Friday, October 31, 2008

Dems Hope Youth Barack The Vote


election"08: the race to clean the place
4 days to go

An exhaustive analysis of Florida's first 1.4 million ballot by the Orlando Sentinel might indicate the political admonition to never trust young voters to actually cast a ballot may effect this election.

The Sentinel reports voters 35 and under who swelled registration to a quarter of the electorate have only accounted for 15 percent of early voting ballots.

The story quotes quite flippantly a political science professor from the University of South Florida saying, "It could be that college students will do like they do everything else: cramming for a test, or whatever, and procrastinate."

An article at reports the polling company is seeing little change in the youth vote from four years ago.

Moreover, the story points out that like 2004, when the youth vote was characterized as emboldened to vote disproportionately than the past and attention was high, ballots cast fell short of an increased over 2000.

The poll also shows one in three newly registered young voters have been contacted in some form by the Obama campaign, the candidate most likely to benefit from voters 35 and under.

Study after study show that despite the campaign rhetoric that the youth of America are taking the country by the reign, the demographic can be easily lulled into complacency and flakiness.

A more rosy picture of the youth vote rising to the occasion appears here at

It is likely that young voters will again vote within the same proportions as past elections, the difference, though, may lie in the sheer numbers of newly registered young people by the Obama campaign through which more ballots will be cast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

McCain About To Do A Gore In Home State


election'08: the race to clean the place
6 days to go

On the face of it, the likelihood Sen John McCain lets his home state of Arizona go the way of Tennessee in 2000 is still remote, but the Arizona Republic's poll showing their boy with a two point lead over Sen. Barack Obama is ominous.

It's not so much for the embarrassment of losing your own constituency, but what the tightening of the race may say about the burgeoning Latino vote in the West.

McCain may be one of the few conservatives amendable to immigration, but his party is vehemently against it and voters of Mexican and Central American ancestry are nonetheless wary.

One of the long-reaching stories of this election may be the first direct evidence that Democrats are winning the hearts of Latino voters in not only Arizona, but Nevada, New Mexico and more conclusively in Colorado where Obama is likely to win.

After two successive elections where the electoral map was consistently static, the Obama campaign may have jumbled the political landscape of the West for the benefit of a generation of Democrats years to come.

Democrats Need To Stick It To Lieberman


election'08: the race to clean the place

With majority rule in Washington are very real possibility, the LFR has run numerous postings calling on Democrats to temper their pent up anger over the past eight years to allow for the country to heal the divisions wrought by President Bush.

This has meant reaching out to poor white conservative voters, halting ridicule for voters who espouse to the religious right and, for Christ's sake, lay off Sarah Palin.

As far as taking the high road goes, there is an exit for Democrats to disembark when it comes to Sen. Joe Lieberman, the man more synonymous today with the word "apostate" than Judas.

The Hill reports today sources in the Democratic caucus are discussing removing Lieberman from his leadership position on the Homeland Security Committee. Sources say Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii would assume the gavel. Naming Akaka to the post would seem apropos since his surname may be what childish Democrats privately call Lieberman.

Yet, the Connecticut fence-sitter again has the party by the political juevos, so to speak. The Hill report seems questionable at a time when Democrats are scratching for a possibly unattainable filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.

The Democratic caucus can flay Lieberman to a certain point, but they will still need his consistent vote despite his independent status. Further complicating matters, is the likely move of Sen. Joe Biden to the vice president's quarters.

Unfortunately, Lieberman has again foiled Democrats plans to stick it to him. Where have you gone, Joe Lieberman?

And that's two conclusions in row featuring 30 years references to famous music lyrics. Sorry.

Obama As Urkel; Is It Too Much Obamamania?


election'08: the race to clean the place

It turns out Sen. Barack Obama's 30-minute campaign commercial to be aired tonight does not actually conflict with the resumption of the World Series.

According to the New York Times, Sen. John McCain told supporters in Hershey, PA the World Series would never be pre-empted under his presidency.

The funny things is nobody is really watching this year's Fall Classic anyway. The rain-shortened Game 5 Monday was the lowest rated fifth game of the World Series ever.

It's a nice trick for the McCain campaign to play to the World Series fancy of white males--an important demographic for the senator's chance next Tueday--yet, as with many of McCain's talking points they stand far outside the realm of truth.

Invariably, Joe the Plumber is outraged over watching the World Series at the time actually noted before Obama's infomercial and incensed by the possibility of paying sales tax on the 100-inch plasma TV who might one day buy, presumably when he gets that plumbers license and buys that infamous business.

Quite ominously, ABC, the lone network to opt out of televising "Barack Obama: American Stories", will be airing an episode of "Pushing Daisies" on the East Coast.

The Obama campaign is obviously still flush with large amounts of advertising dollars. The spots costs in the neighborhood of $5 million.

How will the audacious Obama TV program go over with the electorate? One of McCain's long-standing criticisms of Obama is his propensity for grand spectacles. Does a lead-in to the World Series signify something a bit over the top?

The film, produced by davis Guggenheim, is reported to be dripping with stars and stripes and apple pie. What you probably won't see is a production similar to the much-mocked Ross Perot infomerical in 1992. In that spot, Perot drolled folksy one-liners and trotted out his collection of pie charts.

The commercials seem like an unlikely risk. As Willie Nelson once sang, the television networks are telling Obama, "If you got the money honey, I've got the time."

Irrational Unease Permeating Democratic Voters


election'08: the race to clean the place

Despite what the polls say or how the elcctoral map is unmistakably blue in states previously red or the sharpening of knives on the Republican side for John McCain, the word on the street is apprehension and uneasiness over a possibly Obama presidency actually occuring.

Today's New York Times features an interesting dispatch from Jacksonville, FL where black voters are hearing rumors of voter disenfranchisement with absentee ballots.
But amid excitement over Mr. Obama’s historic candidacy and the chance that the country might choose an African-American president within a matter of days, there is an unmistakable sense of anxiety among blacks here that something will go wrong, that victory will slip away.
If anything when it comes to voter disenfranchisement, black voters are the canary in the coalmine. Wherever the rumors that ballots would be destroyed or never counted emanated from, they touch a nerve with black voters who have learned political shenanigans usually start and end with them.

A black voter back in 2004, told the LFR the reason African Americans consistently vote Democratic in presidential elections in the 90 percent range is because "we know we're the first ones to be screwed by the Republicans."

Around the Bay Area, Obama supporters are expressing nervousness over Obama's chances beginning with a small sample of polls--possibly statistical outliers--which show the race significantly tightening. Not mentioned in some of these stories is the fact that for every polls showing the race within the margin of error six or seven show an Obama landslide ranging from seven to 10 points. (Click here for a recent sample of polls.)

