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Sinking beneath the Wave.

“‘If you turn the clock back two or two and half weeks, you could make a plausible argument that if a couple of things go our way we will lose three to four Senate races,’ said one Republican strategist. ‘Now we will lose six to eight.’” Reeling from both the economic collapse on Wall St. and the ensuing shenanigans surrounding the bailout — which passed on its second try yesterday, despite continued opposition from a majority of the House GOP — the Republicans prepare to be ousted en masse in a month. “Polling in most Senate races over the past 14 days has shown a five-point decline for the Republican candidate, the strategist said.

Update: “‘Before the economic crisis, we had a number of races moving our way,’ said Matthew Miller, communications director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. ‘But now we’re seeing Republican numbers plummet.’ GOP officials largely agree. ” Is 60 in the Senate now in sight?

The Lay of the Land | A Moment of Zen.

“‘Obama has many more paths to the nomination than McCain,’ the source said. ‘They think they can defend the Kerry states. Iowa is gone. That’s five votes. New Mexico is in the bag. Then Obama has four or five different ways of winning. He can go Nevada or Colorado, Virginia, any of those, even Indiana. McCain has got to run the board, the whole Bush table.’” According to London’s Telegraph, Team Obama is feeling confident about victory these days. “We’re much stronger on the ground in Virginia and North Carolina than people realise. If we get out the vote this may not be close at all.

In related news, the McCain camp currently seems lost in the quagmire, particularly after Obama’s post-debate bounce and recent developments on the economic front. “‘What begins to happen is that the margin that’s been in place begins to solidify more and more,’ said Matthew Dowd, who was Bush’s chief strategist in 2004 and is now an independent analyst. ‘There’s only two ways this can go,’ he added. ‘It will either solidify with an Obama four- to five- point lead, or it will loosen and go back to close and go back and forth.’” In other words, another McCain campaign stunt incoming.

Update: I know the EW cover below is apropos of nothing above, really. On the other hand, it is election-related, and I found it laugh-out-loud funny. Hat tips to The Oak and Peasants Under Glass.

And here’s that bounce…

“‘The Republicans had a very successful convention [sic] and, at least initially, the selection of Sarah Palin has made a big difference,’ says political scientist Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia. ‘He’s in a far better position than his people imagined he would be in at this point.’” As I noted over the weekend, you just can’t stop the post-convention bounce…Sad to say, some folks just like buyin’ whatever’s being sold, I guess. In any case, today’s Gallup polling has either McCain/Palin up 10 (USA Today/Gallup) (up 4 with registered voters) or up 3 (Daily Tracker). And, though this could be taken as good news if he maintains his recent record, Zogby also has McCain/Palin up 4.

Yikes. Still, I really wouldn’t worry about a little post-RNC turbulence just yet. Even before you factor in the huge problems with assessing “likely voters” this cycle, throw in the pollsters’ overreliance on landlines (and subsequent undercounting of Obama support), and look at the very favorable state-by-state breakdowns for us, these post-convention bumps are fickle creatures. Ask Presidents Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. “[I]n an analysis of the impact of political conventions since 1960, Sabato concluded that post-convention polls signal the election’s outcome only about half the time. ‘You could flip a coin and be about as predictive,’ he says. ‘It is really surprising how quickly convention memories fade.’

So, don’t fret. We’ll sail through these choppy waters yet, folks. Update: Put another way… (Via MLR.)

Update 2: And, just like that, it’s gone.

Upon a Palin Horse.

“As one McCain aide put it: “We either get Hillary’s voters and we win, or we don’t. It’s not a mystery.” In a move that reeks of desperate Hail Mary strategizing (and, to my mind, grossly overestimates the potential PUMA vote in this country), John McCain chooses Alaska governor Sarah Palin, a woman he’d barely spoken to before yesterday, as his running mate. (I was flying back from Denver when the news hit, and it’s safe to say the selection of “Geraldine Quayle” was met with general jubilation throughout the plane.)

Basically, I think Sarah Palin is a wonderful pick…for the Democrats. Palin may have been an excellent governor over the past year — who knows? — but she’s an astoundingly poor choice for vice-president, worse even than Dan Quayle in the sheer tactical transparency of it. And I have every suspicion this gambit will backfire massively. To my mind, picking a running mate whose only obvious asset to the ticket is her second X-chromosome, and thinking that her sheer presence alone will somehow bring women to vote for McCain in droves, is not only a deeply sexist notion, it’s patently idiotic. (Just ask Walter Mondale how well the any-female-we-can-find strategy works.)

