Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quote of the Day, Civil War edition

"Seriously Sarah, just leave me out of this. I fought hard and I loved those men of the Potomac. I know from strategies that work and strategies that keep you on a goddamned bloody lane years longer than you need to be. You’re on the wrong side of history here, just like me. You’re running against goddamned Abe Lincoln. You can’t win this and you shouldn’t."

--General George B. McClellan, responding to Sarah Palin after she used his name during the VP debate segment on Afghanistan.

"I'm a Maverick, and I May Not Answer the Questions Tonight"

For your Saturday early evening viewing pleasure:

Midday Roundup

Not a whole lot going on today, but like always here are a few tidbits to muddle through.
  • Barack Obama's Campaign for Change is headed back to Indiana. The details:
    Obama's campaign said Friday that Obama would appear at a rally at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

    The planned stop _ Obama's second visit to Indiana since the Democratic National Convention and his sixth since May _ was set for one day after Tuesday's second presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Be sure to stop by the Statehouse this Wednesday to listen in on what should be a no frills showdown between Hoosier lawmakers and the petroleum industry. The IndyStar has the story:
    A commission made up of Indiana House and Senate members plans to hold a hearing at the Statehouse Wednesday to examine gasoline pricing policies in Indiana.

    The Commission on State Tax and Financing Policy is inviting representatives of the petroleum industry, local distributors, consumers and the state attorney general, who investigates consumer complaints. The public can also attend the meeting, although the agenda states that testimony will only be taken from those invited.
  • Despite an insistence on avoiding Indiana at all costs-- returning only to troll for votes after your campaign begins to spiral into oblivion-- John McCain and his Indiana devotees are as clueless as ever. Proof:
    McCain Indiana campaign co-chairman Luke Messer said the McCain campaign plans to add paid staff around the state next week. He said the campaign would place tens of thousands of yard signs and work to knock on more than 100,000 doors.

    ‘‘You can never take anybody's vote for granted, and John McCain has known all along that you have to work to win the vote of every Hoosier,'' Messer said.

Mitch Daniels' Silver Bullet

Great picture courtesy of Marti.Abernathey over at Blue Indiana. Pretty much sums up JLT's demise unfortunately.

Friday, October 3, 2008

McCampaign Implosion: Michigan Pullout a Mistake Says Sarah Palin

With news that the McCain campaign has all but given up in Michigan-- pulling out to focus resources elsewhere, Indiana included-- welcoming signs are emerging that all but spell out a complete GOP implosion over the newly adopted electoral strategy. The Political Wire has the story:
In an interview with Fox News, Gov. Sarah Palin criticized Sen. John McCain's decision "to pull campaign resources out of Michigan, saying she and her husband Todd would 'be happy' to campaign in the economically distraught battleground state."

Palin said that when she read the news, she "fired off a quick e-mail and said, 'Oh come on, do we have to?'"
Its sad to admit, but Palin is right. Had McCain chosen a viable running mate he would have been afforded the more logical move of sending his vice-president stumping across Michigan, effectively saving the cash but not abandoning presence. Nevertheless, his concession is but another in a long line of demonstrations that show what little faith he places in his own vice-presidential selection.

Thus, as chances for success continue to slim for republicans, you have to wonder how close this race would be right now had McCain chosen Michigan surrogate Mitt Romney instead. Thankfully its a moot point now, and much to our enjoyment McCain is forced to sit back and watch as like Sarah Palin, his electoral math disappears when the going gets tough.

Quotes of the Day, unemployment edition

"We've got the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest! We're doing vastly better than any state near us. Four months ago, we were at what economists call "full employment", but I don't consider it to be full unemployment. We took a very hard hit in the RV industry with high gas prices."
--Gov. Mitch Daniels

"The unemployment rates are 2% higher then when Governor Daniels took office in January of 2005. That's not a very good record, and it's not a criticism of him, it's a criticism of the way he governs."
--Jill Long Thompson

Who's to believe? You tell me.


I just can't help but think Daniels' unemployment defense is reminiscent of a teenager arguing with his parents, "But Timmy's mom said its OK...."

Bailout Redux: Passes House, Indiana Delegation Split

The bill passed a House vote this afternoon with a final tally of 263-171. As far as Indiana's congressional delegation is concerned the breakdown is as follows:

In favor
Joe Donnelly, D IN-02
Mark Souder, R IN-03
Andre Carson, D IN-07
Brad Ellsworth, D IN-08

Against
Visclosky, D IN-01
Steve Buyer, R IN-04
Dan Burton, R IN-05
Mike Pence, R IN-07
Hill, D IN-09

It's worth noting that Andre Carson was the only person to switch sides as a result of the bailout revisions.

Courtesy of the AP:
“This bill is not the bill that I or other Republicans would have chosen, but with a Democrat-controlled Congress, any bill must be a compromise. Possible failure of our economy was not an option.” — Rep. Mark Souder, Republican who voted for the bill.
———
“Something needs to be done to shore-up our financial markets, but without many substantive changes and $150 billion in additional spending — I don’t think this is the answer.” — Rep. Baron Hill, Democrat who voted against the bill.
———
“This crisis is a decade in the making. It is the result of cynical exploitation within an unregulated industry, and it should be addressed conscientiously and equitably. We should have considered all the viable alternatives to the bailout and deliberated the merits of each course of action in order to strengthen the banks’ balance sheets.” — Rep. Pete Visclosky, Democrat who voted against the bill.
———
“My number one priority is to protect our jobs and savings back home, and this bill presented us with the best chance of doing that. I did not take pleasure in voting for this legislation, but the choice before us was stark: either pass this rescue package or do nothing. Doing nothing would have cost us more jobs and billions in retirement savings.” — Rep. Joe Donnelly, Democrat who voted for the bill.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Post-Veep Debate Reaction

The overwhelming question coming in to tonight's debate centered around the notion of whether Sarah Palin is able to assume the responsibilities of the presidency should the need arise. And in all fairness I think she proved she is. She had no 'major' gaffes or stumbles and managed to speak passionately into the camera without abandoning the hockey mom persona she has taken such care to cultivate. Yet I argue, so what? For me the defining question shouldn't be whether she is able but whether she is qualified. And I think on that distinction, tonight's debate affirmed what we have all been saying so far-- she is not.

A few quick thoughts:
  • Gov. Palin on more than one occasion referred to Sen. Barack Obama as merely Barack and even once merely referred to him as Obama. I know this is petty, but a little respect while addressing a national audience never hurt anybody.

  • Her regurgitation of talking points was so repetitive and staged is was laughable. This was never more evident than in her multiple, "Oh I am glad you brought up _____" moments. She had a checklist, and doggonnit if a moderator was going to prevent her from getting through every note card put before her.

  • Joe Biden's refusal to correct Palin when she referenced General McClellan-- yes he's from the civil war-- instead of the correct General McKiernan, was subtly effective and provides fuel for the fire down the home stretch. Well played on his part.

  • I thought the most memorable segment of tonight's debate was the two minutes Biden devoted to the shredding of McCain's maverick status. Alas Palin's note cards didn't cover this so she was surprisingly at a loss for words.
WaPo's Eugene Robinson nails it:
Exactly an hour into the debate, Joe Biden began an answer by saying, "Facts matter, Gwen."

To him, maybe. To Sarah Palin, maybe not. The pattern, so far, has been one of Biden presenting facts and Palin countering with… saying stuff. Sometimes she throws in a fact, but mostly she seems to be offering a string of approximate policy positions, encomiums to the American spirit, disputed interpretations of Barack Obama's record and anecdotes from Alaska.
Maverick he is not:

Quote of the Day, cry-baby edition

"Because life isn't fair."

