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October 25, 2008

McCain Gives Up on New Hampshire
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:54 PM *

McCain Headquarters, Lancaster

Saturday afternoon, with less than two weeks to go before the election, the McCain headquarters in Lancaster, Coös county seat, was oddly — quiet.

Comments on McCain Gives Up on New Hampshire:
#1 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:29 AM:

The obvious explanation is that the McCain campaign is giving up.

The more paranoid explanation is "Why bother even going through the motions when the Fix is already in?"

Given all the purging of electoral rolls going on, and all of the black box voting, the second possibility still makes me lose sleep at night.

#2 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:52 AM:

He's stopped advertising on Boston TV stations, too. (That's where southern New Hampshire gets all its broadcasting.)

And, in the Senate race ads, Republican John Sununu is accusing Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of being a Bush ally.

#3 ::: Wireless Enthusiast ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:09 AM:

Bob #1: They're not acting like the fix is in. So I think the simpler explanation, that they're just giving up early, is the one to go with.

#4 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:17 AM:

Four years ago they jammed the call-in phone lines leased by the Democratic Party for Granite Staters to get assistance in getting rides to the polls or finding out where to vote, etc. This is not hearsay or allegation, a high up Republican appartchik in New Hampshire served federal prison time for it... and the instant he stepped out of prison he was back on the Republican Party payroll.

Also, there were calls between his office and the White House immediately going on up to election day, and maybe during election day. Investigation into that got squelched/Roved..../

#5 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:29 AM:

the McCain campaigning is whining about money and how Obama is outspending McCain and not staying to limits that would be enforced if going with federal funding.... but I'd like to know how much 527 money and other such unregulated ads, are running for McCain/Palin... (and how many/how much is being done on behalf of Obama/Biden, too).

First order analyses often are a bunch of misleading bullshit....

Remember the Swift Boat lies? Those were all 527 money and effort, I seem to recall....

This time, though, some of the Republican-promoting innuendo and attack and smear and libel and slander, seem to have met less fertile soil in the general populace--there are lots of people, also, who those Big Lies did get mindshare in, and some of them NPR was reporting on, particularly women who remain so angry at the treatment of Hillary Clinton's candidacy in e.g. the Texas caucaus, where the women said that the caucus blocked Clinton supporters from putting up signs and being recognized participate in the caucus, that they have been campaigning for McCain/Palin out of spite... and furthermore that they see McCain as the image of what the President should be.

It came off like drek fantasy, except that it's real life, alas. Those women seemed totally divorced from reality regarding things like Supreme Court nominations, what it would mean for social policy and for women for medical care.... they are an example of a group gone on positive feedback in the engineering sense out of touch with reality. They want the policies that Hillary Clinton was promoting, and are going over Aswan High Dam on denial regarding McCain's policies being 90 degrees off from the Clinton campaign's values....

#6 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:33 AM:

I don't know any Hilary supporters who are going so far as to push for McCain. I do know one who was so dispirited that she said she might not vote - until McCain picked Palin. She turned into a fervent Obama supporter!

There's an article on The Huffington Post, The Internet and the Death of Rovian Politics, that details how good old-fashioned lies and smears just aren't working the way they used to. The Obama campaign understands teh internets, and McCain's doesn't (as has been discussed here before). It seems to be more a characteristic of the Republicans side of things to hear people say "I never said that", not grasping that it's already on YouTube. And how easy it is to look things up.

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:50 AM:

#6: You might say that the Internet makes it easier for those People Who Can't Be Fooled All Of The Time to go from fooled to not fooled.

And it makes the pathetic desperation of the People Who Can Be Fooled All Of The Time a lot more visible.

#8 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:22 AM:

Hm. Tonight I heard my first two repeats of a McCain ad. Not surprising; he has no real chance of winning in NY. It's possible that the ads were national; they were on the ESPN Radio broadcast of the Phillies' World Series win.

I've been reading speculation that the McCain campaign is appearing in states they really don't expect to win, hoping to boost downticket races (especially the contested House races in places like Colorado and Georgia), under pressure from the Republican warchest National Committee. With any luck, the Republican candidates are becoming as toxic as they believe Bush to be, and a few of those seats will flip blue.

#9 ::: Arachne ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:46 AM:

I see that the McCain campaign is ignoring at least bit of advice from Nate Silver, the man behind, which is to attack New Hampshire and and New Mexico.

New Hampshire is not as cheap, since its television market overlaps with Boston, but this is a state where McCain overperformed during the primaries in both 2000 and 2008, while Obama did just the opposite. And McCain's tax message might sell well in such a notoriously libertarian state.

In other news, Sarah Palin has gone rogue, is ignoring the campaign advisers and contradicting McCain repeatedly, and the general thought is that she's preparing to be the Republican candidate in 2012.


#10 ::: Arachne ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:58 AM:

A couple more links: the phrase "circular firing squad" is making a return. And a few days ago the GOP apparently prepared a goner list for the House/Senate seats. It includes Michele "who is un-American?" Bachmann, but last I heard some funding was being channeled back into Minnesota.

Disintegration: 65% complete ...

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 07:52 AM:

Jim... the McCain headquarters in Lancaster, Coös county seat, was oddly — quiet.

Donatello: The perimeter's quiet.
Leonardo: Yeah, a little too quiet.
(they knock out the only two guards)
Donatello: Well, that was easy!
Leonardo: Yeah, a little too easy.
Donatello: Look! It's Raph!
Michaelangelo: Yeah, a little too Raph!

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 07:58 AM:

Jim, we all know what happens next when somebody says something like that.

Be careful, OK.

#13 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 08:07 AM:

David Frum has an op-ed in today's Washington Post calling for the GOP to basically concede that the Presidential election is lost and shift all available resources to the closer Senate campaigns.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 08:14 AM:

Dave Bell @ 12... Time knot

Young Tommy Webber: Exiting the time knot now, sir.
Fred Kwan: We're alive.
Young Tommy Webber: We made it, Commander. We made it.
Sir Alexander Dane: By Grabthar's hammer, we live to tell the tale.
Voice of Computer: Systems registering functional.
Gwen DeMarco: All systems are working, Commander.
Commander Peter Quincy Taggart: I don't like it. It was too easy.
Young Tommy Webber: Wait. Oh, no! They're everywhere. There are time knots opening everywhere.
Gwen DeMarco: A trap!

