Monday, November 24, 2008

Bartlett on Obama's economic team

Competence, what a concept.

Former Reagan and Bush I supply-sider Bruce Bartlett,
So far, I am very impressed. Larry Summers at the NEC is brilliant. Tim Geithner at Treasury inspires confidence. Peter Orszag at OMB tells me that we will get honest numbers on which to base policy for a change. And Christina Romer at the CEA puts one of the nation’s top experts on the Great Depression at close hand.

This group has made me realize just how poor Bush’s appointments in recent years have been in the economic area. When slavish political loyalty is apparently the only requirement for a Bush Administration job, and demonstrable competence barely counts at all, it doesn’t tend to attract the best and the brightest. When on those rare occasions, Bush managed to get someone who is competent, there is no evidence that he paid the slightest attention to them, preferring instead the counsel of “Mayberry Machiavellis,” as former White House adviser John DiIulio called them. No wonder we are in the mess we are in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Al Qaeda's problem with Obama

Newsweek explains Ayman al-Zawahiri's recent statement and offers some context.
Al Qaeda and all its followers badly need to perpetuate Samuel Huntington's "clash of civilizations" paradigm. The West and Islam are deadly enemies, in the radicals' view. The more irreconcilable the former, the happier the latter. In this regard, the agenda of Bush and the neocons was a true blessing for the terrorists. Consider this: after 9/11 and the U.S. strike on Afghanistan, Al Qaeda was badly hit and its leaders were piteously hiding in caves. Later, by attacking Iraq for no valid reason–which caused, as a direct or indirect consequence, hundreds of thousands of deaths among innocent civilians–Bush's administration provided Al Qaeda leaders with a new rationale. They reinvigorated, prospered and recruited hundreds, if not thousands, of brand-new adeptsfollowers, infused with a strong willingness for jihad. "War on terror"? If they could, they would just keep it on forever.

Al Qaeda's true problem with Obama has indeed nothing to do with the color of his skin. By proposing to meet Iran's Ahmadinejad without preconditions instead of just bombing him out, the American president-elect thinks outside of the confrontation box. The radicals just hate that. And above all, they hate the idea of the United States resuming the chase of Al Qaeda operatives in the mountains of the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders. He's coming to them, how could they not react fiercely?

Our long national nightmare will soon be over

Amazing HD video shot on Canon's new 5D2 SLR

This is a very cool HD video shot on Canon's new 5D Mark II SLR (that's right. NOT a video camera). This was shot by one photographer over 3 days in Tokyo and edited on a MacBook Pro.

You will need a highspeed connection and a fast processor to watch the video in HD. I had to use my MacBook. It kept overwhelming my older Dell processor.

Citigroup and GM

The New York Times takes a long look at what has lead Citigroup to Federal bailout.

And Robert Reich examine why Citigroup would get a bailout and GM would not.

Sanberg as Rahm

Andy Sanberg from the dress rehearsal last night in a sketch that didn't air.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tammy Duckworth

It appears likely that Tammy Duckworth will replace Barack Obama in the Senate.

My sources tell me that both Durbin and Obama are pushing Duckworth hard.

Waxman replaces Dingell

Sources report that Waxman has won his bid before the House Caucus to chair Energy and Commerce, replacing John Dingell.

Waxman has sat on this committee for more than 30 years waiting for the 82 year old Dingell to move on, to no avail. Now it's Waxman's turn to be the dinosaur.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kathleen Parker the next to be thrown overboard

Kathleen Parker today in the WaPo,
....the evangelical, right-wing, oogedy-boogedy branch of the GOP is what ails the erstwhile conservative party and will continue to afflict and marginalize its constituents if reckoning doesn't soon cometh.

Simply put: Armband religion is killing the Republican Party. And, the truth -- as long as we're setting ourselves free -- is that if one were to eavesdrop on private conversations among the party intelligentsia, one would hear precisely that.
Jonah Goldberg predictably takes exception.

