New Mexico

Advice for Obama Press Corps: Keep Your 'Chute Handy

As confirmed by Politico.com's Ben Smith in his corroboration of the story that broke on the Drudge Report last night, the Obama campaign did indeed bump three major newspapers from the press group traveling aboard the candidate's plane.  Although press accounts are not specific, it is assumed that their removal was conducted while the plane was still on the ground.

The Obama campaign indicated that they will try to find seats on campaign buses for the disenfranchised Dallas Morning News, Washington Times and New York Post staff, and that they are encouraging them to travel with Joe Biden. 

(Two major right-leaning newspapers, who now have an axe to grind, riding along with the king of the gaffes?  One would think that Team Obama would be better served in the final days of the election by giving them daily interview sessions with Barack than by placing them within earshot of gaffemaster Joe.)

While it is true that in a similar move, Senator McCain barred Maureen Dowd and Joe Klein from his campaign plane, there is a subtle but important distinction between that punishment and the kind of retribution Obama is meting out. 

Dowd and Klein are columnists.  They write commentary and analysis in their own voice and the result is mainly the opinion of the writer as an individual.  When a columnist gleefully pounds away at a politician, it doesn't seem at all out of bounds for the politician to shut down that one person's access.  Even if the lex talionis - eye for an eye - mode of justice may be harsh, at least it observes some semblance of symmetry.

A newspaper's endorsement of a candidate is a decision more often made by the ownership of the paper, in consultation with the editorial staff, but it is never made by reporters.  The reporting done thus far by the ejected journalists has not been harmful to Obama.  On the contrary, most campaign trail reporting tips toward positive coverage of a candidate as reporters develop a relationship with the candidate they are covering.  Label it human nature or the Helsinki Syndrome, depending on your perspective.

There is no balance in Obama's retaliatory strike and it could say something larger about how he will apply power to other problems that arise.  In international terms, we assign a particular label to people and causes that consider innocents as appropriate tools for conveying political messages.  In domestic terms it is political thuggery and the penchant the Obama camp has for silencing dissent should at least give us a reason to retain skepticism, whether you color yourself red, blue or purple.

The Chicago-style politics of making war on anyone a politician classifies as 'enemies' by hitting their proxies is something that we, as a nation, have been trying to extinguish for more than one hundred years, but the Obama machine is reviving those tactics of naked power and proving that they still work.  He is giving us a sample, a sneak peak of his wilder side.

With the prospect of single-party rule of the federal government, and intimidation of media who are perceived as 'unfriendly' to an Obama administration, more than ever it seems clear that a vote for Obama is a vote for change.  When we realize what the word 'change' really means in Obamaspeak, I only hope that we will be able to change back.

What a Night!

Last night, both the Democrat and Republican nominees for President of the United States, Barack Obama and John McCain, met face-to-face in a debate forum for the very first time. Both appeared energetic and prepared to engage in this rhetorical battle in front of thousands who were there and millions watching at home.

Both of these two met and exceeded expectations set forth by their respective campaigns. For Barack Obama, long term, this might be where the good news for him ends.

I say “long term” because of the raw transcript of the debate. There were a number of instances where Obama looked as if he was trying to be all things to all people. There were also moments where he showed his youth and inexperience in other areas.

First, when the moderator Jim Lehrer asked the candidates about scaling back the federal budget as to what each of the candidates would do as president, Obama never mentioned one area where he would freeze or reduce spending. Instead, he mentioned his support for increased funding for early childhood education. All told, the combination of the Paulson bailout plan combined with Obama’s four-year spending proposals would add an additional $1.5 trillion to the federal budget alone. He needed to show where his cuts were going to be, but he showed an instance where he was going to increase spending.

Meanwhile, McCain gave areas where he would reduce spending starting with his least favorite items on the budget, earmarks. Next, McCain went to eliminating the ethanol subsidies and by tighting the screws on defense contracts so that defense spending is more efficient.

