Sunday, August 31, 2008

more thoughts on Palin. . .

First up, however, prayers for the residents of the Gulf Coast. I hope they are all gone by now, in a safer location, and that they all have something in decent repair to go home to before mid-week.

Next up: no, I'm not obsessed with Governor Palin. But this whole game is quite interesting, and I'm still chock full of thoughts. Here are some of them. . .

-- My brother wrote a while ago that even today, on the eve of September, we can have no idea what issue is going to be at the forefront of a swing voter's mind in November, which is a sage observation. But let's look at the bases covered in the McCain/Palin ticket:

Military experience and strategic thinking--check. For evidence, see McCain, John S; see also surge;

Energy policy--check. . .or at least one hopes that Palin brings that to the ticket. If McCain can open himself up to drilling in ANWR, consider that a double-check;

reform: big-time check. And IF McCain can steal this mantle away from Obama. . .well, that's about checkmate. I don't think he'll be THAT successful on this theme--but all he has to do is be good enough to keep OH red.

middle-America values: check. Forget about the houses--which I hope McCain will help the voters do--and let's talk about the people. One Presidential candidate spent his entire younger years attending to the needs of our country by serving in the military; the other spent his in attendance at Rev. Wright's church. On the #2, one has worked her way up from news reporter through several rungs on the ladder up to the chief executive officer of the biggest state in the union; the other entered service in the self-described "broke" government at the age of 29 and hasn't left. Which ticket do you think better relates to middle-America?

Again, we can't know today what is going to happen between now and Nov. 4th, but I think McCain-Palin is a good, all-the-bases-covered ticket.

-- I wrote the other day that I don't think Palin will take many Hillary supporters away from Obama, and I still believe that. HOWEVER, I think Obama is in a tough position right now and I wouldn't be surprised if he blew it. He already walked a tight line in getting embittered Hillary supporters not to hate him; if he or his campaign allows the continual reference to Palin as something other than a woman of accomplishment (hello, MSNBC!) without correcting the record, he may very well alienate the more moderate Hillary voters. I'm not insinuating that they'll vote for McCain in droves--or even at all--but all McCain needs is for those folks to keep from getting involved, either through campaign-type activities or through monetary contributions. If the only people Obama has making contact with swing voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan are his "true believers". . .well, they aren't likely to be persuasive. Obama needs the moderates to appeal to other moderates, and lacking that, his GOTV efforts are probably going to find some tough going. So Obama needs to make sure that he keeps those moderates in his camp--and he can only make so many attacks (both in number and type) on Palin before the Hillaryists may start giving him a look that he wouldn't enjoy. Or survive.

-- To me, however, the most important thing that I think Palin brings to the ticket is freedom for McCain to be McCain. (Did I really just say that?) I think that the absence of genuine base-generated enthusiasm for his ticket was going to eventually be a drag on McCain's campaign.

This is not so much of a concern anymore.

As Palin shores up the right, McCain can make his (natural) appeal to the middle. He may not be inspirational, but at least he is clear and commanding when he is comfortable.

And Palin gives him that comfort.

Friday, August 29, 2008

what she needs to do--UPDATED

All right, I've surveyed the landscape. I've read loads. I haven't exactly "researched" Palin, but suffice it to say I'm comfortable that there won't be any game-killing skeletons in her closet. She survived a vetting from a team that has shown adeptness at this game--let's hope they weren't disarmed from their duties by her charm. So, ASSUMING that all is well with her background, here's what I think:

it's too early to tell.

If she does what she needs to do, than this is a slam dunk. No, scratch that: this is Mario Chalmers hitting the game-tying 3 in the NCAA final with the clock expiring. Seriously, this COULD BE that big.

And it has nothing to do with her gender. It has EVERYTHING to do with what she brings to the table: conservative credentials, executive experience, adherence to the reform brand, and a "newness" that is sorely needed in this election. Seriously, how many people are sick and tired of the other 3 guys already?

When will we know how this pick plays out? Well, this Wednesday (if it holds according to plan) will be the first test. Can she assume the role of attack dog? If she can, that allows McCain to do what he needs to do: articulate a vision for America. I agree with the pundits (too numerous to list) that say that the one thing missing from McCain so far is "inspiration", and--as Obama's success indicates--the American people are open to being inspired. McCain will have a chance to do that this week--provided Palin can take care of business the night before.

There is loads of material for her to work with, most of it provided to her by Obama himself. If she were the grinding type, she'd walk on-stage with a transcript of Obama's speech and rip it apart point after point. The picture of the depressing America that Obama and Biden painted with their words can be erased really quickly with an energetic rebuttal from Palin. I'm sure she won't go with the above-crafted staging, but she may very well do the task as laid out here. There are at least a dozen lines that need to be brought to light and mocked, and Palin is in prime position to do the mocking. And that is but one of the doors available to her. No matter how she goes about the task, we'll see what kind of mettle she's made from then.

Then, of course, there's the debate. I have no doubt that she will be well-prepared, but what she really needs to do is be genuine. Don't be the snotty teenager who thinks he knows more than the headmaster (a la Edwards vs Cheney in '04)--just be a confident woman who is happy to engage in an intellectual conversation with a knowledgeable foe. (And then we'll find her one--cymbal crash, please!) She doesn't have to win that debate, she just has to "not lose".

Here is the message Palin needs to have: it isn't about time held in office, it's about the office's holding of time. Obama: many years of elected office, all he seems to do is run to another stop and write another book. Biden: 26 years as Senator, and he's done what other than introduce the worst spectacles of partisanship to the government's runnings? Palin, on the other hand, has worked as a populace's executive for many years, fighting the corruption of her own party along the way and doing the best for her people. She has worked with foreign governments, she has led military personnel, she has done all that while being a mother of 5 (let's keep in mind that many people consider mother to be the hardest job in the world). Let Obama's camp try to take issue with any of those--they'll come up grasping for straws.

And then the hammer swings about the rights of the unborn. . .and then about the rights of the born. I think the appeal of the McCain-Palin ticket in this area alone has some amazing potential. McCain needed someone like Palin in order to make this attack properly--and now that trap is set. BAIPA, we hardly knew ye! If only on this issue--and it won't be just on this issue, but this is the one that's made-for-TV ready--the painting of Obama as a "more liberal than his party" leftist will get some legs. Make it early, make it often--make it stick!

The more I think about it, the more I think Obama blew it last night. He didn't look like a President, he looked like a VP. And when he loses that air of "being above it all"--which he did for key parts of the speech last night--you look at him and you see one thing: Chicago machine pol. And that's where Palin should set her aim: not at Biden, but rather at the other "new guy" in the game--and show us he's not much new. He's the same ol' politician that Chicagoans have seen for years. And while that may be well and good for some jurisdictions, America ain't one of 'em! The difference in the narratives they tell from their life stories couldn't be more different.

And let's make sure the only person who talks about glass ceilings is Obama--I'll allow Palin her one reference today, as it was a major play to Hill's base who may have been listening and can be reasoned with, but that kind of identity talk has no place in the GOP.