--Sen. John McCain, responding to a question of why Obama's poll numbers are rising as the economy sinks

Bayh and Lugar Support Revised Bailout Package

A revised bailout bill hit the Senate floor yesterday afternoon, where it passed with a not even close margin of 74-25. Both hoosier Senators opted to vote in favor of the pseudo-revised legislation, which diverged from its House counterpart in that it granted increased tax breaks for businesses and the middle-class while also raising the federal deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000. In statements to the press:

Evan Bayh
“The current proposal is no panacea. More difficult decisions lie ahead. But it is better than doing nothing, and that is the alternative.”
Richard Lugar
“The financial rescue legislation will restore credit flow to homeowners, businesses, farmers and all the people who, by the very nature of their businesses, need to borrow money to maintain their activity and keep employees.”
I think this is the first time I can truly agree with both of them.

"If we lose Indiana, we've already lost the election elsewhere"

We all have been ringing the bell on McCain's non-existent presence here in Indiana for some time now. Well it looks as if a national audience is catching on, with their electoral strategy analysis increasingly pointed towards Indiana as a huge McCain screw up. As Kos explains:
And what about Indiana? The McCain philosophy appears to be, "if we lose Indiana, we've already lost the election elsewhere". But suddenly, that's not necessarily the case. One can easily see Obama winning Indiana while losing Colorado, Florida, and Virginia. Yet thanks to myopic planning, McCain doesn't even have a single field office in the state. He has ceded Indiana to the Obama machine.
You have to love republican stubbornness.

Sarah Palin on the Supreme Court

More from the infamous Katie Couric interview:

COURIC: Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.
COURIC: the cornerstone of Roe v Wade
PALIN: I do. And I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.
COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
PALIN: Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are--those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know--going through the history of America, there would be others but--
COURIC: Can you think of any?
PALIN: Well, I could think of--of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.


I am speechless.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Research 2000: Obama -1, Long Thompson -1

According to new Research 2000 polling, JLT fans shouldn't throw in the towel quite yet. After yesterday's gut checking SUSA 16 point Daniels lead, Indiana's gubernatorial race seems to be in a state of utter confusion. The latest:

Research 2000
600 likely voter w/ MoE +/-4%
9/28-20

Daniels 47%
Long Thompson 46%
Undecided 4%

In addition to the above gubernatorial numbers, Research 2000 also polled the presidential race-- getting results that are much more familiar.

Research 2000
600 likely voter w/ MoE +/-4%
9/28-20

McCain 46%
Obama 45%
Undecided 6%

And consider for a moment the Indiana Republican Party's rebuttal to McCain's hoosier struggle:
The Indiana Republican Party has been the McCain campaign’s voice in the Hoosier state. State GOP Chairman Murray Clark said McCain is building a strong grassroots campaign in Indiana and that the party will “continue working hard for every vote.”
Seriously, who are they trying to kid?

IN-04: Buyer's Refusal to Debate Unacceptable

With much of Indiana's attention focusing today on Montagano and his placement on the DCCC's Red to Blue list, I feel it necessary to remind readers that an equally important race is taking place in the IN-04. Democratic challenger Nels Ackerson continues to fight the good fight against incumbent Steve Buyer, an eight term republican blowhard with a knack for petty accusations. Thus, considering what's at stake this election cycle, Ackerson's request for a debate would sound like a logical and necessary step for both candidate's campaigns. Well not if Buyer has anything to do with it. Refusing multiple requests, the Buyer campaign has said and done everything possible-- no matter how ridiculous or deceptive-- to discredit the very thought of standing side by side with his opponent addressing the issues that matter to voters. In a press statement released today, Ackerson sets the record straight:
In the press release, Buyer resorted to childish name-calling using words like "whining", "hypocrite", "mean", "shallow", and "bitter" and referred to Ackerson's extensive voter outreach program as "parading around the district."

"This type of pettiness and childish rants are unfit for a leader," commented Ackerson.

"Buyer's been increasingly bizarre and belligerent on the campaign trail, making veiled threats to me and members of my staff. He even yelled at one of my high school volunteers at the opening of the Montgomery County Republican office. But this type of language in formal a public statement represents a new low for Buyer," noted Ackerson. "If he weren't our elected representative and we didn't have such serious crises going on these rants would be comical."...

Added Ackerson, "We should be talking about issues that matter to voters instead of these personal attacks. Steve Buyer wants to pretend that we've been skipping debates, and that's laughable. Name the time, Steve. Name the place. We've been waiting. Stop hiding behind half-truths."
Ackerson is right. Voters deserve better. If you live in the fourth district I urge you to give Buyer a call at the number below. Let's let him know his actions are unacceptable and the voters won't stand for it.

Steve Buyer IN-04: 202-225-5037

IN-03: DCCC Puts Montagano on Red to Blue List

Mike Montagano's campaign just got a huge national boost today with the addition of his name to the DCCC's Red to Blue candidate list. Never heard of the Red to Blue program? ActBlue explains:
The Red to Blue program highlights top Democratic campaigns across the country, and offers them financial, communications, and strategic support. These candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress.
Montagano's challenge to incumbent republican Mark Souder is looking better and better each day. Don't live in the third district but want to do your part in helping to throw Souder out of office? Then I urge you to first check out the Montagano for Congress website and then throw some greenbacks Montagano's way. This race has proven to be Indiana's best opportunity of toppling yet another entrenched republican-- so don't hesitate to help, no matter how small your contribution may be. With a combined effort this race is winnable folks.

Quote of the Day, Clueless edition

"I have quite a few people who are giving us information about the record of Obama and Biden, and at the end of the day, though, it is -- it's so clear, again, what those choices are. Either new ideas, new energy and reform of Washington, DC, or more of the same."

--Gov.Sarah Palin, responding to Katie Couric's question of "who are your debate coaches?" in an interview clip aired this morning on The Early Show

More of the same? I am thoroughly convinced Palin just hears sound bytes on TV, thinks they sound good, and decides to use them during interviews and speeches no matter how absurd/untrue they really are.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

IN-09: DCCC Aires New Ad

The DCCC has released a series of district specific ads for key congressional races across the country. And yep you guessed it the IN-09 made their list. The latest entitled "U.S. economy fundamentally is in good shape":

IN-09: Hill and Sodrel (and Schansberg) Set to Debate

After much posturing, it looks as if Indiana's ninth congressional district will finally get the debate voters have been longing for. The details:
The candidates for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District seat will debate October 21st in Jasper.

This is the only planned debate between Democratic Representative Baron Hill, Republican Mike Sodrel and Libertarian Eric Schansberg before Election Day.
Considering Hill and Sodrel's familiarity with each other's candidacy expect the debate to focus on the economy and hopefully by this time the legislation that has been passed by Congress concerning the bailout. While both candidates opposed yesterday's bailout bill, nonsensical reactions from Sodrel should provide plenty of ammunition for Hill to bury his opponent. Take for example this absurdity:
“Government acquisition of private enterprises when it occurs by ballot is called socialism. ... When it occurs by bullets (it) is called communism. There is little difference in the end result. The former is just less violent than the latter.”

Latest SUSA Polling: Daniels +16, Obama -3

The latest SurvayUSA poll brings with it mixed emotions as Long Thompson's campaign appears to be stuck in the mud while Obama's continues to trend upward. The results:

SurveyUSA
687 likely voters, MoE +/-3.8
9/28-29 (8/16-18)

IN-Gov
Daniels-R: 53 (52)
Long Thompson-D: 37 (38)
Horning-L: 6 (3)

IN-Pres
McCain: 48 (50)
Obama: 45 (44)

While the news for Long Thompson was expected and the news for Obama we have been hinting at for some time now, one portion of the cross-tabs has me a little worried. If Obama were to stand a fighting chance at taking Indiana in November, it would mean his support in northern Indiana and likewise the central Indiana greater Indianapolis area would have to be substantial. But as the polling points out:
In Northern Indiana, where voters see Chicago television from Obama's home state of Illinois, Obama led by 17 points fourteen weeks ago and by 5 points six weeks ago; today, Obama leads there by 1.

