Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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The two polls that include 9/27, Gallup and Rasmussen, have Obama at 50% and definitely beyond any margin of error ahead. The RCP electoral vote tally now has Obama at 301 and Intrading is Obama at about 58%. So it appears that Obama did get a very small but very real bump for the debate. He seemed safe and presidential enough. It would be amazing if the later debates are strikingly more favorable to McCain than this frist one, and the VP debate won’t really make much difference, assuming our Sarah has her groove back and Biden doesn’t say something really, really stupid. McCain’s main hope is that economic fears will get under control over the next couple of weeks and other concerns and issues become more important again.

Discussions - 19 Comments

Peter. My guess is that Obama's bounce from the polls grows from his making explicit and direct appeals to the middle class, more than his seemsing "safe." But it's also true that McCain has a way of getting to people over time. McCain might have a three debate strategy. On the other hand, if McCain suddenly learned how to talk about the economy in simple, direct, and free-market terms, he might also benefit from that. Unfortunately, that's not him.

Can anyone tell me how McCain's gambling issues will play with religious conservatives?Come on 7!

Well let's face it; all Obama has to do is run out the clock. He merely has to stand around looking "presidential" and mouthing a few platitudes, and the media will make sure there are no more embarassing "Saddleback" moments.
So, I only hope that those who vote to put Obama in the White House get what they deserve, not what they want.

PETER is assessing the race through the prism of his blueprint, which he has turned to again and again throughout this campaign season. And that's his 1980 redux model.

Everybody needs to step back here a sec.

McCain ceased all advertising 4 to 5 days ago. Whereas Obama bought out the time slots McCain just dumped, and ran an increased amount of ads over the last week.

Doesn't anyone here think that might be what's behind Obama's movement in the numbers? McCain has been running nothing for a week, while Obama has been hammering him.

Is it a stretch to think that might, just might be what's moving the numbers?

Sometimes ads are ran just to blunt a bad situation. Witness Obama in the Pennsylvania primary, where he was running ads just to prevent him getting blown out by 30. But in the midst of this bad financial situation, McCain was running nothing, while the Dems and the media were fingering the entire GOP as the culprits for this mess. Attacks that aren't answered have a bad way of sticking. McCain hasn't responded.

I suggest what's moving the numbers is the conjunction between McCain not running ads, and the financial meltdown, coupled with the media fingering the GOP. NOTE TOO that for all of those unchallenged ads, Obama has barely slipped out beyond the margin of error.

WHAT IF I'm right?

Then we should expect to see McCain climbing back into the race when his ads resume.

PETER's blueprint fails to take cognizance too of a media that's in the tank for Obama. If your model fails to take account of the role of the media in this campaign season, then your model can't possibly account for everything that's going on.

Again and again PETER refers to an electorate that is sick of Bush and will settle for any credible Dem alternative. Think back to '04, when Evan Thomas of NEWSWEEK disclosed that a media heavily favouring Kerry was worth 15 points to Kerry. Those were his words, not mine, ------------ "15 points."

Now the coverage that Kerry received is as nothing compared to that which Obama enjoys. I think we'll ALL concur on that.

So when PETER's 1980 redux blueprint fails to take account of the role of the media, how can it possibly present a compelling analogy for what we're seeing.

The media informs the decision of the electorate as much as their rightful and proper detestation of Bush, and just about all things Bush.

Reagan prevailed against Carter in the teeth of a strong media headwind.

But by contrast, Obama is enjoying a media tailwind, which I'd CONSERVATIVELY estimate is at the very least worth 8 real points for him. And that's a VERY conservative estimate.

Perhaps THE most important feature of this campaign season, {the media in the tank} is not reflected in PETER's blueprint. What we're all seeing with the media is something wholly unprecedented in American history. Shouldn't that be something at least refelected in PETER's model?

If the electorate were really in a 1980 mood, ------------ WOULDN'T we be seeing that by numbers indicating an Obama blowout? The electorate has seen Obama for almost 2 years. The campaign season of today is much longer than what Reagan went through. So the public has had ALL THE TIME they'd ever need to get comfortable with Obama, and to see whether he's a credible alternative. Was that the case with Reagan?

But what are we seeing right now?

