Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Economist endorses Barack Obama!


The Economist? For Barack Obama?  This is a must read, especially if you think you might vote for John McCain. This is a “reprint” of the entire article endorsing Barack Obama for President.  Click here to go to the original article

It’s time

Oct 30th 2008
From The Economist print edition

America should take a chance and make Barack Obama the next leader of the free world

AP

IT IS impossible to forecast how important any presidency will be. Back in 2000 America stood tall as the undisputed superpower, at peace with a generally admiring world. The main argument was over what to do with the federal government’s huge budget surplus. Nobody foresaw the seismic events of the next eight years. When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack.

For all the shortcomings of the campaign, both John McCain and Barack Obama offer hope of national redemption. Now America has to choose between them. The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.

Thinking about 2009 and 2017

The immediate focus, which has dominated the campaign, looks daunting enough: repairing America’s economy and its international reputation. The financial crisis is far from finished. The United States is at the start of a painful recession. Some form of further fiscal stimulus is needed, though estimates of the budget deficit next year already spiral above $1 trillion. Some 50m Americans have negligible health-care cover. Abroad, even though troops are dying in two countries, the cack-handed way in which George Bush has prosecuted his war on terror has left America less feared by its enemies and less admired by its friends than it once was.

Yet there are also longer-term challenges, worth stressing if only because they have been so ignored on the campaign. Jump forward to 2017, when the next president will hope to relinquish office. A combination of demography and the rising costs of America’s huge entitlement programmes—Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—will be starting to bankrupt the country. Abroad a greater task is already evident: welding the new emerging powers to the West. That is not just a matter of handling the rise of India and China, drawing them into global efforts, such as curbs on climate change; it means reselling economic and political freedom to a world that too quickly associates American capitalism with Lehman Brothers and American justice with Guantánamo Bay. This will take patience, fortitude, salesmanship and strategy.

At the beginning of this election year, there were strong arguments against putting another Republican in the White House. A spell in opposition seemed apt punishment for the incompetence, cronyism and extremism of the Bush presidency. Conservative America also needs to recover its vim. Somehow Ronald Reagan’s party of western individualism and limited government has ended up not just increasing the size of the state but turning it into a tool of southern-fried moralism.

The selection of Mr McCain as the Republicans’ candidate was a powerful reason to reconsider. Mr McCain has his faults: he is an instinctive politician, quick to judge and with a sharp temper. And his age has long been a concern (how many global companies in distress would bring in a new 72-year-old boss?). Yet he has bravely taken unpopular positions—for free trade, immigration reform, the surge in Iraq, tackling climate change and campaign-finance reform. A western Republican in the Reagan mould, he has a long record of working with both Democrats and America’s allies.

If only the real John McCain had been running

That, however, was Senator McCain; the Candidate McCain of the past six months has too often seemed the victim of political sorcery, his good features magically inverted, his bad ones exaggerated. The fiscal conservative who once tackled Mr Bush over his unaffordable tax cuts now proposes not just to keep the cuts, but to deepen them. The man who denounced the religious right as “agents of intolerance” now embraces theocratic culture warriors. The campaigner against ethanol subsidies (who had a better record on global warming than most Democrats) came out in favour of a petrol-tax holiday. It has not all disappeared: his support for free trade has never wavered. Yet rather than heading towards the centre after he won the nomination, Mr McCain moved to the right.

Meanwhile his temperament, always perhaps his weak spot, has been found wanting. Sometimes the seat-of-the-pants method still works: his gut reaction over Georgia—to warn Russia off immediately—was the right one. Yet on the great issue of the campaign, the financial crisis, he has seemed all at sea, emitting panic and indecision. Mr McCain has never been particularly interested in economics, but, unlike Mr Obama, he has made little effort to catch up or to bring in good advisers (Doug Holtz-Eakin being the impressive exception).

The choice of Sarah Palin epitomised the sloppiness. It is not just that she is an unconvincing stand-in, nor even that she seems to have been chosen partly for her views on divisive social issues, notably abortion. Mr McCain made his most important appointment having met her just twice.

Ironically, given that he first won over so many independents by speaking his mind, the case for Mr McCain comes down to a piece of artifice: vote for him on the assumption that he does not believe a word of what he has been saying. Once he reaches the White House, runs this argument, he will put Mrs Palin back in her box, throw away his unrealistic tax plan and begin negotiations with the Democratic Congress. That is plausible; but it is a long way from the convincing case that Mr McCain could have made. Had he become president in 2000 instead of Mr Bush, the world might have had fewer problems. But this time it is beset by problems, and Mr McCain has not proved that he knows how to deal with them.

