to an 18-point Democratic advantage as recently as August, a wide gap that had generally held for more than a year.

“And half of registered voters overall now have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, the highest GOP ranking in three years. Slightly more voters, 55 percent, continue to have a favorable view of the Democratic Party.

“The GOP convention and the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running mate have also generated considerable enthusiasm among the party rank-and-file. Pew found that three in four Republicans express satisfaction with their presidential choice. In June, only half said the same.

“The findings come as the Gallup Poll recently found that the Democratic generic lead among voters, when asked which party they prefer to control Congress, has withered to only 3 points, 48 to 45 percent. Democrats had a double-digit generic congressional advantage on the eve of the midterm elections.

‘“The portion of the public that strongly supports the Republican ticket has grown from 17 percent in August to 25 percent today. Over the same period, Republicans expressing “strong support” for McCain jumped 16 points. Independents expressing ‘strong support’ for McCain rose 9 points. Meanwhile, Democratic ‘strong support’ for Obama rose 7 points, while his backing from independents dropped one point.

“Today, Pew finds relative parity in party enthusiasm. Fully 62 percent of Democrats strongly back their candidate compared to 59 percent of Republicans. Democrats had a double digit enthusiasm advantage last month. Other polling has also showed the narrowing of the enthusiasm gap, a measure that can gauge prospective voter turnout.”

Read more.

Obama Distorts the Facts: The Record Shows McCain is No Bush Clone

Since last June when I left the Democratic Party to register as non-affiliated, I’ve been learning to view Democrats and Republicans a little more objectively and in the process, I’ve found myself actually moving toward the vision Barack Obama articulated in his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic convention. Reading his well-crafted speech from a teleprompter (Obama currently has a 3-member speech-writing team supplemented by JFK’s former speechwriter, Ted Soreson), Sen. Obama reminded us that we are not the red states of America, or the blue states of America, we are the United States of America.

It’s been quite a transition for a former lifetime - extremely partisan - Democrat to reach the point at which I routinely attempt to make necessary judgments on the basis of merit rather than the latest partisan attack. That’s not always easy to do. For example, Barack Obama – in contrast to his bi-partisan vision - has based his campaign against John McCain primarily on convincing voters that McCain is a clone of George W. Bush. As a result of the Obama campaign’s repeated distortion of the facts, I was surprised by John Lott, Jr.’s piece in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Lott thoroughly debunks Obama’s charge that a McCain presidency would mean the same as a third Bush term.

Lott writes:

‘“This week Obama has begun a constant refrain that there is ‘not a dime worth of difference’ between Bush's and McCain's views. It is a consistent theme of Democratic pundits on talk shows.

“Is this the same McCain who drove Republicans nuts on campaign finance, the environment, taxes, torture, immigration and more? Where has McCain not crossed swords with his own party?

“As it's being used, the 90 percent figure, from Congressional Quarterly, is nonsensical. As Washington Post congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman explained, ‘The vast majority of those votes are procedural, and virtually every member of Congress votes with his or her leadership on procedural motions.’

“Obama might want to be a little careful with these attacks, as the same measure has him voting with Democrats 97 percent of the time.

“Fortunately, a number of organizations on the left and right provide useful evaluations on how congressmen and senators vote each year. These conservative and liberal groups pick the votes they care about most and figure out how often lawmakers match up with their positions.

“Well-known organizations that rank congressional voting include the American Conservative Union on the right, Americans for Democratic Action on the left, and the nonpartisan National Journal in the middle. The League of Conservation Voters also ranks politicians from an environmentalist position.”

Based on evidence from the above sources, Lott concludes:

“In contrast to the very liberal ratings given to Obama, the interest groups find that there are about as many senators to McCain's right as there are to his left. This might not endear him to many conservatives or liberals. But it is a real distortion to claim he is a Bush clone.”

To read Lott’s piece in its entirety, go here.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Palin’s California Events Postponed, Not Cancelled

Photo credits: images.morris.com

The buzz today is about Sarah Palin’s supposedly cancelled fundraising events in Orange County, California. Late word is the events have merely been postponed. According to the Orange County Register, new dates are Saturday, Oct. 4 for the fundraiser and Sunday, Oct. 5 for the rally. Venues for both events are still being figured out. The “cheap” seats for the fundraiser start at $2,300.