And Kevin Drum notes that denial from the GOP may not be their best plan,
There will always be plenty of votes for a culturally conservative party. That's not the problem. The problem is the venomous, spittle-flecked, hardcore cultural conservatism that's become the public face of the evangelical wing of the GOP. It's the wing that doesn't just support more stringent immigration laws, but that turns the issue into a hate fest against La Raza, losing 3 million Latino votes in the process. It's the wing that isn't just a little skittish about gay marriage, but that turns homophobia into a virtual litmus test, losing 6 million young voters in the process. It's the wing that isn't just religious, but that treats belief as a precondition to righteousness, losing 2 million secular voters in the process. It's the wing that isn't just nostalgic for old traditions, but that fetishizes the heartland as the only real America, losing 7 million urban voters in the process. It's the wing that goes into a legislative frenzy over Terry Schiavo but six months later can barely rouse itself into more than a yawn over the destruction of New Orleans.
As I've noted time and again, the nation's demographics no longer work for a 'whites only' party. Yet many of the 'rank and file' members of the GOP have responded with increasing ugliness. Rove tried to simultaneously reach out to non-whites and turn up the gas on the cultural issues (gay marriage bans, stem cell research bans) that turn off those very voters then need to piece together a national coalition.

Republicans can delude themselves with their own view of the last 8 years until the end of time. But the bottom line for the GOP is that they have lost 4 of the 5 Presidential elections since the end of the cold war, and had to move heaven and earth for the single win. And the demographics only get worse for the GOP over time. Does any thinking member of the Republican party think a Sarah Palin will appeal to America in 2016?

Waxman wins round one

The 82 year old John Dingell needs to bow out gracefully. It's long past time for a change on the Energy and Commerce Committee. While the MI congressman has meant well, a big part of the not so Big Three's problems has been folks like Dingell using their power to shelter them from a modern world.

Waxman Edges Dingell In Panel Vote

Stevens concedes

Sen Ted Stevens makes it official by conceding his Senate seat to Democrat Mark Begich.

AP calls MO for McCain

The AP finally calls Missouri for McCain by 3,632 votes.

McCain's lead in Missouri narrows

The deadline for final reporting by all election authorities was close of business yesterday, but St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jackson County (KC) were still out.

The Post-Dispatch reported that at the close of business yesterday, McCain led Obama by 4,355 votes.

Based upon the numbers reported by the Missouri Sec of State at least some of those still outstanding have reported today.

As of right now, McCain's lead has shrunk further to 3636 votes which is one-tenth of one percent. Even assuming St. Louis City and County are still out, Obama is not going to overtake McCain.

Missouri is not an automatic recount State, but since the margin is less than 1%, Obama can request a recount at State expense.

There is a very realistic chance that a hand recount would swing Missouri to Obama by an equally narrow margin. Patrick, a Missouri taxpayer and Obama supporter, has been adamant in his opposition to a recount for very pragmatic reasons (a big expense that won't change the national results). I've agreed with Patrick, but given how tight race has become (.1 percent) and the historic implications, I'd like to see a recount.

Patrick, are you holding firm on no recount?

I would be surprised if the Obama campaign asked for a recount.

The case for mercy

As I've said before, I'd strip Lieberman of all chairs, first and foremost for retribution -- which I believe promotes discipline. But also for dereliction of duty. Lieberman chairs the Senate's most powerful oversight committee and refused to conduct any oversight hearings over the most corrupt administration in the modern era.

But Jay Newton-Small makes the case for showing Lieberman mercy.
Obama wasn't just acting out of bipartisan good will. In supporting Lieberman's continued inclusion in the Democratic caucus, he may have effectively defanged his toughest potential opponent in the Senate Democratic caucus. If Lieberman is anything, as he proved with John McCain, he's loyal — and now he owes Obama a big one. His job over the next few years, for the first time in his long political career, is to keep quiet.

The move is especially savvy because Obama — and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — know that in order to achieve virtually anything on the Democrats' long list of ambitious legislation they will need every vote they can possibly get in the Senate. Obama's biggest challenge in both chambers of Congress will be keeping the varying factions of his own party together, especially more liberal members and the more conservative so-called Blue Dog Democrats. To that end Lieberman can be an asset, especially in helping to convince his fellow moderate members in the so-called Gang of 14, including some Republicans like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
I wanted to make an example of Lieberman. The fear of many on the left that Lieberman will suddenly start using his chairmanship to launch Gingrichsque investigations of the new administration is irrational. The equally irrational response was that if he did, he would just be removed from chair as if it were that easy.

