Monday, November 17, 2008

Five Myths About the Election

The Washington Post has another interesting article (this time via Ann Althouse) that looks at the five biggest myths about the election.
  1. The Republican Party suffered a death blow.
  2. A wave of black voters and young people was the key to Obama's victory.
  3. Now that they control the White House and Congress, Democrats will usher in a new progressive era.
  4. A Republican candidate could have won the presidency this year.
  5. McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin.
Go to the actual article to read his reasoning. Ann adds a myth of her own to the list.
Cillizza invites us to supply more myths. Here's one: Obama won because Americans were inspired by a new kind of politician with a message of hope and change. (I think that Obama won because: 1. he got out in front of Hillary in the caucus states, and 2. he was the Democratic Party candidate.)
Eventually I, and the country, will move on from the election. But at the moment a lot of the intellectual interest among the political pundit and junkies remains there.

Obama and Hope versus Japan and Work

Instapundit links to this Washington Post article on the reaction to Obama in Japan. The following is a long quote by completely worth the read.
Surfing Japanese news Web sites for commentaries on the Obama victory from a key U.S. ally, I was taken aback by the skeptical, even negative, tone that prevailed. "Obama Likely to Stress Importance of China," read one headline in the mass-circulation daily Yomiuri Shimbun, implying that the new administration will relegate Japan to the foreign policy back seat. The economic daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun fretted about the likelihood that the Democratic president and Congress may concoct a massive rescue package for troubled U.S. automakers and about the potential fallout for the Japanese car industry. Everyone seemed to agree that Obama, who has talked about withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq to concentrate on Afghanistan, may well put pressure on Japan to send ground troops to the latter country -- something the nation's postwar pacifist leaders don't feel prepared to do.

The most astounding article appeared in Sentaku, a monthly magazine with a reputation for objectivity and solid analysis. Writing in anticipation of an Obama victory, the magazine raised most of the same charges the Republicans had leveled against the Democratic candidate, including Obama's associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former Weather Underground leader William Ayers and "communist and socialist professors." It called him "the most dubious character in history to occupy the White House." Criticizing Obama's foreign policy statements as "abstract" and "strings of empty words such as 'consultation' and 'cooperation,' " the article concluded that under Obama, the United States would lose its position of global leadership and drag the world into "enormous chaos."
The best summary, however, came from from one of Glenn's readers:
Reader Paul Harper, who's living in Japan and sent the link, adds: "Hope? Over here we have a different four-letter word to solve problems: w-o-r-k."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Media Bias: Obama's Free Pass

Instapundit links to an interesting article about Obama, the Media, and the free pass that he was given.
In the closing weeks of the election, however, I became increasingly disturbed by the mainstream media's avoidance of forthright dealing with several controversies that had been dogging Obama -- even as every flimsy rumor about Sarah Palin was being trumpeted as if it were engraved in stone on Mount Sinai. For example, I had thought for many months that the flap over Obama's birth certificate was a tempest in a teapot. But simple questions about the certificate were never resolved to my satisfaction. Thanks to their own blathering, fanatical overkill, of course, the right-wing challenges to the birth certificate never gained traction.
Personally I'm starting to get annoyed that all these Obama supporters are now suddenly realizing what happened during the election. It was as if their priorities were (1) get Obama elected then and only then worry about fairness and honesty and ethics.
Another issue that I initially dismissed was the flap over William Ayers, the Chicago-based former member of the violent Weather Underground. Conservative radio host Sean Hannity began the drumbeat about Ayers' association with Obama a year ago -- a theme that most of the mainstream media refused to investigate or even report until this summer. I had never heard of Ayers and couldn't have cared less. I was irritated by Hillary Clinton's aggressive flagging of Ayers in a debate, and I accepted Obama's curt dismissal of the issue.

Hence my concern about Ayers has been very slow in developing. The mainstream media should have fully explored the subject early this year and not allowed it to simmer and boil until it flared up ferociously in the last month of the campaign. Obama may not in recent years have been "pallin' around" with Ayers, in Sarah Palin's memorable line, but his past connections with Ayers do seem to have been more frequent and substantive than he has claimed. Blame for the failure of this issue to take hold must also accrue to the conservative talk shows, which use the scare term "radical" with simplistic sensationalism, blanketing everyone under the sun from scraggly ex-hippies to lipstick-chic Nancy Pelosi.
Her concern was very slow in developing. You don't say? I would like to think the experience changed her. But if she is like most, her concerns will fade away and in four years Obama will once again be doing no wrong as he runs for reelection. I suppose blind devotion is comforting, but it has never been a path I have chosen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Google Recognizes Veterans Day

In the past, Google has been criticized for not recognizing military holidays. (For a collection of past holiday logos, see here.) For the second year in a row, however, they chose to recognize Veterans Day.

Thank you, Google.

Obama Unlikely to Radically Change Intelligence Policies

I imagine this is good news for some and horrible news for others. The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama will likely keep the intelligence policies of George Bush intact.
Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.

"He's going to take a very centrist approach to these issues," said Roger Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations. "Whenever an administration swings too far on the spectrum left or right, we end up getting ourselves in big trouble."
It is refreshing to hear that but I will note is coming form a former member of the Clinton and Bush administrations. It would be more comforting to hear it from Obama himself or from one of his many multitudes of advisers. It will be interesting to see how the far left of the Democratic Party reacts to such a policy stance.
President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party.

Civil-liberties groups were among those outraged that the White House sanctioned the use of harsh intelligence techniques -- which some consider torture -- by the Central Intelligence Agency, and expanded domestic spy powers. These groups are demanding quick action to reverse these policies.
Do they have a right to expect a reversal? One could argue yes:
On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama criticized many of President George W. Bush's counterterrorism policies. He condemned Mr. Bush for promoting "excessive secrecy, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping and 'enhanced interrogation techniques' like simulated drowning that qualify as torture through any careful measure of the law or appeal to human decency."

As a candidate, Mr. Obama said the CIA's interrogation program should adhere to the same rules that apply to the military, which would prohibit the use of techniques such as waterboarding. He has also said the program should be investigated.
But the indication is that he will not live up to these promises. That is more than a little disconcerting as it brings up questions about what other promises he won't live up to. But for now I will take this speculation from the WSJ as potential good news.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Gorelick as Attorney General Draw Criticism

The NY Times is suggesting that Jamie Gorelick is potentially Obama's pick as Attorney General. The choice is causing quite a bit of an outcry and drawing substantial criticism. From the NY Times (via Ann Althouse):
Her work at Fannie Mae, which had to be bailed out by the government in September as part of a $200 billion deal. Ms. Gorelick left the company just as it was coming under attack for huge accounting failures. She has also drawn criticism for her role at the Justice Department, in which she allegedly created an intelligence “wall” that hindered counterterrorism agents in the years before the Sept. 11 attacks. Conservatives called for her removal from the Sept. 11 commission, but her fellow members rallied around her and said critics were distorting her record. The criticism grew so heated that the F.B.I. investigated a death threat against her family, and President Bush had to intervene personally to stop the Justice Department from releasing sealed reports involving her. Some conservative bloggers have already begun trying to derail Ms. Gorelick’s possible nomination as attorney general, pointing to her experiences at both Fannie Mae and the Sept. 11 commission.
Ann notes:
Beldar seethes:
Short of appointing an actual member of al Qaeda, I cannot imagine a more offensive symbolic repudiation of the Global War on Terror — nor a more enthusiastic embrace of the chronic mismanagement, cronyism, and graft which led to this fall's credit crisis — than the appointment of Jamie Gorelick as attorney general.
I voted for Obama, as I'm sure my commenters are about to remind me, and I'm hoping for the best. He told me to hope! Please don't crush my hope so early, Mr. Obama.
How is that "I hope Obama is reasonable" idea working out for you Ann? So many people approach the choice of a new President as an emotional decision. When feelings of hope and change are replaced with realization of "he did what?" how are people going to react?