Obama’s Netroots Supporters Defend Hacking Sarah Palin’s Email

It shouldn’t surprise me. After all, I’m a person who began the 2008 campaign as a liberal Democrat, but after that fraudulent primary and the trashing of Hillary Clinton by party bigwigs and their media allies, I re-registered as non-affiliated. And Lord knows, I’ve read enough sordid, misogynous comments by Obama’s online supporters to keep me firmly planted at the center of the political spectrum for the rest of my life – no lunatic fringe for me on either the left or the right.

So why am I shocked this morning to read the comments by Obamaphiles across the Web defending the criminals who hacked Sarah Palin’s personal email and brazenly posted family photos and other personal information on a public Web site? The Washington Post’s coverage of the flagrant invasion of Palin’s privacy is followed by over 300, mostly abusive remarks by those, er, upscale, well-educated liberal Democrats that I abandoned in disgust a couple of months ago.

Wapo's Michael Shear and Karl Vick write:

“A group of computer hackers said yesterday that they had accessed a Yahoo e-mail account of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, publishing some of her private communications to expose what appeared to be her use of a personal account for government business.

‘“The hackers posted what they said were personal photos, the contents of several messages, the subject lines of dozens of e-mails and Palin's e-mail contact list on a site called Wikileaks.org. That site said it received the electronic files from a group identifying itself only as ‘Anonymous.’

‘“At around midnight last night some members affiliated with the group gained access to governor Palin's email account, 'gov.palin@yahoo.com' and handed over the contents to the government sunshine site Wikileaks.org,’ said a message on the site.

“Rick Davis, the campaign manager for Republican presidential nominee John McCain, issued a statement yesterday afternoon condemning the incident.

“This is a shocking invasion of the Governor's privacy and a violation of law,’ he said. ‘The matter has been turned over to the appropriate authorities and we hope that anyone in possession of these e-mails will destroy them. We will have no further comment.”

Read more.

Both Obama and McCain Weak on Economic Issues

In the final days of the 2008 presidential campaign, the focus on the economy highlights the fact that neither candidate has the credentials to lead the nation successfully through the latest crisis on Wall Street.

At USA Today, Richard Wolf offers an analysis titled “Economic upheaval shakes up campaign debate.” Wolf reports:

“The economy was at the top of voters' minds in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. More than two in three respondents cited an economic issue, including energy or health care costs, as their biggest concern. The cratering of Wall Street titans and its impact on jobs, pensions and portfolios are likely to cement those worries.

‘“I always thought this was a campaign about the economy,’ says Doug Holtz-Eakin, McCain's top policy adviser. ‘In the end, it's about will this disaster on Wall Street roll over and crush the Main Street economy.’

“Though more talk about the economy may be a good thing for voters, it poses a risk for both candidates: McCain acknowledged early in the campaign that the economy wasn't his strong suit, and Obama has a short economic résumé.

“Obama emerged from Wall Street's wreckage Wednesday with the better chance of making gains, some analysts say. Polls show voters side with Democrats on the economy.

‘“The tectonic plates shifted, and it's the economy, it's the financial sector, it's Wall Street,’ says Robert Reischauer, president of the non-partisan Urban Institute. ‘The Republicans have been identified with market deregulation, with low taxes on financial executives, and let capitalism and markets show their stuff.’

“Others say McCain can point to his support for tighter regulations on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, last week's federal bailout targets. And he can tout his opposition to tax increases.

‘“I think the jury's out on who this is going to benefit,’ says Pat Toomey, a former Republican congressman who leads the anti-tax Club for Growth. McCain, he says, ‘is on the right side of the tax issue, in the minds of the general public.”’

To read Wolf’s article in its entirety, go here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Will Obama, the Reformer, Please Stand Up and Be Counted?

Since he began his run for the presidency, there have been quite a few news reports that dug into Barack Obama’s record in Illinois; a quick Google search nets 236,000 hits linking the Democratic nominee to Chicago politics and the Daley machine. Yet, Obama continues to present himself to the American people as the one who will save Washington from corruption.

Given the above, it’s interesting to read Dennis Byrnes' account at RealClearPolitics of how Obama has recently sidestepped reform in his home state.

Byrnes reports:

‘“For those of you who still cling to the fantasy that Barack Obama is ‘about change,’ you should note how he, or his minions, want nothing to do with reforming politics in Illinois, perhaps the most corrupt state in the Union.

