Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Ludacris File: Ludicrous

The punditry is bending over backwards to connect BS and irrelevance to both candidates.

Today the stupid awards goes out for suggesting rapper Ludacris latest hip hop commercialized rant tune tells us anything important about Obama (it does not). On the McCain side of the pundit follies we have the normally very insightful Rachel Maddow on MSNBC suggesting that the McCain campaign's claims that Obama is presumptuously asserting himself is pandering to racism (they are not - Obama is somewhat presumptuous, you silly Rachel!). Obama's been the huge beneficiary of a combination of McCain's non-attack strategy and our cultural oversensitivity to any ads that could have racial overtones).

Swiftboating will be coming on in full force very soon, but it will leave any racial references to the imagination or it will fail as Obama is likely poised to quickly and effectively brush aside such issues as racial nonsense, immediately ceding the high ground to Obama.

This is natural in the 24/7 news cycle when people will simply change the channel if Rachel Maddow and Pat Buchanon start waxing philosophically about the merits of prudent fiscal management rather than arguing over silliness.

Now, McCain also deserves a stupid award for the new TV ad showing how popular Obama has become and asking "is he ready to be President?" Excuse me, but pointing out how your opponent is more popular than you are is NOT a good approach to winning.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama BBQ With Kaine?

Newsweek is practically suggesting that Virginia Governor Tim Kaine will be Obama's VP pick, perhaps as early as tomorrow. I remain very skeptical that the politically inexperienced Obama will pick a politically inexperienced Kaine rather than a liberal with stronger military credentials.

However, if Kaine's at the BBQ tomorrow maybe Obama will be cooking up more than just some ribs and chicken.

Monday, July 28, 2008

48 to 40 or 45 to 49? What's up with the polls?

Gallup was out today with a 48 to 40% vote margin between Obama and McCain via tracking poll AND a 49 to 45% McCain advantage via a regular poll.

Despite what appear to be close poll numbers, and although the election season is only moderately underway, and although the electoral college craziness could rear its ugly head and deliver bizarre results, it really appears that McCain has a very long row to hoe in terms of planting and nurturing support for his campaign. On the upside for McCain is the fact the race remains fairly close despite the media infatuation with Obama and Obama's superior resource base.

Today one report said McCain was greeted by only a *single* reporter at a campaign stop in New Hampshire while Obama seems to be a key topic of liberal and conservative journalism alike.

Vice Presidential running mates remain the key pre-election issue and decision for both McCain and Obama. McCain appears to be leaning towards Mitt Romney although I would not count out Huckabee as somebody who would galvanize American conservatives into voting for McCain, candidate that seems to have failed to inpisire much enthusiasm in that core Republican constituency.

My hunch is that Obama's choice is likely to come *after* McCain, who, currently in Obama's media shadow, would likely grab more media buzz by choosing first. If Obama goes first he'll lose the ability to counter McCain's choice with a strategic decision and also McCain will then be able to better control the VP buzz with his own strategic decision. ie I see it as in McCain's advantage to go first, Obama second and therefore predict that's how this will shake out. could just flip a coin.

Predictions? Pundits don't make them because they are chicken sh**z, but here at President Picker we don't fear error at all:

McCain & Romney
Obama & Wesley Clark

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obama lead seems to be narrowing

CNN Reports that an average of five national polls puts Obama ahead of McCain by 6 percent in the national presidential election. Obama enjoyed a larger lead weeks ago, and it may be that the shine of the new and exciting candidate has worn a bit. Strategically look for McCain to criticize Obama's foreign policy experience, and Obama to focus more on the economy and tying McCain to President Bush and the current huge challenges facing the American economy.

Elections often boil down to economic considerations and this gives Obama a huge advantage as things are not getting better and are very unlikely to improve by November. Voters who like McCain may still reject him on the basis that they want "change" in the economy and are willing to take a chance with Obama.

Of course the reality is that presidents are not the primary economic drivers by any means, and neither Obama nor McCain is likely to fix our economic troubles anytime soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Yorker's Obama Fist Bump Cover

Excuse me but what in the world ... ?

I suppose the uber-sophisticated New Yorker deserves some latitude in parody, but this seems to be designed more as an offensive sort of predatory swipe than a funny satire. But I'll have to read the article, and also I'll be interested in how McCain is treated by the same cartoonist, assuming he's still got a job after the Obama cover mini-firestorm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

48% to 40% with 117 days to go

Barack Obama maintains a very strong lead in the US Presidential race as we close in on the final stretch after what seems like an eternity of campaigning. In fact I think "campaign fatigue" is working in Obama's favor both because he's the guy going into the final few months with the big mo as well as the guy with stamina that will certainly last through the end of this election. Although yesterday's Iran comments by both candidates were weak, McCain stumbled so badly one almost had to wonder if he was suffering from some sort of mental lapse during the interview.