#15 ::: Eric K ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 08:20 AM:

Meanwhile, Obama's NH campaign is very much open for business. If you count just the people doing data entry in our local office, they outnumber the paid staffers 4-to-1. The canvassing teams are the biggest I've ever seen.

On November 3rd and 4th, they hope to run the largest Get Out The Vote operation I've ever seen in NH. (Volunteers, of course, are still eagerly welcome.)

The Obama campaign is much better-organized than the Kerry campaign. The plan is more intelligent, the paid staffers are more dedicated, and the volunteers have more training. For some background on how Obama and his team built this organization, see this article in the Huffington Post.

Personally, I do not want to wake up on November 5th and see President McCain and Vice-President Palin.

#16 ::: Blissex ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 08:59 AM:

«Republican John Sununu is accusing Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of being a Bush ally.»

That's the general Republican strategy: since they cannot run on the record of the administration. they are running on their record as the opposition, an opposition that for the past 10-15 years has been attacking the big government big spending Bush/Democratic alliance that has created this mess despite all the efforts of the Republicans to stand up for the little man.

#17 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 09:24 AM:

Yeah, watching the news and the first part of SNL with my wife (until my stupid quota for the week filled up and I gave up on SNL), I saw a bunch of political ads. There were many ads for Democrats. There were many ads against Democrats. I don't recall seeing any candidate-specific ads that linked their candidate to the Republicans.

One weird thing: I also saw a sensible attack ad, paid for by the RNC, attacking Obama on his lack of executive experience. It was one of the few Republican ads that I've seen this time around that actually had something meaningful behind it, as lack of executive experience is Obama's weakest point.

Barring some last-minute implosion of the Obama campaign, I think Frum's probably got the right idea for optimal spending of Republican resources--they should give up on the presidency, and try to save what they can of their congresscritters.

#18 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 09:38 AM:

It's kind of a bummer really, for election geeks (and teachers of persuasion). Now the only way we get to see the campaign ads is to go to YouTube.

On the other hand...I can cope with that. :-)

#19 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 09:56 AM:

#5: Paula, I believe you were listening to the latest episode of This American Life, "Ground Game"? Produced by Chicago Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International, it's also available on the web and as a podcast. I mention this just in case someone else wants to hear it too.

Yeah, I also found those interviews disturbing. Those McCain supporters were quite practiced in parrying, deflecting, or just plain ignoring the rather pointed questions about why they were supporting someone who disagrees with them on practically every issue. It does come off like they're supporting McCain out of nothing but spite.

I realize people don't heal on a timetable. However, I was really hoping that there were far fewer people for whom Hillary's loss is still so raw than that report made it sound. Even if they don't wake up in time for this election, I hope they do eventually. I mean, no matter how you slice it, they're still devoting their time and energy to someone who wants to move the country in a direction they oppose.

Given newspaper accounts of how some touchscreen machines have been switching some straight ticket Democratic votes into straight ticket Republican votes, I really hope that Obama supporters come to the polls in such staggering numbers that it overwhelms the errors, either inherent or intentional, in our voting system. (And that they vote office by office.) We need a clear, decisive Obama victory.

[I guess touchscreen voting machines ask you for a confirmation? Otherwise, I don't know how you'd know that it'd flipped your vote. We use optical scan here.]

#20 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:16 AM:

#19 John

Yes, your description resonates with my memory of it being a This American Life segment.

It sounded to me like spite, anger, payback (they posing as as having been dismissed out of hand and feeling marginalized and not listened to and summarily brushed off, and being angry and vengeful, to the point of having shut off any input from anyone on the Democratic side not similarly angry and wanting vengeance--so angry they marched over to the other side to soldier for the opposition. And since they're grouped together working together, it appears to be one of those nasty inbred "community values" situations where the community has come together out of common values, and in banding together out of those common values, imposed ex-officio rules and behavior reinforcing groupthink and directing the group to proselytize to others and resist change, resist other opinions, and resist thinking about ramifications. Bottom line, it sounded like a religious extremist cult complete with the equivalent of brainwashing going on.

#21 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:27 AM:

The "On The Road" posts at have been documenting this situation all across the country, for weeks, so it doesn't seem to be a factor of "places they've given up on."

Instead, the McCain campaign just seems to have an incredibly inadequate ground game, to the point where the occasional well-functioning, active campaign office the guys come across is legitimate news.

A few weeks ago, I asked a friend who is a well-connected Republican about this. His reply was that (a) Democrats don't necessarily know what to look for when judging the Republican ground game (meaning, I guess, that it would be organized out of churches, etc., and not out of campaign offices?) and (b) it would all swing into high gear in the last three weeks, because they had a good enough machine to get the vote out fast.

Except, here we are, less than ten days before the election...

I find it puzzling, and also worrisome. I just feel like they ought to have better game than this. I wonder if it's just that the ground game relies on the socially conservative base, who aren't that hyped about McCain even with a Palin sweetener.

#22 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:36 AM:

The McCain campaign has about a quarter of the money available to Obama right now, and he's having to spend it in places where he gets the most result. Down here in NC the anti-Obama ads are running all the time, along with anti-Democratic candidates for Senate and House seats. Some of those are being funded by the RNC; in fact, the one I recall against Obama (showing an empty President's chair and talking about how the first Presidential crisis would be Obama's first EVER crisis) is RNC funded too.

Ads in VA are running as well, but Obama is countering by running ads in those states as well as many others that McCain had hoped would remain for him. Throw in that 30 minute talk Obama has purchased on the national TV networks on Thursday (think that's when it is), add Obama's clearly superior ground force, and McCain has no choice but to pull back in some smaller states and just hope for the best.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:44 AM:

Deb Geisler @ 18... the only way we get to see the campaign ads is to go to YouTube

You might like this.

#24 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 11:03 AM:

This whole election has been fascinating, and I'm hoping that a very good hand with the pen writes The Making of the President:2008.

Most other elections run an incumbent (or incumbent VP) against a challenger, but this has been the most dramatic, the most precedent-challenging election in recent history.