Obama Should Move To the Right

Or so says a Harvard economics professor, Greg Mankiw. Ann Althouse has the details. Professor Mankiw offers Obama four pieces of advice.
1. "Listen to your economists... They will often give you advice quite different from what you will hear from congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid."

2. "Embrace some Republican ideas." That's what Bill Clinton did.

3. "Pay attention to the government’s budget constraint." You can't give people all those things you promised during the campaign when "the laws of arithmetic are ignored."

4. "Recognize your past mistakes." You were a lefty senator. The time for that is over. Listen to your economic experts who will tell you why.
I find both the original post and the fact that Ann linked to it amusing. More people than I realized went in to the election with the "I don't like McCain or Republicans, so I really, really, really hope Obama isn't a leftist like his background would suggest." This strikes me a wishful thinking at best.

Will he govern from the center or the left? My gut tells me he will keep trying to go far left and then retreat to the middle to ensure he stays in power. Time will tell, of course.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Media Bias: The Media Begins to Notice...

One couldn't time this any better if it were scripted. Now that the election is over and Obama is safely elected, the media is starting to notice that--shock!--they were horribly biased during the election.
The [Washington] Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.

My assistant, Jean Hwang, and I have been examining Post coverage since Nov. 11 last year on issues, voters, fundraising, the candidates’ backgrounds and horse-race stories on tactics, strategy and consultants. We also have looked at photos and Page 1 stories since Obama captured the nomination June 4. Numbers don’t tell you everything, but they give you a sense of The Post’s priorities.

The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts’ views. There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.
Ed Morrissey's analysis, on Hot Air, is key here:
Ombud Deborah Howell’s column goes on to justify or at least rationalize the imbalance:
Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Post reporters, photographers and editors — like most of the national news media — found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.
So that must mean they absolutely adored Sarah Palin and gave her the same benefit of the doubt, right? Er, no:
When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission.
The hell with Joe Biden. Howell never answers the real issue here — why did the Post, and the rest of the national media, go on the attack with Sarah Palin and not with Barack Obama? The two candidates had a similar amount of time in politics, and Palin had more executive experience than Obama. Obama ran for the top job, while Palin ran for VP. And yet the national media parachuted dozens of reporters into Wasilla and Juneau looking for dirt and scandal, coming up with a tanning bed in the governor’s mansion (which Palin bought herself) and the Troopergate story that turned out to be a nothingburger and was already known prior to her nomination.
Sorry to quote so much but Ed is right on here.

The sad thing here is that I think the people at the Washington Post are trying to come clean about the bias. But even when they try they write it off as a minor problem or one justified as excitement. There's a reason I decline to get a free paper every time I go to the grocery store. I don't trust the media anymore. Until they realize that they will continue to see circulation numbers and profits plummet.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Obama Win Already Motivating Change--Increased Gun Sales

I think this was totally to be expected. From the NYTimes, "On Concerns Over Gun Control, Gun Sales Are Up". Hat tip Instapundit.
Sales of handguns, rifles and ammunition have surged in the last week, according to gun store owners around the nation who describe a wave of buyers concerned that an Obama administration will curtail their right to bear arms.
In Colorado, would-be gun buyers set a one-day record last Saturday with the highest number of background check requests in a 24-hour period, according to figures from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

“We’re not really sure who is promoting the concept that a change in federal administrations might affect firearms possession rights,” said an agency spokesman, Lance Clem, “but we do know that it’s increased business considerably.”
I say it is not surprising because even I considered it. I thoroughly enjoyed a pistol class I took during college and have always thought about pistol marksmanship has a hobby. Guns for self-defense or hunting is not my thing, but as a sport it seemed intriguing. It crossed my mind that I might want to buy the handgun now, before it potentially gets too difficult. If the economic situation were different, I might feel I have the disposable income to spend on a new hobby.

It is not all doom and gloom though for gun owners. I think this comment is accurate as well.
Other people, even some shopping for guns, said they thought that some gun enthusiasts’ fears about Mr. Obama were unjustified. James Sykes, a gun collector who was shopping at the GunRoom in Lakewood, Colo., called the rush to buy guns “a lot of hysteria about very little.”

Mr. Sykes, who said he had voted mostly Republican in the past but supported Mr. Obama this year, said that issues like war and the global economic crisis were more pressing for him right now and that he imagined the same was true for Mr. Obama.

“My Second Amendment rights are unquestionably important to me, but so is feeding my family,” he said. “In reality, you won’t be able to afford to buy a gun if your job goes overseas.”
In Obama's long list of promises he made during the election, I think reversing his comments about "not having the votes" to take guns away from people and going after them is low on his list of priorities.

That said actions have consequences. I'm sure the idea that electing Obama is causing a surge in gun ownership doesn't sit well with anti 2nd amendment folks, but markets are tricky things to predict.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Media Bias After the Election

So will the media be less biased now that they got their candidate elected? Some signs point to yes.
From the AP:
Even after nearly two years in the spotlight, little is understood about the 47-year-old first-term senator's approach to leadership. His resume: community organizer, eight years as state legislator, and less than four as U.S. senator.

As a lawmaker, he has displayed a knack for working with Republicans on a handful of favorite issues. But he has devoted most of his time in the Senate to running for president. Unlike the past seven presidents, he was never a governor or vice president. And unlike John F. Kennedy, the last senator to move directly to the presidency, Obama has not commanded troops in wartime.

Personally, he's a bit of an enigma, too.
You don't say? If only we had some kind of institutional apparatus that could tell us more about these enigmatic political candidates before the election.
The first step is admitting there is a problem. After two years in the spotlight, little is understood... Little is understood because the media never asked any tough questions. Odd that they are admitting it without recognizing it. Of course, in some circles it will be business as usual. Chris Matthews has a new outlook on journalism.
The harmonic vibration in Chris Matthews' leg continues apace:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Yeah, well, you know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that —

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist!

MATTHEWS: Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country.
SCARBOROUGH: Your job is to make this presidency work?

MATTHEWS: To make this work successfully. This country needs a successful presidency.
What can you say other than he should quit his job and ask Obama for a cabinet position. What a total mockery of what journalism should be.

Lorie Byrd on Losing Gracefully

Lorie Byrd at Wizbang was a ardent McCain-Palin supporter. She has a very good post about the right way for one administration to pass the reigns to the next.
Fox News showed a report with Josh Bolton saying the Bush administration has been in touch with both campaigns for several months and that the White House has already approved around 100 names for security clearance so that the Obama team can hit the ground running and the first security briefing will be done this week.
And lest you think that was always the case:
Compare that to the nightmare the Bush administration faced when the Clinton administration would not allow any transition activity to occur until after the recount was completed. One report I saw also reminded me about the poorly planned Clinton transition in 1992 which resulted in many personnel problems and a very rocky start.
She also notes that the reaction on the right has been mostly gracious to Obama.
I am really proud of most of those on the right in their response to the election, too. Even many of those who opposed Obama the most vehemently appear to be genuinely interested in seeing him succeed for the good of the country. I don't see any who show a desire to treat President Obama as those on the left treated President Bush for the past eight years. That says a lot for conservatives. I fully expected more on the right to want to reciprocate in kind. It is possible to disagree, even vigorously, without wishing for assassination as some did of President Bush and VP Cheney, and without calling the President a chimp, or Hitler.
I have to agree. I've been reading a lot of responses on conservative blogs and the worst it gets are long philosophical pieces on why "the wrong man won". No assaults using racial slurs. Nothing over the top. Byrd even keeps herself honest and notes that not every response on the right is rational.
Glad I specified "most" of those on the right. Some already want to impeach Obama? Puh-leeze. The man is not even President yet and he may actually have learned from Clinton that you can't go to the extreme left right off the bat. Rahm Emanuel is not a good indication of bipartisanship, but Obama still has plenty of opportunities to reach across the aisle and I sincerely hope he will.
This impeaching thing really has to stop in this country. The Clinton impeachment by overzealous conservatives started it. The calls for Bush impeachment continue it. Impeachment is very, very serious. It should be saved for the most egregious of abuses of power. No, Bush didn't even come close. Clinton didn't either. Calls for impeachment should be rare, not commonplace.

