Category Archives: joe biden

OBSERVATION: Smiling all the way to the White House

As a long time political consultant and advisor (no, I was not the guy who suggested that Lincoln take an evening off and go to the theater), I have come to the conclusion that one of the most important factors in a successful candidacy is rarely analyzed in the post-election punditry. Sure, we get all kinds of thoughtful opinions on issues and strategies, but not much on one of the biggest factors — likeability. Yeah. Likeability. Frankly, I think it is more important than issues and strategies — although they play a role.

We often use the word “like” when we mean prefer. I preferred John McCain, but Icannot say I liked him. In fact, I did not like him very much at all from the first time I met him privately in person.

Does anyone doubt that Barack Obama was more likeable than the strident and intense Hillary Clinton or the grumpy and testy McCain. You can disagree with Obama on issues, and even wonder about his dubious past associations, but it is damn near impossible not to like him. It also extends to his family. They look like a magazine advertisement for Better Homes and Gardens.

One of the reasons Obama could score high on the likeability scale is that he is a non-scary black guy. This is the reason those other black presidential candidates — Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Shirley Chisholm — did not fare so well. Can you imagine … President Jesse Jackson? It would be a cross between Halloween and April Fool’s Day.

Then there is that smile. Obama has the best presidential smile since Dwight Eisenhower – who was so likeable that his campaign slogan was simply “I like Ike.” Ike was the first president to make the smile a political asset. Most of his predecessors posed for portraits or photographs with haughty seriousness. I mean … have you ever seen a smile on Thomas Jefferson or a clear look at George Washington’s fabled wooden teeth? I recall a photo of Abraham Lincoln with a slight grin, and Franklin Roosevelt sometimes held his fancy cigarette holder clenched between his upturned lips, but grins don’t count. You have to show teeth.

If you project the likeability factor across the political spectrum, you can see why the GOP took a drubbing. Can you name the Republicans who are just plain likeable? Oh sure, Ronald Reagan, but he’s dead. (But can you ever forget that smile?) Issues/shmissues. If the GOP hopes to do better next time, they need to find likeable candidates with big ear-to-ear smiles.

>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?

>INSIGHT: Biden his time … for Hillary

>For a moment in time, there was question whether John McCain would replace Sarah Palin as his vice presidential partner. This seems to be mostly generated by the liberal pundits as an indirect way of exaggerating Palin’s negatives. Now cometh a more persistent backroom whisper — that Barack Obama will trade in Joe Biden for Hillary Clinton.

The rumor that is getting increasing volume in the blogosphere and among mainstream pundits is that Old Joe will resign in the few precious weeks before the election due to health reasons. They even specifically say an aneurism will be the stated malady. This would give Obama a woman, to offset the surprise and effective selection of Palin, and a former adversary a la Jack Kennedy’s selection of Lyndon Johnson.

It certainly is a most cynical theory — so cynical that it is politically feasible. (I wonder if this would be matched by Palin dumping the geriatric McCain for Mitt Romney.)

Would Obama and the Democrats go to such an extreme? Why not? The Democrats are the consummate pursuit-of-power party with an anything-to-win core philosophy. I have long suggested that Obama was unelectable. If the Obamacans and Democrat leaders did not see it quite that way over the long haul, they most certainly have come closer to my thinking since the appearance of Palin on the political platform. Maybe they now see it slipping way.

The question is … Is such a bait-and-switch too cynical for the American public. Will voters be enthralled with the progressive’s dream ticket, or revolted by the chicanery of it all. Of course, much depends on the credibility and believability of Biden’s health claim. Death would be much more convincing than some last minute infirmity of convenience, but not as easy to accomplish.

The more serious question … “Would Hillary actually help?” If not, then the strategy is nothing more than bloggers with more time than knowledge playing head games.

I think the switch is within the realm of possibility because I think the Obamacans could think Hillary would pull them out of a noise dive by checkmating Palin. However, just because they think so, does not make it so.

My own unsolicited opinion is that the Hillary gambit would backfire. Hillary looks good as the also-ran. No reason to think of those pesky Whitewater days, the IRS lists and the stolen White House china. The Clintons are intriguing personalities, but that does not mean that 51 percent of the voting public would like to see them in office again. In some ways, they are political O.J. Simpsons. Their every move generates a celebrity fascination, but behind that, we all know they did it.

If Palin was the “carrot’ to motivate the conservative base, Hillary is just the stick that would whip the right wing into a rabid campaign frenzy.

Furthermore, the suddenly more serious and intense vetting of the Clintons (yes, both of them) would likely lead to the exposure of a number of troublesome issues that will lay dormant as long as they are sideliners. In addition to a re-examination of all those Clinton era accusations and findings, there are more contemporary matters. Her senate fundraising activities have not been without controversy. And then there are Bill’s post-presidency wheelings and dealings with Middle East potentates and liaisons of a more personal nature.

Hillary would do to Obama, what Palin did for McCain. She would shunt him off to the sidetrack of media attention. While the ham-handed McCain needed the temporary diversion of public attention, the charismatic Obama cannot afford to be taken off message in the all-critical final days of this very long, long campaign.

Also, standing next to the Clintons (yes, both of them), Obama would appear diminished — less like a president. He would become the Sarah Palin of is own campaign — a breakthrough novelty who seems a wee bit short of experience. This is a more serious problem for him because he is applying for the boss’s position, not the assistant.

Then there is the question of breaking the racial barrier and glass ceiling at the same time. Is that just too much progress for the nation at one time. Could be.

Maybe Obama thinks this is a way to flip a losing campaign into a winning effort. I can also see Hillary buying in on the hope of preventing Palin from shattering through the ceiling many credit Clinton with cracking.

With the American electorate being so closely divided, it is not easy to forecast the results of such a dramatic turn of events — especially with the potential of other issues, such as Iraq and the economy, to produce their own dramatic surprises.

However, my gut tells me the Hillary maneuver would fail. Instead of boosting Obama’s currently rattling rocket, it may cause a complete flame out. There were many good reasons Hillary was not choosen in the first place, and all those good reasons are still lurking beneath the surface just waiting for the chance to be bite Obama in the butt.

>OBSERVATION: Obama sucker punched by a lady

>It is an ancient saying that “whomsoever the gods would destroy, they first make insane.” I prefer to think the gods just make them stupid. Apparently, the imminent implosion of the Barack Obama campaign is preceeded by sudden stupidity.

To fully appreciate this, one has to appreciate the excellence and percision of the campaign to date. They have taken brilliant strategies and executed the flawlessly. They crossed the finish line in the preliminaries with the “dark horse’ candidate (<– For all you paranoid leftists, who see racism in every utterance, “dark horse” is a political term in use long before African American presidential candidates were even possible.)

John McCain is using Sarah Palin to set up the sucker punch, and Obama is falling for it. Suddenly the campaign is a contest between Obama and Palin. In taking on Palin directly, the Democrat nominee has now lowered himself to the vice presidential level, he his basically neutered Joe Biden, his own vice presidential pit bull, and has taken all the pressure off of McCain. For the time being, McCain and Biden are in the audience in the match of the oratorical Titans.

For the past two days, the top newsmakers in the presidential race have been Obama and Palin — and it appears this will be the case for some days to come. I have said before, in our culture a male candidate cannot beat up on a female candidate. It rubs the electorate the wrong way. NOW … make that a black male beating up on a white female, and the negative response is significanly more intense. I am not saying it’s right, just recognizing the reality of it.

By what leave of their senses the Obamacans have allowed this stupidity to happen, I do not know. If they do not figure a way out of the obvious trap they have so willingly entered, the poll numbers will tip to McCain even more.

>READT: Post-convention polling? I told you so!

>John McCain goes over the magical 50 percent mark in a major national pool, and leads Barack Obama by anywhere from 4 to 10 points. The top story on AOL declared Obama now to be the “under dog.”

For those who have been tracking my unwavering prediction — a McCain win (even when few believed that possible) — this is precisely the trajectory I outlined. The only chance Obama has is the success of a massive registration effort and a very, very lopsided turnout.

For sure, there is massive registration going on on the Democrat side at the moment, and the GOP is lagging. However, expect the Republicans to close the registration gap before November (with Sarah Palin being part of the stimulus), and the pachyderm party holds an edge historically in being able to get their folks to the polls.

The hard line progressives are NOW claiming that these polls do not mean much. There basic position is that these are national polls and you reall have to look at state-by-state polling to see what happens in the Electoral College. The irony that they would be hoping for an electoral victory even if not a popular vote victory should not be overlooked. However, most independent polls show McCain with a win at the electoral level too, if, as the say, “the election were held today.”

Despite Lincoln’s admonition, we are a nation divided, so you can expect the lead to go back and forth a bit, and vary from poll to poll. But barring any major screw up by McCain (always a possibility), this election is over except for the official tally on Election Day.

>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.