Yet More “Signs” of an Obama Victory

1.  30 million people watched Obama’s infomercial, more than watched the last game of the World Series (not so astonishing) and more than watched last season’s American Idol finale (pretty astonishing). Of course some people will watch anything on TV, but still. . .

2. I live in the Third Congressional District of Texas. For years the Almanac of American Politics described the Third as one  of America’s most reliably Republican districts. I don’t recall seeing a single yard sign for Kerry four years ago. (I had one in the back yard, but. . . joke.) Now I’d estimate that about 10-15 percent of the signs around here are for Obama, a possible sign of those “significant inroads” newshounds like to spot.

   Even more amazing:  Financial kingpin/novelist  Rich Crossland, e-mailing from deep inside deep-red Highland Park, silkiest of Dallas’s silk-stocking districts, reports that the yard-sign breakdown in his nabe is only about 55-45 McCain. Is hell freezing over?  He notes that his Zip Code, 75205, gave more money to George W. Bush than any other Zip over the past eight years.  Granted, this is all anecdotal–most people don’t put out signs for anyone–but still. . .


McCain Vs. Obama: The Final Showdown. . .

In which the humble blogger makes a final attempt to settle the matter with a 17-Point Issues Checklist.

 Based on  my limited understanding of a  number of important issues, and weighing some personal qualities of the candidates, who comes out on top? Who should get my vote?   In no particular order, here we go:

Taxes: Not sure I follow all the wrinkles of the plans here, and, having seen these rodeos for years, I know both sides have surprises in store. Also don’t see how Obama can deliver any kind of substantial tax cut for what he says will be 95% of the middle class. A $50 cut is better than a poke in the eye, but I bet there won’t be much in the stocking for the average, uh, Joe.  (Note the obvious tension here, which always arises in matters of taxation, between what might be good for me and what might be best for the country.) Based as much on my lack of knowledge as anything, I call this one a Tie.  

National Security/Defense:  When it comes to America’s military presence in the world, there’s much less difference between the candidates than many think. Obama’s no reflexive pacifist, and McCain doesn’t think bombs settle every problem. Obama  was wrong about the Surge. But. . . I’m settling this one by focusing on our armed services, which are battered and exhausted after years of multiple deployments. Regardless of our (too far-flung?) commitments, experts say the force is almost broken. Too much has been asked of too few. They need to  rest, and I think they’re more likely to get it with. .  Obama

The Coming Entitlement Disaster/General Spending:  Both men have shamefully ducked this issue. Both sides favor gigantically bloated government.  Nobody has a plan to deal with what the country actually owes in coming entitlements and the crushing burden that will place on future generations. “Hope the Chinese keep buying our debt” is a not a plan.    Tie

Six Degrees Factor (Unsavory Associates). Call me old-fashioned, but the question of Obama’s ties to Rev. Wright over the past 20 years still vexes me, as it did the day I voted for Obama in the Texas primaryTo me Wright is at best a Bible-thumping, conspiracy-believing  loon and at worst a black racist. Obama’s rationale in  Dreams From My Father helps some, as noted here, but it’s still not dispositive, a fancy legal term I picked up recently. I also don’t like McCain’s links to people like televangelist John Hagee and Watergate tough guy Gordon Liddy, but one key difference:  McCain didn’t spend the last 20 years going to weekly seminars held by either man. Advantage: McCain

Vice-President Pick: For reasons discussed here, Obama.

Health Care: Both  candidates will bring more of the uninsured into the fold, they say. Experts say it looks like Obama’s plan will bring in more than McCain’s. On the assumption that more is better here, and keenly aware that the medical lobbies and insurance companies have barely begun to weigh in, I’ll go with Obama.

Overall Experience. Having now read books by both men and oodles of mag pieces, I know both have had fascinating formative experiences that make them quite unlike most of our presidents. One can easily imagine crises and problems that would play to McCain’s strengths and others that might yield to the Obama touch. If by “experience” we mean, “an existing public record that serves as a reliable indicator of how they might behave if X happened,” I’ll go with: McCain.

Intellect/Quality of Mind: McCain is certainly not dumb, but on the evidence of his book and his speaking,  Obama is extraordinarily smart. Obama.

Vigor, Health: Much of the kvetching about McCain’s age, skin cancer, wrinkles, odd body language, etc. is just ugly ageism; comparable remarks about Obama’s racial characteristics would bring universal outrage. (Maybe the critics will somehow never get old.) All that aside, however, it would be highly unusual if Obama didn’t have more of the stamina it’s going to take to cope with the world’s most demanding job. Obama can probably handle a string of 18-hour days and jet-lagged junkets better than any septuagenerian. So, Obama.

