Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Random Observations

1. Let me turn your attention to today’s studies--which show the election a genuine DEAD HEAT. I think they even show a tiny rollback toward Obama. The bump is over. The election would be very close if held tomorrow. McCain’s slight advantages in favorability rating and in the Intratrading are still there, but they are very slight indeed. The Obama campaign may be, for all I know, in disarray, but expect it to array itself in short order. Everyone who’s not a Scarecrow is advising Barack to get the focus back on Mac and the economic issues--which he will. And only a Scarecrow would deny that the seemingly baffling collapse of lots of our leading financial institutions--and the reasonable upsurge in economic anxiety--won’t have a tendency to benefit him big-time. I know you partisans don’t want to hear this, but it’s still Obama’s election to lose.

2. I caught a couple minutes of the Fox featuring of First Dude Todd last night. He really is impressive, and he an authentic, articulate folksy (yet obviously very intelligent) talker. That Snow Machine race is 2000 miles to Nome, and it has a really big cash prize--which Todd has won four times. He only finished fourth last year, but (if I heard correctly) that’s because he had a broken arm for the last 500 miles of the race. Sad to say, he hasn’t had time for hunting the last couple of years, presumably because he’s been chief parent at home and trusted advisor to the Governor of Alaska. HE should be sent--maybe with his cool, fast machine--to the towns of PA, OH, and MI. Sarah can take care of the kids for a few days.

3. Near the top of the NYT scattershot of allegations against that Governor is that she has relied too much on her husband’s advice in making key public policy decisions. The objection couldn’t be--in our egalitarian times--to trusting and taking seriously the opinions of one’s spouse. (Certainly Hillary wouldn’t raise such an objection--or Bill.) So the article mentioned up front that he’s a BLUE-COLLAR WORKER. Somebody need to make a big deal of the idea that such workers can’t offer informed advice to our political executives.

4. Having said that, I predict the gift that keeps on giving of the MSM relentless attack on our Sarah is about to come to an end. The consensus of all experts is that it’s been counterproductive. The focus, to repeat, will become the specifics of McCain’s policies.

5. For example, Biden is giving some very clear talks with the (true) allegation that McCain wants to eliminate the tax breaks people now get for their health insurance. Mac better be ready to explain why that would be a good idea--why detaching insurance from employment would actually alleviate the anxiety of the American worker. That will not be an easy sell.

Discussions - 12 Comments

On point 4: I am not so sure. CNN last night did a special report on Anderson 360 addressing the question of McCain's "lies." (concerning the bridge to nowhere, concerning Obama's sex ed bill support, etc). The bold use of "lie" suggests MSM could reach another level that has hereunto been reserved for the blogs and print media.


McCain-Palin represent an existential threat to the Dem party. I do not see them giving up yet.

Needless to say, point #3 should be made OVER and OVER and OVER again in the places you mention in point #2 and by the First Dude and his wife. Todd, a union member, might even want to talk about the diminishing influence of the genuine interests of blue collar workers within such organizations because of their too tight allegiance with the Democrats. This idea that appears to be a mainstay among the Democrat/media elitists might be found to be very interesting in those parts you mention and I don't think it will sell very well.

I don't think the attacks on Governor Palin have been "counter-productive" for the forces of the Democrat/media alliance.

But for the avalanche of unfounded accusations made against her, she would have gathered to the Republican ticket many more female voters. The Dem/media alliance immediately concluded she needed to be stopped, by any and all means. Those evil accusations, which are ongoing, blunted the undeniable momentun she imparted to the GOP.

Dan: I'm willing to entertain what you say . . . but I think, in the end, it will have helped her more than it hurt her. Yes, they've managed to scare off a certain portion of female voters who might have been willing to plug their noses on her positions just in order to get a gal in there. But while I'm not in the habit of working to cast off potential voters in an election year (whatever their motives) I think it's fair to say that such voters are not reliable and not as numerous as the other voters Palin managed to energize. Her real appeal is less that she is a woman and more that she is geographically and culturally speaking real.

