Category Archives: 2008 campaign

>REACT: Only in America …

>There are a number of interesting things to analyze in the amazing path of Barack Obama from community organizer in Chicago to President of the United States. In the days to come, I will reflect on some of these. For the moment, however, the bell has rung on the final round of the 2008 presidential bout — and we the people have scored the victory for Obama. Maybe a split decision, but no lingering doubts. Like it or not, he is our president.

On election night, the candidates respectively gave the best concession speech and acceptance speech in my memory. Had John McCain been able to articulate himself so eloquently during the campaign, he might have been more successful. If Obama lives up to the spirit of his speech, his place in history could be more than breaking the color barrier. He has the potential for true greatness.

In the months to come, the world will witness the high point of democracy as political adversaries undertake a peaceful and cordial transition of power from one party to another. More than just a change of political party, Obama led a peaceful revolution in the tradition of Reagan, Roosevelt and Lincoln.

At the core of our continuing experiment in democracy is our bipartisan efforts to make the Obama administration a success — both by supporting its good works and opposing its mistakes. We will not all see those from the same perspective, but in a democracy, the majority is usually right.

If we cannot celebrate the victory of our candidate, we can still celebrate our system of government. So, before I go to bed on this election night, I say congratulations to President-elect Barack Obama … and may God bless him … and this great country.

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>TIDBITS: What do the polls really show?

>1. If you believe in polls, the latest news from Michigan is that Barack Obama is ahead of John McCain by 53 to 37. So sayeth the Detroit Free Press/WDIV-TV poll. The so-called “margin of error” is plus or minus 4 percent. The poll shows non-blacks dividing evenly and all blacks voting for Obama (except a few undecideds). Yep! According to the poll, no black voter is casting a ballot for John McCain … not one in the whole state of Michigan. If there is any validity to this poll … and I would give it precious little … you can draw one conclusion. Blacks are a lot more racist than non-blacks.

2. This bring up another point. Almost all national discussion on the Bradley Effect centers on non-blacks lying to pollsters because they don’t want to sound like racists if they vote for McCain. Up until now, it has been a black and white issue. However, this year we have a new wrinkle. Little has been said about the awesome intimidation of black voters who prefer McCain. The Michigan polling shows the black side of the Bradley Effect very clearly. McCain will get black votes from those who are pro-life, pro-gun ownership. Affluent blacks have the same concerns as affluent non-blacks over taxation. If the poll shows McCain at zero, some people are lying — and you will see it on Election Day.

3. Gallup just released a poll (Sunday evening) that gives Obama a ten point lead, 52 t0 42. Just four days earlier, Gallup called the race for Obama 49 to 47. This latest would mean that at least 5 percent of those who were voting for McCain a couple days ago changed their minds. I say “at least 5 percent” since it is likely higher to offset some undecideds who have decided for McCain in the meantime. Gallup can call it a shift, but basically, one of these polls is just … wrong. Maybe both. We’ll find out in a couple days.

4. About the same time Gallup was showing Obama breaking away in a romp, the poll that claims to have been the most accurate in 2004, the IBD/TIPP poll, claims the race is closing in with Obama’s lead shrinking to 46.7 to 44.6. While Gallup has the undecideds stampeding to Obama, IBD/TIPP has them flowing to McCain. If they are right, the 8.7 percent undecides will put McCain over the top. Stay tuned.

5. They say that there maybe be around 130 million voters this election. The typlical poll registers the opinion of between 600 and 1000 of them. Using the higher figure, this means that each person being polled stands for 130,000 voters. So, when I fib and say I am voting for Obama, but I actually go in and vote for McCain, my impact on the election is a 260,000 vote difference — the 130,000 I take away from Obama and the 130,000 I add to McCain. (If I use the 600 sampling, the impact is more than 430,0000 vote difference.) If you have a 5 percent error in the sample population (including fibbers, like me), the projected error is between 13 and 22.5 million votes.

6. Wonder why pollsters usually say an election is closing in at the end? Because you can’t be wrong in predicting a close election. If you give both Obama and McCain 50 percent, with a margin of error of 4 percent, the election can go to 54 percent to 46 percent either way and the pollster will pat himself on the back for an accurate prediction. And how many presidential elections are outside the 54 to 46 range? Damn few.

