Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin Is NOT a Game-Changer OR An Act of Desperation

There's been a lot of talk in the media this weekend that Governor Sarah Palin's (R-AK) selection as Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) VP pick is a "game-changer". And plenty of speculation that her selection is an "act of desperation" from the McCain campaign.

I may have even called her a "game-changer" myself.

But both ideas are wrong.

McCain's playing the same game he's been playing for about the last 45 days.  Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) just hasn't figured out the rules yet. Since I doubt Mr. Obama reads this blog (based on my pitiful subscriber count :)), I'm probably safe in announcing the rules here.

What do you think was the point of those "celebrity" and "The One" ads? The purpose was five-fold:

  1. Get Media Attention. His other "issue-based" ads certainly weren't doing it. Neither were his town hall meetings. I think we can give him a big CHECK here.
  2. Negate Obama's biggest strength (or even turn it against him), by mocking him as more of a media figure than a politician. Another CHECK.
  3. Improve his standing with the base.  A CHECK here, but not a big one.
  4. Put Obama on the defensive. Make their campaign reactionary and therefore control their message and delivery. CHECK.
  5. Move up in the polls. CHECK.

Krauthammer almost gets it in his editorial in the Washington Post.

McCain had been steadily gaining on Obama (before the inevitable convention bounce) and had the race in a dead heat in a year in which the generic Democrat is running ten points ahead of the generic Republican. He had succeeded in making this a referendum on Obama. The devastating line of attack was, "Is he ready to lead?"

And:

The McCain campaign is reveling in the fact that Palin is a game changer. But why a game changer when you’ve been gaining?

Oh, you were so close. Like a bloodhound on the scent, but then you lost it.

Everything he said there is exactly right. McCain had been gaining, and doesn't need a game changer.

What's the purpose of the Palin pick? Unsurprisingly, it's five-fold:

  1. Get Media Attention. The celebrity ads were yesterday's news.  The media wasn't talking about them anymore. Pretty soon it was going to be "all Obama, all the time" again. The Democratic National Convention was the start of that. I think we can give him a big CHECK here. The selection even took Obama's speech off the front page everywhere. Sarah Palin will continue to suck the oxygen from the Obama campaign.  Probably not for the next 66 days, but for a while.
  2. Negate Obama's second biggest strength. How many times have you heard about how "historical" the Obama campaign is? Well, now McCain's campaign is also "historical". Some people have caught on to that, and called Palin an  "affirmative action" pick, but I'm not so sure. I think after Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) was selected, it was important for McCain to pick a Governor. it's a good thing to have some executive experience on the ticket. How many Republican governors are there? 22. How many who are true conservatives? I don't know, but I'm going to guess less than 10. How many of those 10 can also accomplish #3?  Probably just 1.  Sarah Palin. Anyway, McCain gets a CHECK here.
  3. Improve his standing with the base. A huge CHECK here.  The base loves her.
  4. Put Obama on the defensive. Make their campaign reactionary and therefore control their message and delivery. Definitely the Obama campaign was unprepared for this.  Witness their ludicrous immediate attack (there's a 3 AM call ad based on that attack to be made, I think). They have to completely change how they're going to manage Biden in the debates. They have to figure out the best way to attack Palin without appearing sexist and bullying. Once again, it puts Obama off-stride. This won't last for  long, but every day McCain can be "on-message" and Obama is "off-message" is a win for McCain.
  5. Move up in the polls. Too early to tell. Zogby says yes, and certainly it appears that Obama got no bounce from his speech, but it'll be a week or two before we fully know the answer to that. However, given the success of the first four, #5 seems pretty likely, unless Palin totally screws up on the stump. We can pencil in a CHECK, I think.

Hmm...it's the exact same 5 points.

McCain's still playing the same game. It's not an act of desperation, just the next play in the game. As long as he can keep surprising Obama, things are going to continue to get better for him.

McCain is proving himself to be a master campaigner right now. Democrats under-estimate him at their own peril. Hmm, what other Republican have Democrats consistently under-estimated? Maybe he's Bush's third term after all.  ;-)

 

UPDATE: It's also not a "Hail Mary".  That would be an act of desperation. And as Krauthammer correctly points out, there's no need for desperation on McCain's part. It is a long pass though. It's more like the long pass you throw on 2nd and 1, when you think you've caught the defense napping. And the Obama campaign was certainly napping here.

Change You Can Believe In

“Change You Can Believe In”
Via The Jawa Report– You can order yours HERE.

"Back off, Commie dude. I'm a much better shot than Cheney."

Hat Tip: Founding Bloggers

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zogby Has McCain/Palin +2 Over Obama/Biden!

Yes, you read that right.  Zogby's overnight poll run last night after the selection of Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) as Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) has them leading the ticket of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) 47% to 45%.

Info here.

Bounce? What bounce?

52% say Palin helps McCain.  Really.  The other 48% are confused.

Overall, 52% said the selection of Palin as the GOP vice presidential nominee helps the Republican ticket, compared to 29% who said it hurt. Another 10% said it made no difference, while 10% were unsure. Among independent voters, 52% said it helps, while 26% said it would hurt. Among women, 48% said it would help, while 29% said it would hurt the GOP ticket. Among Republicans, the choice was a big hit - as 87% said it would help, and just 3% said it would hurt.

It's already helped.  McCain/Palin brought in $7 million in the last 24 hours.

More Thoughts on Palin

I said previously that I thought Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) was a great pick.  Here's a little of why.

PROS:

Based on the reactions of the conservative punditocracy, she has accomplished Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) #1 goal. She has energized the base.

Look who's on board:

These are people that were at best, ambivalent about supporting McCain. Now they're excited. And these are the people that follow the campaigns. The rest of America doesn't know her yet. But when they find out about her from Rush and Dobson and Beck and the rest, they're going to like her too.

She was the pick I was hoping for as well. I know I didn't mention her in my earlier post on McCain's VP Options, but that's because she wasn't being mentioned at the time. I only heard her name in reference to McCain about a week or so later, and I decided not to revisit my post because I tried very hard to stay away from the hype from both camps. I put out one and only one post for each.

More than that, the pick has accomplished one of McCain's unstated secondary goals as well. Many people derided his choice of naming his VP on the day after the Democratic National Convention, saying that Obama would be getting all the news coverage. Instead it was Palin who got all the news coverage. Forget about a bounce from Obama's speech. It's already forgotten.

