Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Truth About Taxes

Courtesy of the Washington Post:
"Obama's plan gives the biggest cuts to those who make the least, while McCain would give the largest cuts to the very wealthy."

Its OK If You're A Republican

In his column over at the The Hill, Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas sheds light on the double standard that is republican politics.

In Internet circles, that’s the acronym for “It’s OK if you’re a Republican,” the recurring phenomenon in which Republicans get a pass for the behavior that would doom Democrats.

And in the past couple of weeks, there’s been no shortage of IOKIYAR incidents.

Once upon a time, teen pregnancy was bad. “Bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society,” wrote Christian Right leader James Dobson. But that was before one of their own was involved. With unwed 17-year-old Bristol Palin’s pregnancy suddenly in the news, what had previously been a societal ill became the most wonderful thing in the world. Bristol had “chosen life”! All other teen mothers also “chose life,” of course, but they don’t have the good fortune of being born to the Republican vice presidential nominee.


What about qualifications for the office of vice president? When Tim Kaine’s name was floated as a potential Democratic vice presidential pick, top GOP strategist Karl Rove mocked his experience on “Face the Nation”: “He was mayor of the 105th-largest city in America […] it’s smaller than Chula Vista, Calif., Aurora, Colo., Mesa or Gilbert, Ariz., North Las Vegas, or Henderson, Nev. It’s not a big town.”

Richmond has a population of 200,123. Wasilla, Alaska, had a population of 6,000 during Palin’s mayoral term. Not a big town. But IOKIYAR.

Finally, how many flag pins did McCain and Palin wear during their convention speeches?



Simply put, this is probably the best explication of republican political ethos I have heard yet this election cycle. I mean seriously, tell me you were nodding your head yes the entire time you were reading this as well?

A Different Ike Perspective

From the AP:
Ray Wilkinson, 67, didn’t want to leave Friday until it was too late. When authorities realized he was there, they decided not to endanger their personnel to get him out of town.

When authorities got to him Saturday morning, Wilkinson was drunk.
“He kinda drank his way through the night,” Davison said.

Wilkinson was waving when officials got to the house.

While this storm is no laughing matter, its comforting to see somebody smiling in the wake of all the devastation. Our continued prayers go out to all those experiencing Ike's wrath.

(waves pummeling seawall memorial to 1900 hurricane victims in Galveston)

Saturday Open Thread

With lots of good football including my beloved Redhawks and their dabbling with division two's Charleston Southern, I will be largely absent from the blogosphere today. So consider this an open thread. What has your attention?
"I am prepared. I am prepared. I need no on-the-job training. I wasn't a mayor for a short period of time. I wasn't a governor for a short period of time."

-- Sen. John McCain, quoted by the New York Times, during the Republican presidential primaries.

IN-03: Montagano's New TV Spot

This race is starting to heat up within the Indiana blogosphere and for good reason. Let's keep up the good work--Michael Montagano deserves it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

IN-03: Montagano Can Win This Thing

I know this was mentioned earlier, but the IN-03 is definitely in play. After looking over the polling numbers, who couldn't help but be reenergized by the hopes of replacing a seven term republican congressman with a young charismatic democrat? I sure as hell was. As such I decided to look into the race a bit more, and of all the things I found one thing stood out with alarming clarity. Montagano's fundraising puts him in a near dead heat with Souder. 

So what you say? Well for one, this is a district that Bush won in 2004 by a staggering 37%. The Cook Voting Index rates Indiana's third congressional district at republican +16. The bottom line is this is as red a district as they come. Nevertheless, Mike Montagano-- a political novice for all intensive purposes-- continues to keep pace financially with Souder, an entrenched republican who has had a stranglehold on the district for 14 years.

What does all this mean? It means that with just a little more help Montagano can pull off the unthinkable-- he can knock off an incumbent Indiana republican. Just look at Souder's fundraising numbers. He is barely scraping out a financial advantage despite a political network 14 years in the making. If this doesn't scream voter discontent I don't know what does.