Undoubtedly, Democrats are still reeling from having two consecutive presidential races narrowly lost or "stolen", however your level of conspiracy lies.

An Obama victory next Tuesday may do more for the political psyche of Democrats than anything else Obama could possibly do in office.

If McCain can pull off the political equivalent of the Miracle on Ice, the likelihood that a Democrat within this generation could win back the Oval Office might seem grim.

UPDATE, Oct. 29, 4:45 p.m.: Overheard at Starbucks in Castro Valley, Calif., "[Obama] is going to get assassinated and it really makes me sad," said by a woman in her early 20s while awaiting a venti soy mocha latte.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

McCain Turns His Guns On Palin


So, Sarah Palin's "gone rogue" as one McCain staffer told yesterday. Going rogue in the McCain camp seems to be being your own person, you know, how the "maverick" John McCain circa 2000 was the edgy conductor of the Straight Talk Express standing up to those bad folks in Washington.

When Palin eschewed the campaign talking points Monday in order to defend herself against the inane stories flying off the racks regarding her $150,000 wardrobe, the campaign went nuts.

Instead of damage control, the McCain campaign turned their guns on their own. Insiders now had an opportunity to illustrate to the media just what a "whack job" Palin had become.

The question becomes, why did it take this long? It was apparent to many the Alaskan governor was severely deficient politically. Some wondered why McCain did not take the pre-convention period to reverse course. In hindsight, would owning up to the miscalculation really have been worse in the long run?

It has been written here before that Palin is actually a gifted politician, not some pretty "bimbo" as Bill Maher has remarked upon often and she is not merely a politically cunning version of George W. Bush.

By being her own woman, she has shown that she is not the "empty pants suit" many portray her as but the symbol of liberal male angst towards women.

Let her become the story with seven days to go. It helped McCain for a few weeks in August, why not now. It's not like he's ready to promise a few more dollars in your pocket and free health care. So, why not?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Palin's Nice Clothes And Makeup Threatens Democracy?


the race to clean up the place

If you ever wanted a poignant storyline to illustrate the conservative mantra of a left wing media bias, point to the Sarah Palin wardrobe controversy.

The New York Times reported this week that Hollywood makeup artist Amy Strozzi was paid $22,500 for two weeks of work by the McCain campaign. The story serves up the juicy tidbit that the expediture made Strozzi the campaign's top earner.

As Sarah Hepola writes at Salon's Broadsheet blog, "does the story matter?"

No, it does not.

It is quite ignorant to believe that campaigns that rake in hundreds of millions of dollars don't spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their campaign.

Is $150,000 on Palin's wardrobe really that much in the scope of millions of dollars that the McCain people have spent?


The price tag, though, to regular American voters would seem outrageous. It's silly enough for poor inner city kids to pay $300 for "vintage" baseball jerseys, but the Times doesn't report that one.

The story reeks of false populism. Should we expect Palin to attend events in clothes bought from the Chico's catalog or picture her ironing Todd and kids underwear with curlers in her hair.

Of course, this isn't about populism really, it's about sexism. Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain can campaign in the finest suits and loafers and not be skewered for it. Sen. Joe Biden can get away with the vanity of suspected botox applications and hair plugs, but a woman cannot.

As Washington nears closer to Democratic rule, again, it is subjects like these that flash contempt into the Americans who prefer to see the country and family life differently. Democrats, led by Obama's example, need to be cognizant that mocking poor conservative whites and women voters is risky when attempting to hold power. More importantly, reaching out to these Americans is the key to healing eight years of Bush.

Prop. 8 Proponents Don't Want Gay Kids Getting Married

Wherever you stand on California's Proposition 8, the state initiative seeking to ban non-traditional marriage in the Golden State, it seems laughable that groups like would use the welfare of children in their ads.

Boys can't marry boys?!

In second grade, the school bully "married" the grade's prettiest girl. At lunch recess, the entire class marched to the playground for the wedding. Granted, these were seven-year-old unitimg in a "traditional" marriage, yet I doubt the state of California recognized the union.

Watch the ad from

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Nate Thornton Is Still Fighting The Good War

Out of work and without much hope for the future, Nate Thornton was handed a leaflet in San Francisco that would eventually send him halfway across the world to fight a war which history would call the opening act to World War II. A life of heartache and struggle was the price he paid. At 94, he's still fighting the Good War.

Hayward's Nate Thornton, 94, a veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade which fought in the Spanish Civil War in 1937-38, holds a photo of himself using the leftist salute, "No pasaran!" on a flight to Cuba.

He lay sitting upright in his well-worn, brown recliner. Hunched forward as the cushion cups his body.

Nate Thornton turns his head and stares at the intricate wood carvings fashioned with skill, layered in lacquer.

The images formed out of ordinary oak hark to a distant past when ideological vigor and economic disparity ruled the minds of every American.

A silhouette of a rifle-wielding soldier hang on the wall to the right of him, the purple, gold and red Republican flag of Spain is pinned by its four corners to left of him.

Seventy-one years ago, Thornton and 2,800 Americans joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade made famous by Ernest Hemingway and marched to fight fascism in a foreign land, yet from his Hayward home--not far from the campus of Cal State East Bay--he still lives the unsuccessful foray into the Iberian Peninsula in his mind and sees histories tentacles wrapping around the United States today.

The Spanish civil war was the product a democratically-elected government being brought to its knees by General Francisco Franco and the Spanish military. Some historians argue the conflict was a proxy war between Soviet communists and fascist nations in Germany and Italy.

For men like Thornton and his father, harsh economic times held over from the Great Depression had a weakening effect on their morale, while stoking feelings of ideology.

“It was perceived by people at the time that this is where we can take a stand against fascism and in retrospect to those who fought in World War II this was the dress rehearsal—this was the first battle—and we lost it,” said CSUEB professor of history Dr. Henry Reichman.

At 94 years old, the feeling that the atrocities of World War II could have been averted by simply defeating Franco still irritates Thornton to this day.

“I was a disappointed person,” said Thornton, “I was disappointed in how things turned out. Spain had been defeated and the United States hadn't helped at all and just a year or so after that we had to go fight Germany anyway. So, it was a mess.”

The late winter of 1937 was still bare of employment in the Bay Area. Men still worked sparingly. Others who could find work did it sparingly and with meager earnings.

At 22, Thornton was part of the cadre of unlucky job seekers.

“There hadn't been much chance for me to find a job,” said Thornton, “I'd find an odd job once in the while on the waterfront in San Francisco, but it was just for a day or two and then you're off and back where you started from.”