She's a true conservative and a reformer. She's also been a maverick, but in a good way. She's bucked hard against the GOP machine in AK, and brought down some significant people with serious ethics challenges, including a Governor, an Attorney General,and the head of the state GOP. Obama claims to have stood up to his party, although there's no evidence to support it.  She is someone who has and has the evidence to back it up.

She has a great story to tell. One of the themes of the DNC was the "rags-to-riches" stories.  Her story blows every one of them out of the water. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has been compared by numerous people to Abraham Lincoln, but it's her past that compares more favorably to Lincoln's.

She was a businesswoman and mom and a member of the PTA who got fed up and ran for mayor. She then ran for Governor but was defeated. The Governor thought he'd shut her up by giving her a post in his administration. When she discovered just how much corruption there was there and that she wasn't going to be allowed to do anything about it, she publicly resigned and made sure everyone knew why. She ran against the corrupt Republican Governor again and defeated him in the primaries, then defeated the former Democratic Governor in the General Election. While doing all this she's raised five kids and has home-schooled them.  her oldest joined the army on September 11, 2007 and will be deploying to Iraq soon. Her most recent child has Down's Syndrome and she was counseled by her doctors to abort. She said no and told them not to run any more tests. And all this with a "meager" degree from the University of Idaho. She didn't go to Harvard.

This is the real "rags-to-riches" story. There's no doubt that she's self-made. She has more in common with Lincoln than Obama could ever hope to have.

She's ardently pro-life. She's a member of the NRA and a hunter. She knows more about oil and energy than the other three men on the ballot combined. She strongly supports drilling in ANWR.  She's a supply-sider. She supports small government and defense.

CONS:

Yes, she has some downsides.

She doesn't have much experience. She has none on a national scale. Republicans will be quick to point out that she's the only person on either ticket with executive office experience and that given that Obama has been campaigning for the last 18 months, she easily can match his experience level. While technically true, it's a weak argument and they know it. She's going to have to prove herself worthy of this position, and it's going to be an uphill climb for her. The press will be ready to pounce on her first mistake, and they will lay traps for her to try to catch her in one.

She's also embroiled in a little bit of her own ethics scandal. It doesn't sound like it's a big deal, and the McCain people are obviously not worried about it, but Democrats will attempt to make it bigger than it is.

DEMOGRAPHICS:

I said in my previous post that she appeals to two key demographics. The first is the one that the MSM has been all over.

Can she help with women?  Obviously, yes.  Is she going to help with true-blue hardcore pro-choice feminists? No. She might help McCain pick off a few of those that are still mad at Obama on how they feel Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) was treated, but this is going to be a tiny number. But she'll help with conservative democrats and independents. Soccer Moms. This is a demographic that the Republicans have been going after more and more over the last twenty years, with improving success. Palin will help further this. Will women vote for her automatically because she's a woman?  No. But she gives women a reason to look at the ticket.  A reason they didn't have before. Some of those women will look at the ticket and decide they like what they see.

In my mind the second demographic is even more important, and has been totally ignored by the mainstream media. She hits right at the core of Obama's key demographic, 18-34 year olds. I mentioned earlier that the choice of Biden could cause some of that group to stray from Obama.  Now McCain has given them a place to stray. This may turn out to be the key piece of McCain's electoral puzzle.

SUMMARY:

Is Sarah Palin perfect?  No, not even close. And we don't know nearly enough about her.  There may be some big skeletons in her closet. She may be awful on the stump. She may be terrible in the debate. Despite that, she's probably the best pick McCain could've made. All of his other choices were uninspiring. Palin, whatever else she may be, is hardly uninspiring.

Grading the Veepstakes

Well, we have pundits grading the NFL draft, don't we? And I grade everything else around here, so why not this?

First, both candidates did exactly what they needed to do with their picks.  As I said before on Senator Barack Obama (D-IL):

Obama just needs someone who won't be a drag on the ticket. Anything that the nominee might provide in way of assistance to Obama is just gravy.

And here's what I said about Senator John McCain (R-AZ):

my original point here is that McCain's biggest weakness is support of the base. Adding another RINO/centrist to the ticket doesn't help him at all.

And they both accomplished that.

Also, both picks were clearly reactionary.

Obama saw that he was getting beat up by McCain on experience and foreign policy. If he were leading by 5 or more in the national polls, no way does he pick Senator Joe Biden (D-DE). Because Biden definitely has downsides. He's the antithesis of Obama's "hope and change" theme. He may hurt Obama in his primary demographic, 18-34 year olds, since he's been in the Senate longer than any of these people have been alive. This was a risk Obama felt he had to take, and he's probably right.

McCain could tell that while he'd made the race close, he'd hit a ceiling in the polls. He also still had not managed to energize the base, although they were slowly coming around. If he'd been leading in the polls going into last week, no way does he pick someone with so little experience. On the other hand, McCain felt that he'd clearly been on top of "defining the campaign".  For the last month he's attacked Obama on being a lightweight and being a celebrity. He's turned some of Obama's biggest strengths into weaknesses by forcing Obama to run a more standard type of campaign while he's run a very different one. And he's forced a Democrat to play defense in a year where they should be waltzing into the White House. I think McCain felt that Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) keeps the Democrats on defense and allows them to keep guessing just what he's going to do next.

Grades:

Obama/Biden: C. It's a passing grade. Obama did what he needed to do, but he didn't set off any fireworks. He took a small risk in response to his position in the polls.

McCain/Palin: A.  Not quite an A+ pick, although to be honest, there probably isn't an A+ pick out there for McCain. Yes, she's weak on experience, and hasn't been campaigning for the last 18 months so probably doesn't know the situation in Uzbekistan, for example. (Do you?) But, she reinforces his maverick/reformer identity, and does so in a good way. So far, the base appears to love her. She has a great story to tell, one that should put Oprah in tears. She keeps the Democrats on the defensive. And she's appealing to two key demographics that Obama is counting on.

You think just one? That's because that's what the MSM has told you. It's two.  Think about it.  I'll expound more in a forthcoming post.

