Friday, October 31, 2008

You Lost Me at "Hello"

This weekend is going to be big for many Americans who are unsure of who to support in the upcoming election. As they sit down to decide, they will look at a number of factors and ask serious questions to try to flesh out an answer. As a commentator, I may be one of the people some undecided voters look to for answers. (If so, I'm sorry.)

For a while, I considered voting for Barack Obama. From listening to an audiobook version of The Audacity of Hope, I believed he was the kind of Democrat I'd been waiting for for a long time. He was smart, articulate, wanted to bridge the partisan gap, and maybe, just maybe, make the country better.

Then, the wheels fell off my Obama support wagon. Why? Here's but a few reasons that you should keep in mind if you're still not sure who to vote for on Tuesday.

1) He and many his supporters have gotten cocky about how allegedly intellectually and morally superior they are because they're voting for Obama. That's a good way to turn off voters.
2) Obama has played the race card and has lied about what Republicans would say about him. McCain and Palin haven't mentioned race once, and McCain has even defended Obama on the stump. But Obama still plays the race card against them.
3) You can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps. William Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and a multitude of other questionable connections say a lot about Obama, and none of it good.
4) He does not have a grasp on the war on terrorism, given that he dismissed the threat Iran poses to us because "it's a tiny little country." Let me remind you, Senator, that al Qaeda struck us without having any country whatsoever.
5) Much has been made of Obama's educational background, but not much is known about it. What we do know of it, such as his "professorship" at the University of Chicago, has been distorted by his campaign and his supporters. For people who have bashed George W. Bush's intelligence to follow someone with such shaky educational accomplishments says a lot.
6) The choice of Joe Biden as Vice President because of his alleged foreign policy experience (like the much maligned "three state Iraq" idea) shows that Obama really doesn't understand foreign policy at all.
7) After watching his campaign speeches and performance at the debates, it's clear Obama doesn't think well off the cuff. As President, not everything can be loaded into a teleprompter and read. He will have to make decisions with little to no prep time, and I have no confidence in his ability to do that.
8) "Hope" and "change" are not reasons to vote for someone. The Democrats ran on change in 2006 to win control of Congress, and things did change...for the worst.
9) Obama's tax plan makes no sense. He says 95% of Americans will get a tax cut in one form or another, but that already includes 40% of Americans who don't pay any taxes whatsoever, while maintaining or, most likely, increasing the taxes of the top 5%. That's not a good way to do business.
10) ACORN has been found guilty of voter fraud in the past and have been caught trying to commit voter fraud in this election. And who gave them $800,000? Obama/Biden.
11) Obama/Biden and the supporters of the ticket have an unhealthy disdain for average Americans. Just look at what they've done to try to malign Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber by digging into their histories for anything that could be used for political fodder. And I'm not talking about the usual digging either. What Obama has allowed to happen with silent sanction is nothing short of an invasion of privacy, all because Palin and Joe aren't on his side.

And finally...

12) For all of the questions that have arisen about Obama, he hasn't provided many answers. Maybe it's me, but I don't think that's a good way to make people trust that you're ready for leadership.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's Deja Vu All Over Again!

Tonight, Barack Obama had his campaign show (as I'm not sure "infomercial" is quite the word for what it was). I caught a bit of it because, well, I have other things to keep me occupied, but I was reminded of something while watching it.

Quick quiz. Who was the last Presidential candidate to spend money for airtime on prime time TV? If you said "Ross Perot" you would be correct. Perot's three prime time specials were innovative for the time, but they didn't really garner the kind of support necessary to win. Granted, he was running as a third party candidate, he had suspended his campaign and then restarted it, and, oh yeah, he was nuts, so it's not a perfect comparison. However, there were enough similarities in my mind to make the connection. Fortunately for Obama, very few voters today remember the Perot specials. And, also, fortunately for Obama, he didn't rely on charts and graphs to make his point.

Will it be effective in swaying those remaining unsure voters? Probably not. To be quite honest, I didn't see it as anything but Obama showing off how much money he could spend and what he could get major networks to do merely because he wanted to do it. This has the potential to backfire on Obama, especially if it comes off as elitist or if the viewership wasn't there to support doing it. We may never find out for sure, but there is one thing I do know for sure.

Some ideas just shouldn't be recycled.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Get Over It?