And to be sure, McCain's pick isn't directed exactly at Clinton supporters. If Clinton got 18 million votes in the primaries, then I'd expect McCain to only get . . .uh, how about none of those. I mean, let's be honest--their constituencies don't exactly overlap. But Palin on the ticket shores up the GOP base, which needed something like this to generate down-ticket enthusiasm. Also, Palin will play well to those who didn't vote in the primaries--she and her family are unassuming, hard-working, country-loving folks who just happen to believe that service to the people is a noble trade. And that's a message that will appeal to a lot of people who take the primaries off. Anyhow, Clinton and Obama combined for around 40 million votes in the primaries. If Obama doesn't get much more than that, he's toast! While there may still be some Obamacans out there, and of course he'll pick up some votes from people who just didn't go to the primaries, I now feel confident that Obama won't win because conservatives decide to take the day off.

What I'm interested to watch for the next 2 months: who will blow it first? Because you know a meltdown is coming, it's just a matter of when. Will it be Palin, finding the going on this big stage too tough? Will it be Biden, a man known for his motormouth? Will it be Michelle, no stranger to gaffes and perhaps a little upset that she isn't a "queen bee" in this election anymore? Or will it be Mr. "Sweetie" himself?

If it's nothing else, it's interesting. And who'd have thunk that the day after the DNC convention, the candidate everyone would be talking about was NOT Obama. He did receive a bounce (it's up to 8 now), and I wouldn't be surprised to see it get a little higher than that. But this week, we should see that number chipping away. And if Palin does what she needs to do, and allows McCain to do what he wants to do. . .well, by next weekend, the 3-day tracking polls may be telling a very, very interesting story.

ADDENDUM: Watching Fox News tonight, I noted that Juan Williams said that he was surprised that McCain went with someone so "inexperienced" as his running mate. Bill Kristol was "on it", asking what experience does Obama have? Williams responded that we've seen him run a campaign for the last 2 years. Kristol allowed that such activity does indeed give someone "experience", but that the final verdict on Palin's "experience" to match Obama will be made over the next 60-odd days, not so much right now. I'm fine and good with that--I agree that Palin has to show herself worthy of this selection. But what I hope the McCain camp responds with, when presented the same argument, is just how much Obama has learned in "experience" during that time. All the positions he held two years ago? They're pretty much gone. The people he listed as his mentors and influences? Pretty much gone, although he has tried to bring back his grandmother from the trash heap. And most importantly, the rhetoric of two years ago--totally gone. SO experience has taught him one thing: his judgement sucks.

Is that the kind of experience you want in the White House?

Two more things. . .

First, bravo to McCain for ensuring the future of conservatism. Some of the big names out of this year's campaign for the GOP will be Romney, Palin and Jindal--that's a nice calling card for the future. Meanwhile, the Dems have on their future lineup. . .Clinton? Obama again? That Edwards guy (oops!). . .Kaine. . .I'm not getting too scared by any of them. Yeah, I think we're sitting pretty good for 2012 and beyond.

Secondly: last night, Obama said the following:

"America, now is not the time for small plans."

McCain agrees. The chore he has chosen: reform Washington.

THAT is a big plan, and one that an amazing amount of Americans can agree with.

You see, with McCain, it's more than just rhetoric. It's a call to arms.

For Obama, it's a bumper sticker. Just like everything else he does.

Palin roll-out: live thoughts

McCain enters the arena to the rockin' tunes of Van Halen's "Right Now". I like that. I mean, I really really like that!

Has he received this much love everywhere he's gone these last few weeks? Quite a welcome, that. Oh wait, that's right--it's his birthday. THAT'S what all the ruckus is about!

OKAY: what I'm looking for. THIS IS NOT IDENTITY POLITICS! This is a tab of an executive officer of a state with many complex issues; an acceptance of a reformer who gets things done fighting the good ol' boy bureaucracy.

Opening lines: "I'm not running for President. . .to get in your way"

"I looked for a running mate who would help me shake up Washington"

What is with the feedback from the microphone?

Palin is someone with "strong principles,

Was Palin the selection because she could out-hoop Obama?

Message of the campaign: "reform and public integrity." I like that!

She's a union gal, married to a union guy? That's interesting. . .

"She doesn't let anybody tell her to sit down"--not-so veiled attack at Obama's "they must get over it" line to Hillary supporters?

McCain should have roared her name over the cheers rather than wait for them to die down. Consider that a missed sound-bite opportunity! But he did his job, which was to keep it on her policies and her judgement.

To her: all she said is "thank you so much" and it already sounds different--more energetic. More clear. More. . .non-Washingtony. That's a good start!

20th anniversary on the day of McCain's birthday? It was in the fates!!!

Okay, she's getting personal. . .which is nice if it's done right. And the shout out to the son enlisting in the army on September 11th--that's nice!

Chants of "USA" emerge from the crowd, and she fist pumps. Can't say any of the other 3 ticket guys would have done that!

"I was your average hockey mom". . .that's a nice play to Clinton's coalition. Bill, that is.

Highlighting her anti-corruption bent--which she needs to do. Even used the "good ol' boy network" line--natch!

So she's actually DONE SOMETHING to help lead America to energy independence? It's not just a plan--a costly plan, at that--but something she's actually done? Wow, who'd have thunk it could happen. . .

"I said No to Congress on the bridge to nowhere. . .cuz if we wanted it, we'd do it ourselves". I like that, too.

"Americans expect us to seek public office and to serve for the right reason. . .(which) is to challenge the status quo and to serve the common good. . . we are expected to govern with integrity"

She seems a little staccato today. . .she'll need to learn to let the words ring through an auditorium to bring the crowd to tears next week.

Okay, here we go with foreign policy: point it all to McCain. Iran, Russia/Georgia, and of course the surge, saying that he refused to "hedge his bets" in Iraq. I like that "hedge his bets" line--that's what pols do, not commanders.

Oooh, a shout-out opportunity at Ferraro and Clinton. And a nice reference to that glass-ceiling thing.

All right, it's over. Impressions: she'll need to show herself as a deep thinker. This speech was very simple, as it should have been. But in the next short period of time, she's going to have to show an extra dimension. And she'll have to get a little better at stoking the enthusiasm of the crowd. And of course, how will she attack? We'll find out soon. . .

I think it's funny that the Obama camp's first response was to belittle her service as a small-town mayor. I know it's normal for him to reference his biography from 5 years ago, but why do that to her? You know, she is a Governor--and a governor of one of the few states that actually HAS TO HAVE her own idea of foreign policy--which is something that the gal from the McCain camp is noting right now on FoxNews. (That gal, by the way, is a good spokesperson for McCain.)

AND on another note: McCain definitely pulled one coup on this selection. I was worried that the nation would suffer from convention burnout next week--back to back bloviations from a bunch of political hacks? PUH-LEASE! But now. . .now at least there's the good chance that there will be an audience for next week's show in Minnesota.

too much to write

SO it seems we're going to have Gov Palin as the #2 on the GOP ticket.

