Sunday, October 5, 2008

Here Comes The Smear

My deep, sincere apologies to The Beatles for turning the title of their wonderfully hopeful song Here Comes The Sun on its head, especially to use it in describing the only tactics left to save the sinking Republican ship SS McCain with Cap’n Palin on the bridge.

But make no mistake: The last 30 days of the campaign will see McCain, Palin and their surrogates turn into an army of Dark Knights of Evil. In fact, the Republican campaign machine admits it.

"We're looking at a very aggressive last 30 days of turning the page on this financial crisis and getting back to discussing Mr. Obama's aggressively liberal record and how he will be too risky for Americans," senior adviser Greg Strimple told reporters on Thursday.

“Very aggressive” and “too risky” is politicode for lies, half-truths, innuendo and surrogate-mounted smears, racial and other.

Freddie And Bill

It’s started already.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a Deep South conservative Republican raising again the thoroughly discredited claim that the former heads of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are now working for the Obama campaign. Apparently, it’s not enough that both Fox News and The Washington Times – hardly liberal apologists – debunked the smear weeks ago; die-hards will keep spreading the phoney news anyway.

And get this: The AP is reporting this morning that Sarah Palin accuses Barack Obama of "palling around with terrorists" for his association with a former 1960s radical.

Palin is referring to Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the group the Weather Underground. The group took credit for several bombings, including non-fatal explosions at the Pentagon and the Capitol four decades ago – when Obama was about eight years old.

In remarks Saturday to GOP donors in Englewood, Colorado, Palin said Obama seems to see the US as being so imperfect that, in her words, "he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

Her idiotic statements were triggered by a disjointed New York Times story on Saturday that traced Obama’s sporadic interactions with Ayers, now a respected education professor in Chicago where he worked on an education project with Obama when the candidate was a community organizer and then state senator. Palin never mentioned that Ayers denounced his past activities decades ago.

Stephen Fox, contributing editor of the New Mexico Sun News, puts it in perspective:

“I remember meeting Mark Rudd, who either blew up a building or tried to, I don't remember which. I met Angela Davis, and golly, very early one Sunday morning after one of the famous San Francisco Peace Marches to end the Vietnam War in 1967, I even saw Janis Joplin driving a yellow Porsche Convertible about 60 miles an hour through Haight-Ashbury.

"Just because 20 years ago, you befriend someone and talk intelligently with them, what does that mean, anyway? That you are learning. Does that mean you are sitting at the feet of the 9/11 bombers? Of course not, but the Republicans will use this ludicrous and deranged line of reasoning to scare the elderly as they have already done in South Florida, the undecided, the apathetic … who don't read (a newspaper) everyday.”

Shifting Undecided’s

Meanwhile, undecided voters – how can there actually be any of these still around? – are starting to trend Obama, along with the rest of the country.

Undecided voters who watched Thursday's vice presidential debate like Palin but they're not certain she's ready to lead the country, according to the findings of a new Ipsos/McClatchy poll published Sunday morning.

If they had to vote immediately after watching the debate between Palin and Biden, 52% of the 456 undecided voters who were surveyed would vote the Obama/Biden ticket, the poll found.

It also found that Palin's performance in the debate did nothing to clinch undecided votes for her running mate. Before the debate, those same undecided voters were leaning 56% to 44% for McCain. The day after the debate, the numbers tilted 52% to 48% for Obama.

No wonder the McCain-Palin campaign is starting to throw mud. It’s all they have left.

300-Plus Electoral Votes is Possible for Obama

A guest post from Denis Campbell, editor-in-chief of

My EU media colleagues have a hard time understanding that daily national tracking polls mean little. On November 4th, voters will enter and cast ballots in 50-statewide winner-takes-all contests. There are 538 electoral votes up for grabs, this is how the race is decided and the first person to 270 votes wins. California is the biggest prize with 55, several small states including Alaska and the District of Columbia have 3 votes each and the map shows how they break down and voted in 2004.

George Bush beat John Kerry 286-252 with Ohio’s questionable 20 votes the margin of victory. The map’s mid-section was solid red in the 2004 presidential election but Barack Obama’s organisation has targeted several “red” states this year and in the map below is doing surprisingly well in a number of them. New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado and Montana are four that he would love to have and could win them all. The ‘New West’ independent states have chosen Democratic state governments and popular governors who are helping Obama. The South, a GOP stronghold since Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, also has a number of interesting contests in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas and Georgia. That leaves Ohio and Florida, two controversial states from 2000 and 2004 as key battlegrounds where Obama is leading in both.

Using my prognosticator cap and barring another violent swing in what has become the 3-minure media cycle, Obama could be headed to a landslide victory in a number of those states which could put his election in the bag before polls close on the West Coast of the USA.

With 1-month left, the usually cool, calm and collected Barack Obama is clearly winning out over mad-dog John McCain. Pointed, deliberate and powerful jabs and combinations to the mid-section of McCain by Obama are softening him up and trumping the kitchen sink, frenetic, Hail Mary pass downfield, gambling approach of John McCain. McCain is looking more and more like an angry, desperate old man and neither of his ‘trophy’ partners can dig him out of the hole he now finds himself in.

And it’s only going to get worse for McCain.

McCain operatives conceded Michigan, pulling advertising and staff out and now see that attacking Obama’s inexperience is not working, their candidate is running out of money and so now expect the 527 group ‘Swift Boat squads’ to throw every sleazy advert they can to attack the character of Obama and force him off his issues-based solid ground game of repeatedly tying McCain to Bush.

Here is why I am so bullish:
• A Wall Street Journal poll of “new” voters shows they support Obama over McCain by 61% - 30%.

• Add this to the hustling, organising ground game of Senator Obama using his 57-state and territory organisations, targeted add buys outspending Senator McCain 3:1, buckets full of cash on hand (and still coming in) and the Chicago kid is doing much better than either of his City’s baseball teams facing 0-2 playoff holes from which to rebound.

• Obama’s got a ground game. In July and August his funds went to building the field organisation. As a community organiser he understands and knows that nothing trumps SPIN better than face-to-face answering of questions.

• The McCain/Republican SPIN doctors that worked so smoothly in the 2000 and 2004 are stranded on a sandbar of ridiculousness. Now they just sound pathetic as they believe green is purple and will convince you they know it is and you’re an idiot for not seeing it.

• Sarah Palin is an unmitigated disaster as VP choice. The base loves her, everyone else is terrified.

I invite you to close your eyes and go back to 11 September 2001. The President is in the air unable to land because we don’t know what is going on. VP Cheney is in the secure bunker underneath the White House coordinating events. Now keep your eyes closed… and picture Sarah Palin sitting in Cheney’s chair…

Did you wake up in a cold flop sweat?

Run from the room screaming?

As the old telly advert said, “this drugs (you see a hot frying pan as an egg cracks and then begins sizzling). This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”

The Obama team has done a good job of anticipating attacks and swatting them aside. They’ve played a solid, if not altogether boring game of moving the ball steadily downfield and, after having the gruelling Hillary Clinton primary experience, know exactly what to do to punch the ball into the end-zone.

They have attacked when needed and played a mostly patient game whereas McCain has lost his cool and looked anything but Presidential in his choices since the week before the convention. His gravy train lobbyist staff will parachute to safety, earn their 7-figure salaries peddling influence and point fingers as the Clinton team did. This failure will then have only one author, John McCain.

My final EV prediction: 325-213 to Obama.

Any questions?