That last issue aside, I do agree with Lorie. We all, even people who have serious doubts, need to give Obama a chance. Judge him by his actions not on your fears.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Conservative Reactions to Obama's Victory

The web is filled with reactions to Obama's victory last night. Here are some of the more interesting ones from the conservative side. First, the positive take from Dave, the author over at Hedgehog Report.
Don’t get me wrong, I gladly voted for McCain yesterday and wanted him to win and had no intention of voting for Obama, but it was truly more of a party vote than voting for the individual candidate. One thing I did learn long ago is it really doesn’t matter who the President is as far as my personal life goes. I was better off personally after the eight years of Bill Clinton and I was better off personally after the almost eight years of George W Bush. I am sure I will be even better off after a term (hopefully only one) of Barack Obama. I’ve been part of winning campaigns (1994, 200, 2002, 2004) and part of losing ones (1996, 2006, 2008) and life goes on whether my side won or lost….
I think Dave is correct here, so long as Obama doesn't make the accumulation of wealth an absolute impossibility-and you'd have to be pretty paranoid to think he could achieve that. Over at Wizbang, Jay Tea notes some frightening similarities between Obama and Jimmy Carter.
Economy a bit on the shaky side: Check

Very unpopular Republican president blamed for the loss of his (would-be) successor: Check

Trouble with Iran brewing: Check

Energy crisis: Check

Smiling, cheerful national newcomer Democrat elected as president: Check

Career Washington insider elected as vice-president: Check

Russians/Soviets feeling belligerent and expansionistic: Check

Man, we are so screwed...
That's almost a little too accurate to be funny, as Jay intended. He also has a more serious piece on why Obama won--in his mind it all came down to fundraising and playing the game.

Finally, Instapundit links to a rather confusing piece entitled "Not the end of the world." Despite the title, the piece predicts absolute disaster, down to predicting a nuclear war between Iran and Israel. Make of that what you will...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

And That's the Ballgame

Ohio looks to be called for Obama. Unless exit polls are wrong, that's the election. Parting thoughts for the night.
  1. Given Bush, the economy, the biased media, and $600M of (somewhat illegal) campaign contributions, the deck was certainly stacked in Obama's favor. And it proved too difficult for McCain to overcome.

  2. Some conservatives might take comfort in the fact that during the next four years, everything rests on the shoulders of the Democrats. I'd try to share that sentiment but "New Deal" like programs are very hard to get rid of. I worry how much permanent damage Obama will do.
Out for now.

Minnesota Called for Obama

So the election seems to be over, but I'm saving this image for historical reference. CNN calls Minnesota for Obama. Again, that was to be expected.

Zero percent reporting eh? Can't get much more scientific than that...

CNN Calls Michigan for Obama

OK, despite the fact that I am disappointed--things are looking very bad for McCain at the moment--this is just humorous.

CNN just called Michigan for Obama. Certainly seems like an unsurprising call, right? Here's the data so far:

McCain is up 8% yet they call it for Obama. Now we all know that Obama is going to win Michigan. But if you are going to off "what you expect" and exit polls why report results at all? They could have reported this results weeks ago...

Networks Calling States Based on Exit Polls

Hmmm. I may have to stop the blogging here in a bit. All the major networks (including FoxNews) are calling states based on exit polls.

Now the exit polls may be right, they may also be wrong. I don't understand how a network can call a (battleground) state with 0% of the precincts reporting.

Furthermore, if they do, then there isn't much to post about. They aren't posting exit poll numbers. They just say "PA for Obama, 0% reporting". I don't have a lot of commentary on that.

Back later.

More State Results Roll In

A bunch of more obvious states were called.
Obama has won a slew of East Coast states, including Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Vermont and the District of Columbia. He also won all four electoral votes in Maine and scored a victory in his home state of Illinois.

McCain has won South Carolina, as well as Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia and Kentucky.
On a bizarre note, NBC called PA for Obama six minutes after the polls closed there. I'm not sure how that is possible.

The official tally is now Obama 77, McCain 39.

Judge Orders Virginia to Count Late Military Ballots

This decision could end up being important, if VA is as close as people are saying.
A federal judge has ordered election officials in Virginia to preserve late-arriving absentee ballots that Republican John McCain's campaign claims should be counted.

The McCain campaign says in a lawsuit that absentee ballots weren't mailed on time to many military members serving overseas. The complaint asks the court to order the state to count absentee ballots from overseas troops postmarked by Tuesday and received by Nov. 14.

The deadline for ballots to be received is 7 p.m. on Election Day.

U.S. District Judge Richard Williams said Tuesday that he will hear the lawsuit on Nov. 10. He ordered election officials to keep the late-arriving ballots until then.

The McCain campaign praised William's decision.

"This will help to ensure that local election officials do not destroy or dispose of these ballots before the court has had an opportunity to rule on our complaint," spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said in a written statement.

"The McCain-Palin campaign strongly believes that no military ballot should be discarded as a result of a failure on the part of several counties and independent cities to mail ballots to service members in a timely manner," Gitcho continued.

"We believe without exception that the servicemen and women on the front lines protecting our freedoms deserve every opportunity to make sure their vote counts," she added.
How fitting would it be if Obama lost VA based on his parties attitude towards the military?

South Carolina for McCain

So far none of the states called have been at all surprises. South Carolina for McCain, so the total is now M 21, O 3. And all completely meaningless since none of the battleground states have been decided.

The latest from the McCain camp:
Here is the latest from inside Team McCain: Florida looks good. Ohio, Penn., Virginia and NC are too close to call.

Me: As superguru Mike Barone puts it, wait for real votes to be counted. But at the very least, this hardly looks like an Obama blowout. Still maybe a McCain win. TCTC. Stay tuned. (You can check me out on CNBC tonight at 10 PM.)
Regardless of who wins, a fascinating night to be a political junkie.

West Virginia Called for McCain

FoxNews reports, you decide.

Totals now McCain 13, Obama 3.

Result Tracking Tonight...Don't Panic

OK, from reading around all the conservative blogs I know, I have this to say.

Calm down.

After days and days of people saying don't trust exit polls and don't trust early numbers, people are panicking to a degree I wouldn't have those possible. Like 4% of Indiana has reported and people are already talking about a 400 point Obama win.

If you are surfing the web looking for data (as I am), come back here often. I may not have national contacts within the major parties, but I promise you I'm not going to run around like chicken little.

First Results In

Updates will be short and frequent tonight. The first states have been called.

Vermont (3) - Obama
Kentucky (8) - McCain

Neither of these is a surprise.

NBC is showing a huge lead among whites (+18) for McCain in Virginia--which I am reading is surprising.

I'll try to give sources when I can tonight, but I'm also just to trying to aggregate information.

Check back often, if you are interested.

Minnesota Closer Than Expected According to...Obama?

Other than a few voter fraud stories, today has been much more calmer than I expected. No leaked exit polls at this point, which is shocking. Of course all that changes in thirty minutes when Indiana polls close.

Instapundit linked to this anecdote which is...encouraging. Note the source is The Atlantic. From their past history, we can safely assume that they aren't repeating conservative talking points.
I'm a student at Carleton College who has contributed (financially and with my time) to the Obama campaign. I just got an automated call from Jeff Blodgett, the chair of the MN campaign. The text of the call was:

"Hello, this is Jeff Blodgett from the Minnesota for Obama campaign. Our initial data shows this election is significantly closer than the polls predicted. We are putting out an urgent call for volunteers... We are organized groups to knock on doors at five P.M., or earlier if you can, for our final GOTV operation."

This was followed by different numbers to call based on your residence.
If Minnesota is really close, is it a Franken effect? Or more general? What does that say about Wisconsin?