His father was in the same dire financial straits and with a coal miner's strike broken up by a group of scab worker still sour in the elder Thornton's mouth, the situation was ripe for change.
Thornton's father was 42. Still sprite, yet the world had made him weary. Father and son walked down a street in San Francisco. Nate saw a man passing leaflets on the street corner ahead. They reached the man in no time.
What they told us sounded so damn good, so much better than what we had that I was completely sold
The leaflets offered a chance at redemption—a new antidote to cure the social ills that had plagued downtrodden men like Nate and his father. The leaflets urged them to attend a meeting of the Communist party.

Wizen and fatherly, Nate's father displayed some consternation. The inexperienced Nate had seen enough of what capitalism could do and urged his father to merely attend. The scene was a grown-up version of a boy pleading his dad to buy him a new red wagon.

They would attend after all. The party leaders rhetoric was too much for the Thornton's to ignore and together joined the party.

“What they told us sounded so damn good, so much better than what we had that I was completely sold,” remembers Thornton.

Ideology or not, the communist party in the United States was seeking strength in numbers.

“It was indicative of the attitudes of the American communist party at the time. These weren't communist organizations in the sense that they took volunteers of any political persuasion,” said Reichman, “As long as you wanted to fight fascism in Spain. This was the front line.”

A party leader named Archie Brown would be the impetus for getting the Thornton's to join the Lincoln Brigade.

Thornton believes the enlisting of father and son to the Lincoln Brigades to be the only such case.
A group of six would commence to travel by bus from San Francisco to New York City. From there they would sail to France before trekking over the Pyrenees Mountains into Northeastern Spain onto the small town of Albacete.

This was done at the party's behest without help from the U.S. government, which was still a staunchly isolationist nation on the eve of World War II.

“They never expressed any intimidation to us, but they never encouraged us, either,” said Thornton.

The U.S. customs, though, stamped their passport, “not valid for travel to Spain”, necessitating the detour through France, which Reichman says was also tenuous because of that country's stated neutrality during the Spanish civil war.
'I had it pretty nice in Madrid. I had a young woman who would make up my bed for me so I could sleep nicely. That was all she did, though,' said Thornton with a sly smile.
Once in Albacete, the collection of foreign troops numbering nearly 35,000 organized. Many like Thornton sported suits compliments of the communists party, but were nearly broke.
In Albacete, he would volunteer to work in the kitchen, but became disinterested when he ranked only as a subordinate.

Thornton had experience as a cook three years earlier earning $30 per month working in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He would send his father $25 of his wages to save for him.

“I wanted to be the big guy, but I was the third cook. I got tired of taking orders from the chef,” said Thornton.

After a month, a call for men willing to be drivers went out and Thornton and his father jumped at the opportunity.

Like Hemingway during World War I, Thornton drove an ambulance carting away the wounded and the dead from the Spanish battlefields.

Inexperience was something soldiers like Thornton needed to overcome and arrived only through trial and error.

On Thornton's first day behind the wheel of the ambulance, he wisely brought someone familiar with the terrain and battle field of Brunete, a small town outside the capital, Madrid.

The road was uneven and better suited for horse-drawn carts. The sight of an automobile was a curiosity in Spain at the time.

The guide sternly told Thornton to stop the ambulance.

“Stop here and wait awhile,” said the guide.

Without hesitation, without a clue to its meaning, he brought the vehicle to a stop.

They waited.

In the distance, over a 100 yards or so, Thornton and the guide saw a shell explode up the road.
The guide said, “Ok, now we can go.”

The battle at Brunete was harrowing for the Lincoln Brigade and the Republican Spanish loyalists. A rout ensued as Franco's army bolted the defenses, killing masses of soldiers and coming up on a triage tent hidden in a creek.

“Driving back with a load of wounded and our people were being routed and they were fleeing and running, trying to get away from that creek. We had our first aid unit in a creek.

“We were driving along and some guy jumped on the running board of my ambulance and plopped over in front of me, so I couldn't see to drive. I stopped the ambulance and poked him, motioned for him to move so I could see. He fell off. I guess he was dead. Made it as far as my ambulance. I'm sure he died there in Brunete,” said Thornton.

Thornton had not seen or heard of his father's whereabouts for months. He would later learn his father worked maintaining tires and trucks during the viciously frigid Battle of Teruel.

In the meantime, Thornton spent some down time in Madrid. The respite was welcomed and Spaniards loyal to the Republic showed great appreciation for foreign soldiers like Thornton.

“I had it pretty nice in Madrid. I had a young woman who would make up my bed for me so I could sleep nicely. That was all she did, though,” said Thornton with a sly smile.

In Madrid he would dine of the local specialties, including bacalhau, a dried codfish popular in the Iberian peninsula. He believes that many of the locals went without some basic food supplies to help the Lincoln Brigade.

Thornton says locals would routinely salute them fist flashing towards the sky, chanting, “No pasaran!”, a leftist slogan meaning, “thou shall not pass.”
...The capitalists are going to have to go to work with a pick and shovel like the rest of us...The system is breaking down.
By August of 1938, the war had turned decidedly against the Republican army. A fear that Franco's army would brutally crackdown on any captured foreign soldiers permeated before it was decided to send them home.

Thornton would reverse the itinerary in which he traveled to Spain. From Albacete, through the Pyrenees, save a brief stay on the French coast due to a strike of port workers, across the Atlantic to New York and by land to San Francisco.

Thornton would quickly marry and decided against volunteering for the U.S. Army.

“I had been fighting before for 20 months, I felt I did may share,” he said.

Thornton exhibits contempt at the U.S. government's treatment of Lincoln Brigade members upon returning home.

“They didn't make friend with us,” he said, “First thing they did was to label us 'premature anti-fascists'.”

Thornton slowly repeats it for effect. “Premature anti-fascists.”

“It was okay to be anti-fascists,” he mocks, “but don't be premature. We had to wait for the United States to tell us when we could be anti-fascists.”

Like many during the Red Scare of the 1950's, Thornton, because of his ties to the communist party felt the reverberations of irrational hysteria in America.

Thornton was a carpenter by trade. He had just purchased the house on the foothills of Hayward in 1954. Working in the garage as he would any other weekend, his work was upset by the two parked cars across the narrow one-lane street.

He looked up from his work as the men dressed in ordinary suits flashed FBI badges from their coat pockets.

With political upheaval rumbling throughout the nation and a background certainly unwelcome in popular company, he became concerned.

Both men began asking him questions. How did he feel about certain stories in the news? What was he doing at work on the docks? What was his political views?

“I told them right there, I'm not answering your questions,” remembers Thornton.

The men left, but not without Thornton worrying for months when the other shoe would drop. It never did.

He believes he became the victim of untimely lay offs when his “radical” views became known to supervisors.

“Oh, I couldn't keep my damn mouth shut. I would say bad things about our government—things I didn't like that was going on,” said Thornton.

It wasn't until Thornton became an “A book” carrying member of the Longshoreman's union in Oakland that employment finally became stable.

