Barack Obama’s grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, died today. Born October 26, 1922, she lived 31,420 days. One more and she might have seen her grandson elected to be President of the United States. That’s harsh. Peace be with you Ms. Dunham.
There Can Be Only One
Tuesday will be the end of a Presidential campaign that has been historic in a number of ways. One of the rare features was the lack of an heir apparent from either party. It’s been a good 60-70 years since a campaign with no President or Vice-President in the mix. Tuesday, we’ll go from two down to one, but consider how many there were when we got started:
1. John McCain
2. Mike Huckabee
3. Mitt Romney
4. Ron Paul
5. Rudy Giuliani
6. Fred Thompson
7. Duncan Hunter
8. Barack Obama
9. Hillary Clinton
10. John Edwards
11. Joe Biden
12. Chris Dodd
13. Mike Gravel
14. Dennis Kucinich
15. Bill Richardson
McCain/Obama: Dead heat in Indiana down the stretch
As Dan Rather might say, it’s tight as a tick here in Indiana with respect to the Presidential race going down the stretch. So, if you’re registered and have a preference for that race, you’ll want to vote — in fact, voting early might be a good option. (Though, I have my doubts about how many people would bother reading this blog but be indifferent to voting.)
Obama is polling at 45.9 and McCain at 45.3%. Remarkably, to me, six percent remain undecided. Despite my strong encouragement for folks to vote, if after all this time and all the information that has been made available with respect to the Presidential candidates you still have not been able to make a decision, perhaps you should just skip that part of the ballot.
As the Obama campaign points out, contrary to Republicans’ early belief, Obama’s efforts in Indiana were no bluff. He has a legitimate chance at winning here:
Jonathan Swain, a spokesman for Obama’s campaign in Indiana, said that while Republicans, and some pundits, had thought the Democratic push in the state was a bluff designed to force McCain to spend money, “we’ve shown that instead we’ve turned this into a battleground state. That is a direct result of the fact that Barack Obama took Indiana seriously and put the resources on the ground to wage a strong campaign.”
First and foremost, Obama showed up. That was a big part of why he’s having some success here. I don’t know that any Democratic Presidential candidate has even tried. Second, Indiana isn’t as blood red as is commonly thought – the Governor’s office was occupied by a Democrat from 1989 – 2005; the Indiana House of Representatives was controlled by the Democrats for much of that time and again in 2007-2008; and our Congressional delegation is currently 5 Democrats to 3 Republicans.
So, welcome to battleground status, Hoosiers. Maybe one day we can become as jaded to political attention as New Hampshire, Iowa, Florida, and Ohio.
Daniels avoids Palin
Gov. Daniels apparently has an aversion to being seen with Gov. Palin. Or, at least his schedule is tragically (or comically) at odds with her campaign appearances in Indiana.
Daniels said he plans to talk to folks in the parking lot, but can’t fit into his schedule a joint appearance with Palin.
This is Palin’s third trip to Indiana, and Daniels has yet to campaign with her, though Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman was with Palin at the previous rallies in Noblesville and Fort Wayne.
“I’m going by (the Palin rally.) I’ve got another event scheduled at the same time, but it is close by, so I’m going to go by and spend as long as I can there and hang out in the parking lot and spend some time with the folks standing in line or patiently waiting to get in,” Daniels said. “I’m not speaking at the rally, no.”
And why not? Gov. Daniels has a good campaign going. He isn’t seen as particularly partisan. Plenty of folks seem ready to vote for him and Senator Obama. Gone are his accusations about Democrats “car-bombing” the process. It’s hard telling what a second Daniels term will look like. I suspect if Democrats retain control of the state House of Representatives, Daniels will govern more like he did in 2007-2008; if Republicans take control, it will look more like 2005-2006. An appearance with Palin throwing out red meat to the 25% or whatever who still think Bush is doing a good job wouldn’t be in Gov. Daniels’ self-interest. He probably doesn’t want to get stuck answering questions like, “Gov. Daniels, do you agree that Sen. Obama is a terrorist-loving, America-hating socialist who is ‘not like us’?” and “Will you also be relying on ‘Joe’-the-‘Plumber’ to shape your policy? If not, is it because you are an elitist who hates ordinary Americans?”
Indiana telemarketers refuse to read false anti-Obama ad
One unanticipated result of robocalls being illegal in Indiana is the case reported by TPM Election Central where dozens of telemarketers in Hobart refused to read an anti-Obama call script even though, by refusing to do so, they sacrificed their pay. They refused to read the script that accused Obama of being “dangerously weak on crime,” of “coddling criminals,” and for voting against “protecting children from danger.”