Personally, I'll believe Minnesota is in play only after ABCCNNMSNBC grudgingly calls it for McCain. But until then, that automated call transcript certainly is interesting.

Repeat: Don't Trust the Exit Polls

You can find many, many people online warning people not to trust the exit polls. The following anecdote is getting a lot of press and is of course impossible to verify.
I noticed this account of an exit pollster in Stafford, Virginia:
08:32 – AP doing exit polling in Stafford. Talking 4 to 1 to minorities over whites at a Republican precinct (Falmouth). Expect it to be skewed. Don’t trust the exit polls as they start to trickle out.
Only an anecdote, but not promising. Are the exit pollsters aiming for egg on their faces two presidential races in a row?
One story does not an epidemic make. But last election the exit polling was horribly inaccurate. If you were wondering how, this story is illustrative.

McCain Camp Optimistic

Well, at least the right people are optimistic.
I just talked to one of my best Team McCain sources who told me that heading into today all the key battleground polls were moving hard and fast in their direction. The source, hardly a perma-optimist, thinks it will be a long night, but that McCain is going to win. So add this with the new Battleground poll (Obama +1.9 only) and the rising stock market...
I wasn't going to mention the battleground poll specifically, but since it was referenced, here it is.
Obama 50.2%
McCain 48.3%
Given Bradley effects, biased samples, and margin of error, that is a very encouraging result for McCain. We'll know in hours now, not days.

Voter Fraud: Pennsylvania Edition

Unverified from other sources at this time, but is reporting voter fraud in Pennsylvania. (Link is here but they are having site issues at the moment. Text was visible from the generic front page at the time of this posting.)
RS has received a tip that an unknown number of voters in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania are receiving phone calls informing them -- falsely -- that their voting stations have been relocated. At least 3 of the voters who received such calls determined that the information was false, and informed officials of this illegal attempt to prevent them from casting their ballots. The three specific cases that have come to our attention involve different precincts in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania -- which may be the most important one in the nation for John McCain's presidential bid.

In at least one case, the voter captured the phone number from which the call originated and later called back. The male who answered confirmed that he had placed the call. According to, the number is assigned to a resident of Philadelphia.

This activity is a violation of the Pennsylvania Election Code, and the Lancaster County Board of Elections has been asked to investigate this activity -- which may be more widespread -- and refer the findings for possible prosecution.

I expect to have audio on this matter, and will update this story later with more.
I'll update here if I see verification from other sources.

Voter Fraud in New Hampshire

A (I hope) humorous way for you to start out your election day. The village of Dixville Notch in New Hampshire is "famous" for revealing the results of early. Since there are only a handful of people that live there, this isn't a big deal. They announced their results already today and some are trying to make big news of the fact that Obama got signficantly more votes than McCain in Dixville Notch.

Mark Steyn at the Corner perhaps notes the more interesting fact.
Re Dixville Notch, several readers point out that the town has 19 registered voters.

Yet 15 voted for Obama and 6 for McCain. Which adds up to...

You gotta admit that Acorn operation's pretty thorough.
Based on this, I'm sure Philadelphia and Cleveland will go just fine.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quick Thoughts Right Before Election Day

Not much more to say today, before the flood of activity tomorrow. I'll keep it simple.
  1. Exit polling that is leaked tomorrow will be laughably favorable towards Obama. Ignore it.

  2. McCain is not favored to win tomorrow, but it is much, much closer than biased polls and in-the-tank media pundits would have you believe.

  3. I'm am still very hopeful for a McCain win tomorrow. A perfect storm of bad moves has put PA in play. Despite the wishes and hopes of Hollywood stars, states like Virginia are still quite conservative. Polling is biased and the Bradley effect looms--which means Obama is not really that far ahead.
In a moment of weakness, I give you this report from the campaign trail from the, um, very unbiased FoxNews.

And Senator McCain's enthusiasm is higher than I've seen it in 14 years of covering him.
Hopefully that quote gives you some comfort.

I'll be blogging election results until I can't stand it tomorrow. Hopefully I will be happy but I'll be here either way. And blogging will continue either way the election goes.

It's been a wild ride since returning to cover this election. Tomorrow the real fun starts.

Media Bias: Palin vs Biden

One more time before the election I get to revisit the subject of media bias with respect to Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. Earlier in the day I noticed this CNN report--from its own internal polling agencies of course--that Palin was costing McCain the election. Ridiculous.

McCain may indeed end up losing tomorrow but one thing is clear--without Palin he would lose horribly. Moronic slogans such as McSame aside, McCain's biggest weakness was a huge lack of support from the Republican party. Many were prepared to hand the reigns to Obama, hope that he failed spectacularly and build from there. (How sad, but that is the subject of another post.) Sarah Palin changed all that. Yes, if you interview people in a Berkeley coffee and herbal remedies shop, you will get the impression that Palin hurts the ticket. But outside of that bubble, an dispassionate observer can see the excitement and energy Palin has brought out in the conservative base.

That's the problem with today's biased media. They can't see beyond their own opinions. They think Palin is a vapid whore so they assume that everyone does. They can't imagine anyone getting motivated by her presence on a ticket, so they assume no one else can either.

Gateway Pundit has photos from Palin's appearance in Missouri today. 18,000 people showed up.

Also appearing in Missouri, Joe Biden was met by a huge crowd--of 400?
Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden urged supporters in Lee's Summit Monday to work hard in the closing hours to elect Barack Obama to the White House. "Thirty-seven hours!" he told some 400 supporters in the gym at Longview Community College.
Now this one crowd size comparison doesn't mean McCain is going to win the election--or even that he is going to carry Missouri. But evidence like this is ignored by CNN. Instead they continue to churn out biased, meaningless drivel based on their own flawed internal sources.

McCain may win tomorrow. Obama may win tomorrow. Whatever happens, I hope that American wakes up and the mainstream media loses.

Remember: Exit Polls Even More Innacurate and Biased Than Opinion Polls

Tomorrow is election day. With a election day comes a special variety of polls--exit polls. Remember and let your friends know loud and clear. When it comes to bias and inaccuracies exit polls are far worse than opinion polling. Given the horrific state of opinion polling, that is a strong statement.

Drudge Report is publishing a McCain camp memo on the historical problems with exit polls.
Here are the key points to keep in mind when the exit poll data starts being leaked:

1. Historically, exit polls have tended to overstate the Democratic vote.

2. The exit polls are likely to overstate the Obama vote because Obama voters are more likely to participate in the exit poll.

3. The exit polls have tended to skew most Democratic in years where there is high turnout and high vote interest like in 1992 and 2004.

4. It is not just the national exit poll that skews Democratic, but each of the state exit polls also suffers from the same Democratic leanings.

5. The results of the exit polls are also influenced by the demographics of the voters who conduct the exit polls.
This is all spot on. You can rest assured that come 9:30am EST tomorrow, some exit polling data will be leaked despite the fact that it violates campaign laws. The exit polling will almost assuredly suggest that Obama is up by 20 points, the EVERY battleground state is going to Obama and that landslide is in full effect. Don't believe it. Don't let your friends believe it. Don't let misinformation deprive you of your one vote.

The memo also notes:
After the 2004 election, the National Election Pool completed a study investigating why the exit polls that year showed John Kerry over performing 5.5 net points better than the actual results showed him to have done. Their conclusion was that the primary reason the exit polls was that Kerry voters and Democrats were more likely to participate in the exit polls.

“Our investigation of the differences between the exit poll estimates and the actual vote count point to one primary reason: in a number of precincts a higher than average Within Precinct Error most likely due to Kerry voters participating in the exit polls at a higher rate than Bush voters. There has been partisan overstatements in previous elections, more often overstating the Democrat, but occasionally overstating the Republican.
Finally Steve Schippert at Wizbang adds one more point to the memo:
6. Exit Polls are not taken at every polling location, and tend to center around large cities, which are already more heavily Democrat than Republican.
This is a very important point. At least with opinion polling, agencies can call people in different regions of the state with different socioeconomic conditions. It is impossible for them to station exit pollsters at every polling location. (For example, my brother lives in rural Ohio and his polling location is a building the state stores salt and snow plows in. It is unlikely that CNN is going to have Cooper stationed there.) It is much more likely for them to be asking questions outside urban locations. But we all know what sort of bias this produces.