But JN-S is being naive if she thinks Lieberman will suddenly feel obligated to dance when Obama snaps his fingers. Obama campaigned for Joe in his 2006 primary challenge by the netroots and Ned Lamont and that didn't stop Joe from telling anyone who would listen that it was reasonable to suspect Obama of treason.

Lieberman is a first class, self-serving Jackass who the voters of Connecticut have inflicted on the nation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

HRC as SoS

I will believe it when I see it.

I can't see how Obama can have the former POTUS husband of his SoS flying around the world speaking on issues of foreign policy and taking private meetings with foreign government officials, heads of state, etc. many of whom have evidently given large sums of money to his foundation.

And I can't see how Bill can or will be neutered by Obama who he can barely stand to look at. The husband of the US SoS can't be giving policy speeches, or meeting with foreign politicos advising them, period.

I'll admit that these thing or way over my head but this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. And my guess is it won't happen.

And then there were 58

The AP calls the race for Begich.

I feel pretty good about picking off Coleman, but I just don't see the Dems knocking off Chambliss.

Eric Holder for AG

Newsweek's Michael Isikoff has the scoop.

Marc Rich, here we go again.

Florida turning blue

According to a Quinnipiac poll released today Gov Charlie Crist enjoys a 68% approval rating while GOP Sen Mel Martinez has only a 42% approval rating.

Both politicians are up for re-election in 2010 but only 1 can expect to be re-elected.

Lieberman's day of reckoning

The Senate Democratic caucus votes today on Lieberman's fate. I really have no insight other than it seems that many want to forgive Joe for calling them all traitors on national television from the RNC Convention and campaigning against them nationally with Gov. Palin.

I'd strip him of all chairmanships, but leave his status in the caucus up to him and couldn't care less if he leaves. 57 or 59 doesn't much matter in the great scheme of things. Conn is a very blue state and his caucusing with Republicans will not sit well back home.

Finally, Chair of Homeland Security is an extremely significant post and Lieberman's refusal to conduct any hearings investigating the Bush administration not just in Iraq but on Katrina and an entire host of domestic failures and scandals is reason enough to strip him of his chairmanship.

Everything else Joe has done to betray those he calls friends is really just icing on the cake.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frum leaving National Review

Not exactly a big surprise, since Frum turned negative on the McCain campaign and Gov Palin in particular, but I did think he would hold on until after the inauguration.

Once the intellectual voice of conservatism, it seems the current National Review is nothing more than the PR wing of the GOP.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Is 67M votes possible?

I didn't think Obama would hit 66M votes, much less 67M votes, but his knocking at the door.

Michael Barone representing the Republican Intelligentsia

US News columnist and Fox News commentator Michael Barone speaking last week before the 121st annual meeting of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges offered his insight into media coverage of Gov Palin,
“The liberal media attacked Sarah Palin because she did not abort her Down syndrome baby,.... "They wanted her to kill that child. ... I'm talking about my media colleagues with whom I've worked for 35 years.”
Evidently, conservative 'intellectuals' eat this stuff up, but actual intellectuals, not so much. The room "erupted in angry boos" and an embarrassed Barone later claimed he was making a joke.

One of the GOPs problems is that they actually subscribe to such bizarre beliefs and shape election strategy around them.

How the recount favors Franken

Scott Rafferty does a nice job explaining why the hand count in Minnesota favors Al Franken.

It's the same reason a Missouri recount would favor Barack Obama. In short, voter intent in a hand recount of paper ballots can be discerned with the intended candidate getting the vote that was missed by the scanner. Add to this the fact that the vast majority of undervotes are in Obama territory, and you have Senator Al Franken.

Friday, November 14, 2008

HRC as SoS?

The buzz is everywhere that Hillary is on the short list for Sec of state.

She flew to Chicago yesterday to talk about something.