Now imagine what Montagano can accomplish with a boost in fundraising or a swarm of new motivated volunteers. Thus I urge everyone to donate to the campaign, but more importantly I urge everyone who can to get up and go help influence the election on the ground. Because in the end, Souder remains the most vulnerable incumbent congressman in the state and we owe it to ourselves and to democrats across the country to do something about it. 

Bloosiers now is the time to unite. Lets prove to a national audience that a progressive netroots is alive and well in Indiana. 

Hurricane Ike Update

With projected 20 ft. storm surges, 120+ mph wind, and a span of 600+ miles across, Hurricane Ike continues to bare down on the Texas coastline and is expected to hit land sometime late tonight/early tomorrow morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those in its path.

McCain gets Steam Rolled on The View

If this doesn't bode well for Obama come debate time I don't know what does. I mean let's be honest, the pounding he gets from Whoopie and Barbara will pale in comparison to Obama's debate prowess. Two words-- loving it.

IN-03: Montagano Cuts Gap in Half

Cooper and Secrest
504 Likely Voters -- MoE +/- 4.4%
Sept. 9-10

Mike Montagano (D):  37 (28)
Mark Souder (R-inc):  50 (55)

At first glance this may still look like a 13 point lead, and it is, but taking into account Montagano's deficit in the last poll Souder's lead is looking very vulnerable indeed. 

This is by all accounts a winnable race and Blue Indiana helps show everyone why:
  • Only 30% of the electorate consider themselves "strong Souder voters."
  • Mike Montagano has increased his name ID from 16% to 59%, and of voters who recognize both candidates, Montagano leads Souder by a 47% to 41% margin.
  • Of voters who have seen Montagano's television advertisements, he leads 47% to 37%.
  • Montagano leads Souder among Independent voters by an 8-point margin.
  • Souder's job performance is still sub-fifty, and 44% have a negative opinion of him as the district's representation in Congress.
So if you haven't done so yet check out the Montagano For Congress website.  And if you really want to help be sure to throw some money Montagano's way-- the Act Blue widget on the right side of this site will help to facilitate those donations, making the process quick and painless.

"Don't Think of a Maverick"

If you haven't read George Lakoff's book, Don't Think of an Elephant, be sure to do so immediately. The book's not very long and is a really quick read, but as simple as it is brilliant it will leave a lasting impact on all those willing to take it to heart. Simply put, Lakoff analyzes the framework in which progressive activists and democrats at large frame the political debate in this country. Moreover he attests that republicans are much better at this than we are and provides guidance in correcting a long history of democratic concession.

Nevertheless, despite critical acclaim amongst progressive circles, it seems his argument has yet to reach the ears of those in charge of the Obama campaign, at least in practice.
Four years ago, I wrote a book called "Don't Think of an Elephant!." The title made a basic point: Negating a frame activates that frame. If you activate the other side's frame, you just help the other side, as Nixon found out when he said, "I am not a crook," which made people think of him as a crook.

The Obama campaign just put out an ad called "No Maverick". The basic idea was right. The Maverick Frame is central to the McCain campaign and, as the ad points out, it's a lie. But negating the Maverick Frame just activates that frame and helps McCain. You have to substitute a different frame that characterizes McCain as he really is.
Its sounds simple because it is. Let's just hope the Obama people are paying attention. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Palin's Faux Foreign Policy Expertise

Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has finally come out of hiding. Obliged to do her first post-convention interview, Palin proved her incapacity for office in the first part of a two part sit down with ABC News' Charlie Gibson. In his usual placid demeanor, Gibson questioned Palin on the ongoing situation in Ossetia and wait for it, wait for it:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called Thursday for NATO to admit the former Soviet republic of Georgia, acknowledging that such a move could lead the United States into a military confrontation with Russia.
Palin also said she had some “insight” into Russia because “they are our next-door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.” But she acknowledged that she had never met a foreign head of state.
She has 'insight' into Russia because she can see it? Are you serious people? Crimey, just when you think McCain and company couldn't get any more absurd, along comes Sarah Palin-- her foreign policy credentials tucked neatly behind her binoculars. All I know is the Obama campaign better jump all over this. I know I can't be the only one envisioning a great TV spot right now.