Veepstakes: Advantage McCain

Friday, August 29, 2008

Two Candidate Messages That Say It All

Here's Senator John McCain (R-AZ) last night on Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) nomination:

Sen. Obama, this is truly a good day for America.
Too often the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed. So I wanted to stop and say, congratulations.
How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow, we'll be back at it. But tonight Senator, job well done.
I'm John McCain, and I approved this message.

You can see the ad here.

 

Here's the Obama campaign on McCain's pick of Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) as his Vice-President:

Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain's commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush's failed economic policies -- that's not the change we need, it's just more of the same.

I think this more than anything else tells you about the type of people in the two campaigns.

One's an example in class and courtesy. The other...well, the word I'm thinking of rhymes with "class" anyway.

Oddly enough, the classy one came first and set the example for the other campaign to follow. Obviously, they elected not to do so.

Defining Moments in Campaigns

Every campaign has a defining moment, it seems. This year's may have come this week, but it happened a long way away from Denver, CO.

In 2000, the defining moment for me was during the first Presidential debate between then Governor George W. Bush (R-TX) and Vice President Al Gore (D-USA). Gore was visibly exasperated with Bush and mocking and condescending during the entire debate.  He gave exasperated sighs often during Bush's responses and stood practically on top of him during several responses. It was disrespectful and childish. Not that I really had many thoughts about voting for Gore before then, but there was no chance after that. My wife and I watched the debate and she was considering Gore, and she became a Bush supporter overnight and has never regretted it.

In 2004, it was Senator John Kerry's (D-MA) infamous line, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." I know the Democrats like to blame the Swift Boat vets, but for me the defining moment was that line. It gave conservative talk show hosts their best line of the campaign. They ran it relentlessly and it made Kerry look ridiculous. It didn't matter that he had good reasons for doing what he did or that he later explained the comment better. The damage had been done.

In 2008, the defining moment for me has been Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) campaign's response to the ad and investigation into the Obama-Ayers connection. To attempt to use an arm of the government to shut down opposition or to use your supporters to shut down a dissenting voice is beyond frightening. Perhaps I'm over-reacting here. I don't see quite the same amount of outrage on other blogs or news stories. Certainly, others have picked it up, including the Chicago Tribune, Instapundit, Politico, Powerline, and the DC Examiner, but reaction is generally subdued.

As for me, though, it's the defining moment. Even if I was in lock-step with Obama on every single issue, he would not get my vote after this. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this post, I'm going to make my first donation to the McCain campaign. There's a reason this blog is called "Chris of Rights". I believe strongly in the Bill of Rights and the protections contained in it, particularly the protection of freedom of speech. Candidates who want to shut down the voice of dissent must be stopped, whether they're Republican, Democrat, Independent, or even members of the Little Green Men Party.

I know that this is now the third time I've posted on this subject. I don't mean to keep harping on it, but in my opinion, the importance of this issue can not be over-stated.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Candidates and Hate Crime Legislation

This is the twenty-seventh post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) views on hate crime legislation.

Many minority groups looks at expanding hate crime legislation as a civil rights requirement. That was obvious if you checked out the sites listed in my last post in the series, The Candidates and Gay Rights.

I said in that post that I wasn't bringing up hate crime legislation for two reasons. The first is that I wanted to bring it up in this post. The second reason however, is that gay rights advocates (and most minority rights advocates actually) are on the opposite side of civil rights on this issue.

Hate crime legislation makes it illegal to think or to voice harmful ideas about a person or group. It directly contradicts the First Amendment and gets our country into the realm of having "thought police". When we try to criminalize how people think and what they feel, we become a totalitarian regime and we give up the right to call ourselves protectors of civil liberties.

How do the candidates feel on hate crime legislation? As usual, we'll start with Barack Obama.

Going back to About.com:

Barack Obama co-sponsored legislation to expand federal hate crimes laws to include crimes perpetrated because of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Glassbooth has this quote:

This vote was about who we are as Americans and whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality. Those who commit hate crimes should be punished no matter whether those crimes are committed on account of race, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation.

Ok, it's pretty obvious where Obama stands.

Now, on to John McCain.

From About.Com:

Hate Crimes

John McCain did not support the Local Law Enforcement Act of 2005.

And from Glassbooth:

"Senator McCain supports the strongest possible prosecution and penalties for all those who commit violent crimes no matter what the intent, and believes that all victims of violent crime should have their cases treated with equal urgency under the law. He does not support federal legislation to assert federal jurisdiction over crimes that are rightfully under the jurisdiction of state criminal justice systems that are perfectly capable of dealing with these violent criminal acts. Moreover, federalization would delay justice by litigating such heinous crimes through federal courts that are already overburdened."

That's not exactly unequivocal, though is it? Issues2008 has this to say:

[W]e have enough hate crime legislation. “Protecting civil rights must remain sacrosanct. However, we must not allow the First Amendment to be abused as a shield for those who advocate or conspire to commit acts of violence.”

Once again, back at About.Com:

He opposes federal hate crime laws, arguing that hate crimes are best addressed at the state level except when they otherwise fall under federal jurisdiction.

Ok, that was the feeling I was getting from the rest of my research. I thought when I started this one that it was going to be one that was pretty much black-and-white. Leave it to McCain to find the grey.

Grades?

Obama: F. He's exactly on the opposite side of this in every way that you can be.

McCain: C. I considered giving him a D+, but that seems an awfully low grade for someone who's never voted in favor of hate crime legislation, at least as far as I can tell. His words make it clear that he thinks such legislation is necessary, but in this instance, I have to go with actions. Without the words, he'd have an A+. With actions supporting the words, he'd be down to the D level or worse. So, I split the difference somewhat and gave him a C.

Hate crime legislation: Advantage Mcain

Results so far:
  Obama McCain
First Amendment F D-
Second Amendment D- C-
Third Amendment B B
Fourth Amendment D+ D+
Fifth Amendment D+ B-
Sixth Amendment B B
Seventh Amendment C C
Eighth Amendment C B
Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
Fifteenth Amendment B B
Nineteenth Amendment B B
Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
Taxes D B-
Abortion A+ D
National ID F F
Voter ID A+ F
Card Check F A+
Legalization of Drugs D+ F
Gay Rights A- D
Hate Crime Legislation F C

UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

Obama Campaign Continues to Trample the First Amendment

As I mentioned here a couple of days ago, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has lost all respect for the First Amendment.

Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has asked the Department of Justice to step in and stop the airing of an ad from American Issues Project that ties him to terrorist Bill Ayers. He has also threatened station managers against airing the ad.

Apparently, this is not the first time for the Obama campaign to do this. According to Ben Smith at Politico:

It's worth noting that this isn't the first time Bauer has called for criminal investigations and prosecutions into the donors to independent groups critical of Obama, including one supporting John Edwards and another supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton. His words did have the effect of scaring their donors and consultants, but haven't yet appeared to result in any prosecution.

But, the Obama campaign was just getting started.  According to the Chicago Tribune the campaign sent out this message to its supporters:

In the next few hours, we have a crucial opportunity to fight one of the most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.
Tonight, WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears. He's currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.

Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse.

Call into the "Extension 720" show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200

(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)

Then report back on your call at http://my.barackobama.com/WGNstandards

Kurtz has been using his absurd TV appearances in an awkward and dishonest attempt to play the terrorism card. His current ploy is to embellish the relationship between Barack and Ayers.

Just last night on Fox News, Kurtz drastically exaggerated Barack's connection with Ayers by claiming Ayers had recruited Barack to the board of the Annenberg Challenge. That is completely false and has been disproved in numerous press accounts.

It is absolutely unacceptable that WGN would give a slimy character assassin like Kurtz time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves. At the very least, they should offer sane, honest rebuttal to every one of Kurtz's lies.

Kurtz is scheduled to appear from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. in the Chicago market.

Calling will only take a minute, and it will make a huge difference if we nip this smear in the bud. Confront Kurtz tonight before this goes any further:

http://my.barackobama.com/WGNstandards

Please forward this email to everyone you know who can make a call tonight.

Keep fighting the good fight,
Obama Action Wire

 

This is utterly despicable. The Obama campaign's response to criticism is to shut it down? Is this the kind of heavy-handed treatment we can expect from an Obama Presidency?

Powerline asks:

if Obama is elected President, will he appoint an Attorney General who will carry out politically-motivated prosecutions like the one he is now demanding? I suppose we can't know for sure, but why wouldn't he? If he demands criminal prosecution of free speech that opposes his political interests when he's a candidate, why wouldn't he order it as President?

I said in my previous post that this seemed worse than McCain-Feingold. It grows more and more apparent that there's no comparison at all. This has gone beyond the point of being political and is now, quite frankly, frightening.

I'm keeping his First Amendment grade at D-, for now. But that's subject to change, without notice. Further disregard of the First Amendment will make me wish I had a grade lower than F.

The Candidates And Gay Rights

This is the twenty-sixth post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) views on gay rights.

About.com:Lesbian Life has done the up-front work for me. Their results match what I was able to find elsewhere.

So, let's get right to it. First, Barack Obama:

Barack Obama and Gay Rights in Illinois:

Barack Obama supported gay rights during his Illinois Senate tenure. He sponsored legislation in Illinois that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Employment Non-Discrimination:
Barack Obama supports the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and believes it should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
Don't Ask, Don't Tell - Gays in the Military:
Barack Obama believes we need to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. His campaign literature says, "The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve."
Gay & Lesbian Adoption:
Barack Obama believes gays and lesbians should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexuals.
Barack Obama and Gay Marriage/ Civil Unions:

Although Barack Obama has said that he supports civil unions, he is against gay marriage. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, "I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman."

Barack Obama did vote against a Federal Marriage Amendment and opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996.

He said he would support civil unions between gay and lesbian couples, as well as letting individual states determine if marriage between gay and lesbian couples should be legalized.

"Giving them a set of basic rights would allow them to experience their relationship and live their lives in a way that doesn't cause discrimination," Obama said. "I think it is the right balance to strike in this society."

Well, that's pretty simple and straightforward.

And for John McCain:

Employment Non-Discrimination:

John McCain does not support a federal non-discrimination law that would outlaw job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Same-Sex Marriage:

John McCain does not support same-sex marriage. From his website, " The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation."

However, he opposes a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.

Gay and Lesbian Adoption:

John McCain's stance on gay and lesbian adoption is unknown

Don't Ask, Don't Tell:

John McCain does not support gays and lesbians serving in the military. According to Earth Times in an April 16 letter to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), McCain says "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" "Unambiguously maintains that open homosexuality within the military services presents an intolerable risk to morale, cohesion and discipline."

He also stated on Meet the Press in November 2007, "I do believe the don't ask, don't tell policy has been very effective. We've got the best military we've ever had...I think it's logical to leave this issue alone."

More on John McCain and GLBT Issues:

  • Regarding the Federal Marriage Amendment, John McCain said, "The constitutional amendment we're debating today strikes me as antithetical in every way to the core philosophy of Republicans."
  • John McCain said he supported an Amendment to Arizona's Constitution that would ban gay marriages and deny government benefits to unmarried couples.
  • The only thing that's missing there in comparison to Obama is how McCain feels about "civil unions". However, VoteGopher has the story here.

    Senator McCain argues that policy on gay marriage and civil unions should not be decided by the federal government and should instead be decided by individual states. He opposed a proposed U.S. Constitutional Amendement defining marriage as between a man and a woman, calling the amendment "unnecessary and un-Republican."
    At the state level, McCain argues that decisions on gay marriage should not be made by the courts. He says that voters or their state representatives should have the freedom to set gay marriage policy. However, he personally opposes both gay marriage and civil unions. Accordingly, McCain supported a proposal to amend Arizona's constitution to ban gay marriage, and supports doing the same for California's constitution.

    In summary, Obama's pretty good here except that he doesn't favor gay marriage, but is ok with civil unions. McCain isn't completely awful. He's not in favor of anything in particular, other than letting the states decide on this issue for themselves. He's been adamantly opposed to any sort of federal involvement in either direction.

    The observant reader will notice that I left out the "hate crimes legislation" from all of the quoted articles. There are two reasons for that. One is that I plan on having a specific post dealing with that topic itself, and the second reason will be covered in that post.

    Grades:

    Obama: A-. Support of gay marriage would give him a solid A here. I think gay rights activists would probably not be thrilled with his belief that states should decide this issue on their own, but would rather have federal legislation/constitutional amendments recognizing gay marriages. However, at least he has opposed any federal efforts to curtail gay rights. His support is more of "back door" support, but at least it's support.