This only makes sense from Hillary's perspective if she doesn't like being a Senator, and maybe she doesn't. She's in a position to be a very powerful senator for as long as she wishes -- New York loves her. And she doesn't have to run for reelection until 2012.

On the other hand, as Josh points out, Secretary's of State seem to have a relatively short shelf life, with very few making it more than one presidential term.

Hillary taking this job tells me she's done with public life and this is her step to retirement.

Her baggage -- including a former POTUS with many shady International dealings -- and what's in it for Obama are topics for another post.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

66,000,000 and counting

It's not easy to find the popular vote total -- which continues to increase as more votes are being counted every day. But here it is, and Barack Obama is now at 66,056,628 which is 53.3% of the vote.

It will probably be January before actual final numbers are reported by all states to the FEC.

As a point of reference, Bush had 62,040,610 in 2004 and 50,456,002 in 2002 (which was only 543,865 fewer votes than Al Gore's 50,899,897 votes).

Stevens may be yet be done

The AP informs that Steven's Democratic challenger Mark Begich has "jumped to an 814-vote lead, after trailing by 3,200 when the day began. The tally late Wednesday was 132,196 to 131,382, with an estimated 30,000 ballots remaining to be counted."

Peter Beinart explains it all

Peter Beinart via Mike Allen,
Americans want government to impose law and order — to keep their 401(k)s from going down, to keep their health care premiums from going up, to keep their jobs from going overseas — and they don’t much care whose heads Washington has to bash to do it. … If [Obama] can do what F.D.R. did — make American capitalism stabler and less savage — he will establish a Democratic majority that dominates U.S. politics for a generation. And despite the daunting problems he inherits, he’s got an excellent chance.
Beinart is absolutely right and partisans on both sides should remember this.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The 'Barack Whisperer'

The WaPo has a nice profile of the next WH press secretary.

Recount Missouri?

The Post-Dispatch updates us on the status of the Missouri vote count. McCain's lead is now down below 5000 votes mostly because St. Louis County officials have stumbled upon 3200 votes that "had apparently not been tallied by polling place workers during the initial collection of votes." Good to know someone is checking their work.

The 7000 provisional ballots cast state-wide are just now starting to be counted. As the Post earlier reported, in the past two elections, fewer than half of the provisional ballots cast ended up counting as legitimate. In 2006, only 3,282 of 7,401 provisional ballots counted. In 2004, 3,292 out of 8,183 counted.

So it seems a fair estimate that once all votes are actually counted, McCain's lead in the state will probably be around 3500 votes, well within the 1% margin that permits a party to request a recount under Missouri law.

Should Obama request a recount? What if I told you there was a better than even chance that Obama could win Missouri with a recount?

If there is a hand recount of the scanned ballots, many of the scanned ballots not read would be counted because the voter's intent would be obvious. These are ballots where a voter circles the candidates name or marks the circle with an "x" instead of shading in the circle, etc.

I can't decide how I feel. A recount is expensive for the state and would not change the outcome of the election. However, a recount could change the electoral college math for the benefit of history.

What do you think?

UPDATE: And if you think MO is moving slow, 30% of Alaska's ballots have yet to be counted.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Note the sarcasm

Hinderacker really does live in his own world. I often wondered what color the sky was in his world.

And who can forget these immortal words from Hinderacker speaking of the great genius:"It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile."

And by the way, Hinderacker's original post is no longer available at powerlineblog but will live on forever in cyberspace.

Movement politics to the Whitehouse

The Nation's Ari Melber has a great read on how Obama's 'movement' can transform presidential governance,
The massive list of energized activists is the biggest stick Obama will carry in Washington. It enables direct communication at a remarkable scale. The next President can instantly address 16 percent of his national supporters, based on the popular vote. To put it another way, the list dwarfs the audience of all the nightly cable news shows combined.

So even after the gauzy honeymoon talk fades, when people start second-guessing how much "political capital" Obama really has, there will be this resilient network of people committed to enacting the Obama agenda.
This is the point that the talking head and Republicans just don't understand. These people want to be involved. They want to serve and they are waiting to be asked by President Obama to help. This is 21st Century politics.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Is conservative intellectual tradition dead?