#25 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 11:33 AM:

#16: Wow. I know they've been the anti-reality party for a while now, but still, wow.

Not that there hasn't been a Bush/Democratic alliance on some issues - Iraq and domestic spying being two of the most prominent - but almost all the criticism of that bipartisan rush to doom has been from the left. I don't think I've ever heard a Republican speak out against it except in the process of becoming an ex-Republican.

Furthermore, to rally the party to that banner, they'd have to rely on the Republican Party's old libertarian wing - which has by and large been purged or bolted the party when it was taken over by the theocrat/warmonger alliance of the last few decades. When you've gone so far from the old principled small-government position that *Goldwater's* family is endorsing Obama, it might take a while to get back.

The people who called it treason to disagree with the president might have a teensy bit of difficulty running against that exact same president and his record. Even with ownership of the media, that extreme a revision is going to be hard, I think.

#26 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 11:54 AM:

#16,#25: Actually, the ads are even more "wow", because they're response ads.

Shaheen, the Democratic challenger (and former governor) accused Sununu, the Republican incumbent of being a Bush stooge.

Sununu's response? It's _Shaheen_ who consistently agreed with Bush. Never mind that she's been out of public office for at least six years.

#27 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:00 PM:

janetl, #6: Interesting article! But I found this one (on a side-link from it) even more interesting.

Summary: The prospect of an Obama landslide is touching off bitter internecine war for the future of the Republican Party -- and it looks as though the party faithful are getting ready to rally around Palin and "excommunicate" (that word was actually used) those who won't back her.

IMO, this could be the best thing to happen to American politics in decades. If the rational, intellectual Republicans are forcibly kicked out of the party, they'll have to form a third party on their own, which for once won't be entirely made up of extremists and/or loons. A "traditional conservative" party could grab up a lot of the moderates who are feeling disenfranchised under the current structure, and leave the Democrats the freedom to push for real progressiveness without fear of being Roved.

Interestingly, the Whig Party has reconstituted in recent years and might provide a place for excommunicated Republicans to settle.

#28 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:08 PM:

I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see the Whigs back, as the Republicans have become the Know-Nothings.

#29 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:49 PM:

Why bother campaigning when election fraud and corrupt officials will win the day?

Blogged by Brad Friedman on 10/24/2008 5:04PM
ES&S Touch-Screen Votes Now Flipping in TX Too! Obama/DNC Attorneys Still AWOL!
State After State, ES&S iVotronics Are Flipping Democratic Votes to Republican!
What You Can Do About It, And Where the Hell Are Those 'Thousands' of Obama/DNC Attorneys?...

The latest reports today of ES&S vote-flipping come from Palo Pinto County, TX, where two voters --- one of them an alternate election judge and office manager of the Palo Pinto County Democratic Headquarters --- saw straight-ticket Democratic votes flipped to straight-ticket Republican votes. Two times for the first person, and three times for the alternate election judge!

#30 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:52 PM:

Lee @ @27: Thanks for the link to The New Organizers, Part 1: What's really behind Obama's ground game. That's really inspiring!.
Gee, maybe experience as a community organizer actually is valuable!

#31 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:14 PM:

You say this picture was taken on Saturday? Where are the volunteers? There ought to be local people who have the time and interest to put in a little effort on a Saturday afternoon, the sort of resources that would require an office open in town, even if only to make phone calls to out of state and help in places where there is a better chance.

This isn't just "giving up." It is not even having enough support to be able to try.

#32 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:16 PM:

#29: The thing that worries me about such reports in isolation, aside from the obvious, is that they may serve to depress voter turnout. That there are shenanigans makes a high voter turnout more important than ever. The winning margin needs to fall decisively outside the margin of error. Also, if enough people vote, then any aberrant result can't be easily explained away.

Yes, we all need to make sure that we actually are voting for who we think we're voting for. We all need to be aware that the voting machine may not be your friend. However, we also need to realize that makes the act of voting even more important, not less.

#33 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:19 PM:

Steve C at 24, I agree, the 2008 campaign story -- not just the Presidential election, but what's happening across the country to the Congressional seats and the Senate -- needs to be written. However, I suspect that only Hunter Thompson would be capable of telling the Republican side of the tale as it should be told.

And BTW, I really, really, really miss Molly Ivins.

#34 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:59 PM:

Serge @23. Thank you! That's great fun...and it's particularly interesting to see how the various ads and spoofs appeal to different age groups. This one is probably aimed at the 50-and 60-somethings (like me) who remember the original television show (or its first set of re-runs).

#35 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Deb @ #34, you might also like Ron Howard aka Opie's video for Obama. He goes back to both Mayberry and the Happy Days set, with Andy Griffith and the Fonz.

#36 ::: Becky ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:16 PM:

@ Rivka #21: A few weeks ago, I asked a friend who is a well-connected Republican about this. . . . (b) it would all swing into high gear in the last three weeks, because they had a good enough machine to get the vote out fast.

Except that with the early voting in so many places, three weeks is too late for the GOTV machine -- you need it a good 4-5 weeks before the election. Are the Republicans completely out of touch with regards to how many people planned on voting early? Or did they just not have the resources to start getting out the vote two weeks ago?

(In my hometown, people on both sides of local issues seem to have been completely blindsided by the early voting. I find that astonishing. Talk about not doing your homework.)

#37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:21 PM:

Lizzy L @ 33... I really, really, really miss Molly Ivins

I miss her too.
And Herb Caen.

#38 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:29 PM:

This is particularly delightful, since the McCain/Palin team thought NH was so vital, they sent you... Todd!

The McCain campaign said the [recently-released Troopergate] report is politically motivated.

Todd Palin was visting the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association's annual grass drag competition. He spoke to the crowd briefly before the day's racing events began and asked them to vote for McCain and Palin.

"We have a real choice this election," he said. "John McCain and my wife are reformers."

In very brief remarks, Palin also said the campaign was excited this week to receive the backing of the National Rifle Association.

He also signed autographs for fans who know him as a championship snowmobile racer.

Sen. John Sununu also campaigned at the event. Sununu, who is in a close re-election race with former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, said he had not spoken with Todd Palin about the report...