    McCain: D. One thing and one thing only keeps him from an F, and that's resistance to federal involvement in gay rights issues. I know that I said that keeps Obama's grade down and now I'm using the same logic to boost McCain's grade, but hear me out. Just like Obama, McCain has opposed federal efforts to curtail gay rights and has said that states should be allowed on their own to decide about gay marriage and civil unions. He's personally opposed, but he doesn't feel that his opposition as an Arizona Senator should prohibit New Hampshire from recognizing gay marriage (I use New Hampshire as an example, not citing anything in specific).

    Results so far:
      Obama McCain
    First Amendment F D-
    Second Amendment D- C-
    Third Amendment B B
    Fourth Amendment D+ D+
    Fifth Amendment D+ B-
    Sixth Amendment B B
    Seventh Amendment C C
    Eighth Amendment C B
    Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
    Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
    Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
    Fifteenth Amendment B B
    Nineteenth Amendment B B
    Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
    Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
    Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
    Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
    Taxes D B-
    Abortion A+ D
    National ID F F
    Voter ID A+ F
    Card Check F A+
    Legalization of Drugs D+ F
    Gay Rights A- D

    UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008

    Obama Shreds the First Amendment

    Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) has asked the Department of Justice to step in and stop the airing of an ad from American Issues Project that ties him to terrorist Bill Ayers. He has also threatened station managers against airing the ad.

    There's no doubt that it's a hard-hitting ad. You can see it below.

    However, Obama has no reason to involve the DoJ other than the fact that he doesn't like the ad. He claims that that since the organization isn't listed as a 527 that it can't run political ads, but that's not true and he knows it. He just wants the ad shut down because he doesn't like what it says.

    McCain-Feingold weighs heavily against Senator John McCain (R-AZ) when people are discussing the First Amendment, but in my mind this is far worse. McCain-Feingold at least tried to reign in the First Amendment through legislation, and required the cooperation of at least 50 other Senators, 218 Representatives, 1 President and eventually 5 Supreme Court Justices.

    In this example, we have one man attempting to use an arm of the federal government to shut down the voice of someone that's speaking out against him. This is exactly the kind of abuse of power that the founders were trying to prevent.

    Due to these events, I'm forced to revisit Senator Obama's grade on the First Amendment and lower it. I am lowering it from C- to D-. I'm strongly tempted to give him an F, but I'm resisting on the feeling that I may be having somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction here. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, a benefit that I really don't think he deserves.

    I am also adding this post to my ongoing series discussing the candidates for President and their views on civil liberties. That makes this post the twenty-fifth in the series.

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    The Candidates and Legalization of Drugs

    This is the twenty-fourth post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

    This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) plans regarding legalization of drugs.

    Unlike the last few topics, there's a lot of "wiggle room" on this one. A candidate could be in favor of only "medicinal marijuana" use, or could be in favor of having crack cocaine in vending machines at elementary schools.

    One of the places I visited for information on this subject was the website for NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws). Another site I visited was StopTheDrugWar.org. Obviously NORML is at one end of the spectrum I mentioned above and isn't going to give me a full picture, but it's probably safe to say that if a candidate isn't for "medicinal marijuana", then he's probably not for decriminalization of cocaine either.

    So, to Barack Obama.

    He conditionally supports medicinal marijuana use:

    I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It's not a good use of our resources.

    It's worth noting that such a statement isn't very unequivocal. He doesn't say that medical marijuana is ok, just that raids on such users are not a good use of Justice Department resources. In a similar vein I could say that using State Troopers to trap and fine jay walkers isn't a good use of resources either. That doesn't really tell you much about how I feel about jaywalking.

    In fact, it does appear that he wants some pretty strict limitations:

    Obama said that he wasn't in favor of legalization without scientific evidence and tight controls. Citing his mother who died from cancer young, Obama compared marijuana to morphine saying there was little difference between the two.

    "My attitude is if the science and the doctors suggest that the best palliative care and the way to relieve pain and suffering is medical marijuana then that's something I'm open to because there's no difference between that and morphine when it comes to just giving people relief from pain,” Obama said. “But I want to do it under strict guidelines. I want it prescribed in the same way that other painkillers or palliative drugs are prescribed.”

    This last statement leads me to believe that medicinal marijuana is as far as Obama is willing to go down the decriminalization path.

    McCain won't even go that far:

    I believe that marijuana is a gateway drug. That is my view and that's the view of the federal drug czar and other experts, although that is also a debatable question. I think that there is much more effective ways of relieving pain and suffering than the use of marijuana, and so therefore I view it as something that I do not support.

    He's not wholly in favor of Justice Department raids, however:

    The sheriff said, 'Mark me down as undecided.' Thanks for the help, thanks a lot. It is my view -- and I thank you for your opinion -- this is a big issue in the state because it has come up many times ... I think there's other ways to relieve pain. I am not sure I would send -- I would ask the sheriff what his priorities are as far as law enforcement because they are the ones required to do it

    You can find several quotes from both candidates at the aforementioned sites, but it's just more of the same.

    Grades:

    Obama: D+. It's hard to imagine giving Obama any grade higher than this (and quite easy to imagine giving him one that's lower), since he appears to only be in favor of medicinal marijuana and only under strict controls.

    McCain: F. Well, he doesn't support decriminalization in any form that I can see. All things considered, though, his position isn't all that different than Obama's, which led me to lower Obama's grade from a C- to a D+.

    Legalization of Drugs: Advantage Obama.

    UPDATE: There's been some criticism of me for giving Obama such a low grade when sites I linked gave him an A. First of all, I'm looking at the entire picture, and that A grade was for medicinal marijuana only. Secondly, in my opinion, that A is unwarranted based upon his statements. If I were giving him a grade on medicinal marijuana only, I'd probably give him a C.

    Results so far:
      Obama McCain
    First Amendment F D-
    Second Amendment D- C-
    Third Amendment B B
    Fourth Amendment D+ D+
    Fifth Amendment D+ B-
    Sixth Amendment B B
    Seventh Amendment C C
    Eighth Amendment C B
    Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
    Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
    Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
    Fifteenth Amendment B B
    Nineteenth Amendment B B
    Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
    Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
    Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
    Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
    Taxes D B-
    Abortion A+ D
    National ID F F
    Voter ID A+ F
    Card Check F A+
    Legalization of Drugs D+ F

    UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

    Ad Claims Barack Obama Supports Infanticide

    As I predicted over a month ago, someone has released an ad claiming that Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) supports infanticide. Here's what I said then:

    On a general campaign note, the Obama camp better have a plan for dealing with his stance on the Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act. At some point, a 527 is going to release an ad claiming that Obama supports infanticide. It's inevitable. I am sure he doesn't, but hyperbole works in campaign ads, and they don't have to be true to be effective.