Mark Lilla makes the case in the WSJ that conservative intellectual tradition is dead and we are the poorer for it.
It's a sad tale that began in the '80s, when leading conservatives frustrated with the left-leaning press and university establishment began to speak of an "adversary culture of intellectuals."...the idea was taken up and distorted by angry conservatives who saw adversaries everywhere and decided to cast their lot with "ordinary Americans" whom they hardly knew...."

The die was cast. Over the next 25 years there grew up a new generation of conservative writers who cultivated none of their elders' intellectual virtues -- indeed, who saw themselves as counter-intellectuals. Most are well-educated and many have attended Ivy League universities; in fact, one of the masterminds of the Palin nomination was once a Harvard professor. But their function within the conservative movement is no longer to educate and ennoble a populist political tendency, it is to defend that tendency against the supposedly monolithic and uniformly hostile educated classes. They mock the advice of Nobel Prize-winning economists and praise the financial acumen of plumbers and builders. They ridicule ambassadors and diplomats while promoting jingoistic journalists who have never lived abroad and speak no foreign languages. And with the rise of shock radio and television, they have found a large, popular audience that eagerly absorbs their contempt for intellectual elites. They hoped to shape that audience, but the truth is that their audience has now shaped them.

Friday, November 07, 2008

65,000,000 and counting

Votes are still being counted nationally -- especially on the West Coast.

Obama has now exceeded 65M votes (53%)breaking Bush's 2004 record by more than 3M votes.

Not only has the first non-white been elected President, but he has received more votes for President than any man in history.

Any suggestion that Barack Obama doesn't have a mandate is a fantasy.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Obama declared winner of North Carolina

Obama has just been declared the winner of North Carolina giving him 364 electoral votes.

Does anyone know if all the votes have finally be tallied in Georgia? There has been reports of many early votes still uncounted, etc.



In senate news, Merkley has finally declared the winner in Oregon, giving Democrats one more seat.

The knives are out,....

This is really ugly. McCain insiders are out to destroy Sarah Palin's political future and Fox News is happy to be the vector.

Sarah Palin didn't know Africa was a continent?



The peddling of this kind of slander is outrageous. If people want to make the kind of accusations that can ruin a person's future, they need to go on the record.

And this is on top of the hit piece in Newsweek. Here's a taste, "An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gracious and generous

I neglected to mention last night that John McCain's concession speech was as gracious and generous as I have ever heard.

Las Vegas

I'm in Las Vegas the rest of the week so blogging will be light.

Sent from my iPhone

A lack of baggage

One of the reasons I signed on to Obama last January was Clinton
fatigue.

How refreshing will it be to have a new President who is actually new
without the baggage of past administrations (fathers or husbands).

Sent from my iPhone

Rahm Emanuel

My vote for Chief of Staff.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Electoral Math

Just running the numbers it appears Obama will win IN and will likely have 375 electoral votes. AND, Montana is in play which would give Obama 378 electoral votes.

Chicago is going crazy!!

I wish I could have gone down to Grant Park tonight, but I had other obligations. I can't wait to see how they get all those people out of Downtown tonight.

One last thought for all you Cards' fan - who would have thought in 1908 that a black man would win the presidency before the Cubs could win another World Series.

Barack Obama elected President of the United States

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This is the greatest moment in American History of my lifetime ranking up there with Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon.

Missouri

From what I saw in North Saint Louis today and heard about from around North Saint Louis County, it's hard for me to imagine McCain winning Missouri.

For those who don't know, North City and County are heavily African American and the turnout was off the charts. I worked Ward 1, Prcts 1,2&5. More than 2200 votes (I saw two white people vote all day) were cast by days end. 1800 votes by 11 AM.

The polls in MO open at 6 AM and when I arrived at 5:30AM more than 200 people were in line with the line eventually hitting 500 people. On my way home I drove past a second North City polling place at 7:45 PM (45 minutes after they closed) and they appeared to still be voting.