Indiana Dems Explain Bailout Vote, Souder Cuts and Runs

From today's IndyStar:

Voting Nay
Pete Visclosky
 IN-01:
"When many Bethlehem Steel retirees had their pensions cut, did President Bush provide a helping hand? All I know is that when Stan O'Neal retired from Merrill Lynch, his compensation package was worth $161.5 million."
Andre Carson IN-07:
"The economic malpractice of the Bush administration is why our financial markets are in turmoil. This administration's fiscal negligence is why Wall Street was rewarded for doing things wrong while Main Street was punished for doing things right. And now this same inept administration is asking the American public to trust them."
Baron Hill IN-09:
"I have been rushed to judgment by the Bush administration before. There hasn't been enough time to evaluate the impacts this legislation would have if enacted or to consider alternatives. Congress deserves time to weigh the benefits and the potential pitfalls of borrowing this money."
Voting Aye
Joe Donnelly IN-02:
"When there are serious people discussing the possibility of another economic depression, it is time to act. The rescue plan was not perfect, but it was necessary. And while no one took any pleasure in voting for it, the alternative -- doing nothing -- is potentially disastrous and therefore unacceptable."
Brad Ellsworth IN-08: see quote of the day post below

And worth pointing out amidst all this bailout hoopla, is Rep. Mark Souder's (R IN-03) aye vote. Not only is he fighting a congressional race right now against a very good candidate in Mike Montagano, but add his approval for the bailout to the mix and his shaky republican support will surely take an unwanted hit. Not surprisingly, Souder was the only representative of the Indiana delegation that did not respond to a request for comment by the IndyStar. Gee, I wonder why?

IN-06: Welsh and Pence Share Opposition, but For Very Different Reasons

I have by no means tried to hide my support for bailout legislation, as was made clear by my chastisement of Rep. Mike Pence earlier today. While I regret the situation we are currently in and place much of the blame at the feet of republicans, I supported today's bill because I felt and still feel that inaction comes at too high a price. This bill was far from perfect-- that I think we can all agree on. But had it been adopted, I feel confident in saying that Wall Street would have avoided such a colossal plunge today, and ultimately would have been spared another week of fiscal collapse. And for me that would have been worth it.

This being said, I think its important to point out the very real differences in today's nay votes, especially along party lines. I called out Mike Pence because his rationale for voting against the bill was absurd-- amounting to yet more tax breaks for big business all in the name of free-market economics. His hollow position was  a familiar one today, and as a result a majority of republicans voted against the bailout. This defense doesn't ring true for democrats though. While I may have supported the bill today, I understand completely why many democrats did not. In a soon to be released op-ed piece, IN-06 district challenger Barry Welsh explains the dichotomy of nay votes perfectly:
This bailout as proposed is the equivalent of taking out a new credit card and filling it with the debt of old credit cards. That doesn't work for people and it doesn't work for governments. I would have voted against the bill as it stood but for different reasons than those of my opponent. Congressman Mike Pence, under his words "limited government", opposes more regulations on Wall Street and wants more tax breaks for the wealthy, and that is why he voted no. I believe we need stricter regulations and a tax break for the 95% of us who are not wealthy, and that is why I would have voted no. There were few explanations as to where the original money went, and where the proposed 700 billion dollars in replacement funds would be directed. All expenditures would be at the Treasury Secretary's discretion, and that is not a good enough explanation of who will benefit for me, or the American people.
To read the op-ed in its entirety check out Welsh's post over at Blue Indiana.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Quote of the Day, IN-08 edition

“Ultimately this is about that worker in Vincennes who is wondering if his pension will be there in the future, the single mother in Greencastle who dreams of sending her children to college, or the small business owner in Boonville who is trying to meet payroll. These are the Americans that have everything to lose if Congress fails to act."

--Rep. Brad Ellsworth D (IN-08), explaining his support for the bailout bill

Bailout Fails: Indiana Delegation Split On Vote

Well it looks as if Pelosi got played by House republicans today, as the final vote on H.R. 3997 comes in at 205 ayes and 228 nayes. This effectively throws everyone back to the drawing board, and marks a stunning defeat for the Bush administration and congressional leadership.

How did our own representatives vote?

Ayes
Donnelly (d) IN-02
Souder (r) IN-03
Ellsworth (d) IN-08

Nays
Visclosky (d) IN-01
Buyer (r) IN-04
Burton (r) IN-05
Pence (r) IN -06
Carson (d) IN-07
Hill (d) IN-09

My feelings on the bill fall somewhere along the lines of "necessary but unfortunate." Its true the bailout is not ideal, but with both sides playing politics and posturing for position I don't think a perfect bill will ever arrise. Moreover, if you look at the toll inaction is having on Wall Street, its clear something needs to be done-- and fast. In wake of the vote the Dow has taken its largest single day fall ever, plummeting 778 points. 

Tina Fey/Sarah Palin's Katie Couric Interview

This absolutely speaks for itself:

IN-06: Pence Opposes Bailout Legislation

Another vote, another reminder just how out of touch Rep. Mike Pence is with voters in his district. A vocal opponent of any form of governmental bailout, Pence says he is set to vote against the proposed legislation on the grounds it goes against the ideas of a free-market economy.

Does Pence not know such a vote could be economically fatal for many hard working hoosiers across the state? Or does he just not care? Because as Senator Richard Lugar, who says he will support the bill, points out:
"I will continue supporting efforts to pass legislation to restore credit flow to homeowners, businesses, farmers and all the people who, by the very nature of their businesses, need to borrow money to maintain their activity and keep employees," Lugar said Friday. "Failure to pass such legislation would lead to massive unemployment and failure of small business and farming operations in Indiana. That is unacceptable."
And just in case anyone needed further proof of the shear absurdity of Pence's position, consider his defense:
"If you came here because you believe in limited government and the freedom of the American marketplace, vote in accordance with those convictions," Pence wrote.

He had argued that the plan should include tax cuts for capital gains and for corporations that bring home overseas profits. Pence said that would free "trapped capital" to deal with the liquidity crisis.
Nevermind such a position amounts to yet more tax breaks for big business with no mention of average taxpaying hoosiers. How the rest of the Indiana congressional delegation will vote is still up in the air, but rest assured answers will be forthcoming as congress is set to vote on the bill sometime today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bailout Bill: Yay or Nay?

Here's the proposed bill in it entirety. I haven't finished reading the whole thing yet but my initial reaction is that its still a far stretch from what much of the public would like to see. While its better than the initial Paulson proposal of last week, it still has too many safeguards for those who effed up in the first place and not nearly enough reform in areas of bankrupty and financial industry regulation.


What's your take?

Quote of the Week

"I don't think we're going to lose money, myself. We may, it's possible, but I doubt it in the long run."

-- Sen. Judd Gregg R-NH, responding cluelessly to questions concerning the economy and the bailout proposal

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Zero: The Post-Debate Obama Narrative

This has been making its way around the blogosphere today and I though it bears repeating.


And from today's stump comes a welcome sign the Obama campaign is ready and willing to roll up their sleeves and run with this narrative:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Saturday called Republican rival John McCain out of touch with middle-class Americans, telling supporters that the GOP senator never once uttered the words "middle class" during their first debate.

"Through 90 minutes of debate, John McCain had a lot to say about me, but he didn't have anything to say about you," Obama told a cheering crowd at the J. Douglas Galyon Depot in downtown Greensboro. "He didn't even say the words 'middle class.' He didn't even say the words 'working people.'" [...]

"Just as important as what we heard from John McCain is what we didn't hear from John McCain," Obama said. "We talked about the economy for 40 minutes and not once did Sen. McCain talk about the struggles of middle-class families. Not once did he talk about what they are facing every day here in North Carolina and across the country."

Jingoistic Self-Aggrandizement

After a a few hours of sleep, it became increasingly clear to me that my initial reaction of last night's debate was a little skewed. Upon first thought I felt good about where the debate ended-- Obama held his own talking about issues that were supposed to be dominated by McCain and in doing neither stood above nor below his opponent. Yet when I awoke this morning, I couldn't help but feel Obama missed too many opportunities to really show voters why his candidacy matters.