As my brother says. . .Interesting. . .

Here's some thoughts that I have:

#1, I thought that McCain's camp was blowing smoke with their 15-point bounce prediction for the DNC. I thought that such talk was pure politics--15 points??? I don't know if the numbers will bear that out--my bet is that the bounce works into the lower-double digits--but McCain was clearly thinking that the prediction was valid, hence the reason for a "shoot the stars" approach to the VP.

#2, McCain had a couple of leftist strategies to answer to in his VP pick. In the end, McCain chose to attack the McSame/"4 more years of the last 8 years" angle, a major theme from the DNC. McCain counters "words" with actions--not just his own, but now with his tapping of a Governor from the outer rim of the US with nary a day spent in the beltway morass. And it doesn't hurt that Palin has run a good reformist-type government up there. . .

#3, again, I am impressed with the discipline shown by the McCain camp in unveiling Palin. She got out of AK and into the site of the rally today with only one person really taking notice. . .

Policies / angles Palin helps the ticket: energy (especially if McCain reverses himself on ANWR drilling); reformist bent; and let us keep in mind that Obama did not run well in battleground states in the primaries. While Palin may not be a known in those places, at least her presence on the ticket will likely add to some interest surrounding the GOP ticket there.

Voters this helps: solidifies GOP base, as she is a fave of the social cons; and those that think that executive experience counts.

My concerns: can she debate Biden? She needs to do well there. Also, will she be able to play the traditional role of attack dog? She has a LOAD of material to work with from the DNC--can she deliver next week?

Big stage. We'll need a big performance.

quick overview

First and foremost, it's almost 7 AM on the day the McCain plans to unveil his VP pick, and that I know of, the news hasn't made it to the nets yet. THAT is a disciplined campaign, and I only hope it's a sign of things to come in the next two months.

From last night, some gems to focus on:

-- I can only hope that the Obama camp vetted those "everyday Joes and Josephina's" that the trotted up on stage as well as they vetted. . .say, Joe Biden. It would be crushing to show any of them to have made some foolish associations with liberal groups that helped put them in their dire straits, no?

-- From Obama's speech: "Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them" Somehow he neglected to mention that Joe Biden has been in the Senate for the same period of time. And how mindful of Obama to illustrate which party was in control of the Congress at the time that we instituted the energy policies that are proving so wanting now.

-- "I'll ask for higher standards and more accountability" from his army of newly recruited teachers. If only that could pass. . .

-- his entire attack on McCain's stance with the Iraq war was. . .wrong. Every single word of it. "I stood up and opposed this (the Iraq) war"--and you did that in what national forum? "We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past." And what about the surge? That was an adaptation to the environment of the war on the ground, led by none other than potential CinC McCain. The surge was ANYTHING but an idea of the past. Obama, of course, just wanted to get out--which, if anything, was a grasp at an idea of the past.

-- "You can't truly stand up for Georgia when you've strained our oldest alliances." You know, the old alliances that had nothing to do with Georgia because they didn't even exist. Truly, did Georgia happen because a couple years ago our ties with the French became strained? If anything, the events in Georgia prove the need to toss out the old way of doing business--NATO--because our partners aren't up to the task anymore. He kinda gets around to this in a few seconds, but why take the shot at old alliances at all when they have NOTHING TO DO with Georgia?

-- "I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom" Implication: America is not that last best hope today. Which makes me wonder: who does Obama think has eclipsed us?

-- Maybe he really is the messiah--he certainly resurrected his grandmother from that bus he threw her under during the Wright escapades.

-- Obama says "we all put our country first". That may be an effective line that is free from any counterattack--but I hope somebody is working on it. Obama hasn't once answered a call to service from his country, and it is questionable whether he has ever done anything without political aspirations. Those two elements combined don't scream "putting your country first."

-- did he actually say "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from" DURING the part where he highlighted one of the issues that McCain has been one of the loudest voices of all (immigration reform)? What was he thinking there?

-- Let's see your actual record--and, in fact, THE record of success--in working across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, eh?

Now, the counterattack--which I hope to write on in the future.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

not the best judge

I only saw the final 2 minutes of Hillary's speech tonight, so I'm not in any position to talk about the content of her full speech. But I must ask this:

did she run through that whole speech as quickly as she did the last two minutes?

Seriously, there were some possible applause lines in there that she just plowed right through. Like she had somewhere else to be. . .

Saturday, August 23, 2008

one last thing. . .

Gosh, I never knew Joe Biden would make such a rich target environment.

Of course, it's not just about him. It's about the guy at the top of the ticket, and the ridiculous amount of his rhetoric that he proved to be "just words" with his first major decision outside of the primaries.

So this is what I'm wondering now (trying to keep it brief--I've spent too much time on this today!):

Is Biden one of the ones that we've been waiting for?

'Cuz it seems to me that he's been around an awful long time to have just now arrived, if you know what I mean.

'Cuz it seems to me that Biden has tried to give America the chance to choose him before--and was spectacularly told "uh, no thanks."

'Cuz it seems to me the only thing that America has been waiting for from Sen. Biden is an actual question for either of Bush's Supreme Court nominees to answer.

And the list goes on. . .

3 Things

First up: I hear it already from the left. "Obama just balanced his ticket, which is exactly what Bush did. What's wrong with that?"

One thing is wrong with that: Bush may have run as an outsider, but he didn't run as an outsider that belittled the current government. He may have said "I can do it better", but he didn't specifically rail against the works of those currently serving. He definitely never called Washington "broke".

Which, of course, is practically Obama's calling card. And who does he tab for his #2? Well, a guy who's been part of that "broke" system since Obama was 11!

So what is it, Senator? Is America really not broke? Or are you asking us to elect to the #2 job in the land a man who, after 36 years as a power broker in the most powerful city in the world, hasn't been able to keep DC from getting broken? Is that the kind of "change" you're asking us to believe in?

I wonder: when Obama says that America is no longer what it once was, does he mean what it was before Biden came into office? Or is this something that just happened WHILE Biden was in office? Either way, this horrible America who's future Obama doesn't want for his children--well, at some point it's a product of Biden's tenure in the highest deliberative body in the land, right?

And THAT'S who he chose for his #2???

UP NEXT: I hate identity politics. People should be valued because of what they have done or because of how they will do what they want to do, period.

But I'm not that naive. I know that identity politics is a game played by both sides of the aisle.

Otherwise how do you explain Sandra Day O'Connor? And that was from a President who is known to be much more conservative than our current nominee.

Still, I'd LOVE it if McCain wouldn't play any identity gamesmanship with his VP choice.

I know, I know, there is a distinct chance that something like that will happen. Whether he goes for the Jewish vote (Cantor or Lieberman), the female vote (Palin or Fiorina), or the ambiguous gender vote (Crist--sorry, had to be done), there is no doubt that "identity politics" is in play.