I can't see how McCain is not swamped by this turnout. McCain needs to lead 'outstate' (all of MO between Kansas City (Jackson County) and Saint Louis) by very large numbers to hold MO, and so far, he's not doing that. Saint Louis City, County and Jackson are always the last to report and they will be coming in tonight in a tidal wave.

Election results via MSNBC

Turnout

More than 1000 votes cast so far in the 3 precints voting at this
location.

Sent from my iPhone

Reporting from North Saint Louis

Turnout is huge but running smoothly. There is a Republican challenger
here but is not interfering in any way.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, November 03, 2008

MS GOP Senate candidate pretends to be a Dem

Republican Mississippi senate candidate Roger Wicker has sent out a sample ballot wherein he pretends to be a Democrat.

Did I say this was in Mississippi?

Final 2008 POTUS poll results

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Jim Morin / Miami Herald (November 3, 2008)

Advice for Election Day

First, if you can vote at 10AM or 2 PM, do so. If you must vote in the morning, arrive when the polls open. In MO and IL, the polls open at 6 AM.

Second, believe nothing you read tomorrow. Exit polls will be leaked, and what is leaked will be inaccurate. Inaccurate exit polling data was leaked in 2004 and several times in this past primary season.

Just wait as best you can for the votes to be counted. Chuck Todd on NBC / MSNBC is the man and he will tell you everything you need to know as events unfold.

Finally, have some champagne on ice. There is every reason to believe it will be a very good night.

The Obama campaign knocked on 1,000,000 doors today in Ohio, and 8,000,000 doors in PA over the weekend.

We're watching the first campaign of the 21st Century and it is a remarkable operation. And to give credit where credit is due, the Obama campaign is the logical extension of Bush/Cheney 2004 and Rove's 'microtargeting'.

Tomorrow in Missouri there will be 30,000 volunteers making sure everyone gets out to vote and is able to cast a ballot. 2,500 lawyers volunteering for Obama will be working inside the polling places to ensure that all goes well and no lawful voter is turned away. And this is taking place in every major state, not just the battlegrounds. The Obama campaign has a huge organization in states like Indiana as well as Ohio, PA, etc. They have a nationwide computer network designed to target individual Democratic voters in every state and a plan to work them until they vote. If this all works, this campaign will be written about for years to come.

Barack Obama's Grandmother has died

MSNBC is reporting that Barack Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, has died in Hawaii. This is the woman who basically raised him, while his mother was away for much of his life.

Very sad that she did not see him win the election.

Obama spoke of his grandmother today in Charlotte:

Early voting hassles as prologue?

I'm seeing a lot of reporting that speculates that the long lines for early voting in many states somehow indicates that we can expect the same at polling places nationwide on election day.

The problem is that there is no logical reason to believe this to be true. In early voting states all early voters in an entire county may have only 4 locations in which to vote, and that's in a good county. Some early voters only have the county seat.

Election day, however, is very different with most voting done on a neighborhood level. There will be hundreds of voting locations in every county of any size. There are 124 polling stations in the City of Saint Louis alone, and more than 200 in St. Louis county. Some states intentionally starve some voting locations to depress turnout, but this is an exception. And thanks to lots of negative publicity (see Kenyon County OH)there has been much improvement since 2000 and 2004.

So, there is very little reason to believe long lines for early voting will translate to long lines on election day. The exceptions will be all over the news, but expect most voting to go very smoothly even with heavy turnout.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Battleground Missouri

I'm just back from a training session put on by Missouri Democrats and the Obama campaign.

The organization of the Obama campaign is breathtaking. I've volunteered at very low levels for every presidential campaign since 1984, and I have never seen anything like this. My session was attended by about 250 people who will be working in precincts on election day. Most interesting about my group is that every one of us was a lawyer. Those of us from Missouri have been credentialed by the campaign thru the Board of Election to work inside the voting locations to make sure every vote is counted. Those that have come in from out of state will be working outside in support, helping voters, completing form if a voter has a voting problem, etc. And this was not the first training session for attorneys.

The computer organization which is nation-wide is remarkable. I don't want to reveal too much until after the election, but I've never seen anything like this. I thought 2004 was organized -- and it was -- but this is years ahead.