So … you can see why I think polls are a bunch of hogwash.

>OBSERVATION: The polls are wrong … as usual.

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We soon will have completed voting for the 2008 Presidential Election. There is a reasonable chance that we will know who the next President of the United States will be sometime on Wednesday. There is also a chance we may be in a prolonged 2000-like ballot counting tug-o-war right up to the time the Electoral College convenes to settle the matter to the satisfaction of the law, if not the satisfaction of the voters – at least half of them. We are, after all, a “house divided.”

As I write this, a flurry of pollsters are attempting to justify their existence by predicting the outcome.

Before we address the current numbers, there is something you should know about polls. They are all bullsh*t. Yep! They are about as accurate and scientific as newspaper horoscopes. If you think I am being too harsh, ask your self these questions.

Why do different polls taken at the same time get such widely different results? Where is the “science” in that?
Why are the results of an election often outside the “margin of error.” That should be impossible. Obviously, the margin of error is as bogus as the poll itself.

You also have to keep in mind the tricks pollsters use to allow them to claim legitimacy.

First, there is the margin of error, itself. If you have a poll showing the candidates at 52 and 48 percent respectively, with a margin of error of 4 percent, the pollster can claim accuracy if the race is 56 to 44 – or even 48 to 52 with the “other” candidate winning. Even I can predict elections within that range without getting anyone else’s opinion.

You don’t believe me? Okay. I think John McCain will win 49 to 48 with 3 percent going to other candidates. My margin of error is 4 percent. So, if McCain wins 53 to 44, I’m right. If Obama wins 52 to 45, I’m right. Check back with me on Wednesday.

Also, pollsters often claim to have missed the mark due to a major last minute change of heart by the voters. Now … ask yourself: How many people do you know who change their mind the last weekend before an election? I have been involved in elections for more than 40 years, and I find very few undecideds in the last month. Rather than say their last poll was WRONG, pollsters invent this fake phenomenon of last minute voter switches.

You see, pollsters always claim their polls are right at the time they are taken. They can do this because they are comparing them to an unknown – the REAL sentiment of the electorate.

Another trick is the “undecides.” Now place close attention. After the election, the pollsters will say that most of the “undecideds” broke for McCain. They almost always break for the Republican. You know why? Because the polls are almost always erroneously biased in favor of the Democrats. So to explain the wrong prediction, the pollsters say that the “undecideds” all went to the GOP. Again, based on my experience, there are very few “undecideds” at this stage. Those who say they are, are lying. They may tell the pollster they are undecided, but they know damn well who they are voting for. Hmmm. Maybe more Bradley Effect.

To more fully appreciate the uselessness of voting surveys, take a look at the exit polls. There are no undecideds in exit polls. If there is any validity to the “science” of polling, then these should be spot-on predictors. But noooooo! Based on exit polls, the media gave the 2004 election to Democrat John Kerry in their rush-to-judgment early reports. When the votes were counted, George Bush won by a wide margin. Even in exit polls, the science is flawed and the public fibs. I mean … if you decided to lie about who you are going to vote for, why would you ‘fess up who you did vote for?

(Die hard liberals like to say that the 2004 election was stolen, but there is no evidence that GOP shenanigans tipped the scale – and of course, they overlook the counterbalancing Democrat shenanigans. Yeah folks, the Dems are gold medalists when it comes to stealing votes. I come from Chicago, the Harvard of vote fraud.)

Now that we know opinion polls are nothing more than semi-educated manipulated guesses, let’s take a look at this year’s offerings. Since even a good guess requires reliance on past experience, we can conclude that the polls will be based on more b-s this year than usual.

There is no history to draw upon. We have never had a black candidate, a woman candidate, the oldest candidate. Never before has one candidate had such enormous financial resources. The economy has tanked. Though biased, the media has never been so determined to influence the outcome. Can they? These issues cut in all directions.

At this moment, the pollsters mostly give the election to Barack Obama. This has led liberal Democrat pundits and partisans to express optimism to the point of anticipating a blowout or landslide. Methinks this is not sound thinking.