Barack Obama's buddy, William Ayers, came out recently at a Manhattan panel discussion and made some pretty outlandish comments. (Personally, the very fact he's out in public is pretty outlandish, too, but that's neither here nor there.) He said he was tired of being used for political fodder by John McCain and Sarah Palin.

Much like Obama has been about Ayers, Ayers is pretty dismissive about his past. But that doesn't mean we should be. Contrary to the spin the Obama folks have been putting out there, it's clear that Obama and Ayers weren't just casual acquaintances. They're tight, at least ideologically speaking. When you're that close to someone, it becomes very easy to overlook that person's less savory side. I experienced this when I supported Pat Buchanan in 1996. I was so enamored with his rock-ribbed conservative message (at that time) that I ignored his anti-Semitic side. Only after I stepped away did I see the full picture.

Right now, Obama isn't stepping away from Ayers, and Ayers isn't stepping away from himself. Yet, they both need to take that step and really see Ayers's past for what it is: rife with anti-American sentiments and acts of violence against the very country Obama hopes to run soon. The very fact that neither Obama nor Ayers found anything wrong with what the latter did until the former ran for President should scare us all.

But let's take the general sentiment of Ayers's comments into consideration. He doesn't appreciate being made into a political issue in this election? Well, Mr. Ayers, I have a not-so-modest proposition for you. I promise to leave you alone forever if you meet the following condition.

You bring back to life every single person the Weather Underground murdered.

If you can do that, I'll be happy to leave you alone. If not, you're fair game, sir.

Your move, Mr. Ayers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The 5% Solution

There has been a lot made about Barack Obama's plan to give 95% of Americans a tax cut if he's elected President. There are a number of problems with this proposal, but there's one that hasn't been considered at length yet.

Let's say for the sake of argument that Obama wins and gets his tax cut proposal through Congress. That would mean that the top 5% would see their taxes increased, and the funds from that going to people who didn't earn the money being given to them. At some point, the rich may ask themselves whether it's worth the cost to stay here. If they try to move their funds overseas, the Obama plan would tax them for doing it. That leaves them another option: getting out of the economy.

Granted, most of the 5% being taxes might not choose this option, but imagine how much money would be out of circulation if even 5% of that top 5% were to opt out of the economy. They could cash out, find a place to live (if they don't already have one), and simply live off their fortunes. Without that tax money, the government would find itself in a financial struggle.

Let's also remember that the Obama tax plan would raise taxes on corporations. Simple economics tells us that the corporations would most likely pass the higher taxes onto their customers, which would increase the prices of everything. But the damage goes further than that.

Take WalMart, for example. With higher taxes causing higher prices, some of WalMart's customers may not be able to afford the goods and services they provide. That causes a loss of business, which causes WalMart to lose money. To recoup the costs, WalMart would either need to raise prices to make up for the lost revenue or drop costs in the hopes of making up for it in volume. But if there isn't the money to buy up the volume necessary to make up for the lost revenue, they will be forced to raise prices, which will drive customers away. And the vicious circle continues until WalMart goes out of business or until the tax laws are changed.

Once the top 5% of people and corporations are gone, a new 5% gets elevated and the cycle begins anew. How many times do you think it would take before the government reaches a point where taxing the top 5% no longer sustains it financially? And what happens if the dollar takes another nosedive?

Before you vote, I want you to really think about the implications of Obama's tax plan as stated. Don't be dazzled by the prospect of being one of the 95% that he promises will get a tax cut because that money you'll get comes at a price, one that could mean the destruction of the American economy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Sign of Things to Come?

One was a shoe-in to win the biggest prize. Money, strong support, and an unstoppable approach to the game. That one had it all going for it. Victory was a foregone conclusion.

The other wasn't given a chance from the outset. It was deemed to be outgunned when put against the first one because it lacked quite a few of the weapons the other one had. Defeat was a foregone conclusion.

Sound familiar? It should, but not for the reason you think. Baseball fans might already know who the particulars were in the situations I described. The first group was the Boston Red Sox and the second group was the Tampa Bay Rays. Boston was presumed to win the World Series again because it had quite a few benefits on its side. On paper, Tampa Bay had no chance. Yet, who is playing for the championship right now?

Tampa Bay.

With all the talk about how Obama/Biden is a shoe-in to win and how McCain/Palin has no chance to win, just remember there were a lot of people thinking the Red Sox were a lock to win, and they lost to the underdogs.

To quote a former baseball great, Yogi Berra, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

Well, either Berra or Starship.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quick HIts

A few of the news items that caught my eye...