Obama, with the assistance of a media unlike anything in American history, has barely, barely slipped out beyond the moe. We'll still a month out, ------------------ is that reason for panic?

Additionally, how was it possible for McCain to gain a slight lead after his convention if the 1980 model is accurate. McCain's lead was only a couple weeks ago.

Was that all attributable to a "bounce?" But that fails to examine Obama's IMMEDIATE response to McCain moving into the lead. If you recall, Obama unleashed an INTENSE WAVE of negative attacks on McCain, likewise on Governor Palin, all in conjunction with a media echoing, amplifying his attacks against McCain/Palin.

PETER has formed a picture, and seems determined to interpret all evidence consistent with that model or corroborative thereto.

ABOVE AND BEYOND all of that though, -------------------------- McCain's entire team has a treasure trove to work with, and more than enough time for them to polish off Obama. Whether they do so or not depends on whether they have the mental fortitude to endure a media attack upon them for daring to expose the holy and annoited one.

That's what this race is coming down to. McCain's team is going to be attacked unlike anything we've seen in American history, if they dare go after Obama, and after his REAL vulnerablities.

So how bad does McCain want it. And how determined is he to prevail, come what may.

My very late thoughts on the debate (I was out of town and offline),

1. Obama won the the exchange on tax cuts. He came across as the more authentic middle class tax cutter. McCain offered some business tax cuts and something to do with healthcare that I doubt anyone in the audience understood - and maybe mcCain didn't either.

2. McCain should cut down on his earmark comments by about 80%. Going after earmarks can be an effective, very small part of his message, but NO PERSUADABLE VOTER believes that cutting earmarks will solve any of the economic problems that voter is facing. The more McCain talks about earmarks the less he is talking about addressing the everyday economic worries of the voters.

3. McCain won on foreign policy but not by alot. mcCain was clearly stronger on Iraq but Obama seemed credible (to me wrongheaded but them I'm in McCain's corner), serious, and informed.

4. Grading on points it was a draw, but its not being graded on points. Obama won the economic portion of the debate, not because he had better answers, but because he was more clearly addressing the issues the public worries about. McCain won on foreign policy but, this week the public mind is much more focused on the economy so it doesn't even out. And McCain's challange on foreign policy wasn't just to prove that he was better than Obama on national security (most persuadable voters already prefer McCain), it was to show that Obama was unacceptably dangerous. McCain tried to do that by constantly explaining how Obama doesn't understand this or that, but I don't think McCain got there.

5. McCain missed yet another chance to connect with the public on the economy and sell his free market oriented solutions to the public in terms of middle class and working class economic interest. Time is running very short, the odds are long, and if McCain does not deal with this weakness, its hard to see how he wins absent some kind of sudden international crisis (say Russia invades Lithuania or Iran launches a missile stike on Israel).

Sometimes the country just wants something different. It's cyclical like that. The reality is that if Obama wins and the Democrats retain Congress, it's very unlikely that the middle class will see a tax cut.

The movement in Obama's numbers are as attributable to the fact that McCain stopped running ads over the last week, as they are to Obama receiving a bounce from his debate performance. And his debate performance was as bad as ANYTHING we've seen from GW Bush, and as you all know, I long ago branded GW a verbal cripple.

There's a whole lot of wishful thinking going on here. Peter is right - McCain is falling behind, and it's largely because he's not able to connect with people on their biggest worry, the economy. I'm afraid that the "free market" mantra isn't going to work right now - among other reasons being, all the grown-ups are on board with the idea that government needs to intervene in the markets right now. Moreover, anxiety in general is running very high, making people receptive to promises for a compassionate government. Tax cuts are a fantasy at this point, though both candidates of course push the idea. The best McCain can do is talk about how he can get the economy to grow better than Obama - mainly by being the veto point for a lot of big government programs that can be expected from a Democratic Congress. However - as much as I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings to this audience - this will likely not carry the day, and unless either Obama implodes (unlikely), the "Bradley Effect" ends up being sizeable (a possibility), or a major international event occurs between now and the election (possible, but not to be wished for?), making McCain's experience suddenly attractive, odds are clearly in Obama's favor. Comparing this to 2004 is ludicrous - people need to read and be aware of what's going on right now. Peter's right to think of 1980, at least in terms of widespread electoral discontent that is especially based in the economic situation and a likely willingness to gamble on a newcomer if he can prove that he seems sound enough to assume the office. Obama is doing that, and the tailwinds for his election are considerable. To acknowledge that it's true doesn't necessarily mean that you are wishing it to happen. Peter's just being a good social scientist - above all, fair and balanced.