The point above still stands and is the major takeaway point. Vote. Ignore leaked exit polls and vote.

Obama's Family in Kenya to Slaughter a Bull in Celebration

The election hasn't been decided yet, but Obama's family in Kenya is ready.
Senator Barrack Obama’s relatives have congregated at Nyangoma Kogelo village and will remain together until after Tuesday’s US presidential elections.

They have set aside a bull to slaughter in celebration should the Illinois senator whose father was Kenyan win, according to family spokesperson Mr Malik Abongo.
(Hat tip: Kim Priestap.)

I wonder if PETA approves? Moose hunting is the real problem of course. Animal lives are secondary to getting the One elected. I'm sure PETA will remain mute on this story.

Electoral College Predictions

Ed Morrissey published his electoral college predictions. They are remarkably similar to mine so I thought I'd just link them here.

About the only real state I argue with is Virginia. It has voted Republican for 44 years and is filled with retired and current military personnel. I just don't see that demographic or that state supporting the party of Murtha and Obama.

As Morrissey says, he is "guardedly optimistic". More on that line of thought later. For now I'll just say this. I wouldn't be shocked if Obama ends up winning tomorrow; as I've said many times the political landscape is tilted in his favor. But there are many reasons he should and still might lose. That is the source of my own guarded optimism.

Obama Channels Chairman Mao in Final Virginia Appearance

Normally I don't put much stock in the revelations that one of Obama's campaign buttons or posters looks really similar to communist posters in the past. Sometimes the similarities are obvious, but they are rarely officially produced by the Obama campaign.

But in his comments today in Virginia, Obama should have chosen the motivation for his speech more carefully. I suppose he feels it is too late for it to have any impact on his campaign. Again, the arrogance he shows is astonishing. Covered by Gateway Pundit, here's the quote from Obama.
I feel like we got a righteous wind at our backs here, but we’re going to have to work. We’re going to have to struggle. We’re going to have to fight.
Here is a quote from the writing of Chairman Mao.
The ill wind of opportunism is falling, the righteous wind of socialism is on the rise.

By the end of this year the victory of socialism will be greatly assured. Naturally there will be many struggles ahead and we must struggle hard.
What this reveals is just where Obama got his motivation in early life. I'm sure (or at least I hope) that he didn't quote Mao on purpose. Phrases like "righteous wind" just are part of his thought processes when he thinks of how to influence people--does he even remember where he heard them first?

Again, the timing of this is such I'm not sure anyone will really hear about it until after the election. Certainly the media won't make the connection for the common man. We'll see if McCain or Palin mention it in their final push.

Impact of Coalgate

The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch site publishes comments from Mark Carey, the President of the Ohio Coal Association on the impact of Obama's "I will bankrupt coal comments".
Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America's coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it.

These undisputed, audio-taped remarks, which include comments from Senator Obama like 'I haven't been some coal booster' and 'if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them' are extraordinarily misguided.
Whether or not you agree with Obama or not, the fact remains is that this is how the people invested in coal are reacting. Carrying Ohio and Pennsylvania would be key in many scenarios that give McCain an electoral college victory tomorrow. For McCain, the surfacing of Obama's comments couldn't have come at a better time. Carey doesn't pull any punches.
It's evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state's voters.

Senator Obama has revealed himself to be nothing more than a short- sighted, inexperienced politician willing to say anything to get a vote. But today, the nation's coal industry and those who support it have a better understanding of his true mission, to 'bankrupt' our industry, put tens of thousands out of work and cause unprecedented increases in electricity prices.
This theme of different messages to different audiences keeps reoccurring. To Obama supporters, it isn't an issue. They either write it off as "something all politicians do" or welcome it as a much needed snow job on those ignorant red necks from some of those states in the middle. But the reaction in middle America is quite different. Saving your anti-coal comments for interviews in San Francisco doesn't play well with blue collar workers in western Pennsylvania.

Tomorrow, those workers get to respond at the ballot box.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

More Polling Data and Analysis, Right Before the Election

Gateway Pundit talks about Mason-Dixon's last set of state polls.
The final round of Mason-Dixon polls has Obama enjoying small leads in the red states that would deliver him the presidency, but he's below 50 percent in each and there are enough white undecided voters to leave some too close to call.

Colorado: Obama 49, McCain 44, Undecided 4
Florida: Obama 47, McCain 45, Undecided 7
Nevada: Obama 47, McCain 43, Undecided 8
Pennsylvania: 47, McCain 43, Undecided 9
Virginia: Obama 47, McCain 44, Undecided 9
Ohio: McCain 47, Obama 45, Undecided 6
Missouri: McCain 47, Obama 46, Undecided 5
North Carolina: McCain 49, Obama 46, Undecided 5

As Brad Coker, who runs the Mason-Dixon poll, notes, the vast majority of the undecided voters in these states are whites.
Ed Morrissey and Hugh Hewitt both link the same quote from the latest IBD/TIPP poll.
The race tightened again Sunday as independents who’d been leaning to Obama shifted to McCain to leave that key group a toss-up. McCain also pulled even in the Midwest, moved back into the lead with men, padded his gains among Protestants and Catholics, and is favored for the first time by high school graduates.
Morrissey adds:
The internals are interesting, but the topline results show two potentially disturbing trends for Obama. First, Obama has never gotten to 50% in the TIPP poll, and now has dropped below 47%. A Democrat hasn’t won 50% of the vote in decades, and Obama may have the same problem John Kerry had in 2004. Related to that is the high level of undecideds. Almost 9% still have not made up their minds about the election, and as I wrote earlier today, that bodes ill for Obama. If he hasn’t made the sale with this group by now, it’s likely that most of them will wind up in McCain’s column on Tuesday.

How do we know this? Independents have begun to break for McCain. McCain now leads 45-43. A week ago, Obama led 43-38 with 19% undecided. The entire 7% that has come out of the undecided column in that period have gone to McCain, and 12% of them still have to make up their minds. Interestingly, slightly more Democrats than Republicans are undecided — not good news for Obama.
Gateway Pundit has a long piece on what McCain needs to do to win (a state breakdown discussion and more).

Scott Adams / Dilbert on Hope and Change

Sometimes, Scott Adams is more in tune with American than I think even he realizes. Note the date on the following Dilbert cartoon--January 23, 2005. How did he know?

(Click on the image to see it in full size.)

McCain Polling Analysis in Florida and Pennsylvania

Over at Hedgehog Report, they have an interesting analysis of polling in both Florida and Pennsylvania. It is in the usual terse style over there by posters and commenters but the analysis is interesting nonetheless.
ARG put out polls for these two states and had Obama ahead in Florida:

Well this poll had Democrats +8 (should be even), then the poll had Obama ahead in Indies by 4 (that might be close), but then had Obama winning democrats 85-10 while McCain won the Republicans 89-7. Well in 2004 Kerry was 85-14 among democrats and I look for obama to crack 20% lose of D’s in Florida. So McCain is ahead in FL in my opinion.
I think this analysis is pretty astute. The Democrats have never enjoyed an eight point advantage in Florida. Yes, if you believe in the One and Hope and Change, you might think the demographics of FL have changed drastically in the last 2 years, but that is a pretty suspect assumption. The argument about the PUMA effect is the same as the national one but there is no reason that that wouldn't be seen in FL as well.
Now as to PA here is the ARG poll

ARG has Obama at 51 McCain 46. So why be happy. 1st Party Ratio is 53D 41R 6I. Well it should be about 43D-38R-18I or about a +3 D move. Then ARG has it +19 among Indies for Obama. I think there is a real stretch with Puma and Bradley effects. Finally Obama is 83-14 among democrats. RAS at Obama at 75% and frankly I might split the difference at 78% or 79% when the dust settles. Kerry did 85-15 without the primary from heck with Clinton plus bradley effect.