Update (9:03): On the Bush Doctrine:
Gibson: Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?

Palin: In what respect, Charlie?

Gibson: What do you interpret it to be?

Palin: His worldview?

Gibson: No, the Bush Doctrine. Annunciated September 2002, before the Iraq War.

Palin: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism. Terrorists who are hellbent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though, there have been mistakes made. And with new leadership -- and that's the beauty of American elections of course and of democracy -- is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.

Gibson: The Bush Doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense.
I am speechless.

New DKos Presidential Tracking Poll

You have to admire the way Kos has transformed his startup blog into the largest liberal bastion on the web, and then instead of basking in his own influence has set out to use the popularity of his site for practical progressive causes (think fundraising and googlebombs). Much to this effect, Kos has recently implemented independent DKos (contracted through Research 2000) polling of key House and Senate races, and more interestingly a new tracking poll that will shed light on the everyday movements of both presidential campaigns.  The first of these tracking polls--released with coveted crosstabs-- shows just how tight this race has become in recent weeks:

Obama-47%, McCain-45%, Barr-2%, Nader-2%

The only real glaring thing to point out above happens to also be the most comforting--the single day samples. More specifically they show McCain's convention bounce slowly disappearing  and things gradually settling  back to normal. Also take a look at the numbers from the midwest. A seven point Obama lead could point to prophetic things to come in Indiana.

Quote of the Day

"This game that's being played is not an insult to a candidate, it's an insult to the intelligence to our democracy."

--Chris Matthews, speaking to the absurdity of republicans in calling out Obama for his 'lipstick on a pig' remark.

Midday Roundup

There are a lot of stories floating around Indiana today, so here are a few to mull over.
  • Blowhard Secretary of State Todd Rokita predicts upwards of 65% voter turnout across Indiana this year. Gee thanks for stating the obvious, but I'll bet its even higher than that. More important than turnout though is the shear number of newly registered voters since the 2006 general election-- 400,446. My bold prediction has these new voters swinging heavily to Obama making for the closest Presidential race Indiana has seen in years. What do you say to that Todd?
  • Indiana Senate Dem's are willingly riding the Obama wave in hopes it will lead them to significant gains when the smoke clears.
    The Democratic leader of the Indiana Senate made a bold prediction Wednesday, asserting that Barack Obama's presidential coattails give the caucus "a good opportunity" to take control of the chamber.

    "I'm absolutely certain that we're going to gain seats this session," said Senate Minority Leader Richard Young, D-Milltown. "It's a question of how many."

    Indiana Senate Democrats didn't gain any seats two years ago, and Republicans enjoy a 33-17 stranglehold over the chamber.
  • Ninth district Representative Baron Hill and challenger Mike Sodrel are at it again. Reinventing an old spat that dates back to last election's transition period, a press release issued by the Hill campaign states:
    “(Sodrel) did (Indiana residents) a great disservice, and although the Sodrel camp is simply trying to sweep this issue under the rug, I want to make sure the people of the 9th District know how Sodrel treated them in his final days of office.”

Indiana Gubernatorial Debate Fun

As the details of the upcoming debates continue to be hashed out, news comes to us today that the Indiana Debate Commission has chosen moderators.
Dan Lowery - moderator of the Sept. 16 debate in Merrillville, Ind.

Lowery is the host of Lakeshore Focus, a half-hour public affairs program broadcast by Lakeshore Public Television in Merrillville , Ind...

Jo Ann M. Gora - moderator of the Sept. 23 debate in Jasper, Ind.

Gora has served as Ball State University's president in Muncie , Ind., since 2004. She was honored as one of the most influential women in Indiana by the Indianapolis Business Journal last year....

Tom Cochrun - moderator of the Oct. 15 debate in Bloomington, Ind.