Obama supporters might be fast to point out that he will eliminate $10 billion a month ($480 billion over four years) by ending the war in Iraq and eliminating the Bush tax cuts for those making $250,000 or more a year. For the 48 months that he would be president which would not even come close to covering the costs for his spending proposals, tax cut for the bottom 95% of wage earners, covering a projected $600 billion deficit in his first budget, and the Paulson bailout plan. Sacrifices will have to be made and they might most likely start with the proposed tax cut (a la Bill Clinton).

The second mistake by Obama was a reversal of his position on so-called dirty energy. John McCain has made the construction of 45 new nuclear power plants to provide energy and combat climate change along with support for clean coal and offshore drilling parts of his energy plan along with renewable energy, flex-fuel vehicles, and better fuel economy.

Prior to last night, Obama had previously expressed his desire to tax coal, natural gas, and place a windfall profits tax on the oil companies which even he admits would not produce another drop of oil. However, last night Obama got in to the mode of being all things to all people by advocating his support for drilling, clean coal technology, and nuclear energy. The Sierra Club cannot be happy about this.

Third, Obama was clearly on the defensive about unconditional negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud “Adolph, Jr.” Ahmadinejad. A major mistake made here was the citation of former Secretary of State and McCain’s friend and advisor Dr. Henry Kissinger. Obama cited Kissinger as one of five former Secretaries of State who had advocated Presidential-level talks with Iran. The five include both of Bill Clinton’s (Warren Christopher and Madeline Albright) and James Baker, who served under Bush-41. McCain had said that Kissinger was not one of the five though Obama insisted he was. 

After the debate last night, Kissinger said the following: “Senator McCain is right. I would not recommend the next President of the United States engage in talks with Iran at the Presidential level.  My views on this issue are entirely compatible with the views of my friend Senator John McCain. We do not agree on everything, but we do agree that any negotiations with Iran must be geared to reality.” Oops!

Fourth, there was a moment in the debate where John McCain and Barack Obama were comparing the bracelets they received from mothers who had lost their sons in Operation Iraqi Freedom. McCain gave the name of the soldier who was on his bracelet instantly without having to look. The same cannot be said of Obama who had to look at his to get the name. It might have been better for Obama to have not mentioned the name if it required him to take a look.

However, the biggest missteps by Senator Obama went under the radar because they were sprinkled throughout the debate. In all, there were eight instances where Obama expressed his agreement with Senator McCain. Within minutes, McCain’s campaign released a web ad (potentially a television ad in the future) showing where Obama agreed with McCain on responsibility and accountability, the earmarks process, and that business taxes are high. More could be made against Obama on the issues of spending cuts, the success of the troop surge strategy in Iraq, and that the world cannot tolerate a nuclear Iran.

Writing in the National Review, Byron York stated a prediction: “The next time McCain and Obama meet in debate, on October 7 in Nashville, start a drinking game in which you take a big swig every time Obama says, ‘John is absolutely right.’ I’ll bet you get to the end of the debate without ever lifting a glass.”

In all, Senator McCain won this round despite the curtailing of national security issues (the original topic of the debate) for three questions on economic issues. The night was largely on McCain’s turf thanks to national security, talks about government spending more than anything else, and the aforementioned missteps of Senator Obama. However, for McCain, thanks to Obama’s energy and exceeding expectations, the win was not by as wide a margin as some anticipated.

Today's Poll Report

New round of polls out, ignoring irrelvant CNN/Time polls with poor sampling, we have:

  • Virginia: Public Policy Polling: Obama by 2, CNU Virginia: McCain +9. The CNU poll uses a "registered voter" rather than likely voter sample, so I don't give it much weight, even though they came out with the same 24 point lead for Mark Warner in the Senate. Polls out of Virginia continue to be all over the place. Toss-Up.
  • Oregon: Rasmussen: Obama +4. A State that was basically a purple state in 2000, went Blue in 2004. As much as I'd like to turn my anti-blogger's state Red, I'm thinking Washington's a better bet as the incumbent Republican Senator has run ads touting his work with Senator Obama.  Still, I'll watch for more polling.
  • Wisconsin: Rasmussen: Obama +2. The last poll showed Obama +3. For a while, this was thought t0 be a state Obama would run away with. It's looking to be as tight as the last two elections.
  • New Mexico: Survey USA: Obama +8 . Huge lead for Obama in this poll, but this is an outlier in recent likely voter polling, so I really would need to see some more confirmation.

 

Obama's Westward Expansion Failing

There are a new round of polls out. Here are my thoughts:

  • CNN/Time Polls are jokes with a Registered Voter sample. Whether it's John McCain leading in Missouri and Virginia or Obama in New Hampshire and Michigan, the sample is so bad, I can't take them seriously. Worse yet, their silly polls will mess up the Real Clear Politics average that doesn't distinguish between good and bad polls. With so many outfits out there doing legitimate polls, CNN/Time is annoying.
  • The big story from today's polling is the continued blunting of Obama's attempt to "expand the map" in the West. He'd targed Alaska, Montana, and North Dakota. Yesterday, a Rasmussen poll in Montana yesterday showed McCain up 11. In what should be a surprise to no one, Alaska is out of reach with McCain/Palin up by 31.  North Dakota had been a  state that both Rasmussen and Daily Kos showed Obama within 3. The latest Rasmussen Poll shows McCain up 14. While some have compared Palin's accent to that of the Police Chief in Fargo, I think her rural values are key in a big time rural state. North Dakota is a mostly rural state, Obama should have written it off after the "bitter clingers" remark.
  • Obama's opportunities to "expand the map" are really limited to 2 states, Virginia and North Carolina. The other states, Obama hopes to carry that Bush won are best described as Purple States that went to the GOP by miniscule margins (Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri)
  • New Mexico is getting interesting. The New Mexico Rasmussen Poll shows McCain up by 2, the Previous Rasmussen Poll had Obama up 4, and the Mason Dixon Poll prior to that, had McCain up 4. If these candidates keep trading leads, we'll have to move New Mexico to toss-up from Leans Obama, but not quite just yet.
  • The Strategic Vision Poll in Pennsylvania shows Obama's lead at only 2, this follows on a Fox/Rasmussen poll showing the same thing.
  • Finally, yesterday I told you that a Survey USA poll in North Carolina showed John McCain up 20, Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm shows McCain up only 4.  I don't dismiss PPP lightly and Survey USA's poll was a huge shift. One of these polls is an outlier, which one is accurate will be confirmed by future polling.

 

GOP Youth Convention

GOPYOUTHCONVENTION.org

What are you doing to effect the upcoming election?  Are you a young member of society and you feel like you cannot do anything because you are inexperienced in the political relam or that you do not know where to start.  Well how about you get trained by some of the best grassroots political organizers in the country so that you can go out and truely make a difference in the upcoming election. 

For just $50 you will be able to get this training without missing any school all while in Minneapolis at the Republican National Convention.  That is right just e-mail info@gopyouthconvention.org and join young members of the Republican party from around America as they come together to be trained to be the future grassroots organizers for the GOP. 

I hope that you will all inquire about this wonderful opportunity to help share not just this important election but you to help our wonderful party for years to come.

Thanks, and I hope to see you in Minneapolis.

Bright idea: Senate GOP actually gets behind a winning issue

Ed at Hot Air brought this video to my attention, which features 15 GOP Senators, including Tennessee's Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, calling on the Democrats for a "balanced energy plan." A great addendum to the House GOP effort, actually.

Here's what I like about this video. It's fast-moving, it's solutions-based, and it's surprisingly Internet savvy for Republican Senators. It's a smart appeal to young voters (the Coldplay song would be passé, except I'll give the GOP a pass because at least it's from this century.), and it doesn't talk down to us. The call for their Democratic colleagues to do something is much more senatorial, which makes sense and bookends the revolutionary air behind the House's Guerrilla Congress.

My only hope is that the GOP in Congress uses this as an opportunity to step out of the way, not try to be too meddlesome like with Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Republicans need to know that what we do best is let the market and the people do their jobs.

 Mike Warren posts at RIght-Wing Vitriol from Vanderbilt University.

Did you give your Social Security number to a child rapist?

This is a public service announcement.

Did you register to vote recently near Albuquerque? If so, you might have given your Social Security number, indeed all the information necessary to commit identity theft, to a child rapist. In particular, this guy.

You see, New Mexico ACORN hired this guy, along with a bunch of other criminals to register voters. In New Mexico, according to the Bernallilo County Clerk, where this happened, this is the infromation needed:

Name, gender, birth date, social security number, residence address, mailing address (if different from your residence) party affiliation, telephone number (optional), date and signature.  

Would you trust this information with a child rapist or any other kind of felon? No.

Then why does ACORN pay them? What the story on the evening news last night:

Note that one of these guys has actually been convicted on two counts of credit card fraud. Shouldn't there be some sort of background check for people who are paid to collect this information?

H/T to Election Journal.

The White House is Wrong

Figures - President Bush denies House GOP special session.

I doubt this will have any affect on the House GOP leaders who are continuing their efforts this week from the House floor, but it is somewhat disheartening. The White House claims that there is no point in calling Congress back into session for a bill that the Democrats won't allow an up-down vote on.

The White House is wrong.

The point would be to force televised debate on an issue and shine a light on Pelosi's roadblocking. The point would be to support conservatives in Congress when they need it most. The point would be to align this White House with conservatives and give a badly needed boost to sagging conservative confidence in the Republican Party. The point would be to gain momentum for drilling - just serious discussion about drilling has made oil prices drop slightly, putting us on the road to easing the deathgrip high gas prices have on the nation's economy.

We're fooling ourselves if we don't believe that gas prices have been one of the primary causes for economic worry. And as we enter hurricane season in full force, with tropical storms already aiming dead-on at platforms and refineries in the Gulf, we need to do everything possible to give relief before the worst befalls us once again.

Incidentally, John McCain supports bringing Congress back into session.

Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele Named Co-Chairs of GOP Youth Convention

GINGRICH, JINDAL, STEELE TO LEAD GOP YOUTH CONVENTION GROUP

                                                     Media Contact (202)544-7525 Info@GOPYouthConvention.org                    

WASHINGTON, July 30, 2008 - Today GOP Youth Convention.Org announced that Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, and GOPAC Chair and former Md. Lt Governor Michael Steele will serve as Honorary Co-chairs of its campaign to bring young people to the GOP National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"We are very excited that these outstanding leaders of the Republican Party will co-chair our campaign to bring a new generation of young leaders and volunteers to the GOP Convention in Minneapolis," said Namrata Idnani, a student co-chairman of the group.

In a special program over Labor Day weekend, GOP Youth Convention.Org will offer opportunities for young people from around the country to meet other young leaders, hear from and interact with elected officials, and learn how to be better grassroots organizers and political communicators. Other programs will extend throughout the week of the National Convention

"The new generation of leaders who join us in Minneapolis will experience a historic event: the nomination of John McCain for President of the United States," said Soren Dayton, Director of the GOP Youth Convention.

The group's education and training program will take place at Concordia University in Minneapolis, MN starting on Labor Day weekend and continuing throughout the week of the National Convention through Friday September 5th. An opening "welcome" party will take place at the Hard Rock cafe in Minneapolis during the evening on Friday, August 29. Other social events will continue throughout the Convention week.

Affordable accommodations are available for group participants.

For more information, interested individuals may call the group's office at (202) 544-7525, or visit our website at  www.gopyouthconvention.org

 

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