How the Republican Party Machine Lost Their Way

October 27, 2008

First it was rampant spending for the war without cutting back at home.  Then the party was afraid of the best candidates – Huckabee and Romney, falling back on giving McCain his turn.  Romney supporters didn’t fully trust McCain and Huckabee supporters considered boycotting the election.  All because the party in power didn’t really want to be reformed.

The selection Palin as VP surprised a lot of people.  There are some poor choices she’s made in the past that should have been caught before her name was announced, and gave fodder for the Democrat operatives.  But it was the kind of un-managed selection that energized the base and pulled them back into the election.

Until the party bosses got ahold of her.

$150,000 for new clothes!  She would have been more genuine in the same three outfits over and over.  Show off her working class cred instead of trying to act like the Washington elite she railed against so often.

She’s got a great message, and is a great debater on issues, but the party has coached her into saying nothing.  No press conferences.  No town halls.  Few independent campaign appearances (don’t want to out-draw the headliner!)

The party advisers are also telling McCain to stump tired speeches over and over.  He was unimpressive in the debate and looks like an angry old guy on the campaign trail, so much that “thoughtful Obama” almost doesn’t have to campaign any more.  He expects to get to the top job on momentum.

And if Obama wins, the Republican party bosses can go back to their comfortable back rooms and pat each other on the back.  The “maverick reformer” will be returned to the back bench for the remainder of his Senate term and then retire to obscurity.  Palin they assume is damaged enough they’ll never have to hear from her again.

The seeds of a 2010 mid-term election upset are already planted.  Look for fertilizer next spring.


Has Obama Won?

October 23, 2008

This is the post I’ve been avoiding writing for a week.  McCain’s performance in the debate was shameful.  There was no substance there, only attacks on Obama and continual references to Joe the Plumber. On the other hand, Obama was poised, confident, with coherent answers and kept trying to steer the conversation back to issues.

I don’t trust Obama.  There’s too much he’s done he refuses to talk about.  His friends have weird and unworkable ideas.  It’s too much we don’t know.  And we don’t know ANYTHING about Biden.  It’s as if he doesn’t exist.

But McCain is becoming a disappointment.  I was embarrassed during the debates. AIl he talks about since then is Joe the plumber.  I didn’t know who the guy was at the time, but since then, I’ve learned I’m noting like Joe.  Joe is a cheat and a tax scofflaw.

And Sarah.  A year ago, when almost no one else knew who she was, she was my choice for Huckabee’s running mate.  Now, I’m not sure she’s electable.  It’s a one-message speech, and that message sounds like “the little lady” – not a successful governor.

Sarah’s ethical problems are also troubling.  I’ve been a government employee a long time, so I know about travel regulations and try to err on the side of conservatism.  It’s clear she’s been abusing the rules and treating a public service position as her private cash cow.

I’ve gone from stongly McCain to undecided, but I’ve got to decide soon, since I’ll be voting absentee.  (I’ll be out of state on election day.)

Somebody tell me McCain is safe to trust.

Do Online Activists React Offline?

October 14, 2008

Michael Connery wrote a thought piece about the electronic social behavior of the millenial generation, those who are under 30 years old. They made MySpace popular, are huge text message users, and are responsible for much of the growth of Twitter, which is kind of like micro-blogging as the mood hits. The question in my mind is whether this spontaneous connected activity will reproduce itself in offline activity, especially as it relates to political activity.

Connery quotes Colin Delaney of ePolitics, who pointed to a lecture by Vint Cerf, the internet pioneer.  Cerf wondered if online style will change as people age.  Will they move from instant messaging to a more asynchronous mode when life and physical distance gets in the way.

IM’ing is great when you’re gossipping with classmates, but email may be better when you’re catching up with that friend across the country who suddenly has three kids under the age of five. … one of email’s strengths is that it IS asynchronous — that it ISN’T necessarily immediate, since you can read that email instantly or a week later.