In his 40-plus year broadcasting career, Cochrun's work has been seen on four Indianapolis television stations and has been heard by listeners at several central Indiana radio stations including WIBC in Indianapolis....

Eager to join in on the fun? Coming with the announcement was the notice that the Commission will be accepting write-in questions from voters. Moreover if your question is selected to be used in one of the debates you'll be provided with VIP seating at the designated sight.

Now we're talking. So come on Bloosiers, let's pack all three with strong progressive voices. Send you're questions to:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

"It's like a really bad Disney movie. The hockey mom, you know, 'Oh, I'm just a hockey mom'... and she's facing down [Russian] President Putin... It's totally absurd... It's a really terrifying possibility...I think there's a really good chance Sarah Palin could become president, and I think that's a really scary thing...I need to know if she really thinks that dinosaurs were here 4,000 years ago. I want to know that, I really do. Because she's gonna have the nuclear codes".

--Matt Damon, suggesting John McCain wouldn't survive his first term as president

Michelle Obama in Fishers, Indiana

Addressing issues of work and family, Michelle Obama spoke to a crowd of mostly women in Fishers, Indiana today. It marked her first Hoosier appearance since May's heated primary.

Her presence emphasizes the Obama campaign's dedication to wrestling Indiana away from Republicans this November. Its time we do the same. Folks, get up, lace them up, and get out there, because with 54 days remaining there is still plenty to fight for.

Read her entire speech here.

McCain loves Lobbyists


Green Economic Recovery Program: Impact on Indiana

A new study commissioned by the Political Economy Research Institute, the Green Recovery Program is an in-depth look into the ability of energy reform to create jobs and provide energy independence nationwide. More specifically, and more relevant to us bloosiers, the report conveniently breaks down the initiative to a state by state level.

Letting the report speak for itself:
Impact on Indiana 
  • Indiana’s share of national green economic recovery program: $2.0 billion, based on ƒ combining state’s population and gross domestic product (see technical appendix below for details). 

  • Indiana’s net job creation through green economic recovery program: 43,353 jobs, based ƒ on Indiana unemployment figures in June 2008. 

  • Impact on Indiana’s labor market: a net increase of 43,353 jobs would reduce Indiana’s ƒunemployment rate to 4.5 percent in two years from 5.8 percent in June 2008. 
The long and short of it-- 43,000+ new jobs. If I were JLT I would unflinchingly latch onto this, because as we all know Mitch has quietly but effectively lost thousands of jobs for hoosiers since his stint in office began. In the end, we all know that energy reform is inevitable. But as republicans continue to court big oil its gravely important as progressives we stay out front of this issue, and the Green Economic Recovery Program is a step in the right direction. 

Read the entire report including breakdowns for every state here.

Update (12:05): What do you say to this Mitch? From the IndyStar:
The average cost of the cheapest gallon of gas in Indianapolis jumped 12 cents overnight to $3.78, AAA Hoosier Motor Club reported today.

That reflects the 30- to 40-cent price increase that frustrated motorists saw at many pumps across the region on Tuesday; several Indianapolis stations raised unleaded regular to $3.95 a gallon.
Statewide, today's average cost jumped 9 cents from $3.70 to $3.79, AAA reported, making Indiana among the 10 most expensive U.S. states to fill up for fuel.

Question of the Week

Will John McCain bring Sarah Palin to the debates with Obama?

--Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Afternoon Roundup

Not much news to report today, nevertheless here are a few things from around the blogosphere that have caught my eye.
  • Democratic candidate for Attorney General, Linda Pence, announced today a comprehensive plan to combat child abuse within the state-- a cornerstone of her candidacy's platform. Read the press release in its entirety here.

  • Fellow bloosier Joh Padgett, has created a centralized online social network for progressives across the state. I urge you to jump over and check out the aptly named Bloosiers, and be sure to register as well. Keep up the good work Joh.