‘“Throughout his political career, Barack Obama has fought for open and honest government," proclaims his campaign Web site. Apparently, no longer. When the Democratic presidential candidate--now his party's industrial-strength voice for our deliverance from political corruption everywhere--was asked by a reformer if he would help get his political mentor back home to get off the dime and move the most minimal of state ethics legislation toward passage, the Obama campaign sent word back that amounted to a "no."

“State Sen. Emil Jones (D-Chicago) is the Chicago machine politician who might have been most instrumental in jump-starting Obama's political career. Now, as Illinois Senate president, Jones is the one sitting on the reform legislation, refusing to call it for an expected favorable vote before it officially dies of neglect.

“Jones is the pal of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, no friend of reform, who used his amendatory veto power to change the legislation after it passed both houses so that Jones would get another chance to kill it.

“If all that's confusing, welcome to Illinois politics, where intricacy is the best camouflage for chicanery. Suffice to say, neither Blagojevich nor Jones is working for reform.

‘“So, along comes Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, thinking that now might be a good time for Obama to parlay his friendship with Jones to do a good deed: ‘Won't you intervene with Jones and try to get him to call the Senate back into session to get this law passed?’ [T]his is a place [Obama] could come in and quickly clean up some of the damage and serve his state," she told the Chicago Sun-Times. After all, her group and Obama worked together during those halcyon days when he actually supported reform in Illinois, so maybe he'll be receptive to a plea to intervene on behalf of Illinois folks who have been getting gouged for years by the likes of Jones. "A 30-second phone call to the Illinois Senate president could yield huge dividends to this state," she said.

‘“In response, Obama's campaign issued an oozy statement reaffirming Obama's alleged commitment to reform, while getting no more specific than urging everyone to get together and love one another right now. What Canary was asking Obama for wasn't all that much. Maybe a 30-second phone call to back up his usual pap of, ‘Look, ah, I've, ah, always been for, ah, reform.’ For most people, the reform that we're talking about is so basic that they might ask, ‘You mean it's not illegal already?”’

Read more.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Self-Respecting Women Continue to Leave the Democratic Party

Well, if nothing else, those of us who have had enough of that sexist tribe known as the Democratic Party leadership are definitely not alone. Tennessee Guerilla Women reports this quote by Alma Sanford:

"On behalf of my daughter, my sister and myself, I am disgusted with this party. I will vote for John McCain."

The post continues:

“It seems like an epidemic . . . women leaving the Democratic Party. Alma Sanford is the chair of the Tennessee Democratic Women's Political Action Committee. The longtime party activist has committed untold hours to the project of opening politics up to women in this good old cretin boy state. Alma represented the state at the DNC as a pledged Clinton delegate. She was recently honored by the National Federation of Democratic Women as humanitarian of the year. Alma Sanford has been a committed party activist for more than 30 years. Especially, she is a leader of Democratic women.

“After Tennessee Democratic Party leaders pulled a fast one right out of the Donna Brazile and Howard Dean DNC playbook, it is foolish to believe that Alma Sanford will be the only Tennessee woman to register her protest by leaving the party already infamous for betraying women. (But I wish they would vote Green!)

‘“Party officials voted Saturday to steal an election by declaring Sen. Rosalind Kurita's 19-vote primary victory invalid, or ‘incurably uncertain.’ Just like at the infamous May 31st DNC meeting, the male candidate and the party elders won. And the woman candidate and the voters lost.

“Oh well. It's not like there's a shortage of women in the state legislature. Oh, wait. Of 132 legislators, 23 are women and 109 are men.

“Alma pretty well sums it up: ‘[I]t's not my party anymore. They have put poison in the well, and have run the older women out of the party.’”

Read more.

The Left-Wing Feminist Assault on Sarah Palin – It’s Not Pretty!

I was talking politics with my neighbor minutes ago; Dave and I are both former Democrats, now rebelling against the idea of voting for the lesser of two evils in November; heck, we’re even considering voting for Ralph Nader. “But seriously,” Dave said, “the Democratic party needs to get rid of its leadership. They pushed aside the better qualified candidate (that would be Hillary) in order to put their guy (that would be Barack) in place.”

Yep. That’s exactly what the Democratic Party did, and can you blame me for laughing when two-gun Sarah Palin spits in their collective eye, and the McCain ticket surges ahead in the polls?