- Joe Biden made a speech today where he said if Barack Obama wins, he would be tested with an international incident within the first six months that would require him to make unpopular choices. This can be read one of two ways. The first is the one everyone on the Right seems to be jumping on: that Biden doesn't think Obama is ready to be President. The other is a bit darker. If Obama wins and pushes through an agenda that is as socialist as we fear, there will be revolt in America. As the world's most powerful country, any attempt at revolt would be seen as an international incident. And to put down that revolt would require President Obama to suspend some of the rights we enjoy now, most likely. Could Biden have been tipping his hand a bit? We'll hopefully never have to find out.

- Everybody has been talking about how well Sarah Palin did on "Saturday Night Live" so I figured I'd throw in my two cents' worth. She did a fine job and showed she can poke fun at herself while allowing others of a more Leftist bent to do the same. What got me was how Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey never could look Palin in the eyes, almost as if they pretended she wasn't really there. Palin showed people she was genuine and able to laugh at herself...while at least two of her co-stars didn't even have the courage to look her in the eyes.

- Is it just me, or does the Obama campaign have no concept of how to effectively counter-punch after John McCain delivers a political haymaker? When McCain started talking about William Ayers, Obama came back with...Charles Keating. When McCain started talking about ACORN, Obama...pretty much stayed quiet. When McCain and Palin started hitting back harder than they were giving, Obama...talked about the need for civility (while conveniently forgetting everything his supporters have said and done). And now when McCain is making the big push towards Election Day, Obama...gets Colin Powell's endorsement, which holds very little weight within conservative and independent circles anymore. Not that I mind Obama being inept in this department, but I have to point it out.

- Speaking of the Obama camp being inept, they have horribly mishandled the "Joe the Plumber" situation. While Obama has tried to talk up Joe and address his concerns, the other Joe (that is Biden) has been ripping him apart as phoney. And other Obama surrogates in the media have done to Joe what they did to Sarah Palin when she was announced to be McCain's running mate. What unites Palin and Joe is that they represent the average American or at least give off the image of the average American. By attacking them, Obama's supporters have the potential to drive working class people away from the ticket. And when the race is as close as it has become in recent weeks, every lost vote becomes that much more devastating to Obama.

- The latest Oliver Stone movie "W" came out last week to decent box office numbers. Ah, but what the media aren't telling you is that overall, it's in 4th place after its opening weekend. When you consider the bulk of the movies that directly or indirectly criticize President Bush have failed at the box office, I have little doubt "W" will meet a similar fate. But it begs the question of why Hollywood keeps putting out movies that will fail. (I mean, aside from anything done by the Wayans brothers.) My conclusion is that they just don't get it. Movies entertain the audience, not lecture them about how they should feel about political figures or issues. If you really want to teach us something, make it entertaining and we'll pick up on the message.

And finally...

- The closer it's getting to Election Day, the more the Obama supporters are trying to convince you that the election is over and all that needs to happen is for the American people to vote for Obama's Presidency to be a fait accompli. Of course, this doesn't work for me because it tells me the Obama campaign and its supporters are running scared. Let's not forget Obama didn't exactly burn up the last few primaries and never got the required number of delegates until the Democratic National Convention. Also, Obama's connection to ACORN and their repeated voter fraud should be cause for concern. If Obama is such a superior candidate, he should already be up by double digits or at the very least high single digits. Yet, consistently, he's been leading with numbers close to or within the margin of error of media polling. Karl Rove was right: Obama has not closed the sale, and with the election being days away, having supporters proclaim the election is over before the votes are tallies isn't a sign of confidence; it's a sign of arrogance.

And that never plays well in Des Moines.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Law of Unintended Consequences

General Colin Powell came out and announced that he was supporting Barack Obama for President. This announcement sent shockwaves through the political world because it was presumed that Powell would back John McCain. Personally, I wasn't all that surprised by it because Powell has never really been a Republican stallwart, even though he served under George W. Bush as Secretary of State. Say what you will about him, he wasn't really all that Republican.

But here's something interesting to note, if you haven't already. Remember a couple of years ago when the Left was screaming for Powell's head because he "lied" before the UN about the WMDs in Iraq? I remember seeing his name among those who would be prosecuted for war crimes in more than a few Leftist delusional rants. It wasn't so long ago that they were questioning his honor and patriotism for going along with the "failed Bush strategy."

Apparently, that's all been washed away because Powell backed Obama.