Paula Martin, a Republican from Sandown, said she brought her children to the event to see Palin and will bring them to see Sarah Palin when she visits the state next week. She plans to vote for McCain and said Sarah Palin was a great pick as a running mate.

#39 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Would y'all say that the American helicopter attack on Syria this morning (afternoon, Syrian time) is the October surprise?

#40 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 02:51 PM:

This is getting very little play on international news so far (google news only has 15 items).

Here's a link to the Reuters story

#41 ::: Peter Hentges ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:23 PM:

I'm hoping there's more to report re: Syria attack than these early stories. Some justification. Sounds bad right now.

#42 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:34 PM:

Bob Oldendorf @1, I think the most likely explanation is that they're now trying to concentrate as many ressources as possible in as few places as possible.

Paula Lieberman @5, judging from dome stuff I've seen on the web, at least some of the Clinton->McCain switchers seem to be people who already agreed with Republicans on most issues, but had supported Hillary as a person, or their idea of Hillary as a person, in the primaries- not her actual platform.

Lee @27, IMO the biggest problem with speculations about a lasting split among Republicans is the question where exactly the fault lines would be. Moderates vs extremists? Or moderate and extreme business deregulators vs moderate and extreme religious conservatives? And there are probably other possible rifts as well.

Generally, the biggest- well, "least small"- possible danger I can see for Obama is that the very fact that almost everyone thinks he'll win now might rub too many people with contrarian tendencies the wrong way.

#43 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:35 PM:

Cripes - I'm going to have to look at that story very closely, Dena. Damn these adventurists anyway!

Meanwhile, just got this from a skeptical Australian friend who lives in Santa Fe, NM:

"Yesterday both McCain and Obama held rallies in Albuquerque. McCain had 1000 supporters show up, Obama only managed to round up 45,000.

"Can you say "landslide"?

Geoff is, as I say, a chronic skeptic, especially in matters of American politics. That he would say anything at all to me is pretty remarkable.

#44 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 03:36 PM:

#36: In some jurisdictions, the Republican response has been to attempt to eliminate early voting as an option. Using the Help America Vote Act to prevent people from voting is, at best, ironic.

#45 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 04:21 PM:

I'm amazed that no one has done a Palin parody of the Moose Song yet. (Warning: lyrics NSFW) Or maybe they have, and I just haven't seen it?

#46 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 04:24 PM:

Lee @ 45... a Palin parody

My wife recently came across a blog where she was referred to as Sarah, Palin and Small.

#47 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 04:41 PM:

Eric Kleefeld noticed a developing pattern (in a post today at TPM ElectionCentral).

Eric noted that Joe Lieberman has suddenly started making a point of saying that he respects Obama and could even support him someday.

This new tone, of course, would not be at all related to Obama being a clear favorite to win the Presidency. :-)

#48 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 06:01 PM:
Those McCain supporters were quite practiced in parrying, deflecting, or just plain ignoring the rather pointed questions about why they were supporting someone who disagrees with them on practically every issue

Probably because journalists have a startling inability to actually follow up on a question, or even notice that it's been dodged: you get an answer, you move on. I really think this is why Jon Stewart is so popular - unlike, oh, any given NPR political coverage, he is able to grasp when somebody dodged a question and to hammer that point.

#49 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 06:57 PM:

Chris @25: I'm afraid that that trick (Republican Sununu attacking Democrat Shaheen for being a Bush ally) isn't in and of itself a sign that a political party has lost touch with reality. I sort of wish it were, but Democrats all over Illinois are currently attacking Republican candidates by accusing them of being associated with our amazingly-unpopular Democratic governer. Mind you the Sununui gambit seems slightly extreme--but I think they (representatives of both/either party, as relevant) try that gambit because 1) they don't know what else to do, and 2) sometimes it works . . .

#50 ::: Deb Geisler ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 06:58 PM:

Linkmeister @35: Thanks for that link. I like it -- and a number of the endorsement videos I've seen. TNH has also linked to the one from famous comedians talking about how the election is no laughing matter.

I'm not sure how much good celebrity endorsements do (and the research is also varied), but they are fascinating to watch. (The best endorsement of the last century, I think, was Colin Powell's clear, measured, and very thoughtful one.)

#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 07:19 PM:

Lee #45: There's a Palin pastiche of the old Calypso Brown-skin gal circulating ('Palin gal, stay home and mind baby'). The woman who sent it to me did say it wasn't politically correct, which is something of an understatement.

#52 ::: Theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 08:52 PM:

serge @ #37: And Mike Royko.

#53 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 09:25 PM:

Executive experience is a slippery thing; organizing the Obama campaign argues for quite a lot of it. Not guaranteed to be the candidate's, but selecting subordinates counts plenty some lots.

There's an old line about the difference between 10 years of experience and 1 year of experience, 10 times; the present contrast between the Obama and McCain campaigns is bringing it forcibly to mind.

#54 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Check out this video a friend of mine posted, featuring the business cards of McCain and Obama. Very revealing.

#55 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:14 PM:

Raphael @ 42: The Republican split could be three-way rather than two-way.

If Palin doesn't read these essays about how she is positioning herself for getting the nomination in 2012, perhaps she might leave the party in a huff. And if her theocratic supporters decide that her VP nomination was tokenism, since they didn't get one of their own in the top slot, and if they blame the Mccain campaign and the RNC for the party's loss, they could follow her out. Some of the theocrats such as Pat Buchanan and James Dobson have been flirting with third parties for years. Perhaps they would bolt to the Constitution Party.

Meanwhile, the balanced-budget wing of the Republican Party could colonize the Libertarian Party, pulling it further to the right. They already have former Republican congressman Bob Barr, and Ron Paul could return.

This would leave the secular neo-cons and defense conservatives to carry the name Republican. For the time being they would have all of the Republicans in Congress except those who cross over to the Democratic Party. But going into the 2010 and 2012 elections they would be much weaker than their Congressional numbers would indicate.

I can't see it playing out this way unless the theocrats are the first to leave. If the defense conservatives go first, the Modern Whig Party that someone mentioned might be a logical place for them, but I don't see that happening.

