John McCain

McCain's "Celeb" Hits a Triple

I am a long-time believer in the idea that the McCain campaign must hang Obama's celebrity status around his neck like an albatross. The most devastating thing you can do to an opponent is make him self-conscious and afraid to run as himself. 

The ad leads off with a great first half. And the "more foreign oil" line is killer.

Where it trails off is that the portrait doesn't match the frame. After framing up Obama's celebrity perfectly, the ad transitions into a standard Republican litany on taxes and gas prices. What exactly this has to do with Obama being like Paris Hilton isn't clear.

The ad would have been more thematically seamless if it honed in on the one or two best examples of Obama's naivite or selling American interests down the river to please the adoring Berlin crowds. Obama's "without preconditions" quote on Iran would be a perfect example. The theme: Obama's celebrity naivite isn't just misguided. It's dangerous.

Obama University @ 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

The excessive audacity of the junior Senator from Illinois (as well as its symols) have been well documented by now. Whether it's the mock presidential seal, the replacement of the American flag with a campaign logo on the tail of his plane, or his announcement of becoming a "symbol of the possibility of America returning to our best traditions," it's become clear that Barack Obama is treating this summer more like a victory tour than a time to campaign, as Dana Millbank explains in the Washington Post today:

"Barack Obama has long been his party's presumptive nominee. Now he's becoming its presumptuous nominee ... Some say the supremely confident Obama -- nearly 100 days from the election, he pronounces that "the odds of us winning are very good" -- has become a president-in-waiting. But in truth, he doesn't need to wait: He has already amassed the trappings of the office, without those pesky decisions."

Jodi Kantor of the New York Times has been writing a series of pieces detailing segments of the presidential candidates' biographies. Today, she published a story about Barack Obama's days as a law school professor in Chicago, his third profession at the time along with being a civil rights attorney and State Senator. Kantor expounds on the Obama dichotomy as an academic:

"As his reputation for frank, exciting discussion spread, enrollment in his classes swelled. Most scores on his teaching evaluations were positive to superlative. Some students started referring to themselves as his groupies ...

"While students appreciated Mr. Obama’s evenhandedness, colleagues sometimes wanted him to take a stand. When two fellow faculty members asked him to support a controversial antigang measure, allowing the Chicago police to disperse and eventually arrest loiterers who had no clear reason to gather, Mr. Obama discussed the issue with unusual thoughtfulness, they say, but gave little sign of who should prevail — the American Civil Liberties Union, which opposed the measure, or the community groups that supported it out of concern about crime."

This description of Professor Obama is exactly the description of Democratic presidential nominee Obama: someone who likes the sound of his own voice and basks in his own popularity, while also being uncommitted to anything substantive. This lack of committment on taking strong stands has been shown throughout the campaign, including his multiple reactions to Jeremiah Wright and shifting positions on the future of Iraq.

Candidate Barack Obama isn't what concerns me; what I'm actually afraid of is Professor Obama, and how this academic mindset along with his university friends that make up his policy team might actually govern. The reason he has one of the most liberal voting records in the United States Senate is not because of his impulsive need to be popular; it is because academia takes a much higher priority than sound decision-making. Let's take a look at why having an Oval Office filled with professors would be detrimental for America.

Obama and lobbyists: When the response ad writes itself

This morning, Barack Obama's campaign woke to a headline that might have made the strategy guys nervous. Roll Call ran a piece entitled "Lobbyists Give to Obama Campaign" with the even better subtitle "Despite Policy, Their Checks Clear".

"So what?" you might ask.

When Obama was busy with his post-February primary losing streak, he ran ads against Hillary Clinton attacking her over this issue. "Obama doesn't take money from lobbyists, but Hillary does. Not in the pocket of special interests." I never understood how this was supposed to help him win the votes of people who support corrupt machine politicians like Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA). Working class Democratic voters don't care about this issue. But they care about liars.

So now, imagine the response ad that McCain would run.

First it starts with one of Obama's statements about not taking money from lobbyists. Perhaps even using Obama's own ad.