Not so fast, Lefties. You've made a cottage industry out of bashing Bush for his alleged ineptitude in Iraq and blamed Powell for being in on it. By patting him on the back for endorsing Obama, you have pretty much signed off on the Bush Doctrine as practiced in Iraq. And let's not overlook the fact that Obama himself has said there would not be an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq if he's elected President. Therefore, there are going to be plenty of opportunities for you newly-minted neocons to step up and serve your country.

After all, aren't you the same folks who tell conservatives who back the war in Iraq to enlist?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Second Thoughts on the Last Presidential Debate

With the final Presidential debate of this election over, it's time to wrap up this series of blog posts about them.

- The media said John McCain needed a "game-changer" in this debate to try to erase the deficit in the polls, but I don't buy that. As I've stated before, McCain has won his previous two debates and Sarah Palin won hers. With Barack Obama not being known this election year as a finisher and with the scandals swirling around him, Obama needed the "game-changer" because he wasn't putting McCain away with what he was doing. Sure, some polls have Obama ahead by double digits, but I don't think those polls are as accurate as some think they are. Obama needed a win last night to give credence to the polls his supporters cling to as proof that the election is over.

- From the outset, McCain went on the offensive, and it looked like he liked it. A few times, NBC (and possibly other networks) showed a split screen of the facial reactions of one candidate while the other was speaking. McCain was smiling and mugging for the camera for a good portion of the night, but when he spoke, you could tell he was quite comfortable being the aggressor.

- How did Obama react to being on the defensive? Not nearly as well. In the previous Presidential debates, Obama never quite got rolling and relied heavily on inserting his talking points into his responses, regardless of whether the talking points matched the questions asked. This may have satisfied Obama's supporters and independents who weren't paying attention, but to people who paid attention, he looked like he couldn't adapt to the situation. Not too Presidential, Senator Obama.

- The star of last night's debate was Joe the Plumber. Both candidates mentioned the man who Obama talked to on a rope line and told Obama would "spread the wealth" if elected President. This was a dumb comment by Obama, and thanks to the advent of video sharing websites like YouTube, it became nationally-known. But, it should be pointed out that no matter how Obama tried to spin his comment, he lost Joe the Plumber's vote that day by not being as compassionate to the middle and lower classes as he says he is on the stump.

- In the three debates, Obama relied on a lot of talking points, but none was more annoying to me than when he started off a number of his responses to McCain by saying, "There's a lot to cover" or words to that effect when McCain brought up many of Obama's contradictions and questionable tactics. Of course there was a lot to cover, Senator. You've spun quite a few tales!

- The John Lewis comments comparing McCain and Palin to segregationists were an issue. McCain pressed Obama to denounce his and other comments made by his surrogates, but Obama tried to turn the tables by saying Sarah Palin had made some questionable comments about him. He even went so far as to comment about some of the comments made at McCain rallies like "terrorist," "socialist," and "kill him." But what Obama didn't mention was that McCain has denounced such rhetoric, often at the point at which such rhetoric was uttered, while Obama has only released statements from his campaign. In other words, Obama holds Sarah Palin to a higher standard of behavior than he holds himself.

- Another annoying tendency of Obama is that he kept bringing up Bush and his "failed economic policies of the last 8 years." McCain took that on with a great line. "Senator, I'm not President Bush. If you wanted to run against President Bush, you should have run four years ago." It's comments like these that will stick with voters. And when McCain pointed out that things were pretty good economically until Democrats took control of Congress, that's the one-two punch that should resonate with voters.

- Joe Biden made an appearance at the debate last night. No, he wasn't on stage, but his foreign policy expertise came into question. Obama said he believed Biden had the foreign policy gravitas and would rely on it, but McCain rightly pointed out that Biden's foreign policy initiatives, such as the three state Iraq idea, weren't that great. To political junkies like me, it's these little things most people would pass over that shape the quality of the ticket. And if Obama is relying on Biden for foreign policy, we'll be in deep trouble if the two of them win.

- Along with Biden, William Ayers and ACORN reared their ugly heads in the Presidential debate. McCain was right to bring them up so Obama could explain away their connections to him. And Obama fumbled. He tried to downplay Ayers's past as a domestic terrorist and openly lied about his ties to ACORN as simply one of a lawyer-client relationship in 1995. With the reporting done on both stories, anybody who paid attention and was being intellectually honest would know he not just lied about their clear connections to him, but that he failed to convince people that those connections were as innocent as he made them out to be.