There are some things that may not have changed in this historic year. Polls are almost always wrong, and the GOP almost always does better with the voters than the pollsters. Since polling bias is driven by media bias (the pollsters’ clients), and since the media bias is particularly acute this year, the polls maybe be much to generous to Obama than even past Democrat candidates.. If this is still the case, then this election is very close indeed. It is also true that black candidates poll better than their final vote totals – that old Bradley Effect. Will this again be the case?

The great assumption in this election is that a huge turn out the voters clamoring for Obama’s promise of change. The campaign and its supporters have so idolized the candidate, that they project their rabid enthusiasm on the general public. They also site some early election exit polling as evidence of this trend – not appreciating that those lying to the pollsters last week will lie on their way out of the polling booth.

I expect there to be a Bradley Effect in this election, and it may become quite significant. I say this because the media has so glamorized Obama, and demonized John McCain, that a lot of people don’t want to wear their vote on their sleeve. Right or wrong, people worry about there cars being vandalized or windows broken for supporting such a seemingly unpopular candidate as McCain.

Hey! I’m one of them. I usually put on a bumper sticker and display a window sign for my candidate, but this year I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Keep in mind, I live in Illinois. If a pollster calls me, I will say I am voting for Obama just because I think undermining the pollsters is a patriotic duty. Now I figure, if I am doing that, there are probably a lot more like me out there. Conversely, there is little reason or evidence to suggest that Obama voters are lying to pollsters.

I recently attended a Chicago Democrat fundraiser. Sure … the speakers spoke well of Obama, but the more intimate chat around the room revealed a surprising number of white Democrats – even some office holders – who were not voting for their “favorite son.” You can bet this folks would be lying to pollsters for sure.

So … what does all this mean? For me, it means that the polls are untrustworthy in general, and more so this year. It is impossible to know who is winning this race at this moment … and I would not completely rule out a McCain/Palin victory. The theory right now is that McCain needs to win all the so-called “battleground states.” But, what if one or two of those perceived solid blue states, like Wisconsin, New Jersey, New Mexico, etc., comes in red? Remember, they are only solid blue becasue the pollsters say so.

Always remember what it is called when a pollster is right. Luck.

>OBSERVATION: Time to muddy up this campaign

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Hold on to your seats, ladies and gentlemen. The 2008 Presidential Campaign Roller Coaster is about to get wild.

As we head into the last weeks of this historic and close election, you can bet that both campaigns will play pretty rough – while pointing the finger of blame at the other side. Self-serving claims to the contrary, both candidates have slung some mud and volleyed a few hand grenades at the opponent. Still, that was mild stuff compared to the bombardment of negative campaign ads about to pop up on your television screen – not to mention inundating radio and the Internet.

Personally, I like negative ads. They are among the most cleaver, the funniest and in many ways, the most revealing of underlying truths. Oh! I know. We’re not supposed to like them. We’re supposed to be offended. Folks … that’s all pretense. We all love them. If so many of you were truly repulsed by those ads, they would not be effective.

The best of them will not come from the campaigns directly – in order preserve their official “above it” claims. They will come from the various and sundry issue committees and independent political operations. But … it is still all part of the campaign strategies.

While Barack Obama will be respectful of you will see an unusual negative attention focused on John McCain’s pick for veep. McCain’s age, health and mental stability will be distorted to scare the hell out of the electorate. He will be portrayed in Halloween-esque ads as either feeble or deranged – or both.

If you think Obama’s friends, such as William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Franklin Raines, Tony Rezko, are old news, just wait. I expect to hear a lot more about Obama’s family ties – his America loathing mother, his impoverished brother, and his Muslim dad.

Those negative ads in the past were just test sample, we are about to get on to the real thing. And just remember, while the pseudo sophisticated are feigning chagrin, I will be loving ever one of them.

BRING ON THE MUD, AND LET THE PRESIDENTIAL WRESTLING BEGIN!!!

>REACT: Biden wins debate … Palin wins the voters.

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Who won? That is the ubiquitous question. I guess a lot depends on your criteria of success.

If you go by strict rules of debate, Joe Biden’s formal style and handling of the issues would probably get him more points. If you question who gained the most personally from the debate, Sarah Palin had a huge victory. If you want to know who touched the audience the most, and perhaps shifted votes in their favor, I would say Palin gets the gold.