I encourage you to go back and read about the primary between Clinton & Obama in PA. Plus look at the map of Philly from the 2004 general election and the 2008 Dem. primaries. The white areas of South Philly and North Philly went heavily for Kerry and Clinton. Obama will probably be behind the Kerry vote in Philly. No it will not be the wine and cheese suburbs where Obama loses, but those in Delaware county where those working class catholics and older whites won’t pull the lever for Barack Hussein Obama II
The big thing to note here is again the party affiliation. They are using 53D 41R 6I? Only 6% of PA residents are independents? That is beyond hard to believe. The comparison to Kerry is also very interesting. The poll assumes that Obama's support in PA among Democrats will be identical to the support Kerry saw. But we know that Obama struggled in PA against Clinton. Take into account the following factors.
  1. Obama's infamous rural people "are bitter and just cling to their religion and guns" comment. The NRA has hit this point hard, especially in Pennsylvania.
  2. Murtha's infamous "people in western Pennsylvania are racist" comment. Realizing that was a unwise thing to say about his own constituents, he followed up with the "it is not that they are really racists, they are just stupid and uneducated" apology.
  3. Revelations today that Obama will "tax the coal industry in to bankruptcy." Blue collar Democrats who need the coal industry to survive and support their families just might look elsewhere on election day.
  4. Actual racism.
Given these factors (and number four is despicable but can't be discounted in a demographic analysis) it is very unlikely that Obama will see the same support among Democrats as Kerry.

Analysis like this is always half mathematical, half supposition. But things are certainly close enough that people should not give up hope. Get out and vote. Get a friend to vote. This is not the year to be tired of politics and let others decide for you.

Obama: I Will Bankrupt Any New Coal Plants

How are videos like this only surfacing now? The following video of Obama talking about coal and global warming to the San Francisco Chronicle is appearing all over the web.

The key part of the exchange is provided at Hot Air:
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

That will also generate billions of dollars that we can invest in solar, wind, biodiesel and other alternative energy approaches.

The only thing I’ve said with respect to coal, I haven’t been some coal booster. What I have said is that for us to take coal off the table as a ideological matter as opposed to saying if technology allows us to use coal in a clean way, we should pursue it.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can.

It’s just that it will bankrupt them.
This needs to be played in a continuous loop in Pennsylvania. Note the part I emphasized, above. He specifically says no to clean coal and yes to no more coal at all. This is a direct contradiction to what it says on the official Obama-Biden web site. It is no wonder Biden was confused on his own ticket's stance on this issue.

Kim Priestap links to this picture of which states have a vested interest in coal technology.

This audio/video needs to be played in those states NOW. Actually the timing of this discovery could work to McCain's advantage. If an ad came out with this information two weeks ago, the Obama camp would have had plenty of time to counter with a "that's not the clean coal story I knew" speech. If this story gains press this weekend, it will be hard for Obama to do damage control in time.

Ed Morrissey notes that the transcript is suspiciously missing from the web site of the San Francisco Chronicle.
I’d still like to get a transcript of the entire interview. I believe that the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed Obama in January of this year, but they have no transcript on their site. That seems very odd for a newspaper interview, especially one in which they’ve posted video.
It is almost as if they don't want to hurt the Obama campaign in any way...

Gateway Pundit also posts the video and makes a connection to nuclear power.
On nuclear power, Sen. Obama says he's open to expanding nuclear energy, which now provides 20% of the nation's electricity, as part of an effort to increase power sources that emit little or no carbon dioxide. But he also has said there is no future for expanded nuclear energy until the U.S. comes up with a safe, long-term solution for disposing of nuclear waste. He opposes the Bush administration's plan for storing waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.
The sad thing is this is "consistent" for Obama. When he is in San Francisco and similar places, then his stance is that he will tax global warming villains into the ground. When he is in Pennsylvania, his stance is that we can work together on technologies like clean coal to everyone working.

It is as if Obama feels the media will cover for him and work to ensure that each audience doesn't hear about the comments to the other.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Follow Up to Zogby Poll, One Point McCain Lead

Yesterday I posted about the Zogby one-day poll that showed a one-point McCain lead, 48-47. This really shouldn't have been big news because:
  1. It's Zogby, one of the historically most inaccurate polling agencies in a year where all polling seems woefully biased.
  2. A one-point lead is statistically meaningless. Obama by 2 with MOE of 3 says the same thing, for the most part.
I'm posting about it again be apparently it is big news. Traffic to this blog was low yesterday. That is to be expected; Fridays are traditionally slow days and it being Halloween on top of it just means that people have better things to do than read obscure blogs on the internet. Then I posted about Zogby. My traffic tripled in a matter of hours. Almost every search that brought people here involved the words "Zobgy" and "McCain lead".

Those last two words I think are the important ones. While Obama +2 or McCain +1 statistically are the same, emotionally the term "McCain lead" gets people interested. From the search terms, most people were just interested in verification. But you could see some people looking for evidence not to believe the poll--searches such as "Zogby poll innaccurate don't trust".

Hugh Hewitt suggests:
The shocker of a one-point lead for McCain in the Zogby national tracking poll for Friday will energize the GOP 96 hour effort everywhere.
In an environment where media, polling agencies, and $600 million of Obama's own advertising have painted a picture of inevitablilty of President Obama, it is remarkable how much interest one random sample generates. All because--as statistically meaningless as it is--people can say with no deception the phase "McCain lead" going in to the final weekend before the election.

Friday, October 31, 2008

One Day Zogby Poll Shows McCain Lead, Four Days Before the Election

Normally I wouldn't even consider a Zogby poll. During the last Presidential election they were so inaccurate that many poll aggregation sites dropped them for obvious bias. Perhaps trying to grab headlines again, Zobgy announced the results of one day poll, showing a 48-47 statistical tie.

If they were going for attention it worked. Zogby's site is giving "Service Unavailable" at the moment. Whether they were shut down by heavy traffic or angry Obamacons is impossible to say. The Drudge Report goes the subtle route with a nice headline in 36 pt font. Since you can't link to a specific Drudge headline, here's a screen capture.

Everyone is buzzing about the result but I don't think you should read to much into it. The biased polling says Obama has this locked up. Adjusted polls show and candidate behavior show it to be a very close race. On Tuesday we will know.

Personally, I believe new like this is better for McCain than some random poll result.
U.S. stocks rose, capping the biggest weekly gain since 1974, after JPMorgan Chase & Co. took steps to end the housing crisis, bank lending rates declined and earnings from companies outside the financial industry expanded four times faster than the previous quarter.

JPMorgan added 9.7 percent after saying it will modify terms on $110 billion of mortgages and delay foreclosures. Morgan Stanley climbed 8.6 percent after the cost of borrowing dollars for three months fell. Wynn Resorts Ltd., the biggest U.S. casino company, soared 30 percent after increased gambling in Macau boosted profit.
And I don't just say that because I happen to own some JPMorgan stock...

Boehner Slams Obama Hard In Oxford, Ohio

Sometimes a story is just too tempting for me to pass up. You see, I grew up in Oxford, Ohio and I went to undergrad there at Miami University. So when a quote from a stump speech there makes Hot Air's quote of the day, I couldn't help but notice. I even get to quote my old college newspaper, The Miami Student.
Following a three-week tour around the country campaigning for House Republicans, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) stumped for presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at Brick Street Bar and Grill.
The few of you reading this have no idea how odd it is to be pasting in that quote. Oxford only really has one main shopping street--the town population has hovered at 10,000 locals and 15,000 students for over thirty years now. I wash I had been there to see it.
"Now, listen, I've voted 'present' two or three times in my entire 25-year political career, where there might have been a conflict of interest and I didn't feel like I should vote," Boehner said. "In Congress, we have a red button, a green button and a yellow button, alright. Green means 'yes,' red means 'no,' and yellow means you're a chicken shit. And the last thing we need in the White House, in the oval office, behind that big desk, is some chicken who wants to push this yellow button."
I should point out that as college campuses go, Miami University is way on the conservative side. All of southwestern Ohio (even urban Cincinnati) is very red. That had its frustrating aspects growing up but it doesn't surprise me to hear a politican using that kind of language in Oxford.