Environment: One of those rare categories where you can feel good about both candidates. Either will go miles beyond Bush. I’m tempted to give McCain a slight edge here because of his association with the West and because he has represented a state with the pressing water problems that will be/should be on the agenda. and I’ll bet Obama doesn’t even own a pair of hiking boots. McCain

National Image/World Opinion. Can 100 million French, Kenyans, Cameroonians, Filipinos, Swedes, Moroccans, Spaniards, Cretans, Brits and Turks be wrong?  Nyet!  Obviously it’s  Obama.

Bipartisanship–can’t bear to write another word on this, but see here if you like.  McCain

Party ID. Does one party or the other fill me with enough confidence or dread to deserve a nod? No. Tie. (But see “GOP Fatigue” below.)

Racial Justice/White Guilt. I don’t include this mockingly. The experience of slavery put a horrible curse on this country and blighted generations of African-American lives. Just as a measure of fear is sometimes the right reaction (sorry, FDR), so is a measure of guilt. There is no “making up” for the shame, humiliation, and violence visited upon innocent people, but a black President could serve as a symbol of real progress in racial matters and an inspiration to young blacks. (Sweetener for conservatives: His election would  stupify ethnic and religious tyrants around the world.) 

This issue alone woudn’t justify handing the country over to someone radically unqualified, but Obama’s not.    Obviously, Obama.

Social Issues. As I  confessed in a column 20 years ago, “Wasn’t Paranoid Enough” may be my epitaph. I find myself unable to see the world in terms of shadowy groups plotting to take away my rights, possibly because I’m too nice, or too lazy, to take away anyone else’s. As I’ve noted when bemoaning cultural trash like torture-porn movies, I detest them and will say so,  but wouldn’t support any move to outlaw them.  Likewise,  the big G’s of Gawud, Guns and Gays don’t worry me overmuch despite what people out on the flanks of these issues say. A city council ordinance here or there restricting manger scenes, or insisting that Santa be included in the manger, does not a War on Christians make.  As for a woman’s right to choose, calm down. Even if McCain squeaks by, he’ll have at most a razor-thin margin in the Senate. He won’t be able to get a Roberts or an Alito confirmed, much less a dedicated anti-choicer.  Tie.

Immigration: Both guys favor the Comprehensive Immigration/legalize millions approach that almost killed McCain in the primaries, with some add-on lip service toward tighter borders and more workplace enforcement. Maybe we’ll hire the extra enforcers with all that leftover money. Tie.

GOP Fatigue/Turn the Page:  There’s also the argument that after eight years, we’re just sick of the Pubs and we want something new. (Voice in head: Are Charlie Rangel, Barney Frank, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi “new”?) Okay, okay, but what I meant was, both parties have their healthy instincts and valid insights, along with their genetic defects and blind spots. Maybe it’s time to see if the Dems have learned anything in 8 years. With fingers crossed, Advantage: Obama.



McCain 4

Ties: 5

Okay, there it is after all these months. A decision!  Now I just need to run out and vote early before something happens to . . . Wait..wait…Oh, no! What’s this?

Suspicious Minds Run Wild in Final Days



 With Halloween on the way, the cauldrons of hate and paranoia are bubbling on the Web. Muse Machine samples the brew so you don’t have to. Just remember–the truth is out there!







 Barack Obama Former members of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement party have told WND when Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama visited Kenya on a “fact-finding” trip in 2006, he was carrying out part of a secret election strategy that also included exploiting divisive tribal tensions and ultimately taking advantage of rioting that left 1,000 dead.

The strategy document outlining the campaign earlier was referenced in “The Obama Nation” but could not be fully authenticated at the time of publication.

Now, however, research conducted in Kenya by WND has confirmed the authenticity of the strategy memo, which was prepared by a five-person Odinga “core strategy team” led by Peter A. Nyongo, the secretary general of Odinga’s Orange Democratic Movement party, with the assistance of four key Odinga ODM strategists, including Odinga speechwriter Adams Oloo.

Paranoid nutshell: He’ll have us tangled up in tribal warfare!

 And here’s another truth-seeker, this one dedicated to exposing McCain:


McNasty has a LOT of secrets and a secret is only a secret if you are the ONLY person who knows. There IS information out there, it’s been admitted to….it will come out and mark my words as an Arizonan who WANT THIS JERK GONE, it will not be pretty.

 You see,  McNasty is NOT a nice man, he is not an honest man, and he is … very likely .. an incredibly SICK man. But he has lied – he is physically violent … and he has SECRETS.