Listen, I don't have a hard time accepting any of these guys and gals as a running mate, except Lieberman. But if tabbed for his #2 spot, I think McCain should not even COME CLOSE to mentioning that one of their "qualifications" for the job is that they belong to some politically valuable demographic group.

After all, the VP needs to belong to only one group: the very very few people that could actually run this country if called on to do such. And that is the "value" that McCain's pick must not only have, but which must be talked about from morning 'til night until the public is able to make that judgement for themselves.

And he better not get it wrong!

ON ANOTHER NOTE: I know a lot of people, even the very bright Hugh Hewitt, think that Obama's choice clears the way for Romney.

I think it does the exact opposite.

The GOP/RNC/McCain team are already busy showing all the clips of Biden criticizing his ticket's #1 guy--and those make for beautiful attack ads.

Let's not give up on the strength of that angle by opening the game to any of the criticisms that McCain and Romney had of each other during the primaries.

Especially lacking, to me at least, is the analysis that because Biden is so seasoned in "debate formats" that we need someone equally experienced in order to balance him out.

While I don't think McCain should pick a neophyte a la John Edwards of 2004, I do HOPE that any of the names currently being circulated would be able to control a debate with Biden. Come on, the guy's lived in a glass house for the last 36 years--all of our possible stars had best be able to "relate" better than him!

reality bites, v2.0

I wrote before about Obama's HopeNChange express running into problems with the real world. As someone who knows, since it's kinda what I do for a living, the world of logistics is pretty demanding. All i's must be dotted and t's crossed, otherwise you run the risk of missing something, possibly leading to mission failure.

As Patrick Ruffini notes today, we have further evidence that Obama hasn't learned how difficult it is to navigate the real world.

While I'm willing to entertain that this text message announcement thing may have been a cool concept to some, the execution was absolutely bottom-rung poor--to the point of being comical. I assure you that anybody who cared to get that announcement at 3 AM was probably already "in the know" before then, as they would have stayed up late on Friday night hoping to be in on the first wave--you know, as they were promised by the One. Imagine their resentment when CNN made the announcement first.

As Ruffini asks, how did Obama think he was going to get his #2 to IL today without people noting the travel arrangements? The ONLY way to do that would be to take a whole slew of people with him--and that would have been an even bigger logistical nightmare. Come to think of it, I'm kinda surprised that's not how this whole thing went down--I guess we'll give him credit for that.

Over-promise and underperform. That's the kind of change that you can believe Obama will bring to the White House.

this will be fun

So all signs are pointing towards Obama picking Sen. Joseph Biden as his running mate.

Which makes me wonder: what's he trying to prove?

'Cuz as a man who has made the whole point of his campaign the fact that he's an "outsider" to the mess that is today's DC. . .why is he putting somebody who's been in government LONGER than McCain on his ticket? If experience is a good thing to have in a running mate. . .why isn't it a great thing to have at the top of the ticket?

And what about Iraq? Here's a man (Obama) who has said that his judgement on going to war in Iraq was so good that we should just trust him on all affairs despite his razor-thin record. . .and he chooses as his #2 a man who voted for the AUMF? Who's judgement should we rely on here? And I'll love watching Biden spin that one--will he play a rube? (that would be SO in line with the victimology of the Dem party) Or will he say "I was wrong"--calling into question HIS judgement.

Honestly, Biden's biggest attribute is that he plays the role of attack dog with some decent results. But isn't that against Obama's vision of politics, or at least how he says he will conduct his politics?

Really. . .this is too much. Obama's first big decision, and he contradicts everything about his candidacy.

Which is not surprising. It's just illuminating.

Judgement, indeed!

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm wondering. . .

Yes, this is pure speculation on my part, but I can't help but wonder why Obama is delaying the announcement on his running mate? Maybe it's because he's had to change tack in the last couple days, knowing that there is one avenue out there that can practically guarantee his victory--but traveling that road requires him to hitch his carriage to a wagon that isn't known for great hospitality. Time will tell, but if the rumors are true (are they ever?), then tomorrow night we will know--after the evening news has already aired and probably pretty close to the cut-off for the print copies of the east coast dailies. Another brilliant move from a campaign that keeps getting every action wrong.

So let's use my speculative nature to guess what's going to happen in the next couple weeks with the BIGGEST decision of the election. How big is it? Well, one candidate can all but win it if he chooses wisely (that would be Obama tabbing Clinton), and one candidate can all but guarantee a loss if he chooses poorly (that would be McCain picking Lieberman).

Honestly, I don't think either candidate will go with that nuclear option. I think Obama will do anything he can to distance himself from the Clintons. Whether it will cost him the election or not I can't tell (I can only hope!). In the end, I think Obama goes safe with Sen. Bayh from Indiana. Executive experience, midwest support, and a longer record of national politics than Obama--that's a good resume to accompany The One. (Incidentally, nothing would put Crackerquiddick out of bounds more quickly than choosing a guy from the slice of the population that Obama was slighting in that exchange) But there's still a part of me that holds out hope that he goes to the opposite end of the nuclear option (as in, his one decision that could end his hope of winning) and is able to pull Al Gore back into electoral politics. If so, you heard it here first!

For McCain. . .all right, first let's get the bad guy out of the way. Lieberman will be great in a cabinet, not in the White House, and as I alluded to above, I honestly think that tabbing a liberal, not-very-young and rarely across-the-aisle Democrat as a running mate puts a fork in McCain's chance at election. And he may enjoy being Maverick the Man, but I think he actually wants to win this thing and on some level he's going to realize that Lieberman is just too damaging to that opportunity. So Joe is a no--or so I hope!

Who's in? Well, I think it will be Pawlenty. I think that all things being equal McCain will be looking for someone who was willing to help him survive last summer, and Pawlenty fits that bill. And he is at least equal to all the other choices, especially since he has been such an able ambassador for McCain these last few weeks. I don't think McCain does this because he believes such a move puts Minnesota in the GOP column; rather, I think he does it as an effective counter to Obama's play in the midwest. Whereas Bayh may swing Iowa, that isn't overly damaging to McCain's chances even with MN staying blue. But McCain must keep OH red, and I think that picking somebody who's profile (if not name) is identifiable to the fine people who live there will be helpful. Pawlenty may not be from there, but I bet that after he is unveiled in Ohio a lot of people there will be thinking "he's one of us"--and that's good. Besides, McCain doesn't need someone who has shown the ability to play hard politics, like a Romney or a Giuliani, because so far McCain's team is positively wiping the floor with Obama. So McCain can choose a nice-guy running mate, someone from outside of DC yet who has the blessing of the GOP coalition. That leads me to Pawlenty.

SO I predict that there will be no major mistakes or saving throws in the VP picks.

How predictable.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gut feeling heading into the Dem Convention

I, obviously, have made up my mind on who I'm voting for in this year's Presidential race.