Fantastic Response to Hollywood Political Endorsements

Any time someone mails you a link to some preachy do-this-because-the-world-depends-on-it political endorsements from a Hollywood celebrity, send them this back in return.
I'm still laughing...

Obama: Not Paying Higher Taxes is Selfish

I don't think it is possible for me to disagree with a candidate more on tax issues. I can't think of a more clear way of putting it. In a Florida stump speech, Obama had the following to say:
The point is, though, that — and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class — it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month – then guess what? Everybody starts spending that money, they decide maybe I can afford a new car, maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling and everybody is better off. All boats rise. That’s what happened in the 1990s, that’s what we need to restore. And that’s what I’m gonna do as president of the United States of America.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.
The government is about the most inefficient way to do anything. This goes double for redistributing money. Ed Morrissey says it brilliantly with:
This reveals the basic underlying philosophy of the Left - that one cannot possibly be charitable unless they use the government to redirect their funds. Obama assumes that people who don’t want to pay higher taxes are somehow “selfish”, but that’s only true if one assumes that the so-called rich won’t do anything else with their money except sit around like Scrooge McDuck, counting it constantly. Most people today invest it, which creates jobs, or spend it, which creates even more jobs, or donate it to charity — which works much more effectively and with much less overhead than filtering it through government bureaucracy.
My goal of being fair-minded and rational is quickly slipping away as the election fast approaches. Do not let people who think like this into power. Please. Get motivated. Go vote for John McCain.

Obama and Promises

Busy morning, but I have time to link to this interesting article by Jake Tapper at ABC entitled "Obama Claus". Tapper comments on the number of promises Obama makes during his campaign speeches. The following list is from one speech in Florida:
  • "give a tax break to 95 percent of Americans who work every day and get taxes taken out of their paycheck every week";
  • "eliminate income taxes on Social Security for seniors making under $50,000";
  • "give homeowners and working parents additional tax breaks";
  • not increase taxes on anyone if they "make under $250,000; you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime –- not your income taxes, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains tax";
  • "end those breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas";
  • "give tax breaks to companies that invest right here in the United States";
  • "eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country";
  • "create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, and bridges, and schools -- by laying broadband lines to reach every corner of the country";
  • "invest $15 billion a year in renewable sources of energy to create five million new energy jobs over the next decade";
  • "reopen old factories, old plants, to build solar panels, and wind turbines";
  • build "a new electricity grid";
  • "build the fuel efficient cars of tomorrow";
  • "eliminate the oil we import from the Middle East in 10 years";
  • "lower premiums" for those who already have health insurance;
  • "if you don't have health insurance, you'll be able to get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress give themselves";
  • "end discrimination by insurance companies to the sick and those who need care the most";
  • "invest in early childhood education";
  • "recruit an army of new teachers";
  • "pay our teachers higher salaries, give them more support. But ... also demand higher standards and more accountability";
  • "make a deal with every young person who's here and every young person in America: If you are willing to commit yourself to national service, whether it's serving in our military or in the Peace Corps, working in a veterans home or a homeless shelter, then we will guarantee that you can afford to go to college no ifs ands or buts";
  • "stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq whole the Iraqis have a huge surplus";
  • "end this war in Iraq";
  • "finish the fight and snuff out al Qaeda and bin Laden";
  • "increase our ground troops and our investments in the finest fighting force in the world";
  • "invest in 21st century technologies so that our men and women have the best training and equipment when they deploy into combat and the care and benefits they have earned when they come home";
  • "No more homeless veterans"; and
  • "no more fighting for disability payments."
With such a long list, it is impossible that anyone would believe he is going to hold true to them all, right? Wrong. This video is popping up everywhere:

I never thought this day would happen. I won't have to work on puttin' gas in my car. I won't have to work at payin' my mortgage. You know. If I help him [Obama], he's gonna help me.
I can only hope this young lady is disappointed come Wednesday morning...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

CBS Also Negative on the Obama Infomercial

CBS has published an evaluation of the Obama's 30-minute infomercial and it is not positive. Wyatt Anderews at CBSNews does the math and concludes there is no way that Obama can pay for everything he promised:
If he closes every loophole as promised, saves every dime from Iraq, raises taxes on the rich and trims the federal budget as he's promised to do "line by line," he still doesn't pay for his list. If he's elected, the first fact hitting his desk will be the figure projecting how much less of a budget he has to work with - thanks to the recession. He gave us a very compelling vision with his ad buy tonight. What he did not give us was any hint of the cold reality he's facing or a sense of how he might prioritize his promises if voters trust him with the White House.
Here's a specific example:
Fact: Even if you believe Obama intends to fix health care, most independent analysts say the cost is massive - $1.2 trillion over ten years, according to the highly respected Lewin Group. When the new Congress wakes up next year to a $1 trillion deficit, and answers the overwhelming new demands for another stimulus package, will the leadership really bite on a health care reform package that digs the deficit hole so much deeper?
I specifically like this point (emphasis mine):
Fact: Obama, when referring to savings he can make by leaving Iraq ($90 billion, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates), has spent these savings several times over, across several different promises depending on the crowd he's addressing.
Ah yes. Over-promising and making different promises to different audiences. That's true change from your stereotypical politician.

Obama's 30-Minute Infomercial--The Reviews Are In

Last night Obama aired his 30-minute infomercial on three of the four major broadcast networks. The reviews are in and, not surprisingly, people were not impressed. That's just way too much time at a point where one more 30-second ad is enough to cause most viewers to grab the remote and change the channel.

Shockingly, though, the Associated Press was in the lead in criticizing the broadcast. AP writer calls Obama less than upfront and suggests he was misleading about budget realities. Here is one example.
THE SPIN: "That's why my health care plan includes improving information technology, requires coverage for preventive care and pre-existing conditions and lowers health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year."

THE FACTS: His plan does not lower premiums by $2,500, or any set amount. Obama hopes that by spending $50 billion over five years on electronic medical records and by improving access to proven disease management programs, among other steps, consumers will end up saving money. He uses an optimistic analysis to suggest cost reductions in national health care spending could amount to the equivalent of $2,500 for a family of four. Many economists are skeptical those savings can be achieved, but even if they are, it's not a certainty that every dollar would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower premiums.
Instapundit notes that infomercial "experts" thought it was poor performance. The link to the review of "All Sham, No Wow" was particularly entertaining. Though I'm not sure that last comparison is fair. I've actually owned a Shamwow purchased at a local home and garden show and it actually works! The same cannot be said for Obama's planned policies...

Bill Dyer comments that McCain and Palin have been to "charitable" in their discussion of where the money for the infomercial came from.
The McCain-Palin campaign correctly points out that Sen. Barack Obama's "30-minute prime-time address [tonight will be] a 'gauzy, feel-good commercial' that was 'paid for with broken promises.'" But for Obama's undisputed and indisputable violation of his solemn oath to accept public campaign financing, there's no way he could have spent hundreds of millions of dollars, including this hugely expensive cross-network TV buy.

But "paid for with broken promises" is the most charitable characterization. The Obama-Biden campaign deliberately has solicited and received hundreds of thousands of credit card transactions of $250 or less, whose details the campaign won't make available for outside review even though in the aggregate they amount to hundreds of millions of dollars — via a fraud-friendly credit card system (a) which accepts transfers from untraceable pre-paid credit cards, and (b) whose basic anti-fraud measures have been deliberately crippled. The Obama-Biden campaign might just as well have set up dumpsters all over the world into which illegal donors could dump shopping bags full of cash donations made in unmarked small bills.
It is of course impossible to measure the impact of the infomercial. But by all indications, it was at best a wash for Obama.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Early Democratic Voters in Florida...Are Voting for McCain?

