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 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 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
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


"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


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.
  • 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%
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.