Thornton's streak of activism would continue with support for the United Farm Workers Union, protests of the Army base at Fort Benning in Georgia and trips in support of Cuba.

At 94, Thornton's vigor has slowed, but his tenacity is still evident when he speaks of the future of the struggle.

“I think we're on the verge of fascism right now. I think Bush and McCain are just like this,” he says raising his thumb and forefinger together, “Don't let them kid you.”

“I see the Democrats and Republicans. They are two parts of the same party and the capitalists have set them up. When the capitalists can use the Democrats for their advantage, they use them, when the people don't go for the Democrats, they go to the Republicans—back and forth.”

The cause in Spain may have been unsuccessful, yet Thornton still firmly believes in its potential to this day.

“I know that socialism is going to be the '-ism' of the future,” he says, “I don't know when it will happen, not in my time, I'm sure of that. Once this thing is all done, the capitalists are going to have to go to work with a pick and shovel like the rest of us. That's what they don't like. That's what they don't want. The system is breaking down.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Specter of Bin Laden Favors McCain


Newsweek's Jonathan Alter thinks a re-emergence of Osama bin Laden during the last two weeks of the presidential campaign may not hurt Sen. Barack Obama as it did to Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

Alter puts forth the idea Kerry made an error in failing to push rhetoric about bin Laden four years ago, while Obama, in his opinion, has not.
Seven years after 9/11, the country is in a different place, and the Obama campaign would respond to a bin Laden tape in a different way. For two years, Obama has been reminding audiences that the Bush administration has failed to catch bin Laden.
On an Oct. 9 episode of the Charlie Rose program, journalists including David Brooks and the loopy Mark Halperin did an extreme tap dance around the notion McCain's only hope in this election was either a traumatic terrorist attack or the meddling of al Qaeda media attack.

Aside from poking around military intervention on the Pakistani border, Obama has not sufficiently formed the requisite narrative that al Qaeda is still running around the globe active and poised to attack, nor as Alter says reminded voters that bin Laden has not been apprehended by the Republican president.

Like Kerry, Obama is very much vulnerable to intervention from the caves of rocky Afghanistan.
Obama's campaign has to be praying the media arm of al Qaeda recently ran out of VHS and eight-track tapes.
The problem has more to do with the media upheaval in the day of 24-hour news cycles than the perception of Obama's inexperiences versus McCain's relative experience.

The numbers may show Obama with a fairly strong lead nationally as well as a multitude of possible electoral equations due to tightening races in battleground states, yet certain important demographics are trending his way, but by no means solid.

White males, although reported today in a poll passed a majority for Obama, could be easily swayed back to McCain if bin Laden butts into the campaign. Women, could also latch onto the Straight Talk Express if an atmosphere of danger arises.

The most tenuous factor could be voters who reluctantly support Obama despite racial prejudices who merely needed a reason to vote for the old white man.

Like it or not, too many voters, possibly your neighbors and the guy down at The Home Depot, believe or suspect Obama to be a stealth Muslim. For this reason, Obama's campaign has to be praying the media arm of al Qaeda recently ran out of VHS and eight-track tapes.

Above all, a change in conversation, whatever it may be, favors McCain.

AP Poll: Red Herring Or Ominous Sign?


Readers of Yahoo! News and people checking their email awoke this morning with news the presidential campaigns was deadlocked with 13 days to go.

The Associated Press poll gives Sen. Barack Obama a 44-43 percent lead with a margin of error of 3.5 percent.

Nearly every poll taken since last Wednesday's final presidential debate have shown Obama's edging Sen. John McCain by six to eight points.

The reason according to the AP story?
What some Republicans and Democrats privately have said in recent days: that the race narrowed after the third debate as GOP-leaning voters drifted home to their party and McCain's "Joe the plumber" analogy struck a chord.
It also claims McCain's prospects have risen due to new support from whites making less than $50,000.

What's troubling about this analysis is the odd dynamic of middle-to-lower class Americans--presumably those with less--being drawn to an analogy that seems anathema to sharing the proverbial wealth.

Curiously, an ABC/Washington Post poll released today, shows a completely different snapshot, showing Obama with an 11-point lead.

What's notable about this poll is that Obama has crossed the 50 percent threshold in support from white males.

The AP poll may simply be what pollsters call an outlier. The exquisite website, Real Clear Politics calculates the national average of all major polls to favor Obama by seven points. A Pew Research poll shows a 14 point lead for Obama, while the AP poll reveals the smallest spread.

So which poll is correct? Of course, none of them, but it is interesting to speculate whether the AP story is merely a red herring or indicative of a swell of new support or mind-changing among voters.

One ominous fact hidden in the AP story is it's heavy use of random cell phone numbers. Many pundits fault polls that fail to acknowledge the modern fact that more people, notably young people, rely on cell phones rather than the traditional land lines.

This, too, would seem to favor Obama and his cadre of new, young voters and not McCain.

Protester Attempts to Arrest Rove in The City


It's no wonder President Bush has never visited San Francisco during eight years in office.

A protester at a meeting of those downtrodden mortgage bankers in downtown San Francisco attempted to make a citizen's arrest of former Bush Brain, Karl Rove.

I actually know a quite militant lefty who has repeatedly told me that such an act is needed to roundup various members of the Bush admnistration.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Columnist Doesn't Have Guts To Endorse Obama


As you read David Brooks' opinion piece on Sen. Barack Obama in today's New York Times, you might wonder at which point is the "but...." is going to arrive?

After lavishing praise towards Obama, albeit, in a measured tone, Brooks ends the column by pronouncing of all things, the man is "dull."
We can each guess how the story ends. But over the past two years, Obama has clearly worn well with voters. Far from a celebrity fad, he is self-contained, self-controlled and maybe even a little dull.
Brooks spends the entire column commending Obama on his self-control and calmness under fire, especially, in contrast to Sen. John McCain. You are left to wonder is Brooks going the way of conservative author Christopher Buckley and endorse Obama?

Apparently, knowing what happened to Buckley and his departure from the National Review, Brooks could not stomach being burned on the right's burning funeral pyre.

Instead, he lamely predicts Obama as a president led from greatness to moribund leader.
It could be that Obama will be an observer, not a leader. Rather than throwing himself passionately into his causes, he will stand back. Congressional leaders, put off by his supposed intellectual superiority, will just go their own way. Lost in his own nuance, he will be passive and ineffectual. Lack of passion will produce lack of courage. The Obama greatness will give way to the Obama anti-climax.
Something tells me, that Obama would take this statement as vindication of the true meaning of his campaign for the White House.

He claims his campaign is not about him, but about what people want. It may be his choice to stand back and bend to the will of the people. To call this dull shows a lack of understanding of what Obama the candidate means to millions of Americans.

You would be hard pressed to find that particular adjective laying in any sentence with the word Obama.