To put the realization into perspective, Connery referenced a 2006 Blog Ads survey, which says that only  15% of political blog readers are Millenials.  He postulates that “political blog readership among Millenials should increase as political activism among Millennials increases.”  In the long-run, online activists should move from instant messaging to blogging and email, which is significant in the way a politician runs their campaign.

Remember that Obama promised to annouce his VP choice by instant message, but McCain announced in the news media and blogosphere.  That would suggest that Obama thinks his supporters are younger, and McCain assumes his are a little older.

Which brings me finally to the point of this missive.  Do spontaneous people plan to vote, or do they vote if time and circumstances are conducive?  Are asynchronous people more likely to vote than synchronous people, in that they are more likely to work communication around activity schedules? And are unwired people – those older still – even more likely to take offline action than connected supporters.

(It would be worth a look to see the age demographic of online versus mailed-in donations – excluding paid political fundraising events.  Do average people tend away from online donations and toward hardcopy checks as they age?)

In short, although there is a lot of buzz on the internet of this candidate or that one, what are the demographics of the one doing the communicating, and does their age and style of communication predict the eventual outcome of who shows up to the polls?

McCain – not Obama – predicted today’s crisis

October 12, 2008

In a previous post, I gave some background on how the Senate had warned against out-of-control lending.  That included legislation in 1999 (S900) that put restrictions on loans and sounded warnings of a risky future.  It also included action by McCain, as a key cosponsor of legislation, to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie May in 2006.

Recently, has obtained a copy of an internal Senate letter from May 5, 2006, calling the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee (Richard Shelby) to bring action on S190, the Federal Housing Enterprise Reglatory Reform Act.

The concern of the letter was the growth of Freddie and Fannie’s loans, by then touching over half the nation’s housing mortgages.  “With the fiscal challenges facing us today (deficits, entitlements, pensions and flood insurance), Congress must ask itself who would actually pay this debt if Fannie or Freddit could not?”

The letter mentions recent testimony from all the major players, that this is well-thought-out legislation, and that it needed to be addressed soon, having cleared Sen Shelby’s committee.  It reiterates that it is the role of Congress to “Take the necessary steps to ensure that these institutions benefit from strong and independent regulatory supervision, operate in a safe and sound manner, and are primarily focused on their statutory mission.”

The letter ends with a warning:  “Congress must ensure that the American taxpayer is protected in the event either GSE should fail.”

No Democrat signed the letter.

For McCain to say he’s been fighting for our interests for years is in clear evidence.  For the Democrats to claim otherwise is a misrepresentation of the truth.

Obama Mouths McCain’s Message

October 11, 2008

I was pointed to a speech given by Barack Obama in Charlotte, NC on Sep 21.  Looking at it, it seems Obama gives a pretty good case for why McCain should be president. Read the rest of this entry »

Oklahoma’s Former Governor Outs Obama

October 11, 2008

Did he really say it?  Yes, Oklahoma’s former Governor, Frank Keating, dared to quote from Obama’s book Thursday while taping an interview with Dennis Miller.  These are the words that have gotten Democratic operatives fired.  Keating says Obama should also be more forthcoming about misdeeds of his past.

“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man,” Obama wrote in Dreams From My Father.

Keating says Obama ought to be more truthful about his past. Read the rest of this entry »

Biden Skimps on Charity

October 10, 2008

Back in August, I compared the charity of Obama to McCain.  McCain was the clear winner, giving away over 20% of his income to Obama’s 5%.  But Biden makes even Obama look generous.

Paul Caron at TaxProfBlog looked at Biden’s tax returns.  His income seems to be limited to his  Senator’s pay, his wife’s teaching pay and some book income.  But outgo matched income.  They save about 8% of their income in 3 credit unions.  They own no interest-bearing stock outside of retirement accounts (which aren’t reported)  But he gives only minor amounts to charity. Read the rest of this entry »