    This issue has been percolating for a couple weeks, and so far the Obama campaign has yet to come up with an effective response. It's even been briefly mentioned on CNN and also mentioned on FOX News. So, the pin has definitely been pulled from this grenade, but it hasn't exploded yet.

    I'll say it again, only this time more bluntly. If the Obama campaign can't find a way to put the pin back in, their campaign is doomed.

    The ad is by the Black Republicans PAC and has been pulled by YouTube, apparently because it says something bad about Obama. You can see it on the PAC's website, though.

    The Candidates and "Card Check"

    This is the twenty-third post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.
    This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) plans regarding so-called "card check".
    Many people have expressed the opinion that "card check" is the sleeper issue of the 2008 campaign. I think that the people expressing that are Republicans hoping to score points against Democrats.
    They're partially right. It's a sleeper issue, but mostly because talking about it tends to put people to sleep. Don't get me wrong. This is an important issue, and it's one of the few "labor issues" where Republicans can claim superiority to Democrats, but I just don't see it generating much excitement.
    But I digress.
    Card check is disguised under the Employee Free Choice Act. (why do politicians name bills the exact opposite of what they do?) This bill enables employees to form unions without a secret ballot. This is a bill that clearly shows that there is a difference between being "pro-labor" and "pro-union". This bill is definitely "pro-union", but is about as "anti-labor" as you can get, for it obviously strips rights from the individual in the labor force.
    Barack Obama:
    I support this bill because in order to restore a sense of shared prosperity and security, we need to help working Americans exercise their right to organize under a fair and free process and bargain for their fair share of the wealth our country creates.
    Ok, I'll hold my tongue on the bit about it being a "fair and free process", but it's clear where Obama stands on this issue. He is a cosponsor of the bill.
    John McCain:
    I had difficulty finding real information on McCain on this one. It's apparent he's opposed, but finding a good reference was difficult. Most of the articles written about his position on it were written by union representatives, so their opinion was a bit colored. However, I finally settled on this from the AFL-CIO.
    McCain said he is “strongly opposed” to this important bill to level the playing field for workers trying to form unions and voted against it in the Senate.
    (Congressional Record, page S8389, 6/26/07; H.R. 800, Vote #227, 6/26/07)
    Once again, I'll hold my tongue about this bill and "leveling the playing field".
    Anyway, to the grades.
    Obama: F
    McCain: A+
    Card Check: Advantage McCain
    Results so far:
    Obama McCain
    First Amendment F D-
    Second Amendment D- C-
    Third Amendment B B
    Fourth Amendment D+ D+
    Fifth Amendment D+ B-
    Sixth Amendment B B
    Seventh Amendment C C
    Eighth Amendment C B
    Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
    Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
    Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
    Fifteenth Amendment B B
    Nineteenth Amendment B B
    Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
    Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
    Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
    Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
    Taxes D B-
    Abortion A+ D
    National ID F F
    Voter ID A+ F
    Card Check F A+

    UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

    The Candidates and Voter IDs

    This is the twenty-second post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

    This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) plans regarding the necessity (or lack thereof) for a Voter ID card.

    This will be another short and sweet one.

    Fortunately, the NAACP asked both candidates about this question and we have their responses.

    Obama:

    I led the opposition to photo identification requirements for voting.

    McCain:

    Valid photo identification is a valid, constitutional way for states to protect against voter fraud.

    Ok, so that's pretty clear.

    No matter which side you're on in this one, you can claim civil rights superiority. Certainly I believe that buy requiring an ID you're protecting my vote from fraud. The accepted "civil rights" view on this is clear, though, and it's Obama's side.

    Grades:

    Obama: A+

    McCain: F

    Voter ID: Advantage Obama

    Results so far:
      Obama McCain
    First Amendment F D-
    Second Amendment D- C-
    Third Amendment B B
    Fourth Amendment D+ D+
    Fifth Amendment D+ B-
    Sixth Amendment B B
    Seventh Amendment C C
    Eighth Amendment C B
    Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
    Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
    Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
    Fifteenth Amendment B B
    Nineteenth Amendment B B
    Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
    Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
    Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
    Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
    Taxes D B-
    Abortion A+ D
    National ID F F
    Voter ID A+ F

    UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

    The Candidates and National IDs

    This is the twenty-first post in an ongoing series regarding the major Presidential candidates and their views on civil liberties.

    This post is about Senator John McCain's (R-AZ) and Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) plans regarding the necessity (or lack thereof) for a National ID card.

    Libertarians believe that having a National ID card is an invasion of privacy and would allow further government intrusion into our lives. Therefore the correct answer on this issue is "opposed". :)

    Unfortunately, both Obama and McCain supported the "REAL ID" act. REAL ID isn't quite a National ID, but the difference is minimal.

    So, short and sweet. Grades: F for both.

    These are the first F's I've given, but won't be the last. Many of the remaining issues are much more cut and dry than previous ones. There's little room for a middle ground. If' the candidate is on the right side, he's going to get an A+. If he's on the wrong side, he's going to get an F.

    Results so far:
      Obama McCain
    First Amendment F D-
    Second Amendment D- C-
    Third Amendment B B
    Fourth Amendment D+ D+
    Fifth Amendment D+ B-
    Sixth Amendment B B
    Seventh Amendment C C
    Eighth Amendment C B
    Eleventh Amendment B+ B-
    Thirteenth Amendment D+ B+
    Fourteenth Amendment D+ C+
    Fifteenth Amendment B B
    Nineteenth Amendment B B
    Twenty-First Amendment A- A-
    Twenty-Third Amendment A- B
    Twenty-Fourth Amendment B B
    Twenty-Sixth Amendment B B
    Taxes D B-
    Abortion A+ D
    National ID F F

    UPDATE: Obama's First Amendment grade lowered to F as documented in this post.

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    "If You're Not Voting for Obama, Go Home. You're Not Voting Here Today."