I expected this to be dumb, but it struck a nerve.
Oswalt on McCain
Patton Oswalt has a good piece on McCain. He compares McCain to the defeated hacks he’d run into in the comedy club – guys with talent who, for whatever reason, hadn’t made it and had essentially given up, going for cheap laughs and pandering to the least common denominator.
There’s a part in every human you can reach that laughs and thinks and maybe disagrees with you, but stays intrigued with you, in the long run. And that’s how you build a career and a body of work. It takes longer, but every minute is fun. And you never have to swallow anything that tastes sickening.
Then there’s the part of people that goes, “Whoooooo!” at shit they already agree with. That part’s easy to connect with, and you feel sticky and tired afterwards when you cash your check. You’re entertaining people whose company you would never entertain. Or, in the words of Peter Schaffer, you’re “…distinguished by people who don’t know how to distinguish.”
McCain knows the answers to the Ayers question, and the Rezko question, and the Reverend Wright question. But he knows there are people out there – the “under-informed voter” in the words of a McCain campaign advisor – who don’t. And these people couldn’t understand the complexities of the answers if those answers were laid out before them in block letters.
He says that these defeated comics were generally very nice people but they got angry when they saw new comics starting out by going for the cheap laughs. “For the love of God, at least they came to their mediocrity through long years of struggle capped off by deep, cosmic defeat. But to start out that way? That was an insult to the harsh journey they’d survived.” So, Oswalt wonders, what sort of anger must McCain feel when he has to deal with Palin who must seem like one of those young, happy hacks.
Amy & I took the kids and her mom to the Obama rally in downtown Indy today. Big crowd. The event started a little late, but the weather was nice and the kids did reasonably well. Four Square No. 266 has some good pictures and the text of the speech. I particularly liked this part:
At a defining moment like this, we donâ€™t have the luxury of relying on the same political games and the same political tactics that are used every election to divide us from one another and make us afraid of one another. With the challenges and crises we face right now, we cannot afford to divide this country by class or region; by who we are or what policies we support.
There are no real or fake parts of this country. We are not separated by the pro-America and anti-America parts of this nation â€“ we all love this country, no matter where we live or where we come from. There are patriots who supported this war in Iraq and patriots who opposed it; patriots who believe in Democratic policies and those who believe in Republican policies. The men and women from Indiana and all across America who serve on our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America â€“ they have served the United States of America.
The Presidential Campaign as a Role Playing Game
Probably because it appeals to a couple of my particular areas of geekiness, but this dialogue for Presidential contenders might be The Best Thing Ever. A sample:
HILARY: WTF you guys. Why am I playing the cleric?
MCCAIN: Hilary, we’ve been over this.
HILARY: No, dude. I am so sick of being the girlfriend healer. Seriously, I can’t even use a sword. Fuck this noise.
KUCINICH: IM A BARD
OBAMA: That’s nice.
KUCINICH: MY FAMILIAR IS A PURPLE SNOW LEOPARD
MCCAIN: Oh, Jesus. Here we go.
KUCINICH: DID I MENTION MY WIFE IS A TOTALLY BANGIN DRYAD WITH 20 CHARISMA
HILARY: C’mon you guys, I’ve been playing this shit since Gygax was in eighth grade. Why can’t I be the party leader with the magic sword for once?
MCCAIN: Because no one wants to see you in a bronze bra.
OBAMA: Oh dude, BURRRRRNNNN.
HILARY: SCREW YOU, Grandpa. I will so kick your ass.
MCCAIN: Yeah? Bring it! I didn’t spend 3 years in the Abyss with Githzerai hooking my nads up to a car battery to get beat by some Wellesley girl.
Swiped from Sadly, No, is an illustration of just how socialist Barack Obama’s proposed tax increase on the wealthy is in historical terms:
The blue line at 40% represents where Obama’s tax plan would take the top marginal rate as compared to the top marginal rate over the past century. It coincides very closely with the rates during the Clinton years. True, it is a higher tax rate than under Bush I and Bush II, but lower than most of the years under FDR through Reagan. And we all remember what trying times the Clinton years were; what with the peace, prosperity, five year plans, and calling one another “comrade” all the time. I, for one, long for the days when our biggest problem was a burning concern as to whether the President was honoring his marital vows as opposed to his vow to uphold the Constitution.
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