While all this is going on, the Democrats need to guard against becoming overconfident. Obama can't be all things to all people, and he will lose disappointed supporters on both ends of the political spectrum. Whatever disaster happens in the next four years -- whether it be depression, war, or some other unforeseen problem -- people with short memories will blame it on Obama. Getting elected as the candidate of change is a lot easier than getting re-elected as the candidate of change, as Jimmy Carter found out.

But I don't see fractiousness among the Democrats leading to splits or realignments. They have a lot of experience at having very diverse groups nominally united under one banner.

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Here's a thought: let's create a wish list for the next President.

We're all pretty much agreed, I think, on the big things that need to happen: get out of Iraq, repudiate torture, restore habeus corpus and drop the blatantly unConstitutional crap, get the economy turned around. But there are a lot of smaller issues, too -- things which might not take a lot of time or effort, but which could drastically change the average American's perception of how things are going.

I'll start with one that I know is a nagging irritation to a lot of folks: Airport Security Theater and the problem of theft from checked baggage, since you're not allowed to lock it any more. Substitute real security measures for things that piss off thousands of people daily and DON'T WORK ANYHOW, and clamp down on personal-property thefts, and you'd go a long way toward convincing a lot of people that the new Administration is improving the country.


#57 ::: Arachne ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:50 PM:

@ Dena Shunra #40,
@ Peter Hentges #41,

There's Joshua Landis' speculation on Syria Comment that the attack is a "freebie" since a new administration is being ushered in:

It will, of course, not force compliance, but the Bush administration must assume that an Obama victory on November 4 will force Syria to behave nicely in order to win favor with the new administration. Thus, White House analysts may assume that it can have a ‘freebee” — taking a bit of personal revenge on Syria without the US paying a price. Damascus may just have to write it off as a good bye salute from its friends in Washington.

More disturbing? Less disturbing? Let's go for a beer?

#58 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 11:57 PM:

#53 ::: Graydon

Perhaps a significant number of Americans are realizing that President G. W. Bush had practically nothing but Executive experience, and are reflecting upon what, and where, that got us.

And I don't think it's lost on many people (aside from The Fanatics) that the McCain campaign has been klunky, and the Obama one remarkably smooth-running.

#59 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Brokaw interviewed McCain for the first half of this morning's Meet the Press and McCain was on the defensive the entire time.

#60 ::: gaygeek ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 12:39 AM:

Out here in California I came across a really interesting item showing some ... interesting ... changes in the local Republican Party grassroots structure:

its not often you get a new item that involves county level politics, Ron Paul supporters, Minutemen, evangelicals, and lawsuits. And I have no idea what this bodes for the future.

#61 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 02:49 AM:

Arachne@57, here's what troubles me: how strong is Syria's president?

If his response doesn't meet the demands/desires of his people, how likely is he to be toppled? And who will topple him? How likely is such an eventuality to redraw the entire powermap of the Middle East yet again? And who would come out in charge?

#62 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 04:42 AM:

#55 ::: Allan Beatty:

A split between pro- and anti- Palin Republicans sounds plausible to me. Aren't parties likely to form around people at least as much as ideas?

I don't think free market Republicans are likely to end up in the Libertarian Party. The LP has such a history of ineffectiveness that it seems more sensible to start a new party, but I'm just guessing on this.

If the fix is in for the R's to steal the election, wouldn't they seem happier and calmer?

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 07:55 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 63... coughgagsplutter!!!

#65 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 08:46 AM:

Nancy #62:

Pro-free-market folks have taken two big hits: First, "their" party has betrayed them completely, and second, the markets have tanked in a way that demonstrates that markets can collectively make horribly bad, irrational decisions. A large fraction of both big parties have now bought into the notion of a massive bailout/buyout/nationalization of financial companies, on the scale of a trillion (10^{12}) dollars. Once you've decided that big companies in the financial industry are too important to be allowed to fail, there's just no way to argue against regulating those companies. The alternative is handing those companies blank checks, and (as Iceland's meltdown shows, I think) bad financial businesses can use the magic of margin to accumulate breathtaking losses.

Similarly, although the US healthcare system isn't remotely free market, it's seen as that by a lot of people, by contrast with a single-payer system. And the financial side of the healthcare system is obviously and horribly broken, creating all kinds of perverse incentives that drive up costs and f--k up care(Medicare's decisions on re-embursement, liability concerns, EMTLA, insurance company re-embursement schedules (derived from Medicare's, I think)).

I think that part of the Republican coalition has been clobbered by events. This is what strikes me as being so weird about the whole McCain/Palin line about Obama being into tax-and-redistribute--wouldn't this be more reasonable coming from someone that didn't just vote to give a trillion dollars to the financial industry? I mean, I'm not too keen on redistribution, either, but redistribution from millionaires to the poor sounds way more sensible than redistribution the other way!

#66 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 10:28 AM:

I think the split will be two ways - Business vs Culture Warriors - but they'll both claim to be the True Republican Party. They may even keep the national structure and just be wildly different parties in different areas.

The thing is, if the Business Republicans can credibly claim to not be racist, anti-poor, anti-gay, and anti-working-woman, they may take all the centrist Democrats. Especially since this presidential term is going to be a quagmire - the new president has to solve the war and the economy, and make a good start on addressing climate change, healthcare, and infrastructure issues just to not be remembered as the 21st Century's Herbert Hoover.

Even if Obama wins and proves to be the Superman President who can herd Congress into real action on all of those issues at once, people aren't grateful for the disasters you avert and ameliorate.

#67 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 10:32 AM:

Allan Beatty @55, generally good points, but I don't see Buchanan forming a party with the pro-war part of the religious conservatives.

Lee @56, I'd be happy if he could not blow up the world the way some other people might have done, but I'm pretty confident that he'll manage that, so I'm not sure if it really counts as a wish. Additionally, it would be nice if he could somehow manage it to steer off the collapse of the US Dollar that seems depressingly likely, but I don't know how that could be done.

Aside from that, I think he should do something noticeable, that doesn't cause damage, that perhaps even does some good, and that plays well with the public. I don't see the economy improving seriously anytime soon, and, as Allan pointed out, many people will blame it on him. As long as the Republicans don't collapse- and their strength in four years may be as different from their strength now as their strength now is from their strength four years ago- Obama's only chance to get reelected might be to do something that is at the same time so big that the 2012 election effectively becomes a referendum on wether to continue it or not, and so popular that he can win under those circumstances (or several smaller things that together play that role).