And that's kind of my point with today's post. Despite his lack of EVERYTHING except for fluid positions and uneasy personal associations, Sen Obama is guaranteed to bring in well above 40% of the vote everywhere in this country--at least. That's just the people who would vote for him even if a video was released tomorrow showing him kicking puppies and then pillow-suffocating an old man who couldn't fight back. His absolute concrete floor is probably around 45 million votes--which, if placed properly, would give him the White House. Fortunately, I don't think that "worst-case scenario" for him is placed properly enough, so we have an actual race on our hands.

BUT I say this again: it is Obama's election to lose.

And how does he lose it? Well how about the other side of that coin: how does he win it?

To me, the answer is simple: he backs out of the last two debates, and keeps his attack dogs in check.

Is it cowardly? Absolutely. But this guy isn't going to win because people think his ACTIONS are brave. If he wins it will be because he's an inspirational speaker and because people are PROJECTING onto him whatever quality it is they want in a President. Honestly, people are just sick of Washington--made all the more clear with the energy fiasco of late. As much as you and I know that Obama isn't going to "change Washington" (or at least change it for the better by making it less partisan and more efficient), his election would make for a loooooong honeymoon from the Bush administration.

And honestly, I think THAT may be the most appealing aspect of his candidacy to a lot of non-partisans.

I wrote a long time ago that Obama was going to lose his chic, above-the-fray persona in the last phases of the Dem primaries, and that doing so was going to cost him the White House--by a lot. He didn't make my prediction come entirely true. . .then. By now, however, his image is no longer that of a man who has clean hands in the ugly business of "politics".

And every time he speaks, he makes it worse. Even this past weekend, which included what most commenters have said was a strong performance in a less-than-friendly forum at Saddleback, the big news coming into the week was that his forceful "defense" of his position on abortion (made to David Brody) following his appearance with Pastor Rick was a flat-out distortion. How forceful was this wrong-footed defense? He had this to say to the people who were pointing out the inconsistencies of his statements: "folks are lying."

He was right, of course--but the liar was him. While the print was still drying on the reviews of the Saddleback forum, his campaign inartfully said "next, please." And that's fine and good--for now.

But an amazing ad in late September this makes, I do believe.

And this is far from an isolated event. McCain and any GOP-leaning 527s already have ample ammunition to make him look like a slick, say-anything-do-nothing elitist who doesn't think that Americans have any kind of memory or sense.

And THAT is how he will lose this election.

Hence, he needs to stop speaking off-the-cuff to the maximum extent possible. His mantra needs to be message, message, message. No more "they" (as in "they have nothing to say"), and a lot more "we" (as in "we are the hope we've been waiting for").

And he needs to tell his team to let McCain's campaign play the "politics as usual" game while he returns to "above the fray". If that means that some attacks on his character or his candidacy get left unanswered, so be it. At least that way, the "attack" is quickly snuffed of oxygen, since the media certainly won't be carrying any water for McCain.

And the ONLY ads that Obama should put out feature nothing but smiling faces, particularly those of old people and young people, and probably have some form of patriotic music in the background. Maybe even a prominent display of a flag pin on his lapel once or twice. . .

Again, Obama will win this thing if he realizes that his greatest asset and biggest attraction to his voters is the "hope" that they believe he embodies. When he does anything remotely political, he gets exposed as a politician. And he can't win that way.

So that's how he wins. Simple, right?

The question is: will his ego allow him to let those belt-high, middle-of-the-plate fastballs served up by conservatives pass without taking a swing?

I said back in March that his ego would get the best of him. While we can debate whether he fully exposed himself or not back then, he limped to the finish line of the Dem race. His antics made the race with Clinton tighter.

With this race already pretty tight, I wonder if he can show the necessary discipline for another 10 weeks or so?

We'll get our first answer next week, as we watch the Dem convention unfold. And then, when the post-convention bounces are sorted out. . .THEN it will get interesting.

Oh, and about that convention: if he picks Hillary as his VP, this election is over. Nothing says "new" like burying the hatchet and picking your chief antagonist in the primaries to join your ticket. Think Reagan/Bush in '80.

With the added benefit that the Clinton attack machine would allow Obama to stay "above the fray". Not to mention all those purported disenfranchised Clinton supporters out there finally having a reason to warm up to Obama. . .

Now for psych 101: if he shuns the "dream ticket" and goes with someone without the Clinton surname, would that serve as an example of Obama's ego being too big to do the things necessary to win?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More on the Saddleback Civil Forum

I just took the time to read the transcript as provided at Clips and Comment from last night's Saddleback Civil Forum. Some more observations:

-- Obama on a use of military force that he finds palatable: ". . .but I think you take an example like Bosnia, when we went in and undoubtedly saved lives. We did not have U.N. approval, but there was a strong international case that had been made that ethnic cleansing was taking place, and under those circumstances, when we have it within our power, we should, you know, we should take action."

Ahem. . .HOW is that different from an underlying cause for going into Iraq? From the AUMF: "Whereas Iraq persists in violating resolutions of the United Nations Security Council by continuing to engage in brutal repression of its civilian population thereby threatening international peace and security in the region".

Granted, it's not WMD or Al Qaeda--but those weren't present in Bosnia, either. And in Iraq, just like in Bosnia, it was clearly the belief of the international community that Saddam had killed and was killing members of the population. Ethnic cleansing, maybe not. . .but is Obama arguing that we should only act to prevent genocide? And if so, where is he on Darfur and what would he do about it on January 21st? In other words, WHAT IS HIS ANSWER???

-- More on his answer to abortion, which I've written about more earlier today: "I believe in Roe v. Wade, and I come to that conclusion not because I’m pro-abortion, but because, ultimately, I don’t think women make these decisions casually. I think they — they wrestle with these things in profound ways, in consultation with their pastors or their spouses or their doctors or their family members." What is his argument here? That he believes that serious thought on a subject makes the end action acceptable (or at least Constitutionally defendable)? 'Cuz it sounds to me like that's what he's saying. . .

Also, the arrogance: so you, Senator, KNOW that ALL women take the same pains when making that decision? What about some women who don't--if you met one of them, would you strip them of the right to abortion? Would you have your view on the subject changed because you actually got out into the real world and met some of the people who get abortions just because they don't want to live with an unwanted pregnancy? (sorry--in your terms, that would be a "mistake"). How, sir, do you account for the women who DON'T wrestle with "these things" in profound ways? That is the job of government--and it is definitely both in your current paygrade AND a key part of the job which you seek.

-- on his opposition to a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage: "Because historically — because historically, we have not defined marriage in our constitution. It’s been a matter of state law. That has been our tradition". Again, I don't know everything, but aren't a couple of our current amendments redrafts of state laws that made sense to federalize as they became "the law of the land"? (the 13th and 19th spring to mind) And the state's laws, by the way, are being passed over by the state's judiciaries, which is one of the pushes FOR a Federal Amendment. And this guy is a Con-Law professor?

-- on stem cells, when confronted with a question highlighting the success of the pluripotent cells garnered from ADULTS: "Now, if, in fact, adult stem cell lines are working just as well, then of course we should try to avoid any kind of moral arguments that may be in place." So then, Sen Obama, you're against federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, right?