During the first segment on the economy, a segment that was ripe for Obama's picking, he was merely content to sit back and outline the many differences he has with McCain economics a la eight failed Bush years. This in and of itself was a huge chance to bury McCain beneath his many fumblings, yet Obama chose to remain distant, refusing to get up and directly hold republicans responsible for the economic calamities they have created.

Among the many post-debate reactions I combed through last night was a poignant albeit slightly critical response by Hollywood's most famous liberal, Sean Penn.
John McCain, celebrating himself as a maverick, reinventing his voting record, and name-dropping world leaders, simultaneously re-exhibited his enduring ignorance of the cultural dynamics that led to his misjudgment on Iraq in the first place. Senator Obama, at least gave a little nuanced oxygen to the conversation in his statement that Ahmadinejad may not be the most powerful man in theocratic Iran -- an often mis-advertised political and cultural evaluation.

The result is another frustrating piece of American media that is at once far too polite, and at the same time, dismissive of an American public's need to know anything beyond jingoistic self-aggrandizement.
I too share his post-debate mood. Thus I feel its important for Obama to regroup, chalk this debate up as a wash, and set his sights on the next debate with a fire in eyes. Being nice and polite are one thing, but the fact of the matter is, its not what the voters want to hear right now. Instead they need a leader willing to stand up and forcefully defend the democratic ideals that are so fundamental to our country and to our party. If Obama does this, I don't think McCain has an answer.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Post-Debate Reaction

No major gaffes. No gotcha moments. You could say both candidates come away from this debate unscathed and no worse for the wear. But its important to remember that this debate was supposed to be McCain's bread and butter-- talking about foreign policy has been the backbone of his candidacy since the beginning. Well its clear Obama stood toe to toe with him addressing each issue, and for the most part the McCain campaign who was banking on a big boost from this debate will be sorely disappointed when all is said and done. Considering all this, I feel confident saying Obama won tonight's uneventful showdown.

CNN's David Gergen sums it up best:
John McCain needed a clear victory tonight. I think a tie was not in his interest. He is behind. And this is his best subject night ... I think he needed a clear victory tonight and that eluded him.

One of the best debate moments for Obama:

Debate Open Thread

Despite what's been said the last few days, all us political junkies have a debate to enjoy tonight. I'll be giving some live commentary as the spectacle unfolds, but while we wait for it all to start I think some predictions are in order.

My gut tells me its going to be a brutal night for John McCain. Not only did he royally eff up the campaign suspension ploy, but his flip-flop will be on display for millions of voters to see. All I know is buckle up because its going to get ugly.

Your predictions and thoughts?

8:59: here we go folks
9:01: this format is wide open...it could get uglier than I initially predicted
9:16: Obama needs to really run with this economic growth bit because McCain is tip toeing around the subject and keeps going back to earmarks. Gee I wonder why? It can't be because his tax cut plan is a sham can it?
9:22: Finally both candidates are getting at it...McCain is lying and laughing nothing new
9:28: McCain's economic plan in two words--Spending Cuts...Obama brings up google for government and McCain is dumbfounded...
9:32: Finally Obama brings up Iraq and mentions the amount of money that can be saved there...McCain sidesteps
9:36: Obama's laying it on thick with the Bush comparison...McCain makes first maverick reference, what a joke
9:39: Iraqi democracy is no further along than it was two years ago....is McCain serious when he says our that our troops will now be coming home because of Iraqi success?
9:44: McCain's temper is flaring watch out...
9:46: Obama is sounding more and more versed when talking about foreign policy...McCain's inability to grapple new ideas and advice is evident when talking about Iraq...sounds a little like Dubya to me
9:51: McCain says his mistake concerning Afghanistan should be chalked up as a lesson of history...wow
9:54: Obama nails McCain on prudence issue, reminding everyone that he "sang songs on bombing Iran" and "threatened extinction of North Korea".....McCain's favorite line of the night "I don't think Senator Obama understands..."....Obama needs to throw this back at him and highlight the many things McCain has absolutely no understanding of, aka the economy
10:00: well Obama wins the bracelet argument for whatever thats worth....McCain, try as he may, is failing the temperament test
10:07: Obama is sounding presidential when talking about diplomacy and McCain once again is stuck in the past with his history lesson
10:11: Wow Obama brings out the big guns and mentions Spain reference...McCain has no answer but to tie himself to Ronald Reagan and the past
10:20: McCain talking about Russia amounted to how many leaders and areas he could identify...Obama needs to hit home on the Palin Russian connection somehow
10:25: The growing sense of how McCain's entire candidacy is fuctioning is that he takes Obama's words, phrases, and ideals and tries to pass them off as his own...American's aren't that dumb
10:29: In case you didn't know the political cycle has come full swing and McCain is the new ronny Reagan, what a hoot
10:33: McCain's closing was unbearable and laughable...Obama's closing sounds direct and presidential

Quotes of the Day, Campaign Suspension edition

"So to sum up: the net effect of John McCain 'suspending' his presidential campaign: angering David Letterman."
--Jon Stewart

And...

"I, for one, cannot think of anything more presidential than suspending your presidential campaign! Being president demands suspending all kinds of things: habeas corpus, Gitmo prisoners..."
--Stephen Colbert

IN-07: Carson on the Bailout....Again

No one can say IN-07 district congressman Andre Carson has been missing from the financial crisis debate. Indeed his office has been adamant in releasing press statements concerning the matter on a seemingly every day basis. The latest:
"Responsible homeowners and hardworking American taxpayers should be the beneficiaries of this rescue package, not irresponsible lenders and greedy corporate executives. To reward the wrong, at the expense of the right, sends the wrong message and does nothing to help the hardworking American taxpayer in need of relief and urgent assistance.

"As negotiations progress, I will continue to call on the Congressional Leadership and Bush Administration to draft a more inclusive package that provides property tax relief through enhanced deductions and incentivized tax credits. The incorporation of more mortgage relief provisions and the inclusion of improved taxpayer protections will increase our economic productivity and safeguard the financial interests of hardworking Americans."
Is incentivized a real word?

Screw ANWR, we have Ft. Wayne International Airport

I never thought I'd see the day, but it seems Indiana may hold the solution for our nation's energy problems. Ehh....not so fast. Did I say solutions? Scratch that I meant oil profits. According to geologist Chuck Knox, Indiana is "ripe for the picking" and his company St. Joe Valley Exploration are just the people for the job. The Times has the story:
Geologist Chuck Knox is seeking the mineral rights under 2,000 acres of airport property to drill for oil.

"We'd be foolish to at least not take a look," airport executive director Torry Richardson told The News-Sentinel.

Knox said his company was focusing on gas and oil fields in Indiana that have been unprofitable until the price of oil climbed above $100 a barrel.

"This isn't about geology. It's about economics," he said.
All I know is that if Knox strikes it rich, I am going to eat my hat and be the first person to offer up my backyard for more drilling. All this talk about soaring gas prices from both Daniels and Long Thompson and the solution is right beneath us-- give me a break people. Ft. Wayne? Do they realize this is Indiana we are talking about? We have corn and soybeans and high school basketball. Not oil--right?

RNC to the Rescue

I guess the McCain people are a little more worried about Indiana than they have previously let on. Politico's Ben Smith has the scoop:
Two sources familiar with the media-buying plans say the Republican National Committee is set to spend six figures shoring up John McCain in the traditionally Republican state of Indiana.

The RNC's independent expenditure arm — which is outside the direct control of the campaign or the committee — has placed a $100,000 buy with WISH-TV in Indianapolis, the CBS affiliate in the capital, one source said. Two sources said the buys across the state start on Tuesday, Sept. 30.
Update 6:39 pm: Somehow I missed this earlier, but Kos once again chimes in on McCain's Indiana inaction (before news of the RNC buy broke):
With a little love, McCain might pull Indiana safely out of play, but they're operating under the theory that if they've lost Indiana, they've already lost enough states to lose the election. Given how tight the other "tipping point" states are, and how fiercely they are being contested, ignoring Indiana may prove to have been a bad call when all's said and done.

Debate On

Let's be clear, Washington has yet to finalize a bailout deal. Well it seems that's no longer a concern for McCain and Co. though, because-- with 'optimism' in the air-- he has decided to make the journey to Mississippi for tonight's debate. Moreover, he's content that his presence in Washington really pushed the whole bailout deal along. From a campaign statement:
Senator McCain has spent the morning talking to members of the Administration, members of the Senate, and members of the House. He is optimistic that there has been significant progress toward a bipartisan agreement now that there is a framework for all parties to be represented in negotiations, including Representative Blunt as a designated negotiator for House Republicans. The McCain campaign is resuming all activities and the Senator will travel to the debate this afternoon. Following the debate, he will return to Washington to ensure that all voices and interests are represented in the final agreement, especially those of taxpayers and homeowners.
Unbelievable. Worst political stunt in the history of political stunts. Need I remind you this was a the campaign line as recently as Wednesday:
If there's no deal before the debate, McCain is staying in Washington, period, a McCain senior adviser tells NBC News.
So go the polls. So go the media. So goes McCain. Its as simple as that folks. When disdain over the debate suspension became too evident, McCain reversed track and flip-flopped.

Oh well, with a little poking and prodding from Obama, at least he will have to explain this debacle to millions of voters tonight. I intend to live-blog the debate so stay tuned, I'll put up an open thread tonight closer to gametime.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Slate Predicts McCain's Next Ten Hail Mary Stunts

Dead on. And a little scary to boot considering how absurd McCain and Co. have proven to be thus far.
1. Returns to Vietnam and jails himself.
2. Offers the post of "vice vice president" to Warren Buffett.
3. Challenges Obama to suspend campaign so they both can go and personally drill for oil offshore.
4. Learns to use computer.
5. Does bombing run over Taliban-controlled tribal areas of Pakistan.
6. Offers to forgo salary, sell one house.
7. Sex-change operation.
8. Suspends campaign until Nov. 4, offers to start being president right now.
9. Sells Alaska to Russia for $700 billion.
10. Pledges to serve only one term. OK, half a term.
I would like to add:
11. Admits wife Cindy is a robot-- tech sector rebound saves the economy

Your predictions?

Quote of the Day, IN-07 edition

"Senator John McCain's disingenuous act of forcibly inserting himself into the financial rescue package negotiations is futile, unsolicited and politically self-serving. Through his own self-admission and pro-deregulation policies, John McCain has shown that he has neither the economic knowhow nor the fiscal intellect to progressively move our nation's economic agenda forward."

--Andre Carson (D) IN-07, deriding McCain's campaign suspension ploy in a statement released yesterday afternoon. Read the complete press release here.

Update (11:42 pm): Carson gives his take on the bailout courtesy of WTHR:

Biden Focusses on the Economy during Jeffersonville Visit

Democratic Vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden didn't hold anything back during a Jeffersonville rally yesterday afternoon. Slamming McCain and Co. on their woeful economic record, Biden's speech addressed issues that hit home with many hoosier voters.
"The average income's tumbling. In the Hoosier state, down $4,000 ... while the price of everything from gas to groceries has gone through the roof," Biden said. "We've seen this movie before and, folks, you all know the sequel is always worse than the original."

Obama Forging on With Debate

In a move that can only play badly for republicans, Barack Obama has committed to an appearance at Friday night's debate regardless of whether McCain will be there or not. The Huffington Post has the details:
Barack Obama is committed to hosting a public, televised event Friday night in Mississippi even if John McCain does not show up, an official close to the Obama campaign tells the Huffington Post.

In McCain's absence, the Senator is willing to make the scheduled debate a townhall meeting, a one-on-one interview with NewsHour's Jim Lehrer, or the combination of the two, the official said.
This is great stuff. Its hard to wonder just how/what the McCain people were thinking when they hatched this grand campaign suspension ploy, but I think at this point even they realize how bad its backfiring. Nevertheless, part of me really really wants McCain to be a no show. The thought of seeing Obama on stage, doing a townhall or one-on-one interview with millions watching across the country, is just too perfect. McCain can't be that stupid though, can he?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Quote of the Day

"You don't suspend your campaign. This doesn't smell right. This isn't the way a tested hero behaves...I think someone's putting something in his metamucil.

He can't run the campaign because the economy is cratering? Fine, put in your second string quarterback, Sara Palin. Where is she?

What are you going to do if you're elected and things get tough? Suspend being president? We've got a guy like that now!"

--David Letterman, addressing the McCain campaign suspension stunt

Timeout

The McCain camp has called for a timout in all campaigning, stating its important for both candidates to meet with party leadership in Washington to grind out a viable solution to the ongoing financial crisis.

Are they serious?

I mean we are talking about a guy who just weeks ago asserted the fundamentals of our economy are strong. What a difference a few polls make huh? It seems now that he has realized he dropped the ball badly, his pleas for a suspension of presidential politics and a postponement of Friday's debate are, despite republican hopes, coming off as two negatives for his candidacy. One, he is panicked and is trying to cover for his own economic gaffes. And two, his call for a timout is merely injecting yet more politics into the whole mess. Either way, I have faith the American people will see through this latest stunt for what it really is-- a joke.

This about sums it up:

Financial Crisis bad, War in Iraq worse

While this whole financial fiasco plays itself out and continues to be covered by establishment media outlets and the blogosphere at large, I think its worth reminding everyone that equally pressing matters are happening elsewhere. And by elsewhere I mean Iraq.

More specifically there is news today that a battalion of local Indiana National Guardsman may have been exposed to the hazardous chemical, sodium dichromate, a poisonous toxin made famous in the movie Erin Brokovich.
The Indiana troops were guarding an Iraqi water plant and were told the orange, sand-like dust spread throughout the facility was a mild irritant. It was later revealed to be the toxic compound that poisoned more than 600 people in California, the incident depicted in the movie, Erin Brockovich.
They were told the substance was merely a mild irritant? Am I the only one outraged by this? Well it seems at least one other person shares my concern, because in a move that should be commended, Senator Evan Bayh has requested the Army investigate the entire exposure incident.

Why is this story not garnering more attention statewide? Crimey, when a similar occurrence happened in California it got such widespread attention that a movie was eventually made about it. Are we so driven by money that this whole financial shitstorm has made us forget about a War that, frankly should be front and center of any political debate at present? Don't get me wrong, I don't mean to callously overlook all that is happening on Wall Street, but I'll be damned if I just sit around and watch as it consumes every news cycle-- effectively pushing the War in Iraq to the shadows of public discourse.

These are our Guardsman. We owe them more than that.

McCain Ad-Buy?

The buzz around the Indiana blogosphere concerning McCain's first ad-buy within the state may have been for nought. Then again who really knows at this point. While the details are still shaking themselves out, at least one source over at the Politico asserts that both the McCain campaign and the RNC are fervently denying the rumor that Indiana advertising is forthcoming.

At this point does it even matter though? With increased national attention afforded to Indiana because of today's events, one has to wonder how long republicans can sit around idly ignoring Obama's increased popularity amongst hoosier voters. While its understandable that a 40+ year republican death grip on the state may have cemented some hard to break campaign habits, just how far McCain is willing to carry his self-defeating mentality is perplexing to say the least. 

McCain may or may not buy ad-time in Indiana when this is all said and done. Alas all we can do now is sit back and hope that republican pride continues to cloud their judgment-- because the fact of the matter is, watching republicans drive themselves into the ground never really gets old.

And just in case anyone has forgotten what's up for grabs, MyDD gives a bit of historical perspective:
... the Democrats have only carried the state of Indiana four times since 1892 -- during the routs that were 1912 (Wilson v. Taft v. T. Roosevelt), 1932 (F. Roosevelt v. Hoover), 1936 (F. Roosevelt v. Landon) and 1964 (Johnson v. Goldwater -- meaning that they have lost the state even while winning the presidency eight times in the past 115 years. Even more to the point, no Democrat in the last 30 years has received more than 41.55 percent of the vote in the state, with the average Democratic showing during that time period of 39.09 percent. In short, Indiana is generally infertile ground for Democrats on the presidential level, so news of even the Republicans considering the state to be in play is rather noteworthy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

“We need to change who we are sending to Washington to oversee this process if we are to change how things are being done there."

--Mike Montagano, Democratic challenger to incumbent republican Mark Souder (IN-03) responding to questions concerning the ongoing financial crisis

Kos on Indiana

The big news today? McCain and Co. have finally surrendered to the Obama onslaught and have been forced to purchase their first Indiana ad-time this election cycle. While the effect such ads will have on the state of the race is debatable, one thing is certain-- any money the republicans are forced to spend here is a gigantic positive for Dems across the country. Kos sums it up best:
This comes after weeks of denying that Indiana was worth any effort, and after conservative confidence that Palin's pick would seal the deal (like it apparently has in states like Alaska and North Dakota).

Just think, this is a 21-point Bush blowout state. Playing with the dKos Political Scoreboard, that would be like Obama playing defense in New York (Kerry +18), Vermont (Kerry +20), or ... oh, perfect -- Rhode Island (Kerry +19, 60-39).

Birch Bayh to Speak at IU

Say what you will about Evan Bayh, but his father Birch surely goes down as one of the great Hoosier politicians of all time. The details:
Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, father of current Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, will be speaking in Bloomington Thursday afternoon.

Indiana University says the elder Bayh, an alum of the IU School of Law, will be speaking about the separation of church and state at the IU Law School Moot Court Room Thursday at 3:30.

Bayh is known for being a long-time senator from 1962 to 1980, and helped author the 25th and 26th Amendments which dealt with presidential succession and lowering the voting age to 18 respectively.
Its easy to forget considering all of Bayh's legislative accomplishments, but perhaps his most lasting act while in office was nearly a tragedy. His ability to pull the badly injured Senator Ted Kennedy out of the wreckage of a plane that had crashed while both were aboard, not only proved Bayh was a force to be reckoned with, but because of his actions, provided all Democrats a chance to marvel a liberal lion in the Senate for the last 46 years. If there was ever a politician worth voting for, Birch Bayh takes the cake.

Midday Roundup

I'll be in an out today without a lot of time to blog, so here are a few things to mull over while I'm gone.
  • BuyMyShitPile.com: If the government can get away with it, why can't we?
    With our economy in crisis, the US Government is scrambling to rescue our banks by purchasing their "distressed assets", i.e., assets that no one else wants to buy from them. We figured that instead of protesting this plan, we'd give regular Americans the same opportunity to sell their bad assets to the government.

  • The second of three Indiana gubernatorial debates is set for tonight at 8pm in Jasper. The big question heading into this debate is whether Jill Long Thompson can successfully draw distinctions between herself and Mitch without sounding to attack oriented like she did last time. However you look at it though, its clear she needs a strong performance tonight as the election is quickly approaching and for all intensive purposes she still faces an intimidating hill to climb with voters. 

  • If you live in or around Jefforsonville, be sure to check out Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden as he makes his second stop in Indiana tomorrow for an afternoon rally. The IndyStar has the details:
    The Barack Obama campaign announced Monday that Biden will speak at an afternoon rally in Warder Park. Tickets to the public event were being distributed by Obama campaign offices in Jeffersonville and New Albany today.
    Just so everyone's clear of the tally-- after tomorrow's rally, Biden will have been in Indiana twice as much John McCain. Unreal.

The Economy: Dems vs. Repubs

Need proof that Democrats are more competent when it comes to running an economy than Republicans? Let the graphs do the talking:

Democrats have a clear edge on GDP growth: 4.4% vs. 2.6%
And...
With only few exceptions, Republican administrations have presided over increases in unemployment, and Democrats over declines. On average, the jobless rate has risen by 1.0 points under the GOP, and fallen by 1.9 points under Dems
It doesn't get any simpler than that folks.

Quote of the Day

"I want to be done playing this lady Nov. 5. So if anybody can help me be done playing this lady Nov. 5, that would be good for me."

--Tina Fey, responding to questions concerning her portrayal of republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin on SNL

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Politics of Crisis (w/update)

Let me start off by saying that if you haven't read this over at Daily Kos-- you should. Not only does it brilliantly set the stage for a much larger debate, but it draws from the muck some important political realities all voters should be aware of. As such here's my take:

Giving the treasury secretary $700 billion in unfettered non-reviewable money is brash and irresponsible. Not only is the Bush administration taking advantage of "its a time of crisis we need to do something now" ideology, but they are doing so with clear partisan political intent. I mean this whole ordeal stinks of politics. And I am not referring to the past politics of deregulation, but more to the effect of an administration who has proven incapable of handling anything, and now insists on splitting ways with party faithful to push a lousy bailout through congress– all in the name of economic survival. This thing is going to come back to bite Democrats one way or another, and you can be sure Bush and his cronies will be in the background laughing when it does.

But as luck(?) would have it, its the Democratically controlled Congress that will have the final say on any bailout plan. And to say their leadership and backbone have been MIA thus far is a drastic understatement. As Devilstower reminds us:
This is enemy action. This is a bullet deliberately fired into the economy by men willing to exercise their ideology regardless of the cost to taxpayers. Men who have every expectation that they can plunder the system again and again, while the public picks up the tab. John McCain may not have had his finger directly on the trigger, but he was there. He assisted. These were his personal friends and philosophical comrades. He may not be the high priest, but he has been a loyal acolyte in the cult of deregulation.

It may come as a surprise to the champions of deregulation, but nobody likes regulation. The restrictions that were placed on banks, S&Ls, and other institutions in the 1930s weren't put there because someone thought it would be fun. They were put in place because they addressed problems that had just been clearly and painfully revealed. They were put in place because they were necessary.

It's bad enough if John McCain didn't know that. It's far worse if he did.
Its time for Democrats to stand up and lead. No more bipartisan press releases. No more ambiguous analogies expressing a shared desire to fix the problem. Its time for someone to step and offer up a responsible alternative to the Bush proposal.

Am I wrong or is this not the perfect opportunity for Barack Obama to deliver his knockout blow?

Update 1:12 am: This is the kind of initiative I am talking about. I knew there was a reason I liked Dodd so much during the primaries-- his consistency to lead from the left should be noted by the Obama campaign.

And Barack Obama is an Elitist?

Evan Bayh on the Financial Crisis

I have been rather quiet about the whole financial crisis fiasco, preferring to first educate myself on the subject before making any generalized comments on the matter. While I do intend to give my take on the subject in a post later today, suffice it to say everyone and their mother has an opinion on what needs to be done to prevent complete economic collapse. The latest, Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh and his evaluation:
“There’s a consensus that we have to do what it takes to avoid a catastrophe. This is economic triage; we need to stabilize the patient. Then we can come up with a long-term prognosis and steps that need to be taken for a cure. When you’re trying to keep a patient’s heart beating and they are on the table, you deal with that first. But we must also maintain the sense of urgency to address the long-term changes that need to be made. The way Congress too often works is that there will be tremendous urgency to act in the short run, then all of the different interests who have a stake in not changing their ways will start circling to prevent systemic reform. The taxpayers and homeowners who are paying their mortgages have a right to be outraged if that happens. This crisis shows that what goes around comes around. Times were good, greed triumphed over fear, people leveraged up trying to make all that they could, and now we’re paying for it.”
In typical fashion, Bayh makes it a point to tip-toe around-- making sure to use sweeping bipartisan remarks that while politically neutral, do little to address the issue at hand. I know this is thin ice we are talking about, but is a little backbone from our elected Dems too much to ask for?

TIME Magazine: Can Obama win Indiana?

While the blogosphere has been tossing around the possibility of an Obama win for sometime now, it seems the national media has finally bought into the reality presently encompassing Indiana presidential politics. And not just any national media either, but the establishment of the establishment elite, TIME magazine.

You can read the entire article here, but with two succinct paragraphs, TIME pretty much sums up why Indiana is a key battleground state this year:
The key factor driving the desire for political change here is economic pain — even in traditional Republican bastions like Elkhart County, in the state's Northeast corner, where the closure of several RV plants has pushed the unemployment rate to 9.3%. Even incumbent Republican governor Mitch Daniels is presenting himself as an agent of change.

...But Obama has other factors working in his favor: His campaign has built an extensive grassroots network with 32 field offices in the state. He is familiar to voters in Indiana's Northwest corner, which falls within the Chicago media market. And he is also expected to perform well in Indianapolis, given its large black population. Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita expects 65% voter turnout — the highest since 1992 — largely because of more than 230,000 newly registered voters, many of them signed up by the Obama campaign in college towns such as West Lafayette, South Bend and Bloomington. Obama has visited the state five times since July.
All this may or may not just be wishful thinking on the part of restless Bloosiers. No one can truly be sure. However one thing I do know for certain is that I have spent a lot of time phone banking, and for what its worth, a large portion of the people I speak with are still on the ropes. And when it comes down to it, and undecideds openly seek out a candidate who will help them personally, I like Obama's chances at winning these voters over.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation."

--John McCain, insisting that healthcare reform should adopt the deregulatory model of the U.S. financial system

NFL Overtime Games are a Crock

To start with, if there's one thing that rivals my enthusiasm for politics, its my love for sports. That being said, the overtime system in the NFL is the biggest piece of shit in present day professional sports. With two o.t. games today alone, this garbage is enough to make you go crazy. I mean seriously, why not line each team up on the 45 yard line and play it out like they do in the college ranks? Give me a break this isn't the back yard where 'first team to score' is a precursor to supper's ready. Any other NFL fans share my frustration?

7 houses+ 13 cars= The People's Candidate?

You got to admire Newsweek's ability to rabble rouse:
When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.
The McCain campaign can't seem to catch a break. Keep up the good work.

Progressive Book Club: Taking On the System

"We will start with the system because there is no other place to start from except political lunacy."
-Saul Alinsky

Taking On the System, the latest gem by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (kos), is the definitive handbook for modern political activism. Based loosely on Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, TOS explores the depths of successful change as seen through the increasing influence of everyday activists-- individuals who have challenged the accepted ideas of establishment gatekeepers. 

If you are looking for a history of the blogosphere or "how to grow a blog" ideas, I am afraid this book isn't for you. Kos instead takes on the more expansive and more revolutionary efforts of a much larger digital community, where everything from text messaging to facebook is being used to marginalize accepted societal norms--  all for the cause of advancing progressive ideals. 

Plain and simple-- this book should be required reading for any genuine progressive.

Elizabeth Edwards' take:
As the founder of the blogosphere's most lively town square - a place where Americans come to debate ideas, discuss policy, and yes, plot to "crash the gates" - Markos has already permanently altered the landscape of American politics. DailyKos and the progressive blogosphere have inspired a new generation of American patriots, determined to rise up and make their voices heard. In Taking on the System, Markos provides both a call-to-arms, and the rules of engagement, for getting active in our newly networked age. With passionate and accessible prose guaranteed to inspire and empower anyone who has ever struggled to make a difference, this book captures the spirit of our nation's modern-day pamphleteers.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Idiot of the Week: Hoosier Access (w/update)

I think its safe to say a majority of Americans have moved passed the age of racial political division. And I say a majority for a reason, because as sad as it may be, there are still those few out there who idiotically attempt to disguise racism as some form of legitimate political/social commentary. A perfect example can be found in a recent post concerning a Barack Obama speech over at Hoosier Access:
And the bit about getting into people’s faces - that’s right in line with the mindset of the baggy pants wearing crowd. Get into their face, maybe wave a shank or shiv, flash some signs.

You’ll see change in January if the Presidential limo starts sporting spinner wheels, fuzzy dice, and a BOOMING subwoofer mounted in the trunk blasting Ludacris. That change, is what will be left in your pocket after the Government gets done shaking you down for every last dollar you have.
Are you serious? Does Hoosier Access not accept the reality that Hoosier voters are smarter than this? I mean smearing Obama is one thing, but when you stoop to the level of racist bigot, I am afraid to say whatever credibility you once had is lost forever. Congrats Hoosier Access, your efforts have earned you idiot of the week honors.

Update (1:58 a.m.): It seems after Hoosier Access caught wind of the lefty blogosphere's dismay over their blatantly racist remarks, they responded with a follow up post valiantly defending what was written while pointing to our own hypocrisy. Without dignifying the absurdity of the hypocrisy charge, I would like to point out their oh so valiant defense. So valiant in fact, that they edited the post, deleting the paragraph I have quoted above. Unreal.

Saturday Open Thread

With lots of college football and Ryder Cup golf on today, a certain Mitch Daniels sentiment comes to mind-- "So many lies/sports, so little time." Well before I run off to enjoy the afternoon in proper fashion, here is a quick look at what's making its way around the blogosphere today.
  • IN-07: Congressman Andre Carson, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, threw his two cents into the financial crisis debate with a statement released yesterday.
    "Irresponsible lending practices and risky financial ventures by some of our nation's leading monetary institutions have led to record foreclosures and plummeting homes values. In order to avert further turmoil, it is imperative that the Administration and Congress work in a bipartisan and bicameral fashion to address our nation's pressing credit crisis through the implementation of a comprehensive and bipartisan rescue package."
  • H/T to Joh over at Bloosiers for the great video covering Secretary of State Madeline Albright's visit to the University of Indianapolis this morning.


  • Daily tracking numbers have Barack Obama breaching the 50% mark in two of four polls conducted. Moreover its the first time this election season Obama has led all four polls simultaneously. I think now is as good a time as any for McCain and co. to start panicking. Because frankly, when you look at the political climate at large, they don't have much of anything going for them at present-- and I love it. 

Site Makeover

Well, I have spent the last few hours attempting to give Bloosier Hysteria a facelift of sorts. Considering my relative lack of understanding on the html front, I reckon my effort hasn't turned out too badly-- I'll let you be the judge. Anyhow, the noticeable change is the move from a two column system to the more blog savvy three column layout. I made this choice because adding an additional column gives me more personalization and design options, and thus I hope to utilize the space to provide yet greater info and blogging resources. What I am going to add and when is still up in the air though, so please bear with me as I iron some of the kinks out over the next week or so. 

And since I know you are thinking it-- yes-- manipulating html code on a Friday night is pretty embarrassing. Go ahead, laugh it up. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Obamentum

No one can argue the fact the presidential race has swung heavily towards Barack Obama in the last week. To see just how much momentum we are talking about, its worth taking a look at the fine work the people of FiveThirtyEight are doing. More specifically, one of the site's most useful and telling resources is their Super Tracker, an analysis of daily tracking polls based on statistical plotting and tied together with an overarching trend line.

As you can see above, the trend line had steadily worked its way towards McCain over a three month period, until a week or so ago when it seemed to bottom-out and and sharply shift back towards Obama. And to those critics who argue its merely statistical noise, the site's contributors explain:
Let's not equivocate too much here. Over the course of the past several days, there has been a rather dramatic shift in this election toward Barack Obama. Our trendline estimate, which is engineered to be fairly conservative, registers the swing as equaling roughly 4 points over the course of the past week.

Changes of this velocity are unusual outside of the convention periods and the debates, especially in close elections. It took John McCain about 60 days and tens of millions of advertising dollars to whittle Obama's lead down from roughly 5 points at its peak in early June, to the 1-point lead that Obama held heading into the conventions. Obama has swing the numbers that much in barely a week.