The biggest danger for Obama's first term might be that he tries to play it safe by kind of being Generic President- doing some small things, reacting to things that happen the way most people would usually think the president would react, and not doing much aside from that. At first side, that might seem like the politically safe thing to do- but I think in times like these, Generic Presidents don't get reelected.

#68 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 10:48 AM:

Another policy where McCain == Bush: flag desecration. Bush signs a flag in violation of the US Flag Code, so naturally McCain does too.

#69 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 12:32 PM:

I said so in the Scraps thread, but Scraps was delighted to hear that McCain was folding his tent in NH. Also astonished. NH was one of the states he pointed to on the 538 map and said "Time out!"

#70 ::: Arachne Jericho ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 01:21 PM:

@ Dena Shunra #61 -

Ugh. Good points.

Beer it is!

@ Xopher #69 -

I'd totally say "Time out!" too.

All... so... weird...

#71 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 01:53 PM:

Raphael, #67: That's kind of my point. There have to be things the next President could do -- outside of the Big Jobs -- which would make it feel to the average American that his life was improving. What are they? What relatively-minor changes could he make that would affect the overall quality of life for a lot of people in a positive way?

For example, if he were to restore the FBI budget for investigating white-collar financial crime, and make it a priority to build cases against the people responsible for the current meltdown, he could change the man-on-the-street's perception that the people who caused the collapse are just going to walk away scot-free. That would be an important difference from the current Administration; and, while it might not make a lot of material difference to the lives of the people affected, it would reassure them that they haven't been brushed off and abandoned. That has to count for something.

#72 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 02:40 PM:

I watch very little network television, and almost all of the ads I've seen here in Nashville on cable are for Obama--and center around income tax issues. I don't know if these represent national-level ad buys, bought and paid for to run across all locales, or if they are local pays--and the few ads for state-level races I've seen do not, in general, identify Republicans as Republicans; instead, we're hearing things like "conservative" instead, with specific issues like immigration and *brtn* headlined.
I've seen almost no advertising for the Senate race; I don't know if the Tennessee Democrats (who've done, IMO, a poor job of taking advantage of Howard Dean's efforts and largesse--the Ford-Corker race in 2006 got a lot more push) see Alexander as untouchable until he and the damn flannel shirt fall over dead, or if they just don't give a damn. I see more Obama signs that McCain signs, except in certain parts of town, and more bumper stickers, but that proves nothing--the Democrats usually have less trouble carrying the cities here than the do the rest of the state. I think, given the right people on the ground, that Tennessee could be a swing state as easily as North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, or Missouri.

#73 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 03:08 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #63

O mi gawddessa!

This is -- beyond words.

They got it all.


Love, C.

#74 ::: Fred C. Moulton ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 04:36 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz #63

Thanks. That was laugh out loud funny. And hit several points spot on.

#75 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 05:02 PM:

ABC is reporting right now that the ATF and FBI have arrested two men who were planning on assassinating Obama and kill 100 black people in TN.

#76 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 05:10 PM:

John L @75, I'd filk "Roly poly Fish heads" in reference to the above story, but I'd rather not have my residence burned to the ground.

#77 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 05:12 PM:

John L @ 75 - Just heard about that one. Stunned, sickened and unsurprised. From the AP via the Seattle Times.

#78 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 05:43 PM:

My husband just returned from doing some gigs in Barcelona -- part of the same enormous festival of music, the art, culture and literature that goes on during the autumn weeks to attract visitors to the city. This last week the literary star was Bruce Sterling -- he got the front page of el Pais.

All this by way of saying that among the many, many people he met and talked with, from South America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia -- everyone was as interested in this election as we are, and all of them are hoping Senator Obama will be POTUS. He met not a single person who supports the other one.

Love, C.

#79 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 07:16 PM:

Meanwhile, over at LiveJournal, we have a photo of a line for early voting in the Atlanta area.

#80 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 07:21 PM:

Larry #77:

It's hard to tell from the story what was going on. These guys didn't exactly sound like criminal masterminds, but you don't have to be any kind of smart or capable or even functional person to kill some people. I wonder if the police were keeping an eye on them before they shot out the church window--that sounds like the sort of thing that would move you out of the "possibly just a harmless blowhard" category, and into the "dangerous nutcase about to do something horrible" category.

#81 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 08:58 PM:

Raphael @ 67: On further reflection, I believe you're right about Pat Buchanan.

Hmm, this suggests that even a three-way breakdown is too simple of an analysis. There are:

  • Pro-war social conservatives -- Sarah Palin and most of the religious right.

  • Anti-war social conservatives, such as Pat Buchanan.
  • Pro-war fiscal conservatives, including various semi-libertarians who drank the WMD koolaid and somehow have avoided thinking about the budget-busting cost of the wars.
  • Anti-war fiscal conservatives, including other semi-libertarians such as Ron Paul.
  • Business Republicans, who can be further divided into those who are profiting from war and those who aren't.

The question is, which of those factions will remain in the same party together, which will leave, and which will be thrown out?

Rosa @ 66: That's a good point. One of these factions might be able to attract the Reagan Democrats in a way that a united Republican party in 2008 couldn't.

Part of my interest in this topic stems from reading people here on Making Light explaining how things work in countries that have more than two major parties. I'd like to know how we can get some of that in the USA.

#82 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 05:50 AM:

think the split will be two ways - Business vs Culture Warriors - but they'll both claim to be the True Republican Party. They may even keep the national structure and just be wildly different parties in different areas.

The thing is, if the Business Republicans can credibly claim to not be racist, anti-poor, anti-gay, and anti-working-woman, they may take all the centrist Democrats.


In fact, if anyone happened to have a large volunteer field operation going spare after the election, a great mission for it might just be to go and help noncrazy Republican primary candidates for the next congressional elections.

After all, however well the next president of the US does, one day they'll be back in charge, and on that day it's going to matter a hell of a lot if they are the party of GHWB or GWB, if you see what I mean.

