Monday, September 15, 2008

Even I did not think it would come to this!

But now, it looks as if even New York might be in play for McCain - wow! If, and let's be up front and say this is a HUGE IF, this is true and stays even close to true, then stick a fork in Obama - he's done, and this will go down as a bigger debacle than Dukakis, Gore and Kerry rolled into one. This could be good for the Democrats in the long run, but only if they use it to evaluate truly what happened. A major casualty will be the mainstream media and the liberal coastal elites. BUT, all of that is rather moot for now. This remains to be confirmed and we are still more than 7 weeks away from election day, so we shall see how it all turns out, but nonetheless, WOW!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Loosing the Grip

Well, I thought life was bad for Obama after the lipstick-pig thing, but he has managed to make it worse. He put out an advert yesterday that mocked McCain for not using e-mail. Turns out that this is wrong on so many fronts somebody in Obama's campaign should be fired.
First, McCain has injuries that make it difficult for him to type. In other words, the Obama advert just mocked a heroic war veteran because the injuries he sustained have handicapped him - that will go well. As Glenn Reynolds said:
Oops. Another unforced error from the Obama campaign, which seems to have had a lot of those lately. The above is from 2000 -- don't these people know how to use Google? Or NEXIS? Or something?

Second, turns out that McCain pioneered the amazing use of the Internet that has powered the Obama campaign, and McCain did that in 2000 - some Luddite he! What on earth is going on here? This suggests a level of incompetence that is almost unbelievable.
Partly I think this is the cocooning issue I discussed a couple of days ago. Nobody in the Obama campaign could think beyond the message they wanted to send, to see what negative repercussions it might bring. In short, they cannot see beyond their own (inevitably limited, by which I mean all of us have limited vision, not just the Obama campaign) vision. In a campaign that can be bad, but in a Presidency this can be disasterous. It further makes clear just how stupid Obama's claim that his experience running the campaign qualified him to be President - it don't!
Of course, all of this might have no effect, but it looks very much as if it is beginning to have a major impact. First, the Palin phenomenon continues. Increasingly, commentators are drawing attention to the solid values inherent in small towns, and inherent in the experience of many women (a far broader group than coastal elites). Neither of these aspects of her candidacy are easily comprehended by the mainstream media, so they miss the import of these insights.
But, the voters do not. And the polls are beginning to reflect that, not only in the National numbers, where change would show up soonest, since National level polling occurs daily, but also at the State level, which is of course where it actually counts.
If you look at those State level numbers, you see that of my ridiculous projections for McCain to win, the numbers do not apparently look good.
Currently in the "leans" or "likely" GOP column, I have Florida and Ohio. Three of my states are in the toss up category CO, NM, and NV. Of the remainder NH,PA, MI, IA are in the "leans" Democrat column, and MN is in the "likely" Democrat column.
That would seem to suggest absolutely no chance of my prediction that all of these would go for McCain. Add into the mix Virginia, which I had assumed would be for McCain and is in fact shown as being a toss-up. However, if we look a little closer we see that many of these States have old polling. MN for example, is based on an August 14 report at which time Obama led 46 to 42%. Think that might have changed a bit? NH was polled August 20 at which time Obama led 47 to 46%. Iowa was polled August 11 (46 to 41% for Obama). Other polls are more recent (typically September 8 or 11) but these three states (MN, NH, IA) will almost certainly show numbers more favorable to McCain when they are next polled. Obama has taken a significant hit in the last two weeks, it is only now beginning to show fully in the State polling, and if he does not move his game up several notches, he will be toast. He has to get back on message and quit making mistakes in the next week, or he may not get back into this race.
It would appear that I am not the only one who is feeling this way. Senior Democrats are beginning to panic, and polling indicates that FL and PA are moving out of contention.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lipstick and the OODA Loop

Well, what a to-do. Obama makes a comment about pigs and lipsticks - was it an attack on Palin? McCain's campaign has put out a quick response ad that suggests they think it was. Is this much ado about nothing, or is this a blatantly sexist attack by Obama on Palin?

I think the answer is yes, to both! How do I get there? Well, anyone who seriously examines Obama's attacks on Clinton will see some fairly strong sexism there, so it is not like he has not done this sort of thing before. On the other hand, the phrase about lipstick on a pig is one that has been around for a long time and does not necessarily connote sexism.

BUT, clearly the crowd at the Obama rally took it to be an attack on Palin (given her pit bull/lipstick joke at the convention) and pretty clearly Obama knew it would be taken as such. I have to think that comments of this nature are considered by candidates before they are used, to determine whether there is a downside to their use. If Obama used this phrasing without recognizing that it could be considered an attack on Palin, then he is really dumb. What he probably wanted was a nasty little attack, with plausible deniability. And that is what he thought he got, but he didn't.