The latest polls appear to show the huge McCain Obama gap closing, but it's not clear to me how significant this is, or even how significant the polls are at this stage. Look for undecided voters in the tossup states to be the critical factor in this election. Obama cannot lose California or New York, and McCain cannot lose several states in the South. It is the voters in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and other close states that will push somebody over the top, and it will not necessarily be the candidate with the most votes. In fact I'd argue Obama is very likely to win the national popular vote by at least a million, but this will not necessarily translate into the electoral votes needed to win. In fact the electoral college was in part designed to equalize smaller states and larger ones and the smaller states are more conservative, so McCain will likely benefit from more folly in what has become the questionable legacy of our seriously flawed electoral college system.

Fliip Flopping or Wisdom?

While the vacuous TV news pundits discuss whether Jesse Jackson likes Obama or not and something about McCain and a viagra comment, the candidates struggle to discuss real issues such as Iran and Iraq. The middle east can't seem to leave the American stage regardless of who is in power, and the next president is certain to inherit the complexity of that situation.

Kudos to McCain and Obama for working towards stability in the middle east. Although there is some political hay made of what is a likely change in Obama's tone on Iraq, it it to his credit that he's reassessing the situation in light of the new circumstances.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Cindy McCain and International Aid

Kudos to Cindy McCain for her excellent relief work over many decades. McCain will travel soon to Rwanda to help bring assistance to a country ravaged by civil war, genocide, and poverty.

Cindy McCain has a long and distinguished history of bringing her influence and money to trouble spots around the globe, and even the most partisan among us owes this kind of effort some admiration and thanks.

Friday, July 04, 2008

CNN Sure Likes Obama

In the midst of the powerful conservative bias of FOX News CNN generally stands out as a much more reasoned point of view, but I'd have to say their profiles of the Obamas and the McCains sure seemed to favor Obama. Although it is reasonable to suggest both Cindy and John McCain's past is more controversial in many respects than Barack or Michelle Obama's past, the profile highlights seemed to focus almost exclusively on the McCain's defects and the Obama's virtues.

One can't help but suspect that the hip CNN crowd strongly favors a presidential win by Obama, who even detractors would agree is a lot cooler than McCain. The fact that this opinion seeped so powerfully into the profiles is cause for concern, though CNN would have to do a lot more than this to even hint at the kind of bias we see daily on FOX news, which is so heavily spun to the right it's often hard to extract the real news from the spin.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Crackpot Vote - how big?

A critical question in elections is not so much how confirmed party members with long voting histories will behave, rather it is how those who don't think much about issues or implications will vote after they have seen the barrage of advertisements, appearances, and media coverage of the candidates.

The coming election will see a lot of effort attempting to influence that "crackpot voters", those who have little care for real issues and instead are concerned with bizarre or stupid interpretations of the candidates views, histories, and other aspects of the campaign.

I'm going to remain optimistic that this won't play a large role, given that the crackpot vote probably balances out fairly well between the candidates. Also, if the latest silly claims of "swiftboating" are any indication of the worse the campaigns have to offer each other we can remain hopeful that the election really will focus on issues rather than personal quirks, and voters will make their decisions wisely. Hmmm - that sounds way too optimistic.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

McCain with Palin as VP?

Still something of a long shot for VP, I would suggest that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin would be an interesting choice for McCain because she'd pull some of the soft Obama support from former Clinton folks. Having a woman on his ticket, especially if Obama does *not* have one on his, would help equalize the advantage the democrats currently enjoy for promoting a form of "affirmative action" lacking in American presidential politics for the past 240 years.

Obama's choice? I'd say he's still getting lobbied by Hillary and the gang for her, but that is only about 20% likely. Biden? Maybe, but he's not the military strategist that, say, Wesley Clark or Colin Powell would be which is why I think they are probably on Obama's "A list" for Veeps.

Wesley Clark's Comment in the Swiftboat Context

Ironically there has been almost no activity so far one could call "Swiftboating", yet the big media is so hungry to make that case they are pulling even soft comments like Wesley Clark's snippy response to a question as evidence of attack politics.

Clark was being political of course, but said nothing unreasonable when he suggested that McCain's service alone does not necessarily qualify him to be commander in Chief. He did not even say McCain is *not* qualified to be President!

Here is the issue we should be discussing:

The World is a complex, potentially dangerous place. Candidates must understand a lot about current military issues to be a good commander in chief. A great one would cut the military budget significantly while increasing security using advanced technology and targeted spending and military activity. However almost nobody is willing to consider that because most Americans are effectively brainwashed by their own stupidity into thinking Government effectively spends half the global military budget - some 550 billion each year. We don't spend it effectively, and it's an outrageous drain on our economic security, and neither candidate will deal effectively with this.

Whether McCain or Obama has more strategic military inspiration is almost a trivial issue. Asymetric warfare and the global economics of the military have changed the game so significantly that it's not clear what skills are needed.