And having an opposition party that doesn't actually make you vomit is good. One day there'll be some issue, we don't know what it is now, but it'll be so important and they just won't fucking get it; and unless it's actually viscerally *possible* to vote for the other lot, they'll do whatever they damn well like.

This is the real lesson of the Blair years. It's also the lesson of several revolutions; the Czechs decided to break up the Civic Forum after the revolution, because in order to have democracy, you need real party politics. It wouldn't be enough just to have The Good Guys and the Old Commies' Commiseration Club; TGG would just turn into another stale elite. So they split up on ideological lines.

In South Africa, that's precisely what they didn't do; and so you've got the ANC, who everyone votes for because they did the revolution, and the others, who consist of an uneasy mixture of liberals who are in opposition out of principle, and old white racists. In fact the leftovers of the Nats actually joined the ANC, just to underline its status as a horrible ossified elite. But it's impossible to chuck the bums out because there is no credible replacement.

Wouldn't it be great if in 10 years there was a conservative party in the US like the German Christian Democratic Union, or the Swedish Moderates, or the Canadian conservatives?

They are certainly going to have a civil war starting next week; it's time to think about which side to arm.

#83 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 12:20 PM:

Alex 82: They are certainly going to have a civil war starting next week; it's time to think about which side to arm.

Why not arm all sides and hope they wipe each other out completely? That's what I'm hoping for, personally.

#84 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Xopher @83: The traditional danger with that is that they come to a mutual understanding and agreement, rather than wiping each other out -- and then they're still armed with all the arms you gave them, and they're still on the Other Side.

I'd think we'd have learned the lesson from the last half-century of Middle-East political interventions (insofar as the metaphor actually applies here, which is arguable) that it is always a bad idea to arm any faction which you would not wish to see in ruling power and have to deal with, and for that matter it's a bad idea to arm any faction that you wouldn't want to see a rather mutated form of in power. Sure it's nice in theory if they wipe each other out, but in practice that trick never completely works.

#85 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 06:30 PM:

Well, then you arm them with things that kill only THEIR KIND. You give the werewolves the ultraviolet light bullets, and the vampires the silver nitrate ones. Except they're still bullets, I guess, but you know what I mean.

Or you could get them all to come to a seekrit meetign, and then just blow them the hell up. But that would be wrong.

#86 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 08:17 PM:

#61 Dena: "Arachne@57, here's what troubles me: how strong is Syria's president?

If his response doesn't meet the demands/desires of his people, how likely is he to be toppled? And who will topple him? How likely is such an eventuality to redraw the entire powermap of the Middle East yet again? And who would come out in charge?"

On the BBC the other night, a Syrian spokesman's response wasn't belligerent, and actually got into an almost snarky more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone where he said something to the effect of "President Bush has caused so many problems around the world, I don't know why he has to get into this as well".

So at least at that point, it seemed like the public reaction was a resigned, controlled anger probably being restrained because Bush is on his way out, and there's no point inflaming relations now when it would be better to have a clean slate when Obama takes office. (Or, more likely, be able to call in some chits due to Bush's action.)

#87 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 08:40 PM:

BTW, you might want to watch San Francisco Proposition R:

Some people think the renaming is inappropriate since the plant works well, and does good for the public.

#88 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 10:51 PM:

And McCain's alienating people who have already voted for him.

Good move.

#89 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 11:02 PM:

The titular head of Syria is I think mostly a figurehead--he's either an MD or a dentist by training, who would up in his father's shoes because he was the surviving son, not the one raised to be the political figure.

When last I was paying much attention, the Ba'athist Party and its military leadership were the real powers in Syria, of whom Hafez Assad was the foremost, before his death. The titular leadership then landed on the surviving son probably not as something he had any desire for or choice about--the titular head of North Korea got where he is also because of his parentage, but he seems to have wanted the position, even though he is mostly a figurehead who gets to indulge himself (as opposed to e.g. Saddam Hussein who indulged himself but was definitely not a figurehead!)

(and now Dr Assad's first name finally occurred to me, it's Bashir)

#90 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 12:14 AM:

New Hampshire at

Apparently the McCain office in Plymouth was closed this Saturday as well.

#91 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 02:53 AM:

Paula Lieberman @ 89: either an MD or a dentist by training

An opthamologist, actually.

#92 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 03:16 AM:

Michael I @47:
I've ben expecting this, but for a different reason: the Republicans have been using him, and he's only just figured it out and now wants to return to the Democratic Party. I suspect he's about to learn the rest of a very expensive lesson.

Dena Shunra @61:
As with most of the rest of the middle east, if the current leadership stumbles the fundamentalists will try to use it to take power.

#93 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 03:35 AM:

Nancy L @ #63, that wins you a prize. It makes me want to see the original it's copying.

#94 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 05:50 AM:

Some people think the renaming is inappropriate since the plant works well, and does good for the public.

And I'm one of them. It's separating the water and the shit that gets you from a life expectancy of 35+\-10 years to one of 75+\-10 years. I can't imagine why anyone would want to rename something as civic and useful as a sewage treatment plant after Bush.

#95 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 09:34 AM:

#88 *reads the link*

You know, that sort of mindset sends cold chills down my spine. They ejected people from a McCain rally preemptively before the people did anything wrong, because the people looked like they might be trouble.

They kicked people out because they looked like trouble.

And they showed a picture of one of the folks kicked out ... college student. With a pony tail. She was an ordinary college student. I'd love to know what they were profiling on.

Maybe there's more to the story (like secret service intel) but even so, it makes me very uneasy. For all sorts of reasons that I doubt I have to elaborate here.

#96 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 10:53 AM:

Leva Cygnet (95): Ordinary college student? In other words, young, and everyone knows that all the young voters are for Obama, so of course she was only there to cause trouble. [/sarcasm]

#97 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 01:28 PM:

Possibly tangential: I liked Mark Steel's op-ed in the UK Independent today.

#98 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Interesting note.

Greg Sargent at TPM ElectionCentral reports that the McCain campaign is now running robocalls in ARIZONA.