- I do need to bring up the job Bob Schieffer did as moderator last night. I put him somewhere between Tom Brokaw and Gwen Ifill. He did a good job for the most part keeping things on an even keel, but there were times when he let a little partisanship slip to try to help Obama. Overall, I thought Schieffer was fair and allowed each candidate time to speak without letting the emotions and the politics of the moment get too heated.

So, who won? Would McCain make a clean sweep of it, or would Obama finally get a win? I'll be accused of partisanship, but I've been accused of worse, so...

Get out the broom, Senator McCain, because you swept Obama. When it came down to it, Obama kept doing what he was doing in spite of the fact it really didn't work, and McCain took his message directly to the country. Obama came off as smug, not mentally flexible, and completely dismissive of the people he needed to connect with last night. McCain, at times, looked disdainful of Obama, but when he was on and answering questions, he was making the best case he could for himself, and it was good enough to win.

Whether it will be enough to win the election will be seen.

Hang on, kids! We're in for a bumpy three weeks!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Anger Management

As Election Day gets closer, political candidates bring out their rhetorical big guns. In the case of McCain/Palin, they're hitting on Barack Obama's questionable decisions, including his ties to domestic terrorist William Ayers. This, of course, has given Obama and his media buddies a chance to paint McCain/Palin as "going negative" and even "being angry." Their proof? People at McCain and Palin rallies yelling "Hang him" and "terrorist" and booing when McCain and Palin try to keep things civil. Maybe it's me, but I'm not sure McCain/Palin can be called "angry" when they're the ones trying to keep the focus on issues instead of personal attacks.

Is there anger on the Right? Absolutely, but it's not nearly as widespread as some would have you believe. The real source of anger in this election year has been the very people talking about angry the Right is. In my years of following politics, I have never seen the level of anger by one side as I've seen coming from the people supporting Obama. Some of it is passive aggressive, some of it is overt, but all of it is anger directed at a surrogate for George W. Bush: the Republican Party. Obama supporters still haven't gotten past George W. Bush winning two elections, and it's caused them to turn angry and mean. If you doubt me, look at the stories that came out about Sarah Palin and her family within the first two or three weeks of being named as McCain's running mate. Look at how they've maligned John McCain's service to this country, as well as his age.

What you'll find is that none of these attacks are focused on any real policy matters, but instead focus on the personal. This tells me that Obama's supporters know how weak a candidate he is, so instead of trying to help their candidate get stronger, they focus on tearing down his opponent. Granted, this has caused some McCain/Palin supporters to respond in kind, but most of the time, their supporters have kept things civil, and more importantly, factual. Sticking to the facts acts like a jeweler's cloth and exposes the flaws of the opposition, and that scares and angers Obama's supporters even more.

Calling McCain/Palin angry is misinformation at its finest. If anything, McCain/Palin has erred on the side of civility more often than not. On the other hand, Obama/Biden has tapped into the anger of the Left and allowed its supporters to act on their behalf to slander the candidates, personally attack anyone who doesn't agree with them, and commit acts of vandalism, theft, and fraud.

So, who are the angry ones here?

George Soros: Activist Investor

A friend of mine tipped me to a story that should get everyone thinking. Former CEO of Sovereign Bancorp Jay Sidhu said that he was forced out of his job by "activist investors" who ultimately lead to the demise of Sovereign Bancorp by trying to make as much money as possible for themselves with no concern for the long-term consequences. Regardless of whether you think he's telling the truth about his situation, he does bring up an interesting concept, that of businesspeople giving in to the dark side of capitalism for short-term gains.

From where I sit, the Big Kahuna of activist investors has to be George Soros. Soros is known in political circles as a big donor to Leftist causes, including Media Matters and His economic writings tend to also suggest Leftist solutions to economic issues, and people on Wall Street listen to him. But what may not be as known is how intertwined the two are.

Soros emigrated to this country with a healthy disdain for capitalism. After learning economics, he's used his knowledge to advance his wealth at the expense of others. In a move that put Soros on the map, he nearly caused the collapse of the British pound because he sold it short. His actions almost took down the British banking system, and it made him a ton of money.

As the former Soviet Union was struggling with new political and economic freedom, Soros made another play against the ruble. This caused massive economic upheaval (as well as helped his ideological allies who still view communism as pretty nifty), and it made Soros a lot of money. He repeated this pattern in Indonesia with the same results. Soros is so hated in Indonesia that he would be arrested if he sets foot in the country.