Not exactly.

There is a treasure trove of material here for McCain's team--hopefully they are in the process of surveying their best options.

Obama off a teleprompter--a gift that keeps on giving.

Get that Obama person (or people) on the phone STAT!

Andrea Mitchell, today during Meet the Press (h/t: NewsBuster's D.S. Hube):

". . .The Obama people must feel that he didn't do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context, because that -- what they're putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama."

All because McCain actually ANSWERED the questions that were asked. Obviously he must have cheated, because there's no way that 2 national campaigns, 20-plus years of Senate service, multiple town hall-style appearances and countless interviews with a skeptical press could have prepared him to answer questions in front of a friendly crowd. There's just no way it's possible!

If I were a McCain campaign rep right now, I would totally call her out on this and put her credibility on the line. I want names of these "people", I want exact words--you know, I want you to be a JOURNALIST!

And if she can't deliver on these basic goods. . .well, I think the McCain camp should demand a retraction of the statement done in front of at least as big an audience as MTP. Unsourced allegations seeing the light of day in major media? I think a retraction is the only recourse for her. How's that pill taste, Ms Mitchell?

And IF, by some miracle, some faceless staff puke becomes associated with "Obama's people" that put this out, then I think Sen. McCain should call on his esteemed colleague from the highest deliberative body in the land to terminate this person's employment. "New Politics" demands nothing else. Oh, and apologize.

Or is that above your paygrade, too?

Seriously, Sen McCain, this is an affront on your integrity--in a manner that we have now seen all too well from the Obama machine. You CAN NOT let this situation stand. Counter now, counter loud, and don't stop harping on this until it is closed properly by the Obama camp.

Nothing but upside.

Maybe we should ask Michelle?

Last night, both Presidential candidates appeared in a forum with Rick Warren. Obama was posed with the following question (h/t Ed Morrissey):

Warren: Now, let’s deal with abortion. 40 million abortions since Roe v. Wade. you know, as a pastor I have to deal with this all of the time. \Aall of the pain and all of the conflicts. I know this is a very complex issue. 40 million abortions. At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?

Obama: Well, I think that whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.

So let's get this straight: a host asks you for your OPINION on a hot-button issue throughout this country. . .and you say that providing that opinion is something you can't do because you aren't in the right job?

Or is it that you don't HAVE an opinion because you haven't read enough to form one? Maybe you're waiting for a PDB--you know, the ones that are so famous thanks to the 9/11 commission?

Which is it? Arrogance? Ignorance? Or is it more apt to call you "reckless" (since you've participated in legislation regarding this topic. If you did so without having read enough material to form an opinion. . .then shame on you!) How do you want to play this one, Senator?

Keep in mind, Warren wasn't asking for what Obama thought the SCIENCE said about the issue; he also wasn't asking about what Obama's faith said. Warren asked, flowery as it may have been but still good enough for inquiring minds, what Obama's view was regarding when a baby deserved to receive human rights.

And apparently, Obama isn't paid enough to have an opinion on this topic.

Obama did eventually answer the question, by the way--poorly though it was. Obama said he is pro-choice, "believ(ing) in Roe v Wade". (Sounds more like a religious statement than a legal opinion) But then he says he is in favor of limits on late-term abortions--a kind of abortion that isn't subject to federal protection AT ALL under Roe v Wade. Is Obama saying that he would be in favor of legislation that overturns Doe v Bolton? Now THAT would be a blockbuster admission, especially from a Con-Law scholar who UNDOUBTEDLY knows the specifics of what he's talking about. Right?

But I am not too hopeful that such is the course that Obama was trying to strike last night.

For once, the answer is all in Obama's record.

And since we're not going to get to say this very much this campaign season about him, we should relish the opportunity to bring it up.

By the way, is POTUS a high-enough paygrade to have an opinion about, literally, life and death? Because apparently Senator isn't--which maybe explains why he has done such little work there.

I ask again: have we seen enough of this guy yet?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Some quick thoughts:

-- Russia attacks Georgia--repeatedly. I am so saddened by the Bush administration's response to this matter so far. They are doing nothing but guaranteeing that at some point in time, there will be a much stronger Russian thrust into the Caucuses.

Realists understand that shows of strength must be met with equal strength. And shows of military strength must be met swiftly and unwaveringly--although not necessarily with a military response.

Putin's plays into Georgia so far has been met with. . .umm. . .well, that would be nothing substantial. Georgia is left hanging at the end of the plank, and that plank likely will disappear at a time of Putin's choosing. The West's ineffectiveness in the face of this bald aggression is disturbing and nauseating.

And all the while, the global oil market has another major blow dealt to the supply system. How's that for salt in your wounds?

-- John Edwards admits to affair. Honestly, I don't care too much about this story. Yes, it's tragic. . .poor Elizabeth. . .etc etc. The BIGGEST angle on this story to me is this: can he come back from this? Now I may not be the best person to answer this question, since the chance of me ever voting for this classist phony is zero, but my GUT feeling is that in about 6 years--give or take a couple--he's going to be back in the political spotlight. Why, you ask? Well, because we have a system wherein anybody who can get people to vote for him has a future in politics.

And there are people who would vote for John Edwards. Hence, he has a future in politics.

Everybody take note: we get the government we deserve.

a commercial break from my normal program

The other day, my son and I were treated to a sneak-peek of the new animated Star Wars movie, The Clone Wars.

First, some disclaimers: I am a Star Wars geek. While not the most overboard person I know, I am a big fan of the mythology. I LOVED the first chapters (4-6) released for mass consumption, also known as the “original trilogy”. I was disappointed with episodes 1-3, probably mostly due to the fact that I had such immense expectations for them.

SO to keep from setting myself up for disappointment, I went in with lower expectations. Excitement and cool Jedi tricks are par for the course, so I was sure that I would see those elements--and on this score I was not disappointed. Also, I was “hopeful” that the end of Hayden Christianson and Natalie Portman as the actors portraying some key players in the story would make for more tolerable storytelling between some cool action scenes.

I did not get that.

Let me call the movie what it is: it’s a video game that you don’t have any control over. There was very little--I mean VERY little--storytelling between action scenes, much like the narrative breaks you might be treated to if you are playing a multi-layered strategy game. Even the characters look like something that you’d see on your gaming system.

And about those characters: there isn’t very many of them. You get plenty of Obi Wan and Anakin, the latter being the focal point of the story. Check that, he’s one of the two focal characters of the story, the other being his new Padawan, Osaku. She is much like he was as a Padawan, which is to say remarkably talented and immensely disrespectful of the discipline of being a Jedi Knight. There’s a decent-sized appearance of Padme, but precious little of Yoda or Mace Windu or any other Jedi. On the “bad” side, you see a good bit of Count Dooku and his “assassin”, a character named Ventress (REAL fans of Star Wars will recognize her from the previous Clone Wars animated movies, released on DVD as a bridge between Chapters 2 and 3’s theater runs--which is the same timeframe covered by this movie). You also get to see at least one too many Hutts, as Jabba and his sordid family tree are key elements of the story.