You would be hard pressed to find another conservative columnist endorse Obama, either.

Sentence I Wished I Wrote, Part III

"The sentiment in the rest of the article is okay, but get rid of the cornball stereotypes unless you want people to think you are one of the lame dipshits from Fox Network News who think all Democrats are liberals (they aren’t), ponytail wearing wine and cheese eaters."

An unnamed adviser disagrees with the insinuation that all Democrats are stereotypical elites snacking on expensive foreign food items in a Oct. 10 posting.


After Wednesday's debate in Hempstead, N.Y., Sen. John McCain apparently suffers a seizure, a bout of extreme dehydration or tries to, at least, best Sen. Barack Obama by doing his best Gene Simmons impression.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Start Choosing The Drapes: Obama Up 14 Points


Polls mean nothing, except when they astound like tomorrow's CBS/New York Times survey is about to report a 14 point lead for Sen. Barack Obama.

Again, they mean nothing, but this is crazy talk.

On the face of it delving into the numbers continues to show an amazing amount of slippage in the last three weeks for Sen. John McCain.

According to Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic and Alex Koppelman at Salon, the to-be-released poll also shows incredible dissatisfaction with Sarah Palin. Twenty-two percent of those polled said the Alaskan governor was the reason for not supporting McCain.

Ten percent said it was McCain's debate performance and possibly a sign that Obama's drumbeat of depicting his opponent as "unsteady" or "erratic" has moved some voters, 10 percent agree with this assessment.

The CBS/NYT poll gives Obama 53-39 lead, putting McCain under the 40 percent barrier. The poll also lists the number of undecideds at six percent, meaning Obama could conceivably lose the remaining "movable" voters and still win with a majority.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hillary Aiming To Stoke Righty Voters?


Sen. Hillary Clinton smacked the kiss of death on her former primary challenger, Sen. Barack Obama this morning on ABC's Good Morning America.

"I think we're headed for a very big win," said Clinton.


It's one thing for columnists to say such things or for reporters to quote no-name politicians and pundits, but it's a clarion call for conservative Hillary-hating Republicans to hear her speaking with such confidence.

Could she be flinging a red herring into the ring just as Obama is solidifying and building upon his lead over Sen. John McCain.

If there's a way to boost Republican voters to the polls Nov. 4, it's a smug-talking Hillary Clinton rubbing it in their face.

Voters Becoming More Comfortable With President Obama


Many have made allusions duringthis election to 1980. Back then, the country was concerned whether to hand Oval Office to Ronald Reagan. Although, he was the governor of California, the perception that this Western cowboy, former Hollywood movie star would make a good president was something Americans had to get comfortable with.

Twenty-eight years later, Sen. Barack Obama is facing the same questions. He's too young, too inexperienced, too black(?). Like Reagan in 1980, voters may have forged a comfort level late in the campaign with the young Illinois senator that may clinch victory next month.

A new Washington Post poll reveals some poignant numbers that seem to point to this fact. Among the tidbits:
  • Obama numbers now equal McCain's on which candidate's economic plan will lower their taxes.
  • The number of undecided voters has shrunk to 13 percent.
  • Two-thirds of voters who rank the economy as the country's biggest problem side with Obama.
Most importantly, it seems the low-key and confident demeanor of Obama during the debates as opposed to McCain's sometime huffing and puffing and doddering strolls around the stage have eased voter anxieties about the candidate. The question is, "could they be comfortable with Obama in the White House?" The answer is increasingly looking like, yes.
Nearly two-thirds of voters, 64 percent, now view Obama favorably, up six percentage points from early September. About a third of voters have a better opinion of the senator from Illinois because of his debate performances, while 8 percent have a lower opinion of him. By contrast, more than a quarter said they think worse of McCain as a result of the debates, more than double the proportion saying their opinion had improved.
Forget that Obama is now consistently polling in the low 50 percent range, roughly 10 points up on McCain. It's still too early to extrapolate national numbers when the electoral college may be out of whack in Obama's favor with the actual vote tally.

It is notable that the number of undecided voters is shrinking, though. With fewer "movable" voters, the less likely wild fluctuations in the polls will occur. Certainly bad news for McCain as he attempts to find an issue to sway voters.

Pundits after two presidential debates and one VP debate consistently said the interactions would do little to break open the race. Those pundits are usually wrong.

Taken with the pretext that a clear winner would be called on the presumption that the other would massively flub a line, breakdown in tears or bleed from the eyes and ears, there could not possibly be a winner.

Pundits pontificate, voters vote.

Obama is exciting, exotic, a brilliant orator and calming figure. It's not that he's a biracial candidate (this is the correct term), but seemingly too good to be true. When McCain referred to him as "that one", Obama's reaction was, literally, no reaction.

It's becoming more clear, that the voter's reaction is something quite the opposite.

Two Portraits Of John McCain


For those still sitting on the fence (and, oh, at this late stage of the campaign, your ass must be hurting!) is two feature articles that, depending on your degree of independence, show an even-handed portrait of Sen. John McCain and another that may feature straight talk on the conductor of the Straight Talk Express.

Jeffrey Goldberg's Atlantic cover story on McCain, entitled, "The Wars of John McCain" does a fine job of revealing the senator's illustrous family background. His grandfather was an admiral in World War II, while his father was a rear admiral during Vietnam.

One poignant story reveals McCain's father would travel at Christmastime as close to his son's place of captivity as he could.

You still may not agree with McCain's reasons for continuing war in Iraq, but the similarities between getting out of Vietnam and leaving Iraq at this late stage of the conflict is though-provoking.

While Goldberg is somewhat even-handed with McCain and even writes of a long-time relationship with the senator, Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson is out for blood in an entertaining and revealing look at the real McCain, unencumbered with political mythmaking

The Dickinson piece is a bit reminiscent of Sen. John Kerry's swift-boating with quotes from a few of McCain's fellow POW's downplaying his heroics in Vietnam.

Among the other highlights is a revision of McCain's early military career that includes carousing, multiple plane crashes and graduating just five places from the bottom of his class.

Of note, is a nice collection of McCain's greatest hits when it comes to chewing out fellow Washington insiders and loved ones.

During his 1992 campaign, at the end of a long day, McCain's wife, Cindy, mussed his receding hair and needled him playfully that he was "getting a little thin up there." McCain reportedly blew his top, cutting his wife down with the kind of language that had gotten him hauled into court as a high schooler: "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." Even though the incident was witnessed by three reporters, the McCain campaign denies it took place...

In 1992, McCain got into a heated exchange with Sen. Chuck Grassley over the fate of missing American servicemen in Vietnam. "Are you calling me stupid?" Grassley demanded. "No, I'm calling you a fucking jerk!" yelled McCain. Sen. Bob Kerrey later told reporters that he feared McCain was "going to head-butt Grassley and drive the cartilage in his nose into his brain." The two were separated before they came to blows...