I know some post debate poles give Biden the edge as the winner – as they gave Palin the edge as the most likeable. However, that still leaves the question of voting preference. We commonly assume the “winner” of the debate gain votes, but that is not necessarily the case.

By most measures, including polling, Jimmy Carter bested Ronald Reagan in their debate. He was smoother, more articulate and had a stronger command of factual information. The only thing Reagan won was the hearts and minds of a lot of people who decided to give him their vote.

I can agree that Biden was the academic victor, but I think Palin got the net gain in the all important vote count. One sign of that is the likeability victory. People tend to vote for the candidate they like the most.

>OBSERVATION: Team Obama off message?

>First we have Bill Clinton appearing on “The View” and “The David Letterman Show” on the same day. Given two major opportunities to push the Barack Obama candidacy, Good ole Bill hardly mentions the Democrat presidential nominee. I would say Clinton damned Obama by feint praise, but he didn’t even offer up any praise, feint or otherwise.

In responding to a number of questions, Clinton was more impartial than the average left-leaning news anchor. Most of his praise we reserved for his wife, with John McCain coming in second. His omission of any mention of Obama was so obvious that comedian Chris Rock, who followed Clinton on the Letterman set, did an impromptu schtick about reminding the former President who won the nomination this year. Rock mocked Clinton’s seeming inability to utter Obama’s name.

As if that was not enough surprises for Obama, his own pick for Vice President, Joe Biden, did a little dumping of his own. The Delaware senator said the “McCain can’t email” television ad put out by Obama was “awful” and if he had known about it in advance, it never would have aired. I had made my own opinion known in a previous blog, but I never expected to get support from Obama’s running mate. The commercial was offenisve because McCain cannot email because war injuries pervent him from useing a keyboard.

Are these guys a wee bit off message?

>OBSERVATION: Maybe we should be scared

>To innoculate against future GOP attacks, the Barack Obama campaign and its minions on the progressive left are forwarning against the use of scare tactics. I suppose, saying that the country will be harmed irreparably, social securty will evaporate, and you will lose you jobs and your homes if John McCain is elected is NOT a scare tactic? Puleeeeez! It is nothing more than a case of the pot calling the kettle black. (<–Some how that expression takes on a little different meaning this season. Maybe is is some of that "code" language the paranoid left hears in evey utterance.) Don't buy into scare tactics, they tell us, but maybe we should be scared. As I got to thinking about the forces that have been the booster rockets of the Obama campaign, there are four — and they bother me a lot.

First is the corrupt Democrat machine of Chicago. There is nothing in Obama’s past that would support his newly created image as a man above partisan politics — a reformer. In fact, he is a strident partisan with deep loyalty to the political gang who launched his career in the Land of Lincoln. He has been supported and tutored by some of the most ruthless and brittle Democrat partisan in the nation, not the least of which are Mayor Richard Daley (left), Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Congresswomen Jan Schankowski and Illinois Senate President Emil Jones.

Second, he comes from the radical left school where racist black liberation theology, as espoused by his friend and pastor, Jeremiah Wright (lower left), is considered a legitimate religion, and his tactical political views are influenced by his admiring friendship with deadly terrorists such as William Ayers and his wife, Bernadette Dorhn (left).

Third, the mission to take over the White House by the radical left is being funded by an obsessed billionaire, George Soros (right). This is a man determined, and willing to use billions of dollars of his own money (and billions more of his friend’s money) to impose a regime that otherwise would have little popular appeal. Never in the histroy of this nation, has one man had the resources, and the lust, to impose a personal President. Without George Soros, the radical progressive movement in America would exist only on the fringe, where they belong.

Lastly, as the first African American candidate (sort of), Obama benefits from black racism (some say reverse racism). He will carry the votes of more than 90 percent of the self identified black voters, even though his views on guns, abortion and school choice — just to name a few — are counter to the cultural values in the community. Issues and what is good for America are beyond any consideration — trumped by skin color. The plea of Whitney Young, who said people should be judged “not on the color of their skin, but the content of their character,” is being ignored. Whether successful or not, Obama will leave America more divided than he found it.