Okay, to the story: in the interest of not being a spoiler, I’ll skip over the details of the plot and just tell you that there’s nothing “mythological” about this story. In other words, there’s nothing added to the legend of Anakin.

This movie is not a self-contained story, by the way. Yes, there is one storyline that is played out in full--but there is still an awful lot of space to fill in between the end of episode 2 and the start of episode 3. That "space" will be filled by half-hour installments later this year on a cable channel (I think it's Comedy Network, but don't take that to the bank). This movie is, both in effect and in practice, a theater release for a television program's pilot episode.

So why pay to see a TV show? Well, I finish with one grand observation: this movie is clearly not directed at the SW geeks among us; it is an attempt at a kid-friendly Star Wars movie that will spark excitement for the upcoming Star Wars program on some cable network. To that end, my 10-year old LOVED it. I mean really really LOVED it, ranking it higher than Wall-E, Iron Man and Indiana Jones after the first viewing. It is quick-paced, it is funny (seriously, there’s more laughs to be had than in Wall-E), and it is EXACTLY the “style” of the entertainment medium that kids of the 7-to-tweener age group will recognize and immediately welcome.

Will it work big in theaters? Well, I imagine it will probably have a pretty good first weekend--but I don’t think it has great staying power. The “target audience”, as near as I can tell, may enjoy it immensely--but their parents probably won’t, as it is anything but standard kids’ fare. And the Star Wars geeks out there, the ones that would give it a lot of repeat viewership if they are so inclined, will likely be underwhelmed.

Which means instead of seeing this movie multiple times, they’ll be at home, watching the previously-mentioned Clone Wars DVD that adds much more to the mythology of the series.

While counting down the days until the Clone Wars show hits the air.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

if only. . .

I can't remember what the genesis for this thought was earlier today, but something I read got my mind a-ponderin'. And this is what shook out:

Sen. McCain or his GOP proxies needs to take aggressive tactics to show how Obama isn't even the leader of his own party on some key issues of the day, and that such lack of proven leadership is a foreshadowing of what an Obama administration would look like: a Pelosi administration.

On Iraq, Obama MAY have started talking more towards the center on Iraq, even going so far as to say that any withdrawal will be "conditions-based".

But honestly, do you think he's actually changed his mind on Iraq? I don't. Call me cynical (of course, the One himself would probably call me racist--or at least ignorant), but I think he is literally just playing politics with Iraq.

In truth, of course, what I think doesn't matter. And to be honest with you, what Obama says doesn't matter, either. Because he isn't the leader of the Democrats--it's Nancy Pelosi.

And if you don't think that returning-Speaker Pelosi will try to ram a funding-cut bill through for operations in Iraq as soon as the next session begins with a President Obama, you're fooling yourself. Don't forget, she's on a mission to save the world--one failed liberal vision after another.

And that's where McCain needs to attack. Tie together Obama's lack of leadership on the key issues to a general ineffectiveness of him as an executive.

SURE he said he's open to off-shore drilling. . .but he'll never get that course of action passed or from a Pelosi-led house (which, as I've written before, is probably the reason for his policy change). "Senator Obama, as President will you veto any bill that extends the federal moratorium on OCS drilling?" Yeah, I didn't think he'd answer that question.

SURE he wants us to stay in Iraq until victory is assured. . .until the first time a spending bill that cuts all funding for the troops in Iraq comes to his desk. "Will you veto any bill that calls for or otherwise establishes a withdrawal from Iraq that doesn't meet the approval of the uniformed chain of command in that region?" Again, we'll see squishiness on this one, because the man CAN'T be pinned down on this issue.

And Obama can try to talk his way out of these, but McCain can keep saying two things: "well, he certainly is new to that position" and "it doesn't matter what he says, because Nancy Pelosi doesn't agree with that, so he'll never make it happen". It's a two-for-one shot: it will no doubt make Obama bristle (and then we can hope for some REAL fireworks!) while also calling attention to the horrible leadership in the Congress these past two years.

The left is trying to squeeze blood from the "McSame" rock--and maybe it has some degree of effectiveness.

But given the low approval ratings for our current Congress, the GOP needs to play the guilty by association game as well.

Sure, it will be decried as racist. . .but that's just a risk we're going to have to take!

Here's an ad: "Obama has said that he isn't opposed to increased drilling to help alleviate the high cost of oil.

But such a proposal has not been voted on by your House of Representatives. In fact, that body was adjourned for a month-long vacation while people in several areas of the country were still paying close to $4 a gallon for gas.

Why? Because Obama isn't the leader on this issue for his party. It's Nancy Pelosi, and she doesn't care what Barack Obama has to say about this issue that is effecting millions of Americans every day.

If she doesn't care about what Obama has to say, why should you?"

Next up: "Obama has said that any withdrawal from Iraq needs to be 'conditions-based.'

But the Democratic Party Platform says nothing of the sort, saying that the war in Iraq must be ended and that the new mission of the military will be to redeploy from Iraq in 16 months. There is no reference to or deference paid for changing combat conditions on the ground in Iraq.

Why would the party platform be different than their candidate's position? Because the party leadership doesn't care what Sen. Obama has to say about Iraq.

And if they don't care, why should you?"

Friday, August 08, 2008

Move the protest into the future (UPDATED)

Okay, I'll admit it: I like the tactic the House's GOP caucus has taken with regard to the protest against adjourning for a vacation while the people of this country are still paying for a poor energy policy.

If only they could get more publicity. . .like, for example, if Pres. Bush would have reneged on going to China for the opening ceremonies because he felt the cost of gas for Air Force One was too much . . .or if Sen. McCain would get his butt and the cameras disposed to cover his butt back to the steps of the Capitol to cover a full day of the happenings there. . .but I digress.

I see a trap about to open, though, and I hope the GOP has the foresight not to fall into it.

At this time 3 weeks ago, I paid $3.92 for a gallon of gas. Yesterday, I paid $3.54. And I'm no economist, but I gotta believe it will continue going down--not because "global demand" will find an equilibrium, as the Dems like to say, but rather because of Bush's move to lift the executive order on OCS drilling.

You see, the "market" knows that the world is one great legislative action away from seeing U.S. supply becoming a key factor in the overall global supply. If that happens, prices will fall--and right now the market is hedging their bets.

But what happens if that great legislative action never happens or appears to be delayed indefinitely? Well, on Nov. 5th we'll know for sure, but I am very confident in saying that IF Pelosi keeps her majority OR if Obama wins the White House, these prices on gas will be a thing of the past. And we'll quickly be wishing for the days of "only" $4/gallon gas.

And THIS is the angle that the GOP needs to start attacking. Yeah, it's easy to get headlines and supporters when the gas is $4 a gallon. But where were these protesters in the months before the peak prices? Answer: nowhere. Because we as a people didn't get totally ticked at $3/gallon gas prices, or even at $3.25.