Her femininity aside — and, let’s be clear, that’s obviously why McCain picked her, unless (I say this as a short man myself) he just wanted a veep smaller than him — here’s a candidate who [a] mayored a town of 7000 people — college campus presidents have done more heavy lifting, [b] has been the GOP governor, for less than two years, of a state widely known to be a sinkhole of Republican corruption, [c] has her own ready-made scandal attached vis a vis this illegal firing of her ex-brother-in-law, [d] is a pro-life, creationist supporter of Pat Buchanan, and [e] has admitted earlier this month she didn’t even know what McCain’s stance on Iraq is. Now, that type of blatant ignorance may be what the GOP wants from their voters, but it’s damn sure not what voters want from their presidential tickets.

One has to wonder: If the McCain campaign was going to stake everything on such a pathetically obvious gambit for the PUMA vote, why didn’t they just pick Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who also has the advantage of actually being qualified for the job? Well, apparently Sen. Hutchison wasn’t sufficiently pro-life enough to fend off the fundies. So Team McCain had to venture all the way north of the border to find a pro-lifer up to snuff for the evangelical crazies…but don’t worry, he’s still a maverick independent and everything.

At any rate, because it’s so dead on, here’s the quality reaction of a MeFi’er, August Pollak, QFT. [Birddogged by WebGoddess.]

Oh my god, really?


Look, to be fair, I was halfway through a post last night on my own site about how ridiculous I though all the hard-right Freepers/Cornerites/etc. were harping about Palin. She was basically their new Fred Thompson. But I am seriously dumbfounded that they would have been this stupid.

Don’t get me wrong, on a PR level this is masterful for McCain. He’s killed all the momentum and press coverage about Obama’s amazing speech last night. So I really am amazed they think that one shot at gaining the press advantage was worth the most unbelievably inept VP pick I could have possibly imagined.

Forget even among fields of conservatives in general: is anyone from the McCain camp going to make a convincing case that Palin is remotely close to the most qualified woman in the GOP to be a heartbeat away from taking over a guy who turns 72 today and has a history of cancer? She has been governor- for 18 months- of a state with a population smaller than Obama’s state senate district in Illinois. Her previous office was the mayor of an Alaskan town with a population smaller than 3,000 people. At the very minimum, Obama has sat in on foreign policy sessions and dealt with national and international issues on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Palin has no foreign policy experience. This is literally one step above giving the slot to the winner of a game show.

So in what I can only perceive as a complete fit of insanity, McCain has decided to destroy with one pick the three talking points he had as an advantage over Obama:

Experience: She has none. Palin is utterly unqualified to be president of the U.S. Senate, let alone the country should anything befall McCain.

Celebrity: She’s a former beauty pageant winner who’s done multiple cover shoots for fashion and culture magazines and her claim to fame is being the subject of an article titled “America’s Hottest Governor.” There will be more talk about how she’s attractive than her actual policy credentials. Her gender, in light of her utter political weakness, will be seen blatantly- and rightly- as the novelty McCain picked it for. There is no clearer a celebrity pick for McCain than this one.

Moderate Female Voters: Putting aside for a moment that she’s outrageously anti-choice, if McCain truly believes that what really appeals to middle-age working-class white women is a younger, prettier, but amazingly less-qualified woman getting the promotion that Hillary Clinton didn’t, then I can’t really reflect any greater how utterly deaf to the interests of women the Republican Party is.

Jesus tap-dancing Christ. If McCain wanted a former beauty queen with no experience and a criminal investigation on her record I don’t know why he didn’t just pick his own wife.


Update: Rasmussen has the first post-Palin poll, and it seems a gender gap has already emerged — Women aren’t really buying it. “These numbers pretty much speak for themselves, but men have a favorable impression of Palin by a 35-point margin, whereas women have a favorable impression of her by an 18-point margin. Conversely, by a 23-point margin, women do not think Palin is ready to be President, whereas Palin lost this question among men by a considerably smaller 6-point margin.” [Via Firedoglake.]

Echoes of the Spring.