Kim Preistap at Wizbang links to this local Florida paper article about early voting. Something is fishy with the results and I haven't yet been able to determine what the root cause is. But it is interesting enough to quote here.
Democrats are beaming that their party is outperforming the Republicans in early voting, releasing numbers Wednesday that show registrants of their party ahead 54 percent to 30 percent among the 1.4 million voters who have gone to the polls early.

"We're thrilled at the record turnout so far," said Democratic Party of Florida spokesman Eric Jotkoff. "It's a clear indication that Democrats want to elect Barack Obama and Democrats up and down the ballot so that we can start creating good jobs, rebuilding our economy and getting our nation back on track."

But party breakdowns for turnout aren't the same as final tallies, and at least one poll offered a different view for the campaign of Republican John McCain.

A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll gave McCain a 49-45 lead over Democrat Barack Obama among Floridians who have already voted.

And Republicans continued to show a traditional strength, leading 50 percent to the Democrats' 30 percent in the 1.2 million absentee ballots already returned.
If you followed that, Democrats lead in early voting 54-30 yet Mcain leads 49-45 among these voters. Noting that these are exit polls and not actual tallies (and therefore are subject to inaccuracies just like opinion polling), this would have to mean that the following two things are true:
  1. Independents in FL are breaking hard for McCain.
  2. Obama is bleeding far more votes to McCain among Demcrats than McCain is losing to Obama among Republicans.
And this doesn't even consider the final data point of the quote that absentee ballots heavily favor Republicans. Given many absentee ballots are oversea military ballots (a group that breaks heavily for McCain) this is just fuel to the fire at this point.

At the same time, conventional polling shows FL handily in the Obama column? The pollsters might want to rethink their models.

For those curious, I took a stab at guessing the internals for this poll, if the numbers above are correct. Here is my best guess:

First I assumed each group gave 2% of the total to third party candidate--the 49-45 results has 6% missing. After that, even if I give McCain 100% of Republicans and Independents remaining, Obama still has to give McCain 13% of remaining Democrats (7% of 54% is 13%) to make the numbers work out. I just can't believe what the math suggests so something in the data quoted in the article must be amiss. If not, it is very good news for McCain in Florida.

The Obama-Khalidi Cover-up

When I first read about this story, I didn't think there was much to it. Not that the story itself wasn't important I just doubted the impact it would have on voters. The more Obama's supporters try to squash it though, the more I am beginning to suspect there is something quite damaging here.

The background. The LA Times reportedly has a video of Obama toasting Rashid Khalidi at a party back in 2003. Khalidi is a former PLO operative and known to support the destruction of Israel. The LA Times is refusing to release the video until after the election, on the ground that their source requested they wait.

As could be expected, the refusal to release the video has turned it into a much larger story. McCain is bringing up the issue in stump speeches now. (Hat tip: Gateway Pundit.)
"Apparently this is a tape with a dinner that Mr. Ayers ... was at, and also ... one of the leading spokespersons for the PLO. Now, why that should not be made public is beyond me," McCain told La Kalle radio.

"I guarantee you, if there was a tape with me and Sarah Palin and some neo-Nazi or one of those, you think that that tape wouldn't be made public? Of course, Americans need to know, particularly about Ayers, and also about the PLO. So hopefully there will be enough pressure on the L.A. Times that it'll come out, but its really unfortunate that we have to go through this," McCain continued.
McCain is spot on here. Using my previous analogy, if there was a McCain and neo-Nazi video, CNN would launch a new cable channel just so they could play it in a continuous loop.

Gateway Pundit also reports that Newt Gingrich is offering $50,000 and that Dune Capital Holdings is offering $150,000 for the original source to come forward and provide the video. Furthermore, the cover-up continues, as the Wikipedia entry on Khalidi has been conveniently closed until after the election.

Hot Air also comments on the story:
I was skeptical at first that anything useful would come from it even if it was released, but now that Maverick’s made an issue of it to build suspense, a clip showing The One demonstrating that first-class temperament of his by sitting there placidly while some tool recites a poem “accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians” would be fun viewing during the run-up to Tuesday.
I shared that skepticism. But the more people try to cover this up, the more clear it becomes that there is really something there they don't want people to see.

Summary of Obama's Responses to Criticisms

Political cartoonist Michael Ramirez sums up Obama's attitude towards criticism perfectly in a very simple and elegant way. (Hat tip: Powerline.)


Presidential Poll Analysis: Weekly Trends

I was surprised today to see two different sources independently reach a conclusion I thought was common knowledge. I thought it was a well known fact that Democratic candidates poll better during the weekend and Republican candidates poll better during the work week. Apparently this fact wasn't as well known as I thought.
Bob Krum performs an analysis of Gallup results looking for this trend. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Pollsters have long known that the demographic makeup of a random telephone sample changes from night to night. Those with families are less likely be available at home during weekend polling. Since that demographic tends to vote more Republican, weekend polling often understate support for the GOP. Polling companies use weighting to attempt to balance unbalanced weekend samples. But the Gallup traditional daily tracking poll doesn’t seem to have balanced the disparity enough.

So is Gallup not accounting for this known effect on purpose? Hard to tell of course but it is suspicious. Steve Schippert reaches similar conclusions at Wizbang.
Notice the trend that appears in the Gallup image: McCain gains consistently once the vast majority of those polled actually have to go to work - and it tightens most midweek. The dates marked in the image are Sundays, consistently right in the middle of Obama's biggest trended edges.


Take from it what you will, but I would suggest that when people are actually at work, doing what they do, earning what they earn, these working people trend toward McCain most. Would also suggest the saavy marketing/media practice of Friday releases to own a three day cycle has been successfully captured by the Obama campaign. Friday's news stews during his biggest margins.
The commenters over at Hedgehog report have discussed this effect for years. They know that a 3-day tracking poll released on Monday is going to favor the Democratic candidate--it always has. Still I'm glad to see this phenomenon is being understood and explain to more people.

Rasmussen Has the Race Within Margin of Error

Yesterday, Gallup had the race within two points. Today, Rasmussen also has the race within the margin of error--three points.
The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows Barack Obama attracting 50% of the vote nationwide while John McCain earns 47%. This is the first time McCain has been within three points of Obama in more than a month and the first time his support has topped 46% since September 24 (see trends). One percent (1%) of voters prefer a third-party option and 2% are undecided.
Ed Morrissey notes:
We talked quite a bit about polling at last night’s Talk the Vote event. All three hosts reminded people that Jimmy Carter led Ronald Reagan with eight days left in the race in 1980 outside the margin of error. Furthermore, the rising number of refusals — those who refuse to participate in telephone polling — make the predictive value of electoral polling more questionable than ever before. Michael Medved said that some pollsters report refusal levels as high as 80%.
The Carter-Reagan data point I've discussed before. The 80% refusal level is new data for me and is astoundingly high. Think about that for a minute.

Four of five people that are asked to give input on a poll refuse to do so. That means you are selecting out a very specific minority of the population--the 20% that actual want to answer a poll. What other characteristics do these people share? Are they motivated to do so because they hate George Bush? If so, have you selected the people that actually think of McCain and McSame? Do the bulk of the other 4/5ths of the population not share those views?

I think the biggest takeaway is that you should take any statement that reads as "polling numbers show this election is going to be like no other election in history--the fundamental nature of the country has changed and changed drastically in the last two years" as non-scientific and likely bogus. This could be the year that every college student who says they are going to vote actually votes--but it probably won't be. This could be the year that states that have voted Republican for the last 44 years suddenly flip to the Democrats by huge margins--but it probably won't be.

All of the major polling results (regardless of how biased or skewed they are) are showing a trend towards McCain this week. Part of this is them adjusting their numbers so they don't appear like idiots on election day. But part of this is that recent events have been favorable to McCain and the election is now indeed close.

One thing is for Tuesday will be very interesting.