And the Dems see how these prices are trending, and they're just hoping that by the time the GOP convention rolls around that our gas prices are SOMEWHERE around $3.25. If it gets there, then they can honestly expect zero backlash for their policies over the summer.

Unless the GOP starts laying the groundwork. And I mean NOW!

We need to argue that the prices are falling not because of an adjustment to global demand, but rather because of Bush's move to lift the executive order. We need to stress that the market's prices are suppressed right now simply because of the fear that the U.S. might actually start producing it's own oil. And we need to paint the picture of energy costs for the next two years if Pelosi's people prevail with the majority in the election.

And then we need to hit hard on a theme that may actually strike home: there's no such thing as a moderate Democrat as long as Pelosi is in position to control the agenda of the House of Representatives. A vote for ANY Dem is a vote for Nancy Pelosi and a vote against the interests of the people of this country--and our country deserves better than that. (h/t: Hugh Hewitt)

UPDATE: Timely. "(U)nless there is a collapse in oil demand within the next five to ten years, there will be a serious oil 'supply crunch' - not because of below-ground resource constraints but because of inadequate investment by international oil companies (IOCs) and national oil companies (NOCs).

An oil supply crunch is where excess crude producing capacity falls to low levels and is followed by a crude 'outage' leading to a price spike. If this happens then the resulting price spike will carry serious policy implications with long-lasting effects on the global energy picture."

It's simple, folks: if we don't find a way to increase oil supply, we will be paying out the wazoo for our gas. The problem isn't "lack of oil"; it's "lack of desire to get the oil". While drilling and the shale may not be the only answer out there, they certainly ARE the answer that holds the best short-term potential to help keep models like this from coming true. Hello, Pelosi!

I find it funny that the left gets all in a tizzy about environmental models that are based on some really. . .loose assumptions. But they can't get even remotely exercised about the models that show economic doom if they continue to be stubborn on energy.

THIS is why Senators shouldn't be President

Oddly enough, I'm not just taking aim at Barack Obama today. . .but he is my leadoff batter:

Obama accuses Republicans ("they") of being ignorant (as reported on

This is the kind of thing they do. I don’t understand it,” Obama said at a town hall meeting in Berea, Ohio, Tuesday. “Two points: One, they know they are lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they are making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent.

“It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant,” he said.

Wow. I mean, WOW! I don't know which "guys" he's referring to, but I'm pretty sure that there are a large number of people who he intended to be lumped in that group who are anything BUT ignorant, especially on this topic.

But here's my point: Senators aren't helping the "tenor" of the debate in this country when they classify large swaths of the country as "ignorant". It's just a slightly more bald-faced episode of snobbiness than his infamous Crackerquiddick rant.

Now, to the old, white-haired dude: McCain shows his Senatorial chops--when he should show leadership:

"McCain had offered to come off the campaign trail if Barack Obama would also agree to do so and join Congress in an open debate and an open vote to rescind the federal moratorium on drilling in the OCS and interior." (as reported by Ed Morrissey at HotAir)

SO, Senator McCain, WHY must you wait for Obama to agree to joining you in Washington? Are the happenings in the nation's capitol not important enough to you to act unilaterally?

Senators get a rap, whether it be a good rap or a bad rap, of being more negotiator and less leader. Well, McCain embodies that with this pass. I know, I know, he has definitely been on the cutting edge of legislative accomplishments and other things along those lines. And personally I don't question his leadership normally. . .but here is a GOLDEN opportunity for him to show real leadership, all while drawing a stark contrast to Obama (who isn't even the voice of the Democrat party on this issue) AND bringing extra attention to the GOP protest. This is as much of a win-win situation as he's likely to find. . .and he throws the ball in the other guy's court.

Pretty weak.

The worst part of all is that there was a very limited window to REALLY make a difference by joining this protest, but that window has closed now that the opening ceremonies for the Olympics are tomorrow. Sure, if McCain goes it will still draw at least a slight increase in attention to the GOPs actions on the Hill--but the point of maximum effect has already passed.

What a waste!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tell me what the root is?

Sen. Obama on Monday, August 4th, "propos(ed) tapping the nation's strategic oil reserves to help drive down gasoline prices", according to this article on Yahoo.

I must ask: why?

Because releasing oil from the SPR does NOTHING to the overall energy picture but increase by a wee little bit the amount of oil in the overall supply chain. Yes, hopefully even that wee little bit would bring some relief--but even that would only be temporary. When the targeted SPR reserves dry up, so does the SPR-fueled discount in oil. And then we're back to square one.

And since that would happen about 20 days after the first release of oil from the SPR, then Obama's big "talk" about energy has the same shelf-life as Obama's big "talk" on race. Is this the right trend of accomplishment for a true visionary?

But back to my topic at hand:

Drilling, of course, would increase by a BUNCH the amount of oil that is in that supply chain. But the Dems say that drilling won't solve the problem with the cost of oil.

Listen, either increasing supply is part of "the answer" to the high cost of energy. . .or it isn't. If it is--as clearly even Obama recognizes on some level, otherwise why even make the SPR proposal at all?--then why limit how much WE can do to increase that supply?

Again, a TV ad that seems to make itself.

Have we seen enough of this guy yet?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Even I didn't see this one coming

Courtesy of Sen. Obama today:

"I believe party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from the other states and territories."

Of course, during the Democratic primary season--when the outcome would have actually affected something--he sang a silent tune on this topic, punting it to the credentials committee of the DNC.

That's real leadership right there: hold off on taking a stance until the issue has already been decided.

For those keeping score at home, that's twice in the same relatively slow weekend that the headlines he created on the campaign trail were about issues in which he showed absolutely zero leadership during "crunch" time.

Have we seen enough of this guy yet?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

It's so easy. . .

. . .the only thing that is surprising is how long it took him to get there.

Yesterday, Sen. Obama changed course on the current hot-topic in electoral politics, saying that he is in favor of the proposal in the Senate to open areas from Virginia to Georgia to off-shore drilling.

Yes, this is a changed position from the master of changing positions.

But this one is a no-brainer, for a couple reasons:

a) the electorate is rather ticked off at energy costs;

b) the Dems, as a party, are on the wrong side of this issue with the voters; and most of all

c) he can feel confident he will in NO WAY actually force a change in direction on this issue on his wrong-headed party.

You see, with Pres. Bush having rescinded the Executive Order limiting increased OCS drilling, and with the Senate starting to work on a compromise proposal (the merits of which I have not yet explored, but at least they're talking), the one block yet to fall is the House.

And Obama can feel comfortable that only if there's a change in the Speaker will there be a change in the House's direction on this issue.

SO he can preen all he wants about his bi-partisan bonafides on this issue, knowing full well that Pelosi has got his back.

And that's all that Obama seems to be looking for nowadays: a convenient "out" from putting himself in a difficult position.

Honestly, the only thing surprising about this policy change--a change that McCain also is guilty of committing, thank heavens!--is that it took this supposedly brilliant man so long to get there!