The Obama campaign has 30,000 volunteers on the ground in Missouri for election day.

Is it really this simple?

Obama leads in 18 out of the 19 states with the largest recent declines in home prices, whereas McCain leads in 13 out of the 14 states with the largest recent increases in home prices.

McCain Advisor has no examples of voter fraud

In the last presidential debate, McCain breathlessly charged -- as he is prone to do -- that ACORN "is on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy."

Except that they can't even show a single example of a fraudulent vote.

In an interview with Pro Publica, a McCain spokesman comes up dry,
For weeks Republican leaders have warned that widely reported problems with fake voter registrations could result in a flood of phony votes in pivotal states.

But Ronald Michaelson, a veteran election administrator and member of the McCain-Palin Honest and Open Election Committee, said in an interview that he could not name a single instance in which this had occurred.

"Do we have a documented instance of voting fraud that resulted from a phony registration form? No, I can’t cite one, chapter and verse."
While ACORNS practices are embarrassing, facts matter and when you consider that there is no evidence of actual voter fraud (as opposed to registration fraud in which ACORN is the victim)it becomes clear that the objective of the GOP is to disenfranchise the poor and illicit class warfare as they did over 'welfare fraud' in the 80s and 90's.
A review of prosecutors’ statements and documents filed by Republicans in the most serious new cases alleging voter fraud shows that none offer an example in which a fraudulently registered person managed to cast a valid vote. While several cases argue that such frauds are possible, none sketched a scenario for how massive numbers of people could fake registrations and then vote.

Asked for specifics about the dangers of fake registration, Ben Porritt, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, provided links to 13 news clips and a 2003 Missouri state auditor’s report. Eleven of the cases did not involve registration fraud. Two recounted how felons appeared to have cast illegal votes under their own names. The lone example of a forged registration leading to an illegitimate vote comes from The Wall Street Journal’s John Fund, who in April 2006 wrote that a community organizer had improperly registered a noncitizen, and then “someone eventually voted in [the noncitizen’s] name.”
What is patriotic about using lies to undermine the integrity of America's democracy?
Michaelson -- who served for 27 years as executive director of the Illinois Board of Elections -- is himself concerned about the false charges he and others are making on behalf of the McCain campaign as undermining our democracy. Go read the whole piece.

Three big myths about the past two elections

Chris Bowers does an excellent job shooting down 3 myths that plague Democratic voters into irrational fear:
  1. "Yeah, but Kerry was winning at the end of the campaign, too."
  2. "Yeah, but Kerry was way ahead among early voters, too."
  3. "Yeah, but Republicans always do better in the final results than in the final polls." (GOTV and / or machine fraud are often cited as reasons for this one.)
The short answers are simple. Kerry was actually about 2 points down come election day. Kerry was at best tied among early voters in 2004, and likely down. Finally, in fact Dems actually do very slightly better than Republicans in the finish.

I was one of those drinking the Kool-Aid in 2004 convincing myself that Kerry would win, but not because I thought he was ahead in the polls. Kerry did have a 2 point lead in the Oct. 31 Fox News poll, which was clearly an outlier. I was banking on the idea (pushed by guys like Ruy Teixeira) that traditional polling missed Kerry supporters who only had cell phones, never voted before, etc. and when the votes were counted he would ride to victory. Of course, as we know now, not so much,...

Here's a graph from Pollster to illustrate the differences between now and 2000 and 2004.

367 electoral votes for Obama

The final Ward Report Electoral College prediction: 367 electoral votes for Obama to 171 electoral votes for McCain.

2008 final ward report prediction
Obama states in which I have the least confidence are Missouri followed by Florida and North Carolina. These latter two should go to Obama based upon objective data, but Missouri is a real toss-up and I think will come down to the wire just like Sen McCaskill's unseating of Jim Talent in 2006. My guess is that Obama will win (or lose) by less than 1 point.

Obama upsets could be Indiana (-.5), Georgia (-2) and Montana (-3). Despite polling data, I think GA is more likely to swing to Obama than Indiana where Barack only trails by half a point.