For each of these constitutencies, Obama is the perfect candidate — a brutally partisan black elitist leftist. But he has an overarching quality that is rare among the extreme left. He is a charmer. Most of his ilk are snarling pit bulls without lipstick. They generally lack the boyish charm and charisma that Obama exudes.

We are always on guard against the wolf in sheep skin. Maybe we have been fooled a bit because we did not anticipate that the disguise would be the skin of a black sheep.

>OBSERVATION: McCain/Palin capture middle America

>The elite liberal establishment disparagingly refers to it as “fly over America” – that portion of our nation that exits between Martha’s Vineyard on the east and Tinsel Town on the west. Former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferrraro once snobbishly posed the rhetorical question, “What is this country without the east and west coasts?” For most of us, the answer is simple — America.

The political value of this meat and potatoes region is reflected in John McCain’s naming Sarah Palin as his running mate. She exudes middle America values, and connects with the heartland constituency like no one since Ronald Reagan.

Granted, Bill Clinton has a bit of the common touch. However, he would never have been elected President had the GOP put up a populist candidate. George Bush and Bob Dole were the consumate elite D.C. insiders. Whenever an elitist is up against a populist in the quadrennial presidential election, it is the populist who usually wins.

Both sides know this, and that is why the Barack Obama people are trying to hard to avoid having the “elitist” tail pinned on his Democrat ass. (<– Maybe I should have said “donkey.“) Which means, all that effort to make Obama look more presidential, more intelligent, more sophisticated, more cosmopolitan may have been misspent. The efforts to compare him to the quintessential elitest, John Kennedy, is turning out to be a huge miscalculation.

The addition of Palin creates a crisis for Obama. No doubt about it. He and his advisors are back to drawing board, and maybe the dart board, to come up with a new game plan. The fact that they know the problem is reflected in Obama’s almost conciliatory response to the Palin pick. He knows attacking a woman is never good, and he has had the advantage of 18 primary elections to learn, as the song lyrics go, “how to handle a woman.”

Should McCain get a lock on middle America — and it appears he is now making significant advances toward that objective – a portion of the credit will have to go to his upset-the-applecart selection of Palin. However, most credit goes to the Obama supporters.

Obama’s problem, and McCain’s windfall benefit has been the ham-handed and mean-spirited hysteria emanating from the hard core liberal establishment. While the viciousness of the left wing attack infuriated the fair-minded, the greater effrontery was the mocking of almost everything that represents the culture of middle America – religion, recreation, speech patterns and accents, entertainment, dress, sex, and home life.

In their zeal to capsize the newly launched candidacy, they published and promoted an array of personal, political and professional accusations – and many false accusations, as it turns out. They failed to appreciate that Palin instantaneously became personification of middle America, and an attack on her is an attack on them. This hysterical overreaction is driving voters to McCain.

There are still two more months for this campaign to pitch and yaw. As of today, however, fly over America is McCain land. The Palin selection maybe looked back upon as the beginning of the momentum that carries McCain/Palin to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

>UPDATE: Hillary’s voters.

>In a previous blog, I suggest that as much as 15 percent of Hillary Clinton’s primary voters could cross over to John McCain. I thought I was being a bit optimistic, but calcualted even five percent as a serioius problem for Barack Obama. Well … was I wrong. A recent poll indicated that as many as 25 percent of the New York senator’s primary support will not vote for Obama. Wow! That is more than a disaster for Obama. That’s the ballgame.

Now granted, they may not all be crossing over for McCain. The poll did not identify cross overs and the stay at homes. Regardless, that is an amazing defection.

It should be noted that the poll was taken after the Clintons’ — Mr. and Mrs. — speeches at the Democratic convention, and before the naming of Sarah Palin as McCain’s running mate. Can it get much worse?

This all tracks with my unwavering belief that Obama is unelectable without a major … and I mean major … blunder on the McCain side.

>REACT: Palin panics the progressives

>As a political tactic, McCain’s selection of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin is working out better than I could have imagined. The now apoplectic progressive democrats are positively in panic. They are piling on. Frankly, I am stunned with the meanness and viciousness of the first round of attacks. Barack Obama must feel like a general attempting to keep his troop under discipline command as they break ranks – running helter skelter across the political battlefield firing verbal assaults at every shadowy target.