    That's a quote from a documentary by Director Gigi Gaston called "We Will Not Be Silenced" that looks into alleged "widespread abuses" and "fraud" in the Democratic caucuses. If you recall, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) did very well in the caucus states. Those states essentially allowed Obama to win the nomination and defeat Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY).

    They have a preview of their documentary.  It's very interesting and worth viewing, but ... well, I'll let you watch for yourself.  Perhaps you'll be outraged, perhaps you won't.

    I'm having trouble embedding the video.  You can find it here.

    Personally, I've never been a fan of caucuses, and this video shows why. And as awful as it sounds, I'm not hearing much that I haven't heard before about previous caucuses. One person's "cheating" is another person's "working the system".

    The truth of the matter is simple: caucuses are corrupt and always have been. Clinton got beat by someone who was better at "working the system" than she was. The fact that the person who worked the system best is from Chicago should be surprising to no one.

    Note that the part about the school students in IN is widely accepted as true and was widely reported in Indiana on the primary day, so it's not news to me.  But there are 49 other states that may not have heard about this. Once again, the area of corruption is Lake County, IN. For those that don't know IN geography, Lake County is essentially the city of Gary, a black suburb of Chicago.

    Obama: "Politics of Change" or "Politics of Chicago"?

    November 4th is going to be fun.

    Hat Tip: Advance Indiana

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Blegh

    The lead on Drudge right now?

    THE WORLD WAITS FOR MATE

    With a picture of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) on it.

    I haven't seen this much hype about the name of a single person since the identity of the person playing the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars I-III.

    Yeah, that worked out well.

    Barack, take a lesson from George Lucas.  Over-hype can be a bad thing.

    Let me be the first to say I couldn't possibly care less.  I gave my thoughts on this about a month ago. I still say that if it's not one of those 4 people then it's just the guy (or woman) in the suit standing next to Obama.

    Blegh.

    Obama Suspends Advertising in 7 Battleground States

    FOX News is reporting that Senator Barack Obama's (D-IL) campaign has "temporarily suspended" advertising in seven key battleground states.  The states are AK, GA, MT, NC, ND, FL, and VA. This is beyond perplexing. They have plenty of money and are within striking distance in several of these states. VA is as close as you can get to tied.

    Aides to Obama told FOX News that the changes are related to the convention next week. They wouldn’t discuss the specifics of their ad strategy, but the Obama campaign insists that it has not pulled out of those states permanently, calling this a temporary suspension.

    Perhaps they hope to ride the crest of the post-convention wave and return to advertising then? I don't know.  But VA and NC are very winnable for Obama, and MT, ND, and FL are definitely within reach.  Demographics in MT and FL strongly favor Senator John McCain (R-AZ), but polls in these states are exceptionally close.

    Usually candidates only stop running ads in a state to save money when they've given up on taking the state.  That's obviously not the case for most of these.

    I admit it. I'm baffled. I can think of no logical reason for doing this.

    UPDATE: The McCain campaign is implying that he's giving up in those states. I find that hard to believe. It's too early in the campaign season and the states are too close.  They point to this chart for evidence.

    The numbers are clear. In these states, where Obama has spent a considerable amount of money ($15 Million) and time, McCain's numbers have improved by an average of 4-points.

    Uh huh. I'll stick with "baffling".

    The Enemy of My Enemy Is My...

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says "I can't stand John McCain". I'm sure it's quite obvious on this blog by now the disdain that I hold for Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), but I'm still ambivalent about Senator John McCain (R-AZ). Harry Reid's comments help though.

    The disdain I hold for Obama is nothing compared to how I feel about Reid. I try to be snark free here, but calling Reid reprehensible and repugnant would be taking it easy on him.

    So, when he says that he can't stand John McCain, then my feelings for McCain go up by quite a bit.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Battleground States - 08/22

    My somewhat weekly look at the battleground states. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) had a good week, as has already been discussed here. Three new states have been added to the battleground list, two of which are traditionally blue (MN, NH) and one traditionally red (NC).  Discussion follows:

    Here's the current standings with difference since August 15 in parentheses:

    • Michigan (17): Democrat last 4 elections, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) currently leads by 7 pts.
    • Indiana (11): Republican last 4 elections, McCain by 6 (+7).
    • Ohio (20): Picked winner in last 4 elections, McCain by 4. (+2)
    • Missouri (11): Picked winner in last 4 elections, McCain by 7.
    • Pennsylvania (21): Democrat last 4 elections, Obama by 5
    • Iowa (7):Picked Winner in 3 of last 4 (had Gore in 2000), Obama by 6. (+1)
    • Virginia (13): Republican last 4 elections, currently tied.
    • Florida (27): Picked Winner in last 3 elections, McCain by 3. (+1)
    • Colorado (9): Republican last 3 elections, McCain by 3. (+1)
    • New Mexico (5): Picked Winner in 3 of last 4 (had Gore in 2000), Obama by 5.
    • Montana (3): Republican last 3 elections, McCain by 1.
    • North Dakota (3): Republican last 4 elections, McCain by 3.
    • Nevada (5): Picked winner last 4 elections, McCain by 3.
    • Minnesota (10): Democrat last 4 elections, Obama by 3. (new)
    • New Hampshire (4): Democrat three of last 4 elections (had Bush in 2000), Obama by 1. (new)
    • North Carolina (15): Republican last 4 elections, McCain by 3. (new)

    Bellwether states (EV totals in parentheses):

    McCain: OH, FL, NV, MO (63)
    Obama: IA, NM (12)

    Battleground EV Totals (diff since August 15 in parentheses): McCain 104 (+26 due to inclusion of NC), Obama 64 ( +3 due to inclusion of MN and NH), Tied: 13

    Rest of map: McCain 157 (-15), Obama 200 (-14)

    Totals: McCain 261, Obama 264

    For the first time during the campaign, Obama is not in the driver's seat.  He's done well as the "rock star", and not so well as the "presumed winner". It remains to be seen how he does in a tight race. Remember that he didn't do very well down the stretch in the Democratic primaries.

    The only state that flipped in the last week was Indiana. Right now that means VA controls the whole thing. Not many states had any changes at all, for the simple fact that most of them didn't have any new polls. McCain also currently leads in SD by only 4, but that's the first poll showing that state so close. One more and I'll have to add it as a battleground as well.

    I said last week that Obama wasn't really playing defense anywhere. That's no longer true. He's playing defense in MN and NH. But McCain is now also playing defense in NC. Demographics in that state make things precarious for McCain.

    A couple more good polls and I can probably take MI, IN, MO, and IA off this list. For the most part, that's good news for McCain. I don't think he ever planned on IA, and MI always looked out of reach anyway. But to take IN and MO off the chart for Obama would be huge.

    Right now McCain has all the momentum, but momentum changes rapidly in Presidential elections and Obama has his convention coming up. It couldn't come at a better time.  I expect that in a week to a week and a half from now, the map will be much more blue. But then another week after that, might be back to how it is now.  Might not, though.  Two to three weeks is a long time in a race this tight. More and more it looks like the debates will be crucial in this campaign.  I've commented on them previously, but I've since thought some more on it and have more to say on this subject, so another post on the debates will be coming in the near future.

    FL is still far closer than it should be for McCain. I still find that the most disconcerting state on the map for him.  For Obama, he has two very disconcerting states, MN and MO.  MN because it should be solid blue, and MO because it should be pretty close to a tie.

    I still say that for McCain to win, he has to pick up all of FL, IN, MO, OH, NV, and VA, which seems a tall order. Right now he leads in five of those and the sixth is too close to call. Obama has many ways to win, but in general, he just needs to pick up one of those six states.

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    A Good Day for McCain

    Today is a good day for Senator John McCain (R-AZ) by any measure.

    For the first time since both candidates secured their nominations, he leads Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) in the electoral vote count at RealClearPolitics. In fact, the latest map even has McCain over the 270 needed to win.

    The news is almost as good at Electoral-Vote.com where he trails Obama by a mere 3 EV's, 264 to 261 with VA's 13 EV's up for grabs (RCP gives VA to McCain, probably reasonable since of the last 4 polls there, he leads in 3 and the fourth is a tie).

    The national popular vote average at RCP is the closest since June 1. Obama leads by 1.3.

    SurveyUSA has him up by 6 in Indiana, despite an enormous effort by Obama to win this state.

    Zogby has him up by 5 nationally.

    That doesn't appear to be all that much of an outlier, because GWU Battleground has him up by 1 nationally.

    LA Times even only has Obama up by 2 and they tend to favor Obama.

     

    Great kid, don't get cocky.

     

    There may be problems with all of these polls. It's very possible that every single poll out there is undercounting Democrats. There's been a lot of new Democrats registered this year, and the old statistics on party affiliation may be wrong.

    Also, I know that historically Democratic Presidential candidates put up big leads in the summer only to be overtaken in the fall by the Republican candidate. It's very possible that trend won't happen this year and may even be reversed. Republicans tend to do that because of a) outspending their opponents, and b) having a better ground game (the ground game certainly helped in 2000 and 2004). This year, the Democrat has the money and appears to have the better ground game as well.

    Don't go counting your EV's until they're hatched.

    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    Eight Golden Performances

    1. 4x100 Individual Medley
    2. 4x100 Freestyle Relay
    3. 200 Freestyle
    4. 200 Butterfly
    5. 4x200 Freestyle Relay
    6. 200 Individual Medley
    7. 100 Butterfly
    8. 4x100 Medley Relay

    Personally, I find Phelps' record of 14 career gold medals more impressive. The two top performances in Olympic history belong to Phelps with 8 and Spitz with 7.  To beat 14 in two Olympics would require something like an 8 and 7 performance. Or, in other words, two of the best four performances ever. To do it in three Olympics would be something like 5-5-5. There haven't been that many people who have won 5 in a games, and to do it three times seems impossible. I'm not sure his career record will ever be broken, except by him if he returns in 2012 and can pick up a couple more.

    Oh, and hats off to Natalie Coughlin who's had nearly as incredible performance as Michael Phelps.  She won 6 golds in Beijing and 5 in Athens, acquiring the second most medals (to Phelps) in both games.

    Above Your Pay Grade?

    Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) says that deciding when life begins is "above my pay grade". That seems an evasive answer for a U.S. Senator, but it's absolutely a horrendous answer for a Presidential candidate.  While it may be above your pay grade now, it's not above the pay grade of the job you're trying to obtain.

    Besides that, it's clearly an answer to keep from scaring away pro-lifers that might be supporting him.  Obama's record on this issue is quite clear.

    Senator John McCain gave a quick and unequivocal answer:

    He said a baby’s human rights began “at the moment of conception … I have a 25-year pro-life record.”

    The difference here is that the "new kind of politician" gave an evasive and very calculated answer, while the career politician gave the straightforward unafraid one.

    Clarence Thomas Not Experienced Enough For the Supreme Court

    Last night, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) started to say that Clarence Thomas wasn't experienced enough to be a Supreme Court justice. He caught himself mid-word, but the damage was done.  That's obviously what he thinks.

    Let's look at Thomas' career prior to when he was nominated:

    From 1974 to 1977, Thomas was an Assistant Attorney General of Missouri under then State Attorney General John Danforth. When Danforth was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1976 to 1979, Thomas left to become an attorney with Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri. He returned to work for Danforth from 1979 to 1981 as a Legislative Assistant. Both men shared a common bond in that both had studied to be ordained (although Thomas was Roman Catholic and Danforth was ordained Episcopalian). Danforth was to be instrumental in championing Thomas for the Supreme Court.

    In 1981, he joined the Reagan administration. From 1981 to 1982, he served as Assistant Secretary of Education for the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education. From 1982 to 1990 he was Chairman of the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

    And Barack Obama prior to his own nomination:

    A graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama worked as a community organizer and practiced as a civil rights attorney before serving in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004. He taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. Following an unsuccessful bid for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, he announced his campaign for the U.S. Senate in January 2003. After a primary victory in March 2004, Obama delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004. He was elected to the Senate in November 2004 with 70% of the vote.

    Clarence Thomas didn't have enough experience to be one of nine of the most powerful jurists in America, and Obama has enough experience to be the most powerful man in the world?

    Once again, it appears to me that Barack Obama is running for President of Fantasyland.

    UPDATE: Hot Air has video and Glenn Reynolds agrees with me.

    New And Noteworthy

    What’s Going On?

    Well, I really have missed doing my September 11 timeline. My daughters have asked about that, and I want them to understand it a little bet...

    All The Best