Finally, no matter what the polls show, swimming against history in states like Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana and Montana makes them tough states for a Democrat to pick up -- these states have been forever Republican for a reason.

UPDATE: Forgot a popular vote prediction. Obama will get 52% of the popular vote. I think the race will be tighter than polling suggests.

Dick Cheney for John McCain

Some endorsements are worth more than others. Yesterday, Dick Cheney endorsed McCain / Palin.

Today, Obama has an ad out making sure everyone knows it.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

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Jim Morin / Miami Herald (October 30, 2008

An 'Idiot Wind'

The WaPo today in an editorial calls out the racism in the McCain campaign. The same racism that so offended Colin Powell.
Perhaps unsurprising for a member of academia, Mr. Khalidi holds complex views. In an article published this year in the Nation magazine, he scathingly denounced Israeli practices in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and U.S. Middle East policy but also condemned Palestinians for failing to embrace a nonviolent strategy. He said that the two-state solution favored by the Bush administration (and Mr. Obama) was “deeply flawed” but conceded there were also “flaws in the alternatives.” Listening to Mr. Khalidi can be challenging — as Mr. Obama put it in the dinner toast recorded on the 2003 tape and reported by the Times in a detailed account of the event last April, he “offers constant reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases.”

It’s fair to question why Mr. Obama felt as comfortable as he apparently did during his Chicago days in the company of men whose views diverge sharply from what the presidential candidate espouses. Our sense is that Mr. Obama is a man of considerable intellectual curiosity who can hear out a smart, if militant, advocate for the Palestinians without compromising his own position. To suggest, as Mr. McCain has, that there is something reprehensible about associating with Mr. Khalidi is itself condemnable — especially during a campaign in which Arab ancestry has been the subject of insults. To further argue that the Times, which obtained the tape from a source in exchange for a promise not to publicly release it, is trying to hide something is simply ludicrous, as Mr. McCain surely knows.

a 60 seat caucus seems out of reach

With the election just days away it's time to take a realistic look at the senate.

The Democratic caucus enters this election with 51 members including Joe Lieberman (I - CT) and Bernie Sanders (I-VM). No Democrats are retiring and no incumbents are in danger. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana (+11) was believed to be in serious danger but the NRSC pulled out of her race a couple weeks ago essentially conceding her reelection.

But there is a complication. Joe Lieberman is a closet Republican whose chairmanship needs to be stripped which would likely cause him to leave the caucus, and he's not a reliable vote anyway.

So, while it would seem the Democrats need 9 pickups, they actually need 10 for 61 seats.

Five Republicans are retiring this year and the Democrats are poised to pick up three:
52. Mark Udall (CO) +11
53. Tom Udall (NM) +17
54. Mark Warner (VA) +29
In addition, 18 Republican senate seats are up for reelection. Of those the following appear in reach:
55. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) +8 over Sununu
56. Jeff Merkley (OR) +6 over Smith
57. Kay Hagan (NC) +4 over Dole
58. Al Franken (MN) +2 over Coleman
59. Mark Begich (Ak) +4 over Stevens

60. Bruce Lunsford (KY) -3 under McConnell (Minority Leader)
60. Jim Martin (GA) -3 under Chambliss
60. Ronnie Musgrove (MS) -3 under Wicker (Lott's seat)
The conventional wisdom is that Martin knocking off Chambliss is the most likely of the 3 long shots, but as I explained earlier, a runoff in GA makes this an unlikely pick-up. But, really big Democratic turnout (which appears to be materializing) could give Martin the 50% plus 1 he needs to win the seat outright.

Knocking off Mitch McConnell would be a dream come true but his lead appears rock solid and the polls are trending his way.

Wicker's lead is also rock solid with the polls trending his way as well. Again, large Democratic turnout in Mississippi could potentially swamp him, but I wouldn't bet on it.

And of course, Norm Coleman could win reelection as could Stevens (out of Alaskan spite) making 61 even further out of reach.

Bottom line: I'm having a hard time envisioning more than 59 seats with Lieberman.

But, if the Dems pick up 60, should they suck up Lieberman's betrayals and let him keep the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee?