Category Archives: sara palin

>OBSERVATION: How to spell Obama? D-A-V-I-D- A-X-E-L-R-O-D

>When looking at the making of the president 2008, the most important single factor has been largely overlooked or under appreciated by the press. David Axelrod.

Sure, he has appeared on a few interview programs and taken the podium at some press conferences, but for a guy in his position, he has maintained a surprisingly low profile — at least before Election Day. That is the Axelrod style.

As political consultants in the same Chicago political arena for many years, but on opposite ends of the political spectrum, I have had modest association with him on various campaign trials. I have known him, and of him, since he was a reporter. We have been counterpoints on any number of talk shows. Can’t say I know him well personally, but I do know him professionally.

David is probably the most determined and aggressive political guru in America, but he has almost no desire to be a celebrity in his own right. He keeps his total focus on his clients, and he has impressive ones – Mayor Daley, Bill Clinton and a number of leading Democrat candidates across the country. He does not confuse celebrity with success, as many political advisors do.

I would argue against anyone who says that Barack Obama could have made it to the White House without David. Frankly, without David, I think Obama would still be a community-based activist. Don’t get me wrong. Obama is brilliant, articulate and ambitious, and he brings a lot of natural candidate talent to the table — but so do a lot of other people.

Obama is a great raw product, but with many distasteful features. David is the genius who could not only package and sell Obama by highlighting and playing on his strong points, but who to make the other products unpalatable by comparison.

I never thought Obama could make it to the White House without a major crises and an inept opponent (and he got both). He has run for office four times. With more ambition than brains, he took on Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush in a Democrat primary. He didn’t win against this seasoned and savvy opponent, but he did get noticed. Lowering his sights, Obama went for the Illinois State Senate. Rather than risk a competent opponent, Obama, with the help of the fabled Chicago Democrat machine, used aggressive technical challenges — and the cooperation of machine election officials — to remove all his opponents form the ballot — including the incumbent. He ran unopposed.

His jump to the U.S. Senate was a bold endeavor for a neophyte state legislator. Again, it was ambition over brains, but this time he got lucky. He signed up David Axelrod. Then he got even luckier. The hapless Illinois GOP first floundered with millionaire businessman Jack Ryan, a worthy opponent until it was revealed that he and his movie star wife (Jeri Ryan) had visited sex clubs in New York and Paris.

The Republicans, in an effort to advance their reputation as the stupid party, imported conservative gadfly Alan Keyes, a kooky black perennial presidential candidate. After only a couple undistinguished years in the Senate, Obama succumbed to the siren call of the presidency. Again it as a precocious move – challenging the all but certain nomination of Hillary Clinton. This time Obama was facing real competition, but he got lucky again. The Early primaries featured a bunch of moderate white candidates to divide up the vote – leaving Obama with a unified black/progressive core.

Once he secured the nomination, he was just another unelectable Democrat … unless … unless there was some seismic political event or the GOP opponent screwed up. Again, he was lucky. Instead of “or,” Obama got “and.” The economy tanked at just the right time – as the Republicans were experiencing the beginning of a post-election surge. AND … the Republicans offered up maverick John McCain, who proceeded to run one of the worse campaigns in American history.

But, what about David Axelrod?

NONE of this would have gotten Obama elected had it not been for the genius of Axelrod. Conversely, I am convinced David would have guided Clinton to the Oval Office had he accepted her invitation to be part of the Clinton team, as he was in the past.

No defection cost Clinton more than David Axelrod. David IS strategy. You hire him, you get the Axelrod method — and a winning one it is. The Clinton campaign should have made him an offer he could not refuse. The decision to let him go doomed her candidacy, as it turned out.

David never believed in the conventional political wisdom that you do not respond to negative attacks. In fact, David takes the position that no attack, no matter how seemingly insignificant, should go unchallenged. Without this aggressive and effective strategy of refutation, Obama’s candidacy would have sunk early on under the weight of mini-scandals, questionable associations, a cloudy, if not shady, past and a political philosophy far too liberal for mainstream America.

Rather than allow his past to be discovered by others, like his one time opponent, Jack Ryan, Obama laid out most of it in his books. As the political jargon goes, he “inoculated” against criticism. This is classic Axelrod.

David knew that to become the President, Obama had to look and sound presidential. Orating like Jesse Jackson was a kiss of death. Obama’s Harvard education and artidulation were natural tools. David created and controlled the visual and verbal imagery. He treated Obama like an actor, and he, David, would show him how to play the part of President of the United States. The clothes, the staging, the photos, the gestures, the oratory. All very carefully crafted and scripted.
Just as important as David’s craftsmanship was Obama’s willingness to stick to the script. He played the part to perfection. In an amazing turn-about, the first black candidate for the presidency actually looked, acted and sounded more presidential than the classic gray-haired white guy.

More than any consultant I know, David understands the issue of credibility. Having taught college-level course in credibility, and having invented a credibility management concept, I have always been in awe of David. He never took one of my courses, but he is a natural. He knows, that if you destroy an opponents credibility, there is nothing they can say or do to convince the public of anything.

If you look at the Obama campaign through the credibility lens, you can see how the campaign used every possible technique to strip first Hillary Clinton, then McCain, and finally the whole Republican Party, or their credibility. Every time McCain changed his mind, or said something that seemed at odds with an earlier statement, the Obama campaign trumpeted it. These “inconsistencies” were then elevated to lies. McCain lies. Palin lies. Bush lies. Lies. Lies. Lies. Republican = lies.

The success of this strategy was even more impressive since McCain came into this campaign aboard the “straight talk express.” HE was the straight talker. HE was the man good as his word. HE was the tell-it-like-it-is guy. Thanks to Axelrod, the straight talk express got derailed, and McCain limped into town with the reputation of a snake oil salesman — or more specifically, the third term of the unpopular George Bush. With the very credibility of the Repbulican brand damaged, Obama’s every word became gospel and McCain could say nothing believeable to the electorate.

David also has a great talent for generating discipline. Rarely will one see a campaign were the entire team worked so well together. Through his own example, David was able to get the team to set aside the usual political differences and prima donna attitudes and focus on two things — candidate and message.

Wherever Axelrod lands in the coming months – White House aide, outside consultant – he will play a major role in guiding the entire Democrat ship as its guru-in-chief. He will be the strategy connection between his President, the Democrat National Committee, and the Senate and house campaign committees. He will be issuing the guidelines to the state parties and candidates. David could well be the most powerful political figure in America next to President Obama. He is the personification of the Chicago machine coming to Washington. He is Karl Rove on steroids.

Just you watch.

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>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: Obama shifts from pre-emptive winner to panicked underdog

>Here we are in the post convention season, and the tide has taken a dramatic turn. While most media observers lavished praise on the tightly controlled and well executed Democrat convention, and reported the Republican convention as a bit of a disaster – rescheduling around a hurricane (the ghost of Katrina haunting the GOP), lackluster speeches, the Palin blunder, etc.

The only problem in this media-driven imagery was public reaction. Seems like more folks actually watched the Republicans. Left-wing pundits spent a week noting with awe that 38 million people tuned into Obama’s fascist-background acceptance speech, but grew silent when the numbers came in on Sarah Palin. She topped 40 million views, — WITHOUT the black stations that carried only Barack Obama.

Despite the panicked predictions from Democrat liberal feminists that “women will not be fooled by Palin,” her post convention numbers soared. It appears that as many as 12 percent of women voters switched allegiance to Sarah – and 23 percent of the Hillary voters are going for McCain despite what was described as the most enthusiastic support from both the Clintons.

All of this pushed McCain into a narrow, but sustainable, lead.

Now here is where I get a little self-serving. I have recently read a number of columns and blogs that talk about the unexpected turn around. They say Obama has blown an all but certain victory.