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" McCain asked.
"Because her father is Janet Reno!"

McCain has called Paul Weyrich, who helped steer the Republican Party to the right, a "pompous self-serving son of a bitch" who "possesses the attributes of a Dickensian villain." In 1999, he told Sen. Pete Domenici, the Republican chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, that "only an asshole would put together a budget like this."...

Last year, after barging into a bipartisan meeting on immigration legislation and attempting to seize the reins, McCain was called out by fellow GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. "Wait a second here," Cornyn said. "I've been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You're out of line." McCain exploded: "Fuck you! I know more about this than anyone in the room." The incident foreshadowed McCain's 11th-hour theatrics in September, when he abruptly "suspended" his campaign and inserted himself into the Wall Street bailout debate at the last minute, just as congressional leaders were attempting to finalize a bipartisan agreement...

McCain's frequently inappropriate humor has also led many to question his self-control. In 1998, the senator told a joke about President Clinton's teenage daughter at a GOP fundraiser. "Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?" McCain asked. "Because her father is Janet Reno!"


Click here to read Jeffrey Goldberg's, "The Wars of John McCain" at The Atlantic Monthly

Click here to read Tim Dickinson's "Make-Believe Maverick" at Rolling Stone.

Friday, October 10, 2008

McCain Has Lost His Soul In Quest For White House


The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan has written truly the most terrifyingly insightful paragraph of this presidential campaign.
But they are also very very dangerous. This is a moment of maximal physical danger for the young Democratic nominee. And McCain is playing with fire. If he really wants to put country first, he will attack Obama on his policies - not on these inflammatory, personal, creepy grounds. This is getting close to the atmosphere stoked by the Israeli far right before the assassination of Rabin.
It very well may have started with Sen. John McCain's blatantly callous finger point and "That One" remarks towards Sen. Barack Obama during last Tuesday's debate.

Since then Gov. Sarah Palin and the McCain have helped encourage and condoned frightening discourse and calls for violence against the Democrat. (Read Salon's Glenn Greenwald for a brief rundown of the angry mobs.)

Like it or not, in America 2008, the three worst things you can call a person (in no particular order) are being called a Muslim, a terrorist or a traitor.

"Who is the real Barack Obama," McCain asks at every campaign site.

Conservative hot heads apparently seeing the nail in McCain's political coffin are yelling "Terrorist!", "Kill him!" and "Nobama". Dozens of news reports have detailed this scene at every stop for the last week. What we don't read is any admonishments from the McCain campaign.

It's gotten this bad to where as Sullivan writes, McCain is flirting very close with having blood upon his hands for the sake of gaining the White House.

McCain was once an honorable politician who could display an independent bipartisan streak. To win the nomination, he had to acquiesce to the religious right, therefore, changing the dynamic of his old persona.

This display of anger, violence and stupid innuendo has made McCain one of the most despicable politicians in modern American history.

Probable Democratic Majority Needs To Heal Country


If the Bush presidency has a legacy besides bumbling wars and reducing our stand in the worldwide community, it is the polarization of our politics—by extension, the division of our society.

Blue and red, white and black, North and South, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican. These splits are geographical, racial, economical and ideological and provide an impetus for those who have an interest in keeping the status quo these demographics provide—the equal grinding of beliefs that allow little improvement, bipartisanship or political harmony.

Republicans in Washington are as much to blame for this atmosphere of divide and conquer as much as Democrats who wallowed in the shadow of the administration's terrorism what-if's.

It's a good bet that Democrats will attain the executive branch and both houses of Congress this November. When that times comes, it is imperative that the Democratic majority not punish the GOP with legislative dominance, but take the higher ground.

Many extreme lefties might find this electoral triumph a prime opportunity to pay back conservatives who at one time in the early Rovian Bush White House actively sought to destroy the Democratic party, ruthlessly hung the specter of 9/11 over the left and rammed through legislation and operated congressional committees as if they had attained a huge mandate to run the country in this manner.

In practical terms, the healing must begin by curbing the habit of liberal elites to heap scorn and passive aggressive rhetoric towards working class conservatives.

They don't realize the incessant hammering of Sarah Palin is an assault on low-to-middle class Americans who live on processed American cheese rather than imported Gruyere.

Portraying Palin as a gun-totting Alaskan snow hick alienates large swaths of the American political landscape who might covet their rifles as much as you make sure your golf clubs are pristine.

Peace-loving, pony-tailed, 50-somethings on Telegraph fail to see they are as anathema to the real beliefs of Americans as much as conservatives on the religious right who might believe Jesus rode dinosaurs through the streets of Bethlehem.

[Liberals] don't realize the incessant hammering of Sarah Palin is an assault on low-to-middle class Americans who live on processed American cheese rather than imported Gruyere.

As author and Georgetown professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson said last week during his lecture at Cal State East Bay, both candidates only talk about the middle class, “What about the poor people?”

Wealthy Democrats seem to forget about their own constituency often in their quest to quash low income people do not espouse the liberal view of America.

When Democrats talk about their economically dispossessed constitutency, it's code for black people.

But, most of impoverished America is not part of the minority, but white. Poor people in Appalachia, the Deep South and farmers struggling in the Plains are not heard and constantly picked on for being different than coastal Democrats.

An opportunity is missed if this harmful condescension continues into the next four years. In a time, when the financial durability of the world economy is in doubt, this is the moment when bipartisanship can be achieved with the added bonus of being attained under a Democratic majority.

Democrats have the opportunity to take the higher ground, they must act upon it for the nation's future.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Maturation Of Jordan Ferrell

Cal State East Bay defender Jordan Ferrell after the Pioneer win Oct. 5 PHOTO/DAVID FERRELL


The Pioneer

Understand that the cerebral, dread-wearing defender with the captain's armband wasn't always in control of himself.

When a University of Dallas midfielder was continually jabbing and grabbing at Ferrell last Sunday, the incessant agitation use to set him off.

With minutes to play in a match where the Pioneers nursed a decisive two-goal lead, the same midfielder clutched Ferrell's jersey and tore the hem from the bottom of his kit.

The referee called a foul, but Ferrell pleaded his case, nonetheless, extending the long swatch of material for him to see.

Ferrell shook his head and proceeded to take the free kick.

The maturation of Jordan Ferrell leads us to this because as early as two years ago, he would have handled things differently.

“I probably would have punched [the player],” Ferrell joked, “I would have probably yelled more and lashed out. I probably would have said a lot more to referee.”

Ferrell was the type of player who sulked when he didn't get enough touches and terrorized teammates who failed to make the correct play.

“If I didn't get the ball, I would lose my cool,” said Ferrell, “I would make stupid fouls because I was frustrated.”