Then, put up headlines about him taking -- and asking for -- money from the spouses of lobbyists. (by the way, that's another brilliantly titled piece "Obama's K-street Project')

And then one his former staffers emailed DC lobbying firms demanded contracts.

And now it turns out that he even takes money from lobbyists. "despite policy, checks clear."

And then you flash up the headline "Obama's Lobbyist Connection", from Michael Isikoff's piece earlier this year.

And then throw in Obama breaking his pledge on public financing. (I am sure that there's a good headline here)

Then it ends with something like "Barack Obama: You can't trust what he says"

The words need to be improved, of course. But the point is that the material is there to undermine his character and his trustworthiness, Obama's only real assets in this race. And you do it at the same time as you rip off the "reformer" mask, a fundamental part of his "change" mantra.


Cuil Biased Already

Today, the Internet world is very excited about Cuil, the alternative to Google founded by Anna Patterson, the elusive gal behind Google's success in many ways.  Patterson jumped ship to start, claiming groundbreaking changes in the way you can search the Internet. 

Couple of pointers:

1) Don't misttype

2) Don't bother searching for John McCain

3) Obama seems to be their candidate of choice

As of 1:00PM EST, no results for poor John McCain.  Boy, that was the quickest flat run to the left I've ever seen for a Silicon Valley start-up.  Congrats!

Am I being too critical?  How about Mitt Romney?  Nope.  Mike Huckabee?  Nope.  On the other hand it might be a technical glitch: Hillary is missing. Then again, they may REALLY be in the tank for Obama!

So what is the problem?  Cuil suggest:

  • a typo. Please check your spelling.
  • your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
  • too many search terms. Please try fewer terms

I guess I should just stick with "Obama" as the "common substitute" for all my searching needs


Cuil is biased!?

Barack's Boring Website

The common wisdom is that is not only better at wrangling donations from the faithful, but is categorically better than because it embraces an interactive as opposed to a broadcast model. Time's Michael Scherer put it this way last April:

Even today, if you go to McCain's website, you are more likely than not to find a page that just asks for money and broadcasts the campaign's message, with issue papers, press releases and videos.

By contrast, Obama's website is engineered for engagement: prompts invite people to volunteer, make phone calls and find nearby events. "Don't just fill out this volunteer form and wait," it reads. "Get started on your own." The blog is maintained by a former journalist; the social-networking function is managed by a founder of Facebook.

I don't disagree as far as's depth of content goes. But let's not kid ourselves. At its core, is not truly interactive. It is transactional.

The first time you hit the Obama website, you'll get a splash page prompting you to sign up for the email list. This is good practice, as the sign up form can get lost in the message-of-the-day clutter of the homepage. This way, you can change the homepage at will while still focusing on the most important thing: getting new people to sign up.

But the difference on is this: the homepage above the fold hardly ever changes.

Our Media


I, as the rest of you know that the media is overwhelming liberal.  But having the three major news networks follow Senator Obama on his "World Tour" is ridiculous.  To think that they call themselves fair is a disgrace to the media in this Country. They treat Obama like a rock star, but were voting not on star power but for a leader of the United States. Last week the NYT gave Obama an op-ed piece, when McCain also wanted to put a piece in the NYT said " It was in the wrong format."  The Times just doesn't want McCain's message out there... They don't want Obama to be challenged.  Why not publish both and let the readers decide, since the Times claims to be fair. But its there choice what they want to publish, I guess that's why they're losing readers everyday. 


Mac understands bailouts; Chris Dodd applauds them

Taxpayers On Hook To Bail Out Fannie, Freddie"
Sen. John McCain
St. Petersburg Times
July 24, 2008

Americans should be outraged at the latest sweetheart deal in Washington. Congress will put U.S. taxpayers on the hook for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It's a tribute to what these two institutions -- which most Americans have never heard of -- have bought with more than $170-million worth of lobbyists in the past decade.

With combined obligations of roughly $5-trillion, the rapid failure of Fannie and Freddie would be a threat to mortgage markets and financial markets as a whole. Because of that threat, I support taking the unfortunate but necessary steps needed to keep the financial troubles at these two companies from further squeezing American families. But let us not forget that the threat that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose to financial markets is a tribute to crony capitalism that reflects the power of the Washington establishment.......


 Fannie and Freddie are the poster children for a lack of transparency and accountability. Fannie Mae employees deliberately manipulated financial reports to trigger bonuses for senior executives. Freddie Mac manipulated its earnings by $5-billion. They've misled us about their accounting, and now they are endangering financial markets. More than two years ago, I said: "If Congress does not act, American taxpayers will continue to be exposed to the enormous risk that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pose." Fannie and Freddie's lobbyists succeeded; Congress failed to act. They've stayed in business, grown, and profited mightily by showering money on lobbyists and favors on the Washington establishment. Now the bill has come due.

During these past two years Senator Chris Dodd has been chairman of the Senate Banking Committee and acted oblivious to the crisis at hand, choosing the all-purpose excuse of  blaming the Bush Administration, and just weeks ago, insisting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were financially sound.

Today  he succeeded in making the American taxpayer the world's foremost subprime borrower. adding even more risk to the economy as "Fannie and Freddie are being encouraged to head for the deep end of the pool even as we wring our hands about their ability to swim."

So the bailout bill finally passed this morning, and Dodd said this raid on the Treasury showed both parties " can work together to achieve a good result,"

Let's see-----the biggest taxpayer bailout in decades is a "good result"? What, pray tell, would be a bad result?  

Go to fullsize image

If Chris Dodd stays on as Chairman of the Banking Committee, such pictures will not be ancient history. And if Barack Obama, the former "community organizer" is President, we will quickly see the taxpayers used as the sap as crony capitalists make common cause with radical activists to use the financial system to bankroll their pipe dreams. 


McCain Beating Obama on YouTube

Not all is lost for McCain's eCampaign. Silicon Alley Insider reports the "Obama Love" and "Pump" web ads have helped McCain to beat Obama lately in YouTube views:

To get a sense of how rare this is, McCain has beaten Obama on just two other days in video views since the campaign began: February 11, 2008 and November 29, 2007, according to TubeMogul. Thanks to his clever and aggressive use of video and obvious appeal to the YouTube generation, Obama has owned Web video: His clips have been watched 56 million times since the campaign began; McCain's have been watched 4.5 million times.

But McCain's team seems to be figuring out Web video. Or at the very least, they're having a good week, according to TubeMogul.


The videos use two issues that run well with conservatives: liberal media bias and more drilling. I think much of the viewership is from the conservative base who is coming to McCain.

We still haven't seen an over-arching theme from Team McCain but I'm getting confident they'll do an admirable job if/when they develop it.

[via HotAir]

Netroots vs. Grassroots: Part II

In Part I of my post on this subject, I asked two questions that I found relevant after reading Kirsten Powers' description of the divide between the netroots and the grassroots of the Left. How will the "Netroots of the Right" be described 4 years from now? And can the grassroots of the Republican Party ever merge successfully with the future netroots of the conservative movement? I particularly enjoyed a response from "davidfarrar" who says we should have a long term, "beyond GOTV," plan to attract people to the netroots of the Right in order to give added value to the grassroots of the Right, and further mentions that the Georgia GOP is starting to do this.

Jason Horowitz of the New York Observer wrote a long story on the recent Netroots Nation convention in Austin. He confirmed the divide between the institutional Democratic leadership and the bloggers when "the bloggers in the crowd were asked to act like grown-ups and limit their grievance-airing to an allotted ten-second boo-hiss session before [Nancy] Pelosi took the stage." Ed Madej, a blogger with DailyKOS, had an interesting historical observation about the netroots of the Left:


Finally, a Republican campaign that is unafraid to explicitly take on the media.

This is the kind of thing that would have been shot down in the past for jeopardizing the campaign's relationship with the Fourth Estate. Of all campaigns, McCain's should know that nothing good can come of playing footsie with the media. McCain did that for years, and what has it gotten him as far as this campaign goes?

The media is a strategic actor in the campaign, not simply an observer. It was time to treat them as such. 

Wild guess here, but I'll bet McCain's online fundraising wasn't bad today.

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