They seem to have settled on a Dan Quayle comparison, referring to the young guy selected by George Bush the Elder to be his new-generation running mate, as their best option. Dan who? Right. The problem is, most of the general public have no real specific recollection of Dan Quayle. So, whether the compassion is justified or not, it is rather ineffective.

I am surprised that they did not find a better comparison in Spiro Agnew, the county exec from Maryland who was the surprise pick of Richard Nixon – making “Spiro who?” a political cliché. The allusion is more negative because Agnew was forced to resign in scandal ahead of Nixon. (I still have my Spiro Agnew watch.)

In irresponsible meanness, left wing bloggers, such as Kos, are floating claims that her Downs Syndrome child is really the offspring of her 16-year-old daughter, Bristol, and is only being raised as her child. First, there appears to be too much evidence that that is not the case – so much that Kos (and others) publishing the rumor can only be describe as scurrilous to the extreme.

But even if it were true, Palin might gain from the story. It is a human story to which most non-elitist families can relate. Consider this. A teenager gets pregnant. The child in the womb is determined to have Downs Syndrome. The family comes together to work out the best solution for all concerned. Most importantly, there is no abortion. Not for the benefit of the young mother. Not for the benefit of the family’s public reputation. Not because the child is less than perfect. Instead, the Palin family lives their pro-life values – as the story would go.

If this were the case, the anti abortion crowd will flock to the polls for this woman. Of course, the story appears to be ugly rumor advanced for misguided political purposes by those who accuse Republicans of cruel tactics. Just how low can they go?

In attacking her status in life, a hockey mom without experience on the world stage, the Democrats reveal their true elitism – one of the more serious chinks in the Obama armor. If they want to challenge the experiential credentials of the GOP vice presidential candidate, they will soon discover that she – point by point – supersedes the credentials of the Democrats PRESIDENIAL nominee. Her executive experience is infinite compared to Obama’s none. Her personal story is every bit as compelling.

As an agent of change, she has an impressive record of courageous and successfully confronting the entrenched corruption in her own state AND in her own party. Conversely, Obama never made any attempt to confront and reform the incredibly corrupt Chicago and Illinois political machines. Far from it. He rose with their support. He took money from the most sleazy of their benefactors. He endorsed the worst of them. He played their crass political game with taxpayer money. His poverty-stricken, crime-ridden Illinois senate district shows no signs of hope or improvement from his stewardship. In terms of reform, Obama cannot hold a candle to Palin.

The Democratic attack team proffers that the Palin pick is cynical. She was not chosen for her intellect, political philosophy, position on issues, experience or good judgment. It was simply broad over brains. If you believe the left wing rhetoric (and how could you?), the progressives and feminists are basically saying that this highly intelligent and successful woman is … well … a bimbo. That’s the feminist equivalent of and “uncle tom.” Methinks this tactic is going to backfire.

They say the Palin pick was to shore up McCain’s weaknesses. We used to call that balancing the ticket – and it was considered a smart thing to do. However, if that is the measure to be applied, what does the Joe Biden pick tell us. Hmmmm. That Obama knows nothing about Washington … nothing about foreign policy … lacks experience. He needs to fill in much more substantial gaps than McCain.

In picking Biden, Obama may have boo booed. When you look at the two of them standing side-by-side, the very presidential looking Biden diminishes Obama’s political stature. Biden looks like the real thing. He looks presidential. Obama looks like an actor playing a black president in a television mini-series.

Looking at it another way, why did the candidate offering “change you can believe in” pick a good old boy for a running mate? Maybe it is because Obama is more interested in gaming the system than changing it. Maybe his rise in Chicago’s smarming politics is a better indicator of his passion for change than are the eloquent words he spews on the campaign trail.

More and more, the public is beginning to recognize the thinness of the Obama façade. Beyond a spellbinding speaker and a very lucky candidate, he seems to have nothing to offer. His substance is as ethereal as his words. I once referred to him as the “cotton candy” candidate. After you consume the billowy mass and savor the sweet taste, you realize that there never was much there.