  • Sixth district congressional candidate Barry Welsh talks about the Employee Free Choice Act:

    From great dkos diary on the subject:
    The Employee Free Choice Act (H.R. 800, S. 1041), supported by a bipartisan coalition in Congress, would level the playing field for workers and employers and help rebuild America’s middle class. It would restore workers’ freedom to choose a union by:

    1)Establishing stronger penalties for violation of employee rights when workers seek to form a union and during first-contract negotiations.

    2)Providing mediation and arbitration for first-contract disputes. (Allowing workers who form unions to realize a contract quicker than the average 3 year waiting period)

    3)Allowing employees to form unions by signing cards authorizing union representation.

What did I miss?

"We are still dangerously vulnerable."

Lee Hamilton is at it again, this time co-chairing the bipartisan Partnership of a Secure America, a commission designed to evaluate U.S. efforts concerning terrorism prevention and national security. Their findings?
"The threat of a new major terrorist attack on the United States is still very real," Hamilton, Rudman and former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean, R, chairman of the 9/11 Commission, wrote in the report's introduction. A nuclear, chemical or biological weapon in the hands of terrorists was "the single greatest threat to our nation," they said, and concluded, "We are still dangerously vulnerable."
More specifically:
Overall grade C
Preventing nuclear terrorism C
Cooperative nonproliferation and counterproliferation C+
Detecting and interdicting weapons and materials B
Integrating U.S. programs D
Sustaining programs D
Preventing chemical terrorism B-
Recognizing and preventing chemical terrorism threat C-
Detection and mitigation B
Protecting critical infrastructure C+
Demilitarizing chemical weapons B
Preventing biological terrorism C-
Denying access to bioterrorism agents B
Detecting covert bioterrorism preparations C-
Law enforcement interdiction B-
Establishing international cooperation D+
New vaccines and drugs C-
Global public health preparedness and response B
Just to state the obvious, this is telling news and the republican camp, who has built their campaign around ideas of national security from the outset, should be forced to confront this report's findings. Moreover Obama needs to continue calling McCain out on his Bush man-crush, because pinning him to the current failed administration will go a long way to help crumble McCain's self-proclaimed lock on the "strong leader" category. 

Monday, September 8, 2008

Latest Obama Ad calls out McCain/Palin on Lying

As its set to air in battleground states across the country, hopefully this beauty will help to shed some light on the shady politics of McCain and company for all those Hoosiers (11% according to latest polling) who still fall into the undecided column.

Hoosier Fundraising: 2008 vs. 2004

If winning an election was as simple as outraising your opponent than Barack Obama could claim victory over Indiana's 11 electoral votes today. Alas we all know this isn't true, but once again a telling reminder of how legitimate a chance Obama has at making Hoosiers bloosiers can be found within each candidate's statewide financial disclosure.

According to Federal Election data as of September 2 the presidential totals are as follows:
Barack Obama$1,139,645
John McCain$1,105,680
As you can see Obama holds a narrow fundraising lead, however this slimmest of margins is remarkable in and of itself when compared to totals for the 2004 election cycle.  Mirroring his crushing defeat within the state, Kerry was outraised by Bush by an astounding 4-1 margin for totals as follows:
George W. Bush$2,517,928
John Kerry$594,223
What Obama has done to shrink the contribution gap is amazing. Not only does it demonstrate McCain's vulnerability within the state, but it bodes well for Democrats as a whole come election day. Combine this fact with the statewide increase in voter registration and the huge voter turnout for Obama during May's primary and I think the race is even tighter than recent polls have it.

All I know is with 56 days left a lot can happen.  Regardless I am liking the indicators I see at present.