#99 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 08:23 AM:

Dunno if somebody already said so, but your photo seems to be spreading, Jim:

#100 ::: Ursula L ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 05:38 PM:

Going through this article (link from above) about McCain supporters being kicked out of a McCain rally, a couple of points:

1. This seems to have been a rally on a college campus. And they want to kick out college students?

2. This seems to be a state university. They had the university security remove these people. University security are state employees. People have the right to carry on political protest. State employees have no business using their official status to prevent people from peaceful protest. And the state has no business having its employees carrying out the political bidding of one side of an electoral contest.

#101 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Lee @#71:

One big thing he could do is to roll back the So-Called War On Drugs. As I understand it, that would get him major points not only with his traditional youth and liberal supporters, but also from "real conservatives" and law enforcement. (Being able to keep forfeitures may be fun, but getting shot at by dealers... not so much.)

Similarly, he could put the NSA and LEAs on a much tighter leash, possibly including a purge of their more "ambitious" leadership. Meanwhile, giving the SEC their teeth back....

Cleaning up the TSA (including their procedures) would be good, and fixing up the railway network would also pay off. So would passing and enforcing fuel economy standards for autos and trucks.

Fixing the welfare and the health-care systems would be major wins, especially if the former includes federal contracts to build public housing.

#102 ::: Tom Barclay ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Is this old news to everyone? It still makes me laugh my butt off, having lived long in Missouri and Central Illinois:

and for inspiration, read their message board

#104 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 09:16 PM:

#103: I'm not surprised that there's very little going on in the McCain local offices.

When the history of this campaign is written I predict it will be shown that most of the McCain funds were skimmed off in high management salaries, contract kickbacks, and just plain theft, leaving little for actual get-out-the-vote expenses. It's the way Republicans run the government and businesses; why should their campaign operation differ?

#106 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 05:45 PM:

Yes, Friday I was parked behind a car with a "Republicans for Obama" logo sticker on the back window. I certainly know several self-identified Republicans who are vehemently anti-Bush, vehemently anti-McCain, and enthusiastically for Obama.

#107 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Yesterday's mail brought eight flyers: Six Democratic, two Republican.

Tonight we got a visit from a pair of Obama canvassers, and two phone calls from the Democratic party headquarters in Lancaster wanting to make sure we had a ride to the polls.

No canvassers or phone calls from the Republicans so far.

With 36 hours to go before the polls open, the Republicans had better have one heck of a final-day ground game planned.

#108 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 07:01 PM:

Couple of weeks ago I visited "Dollar Mark" Hanna's granddaughter (Hanna was caricatured as a puppet master for the wealthy interests, with McKinley as the puppet, and if anyone's forgotten, Hanna is Karl Rove's hero).

She was wearing an Obama button. In the past she was politically active for the likes of Taft and Goldwater.

#109 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Damn straight! And I mean absolutely no disrespect to Hilary Clinton's campaign in quoting that. In the primaries, I liked both candidates, and was prepared to support either as the nominee. (As an Oregonian, my primary happens after the nomination is already decided, so I don't usually pick sides.) I'm not an expert on the party's insider world, but I suspect that between Hilary and Obama's teams, the Democratic party is the strongest right now that it has ever been. Maybe we can finally live down Will Roger's "I don't belong to an organized political party. I'm a Democrat".

#110 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 07:05 PM:

Oops! Cut & paste error #109. Here's what I meant to post:

The discussion here, and the reports on FiveThirtyEight from the 50 states, have shown the dramatic contrast between McCain's ability to field a campaign and Obama's. The Economist currently has an editorial endorsing Obama. In discussing Obama's executive experience, they havethis observation:
A man who started with no money and few supporters has out-thought, out-organised and out-fought the two mightiest machines in American politics—the Clintons and the conservative right.
Damn straight! And I mean absolutely no disrespect to Hilary Clinton's campaign in quoting that — I value strong Democratic organizations.

#111 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 07:19 PM:

My sister just mentioned to be that there are phone calls being made saying that Republicans vote on Tuesday and Democrats on Wednesday....

#112 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 09:57 PM:

Oh, and two more phone calls from the Democrats. That makes one for every registered voter in the house.

These are live human beings, not robocalls.

#113 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 10:12 PM:

#112 Yog

Given that four years ago, the Democratic Party lines couldn't be called into due to Republithug phone jamming (given that a Republithug actually went to jail convicted of election interference by phone jamming, that's not mere allegation...), perhaps they're calling ahead to make arrangements to circumvent repeat illegal activities to prevent people from having votes that get tallied for Democrats. (see e.g. and ... a federal judge is demanding that a person who seems to have been one of the key conspirator effecting the theft of the election in Ohio and a key effector in carrying out the will of e.g. Karl Rove otherwise, testify under oath in court in 12 hours or so, about his apparent high crimes and misdemeanors.... Reputedly Karl Rove has threatened him with things equivalent to or perhaps even worse than being tossed under the rails....

#114 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 11:20 PM:

Paula Lieberman #111: My sister just mentioned to be that there are phone calls being made saying that Republicans vote on Tuesday and Democrats on Wednesday....

I just saw that question over on Yahoo!Answers and evil people are confirming the lie in malicious attempts to deceive Democrat voters.

#115 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 11:21 PM:

I had an Obama canvasser at the door today and told him I'd voted for Obama yesterday. He thanked me and invited me to the Obama appearance and rally outside of Manassas tomorrow, but I told him I was disabled and can't manage the fair grounds. I hope they get a lot of people.

#116 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2008, 11:17 AM:

No flyers from anyone in the mail today.

#117 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2008, 05:53 AM:

Republicans hire canvassing "volunteers", then stiff them.

#118 ::: Serge sees yahoo spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2009, 10:12 AM:

Just say noe to spam.

#119 ::: C. Wingate seems more of the same spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2009, 08:58 AM:

Do Yahoo and the Big G really need spam?

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2009, 09:10 AM:

The spammer's name reminds me that I much preferred Rupert Everett in the other Oscar Wilde adaptation, The Ideal Husband.

#121 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2009, 10:08 AM:

#121: Times are tough all over.

#122 ::: Michael I sees more spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2009, 06:47 PM:

At #124

#123 ::: P J Evans sees more spam ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2009, 06:29 PM:

pushing drugs - can we get the DEA after them?

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

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