And what does he do with all the money he made off his unethical economic practices? He promotes Leftist organizations, while at the same time preaching of the virtues of what he calls an "Open Society." Seems pretty inocuous, right? Once you dig into the concepts of the "Open Society," you'll notice it looks and sounds a lot like communism or socialism. And of the political factions in America, which one do you think would be the most willing to accept millions of dollars as well as the concepts of the "Open Society"?

Three guesses, and the first two are "Democrats."

But you don't have to take my word for it. Research "Open Society" and "George Soros" on your favorite search engine and read Soros's words for yourselves.

Put simply, George Soros is the worst kind of activist investor. The fact he's still highly regarded on Wall Street should give us all pause to think.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

There's been a lot made out of ACORN and its attempts to falsify voter registration records, mainly from the Right. The Left has been trying to downplay the implications of ACORN's actions, playing the "it's a right to vote" card to the "it's not really voter fraud" card. But it's the latter argument that I'm going to address right now because it's the most dishonest.

On the surface, ACORN appears to have a point. All some members of the organization or the people working for them have done is fill out or have others fill out voter registration cards that don't match up with eligible voters in different states. Surely that can't really be considered voter fraud, right?

Not so much. The fake voter registration is the first step of the scam. Once these folks are on the voter rolls, they can then request...absentee ballots. Then, these same illegally registered voters could have the absentee ballots mailed to...oh I don't know...ACORN. Then, ACORN could fill out the absentee ballots and mail them in to be counted. And if the election officials aren't thorough and spot the problems, those votes will get counted, illegally.

And three guesses who benefits the most from such an enterprise.

So, don't buy into the notion that the only thing ACORN did wrong was sign up people who weren't eligible to vote. It was only the first phase of their plan to steal an election for a man they're allied with, Barack Obama.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Afterthoughts on the Second Presidential Debate

Two men, one debate, and one blog post from me on the debate.

- Did Barack Obama answer more than 2 or 3 questions directly? From the opening question to the last question, I noticed he talked a lot, but rarely addressed the question asked of him. This made him look defensive. And the fact that he used every question to launch into a pre-programmed talking point from a stump speech made him look like he was afraid to think on his feet. You might be able to get away with changing the questions in Toastmasters, but in a Presidential debate, you actually need to talk about the subjects presented.

- The town hall format worked in John McCain's benefit. From the outset, he got up, walked over near the person who asked the question (when it wasn't someone from online), and talked to them. Obama didn't initially, but then did it after McCain did. From a public speaking standpoint, such a move made McCain seem more interested in the audience, like he was trying to make a personal connection with them. His tone of voice also aided this. While Obama was talking at the audience, McCain was talking to the audience.

- For the most part, Tom Brokaw kept a tight leash on the candidates, letting them talk and reminding them of the rules. And when Brokaw showed a little leniency to Obama by letting him respond to one of McCain's responses, he showed leniency to McCain to allow him time to respond to Obama's response. Gwen Ifill could learn a thing or fifty on debate moderation from Brokaw.

- Speaking of rules, did you notice the number of times Obama wanted to break the rules of the debate by asking to respond to McCain's statements? The candidates agreed to the rules, and after being admonished a couple of times for going over, McCain really tried to follow the rules, but Obama didn't. And, rightly so, Obama got shut down most of the time. Not a good sign for Obama.

- Obama made some big blunders last night, but one of the biggest ones was focusing so much on George W. Bush. By focusing on the past, he allowed himself to be mired in the past without giving much time to talk about what he was going to do to fix the situations he blamed on Bush. As easy as it is for Leftists to do, not everything can be blamed on George W. Bush. You guys were just as guilty as Bush, if not more so on economic issues.

- Once again, Obama tried to paint the subprime mortgage and bank failures on the lack of regulation promoted by President Bush. But we've seen the facts, and the lack of regulation was promoted by Democrats like Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, and others. And who called for tighter controls on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? George W. Bush and John McCain. So, Senator, just how is it Bush's fault that the Democrats in Congress rejected regulation?

- Just where are the news networks finding these "independent voters" they poll after the debates? Many of them gave the nod to Obama as winning the debate because they felt he answered the questions. The only way you could make that statement is if you weren't paying attention or if you were in the tank for Obama.