And you can bet that when the secrets come out, there will be backup. Without backup, and documentation, there is NO story.

Someone has something – and it will see daylight.










The Losers of Campaign ‘O8 (Besides McCain)

Literally dozens of people are waiting to see how I’ll settle the long standoff between McCain, my pick in 2000, and Obama, whom I supported in the spring primary. So am I! TK ASAP,  as we say in media circles.

 One more round of bile,  and (hint) I’ll be ready to bid farewell to the past and stride into the Obama Dawn, singing these altered lyrics from Les Miserables:

Seven more days until Oba-ma!

Can you hear the people sing?

On the barricades of freedom,

Every man will be a king!

 Meanwhile,  here’s a pre-postmortem on some of the people and ideas, besides McCain,  rejected this time around:

1. Bipartisanshipwreck.  If facts matter, as Perot used to say, no major presidential  candidate has ever done more actual bipartisan work than McCain, whose name has been linked in causes with superDems like Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, and John Kerry.  Result?  The Dems tied McCain to Bush like Ahab to the whale; voters preferred Obama’s eloquent promises of bipartisanship to McCain’s actual record.   For McCain’s answer to the musical question, “What Do You Get?  (When You Work With Dems),” sing along here.

2.  Dirt clods are bouncing on the coffin lid of  Campaign Finance Reformers. Obama walked away from his commitment to public funding and suffered not one dent in the halo, not even a wrist-slap from the Good-Government Patrol. McCain went the public financing route and got buried in a blizzard of dollars.  Old Dem Conventional Wisdom: Massive spending imbalances are bad for our election process. New Dem CW: Not when we’re doing the spending.

 (BTW, campaign finance reform is not one of my top issues,  and I’ve got some sympathy for those who see campaign spending as a form of free speech.  But if a politician commits to something, he should stay with it unless there is some valid reason beyond mere self-interest  to make a change. See my Flip-Flop  Test for more.)

3. RIP, Mavericks, Outsiders, Hail-Mary-Tossers: McCain’s chutzpah in picking Palin was in line with his gambler history, but it flopped when she proved too shallow even for the American public’s taste. There’s no doubt Palin suffered from regional and class bias, and it’s a hell of a world when a celebrity fluffball like Katie Couric becomes the arbiter of gravitas. But in the end, there just isn’t enough substance in Palin to offset fears about her.   

4. Old Soldiers Fade Away.  It should be clear by now that while we pay plenty of lip service to military service, it’s not a path to power.  The military issue didn’t help Kerry or Dole, didn’t hurt Clinton and didn’t save McCain,  the most experienced military candidate since Eisenhower.  

5.  Dashed hopes for Come Home, America types who would like to see a radically smaller U. S. military with many fewer commitments around the world. Not gonna happen,  it appears.

 6.  Culture Warriors Collapse.   Fervent Rightists and Leftists who thought this election would be won or lost on Gawud, Guns, Gays or Guantanamo go into the L Column as we chant “It’s the Economy, Stupid.”

Representative voter: The woman interviewed on NPR the other morning who wanted a candidate who would “bring down gas prices.” (Note to Obama: The Gas Prices Control Dial is near the Oval Office door that leads out to the Rose Garden. Be sure to turn it down as soon as the Inauguration is over. I’d set it at about, oh, $1.75 a gallon.)


Obama Phone-Bank Plan Could Backfire

Just got this from Barack:
We need to make 300,000 calls to voters in battleground states this weekend. Right from your own home, on your own schedule, you can do your part in just an hour or two by calling voters in Pennsylvania. We’ll give you the phone numbers and the talking points. It couldn’t be easier.
Get your list of Pennsylvania voters to call right now.
Well, I wonder. Is it a good idea to ask a bunch of Texans to start  calling their Keystone State counterparts? I worry about possible communication problems. The conversation might go something like this:
Tex: Hah yew?
Voter: How am I what?
Tex: Hah yew doin?
Voter: How am I doing what? I’m trying to watch the Steelers, you putz!
Tex:  Wail, I’se jist wonderin’ if y’all gonna vote for Barack. He go’ be in tall cotton if he can git y’all in the tent, y’ hear?
Voter: Madge, come listen to this guy on the phone! I almost choked on my bratwurst! It’s the Marlboro Man!
Tex: Wail, whuddya thank? You goin’ for this ol’ boy?
Voter: Boy? He’s not a boy, you racist hick!
Tex: Hey, buckeroo, you walkin’ on the fightin’ side now! We gon’ to Fist City!
Voter: I was leaning toward Obama, but no way I’m voting for him if you’re supporting him.
Tex: Lissen, you &%*&(^
Voter: Click.