Electoral Roundup

Courtesy of MyDD's excellent electoral math roundup:
Indiana (11): The Hoosier state has been a difficult nut for the Democrats to crack on the presidential level, with the state giving its electoral votes to the Republicans in each of the last 10 elections, and all but four elections during the 20th century. Most recently in 2004, George W. Bush carried the state by more than a 20-point margin. However, the Democrats had a better year in the 2006 midterms in Indiana than they had previously had in some time, picking up three House seats en route to gaining a majority of the state's congressional delegation, and in the wake of this year's heavily contested Democratic presidential primary, the state has looked significantly more competitive than it has in years past. The fact that as of this summer Barack Obama held a six to nothing advantage in campaign offices in the state had a large role in this as well. John McCain still leads in the polls -- although at present his lead is only about a fifth the size of Bush's from 2004 -- so on the basis of these numbers, as well as the general trend of the state to support the GOP, he still has an advantage.
As the race tightens down the stretch, the aforementioned relevance of Indiana's 11 electoral votes does as well. I am predicting right now though, if all our hard work pays off and Indiana swings blue this year, Obama will win in a landslide.

One can only dream right?

Presidential Momentum Swing

While we knew McCain and the Republicans would get a boost in the polls following last week's convention, no one would have suspected it to be this dramatic. The latest Gallup tracking poll now has McCain moving ahead of Obama 48% to 45% respectively-- marking McCain's largest share of the vote since tracking began in early March.

Looking at this from the bright side one could argue such a post-convention bump in the polls marks the absolute ceiling for McCain support and while this has pushed him to the front his meager lead proves that merely rousing your conservative base won't get the job done.  This is good news for Obama who has consistently shown an ability to attract moderate voters, a must have characteristic in the few swing states that will decide this year's presidential election-- Indiana included.

Gallup aside, what makes me worry even more though is the rapid movement of an Obama presidency over at Intrade, the popular prediction market that prides themselves on the accuracy of their aggregate opinion approach-- valuing market trends over polling fluctuations. At yesterday's close,  Obama's median share price had fallen nearly seven points, down to a low of 55.35, and currently sits even lower at 52. This puts McCain devastatingly close at 48, and amounts to closing nearly a twenty point gap in just over a week's time. 

Folks this is a scary momentum swing indeed. As bloggers though we need to take this news standing up, and thus be sure to fire back and let everyone know how important this election is for our country. With a renewed focus and some hard work, I really like our chances of righting the ship.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Obama Addresses Fellow Hoosiers

September 6th, Terre Haute IN:

I have said it before and I will say it again, this race is within our grasps. Keep fighting the good fight fellow bloosiers.

No Child Left Inside

An enormous step forward for the environmental movement and progressives at large, the No Child Left Inside Act is scheduled for a vote as early as this Tuesday September 9th. Unfamiliar with NCLI? Well hop on over to their website and read up on what will surely be remembered as historic legislation for this Democratic Congress.

While NCLI is expected to pass, it's important to let our elected officials (especially the Republicans) know how important this issue is to us and get as many passing votes for this Bill as possible. Thus an action alert is needed, whereby everyone makes it a point to call their respective representative and voice their approval of H.R. 3036. To make this a bit easier I have included the office phone numbers for each Representative of Indiana's nine districts below.

1D) Peter Visclosky 202-225-2461
2D) Joe Donnelly 202-225-3915
3D) Mark Souder 202-225-4436
4D) Steve Buyer 202-225-5037
5D) Dan Burton 202-225-2276
6D) Mike Pence 202-225-3021
7D) Andre Carson 202-225-4011
8D) Brad Ellsworth 202-225-4639
9D) Baron Hill        202-225-5315

Read H.R. 3036 in its entirety here. Plus check out the video below which helps elucidate the need for environmental education legislation.

Unemployment's telling Rise

Senator McCain/Governor Daniels and the republicans ought to think twice about the rhetoric they are using to describe the current state of our economy. 
Because as they continue to support and promote the economic policies of a failed Bush administration, the civilian unemployment rate has steadily risen over the past two years. 

What does this mean for little old Indiana, the manufacturing stronghold of the Midwest? Despite what Governor Daniels attests, the prognosis isn't much better. 
Yep you guessed it. As the graph clearly shows unemployment in Indiana is at a one year high, rising above 6% which practically levels it with the national average. Am I the only one who feels Mitch has skirted this reality during his re-election campaign? Well enough is enough. Bloosiers need to unite and pin this on those responsible--republicans and the ever party faithful, Mitch Daniels.