- I listened to Sean Hannity and a number of conservative friends of mine about how McCain needed a knockout punch last night in order to win, but that's not quite right. Remember, there is one more debate, and if McCain went out loaded for bear in this debate, what would he do for the third debate? Repeating the same lines from the previous debate won't help him win, as we saw from Obama. Instead, I think McCain's using Muhammad Ali's "rope-a-dope" strategy, letting Obama hit McCain for a while before McCain gets started. This strategy seems to work because Obama's first two debates have been weak, so he didn't land too many rhetorical punches before getting tired. This leaves McCain with an opportunity to not just nail Obama on his plans, but to introduce a primary campaign concept: Obama's judgment is not good for the country.

As far as who I gave the nod to, this one was easy. John McCain ran away with the debate. He put Barack Obama on the defensive from the outset and Obama floundered as a result. This was not Obama's best showing, and we'll see whether it hurts him in the polls. By my scorecard, the Obama/Biden ticket is 0 for 3 in debates, which means the media will have to figure out a way to turn an embarrassing loss into a near victory before the next debate.

Three down, one to go.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama Asks for the Wrong Discussion

The last month of a campaign always brings out the big guns as candidates jockey for position going into an election. This election is no different. With both John McCain and Sarah Palin bringing back the ties between Barack Obama and William Ayers, Obama has been on the defensive. His initial response was to say he was "ready for a character discussion." Then, his campaign launched into McCain's connection to the Keating Five scandal.

Ah, but the issue isn't about character, Senator. The issue is about judgment.

The William Ayers situation is proving troublesome to the Obama campaign because they thought they dealt with these claims during the Democratic primaries. The problem with that conclusion, however, is that the lack of media attention does not mean the issue goes away. With the media being in the Obama camp, they simply didn't bother to do the legwork, but the issue remains. When Hillary Clinton tried to make the Obama-Ayers connection, it wasn't followed up on to determine whether the connection was real. The most they did was to "fact check" it on a cursory level, which worked best for Obama.

Now that the McCain/Palin ticket has resurrected the Ayers story, Obama is left having to play defense yet again, but against a more aggressive candidate, one with more to gain from discussing Ayers than what Clinton had. And one who can build on the Clinton gambit to establish a real question about whether Obama can lead.

That's why Obama wants to take the attention away from the judgment issue and more into the realm of character. Obama can talk up his character and, compared to some of the things McCain has done in the past, he would win that discussion. But on questions of judgment, he's going to lose because of the multiple questionable decisions he's made during his life, of which his connection to Ayers is just one. Once voters consider the Ayers situation, they might reconsider Obama's connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Franklin Raines, Jim Johnson, Jamie Gorelick, Tony Rezko, and others that the media have not covered as extensively as they have with questionable connections involving McCain/Palin. Then, these voters might wonder why Obama has made so many bad or questionable decisions over his life.

And that's not a discussion Obama wants.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

An Open Letter to the State of Michigan

Normally, I don't gear my blog posts to a specific audience, but this one has to be written. If you're not from Michigan, hopefully you can take something out of this one and prevent what happened in Michigan earlier this week.

Dear Michigan,

How are you? How are the kids? Haven't heard from you in a while, so I figured I'd drop a line.

Listen, the real reason I'm writing is to set you straight on something. John McCain pulled up stakes and left Michigan earlier this week because he was no longer competitive against Barack Obama. Given how the state has leaned leftward in recent years, I'm sure a good number of you there think it's a good thing McCain's leaving. After all, why would you want someone who would follow the previous 8 years of economic policy, which have been disastrous for you?

Well, you might want to take a look at what got you here, and contrary to what you've been lead to believe, it's not George W. Bush at fault here. Sure, some of the things he's done nationally haven't been so economically sound, but he's not the one with his fingers in your wallets. He's no more responsible for the unemployment and tightened finances in your state than I am.

In fact, all you need to do is look to your capitol at your Governor, Jennifer Granholm, for the person most responsible for the economic woes you have. When jobs were getting scarce and your state's economy was tanking, she signed bills into law that increased your taxes. And it didn't help. Recently, she signed into law a requirement that 10% of your state's energy come from renewable sources. She's promising it will create jobs, but even if it does, the problem will still exist. The higher taxes are making it harder for people to be hired and to live on what they earn from the jobs they have. It's not Bush who signed those higher taxes into law; it's Granholm.