During his first two years at Cal State East Bay his intense demeanor reached its apex.

Everything became a competition to him, he says, “I had to be first in everything.”

During Ferrell's sophomore season he was suspended two games by CSUEB men's soccer coach Jair Fory for disciplinary reasons.

His father, David, recalls witnessing his son berating everyone on the field and yelling at the coach.

Eventually, Fory benched Ferrell and his father asked the coach afterwards, “What took you so long?”

To understand the mature Jordan Ferrell, you must understand the old one.

Ferrell grew up rarely playing with children his own age. His brother, who also played soccer at CSUEB, is three years older. All the neighborhood kids were older than Ferrell, too.

To survive, Ferrell had to be better than kids his own age—overachieve or find new play buddies.

“I always played with guys who were older than me growing up. It never scared me to play them because growing up I knew I could play.”

His father believes his son's defiance and intense streak is misunderstood.

“He's a very intense player, but it comes from his inception,” said David, “He's stronger than 40 acres of garlic.”

Before Ferrell was born the doctors told his mother the baby growing inside of her was in decline. They went home and she relaxed.

“They told her that there was something we can do about it—you know, abort it—but we don't believe in that,” said David.

Ferrell eventually would turn into the boy who would make child raising difficult for the Ferrell's, yet revealed glimpses of great promise.

“Of my two boys, this was the one who was more difficult to raise, but it's with great rewards,” said David.

The most infamous story of Ferrell's disobedience occurred at age 11.

“Jordan was yelling at the referee. I yelled his name to get his attention, but he wasn't listening. When he got off the field, we walked to the car and he still wasn't listening so I picked him up and put him on the car and made a dent on my car. He listened then,” said David.

“I should have learned my lesson. I was acting like a child,” said Ferrell recounting the story with a smirk “I was yelling at the players and the ref and then I snapped at him. You can't do that.”

When did the mature Ferrell people see today begin to appear?

Ferrell and his parents point to his time at CSUEB for directing his focus rather than the haphazard antics that quickly dissipated into no real purpose.

That Ferrell would captain a college soccer team one day was by no means set in stone.

Despite captaining teams most of his high school and club career, his prep coach told him he didn't have a chance of playing college soccer anywhere.

The realization stung Ferrell, but his intense nature failed to let the dream go.

“He taught me a lot in two years and then he told me I wasn't good enough,” said Ferrell, “I mean, that's his opinion, obviously.”

In his first two years at CSUEB, he encountered opportunities to transfer to other schools and fought sometimes vigorously with his coach, yet something kept him here.

“If you leave someplace all the time, you don't pass that hurdle—you don't learn,” said Ferrell.

The reason could be Coach Fory.

Despite numerous run-in early on, Ferrell says he believed Fory was the person who could teach him the sport he so desperately loves.

Before deciding to attend CSUEB, Fory simply asked Ferrell what he wanted to do in life.

To Ferrell, this was a liberating question.

“I want to play professional soccer,” Ferrell recalls saying.

Fory stared and said, “That's all?”

Ferrell put a finer point on his dream, “I want to play in Italy or Spain.”

“I thought it was revolutionary for a coach to ask me exactly what I wanted to do in soccer. I believed that Jair could teach me to play on a higher level. to be play and to think like a professional. He offered the avenues for me to reach that goal,” said Ferrell.

The relationship between Fory and Ferrell is a complex one.

Since attaining the captain's armband, Ferrell acts as proxy for the coach in the locker room and on the pitch.

“I'm in really unique position with Jair. I know his style of coaching,” said Ferrell, “We work together often and some things are left unsaid.”

Ferrell recounts how sometimes he communicates the general feeling of the club to Fory at times when he might not notice it.

Other times, he might ask a question of the coach when he notices some teammates have a quizzical look on their faces just to clarify.

“I want the players to know that some of these things come from a player rather than the coaches. I can ask them how they feel,” said Ferrell.

His mother, Kathleen Ferrell, is adamant her son learned to control his impressive leadership qualities while attending CSUEB.

“He learned that here. He has grown into that kind of trust and to motivate others. He came here with soccer skills, but not those skills,” said Kathleen.

Being named captain two games into his junior year was part of the maturation process for Ferrell.

“I realized it was a huge responsibility,” said Ferrell, “I've changed my style of being a captain and leadership since from before.”

Gone was the constant needling of teammates and the incessant rants towards the referee, instead Ferrell began to take players under his wing.

“If someone made a mistake I would get on them instead of trying to instructed them and give them support,” said Ferrell.

Ferrell, who is scheduled to graduate this fall with a bachelor's degree in sociology, thinks his course studies have had a significant impact on how he relates to his teammates and people, in general.

“Sociology gives me a well-rounded view of understanding other people. It definitely helped me with my outlook on the world and how I captain the team,” said Ferrell.

In addition, to his leadership, Ferrell has started to use his soccer intellect to help the team and others.

“He studies this game. He watches soccer and dissects everything,” said David, “To him, this is a science.”

In fact, Ferrell began his career at CSUEB as a forward and has slowly moved to the back line before settling in at sweeper this year.

Ferrell, though, believes his natural position is at defensive midfield—a position that seems to dovetail perfectly with the new Jordan.

“My belief through watching games, is that you can't win without a strong defensive midfielder,” said Ferrell, “They start the attack. They're the anchor and they don't get the glory, either.”

It also echoes what his father believes, Jordan just wants to win.

“Jordan wants to be the best by competing with the best. He competes not for the fact that he wants the headlines, but because he just wants to win,” said David.

Nowadays, with the impetuous nature of his game gone, Ferrell merely focuses on the game, himself and how other can become better around him.

“I's why I get so happy when one of our players scores a goal” said Ferrell, “I make a 40 yard sprint to celebrate with them because I know my hard work as paid off.”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

East Bay Students In No Mood For McCain's Humor


As Sen. John McCain attempted to sway undecided voters during Tuesday second presidential debate, his conservative views and attempts at humor failed to convince students watching in professor Larry Bensky's political science class.

Alternating between guffaws and mocking laughter, students seemed to be laughing at the Arizona senator, rather than laughing with him.

Admittedly, the classroom atmosphere was far different than other sessions as many students snacked on corn nuts, French fries and soft drinks. One student even walked in late with Chinese takeout.

Bensky, an adjunct professor at Cal State East Bay for the last 17 years, journalist and frequent radio host at Berkeley's KPFA, allowed students to participate on-air for post-debate analysis.

Chuck Maurer, a junior majoring in liberal studies, told KPFA:

“McCain was talking about energy independence, it think maybe it was important when gas prices were over $4 a gallon, but today the Dow just dropped about 508 points. I don't think it was really relevant to what Americans fear that they have today in terms of their 401k's or what the future may hold.”

Maurer went on to add his personal 401k account was “ about a 201k right now.”