“‘The most important thing we learned is this: Hillary Clinton won 8 of the last 13 primaries,’ said Steve Schmidt, Mr. McCain’s top strategist. ‘He is beatable.'” Facing an uphill battle against Sen. Obama, John McCain takes several pages from the Clinton playbook. Well, thanks much for pre-plowing that road, Senator. I don’t think it’ll make much difference in the end, whatever the polls say at the moment, but we might as well make the GOP work for a strategy next time.

In related news, Bill Clinton still seems stuck in a moment he can’t get out of. “‘I am not a racist,’ he continued. ‘I’ve never made a racist comment and I never attacked him [Obama] personally.’” Uh, riiight. Tell you what, Mr. President: We’ll forgive you if you just stop insulting our intelligence about it.

Update: He’s still picking at the scab. “‘You can argue that nobody is ready to be President,’ the former President told ABC News.

Into the Memory Hole. | For the Record.

“‘She’s no longer campaigning for president,’ said Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee. ‘She’s focused on her work in the Senate, campaigning for Senator Obama and other Democrats.’” With the Dems back on the same team, the Clinton campaign scrubs its website of anti-Obama material from the primary era. As such, this seems as good a time as any to definitively put to rest these Penn-inspired primary fictions as well:

  • Sen. Obama won’t be able to compete in crucial swing states.“: He’s currently up in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, as well as Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Iowa, and Virginia…and does Montana count?

  • Sen. Obama can’t even win the big Dem states“: The most recent polls have Obama up 28 in California and up 20 in New York.

  • Sen. Obama has a ‘Latino problem’“: Obama currently beats McCain by 30 among Hispanics, 59%-29%. (This is already better than Kerry in 2004.)

    So R.I.P., goofy primary reasoning. You won’t be missed.

  • The bygones are bygones.

    “We cannot let this moment slip away,’ Clinton pressed. “‘For anyone who voted for me and who is now considering not voting, or voting for Sen. McCain, I strongly urge you to reconsider. I urge you to remember what we are standing for in this election.‘” In the aptly-named town of Unity, NH, Sen. Clinton campaigns with Sen. Obama. (They’ve also now maxed out donations to each other, and Obama continues to hire senior Clinton staff.)

    In not-unrelated news, new polls put Wisconsin (+13) and Minnesota (+17) pretty firmly in the lean-Obama column. Says CNN: “The Illinois senator now has 231 electoral votes — 39 shy of winning the presidency,” and that’s not counting OH, FL, CO, NM, VA, or IA…all states we have a solid shot of picking up. Again, I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m feeling pretty confident about our prospects these days.

    The Early Trifecta. | Here comes the Flood?

    Keeping in mind that polls five months out from Election Day are basically meaningless, some good news on the swing-state front: Sen. Obama currently leads in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. (What, you mean Mark Penn’s swing-state argument was bogus? Who knew?)

    This would seem to hinder McCain’s likely strategy of using Florida as a safe electoral base from which to make incursions into possible Obama territory in Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, and elsewhere — Now, the mythical maverick will have to play serious defense in the Sunshine State. (Again, June polls say next-to-nothing about the state of play in November, but I’m glad we’re 4-10 points up rather than 10-15 down. Plus, these numbers are in keeping with my general feeling — knock on wood — that Election Day will be a trouncing.)

    Update: More fuel for the fire. A new Newsweek poll has Obama up fifteen on McCain, 51%-36%. “The latest numbers on voter dissatisfaction suggest that Obama may enjoy more than one bounce. The new poll finds that only 14 percent of Americans say they are satisfied with the direction of the country…Obama is [also] running much stronger at this point in the race than his two most recent Democratic predecessors, Sen. John Kerry and Vice President Al Gore…In a July 2004 NEWSWEEK Poll, Kerry led Bush by only 6 points (51 percent to 45 percent). In June 2000, Gore was in a dead heat with Bush (45 percent to 45 percent)

    Update 2: It’s not an outlier. LA Times/Bloomberg also has Obama up 15 (48%-33%) in a four-way race with Nader and Barr. Against McCain only, our man’s up 12.

    The Battle Plan.

    “Clearly, and I’m being cautious, I think it’s going to be a close race. If Obama wins the 255 votes in the states where he’s favored, then to get to 270 he needs to choose from the following menu: 1) Win Ohio, which takes him to 275; 2) win in the West — Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado, for 274; 3) win the three N’s (Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire) for 269, plus one other state; or 4) win two of the three N’s and either Colorado or Virginia.” With the general election begun in earnest, Democratic pollster Paul Maslin surveys the electoral vote terrain for Salon.

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