Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Morning -- 22 Days Until the Election


Good news from the Colley Rankings -- the electoral college vote tracking site at What matters is not public opinion per se but electoral college votes. The Colley Rankings attempt to predict electoral college votes using a statistical method which looks at the median of recent polls in the respective states. Throughout much of September Obama has held the lead, but it was slim -- 273 to 265. In the last four days, however, Obama's lead has increased significantly to 311 to 227. A big move and an important one at this late date. At the same time, the Washington Post ABC poll today shows Obama has opened a 10 point (53-43) lead in its public opinion poll, and CNN has it 49-41.


John McCain stood to the rear looking painfully embarrassed as Sarah Palin introduced him at a rally in Virginia today, then stepped up and give a forgettable, trivial, plain vanilla campaign pep talk rather than the much anticipated turnaround speech that his campaign has promised. Typical of the lame and pointless content of the speech was the attempt at criticizing Obama for, of all things, insisting upon "safe nuclear power." "All he needs to do is to go to the naval base and look at our nuclear carriers and the brave men and women who are defending freedom around the globe," said McCain. Say what? Doesn't anyone on his staff read this stuff before he delivers it? Never mind McCain's absurd mimicking of Martin Luther King with the steady repetition of his "I have a plan" rhetorical figure. Who is writing this stuff? Are competent speechwriters really so hard to find? And it got more bizarre, consider this line about Obama and his supporters, "My friends, we've got them right where we want them!" This brilliant claim was delivered on a day when Obama was up 10 points in the polls.


Christopher Buckley

Christopher, the son of William F. Buckley, founder of the right wing journal National Review, who describes himself as a conservative/libertarian, has issued a powerful and welcome endorsement of Obama from the right :

I’ve read Obama’s books, and they are first-rate. He is that rara avis, the politician who writes his own books. Imagine....

But having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will (I pray, secularly) surely understand that traditional left-politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves. If he raises taxes and throws up tariff walls and opens the coffers of the DNC to bribe-money from the special interest groups against whom he has (somewhat disingenuously) railed during the campaign trail, then he will almost certainly reap a whirlwind that will make Katrina look like a balmy summer zephyr.

Obama has in him—I think, despite his sometimes airy-fairy “We are the people we have been waiting for” silly rhetoric—the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. He is, it seems clear enough, what the historical moment seems to be calling for.


While McCain flounders and struggles to find something worth saying and then to find a way to say it Obama and his campaign are growing tighter and smoother. His speech on the economy this morning in Toledo was masterful. He laid down a rational and detailed set of proposals to attempt to protect people suffering in the current downturn and begin to repair the economy. To his credit, he did not hesitate to warn people that they have to stop living beyond their means with home equity loans and credit card debt and start saving. It is clear that he is indeed a gifted speaker and intellect and that his confidence is running high. From a professional campaign management point of view he is peaking perfectly. He sails into the Wednesday night debate in a powerful position, having McCain on the ropes, knowing what to expect from him and knowing what to do to respond to it. This debate should be one of the great moments in American presidential election history.


It came as no surprise. It was long expected. It was in almost everyone's view well deserved. Today Paul Krugman, Princeton professor and New York Times columnist, was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics. The talk of Krugman as a potential Secretary of the Treasury in the Obama administration accelerated.

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