Is Mr Obama any better? Most of the hoopla about him has been about what he is, rather than what he would do. His identity is not as irrelevant as it sounds. Merely by becoming president, he would dispel many of the myths built up about America: it would be far harder for the spreaders of hate in the Islamic world to denounce the Great Satan if it were led by a black man whose middle name is Hussein; and far harder for autocrats around the world to claim that American democracy is a sham. America’s allies would rally to him: the global electoral college on our website shows a landslide in his favour. At home he would salve, if not close, the ugly racial wound left by America’s history and lessen the tendency of American blacks to blame all their problems on racism.

So Mr Obama’s star quality will be useful to him as president. But that alone is not enough to earn him the job. Charisma will not fix Medicare nor deal with Iran. Can he govern well? Two doubts present themselves: his lack of executive experience; and the suspicion that he is too far to the left.

There is no getting around the fact that Mr Obama’s résumé is thin for the world’s biggest job. But the exceptionally assured way in which he has run his campaign is a considerable comfort. It is not just that he has more than held his own against Mr McCain in the debates. A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and outfought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.

Political fire, far from rattling Mr Obama, seems to bring out the best in him: the furore about his (admittedly ghastly) preacher prompted one of the most thoughtful speeches of the campaign. On the financial crisis his performance has been as assured as Mr McCain’s has been febrile. He seems a quick learner and has built up an impressive team of advisers, drawing in seasoned hands like Paul Volcker, Robert Rubin and Larry Summers. Of course, Mr Obama will make mistakes; but this is a man who listens, learns and manages well.

It is hard too nowadays to depict him as soft when it comes to dealing with America’s enemies. Part of Mr Obama’s original appeal to the Democratic left was his keenness to get American troops out of Iraq; but since the primaries he has moved to the centre, pragmatically saying the troops will leave only when the conditions are right. His determination to focus American power on Afghanistan, Pakistan and proliferation was prescient. He is keener to talk to Iran than Mr McCain is— but that makes sense, providing certain conditions are met.

Our main doubts about Mr Obama have to do with the damage a muddle-headed Democratic Congress might try to do to the economy. Despite the protectionist rhetoric that still sometimes seeps into his speeches, Mr Obama would not sponsor a China-bashing bill. But what happens if one appears out of Congress? Worryingly, he has a poor record of defying his party’s baronies, especially the unions. His advisers insist that Mr Obama is too clever to usher in a new age of over-regulation, that he will stop such nonsense getting out of Congress, that he is a political chameleon who would move to the centre in Washington. But the risk remains that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole.

He has earned it

So Mr Obama in that respect is a gamble. But the same goes for Mr McCain on at least as many counts, not least the possibility of President Palin. And this cannot be another election where the choice is based merely on fear. In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent. Whether he can fulfil his immense potential remains to be seen. But Mr Obama deserves the presidency.

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What Would ‘Tightening’ Look Like? from fivethirtyeight.com


It has been awhile since my last post and I have had very little time to attend to Truth in Politics NOW.  I don’t usually re-post an article from another site, but this is a wonderful site for poll watchers such as myself. They crunch and re-crunch the numbers every possible way. Visit them at www.fivethirtyeight.com.

Before you go, take a look at this article from five thirty eight, posted on October 27th, 2007. It made it very clear exactly what to watch for in terms of poll numbers between now and November 4th. I found it very helpful:

What Would ‘Tightening’ Look Like?

There is a lot of discussion going on about whether the national race is tightening; our model concludes that it is not. But what would meaningful ‘tightening’ look like in terms of the Electoral College?

Let me be oddly specific here. In order to conclude the Electoral College has tightened to the point where the outcome on November 4 is at least moderately uncertain, I would want to see the following between now and the election. Call it the 2/2/2 condition:

John McCain polling within 2 points in 2 or more non-partisan polls (sorry, Strategic Vision) in at least 2 out of the 3 following states: Colorado, Virginia, Pennsylvania.

If this condition is met, then I think there could be some drama on Election Night (though by no means would McCain be the favorite). If not, then it’s very hard to imagine McCain winning.

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Keith Olbermann speaks for us and our fears of the Right


A special report from Keith Olbermann discussing the McCain campaign. He points out the true and verifiable facts that supporters at the McCain rallies have been promoting a theme of disrespect, hatred and violence towards Barack Obama. It is a disgrace and hasn’t been seen since the years when racism was accepted as legitimate public policy.

At the same time, the rallies at the Obama campaign show Obama quickly and effectively silencing simple boo’s at the mention of McCain.

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Smears galvanizes Obama supporters


Every smear promoted against Barack Obama only galvanizes his supporters.  What the McCain campaign does not understand is that Barack Obama represents every American who ever felt marginalized.