So now John Fund wants to take shots at someone selling used cars. Put down someone else and that will make your point. He is a typical arrogant know it all that doesn't understand where his paycheck really comes from. I lost all respect for him as I listened to him attack the small guy. John Fund will earn much more respect praising the small guy who is trying to survive in a very tough retail world. John Fund has no room to throw stones at anyone.

I sure hope Dan is right...but to my mind, nearly incomprehnsible brink-of-collapse financial crisis a month and a half prior spells Republican defeat.

The only silver lining is that Obama and three-branches-Democratic are a disaster we can take right now, unlike Kerry in 2004. Probably no decisive Supreme Court changes in four years, and the war in Iraq largely won. For a couple of years, perhaps, Obama will still seem admirable, whereas Kerry would have been pretty awful from day one.

Does the international event crowd think that said event will result in the election of McCain or the indefinate postponment of the election? Would we rather have a Democratic President or a Republican Emperor? McCain adds were on over the weekend, but his adds were just attacks on Obama with picture of the growing capital building. This has to be costing him to say Obama wants a giant government when he will come out in support of an "amended" Paulson plan monday morning and approve the biggest expansion of government ever. I no longer have a horse in this race, but my feeling is that people want a message of hope even though its all rhetorical and that seems to come more clearly with Obama. The Paulson plan is the greatest synthesis of right and left sterotypes in history. A huge tax hike going directly to big bussiness. It is troubling to me that we could hear that people were calling in at a 100 to 1 pace against this and it will still go through tommorow without the government even attempting a huge PR move. Almost like we are being told what we think does not matter, leave the problem solving to the sophisticated intellectuals who let it come to this and we are not even going to dignify your dissent with a PR campaign. I will admit, if there is hope it is in the Republican party and the brave men who are fighting this like Rep. Burgess from Texas. Here is a troubling quote from him: “Mr. Speaker I understand we are under Martial Law as declared by the speaker last night.”

One thing too about Governor Palin.

Bill Kristol today stated that the people that are in charge of handling her are Bush White House types.

IS THERE ANY WONDER that she's been wasted over the last 3 weeks?

OF ALL THE PEOPLE to put around Governor Palin, somehow the McCain team tapped all the wrong sorts, with all the wrong attitudes, with all the wrong defeatism and defensiveness.

The Bush White House scoured the very dregs for every incompetent in the GOP. And now they're destroying the most promising Republican politican since Reagan.

Why hasn't Governor Palin been on Rush's show, been on with Hewitt for three hours, why hasn't she been on ALL OF THE CONSERVATIVE talk show hosts?

Why have they been hiding her, and then only delivering her over to one gotcha' interview after another.

Will the Bush team idiocy ever end?

Why have they had her delivering NOTHING but variations of the speech she delivered at the convention? Why hasn't she had any new material? Almost the whole nation loved her convention speech, ----------------------- yet ever since, it's as if she's been on a flaming reentry.

CUT HER LOOSE! Let her campaign. Give her a chance.

For weeks we've been wondering what's going on with Governor Palin. We might have known that some Bush staffers were behind it all. God they're an absolute disaster!

With CHANGE as the longstanding sentiment, it's been Obama's election to lose every since he wrapped up his campaign against Hillary Clinton. Even McCain figured that out in time for the Convention, which is why REFORM was that week's mantra, and Palin a suitable running mate (not to mention her bio, which was a vital attempt to "energize the base," though not enough to put McCain over the top). Alas, REFORM looks like CHANGE LITE to an American public eager for something very different than the status quo. In short, Republican McCain never had a chance of beating Democrat Obama as a change agent.