I was laughing at him...McCain's lame attempts at humor were just that.

One contentious moment for the class came when McCain told moderator Tom Brokaw, “Social Security is that hard to fix.”

One student muttered, “Yeah, right,” while another blurted, “What is he talking about?”

Senior political science major Barbara Boje thrusted out her hands in exasperation specifically when she heard the name Ronald Reagan as part of McCain's explanation.

“Anybody that knows anything about the Reagan administration knows that was the beginning of the fall for social security,” said Boje, “My problem is that we don't need to reform social security, we need to protect social security.”

Some students found McCain's line, “We might be fighting countries that most Americans can't find on a map” to be condescending.

A woman with a “Rock the Vote” sticker affixed to her designer bag, muttered back, “maybe the ones who would vote for you.”

Boje believes the McCain camp knows it's on their last legs and looks desperate.

“I was laughing at him. For Obama, this is really the first time I saw how quick-witted he was and McCain's lame attempts at humor were just that.”

A student from San Francisco told KPFA that he found McCain's demeanor to be “socially awkward.”

Many mocked his two references to a $3 million projector that Obama supposedly brought home to Illinois as pork-barrel spending and moaned when McCain joked he might need a hair transplant in the future.

Others gasped when McCain starkly pointed towards Sen. Barack Obama and referred to him as, “That one.”

Most of Poli Sci 3310 was decidedly supporting Obama, yet the senator failed to illicit much response from the classroom other than a pointed jab at McCain.

The class specifically enjoyed Obama mocking McCain by saying “I think the Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one.”

Bensky believes that the all-important youth vote for Obama will materialize this election cycle.

“Young people are going to vote much more this time around, unlike Kerry in 2004,” said Bensky, “There's a clear generation change going on here. The Bush presidency has been so unsuccessful and for 20-22 year olds, most of their life has been with President Bush."

He predicts young voters will turnout in proportion to the population and possibly higher.

Bensky does wonder why the signs of individual involvement in the election are not more apparent on campus.

“There's a lot more enthusiasm from young people, especially for Obama, but I haven't seen it translate to any campus activity,” said Bensky, “I've seen very few signs or tables around. There's still time to go, though.”

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Obama Saying Bring It; What Does He Have?


Quiet confidence has been a hallmark of the Obama campaign. As key state polling numbers inch towards his way, a new swagger has began to emerge. Does the Obama campaign have the goods on John McCain?

McCain and Sarah Palin informed the press that it's business time--the gloves are off! The playbook seems to entail sending Palin to trot out Obama's ties to jailed real estates investor Tony Rezko and the Weather Underground's Bill Ayers.

The gloves off portion of this newest attack seems to relate the loaded media cue of the word terrorist with Obama while stoking the misconception that the candidate is Muslim.

It's unclear whether the tactic has any legs toward halting Obama's recent charge in national and state polls, but the reaction from the campaign seems ominous.

Instead of ignoring the charges or simply mocking them as Obama has done in the past, he accused McCain of stoking "false outrage" after insinuating he called Palin a pig with lipstick.

Over the weekend, campaign manager David Plouffe sent an email to supporters with a decidely defiant, yet coy tone that details a short 13 minute video on McCain's involvement in the Keating Five scandal.

Is this the smoking gun? Probably not, since the facts of the scandal and the allusions to today's financial crisis are obvious.

On the Washington Post political blog, The Trail, Anne Kornblut reports a Obama campaign aide seemingly taunting McCain to play dirty.
But that was not the McCain he was most excited to talk about. "He looks angry and desperate, so I assume we'll get angry and desperate," Gibbs said, adding that if he wants to go negative -- presumably more difficult in the town hall setting, in front of several dozen undecided and soft-leaning voters -- Obama is ready to match him. "If people want to get down in the mud, we're prepared to get dirty," he said.
The tone from the Obama campaigns response seems to indicate that both candidates are aware of what the other possess while the Democrat may hold the more damaging story.

But, what could it be?

We can only speculate, but chatter on the web and the political punditry seems to indicate an uptick in the amount of references to McCain's health--specifically a smoking gun in his medical records.

A possible swift boating of questions regarding McCain's military history before being captured in Vietnam is also a possibility, yet a redux of 2004 would be sooo 2004 and unlikely.

The forcefulness of Obama's warning might actually be of such a salacious nature that McCain would heed its warning and never think twice about gambling his dwindling chances on ruining his political legacy.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In The Driver's Seat, Obama Can Coast


Politics is a game where the ends always justify the means. Even with perceived calamity on the horizon the candidacies of Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are simply about winning the election.

Anything beyond that is work to be done by the winner.

This is why folks (Walter Shapiro's column in Salon is uncommonly uneven, the last half regarding Americans confusion over the bailout bill is quite interesting, though) shouldn't be surprised that either candidate has been virtually silent on their respective plans to alleviate the throbbing economy.

McCain's political ploy to appear on the ball--to be act presidential in a time of crisis--meandered quickly after he failed to pose one question during the much-anticipated meeting with President Bush, Obama and others in the Treasury.

During last Friday's debate, moderator Jim Lehrer, like most American viewers, felt both candidates relied upon the same old crutches like tax cuts or raising taxes or McCain's beloved earmarks. There was nothing new in either responses and both looked befuddled by the prompt.

It's not for lack of trying or a dearth of opinions in either campaign. It's politics, yet it behooves McCain to be playing this sort of defensive politics when he is the candidate trailing with 35 days to go.

Obama has no reason to offer a detailed plan. As the frontrunner, he simply needs to run out the clock and possibily pick up some unexpected victories down the line as the view of a rout becomes evident.

It may seem immoral for a candidate to do so under these circumstances. The people are jittery. The banks and businesses are trembling and the likely holder of the Oval Office does not have a plan?

You might ask who does have a plan and who knows exactly what will happen with or without some type of financial bailout from the Treasury? President Bush has effectively extricated himself from the crisis. Who is to say that the executive branch has the power to help other than to support and guide the political discourse?

The peculiar part of this political strategy is McCain playing the same defensive stance as the Democrat. He doesn't have another fabricated ploy left like choosing an empty dress suit or throwing every easily verifiable untruth against the wall, hoping one sticks with the uninformed (those possibly already believing Obama to be Muslim).

It could be McCain truly does not know a lick about economics like he is want to say. Maybe he thinks he's winning? Most likely the president campaign that never could has epically stalled. It can't play offense and never has all the way up to today. McCain clinched the nomination nearly three months before Obama and still looked as if the Illinois senator had a head start.

This election has been nothing but McCain barely reacting, barely fighting and supremely devoid of any ideas. Is it a wonder that the Obama charge of McBush and Bush III have stuck with voters. The failed policies of President Bush are all the fuel the Straight Talk Express runs on nowadays.