For those of you who read this blog, you know that the recent events are totally consistent with my past writings. Obama never had the numbers to win. Right after the South Caroline primary, I proffered his defeat. More recently, I even suggested that this campaign was essentially over.

Well folks … hang on to your remotes. This campaign is about to get really ugly and very racial. I have said in the past that David Axelrod (right), Obama’s senior guru, is one of the toughest and most ruthless political consultants on the scene. He makes a Pit Bull look like a Poodle. (I mean, take alook at his photo and tell me he doesn’t look like a guy who would drown puppies).

As long as nice-nice was working, Axelrod will behave. Now that the bloody sweat of fear and desperation is permeating the Obama camp, you can expect Axelrod to unleash the rabid dogs of political warfare. He suddenly is representing the underdog. (What’s with all this “dog” stuff? If Palin had made it a Piranha instead of a Pit Bull, would I be locked on fish analogies?)

For the next few weeks, you will be able to judge the desperation of the Democrats by the viciousness of their campaign tactics. The above-it-all, agent of change, Obama, is about to start fighting like the Chicago machine politician he is.

>OBSERVATION: Hillary’s people: Where goest they?

>There is a lot of speculation about the impact of the Hillary Clinton voters. The starry-eyed progressives are now convinced that her 18 million voters will march to the polls in lockstep with the Barack Obama legions – especially since Hillary’s highly predictable and obligatory “ringing endorsement” of her one-time (and maybe still) rival and their own orgasmic overreaction to the Obama acceptance speech.

This is just one element in the ill-founded optimism that drives the progressives in the Democrat party to believe victory is inevitable, and a landslide is likely.

Certainly most of the Clinton voters will vote for Obama. They are democrats to the core. More significant, however, will be the percentage of those who cross over to John McCain or stay home on Election Day. I think this percentage will be higher than the liberal pundits believe.

First of all, not all Hillary voters were Democrats. Left-wing pundits have consistently advanced the belief that Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” was successful in getting potentially hundreds of thousands of Republicans to cross over in key Democrat primaries to defeat Obama in such states as Michigan and Texas. If their contention is more than political paranoia or baseless banter, they have to know that those folks will be back home in the GOP in November.

Then there is the “bitter women” issue. No matter what Hillary says, a number of her women will be unforgiving of the guy who derailed the first ever woman presidential candidate – and in their minds, the first woman president. From anecdotal reporting, these women are definitely out there, and they are organizing for McCain. McCain’s veep choice will most certainly draw more of them to the Arizona senator.

This gets even more intriguing if you consider the possibility that, despite Hillary’s speech, she is privately signaling her people to defeat Obama to keep open her options for 2012 when there again may be no incumbent running. Rumors are already circulating that Hillary’s brother is a McCain recruiter on the q-t. Hmmmmm! How devious.

Then consider the philosophic issue – and it is not all just about women. Incredible as it may seem, Clinton evolved as the conservative candidate. She was the preferred candidate for the conservatives and moderates in the Democrat party. They are likely to find John McCain’s mushy conservatism more compatible to their views than the radical liberalism of Obama. Sometimes it IS about issues.

Finally, there is the big issue. Racism. I know we are not supposed to address this head on, but here I go. A lot of Democrats … and I mean a LOT … are racists. They were supporting Clinton for one reason. Obama is black, and Clinton is not. If Obama continues to be black in the general election campaign (Hey! If Clinton can become the conservative candidate, anything is possible.), you can expect those people will not like him any more now than they did then.

Let’s assume that McCain picks up a measly five percent of the Clinton voters (and I am betting closer to fifteen percent), that’s close to a million votes (and if I am correct, almost 3 million votes). That’s more than enough to decide the election. (Consider this: In 2000, a switch of only 900 votes from George Bush to Al Gore — out of more than 100 million cast — would have put Gore in the White House.)

I suspect that the hard corps Obama insiders, such as the cold and calculating David Axelrod, know the problem. While the enraptured progressive pundits proffer political fantasy as reality, the hard-nosed strategist must be more than a bit concerned.