And have you checked with your unions lately? What have they done to help you in these tough economic times? Aren't they supposed to be fighting for you against the big corporations? Let me let you in on a little secret. They're not fighting for you nearly as much as you think they are. Right now, they're more about making sure their jobs are secure and keeping Democrats elected than they are about making sure you're represented at the workplace. Ask yourselves what unions have done for you in the past, oh, 20-30 years. They may have gotten you some things, like a bit more money in the retirement fund or a bump up on the insurance plan, but those are small things compared to what's needed now. An extra buck towards dental insurance doesn't mean that much when you're struggling to make ends meet.

Look at your Congressional representation. By my count, all but 52 of your Representatives and neither of your Senators are Democrats. What are they doing to help Michigan right now? I know that Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow have been attacking George W. Bush for one thing or another and demanding he be held accountable, but who is keeping them accountable for their actions or lack of them? How many Representatives agree with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's tactics to marginalize the Republicans as they tried to pass a bill that would have removed the Congressional ban on offshore drilling, an act that would have made gas more affordable and would have created jobs more than what Granholm suggested?

But it's easier to blame Bush than it is to dig a little deeper and find the ones truly responsible for the economic situation. And thanks to your unwillingness to consider John McCain, your chance to break the cycle and make a break for a different future has gone with him. Instead, you're solidly behind Barack Obama, a Democrat who has promised great things if he's elected. Just like, I'm sure, Granholm, the unions, and the Democrats you've put into political office have. But before you pull that lever for Obama, ask yourselves one question.

What has voting Democrat consistently actually delivered for you?

From where I sit, not a hell of a lot.


Thomas Lindaman

Friday, October 3, 2008

Afterthoughts on the VP Debate

After a night to think about it, I have some thoughts to share about the Vice-Presidential debate. And I've determined the order of the discussion by a coin flip. Let's start with Joe Biden.

- After Barack Obama came off as being an angry kid at last week's Presidential debate, there was a lot of unseen pressure on Biden to change the tone. Unfortunately, he didn't. He came off as an angry grandpa, which just doesn't resonate with the American people. Just ask Bob Dole. Democrats are of two minds on letting Biden do his thing, but after last night, that comes with an additional risk. The election is far from being sewn up, and the more Biden acts like Biden, the more that election gets put in jeopardy.

- I may torque off some of my readers with this, but I think Sarah Palin did a good job. Not great, but good. She was up against long odds, both with the media mostly mocking her and with the debate set-up making it effectively 2 on 1, thanks to moderator Gwen Ifill's pro-Obama book in the works. But, she managed to hold it together and put together a stronger than expected package. Was it as good as some say? Not so much. But I think she was buoyed by Biden's sub par performance.

- The media did their best to make this a no-win situation for Palin. The day before the debate, the media start talking about how well she did at a 2006 gubernatorial debate as a means to raise expectations to a point where she could do nothing but fail. Combine that with the Ifill situation, and you could tell the Leftists were salivating as the possibility of a Palin flame-out. That didn't happen. Palin ultimately came across as articulate and, dare I say it, human. Any undecided voters watching the debate had to have seen or felt that.

- Was it just me, or were some of the questions Ifill asked rather pointed and designed to undermine Palin? Ifill did try to balance it out by asking Biden a similar question, but the choice of questions left me cold. Some were irrelevant, like the question about gay marriage. Seriously, when will the Vice-President ever have to wrestle with gay marriage? It's not that important an issue. But the question that really made me cringe was the question involving what the two VP candidates would do should John McCain or Barack Obama die in office. Not only was it a pointed question designed to make Palin look unprepared for the office, but the way it was structured showed a level of disdain for both Palin and Biden as though they were irrelevant. If they were so irrelevant, why even have a debate?

- Biden tried to connect with the American people after Palin made that connection early on. With his frequent references to where he grew up, the people he knows where he comes from, and what they know, he laid the groundwork to try to draw on the same image Palin has. But after he almost teared up talking about his late wife and the car accident that took her life, it became obvious that it was all an act. He wasn't trying to make a real connection with the American people; he was trying to look like he connected on the same level Palin does. And he failed. What Biden tried to copy, Palin has naturally.

Now, for the winner of the debate. I give it to Palin on points because she didn't knock out Biden, but she landed a number of punches that left Biden reeling. She was also helped by Biden not being as prepared as he should have been. I think he underestimated her, and it put him on the defensive early on, leaving him having to play catch-up for the rest of the debate. Even if McCain/Palin doesn't win in November, I think we've seen the emergence of a front-runner for 2012.