Yesterday Dennis Miller noted that Lindsay Lohan is irritated by Sarah Palin. This is good, he said (and I agree) because the Lindsay Lohans of this world are not real people. Of course, he argued, they have flesh and bones and they (certainly) leave a carbon footprint . . . but the world they inhabit is not representative of anything like the real, normal, functioning world the rest of us live in. Palin appeals to people who do live there and who are not caught up in all the politics of those who can afford to make a million mistakes. We all look at Lindsay Lohan and so, in a sense, "vote for her" in the same way that we look at a trainwreck. But we wouldn't trust her or people like her espousing the kind of politics she appreciates with any kind of serious responsibility. Heck, we don't even believe her when she says she's off the junk.

McCain needs to stop talking about how strong the "fundementals" of the economy are. It makes him look crazy out of touch even if he is right. Most people experience the strength of the economy based on their employment, real income, the values of their assets, and their sense of employment security. For most people middle income and lower, their economic lives are presently stagnant or eroding in all of those criteria. At least McCain didn't accuse them of whining.

The political impact of the financial collpse isn't so much the direct effect of all those investment banks going under. Most people have felt zero impact of that in their personal lives (as National Review pointed out). The real political impact is that the financial collapse drove the culture war stories of the last several weeks (which cut in McCain's favor)out of the headlines and replaced them with economic worries. Thats a real problem because the economy has been shedding jobs all year, energy prices are still high and wages are still stagnant across large parts of the economy. Its not impossible for McCain to seize the advantage from Obama on these issues, but his passion does not seem to be there on these issues. McCain's economic instincts seem to combine a tax plan more attractive to to the Wall Street Journal Editorial Board than the average person and a vague, technocratic, appeal for more regulation, along with a general sense that he does not have the first clue about people's economic struggles.

The reality is that the election was always going to turn back to the economy and McCain was always going to have to fight Obama to at least a draw on economic issues. Since at least the begining of the year the terrain of the economic fight has favored Obama. That doesn't mean its hopeless. You would have thought that rising energy prices would have benefited the candidate of the out party, but McCain managed to outflank Obama by adopting a position both more conservative and more populist. McCain needs to do the same thing on the economy. Nothing so far has shown me that he is going to.

once again, i agree w pete. things aren't hopeless, but mccain needs some of the populist audacity of hope, when it comes to the economy especially.

3: Dan, I think you're quite right. What conservatives miss in their political analysis of Palin is the distinction between personal respect for her and personal attraction to her among voters, and her alleged vote-getting ability for McCain. These are two quite different things. When all is said and done, I believe most Americans probably will like and respect Sarah Palin. In that sense, the MSM assault on her -- insofar as it has a political as distinct from a professional purpose -- is likely to fail. But I also believe that she will
not bring new votes to McCain. That is, the median voter in eastern Ohio, southern Michigan and western Pennsylvania will not say: she's one of us, I don't like the elite snobbery, and I'll therefore back McCain. Ain't gonna happen. For fair-minded median voters, Palin will be neither a political minus nor a political plus. She will be a mildly positive feature story -- a human-interest story: cool and admirable lady, but not necessarily a plausible president, and probably irrelevant as vice president. The Palin feature story, with all its angles, even if the voter remembers mainly the positive angles, crowds into the very limited mental space of the late-deciding, low-information, politically unsophisticated voter. It reduces the mental space available for negative thoughts on Obama -- and, equally important, for positive thoughts, especially substantive ones, on McCain.

6: Professor Lawler, mega-dittoes. On a more positive note than my post #7 arguing for the political insignificance of Palin: McCain did sound good today on the brief clip I saw on CNN from his Tampa, FL rally. He wasn't droning or reading. He was SPEAKING, clearly and strongly and with real feeling, TO THE AUDIENCE AND THE CAMERAS, on the financial meltdown. Good stuff. If the nasty crowd at CNN showed this, I can hope that something like it was shown on the other big networks too. In any case: Keep it up, Mac!