This is going to explode in Obama's face with women. They will not be particularly vocal about it (we are already hearing from the vocal women) but they will not vote for him in November, and a significant number of them will vote for McCain. How do I know this? I had a conversation with a friend yesterday (before the pig thing) and much to my surprise, she opened the conversation by talking about Palin (we very rarely discuss politics - she is a liberal democrat, I am NOT!). She was delighted by the selection, did not consider it a token thing, and was clearly exercised to find out more about Palin. For example, she had researched the Bridge to Nowhere, and knew (which I did not) that the airport that was going to be connected was an International Airport! She also knew it was probably one of the world's smallest International Airports! She had sailed through the straight between the two islands that would have been joined by the bridge, and she was quite clear that the bridge to nowhere was completely inappropriate and she fully backed Palin's decision to can it (even if she had, during an election, said she supported it). I was totally taken aback by the degree to which she had investigated this, and seemed to want to have a reason to vote for Palin. I doubt if she has ever voted for Republicans in her life, and I would not bet on her doing so this November, but I am damned sure that she will not vote for Obama, not now, and especially not after the "pig" thing.

Why has Obama miscalculated so badly? Cocooning. He has listened too much to the coastal elites who think that only someone with an Ivy league education is fit to lead the US. He has heard all their sneers about Palin as being some sort of Neanderthal throwback, and he has believed them, because nobody around him thinks any differently.

But out here in the real world, Palin is resonating with folks like nobody's business. Her ability to take on her own party has largely removed the partisan issue from the table, by which I mean that people who have voted Democrat all their lives will feel able to cast a vote for her because they feel she will take on political scumbags in both parties - and given that 80% feel the country is on the wrong track, and only 9% approve of the job congress is doing, there are lots of folks out there who see a real need for someone to take on the scumbags. Plus, Sarah Palin does things like this (warning: hankies may be needed!).

Camille Paglia has an excellent article in which she warns Democrats about their response to Palin. She also very clearly and emphatically states that Palin is a feminist, and indeed goes further to indicate that Palin's type of feminism (basically, get on and do it, gut the damned moose!) is much more relevant and resonant than the dated feminism that still rules the coastal elites. Contrast her thoughtful take with an insult from above the border, and with depictions of Palin as a dominatrix into bestiality. The latter two, of course, serve only to make Paglia's point and hurt Obama's electoral chances even further. And this is why the McCain group came out with their ad which some (see the corner for example) think is a mistake. If it were aimed at Republicans, it would be, but it is not. It is aimed at those for whom the sexist attacks against Palin have been a total outrage, and it will help to ensure that those folk will not vote for Obama in November.

Why is all this happening? Well, McCain, being a fighter pilot, has got right inside Obama's OODA loop. A key quote from the Wikipedia site on OODA loops is:
How does one interfere with an opponent's OODA cycle? One of John Boyd's primary insights in fighter combat was that it is vital to change speed and direction faster than the opponent. This is not necessarily a function of the plane's ability to maneuver, rather the pilot must think and act faster than the opponent can think and act. Getting "inside" the cycle — short-circuiting the opponent's thinking processes - produces opportunities for the opponent to react inappropriately.
And that is what is happening here. Obama is reacting (still!) to the selection of Palin as the VP choice. Yesterday, Palin and McCain had an article on the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. Obama's comments yesterday were the sort of comments you make to fire up your base. McCain has been using all the attacks on Palin to enlarge his base and strip voters away from Obama. In short, McCain is messing with Obama's mind, and it is only going to get worse. I loved one suggestion I read today about a suggested (by Mark Krikorian) suitable response by Palin to the latest Obamablunder:
I agree with the consensus that the campaign shouldn't whine about the lipstick on a pig comment. Instead, Gov. Palin should simply start each appearance by pausing briefly at the podium to touch up her lipstick, and then move on. People who get the joke will love it, and those who don't will have it explained to them by others, ensuring that pretty soon, even those who don't follow the news will hear about it, to Obama's detriment.
There will be nothing more from the McCain camp about the pig blunder other than subtle things like this. They will be onto something else and Obama will be reacting again. At some stage, the meme will start to be discussed that, given the disarray in the Obama camp, his claim that this gives him experience to be President is not that valid.

All of which makes my prediction that Obama was going to lose this election big (338 to 200) seem more likely by the day. To do this, McCain will have to win the following swing states:
NH, FL, PA, OH, MI, IA, MN, CO, NM, and NV
Florida is moving beyond Obama's reach, Colorado and Ohio are moving in that direction too. The trend in the others is all in McCain's direction. Absent a major refocusing of the Obama campaign, he is in major trouble. And that disarray is beginning to show in all the gaffes and errors.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lies, Damn Lies, and Andrew Sullivan?