Every woman who was been raped.  Every woman that survived breast cancer.  Every man and woman who
had to work 2 and 3 jobs to make ends meet.  Every soldier who went to Iraq and knew it was wrong and had to do it anyway.  Every African-American who was subject to racism (and that would be every black person in America). Every Hispanic who was subject to prejudice.  Every child who was ostracized
or alienated for being “different,” every elderly person made to feel obsolete and unimportant, every disabled person made to feel deficient and anyone else who was marginalized by the minority ruling class:  the 1% of predominantly white, male Americans who control most of the country’s wealth
and therefore most of the power.

In the words of Mahatma Ghandi, every tyrant who ever ruled has always fallen.  They are consumed by their own hatred.  So when the Republicans smear Obama, it is GOOD for the Obama campaign. It just makes everyone in his campaign work that much harder.  In fact, we should thank the Republicans for handing him this election.

And THAT, my friend, is why Obama will win.  Just look at history and reflect upon the energy of this campaign.  It is born from the negative energy that produced the opposition:  prejudice, murder, hatred, hundreds of years of discrimination and violence.  Now all Americans who were victimized by our fear and stupidity have a leader.

Yes, there is danger, because the minority ruling class is fearful and does not want to lose power.  However,
just like Ghandi, King, and Bobby Kennedy before him, Obama will not lose
because he has the spirit of all those leaders within him.

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Who is Barack Obama? by Charles McCoy, North Carolina


Senator McCain, you asked, “Who is Barack Obama?”

I can answer that question for you.  Senator Obama is an American and a senator, just like you.  He was born to a white woman, just like you.  You and Senator Obama are just alike except for a few things:

He was not given entrance into a naval academy because his father, and father before him, attended the same naval academy.

He did not graduate at the bottom of his college class.

He wasn’t involved in the loss of five airplanes during the Vietnam War causing an additional 134 military men to lose their lives.

He wasn’t captured by the Viet Cong and forced to release critical information and then to contribute to the making of a propaganda tape.

He didn’t divorce his wife and three kids to pursue the Presidency with a trophy wife at his side.

He didn’t use “poor judgment” in the Keating Five financial disaster.

He didn’t support the worst president in the history of the United States 95% of the time.

He didn’t support a war based on lies that cost the American public 10 billion dollars a month and the loss of thousands of lives.

He didn’t champion deregulation of the financial industry for 27 years, which in turn, caused America’s most recent financial disaster.

So you see, Senator McCain, you may still say you do not know who Barack Obama is, but at least now you know who he is not.

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North Carolinians Speak Up. Let’s Listen


North Carolina, for perhaps the first time in its history, has the chance to become a blue state.  An Obama canvassing training was held in Raleigh last night and there were literally hundreds of people present.  Each one of those people are expected to get 10 more people to get out the vote between now and election day.  The best news for us all, though, is that the McCain campaign never counted on an election in this state to be so close.

He’s had to allocate financial resources to battle the Obama tide in North Carolina and that means he has less resources for an already troubled financial campaign.  Obama, however, does NOT have a troubled campaign.

Could it be that the negative campaign ads, direct mail, rallies and television appearances are working against McCain and Palin?  Senator Obama’s campaign strategy was perfect:  no need to attack McCain and Palin  because they will shoot themselves in the foot.  And they continue to do so….

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The lack of civility in McCain’s crowds promotes new feud amongst politicians


At last weeks Republican campaign rallies, the words of McCain and Palin clearly gave way for their supporters to make calls like  “Traitor!” “Bomb Obama!” “Kill him!” “Liar!” “Off with his head” and the use of the “N” word to a black cameraman while their candidates stood in silence as their fans cheered them on.

In addition to these horrific and dangerous shout-outs, which some fear could be a call-to-action, the questions coming from these town hall formats had nothing to do with the economy, nothing to do with the issues, but rather were expressions of fear of a Barack Obama president, fear that we would have an “Arab,” “a Muslim” or even worse “a domestic terrorist” in the white house. This fear, courtesy of John McCain himself , is currently being promoted in his attack ads against Barack Obama. These attack ads were developed to introduce a connection between Barack Obama and 60’s radical Bill Ayers and the clearly untrue notion this relationship implies that Obama might be a domestic terrorist himself. Everyone, including McCain himself knows that this is patently false, and McCain has stated so.

I do not believe that McCain himself thinks for one minute that Barack Obama has a terrorist bone in his body, but McCain was clearly generating a fear of Barack Obama, even if it means misleading the American people.

Careful what you wish for, Sen. McCain, because you just got it.

John McCain has now had to awkwardly back peddle, to the boos in his crowd, he has had to say that Barack Obama is “a Christian and a decent family man.”  This environment of anger, hate and fear from the McCain rallies had not been challenged, until the national response, through media, polls and other statements have expressed concern over the danger of allowing such rhetoric to continue, forcing McCain to ask his supporters for calm.

And just now, as I am writing this post, it was announced that Rep. John Lewis said “What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history in the not so distant past” when George Wallace “created the climate and conditions” which provoked hate.

Barack Obama responded that he does not believe that John McCain is promoting the policies of George Wallace and that to his credit John McCain himself has spoken out at his own rallies to calm the hateful rhetoric of his supporters. Obama did continue to say, however, that Sarah Palin’s should revoke her remarks that Barack Obama “pals around with terrorists,” a notion that John McCain has had to rebuke himself.

Several republican spokesmen were on the air just a moments ago continuing to state that Barack Obama was palling around with terrorists, even after McCain himself has stated that this is not true.

This latest, very latest back and forth between camps has, at the very least, shown an undisciplined republican party, where some spokesmen are saying the Obama did pal around with terrorists, while John McCain himself is saying that this is not so.

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Sarah Palin supports Militants with ties to Iran: A verifiable true story


Everyone is talking about Bill Ayers and his militant activities while Obama was just child of 8 years old, but there is another militant group that is still active today. It is called the Alaskan Independence Party, also know as the “AIP,” and it is supported by Sarah Palin and her husband.

So who is the AIP?  Is it just another independence party, like Joe Lieberman? Not by a long shot.

The founder of the AIP was a man named Joe Vogler. Like Ayers, Vogler preached armed insurrection against the United States of America. Vogler was know for saying,

“when the [federal] bureaucrats come after me, I suggest they wear red coats. They make better targets.  In the federal government are the biggest liars in the United States, and I hate them with a passion.  They think they own [Alaska]. There comes a time when people will choose to die with honor rather than live with dishonor. That time may be coming here.” Vogler continues, “I hope we dont’ have to take human life, but if they go on tramping on our property rights, look out, we’re ready to die.”

This is the same ideology that produced people like Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted and later put to death for the Bombing of Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. There was Waco, Texas, where the “Branch Davidians” leader, David Koresh taught that the U.S. government was the enemy of the Davidians, and that they would have to defend themselves.

Voglar made an appearance before the United Nations to denounce United States’ “tryanny,” and in front of the entire world, demanded Alaska’s freedom. Now here is the kicker. He actually persuaded the government of Iran to sponsor his anti-American cause.

Sarah Palin was not 8 years old. She was the Governor of Alaska, addressing the Alaskan Independence Party’s convention herself  just six months ago. She told them in her speech to “Keep up the good work” asking for God to bless them.  She wished the party luck on what she called its “inspiring convention.”

This is here and now and Sarah and Todd Palin show a deep involvement with this domestic terrorist organization. And we now see the buds of this kind of ideology at McCain’s rallies just this week!

At another town hall meeting on Friday, McCain gave the lady a microphone. She said she was afraid if Barack Obama would become president, because she said he was an Arab. The embarrassed McCain had no choice but to then defend Obama and say the truth, lest he be caught in a televised lie in the making.  The crowd booed McCain, but the sad thing is that this lady should be fearing the presidency of John McCain. I fear that the climate of this country could become more like McCain’s rallies.  I would fear for this country if John McCain was elected president.

John McCain pulls out the worst in people while Barack Obama continues to talk about hope and change.

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Round 2: Debate goes to Obama


Barack Obama had no problem rising to the challenge of a town hall meeting. He put his thoughts together well, and spoke with the tone of a leader. He spoke with a comfort and command of the issues that make you feel safe.

John McCain had some good things to say, but he missed an opportunity to demonstrate the self confidence that one looks for in a commander-in-chief.  He fumbled with some questions, made a few attempts at humor that fell flat and generally apppeared ill-at-ease.

The performance meters set up by CNN clearly showed high positive responses for Obama, particularly by women. McCain showed mostly unaffected responses, or would lose ground sharply each time he attempted to attack Obama. It should be said that Obama also lost some ground as well when attempting to paint McCain in bad light.

CBS and CNN polls concur, showing Obama with a clear advantage.

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Flow Chart of Sarah Palin’s Brain during the debate


Click on flowchart to enlarge.

If Sarah Palin cannot speak to the American people with a profound knowledge and complete understanding of the issues facing our nation, how can we possibly trust her to speak to foreign leaders in these most delicate times of war and nuclear proliferation.

She cannot rely on a script, change the subject or avoid the questions.  And one thing is certain, a wink will not help her.

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