Palin does have political results, in two ways. But my sense is that in both of these respects, the pluses and minuses roughly balance each other out and therefore have no net impact on the final vote. Clearly, she brings out considerable venom from the usual leftists and hyper-partisan Democrats.
The typical conservative's assumption is that Mr. and Mrs. Median Voter will get angry, or at least gag, when they see this. Maybe so. But again, that doesn't necessarily mean that the intended message doesn't also sink in.
All that truly matters is what he or she thinks of McCain and Obama, not of the MSM, let alone of the many punks who attack every Republican they can without restraint (and surprise no one when they do it even more viciously to Palin). Similarly, there is no question that Republican rallies are now larger and more enthusiastic thanks to Palin. I would bet that there will be more Republican volunteers (which might matter a little, if the party's demoralized ground-level organizations can use them effectively and quickly, before the ardor cools), not just healthy sales of Sarah t-shirts. But it's equally plausible that there will be more intense work and less complacency on the part of Empty O's volunteers, many of whom detest Palin as much as our folks like her. As much as anything, Palin reminds the snobbish type of leftist that people like her cannot be affirmed and empowered and that a ticket that includes her must be defeated at all costs. She also reminds them that the Republican party isn't as dead as they might have thought, and that it's not only Obama who can be popular this year. Again, net effect is probably not much. If anyone disagrees, I'd like to know why, and I'd love to be convinced.

HOTLINE has a new poll indicating Governor Palin's favourables are declining.

Now why is that happening?

Because she's getting smeared, she's getting so much dumped on her that she can't possibly respond to it all, hence some is sticking, dirtying her up, leaving her dingy, disheveled, disreputable.

That's what's going on out there.

They've taken a decent woman, capable and competent, who has done some really good things for Alaska and America, -------------------- and they're morphing her into a whacko.

And I know Republicans are fond of saying it's going to "backlash," but that seems increasingly to me an article of faith, a dogma that some are indeed "clinging" to, ------- and which happens to coincide to the attitude that most Republicans held throughout GW's tenure.

How well has the belief that such smears sow a "backlash" work out for GW?

If this level of attack continues for weeks, if smear after smear after smeart continues to be launched against her, ---------------- I wonder if McCain/Palin's numbers will hold firm.

What we're seeing is without precedent. We've seen NOTHING like this. The only thing remotely close to this INTENSE attack was the one launched against Robert Bork.

Tabloids, papers of record, all day cable networks, blogs, political talking heads, talk radio, Hollywood, ---------- ALL zeroing in on Palin.

Yes, exactly. CONSERVATIVES MUST STOP GIVING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CREDIT FOR MORE INTELLIGENCE THAN THEY HAVE, AND MORE KNOWLEDGE THAN THEY HAVE. The point is not what voters think about the media, or whether they like seeing this garbage on their screens. The point is whether it affects their view of Palin, and it damned well does. Let's drop these utterly unsupported articles of faith about Americans' shrewdness and fundamental fairness. The first is a myth. The second is true only on the level of intentions. On the level of political results, unfairness triumphs, often spectacularly, time after time. Ladies and gentlemen, we are AT WAR with the liberal elite and the MSM. WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE.

The American people are smarter than you think; they just don't necessarily have time to digest the politics in the same way we do. Those of us dedicated to the "cause" MAKE the time to be informed; we are then responsible for informing others because the MSM won't do it properly. And yes, I would agree that there are some issues out of reach - the entire financial "crisis" is being morphed out of whack. We just can't seem to admit that, while interest rates were low, we built too many houses and financed too many people who wouldn't have otherwise been able to make FULL mortgage payments by giving them "interest-only" loans. Simple, straight to the point and utterly understandable to anyone.

The Left doesn't get Sarah Palin because she doesn't use the usual politico babble to make things seem more important than they are. It is unfathomable that anyone, especially any small-town, religion-clinging, gun-toting person (let alone a female), could understand a darn thing about politics or how to run a city or a state or a country. But yet those big city folks - apparently they have the corner market on it. Sheesh!

No - McCain can't ride the MSM diatribes to the White House. He actually must speak clearly and plainly on the issues; speak in a way that America understands with a language that makes sense. It will balance his running mate's natural ability to deal with people and issues without resorting to name-calling and shrillness and bitterness. He can get angry but he can't lose control. And get Cindy out there with Todd and the children...they will make a powerful statement about the candidates. When a poll was taken back in 2004 (I think Schramm actually mentioned it first) if voters liked Laura Bush or Theresa Heinz-Kerry, over 90% favored our Laura. The election has become more about personality than issues. A McCain-Palin family dinner at the White House sounds good to me and I just may drive in to stand in line for a ticket to the annual Easter egg roll. FAMILY and core values and beliefs speak to everyone - use it well.

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