Speaking of Sarah, my well-educated liberal friends who have been swooning – fainting at times - over Barack Obama since they heard his first rousing motivational “yes-we-can” speech are pleading with those of us who continue to refuse to get in line. They’re telling us that Barack, not Sarah, is the candidate who is truly for women’s rights; Sarah, they say, is no feminist.

Cathy Young addresses that issue in her article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal titled Why Feminists Hate Sarah Palin.

Young writes:

“Left-wing feminists have a hard time dealing with strong, successful conservative women in politics such as Margaret Thatcher. Sarah Palin seems to have truly unhinged more than a few, eliciting a stream of vicious, often misogynist invective.

‘“On Salon.com last week, Cintra Wilson branded her a ‘Christian Stepford Wife’ and a ‘Republican blow-up doll.’ Wendy Doniger, religion professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School, added on the Washington Post blog, ‘Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.’

“You'd think that, whether or not they agree with her politics, feminists would at least applaud Mrs. Palin as a living example of one of their core principles: a woman's right to have a career and a family. Yet some feminists unabashedly suggest that her decision to seek the vice presidency makes her a bad and selfish mother. Others argue that she is bad for working mothers because she's just too good at having it all.

‘“In the Boston Globe on Friday, columnist Ellen Goodman frets that Mrs. Palin is a ‘supermom’ whose supporters ‘think a woman can have it all as long as she can do it all . . . by herself.’ In fact, Sarah Palin is doing it with the help of her husband Todd, who is currently on leave from his job as an oil worker. But Ms. Goodman's problem is that ‘she doesn't need anything from anyone outside the family. She isn't lobbying for, say, maternity leave, equal pay, or universal pre-K.’

‘“This also galls Katherine Marsh, writing in the latest issue of The New Republic. Mrs. Palin admits to having ‘an incredible support system -- a husband with flexible jobs rather than a competing career . . . and a host of nearby grandparents, aunts, and uncles.’ Yet, Ms. Marsh charges, she does not endorse government policies to help less-advantaged working mothers -- for instance, by promoting day-care centers.

‘“Mrs. Palin's marriage actually makes her a terrific role model. One of the best choices a woman can make if she wants a career and a family is to pick a partner who will be able to take on equal or primary responsibility for child-rearing. Our culture still harbors a lingering perception that such men are less than manly -- and who better to smash that stereotype than ‘First Dude’ Todd Palin?

‘“Nevertheless, when Sarah Palin offered a tribute to her husband in her Republican National Convention speech, New York Times columnist Judith Warner read this as a message that she is ‘subordinate to a great man.’ Perhaps the message was a brilliant reversal of the old saw that behind every man is a great woman: Here, the great woman is out in front and the great man provides the support. Isn't that real feminism?”’

Read more.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ed Rollins: How Palin Changed the Game

In my previous post a few minutes ago, Geraldine Ferraro skewered ABC’s Charles Gibson for obvious sexism during his 3-part interview with Sarah Palin. Below CNN’s Ed Rollins notes in passing Gibson’s condescending attitude toward Palin. Granted Rollins is Ronald Reagan’s former political director and at present a Republican strategist, but his piece at CNN titled How Palin Changed the Game is kind of fun to read:

“NEW YORK (CNN) -- It seems like just yesterday when Sen. Barack Obama impressed our troops in Kuwait by shooting his flawless three-pointer into the basket without hitting the rim.

“Two days later, he spoke to 200,000 Berliners. It looked like he could do no wrong and the campaign was only a formality on his way to inauguration day.

“But it wasn't yesterday. It was the third week in July, and that's a lifetime ago in presidential politics.

‘“Obama looked unbeatable then. He looked unbeatable the night of his acceptance speech before 85,000 cheering supporters. If victory went to the guy who could make the best speech or could win the schoolyard basketball game of ‘horse,’ he was thought to be unstoppable.

‘“Then his world stopped with Sen. John McCain's shocking selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for the vice presidential nomination. And over the last two weeks, the governor of Alaska has deflected the arc of Obama's campaign. She can match his pretty words. The outdoor game has changed from ‘horse’ to ‘moose,’ and only one candidate in this race has shot ‘moose.’

“Obama's campaign diminished itself by challenging her experience. The candidate who ranked 99th in Senate seniority, with one of the thinnest resumes ever when he began his presidential quest, looked foolish challenging a governor who made decisions every day while he was missing votes in the Senate running for president.”

Read more.