....the fact is that Obama is in a stronger position now than he was immediately before the conventions. We now have him winning the election 71.5 percent of the time, which is about as high as that number has been all year.
Anyhow, I think its safe to say we have all slept better this week, especially considering the state of the race immediately following the republican convention. Moreover, it looks like the Obama campaign knew what it was doing when, despite falling numbers, it refused to panic-- which in my opinion is more comforting than any poll yet released.

More Prez Race Commentary

Its seems that everyone now has something to say about the state of affairs here in Indiana. The latest courtesy of the good people over at MyDD:
The Obama campaign still has work to do to get closer to the 48-49 percent range in which victory is more clearly visible on the horizon -- where they don't have to rely on the support of the vast majority of the undecided voters, which they are highly unlikely to get -- but for now they cannot be too unhappy with the state of the race in Indiana, which John Kerry lost by more than 20 points just four years ago. As we saw during the Indiana primary back in May, Obama has a strong organization in the state, which is certainly helped by the fact that Illinois, and Chicago in particular, are very close by, so if they can get close to the cusp of majority support in Indiana they just might be able to pull of a real shocker.

IN-Gov: Tale of Two Polls

Today has seen the release of two polls aimed at gauging the status of Indiana's gubernatorial race. And as luck would have it, the results couldn't be farther apart.
Rasmussen Reports
500 likely voters w/ MoE +/-4.5%
Sept. 17-18

Daniels 56%
Long Thompson 40%
And...
Seltzer & Co.
600 likely voters w/ MoE +/-4%
Sept. 14-16

Daniels 46%
Long Thompson 42%
It's hard to tell which one of these is more accurate. But I imagine the real number is somewhere between the two. Regardless, the Star/WTHR poll should do wonders for Long Thompson's campaign morale, and if anything should help to shore up much needed financial support across the state. Its clear she still has a long way to go in winning over hoosier voters though, as is evident from those willing to ticket-split in November:
Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels holds a four-point lead in his bid for a second term, including support from one in five voters who plan to back Democrat Barack Obama for president...

Slightly more than 20 percent of Obama's supporters said they plan to vote for the governor.

Rasmussen Latest Poll to Show Tight Indiana Race

The latest addition to this week's polling blitz once again confirms the accepted reality of Indiana's battleground status.
Rasmussen Reports
500 likely voters w/ MoE +/-4%
9/18/08

Obama 47%
McCain 49%
Undecided 4%
Little news here. The updated Indiana averages look as follows:

When will McCain wise up and realize he has a legitimate fight on his hands? Hopefully not until its too late. 

Spain is where exactly?

Crimey, someone tell McCain that Spain is across the big blue ocean in Europe and no where near Central/South America. Courtesy of TPMtv:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I cannot say anything about this candidacy that takes it in any way seriously. It is a farce. It is absurd. It is an insult to all intelligent people. It is a sign of a candidate who has lost his mind. There is no way to take the nomination of Palin to be vice-president of the world’s sole superpower - except to treat it as a massive, unforgivable, inexplicable decision by someone who has either gone insane or is managerially unfit to be president of the United States."

--Andrew Sullivan, responding to McCain's choice of Sarah Palin for vice-president.

H.R. 3036: No Child Left Inside Act (update)

A few weeks ago I wrote about the No Child Left Inside Act, a pivotal bill expanding education on environmental issues for our nation's youth. When I wrote that initial post the House was scheduled to vote on the bill within the week, but as so we so often see, procedural roadblocks kept the bill buried until today.

This morning the House voted on a resolution that would send the bill to the floor for consideration, the first legislative step on its way to final approval. As expected the vote was split nearly perfect along party lines, with only two brave republicans willing to back NCLI. I say nearly perfect for a reason however. While 181 republicans voted to effectively kill the legislation, a single lone democrat crossed the aisle to stand amongst the 'nays'.

Baron Hill.

While I am aware Hill is in a heated general election battle, I remain baffled as to why he chose to vote as he did. Anyone have any ideas? Don't get me wrong, for the most part I love what he is doing for democrats across the state and for our country at large. But NCLI is too important to let slide and thus I feel Baron owes us an explanation.

As such, I urge all ninth district bloosiers to give Hill's office a call and voice your approval of H.R. 3036.
Baron Hill 202-225-5315
Because as a progressive community, reminding Hill where we stand on this issue is the least we can do.

Indiana Polling Blitz

It took nearly three weeks and a Republican convention before pollsters got back at it here in Indiana. During that stretch many openly questioned how close the race actually was, with the Obama campaign asserting they were within in striking distance and McCain and Co. calmly sure they had nothing to worry about. Well it seems just when everyone was coming to terms with Indiana's political uncertainty, a blitz of polling announcements has helped to answer a few lingering questions.

With three separate polls being released since yesterday, the state of the race in Indiana has confirmed its battleground status. The most recent poll--released this afternoon by Big Ten Battleground Polling-- provides a familiar result:
Obama 43.2%
McCain 46.7%
Undecided 5.1%
With each of the three polls looking marginally different, which one should be taken more seriously? Your guess is as good as mine. But in an effort to help gauge the overall polling picture I have compiled all the numbers and provided the average result-- which may in the end be the best indication of where Indiana currently stands. 

Considering the margin of error and looming voter turnout questions, this race most certainly hinges on the outcome of those 5% who remain undecided.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Breaking: IndyStar Poll Gives Obama First Indiana Lead

Folks this is big.
Star/WTHR Seltzer & Co.
600 likely voters MoE +/- 4%

Obama 47%
McCain 44%
Undecided 6%
If this doesn't cement the reality of Indiana as a legitimate swing state than I don't know what else will. Outspent and unconcerned, McCain and co. continues to forgo the possibility of a red to blue swing-- all in the wake of an Obama campaign who has purchased nearly $300,000 in media buys and has opened up 30+ offices across the state.

How has Obama gained traction in our historically red state? Well, it seem that like last night's gubernatorial debate focus, many hoosier voters are basing there choice on which candidate is best equipped to handle our precarious economy.
The poll showed Hoosier voters are more confident in Obama's ability to handle the economy, with 44 percent saying he is best equipped to bring new jobs to Indiana, compared with 30 percent for McCain.
[....]
"I'm looking for somebody who is not going to tax the middle class to death, and end high-priced gas," said Hopkins, a self-described Democrat and stay-at-home mom.
What's more, McCain's overconfidence in Indiana may ultimately be his downfall.
Luke Messer, co-chairman of McCain's Indiana campaign, said he's confident the Arizona senator will win in Indiana.

"Other polling has us ahead, and that's where we believe the race is," Messer said. "Obviously, Barack Obama has spent millions and millions of dollars and has had staff here for months and months, and the question would be: Why isn't he doing better?"
In the end we can only hope this continues to be the official McCain response. Something tells me it won't though. Obama has seen to that.

Quote of the Day

"Carly will now disappear. Senator McCain was furious. Fiorina was booked for several TV interviews over the next few days, including one on CNN. Those interviews have been canceled."

--Top republican campaign advisor responding to McCain surrogate Carly Fiorina's claim that, "neither member of the Republican ticket would be capable of running a company."

Latest Indiana Polling

After what seemed weeks without any new Hoosier presidential campaign news, CNN released a slew of battleground polls this afternoon-- Indiana included. The results:
CNN/Time (890 RV, 3.5%)
McCain 51
Obama 45
However when you add third party candidates to the mix the results shake out to be:
McCain 48
Obama 43
Nader 4
Barr 2
McKinney 1
Why include third party candidates at all? CNN explains:
Third-party presidential candidates could affect the results in some of these states.

When included in the results, independent Ralph Nader, Libertarian Bob Barr and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney grab a total of 7 percent of the vote in Indiana, 6 percent in Florida and Ohio, and 5 percent in North Carolina, which could be enough to influence the outcome in those states.
Another poll shows yet more indication that Obama really does have a shot at pulling off the unthinkable. I have said it before and I will echo it once again, this race is well within reach and with hard work and a dedicated focus, fellow bloosiers we can swing our beloved state blue come November. It all boils down to one simple question. How bad do you want it?