The last couple of days have been interesting in this presidential race. Somehow, over on Daily Kos, and on Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, the rumor began that Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy to cover for the pregnancy of her daughter. What a load of twaddle, but what very revealing twaddle! There was zero evidence (in the sense that sane and rational people use the word evidence, to whit, something reliable that indicates something of substance) but the stream of bile that issued forth from commenters all across the political blogosphere was disgusting to behold. The bile came, as far as I could tell, from Kossacks and the like who would like to do all within their power to denigrate Sarah Palin as a Vice Presidential candidate, most likely because they recognize on a sub-concious level (in some cases, very sub) how much of a challenge she poses to Obama, and how good a choice by McCain she was.
Then things got really wierd! This morning, Sarah Palin issued a press release to the effect that her daughter was pregnant (some five months), is engaged to be married to the father of the child, and is the recipient of loving support from her family. Oh, and would the press and everybody else respect her privacy too. Andrew Sullivan's response? He asked for a statement from the doctor who delivered Trig for Sarah stating that it was actually Sarah who gave birth to Trig (Trig who was born some four months ago - you go figure out the obgyn aspects of that if you can!). Sorry Andrew, but really...
Some very interesting responses to all this. It seems to me that Anne Althouse is getting increasingly annoyed about the Kossacks and is being driven closer and closer to McCain as a result - her posting is interesting, not least because of the insights in the comments. One commenter cogently recalled Obama's comment on out of wedlock pregnancies:
IN THE COMMENTS: mcg said:
Well, I know this is shameless of me, but my first step is admitting the problem, right? My mind immediately went to Obama's comment that if his daughters "make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
(Link for the Obama quote.)
Ms. Althouse also takes some to task for their sexist thinking:
MadisonMan said:
I think the way to support a child through a pregnancy is to be there for them, not to embark on a national campaign -- sure, it's "only" 2 months -- that will shine the spotlight on the child. Anyway, that would be my reaction as a parent.
Oh, that looks like a meme. Sarah Palin must stay home with her special needs baby. Sarah Palin must stay home with her about-to-be-married, pregnant daughter. Ladies: Put your career on hold until everything in you're family stops happening. I know, MM is a man and he's saying he'd stay home too, but would he? Would a man forgo his career to be there for a family member who is experiencing an important life transition?

Remember when John Edwards decided to go on with his campaign after his wife got a diagnosis of inoperable cancer? Now, I think Elizabeth Edwards was probably excited about the campaign and wanted to go on with it. In that light, why are you assuming that Bristol Palin isn't excited about her mother's campaign? Unlike Elizabeth Edwards, Bristol is not facing her last days. She's just starting out -- all caught up in life. Presumably, she's intense and positive about her pro-life beliefs, her love for the baby's father, her impending wedding, and the new baby on the way.

I imagine her eager to run around with the campaign, spreading the pro-life message to young people. Why should you think she would prefer to mope around the house, feeling ashamed, absorbing maternal comforting? On the campaign trail, she will be a loved and praised pro-life heroine, and she -- and her mother -- are likely to convert others to the pro-life side, with their glamorous and very positive image. Pro-choicers beware.
There is a most interesting post from Nathan Thornburgh of Time, to the effect that just about everyone in Wasilla (the Palin's hometown) knew about the pregnancy. The article is well worth the read, and is not too long, but here is a good take-away paragraph:
People in Wasilla are Alaskan tough, so not only does a thing like teen pregnancy not seem like anyone's damn business, but it's also not seen as the calamity so many people in the lower 48 might think it is. This is dangerous country — it's not just the roughneck jobs on cable reality shows. It's real life here. I listened to the absolutely heartbreaking story of how the godfather of Track Palin, Sarah's oldest son, died in small plane crash just minutes after having dropped off four kids. Another family invited me into their home and told their incredible story; with one son in Iraq, their other son was working on a conveyor line in Anchorage, got caught in the belt and had his head partially crushed. He lived to stand across the kitchen table from me and his parents, looking fully healed just three months later, grinning at his dumb luck and wondering what comes next in life. "It makes you realize that a thing like a little teenage pregnancy isn't such a big deal," his mom said. "Bristol—and lots of other girl like her out there — are going to be just fine."
Finally, to complete a trifecta of sensible posts on this issue, there is Captain Ed, who now works with Hot Air, once again sharing with us all his own family's experience with pre-marriage pregnancies. Captain Ed is his normal sensible self, so again, worth reading the whole thing (and the comments are again revealing, although not always edifying!). My take away bits?

What does this mean politically? I think AP has done a good job in addressing this, but really I don’t think politics will enter into it. The Palins all chose life and lived their values. That doesn’t strike me as news, as we already saw that with her commitment to her son Trig. The Democrats won’t dare mention this as a campaign issue, and even the blogs will probably leave it alone soon enough. Most people, I’d say, will wish Bristol and the Palins well. None of us quit our jobs to help our son and daughter-in-law cope, and neither will Sarah Palin, because it’s unnecessary.

We would all do better just to admire the Palins for their love and support for Bristol, Bristol’s courage in pursuing motherhood when faced with a difficult but hardly unusual situation, and agree that this has little to do with whether Sarah Palin will make a good Vice President. Families have been dealing with this since … there were families. Neither side should use Bristol to score political points. Keeping them in our prayers would also be the kindest action we can take.

The more I hear about Governor Palin, the more I am struck by how down to earth and "one of us" she is. I look forward to hearing about Vice-President Palin in a couple of months, and will do my bit to help make that happen.

Happy Labor Day!