The only thing the polls have indicated at all hopeful for McCain is lingering doubt among Undecideds about Obama's trustworthyness. Here McCain would always have the edge on the commander-in-chief question, but given sufficient war-wearyness, other priorities (like the economy) loomed larger for Americans. So I agree with others who have noted that all Obama has to do is not be objectionable, rather than really convince folks that his ideas for change are manifestly the best ideas for change. In addition, the Dems always have the advantage when citizens are disposed to look to govt to fix things domestically, which is especially the case when a 2-term GOP president has been on watch as things have gone badly.

At this point, the best that McCain could do would be to press the trust and experience factor hard against Obama (a tactic complicated, to be sure, by his VP pick). Hard-hitting ads the week before the election in battleground states (forget the meaningless national polls, whose flawed premise is a national plebescite) must argue that Obama is a political opportunist with little national experience and suspect character references.

LUCAS, recall, GHWB tried to push the trust angle against Bill Clinton way back in '92. Didn't work out too well. GHWB closed out the final weeks on the campaign trail asking Americans: "Who do you trust?" The answer: "NOT YOU, not you of read my lips, no new taxes."

Every single election since '68, where we successfully branded the Dem an elitist and a poseur, we've won handily.

Every single time.

The only two Dems who've beaten us were both Southern

We know how to defeat elitists.

So we don't need any novel approach to taking down and out Barrack Obama. He's an elitist, he's an internationalist; he actually gives two damns what the UN thinks. He's EAGER to run American foreign policy decisions past the "international community" for approval. Personally, he's tight with creeps like Soros, Wright and Dohrn. Obama is comfortable running down mainstream Americans at alternative cocktail gatherings in San Francisco.

But since the convention, McCain's ads have been pathetic. Worse, they've been boring! They don't state conclusions, rather they suggest, ever so tentatively, ever so delicately, that the viewer might have some questions about this or that aspect of Obama. Meanwhile, Obama is running ads blasting away at McCain in no uncertain terms. McCain's team, {sadly staffed by some creepy Bush holdovers} is running THE EXACT boring campaign that the Bush team ran against Gore and Kerry.

And to top it all off, they're trying to morph the freshest face in American politics, the spirited Sarah Palin, into just one more typical Beltway pol churning out conditional clause after conditional clause.

NO WONDER THEY'RE DOWN IN THE POLLS!

Cut Sarah Palin loose, before they've destroyed whatever freshness she has remaining. Stop trying to force her to repeat details of staffers. She's an executive, she gets briefed. WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN pathetic staff details; we're interested in the ideological foundations upon which she stands, the vantage points she assumes, the prisms she selects to scrutinize issues. THAT'S what we want to know.

We want to hear her speak from her gut about the sauds, about the Russians and about energy dominance. If Americans hear her, they'll trust her more than they do Condi's State Department. That's for damn sure.

And get back to using humour against Obama. When Obama is getting ridiculed, he rattles, he rattles BADLY! So get back to that!

And one more thing that McCain has to do, and fast, and that is develop a brief but REAL economic plan.

And as many of us have noted over the last year ----------------------------- earmark reform doth not an economic agenda make.

If you really want to win the election Republicans...Make this mainstream news

http://www.stoptheaclu.com/archives/2008/09/27/missouri-governor-accuses-obama-of-conspiring-to-violate-civil-rights/

Expose Obama for being the fascist shill of the bankers and police state new world order.

Earlier I was torn on Obama, but this proves what he really is. Someone was actually jailed for 36 hours for asking his supporters about his association with bzrezinski. The bloggers out there need to run with this, Americans would be shocked and he should have to answer for this in a public forum.

If you push this fact that he is using police to stop free speach then you can stop praying for the ruskies to invade their nieghbors.

The stupidity of the McCain campaign's mismanagement of Sarah Palin in the last three weeks is unforgivable.

Lots of good comments mostly pointing in the same direction. I said that the conv plus Palin brought Obama from a 90% to 70% likelihood of winning. The economic crisis plus the mishandling of Sara has, on my social science meter, pushed the dial back up to about 85%. And Hail Mary passes almost never work when the other team is playing prevent defense.

If the Republicans alert the public to who is responsible for the crisis on Wall Street, their chances of winning would be better than 50-50.

But from what I'm seeing it's the Democrats doing a reprise of Katrina here and pinning the blame for their own screwups on Bush and the GOP.

A political party that can not or will not communicate with the electorate won't be around for long.

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